Heroes of the Storm

Odd Weekend

With all the excitement of the weekend, yesterday I needed to just recharge a bit and do a bunch of stuff around the house…  namely lots of laundry.  My wife got up early yesterday morning, as she had planned a trip to Dallas for the day with friends, so this left me completely up to my own devices all day long.  I ended up sleeping in until around 9:30 at which point I did my FTL Steampowered Sunday play, and the subsequent blog post.  Then it was lots and lots of laundry for several hours.  I feel like I might be coming down with something, so I really wasn’t much more useful than that.

On the Grandmother front, she is doing as well as could be expected.  She woke up yesterday for a bit before they sedated her again.  Her kidney functions have not returned, but she was severely dehydrated.  They have a nephrologist coming into the hospital today that is going to look at her and see what they can do to stimulate activity.  Once the kidneys start working again they will be much closer to “in the clear”.  Mostly they think she just needs to rest and let the body do its natural recovery.  She is a really tough woman, so I have faith that she is going to pull through this.  Her vitals all look okayish and seem to be improving by the day. so here is hoping time is really all she needs.

As far as the sick cat, she seems to be doing much better.  She was extremely needy of attention yesterday, and her appetite seems to have returned.  For the majority of the week she had not eaten much of anything, so yesterday whenever she acted hungry I was opening a cat of food for her.  I think she ended up eating five different times yesterday.  She had lost quite a bit of weight over the course of this ordeal so while I will taper back her feeding eventually… for now I am just happy she is eating.  She demanded attention, which is good… because while she was sick she was pretty scarce.  Preferring to just lay down on the couch by herself instead of wherever we happened to be in the house.

Elder Scrolls Final Beta Weekend

Since this past weekend is the final beta weekend before launch in a few weeks, and since we had been given leave to stream whatever we wanted…  I did as much playing and streaming as I could fit in.  All told I think I streamed a little bit over four hours, split up between four different videos.  Most of the time was spent faffing about on my Orsimer Dragon Knight in the Daggerfall covenant area.  I closed the weekend sitting a little bit away from thirteen.  However because of the absolutely illogical pattern I followed I know I missed a good number of the quests from the first area of Glenumbra.  I would love to say that the beta weekend was completely smooth, but it seemed as though a lot of the systems were bugged out.  Dark Anchors for example seemed to spawn, and then just stay active even after the forces had been defeated and a player got credit for destroying them.

One of the systems that was completely new to me, were the Dark Fissures.  These are essentially mini versions of the Dark Anchors and can just spawn almost anywhere around the map.  Think of these as “soloable” Rifts.  I say soloable in quotes because really unless you are prepared to take on boss level monsters they will be pretty freakin hard.  I defeated two of these and did so just barely.  If you go into them make sure you have your health potions hotkeyed and ready to go.  The awesome thing about the Dark Fissures is that they seem to drop really awesome stuff.  The final one I closed out yesterday evening dropped a level 12 blue fire staff, which I am sure would have been awesome… had I used staves.  If the beta weekend were going longer I would have tried to find that a good home.

Heroes of the Storm

I know I mentioned this the other day, but I am still pretty pumped that I am in the Heroes of the Storm technical alpha.  One of the really cool things about it is that it is completely sans-NDA.  This means that I can stream the hell out of the game, and I intend to.  I recorded a few videos over the weekend, the first of which was just me playing around in practice mode working on the weekly quests for getting victories with heroes from each of the franchises.  The second video however I dipped my toes into cooperative mode fighting bots with other players.  I have to say I found the jump in AI to be quite extremely between practice mode and cooperative.  I earned enough gold through the various quests to purchase two of the cheaper heroes Muridan and Raynor.  At some point I hope to pick up Falstad, because while he is in the free to play rotation currently… I am sure this will change similar to how it does in League of Legends.

Right now I am enjoying the game far more than I ever did League.  Basically it has all of the aspects of league that I really enjoyed… namely fighting people with awesome champions, and none of the aspects that I didn’t like.  League build path was always an enigma to me, and I tended to play champions that I could use the same build on over and over.  League gameplay is far more nuanced, but Blizzard has done for League what they did for the MMO genre.  Streamlined, simplified, polished and created something that the masses can latch onto.  Instead of a huge list of items for you to purchase, you build your character by making a few simple choices.  In the beginning at least all of these are either or choices like “survival” or “damage”.  Over the course of the map this ends up building a semi-custom champion.

However once you reach level 8, they open up these choices significantly.  While playing Muridan yesterday there was one of these levels where I had five different choices for how I wanted to proceed.  Each choice causes you to give up other options with no real way of getting those back.  For me… a player that found the item buying system of League completely unfathomable this works so much better.  For a player who wants a deeply nuanced and unique approach to each match… they are probably still going to favor League.  The champions as a whole feel more well rounded than League champions, in that they have a wider “kit” of abilities and the option to choose between two different “R” attacks really seems to help this.

Play 2014-03-14 10-13-23-03

The place where the game really shines is in their map creation.  At their core, each of the maps is essentially “Summoner’s Rift”.  That said each of the maps has a unique sub game to them, while League tries to do this with the various map types… it simply does not work as well as it does here.  For example in the map shown above Blackheart’s Bay… you have a really awesome coastal city/pirate theme going on.  When one team collects enough doubloons they can turn them in to call in a bombardment from the pirates on the enemy team.  In one map the mini game is all about controlling two shrines which allow you to waken the Dragon Knight.  When you do so the player transforms into this unstoppable juggernaut perfect for diving straight into towers and destroying the enemy resources.  I have only played the game a little bit, but I have to say I am deeply hooked.

Gamer Hangout

Another odd happening this weekend is that I ended up participating in Beau Hindman’s Gamer Hangout show.  I’ve been friends with the members for some time, and there was a week where they had asked me to join in the show… but I until recently I simply did not have a camera.  Now you will be able to see the WHY I didn’t have a camera.  I have always been pretty closed with separating the real me from the gamer me… so it took quite a bit of courage to appear on camera like this.  I am always far more comfortable behind the scenes than being out front and animated.  What was cool about the show is that in essence they based this week on one of my blog posts.

It just happened to be where I was available to join in and chat about it.  While most of us only actually got through two different games on our list, we somehow managed to talk over an hour about them.  They have apparently extended an open invitation for me to participate more in the future, so I guess that means I did not completely make an ass of myself.  My office is a pit, and if I do this more often I think  I would want to rearrange things some… however that involves me cleaning and moving and not sure how likely that is to happen.  It was really enjoyable, and the other folks were great.  Was very much an odd end to an odd weekend.  I just wish that youtube would not have picked a thumbnail of me talking for the video.

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