Friday, September 27, 2013

Peace of Mind

I have finally come to rest about a certain problem that I have been having; League of Legends is an unbalanced, toxic game that I can simply not take seriously. I won’t play the game unless I am playing with friends, and I just don’t care about ranked play. I have too many serious obligations in my life to even give a couple brain cells worth of caring about League ranked play. As a competitive game, Riot Games has created a nice fa├žade of true “intense” competition, which, in reality, doesn’t achieve a positive experience for any player looking to improve and succeed by themselves. Their balancing team is absolutely horrible, and the funds, which should be in the game balance department, go to stupid things like Forecast Janna.
Rant Over.
I recently purchased two awesome PS3 games: Diablo 3 and Kingdom Hearts 1.5. Funnily enough, both of these games are reboots, platform shifts that create a fantastic redesign in game play and graphics. Diablo 3 has been improved for multiplayer play, and the game has really translated well into console. There is also no online cash shop, which really makes the game perfect for a party experience. Kingdom Hearts 1.5 has a new redesign for the first Kingdom Hearts and the DS game Chain of Memories. I have gone through a new play-through of Kingdom Hearts, and I am loving it. Both games are extremely fun, and I have been totally satisfied with my purchases.
Forget League; DOTA 2 is better :P

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Theros: Block of Awesomeness

As I continue to see cards from the newest set of Magic: The Gathering, I am once again pulled into the set through theme alone. Innistrad was an amazing set; it definitely takes the cake as my favorite set to ever come out. The gothic horror theme was perfect all the way through; the power level of the set, however, was simply too high. Miracles were a complete mistake, and the cards from the set completely tore apart the meta-game. This set, however, looks to strike that balance through a number of its mechanics. Devotion makes the gods a reasonable investment with a high cost to effectively utilize. Monstrous allows a number of the cards to become crazy good, but the mana cost is incredibly high. I’m looking forward to this slower, creature based set. Finally, I will be able to play a number of cards from the Return to Ravnica block that were otherwise too dang slow. In addition, the aggro player in me is totally fine with the meta-game shifting away from control and spell-based decks.
 The pre-release surely did not let me down. I definitely loved playing a limited format with this set, and I found a lot of very good cards overall for standard and other formats. Once again, I found myself nicely in the money concerning pulls, and I traded for some really nifty stuff. With another rotation hitting my collection, and therefore my wallet, rather hard, I find playing standard to be a little bit tedious. Frankly, I don't have the time nor the desire to throw a ton of money down on Magic, so I will make do with whatever cards I can come across. I look forward to other events from this set.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Moneyhammer: Is it a Problem In Competitive Play?

On one of the better known (and personally disliked) 40k blogs, a very long draconian post emerged there concerning the state of 40k and its competitive scene. The post established that the game had devolved into a money war, with the newest codices simply destroying the previously published books out of the water. Therefore, anyone who wanted to make the newest and most powerful army was forced to buy new supplements and models. This, of course, led into a discussion about the overall pricing of GW models and their business model, which, I won’t deny, is extremely flawed in many ways.
This post led me to think about a really important question about the game: Do I have to purchase a new army monthly in order to be competitive? My answer is simply no. In the end, wise money spending does help make 40k a much more manageable hobby monetarily. Using other websites, such as Ebay and Amazon, can help reduce the cost overall. Even in my case, I do all of my shopping with my FLGS in order to support the store. This means that I spend less on the game overall, but I still make purchases as needed or by desire.
Aside from monetary problems, the question also brings up the competitive aspect of 40k. Frankly, I think that it is possible to build a competitive army with every single codex available. Allies, Fortifications, psychic powers, and other rules allow every codex the opportunity to create a powerful combination of units. While a certain regional meta-game will make certain codices less powerful, the FLGS has its own meta-game that is worth considering. 6th edition truly has a large amount of competitive builds, but each of these builds has a fairly defined and clear weakness to it. Wave Serpents in Eldar may prove to be the tough match at the moment, but the Space Marine codex may be the balancing factor in this game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Regardless, it is foolish to play with a mindset that each codex necessitates a whole new army. Warhammer is not like Magic: The Gathering which is best cards or defeat.
To be honest, the post isn’t really worth this post. It is vitriolic at best, and frankly, the post is so negative, it isn’t really even founded in any solid fact. In the end, I felt I need to rebut this stupidity in my own tiny corner of the blogosphere.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Winds of Chaos at Arkham Games in Lavale, MD

Arkham Games “Winds of Chaos” Tournament
Points: 1,000 Per Individual
Date: October 12th 2013
Pairings begin at 1:00pm
Round time: 2 Hours (~15 deployment and prep time)


I haz a Mezzige!

Mission:
Escort your messenger across the board safely while
intercepting your opponent’s messenger.

Objective:
Score more victory points than your opponent while escorting your messenger into your enemy’s deployment zone.

Before the start of the game each player must nominate a single non vehicle, non monstrous creature, infantry model from their Troop sections of the FoC to represent their messenger. This model must be escorted into the enemy deployment zone by the end of turn 6. The messenger and his unit must be deployed in your deployment zone. The unit with the messenger cannot infiltrate, scout or deep strike and he can not be held in reserve. The unit can be deployed in a vehicle with transport capacity but that vehicle cannot scout, infiltrate, outflank or deep strike. If you successfully escort your messenger into your enemy’s deployment zone you will receive an additional 500 victory points.

Deployment:
Use Dawn of War found on page 119 of the rulebook.

Length of Game:
This game last 6 turns, or until time is called. Do not begin another game turn unless both players can finish their player turn.

Special rules:
Night Fighting (page 124)
Reserves (page 124)
Mysterious Objectives (page 125)

Massacre:
1126 to 2500 victory points more than your opponent
Major Victory:
751 to 1125 victory points more than your opponent.
Minor Victory:
376 to 750 victory points more than your opponent.
Draw:
Your total is within 375 victory points of your opponent.

Battle point modifiers:
+1 If your opponent has no units in your deployment zone. (Shared)
+1 If you shake hands with the enemy team and wish them luck in their next two games
+1 If you kill an enemy messenger.
+1 If your messenger is alive at the end of the game.


Kaptur da Flag!

Mission:
The Warboss has planted a flag in the center of the table. It is your job to make sure it stays his.

Objective:
Place an objective marker in the exact center of the board. At the end of the game the player with
the most scoring units within six inches of the objective marker wins.

Deployment:
Use Hammer and Anvil as per page 119 of the main rulebook.

Length of Game:
The game lasts 6 turns or until time is called. Do not begin another game turn unless both players can finish their player turn.

Special Rules:
Night Fighting (page 124)
Reserves (page 124)
Mysterious Objectives (page 125)

Massacre:
Have 5 more scoring units within six inches of the objective than your opponent.
Major Victory:
Have 3 more scoring units within six inches of the objective than your opponent.
Minor Victory:
Have 1 more scoring unit within six inches of the objective than your opponent.
Draw:
Both players have the same amount of scoring units within six inches of the center.

Battle point modifiers:
+1 If your most expensive HQ choice is within six inches of the objective.
+1 if you have none of your units in your deployment zone at the end of the game.
+1 If you kill 2 units selected from the Troops section of the FoC
+1 If you control more terrain than your opponent.
(To control you need a scoring unit within 3”of a piece of terrain)


Armies That Go Bump in the Night!

Mission:
Achieve your mission objective.

Objective:
You have stumbled upon an enemy army and the Warboss hasn’t told you what to do yet.
At the start of the game before Warlord Traits, roll on the following chart to determine both players objective:
1-2 Kill Points, 3-4 table quarters, 5-6 terrain features. Kill points: The player with the most kill points wins. Table Quarters: The player who controls the most table quarters
wins. Terrain Features: The player that controls the most terrain features wins. To control a terrain feature you must have a scoring unit within 3 inches of the edge of the
feature. To control a table quarter you must have more scoring units in that quarter than
your opponent.

Deployment:
Use Vanguard Strike found on page 119 of the rulebook.
Length of game:
The game lasts 6 turns or until time is called, so that each player completes the same number of turns. Do not begin another game turn unless both players can finish their player turn.

Special Rules:
Night Fighting (page 124)
Reserves (page 124)
Mysterious Objectives (page 125)

Massacre: Score 5 or more kill points than your opponent. Hold 3 or more table quarters
than your opponent. Control 3 or more terrain features than your opponent.
Major Victory: Score 3 more kill points than your opponent. Hold 2 more table quarters
than your opponent. Control 2 or more terrain features than your opponent
Minor Victory: Score 1 more kill point than your opponent. Hold 1 more table quarter
than your opponent. Control 2 or more terrain features than your opponent.
Draw: Score the same number of kill points. Hold the same number of table quarters.
Hold the same number of terrain features.

Battle point modifiers:
+1 If you kill an enemy Warlord
+1 If you’ve destroyed all of your opponents scoring units (Shared)
+1 If your opponent has no units in your deployment zone. (Shared)
+1 If you high five your partner at the end of the game.

Preparation
Bring all relevant materials to the tournament. This includes Codex(s), 40k Main Rulebook, Army List, and FAQs and ERRATAs. Some copies will be made available by the tournament organizer.
Don't forget to bring measuring tape, dice, templates, and other tools you need in order to make the games go smoothly.
Be sure that you understand 6ed rules well enough to explain to your opponent if they have any questions.
Keep in mind the limited space within the store and pack appropriately.
Lunch will be arranged prior to the tournament. Dinner break will occur between the 2nd and 3rd round.
Bring your game face, but unsportsmanlike conduct will be penalized.

Tournament Rules
All GW FAQs and ERRATAs will be used.
Allies, Fortifications, and Warlord Traits will be used following the 40k Main Rulebook. Fortifications must be owned by the player. If the Fortification is purchased in the list, it will count towards the painting score.
Random Terrain and Random Objectives will be used.
All Rulings will be based on the Main Rulebook, Codex, and FAQs/Erratas. The Tournament Organizer will strive to create the most fair and correct ruling. The ruling will be kept consistent throughout the tournament.

Round 1 Pairings will be handled at the event.

This event is a Random Doubles Tournament. This is a format that is slightly unorthodox, but it is very simple to understand. At the beginning of the tournament, each individual is randomly paired with another player. They are then teammates through the 1st round. Teams play against other randomly paired teams, and they complete the missions to the best of their ability. The primary mission objective is shared between the two teammates. If Bill and Ted score a Major Victory, then they each earn 17 Battle Points. However, the secondary objectives are kept individually, save for a few shared secondary objectives. So if Bill scored on two secondary objectives, then he earns 19 points, where Ted only earns the normal 17.

Battle Points are distributed as such:
Massacre: 20-0
Major Victory: 17-3
Minor Victory: 13-7
Draw: 10-10

Battle Points are kept on an individual basis, and they are the determinate for victory at the end of the tournament (1st, 2nd, 3rd).

With the Round 2 pairings, the top individual player is teamed up with the bottom individual player. This pairing mechanism occurs through all of the participants until teams are paired. Then Swiss Style pairings will determine Round 2 opponents. There is a chance that this will create matchups that involve people you have already played with or against in the tournament; this is part of the event.

This process is done again for Round 3. Once the rounds are complete, the top 3 Battle Point scores earn 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. Due to the nature of this tournament, there will be no points for sportsmanship or painting. There will be a vote for a Best Painted award.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The New SHINY

 http://www.karoath.com/graphics/boltgun2.jpg

Space Marines are here once again! With the new codex, there are lots of folks talking it up. Many people are suddenly reinvigorated with 40K, and a number of people (myself included) are spying a new army in the future. That being said, I MUST resist the shiny! I struggled with the "choosing a chapter" some time ago, and I must stick to my guns! In the end, I LOVE the Grey Knights, and I have since my beginnings with 40k. When their codex was released, I fell in love again, particularly with the beautiful plastic kits. Besides, I have a newer more feminine project down the pipes :P.

I do appreciate one major addition/modification with this codex: Chapter Tactics. In the 4th edition codex, there were a number of rules and added benefits that players could choose to add to their armies. 5th edition codex, however, locked these variable rules into special characters that didn't always fit the theme of the DIY chapter (which was my intended goal). An example from my own thinking: I was thinking about a chapter called the Mountain Kings. Their fluff revolved around building large fotresses built into the sides of mountains, caring for the Imperial citizens below. In order to follow this kind of fluff, I had to take Lysander. Well, Lysander has the Fist of Dorn as a weapon, clearly an homage to the Imperial Fists. With this book, I can now take the Chapter Tactic: Imperial Fists, giving that part of the Fluff ( and helping with story as an Imperial Fist successor chapter), but I can use a Grand Master instead. Options like that really give me a greater range of freedom with the codex in terms of a DIY chapter.

I think the codex will also provide Marines players with some help adjusting to the Xenos dominated metagame. Space Marines have really powerful rules aiding them: allying to themselves, new wargear, Centurions and even the AA tanks can lend a hand. I'm looking forward to whatever may come with the Space Marines. 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Toxicity

Besides being a well known song created by System of a Down, it has been the recent buzz word for some of my readings and snooping through various internet chatter.

MOBAs

As I continue to play various games in the MOBA genre, this negativity has been particularly evident. While I acknowledge the frustrations of under-performing teammates, there is truly no need to go to such lengths to insult and belittle the individual. I have been primarily on the receiving end of this harassment, and frankly it ruins the game.

There are supposed tools to help relieve this issue. Specifically in League of Legends, I found a blurb that said that over 280,000 players had "their behavior changed" by their Tribunal system. After doing some quick math and some generous estimates, that's really only about 5% of the player base that has been "revitalized." I'm not particularly impressed with this data, and frankly, I think the toxicity is still overwhelmingly high. Through a number of factors, including Free to Play, separate downloadable client, and low graphical requirements, it attracts an ungodly amount of players, which increases the chance for a terrible teammate. I may have to start going back to silencing all other teammates that I encounter after immediately entering the game. DOTA 2 has been moderately better for a reduced amount of negativity, which I definitely appreciate.

40K

While the NOVA has just passed and many gamers have come and gone enjoying every moment of it, there are still some in the pits of hell that continue to foster an unnatural hatred for 40K and any legitimate attempts to enjoy the game. To me, this prattle is not worth anybody's time. At the point that I find myself not enjoying the game for whatever reasons, I will make that decision to move on. I don't understand the prickly (that's putting it nicely) attitude that these individuals throw at gents who like 40K. It bothers me that this exists, but I can't stop it really. As far as I'm concerned, I am part of an excellent gaming group at Arkham Games. I have hosted half a dozen or more events at the store, and I look to continue that trend.

Now What?
Overall, I think that the negativity really stems from the media outlet that I am receiving these inputs. In short, the internet is filled with the hate of a thousand raging nerds, and I need to leave it at the bottom of the ocean where it belongs.