Category Archives: Behind The Scenes

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes of your favorite shows? Maybe you’re curious about the creative process? Here you go.. The inside look you seek!

Visit Us At GeekyAntics.net

#TheGANG is in another castle.

We have a self-hosted site for well over a year now.  This is not our new site.  Why keep this up at all?  Well, call me a sentimental fool but I just can’t shut down this site completely… Anywho, we have the new GeekyAntics Network site over at GeekyAntics.net and, if you want your comments and posts replied to, that’s the place to be.  We’ll keep this one up as our “legacy site” but join our community on the new site!

You’ll definitely want to get over there as we’re doing our own Video Game Awards and we’re giving out free stuff like video games and hair brushes..  If you don’t have hair, which is the case with many of us, we have some silly hats left but you have to hurry over #RightMeow!

Any inquiries or requests?

Facebook Us:  http://facebook.com/GeekyAntics

E-Mail Us:  mail@geekyantics.net

Text/Call Us:  (646) 801-2149

Dear Friends, We Have Moved To GeekyAntics.com & GeekyAntics.net – Come On Over!

Hey GANG!

If you’ve missed our announcements on recent shows/podcasts, we are moving to a new site.  This site will remain, probably forever and ever (call me a sentimentalist) but we’ll be officially over at…

http://GeekyAntics.net

The beta site can be viewed now at http://GeekyAntics.com so come on over and take a tour.  I’m still tweaking some things with the help of Spathizilla but I think we may just YOLO-SWAG things and switch over to the new site soon.

UPDATE 6/21/2014:  The .net and .com domains now point to the same place..  So no more confusion for everyone (Obi)!

For our close to 200 site subscribers, THANK YOU!

I can’t believe that, with such minimal effort, we had word spread so fast.  This has been a test run and soft launch but now we’re ready to ramp things up.  Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and all that good stuff.  The new site makes it easier to connect and interact with us so we are SUPER excited to launch this beaut and share it with the entire geek community.

NOTE:  Some of the stuff on here may be incorrect or inaccurate.  Please disregard.  The official web site will be at both the .NET and .COM addresses, as linked above  We’ll keep the WordPress.com for legacy purposes.

We’re hoping to have the transition complete for Thursday’s shows, The Gaming Death Podcast and HorsePLAY! LIVE, on June 19th 2014.  Expect official announcements then.

We love you all!

Cake Is Still Better!

P.S. Flan is cake. Flan is the best. Cake wins.

Meet The GANG: Gaming Death Podcast & EP 100 Party On June 12th 2014! #E32014

We’d like to officially welcome the Gaming Death Podcast crew to the GANG, right here on GeekyAntics.net!  If you’ve been following HorsePLAY! LIVE, you know we plug them often.  We love what GDP is doing that we have cut back on the amount of news and releases we cover on HorsePLAY.  If you want unapologetic gaming talk that runs the full gamut of content, GDP is for you!

Chris Gannon, the GDP ringleader, shares this welcome:

Come join us on this magic carpet ride of rambunctiousness, liberation, and the occasional bag of dicks.

In case you missed it, we did a little HorsePLAY-GDP crossover episode to welcome them properly.  It was fun.  Obi joins in towards the end, too.  Crazy things happen when we join like Voltron, y0!

As you can see in the featured image, Transistor is kind of a big deal.
The GDP crew was amongst the first to cover the game before and after it’s release.  I highly recommend reading the Transistor review on GamingDeath.com – Chris Gannon, the GDP ringleader, did a fantastic job of capturing the essence.  Rapture?  Yes, please!

We’re honored to have such great content under the Geeky Antics brand.  If you haven’t caught GDP yet, here are some of the crew’s favorite episodes.  This is also a sort of GDP timeline, too!

Before I get lost in all my zeal, don’t forget to check out the coming Episode 99.5, which will air LIVE Tuesday, June 10th 2014 at 9pm (tentatively) EDT over at the GamingDeath and GeekyAntics Twitch channels.  This one is going to cover E3 Day 0 and 1, plus the obligatory predictions, I’m sure!

Don’t forget to join us June 10th 2014 for late-breaking E3 coverage and obligatory analysis – SEE ABOVE!

We’ve shared some of the episodes and articles you should check out.  I know you’ll enjoy them as much as I have.  Now, let’s look at the people that make GDP so special…

Continue reading Meet The GANG: Gaming Death Podcast & EP 100 Party On June 12th 2014! #E32014

E3 2014 Predictions And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter #E3Live #E32014

UPDATE:  Watching the Twitch E3 preview with @DJwheat and gang.  In just a few minutes, Microsoft is doing their Day 0 press conference.  There’s a lot of wishing and hoping for Fallout 4 (and a new Gears Of War).  That sounds AWESOME to me but I won’t hold my breath, simply because Bethesda has already shot down that notion and they’ll want to let Elder Scrolls Online marinate a while first.  The next Fallout won’t be for at least another year or two.  What do you guys, think?

In the past week, everyone has been asking me if I am excited about E3.  I don’t know how to answer without sounding like a bitter old man or being a wet towel..  Truth is: I’ve barely given E3 much thought.  Everything I want from gaming is here and now so it was not a big deal to me..  Then, during HorsePLAY! LIVE EP25, TCollins89 asked why E3 is on weekdays. It got me thinking:

E3 is not for the everyday or common gamer.  So what is it really about and does it really matter?

DISCLAIMER:  What you are about to read is an editorial.  This, like anything else on Geeky Antics, is the opinion of me, the author.  I may ruffle some feathers but I am being honest and open here.  Keep an open mind.  I am not trying to belittle anyone.  We can disagree peacefully!

As far as I’m concerned, E3 is a glorified trade show meant to hype up gamers who, somehow, can’t get enough content or want more fuel for the console wars. It is geared towards marketers, suits, developers, and journalists.  Think about this:

How many of the presenters actually PLAY games?  Are they gamers first or marketing/business people first?  I reckon the latter is often the case.

For most, E3 is just an excuse for a change of scenery or time off from work. I would venture to say the only way you are looking forward to E3 is if you want the social experience or are super hardcore about gaming (i.e. you have to play every single major game that is released).  This is wishful thinking but I think I’d care more about console gaming again if the entry points were more appealing, at least for the software itself.

That may sound harsh but I think I have finally converted back to PC for good. There are countless reasons but, for me, it’s simply because all my friends are sharded amongst different games and the PC offers too much bang for your buck to even consider dedicated console gaming. I can’t justify the cost or budget the time for a console right now.  As a family man, it does not help that my kids are growing up and playing games with daddy is no longer cool.  Without the bonding experience, console gaming is ho-hum.  I just don’t have the time or interest to do single-player games.

I love my XBox 360 but, for the first time in around ten years, I have let my XBox LIVE subscription lapse for more than two months. My video game wall of shame beckons yet I do not feel compelled to fire her up. I am satisfied by my options on the PC and I don’t have to worry about the hidden costs or suddenly finding that online support has been shut down.

Granted, I have been mostly playing Hearthstone, League of Legends, and SolForge lately but I have a library of games on the PC that excites me every time I look at it. With my consoles, I have mostly felt depression and regret for the past generation or so. I will eventually get an XBox One to play with friends but I do not feel left out of the water cooler conversations.

Now, I can already hear people saying that E3 is about electronic entertainment (hence the name E3 – Electronic Entertainment Expo) as a whole. That is true but it can’t be denied that the expo focuses on the gaming consoles more than anything. With that in mind, consider this fact:

During the transitionary period between console generations, we can’t expect fresh, innovative games. The developers will stick to the console with the greater install base until they figure out how to take advantage of the new framework.

I have nothing against Watch Dogs or Titanfall. I just don’t think they are system sellers for me.  They are the games that are good now because there is nothing else.  Besides, after how Microsoft botched up the original XBox to 360 transition, I think they will play it smart and keep the 360 going for another two to three years.

Glorious PC Master Race - Dirty Console Peasants
[ source: comicvine.com ]
I am no elitist but the future of gaming has been on mobile devices and the PC.. For a while now. $300-500 gets you solid upgrades for your PC and you’re good for a while. With consoles, you have the hidden costs of accessories, DLCs, micro transactions, macro transactions, forced annual releases, preferred server access, season passes, etc. Yeah, I am a smidge jaded and cynical..   But I am also hopeful, especially with so many brilliant small studios and indie developers paving the way (THANK YOU)!

Continue reading E3 2014 Predictions And Why It Doesn’t Really Matter #E3Live #E32014

The HONEST Way To Succeed In Twitch.. And Social Media

This is our legacy (read “old”) site.  Comments have been closed here.  Please leave comments on the new site and get to know #TheGANG, our awesome community of gamers, streamers, podcasters, creatives, and geeks! 

Http://geekyantics.net/blog

ATTN: If you’re applying to join our team, please read this first (DMs are fine BUT we are getting tons of them so be prepared for a wait):

http://geekyantics.net/forums/topic/attn-stream-team-apps-affiliatesponsor-opportunities-other-solicitation/

The #1 article on Google SERPs for “succeeding on Twitch” can now be found at http://geekyantics.net/get-more-viewers-and-followers-on-twitch – thank you all for your wonderful support and encouragement!  We’re glad we can help non-partnered streamers level the playing field and find advice that isn’t your typical canned messaging and tech talk.  There’s far more to streaming on Twitch than overlays, technology, and your games of choice, friends – we’ll continue this series over at GeekyAntics.net, too!

If you love what we have to say, please support our Twitch channels and other projects:

  • GeekyAntics – One of the FIRST channels to establish a podcasting stream team and do gaming talk shows. #TheGANG
  • TheWorstRadioShow – Literally THE worst radio show out there..  And we love them for it! #TheGANG
  • GamingDeath – One of the oldest REAL podcasts on Twitch.  Be sure to check them out as they are well-connected in the gaming industry and a hoot to listen to! #TheGANG
  • Yogizilla – People say I’m like Man Vs. Game but more engaging and better at the newb/scrub plays.  I’ve also been told I am one of the friendliest, most authentic streamers around..  That means A LOT to me! #TheGANG
  • Geeky Antics Stream Team – Support these folks because they are awesome, friendly, and engaging.. Yes, even that salty dog ObioneX2 is loveable and fun to hang out with, once you get to know him.

SHOUT-OUTS to some of my favorite streamers out there.  The people that care about other people and do things the right way.  Mnalicious, Maquannas, Poopybuttz, Obezianka, ShannaNina, and everyone else I can’t fit in one blog post (for the sake of brevity).  Keep on keeping on – you guys ROCK!  Tons of love for the collaborative souls out there!

With the impending doom that’s sure to come with the inevitable Google acquisition of Twitch, a lot of us in the Geeky Antics and AllGames communities are looking to step up our game on Twitch.  After all, if we can cement ourselves as Twitch partners and featured channels, why NOT do it on the “ground level”?  Twich streamers, like many social media enthusiasts, are looking for the magic bullet.

The magic bullet does not exist.

DISCLAIMER:  These are my opinions based upon my experience as a NISM-certified social media strategist (I sit on their board of advisors too) and personal observations.  I do not pretend to have all the answers nor is this guide the end-all on your quest for social media success..  but it’s a darn good start!  It’s also worth noting that I am not partnered on Twitch because it has not been the focus on my network BUT having the #1 Twitch marketing/growth article out there should lend some credibility. *smirk*

Sure, there are some shortcuts and tips but it all comes down to the basics.  We’ll get into that but here’s what one streamer recommends after becoming a Twitch partner in about a month’s time (this is very rare, by the way):

This is solid advice.  Obezianka, like many of us in the GANG, really believes in the value of authenticity and engagement.  Sadly, there is more to this puzzle than what is mentioned here because tons of people have high production value and consistency, yet they struggle to break 100 concurrent viewers; heck, some days 10 viewers is a blessing, amirite?

Let’s dig deep here.  We’ll go through the best practices and the tried-and-true strategies we have uncovered from analyzing top streamers and first-hand experiences alike.  Let’s do this!

Continue reading The HONEST Way To Succeed In Twitch.. And Social Media

What Google One-Billion-Dollar Twitch Acquisition Means For Streamers & eSports

Originally, this article was titled Watch Out YouTube – Someone Is Building A Better Twitch!, which is kinda interesting.  It seems fitting that I drafted this weeks ago and now we know that Google is going after Twitch.  There’s still no confirmation on the details of this deal but we know it’s going to happen inevitably.

Google can afford to buy out Twitch but they can’t afford to ignore them much longer.

In around three years, Twitch started as a dream and has become something of a big deal.  Even if you’re not a gamer, here is why you should pay attention to Twitch developments:

  • Twitch already surpasses Facebook and Amazon in peak usage..  In less than half the life span!
  • Success in Twitch is more about the message, personalities, and engagement thereof, whereas YouTube places more of a focus on production value.
  • There are countless niches and opportunities for partnership within Twitch; by design, Twitch allows even smaller brands to be discovered.
  • Gaming is surpassing the movie industry and Twitch is getting ahead of this curve or paradigm shift.

Twitch is a serious business.. and it’s seriously fun.  There are a lot of casual streamers but everyone has a chance to build residual income or even do what they love full time.  The Google acquisition of Twitch threatens this yet it promises the hope of badly-needed, long-awaited  improvements.

But what about eSports and competing technologies?

First of all, what makes Twitch special is the warmth and diversity of the platform.  Gamers with aspirations to be pro players can watch skilled players do their thang and borrow some moves from their playbooks.  Geeks looking to make new friends can find more engaging, authentic individuals to connect with.  There’s something for everyone.

Monkey In Striped SuitAnalysts with no real connection to the gaming industry beyond PR contacts and monetary interest are touting the purchase as a move for Google to break into the multi-billion-dollar eSports market and blah blah blah.  That’s fine and dandy but that’s not the real news here.  The Verge explains:

Twitch is said to believe that Google can help the company become what it wants to be — the definitive platform for watching and streaming live video gaming. The company raised $20 million from investors in 2013 and is likely to turn a profit this year. But capital isn’t enough to allow Twitch to scale its technology and infrastructure to keep pace with its growth. It had plenty of offers from venture capitalists looking to give it more money, said the source, but what it needs is a partner that can help it handle massive amounts of live and user-generated video on a global scale.

From a business perspective and for the benefit of the gamers, Twitch should be left as-is.  The media coverage leads us to believe it will be and Twitch only seeks to keep pace with it’s rapid growth.  That means we can finally get the features that we have long awaited:

  • Tools for smaller streamers and brands.
  • Commenting and native content engagement beyond chat.
  • Complete social media integration on an opt-in basis.
  • Easier video management, filtering, and showcasing.
  • More optimization for mobile and older computers.
  • Export options for audio and video files.
  • More stable servers – less connections dropped!
  • More consistent video stream quality – YAY!

The last one is the most important thing because, as much as YouTube stinks for the little guys, you ultimately keep your content and can take it wherever you want.  On Twitch, it can sometimes feel like your content is being held ransom and whored out (pardon the expression).  They’re getting better about that but you still have to get creative if you want to extend beyond their ecosystem.

Now that we have all that as a backdrop, let’s talk about the competition and what this all means for eSports.  I would say Twitch is in a class of it’s own.  There is a wide breadth of content, tons of third-party support, many helpful contributors, a receptive booming community, and so much more going for it.  In spite of the massive growth and scope, the community still feels very tightly-knit and everyone has a shot to help it grow and have a stake in the growth.  That’s huge.  YouTube can’t offer that right now.

MLG - Major League Gaming Pro Circuit 2010

So then there’s MLG.  I do not see this as a threat or a direct competitor.   There are lots of reasons for this but suffice to say GameBattles and the MLG have had plenty of questionable events (I’ve experienced this first-hand).  YouTube and Twitch should not merge but they should key off each other.   They should not try to be an alternative to MLG because they’re already something bigger.  We could all agree that Google+ should not be shoe-horned in either.  I feel Twitch has been so successful because of the fact that they balance pro and casual content.

The clueless monkeys in suits are saying that the merger of YouTube and Twitch would be a “synergy nuke”.  Stop it.  There can be a lot of great integration but to make Twitch and YouTube one and the same would kill everything that makes Twitch special.  MLG and countless other platforms can provide the pro-only focus but that should not be what Twitch is all about.

Back to business talk, let’s be honest here: a lot of games and tournaments are becoming more self-sufficient so the need for a dedicated broadcasting platform is not really there.  Twitch should continue to support and churn out new personalities that cannot thrive in any other ecosystem.  That is their sweet spot and their unfair advantage.

Rumors or not, this deal is happening.  Google has to make a move now before Twitch’s value sores any further.  It’s quite interesting that suddenly YouTube export is working properly.  There’s no doubt that this acquisition has been long in the making.  That said, at least it’s Google and not Sony, Microsoft, or any other megacorporation that would make Twitch into a self-serving noise machine.

We need to take this conversation over to HorsePLAY! LIVE and our other shows.  Get your thinking caps on,  geeks and gamers.  These questions still remain:

  • When will the deal be finalized?
  • How will it take shape?

What do you guys think about Google’s plans for Twitch and their 30-billion-dollar shopping spree?  Does it excite you or are you worried?  Sound off  on t poll and comments area!

 

The DocRoe Chronicles: Who Is DocRoe, Online Dating SUCCESS, And NEW! Sunday Show

First of all, I say goodday to you my friends, and let me introduce myself:

I am DocRoe, 25 years old (i think), born in Carlow, Ireland in the wonderful year of 1988,  so you can figure out my exact age every year.  I suck at math.

Carlow is a town you probably never heard of and, well, I don’t blame you.

Here it is, an aerial view of Carlow: Aerial View Of Carlow, Ireland

Traveling agents would say it’s a wonderful little picturesque towny thingy with a lot of character,  my best description is this:

It’s an absolute shithole.

I grew up there until about the age of 5 or 6, and then my parents finally got it in to their dusty little braincells that this place blows,
and moved across the pond to Belgium.   Talking about a shithole, that country isn’t all that better. But that story is maybe for another time.   I lived there practically all my life, from 5/6 until 20.

But then something happened in the boring life of The Doctor.
He met a girl.  Online.

She was the most amazing person he ever talked to, met,                       and had the privilege to hang out with.

And she still is.

One year after meeting her at the age of 20, I decided to just say       “fuck y’all” and leave Belgium to move in with her.  I moved all my stuff by train, and the next stop was Groningen, Netherlands.  That’s where i still live today.  Also, my favorite movie is Boondock Saints.

Now that you know who the hell I am:

HELLO!!!!

I have arrived here at G.A.N.G. to bring you columns and a new web/radio show.   I’m not going to tell you what or how or when. It’s on Sundays.   And that’s all you’re getting from me!!!!

I will co-host this show with my dear friend Obionex2 here in this lovely community.

Wait, Doc, go back.
COLUMNS?!!
Who the hell does that nowadays?!!

Well, me, for starters.  What will my columns be about?  Anything I fucking feel like..   But mostly series, movies, games and music.

Where to find the best games and movies you HAVE to see and which you ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TOUCH!!!  Right here.

(That last part goes for series as well.)

So yeah, here i am, and i’m coming for your soul!
If you guys want me to discuss anything about any subject, just let me know and i probably will, if i feel like it, ok, you win. I will.

And for now: SEE YA NERDS!

P.S.  Maybe next time a schmexy picture of Le Doc? Stay Tuned!

grtz
DocRoe

The Infamous #HorrorFrog & Show Notes/Previews – Leave Us Voicemail – (206) 415-4987

A few of you have suggested that we post our show notes more often here to encourage more voicemail messages and such.  We’ve been doing that for HorsePLAY! LIVE and The Gaming Death Podcast but we welcome any and all kinds of voicemail.  Here are some of the things we’ve been discussing if you want to keep the conversation going:

  • Why Hearthstone is such a big deal
  • Tips and tricks for Marvel Puzzle Quest & Hearthstone
  • Is Hearthstone a pay-to-win game?
  • Greatest games of all time (The GOATs)
  • Our defining moments in gaming
  • What are the most random games you’ve ever played that you think most missed (and should play)?
  • Games that were great because they inspired new concepts
  • Games that are great because they are still fun years later
  • Why are Internet trolls so prevelant?
  • Drunken karaoke (thanks DekardC)
  • XBox Originals Channel – YAY or NAY?
  • Console gaming is dead – it’s all about all-in-one entertainment!
  • How close are we to drones delivering our goods?
  • Marvel Agents Of SHIELD vs. Arrow
  • Objectification of women and biases surrounding geek girls
  • The rise and fall of social games (a.k.a. Facebook SPAM)
  • The cardinal sings of League Of Legends players
  • Have we as consumers become too spoiled or impatient?
  • Broke Wars: Nintendo VS. Sony
  • Sony predicts 1.3 BILLION loss over fiscal year
  • Indie games are the future of gaming!
  • No, we’re tired of indie games.
  • No, we’re tired of big studio regurgitations.
  • We geeks are just jaded all around, amirite?
  • Transistor art style: beautiful or more hipster pandering?
  • Microtransactions VS. Macrotransactions
  • Popular games with the worst virtual economies
  • What defines the value of something?
  • Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare..  Does anyone care?
  • Capcom is bouncing back – Mega Man, PLEASE!
  • Can gardening be considered geeky?
  • Fantasy sports can be geeky..  Sports themselves, not so much.
  • How do you define a geek or nerd?
  • Labels suck..  But they have a purpose!
  • #RetroFriday VOTES for NES, Genesis, arcade, etc.
  • Sports games are games too!

Hopefully those snippets should provide some good talking points.  There’s a lot of gaming stuff there but anything geeky or random is cool, y0.   Speaking of RANDOM, on Episode 81 of The Gaming Death Podcast, they brought up the horror frog

Horror Frog Breaks It's Own Bones To Form Claws!

Yes, this is a real thing.

According to the NewScientist, the horror frog breaks his own bones to form claws.  WTF?  It’s the real-life Wolverine!  That is pretty darn sick.  I can relate, too, because my home life is often just as masochistic!  LOL..  Sorry, I could not resist!

Personally, I find nature so fascinating.  Here in Georgia we see all sorts of weird critters, like the paper wasp.  These wasps are comparable to hornets and are usually found down South, where creepy crawlers seem to be abundant.  The coolest thing about the paper wasp is that it builds nests out of a paper-like substance.  It creates this substance using harvested materials and it’s own saliva.  Kinda gross yet kinda neat.

Paper Wasp Nest In Yucatan, Mexico
WARNING: Do NOT approach a paper wasp nest.. They are VERY protective.

I had one of these things hang out with me in my house recently.  It was surprisingly friendly but that stinger was scary.  Lately the wasps here in Georgia fly really close to me, especially by my ears or the back of my head..  It makes me feel…. Violated. O_O

Anywho, on future episodes of HorsePLAY! LIVE we’re going to be returning to our roots in League Of Legends and cover more indie games (of course).  We’ll continue Hearthstone talk too since that’s definitely on rotation for years to come.  On EP22 or so, we should be wrapping up the #RetroFriday kicker series.  With that…

Tell us what your favorite moments in gaming are.  What made you a dedicated or hardcore gamer?  What are your G.O.A.T. picks for games, both tabletop and digital?  Are there any games you really love that you think people missed?

While we’ll be ending the #RetroFriday mini-series, we’ll continue to do weekly videos and streams.  Be sure to join our Steam community groups.  Simply look up #YOHTAI, #RetroFriday, and HorsePLAY.  The links are also scattered throughout the site. 8)

Do you have any fun stories or random thoughts to share?  Call us and leave a voicemail at (206) 415-4987 – if you don’t, Stewie will PEW PEW PEW you with his ray gun!  Also, take this poll, por favor.

Hearthstone PAX East News With The B-Team PLUS More Previews & Core Concepts

For several weeks on HorsePLAY! LIVE and in the GANG community, we’ve been predicting the release schedule for various killer features that will keep Hearthstone on our playlist and get more of our friends on-board.  In our previous article on how to get the Hearthstone iPad app now (and get started right), we shared how to get rocking on your Apple device NOW but it seems the need for the work-around is quickly fading away.  The B-Team Podcast has confirmed that the window is currently within a week or so.  I am guessing before my birthday this Saturday, April 19th – that’s great news, everyone!

B-Team PAX East Blizzard Interview Key Take-Aways:

  • Blizzard qualifies this as CCG, not a TCG, which means we should not hold our breath for trading or auctioning of any sort.
  • Hearthstone is the CCG for everyone.
  • They’re prioritizing creating a great game over the obligatory “merchandising bonanza” and cross-promotion.
  • The iPad experience is the same as on PC and Mac.
  • There are no pay gates or pay walls.
  • One of their core philosophies is balancing the game so you can be competitive without spending tons of time or money.

All this is great news and should encourage newer players or anyone who is on the fence.  I was surprised that there was no indication about spectator mode from any PAX East coverage.  Blizzard has said it is a “top priority” but I reckon other components and features are the focus.   I really feel that Blizzard is focusing on the more casual competitive community before catering to the hardcore eSports type players  I’d say too much of a focus on eSports features which would make Hearthstone more exclusive and scary for the average gamer.

Our own Stan Faryna cited concerns with matchmaking and the new player experience, by extension.  Blizzard confirmed that it is something they will keep fine-tuning.  Hearthstone is the game many Blizzard developers have wanted to play themselves so they want it to be fun for everyone.  During the B-Team interview, they briefly summarized how each of the primary gameplay modes handle matchmaking differently:

  • Casual – As Stan says, casual play can be frustrating.  I find that early in any season, the competition is most fierce due to a smaller player pool and sample data to work with perhaps.  I do win most of my matches here unless I start experimenting too much.
  • Ranked – This ladder mode looks more at stars and current rank so it’s easier to find a close match, in theory.  This mode seems to be the most fair mid-way through any season, with the exception of smurfs and fast-tracked/pay-to-win players.
  • Arena – This uses a completely different system.  Blizzard is unclear (“shocker”) on what this means.  I still find arena truly levels the playing field and rewards the most skilled players.  Luck of the draw when building decks is an issue here, however.

Blizzard assures us that the client-server model, as opposed to peer-to-peer, so cheating should be minimized.  The only issue Blizzard has encountered often is with trolls milking the timer.   Never fear – they are working on improving that!  Unlike their parent company, EA, I have faith Blizzard will commit to their promises and support this game for many years to come, much like they have with Warcraft III and Diablo II, two of my all-time favorite games.

Blizzard also confirmed during the PAX East interview what many of us have already noticed: [two of] the top Twitch streamers have gone up the ladder to Legendary rank within a week or two without spending money.  I believe TrumpSC is one of them.  Of course, if you want to see how NOT to play Hearthstone, watch me on Twitch or check out the NEW! TwitchPlaysHearthstone, which is similar to the newbtastic, cringe-worthy experience on TwitchPlaysPokemon.

Joystiq has a quick-and-dirty Hearthstone PAX East cheat sheet that does a really good job of highlighting the big things we can expect this year.  The biggest details revolve around the upcoming Hearthstone expansion, affectionately called CoN.

Hearthstone - Adventure Mode - Curse Of NaxxramasCurse of Naxxramas is slated for Summer 2014 but I would not be surprised if the first boss encounter or episode is released within a few weeks as I write this.   I reckon Blizzard wants to control the release of new cards so that newer players can avoid feeling overwhelmed.  I think that is fair.

Jesse Cox reports from PAX East - Hearthstone Curse Of Naxxramas!The first CoN corridor or wing (Arachnid) will be FREE but, as we see in arena, a buy-in will be required for new runs.  While this expansion brings tons of singleplayer content, the addition of 30 new cards will certainly spice up PvP quite a bit.  More seasoned duelists like myself, Sworen, and ObioneX2 are eagerly awaiting new cards but, honestly, I think the current card set is fine.

What’s really important here is that Adventure Mode will give newer or lesser-skilled players the opportunity to test out new strategies in a more controlled environment since bosses will use pre-constructed themed decks.  With less room to blame external circumstances or luck, players can actual train and improve!  I know Stan will love what this expansion means for the game.  For me, the fact that I have gamer ADD means that I need more variety and Blizzard is delivering so THANK YOU!

Hearthstone Curse Of Naxxramas Adventure Mode #paxxramasQuite a few cards have been revealed but let’s discuss the ones most of us find interesting.   First and foremost, you’ll see that they are committing to the deathrattle mechanic quite a bit; however, there are still no signs of new classes and archetypes.  That means no elf, unicorn, dragon, or orc synergies…  Perhaps that would make the game less accessible..  Sorry but it’s true.  If you want over-complicated game mechanics, consider Scrolls, SolForge, Magic The Gathering, or Yu-Gi-Oh!, where the possibilities are endless..  almost to the point of utter frustration just keeping up with the current meta and most viable strategies.

Okay, okay, here are the cards: Undertaker gains a +1/+1 when minions with deathrattle are summoned.  Baron Rivendare will cause the deathrattle ability to trigger twice, which will certainly shift the meta and make for some interesting video highlights.  I can’t wait!  We wonder if this will replace Murlock aggro/rush decks as the new over-played core mechanic.  Deathrattle is already sexy but now we will see it as a theme around which decks will be built.

Dear Blizzard, you *NEED* to add more deck slots.  Hell, you can even monetize and bundle it with big-ticket purchases to justify expediting feature.  Really, additional deck slots would be a value-add just because it would allow players to compare different builds with their favorite heroes/classes.  Deck and class-based  stats could then be introduced, too!  We’d play a whole lot Hearthstone with these features in place.  Currently, getting attached to a deck is not possible so naming them is almost arbitrary and pointless.  Just sayin.

Shade Of Naxxramas is a 3-cost minion who starts at 2/2 with stealth and gains +1/+1 at the start of each turn.  Shade sounds like a stronger Jungle Panther, since this minion has the ability to stick and scale.  That means she will have the opportunity to get more damage out, which is HUGE.  Dancing Swords is 4/4 3-mana card.  It’s deathrattle effect gives your opponent cards, which makes this card questionable at first but…

We have seen a rise in Priest  with heavy card draw mechanics built right in.  The guys at The Angry Chicken say that milling (making your opponent run out of cards) is not a viable core mechanic or strategy but I beg to differ.  I’ve had opponents bleed out when they got too greedy.  What’s more is that Priests have the ability to mass dispel (silence), so they can theoretically play Dancing Swords without the penalty, which will likely make them more aggressive and popular.

Enough about the cards…  What about RNG?

RNG, known to game developers and designers as Random Number Generator, refers to the random seed process and algorithms that work behind the scenes.   Any element of random can be attributed to RNG.  In a deckbuilding game, you can express this as a fraction.  For example, you have a x/y chance to draw a card from a deck.  X is how many copies of the card you have and Y is the deck size.  Don’t forget to simplify and, if you prefer percentages, divide the numerator (the top number) by the denominator (the bottom number).

Kids, be sure to tell your parents you learned something useful today.  Math is OP.  For realz.

The big question about Hearthstone and other deckbuilding games is whether random elements trump skill.  I still say “NO” with regards to Hearthstone.  There are popular streamers that consistently get to the top tier of rankings so, logically, it can’t be all about random luck.  Give SolForge a try if you doubt this.  I love SolForge but it is much more of a grind for players trying to avoid dumping money in.  SolForge refreshes your hand every turn so you may never get the right card you want, even if you run multiple copies and incorporate lots of card-draw combos.

As we will often find, the key in any TCG/CCG is mitigating the random elements rather than waiting to top-deck the card you really need or hoping your opponent makes a mistake.   You need to be deliberate and aware.  Here are some core concepts to note:

  • Card Draw – Many decks run out of steam late-game, which is why Priests, Beasts, and Warlocks are very popular – they have tons of ways to draw more cards.  The more cards you have in your hand late-game, the more options you have.
  • Play Order – One of the things we often take for granted is the order in which cards are played.  The wrong order can cause unnecessary damage to your own minions or accidental enraging/buffing of enemy minions, just for starters.
  • Wait & Combo -Just because you can make a play on a turn does not mean it is the best play.  Consider the combos and potential value of a big play later.  Leaving a single minion to the slaughter is rarely a good idea, especially if they
  • Two For One – The simplest rule of thumb is the most basic math of efficiency: any action that can counter an opponent’s (or cause them to take) two or three actions is a solid play.  This would indicate that minions with abilities are particularly useful but sometimes it’s about preventing repeat use from opponent plays (like that one minion that keeps snake biting you).
  • Trade Or Face? – This is the question you’ll often be faced with.  Do you do damage to the face or trade up with minions?  It all depends on the threats on the board and what you suspect your opponent has waiting for you.  The main thing to consider is how likely it will be that minions you spared this turn will be buffed somehow, which means continued value for your opponent…  And potential damage to YOUR face.
  • Premature Ejaculation – It’s easy to blow your metaphorical load on Hearthstone.  You maysee the opportunity to remove a minion and forget about the other threats your opponent may have.  Board clear is very good but be wary of opponents with full hands..  They are likely trying to bait you to waste your counters.

These concepts apply to just about every card game but Hearthstone is arguably the easiest to get into.  Now, we can talk about the strategy all day but it really comes down to the basics: patience and experience.  If you get frustrated and forget to have fun, nothing else really matters.  Find a deck build that you enjoy and focus on that a bit.  Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.  Streaming on Twitch certainly welcomes advice, warranted or not.

Hearthstone: Deceptively Simple, Insanely FunHearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft truly is deceptively simple (yeah, it’s not just catchy marketing copy, guys).  It’s easy to get into but, like with any other deckbuilding game, there are many layers of depth and strategy.  Experience goes a long way so, if you want to build up an early advantage, it may be best to jump into the game right now and learn the ropes before new cards and game mechanics are introduced.  The meta will inevitably shift with every tweak but the game is stable and balanced now.

So what are you waiting for?

Tell us what’s keeping you from playing Hearthstone TODAY..  Or maybe what you love most about it.  It’s all good in da hood, y0.  If you’re still unsure about Hearthstone, I’ll sell you on it yet!  If you have questions or concerns, share them with us – don’t be shy!

See you in the comments section!

 

HorsePLAY! Zombie Talk Series: Two Podcasts Featuring Zombie Cast!

HorsePLAY! LIVE
Episodes 10 & 11 – Zombie Talk Series Featuring Zombie Cast

Pass the brains and smoked paprika – Zombie Talk is here!

In this special two-episode series, Zombie Cast from AllGames.com joins us for our best horseplay yet. In fact, the geeky antics and shenanigans are so good that we get to talking about tons of stuff beyond zombies and even horror. In Part 2 of this Zombie Talk series, we do manage to get Shawn and Matt to behave bit so we could talk about The Walking Dead and zombies in depth.

Gosh, there are too many hilarious moments and great topics to highlight here.. Well, here is a little taste.. zombie bite, if you prefer:

  • Matt does crossword puzzles and plays with his desk toys to distract us.
  • The truth about Canadian bacon is revealed!
  • A cross-eyed crafter’s Stanley Cup replica unveiled.
  • Now you too can have your very own K-9 (snarky remarks database optional).
  • Beth and Daryl might be going the wrong way on the tracks, away from Terminus!
  • What if Daryl is being set up to be killed off??!
  • The military’s real-life Iron Man project.
  • Matt and Shawn share intimate Fun Facts about themselves.
  • Norma rolls wit da homies.
  • The Walking Dead spin-off show details.
  • Why Shane was a real douchebag.
  • Attack of the Flappy Bird!!

Watch HorsePLAY! EP11 “Night of the Zombie Geeks” HD
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STUsNX70kkk

…And, for your convenience, we’ll even embed the video.  Technology OP.

 

Now at http://GeekyAntics.net – register and unlock Achievements!