Saturday, January 30, 2010

League of Legends

So recently I’ve been playing Guinsoo’s (the 3rd guy to patch the DotA Map for Warcraft, also the one who did a lot and made DotA what it is today before handing it over to IceFrog) new project, League of Legends. League of Legends is a game in the vein of DotA, 5v5, 3 lanes, 40 heroes, last hitting, ganking and team pushes. However, the game has a lot of differences as well. Off the top of my head the differences are: only one mode for now, as well as no denying, no blocking creeps and pulling creeps is much, much harder. Also, runes have been messed with. They are much less used now I’d say because you don’t have a bottle-like item.

However, I think the differences are good. One of DotA’s problems is the game has such a crazy learning curve. I’ve played games with newbies in both DotA and League of Legends and its not fun. People, seriously, just move up the lane, never falling back, and let the towers hit them. League of Legend’s TUTORIAL says not to get hit by the tower. *sigh*

Anyways, comparing the game directly to DotA, League of Legends is awesome. It’s a microtransation based game, so its free to download and free to play, but certain special items require you to pay money. The game has 40 heroes, but you need to buy them in order to play them. Every week about 10-12 heroes are made available for free, and the game rotates these heroes so new players can try all the different heroes.

The game has heroes in the vein of DotA: Support, Tank, Mage, Assassin, etc. Each hero has 4 spells and a passive. Some of the spells have a passive element. The game also has some other elements unique to it. Every game you play your account gain’s experience and Influence Points (IPs). As your account level’s up, you can unlock “Masteries” which give your heroes small bonuses, as well as “summoner spells” (semi-powerful spells with large cooldowns, that, when used correctly, will change the game quite a bit) and “runes”. Runes are small upgrades you purchase with IPs that effect your hero. Stuff like 5 extra HP or .30 chance for critical strike. It’s not a lot, but get 7-8 runes and you can improve your character a decent bit.

The heroes themselves are well thought out. I haven’t found a very imba hero in this week’s batch of heroes, and I’ve played against/with all of them. I think the coolest heroes are probably Twisted Fate (Ganker/Carry) and Master Yi (Melee DPS/Carry). The fun thing about the heroes is, like DotA, the developers have a sense of humor in hero names. Heroes like Master Yi have jokes built into them. For instance, Master Yi is a Martial-Artist skilled in “wuju,” wuju being a combination of two of the game developers’ names.

I think the game has promise. It only has 40 heroes right now, but if they can make all the heroes interesting and useful (let’s be honest, who actually plays Sylabear? And troll doesn’t get much action nowadays either, sadly) then they should only need 60ish heroes, not the 90+ that DotA boasts.

Of course, there is a learning curve, even for DotA players like me. I still haven’t figured out how to Jungle properly in this game (I was just figuring it out… kinda… in DotA) and of course there are about 100ish items and I don’t know them all.

Then again, I appear to know more about the game than some people I’ve played with. I’ve gotten some mixed groups. I think one of the problems is the matchmaking system isn’t perfect. It has limited information so it will make mistakes. For instance, if the game looked at my account, right now, it would see I’m a newbie who knows a little bit of what I’m doing. However, actually I have played DotA for a long time and while the heroes and items of League of Legends are new, I myself am very familiar with the tactics involved: ganking, farming, last hitting, lane control. I know it all. So the result is I’ve played with noobs who don’t know the first thing about the tactics, and people who, like me, understand how to properly gank and push.

I’m just hoping as I level up and my wins increase and my kills increase I’ll get placed with better players and avoid the “hero gets killed by creeps” syndrome. Actually, funny story, I started a game and I’m bot with another player as Master Yi. Master Yi attacks the enemy hero before the creeps come, but chases the enemy PAST THE TOWER and dies. *headdesk* one of my allies types, “oh, its another one of those games.”

We did win that game, however. But wow, Master Yi did not understand the game. After we had cleared all the towers and gotten super creeps in one lane he responds with “are we winning?” I wanted to say, “No duH?! Please… learn to play properly!” But I was nice to him. Actually, being mean to noobs isn’t something that I’d ever do, because it’s not very… nice… still, it’s frustrating when you charge the enemy and realize no one followed you and you’re now dead.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

DotA is an interesting game. What I think is most interesting about it is how much of a team game it is, and, furthermore, how it is so possible to play it on a lot of different levels.

I mean, I’m basically at a level where I will stop noobs pretty easily. I understand the different roles of heroes beyond Intel = nukers, Agi = carry, and Str = tank. That is, at the basic level, how the game works, but it’s a lot deeper than that. Some Intel heroes are nuker/gankers, but others are support heroes. Some Str heroes have powerful disables or chasing abilities. At least one plays like an intel hero (Pitlord). A lot of agi heroes shouldn’t be built into carries (some shouldn’t really even be played… :P).

Anyways, that was a ramble, but I’ve realized now how invaluable certain types of heroes are. Support heroes with multiple stuns/disables really can help kill people. Lich, Crystal Maiden, Rhasta, they’re just GOOD. And they hardly need any gold to build themselves. All Crystal Maiden need, seriously, is 3520 gold, the rest she can spend on wards and chicken. In comparison, a carry like moon rider wants 13750 gold to get a “super imba” build (Treads, Satanic, Butterfly). You need both in the team… but its interesting how some heroes are item dependent, and others aren’t.

What I think is the real genius of DotA is how Icefrog and Guinsoo managed to make such a complicated and strategically deep game (you think we’re a bunch of geeks messing around wasting our live? Think again. There is a LOT of strategy that goes into building a team of DotA Heroes and then properly working tougher to beat the enemy. Ganking, Farming, Pushing and Lanning take a LOT of teamwork and strategy to do properly) with what is a very simple system. Its actually one of the reasons I’m very happy to see games like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth come up now because they can create their version of DotA from starch, without having to worry about what limitations Blizzard has put on them.

And wow, I’m rambling. But anyways, DotA is a great game. Its funny, because I’ve slowly, slowly become more and more interested in the game. When I first started playing, it was a fun way to enjoy myself. I played with friends and learned how to play with a few different heroes. I learned the “noob” heroes, ranged agi carries like Drow and Sniper. Now I can probably play just about any hero to one degree of success or another. I’m probably not the best ganker and I do best with heroes with higher levels of health or ranged attacks (or… both ^_^) but I can manage probably. My only complaint is that I’m not in the position to play in a clan and properly play in tourements. It’s still basically “for fun” with my friends. Now, while that’s well and good, in a lot of ways I wish we could rack up the competitiveness a bit.

On another completely separate note, I wonder that if the UN and the US could do a quick surgical war against North Korea if it would be viable for South Korea, Japan and China to pick up the pieces. Of course we have to first assume China isn’t actually going to go berserk on the US and screw the economy (which is, I admit, a plausible reaction), but let’s say they let the US attack… I think that might solve a lot of problems in that nation. Shame it’s not gonna happen given the current global economic crisis.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thoughts on Life

You know, it’s funny. 4 years ago I had the most awesome group of friends. There were, I think, like 7 of us (2 of which weren’t around much that last year) and we had all sorts of fun. Now all of those guys have left. Depending on different things, 3 of them probably will never come to Bangladesh again. Ever.

And now, I’m leaving too. It’s a weird thought. Really weird. I mean, I’m ready, but… I’m not? When I was a little kid, maybe 8 years ago, I had this cool idea that me and my family (mainly grandparents) and all my friends from India and Bangladesh could all live on this one street in the US and we could visit each other all the time and we’d never have to worry about not seeing each other because we were half-way around the world. Well, once again, I kinda wish life was like that.

Right now, my best friend is in Chicago, he’s been there for 1.5 years now. Another one of my friends is doing a Short-Term missions thing in Hong-Kong. Another is in school in Minnesota. 4 are here in Dhaka (though one will leave in about a week, for New Zealand). For a long time, even if we didn’t live in Dhaka, we still had family here and we would still see each other 2-3 times a year during the holidays. But, that’s not going to be the case anymore with some of these guys. I have friends who live in Australia and New Zealand, and they won’t be coming to the States most likely. I have friends who may never leave Bangladesh, and while I will come back, it won’t be like I’m coming back all the time, 2-3 times, at the most.

Anyways… it’s any interesting thing, Growing up. 10 years ago I had no idea what my life would entail. I was a little kid. Now I’m adult who has been given a wonderful picture of what I’m supposed to do with my life, at least for the next 4-6 years.

I have, if I’m counting correctly about 18 weeks in Banglaesh. Then I won’t be coming back for possibly 12 months. This will be my longest time away from some of my best friends. It’s… wow. Its both awesome and thrilling, and amazingly depressing. It really depends on my mood. I’m a good mood now so its exiciting, but in the back of my head there is this thought that life will suck and I’ll fail everything in College because I’ll get all depressed and miss my family.

I mean… I know that won’t happen… but what if it does? Argh. Stupid brain thinking stupid things. I don’t need these thoughts!

Oh, and Rhasta is a pwnage-bbq-awesome hero in DotA. B)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One of weird things I always think about when I see the new year coming is how I don't view the world in yearly blocks like some people. I look at events in my life and in my world that happen on a different time scale. So... in a lot of ways, this year started about the same time my school started. In Late August my family went to Thailand for a vacation. And, while my parents had a good time, I did not. All my life I've been a introvert and I've never needed much social interaction, but this year I've found, more and more, how I really do enjoy the social interaction that I get and how much I cherish social interaction. I think if I hadn't been homeschooled I would probably enjoy social activities with my friends a lot more than I do.

Anyways... so I didn't enjoy myself because, at nearly 18 we were on holiday at a place in the beginning of the school year for most people my age. Ergo, there was no one but my family and a bunch of little kids or adults (neither of which wanted to spend time with me, really). The vacation wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t amazing either. Plus, the hotel we stayed in while in Bangkok was… horrible. Bangkok has the worst spiritual atmosphere I’ve been in ever I think. Stupid prostitutes ruining my vacation. -_-

Okay… I need to remember to not ramble here… so anyways, from there I went to Texas where I had a WONDERFUL two weeks with my grandparents, dad and aunt. I visited Baylor University and St. Edwards University and made my decision about college (St. Eds here I come. (: ).

Then the school year hit like a bomb. Now, I’m not an idiot or anything, and I do work hard (not hard enough, perhaps, but there is always room for improvement) I’ve always been satisfied with my grades and yes, there have been many moments when I wanted to scream in frustration, but that’s part of life. Well this year school hit me hard. Math is hard. And, for the first time, I realized why I am NOT going to pursue math. I knew I wasn’t good in it, but wow… this year has been really hard for me in math. Physics is actually fun, but I’m bad at it. Again, no science for me. Latin and Logic have challenged me, but with hard work I know I can make it up and do good in these classes. I won’t be taking latin in College though, I think I’ll try an easy language and one that might actually prove useful (well, more useful that Latin), like Spanish. English has been fun, but I wish I could focus more energy into it. With more editing, and more time, I might have been able to swing an A this semester, as it is I’ll have to deal with just an 85 average.

Wow… this is long… *sigh* I can’t seem to sum things up.

Okay, so, big picture: This year has, in many ways, been a hard year. I’m in a time of transition and that’s hard one anybody. I remember four years ago when “college” was some magical land in the distant future. But now it’s a stark reality and I have no idea what exactly its going to be like. I’m sure a lot of you know what I mean, being juniors and seniors. I have this sense of dread and excitement. I’m looking forward to America a lot, but at the same time I know I’m going to hate a lot of it. Not one of my friends who have made this transition in the past few years has had a lot of good things to say about America. I know at least one of my friends has really struggled and hates America. I’ve always tried to have a positive outlook on this transition, but at the same time I’m… afraid (?) that I’ll end up hating America and alienating a lot of people because “I’m different”. I’m afraid of rejection and I’m afraid that I won’t have a place in the world.

Random stuff, right? I mean… come on, I know in the back of my head that I will have a place in the world. God has done so many wonderful things in my life these past few years, preparing me for the future he has planned for me. He’s not gonna abandon me all of the sudden. I’m gonna be fine.

But, then, you know this Christmas, for all I know, could have been my last Christmas in Bangladesh. Forever. That scares me. A lot. I came to Bangladesh in 1998 when I was almost 7 years old. Eleven years later I’m 18 and I have had an awesome life in this wonderful (if corrupt, overpopulated, stinky and annoying) country.

I guess I just need to trust God and try and focus on small things, one day, one week, one month at a time. I’m now almost half way done my senior year of High School. In six months I’ll be done Highschool. Forever. In 12 months I’ll have made a HUGE transition from on continent, one culture, to another. It’s a big deal and if I think about it too much (like I am now) I get all nervous.

Annd that was a bad big picture. I’d go back and edit but honestly, I think my thoughts work best just as they are, maybe badly written and a bit confusing, but this is, literally a thought dump, so I think I’ll keep it as it is.

That’s all for now. I probably won’t get another update in until school starts again.