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…
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!
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!
In keeping with the #RetroFriday spirit, EP20 of HorsePLAY! LIVE delved into the simple little games that have us addicted. Are games like Hearthstone and Marvel Puzzle Quest the real next generation of gaming we’ve been waiting for? We think so.
Here are some of the highlights of the show before we jump into some Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies. We did not quite get into Hearthstone as heavily as we wanted in the episode but don’t worry: we’ll be revisiting the game lots.. Yeah, I know: we talk about it lots here at Geeky Antics – we’ll convert you yet!
ARS Technica Steam game library usage and ownership stats.
Microsoft announces XBox Originals Channel. New video games.. Sure, we’ll have those too.. Eventually.
Bungie veteran, Marty O’Donnell fired without cause.
Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings a flop so far… or are they?
Twitter changes have been rolled out – hello Facebook Junior!
Opinions & Discussions:
Dear consoles, please focus on GAMES.. We have enough videos and junk to consume as it is.
How Marty discovered Bungie years ago.
Remember the precursor to Halo? Neither do we.
Macs have games too!
Imagine if Halo was an Apple exclusive.. YUCK.
The state of the gaming industry is pretty sad now BUT…
Tabletop gaming and indie games are on the rise – YAY!
Twitter, if you become craptastic like Facebook, FUCK YOU!
Don’t forget: if you want to join the conversation, perhaps disagree with our points or shed some light on things, leave us voicemail at (206) 415-4987. Keep it simple and sweet, por favor – we will play them during our shows and discuss!
So, during EP20, we hit upon a lot of key strategies for newbies and players having trouble in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign. The idea is to prevent endless grinding and dropping money, which sucks unless you have tons of money and time to throw away. Here are some of the things Chip Cella (a.k.a. @CaptinChaos) of The B-Team Podcast, our resident MPQ ninja, suggested to keep the game fun and help you PWN (without making it into a lifestyle game):
Save Hero Coins for roster spots.
Focus your ISO on maxing your top characters, rather than leveling them all up evenly.
Keep “Fishnet” Black Widow or Amazing Spider-Man in your to keep your teammates healed.
During PvP events, farm newbies instead of going for difficult targets – use the skip button to avoid needless knock-outs.
If you’re just starting out, grind the campaign and AI battles to get easy ISO and Hero Coins.. Farm newbies too.
Do not waste Hero Coins on health packs – they regenerate once you go below a five count.
Remember: this is not Candy Crush.. MPQ is the match-three puzzle game for strategy lovers and deep thinkers!
Here are some other tips that I have found useful. I will preface these tips by saying I avoid any scenario where I am playing for several hours at end. I love this game and want to avoid burning out on it and making it a grind like I did with my previous mobile game of choice, Rage Of Bahamut (a.k.a. Mobage’s relentless money grab).
Fishnet & The Support Crew
Original Black Widow, affectionately called “Fishnet”, is easily one of the Top 5 characters in Marvel Puzzle Quest. She compliments any team you add her too, especially against teams that need black, purple, and blue matches to activate abilities. Her abilities can best be described as follows:
Heals and steals.
Ideally, you want to place her alongside a higher-level, tankier (high life/hit points) character(s) with same-colored abilities. This will prevent her from taking too much damage, which is good since she can be one-hit by certain characters (i.e. Wolverine). Some good teammates for her include…
For heavy grinding sessions, I find the combination of Daken, Fishnet, and Moonstone/Thor/Wolverine works really well. Daken adds stacking damage and tanks incoming damage while the third character provides the burst damage and “bigger body”. Your preferences may be different depending on how aggressive you want to be. Admittedly, Daken takes time to build up damage with strike tiles but his self-healing ability makes him great.
Fishnet Black Widow is what I would call a support character. If you don’t have her, there are other options for mitigating damage, whether you are healing or blocking damage. Amazing Spider-Man is likely your next best bet since he can stun AND heal. Here are some other solid picks:
Modern Black Widow
Yelena Belova Black Widow
Iron Man Model 35
Iron Man Model 45
Support roles go beyond healing and stealing. Characters like Yelena Belova (evil Black Widow), Loki, Magneto, and Bullseye can create and manipulate special tiles, which can be devastating against opponent teams that rely on them.
Between Captain America and Moonstone, I feel Moonstone is the best pick. Captain America feels like an under-powered Iron Man Model 35. Here is why he sucks:
His powers/abilities take too long to ramp up.
His damage output is poop.
He is balanced and, by extension, not very good at anything.
Captain America does have more HP than most support characters. He also has a stun ability plus the ability to cycle abilities but, if the countdown tiles get removed, his effectiveness is negated. Cap is just not good for aggressive wins and, thus, using him becomes a grindfest… Meh.
Moonstone, on the other hand, can manipulate the board, do massive burst damage (based upon how many red tiles are in stock), and she can stun opponents. She is amazing yet she doesn’t get nearly enough love. I love you Moonstone.
UPDATE: We’ve had tremendous response from this post (yet the comments are lacking.. Hmmm…) and I realize that some are still very uncomfortable with T&A, even though it is relevant. I’d hate for our fellow gamers to miss out on an important discussion over something so trivial. So I have changed it.
Sorry fellas.. But the show must go on!
Here is a parody video that should lighten the mood for those that find this subject matter a bit touchy. I’m sure many of you have seen this already (Seth Green, Michelle Boyd, etc.):
The previously featured image of GamerGirl90 (read on) is what some guys imagine (or hope) your average gamer girl would look like. This is not very realistic, for a few reasons. The reality is that we gamers come in different shapes and sizes, folks. Besides, jaded gamers tend to expect the worst in the faceless entities they play with over the interwebz. Apparently, all us gamers are fat, lazy slobs with acne.. Or at least that’s the stereotype.
For some background info, check out HorsePLAY! EP18 – the HD video is provided up there.^^^
Over at Be Like Water, they have a Woman Crush Wednesday theme. We shared the Lady Sif / Jaimie Alexander Woman Crush Wednesday post here because, let’s face it: that’s the sort of stuff that draws people in. Sure, there are list posts, cute-overload animal photos, silly memes, cheats, and other SEO, traffic-boosting subject matter but those are not particularly evergreen. The female form is art: timeless, beautiful, and intriguing to most of the world.. I know even some gay guys that find boobies (I’m more of a booty guy myself) appealing.. It must be a guy thing!
Now let’s set the stage further: this is the story of the disappearance of GamerGirl90 and the drama that ensues when geeks as a whole can’t play nice together. GamerGirl90 used to be a DeviantArt contributor (here is some of GamerGirl90’s DeviantArt work). Sadly, she was scared away due to trolls and clients who refused to pay her for commissioned work (after she delivered the goods, mind you). She was a very engaging individual. Not only is she easy on the eyes but she is quite talented as an artist. DeviantArt, hell, the geek community has suffered a great loss.
This sort of thing happens all the time.. And it’s a bummer.
Cynical geeks may think that people like GamerGirl90 are attention-starved, inauthentic posers. The most prevelant stigma dictates that attractive women can’t possibly be “true gamers” or real geeks. But look at that artwork – the coloring is beautiful.. And that is a rough work. What people fail to see is that geek culture is so pervasive that we’re no longer the minority. Heck, jocks and pop culture junkies are more of a minority now.
So let’s look at heard numbers to prove a point. Wikipedia confirms what a lot of studies have suggested. Almost half of the gaming populice are women!
In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).” Entertainment Software Association’s 2013 study found that 45% of game players are female, 2% decrease from last year’s figures.
Thank goodness for that because, let’s face it: the screechers are the worst of them all. Seriously, though, this just goes to show that we should not longer be shocked that we encounter women in our favorite games. Sadly, biases continue and the assumption is that women only play social or casual games. The statistics speak for themselves: gamer girls run the full gamut in terms of gaming preferences, appearance, personalities, and more. There are more differences within sub-groups than gender yet some folks will desperately hold onto their ignorant assumptions… Why?
Is this sort of thing classy, tacky, or just plain pathetic? Is this just a mere marketing stunt?
It’s easy to let our biases guide us towards hasty judgments and bitterness. The general assumption is that women that make themselves known online are attention whores but that is not always the case. Let’s be honest: if you got it, flaunt it.. More importantly, we all like attention and doting to a degree (hello, social media). We humans are social creatures, after all.
For the sake of brevity, I will insert a page break here. Click onwards to read more, where we’ll tackle the core issues. For those who only came for the eye candy, at least leave a comment and share before leaving.. Thanks! *wink*
There’s been so much going on in the world of Geeky Antics that we have not been able to report everything as it happens via our blog or even Twitter. This installment of The GANG Minute will provide some highlights so you can get all caught up… We’ve got lots cooking and the GANG is ROCKIN! Here are the highlights…
NOTE: Be sure to take the poll at the end – we need help brainstorming for our new show!
GANG May 2014 Guest Appearances & Previews
On Thursday, May 1st 2014, I will be joining The Gaming Death podcast at 9pm Eastern, which is live on Twitch just like HorsePLAY! It should be interesting as there will be like five or six people on the show. Right after, Chip Cella a.k.a. CaptinChaos from The B-Team Podcast will be joining us on HorsePLAY! LIVE Episode 20 (the title is currently undetermined) to talk about some of the following items as part of our #RetroFriday initiative:
What the “next-gen” REALLY is.. or should be.
The games we’re playing instead of “da newness”.
Marvel Puzzle Quest strategies and call-ins.
Core concepts in TCG/CCGs.
A mini Hearthstone survival guide.
What makes strategy games so replayable?
Can puzzle fighters be considered strategy games?
Some of our favorite strategy games of all time.
We’ll also be setting the stage for a real throwback episode, where we’ll talk about classic and retro-style games. We’re just waiting to see when Fred Rojas from Gaming History 101 can join us so we can go DEEP! I’m working on trimming some of the fat for EP20 so we can have more time for our featured topics and do more community interaction. We’d also like to do more Freeballin’ to talk about whatever! Maybe we’ll get to #TheDustOff and talk about the latest games sucking our souls away…
FTL: Advanced Edition – Hidden In Version 1.5x And Up!
In case you missed it, the long-awaited expansion to FTL: Faster Than Light Advanced Edition was released on April 3rd 2014. If you’re like me, you eagerly anticipated this, couldn’t find a firm release date, and probably got tired of waiting.. Then it snuck up on you like a ninja in your underpants!
It turns out that, for many of us, this was not an auto-update thing. Everyone who owns FTL: Faster Than Light does get the expansion for free BUT you might have to manually download v1.5x from Humble Bundle or wherever you bought the game if you went DRM-free. Steam FTL players probably did not even notice.
The changes are very subtle (you won’t see a new intro video or splash screen, in case you were waiting) until you poke around a bit and engage in extended play sessions. You’ll have to enable Advanced Edition content whilst choosing your ship and prepping your crew members. You’ll notice that the randomized encounters are more varied now, there are new ships, visuals have been (and usability) improved, and the clone bay provides an alternative to the med bay.. Just to name a few changes.
I hear there are also new ships but I can’t confirm this personally until I unlock more of them. I currently have around five space ships unlocked, BTW. The biggest change has to be the clone bay. The fear of losing crew members used to be the biggest thing for me but the clone bay makes life in space much easier. Suddenly, having enemies board your ship is not as scary, whether you have blast doors or not.
Other FTL advanced features that excite me:
FTL used to be one of my most-played games on Twitch and the expansion makes me want to suit up in a bad way. There are times I wish the game went a little deeper on the simulation side but the rogue-like elements (i.e. permadeath) make the experience new and challenging every time. I recommend playing on Easy or Normal, difficulty unless you don’t mind dying.. A LOT.
A few quick tips for new FTLers: burst lasers and ion weapons are likely your best bets for an aggressive, crippling loadout. Drones and missiles hog up resources, plus they can be dodged or countered by elite ships. That said, missiles penetrate shields and can cause really nasty damage. The last thing you want in outer space is a fire that goes out of control or hull breaches that suck the oxygen away. I reckon that would suck.
#RetroFriday – The Granddaddy Of MOBAs And RTS Games
I’ve been teasing Herzog Zwei for a long time and finally got the ROM recording environment perfected. I’ve been super stoked to share this with you. I’m a big fan of SEGA but Herzog Zwei is more than just a great SEGA Genesis game. Herzog Zwei inspired MOBAs and RTS games as we know them today. yet it remains mostly unknown.
Please like, favorite, and comment on the YouTube video. I think everyone should play this game at least once. Herzog Zwei holds up surprisingly well today.. And it is not the hand-holding BS we see today, either. Did I mention the game let’s you play as a mech (Land-Armor)? It’s like Transformers.. Without Michael Bey.
We also invite you to join our #RetroFriday Steam community group Herzog Zwei and AirMech discussion. If you love strategy games but need something fast-paced, these are two fantastic games worth checking out. Let me know which 8-bit and 16-bit classics you’d like me to play [more of]. Every #RetroFriday, I’ll stream and record retro games from indie developers and classic consoles. Others are doing the same so be sure to check out the hashtag.
#YOHTAI – Join Us For Hearthstone Streams & Game Nights!
Our beloved Stan Faryna, the hardest working man in social media, has been rallying our fellow geeks and get #YOHTAI off the ground. Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern And Inn is a place for Hearthstone players to share their Battle Tag and make new friends. We have a Steam community group, too:
This Hearthstone Steam community group is unofficial.. But it’s fun to be one of the handful of groups dedicated to the game. Let’s make #YOHTAI the biggest unofficial community for Hearthstone and play more together. Join us and we can do some Twitch streams and videos together, maybe even exchange some tips!
In around two weeks since we started this social initiative, I have made five new friends on Hearthstone. That’s significant considering I have been bad about adding people I play against during matchmaking. Sworen from The B-Team Podcast recently whooped my ass with a Warlock “test deck”. It was brutal.. I need new Hearthstone friends.
We Need Help Coming Up With A Show Name!
We’re getting closer to releasing a pilot episode for our NEW! game theory/mechanics and strategy podcast. Right now, I am unsure about the name but I have some good ideas for logos and banners. Could you give us a hand?
This new show, codenamed “Strategery” (yes, we know that’s not a real word), will have revolving hosts and guest hosts that will include hardcore gamers, casual players, game developers, marketing specialists, analysts, and scientists. The idea is to provide fresh perspectives on the inner workings of games, both tabletop and digital. We’re gonna go hard and deep with our ANALysis!
As this table shows, there’s lots in play when we are playing games. Analyzing these subleties can help us foster a greater appreciation for the amount of work that goes into gaming. If you’re not into game design or any of the business-side, the knowledge is helpful for identifying right-fit experiences or developing new strategies.. Break the meta!
Currently, we are leaning towards the first half or so being deep discussion on a theme for the week (along with the usual pleasantries and banter) and the second half shifting to tips, tricks, and strategies. There will be a heavy focus on strategy games and anything with an online or team focus. Our game spotlights will include Hearthstone, SolForge, League of Legends, Smite, DotA 2, Marvel PuzzleQuest, and AirMech.
Once I get some concept art together and firm things up a bit, expect an update to this article or some quick comments. For now, I think that covers all the stuff we’ve been meaning to cover here on GANGnet. Stay tuned for more great content. There’s going to be lots more variety coming up (if all goes well) including stuff covering Doctor Who, geek social issues, anime picks, and comic strips.
Want the latest Geeky Antics right in your inbox? Sign up for our FREE newsletter. Once we get enough e-mail subscribers, we’ll start sending out weekly newsletters and kick off more community events, giveaways, contests, and MORE!
Many thanks to the over 100 people who are following and subscribed to our blog via RSS and e-mail digest. We are humbled by the tremendous response we have gotten in just a few short months. #GeeksUnite
Today we are here to continue an ongoing debate. This will be a culinary battle mixed in with a batter of vlogging, a yearning for good eats (and wimminz), and a call to action for YOU: join the GANG and have your geeky goodness shared with our growing community.. There might even be cake or pie in it for you, whichever you prefer. Now onto the tasty business…
Cake versus pie… Which is better?
I’ve been wrestling with this debate for a long time. If you’ve followed me on the “social medias” long enough you know that I share food-related stuff quite a bit on Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. I am a foodie.
We as geeks tend to have a stable of snacks, quick meals, and comfort foods. Nothing beats marathon gaming sessions with your favorite snacks and adult beverages (if you are of age, of course). I love my sweets but this decision is still tough. Cake or pie? Hmmm… Maybe you can help me!
I talk about a lot of stuff that’s NOT food related in this vlog but one issue I encounter is particularly discerning: whether flan is a cake or a pie. This here is the tie breaker. The interwebz provide some useful knowledge. Wikipedia, which never has false information, says the following on flan:
Not to be confused with crème caramel, also known as flan or flan de leche. Flan is an open pastry or sponge cake containing a sweet or savoury filling.
Flan is my favorite. It’s creamy and melts in your mouth.. Hey, stop that smirking. It’s not just texture. The flavor is satisfying in ways that only putting it in your mouth can explain.. Except maybe for when idgets make it very eggy (like a terribad egg salad). Great flan is something to write home about, I promise! Now that we know flan is categorized as cake, that tips the scales A LOT.
Cheesecake is a close second to flan. These tasty cakes come in many varieties. Some are topped with marsipan (essentially edible, sugar-rich modeling clay), others have fruity toppers, graham crusts, or cookie crumbs. The variety in the cheesecake world makes it a clear winner and a great boon for the cake cause.
If you’re ever in NYC, be sure to try some Junior’s cheesecake. It’s not by any means the best of it’s kind but it rarely disappoints. Last I checked, there are Junior’s locations opening up everywhere, including one in Grand Central Station that serves sandwiches, beverages, and many varieties of cheesecake. Ah-nomnomnom!
Now in the pie’s corner we have a Georgia favorite: pecan pie. Thing is, GOOD pecan pie is hard to come by. The problem with pie of any variety is that people tend to burn the top.. Or they make the filling TOO rich (or too bland). I have a sweet tooth but, HOLY MOLY, I want to taste the distinct flavors, not go into a coma.
On the flip side, you have to be a special kind of nincompoop to mess up cake. You bake it in layers and then you add your little touches afterwards. Let the egg timer be your guide, young padawan!
In short, I have rarely been disappointed by cake whereas pies often leave much to be desired. I know that on the show Supernatural, Dean acts like pie is OP. His love for pie is a bit contagious. He is very adament about having Sam bring him pie.. And it got me thinking a bit. Really, he made me question my belief but I think this issue is settled.. At least for me.
…And the winner is…
(You’ll have to skip to the end if you want my final verdict.)
During the“Cake Vs. Pie” Geektastic Vlog two-part series I talk about the need for more women. We’ll be revisiting that as well as the deep discussion about the good and bad of gamer girls. As we often do, we provide all sides of the debate to encourage you all to chime in. Perhaps there is no right or wrong… But I still choose cake.
…Now it’s your turn!
Leave some comments explaining why you choose one or the other. The best part about this debate is that everyone has an opinion and there really is no right or wrong answer.. Except maybe for vegans, unless they cheat on their diets. For that, I am sorry.
Feel free to share your thoughts on anything else I have covered on my vlog. I talk about all sorts of random things in my Geektastic Vlog including why I chose XBox over Playstation, the stupidity of pet fees/rent, and my #BirthdayBash on Twitch. There’s also a Mega Man OST and some more Hearthstone talk (#YOHTAI)! You can leave us comments below and/or VM at (206) 415-4987.
Last night, the hardest-working man in social media (that I know personally, at least), Stan Faryna, confirmed that Hearthstone is now available in the iOS App Store – EVERYWHERE! That’s right – you can get Hearthstone on your iPad, without having to do anything crazy! Go get it FREE.. Really.. Do it now!
…Still haven’t downloaded it? Maybe the Official Hearthstone iPad Trailer will motivate you:
UPDATE: The iPad app is almost exactly the same as the PC and Mac game. Multiplayer is completely cross-platform, unlike Marvel Puzzle Quest.. So you don’t need to grind on every version.
The Hearthstone iPad soft launch ended in the blink of an eye. It should be no surprise by now. Blizzard has been accelerating their timetables with Hearthstone. Just look at how fast the game went from public beta to full launch (though, arguably, that was a soft launch itself). Once Blizzard starts teasing things and getting more specific with features, we know they’re right around the corner; otherwise, they tend to be very vague.. Or hire cute girls, which we’re fine with, either way.
We suspect that the iOS app will increase the user base twofold, maybe more, in as little as three months. I know tons of my friends have been waiting for mobile platform support because, let’s be honest: we don’t always want to sit down in front of a monitor or TV for hours at end, especially if that is what we do for work.
We’re excited to have more Hearthstone friends so don’t be shy – add us on BNet! Personally, I am particularly curious to meet more women on Hearthstone (not for hook-ups, I promise) because, let’s face it: most dudes can’t hold a decent or deep conversation. I love my bros but… Yeah, many of us are lacking intellectual appeal.
Some people may still be sitting this one out. They’re likely the folks that don’t like PvP or judge things by their metaphorical covers. More single-player content is coming with Curse Of Naxxramas and that will certainly be the big launch we have been waiting for.. But the game is fun right now.. Come join us!
I will say this: the iPad app is not without it’s flaws. I have tinkered with it for over a week and find that I get disconnected or the app crashes randomly. Quite a lot of my losses have come from that. It seems the app is unforgiving if you have spotty connectivity. Regardless, I love Hearthstone and wholeheartedly recommend it to you, our friends and fellow geeks.
Now git off yer bum and download Hearthstone already! Did we mention it’s FREE?
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!
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
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.
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??
For several weeks on HorsePLAY! LIVE and in the GANG community, we’ve been predicting the release schedule for various killer features that will keep Hearthstone on our playlist and get more of our friends on-board. In our previous article on how to get the Hearthstone iPad app now (and get started right), we shared how to get rocking on your Apple device NOW but it seems the need for the work-around is quickly fading away. The B-Team Podcast has confirmed that the window is currently within a week or so. I am guessing before my birthday this Saturday, April 19th – that’s great news, everyone!
Blizzard qualifies this as CCG, not a TCG, which means we should not hold our breath for trading or auctioning of any sort.
Hearthstone is the CCG for everyone.
They’re prioritizing creating a great game over the obligatory “merchandising bonanza” and cross-promotion.
The iPad experience is the same as on PC and Mac.
There are no pay gates or pay walls.
One of their core philosophies is balancing the game so you can be competitive without spending tons of time or money.
All this is great news and should encourage newer players or anyone who is on the fence. I was surprised that there was no indication about spectator mode from any PAX East coverage. Blizzard has said it is a “top priority” but I reckon other components and features are the focus. I really feel that Blizzard is focusing on the more casual competitive community before catering to the hardcore eSports type players I’d say too much of a focus on eSports features which would make Hearthstone more exclusive and scary for the average gamer.
Our own Stan Faryna cited concerns with matchmaking and the new player experience, by extension. Blizzard confirmed that it is something they will keep fine-tuning. Hearthstone is the game many Blizzard developers have wanted to play themselves so they want it to be fun for everyone. During the B-Team interview, they briefly summarized how each of the primary gameplay modes handle matchmaking differently:
Casual – As Stan says, casual play can be frustrating. I find that early in any season, the competition is most fierce due to a smaller player pool and sample data to work with perhaps. I do win most of my matches here unless I start experimenting too much.
Ranked – This ladder mode looks more at stars and current rank so it’s easier to find a close match, in theory. This mode seems to be the most fair mid-way through any season, with the exception of smurfs and fast-tracked/pay-to-win players.
Arena – This uses a completely different system. Blizzard is unclear (“shocker”) on what this means. I still find arena truly levels the playing field and rewards the most skilled players. Luck of the draw when building decks is an issue here, however.
Blizzard assures us that the client-server model, as opposed to peer-to-peer, so cheating should be minimized. The only issue Blizzard has encountered often is with trolls milking the timer. Never fear – they are working on improving that! Unlike their parent company, EA, I have faith Blizzard will commit to their promises and support this game for many years to come, much like they have with Warcraft III and Diablo II, two of my all-time favorite games.
Blizzard also confirmed during the PAX East interview what many of us have already noticed: [two of] the top Twitch streamers have gone up the ladder to Legendary rank within a week or two without spending money. I believe TrumpSC is one of them. Of course, if you want to see how NOT to play Hearthstone, watch me on Twitch or check out the NEW! TwitchPlaysHearthstone, which is similar to the newbtastic, cringe-worthy experience on TwitchPlaysPokemon.
Curse of Naxxramas is slated for Summer 2014 but I would not be surprised if the first boss encounter or episode is released within a few weeks as I write this. I reckon Blizzard wants to control the release of new cards so that newer players can avoid feeling overwhelmed. I think that is fair.
The first CoN corridor or wing (Arachnid) will be FREE but, as we see in arena, a buy-in will be required for new runs. While this expansion brings tons of singleplayer content, the addition of 30 new cards will certainly spice up PvP quite a bit. More seasoned duelists like myself, Sworen, and ObioneX2 are eagerly awaiting new cards but, honestly, I think the current card set is fine.
What’s really important here is that Adventure Mode will give newer or lesser-skilled players the opportunity to test out new strategies in a more controlled environment since bosses will use pre-constructed themed decks. With less room to blame external circumstances or luck, players can actual train and improve! I know Stan will love what this expansion means for the game. For me, the fact that I have gamer ADD means that I need more variety and Blizzard is delivering so THANK YOU!
Quite a few cards have been revealed but let’s discuss the ones most of us find interesting. First and foremost, you’ll see that they are committing to the deathrattle mechanic quite a bit; however, there are still no signs of new classes and archetypes. That means no elf, unicorn, dragon, or orc synergies… Perhaps that would make the game less accessible.. Sorry but it’s true. If you want over-complicated game mechanics, consider Scrolls, SolForge, Magic The Gathering, or Yu-Gi-Oh!, where the possibilities are endless.. almost to the point of utter frustration just keeping up with the current meta and most viable strategies.
Okay, okay, here are the cards: Undertaker gains a +1/+1 when minions with deathrattle are summoned. Baron Rivendare will cause the deathrattle ability to trigger twice, which will certainly shift the meta and make for some interesting video highlights. I can’t wait! We wonder if this will replace Murlock aggro/rush decks as the new over-played core mechanic. Deathrattle is already sexy but now we will see it as a theme around which decks will be built.
Dear Blizzard, you *NEED* to add more deck slots. Hell, you can even monetize and bundle it with big-ticket purchases to justify expediting feature. Really, additional deck slots would be a value-add just because it would allow players to compare different builds with their favorite heroes/classes. Deck and class-based stats could then be introduced, too! We’d play a whole lot Hearthstone with these features in place. Currently, getting attached to a deck is not possible so naming them is almost arbitrary and pointless. Just sayin.
Shade Of Naxxramas is a 3-cost minion who starts at 2/2 with stealth and gains +1/+1 at the start of each turn. Shade sounds like a stronger Jungle Panther, since this minion has the ability to stick and scale. That means she will have the opportunity to get more damage out, which is HUGE. Dancing Swords is 4/4 3-mana card. It’s deathrattle effect gives your opponent cards, which makes this card questionable at first but…
We have seen a rise in Priest with heavy card draw mechanics built right in. The guys at The Angry Chicken say that milling (making your opponent run out of cards) is not a viable core mechanic or strategy but I beg to differ. I’ve had opponents bleed out when they got too greedy. What’s more is that Priests have the ability to mass dispel (silence), so they can theoretically play Dancing Swords without the penalty, which will likely make them more aggressive and popular.
Enough about the cards… What about RNG?
RNG, known to game developers and designers as Random Number Generator, refers to the random seed process and algorithms that work behind the scenes. Any element of random can be attributed to RNG. In a deckbuilding game, you can express this as a fraction. For example, you have a x/y chance to draw a card from a deck. X is how many copies of the card you have and Y is the deck size. Don’t forget to simplify and, if you prefer percentages, divide the numerator (the top number) by the denominator (the bottom number).
Kids, be sure to tell your parents you learned something useful today. Math is OP. For realz.
The big question about Hearthstone and other deckbuilding games is whether random elements trump skill. I still say “NO” with regards to Hearthstone. There are popular streamers that consistently get to the top tier of rankings so, logically, it can’t be all about random luck. Give SolForge a try if you doubt this. I love SolForge but it is much more of a grind for players trying to avoid dumping money in. SolForge refreshes your hand every turn so you may never get the right card you want, even if you run multiple copies and incorporate lots of card-draw combos.
As we will often find, the key in any TCG/CCG is mitigating the random elements rather than waiting to top-deck the card you really need or hoping your opponent makes a mistake. You need to be deliberate and aware. Here are some core concepts to note:
Card Draw – Many decks run out of steam late-game, which is why Priests, Beasts, and Warlocks are very popular – they have tons of ways to draw more cards. The more cards you have in your hand late-game, the more options you have.
Play Order – One of the things we often take for granted is the order in which cards are played. The wrong order can cause unnecessary damage to your own minions or accidental enraging/buffing of enemy minions, just for starters.
Wait & Combo -Just because you can make a play on a turn does not mean it is the best play. Consider the combos and potential value of a big play later. Leaving a single minion to the slaughter is rarely a good idea, especially if they
Two For One – The simplest rule of thumb is the most basic math of efficiency: any action that can counter an opponent’s (or cause them to take) two or three actions is a solid play. This would indicate that minions with abilities are particularly useful but sometimes it’s about preventing repeat use from opponent plays (like that one minion that keeps snake biting you).
Trade Or Face? – This is the question you’ll often be faced with. Do you do damage to the face or trade up with minions? It all depends on the threats on the board and what you suspect your opponent has waiting for you. The main thing to consider is how likely it will be that minions you spared this turn will be buffed somehow, which means continued value for your opponent… And potential damage to YOUR face.
Premature Ejaculation – It’s easy to blow your metaphorical load on Hearthstone. You maysee the opportunity to remove a minion and forget about the other threats your opponent may have. Board clear is very good but be wary of opponents with full hands.. They are likely trying to bait you to waste your counters.
These concepts apply to just about every card game but Hearthstone is arguably the easiest to get into. Now, we can talk about the strategy all day but it really comes down to the basics: patience and experience. If you get frustrated and forget to have fun, nothing else really matters. Find a deck build that you enjoy and focus on that a bit. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Streaming on Twitch certainly welcomes advice, warranted or not.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft truly is deceptively simple (yeah, it’s not just catchy marketing copy, guys). It’s easy to get into but, like with any other deckbuilding game, there are many layers of depth and strategy. Experience goes a long way so, if you want to build up an early advantage, it may be best to jump into the game right now and learn the ropes before new cards and game mechanics are introduced. The meta will inevitably shift with every tweak but the game is stable and balanced now.
So what are you waiting for?
Tell us what’s keeping you from playing Hearthstone TODAY.. Or maybe what you love most about it. It’s all good in da hood, y0. If you’re still unsure about Hearthstone, I’ll sell you on it yet! If you have questions or concerns, share them with us – don’t be shy!
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?
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!