Archives for February 2014

HorsePLAY! Zombie Talk Series: The Walking Dead Season 4 & Beyond

Greetings horsies, zombies, and GANGsters!

We got a great response from HorsePLAY! EP10 so we are going to continue our unofficial Zombie Talk Series for at least an episode or two more. So far, we have barely scraped the surface wounds so will switch the format up a bit to jump straight into the zombie herd. For tonight’s show, HorsePLAY! LIVE EP11 “Night of the Zombie Geeks”, we will team up with Zombie Cast for a total of five hosts. The focus will be on The Walking Dead but we will try to delve into games, podcasts, books, movies, etc.

NEW!  Did you miss HorsePLAY! EP10?  No worries – here is the HD video, just for you!  We’ll be adding more videos and show highlights so let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see more of!

 

So far in Season 4.5 of The Walking Dead, Episodes 9 through 11, we have seen a rather slow build-up. It looks like the show is still committed to fan fare for followers of the comics yet the introduction of Terminus is taking the story into a whole new direction. We have a lot of speculations and predictions on this aspect of the story arc alone.

Here are some topics we will tackle, straight from our HorsePLAY! LIVE show notes:

  • Has Daryl gone derp like Rick?
  • Wait, Beth is the hopeful one and now Daryl seems to be giving up?  Get it together, Daryl!
  • Babies in the zombie apocalypse: hope or nuisance?
  • Lizzie must be related to The Governor – she’s CRAZY!
  • Will Tara go straight?
  • What if Tyreese finds out about what Carol did?
  • Did any of the Season 4.5 scenes lack tension?  Maggie searching for Glenn on the bus, for example.
  • Will Glen be overwhelmed by guilt and give up?
  • WTF?  Bulletproof Maggie!
  • Wait a minute..  Are Daryl and Beth going the wrong way on the tracks??!  That’s not Terminus!
  • An upcoming Daryl-only episode makes us think someone will die.  Will they be bold and kill Daryl or just dump Beth?
  • Spin-off TWD show coming 2015 alongside Season 5.  Any thoughts or additional info?
  • Keep up the zombie talk! Be sure to visit our friends at The Zombie Blog – http://thezombieblog.net – and Zombie Cast –http://zombiecast.net – guys, any other zombie content you wanna share?

In EP10 we raised one particularly spicy question:

How long does The Walking Dead show have before it runs out of steam?

With the TWD spin-off show set for a 2015 release, how long will this current crew of survivors keep us hooked?  The general consensus by Shawn Freeman and Matt Bradford of Zombie Cast in EP10 was that they have one or two strong seasons left, yet there is a world of things they can still do in this universe.. without the spin-off(s).  We are concerned yet hopeful!

There’s lots to say here but I will save it for the show.  I will say this: TWD EP9 and 11 were rather slow but they are definitely building up to something big.  I think they might redeem what has otherwise been a stale season towards the end.  The key is to keep introducing and building up key characters so we can get invested in the experience once again.

I am curious if Robert Kirkman will be bold enough to kill off Daryl.  He’s clearly a fan favorite and what will all the teeny bopper girls do if the stud is gone??  Regardless of how many badasses they assemble, I would say TWD’s strengths reside in the human elements so they should rely less on the zombie battles.  Of course, we love the epic takedowns but it’ll be better if they space it out and make us anticipate those moments more.

What do you guys think about Season 4.5 of The Walking Dead this far?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Come join us on HorsePLAY! LIVE tonight and every Thursday night at 11pm EST.  We may be rescheduling in a month or so to better accomodate our guests but, for now, we are the Interweb’s midnight crew for all things geeky.  Party with us!

Full HD Streamhttp://twitch.tv/obionex2

Mobile-Friendly Streamhttp://twitch.tv/yogizilla

Different Zombie Attacks – What’s Worse Than A Zombie Bite?

Tonight’s the big night for zombies on HorsePLAY!  As such, I’ll be posting more zombie content for the next few days or weeks even.  The response has been great so far so don’t forget to join us live on the ObioneX2 Twitch channel – that’s the full experience right there, in HD no less!

Whenever we think of zombie attacks, we think about biting, dookie breath, and maybe clawing (with bum hands – YUCK).  The Zombie Blog breaks down zombie attacks in a way few others have managed to do.  It’s a very thorough analysis.  The main question this article raises for me is quite simple:

What’s scarier or worse than a zombie bite?

TZB goes into the science of zombie attacks in much the same manner Matt Mogk’s Zombie Research Society does.  This here is a look at the types of attacks to prepare for if there ever were a real-life zombie apocalypse.  I appreciate that they even go into the psychological factors of zombie attacks.  Let’s face it: it’s gross enough crushing a huge roach (water or Palmetto bugs, as we call them down South) with your bare hands but imagine zombie guts splattering or exploding everywhere…  Not a pretty picture!

Left 4 Dead Boomer

Check out my comments for my thoughts on bloated zombies and the risks beyond explosion or ignition.  Also, for you hardcore zombie fans out there, what are your thoughts on more nimble zombies (not infected I think it’s a facet few zombie stories explore. The fresher the corpse, the greater the range of motion.. Enter pouncing, jumping, and maybe running – SCARY!

Show The Zombie Blog some love by following, liking, reblogging, pinning, sharing, and all that good stuff. This is a blog I know we’ll be revisiting quite a bit. Great stuff!

HorsePLAY! EP10 – The Zombie Episode PREVIEW

HorsePLAY! is coming back after a one-week hiatus.  Well, maybe we can’t call it a hiatus as it wasn’t like we went on sabbatical or just got lazy.  Obi was under the weather and we’ve been getting hit by power outages here in Georgia so I could not make it.  Heck, we had another blackout last night so hopefully things will settle down in time for our first double-digit episode!

For HorsePLAY! EP 10, we’ll be joined by some of the folks over at Zombie Cast and, if we can nail him down (see what I did there?), Tony Rey of We’re Alive (and other fame).  Eli Sodoom from Knuckleballer Radio may also join us if he can stay awake.  This will be a special episode where we’ll discuss all things zombies but I am sure we will touch upon the infected and undead monsters that purists would never call a z-word.  This will likely be a two-part upload to make up for our week off, too!

Here is a little taste of what we’ll likely discuss…

The Walking Dead Episodes 9 & 10

If you ask me, there was quite a huge contrast between Episode 9 and 10 of the Walking Dead Season 4, particularly with the pacing.  We’ll talk about the wow moments, disappointments, and more predictions.  It’ll be fun to see the different perspectives, especially since Obi has not caught up on the show yet.  Beware – there will be spoilers!

Be sure to tweet us with any topics you’d like us to touch upon.  We’re @Yogizilla and @ObioneX2, guys.  I think we may even go back into previous seasons with some recaps and foreshadowing.  Have you noticed any clues or omens on TWD?  Do share!

Evil Dead - The BOOMSTICK!

Is Evil Dead A Zombie Movie?

With a title like Evil Dead, one would think the franchise is about zombies but that’s a debate that could go either way.  Certainly, there are undead creatures but are these zombies?  This discussion will almost certainly lead to our definitions of what zombies are, as well as distinctions between infected, behemoths, and the non-shambling runners.

Bring your boomstick and prepare to defend your fanboy position.  Regardless of whether you feel Evil Dead is a zombie flick or not, it is one of the best horror flicks ever made.  Campy humor, Bruce Campbell, and gore..  Classic horror right there!

Survive Day-Z

Game Developers LOVE Zombies

Dead Pixels and Day-Z are two examples of video games that embrace zombies.  Video games seem to be chock-full of them, whether they’re the focus of the title or a small part.  Plants Vs. Zombies, SolForge, Guardian Heroes, Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Borderlands..   Zombies are invading all video games, big and small!

Is it me or do indie developers seem particularly drawn to zombies?  When will ninjas and vampires make a comeback?  Pirates have already started to but zombies seem to be the dominating force…

Dead Pixels Screenshot

Anyway, Dead Pixels.  Super fun game that is reminiscent of River City Ransom.  It has co-op and tons of upgrades.  Give it a try and let us know what your longest run was like.

HorsePLAY! LIVE airs every Thursday at 11pm over at the ObioneX2 Twitch Channel (simulcasted on my Yogizilla-branded Twitch channel as well).  Come join us!

Knuckleballer Radio: Soap Taste – Yummy!

Knuckleballer Radio
Episode “Soap Taste – Yummy!”

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I’ve been joining friends on different shows, particularly ones on the AllGames Network, and Knuckleballer by far is the craziest experience.  You just never know what to expect.  This episode was no exception.

Norma (Normii477) had an evil plan and I had no idea.  She got the families of Shawn (Freemandaddy5) and Eli (Sodoom) to blind-fold them and put put random things in their mouths.  At one point, Shawn ate soap (too bad it wasn’t bacon soap) and started crying.  LOL..  It was pretty epic!

If you’ve never heard Knuckleballer Radio before, the basic format is that there are three main hosts and rotating guest hosts.  Each participant has to share a knuckeball, which is a random topic or challenge that everyone else has to participate in.  Since no one knows what these knuckleballs will be, the antics that ensue are always quite entertaining.

I love the raw, mostly unscripted approach of this show.  It makes for great radio.  What’s even better is that the hosts are such authentic, awesome individuals.  Be sure to give them a listen and show my friends some social media love!

The B-Team: Ball Gaggies 2013 PLUS Indie Game Talk!

The B-Team Podcast
Episode “The Ball Gaggies 2013”

[audio http://www.thebteampodcast.com/ep243final.mp3|titles=The B-Team – Ball Gaggies – Favorite Games In 2013|loop=yes|animation=no|initialvolume=80]

Does the so-called next-gen of gaming got you down?  You’re not alone.  2014 doesn’t look much better if you’re only looking at Triple A titles and gaming consoles.  Hey, you know it’s true!  We’re just seeing more of the same old (with slightly prettier graphics and better performance) in this generation of consoles.

Fortunately, there’s the PC and the indie gaming scene to save the day.  Now, I know some people love to take a proverbial dump on indie games.  I recall Derrick Hopkins agreeing with some AllGames.com chatters that indie games needs to stop meaning “cheap, crappy games with retro graphics” and be more about quality games that aren’t from a big studio.

I reckon indie games are already there, though we arguably back to the days of the NES; that is, it’s so easy to develop and distribute video games nowadays (thank you, Steam, RPG Maker, Blender, Physx, Unity, etc.) that there are tons of crappy releases cluttering the marketplace.  It’s unavoidable that we’ll run into games that should not even exist.  There are also those that are more tech demos and experiments than anything else, but there are far more unique titles coming from small, virtually unknown studios than there are from the major studios.

In one of the first episodes of 2014 for The B-Team Podcast, everyone shared their favorite games of 2013 in a special call called the “Ball Gaggies”.  I joined for a bit before kicking off HorsePLAY! LIVE for the evening and it was great fun.  The different categories that were covered were interesting.  What was more interesting is how lots of indie games popped up in non-indie categories.

The B-Team’s Ball Gaggies were entertaining and very enlightening.  I’ve noticed that we are seeing indie games permeating more mainstream spaces and that’s not going to change any time soon.  Crowdsourcing seed money and influence via social media – that’s what has made this all possible.  Thank goodness, too, because the mega-publishers are too scared to take risks and try out fresh new ideas.  As such, everything that is being released is utter rubbish.

Risk of Rain - WTF Is Going On?!

Risk Of Rain – You gotta play to understand WTF is going on here.

My picks for 2013 are games that have been released in the past four to six years yet are still fun today.  As you may have already learned, a good game in my book is one that has high replay value, social/online features, and/or deep immersion.  Amongst my favorite games of 2013 were X-Com: Enemy Unknown, Steam Marines, SolForge, Scrolls, League of Legends, DotA 2, Space Hulk, Risk of Rain, Rogue Legacy, and Skullgirls.  Many of these games could be considered indie or at least follow an indie spirit.  Quite a few of these were Kickstarter projects or funded through unusual methods.

Space Hulk - Kickstarter - Classic Remake

Space Hulk – Tactics, terror, deep space.. PREPARE.

Of particular note is Rogue Legacy (as depicted in the featured image), a game that will instantly remind you of Metroid, Castlevania, or, to a greater extent, Ghouls N’ Goblins.  This is a game that I felt was just a hipster favorite due to the retro graphics and nostalgia, but I soon found out it was so much more.  Rogue Legacy is amazing in my book because it is a single-player game that I actually want to keep coming back to (I’m more of a multiplayer gamer) <u>AND</u> it manages to make you feel fully-invested in the experience, something most roguelikes inherently have an issue with.

Steam Marines - Sci-Fi Tactics Game

Steam Marines – Kinda like XCOM LITE.. Dope!

Another game worth mentioning is Steam Marines.  I think this one may fall under the radar, which would be a great shame considering that the tactics space is lacking.  If you enjoy XCOM, Final Fantasy Tactics, FTL: Faster Than Light, or anything of the sort, this game may have something for you.  In simple terms, it is a sci-fi tactics games where you are marines in space killing stuff..  But there is surprising depth in this simple little package.  Best of all, every playthrough is completely randomized so there’s always a challenge to be had!

I won’t get too into these games because, really, they deserve their own review..  but this just speaks to the innovation we see in the indie industry.  It was nice to see the Ball Gaggies embrace some of these titles because, really, the mainstream stuff is becoming quite repetitive, amirite?

Be sure to leave The B-Team some love on Stitcher, iTunes, AllGames.com, Twitter, and their web site.  They’re easy to stalk, just like me – just Google “The B-Team Podcast”.  Tell ’em Yogi sent ya!

The Walking Dead – Derp Le Derp & The Merle Of Derpdom

In Part 2 of my three-part article over at ZombieCast.net, I share some of the things that make us fans scream inside of our heads.  These moments of WTF, lazy writing, lack of common sense, and simply unbelievable plot developments all fall under the umbrella of DERP!  Oh, and there’s lots of derpdom in The Walking Dead (Andrea and Merle, anyone?), whether you love the show or hate it.

I would have called the series The Walking Derp, but that’s already been taken by a clever little animation on NewGrounds about Daryl’s relentless search for Sophia.  While I laughed at the animated short, I think this aspect of the plot was not by any means derpy.  I think most of us would have searched for Sophia, even if the odds of her surviving were super low.

That there reminds me of what makes The Walking Dead so special: we’re able to suspend our belief because they focus more on the psychology behind decisions and the development of characters.  We are immersed in a world that could very well come to be one day.  If we were hit by such adversity, I believe most would want to maintain all humanity and everyday living that we could.  That means we would want to protect our loved ones, build homes, and do other things that may not seem practical for survival.

As such, one could postulate that merely surviving is not truly living.  Andrea was faced with that very plight and would have chosen suicide if it hadn’t been for Dale.  Making tough decisions while balancing logic between pure survival and doing what is humane, fair, or just..  That’s what makes the dynamics of TWD so awesome!

Where the derpdom sets in is when characters make decisions that make no sense, even under duress.  I would say that the writers are creating tons of filler now until they build up to something really awesome.  There are events that are clearly written for the sake of creating sensational television; meanwhile, the realism of these events is questionable, at best.  Well, enough of that, if you want to see exactly what I mean, check out ZombieCast!

The Walking Dead's Michonne: Comic Vs. Show Version

One last thought…  I like Michonne as a character but she feels a bit out of place.  They’re finally developing her in the second half of Season 4 but her super-hero-like powers seem to be a detriment to the show.  Suddenly, the tension and realism of it all seems to be far less than what we saw in the first three seasons.

In the comic setting, I think Michonne works really well but, on the television show, I am not so sure.  The way everything has been set up, everyone feels vulnerable and we can picture real-life people trying to survive.  Every character (except for the throw-away characters that are only introduced to be killed off soon after) has shown a wide range of emotion, personality traits, motivations, and derpyness until Michonne showed up.  Even Daryl has had his close calls and derpy decisions.

In the opening of Season 4 Part II (a.k.a. Season 4.5), we have seen that Michonne is being rounded out more.   She clearly has some screws loose so it’s nice to see what made her so tough.  Hopefully they will humanize her enough to keep the realism up on the show.  We shall see how things develop!

It’s time to sound off, geeks and zombies!

  • Does The Walking Dead immerse you in a realistic (or at least believable), post-apocalyptic world or do you treat the show merely as an imaginary place or brief escape?
  • Is Michonne too badass for the show’s own good?
  • What would you say is the dumbest thing that has happened on The Walking Dead yet?
  • Choose your Derp King: Team Governor or Team Rick?

Sound off in the comments below!

Check out the full three-part article over at ZombieCast.net – http://www.zombiecast.net/post/76655610924 – tweet the post, follow ZCast on Tumblr, and reblog it away.  Don’t forget to connect with me, Yomar (a.k.a. Yogizilla), on Tumblr!

Winter Storm Pax? More Like Winter Storm Anus!

Winter Storm Pax should be renamed Winter Storm Anus.  What an asshole of a storm!  Over half a million people were (or still are) in the dark in Alabama, Virginia, and Georgia alone.   People are acting like bigger idiots due to the storm’s aftermath – especially on the roads and in the few stores that stayed open!  I mean, people were buying big-screen televisions while others had real emergencies to tend to.  It’s like Winter Storm Pax was an asshole storm that attracted more assholes to it.  A flurry of assholes!

Here in Augusta, everyone was well aware of the state of emergency but very few were prepared.  The wide-scale power outage was only part of the problem.  People were driving like idiots (more so than usual) in the snow and wondering why there were so many car crashes and smashed mailboxes.  Did I mention the hood rats buying big-screen televisions during the whole mad rush?  I know..  First-world problems, yo!

As of around 2pm EST on this pretend holiday, Valentine’s Day, our electricity has been restored.  Georgia Power was diligent, though I am sure they just wanted to make sure they can continue to rape us with their obscene billing rates.  But, hey, power is back up!  Thank goodness, too..  My family was getting antsy.  It was cool to have an excuse to read more, play board games, get to know the neighbors better, and cook outdoors, but you don’t realize how dependent you are on electricity and the interwebz until they’re completely gone.  Kids everywhere must have been really spazzing out (on top of the usual teen drama queen angst)…

How come the Internet doesn’t work?  OMG – I can’t watch my vines!  No XBox LIVE?  No YouTube!  I HATE YOU MOM AND DAD – DIIIIIIEEEEEE!

Seriously though, it could have been much worse.  While some of us were engaging in white whine, there were still people dealing with floods, destroyed homes, smashed cars, and even death.  Trees are still falling and destroying things in their wake.  Down South, most states are not very well-equipped for disasters but the Red Cross was quick to set up camp and the communities really pulled together to help clear up some of the mess.  It was rather inspiring!

The best part about the forced downtime is that I got to get a better feel for what I really want to focus on in the coming years.  I missed doing my Twitch streams, podcasts, and creative writing.  I also missed curating content on social platforms like Pinterest, Tumblr, and StumbleUpon.  Now I’m playing catch-up.  These sorts of disasters, big or small, help you realize what <u>really</u> matters.  It was nice to just enjoy some chill time with loved ones and brainstorm a bit without the pressure or distractions of digital connectivity.

There were quite a few silly things that happened during the blackout.  I’ll be sure to share them on the next episode of HorsePLAY!, especially since parts of the experience certainly felt very apocalyptic (sans the zombies).  I am sure Obi and our guests will have their own stories to share.  Real survival stories in a zombie-themed episode – w00t!

The funniest thing that comes to mind is how our kids were taking long hot showers and did not see the issue with that even after we reminded them that everything in our home runs on electricity (not gas, oil, solar power, whatever).  I love my kids but they can be such derps sometimes.  I blame our schools, pop culture, and reality television.  Our brains are constantly being attacked by pure rubbish from every direction.  Wear your tin-foil hats, kids!

In any case, the funny moments made the otherwise frustrating situation a little more enjoyable.  We certainly made the best of it!  One thing I definitely learned is that we need more survival supplies and bug-out bags or else we’ll be toast in the zombie apocalypse.

I’m curious what your experience has been with Winter Storm Pax.  It doesn’t seem like it was much of an event up North as states like Pennsylvania and New York are far more prepared for inclement weather.  I’m sure folks in smaller towns and cities did not have much of a picnic, especially our friends in upstate New York:

  • Anyone lose power where they’re at?
  • Did you stay put or go to another place?
  • What did you do to keep busy and warm?
  • Did any businesses or restaurants stay open in your area?

Don’t be shy – leave your anecdotes, gripes, and victories in the comments section below!

Winter Storm Pax Lessons:  http://yomar.me/2014/02/14/what-winter-storm-pax-has-taught-me/

Game Theory: The Barriers & Mishaps In League Of Legends

Game Theory Podcast
Episode 21 – League of Legends with JT Eberhard and Michaelyn

I only recently discovered this podcast, thanks to Stitcher Radio, and boy is it right up my alley!  The show is the culmination of avid gaming fandom, psychoanalysis, and game development/design knowledge.  It’s the perfect podcast for anyone that wants a complete look at video games from a mostly scholastic perspective.

My only complaint is that the show hosts are sometimes a little TOO smart for their own good.  We are taking a different approach with our upcoming Bit-By-Bit Gaming show (formerly Game Mechanics 101).  I think the voice of the gamer needs to be heard more and, if you listen to TGP episodes, they often look at game mechanics from the outside in (i.e. their LoL and rogue-like episodes).

In Episode 21, League of Legends (LoL) is scrutinized heavily.  While I do not agree with all their conclusions and lament the fact that the general consensus is that the game should be avoided, I see their points.  LoL is a mainstream game so it’s to be expected that there will be plenty of trolls and little kids ruining the fun for the rest..  But the issues extend far beyond that.

One aspect that is common in all first impressions of League of Legends or any MOBA is that the communities tend to be very caustic.  LoL is particularly bad in this area for a few reasons:

  • Every Tom, Dick, and Harry aspires to be a pro player and make tons of money, or at least score free stuff.
  • Due to the aforementioned, no one wants to admit that they are not as good as they’d like to think.
  • Poor sportsmanship leads to externalization of opportunities, so the trolls rarely improve and new players are scared away.
  • The way the game rewards and announces game highlights caters to a selfish style of gameplay and more finger-pointing.
  • Since the game is free, there’s very little keep young, angsty squeakers away from the general populice.

The list goes on and on but, essentially, League of Legends has been both a boon and a bane to MOBAs.  With LoL’s massive popularity and eSports buzz, everyone feels more pressured to step up their game rather than enjoy the experience.  What’s more is that the scoring and team dynamics feel more like Call of Duty than a MOBA.  It’s very centered around K/D (kill/death) ratio rather than teamwork and setting up plays.  What’s more is that it’s hard to play LoL casually, even with friends (sorry Obi), because everything is about winning rather than just having fun.

With this heavy focus on frags, people tend to get desperate when they die more than they kill.  When a sure-fire kill ends up in a death, the frustration piles on.  Throw in teammates that are feeding or screaming at you for seeming like a total newbie and now an otherwise fun game becomes a vein-popping, heart-attack-inducing experience.

Wow, this is sounding a lot like Call of Duty, eh?

ms-paint-rages-league-of-legends-ryze-misses-last-hit

One of the biggest frustrations for me is how Riot decided that, in all their infinite wisdom, they would focus on individual performance most of the time and only bring the team focus into play when it is least logical.  In ranked play, you can literally have five or more consecutive games where random teammates throw matches or just rage quit.

Leavers, flamers, and ragers are only a symptom of the root issues.  I concur with the folks at GTP that the design of LoL encourages poor sportsmanship.  The tribunal, loading screen tips, and honor point systems are decent enough band-aids but they are flawed because…

  • There is no incentive to giving honor to other people.
  • It is human nature to complain rather than compliment.
  • The visual feedback (i.e. profile ribbons) attached to honor points seems unattainable and/or worthless.
  • Most people go pee, grab a snack, or watch videos/Vines while the game is loading, ignoring the sportsmanship advice and game preparation (the same happens post-game).
  • The core mechanics do not support good sportsmanship.

Riot has been campaigning to remind people that people who are helpful and calm during gameplay win more matches, but they do not support the behavior organically or internally, if you prefer.  The core mechanics could easily be fixed to address the glaring issues with the game.  If you are curious what some of these issues could possibly be, just watch to see how people always fight to play certain roles or positions.  Most want the glory to themselves, so ADC, Mid, and Top are always the preferred picks.  There’s too much pressure for Jungler so they are usually the last picked and the most blamed..  And Support players are often expected to be miracle workers.  If you get first pick and go as any of offense-focused positions, do not under-perform because jealous people will troll you hard.

Welcome to League of Legends!

What’s even more disheartening is how LoL does not factor in how well you played with your team or the fact that leavers cost you a match.  A loss is a loss and, thus, you get stuck in elo hell..  Unless maybe you assemble a reliable pre-made team and avoid solo/duo queue.  If a teammate loses his Internet connection during your qualifying matches, you’re pretty much fubared.  Bronze and Silver tiers consists of taking two steps forwards and three steps back.  Not very fun.  Normal matches are a similar hellish experience.

league-of-legends-why-did-you-leave

While Diamond Tier players and above may argue that elo hell is a myth, I argue that it is very real.  On a greater scale, the design decisions behind League of Legends make it a rather exclusive experience.  In spite of that fact, millions of people worldwide play the game and it is the #1 online game for the PC, heck, all platforms.  Statistically speaking, that means there are a lot of frustrated, bitter scrubs and wannabe pro players out there..  and most of them only stick around to troll and make others miserable too.

Misery loves company.

For the more casual MOBA players, there’s ARAM (All Random All Mid), a battle-royale style mode focused more on action than strategy, and bot matches.  There is also Domination, which shifts the focus more to land control and objective-driven play rather than straight-up killing and lane pushing.  Still, the core experience resides in the traditional 5v5 three-lane game mode..  And there’s lots to be desired there.

I will reiterate that I LOVE League of Legends but, as I listen to these brilliant GTP folks talk about LoL from the perspective of newbies, I can’t help but nod in agreement.  One of the strongest points made in this episode of the Game Theory Podcast is that League of Legends rewards the end result rather than the process.  I could not agree more.  Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm seems to be doing a better job of making each match fun from beginning to end, mainly by using a team-leveling system and starting players fully powered-up.  Plus, there’s no loot so you can focus on the action and team strategies.

Another aspect of League of Legends that sucks is the overall sense you get of feeling like you need to grind.  LoL is “free to play” (more like freemium) but, in order to truly enjoy the game, you have to put in many hours before you can unlock enough champions to experiment with and find your strongest picks.  The amount of IP (Influence Points), the free in-game currency, you earn does not vary much, whether you play well or terribly.  There is a slight bump for high frag rates but nothing for setting up plays.

The defense for this design decision is that catering to K/D makes it easy to see who is fed and set up plays accordingly.  I disagree.  That is what pressing Tab and viewing score summary screen is for.  All the announcements and point distribution puts a heavy focus on K/D and this really hurts the game.

feeder-trouble-league-of-legends-parody

One reason there is such a huge rift between players in League of Legends is that feeding is often seen as a single-person issue.  What people fail to see is that feeding is often a missed opportunity for teams as a whole.. and Riot.  People tend to get antsy when matches take too long (LoL and most MOBAs are inherently slow-paced by design) or they give up when their teammates badger them too much (including unsolicited “advice”).  Riot could help alleviate some of these issues by creating more fast-paced modes.  Another good update would be to create a coaching mode where know-it-alls could help out the players that opt-in for “pro tips”.

UPDATE:  The new Team Builder mode alleviates many of the aforementioned issues by allowing players to queue up for the positions they really want to play..  But this is just a start.

Speaking from firsthand experience, I have seen a huge difference between matches where I just play and don’t bother communicating, and matches where I encourage my teammates and engage in authentic, friendly banter.  Every now and then you’ll have the asshat who decides to be an Internet tough guy when you’re just trying to create some synergy and good will, but usually people will respond in kind to your efforts.

Our own Stan Faryna has a brilliant suggestion here: remove anonymity.  People don’t act as tough when they are exposed and vunerable like everyone else.

Sadly, the notion of preemptive good will goes against most Internet rationale as people prefer their anonymity and  ability to just blend in with everyone else.  LoL’s honor system was supposed to help encourage more good will but it’s not quite working out that way.  People these days are also quite jaded and cynical so, if someone is being nice, they always suspect there are hidden motives.

I can knit-pick about LoL’s shortcomings all day long but, at the end of the day, it remains a game I truly enjoy in one of my favorite genres.  I do feel Riot needs to step up their game as there are more quality MOBAs coming out.  DotA 2 and Smite are taking more risks to find what works best whereas League of Legends has remained mostly the same for around four years now.

It’s easy to blame the community or human nature for the issues in League of Legends but the truth is that it’s lazy programming that make the players the way they are (or at least augment their ignorance and angst).  Most players have enough knowledge to be dangerous but not enough to understand that it’s a team game.  As such, if you’re entering LoL for the first time, brace yourself: it is a fun game but the trolls will try to eat you alive.  Play with some friends – it makes things FAR more enjoyable!

Welcome to League of Duty!

Source:  http://gametheorypodcast.libsyn.com/episode-21-league-of-legends-with-jt-eberhard-and-michaelyn

The Walking Dead – Quick Recap, Predictions, and Derp Moments

The Walking Dead Season 4.5 (the second half of Season 4, if you prefer) is upon us so I figured I would jump on the bandwagon and finally catch up on the show.  After a marathon session of over 20 episodes of about three to five hours of viewing fun at a time, I have now joined the rest of the world.

I love what they’ve done so far.  *SPOILERS!!*  I’m glad Shane and The Governor are both dead.   Talk about epic pricks.  These guys were such narcissists and people did not seem to catch on.  Sooooo frustrating that all the deaths and drama could have been avoided.

After watching so many episodes consecutively, it’s hard to see what they will do next.  I see some parallels between the TWD show and We’re Alive podcast.  I hope they borrow some ideas from there.  Let’s see some hardcore baddies and none of this borderline stuff.  I want Borderlands-style psychopath bandits.  The problem with The Governor is that it was easy to feel sorry for him.   Some feel that he was a necessary evil.  They humanized him too much, even after what he did to Maggie..  That bastard!

Andrea from The Walking Dead..  DERP SUPREME!

But I digress…  Let’s talk about Andrea.  She was the SUPREME DERP.  I wanted to like Andrea, I really did.  I understood her despair, I’ve been there, but she was just too much of a derp.

Of course, the writers are to blame here but still..  Andrea went from wanting to kill herself to wanting to prove herself.  In all her stupidity and over-zealousness she almost snipes Daryl.  She was volatile as hell and, just when you think she can’t get dumber, she hooks up with Shane..  and eventually The Governor.  YUCK.  Listen, there were plenty of guys to choose from.  Be a hornball all you want but at least stay away from the scumbags!

I suppose for all the flaws with the creative direction and plot holes, I can’t complain.  The fact that the show got me so fired up and emotionally-attached again proves that they’re doing something right.  It all comes down to the characters right now, and the cast is dwindling down.

I really dig the dynamics between Maggie and Glenn.  I’m really sad to see Hersh go but I guess he had a good run.  Carl is less annoying and more mature now so that’s good.  Daryl still kicks ass.  Rick is broken.  Carol has gone rogue.  Everyone else seems expendable or forgettable.  Mark my words: Bob (the drunk black guy and Army medic) is going to be an issue for our beloved survivors.

The bar has been set high.  For this show to continue to thrive, Rick needs to get it together and re-unite his camp.  Something worse than The Governor and the recent outbreak is coming.  They need to be ready.  What lies ahead?…

Check out the full three-part article over at ZombieCast.net – http://www.zombiecast.net/post/76175078408 – tweet the post, follow ZCast on Tumblr, and reblog it away!

HorsePLAY! EP 9 – Who/What Is The Shredder, Anyway?

In EP 9 of HorsePLAY!  we started to reminisce a bit about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  As per our usual style, the discussion somehow derailed into speculation about The Shredder.  So, tell us what you think..  What are Shredder’s origins?

Don’t forget to check out HorsePLAY! Episode 9 (full HD video link), where we talk about commercialization, exaggerated marketing and special effects, consumer scams, V-Day, and the Super Ad Bowl.  There are tons of interesting updates in our Obligatory News segment, too.

We’ll be showcasing more episodes of HorsePLAY! right here on GANG soon.  Still debating if we’ll sprinkle in the full library to date or just feature select episodes.  Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Hmmm, maybe favorite HP! episodes will be the next poll…  Anyway, if you’re viewing this from somewhere other than the Geeky Antics Network Global (GANG) site, be sure to visit us and take the poll.