Vainglory Review

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Vainglory is a game that shows how mobile gaming should be taken more seriously.

I’ve been meaning to write a review for Vainglory for months now. From the moment I joined The Cube as the App Store game writer, Vainglory was going to be my swan song to mobile gaming. Sadly it was just one of those things that kept getting pushed back for the right “time” and I also pivoted what I wrote about. Simply put I had my Vainglory review on the back burner. But no more.

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Vainglory is a mobile MOBA/ARTS game which has been “perfected for touch” as they put it. I agree. It takes place on a map called “The Halcyon Fold”. It has a single lane with a jungle bellow the lane. You play as one of 3 hero’s vs a group of another 3 Heroes. Like most MOBAs victory is decided by destroying the opponents “Vain Crystal”. (The namesake of the game but basically the Throne or Nexus.) Something different from most MOBAs is your heroes here have one less ability than usual for a total of 2 normal spells and 1 ultimate ability. Unlike most MOBAs that come out nowadays you still have last hitting and on use items. Which is fairly surprising since those are considered aspects from more “hardcore” MOBAs. It all ends up working really well since they kept some things in while streamlining other parts of the game. Overall it feels great and plays fast.

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Heroes are split into 3 roles. Lane, Jungle, and Roam. Lane and jungle are fairly straightforward to anyone who’s played an MOBA before. Lane is best played by hero’s who can poke from a distance and don’t have to commit as much for last hitting or poking the other laner. Junglers rotate around their jungle and sometimes the enemies depending on how ballsy they are looking for gank opportunities. Roam is a more tricky role and debatably the most skill capped. They are usually the leaders of the group and are expected to make the calls on when to go in or out and decide what’s the most important objective. They are a mix between a bruiser or support style hero depending on who you play.

They have a few game types but their main standard MOBA game type (Halcyon Fold) lasts about 20 mins. A decent amount of time but nothing crazy. They also have a few others which will take less time. The fasted game type being “Blitz” which is emphasized for only being just about 5 mins long or less. This is also their newest game type that was added with the latest patch. I prefer the standard game the most but Blitz is the game type that will see the most play from me when on the go. I’ll have 5 mins on the go far more often than 20 mins. Basically, you have options for how long you want to play and how you want to play them.

The cash shop if you ask me is a bit of a mess. Even after getting used to it I feel confused at times with it. You can buy things with either real money or in-game currency. The real money currency is called ICE. The earned in-game currency is called Glory. On top of that, you can also get Opels which is a separate currency that can get you some skins. These special/seasonal skins can only be bought with Opels and not ICE or Glory. There are other skins you can buy with ICE for a fairly big premium or craft with cards. Yes, that’s right another resource that is specific to skins. If you are confused right now reading this don’t worry because I’m confused writing it. You can make skins using these cards and to get these cards you can buy them with either ICE or Glory or break down other cards for guess what? Yes, that’s right another resource called Essence. I’m not going to go any further but I think you got the idea. Hey, Super Evil Megacorp lets try and get it down to 2 maybe 3 currency’s /resources guys. Honestly its getting a little ridiculous.

Aside from the unnecessarily complicated currency/resource system, you have your usual fair of market content. Heroes, Skins, Chests, Account Boosts and so on.

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The game can be played on Android or iOS cell phones or tablets. It comes with customizable control schemes across the board to tweak to your liking and you can also get scaling options for varying screen sizes.

Overall I am genuinely impressed with this game. From a technical standpoint to a gameplay standpoint they nailed it. It plays smoothly and anyplace with an internet connection becomes a LAN party all of a sudden. They make it easy to stay in contact with your friends with the guild and party system. Alone or with other, if you have 5 mins to 20+ there is something to do on Vainglory. I give Vainglory a 4/5. If they fix their shop it would be an easy 5/5.

Ratting: 4/5

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Eternal Card Game Review

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I like to think I keep up with my games. Most games you can think of I would say I know a thing or two about. After the hit that is Hearthstone every company wants a piece of the Collectible Card Game (CCG)/Trading Card Game (TCG) pie. They seem to be making a new card game every other day. Some are decent, most are pretty bad and a few are great. (“Duelyst”, check it out, its great.) even with all these card games coming out I feel I keep pretty good track of them. That is until I saw my friend playing Eternal on steam. Never herd of it before then. My friend as if he can sense me, messages me asking if I herd of Eternal Card Game. I then proceed to google the game and replay to my friend with “No, but it looks good.”

After trying it I have to say it’s pretty damn great. It honestly comes off like Magic the Gathering meets Hearthstone. That’s the best way I can explain it to be honest. It’s gameplay borrows a lot more from MTG than it does from Hearthstone. As an example you basically have renamed versions of all the basic magic abilities like haste, vigilance and flying. You even have instant speed spells you can play in reaction to something your opponent does. Your mana is also like MTG in that you build it into your deck and have to draw it. The part that it borrows from Hearthstone is the user interface, layout and interactions between the cards. It plays like Magic but feels like Hearthstone. Kind of the best of both worlds if you ask me.

One thing I don’t like about Eternal is the name. I really do think they should change it. It comes off as being very forgettable and a little cliche. There were multiple times I was trying to talk about the game with friends and we all sat there trying to remember the name of the game. I would go as far as saying its the name that made it go under my radar. There is a big chance I herd about the game and forgot it completely based on the forgettable name itself. Even after playing it for hours and talking about it with friends we as a group forgot the name multiple times. None of this is probably a big deal for most people but coming from a media design and boxing background I know the importance of a good hook to the jaw. Its far more important than it may seem when you don’t have the marketing bucks to make the name relevant, you have to make it stand for itself. So..”what was it again? Something something card game?” just doesn’t hold up.

Regardless of the name when it comes to gameplay this is what I wish MTG Online and the Origin versions of Magic would have been. Magic Online simply looks ancient and the Origin versions are a slow clunky mess. Eternal did it better at least in the design department. Focusing back on Eternal I have to admit that it is really fun. Surprisingly so. I missed this game entirely but after playing I would say its one of the top 5 card games on the market. That means a lot since there’s a lot of competition in this field.

If you like card games like Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering than Eternal is something you need to check out. I see a lot of potential with this one with the right player base and coverage. Don’t let this gem slip by unnoticed like it did for me. I give this game a solid 4/5. If and when it gets on mobile I would give it an easy 5/5.

Rating 4/5.

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The Dark Hearts Gang – https://discord.gg/tdw8UPE

Battlerite Review (Early Access)

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Battlerite is a MOBA/ARTS game similar to games like League of Legends and Dota 2 but is very much it’s own beast entirely. Unlike most MOBAs Battlerite has no lanes or minions. There’s no throne or nexus to capture or destroy. It’s a straight arena brawler. Your team vs the other team and last team standing wins. It takes place over 3 rounds and best out of 3 wins the match. The match ups are between either 2v2 or 3v3 and don’t take much longer than 10 mins to finish a 3 round match. You play as one of a handful but growing number of heroes per match with distinct plays styles, looks and synergies. Like every game that comes out now there are skins for your weapons, armor, mounts and all that you can earn from chests. The chests are completely random but some chests give you better chances but cost more. Stop me if you herd all this before. I honestly hate this system but it’s clearly here to stay so might as well get use to it. Oh and before we move on you can get icons and poses from these chests as well and all of these things are strictly cosmetic. So they say but we all know if you paint it red and put flames on it , it will go faster. So you be the judge.

For the most part the game seems to be balanced. There are sure some heroes you see more often that seem to do better than others. I think that has a lot to do with the newness of the game and people still figuring out how to play it. From what I’ve seen everything has some kind of counter and skill is a big component as well. The game doesn’t hold your hand and make you feel like your helping out and doing a lot when all your doing is shooting down a hallway over and over again. I’m looking at you Overwatch. If you suck the game makes it clear. I have been on the receiving end of these beat downs many times now on Battlerite and on a few occasions handed them out myself. The thing is I don’t feel regret or that I wasted my time when I lose. I feel I deserved it. I feel like I learned from it and I’ll do better next time. Maybe this is because the game is still new in general and new to me as well but I feel it has a lot to do with the games design and enjoyment. That being said when I win it’s all skill all day #gg #mlglyfe #protwitchstream #dothedew #doritosxpcode.

It will take some getting use to even for people who are use to playing games like Dota 2, it may look similar but it plays much faster. I would even say its very arcade like in that sense and the controls are different. Actually after me and my friend played Battlerite some other friends wanted to play Heros of the Storm and the controls felt alien. I would say Im more use to the MOBA style controls but playing Battlerite and then jumping back over felt like everything was flipped. It also felt very slow. Battlerite is a much more fast paced game with more skills to use than Dota style games. So when I got back on Heros of the Storm I felt like I was just sitting there waiting for stuff to get off cool down.

If you are going to play this I recommend playing it with friends. It’s really a completely different experience to play with some one else you know. I had this game for a while now and the first time I played it I played alone and didn’t really care for it. It was cool but I wasn’t able to reach the “wow” moment you get when you play a great game for the first time. It had all the trappings but it couldn’t hook me. That is until my friend got access to it during their free weekend and talked me into playing. That’s when the “wow” moment hit both of us and I saw how great the game is. If you don’t have friends I recommend you find some first otherwise skip it or look for a guild of some sort. The Dark Hearts Gang is my personal gaming guild that’s open to all. I’ll throw a link at the bottom of this article if you’re interested in joining.

The game costs about $20 give or take but I feel I see it on sale often. During the free weekend event my friend got me to play with him they discounted it down to about $15. Regardless of the price I feel it is worth getting if you are into PVP games of this style.

Overall I think this games a hit and can be a huge hit with the right recognition. It’s worth the price if you ask me and will only continue to grow and gain more content over time. It’s all PVP though so if that’s not your thing than this isn’t going to change your mind. But if PVP is your thing there isn’t really anything else like this on the market except the game Battlerite is based off of, Bloodline Champions. (Made by the same company actually if you were wondering why they seemed so similar.) If you have read my other reviews you will know I usually give the game a rating out of 5 around this point. I don’t feel right giving a rating to a game that’s still this early on development. So instead I’ll give it a strong recommendation. Battlerite is awesome and it just might be the best PVP I played this year.

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The Dark Hearts Gang — https://discord.gg/tdw8UPE

MMOs Are Dead And VR Will Save Them

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MMOs boomed with the success of World of Warcraft. Every company and their mothers thought they were going to be the next big hit MMO and to this day the corpses of games that tried to fight the monster that is World of Warcraft still litter the fields around the giant beast. Not so giant any more mind you but still a monster. I will also go back to WoW. Like an abused wife, I will always find a way to forgive WoW for what it’s done to me. This is because World of Warcraft is my first true virtual home. It is the familiar safe place that may change here and there but at the end of the day I am always connected to it. If I’m playing it or not. But even I do not feel the urge I once did to go back home like I did many times before.

At the bases of why MMOs are not holding their own any more is due to the players. The players have grown, gamers are older now then they ever have been. They have some variation of school, work, or family they have to deal with. They can’t sit down and level for 3 days of active play time anymore. Being a working photographer who I think has much more free time on his hands than most others, even I have to admit I don’t have the time or patience to level and grind in MMOs. The time to results threshold as been met for me and a lot of people. Why play a MMO everyday and constantly be behind and not have fun when you can play a few games of Hearthstone, League of Legends, or Battlefield? Good or bad matched you get to go to bed feeling like you got some work in vs aimlessly grind a few dungeons with teammates who said nothing the whole time.

The MMO space is excellent. It’s still needed and it’s still good. It’s not Dead it just hasn’t adapted yet. Honestly it might not need too. Maybe we all need to just accept that MMOs might not be for us anymore. The problem with that is MMOs are crazy high budget and if the developers aren’t able to make money then the MMO is done for. So MMOs in theory can’t really be niche. It needs a strong thriving player base to exist in one way or another. Which is why you might notice the past year there are a lot less of them being announced. Most of them being from Asia as well, one of the few places where MMOs still kind of work. So how do we fix this problem? Well we can’t really, not the way it is now. The current model is not what people want anymore and the ones that do want it have options that already exist. If you say you like MMOs and there’s not a single MMO you like on the market right now, well I’m sorry to break it to you but you don’t like MMOs.

Where I think the future of MMOs exist is virtually reality. VR is still young and being watched with a close eye by the world but where I think the medium will thrive is the MMO space. Even back when MMOs were young everyone wished for a VRMMO. From The Matrix to Sword Art Online people have wished for open virtual worlds where we can explore without the limitation of a screen. It doesn’t even have to be a great MMO. I’d drop cash money for a VR rig and any needed upgrades for a half decent VRMMO. I think a lot of people would as a well. At least a lot of people like myself who haven’t leapt in yet. Any day now I’m waiting for the announcement of the first VRMMO. Everything stated above is void for the sake of escapism. The need of exploring a new world as close to reality as possible but with the addition of orcs and demons. I might not have time for MMOs now but for the right VRMMO I would make time.

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Why Do You Love Violence While Being A Pacifist?

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Over the years people have grown more and more attached to violence in media. It has become a day to day fact for life for us. Who gets killed next in Game of Thrones? Don’t tell me I can’t wait to see for myself. Who got bit this week on The Walking Dead? I hope it’s not Rick but man would that be some crazy character development for Carl. Yeah, a son watching his father die to only come back as a monster and then die again is character development now. It’s exciting, it’s entertaining, its violence. Now Im not here to say let’s end it if that’s what you think I’m doing. If you know me even a little you know very well I’m not on the side of the angels. 🙂

The question is why? Why does our society get off on violence. In music, in tv and movies and the good old classic media target, video games. Well it’s simple. Everyone deep down is a psychopath. Maybe not to the same degree as others but you all have a little bit of the devil in you. The thing that scares you is you like it. You won’t admit it but we both know you like it just a little. Violence being a part of our culture isn’t a new thing actually. It has always been here we just evolved it as we changed our overall views on life. As we slowly became more and more passive and told ourselves things like violence and being mad isn’t a good thing.

Back in the day we would watch gladiators murder the living shit out of each other to keep the peace, now we watch Spartacus to do the same and get off on random boobs that pop up on the show. At least that’s why I watch it. The thing is you can’t admit anymore you are into violence. I’ve even been looked at all side eyed glare for saying I’m a Mike Tyson fan. I don’t care if Tyson killed a box of puppies on front street, the guy is a living legend. A true monster among men. These same people that don’t like Tyson or boxing or mma then go home and jerk off to Game of Thrones and Call of Duty and I got to sit there like an ass hole explaining why Mr.Tyson is the greatest.

The pussafaction of our society is in direct correlation to the amount of violence we encounter in media. You have a problem with some one in school? Don’t kick the kid in the teeth and teach him a lesson he will never forget, no don’t do that. Instead go tell a teacher who will make both of you apologize for some fucking reason. Some ones being a real prick to you? Well don’t do anything, just keep your head down and get on your knees and suck it up. No, I’m fine right here thanks. The passivity of today’s society, the lack of anger is in direct correlation to the amount of violence in everything else. People are too pussy to have a voice or stand up for themselves or each other so they watch super hero’s do it on the big screen while secretly rooting for the bad guy. I’ll be honest, The Joker and Two Face made a lot more sense to me than Batman did. My respect to the caped crusader but I rather be a dog chasing cars.

All I’m saying is stop being a little fuck about everything. Pacifist will say this is male posturing or an overdeveloped ego. To that all I got to say is “blow me”. You’re wrong. The fire in your veins and the Devil in your heart isn’t something you have to hide from the world. You should be proud of it, indulge it, feed it. Not with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones , but by getting off your ass and defending yourself, by not just sitting there with you phone out recording something horrible happen. If you are going to secretly be a bad person then try and do a good thing for yourself or a few others once in your life. Make love not war sure, but if war is looking you in the eye don’t blink, cause you will wake up later feeling like a piece of shit.

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A Jester With Fools Gold

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I had another dream about her last night. An unnatural never could have happened dream of dreams. My subconscious mixing up all the things I want into a mess of sadness and confusion for when I inevitably have to wake up from. I ended up remembering a dream I had forgotten because of this one. It was based almost directly off that one. I was so infused with this dream that I woke up wondering where the hell I was. The first dream I went to London with a friend. I don’t remember the friend but he doesn’t really matter for the overall plot of the dream. We landed and were looking for a hotel there in the city. It didn’t seem like we had anything planed just wanted to touch down get a place to stay and get wasted at bars, causing a ruckus. I remember the Marriott now. It sticks out since it carries over into last nights dream. I remember talking about it to my friend in the dream, how it would be more expensive to stay here vs some where else but we get to be right there in the middle of the city. We agreed that it was better to pay more and be where the action is.

I don’t really remember the room since I wasn’t in it for long. My friend wanted to settle in but I was already on a roll. I was a man on a mission and that mission was to bar hop till I dropped. I told him where to meet me and I left to the first bar. Now this was London in name but the city looked like this crazy hybrid. If I had to say what the combination was I would say 60% London, maybe 20% New York and 20% Paris. It was really cool to be honest thinking back on it now. The buildings were tall and varied in architecture, the roads seemed to curve about. The whole city seems to take a special shape. But back to the story. I was at a traditional Irish/British style pub. (Lots of dark woods, with medium crowd, appropriately themed music and dimmed lighting.)

I can’t remember what I ordered just that I drank a solid 3 pints before my friend showed up and joined me. We then went all over the city with me waking up at some point. I had forgotten this dream in its entirety until this next dream. Actually before we get to the main dream there was one small pocket of another dream also relating to her that took me back to this city. At some point in the dream I got taken a little too far on the bus. I got off at a stop I know well. The thing is this stop was my dream London. I recognized it and also didn’t at the same time. Thinking back I was probably on the cusp of realizing it was a Lucid dream. I got off the bus and realized I was going the wrong way then turned and went the other way. I noticed how it didn’t look like how I remembered it, but it looked familiar like I was there before. It was some kind of hybrid mix of the street I know and the London from the first and the last dream. Now to finally get to last nights dream.

Me and her were going to London with another friend. We were going as friends nothing more nothing less but there was some noticeable electricity between us and all 3 of us knew It. We were aware of it but nothing really happened and it just kind of sat there in the open. Very similar to how it was in real life when I was still friends with her. My other friend was really just there for the sake of being there. I think my subconscious related him to us since he was there for all the stuff me and her went though. He was my confidant for everything that happened with us in real life, so he ended up coming along here too. I remember sitting with her on the plane and having a laugh the whole way there. I remember taking a nap but telling her if she gets bored to wake me up and we can chat or something. I know she knew if she did get bored that she could wake me up and I wouldn’t mind one bit. I would rather talk to her than sleep any day, in dream and out. She did wake me up in the dream. I’m not sure if she did it for me or if she was actually bored but it was nice regardless.

We eventually land and like the time before we don’t have a place to stay. This is where my last dream comes to me like a memory. I tell her about the last time I went to London and we stayed at the Marriott. I told them we can stay there but it will be more expensive but if we split it, it can be cheaper overall. This is the stuff that really makes it feel like it all happened. The little bits that make me believe it when I wake up. It’s such a mundane real life conversation to have and it’s based on a previous dream/conversation. My friend insisted on his own room and was willing to get that himself but she was willing to split with me as long as there were 2 beds. It worked out and we went to our rooms. That’s when I lost my friend for the rest of the dream. He went to his room and fell asleep for all I know. It was just me and her from this point. She wanted to shower and change before we head out. I normally would have just went my way with things like this in real life and even more so in dreams but I really like this girl and I rather wait for her and spend more time with her than be off on my own getting drunk.

After she’s done her shower she comes out in a towel and I’m a gentleman inside and outside my dreams so I don’t look at her. As a joke she tells me not to stare and I as a retort. I turn to her with my eye line high telling her I wasn’t looking and I wouldn’t do that. I’ll be honest though I’m pretty good with my peripheral vision, I’ll just leave it at that. We have a laugh about that, we seemed to have a laugh about everything. Even in real life as much and we would fight about some things our senses of humour really melded well. I can always get her to laugh and the more she laughed the happier I was. That is until we fight. Back to the dream, I’ll keep this PG for the most party but let’s just say at some point there was some hugging and some kissing and it was clear we wasted some money on the extra bed for that room.

After all of that we went out on the town. Oh and also now that I think about it I think my friend knocked on the door and asked when we’re leaving and we told him we are staying in. Regardless we were out on the town. Hell I was flying. There are these constant flashes of fun and happiness. I remember them not like it was a dream but memories, fond happy memories that never happened. At some point we were on a bridge at night. I think it was London bridge since it’s still fresh in my memory from my actually trip to London. Doesn’t matter just a bridge and it was beautiful. I held her in my arms and we kissed and we were drunk and she was shy still and she pushed my face away and then pulled me back and kissed again. At some point we got back to the hotel and went to bed. I can still feel her warmth in my arms and smell her hair and perfume. It’s a strong memory to me not a dream. But I still woke up in my bed. I woke up in my bed a little confused, and I want to say heart broken but I put my heart into a teddy bear that is probably long gone now. I’m use to this kind of feeling. It’s why I drink so much. It helps, curve the pain and usually under the right doses and entertainment, curves the aggression too.

I feel I love her more now. I’m angry at myself for not being better. Im angry at myself for believing there was no such thing as no win situations. Hard work and dedication can get you nowhere just as much as it can get you somewhere. I feel foolish for thinking I had a chance. I should have known better. I’m a better planer than this but my love for her clouded my judgment of myself and the situation. I put such pride in my strategic sense and my instincts and failed to figure this out. I’m a jester with fools gold thinking I can buy a princess. Sorry if this one was a bit more depressing than usual. I just wanted to write it and truthfully I really miss her. The her from all the dreams and the one from real life.

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Duelyst Review

Athene’s Demon Hand Lock Deck: Insane New Meta Legend Edition

This is an awesome deck Athene has made. I am trying a slightly different variant of it since I don’t have the Warlock legendarys needed. I replaced them with an Alexstrasza and a Ragnaros for now. Working well so far.