Temple of Orsis and Uldaman in League of Explorers

The League of Explorers expansion for Hearthstone is out! The first wing was released last week, and the second wing went live earlier today.

Although I personally don’t really like Hearthstone because of the excess of randomness and the numerous dumb ways you can unexpectedly lose the game, I still like to keep up with it.

I got myself the League of Explorers adventure and finished both available wings.

Sources: https://youtu.be/Um2LJzut5H4 & https://youtu.be/QY-Ppx43yks

One thing I noticed is how many more cards are being given out this time as rewards.

Now, of course, just because I noticed it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true – I might just be imagining things.

It might also be because there are only four wings in this expansion, while there were more in previous ex­pan­sions, so the rewards that would’ve been distributed during the later wings of those expansions were in­stead just redistributed as double rewards for the wings that the League of Explorers does have.

Another particular thing I liked is the time/turn-based style of gameplay in two of the bosses, Temple Es­cape in Tem­ple of Orsis and Mine Cart in Uldaman.

Blizzard recently made a special Tavern Brawl where the two play­ers work together to defeat a single boss-style minion. I like the fact that they are being creative with their game styles, even though the frame­work of the gameplay is somewhat limited (in that the two sides are facing each other in a 1v1).



Patch 6.2.3 released today in World of Warcraft

The timing of my return to World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor was pretty lucky, because a new patch with new content just got released.

I have a stream VOD of gameplay from today of completing instances for Valor Points and new bat­tle­ground gear, as well as a VOD from yesterday, when I played for a few hours before going to sleep.

Sources: https://youtu.be/ywemgwDb9tw & https://youtu.be/9jmnegU_A2o

A few thoughts on some of the items from the World of Warcraft 6.2.3 Patch Notes:

  • New Timewalking Dungeons

    I like that World of Warcraft is cycling through older content to encourage newer players to ex­pe­ri­ence it. Especially with Level 100 character boosts coming out, some people won’t be able to go through the classic leveling process, and will instead just choose to jump to the level cap.

    Even for the people who do level up regularly, they will most likely be using heirloom gear, so the amount of experience gain from dungeons will be massively increased, and they’ll only do a few dungeons from each expansion before moving on to the next one.

    Back when I was an undergraduate in university, I played quite a bit of TERA, and one thing I hated was the lack of replayability during the end game. You couldn’t go back to redo old dungeons, so you were stuck just grinding the same three to five end-game dungeons to farm up your gear.

    I like that World of Warcraft isn’t falling into this same trap, and they are taking the initiative to increase the diversity of available playable content.

  • Item Upgrades and Valor

    Something I really dislike about some MMOs is how your gear becomes useless after a new patch or expansion is released. I like keeping my old gear and adding onto it with upgrades and features, rather than just getting an entirely new piece of gear.

    Although Valor upgrades aren’t going to keep my gear completely relevant forever, it at least makes me feel like I’m working towards unlocking better gear through improving my current gear, rather than just grinding for new pieces.

    The way that Valor is awarded also encourages players to diversify their played content. Valor Points are generally only available for the first completion of the day on various different tasks, which makes sure that players are mixing things up, instead of just getting bored repeating one thing over and over.

  • Warlords Season 3

    This sort of branches off Valor upgrades, in that, I don’t like how PvP gear becomes completely in­ferior when a new season begins.

    I would rather prefer to see a way to upgrade Season 2 gear into Season 3 gear at a slightly reduced cost than just buying Season 3 gear from scratch. The way that it is now, it’s as if all the time spent getting the best Season 2 gear was wasted from a long-term perspective.

    Either way, lucky for me, I barely had any Season 2 PvP gear anyway (seeing as I just started play­ing WoW again about a week ago), so I’ll be playing some battlegrounds and working towards getting a full set of PvP gear on top of PvE gear.



Black Belt Promotion Testing for Keumgang Martial Arts Academy

For a majority of the day yesterday, I was attending a black belt promotion test as a spectator to take photos, film video, and support the students.

Generally, for color belt promotion testing, I’m one of the judges because I provide a third-party opinion on the students’ performance (seeing as I’m an independent coach and guest instructor, and I’m not officially an employee of Keumgang Martial Arts).

Although I’m sure I would’ve been able to do that for black belt promotion testing as well, I chose not to for two primary reasons.

The first is because the black belt testing was being held at a different academy, other than ours. This a­cad­emy has a huge staff base, and presumably is proportionally wealthy. There really isn’t any reason for me to volunteer for this other academy, especially because I have very limited relationships with the staff there anyway.

The second is because it was far more important to me to be there supporting the students, rather than making sure they were doing their taekwondo correctly. I wanted to capture this moment for them and their parents, and this was meaningful enough to me that, even if the other academy were to pay me, I would most likely decline so I can be there as a supporter.

Unfortunately, saying that the lighting there was less-than-ideal is an understatement, and a lot of the pho­tos ended up being not-that-fantastic. But, through the power of Photoshop magic, I was able to en­hance them enough that, through white balance and contrasting, they look decent.

Shortly after I got back home from having dinner with the students and their families after the exa­min­a­tion, I posted 63 cropped and enhanced photos to Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page.

For the video footage, I clipped out the interesting parts and put them together in a compilation (and threw in some photos for short slideshow segments as well).

Yes, I am very much against Facebook video because they are essentially thieves, don’t compensate their content creators, and don’t react appropriately to copyright takedown requests.

But, I decided to upload this video to Facebook anyway because I used a copyrighted song in the back­ground (to which I synchronized the transitions), and I wouldn’t have been able to monetize it any­way.



I am returning to Draenor for a month

I started playing World of Warcraft during the Mists of Pandaria expansion back in March of 2014. I con­tinued playing until May, at which point I felt as if I got the fundamentals of World of Warcraft down, and took a break. The main reason I played back then was to understand the basics of what World of Warcraft was about.

Over a year later, during June of 2015, I redeemed a free seven-day subscription voucher that I received from Blizzard. My main motivator for redeeming the voucher and playing again was to get to Level 100, the new level cap, so I could earn a mount in Heroes of the Storm in a cross-game promotion.

Unfortunately, during that seven-day period, I fell short and ended up running out of time at Level 94.

About a month and a half later, Blizzard offered me another voucher, which I redeemed for a second week of free game time. That time, I was determined to reach my goal of Level 100, and I succeeded – I leveled my Shadow Priest to 100, and earned my mount in Heroes of the Storm.

Since then, I barely even thought much about World of Warcraft until four months later, in November, when I randomly pre-ordered the new upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Legion. I made a blog post on the sixth of this month sharing my pre-order and wondering how Blizzard’s marketing managed to get me to get a game that I barely play.

Now that I am the somewhat proud owner of Legion, I decided that I might as well play World of Warcraft again for a month to get back into it for a little bit and prepare myself for the expansion. So, I picked up a one-month subscription and signed back in.

To get used to the controls again, I made a new character – a Blood Elf Warlock on the Hyjal server. I set up my system and interface settings, organized my action bars, and started getting into the rhythm of World of Warcraft again. I also got a glimpse at what a Horde character is like.

This screenshot is of a few achievements I earned after hitting Level 20; I ended up continuing to level until I reached 24.

Afterwards, I went back on my Shadow Priest and transferred to a PvE server.

I was originally on a PvP server because the person with whom I originally played misadvised me and failed to tell me how dumb open-world PvP was. I decided that now was the time to move on to a normal server, and switched over to Lightbringer.

I still had all my heirloom leveling gear on my Shadow Priest, but that didn’t stop me from jumping straight into end-game content. With an item level just barely high enough to queue up for heroic dun­geons and basic raids, I started completing content.

Sources: http://youtube.com/watch?v=bTyiEEw-qsI & http://youtube.com/watch?v=fQsMlWKloqg

It took a long time to reach Level 100 because I felt pressured at the time, as if it was a grind and a race to Level 100 just to get the mount.

But, now that I have no goal to be an external motivator, I’m focusing more on enjoying the game, and it’s a lot more fun than what I had originally thought.

The biggest problem with the map system being poor still exists, but it’s not as salient to me anymore because I’m spending most of my time in instances and questing on Draenor. If I do end up finishing all the Draenor content and wanting to go back to farm achievements, then I’ll probably get frustrated at the map again. But, for now, it’s bearable.

Overall, from the first few days of playing World of Warcraft again, I’m glad that I decided to play for a month, and the experience so far has been enjoyable. I’m hoping that this lasts long-term, through the entire month, so I can get the most out of my subscription time.



“How to get the most out of Sylvanas’ abilities”

Tempo Storm’s YouTube channel has been idle, but not for long! I recorded, edited, and uploaded another video today, this time focusing on how to get the most out of Sylvanas’ abilities.

Source: http://youtu.be/TT0dc5PhZCk, via http://YouTube.com/TempoStormHeroes

Compared to the other videos, this one is a lot more “simple.” It goes over some lesser-known tips about Sylvanas’ abilities, but the general topic is a lot more basic than past videos.

This is also the first video where I was actually an expert on the topic about which I was talking.

For my first Tempo Storm video – sure, I can play Kael’thas, and I have him leveled up, but I personally feel as if I always underperform with him.

As for my second one about the most cost-effective heroes for Hero League, I never really thought too hard about it, because I just bought all the cheapest heroes, in order of price. Then, once I actually started playing, I spammed only Sylvanas in Hero League (without an intent to fill other roles), so it’s not like I had knowledge on the topic from experience.

But, I actually main Sylvanas, and she’s my highest-leveled hero. Because of this, for this video, I was able to confidently modify the original writer’s content to better fit a style that I wanted to achieve.

If you have any feedback on the video, please send it to me via a comment on either this blog post or di­rectly on the YouTube video. I’ll be making another video of this style in the coming days, so if you think I did something critically wrong for this video, let me know so I can ponder it before recording the next one.



I read another thing

I should probably come up with better titles, rather than just continuing on this trend…

Anyway, I converted another one of Tempo Storm’s articles into a video today for their channel.

I’m on my own for about a week or so because the entire professional Heroes of the Storm team is cur­rent­ly at BlizzCon, competing for the world championships. Seeing as I was picked up as a kind of Internet polymath, I am now taking on the responsibility of creating a video at least every few days to keep the channel occupied while the team is away.

The most recent video I created was about the top ten cost-effective heroes that you should buy first if you’re interested in getting into ranked play as quickly as possible.

Source: http://youtu.be/PXTBvmDyUeY, via http://YouTube.com/TempoStormHeroes

If you have any feedback on the video, please send it to me via a comment on either this blog post or di­rectly on the YouTube video. I’ll be making another video of this style in the coming days, so if you think I did something critically wrong for this video, let me know so I can ponder it before recording the next one.



I read a thing

As a continuation from “I made a thing” from two days ago, today, I read a thing.

A lot of the writers on Tempo Storm produce some pretty good content, but most of the pieces aren’t re­al­ly getting the exposure that I think they deserve. So, to expand on the reach of this content, I decided to pick out my favorite articles and turn them into videos.

The first one I decided to do was Corey Tincher’s “Top 7 Tips to Help You Master Kael’thas.”

Source: http://youtu.be/ZJUxZhWsZBE, via http://YouTube.com/TempoStormHeroes

I went through his article at the end of a recent stream session, then edited in some notes on the screen to make it easier to follow along.

If you have any feedback on the video, please send it to me via a comment on either this blog post or directly on the YouTube video. I’ll be making another video of this style in the coming days, so if you think I did something critically wrong for this video, let me know so I can ponder it before recording the next one.



Ironside Malphite – New skin preview on LoL PBE, full game highlights

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=wwIGTm9EF9g&list=PLKQUciHiP2v4FC-81KQi_y3eFTITpiftc

Ironside Malphite is a new, unreleased skin only available on the League of Legends beta server (PBE). I cut up some highlights from a game I played with him earlier today.

Apparently the Kindred on the enemy team was Pawnce, a well-known entertainer who produces a lot of PBE content. I didn’t realize it until after the game, but when I went to his channel to watch a VOD of the live stream, I discovered that apparently the Rengar against which I laned was a mega troll.

(This video isn’t endorsed by Riot Games and doesn’t reflect the views or opinions of Riot Games or any­one officially involved in producing or managing League of Legends. League of Legends and Riot Games are trade­marks or registered trademarks of Riot Games, Inc. League of Legends © Riot Games, Inc.)



Stream VOD TL;DW Highlights: Fashionably Pink Nova

I posted some screenshots yesterday of reaching Level 10 with Nova and buying her master skin so I can start sniping people in fashionable pink.

In celebration, I booted up my epicly slow DSL Internet connection and live streamed at an impressive 1k bitrate for about three hours today.

I normally just upload the VOD to my secondary gaming archive channel on YouTube, but I decided to do something a bit different this time and clip out the most interesting parts of the stream, turning a three-hour-long video into just over 12 minutes.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3IN51LVCE8

If you’ve noticed, edited videos have been a recurring theme for the past week or so, and it’s something that I would like to continue doing.

Obviously, uploading full-length VODs is the easy way out, but I’d like to at least put a little bit more effort into my content to make it more interesting and appealing to watch to the general audience.

This stream session didn’t go too well in terms of performance because I’m not that great with Nova, but it was definitely a fun experience.

Nova has a unique playstyle unlike any other character I’ve played (because I don’t play Zeratul, and stealth champions in League of Legends can’t randomly blow someone up with one spell rotation). Although I might not be the best at carrying out this playstyle, it’s definitely exciting.

Now that Nova is Level 10, I’ll be focusing more on another hero as my next project (but I haven’t completely decided on which one yet). I already have Valla, Nazeebo, and Kael’thas near hero mastery, so I might end up going for one of those heroes next.

But, of course, this doesn’t mean I’m retiring Nova permanently – I’ll still be pulling her out once in a while for quick match games when I want to have some fun.



“Nobody really talks like that!” – Zyra mid vs. Viktor in LoL ranked solo

Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=EgEp9Qro7b8&list=PLKQUciHiP2v4FC-81KQi_y3eFTITpiftc

Earlier today, I played a game of League of Legends as Zyra mid against Viktor in a ranked solo queue game in low gold league.

Similar to the PROJECT: Lucian skin preview video I released yesterday, I decided to cut up this video and only include highlights and funny moments, instead of putting up the entire VOD.

Normally, I don’t read the comments on my videos and almost never pay attention to chat when I’m live streaming. I understand that this isn’t exactly the most optimal way to produce content, because fan interaction is important, but the few annoying people who spam and constantly post memes ruined it for those who actually have genuine messages. (However, to make up for this, I always make sure to answer personal emails and comments left on my website.)

For some reason, I decided to break up the routine and read the comments on my videos earlier today. I noticed one from a user who mentioned that my voice completely changed a minute and a half into one of my videos, and he knew that I was faking the accent because nobody actually really talks like that, sup­pos­ed­ly.

I decided to humorously address this commenter in today’s video by claiming that the Chinese-accented voice was actually my real voice, and that I occasionally fake an American accent just to throw people off. I assumed that would be the end of that joke, and figured that the random commenter wouldn’t actually see my response to him.

Boy, was I wrong, and am I glad that I was wrong. Apparently, the person who left that comment about my accent is actually a regular viewer of my secondary gaming channel, and he left a comment on this vid­eo letting me know that now he’s somewhat convinced because my League of Legends in-game lan­guage is in Korean.

So, now I’m not sure what has happened – I can’t figure out if I successfully trolled this guy into thinking that I actually really do have a Chinese accent as my normal voice, or if he’s trolling me into thinking that I successfully trolled him, even though I didn’t.

I wish more people like this guy existed so I would actually enjoy reading comments on my videos and chat on my live stream.

(This video isn’t endorsed by Riot Games and doesn’t reflect the views or opinions of Riot Games or any­one officially involved in producing or managing League of Legends. League of Legends and Riot Games are trade­marks or registered trademarks of Riot Games, Inc. League of Legends © Riot Games, Inc.)