Monday, August 7, 2017

New Soundcloud Live Tracks


So I went to a jam a few weeks ago and this is the results. You can listen to all the new tracks here.

Hey Joe (version 2)
Dark chord jam
Shuffle Truffle jam 
Voodoo Ritual (jazz version)

The whole purpose of this jam session was that I was trying to provide support with rhythm, mainly the chord progressions. I hardly ever took even a hint of solo. I was straight comping the whole night. I like to think it sounds pretty well. This older black dude played the more distorted electric guitar, I'm on my Hagstrom Les Paul on clean setting the whole time, using the Jazz/Blues Seymour Duncan Jazz Pickup. Enjoy! 

Orcs in spaaaace


Tonight I'd like to talk about about a game that is pretty dear to my heart, Starcraft. I probably played Starcraft Brood War more than any other pc game around 2002-2004. By the time I was in 7th grade I was already a master 6 pool player that won many games just off that one cheap tactic. I really loved the game. Fast forward to 2010 and Starcraft II arrives to the gaming scene. I had a cheap laptop and I decided to buy the game while I was away at college. That was when I knew I had to be a pc gamer!

Starcraft is many things. It's an rts (real time strategy game) where you have to build an army and use it to fight an opposing player in real time going as fast you can with the mouse and keyboard, referred to as apm (action per minute). The single player campaigns have always been great and satisfying but the true heart of Starcraft is its multiplayer modes. There's nothing like crushing an opponent through wits and cunning plays. South Korea took the game and ran with it. Brood War and Starcraft II are still super popular games that are huge in esports mainly because of South Korean players and fans. Blizzard never would have guessed that their orcs in space (original Starcraft was created using Warcraft I engine, but they soon scrapped it and completely redid everything) game would blow up and become one of the most famous gaming franchises in history.

I've spent years playing Starcraft II and around 2013 I was even in a guild called Team Peace. We used to run tournaments and stream them online. I only participated in a few matches (usually won because I was usually placed against low level players) but the entire experience made me aware of the social aspect of PC gaming (ie voice chat, text chat, guild, party systems, team-speak, Skype, all before discord). It was one of the most fun gaming experiences I've ever had. However, over the years everyone from Team Peace stopped playing and the guild eventually disbanded. Rip.

But that doesn't stop me from reliving the hardcore rts experiences of 1998 and 2010. In an old post (that can be viewed here) I talked about games I wish I could play if I had the time to do so. Well I've found the time and I've been playing a lot of Starcraft Brood War and Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne. Its made my gaming time much more fun and strategic. These games are so incredibly hard to play that even after playing the games for two days straight now there are still things I'm trying to figure out, relearn, practice, and master. I really dig the challenge! Nothing like getting your ass handed to you, figuring out what you did wrong and winning the next match because you fixed up your mistakes from the loss game.

There's just something about Starcraft and Warcraft 3 that is incredible to me. Part of it is the fact that after nearly twenty years both games hold up extremely well. The colours are vibrant, the graphics are unique albeit a bit cartoony, and the gameplay is so rewarding, competitive, and complex. Put all of this together and you have in my opinion the two best rts games ever.

I'd like the end this rant here but if anyone from Blizzard is reading my blog I have one proposition for you. Warcraft 4: Orcs in Space. Orcs go through a portal that takes them through space and time and they end up in a future world where they find the Alliance is still around but with advanced technological weapons! They then have to mobilize their troops, setup camp in the new world, and learn everything they can about this new secret hidden tech. Good idea?

Picture is Starcraft made in the original engine, which was the same engine as the original Warcraft Orcs and Humans, it looks so trippy man! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Hearthstone is the most fun card game I've played since MTG


So I finally got around to playing Hearthstone. I really dig it a lot. Hearthstone is the most fun card game I've played since Magic the Gathering and Yugioh. It takes the best of both of those games and puts things into a simplistic game-style while still being complex with strategies and deck building. Its a very well made free to play game with only slight pay to win aspects. Sure the cards I have right now aren't that great and it makes playing against other players super difficult but at the same time its made me stronger and forced me to learn all the different strategies the game has to offer faster on the fly. It's great!

I think the thing I like the most about Hearthstone is that its a chill card game based on Warcraft. I can play the game while drinking a soda, talking with my friends, hanging out with multiple people while sitting on the couch, the variety is unlimited. You don't even need a mouse or keyboard you could just use a laptop touch-pad. In addition, I believe the game can also be played on a tablet and smartphone. I haven't played a game this chill in a long time.

There's a lot of interesting mechanics. There's these things called secrets that don't activate until your opponent does something to you or your minions. There's taunt which forces the enemy player to attack your taunt creature before he can attack your life points directly (Yugioh anyone). There's things like charge where creatures can attack the turn they come out (basically haste from Magic the Gathering). I'm still learning everything that can be done in the game but I think I'm doing a great job with the cards that I have now.

My favorite hangout is the Arena where I can quickly forge a deck from random cards. However, I'm also still playing all the classes in Quick Play against other players to unlock all the cards for all the classes. It's pretty difficult but I've been able to get a surprising amount of wins just using the stock premade decks. I've also made my own custom rogue deck too. Its not that great but it will become better as I get more packs.

You can actually unlock packs just by doing daily quests in game. Most of them will be like Win 3 games, Play this many of this certain classes cards, etc. You can get gold and dust too. Gold can be used to play in the Arena and dust is used for crafting. I haven't quite figured out how crafting works in the game but I'll definitely figure it out soon.

The sound effects and visuals for the game are pretty top tier. It looks so clean and sounds so good. The music is nonchalant which is perfect. The class system with the cards is pretty fun and unique as well. I don't think I've ever been this happy with a free to play game like ever. It's seriously an amazing game with so much technical aspects and competitive aspects too. I'm glad I started playing just before the next expansion.

Apparently in the next expansion every class will be able to turn into death knights. I'm definitely going to buy the expansion upon release and try the death knight stuff out. I've become involved in the game, even looking at articles on pcgamer about the game and the new cards that are coming out.

Pretty excited to be playing it. I'm about to play right now. Another great thing about the game is that it doesn't make my laptop cry. If you want to play a great game that helps you relax while is still competitive then play this game. You won't regret it.

Naisu! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

New Track titled Voodoo Ritual


This is a new tune I worked on with my bass player friend named Dennis Tabor. He's a great bassist with a lot of style. His bass playing on this track just makes everything sound so heavy. So much low end with also great melodic trebly tones thrown in there as well. The main riff is a simple power chord riff but the chorus is this clean toned chord. Then there's solos on the theme. It's simple but I like to think we did a good job. I think the clean part makes it sound metal af. You can hear the track https://soundcloud.com/user-294063763/voodoo-ritual. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Grimoire: Manastorm is a fun spellcasting Unreal Tournament


So I was looking around on the free to play game section on Steam and I found this game called Grimoire: Manastorm. This is an fps (first person shooter) game made by Omniconnection where you play as wizards and cast spells to kill your enemies. Pretty great idea already. Replace guns with a bunch of spellcasters and you have a super fun experience. The game is in early access on Steam.

From my initial experience and only having played the game for maybe twenty minutes I can say this is one of the most fun free to plays I've tried out on Steam. I haven't had this much fun on a free to play on Steam since Nosgoth was out.

The game's free version only comes with the fire and earth spellcasters. The fire mage is freakin' amazing. They give you one of the coolest mages ever for free which is pretty awesome. When you burn people as a fire mage it is so satisfying watching their hp drop. It makes me feel like the pyro from Team Fortress. I love it.

The other class you get free is the earth mage. His regular attack speed is super fast but weaker than the fire mage but he can heal himself I noticed. You can cast a spell that creates a tree and when you stand near it your hp recovers at a moderate speed. He's definitely a support mage. This game has supports like in Team Fortress or Overwatch.

The game features abilities like a moba (like Heroes of the Storm) and all the different mages' abilities can be countered so its possible to survive any situation theoretically and given the proper skill and effort. One thing to note is that you can teleport too. This makes the game crazy fast a la Unreal Tournament and Quake, great games to be inspired by. It brings the Skyrim (the first person view of the mage with the fireball or manacrystals in their hands look exactly like Skyrim) style mage into the twitch shooter environment. Its the best idea I've seen in a game in a super long time. The fact that this game puts together ideas and is inspired by so many other games is probably what makes it so fun. Add to that the unique idea of shooting spells instead of guns. How clever and unique.

The one thing that could be better is the graphics. However, you don't need high end graphics in a twitch shooter. As long as the environments are creative enough and fun to play on everything's cool. I'm going to keep playing this game. I'm interested in seeing how big the community becomes for it and how long the player base will keep on it. I think the game has a lot of potential especially if they create more interesting spellcasters.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Heroes of the Storm's Stukov is the coolest support in the game


Tonight I'd like to talk about Heroes of the Storm's latest new hero, Stukov.

Here's his backstory: 

"In the 25th century of Earth's history, the United Earth Directorate Expeditionary Fleet was dispatched to reign in the Terran Colonies of the Koprulu Sector. Over time, these expatriate colonists that were once loyal had wavered in their allegiance, threatening the fabric of government which had been sewn across the galaxy. Of the formidable commanders tasked with this imperative endeavor, Vice Admiral Alexei Stukov was second in command.

During the violent campaign in that system, developments ensued that would eventually cast Stukov in a traitorous light to his superiors. Having been found to be in violation of a direct order to destroy the powerful Psi Disrupter, Stukov was subsequently executed for his disobedience. Unbeknownst to the UED at the time, their ranks had been infiltrated by a powerful shape-shifting alien entity that sought to sow confusion about the importance of Stukov's mission. After his death, Stukov's corpse was later recovered by the Zerg, who sought to infest human leaders and mutate them into leaders of their own colonies. As the first of their attempts to blend their genetics with that of humanity's, the once lifeless husk of Stukov was reanimated into something at once both more and less than human.
The infested Admiral known as Stukov has now entered the Nexus as a formidable melee support, ready to spread his healing pathogens and deadly disease across the battleground." (heroesofthestormgamepedia.com)

And also you should also know his abilities.

Bio-Kill Switch
Cooldown: 16 seconds
Activate to detonate all of Stukov's Viruses. Each Healing Pathogen heals its target for 500 health, and each Weighted Pustule does 100 damage and Slows its target by 70% for 2 seconds.
Can be cast while channeling Lurking Arm.
Healing Pathogen Icon.png
Q
Healing Pathogen
30 Mana Cooldown: 10 seconds
Infest an allied Hero with a Healing Pathogen that heals the target for 240 Health over 4.5 seconds. Healing Pathogens can spread to a nearby allied Hero every 0.75 seconds, and a single Healing Pathogen can spread to each allied Hero 1 time.
Can cast it on self, and spread to self.
Cannot spread to targets to whom it has already spread.
Weighted Pustule Icon.png
W
Weighted Pustule
50 Mana Cooldown: 10 seconds
Hurl a pustule that impacts all enemy Heroes in its path, dealing 20 damage and Slowing by 5%, increasing to 50% over 3 seconds. Deals an additional 80 damage upon expiring or being removed.
Lurking Arm Icon.png
E
Lurking Arm
60 Mana Cooldown: 8 seconds
Channel at a target location, creating an area that Silences enemies inside and deals 144 damage per second to them. Deals 50% reduced damage to non-Heroes. Does not cost Mana while Channeling, and lasts until canceled or interrupted.
Massive Shove Icon.png
R
Massive Shove
50 Mana Cooldown: 20 seconds
Extend Stukov's arm. If it hits an enemy Hero, they are rapidly shoved until they collide with terrain, taking 200 damage. Stukov gains 50 Armor while shoving an enemy.
Flailing Swipe Icon.png
R
Flailing Swipe
100 Mana Cooldown: 80 seconds
Swipe 3 times in front of Stukov over 1.75 seconds, dealing 50 damage to enemies hit and knocking them away. Each swipe is larger than the previous.


Alright now lets talk about his kit. He's technically a healer but his melee damage is pretty strong and attacks moderately fast so you can defend yourself for a while before retreating to fellow teammates. His q key (Healing Pathogen) is a super strong heal once activated with d (Bio-Kill Switch) which will increase the healing by a ton. Its a super strong heal. The kill switch has a long cooldown but if your teammates are smart and don't get hit all the time your heals will always be enough.

One of the strongest tools for Stukov is his e key (Lurking Arm). It silences enemies. This is probably his greatest asset as a support in the game. The fact that he can silence enemies and do it often and its not an ultimate ability is astounding. You have to channel the spell so once you move the silence is automatically turned off. However, if you can cast lurking arm when your enemies are out of position or trying to run away you easily pick them off. Its become one of the coolest and strongest abilities in the game right now. It's super effective!

Weighted Pustule (w key) is a great way to slow enemies to give your dps allies the chance to finish them when they have low health. Its not very strong and the slow is better overtime. Still not bad though.

My favorite ultimate for Stukov is Massive Shove. It has a super short cooldown of just 20 seconds and it pushed an enemy as far as an enemy will go until they hit something like a wall, tower, or other part of the map. He extends his zerg arm super far, sometimes going almost across the map. Not only does it look super cool but it helps get your team in a better position for team fights. If this ultimate is used effectively the enemy team will be one less player during team fights, giving your team the advantage until that enemy hero runs back.

I would say that Stukov is a good healer that can also dish out good dps while also dishing out great utility and crowd control (the silence, slow). Because of this he's become one of my favorite heroes. His play-style can be a bit tricky at first but once you play a few games with him you start to learn that he's most effective when you're always in good positions. Positioning is key with this hero so you can't just run out in the middle of a random fight and hope to come out killing everybody. He's kind of like a healer specialist in a way. He's very unique, and super fun!

Not to mention he's from one of my favorite Blizzard games, Starcraft II. When I found out he was coming to hots (heroes of the storm) I knew he would be some kind of interesting character but I didn't think he was going to be a healer with such a cool kit. Its about time they added a new support hero and I'm glad they did a great job with it. Not to mention his squid skin is just awesome!



For the Queen!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Garrosh Hellscream is coming to Heroes of the Storm


Everybody's favorite villain from World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria is coming to Heroes of the Storm. He's expected to hit the ptr on July 31st.

Heh, greetings. Blizzard has revealed that Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grommash Hellscream and former chieftain of the Warsong Clan, will be the next hero added to Heroes of the Storm. The studio said on Twitter that he'll be playable at the ChinaJoy conference next week, and it aims to have him on the HotS PTR for the week of July 31. (pc gamer )

A lot of players on the forums online are actually pretty disappointed with Garrosh being the next new hero in hots. The main problem is that the game is getting another orc. We already have a lot of orcs. It would've been a lot cooler to get some other Warcraft race character, particularly a Dranei hero of some sort. But even like a night elf would be amazing. I think hots definitely needs a dranei in the game. Maybe like a dranei warlock or something? That would be something.

I'm already stacking up my gold from doing quests daily. When Garrosh comes out I'm going to hopefully be able to purchase him with in game gold right away. I won't have to wait a super long time like how I did with Stukov. Stukov is a freakin' great character by the way, I've been really enjoying him.

Anyways, despite the haters on the forum I'm super excited for Garrosh Hellscream. I was still playing WoW (World of Warcraft) back when he was leader of the Horde so its cool to see a familiar face. We will have to wait and see how his play style fits into a moba. Should be good.

For the Horde!