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.

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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.