We all have our little quarantine projects. I’ve had a few. Reorganizing the cluttered tupperware in our cabinets. Getting the furniture in a spare bedroom ready for our new son in November. My more frivolous project has been installing a Pokémon themed display on my dashboard.
I started off simple. I wanted the display to be modular, so I could move the Pokémon around or play with them (not while driving). That meant instead of super-gluing the figurines directly to the dashboard, I would glue them to metal washers. I glued ceramic magnets to the dashboard (all using heat-resistant epoxy so it won’t soften in the summer heat). Then the Pokémon could be moved around to create different displays. I can even switch the Pokémon out entirely if I want and put in some other type of figurine!
So that looked good. It was fun. I liked it. But the dashboard was still a boring black color. How could I spice it up? Continue reading →
It’s been a long time since my last Hearthstone post! I’ve made a new deck that uses what many assumed was a bad card, Bittertide Hydra. By playing the right cards along with the Hydra, it can be an amazingly useful card.
There’s a glut of self-improvement apps coming out for your smartphone lately. WeightWatchers, Strava, FitBit, the various one’s built into Android and iPhone’s operating systems, and plenty of other ones.
Most self-improvement apps focus on a specific purpose, whether that’s exercise, dieting, or quitting bad habits.
My self-improvement app of choice doesn’t have any specific focus. And if you haven’t already guessed from the title, the app is called Habitica.
Habitica lets you define your goals, what habits you want to develop, and which bad habits you want to lose. You can also define rewards for yourself (such as eating a piece of cake while on a diet). Let’s take a closer look. Continue reading →
I’ve been loving the game so far. It motivates me to walk more, give me something fun to do with my wife, and its fun to compare my collection with my friends’.
Chances are if you want to play the game you’ve already downloaded it and tried it out for yourself (or you own a Windows phone).
For those of you that haven’t tried out the game yet, here’s how it works.
The Pokémon Go tracks your location on a stylized version of Google Maps. As you move around in the real world, your little avatar in the game world moves around as well.
Occasionally little Pokémon appear on the map. If you tap on the Pokémon you get taken into a little capture game.
The Pokémon are captured by swiping the Poké Ball to throw it at the little monster.
There’s a percent chance of catching the Pokémon based on its strength and rarity. You can increase the chance through accuracy, a timing mechanic, throwing curveballs, feeding the Pokémon a fruit before you hit it with a Poké Ball, or using a stronger type of ball like a Great Ball or Ultra Ball.
Poké Balls are slowly used up, but you can get more by clicking and using Poké Stops on the game’s map. Each Poké Stop drops about three items.
Pokémon are also acquired by hatching eggs. Eggs are hatched by placing them in Incubators (you only have one to start) and walking a certain distance, just like in the original video games!
Pokémon are leveled up and evolved by feeding them candies. You get more candies for a particular type of Pokémon by catching more of that type.
Your character in the game has a level as well. Your level goes up by doing pretty much anything in the game but progress slows down at higher levels.
Those are the basics. Now for the avalanche of links and advice for more advanced players!
Gyms fluctuate super rapidly. I haven’t been able to hold onto two for more than a few minutes. It’s probably a better idea to take over a few gyms and collect a small defender bonus than to try to max out.
Move sets are important but no one really knows what’s best yet. Higher power is good but it also means your attacks are slower. Because move sets change when a Pokémon evolves its best to wait to Power Up your Pokémon until after they’ve evolved. The Power Up will cost the same either way.
Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) is in Pokémon Go! Having alternate types might be good to surprise other trainers though.
There are particular areas with rare Pokémon in them, but its likely that areas for most of the released Pokémon are close to where you live. No need to travel, especially with the ability to get Pokémon from eggs.
Pay attention to your surroundings when you play, don’t leave trash by Poké Stops, and don’t trespass onto people’s property while playing.
If you have so many Potions and Revives that you can’t get anything else from Poké Stops you can throw items out. It’s better to use the items for taking over gyms, but that’s probably too time-consuming for most players.
There’s no single source for Pokémon Go information at this point. A few Wikis have sprung up. I’ve started adding to the most developed one. You can too if you’d like! Pokémon Go Wiki
On a friend’s recommendation I purchased Tom Clancy’s The Division, that some people are calling a “Loot Shooter”.
I’d been wary of The Division due to a few reviews I’d read of it. Fortunately, all of the problems I read about are gone!
Zero latency issues. The game crashes occasionally, but I’ve come to expect that from Ubisoft, so it doesn’t phase me.
The tutorial missions no longer have any of the snafus that were present at launch.
Most of the enemies in the game take a believable amount of bullets to eliminate. Only the elite enemies take more, AS THEY SHOULD! If they took the same amount of damage to eliminate then they wouldn’t be elite enemies would they?
I’ve just tasted the end-game content and it is definitely the most exciting part of the game. The mix of PVE and PVP is amazing and tons of fun. Continue reading →
One of the gifts I asked for and received for Christmas was some new RAM for my computer.
RAM is what your computer uses when it’s actually running programs. More RAM means your programs will run smoother and you’ll be able to run more of them (with some limitations).
I wanted the extra RAM to help with issues I’ve had in the past when I’m running programs in the background while playing a game. Things like Skype, my recording software for streaming, or just leaving Chrome open with a guide to the game.
In the past these things have slowed the game down a little bit, but not so much anymore!
I upgraded from 8GB of RAM to 24GB. I should be able to run three times as many programs, right?
Turns out that’s not the case. My current operating system, Windows 7, throttles the RAM my computer can use at 16GB.
Windows 10, however, lets me use up to 128GB of RAM. Far more than I will ever need.
And as you may have heard, Windows is offering a free downloadable upgrade to Windows 10 on all Windows 7 and 8 machines.
I’ve been reluctant to go through with the upgrade for a number of reasons.
First, bad reviews. Most of the reviews of Windows 10 are bad. That’s par for the course when a new operating system comes out though.
My dad has tried Windows 10 out and he hasn’t noticed any serious problems which was encouraging.
Second, detailed reviews that talk about the increased bloat of the operating system and annoying default features that spy on your computer for Microsoft.
The operating system bloat shouldn’t be a problem. Even if Windows 10 uses a whole 1GB more of RAM then Windows 7 I’ll still be 7GB up on what I previously had.
The spying is annoying, but since I can turn it off I’m not too concerned about it.
My third and final concern is whether all my programs will continue to run on Windows 10.
Most, if not all, of my games will continue to work on Windows 10 according to this community list.
I’d be shocked if Microsoft Office and Google Chrome didn’t transfer over fine.
That leaves just my streaming software.
While the upgrade was initially to get more use out of the streaming software, I haven’t seriously touched the stuff in about a year. Maybe it’s not so big a deal if it doesn’t work?
Anyways, I’ll be making a jump into Windows 10 tonight. If I don’t update the blog next week it’s probably because Windows 10 caused my computer to go up in flames and burn down my house.
What is League of Explorers bringing to the Hearthstone table?
“The Discover mechanic!” is the easy answer. As the Zinaar boss already showed us in a not so subtle way, Discover lets you pick between three different cards and add one of them to your hand, just like an Arena draft. Discover isn’t going to take over the game, but its a new way to gain card advantage. You play a card that has a Battlecry: Discover effect and then it trades with something. You traded card for card, but you also got a bonus card through the Battlecry.
With that said here’s a few of the cards that look the best to me in the League of Explorers adventure for Hearthstone.
Super useful if you’re building a deck for a class, but don’t plan on using that classes hero power very much. A Rogue Inspire deck for example. And if you wanted to have more Murloc stuff Sir Finley Mrrgglton can be included in a deck with these two beauties: Everyfin is Awesome and Anyfin Can Happen
Both of these cards will make Battlecry decks way more popular and viable. I’d wager that this will be on the level of the rise of Deathrattle decks after the release of Naxxramas.
He was released in the first wing and already has a few highlights on YouTube. Good in any control deck. Reno’s Battlecry will trigger based off the cards in your deck at the time he is played, so if you are using a deck that runs two of everything, but you’ve drawn or played one copy of each of those cards then his effect will trigger.
Just a strong late game card. Rafaam lets you choose between three different cards and put one in your hand. These three cards are:
Rafaam has the advantage of giving you whatever tool you need to take control of the game. His disadvantage is that you won’t be able to take advantage of that tool until the turn after you play Rafaam. Also, imagine a combination of Rafaam and Brann. Two super cards! They remain super expensive though.
I saw a lot of buzz about this card being good and how it will make Mages even more untouchable. I gotta say that’s not true. Most of the time this will act as a 4/4 taunt. Just a slightly different stat allocation that Sen’jin Shieldmasta.
This one functions a lot like Aldor Peacekeeper but it has an alternative use, buffing a Silver Hand Recruit up! When use that way it comes with a grand total of 5/6 stats making it one of the best 4 mana cards out there.
I don’t think this card will be particularly good, but I’m excited that it was released. Hearthstone is based off of Magic the Gathering and there are obvious similarities between the two games. Hearthstone has spells that buff creatures, and Magic has enchant creature spells. Enchant creature spells hang around as a card that is actively affecting it’s creature while Hearthstone cleans up that mess by having the effects of the spell visually appear on the card’s stats.
But what if you want to separate the buff/enchant creature from the creature after you’ve played it? that was easy enough in Magic, if you have a card that lets you do that, you move the enchant creature to a different creature. Wizards of the Coast made that process even easier with the release of equipment cards. In Hearthstone… There’s no easy way to do that and have it integrated with the game’s current mechanics.
So instead we get this janky mess! It hearkens back to the early days before Magic’s equipments were released. When Rancor and Angelic Destiny were the staple for reapplying enchant creatures. I understand Explorer’s Hat perfectly well, but it’s going to be a confusing card for novice players.
There’s a lot more cards but none that wowed me like these ones did. If you want to look at the others they are all posted here.
Blizzard had released the next Hearthstone adventure and I still haven’t finished the Heroic versions of all the Blackrock Mountain bosses.
When the adventure was announced I rushed to do a few of them. Here are the decks I came up with.
A lot of double taunt creatures in this deck help with Direbrew’s nonstop aggression. Then there’s some high attack minions to deal him damage. The Windfury card is what really pulls it together. Drop it on something like a Core Hound to deal a bunch of damage to Direbrew at once.
Thaurissan’s challenge remains the same, you have to keep his wife alive. Only now instead of being a 1/3 she’s a 3/1. So you’re taking more damage from her each turn and she dies from just one stray point of damage. The solution? Flip-flop her attack and health with Crazed Alchemist, buff her health and heal her when Thaurissan gets all “wife-beaty,” and win in the end with the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire combo.
In this deck I also included a few cards to try and steal Moira. I never got the chance to use them, so I’m not sure what happens if you succeed. Let me know if you do! Either way, the minion theft cards are unnecessary to clear Heroic Thaurissan.
For finishing off Executus and Ragnaros I give you the traditional Divine Spirit/Inner Fire deck. This one works a little differently. The idea is to kill Executus and Ragnaros in the same turn so Ragnaros doesn’t get to use his double strength hero power. The deck also has some Light Warden/Holy Champion heal combos to try and get some more minions with super high attack while sustaining yourself. Executus has 30 Health and 15 Armor while Ragnaros has 30 Health and 30 Armor. Coming up with 60+ damage in one turn might seem difficult, but this deck manages it well.
Omokk kills a minion every turn. To get around that, we have to give him a lot of weak targets. Imp Master spawns a few and the Paladin’s hero power pumps out one every turn. Couple that with the Inspire spawning power of Silver Hand Regent and Murloc Knight and by the midgame you should be ending every turn with a board of 7 minions. The deck has a little difficulty starting because often you can’t play anything until turn 3 or 4 because Omokk will kill any minion you play by itself. If you stabilize after getting to the point where you can play some cards and hero power every turn, then you should win.
Drakkisath has a nice thing going because he can play two cards every turn while you only get one card. So what do we do? Try to trade two for one as much as we can! Not much else to say about this deck. Getting Alexstrasza and Ragnaros are probably the most important parts to beating Drakkisath and you need them to get you a big advantage before he plays Twisting Nether. Winning this takes some luck and as you can see, a lot of legendaries.
Defeating Razorgore means never letting his eggs hatch. They turn into 7/7 drakes once they reach 5 health. The deck has a lot of low cost minions so you can start keeping the eggs under control right away. Razorgore will build a little bit of an advantage while you concentrate on his eggs. You’ll take a lot of damage from his attacks, so the Tournament Medic is in the deck to help stabilize. Once you have enough minions the egg count will start reducing and you can slowly push back against Razorgore and win the game.
Now on to League of Explorers. The first wing is out, the second releases on Thursday, with a third and fourth wing coming after Thanksgiving.
League of Explorers has an Indiana Jones theme to it. Delving into ancient ruins to uncover forbidden treasure, trading witty insults back and forth with your trusted teammates, and battling Azerothian Nazis or something like that. All of these things and more are part of the League of Explorers.
Obviously there’s some new cards. I’ll be covering those and my opinions on them in a post later this week. For now I’d like to give some guides to beating all the Heroic bosses of League of Explorers first wing, the Temple of Orsis.
Zinaar’s whole thing is that he has more cards and mana than you, but at the cost of giving you free stuff, specifically, a bunch of spells that cost 0 mana. To take advantage of that we make a deck that has Mana Addicts, Mana Wyrms, and Questing Adventurers in it (Flamewakers would also work). These get buffed every time you cast one of the wishes. You attack Zinaar with your buffed minions while freezing his hordes out with typical Mage freeze stuff. Easy win!
Phaerix’s staff only makes him immune for Heroic and is a 3/8 for Phaerix while only being a 0/5 for you. A 3/8 is still killable with a Shadow Word: Pain spell though. Then proceed to do the typical Divine Spirit/Inner Fire nonsense. I had a perfect draw with this one where I got all three of the necessary cards in my starting hand. Phaerix had no answer for it and lost quickly.
This boss was a lot of fun! Instead of trying to defeat the Temple, you are trying to get out as fast as you can. You need to survive ten turns while the temple’s guardians and traps attack you. Since you don’t need to (and can’t) attack your enemy, all you need to do is survive. Freeze Mage is perfect at surviving a long time and now the deck doesn’t even need a win condition like Antonidas! There is a specific sequence event for each turn as follows.
1. Summons a 6/7. You get to draw a card or gain a mana crystal.
2. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You get to take 5 damage or flip a coin to take 0 or 10 damage.
3. Summons 2 8/8 minions with Divine Shield. A Rolling Boulder is summoned to the far right side of your board that destroys one minion to its left every turn.
4. Summons a 10/10. You draw 2 cards or gain 10 Health.
5. All minions are destroyed on both sides.
6. Summons 2 6/15 minions.
7. Summons a 7/7 that also summons a 1/1 with Taunt every turn. You can do nothing or reduce the turn counter by 1 and let the temple summon an additional 7/7.
8. Summons a 5/9 that deals 5 damage to you and all your stuff at the end of every turn (skipped if you summoned the 7/7).
9. Summons 3 10/6 minions.
10. Survive this turn and you win!
I hope all of this helps you beat a few more of the Heroic Hearthstone bosses!