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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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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Elder Scrolls Online Review 2016

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When ESO launched it had its fair share of criticism. I personally really enjoyed it back then but even I have to admit it had its share of bugs and glitches. Goodness was it a mess of a game. I’ve jumped on here and there with little success through the years since it’s launch and noticed steady improvements. I herd more and more from the players about how much better it is now. The overall MMO player base seems to agree for the most part that ESO is one of the better MMOs on the market. I would consider it to be one of the top 3 MMOs on the market right now. The other 2 being World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2.

Elder Scrolls Online has revamped its system since launch. It’s smooth and glitch free. It’s gained a bunch of new expansions with solid and varying gameplay mechanics and lastly with the newest update (One Tamriel) it’s removed the need for your level. Your level is still there it’s just not as important as your gear and your skills. Now like Elder Scrolls games should be you can go and explore any location in the game without worry or limitations. You are free to play with newer or more experienced players now regardless of level, gear or skill.

The game plays smoother and the animations are excellent. My sword swings hit with force. The game falls into and action combat style which I personally don’t like for the most part. I personally prefer the classic tab targeting of old or a slightly more hybrid system like we see in Guild Wars 2. That’s being said this is Elder Scrolls we’re talking about and tab targeting just wouldn’t be right here.

If your are a fan of story, adventure and exploration than this is the game for you. All the quests are voice acted. When I say all of them I mean all of them. They all very in the style and story told. Aside from the main story line there are many side quests you will just walk upon and get swept up in. Some are sad some are funny and some are just harsh wake up calls. You will run into a variety of these by the time you hit level 5.

The dungeon content in ESO is some of the best I’ve seen. I would go as far as saying this is some of the best all around PVE and dungeon content I seen since Tera Online. I’m also saying that from the perspective of a PVP player. You got to go the extra mile to get me to enjoy your PVE. I’m just saying its nice to have dungeons content that is actually hard. It’s exciting and focused. Im worried about every pull and satisfied with every kill. Overall Elder Scrolls Online is killing it in the PVE department.

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They are also doing pretty well in the PVP department. If large scale siege PVP is your thing than this is the game for you. It doesn’t have its equivalent of arena or battlegrounds which I think is a missed opportunity to be honest or at least something they should consider down the line. That being said they nailed large scale alliance PVP. Cyrodiil is what they call the area you battle in for PVP. It is located in the very centre of the the world map and it is a solid chunk of it. If you have played Guild Wars 2s World vs World than it is very similar but imagine instead of 4 large maps you have one giant map called Cyrodiil. I would say when it comes to scale, Cyrodiil is as big as all of GW2s WvW maps put together. The swaying large scale battles are excellent and there is even room for solo and smaller groups to make a difference.

There is a hell of a lot of stuff I didn’t cover like the crime system and duelling and much more but just know this here is a good game that has gone back to its roots. It looks like Elder Scrolls, it plays like Elder Scrolls and most importantly it feels like Elder Scrolls. I’m not going to give this game a rating due to the expansive nature of MMOs, instead. I’ll say this. If you want an active game that you can play with your friends at any time, with an extensive universe and excellent questing, PVE and large scale siege PVP than Elder Scrolls Online is the game for you.

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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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Titanfall Trailer E3 2014 CG Hype Trailer

I love me my Titanfall but sadly don’t get to play it much any more because of school. This trailer is is bad ass though. One of the cooler CG trailers I have seen in a while. Its also nice to have a CG trailer that actually represents the game well and isn’t just some over priced hype trailer.