Thursday, August 1, 2013

Silver Lining

My provisional time in League of Legends has come to an end. I played my ten games. I believe I won six of them. I wasn't sure what to expect because I wasn't really keeping track of anything. I'm just out there to have fun. So color me surprised to have come up with a Silver III initial rating. I'm in Sion's Brigade or something like that.

I'm not exactly sure what the rankings mean, so maybe that's really awful. I figure it's better than Bronze though, right? Does it go Bronze (numbers), Silver (numbers), Gold (numbers)... and then I think there's like Platinum and stuff. Or, does it go Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc of the same number and then bump up? If it's that second one, then the III probably means I suck. It's not like it matters all that much. I'm pretty sure I'm a ways away from any MLG tournaments in any case.

My first foray into Silver level play wasn't exactly cheery. The team I was on never gelled, and we lost bottom right away, which led to bickering. Most of the time, I'm playing Morgana because she's basically my "main" and I think the champion is fairly flexible. I can solo top or mid, and I can build her to support. This means I can cover any lane. I just can't jungle.

In this case, I was assigned to the top lane against Vladimir. Afterward, Vlad's summoner apologized for being a part of the "most boring lane ever." It was pretty much a standoff between the two of us. I dodged his jungler's attempts to gank me. My jungler never made it up my way. The entire game was played in the other lanes and then it was a surrender at 20.

It was sort of funny to watch everyone else bicker when you're doing just fine in your lane. It was boring because neither of us were gaining a clear edge on each other, so it wasn't like I could help. Finally, when we were pretty sunk, I abandoned my outer turret to go support where I could. It was far too little too late.

Post game, I got a friend request from one of the team members. I thought maybe the individual was going to compliment calm demeanor (I didn't say anything disparaging!), or maybe just complain about the other team members. Instead, he/she/it decided to berate my being. Not my play, mind you, but my existence. Classic harassment stuff. Are people even offended by this anymore? It's just so silly, and there's an "ignore" button. None of it was even particularly clever or offensive. I mean they didn't go racist or sexist or any of the things you might normally expect. Just stuff about how I should never have been born.

I wonder what the reply would have been if I'd have confessed that, yes, I was premature and almost died at birth, so it was a very close thing. I'm sure this person would have been thoroughly appreciative of the fragility of life. Certainly.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trying To Get Ranked

My little MMO project I mentioned last time is not going as planned. We only can work out maybe one night a week to try to play. The previous week we had technical difficulties, and this week my friend was sick. We have, however, settled on a game. We're going to give Neverwinter a try. Consensus is that it may be the best for leisurely questing.

On the solo side of things, I was finally able to cap my summoner in the League of Legends. Level 30 opens me to the "end game" that is Ranked Play. Apparently, you need to own at least 16 champions in order to participate in ranked games. So I had to purchase a smorgasbord of champions to fill up my stable. I was glad I'd been playing ARAM, as I had a bunch I knew that I sort of enjoyed. I also picked up a few of the cheap ones that weren't awful.

As fate would have it, the very first ranked game I queue up for, I end up being the captain. This means I'm responsible for banning three champions in order to prevent "OP" characters from being used. I have to admit, I was completely out of my element. I know what I like to play, but I have no concept of what is "OP." In my opinion, it depends a whole bunch on the person playing the champion.

So, I asked, "Thoughts on banning?" There were a few minor squabbles, but I got good recs from the team. We lost that first game, but no one whined about "why didn't you ban so and so?" Communication saves the day, right?

The second ranked game I played, I was picked Captain again. Go figure. Again I asked. Again I got good recs (though by this time I was starting to recognize the "trendy" things to do). We won this game, and all was right in the League.

The third game, I was finally out of the hot seat. We won that, too. So I'm sitting 2-1, 7 games to go before I'm fully qualified to be ranked. (I think it takes 10, right?)

I like asking the team, even if already know who you want to ban. It promotes communication and can help a team get off the ground. It doesn't always work, and there will always be asshats, but I don't think it can really hurt. Haters gon' hate, whether or not you are polite and ask them for help.

For the curious, so far I've only been playing Morgana in my ranked games. I'm best with her, she's incredibly flexible (mid, support, apc are all viable roles... even sort of tanky), and no one has been banning her. I've been positive in my k/d/a ratio so far, so I think that's pretty solid. Even in the loss, I was the sole bright spot!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How Are Gamers Born In The Wild?

I may have more to write about in the days to come. I know you're all excited. A friend and I are going to try to start playing an MMO together. She wants it to be "like WoW," but F2P. And is has to run on her old laptop with an Intel Mobile R965 graphics chipset. I mention that second bit because we were originally going to try Rift, but it wouldn't run. I was surprised. I hadn't even thought to check on her specs.

Looking into, it seems that most other F2P MMOs will run, but not necessarily run well. Also, when pressed for more criteria than "like WoW," I didn't get anything really that narrowed the list. I think we're looking for a good duo questing experience. Any ideas?

Going back to Aion or SWTOR are both on my list. Maybe dabbling in LOTRO or DDO. Rift is out. WoW is out (by virtue of being sub). She wasn't interested in Sci-Fi (TOR got a pass because it's more like fantasy Sci-Fi) or urban fantasy settings. We're talking regular old fantasy. She said she liked that "you could be all kinds of different people." I asked, "You mean, like classes? They all have that."

I was attempting to be less than patronized, but I'm pretty sure I missed my mark. Any of you have experience trying to game with, basically, a non-gamer? What would be fun for casual play? How does one birth a gamer in the wild?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Almost There!

As I mentioned in my last post, many moons ago, League of Legends has been infringing upon my time. I've found myself sucked into the game again, and possessing a deep desire to hit 30 and start playing some ranked games. I credit the ARAM game mode with rekindling my desire. With the main game modes, I always felt pressured to pick champions that I knew. I didn't want to be a drag on the team.

With ARAM, you don't usually get five people who are all-stars, even at my level (29). There's a basic competence to the game, but depending on the luck of the roll, you're not always getting someone's favorite champion. It makes a world of difference, as it provides some room for safe experimentation. I've branched out and purchased several more champions as a result.

Master Yi was one of my first ancillary purchases. Odd because I'm almost exclusively a ranged player. Melee just doesn't feel right to me. AP Yi, however, is played like guerrilla-style. It's very hit and run, and THAT I can get into. I don't have to stay in there and hack away. Rather, quick strike, and then disappear into the weeds.

Along those same lines, I picked up Akali. She's got an energy (instead of mana) bar, and her ultimate stores "charges." She's listed as an assassin, which apparently means "swoop in and rip your face off with kama." Then, again, disappear into the weeds.

Sensing a theme? I apparently like chilling in the weeds. I'm just not a full-frontal kind of guy it seems. (Giggity?)

Anyway, I'm on my last level, approaching 30 fast. I'm having a blast with the game and my respect for Riot has been renewed. Not every champion is a flat-out winner, but there are so many different playstyles available. It's crazy. And it's mostly balanced. Sure you get some that maybe play easier than others, or seem to be favorites. But I've yet to run up against a champion that is just blatantly over powered. We whine about a few, but there always seems to be a counter. It's like a giant game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, and I love it.

For a while I'd been playing only paper. Now I'm discovering scissors can be fun. Heck, with ARAM, even rock isn't half bad. If the random generator throws me a tank, well hell! I'll build tank.

I wonder how I'll feel once I start actual ranked games...

Monday, June 17, 2013

What's Up With All The Spam?

I've been very quiet, I know. Not much going on. Debating picking up one of the F2P MMO's with several friends. We've not decided on particulars yet. Otherwise, I'm playing a lot of League of Legends. I'm thoroughly enjoying the ARAM game style. Sort of a quick "hop in" for a half hour. I like being randomly forced to play someone that I own or the freebies. Left to my own devices, I'd just choose the same champions over and over. I feel like it's hard to be competitive and learn at the same time, but when everyone else is random, it makes things a little easier.

In other news, I'm getting a crap-ton of spam on the blog. Sorry if any sneaks through. I wonder if its because I've not been as active. If it gets too crazy, I may have to turn off commenting. I really don't want to do that, but it's not like I'm provoking a lot of discussion. If you do happen to stop in and find commenting off, feel free to email me!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Purple = Epic

I had to repost this article from Elk, because it's just plain awesome. An all 'lock raid. Warms my sharded soul.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back To The League

I felt compelled to pop back into League of Legends over the weekend. It seems to be one of those games for me that I'll play pretty compulsively for a week or so, then get tired of it and drift away, only to come back a month later. I hesitate to even use the words "get tired," since it's not boredom so much as just "losing the shine." I consider it a good thing that, a month or so later, it apparently shines back up for me. I'm not sure what you call this on-again-off-again relationship with a game, but I would say it's uncommon for me. Generally, I'm a play-through kind of guy. Focus in, beat the game, and then move on.

LoL is unique in that it quenches both a desire to "level" and the urge to PvP. I like that I can pick it back up again and have new stuff, but also not feel completely out of practice. In short, it's a great game to play casually for an extended period of time. You don't really ever fall behind like in an MMO (though you may need to shake some initial rust off), and it doesn't require a whole lot of what I'll call "controller re-acclimation" like an FPS (soooo frustrating not to be able to headshot like you used to, amirite?).

Anyway, popped back in to find a new ARAM map. Now, if you're a casual player like me, you'll have to look up to learn ARAM stands for "All Random All Middle." Apparently, this was a custom game setting that was popular enough to have a special map created. I have to say, I'm finding the game mode rather fun. It really emphasizes team play, and puts you behind the controls of an (often) unfamiliar champion. The result is that play is just a little bit sloppy from time to time, and if you're quick to learn, you can gain an advantage.

To me, it feels like a fast-forwarded normal mode game. That is, we're just going to skip the early level-up game and jump straight to team battles. Makes things a little shorted without feeling totally frenetic. It also takes away a lot of the "sneaky" strategies, as this is pure frontal assault across a bridge. Not a whole lot of room to hide or strike and escape.

I feel like the ARAM mode is a great place to try out new champions. You don't get to pick, sure, but not-knowing how a champion plays isn't a complete disadvantage here. It's a different kind of challenge that might lead me to adding a few more champions to my regular rotation.

Yesterday I got stuck with Soraka. Basically, she's a healer/support (though you can build a variety of ways, I'm sure). Regular readers probably know... healing is not my default setting. Because it was random and my team was depending on me, however, I went with it. I healed the crap out of everyone and well full-on support build. It was great. There is no place to heal in the ARAM map, so having a healer is huge. I think we were up like 10-0 before I'd blinked an eye.

I may pick up Soraka if she goes on sale. Might be nice to have a support healer for team play. And playing a healer wasn't as bad as I'd feared. It's not like in WoW where you have to spam heals and hope for the best. You have to be able to juggle some offensive support as well, since things are going to be on cooldown. It was a fun little change-up, which I suspect is why the ARAM game mode has become so popular.

If you're like me and haven't popped into LoL in a while, maybe check it out. It is, after all, free to play.