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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

  1. tera03uc3.jpg


    TERA: The Exiled Realm of Arborea, is a Korean developed Action-MMO, originally released in January of 2011. En Masse Studios picked up publishing rights for a North American Release;,now slated for May 1st 2012. While the game went through quite a few troubles upon release, along with legal issues, the game has finally made it into its first beta stage which was opened February 17th till the 19th. Currently En Masse plans on 4 more beta test weekends over the next few months, along with an open beta in early April and finally a head start event for pre-orders April 28th. After almost two years of waiting for some good news, I finally got a chance to take a look at TERA: The Exiled Realm of Arborea.


    The World:

    The World itself feels quite massive, especially when you get past the Isle of Dawn. Unfortunately the game starts very linear, with only 1 starting zone, and really doesn’t open up until almost level 20. However at this point the game starts giving you story quests in multiple zones, allowing you to make choices where to level and quest. The down side? Well you will need to get back and finish those story quests, so they are still fairly mandatory to go to each zone.

    The UI:

    As you may have noticed, TERA does not have a very standard UI system… in fact you will not see a mouse on your screen a large majority of the time. This is due in part to the way combat works (which I will describe in detail later on). You may also notice the shortness of the hotbar, and the inclusion of tab, left click and right click. The game allows you to use these buttons as hotkeys and change them as needed. The last major difference is the mini map system. In the upper right you have a radar, which shows npcs, monsters, your field of vision, grouped players, and more. Next to your quest log you have the actual minimap, which is more of a see through road map with markings. These markings can be changed based on the monster or quest you are tracking, which allows for very easy questing as you no longer have to search online forums or through all the quest text to find where 1 guy is hiding out.



    In total, there are seven races available and yes, your choice matters! Each race provides fairly unique racial abilities, and with that also comes the size advantage. While Elin and Popori are tiny races giving them the advantage of less hit boxes, they also have some of the poorest racial abilities. The Aman and Baraka on the other hand stand tall and will be much easier to hit; but in turn gain some very useful abilities making them much more resilient. So choose wisely!


    One of the beauties of TERA is it actually allows players to level how they want. Monsters have fairly good drop rates and give a good amount of experience, so solo grinding is a viable option (if that is how you wish to play). Questing is still probably the best option as it advances the story, and it is fairly necessary to return to towns from time to time. When you start to find boss monsters the game returns presents you with another viable option of group grinding, as these monsters give very good experience, money, and drops. Combine this with the entertainment of the action combat and suddenly grinding isn't so much of a bother.


    TERA moves away from the standard “tab and spam” combat that has been around since the 90’s. The game revolves heavily around a reticle targeting systme for all of your abilities, with some exception, and plays much more like one would expect from a monster hunter game. Why does this make such a big difference? It removes a large portion of RNG from the game, giving control of actually landing hits, or resisting them, to the player. The down side comes in the form of how lag will influence combat, most specificity PvP.


    Melee Combat:

    If you enjoy games like God of War, Monster Hunter, etc. Then you will likely be very happy with the combat provided in TERA. Melee combat revolves around closing the gap and really punishing your opponent while at the same time dodge rolling or blocking (yes, you actually have to hold your shield up to block!) to avoid taking damage. With many options to close distance, deal damage, and control the flow of battle, Melee combat becomes an incredibly fun way to play the game.

    Ranged Combat/ Healing:

    Ranged combat plays heavily on the reticle targeting system as melee does, however there are a few differences. Ranged combatants, depending on class, gain access to traps, ranged AOE, player based AoE, and heals. Due to the nature of the combat system, it would be almost impossible to land some of these abilities, thus making them fairly useless. To fix this some ranged abilities use a lock-on system to make them viable. Does this break the combat and make ranged overpowered? Unfortunately PvP has been very limited in the beta and thus it is hard to tell at this point. However, from my experience the debuffs, dots, and basic lock-on damage attacks do fairly low damage, similar to a players auto attack, and leans more towards not actually breaking PvP combat. However, this is something the developers need to monitor.

    Boss Monsters / Dungeons /Group Play:

    This is probably the most fun I have had in a game leveling in my 20’s. Grouping up with a few friends, we tempted to grind basilisks (the first abundant tough monster available). These monsters have around 5- 10 times the amount of HP as normal monsters, give less visible signs of the attacks they do, and really require players to pay attention, less get hit for a quarter to half their HP. I was very impressed with the group combat dynamics this early on, and only makes me excited for the challenges further down the road.

    Unfortunately my group didn’t get to the point of doing the first major dungeon in the game, however I can only imagine it is scaled up from the dungeon on the Isle of Dawn; if so TERA will be a game that will both challenge PvE players in a brand new way, and be much less of a “farm” as so many other MMO games become.


    Unfortunately I didn’t get into the crafting system too much. However from what I saw, it really isn’t anything too impressive at the basic level. If you played Aion, it is essentially the same system with the exception that you automatically have access to all gathering and crafting skills. Crafting appears to go up to a skill of 410, and while crafting it is possible to “bonus” giving you either more of what you craft or possibly better items.


    A nice feature for gear upgrading, TERA gives players the option of using all the junk weapons and armor they find to upgrade their own equipment by use of the Enchanting system. The menu can be opened anywhere in the game, and as long as you carry around some alkahest (a common material found on general merchants) you plop your item in, some alkahest, and the excess gear, and you can start the process. It is important to note that not all gear is upgradable, so this isn't always the case to keep your gear updated.



    Unfortunately not something I got around to, however there are a few things I picked up on. Guilds do have a leveling system to them. The way to level a guild up is via message boards (located in major towns) that provide guild quests. Likely bonuses will be provided through guild levels and will also likely be required to take part in the political system.


    Most games use a Talent tree system, TERA instead uses Glyphs. Players are able to customize their abilities towards their play style with the use of adding glyphs to their abilities. This system works by giving an augment (some abilities have upwards of 7 choices) to specific abilities to either make them do more damage, additional effects, change the speed or damage of a follow-up ability, etc. To balance this system glyph points are used, giving value to each glyph and of course more points are avalible as you level.


    The Way I See It:

    Overall the game has some very strong content to offer, and an entertaining combat system to enjoy. There are plenty of elements that continue to add depth and entertainment to TERA. The combat system is a very nice change that has rarely been seen in the MMO industry thus far (exceptions would include Tabula Rasa, Vindictus, and Darkfall). If successful, it will add another layer of skill for all players. However there is one downfall; based on initial feedback players experienced lag issues, mainly with PvP. This is a very serious issue and may very well hinder the game if not fixed.

    Several elements of the game I still would like to see more of; namely Open World PvP, Guilds, and the Political system; However even without that, the game could prove to be a very fun game with the PvE alone... as long as content can continue to prove entertaining and challenging. Of course this is no excuse to drop the other elements as an entire package is what I signed up for.

  2. The NYC $400,000 FIFA Challenge Series took place this last Saturday, April 28. It was a packed house that day with 3 tournament games taking place. The 3 games were Madden 12, NHL 12, and FIFA 12. The prize pool of all combined games was $1 Million dollars. There was a $400,000 prize pool for FIFA, and winning just one game guaranteed you $800. 1st place won $167,000, 2nd place $40,000, and 3rd and 4th place getting $10,000. The rest of the money was spreaded out accordingly to the top 128 players out of 256 total participants in the FIFA event. The winner of the event was Adam Winster from England, defeating Bryan Moeyaert from Belgium.

    My thoughts about the tournament are as follows:

    1. Let's start off with the pros for the event: Firstly. the tournament was virbrant throughout the whole day, and was nothing short of entertaining. Music lasted throughout the whole tourney from start too finish with a live appearance from Jadakiss at the end of the event having a real energetic and entertaining atmosphere throughout. Also, there were free NOS energy drinks being handed out during the event. The place was huge, but not huge enough for 3 tournaments, but nonetheless, a very nice place. Lastly as I've said before the entertainment was very good and the host did a good job of interacting the players and the crowd on stage.

    2. On to the cons: First off, It was supposed to be a single elimination event, but after the first round they offered a raffle to get most of the first round losers back into the tournament, I thought that was a major flaw and downside to this event. Also each game every round had a wait time of 3 hours per round, which caused fatigue and rustiness in between games and it was very hard to keep a distinct rhythm throughout. But this was because of the 3 tournaments being all played on one day, which leads me to another complaint of the event. There wasnt much room on each floor in the building and was very overcrowded with people and at times it was hard to walk, once again because of having 3 tournaments being played at the same time, and in the future I think they should 1 tournament per day to fix this issue along with the enormous wait time between games. I also think the tournament was held for too long (8am-11pm) and as I have said before split the tournaments into one day each instead of cramming it all into one day. Lastly, I thought the tournament was a little disorganized, but once again, it was because of the amount of people and it being their first annual Challenge Series, I don't want want to knock them too hard for it.

    My performance at the event could have been better. I expected to win the event, but whoever has played FIFA, know that sometimes it just doesn't go your way. Nonetheless I finished top 32 out of 256 and came a couple rounds short of the big time final.

    All in all, I enjoyed the event and the entertaining atmosphere. Although it had some flaws, you can't really fault them since it is their first run with the Challenge Series. I hope I can better represent vVv next time by winning the whole event, and I will do my best to achieve that and make you guys proud. Lastly, I want to thank Virgingaming for the oppurtunity to compete and am looking forward to competing again next year..

  3. The Art of Starcraft

    Quite literally, the art of the game. While playing Starcraft, the fast paced and high action nature of the game tends to not give the player the chance to look at the real details of the game. Very recently, I gave a friend a lesson on how to play the game, and pitted him against a devastatingly difficult “Easy Computer” opponent. (even though he lost the game, he still played well). During the grueling session of trying to get him to move his units, I began to really look at the environment of the game, and what I found was beautiful.

    Unlike most types of games, being able to see and take in the look of the game is something that is not greatly enforced in RTS style games. In RPG’s, you have all the time in the world to take in your environment. Be it while you stare at your armor to make sure it looks awesome, grinding for that one weapon you really want, or taking a stroll from one city to another. In FPS games, even though there’s a lot of action that takes place at all times, there are still a few times that you can stop and smell the roses. Fighters, the graphics just keep getting better and better, scenery becomes interactive, and sometimes the background and foreground get motion (like a character bouncing off the screen in “Super Smash Bros: Brawl”).

    The graphics of games are ever improving. Every sequel, every new release, every new engine, all of them have promises of better looking games. Often times, good graphics are taken as a raised bar, and that everything with inferior graphics are inferior games. The graphics of Starcraft 2 are no exception. When all graphics settings on the game are maxed out, the game is beautiful. Antiga Shipyard looks like a place where you would go to work in industry. Ohana LE and Tal’darim Alter look like places I’d like to go on vacation sometime. Shakuras Plateau looks like the kind of place to take a date out. The maps in the game are pretty, to say the least. And in a few maps, you can even find little special details, like a holographic zergling, or the advertisements on Metalopolis. Whenever I see one, I get that “hey, that’s pretty cool” feeling.

    Then there’s the units and animation and the scenery. All the detail put into the units is incredible. If you look closely at the Terran Marine, it looks like a spaceman with a gun. It really does. And that’s what it’s supposed to look like, and it looks good. I really don’t know what unit in particular to write about, as the detail put in from the zergling to the Mothership is immense. If you look closely at all the Zerg units, you’ll probably see something you didn’t notice before in all the minute details. The only problem I see with the art of the units is that they are all the same (except Dark Templar). I think it would be pretty cool if there were small little differences in each of the units, like having a random selection of maybe seven or eight different skins for the units. But maybe that’s just me.

    The other part of the artwork that impressed me was the animations. The fighting, the dying, the construction, the movement, and the environment. The fights are always intense. Fights can go from miniscule skirmishes, to epic battles, on this, I’m sure we can all agree. And they always look good. They can be colorful, explosive, with different animations, spells, and no two battles look the same. One of my personnel favorites is when a hellion roasts a line of zerglings. There’s always something really satisfying about that. But there’s all sorts of different animations that get incorporated with fights. A vortex swallowing up a ball of units, then getting demolished by a group of Archons. A couple zealots or DT’s slicing and dicing some marines. All of these little details really make the game what it is visually. And I love it.

    But for a lot of gamers, graphics aren’t important at all. For others, it’s the most important thing. For me, I’ll take a good game over good graphics. I’ll still go back and play Brood War, simply because it’s a really good game, and can be crazy difficult. I might even go back to play Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, because it’s so hard. I’ll still take Cod 4: Modern Warfare over Black Ops, because the gameplay is much better for me (and because the LMG’s are OP). Some gamers love their graphics though, and will buy the prettiest new racing game, or the RPG with the coolest look, even if the gameplay isn’t the greatest.

    With the upcoming release of HotS, I’m eagerly awaiting not only gameplay and the possibility of a new pro scene, but also the visual effects that will be incorporated into the game. New skins, new animations, new units, new skills and spells. I’m really looking forward to it.

    And what about you? How important are the graphics of a game? Would you play Ocarina of Time for the gameplay? Or would you pick Skyrim for the look? Let me know :)

    Thanks for reading. As always, leave your thoughts and feelings down below. It really helps, personally and for the content.

  4. Part 2 of my update:

    vVvVirulent vs vVvNazgul:

    vVvTuff vs Search:

    vVvTuff vs Nolanation:

  5. Revolution proves to be dynamic and a visual stunner


    Ever since Treyarch released Call of Duty's newest post-launch DLC “Revolution” I’ve been on a solid Grind (pun intended) of playing the maps. With the preceding games such as 2011's Modern Warfare 3 or 2012’s Black Ops I, it was a tad challenging to tell the difference between one map and the next, new maps and old, especially given Infinity Ward and Activision's penchant for reusing environmental fixtures from the core game. The maps had a common theme to them, and were easily navigated even if you were new to the map. Playing these maps that looked so similar eventually grew leaden and repetitive, no matter which game it was.

    Treyarch has really taken us to an entirely different place in Revolution, in terms of DLC’s in Call of Duty. The vibrant and distinctive group of maps can hopefully be taken as a signal that we can expect more and more impressive DLC’s throughout the year.

    Map Analysis


    At the heart of the Revolution pack is a map set in a deserted skate park, Grind. This map conveys almost pulsating splashes of color to a sequence of games that is often criticized for its blandness and lack of variety. The fiery color scheme of the skate park lights up the entire gameplay.


    Grind has a distinctive map build that is really unlike any other that has yet to be seen in Call of Duty. It features half-pipes, loop-de-loops and verticals, makes for an exceedingly dynamic multiplayer experience. While a small map when looking at the physical statistics of its length and width, the map feels as if it’s much larger due to its many corners and passageways. These give the player innumerable (let’s be honest, the answer is 42) amount of pathways that can be used to flank or maneuver themselves around the enemy. The only noticeable issue is that with all of these obstacles comes a slight feeling of being cluttered. When first playing the map I actually continuously found myself running directly into corners (which also often contained our friendly neighborhood campers) when trying to escape gun fights. Once I figured the map out, I noticed a great strategy as well. Using the ramps and curves of the park are excellent choices to get vantage points to cut off some of the most frequently used pathways without allowing the enemy much vision of you.

    Regardless of its relatively lesser dimensions, Grind is a map that can cater to any range of combat styles. In the center of the map comes an intensely hectic and exposed feeling, but it offers an extremely quick option for submachine gun and assault rifle users. Likewise, there are many paths outside that cut into the middle that those same players can use to flank the opponent. Users of sniper rifles, on the other hand, will outshine the others outside; where again the map’s unique geometry provides multitudinous vantage points that can be navigated to take out the competition before they get too close.


    The next map on the list is Downhill, and unlike the blistering feel Grind gives, this map provides you with more of a serene and sweeping feeling. While the latter contains plenty of protection and is packed full of pathways, Downhill takes place on a ski slope, and forces players into vulnerable, open areas. With these wide expanses, this map is brilliant for sniping, something I've always been a particular fan of. It’s very easy to watch the 3 main lanes with the sniper, and each end of the map even has different places where a less mobile sniper could set up.


    Now if you happen to be like my other half and crave getting close behind the enemy and meeting them at a smaller range then you should indefinitely head to the chalet at the peak of the slopes. A few twisting routes lead there from the bottom of the map, and players implementing a sly play-style will do exceptionally well when taking these routes. If you've been having difficulties pushing the middle lanes you can use this outside path to get behind your opponent, so long as you be sure to watch for any snipers lurking at the end of the lane.

    On the opposite side of these paths is the lift station, which is where the shotguns and submachine guns will really do the most damage. There’s about five different ways to enter into the mini battlefield of the lift station, and without being aware at almost all times, you’re likely to be taken out from behind or from one of your sides. With this being said an excellent strategy is to both keep an eye on the exits of the station and trap any who try to leave, or to control the station from the inside out (which takes a large amount of skill if doing it alone).

    On a side note, within the lift station there lies a lift (surprised, anyone?) that will actually crush anyone who even barely touches it. And as hilarious as that may sound, you’ll be sure to have a revised opinion once it’s happened to you in the middle of a killstreak.


    Next in line comes the map Hydro. This one happens to be my personal favorite and is designed both beautifully and tactfully. It’s approximately the same size of Grind, and takes short range battles to a whole new level.


    The snug, heavily walled landscape of the map can make a real difficulty for snipers, though, with them only having the two boardwalks running parallel along the top of the map that make for decent vantage points. Plus, as they happen to be the only two areas where one can get above the map, they’re often checked to be sure no snipers are in fact setting up camp-making them relatively useless.

    Hydro is a fast-paced and at times brutal map that absolutely allures me. It’s pathways that go beneath the map give it a dimension that the other maps don’t have, and give it a very stealthy feel to it. On this map one can easily sneak from one side of the other using multiple routes and remaining undetected to meet the enemy on the opposite side.


    Mirage is the final map in the set, and another visual stunner. Set in a Chinese hotel in the aftermath of a sandstorm, this area once again as an impressive array of colors, although this one has a bit deeper and darker hues. It makes for a map that feels like it has a huge number of options within it, and is actually a tad invigorating to play, seeing as it lets you choose your play-style.

    Going straight through the middle of the map can get you to one side of the map to another in a flash (a great option for you CTF junkies out there), but is also one of the biggest risks. As soon as you enter the circular center of the hotel, you’re automatically exposed from every direction. If you’re not quite up to the danger, then either of the outside paths provide enough cover to move from one side of the map to the other so long as you’re willing to take the time to do so.


    Due to its greater physical size, Mirage is the most open of the maps-but not the most vulnerable. Any class can flourish here, unlike in the tight corridors of Hydro or the expanses of Downhill, which cater more towards certain play styles. That makes Mirage great for casual and hardcore play alike, and could easily become a very popular map. Its unique visuals of a hotel drowned in sand help it stand out from the pack, too, making this one an all-around great map.

    Zombies Additions

    Along with these multiplayer maps came a new Zombies map as well in the Revolution pack. After playing zombies for a only a short time period in the original Black Ops, Black Ops 2 brought me back into the craze with Tranzit mode, and the new Die Rise map has just made my love for this game mode all the more passionate.

    Die Rise

    Die Rise is a Survival map, and thus must be played in the simpler context of surviving as long as possible during a zombie outbreak. Like most zombies maps, there are cola machines to loot, weapons to buy, and plenty of hidden goodies to find. I enjoy this map very much, and found myself wanting to play it over and over. It has many new features, including the Jumping Jacks, the Sliquifier, and the AN 94 coming into zombies. All of these changes really added together to make an entirely new experience that will just reinvigorate the masses of zombie players Call of Duty has.



    Turned mode casts players as zombies themselves, which is meant to be a “fun” twist on the classic gameplay formula of Zombies. In this competitive mode, players compete to find the cure and become human, at which point they must fend off zombified players and AI alike. The player who spends the most time as a human wins. Turned is a chaotic mode that lacks the feeling of skill that comes with the normal zombies mode and as such I don't see it attracting too many dedicated players-especially seeing as the downs you receive as a zombie actually count towards your record.


    Weapon addition

    The Peacekeeper

    Last but not least, the final peace of the puzzle was the new Peacekeeper SMG. It’s not quite like many submachine guns, and almost feels like an assault rifle (Modern Warfare 3’s ACR comes to mind) when being used. To win close range gun fights you almost indefinitely need the first shot with the Peacekeeper. I (being who I am) immediately sought after the gun’s gold camouflage and found that the gun is actually very good when used at more short-medium distances (medium preferred) and is a great way to quickly control map areas at a fast pace.


    But what's the point?

    With everything said, I conclude that Revolution is the entire package (it's a REVOLUTION); and is one of the most creative and dynamic pieces of downloadable content ever released for a Call of Duty game. Each map has its own unique visual language, and the varied looks and layouts of them all serve to make the entire gameplay feel even more intense and thought out. If you’re one to put off buying the downloadable content simply because “it doesn’t look good” or because “it’s not worth the money”, then you’re honestly missing out on a great addition to the game.

  6. B Easy
    Latest Entry

    “The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.” ~Abigail Van Buren

    We meet new people every single day, and we get to know people that are already in our lives better every day. When we first meet people we generally judge them on one of two things: their looks or their personality. Personality is something that we have all become experts at seeing and reading. Whether a person is funny, introverted, extroverted, shy, energetic, optimistic, confident, lazy, pessimistic, or bubbly we know that and we can generally see that within moments of meeting someone. When we come to the conclusion that an individual has any of these personality traits it is usually because we have amassed a good amount of information about that person and are generally right about them.

    Character is different and is something that cannot be determined on such short notice. The character traits of an individual take much longer to reveal themselves. These traits include honesty, virtue, kindness, and loyalty. Character traits come from a combination of beliefs, virtues, and morals. Generally these are instilled in us as children, and while they can change from time to time as we grow and mature, often times the character traits we learn as children stick with us throughout our lives.

    For some people this can be a good thing. Being a kind, loyal, and honest person is something that any person should feel proud to carry with them from the time of being a young child until the day they die. It is when someone does not learn these good character traits as children and they grow up without them that we end up with such a mixed bag throughout our society today.

    I have actually lost track of the number of friends I have lost in my lifetime, most of which have been the result of poor character on their part. I cannot place all of the blame on others, because I know I have both personality and character flaws of my own, but loyalty to my friends has never been one of those flaws for me. I have always been loyal to my friends, almost to a fault at times. There can certainly be a point where one can become too loyal which results in being almost overbearing, which I am certainly guilty of.

    I could spend every day with my friends; I couldn't spend every day with all of them because we all naturally would get sick of our friends if we saw them every single day. I could spend a lot of time with them though and live an extremely happy life because of that; loyalty does not run that deep with everyone though. I have had 3 or 4 different periods in my life where I thought I had the best friend a guy could ever ask for. Then in an instant those friendships became obsolete, mostly without explanation.

    This brings up another character flaw that many people suffer with: honesty. It can be hard to be honest with people, especially people that we really care about. Sometimes people will let their lack of honesty come in the way of a great friendship or even a loving relationship because they are just unable to say what needs to be said. As I said before, I have been overbearing as a friend before, I recognized that fault of mine. I had to come to that realization on my own, because the friends that felt that way never could be up front and honest enough about it with me to tell me. So while often times I would and still do occasionally sit around and beat myself up over lost friendships that I may have contributed to the destruction of, I cannot beat myself up over the character flaws of other people.

    I can only work on myself as an individual, which is what everyone should strive to do every single day. Strive to become a better person, and strive to build character traits that other people dream of finding in a friend. You may lose friends along the way, and it will be hard when that happens. The important thing is to stick to your guns because if you believe you have strong character and that you are truly a good person, others will see that, and the ones that do see it and really appreciate it could become the best friends that you could ever ask for. Never let the negative character flaws in another individual dictate your life and the way you choose to live; make people acknowledge and respect the positive character traits that you have developed over your lifetime.

    “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Wooden

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    Recent Entries

    Video games are my passion. From the first time I played my dad in Mario Kart 64 to my first Gamebattles match, walking on to mainstage at my first tournament and living in a gaming house, all of my most memorable experiences have involved video games.

    When I moved to LA two years ago I was introduced to a whole new world of gaming. Tabletop games, board games, roleplaying games and the like.. Interesting. I was actually pretty resistant to trying these out at first. I can remember always wanting to play video games, the stuff that I was more familiar with and didn’t want to touch board games or RPG’s. Once I even walked out of the house before we were about to start a campaign of Numenera because it was so god damn terrifying. My roommates love them, and I always felt guilty if I didn’t play and didn’t want to be that guy. It was up until about a few months ago that I dreaded RPG’s entirely.

    But why? Why was I scared or nervous to participate to begin with? Fear. Fear of not doing the right thing. Not knowing the rules. How to roleplay. How to fall into my character. d20 wut? You get the point. So, okay. I’ll give this a shot. In our latest campaign of Pathfinder (Ravenloft) we all went out and bought props/costumes. I figured that I would try to fall into my character a bit more than the last time. I thought the whole thing was going to be really painful, but it actually was pretty fun.. $120 later, lol. I felt like a kid again trying to find just the right short swords, bracers, cloak, etc.


    So, a few sessions into the campaign later. I’m fading in and of what’s going on. I (and the group) realize that I’m hardly paying attention. Like, I’m there, but my mind isn’t. This becomes super frustrating for the group, so the DM turns to me and wants me to run the group. This was excruciating. I never realized how indecisive I was. Deliberating sucks. So there I was, around my closest friends, not adding or making their experience any better. I actually made it worse. Eerggh. I feel like shit after and go to bed after everyone leaves.

    The following day, I have a conversation with the DM in which I realize that I wasn’t even trying. I had never even committed or given it much effort to get better. I just defaulted to neutral and disengaged. Fuck, I thought. I want to be better. There are some pretty awesome skills that I can develop through role playing. Exercising my imagination, leading, problem solving, communication and probably even more that I haven’t even realized yet.

    So, that’s why I’m writing this blog: To embrace my suck. I am going to log my journey of becoming the best roleplayer that I can be. There’s a long road in front of me, but I’m determined.


    Our next session is Sunday, January 4th. So far, my strategy has been focused around watching and reading about RPG campaigns and best practices. My next entry will detail the group and our progress so far. If you have any RPG resources, or general advice please send them my way via the comments or through Twitter @vVv_RobZ. Thank you for reading! :)

    Teaser: I’m the Rogue. And our next session we will be embarking on our journey into Castle Ravenloft. Get Excite!

    Resource list so far:

    11 ways to be a better roleplayer

  7. This will be my last blog post here.

    I just kind of wanna get this first bit out of the way. The members of the Aspire program that left are not off crying in a corner, about how their division got cut. The Aspire division left vVv, to start our own program, and potentially join another. We're not just holding a little pity party. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

    As many of you know, the SC2 division for vVv gaming is no more. I have been extremely vocal in the actual thread here, as well as on Reddit as to the actual happenings within vVv, concerning the SC2 division. I write this not with the intent of hurting vVv's reputation (although it will), but in an attempt to reach out to those who are apart of vVv to help further your career in eSports, and so that they may grasp what being apart of vVv is truely about.

    vVv has a history of fucking over their players, in the recent past, and in the last several weeks. A direct quote from Nubrgini on Reddit:

    • I really got baited hard with their offers and such, they had a new management, Salvor, a good hearted person to take up management to renew their tarnished image. Only problem is that they lied to both me and Salvor with the requests. When processes go in, Salvor would put them through but the higher up, the people I don't want to name because it brings fame to them, would just ignore it and constantly make lies or excuses why it has not gone through. I was promised Dallas, LAN ETS 2013 as well as Gear, shirt, financial support as a sponsored player but they kept making excuses and delaying everything. Shady organization as always. Even if it's not SC2 they're looking into, this organization should be boycotted and not even allowed to be in ANY eSports community. The community itself is blinded by their lies so they just have to follow, it's the managers who you should look out for.

    As a side not, upon none of the agreements on vVv's part being met, Salvor bought Nub a new mouse, with his own moneyThese claims are also supported by Glon, who recently left vVv, due to disputes with management.

    • vVv has consistently lied to their players and manipulated them, all in the name of the "community." If you're wondering why vVv never got big into SC2 and lost all of their players consistantly, it's because they made offers they knew they couldn't keep (then talked their way out of them/covered them up) just to keep players from leaving.

    Word is that Glon is also getting a bunch of testimonies from former vVv members together, and putting them all in one place, and making a big post on how poorly vVv treats their players.

    But how do the actions vVv have made affected the way that other organizations within eSports perceive vVv and those affiliated with them? Here's a quote that CatZ made in the Reddit thread, concerning vVv leaving and moving into LoL:

    • Try to treat your LoL team and community with respect, and be nice to them cause they don't know what they're getting into, and I doubt they know who you are, so go into another scene and take it as your chance to change into a person that does good things and commands respect and admiration, instead of burning bridges within the industry.

    CatZ is the founder and Leader of ROOT gaming, a team that holds on of the largest followings in SC2, as well has owning a DOTA 2 team. CatZ is also one of the most respected people in the SC2 industry for his work with developing players and the community.

    I could go on, but at this point, it's beating a dead horse. I know that there are a lot good people here, and I know that many of you have become comfortable working with vVv, but I can all but guarantee you, that being a part of vVv will only serve as hindrance to you career. If you do choose to stay even after reading these testimonies, you are directly condoning the actions that vVv has taken, and that you acknowledge the broken promises, the lies, and vVv's constant excuses as to why they are never to blame. I can not understand why anyone would want to be apart of an organization that has time and time again gained and lost the faith of their members.

    I hope that upon reading this post you think long and hard about who you want to be affiliated with and what the consequences are of being apart of an organzation.

    On a final note, don't sell yourself short. If you do decide that vVv is not the place for you, get out there and start talking with other organizations. 95% of people that want to be involved in Esports, never actually try contacting those in eSports. Shoot high, try messaging the EGs, and the TSMs, and the CLG and all those big names, and ask for some volunteer work. The worst thing they tell you is they have no open positions, and they thank you for your interest.

    So I guess that's all there is to it. I sincerely hope you all end up getting the most out of your eSports experience, and that you all continue to be amazing people.

    I've never really been big on bumping my social media stuff, but if you're interested on keeping tabs on me, feel free to follow me at:

    Twitter: @HieiSC2

    Twitch. Twitch.tv/HieiSc2

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jared.scruggs.7

    E-mail: SuperFireFly321@hotmail.com

    Skype: MauiMallardTerran

    Again, I hope to see you all doing great things with your careers, and wish you the best of luck.

    I love you all, be safe.

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    I’m taking things personally. It’s been a historic couple of weeks. Friday was a historic day. It started for me with the President’s eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinkney and ended with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage. Yesterday, got me thinking. Actually, it got me feeling.
    It’s a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. The last time I had this feeling was in 1989. I was in Orlando, Florida getting ready to graduate from Naval Nuclear Propulsion School. I was watching the Berlin wall fall. It marked, for me, the end of the Cold War. I felt optimistic. Having spent many summers in Germany visiting my relatives on my mother’s side, it was also strangely personal. It was that unique feeling of history happening to me versus history happening around me.


    History doesn’t always feel personal. The tragedy of September 11th didn’t feel personal. I remember being angry and disappointed, but I didn’t feel it personally. Friday’s events, however, felt very personal.


    As I mentioned earlier, it started with the president’s eulogy. Although I’m an atheist, I was moved by the president’s comments about grace. He spoke about the violent act and how it sits in a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches. He spoke about how the killer imagined he would incite fear and recrimination; violence and suspicion. What the killer didn’t understand was the grace surrounding that Bible study group.


    According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. From my understanding, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. The president specifically mentioned that this terrible tragedy allowed us to see where we’ve been blind. He mentioned that despite our rancor and complacency, our shortsightedness and fear of each other, we still received grace. Grace in the form of awareness that the Confederate flag is much more than just ancestral pride, but is actually a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. It’s clear that this flag will finally fall. Much like the Berlin wall fell. I felt hopeful.




    Amazingly, the hope train would continue to chug along on this particular Friday. The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold gay marriage across the land was a very special kind of hopeful vindication. It was an exoneration. People were set free, free to lay claim to a historic and ancient institution: marriage.


    Yeah, this is personal. From “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to the Christian Right’s efforts to paint gays and lesbians as pedophiles, not fit to parent and certainly not deserving of the right to marry to the bullying, insults and abuses aimed at gays and lesbians, it’s been a long road. That road has had many highs and lows.


    For me, the highs have always been about the people. While in the Navy, I spent a decade in Virginia. During that time, while serving in the U.S. Navy, I was surrounded by an amazingly open, welcoming and loving gay community. It was there that I learned to become a gay man: to wear that identity with pride, to learn the history that I was never taught in school and then to discover an amazing culture and legacy. Thankfully, the lows for me were few and far between. They were there. It was always in small moments.


    For those of you who know me well, it’s safe to say that I’m direct and confident. Having spent a decade being a consultant, I often need to establish credibility with executives who I really don’t know in a matter of one or two minutes. In my most recent job, that approach created a very unique situation. I’d been on the job for only a few months when I had discovered a coworker had come up with a very interesting theory. The coworker described my behavior as a “byproduct of me being gay in the military.” She had observed similar confidence in her uncle who was gay. Therefore, she concluded that all gay men who served in the military had to be overly confident and direct to make up for their insecurities about being gay.


    And there it was, one of those frustrating, little moments, where another person’s ignorance, like nails on a chalkboard to my rational mind, reminded me of the perceptions that we still need to overcome. I remember coming home that night and telling the story to Jordan, who at the time was just my “domestic partner." We were not allowed to marry back in 2012. We both laughed about it. Yet, it happened. One of those small moments of awareness. Awareness that ignorance and prejudice still existed.


    In 2013, the great state of California allowed Jordan and I to become married. Of course, I knew that our marriage wouldn’t be recognized everywhere. Somehow, it wasn’t important. It really wasn’t important until yesterday. Yesterday, I realize the depth of the problem with hate, bigotry and ignorance. You see, I had accepted that my marriage was only valid in California. Almost the same way many whites “accept” the Confederate flag is a symbol of ancestral pride. I had become complacent. Hard to confess that, strangely. It’s almost that I had allowed a truth to disappear.



    [side note: Don't let anyone tell you that the truth can't disappear. If I believe in anything, rather than God, it is that I am part of something that goes all the way back to Antigone, and that whatever speaks the truth of our hearts can only make us stronger. Can only give us the power to counter the hate and bigotry and heal this addled world. Just remember: You are not alone.---R.I.P. Paul Monette]


    Of course, the good fight is far from over. There is so much more work to do. Hate, ignorance and misinformation still exist everywhere. Hate is still taught from one generation to another. Friday’s events are actually a call to action. We all need to take these things very seriously. Each of us has the power to make a difference. By being a little more vigilant, a little more outspoken, by being, dare I say, direct and confident by standing up to those who speak out of ignorance or hate, we can make a difference. As one flag falls, I’m optimistic that another is rising in its place, but this time a flag that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness.


    I for one am taking it all personally-too personally, in fact. You see, I don't really have the choice to ignore it, because it's happening on my watch.

  8. I've been doing well with the LCK in Fantasy drafts so I thought I'd share my picks this week.
    It's actually a tough week because upsets could easily happen with these two best of threes.


    However I am going with the stats and based off previous performances the following picks I believe are going to put me in the money pool.


    TOP Apple - $1136
    JUNGLER Chaser - $1252
    MID Crown - $1332
    ADC Fury - $1412
    SUPPORT IgNar - $930
    FLEX Roar - $1260 SHOTCALLER
    FLEX TrAce - $1209
    FLEX Pilot - $1321


    I avoided all players from SBENU SONICBOOM. They are trash.


    So I started off my draft by picking the best to players from SG, hoping they get decent points.


    After reviewing previous match ups I went through and made my picks.





    These picks are based off performance from the pervious two weeks and from their first match ups against each other from earlier in the season.


    Thanks and good luck if you use my picks.



  9. So I started an alt/smurf account a couple weeks ago, and have recently been playing on it in order to practice exclusively Protoss for MLG Raleigh. I threw my placement matches because I decided I felt like massing workers every game, and despite how bad kids in bronze are they aren't quite bad enough to lose to mass workers.

    So my experience last night laddering in bronze and silver was eye opening. For the most part, it looks like bronze league is the place where people have a rough idea of the build orders go, but don't have the build orders refined and don't know how to execute them well. For example, I played mostly against other protoss who would four gate, but I would have 12 stalkers in their base before their warp gates even finished.

    When you start to get to high bronze/silver, the game changes abruptly. These kids decided that they can't execute a four gate well, so screw cyber core, I'll just mass zealots on 2-3 gates and maybe proxy.

    This is where the disconnect between high-level players and low-league players comes into play. A 2 gate is impossible to stop with a macro build. You have to scout and respond to what you see. So when players in master/GM/diamond/plat tell people in bronze and silver they just need to work on macro to succeed, they are wrong.

    First a note on walling. While most high level players don't wall in PvP and arguably there are reasons you shouldn't, I think in lower leagues having a wedge wall off (gateway gap cyber core, as opposed to a gateway cyber gap wall) is necessary to defend well. If you position your zealots behind the gap you can hit 1 zealot with 2, which will put you ahead in this battle easily.

    The key to beating a 2/3 gate / proxy is good scouting and responding properly to what you scout. Instead of continuing worker production, the first thing you should do when you scout a proxy is cut workers to get up more gateways. Your economy will be ahead of your opponents because he's already had to cut workers to get his cheese up.

    The next step is chronoboosting 2-3 zealots to hold the initial push. You need something in between your pylons (which seem to be the favored target of silver league players) and his zealots until you can get stalkers or sentries up. Keep your zealots on hold position. Don't be so gung-ho about making units to defend this pressure that you forget to build pylons. Getting supply blocked at any point before your warp gates finish means an automatic loss.

    Once you have your initial zealots, you should have 3-4 gateways and warp gates should be about halfway done. Start building stalkers to supplement your zealot wall. If you don't have a third gateway up, build one, but hold on the fourth until you hold the pressure.

    If he breaks your zealot wall and gets inside your base, don't panic. Chronoboost your stalkers as fast as possible and make sure they exit on the opposite side of the gateway from his zealots by moving the rally points. Once your stalkers are out kite his zealots around if he chases, or just focus from max range if he tries to kill pylons or your nexus. If he goes for your probes move them away while also making sure not to lose your stalkers to his zealots. This can be tricky and may require some practice, but ultimately you should lose neither stalkers nor probes. A good tool to practice this micro is the Team Micro Tournament custom map.

    Convert your gateways to warp gates as soon as the tech finishes. If you haven't already put down a fourth gateway do so now. Also resume probe production until you have 16 workers in minerals and 3 on your assimilator. Send out a probe (replace it if you pulled it from your minerals) to start making proxy pylons. I like to put one in the middle of the map and one near, but not next to, my opponent's base. Warp in only stalkers at this point, or zealots if you lack the gas for stalkers. Push immediately, building up your forces at the proxy pylons you've set up as you go. Chronoboost your warp gates as much as possible. If it was a proxy rush, make sure to find and kill the probe/pylons powering his gateways at the proxy before you push. Don't bother with the gateways as this will only slow your push and give him a chance to recover and transition.

    So now you know how to stop a proxy 2gate and 2gate. The last bit is identifying these builds. A two gate is obvious since he will place two gateways before his cyber core. A proxy two gate can be more tricky, the key is keeping your probe alive in his base. If he doesn't place any gateways in his base or at his natural by the time you have 16 supply you can safely assume he will proxy rush you.

    One variation on this build that caught me off guard was a three gate opening into four gate robo one one base. If someone opens with a heavy zealot build but doesn't push immediately, then as soon as your warp gate research finishes, put down a second gas, build a round of sentries and tech to one base colossi ASAP. After the three sentries are out (zealots to fill in when you can't afford the gas for a sentry) build only zealots until your colossus tech is up. Make an observer while your robotics support bay is building. If he pushes, forcefield your ramp and take pot shots with the stalkers you made initially. Once you have 3-4 colossi it should be safe to move out. Don't bother with the range upgrade, just make sure to micro away from immortals if he tries to focus your colossi. Your zealots will keep attacking and allow you to kill him easily.

    Happy laddering!

  10. LX1pl.png

    I. What is the Mesmer?

    II. Pros and Cons

    III. Weapons

    • Staff
    • Sword
    • Pistol

    IV. Conclusion

    I. What is the Mesmer? Mesmer_tango_icon_20px.png

    Being one of the lesser played professions many people don't know what the Mesmer profession is about or capable of. Many people think we are a kind of bursty power based caster profession though I find out burst to be inconsistant and easily avoided. To me we are a more controlling and supportive profession that can dominate the enemy with a lot of conditions, condition removal, boons, and tricks.

    II. Pros and Cons Mesmer_tango_icon_20px.png


    • Able to throw out lots of conditions/boons
    • Very survivable if played properly
    • Can have decent mobility with the Blink utility skill
    • Lots of skills to help your team survive
    • Very good 1v1
    • Moa elite is OP
    • Lots of CC
    • Can switch to focus between fights for swiftness buff


    • Inconsistant and easy to avoid burst with shatter
    • Staff can't shoot up ledges
    • Scepter is mostly uselss at the moment (they will be fixing this)
    • Most conditions and boons are random and you will not always get the one you want

    III. Weapons Mesmer_tango_icon_20px.png

    The staff is an obvious choice for one of your weapons as it brings so much control and utility to your team.

    - Staff(2h) -

    skill 1

    • 33px-Winds_of_Chaos.png Winds of Chaos
    • Bounce an orb of energy between enemies and allies that applies random boons to allies and random conditions to enemies.

    Basically this skill bounces off of the initial target if something is near enough 2-3 times depending on traits. This includes allies so melee have good synergy with this as it will jump to them very easily. Although inconsistant putting up conditions and boons will never be a bad thing.

    skill 2

    • 33px-Phase_Retreat.png Phase Retreat
    • 10 second cooldown
    • Teleport away from your target, summoning a clone that casts Winds of Chaos.

    Phase retreat allows you to kite most melee professions while giving you more Winds of Chaos procs. More winds of chaos means more condition/boon output. As a note this will only bounce 2 times regardless of traits.

    skill 3

    • 33px-Phantasmal_Warlock.png Phantasmal Warlock
    • 18 second cooldown
    • Summon an illusion that deals extra damage for each unique condition on the target foe.

    With your first two skills conditions can stack up fairly quickly allowing your clone to do decent damage.

    skill 4

    • 33px-Chaos_Armor.png Chaos Armor
    • 40 second cooldown
    • Gives yourself chaos armor. Giving you random boons and your foe random conditions whenever you are struck.

    Great synergy with the rest of the staff kit.

    skill 5

    • 33px-Chaos_Storm.png Chaos Storm
    • 40 second cooldown
    • Create a magical storm at the target location that applies random conditions to enemies and random boons to allies.

    This is one of the best supportive skills in the game. It will usually force an enemy to run off of a point or spread out during a fight giving you an advantage. If you have ranged people on your team they can easily stand in it getting a lot stronger from all

    the boons.

    - - - - -

    Personally I am not a fan of the greatsword or focus because sword/pistol gives you so much control and survivability.

    - Sword -

    skill 1

    1. 33px-Mind_Slash.png Mind Slash - Slash your foe causing Vulnerability

    2. 33px-Mind_Gash.png Mind Gash - Gash your foe causing Vulnerability

    3. 33px-Mind_Stab_%28sword%29.png Mind Stab- Stab your foe, removing a boon from your target.

    This is where some of your offensive utitlity comes in. Removing boons while lowering their defense with vulnerability can really screw somebody over.

    skill 2

    • 33px-Blurred_Frenzy.png Blurred Frenzy
    • 10 second colldown
    • Strike your foe with a flurry of strikes, distorting the space around you, making you evade attacks.

    The perfect skill to survive any burst build. Can't tell you how many times I used this on a 100 blades warrior over the last BWE. Also provides as a decent damage spell.

    skill 3

    • 33px-Illusionary_Leap.png Illusionary Leap - Summon an illusion that leaps at your target, crippling them.
    • 33px-Swap.png Swap - Swap locations with your clone.
    • 12 second cooldown

    This is obviously a good skill for catching up to someone since you can swap right after your clone leaps to them. What most people don't realize is the defensive capability of this. If you are trying to run away from someone. If you use this on someone wait a few seconds and swap you can easily juke someone out if they aren't paying attention.

    - - - - -

    - Pistol -

    Skill 4

    • 33px-Phantasmal_Duelist.png Phantasmal Duelist
    • 15 second cooldown
    • Create an illusion that unloads its pistols on your foe.

    Decent damage not much else to say about it really.

    skill 5

    • 33px-Magic_Bullet.png Magic Bullet
    • 25 second cooldown
    • Hit up to three foes with a single shot. The first target is stunned, the second is dazed, and the third is blinded.

    • Note: Illusionary Elasticity (trait) - Bouncing attacks have one additional bounce. Adds a 4th target that is confused.

    Another 2 second stun with the bonus of other conditions on more targets.

    IV. Conclusion Mesmer_tango_icon_20px.png

    These are the weapons I would use on pretty much every build currently. You just get so much survivability and utility there is no real reason to take anything else. Some people prefer the torch for it's invisibility skill. Why would you pass up a 2 second CC for that though? Any thoughts or ideas feel free to post. I am always open to criticism and other viewpoints.

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    Recent Entries

    Latest Entry

    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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    Recent Entries

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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,


  13. 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.

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    blog-0507484001372209166.jpgBefore reading this I want to make it noted that these predictions are completely unbiased and have nothing to do with me being in vVv, I chose my picks based on the many hours of game play I have watched in the previous months leading up to this event.

    1. vVv - Known throughout the community as an “Online team.” People forget about Theory and Realize being apart of on the vVv team that placed 3rd at MLG Dallas, I believe with the addition of veteran pro player Sharp, and arguably one of the, if not the best m8 shot in the game, Goonjar, vVv takes home the victory. I think with the amount of practice these four have put in will pay off this event, being the first team to take down Impact in front of what should be a big vVv fan base.

    2. Impact - With four consecutive major tournament wins under their belt including Call of Duty Championships, I think everyone can agree that this is the team to beat. But the practice since Call of Duty Championships hasn't been the same as teams like vVv, nV, coL, and OpTic. I strongly believe that if Impact is going to lose an event this season, that MLG Anaheim is the event they get caught slipping in.

    3. Complexity - Clayster gives coL a better anchor than TuQuick, and with the veteran duo of TeePee and Aches, coL can definitely finish in the top 3. Complexity’s game revolves around out slaying their opponents into submission, if the kills are there look for coL to finish strong.

    4. nV - Envy has been putting in a lot of work as of late and will make a strong push for the MLG Anaheim title. However, I think its almost a mental thing at this point with nV, and don’t see Anaheim being the event they finally get over the hump, and a tournament win.

    5. OpTic - A top 4 finish will again be out of reach for OpTic due to the lack of scrimming and practice. Like Impact, I don't think the last week or so in the new OpTic team house is going to be enough to defeat teams such as Impact, vVv, nV, and coL.

    6. Evil - Probably one of my favorite teams to follow, with the roster of TuQuick, John, Huhdle, and SpaceLy I expect them to lose to OpTic in Round 1, but fight strong through the losers bracket.

    7. Quantic - You can never go wrong with a team of former national champions, I think the experience,practice, and leadership of Censor and ASSASS1N is enough for Quantic to take home a top8 finish.

    8. Epsilon - UK teams have not gained the respect they deserve. I believe that Epsilon will show why they are considered the best EU team at MLG Anaheim. Either way, if they perform amazing or terrible, people are going to be surprised with the outcome.

    9. UNiTe - After the departure of Clayster, SpaceLy, and Huhdle UNiTe nearly fell apart. I believe this new UNiTE roster will come out with something to prove, but not have enough firepower in their first MLG event together to beat the likes of vVv, nV, eviL, coL, or OpTic.

    10. FaZe - With SoaR and Faze fusing together I believe it gives their current players the best rosters they’ve had in Black Ops II. However, MBoZe is known as an online warrior, and Heist has very little LAN experience. I don’t think they will have enough to have a break out event and see them barely outside the top 8 at MLG Anaheim.

    11. Fallacy - Personally one of my favorite teams, I believe that Fallacy is a stronger team with Complexx holding down their anchor. With the leadership of my Call of Duty idle, Foreplayy and the slaying ability of my locals teammate, Hysteria, who will finally be on an even connection, I see Fallacy coming out with a top 12 finish at MLG Anaheim.

    12. Curse - I really don’t think Curse is a threat to break into the top 8 at MLG Anaheim, Like FaZe, Curse is going to come out with something to prove, but is Mediocre at best. However, for them, I see Curse having a strong event and barely breaking into the top 12.

  14. Hi guys its Trivium! Long time no talk? Anyways, we had an outbreak within Agent eSports, which spread onto Twitter. It infuriated me and I immediately though of vVv and The Five Pillars. For those who don't know I am an ex member of vVv, and I still love this organization! Many don't know, Jerry is a huge inspiration and one of my most favorite people in the world! I spoke to him a few times before, but when we met at MLG Columbus back in November, I was awe-stricken by the amount of intelligence one man can have, and motivated by his wording. Honestly, he's one of those people that can tell you more about yourself than you knew about yourself before! I'm sure everyone else who ever met him can agree with that as well!

    Well anyway, here is the article! If you enjoyed it please retweet this tweet it would be very much appreciated! #BelievVve!


    @Agent_Trivium on professionalism in @AgenteSports, eSports, and in General.

    I expect everyone in @AgenteSports to maintain a higher level of professionalism, weather you are planning on going pro or not. If were giving you the chance, the least you can do is show we don't just pick up anybody. If you were able to look at our DM's on the Agent twitter and see how many people would love to have your opportunities, maybe you all would stop taking things for granted.

    For those who don't know I was a player and staff member for an organization known as Vision Valor Victory, or vVv. When you apply and earn an interview to become part of the organization, you are expected to know and be able to explain the "Five Pillars of vVv Gaming" which I will link for everyone at the end of this article. These were written out by the owner himself and one of my personal mentors, vVv Lord Jerith. These pillars were established for two purposes: one as a guide to give every single person wanting to be involved in the a concrete post explaining what is expected of them as a member of vVv: and two, help vVv maintain the prestigious image it has managed to upkeep over 7 years, and earning itself over 120 top 5 placements in 20 different titles.

    Is there a correlation to maturity over social media and respect for the teams each player represents? I'd say so.

    It doesn't matter if you are a youth AM wanna be AM team, or a T8 team, act mature. If you think the players of Evil Genius, Complexity, Optic, Team Kaliber, or even Annex are where they are today by complaining about their team mates on social media, or down talking their own organization where the public can see or hear it? I don't think so.

    Of course everyone messes up and says something they don't mean, or a harmless joke is taken the wrong way. But when it turns into a 14-15 tweet battle back and fourth, that is UNACCEPTABLE. I don't care if you have 40 followers and half of them are smurf accounts you made to make yourself look better (which thats a whole other story), that is still 20 people that get a poor taste in their mouth of you, as a representative of an organization, therefore making the organization, your team mates, other players, the staff, the designers, and the organization as a whole look bad.

    Of course I used a small example and that may or may not have gotten the point across. Lets move on a larger scale now.

    Your an AM team with a combined total of 1200 followers (we will say 500 per player and 200 on the team/org Twitter), you drop one player and announce you have an open slot on social media. Everything between you and the dropped player is worked out behind closed doors, everyone looks good.

    On the other hand, if you say something along the lines of, "@'insert name here' is dropped from our team LF1" and nothing was resolved prior, or the dropped player wasn't informed before the Tweet went out, thats a major problem. Especially when names get thrown back and forth at one another, people cry and carry on, etc. Now that looks bad in front of a lot more people. Lets say somewhere along the line something gets 4-5 retweets from randoms with 200 followers a piece. Thats an additional 600 that see your immaturity, now your at an 1800 person reach. Thats how a lot of teams get a bad rep.

    Even outside of eSports this little lesson is very, if not more, applicable. One day every single person reading this will represent something, weather its a small business, clothing brand, musical group, or even just there self. Being able to show the correct level of maturity, based on the situation, is key in anything you do, and problem solving is the most important skill in both the workplace, and at home.

    Why not practice on a small scale? Learn how to interact on a day to day basis. Most importantly, hold yourself to the highest standards. Who knows, one day you could be interviewing for the position of a lifetime and how you compose yourself could determine your fate of that position.

    One more thought before I end this post, I want to leave everyone something to think about and its a quote from Lord Jerith himself:

    "It's not about what an organization can do for you, but what can you do for the organization".

    For those of you not understanding that quote, I can tell you right now you will need a lot of work, especially if you want to be in the gaming and eSports industry.

    This quote simply means , if you do good work for somebody (an eSports organization in this case), it will get recognized. If you are someone who puts 110% of their effort into something, passion, and maintain a positive presence in the [eSports] community, the organization will grow, and because of your involvement, YOU will grow.

    In conclusion, just problem solve behind closed doors, and if you do get in an argument in public on social media, there are things called "Direct Messages". Send them there, leave them there. I want nothing but the best for the people we at Agent eSports pick up as players, but I also expect them to give us their best. If I see poor representation, I will take note and let you know in a PRIVATE and CONFIDENTIAL message. If problems persist, actions will be taken. On the other hand, I will do my best to reward the positives as well.

    Thank you for reading this and I sincerely hope that this has opened some peoples eyes.

    As promised here is a link to the 5 Pillars of vVv. Everyone should read this!


  15. If you haven't seen Sky's video yet, you can do so

    and his follow up video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCdor8xjsPg.

    There are 4 major issues here:

    1. The intent / goal of streamers
    2. HOW that goal is reached
    3. Harassment of gamers – specifically those who are female
    4. Streamer diversity

    Let’s break this down.

    The inherent goal of streamers is to make money. I suppose it may compete with the desire to entertain and provide a good experience. When it comes down to it, streaming is a business. The more money a streamer elicits the more frequently a streamer is likely to stream. This may allow a streamer to make this a full-time job or career.

    Streamers reach this goal by the entertainment value of their stream – whether that’s comedy, showmanship, personality, great plays and/or… boobs. For women we have this awesome marketable feature no one else has. Those are breasts. It’s great. However, it’s also not so great. This is something that is infinitely complex because there are so many sides.

    Boobs are great! The issue lies in the intent behind the marketing. As we already defined, the goal is to make money. However, does the streamer manipulate the relationship between streamer and viewer to capitalize on this? It’s when streamers exploit the already female hungry male gamers to extract more money from them, that an issue is created. Furthermore, I think this is also a huge issue for girl gamers. Why? Because we try so hard to show we’re a gamer, whether or not we’re male, female, transgender, we’re gamers. We don’t want to be treated differently.

    I do think Sky stuck his foot in his mouth a little when speaking on this subject. I really do think after reading his twitter after the video was posted, that he was focused on the intent behind the marketing. However, I believe if he had simply titled his video “Dear Streamers” without focusing directly on female streamers – it would have been more accurate. To say some males don’t exploit their streamers as well is a fallacy. I do think though, that girls are simply more noticeable or at least the marketing is more noticeable – more talked about - than other streamers.

    I find it incredibly ironic actually, since we spend so much time complaining and flat out, avoiding, sexual attention. Do gamers realize how many women masquerade as men in games because we don’t want the sort of attention we normally receive? Some of us refuse to talk in any kind of voice client to avoid any attention that could cause – because a lot of times it’s either sexual or hate. Some of us refuse to even join any community aside from one which is girl-only. In fact, when we ask ourselves why any gender or identity-only groups exist; it’s because we don’t feel safe.

    Which leads me to my next point: Harassment. Let’s be honest – gamers are assholes. We ALL are assholes. We play to win and god forbid if we think anyone has the potential to prevent us from getting that. We have no problem telling someone where to shove it or when. This means our filter is for the most part non-existent. Not exactly a good thing. We get used to saying whatever we want – when we want. The internet is anonymous after all, who will know?

    Furthermore, since gaming has been predominantly men until relatively recently, there’s still a lot of nastiness there. As soon as someone reveals she is a girl, she is friended, showered with gifts (RPGs), and harassed. The harassment can take the form of sexual predations or just plain hate. Twitch chat especially is a cesspool of filth. Regardless if she shows skin or not, she will receive hateful comments.

    What does this all mean? We need more streamer diversity as a gender! We cannot change a player’s sex drive – sex marketing will always work. We may be able to alter people’s online behavior, but I believe that will take a lot of time. It will be a gradual shift. What we can do, right now, is if someone wants to stream, do it. Do it however you desire. Persevere through the hate and keep doing what you love. Just keep in mind the long term effects of your actions.

    Happy streaming!

    "she" is meant to be ambiguous.

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    So for my Technical writing class I had to write a little 3 paragraph article about my past, present, and hopes for the future. I decided to share it with you guys so you can get a little bit of an insight into some of the key points of my life and what I think about. Cheers.

    "The hardest part of high school was coming to terms with being gay. While struggling to figure out who I was, I immersed myself in music, band specifically. It was my life’s passion, it made me a lot of friends, and it was the inspiration for my first tattoo. After I graduated high school, I came out as gay to my friends, who weren’t shocked at all, and moved in with my real dad. I went to community college while figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, and once I realized I wanted to do Crime Scene Investigation, I had my sights set on UNT. I had a large falling out with a bunch of my close friends because of small things, and it pushed me to move far away from my hometown of El Paso. Once everything was set in stone and I received my acceptance letter, I took my car and my belongings and headed out to start one of the biggest chapters of my life. Saying goodbye to my family, especially my dad, was one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve done to this day.

    Now that I’ve been living in Denton for almost two years, I find myself often worrying about my finances and my future. I always feel like I never have money and no matter how much I work, I lose even more money because of all my monthly bills. I always get homesick and wonder if moving so far away was really a good choice, even if UNT has an extraordinary criminal justice program. My friends I met through online gaming have kept me going, and even though they live all over the United States, they give me great advice and keep me sane when I feel like I’m going to crumble. Being a part of an online gaming organization has also boosted my confidence and has helped me become more comfortable with myself. I know that strangers will still judge me because of my personality, but I’ve learned that they don’t matter, and as long as I’m comfortable, who cares? Because I have learned this, I can open up to complete strangers more easily and have since made many new friends during my short time in Denton. Thanks to my family, gaming organization, and friends, I can see my future in the distance, and I hope that I can make something out of myself and make my family even more proud of me.

    Senior year is nearing, and internships are starting to pop up. I can see myself walking the stage and grabbing my diploma, knowing I already have a secure job in crime scene investigation. I know everything I need to know to be successful, and I feel ready to conquer the world! I will have a nice apartment for one, drive a fancy car, and have the most stylish wardrobe. I don’t know what city I’ll work in, but I honestly don’t really care. Sometime in the future, before I grow old, I will visit Europe. I’ve always wanted to go. I also want to attend a gaming convention with all my online friends. Even though the future is super unpredictable, I will make the best of it. "

  16. 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.

  17. For those of you interested in competitive Call of Duty and are on a team that is trying to get their team work down, here are some basic guidelines for what needs to be done in order to achieve success. This may sound reiterated if you've ever tried to compete on a 4 man roster:

    Communication would probably be the biggest thing to focus on only because of the significant of it. It could be that factor that makes or breaks a team in a match depending on how well the 4 members of the team can use Call outs effectively, have good awareness and say where enemies are, etc.

    Holding up your end of the team is a huge thing just basically for the concept of it. This is the most obvious one as it makes sense of what needs to be done. If you hold up your own, then it won't cause any flaws within your teams attitude for one another. Do your player roles, and listen to the captain of the team because it establishes a small chain of command and only on person calls the shots; this makes things organized and structured. What can be added on to your end, learn how to position yourself on maps as that will cause a lot of problems for your opponent and will start establishing map control for your team.

    Another thing to try to learn is team chemistry, it may be the hardest thing to establish due to the differences between the players that may be evident early on in the teams life span. Once chemistry is there, it's very difficult to go away, and you'll see professional teams like EnVyUs and team Obey have remarkable chemistry. Even if every member of the team had below average individual skill levels, if the chemistry and communication is there, it still does the job and can bring teams to the top.

    And lastly, establishing friendships outside of the game. Friendships always help with the way your team operates as it gives you time to understand your team mates better so you can know what they are thinking in game, as well as knowing what they are like at their bests and lowest times. Very important to know what to do when there is a problem in game and someone gets frustrated.

    These things will all help any team trying to achieve good team work all around. I hope I have opened some eyes to how teamwork is done properly. I look forward to seeing some new teams break into pro status next year, good luck!

    Make sure to follow me on twitter @@Slauney

  18. Oh lordy Diablo 3 has officially found its way to console and what a marvel it is! I have been a long standing Diablo fan since the first game. Diablo for those of you who have never played it is an Action RPG game based around Catholic lore of the three prime evils (Diablo, Baal, Mephisto). This game is also classified as a "looter" which means when things are killed loot drops. The higher level and rarity the creature you kill the better the loot that drops is. This game is a single, co-op, online, or co-op and online game. You can team with up to 3 other people totaling a party of 4. Diablo also has several other side quests and jobs for the player with different abilities like blacksmithing and making gems.

    So Let us get into this review:

    The Graphics and cut scenes are beautiful and smooth just like the PC version. The game plays smoothly and has zero graphics lag which is surprising because I didn't think current Gen consoles would be able to handle this game. The opening scenery is very dark and gloomy but still looks good and the rare vibrant colors stand out beautifully. I would easily give the graphics and cut scenes a 9.2

    The game play is all you would look for in an action RPG looter. The transition to a control is smooth and wonderful. I was very skeptical of how well they would port the controls to an actual controller yet it is delightful and easy. Potions, spells, movement, and portals are all just a button away! The action and fighting runs naturally. From a spectators view point I find the action to run smoother and more fluidly on console than PC. The loot drops are just as rewarding and satisfying as ever. The game play gets a 9.8! This is how a looter should play!!!

    The transition to console has been a seamless one. Granted the console version is lacking a couple key PC features, but that is expected. The real money auction house is MIA on the console version and the PC expansion will not be out right away but has been annouced that Blizzard will find a way to port it as a DLC. The transition to Console from PC gets a 10

    If you haven't played Diablo now is the perfect time! Find some friends link up and slay Diablo together. When you find that epic loot it is so rewarding and keeps you coming back to find that super rare drop. This game gets a RAVING 9.7

  19. blog-0249348001343550634.jpgA few questions for all of you. I want to ask if you've ever thought about a way to quantify a reduced time in a flip turn vs. an open turn, taking into account where the turn started given a set point in the pool. How long did it really take you to get back to that set point in the pool, and how much energy did you use doing it?

    Several other factors would come into play even if this was set up in a controlled environment: How fast the swimmer was going, did they start their turn at the exact same point on both runs, how many breaths were taken getting to the turn, how much inertia was carried from the push off of the wall getting back to the set point, etc., but for the sake of preventing cataclysmic frustration and unrealistic expectations for an experiment, we'll assume these as environmental constants if we were to recreate it.

    The reason I'm asking these questions runs back to social acceptance in relation to techniques used in competitive sports, and the amount of peer pressure that can come with it. I highly doubt any high school swim coach set up a high speed camera to accurately benchmark when a swimmer passed a given point in the pool, and how long it took them to reach that same point upon turning, nor would they even have thought to, as it would've conflicted with their already solidified schema of how "real" swimming should look.

    Here are some of the common "arguments" for open vs. flip turns that don't even bother taking a numerical standpoint on the issue:

    - But you look ridonkulous doing open turns - I don't care, I'm not here to look cool, this isn't a popularity contest, and I'm not in high-school. I am here to be the fastest swimmer I can be.

    - But you don't streamline properly - You can learn to streamline in an open turn or a flip turn.

    - But it helps you control your breath - So don't breath when taking an open turn.

    - You can't grab a wall in the open water and take an extra breath - Last I checked you don't flip in open water and push off a wall either.

    Something I want to point out, "it adds yards" is a really silly standpoint to take if there is a possibility that open turning may be a faster way to get your feet to and off the wall. I will never take linear one-issue-covering counter arguments on variable heavy subjects seriously. "Longer distance swam" means nothing to me if someone can cover that distance in a shorter amount of time by doing something that is "against the grain". In the spirit of the internet, "pics or it didn't happen". If flip turns are quantifiably faster than open turns, then please show me.

    I could probably talk about this for days, but I'll stop myself here and leave you with some space to ponder. Someone think me up a punch line for swim blogs!