Fantasy LCS Review: Season 6, Week 4

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week4standingsAnother week down, and another week where both the Immortals go undefeated, and as a result of owning four of the team’s players, Derpy is also undefeated. Which means he took me out last week. It was a closer match, but he still beat me convincingly. To top things off, due to the fact that I now have the 3rd highest point total, the 2-2 record I share with Judentus means I’m now in 3rd place in the league. I do face Judentus this weekend though, and as of the time of this writing I’m down by a lot, but that’s because he has quite a few EULCS players on his team. I have zero this week, so I won’t know how it’ll shake up until Sunday. I’m confident that I will win, the projections said as much. At least he doesn’t have any members of IMT.

So let’s take a look at last week’s matchup. I was facing Derpy and as I’ve mentioned he basically owns IMT so of course they had huge games again and I lost, whereas my score was actually the lowest of all, so I would have lost no matter what. Either of the other teams would have actually won this week if they would have faced Derpy, so I guess it’s bad timing that I was the one playing him that week. Perhaps he will drop a game. I am almost positive that Immortals will, and it will likely be to one of the weaker teams in the league. These types of things happen all the time in sports, and I think that will correlate to pro LoL play.

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Anyway, I was pleased with my European last minute pickups’ scores but then they still don’t see very high. As a result I made some changes going into next week. I’ve been giving Rush chances to give me the big points time and again, but I’m watching Dardoch’s stocks rise, and his week-to-week scoreline has been impressive. I’m giving the rookie a go this week and hoping for good things. The rest of my lineup is pretty much the same. I like CLG’s matchups this week so I threw them into the mix, and Derpy actually made some small changes to his lineup, resulting in the aquistion of GBM. I know he’s probably hit or miss, but I’m taking a risk. The final two slots have seemed to be the thing I either need to change each week (team) or I haven’t found a good permanent solution yet (flex). Perhaps GBM will over perform this week like he did when NRG played TSM.

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Moving along, let’s see what’s changed on the pro player leader boards:

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This week I had absolutely no one in the top 5. That was a streak that I knew would come to an end, but it was sad nonetheless. However, I do still have Piglet and Pobelter putting in work for me overall, scoring 2nd and 3rd place for the spring. Wildturtle leap frogged over them though, but I’ll take two top players over just one anytime. That’s about it for this week. We’ll see what happens in the games and I’ll be back next week with more.

It’s All Coming Together, Finally

Fair warning, this is a mostly personal, real-life post. There will be some gaming tidbits near the end.

2016 looks to finally be my year. When I moved to LA from my old podunk town, I came with the expectation of getting my life back on track. First I needed to get my license back in order, which was one of the first things I did. I had been out of school for a while too, so I needed to get back to that as well. The tail end of 2014 was pretty much a wash, just getting accustomed to the new area and starting the process on my license. By mid-2015, I had my license back and started thinking about getting back to school. It seemed at every turn, I was being pulled in different directions, and my own self-loathing didn’t help things along. In the summer, I finally got back into school, and at this point I only have eight months to go before I get my Bachelors Degree in Business. Knowing I’m so close has kept me motivated, and my grades have been above average. I did have several interviews over the course of the year but no luck securing employment. I was living off of family and it was driving me crazy, but I couldn’t push myself to get something going, and having no one out here to “put in a good word” or give me a “foot in the door” was discouraging. I focused my efforts on being creative and trying to find ways to make money via the Internet, but it was going nowhere fast. I have built a decent following via this blog, and my podcast’s audience seems to be growing as well, but it’s not paying the bills and my guilt for leaning on family members was building. After the calendar’s page flipped to 2016, I knew that I had to put out a better effort in finding gainful employment, if nothing else to just stave off that guilt and to also get me by until I get my degree. After that point, more opportunities will most likely arise.

Scouring sites such as Craigslist and Indeed, I put out countless copies of my resume and though it wasn’t getting me immediate results, I kept plugging away. Finally, last week I received a call about an interview. I had been to this point with other employers before, so I wasn’t holding my breath. After the interview though, I had a really good feeling about things. I’m probably over qualified for the job, and it’s not paying a whole hell of a lot, but I know I can handle anything they can throw at me, and that’s a good start. I was told I’d hear back if they wanted to have a second interview, and they called me back the very next day. After the second interview, I felt that the job was mine, but I was told that the final decision would be made this week. The call came in today, and I start work tomorrow. It’s going to be part time hours to start, but I think before long I’ll get more hours and will make more money. I see potential to grow, but in the event that it is one of those dead-end situations, my degree should save me from floundering in obscurity. I hate to toot my own horn, but I moved from a place I lived from the time I started high school up until 1.5 years ago, sorted out my legal issues, and got a job in that time. It’s not the fastest pace, but I’m proud of myself for getting this far without giving up hope.

A couple of weeks ago I received my tax return, and with that came the ability to pick up a few things that I wanted, and take care of some debts. There were other things I would have liked to buy, and other things I would have liked to take care of, but I wasn’t sure when the next bit of money was going to come in, so I thought it would be wise to hang on to some of it. Being a gamer, the obvious thing to do was to buy some games so that I wouldn’t have to spend money on anything else, and sit on the rest of the cash in the event it was needed. I picked up a PS4, which I mentioned in a post not too long ago. I also bought a new headset that should theoretically improve the quality of my podcasting and video commentary. I still have dreams of making money via podcasting or YouTube, but I’m not so unrealistic to not keep a day job in the meantime.

Unexpectedly, my school grant check came in this week as well, and it was much bigger than I expected. In fact, it’s the biggest check I’ve ever received from the school. It was big enough that I could basically fix everything else I needed to fix, and have plenty of money to save and/or blow on top of it. The first thing I did was open a new bank account. I had closed the account I had prior to that because I didn’t have an income and they’d want to charge me monthly fees. With a new debit card in hand, I took my car straight to a mechanic and told them I wanted to fix everything that was wrong with it. I needed some suspension work done which has been driving me crazy for a long time now, plus brakes and an oil change. That was completed today, and though it was a pretty penny, my car is in tip top condition again and now I’m looking forward to the road trips I can make with it. I also got some quotes for a new stereo head unit from some local shops on Yelp, mainly because the stock stereo is ten years old now and has been on the fritz for about a month. I stopped by one of the shops and picked out a new Kenwood stereo and put a deposit on the parts they had to order to install it. Hopefully I’ll have that in by this weekend, and my car will truly be back to 100%.

There are a few more doodads I’d like to pick up as well. I’m at the point where it’s time to upgrade my phone, and I’ve decided that I want to get an Android, as I’m sick of the lack of support for Windows phones. I’ve also been thinking of buying a tablet in lieu of working out a 2-monitor setup. I’ve seen some good deals on ones that will do all that I want them to do, and for only about $500. At that point, I think I’ll have basically everything that’s been on my wish list for a couple of years now, and life will be right where I want it to be. The journey back to independence has been a long one, but I feel that all the decisions I’ve made over the last couple of years have brought me to this point and I feel like I made the right ones. I feel truly happy for the first time in a long time.

As for the blog and my other projects, they aren’t going anywhere. I will still be able to fit in blog posts, podcasts and the occasional YouTube video. I did stop posting on the Digital Backwoods, mainly because I am not playing anything that lends itself to landscape shots. I’m not going to close the blog because there’s a bunch of cool screens there, and perhaps I’ll get back into the swing of things eventually, but for now it’s just going to lay dormant.

I think that covers everything I wanted to talk about. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy gaming!

Progress Report: D3 Season 5

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The above screenshot paints a picture of what’s going on with my latest character in this season’s journey. He’s max level. He has 124 paragon levels. He’s got all but one of the season journey objectives completed. He’s got mostly matching gear. Grinding Torment IV rifts has become nearly effortless, and moving onto Torment V is happening very soon. I’m sure you can probably guess which one of the objectives he hasn’t completed yet, but I have already spoiled that in the above sentence and also on the latest episode of Couch Podtatoes. For those of you who suck at guessing or weren’t paying attention, this Crusader still has yet to finish a set dungeon.

Ah, the elusive set dungeon. Truth be told, most everyone who isn’t playing a hardcore character (or didn’t kill their first one off like I did) had no issue getting their first complete set of armor, allowing them entry into the exclusive club known as set dungeons. Nay, they had Haedrig’s Gift on their side, and they completed all of the objectives needed to earn that full set of gear, and they triumphed over their dungeon and perhaps moved onto other set dungeons. My stupid luck meant that I had only one Haedrig’s Gift to reap on this character, as the other two fell into the ether once my Barbarian died. The last gift contained only one set piece I could use, as I had already found the other via RNG (grinding). I have since been grinding quite a bit. I pushed through the 20 levels of Greater Rifts required for the last gift a week or more ago. I’ve earned a bunch of paragon points along the way and have increased the difficulty each time things started to feel easy. I’ve upgraded a legendary gem to rank 25, and a second to rank 10. I’ve found ancient weapons and armor. I have matching set rings. I have set pieces in almost every slot, legendaries in the rest. I’ve even nearly filled up my stash with more set gear, legendary gems, and legendary weapons and gear.

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At this point I have gear that will go to my other 70’s who aren’t seasonal after this season ends. I have four pieces of the Akkhan set, four pieces of the Invoker set, three pieces of the Light set, and two pieces of Blackthorne armor. This isn’t counting duplicates that I broke down for components. I really don’t care which set is completed first, I just want one to be complete so that I can get the last bit of the season journey done and probably go back to not playing Diablo III for a while. At least, til they add something new or refresh the seasons once again. I feel like I have had my fill, but I want to finish what I’ve started. It will also be fun to flesh out my other 70’s whom I’ve spent less time on but have some gear waiting for them in my stash.

At this point I just want to share my personal build for the Crusader:

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I’m running Slash with the Zeal rune which gives 1% attack speed for 3 seconds, stacking up to ten times. This combined with the Heavenly Strength passive means I can still sword/board with two handers and attack a bit fast during sustained fights. Fist of the Heavens with Divine Well rune means the initial strike of lightning spreads out to other enemies. AOE is killer on Crusaders. Akarat’s Champion with the Hasteful rune gives my Crusader extra damage, wrath regen and attack speed (this really helps with elites/bosses). Condemn with the Unleashed rune makes the damage instant, and this is another great AOE tool. Combining that with my first Kanai’s Cube power, from the Blade of Prophecy makes the Condemn trigger multiple times. Bombardment with Impactful Bombardment rune makes for a stronger damaging single projectile. I have a proc from one of my set pieces that makes this effect trigger twice. Finally, Falling Sword with Flurry is a great engage/escape tool. You leap into the air and come slamming down, and then a ring of swords pops out that continuously damages nearby enemies (also staggers weaker ones). My other three passives are Indestructible (death prevent), Holy Cause (+10% damage – helps to offset the -% damage from Heavenly Strength), and Vigilant (health regen and -20% damage).  The other two Kanai’s powers are from the Death Watch Mantle (25-35% chance on receiving damage to shoot out fan of blades causing 750-950% weapon damage) and Countess Julia’s Cameo (prevents all Arcane damage and heals for 20-25% of the amount prevented). Also, here are my paragon points at this time:

Mainly keeping with the themes of more attack speed, sustain, and some other defensive stats. Overall I have found this build to work really well for me. Perhaps it will work well for you too.

H1Z1 Splitting into Two Titles

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According to the post Daybreak made on Steam, H1Z1 is going to be split into two separate games. The “normal” version of the game, which is how the game launched into Early Access last January, is now going to be called H1Z1: Just Survive. The other title, a “fast-paced shooter comprised of multiple, fight-to-the-death game modes, including Battle Royale” is going to be called H1Z1: King of the Kill.

The first question that came to mind was “Do I have to pay more money to get these games?” but that was answered a little way into the post, in that anyone who already owns H1Z1 will get access to both games for free (or the price you paid when you first picked it up). Otherwise, the two titles will be $20 a piece after the separation occurs. As to when that’s going to happen: February 17th is split day. So if you haven’t picked up the game, now would be the time to do it, especially since the game is on sale right now for $15. The post also mentions that the King of The Kill version of the game is supposed to come out of Early Access and hit consoles this summer. Just Survive apparently still needs more development time before both of those goals are met for it as well.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. It was apparent that KotK (formerly Battle Royale) was seeing more attention than the Survival portion of the game. Sadly, the Survival portion of the game is the part that sounded the most MMO-like, and seemed like a great idea before they made PvE servers and added BR, which essentially cut the player base in half (the latter part is according to their post). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy BR and I think the game functions well in short bursts, but you don’t get that survival feel they were originally going for. It’s a lobby shooter at that point, and honestly doesn’t function as well as most lobby shooters I’ve played. On one hand, I think that perhaps they should have just nixed the idea of Survival altogether and capitalized on the fact that BR is a fun/popular mode and expanded upon that (which they are doing with King of the Kill). On the other hand, Just Survive is more of what most early adopters wanted out of the game. Personally I haven’t been playing it (the last time I fired it up was last August according to Steam) because of my policy of not over playing Early Access games.

I do like this:

“Through in-game feedback, as well as discussions on Reddit, Steam, and Twitter, our community has been influential to us in arriving at this decision.”

This means the company has held true in its attempt to be transparent and apply community feedback. However, this part doesn’t necessarily make sense:

“The more we developed this game with you, our community, the more we realized that in order to fully support both aspects of H1Z1, and their respective players, we needed to make them their own stand-alone games supported by their own dedicated development teams. Many players in the community have been discussing splitting the game and we’ve heard you loud and clear. We want to make sure we give both titles the support they need and deserve to truly flourish.” 

Weren’t there already devs working on both sides of the game? Aren’t you basically splitting up the team to focus on separate sections of the game who were already doing so? I guess if they are hiring on more employees to work on the separate games then this part makes sense, but otherwise it’s a bunch of words that really make no difference. Plus, sometimes listening to the most vocal parts of your community doesn’t necessarily make the game better. In this case it might, there’s no way to tell just yet. But honestly I think perhaps the better move is to keep the Just Survive portion titled as simply H1Z1, and call the King of the Kill game something entirely different, because it basically isn’t what we thought of when we were purchasing H1Z1. I’d like to see both games flourish, though I think the focus here on making them separate is sort of silly considering they are making an effort to keep them under the same name. Splitting the game off and calling it Battle Royale would have made so much more sense, and would keep people who are interested in only one part of the game from being confused about what to expect from the similarly titled games.

The trouble with the titles now is that they are both entering crowded markets. The Survival genre has exploded over the past couple of years and H1Z1 was already fashionably late to the party. The lobby shooter space is similarly crowded, and without definitively improving their gunplay the King of the Kill game is going to suffer because of it. Having the two games meshed together, giving you a survival experience with the added ability to “unwind” with some session based FPS action was something that set H1Z1 apart from the pack. Now separate, the two games don’t have anything that makes them stand out. Perhaps further development will change my opinion on this, but I have my doubts about the wisdom of this decision.

On a side note, I’m starting to lose my faith and loyalty towards Daybreak. Recently I made a post about Smed and Pixelmage, and in that I stated that I don’t hate the guy despite his repeated failings. The same stood true for DBG, and the reason for my fanboyism or whatever you want to call it (for both DBG/SOE and Smed) was because of the fact that they were responsible for making two of my favorite MMOs and I let them get away with murder because of it. Now that I don’t play either of those MMOs anymore and don’t think I will again, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand behind any of the above mentioned names. I do hope to try out Hero’s Song if it ever makes it to market (mainly because it’s cheap and still sounds interesting), and I will give these H1Z1 games a whirl once they are separate and further developed, but it’s becoming clear to me that I should probably take my money elsewhere. Despite hating the fact that EA/Activision have such a monopoly on games that I rather enjoy and having pushed some shitty business practices onto the market, I still feel like they don’t make stupid decisions as often as the other guys. I hate to be the on giving the greedy mega corporations more money, but when the little guys keep shitting the bed, we have to make a choice with where to go next. I’m not going to stop gaming, so I’m not going to stop spending money, but I’m starting to feel less guilty for buying the latest Call of Duty and Battlefront when the little guys aren’t delivering something worth while.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 78: Collectibles

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This week we’re diving into the topic of Collectibles. First we talk a bit about what we’ve been playing as usual, then we get into the discussion about things we’ve collected personally, and trends we’ve observed in our culture and the marketplace. It seems like we aren’t really big collectors outside of collecting ALL THE GAEMZ, but we’d love to hear from you guys and what you’re passionate about collecting.

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 78: Collectibles (runtime: 53:06)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:00)
Discussion: Collectibles (starts at 14:49)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Our favorites:

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“The Wretched” by Nine Inch Nails (from the album The Fragile)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!