Category Archives: HorsePLAY! Friends & Supporters

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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

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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

Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn #YOHTAI Issue No. 3

Well met!

Hearthstone Rankings

Some of you are rocking the deck. Some not so much. For the later, we know how you got the trouble on your mind. This song is for you…

 

 

Handshakes and Nods

 

Welcome (and welcome back) to Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn. Our friend’s lists are growing, our kung fu getting funky and our murloc sammiches be mighty.

We’re a community that’s about Hearthstone. Hearthstone is an Online Collectible Card Game (CCG) that is easy to learn, yet challenging to master.

If you haven’t been here before, check out the previous issues of YOHTAI.

Issue No. 1

https://geekyantics.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/ye-olde-hearthstone-tavern-and-inn-16-april-2014-issue-no-1

Issue No. 2

https://geekyantics.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/ye-olde-hearthstone-tavern-and-inn-yohtai-issue-no-2/

You can also connect and participate on Facebook, Steam and Horseplay Live!

Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/hearthstone.heroes/

Steam
http://steamcommunity.com/groups/_hearthstone

Horseplay
http://allgames.com/podcasts/horseplay

 

Hearthstone News

 

Ranked Play Season 2: The Black Temple 

Season 2 is coming to a close and the black temple card back will soon be ours. But is that all we get for all the game, shame and grief? Really?! How about some of that shiny, happy sin’dorei glory? Or is that another thing you can do in Colorado but no where else?

Ok, let’s assume the seasonal card back is some kind of lower hanging fruit for lesser murlocs. But why can’t we mix and match the card backs.  That is something we can’t do. Yet.

Black Temple Hearthstone Cardback Faryna

 

2014 Hearthstone World Championship

$250,000 in prizes for the epic plays! Do you have a shot at a cash prize? Be a top 16 Legend player. Seriously? Seriously!

The official competition rules are here.

https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/content_folder_media/ETLD1OPHY4D31400717954136.pdf

 

Hearthstone Poster Contest

The Hearthstone Poster Contest is almost over. Vote for your favorite on Facebook at May 29, 2014. Yeah it seems kind of stupid that an iPad promotional event (vote) is only being hosted on Facebook. But we all know how it is – once you work for corporate, you lose 5 points of practical intelligence off the bat. Sometimes, more.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.721839204525517.1073741846.498467596862680&type=1

Here’s an interesting submission by Kris Cooper. Cooper’s artwork has a lot of potential to be used in future Hearthstone content.

What you think?

Kris Cooper Hearthstone Poster

 

Hearthstone Cheats

Hacks

Same four cards! Some of us have seen it done with our own eyes. We don’t want to report. But we do want to know where you get that hack! [laughing]

So what does Aldor Peacekeeper know, right? Follow the rules!?

Tip No. 69

Using up all your mana in a round is not an indicator that you are winning.

Don’t play cards just because you got mana to burn. There’s cards you need to hang on to for a tight, upcoming situation. Play a card because you can make it work for you. Duh!

Say Something

 

Canned Comments

The canned comments that can be exchanged in a match are lackluster.

Here’s some comments we’d like to see added to the menu.

1. I’m unstoppable except when my hand sucks.
2. I play nekkid. You?
3. Yes. I will accept your surrender, general.
4. Are you eating again?! Make your move or pass, thank you.
5. Are you peeing again?! Make your move or pass, thank you.
6. Could you turn off the frelling tv and finish up this match.
7. I admire your keen skill and undeniable charms .
What comments would you you like to see added to the menu?

Thank you

Say anything. Share anything. Almost anything – let’s not go XXX, ok. [grin]

Open Pack Hearthstone Faryna 4

 

Drink with me, friend. Share with us. Words, dreams, fantasies or art. Send it to me (Stan) at stan.faryna@gmail.com

Job’s done!

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.

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

HorsePLAY! Peterborough Is Great And So Is Hearthstone, Right Matto?

HorsePLAY! LIVE
Episodes 17  – Let’s Move To Canada..  For Hearthstone!

*** Featuring Matt Bradford of VGO & Zombie Cast ***

 

In this episode, HorsePLAY! LIVE becomes The Derailment Extravaganza (or is it Bonanza) once again.  Matt Bradford from Zombie Cast and VGO (Video Game Outsiders) returns to HorsePLAY! to help us stay raw, silly, and off-topic.  Some may know him as @MattoMcFly or “Moto”.  He’s also known as one of the writers for the Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition, AllGames, and GamesRadar, amongst other things.  We know him as one of our favorite Canadian geeks! Guinness World Records 2014 - Gamer's Edition - With Matt Bradford!

Matt confessed that any time after 11pm Eastern on a week day, he is essentially brain dead.  As a result, we get the sillier, more random Matt’O.  Somehow, he manages to give spoilers for our own show.  There are the usual wild tangents and shenanigans, but we mainly talk about Hearthstone, The Walking Dead, and freemium games.

We don’t do nearly as much League of Legends talk these days.  Matt groans at the mere thought.  It turns out that he may actually enjoy the game but the toxic community as seen on Reddit and other social media scares him away.  There are plenty of mainstay games we would like to play with our friends and fans – LoL is certainly one of them so give it a try…   Stan Faryna did! #YOHTAI

Show Highlights:

  • Golf is just something for bored richies to show off how much money and land they have.
  • WWF does not make us think about endangered animals.
  • “There’s a lot of cool cats on the AllGames network.”
  • HorsePLAY! LIVE is the perfect show to be brain-dead on!
  • Matt Bradford plays the hand harmonica.
  • Yogi is a very loud Puerto Rican, NOT a Mexican.
  • Sword Art Online is like dot.hack and Photon..  And it’s coming back for Season 2!
  • Apparently, everyone is too young to remember Photon.
  • We all love The Guild.. And Felicia Day.. Wil Wheaton, too.
  • Chris Hardwick is a narcissistic douchebag.
  • “WTF is in the basement??”
  • Twitter is getting rid of #hashtags..  Brilliantly stupid.
  • Third-party Twitter apps are WAY better than the official one.
  • Twitter is going to kill their existing user base.
  • “90% of the population mis-uses hashtags.”
  • Hearthstone iOS app is available only in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand..  Sorta.
  • You can now rejoin Hearthstone matches if disconnected.
  • Fashionably late The Walking Dead S4 finale reactions.
  • When is free-to-play really pay-to-win?
  • Hearthstone is NOT a pay-to-win game..  We explain why.
  • Did we mention we are now part of the AllGames family now??
  • Tons of other geeky antics and train wrecks, as per usual.

Canadian Bacon Vs. REAL Bacon..  An Uncooked Comparison

Matt Bradford has also put the Canadian bacon debate to bed.  This is his official statement, and I am paraphrasing:

Is that even ours?  I don’t think so..  It’s an abomination.  Canadian bacon is ham, NOT bacon.

“Moto”, you are a man above all men.   We love having you on the show and hope to have you join our geeky antics more.  Now, we need more G33k Grrlz and a little less Mancrushes..  It’s starting to be a sausage fest over on HorsePLAY! LIVE..  Where’s the bacon??

In case you missed it, HorsePLAY! is on the AllGames Network Thursdays at 5pm EDT.   HorsePLAY! LIVE (HD) is on Twitch at 11pm EDT.  Come join us on the IRC and Twitch chats!

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.

 

HorsePLAY! Zombie Talk Series: The Walking Dead Season 4 & Beyond

Greetings horsies, zombies, and GANGsters!

We got a great response from HorsePLAY! EP10 so we are going to continue our unofficial Zombie Talk Series for at least an episode or two more. So far, we have barely scraped the surface wounds so will switch the format up a bit to jump straight into the zombie herd. For tonight’s show, HorsePLAY! LIVE EP11 “Night of the Zombie Geeks”, we will team up with Zombie Cast for a total of five hosts. The focus will be on The Walking Dead but we will try to delve into games, podcasts, books, movies, etc.

NEW!  Did you miss HorsePLAY! EP10?  No worries – here is the HD video, just for you!  We’ll be adding more videos and show highlights so let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see more of!

 

So far in Season 4.5 of The Walking Dead, Episodes 9 through 11, we have seen a rather slow build-up. It looks like the show is still committed to fan fare for followers of the comics yet the introduction of Terminus is taking the story into a whole new direction. We have a lot of speculations and predictions on this aspect of the story arc alone.

Here are some topics we will tackle, straight from our HorsePLAY! LIVE show notes:

  • Has Daryl gone derp like Rick?
  • Wait, Beth is the hopeful one and now Daryl seems to be giving up?  Get it together, Daryl!
  • Babies in the zombie apocalypse: hope or nuisance?
  • Lizzie must be related to The Governor – she’s CRAZY!
  • Will Tara go straight?
  • What if Tyreese finds out about what Carol did?
  • Did any of the Season 4.5 scenes lack tension?  Maggie searching for Glenn on the bus, for example.
  • Will Glen be overwhelmed by guilt and give up?
  • WTF?  Bulletproof Maggie!
  • Wait a minute..  Are Daryl and Beth going the wrong way on the tracks??!  That’s not Terminus!
  • An upcoming Daryl-only episode makes us think someone will die.  Will they be bold and kill Daryl or just dump Beth?
  • Spin-off TWD show coming 2015 alongside Season 5.  Any thoughts or additional info?
  • Keep up the zombie talk! Be sure to visit our friends at The Zombie Blog – http://thezombieblog.net – and Zombie Cast –http://zombiecast.net – guys, any other zombie content you wanna share?

In EP10 we raised one particularly spicy question:

How long does The Walking Dead show have before it runs out of steam?

With the TWD spin-off show set for a 2015 release, how long will this current crew of survivors keep us hooked?  The general consensus by Shawn Freeman and Matt Bradford of Zombie Cast in EP10 was that they have one or two strong seasons left, yet there is a world of things they can still do in this universe.. without the spin-off(s).  We are concerned yet hopeful!

There’s lots to say here but I will save it for the show.  I will say this: TWD EP9 and 11 were rather slow but they are definitely building up to something big.  I think they might redeem what has otherwise been a stale season towards the end.  The key is to keep introducing and building up key characters so we can get invested in the experience once again.

I am curious if Robert Kirkman will be bold enough to kill off Daryl.  He’s clearly a fan favorite and what will all the teeny bopper girls do if the stud is gone??  Regardless of how many badasses they assemble, I would say TWD’s strengths reside in the human elements so they should rely less on the zombie battles.  Of course, we love the epic takedowns but it’ll be better if they space it out and make us anticipate those moments more.

What do you guys think about Season 4.5 of The Walking Dead this far?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Come join us on HorsePLAY! LIVE tonight and every Thursday night at 11pm EST.  We may be rescheduling in a month or so to better accomodate our guests but, for now, we are the Interweb’s midnight crew for all things geeky.  Party with us!

Full HD Streamhttp://twitch.tv/obionex2

Mobile-Friendly Streamhttp://twitch.tv/yogizilla

Knuckleballer Radio: Soap Taste – Yummy!

Knuckleballer Radio
Episode “Soap Taste – Yummy!”

[audio http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-123936/TS-820666.mp3|titles=Knuckeballer Radio:  Soap Taste – Yummy!|loop=yes|animation=no|initialvolume=80]

I’ve been joining friends on different shows, particularly ones on the AllGames Network, and Knuckleballer by far is the craziest experience.  You just never know what to expect.  This episode was no exception.

Norma (Normii477) had an evil plan and I had no idea.  She got the families of Shawn (Freemandaddy5) and Eli (Sodoom) to blind-fold them and put put random things in their mouths.  At one point, Shawn ate soap (too bad it wasn’t bacon soap) and started crying.  LOL..  It was pretty epic!

If you’ve never heard Knuckleballer Radio before, the basic format is that there are three main hosts and rotating guest hosts.  Each participant has to share a knuckeball, which is a random topic or challenge that everyone else has to participate in.  Since no one knows what these knuckleballs will be, the antics that ensue are always quite entertaining.

I love the raw, mostly unscripted approach of this show.  It makes for great radio.  What’s even better is that the hosts are such authentic, awesome individuals.  Be sure to give them a listen and show my friends some social media love!