Xorian Wars has Finished!

My 8 year long campaign has finished and the conclusion is now uploaded to YouTube!

 

It’s pretty long. Thirteen hours of me jabbing with my friends about Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve noticed that people who do this professionally make recap episodes that are about 10 minutes long with summaries and only the best bits of the action. That’s something I might do if a lot of viewers request them.

I’m proud of the visual setup I created for this. The globe picture seems like it would work for any genre of RPG and I have other camera borders ready to go for other genres.

I had some issues with the audio, but they were easy to fix. I’m aware of them for the future.

Skype was also annoying in how the video locations kept changing when people left the call or turned off their cameras. I’ve started looking at alternatives that might have a better interface for capturing the images with OBS. Current list includes: Discord, Hangouts, Jitsi, VSee, and Viber.

Streaming was definitely popular with the members of the D&D group. We’ll keep doing it, if only for ourselves to rewatch.

Habitica

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 Banner

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

Nerve Movie Review

NerveNerve is, dare I say it, a summer blockbuster.

The title refers to a fictional streamed game where users sign up as a Watchers or Players.

Watchers watch the Players, duh, and give the Players dares to complete.

Dares come with a cash prize if completed and there’s something about losing all the money you’ve won if you fail a dare that isn’t fully explained.

Players are competing against each other. Nerve is set up as a 24 hour game. The two Players with the most Watchers at the end of the day move on to the Finals.

This game is funded by a $20 fee put forward by each Watcher.

The movie stars Emma Roberts as Vee (short for Venus), who is using the game to prove that she takes risks to her risky, risque friend, Sydney.

Vee joins the game as a Player and soon joins up with another Player named Ian.

The team-up catapults Vee and Ian to the lead, but as they get more Watchers the dares they must complete get more and more dangerous and more and more illegal. Vee and Ian must decide whether to continue, risking death and possible arrest, or drop out and lose all the money they’ve won so far.

The trailer made me feel that the Watchers would start to manipulate Vee and Ian to their benefit with dares like, “Rob a bank!”and “Leave the money by my apartment!” but none of that happened.

Vee and Ian do end up fighting back against the game with the help of their friends. That’s where it got a little weird for me.

Nerve is supposedly an open source game that anyone can edit the code of as long as the majority of voting users approve those changes. A nice premise, but it doesn’t hold up.

First of all, the money. Where does it go when its taken out of your account? Who is spending it on keeping the streaming service up and running? Who decides the prizes for dares? It’s not a group of people voting in a chat room like Twitch Plays Pokemon. We all know that wouldn’t be fast enough for this sort of entertainment.

The answer is that there MUST be a group of people that made and still control the game. They are the voting users that decide top level issues for Nerve.

This group is necessary, but they remain unconfronted by the end of the movie. Nerve is supposedly defeated, never to return to endanger people’s lives. Unfortunately, there is literally nothing stopping this group of creators from starting the game up again.

Not that this is a bad thing, the movie was good and I’d like a sequel, but the problem was that the movie didn’t acknowledge that there must be a specific group toying with the Players. Everything was just the evil behavior of “the mob.”

So that’s most of the plot along with the plotholes.

Stylistically, the movie was amazing. Good acting, good costuming, GREAT effects.

The special effects are used to show the “behind-the-scenes” on the Nerve app. Lines connecting Watchers to Players. An aerial shot with beacons showing where the Players are in New York. Other good-looking stuff like that.

Lots of fun stunts in the movie as well.

It is a really good thriller movie with bits of action and lots of thinking moments. Go see it with someone else! It’ll give you plenty to talk about afterwards.

Nerve definitely gets my recommendation.

-GoCorral

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go

Nintendo announced the next evolution in Pokémon games back in September 2015, Pokémon GO.

There still isn’t a lot known about the game, but Nintendo released additional info on it earlier in March 2016.

This is the first time I’ve truly gotten excited about Pokémon in over a decade. Continue reading

The Division: Game Feasibility

I posted a review of The Division earlier. The game plays quite well and if you’re looking for an FPS to play with your friends then The Division should fill that hole nicely.

The plot though!

The plot is barebones, with most of it being shown to the player in hidden conversations between NPCs throughout the game instead of directly telling you what’s going on (a good story device!).

In the game an evil scientist has altered the small pox virus to be extremely lethal and resistant to treatment. Continue reading

The Division: Game Review

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

League of Explorers Card Highlights

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.

Sir Finley Mrrgglton

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

Brann BronzebeardRumbling Elemental

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.

Reno Jackson

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.

Arch-Thief Rafaam

Just a strong late game card. Rafaam lets you choose between three different cards and put one in your hand. These three cards are:

Mirror of DoomLantern of PowerTimepiece of Horror

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.

Animated Armor

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.

Keeper of Uldaman

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.

Unearthed Raptor

I routinely compete in a Hearthstone card creation contest on Order of the Stick’s Forums and cards like this have been suggested many times in the past. I’m glad that Blizzard has introduced the card. It’s got good stats and it should reliably have a good Deathrattle effect. Or it could be used to make Mill Rogue stronger by copying Deathlord or Dancing Swords Deathrattle.

Explorer's Hat

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.

-GoCorral

Hearthstone Adventures: The Old and The New

League of Explorers Banner

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Deck

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 Deck

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.

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Not sure if Duplicate and Lorewalker Cho do anything in this deck…

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!

Minions Movie Review

Minions Poster

My wife and I saw Minions this weekend and we were both a little disappointed.

We both liked the first two movies, but the series is suffering from sequelitis where each new movie is a little worse than the one before.

Part of that problem is honestly a stronger focus on the minions with each new movie.

They’re good as sidekick characters, but a mute slapstick comedic lead hasn’t worked since Buster Keaton. People just expect more out of their movies now.

The plot of the movie is summed up pretty well in the trailers if you’ve seen those. Three minions try to find a villain to serve. They find Scarlet Overkill who tells them to steal the Queen of England’s crown. Hijinks ensue and Scarlet Overkill ends up wanting to kill the minions.

The trailer used most of the funnier bits of the movie in it, so there weren’t many surprises left to see.

The best part that was left out of the trailers was the Nelson family, a group of bankrobber fans of Scarlet Overkill.

They’re just a happy loving family that also happens to rob banks and idolize super villains.

Back to the general point, why didn’t the movie work for me? Because none of the characters were interesting (besides the Nelsons).

The minions are cute and funny, but they don’t speak. They literally cannot deliver punchlines to jokes.

There are basically only two other characters in the movie besides the minions, Scarlet Overkill and her dopey husband, Herb.

Scarlet is the embodiment of rage. She rages really well and Sandra Bullock was a great cast to play that character, but is she funny? NOPE! I don’t go to the movies to see people get mad over petty things. I don’t got anywhere for that sort of thing.

And Herb… He’s newspaper comic level funny. I can literally read the jokes he does every single day in the comics section. It’s just weak stuff.

My wife and I are fans of the series, so we’d be the most likely group of people to enjoy this movie, but we just didn’t. I wouldn’t recommend it to other adults who liked the first two Despicable Me movies. Maybe for kids, but not adults.

Another thing my wife and I had heard the movie was sexist before going to it. Gotta say, that was entirely wrong.

Minions has the same problem every other movie has with a lack of female characters. There’s Scarlet and the Queen. That’s it.

The Queen is barely present, so most of the sexist accusations would have to revolve around Scarlet’s portrayal or just the general absence of female characters. Since nearly every movie is missing female characters I assume what we’d heard was directed towards how Scarlet was portrayed.

And it just wasn’t sexist. She’s a powerful woman with a husband who is the “power behind the throne.” Basic role reversal already.

At one point she’s getting put into a corset-type dress which one could claim is sexist, until the dress turns into a giant rocket 2 minutes later in the movie.

You could also claim her desire to be pretty was imposing society’s values of what women should be, but that just feels like a stretch.

The final issue might be Scarlet’s life long dream to be Queen of England. You could see that as her wanting to be a princess or you could see it as her wanting to be the ruler of a country.

The sexism just wasn’t there (besides the no female characters thing).

Anyways, most of the people who read this blog are adults, so I recommend that you don’t see this movie. Even if you are a fan of Despicable Me. Just watch the trailer again. It’s pretty much the same and will save you a lot of time and money.

-GoCorral