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.

My E3 2016 Top 10 Game Picks

After watching all the conferenced, these are the top ten games I’ve got my eye on from E3 2016. Note that my picks are based on what was shown at the conferences and that these aren’t in any particular order.

1) South Park: Fractured But Whole

The first South Park game was insanely good and well put together. Making a turn based RPG game with all the look, feel and humor of South Park, Ubisoft hit a home run. In fact, when I first played this game, I spent the next 13 hours straight beating it. It was fantastic start to finish. Needless to say I was a bit worried when a sequel was announced last year, seeing that a lot of the content over the past seasons of South Park were used in the first game. The trailer and gameplay demoed at E3 this year removed any and all doubt. The humor is there in full and the plot for this game is one not explored (DC/Marvel movies in order) so it’ll be quite interesting to go through.

2) Gears of War 4

The Gears of War franchise is quite a popular one. I believe they’re the first game to have chainsaw rifles as a main weapon. Through all the blood and gore is a decent story and memorable characters. We will have a new set of characters and definitely cameos of the original characters. I’m very interested in the direction the game is going as it is years after the third Gears game. I also hoping for some Cole Train cameos and easter eggs, that character was the best.

3) Dishonored 2

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy stealth games. If you didn’t know, I like stealth games. Dishonored does that, but gives you awesome powers in addition to tools to boot. I also like the area the game is featured in. The town gives off a gritty and darkness in the shadows vibe. What’s cool is that you can go full ham and not be stealthy if you want. The game also features two protagonists (a male and a female) you can play that have different skills so you can choose whichever you prefer.

4) God of War

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really played God of War before. Definitely want to play it this though. The crowd got hyped when they first saw Kratos in the trailer so you know this game series is good. One thing I’d like to note is that Kratos punched a giant troll in the face and threw it off balance. Besides that the combat looks fun and engaging. The forestry and ruins were quite in depth in detail as well. The story seems to center around Kratos and his son. The idea is to practice hunting but it seems like there will be more than just that in that kid’s future. I’m also not sure if the mother has passed away or is somewhere else. I guess I’ll find out when I play.

5) Death Stranding

If you can tell me what this game is about, that would be appreciated. Because I haven’t the foggiest idea. I’m still going to get this game thought because it’s Kojima; also having Norman Reedus as the protagonist doesn’t hurt. Hideo Kojima tells stories in a mysterious way that captivates audiences. Just look at Metal Gear Solid. I believe that this is the reborn “Silent Hills” game we were going to get before it got cancelled. I wouldn’t be surprised if people bought a PS4 just to play this game.

6) Detroit: Become Human

Robots & Humans co existing is one of the most interesting storylines a game can have for me because it could be a potential future in real life. So seeing a game go for that but including the rights a robot should have when it gets emotions can get different results. Just look at the Matrix for example. It seems that this game will tell the story of a few androids and the decisions they make. This trailer is a pretty good example of issues, present and future, that can take place as an android detective named Connor is tasked with rescuing a human girl from another android.

7) Horizon Zero Dawn

Most post-apocalyptic scenarios have zombies of some sort. Horizon’s post-apocalyptic scenario? Ancient ruins of current civilisation with mechanical animals where humans live a primitive lifestyle with high tech weapons. Love it. You play as Aloy, a woman who seems to be an explorer, possibly trying to learn of the past among the ruins of past civilizations. I mean, I would want to know where these mechanical creatures came from too. The world itself is quite stunning as well.

8) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This is one Nintendo game every Zelda fan hands down will want to get. Zelda is re imagined as a beautiful open world concept where there is a ton of interaction with the environment as you can see in the trailer. The great part is that the world still feels like that of a Zelda game. Of course there’s new abilities, weapons, and armor. Nintendo did a fantastic job and it was well worth the wait.

9) We Happy Few

This game looks very intriguing. It seems that you play a character that’s in a world where you are constantly monitored and self drugging yourself with “Joy” along with others. One day you read an article that reminded you of something terrible as soon as your “Joy” is running out and you see things for what the world is. The mask-like faces add a certain personality aspect to the game as well. The plot of this game really has me wanting to see more.

10) Watch Dogs 2 

Now, Watch Dogs 2 was announced about a few days before E3 but it was still one of the bigger games to come out of E3 this year. Now the first Watch Dogs wasn’t as satisfying due to the number of issues the game had. The concept of Watch Dogs was great overall and is what lead a lot of people purchasing the game in the first place. Watch Dogs 2 seems to want to rectify that. The game centers around a young hacker named Marcus whose part of a group called DedSec who’s fighting a corrupt corporation (or corporations). This baseline story reminds me of a movie called Hackers. Plus I have a programming background so this game’s concept is hitting all the right chords for me.

Bonus #1: Final Fantasy XV

Despite the Titan demo, which wasn’t good in my opinion, I’ll be checking this game out. This is a title a lot of people will pick up because it’s Final Fantasy but this game does have a lot going for it. The story plot overall seems good and the world looks pretty incredible. The combat also looks to be very engaging. Can’t wait to give this game a go.

Bonus #2: Battlefield 1

Holy cow. Now I’ve played Battlefield before but this new game looks incredible! A lot of chaotic fighting via air, land, and sea. Along with blimps & battleships that players can use, this will definitely be one of EA’s biggest titles this year.

And those are my picks for this year’s EA! You may have found a few you like, if you have your own list, be sure to share it in the comments!

My E3 2016 Conference Reviews

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First off, I want to state that these are my feelings about the main E3 conferences that took place and what I thought about them. I’ll also say that going into E3 I kept my expectations lowered due to the leaks and announcements close to E3. I’ll be saying IP a lot which means Intellectual Property; you can think of it as game franchises or individual games. I did leave out the PC Game Show mostly because I didn’t feel the games showcased on the PC Game Show compare well with the other conferences. Lastly, each title will link to the corresponding conference. Alright, so let’s get into it.

Electronic Arts

This was a conference I wasn’t expecting much out of. There was Madden 17 and FIFA 17 of course. Now, this brings me to a side note. I know a lot of people go “oh sports, greeeeeeeat”. You have to understand two things. One: Madden and FIFA makes EA lots of money. I mean lots. Two: some people like sports games. Honestly when eSports is made fun of by people who believe in “actual sports”, it’s a bit hypocritical to turn on people who like these games. To each their own I say. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to talk about it. In fact, FIFA 17 The Journey actually looks interesting as they’ve added a story mode.

One of the revealed promising games was an indie game called Fe which I’ve heard it be called a Dark Souls cross with Journey. Both games are popular some maybe Fe will make waves.

Overall I didn’t feel impressed with the EA conference. It may be because most of the content was predicted or shown before E3 already. Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 looks really good but were announced before the conference so not much extra was shown. Mass Effect didn’t have gameplay yet so we’re probably looking earliest next year holiday season. Star Wars was nothing really significant outside of updates that weren’t visually represented game-wise. All they really talk about is the multitude of teams working on different Star Wars games hard at work on these updates or new games.

Bethesda

This was another conference I didn’t expect much out of. Surprisingly, Bethesda did decently. They surprised the world with Quake and Prey. Releasing a popular IP that hasn’t been touched in a while is a good way to garner views. Also, the Quake and Prey announcements were actual announcements, not leaks.

In addition, they touched on Elder Scrolls Online with updates and DLC which one lady in the crowd was super hyped about mind you. Fallout 4 has come DLCs and updates as well. Fallout Shelter is getting updates and a PC port. There was the Elder Scrolls Legends Card Game which could make waves as Online CCGs seem to have quite the audience.

Finally we had Dishonored 2 which was the highlight of the show. It looks amazing with the two playable characters and their abilities. The world itself is gritty but has a fantasy feel at the same time. There’s also a time mechanic involved. It will do well.

I feel like Bethesda’s conference was ok. There was some sort of an extra vibe to the conference that made the content shown feel acceptable. Not really sure I can put my finger on it. I think it was the combination of new IPs and visual representation of the updates a few games were going to have.

Microsoft

Now this was a conference that’d I thought would be 50% hardware/software and 50% games. It felt pretty much that with Microsoft introducing an Xbox One Slim, custom controllers, MMo-like features for Xbox Live and the teasing their next console Project Scorpio. However, they also introduced Play Anywhere. A new program where any “Play Anywhere” games can be bought once and be played on Xbox One or Windows 10. Furthermore, progress is synced so you can play on one system and easily swap to the other if needed. I found this rather genius on Microsoft’s part. One: it opens the door for PC gamers to have more games that would have been just on console, Xbox One players can swap to a PC when they want, Microsoft actually gets more money for providing exclusive games on PC.

Overall, I think Microsoft did fairly well with Play Anywhere feature in . Gears of War 4, Recore, and Scalebound being some of the games I see a lot of players enjoying. We Happy Few also debuted at the Microsoft conference and definitely has good potential.

Ubisoft

Expectations for Ubisoft conference were a little higher but still expected a lot of games announced from last E3 and Watch Dogs 2 which was announced/leaked I think literally a week before E3.

Results were pretty good. We saw gameplay for games teased last E3 such as Ghost Recon: Wildlands, South Park: The Fractured But Whole & For Honor. We also got teased of a possible Watch Dogs movie. Ubisoft also revealed some new IPs, some of which were VR such as Eagle Flight and Star Trek Bridge Crew. Both look cool but the issue I see is playing with a multitude of friends with VR sets may be an expensive endeavor.

Of course there were other new IPs such as Trials of the Blood Dragon (which is out now) and Steep which is an open world alpine sports game. It reminds me of SSX but on a bigger scale. I’ve seen quite a few people liking what they saw so this game could have some decent popularity.

Ubisoft did a solid job providing gameplay for last year’s teased E3 games while offering new things as well. There’s no Assassin’s Creed game this year but there is the movie; .

Sony

Sony, I was expecting some kind of play that will compete with whatever Microsoft has currently. Then there would be some games, announced games from last E3 and I expected some new IPs and VR. Man did they deliver.

It was pretty much a strong string of games. Sony started which epic orchestral music which was the prelude for the trailer of the new God of War game. There was Horizon, The Last Guardian (with a release date finally), Detroit: Become Human and some new IPs such as Days Gone and VR games like Flashpoint, Here They Lie, and Batman: Arkham to name a few. The difference between these VR games and Ubisofts is that they’re geared towards single player which is probably the stronger market to aim for rather than the party game and multiplayer (in the same room) market.

There were quite a few games I didn’t mention but I think what really made the Sony conference was when Hideo Kojima stepped onto the stage and the crowd went super hyped when he debuted Kojima Productions first game: Death Stranding which is a PS4 exclusive.

Sony presented a strong set of games for this and next year. Better than all the other conferences. I think Sony did extremely well given that there was no hardware/software discussion of any kind; just really good games.

Nintendo

Nintendo only had to show off The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the new Pokemon games: Sun and Moon. Now, you’d think that Nintendo being one of the bigger companies would have more to offer at E3. However it seems like the focus was to be on Zelda this year. the Treehouse stream spent about 20-30 minutes on the new Pokemon game and literally the rest of the time on the new Zelda game which was hours.

Don’t get me wrong, the new Zelda game looks fantastic. It is very different from the Zelda games on console. It’s more open world, there are a ton of interact-able things to do. I had to pull myself away a bit because I didn’t want to see too much in order to play and explore the game for myself. It will definitely be a big seller and that may be what Nintendo is looking for right now in focusing on Zelda.

To conclude, I think Sony won game-wise due to having more strong IPs that had more impact. I think Microsoft won in the hardware/software department. No one was competing in this section but the Play Anywhere program alone made Microsoft win out. Nintendo seemed to focus on quality over quantity by showcasing three games (I really want to say two since the Pokemon games are really similar). The main games each conference had were all quite good. In the end, this year’s E3 wasn’t as quite impactful as last year but there were still a few surprises and new content that satisfies.

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