Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halo 2 Anniversary Edition

It's tough to watch this video and not be filled with nostalgia. This was the game that defined my transition into mature games. I had a Playstation and a Nintendo 64 for quite some time, but I mainly played games like Super Mario 64, and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

This is, without a doubt, swaying me to the side of Xbox One. I doubt I will become invested in the next gen systems anytime soon, but this is a major factor.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rarkthor's Response: It's Ok To be Try-Hard, but Keep It to Yourself

I often read StarCity Games articles as my source of Magic: The Gathering reading. I still enjoy the game immensely, regardless of my decreased investment. It is worth it to me to read the articles.

For this gentleman, Ross Merriam, he gains enjoyment from the hyper competitive nature of Magic. There is nothing wrong with that mentality. The impact it has on a FNM crowd, however, can be detrimental to all.

Wizards of the Coast has stated quite clearly that FNM is intended for fun and casual play. It does not have the same standards for rules and regulations. For some, however, they are willing to ignore this goal to promote their own standings. They want to win, sometimes at the expense of others. I have seen and heard players speaking of them "taking money from others." This is true, but this mentality does not at all promote new players enjoying themselves. This "winning is the only goal" mentality should not be outwardly imposed on others.

Merriam should not be criticized for his work mentality concerning Magic. However, as with most extreme mentalities, it should not be imposed on others. FNM at my local store has suffered from this perspective on the game. It is OK to want to perform and excel at the game. However, a Johnny type at the store should not be made fun of for a dud of a deck (He probably already knows this; you don't need to remind him). Sometimes, people do not want your advice. Don't tell them how to build their deck better; they will learn themselves. Let them enjoy it as they see fit.

I disapprove, in some ways, this reinforcement of the work mentality behind Magic. The "sheeple" nature of the Magic community really feeds off the words of better players. Promoting your own "winning is the root of all joy" can and does create an increased negativity behind the game, particularly at the lowest tiers of play.

Rarkthor's Response: The Nature of the 40k Tournament Scene

I have posted the link above for context. Read the article first, in case my response seems confusing.

Torrent of Fire has posted these "Weekend in Review" articles, pretty much every week since the creation of the website. Often, these posts do call out for the normalization and standardization of the 40k tournament scene. It has been a fairly constant theme and concept proposed by the author and creator of the site, Chip Boyd.

I find the major obstacles for this goal are two-fold: the lack of standardization from Games Workshop and the mentalities of 40k gamers.

The first issue is self-evident. Games Workshop has given up on the tournament scene in most ways. 'Ard Boyz is a thing of the past, and Games Day tournaments have not been held in years. It is easy to see that the design behind Games Workshop games is intended for narrative/beer and pretzels gaming. There is nothing wrong with that mentality, but for many, the competitive aspect of the game has a very strong allure (myself included).

The second issue, however, can be divided into two groups: The Tournament Organizers and the Players.

Tournament Organizers are motivated folks who only wish to put on a great event for their players. I, having organized several tournaments of various flavors, harbor a great respect for these individuals and their staff. They are Gentlemen beyond compare. That being said, I think that they have very specific ideas about how the game is best played. This is extremely evident in the NOVA open style, and it is also evident in the BAO style event (I use these tournaments as examples, since they are considered the major East and West coast events, respectively). These concepts do not necessarily co-exist together, for these ideas are often the product of the Organizer and their staff pooling their understanding and conceptions of the game. It then becomes difficult to compromise certain elements of the game to reach a standard. It is worth noting that 40k gamers in particular are generally smart individuals; however, sacrificing creative children is not an easy task for a gamer. This is not a slight on the two organizers specifically, but it is, instead, an observation that has held true over my years of gaming.

The Players suffer from a similar issue, but it is different in its nature. Players are often seeking the best scenario for their own interests. Eldar players really enjoy having a massive arc of fire for their Wave Serpents, and Daemon players would have been elated to have summoned Objective Secured troops. They are willing to ignore the balance of the game as a whole, if the imbalance benefits them personally. This mentality creates a concept of "What rules and standards will benefit me the most?" A Tau player loves having little terrain and firing lanes the size of Texas, so they "don't mind the terrain." An Ork player will put forth a recommendation to increase terrain. So, since there is no real standardization from GW, players will argue for their own benefits. There is no correct answer, so they can argue from any direction they see fit. No justification required.

I anticipate some to disapprove of these ideas based on their somewhat (or very depending on the author's perspective) negative slant. I can only say that this is my own philosophy, and I acknowledge the skeptical nature of it. I am also a 40k Gamer, and I am fully aware that I have my conceptions and ideas about the game. I try my damnedest to hold my opinions and create events that are ubiquitously fair and even, regardless of my true feelings on the issue. An example I would give is the inclusion of a painting score. Personally, I don't care if you bring the infamous Grey Army of Grey Doom, but the players that create well sculpted and fully painted armies deserve some recognition for their work. That is, in my mind, fair. 

These gamer base issues are really the impediments that the 40k tournament scene faces. I hope that someone will be able to unite the masses and bring standardization to the competitive scene of 40k. To do this though, the personalities will need to be quelled long enough to achieve results. 

Some Inspiration to Blog: Rarkthor's Response

As always, I am inspire to write and promote discussion between folks. I personally thrive in that environment. I love to hear what another person has to say. They give me insights that I realize I would never be able to achieve on my own. It is foolish to think that my view of the world is the only one, and it is even more foolish to think my view is the best view.

The internet serves as an excellent tool to read and discuss the thoughts of others in a meaningful way. I read several different websites of articles on many of my favorite hobbies, and I feel this reading has helped me to improve my own game through the cultivation of the thoughts and perspectives others may have. I find myself also wishing to respond to them, but I question the necessity of responding directly to the author of the article.

From this desire to write and put out these thoughts while perhaps avoiding unnecessary conflict, I have thought of a new line of blog posts.

I will post the link to an article, web page, or other source that I have read/heard recently. From that article, I will post my own response, hopefully to encourage some discussion and reading. If the author may benefit from my response, I will post the link for them to read the response. From there, it is up to them to engage me in discussion.

I will be posting some articles in the very near future. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bragging Rights for Best Painted!

My newly painted Grey Knight army won Best Painted over the weekend at the Arkham Games 40k tournament!

While I didn't win anything more fantastic than that, I really enjoyed the recognition for that work. I didn't feel like I had the best army in the house, but I really did feel good that I garnered enough votes to win. 

I'll try to get a really cool picture to add to the blog with the whole army in tow.