Sequel to the Original

Just before the start of 2012, I got an invite into the “beta” for DotA 2. As you can probably guess, I was quite excited. I played the original DotA via Warcraft 3 more than I would care to admit, and had recently been immersing myself into its spiritual successor LoL (sorry, never actually tried HoN). LoL is a fabulous game, it’s fun, it’s competitive, and it has a lot of light, whimsical aspects that keep it from being some oppressive entity. DotA 2 feels, in many ways like a different game from LoL. Which fits, since it is, you know, a different game. I can boil down the differences between the two in one word: Unforgiving.

DotA 2 is definitely for the far more hardcore player-base. There is no going to a lane, and auto-attacking creeps to get the kills and push the tower. Though that still happens in a general sort of overview.  Where in LoL, focusing on last-hits is something you find in ranked games, and is ignored in every single PUG game I’ve played (ever), auto-attacking in a lane is almost sure to generate a comment every time in DotA 2.

Of course, you also have the return of denies.

Oh, sweet, sweet denies, how I have missed you. If you missed the original, in DotA you could attack your own units, your own towers, even your fellow teammates. What that lead to, is a strategy of denying kills. When you kill your own unit, it stops the gold for the kill from being divided to the opponent AND the miss out on the experience from its death. This can add up very quickly. A person who is good at denying creeps, especially in the early game, can easily create a level plus gap between themself and their lane opponent. It hurts to receive, and makes you laugh with glee when you accomplish it.

Level gaps are hard to overcome, and the gold gap is just as unforgiving. One big contributor makes the situation even more desperate than any other MOBA I have played: when you die, you lose gold. Significantly. So, if your opponent is denying you hard, uses their advantage to jump you in an unforgiving moment, you get to sit there dead not gaining any experience, and weep a little inside as the stockpile of gold you had been saving just dropped faster than the U.S. employment rate. Poor play is rewarded brutally and is very unforgiving. What can seem like a simple mistake can quickly cascade into catastrophic failure.

You may be thinking to yourself how terrible this makes the game sound, but it doesn’t. In fact, just the opposite. I’ve been going to DotA 2 nearly every time I would have gone to LoL in the past. It’s eating up the majority of my gaming time this month, and poor Skyrim has been feeling ignored because of it. If you enjoyed the original DotA, you will love the hell out of this. If you get easily frustrated, your beginning here will be painful. The learning curve for those new to the genre is tremendous, and becomes shallower the closer you move to DotA familiarity. Even I had to get back in the groove so to speak, and remember how different the gameplay is, and what gear does what.

Of course, it has some issues, every game does. But nothing that seems game-breaking. The progression system isn’t involved yet, and I haven’t found a good reporting system. A lot of the heroes aren’t implemented yet (Phantom Lancer, k thx?), but there is a very robust selection available. I feel as if the UI, and particularly the item shop could use a bit of tweaking to fine-tune and smooth out the experience, but overall, it gets my rocks off.

Not sure what else there is to say about it.

A deal

One benefit of waking up at hours reserved for insomniacs and school teachers, is that I get to put in a quick post. Yay discipline!

So, Mr. Meh is back (in case you haven’t been following, he comes and goes a lot). He, like almost every other breathing soul involved in MMO gaming, is playing SW:tOR. He’s gushing (in his own way). I played in the beta, and found it enjoyable, but not anything that grabbed me by the ass and pulled me in for some genital rubbing. I mean, it’s Star Wars, which automatically produces some attention and attraction, and the voice acting is good and greatly helps with the immersion/storyline factor. However, the PvP was, well “meh”, and it had the typical trope of quest-hubs sending you to do things for people, then come back again. Rinse. Repeat.

But, I like Mr. Meh’s opinion, and respect it as much as anyone can respect another internet entity, and I posted a deal with him. In two more months, if he still likes the game, I’ll buy a box and give it a go.

So, you’ve been given notice.

Worlds Colide

I have a lot of hobbies. Gaming is just one of the many endeavors I enjoy pursuing, and easily in the top five of all my favorite activities. Also high up on the list of things I am interested in, is politics. So, it may not surprise you that I’ve been keeping an ear out about this whole SOPA (official) /PIPA (official) thing. As much as my two hobbies may thrill me on their own (I’ve listened to every GOP debate, half streaming while I killed dragons in Skyrim), I had an amazing laugh at the awesome combination of the two today.

Apparently, one of our U.S. congressmen (by the name of Jared Polis) plays League of Legends, and after seeing the “Help us Stop SOPA” thread on the forums, he decided to respond. Beyond it being a great moment of helpful reinforcements from those behind the lines, he agreed to continue checking in on the thread. Which then lead to this AMAZING troll FROM the representative TO a player.

Originally Posted by bieberfever123 View Post

u would just use Justin Beiber as your avatar anyway

I almost laughed my balls off. If the nerds of Colorado don’t get together to reelect this man, they are doing themselves a disservice.

As a last message, go here, to help stop these bills from passing.


Is this thing on?

A priest, a rabbi, and a monk walk into a bar...Uh. Hi.

Yeah, still breathing. In a lazy Sunday afternoon right now, the long dark tea-time of the soul, as Arthur Dent calls it.

In any matter, for anyone still reading here’s a quick recap of where I’ve been gaming wise:

MMO bouncey-bouncey-bouncey: I’ve been entirely unable to stick to just one MMO for any length of time. I’ve been avoiding PvP ones in large part because of my temperamental internet connection, which FINALLY seems to be fixed. Mostly, I’ve bounced back and forth between EVE, EQ2, and a dash of Rift. I even went so far as to dip my toe in the AoC pool, but never even made it out of Tortage. Not sure what people are saying, but I found the Tortage experience to be as bland as any PvE MMO experience as I’ve played. I’m avoiding SWtOR for the most part, did some of the beta, but am dubious of my ever playing the actual game.

MOBAs: League of Legends has been hard for me to play in, because of said previous internet difficulties. I still played non-rank, games, and more Dominion than I normally would (thanks to it’s shorter time frame), but on the whole I haven’t done a whole lot there. However, along with getting my internet mostly back into shape two weeks ago, I got into DotA 2 beta, and that is just damn good, hard-core fun. I think I may do a short write-up about some of the big conceptual differences between the two. The sequel to the originator and the current crown champion of the genre.

SRPG: SKYRIM!! OMG SKYRIM!!! So fucking good. I have never played any of the Elder Scrolls games before this one, and was blown away by the awesomeitude this wonderous piece of digitally constructed world contained. My first play through was a shield and axe wielding, heavy armor wearing behemoth of destruction. My second (well 2.5) play through so far is a sneaky, archer type that just changes the whole way I play the game.

Console: I’ve gone back and replayed some of my older stuff, like Mirror’s Edge, and some more Wipeout, and a bit of Katamari: Forever. Console gaming is something I really enjoy still, and am waiting on the edge of my seat for Dust541, which just announced Beta sign-ups not too long ago (with some restrictions).

As for real life, my daughter just turned two, school is still in its part-time classification, which eats up a lot of free time what with that full-time job I have. I’m taking my first actual real-programming course this semester (Object Oriented aka Java), which I’m looking forward to. Work is finally slowing down a bit, my two large-scale hospitals are winding to a close on my design/coordination/fabrication side, and the bulk is going to be left in the hands of the installers – which means I’m sure someone is hunting for a new BIM project to throw me into.

The biggest thing I need to decide about this space, is how I want to proceed with it. There’s a good gap of time, and I don’t want to go back and discuss all the things that happened in the interim. I need to figure out what I want to write about, and get back in the habit of it all.

No new years resolution or anything like that, just saying, I’m going to try to put out stuff more frequently here on out.