The GANG Minute: Farewell To ObioneX2 And Twitch Stream Team?

Naruto - Good Bye

We want to thank everyone who has applied to be part of our stream team or contribute in some other way.  This installment of TGM will address what we’re doing on that side so please read on.

Obi Moves On From GeekyAntics… Officially

If you’ve been keeping up with our HorsePLAY! podcast or just the general decline in community events, video uploads, and live events as a whole, it’s been clear that certain folks have been distant.  One of those folks is our pal, Obi.  With TSE (Top Star E-Sports) gaining traction and Obi having terrible time management to boot, we’ve decided it is best to part ways.

Obi will always be part of the GeekyAntics family but it’s clear that he can’t handle even the responsibility of showing up.  To be fair, it’s been difficult for all of us.  Life is full of adversity and shifting priorities so it’s only natural that folks will come and go.  As one of the originals, this is a “good bye for now” rather than “farewell forever” scenario.

At this point, all this is a formality since Obi has been less and less involved with the show for over a year.  Now y’all can stop asking if Obi left the show or not – there’s the answer!  Don’t worry: we’ll send off Obi officially in the next couple of weeks, so you’ll have time to say bye (we reckon he’ll really disappear now LOL).  Stay tuned to our podcast.  Our podcast feed is sexy – check it out!

ObioneX2 Clone

This is not ObioneX2 but it sure does look like him!

 

No More GeekyAntics Stream Team.. For Now

This departure alongside other disappointments has had me thinking a lot more about how we will do things in 2017 going forward.  For several months, things have been brewing in the GeekyAntics Network.  Rather than get into all the behind the scenes stuff, suffice to say that we are restructuring things, streamlining, and shifting our focus.  The reality is that there is a lot of work involved with running this network and, while everyone involved has benefited in big ways, only a handful of people contribute consistently.  This leaves us carrying a lot of dead weight and, to be frank, it’s burnt me out financially, spiritually, and even physically.

As such, I have made the personal decision to no longer invest in actively supporting or building a stream team, not on Twitch, YouTube, or Beam.  Instead, we will focus on podcasts and written content.  Anyone who wants to contribute will have to show that they’re not just trying to ride our coat tails and get free advertising, which seems to be the case with most.

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AM Audio Media Interviews With Rikki Wright & Andrew Chalmers!

AM Audio Media | Doctor Who Dark Journey Radio Drama |http://amaudiomedia.com/subscribe

It’s finally here – the AM Audio Media interview with Rikki Wright and Andrew Chalmers!

If you’re not familiar with the fine folks behind the Doctor Who Dark Journey radio drama, check out the embedded #TWTT video or podcast below.  You can also visit the official AM Audio Media web site, home to delicious Doctor Who fandoms.  Skip ahead for breaking news from our friends at AMAM and the interview double-header.  It’s FANTASTIC!

As some of you know, I had a recent hard drive crash right after one of my computers started to act up.  We’ve been recovering from the losses but fortunately we had backups an the support of fine folks like Mike T.  He’s even sending us some new Doctor Who sound bits to use on our soundboard and post-productions.  The one and only MA Tamburro also added some breaking Whovian news that is somewhat exclusive so – YAY!

BTW We’re planning a launch of Series 2 of Dark Journey at the end of the month if you’d like to mention that to your listeners. We’d love to be on the show at some point in June and intro a full new episode.

So it turns out we are posting these interviews right on time, after all (PHEW).  Stand by…  AM Audio Media nterviews warping in!

Doctor Who Dark Journey HD Wallpaper - 1920x1280 - Art By SJA 2015

Download this FREE Doctor Who HD wallpaper, courtesy of AM Audio Media!

I’ve always been a fan of third person games, from the Doom and Duke Nukem era through Goldeneye through to current incarnation of the Grand Theft Auto series.  I like driving games too so when you combine them into something like Driver or Getaway, that’s what really cranks my chain… or floats my boat or… erm… let’s just say I’m particularly fond of them.  ~Rikki Wright a.k.a. “Just Fred”

Three Pantomimes & Interchangeable Pertwee Head Scarecrows

TWTT:  Before we get into your work with Dark Journey, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do for fun, for example?
Rikki Wright:  For fun, I run marathon’s to raise money for various charities, I am an activist for certain group that promotes freedom of speech but who shall remain “anonymous”, and I actively get involved in the rescue of puppies from illegal dog fighting rings.  Really?  No, not really.  I rarely leave the comfort of my Lazy-Boy recliner where I spend most days as close to horizontal as possible while watching reruns of 1980’s game shows, eating cheesies and scratching myself with a medium sized stick (interestingly I found that a large stick whilst providing greater coverage was too heavy and hence required a greater consumption of cheesies to generate the energy to use properly).  Really?  Also no, not really.  The reality is almost less interesting than both of those extremes.  As a father of 2, I spend most of my “spare” time running kids from swimming lessons to hockey practice and birthday parties.  I am on the board and coach at my local rugby club and in those rarest of moments when I do find time for myself, I pretend to be an actor both on stage, on camera and in the case of Doctor Who Dark Journey, behind a microphone.  Occasionally I turn my pen towards paper and have written (and produced) three pantomimes. 
What does Doctor Who mean to you?  Does it have a special place in your heart?
As a child growing up in the 80’s in England, Doctor Who was quite popular and so when I think of Doctor Who (the classic era) it reminds me of my childhood.  More recently however, with the latest regenerations of the Doctor, it reminds me that my wife often goes to bed much earlier than me and thus I get free reign to watch whatever I want on TV!  Mixed emotions then.
EDITOR’S NOTE:  I know the feeling well..  My family hogs up the big screen TV..   But, on a positive note, I got my anti-sci-fi wife mildly interested in Doctor Who – it’s a start!
How did you come to be involved with the Dark Journey radio drama?
I became involved in Dark Journey after answering a casting call I came across online. I auditioned over the phone reading from a play I performed in when I was about 15 years old… so just a few years ago.
What is your fondest memory of recording with the cast (thus far)?
Andrew and I share a very similar sense of humour (or as he would pronounce it “youmer”) – recording with the cast was always a challenge as Andrew and I would crack jokes (often with double entendres providing the punchlines).  The challenge was always continuing recording after a good giggle and trying to keep a straight face.  I’d regularly have to close my eyes or turn away from Andrew to avoid making eye contact and cracking up again.  Unprofessional… maybe! I will not miss the small and overly warm recording studio that somehow managed to create the most unusual smells with no apparent source material.
Who is your favorite Doctor?   Least favorite?
I have a romanticised idea of liking the third doctor Jon Pertwee because of another TV character he played on Worzel Gummidge (a scarecrow with interchangeable heads!) I really should go back and watch some of the episodes from that era, particularly as he is often compared to the current Doctor Peter Capaldi whom I have a difficult time warming to.  If I were to pick a favourite Doctor (who I can actually remember clearly), without a doubt it would be Tennant. In terms of least favourite Doctor, I will probably be lambasted for this but I didn’t like Matt Smith, too quirky and full of self importance… although that could describe most Doctors.

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Walker Stalker Con 2014 Atlanta Highlights & Musings #WSCAtlanta #TWDFamily #TWTT #HorsePLAY

Yomar Lopez a.k.a. Yogizilla with Zombie Cast & Travis Love

Happy Halloween!

I know it’s a little early but the coming weeks will be very busy for us on the network.  We’ll be with our families and catching up on projects here and there..  Don’t worry: while we may not be streaming, blogging, or podcasting much, we’ll be here in spirit..  And probably watching lots of horror movies and shows.  I know I will be watching American Horror Story and maybe Sleepy Hollow with my wife.  YAY!

Happy Halloween - Trick Or Treat - Tasteful Anime  Witch Wallpaper

 

I’m still on that Walker Stalker Con high but, sadly, I can’t enjoy it as much.  Duty calls as projects pile up and my family prepares to move…  But enough about me!

Here are a few videos that cover the highlights at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2014.  If you’ve never been to WSC, you’ll know what to expect.  If you went last year, you can get a feel for what has changed.  Read onward for some highlights and the burning question:

Is Walker Stalker Con [or conventions in general] a mere money grab?

I want to say that I really enjoyed the convention but, as with anything else, there were opportunities.  We’ll get into that after the “video break”.  Sit tight, friends!

 

HorsePLAY! LIVE EP45: Walker Stalker Con Post-Show

The GANG Minute / Geektastic Vlog Mashup: My Personal WSC Highlights & Concerns

On-Location At AmericasMart Atlanta: Walker Stalker Con Fan Reactions & Event Photos

 

Walker Stalker Con was a fun event to go to as a fan and there was plenty to cover as media.  There were tons of panels, celebrities, vendors, and other attractions.  WAY too much to cover in proper detail.  Here are the main things that stood out for me.

Before I share my impressions and opinions here, I want to note that this was my first Walker Stalker Con but I have been to many conventions.  Typically, conventions are forgettable to me but WSC has something special to it.  I believe my feelings here may be in the minority because I don’t get excited by autographs and star-studded events.  Before I share my thoughts, here is what I look for in a convention to consider it worthwhile:

  • You’ll enjoy the event regardless of how much money you spend.
  • Vendors get enough foot traffic to justify booth costs.
  • Autographs and photo ops are subsidized or minimal to provide more time/focus for other events.
  • Event schedules account for waiting/travel times, breaks, and the like.
  • Merch mark-up covers costs but does not exhibit extreme profit margins (i.e. greed).
  • It is clear that fans of all kinds are the priority.
  • Media is given proper access and treatment without taking away from paying guests.
  • Behind-the-scenes information and anecdotes..  Stories worth sharing!

These are some of the things I’ll be pondering as I share my thoughts on Walker Stalker Con Atlanta.  Now let’s jump in!

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Mini Zombie Photo Journal: #WalkerStalkerCon #Atlanta 2014 | #TWTT #HorsePLAY

UPDATE:  Had some tech issues.  All sorted out now.  This was supposed to be a early morning piece.  My bad!

Day One of Walker Stalker Con was pretty darn awesome.  It’s already almost time to head back but here are some quick highlights.  I apologize in advance for some of the crappy photos but, hey, it’s something!

 

IMG_20141017_131131

 

Eric and James of The Walker Stalkers podcast kicked off the event sharing a brief history of the event.  It’s hard to believe it hasn’t even been two years since WSC started.

 

They discussed how the event started as a simple fan meetup.  The expected turnout was 1K but, instead, over 10K people showed up.  This year, they are expecting over 50K at the event.  Their growth has been amazing and inspiring!  This reminds us that podcasts are still ripe opportunities.

 

20141017_132529

 

Walker Stalkers LIVE reminded us that this is a true fan event.  Eric and James offered General Admissions attendees a chance at a free VIP upgrade by playing The Walking Dead Family Feud.  It was awesome seeing old TWD cast members sitting right there with the fans.  The energy and wit the actors brought was refreshing and it really set the tone for the event.  This is huge considering Dania, a.k.a. Michonne, cancelled at the very last minute and other issues overshadowed Day One.  To that I say “shame on you” to the managers and agents who failed to see the importance of this event.

 

20141017_131839

 

Lots of great surveys were featured in this game of Family Feud.  The big one is shown above, when contestants were asked, “What are the biggest threats in The Walking Dead?”  Sadly, spoiled food and squirrels did not make the board.  Doh.

 

20141017_134137

 

The main panel room on the 3rd floor of AmericasMart building 2 is huge.  There is not much scheduled in the space, which is a shame, but the setup is nice.  Great lighting and set pieces.  This event space in Atlanta is impressive and spacious, yet it’s not overwhelming like, say, Jacob Javits Center in NYC.  There is a certain warmth here.

 

20141017_141321

 

The next panel I caught was Emory University’s Zombie Ethics discussion.  They went deep on the allure of The Walking Dead and what defines ethics under normal or apocalyptic circumstances.  Are zombies sentient enough to be subject to ethics ?  Is mistreatment of zombies animal cruelty?  Does choice and free will determine the responsibility of ethics?   I really enjoyed the discussion so expect a write-up on it.  There were audio issues but the presenters and experts were wonderful so I stuck around for the whole thing.

 

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E3 2014 Predictions And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter #E3Live #E32014

E3 2014 - XBox Vs. Playstation

UPDATE:  Watching the Twitch E3 preview with @DJwheat and gang.  In just a few minutes, Microsoft is doing their Day 0 press conference.  There’s a lot of wishing and hoping for Fallout 4 (and a new Gears Of War).  That sounds AWESOME to me but I won’t hold my breath, simply because Bethesda has already shot down that notion and they’ll want to let Elder Scrolls Online marinate a while first.  The next Fallout won’t be for at least another year or two.  What do you guys, think?

In the past week, everyone has been asking me if I am excited about E3.  I don’t know how to answer without sounding like a bitter old man or being a wet towel..  Truth is: I’ve barely given E3 much thought.  Everything I want from gaming is here and now so it was not a big deal to me..  Then, during HorsePLAY! LIVE EP25, TCollins89 asked why E3 is on weekdays. It got me thinking:

E3 is not for the everyday or common gamer.  So what is it really about and does it really matter?

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-131961/TS-867919.mp3|titles=HorsePLAY!

DISCLAIMER:  What you are about to read is an editorial.  This, like anything else on Geeky Antics, is the opinion of me, the author.  I may ruffle some feathers but I am being honest and open here.  Keep an open mind.  I am not trying to belittle anyone.  We can disagree peacefully!

As far as I’m concerned, E3 is a glorified trade show meant to hype up gamers who, somehow, can’t get enough content or want more fuel for the console wars. It is geared towards marketers, suits, developers, and journalists.  Think about this:

How many of the presenters actually PLAY games?  Are they gamers first or marketing/business people first?  I reckon the latter is often the case.

For most, E3 is just an excuse for a change of scenery or time off from work. I would venture to say the only way you are looking forward to E3 is if you want the social experience or are super hardcore about gaming (i.e. you have to play every single major game that is released).  This is wishful thinking but I think I’d care more about console gaming again if the entry points were more appealing, at least for the software itself.

That may sound harsh but I think I have finally converted back to PC for good. There are countless reasons but, for me, it’s simply because all my friends are sharded amongst different games and the PC offers too much bang for your buck to even consider dedicated console gaming. I can’t justify the cost or budget the time for a console right now.  As a family man, it does not help that my kids are growing up and playing games with daddy is no longer cool.  Without the bonding experience, console gaming is ho-hum.  I just don’t have the time or interest to do single-player games.

I love my XBox 360 but, for the first time in around ten years, I have let my XBox LIVE subscription lapse for more than two months. My video game wall of shame beckons yet I do not feel compelled to fire her up. I am satisfied by my options on the PC and I don’t have to worry about the hidden costs or suddenly finding that online support has been shut down.

Granted, I have been mostly playing Hearthstone, League of Legends, and SolForge lately but I have a library of games on the PC that excites me every time I look at it. With my consoles, I have mostly felt depression and regret for the past generation or so. I will eventually get an XBox One to play with friends but I do not feel left out of the water cooler conversations.

Now, I can already hear people saying that E3 is about electronic entertainment (hence the name E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo) as a whole. That is true but it can’t be denied that the expo focuses on the gaming consoles more than anything. With that in mind, consider this fact:

During the transitionary period between console generations, we can’t expect fresh, innovative games. The developers will stick to the console with the greater install base until they figure out how to take advantage of the new framework.

I have nothing against Watch Dogs or Titanfall. I just don’t think they are system sellers for me.  They are the games that are good now because there is nothing else.  Besides, after how Microsoft botched up the original XBox to 360 transition, I think they will play it smart and keep the 360 going for another two to three years.

Glorious PC Master Race - Dirty Console Peasants

[ source: comicvine.com ]

I am no elitist but the future of gaming has been on mobile devices and the PC.. For a while now. $300-500 gets you solid upgrades for your PC and you’re good for a while. With consoles, you have the hidden costs of accessories, DLCs, micro transactions, macro transactions, forced annual releases, preferred server access, season passes, etc. Yeah, I am a smidge jaded and cynical..   But I am also hopeful, especially with so many brilliant small studios and indie developers paving the way (THANK YOU)!

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The HONEST Way To Succeed With Twitch.. And Social Media

YouTube + Twitch = YouTwith

The #1 article on Google Search for “succeeding on Twitch” is now here at http://geekyantics.net/blog – thank you all for your wonderful support and encouragement! We’re glad we can help non-partnered streamers level the playing field and find advice that isn’t your typical canned messaging and tech talk. There’s far more to streaming on Twitch than overlays, technology, and your games of choice, friends.  Stay tuned for more articles regarding Twitch, online businesses, and social media marketing!

UPDATE!  We’ve been featured on Gods Of Mayhem, The Angry Joe Show, IGN, and many popular Twitch channels.  Thank you for supporting our growing network and empowering us to help others and put out unique, useful, and fun content!  We are also one of the Top 10 results for “geeky network” on search engines.  Thank you all!

If you love what we have to say, please support our Twitch channels and other projects:

  • Geeky Antics Stream Team – Support these folks because they are awesome, friendly, and engaging.. Yes, even that salty dog ObioneX2 is lovable and fun to hang out with, once you get to know him. #TheGANG
  • ShinyPrints.com – One of our biggest sponsors and clients.  They help me, Yomar a.k.a. Yogizilla, work from home so I can be with my family and run the GeekyAntics network.  Check out their wedding photo frames and design templates.  Artists and photographers will be surprised just how much better and cost-effective metal prints and wall art can be – PLUS they are built to last and you don’t need a mount!
  • GeekyAntics – One of the FIRST channels to establish a podcasting stream team and do gaming talk shows..  WAY before there was even a category for it!
  • TheWorstRadioShow – Literally THE worst radio show out there.. And we love them for it!  Part of our beloved stream team and podcast network, affectionately called #TheGANG.  Check out other great WRS Media projects like Podcast Infinity and Dark Zone Podcast, too!
  • GamingDeath – One of the oldest REAL podcasts on Twitch.  Be sure to check them out as they are well-connected in the gaming industry and a hoot to listen to! #TheGANG
  • Yogizilla – People say I’m like Man Vs. Game but more engaging and better at the newb/scrub plays. I’ve also been told I am one of the friendliest, most authentic streamers around.. That means A LOT to me! #TheGANG #ThePodFather

SHOUT-OUTS to some more of my favorite streamers out there and the folks who have supported GeekyAntics wholeheartedly. The people that care about other people and do things the right way. Mnalicious, Linkwall, Cupcakeeenvy, xelyz, cannibalqueen2107, Yantzi, Maquannas, Poopybuttz, Obezianka, ShannaNina, and everyone else I can’t fit in one blog post (for the sake of brevity). Keep on keeping on – you guys ROCK! Tons of love for the collaborative souls out there!

With the impending doom that’s sure to come with the inevitable Google (or other mega-corporation) acquisition of Twitch, a lot of us in the GeekyAntics and AllGames communities are looking to step up our game on Twitch or at least keep our options open. After all, if we can cement ourselves as Twitch partners (certainly not the best or only growth path) and featured channels, why NOT do it on the “ground level”?  Unfortunately, Twitch streamers, like many social media enthusiasts, are looking for the magic bullet.

The magic bullet does not exist.

DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions based upon my experience as a NISM-certified social media strategist (I sit on their board of advisors too) and personal observations. I do not pretend to have all the answers nor is this guide the end-all on your quest for social media success.. but it’s a darn good start! It’s also worth noting that I am not partnered on Twitch because it has not been the focus on my network BUT having the #1 Twitch marketing/growth article out there should lend some credibility. *smirk*

Sure, there are some shortcuts and tips but it all comes down to the basics. We’ll get into that but here’s what one streamer recommends after becoming a Twitch partner in about a month’s time (this is very rare, by the way):

This is solid advice. Obezianka, like many of us in #TheGANG, really believes in the value of authenticity and engagement. Sadly, there is more to this puzzle than what is mentioned here because tons of people have high production value and consistency, yet they struggle to break 100 concurrent viewers; heck, some days 10 viewers is a blessing, amirite?

Even worse, people only see value in followers and views but there’s more to success than that.  Heck, there are tons of unremarkable channels that hit high numbers consistently yet have nothing special to offer.  It all comes down to this: What is success to YOU?  What REALLY drives you?

Let’s dig deep here. We’ll go through the best practices and the tried-and-true strategies we have uncovered from analyzing top streamers and first-hand experiences alike. Let’s do this!

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The DocRoe Chronicles: Who Is DocRoe, Online Dating SUCCESS, And NEW! Sunday Show

The Boondock Saints - By Hawk Eye Aless

First of all, I say goodday to you my friends, and let me introduce myself:

I am DocRoe, 25 years old (i think), born in Carlow, Ireland in the wonderful year of 1988,  so you can figure out my exact age every year.  I suck at math.

Carlow is a town you probably never heard of and, well, I don’t blame you.

Here it is, an aerial view of Carlow: Aerial View Of Carlow, Ireland

Traveling agents would say it’s a wonderful little picturesque towny thingy with a lot of character,  my best description is this:

It’s an absolute shithole.

I grew up there until about the age of 5 or 6, and then my parents finally got it in to their dusty little braincells that this place blows,
and moved across the pond to Belgium.   Talking about a shithole, that country isn’t all that better. But that story is maybe for another time.   I lived there practically all my life, from 5/6 until 20.

But then something happened in the boring life of The Doctor.
He met a girl.  Online.

She was the most amazing person he ever talked to, met,                       and had the privilege to hang out with.

And she still is.

One year after meeting her at the age of 20, I decided to just say       “fuck y’all” and leave Belgium to move in with her.  I moved all my stuff by train, and the next stop was Groningen, Netherlands.  That’s where i still live today.  Also, my favorite movie is Boondock Saints.

Now that you know who the hell I am:

HELLO!!!!

I have arrived here at G.A.N.G. to bring you columns and a new web/radio show.   I’m not going to tell you what or how or when. It’s on Sundays.   And that’s all you’re getting from me!!!!

I will co-host this show with my dear friend Obionex2 here in this lovely community.

Wait, Doc, go back.
COLUMNS?!!
Who the hell does that nowadays?!!

Well, me, for starters.  What will my columns be about?  Anything I fucking feel like..   But mostly series, movies, games and music.

Where to find the best games and movies you HAVE to see and which you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TOUCH!!!  Right here.

(That last part goes for series as well.)

So yeah, here i am, and i’m coming for your soul!
If you guys want me to discuss anything about any subject, just let me know and i probably will, if i feel like it, ok, you win. I will.

And for now: SEE YA NERDS!

P.S.  Maybe next time a schmexy picture of Le Doc? Stay Tuned!

grtz
DocRoe

Hearthstone PAX East News With The B-Team PLUS More Previews & Core Concepts

The B-Team Podcast - Blizzard Interview About Hearthstone

For several weeks on HorsePLAY! LIVE and in the GANG community, we’ve been predicting the release schedule for various killer features that will keep Hearthstone on our playlist and get more of our friends on-board.  In our previous article on how to get the Hearthstone iPad app now (and get started right), we shared how to get rocking on your Apple device NOW but it seems the need for the work-around is quickly fading away.  The B-Team Podcast has confirmed that the window is currently within a week or so.  I am guessing before my birthday this Saturday, April 19th – that’s great news, everyone!

B-Team PAX East Blizzard Interview Key Take-Aways:

  • Blizzard qualifies this as CCG, not a TCG, which means we should not hold our breath for trading or auctioning of any sort.
  • Hearthstone is the CCG for everyone.
  • They’re prioritizing creating a great game over the obligatory “merchandising bonanza” and cross-promotion.
  • The iPad experience is the same as on PC and Mac.
  • There are no pay gates or pay walls.
  • One of their core philosophies is balancing the game so you can be competitive without spending tons of time or money.

All this is great news and should encourage newer players or anyone who is on the fence.  I was surprised that there was no indication about spectator mode from any PAX East coverage.  Blizzard has said it is a “top priority” but I reckon other components and features are the focus.   I really feel that Blizzard is focusing on the more casual competitive community before catering to the hardcore eSports type players  I’d say too much of a focus on eSports features which would make Hearthstone more exclusive and scary for the average gamer.

Our own Stan Faryna cited concerns with matchmaking and the new player experience, by extension.  Blizzard confirmed that it is something they will keep fine-tuning.  Hearthstone is the game many Blizzard developers have wanted to play themselves so they want it to be fun for everyone.  During the B-Team interview, they briefly summarized how each of the primary gameplay modes handle matchmaking differently:

  • Casual – As Stan says, casual play can be frustrating.  I find that early in any season, the competition is most fierce due to a smaller player pool and sample data to work with perhaps.  I do win most of my matches here unless I start experimenting too much.
  • Ranked – This ladder mode looks more at stars and current rank so it’s easier to find a close match, in theory.  This mode seems to be the most fair mid-way through any season, with the exception of smurfs and fast-tracked/pay-to-win players.
  • Arena – This uses a completely different system.  Blizzard is unclear (“shocker”) on what this means.  I still find arena truly levels the playing field and rewards the most skilled players.  Luck of the draw when building decks is an issue here, however.

Blizzard assures us that the client-server model, as opposed to peer-to-peer, so cheating should be minimized.  The only issue Blizzard has encountered often is with trolls milking the timer.   Never fear – they are working on improving that!  Unlike their parent company, EA, I have faith Blizzard will commit to their promises and support this game for many years to come, much like they have with Warcraft III and Diablo II, two of my all-time favorite games.

Blizzard also confirmed during the PAX East interview what many of us have already noticed: [two of] the top Twitch streamers have gone up the ladder to Legendary rank within a week or two without spending money.  I believe TrumpSC is one of them.  Of course, if you want to see how NOT to play Hearthstone, watch me on Twitch or check out the NEW! TwitchPlaysHearthstone, which is similar to the newbtastic, cringe-worthy experience on TwitchPlaysPokemon.

Joystiq has a quick-and-dirty Hearthstone PAX East cheat sheet that does a really good job of highlighting the big things we can expect this year.  The biggest details revolve around the upcoming Hearthstone expansion, affectionately called CoN.

Hearthstone - Adventure Mode - Curse Of NaxxramasCurse of Naxxramas is slated for Summer 2014 but I would not be surprised if the first boss encounter or episode is released within a few weeks as I write this.   I reckon Blizzard wants to control the release of new cards so that newer players can avoid feeling overwhelmed.  I think that is fair.

Jesse Cox reports from PAX East - Hearthstone Curse Of Naxxramas!The first CoN corridor or wing (Arachnid) will be FREE but, as we see in arena, a buy-in will be required for new runs.  While this expansion brings tons of singleplayer content, the addition of 30 new cards will certainly spice up PvP quite a bit.  More seasoned duelists like myself, Sworen, and ObioneX2 are eagerly awaiting new cards but, honestly, I think the current card set is fine.

What’s really important here is that Adventure Mode will give newer or lesser-skilled players the opportunity to test out new strategies in a more controlled environment since bosses will use pre-constructed themed decks.  With less room to blame external circumstances or luck, players can actual train and improve!  I know Stan will love what this expansion means for the game.  For me, the fact that I have gamer ADD means that I need more variety and Blizzard is delivering so THANK YOU!

Hearthstone Curse Of Naxxramas Adventure Mode #paxxramasQuite a few cards have been revealed but let’s discuss the ones most of us find interesting.   First and foremost, you’ll see that they are committing to the deathrattle mechanic quite a bit; however, there are still no signs of new classes and archetypes.  That means no elf, unicorn, dragon, or orc synergies…  Perhaps that would make the game less accessible..  Sorry but it’s true.  If you want over-complicated game mechanics, consider Scrolls, SolForge, Magic The Gathering, or Yu-Gi-Oh!, where the possibilities are endless..  almost to the point of utter frustration just keeping up with the current meta and most viable strategies.

Okay, okay, here are the cards: Undertaker gains a +1/+1 when minions with deathrattle are summoned.  Baron Rivendare will cause the deathrattle ability to trigger twice, which will certainly shift the meta and make for some interesting video highlights.  I can’t wait!  We wonder if this will replace Murlock aggro/rush decks as the new over-played core mechanic.  Deathrattle is already sexy but now we will see it as a theme around which decks will be built.

Dear Blizzard, you *NEED* to add more deck slots.  Hell, you can even monetize and bundle it with big-ticket purchases to justify expediting feature.  Really, additional deck slots would be a value-add just because it would allow players to compare different builds with their favorite heroes/classes.  Deck and class-based  stats could then be introduced, too!  We’d play a whole lot Hearthstone with these features in place.  Currently, getting attached to a deck is not possible so naming them is almost arbitrary and pointless.  Just sayin.

Shade Of Naxxramas is a 3-cost minion who starts at 2/2 with stealth and gains +1/+1 at the start of each turn.  Shade sounds like a stronger Jungle Panther, since this minion has the ability to stick and scale.  That means she will have the opportunity to get more damage out, which is HUGE.  Dancing Swords is 4/4 3-mana card.  It’s deathrattle effect gives your opponent cards, which makes this card questionable at first but…

We have seen a rise in Priest  with heavy card draw mechanics built right in.  The guys at The Angry Chicken say that milling (making your opponent run out of cards) is not a viable core mechanic or strategy but I beg to differ.  I’ve had opponents bleed out when they got too greedy.  What’s more is that Priests have the ability to mass dispel (silence), so they can theoretically play Dancing Swords without the penalty, which will likely make them more aggressive and popular.

Enough about the cards…  What about RNG?

RNG, known to game developers and designers as Random Number Generator, refers to the random seed process and algorithms that work behind the scenes.   Any element of random can be attributed to RNG.  In a deckbuilding game, you can express this as a fraction.  For example, you have a x/y chance to draw a card from a deck.  X is how many copies of the card you have and Y is the deck size.  Don’t forget to simplify and, if you prefer percentages, divide the numerator (the top number) by the denominator (the bottom number).

Kids, be sure to tell your parents you learned something useful today.  Math is OP.  For realz.

The big question about Hearthstone and other deckbuilding games is whether random elements trump skill.  I still say “NO” with regards to Hearthstone.  There are popular streamers that consistently get to the top tier of rankings so, logically, it can’t be all about random luck.  Give SolForge a try if you doubt this.  I love SolForge but it is much more of a grind for players trying to avoid dumping money in.  SolForge refreshes your hand every turn so you may never get the right card you want, even if you run multiple copies and incorporate lots of card-draw combos.

As we will often find, the key in any TCG/CCG is mitigating the random elements rather than waiting to top-deck the card you really need or hoping your opponent makes a mistake.   You need to be deliberate and aware.  Here are some core concepts to note:

  • Card Draw – Many decks run out of steam late-game, which is why Priests, Beasts, and Warlocks are very popular – they have tons of ways to draw more cards.  The more cards you have in your hand late-game, the more options you have.
  • Play Order – One of the things we often take for granted is the order in which cards are played.  The wrong order can cause unnecessary damage to your own minions or accidental enraging/buffing of enemy minions, just for starters.
  • Wait & Combo -Just because you can make a play on a turn does not mean it is the best play.  Consider the combos and potential value of a big play later.  Leaving a single minion to the slaughter is rarely a good idea, especially if they
  • Two For One – The simplest rule of thumb is the most basic math of efficiency: any action that can counter an opponent’s (or cause them to take) two or three actions is a solid play.  This would indicate that minions with abilities are particularly useful but sometimes it’s about preventing repeat use from opponent plays (like that one minion that keeps snake biting you).
  • Trade Or Face? – This is the question you’ll often be faced with.  Do you do damage to the face or trade up with minions?  It all depends on the threats on the board and what you suspect your opponent has waiting for you.  The main thing to consider is how likely it will be that minions you spared this turn will be buffed somehow, which means continued value for your opponent…  And potential damage to YOUR face.
  • Premature Ejaculation – It’s easy to blow your metaphorical load on Hearthstone.  You maysee the opportunity to remove a minion and forget about the other threats your opponent may have.  Board clear is very good but be wary of opponents with full hands..  They are likely trying to bait you to waste your counters.

These concepts apply to just about every card game but Hearthstone is arguably the easiest to get into.  Now, we can talk about the strategy all day but it really comes down to the basics: patience and experience.  If you get frustrated and forget to have fun, nothing else really matters.  Find a deck build that you enjoy and focus on that a bit.  Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.  Streaming on Twitch certainly welcomes advice, warranted or not.

Hearthstone: Deceptively Simple, Insanely FunHearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft truly is deceptively simple (yeah, it’s not just catchy marketing copy, guys).  It’s easy to get into but, like with any other deckbuilding game, there are many layers of depth and strategy.  Experience goes a long way so, if you want to build up an early advantage, it may be best to jump into the game right now and learn the ropes before new cards and game mechanics are introduced.  The meta will inevitably shift with every tweak but the game is stable and balanced now.

So what are you waiting for?

Tell us what’s keeping you from playing Hearthstone TODAY..  Or maybe what you love most about it.  It’s all good in da hood, y0.  If you’re still unsure about Hearthstone, I’ll sell you on it yet!  If you have questions or concerns, share them with us – don’t be shy!

See you in the comments section!

 

HorsePLAY! Zombie Talk Series: Two Podcasts Featuring Zombie Cast!

Rick Grimes & Zombie Best Friend

HorsePLAY! LIVE
Episodes 10 & 11 – Zombie Talk Series Featuring Zombie Cast

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-131961/TS-835980.mp3|titles=HorsePLAY! http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-131961/TS-834578.mp3|titles=HorsePLAY!

Pass the brains and smoked paprika – Zombie Talk is here!

In this special two-episode series, Zombie Cast from AllGames.com joins us for our best horseplay yet. In fact, the geeky antics and shenanigans are so good that we get to talking about tons of stuff beyond zombies and even horror. In Part 2 of this Zombie Talk series, we do manage to get Shawn and Matt to behave bit so we could talk about The Walking Dead and zombies in depth.

Gosh, there are too many hilarious moments and great topics to highlight here.. Well, here is a little taste.. zombie bite, if you prefer:

  • Matt does crossword puzzles and plays with his desk toys to distract us.
  • The truth about Canadian bacon is revealed!
  • A cross-eyed crafter’s Stanley Cup replica unveiled.
  • Now you too can have your very own K-9 (snarky remarks database optional).
  • Beth and Daryl might be going the wrong way on the tracks, away from Terminus!
  • What if Daryl is being set up to be killed off??!
  • The military’s real-life Iron Man project.
  • Matt and Shawn share intimate Fun Facts about themselves.
  • Norma rolls wit da homies.
  • The Walking Dead spin-off show details.
  • Why Shane was a real douchebag.
  • Attack of the Flappy Bird!!

Watch HorsePLAY! EP11 “Night of the Zombie Geeks” HD
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STUsNX70kkk

…And, for your convenience, we’ll even embed the video.  Technology OP.

 

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

The Walking Dead Rick Grimes Anime Style

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