Bragtoberfest Week 1 Round-Up

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It’s been a short week, but nonetheless we’ve completed the first weekend of events and it’s the first Monday, so as promised, here is a round-up post of things that have been going on.

Strife Event

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A new MOBA on the scene, Strife is calling itself a “2nd Generation MOBA.” J3w3l aptly named it “Baby’s first MOBA,” as its distilled features and focus on combat rather than depth of strategy makes it far more accessible than its more established counterparts (think League of Legends and DOTA 2). In a separate conversation I said that their tagline should read: “Less strat, more combat.” Regardless of your preconceived notions based on what I have said here, Strife is actually rather fun. It’s light-hearted, in that the graphics are rather cartoony, the sense of humor and character design is juvenile, and the focus on action combat is found throughout the mechanics. This is relaxing for a seasoned MOBA player like myself, because rather than having to focus on the vision war or which lane/objective to worry about, I can mindlessly last hit minions and roam for ganks. It still has the traditional 3-lane set up but they have shifted the meta focus to a 2 top 2 mid 1 bot setup, or at least that’s the behavior they push the bots into and show you in the tutorials. There are plenty of other differences as well, but you’d have to play to get the whole scope of things.

The people joining us for the group games were Welshtroll, Jaedia, Simcha and Jeromai. Counting myself we had a full group to tackle some bots to get everyone comfortable with the game. Simcha admitted that this was her first time playing a MOBA, and Jaedia had only skimmed the surface in the past. As a result I tried to throw some helpful tips their way, and thankfully they started to understand pretty quickly. Welsh and Jeromai both seemed comfortable with the mechanics and overall scope of the game, so after playing (and winning) a bot match, I decided to pit us against each other. By this time, J3w3l had finally joined us, so I made a custom game and we were randomly split into a 3v3. Perhaps I should have left it that way, as we could have each manned a lane and had 1v1 matchups, but I decided to fill up the groups with bots. The bots were both a boon and a detriment. They seemed to be a boon if you read Jeromai’s account of the game, as they were giving her trouble and always defending a lane she was solo pushing. To me though, they were a detriment, especially when I rallied the group to their location and tried to push a generator (like an inhibitor) and in mid fight the bots just fucked off, leaving us to die. The game was a challenge as it was Simcha, Jaedia and myself vs. J3w3l, Jeromai and Welshtroll, so of course J3w3l rallied the other players into ganging up on me. We took an early gold lead and had pushed their lanes quite well but the tide started to turn as death timers increased and saw us watching helplessly as our lanes were pushed back. Thankfully, I managed to catch out Jeromai on a bad engage and we flattened her, while J3w3l and Welshtroll attempted to back her up and were also killed off. This left their base open (as we had cleared our way in earlier but couldn’t make a final push til this point) and only their bots to defend. We juggled damage between them and the base and eventually got the final blow dealt.

It was getting late in Europe at that point, so Simcha and Jaedia bowed out for the evening. The rest of us soldiered on with more bot matches, bringing in a random player each time. Those went off without a hitch, despite me playing some champions I wasn’t so good with. Overall the group seemed to have a good time, but I don’t think any of us liked it as much as other MOBAs that are available. I’m going to take this time to announce that I want to get a full 5 man group going in LoL for a regular weekly meet-up. Jeromai and Doone have said they are ready and willing, so after counting me I need two more people willing to take the plunge. We can start off easy with bots and ARAMs for training purposes, and then move into actual PvP. None of us really likes dealing with randoms on the internet, so it is preferred to play with a regular group so we can all advance together.

Achievement Earned

At this point I’d like to point out that I’ve made a spreadsheet regarding the achievements for Bragtoberfest. I’ve looked around the web and found as many people as I could that have earned an achievement at this point. I’m not sure if I got everyone though, so if I missed you, let me know. Here’s some achievers thus far:

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Welshtroll
Jaedia
Simcha
Jeromai

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Jeromai
Mr Luvva Luvva
Aywren
Murf
Belghast
Doone
Wilhelm
Isey
Rambling Redshirt
Ikralla

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Jeromai
Mr Luvva Luvva
Aywren
Belghast
Wilhelm
Ikralla

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Welshtroll
Jaedia
Mr Luvva Luvva
Aywren
Belghast
Rowan Blaze
Ranzington Scouts
Doone
Wilhelm

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Roger (CMP)

Feel free to use these images as you wish on your blogs if you already earned the achievement.

Post Round-Up

There’s been quite a few posts made in the name of Bragtoberfest, and here’s most if not all of them:

Wilhelm kicks of the month by bragging about a new mount earned in World of Warcraft.
Murf issues a Bragtoberfest challenge for PS4 users.
Mr Luvva Luvva wants you to join him on PS4 in some Destiny raiding.
Ikralla brags about WoW achievements earned.
Aywren welcomes us to Bragtoberfest, then brags about progress in ArcheAge and The Secret World.
Finally, J3w3l has done a post about the details of Bragtoberfest, but also adds in a community poll to pick the game for the last weekend of October. Go there, vote now!

There are also many forum topics going on over at the Bragtoberfest nook, including the sign up for next weekend’s event in Path of Exile. Make sure you head over there to keep posted on upcoming events. As always, follow this blog and Healing the Masses for coming information, and Happy Gaming!

#Bragtoberfest #roundup #community #events

State of the Game: Back to Session-Based

Another week bites the dust. So what have I been playing?

Well, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that I’ve strayed away from MMOs again. For a while there I was playing a different one every couple of weeks, and then landed back in WoW for a while. I already explained why that particular endeavor had stopped, but what about games like ArcheAge (F2P) and Guild Wars 2 (I own it, and there’s no sub)? Honestly, the more I read about AA the less I want to play it, even though I played it during the closed beta before a lot of people who have been talking about it even got the chance to try it. I just know that I was annoyed by the gating they decided to use when it comes to PvP and it seems that the crafting and economy portion of the game is more of a focal point. Basically, it’s not exactly the game I want to play so I’m avoiding it. The queues didn’t help me in wanting to jump in either. Maybe if I had a steady play group, but most of my online friends are from different time zones, so that makes things difficult.

Not impossible though. I’ve been talking with Simcha about potentially going through GW2 together, because we both own the game but barely dipped our toes into the content. I have read mixed opinions about the game from the blogosphere but I am more inclined towards it over AA. So I’ll probably dive into that sooner than later, though it might wait until Bragtoberfest is over. I’m not entirely sure yet. Moods have to be right. Still, I look forward to having a dedicated partner in the endeavor.

Otherwise I’ve been back to my single-player or session based games that I’ve written about many time in the past, and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about. Sorry folks, such is my fickle nature. For whatever reason I find more depth in the stories of single player games, and I find that I love the competitive nature of MOBAs and other such small-timeframe games. Bragtoberfest is all about this, so it will be talked about for the duration of the month.

Watching the League of Legends championship has pushed me back into playing the game, but I still can’t seem to do much more than playing ARAMs. I just love the mode, and not having to worry about vision control or map awareness. The random champion select leads to some interesting team compositions, though sometimes it’s rather frustrating to basically lose a match at champ select. Still, I have played quite a few games over the week (and did manage one classic game with my friend that went rather poorly). You can check out my Match History here, in a newer feature that was added somewhat recently. One of my favorite games of the week happened last night, where I ended up on a very tanky team as Nautilus. I’m surprised he isn’t played more by the pros, as he can get very tanky with some decent aoe damage output, and has the anchor for “hooks.” Anyway, my score doesn’t reflect how dominant our team was, but man I kept catching one after the other with the anchor. All I could think the whole match was “My anchor brings all the girls to the yard…” as aside from Twitch their whole team was female.

nautilus

The pros have been impressive so far this weekend as well. I missed the TSM vs SSW game, but they were eliminated 3-1. I watched Cloud 9’s meltdown against SSB; though they started strong they just couldn’t find a way to beat the Korean team. That almost win in game 4 was a heartbreaker… C9 had SSB’s nexus down to 1/4 health, but died as they respawned, and then SSB ran in and took out their nexus. Tough loss. Last night the battle between China’s best teams, Royal Club and Edward Gaming was the best series we’ve seen so far, actually going to a game 5. Royal club did get the win in the end, but it didn’t look good for a while, especially after going 2-0 to start. The shoutcasters mentioned that inSec, RC’s jungler had been in this position before, going 2-0 and then losing 3 in a row. He broke the curse, finally.

In other MOBA news, we had the Bragtoberfest Strife event yesterday. The games went fairly well, in most cases we were all on the same team save for one game where we split up and played against each other. I managed to be on the winning team that game, but it didn’t look good for a while. We got the early edge, but as the power differential leveled off the opposing team nearly got into our base. A well played team fight in the mid lane allowed us to push into their base and finish things off, when fighting in their base previous to that always ended in our deaths. I’ll have more details on this in my Bragtoberfest round-up post tomorrow.

Outside of MOBA action, there was a new update for Vlambeer’s Nuclear Throne, which is still in Early Access despite having had over 40 updates already. That’s alright though because each week (or nearly) they are adding new features that make the game that much more fun. This time around they added a new character, the first we’ve seen since Horror. The new character is called Rogue, and has a bunch of nuances that add to the difficulty. They did say that for now they allowed her to be chosen right off the bat so we can check her out, but that later she will be an unlockable character like Horror. I made a video last time when Horror was released so you could see what he looked like, and I decided to do the same thing for Rogue:

Rogue is aptly named because she is a Rogue IDPD agent (the police guys that spawn in later levels). As such, the IDPD now randomly spawn in every level, upping the difficulty significantly over the normal characters. This is apparently hard-mode. She does get things skewed in her favor a little bit with an assault rifle to start (rather than a lowly pistol), and her special ability is rather devastating. However, rather than being able to use it on command, she has to collect power — the radiation canisters have been replaced by a special power up for her. She can store up to 3 uses, and I’ve not seen a shortage of canisters to pick up. Also, when she is hit she emits a short range blast that will destroy terrain, so she has some pros to go with the cons. I sucked while playing as her though, as evidenced in the video.

Lastly: on Monday, as with every other week, Steam puts out their Weekly Deals and I saw a title I was interested in. I happened to have some change left on my account and plenty of cards to sell, so I farmed trading cards and sold enough to get the game in my sights: BardBarian. You’ll be happy to note that even though I have panned on mobile games in the past, this is a mobile port, and I rather like it. However, I still stand by the fact that it’s a simplistic game as mobile titles tend to be. It is fun though, and a game that can be played in short bursts and you’ll still make some progress.

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The story goes that you are a Barbarian named Brad and your town is under attack. You’re tired of killing mobs and grinding exp so you decide to pick up an “axe” (guitar) and play some music. Really though, the story doesn’t matter. What does, is this is a light-hearted tower defense game where you are in control of Brad, and your minions that follow you around are the towers. Monsters shuffle in towards your tower and you run around and kill them with your minions while dodging their attacks. Killing them gets you gold, and the meta game requires you to collect lots of gold so you can open new units, upgrades for them, you and your town. It’s rather simple, yet still challenging.

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I’ve found so far that my town crystal that I’m trying to defend will go down before I do. Since you can’t control what enemies your units attack, sometimes their random choices will affect the game. They’re also remarkably weak to start out, so you have to dump gold into upgrades as you go. After a few rounds I had seen new units and upgraded things all around, which made fights easier. The first boss was the first real challenge:

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After I took him down there’s a checkpoint of sorts, where you can start from the wave right after him when you die. This helps keep the game from becoming annoying, as it would suck to have to do the first few rounds over and over again. However, I can’t seem to make it much more than a round or two after him either, so I know that a gold grind is going to be in order. That’s ok though as the game would be entirely too short if it was easy. There are a couple of other modes, including a survival mode, so I’m sure there’s replay value to be had even after finishing the game. All in all, it was worth the $1.25. You can probably still get it for that price too, as the new weekly deals won’t be out til tomorrow morning.

I think I’ve written enough for one day. There will be the Bragtoberfest round-up (word wall) tomorrow so I’ll see you then.

#stateofthegame #roundup

Bragtoberfest Begins!

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What’s that? It’s October already? Where does the time go?

Being October 1st, that means Bragtoberfest has officially begun! The Anook page is set up. A Blog post has been made. A podcast was dedicated to it. Many others have made posts regarding the event, so if you don’t know what it is by now, well, reference what I’ve linked here and get caught up!

This post isn’t about making the announcement of the event, this is more to clarify what’s going on. If you listened to the podcast or read any of the above you should have an fair idea of what’s to come over the course of the month, but I did get a little feedback that seems to point to the fact that maybe I wasn’t clear enough. So, to reiterate, Bragtoberfest is a celebration of being a gamer, and what better way than to play games together, and to be able to brag about your accomplishments? Bragging isn’t limited to “I beat so-and-so at this game,” but also earning achievements, and doing whatever it is you do in games; being successful, and sharing that success. To be clear, there are no rules. We just provide guidelines and you are welcome to participate as you see fit.

Wilhelm brought up a good point in that I didn’t dictate how we should be using the Bragtoberfest Anook page, and he decided to follow suit with the way we used the Blaugust Nook. I would like to formally encourage you to share your Bragtoberfest experiences on the Nook, by sharing your posts there. Let’s build it into another community hub. Feel free to use the forums there to organize your own gaming events, and feel free to share any and all of this on Twitter or other social networks. This event doesn’t belong to me. This event belongs to all of us.

As I’ve already mentioned, we’re running events each weekend of the month. Kicking off on Saturday the 4th, I’ll be running a Strife gaming event. Strife is a free to play MOBA that is actually rather easy to get into. Not only does it provide all of the champions to you right from the start, but it’s also rather forgiving in difficulty. There’s a higher health regen rate, there’s an easier to follow item system. To quote J3w3l it’s “baby’s first MOBA,” and that’s a fitting moniker. I figure depending on turnout, we can either set up several co-op bot matches or one (or more) 5v5 games. This is for fun of course, and keeping the group contained to just us, we avoid any potential toxicity (which I’m not sure exists in this game, but still). Be sure to download the client before Saturday and play through the brief tutorial that it throws at you so that you can be ready to play when we start. As the votes would dictate, we’re going with the winning time frame, and as such I believe a 2 p.m. PST time frame is the best time to start. That’s roughly 10 p.m. in Europe and 7 a.m. for the far east. Follow me on Twitter, I’ll be making the call for when we are ready to begin, and add me on Steam as well so we can communicate outside of the games.

Looking forward, I’m going to do a round-up post for this short week on Monday. In it, I will also provide writing prompts for the following week. Expect this to happen each Monday in October. We also have a schedule of events planned, including:

  • October 11th: Path of Exile – hosted by J3w3l
  • October 18th: Zombies Monsters Robots – hosted by Me
  • October 24th: Community Poll (this poll will take place on J3w3l’s blog soon, also hosted by her)

More info on these events will be found on Healing the Masses:

  • Flash Games
  • Create-a-Dungeon – Neverwinter
  • Character Creator

Prizes will be given out randomly to those attending the major events. The weekly and monthly challenges will come with prizes of their own.

There has also been further talk about including some console events, but nothing has been set in stone yet. Mr. Luvva Luvva also wants you guys to join him in Destiny, so feel free to make contact with him to help set that up if you’re interested. Lastly, Doone and I had also agreed that a high score challenge needs to go down for Pac-Man Championship DX, which he recently picked up on Steam and I also own on the PS3. I still need to check and make sure that the game is the same (no major discrepancies between the ports) and then we will pick rules and a timeframe for that. Please, do feel free to come up with your own ideas as well, even if it’s with non-blogging friends or a game that not everyone owns. I will still look forward to reading your posts about your gaming experiences!

In closing, I wanted to reveal the full list of achievements you can earn as part of Bragtoberfest. This will give you an idea of what to shoot for. It’s a pretty easy to follow list, and remember that each of these achievements earned will give you a roll towards prizes at the end of the month, so even if you don’t participate in the gaming side of things, spreading the word and blogging can get you involved.

Bragtoberfest Events:
-Joined in 1 Event
-Joined in 2 Events
-Joined in ALL Events

Bragtoberfest Blogging:
-Bragged 1 Time
-Bragged 10 Times
-Bragged 15+ Times

Bragtoberfest Mentions:
-Partner – mentioned on your blog
-Podcaster – mentioned on your podcast
-Vlogger – mentioned in a video
-Socialite – mentioned on social media

Bragtoberfest Completionist:
-earned ALL achievements

Hopefully I’ve covered all the bases and this is all as clear and concise as possible. Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

#Bragtoberfest #community #announcement

State of the Game: Looking Forward

Looking Forward:

My pocket book is in dire straights. Due to financial limitations, titles like Road Redemption that just released on Steam, and others that are coming, are just not going to be purchasable anytime soon. This also means, that despite having had some fun in World of Warcraft recently, that time is about to come to a close as well. I just can’t afford a subscription for the time being. When I decided to make the jump back into that game, I had some things on the horizon that didn’t come to pass, so I did think I’d be okay with a sub fee, but am not at this point. I have 9 days or so of remaining time, but I’m not sure how much I’ll play, knowing that I won’t be able to beyond that time frame. So my 30’s Priest and Paladin, along with my plethora of lower level alts will have to wait for my return. Perhaps by the time Warlords of Draenor drops I’ll be able to get back into it.

That leads me into this week’s title. Since I now know that for the immediate future I’ll be unable to buy any new titles coming out, and can’t afford to play WoW (or other subscription based MMOs), I’m looking forward to my other options. I played League of Legends and other free to play titles, along with whatever came from Playstation Plus in the past when I couldn’t really afford to game, so I know that those are still options. I was looking at my download list on PSN just the other day, and I know that I have a bunch of titles from the service that I either never played or never finished. Many of those titles are great games, but I put them off long enough that I forgot about them or just keep telling myself that I’ll get back to them. I’m not talking little Indie games either, I’m talking full-blown RPGs with hours of play time, among other series that I’d love to get down with. For whatever reason, while I’ve had the money to spend, I just keep piling on games and finishing few. Sales and Bundles are mostly to blame, as is my inability to put my foot down and just finish a game before moving on to another. Don’t get me wrong, there have been games that hooked me long enough to be finished, but it’s been few and far between for the last couple of years. Add MOBAs and MMOs and Blizzard’s other games and yeah, I just have overload.

I’m looking at this time as a way to be able to clear out the backlog and maybe get back into some of the free to play MMOs I haven’t touched in a while. Yeah, maybe I’ll even play ArcheAge some more, though I’m not waiting in fuckin’ queues, nor am I jumping on newer servers that will be dead in a few months. I’m still on the fence. You’ll recall in the closed beta I was unimpressed to begin with, then got sucked in a bit and had some fun, but lately haven’t been talking about it. Well, I’ve made some comments elsewhere, but haven’t talked about it here. I’m feeling like it’s still not the overall MMO experience I’m looking for, but I really wanted to try out the high end stuff. Just don’t care about farming bullshit and don’t feel I should have to grind to get to the open-world PvP, which is what really interests me. Being a F2P title, I might go back after they sort out these server issues, but I’m not buying the hype train. Honestly the level of polish that comes with WoW was satisfying, despite being a themepark. Just like other Blizzard games, they get it done right, and the addictive nature takes over. I’m thinking about playing Rift some more, especially since there’s new content coming and I never made it to end game. One way or the other, this is all hypothetical, since finances can change rather quickly.

I am serious about clearing out the backlog of games I’ve got on both the PC and PS3 though. Not feeling the requirement to play anything because of an outstanding sub fee or having just spent money on it will be a nice feeling. Everything I have at my disposal now will have already been paid for, or will be free so I don’t have that buyer’s guilt thing going on anymore. I think I might actually make some progress on my library. Now the challenge comes from trying to figure out where to start. Always something.

Looking Back:

I did play a little bit of WoW, getting my Paladin some skill-ups for his mining and blacksmithing skills, along with gaining a few levels. Now level 31, I also picked up his dual spec, but found that the differences between the two were underwhelming. I do miss the skill tree setups from the WotLK days. I also managed to do enough to gain a reputation rank with the guild, so Thalimoos is now a “Veteran” of the guild:

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This came after I realized that I had out-leveled yet another zone, and moved onto the next in the progression. I don’t remember that being as much of an issue back in the day either. I much rather do all of the quests (or most at least) and see the entirety of a zone before moving on, but I only got to do that with the starter area for the Taurens and Azshara. Every other zone was outleveled before I completed it. I know this is an effort by Blizzard to get you moving on to the high end stuff, but honestly it kind of bugs me. Or at least, it bothers the Explorer and Achiever in me. My Killer wasn’t really appeased much in WoW. Socializer was happy when playing my Undead during our instance group nights. But I digress. WoW is on the shelf for a while.

I started on the mission of clearing out games this week, since I was already dealt the bad financial news early on. I got on my PS3 and cleared two of the TellTale Games in my back log, and wrote a post about that experience. At that point in time, I hadn’t beaten Jurassic Park, but did the next day, and that was all well and good.

Another game that I’ve had for a while but hadn’t really played was Starcraft 2. I got the itch to play it a few times over the last few months, but didn’t because I knew that I’d prefer to play it straight through or pretty close to that, because it’s not the kind of game you want to come back to months later. Better to keep things fresh. So at this point I must say that it’s got all of the familiarity of the first game, but adds little twists and turns that add to the fun. I’ve only completed a few missions thus far, but it’s been a blast from the past. I bought the game with the add-on included, so I have two full campaigns to complete. I’ll be working on that for a while to come. I’m really looking forward to the Zerg campaign as they’ve always been my favorite, and from there I’ll be trying out multiplayer, which used to be my life in the late 90’s.

Some of the features I like best are the new ways in which you can improve your troops/base from outside of an actual mission:

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It’s also cool that there’s achievements on missions, so there’s a level of replay-ability that was missing from the first game. Also, there seems to be more “epic moments” where things happen during the missions using the in game graphics, that just weren’t possible during the era that the first game came out:

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ZMR happened, and I wrote a list about why you should play it. I tried getting back into it last night but they are having server issues, and it was far too laggy to be enjoyable. Hopefully they straighten that out soon. In the immediate future, I see the above two games being played quite regularly. I also downloaded Strife, which is a new MOBA that some people in the circle have been talking about, and it looks interesting enough to give a while. I tried to play DOTA 2 again a week or so ago, and I still don’t care for it. Maybe this game will be able to hang with my current favorites, LoL and Awesomenauts. I have playthroughs of F.E.A.R., L.A. Noire, and Dead Space 3 all waiting for me to get back to them, so I’ll probably pick from that pile and stick with one. Hell, I don’t even know anymore. I’m just going to try and start knocking games off the list until the list is more managable. Wish me luck.

#stateofthegame #roundup