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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
 

Video Games and Violence

For this essay for my English Composition 2 class, I was supposed to analyze two authors' arguments. It is a bit lengthy. Video Games and Violence For the past decade, popular culture has tried to link video games to violence and crime. After the recent college shootings, certain politicians have even tried to ban the sale of violent videogames in some states. These issues have led to many arguments both for and against the association of violent videogames with actual real-life violence. Increasingly, in the past two decades, video games have been the scapegoat du jour. Christopher Ferguson, in his article “Video Games: the Latest Scapegoat for Violence,” summarizes what is happening to videogames in the following quote: “The video-game platform is the newest kid on the media block and, as such, is subject to a particularly high dose of suspicion and scrutiny. I think that this is wrong and, indeed, dangerous.” In this quote, Ferguson states his side of his argument as being a proponent for the videogame industry. “Experimental research has shown that playing violent video games produces higher levels of aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and aggressive behavior (in the short-term) than non-violent video games.” In this quote from “The Effect of Violent Video Games on Aggression: Is It More than Just the Violence?” Paul Adachi states that he is an opponent to the videogame industry and also says that he thinks violent videogames are a reason for aggression. Christopher Ferguson and Paul Adachi both differ and are the same in the aspect of the audience they are speaking to. It seems that Adachi is speaking to an audience in his respective field of study. While trying to explain about the shootings on college campuses Adachi says, “Of course, such accounts are not scientifically grounded and, thus, cannot provide adequate support for public policy decisions nor links between violent video game play and relevant scientific theories of aggression.” Adachi could have simplified this quote by simply saying that there was not enough scientific evidence to link violent video games and actually violence. Ferguson is speaking to an audience in his field but he is also using common speech for others to be able to understand. Ferguson also uses speech that makes the reader feel like he or she is being directly addressed as opposed to Adachi who is writing a purely scientific journal. “That's not very satisfying, is it? Perhaps for that reason, it seems to me that increasingly, as a culture, we have shied away from holding people responsible for their behaviors, and instead prefer to seek out easy or even abstract entities to blame.” This quote is an example of Ferguson using the combination of complex and simple language. Adachi is using somewhat-common speech but his use of complex words and diagrams make his article harder to understand. Ferguson seems to me to be a fellow gamer as opposed to Adachi who just seems to be a researcher. Both authors seem to be appealing to those with authority and to the parents of those children who play videogames. If Adachi wouldn’t have used such complex speech, he might have been able to get his point across better. I think Ferguson uses the perfect combination of common terms and complex speech to support his argument. Readers of both articles would hold positions of either for or against videogames. Some readers also may be neutral on the subject. Both authors try to keep the readers engaged in their articles. The authors support their separate claims very well. In his argument as a proponent for the video game industry, Ferguson mostly uses his claim and supporting evidence to support his argument. In his article, Ferguson states “I actually do research on violent video games. I certainly don't speak for others in the field, some of whom I know will disagree with my perspective, but I do speak from a familiarity with the research and the literature.” This quote shows that Ferguson does his own research and can relate to gamers as one who does outside research for himself about his passion. Ferguson also uses a real-world example to support his point. “For instance, a first-person-shooter game (though certainly a mild one compared with some) called Re-Mission is being studied in relation to young adults with cancer. One group of youths who played this game demonstrated better cancer-treatment adherence, better self-efficacy and quality of life, and more cancer-related knowledge than did those in a control group who did not play the game.” This quote shows how Ferguson not only provides facts about the subject but also uses real world examples to support his claim. The only confusing part of Ferguson’s article is where he hints on society’s reasons for using videogames as a “scapegoat.” The most appealing parts of Ferguson’s article are the sections where he uses real-world examples of where violent videogames are actually being used to improve the quality of life in certain groups of individuals. This appeals to me because, as a gamer, I enjoy seeing games being used to improve the world. Adachi’s argument is most supported by his supporting evidence. Adachi uses many visual elements to go along with his research. The article includes multiple flow charts to show the relationship between aggressive behavior and videogames. The amount of research put into the article is very prominent and show’s how strongly the author wants to prove his point. Adachi’s use of complex research terms make the article a bit more difficult to understand. “The results indicated that both intensity and duration of the modified TCRTT were not related to trait aggression, domestic violence, or violent criminal acts. To assess whether gender moderated the relation between the modified TCRTT and the three outcome measures, separate analysis were run for males and females.” This quote is explaining the research of a scientist on aggressive behavior and videogames. These sentences make parts of the article more difficult to read than others. Some of the more recent research findings mentioned in Adachi’s article are very interesting. They are interesting to me because I am a gamer and I would like to see if violent videogames should scientifically affect my behavior. Both authors skillfully support their arguments with research. Adachi and Ferguson both state that they are professors or researchers in their respective fields of study. Ferguson also hints at the fact that he is a gamer himself while Adachi shows no indication that he is a gamer. At the top of the article, Adachi has included that he is from the Department of Psychology at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario. This shows that he must be a high level researcher in the field of psychology. Ferguson states that he is a researcher in the field of videogames. I can see through his use of language that Ferguson is very angry at the fact that society is using videogames as a scapegoat. Adachi’s use of language is more neutral and does not show any emotional involvement. I think the fact that Ferguson includes emotional ties in his article, helps the audience relate to him and to his argument. Ferguson also uses a low level of humor in his article. “Using video-game-playing habits to predict school shootings is about as useful as noting that most or all school shooters were in the habit of wearing sneakers and concluding that sneakers must be responsible for such violence.” This quote shows Ferguson’s appeal as a writer and as a proponent for the video game industry. Adachi’s research essay does not really help the audience see his involvement in his claim. I feel that Ferguson’s article appeals to more readers than Adachi’s opposing article. The authors are limited by the fact that there is no way to completely test their theories. Every human being is different and responds to stimuli in different ways. Also neither author can fully explain the characteristics of video game effects. Each reader would have to experience the stimulus of playing a videogame to truly understand the article. The issue itself limits the authors’ arguments. The issue of violent videogames has been around as long as the videogames themselves. The political and social arguments surrounding the issue both influence and constrain the writers in their arguments. The many different views on the issue can be both overwhelming and confusing to the readers and to the writers as well. The fact that Ferguson is a gamer can limit his argument but can also influence its validity. His claim could be biased because he is a gamer himself. The fact that he is a gamer could also show his passion for the truth and help solidify his claim. The fact that Adachi shows no emotion in his article influences his claim in the fact that he is purely seeking the truth for research purposes. Both writers are limited by the argument but also have values that can help their claims. Both writers seem to be prompted to write this argument on the fact of videogames being targeted as a cause of violence. Also, both writers included the fact that the recent school shootings are being blamed on violent videogames. These events and the authors’ connections with the topic helped influence their writings. Neither article hints on the authors’ previous history of work on the topic, but from some of their terminology, I personally think they have previously written on this subject. Ferguson’s passion for videogames seems to have sparked the writing of his article. Adachi’s quest for the truth and his research-driven writing seemed to have influenced his article. The articles are both influenced by the same events in society. Both writers’ arguments are overall well done. Adachi did have a few minor bumps that probably lost him a few groups of readers. Ferguson’s argument was very concrete and well stated. Over time, as more articles are published on a national scale, society will begin to understand the importance of their articles and their research. These articles are two of many that I have personally read on the topic of video games and their relation to everyday life. Maybe one day soon, society will stop blindly blaming videogames for problems and start doing research to see the actual issues that are plaguing society instead of blaming a recreational activity. Works Cited Adachi, Paul J.C., and Teena Willoughby. "The Effect Of Violent Video Games On Aggression: Is It More Than Just The Violence?." Aggression & Violent Behavior 16.1 (2011): 55-62. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. Ferguson, Christopher J. "Video Games: the Latest Scapegoat for Violence." The Chronicle of Higher Education 53.42 (June 22, 2007): NA. Academic OneFile. Gale. Auburn University (AVL). 30 Sept. 2012

The Turtle

The Turtle

 

Video Games Achieving a Higher Level of Flow

My English Composition 2 class is based on arguments and there are many arguments in the real world about gaming. I will be posting this essay and my other 3 essays in my blogs for those people who would want/care to read them. For this essay, I was supposed to analyze the argument made by a certain author. Video Games Achieving a Higher Level of Flow “Flow is the integration of a clear goal, feedback, a match between challenge and skill, concentration, focus, control, loss of self-consciousness, transformation of time, and the activity’s autotelic nature,” (169). In simpler terms, flow is the feeling of success one receives when a certain goal is met or succeeded. Flow is most commonly found in artists, athletes, and surgeons. When an artist finishes a masterpiece for others to see, a high level of flow is achieved. When an athlete wins a game or surpasses a certain challenge, flow is also found. While performing surgery on a patient, a surgeon is experiencing a gratifying feeling of flow. In her article ‘‘‘Toward Integrative Models of Flow’: Effects of Performance, Skill, Challenge, Playfulness, and Presence on Flow in Video Games,” Seung-A Annie Jin writes about flow also being found in video games. Jin main goal is to convince readers to include playing video games as an activity that produces higher levels of flow. Jin’s article was arranged very well in all aspects. In my opinion, her supporting evidence of her article was the most crucial part of her whole article. She showed many studies and examples of how high levels of flow are achieved through video games. Statistics and graphical data we’re also excellently used in the explanation of her argument. Some of the most difficult parts of the text to understand were some of the data in her graphs. The explanation of the way she measured flow was very complex and confusing at some points. Despite the somewhat confusing graphs, the explanations of the steps of her experiments were clear and concise. The parts that specifically appealed to me were her data on medical-simulation and music games. Most of the time, those two genres of video games aren’t even included in other arguments. This data really helped show how all types of video games help players achieve the highest levels of flow. The author of the article seems to have a very high level of education. Her vocabulary is full of words that would only be found in those who are considered masters in their professions. The author also writes like she, herself, is a fellow gamer. “The time spent on playing ‘Call of Duty: World at War™’ and ‘James Bond 007™’ is much longer for players who survive (succeed) than those who die soon into the game (fail),” (171). This quote includes some real game-related examples that appeal to fellow gamers. “Electronic games allow users to engage in artistic creation and medical simulation, play musical instruments and sports, and participate in other engrossing enterprises,” (170). This quote shows how she is also speaking to those who do not necessarily play video games. The fact that she is arguing for this cause gives readers a sense of connection to her. She may write like she is a gamer, but to those who do not know a lot about games, it may just seem like she is speaking with a higher level of vocabulary. The fact that she is a gamer gives her readers a sense of comfort in the fact that she not only includes hardcore facts but also includes examples of real in-game situations. The fact that she is both a gamer and a renowned researcher improves her argument greatly. The fact that the author is also a gamer could possibly be limiting her argument. Jin may be blinded to the other side of the argument and could potentially mislead the audience on some parts of the argument. In some instances, the author’s use of vocabulary limits her message. There are many points in the article where a clearer word-choice could have been used. She refers to videogames having “abundant multimodal (visual, aural, and haptic) information that screens out distractions and facilitates concentration,” (170). In this quote she could have just said that the senses of sight, hearing, and touch contribute to the sense of “getting away” that players experience when playing video games. I feel that if she could’ve explained some of her points and taken into account a less-educated reader, her audience for the article could have been much broader. The fact that video games are looked down upon in society also limits her argument. Some potential readers may not even glance at her article after they read the words video games. She should’ve just used a title with flow. Then the potential readers could have been interested in flow in the topics of athletics, art, and surgery and then have been inclined to read more into her article. There may have been quite a few things that limited her argument but overall she did a very good job in justifying her point. The author seems to have been personally interested in the topic before writing the argument. Jin seems to have previously done multiple experiments and articles on the subjects of video games and flow. I think the acts of society and the outcast of gamers caused Jin to write about this topic. In part of her argument, I almost feel the anger and the persistence of the author in her writing. As a reader, I felt the passion behind her argument. This passion helped me relate to her and to better understand her argument. I feel better educated about the topic than I was before reading the article. Jin did a phenomenal job in not only informing her readers but also in keeping them entertained throughout the article. The article had an even balance between qualitative and quantitative data. In her article, Jin is mostly writing to those with higher levels of education. Also, her audience is assumed to already have some knowledge on the topic of video games. She is most likely writing to other professors in her field or to those who research levels of flow in activities other than video games. Jin is showing her readers (assumed fellow players of video games) that playing video games is not just an activity to feel bad about doing. Some readers might view Jin’s article as not worth reading because of the words “video games” in the title. Many people in today’s society look down upon those who play video games and those who consider themselves “gamers.” I took personal interest in this article because it applied to me. I, being a gamer myself, understood most of the points made in her argument. She described games as giving the players concrete goals with rules, actions and opportunities that deal with users’ skill and capabilities and with a feedback system with multiple stimuli that cause concentration. These attributes of games are also found in other activities such as sports. As I previously stated, society looks down upon gamers but really, we’re just doing the same activities that athletes perform. Hopefully through this article and other ones like it, society will begin to understand why video games are so crucial to everyday life. Jin’s argument about video games being a higher level of flow was overall very well done. She did have a few minor bumps that probably have lost her a few groups of readers. Over time, as more articles are published on a national scale, society will begin to understand the importance of her article and her research. This article is just one of many that I have personally read on the topic of video games and relating them the improvement of everyday life. Maybe one day soon, society will begin to accept video games as the norm and respect those who play them. Works Cited Jin, Seung-A Annie. "“Toward Integrative Models Of Flow”: Effects Of Performance, Skill,Challenge, Playfulness, And Presence On Flow In Video Games." Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 56.2 (2012): 169-186. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

The Turtle

The Turtle

 

AP Zilean Mid!

AP Zilean! Hi! Welcome to my blog! Hopefully you'll find some helpful information here and make use of it to CARRY YOURSELF WITH AP ZILEAN! Lets start off with a skill analysis. Q- Zilean places a bomb on any target detonating after 4 seconds. Does AOE Dmg. DMG: 90, 145, 200, 260, 320 (+0.9 Per AP). W- Zilean takes 10 seconds off of all his skill cool downs (except for summoner spells). E- On ally/self Zilean gives a 55% movement speed inscrease. On enemy- Slows movement speed by 55%. R- Zilean will revive a dead champion on the spot (has to place the effect before the player dies). (Ally or self spawns with 600/880/1100. 1. BOMBS GO BOOM... TWICE! AP Zilean is a very strong AP Mid champion that not a lot of people use. Many people just place their bombs on their opponent and then run away. They do not realize that Zilean's very strong combo is- Q, W, Q. Zilean can place a bomb onto an opponent and then W (to refresh the cool down time on Q), then place a second bomb! This will do double the damage in just a press of 2 buttons! In lane this is very useful because your bombs do a lot of damage to start off with, then double the damage can be used to be super strong harass or super easy minion farming. If you are against a melee champion in mid (Such as Kassadin, Katarina, Fizz, etc...) the job is easy because you can just place a bomb on your allied minion! (When they go to kill the creep, if they don't kill it, the minion will die, if they kill it it will blow up right in their face!). By the time lane faze is over, you will be super farmed and the enemy champion will have almost no farm what so ever. 2. Zilean is so much easier with BLUE!!! Same with a lot of other AP mid champions, Zilean's job as a kick ass underplayed AP Midder, is 10x easier with the help of Blue buff! Zilean's bombs will have a very little cool down refresh time concluding in you being able to harass whenever the enemy mid comes in range. (The range of Zilean's bomb is HUGE. [700]). Another thing blue will help with is how you can spam W with blue buff! W takes off 10 seconds of your cool-down time of all spells (excluding summoner spells) so therefor you can basically have no cool-down on your Q and E because their cool-downs are under 10 seconds. This equals unlimited boom boom in enemy face and half the cool-down time on the speed buff. You will also have a shorter cool down on your ULTIMATE which will result in being able to play more aggressive, protecting your team in fights, and never feeding... ever. 3. Know who to Ulti! So many people, in a team fight use Zilean's ulti to ulti the top laner, jungler, tank, or support. That should never happen because the most important person on your team would most likely be the AD carry (unless he totally sucks donkey butt...). IF your ADC sucks donkey butt, then you should probably just ulti the person who is doing the best. If that person is yourself, be a selfish noob and just ulti yourself when you are about to die. Example: If your team has you (Zilean) mid, a Jax top, a Nocturne jungle, an Ezreal ADC, and a Sona support. Scenario: Jax is fed top, 5-0. Ezreal is not doing so good bot 1-3, and everyone else is 0-0. You would want to Ulti Jax, (or the person contributing the most to the teamfight) Jax in this case because he can go in, stun and continue to do damage while being somewhat tanky (and if tanky Jax, then of course he's be really tanky). 4. Know who to bomb! Some people ONLY bomb enemy champions! That's not good because there are so many more ways to effectively bomb other than just bombing the nearest enemy champion. As i said before, in lane you can ulti a minion (your own if enemies are melee), and theirs to farm and to harass if the enemies stand near the minions. Another way you can use bombs effectively is if you have a front liner champion on your team that you know will be in the enemy team's faces in a fight. For this example I will be using Jax again. If Jax is in a fight, he will jump into the enemy team and do what Jax does.. damage. To go along with Jax, you could just put a bomb on top of Jax so when Jax jumps onto the enemies, your bomb will detonate dealing damage to everyone within the range. (You can also put bombs on Dianna, Amumu, Shyvana, Noctune, etc...). Runes! For runes, I use: Magic Pen Reds x9 Mana Regeneration Yellows x9 Cool Down Reduction Blues x9 Ability Power Reds x3 Masteries! For masteries, I use Average 21-0-9

iGeorge

iGeorge

 

Collegiate eSports: My View on its Future

This is my first of, what is sure to be, many blogs. I will talk about how I view the current state of collegiate eSports and I will talk some about what I think could improve this competition rich scene. While watching the Starcraft 2 matches between Georgia Tech and the University of Waterloo tonight I was left wondering why collegiate level eSports aren't more popular. College sports (i.e. football) are madly popular in the states and attract millions of viewers every Saturday. At my college you could smell the the barbeque from tailgaters halfway across campus. Why doesn't this occur in eSports? Okay, maybe fans would rather snag a few autographs instead of barbequing, but the idea is still there. Different crowd, different display of passion. That brings me to my first point which is passion. Passion is what drives all sports. College sports teams are often times known for having more passionate and crazy fans than even the professional form of that sport. These are the fans that show up rain or shine and yell their voices hoarse. Passion is the key to the formula and is currently not present in the collegiate eSports scene. Sadly, the current viewer base for collegiate eSports is quite small. I fear that not many even know that the scene exists. This brings me to my first point in what I believe collegiate eSports needs in order to be successful. Collegiate eSports needs more of a viewer base. One way of achieving this effectively is through Reddit. A good example of this is how the Azubu CSL Sandy Relief League of Legends stream on Twitch.tv went from ~50 viewers at it's start to roughly 1,200 and second stream on the list. Why? Partially due to a post by CLG on Reddit that skyrocketed to the top. Before this post, the only advertising that was to be found was one moderate-traffic website. What this scene really needs is professional support. I am pleased to be able to say, though, that in the past months, the professional support for the scene has greatly increased with the IvyLoL league tournaments being casted by names such as Riot Jaws and MalfusX, Azubu kicking off its Sandy relief marathon (with help of CLG, Sheth, etc.) coupled with the kick off of their Collegiate Star League a few days later, and finally with the IvyLoL final four being featured at Lone Star Clash 2. Ideally, I'd like to see Riot Games, MLG, or perhaps IPL support a collegiate bracket in their tournaments that could potentially act as a minor league. Unfortunately, a potential problem I see with collegiate eSports is that many of the college students playing these games may not have the time or schedule to duke it out at weekend long tournaments. This may very well be the achilles heel of collegiate eSports as we know it as scheduling could become complicated. Perhaps this could be overcome though. Gamers are known for their passion for gaming, I certainly wouldn't rule out seeing college teams at tournaments just because Little Jimmy forgot to do his homework that night. Another big hit concerning the possible time constraints would be the lack of streaming. With the students often studying or working, the long hours necessary to have a successful stream just aren't plausible. Why do I mention this? I mention it, because streaming is a large part of publicity for professional gamers and would be as well for the semi-pro college teams. Without streams up at the peak hours of the day the marketing for these teams becomes that much more difficult. Now to the fun stuff: Rivalry. Whether it be TSM and Curse or the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, rivals exist in all sports. They instigate rich trash talk and intense competition. Lucky for collegiate eSports, rivalry should come easy. This is due to the simple fact that most of the universities that have gaming teams competing already have other sports team that have been around for some time which will certainly serve as existing rivalries to start with. This works in the favor of collegiate gaming as it should attract a larger crowd if a rival game is advertised around campus. Why? I see it as, most people on campus will know about School A (the one they attend) and School B (the rival). If they see a poster on campus that says "School A is playing School B in the biggest eSports tournament to date!", they are more likely to check it out and watch the matchup and, if we're lucky, they'll stick around and continue to support the team in the future. This is all opposed to a poster saying something along the lines of, "School A is playing in the biggest eSports tournament around!", because that only speaks to a small group of people. Simply put, not everyone knows is an eSports fanatic while most people around will know of a rivalry or matchup between schools. It's how you market it, and if done right it will boost the fanbase of collegiate eSports three fold. Before I wrap this up, I want to touch on another point that seems to be coming up in my news feed lately which is that of scholarships for eSports. Scholarships are a great incentive/reward for being a gamer and a great student. It highlights role models in the gaming community that are also full time students. These scholarships show that dedicated gamers don't fit some shut-in basement dwelling stereotype. I feel that eSports should be treated as any other sport in the world. They all require dedication, passion, and motivation. Scholarships in eSports show that gaming is not just sitting alone in your room. As with other collegiate sports, it is also about achieving excellence in academics and in their sport. With that being said, earlier this year Twitch.tv (partnered with Alienware and SteelSeries) announced that they would be handing out roughly $50,000 in scholarships that was divided among five students who showed outstanding grades, gaming achievements, dedication, and passion. That's right, passion. I believe that the core of all sports is passion. I started off talking about passion and I will end with it, because it is singlehandedly the most important thing fueling professional gaming. It's what makes us gamers tick. That concludes my ramblings on where I think college level eSports is headed. Look forward to some new blogs from me soon. I hope to see you all then. Thanks for reading!

Mannykacks

Mannykacks

 

The transition from Volatile Bio to Mech Power Overwhelming

Like anything else, SC2 evolves. Specifically the tvt and tvz match up. I used to be a bio player but was forced to mech as small mistakes ended up being HUGE ones. It still has its place in bo3's when you know your opponent as bio can be extremly effective when the zerg doesn't know it's coming as they usually prepare for mech. Why I'll always love my marines Bio has effectively increased my micro, apm and multitasking. Forcing me to always pay attention to the map while macroing and marine splitting is a fine art that requires speed and precision. If terrans want to get better on these things i suggest you do bio centric plays as they force you to be on the map and teach you to always look at the minimap as well as increasing your mouse precision immensely. You'll know your precision is good when you can consistently leave 1 marine behind every time you split in the unit tester(something to work towards, start off slow than increase the speed). I'll continue to add in bio into my plays for those BO3's and BO5's. The marine micro challenge!! Why, hello mech It didn't take me long to get used to mech, although the first few games i was attacking a little to much. Damn bio habits... When I was watching the GSL season 4 finals I finally decided to change to mech, as now I had no more excuses not to play it. It took me maybe 15 games? To get all the timings and get used to the mech logic. I suggest any terrans going into mech or struggle with it's understanding check out Apollo's video on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOW5ygukH94. Being Flexible When I was playing bio I had this type of ego where bio was the way to go and mech was just a get out of jail free card. Although that does ring true, Bio was difficult to ladder with as I had to adapt to my opponent in game. Which made it coin flippy. My win rate has been steadily increasing and I finally have positive win ratio in tvt and don't mind it as much anymore. To clarify why I say mech is a get out of jail free card, it's basically more forgiving than Bio and more reliable. Although I still think it's not a good learning tool for terrans, as it doesn't force you to be more active. Although mech does have it's requirements for speed. Hellions and banshees have to be ALWAYS active in order to keep up with the zerg.This is probably the best advice I can give about mech: Hellions and banshees should always be DOING something! This should be your goal if meching, as it forces you to multitask and not get caught in the bad habbit of staying in your base. Patience is a Pain And so is Baiting Number one thing I learned when playing mech was patience. Which was probably why I lost my first few mech games due to those bio habits... This rings true all the way to when zerg is on that ridiculous broodlord infestor. The key to is too sit your vikings on top of your thors/tanks and have hellions running around denying expos and roasting drones. If you have to many tanks, (you only need ~5 as they only need to snipe the infestors if they try to fungal your vikings) take the left over tanks and have them follow your hellions to kill expos and force the zerg out of position. So that he HAS to attack into you. Welcome to the mech side vVvWaKai, we got cookies! My Blog on reddit Twitter: @vVv_WaKai My stream GLHF!

vVv WaKai

vVv WaKai

 

Life's Two Laws of Improvement

Life's Two Laws of Improvement Hello there guys, Razor here with me second blog entry, this time around I want to talk about something short, yet really important that will help you improve not only at gaming, but at everything you do in life. But before that, let me tell you a bit more about myself. Ever since I was little the only three things I could think of were, Math, Video Games, and Sports. (Though for some strange reason I do not like sports games). I practiced a lot of sports, martial arts disciplines, and yes, played almost every game known to man and even some known to monkeys. Growing up I started getting attached to some sports, game genres, and math (Yes, math, you can laugh now). When I was 12 I started training roller hockey, and by 16 I was competing at school level. When I got into college I switched over to Table Tennis, yet again competing for my school. At 20, old friend invited me to join a Roller Hockey Team, and with it we won a national championship. Life was good. But how did I get there? How was I able to be so good in those sports? In video games? In math? It's all thanks to my first coach, who we called TeePee. TeePee explained to me that there were two major things I should never forget if I were to be succesful in life, he called them "Life's two Laws of Improvement". What are they? You may ask. Well here's the secret. They are Called "Intensity" and "Progession", now I'm going to explain to you what are these about. Intensity, give it all you got Sounds simple enough? Well it isn't. Intensity is not about encouraging you to do your best, but demanding you commit 100% to what you're doing. It's almost as saying "You must bring your best", Intensity doesn't care for Half-assed efforts, Intensity doesn't care for "Okay I'll try my best". It's all about commitment. How do you do this? When you are focusing in doing something, whatever it may be (Studying, Training, Working, anything), tell yourself "Now I am doing X, I will concentrate all of my attention and my energy in doing this, I shall not incur in distractions, and I shall fulfill today's goal". When you commit a 100% to an activity, and really focus on it, your body increases the production of several enzimes that will help you with focus and energy supply, and surprisingly, it has proven to have amazing results, just ask proffesional body builders, players, they know what it is to be fully commited to what you're doing. Progression, constantly Challenge yourself This, for me, is the dealbreaker of most aspiring pro's or competitive people, they reach a point when they think there is no need to improve. They are dead wrong. That's what distinguishes an excellent professional/Gamer/Sportsman from the rest. That's what makes them stand out, they are constantly challenging themselves to improve, we all know perfection is nearly impossible, so aim for that as your vision, always tell yourself, "Okay, so as of now I've been doing X pretty well, let's see if I can make it Faster/Better/Tighter, etc. If you are constantly pushing your limits, you'll realize you never had them to begin with, for limits are barriers we put upon ourselves. When you are able to surpass your limits, keep aiming higher, and always try a different aspect of improvement. A short example, look at Mvp, Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo, and others. They stand at the top of the world. Why? Because they are constantly improving, they never rest on their laurels, they know every other pro out there is aiming to surpass them. My own experience with these Laws I have, over the years, excelled at many areas just by applying this, I got a 6.4 Avg in College (0.9 of the Max Grade, which is 7 here) At 17 years old I was leading a Quake 3 Team, which won a National Tournament, At 21 I won the National Roller Hockey Open, and then got into starcraft, my first ever RTS, and it took me one year to go from a Bronze player with 40 APM who didn't even know all the units in the game to a Masters Player with good multitasking and around 270 APM. I have a healthy life, go to the gym, bench press 140 Pounds, and I would have never gotten here without Intensity and Progression. I am not bragging about how good I am, I am just letting you guys know how these two Laws have helped me throughout my life. Se remember, Costantly Challenge Yourseves, AND BRING IT. Because if you don't, someone else will, and you'll be stuck with being mediocre again. Finally I'll leave you guys with a quote from TeePee: "Limits are for those without the will to break them". Good luck, have fun, and kick ass! -Razor

RazorHedge

RazorHedge

 

Maximizing Value to Sponsors in eSports - Interviews

With the League of Legends Season 2 Champions crowned last weekend *TPA TPA TPA*, it’s now time to look forward on how the teams and players can improve for Season 3. Practice regiments, professionalism, drama and cheating accusations aside, in this multi-part blog series I will be focusing on how players can improve the value to their sponsors in interviews, social media, streaming and more. As the scene continues to grow exponentially, more eyes and brands will be looking at Season 3 to determine the value of supporting competitive gaming. We will be seeing new, non-endemic brands taking the leap and the more prepared these teams are, the more comfortable these brands will be in making a long-term commitment. Let’s first take a look at interviews and in particular, thanking sponsors. Currently, the most common way of thanking sponsors is reciting the brand names off and in most cases with hesitation. Some even forget or don’t bother at all, which is perfectly OK because I understand that they are new to this, but moving forward I see it as an area for improvement. Below I’ve outlined ways that I feel players can improve their ability to add value to their sponsors in these popular, usually viral interviews. I will also give some examples of satisfactory ‘sponsor thanking.’ Tell a Story and make connections Tell a story of how the product helped you in your professional career while also relating it to the tournament or general buzz/drama going on during the community that moment. This creates a meaningful connection between the players success and the product, something that fans understand and will appreciate. For Example: I used to get eye strain which would distract me during long practice sessions. After trying gunnars I stopped getting eye strain and was able to focus more, which really helped on developing the skills strategy my team needed to win the championship. Thanks to Origin PC, we were able to practice, develop strategies and review gameplay in our hotel rooms which gave us a competitive edge against the other teams. Before going into this tournament, our preparation and analysis of teams lacked because we didn’t have accurate resources and statistics, but thanks to elobuff.com we were able to scout teams and better prepare for our matches. Know the products, company culture and goals As a player representing a company it’s your responsibility to understand the products and/or service because you are at the most basic level, marketing them. Knowing the product also means providing feedback and being transparent with these companies on how they can improve user experience from the perspective of a professional player. Having a basic understanding on the core values that the company supporting you is extremely important as well. You are representing more than just a product or name, you are the face of the company's unique culture and history. Along with this is an open dialogue with the company on what they’re striving for to see if you can help in any way. For Example, if you know that Steelseries is launching their newest headset soon, you can plan mention that in an interview which will peak interest when the launch actually does happen because if the players know about the development, it’s perceived by fans that the product is going to be even more awesome. Not only will your partners appreciate these things, but they’ll value you much more in return. Be authentic Don’t make something up just to thank a sponsor. The eSports community can smell bullsh*t from a mile away and WILL call you out on it. On the same token, the community will also know when you’re being authentic and will recognize your efforts. I also believe that the community understands the underlying problem and will appreciate this, especially early on because of how accustomed they are to hearing the names rattled off, if at all. Final thoughts Players have a lot to work on when it comes to providing value to sponsors outside of top tournament placings. If you know someone who is aspiring to be a professional gamer, please share this with them so they can get a head start.

vVv RobZ

vVv RobZ

 

Entry #23 WCG National Final

WCG 2012 National Final – New York City This year World Cyber Games held the National Final at Comic Con NYC, which was just a massive event that included new games, promotional opportunities, comics, celebrities and MUCH MUCH MORE! The convention center packed in more than 100,000 hyped fans which built up a nice atmosphere to hold a gaming event within all the madness. The event included the top 8 players in the nation, who all qualified via online weeks prior to the event. In my group I had Juanqui, Brian, & Aman (All very tough opponents who each was very capable of winning the event, in all honesty each of the 8 qualified players had the ability to come out on top depending on luck and different matchups) Unfortunately I failed to make it out of group play at the event, with a record of 1-2 (Losing to Brian / Aman) - FIFA is all about decision making, composure in front of goal, and defense + luck factor. My games were all extremely tight and included extra time matches and even PK battles where I was unsuccessful. It’s really frustrating losing out on 50/50 balls that you need to win, or hitting the post in matches where opportunities are few and far between but “Welcome to FIFA”. Positive Note: All the games ran smoothly without any delay or lag at the event – Which is something organizers have struggled with in the past. Side Note: Brian (3rd) & Aman (2nd) at the event I’ve been to NYC multiple times and there are one of the kind elements to the city, however my performance overshadowed my stay for the weekend. I’m ready to up the training in FIFA 13 in order to prepare even more thorough to make sure I can get my revenge over the competition. I would like to thank vVv, the community, and all the sponsors for making events like this possible. For Pictures from events make sure to check my FB page HERE Make sure to Follow me on Twitter & Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for updates!

vVv michs09

vVv michs09

 

The Random Numbers and A Flashing Light

54,684... 23,567... 3,563... I don't know what these are, but sometimes, whether it's in the middle of the day or, in the middle of the night. Whether it's when dawn shines or when the light fades with the dusk. I look up to the sky or stars and see numbers, quickly followed by a flashing light. I wake up the next morning in an area that was not the one I left. I don't know what these mean but, it's confusing. A bit terrifying too. I search for the answers across every path I can find. I've been insides caves, tiny holes, everywhere. I've yet to find the true meaning of these numbers nor the light that taunts me and laug... 3,673... It just happen again. I woke up next to a barn today with a bull that was on this rampage. It's daylight out, it was night time when I left, If I even did leave. Maybe it's that weird lady playing tricks again. One minute she was there, next minute there was three of them. At least that was the last thing I remembered. But she wasn't there the other time. I think the other time it was the man with four legs. I don't even know what happen, he started charging towards me and when I turned around, well I turned around to see what he was charging at, there was nothing but those numbers. All I know is that these other creatures are involved somehow. I try not to think about it too much though, I don't want these numbers to control my existence. So I try to find the best in things. I'm looking at this group of four right now actually, Their much smaller then the others, and they have long funny ears, although maybe I shouldn't laugh due to the certain circumstances. Their all wearing funny colors too. I think I see some purple and pink, with a little green. Their just running in a group fighting those big guys with four legs...huh...I see number popping above them. The same ones that hover me. Wait a minute...That's it! I remember it all! The weird lady shot a laser from her big sword before the numbers popped up, and the man with the four legs must have swung at me when I turned around. They've been killing me!!!!! Crap, that group of four are coming towards me. Their fast! One of them shouted and it made them quicker...What the hel... 7,335... ...Sigh...I'm Tom and I'm a rabbit. I'm also tired of getting killed...Stupid creatures.

TopChickenz

TopChickenz

 

Part 2

So I've been thinking a lot about what I should write in this one and I couldn't really decide for sure what I wanted to say until today that's why it took me so long to make this entry. Like I said I'm going to try and make this one interesting cause the last one was kind of bland and nothing to much in it. So I decided this entry and all entries following will follow the same kind of format first I will talk about me and gaming secondly I will talk about me and my family, and lastly i will talk about whatever I am feeling like talking about that day. First we will start with a little about my introduction to games. I started playing on the NES I've practically played every game that the NES has my top favorites for NES in no particular order are Zelda, Bomberman and Dig Dug 2. I never actually owned a Super NES or Sega genisis or Dreamcast or Gamecube although I have played all of them. I had an NES and that was it until N64 and Playstation came out at which point I shortly received both and just for the record my family was never well off in money both systems came from a family member who actually had money. Once I had that N64 it was Goldeneye day and night I knew every multiplayer map like the back of my hand it wasn't even fair. Well I think that's enough about games for now there will be more next entry. Now to talk about family, We will start with the first time I met my step dad. My mom lived on the second deck of an apartment complex in Everette, WA. I went to visit for a weekend I think I'm not sure why I was there I don't remember being introduced to him but he came up and I can't say I remember much about it except I punched him in the nuts LOL. I don't know why I did it I mean I'm sure it had to do with him taking my dads spot but I have no clue what I was thinking or what was going through my head but I sure as hell remember what he did after I had done it. He promptly grabbed me by my ankles and hung me over the second deck balcony and threatened to drop me if I ever did that again NICE guy huh? What an introduction on both sides right? Well needless to say that is where my hate started for the man I mean I was a little kid like 6 or something you don't do that to a little kid. I don't care what he did especially if he is not your kid now I'm not saying that it would have been ok for a real father to do that but it just amplifies how bad it is when a complete stranger does it. Well hopefully this entry was more interesting than the last one I'm only going to talk about those two things for now. So until next time hope you all have a good one and enjoyed the read.

Dj369963

Dj369963

 

eSports Casting, an Underrated Art

The Trades of a Good Caster Hey everybody, my name is Matthew Fernandez, AKA 'Razor'. I used to cast professionally, I casted several events like WCS qualifiers, the LASL and LATL, and even got invited to cast WCG and Blizzcon Latin American Finals, both of which I wasn't able to attend because of personal issues. I wanted to write an article to help all of you casters out there, because there is nothing I hate more than not being able to enjoy a game properly due to bad casting. People think casting is just grabbing a mic and telling people what's happening in a game. They could not be more wrong, there is an extreme difference between being a good sports caster and being an average sports caster. Why do you think different sports channels always have extremely different ratings? As with the news? It's because when you bring information or entertainment to people, you have to be able to deliver it in a way your spectator enjoys it. First, I want to talk about the three main pillars that make a good caster, Game Knowledge, Camera Control and Caster Types, and Viewer Empathics. This part will be mainly focused on Starcraft and Other RTS since these are the most camera dependant. Both FPS and MOBA have assisted camera modes. Game Knowledge Let's put it like this, who do you think can explain a game of let's say, Lacrosse, better. A fan or a player? You might think the player, but you're wrong. A viewer has the insight on every single aspect of a Sport while a player is limited to their position knowledge and will treat his career on a sport as a job. As you watch, you learn, and since you are not focusing on one aspect of the game but many, your understanding is more open. Let's clarify something, I said who can explain better, not who knows better. The player will most likely know better. But a fan will always be better at explaining. Why? Because to him it's exciting to tell you about it. A player will talk about it just like you would talk about your job, so it won't ever be as exciting. To be a good caster, you MUST love the game you're playing. You have to love watching games, whichever matchup it may be. But that alone isn't enough, you have to actually know what you're talking about. You have to study the game's core mechanics and everything else it involves so you have the most varied point of view on each input. A good caster will know as much as a professional player in terms of knowledge. And will be able to bring it to you in a easy to understand, entertaining way. How to improve your knowledge of a game Basically, what you do is watch a lot of games, from the player's point of view, from the caster's point of view and from the viewer point of view. Then you ask yourself: "What did the player know to have made such an action?" "Was the caster effective in explaining the player's chain of thought?" "As a viewer, was I able to properly understand the caster?" When you get the answer for these three questions, you are ready to start casting! Overall with time your knowledge of the game will improve, but as with technology, you will have to be up to date with the most recent gameplay and strategies. Camera Control and Caster Types I can't recall how important this is, and I'm not talking about just Starcraft II or games with free spectator camera. I'm even talking about sports like Basketball or Hockey. What do you mean by Basketball or Hockey? The caster doesn't control the camera there. No he doesn't. But he does SEE what the camera is showing. So he has to cast the game accordingly. You can't have the camera focusing on a player from one team and talk about how good x player from the other team is. You have to be spot on with your camera comments. In starcraft specifically, there are teams of two people casting for a reason. One is the Caster, and the other one is the Commentator. And yes, they do have different roles. The Caster has his own camera and focuses on events the main flow of the game won't cover in some cases. (I.E Drops, Split Pushes, etc) The Commentator will stay with the main camera or IS the main camera and will be relating everything that is happening with the main course of the game. An example of a good Caster: Wolf Schroeder. (GSL) An example of a good Commentator: Sean 'Day9' Plott. An example of a good Cameraman: ST_Legend (GSL) Why these people are good at what they do? Because they each excel in a single area stated above. Wolf is extremely aware of player builds and how the game works out. Day9 is fun to watch because he's funny and entertaining, and ST_Legend has an excellent mouse control which allows him to excel at camera control. How can I improve my camera control? It's simple, you want to show everything, but not rushing, taking your time to explain everything you are showing the viewers and why, you also do not want to get stuck on a single part of the game, because you want your casting to go with the flow of the game. Practice your mouse control, try to be precise, utilize every hotkey that will help you for this. Learn your shortcuts! If you watch the GSL, Legend is always showing a frame of a game, but he is never dragging the screen around or across the map. YOU MUST USE DIFFERENT SETUPS FOR PLAYING AND CASTING. Because each one needs you to work on different aspects. Examples of Camera Setups: (Work with what feels comfortable to you and makes you cast smoothly) Camera Setup 1: (I used this for TvP/TvT/PvP) Mouse Sensitivity: 34% Camera Hotkeys 1-8 : Control + 1-8. Mouse Scroll Speed: 40% Mouse Drag Speed: 70% Keyboard Scroll Speed: 60% Camera Setup 2: (I used this for ZvZ/ZvT/ZvP) Mouse Sensitivity: 43% Camera Hotkeys 1-8 : Control + 1-8. Mouse Scroll Speed: 60% Mouse Drag Speed: 85% Keyboard Scroll Speed: 75% As you can see I had two different setups for casting different matches. Why? Because in my opinion Matches involving zerg are much more fast paced since zerg units are faster than Terran or Protoss, which requires you to be more on top of their actions and movements. You don't really have to do this until you're well versed in casting, but I do emphasize that you have at least one config entirely for casting. Viewer Empathics This is the make it or break it of casting. It doesn't matter if you excel at camera control, or if you're a really good commentator, it's all about you reaching the viewers in a positive way. A perfect example of this can be the GSL code A. They have tried out several casters, and all the ones they tried have been really good casters, but some of them haven't really lasted long there because the audience does not relate to them, they don't feel close or entertained by them. As a caster, you're an entertainer, and if you fail to entertain, you will fail at casting. How can I be a good entertainer? I'm so glad you asked! It's not easy, but it's not hard. Some tips you can use to be a good entertainer are: Have a good visual environment: Looks are everything. If you see a stream in a blank page with a bad image, you're not going to be super attracted to it. Try to stream at least in 480p, there are several tutorials for this, Youtube Swifty Xsplit tutorial should do the trick. It's better to have the game with low graphics and the stream running smoothly than vice versa. Also, add headers, banners. whatever you may like to your channel, make it attractive! After all, looks are the first thing we ALL without exception find attractive in everything. Be adaptable: You don't have to joke all the time, neither be serious, you don't have to appear tired or too energetic, it's all about the audience, do some experimenting and find which style suits best both you and your audience. Be within Viewer's reach: Most reknowned players aren't really THAT fan-friendly, because they would get overrun with fans. You are their ticket to them, you'll get to watch them play, share stuff with them, and that will make YOU extremely interesting as a caster, you're the closest link they have to a live encounter with their favourite player, so BE THERE FOR YOUR FANS. How? During your stream, interact with them, let them see you (Get a Cam), so they can later relate to your face, have them know they can reach out to you if they ever wish to. And last but not least, BE THANKFUL: Seriously, all of those people who are taking the time to watch your stream could be doing anything else at that time, even watching a different stream, so the fact that they choose you over all of these IS A HUGE DEAL. And you should be very appreciative of it. It doesn't matter if you have 5 viewers or 1000, you have to be thankful for them being there instead of doing anything else. Once again, make them feel close to you and they'll keep coming back, trust me. So to sum up, KNOW YOUR GAME, LOVE YOUR GAME, AND LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT YOU SHARE THEIR LOVE FOR THE GAME. My best wishes, and I sincerely hope this helps you become a better caster! P.S: If anyone needs anything more specific, feel free to message me in the forums, or add me on Skype (Matushazz), SC2 (EliteRazor.831), or Facebook (mromofer(a)gmail.com) Original Article posted on Tech can be found here: http://www.vvv-gamin...underrated-art/ Good luck and Have Fun!

RazorHedge

RazorHedge

 

vVv Ability Update #1

Hello all! I'm here for the first update on vVv Ability. To talk about my thoughts on Halo 4, our team, preparation, and what I've been doing outside of the gaming world. We also received some bad news yesterday and I'll make sure to get to that at the start of this blog. Yesterday we found out bad news about Kevin (FragThat). Due to Military orders he found out yesterday that he is unable to attend the Dallas event. This was a shock to us all. Especially for me seeing that he is one of my best friends and I haven't been able to see him since our Columbus tournament. All of us are pretty tore up about it, along with Kevin. We appreciate his service and understand tho. Now we have reached out to a few solid players whom we have known for a period of time and have full faith in. Our plan is to have this situation figured out within the next couple of days, and bounce back into things easily. Onto the things that I have been doing outside of gaming. Mostly I just have time for work. I just recently got promoted to full time which I was pretty excited about. Besides working I try to fit in running, tennis, hanging out with the casual friends, and keeping up to date with the Halo 4 videos being released. Its been a busy schedule for the most part! Going into how we have been preparing for Halo 4 release. As everyone knows there has been pirated copy's of Halo 4 leaking. Ability is not going to and will not pirate a copy of Halo 4. We appreciate what they are doing to bring this game back to life for the whole community. It's pretty crappy people are actually doing that to get an edge on the competition at Dallas in my opinion. All we have been able to do to prep for Halo 4 is keep up to date with all the video releases, news, and info that's being released. I'm really looking forward to the oddball game type. Especially for MLG settings. I'm thinking that the oddball gametype will be the most intense gametype for MLG thus far. Being able to throw the ball to and from teammates and even to enemy's is an awesome idea. I'm also thinking the new way capture the flag set up is an awesome idea. Yeah it's different, but coming from Halo Reach we are needing different. In my opinion the objective gametype's for Halo 4 are going to be amazing compared to the last few titles. As a long term halo player (sinec halo CE) I'm really anxious to all the new Halo 4 gameplay and how it will effect the competitive scene. Hearing that there's only 10 Halo 4 passes left for MLG is also a big boost of confidence that this game is bringing Halo all the way back for MLG! I was thinking they would sell around 75-80% of the passes, but to almost be sold out now is amazing! That's about it for this blog! As soon as new things happen I'll make a new one to update everyone. Dallas isn't too far away! -Thanks guys!

PappaCat

PappaCat

 

Who is this Dj369963 guy? Part 1!

Well the title tells you what I'm going to talk about. You will have to look past my grammatical errors cause grammar was never my strong suite but i will do the best I know how. I wont give you my whole life story cause god that would take ages just going to note on key parts that make me who I am and why I am so passionate about games. This entry is only going to have a couple key things that I talk about. I'll add more entries with more information every couple days or so who knows maybe more often maybe less only time will tell. So not sure where to start so I'll just start with my alias Dj369963 its actually a real boring reason why it's my name. When I was a kid my father called me DJ because it is my initals. The 369963 part well 3,6,9 are my favorite numbers and Dj369 isn't long enough in most cases and I didnt one more of one than the other so two of each it was. I honestly dont know why I order them 369963 and not 336699 or any other such combination of the three numbers it's just how it happened. Told you nothing to special about it and I have gotten WAY too many comments about the 69 in the middle and no it was not intentional as I said above the numbers just ended up being in that order. Ok now that's out of the way on a more personal level about me and my Family. For starts I have two sisters one is older and one is younger. I don't talk to them as much as I probably should but I will touch on the reasons in a later post. My parents got divorced and me and my older sister stayed with my dad for a while and my younger sister went with my mother than the custody battle started and ended with my mother getting us. My mother remarried when I was about 10 or 11 if I remember correctly. Her new husband had three kids of his own same as me and my sisters, a younger daughter a middle son and an older daughter, all three where my older sisters age or older so we had quiet the age range in our brady bunchesque family. Well I think that is enough for one days entry. Not super exciting but just hold in there and wait a day or two (hopefully) and I'll try to make it more intresting next time. Trust me I have enough crazy stuff in my life that you could probably make a daytime soap opera based on it XD.

Dj369963

Dj369963

 

20 Days to Dallas: Leave the Hate, the world is watching

With Halo 4 launching on November 6th. Fans of the franchise as you well know will have the opportunity to play the game in its entirety in Dallas Texas on November 2nd-4th. For the second time in history, one of the largest and most known FPS franchises, being played in a full tournament before the release of the actual game itself. Now the Halo community is known for being immature and unkept bunch. There is a dark side ot the community that I am ashamed to admit exists. I will not deny that, but there is a side of the community that people may not know. A part of the community where there is pure competition, you leave it all on the table, all the hate, all the energy, is used up into the game. Then after, you stand up, shake hands, give a pat on the back, and say good game, no hard feelings. This is the community that we need to show the world. For it will truly be the world watching in November as Halo is reborn onto the MLG Pro circuit. With 199 Passes sold as of last week, this leaves only 25 passes up for grabs. Assuming all the teams show up, we are putting a MINIMUM of 796 people in the convention center. This is more than SC2 and the Fighting games combined, fighting games at the moment stand at 26 passes sold, 23 for Mortal Kombat, and 3 for Tekken Tag 2. This may be one of the best attended Halo events ever, only time will tell. But we must be on our best behavior to represent both MLG, eSports, and the Halo community as a whole in a positive light. Perhaps we can shed the “little kid” theory and show the world that Halo is truly and eSport among the PC giants.

OhMyApollo

OhMyApollo

 

vVv Ability Blog #intro Dallas Bound.

Hello all! I'm just posting this first entry to let everyone know what is going to happen. Starting Friday on the 12th, I will be posting blog updates weekly (every Friday) to let everyone know what's going on in the vVv Ability world! We are really looking forward to Dallas, and seeing all you guys that are attending again! Once I get my MacBook back from being fixed, I'll start doing some Vlogs also! Like I have previously stated. This is just a introduction to what's to come! If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to stop by and say "hey" just post them in here. I'll be sure to get them in on the #1 starting blog on Friday! -Thanks Guys

PappaCat

PappaCat

 

Meet the Aspire: Jake "Virulent" Smith

Written by Ott Madis "Oakwarrior" Ozolit Hi guys and gals, I'm back with another interview with the vVv's StarCraft 2 Aspire team, this week it's going to be Jake "vVv_Virulent" Smith, a 23-year-old Zerg player. Currently he's focusing on Wings of Liberty as much as he can, but since he got his Heart of the Swarm invite, he can be seen actively playing the beta as well. Interview with Jake "Virulent" Smith Hey Virulent, how is it going? "It's going pretty good. I got into the HotS beta recently, so having some fun with that." Could you give a short introduction of who you are and what you do? "I'm vVv_Virulent. I’m a junior at Western Carolina University, studying Psychology major and a Japanese minor. I play Zerg right now and I'm loving the fact I actually get to micro in HotS!" Looking forward to HotS myself! Fun times to be had. Could you talk a bit about your early days in StarCraft 2, and how did you end up playing it? "Well, I played Brood War a bit as a kid, but it was just messing around and using the cheat codes on campaign mainly. When SC2 was coming out I was really excited for it. I ended up getting myself into the beta pretty early. I was really really bad at first, I remember when I watched a stream and it dawned on me you didnt have to go one base every game. SC2 is the first RTS I ever played with attempts of getting better." So besides your Brood War expeirence, how did SC2 work out for you and what led you to vVv? "I actually took a break from SC2 when Star Wars: The Old Republic came out. I was playing that for a while and got an invite, into vVv on SW: TOR. Didn't take long to become an Officer, Main Tank, and Raid leader. After I got tired of SWTOR, I decided to start SC2 again and stayed with vVv." How are you doing in vVv right now, being a trainee in the Aspire team? Everything working out? "I'm doing really well. I like the people, there are always good practice partners looking for games. Everyone has a good sense of humor and they are all just solid people. Aspire is set up really well and it just feels like a really refreshing community." How has Aspire affected you as a player, in general? Also, do you think your education (psychology) is helping your play? "Well, under Aspire I have worked my way from mid-diamond to mid-masters, so it’s been going great. As far as psychology goes – not really. You can’t get much about your opponent out like on ladder, but I think it helps after getting to know someone, you can get a deeper insight into how they play I guess " I guess it's pretty hard to read people when they're miles away behind another computer. But, what's the story behind your choice of race and your nickname? "Well I was always named, Idgaf... Then when I started up SW: TOR someone had already taken my name. I was really disappointed but, I was going to be a Sith Warrior. So, I wanted something that sounded Evil and all that good stuff so I went with Virulent. It's stuck with me ever since." How about your playstyle though - do you like to keep it on the offensive or macro up and play defensively? "I would say I'm a reactive player. I don't often start a game with an aggressive strategy in mind. But, I will look at what my opponent is doing and if something triggers a response out of me I will go all-in on a dime." Who do you follow and/or admire in the StarCraft 2 scene, so far? "Well, Jaedong is probably my favorite Brood War player and I'm really excited to see how he will make a name for himself in SC2. I also really enjoy watching Stephano play and I have taken in a lot of his play and incorporated it into my own play. But the player who has probably influenced me the most is vVv_Glon. He’s been coaching me and is an all around great guy and a great player. I really hope he keeps gaining fame and a solid following in the future." Can you tell me what are your short/long term plans concerning StarCraft 2? "Well, my short term goal is to get high masters in WoL! But more of a long term goal is getting into GM in Heart of the Swarm." Pretty sweet plans if you ask me! How would you say StarCraft is affecting your other interests? "I find whenever I'm looking at something or learning something new, I consider it in terms of StarCraft. I actually, at my last univeristy, had a really good group of friends who all played StarCraft so most of my life was dedicated to it. Sadly, however, at my new school, I there’s hardly anyone who plays. I'm teaching one of my friends who picked the game up to play Zerg so hopefully he’ll start kicking some ass soon. " Maybe have him join vVv too! What would you say is your most memorable moment in your StarCraft 2 career? "Well, my favorite moment that's purely SC2 related was the last MLG Raleigh. I was riding with some friends from my last university, and one of them was trying to get rid of half a handle of fireball whiskey. So – he decided it was a good idea to give it to me on the 6 hour ride from Tennessee to Raleigh. I lost my wallet and keys 4 times. Got out of the car in gridlock traffic to smoke a cigarette while walking down the highway talking to other cars, and took a leak in the parking lot of our hotel. By the time I actualy got to MLG I had lost my wallet again and had no money on me to buy my ticket... Thank god I didn't lose my phone, because I texted vVv_Doomhammer and he ended up getting me in and I wandered around drunkenly making fun of League of Legends players and watching awesome SC2 games. My other favorite moment was when some friends from StarCraft and I played Diablo 3 together and one of our group, vVv_Einherjar, played a Barbarian. We got everyone we knew and played with to carry around a stack of pink armor dye. Every time a good item dropped for him, we would dye it hot pink before giving it to him. He thought Blizz was trolling barbarians *laugh*." Just to wrap this baby up – special thanks to anyone? "I'd like to thank Jesus, and my momma, and my baby momma. Wid out y’all, I ain't never be here yo. GAME HARD!"

BabyToss

BabyToss

 

LoL from a SC2 Player Perspective [Pt.1]

Part 1: Introduction For those of you reading my blog and have no flippin' idea who I am, allow me to introduce myself! I am Adam Tran, also known as SonTran and I am on the vVv Academy team. "Aspire", for Starcraft 2, and my preferred race to play as, is Terran. BUT this is not about me, but how I see the game, League of Legends, from my perspective as a Starcraft 2 player, and this will be split among a few entries in my blog. (Yes this is my first time making a blog, so if there needs to be some improvement, don't be afraid to spill out any ideas.) So let's begin shall we? Starcraft II is a RTS game that was released in June 2010 and is the successor of the long time favorite, Starcraft: Brood War. Starcraft consists of 3 races to choose from: Terran - The Terrans are known as the "humans" of the game. Their race consists of basic infantry and mechanical units that can be compared as to today's military but with more futuristic aspects.
Protoss- The Protoss are the aliens that consist of psionic powers. (in easier terms, they have BIG brains). Their race consists of technological advanced culture, and have a massive firepower of an army.
Zerg - The Zerg are also known as "The Swarm" and they can be compared to as "bugs" or "dinosaurs" at times. Their race consists of adapting to the battlefield. By adapting, they can morph their units and have unique abilities that can change the tide of battle.
"The first Starcraft, in order from left to right: Terran Marine, Protoss Zealot, Zerg Hydralisk" Now our next game: League of Legends (LoL) is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game that was released in October, 2009. League of Legends consists of MULTIPLE (we are talking, A LOT) of characters to choose from, with different abilities, characteristics, and even personalities. In the game, you choose one character in which you fight as, for the rest of the game. "One of the characters from League of Legends, Irelia" Now that I have introduced you to both games, their release dates, and the main stuff in the game, it is time to tell on how I see these 2 games from side to side. I was playing Starcraft II, until I notice a custom game on the list called "Storm of the Imperial Sanctum" and in the descripton it stated: "Based on the popular game, DOTA, from Warcraft III" Now my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give the game a shot. Little did I know is that this game got the best of me. However, this was before I decided to become a REAL Starcraft II player and not the type of player that just plays custom games and not ladder. While browsing Facebook, there was an advertisement (yeah, I actually look at those tiny squares of nonsense), and I can't help but look at the name "League of Legends", so instead of clicking it (I was EXTREMELY cautious about clicking those ads), I googled League of Legends, and took a look at it and I was impressed by what was there. But there was one thing holding me back..... In Starcraft, you had to control multiple units and the fact that there were so many variables and questions to ask yourself during the heat of the match: Do I have the right unit composition to take out my opponent' army?
Are my upgrades for my units up to par or better than my opponent's?
Is my army in a really great position, to where I can engage my opponent and win the fight?
Am I spending my money wisely for reinforcements, or more production buildings? The list goes on! As for League of Legends, you control one character of your choice, and placed in a team in a 5v5 battle, and every ability to use, the position of your character can turn the tide of battle. Going back, I decided to download the game and give it a try, and I wasn't disappointed at all. There were some things that turned me off a bit, but I will show that later in my other blogs. For now this is my introduction and I hope you enjoy this good read. The next blog will be about the Gameplay of each game in comparison and what I like about each of them. I hope everyone is having a good day/night and I have to make my way back to the Korprulu Sector and train with my Aspire teammates - Adam Son Tran (SonTran)

SonTran

SonTran

 

vVv Gaming's Aspire - Introduction

We are often being approached as to if our lineup in this and that tournament is our main vVv Gaming's lineup. It came to our attention that there's not a huge knowledge about the so-called "vVv Gaming's Aspire StarCraft 2 Team". And thus, allow me to shed some light on the team. Take it as a belated introduction, if you will. Aspire.SC2 team was officially launched in July 2012 - with the intent of accepting hardworking, dedicated players, who aim higher than playing couple of games per week, to help them grow, as equivalent of an Academy team, to fill a void on the scene, where only the top players usually have the chance to compete in tightly organized and motivated team. We strive to reach higher levels of the competition and thus, proper commitment and dedication are required, as well as tight organization, similar to one in a professional team, adjusting it to the conditions of the individuals, who are part of the team, as well as the fact, that we are an Academy team, thus a training team. The idea is to harbour three players per race; both to make the team small so people can relate to each other and create positive team atmosphere in the team, as well as to give the team enough space for practicing with each other, further encouraging the team spirit and growth within the measures of team. The players are encouraged to play in individual tournaments, as well as the team managment looks out for the opportunities when it comes to playing in the team leagues. We aim to provide the competitive part of the venture, as we see, that it is needed to further motivate the players to try even harder, especially if they wish to eventually break into the competitive scene of StarCraft 2. We've seen it many times, that an Amateur/Academy team was established, but it's members quickly lost interest, because nothing was really happening within the team, to promote the activity and motivation of it's members. Furthermore, the best behaviour is required from every member of the team; traits like responsibility and ability to communicate are a must. We do not want players, who just show off their rank, we want players, who put in the time and dedication, who have a sense for team-play and understand, that becoming a top tier player means more comittment than just playing the game. Players are hand-picked by the Team Captain and the team management. We look at attitude, will to improve and in order to accomodate current team roster when it comes to practice, for players to fit into current skill level of the team. Team currently caters Diamond to mid-Master level players, but as the time goes and our players progress, this will naturally be raised upon needs of the team, should openings be created. We are currently developping and changing our internal procedures, in order to make our functionality as effective as possible. There are currently two mandatory nights, when the team practices together, other than that, we put huge emphasis on the teammates practicing together and we are attempting our first tokens of competitions in two team-leagues, with the major goal being our improvement & tournament experiences, rather than winning alone. As a side note, our team originally started out as a bunch of inidividuals in Diamond league. As of now, five out of our nine members reached Master league & turned into strong teammates, who aim to improve each other, and we intend to keep that trend growing, in order to provide stronger competition for our adversaries in upcoming competitions. Of course, the team doesn't run on player base alone. We have management and leadership positions, which help the team to run properly - coaches, caster, manager & assistant manager. These are the backbone of the team and are vital part of the organization, in order to provide the players with the strongest experience possible. Jana "BabyToss" Otahalova - Founder Johnatan "Ein" Ballard Jana "BabyToss" Otahalova () Chris "PoSeR" Clauson Ryan "NazguL" Thorton Adam Son "SonTran" Tran Nathan "Wakai" Pigeon Thomas "TuFF" Parker TJ "Fearful" Lopez Ott Madis "Oakwarrior" Ozolit We are hoping that this little introduction post clarifies all of the questions, as well as that it would prevent the future possible misunderstanding as to who we are and what our main goal is. You can follow our team at official vVv Gaming's Twitter - @vVv_Gaming.

BabyToss

BabyToss

 

30 Days to Dallas: Halo Opener History Lesson

Well folks, here we are 30 days out! 30 days until Halo is revived back to the MLG Pro Circuit. 30 days until for the third time, a new Halo is introduced to the “mainstream” circuit. It is time for a little Halo opener history lesson. In the history of the circuit, as it is today(Not including Halo: CE – Halo 2) in every Halo Opener a relatively unknown team has taken 2nd place. In the beginning the switch from Halo 2 to Halo 3 saw the rise of Team Classic, a relatively unknown team at the start of the MLG Meadowlands 2008 tournament. But by the end of the tournament, they were household MLG names, and they kept at it throughout the coming years. Jump forward two years, to MLG Dallas 2010, the first event to ever host TWO Halo tournaments in one event. The Halo 3 championship, as well as the Halo: Reach Doritos Combine. With the Doritos combine came the rise of four players, Adrenaline, Clamm, SwiftKill, and Amish Acorns. These players created names for themselves throughout the 2010 season. Jump ahead several months to the 2011 opener for MLG. This is the first full Halo Reach tournament that is held. People said the luck of Adrenaline, Calmm, SwiftKill, and Amish only came because the top teams were not playing in Dallas. But little did they know that the next event, Adrenaline and Amish Acorns would come out and place second in the tournament alongside Neighbor and Lethul; while SwiftKill and Calm manage to stay within the top 16 on Invictus with Ninja, and Watch. With the coming of Halo 4, the continuation of the game that defined console FPS eSports, will we see new faces rise? There are players that are just on the edge of “making it.” Will we see the next step in the pattern of new faces in the second place spot at the end of Sunday night?

OhMyApollo

OhMyApollo

 

Blog #22 Career Mode: Back to Business

Career Mode: Back to Business So check this out I've been playing a lot of career mode in FIFA 13, because it’s actually enjoyable thanks to EA Sports making some significant changes from the past few years. I've really never been able to spend much time with any offline game mode in FIFA mainly because it’s just so repetitive, and lacks depth however things are changing this year. What Impactful changes have been made? 1. The AI (Artificial Intelligence) is finally educated, they make the right reads and play with sense opposed to the boring monotonous style we've been punished with throughout the past few years. The AI makes adjustments to how you play and they attempt to attack in every manner. (Long shots, quick passing, crossing, free kicks, deep balls) Side note: The AI plays similar to how the team there using would play in real life, tactics & everything which makes for quite an experience when playing offline. 2. Added Depth (especially as a manager) – You can now manage national teams, make all the call ups, while also working with your club squad. Competing in International competition is something that’s definitely been highly desired in FIFA titles and it's going to be a staple in future installments for sure. Great NEW FEATURE! 3. Player Development – I really have enjoyed how it takes time and isn't as easy to increase statistics with your player right away. In order to really grow and gain that captaincy you’re going to need to do work on the pitch consistently while leading your squad to victory. Remember to Subscribe to my channel on YouTUBE - Follow on Twitter Newest Career Mode Vid w/ Dirty Mike

vVv michs09

vVv michs09

 

Finally Stepping Up and Doing Something

After loosing a friend of mine to cancer about a year ago, and another diagnosed, I feel like I've been in the shadows for far too long. I'm putting in motion, the idea of a "Day of Play" as a fundraiser for all forms of cancer research, with the idea of having all forms of gaming represented. (Table Top RPG, MTG, and Video Games and anything I'm leaving out.) I'm currently getting a list of local shops that I'm not looking to be trolled, for this is a serious matter at hand. If anyone has any ideas to help, I'm all ears. #1) I have a Potential venue. #2) Not sure on giveaways yet. #3) I'm going to attempt to do something specific for each genre of gaming.

Cupcheck

Cupcheck

 

Meet the Aspire: Jana "vVv BabyToss" Otahalova

Written by Ott Madis "Oakwarrior" Ozolit Hello everybody! My name is Ott Madis "Oakwarrior" Ozolit, a vVv community member and lurker (lol), bringing to you an interview series, with vVv's Aspire team. With the Aspire team in vVv well underway with its endeavours, I was asked by our very own BabyToss to complete the interview series with Team SC2 Aspire. First up, or rather fifth up, is actually Jana “vVv BabyToss” Otahalova herself! As a brief introduction to her doings, Jana is a 27-year-old Protoss player, and team captain for vVv’s Team SC2 Aspire. She joined vVv Gaming in the first half of 2012, and has been working hard on her skill and gamer persona ever since. But enough of that, let's hear from Jana herself Interview with Jana "BabyToss" Otahalova Alrighty then, lets start! How are you doing today? "Hey! Well, I had rather rough week, so kind of tired. But eh, gotta fight when it matters." I see, I hope you will get some rest soon enough. Could you give a short introduction of who you are? "Introductions... I am oh so good at those (laughs). My name is Jana Otahalova, although my StarCraft 2 handle is BabyToss and it's how you'll most likely meet me. I'm nearly 28 years old soon - yes, birthday incoming! I live in the Czech Republic, I am married and have a 8-year-old son." Well now that the hardest part is over, lets move to the fun! To the people who haven't seen you around and/or read your blog, could you talk a bit about your early days in StarCraft 2, and how did you end up playing it? "Hardest part over, hm? Getting tricky, aren't we? (laughs) It's a long story actually, so, let me try and shorten it a bit. Originally, I come from an RPG'er background. I love a good story and heroics, so, StarCraft 2 is actually my first RTS and I originally played it only because my husband and son enjoyed it and they simply needed mommy to come play with them. Naturally, I was terrible, as I had literally no idea how to play - so you can imagine, my enjoyment was close to zero. Although, me being me, I didn't want to be the one who was the worst, so I looked into the game and began to learn the ropes of the game. this is how I got to know about Day[9] too, and partially because of his knack for explanations and humour, I finally began delving deeper into the game. Honestly, if you told me, that I'd be so passionate about the game when my husband first brought the game home, I'd just laugh at you. But today, I am happy for that little discovery." Tricky is my trademark I'd say! I reckon it must have been quite the leap from one genre to the other, but you have managed to keep it together in an exemplary fashion, in my humble opinion. How did the next steps in your StarCraft 2 career pan out and what led you to vVv? "Well, the leap was huge, that I can confirm. You know, in RPG's, when you die, you either just load your old saved game or get “rez'd” by teammates if it's an online one. So, much easier (grins). In StarCraft 2, every little thing matters. One mistake and you can easily go and type “gg”, even if the game lasted for half an hour, where you fought a fierce battle. Let alone, the aspects of the game, they were very foreign for me. But, I guess, the fact that the game poses so many challenges in front of me, is the exact reason why I love it so much. The first team I joined was from the Czech Republic and I hoped to learn a lot from them. But, you know what, they only picked me up because I was a woman and I never really got anything from that. I wanted more and this whole female issue in the community really bugs me. I want to get better. Not to be a mere team mascot. That is why I looked elsewhere, ending up in female-only Team Fem-FX; only to find out that both I work better with guys as well as the team was way way too casual for me. I needed more motivated and dedicated people around me. Which is how I actually found out about vVv Gaming. In fact, I'd been watching them since like end of 2011, but I never had the courage to ask to join. In the end, it panned out wonderfully, because I was originally approached by SugarBear if I wished to write for their SC2 section." Talk about a bumpy ride. I guess that's something to be expected when you are in the search for "your own place", so to speak. How is it in vVv right now, with you being the captain of the trainee Aspire team? Everything working out? "Things got really up to the speed once Aspire was launched. It helps to be around like-minded people greatly. Of course there are occasional bumps here and there, but that is to be expected. Nothing is flawless, there always will be stuff which needs to be improved. But you know what? I always wanted to be part of the team, which accepts me for being a StarCraft 2 player, not because I happen to be a woman. And I have to cut slack to vVv Gaming - they never treated me any different because of that. So, it is easy to feel like home, part of the team." That's really good to hear! How has Aspire affected you as a player, in general? You mentioned starting out as a writer, but I reckon that did not stop you from tearing up the ladders and/or training. "Actually, I never took up the offer of being an official writer for vVv Gaming. I straight out came to SugarBear and Jerry, that my main dream was to pursue the dream of improvement as a StarCraft 2 player and a person. I was looking for serious improvement and then idea to form an Academy team in vVv came into my mind. I wrote up a couple of pages about the idea, sent it both to Jerry and SugarBear, with hopes they would support the project. It took some nagging - yes I am highly impatient (laughs) - but here it was. I didn't expect to be put in the charge of the team though, so that came as a surprise, but when you think about it, it makes sense. I know the best what the vision and goals of the team are. Who else was supposed to lead the team than me? Can't blame the old guys, and in the end, I find that particular experience truly enriching for me. I love learning and growing, so, this is an awesome opportunity for me. Annnd well... it is no secret I am not a fan of ladder for practice. In fact, since I began playing with Aspire, I barely even laddered. Either I practice on my private account or pick up my teammates for practice. You know, it helps immensely, when you can go to your teammate and say, ask them to 1/1/1 you a couple of times, so you grab firmer grasp as to how to deal with it. Imagine anything you struggle with, and you can compare it to power-leveling with a higher level group in a MMO! (laughs) Aspire gives me motivation to go on. Before Aspire was formed, I was on a huge depression and it stopped me from playing for nearly 6 months. Because of Aspire, I have a road in front of me again. (smiles)" Wow, your perseverance really paid off, and as for ladder, every player has his own way of improving Now, as indicated by your handle, you're a Protoss player. What's the story behind the race choice and how does it equate into your nickname (cute Zealots aside )? "I was actually wondering if you'd ask! Yes, of course. “My life for Aiur!”, Protoss is the race of my choice (laughs). I originally picked Protoss, because you know, I played Protoss campaign in original StarCraft, purely because of their awesomesauce lore. Remember, I am a RPG'er, so it makes sense. Protoss have the most moving lore and story. And no, I never played Terran nor Zerg and I even used cheats to get through the campaign! (laughs) Just for your information, I was like 12 years old by then, so laughing is not acceptable. My handle is actually a funny story too. You know, originally I went by my old RPG name I was using literally everywhere. But then, my friend and me began playing 2v2's - his handle being PapaToss - and since he was basically helping me with the game, an idea to change my name to "BabyToss" came; it sort of represents the fact that in terms of StarCraft 2 experiences and skills, I am merely a baby, who learns to walk, fight and tear stuff apart, as well as by then, he was really my Protoss daddy back then - symbolically speaking (laughs)." Ah, good ol' “power overwhelming”… I, too, hold a very special place in my heart for the Protoss lore, although I am a Zerg player - I find it's very well written. How about your playstyle though, are you more of an offensive player or do you like to play it more on the safe side? "Well, I am in love with long played out macro games. It's, I'd say, my biggest strength, as back when I started, all I'd hear hurled around at me, would be "learn to macro, learn to macro". It's literally the only thing I ever did since my early days. I play way too safe, sometimes sadly to the point of playing "scared" rather than safe. It often costs me the games, as you have to take a risk at times. Although, this is where mindset kicks in - I am not exactly confident in myself, nor my skills, so it actually soaks into my gamestyle. Something to address, so to speak. On a funny note though, because of that, I am probably one of few Protoss players, who never proxy gated nor cannon rushed! (laughs)" Whoa! Even I tried out cannonrush at one point Who do you look up to, as players or idols, in the StarCraft 2 scene? "The first person coming to mind is always White-Ra. His attitude as well as wisdom, its something I really look up to. He is what I believe should represent the term of "pro-gamer". Being a professional is not only about kicking every ass you meet on the tournament. You need to be a personality. Because, frankly, if we want this industry to grow, we need people, who inspire others, who make others to say "This is what I want to do, and this is how I want to be.". White-Ra is a genuine personality, has a great love for the game and for the scene. I'd like to be like that one day, if I manage to reach these heights, in terms of skills. There are more people I look up to, but White-Ra is the one who I admire the most, thus he is getting a little shout-out here. (laughs) Reminds me I still owe him some beers since DreamHack Summer." It's very heartwarming to see a player with such a mentality, makes me warm and fuzzy inside (laughs). Can you tell me what are your more immediate goals concerning StarCraft 2? A little birdy told me you are visiting the Ministry of Win house early next year! "Ohhh, now I regret plaguing the people I interviewed with this question! (laughs) But it's almost a must, so, let me think about this. My goals are, to actually prepare for my training at Ministry of Win - damn birdies flying everywhere and sharing my oh-so-not-secret... secret (laughs). Right now, because of my personal struggles, lack of self confidence and being prone to tilting/frustration from not playing well enough, my practice tends to be erratic, unorganized and inconsistent. I need to grow stamina in order to be capable of enduring the house's schedule, as well as more immunity to tilting. Of course, will have to hit the ladder, as when in the house, it will be the quickest way for me to get games in. Another goal would be to fix my personal schedule, as even that one is pretty bad at the moment, me going to bed around 4-6 am, waking up at 10 am, barely sleeping at all. So, my goals kind of encompass more than just StarCraft 2 - but again, the mental side, physical side and the game are very interconnected. To fix certain issues you have to work on other, seemingly unrelated issues. It's a challenge in front of me. But I want to face it, and face it fully. Hoping that my teammates will help me on this little quest too. I want my stay at Ministry of Win to strengthen me, both as a player and a person. For me, StarCraft 2 has become part of my life, a way for me to grow as a person, due to many aspects and layers the game hides within. And hopefully, want to cause couple of upsets and all-kills in the team leagues upon my return from Ministry of Win (laughs)!" Noble goals I hope it'll work out great for you! And wow, look at the time flying - I promise, only a few more questions. How would you say is StarCraft affecting your other interests? It would seem that your family, at least is quite hooked on SC2, reeling you in over time. "Well, StarCraft 2, to be totally honest, affected the person I am, completely. I had some rough times in my life, which caused, the loss of all self-esteem and self-confidence. Before, I'd give up on stuff when facing struggles really easily. While I still have the struggles with me, I now have something, which I love so much and which makes me to push forward. I began practicing Karate a year ago as well, to improve my physical shape and mindset, purely because of StarCraft 2 as well. As for my family - well, no, they actually gave up the game, when I began playing better than them. My husband, when we played our last game and I beat him like, 5:0, flew away with his Command Center and was like: "Not playing again, this game is a stupid speedclick" - and this is how he was done with the game (laughs) But, they do support my ventures to grow as a person and player; it's why I actually can go to Ministry of Win, because my husband took it on himself to handle the household and our son during my absence. So, I am not complaining, I am hoping that I can give it all I have, both for my own sake, as well as for my son and husband, who trust in me, despite me being really difficult at times." It's really nice to know that you have their support. Do you have any suggestions for other aspiring (pun intended) players as well, who want to "Go Pro", so to speak? "I cringe when someone says "I want to go pro". Frankly, my goal is not to be a pro and I am not even remotely close to that skill level either. My highest goal is to be as strongest player as I can be, as well as better person, while doing something I love. And this is what I would suggest to anyone "aspiring" to be a pro. Just put your heart and best effort into what you love doing. StarCraft 2 can be an awesome journey, if it's something you truly enjoy and love." Agreed! Another quick one: most memorable moment in your StarCraft 2 career? "Definitely attending DreamHack Summer. I had to face my personal struggles and fears there, being really shy and anxious person, as well as I got to see the most awesome StarCrafty atmosphere in my life. I felt joy, I nearly cried when I lost my game against Merz, but in the end, such an overwhelming event. And I got to meet White-Ra as well! I am hoping to attend DreamHack next year as well... and cause some upsets too! (grins)" Hope to see you kicking ass soon So, wrapping this up, do you have any special thanks you want to give out? "Yeeeah, my favourite part! So, my shout-outs to team Aspire, vVv Gaming - glad I can be part of something bigger, then, my thanks to certain Ryan Rushia, he knows why, can't forget to mention people like Rob Feeley, Allen Rulo and Fraser Bedwell, they also know why, love you guys, of course, huge appreciation and hearts to my husband and little son, who keep me going despite of me being a difficult pain in the ass at times and also to my mom, who still waits for me to stream my games. Hearts all out! (laughs)" Thank you so much for the talk! I hope you enjoyed doing this as much as I did, and I wish you the best in your coming ventures. "It was the biggest interrogation I ever went through. Thank you and will see you around!"

BabyToss

BabyToss

 

I have an idea to make eSports more accessible, but I need your help!

Throughout the last few years, competitive gaming has grown exponentially. Just as the community is the vocal majority about areas that can always be improved upon, I’m really never satisfied. We can do more. I frequently travel by public transportation. During my commute, I have a lot of time to think about improving eSports. All around me are people who don’t even know competitive gaming exists, as I start trying to think from their perspective, there are so many questions that I would ask if I wasn’t involved. Think about how hard it is to describe this thing that we’re all passionate about. It’s not only difficult because of the social stigma and cultural barriers that the media puts on gaming, but also the barriers that we create, as a community. When I say community, I don’t mean the niche group that likes Counter Strike, Starcraft, Halo, Street Fighter, Call of Duty, League of Legends or DotA, I mean as a community from the outside perspective, as competitive gaming enthusiasts. As long there are gamers and people on my train who don’t know what competitive gaming is, any bullshit argument about what makes a game ‘more competitive’ or what titles ‘deserve to be an eSport’ is absolutely irrelevant in my opinion. As we continue to grow as a culture and movement, we need to all start working together towards the bigger picture. Consider this tough-love. Ok, so besides talking to random people on my commute to work or school, how can I do my part, how can I grow eSports while also staying true to the scene? Good question, I have a few ideas, but also want to hear yours as well. I want to create a community produced project (website) that connects curious or new competitive gaming players and fans to the resources of the games they love or may have not even discovered yet, while also giving you, the eSports enthusiasts, the tools and inspiration you need to stimulate growth and create awareness around the entirety of the space. I don’t want to create the next teamliquid.net, ESFI, MLG, Twitch or reddit, however I do want to connect potential and interested pro-gaming fans to these already existing amazing communities, leagues and shows in an authentic and organic way, while also empowering the most passionate fans so that you can do the same. To give everyone just one example of where I got this inspiration for this project, I’m going to talk about the Live Multiplayer Reveal for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, mad yet? Good. During this reveal, the word eSports was mentioned throughout the weekend many times when hastr0, David Vonderhaar and Major Nelson were debuting the new competitive features. Given the stream numbers and reach that Twitch and the Xbox platform provided, you can imagine that this was for many mainstream casual players, their first introduction to competitive gaming. Now, go to google and search eSports. Wikipedia, fnatic video, esfiworld, and gotfrag, think back about perspective and barrier to entry here. Not only do I want this project to create awareness, but I also think it can greatly help the terrible eSports SEO that we currently have and serve as cross-pollination for gamers who enjoy watching or playing a specific genre, to check out sites and communities like Twitch, Reddit, halocouncil, solomid, dataminedout, joindota, teamliquid, you name it. No news, no streams, no ads, no bias – just eSports presented in an easy to understand, read and share project. - (as in the site doesn’t cover news and doesn’t embed streams, but of course it would link to sites that do) If you would like to contribute to this project, please answer the following questions; go into as much or little detail that you think is necessary: 1. What is eSports? 2. Describe the eSports Ecosystem, what does it look like? What is the best way to convey this to a new fan or player? Should this be included? 3. What type of resources should this project have? How deep should it go? For Example, should it list teams, are games listed, and how are those games determined? 4. How were you first introduced to competitive gaming? How did you find the resources that you use today for news, streams, teams, community, etc? 5. Lastly, what else do you think this site should have, should it be a site? The questions above were what I envisioned, but I know you guys will think up some extraordinary way to impress me, as usual. Feel free to drop me an email at robzthompson@gmail.com - Right now I’m messing around with wordpress and my amateur Photoshop skills, any help would be appreciated, but remember I want to keep this true to the scene with NO bias. Additionally, I think the most important aspect of this site will be the content, but having it look good and function well is also extremely important to me. Making ESPORTS accessible, Rob Post on Reddit Share on Twitter My Twitter

vVv RobZ

vVv RobZ