We’re doing Extra Life in a BIG WAY this year: as a TEAM!
Our goal is to surpass 20K in dollars raised to help children with medical needs. The only way we can make that happen is if we have more people join our fundraising team, donating *TODAY*, or at least sharing our banners and link. We have groovy promos like the one below on the official Geeky Antics Network Global fan page. Please share these neat images and tag some friends?
This is for a great cause, folks, and all it takes are a few little steps to make BIG things happen. Full details can be found on the link below.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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)!
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.
Analysts 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.
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!
THIS IS, err, YOHTAI – Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn.
YOHTAI is where we can add friends, connect, share, brag, bitch and whine about Blizzard’s game Hearthstone and other things. We also conversate and participate in live and recorded podcasts including HorsePLAY! LIVE and others. And, ok, we do some tips, cheats, and strategies…
If you haven’t read it, check out the YOHTAI Issue No. 1 here:
In the comments below, flaunt your OP internet and social game skillz – tell us your Hearthstone ID (Battle Tag), your in game name, your real name (if you dare), your city, connection points, and share your thoughts on Hearthstone with us.
Ranked Play Season 1: Pandamonium is almost over
Season 1 is coming to a close at the end of the month, and with it your chances of acquiring the Pandaria card back for your collection.
Pandaria Card Back
Fireside Gatherings FLOP
The Fireside Gathering is on. If you can log in three devices on the same router, you can get the Fireside Gathering card back. Blizzard’s big idea, however, was a big flop with hardly any HFG parties anywhere. Blizzard’s lack of commitment and investment in this social event leaves us with some questions about their community skills.
Sometimes, I forget things…
Our genius suggestion: A plushy Hearthstone Pillow awarded to the first 300 Fireside Gathering leaders signed up for the Cinco de Mayo slash This is Sparta bash. What Cinco de Mayo Bash?! Exactly.
Show off your Hearthstone gear. Send us a pic of you and your gear and we’ll feature it in YOHTAI. Send the pic to me (Stan) at email@example.com
TOSH.0 still don’t got love for the Hearthstone. Whazzup with that? He know internets? Obviously not. Because Hearthstone is one of the hottest iPad app downloads going on. It’s averaging 4.5 stars, got 7086 ratings overnight, and Hearthstone is at the top of the app download list.
Some of us are casual gamers – playing less than 10 hours per week. But if you can log in for 30 minutes, you can collect the 40 gold daily quest reward with a little help from you friends at YOHTAI. Log-in, let your friends know you need a “little gold” in the chat and then take turns winning and losing to get that quest reward.
Tip No. 13 …
No one likes losing most of the time.
If you can’t survive to round 10 in most fights, whip out your credit card and throw down $20 on some cards. But not until you can survive until round 9. Because you need some tested and true ideas about how to play the game before new cards can help.
If you’re new to Hearthstone, there may be some confusion about Rankings. We know there’s 25 rankings including Legend. But after you get to rank 20, you proceed (or not) to rank 19. This is not a bug.
There’s been so much going on in the world of Geeky Antics that we have not been able to report everything as it happens via our blog or even Twitter. This installment of The GANG Minute will provide some highlights so you can get all caught up… We’ve got lots cooking and the GANG is ROCKIN! Here are the highlights…
NOTE: Be sure to take the poll at the end – we need help brainstorming for our new show!
GANG May 2014 Guest Appearances & Previews
On Thursday, May 1st 2014, I will be joining The Gaming Death podcast at 9pm Eastern, which is live on Twitch just like HorsePLAY! It should be interesting as there will be like five or six people on the show. Right after, Chip Cella a.k.a. CaptinChaos from The B-Team Podcast will be joining us on HorsePLAY! LIVE Episode 20 (the title is currently undetermined) to talk about some of the following items as part of our #RetroFriday initiative:
What the “next-gen” REALLY is.. or should be.
The games we’re playing instead of “da newness”.
Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies and call-ins.
Core concepts in TCG/CCGs.
A mini Hearthstone survival guide.
What makes strategy games so replayable?
Can puzzle fighters be considered strategy games?
Some of our favorite strategy games of all time.
We’ll also be setting the stage for a real throwback episode, where we’ll talk about classic and retro-style games. We’re just waiting to see when Fred Rojas from Gaming History 101 can join us so we can go DEEP! I’m working on trimming some of the fat for EP20 so we can have more time for our featured topics and do more community interaction. We’d also like to do more Freeballin’ to talk about whatever! Maybe we’ll get to #TheDustOff and talk about the latest games sucking our souls away…
FTL: Advanced Edition – Hidden In Version 1.5x And Up!
In case you missed it, the long-awaited expansion to FTL: Faster Than Light Advanced Edition was released on April 3rd 2014. If you’re like me, you eagerly anticipated this, couldn’t find a firm release date, and probably got tired of waiting.. Then it snuck up on you like a ninja in your underpants!
It turns out that, for many of us, this was not an auto-update thing. Everyone who owns FTL: Faster Than Light does get the expansion for free BUT you might have to manually download v1.5x from Humble Bundle or wherever you bought the game if you went DRM-free. Steam FTL players probably did not even notice.
The changes are very subtle (you won’t see a new intro video or splash screen, in case you were waiting) until you poke around a bit and engage in extended play sessions. You’ll have to enable Advanced Edition content whilst choosing your ship and prepping your crew members. You’ll notice that the randomized encounters are more varied now, there are new ships, visuals have been (and usability) improved, and the clone bay provides an alternative to the med bay.. Just to name a few changes.
I hear there are also new ships but I can’t confirm this personally until I unlock more of them. I currently have around five space ships unlocked, BTW. The biggest change has to be the clone bay. The fear of losing crew members used to be the biggest thing for me but the clone bay makes life in space much easier. Suddenly, having enemies board your ship is not as scary, whether you have blast doors or not.
Other FTL advanced features that excite me:
FTL used to be one of my most-played games on Twitch and the expansion makes me want to suit up in a bad way. There are times I wish the game went a little deeper on the simulation side but the rogue-like elements (i.e. permadeath) make the experience new and challenging every time. I recommend playing on Easy or Normal, difficulty unless you don’t mind dying.. A LOT.
A few quick tips for new FTLers: burst lasers and ion weapons are likely your best bets for an aggressive, crippling loadout. Drones and missiles hog up resources, plus they can be dodged or countered by elite ships. That said, missiles penetrate shields and can cause really nasty damage. The last thing you want in outer space is a fire that goes out of control or hull breaches that suck the oxygen away. I reckon that would suck.
#RetroFriday – The Granddaddy Of MOBAs And RTS Games
I’ve been teasing Herzog Zwei for a long time and finally got the ROM recording environment perfected. I’ve been super stoked to share this with you. I’m a big fan of SEGA but Herzog Zwei is more than just a great SEGA Genesis game. Herzog Zwei inspired MOBAs and RTS games as we know them today. yet it remains mostly unknown.
Please like, favorite, and comment on the YouTube video. I think everyone should play this game at least once. Herzog Zwei holds up surprisingly well today.. And it is not the hand-holding BS we see today, either. Did I mention the game let’s you play as a mech (Land-Armor)? It’s like Transformers.. Without Michael Bey.
We also invite you to join our #RetroFriday Steam community group Herzog Zwei and AirMech discussion. If you love strategy games but need something fast-paced, these are two fantastic games worth checking out. Let me know which 8-bit and 16-bit classics you’d like me to play [more of]. Every #RetroFriday, I’ll stream and record retro games from indie developers and classic consoles. Others are doing the same so be sure to check out the hashtag.
#YOHTAI – Join Us For Hearthstone Streams & Game Nights!
Our beloved Stan Faryna, the hardest working man in social media, has been rallying our fellow geeks and get #YOHTAI off the ground. Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern And Inn is a place for Hearthstone players to share their Battle Tag and make new friends. We have a Steam community group, too:
This Hearthstone Steam community group is unofficial.. But it’s fun to be one of the handful of groups dedicated to the game. Let’s make #YOHTAI the biggest unofficial community for Hearthstone and play more together. Join us and we can do some Twitch streams and videos together, maybe even exchange some tips!
In around two weeks since we started this social initiative, I have made five new friends on Hearthstone. That’s significant considering I have been bad about adding people I play against during matchmaking. Sworen from The B-Team Podcast recently whooped my ass with a Warlock “test deck”. It was brutal.. I need new Hearthstone friends.
We Need Help Coming Up With A Show Name!
We’re getting closer to releasing a pilot episode for our NEW! game theory/mechanics and strategy podcast. Right now, I am unsure about the name but I have some good ideas for logos and banners. Could you give us a hand?
This new show, codenamed “Strategery” (yes, we know that’s not a real word), will have revolving hosts and guest hosts that will include hardcore gamers, casual players, game developers, marketing specialists, analysts, and scientists. The idea is to provide fresh perspectives on the inner workings of games, both tabletop and digital. We’re gonna go hard and deep with our ANALysis!
As this table shows, there’s lots in play when we are playing games. Analyzing these subleties can help us foster a greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into gaming. If you’re not into game design or any of the business-side, the knowledge is helpful for identifying right-fit experiences or developing new strategies.. Break the meta!
Currently, we are leaning towards the first half or so being deep discussion on a theme for the week (along with the usual pleasantries and banter) and the second half shifting to tips, tricks, and strategies. There will be a heavy focus on strategy games and anything with an online or team focus. Our game spotlights will include Hearthstone, SolForge, League of Legends, Smite, DotA 2, Marvel PuzzleQuest, and AirMech.
Once I get some concept art together and firm things up a bit, expect an update to this article or some quick comments. For now, I think that covers all the stuff we’ve been meaning to cover here on GANGnet. Stay tuned for more great content. There’s going to be lots more variety coming up (if all goes well) including stuff covering Doctor Who, geek social issues, anime picks, and comic strips.
Want the latest Geeky Antics right in your inbox? Sign up for our FREE newsletter. Once we get enough e-mail subscribers, we’ll start sending out weekly newsletters and kick off more community events, giveaways, contests, and MORE!
Many thanks to the over 100 people who are following and subscribed to our blog via RSS and e-mail digest. We are humbled by the tremendous response we have gotten in just a few short months. #GeeksUnite
Last night, the hardest-working man in social media (that I know personally, at least), Stan Faryna, confirmed that Hearthstone is now available in the iOS App Store – EVERYWHERE! That’s right – you can get Hearthstone on your iPad, without having to do anything crazy! Go get it FREE.. Really.. Do it now!
…Still haven’t downloaded it? Maybe the Official Hearthstone iPad Trailer will motivate you:
UPDATE: The iPad app is almost exactly the same as the PC and Mac game. Multiplayer is completely cross-platform, unlike Marvel Puzzle Quest.. So you don’t need to grind on every version.
The Hearthstone iPad soft launch ended in the blink of an eye. It should be no surprise by now. Blizzard has been accelerating their timetables with Hearthstone. Just look at how fast the game went from public beta to full launch (though, arguably, that was a soft launch itself). Once Blizzard starts teasing things and getting more specific with features, we know they’re right around the corner; otherwise, they tend to be very vague.. Or hire cute girls, which we’re fine with, either way.
We suspect that the iOS app will increase the user base twofold, maybe more, in as little as three months. I know tons of my friends have been waiting for mobile platform support because, let’s be honest: we don’t always want to sit down in front of a monitor or TV for hours at end, especially if that is what we do for work.
We’re excited to have more Hearthstone friends so don’t be shy – add us on BNet! Personally, I am particularly curious to meet more women on Hearthstone (not for hook-ups, I promise) because, let’s face it: most dudes can’t hold a decent or deep conversation. I love my bros but… Yeah, many of us are lacking intellectual appeal.
Some people may still be sitting this one out. They’re likely the folks that don’t like PvP or judge things by their metaphorical covers. More single-player content is coming with Curse Of Naxxramas and that will certainly be the big launch we have been waiting for.. But the game is fun right now.. Come join us!
I will say this: the iPad app is not without it’s flaws. I have tinkered with it for over a week and find that I get disconnected or the app crashes randomly. Quite a lot of my losses have come from that. It seems the app is unforgiving if you have spotty connectivity. Regardless, I love Hearthstone and wholeheartedly recommend it to you, our friends and fellow geeks.
Now git off yer bum and download Hearthstone already! Did we mention it’s FREE?
This is about Hearthstone. It’s about you. It’s about us. It’s also about games, good game play and, oh yeah, it’s about geeky stuff. Welcome bros, women of astounding warcrafts and (last but not least) transgender, illegal alien immigrant-persons from P3X-774. … Among other things, a good game provides a platform for social experience, frell, and the Noxian ritual of life. It brings people together – friends and family. And/or it allows people to connect and get to know each other. Hearthstone doesn’t do this well. Or not yet. But we can pick up the slack here at G.A.N.G (Geekly Antics Network Global).
This post and future Hearthstone posts at Geekly Antics will be our official Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn (YOHTAI) – where we can add friends, connect, share, brag, bitch and whine about Blizzard’s game Hearthstone and other things. We’ll also be able to conversate and participate in live and recorded podcasts including HorsePLAY! LIVE and others. And, ok, we’ll do some tips, cheats, and strategies. …
Why are you here?!
In the comments below, flaunt your OP internet and social game skillz – tell us your Hearthstone ID (Battle Tag), your in game name, your real name (if you dare), your city, connection points, and share your thoughts on Hearthstone with us. …
When you add a friend in game, tell them about YOHTAI! Because the more, the merrier! …
Feel free to add the hosts of Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn in the Hearthstone game and beyond. This will also make us friends on all other Blizzard Battle.net games, including Starcraft II Arcade and Diablo III, though I have not tried those yet.
Stan Faryna Writer, Gamer, Online Strategist and Seer, Entrepreneur and Gardener.
In the near future, the issues of YOHTAI will overflow with tips, cheats, rants and raves here. Feel free to contribute. Email your tip, cheat, news, rant, rave or whatever to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put YOHTAI in the subject of your email. We’ll share them in upcoming installments of YOHTAI! …
19 April 2014 (Easter Vigil and Yogizilla’s Birthday) …
Happy Birthday to Yogizilla (aka Yomar Lopez)!
18 April 2014 (Good Friday and Passover) …
Hearthstone ringtones? We’re talking to music producer and artist Adrian Klein about making them for iPhone and Android. Would you donate $2 for your favorite Hearthstone ringtone? … Tip No. 42 …
You can never have too many friends on this lonely planet – or elsewhere!
Make (add) friends in Hearthstone by adding a recent match opponent. Or from a shout out (comments) here at the Hearthstone Tavern and Inn. … …
Are you a comics fan? The SECRET ORIGINS of the World’s Greatest Heroes in The New 52 can be revealed! This new series start with the origins of The Last Son of Krypton and Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, plus the first Robin, Dick Grayson. Check it out here.
Hearthstone Tavern and Inn Facebook Cover Art? Would you donate $10 for a personalized Facebook Cover Art? We’re working with some graphic designers to come up with some very cool artwork.
15 April 2014 (Passover) …
Tip No. 17 …
Friends make everything better!
Having trouble getting through the daily quest? Or it just takes too long? Ask a friend to help you out and let you win the two quest battles in a friendly fight. And don’t forget to return the favor. That’s 40 gold in 10 minutes or less!
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!
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.
Curse 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.
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!
Quite 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: 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!
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