Category Archives: GANG Announcements & News

Network news, site updates, announcements, and other content related to GANG. This here is the GANG.. Bang?

GeekyAntics Extra Life 2016: Raising Money For Children With Medical Needs!

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 pagePlease share these neat images and tag some friends?

promo-ash-vs-evil-dead-extra-life-geekyantics-900x600

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.

If you’re ready to go now, make a donation through Yomar Lopez a.k.a. Yogizilla or any of our GeekyAntics team members.

The benefits of supporting Extra Life through GeekyAntics incude:

  • For the cost of a few cups of coffee you can make a BIG difference
  • We can play games, chat, and have fun for a great cause
  • It’ll be a huge boost to our team’s morale
  • It’ll make you feel better about yourself
  • You’ll be a big hit at parties
  • Seriously, it’s great for PR and brand exposure
  • All donations to Extra Life / Children’s Miracle Network are tax-deductible
  • Supporting the little people: small businesses, solopreneurs, and the kids
  • Donations will go to real kids with real medical needs
  • You will be a hero!

Will you be our next hero? (Click 4 Details)

EXTRA-LIFE-heroes-of-all-shapes-and-sizes-video-games.png

 

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.

Spoiler Alert: YOHTAI-GANG-Hearthstone Tournament

Spoiler Alert: AUG 2014 YOHTAI-GANG-Hearthstone Tournament

Hearthstone Throw Pillow Faryna 1

 

The official Hearthstone Pillow as sold by Blizzard here:
http://gear.blizzard.com/index.php/default/hearthstone-throw-pillow.html

Just some of the epic door prizes for our upcoming Hearthstone tournament.

Estimated chance of winning a fabulous door prize: one in 100.

Subscribe to the Geeky Antics blog for more about GANG tournaments and tournament spoilers. Or tune into the Horseplay podcast on Twitch every Thursday night at 11pm EST.

Check out our online YOHTAI newsletter for Hearthstone community:
Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn Issue No. 1 

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 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 GANG Minute: Game Mechanics Show, FTL Advanced, And GANG Cameos

Greetings and salutations, geeks and gamers!

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!

Gaming Death Podcast

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…

The B-Team Podcast Logo

 

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!

FTL Advanced Edition

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.

FTL - Clone Bay Is Off - Crew Are Dying!

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:

  • Hacking
  • Mind control
  • Backup battery

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.

FTL: Faster Than Light - Spool Up The FTL Drive!
Burst lasers – PEW PEW PEW!

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.

Herzog Zwei - Two-Player PvP - SEGA Genesis
Two-player Herzog Zwei takes place in a split screen.. no peeking!

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.

 

Hearthstone Heroes Of Warcraft Title Banner

#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:

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/_hearthstone

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!

Game Mechanics Table / Graph By Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)
[ source: Incentive Research Foundation ]
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!

http://eepurl.com/SZQe9

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

How To Get Hearthstone On iPad Now & Get Started RIGHT

GREAT NEWS, everyone: Hearthstone is now available on iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPoop)!

While many of us are rolling our eyes at the fact that this is a soft launch in test markets and the Android app is still months away, those who happen to have a Crapple device can now enjoy Hearthstone on the can..  See what I did there?  We are going to share how you can join in on the action while also looking at some upcoming features, tips and tricks, and other goodies.

First and foremost, there are two ways you can get the Hearthstone app on your iPhone and iPad.  The easy way is to live in Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  The hard way is moving there just to get your Hearthstone fix wherever you go.

No worries – there is a third way to get Hearthstone on your iPoop device!

What you want to do is switch your Apple App Store region to Canada and trick your device into thinking you are there.  I’m not sure if you have to even have to change your address but this is what I tested successfully:

  1. Go into Settings then iTunes / App Store and tap your Apple ID.
  2. Click View Apple ID and then change your region to Canada.
  3. Agree to the terms then edit your profile.
  4. Choose “none” for payment.
  5. Copy and paste a Canada address from a public listing (i.e. apartment listings).
  6. Choose “none” for payment.
  7. Open up the App Store and download Hearthstone.
  8. Launch Hearthstone and play a match or two – ENJOY!
  9. Receive your FREE “expert pack” after playing one match.

After you test that Hearthstone has successfully installed, you can revert back to your original settings.  The trickiest part is finding an address that is publicly listed.  I recommend using something buried in the search engine results so we’re not all living in the same place (LOL).  Apartment listings, retail stores, and bank addresses are all public domain so it should not take long to find.  The specific steps thereof may vary if you have not upgraded to iOS 7.x yet but it is very easy to figure this out.

Poking The Hearthstone iPad / iOS App
[ source: Hung Tran Nguyen ]
There are two big reasons why the iOS test launch of the Hearthstone app are huge news:

  1. This means the bigger updates are right around the corner.
  2. Deckbuilding games lend themselves well to mobile devices.

I know lots of you geeks and gamers out there have been holding out for Hearthstone to come out on their preferred mobile devices.  Some are just waiting for Blizzard to polish the game further and balance everything out.  Blizzard opted to do a rather soft launch for Hearthstone but I reckon now may be the best time to jump in, unless you rather wait a two or three months for the Android app.

If you are hesitant about trying out Hearthstone, perhaps some thoughts from our own Stan Faryna may provide some  perspective for TCG/CCG newbies:

Assuming the average fight takes 10 minutes…

If you win on average one out of 20 times, that’s 3.3 hours to get one win. And not necessarily any gold in that time with the exception of possible quests and level-ups.

Where’s the “good” game play for the free player?  If you win on average one out of six times, that’s one hour to get to a win. You are unlikely to make gold to buy a pack of cards (or do the arena) with two or three hours of play.

Where’s the “good” game play for the casual player?
What kind of game play should a free player expect?
What kind of game play should a casual player expect?

 Hearthstone is without a doubt the TCG (Tradeable Card Game) for non-TCG/CCG players.   Is there a pay-to-win element?  Sure but what free-to-play game doesn’t have that (the answer is NONE)?  Are there balancing issues?  Absolutely but online games are almost always works in progress.  A look at the development road map may help you appreciate just how much Blizzard is committed to casual and hardcore gamers alike.

Let’s look at a few key points here.  I want to sell you on Hearthstone so we can have Geeky Antics / HorsePLAY! game nights.  Please keep an open mind…

 

Blizzard Has Mastered Mass Appeal

Between the familiarity of their intellectual property, the mythos and universe they have weaved for over two decades, and their accessible (not watered-down) game mechanics, Blizzard has mastered creating mass appeal for their properties.  Virtually everyone has heard of Blizzard, even if they’re not a gamer..  Or they’ve at least heard of World of Warcraft..  Remember that game?

Hearthstone Cameo On World Of Warcraft

Hearthstone is already becoming quite pervasive.  Even before we lucky gamers got into the closed beta, the game was teased in World of Warcraft.  That was back in 2012 and Hearthstone is popping up in more and more conversations.

What’s amazing is how people that would otherwise make fun of deckbuilding games or actively avoid them are enjoying Hearthstone.  For some, it’s the lore and mythos behind the game but, for everyone, it’s the balance and relative ease that makes Hearthstone appealing.

Blizzard has had a fantastic track record bringing niche genres into the forefront and pioneering fresh video game concepts.  Starcraft and Warcraft made RTS games more mainstream than ever, paving the way for eSports.  Diablo made hack-and-slash lootfests a thing.  World of Warcraft got everyone on the MMO bandwagon and introduced billions of gamers to the Warcraft universe.  Now, Hearthstone is bringing TCGs to a much wider audience than Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic The Gathering combined.  Let’s not forget Heroes Of The Storm, which is positioned to make the MOBA/ARTS genre even more of a mainstream activity.

 

You Don’t Have To Do PvP

Expert Mode bot battles should be coming back.  During the Hearthstone beta, you could battle more difficult bots for better rewards.  For some reason, Blizzard gave this feature the axe but there is still Practice mode if you really hate losing or just don’t like PvP.  I get it: no one likes to lose all the time.

Adventure Mode will change things up quite a bit by providing a story-driven single-player experience.  According to the Gamepedia unofficial Hearthstone development wiki, the first installment/episode is set to follow the iOS app release.  Assuming the test launch does not count, we should be about six weeks away from this, likely sooner.

My recommendation is that any new player avoid any PvP matchmaking and stick to friendly duels with friends and Practice mode.  You want to at least grasp the core mechanics and unlock the basic cards for your heroes of choice before diving into more competitive play.  Doing otherwise will lead to unfair expectations and quick judgements.

There are plenty of players out there that do strategy streams, podcasts, and videos.  I am also more than happy to coach new players.  Add me – my BattleTag is Yogizilla#1722.  Hearthstone is definitely meant to be enjoyed with friends.  The community as a whole is friendly so it’s a great place to connect with new geeks!

Learn the basics and the game suddenly becomes more fun..  And you lose less, regardless of the cards.

Hearthstone - Board Layout & Basics Diagram

If you jump straight into human matches, you’re just asking for trouble.  The forced tutorial does a good job of introducing the board layout and basics but a little practice makes PvP much more fun.  You want to at least unlock most of the heroes and core decks before you can find your sweet spot and WIN!

 

Wait..  Is Hearthstone A Pay-To-Win Game?!

Hellz to da NO!

Certainly, the pay-to-win element is there.  I have to reiterate that this is just how free-to-play has to be.  The 20% or so will always make it possible for the rest of us to play for free or on the cheap.   Let’s not forget that video games have business interest and have to make money like everyone else.  It’s only when the pursuit of financial interest over-powers player skill and fun that I would say a game is truly pay-to-win.

We’ll be highlighting EP17 of HorsePLAY! LIVE here on Geeky Antics to dig deeper into the issues of pay-to-win, pesky paywalls, and weak core mechanics.  For now, suffice to say that Blizzard has balanced Hearthstone quite well.  They’ve made it so that skill and fun are still the focus, though paying with time and/or money still give you an edge.

I would say that, compared to other deckbuilding games, Hearthstone has the most diverse meta.  I’ve seen tons of different types of decks and combos.  More importantly, every player has a fighting chance if they are patient and learn the strategies behind it all.

Archmage Antonidas - Legendary Card For Mages In Hearthstone

Now, there is the matter of legendary cards.  In some deckbuilding games, expensive and uber-rare cards are almost auto-wins and insta-adds for any deck.  I don’t find that is the case in Hearthstone, though they help without a doubt.

I have not spent any real money on Hearthstone (yet) and I have beaten plenty of uber decks.  I slacked quite a bit during the beta and it’s only now that Season 1 started that I am really doing my time – in a good way!  In my case, I am familiar with the game mechanics of deckbuilding games as a whole so that helps but I have brought new players into Hearthstone and they picked up the game rather quickly.  That proves that it’s not about the cards you own or even how much time you put in.

To me, any game that requires too much investment of time or money is not fun.  You should be able to pick up a game and enjoy it right off the bat.  If it’s a competitive game, time spent mastering the game should be rewarded but new players should also have the opportunity to compete in a fair and balanced environment.

 

Arena Gives You Bang For Your Buck

I totally recommend this game to anyone curious about what makes a deckbuilding game fun.  I will say that it is best to stick to Practice and friendly matches.  Once you unlock the basic cards (one per hero level for a total of 10 unlocks), your deckbuilding options really open up and you’ll be able to try out new strategies.

I would say after at least a week or 12 hours of solid gameplay, you may want to try out Arena Mode.  If you can win at least three matches, you’ll usually get a better deal than buying just one so-called “expert pack”.  The buy-in for Arena is currently 150 gold whereas a card pack costs 100 gold, both around or under $2 USD.  To put this into perspective, you can earn around 300 gold daily in a reasonable amount of time without it feeling like a total grind.

Hearthstone - Arena Mode - 10 Key Levels

Arena is essentially a survival mode where you duel random players until you lose three times.  You can have these matches at your leisure and retire whenever.  Each run can last up to a maximum of ten wins, as you can see by the keys in the image above.  Realistically, you can expect to win two matches at most when you are just starting off.  To date, I have only won about four matches at most on Arena and I am a fairly competent player.

Overall, I think Hearthstone is great right now and will only get better.  This is one of those games I want to play with my friends and our Geeky Antics community.  I have no reservations recommending this game but I do hope this mini guide helps you get started the right way.   Give it a try and look us up.  We’d love to play with you!

A GANG Manifesto: Horseplay, Origins, and Team Spirit

Riddle me this…

What *is* GANG exactly?

To understand the spirit of the Geeky Antics Network Global (GANG) initiative, it may be worth talking a bit about the origins of HorsePLAY! and how we have evolved.  As we see it, HorsePLAY! is one of many brands and communities we will use to expand the network.  We love teaming up with other podcasters, geeks, and content marketers..

…But, anyway, origins…

 

HorsePLAY! iTunes-Friendly Podcast Cover
HorsePLAY! Where Geeks Come To Play!

When Obi and I first started HorsePLAY!, it was three of us crazy geeks talking video games (we miss ya Soldierism), technology, and whatever else happened to tickle our fancies at the time.  We had a very heavy focus on PC gaming, indie games, and MOBAs (League of Legends in particular).  We’re still a very young podcast but in our few months of doing this together, we’ve evolved quite a bit.  Now, HorsePLAY! is more about digital entertainment as a whole and we certainly have other defining elements in comedy, news, etc.

The beauty of starting any content is that you can run with a very vague idea and build upon it as you go along.; in fact, it’s best to just jump right in and not just over-think things into paralysis.  As we do more HorsePLAY! episodes, our general ideas get more refined.  We like to keep our content as raw and gritty as possible, yet we have a very deliberate direction for HorsePLAY! and GANG alike.

Don’t be afraid to dive in – the GANG is here for you!

It’s hard to describe what HorsePLAY! is in terms of categories (maybe you can help us when conclude this article) and main themes but we certainly know what we want to be in everyone’s minds.  In simple terms, we see HorsePLAY! as a community platform for geeks to collaborate, laugh, and just hang out.  That’s exactly what GANG is being built for as well.

HorsePLAY! LIVE has evolved to become the primary podcast platform  for Geeky Antics.  It is an interactive show focused on cross-promotion and community engagement, just like the rest of the GANG.

Certainly, there are tons of networks out there taking the gaming or geeky angle.  Geek & Sundry, AllGames (one of our unofficial partners), PodGods, and VOG (Voice of Geek) come to mind.  These are all networks we love yet they are missing a few things.  These are the opportunities the major networks miss and we’d like to capitalize on:

  • Creating systems to make it easier for people with great ideas to produce great content.
  • Delivering multi-language content around the world.
  • Building communities that are just as much a part of the creative process as the authors, producers, and hosts.
  • Collaborating with geeks that have the same passion and goals we do here on GANG.
  • Fostering a team spirit while allowing everyone to express themselves freely and authentically.
  • Liberating content marketers so that they can have fun – for the first time or all over again!

The last two items are particularly important to us.  All the big networks do a good job of branding and spreading influence; however, the individual contributors usually get the worst part of the deal.  We want to guide creatives and geeks through the processes of content marketing while allowing as much freedom as possible to our contributors.  We don’t want anyone to feel trapped or restricted while we provide such guidance.

GANG provides the tools, experience, and people to foster an environment of collaboration, fun, and results.  It’s a team effort – for REAL!

All GANG team members and contributors have the option of producing exclusive content or syndicating.  Regardless of the path chosen, we want this network to feel more like a family or, better yet, gathering place for friends and family.  We’re willing to give almost anyone a chance.  The only real rule is this: don’t be an asshat and please check your ego at the door.

Your eCards - Don't Be A Douchebag..  You Asshat

Of course, things get tricky when monetization is involved.  Everyone has bills to pay and nothing is truly free so we have plans for revenue sharing and building capital.   Now, we recognize there is a fine line between sustainability/profit and selling out.  Our hope is that we can stay authentic and have fun doing what we’re passionate, while being profitable.  It’s a tall order but we know it can be done.

Another major pitfall we want to avoid is become elitist or too exclusive.  We’ve found that many outlets refuse to give people a chance yet everyone has to start somewhere.  Whereas most media networks/empires pursue established personalities to siphen some of their audience, we want to create mutually-beneficial scenarios where audiences, creatives, and platforms all win (win-win-win’s, as I like to call them).  Establishing a good balance between being professional and casual will be a challenge in itself.

Whereas most media networks pursue established personalities to siphen some of their audience, we want to create win-win-win scenarios.

If you believe in team spirit and are tired of the politics in major media networks, GANG is the place for you.  We can’t promise that we will never employ ads, microtransactions, or anything of the sort but we can promise that the art comes first.  That said, donations and volunteering will be a big part of our sustainability and growth.  Fundraisers are definitely on the horizon.  Believe me, every contribution (creative, financial, or otherwise) goes a long way for our collective success.

So that there is our GANG manifesto.  We know the specifics will become more clear as we grow our team and release more great content.  Thus far, the response has been amazing.  The support we have been getting has made the process far less daunting so we truly appreciate all the folks volunteering and rallying for us.

Now it’s time to introduce our team so far because a network, or any organization at that, is nothing without the right people supporting it.  First, James Tarr, better known to HorsePLAY! fans as ObioneX2 (or just plain Obi), is a growing personality on Twitch.  These days he is heavily into Arma 2 but he has also been hardcore into League of Legends, War Thunder, Hearthstone, Battlefield 4, Day-Z, and other PC games.  Obi specializes in video production, particularly when it comes to livestreaming, which involves a balance of community engagement, overlay/scene design, and scheduling.  His knowledge in these areas will help us establish the production value and timing necessary to create and build audiences in what are otherwise very crowded spaces.

Now for Mr. Ellis!  Dakota Ellis has gone by many names, including DingleDorf and Asmodeus.  He is a long-time clanmate – GO NOF – and friend.  Kota is pretty new to online marketing but has been involved in forums, Twitter, Facebook groups/pages, mailing lists, and other projects.  He’s also been a moderator and community liaison for small games like ARC/Spark and Babo.  Our hopes are to groom him as a social media specialist so he can help us curate content and sustain our various engagement paths (or marketing channels, if you prefer).

Next up is James Fortengard, known by AllGamers as Yuri or Fort.  James has quite the impressive resume, which boasts the ability to speak many languages and vast knowledge of comics, anime, film, video games, and more.  Like many lesser-known online personalities, Fort never quite got the chance to strut his stuff on an established platform or network.  He’s a tough cookie with strong opinions so we’re excited to see what we he can do once he is given a chance to do his thang.  We already have several concepts for shows/podcasts so expect some new exclusives soon!

Finally, Matt Bradford (@MattoMcFly on Twitter) has confirmed interest in joining GANG.  He’s currently busy with Guiness World Records, VGO (VideoGameOutsiders), AllGames Network, Games Radar, and Zombie Cast so he’ll be a guest host and blog contributor until we can all seduce him to stay for the long haul.  Please show Matt and the rest of the team some love, guys!

So that’s our team so far.  We hope to introduce our new GANGsters as HorsePLAY! guests but, for now, expect some blog contributions here soon enough.  Before we close out this GANG manifesto, I wanted to involve you all in the evolution of HorsePLAY! since it is our flagship show.  Take the poll below and leave some comments.  Let us know what your impressions of HorsePLAY! are so far.  This feedback will help us produce even better content.  Keep it positive and constructive.  We will not feed trolls! *wink*