Sunday, January 22, 2017

Magic the Gathering, Board gaming, and hosting


So I've been having a great time with a lot of friends who are into a lot of different activities. I have a group of friends that are more into metal music, concerts, and hanging out (with some console gaming thrown in there) and another that is more into Magic the Gathering, board gaming, and meeting new people at these events called meetups. These are events hosted by people and advertised online through the website Meetup.com. We've met so many cool people and a lot of them have become good friends quickly. It's been a blast meeting new people, enjoying mtg (Magic the Gathering), and learning new strategic board games on the fly.

I haven't played mtg seriously since middle school and back then I relied on cheap tactics decks. I had an elf deck and a slivers deck as my main decks. Both were all about getting tons of creatures out and killing off the enemy player fast. Playing mtg again now that I'm older has really made me realize how great of a game it is. I even played in a tournament a few weeks ago. It was an edh (elder dragon highlander) setting where you have over 100 cards in your deck and you have a special commander card that you can play anytime if you have the mana on your turn. Its kind of a broken format but I find it to be super fun.

Magic has a lot of strategic and awe-inspiring elements for a trading card game. Its definitely the best card game I've ever played, sorry Yugioh kiddies. So I've been enjoying getting out, hanging out with friends, and playing magic. Sometimes we'll play until 1 in the morning just enjoying the gameplay. I've become quite serious and I'm even down to play in a tournament again even though last time I got curb stomped. They do tournaments at Fire and Dice, the place I used to go for Smash 4 tournaments. Go figure! 

This past Thursday I was at a board gaming event at this older woman's house in Woodland Hills. At first I was hesitant because we've gone to events like this before and my friend was kind of awkward (he walked in without knocking on the door first lol). However, this woman was so cool, funny, sarcastic, and chill. Her son was there too and we were the first people to arrive. Eventually more people came. We brought food and everybody was enjoying themselves eating fried chicken, pie, soda, coffee, donouts, and Doritos Cool Ranch and Nacho flavors.

We played this awesome game called Salem where we had to figure out who the witch(s) was(were) and if we found out and survived without being killed by the witch we win the game. I ended up using this troll-like strategy where I accused a random dude so much to the point that everybody thought I was the witch. But I wasn't the witch. I was just messing around. Haha, it was really fun and I ended up being a survivor, thus winning! Next time though I will definitely play that game smarter.

In addition, we played this great miniature DnD style rpg game. It was a co-op survival horde zombies game called Zombicide. Its on Kickstarter and I highly recommend it. I was this spellcaster Stormcrow dude who had this amazing spell (that I looted in a room) called Repulse where I could reposition zombies to different squares (only one square away per cast) and I got us a torch for a bile blast that killed tons of zombies in one fell swoop. I got insta-leveled pretty high from that. In the end our team just didn't play together on the same part of the board. So we got surrounded by the horde and killed. Rip. It was a fun game and I would definitely be down to play it again sometime there.

The son was a gamer too and we talked a lot and became friends. I added him on Steam and we're planning on playing Team Fortress and Terrarria sometime in the future.

I'm still interested in hosting my own events. I wanna do game nights at Planet Cyber for Overwatch. I'm currently working on doing this. Now that management has changed at my work I'm back to getting two days off a week, which I haven't had since November. You can bet that I'll be using that free time to the fullest engaged in social activity, friendship, relaxation, and fun.

Are board games better than video games? They just might be.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Whaddya want to learn on the guitar?


So I ran into my old guitar teacher and he said he'd be down to give me lessons again. Here I'd like to outline some ideas of what I'd want to learn. These are things I could figure out on my own but it would take me a long time.

First off, I want to build a custom pedal board using my vast array of pedals. I want it to sound perfect and not hiss all kinds of sonic distorted fury (because I could do that on my own). I've actually been against pedals for a long time now because of the fact that there's too much hum going on when I connect all of them together the way I do. I'm not a professional sound engineer by any means but this dude knows how to do that. He has a pedal board where I can turn up to a super high volume and there's no hum. He's a wizard lol!

Second, I'd be interested in learning more about musical theory. I already know a lot but this dude knows a lot more. Music theory is really big for him so this would be an important thing learning from him.

Third, I'd be interested in finding other musicians to play music with. Be it jazz, rock, metal, or anything really. If I can find more musicians through him that would be fantastic. Working with more musicians is always a worthwhile goal and experience in any styles of music that you play.

Lastly, I'd want to learn about modding my equipment. Maybe make my Marshall amp sound different by changing some wires. Perhaps modify one of my distortion pedals in some way. Things like that. I'd also be interested in how to do a proper setup on a guitar. He's done work like this at Guitar Center so I'm sure he'd be down to show me if I asked.

These are all pretty cool things. In terms of guitar technique, songs, improvisation, jazz playing, and chord voicings I will have to work on that little by little every day on my own. If I could learn all these things it would be very beneficial to my guitar playing!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Overwatch PTR patch 1.7


Here I'd like to talk about some of the changes on the latest ptr (public test region servers) patch. There were major changes to Roadhog, Ana, and Sombra..

Roadhog's hook has been adjusted further. In the last patch they changed (nefed, but made more consistent) Roadhog's hook so that it would hook people right in front of him when he successfully hooked but it was the persistent line of sight from the position of Roadhog that was getting on peoples' nerves. People could hide behind a tree and the hook would automatically break. Blizzard decided it was too much so they're not making that extreme of a change to the hook anymore.

If part of somebody's body is seen during the hook, it will still hook them. It's not gonna break the hook. They're adding a heavy slow when hook applies. Also, they fixed it so that Roadhog can't hook you, spin 180 degrees and drop you off a cliff.

Applying a hook won't work against people you can't see. That's the major thing to take note. If you hook someone they will still be reeled in. Blizzard wants us to feel like when you get hooked, that its fair. This looks like a step into the right direction.

Ana saw a big nerf. The last patch reduced biotic grenade's healing (on allies) increase from 100% to 50%. On top of that the grenade only has a 4 second duration instead of 5. This is a way to combat the current tank heavy meta. Ana is a big part of this tank meta and weakening her might change things up a lot. This might bring Mercy back into play for competitive more so than Ana. However, I will still be playing Ana a lot. 

Sombra got a buff, yay! In the last patch we saw her hack time take 0.8 seconds instead of 1 second, and the cooldown of hack has been reduced to 8 seconds from 10 seconds. This means Sombra can hack a health pack, run away, and then hack an enemy player in combat. Hacking health packs and players has become easier.

I'm super happy about the Sombra hacking buff because Sombra is one of my favorite dps characters. I have 5 hours of play time with her and most of it was wins. She plays like spy from Team Fortress on steroids. It will be fun playing her when this patch goes live. Which will be sometime soon. .

I can't help but feel like the ptr is Blizzard's way of having us players test the game for them for free but it is refreshing that they're changing things about the game that the player base doesn't agree with like Roadhog's hook. 

Smell ya later Overwatch agents

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Planet Cyber event success


So the Planet Cyber meetup I had with my friends went well. We were all able to play Overwatch on free accounts provided by the cafe. I didn't want to log in using my main account for security reasons. Anyways, we ended up only having a three man party of myself and two friends. I was hoping for more but I'm already planning another meetup next week Thursday to try to get a stacked six man team.

Overwatch worked fine and we had a blast. Talking on the headset was fun, the monitor was super nice, and the computer ran the game just fine. We played really well for our first time playing all together the three of us. I mostly played Ana and had fun. I'm ready to plan more of these Overwatch nights and recruiting more people for the cause.

After we played Overwatch we did run into some technical computer problems. We installed Team Fortress 2 (which took 20 minutes) but after trying to launch it kept giving my computer and a friends' a Steam error. The guy running the place couldn't figure it out so he gave us a lot more time instead. We used that extra time to play more Overwatch.

One of my friends was upset about how Team Fortress didn't work but hey technical issues happen. All the other gamers there were playing Dota 2 and none of them had any problems. I can tell that this pc cafe is a moba cafe because all the guys there play is Dota. Which is actually super cool. Dota is a great game. I used to play it when I first got my computer but I stopped around the time Heroes of the Storm came out. Because of the popularity of the game yesterday I decided to reinstall it last night. I think I'll give it a whirl again sometime soon.

Anyways, I'm planning more game nights at Planet Cyber solely for Overwatch. If I get more people (just five for a full team) then that's all I'll need to get an amateur team going. It's going to be hard because I have to be a community organizer. I might have to resort to Meetup.com and Craigslist to find more players.

Wish me luck!  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Obama legacy ends, enter the Trump era


President Obama did a great farewell address last night in Chicago. He mentioned a lot of important details about his presidency such as the Affordable Care Act and how the economy improved. It was a great speech. As we leave the Obama era and enter the Trump era there's a lot to think about.

What will happen to our so called post-racial society? What about the illegals and the so-called wall? What about the increasing gap between the poor, middle class, and rich? What about the economic crisis? And lets not forget all the environmental problems that the United States faces. What about terrorism and especially Syria? And the fact that Russia hacked the election?

These are all important questions that will hopefully be answered during the Trump administration. I'm not optimistic about Trump whatsoever. He's already shown what kind of person he is in all his speeches. As Obama said a lot during his presidency and even about the Trump campaign, "that's not who we are". Right now I'm watching his first press conference as president-elect and its interesting but I can't help but find everything he's saying to be idiotic. The way they're explaining what's going to happen with his assets is a bit asinine. He's giving control of all his assets to his family but who's to say he won't have a say in whats going on when he's President? They are family after all so they will always be in complete communication. Just not cool.

Having a billionaire President isn't cool. It's very douche-y as the kids say. He's out of touch with the American people in terms of wealth, intellect, and political views. The fact that he won the election shows how out of touch the American people are with politics. I don't mean to put on a top hat and say I'm smarter than thou but I would say Americans are so stupid that they're stupid enough to vote for someone who will lead them to ruin.

However, I believe that stupid people can become smart. And that's my hope. Obama ran as president on hope in 2008 and he won. My hope is that Americans, (my people, that's my heart) realize that they picked the wrong man, get smarter, and pick a better leader in the future. I'm not against the Republicans totally. I think there are a lot of smart Republicans in Congress. But I don't want them running and ruining my life or my future with their terrible ideas. And their ideas are terrible.

In eight days we will have a completely new political spectrum. It will be an interesting four years. Get ready for change. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

So you want to form your own esports team


So I've had this idea of going to this nearby pc cafe to play games with friends. Well, I've finally made the plans and I'm having a small meetup with friends (just three confirmed at the moment) at Planet Cyber in Woodland Hills. The initial goal of this was to hang out with my best friends, play pc games, and enjoy each others' company. But this idea has since grown into a bigger idea-what if I could create my own amateur esports and/or competitive team?

This seems super difficult but it is feasible. At the time currently I have two friends who would definitely be down for sure. Four more and we have a competitive Overwatch team to work with. I'm also interested in playing Team Fortress competitively as well, although that game is pretty dead in that aspect. There's other games to think about too, like Heroes of the Storm. I'm pretty good at all these games but we'd probably end up focusing on Overwatch and playing Team Fortress for fun. So the focus would be on those two games.

For the Overwatch team I would main Ana, Mercy, Lucio, and Zenyatta. For Team Fortress I'd play medic but have secondary scout, pyro, and soldier. One of my friends plays a mean Soldier 76. And the other one is a great Winston and Roadhog. These three confirmed friends are all pretty good Team Fortress players. One of them even has like 8000 hours on the game. Wowza!

This is an idea I'll talk about to the guys and see if they would be interested. If not, I can always place an ad on Meetup and find some serious gamers who would be down for this. I think in the long run I will have to end up doing this but because this idea is just in the blueprint stage I will ask the people I know first.

Sounds super fun but it won't be easy finding the right people with the skills and synchronicity for frags and team based fps's. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

See ya later space cowboys

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Plans for 2017


So I already did a post where I talked about my new year's resolutions and stuff. All I said was that I wanted to get smarter and learn more about the things I like. Specifically learn more about these things on a technical level. Here I'd like to outline some more plans and goals for 2017 that are more general terms and ideas.

  • Buy a better laptop for late night gaming sessions
  • Start playing Hearthstone
  • Learn 10 jazz standards by heart, this includes both melody and chord changes
  • Start busking
  • Buy a cheap acoustic guitar
  • Start a band
  • Start gigging
  • Losing weight by eating less at work
  • Get a better rank in competitive Overwatch 

Learning jazz tunes and chord changes by heart will take a lot of practice but I can definitely do it. Busking will take a lot of work and I will use a cheap steel string acoustic for that as electric doesn't really lend itself well to busking due to the lack of electricity.

I'm in the process of starting a band but to honest with you I'm not too sure if its going to work out so I might continue working with my newbie musician friends in our pseudo band at the moment. Hopefully those two friends (guitar and bass players) can get good enough this year. Who knows, perhaps we could even play a short gig or set somewhere?

Another thing I've been working on is losing weight by eating less at work. I've been eating smaller lunches and watching what I eat during the day as well. I eat three meals a day-breakfast, lunch, and dinner and no meal is that much bigger than any of the others. I've been keeping the weight steady, even losing a few pounds here and there. Just gotta keep it up and I'll lose even more.

Lastly, I wanna get a better competitive ranking in Overwatch. Right now its pretty difficult but I've become so good at the game now that I feel like I deserve to at least be in the platinum-diamond level skill cap. My ultimate end goal for the game will be to hit masters but that will take a lot of competitive game grinding for probably the rest of the year. 

That's all. Sounds easy? Well, it ain't. I'm gonna work my ass off.