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  • Ballack

    Worlds 2015: Quarterfinals Fantasy Advice

    By Ballack

    Worlds 2015: Quarterfinals Fantasy Advice Ready for the knockout rounds? The group stages were filled with plenty of exciting games, favorites and underdogs prevailing, teams from North America letting us all down, and some good fantasy picks and some bad. As in everything in life its impossible to be 100% correct on my picks everytime. I use my analysis, price points, and match ups to determine who to pick and although it doesn't always work out, the process is still correct. If we could all predict what would happen we'd all be rich. I've been getting a lot of good feedback from people and I appreciate it all. Thank you for following and reading these blogs as I enjoy putting the information out there for you to use. Here are the odds for the quarterfinals from http://www.pinnaclesports.com/en/odds/match/e-sports/league-of-legends/league-of-legends-world-championship

      Origen, SKT, EDG, and KTR are the favorites to make the Semi-Finals. That said, SKT are the only overwhelming favorite while it is certainly reasonable to think that the other three match ups can go anyway. The best probable route to go is to stack up on SKT carries (marin, faker/easyhoon, Bang) and look for values in the other roles. Here are my favorite players for the Quarterfinals: SKT is the best bet. Fit Faker, Marin, and Bang in wherever you can. My favorite value players come from FW in the form of Karsa and SwordArt, who has been underpriced all tournament. I have a lack of faith in the midlaners, not because of their skill but because of match ups. There are a ton of really good matchups in the midlane Nagne vs. KurO, Pawn vs. Febiven, xPeke vs. Maple. I think you either pay up for Faker or save and go with Maple, who has been great quietly great this tournament with the most kills and second most assists for any mid laner. I'm staying away from FNC and EDG for the most part. It's interesting because their players are relatively cheap, but I think this will be a really close match up that is hard to predict one way or the other. It could turn into a very objective focused series (as FNATIC does like to do this at times) which would limit fantasy output. Vulcun: Top: Marin (SKT) ($1301)
    Jungle: Karsa (FW) ($1264)
    Mid: Faker/Easyhoon (SKT) ($1625)
    ADC: Bang (SKT) ($1514)
    Sup: SwordArt (FW) ($962)
    Flex One: GorillA (KOO) ($961)
    Flex Two: ssumday (KTR) ($1371)
    Flex Three: Score (KTR) ($1053) You use your three SKT spots allowed on the three carries, while paying up they should be worth every penny. You also get to fit two top lane carries into your lineup with Marin and ssumday. You save by using two supports to pay up for value elsewhere, Karsa has the second most kills and third most assists among junglers and score provides a cheap jungle option even though he leads Worlds in assists from the jungle role. Alphadraft: Top: Marin (SKT) ($8900)
    Jungle: Karsa (FW) ($6500)
    Mid: Faker/Easyhoon (SKT) ($8800)
    ADC: Bang (SKT) ($9100)
    Sup: SwordArt (FW) ($6400)
    Flex: Hojin (KOO) ($7100)
    Team: Flash Wolves ($3000) Again you use the three SKT carries. The rest of the lineup is quite cheap among FW players. I talked about SwordArt and Karsa above, but Hojin provides good value as his agressive style has him first in KDA among junglers at 8.4. Cheap team as always in FW, who could easily win their Best of Five against Origen. Draftkings: Top: Marin (SKT) ($7700)
    Jungle: Karsa (FW) ($5100)
    Mid: Maple (FW) ($6300)
    ADC: Bang (SKT) ($8700)
    Sup: SwordArt (FW) ($4900)
    Flex One: Score (KTR) ($6400)
    Flex Two: ssumday (KTR) ($6800)
    Team: FNATIC ($3900) This time you only get two SKT carries. Let's talk about that for a second. Draftkings does not combine Faker and Easyhoon into one pick, they're separated. Because of this, it's extremely risky to pick one or the other unless you are 100% sure that they are playing. If SKT vs ahq was the first match up of the week it'd be easier to get a handle on who was playing for SKT, but your lineup will lock after day one and if you stick Faker in while easyhoon is playing (or vice versa) you'll be paying the highest mid lane salary for no points. I'm going with Maple here instead and saving money. The savings go straight into ssumday to replace Faker's carry spot. With the leftover money I'm using FNATIC who are in a close matchup, but usually play objective focus in big games and that's where your team points come from.   Good luck and enjoy the Quarterfinals!
    • 6 comments
    • 1,474 views
  • Magicmooch

    BlizzCon Americas Championship Qualifier - Heroes of the Storm

    By Magicmooch

    This weekend marks the next stage in the 2015 Road to BlizzCon Heroes of the Storm World Championship. China already punched in their two tickets to BlizzCon for eStar Gaming and Team YL, it’s now time to focus on the Americas Championship. The 2015 Americas Championship is being held September 19-20 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Teams from all over North America, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Australia & New Zealand will come together to battle it out in the Nexus for top glory and a trip to BlizzCon.   The group stage of the tournament is different than most group stages out there. According to Reddit User eSportsMatt (Blizzard eSports Coordinator) the group stage can be considered “a double elimination bracket with a twist”. Reddit user TheBrillo made a chart that gives a nice breakdown here:     In Group A, the first matches will consist of Tempo Storm vs Murloc Geniuses and Immunity vs Cloud 9. The winner of each match will move onto the “Winner’s Finals” of Group A and the losers go to the “Elimination Game” with the loser exiting the tournament. The winner of “Winner’s Finals” moves onto one side of the playoff bracket, loser drops to the “Lower Finals” where they will face the winner of the “Elimination Game” with the loser taking their exit. Winner of the “Lower Finals” moves onto the complete other side of the playoff bracket from their group-mate.   The same format takes place in Group B with the first matches taking place after the Group A elimination game. The matchups for Group B are Relics vs COGnitive and Furious Gaming vs Complexity. Saturday ends with both Group A and Group B Winner’s Finals taking place. Sunday begins with both group’s Lower Finals, with the Grand Final taking place the same day. The tournament will be a Best of 3 format throughout with the exception of the Grand Finals which will be a Best of 5.   Winner takes home a share of the $100,000 USD prize purse; $40,000 to first place, $24,000 to second place, and 3rd-4th taking home $12,000 each. Along with the prize money the top two teams will get their tickets punched to BlizzCon on November 6-7th. Action starts Saturday, 10am Pacific Time on the official Blizzard Heroes of the Storm Twitch Channel (link).  
     
    Let's meet the teams competing this weekend, starting with Group A.  
    Tempo Storm (North America)
    Dreadnaught - Support (Captain) Arthelon - Carry
    So1dier - Tank Kaeyoh - Carry
    Zuna - Flex  
    Tempo Storm are the unofficial powerhouse of the North America region. They qualified for the HWC Americas Championship back in June with their first place finish but then went on to finish first in the next two opens in July and August as well. As a matter of fact in the last 10 majors/minors Tempo Storm has gone on to place first in 8 of them and only dropped to 2nd place for the ones they didn't place first, pretty impressive stuff. You can thank the "star-studded" roster that Tempo Storm has managed to gather over the course of the young esports' life. Some of you may remember Arthelon as a solo queue monster in League of Legends. Some of the older players might remember him from a time before LCS when he played on teams like Monomaniac Esports and Meat Playground. Although Arthelon's League career did not amount to much, he is not unfamiliar with the idea of professionalism that is needed in an infant esport like Heroes of the Storm.   As for more star-power a lot of people will look at Zuna and ask "Hey, is that the guy from...." yes, it is. Zuna, former AD Carry of team Vulcan and XDG is no stranger either when it comes to esports. Playing on Vulcan, a team who finished 3rd in both the 2013 League of Legends LCS Spring and Summer splits, and later on XDG before the team was ultimately relegated only to never return. Despite this, Zuna showed that he can be a big time player in big time situations. Tempo Storm's victorious run can be credited to him. After Zuna joined the team on May 21st, Tempo Storm began their NA domination.
    It isn’t all about the star power though. Dreadnaught, captain of the team, has shown a top notch Pick/Ban phase in almost all of their matchups. So1dier and Kaeyoh are also extremely talented and this team as a whole seems to be the favorite going into this weekend’s tournament.  
    Cloud 9 (North America)
    DunkTrain – Support (Captain) KingCaffeine – Tank
    iDream – Carry K1pro – Flex
    Fan – Carry  
    Cloud 9 is another North American power that has shown some consistency in their lifetime. Although, usually taking 2nd place while Tempo Storm takes first, they are still a force to be reckoned with. Consisting of the roster formerly known as Cloud 9 Maelstrom, who after qualifying in July, dissolved Cloud 9 Vortex and unified under the singular Cloud 9 banner.   Boasting a roster of Heroes veterans, they are no strangers to the tournament scene as well. After placing first in last year’s BlizzCon exhibition tournament, Cloud 9 had a lot to replace after the departure of Zuna, Jintae, and Kenma. On July 30th, Cloud 9 settled on the roster (shown above) and has shown promise since. After the team changes, Cloud 9 has been a consistent top 3 threat in North America, winning the latest Heroes Major League hosted by ESL.   With this young and promising roster, Cloud 9 is looking to secure one of the two spots for BlizzCon in hopes of accomplishing their championship dreams.  
    Murloc Geniuses (North America)
    Faye – Carry CauthonLuck – Carry
    MadTiimmy – Support (Captain) Equinox – Flex
    Fury - Tank  
    Formerly of the team Evil Geniuses in the 2014 BlizzCon Heroes of the Storm show match, MG has gone through a lot of changes since April 1st. Coined “The Challengers” by Josh Bury of theScore eSports (http://www.thescoreesports.com/news/2383) the roster was acquired by Zeveron before the June/July/August NA Open events. Before the August Open, Zeveron disbanded and once again took up the name Murloc Geniuses. Although one of the top 5 teams in North America, MG have not had much in the way of success as of late. More or less “backing into” the America Qualifiers as the last NA spot because the teams ahead of them had already placed; first place Tempo Storm, second place Cloud 9, and Complexity finishing 3rd.   Despite the team changes and struggles throughout 2015, MG are looking to have a strong showing and hopefully make it out of Group A.  
    Team Immunity (Australia)
    Shy – Carry (Captain) Robadobah – Tank
    Sashin – Flex Naeiou – Flex
    Enalgon - Support  
    Team Immunity, unifying after their victory in the AU & NZ qualifiers (formerly Immunity White), are the champions of the AU & NZ region and are looking to represent the two Pacific Island nations in Las Vegas. While the team itself is fairly new, and the region itself is substantially weaker than the world as a whole, Team Immunity bring a fairly interesting playstyle to the Storm. Having two preferred Flex players versus the standard two carries that we see from other western teams brings an interesting element to their game. Being able to rotate roles of a Specialist/Carry on two members means Team Immunity can adapt quickly in a Best of 3 scenario.   Can the Aussies make it out of groups and shock North America?   Group B  
    COGnitive Gaming (North America)
    Scylol – Tank Hospital – Carry (Captain)
    Iakona – Support Glaurung – Flex
    iVSlime – Carry  
    COGnitive Gaming (also known as COG) are no strangers to esports as an organization but are definitely new to the Heroes of the Storm scene. Having only acquired a roster in May, formerly known as “Shot and the Bullets: Reloaded”, the squad showed immediate promise finishing no worse than 3rd in their first 2 months together. Unfortunately after the MSI MGA 2015 Americas Qualifier the team has fallen off in terms of performance, finishing no better than 3rd. With the roster moving to San Jose, CA with apartments close by and a practice area in between them, the team has an easier way to build in-person communication which can be huge for any new lineup. The team’s hyper-aggressive style has been a treat to viewers while sometimes being a detriment to the team as well. Despite their shortcomings, the team is looking to be a favorite coming out of Group B due to their style and their practice regiment.   Is this the tournament that COG makes a resurgence and takes a top spot to prove they are among NA’s elite?  
    compLexity (North America)
    Blinks – Support (Captain) Trummel – Carry
    CattlePillar – Tank H0ns – Flex
    Jaximus - Carry  
    compLexity Gaming. Another name that is very well known in the esports scene that jumps on the early HotS bandwagon. compLexity acquired the roster of “Barrel Boys” and saw a lot of success in the ESL weekly tournaments but failed to materialize any meaningful results in any monthly, minor, or major tournaments. After the departure of Erho to Stellar Lotus, the team took to Reddit to search for a replacement. Jaximus contacted the team for a tryout and was immediately a great fit for the squad.   With the addition of Jaximus the coL squad is looking stronger than ever. They are looking to make a big splash at this weekend’s event.  
    Relics (Singapore)
    Revenant – Flex Mirr – Flex
    Trinity – Flex Relyzer – Flex
    Zeys – Support  
    The Southeast Asian qualifier, coming out of Singapore, is Relics. They are a relatively unknown name in the Western scene, pulled off an impressive performance in the SEA Qualifiers by not dropping a single game until the Grand Finals, taking out Philippines Champion Bibingka 2-1. The squad also has a lot of interesting play styles. According to GosuGamers, all players not named Zeys played some combination of a Carry, Specialist, Warrior, or Tank hero in their 6 tournament wins. So what does this mean? Well it means Relics are an unpredictable squad with an obvious amount of talent. Will their wild playstyle result in a spot at BlizzCon?  
    Furious Gaming (Argentina)
    Nittt – Flex Megalomaniac – Tank (Captain)
    Kobu – Support Malheven – Carry
    DEUS – Carry  
    Furious Gaming have a very interesting story on how they got to the Americas Championship. They actually finished 3rd at the Copa America Championships last month, Brave Ozone took the top spot for the Latin America region. Unfortunately, Brave Ozone had visa issues and could not attend. In steps Furious Gaming, known for their Starcraft II clan, to try to grab a spot at BlizzCon.   Unlike North America teams, Furious Gaming love their specialists and will focus on hard pushing and gaining an early lead to stomp out their opponent.   Predictions:   Group A   For me, it’s an easy decision who is going to make it out of group stages in Group A. While Murloc Geniuses and Team Immunity are strong in their own right, I do not think they can hold a candle to Tempo Storm’s impressive Pick/Ban and Cloud 9’s team play.
    Winner’s FInals: Tempo Storm vs Cloud 9
    In the North America July Open Tempo Storm showed to be very strong, beating Cloud 9 2-0. Cloud 9, at the time Cloud 9 Maelstrom, was able to first pick away Zuna’s Zeratul in game 1 but unfortunately the “Double Mage” comp of Tempo Storm was too much to handle. Game 2 saw Cloud 9 ban out Zeratul and Tempo Storm ban out Jaina, but again Tempo Storm was too much to handle. I expect Tempo Storm to be the Group A first seed.
    Elimination Game: Immunity vs Murloc Geniuses
    Despite Immunity’s promise as a squad, MG just have too much experience under their belt to worry much about Immunity. MG moves on 2-1 to the Lower Finals.     Lower Finals: Cloud 9 vs Murloc Geniuses
    The last time these two teams met in tournament play only once before back when MG was known as Zeveron and C9 as C9 Maelstrom. It was a close set in the opening round of the tournament and both teams have shown improvement since then. I give the favorable edge to Cloud 9 in this one based off of player skill alone. Cloud 9 grabs the second seed out of Group A with a 2-1 victory.  
    Group B   This one is a bit closer. COGnititve is an impressive team. They had a lot of time to prepare so I expect them to come out guns blazing in their opening group game versus Relics. Furious Gaming is a bit of an unknown, and for what it’s worth, shouldn’t technically be here anyways. There is also the big question mark about compLexity’s new carry in Jaximus. Will he be able to bring is League of Legends skill into Heroes or is there still a lot of learning to do?
    Winner’s Finals: COGnitive vs compLexity
    These teams have met twice before this tournament, the NA July Open and the NA August Open with both teams winning a game. Expect this to be one of the closest games of the group stage by far as both teams are fairly close in skill level and strategy. coL still has a new lineup at the end of the day and because of this I give COG the win in this very close series 2-1 and matching up against Cloud 9 in the bottom half of the playoff bracket.
    Elimination Game: Relics vs Furious Gaming
    Poor Furious Gaming. I mean, they were able to go to Las Vegas which is awesome. Unfortunately, the best finish they had was 3rd in a relatively weak region. Being that Relics is a bit of a wild card, I expect FG to bow out of the tournament in this game. Relic takes this series 2-0 and moves on to play compLexity in the Lower Finals.
    Lower Finals: Relics vs compLexity
    Relics has the potential to pull an upset here. Being a relatively unknown team they have the element of surprise with their line-up of mostly flex position players. Expect a closer series than the experts think. At the end of the day though, I have to pick coL winning 2-1 and facing Tempo Storm in the upper part of the playoff bracket.  
    Grand Finals  
    Tempo Storm vs Cloud 9  
    Another rematch for these two teams. I mean, it’s hard to pick against consistency and these two teams have it. Tempo Storm consistently finished in first place with Cloud 9 consistently in second place. At this point, it’s almost irrelevant who to pick as a winner here as both teams get to go to BlizzCon on November 6-7th. For the sake of potentially being right and getting to brag (and potentially being wrong and sulking) I will have to go with Tempo Storm 3-1. Cloud 9 will make the first 2 games close, actually taking game 1. However, i think Tempo Storm is just the better team and that will show after their second series of this weekend.
    • 2 comments
    • 1,359 views
 

My Experience With The S2 EyeTracker

Image from Mirametrix's website The three adjectives that describe the S2 Eyetracker, pretty much explains what the eyetracker is, but how did I like during my trial? Let's check it out! INTRODUCTION: http://youtu.be/LCALRYIzVXA (If you prefer to watch the video rather than read, please skip the introduction and proceed further down) Upon receiving the S2 Eyetracker by Mirametrix, I first had to download the software from the Mirametrix website. After installation, calibration of the Eyetracker is very very simple. During the calibration, a blue circle with a very small white dot would appear at points of the computer screen, from top left and making it's way to the bottom right of the screen. This process allows the eyetracker to track your pupils in coordinate of where you are looking at. After the calibration process is done, there will be a score in which < xx is excellent calibration and <yy is considered ""good" calibration. If the score is greater than x and y, then calibration is needed/ readjustment of the eyetracker is needed, but this did not happened to me so therefore calibration was a breeze. After all of the calibration, next we set up the given software for your streaming program (preferably I use XSplit) Now you may be asking "SonTran, isn't it annoying that you have a green circle showing and all those fancy mathematics on the bottom?" My answer: It's not because I cannot see them. The software allows my viewers to see what I am seeing, and those "fancy mathematics" are how often and how long I look at specific parts of the game. Now this can be very exciting for my viewers to see if I saw something fishy. Questions like "Did he see the hidden overlord?" "Did he see the unit composition of his opponent and will he react accordingly?" "Does he see how much resources he has?" "Does he see that he is supply blocked?" Sometimes we always wondered if pros SEE what is coming, and most of the time if we see the player react, then yes, he/she saw it, and if not then the game winds up being over. We always wondered "IF" the player "saw" what was coming, then the Eyetracker can show if the players did in fact see what was coming or not. Now you may ask yourself, HOW can this help me become a better player in Starcraft? Then the following section is what you want to read TRAINING: http://youtu.be/VSzuUTIHYbk So how is this used in my training? Simple. When I stream, I save my VODs for future viewing, and when I watch myself play and what I see, I realize that "I should be looking at this more often, rather than that". My playstyle in case no one knows is that I am a really excellent micro player, and from one of my teammates, he says that I have the APM close to a pro gamers, but there is one thing that was keeping me back was my macro. In fact, when I joined Aspire, I thought TvZ was my worst, but here, it was my poor macro. So by watching the VODs and watching the calculations of the LPM* at my resources, I realize that I don't even look at my resources as often as I should be going. In the match against Temp0, you can see that my mini-map LPM is about 12 and my Resouces LPM is at a mere 6, With this, I can see that I can't tell if I was about to get supply blocked, and I have a huge bank because of that and therefore I can not reinforce my army as well as I should be. It's always recommended that you balance your macro/micro and check the minimap and your resources to see if you are fit enough to do what you must to stand victorious. It is GREAT to be aware of what is going on all around in the game. RESULTS: During my trial, and looking back at the VODs, I realized how the potential of the eyetracker to help me improve just shown itself as "clear as day". I am now proud to say that with the help of the Eyetracker, the software provided by Mirametrix, the practices with my teammates in Aspire, and all of the support and criticism of my play, I was promoted to Diamond and soon almost Masters. I believe I have made a great decision in becoming a tester for Mirametrix with their S2 Eyetracker, and I am glad that they made a huge show at the Lone Star Clash by having the pros participate with it, and also showing heat maps and statistics of the pros. In the future when Mirametrix releases the S2 Eyetracker for market consumption, I would be honored to purchase one for stream viewers and training. My name is Adam "SonTran" Son Tran and I am a proud tester of the Mirametrix S2 Eyetracker Mirametrix Website: http://gaming.mirametrix.com

SonTran

SonTran

 

Chapter 7: A New Age

I was gonna write a blog a few days ago about a new TvZ build order I was messing around with, but because Day9 did a daily about how good Roach/Hydra is, I haven't really been able to play it on ladder very much, so I have to wait and see where the metagame shifts to, and depending on that, I'll re-evaluate the validity of the build (also, FUCK YOU DAY9 ROACH/HYDRA IS ANNOYING AS BALLS TO PLAY AGAINST). I started writing the aforementioned blog, and got distracted, and then Roach/Hydra was a thing, so I delayed an entry until now. I'm gonna kind of go in reverse order for this blog, meaning I'll talk a little about me first, then move onto my play, and how I feel about the game, etc etc, then I'll move onto what's going on with me, and what my plans are, so HERE WE GO! So yesterday was a pretty bad day. I wasn't in the best of moods waking up, but I had decided after only playing ~15 games a day on Tuesday and Wednesday, that Thursday was gonna be a long ladder day. So I played, and ended up tilting. After about 30 games between WoL and HoTS, I was about 10-20. It was right before practice and I had a little bit of a meltdown in Mumble, claiming that TvP was bullshit, and how hard it is for Terran to win. I didn't say anything that really struck a nerve with anyone, but Robo kind of ,kicked me in the ass, and basically told me to quite bitching, which I did. So I decided between my whole fiasco yesterday, a conversation I had with Hap today, and after playing with Poser (Aspire #1's resident good Protoss player), that I fucking hate TvP..... But more importantly, I hate how I PLAY TvP. I hate that there's only really 1 main stream midgame play, I hate how predictable the match up feels, I hate how I feeling going into the late, so I decided I'm going to change how I play. I've got a couple of ideas on what I want to do. One of said ideas has recently been published to the world, in a fairly mainstream way, but I don't want to say what it is just yet. I another way is a little bit more meta, and needs some pretty serious testing before I consider it a good build to use. As of right now, I've actually done nothing to begin learning this new style, but I plan on starting later tonight. Other then that, TvT is feeling a lot better. I'm starting to move back towards playing Marine/Tank as opposed to mech. Good Terran players just know how to abuse Mech, and know what to do to beat you. As I said earlier, TvZ is in kind of a weird place right now. A LOT of Zergs are going Roach Hydra, which is exceptionally good vs Mech, but not un-winnable. I just need to play vs it more, and vary up my play when I do eventually see it. (Now we're gonna come back to me). During the conversation I had with Hap, we talked about the sponsered team, and what's going on there. Hap told me that on March 11 (when this WoL season ends) he think that I should be good enough to apply for the sponsored team. I'm one of those kinds of guys that likes to factor in every possible out come of a situation, so here's what I'm most concerned about. Lets say come around the end of February, I'm like 1.2k Masters in WoL, a respectably high level masters player. So I apply for sponsorship, and they tell me, "Well, you're obviously good enough at WoL to be sponsored, but HoTS is like 4 weeks away, and we don't want to get into sponsering someone who has so recently climbed the ranks, and we want to see you achieve the same level of play in HoTS before we decide to sponsor you." I worry about this because it's a completely legitimate concern. I don't know how good I'll be at HoTS at release. I'm confident that my macro will be able to take me to Masters, but if I spend all of my time on WoL trying to get high masters, and then get told to go do it again in HoTS, I don't want to delay being sponsored, because the sooner I get sponsored, the sooner I've met my goal for this stage of my year off/training schedule, the sooner I can get to big events, which means I'll have more opportunities to have a big tournament success, which is my 1 year goal. So, the obvious solution is to switch over to HoTS right now, and put all of my effort into getting high masters in HoTS, because ultimately, being high masters in a game that is no longer active is kind of redundant. But, I feel like over all, I'd rather be practicing my Macro, and getting that up to snuff, then focusing on learning the new units and what have you. In HoTS (at least with my experience) I'm much more likely to see some sort of weird all in or cheese that I'll never see again, and not get to practice what I really want to and need to (Macro). I think it's kind of a delicate balance, between practicing with the new units/meta of HoTS, and practicing my macro in WoL. It seems like its a bit of a balancing act. So ya, that's kind of where I am right now. I'll probably start mixing in more and more games of HoTS, as the weeks and months go by. I'll probably also have a talk with Salvor on the whole sponsorship thing. So, until next time, I love you all be safe.

Hiei

Hiei

 

2013. The resolutions. The plan. The game.

I know this is a few days late, but I'm basing my official SC2 new year to begin on the week of January 7th. I've been spending nice quality time with family since December 22. It'll be a while till I get a chance to hang out with them like this again so I'm enjoying it to the fullest extent. 2012 has been such a full year full of new experiences and blown minds. I feel it's exceptionally good timing that the 2012 ended around now, and eSports can take a breath to kick start 2013~ Health, family, SC2; the ultimate balance. 2012 has been a very full year of SC2 for me. Any time in the day that didn't involve work or family I was doing something SC2. I was watching streams, reviewing replays, watching VODs, reading blogs & articles. Even when I was working I'd usually have a stream in the background, where I'd glance or listen to like a radio. Because of this, my health has definitely suffered. Suffered in the sense that I was seriously lacking exercise. Exercise was no longer part of my routine. It was more of a 'if I have time, I'll get there', but the problem was I never really had time. Well technically I did, but that time I gave to SC2 in a heartbeat. I know the importance of health; I use to be a mini health/gym junkie. I ate healthy, and went to the gym everyday including Sundays, had a steady schedule of cardio & weights. Of course this was before SC2 was in my life. 2012 was full of junk food, fast food, and lackluster/rushed gym sessions. I think I've gained a good 8kg over the year, and it truly is time to shave that off and go back to the healthy lifestyle. Diets do not work, lifestyle changes do. Family is always the up-most number one priority in my life. 2012 my family has made a lot of sacrifices for my SC2 passion & me. They did it willingly, but I feel I could have spared a lot more time to spend with them. This really isn't an issue half as severe as my health issue, but it is still something of importance to me that I want to make a point of. The most important part of this resolution is this: I plan to fix the time balance issues without taking away any time from SC2. I plan to spend the same amount of time on SC2 in 2013 as I did in 2012, if not even more. It comes down to time management efficiency. I foresee a couple of burnouts with this resolution, but I guess I'll deal with then when they occur~ Calendar management. I use to be able to remember everything. Anything that I've come across that I make some effort in remembering I'll remember. 2012 I've found myself start to miss things. Perhaps it's the hectic fulls days that I live day in day out trying to fit more SC2 in, but my days often get jumbled up and I can no longer trust my memory 100%. Perhaps 95%, but no longer 100%. Many times in 2012 I wanted to get a Google calendar going to track my SC2 events, but I always ended up getting lazy on it and stopped updating. I've never actually forgot/missed an event I was suppose to attend, but I've mis-tracked days I have left to train countless times now. I think I just need to admit defeat to the brain, and get that extra help. This way I'll also stop worrying about accurate information, as I can just glance it through the calendar. Calendar management gets its own special category because I feel it's key to my previous resolution on life balance. I guess this is both a resolution and a method~ Tournaments. I admit I completely toned down my tournament attendance in the last 2 months of 2012. This wasn't due to laziness or forgetfulness. I simply felt that the downtime of a tournament wasn't effective/efficient to my training. I believe I was correct too. By entering only select tournaments depending on the progress of my training, I believe I have now reached a point in progress where I wouldn't have been able to reach if I blindly entered all the available tournaments around. Where I am now, I feel it's time I re-tune the ratio of tournaments I enter. 2013 will be the year that I start entering much more tournaments than 2012 and conquer the nerves along with learning the true art of a BO3+~ Heart of the Swarm. I do have a beta key. My plans for HotS are quite uncertain at the moment. With SEACL #3 and IPTL Amateur league coming up, I think I have to stick with WoL a tad bit longer. Ideally I want to make the switch right about now but I’m giving myself a blind deadline of February to make the switch. I think I need at least 1 month with HotS to hammer down the basic metagame so I can take off training wheels when the official release hits~ eSports 2013. I do have plans to put more time & effort into the other areas of eSports other than a pure SC2 player in 2013. Why this blog was delayed for quite some time was because I was trying to figure out what exactly it is I wanted to do. There are many ideas, but none has really hit the sweet spot. Ideas have been ranging from more constant blogging with a touch of life outside eSports, starting tutorials/guides, a new talk show, group coaching and many more. I’m still in the brainstorm phase at the moment, but will definitely give a update when the storm calms down~ Short-term goals. My short-term goals in 2013 are to make a run for GM on NA and KR/TW servers. I’ve never laddered on NA much due to 280+ ping, and working out of Taipei most of the year means my connection to KR/TW is 240+ ping. The main reason I'm switching focus to other servers even with the latency issues is simply that I've become too familiar with the players on SEA. Currently on SEA I'm going through a dilemma that there are too few players online in my MMR range. No, my MMR is not so high that I'm having trouble finding games, but since around July 2012 all my SEA ladder sessions involved playing the same player 4-6 times in a 2-hour period. If I wanted to train with a practice partner I'd find one. I ladder because I want to be training against variety, and uncertainty~ 2012 has been explosive; it looks like 2013 could be the same. Wishing a big GLHF to everyone’s eSports resolutions!! I hope our paths will cross sometime this year!~ gg glglgl!! the fist pumping larva, Reere.

Reere

Reere

 

Some New Years Advice

So it's an annual tradition for many to go through a process of defining "New Year's Resolutions" at the end of one year and the start of the next. What I think most people do, though, is define their goals poorly or set impossible goals for themselves. Let's take a look at both. Poorly-Defined Goals When I talk about poorly-defined goals, typically this means the goal is not appropriate for the work involved. For example, solid, deadline-driven goals are fantastic for project-type work where you have a well-defined start and a well-defined end point and just need to execute from start to finish. These types of goals might be "Wash the car before June 1st" or "organize the garage by January 30th". Where this breaks down is when you have knowledge-based work, such as "get better at LoL". Even if you define concrete metrics and give yourself a solid time frame, like "reach 1300 elo by March 1st", this still presents several problems: 1. You are putting elo ahead of actual improvement, which can undermine the original intent of your goal. For example, you might play only one champion that you play best, rather than trying to learn a few champions for each role, or work on different mechanics like last hitting and map awareness, etc. As a result you could actually hamper your progress and end up losing elo, undermining your goal and feeling no sense of progression. 2. You might come across valuable information that can really help you improve that would set you behind in your actual goal. This will give you the choice of pursuing the information that will help you more long-term, or ignore it and continue less efficiently. Neither is optimal because, even though you might make your goal, you'll be less effective overall. Similarly, you could pursue the information/technique/whatever but feel like a failure for abandoning your goal. So generally you should think about the type of goal you have. Is it a project that needs to be completed by a certain date, a skill to learn or improve, or something else entirely? If it's not a project-based goal, or one that could benefit from clearly defined start and end dates, then I recommend NOT setting a goal for it. Instead define a value that you'd like to pursue. For example, this year my value is to be driven. By that I mean that I want to be constantly pushing myself to get things done that I want to accomplish. Notice that I haven't set a specific goal for accomplishing anything, I just want to be active with getting things done. I might define mini goals to accomplish for a particular day or week as the year progresses, but I'm not setting some goal to be a driven individual by some arbitrary date. That leads us to the next point. Impossible Goals A lot of the time people define really bad goals like, "I want to get in shape this year" or "I want to be nicer to people". The problem is these are impossible goals. The problem arises when they fail. Say you want to get in shape, and you start eating healthy and going to the gym, but then you go to a party and eat some kind of junk, or you have a bad moment and snap at someone. Suddenly you've failed in your resolution. When this happens enough times you just give up. Instead of these arbitrary goals that are ultimately impossible to reach, I feel it's better to pursue habits that will help you obtain your goals. If your goal is to be in shape, then maybe a habit you could pick would be to learn new exercises and methodologies to enhance your workout routines and keep things fresh. Then, even if you skip the gym or even miss a whole week or two, you can still work toward getting in shape by picking up again with some new routine. Similarly, you could learn how to cook new, healthier dishes instead of eating out all the time. As long as you are learning to cook new things to add variety to healthy meals you are pursuing your goal. Going back to my example of being driven, this will more than help me achieve all of the things I want to get done this year. Since I haven't defined a bunch of arbitrary goals to fail at, I won't get discouraged and consider myself a failure as long as I make consistent progress toward getting things done regularly. As a result, even if I find out that my goals are not appropriate or optimal I can switch gears without worrying about missing my goals. I hope that this article helps some of you who may have not considered your New Years goals beyond just thinking of the things you want, and instead actually gives you a path toward achieving them. Desire and motivation alone are not enough, it takes consistent action to achieve greatness, so I encourage all of you to include it in your plan!

vVv OrganicBear

vVv OrganicBear

 

Thoughts On S2

League of Legends became an integral part of my life after my grandmother died. I had started playing it a month prior to that event, but when I was alone for a week while my family went to her funeral League became more than a game to me. I don’t cope with death like a lot of people do. It’s near impossible for me to be consoled by funerals. They make me feel worse. I spent seven days and nights holed up in my room watching Dyrus, TRM, Oddone, Chaox, and occasionally Reginald livestream. At that time it was hard for me to be happy. My psychiatrist switched my medication to a different dosage, so the chronic depression and anxiety that plagued me only made things worse. But these people made me smile. It wasn’t as if I knew then offline. Honestly, I didn’t really care to meet them. It was just the simple fact that their raging and shouting of baylife was funny. When my depression is really bad it’s hard for me to get up out of bed. Watching their streams at least helped me cope with the things going on in my life at that time. Life continued on. I continued going to school, but I made sure I’d have time for a few games of League at the end of the day. If this wall of text hasn’t made it obvious, writing is something I love doing. Over the years I’ve volunteered at a couple places and served as an editor. Eventually, the team that managed to cheer me up through their antics ended up hiring me. Even in my wildest dreams I never thought that would happen, but it had been a goal in my life to make a bit of money doing the thing that I love most. League of Legends may be just a game to some people, but it means more to me than most would guess. The eSports community has helped me come out of my shell. Will I ever be a well known figure in the LoL community? Probably not. I do not have the means or reasons to travel nor do I have the capability to create content that people would find compelling. What I do hope is that maybe, someday, I’ll be able to contribute more to the LoL community. Writing may not be the most glamorous thing in the world, but the League has inspired me to keep moving forward. For those who've read this, thank you for not giving up on me thus far. Here's to hoping 2013 is full of opportunities for all of us.

Kleopatra

Kleopatra

 

A Year's Past

In truth I never was, and never have been moved to celebrate incremental leaps in time, going unnoticed for so long only to be snapped back into focus at a fixed point in space for reasons often unknown. Birthdays, anniversaries, deaths. "Why do we celebrate these things?" I've always asked myself, and I always receive the same convoluted and eerily convincing answer; "It's just something we do." I don't know why I am this way, but I find the reasoning surprisingly irrelevant, as the importance this holds reflects back to the date that I joined these forums and began socializing with the now glowing collective of bright people that is vVv. Approximately three weeks ago, I found vVv's sleek and intimidatingly professional home page staring back at me, once again giving a sense of directionality to the forum button even after my poorly developed exit in the weeks prior. I had no idea how I had gotten there, or what lead me to think that I should be there, but I was. To make it all the more puzzling, I quickly shifted to my profile page, noting all of the interface changes and new faces that had stopped by my little misinformed corner of the parent folder for reasons mysterious to me. I had all but closed said page, concluding that I had nothing more to offer the forums past the coverage of my top 4 finish at SCG St. Louis, but promptly stopped moving my right hand as something caught my eye. The abnormally curious date of my having joined the forums. The number itself had eluded me until I saw it in that moment, and when I did see it for the first time since my accounts creation, as the accidentally named vVv Talon, (upon my joining I assumed the V's were simply an addition to the name to represent belonging, having no knowledge of the application system, how wrong was I) I was overcome with a sense of joy. Joy quickly evolved into confusion, and confusion to shame. More importantly, I actually felt something at just the mention of a number that happened to coincide with my love for video games, made tangible. I desperately wanted to know how something previously so important to me had gone under my radar like another insignificant "It's our 20th anniversary honey." While there appeared to be no right answer, and the attempted justifications of such forgetfulness would probably be entertaining in both number and substance, I looked to admittedly under practiced introspection to deliver the answer. To stout small triumph, I asked myself two questions: Where does passion live? And where did mine go? I'll have you know that I'm not very good at being honest with myself, and by extension the people around me. Really, the only way to self check my own bullshit is to write it down and keep reading it until it's siphoned out into a puddle of coherence. In regards to my passion, I want to say it was devolved in a way. I exerted so much excitement and energy into the production and systemic behind the scenes work of Guild Wars 2, more so than I have ever done with anything in my entire life, that I had developed a mental construct of what I thought the game should look like upon its release. I've always had a love for assassin classes in any MMORPG I've played. Aion, WoW, Tera, RoM, Guild Wars 1, all had their own intricacies and enjoyable interpretations of the now household "assassin." It wasn't until Alpha Testing for Guild Wars 2 that I actually had a hands on opportunity to offer my input on something I happened to care about very much. To save theatrics, the depth of play, class mechanics, and overall complexity just did not meet my expectations. Given the amount of time I had invested, my perception of what I had previously thought to be a block buster "WoW killing" title, was skewed to no end. I was greatly discouraged with my failed coup de grace, and lost all existing interest with investing my time in such an endeavor. I gave up. Perhaps I felt like an explanation was in order for my disappearance, perhaps I needed to send a message in a bottle warning seafaring eSports supporters to pace themselves in whatever they do, or perhaps I just wanted to explore past deficiencies. I would be quite fortunate if there was a fourth option. I do know for sure that my interest in gaming is still very much alive, and that I want to spend my time with the community that introduced me to, at the very least, perspective. I want to wish all of you the best in this new year, and if nothing else, fight for the user. "Things are different in America." "I know. They live in wigwams."

Rinzler

Rinzler

 

Chapter 6: Onward and upward

Sup doods. I was about to go get some Tacos and a Burrito, but I decided I'd write a new blog post. I've intentionally not posted in here for a few weeks, because of everyone's been busy with the holidays (including myself). I haven't really been able to play a whole lot over the last week or so, because I'm still trying to get my sleep schedule back in order (which I think I've finally done), and both my Sister and Mom have been in town the last week, so I've been hanging out with them, letting Starcraft become more of a "I'll do it when I have time," kind of thing. With my Sister being back in town, she obviously needed a place to sleep. My computer was set up in her bedroom, which she was cool with, and so was I. This was still when my schedule was pretty messed up. so I'd go to sleep in my room at like 4pm, and wake up at like 2 AM, and she'd still be asleep until like 12pm, so I decided after 1 day to move back into my bed room for the week. This took a much bigger toll on my play then I had expected. I dropped almost 125 points in about 36 hours, which was a pretty gruesome sight. I'm just now climbing back into the 750 range, where I was before I moved my machine, and now I'm going to move my machine back into her room tomorrow, and I'll probably lose another 125 point,s ;__;. I'll probably limit the number of games I play over then next 2 days or so, just so that I can get a little bit more use to the change (The reason why the difference influences my play so much, is because the desk in my bed room is ridiculously small, and the desk in my sisters room is rather large, so going from small -> big is pretty easy, where as going from big -> small is much more noticeable.) Also, on a similar note, I had to buy a new VGA to DVI-D converter for my second monitor, and the converter doesn't seem to work, so now I've got to order a new one. Hopefully as soon as that shows up, I'll get back to streaming. Anyways, now to the game. For a long time I've felt uncomfortable with TvT. There are so many different ways to be aggressive, I never felt comfortable gasless FEing, so I would get aggressive back. I was kind of curious to see exactly how good my TvT was compared to my other match ups, I was quite shocked when I loaded up SC2 gears to and looked at my win rates: TvZ: 63% (55-31) TvP: 46% (54-62) TvT: 38% (32-51) I've mostly been bitch about the other races, and how hard it is to win with Terran, but I can't ignore the fact that TvT was taking a huge chunk out of my win percentage, so I started doing a little bit of research as to what high level Terrans are doing, and here's what seems to be the general trends (at least for what I've looked at); For the most part, 1 gas banshee expand seems to be the most common thing to do. Obviously there are maps that gasless expanding is good on, but those maps are also very good for banshee's (namely Daybreak). The idea behind the banshee expand is that it allows you to do a little bit of damage, throw your opponent off balance a little bit, as well as transitioning much smoother into an expand (unlike marine hellion builds). I've been pretty stubborn about trying to get mech to work in TvT, but it seems like with most of the ladder maps, it's just to darn easy to abuse. Your marine tank opponent just sits outside of your natural posturing near your third, and keeping you pinned back. Mean while, he's at home, with a huge amount of map control, so he can take a stupid fast 4th, and tech to whatever he wants (namely sky). I also die to the random sky switches out of nowhere, because I'm not pushing fast enough. So I decided that marine tank is probably much better transition for me into the mid-game, then ending up with tank viking BC, into eventual sky. So basically, here's my game plan going into TvTs: scout after Depo on every map. rax gas -if he goes gasless FE, I'm tending to go for the banshee expand, if he goes for gas aswell, I'm favoring the marine hellion play. The reason for this is because, I feel that the marine hellion medivac build, is much more of a catch all. If he goes for marine hellion as well, I just have to play defensive and expand first, where if he takes a gas, and I go cloakless banshee, and he goes for like a marine tank viking push, I'm gonna have like 2 hellions, 6 marines and a useless banshee, where as if I go marine hellion medivac, at least I can slow him down on the map, force him to siege a few times, and maybe hold him off (it's still incredibly easy to die to it, either way). That pretty much somes it up, I've only really been experimenting with it over the last couple of days. I need to play more games where I scouit gas, and I just kill him with marine hellion. I'll probably focus my next blog on the mid-late game aspect of TvT Anyways, I'mma go get mexican food, and eat it, then take a shower and go to the park with my puppy, Mom and her dog, I'll be around later tonight playing games. Feel free to leave a comment below, I always get > 50 views on these blogs, but I rarely get an respnses, and I'd love to answer follow up questions. So, until then, I love you all be safe.

Hiei

Hiei

 

Looking back at the amazing 2012~

2012 has been an amazing year for eSports. Whether being a fan, player, organizer, or manager, all of us have grown exponentially. I kicked off 2012 as a freshman Master. I had just been promoted to Master in early December 2011, and the road to GM was officially in effect. All of this were mini steps for the big picture of going pro & competing internationally. Looking back, here are a couple of special events worth mentioning with a updated thought process~ Promoted to Grandmaster on SEA server [July]. This was a special moment for me. It was evidence for myself that I am able to achieve anything I give my all to. It was proof that impossible is nothing. When I started the journey RTS was a foreign genre, making Master seemed like such a far off dream. 1 year + later, I am no longer the newbie I believed to be. Making GM opened my eyes to see deeper into my road in eSports. It let me see that the distance between GM & pro was steep. It made me experience no more Blizzard leagues to gauge my skill level between GM & pro. It showed me that my road is now beginning, and no where near the end as the difference of top 16 GM and the rest felt comparable as Bronze to Master. Grandmaster also taught me to completely refine my play-style. As a player that leans towards macro-mechanics style, it taught me that in my aspects of the game is black & white. It taught me that timings were either possible, or impossible. If it was possible, and I wasn't hitting it, then simply I working hard enough or playing well enough. I admit ever since GM I've felt that my progression is significantly slower than my Silver-GM run. The time I put into SC2 has never decreased though~ Started Streaming. [August] http://www.twitch.tv/ReereSC Dabbling into streaming was something I never planned to do. I never considered it because of the horrible internet I have where I live (3mb down, 0.4mb up). During one of my longer trips back home to Taipei I decided it was a route I’d like to pursue. It would be one of the ways of giving back to all those that supported me and followed me through mere words & screenshots. I know that I haven’t streamed much at all after the initial 2 weeks run, as I realized that the delay I was experiencing in game was a direct consequence of streaming. There’s only so much the net can support off 0.4 upload it seems. It was a very hard decision for me, but I did ponder for a few days whether I should just tough it out with the delay and continue streaming, or practice in a more ideal environment without streaming. At the end, my dream is still to become a pro player; I would never forgive myself if I chose routes that slowed down that path. I haven’t given up on streaming though, not at all. I’m still constantly working on new overlays and updating them if ever I get the opportunity to hop on and stream. I’ll stream whenever I’m back in Taipei as well. I’m merely waiting for better internet to be available where I am. Streaming will have to be paused, just for now. I’m pretty sure 2013’s gonna bring in even more pleasant surprises~ Solved possible Carpel Tunnel Syndrome injury. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulnar_nerve_entrapment Actually the injuries I experienced weren’t CTS at all. Similar, but not CTS. For the bulk of my Diamond & Master league run, I was going through a lot of ulnar nerve entrapment symptoms. Any games above 7 minutes were giving me numbness on my ring finger & pinky. It got to a point where even when I took a 1-day break the numbness wouldn't go away. I'm the type to do all my research online before I check out a doctor, so I did just that and researched a couple of stretches and exercises I could do before getting a doctor's opinion. I immediately felt improvement the next day, taking breaks, stretches and exercises very seriously from then on. I haven’t completely healed both arms/wrists/fingers, but they haven’t acted up in a less than 20min game for a while. Even with games above 20 min, I usually will feel some numbness, but it’s nothing a 10-15min break wouldn’t cure~ TPA winning Season 2 World Championships. [Oct] I know this has nothing to do with my personal efforts, but I've never been happier about a team outside SC2 winning in their own game. TPA's win opened so many eSports doors in Taiwan. In Taiwan they are heros. eSports is no longer a foreign concept in here, it's on the news every other day now and people consider it to be a viable career path. Just a few days ago, TPA'Mistake went to a university in Taiwan to give a seminar about the life of a Pro-gamer. More companies both big and small are looking into eSports sponsorship/events. Because of TPA, Taiwan is now 1 step closer to become a eSports nation like Korea, and that gives me happy tears~ 200+ followers on Twitter. [Dec] http://www.twitter.com/ReereSC I know this story has probably been over-told to those that have been following me since the beginning, but I feel it’s worth touching again to close off 2012. I started my twitter account for 2 basic reasons. One, it gave me a character limit blog platform to record my SC2 journey from the beginning. Two, the majority of the SC2 pro scene news was from twitter so it allowed me to follow eSports in real time. When I started this journey I never really gave thought to fame or money, as what I truly desired was purely competition at the top level. This journey started with me completely alone, zero followers. I've never shared my Twitter with anyone outside of eSports. Numbers added up slowly and now there are 200 of you that I am able to share with this journey with. I have never felt so blessed and humbled by the support every single one of you has shown me. Whether it’s just a word of “Fighting!” or a simple ‘glhf’ for a tournament I’m about to enter, please know that I treasure the support and it really raises my spirits to push on towards the dream. I could say that I went from Silver to where I am today all by myself, but that would be a complete lie. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I truly thank all of you for the most amazing 2012. I promise 2013 will be even more amazing~ A big thank you to all that has supported me in anyway in 2012. I am very grateful & humbled. I'll be taking it easy from now till 2013 to spend time with family. Wheels will be turning at double speed from January 6th, 2013 onwards~ the metabolic locust, Reere

Reere

Reere

 

New PC Build

Hey guys, just wanted to make a little post about the upcoming upgrade I'm going to be doing for my PC. I feel that this can be a little educational for anyone else who may be wanting to build a PC or looking to upgrade themselves but I also want to show off a little bit as well xD. So listed below will be my current build and then I will list the new upgrades I will be adding within the coming 2-3 weeks. Current build: i7 3930-k 3.2 GHz (6-core) processor 16 GB RAM Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 graphics card 1 TB HDD 40 GB Kingston Hyper X SSD 850W Power Supply Planned Upgraded Build: i7 3930-k 3.2 GHz (6-core) processor - (I'm keeping the one I have and the motherboard) 48 GB RAM 3x Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics cards 3x 2 TB HDD's w/ 50 GB Crucial Adrenaline Solid State Cache to increase hard drive speed 120 GB SSD Corsair AX 1200W Power Supply Windows 7 Ultimate (I have to buy a windows install disk anyways since my PC only came with a boot disk when I bought it originally) EK Water Cooling System (Water blocks on the CPU and all 3 GPU's) The cost of these upgrades = ~$2100 Now the biggest will probably be why do I need this crazy build. After all for a desktop computer (not a server workstation) this build is one of the very best you could possibly do right now. There were two main reasons why I decided to go with this build, 1.) I want to be able to stream in 1080p @ 60 fps and 2.) I need a computer that would be sufficient for working with the various programs I need to use for school (programs like AutoCAD, Inventor, 3Ds Max and Maya) and those programs are very, very demanding on your computer. So I need a computer that would have the processing power but also the storage needed for the files I need for school and increased HDD speed so I'm not waiting for programs to load very large files or computer models (in programs like 3Ds Max and Maya, models that have millions of polygons can still take minutes to load even with some of the better machines of today). I'm not able to afford the very best computer they offer like the Intel Xeon server workstation processors but I will be able to create a computer that is very near the power that those machines have while still staying within a reasonable price range. I'm also going to be installing an EK Water Cooling System since liquid cooling is generally much more sufficient in keeping computers cool but also to help with a noise reduction. Now for anyone who is looking to upgrade their own PC's or building their own, here's some advice I can give to you (I'm also a computer engineering major so this is basically what I do xD). Obviously you don't need a build like mine unless you do similar work to what I have to do, but if you want a computer that can maximize performance without breaking your bank, look into solid state drives and also look into solid state cache devices. Basically what these devices do is it's a cache system that with software will allow your computer to recognize this solid state cache and your HDD as 1 device but your HDD will run about 6-8 times faster then it normally would because the cache is of similar design to what's used in actual solid state drives. So even using a regular hard drive, you can boost performance greatly for only around $90 plus the only downfall about SSD's is that you can only write files so many times before SSD's will begin to have problems while using a HDD with solid state cache you won't have those issues. Regardless both are great to have and I recommend looking into both since solid state drives of only 120 GB - 250 GB can run you anywhere between $150-$400 where as a 2 TB HDD will only cost about $110 and this SSC costs $90.

LuNa

LuNa

 

Merry Christmas 2012~

A very Merry Christmas to you all, and if you don't celebrate then I wish you a wonderful day ahead! Lets take a moment off the monitor and spend a little time with our loved ones, especially those that support our eSports passion. There's never a perfect moment to say "I love you", "Thank you", or "I appreciate you". Lets make that moment today. Have a great one everyone, gg!~ ps. enjoy some blissful peace below ^^

Reere

Reere

 

#1: Introduction

Sup! My name’s Aaron, and I go by haphazaRd in SC2. This blog is (hopefully) going to contain my thoughts and ideas about not just SC2, but pretty much anything relating to eSports whatsoever. Hopefully it’ll have something that’s useful or interesting to anyone, regardless of what game they play! I guess the standard opener for a blog of this type would be to talk a little about my history. I’ll warn you, my past as a gamer is fairly boring, but I’ll write something about it as a formality. Back in 2002, I had just started getting into computer games. Previously I had loved to play on my SNES or 64, but being younger than 10, I didn’t ever give much thought about becoming better at any game. In 2002, a good friend of mine brought StarCraft: Brood War over to my house, and I instantly fell in love with it. The next Summer, my Mom got internet at our house, so I was able to finally play on battle.net, which I had fantasized about since the first time I saw the multiplayer option from the main screen. My first experience on battle.net was starting a 1v1 on the map “challenger” (horrible map!), and promptly getting crushed by mass BC. Fast forward to 2010. I still played Brood War regularly, and my proficiency as a competitive player was only slightly better. I only ever played bounds, defenses, rpgs, squadron support, and basically every other non-RTS UMS made throughout my time on BW, but I still remember it as the best game I’ve ever played. Despite its greatness, at this point I was mostly playing FPS games; Team Fortress 2 was a big favorite of mine. At this point in time, I think I’ve still logged twice as many hours in TF2 than I have in SC2. TF2 was the first game I ever strived to get better in, and I did alright in it. After a brief stint in a low level competitive team, my time with the eSporty side of TF2 was basically over. However, my eyes had been open to the competitive side of video games. It would take a while, but finally in the Summer of 2011, I began to find my passion for StarCraft 2. It would start when another good friend of mine linked me some Husky casts, but it truly ignited when I started watching the Day[9] Daily. Episode 100 of the daily is something that everyone, even those who have no interest in eSports, should watch. It is a true testament to what it means to strive improve oneself, and it inspired me greatly. Along with the knowledge, wisdom, and humor Sean Plott spouts off seemingly endlessly, I also found myself absorbing the same relentless passion Day[9] feels for the game. By November of 2011, I was fully engrossed within the SC2 community. From that point on, it’s only gotten better and better. It’s been over a year now since I made StarCraft 2 the main game that I play, and I can safely say that I’ve enjoyed every second of it, and only intend to enjoy it even more fully now that I have this fantastic community to talk with and learn from. I have a long way to go; as a player, as a coach, and as a person. I’ve always liked the idea of documenting experiences; so much gets away from us in our memories, and as such, I hope that I will find the same will and dedication I have built around StarCraft 2 for this blog. Thanks for reading, and here’s to you having more (hopefully more interesting) material to read in the future! -haphazaRd

haphazaRd

haphazaRd

 

2012 - My Year of StarCraft!

End of the year. Yup, here comes the end of 2012. There's so much I wanted to do, things I've not been able to fit into this busy part of the year. My videologs were neglected for longer than intended. My practice became rather erratic last week again, due to so-called pre-christmas madness. You know, the chores around the house, families keeping us busy. Well, me complaining about the hecticness of year ending, that's not really the purpose of this writting of mine. 2012 - My year of StarCraft! Originally, I actually wanted to make this into a videolog, however, time constraints. But, I would like to look back at this year. Share the upsides, small victories, but also the downsides, struggles. Every story has two sides and the main character of this story is not without struggles and happy moments either. Diamonds are forever! Sufficed to say, that I made it into Diamond sometime in January. That was a good way of starting my year, isn't it? For those following my story so far, as a reminder, and even for those, who are unfamiliar with my story - I originally started out as a really, really low Bronze player, with no RTS/StarCraft/Brood War experience. So yes, for me, that was huge achievement. I was really happy and my motivation was going through the roof. It was certainly one of these small steps on my journey I was happy about. Back then, I was still part of one Czech team, however, the team wasn't very active and I haven't learnt much from them, which was my main grief. I didn't want to be just that "token female" or a team mascot. So, around January, I left the team, to try and join Fem-FX, which used to be female-only team. The worst enemy - myself At the beginning, things seemed all neat and nice with my new team. The team seemed really tight, even though I really struggled with them, as my notorius anxiety was kicking in, and I was really shy around them. There were some nice people along the way, Lydia, who was the team's CEO, was nothing but a super, Austin, who was one of the managers, been a good friend ever since as well. Sufficed to say, by the time I decided to join them, I was already struggling with myself, as depressions seemed to re-emerge, but I didn't want to admit that to myself, I didn't understand the signs, I didn't even understand myself at that point. Around March, things got really bad, and I suddenly dropped everything I had passion for. I was hating on myself, all I could feel was this ever-present fatigue, everything felt like a chore. I couldn't find any enjoyment in my life. I was simply surviving, it wasn't even living. At the top of all, Team Fem-FX's activity dropped. People stopped showing up at practices, and overally, everyone saw StarCraft more and more casually. I knew I needed to have highly motivated people around myself. I knew, that this alone should help me through my depressions, as I somehow seem to be highly motivated by people, who are likely to be highly motivated as well. Forwarding to the end of March, I announced my retirement from Fem-FX. I needed a change and I needed it fast. I needed to find like-minded, highly motivated, and positive teammated. A place, where I could grow not only as a player, but also as a person. Of course, I knew there would be obstacles, given my anxiety issues, which cause me to be really shy around new people, but at the same time, leaving things as they were, that'd mean me withering even further. So, around the end of March, after I left Fem-FX, I actually finally found courage to apply to vVv Gaming. I didn't understand how the team/community operated back then, but I was familiar with their tolerant approach to people, as well as they'd accept you no matter where you were, personally and gaming speaking. Simply said, I hoped I'd find my chance to gradually grow as a StarCraft 2 player, to get over my depressions and solidify my practice at last. The Academy - under construction! Few of those familiar with the situation in vVv Gaming will remember, that vVv gaming's StarCraft 2 community lacked a person, who'd push things forward. I needed something to do, so I basicly did writing and graphics. At that time, my depression was still at it's peak though. I still missed a solid team of like-minded people. An insane idea then sparked my mind. It's something I wanted to find for along time. A team dedicated to growth in StarCraft 2. And since I still had no luck in this regard, an insane idea struck my mind - Why not to try and make an Academy team in vVv Gaming? Both it takes the "Entertain, Educate, Dominate" on the next level, and I'd also be able to have something I've only dreamt of - A solid, dedicated team, who live, breathe and shit StarCraft. I made a very, very long write-up and sent it to the vVv management, crossing my fingers, well aware of the fact that their previous Academy ended up with a huge fail. DreamHack Summer, the personal Trial of Fire...? I have to sidetrack here a bit. The Academy project was still in discussion between me, LordJerith and some other people from the management. But, I was starting with practice again. After solid 5 months of erraticness and lack of practice, I was getting back to it. I saw a hope, something to aim for. Despite of me still struggling with depressions, I felt a bit more energetic once more. So, when an opportunity to travel to Dreamhack to Sweden emerged, I was shitting gold bricks. I saw it as an opportunity to learn, grow and also to fight my personal struggles. And surely I did fight them. I also learnt a lot. I was on emotional rollercoaster. Sheding tears after defeat by Merz, but also happiness, that I could breathe that all-StarCraft 2 atmosphere. Happiness from meeting White-Ra, who is someone I truly look up to. Being glad for meeting some of the people I've known only online until then! After DreamHack, I've made many realizations. How much StarCraft 2 means for me, and how much I needed to grow stronger as a person, if I was to pursue this passion. The Academy - Emerges! On 4th July, while still being on holidays with my family, after being in a car-crash (yeah, rough patch there), the vVv Academy team was announced officially on the team's page. Me being me, I had to get online for the launch day, despite of being on holidays. It was a big day. Of course, I was put in charge of the team, so I was a team's Captain, manager and player in one. It's just how I do things. I wanted to lead by best possible example, as that's how all good leaders should be. Well, it's something I truly believe. Take it as you wish. The team started with mostly Diamond players, a bunch of guys, who were to suddenly act as a team. It was time for all of us to learn to be a team. And for me to learn, how to be a leader. The only pain you feel, is the growth one! No growth is without pain. Something I learnt during the couse of the time I've been with my Academy team. I see my self-doubts emerging quite a lot. Am I doing my job correctly? Am I truly the captain, manager and player this team deserves? I won't deny it, I've often been feeling really down from the fact, that I am the weakest player in the lineup. I often call myself, literally "a fucking excuse for a player". Depressions in and out, they make me an emotional bomb at time. It is really easy to doubt one's self. Especially when things get out of my control. When self-doubts and lack of good performance occur. The Academy team gives me a purpose, a drive. Something I didn't have for a long time. There are glimpses of moments, when I feel that maybe, maybe I am worth of something to others. That I can be of help. A light in the darkness. I should also mention that to combat my anxiety/shyness, I've began making videologs, to learn expressing myself better while talking (after that disaster in my first ever video-interview at Dreamhack, lol). I believe that during the time I've been doing them, I've actually became less awkward - enough to be bold and if someone asks me ever again (I hate, hate that question), if there's any advantage to being a female progamer, I'll just tell them "Of course, no queues on the female toiletes." with a nice troll-face grin. I've grown very fond of my team. They are my second family away from home. Seeing all of them progress, seeing them grow, I couldn't be more proud of them. Despite of all of my personal bullshit, I've been able to hold, and I know I am not going anywhere. A big part of why that would be would be that team. I don't care how much crap some people throw at vVv Gaming or my Academy team. They don't know us; living in the past. And well, it is true we are not the best players out there, wrecking tournaments, but I have some of the most passionate people on my team. That is what counts. You can't learn that, unlike in-game skills. These can be gained if you train properly. But you can't teach your heart to love something, if it's simply not there. It is my job to cherish this passion, this dedication, not just in myself, but also in them. Epilogue Coming to an end. Everything has an end, and this writing is no exception. What to look forward to? My personal wishes? First of all, I want to become a more solid player, with a good, healthy practice habits. To learn to accept losses and setbacks, not just in StarCraft, but also in general; and that they are not the end of the world. To accept the fact, that I too am just a human being, making mistakes, without going and hating the shit out of myself. To learn to forgive to myself, to be more patient with myself. To be able to see the good, positive things about myself, both in regards to StarCraft 2, but also in general. I want to compete more in StarCraft. Really hoping to go to DreamHack (Early Bird Dreamhack Summer tickets on, Secret Santa, anyone? Wink-wink ) and show a progress! I want my team to have a reason to be proud of me, as a player! And a reason for me to shed tears of happiness! I know I will once the time comes! To feel is to exist, and for a change, I want my feelings to be the happy ones! A new year is closing in. What it will bring? You all are welcome to continue walking this journey of passion with me. As I am nowhere close to the journey's end - after all, I am BabyToss, so to 2013 onwards! PS: Sorry, no pictures this time! Except this one! OP, OP, OP Zerg style!

BabyToss

BabyToss

 

Gaming and the Psychological Values It Brings to The World

In light of recent events, I want to pep up our spirits with this paper I wrote: Gaming has been thought of as an addiction or waste of time. But experts have started to see the factors that make gaming attractive as a pass-time, could be applied to the working environment of large company’s and businesses and to the real world. Such examples can be a leveling system or questing to achieve new objectives. Chore wars is an online game where the people in a apartment compete for real world privileges over their roommate(s) by collecting points. It has become so intense that one would hide the toilet brush so that the other(s) couldn't wash the bathroom because it was worth so many points! Work ethic can be increased dramatically if we successfully implement a gaming like strategy to the workforce and the world. The article touches on a very real potential for increased productivity to education and the workforce. Role playing games focus on solving riddles and or puzzles by completing mazes with varying difficulty. When the maze is completed the player gets a prize such as currency or items with attractive statistical and visual properties. This represents the need for achievement social motive. The drive to excel is to solve problems with a better than average solution . The obstacles can vary from human opponents to completing objectives for a reward. According to Atkinson’s theory of Achievement, striving for a goal depends on three factors: your willingness to achieve, your assessment on success and the value of the activity in success and failure. The game must be difficult, but not so much that the assessment of success is low which discourages the player. It can’t be too easy either or else the assessment of success will be too low and the game will become boring. They achieve harmony by incrementally increasing the difficulty of each challenge as the player becomes more experienced. The article states that school should implement a experience system where they implement short and long term goals for the students to achieve, and get rewarded. I slightly agree with this but how do teachers measure how much experience a student gets? The fact that most classes implement large quizzes and tests decays the feeling a student gets when succeeding or failing at a certain activity because it’s so far away the student requires substantially more will power and focus to achieve that goal of doing well on the quiz/exam. If we look at single player games, the maze or riddle is completed within 30 minutes to 1 hour. There for teachers should aim to have many small quizzes, and make a compilation of marks. When doing small quizzes teachers can reward the students who understand the topic with free time, such as not having to go to class the next day. This is a win-win situation, as now the teacher will be able to focus on the students that are struggling and not have distractions. While giving a incentive for students to work hard and pay attention so that they can have more free time. The article was on the right track but implementing it would be too difficult and costly. By keeping it simple, the implementation would be much more successful. This greatly resembles operant conditioning, as the stimulus is the teacher teaching, the response is the student listening, taking notes and working. The positive reinforcer is the extra free time and the negative reinforcer is that the student must come to class as usual. The article brings up a very key point.Nicole Lazzaro, the president of XEODesign did a experiment with gamers. She recorded their faces while they were playing games and did interviews with them. She found that gamers where having true fun, like dice and card games did a long time ago. But gaming has a advantage, they were always stimulating because it interacted with the player on a much deeper level than a dice game ever could. The reason video games are so engaging is because there is constant positive reinforcement. This is why games are learned quickly and continue to be played because it is more satisfying than the real world. This is why we have such a large movement from the real world, to the gaming universe. The reason this is possible is because computers can continuously encourage players which raises their morale. In a ted talk, Jane McGonigal brings up four key characteristics that gamers have. The first is urgent optimism, gamers want to respond instantly to the problem combined with a reasonable hope of achievement. The second is social fabric, gamers create strong social relationships when playing because there's a lot of trust accompanied with it, they trust that the other player will abide by the same rules and stay till the end. The third is blissful productivity where gamers feel good when doing hard work instead of being relaxed, this is why they can play hours on end. The fourth is epic meaning, gamers feel that they are part of something meaningful and are making a difference. The article attempts to show us that if we can implement at least one of these 4 gamer characteristics into the work force, we would have enormous benefits. The most relevant and beneficial to a working environment is blissful productivity. Imagine a work place where all the employees are 100% into their work, laboring away without any perception of time. Blissful productivity is present in high intensity jobs such as employees at a restaurant or a production line worker. But what about the low intensity desk jobs? According to Yerkes- Dodson law, low intensity simple jobs require a higher level of arousal in order to keep the employee interested. This represents a problem as when arousal is too low employees will seek it, such as playing games or using the internet for personal use. If we can find a way to implement blissful productivity to the work force, so much more could be accomplished within the same amount of time. The article represents a very real potential of much higher productivity. By implementing gaming characteristics that are ultimately psychological theory's, companies production would sky rocket. The only problem is finding a efficient system to implement these concepts to the real world. Sources: McGonigal, J. (Director). (2010). Gaming Can Make a Better World [Motion Picture]. Tierney, J. (2010). On a Hunt for What Makes gamers Keep on Gaming. Wood, E., Wood, S., Wood, E., & Desmarais, S. (2008). The World of Psychology . Toronto: Pearson Education. Not all media is bad, the article I mention in this paper was very well written and put gaming in a very good light. As well as the TED talks, they too support gaming. It just depends where you look! Happy Gaming and Holidays!

vVv WaKai

vVv WaKai

 

My basic zerg strategies/general ideas

Hey my sc2 tag name is engulfSAGA, I am currently a rank 2 1200 pt master. I am the new aspire rising team zerg coach and I thought I'd just take a few minutes to talk about some strategies I use as zerg. I don't know if the strategies I use will fit your playstyle, but if you want to take a look at my builds, or discuss strategies, feel free to message me. There's a lot that can vary, and some things are left out. This is just what I deal with the most and my reaction to it. Message me if you have questions ***Current counter to 2 or 3 base muta play*** ZVZ My standard opening I am doing currently is 15p 16 hatch, getting my gas just after my hatch. I build an evo chamber at about 75 gas, and go for an early +1 armor. This leave you vulnerable to speedlings, which could do a lot of damage. However, I also get a spine and a bane nest at my natural BEFORE speed, and with good micro and reaction time, I believe you can hold it off. Also, it's important to scout youropponent to see what they are doing. Are they taking all 4 gases? Are they building 2 evo chambers at their front? If it seems like they aren't putting any pressure on, you can take your ling speed, and your 3rd. If you suspect a lot of speedlings, skip your ling speed, build banes and another spine. This build can transition into a mass ling/roach attack if you feel they are teching very hard to muta. If they are teching to muta, your +1 armor lings will take 2 bane hits to kill instead of 1. So if they try to take a 3rd, you will have a significant advantage in ling/bane fights. Also, if they are putting on pressure and I can't take a 3rd, I take an in base 3rd macro hatch when I have the minerals. I delay my lair for a long time, only taking 1 gas until I have a 3rd hatch. Sometimes, I also build a 4th macro hatch after my 3rd. I usually start +1 range attack, and start a 2nd gas before lair. I sac an overlord around 6 mins to scout for lair and spire. To counter muta play, I I build 3 spores at each hatch, along with 3/4 more queens. I get roach speed and usually take all my gases after I build my spores. I go for double evo after I feel safe from muta play. I don't build hydras against muta, I rely on creepspread and bring queens with my army when I push out. I build an extra 6, 9, or even 12 queens sometimes if they have a lot of muta. I use the roaches to help tank them and do a mass pushout with 2/2 usually. ZVT *** This is the current counter I've come up with against the helion/banshee/3cc build*** My strongest matchup atm. 16 pool, 16 hatch. 4 queen opening, drone up to 36, take 2 gas, and a 3rd hatch. build a roach warren, evo chamber, and get ling speed. Get a few roaches to fend off helions. Use your queens/roaches to fend off helions while you spread your creep, while saturating your 3rd. Build a 4th macro hatch. Start +1 armor, get another evo chamber, get lair. take the other 2/4 gasses depending on how many mins you have. Sac an overlord around 6 minutes. Build a few extra queens and a spore in each base for banshees. ***(if they have cloak banshees, you can attack with the roaches you have to distract the terran and make them attack the roaches with banshees to delay their attack). If mech, get +1 range attack for roaches, and build a 3rd evo chamber. start +1 melle attack as well. get roach speed, bring your queens to help attack banshees, build a good mix of lings/roaches and push out when you have lair/overseers for banshees. This same build works for bio or helion/bio. just build a lot of roaches and lings, delay your lair and upgrades if they are doing an early push out. If 3 CC bio, tech to infestors, get banelings if necessary. Tech to broods/ultras. ZVP My weakest matchup, I usually resort to muta play when protoss does an early 3rd nexus. Or if the 3rd is vulnerable, roach/ling all in. Other 2 base all ins are generally held off with roach/lings. Skip upgrades, get roach speed/ling speed as a priority. So that when they push out, you have roach speed and can get into position faster. I don't like doing turtling infestor/broodlord. I feel like protoss usually push out before that and kill you, or just take a 4th, or get mothership and destroy you. Although I have not had enough experience using infestor/broodlord against protoss. This matchup is basically based on scouting and reacting, and everything is pretty much self explanatory. Hope you found this helpful!!! Feel free to comment/argue any points I have

engulfSAGA

engulfSAGA

 

Chapter 5: I can't get no satisfaction

Sup doods. I'm currently undertaking the challenge to get my sleep schedule back to normal. I woke up at like 6pm on Monday afternoon, and am determined to stay up till at least 9pm tonight. Part of this is because I have work tomorrow night starting at 6pm, but more importantly, my sister is coming back into town for the holiday, and I've made her bedroom sort of my work area. So if I'm asleep all day, and awake all night, I'll have to move all of my shit back into my bedroom, and then back into her bedroom once she leaves. I need to do it anyways, so I might as well now. Games have been going.... Okay. Yesturday I did't play nearly as much as I wanted to (only around 5 hours). But in my defence, I had a headache almost all day yesturday, so I'm using that as kind of my excuse. I'm averaging something like 8.5 hours/24 hours of training.So I'm keeping up with my quota farely well. Hopefully when I get my sleep schedule under control, I'll feel even more motivated, and start pushing into 10 hours. One of the biggest things I knew I needed to work on was dealing with tilt, and making every game I played matter. During my first week of training, I remained in high spirits the whole way through. I had that feeling of learning constantly, and improving much faster then I had anticipated (In 1 week I went from ~350 to ~650). Over the last day or two I've started to begin tilting fairly early in my ladder sessions. I stopped laddering after about 2 hours and took the dog for a walk. I was thinking about the games, and the mistakes I was making, and then I realized that something was changing. In the past 2 years, I use to rage because of how bullshit the game was, and how bad Terran was and all that jazz. Now when I tilt, I don't really rage at the game anymore, but I more rage at myself. In one of my more vocal raging moments, I physically said out loud, "What the fuck was I think, I must be fucking retarded." From a competitive, and training stand point, this is a good thing. I'm being very critical of my play, and not letting myself get away with making any mistakes. Now, what I need to do, instead of being hypercritical of myself, and tilting, is I need to put myself in a mind set, where those mistakes are extremely obvious to me. I like when Day9 talks about his old practice partner Fr0z, and how to Day9's explaining, Fr0z would just decide to be better at the game, and then he did it. Everything was just obvious to him, and he'd just doing it. I want to see a mistake that I'm making, and say, "Alright, I'm just not gonna do that anymore." And I don't make that mistake anymore. Anyways. I'm done talking about me now, so now I'm gonna talk about Terran, and the idea about how Terrans feel about the game (Or at least how I feel about the game, and in discussing with other Terrans, they generally agree.) Right now, it seems to be generally agreed upon that Terran's are probably having the hardest time right now. You can make the case that Protoss are having trouble as well, but there are instances of Protoss players having some success in World Class Level tournaments, where as Terran's haven't won a major tournament in a fairly long time (aside from Sting winning an IEM, but that's a pretty isolated incident.) I feel that there are several contributing factors to the struggles that Terran have been having, but I feel like to truely under stand them, we have to go back to the beginning of Starcraft 2. I'll start off by talking about TvP, just because it's a shorter explaination, then I'll talk about TvZ Basically, TvP is stale as fuck to play.There are really only 2-3 ways to approach the match up as a Terran. 1. I'm gonna do some sort of crazy ass all in. 2. I'm gonna do a 10 minute push, see what damage I can get done and see what tech he's going for, then pull 3/4 of my SCVs as he tries to take a third base and get all of his tech. 3. I'm gonna do a 10 minute push, then try and win in the late game. I feel like as long as Protoss can doesn't get caught out of position, avoids taking a really bad fight , and plays somewhat gurailla warfare style with DT drops, Zealot run bys and Storm Drops, they should never lose in a long game vs a maxed Terran army. The match up also feels like it only really has 3 stages of the game. Before both players are maxed, when both players are maxed, and after the big fight. Fighting a maxed out Protoss army is extremely delicate, and position is even more critical then in TvT, so taking 1 bad fight means that the protoss is just gonna lean on you with gateway reinforcemnets, and you'll eventually lose. So the obvious thing to do is to get maxed before they do, or kill them before they can get maxed. The problem with that is that Terrans only really have 1 build to transition into a macro game, and Protoss have gotten very good at stopping it, and most Protoss have gotten very good at defending 1 base play as well. So if killing Protoss early doesn't work, Terran midgame is very predictable, and Terran end game is extremely hard to win with, when is Protoss weak, and how do you exploit it? Moving on to Zerg! There once was a time when the game was no where near figured out, when you could build a barracks before a depo, Roaches cost 1 supply, and Void Rays counter every unit in the game, there was the map pool. By todays standerds, every map back in the first 9-12 months of SC2 was pretty much garbage. The general problem with the maps, was that it was fairly rough for Zergs to take a 3rd base, and when they did, it usually ment getting an army on 2 bases, and then taking a third, which generally ment that Zerg was gonna be behind Not to mention the maps were fucking tiny, so Zerg had very little time to react to move outs. Fixing this problem is fairly straight forward, make maps where taking a third base is easier, and that were just generally bigger. So Blizzard introduced new, bigger maps. Next was the shear amount of things that Terran could do to just win early (Reapers, MM off 1 base, mass hellions, SCV pulls, the list goes on). So Blizzard limited the things that could be done to them. There was still room for Zergs to be punished though, and that's the reason as to why Reactor hellion expand was such a staple in the match up, because it FORCED Zerg to play honest. If you did a reactor hellion expand, and you see Zerg not taking the neccisary precautions, you could just run in, kill a bunch of drones and get away. Even if they were playing honest, hellions denied creep very well, so there was still a sense of map control. At this point, TvZ is widely considered the most balanced match up in the game, with really dynamic timing attacks from Terrans, Zergs getting to Hive tech, and Terrans going Tank ghost to deal with it, then seeing Zergs have to tech switch back down to roaches, it was just really fucking cool and exciting to watch.A lot of people think that the Queen buff to 5 range is the biggest contributer to Zergs having success in the match up, when actually the Ghost nerf to Biological units had a much greater impact. After ghosts snipe was nerfed into the ground (essentially making it so that you had to snipe an utlra 24 times before it would die), Terrans said "Alright, so now we need to rely now more then ever on doing damage to Zergs before they can get to their Hive tech." Terrans adjusted and made their play much similar to that of what Protoss are doing now. Instead of 2 base timings, it looked more like 2 base all ins from Terrans. The mentality changed from "You really want to do damage to Zerg early on," to "You really have to do damage to Zerg early on." Then the Queen change was introduced. To this day, I still have no idea what prompted Blizzard to enact the change. The only reason that Blizzard ever gave was "TvZ openings feel stale, so we want to force Terrans to do something else." But Blizzard already nerfed every other sort of opening that allowed for early aggression if Zerg was greedy, but macro transitions if they played safe. You look at the Queen change and you think "Well Hellions can't kite Queens anymore." But it was more then that. It ment that Terrans couldn't effectively deny creep anymore with hellions, which ment that our 2 base plays would have to come significantly late, because you can't slow push on creep with tanks, you just lose. From there, Terrans tried to play greedy back against Zergs, which was quickly figured out and exploited by blindly doing early aggression, or just building a silly number of queens playing what was mere weeks ago considered unthinkably greedy, because Terran had no real was of punishing it, because having 4-6 full energy queens are very good in a straight up fight. So the new a found greediness made it possible for Zergs to get their gas count up much faster, allowing for more infestors earlier, as well allowing for easier and faster 4ths and more gas for Hive tech, which now could not be cost efficiently killed because of the ghost nerf. Many Terrans (including myself) have been trying to use mech vs Zerg. In my play with Mech, it seems like for mech to be truely cost efficient, Zerg needs to at some point misread your composition very badly (Building Zerglings when Terran has 20 BFH. Making Mutas when the Terran has a full turret ring and 4 thors already). Also, Mech is very easily abused by aggressive Zergs with Lair tech. Speed roaches and banes in the Third, while Mutas are poking around in the main. If you need any justification, just look at tournaments. It's no secret that a Terran hasn't won a major tournament in quite sometime. But look deeper. When was the last time that you heard of an up and coming Terran player, rising through the ranks, taking down really high level players that you wouldn't expect? The only real exception to this is statement is Sting having won IEM Singapore, and I can even debunk that. Lets look at who Sting played in the tournament: Lost to Stardust 2-0 Beat Tefel 2-0 Lost to Yu-Gi-Oh 2-0 Beat Steller 2-0 Beat KingKong 2-0 Advanced out of his group by 1 map He then went 3-2 in EVERY single one of his Championship series, playing excpetionally cheesy in all of his matches. I've spent the last 2 or so hours working on this thing, and can't really think of any other points to really bring up, but need I say more? So ya, I guess that's it for this blog. Hopefully my next one will end with a little bit more closure then just "Here's the facts, kthxby". Until next time, I love you all be safe.

Hiei

Hiei

 

A New Year, A New "SonTran"

2013 Is Around The Corner! Blog Note: THIS IS LONG! So what's new for 2013? New games are coming into the E-Sports scene! Heart of the Swarm coming in March! So exciting! But what about us? What do we have planned for this new year? As most of us who are human, we plan a resolution; we promise ourselves things that we can accomplish into the New Years. Some people take the resolution of losing weight, avoiding certain foods, find love, get a better job, get a new house, marry the girl of your dreams, etc. But some of us, are so unique in our own ways, but allow me to introduce on the resolution I plan on taking. The Backstory: I first started to stream after my first tournament at IPL3, which started out to be my drive to be a competitive player for Starcraft. Believe it or not, when I first bought Starcraft II, I only played the campaign and the AI, and since I had the most phenomenal thing in the world, the Internet, I was able to play against players all over the globe...or so I thought. I decided to take it easy and play a team game, and I actually chose Protoss as my main race But anyways, back to where I got my "strive" to become who I am today, and that is the topic of IPL3. Where to begin, where to begin...I recently bought the Platinum ticket, and IGN was kind of enough to upgrade it to a Diamond level ticket, which meant I would have front row seats and access to the players lounge. So after my busy day at work on Friday in the middle of a cold October, I got on the road and headed to my aunt and uncle's shore house which is right near Caesars. "Awesome" I thought to myself, as I watched the pool play on stream on my phone while watching my Phillies lost in the Playoffs The next morning, i got up about 7:00 AM and feeling so anxious about going to my first live Starcraft II tournament. Not only is this my first, but I got the best seats and access ever, and the fact that my idol, BoxeR, was going to be one of the competitors. I was fanboying all over the place, I gave the locals a scare. All they see is some crazy, half Asian, nerdy, coffee drinking psychopath, who seems to be wearing all types of clothing that is black and has a gold eagle with a triangle around it. As I got my ticket, I wondered where I would go, so I figured I would stop by the Player's Lounge. On the way I saw HuK, but I talked to Greg "IdrA" Fields on the way to the lounge and I kept thinking to myself: "Wow, he is totally different when you talk to him in person, but I think he acts like a total ass is because the crowd loves it, but he is actually a decent guy" This moment was the foundation of the whole "strive n drive", and when I entered the Players Lounge, I felt like a total noob, yet honored to be among the pros. Among the pros was FXO.Lucky, FXO.Inori, SlayerS_MMA, EG.IdrA, EG.HuK. Seeing these pros practice and using some leisure time to check FBs and E-Mails, but one person caught my eye..that was Lim Yo Hwan (BoxeR). My excitement grew and I felt like I was going to be a heart attack, and this where I was questioning myself "What if, one of my fans were like this? This would be an awesome feeling that I have fans wanting to see me". So after waiting about 20 minutes, talking to other people who were Diamond level (I was Silver at the time), I felt like this was my chance to get an autograph from the legend himself, my idol..and soon enough, I have this to keep in my memory: I was overfilled with tremendous joy that I got a signature, from my idol! I was freaking out! I wore it wherever I went! -FAST FOWARD IN TIME!- After watching that epic Kiwikaki v. Stephano game where Kiwi did a double vortex, it was time to take a break, so I walked around and there was a caged arena called the "Playhem Arena". I decided to watch players play for fun, or just custom versus games, until an admin came to the center and said that he was running a small tournament for free, and the winner gets Casino Chips. I was scared to join until he asked me and I decided to give it a shot. Now there was a specific person by the name of "Temp0" that people kept talking about. When the admin told us to enter the chat, I saw the name "Temp0". Now the chat was specifically for the Playhem Tournament, but some people got in, and one person decided to have a conversation with Temp0, and funny enough this is what happened (from my memory): Person: "Hey Temp0! How is IPL3?" Temp0: "It's awesome! :)" SonTran (me): "Hi Temp0" Temp0: "SUP SON!? :D" SonTran: "Where are you by any chance?" Temp0: "I'm getting ready for a tournament" SonTran: "You mean the Playhem?" Temp0: "yeah" SonTran: "Which computer are you at?" After that, I looked around, and 4 chairs to my right was Temp0, and we were giving each other a laugh and waving hello. Tournament went on and I lost, and Temp0 placed 2nd place. I asked Temp0 what he was known for, and he told me he was well known for Starcraft parodies. I replied "cool" and asked if I could have a picture with him. Little did we both know, that this one meeting turned into an awesome friendship..because of one day and the courage to push yourself into a competitive spot, no matter what league you were: After all of that....that one spark...got me to where I am today. The experience, the rush, the chance to meet your idols...what if... THE PRESENT: After playing ladder game, after ladder game, after ladder game. I wanted to join a team, I picked with vVv because I was friends with former member Jacob (Spectral) Wacker. So I applied to vVv and now here I am today! When I applied, I was in Gold, I felt scared I wouldn't get in, but with great dedication and determination, I convinced Jerry that I was the type of material he wanted. I tuned into the Losers Bracket and actually enjoyed some great laughs with Curt (eneKeyhunt), Jason (vVvParadise) Kuntz, and Jerry doing all kinds of E-Sports news, interviews, and just Jerry's rants were the best. Then...I get a message from Jana (vVvBabyToss) Otahalova stating: "If we get an academic team running, would you like to join?" I jumped at the offer and said "YES!" Aspire was created, and around the beginnings of Aspire, I hit Platinum, and after many practices, I am now Diamond and ALMOST at Masters! People would call us a group of Misfits, but "oh no good sir!" I reply. You see...without the help of my Aspire teammates, I would NOT be where I am today, and also with the support of friends and family, I feel unstoppable! So after many tribulations, and celebrations, and my name being spread...it's time for my resolution "HOLY MOTHER******G DOG****, WE FINALLY REACHED THE END!" With all jokes aside..To vVv and the respectable staff, to my Aspire teammates, to my friends far far away and near, and my family..I want to share to you my goals for 2013:
That is right folks, with my vacation days from my job, I plan on using these to compete in all kinds of tournaments in the states! IPL, MLG, etc. I want to be on that main stage, and play my hardest and win a trophy. Raise it above my head triumphantly and think about my accomplishments and where I started from.

After that, I want to expand. Oh no! Not that kind of expand where you take another base, I mean by competing in other tournaments like Dreamhack, and the final destination: the GSL.

Make a better name for myself and everyone who supports me. I feel that everyone who has helped me in this journey should deserve the same amount of recognition. Because without these people, I would not have gotten to where I am today

Give people inspiration to never stop believing. I never stop believing that I was going to shine, and I will never stop. No matter how thick the darkness is, your hope will outshine it

So everyone who is reading this blog entry up to this point (and I am typing this), I am actually....in tears. Not tears of sadness..but tears of joy and excitement. I can hear the drums from the distance and it is calling for me to make myself one of the idols that I looked up to. So everyone...I have a question.. I'm driving this bad boy to the top...are you going to join me in this epic journey? -Adam Son Tran (SonTran) NEVER.STOP.BELIEVING.

SonTran

SonTran

 

Path to Pro: Socialite

Socialite Hey everyone! We wanted to make the application process friendlier and more user-friendly, so we've started writing guides on all the methods that we have defined as ways our community members can add value. Today I want to shed some light on what we expect from those who want to be Socialites. When we talk about a Socialite in vVv Gaming, we refer to someone who not only makes an effort to stay active on forums, shoutbox, and mumble, but someone people love to spend time around and are excited to see and meet in those places. Socialites have a finesse and manner that allows anyone to feel comfortable talking with them, and a dedication to making people feel welcomed that draws you toward helping new people join the group. Another key duty of socialites is to spend time playing with applicants and getting to know them. Socialites play an important role in providing feedback to Staff about each applicant and whether they'd be a good fit for vVv. How Does a Socialite Add Value? So what's valuable about being a Socialite? Why bother doing it? Well, besides having the passion to engage people on this level, the answer comes down to creating an environment where people feel welcome and comfortable. We often talk about wanting to make vVv the best place in eSports. One way we can do that is by fostering an environment where people can exchange ideas and knowledge without fear of being ostracized or excluded in a negative way. For this reason, it's incredibly important for socialites to keep an open mind regarding new ideas, and to stay focused on learning about new people and their goals. Leveling Up Socialite can be divided into the following levels: Novice: You are a friendly person and may have even been on the welcoming committee back in High School (or maybe you still are). You enjoy being around new people and are always eager to introduce yourself to a new face. Still, you may not always know what to say, or might be easily put off by someone who rubs you the wrong way. If an awkward situation comes up you don't always know how to defuse it, and people may not always be as eager to meet you as you are to meet them. Beginner: Interacting with more and more people has taught you valuable lessons on what to say, and more importantly what not to say in different situations. You want people to feel welcome when they apply to vVv Gaming, so you are very active on application forums and on the Welcome forum. You may not be everyone's best friend, but people generally don't mind having you around and your contributions to discussions and in-houses are appreciated. Intermediate: You're really starting to learn all of the ways you can interact with people to form connections, network, etc. Your passion for people has led you to begin doing more in this area, whether that means recording interviews, producing written interviews, planning get-togethers for MLG, or for nearby community members, planning events for the community to get together online, or others. You want to draw new people out of their shyness and have them experience vVv Gaming in a way that will leave a lasting positive impression. Expert: Everyone in the community is familiar with you and knows and appreciates the value you add to vVv Gaming. You are constantly coming up with ideas for the community, planning them out, and executing them to make vVv an awesome place. You really love to bring people into the community, and actively do so whenever you see an opportunity. As a result, you have a solid grasp of our culture and can identify whether someone might be a good fit right away. Whenever someone has a question about the community, they frequently ask for you by name. Professional: There are a variety of professionals available for a socialite. These can range from an event coordinator, a promoter or marketing representative at shows and other live events, an eSports journalist specializing in interviews and player news, a hiring manager working at a gaming company, etc. You'll also have developed the interpersonal skills needed to impress your colleagues during a job interview, giving you an edge when it comes to landing a position in a competitive field. Relevant Skills Every way of adding value needs skills outside of just playing the game. The relevant skills to learn and master for a Socialite are as follows: Social Aptitude: As a Socialite, you need to be able to thrive in a variety of social situations. Humor, compassion, and empathy are the three healthy methods of communication, but these are not always options (for example, it's not appropriate to be funny in certain serious circumstances). You can identify a social situation and quickly determine the proper way to respond to it with these tools. Conversational Ability: Another important skill for socialites to possess is the ability to hold a conversation. It's often helpful to have a direction or series of topics in mind to keep a conversation moving. For example, you could talk to an applicant about their application experience so far, then learn about what they are doing to add value, and bring up some news related to that (for example, recent patch changes could be discussed with someone trying to become a Game Guru). You also need to be able to keep a conversation moving without forcing it, which can be a definite challenge sometimes. Friendly Attitude: As one of the first faces many of our applicants will see upon joining vVv Gaming, it's important that you keep a friendly attitude when welcoming them. This is especially true of strong personalities, as the Internet is not good at conveying complex emotions and you can easily scare new people away if you're not careful about keeping your aggressive tendencies in check. Being friendly and approachable allows you to become a hub for other community members to gather around. This presents the ideal opportunity to run some in-house games or discuss events that could be of interest to the community. Honorable Gamer: Since you'll be a very public face in our community, it's especially important for our Socialites to avoid toxic behavior and lead by example when it comes to in-game situations. If someone is being abusive, ignore them and recommend your teammates do the same. When you see applicants expressing behavior that they shouldn't, make sure to take them aside and let them know that there are better ways of dealing with their problems. Always be a force for positive change in the community, inspiring others to improve and excel in a healthy and uplifting environment. What is vVv Gaming looking for in a Socialite? As with all of our ways of adding value, the key thing here is that you have a passion for what you'll be doing (meeting new people, learning about them, and making them feel like a part of the community ). As such, if you have no experience as a Socialite we'd like to at least see some efforts within this space. A good place to start is by going to the appication forums and welcoming new applicants, and also welcoming people on the Welcome to vVv Gaming forum. Remember that as a socialite you want to be engaging and interested in the people you are communicating with, so just simple one- and two-word replies won't cut it. Another place a socialite will spend a lot of time is on our mumble server. This is the best place to go to meet and get to know other members and applicants and game together as a community.

vVv OrganicBear

vVv OrganicBear

 

Chapter 4: How do we improve?

Sup doods. So ya, I'll start with kinda what's been going on with me. I finished finals on Monday, and have been pretty much playing full time ever sense. I'm pretty close to hitting my average of 8 hours of playing/ 24 hours (my sleep schedule is sort of fucked up, so I'm going with how much I play every 24 hours), and I'm not really feeling any fatigue, so that's good .I'm already starting to reap the benefits of the amount of time I'm putting in. Before, I'd lose to Protoss and be at a lose as to why I'd lose, now I'm at least recognizing why I'm losing, and working towards fixing my play (shout out to Robogunner, he's helped me a shit ton with TvP.) TvZ is still probably my best MU. I've had a pretty high win rate for the last few months vs Zerg, but I'd still lose, and I'm making really solid steps into refining and perfecting my style of play. TvT is still kind of weird. It seems like I play Marine tank, and I lose to mech, or I play mech and lose to bio. If I try to play bio, I lose to marine tank. I don't wanna call it a rock-paper-scissors, but certain unit compositions do beat other unit compositions. A lot of the time I feel like my transitions aren't as sharp or efficient as they should or could be, and I hate playing inefficiently. I'll probably sit down over the weekend, grab some TvT reps and try and figure something out. I also played quite a bit of HoTS today. I've been reluctant to play purely because of how unstable it is, with new changes weekly, but I was in kind of a foul mood for part of the day, and I didn't want to go on tilt in WoL, so I thought I'd fiddle around with the beta. I've made up a pretty sick TvZ timing that I haven't lost with yet, I'm also still working on a TvP build (I keep hitting protoss that 3 gate me, which pretty much counters this build). TvT is still a Reaper vs Reaper cluster fuck. You literally can't open gasless anymore, because reapers will just kill your shit (Haphazard is gonna be pissed.) I'm still kind of playing off the cuff in TvT, but thus far, the games that haven't ended in the first 7 minutes due to reaper shinanigans, I've gone mech 100% of the time, and I've won 100% of the time when it gets to that point. It still feels like Terran mech is missing something though. Terran's have pretty resounding stated that having a mech spell caster that can be used in the mid game to help hold early attacks from Protoss is what's truely needed to make mech viable in the match up, cause Terrans seem to be going bio in TvP for the most part. So that's pretty much what I've been up to. I'll start talking about the game now :3 I wanted to talk about a subject that could be used by anyone in the community that is lower level (Bronze Silver and Gold). So I thought I'd discuss how I've found success in learning the game, and improving, to ultimately become a Masters level player. I'm going to preface this by saying (and this is might be beating a dead horse, but it's true), don't worry about being promoted. I like to use a quote from Day[9], where he says ,"Being in a certain league isn't a measure of skill, it's a measure of progress." So don't worry about "Oh well if I get 2 more wins, I'll be rank 5 in my division!" Although it's a kind of a fun game to play, don't let your ladder rank tell you how skilled you are, or can be. So, how do we measure progress? Well, it's very subjective, but I feel the way that I measure a players progress, I split them up into several different categories, based on what their ladder rank is. I'm gonna explain this as if I'm talking to a hypothetical character, who is advancing through the ranks. Bronze-Silver Being in Bronze and Silver means that you don't understand the game, or how it works. Most people know that you have to gather resources to build an army. A lot of people they think to themselves "Ok, I'm gathering some minerals, now I'm gonna build my army!" Which is generally at a low level a pretty good idea to have, but people at this level usually don't grasp the idea that "If I mine more resources faster, can't I make my army bigger, in less amount of time?": Another thing that happens a lot for players that are at this level is that they just don't have a game plan. In what scenario in life, is not having a plan, better then having a plan..... There really isn't one. So the same thing applies to starcraft. What I suggest to those who are stuck in Bronze-Silver. Go find a 1 base timing or all in, learn it, and perfect it .Pretty much the easiest ones I can think off of the top of my head each of these builds is good in every match up at low levels. Protoss: 4 gate Terran: 3 rax stim timing Zerg: 7 roach rush. Many people say that it's good to start playing macro at a low level. My thinking is, that if you can't handle 1 base worth of macro, why would you need 2 or 3 bases worth of macro, when you can't handle just 1. Once a player can adequately macro off of 1 base, then they should concern themselves with 2 base play. Gold-Platinum So you're in gold now, this means that at this point you're probably acceptable at macroing off of 1 base with out to much trouble, so now you have the mechanical abilities to play off of 2 bases. Also at this point, you'll probably start to realize that your 1 build is decent in 1 or 2 of the match ups, but stinks in the others. This is normal, so now you're going to retire your 1 base build, and go look up a 2 base build for all three of your match ups. Now you basically do the exact same thing that you did in Bronze. If you queue up and get a TvZ, you say, "Ok, I've got my new TvZ build that I'm going to work on and perfect," and you continue to refine your builds in all three match ups, and continue to improve upon them. Diamond So you've worked your way up out of Platinum. You've made more progress then over 3/4 of the SC2 community. Improving in Diamond is one of the hardest things for a player to do, purely because it's the most abstract., but it's extremely simple to understand once someone tells it to you. Ranking up for low diamond to high Diamond is the difference between being comfortable on 2 base compared to comfortable on 3 base. So with your 3 builds that you have, now what you need to do with them, is think to yourself "What do I need to do to more easily transition from being on 2 base to being on 3 base?" A lot of builds don't transition very well into taking a 3rd base (you don't have very good tech, your upgrades might be behind, your economy might be sacraficed). At which point I'd suggest learning a build order that more easily transitions into taking a 3rd base*, and with your new, expanded economy, you can facilitate more tech, and more infrastructure. (*PvZ is a possible acception to this this suggestion, more buidls are revolved around 2 base allin/heavy aggression, so taking a third base is awkward, almost no matter what you do). So now you're to the point where you comfortable with being on 3 base. You're probably cracked into top 8, and playing Master, but losing to them mostly losing. The only thing that Masters players do better then Diamond players is, instead of being comfortable on 3 base, they're comfortably expanding to a 4th base and a 5 the base and so on and so on, adding on production facilities. As well as taking their own expansions, Masters level players will actively attempt to deny their opponents bases, where as Diamond players are more apt to just kind of sit at home and not take advantage of potential weakness in an opponent. Every player is different in how the progress and how the improve with the game, but this is the method of thinking that I realized took place when I was improving, and it helped me climb from Bronze, never having played a competitive RTS, all the way up to Masters, maybe some of you could potentially use it as well . So ya, I hope this helps. I'll think about another topic and write up on it in the next couple of days. Until then, I love you all, be safe.

Hiei

Hiei

 

The Grind!

Hi guys, just wanted to finish off on my plans and such for Starcraft 2 going into the new year. I was hoping to post this a couple of days ago but since it was finals week and I was busy with that I just didn't have the time. Now with finals over I'm finally able to finish this and finalize my plans going into the new year. I know I talked about my goals in my last post and said I wanted to figure out a practice schedule for myself so I am playing at a consistent time and consistent amount and also plan some ways for myself to improve and find ways for me to do so. So below I'm going to list what I plan to do and how I plan on improving over the course of the next 4-5 weeks while on winter break and improving in the future. THE PLANS: Practice Schedule: - Playing at least 3-5 hours per day excluding team practices and clan wars/tournaments. I'm sure most days I'll play like 8-10 hours because I have absolutely nothing to do but on days where I do I'll try to get a couple hours in. - Ensuring that my practice times are also consistent so my game play will be consistent. - Playing more custom games against my teammates so I'm constantly playing better players and not resorting to just the ladder which can be awful at times Ways to Improve: - Keeping a record of my wins/losses in each matchup for every week. This way I can see how I'm playing against each race and which matchups I need to work on the most. I'm going to keep 2 records, one for ladder and one for clan wars/tournaments. - Putting an hour or so per day into replay analysis so I can find my mistakes and figure out what I need to improve on as a whole. So as I said in my last post, I'm really motivated to make a ton of progress in my play over the next month or so. I know that the team has talked about signing up for the IPTL Season 1 Amateur Division to play and I'm hoping we do in fact do that but regardless I'm going to try and play as many tournaments as I can on top of playing ladder matches, customs, etc. I want to make sure though that my time playing is balanced between quality and quantity. I know I'm still at the point where I need to just play as much as I can but I still want to make sure that I'm actually learning from every game. For anyone who wants to play just message me on b.net or add me if you'd like to play. I really want to play as much as I can. Elevation.482 Grind Time! xD

LuNa

LuNa

 

The Summoner's Looking Glass

The Summoner's Looking Glass "Transparency, as used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed." In recent times, I've found myself playing with the idea of transparency as a human being. What does it mean to be transparent? If I want to achieve something notable, how will transparency help me do so? Why is this guy asking me so many questions? While these inquiries will be challenging to process in the relatively short span of this article, even with the help of the audience, the mountain ahead of us is ultimately our own frustration. How much of it are we willing to endure to get where we want to be? Can the people we're surrounding ourselves with say the same? Before we begin, I think it's imperative that my motives for this series be known. I make a lot of mistakes. Some small, some with a larger impact than I imagined. Being out of position as the dominoes leading up to a team fight fall, messing up an order at my local subway, forgetting a date of relative importance. In being transparent with a given body of people, all agenda is lost, right or wrong becomes irrelevant, and we can further focus on self improvement in-game and out. My aim is to help you, and myself, increase the threshold between level headed and full tilt, to discover boundaries that are keeping gamers from pressing the "Matchmaker matchmaker make me a match" button, and to provide an environment conducive to learning how to learn. Transparency will aid you in communicating ideas to your team or friend circle. This idea, while old in origin, was most recently brought to my attention by a talented vVv applicant that I've had the pleasure of competing with in recent weeks. "We are not here to make each other look bad," he said to our squad of five, "but we have to call ourselves, and by extension each other out on our failures to communicate, to plan, and most importantly to act." A fine line he walks, but he is correct. I personally do not know if I am ready for such a responsibility, but i am willing to try. When we endure a frustrating loss, stewing in the "What could have been?" is a dangerous game that can be played in a way that doesn't hold a gun to the head of the offender. Instead, attempt to divert any possible provocation to, "What did we do or not do that we could have done better?" While this may be perceived as a strictly semantical difference on paper, it holds a very different connotation when being brought to a teammates attention, who knows that they just cost their team a victory. Another way to frame it would be the difference between these two statements: "You did something wrong." "You are what's wrong." While it may not be so cut and dry in regular conversation, the difference between implicating and analyzing can be the difference between a conquered squabble or a hurt friendship. Try to catch it before it becomes a wall in communication that keeps your team from further advancements. "The difference between acknowledging the existence of failure, and accepting it, is absolutely vast." At this time I would like to briefly digress back to my recent return to League of Legends, and more importantly the flawed reasoning behind my initial absence. This is not for justification's sake, but to learn from what I've done, and to hopefully save future frustrations from ever occurring. When I originally started solo/duo queuing on a regular basis with a now somewhat distant friend of mine, I learned that we were quite proficient at our bottom lane duties. When we began losing long streaks of games due to misplays, trolls, and afk teammates, I allowed it all to blend together, creating the illusion of "ELO hell." Not just as a figurative non-existent place, but a mindset. "It's not my fault, someone else did it. I am good, my ELO is good, therefore I am good." It makes me sick to my stomach to have to admit that I was until quite recently, in a similar continuing head space. I wanted teammates to appear out of thin air. I wanted everyone to know that I was somehow amazing. I wanted a lot of things. Only after accepting a chance game invitation did I come to realize the following: I am bad. I have a desire to improve. I have people around me that want the same things. I want other people to want what I want. How can I do this? No response. How can I DO this? No response. I can do this. Be transparent. Without criticism, we cannot but hope to improve. Without help, we cannot Aspire.

Rinzler

Rinzler

 

Entertain, Educate, Dominate: A Glance At VVV Gaming’s Community

VVV’s motto states that all players, regardless of skill, have a place in competitive gaming. The eSports community is constantly changing—some things are for the better, some things are for the worse. In the League of Legends scene, I Will Dominate, one of Dignitas’ players was banned from the game for one year. With him unable to compete or even play, the team is scrambling to find a new teammate. While this was going on, Starcraft 2 players Song Hyeon Deok and Kim Dong Hwan were battling it out for first prize in the North American Star League. With old faces leaving and new faces making their first appearance, VVV manages to stay competitive whilst providing options for new players to learn the ropes. Corey Cato, a newer member of VVV claimed that although he has been involved in the community since June 2012, he hasn’t been around for very long in comparison to other members. “Overall I would say that it [VVV] is a second family. I enjoy talking to each and every one of the players. This community just has a great, open, and friendly atmosphere,” Cato said. With over 19,000 forum members, VVV’s player base is vast and quickly increasing. Many people come to VVV to improve their skills . With their various coaching programs, VVV is trying to help many new players break into the eSports world. League Aspire is a new program in VVV’s League of Legends faction that teaches open minded players at a personal level. Zotico, a committed VVV member, created a template for the coaches to use which allows them to track their students’ skills, how they need to improve, and if they have improved over the 6 week course. Jerry Prochazka, the owner of VVV, released a rather impassioned article. “You are all better collectively than you are individually. Take nothing here for granted. More importantly, this is yours. Own it. Most importantly, become stewards of it. Be stewards for future generations. There is "something special" here,” Prochazka said. Not only is Prochazka passionate about what he has created, he is also easily accessible to the community. Although he is now working for Riot Games, Prochazka still participates in VVV and can be found scrolling through the endless depths of Twitter. Passion is not all the community has to offer. Although there are plenty of coaching opportunities for newer players, competitive players looking for a home are also welcome. Sponsored by the companies Steel Series, The Entertainment Consumers Association, Kontrol Freek, and other respectable organizations, VVV’s competitive side is no laughing matter. John Kim, a competitive Starcraft 2 player, was formally inducted into VVV as of December 9th, 2012. Excited to begin his career at VVV, he openly talks to fans and friends alike on mediums such as Facebook and Twitter. Other players that wish to be sponsored by VVV, like Kim, can enter through the Experience Initiative program. Entertain, educate, dominate. VVV’s community attempts to provide those three things through tournaments, coaching, and friendship.

Kleopatra

Kleopatra

 

Goals over Winter Break going into 2013

Hello everyone, I wanted to do this post as some what as a second part to my post the other day regarding my thoughts on joining vVv Aspire Rising. Today I wanted to talk about my goals for myself over the coming week going into 2013 and throughout the coming year. For me, I'm the type of person who likes setting very high and in some cases near impossible but my point in doing so is that by raising the bar that high, even if I don't necessarily accomplish those goals I will still be striving to do my best no matter what and will be very close to reaching them if not actually accomplishing them. GOALS: 1.) By the end of my winter break (spring semester for me begins in the 3rd week of January) I want to be in diamond league and able to win consistently in clan wars. I feel that this is where everything needs to start. Having 5 weeks off, I have all the time in the world to commit to practicing and will be working out a regular daily schedule for myself once finals are over and final practice times for the team have been set. I think that I'm more then capable of getting into diamond, just over the past week playing and practicing I've already felt the difference in my play. When I first applied I was in platinum league but kind of struggled to win around 40% of my games, now I feel like I can win around 60-65% of my games and I'm a lot better at hitting timings and just understanding the matchups more then I did before. So I feel that I could make diamond within the next 4 weeks or so but I also want to improve when it comes to practicing and preparing for clan wars. I want to actually be able to compete and win at a consistent level when we play. Those are the most important games in my opinion, ladder is simply practice and a lot of times can turn into really silly games where clan wars is actual competition where you want to put forth your best builds and that's where you will learn the most from. 2.) Heading into spring 2013 I want to then be in masters league. 3.) By the end of 2013 I want to be in GM and be apart of the sponsored team for vVv Now like I said, some of these goals maybe be considered to be near impossible considering I've only been playing starcraft for a few months (I know that many players have spent a number of years playing starcraft and haven't reached a high masters/GM level) but the whole point to setting high standards is just to bring out the very best in myself. Even if I don't actually make GM or the sponsored team by the end of the year, I will at least be striving to do so no matter what and if it doesn't happen then I know I will be a lot closer to it then I am now. I feel that it's important to set the bar this high though because I believe that's what brings out the very best in people. If you set goals that you think are easy or mediocre, then you won't work as hard for it where as if you set the bar really high, no matter what you'll always try your best to do it regardless if you succeed or not. So that's what I'm going to do. These are the goals I laid out for myself and will strive to achieve and at the end whether I succeed or not I know that I'll be a very good player by the end and would have a lot to look forward to in 2014. xD

LuNa

LuNa

 

Chapter 3: Blue-print for success

Sup doods. My sleep schedule is sort of messed up. I took my last final today (which was literally a questionnaire about how we liked the class, what could have been better, but the school requires every professor gives an official final. I spent more time driving there, then I actually spent on campus, which was kind of silly. I felt super tire, so I took a nap. Instead of just taking an hour or two, I slept for like 5 hours, so I'm awake now xD. I wanted to ladder, but Blizzard decided to take their servers down until tomorrow afternoon, so I'm bored. So. I decided to kind of share what my plan for success is for the next few months. So obviously I'll be playing for about 6-10 hours a day, 7 days a week (of which I'd like to stream a minimum of 2 hours a day). I think that my schedule will look something like this: 10 AM: Wake up. 11 AM - 2 to 3 PM: Ladder 3 PM: Break/cool down 4 PM - 7 to 8 PM: Play with team mates or ladder 8 PM: Dinner 9PM - 11 to 12 AM: Misc games/ More ladder 12 AM: Sleep. I think Aspire Rising is still considering changing the practice time. Once that gets confrimed, I'll be able to set my schedule in stone. I'm thinking of doing like a super long stream session to kick off my adventure. If I'm gonna do that, I really wanna wait until I can use my second monitar again (It'll just make everything easier). I'll probably try and drum up some support or ideas about it, who knows, I might even get a few followers from it. I also wanna start working out again. I haven't really had a serious work out session in about a year and a half, when I stopped playing soccer. After doing so much working out for almost 15 years, it really wears you down. I know once I get into the swing of it, it'll become second nature to work out on a regular basis. In the slightly more long term, my plan is to be high masters level player (At least 1000 Masters), and basically be in a position to apply for a sponsored position. That's where I want to be by May. If I make it to that point, and I'm still happy with what I'm doing, I'll continue through the summer, until the fall semester. If I've not met my goal, or if I'm not on the way to meeting my goal, I'll return to school for the summer semester. If I'm making progress, but at a slower rate then I expected, but I'm still happy with what I'm doing, I'll probably have to try and change my training regime. If that is the case, I'll continue training through the summer, and by that point if I'm still not at a level to apply for the sponsored then I'll probably return to school for the Fall semester. Assuming that I do decide to continue, and my plan completely unfolds, I intend to have some sort of tournament success (whether it be online or at a LAN) by the End of the 2013. If I haven't had any real success, or I haven't come close, I'll again have to kind of re-evaluate my plan, and consider returning to school So ya, that's the plan. Make it on the A team by May, continue to compete and train until through the summer, have success in the Fall/Winter. Fight the dragon. Save the Princess. Live happily ever after. Ya. I'll write again in the next couple of days, once I've begun training super hard. Until then, I love you all be safe.

Hiei

Hiei