Archive for October, 2014

The real truth of #GamerGate

October 14, 2014

Soon, this will be the truth of the land. Science help us all.

Go Make Me a Sandwich

[Written in the style of Mallory Ortberg, who is awesome]

Your bunkmates are already fast asleep when you fall wearily onto the hard mattress; it’s been a long, tiring day of back-breaking labor in the camps.  Tired as you are, however, your thoughts are unsettled and sleep seems elusive.

Once, years ago, you would have felt anger about the accident of birth that forced you into this state, but now you accept your fate. You are but a man, and the strength of men exists to serve the greater good. Or at least that’s what they tell you, and who are you to question them?

At last you decide that sleep will not come and reach under your mattress, pulling out the small handheld hidden there. Pulling your blanket over your head to hide the glow of the screen, you turn it on, eagerly waiting to resume from where you left…

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Endless Legend Review

October 4, 2014

Endless Legend is a turn based 4X game set on a distant fantasy level world. Players take control of unique factions with their own abilities and weaknesses, grow, build huge armies and kick the crap of out each other. Eventually, someone wins.

Its a 4X game! If you don’t know what that is, pick up Civilization 5 when its on sale, and you might as well stop reading this review.

The Good
Absolutely amazing UI that blends nicely into the background. Seriously, this is one HELL of a pretty game screen, with an amazing art design team. Seriously, kudos.

Cool, thematic storyline and world with neat animations and storylines, including unique quest lines that lead you to victory. Fun factions with halfway decent writing that will make you want to explore your faction’s storyline.

Some really nice ideas I wouldn’t mind seeing in other 4X games.

The Bad
High levels of micromanagement. By the time I get into the mid/late game with 8-10 cities, I’m getting bored of the game. At this point you are dealing with trade routes, empire effects, guarding all your cities,

Combat is ok, but cities feel almost absurdly vulnurable after playing Civ 5. The only innate defenses they have are these incredibly feeble militia units that trip over their own shoelaces. Building garrison units in every city aren’t really an option either – you will be too busy producing a constant stream of new buildings, and if you want to spend any time on an army, you fall behind on growth if you don’t use it to take a city (which is easy, because the AI is problematic).

I also feel that this game has horrible balancing problems. The Vaulters seem horribly overpowered as an individual faction, and Broken Lords fall off very heavily into the early mid game unless you go on a rampage and start taking over towns. Cultists are just awful on anything but a tiny map.

Custom factions are so broken I don’t even know where to begin. Just… don’t use custom factions unless you want to break the game. The point values for the different abilities are laughable.

And finally, this game is frustratingly random. I don’t mind different things happening in the game, but so much of the game is entirely out of your hands. For example: starting tiles. Civ games usually starts you at terrain that gives 1-2 food,1-2 hammers, 0-2 gold. Terrain in Endless ranges from 0-8 in four different categories, and there’s almost no base bonuses for the city. I’ve had starting hammers ranging from 6 to 36, starting science from 2-30… that’s ridiculously broken from turn one. Another example is quests: you frequently are given quests when you stumble into a ruin or attempt to convert a minor faction to your cause. Sometimes these are as simple as exploring a ruin. Other times, they want you to give them a material you won’t even be able to SEE until turn 100 or so. Get that quest and you’ll have to burn the village to the ground or pay them a ton of money. I should mention that one faction (cultists) relies on being able to convert these villages as quickly as possible to get their army out of control. There’s a very fine line you have to walk, a point where games go from being random fun to random frustrating, and I think Endless crosses that line a bit too far for me.

Who is this for: Turn based strategy fiends who can’t wait until Beyond Earth comes out, but are already bored to tears of Civ 5. Alternatively, people who liked Endless Space and want to continue to support the game.

If I had to give it a score: 6/10. This is not an average game: its a beautiful, highly ambitious game that will likely improve as the developer balances out aspects of it (much as was the case for Endless space).

Even broken, its still a hell of a lot of fun to tear up the country side and conquer the world in the name of your faction.

Notes on League of Legends Quarter Finals, Day 2 (Cloud 9 vs Samsung Blue)

October 4, 2014

Note: Real life intruded pretty heavily on my viewing of this, sorry.

Pregame: The teams feel much more easily matched here, in that both of them have actually lost games in the group rounds.

Game 1: Sadly I missed this due to some scheduling conflicts. C9 wins, somehow. Will watch later.

Game 2
Early – Missed this part as well.
Mid – Missed this.
Late-  Some smart plays from C9, but SSB are locked tight in those team fights, and they close out with a commanding lead. As usual, the NA team plays brilliantly from behind. SSB did a great job combining Twisted Fate and Teleports to just bamboozle C9 this round.

Game 3
Early- Some crazy risky plays lead to Samsung getting 2 kills at top and then C9 getting one at the bot. Graves is an interesting choice. Not sure I agree with him as a pick – lots of wide damage on him, and SSB’s team is pretty tough (Maokai, Lee Sin, Braum, and Jayce) and I doubt area damage will matter much. 10 minutes in, SSB’s gold lead is something like 200.
Mid – Stuff happens, and I am suddenly busy, but C9 gets gradually pushed out as SSB builds momentum. C9 gets picks, but just about EVERY team fight goes horribly horribly wrong for C9.
Late Game – C9 goes “squit” like a pimple.

Game 4
Again, real life intrudes, and I was suddenly busy during this match.

The very short version of the game is this: SSB develop a gradual lead. Highlights: C9 wins an utterly AMAZING fight at dragon, with Corki as the only survivor and picking up the dragon in the process. This lets C9 recover enough to be a threat to SSB, but SSB gradually gains ground, getting a substantial advantage on turrets and kills. They pop the first inhibitor, but a baron play goes horribly wrong, and C9 goes after SSB’s mid. C9 takes the mid inhibitor and two of the nexus turrets in a kamikaze run similar to that crazy 70+ minute game back in the group stage. They don’t get it quite as low as that crazy agme, but its a near thing before they all get taken down. SSW’s entire team goes up, and they drop on what’s left of C9’s base before the respawn.

So final, is 3-1, with the last game being a very near thing. I would have liked it to have gone to 5… and lets face it, I wanted to see NA get a bit further this year. Now its going to be a Samsung Semi Final, which will be an interesting game to watch. I think I’ll be cheering for SSW next time around: they really seem to have been the strongest team this year, and I hope they continue that performance in the semi finals.

Notes on League of Legends World Championships: Quarter Finals, Day 1

October 3, 2014

Pre Show: Who the hell cares.

Opening: I’m screaming in Korean. I’m screaming in Korean. I’m screaming in Korean. I’m screaming…. IN KOREAN.
http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/59lqle/he-s-singing-in-korean

Samsung White vs TSM
They’ve won every game. They’ve only lost 5 towers in all of them. WHAT?!!? That’s insane! How do you do that? TSM will be lucky to win a game, let alone a best of three. They’ve been playing ok, but they haven’t been roflstomping everyone like SSW has. If TSM wins a game, they should be happy. SSW is the better team.

Game 1
Early: DO SOMETHING! You’ll get crushed if you just sit there against Ryze and Jayce Farming.
Mid: Everything falls apart for TSM.
Late Game: There is no late game.
Other note: I think TSM’s AD carry choice was poor here with those shields. I was thinking they would go for a siege comp with say, Kogma.

Game 2
Early: Ok. Do something other then going 0/2. You might as well go to bed.
Mid: TSM dies the death. By the end I am quoting Orwell about a boot stomping endlessly on a human face.

Game 3
Early: WHAT? WHAT? Somehow TSM goes 2/0 right off the bat and get the first two dragons. TSM manages to pull this one off convincingly around the 30 minute mark.

Game 4
Early: Its not quite as bad as game 1 and 2, but TSM gets fairly convincingly owned here.
Mid: And here too.
Late: Amusingly, TSM manages to completely outmaneuver SSW by responding to a Baron with a push in mid, taking SSW’s inhibitor. This fantastic move forces SSW to defend the nexus and throws SSW on the defensive. The next time they get sneaky though, it goes horribly, horribly wrong and SSW does what they do best: turn a disadvantageous looking team fight into a one sided ass kicking. Pentakill on Imp here turns the game around.

What we have learned.

Team Solo Mid loses when playing the enemies game. But they demonstrated that yes, it is possible to beat them. Also, that TSM did a wonderful job of using Fabian tactics to play from behind with that little maneuver. Sadly, this lesson was not good enough to get them into a semi final spot, but I think they did fantastic here.

I honestly don’t think Samsung White has any particular weaknesses as a team. Beating them seems more on the line of not playing into their greatest strength, which is team fighting. SSW move like a well disciplined machine in a team fight, instantly making the correct decision and counter engaging out of horrible situations. That’s not to say their other aspects are weak: its more the idea that if you try and straight up team fight SSW without an overwhelming advantage, you will almost certainly lose. And even if you have it, you still might lose anyway: Samsung White is just that good.

I think anyone who plays them is going to have to try out lane them, establish ward control, and then out maneuver them in the jungle, cause grouping early and getting into an early war over dragon strikes me as suicidal once everyone has their base skills and ulti’s.

Of course, I’m Silver 1, so what the hell do I know?

Game 2