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  • Announcements

    • vVv Bagzli

      We have moved to Discord   08/04/2016

      There has been a strong desire among the community to migrate to Discord for quite some time. As of today, our community will be using Discord and as a result, we will no longer be actively using our TeamSpeak Server.  The TeamSpeak server will temporarily stay active to help inform all of our move to Discord. Within the next couple of months, it will be shut down completely.  For a quick invite to our new Discord server, you can click here.  
      For a full detailed guide visit http://www.vVv-Gaming.com/Discord
    • vVv Bagzli

      New Supersonic Series Start Time   10/17/2016

      We would like to thank everyone who participated in our recent survey regarding the start time of our tournaments.  After reviewing responses from the survey sent out to tournament participants we have decided to make changes to the start time of our events to try to better accommodate everyone.  Beginning on Monday, October 24th, all of our tournaments will start an hour earlier - at 8PM Eastern.  This means that registration will close at 7:30 EST, and that check-in starts at 7:30 EST and closes at 7:45 EST.


Featured Entries

  • 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.
  • 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!

Our community blogs

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    With the coming of Carbonox and the formation of PlayBLC.com, a new air of confidence has settled over the BLC community. No longer are the weekly stretches of uncertainty regarding the games longevity, and the 4 team Pro tournaments due to unattainable expectations of rating. No longer are questions being asked pertaining to the games death, but instead how we can persevere and produce results with an intelligent group of people. With the most recent Ignite the Flame weekly tournament pulling in a peak of 1,750 concurrent viewers, and the average settling at about 1,300-1,400, noone is doom-saying, and noone is sobbing for change. Tournaments are filling up, populations of new players are blossoming, and the effort to produce watchable and professional content for a host of newbies left in the dark by a rather horrid BLC tutorial, is being made.

    All of these things are fantastic, but there have been snags. One of the biggest questions being asked at the moment is, "Why aren't there steady teams forming?" Above all else, this is what I'm here to discuss.

    Noone can deny it, it is so much easier to wait until 10 minutes before tournament time to mass PM down your list of ever-anonymous friends to put a team together. It is so much easier to not ask for two peoples skype names and to not work out a weeks worth of evening schedules, and to not make the time commitment to create something worth building. It is so much easier to NOT deal with having to cut a player that's slacking, than to put that set team of three in stone, and perhaps fail.

    Back in Season 4, when our 3v3 team was roughly 13th on 3v3 ladder, I sat down with our healer and scheduled a week ahead, leaving time for a few ladder sessions every couple of evenings, due to our recent success. Not only did this help our chemistry as a duo, but I would dare say we became friends, just because of this game that we all love. While this was all well and good, our third was on the fence about becoming a settled team of three. We decided to give it time, hoping that our chemistry and overall cohesion would change his mind. When we ran into a string of losses with no clear point of improvement, we became immensely frustrated with the situation, and needing to be "right" took precedent over our longevity as a team. Words were exchanged, and we split up prematurely, never to know what would've come from our previous headway. Believe me, I've been there. I know.

    It is simply easier to ping a variety of players that you don't know personally, that you know to be skilled, versus building long term connections and attempting to grow out of the rather childish, "Hey, want to tourny this evening?" phase. It is easier because there is no room or potential for failure. There are no group replay watching sessions analyzing what happened, and where the breakdowns in communication occurred. There is no true admission of failure, and no sizable impact on your confidence when you're teaming with a random group of people too afraid to call you on a missed cooldown or medallion, for fear of sounding pompous, and being subsequently dropped from the "team" for another player.

    There is no other game in existence where the aforementioned is considered acceptable in a competitive capacity, and I do think that it is largely in part due to a lack of effort to form lasting bonds as both teammates and people, as well as the fear of failure. I don't want this to be the future of BLC. I've never wanted to randomize my success with a different group of people every time I get online, and I don't want it for anyone else. It is a hollow victory, and one not worth having.

    I want to challenge the members of PlayBLC, as well as the rest of the Bloodline Champions community, to reach higher than a nightly lottery, and to sit down with your "regular squad", figure out what you want as a group, and take it. I'm actually done playing in tournaments without a set team of three, and even if I don't see another top 3 finish for the rest of my days, I'm ok with that. Don't get caught out on the path of asking questions like, "Well, what if one guy doesn't show up" or, "He doesn't have one of the 50,000 free VoIP programs running around on the internet." It's the 21st fucking century, you can get a microphone and a free VoIP program.

    No matter what your rebuttle is to this article, just consider what I've asked of you as a community, no matter how factual you initially find it. Hell, you could disagree with every word I've just said, but even so.. Give yourselves the opportunity to feel real failure, as well as lasting emotional success. Who knows? You just might impress yourself.


    US 3v3 Open Cup Finals Commentary:

  1. Hey girls and guys,

    I've been around for a few months now, and I felt like it was time to do the recap thing :)

    So here we go!

    Most of you may not have seen me around often, and that's not surprising, since I live in France and so when I wake up you go to sleep (except for the late night gamers of course :P ). But still, I am around in the shadows :ph34r: . I first applied as a GuildWars 2 player, then lost interest in the game and joined as a Community gamer after a delightful interview by our president Doomhammer in which I engaged myself to quite a few things, I kept my engagements, and failed to the challenges I accepted... There are no place like vVv, I did not succeed in searching for a massive multigaming community combining players from all backgrounds and all levels casual like hardcore and pro. I did not manage to rise the World of Warcraft competitive community to do more major esports events. I did try though, maybe not hard enough... I agreed that I should be a Game Guru, thing is I didn't realize at the time the difficulty of the job ;) the difficulty isn't to do the threads, it's to find a subject! Therefor, you can't imagine the amount of subjects I started working on, for some I went far, for others I struggled, anyways none of my works were achieved because I was always interrupted in my writing and when I came back I had totally lost my thoughts and couldn't finish... A couple of days ago I got on my nerves and deleted my "important" file... Bold and dumb, but still at least now I can focus again without seeing it stare at me every time I'm opening a game x)

    A few weeks ago I won second prize in the Learn and win contest you organized, a cool T-shirt but non in stock were my size :/ so vVv Paradise offered me to get a hoody instead :D that made me even happier ;) even though I haven't received it yet, I can't wait to put it on :P Again, big thank's for that.

    A couple of weeks ago the Community Gamer division was closed. Having established on Starcraft II as a Terran player, I asked to be transferred to the Starcraft II division, change that vVv Medusa did kindly :) Since, I've been practicing as hard as I could (okay... I may have got a little bit distracted by WoW but it isn't my fault if it's an addictive game x) ). A bit earlier tonight I went to the Starcraft II section to ask for some help, a coach or a practice partner, even though I'd prefer a practice partner with who I could easily schedule training sessions, practice and theoretical , but I guess that being on the EU servers won't help a lot ^^.

    Till now, vVv has brought me a bit in community experience, and English written practice (lol). I don't hang around on mumble often since when I do there aren't a lot of people around, plus when I'm practicing on Starcraft, I don't really need to be talking to other people who aren't focusing. vVv also had me meet good people such as Medusa, NuBrGNi, Dommhammer, Lordjerrith even if I didn't get the opportunity to speak with him but I still read his writings and am a fan of honest speech <3, and many others that I am a bit to lazy to write them all down :P

    On an other hand, unfortunately, I haven't brought much to this community... As I said, I didn't realize the hard work that had a Game Guru but I will be working on it. Still, I'l quite sure I brought a bit of smiles to people :) and that's already good, how? by social medias, by the forums, by mumble! and maybe just when they looked at my phot and felt like: "if this guy hasn't been to the hairdresser's since that photo, his eyes must be totally hidden!" (I have been but since they have grown longer :/ So it isn't funny it's the truth :P)

    What am I planning for the future? Well, first of all, when I first arrived I wasn't sure of what I wanted to after my studies, so I was like "I don't give a damn thing about not doing my homework and missing my grade! I just wanna be a pro gamer!" but now I do know, and am ashamed of having once thought that way. First thing, being a pro gamer requires sacrifices and strong will, so dropping out isn't how you forge yourself for this kind of job. Second, I now know what I want to do, I want to be a primary school teacher and didn't notice it since I'm a kid even though I never stop thinking "if I become a teacher, I'll never do like this one [and there comes the facepalm]" So I now want to study hard and get my grade and get a degree and be able to do the job that I want. Still, this doesn't eliminate my first will. I want to be a pro gamer and will do what ever it takes to get to the highest level. Why? Because the esports community is awesome, we are awesome! And I want to live that experience and share it, and to share it, what better than a pro gamer teacher who does a gaming club during the lunch break or after school and organizes tournaments for the kids with 20€ for first place 10€ for second and 5€ for third? Like that those kid would grow up knowing there are better things than football, Imagine those kids becoming the pros and shoutcasters of tomorrow (yeah I'll need some of them to be shoutcasters too :P). On a more immediate point, I will be trying to pull out a complete work as Game Guru and will try to get ready to run in weekly tournaments for this summer. And I will not be letting vVv and it's community down, there are great things to be done, and they shall be done together ;) nothing grows bigger than team work! I will Educate, I will Dominate, and I will Entertain!

    I would've usually said: "thank's for reading", but that's like saying:" I'm afraid of posting this, no one will care..." And since it isn't the case, I will not put it!

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    It has been a month since vVv has picked me up and the experience so far has been amazing. I originally applied to vVv because of the reputation of the management staff and the community at large. A reputation that is most certainly desired. The staff kept up to date with me, not solely caring about my progress as a player for vVv but as a person too.

    I have done nothing but improve since joining vVv a month ago. The overall level of my play has increased, I still have room to improve but I’m pleased with my progress. Through a collaborative effort from both Aspire programs and head management to ensure the best possible practice for our players we have been able to create an environment which allows learning and productive growth. While working with the Aspire programs I have gained the sense of community that I was looking for in a team. Sharing experiences with the players as rededicated my love of the game and my dream of becoming a pro gamer.

    Our current plan for new content is to produce a scheduled time for many avid StarCraft players and fans to ask questions and to have them answered them with finesse so both the tippy top of masters and our brothers battling it out in bronze will have something to take away. More details to come so stay tuned an get your questions ready.

    The major LAN tournaments I’m planning to attend is the LAN ETS in Montréal, Quebec, Canada in March as well as MLG in Dallas, Texas, USA. Many online qualifiers and tournaments will be attended along the way but the primary focus is to train for these major LANs as well as the IPTL that is incoming very soon. The IPTL will be an amazing experience for everyone in vVv Aspire program. I can say that Aspire has been tirelessly practicing because they are eager to show the other teams, the fans and themselves that they can compete with the best.

    This year has been very up and down for me, real life challenges stood in the way of my practice time for StarCraft. This year has just been a crazy roller coaster ride that never seemed to end. After realizing I’ve been going with the wrong attitude towards my training and just outlook on life, I decided to make a New Year’s Resolution to better myself. I never really had a New Year’s Resolution before so I was a little lost, my personal coach, Zoran Swanson, responded with: “A new year’s resolution is something that you either lacking or missing in your life and you take necessary changes so it becomes a reality.” After many sessions of reflecting, I have realized what I have lost and am determined to get it back, whether it may be in the near future or further down the road, what will keep me driven is the fact that it is going to happen within my life time.

    The recent state of StarCraft in the eSports scene has been an unfortunate blow. Many teams such as SlayerS, Quantic and TSL having to disband really do show how fragile teams really are. You hear of such success with these teams and after many years of hard work, it can be washed away within a couple of weeks. I’m sad to see many of the great teams having to disband and wish nothing but the best for the players.

    The current state of NA ladder has been unfortunate as well. With the increased prevalence of players using 3rd party programs to gain unfair advantages the top of the ladder has seen some new and underserving names. That being said, the only thing that I can do is to try my best but ultimately we have to rely on Blizzard to improve ‘Warden’ to keep the trolls at bay. The new StarCraft expansion, Heart of the Swarm, looks very promising for numerous reasons. Starting with Blizzard promising; more consistent updates to the map pool, destructible debris at the bottom of ramps, new units as well as the Clan tag feature. However, there will be many patches – not all of which will be good – but I have faith in Blizzard and ourselves to balance to the game.

    I am very excited for the future of StarCraft. Promising events, patches, strategies, and players are coming in 2013 and we better be ready to embrace them!

    I’d like to thank vVv and our sponsors for the opportunity and the support they have given me.

    Special thanks to my fans and supporters that keep me driven!

    -=[information Plugins]=-

    Stream: Twitch.tv/Nooborghini

    Twitter: Twitter.com/vVv_NuBrGNi

    Website: Www.vVv-Gaming.Com

  2. gallery_7276_302_58768.png

    We now know seven of the eight teams that have qualified for Season 3 and will play in the North American League of Legends Championship Series. Four teams still remain in the offline qualifier, but only one can receive a contract from Riot Games this Sunday. Three of these teams will have their dreams denied for at LEAST the next six months. Unfortunately, for the majority of players remaining, the harsh realization is that this might be their last chance to become a professional League of Legends player. Let’s take a look at the competitors facing off later today and what the keys to success are for each team.


    Dirtnap Gaming

    Overall record this weekend: 3-2

    Champions Selected:


    Important Champions to Watch For:

    Jayce - 100% (2-0)

    Maokai - 66% (2-1)

    Sona - 66% (2-1)

    Graves - 60% (3-2)

    Olaf - 50% (2-2)

    Keys to Success for DNG against Azure:

    • Dirt Nap has excelled this weekend when Cris is able to make plays. Get Cris early kills against Azure and apply early pressure.
    • PR0LLY succeeded with Jayce in early matches. Expect him to pull out AD Casters instead of picks like Kassadin or Kayle.
    • Graves has been played in all five DNG matches. As that ecKo feels most comfortable with Graves, expect him to stick with what works.



    Azure Gaming

    Overall record this weekend: 2-3

    Champions Selected:


    Important Champions to Watch For:

    Katarina 100% (1-0)

    Nunu - 66% (2-1)

    Cho'Gath - 50% (1-1)

    Keys to Success for Azure against DNG:

    • Azure was shut down vs. Curse Gaming. Azure needs to pick champions they are comfortable with and play safe and standard. There is a lot of momentum against them. Wait for the opponent to make a mistake and capitalize to gain momentum back on their side.
    • Shut down Cris. DNG rocked through the group stage when Cris was able to make early plays. Never allow him to get to that point.
    • While it might seem like an odd move, a ban of Graves against DNG could potentially throw them off their game. ecKo has only played Graves at this event and it could remove him from his comfort zone.



    Meat Playground

    Overall record this weekend: 2-3

    Champions Selected:


    Important Champions to Watch For:

    Sona - 66% (2-1)

    Vladimir - 50% (1-1)

    Malphite - 33% (1-2)

    Keys to Success for Meat Playground against MRN:

    • If xHazzard gets his hands on Malphite, make sure to land those Unstopable Forces! We saw just how much of a game changer he could be when Meat Playground eliminated 1 Trick Ponies. xHazzard hasn't had the same luck since. If Malphite is banned, xHazzard is also comfortable on Nidalee. Pick her up and split push to a win.
    • Make Team MRN uncomfortable and never underestimate them. MRN was able to base race a win already this weekend. Meat Playground needs to contain any potential tricks that MRN could have up their sleeves.



    Team MRN

    Overall record this weekend: 2-2

    Champions Selected:


    Important Champions to Watch For:


    Keys to Success for Meat Playground against MRN:

    • Stay unpredictable! Team MRN has played four games this weekend and they have chosen 19 different champions. The only champion that has been played twice was Cho'Gath. With this spread of champions, the team cannot be banned out. Keep using a variety of champs and keep MP guessing as to what they will do.
    • Use nonstandard play to throw Meat Playground off their game. The base race vs. Cloud9 took everyone by surprise. Pulling out Urgot, the only time in the tournament thus far, was a shock against Azure. If MP cannot react to the off the wall strategies of MRN, this team could be one step closer to a Season 3 contract.

    Tune in live at 2:00pm EST as the final day of action unfolds! The last remaining of these four teams will become the 8th and final team added into the North American League of Legends Championship Series!

    Which of these four teams will receive the final Season 3 Contract? Leave your predictions in the comments below! If you predict the overall winning team correctly, you'll be entered to win an out of print League of Legends Riot Nasus skin! Enjoy the final day of the Season 3 Offline Qualifiers! Predictions must be entered before the end of the first game today between Azure and DNG!

    Credit for graphs to reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends user Polarclaw.

  3. S2-page1.png

    Image from Mirametrix's website

    The three adjectives that describe the S2 Eyetracker, pretty much explains what the eyetracker is, but how did I like during my trial? Let's check it out!



    (If you prefer to watch the video rather than read, please skip the introduction and proceed further down)

    Upon receiving the S2 Eyetracker by Mirametrix, I first had to download the software from the Mirametrix website. After installation, calibration of the Eyetracker is very very simple.

    During the calibration, a blue circle with a very small white dot would appear at points of the computer screen, from top left and making it's way to the bottom right of the screen. This process allows the eyetracker to track your pupils in coordinate of where you are looking at. After the calibration process is done, there will be a score in which < xx is excellent calibration and <yy is considered ""good" calibration. If the score is greater than x and y, then calibration is needed/ readjustment of the eyetracker is needed, but this did not happened to me so therefore calibration was a breeze.

    After all of the calibration, next we set up the given software for your streaming program (preferably I use XSplit)


    Now you may be asking "SonTran, isn't it annoying that you have a green circle showing and all those fancy mathematics on the bottom?"

    My answer: It's not because I cannot see them.

    The software allows my viewers to see what I am seeing, and those "fancy mathematics" are how often and how long I look at specific parts of the game.

    Now this can be very exciting for my viewers to see if I saw something fishy. Questions like "Did he see the hidden overlord?" "Did he see the unit composition of his opponent and will he react accordingly?" "Does he see how much resources he has?" "Does he see that he is supply blocked?"

    Sometimes we always wondered if pros SEE what is coming, and most of the time if we see the player react, then yes, he/she saw it, and if not then the game winds up being over.

    We always wondered "IF" the player "saw" what was coming, then the Eyetracker can show if the players did in fact see what was coming or not.

    Now you may ask yourself, HOW can this help me become a better player in Starcraft? Then the following section is what you want to read :)



    So how is this used in my training? Simple. When I stream, I save my VODs for future viewing, and when I watch myself play and what I see, I realize that "I should be looking at this more often, rather than that".

    My playstyle in case no one knows is that I am a really excellent micro player, and from one of my teammates, he says that I have the APM close to a pro gamers, but there is one thing that was keeping me back was my macro.

    In fact, when I joined Aspire, I thought TvZ was my worst, but here, it was my poor macro.

    So by watching the VODs and watching the calculations of the LPM* at my resources, I realize that I don't even look at my resources as often as I should be going. In the match against Temp0, you can see that my mini-map LPM is about 12 and my Resouces LPM is at a mere 6, With this, I can see that I can't tell if I was about to get supply blocked, and I have a huge bank because of that and therefore I can not reinforce my army as well as I should be.

    It's always recommended that you balance your macro/micro and check the minimap and your resources to see if you are fit enough to do what you must to stand victorious.

    It is GREAT to be aware of what is going on all around in the game.


    During my trial, and looking back at the VODs, I realized how the potential of the eyetracker to help me improve just shown itself as "clear as day".

    I am now proud to say that with the help of the Eyetracker, the software provided by Mirametrix, the practices with my teammates in Aspire, and all of the support and criticism of my play, I was promoted to Diamond and soon almost Masters. I believe I have made a great decision in becoming a tester for Mirametrix with their S2 Eyetracker, and I am glad that they made a huge show at the Lone Star Clash by having the pros participate with it, and also showing heat maps and statistics of the pros.

    In the future when Mirametrix releases the S2 Eyetracker for market consumption, I would be honored to purchase one for stream viewers and training.

    My name is Adam "SonTran" Son Tran and I am a proud tester of the Mirametrix S2 Eyetracker

    Mirametrix Website: http://gaming.mirametrix.com

  4. I know this is a few days late, but I'm basing my official SC2 new year to begin on the week of January 7th. I've been spending nice quality time with family since December 22. It'll be a while till I get a chance to hang out with them like this again so I'm enjoying it to the fullest extent. 2012 has been such a full year full of new experiences and blown minds. I feel it's exceptionally good timing that the 2012 ended around now, and eSports can take a breath to kick start 2013~

    Health, family, SC2; the ultimate balance.

    2012 has been a very full year of SC2 for me. Any time in the day that didn't involve work or family I was doing something SC2. I was watching streams, reviewing replays, watching VODs, reading blogs & articles. Even when I was working I'd usually have a stream in the background, where I'd glance or listen to like a radio. Because of this, my health has definitely suffered. Suffered in the sense that I was seriously lacking exercise.

    Exercise was no longer part of my routine. It was more of a 'if I have time, I'll get there', but the problem was I never really had time. Well technically I did, but that time I gave to SC2 in a heartbeat. I know the importance of health; I use to be a mini health/gym junkie. I ate healthy, and went to the gym everyday including Sundays, had a steady schedule of cardio & weights. Of course this was before SC2 was in my life. 2012 was full of junk food, fast food, and lackluster/rushed gym sessions. I think I've gained a good 8kg over the year, and it truly is time to shave that off and go back to the healthy lifestyle. Diets do not work, lifestyle changes do.

    Family is always the up-most number one priority in my life. 2012 my family has made a lot of sacrifices for my SC2 passion & me. They did it willingly, but I feel I could have spared a lot more time to spend with them. This really isn't an issue half as severe as my health issue, but it is still something of importance to me that I want to make a point of.

    The most important part of this resolution is this: I plan to fix the time balance issues without taking away any time from SC2. I plan to spend the same amount of time on SC2 in 2013 as I did in 2012, if not even more. It comes down to time management efficiency. I foresee a couple of burnouts with this resolution, but I guess I'll deal with then when they occur~

    Calendar management.

    I use to be able to remember everything. Anything that I've come across that I make some effort in remembering I'll remember. 2012 I've found myself start to miss things. Perhaps it's the hectic fulls days that I live day in day out trying to fit more SC2 in, but my days often get jumbled up and I can no longer trust my memory 100%. Perhaps 95%, but no longer 100%.

    Many times in 2012 I wanted to get a Google calendar going to track my SC2 events, but I always ended up getting lazy on it and stopped updating. I've never actually forgot/missed an event I was suppose to attend, but I've mis-tracked days I have left to train countless times now. I think I just need to admit defeat to the brain, and get that extra help. This way I'll also stop worrying about accurate information, as I can just glance it through the calendar.

    Calendar management gets its own special category because I feel it's key to my previous resolution on life balance. I guess this is both a resolution and a method~


    I admit I completely toned down my tournament attendance in the last 2 months of 2012. This wasn't due to laziness or forgetfulness. I simply felt that the downtime of a tournament wasn't effective/efficient to my training. I believe I was correct too. By entering only select tournaments depending on the progress of my training, I believe I have now reached a point in progress where I wouldn't have been able to reach if I blindly entered all the available tournaments around.

    Where I am now, I feel it's time I re-tune the ratio of tournaments I enter. 2013 will be the year that I start entering much more tournaments than 2012 and conquer the nerves along with learning the true art of a BO3+~

    Heart of the Swarm.

    I do have a beta key. My plans for HotS are quite uncertain at the moment. With SEACL #3 and IPTL Amateur league coming up, I think I have to stick with WoL a tad bit longer. Ideally I want to make the switch right about now but I’m giving myself a blind deadline of February to make the switch. I think I need at least 1 month with HotS to hammer down the basic metagame so I can take off training wheels when the official release hits~

    eSports 2013.

    I do have plans to put more time & effort into the other areas of eSports other than a pure SC2 player in 2013. Why this blog was delayed for quite some time was because I was trying to figure out what exactly it is I wanted to do. There are many ideas, but none has really hit the sweet spot. Ideas have been ranging from more constant blogging with a touch of life outside eSports, starting tutorials/guides, a new talk show, group coaching and many more.

    I’m still in the brainstorm phase at the moment, but will definitely give a update when the storm calms down~

    Short-term goals.

    My short-term goals in 2013 are to make a run for GM on NA and KR/TW servers. I’ve never laddered on NA much due to 280+ ping, and working out of Taipei most of the year means my connection to KR/TW is 240+ ping. The main reason I'm switching focus to other servers even with the latency issues is simply that I've become too familiar with the players on SEA.

    Currently on SEA I'm going through a dilemma that there are too few players online in my MMR range. No, my MMR is not so high that I'm having trouble finding games, but since around July 2012 all my SEA ladder sessions involved playing the same player 4-6 times in a 2-hour period. If I wanted to train with a practice partner I'd find one. I ladder because I want to be training against variety, and uncertainty~

    2012 has been explosive; it looks like 2013 could be the same. Wishing a big GLHF to everyone’s eSports resolutions!! I hope our paths will cross sometime this year!~

    gg glglgl!!

    the fist pumping larva,


  5. Kleopatra
    Latest Entry

    League of Legends became an integral part of my life after my grandmother died. I had started playing it a month prior to that event, but when I was alone for a week while my family went to her funeral League became more than a game to me. I don’t cope with death like a lot of people do. It’s near impossible for me to be consoled by funerals. They make me feel worse.

    I spent seven days and nights holed up in my room watching Dyrus, TRM, Oddone, Chaox, and occasionally Reginald livestream. At that time it was hard for me to be happy. My psychiatrist switched my medication to a different dosage, so the chronic depression and anxiety that plagued me only made things worse.

    But these people made me smile. It wasn’t as if I knew then offline. Honestly, I didn’t really care to meet them. It was just the simple fact that their raging and shouting of baylife was funny. When my depression is really bad it’s hard for me to get up out of bed. Watching their streams at least helped me cope with the things going on in my life at that time.

    Life continued on. I continued going to school, but I made sure I’d have time for a few games of League at the end of the day.

    If this wall of text hasn’t made it obvious, writing is something I love doing. Over the years I’ve volunteered at a couple places and served as an editor. Eventually, the team that managed to cheer me up through their antics ended up hiring me. Even in my wildest dreams I never thought that would happen, but it had been a goal in my life to make a bit of money doing the thing that I love most.

    League of Legends may be just a game to some people, but it means more to me than most would guess. The eSports community has helped me come out of my shell. Will I ever be a well known figure in the LoL community? Probably not. I do not have the means or reasons to travel nor do I have the capability to create content that people would find compelling.

    What I do hope is that maybe, someday, I’ll be able to contribute more to the LoL community. Writing may not be the most glamorous thing in the world, but the League has inspired me to keep moving forward.

    For those who've read this, thank you for not giving up on me thus far. Here's to hoping 2013 is full of opportunities for all of us.

  6. LuNa
    Latest Entry

    Hey guys, just wanted to make a little post about the upcoming upgrade I'm going to be doing for my PC. I feel that this can be a little educational for anyone else who may be wanting to build a PC or looking to upgrade themselves but I also want to show off a little bit as well xD. So listed below will be my current build and then I will list the new upgrades I will be adding within the coming 2-3 weeks.

    Current build:

    i7 3930-k 3.2 GHz (6-core) processor

    16 GB RAM

    Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 graphics card

    1 TB HDD

    40 GB Kingston Hyper X SSD

    850W Power Supply

    Planned Upgraded Build:

    i7 3930-k 3.2 GHz (6-core) processor - (I'm keeping the one I have and the motherboard)

    48 GB RAM

    3x Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics cards

    3x 2 TB HDD's w/ 50 GB Crucial Adrenaline Solid State Cache to increase hard drive speed

    120 GB SSD

    Corsair AX 1200W Power Supply

    Windows 7 Ultimate (I have to buy a windows install disk anyways since my PC only came with a boot disk when I bought it originally)

    EK Water Cooling System (Water blocks on the CPU and all 3 GPU's)

    The cost of these upgrades = ~$2100

    Now the biggest will probably be why do I need this crazy build. After all for a desktop computer (not a server workstation) this build is one of the very best you could possibly do right now. There were two main reasons why I decided to go with this build, 1.) I want to be able to stream in 1080p @ 60 fps and 2.) I need a computer that would be sufficient for working with the various programs I need to use for school (programs like AutoCAD, Inventor, 3Ds Max and Maya) and those programs are very, very demanding on your computer. So I need a computer that would have the processing power but also the storage needed for the files I need for school and increased HDD speed so I'm not waiting for programs to load very large files or computer models (in programs like 3Ds Max and Maya, models that have millions of polygons can still take minutes to load even with some of the better machines of today). I'm not able to afford the very best computer they offer like the Intel Xeon server workstation processors but I will be able to create a computer that is very near the power that those machines have while still staying within a reasonable price range. I'm also going to be installing an EK Water Cooling System since liquid cooling is generally much more sufficient in keeping computers cool but also to help with a noise reduction.

    Now for anyone who is looking to upgrade their own PC's or building their own, here's some advice I can give to you (I'm also a computer engineering major so this is basically what I do xD). Obviously you don't need a build like mine unless you do similar work to what I have to do, but if you want a computer that can maximize performance without breaking your bank, look into solid state drives and also look into solid state cache devices. Basically what these devices do is it's a cache system that with software will allow your computer to recognize this solid state cache and your HDD as 1 device but your HDD will run about 6-8 times faster then it normally would because the cache is of similar design to what's used in actual solid state drives. So even using a regular hard drive, you can boost performance greatly for only around $90 plus the only downfall about SSD's is that you can only write files so many times before SSD's will begin to have problems while using a HDD with solid state cache you won't have those issues. Regardless both are great to have and I recommend looking into both since solid state drives of only 120 GB - 250 GB can run you anywhere between $150-$400 where as a 2 TB HDD will only cost about $110 and this SSC costs $90.

  7. Sup! My name’s Aaron, and I go by haphazaRd in SC2. This blog is (hopefully) going to contain my thoughts and ideas about not just SC2, but pretty much anything relating to eSports whatsoever. Hopefully it’ll have something

    that’s useful or interesting to anyone, regardless of what game they play!

    I guess the standard opener for a blog of this type would be to talk a little about my history. I’ll warn you, my past as a gamer is fairly boring, but I’ll write something about it as a formality. Back in 2002, I had just started getting into

    computer games. Previously I had loved to play on my SNES or 64, but being younger than 10, I didn’t ever give much thought about becoming better at any game. In 2002, a good friend of mine brought StarCraft: Brood War over to

    my house, and I instantly fell in love with it. The next Summer, my Mom got internet at our house, so I was able to finally play on battle.net, which I had fantasized about since the first time I saw the multiplayer option from the main

    screen. My first experience on battle.net was starting a 1v1 on the map “challenger” (horrible map!), and promptly getting crushed by mass BC.

    Fast forward to 2010. I still played Brood War regularly, and my proficiency as a competitive player was only slightly better. I only ever played bounds, defenses, rpgs, squadron support, and basically every other non-RTS UMS

    made throughout my time on BW, but I still remember it as the best game I’ve ever played. Despite its greatness, at this point I was mostly playing FPS games; Team Fortress 2 was a big favorite of mine. At this point in time, I think I’ve

    still logged twice as many hours in TF2 than I have in SC2. TF2 was the first game I ever strived to get better in, and I did alright in it. After a brief stint in a low level competitive team, my time with the eSporty side of TF2 was basically

    over. However, my eyes had been open to the competitive side of video games.

    It would take a while, but finally in the Summer of 2011, I began to find my passion for StarCraft 2. It would start when another good friend of mine linked me some Husky casts, but it truly ignited when I started watching the Day[9]

    Daily. Episode 100 of the daily is something that everyone, even those who have no interest in eSports, should watch. It is a true testament to what it means to strive improve oneself, and it inspired me greatly. Along with the

    knowledge, wisdom, and humor Sean Plott spouts off seemingly endlessly, I also found myself absorbing the same relentless passion Day[9] feels for the game. By November of 2011, I was fully engrossed within the SC2 community.

    From that point on, it’s only gotten better and better. It’s been over a year now since I made StarCraft 2 the main game that I play, and I can safely say that I’ve enjoyed every second of it, and only intend to enjoy it even more fully now

    that I have this fantastic community to talk with and learn from. I have a long way to go; as a player, as a coach, and as a person. I’ve always liked the idea of documenting experiences; so much gets away from us in our memories, and

    as such, I hope that I will find the same will and dedication I have built around StarCraft 2 for this blog. Thanks for reading, and here’s to you having more (hopefully more interesting) material to read in the future!


  8. End of the year. Yup, here comes the end of 2012. There's so much I wanted to do, things I've not been able to fit into this busy part of the year. My videologs were neglected for longer than intended. My practice became rather erratic last week again, due to so-called pre-christmas madness. You know, the chores around the house, families keeping us busy. Well, me complaining about the hecticness of year ending, that's not really the purpose of this writting of mine.

    2012 - My year of StarCraft!

    Originally, I actually wanted to make this into a videolog, however, time constraints. But, I would like to look back at this year. Share the upsides, small victories, but also the downsides, struggles. Every story has two sides and the main character of this story is not without struggles and happy moments either.

    Diamonds are forever!

    Sufficed to say, that I made it into Diamond sometime in January. That was a good way of starting my year, isn't it? For those following my story so far, as a reminder, and even for those, who are unfamiliar with my story - I originally started out as a really, really low Bronze player, with no RTS/StarCraft/Brood War experience. So yes, for me, that was huge achievement. I was really happy and my motivation was going through the roof. It was certainly one of these small steps on my journey I was happy about. Back then, I was still part of one Czech team, however, the team wasn't very active and I haven't learnt much from them, which was my main grief. I didn't want to be just that "token female" or a team mascot. So, around January, I left the team, to try and join Fem-FX, which used to be female-only team.

    The worst enemy - myself

    At the beginning, things seemed all neat and nice with my new team. The team seemed really tight, even though I really struggled with them, as my notorius anxiety was kicking in, and I was really shy around them. There were some nice people along the way, Lydia, who was the team's CEO, was nothing but a super, Austin, who was one of the managers, been a good friend ever since as well. Sufficed to say, by the time I decided to join them, I was already struggling with myself, as depressions seemed to re-emerge, but I didn't want to admit that to myself, I didn't understand the signs, I didn't even understand myself at that point. Around March, things got really bad, and I suddenly dropped everything I had passion for. I was hating on myself, all I could feel was this ever-present fatigue, everything felt like a chore. I couldn't find any enjoyment in my life. I was simply surviving, it wasn't even living.

    At the top of all, Team Fem-FX's activity dropped. People stopped showing up at practices, and overally, everyone saw StarCraft more and more casually. I knew I needed to have highly motivated people around myself. I knew, that this alone should help me through my depressions, as I somehow seem to be highly motivated by people, who are likely to be highly motivated as well. Forwarding to the end of March, I announced my retirement from Fem-FX. I needed a change and I needed it fast. I needed to find like-minded, highly motivated, and positive teammated. A place, where I could grow not only as a player, but also as a person. Of course, I knew there would be obstacles, given my anxiety issues, which cause me to be really shy around new people, but at the same time, leaving things as they were, that'd mean me withering even further.

    So, around the end of March, after I left Fem-FX, I actually finally found courage to apply to vVv Gaming. I didn't understand how the team/community operated back then, but I was familiar with their tolerant approach to people, as well as they'd accept you no matter where you were, personally and gaming speaking. Simply said, I hoped I'd find my chance to gradually grow as a StarCraft 2 player, to get over my depressions and solidify my practice at last.

    The Academy - under construction!

    Few of those familiar with the situation in vVv Gaming will remember, that vVv gaming's StarCraft 2 community lacked a person, who'd push things forward. I needed something to do, so I basicly did writing and graphics. At that time, my depression was still at it's peak though. I still missed a solid team of like-minded people. An insane idea then sparked my mind. It's something I wanted to find for along time. A team dedicated to growth in StarCraft 2. And since I still had no luck in this regard, an insane idea struck my mind - Why not to try and make an Academy team in vVv Gaming? Both it takes the "Entertain, Educate, Dominate" on the next level, and I'd also be able to have something I've only dreamt of - A solid, dedicated team, who live, breathe and shit StarCraft. I made a very, very long write-up and sent it to the vVv management, crossing my fingers, well aware of the fact that their previous Academy ended up with a huge fail.

    DreamHack Summer, the personal Trial of Fire...?

    I have to sidetrack here a bit. The Academy project was still in discussion between me, LordJerith and some other people from the management. But, I was starting with practice again. After solid 5 months of erraticness and lack of practice, I was getting back to it. I saw a hope, something to aim for. Despite of me still struggling with depressions, I felt a bit more energetic once more. So, when an opportunity to travel to Dreamhack to Sweden emerged, I was shitting gold bricks. I saw it as an opportunity to learn, grow and also to fight my personal struggles. And surely I did fight them. I also learnt a lot. I was on emotional rollercoaster. Sheding tears after defeat by Merz, but also happiness, that I could breathe that all-StarCraft 2 atmosphere. Happiness from meeting White-Ra, who is someone I truly look up to. Being glad for meeting some of the people I've known only online until then!

    After DreamHack, I've made many realizations. How much StarCraft 2 means for me, and how much I needed to grow stronger as a person, if I was to pursue this passion.

    The Academy - Emerges!

    On 4th July, while still being on holidays with my family, after being in a car-crash (yeah, rough patch there), the vVv Academy team was announced officially on the team's page. Me being me, I had to get online for the launch day, despite of being on holidays. It was a big day. Of course, I was put in charge of the team, so I was a team's Captain, manager and player in one. It's just how I do things. I wanted to lead by best possible example, as that's how all good leaders should be. Well, it's something I truly believe. Take it as you wish. The team started with mostly Diamond players, a bunch of guys, who were to suddenly act as a team. It was time for all of us to learn to be a team. And for me to learn, how to be a leader.

    The only pain you feel, is the growth one!

    No growth is without pain. Something I learnt during the couse of the time I've been with my Academy team. I see my self-doubts emerging quite a lot. Am I doing my job correctly? Am I truly the captain, manager and player this team deserves? I won't deny it, I've often been feeling really down from the fact, that I am the weakest player in the lineup. I often call myself, literally "a fucking excuse for a player". Depressions in and out, they make me an emotional bomb at time. It is really easy to doubt one's self. Especially when things get out of my control. When self-doubts and lack of good performance occur.

    The Academy team gives me a purpose, a drive. Something I didn't have for a long time. There are glimpses of moments, when I feel that maybe, maybe I am worth of something to others. That I can be of help. A light in the darkness. I should also mention that to combat my anxiety/shyness, I've began making videologs, to learn expressing myself better while talking (after that disaster in my first ever video-interview at Dreamhack, lol). I believe that during the time I've been doing them, I've actually became less awkward - enough to be bold and if someone asks me ever again (I hate, hate that question), if there's any advantage to being a female progamer, I'll just tell them "Of course, no queues on the female toiletes." with a nice troll-face grin. :D

    I've grown very fond of my team. They are my second family away from home. Seeing all of them progress, seeing them grow, I couldn't be more proud of them. Despite of all of my personal bullshit, I've been able to hold, and I know I am not going anywhere. A big part of why that would be would be that team. I don't care how much crap some people throw at vVv Gaming or my Academy team. They don't know us; living in the past. And well, it is true we are not the best players out there, wrecking tournaments, but I have some of the most passionate people on my team. That is what counts. You can't learn that, unlike in-game skills. These can be gained if you train properly. But you can't teach your heart to love something, if it's simply not there.

    It is my job to cherish this passion, this dedication, not just in myself, but also in them.


    Coming to an end. Everything has an end, and this writing is no exception. What to look forward to? My personal wishes? First of all, I want to become a more solid player, with a good, healthy practice habits. To learn to accept losses and setbacks, not just in StarCraft, but also in general; and that they are not the end of the world. To accept the fact, that I too am just a human being, making mistakes, without going and hating the shit out of myself. To learn to forgive to myself, to be more patient with myself. To be able to see the good, positive things about myself, both in regards to StarCraft 2, but also in general.

    I want to compete more in StarCraft. Really hoping to go to DreamHack (Early Bird Dreamhack Summer tickets on, Secret Santa, anyone? Wink-wink ;)) and show a progress! I want my team to have a reason to be proud of me, as a player! And a reason for me to shed tears of happiness! I know I will once the time comes! To feel is to exist, and for a change, I want my feelings to be the happy ones!

    A new year is closing in. What it will bring? You all are welcome to continue walking this journey of passion with me. As I am nowhere close to the journey's end - after all, I am BabyToss, so to 2013 onwards!

    PS: Sorry, no pictures this time! Except this one!


    OP, OP, OP Zerg style!


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    Recent Entries

    Hey my sc2 tag name is engulfSAGA, I am currently a rank 2 1200 pt master. I am the new aspire rising team zerg coach and I thought I'd just take a few minutes to talk about some strategies I use as zerg.

    I don't know if the strategies I use will fit your playstyle, but if you want to take a look at my builds, or discuss strategies, feel free to message me.

    There's a lot that can vary, and some things are left out. This is just what I deal with the most and my reaction to it. Message me if you have questions :)

    ***Current counter to 2 or 3 base muta play***


    My standard opening I am doing currently is 15p 16 hatch, getting my gas just after my hatch. I build an evo chamber at about 75 gas, and go for an early +1 armor.

    This leave you vulnerable to speedlings, which could do a lot of damage. However, I also get a spine and a bane nest at my natural BEFORE speed, and with good

    micro and reaction time, I believe you can hold it off. Also, it's important to scout youropponent to see what they are doing. Are they taking all 4 gases? Are they

    building 2 evo chambers at their front? If it seems like they aren't putting any pressure on, you can take your ling speed, and your 3rd. If you suspect a lot of

    speedlings, skip your ling speed, build banes and another spine. This build can transition into a mass ling/roach attack if you feel they are teching very hard to muta.

    If they are teching to muta, your +1 armor lings will take 2 bane hits to kill instead of 1. So if they try to take a 3rd, you will have a significant advantage in ling/bane

    fights. Also, if they are putting on pressure and I can't take a 3rd, I take an in base 3rd macro hatch when I have the minerals. I delay my lair for a long time, only

    taking 1 gas until I have a 3rd hatch. Sometimes, I also build a 4th macro hatch after my 3rd. I usually start +1 range attack, and start a 2nd gas before lair. I sac an

    overlord around 6 mins to scout for lair and spire. To counter muta play, I I build 3 spores at each hatch, along with 3/4 more queens. I get roach speed and usually

    take all my gases after I build my spores. I go for double evo after I feel safe from muta play. I don't build hydras against muta, I rely on creepspread and bring

    queens with my army when I push out. I build an extra 6, 9, or even 12 queens sometimes if they have a lot of muta. I use the roaches to help tank them and do a

    mass pushout with 2/2 usually.


    *** This is the current counter I've come up with against the helion/banshee/3cc build***

    My strongest matchup atm. 16 pool, 16 hatch. 4 queen opening, drone up to 36, take 2 gas, and a 3rd hatch. build a roach warren, evo chamber, and get ling speed.

    Get a few roaches to fend off helions. Use your queens/roaches to fend off helions while you spread your creep, while saturating your 3rd. Build a 4th macro hatch.

    Start +1 armor, get another evo chamber, get lair. take the other 2/4 gasses depending on how many mins you have. Sac an overlord around 6 minutes. Build a few

    extra queens and a spore in each base for banshees. ***(if they have cloak banshees, you can attack with the roaches you have to distract the terran and make

    them attack the roaches with banshees to delay their attack). If mech, get +1 range attack for roaches, and build a 3rd evo chamber. start +1 melle attack as well. get

    roach speed, bring your queens to help attack banshees, build a good mix of lings/roaches and push out when you have lair/overseers for banshees. This same

    build works for bio or helion/bio. just build a lot of roaches and lings, delay your lair and upgrades if they are doing an early push out. If 3 CC bio, tech to infestors,

    get banelings if necessary. Tech to broods/ultras.


    My weakest matchup, I usually resort to muta play when protoss does an early 3rd nexus. Or if the 3rd is vulnerable, roach/ling all in. Other 2 base all ins are

    generally held off with roach/lings. Skip upgrades, get roach speed/ling speed as a priority. So that when they push out, you have roach speed and can get into

    position faster. I don't like doing turtling infestor/broodlord. I feel like protoss usually push out before that and kill you, or just take a 4th, or get mothership and destroy

    you. Although I have not had enough experience using infestor/broodlord against protoss. This matchup is basically based on scouting and reacting, and everything

    is pretty much self explanatory.

    Hope you found this helpful!!! Feel free to comment/argue any points I have

  9. shootmania_storm.png

    Greetings fellow gamers! I just recently picked up the new, upcoming first person shooter "Shootmania". I admit I never thought I would be interested in it, but, coming from a long time FPS player, I must say that it is very enjoyable with plenty of long term potential for maintaining its eSports status. In my journey to reach pro level play, I have quickly realized that I will have to adapt to this new style of game seeing as how I am used to more modern first person shooters such as the Call of Duty and Battlefield series. I will share with you, what changes in play style need to be made to become the best of the best at Shootmania, whether it's in the casual or elite scene.

    Understanding Hitscan: Many gamers who are fairly new to the first person shooter scene won't be familiar with the term "Hitscan". Without them knowing, it will certainly affect their game performance if they stay ignorant to it. Hitscan is, simply put, a term for when a game implements a function when a player fires a weapon that "shoots" the projectile in a perfectly straight line instantaneously. Coming from playing Battlefield 3 this is a pain in the side. It may seem odd, but pulling the trigger when the crosshair is directly over an enemy can be tougher than it sounds. You may notice that Quake players,such as Fnatic Strenx, are switching over to Shootmania, and that's because the two games are very similar including the hitscan feature. My advice? Practice, practice, practice. The laser is the only hitscan weapon of this game and is a very powerful tool in game as it has impeccable accuracy and uses hitscan. Get used to walking your crosshair into a target. I couldn't tell you how many times when I was first playing Shootmania that I would witness a pro's laser shots shooting about an inch to one side of his or her crosshair. This is because a skilled player, such as a pro, will know how hitscan works and will adjust their aim when moving. Trust me, there is lots of movement in Shootmania, and at varying speeds due to sprinting and jump pads. I recommend playing the "Siege" game mode in Storm or, better yet, Shootmania Elite.

    Using Stamina Properly: As, pro team Do Not Jump's, Nimbus once told me, "[shootmania] is movement and how you use your stamina." He's certainly right about that. While your stamina regenerates rather quickly, you will want to conserve it until it's necessary to use it. What you deem necessary is up to you, but while playing siege or elite, I save mine for a few different situations. One good time to burn your stamina is when the opposition is rushing you. In some situations, it'd be best to sit back and pick off the enemy coming towards you, but I do understand that this isn't always possible and evasion is the best course of action to gain a terrain advantage over the enemy. Another good reason to burn stamina is when you are rushing the enemy. Many Shootmania maps contain large open areas and a plethora of choke points. It's best to rush through the bottleneck rather than walk through it, as it gives you less room to maneuver. As a word of caution, be careful of pre-firing into the bottleneck.

    Pre-Firing: Simple in theory, complex in nature. Pre-firing is the act of firing your rockets (or nuclei) through a likely entry way that the attackers will go through in hopes of scoring a lucky hit and/or deterring their progression. In my early days of playing elite and siege, I would often pre-fire too often. Pre-firing too often is a surefire way to get vaporized without scoring a hit or two (or three) on an attacker. In my experience, pre-firing liberally before the attacker is spotted is generally a good tactic. While this depends on the map, I would recommend only blowing all of your rockets once unless the choke points are far away. Aside from that, try to pre-fire one or two rockets around corners occasionally if you suspect the attacker is headed that way at some point. Though, be wary of a quick shot to the face as you are essentially giving away your position when pre-firing, hence why I say not to pre-fire boat loads unless the attacker is at a distance. I can't stress enough how important it is to conserve your rockets (and stamina) for when you are in close proximity to the enemy player(s).

    Learn The Map: This one is a given when playing any competitive game, but it certainly deserves a mention. Elite mode has a "warm up" mode implemented before a match starts that starts you with laser and allows you all the time in the world to roam around and learn the map. One thing to look for when studying a map's layout would be good routes to attack and likely possible defensive positions. This eliminates any surprises that may be waiting around the corner. Surprises lose you the round more often than not, and who wants that? Another thing to look around for is good spots that you can pick off anyone camping the pole whether you are attacking or defending. This is very important, as I will explain in the next section...

    Playing The Pole: Whether you are playing Battle, Siege, Elite, or Royal, you will find yourself in a 1 v. 1 on the pole more times than you can count. I very much recommend practicing this. I've seen countless players panic when they are confronted by an attacker or defender who is dancing around the pole with them. Don't be that guy and panic. Conserve your shots to maximize your chances of landing shots when it counts. In Siege and, more so, Elite the pole is captured rather quickly by the attacker so you must act quick. Always be mindful of the capture time or else you'll find yourself in trouble. Make sure you can "juke" or "fake out" the attacker. If you can successfully do that then it's your time to strike (this is where conserving shots comes into play).

    Fake Outs, Fences, And Jukes, Oh My!: I touched on it briefly in the previous section, but I'd like to give fakes, jukes, and fences their own section as they are all very important points to know when improving your Shootmania skills. What I call "fake outs" are when you are a defender taking cover behind an object of some sort (wall, pole, etc.) and you strafe back and forth ever so slightly in an attempt to fake the attacker into firing their laser at you. This gives you a prime opportunity to fire shots at them while their weapon is recharging. This is a critical strategy when in a defensive position behind a fence. As an attacker, you will want to be wary of the defender trying to make you miss and thus make your shots count all the while watching your back assuming you hadn't already annihliated the rest of their team. A strategy that I find helpful when attacking a defender behind a fence is to burn your stamina and run right at them from a close distance and flicking a shot at them. This isn't a tactic easily mastered. You will have to first perfect your laser technique before consistently pulling it off. While attacking, you should always be mindful of any rockets coming your way. This is where learning to juke and do it calmly comes into play. Rockets do move slow enough to where you can strafe out of the way without much issue when it's from a range. Up close must rely on your reflexes. The most important thing is to not panic. If you can keep your cool, even during a deadly crossfire of rockets headed your way, you're in good shape.

    Have Confidence: Self confidence is a key to becoming a top player. The other day, I witnessed a teammate on elite who was attacking and was being rushed by one defender each round, and each time he would panic and miss several shots before being hunted down by their whole team. He complained the whole match about it. Simply put, he lacked the self confidence required to overcome tough situations such as the one he was forced into. As the player, you need to trust in yourself to land shots even if they seem impossible. You never know what you might hit. Trust your shots. Trust your reflexes. Landing one shot could change the whole outcome of the round.

    Follow those the tips that I mentioned and you should notice a difference in your Shootmania gameplay sooner than later. Even if it takes you months to get better at the game, just remember that you are better. Remember to stay positive and be creative! Before you know it, you'll find yourself among the pros.

  10. Hello everyone Damus here again with another blog entry , this time focusing on eSports and the FGC (fighting game community).

    One would think that the FGC and eSports are one and the same, video game tournaments , hype, sponsorships, but no its they are completely different monsters. The FGC is consider by some to be a group of "he-man women haters" that wont accept change just wanna be loud and arrogrant fools with no respect , while eSports is viewed by some to be the Government that wants to impose their view on the community.

    I personally dont see it like that, i see eSports being the best thing for the FGC. People within the FGC are scared of the fact that eSports wants to be of the community and they feel like if that happens then everything will change. they feel if MLG IPL and other gaming leagues get their hands in the pie. they no longer be able to keep the hype.. curse on stream .. or whatever. But what they dont understand is that HUGE companies are not going to support weeky tournaments while IPL pulls sponsors like Old spice and Dr. pepper ect ect and the fact that its personally ran changes things.. I have been to community events and eSports events .. its very different.. its like going to a house party on a college campus and then going to a party for your job.

    with IPL picking up Capcom games like SF AE2012 everything changes, its one of the biggest games, players all over play it. and the big draw... that esports money. eports money is what draws players to MLG for KOF/MK and now IPL, players like Diago and Justin Wong and the fact that Capcom is letting this happen is going to push the FGC to change and grow. Capcom , Namco, dont wanna turn on a live stream to watch their game get bought down by dick jokes and other dumb shit.. while they can turn on IPL and watch players traveling all over to compete and watch a stream with no cursing.

    This blog is alittle rough i know.. but i hope now u can tell the difference now...cause i believe that the FGC needs eSports but does eSports need the FGC

  11. First of hopefully many CF gameplay videos. Going back to my roots if you will. Hope you all enjoy it.


  12. For my first post, I decided I should upload a research paper I wrote a year ago about Interactive Narrative as demonstrated in Heavy Rain.

    Warning 1: This is a research paper so it is therefore long and written to be accessible to the general public

    Warning 2: Major spoilers abound

    I hope you guys enjoy it! Let me know what you thought about it in the comments!


    Heavy Rain and the Advancement of Interactive Narrative

    Video games have always been thought of as a device for which one could entertain oneself. However, over the last twenty years, video games have evolved into a medium that does more than just consume time; video games tell a story, they evoke emotion, moments of drama, and instances of artistic enlightenment all whilst still being entertaining. That being said, some video games have continued to set the standard for deep, evocative, story-telling that thrusts choices and decision upon the players that will force them to explore themselves, experience a plethora of emotions both good and bad, and challenge their inner beliefs and moral character. Video games also allow us to deeply explore a range of real-life situations and events in a way in which other mediums desire to achieve. One game in particular that stands out above the rest is Heavy Rain and I will analyze three scenes in the game and will contribute my personal experiences.


    Heavy Rain is an action/adventure game for the Sony Playstation 3. The story of the game is about four random people who at first have no ties to each other, except for a commonality between them: the Origami Killer. The Origami Killer is a serial killer, whose chosen method of murder is to drown the victims; his trademark is an origami animal and a white carnation left on the victim’s body. Although the game features four main characters, only one will be discussed in this article.

    Heavy Rain is primarily about Ethan Mars -- a father, architect and the main character of the story. He once had it all, a great family with two kids and a beautiful wife, a nice house, a wonderful job and a seemingly perfect life. Then tragedy strikes and things take a turn for the worse, which I will cover later in this paper. I won’t spoil the main story details, just the details that are involved in the scenes I will be analyzing.

    The story of Heavy Rain is divided up into several chapters, told from different viewpoints based on the character the player is currently using. Story in a video game is a huge part of immersing the player in a rich, detailed and involved experience. As Maria Solomou stated in an article published about narrative in video games:

    Although traditionally we think of stories as involving the distinct roles of an author, a performer, and an audience, a core argument advanced next is that, in part, what makes videogames so powerful as a medium for advancing narrative is that the player may occupy more than one role — and sometimes all three — simultaneously.

    Although the story in Heavy Rain is somewhat realistic, it is fantasy based. Dickey notes that "..fantasy and realism can be and often are intertwined" and that "The line between the two is often blurred and the relationship between fantasy and realism is most adequately characterized as a continuum" (Dickey, 2006). To further elaborate, video games create fantasy situations out of plausible real-life situations and thrust the player into these events leaving the player to their own devices to work through the event. These events are further driven by plot hooks, which encourage the player to play by "planting questions that the player feels compelled to answer (Dickey, 2006).

    A narrative element that is seldom explored is backstory. As Dickey states, "The purpose of backstory is to provide the dramatic context for the game." The first chapter, which is discussed later, provides some of the backstory for the game, mostly for Ethan the main character. I happen to think that this was intentionally done to create a mysterious vibe surrounding the secondary characters, to leave their backstories to the imagination of the player.

    Gameplay Mechanics

    Heavy Rain is innovative in that it not only tells an intricate and complex story, but the devices that it uses to tell

    the story. Heavy Rain is third-person game, meaning the player's view is generally behind their character, and uses a lot of conventions of modern gaming. The first is the utilization of Quick-Time Events, or QTE. Quick-Time Events are moments where an Artificial Intelligence is in control of your character, like a movie, but the game relies on you to press the right button at the right time, as indicated on screen, to help facilitate certain actions. QTE’s are generally timed, and if the user fails to perform the right action, the user is generally punished, either having to repeat the action or possibly the whole sequence. For example, to turn a door knob, the user might have to move an analog control stick in an upwards direction then turning clockwise, similar to turning an actual door knob in reality.

    In Heavy Rain, QTE’s are important because of the way the story is told. The story in Heavy Rain, much like in reality, does not have respawn points or restarts. If the user fails a QTE, their character’s story could adversely be affected, or even worse, the character could be killed. If the character is killed, they stay dead and you cannot go back to replay the chapter to influence the story. Because of this, it is possible to have multiple different endings with some or even no characters surviving until the end of the game.

    The story is also influenced by many dialogue choices. Key moments of dialogue can completely affect the ending. For example as the Detective, another character in the story, if you are questioning someone and you fail to receive the information you want that may affect possible dialogue and story lines, or even whole events and chapters not happening at all.

    The game gives the user complete and total control of the story and outcomes based on the user’s choices and decisions. Additionally, the game does what most games won’t; it makes the player live with their choices until the game finishes. The game is an extremely realistic portrayal of life and reality, in that there are no restarts, and every moment in time continues with no pause or regard to the current situation at hand.

    In my experience playing the game, I found myself becoming emotionally attached to my characters. The graphics in the game are superb and look incredibly realistic. Quantic Dream, the developers of the game, elected to use facial motion-capture to give the characters more accurate, realistic facial expressions and emotions. You can see in certain scenes the emotion of the character in just their face, which is then further supported by a remarkable script and immaculate voice acting. Suddenly your characters in the game are more real than they were before, and you find yourself caring about the well being of your characters.

    Another factor that made more attached to my characters is a very unique feature of Heavy Rain. At any point in time, you can hold down a button on the controller and see your character’s current thoughts about their situation. Their level of emotional distress affects how these thoughts are displayed on screen. For example, if your character is calm then these thoughts, shown as simple words floating above your character, will be revolving around your character in a calm, collected manner. Conversely, if your character is emotionally distressed, these thoughts may be shaking uncontrollably or even completely incoherent. I noticed that by checking their thoughts about the situation, I became more aware of the situation and I found myself beginning to empathize with my characters.

    The character models and seemingly real personalities of the protagonists leads the player to anthropomorphize their characters.. Hartmann notes that computer engineers will use mechanics such as "eye-gazing, biological motion, display of natural facial activity, display of emotions, as well as breathing, natural vocal tones, and display of intelligence" to bring the characters to life, forming a somewhat sociohumanistic bond between human and digital characters.

    Scene 1 Analysis

    The first scene I will analyze is the first chapter in the game. The first chapter begins with Ethan. Ethan wakes up his nice house, alone, but happy. His immediate thoughts are calm and relaxed. The first chapter serves as a tutorial for the game, so you learn the basics of the control scheme and what the game will be like. The story in the first scene is that today is the birthday of the older of your two sons, Jason. Currently, your wife and kids are out grabbing supplies for a birthday party for your son. Ethan has many choices with what to do with your free time until the party, such as gardening, working on a sketch of one of your buildings or just relaxing by watching TV. Later, Ethan's family comes home and it is time to have the birthday party. Although seemingly inconsequential, the weather is nice and it is quite sunny, which helps to set this mood that everything is happy.

    After the party, Ethan and his family decide to go to the mall and buy some new shoes and clothing for the birthday boy. Ethan arrives at the mall and it is a rather crowded day. Ethan's wife decides to take their younger son, Shaun, into a store to try on some shoes, and leaves Ethan to tend to Jason. Jason begins to wander off without Ethan noticing, which causes a small amount of panic. You can tell immediately by Ethan’s thoughts that he is slightly panicked, although not much yet. Ethan quickly finds Jason who walked over to a clown so that he could get a red balloon. Being the kind father that Ethan is, he pays for the balloon only to once again discover that Jason ran off again. Ethan's wife and Shaun come back, and she immediately beings panicking. Ethan decides to leave them there and look for Jason.

    Ethan finds himself running all over the mall, which seems to have become more crowded. Ethan looks for Jason amongst the sea of faces but he cannot see him. Suddenly, Ethan spots a red balloon, which looks like the same one Jason has. Ethan starts heading towards the balloon only to discover it is another kid with a red balloon. At this point in time, Ethan’s level of anxiety is rather high, his thoughts shaking wildly at the notion of losing his son. Ethan catches a sudden glimpse of another red balloon heading towards the exit of the mall. He quickly makes his way over to the exit to see Jason has crossed the street of a very busy road. Ethan calls out to Jason who decides to run back towards Ethan. As you can predict, a car is coming and Jason is not stopping. As the father, you make the sensible decision to run towards Jason to either push him out of the way or at least take the impact. Sadly, it was to no avail. Ethan ends up being hit by the car with Jason in his arms. Ethan ends up in a coma and recovers. However, Jason did not make it.

    The next scene that ensues is a drastic departure for the first half of the chapter. It is two years later. Ethan is now divorced and has shared custody Shaun with his wife. The weather is much different as well; it is now dark and raining quite heavily. Ethan picks up Shaun from school, late might I add, and there is definitely an uncomfortable vibe between Ethan and Shaun. Shaun isn’t cheery anymore, neither is Ethan, and Shaun is distant from Ethan. Ethan feels guilty for Jason’s death and is constantly haunted by it.

    My thoughts of this scene are rather shocking. The game sets up this happy, perfect, idyllic life and then takes it away in one quick moment, which is what real life can be at times. I too experienced panic when I couldn’t find Jason, because I became emotionally attached to my characters after only just minutes of playing. I think this happened because they are more than just digital constructs, they are real, breathing characters that have experienced loss and demonstrate humanity in ways I’ve yet to see in a video game. Additionally, I think the brisk change of weather also helps to set the tone for this total change of events. In the first half the weather is bright and sunny in stark contrast to dark, rainy weather of the second half.

    What makes this scene so powerful is that in a way you feel partly responsible for Jason's tragic end. Even though this is very clearly meant to happen, you can't help but feel that perhaps if you could have found him earlier that this wouldn't have happened at all.

    Scene 2 Analysis

    Much later in the story the Origami Killer has kidnapped Shaun. Ethan is now on the hunt to find Shaun. The Origami Killer leaves Ethan a set of clues to various "trials" to prove how far he would go to save someone he loved. This idea of what we would do as humans for those we loved becomes a motif of the main story and thus brings the humanity element into the story. For every trial Ethan completes, he is given parts of the address where Shaun is being held. This scene is the fourth trial.

    This trial begins with a cryptic message from the Origami Killer: "Are you prepared to kill someone to save your son?" Immediately you begin to wonder -- who is this person and why must they die? Ethan, driven to find his son, isn't asking himself these questions. He drives to the target's house to discover that the man in question is a drug dealer. Ethan knocks on his door and the dealer, named Brad, answers the door thinking Ethan is buyer, but Ethan has other intentions and pulls a gun on Brad.

    Brad manages to knock Ethan down and pull a shotgun on Ethan. A small QTE ensues, Brad chasing Ethan all over the house whilst shooting at him. The QTE ends in a child's bedroom where Brad has no more ammo and Ethan has managed to recover his gun. Ethan, now in a position of power, has a choice to make. He can choose to kill the Brad, whom probably deals drugs to children, and consequently better the world a little bit. However, Ethan is no killer and he struggles with making his decision. Brad, pulls a photo out of his pocket showing two children, both his, and makes a plea for his life by stating that he is a father. This complicates Ethan's decision, and the player's as well.

    I found myself having to pause the game to weigh the consequences of both actions. Killing him would not be true to Ethan's character; not killing him would make me miss out on a clue to find Shaun. What if not finding this clue leads to Shaun's death? A display of Ethan’s thoughts was as conflicting as mine. He felt the same way about Brad that I did. In the end, I decided not to shoot Brad and take a chance without the clue.

    After playing this scene, I had to take a break from playing to fully weigh what just happened. The scene was actually causing a fair level of distress because I was now worried that without that clue I would not find Shaun. I felt, that by not killing Brad, I might not have been true to Ethan's character in a different way. Ethan is no killer but he is driven to find Shaun. Although I never covered the earlier trials, Ethan goes through a fair amount of personal hell to make it to the fourth trial, putting the safety of him and others at risk to gain clues.

    Scene 3 Analysis

    This scene is the fifth and final trial. This trial take places not much after the fourth trial did. The fifth trial begins with another cryptic message from the Origami Killer: "Are you prepared to give your life to save your son's?"

    The scene has Ethan driving to an address and entering a building. The building has a long, dark hallway to a brightly lit room. The room consists of a table in the center and various cameras around the room pointing towards the table. On the table, you find a tablet, which describes the trial in depth and a vial. The descriptions say that the vial contains a deadly poison that if ingested, will kill you in 60 minutes. By drinking the poison, you will receive the last clue to Shaun's whereabouts but consequently, your life will be taken from you. As with the previous trial, if you choose not to drink the poison, you will not receive the clue and will be one step further away from saving Shaun.

    This scene explores a very powerful human trait: sacrifice. Can you as a father make the ultimate sacrifice for your children, giving your life to save theirs? Now me personally, I'm not a father so this trial didn't really hit home for me. However, I can empathize with my character. As humans, we are incredibly concerned with self-preservation, and sacrificing one's life is counterintuitive to self-preservation. But I have experienced true, undying love for another human being, and I know that I would have moved heaven and earth for them, and I imagine that is how Ethan felt for Shaun.

    This comes at a great point in the story as well. It marks the evolution of Ethan as a character. He has transitioned from feeling guilty and hopeless because of Jason's death to strong, motivated and driven to save Shaun. This trial makes us ask the question, would we do the same in Ethan's situation to save a sibling, a parent or a loved one?


    I won’t spoil the end for those who wish to discover it themselves, but suffice it to say the player gets to experience interactive narrative in ways which other mediums envy. The difference between video games and other forms of narrative lies solely in one thing: it is personal and real. Heavy Rain makes it personal in that your decisions directly influence the outcome of the story bringing a more humanistic element into play. You get to experience very real emotions acted out through imaginary characters that seem more realistic and human than they actually are. Although many games of this generation are based around the mechanic of holding the player accountable for their actions, very few games accomplish this in the way that Heavy Rain manages to.

    Works Cited

    Hartmann, Tilo, and Peter Vorderer. "It's Okay To Shoot A Character: Moral Disengagement In Violent Video Games." Journal Of Communication 60.1 (2010): 94-119. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.

    Dickey, Michele. "Game Design Narrative For Learning: Appropriating Adventure Game Design Narrative Devices And Techniques For The Design Of Interactive Learning Environments." Educational Technology Research & Development 54.3 (2006): 245-263. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.

    Quantic Dream. Heavy Rain. Foster City, CA: Sony Computer Entertainment, 2009. Computer software.

    Solomou, Maria, et al. "Pedagogical Dramas And Transformational Play: Narratively Rich Games For Learning." Mind, Culture & Activity 17.3 (2010): 235-264. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.

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    Hello everyone. I felt like doing a blog today regarding the recent changes to the meta game for PvP in Starcraft 2 and the new builds that are coming out of this change. For this particular blog we're going to look at the 2 Gate/Robo/Stargate build that has gained much popularity very recently in the matchup and how this build is so good currently.

    Over the course of the year we've seen a change in the metagame for PvP. Instead of just every game resorting to 4 gate rushes, we've seen a number of different builds that play out for either aggressive or safe play. From builds like the blink stalker/obs builds to the 3 Gate/Robo expand, 3 Stalker rush, 1 Gate/Stargate, 2 Gate Robo expand leading to now, we've seen more of a deviation from the old style of 1 base all ins to new builds that still give that choice of early aggression but also countering the 1 base all in builds from before. Right now a very common option for Protoss seems to be using this 2 Gate/Robo/Stargate in PvP. Below we will discuss why this build is so versatile and also very powerful in PvP and how it allows players to have a safe counter against very early aggression while also being able to put on their own aggression or harassment.

    The general build order goes as follows (there are different variations that other players may do based on personal play style). This is taken from MC during a PvP vs. Grubby featured in the Day[9] Daily #527

    9 - Pylon

    13 - Gateway

    15 - Gas #1

    16 - Pylon

    17 - Gas #2 (This gas can be taken as early as 15 and as late as 19/20 depending on if you want to make a second sentry slightly faster at the cost of delaying your stargate by a couple seconds i.e. your opponent may be doing a 3 stalker rush, 4 gate, etc. in which case this build can turn into a defensive build such as HerO's variation found here http://wiki.teamliqu...e_(vs._Protoss))

    18 - Cybernetics Core

    21 - Zealot #1

    22 - Pylon

    22 - Warpgate

    25 - Sentry #1 (chronoboost once)

    27 - Stargate

    27 - Zealot #2

    30 - Gateway #2

    30 - Pylon

    31 - Sentry #2

    33 - Phoenix #1

    35 - Phoenix #2

    37 - Pylon

    37 - Phoenix #3

    39 - Robotics Facility (6:25)


    The concept of this build is very simple, being able to use early phoenix play to harass your opponent, get scouting information and allow for a safe expansion while forcing your opponent to use a specific tech path (stalkers w/ blink or archons if they didn't use a stargate build himself). If your opponent does not go for a stargate build himself then this sets you up perfectly because your opponent will be forced to use a stalker based army to deal with the phoenix's (and later archons once the game progresses). The good part about this is by having a robo, you will be able to build immortals early (the best counter to stalkers) while also having a good number of zealots supported by a couple of sentries to counter stalker/archon play and also able to transition into colossus if needed. You can also use your robo for a fast observer if you believe your opponent may go for quick DT's (in which case he will most likely follow up with a blink stalker/archon army composition). This build can also be used defensively if needed to defend against early aggression such as the 3 Stalker Rush, 4 gate rush (take your gas sooner for a faster sentry or robo before stargate to get a faster immortal or using phoenix micro to lift units if you go stargate before robo).


    - Can be used to defend early aggression sufficiently

    - Allows for early harassment to cause economic damage

    - Pretty much forces your opponent to use blink stalkers and archons to counter unless going stargate as well which is countered by robo units/zealots

    - Allows for a number of different transitions whether it be continued zealot/immortal/phoenix production, double stargate, double robo, colossus, etc.

    - Works best against Gateway/Robo builds but is still sufficient against early pressure and DTs.


    - Can be hard countered by blink stalker all in builds

    Keep in mind that the exact build order may vary based on personal player's preferences and also scouting information. Normally the stargate is made before the robotics facility and the second gateway however the order can be switched allowing a robotics facility before stargate if you feel it's important.


    This build allows for a number of transitions after expanding to your natural. The most common transitions can include double stargate (if your opponent also goes stargate and is trying to get air control, be sure to upgrade air units instead if that's the case), zealot/immortal/phoenix with charge or colossus (if your opponent is using mostly stalkers or stalkers with robo units and sentries). (Because this build is still relatively new, many players have yet to really figure out any all in or upgrade timings using this build)

    The only real drawback using this build is if your opponent goes for a blink stalker all in. Otherwise this build works great against just about any other standard PvP opening. By having mostly zealots with a couple sentries, you can counter stalker and robo composition fairly easily. You can also you your phoenix's to micro against these compositions as well (using graviton beam to lift sentries that could FF against your zealots)

    In the event that your opponent also opens up stargate, the most common follow up seems to be double stargate to maintain air control by massing phoenix's with zealot/archon ground compositions while putting emphasis on air unit upgrades opposed to ground units.

    Various games of players using this build:

    - Day[9] Daily #527 - MC vs. Grubby

    *Updated: I cannot upload replays due to the limitations of only being able to upload a max of 10KB worth of files for blogs on here so I'm going to try and look for games on streams from BWC Grand Finals and IPL 5 where this build was used.

  13. Well guys, here I am again, with a post slighty different that the one I had been preparing. But I just had a revelation and I want to work with it.

    There's no question that eSports is growing, and there's several people and companies to praise on that, but I feel that from that maturity the eSports scene has reached, very few players have actually grown with it.

    The Main Goal of Every Gamer.

    Let's face it, every single one of us (yes, me too) dream of that amazing skill and cutthroat competition, and yet there's very few people that will actually reach that, alongside that there's the development you get throughout playing the actual game, which most people don't take into consideration, most people think that the way they add value to a game is by being good, getting sponsors and travel around the world showing people how awesome they are at the game.

    That may be a great goal to strive for, but when it comes to adding value to eSports, it does naught, as eSports is an entity, and your personal growth won't help it in any way.

    My Experience in eSports.

    Over the years, I've played almost every competitive title out there, and I've competed and won several online/offline tournaments. People who know me describe me as awfully competitive, and sharp as a razor, which is where I got my name. I started very young playing FPS Games, Doom, Quake, and several others.

    The main title I started competing on was Quake 2, in which with only 16 years old I let a team (TTS) to winning several big tournaments, the web site doesn't exist anymore, and sadly, none of my teammates, since they all were older than I was. Then I moved onto Quake 3, with not that much success. So I sought out for new heights.

    It was then when I found MMORPG. Though it lacks actual prize money tournaments, there's still a lot of competition in them, from skill builds, to gear builds, to Guilds, and as we all now, every MMORPG title has PvP and some sort of Raid-Based Clan War. This was very appealing to me as it challenged me to not only just grow skill in a game, but to actually grow actual knowledge of it. And over the years I played a lot of RPGs. (L2, Diablo 2, RO, etc..)

    How did I have time for all of this? Well, I'm an only child, and my mom was a single parent, so you can tell I was kinda spoiled. Most of my time I spent it playing games or doing sports, I had no real interest in school but I never did bad at it either.

    At 21(2010), with a promising career in Hockey, I was diagnosed with a loose bone fragment on my right knee that could potentially get incrusted in my knee and turn into a serious injury. At first I didn't care, but over time I started feeling more and more pain after practice, so I decided to call it quits.

    After that I really got into gaming, but I lacked the support of a team to go to major tournaments, and here in South America major tournaments didn't really started happening until 2011. Then, at the beggining of 2011, I discovered Starcraft 2, and I was amazed to see how different it was from Brood War, which I had played competitively, but there weren't really that many tournaments here, and online ones were just dominated by A+ people.

    I then decided to star playing starcraft 2, not with a competitive aim, but just for fun. I failed miserably. With my 100th Position in Bronze League Secured thanks to a solid 15 Game Loss Streak. I was ready to say "This game is stupid" and just throw it away. But something in me told me I could go on, that I didn't have to give up, for I had given up something important to me once.

    Then I came across the GSL, I loved how the players could do amazing skills, and knew the game, so I knew my failure wasn't mechanical, it came from knowledge, so I started practicing until I eventually got better, reaching Masters League on the Latin American server. I started doing some casting back then, and I eventually became really good, but that's another story. After a good result in WCG 2011 I joined team EliteGaming, seeded mainly in Dominican Republic, where I met a lot of nice people and further developed my skills as I moved onto the NA server, where I hit Diamond.

    I played a long time with them, but I had this feeling something was missing, that I needed the focus of a team to be something else than just playing games and getting sponsorships. Then I met vVv Astro while doing a playhem tournament, who told me about vVv Gaming and how amazing it was to be a part of it, so I decided to give it a try, and well, I gotta say I couldn't be happier, I'm exactly where I want to be right now, for vVv Gaming has helped me realize the goals I have for eSports and life.

    My Views on the Current eSports Scene

    Currently, there's a lot of things going on with eSports, mainly, it's starting to grow into something massive, that is drawing a lot of people, but to actually capitalize on this success, we need to have people adding value to ride on it's success. What do I mean by this? It means that just being good or streaming a lot of games isn't going to cut it. We need to start doing much more, and generate a lot of eSports related content, to intensify the growth that the eSports scene has taken.

    I believe organizations like Riot Games, Naughty Dog, and vVv Gaming have taken this first step into the future of eSports, and thus stand at the pinnacle of the industry right now. There are several other companies, of course, that are starting to work towards achieving this same goals. It's all healthy competition that makes everyone stronger.

    Currently there are very few players actually concerned about the development of the eSports Scene, and some conscience needs to be developed on this aspect, that way, by having more people adding value to the scene instead of just playing, we'll have a much richer SC2 community.

    But I'm just a nobody, how can someone like me add value to eSports if I'm not good?

    Well, you're lying to yourself, nobody's a nobody, and there are always ways for you to add value to the scene, whether it is by being a passionate member of a community, by creating content, or you can even develop your own eSports associated brand, it's all about that something that you have that you're passionate about, and see how can you utilize it to bring value to eSports.

    You're a good writer? Make a blog and let people know how awesome your game is. Maybe you're a very friendly person, try to get people involved with eSports. It's all about inspiring the followers. And there's an endless amount of ways that add value, just look for the one that works for you!

    My Thoughts on the Future.

    Up until today, I had a fairly decent vision of what I wanted to do, and I knew all of them aligned with my interests, but thanks to my dear soon-to-be former community manager, vVv SugarBear, I finally realized where I want my place to be at. I'm going to develop an eSports career, hopefully making it to pro level, but always looking back at the steps I'm taking to make sure I'm not only growing by myself, but helping the eSports community grow along with it.

    I want to leave my mark in eSports, as have several others before me, and I'll work as hard as I can to do so. I am sure now that I want to work along the lines of Marketing and Management, and for that I will pursue my goals through a life on eSports.

    There's a long way for me to go, and there's a lot to be learned, enjoyed, suffered, etc.. along the way, but no matter how things turn out. I'll always be thankful to vVv Gaming for helping me realize my ideals, and for giving me the time and space needed to work on them.

    So a big shoutout to the vVv Community, you guys have a place in my heart now, and you have my word that I'll bring you guys great things.

    Without further ado, my best wishes to all my readers as well, for without you, I wouldn't have readers at all. (Seriously. Haha)

    -Matthew 'vVv Razor' Fernandez.

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    blog-0402218001352949415.jpg(This guide is primarily for people that are trying to get above the 1250 milestone)


    Oh CRAP I lost my first ranked game of the season.

    Yesterday, like almost every other person super obsessed about League Of Legends, started my day by waking up and going to school. On the school bus, I thought to myself, "MAN! TODAY'S THE DAY OF THE NEW SEASON. OH MER GERD GOING TO GET 2000 ELO!!! I CAN DO IT, ITS NOT THAT HARD, JUST WIN 10 GAMES AND LOSE 0 AWWW YEAH!" During school, all I could think to myself would be how ready I was. First comes math. I fell asleep and day dreamed about me at the Season 3 finals.


    "Thank you, thank you. I just wanted to tell everyone that they can do it too!" I replied taking all pride and glory. The bell rang and by now I amm super pumped to get home, jump on my computer, and become the highest ranked player of LoL. Now comes lunch, and I'm sitting there eating my pizza. I took a bite out of my lunch and in my head goes, "CHOMP. CHO'GATH PENTA-KILL GG! Hm, maybe I'll Cho'gath for my first ranked?" I feel like I was laughing so hard my friends now think I'm mental for sitting there and laughing to myself like a madman.

    Finally, it’s dismissal, and by now I'm nearly pooping myself of excitement (what a comparison right?). I get on the bus and can’t sit still, "AHH C'MON BUS RIDE HURRY UP." I finally get home and I rush to my computer. It seemed like forever before it turned on and finally, the word “welcome” printed in the middle of my screen. Now, I open the “Play League Of Legends” launcher and I stare at the screen. This is what I’ve been waiting for the entire day. When I finally finish patching and log in, I get into Queue. “A match has been found!” ACCEPT. Now I’m in champion select. I’m friendly to my team and play everything like I normally do. I pick Ezreal due to the fact I felt comfortable with playing him. Everyone else picked someone normal except for… the last guy. “I’m support? Okay…” BAM! INSTALOCK SUPPORT HEIMERDINGER. “Alright I can still carry this” I thought to myself. It turns out this Heimerdinger was a feeder, and a huge troll. I lost my first game. Because the Heimerdinger’s end score was 2-13-1. Oh well :/

    I started off bad but right now I’m in the 1400s because it was only one ranked game! I don’t get worked up over a single ranked game and just play regularly with my next ranked games making sure I don’t make the same mistakes again.



    In ranked, you have to be able to play EVERY role. You cannot go into a ranked champion select and scream, “MID, ADC.” You have to be comfortable with every role and being able to play it well. If you can’t play a role well enough, go into normal games and practice that role! Always expect your team to be complete idiots and that requires you to play a role of their choice. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it’ll get you better! Any role can carry a ranked game and I mean it. So many people tell me that they can’t carry just because they play a lot of support. A good support will always win bot lane with a decent AD carry. A good jungler will always gank well and get the lanes snowballed. A good mid will always out play their opponent. A good ADC will always have great positioning and not get caught easily. A good top will always win a 1v1 at top and beat them.

    But George, it’s my teammates fault!

    In ranked, it is never your team’s fault unless it’s completely obvious including trolling. I’m not talking about some guy that’s 0-5 or just playing stupid but VERY noticeably trolling/failing. I’m talking about a person that could be 0-10 that’s not communicating, building random items, and assisting the enemy team. Don’t blame a person on your team that’s just feeding because feeding and trolling are two different things. You can always get a person who’s doing bad to start doing good. Be nice to your team! Never yell at your teammates. League Of Legends is about TEAMWORK. Teamwork does not form by saying “F*** YOUR MOM” it forms by saying “Alright, you’re not doing the best but I’ll help you and it’s all good.” After every game, always ask yourself, “What did I do wrong?” Many people have trouble identifying the trouble they have during the game but it is ALWAYS possible to identify a mistake you have made in a game. Whether it’s a time where you got caught or a time you were out of position or even just you missing a creep in lane. Being flawless is impossible.


    Never rage in a ranked. Don’t get first blooded and say “I’m done! This game sucks” because that won’t help. The key to the game is to cooperate with each other. Being frustrated will only make you play sloppily. Always stay calm and do things that make sense to you. If something that makes sense to you includes 1v5ing as an AD carry just because you have a few kills, you are sadly mistaken.

    Farm Farm FARM and gold per fives…

    Farming is a key to this game. You have to be in lane and last hit ALL of the minions (excluding supports) 200 farm gives 4420 gold to the player alone. Plus the timer, and everything else if you’re 4420 gold ahead of your opponent, you’ll have more items thus leading to better gameplay and carrying. With 4420 gold you can buy a Tri-Force or an Infinity Edge or a Frozen Mallet, Deathcap, the list goes on. Work on your last hitting and never auto attack because you will push the lane which increases the chances of your lane being ganked by the enemy jungler and other lanes. If you are top, still try to get the gold per 5 items such as “Philo stone, Heart of Gold, etc…” even if you are farmed enough or think you have enough farmed because they help a ton! If you are mid, try to get a “Kage’s lucky pick” because it also helps a lot.

  14. This paper was also for my English Composition 2 class. I was supposed to compose a more elaborate argument.

    Warning: This is a lot of reading.

    The Learning and Pro-Social Benefits of Video Game Play

    “Video games have become increasingly popular in the USA. According to information available in a report that was published by the Entertainment Software Association ‘68% of American households play computer or video games’”. This quote, from “A Survey of Video Game Players in a Public, Urban Research University” by Manuel Vilchez, shows the popularity of video games through real-world statistics. Since the dawn of video games in the late 1940’s, there has been research to seek out both the beneficial and harmful effects of video game play. With the increasing popularity of video games in society, many people attribute video games to the many world issues such as diabetes, obesity, social problems, learning disorders, decreased attention spans, and many other medical concerns. People simply use video games as a scapegoat because some gamers do suffer with these issues. Society views most, if not all, gamers as dysfunctional members of society. Contrary to public opinion, many gamers are beneficial and functional members of society. Gamers throughout the world are trying to change society’s view of the average gamer. To gamers, video games are more than just games, they are our passion and we strive to show society how beneficial they are. Where others turn to alcohol and other drugs to “solve” or get away from their problems, gamers turn to video games. In my opinion this is the safer alternative. I personally feel that video games are my escape from this crazy and busy world we live in. “Many children and adolescents have a certain amount of discretionary or free time. The majority of free time is spent on non-productive pursuits such as TV-viewing and video game playing which become problematic when they consume too much time.” I completely agree with the part in this quote from “Video Game Playing and Academic Performance in College Students,” by Stephen R. Burgess about TV-viewing. TV-viewing is very non-productive but that is a whole different argument in itself. I personally do not agree with the part about video game playing. Contrary to public opinion, there are many benefits to the playing of video games. Video games teach the player to be an expert at multi-tasking, attentiveness and creativity. I also personally benefitted through playing video games in many ways. I have learned to be more outgoing and talkative both in the subject of video games and in many other subjects. Video games are very beneficial because they can be used to improve social and learning skills.

    “As video games become more prevalent, concerns are also being expressed about potential detrimental relationships between video game play and school performance.” This quote, from “Video Game Playing and Academic Performance in College Students” by Stephen R. Burgess, shows how video games are being blamed for decreased academic performance. This is due to the fact that, in many studies, video game players were more likely to choose playing a video game over doing homework. I mean, honestly, what person would want to do homework over playing a fun-filled video game? These studies also cannot be completely accurate because it is impossible to judge even half of the total amount of people that play video games worldwide. Contrary to the study’s findings, there are many intelligent gamers. I have personally experienced the fact that most of the students with higher GPA’s in high school and college are the more avid video game players. I personally think that this is because these students have busier lives than the average student. I think video games give these smarter students a means to escape from their busy lives and enjoy their life. Personally, if I did not have video games, I would probably be in an insane asylum. Video games keep me sane and control my anger issues. Contrary to society’s belief, video games can be a very good thing for those who play them. Society also views gamers as the unsocial people who just sit around and play video games all day. This is actually the exact opposite of reality. Gamers are some of the most outgoing and sociable people in society. They are constantly chatting online and on social media cites (such as Twitter and Facebook) about games and about their every-day lives. There are also both local and national gaming tournaments and conventions that bring hundreds of thousands of gamers together to discuss and play their favorite video games. Events such as E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and MLG (Major League Gaming) are growing in popularity at a constantly increasing rate. Last year MLG Dallas had over three million online views and over two-hundred thousand participants and spectators. E3 is broadcasted on networks such as ESPN, MTV, G4TV, and Spike.TV. These events are in no means small and are some of the biggest conventions held in the United States each year. In South Korea, the games Starcraft and League of Legends have grown so much in popularity that they are shown on national television stations. I firmly believe these statements definitely do not support the idea that gamers are unsocial. Even the average gamer is sociable in the aspect that they play games with their friends (either online or offline) and speak to their friends and family about the games they are playing. In my life, games have actually made me a more sociable person. Before I started playing video games, I was a very shy child. I did not have very many friends and I normally kept to myself. Through video games I have become very outgoing and talkative. Through playing video games online and participating in discussions about video games, I learned to be social. I use my own life as a concrete example of why games are pro-social.

    I strongly believe that video games improve the learning skills of those who play them. Video games are an essential part of my life. I have been playing video games since I was old enough to hold a controller. I believe video games have improved my learning ability. Video games challenge me to learn quickly and adapt my knowledge to overcome an obstacle. Problem solving video games have taught me to be able to access many different areas of my brain to find the information necessary to complete the task. Video games also require the player to memorize multiple different sequences and visual locations that are used regularly throughout the game. The memorization aspect of certain games requires the player to memorize to the point of being able to access the correct information at a moment’s notice. Some games also require the player to convert the memory into “muscle memory” to allow the player execute certain sequences in mere seconds. I have also personally learned about real-life concepts through playing video games. Through playing the game Starcraft II, I learned the concepts of micro and macro-economics. The game teaches the player to both conserve and spend their resources (money) wisely over time. Through playing the games in the Call of Duty series, I have learned many things about various wars and battles ranging from World War I to the present day war in the Middle-East. The Assassin’s Creed series has taught me many things about the life of the average individual in Renaissance and Post-Industrial Europe. From hand-eye coordination type memory to economics and history, video games have many teaching tools. Video games are also being investigated for a possible use as a teaching tool in he classroom. Martin Valcke, in his article “Students’ Perceptions about the Use of Video Games in the Classroom,” speaks about the students of this generation:

    Video games are often regarded as promising teaching and learning tools for the 21st century… A growing number of authors believe that the new generation of students is fundamentally different from former generations, mostly because of changes in their media consumption patterns. Contemporary students – also referred to as “digital natives,” “the net generation,” “screenagers,” “millenials,” and even as the “gamer generation.” I have never experienced a world without ICT. They grow up with hypertexts, social networking programs and video games. Thus it is claimed that these students have gained specific technical skills, new ways of thinking, and different learning preferences, which require a new educational approach.

    This quote explains why this generation is different, and therefore, they need to be taught in different ways. In his article, Valcke explains a study which he performed to determine what students would think about the use of video games in the classroom. His study did not completely prove that video games would be a beneficial use for learning. However, his study did show that “Experience has a direct impact on students’ preference for video games, and it also influences ease of use, learning opportunities and usefulness.” This study may not be a complete advocate for video games being used as a learning tool, but the study does show that those who play video games would be more apt to learning through video games in the classroom. The growing popularity of video games in every-day life will eventually lead to almost all of the world’s population playing video games. This point in the growth of video games will eventually lead to its mass use in the classroom setting. For example, at the University of Florida there is an honors course that uses the game Starcraft to teach economics. I have also personally experienced the use of video games in the classroom. In my government class in high school, the teacher brought us to the computer lab once a week and had us play certain video games relating the topics we were taught that week. I believe that this playing helped me grasp the concepts better. Feedback from other game-oriented students also showed their benefits from playing the games. The non-gamers in my class did not enjoy the games. They believed it was a waste of time and did not learn anything from the games. This could be due to the fact that they were not game-oriented, but I personally think it was more due to the fact that they did not like the teacher and the class. I believe that in the next few years, people will begin to understand the learning benefits of playing video games and see their potential beneficial use in the classroom.

    The pro-social effects of video games are something that society never seems to grasp. Gamers are some of the most social people on the planet. “It has been repeatedly shown that priming by pro-social stimuli increases pro-social behavior. For example, participants who were primed with helping-related words were more likely to help someone pick up spilled pens…Playing a pro-social video game primes cognitive associative networks specifically related to pro-social behavior. These cognitive associations in turn may activate related behavior.” This quote from “Playing Prosocial Video Games Increases the Accessibility of Prosicial Thoughts” by Tobias Greitemeyer explains how the exposure of certain thoughts gives the person being exposed those same thoughts. This quote also shows how playing video games can actually cause one to access pro-social thoughts. Whether online or face-to-face, gamers are always discussing their favorite games. Online play also gives players the opportunity to play with other players around the world through the use of the internet. Online play allows the players to play cooperatively with players of similar interests. Playing online has become so popular that there are even tournaments that are played completely online for real-world cash prizes. With the growth of online gaming comes the creation of gaming organizations and communities. Gaming organizations give players the option of finding other people with similar mind-sets and interests on the topic of video games. Gaming organizations can have anywhere from five members to five thousand members. Within a gaming organization, the members talk about their favorite games and develop lifelong friendships. Through a gaming organization, a gamer can be exposed to a very wide diversity of people. Most gaming organizations are made up of people of different race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. I was personally blessed to be a part of a very prestigious gaming organization called vVv-Gaming. vVv-Gaming was like my second home. I found it very easy to make friends and to become a very active member. I always had someone to talk to about my favorite games. There were always members playing every game imaginable. You never had to play a game alone. Even if you were playing a single player game, there was always someone to talk to. Through vVv-Gaming I was able to become a very outgoing person. When I joined vVv-Gaming in 2008, I was a very shy individual. At the beginning, I was even afraid of talking to other members. Now I know almost every member by their first name and have made many friends around the world. I will admit that most of this interaction was online and may still be classified as unsocial by most of society. The next step in ones gaming social ladder is to actually go to a national gaming event and meet all of the people the gamer has spent countless hours speaking to online. The first event I attended was MLG (Major League Gaming) Nashville in 2010. Major League Gaming is a video game tournament event. The event was much bigger than I expected. I met and played against hundreds of players from many different parts of the country. At the event, I met a fellow vVv-Gaming member who would become one of my best friends. Every MLG event brings thousands of players and spectators to one location to watch and play their favorite games. Yes, there are even spectators to video game tournaments. Video game spectators are very much like sports fans. The spectators watch the games offline (live at the event) or online (through the TV or computer) and cheer for their favorite teams. Gaming is much like the NFL in the fact that the players are getting paid to play and win tournaments. Prizes for tournaments like MLG range from five to fifty thousand dollars. Many people around the world gather around computer screens to watch their favorite teams compete. All of these examples should advocate that gaming is in fact a very pro-social activity.

    There are many social and learning benefits received by the playing of video games. Whether the player is playing the video game at home or in the classroom, they are learning. Eventually, video games will be used as a vital teaching tool in classrooms around the world. The world of video games gives the average gamer hundreds of opportunities to be sociable. Through online and offline play, gaming communities, and gaming events, the gamer has no reason to not be social. If society would see the many benefits of gaming, it would stop looking down on gamers. Over seventy percent of all American households play video games and yet society still uses video games as a scapegoat for violence and other negative thoughts they think people obtain from playing video games. The world also believes that video games “poison” the minds of the youth that play them. Hopefully the view will change when more studies are conducted to find the true capabilities and benefits of video games. As the growth of video games continues, the world will see the social and learning capabilities of video games.

    Works Cited

    Burgess, Stephen R., Steven Paul Stermer, and Melinda C.R. Burgess. "Video Game Playing And Academic Performance In College Students." College Student Journal 46.2 (2012): 376-387. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

    Greitemeyer, Tobias, and Silvia Osswald. "Playing Prosocial Video Games Increases The Accessibility Of Prosocial Thoughts." Journal Of Social Psychology 151.2 (2011): 121- 128. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

    James M. Boyle, et al. "A Systematic Literature Review Of Empirical Evidence On Computer Games And Serious Games." Computers & Education 59.2 (2012): 661-686. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

    Valcke, Martin. “Students’ perceptions about the use of video games in the classroom,”

    Computers & Education, Volume 54, Issue 4, May 2010, Pages 1145–1156.

    Vilchez, M. “A Survey of Video Game Players In a Public, Urban Research University.” Educational Media International 47.4 (2010): 311-327. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.

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    blog-0609571001352601690.jpgAP 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! :thumbsup:

    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.


    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...).


    For runes, I use:

    Magic Pen Reds x9

    Mana Regeneration Yellows x9

    Cool Down Reduction Blues x9

    Ability Power Reds x3


    For masteries, I use

    Average 21-0-9

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    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...


    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...


    ...Sigh...I'm Tom and I'm a rabbit. I'm also tired of getting killed...Stupid creatures.

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    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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.