Diablo 3 - The Blog Initiative

So there's this new thing where Sweep gets people to participate more - blasphemous, I know. Well, I have not much to write about, apart from my avid love of Starcraft and my undying hunger to play Diablo 3. As I sit here watching Diablo 3 streams watching the same starting sequence start over and over again, I wonder to myself; is it really worth playing the beta?

Poor Quality Screenshot of a Demon Hunter
Poor Quality Screenshot of a Demon Hunter

I mean, seriously, if I watch people play the fucking campaign all day, won't I get bored? Won't they get bored, when the game gets released? What would happen if I got the beta tomorrow - would I chew through all and any content handed to me, and then replay it once I got the game? I know the game is all about repetition and gathering loot, but I kind of feel like I want my first experience to be polished and shiny, you know?

Diablo 2 was a game that I really, really enjoyed. I wasn't a hardcore ladder player or even someone that shifted into the modding scene once the game got stale - but I just played it a ton. I wasn't amazing at trading, or mf runs or PvP; I just enjoyed playing the game, doing cow runs over and over again. Is it weird now that I feel it's a ridiculous thing to do? To grind out repeated instances of a game just to get one item? It's a strange thing, my relationship with Diablo 3, and it only gets stranger.

When the Real Money Auction House (RMAH) got announced I immediately thought it was a great idea, I had the positive kneejerk reaction that thought that Diablo 2 was too rampant with it's item selling and uncensored trading system; it was anarchy! An initiative to take matters into their own hands, while not delving too deep into the system, was (and is) a brilliant move by Blizzard. However, it brought me back full circle when I started thinking about the loot I was grinding for while playing Diablo 2. What would the point even be if I could just pay 5.99 and get that item that I wanted? What would the point of even playing be if the achievement of grinding an instance over and over and over for a minuscule chance of getting a unique 6 socket Windforce Hydra Bow was immediately torn down by the cheap price of $2.99? Was my hours of hardwork only worth that much? Could I have 'eased' my pain and suffering by paying a fee and continuing on with the game?

It's all too confusing, and I sorely hope that I will enjoy the game for what it is - but right now I'm having a hard time figuring out what that actually is.


30 Days of Gaming: Day 3

 This is a cross-post from my new blog; Wunder.me, I will be posting the new blogs there, and simply repost it to my GB blog, with a slight delay. So if you want up to date updates, go to that site! Anyways, on to the blog~



 Hello, hello~ Welcome to the 3rd day of this month-long feature, today we'll be looking at

A Game that is Underrated


Greed Corp

What I love about this game, that I think needs more attention, is that not only is it's aesthetic appealing and unique, the actual game play is presented as simplistic but has a lot more depth, which is slowly understood and realized as you play more and more. The premise of the game is simple, 4 clans or tribes, are fighting over the world's last resources, using these "Harvesters" to collect coin, at the cost of the land.  
 Quite a timely game, given the current environmental climate.   With that very basic concept, comes the aspect of competitive play. To win, you have to eliminate all your enemy's structures, and units. It then becomes a simple elimination race, where you have to trade resource for resource, an ebb and flow of gain and loss. Eventually, there will come a time where you've destroyed the entire map, and you realize that the game then comes down to bombing each other. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention; you can get cannons. And walkers. Honestly, this is getting a bit too complicated. Point is, Greed Corp, at its basest, is a game of control and elimination. 
  It's a turn-based strategy game turned on it's head. The most interesting part of this game is that almost every game will be different, and the platform that you're standing on will change and transform. Will only a few units and structures, it is a shining testament to W!Games ability to create a few mechanics, stand by them, and create an incredible game around it. Not only does this have all the cool, appealing characteristics of a casual indie hit, it has the mechanics and strong infrastructure of a triple A title as well. Thanks again, for all my loyal readers, newcomers and people who've stumbled upon my blog. Stay tuned for Day 4, a dog picture and of course, don't hesitate to comment and post your own answers! DOGGIE!~



 12th March 2011 - Day 2: Your favorite video game character  

  11th March 2011 - Day 1: Your very first video game

30 Days of Gaming: Day 2 (Your Favorite Character)

Hi guys, thanks for those of you who took the time to read my first blog entry. Hope more of you will jump on the bandwagon and keep reading about my random video game interests! Maybe a few of you might want to take up the challenge too, but remember to give credit to Aurahack, I stole it from him~ 

Gordon Freeman

I don't talk, ever, but I'm still a great character
I don't talk, ever, but I'm still a great character

 Hrm. This was a really hard choice. Gordon Freeman is probably one of the most iconic characters in video game history, next to Mario and other NES classics. What makes him extremely unique is that his character and his attitudes are constructed around his silent interactions with his companions and colleagues. It's remarkable that he's able to stand there as a figure created in the late 90s, with all the great mascots of the 80s. I think it's a true testament to Valve's storytelling that they can create the stereotypical hero, without having all the smarm and cockiness.  

  The silent protagonist role is a common one, but also extremely hard to give a character any, well, character. It's tough to build on his personality and how people feel about him, without him being able to talk. Having to rely on mainly outside forces to relay Gordon's personality is something that Valve managed to do well, with Barney being the bumbling sidekick, and the addition of Alyx as a potential love interest and a companion that can hold her own, it's clear that Gordon is the well-to-do hero. 
In Half-Life one, there isn't that much known about Gordon. He's an excellent theoretical physicist and works at Black Mesa. He isn't in a high position of power in Black Mesa, and is actually late to work most of the time. However, after the events of the Resonance Cascade, Gordon manages to take the helm and manages to show G-man, and the player, that he is capable of being a hero. However, it is only in Half Life 2, where we truly see his leadership abilities. We see him rebel against the oppressive Combine, alongside with Alyx and the human resistance, and overthrow Breen and the Citadel. Of course, the story isn't finished, but one can see that Freeman has become an iconic figure in the few games he's been a part of, spanning across longer than a decade.  
Freeman will always have a place in my heart, what Valve managed to pull off with a silent protagonist is nearly unparalleled, and should be awarded as such. 
As always, please check out Aurahack's blog~ He's about 10 days ahead of me, so read his blog if you want to see what I'll be talking about tomorrow! 

30 Days of Gaming Archive

 12th March, 2011 - Day 1: Your Very First Video Game 
As I promised in Day 1, here's a puppy.  
EDIT: Images seem to be broken. COME BACK LATER AND SEE THE PUPPY. 


30 Days of Gaming: Day 1

Your Very First Video Game 

Hey guys! First off, I want to give credit to Aurahack, for giving me this awesome idea - I'll try to update it everyday, but we'll see! Unfortunately I don't have the skills he possesses, so you'll have to do without the sick Photoshop images. I'll just insert pictures of puppies instead, so you can stick around for those.  

 Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja      

 Ah, the memories
 Ah, the memories

 Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja. This was my first ever video game, that was also my first co-op game. I always played it with my brother, and we'd try and try to get to the end. I don't remember a whole lot, but I do remember there was bone throwing, and meat eating. I can't tell you honestly how accurate this actually is, because I was around 3 or so when I played this. But this was one of the most memorable experiences I've had on the SNES, and most of my early video game memories were of the N64, so this had to have come first, right?

 I always played Joe, obviously.     
 I always played Joe, obviously.     
This game was kinda hard for my young brain to wrap around, although looking back it was just a normal platformer. It also had a sick soundtrack that I still vaguely remember to this day. Whenever bongos or tribal music come up, I always think back to the Joe&Mac days. Also, cave babes. 
Thanks for reading; stay tuned for tomorrow where I'll discuss my favourite character! 



A Blizzard is nigh

Sigh, I kind of knew this would happen.
Firstly, after I graduated I picked up WoW again. There's nothing like a MMO to suck up time. Unfortunately, at the same time, I received a Starcraft II beta key! Oh man, I sort of knew I was in some deep shit by now as I was already pumped for Diablo III. Fast forward about 3 or 4 months and I'm stuck here, disregarding almost any news of cool PS3 exclusive games, funny QLs and basically any new releases coming out for the next 10 years. Fallout New Vegas was supposed to be huge, I didn't even know it was released. Halo: Reach, Fable III and Super Meat Boy all intrigued me, but since they were 360 exclusives, for now, I also didn't care much for it. 
So my world has basically been a blizzard (LOLZ) of Blizzard games. Sadly I don't see myself being able to break away from this cycle for the next 4 or 5 years, literally. Already with all this spare time, I can barely keep up with Starcraft II and WoW news/scene. With Diablo III and University? Ugh. Cataclysm is going to keep me on the WoW train for the next year or so, and I know SCII's e-sports scene will keep me at least watching the videos, if not trying to keep up my ladder rank. There's no doubt with Heart of the Swarm being a long way off I might stray from the ladder, but GSL and Blizzard's future plans of International Leagues will keep me glued. Diablo III and it's own expansions will keep me there for a good 2 or 3 years, depending on how far apart the expansion(s) are. 
Bah, I'm not really sure what to do anymore. Should I invest in a really good desktop and not bother with consoles? It seems with only 2 companies developing heavily for the PC, Blizzard alone will keep me heated for the many winters. Valve is coming out with a few gems too, with DOTA 2 and Portal 2 on the horizon. 
So to close, I'm probably going to change my preference to PC. Oh, and I've pre-loaded Cataclysm a month before it's launched. What am I doing to myself?!


Of Diamonds and of Zerg

Well, I've scraped my way into Diamond. About 180~ games later, my Platinum placed butt has moved from the top 10 position into the top 40 in Diamond. Luckily, or sadly, I've retained a lot of my points and so I entered Diamond around 1000 points in. I've tried to play more games and stay on top of this new league, but I feel it'd getting quite tedious. 

Terran vs Zerg

 I've always felt that this match-up has been the subject of most controversy, and after patch 1.1 and 1.1.2, I'm finding it more and more interesting. However, one major flaw I find with this match-up that I find extremely hard to break is the liberal use of mutalisks. It seems that mutas can make or break an entire army comp and sometimes I'm not sure why a Zerg wouldn't get Mutalisks in a game. Fighting every other Zerg unit is fine, almost easy. However, the balance between fighting a Hydra army or a Muta army is huge. I find Muta/Baneling/Ling is so tough to fight right now and has been for quite a while. Mutalisks can seemingly only be fought feasibly with either 2 or 3 reactor rax or 6 or 7 thors with 1 reactor rax. Am I wrong here? It seems that vikings will get utterly crushed, even if you stay on top of the muta count at the start. I used to open 1-1-1 with an early viking to scout the Spire timing but I find that vikings are really terrible against mutas for several reasons:
a) It's almost impossible to keep up with the mutalisk count as the Zerg can pump out 5-6 mutalisks at a time
b) If you decide to try and go for a 2port reactor and try to keep up with the mutalisks, you won't have a ground army to defend his baneling/ling comp. 
c) Even if you keep up with the muta count, the fact remains that Mutas splash hits 3 targets while Vikings only shoot one volley.
So I'm just wondering what a decent counter to muta/b/ling build is. I've had a bit of success with Thor/Hellion, but I find I must end up getting BioMech with Marines/Marauders/Thors/Hellions/Tanks/Medivacs and just balance between the 6 units depending on the comp of the zerg. I've tried experimenting with GhostMarine Openings or playing with Sky Terran (2Port Banshee/Raven) but they both seem difficult to figure out, at the very least. So I'm just asking any Zergs if they have any advice. The biggest problem I face in this match-up is that the longer the game goes, the easier it is to harass the Terran as my Thors are ridiculously slow and need to be in big numbers and can't be split up or else a group of mutalisks can pick them off really easily. Nydus harass becomes stronger and stronger as the game drags on whereas Mutalisk harass remains strong if not stronger, depending on the map, as I'm spread thinly across my 3rd or even my 4th base. 
In closing, however, I do concede that a good way to combat heavy mutalisk play is by keeping up with your upgrades. Both Weapons and Armor are brilliant against muta/b/ling as the 3rd splash from the muta, which does 1 damage at Air+0, can be negated with +1 armor and +3 armor can negate the 2nd splash as well.  On to the next match-up!

Terran vs Protoss

This is a match-up I've been really thinking about for a long, long time now, and since the premiere of patch 1.1.2 I thought that some dynamism had finally entered the TvP stream. However, with the
 we see that mech, specifically, Thors, still don't work against Toss. I thought that with the energy change, Mech can finally see the light against such an anti-mech race. With Immortals and Collosi, blink stalkers and chargelots, Mech is definitely not a viable route for Terran. However, at least without energy, Thors can now be effectively used and not be feedbacked to death. However, it's clear that with a Robo Toss, it's still very hard to use Mech against Toss and MMM+Ghost+Viking is still the most viable strat.
I really feel that TvP is quite stale right now. In the recent MLG DC, GSL2 and Blizzcon Invitational tournaments, we've seen so many TvPs. From SeleCT against KiwiKaki, HuK and NonY, to Loner's 3 bo3s against NEXGenius, we've seen the same TvP builds come out from both Terran and Protoss. A MMM+Viking build vs 3/4GateRobo build. We've seen that neither build is 'imbalanced' and that while
I guess what I'm trying to say is, why hasn't this match-up evolved past MMM against Colossi? Will we ever see Mech or Stargate tech become a viable strat in this match-up?

Terran vs Terran

Ugh. Save the best for last, I suppose. TvT is probably the most annoying match-up for me. Although it may seem that I've just been whining for a few minutes, these opinions have been with me through many games of practicing with my Zerg and Protoss partners. Although I don't have a Terran partner, and this probably attributes a lot to my dislike of the match-up, I really find TvT simply, frustrating. I'm not sure how to get past the Tank/Viking mentality and I always seem to end up losing the Air battle and just slowly being pushed further and further behind. I thought I was doing well in TvTs but after a few demoralizing losses, I find that I'm either overthinking this match-up or I'm not thinking it over enough. I've tried using Nukes to move the tank line, Thors to wreck viking count, or using marauder packs to take out tanks, but it just doesn't seem to work. 
Bah, I'm so frustrated with this match-up that I can't even really type my actual opinion on this. I feel like TvT is almost like ZvZ except drawn out across a 25-30 minute battle instead of a 7-10 minute battle. All that build up for a 200/200 army just to lose it all to tank fire feels akin to losing all your zerglings to 3 or 4 banelings.
Anyway, that's basically all for now, thanks for taking the time to read this!

The future and the balance of, Starcraft II

Hi! I'm here to talk to you invisible readers to bring you an important topic; balance.

Current State of the Game

As it stands, Starcraft II has been bogged down by a myriad of problems, ranging from Blizzard's and KeSPA's reluctance to negotiate, the region locks of the game, and also, the current 'imbalance'. There is a general consensus by most people that Starcraft II, is imbalanced. Most people view the Terran race as the most overpowered race ever created by man and that every unit is a titan compared to the ant's that are the Zerg and Protoss. It may seem far fetched, but I've read uStream chat, there are some people that think like that. "No, there's no way that the Terran player outplayed the Zerg or Protoss, Terran is supaOP."
However, I believe that with all things, balance takes time. I do think some units need some tweaking, and the game is obviously not perfectly balanced, it took Starcraft and  Brood War a good 9 years after release to finally hit the 1.09 patch where balance changes stopped happening and the rest of the patches were simply exploit fixes for the Koreans who found new ways to get ahead. 9 years, and even then there have been arguments of balance even then, and by taking a glance at the OnGameNet Starleague (OSL) or MBCGame Starcraft League (MSL), one can see that Terran have won more medals than Protoss or Zerg. Does that mean Terran is OP? Does the Legend of the Fall attribute to the fact that Protoss players are only expected to win once in a while? No, of course not. So why is there such a huge uproar with Terrans in Starcraft II?
That's because I believe people in the current ladder are rushing to play this game, to try and become the best of the best, as this is essentially a clean slate. It allows foreigners to take advantage of this situation as much as possible and get on par with the Koreans before the skill gap becomes to huge. Due to Multi-building Selection (MBS), auto-mine, and a nigh infinite control group, the insane skill required to manage units in a tiny control group of 12, making sure you mine efficiently, and building from all your buildings at the same time is greatly reduced.

The Map Rotation and Size

This, I believe is the major factor in Starcraft II's current state. In Starcraft, it took a while before legendary maps such as Peaks of Baekdu, Fantasy, Byzantium, and Fighting Spirit to appear and that have been used to play the most insane matches ever seen in Starcraft history. The current pool of Blizzard created maps are extremely poor and don't support a very macro-oriented style of play. A lot of them are very small, and prone to very early aggression, but the defensive capabilities of Terran nullify a lot of those possibilities, creating a void in skill as a few siege tanks can equalize the skill between a Zerg player and a Terran, as the new smart targeting of the Siege Tank means that the Terran player wouldn't have to do anything special to deflect the attack of the Zerg. Nydus worms also seem nonexistant as many Zergs claim that they are too expensive and aren't efficient. Again, with such a small map and base, the Terran can defend their base very quickly and don't have to move back and forth often to defend against a Nydus popping in their main. 
Hopefully, with iCCup making maps and a lot of mapmakers converting old BW maps into SCII, we will see leagues and perhaps even ladder take up these popular maps and hopefully see more balanced matches as the macro style of play is, at the very least, raised to par with micro mechanics and disallow the other player to simply sit with a large tank line on 2 or 3 bases and defeat the other player. 

Player Mentality

I'm almost done, I promise! Finally, we reach the last point, which is the current state of the Player. There are probably a few types of SCII players, but I'd say the most common on forums right now, are the low-mid level diamond players. These 100-700~ point diamond players troll TeamLiquid like there's no tomorrow. Pages upon pages are written about how Terran vs Zerg or Protoss is so ridiculously overpowered that Terran can sit on their ass and suck their thumb and still get ~1000 points in Diamond. They exaggerate and whine so much, that it creates such a toxic environment that even I, as a Terran player, think I'm overpowered, even while going on a 10 game losing streak. I'm thinking, "Am I so bad that I can't even win with an overpowered race? Should I just start proxy raxxing?" And that's where it all goes wrong. When the player mentality begins as "I'm here to win, not learn" then that's when all rationale goes out the window. 
Sean "Day[9]" Tzu, has said that if players play to win and not learn, then you'd just end up doing the exact same strat over and over and over again, and even if you keep winning, what's the point? You're not improving. People who cheese during placements are a remarkable example of this, as they try to get to a high league so that they can brag that they're 'in plat' or 'in diamond' to their bronze league friends. However, after their 5 wins in placement, they get roflstomped so hard that all they've gotten are those 5 measly wins. Playing with a build order is fine, but play with a few. Learn to adapt to that build order, don't be so stoic and follow it supply by supply. A prime example of how to adapt is the Zerg IdrA. Although he is an advocate of BM and crys of imbalance, his macro style of play is extremely intriguing and although it becomes predictable at times, you can see how he adapts to his situation slowly. In the beta, he used to do a 14 hatch 15 pool strat where he'd fast expand really quickly and just rocket past his opponent. However now, although he still fast expands, against Terran, he almost always expects reapers and with good overlord timing, he'll throw up a Roach Warren with perfect timing. The Zerg Dimaga and Cool are also good examples of great timing and game sense. 
Well this was a long rant, but I hope people who read this realize that Starcraft is an extremely young game, and unlike a lot of RTSes, they will support this as if this is an MMO, and will do their best to balance this game. To whether or not actual ladder will matter in a few years, however, remains to be seen.