On RNG or Why Can’t I Pull A Good Hand

So stretching a bit for a topic here, but I’m trying to post more again.

This weekend, like the last few before it, were mostly spent playing Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. Most of Saturday I ended up working, but either way my gaming would have been the same. The majority of the latter half of Saturday night was spent on Hearthstone building and researching decks and trying them out. The one thing that always seemed to happen is that I’d lose a match because I couldn’t pull that one combination of cards that I needed, or in a couple cases top decked just the right card to pull off a very, very narrow victory.

That happening just reminds me of how much I loath RNG in games. Granted I see the point of it, especially in a card game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t loathe it. Especially when you start the night at rank 18 and end at rank 20 (though as of last night I’m up to rank 17). So I guess it is more of a love/hate relationship. I think there’s a saying for this, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword”, something like that.

I do have some screenshots I’ve been meaning to post over on anook, so keep an out out there for them. I like taking screenshots of legendary / rares I get out of packs or really close matches.

I feel like I had more to discuss here, namely some memorable RNG in WoW but I got interrupted at work when I was typing this up (on lunch, not while supposed to be working) and lost my train of thought.

I’ve seriously considered streaming some Hearthstone, but I am not sure anyone would want to watch someone who loses most of their matches.

On 10 years 10 Questions

I’ve seen a few people mentioning this on twitter so I thought I’d give this a shot.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

I started playing mainly because all of my college friends were playing. When WoW first came out I was a full time college student, and I didn’t have a very well paying job so I was using the household PC. I didn’t jump on WoW right away either, because at the time I didn’t like the graphical style, so I was playing Everquest 2. Eventually I did pick it up, but had a ton of issues with my computer. Namely that while playing WoW my computer would reboot every 30 minutes. I’m pretty sure I leveled to 50 this way. But short answer, I started playing because I wanted to do stuff with my friends.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

I think that the first character I ever rolled was a hunter, but I don’t think he lasted very long. My second character was a mage and I still play him to this day. He’s always been, and always will be my main character and I use that name in every game I play.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

My friends were all rolling alliance, so I rolled alliance.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

I mentioned this in a post the other day, but one of my earliest raiding experiences is probably one of my most memorable times in the game. Another top memory is the night that Burning Crusade launched. I had pre-ordered the collectors edition and everything was patched up and ready to go. Everyone on the server was standing out by the portal waiting for it to open up so we could go in to the new area. I staid up way to late that night, but that remains my favorite WoW expansion launch still.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Exploration and achievements have always been why I keep coming back to the game. There are always things to do in the game. A lot of other MMO’s I’ve tried over the years just fall apart after you reach the max level.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I can’t really say that I have a favorite area in the game. I tend to find myself sticking to whatever area is the current one for content.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I honestly don’t know this right now, so I’ll have to update this later. I can say thought that it has not been continuous. Over the span of 10 years I’ve taken several breaks. Some for just a few months and at most a year. I always seem to come back though.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

I try to, but more often than not I just glance at it. That has, on occasion, come back to bite me in the rear.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not starting the game earlier would probably be my biggest regret. By the time I started playing all of my friends had moved on to the end game content so I wound up doing all the levels available by myself. I never got to do the starter dungeons at level for various reasons because of this. At the time there was no group finder, and I was much shyer than I am today. The only time I ever ran with a pug group was if one of my friends was there and they got me in.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I’m having a hard time thinking of any effects that I could solely relate to playing Warcraft. I know for sure I spent more time playing than studying, which is one factor in why it took me longer to graduate than it should have. But I have also met some really good friends on there that I still play with and talk to out of game.

oh and here’s the source

On Thankless Jobs

Ok, so honestly I wanted to make the title of this post “Thankless Jobs, not with Mike Rowe”. Nobody said I was funny, but I amuse myself.

So over the last week I’ve been trying to post a bit more as part of the Blaugust initiative thing that my friend Belghast started up. I find daily blogging challenging because it is really, really hard to come up with a topic every day. Thankfully Bel is a swell guy and put up a list of topics people could use as talking points. So today I’ll be talking about what I feel is one of the more thankless jobs in gaming, at least from my personal experience.

The Enchanter

Now, this isn’t an entirely thankless job in the sense that people say “thank you” for enchanting their gear but I don’t feel like people really know what it means to be the person in charge of handling your entire raids enchantments. A little bit of backstory before I jump in this.

From time immemorial, otherwise known as for a long time, my main character was not in fact an enchanter. He started off as mining/engineering. It wasn’t particularly self sustaining. I just liked making the gadgets, and worked very hard to build the alliance side motorcycle mount. I still have engineering as one of my professions, because there is still plenty of stuff I want to make.

Eventually a point came in my raiding career that we found our raid without an enchanter. I honestly don’t know why we lost our enchanter but we did and they asked if someone could step in and take the role over and me being the guy I am volunteered. Keep in mind this was Cataclysm raiding, and I had to gofrom 0 enchanting to raid enchanting super fast. Thankfully my guild is awesome and I got a lot of help with materials and gold so that I could grind up to raid level enchanting. That’s still a lot of work.

The tricky part is that enchanting things takes mats, lots of them, and raiding level enchants specifically required epic level items to be turned in to mats. This meant constantly running heroics and rolling DE on everything, soloing and hoping for blues or buying materials. Our raid at least had a policy that any gear that no one could use would go to me to disenchant and then those crystals would go in to the guild bank until they were needed. In writing that doesn’t seem to bad, but in reality enchanting became my second job. Keeping in mind I work full time, then had to go home and farm when sometimes I just didn’t want to.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like enchanting. I still have it and I keep it up to date as best as I can without raiding. I might not have the top of the line enchants now, but I do what I can. That way if anyone ever asks in guild for an enchanter I can say I am and be of some use. I don’t farm heroics anymore, or raids. In fact I’ve only done LFR a handful of times, and I refuse to pug dungeons.

So the moral here is thank your enchanter, they do a lot more work than you might think.

Hearthstone

On a bit of a sidenote, I’m still enjoying Hearthstone. I’ve started playing almost every evening. This week saw the 3rd wing of naxxramas unlock which I promptly worked my way through last night. Did a little bit of ranked play afterwords and ended up hitting rank 19 which I believe is my personal best.

On Warlords

So here’s the thing, I pre-ordered the Warlords of Draenor expansion yesterday. I know, I’m weak. I have no willpower. Hal Jordan I am not. There has been some discussion related to what people call an “item squish” that is going to reduce stats to be more reasonable (no more 1 million hit points you silly tanks you). But that discussion is for another day. Mainly one where I have time to fully research it and talk knowledgeably about it. This was more just me making a confession.

So yesterday my buddy Kodra (from the Aggrochat podcast) posted what he considered a significant grouping experience, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve told this story to people on voice chat a few times, and it always gets a good chuckle. So I figure I can share it here as it’s a short story, and I need something to talk about.

Keep in mind, at the time World of Warcraft had only been out for maybe a couple years and at this point I had no raiding experience what-so-ever. Most of my grouping experience came from doing the end game content. Which at the time was Scholomance. I knew my role, go pew-pew and tank the floor. I was good at it. Especially tanking the floor. But I also had some skill in crowd control, which sadly has become less useful as the game has progressed.

At the time my college friends and I were in our own little guild, not part of the larger guild that most of us ended up in. They were part of a raiding group consisting of older people who generally only could play in the evenings. You know, adults with real jobs. They had formed a group of people that did the raiding content, and did it well. I heard my friends talking about it at school and eventually I started doing some group content with a few of those people. One of which turned out to be my future buddy Belghast (he wasn’t playing as Belghast back then so I didn’t know).

At some point or another they needed an extra dps to fill in for a night when they were running Zul’Gurub and they asked me to come along. This was back in the day when that was still a 40 man raid, not an entirely soloable 5 man dungeon. I don’t remember the entire run, other than things were going pretty smoothly up until the point I almost wiped the raid. We were in the middle of some trash pull and I was clicking buttons as I do when I accidentally cast a portal to Stormwind. Some people, not paying attention clicked on said portal and were whisked away right out of the fight. Back then all the portal spells were separate in the spell book, and I had them on my hotbar so I could get around without having to look them up.

So I learned a very valuable lesson that day. Don’t have portal or teleport on your hotbar. EVER.

I also didn’t get to raid for awhile. But they eventually let me come back. A while later Bel bribed me in to joining his guild which had a lot of those people and I started doing raid content with them. I don’t raid much anymore, but that one experience is up there in my all time favorites, even if all the details on it aren’t clear. Namely, I’m only fairly sure we were in combat when that happened, it might have just been a funny accident outside of combat.

On Destiny

So, I’ve been a slacker and it’s been nearly a month since my last post. What can I say, things happened. I’ve been busy at work, and have been spending a good portion of my lunch breaks drawing which doesn’t leave me time at work to post. I could still post after work, but I’ve been doing kickboxing almost every day after work which tends to leave me a bit drained.

Moving on though, this past weekend saw two beta tests come up. The Destiny beta for those that had pre-ordered the game, or knew someone who had an extra code (like I did). The other beta was the first closed beta weekend for ArcheAge, a game I’ve talked about a few times. Today I’ll be talking about the Destiny beta a bit.

First off, I think Destiny has the potential to be a great game, maybe even a system seller. The graphics are amazing, and the soundtrack and voice over work was excellent. I did have a few issues with the game, and they are things I’m not sure are just due to the fact that this was a beta, or if this is how the game is.

I guess if you haven’t heard of Destiny you might not give two cents about what I’m saying so I’ll explain what I know. The game was produced by Bungie (of Halo fame) and is being marketed as an FPS MMORPG. I’m not super sure about the RPG part, as the beta doesn’t let you get very far, but the elements are there. Class selection, talent trees, gear and questing. Most of the questing only occurs when you opt to go to the open world exploration of the map, not the story missions. Non story missions are found by exploring the map looking for green lit beacons. These are your typical MMO style quests that give you some minor objective like retrieving some data or killing enemies. The story missions usually set you on a set path and ends in a boss fight.

There is a social hub called “The Tower” where you can go between missions to do social stuff and talk to faction vendors and upgrade your ship. The main difference between the two is that in the social area you are in third person perspective versus the first person you use 95% of the time when exploring.

The game offers three main classes. The Titan, which is your tank class and is there to absorb damage. The Hunter, which is your ranged dps with some melee dps. The final class is the Warlock which has some form of energy based “magic” attacks. These all have subclasses, and talent trees, but from playing the beta I didn’t get that far as the beta doesn’t let you progress past the level 5 story mission.

I have two big complaints about the game.

The first is a lack of extensive character customization. At least in the beta all you can customize appearance wise is your characters race, sex, and some facial features. You have your standard humans, elvish looking people and androids. You can’t name your character either. It is based on your PSN name, so whatever that is is what you will be displaying to people. Which makes me want to have a secondary PSN named YouKnowNothingJonSnow. I’m a private person so I don’t want my PSN being displayed publicly if I’m streaming.

The second complaint is essentially requiring the Playstation Plus subscription to do certain content. Playing in the beta this wasn’t really an issue, other than the one mission I couldn’t access because I don’t have a Playstation Plus membership. If I’m going to pay you $60 for your game don’t lock out dungeons until I pay a subscription.

While I haven’t decided if I want to pick the game up yet, the Playstation Plus semi-requirement is a big put off for me. I’ve been shying away from subscription based games lately and that is a big issue to hold off content that comes with the game. I don’t think they are required missions, and I may never do them, but that isn’t the point.

So I’m not entirely sold on the game, but it was fun to play. The controls were good, and I enjoyed the story. I might still pick it up, but I’m not sure yet.

On Fitness/Health vs Gaming

So if you follow me on Twitter, and if you don’t you should, you might have noticed me posting something quite interesting this morning. That is that I have cancelled both my WoW and ESO subscriptions. Now, I know that I have said that I wouldn’t be doing this as I enjoy both games but I had to pull some money out of somewhere to pay for something else. That something else being $125 per month membership fee for a kickboxing class.

This is where the inner/outer fat kid at me is screaming “Why God why!?!?!”. It is no secret that I’m not exactly in shape and that I’ve been trying and struggling to lose weight for years. I’ve been going to the gym mostly regularly for a couple years, and I am always trying to eat better which lasts a couple of weeks and then I fall back in to old habits. Now recently I’ve met and started talking to someone who achieved some amazing weight loss results and is helping me out with advice, and one of the things she had mentioned doing was cutting back/out a lot of her gaming. Now I find that a bit drastic, though I don’t think it’s a bad idea, it just isn’t for me. I plan to continue gaming but I will be cutting back on the money I spend on it.

The story here is that a few days ago a friend of mine that I work with and is my weight lifting partner said he was going to try out this Kickboxing class to see if it would be a good fit for him to keep doing cardio. Me, thinking “heck why not” said I’d give it a shot as well and if I found the price okay I would sign up with him.

This leads to last night where I did more cardio work than I think I’ve done in a long time, if not my entire life. Needless to say that out of the hour long class I was about to die 30 minutes in. By the time we finished it looked like I had jumped in a pool. I did have a good time however, but was a bit dismayed with the price. $125 a month is a bit high for me, but I really feel like I need to make a drastic change if I want to achieve my goals.

Unfortunately this means I have to stop playing my subscription based games, and possibly less time laying on the couch watching Netflix. I’d say there is a question here about which is more important, your health or your gaming life. But to me this isn’t a question. I think I want to be healthier more than I want to sit in front of the computer eating cheetos and drinking dr pepper. Being a gamer doesn’t mean I have to be the stereotypical overweight guy who doesn’t go outside. I feel like I can still do all the gaming I want and still have a better quality of life. If this means that I have to suffer a couple hours per week doing cardio and having trainers yelling at me to keep moving then I’m going to do it.

So not really a situation where one is better than the other. I view both as equally important to me. I want to be healthier, but I want to be able to play my games and be lazy. Maybe these are not the easiest things to do together but there are plenty of in shape gamers out there too.

On Following Your Friends To New Games

So, if anyone noticed I did not write anything yesterday, which kind of breaks my posting every week day goal. In my defense real life crap came up and I just didn’t have the time. One of the responsibilities I have on the project I work on is taking an on call shift once every five weeks. This involves a lot of small things, but mostly making sure things are working. Yesterday we started having issues with one of our servers in what we are now referring to as “Fileocolypse”. So yeah, just didn’t have time to come up with coherent thoughts. Today I passed that on to someone else and it’s not my problem anymore.

So for a quick post I though I’d talk a little bit about how we choose games. I think I’ve touched on this before, and hopefully I haven’t already written this post. What got me thinking about this was the recent release of Wildstar, the latest MMO that people have jumped on. Personally I have no opinion on this game because my time playing with it amounts to maybe 1 hour. This is just an example. I have previously stated that I have chosen several games because I like the group of people I play with and want to play the same games as them. Wildstar is one of the few examples that I can think of that I did not “jump on the bandwagon”. I don’t feel guilty about this though, I like my friends and I like playing with them but there comes a point when you realize you only play games because you’re following other people around.

Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think there is. I mean I’ve done it enough myself so what right do I have to judge? Do I think it’s a good reason to buy a game? No I don’t. I’m getting over this myself, but the internet definitely makes it easier. There is always a wealth of information available if you look for it. The hardest part is hearing strong arguments for playing a game from a friend. Because then are you following them or are you there because you want to be?

I think that really is a personal opinion. I personally don’t think that would mean you followed them in to a game. They may have made a very persuasive argument or they had information on a game you were already interested in that helped you make that decision. When I think of “following” people I’m thinking of blindly playing a game because everyone else is. It’s like when you’re a kid and someone asks you if all your friends jumped off the cliff would you too?

There may have been a time where this was less of a big deal because there were limited means of communications but now voice chat is readily available and it is easier to communicate across games. Now if there was a good solution for cross platform voice chat I’d be all over that.

I’ll admit that having people to play with is a factor in some of my PC gaming decisions. I do prefer to play with friends but I find that is no longer a requirement. I find that I want to base my purchases more on reviews and features and maybe seeing some game play footage. Just enough information to help me decide if I want to drop $60 on it. That to me is the main thing I look for now, is it really worth paying $60+ for?