Yesterday, I went through a detailed overview of Kharazim, the new melee support hero on Heroes of the Storm. I listed off the abilities and talents, showed some of the skin variations, and expressed some of my initial thoughts on the hero. Today, I have a video of Kharazim, as well as the new map and the new A.I. difficulty. Source: http://youtube.com/watch?v=nkPaq2yziTM&list=PLKQUciHiP2v5LxXZ7F6a21HIbLO8tT3PD I wasn’t exactly too willing to buy Kharazim for $9.99 (because you can only make real-money purchases on the PTR). It’s not that I’m not willing to spend money on Heroes of the Storm; it’s just that Kharazim is a support hero and I most likely won’t really ever play him on the live servers. Fortunately, one of my allies didn’t think the same way that I did, and I was able to watch Kharazim in action, as played by one of my teammates. The video also shows Infernal Shrines, the new map being released during the Eternal Conflict. It is again another Diablo-themed map, where your objective is to activate shrines, defeat guardians, and release punishers that roll through the enemy structures. And finally, this was all done in a Versus A.I. game, which shows the improvements made to the Elite bots. Apparently the Elite difficulty mode still isn’t even done in development, so I’m guessing that the bots will become even harder once the development is done. As I mentioned in a previous patch notes reaction blog post, I’m glad they’re doing more with the Versus A.I. mode for the people who prefer PvE over PvP. These elite bots are definitely a lot better than the bots we have now. On live servers, the bots will basically tank everything you throw at them until they are at low health, but these elite bots will actually move out of the way of skillshots.
The hero revealed at Gamescom 2015 is now on the HotS PTR – Kharazim, the Veradani Monk, a melee support. His abilities are:
- [Trait] Pick Your Trait
Choose between Transcendence, Iron Fists, and Insight from the Talent panel.
- [Q] Radiant Dash
Mana: 30, Charge Cooldown: 12 sec.
Jump to an ally or enemy. Enemies are immediately hit with a basic attack.
- [W] Breath of Heaven
Mana: 60, Cooldown: 8 sec.
Heal nearby Heroes for 108 and give them 10% MoveSpeed for 3 seconds.
- [E] Deadly Reach
Mana: 50, Cooldown: 10 sec.
Your next Basic Attack increases your Attack Speed and Attack Range by 100% for 2 seconds.
- [R] Seven-Sided Strike
Mana: 77, Cooldown: 50 sec.
Become Invulnerable and strike 7 times over 2 sec. Each strike hits the highest Health nearby Hero for 7% of their max Health.
- [R] Divine Palm
Mana: 50, Cooldown: 60 sec.
Protect an allied Hero from death, causing them to be healed for 500 if they take fatal damage in the next 3 sec.
- [R] Ancestral Healing
Mana: 80, Cooldown: 70 sec.
After a short delay, heal an allied Hero for 600 Health.
- Level 1
- Transcendence: Every 3rd Basic Attack heals the lowest nearby allied Hero for 40.
- Iron Fists: Every 3rd Basic Attack deals 100% bonus damage.
- Insight: Every 3rd Basic Attack restores 12 mana.
- Level 4
- Foresight: Radiant Dash reveals the area around the target for 3 sec. Only one area can be revealed at a time.
- Overtake: Basic Attacks while Deadly Reach is active increase your MoveSpeed by 30% for 2 sec.
- Healing Ward: Place a ward on the ground that heals allies in an area for 2% of their max Health every sec. for 10 sec.
- Protective Shield: Shield an allied Hero for 15% of their max Health for 5 sec.
- Level 7
- Echo of Heaven: Breath of Heaven heals a 2nd time 2 sec. later for 50%.
- Way of the Hundred Fists: Radiant Dashing to an enemy causes you to launch a volley of blows dealing 180 total damage instead of a Basic Attack.
- Clairvoyance: Reveal an area for 10 sec. Enemies in the area are revealed for 4 sec.
- Cleanse: Remove all stuns, roots, silences, and slows from the target and reduce the duration of their reapplication by 50% for 2 sec.
- Level 10: Seven-Sided Strike or Divine Palm
- Level 13
- Quicksilver: Radiant Dashing to an ally gives you and the target 30% bonus MoveSpeed for 3 sec.
- Spell Shield: Upon taking Ability Damage, reduce that damage and further Ability Damage by 50% for 3 sec. Can only trigger once every 30 sec.
- Relentless: Reduces the duration of silences, stuns, slows, and roots against your Hero by 50%.
- Fists of Fury: Increases Deadly Reach’s duration by 50%.
- Level 16
- Soothing Breeze: Breath of Heaven removes silences, blinds, slows, and roots.
- Circle of Life: Increase Breath of Heaven’s healing by 10% for each other Hero in the cast range.
- Blinding Speed: Decreases Radiant Dash’s cooldown by 2 sec. and increases the maximum number of charges by 1.
- Blazing Fists: Every 3rd Basic Attack reduces the cooldown of Deadly Reach by 1 sec.
- Level 20
- Transgression: Seven-Sided Strike hits 4 additional times.
- Peaceful Repose: Divine Palm’s cooldown is set to 5 sec. if the Hero does not die.
- Storm Shield: Shield all nearby allied Heroes for 20% of their max Health for 3 sec.
- Epiphany: Activate to restore 33% of your max Mana and refill 2 charges of Radiant Dash.
Blizzard released a set of patch notes yesterday for the Heroes of the Storm Public Test Realm as a preview of what’s to come in the next patch: Heroes of the Storm PTR Patch Notes – August 10, 2015 (via Battle.net) There’s a lot of content in those patch notes, but I decided to go over the items that I liked or particularly caught my attention. Items may now be purchased from the PTR Shop using real money. I’m glad that Blizzard is including store purchases in their test realm, and compensating testers for their purchases by providing the same items for free on the live servers. This hints at the fact that this test realm is actually there for testing as many things about the game as possible. This, of course, contradicts what I discussed yesterday about the League of Legends Public Beta Environment – how bugs are often reported but rarely fixed, and make it to the live servers anyway, which suggests that the PBE exists as a showcase environment rather than a bug testing environment. Add Diablo to Your Hero Collection Something I heard about in a previous patch notes release is that bundles will become dynamic bundles, and you will be refunded for any heroes that you purchased twice as a result of purchasing a bundle. Small things like this that are essentially insignificant to Blizzard (it’s probably irrelevant to them if they reward you with 10,000 gold so you can purchase another hero) can mean a lot to players. I qualify for a few heroes in the dynamic bundle refund system, and I’m hoping that they do something similar to this Diablo update, where if you own Diablo III and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, you earn Diablo for free. I’m looking forward to getting several thousand gold back so I can get closer to completing my entire collection. Malthael’s Phantom If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts regarding Blizzard games, you probably know that one thing I absolutely love about Blizzard games is how they’re all intertwined. For example, I played World of Warcraft recently because I was able to get a free mount in Heroes of the Storm once I reached Level 100 on a character in WoW (again, not really a mount I would use, but as I said, it’s all about completing the collection). Malthael’s Phantom is another mount you can get by reaching Level 70 with a character on Diablo III during Season 4. This is probably the one update I’m most excited about, because this mount actually looks pretty amazing and I will most likely use it on a lot of heroes. This also brings exposure to their other games and encourages players to try them out. Although I have a level-capped character on Diablo III with over 250ish Paragon levels, I still have no clue how the Season system works. Because of this in-game promotion, Blizzard has successfully given me enough motivation to try out that aspect of Diablo III when the next season rolls around. New Portrait Rewards These new portrait rewards are all about the goals. Sure, just playing the game is fun, but having these rewards as external motivators makes it even better. These portraits take quite a bit of time to achieve. For example, playing 50 games will take quite some time and dedication, especially when it has to be done within the Eternal Conflict period. Getting Level 10 on two or three heroes will also take a substantial amount of time, and aren’t easy rewards. I like that this increases the range of difficulty of rewards. Those who like short-term and easy rewards can just level heroes and get small gold rewards and skin color unlocks, while veterans and advanced players have these big goals to which they can look forward. Versus A.I. Finally, the last thing I’m somewhat excited about is the improvements to the Versus A.I. mode. When I first started playing League of Legends, I played almost exclusively with Ed (who you might know better as Grainyrice), and he was particularly fond of playing bot games. Unfortunately, back then, bots were very basic in League of Legends, and it got pretty boring, pretty quickly. I like that Blizzard is implementing A.I. improvements to HotS because it shows they recognize that some people just don’t really like PvP, and would rather work together as a team to take down a computerized opponent. There is also a Versus A.I. section on the profile that is supposedly coming soon, so I like that they’re adding more diversity into the game with different game modes, and no matter what you choose to do in Heroes of the Storm, you can show off your achievements in your profile.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8gRH_W5IOE After doing an Academy Ahri skin preview a few days ago, I wanted to showcase some of the other Academy skins. The only other champion I play with an Academy skin is Vladimir. I’ve never played Ekko before (and don’t really plan on it right now); and I hate the new Darius rework because it feels clunky and unelegant. When I tried out the new “juggernaut” Darius, I ended up having a mirror match-up in top lane. Not only do I absolutely hate mirror match-ups, but apparently I was also against someone who wanted to win really badly, because he did a jungle camp at level 1 and teleported into lane at level 2. I swear that every time I went to hit him with Decimate, he would also use the ability, I would literally heal him, while he chunks down a quarter of my health bar. The Darius right now is fluid, responsive, and fun to play. He always has kill pressure onto you, and if you’re engaged in an extended 1v1 fight against him, you know that you’re going to get executed once you get low. The new Darius on the PBE feels laggy. His Decimate now heals you if you hit someone (which is completely counterintuitive to Darius’ personality and playstyle). His passive stacks randomly don’t apply once in a while. His slow is like a stun wannabe. I’m guessing that the reason I think he feels unresponsive is because I was laning against another Darius, and now basically all Darius does is slow you and tickle you to death. Unfortunately, once he tags a slow on you, there’s absolutely no way you’re getting away, so you’re forced to fight a mirror match-up Darius that you know is stronger than you because he got an early lead. Overall, once the juggernaut Darius changes get pushed to the live servers, I’m going to miss the old Darius. Anyway … the results of my Vladimir game has been embedded above. I had a pretty easy time early game because my laning opponent didn’t really have much of a clue as to what she was doing. Unfortunately, this sort of gave me a false sense of confidence because I assumed the entire enemy team would be as bad as their Katarina, and I got a bit reckless around Draven. After dying twice to him, we managed to get a surrender from the enemy team, and I ended the game 9/2/8.
Because of the recent juggernaut changes, a new meta is emerging on the League of Legends PBE, with a lot of Mordekaisers appearing in the bottom lane. This strategy will end up working, but it relies heavily on one of three things happening late game in order to be able to siege turrets without a marksman. The first option, least reliant on the team, is for Mordekaiser to use his ultimate on the enemy team’s marksman, then using the ghost to siege turrets. The second option is to have a marksman in the middle lane. The third option, that requires the most coordination and has the least reliability, is to have a heavy poke composition that will push the enemies away from defending turrets. Luckily, this hasn’t really become a huge problem yet on the PBE. The main reason is because there is usually a Mordekaiser vs. Mordekaiser mirror match-up in the bottom lane, and neither team has a marksman. A secondary reason is because the players are so bad that these kinds of strategies become irrelevant due to the abundance of mistakes made in every game. In the games I played on the PBE, I played two ability power assassins in the middle lane to showcase gameplay of new skins coming up. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EJMiaJSBbo The first game was with Cottontail Fizz. I was laning against Diana. Usually, I have a lot of difficulty beating Diana. She, along with Katarina and Riven, are three champions who I will crush in lane early levels, but then randomly die to, out of nowhere, once we reach level 6-8. (The fourth magical champion to use to defeat me is Yasuo, and with him, I will just get pissed off at the fact that he exists and lose to bronze players starting from before the game even begins.) Luckily, I did fine this game, and ended up forcing a surrender a little before half an hour (which is pretty quick for low-level games, seeing as nobody ever wants to group and pressure their base when we’re ahead). At the end of the game, I get a little bit of a shock when I discover that Mordekaiser can now not only control champions, but also control dragon with his ultimate. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlM4wv9MWXA The second game I played was with Academy Ahri. Academy Ahri is a skin being released along with the Academy skin series, with Vladimir, Darius, and Ekko being the other members of the set. This game went on a lot longer than the previous one, and again, being a low-level game, nobody was eager to press forward into the enemy base to win the game. Towards the end of the game, our Darius was just farming the jungle while the rest of us were trying to kill turrets, and when an ally confronted him about it, he said that he was “testing out the jungle” because he was on the PBE. In an hope to make him realize how stupid he sounded, I also sat back and began to play passively, farming the jungle and ignoring my team. When asked what I was doing, I gave the same response as Darius. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of my allies were skilled enough to actually see a problem with that. Regardless, the point of playing on the PBE is to try out the new skins before they’re released, and that’s what I got to do. I guess that’s a privilege on its own, and I shouldn’t also be seeking the privilege of winning games as well. (Contrary to popular belief, the point of the PBE IS NOT to find and report bugs. Bugs are regularly found and reported from PBE testing, and a majority of them make it through to the live release. These bugged features then promptly get disabled from live as they seek out fixes because they didn’t tend to them when the PBE community reported the problems earlier.)
After two pretty tough weeks of having to look after the family business and take care of our dog by myself, it seems like I’ve gotten a little bit of a fever. Believe it or not, taking care of the dog is actually more difficult than running the family business. It’s hard to imagine exactly how much work it takes to keep this dog entertained because she’s so small, but it’s unbelieveable (without even mentioning how many times she needs to go to the bathroom in a single day). Something that I like to do when I’m sick is eat McDonald’s and play RuneScape. McDonald’s is my comfort food, and RuneScape brings back memories of the old days – it basically puts me in a very relaxed mood that helps me recover. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts from the past few weeks, you know that I’ve been grinding quite a bit of RuneScape lately, and decided to take a short break from it after my membership ran out at the end of July. Today, I saw a news post about changes to player-owned houses, and I thought that I was going to resubscribe right away. I like creating things on my own, and the Construction skill lets me do that. There have been talks from Jagex about the Construction and player-owned house systems getting an overhaul, and I’ve been excited to see what they can do to make it better. I thought that update came today. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I read through the news article and patch notes, and realized that there wasn’t really an actual update to player-owned houses. They made it so homes can be set to day or night (and it’s just that – a setting – it’s not a day/night cycle). They also implemented individualized designs, where basically it can look like you have a home fit for a desert, sitting on top of a lawn of luscious green grass. I was hoping that construction training would become more useful and less grind-heavy. I was hoping we could rearrange our rooms and redesign our layout without having to destroy our entire home. I was hoping that the build interface would be improved so we could upgrade things rather than having to destroy and rebuild them. None of that happened today, and my high hopes were let down. I’ll definitely be remaining a non-member for a little bit longer. It would be pretty nice if Jagex got a little bit more creative with their updates. For example, they’re constantly introducing new outfits into Solomon’s General Store. I’m not sure if they’ve realized this yet or not, but you can only wear one outfit at a time. This somewhat deincentivises people from continuing to buy from Solomon’s General Store, seeing as pretty much all they release are new costumes. Why not integrate Solomon’s General Store better into the game and provide aesthetic upgrades for in-game content? For example, why not release a pack of skin overrides for your player-owned home so you can get some new fancy building materials for your home? There are a lot of crazy and innovative things Jagex can do with their game, and unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like they’re thinking outside the box that well. Yes, I’m sure that I’m being particularly critical because I’ve been so demoralized by the poor quality of this player-owned house update, especially because this has been the one update I’ve been waiting for, for so long. But still, I’m sure that most of us can agree that Solomon’s General Store can be put to better use than for massive pet dragons that take up a quarter of your screen.
A little under half a year ago, I finished the first three acts of Path of Exile on normal difficulty. At that time, I was beginning to enjoy games more that had good storylines integrated into the gameplay. I had recently finished playing the Diablo III storyline, and I was interested in playing something more, similar to Diablo. Five months later, I went back to Path of Exile to try out their new expansion, the Awakening, and got around to finishing all the new content. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOolLg5EZnI Back on the 30th of last month (which was two days ago), I finished patching and booted up the game while I was visiting my martial arts academy with my dog (which I’m sure you know plenty about if you’ve been keeping up with me for the past few weeks). At first I didn’t really know what I was doing, but then I realized that in order to play the new content, I needed to go back to the final quest of the former final act in normal mode and re-defeat the boss. Luckily, it was a lot easier this time than it was last time – I recall dying over 30 times the first time I tried killing the final boss of the third act, but in this attempt, I managed to succeed with single-digit deaths. Once that was over, I teleported myself over to the new map and started up Act 4. Path of Exile is a pretty difficult game compared to other games on “normal” mode. I was reminded of this over and over again when I died over and over again throughout the entire stream session. One thing I really like about the new act is the detail they put into the creatures’ designs. I generally play on minimal graphics settings because I play from a laptop, and I want the gameplay to remain as smooth as possible, even when streaming. Even then, when I zoomed in, a lot of the creatures were still pretty eerie. At the end of the day, I managed to make good progress into Act 4. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qia6KNuDOGw Earlier today, I booted Path of Exile back up to finish up Act 4. As expected, it had a very difficult final boss, and I ended up dying over 30 times, which is about the same as when I first fought the old final boss from before the expansion. Afterwards, I moved on to Cruel mode to continue leveling for a little bit. The original reason why I had not continued on into Cruel mode half a year ago when I started playing again is because I was playing the game mostly for the storyline, and wasn’t really too interested in immediately repeating the same content on a higher difficulty. Luckily, half a year is plenty of time for me to not have the storyline fresh in my mind, so I was willing to play through it again a bit before ending the stream. One unfortunate (but valid) thing that happens in Cruel difficulty is XP loss as a penalty for death. Although you can’t level down from death, you lose 5% of your XP if you die. This means that the easy days are over, and I can no longer play recklessly. If I encounter a boss, I’ll actually have to keep my distance to identify its mechanics and dodge abilities, rather than bum rushing it and respawning an unlimited number of times. I’m not too sure how much longer I’ll be replaying the older content in Path of Exile at this point, but I’m sure I’ll find the motivation to at least play it for a few more stream sessions before searching for a different gaming project. It is a little bit difficult to continue playing because I’m looking for more of a relaxing and casual game to play, and trying not to die will take a lot more focus; we’ll see what I end up doing soon.
I’ve got two more League of Legends ranked solo/duo queue games, one against Galio and one against Lux, both in the middle lane as Heimerdinger. The first video is a duo queue game that I played with Del. When we play together, he and I basically lose about 90% of our games. I’m not sure why he still invites me to games. The second game was a solo queue game, and is a bit more interesting. Sources: http://youtube.com/watch?v=_lKdF2YvVcI & http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZdzacsatPYU The first game was extraordinarily frustrating, to say the least. Del is low silver, so when I duo with him, I generally play with people who have absolutely no clue what they’re doing, and often actually do the very exact opposite of what you ask them to do. We could’ve easily won the game not long after 20 minutes, but for some reason, my team decided it wanted to play passively and give the enemy team an opportunity to catch up. There is an open inhibitor at top lane, so I tell everyone to stop what they’re doing, group together, and push top to get the inhibitor. Killing the inhibitor that early into the game means one person must be occupied at all times clearing the minions. I specifically tell our pants-on-head retarded AD carry to ignore the splitpushing Gangplank. We can trade; Gangplank can get our outer bottom turret and we can kill his inhibitor. But as we know, a random guy who has played 200 games this season and is still struggling in silver is much better than me. Sivir proceeds to ignore my instructions, goes bottom, fails to save our bottom outer turret, then dies in a 1v1 against Gangplank. That’s just one example. Stuff like this happens throughout the entire game. The second game went a lot better. My entire team wasn’t doing that great early on in the game, but we started playing extremely aggressively. We grouped early and caught the opponents off guard, invading their side of the map and viciously rotating until we were in control. Luckily, this worked because, in my solo queue game, the rest of my team were followers, rather than people who think they’re leaders (like the Sivir) and make their own decisions when they’re stupid and wrong. I don’t understand how Del enjoys playing this game.
A few days ago, I was getting some work done at our family business when the batteries in a piece of equipment died. Of course, logically following my level of luck, this happened while I was using the equipment. I needed this piece of equipment to finish what I was doing, so I decided to go to the local hardware store to buy some batteries. Great news! I managed to buy an eight-pack of Duracell D-size batteries for about $11. This was a huge summer savings deal – so huge that this pack of eight brand-name batteries was cheaper than a pack of four generic batteries. Now note that I said this was a pack of eight batteries. As in, ONE pack. Not eight individual batteries. I brought this ONE item to the check-out. What you see in this photograph is the pack of eight batteries with six of them removed (which are currently being used to power the equipment). Next to the pack, you see the six old dead batteries. Then you see a receipt. I conveniently placed a foot-long ruler there for scale. Thank you, Ace Hardware, for giving me a 16″ receipt for my purchase of one item.
We did it! The second time’s a charm. After four more hours of gameplay and grinding a lot faster than anticipated, I made it from level 96 to level 100 in the past few days. Sources: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZOBy0rmvzu8 & http://youtube.com/watch?v=CehEYtHz4RY I’m nowhere near completing the actual content of the expansion, but I still reached my goal of hitting Level 100 before my seven-day free subscription ran out. It was actually remarkably close, as I finished with only about two hours to spare. In the first stream session, I realize that the dungeon quests help me out quite a bit in terms of leveling efficiency. I also skipped the remainder of the area I was originally at, and moved on to a different area better fit for my level. I ended up getting over 20,000 experience for each quest, and that helped me level astronomically quickly. The second stream session starts when I’m level 99, which means I did do a little bit of leveling off stream in between the two days. The second stream was broadcasted from my martial arts academy, which is why you hear a lot of background noise. The staff at the academy were watching a TV show of some sort before classes began, which is why it’s very dark for a majority of the stream. This does mean that I finally got my mount in Heroes of the Storm. As I’ve most likely mentioned before, I’m probably never going to use this mount unless there is a new hero or skin released that matches well with its style. Regardless, I like having large collections of things, and this wolf is one more thing to add to it.