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My Top 10 Unevolved Pokemon (Design) Part 2 of 2

7 Jul

(Introductionary bit to explain what’s going on if you didn’t catch part 1)

Humans have an obsession with lists. They have wishlists, shopping lists and criminal offenders lists. In a world of chaos and unpredictability, lists offer us a way to rationalise our environment onto a piece of neat paper.

In modern and digital times, lists still exist. They express someone’s opinion with cute little numbers. These lists may be personal or perhaps, financially influenced. Someone’s list of favourite Video Games may be sincere, but a list of “favourite PC hardware” is vulnerable to external influence.

You’ll be pleased to learn that my personal Pokemon list hasn’t been paid off. If I had hypothetical billions of followers, I wouldn’t be sure what the benefit would be.

The criteria of this list is:

The Pokemon still has an evolution to go
The Pokemon’s next stage evolution looks worse (in my opinion)
The final evolution of the chain is not redeeming
The number at which the Pokemon appears will be based on the personal appeal I have towards the design and how much the design is “ruined” by its evolution.

So with the rules of the list explained, shall we resume?

 

#5 Electabuzz 

electabuzzI have a sort of love-slightcreepedout relationship towards Electabuzz. On one hand, it’s a bad arse fanged electrical beast that is fuzzy. On the other hand, it is dangerously close to appearing like The Honey Monster who was one supernatural beings that tormented my unconscious childhood. I suppose that’s why my attempt at drawing this Pokemon resulted in what looks like a sinister child’s drawing. Evidently I never gotten over this experience. I’ll shove a picture of the Honey Monster below for control and contrast. Don’t worry, it’s surprisingly relevant to this list.

honey-monster I have always been unnerved by people in mascot suites where I cannot see the actor’s face. There’s something primitively terrifying about it. It is made worse by your peers actually loving them. I found clowns fine in honesty. I hated clowns, but they didn’t install fear. 6ft walking carpets with creepy smilies did disturb me. There is one “mascot suite” character that tormented me more than Honeybuzz; Mr Blobby. I dare not show you a picture, just in case “That who holds an image of a Mister Blobby becomes itself a Mister Blobby”. Now to make this intersection relevant to the blogpost. This is Electabuzz’s evolution and I think I know why I hate it so much:

electivireElectivire resembles much more strongly what I fear the most. It is not helped that it looks ugly. As an independant Pokemon, its design might not have bothered me as much. As it is the evolution of Electabuzz (which I do rather like), I am very disappointed. Magmar would be on this list as Magmortar I also hate, but Magmar I am not keen on anyway. I dislike its bobbly horns. Electabuzz has these as well, but they’re less distinct. Electabuzz’s fuzzy catlike tail has turned into two LED things. Electivire has a weird nose. The worst is that it has a pattern for a EU and USA socket on its back. I am not keen on artificial objects being motifs on organic looking Pokemon. Electivire is an ugly disappointment in my opinion. Hey, at least I can run Electabuzz competitively with Eviolite. (Rest. Power-Up Punch. Wild Charge. Barrier with Static as an Ability. EV train it to be durable). It works as a semi decent Support Tank in doubles.

 

#4 Croagunk

croagunk I wish I could explain why I love Croagunk’s design. I would say it looking like an animal, a frog to be exactly could help. Then again, I find Croagunk’s evolution and Seismictoad’s evolution line hideous. I suppose it’s a simple design with little extras that complement each other. The proportions are nice. I also like the idea of it being a Poison type frog. This frog has no Water typing! In the Anime, I liked the character of Brock’s croagunk. I found the way it incapacitated Brock, when Brock was being a pervert interesting. I wasn’t sure if Croagunk did it because Croagunk was ashamed or putting Brock in his place. Or perhaps Croagunk would get jealous. I think Croagunk is a Pokemon design that stands up by itself without needing an evolution to develop the idea. Which is why I hate its evolution form.

ToxiBesides ugly, I would describe Toxicroak as a deformed Kyogre inflatable. There is something very unsettling and creepy about its appearance. Sometimes creepy Pokemon can look awesome. No… this one looks just horrid. Oh well… perhaps I can investigate how viable Eviolite Toxicroak is. Its x4 weakness to Psychic would be a problem.

 

#3 Scyther 

scytherPerhaps one of the most popular Pokemon ever. Who wouldn’t like a giant praying mantis with scythes for arms? In generation 1, the majority of the bugs were underwhelming in appearance (even you mister triple stab wasp). Then came along the creepy looking Pinsir (whose MegaEvolution looks friccing awesome) and Pinsir in the Safari Zone (each were a version exclusive). However, generation 2 arrived. This added the steel type and the method to evolve via trade with held item. This gave us Scizor.

Scizor_by_Xous54Scizor to me was initially cool. You acquired it via a difficult way. It was an evolution of a preexisting Pokemon. It had a new typing. It could learn False Swipe that made it great for Pokedex filling. But over many years, the novelty wore off. Now, when I look at Scizor, I see a not-so-good looking Scyther. I blame this one it having scissors for hands instead of scythes. Sorry, but scythe > scissors in terms of coolness. At least they share similar base stat totals. Meaning I could run Scyther in competitive battling. It just means I cannot use the Mega option (which kinda makes Scizor’s design worse).

Mega_ScizorI don’t like how extreme MegaScizors’ angular appearance gets. Its insectoid legs turn into pins. I gets a very weird black crown. If its claws turned into Chainsaws, that may redeem the design in my eyes. However, Gamefreak didn’t take this opportunity and decided to give Scizor serrated clamps. It feels like Deoxys, Bisharp and Scizor were fused together. Might look cool as a stand alone Pokemon (like how Tropius looks like a corrupted Megaranium), but as a Mega Evolution, I dislike it.

 

#2 Slugma

slugmaIt was close between my #1 and #2. However, Slugma didn’t quite make #1 because I find Magcargo not criminal in design. I merely adore Slugma’s design so much, that I would find it hard to like any alternative evolution designs. I like Slugma because I have always been interested in blob creatures. For example, my favourite Goosebump books when I was a child were the Monster Blood books. I can’t explain this liking. I like Muk as well. I thought the concept of Slugma was a cool one too. Slugma is effectively sentient magma or lava, in the form of a mollusk. I think what’s even cooler is that Slugma’s form looks reminiscent of those awesome sea slugs.

Just awesome. I also have a personal reason why I like Slugma. I have a friend who used to stay at my house with his family every summer. One year, I stayed at his house. Out of boredom, we started making Pokemon out of paper and sellotape. I enjoyed this so much, that after I went back home, I kept making Pokemon. In the time between the next time we’d meet, I made a Slugma. I was really proud how it turned out. Its design lent itself so well to sculpture. I was proud at my ingenuity of creating the texture of its skin by heavily crinkling sheets of paper.stock-photo-1844971-nudibranch

 

 

 

 

MagcargoWhy don’t I like Magcargo as much as Slugma? I don’t like the shell. That’s it.

I’m really annoyed at Magcargo in the games. It has three weaknesses: It takes 4x damage from Ground attacks (Magcargo is Fire and Rock), it is very slow (at least in Trickroom Teams this is a good thing) and its Special Attack and Attack base stats are equal. It’s not necessarily bad to have equal base stats in both Attack stats, but when you takes 4x damage from a popular attack type and dead slow outside of a Trickroom, it’s not great. Magcargo does have good base Defence, but has terrible base HP. Magcargo is one of those Pokemon I want to use, but can’t seem to make work. Given Magcargo has troubles, I can’t exactly run Slugma with Eviolite.

 

#1 Grovyle

Grovyle Coincidentally topical. My #1 Pokemon-That-Still-Needs-To-Evolve-But-Wished-They-Didn’t is a Hoenn starter evolution stage. This is the evolution of Treecko, and it evolves into Sceptile. If you ignore Electabuzz (because I wish both its final and first stage of evolutions didn’t exist), Grovyle is 1 of 2 “mid stage” evolution forms on my list. The rest are first stage or “basic”. What I love about Grovyle is that it’s a friccing Ninja Tree Frog. No other Pokemon looks this bad arse, and it’s ruined by Sceptile.

250px-254SceptileThis agile green death evolves into a bulky smug thing with yellow back blobs and a pinetree tail. I think Sceptile is far over designed. It’s also a strange development. It’s as shocking as Vigoroth evolving into Slaking (an honourable mention). For a final stage evolution for a starter it’s fitting. It looks like a final form. I just wish I didn’t have to lose such a cool looking Pokemon just to get its final form. I wrote this list before the Mega Sceptile announcement. In my opinion, Mega Sceptile helps. As I stated at the beginning, one factors for my list is if the final evolution redeems the whole thing or not. I include Mega Evolutions in this. However, I ignored Megaevolution in every other aspect. That’s for another day and list. A list of my top 10 least favourite Mega Evolution designs (spoiler, MegaManectric and MegaHeracross will be on it).

mega-sceptile1Why does MegaSceptile dampen the blow of the sacrilegious Grovyle -> Sceptile?

The MegaEvolution is a logical MegaEvolution. It doesn’t ruin the aspects that make Sceptile Sceptile whilst “improving” the Pokemon. By the design being even more over designed, it helps it look normal. It’s as though the norm is now “lots of stripes, balls and spikes and stuff”. That magically makes it look less awful. I love the gradient on Mega Sceptile’s balls going from yellow, through to orange and finishing on red. I think the red arrow end on the tail is cool. I also love the fact MegaSceptile is infact now part Dragon type. I think this helps me like the design. MegaSceptile is no longer an overgrown tree frog. MegaSceptile is a Forest Dragon. (I love how Game Freak is using Mega Evolution to get weird and sometimes OP type combinations out of the way. Mega Evolution has given us Dragon/Fire, Dragon/Electric and now Dragon/Grass)

 

There we have it. That is my list. Since the topic of the list is my own personal thoughts and feelings and it discussing the design, some of my justifications of my dislike will be weak. That’s just the nature of personal thoughts on art and creativity. Sometimes it’s an interesting explanation as to why, and sometimes it’s just “I don’t like it”. Half the images in the two blogposts are my own. I’m sure you can tell which are my own and which are taken from Google Images. I would have produced my own images of the other Pokemon I referenced, but I realised it’d be hard to produce a nice image of Pokemon I wish didn’t exist. I mean, Electabuzz’s drawing was a challenge, and I blame that to do with my baggage phobia of underpaid actors in fuzzy suites.

 

My Top 10 Unevolved Pokemon (Design) Part 1 of 2

16 Jun

Humans have an obsession with lists. They have wishlists, shopping lists and criminal offenders lists. In a world of chaos and unpredictability, lists offer us a way to rationalise our environment onto a piece of neat paper.

In modern and digital times, lists still exist. They express someone’s opinion with cute little numbers. These lists may be personal or perhaps, financially influenced. Someone’s list of favourite Video Games may be sincere, but a list of “favourite PC hardware” is vulnerable to external influence.

You’ll be pleased to learn that my personal Pokemon list hasn’t been paid off. If I had hypothetical billions of followers, I wouldn’t be sure what the benefit would be.

The criteria of this list is:

  1. The Pokemon still has an evolution to go
  2. The Pokemon’s next stage evolution looks worse (in my opinion)
  3. The final evolution of the chain is not redeeming

The number at which the Pokemon appears will be based on the personal appeal I have towards the design and how much the design is “ruined” by its evolution.

So with the rules of the list explained, shall we get going?

 

#10 Spearow

ImageI do have some personal attachment to this Pokemon. During the first Gen, I noticed that Spearow and Fearow appeared to have more offensive capabilities than its pudgy pidgeon counter-part: Pidgey. Perhaps learning the move “Drill Peak” helped assert this impression. After discovering this, Spearow would become a strong contender for that “Fly user” slot in playthroughs. This cute Pokemon got dethroned by Taillow who had an equally amazing and looking evolution in Swellow.

Spearow would be a Pokemon I’d pick up to use if Fearow didn’t look so strange in comparison.

ImageWhat I don’t like about Fearow’s design is the strange chicken plume it has on its head. The red seems a bad use of contrast. I don’t think the plume adds anything. I find its beak is too long for my liking. I can see how a Spearow would evolve into Fearow, I just wish it hadn’t. Chatot has done well for being a “cute little bird” without an evolution, why couldn’t have Spearow been like that?

 

#9 Rhydon

ImageI’ll confess, I used to prefer Rhyhorn. I was not keen on the humanoid appearance of Rhydon. However, one day something happened. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl came into existence, dragging a malformed demon from the abyss (I liked Diamond and Pearl, I just didn’t like some of its evolutions). It brought Rhyperior.

ImageI can see what they were trying to do. They wanted a “Tanky” looking Pokemon that was more dinosaur in appearance. But it just looks vile. Its proportions look wrong. It looks too short and too wide. It looks plodgey. It has these horrible orange rocks around its body. Its upper arms look too thin to support its hammer-like arms. His elbows have these weird stoney spines erupting. I just wished this Pokemon never existed. On the plus side, I can run Rhydon competitively with Eviolite.

I think the biggest crime is that you have to trade to evolve Rhydon into this. Rhydon must hold a special item. To get this ugly Pokemon’s Pokedex entry you must jump through obnoxious hoops. Erghhh.

Why would you want to evolve such a happy looking rhino into a pudgey grumpy pants?

 

#8 Spheal

ImageSpheal is a cute and simplistic design. Perhaps a little bit silly with its reminiscence of a beach ball, but cute. Unfortunately this design cannot be improve on. Any option would ruin it. It can also never run with Eviolite well, so that’s sad. Poor thing has to evolve into the monstrous Walrein. Which looks both terrifying and daft. That is never a good combination. Walrein is like a clown with a knife. You’re welcome.

 

#7 Munchlax

ImageBaby Pokemon are gimmicky and pointless. They shoe-horn a first stage evolution that is difficult to acquire. It scrambles up everything. It makes it complicated to integrate them into the Pokemon TCG. They add a pointless new item that’s required to breed with (incense). However, Munchlax is the only baby Pokemon I actually like. It’s existence is still mechanically pointless, but at least its design is good. It’s a cute organic dustbin. It will omnomnom everything and look cute doing it. It looks so much better than its evolution form: Snorlax.

ImageSnorlax’s biggest problem is its serial killer eyes. Or lack of. There’s something terrifying about a monster where you cannot see its eyes. Snorlax just scares me. I want to keep Munchlax thank you.

 

#6 Buizel

ImageBuizel is a darling little sea otter, who strangely has two tails. It has a very odd ring round its neck… but I pretend it’s just a mane of yellow fur… yes… it is… ssh.

ImageAnd then you get Floatzel. Floatzel takes the most, unusual and strange aspects of Buizel and amplifies them. I just find it a shame. Buizel was perfect how it was, I don’t want a weirder Buizel. Ah well… at least it’s not a Rhyperior level of defilement.

 

 

Choo chooooo! Chugga chugga chugga chugga. Choo! Chooooo!

10 Jun

Well Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby have been announced. Including MegaSceptile of Dragony Grassy Thunderroddiness and MegaSwampert of BulkygoodRainSwimmer.

As well as copious amounts of hype train things. Like this post!

Youtube has so many hype videos, it’s quite amusing really. They generally recite the same information. Sometimes they even have the bonus feature of opinion. Which is strange, since some of these videos are made by people with very little viewership. The issue is, people probably don’t care about their opinions because they aren’t popular enough. Like how barely anyone cares about my opinions on this blog due to its low readership.

But, if you’re a small channel or a big channel, it’s a good time to exploit the buzz to attract potential new subscribers. It’s like walking through a forest which has been developed into affordable Gingerbread Council housing. Once you’ve visited one house and gluttoned yourself and murdered a witch, why would you visit another house?

I must say some of this typingness has come from a Verlisify video that comments on this strange sub-culture of gaming Youtubers. It’s a world where if you’re not first with reporting gaming related news, you suffer for it. However, Pokemon is a gift that keeps giving. Pokemon has a large fanatical fanbase. People crave for every ounce of new information. Which means this can be exploited for monies or views. People need to make a living, but it’s a depressing thing never the less. I know money making in the real world is like this, full of immoral decisions. But really, how sustainable is this practise? Won’t the audience/customers get smart and get angry that they’ve been exploited so? Why do they have to accept this as being the way?

If you have acquired the news from your favourite Pokemon site or Youtuber, do you really need to get it from elsewhere?

I know hype is a window that can be exploited, but if you’re adding nothing new to the sea of screams and shouts, why even bother? It’s like turning up to a market and everyone is selling apples. The only way you can get away successfully is to sell a unique variety of apple, or selling something else.

In my opinion, Youtube channels are like businesses. They deal with people’s time. You need to show to a potential viewer that you are worth their time. If you upload a news video about something already covered, why is that viewer going to hang around? You have to hope your silky smooth voice or ravishing good looks seduce the viewer, otherwise they’ll be gone for good regretting they gave you that view. Regretting they let you earn a little bit more money from not-great content.

People have a finite amount of time in their lives. Give them a good reason to spend some of that listening to you or looking at you.

Paths

1 Jun

This post is going to be very general.

I am a person that seems to often reflect on my past. I think it is a strange thing to do at only twenty five years of age; I should be thinking about the future. But it’s something I do despite my self aware criticisms. I am also someone who enjoys pointing out coincidences. I do not believe they are part of some grand plan or something in the background is gently influencing reality. But it does not stop me from seeing the beauty of these isolated events that seem to cross.

I could probably write a whole blog post on my own personal perception of coincidences, so I will focus solely on this post’s topic. I will stay on path.

Have you ever wondered: “What if…?” It seems to be a common question that we bounce in our minds. We seem obsessed with wanting to know what may have happened if things happened differently. Armed with hindsight, we wonder if our current situations would be different and in what way.

I look back at my past and I see connections between events significant and insignificant that are reliant on each other. Often related to social links I had made. I do think some of my current hobbies and interests may have been influenced by the people I had interacted with in the past. I’ll give an example:

I live in a village. In this village there is a boy a year younger than me with the same name. Jump forwards a decade and a half, I am introduced to his friends through MSN. A few of his friends play World of Warcraft, I decide I want to play to. I play on the same server as them, but they stop playing. I keep playing because I am invested and enjoying it. I join a few guilds until I join a raiding guild. That guild lasts for less than a year. I take break from the game. I return to the game to play with two people from the same recently disbanded guild. We now play on a different faction and another server. We go through different guilds until we settle on one. I effectively stay in contact with one player from that new guild for a few years. In the process I get into contact with his real life friends. Through them I get influenced to start playing games like Diablo 3. I myself get them to play Heroes of Newerth (and then they move onto DotA2). And then communications just evaporate. Oddly enough, I play Heroes of Newerth because of some of the people I met from that WoW guild that disbanded.

If I had never lived in that village (where I still live now), I may have never discovered Diablo 3.

 

Or, that’s not how it works.

That statement of “If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have that” assumes too much. I have literally no evidence to support that things may be even different if a factor in the above story gets changed. When I make a decision now, it rarely ever blocks off alternatives completely. Given my interests are of the “Fantasy Role Playing” genre when it comes to video games, there is a good chance I would have discovered Diablo 3 at some point anyway. Especially nowadays where video games published from huge companies gets so much exposure.

For example, last year I applied for a place on a Post Graduate Teaching Course and I was unsuccessful. I keep wondering what may have happened if I was successful, but that is pointless. Firstly, I am still learning to drive. Therefore it would have made completing my course a challenge since the course would be me attending lectures in a University Campus sometimes and gaining experience teaching in a school some other times. I would have had to been reliant on public transport which wouldn’t have been feasible. Secondly, if I wasn’t chosen for the course, I wasn’t chosen for the course. By thinking “What if” a lot, it wouldn’t change the fact it was decided I wasn’t suitable for that course at that time.

I do look back and see moments of regret. However, if I were to relive those events again, I would probably act the same way again and again. Without hindsight, my actions wouldn’t change. I chose what i thought was the best thing to do for what ever reason I had.

So in a way, we carve a path in our lives that’s ridged. It cannot be changed. There is no “What if”s because there is no alternatives. Even an event that’s dictated by randomness if relived would probably exhibit the same result. It is pointless to thinking about what did not happen. But we still do it. We are so fascinated with what was never was.

Which then brings my thoughts on the future. Assuming there is no celestial thing guiding (or shoving) us, do we actually have free will? Looking back at what’s happened, knowing if we’re experienced those events, the path wouldn’t shift, do we actually have free will? Perhaps yes and no.

Our current mental state will decide what actions and choices we will make. So I suppose, for best hope for “freewill” is to learn from the past. It may not even be freewill, but at least it would be preset path we’ve designed.

So in a way, it is good to reflect regardless of how young you are. It’s important to not get lost in the past, but to use the past to assist us making better choices for the future.

So in a long winded way, I have basically came to the conclusion of “Choose the best decision”. At least you have that exploration of coincidence to look forwards to in the future.

A Game By Any Other Name Would Be As Bleak

23 May

I have no idea if that title is appropriate for what I want to say, but I thought it sounded cool. Like how I used to think that the following MSN Messenger (damn right) names were appropriate:

  • Suicide Slug
  • Noxious Butterfly
  • Malificer

I stopped using the nickname “Suicide Slug” when i received an e-mail from a Suicide Prevention charity. I realised perhaps the name was in poor taste. I never looked back since. Merrymaker Mortalis is definitely a more cheerful alias. Speaking of Merriness; the Pokemon competitive community is kinda awful.

Pokemon Showdown (and Youtube comments as ever) lets you see the awful nature of some of these players. Either if you battle someone in Showdown they’ll even say “you suck” at the end of a battle. Or they’ll just leave immediately after the battle finishes. They may as well be battling against an AI. What’s the point of battling humans if you aren’t going to interact with them? You do something get nicely little chats afterwards, but they are very rare. That’s even if the opponent doesn’t forfeit. The only times I do forfeit is if I am testing a specific Pokemon tactic and my opponent KOs a key Pokemon. I explain why I am forfeiting and forfeit.

Now, I am speaking about perhaps a very small % of the whole community. But it’s enough of them to affect my enjoyment of that aspect of the game. I was using Pokemon Showdown the other day testing out some things. I was testing an idea for how to use some Pokemon. I like doing it. I’ve always enjoyed thinking up strange ideas on how to play a game and then immediately practise the idea. After a few games, i decided to stumble into one of the chat channels and exclaimed “I wish Heatmor had access to Sucker Punch this Generation”. I was met with a general tone of “shut up” with swear words thrown in. I critiqued the use of language and I was told “It’s like you’ve never seen swear words before”. That’s not the problem.

The problem is:

  • I don’t know you. You are a stranger. You are a stranger who is being unreasonably obnoxious. You are speaking in text, therefore I have no idea what tone you’re meaning to convey. Perhaps if you were speaking to me via voice or if I knew you, it could be a different matter.
  • Pokemon is rated E or 3+. Therefore, a child as young as 3 could (though unlikely) be interacting in the competitive scene. If not, they have internet & computer access and have discovered Pokemon Showdown. Is it really a good idea to speak like that to a stranger who could be just a child. Would you really say “<swearyswear> off” to a child?
  • Pokemon is a game. It is a game for E or 3+s. Why are you taking the game so seriously that you have to be rude to someone who you think is wrong. If someone holds an opinion which you disagree with, explain why you disagree with them. Being brash isn’t going to help at all. The person who you disagree with will just be reassured of their possibly incorrect belief. Hype is considered the second most powerful emotional force. Spite and Vengeance is the first most powerful emotional force. Congratulations.
  • A health competitive environment relies on a dynamic and shifting “Meta”. Meta is sort of like the strategies applied to win. An effective tactic will develop which the player base will adopt as the most efficient way to win. Since everyone uses the same tactic, the deciding factor is the player who can execute the tactic the best. However, there maybe ways to counter this tactic. The best counters are the counters that require a little more effort to execute than the thing they’re countering. The response to the counter becoming more popular is to change tactic to something that isn’t weak to the original counter. And then a new counter develops. In games that are actively updated and balanced, the meta can shift more dynamically. With Pokemon, the only major upsets comes from transitions into Generations (or Move Tutors that offer new abilities to Pokemon get added into future games in the same generation). The meta therefore can only be changed if the player base wants it to. If you’re going to be rude towards someone before hearing what they have to say, you will never learn any new insights. Something that might shake up the meta. Or you may put off a future asset to the competitive scene. You gain nothing by being rude.

This behaviour isn’t exclusive to Pokemon. All competitive gaming has this toxic side to it. It’s like the act of “battling” another human brings out the worst in people. Why can’t we play games for fun? Why do we have to play them to dominate and belittle others? It’s just more depressing when it’s in the family game Pokemon. The game preaches about love, respect and care. Yet, the competitive scene doesn’t feel like that. The toxic is the minority. But there is enough toxicity to affect enjoyment.

One must ask; what sort of person will behave so toxically towards another player in a family game?

Ramblings of a Just A Man

20 May

I seem to enjoy sharing my opinions with people on the internet. Perhaps sometimes it’s less share and more, enforced?

The internet is a land of extremes. I read or heard somewhere (the format is irrelevant fundamentally) that for mundane and boring things to become interesting, extreme words must be used. You cannot say “UKIP are slightly annoying” because “people” (who ever this demographic is) wouldn’t care about your opinion. If you said “UKIP are… <EXTREME WORD>“, you suddenly have people’s attention. Either overzealous people agreeing with you, or people who support UKIP who are mortally wounded by your scathing keyboard inputs.

But really, you don’t achieve much. You may fuel the one of many flames wars that are currently being waged across the cyberspace (a sort of embarrassing version of Star Wars) but that’s it. You just make yourself look like a nutter to probably the  majority of internet users, who still do not care. Those users have an allotted time to use the interwebs and really do not want to waste precious moments being aware at how someone looks not great in a garment. There must be enough people who use the internet who do care (or have been coached to care) about fabric being draped over people that “Content Creators” have built a career out of it.

“Content Creator” is a strange title. It means someone who puts stuff on the thing (this case The Internet) for others to look at. It’s quite a vague term. It doesn’t quantify quality. Oats are a content of Muesli. Water is a content of Enamel Paint. Are those exciting things? They’re critical components in their own right, but not “exciting”. This blog post is a “content”.

But lets go back to talking about overzealous internet users.

I do not like seeing a “Content Producer” getting involved in a flame war.

Why?

Besides being protective over the person I like; I dislike it because you may see the worst side of them.

A while ago Pokemon Content Producer I follow, angered a certain aggressive percentage of a Pokemon Community. He criticised the politics of the community. The backlash was unreasonable (cyber bullying, death threats, etc.. The sort of stuff that would make any human want to shrivel up into a fetus. No human has evolved to emotionally deal with that quantity of abuse. Humans have always lived in small communities. There was no reason why the Human could ever be exposed to that amount of hatred until the Internets).

But it was made awkward by the wording used by the person I follow. If you are going to publicly (everything you post on the internet to some degree is public) express an opinion, try to word things carefully as to not accidentally imply things you didn’t mean. If people did misunderstand, you at least can prove that’s what you did not mean. Ambiguous wording leaves you vulnerable to justified counter criticisms. Understand the person who may read/hear your words doesn’t have the same brain as you. So make sure that your message is clear.

The war is still going on. Doesn’t help he occasionally releases Videos commenting on the community which rekindles the flames. He should not have to be afraid of posting things (that are not toxic towards other people). But in the current climate, it would be unwise to aggravate further.

If you are engaged in conflict, avoid using swear words or derogative terminology. Your job in an argument is to win support from the outside by explaining your point clearly and successfully. You will rarely ever win over the opposition.  It will be like arguing with a brick wall. So if you use certain words, or words in a certain way, you may actually not gain any support. Or if you do, you’ll gain the support of people you won’t want supporting you. At the end of the day, if someone comes across the argument and see both sides are being equally vile, that person will just think both of you are horrid. You can argue your point without appearing like that. See the debate that occurred between Monty Python and a few members of the English Church in the wake of “The Life of Brian”.

So that’s what I think on the topic of Internet flame. It’s pointless. Makes everyone look stupid. If you feel the need to engage a toxic person, make sure you do not get any on you.

Bai.

Review of Ability Draft Combinations 2

17 May

Welcome to the second part of the series about my own personal experience with Ability Draft Combinations. Note, that the statistically likelihood of getting the exact same combination is remote. This guide is more for exploring what you should aim for when playing Ability Draft. Such as what to [b]avoid picking[/b]. Some abilities may look great on paper, but in reality are not as awesome as one would thing.

 

Bane (blamsplosions)

Bane

Abilities

  • Arc Lightning
  • Lucent Beam
  • Shackles
  • Eclipse

Comments

(LOST) A very nukey build as one would expect. Shackles offer some team support by providing additional split damage. That’s sort of it. This sort of build is either go BIG (able to splatter everyone) or go HOME (enemy starts having the durability to shrug off your damage, thus you are now weak).

 

The next one was very fun.

Warlock (Helldragon)

warlock

Abilities

  • Liquid Fire
  • Ice
  • Dragon Breath
  • Dragon

(WIN) It’s a marriage of Jakiro’s Abilities with Dragonite’s, ahem Dragon Knight. You get insane range with it which is mightily fun. You act as a big scary sniper dragon during your Ultimate, which we all know Dragons are amazing markspeople. Ice is very useful as a team support ability and your own personal support. Stunning the enemies in a line is great for any role.

My item build I chose in the game was:

  • Ghost Marchers
  • Linken Sphere (for regeneration and a smidgen of damage
  • Life Steal
  • Crit

I was basically trying to build what Dragon Nyte would build as an Int hero.

I found Warlock had strong early game harassment from Liquid Fire. Last hitting was great too.

BKB would be a great option, but I didn’t need it in the game I was in (I thought).

Not the most broken combination in Ability Draft, but it felt very strong. It was also fun to play which is nice (sometimes being strong isn’t being fun). Squishier than Dragonknight as more focus was put into Carry-Damage so would likely die to assassination attempts.

 

That’s the end of part 2. I haven’t had the chance to play more Ability Drafts (where I recorded what happened), so I guess I need to do some of that for some more content. It will be Pokemon talk otherwise.

Review Of Ability Draft Combinations

28 Apr

This will hopefully be part of a series of articles. I will give a combination of abilities on a hero and I will give feedback based on what happened.

Do bear in mid, that due to the nature of Ability Draft, it is unlikely that you will get the identical combination yourself. You also need to consider that another player may snipe an ability off you which you were aiming for. This has happened to me before when “building my hero”. This article is less about “good and bad builds for Ability Draft in DotA2″ and more about “if you pick this combination of abilities on this sort of hero, this is what happened to me”. It’s data to consider rather than a conclusion to use. I will also say if I won or lost. I had played Ability Draft as part of Solo queue, which I think is a fairer representation of DotA2. A group of 5 strangers trying to function as a team. Sure a group of 5 friends might have potentially better co-ordination, but it’s much harder to comment negatively on each other’s playing.

 

Spiritbreaker

Image

 

Abilities

  • Greater Bash
  • Light Strike Array
  • Split Earth
  • Nether Strike

Comments

(WON) Spiritbreaker acted as an AOE disabler. Scepter was a viable item to consider as it helped his Attack Speed, Damage and Mana Pool. I picked up an Urn to improve my regen as I was ganking a lot. He was sort of able to act a soft initiator, but his squishiness made it risky to play like that. His early game required good mana management and he wasn’t really able to solo gank. He was more suited for group ganks or minor skirmishes.

 

Elder Titan

Image

Abilities

  • Chain Lightning
  • Static Field
  • Static Remnant (I meant to pick up Overload. Storm Spirit’s ability icons look similar)
  • Weave (Some other player took Ball Lightning before I could)

Comments

(WON) I spent most of my time at range spamming Chain Lightning. Static Revenant was used when enemies got close. Weave offered a little team support. Bloodstone was definitely vital.

 

Crystal Maiden

Image

Abilities

  • Berserker Blood
  • Drunken Brawler
  • Malefice
  • Overgrowth

(WON) The build was silly, but it worked. Helm of Dominance and Rod of Atos worked well for me. She worked like an Intelligence Huskar. The Evasion from Drunken Brawler worked well with Berserker Blood.

 

See you around next time for some more Ability Draft Review.

 

 

DotA 2: Ability Draft

25 Apr

It has been about three months since Ability Draft has landed in DotA2. Ability draft is as follows:

  • Each player is assigned a random hero (there are some heroes that are excluded due to how unique their vanilla skills interact with each other/or simply perhaps the programming to allow their skills to function in this mode isn’t justifiable).
  • All the abilities of the randomly assigned heroes are pooled together along with I think three other hero’s abilities.
  • Players take it in turns to pick an ability from the pool. The queue reverses when it gets to the end. This means players that were first and last to pick in the “first wave” get the chance to choose two abilities in succession. This has obvious benefits which I’ll point out later.
  • You are still restricted by the 3 normal ability and 1 ultimate ability format. But other than that, you have complete freedom (as long as no one else has chosen the desired ability)

Here are some aspects of the mode I would like to highlight:

As I have mentioned above, being the last and first to pick during the first wave of choosing is beneficial. It allows you to pick two abilities that have strong synergy with each other. For example; choosing Outworld Destroyer’s Arcane Orb with Essence Aura. Arcane Orb is a large burden without Essence Aura. Therefore if you wish to use Arcane Orb, being able to pick a combination of abilities in quick succession is very helpful.

In some abilities that are dependant on another, you can effectively hold the other ability hostage until you are read to pick it. I’ll explain with an example:

 

Eclipse_icon

Luna’s ultimate Eclipse’s damage is dependant on the rank at which you have levelled Lucent beam. If you hero uses Eclipse without having the ability Lucent Beam, your ultimate will do absolutely no damage. The only affect would be turning day into night for a short period. Therefore, if you want the combination of those skills, you should choose Lucent Beam first. This means, no other player will pick up Eclipse because it will be completely useless for them. And if they do select it, they have a dud ultimate and you’re free to pick a different ultimate (Lucent Beam by itself is a sweet early game single target nuke anyway). Just hope the ignorant player is on the other team. You can do this with other comboing skills, it’s just this one is the most apparent. That said, you yourself should never Eclipse when someone has Lucent Beam. You may think you’re denying them a strong ultimate, but all you’re doing is possessing a dysfunctional Ultimate whilst they have a different ultimate that very much functions.

 

 

 

blink dagger

Melee heroes need a form of gap closing or ranged attack. Gap closing is your ability to cross a distance to engage your target. If the enemy sees you waddling towards them, they will react and disable you/nuke you. A gap closer allows you to attack them on your grounds. Alternatively, ranged ability allow you to be useful even when you’re not meleeing. Like in the normal game with Ursa, Shadow Blade or Blink Dagger will remedy this problem some-what (even Push Stick). Bear in mind that Shadow Blade simply makes you invisible and you still have to waddle up to the enemy. If the enemy owns anti-invisibility, you’re basically waddling up to them very quickly and visibly. Without gap closers or ranged abilities, you’re a burden. You can be a strong carry without a gap closer, it’s just unlikely.

 

 

Greevil's_Greed_icon

Greevil’s Greed (Alchemist’s passive) is a wasted skill choice unless you are guaranteed last hits during the laning phase or posses flash-farming abilities (economic AoE abilities).

 

Divided_We_Stand_icon

Divided We Stand (Meepo’s Ultimate) is most potent on a ranged hero. But really it works well on any hero [b]as long as the player has chosen good abilities and knows how to use the Ultimate[/b]. Otherwise it won’t end well.

 

Pure support builds rely on competent teams. I don’t recommend build a pure support if you are queuing solo. If you want to support, choose something with the ability to gank.

 

Most effective way to build your hero depends on if they’re melee or ranged. Ranged heroes have an easier job of going potential carry. A lot of melee carry passives become OP when on a ranged hero. As a Ranged carry, I would pack some form of nuke amongst your carry passives. This lets you have a strong early game to secure the gold and experience to become a wrecking ball late game. As melee, you may as well stack nuke abilities or at least go uber tank. If you want to carry as a melee, get a gap closer.

 

golem

Golem (Warlock’s Ultimate) is a reliable pick up. Summons a huge minion that does a lot of damage with every swing. It does a large AoE superior magic stun. It works with any role. As a Carry it offers a stun that allows you to attack the enemy. If you’re packing a slow or armour reduction as a Modifier, you’ll allow Golem to do more damage. As a ganker it’s a stun and a nice extra bit of damage. As a support it’s a stun and a nice bit of damage. It can soft-initiate a team fight and push lanes. It’s beneficial for all. People underestimate this Ultimate.

 

I hope this has been helpful. It is perhaps three months too late to be very topical, but I like to think of it as three months of understand the game mode properly. In this game mode, what seems to be the “meta” is selecting abilities that deal a tonne of damage whilst owning a passive that will allow you to carry. You can get some really OP combinations, but the chances of acquiring them is low. The Nuke & Carry builds are the most reliable. Besides, at the end of the day, the game mode also comes down to which team is better.

See you next time for when I review some combinations I have played.

 

How To (Not) Play DotA2 (again)

27 Feb

Here are some more things you should be aware of if you want to win as a team in DotA2:

1) Try to avoid sending the player who has bought wards/a courier mid. He’ll be at a 150g disadvantage.

2) If your lane partner has creep pulled, avoid tanking the enemy creeps next to your tower. The tower will kill/hurt the enemy creeps, undoing what your partner was trying to achieve. Also it’s hard to compete for last hits against a  tower of death,

3) If an ally has D/C, don’t get them killed. It’s still feeding. It’s also harder to control two heroes at once.

4) Try to pick a support. They are helpful. Too many carries means too much competition for farm.

5) If lanes can be (safely) pushed, don’t jungle for farm. Pushing will give you more gold and experience and benefit your team more.

6) During the lane phase, be aware of your positioning especially against enemies with stuns or snares. One bad position will result in death, and a harder lane from then on.

7) If your in-game score is not great, don’t accuse others of feeding. It’s just hypocritical.

8) Don’t be a hypocrite in general.

9) Don’t pick a hard carry against a pushing enemy line up. The enemy will make it harder for you to succeed as with each tower felled, the enemy will be more farmed, and the jungle will be harder to farm.

10) Don’t queue for English speaking servers if you’re unable to read/type/speak/understand English. It’s for the sake of communication. DotA2 isn’t a single player game.

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