Monthly Archives: June 2013

#240 Why I am the perfect Hearthstone Player

Well it has been another week that has passed and still it has been another week without any word from Blizzard on when HearthStone: Heroes of Azeroth will enter the beta testing stage of development. While the game developers are putting the final touches on the virtual TCG and the list of people they will send out Beta keys too, now is the perfect time to explain to the internet why I, in my humble opinion, am the perfect player to play the beta of Hearthstone ready for its public debut.

Still no beta key, although I did sign up for it

Ahhh….I remember playing the game at PAX East like it was yesterday

This is a spiritual successor to one of my earliest blog posts where I argued the fact that I was the perfect person to play Diablo III (Be MOP #25) because I never played the two previous Diablo games so I would be experiencing the game without rose-colored glasses or holding the game up to unreachable standards from the years of hype that was generated from the Diablo community.

Now why did I add this photo here? certainly this game is going to be flying under the radar when it is released

Now why did I add this image here? certainly this game is going to be flying under the radar when it is released

But for HearthStone, the reason I think I would be the perfect beta tester is because I have a history with strategy card games and know some of the more complex the workings of decks. I talked about it before but I used to play Pokemon and Yi Gi Oh card games in my childhood and it was during my college years when I got into the granddaddy of all trading card game, Magic the Gathering.

The reason I entered into the world of planewalkers was impart because one of my best friends who would regularly spend his weekends at the local comic book story being a part of the competitive Magic the Gathering tournaments. Over the years of watching him play and persuading me to buy just one more starter pack from the store for my collection I struck up countless conversations with discussing the various cards combinations, deck builds, and strategies that the professional MTG players used in major tournaments.

From those talks I believe I am qualified to play the beta of HearthStone not only play test the basic class decks but if I do win the chance to beta test I promise that I will comb through the cards available and try to create unconventional decks to test their viability and see if games can win a match against the traditionally made decks, which might offer some important information to consider if Blizzard ever has plans to take HearthStone to a competitive level.

Blizzard already has a E-sports tournament to host some Hearthstone games

Blizzard already has a E-sports tournament to host some HearthStone games on, it’s not that far off.

While I am not an expert on the finer details of Aggro, Control, and Combo based decks I do know enough create some initial testing, just enough to start the online conversation with the other players of this HearthStone community.

Again, Blizzard has not release I have a feeling that the beta will between the second or third week of July but until then I’ll just be binding my time going back and rewatching some of the matches Blizzard has uploaded to YouTube

But in the meanwhile, I want to ask a question to my readers,From what you have seen so far of HearthStone, what class deck which deck are you most excited to play and why?

 


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#239 Garrosh and the Horde’s Revolution on the Horizon

As I mentioned in Monday’s post I am still working at the NH Boys State, the Political Summer camp for Highschoolers in the State of New Hampshire, and even though I am a counselor for the week I am enjoying the whole experience of getting back to the basics of government and how it works on the state level. Along the way one of the subtle lessons taught at this week is what makes a good leader in government the more it was told of what it means to be an excellent leader, the kids started adopting those standards in and out of the political lectures.

As usual somehow I find a way to tie it back to World of Warcraft, over this week I realized how bad of a leader Garrosh is for the Horde and the how next patch is not just the final raid of Mists of Pandaria, if you a member of the Horde, this is a revolution against Hellscream. If we look at other real life revolutions that took place in the Middle East during the Arab Springs movement and the recent protests in Turkey and Brazil, all have some very common traits the their government leadership style that Garrosh is subscribed to.  Those leaders are power-hungry, they create aggressive & oppressive policies and eventually the citizens gets fed up and decides that enough is enough.

I am going to save everyone the boredom of drawing parallels between Garrosh and real world government leaders who were thrown out by the people for the sake of the post’s length and because unlike the political actions in Azeroth I don’t know the full stories of both sides of the story of each revolution/protest I mention later on.

Garrosh’s aggressive agenda as Warchief started by the breaking of the truce between the Horde and Alliance with deforestation of Ashenvale but there was no complaints coming from the Horde because of you read the Sundering book it was stated that the Horde needed the wood for reconstruction and for general consumption. Garrosh’s invasion and Cataclysm activities were needed to ensure the survivability and stability of the Horde after the near-end-of-the-world.

Things changed in Mists of Pandaria, Garrosh became a bit too comfortable in his poison and started projects not to further the agenda of the people of the horde but instead he was following political actions that advanced his own personal and egotistical agenda.

he thought of the potential weapons in Pandaria first, compare that to the Alliance’s first goal there.

Garrosh first thought of the potential weapons he could find in Pandaria, compare that to the Alliance’s original reason for exploring the island

The other major downfall of Garrosh is that through his aggressive agenda he made no friends along the way. Garrosh could have saved himself the hell of being killed by hundreds of players each week all looking for some new loot for months on end if he did not alienate literally EVERYONE the nation/party/horde.

If he was able to rally all the race factions together under his envisioned goal, the Horde’s make up could have been completely different, if all members worked together well enough they might have easily dominated the Alliance in Pandaria.

Ever since Garrosh took the title of Warchief  he has been driving away all other races from Horde. It started even before he officially begun. with the accidental killing of the popular leader of the Tauren, Cairne Bloodhoof, and continued into Cataclysm by distancing the entire Forsaken population and discrediting any potential Sylvanas to the Horde’s cause.

In Mists of Pandaria while Garrosh was giving special attention to his people he was burning bridges with the Blood Elves, trolls and in this recent scenario, the goblins.

Bam! Instant awesome from  a Political Science fan

This is quickly becoming my favorite screenshot of this expansion

Garrosh Hellscreamwas not just burning bridges but Garrosh has also been stripping away the troll’s freedom with placing guards stationed at every important member in the troll district and it has also been confirmed in the books that Garrosh has his secret police taking care of any protesting voices.

From real life history we have seen that if a leader keep adding social pressures on to a society, sooner or later there will be a breaking point and that’s when the revolution begins.

Then we see the result by the protests, if you can find the pictures coming out of Turkey or the Arab nations where people from with rose up against their leader’s regime wanting nothing more than a sudden, drastic change in the nation’s policy and direction of the people.

Revolutions can be violent, messy, and when push comes to shove the protesting citizens will be willing to accept aid from anybody. Enter the Alliance, this is how the other half of the player base justifies getting involve with all of this juicy, juicy internal drama.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

While Blizzard has told the players that this raid is going to be a thing, I have not heard of whether or not we will be able to deliver the killing blow to Garrosh and if he survives we do not know (but we can guess) if he will still be in charge of the Horde going forward into the next chapter of WoW.

If he does gets ‘impeached from office’ it will be interesting to see who will replace him. Historically where there have been a revolution to get rid of a corrupt leader the person that the people put in charge afterwards is just as bad as the previous leader.

Another interesting possibility is that we might see the Horde’s Warchief/Monarch style of government end with Mists of Pandaria moving to something more of a council of all the races.

Who knows we might see the  Horde accept the idea of a democratically run government. and if you ask yes I am voting for basic campfire.


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#238 Screenshots of Pandaria Part XI

My apologizes for another Screenshots of Pandaria post so close to the last, but this week I am a counselor at a week-long summer camp that focuses on state politics. While I have having a blast helping high-school students learn about the wonders of New Hampshire government, my play time has been limited. If it’s any consolation, Murphy’s law states that something incredibly newsworthy about Blizzard is going to break this week.

I do enjoy the Horde's advancement in the Vale of the Eternal Blossoms, I hear it gets worst next patch.

I do enjoy the Horde’s advancement in the Vale of the Eternal Blossoms, I hear it gets worst next patch.

Did I ever tell you the one time where I met someone else in Dalaran? It was amazing

Did I ever tell you the one time where I met someone else in Dalaran? It was amazing

Im still trying to complete my last few Sigil of Wisdom. I will get my legendary Weapon, it just might be towards the end of the next expansion, but I will have it

I’m still trying to complete my last few Sigil of Wisdom. I will get my legendary Weapon, it just might be towards the end of the next expansion, but I will have it

I love the entrance to the Temple of the White Tiger. Truth be told it was almost going to be the background image of this blog, but I switched it out with the Temple of the Jade Serpent instead

I love the entrance to the Temple of the White Tiger. Truth be told it was almost going to be the background image of this blog, but I switched it out with the Temple of the Jade Serpent instead

I did try to swing by Silithus to test my luck if I could catch a Qiraji Guardling....nope. Maybe I'll be able to catch that pet some other time over the summer

I did try to swing by Silithus to test my luck if I could catch a Qiraji Guardling….nope. Maybe I’ll be able to catch that pet some other time over the summer

Hey did you guys know that you can take screenshots in League of Legends?  I didn't until I saw someone else do it

Hey did you guys know that you can take screenshots in League of Legends? I didn’t until I saw someone else do it

See you guys Wednesday.


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#237 Steam’s Trading Cards, HeathStone, and Skinner’s Box

A few weeks ago I entered the beta of Valve’s next big project Half Life 3 Steam’s new trading card system and user profile program.

Steam Trading Card game is simple enough to follow, if you play a game from the list of games that opted in to the program, randomly throughout your play time you will receive a virtual card from that game to create a pack which you then craft into badges to be shown off on your profile page and to gain experience points to gain more levels to get a higher level.

The big feature is that there are different levels of rarity and some cards are unobtainable by yourself so you are encouraged to trade between friends to complete pack.

Steam TCG promo

It was an interesting program but I did not partake in it since a lot of the game included were not a apart of my collection, but this past week the people at steam announced that, among other games, Super Meat Boy (my favorite platformer) joined the Trading Card program. Soon enough I caught myself starting up SMB to collect some bandages, to test my skill on some of the newer stages, and over all raise my blood pressure.

From that night I unlocked the Headcrab character, progressed a tiny bit, and received my first card.

330x192

So it begins….

From that I started to get the collector’s itch and I started a new file of Portal 2 and while I heavily dislike replaying the story in games my drive to collect more of those randomly dropped cards pushed me to play through Portal 2’s campaign for another time.

 

This picture is the best representation of me since I stared playing Steam Trading Cards

This picture is the best representation of me since I stared playing Steam Trading Cards.

This new program is actually giving me the motivation to finish my games and picking up other games in my backlog just for the off-chance of getting one more collectible to show off to my friends.

After a planned night of WoW was derailed by Steam I wonder if Blizzard could create the same magic with their virtual trading card game, HearthStone, by encouraging players of one game to pick up the other. If the HearthStone developers wanted to go this way they could offer exclusive cosmetic items for World of Warcraft that you can only unlock from playing HearthStone and they could reward players in World of Warcraft with rare/unique trading cards that you can only get from completing a certain achievement or by completing random events in the world of Azeroth.

 

I wonder if Blizzard would ever created IRL versions of these cards

If Blizzard was truly evil they would release an ultra rare, ultra powerful card that you can only get by attending the Warcraft movie. Call it now.

 

But until I get access to Heathstone I am going to be spending a lot of time with Steam’s Trading Card trading cards trading and collecting cards for my own amusement. If anyone is interested in trading with me, my username is Noahdeer I currently just have a few Portal 2 and Super Meat Boy cards but I have a feeling with this year’s Steam Summer Sales I am going to have more cards than I know what to do with.

 


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#236 Catching up on my Legendary Quest Chain

With the ever approaching date for the last content patch of Mists of Pandaria we are getting a few datamined hints about what will be our reward for completing the individual Legendary Weapon quest chain that we started with Wrathion. There is just one problem for me, I have not really been keeping up with the quest chain, currently he is still waiting on me to fetch him the ten Sigil of Wisdom and Sigil of Power from The Strength of One’s Foes quest.

Even though Ghostcrawler recently tweeted that there will be a catch-up mechanic added to the game to aid late and lazy players like myself, I decided to get ahead of the game and started working on that long over due quest by queuing up for both Mogu’shan Palace and Heart of Fear using the Raid Finder service.

Ahhh it feels good to be back

Ahhh it feels good to be back

 

Last night I was able to get through the first wing of MSV using the ever so popular Raid Finder boss strategy for the boss fights, which is ignore the fight mechanics and just pew pew the big guy until their health-bar goes from one side to the other.

Not the most effective, but it is the easiest strategy 25 people can follow

Not the most effective, but it is the easiest strategy 25 people can follow

I was lucky and I was able to grab the last two Sigil of Power that I needed leaving me with the task of collecting the six other Sigils of Wisdom. Now if you excuse me, I am off to test my luck and spend my lucky coins against the horrors that awaits me in the rest of the raiding tiers for Mists of Pandaria, I have a feeling that it will be important for final story arc of this expansion.


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#235 Garrosh and the Green Lanterns

A few days ago the people at MMO champion data-mined a whole bunch of new information about patch 5.4 and it looks like this will be the content patch where we will finally take down Garrosh, and it looks like we have our work cut out of us.

MMO Champion, the Wikileaks of WoW

MMO Champion, the Wikileaks of WoW

With the data-mining we were given a sneak peek of the new monsters, the tier 16 armor set and some of the boss encounters. But what’s more exciting is that Garrosh has received another graphical makeover to make him prepared to take center spotlight for the siege on Orgrimmar raid and he even comes with a sha-infused version for, I assume, the final stage of the final fight.

GarroshHulked

Sha touched with a hint of the Old Gods

While everyone and their mother foresaw Garrosh utilizing the power of the Sha to advance his own political and military agenda, I just hope that once everything is all and done Blizzard sticks to their guns and follow through on their plan to have Garrosh willingly accept the power of the Sha  instead of convincing us that Garrosh was corrupted and brainwashed by the ancient evils of Pandaria.

I worry because I have seen this before, if you let me diverge I want to tell you all a story that happened twenty years ago in a different genera of geeky media. Quick! to the local comicbook story for a history lesson.

In the early 90’s DC comics wanted to switch things up with their Green Lantern series so the writers created a story arc where Hal Jordan (the most popular Green Lantern at the time) would see his home town, Coast City,   become completely destroyed in a hug explosion, wiping the entire population. Stricken with grief, Hal then goes crazy and goes on a journey to killing the entire Green Lantern Corp stealing their power rings so that he could have enough power to rewrite the universe in his own image, saving Coast City. During this story arc, he threw away his old name, and started calling himself Parallax.

 

and It was an awesome story arc

and It was an awesome series

The story transitioned into a major DC crossover event where the rest of the DC  superheroes tried to stop him and of course, the heroes successes in foiling Hal-now-Parallax’s plan, saving the Earth. And because  Hal was too popular to kill off for real, he was tucked away somewhere for a later date.

When Hal was eventually bought back in the comic book fold DC wanted him to be one of the heroes, so to explain his evil plan, the comicbook writers rewrote the past explaining that the crimes that Hal committed was not because he, a regular man, was stricken with guilt after seeing everything and everyone he known be taken away from him, no instead  it was a parasite made of prue fear that was imprisoned the main green lantern on Oa and that parasite, which was the real Parallax, processed Hal and that was the reason for the insane actions of Hal Jordan. Needless to say there were some comicbook readers who were angry at this move, retconing a story arc that depicted one of the best hero’s fall into madness after a tragic event to a simple procession story.  

 

Evil bug trapped in a green night light for thousands and thousands of years, just another story arc in the comicbook world

Evil bug trapped in a green night light for thousands and thousands of years, just another story arc in the comicbook world

 

This is what I am worried about moving past patch 5.4, I fear that if Blizzard want to bring back Garrosh as a protagonist in next expansion’s that the game designers will just  brush off Garrosh’s recent actions as a leader who just became an unwilling puppet for the Sha. I know Blizzard has been setting up Garrosh’s downfall for months I do recognize that it is very tempting to take the easy way out when bringing someone back from exile.


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#234 Hearthstone Updated

Well E3 has come and gone, with more light shed on what the gaming community will be getting themselves into next generation with more clarification on the new consoles and the games that will soon be arriving to store shelves. Sadly  I was incorrect in my prediction that Mircosoft would announce the removal of the Xbox Live subscription fee for their player base, but hey them’s the breaks .

But yesterday in non-console news Blizzard updated their HeathStone page with the announcement of new game mechanics that will be arriving to the digital trading card game. In the official post Blizzard announced that like World of Warcraft, the in-game currency to acquire new packs of cards will be gold, that there will be a leveling system in place where the more you play a certain class the higher your chances  are to get better class-specific cards, and the introduction of a friends list so you can keep all your acquaintances organize and invite them for a game any time. All those features are something that I would expect from a Free-to-play card game that tries to take elements from an RPG. What really got my interest was the special abilities of the monsters they showcased.

I wonder if Blizzard would ever created IRL versions of these cards

I wonder if Blizzard would ever created IRL versions of these cards for promotional events.

I have not been following the Hearthstone website too closely in fear of spoiling the game experience by getting myself too hyped up while it was still in development, but today I poked around and saw a subtle change in the way the card’s abilities and interaction with each other since that last time I got my hands on HearthStone.

A few months ago when I was able to play a very early build of the game at Pax East and while I only got to participate in one match, I did make a comment on how the monsters and spells that my opponent and I used were more simple that I was used to, coming from a childhood of playing Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh and Magic the Gathering with my family and friends.

With the new cards introduced and the updated cards Blizzard is defiantly trying to add a bit more complexity and strategy to the decks, with the use of cards that can summon extra minions and spells that has an “if X then Y”.

The ability to summon adtional monsters that were not in your hand is really cool

The ability to summon additional monsters that were not in your hand could be really cool for hunter decks, and devastating to anyone fighting against it.

In the mage deck I played, and the warlock deck I played against,  the most complex card that was used was the Lifetap spell had the warlock sacrifices two Health points to draw an extra card, followed closely by my Fireball spell that just did a set amount of direct damage to a monster.

C8FHU8W0RA8H1370995518905

With these changes I am hoping that there will be enough complexity for players to not only build the best class deck, but also experiment with unusual card combinations (I.E. a monster heavy priest deck or a warrior deck with a focus on spell and abilities) and still be viable in the more competitive matches.

No word on the beta invites yet, but once the eventually do come out is there anyone out there interested for a match?


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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