Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heroes of the Storm- Slowly But Surely



As my long time readers are sure to know, I am a big fan of the MOBA genre. I enjoy the competition, the style of game, and the fast paced action that no other genre can bring.

For the longest time, League of Legends was my go-to MOBA of choice. In light of recent changes and updates to the game though, I am finding myself becoming bored with the game. The meta changes at the drop of a pin, games now consistently last 40 minutes, and the game now focuses around being tanky or sating a devourer. For me, the game has become stale, stagnant, and frankly, it brings out the worst in people. The community is toxic to an extreme, and it has not shown any signs of getting better.

With the advent of Heroes of the Storm, however, I finally have a MOBA that satisfies all of my desires in a game. Slowly but surely, it is winning me over to the Blizzard side of the genre.

Heroes of the Storm, for those that may not know, is a MOBA that focuses on the main characters of the three hallmark IPs of Blizzard. This means that we see Jim Raynor butting heads with Malfurion, or Tychus fighting Diablo. The heroes have 4-5 abilities that they use to wage war against their enemies, utilizing mercenaries and other map based objectives to reach the final goal: a destroyed core.

The trick to Heroes is the speed of the gameplay. The laning phase is short, the team fight phase is short, and the end game is short. Games, at their longest, go up to 40 minutes. There are no items or last hits. It's all about the objectives in order to win.

The Heroes are all fairly unique, with their own flavor and fun thrown in. In addition, the Hero level system rewards players for using that character, through skins and mount variations. Playing the Heroes also gives cool portraits and other bonuses. New content comes out constantly, but the balance level is never really altered in such drastic ways as League does. The in game currency is also much easier to gather due to quests and other bonuses for leveling an account. There are fewer characters, at this time, but it appears that Blizzard has plenty coming down the pipe.

The community is way less toxic than League. There is a lower amount of risk/reward in the game play, and the competitive scene has not taken a stranglehold on the game. There is a lot less communication in the game, but the ping system is perfectly usable for most of all issues. There are still occasional assholes, but with the additions of AFKs or leavers being replaced by bots, the impact is far less negative compared to League.

Finally, it has the infrastructure and support system of Blizzard, which is formidable and strong to say the least. I have rarely had issues with client, bugs, or latency issues; the same certainly can not be said for League.

Blizzard has done what they are best at: creating an accessible and entertaining game that changes the landscape of the genre. I would hardly ever recommend that someone play League of Legends, unless that person is a competitive and hardy gamer. Heroes, however, I think is fun for veterans and newcomers alike. It is a game I strongly recommend to anyone interested in breaking into the genre without the prospect of constant bickering and negativity.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The State of This Blog

I am in an interesting predicament regarding this blog, known as Rarkthor's Hold.

For the longest time, it was simply a means to record thoughts, Battle Reports, and pictures of my hobby progress. At a certain point, it was no more than a digital record of my own written word. It was something I looked at as a reference to events I had attended in the past, some pictures of old armies, and talks with old friends.

A few months ago, I looked into blogging seriously, with the intention of making some money from ad revenue. I did quite a lot of research, and I landed a few contributor spots on big time blogs. My time with BOLS was short, due to a greater opportunity from talkwargaming.com

Unfortunately, neither blog has really helped to generate much revenue here on Rarkthor's Hold. This doesn't bother me too terribly, but I had hoped for something more.

At this point, any wargaming articles that I might compose go directly to Talkwargaming.com as the audience is much bigger. This blog has become more personal, hearkening back to its original purpose: a place for a nerd's thoughts and feelings on a wide variety of topics.

For those few audience members that take a look at my blog, you'll be happy to see an increase in my contribution to talkwargaming. I intend to post some of my less wargame oriented thoughts here.

Thanks for sticking with me. It seems my journey is always turning and twisting.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why Magic: The Gathering is Slowly Losing Its Grip On Me




Howdy Readers!

I apologize for being away for so long. I wish I could say it is due to a hectic schedule or something legitimate, but truthfully, it is due to my interests being primarily in video games, the most fun of time sinks. I may talk about some of those experiences in a later blog post.

Recently, I had been looking into playing Magic again. I took my time from the game, and I had thought perhaps it was time to give it another shot. I played a few times over this summer, and I had been, for the most part, enjoying my time.

To continue to sate this desire, I picked up Magic Duels, the software Wizards has marketed as a fun way to get into their game digitally. They have really changed the focus of the game with quests, an in-game currency system, and a focus on deck building outside of the Story Mode. The changes seem very similar to Hearthstone for those familiar with that game.

Some of my first encounters with Magic Duels have been very fun, and I like the software. What I had forgotten about was the resource system of Magic. I absolutely HATE the mana and land system of Magic. It creates games that feature very little interaction between opponents based purely on the Random Number Generator of cards. I do not feel good about winning because my opponent did not draw enough lands or too many lands. That is, in no way a demonstration of my own skill.

Hearthstone has demonstrated that games that feature a more consistent resource system can be fun, challenging, and competitive. It seems to me that Magic's system is becoming more antiquated with every competing TCG and LCG release. I'll keep playing Magic Duels, since it is a no cost alternative, but I find myself steering clear of playing Magic outside of FNM. EDH is fun when played casually, so I'll be keeping around a few decks.