Category Archives: Games

Living Story Season 3 Starts July 26th!

Praise the six, some GW2 news! Normally I’d get this stuff out on the day of the news but it’s been a while. The story picks up from the end of the Heart of Thorns story. We’ll be back playing Living Story in 2 weeks time on the 26th! With said news is a few things to note.

  • You need to log in when the episode is live in order to unlock the episode for free on your account. You’ll have till the next episode is released (estimated to be around 2-3 months)
  • You do not need to have Heart of Thorns to unlock Living Story episodes as stated in the previous point but you will not be able to play Living Story season 3 without Heart of Thorns and is intended for level 80 characters.
  • If you buy Heart of Thorns later, any episodes you unlocked will become available to you

Living World Season 2 is currently 40% off if you do not have it and wish to play it.

Other News

The retired PvP map “Raid on the Capricorn” will be revamped and re-released as “Revenge of the Capricorn“. This map will be the regular 3 point capture style with no underwater point. The mechanic of the map will have a 4th capture point available periodically to be capped for extra points.

There will also be a new fractal called “Chaos Isles“. Elements of past fractals will be in this one and will be the start of an arc that will run in tandem with Living World Season 3’s plot line.

Major patches will now be six a year rather than quarterly (four a year). This includes the July 26th patch. So we might be looking at 2-3 more patches afterwards.

Now, the problem I have is that the July 26th patch also include balance changes which causes a few problems for PvP as it’s less prep for the Worlds qualifier tournament and 2 weeks prep for PvP Leagues. I am excited for living story again but that balance patch issue popping up could pose a problem for many. We’ll see how things go.

Age’s Site Update For July 2016

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Here’s the monthly post for July!

Guild Wars 2 posts are still in the same position as last month. So I’m still waiting for Living Story content or something significant.

League of Legends LCS posts weren’t weekly. It was really hard to keep up with all the games due to the other things I have to do. It’s harder to watch at least 3 times more games than usual. I did a mid point split summary of the teams. I’ll probably do a split summary and playoffs summary as well. The guide wasn’t worked on, I had a lot of IRL things to fix at the end of the month so I’ll be working on the guides this month.

I am streaming weekly now on my Twitch channel. Mostly Guild Wars 2 and Overwatch so feel free to stop by!

For games of this month there’s nothing that peeked my interest but the Steam sale ended today so hopefully you picked up a game or two to tide you over.

That’s all for now, I’ll catch you next time!

– Age

Thoughts On League Of Legends Season 6 Summer LCS Week 1-4

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Alright so 4 weeks have past so I can make a good assessment of how things are fairing in the EU and NA regions. Note that Europe has moved to a best of 2 format where 2 wins is three points, a tie is one point and losing 2 games nets zero points. North America has moved to a best of 3 format. This is probably to strengthen these regions for international tournaments and to prepare new players for playing and adapting in a series. In any case, it results in more games, more practice on stage which is overall good for viewers and the players.

Europe Week 1-4

Fnatic is currently on top again. With the return of YellowStar, the team looks way better. It always felt that Yellow Star was the last piece of the puzzle for Fnatic last split. With 5/2/1 record, it looks like Fnatic will rise to the top once again.

G2 Esports had a lot to prove this split. They finished 1st last split but finished last at MSI and quite honestly, did very poorly due to lack of preparation. It seems that hit them hard and they are playing seriously this split. With their new Top laner Expect, they seem to be doing well. I mean 4/4/0 means a bit more work versus some team but overall not bad.

H2K seems to be the team getting by consistently. They have a new ADC in Freeze who seems to be doing alright at the moment. Has some definite ups and downs.

FC Schalke 04 is a new team made of known players such as Steve, Fox, Gilius, MrRallez & sprattel. This team took over Elements’ spot in the EU LCS and have made good use of it. Even though they’re a newly formed team, they’re turning a few heads with their team work being near on par with the top 3 teams. We’ll see how they do.

Splyce is making some steady progress as a team in the LCS. I thought that this was a team that could go somewhere given they get more experience and they’re slowly getting up there.

Team Vitality have hit a bit of a wall going 1/5/2. They’re currently tied with a lot of teams, some that I think they should have beaten 2-0. Hopefully they can regain their footing as they did well last split and quite honestly should be performing a bit better.

Giants is a team I don’t have hope for. It’s sad to say but the roster changes to the team didn’t help the team at all. Maybe the new blood need some time to adjust but there was only one glimpse where Giants look like they could step up. I’m not convinced we’ll see a silver of that again. At least not right now.

Unicorns of Love has been disappointing fans for sure as of late. The team that came into the LCS is not as strong as it was. The team maybe suffering from team synergy or something of the sort because they’re 2/1/5 record doesn’t show that they have  a strong bond.

Origen has fallen into dire straits again. Sitting on 1/4/3 this team is not doing well. They are currently in 9th along with ROCCAT as the last teams in the league. It didn’t help that Forgiven left early in the split. Now it seems that the team is trying to find itself while xPeke takes on the ADC role. The fact that nearly every other team is doing better than them deems that there’s a problem other than the ADC role though.

ROCCAT I can’t expect much from them anymore. When they first entered the LCS, I thought they0 could do well if they improved but the team has just been performing worst each split ever since. The roster was updated with Steelback (ADC), Parang (Top), and Raise (Support).

North America Week 1-4

So it seems that Team Solo Mid is back in a big way. Their new support Biofrost has been quite a boon. Biofrost consistently has good support stats in games TSM wins. TSM has been undefeated in the new best of 3 format (currently 8-0) dropping only 3 games versus C9, Immortals and Echo Fox. I would say TSM is solid in each role at this point in time.

Sitting in second is Immortals. The roster hasn’t changed and quite honestly it didn’t need to. Immortals didn’t drop a game in the last regular season. They just played their game as it were instead of playing towards the meta. It seems now they have a better grasp of the meta in addition to playing how they like which nets them a current record of 7-1.

Cloud 9 sits in third place with a 6-2 record. Last two seasons Cloud 9 have had troubles with their roster but it seems they fixed that before the split began. We have Impact in top lane instead of Balls, Meteos back in the jungle and Smoothie or Bunny Fufu as Support.

A new LCS team, Team Envy, sits in 4th with a 5-3 record. They bought Renegades spot in the LCS and is kind of the team that can throw off the records for some teams.

Sitting in 5th are Team Liquid and Apex. Liquid’s roster remains unchanged and they still remain a middle of the tier team although I do believe they have the potential to climb higher. Right now it may prove to be difficult given the strength of the top 3 teams alone. Apex is a team out of challenger and has the familiar faces of Xpecial, Apollo and Keane. I don’t think they’ll go to worlds this season but I think they can secure a spot for next season’s LCS.

Surprisingly in 7th place is Counter Logic Gaming with a 3-5 record. After finishing 2nd at MSI, you’d think the team would come into the split with high expectations and results. Sadly this is not the case. The main roster remains unchanged but the team has won only against the lower ranked teams and Liquid. Something has gotta change for this team strat-wise and soon.

NRG is the next team up with a 2-6 record. We have quite a few new yet old faces on this team. Top lane is Quas, Jungle is Santorin and Support is Kiwikid. Despite the roster swaps, NRG is still on a steady decline from last split. It seems that the group isn’t “together” enough to get better games.

Echo Fox is currently 1-7. The roster hasn’t changed and I honestly expected a bit more out of the team. It looks like they still have a ways to go. Finally we have Phoenix1. From the ashes of Impulse but have not won a single game yet. I don’t expect much from the team sadly given Impulse’s decline for the past year or so.

Split Predictions

For EU I expect top 2 to be Fnatic, G2 Esports. 3rd will either be H2K or FC. For NA, I expect the current standings to more or less reflect the top half of the board. TSM and Immortals to take top 2 with Cloud 9 in 3rd. Envy may take third but I think Cloud 9 are going to pull another Summer split “going to worlds” move again.

Age’s Site Update For June 2016

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And we’re back with another monthly post!

Guild Wars 2 posts are really stagnant mostly because there’s nothing really significant to talk about right now. I don’t want to put out a post that’s “grasping at straws” per say. I’m waiting for Living Story at this point so bear with me if GW2 is the content you’re interested in.

League of Legends LCS posts will be back starting next week. There are new formats that I’m excited to check out but that means a lot more games I have to watch and analyze. I love League but man I’m running out of free time heh. That reminds me. I’ll be working on a Season 6 guide that will be out (probably the first parts) hopefully by the end of this month.

Overwatch has been super fun. I play everyday and I’m getting the hang of characters I like but there is definitely room for improvement. I may have a post or two for Overwatch down the pipeline.

For games of this month that have peeked my interest are Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (PC, PS4, XB1) which released on June 7th, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U) on June 24, and Star Ocean V: Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4) on June 28.

That’s all for now, I’ll catch you next time!

– Age

PvP League & Motivation To Play

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*The original post can be found on mattsta.ninja*

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to to talk about Guild Wars 2 sPvP—specifically, PvP Leagues and their rewards. I have always popped into some PvP matches every now and then, but when PvP Leagues were announced I was extremely excited to participate and see how far I could go. Over the past two seasons however, I’ve had trouble playing consistently during the season because, quite honestly, I have not been strongly motivated.

Motivation is the biggest problem for me and, from what I’ve seen, has been a similar problem for many during a ranked season. Motivation for playing the entire season just isn’t there. Right now there are two things to motivate players: 1) Get to a certain division and 2) finish ascension legendary back piece achievements. I do think it’s natural that people who don’t PvP a lot stop playing ranked after reaching a certain ranked or finished getting the rewards but I feel the system itself can be better. Going into the third season, the best or dedicated players have already finished the back piece achievements and getting tier and division rewards is the next best reason to play for these players.

The unique PvP tickets you get from these rewards however, don’t have much use outside of getting the back piece, unless you like mini llamas. Buying Shards of Glory with tickets is a waste as they are super cheap on the trading post and are relatively easy to get if you PvP. I guess you could technically make another ascended precursor back piece. It seems to me that if you do play for extra tickets, it is best to save these tickets for next year’s PvP back piece. But that could be a problem in and of itself if players continue to accrue these tickets without anything to spend them on.

Overall, I feel the motivation to progressively get better and to have challenging matches should be one of the major factors when playing ranked matches. It is the main reason why any PvP player consistently queues up.

Issue #1: Profession Balance

This is getting better every quarter but it’s still worth noting as profession balance for PvP hasn’t been the greatest. I can understand the difficulty of balancing across PvE, WvW and PvP, but that is a discussion for another time.

Specifically Thief and Warrior have had trouble in the past two seasons and even some time before that. This season you’ll see both of these professions more often than before, but I’m not sure how they’ll do in higher tier play. I think ArenaNet is slowly but steadily getting each profession in a decent spot to be viable to some degree in high tier play. While this should definitely be the goal, the issue is the slow progress it is taking to get there.

Major balance updates right now happen every three months. So it took 3 months to see Thief/Daredevil and Warrior/Berserker relatively used in Season 2 and another 3 months for them to be back in regular use in Season 3. Now Guardian/Dragonhunter is the profession on the decline and in need of some help. There’s also the issue of obvious “overpowered/broken” updates that are fixed either later in the season or after the season is over. One example that comes to mind is Season One’s bunker meta that was painful to play in and how it took about 2 weeks into Pro Leagues—which at the time was a month into the first PvP League season—before ArenaNet finally did something to balance that.

Issue #2: Queues

This is something that has plagued PvP Leagues—and even unranked for different reasons. Either way, queues have always been an oddity.

Ranked matchmaking has gotten better over time, but as it is still fairly new I can’t judge too much on it yet. It was quite evident in Season One—and a bit in Season 2—however, that queues were a major problem with organized teams fighting a mix of solo queue and duo queue players. It still happens every now and then, but it’s now less frequent. The population of players and the divisions players are in may play a part as well, but with no metrics to look at it is hard to say for certain on the matter.

The issue with three or four man groups usually causes a lack in communication with the other solo/duo players and, in some cases, one or two of the players in the larger group is less skilled but it brought up to a higher level due to how queues work. For those that don’t know, group matchmaking will work based on the highest division in the group. So if an Amber player, Emerald player & Sapphire player queued together, the matchmaking would be based off the Sapphire player. The results of this is that there’s usually at least one person who doesn’t react, fight or rotate as well because they’re playing against stronger opponents which is a liability solo/duos usually don’t want to deal with. On the flip side, people who solo queue don’t want to fight organized teams. If you duo queue, that’s a risk you take.

Then there’s the issue of class stacking with up to 3 or more of a single profession on a team. Someone needs to switch because in some cases it’s not the best thing to stack so many of a single profession. Then the person swapping may not be on a profession they’re as comfortable or skilled with. You probably already see where I’m going with this downward spiral into less than ideal matchmaking situations. So far in Season 3 though, this issue has also been better probably due to having more diverse picks available.

Issue #3: Divisions

“What about division prestige as motivation” you might be thinking as each player works toward getting to legendary or to that division they are personally proud of reaching. Sadly there are two parts to this issue as 1) any dedicated player can get to Ruby and 2) many players that reach legendary or the division they want either start playing whatever profession/build they want—which may or may not be good for those they end up queued with—or just stop playing for the season.

For those who don’t know, the ranked system is made of pips and tiers. There are a certain amount of pips per tier and a number of tiers per division. Both of these numbers vary per division, but once you complete every tier in a division you are moved up to the next division. In Amber—the 6th and lowest division—you can’t lose pips or tiers. In Emerald and Sapphire—the 5th and 4th divisions respectively—you can lose pips but not tiers. And lastly in Ruby—the 3rd division—and in higher divisions you can lose both pips and tiers. At no point are players able to lose and drop down to a lower division.

Division crossing is more of a time spent type of deal where any competent player can get into Ruby just by playing enough games. Keep in mind I’m not saying a fresh, new PvP player per say although it is not impossible. The reason it’s like this is that players who aren’t as skilled at PvP can finish the achievements for the back piece. It may take longer for said players but in the end they can obtain it. Ranked should be about progressive skill and a little luck. Making it easy to climb the ladder all the way to Ruby—which sits in the upper half of league divisions—doesn’t make either the games or the system competitive. In fact, it just means that the player were tenacious enough to play the games needed to move up a division irrelevant of their actual skill. I can see crossing from Ruby into Legendary being more of challenge due to having more pips and tiers to cross; maybe this is the trade off ArenaNet wanted.

Then the second of the issues I brought up—where players reach the division they wanted and are “done”—has two very real problems. First is when players start playing whatever they want, no longer caring for making meaningful progress through the divisions and making it harder for those players they queue with that are still trying to make progress or just have serious matches. For example, let’s say my Revenant PvP play is Diamond level but my Scrapper and Tempest PvP play, the only other professions I play in PvP, are Emerald at best. If I reach Diamond and then suddenly I need to play other professions to finish the League Professional, I have a problem. My team also has a problem because if I swap to a Tempest or Scrapper, I’m essentially handicapping my teammates. Then equally worse is that the players stop playing which can create longer queue times as there are fewer players queuing for matches which degrades the quality of matches that players get queued into.

Issue #4: The Ascension Back Piece Achievements

I have a few qualms with the Ascension achievements. The achievements are broken into four sections each of which reward an item for completing that section. Finishing all 4 sections and combining the 4 reward items will give you the Gift of the Competitor—one of the four items required for crafting the Legendary PvP back piece. The way the Ascension achievement completion works is that the more you progress the faster you’ll get the needed four items for the legendary back piece. While there are four PvP League Seasons in a year, players are able to finish the legendary in just two out of these four PvP seasons.

I strongly believe that you shouldn’t have been able to obtain all of these items needed from the achievements without participating in a full year of PvP League. Making it a yearly achievement creates a motivational end goal for all players where everyone has a specific end date to get certain objectives done. This would be much better than what we have now as it would promote players to continue to play and do well throughout all of the seasons and not rush through it in the first half of the year.

Then there is a part of the achievements themselves that inadvertently cause problems for players trying to progress. The League Professional achievements require players to win up to 10 matches on 2-3 different professions depending on which achievement section you’re on. The first problem with this is that some players do not want to play more than one or two professions in PvP. This problem is debatable, but understandable as many players may enjoy playing only one or two professions in PvP.

The second problem with these League Professional achievements is that a player’s secondary professions may not be up to par skill wise in the division they have reached with their main profession. This is going back to the example I used in the division issue.

As a whole, I don’t really like that the back piece—the best, most prestigious ranked PvP reward—is accessible by pretty much everyone with the drive to do so. Guild Wars 2 has always been casual in that sense, where you can get almost anything you want if you put in the work. That’s fine. However, I feel that PvP should be a measure of work and skill and that both should rewarded instead of just playing a lot of matches.

I wholeheartedly believe that anyone can get to Ruby if they play enough games. It all depends on how many games a person is willing to put the effort into to get there due to the way pips and tiers work in Amber, Emerald and Sapphire. Players that put in the extra games beyond this and have the skill to continue to progress higher should get something significant for their efforts. I don’t think that being able to make the back piece before a majority of players is enough and goes into the problem of what do leagues offer those players after they have finished the back piece.

It feels like ranked play in Guild Wars 2 isn’t motivating enough and it lacks drive. It may be due to the structure of PvP League or due to the population of GW2’s PvP scene, but I feel it can be better than it is now. ArenaNet is the type of company that they may miss the mark on their first run at a feature, but they work to vastly improve on it the next time around. Living World Season 1 to Season 2 is a perfect example of this. Hopefully we see the same improvement when ArenaNet works to make PvP Leagues better for year 2.