Saturday, September 20, 2014


destiny [dest-in-ee]
1. Something that is to happen to a person or has happened to someone.
2. The predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistable, course of events.
3. The power of agency that determines events; fate.

EX. Destiny has been out for two weeks and I've played a lot of it. With that in mind, I wanna give my thoughts on the game. It is... my destiny.

Just letting you know that first list is gonna be brief but to the point. I really like playing this game with friends, but it has some issues. In fact, I love playing this game, but is has some serious problems. I mean, this is the MMO I've been waiting for, but it has flaws.

Let's get on with it.


1. The first person shooter gameplay in conjunction with your class's grenade ability, jump ability, and super ability creates satisfying gameplay reminiscent of Bungie's Halo tenure (especially Reach onward).

2. The environments of the various planets and the atmosphere created by visual effects, combined with a top notch score composed by Marty O'Donnell, fill the game with amazing places to explore and kill stuff.

3. The designs of the four enemy factions, while reminiscent of other enemies/archetypes, are quite interesting. For similarities reference:
  • The Fallen are space pirates reminiscent of the Elites from Halo.
  • The Hive are undead enemies resembling pretty much any generic zombie-like or demon-like basically Doom or the corrupted enemies created by the Reapers in Mass Effect. Oh and the Flood from Halo.
  • The Vex are artificial intelligent robotic enemies like Skynet & the Terminators from the Terminator franchise, Sentinels from the Matrix trilogy, or the Geth from Mass Effect trilogy. Oh and the Prometheans created by the Forerunners in Halo.
  • The Cabal are giant space marine monsters like a more sophisticated version of the Brutes from Halo.
These aren't really criticisms. Similarities are bound to happen. The enemy designs are cool.

4. Marty O'Donnell's score is a perfect fit that creates tense and awe-inspiring moments that I've never experienced in any MMO I've tried.

5. Creating a three-man party, made up of characters of multiple levels, to do missions in the game is easier and more convenient. This is a game meant to be played with friends and the teamwork involved created some amazing experiences.

6. The dancing is bliss.

These elements kept having me say "I frickin' love this game!" for about a week. Then I got to the end game, the honeymoon period ended, and I really began to notice some of the game's more frustrating flaws.

Before I get into the flaws you need to understand that I understand that the game is an MMO, a work in progress, and basically a released Beta. As long as the game releases updates, tweaks, and new content it could go from a 3/5 experience to a 4/5 or better. But at the moment, I feel like the game was released in a form that doesn't feel like it was worth 60 and I'm worried it won't have any staying power with all but a small audience.

This game is supposed to have a ten year lifespan?! Um, oh dear.


1. The story mode is pretty short and ends abruptly. Furthermore, while there are some brief glimpses of intriguing characters and lore, the former only really comes in the form of your dealings with the Stranger & the Reef and the later is hidden away on a grimoire you have to access using Bungie's website. After you beat the story, you basically have the options of a few side missions and the game's PVP mode, The Crucible.

Bungie reinvented the wheel with Halo's multiplayer but in Destiny...

2. ...the PVP mode isn't really anything special. It reminds me of Halo's most basic multiplayer with a few flaws; the imbalance in matchmaking means you'll wind up playing with players with vastly different levels of skill and equipment. There are only a few maps. Ultimately, the PVP's strategy comes down to who has the best equipment, best twitch muscle, and best knowledge of the maps. There is no strategy in trying to control anything on the map, besides a few turrets and vehicles (the latter of which is overpower), and the only way to really have a chance is traveling in packs. The only way to deal with multiple enemies is with your super.

Basically, shoot at anything that moves and hope you have the right weapon/right range and that your weapon deals more damage than your opponent. Or that they don't have their supers which have no counters. They might have counters if you could predict which super the enemy has...but you can't because...

3. ...the class's most significant differences come in their supers. Because all classes can use all weapons and they look so similar in design, you cannot tell the difference between a Titan, a Warlock, or a Hunter in the heat of combat. In other class based games, they take special care to make these differences more pronounced.

If I know my enemy is a hunter, at a glance, I can be prepared to counter their super with a stun grenade or just running like hell but if they turn out to be a titan instead they're probably just gonna dunk me.

But yeah, my main beef with classes is they all seem too similar even when you get to "max level, which speaking of that...

4. ...getting to "max level" doesn't take very long; I'm not a hardcore player, but I managed to get to level 20. The problem? After you beat the story mode and hit level 20, your options are to replay old missions on harder difficulties or wait for content like this week's Vault of Glass. The majority of this game will be played after level 20 and, after you reach level 20, the only way to get progress is to get rarer and better equipment. The only way to get the better equipment is with hours upon hours of grinding or playing the multiplayer.

The problem? Playing on higher difficulty and playing difficult raids requires better equipment that you can only get through hours of grinding. And playing on higher difficulty...
5. ... just means you have to fight more enemies with more health that can do more damage. The enemies don't get any smarter, in my experience, and tend to just chase you down, mindlessly, and use abilities. Some will hide behind cover when shot at, but no enemies really pose any challenge unless they've been overbuffed with health or damage. They don't dive out of the way of grenades, they don't really have good maneuverability, they don't flank, etc.*

* Some people may disagree with this opinion more than my others.

But the point is that the enemies are not diverse enough and, as aforementioned, you cannot hope to defeat them without a high level of patience and weaponry. Every enemy, on higher difficulties, is a bullet sponge. You spend minutes dashing around, firing to try and take down their shields, deal a little damage, and dash away. Rinse and repeat.

Speaking of rinse and repeat, I'm done ranting mindlessly and need to beat Link to the Past, do some dishes, and get to work writing some D & D material.

I know this is just, more or less, a ramble, so I'll say that, in the future, I might try and do a more in-depth review or analysis of Destiny.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Kevin Smith came up with the idea to make a horror movie about a man being sewn into a walrus suit after reading a rather odd classified article from a website with a similar premise...

...and the idea caught off enough that it actually made it to being scripted, produced, and released to critical acclaim. I'll be checking this one out soon!

And, speaking of old men and creatures of the arctic north, did you know that Brian Blessed punched a polar bear? Do you know who Brian Blessed is? WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU!? Get educated!!

And a new horror short from TV Maxwell rounds out our trio of videos this week and I'm left wondering, again...

Why do they come to me to die? Why do you they come to me to die?

Thursday, September 18, 2014


ascension [uh-sehn-shun]
1. Mythology. A figure or object rising into the heavens or to a higher form of existence.
2. To move, climb, or go up.
3. To rise to a higher point, level, or position; to be promoted or become superior.

EX. That's right chumps! Another new League of Legends champion has been released less than a month after Gnar the Missing Link (a shocking development). Furthermore, it is a champ that has been rumored and anticipated for a year or two. So, without much further ado, besides mentioning the fact this is the first piece of rebuilding League of Legends lore, let's take a look at Azir, Emperor of the Sands!
Cassiopeia hired Sivir and her band of mercenaries to explore the ancient ruins of Shurima and slip past Nasus, the Curator of the Sands, unhindered. As she neared the pay-off of her journey, Cassiopeia showed little or no concern as Sivir's men died, one by one, to the traps in their path. By the time they reached the vault containing the Ascended, all but Sivir and Cassiopeia had fallen prey to insidious defenses within the tomb, and yet they did not falter from the doors barring them entrance to that which they sought.

As they approached the stone serpent guardian that stood at the doors of the vault, Cassiopeia betrayed Sivir and stole her blade as the key to open the vault. The statue came to life, set upon Cassiopeia, and its venom burned her flesh and spirit, twisting her with its ancient curse. Sivir could only watch as Renekton, Butcher of the Sands, turned mad by his imprisonment, and Xerath, the Magus Ascendant, architect of Shurima's destruction and his own madness, escaped to sow chaos once again.

As Sivir lay on the floor of the tomb, dying from her wounds, her blood soaked into the sands. An ancient magic stirred and Sivir, the last descendant of Azir, a resurrection stirred. Azir rose from his slumber and, recognizing Sivir as his own blood, he carried her to the Oasis of the Dawn. Laying her in the waters, he saved her life, and finally, after years of being denied the glory, achieved ascension and can return Shurima to its long lost glory.

Before we move onto talk about Azir's game mechanics and abilities, let's discuss how, as part of the Azir's release event, we also get visual upgrades to several Shurima champs, like Cassiopeia and Renekton, and a new featured game mode Ascension.

In Ascension, two teams of five players must attempt to capture relics, defeat enemy champs, and fight the Ascended (Xerath). If you defeat the Ascended, one of the champions on your team ascends, growing large and gaining a lot of buffs temporarily. This game is pretty simple and borrows a lot of elements from Dominion, but I'm glad to see it thinking outside of the box with elements like an extended cloud of war (a sandstorm) and a variant of the base map (meaning all sorts of special teleporting).

Now, back to Azir:

Azir is a hybrid (more "hy-bird") mage that focuses on building cooldown, auto attack speed, and AP to tear down towers with an army of his own sand minions. His kit provides him with a ton of lane-pushing potential and harass, allowing him to be a potential bully in any lane, and he has just enough escape, disengage, and zoning abilities to help escape ganks from all but the most relentless of foes.
His passive, Will of the Emperor, has two functions: it grants him a flat bonus to attack speed for building cooldown. This is essential to his kit as Azir relies on auto attacking to control his minions and take down objectives. The other part of his Passive, an activated ability, allows him to temporarily raise turrets on destroyed buildings. This unique ability allows him to farm when even out of lane, though it is debuffed if he is too far away, and also allows him to zone his opponents in lane to prevent ganks and help position in team fights. A unique and potent ability that is extremely satisfying, unique, and useful.

Speaking of utility, let's skip his other abilities to talk about Arise, Azir has to pick it at Level 1: Arise raises a temporary melee minion from the sands that has a long range on its attacks and interacts with Azir's other abilities. The minions stay tethered to Azir and require his autoattacks to attack anything, making them far less independent than something like Malzahar's voidlings, but compensate through their crazy utility with his other abilities. They can be cast over walls, there is no limit on the number of units that can be produced (though they only last about nine seconds), and they do grant vision. Lastly, they cannot attack turrets or buildings. Instead, you can expend a cast to deal direct damage to a turret (which really lends itself to Azir's push potential). I'd recommend leveling this first.

Azir's primary aggressive ability is Conquering Sands an ability that sends all of Azir's minions to a target location, striking all enemies in their path, and slowing all targets hit. This gives you the ability to reposition your minions, poke and chase enemies, and last hit minions at a distance. I'd recommend leveling this second.

 Azir's E, Shifting Sands, has him dash to a target sand minion, hitting all enemy creatures in his path, until he reaches the sand minion or strikes an enemy champion. If Azir hits an enemy champion with Shifting Sands, he stops at their location, knocks them them, and gains a shield. This ability is great for escapes, chases, and engages. I can see a lot of combo potential but the real utility comes in mobility/escapes since it allows Azir to hop over walls with ease.

Azir's disengaging R, Emperor's Divide, knocks back enemies in its path and creates a wall that prevents their movement and dashes. Allies can move through the wall to gain a speed boost but otherwise the wall is just a temporary barrier. This ability is vital for escapes and team fight disengage but has some aggressive potential since it can be used to block the path of enemies.

All in all, his kit is fairly interesting and I can't wait to see team comps that are built around this unique champion.
Oh and Azir's alternate skin let's you construct additional pylons and you all know...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

WORD OF THE DAY! 9/16/14!

Club Nintendo [kluhb-nin-ten-doh]
1. The customer loyalty program ran by Nintendo that rewards feedback and purchases with special access to content, the ability to trade in "earned coins" for exclusive merchandise, and even the ability to get free games.

EX. I broke down and really invested into Club Nintendo when I got a Wii-U last year and, being a Platinum member, the investment has totally paid off; I got free New Super Mario Bros straps for my Nintendo Wii remotes and a free copy of Game & Wario. And then I got an e-mail from Nintendo the other day and look at this:

The demo version of Super Smash Bros for 3DS, a week early, that has unlimited play time. Thank you Nintendo! I played the new Smash back in June and I've been craving it ever since. Sure, the demo just has Pikachu, Mario, Link, Villager, and Mega Man.... BUT I FRICKIN' LOVE IT!

And all the news from the Japanese release of the game has me salivating for October 3rd to arrive already! I'm buying a 3DS XL for this release! I love being a Nintendo fan right now.

The best part? I also got three codes for my friends so I can spread the hype-- er, I mean, joy of playing one of the year's most anticipated games early.

This is the part where most bloggers would be handing over their codes to commenters or worse, but I'm afraid I already gave them away. But, hey, no hard feelings, right?

Hey, what's with the hammer? Wait! Calm down! Stop!


Monday, September 15, 2014


I'm back, nerds!

It has been two weeks since I posted a blog and you're probably wondering where I've been (well, at some point, I like to imagine that you care enough or just have curiosity enough to wonder why you're not being annoyed by links to my blog) and I'd like to say I have a good explanation.

I actually do have some good reasons for my absence--involving family, personal health, and a general diversion of my time and attention-- but let's take the more humorous route and point out what I just spent the last week doing...

Playing Destiny.

On last Monday, rather than blogging or doing normal things, I tried to sleep the whole day so I could go to the midnight release of Bungie's new franchise, Destiny.

And I really like it.

From what I could gather, the game resembled a mix between Halo, Borderlands, and Mass Effect; Halo remains one of my most beloved franchises, for both nostalgic and legitimate reasons, Borderlands ate up a lot of people's time over the last few years, and the Mass Effect trilogy is, in my opinion, the best trilogy of RPG games ever made. Period. So, I figured, after nearly two years of neglecting to play any multiplayer games on my xbox, I decided to give Bungie's newest game a try on my outdated last gen console. And the result...

While many critics seem underwhelmed by the short campaign mode, dense AI, and other flaws, I generally have managed to enjoy my experiences and would say this is the closest thing to an MMO I've ever enjoyed. I actually wanna play it right now, but I decided to instead type this out. That counts for something, right?

I also watched a lot of brilliant episodes of the Simpsons recently thanks to it becoming syndicated on FXX. So, you know I've been spending my free time wisely.