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Found 11 results

  1. https://www.redbull.com/us/en/esports/stories/1331742744588/overwatch-where-will-it-go
  2. Throughout the last few years, competitive gaming has grown exponentially. Just as the community is the vocal majority about areas that can always be improved upon, I’m really never satisfied. We can do more. I frequently travel by public transportation. During my commute, I have a lot of time to think about improving eSports. All around me are people who don’t even know competitive gaming exists, as I start trying to think from their perspective, there are so many questions that I would ask if I wasn’t involved. Think about how hard it is to describe this thing that we’re all passionate about. It’s not only difficult because of the social stigma and cultural barriers that the media puts on gaming, but also the barriers that we create, as a community. When I say community, I don’t mean the niche group that likes Counter Strike, Starcraft, Halo, Street Fighter, Call of Duty, League of Legends or DotA, I mean as a community from the outside perspective, as competitive gaming enthusiasts. As long there are gamers and people on my train who don’t know what competitive gaming is, any bullshit argument about what makes a game ‘more competitive’ or what titles ‘deserve to be an eSport’ is absolutely irrelevant in my opinion. As we continue to grow as a culture and movement, we need to all start working together towards the bigger picture. Consider this tough-love. Ok, so besides talking to random people on my commute to work or school, how can I do my part, how can I grow eSports while also staying true to the scene? Good question, I have a few ideas, but also want to hear yours as well. I want to create a community produced project (website) that connects curious or new competitive gaming players and fans to the resources of the games they love or may have not even discovered yet, while also giving you, the eSports enthusiasts, the tools and inspiration you need to stimulate growth and create awareness around the entirety of the space. I don’t want to create the next teamliquid.net, ESFI, MLG, Twitch or reddit, however I do want to connect potential and interested pro-gaming fans to these already existing amazing communities, leagues and shows in an authentic and organic way, while also empowering the most passionate fans so that you can do the same. To give everyone just one example of where I got this inspiration for this project, I’m going to talk about the Live Multiplayer Reveal for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, mad yet? Good. During this reveal, the word eSports was mentioned throughout the weekend many times when hastr0, David Vonderhaar and Major Nelson were debuting the new competitive features. Given the stream numbers and reach that Twitch and the Xbox platform provided, you can imagine that this was for many mainstream casual players, their first introduction to competitive gaming. Now, go to google and search eSports. Wikipedia, fnatic video, esfiworld, and gotfrag, think back about perspective and barrier to entry here. Not only do I want this project to create awareness, but I also think it can greatly help the terrible eSports SEO that we currently have and serve as cross-pollination for gamers who enjoy watching or playing a specific genre, to check out sites and communities like Twitch, Reddit, halocouncil, solomid, dataminedout, joindota, teamliquid, you name it. No news, no streams, no ads, no bias – just eSports presented in an easy to understand, read and share project. - (as in the site doesn’t cover news and doesn’t embed streams, but of course it would link to sites that do) If you would like to contribute to this project, please answer the following questions; go into as much or little detail that you think is necessary: 1. What is eSports? 2. Describe the eSports Ecosystem, what does it look like? What is the best way to convey this to a new fan or player? Should this be included? 3. What type of resources should this project have? How deep should it go? For Example, should it list teams, are games listed, and how are those games determined? 4. How were you first introduced to competitive gaming? How did you find the resources that you use today for news, streams, teams, community, etc? 5. Lastly, what else do you think this site should have, should it be a site? The questions above were what I envisioned, but I know you guys will think up some extraordinary way to impress me, as usual. Feel free to drop me an email at robzthompson@gmail.com - Right now I’m messing around with wordpress and my amateur Photoshop skills, any help would be appreciated, but remember I want to keep this true to the scene with NO bias. Additionally, I think the most important aspect of this site will be the content, but having it look good and function well is also extremely important to me. Making ESPORTS accessible, Rob Post on Reddit Share on Twitter My Twitter
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXNoyU4VtO4 It has come to my attention that the Thief needs some serious loving. As a potential remedy to this, a few cohorts of mine sat down and punched out some preliminary findings in terms of class deficiency, and it seemed like an appropriate topic for the blog. While reading this, I would like you to cross reference what was written with what class you play, and ask yourself if there is any room for improvement in the imbalance department. ANet can't fix the problem if they don't know what's wrong. I hope you enjoyed the tournament play i posted, and I also hope you take something useful away from this redesign. Condition Removal Currently the only source of condition removal and real stealth Thieves have is Hide in Shadows. The problem is that this skill does not remove crowd control effects. Other classes have condition removal such as 10 second automatic removal passives for rangers, debuff removal for Mesmers, multiple condition removal skills including “Shake it Off” as well as a heal/condition removal for Warriors, Guardians have even more, Engineers have elixirs, Necromancers have group condition removal that isn’t their designated heal (which also removes conditions), and Elementalists have many. Thieves are strictly limited to using Hide in Shadows for condition removal. I’ll give you the average combat scenario with Hide in Shadows: 1.) Conditions put on you via on hit effects, someone uses one of many immobilize effects 2.) You enter stealth, heal goes up, conditions off 3.) You’re still immobilized, and they know that, so they keep attacking you, applying more conditions and negating most of the benefits of your heal. It might as well not be a stealth Because of this, most Thieves have defaulted to Withdrawal for the evade and heal on a 50% lower cool down, effectively making stealth and condition removal nonexistent. I’m aware that Shadow Refuge is technically a stealth, but the skill is extremely under powered as a whole, and I will touch on that later in the article. Traps 1.) Currently, traps have little to no use in PvP. The trap mechanic in the context of Guild Wars 2, forces you to use them in a defensive way. If you use a trap offensively and it misses, you’re already down one cooldown before the fight starts. Traps need to be replaced with skills that have an active impact on fast engagements, as professions in Guild Wars 2 are much more mobile than they were in Guild Wars. 2.) Am I saying defensive cooldowns are useless? No, they’re absolutely necessary. Am I saying traps are marginally less effective than they were in Guild Wars 1? Yes. There was a basic and undeniable boost in mobility from GW1 to GW2. There are separate levels of elevation and various routes of access to all of the maps that are currently in place/being tested, and traps are wasted cooldowns entirely. Proposed Changes in Class Mechanics F1: Crack Armor: Apply several stacks of vulnerability to the target, applies 10 seconds of protection to self. This helps with our survivability, and enables us to weaken a single target, making them more vulnerable to our attacks. Which is what the thief is all about. F2: Steal Weapon: Daze the target for 2 seconds. Applies Might or Fury to self and grants a class specific item just like current steal. This allows us a control option, as well as the random item. Only usable in melee range. F3: Shadow Recluse: Enter stealth for 10 seconds when not in combat, 3 when in combat. This would grant the element of surprise when out of combat, but ensure that it isn't too powerful during combat. Allows for adequate positioning and proficient gap closing without the target just waiting for you to Shadowstep to put you in the ground. F4: Shadowstep: Teleport to Target. Shadowstep would be removed from steal, and would be its own class mechanic, allowing room for a decision making process before, during, and after the Shadowstep itself. Flaws and Proposed Skill Fixes Pertaining to Mechanic Changes Shadow Refuge - Shadow refuge heals for effectively nothing, (200 or so per second in the AoE) - Gives enemies a small designated area to AoE - Doesn’t break channeled spells once you enter it - If it’s used offensively, everyone takes a few steps back and wait a few seconds for it to go away. (That’s being generous; they would really just run past you.) The skill is Suggestion: Provide a signet that grants some form of condition removal, as well as adding condition removal to withdrawal and/or immobilize removal on Hide in Shadows. The reason I’m suggesting adding both, is because there is not a single class, Thieves aside, that do not have a condition removal spell outside of their heal. -------------- Withdraw: Cool down: 15 —> 20 Seconds My only suggestion for Withdraw will remain adding bleed/burn removal. If it’s added, consider bumping the cooldown up to 20 seconds. ————————————-- Hide in Shadows: Cooldown: Same = 30 Seconds Add Immobilization removal. Utility Skill Changes ————————————— Shadow Refuge: Cooldown: From 60 —> 50 Seconds Upon entering Shadow Refuge, become stealthed. Shadow Refuge will pulse 5 times, once every 1.5 seconds. Every other pulse will remove a condition and heal for 200, starting with the SECOND pulse. Upon leaving Shadow Refuge, remain stealthed for 5 seconds, but receive no pulse benefits. Explanation: Giving people a reason to stay AND a reason to leave, presents decision, not choice. Thought provoking and mechanically sound is what we’re aiming for. “If I stay, I’m fairly safe. If I leave, I might be able to do enough damage to kill him.” —————————————- Tripwire: Cooldown: Same 30 Seconds You throw a wire around your opponent’s legs, tripping them to the ground for 2 seconds. Upon standing, the enemy gains swiftness for 3 seconds. Explanation: One thing Guild Wars 1 did better than any other MMO, was give good skills drawbacks to make you think. ANet is a smart company, and is in the business of presenting decisions. Introduce a little complexity, in contrast with the current F1 Doubletap meta. ———————————— Ambush: Cooldown: From 45—> 120 Seconds Calls in a fellow Thief on top of your target, causing you to Shadow Step back 15 feet. Explanation: Sticking with the “traps are not for GW2” theme, these are some suggestions with what I feel to be appropriate balance, having played the Thief extensively through all of the prior Beta Weekends, Stress Tests, and now Alpha. ————————————— Shadow Trap: Cooldown: From 30—> 40 Seconds Throws a blinding dust cloud on top of your enemy, teleporting you to the other side of the cloud, and blinding your enemy for 3 seconds, causing you to stealth. Explanation: Traps are wasted skills, and creating relevant abilities from the ashes will introduce new interactions, some foreseen, some not. Decisions become present here. ————————————- Needle Trap Replacement Suggestion: Signet of Death: Cooldown: 125 Seconds Passive: Removes a condition every 10 seconds, starting when the caster has a 2nd condition placed on him/her. Active: Resets all class mechanic abilites F1-F4. Signet of Death's passive is inactive during cooldown. Explanation: This gives Thieves passive condition removal, but gives us the option to sacrifice it for a long period of time if we want our class mechanics back faster. It prompts the decision of control, or survivability, and if you take control, you lose your survivability for a lengthy period of time. --------------------------------- Build of the Week! (Elementalist) : "Jack of all Trades" 20 Fire Magic 20% chance to cause burning when attacked with melee Deal 10% more damage when attuned to fire Damage at your location when attuning to fire All your fire weapon skills recharge 20% faster 20 Air Magic Move 10% faster while attuned to air Move faster the longer you are attuned to air Strike your target with a bolt of lightning when attuning to air Deal 10% more damage while attuned to air 10 Earth Magic Gain extra armor while attuned to earth Deal 5% more when within melee range of your target 10 Water Magic Regenerate health while attuned to water Remove a condition from yourself and your allies when you attune to water 10 Arcane Magic Attunement bonuses linger for 5 seconds Elemental Attunement Do not rely on condition builds to carry your team to victory. They will be fixed, and the "spammy" feeling of conditions will transitively be gone. Leave any comments, questions or concerns in the comment section below, as I would love to ascertain some perspective from outside sources on class balance. That's about it for this beta weekend. I wish you the best of luck in your future warring of guilds, and as always, fight for the user.
  4. In the aftermath of this year's EVO 2012 event, I felt the need to get back into playing more fighting games and putting together an effort to do well at tournaments. In these past several months, I have missed the feeling of practicing fighting games and going to tournaments - EVO was the kicker I needed to refuel that passion. Yesterday, while perusing Facebook and still hyped about EVO, I came across a long entry by a friend, Geoff "Vermanubis" Butterworth. He's one of the most well-known Smash players in its community, being an extremely talented and intelligent individual who also happens to be one of the best Ganondorf players in the country. What he posted spoke to me in volumes, so much that I bookmarked it and read it over and over. Now, I want to share it all with you. The following are words from Geoff, not me, and I take no credit in producing the quote. Geoff gave me permission to post this in my blog. I only want to share these words with all of you and hope it helps with your careers in competitive gaming or anything else in life. --- "In retrospect of Evo, I've been thinking about how people improve at things, and trying to dig a little deeper into why some people excel, while others get stymied. To keep it as brief as possible, I think it can be simplified to observation. For example, in my musical pursuits (I know, I create an analog between music and just about everything), I actively and manually rebuild my understanding of music so I can arrive at a conceptualization of music that's most successful for my particular application. In order to analyze songs, I needed to learn to read sheet music so I could explore the harmonies in a song a bit closer. However, I didn't and haven't been making an effort to deconstruct my current understanding of sheet music, so my sight-reading skills stay about the same. The point of this is that you can't labor away at something mindlessly and hope to breach an obstacle. I'm far more concerned with the content of the music than developing an algorithmic ability to read on sight. So, naturally, I've plateaued at my current level of sight-reading, despite reading music almost daily. If you want to excel at something, you have to greet any and all problems and weaknesses and endure the ass-pains of reconstructing particular models of thinking. Pumping in time like it's going out of style isn't going to get anyone anywhere. Time in conjunction with a cognitive effort to understand the nature of the task is what makes people do well. Think of a concept like a lump of clay. Every time you consider a new concept, such as, say, what to do in an unfamiliar match-up, it's like adding another lump of clay. To integrate that lump of clay, you need to mold it, 'cause it won't just osmose into the bigger lump by itself. This is just a pattern I've noticed in both myself and in just about everyone else. When effort is put to thinking and understanding, instead of hoping for causeless epiphanies, results invariably come." -Geoff "Vermanubis" Butterworth (Permission to post granted)
  5. Rapture

    So I'm Playing League of Legends And...

    God damn it. I really didn't want to like this game at all. I was a hardcore Starcraft 2 monster, very happy grinding my way through mid-level leagues until somehow becoming the champion of the world in 2016. And I dismissed this game rather quickly for being somewhat hard to follow at first glance and for its cartoonish style. Now that I think about it, all the hate I had for the game was probably rather illogical, but then again, hate is rarely logical. Then, at MLG Anaheim, our good friend Mr. vVv LordJerith convinced me that I should dabble more in the realm of MOBAs and MMOs. With Guild Wars 2 far out on the horizon, really my only best choice without spending any outlandish amounts of money (just purchased a ticket to DayGlow) was League of Legends. He said I'd enjoy it, and I said it was stupid. And now I really enjoy it. I honestly could go on and on about what I like about the game, so I will. First of all, it's free-to-play. All that was needed from me was a download and install. I don't know about anyone else, but free stuff is amazing, especially if the free stuff happens to be a well-made video game that's actually worth something. I mean, what better way is there to get into a competitive game than to pick one up that costs you know monetary investment? And what better way to advertise a highly-competitive title than to make it free? I can't think of one (well, I can, but they're not appropriate for all audiences [hookers]). So I decided to finally start it up and get into playing. Now, from watching LoL matches at various MLG events, I realized I probably wouldn't understand how exactly the game works until I play it, but I already had a basic idea of how games functioned - walk around, cast spells, level up, merk bitches, destroy stuff, take their base, destroy the base, enjoy victory. And, obviously excluding major and minor details, that's pretty much a summary of any game of competitive LoL ever. But once I got to playing it, I found that it was not only enjoyable, but somewhat addicting. For a new player surrounded by other new players, and some low-skill ones, I found myself doing rather well in my introductory matches after utilizing the game's tutorial. Once I figured out the basic gameplan of what a LoL player should be doing to get XP and Gold, as well as deal with enemy champions, I pretty much dominated a majority of my matches. And even in matches my team lost, I still did pretty okay and wasn't completely shut-out. I really began to enjoy the huge amount of champions to choose from. It felt like Riot played a lot of Marvel vs Capcom 2 back in their day considering how huge the roster is. With so many champions, I felt a bit more at home on the selection screen, and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of heroes that seemed enjoyable. I played several rounds with Skarner, Malphite, and Fiddlesticks thanks to them being free at the time, and enjoyed learning what they had to offer and how I could use them to play specific roles on a team, even if my team was just a random bunch of people. Eventually I got that, "one more game, one more game..." kind of feeling, to the point where I spent an entire afternoon playing and forgot to eat any sort of lunch or dinner, only being reminded by my dad that I had only ate eggs and toast earlier that day and that I was probably starving. I was - it was very easy for me to just jump into another game, talk with new people, figure out a strategy, and try to play my best. Meeting new people to play with was a lot of fun, especially after having an enjoyable time with one another in a particular lane and doing well, prompting each other to congratulate one another after every possible action and send friend requests immediately after the match. I missed that kind of interaction, one that is so desperately needed in an experience like Starcraft 2, where loneliness is very common. The one thing I didn't miss, however, were idiotic teammates. Besides the several afk people and a couple of feeders, I only had one instance where a teammate just did something so ridiculously stupid that it made me become vocally annoyed with it. It basically boiled down to when I was jumped into an emergency 2v1 situation just as one of my teammates was returning from base. I got slowed out of nowhere just as my teammate came to my side. Instead of helping me, he promptly turned right around and ran away. I almost got away with a kill, but was unable to finish one of them off. Either way, I was going to die, no thanks to my mate, who then now had a 2v1 situation of his own that he barely survived thanks to turret hugging. Wasn't happy about that. Still, I find League of Legends to be very enjoyable, which still sort of bothers me. Now that I've been playing League, I want to continue to play League, but now I feel like all the time I've put into Starcraft 2 to be genuinely good will be cast out the window if I stop putting the time in. And now with summer in full gear, I'll have a job, and I've moved down to NY for the time being to see my friends. I feel a bit overwhelmed. But then I remember that it's all just gaming and I'll get over it eventually. I do what I was meant to do. And really what I feel like I am meant to do right now is to kick ass on LoL for the bitches. Bitches love ass kicking on LoL. So yeah, I'm enjoying it. Fuck.
  6. Rapture

    Just One Thing - MLG Columbus

    MLG Columbus was awesome. Yes, I'm sure (at least, I hope) most of you know this. Many of you went, but a huge majority were left at home to enjoy the streams. I honestly could have written a huge blog about my experiences at Columbus and how awesome it was and all the stuff you probably expect and have heard before. Seriously, I could have done it, but I didn't. I'm a bit lazy, sometimes. However, weeks later, I do want to comment on the event, because there's one thing I really do need to talk about, and it's not necessarily about the event, actually. I'm taking this time to write this mostly because I'm taking a break in between Starcraft 2 practice sessions and I need to update this blog here. But don't focus on the reason, focus on the content. I learned something really important from MLG Columbus, which is the first MLG event I've attended since Meadowlands 2008. There's a stark contrast between those two events, to the point where I was actually overwhelmed at first because I just didn't expect the kind of event I was walking into. It had a great vibe to it, almost more like an event (with booths and special side-events and all of that) rather than just a tournament. It had a very E3 vibe to it, and being such a fan of E3 after attending last year's expo, I fit right in. And, of course, I enjoyed all the competition. But what I really enjoyed was finally meeting a ton of vVv Gaming members, from community gamers and competitors to the boss LordJerith himself. And even in three days (and almost a day's worth of driving total), I came to find out how important communites are in competitive gaming and how awesome this one is. Columbus certainly reminded me of how much I actually like the community. Meeting my fellow staff members, and just community members in general, all of whom provided a very warm welcome to my antics and tallness, was really awesome. I had not met any vVv members before this event, aside from Gears and CoD players at NJ Halo and former vVv member (and now at Boss.tv) Freedom, so this was quite the experience. I think people seem to forget that there are actual people behind our usernames, and this just reassured it. The entire event was a highlight – from the couple of dinners we shared as a community (one being staff members only, mind you) to drinking together while listening to the life and times of Jerry (and telling us about RobZGod as if he was RobZGod or something) to chatting with Roar and Sugarbear about SC2 to meeting high-profile people and other awesome figures like SirScoots, TheAnswerKoF, and so many more. It was all one continuous awesome memory, so much so that I can't remember a dull moment. With that said, I'm more reassured than ever than communities in competitive gaming are, and excuse my language, so god damn fucking awesome. It's what keeps people playing games by giving gamers others to connect with and play with. We can all share ideas, thoughts, opinions, content, and so much more in such a familiar venue. And, most of all, it creates the ideal family, one that may not be perfect but is always there when you need it (provided you don't act like a complete jerk off). It almost amazes me that there aren't more organizations out there copying our model. More importantly, communities generate fans. Jerry said this on The Loser's Bracket once before, but I feel it's necessarily to bring it up again. As a community, we can all cheer together for our players, and that's a great feeling. We were loud and proud when our Mortal Kombat players were destroying the bracket, hell we even got loud for our new King of Fighters player Romance (who needs to brush up on his English ) and our new Halo: Reach team, vVv Ability. And, you know what else? That certainly makes our top players feel even better when they know they'll always have a crowd behind them cheering them on. We couldn't give enough love to Daisuki, RuFF, and Glon as they broke expectations and played amazingly in the Open Bracket. We even cheered on Spike as he tried to unsuccessfully Thor rush in one of his sets. No matter where our teams or players were, we were standing right behind them, being the loudest fans and the most numerous. Now, I have to say this with all honesty, but I'm so glad to be part of vVv Gaming. There have been numerous times I've considered possibly stepping down from any position I've been in or even leaving vVv altogether (all of which mostly fueled by teenage angst or something equally as stupid or irrelevant). And, in those occasions, I knew the decision was not the right one, I felt like vVv was my home and I didn't want to leave. Well, after this event, I can safely say that not only I made the best decision to continue to stay with vVv, but also that I'm extremely grateful to be part of this community. I may not be an admin putting in hard work to keep the community afloat, but I feel like I put my own spin on things and, so far, that's worked out for me (3 years as a vVv member coming this September!). I always feel welcomed and I love (most of xD) you guys to death. Without vVv, I wouldn't have had an awesome crew to roll with throughout the weekend, a family to stay with in the hotel, a community to cheer players on with. And by being in vVv, I got awesome wisdom from Jerry and the rest of the crew. And I had tons of people to talk to about how great spending the weekend with vVv was. So, as I said, I don't have a huge warstory on my time at Columbus (maybe when I start competing in SC2!), but I did have to say this. All of you, be glad you're here on the forums, vVv member or not. Because what you're a part of is something special, something that will develop you into an even more awesome person...or, at the very least, give you something great to be part of in your spare time. Whether you're a competitor, staff member, community member, or shoutbox troll, appreciate your time here. And I'm glad to spend that time here with all of you. Sugarbear, you're gonna have to pay me my $60 son!
  7. Rapture

    SC2 Lab Sessions - Day 2

    Normally, I tend not to have a schedule when I make blog posts, but for a daily journal such as this, it's hard not to keep up with the precedent set so far. However, because there has only been one blog post before this and, as far as I'm concerned, 0 hits, who cares what the result is. I could just stop posting all together. But I guess this is more for me than anyone else. Unfortunately, I was unable to sit down last night and type this up, so I'm getting to it the following day. Most likely I'll have two of these go up on the same day, but whatever. Yesterday was a pretty busy day for me, but it didn't start out that way. After classes, I was determined to take a nap before getting to any activities that day, but my inability to dose off prevented that from happening. Instead, I decided to go for a run, which actually turned into going to the gym and working out by myself. I'm not a gym rat at all, in fact I'm rather frail and skinny because I don't work out ever and my exercise mainly came from sports (which I don't really play much of anymore in college). It'd be a bit of an understatement to say, plainly, that I'm sore today following my workout yesterday. After cooling off and showering, I made my way to the library for another lab session. Yesterday was such a beautiful day, so thankfully I was able to grab my usual seat on the 3rd floor next to the window. I opened that shit up and let the amazing breeze and clean spring air flow in. It felt pretty awesome to have the breeze coming in as I played on ladder. As I said yesterday, my goal for each day is to play a minimum of ten games before coming to a decision on either leaving the session or laddering more. Yesterday was quite not like that routine, but it certainly started off normally. My home...the Silver League. Maintaining my high Silver league status, I was put up against two Silver players, a Terran and a Zerg, both of which I lost to. I was keeping my notes from the previous day in class – don't do stupid builds, scan and scout often, don't let the opponent stabilize, etc. And, personally, I felt like I did a good job. In both games, however, I was essentially out-macroed. The first ladder match, the TvT, probably came down to an early marine/marauder push I made that dropped my army numbers much lower than they should have been, and I just could not recover. I wasn't too happy, but they weren't the worst losses in a row. But then my next two games were much easier. I got paired against two Bronze players in my following matches and one without difficulty. This bothered me a bit – the game felt confident in pairing me against Bronze players, which means it may be suggesting that that's where I belong. However, I solidly beat these players, which means while I definitely do not belong in Bronze, I cannot consistently beat Silver players in the same way I beat Bronze players, so I won't be in Gold or higher until I can do that. I quickly moved on and stopped concerning myself with the issue. In my fifth 1v1 ladder match, I got another TvT, which was certainly an odd match. The game started out simply – I began with a standard Terran opening and was essentially building up a marine/marauder/tank army that would just push out alongside an upgrade timing or something. However, my opponent had a different plan in mind. After a small bout in the middle of the map, things quieted down, until I found that he was massing tanks outside my base and was inching closer. I couldn't do much at first; walking right up to the siege line would be suicide. I had some Thors popping out, but they couldn't do much from my natural and would only get damaged if they tried to creep down the ramp. I even lost a bunker and some depots thanks to the siege line and a few scans gaining my opponent vision temporarily. Without any avenue to leave my base or expand, I was effectively pinned down, and with each passing minute my opponent's mass of tanks was growing larger. Even marines were streaming towards my base. He had all my options covered, it seems. Times a million. However, in reality, that was not the case. My opponent was so concerned with moving closer and closer to my base while picking off any outlying buildings that he could that he wasn't paying any attention at all to what was going on in my main base. With all of his scans being used up for my ramp and a small distance into my natural, he could not see that I had transitioned into starports. I plopped down tech labs on all three of my new structures and began to get the resources necessary for the newest additions to my army: three battlecruisers. Before I had begun making them, however, I had sent out a couple of medivacs and a viking to support my army and scout, respectively. Seeing that he only had his natural expansion as the only base other than his main, I took this opportunity to drop into his natural mineral line. Of course, he had no army to defend it because his whole army was sieged outside my base. He decided to send a small squad of marines, but he underestimated the power of 1/1 marines and marauders supported by two medivacs. Another squad of marines fell to my drop, but it would end up meaning very little – three battlecruisers created a large presence in my base. They inched toward my ramp, over my army, closer and closer to my opponent and...ragequit. “Victory!” my screen read, he had left the game without even a good game exerted. Obviously, once he saw that my battlecruisers existed, there was no other option. Tanks, as many of you may or may not know, cannot attack air units. Battlecruisers fly. Put 1 and 1 together. I was happy to finish my first 5 games with a 3-2 record; not the best performance, not the worst. As for now, my 1v1 ladder practice was over with. A few friends had gotten online, so we had enough to run 3v3s. And let me just say this – fuck team games. Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love team matches. They're a great way to practice macro, and it all takes place without the seriousness of 1v1 (at least for me, that is). We all shot insults at each other, scoffing at one's micro or whatever, but we had a fun time. However, it seems to me that everyone else that plays team games does not want to have a fun time. Or maybe they find just the mere mention of cheese to be really hilarious, because we got cannon rushed, 6 pooled, dark templar rushed, several times in the 6 team games we played. All of which fucked up my builds and all of which frustrated me. The team games we did win were the ones without cheese, except the final match. Another friend had logged on, though this friend was as amateur as you could get. With only 7 games under his belt within the four days he has owned the game, my friend actually didn't do that bad, except that he really wasn't adding to the team. That meant when we got into a heated match in our final game, it didn't go to well. He did good for a new player, though. I'm proud of his progress! Toxic Slums was the map for our last match, a 4v4. The match was solely Terrans and Protoss. Not an ounce of cheese was found in the first minutes (and not for the whole match, either). Finally, a regular game! The only problem with a lot of Protoss in a team game...a lot of Void Rays. For a long 47 minutes, our teams struggled for the gold expansions in the middle. One of my Protoss teammates dominated with his blink stalker/Colossi build, while I dealt damage with siege tanks and a fuckton of marines. Our armies fought each other off constantly. It seemed like there wasn't a single moment in which an engagement wasn't going on. I was dropping marines into their bases, one of my Protoss teammates had his charge zealots making rounds in the middle of the map, etc. But their armies were just as strong as ours. It seemed like it would be a game of of who can survive for the longest, as the resources on the map were getting severely diminished. The fortieth minute hit and my team found itself slowly losing map control. Reapers were hitting our outside expansions just as I quickly grabbed a far right expansion that had no activity within it. The other team was able to land a huge drop into the weakest of our teammate's base, allowing the other armies to move in through the front, and though we would hold it off for several minutes, at that moment we lost the game and could never get it back. Our buildings began to get ravaged, just as I began an ultimately unsuccessful mission to nuke enemy bases with ghosts. The only nuke that would actually get used almost connected with a small cluster of thors. They escaped with only a few feet from the explosion. I was salty. After that game, which was finished with a number of positive comments from each team on how exciting and good the match turned out to be, everyone on my team logged off. My five hour session came to a close there, as well. I ended the day with 3 wins and 2 losses in 1v1; 2 wins and 1 loss in 3v3; and 0 wins and 3 losses in 4v4 for a total of 11 games played yesterday total. Because I only played 5 1v1 games yesterday as opposed to the 10 I usually play (it's assumed that 10 games means 10 1v1 games), but I still got practice either way, even while having some fun. And I definitely learned from the session, which is good. I found mostly that what I had found yesterday was 100% correct – don't do stupid builds. When I play textbook and solid, with good marco and micro, I have a good game, even if I don't win. That goes for team games as well – I dominated in one 3v3 match thanks to my smooth transition to mass thors in the late game. With several upgrades, my glacier of steel and rocketry, so to speak, steamrolled our opponents with little effort needed. And, obviously, I play better when I'm not getting cannon rushed or dark templar rushed, either. Tonight should be a good day for Starcraft. My dad is picking me up in the afternoon after my classes and his doctor's appointment. I'll eat lunch, try to catch a nap, watch some television, etc. But eventually I'll log in and, hopefully, I'll be playing for a very long time into the late hours of the night. I'll be taking this opportunity to better myself and get much more experience with the ton of games I plan to play. It'll be quite the lab session.
  8. Rapture

    SC2 Lab Sessions - Day 1

    (Original post date - 3/7/12) I've decided to post up the first of my practice journal, SC2 Lab Sessions. Though I've been practicing Starcraft 2 for a couple of months now, today is the first day I'll be going over my day. I feel like recapping what I did today will help me with practice and keep things in perspective. Hopefully some analysis will help me with future matches. Of course, it's sort of weird to just say, “HEY DIARY I PLAYED SOME STARCRAFT TODAY AND AND AND” and it's equally as weird to simply post on a blog about it, so let me give you some context. My goal is to become a top Starcraft 2 player. Being a freshman in college, it's surprising that I have a lot of free time, but I do. With it, I try to get in several hours of ladder play a day. If I miss a day, I go harder the next day. I am coached by a friend, I practice with peers, and I go over tons of replays, including my own. Today was another “lab session”, in which I sit down either in my room, at the library, wherever I feel like I can concentrate and play, and get to grinding. Currently, I'm a high-ranked Silver league Terran. I'm pretty booty. But I'm trying to get better! Usually what I like to do is to play at least ten games of SC2 a day. Once I've played them, I decide whether or not I have the time and/or will to continue forward. In a several hour session today, I got in 11 games. However, there were several games that lasted very long, so it seems skewed. In the amount of time I played today, I could have probably hit 15+ matches, but I digress. Here were the stats: 11 games played 4 wins 7 losses Longest win streak – 3 wins Longest loss streak – 7 losses The day started out pretty well, as I clocked in a solid victory in a TvP Shattered Temple match. It lasted for only twenty minutes, it was a great warm-up game. However, it didn't prepare me for my next seven games, all of which I would lose. Some were close, some were atrociously bad on my end. Ultimately, what mattered was that I knew I had a lot of work to do. What struck me was odd was my terrible TvZ play. The TvZ match-up had been pretty good for me earlier in the week as I began to figure out ways to deal with banelings and infestors, two units that were giving me a lot of trouble when I entered the Silver league. However, they weren't necessarily the problem this time around. Three games in a row, I found myself the victim of early game roach all-ins. As hard as I tried, I just could not keep up with the production of marines to keep them out of my base so I could stabilize. Bunkers didn't work, more marines didn't work, and I couldn't get tanks out in time. I felt at a loss. Fuckin' roaches... I began to analyze how I was playing. I went back to the replays and looked at what I had done, and I tried my best to figure out what it was that was going wrong. Still, it would take an outside party to help me out. I ended up asking a friend for help with the roaches, and I was told that marauders were a good solution to the roach pushes, except I'd have to get my second gas a bit earlier to maintain marauder production. I was really happy with learning this, despite not actually having any more TvZ problems after that streak because I had no more roach all-ins against me after I asked my friend how to deal with them. I felt a bit of improvement, mostly in my knowledge. But then I learned, the hard way and once again, that I still was not the most knowledgable in build orders. My coach, and many others, have told me how doing a simple build until Platinum league, while working on my macro, will make me a better player and only after then should I get into specific builds. Nevertheless, I still have the urge to try different builds, and I do. Sometimes I go more mech heavy, others I push harder with marines, still others I try a strong 1/1/1 or something like that. I like to mix it up, and it does work if I play well. However, when sometimes I lose because I'm not playing well, others it's because I am simply an idiot. In one particular game, I got a TvT match-up with close spawns. Thinking I was smart, I decided to go with reaper aggression while expanding and pumping out marines. However, I know absolutely nothing about reaper builds and the timings behind them, so by the time I had about 4-5 reapers (which you don't need that many of, by the way), his army was ready to defend it and large enough to clean it up quickly. He then realized I had a small army and home, so he walked over, squatted over my face, and took a dump. I had to gg my way out of there. So far, I was getting discouraged. The losses were piling up and I felt like I should just get off before I began to tilt. Finally, I got another TvZ pairing, and while I wasn't subject to a roach all-in, I had a long battle ahead of me. That was certainly not what I wanted – dealing with a maxed Zerg army can get difficult if the Zerg is maintaining a strong economy. My harassment skills are just not what they should be, so the Zerg was able to keep his economy strong and his army stronger. There's a chance I could have won the fight, but I'll never know, and that's because my army micro, particularly when I have my units clumped onto each other, is terrible. My tanks were sieged, my marines stood before them, my thors in the mix, medivacs flying above, and 4/5ths of my ground army was washed away as banelings rolled in. Unable to micro effectively, my army literally disappeared before my eyes. If I had taken the banelings out, his army would have been toast. But I didn't. My lack of micro was splash-damage heaven. Don't encourage the banelings, Husky! I realized that I need to be more precise and do those actions when I'm in a conflict like that. My multitasking and microing has gotten better, but I still know it's a problem. Things like that, though, are inexcusable. I should have scanned to know exactly where his army was, sieged up, and split my army so I could avoid as much splash damage as possible. Eventually, I lost my 7th game in a row. But I wasn't done yet. Shakuras Plateau was the map of choice, TvP was the match-up, and I found myself in another match. I was determined to win this one (against an opponent named SHEEK, cool name?), no matter the cost. Lately, I've found that I've been doing a much better job of taking out expansions, and that's exactly how I won this match. As our Terran and Protoss armies got close to maxing, with all tiers of units being represented, I decided to make my way to his farthest right expansion (he had four bases at this time) as I expanded to my third base. Sieging tanks up, I took out pylons while he oddly advanced into the tanks. He also had Archons, for some reason not using High Templars, and ultimately I was able to hold it off, but just barely. His Dark Templar harassment was shut down very effectively, as were his drops. I definitely learned a bit about the drops just by how I handled them, very proud of myself! After retreating a bit and bringing my army back in numbers, I hit the same expansion again, fully taking it out this time. Raging, my opponent began to curse me out and simply gg'd, giving me the win without me even stepping foot in his natural expansion or main base. Granted, my ground army had 3/3 upgrades and my air units getting close to it, and I was on a gold mineral expansion with bunkers churning out marines, but at least he could have invited me into his natural for a house warming. Needless to say, I was happy, and after that I got another win on Metalopolis. Ten games down. I decided to stay in the library for one more game. I wouldn't leave for another hour. You see, it was a long struggle in a TvT match-up, but a rather uneventful one. Our armies maxed out, fought in small battles a few times, but nothing actually happened until the half hour mark, when I began to push out toward the middle of the map after he successfully took out my third expansion. He probably got excited, seeing as my main and natural were getting close to empty in terms of minerals. However, I had expanded to a fourth and fifth base on another corner of the map, giving me much more of a steady income. And once I was able to push through to his expansions, using the siege tanks I had to keep his army away from my thors, his income literally stopped. However, he was able to get another base going, and while I pumped out marines and was at max, as well as repairing my thors and tanks, he tried to max his army, as well. He got close to putting the gap a 50 supply. His army may have eventually matched mine, but after baiting him a bit with marines, he got edgy. Then I dropped into his natural to take out gas-mining SCVs and some buildings, prompting him to take all of his marines to stop this. This is when I moved closer to his sieged tanks. For some reason, just as I sieged up, he un-sieged and moved in, getting dealt tons of damage before he actually attacked. By the time his entire mass of marines raced back to help, it was too late. I had 6 more thors on the way and about two dozens marines marching closer and closer. Without so much as a good game, he left and the victory was mine. Ultimately, while my record became worse, I learned a lot from this session. Here's what I learned: 1) Roach all-ins are very effective if you're not prepared to deal with it in the early game. Scouting for a roach warren and seeing little gas being taken can help find a roach all-in before it happens. Marauders mixed in with marines are a good option in holding off these kinds of attacks. 2) Don't try builds you don't know, stick with what you know. 3) Don't build too many reapers if you plan to harass with them, and actually have an army being built, or make your economy stronger, while making reapers so you can hold off a counter-attack if need be. 4) Microing large armies is key. Do not keep your units bunched up against banelines. Use stimpack to get out of there if need be, and don't clump up large mech units next to each other. 5) Scan and scout often. Make sure you know of all transitions, tech, upgrades, everything. 6) Don't let the opponent stabilize. Constantly make sure you know what is going on after you deal a large blow to the enemy. Keep the pressure on, keep the attack on (if you can) so that way the opponent doesn't bring it back. Don't blow opportunities to deal a game-winning knock-out. Knowing these things, hopefully I'll do better tomorrow. I definitely felt like today's session was a good one. I learned a lot, even though I lost a lot. Winning is good, but you learn more when you are defeated. Until I'm the perfect SC2 player (which I will be, curse you DRG!), I will always have more to learn. That's how it goes. Tomorrow, there's more SC2 to play. Fuck yeah.
  9. Rapture

    Does Smash Need Rule Changes?

    Apex 2012, one of the competitive Super Smash Bros community's biggest events ever, was supposed to bring back the hype and excitement that, according to many community members, had left the scene over the past couple of years. It certainly did just that – the event brought in over 700 unique Super Smash Bros Brawl and Super Smash Bros Melee players, as well as several hundred more individuals that entered Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros (for the Nintendo 64), and Pokemon. However, what Apex 2012 also did was cast a shadow of doubt across both of the major Smash communities. For Melee, this was due to the grand finals of the Melee singles competition. In the final match-up between two of the best players the game has ever seen, Armada of Sweden and Hungrybox of Florida, what was hoped to be a chaotic showdown of skill and merit became a slow match that progressed for more than an hour, an excruciating amount of time for any game that isn't Starcraft 2, League of Legends, or games of that nature. The hype was certainly there. This was because Hungrybox used Jigglypuff – while this isn't usually a problem, it was for Armada, who's character (Peach) has trouble dealing with Jigglypuff. Thus, Armada switched to Young Link, a projectile-based character, for grand finals, turning a hype match into a morbidly slow camp fest that lasted way too long than it should have. On the other hand, the Brawl community didn't have a problem with one particular match, but the result of the entire tournament itself. Some foreground: Apex 2012 marked the beginning of the end for the best character in Brawl, Metaknight. As of the end of the event, the American community banned the character from all tournaments using the “Unity Ruleset.” Any tournament part of that movement can not have Metaknight legal during competition, though non-Unity tournaments can still have the character legal if they so choose. Going into Apex, this didn't seem to be a problem. The pro-ban group was strong and growing in numbers, but then Apex came to a close with the 1st and 2nd place finishers being Japanese players. In Japan, the rule set is much different from the one found in the United States (heck, even the ones found in other parts of the world, as well). In Japan, Metaknight is legal, but also the timer is longer and most stages are banned from competitive play (on the other hand, the US allows over a dozen stages to be played on in some areas). The American community, seeing Japan's proficiency in the game, has now somewhat turned on its heel. Many players are now supporting the anti-ban movement, even some going as far as to advocate the US picking up the Japanese rule set for all tournaments, especially because many American players are now interested in attending Sun Rise, a tournament in Tokyo this August. The players definitely want to be prepared, no matter what it takes. Ocean was one of the many Japanese players to take down American greats like Mew2King. For Melee, some are advocating change to avoid slow game play For Brawl, players want to see change to stand up to the apparently superior Japanese players. But which side is right? Melee is certainly in a tough position here, especially because, besides from the grand finals, the entire tournament ran smoothly and matches were completed on time without any hassle. Grand finals seemed to be just a fluke. Though it is certainly reasonable that lowering the amount of lives, or “stocks”, each character has in a round (competitive Melee currently allots four stocks to each player per game) could create a better competitive experience, it doesn't seem like one match is enough proof to change a system that has been in place for around ten years or so. Then there's Brawl. Obviously if Nairo, the fifteen year-old Metaknight player from New Jersey who placed third in singles, had beaten out the top two Japanese players and took first place, there wouldn't be any discussion of unbanning Metaknight and mirroring the Japanese rule set But what happened, happened, and many players are certainly not ignoring this issue. It's certainly not a guarantee that non-Japanese players will get better just by adopting a new rule set or keeping Metaknight legal. And considering the American community just banned Metaknight, unbanning him immediately without properly evaluating how his ban would change the metagame of Brawl would be a very knee-jerk move. While it seems like the Melee community may not make any changes at all, attempts to change things are certainly breaking the surface in the Brawl community. Whether these changes become concrete within the next few months or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is this – the Melee community has been around for around ten years and will do anything to keep itself alive. And the Brawl community will do whatever it takes to grow and avoid becoming stale, and the American Brawlers specifically will pay any cost to take out the Japanese on their home turf. With that in mind, the games we play competitively may be drastically different in the next year or even in less time. And not many are completely sure if the routes being taken are the right ones to explore. Images courtesy of Robert Paul. Check out his Apex 2012 gallery at: http://robertpaul.smugmug.com/Events/APEX-2012
  10. Dark Chaosemail

    Why Skill and Achievement is not Enough

    Well, look at you Mr./Mrs. competitive gamer, you
  11. Dark Chaosemail

    Sex, Lies and Videogames

    The internet and videogames can be dangerous places. Well, for the young, naive, and hell, the good ol
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