In a slump lately...

Looking over the ~40 games I have bought or linked into my Steam library I don't feel compelled to play any of them, and I'm trying to figure out why, exactly. Over time I've broken down what compels me to play games and at the top of the list seems to be the social component. Not social in the facebook and Twitter sense, but social like sharing game experiences with friends, just talking about how awesome games you've played are, and playing co-op with them. The problem now is most of my friends I used to do that with have sort of drifted off to go their own way after we graduated high school. Between then and now I've had League of Legends to keep my needs more than satisfied, but I've played it for almost 2 years now and I feel it's time to move on.

It's not an easy thing to fix. I've been trying to think of ways to get involved in the community such as starting a blog about games I've been playing or writing reviews of games (neither of which are great ideas since writing isn't my forte) to sort of motivate me to play games again. And even that sounds odd to me. Should I need something like that to motivate me to play games? I should play them because they're fun, right? I shouldn't need any outside push to want to jump into a game and have some fun, right? Solving this problem is part of why I've returned from my Giant Bomb hiatus I had been on for far too long.

Part of the issue lies in the fact that I've essentially moved entirely onto PC as my gaming platform which took away the thing that easily kept me going even back when I would talk about games with my friends: achievements. Actually my first blog post on GB almost 2 years ago is about them which was a bit funny to go back and read. That blog post is almost perfect foreshadowing to this post I'm writing at the moment, but back then I was complaining and the present problem hadn't even developed yet. If only I knew...

So what's the best course of action here? Has anyone gone through anything similar?

Also, for someone who has been absent from GB for about a year: What are the most important things I've missed? Business as usual for the last year or has any exciting stuff happened?

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Faceroll LoL Champs

You could ask every one of my usual teammates if I rage about champions being OP and they would tell you the opposite. We have our 1 or 2 on the usual team that take care of that for me almost every game, but I don't make comments unless I mean what I say. I'd like to say that I understand how the game works in most areas, so even when one of my teammates dies due to doing something stupid, I will, regardless of sounding like an asshole or a traitor as I am commonly referred to in these situations, explain to them in the easiest and shortest way possible why what just happened to them was not complete bullshit. 
 
There are, however, a few champs that I feel are... imbalanced. Perhaps not in the way everyone might assume, but in the amount of skill it takes to carry out the rape and destruction they leave in their wake. If you're good with a champion and don't make dumb mistakes you should do well, if not break even with the other team. But, there are several champions that take a minimal amount of skill to destroy people with.  
 
I will only mention a few, here, but there aren't many more than what I include; I'm trying not to just whine about them all.
 
Annie and Kassadin fit the same slot in my theory. They can nuke you at a moment's notice if you get caught somewhere you shouldn't be or during a teamfight. Kassadin gets a bit of a trade-off with a large chunk of his would-be nuke designated as a short-cooldown repeating flash that's absolutely lovely for escaping! One of my routine comments to allies is "Well, he wouldn't be OP if he wasn't fed for the first half of the game." They, of course, agree because that's exactly right, but it's the ease at which they get fed compared to other champs that ticks me off.  They prey on the weak and stupid teammates I get queued with.
 
Master Yi and Tryndamere are in the other slot. Yi is first because I have something slightly different to say about Trynd, who doesn't fit my theory, but I still need to address him. Yi, especially a jungling Yi, is rediculous. Sure, you can stun him to stop him from getting too crazy later on in teamfights, but a smart Yi player will wait until things settle down, whether his own team is winning or losing the fight, then come in and try to clean up the rest. He is a fantastic farmer, so even if your team is losing, he can farm his way to victory using his ult/sometimes ghostblade to escape any danger until it's safe to farm again. The fact that he can almost take down towers faster than you can teleport to them is, in and of itself, completely imbalanced. I don't care what explanation anyone has for it, that should not happen. You may be able to buy some thronmail to deter a fed Yi, but, if he is smart, he can make all of that gold spent on it wasted by going for towers. You can't buy armor for towers and they die fast. The fact that he doesn't have to be doing well in kills to accomplish this is, to say the least, infuriating. The only hope your team has of winning when he is at that point is pushing mid and hoping for the best, but to ensure you pushing faster than he is, it makes sense to leave one person behind that may or may not survive him, making it a 4v4 push mid which still isn't a guaranteed victory. 
 
Now, on to Tryndamere. Granted, he's not easy to play so he doesn't fit the theory, but if you do alright with him until you finish a decent build... I shudder at the very thought. In my opinion, Teemo sucks as a champion and is only good for his mushrooms, but if someone were to play him and he got anywhere near said Tryndamere, he could potentially get- are you ready for this? --> 3-SHOTTED <-- That's right, folks. Three hits from Trynd and he is 6 feet under. I've seen it happen before and I fail to understand how that's even possible.
 
This will sound very egotistical of me, but usually it's the rest of the team that feeds them. I can't count the amount of games where I've gone 5+ kills with 0 deaths during the laning phase, and as soon as that door slams shut and the next phase begins our team just gets destroyed because they couldn't handle their lanes. There are bad lane combinations. I realize that and have dealt with it plenty, but if that's the case then you either ask to switch or be extremely cautious. I've 2v1'd with Rammus before a few times so anyone who says they can't be cautious needs to rethink their playstyle for at least that single match. I have my bad games. I'm not perfect, and doing well may have something to do with the fact that I main Lux, the uber-ranged slut of Demacia, but some people are just bad. 
 
I should probably just find a nice 5 man premade and STFU so I don't queue with complete retards, but that's not always possible :(   I could find a solution to every problem I mentioned (except Yi), but that doesn't help when you have teammates who are just plain bad. A team is a team for a reason, so even if you do what you're meant to do, allies won't always follow suit.
 
I probably wrote way too much, but I don't do blogs very often so forgive me : )

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Medal of Honor - Beta Impressions

Disclaimer: I've never played Bad Company 2, or any other battlefield game, and thought I should mention it due to so many people drawing comparisons between that and this beta. 
 
I knew the beta for non-VIPs didn't start until tomorrow, but I thought I'd give it a shot, and to my surprise, I got right in on the PC thanks to EA's little CNC4 beta key exploit. Loaded up a quickmatch, and got stuck in the Kabul City Ruins map with a couple other people with a banner across the top of the screen that says, "Waiting for 4 players," as I'm sure some of you've already seen. After about 5 minutes of running around pointlessly, I decided to try the server option instead. There, I found a list of servers that would become invisible when I tried to scroll through the list, forcing me to choose from the first page of them. That was perfectly OK though, because they were the only ones with more than 1 or 2 players.   
         

 Sweet satisfaction!
 
Got into a game on Helmand Valley, and immediately got shot when I spawned. "Great start!" I thought to myself. I noticed that happening a few times during other matches, and while I like the option to spawn right into the heart of the action, it can be a little frustrating at times. I've heard people complain about the lack of kickback on the guns, and while I see their point, I thought it was great. The overall feel of the movement and shooting feels really satisfying, and the lack of kickback just makes it better, in my opinion. I've always had a thing for satisfying kills, which is why I love MW2's little "+XP" that shows up when you kill someone. This was even better. While it may not seem like an important point, I thought the XP indicators that pop up when you get a kill are really great. Especially when you get a kill that comes with extra XP for a headshot, defensive kill, etc.             

  
 Not exactly...
I've always preferred shooters on consoles, so I decided to plug in my 360 gamepad, and try it out. Turns out the right analog stick has such a high sensitivity, regardless of the sensitivity setting under the options menu, that even slightly touching it causes the camera to spin at an extremely high speed. I did some searching, and found that other people have been having this issue as well with no known solution, so I used Xpadder to replace the mouse movement with the right analog stick. Worked fine, but I obviously noticed the lack of precision I was getting with the mouse. This led to me attempting to play with the gamepad in my left hand using the left analog for movement, RB for reloading, and left trigger for crouch, and the mouse for aiming. It's a weird way to play the game, but it worked perfectly! I enjoyed it much more, and did better, when I was playing this way. Just try it! I think many people would be pleasantly surprised, if not just surprised at the fact that it's at all playable. 
 
I'd say, regardless of it's similarities to MW2 and Bad Company 2, it's a really solid experience. I don't play a ton of PC shooters, but the amount of posts in other forums I've seen where one person after another is cancelling their pre-order really puzzles me. I'm definitely going to play a ton more of it before it ends, and I know I'll end up buying it when it's released. That only question now is, which platform? Before I played the beta, if you would've asked me which version I'd be getting, I'd have definitely said the 360 version, but after playing with my convoluted gamepad/mouse method, I'm starting to have second thoughts!
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It's just not doin' it for me...

First off, let me say one thing: I LOVE ME SOME ZOMBAES! I have always liked anything having to do with zombies, and played CoD:WaW's Nazi Zombie mode obsessively for a long while. I just think they're awesome. But, enough of that, no point in going on about something everyone knows to be true. Left 4 Dead 2: a game I should like. Everything about it screams enjoyment for a person like me. Tons of zombies, cool weapons, fun co-op. But... It just doesn't work for me... A lot of people say it's awesome, and it makes me want to go try it again (especially when they were talking about it on the recent Bombcast). And, every time I do, I'm disappointed. This isn't a rant on how L4D2 is the worst game in the world, but I am trying to figure out just why I can't enjoy it like most do. 
 
Let me get the mechanical issues I have with it, rather than my personal preferences, out of the way. There's no aim mode other than the, always on hip-fire mode. This makes shots less accurate, and I just think it would make it more satisfying when you do blow a zombie away with a well placed shot. Second, when you're being swarmed by zombies, even if they're only coming from one direction, you can't run away from them without knocking back or shooting all them first. What I always felt myself wanting to do, was run away from them, to then turn around and spray some bullets into the masses from a relatively long distance. And lastly, the specials. When you're doing pretty well on a mission, and you get to a section like when you have to fuel up the car to escape, then the game decides to throw 5 special infected at you, one after another, just as almost all the cans are done, it really sucks. You just escape from the charger's clutches, to be rammed by a tank instantly. It's just plain frustrating, and sometimes you don't have any chance to defend yourself. 
 
Onto the things that are keeping me, personally, from enjoying it. The shooting. I find myself comparing most of this game to Nazi Zombies, and while it is different, the shooting in NZ is just soooo nice. It feels like it packs a real punch, and the zombies react appropriately. In L4D2, it's just not the same. Seemingly random limbs will pop off of their bodies when you fire at them, and they don't get knocked back at all with some shots. It all just seems like it was the cheapest reaction they could come up with and decided to stick it in there. Each and every zombie in NZ has a weight to it when you blast it away. The ones in L4D just feel like they have no substance to them. Even the iPhone version of NZ feels more satisfying (if you completely ignore the controls). Also, the movement feels floaty. It has a momentum to it, albeit a small amount, that makes it seem imprecise. I just don't prefer that type of control over my character, especially in an FPS. One more thing, purely a personal preference. Fast zombies. I am all for it in a movie like 28 Days Later, but when I'm trying to shoot them, I want slow moving ones similar to in NZ. They're 1000x better. The speed has to level off somewhere at the speed of the fastest zombies in NZ to be perfect.
 
So, that's all I have for now, and I guess that sums up my problems with it. I liken it to my love for ketchup on almost everything, but absolute hate tomatoes in any other form. I WANT TO LIKE IT DAMMIT! I just don't understand how so many people like it so much. Let the disagreements/insults commence!    

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Things I Hate

Some things been pissin' me off lately, and I'm bored right now, so here is a list of things that do just that: 

  • Disney channel shows
  • People who think they're awesome for shopping at Hollister/Aeropostale/Abercrombie/(insert other expensive store)
  • Screamo music
  • Homework
  • When something catches on to and rips the headphones out of my ears
  • Gravity
  • Being sick
  • My own shyness
  • Cold weather
  • Getting up in the morning
  • Local news channels
  • When my hair gets long
  • MW2 multiplayer
  • When clothes don't fit right
  • Spiders
 
Can't think of anything else atm, but I'm sure there's plenty more. What pisses you off?
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Achievementitis!

I have a problem. That's the first step, right? Admitting it? I have been infected with achievementitis. Whenever I see a game that I might be interested in playing, the first thing I check is whether or not it has achievements. If it doesn't, I don't look much further into it unless it looked particularly impressive. There are probably been a gazillion other posts like this one, but I need to get this off my chest.

I've thought about this for a bit now, and I think it stems from a sense of accomplishment. I want to know, x number of days or weeks down the road, that I finished something. I guess it doesn't have to be Xbox Live achievements, ie. Torchlight, where there are only Steam achievements, but I'll still play it once and a while. I would rather get Xbox achievements, but Steam achievements function in the same basic way, so they're good too. Then there's those in-game achievements that every iPod, 360-game-wannabe game has. Those don't fly with me, hardly worth mentioning. They don't mean NOTHIN.

The record of what I've accomplished doesn't have to be in achievement form either. Online games are A-OK with my weird achievement whore-iness too, for obvious reasons. I play or have played WoW, Runescape, League of Legends, and others with no problem.

The weird thing with all this is that there are certain exceptions, but I can't justify those in any meaningful way. For example, I will play any DS, iPhone, or nostalgic game without even thinking about achievements. My decision to play those is completely based on how fun they are to play. It's gonna be really awesome when Apple adds their achievement system to the iPhone. The games are already fun, and they'll scratch the achievement itch too. Obviously, all games should be judged based on the "fun factor", but telling myself that doesn't seem to help. What can I do about this problem?? 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: ACHIEVEMENTS. I contemplated replacing the overzealous use of the word "achievement" in this post with "ach." but it just looked real weird, so... yeah.    

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