Stage 1 Concludes (OWLearning Episode 5)

What a quiet week after stage 1 ends. Suddenly there’s no Overwatch or CS:GO (barely) and I feel…bored?

In terms of what happened in the playoff thing, congrats to London Spitfire, and that’s crazy that you play that many maps in one day. I like C9, so hurray, but I was really rooting for Houston that day. Oh well. For some reason, even if I’m not that into OWL, I’m really into rooting for Houston. Weird.

Seems like everyone’s saying that with Shanghai’s new additions (the biggest headliner of which is Geguri) and something that Florida’s doing, they won’t be absolutely horrible next stage. That’s interesting and I’m glad that will switch up.

In terms of meta, I am again (disclaimer) not an Overwatch player, and I’m just regurgitating what I’ve heard other people say, but what I know is that there are Mercy nerfs and the “patch” was not going to be applied to competitive until the conclusion of Stage 1. So now we’ll probably come back to a new game. From what I can tell from watching streams, Reinhardt and Moira will probably become more meta. I also saw the Mercy nerf for a hot second in some video, I think it’s something where her res now requires her to be stationary for a long time, making it way more risky. That’s pretty nice because of Mercy makes the game so unfun to watch. Someone gets a clutch pick and it’s immediately nullified by Mercy.

Alright, enough about stage 1. I’ve been taking the week off to “study” a little and actually go through and learn the heroes. I think with watching being such a chaotic experience, I don’t know if I can really figure out all the abilities by just watching. Additionally, there are a limited number of heroes so far, and I think I can probably learn them all (as opposed to League of Legends, which has nearly one and a half hundred characters and you really gotta just learn those by watching). So here’s what I’ve learned:

First, I watched this video, but got baited by the title because I thought I was getting an explanation of all their abilities. But I did come out with a lot of lore knowledge and as a result a better understanding of the Overwatch universe as a whole. Seems good. (I still have to go back and watch all the cinematics, I know they’re good but I need to find the time.)

The other thing I did this week is google (wow!) and find this page, where I counted to find out there are 26 heroes as of right now. From my limited knowledge, I think Moira is the newest, and Doomfist is second newest (that might be wrong)?

The page classifies them into Offense (8), Defense (6), Tank (6), and Support (6). The only heroes that are not meta in OWL are Symmetra, Torbjorn, and Moira (or is she not live on the patch that OWL played on for Stage 1?). I think Ana, Sombra, Zarya, Doomfist, and Reinhardt are used super duper situationally, while Mei, Lucio, Hanzo, Roadhog, Reaper, and Bastion are used super situationally. Orisa and Pharah seem to be per-map/mode heroes, and the remaining 10 are used tons.

I won’t bore the reader with me listing out all their abilities, but I will get myself to read through all of them. Hopefully getting an understanding of their abilities and thus their class/archetype will help me piece together team compositions better.

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I Don’t Believe In Pre-Season Predictions (Journal 2/3/18)

A little bit ranty and negative today. I’ve got to say, it’s one thing to predict matches right before they happen, based on recent performance and the like, which I still don’t like, but it’s another thing to make pre-season predictions. Specifically, I’m here to complain about League of Legends speculations.

Unfortunately, with all the talk being about the NA LCS franchising this year, EU LCS got overshadowed, and consequently NA LCS got way more than its fair share of attention. And when a certain subject gets more attention than it can handle, then it falls into Hamster Wheel territory–more speculation than it deserves, for the sake of speculation. (Less quality. More content. No progress.)

It seems obvious to me why you shouldn’t make pre-season predictions, or bank your name on pre-season rankings. It’s bandwagon-y. Can anyone really predict, or even get information on potential team synergy (a very highly valued element in success recently)? Players’ past successes are poor predictors of their future success if they are with different teammates. Picking apart which players in an exploded (sry I’m PHP programmer only) team will succeed on their own or be helpless without their old carries is awful. Players who had a recent bad split doesn’t mean their skill has left them. There are just too many impossible factors to splice into a coherent prediction, let alone one that simultaneously calculates all intertwining 10 teams at once. Before you’ve ever seen any of them play.

It doesn’t stop people from making them, though, because fans want to know the “experts’ ” opinions and that’s what draws in clicks and views. It’s the only interview question pros get all winter. Will you be good. Will you be better than this team. How should they know? Predictions fill the empty void of the offseason (boy, was it very empty this year). But I cannot take them seriously, and I will never make a serious pre-season ranking myself.

Predictions are incredibly bandwagon-y. I mean, deep down, unless maybe you’re Thorin, you’ve got to think that someone else is always smarter than you and knows more than you somehow. You’ve got respect for what someone else says, and therefore you form your opinions based on what someone who you think knows better than you said. If they said it, it must be pretty right. And it snowballs. What did we hear all offseason? Yeah, TSM got the most highly sought-after free agent. OpTic? That roster looks like someone picked names out of a hat. You know, CLG could be really good. Licorice has a lot of hype, but I’ve got no idea whether to ride the train or not. Cloud9 lost the offseason, I guess. People said these things because everyone else did. I mean, did OpTic ever get any more consideration than a quick dismissal for their seemingly joke roster?

How about that thing with Golden Guardians where everyone was like, these guys aren’t the best players, but Hai is there, and if Hai’s there with a bunch of moldable young guys, he can just shotcall them to free wins all the time, right? Put it in practice in LCS, and it looks crap. Taking a one-dimensional analysis to a team every time is awful. What about whether Lourlo and Contractz will work together? What about the part where Hai is actually not a great mechanical player and has a pinched champion pool? And then all five players are ‘bad’ and no amount of shotcalling can really save you from that?

Everyone was like, Stixxay and Biofrost were the subordinates in their old duos, CLG is going to have a hard time because these guys aren’t going to make a good bot duo. First of all, your logic makes no sense. Who (WHO?) said these guys were just bossed around? Also who said two people getting bossed around (if you want to make that assumption) cannot also work together? Second of all, you aren’t a plain and simple fan who can see them having a great time together duoing on streams. Third, how is having a possibly not linked up (how? again?) bot duo going to fail your entire team?

So how about AnDa, and Fly, and Stunt. 50/50 you ask a fan who Fly is and they’ve got no idea he was on KT before. A few people heard about AnDa and Stunt for a hot second and their insane Korean soloq ranks, but that doesn’t give them enough credit to gain respect in rankings. How easy it is to dismiss people you don’t know about and therefore don’t believe are good because if they’re good then you must have heard of them before, right? And so no way this team is good (oh but wait that team synergy thing again what about that what if it just happens theirs is insane for no predictable reason?)

Reignover. There wasn’t a minute he didn’t look crap on Team Liquid. Can you really make a judgement on whether he’s going to make it or break it on CLG? Dardoch. Some people saw his sixteenth (exaggerated) team switch and said he deserved no more chances. But his fans (ME) have seen him working on getting better, and knowing that the more recent switches have not been his fault. And have you seen the kid? Nutty. Hasn’t gotten worse or anything. Svenskeren. Weakest link on TSM, must be crap. Cloud9’s in for trouble. But have you considered that he’s actually an amazing jungler and just didn’t fit in with TSM and that playstyle didn’t make him look good? (The number of salty TSM fans and a few Cloud9 fans in this fallout is a different and hilarious story for another day.)

And that weird part where Team Liquid had a really good roster but “everyone has big egos and it’s not gonna work out” like what????? The only ego I see on that roster is Doublelift’s, which has drastically decreased in size recently. What you really should see is five players with probably the most years of competitive experience between them of all 10 rosters, and they should know above all how to work with each other and what being a teammate really is. They’ve already hit all the bumps and learned the lessons. They went to Korea for a bonding-focused bootcamp. And yet people kept saying TSM is going to take it again because they got Zven and Mithy, and MikeYeung, and that’s the most insane roster you’ve ever seen, when really TSM is just a brand stuck in your head that has brainwashed you to be unable to envision anything other than a top team. Did you consider MikeYeung actually didn’t look that good in his first split? What about jungle-support synergy? What about Zven and Mithy aren’t even the best laners? Sure, they’ve been together forever, what about the ten million other factors? What about starting practice after New Years, when Cloud9, CLG, and others started way before Christmas?

Oh yeah, and that team where everyone’s just there to get one more lazy fat paycheck with no relegation consequences before they retire–100 Thieves. Ryu doesn’t care anymore, why is aphromoo leaving CLG, Meteos is coming out of retirement?!?!?!?!? and why would Ssumday stay on this team in NA? This team can’t possibly be good unless like Ryu stops napping and wakes up or something. They kept getting the 7th-8th prediction treatment. Dismissal basis again.

In summary, everybody got everything wrong. People said Cloud9 lost the offseason, they’re at the top of the table. TSM best team, 1-3 start. OpTic completely dismissable, looks very convincing in their losses. Nobody’s (nobody’s!) ‘deep’ predictions told me Echo Fox would be 4-0 to start. People felt bad that Golden Guardians had to be placed 10th, so they started giving them Hai excuses and maybe they’ll be okay, but no. A 10th place team is a 10th place team. (In my opinion, they’re looking like an even worse version of 2017 Team Liquid. Contractz inserted himself right into hell, I feel bad for the guy.)

Yeah, yeah, easy for me to say in retrospect. But in my opinion, shame on you for trying to synthesize an uncountably large number of factors, half of which are actually unpredictable (like whether people will get along/have synergy). Sure, it’s fun to laugh at yourself when you get it all wrong. But where did it get you? Nowhere. It benefited no one. Speculation is not reality. At all.

And if you want to make predictions on games right before the games, have fun I guess, but I think there’s still far too many things to get wrong. What if a team is just having a bad day? What if they lose the draft randomly? And under what circumstances can you see an upset coming? All you’ve got to do is say the team that is perceived to be stronger, then have fun with the upset whenever it happens. Not very interesting to me. Just let the guys play their game.

The Game Modes Played Professionally Exam (OWLearning Episode 4)

  • You know, I’ve heard some people trashing on the team names for being dumb sounding, but I think they’re really not half bad. Some of them are not mascot-able, but they’re pretty okay for gamer teams. Also, the team colors are amazing and the skins actually are pretty attractive, even if I don’t play the game.
  • Today I will take my Game Modes Played Professionally Exam. Let’s see if I can ace it.
    • Hybrid:
      • Each team has a turn at attacking and defending. The attackers’ objectives consist of first capturing the point at which the payload stands, and unlocking it, secondly transporting the payload down a path, and thirdly capturing two (?) more points. See Assault and Payload for my explanations on how to do each individual objective.
    • Assault:
      • Each team has a turn at attacking and defending. There are two points on each map, and each point has three ticks.
      • The attacking team must stand on the point and keep everyone from the enemy team off it to charge the point up. At each tick, progress is saved.
      • If the attacking team is pushed off capturing the point, progress falls back down to the last tick saved.
      • If the clock runs out, and the attacking team is still near the point, it goes into overtime. The attacking team is then forced to stay on the point and successfully finish capturing it, or lose the short overtime timer if they can’t stay on it.
      • When the team captures point A, the clock is reset (is time added?) and it goes to point B. 2 points are possible for each offensive turn. If it is tied, you go again, but with a different timer based on how much time you had remaining when you finished the first time.
      • If for some reason the first attacking team does really bad, and say, only captures the first tick of point A, the second team only needs to capture two ticks of point A to beat them and the game is cut short. (I think this is how it is. Otherwise they must score one full point more before the game is cut short. Aggh I forgot.)
    • One point attack:
      • In this mode, everybody just goes at it. There is no timer, and there is no defending or attacking team. As far as I can tell, I think the maps are usually symmetric.
      • There are either two or three (D: ?) points per map, and each one is done in turn. Teams must try to capture the point, and then keep the enemy team off of it. If it is captured and not contested, the percentage captured creeps up. If it is contested, progress is paused.
      • If the team who does not have the point can get the enemy team off of it, they can then capture the point and have their progress tick up while the enemy team’s progress is frozen.
      • When one team’s progress reaches 99%, the other team must be near the point to force overtime. They must either successfully flip the point back to them, or be pushed off the point and lose overtime. Successfully reaching 100% scores your team a point.
      • Then it goes to another point (on the same map, I believe). Same rules. First team to reach 2 points wins. (This is why I’m not sure if there’s a third point or not; it makes logical sense but I don’t think I’ve watched such a match.)
    • Payload
      • Each team has a turn at attacking and defending. Payload maps have three checkpoints. Arriving at each one as offense awards a point.
      • The attacking team must stand on a cart to move it. They must also keep the opposing team from standing near it; if the defending team can stand near the cart, it stops moving.
      • If no members of the attacking team are near the payload, it slips backwards slowly.
      • If the clock runs out before the attacking team reaches a point, they must be near the cart to activate overtime. If they stay near the cart, they can keep playing indefinitely to reach the next point. However, if the defending team can keep everybody away for a few seconds, overtime runs out and the attacking team’s turn ends.
      • Each time a point is scored, the clock is reset and time is added (?).
      • Say the first attacking team only scores 1 point; the second team to attack need not play out the whole map; only outdo the first team by scoring 2 points. If both teams get all 3 points, each team gets another turn at attacking to try to break the tie.
  • Okay: test score? Don’t know the real name of one-point attack, don’t know how many points are on one-point attack, may have gotten hybrid mode wrong and you only have to capture one more point after transporting the payload, don’t know exact amounts of time and how much time is refunded after scoring. I’ll give myself a passing score of like 85%. I’m content. (And who knows if these are even the only four modes available in Overwatch…I’ve got no idea if there are more modes not played in competitive.)
  • Sorting out D.Va…so if her mech (tank mode) is killed, then she pops out as a regular human with just a pistol or something. I believe she has to deal enough damage to be able to recall her mech and get back in. Not exactly sure on her abilities, but her guns are automatic with no reload needed; I think one ability is to do a super spray and have a ton of bullets come out for a sec, another is a empowered jump-fly thing, and the ultimate is to Self-Destruct; the mech curls into a ball and explodes. Somehow immediately after this D.Va is right back in a new mech. I feel like she should lose her mech like regular, but I mean, okay. From what I can gather I think she has three ability icons on the bottom right, so I’m not sure what the third one is.
  • I appreciate that somehow MonteCristo (I’ve got respect for him) can tell what plays are going on, even those happening off camera, and retroactively summarize it for the listener right after it happens, but maybe Overwatch just has too much stuff happening at once that it is impossible to cast it in real time. This seems suboptimal. The hope is that the viewer should be able to pick everything up from a game by watching it, supplemented and guided by the casters, but I mean, one hardly knows where to look. It’s hard.
  • At first, I thought Overwatch was a concise and consistent game to watch, but it turns out there is a huge variance in terms of how long matches can go. Even more than League of Legends, which I thought was bad when I first started watching it. Turns out if you’re watching a match involving smashing the Dragons or the Mayhem, maps can be over in 10 minutes and the match will be over in a snap. But other matches are slugfests that can be over 90 minutes, maybe over 2 hours? (Look, I’m not counting exactly. It’s long.) Overtimes galore, tiebreaking, fifth maps, seems awful.
  • I’ve got to say–Overwatch League puts on so many matches each week. 4/7 days is more than half the days in a week. This feels like a real sports league, where you’re only supposed to have enough energy to invest in following one or two teams (compare to say, football or baseball, and think about NA LCS and how the average person expects himself to know about all 10 teams). It feels like a massive strain on production, though, because it’s the same people for so long. In baseball stadiums across the country, different TV people and different park managers make it possible to put on lots of games on almost every day. Maybe things will be different when Overwatch sets up a studio in every location for every team. (Think of the travel costs. All I can say is, baseball teams do it.)
  • Yo it seems super unfair that London Spitfire can have two entire sets of Koreans and Florida Mayhem is in deep trouble if a single one of their six (? I think only six) gets sick. Seems like something you should legislate against but maybe there’s no grounds on which to. I hope the nature of the OWL which seems to be very involved in all their teams will make sure every team has a benchmark amount of resources and nobody’s disadvantaged on anything besides in-game skill. I mean, that’s the ideal, right?
  • I pledge allegiance to the Houston Outlaws! It turns out I like them for no particular reason hehe. I’m here for Jake, Muma, and Mendo (like everyone else haha). I also keep my eye on London Spitfire and LA Valiant, just because of their parent orgs, but Houston is definitely my favorite team.

Connecting the dots (OWLearning Episode 3)

Note: Although this was published today on Friday, it was actually last week’s episode for week 3. Another post will probably come for this week, and if not, I’ll double down for week 5.

  • Those orbs of harmony and discord are parts of Zenyatta’s kit, I think! As well as her ultimate (Transcendence, I think) and seems like most of her (its?) abilities. Seems like the usual buffer/debuffer archetype.
  • Sombra’s weapon looks like a MAC-10.
  • So it turns out that Tracer is just a perma-blinker. Hurts my eyes. Can’t keep track. Seems a nightmare to play and a nightmare to play against.
    • Later: I figured out, she has those three arrows in front of her screen–those must be her dashes. I think they just recharge based on time (and not on damage I think).
  • So they changed the order of modes 1 and 4 this week, to try and avoid anti-climactic ends to series? So payload is now last while fusion (I learned this) is first. I think fusion is take a point first, then two more points for payload pushing.
  • I retract my understanding of the contest point mode; I don’t know how many points you have to score on a map for it to be over, and I’m not sure you play multiple maps in this mode. I’m confused.
  • If an attacking team is not on a payload, it slowly creeps backwards.
  • Tracer’s ult is a Pulse Bomb. Is it just something you stick down that explodes after delay?
  • I wish that they organized the players on stage/in the top bar by role. So that it’s predictable and I’m not searching for the player I want to see. Like DPS, DPS, Tank, Tank, Support, Support, or in some order that would still be predictable if someone flexed.
  • A minimap would be insanely helpful. Or radar, or something. Like in games such as PUBG and CS:GO, where the map is only occasionally tabbed to for full size, there’s a mini version in the corner which helps tell what’s going on.
  • Overall, watching OWL is kind of draining for me. If I want to enjoy it, I have to pay close attention, and let’s just say that I haven’t been getting the greatest sleep recently.

I don’t blame me for not paying attention to OWL much this weekend. ELEAGUE was going on. I am feeling pretty okay about my understanding of the game now and I feel about 50% there (so maybe only a couple more of these posts). I’m not entirely sure how excited I am to watch this game in particular, though. As such a young game, it feels underdeveloped in terms of strategy depth so far, and the tension and hype and all the fight doesn’t seem to matter until the last seconds of overtime every map anyway. Kind of kills the hype. The community seems pretty great though. I wish it well, but we’ll have to see if I continue to be excited about this. I will finish out learning how to watch it though.

Figuring out heroes, still lost on maps (OWLearning Episode 2)

  • Learning a couple names of players.
    • Discovered Gamsu made it onto the Boston Uprising; I knew him from LoL and did hear that he had moved onto Overwatch and was pursuing a pro career there, but I didn’t know he actually made it, grats to him.
    • Houston Outlaws: Jake (DPS), Rawkus (Support), Muma (Tank) and someone I knew from Offline TV, Mendo (who is currently warming the bench).
    • Fleta is the outstanding DPS from Seoul.
    • Taimou, Dallas DPS?
  • So there’s a big debate about all-Korean rosters versus NA rosters/rosters without Koreans. Some rosters have some Koreans mixed in, but the all-Korean rosters are Seoul, London, and New York (if I’m not mistaken). Most people know about the enduring legacy of Korean players being the best in the world, no contest, in whatever esport they enter in (which is why CS:GO is the only intact one), so the talk is all about whether the non-Korean rosters can beat the Korean roster.
  • I was looking through the players tab on the Overwatch League site; it’s cool that the Chinese team actually has all Chinese players.
  • I also found out that the four icons are for Offense, Tank, Support, and Flex, officially. Seems that the most standard comp uses two DPS (this is such weird terminology) players, two tanks, and two supports.
  • I think it’s kind of funny whenever they say “home turf” on broadcast during an LA match (either of the two teams). It’s not like any other team will ever get to have home turf, or that home field advantage actually exists in video games (maybe just the crowd, but that’s it).
    • Continuing on my previous point from last week about naming each team after a city but only having one LA studio, I can’t wait until there is actually another studio. Hopefully it will be on the East coast (where I am from), since there are already divisions of Atlantic and Pacific. However, I can’t see them sustaining more than 2 unless Overwatch specifically becomes incredibly mainstream and popular, due to the need for production and on-air talent, as well as the travel costs that would incur…wait I just had a great tangential idea–what if teams from the opposite leagues that needed to play each other each played in their respective studios, but played across the internet? Probably still hard, and still not accomplishing the ultimate dream of having a studio wherever a team has a name.
    • And why does LA get two teams again? Never figured that one out. As compared to having any cities from like the Midwest or something.
  • In terms of heroes, here’s what I’ve learned this week:
    • The cowboy guy is McCree. He has one gun, maybe a pistol? It seems Deagle-like (I’m making comparisons to CS:GO). The ultimate is called Deadeye, but I’m not sure what it does? A more powerful shot? Seems like one of the Florida players was absolutely going off on him.
    • I take back some of what I said about Widowmaker being so hard to play, but still sniping is harder than say, CS:GO. Seems like an eternal flick to me but less predictable. I think that I figured out that her ultimate is the infrasight (the whole team gets it?), which is basically like watching CS on spectator mode. And she has a grappling hook? Although I think each character has 2 abilities so I’m not sure what the other one is. Besides her sniper gun I think she is also able to close-range skirmish with some gun. I’m guessing it’s not as good.
    • There is a weird thingy called Zenyatta and they have a bunch of balls around their neck or something. They do some strange prayer motion with their hands and then push it outwards to attack, I’m thinking that’s like an energy ball charge and dispel or something. Not sure, but I think they are in the support position.
    • Mercy’s revive isn’t her ultimate, I think, but I’m still not sure. There is also a lot of talk right now about how she is the most overpowered hero in the game at the minute. It seems like when I watch her she has the ability to just fly around? No jumping or anything? I heard the ability name “Valkyrie”, perhaps it is a temporary thing.
    • Pharah is a person who can fly in the air and stuff? Maybe she’s the one who says “justice rains from above.”
    • Winston’s ultimate is a monkey smash where he knocks people back.
    • Genji is the ninja with the ranged ninja stars and the blade ultimate.
    • Ana is a champion with a pseudo-sniper? Kind of like that very very rarely bought gun in CS:GO that I don’t actually know the name of because I don’t play that game.
    • I think every champion has a left-hand melee attack.
    • Roadhog’s ultimate is the cranky thing that sprays in a horizontal fan. Don’t know the name.
    • Another champion name I heard that I don’t know what they do is Sombra.
  • Junkertown is a payload map that I’ve seen just a little bit of; I think with the aid of the pre-game fly-throughs, I’ve got the shape of the first two checkpoints memorized. I’m not sure about all the extra boxes and inner rooms/flanks whatever, but I have the general shape of the path down.
  • I just realized, do they play the same maps in every match set?
  • Viewership for the second week has stabilized down to just around 110K for the English broadcast. I don’t know, sometimes when I watch I have a hard time staying captivated and paying attention to learning; partly because it’s hard, and partly because I’m not super interested, but I hope I will still eventually learn it.
  • Overwatch seems like it has a lot of clutch potential; things can come down to the last second with the clock in combination with how far along the objective is (point or payload).
  • So the way the scoring works (I finally worked this out): maps are played through, usually each team getting one chance each at offense and defense. For payload, you score points based on how many points you push through. For points, you score based on how many points you capture (only two per map available). These are the only two modes I’ve got down so far. After each team has a turn, whoever scored more points gets the map point, or you go to tiebreakers. There are 4 maps played in a series and in some circumstances, some maps come to a draw, so you either have to win 3 maps or win 2 and get a draw on another. Should 2-2 happen, you go to a fifth map.
  • The four types of maps played are payload, capture point, point contesting, and payload/point.
  • The third mode is where there is one giant point, and you have to be first to 100%. If I’m not mistaken you play two different maps of this. Still don’t know the fourth mode.
  • Production is PrettyGoodMan. Except for a couple of graphical errors/buttons forgot to be pressed that can’t be blamed and will be shored up on, the display is clean, the desk is great, the arena looks amazing. I like how they have the players walk in and the audience cheers.
  • I also can tell immediately the emphasis on the audience; Overwatch cares about its audience and integrating them into the experience. I heard before that their goal is to convert all their playerbase into viewerbase, which I think is an admirable goal. I also love how they include soundbytes of audience members cheering and awwing in the post-map highlight reel. So far, they’ve featured quite a couple young people (<10?) on broadcast, which is pretty nice. Something I think we esports fans forget about is our future and not just who will be playing next, but who will be watching next. I think that’s nice.
  • I amend my statement of D.Va (I learned how to spell it, I think) and Mercy being staples of compositions to D.Va, Mercy, Winston, and Tracer (mostly). Other things are added and stuff is substituted in situationally. It seems like Widowmaker is used at standoffs for picks and then swapped out in more brawling situations (roughly).
  • I’ve got to say, the animation on Widowmaker’s gun’s scope is pretty clean, and I kind of like that sort of genre/theme (what do you call it? Category of categories?) in the game; the style of the guns and art and weapons and maps and the aesthetic (? I hate that word) put together by the theming of the game. I don’t know how to express this. It’s not steampunk, it’s not fantasy, but it’s this particular style that tickles an itch.
  • I guess the game is fast-paced/lots of teamfighting because of the cool way in which both teams are forced to be physically near the payload/point all the time to either be progressing towards scoring or preventing the other team from scoring, which ultimate creates a lot of fighting. Interesting; I like that game mechanic.

I didn’t watch very much this week because there was an overload of esports (which makes me happy after the dry spell this winter), between LCS starting and the ELEAGUE Major as well. So I didn’t catch all four days, but it’s okay. I’m still making progress. Still yet to decide whether I’m really enjoying the esport but I think I will eventually.

Overwatch League starts (OWLearning Episode 1)

If it wasn’t clear to you from my previous posts, I am an esports fan first and a gamer second—not meaning that I enjoy watching games more than I enjoy playing games (I love games overall), but that I watched the esports before I played the games. I started watching LoL esports in August 2015, and I didn’t play my first League game until a couple months later, and I didn’t really take it up until just this past November, 2017. I started watching CS:GO mid-year last year, and I still have not started playing it. Today, the Overwatch League began, and no, I do not play Overwatch. What do I mean by this? I mean that I learned how LoL and CS:GO worked purely by watching them. And in my opinion, that’s not easy.

League of Legends is quite, quite overwhelming when you start, but it does help that there’s only one map. For a while, you can’t even tell what part of the map the camera is trained on, until eventually you figure out that this is bot lane, and here is a tribrush, and that connects to the red buff, and oh, the opposite sides of the jungle are the same, mirrored… And there are so many champions and how will I ever know all their abilities? And when all ten of them start piling on in a fight how do I know what’s happening or who’s winning until their health bars disappear and the kills start coming through? And yet, you learn all their abilities. Admittedly, as a spectator, my biggest weakness is items and knowing their power and attributes against each other, since that is not something I deal with directly as just a viewer (except the ones with famous actives, those are easy to pinpoint). But what is a gank? And what is kiting? And I can’t figure out what they’re saying when they say “CC”, and no amount of google searches will tell me what peel is. But just from watching more and more and keeping at it even though you have no idea what’s going on, eventually you do figure out what’s going on, and it’s great.

I have to say that CS:GO was a mite easier, since the idea is simple (gun the other team down before they kill you), and there’s only one game mode played professionally (bomb defusal). However, being lost on the seven different maps for a month or so is still frustrating. You feel unable to follow what’s happening until you finally remember, this is what A bombsite on Overpass looks like, and it’s victory when you finally find the distinguishing factors between the Train bombsites (because they both have trains and it’s the same to you if you don’t know D:). You also have to start making out the differences in pistol silhouettes and differentiating between the powerful guns and the not so great ones. I have to say that this video by Blitz Esports about economy really jumpstarted my understanding of a fundamental part of the game.

But my point is that, I believe wholeheartedly in the ability of me (and people in general) to learn maps just by watching awfully confusing things until you get it, even if you’re not trying very hard to learn or studying it with the intent to figure it out as quickly as possible. And I believe my experience is different from those who already play the game. I do admit there are things I don’t understand that players do, but that does not taint my esports fan experience.

My point in these long-winded stories of me bragging about how I figured out video games without playing them? I have not played Overwatch, and the esport is new, and I intend to give watching it a try, and I want to try and document my journey through learning how it works. And that will be what I call the [cheesily named] OWLearning series on this blog.

We’ll start with what I already know.

  • It’s 6v6. You pick champions and you can actually switch mid-game at any time.
  • When I watched it last summer I couldn’t make an ounce out of what was going on, the screen was so jumpy and the camera was so jerky.
  • There are a lot of different maps, I think one is called Hanamura and has cherry blossoms.
  • There are a couple different modes; I know there’s a payload mode (push the payload or stop it from getting pushed), and there is probably a capture and hold points mode (is this something I know about because of…Halo? Look I’m not very sharp on my FPS games). I don’t know what else.
  • You kill other people. Somehow you charge an ultimate in that circle in the middle of the screen, and then you can use it.
  • I know some of the heroes like:
    • I’ve seen a decent couple minutes of Roadhog play; he has a weird belly button and all he does is hook and execute people.
    • There is some tank who always has this huge rectangle shield up, I don’t know who it is though.
    • There is a monkey tank named Winston (I am assuming he’s a tank merely due to his size).
    • The sniper is called Widowmaker.
    • Reaper has this black cloak and mask thing and holds his guns in an X across his chest. I also saw like one gameplay video of him and apparently you have to stand really close to people to do good damage. And one of his abilities (the ultimate?) is to do a teleport blink somewhere, but I don’t know how powerful this is or how to use it at all and I won’t until I get a good grasp of/internalize the maps.
    • Tracer’s the face of the game, I know how to recognize her, but I don’t know what she does except deal damage. I think she has a thing where she lets go of her guns, they float in the air, and she blinks backwards? Not sure.
    • Mercy is the healer person and her ultimate (?) is to resurrect someone. Although I’m not sure under what circumstances.
    • Soldier Seventy-something also has guns so I think he does damage.
    • Junkrat has like a pole leg and has a bomb launcher, and his ultimate is to turn into a wheel and explode.
    • Mei I have never seen her gameplay but I know she is like short and wears a puffy parka. I think maybe she’s the one who makes the huge ice walls?
    • My most recent learned thing is that D’Va (is that how you spell it it sounds like “diva” but I’m pretty sure it has an apostrophe in there) gets in a mech and shoots stuff from four guns. Like Rumble? I guess I’m pretty familiar with her regular-person-non-mech art but I didn’t know that was her name.
  • I’m actually surprised with how many heroes I managed to name, and I seem to know some abilities… but I don’t know how many heroes (it’s heroes isn’t it not champions) there are. Yes, my basic assumption is if the character is really big, it’s a tank. If it has a gun/two guns, it’s a damage dealer. Or you’re Mercy (I actually have no idea about how Mercy works though).
  • I think pro players are in a couple roles, like maybe carries, tanks, and supports (Mercy???).
  • I don’t know about the pre-OWL professional play. It’s so confusing I can’t figure it out.
  • OWL has attracted people like MonteCristo, Crumbzz, and DoA (I don’t know who DoA is but I know the name) to come be on broadcast/analyst team.
  • The LA Valiant belong to Immortals, Houston Outlaws belong to OpTiC, and London Spitfire belong to Cloud 9. I could probably name a couple more of the team names, but that’s a little pointless.
  • They made everyone have a unique logo and team name, as well as belong themselves to a city. They can’t use their franchise logos because it could cause profit/advertising conflict with other games. (I learned this from Noah.) I don’t know why they have to have a city. I’m not smart enough to see exactly why the teams have to have all-new branding, but I do see how that concentrates the money and the profits towards Overwatch only and Blizzard, by extension.
  • I don’t actually know any names of Overwatch players.
  • Despite assigning cities to different teams to maybe foster hometown allegiance to certain teams, everyone still plays in one studio in LA. (Not that I don’t see why this is the only realistically financially viable option, but you crushed my dreams…)
  • Blizzard makes elaborate short films about their characters. I watched one once but I don’t remember who it was about. I watched another one halfway through but didn’t get to the end. I think it was about Reinhardt (sp?).
  • Every team got skins (chromas?), which is going to be a big money maker. Yes, I understand why League of Legends can’t do this because the time cost is simply monstrous. Yes, I’m impressed Blizzard did this. Yes, they are totally going to make a lot of money.

Things I learned watching the inaugural week of Overwatch League:

  • So I was right about the player roles, sort of, but they seem to have four (?) different icons for roles on the loading screen. The only roles I heard were damage dealer (or referred to as DPS), tanks, and supports; I don’t know which icon is tank and what that other icon is. And teams can put in whoever they want and mix-match, there isn’t a set quantity of players in each role you have to put in.
  • Roadhog is apparently something a damage dealer person plays…it’s not a tank…I guess that makes sense…
  • In Payload mode, you get one point for each of up to three checkpoints you hit. Then you switch sides and whoever got more wins the map point.
  • There are four gamemodes? I’ll have to figure this out further.
  • There are more support champions than Mercy (of course…) but I don’t know what their names are.
  • Spectators are already improving from a couple months ago…when something chaotic happens or a huge fight ensues, they choose an stable overhead camera angle instead of first-person of a player in the mess of the fight (although I suppose for other players of the game this might be the most comprehensible view, it is not the most accessible to people like me who don’t play).
  • Just a personal observation, not a learnt thing: Playing sniper, or Widowmaker, seems like a nightmare. The entire screen jerks all the time, people seem to spam jump, everything is everywhere…
  • Yes, now I am reminded that I know a couple more heroes.
    • There’s Genji, who is the ninja and he throws ninja stars. From what I gather watching I think he’s the one with an ultimate where he gets a ninja sword out and kills everybody?
    • Someone wears a cowboy hat and says “it’s hiiiigh noon” but I don’t know its name or what they do.
    • Lucio is the obligatory black character and he has the dreadlocks hair, I don’t know anything about him besides his appearance.
  • The kill feed is still my best indicator as to what’s going on; it seems like every so often there’s a big fight and one team kills the whole other team (there’s not as much trading or even fighting).
  • I can see the ultimate bars at the top, and so it’s an important thing to sync up and save those for fights and use them together, according to what I heard in the casting.
  • On the debut day, during the last Seoul vs. Dallas match, between just the Twitch English and Korean streams, they breached 400K viewers, which is more than Tyler1 just got on his first day of streaming back, the latter of which was widely heralded and PogChamped. Although I do understand it’s like one man stream vs. the carefully advertised and curated OWL, it bolsters both to see both at such high viewership numbers, relatively.
  • My disparaging opinion that Overwatch is the most visually hard to parse video game I’ve ever seen might be wrong. I am finding myself understanding a little bit more and a little bit more.
  • Sometimes even the casters sound like they can’t help report on what’s going on because they can’t tell. Is that because it would just be impossible, or is it because casting in this game is new and people are still garnering experience? Do players sometimes have no idea what’s going on?
  • So there’s a shield icon, which I assume is tanks, bullets, which I assume is DPS, and a healing cross, which I assume is support, but what is the three balls going in a circle?
  • D’Va (still don’t know if I’m typing it right) and Mercy seem to be staples of all team compositions. I understand Mercy halfway, but I’m still trying to figure out what D’Va does and what makes her so powerful.
  • It seems like you can jump right in and be right next to everybody else from the other team at any time, but how do you not insta-die? Also, DPS players seem to get wildly close to the front lines sometimes, at least from what I see. Isn’t that risky? How do they not die? Also, if I’m not mistaken, they go right up close and just completely ignore shooting the tanks. I’ve never seen this before. :thinking:
  • Since I feel like I understand payload mode, I could tell that the ending of that Philadelphia vs. Houston game was hype and close. But I’m still not quite sure what triggers overtime, or what requirements the payload has to move and not move. This is also just a small victory because I’m still very lost on the other gamemodes.
  • Hanzo is a guy with a bow.
  • Don’t understand overtime still.
  • So if you tie in points for a match you have to do it again, this is how Valla vs Fuel lasted so long.
  • Other champion names I know now but not exactly clear on what they do: Orisa (tank?), Bastion (fake tank/support?) Moira, Zarya (or something like this?) Pharah?

Other things:

  • I’m curious as to what infrastructure is in place so far. Obviously Blizzard had a heavy hand in funding and creating a very smooth-edged beginning, whatwith all the teams, players, jerseys, logos, good studio, good on-air talent…I wonder what it is like to be a player on a team. Considering “old” esports like LoL and CS:GO still don’t have stable “infrastructure” (whatever this buzzword means), I wonder if Overwatch pros have health insurance, benefits, coaching staff, schedules, people who help them and teach them to look after their physical side, not just mental/gaming side…I am just curious since OWL has jumped the start on most of the other stuff already, whether they’re already on their way to better team infrastructure or if it’s going to suffer, then grow, evolve, and emerge slowly like other esports have for years now.
  • I wonder how old Overwatch pros are. I know LoL pros are roughly in the range of 17-24 and CS:GO pros are around 20-28 (I think?) so I wonder how old Overwatch pros are. My guess is that they’re on the younger side; I think I’ve heard some stories of some of these guys dropping out of or accelerating their high school studies.

Ultimately, I want to be able to proficiently report on LoL, CS:GO, and Overwatch esports (at the very least) on Tackt Tabloid, but considering I’m only finally feeling knowledgeable about LoL after over 2 years, and I’m still struggling to analyze CS:GO at a good level, I doubt I’ll be able to get there with Overwatch any time soon. Patience, self. In the meantime, you can be entertained with reading about how I learn by watching.

Flash Games: A false sense of achievement

For approximately the last month, I have spent a disproportionate amount of time on Kongregate, one of the big homes of internet flash games (the other I personally know about being Armor Games). I often found myself there while I knew I should be doing something else. It’s not like I’m in school over break, but there are things I should do. Like read my book, file my papers, do my finances, write more things, draw more pictures…anything but waste time on Kongregate. Yet, I always found myself going there and staying while I was literally thinking I shouldn’t be staying. I wanted to examine what makes flash games so captivating, and what that says about me and my gaming style.

There are a couple of different reasons I spend so much time playing games, but I will start with the Kongregate level system and points. I know that I’m particularly susceptible to the simple allure of leveling up, so I previously decided not to care about my Kongregate level too much. This also stemmed from my initial preference of Armor Games (I had previously made a lot of progress on games on Armor Games, and I was salty that I had to start over on Kongregate. This was before Armor Games implemented a badge system). From my normal-casual Kongregate game play, I remained stagnant at level 4 for a while. When I finally admitted Kongregate was better than Armor Games (it is, except for not being an actual game publisher), I reached level 11 (I don’t remember exactly how). That’s where I picked up at the beginning of December. As usual, my return to flash games was prompted by a dry spell of boredom. I was looking for something to do to feel like I was doing something, as well as have fun, and I find flash games fun in general.

I take a short detour here to randomly note my lifelong feeling of shame for playing flash games. I have always found video games fun, and I guess I have never considered the fact that anyone could not find them fun or like them as much as I do. But I never had access to a lot of video games; a combination of internet restrictions, low computer specs, parent disapproval, and fear of asking my parents to spend money on consoles kept me locked out of “real games” for a long time. Only this past year or so, my love of video games has finally surfaced and my parents are reluctantly letting me and supporting me in playing more (I still have to ask every time I want to play LoL ><). Until now, I have found fulfillment through playing flash games. Ever since I was introduced to Achievement Unlocked, I couldn’t stop. I love jmtb02, I can name most of the big titles which are not MMORPGs, I found a particular love for TD, and horror room-escape/puzzle games scratch an itch (even though I can’t stand horror, I stand it just because I love escape puzzles so much). The achievement I count as my most impressive is beating the entire Gemcraft Labyrinth. I genuinely enjoy flash games a lot, basically. However, I never wanted to tell anyone, because it seemed like such a sissy thing (I mean, playing Papa’s Gamerias is pretty sissy, if you ask me). It felt like “fake” gaming. Flash games aren’t particularly known for having a high difficulty curve. They’re rarely multiplayer. Maybe I shouldn’t be so ashamed to just like something I like, but you can’t just go up to say, a CoD player and say, “I’m a gamer too, I play Kingdom Rush!” It just isn’t “legit”. Is it sad or valid that I’ve hidden this away for so long and been scared to tell anybody?

Anyways, back to leveling up and point systems. When I came back to Kongregate, I didn’t really have any particular games I wanted to play. However, I’m not opposed to being advertised to by the front page games, or the games badged in quests or in the Kongpanion daily badge. I mostly went around trying things like this, or maybe going back to re-beat games I had previously beat but didn’t have Kongregate badges for. If it turned out the game was not fun, I just played for five minutes until I got the easy badge I came for, and left. Or if I did like it, and the medium or hard badges didn’t seem too bad, I kept playing until I achieved those. It’s a testament to say that the games that kept me past achieving all the badges were the good ones. But even more captivating was the fact that I was earning more badges for my profile and earning points towards leveling up. After playing the daily badge a couple days in a row, I was even motivated to return to get the shiny version of a Kongpanion (it might be my first?). I am not usually motivated to achieve shiny version, but something about being accidentally halfway already made me want to come back to finish it.

And Kongpanions aren’t even worth anything; there’s something about them eventually appearing in games, but I think that’s still very uncommon. Previously I only visited Kongregate when I saw a particularly cute one in the newsletter to quickly collect it for my profile forever. But otherwise, they’re basically worthless. I can go back and look at the sprites, that’s it. It doesn’t give me any sense of regret for spending time on earning them, nor any sense of achievement. So why do I have to get it? Well, I don’t, which is what I normally tell myself, but something about being 3-4 badges in that week made me really want the shiny version. But it’s true that I don’t really care about Kongpanions.

Then I notice my level is quickly climbing due to my badge farming. I’m at 16, and my badge looks actually competitive in chatrooms. Maybe I can reach 30, which I consider somewhat prestigious. Besides this, leveling up makes me feel good. Each time the number gets bigger, some amount of prestige gets added to my name (which, by the way, is my old username and not bTackt, which makes me a little bit sad because Kong doesn’t allow name changes). It feels nice to see my level climb. But I would argue that this doesn’t ultimately motivate me to keep playing more and more. It does bring me gratification to see it grow, though.

So if it’s definitely not Kongpanions, and probably not leveling up, how about badges? It is pretty fun to scroll through my badges and walk through memories of all the games I’ve played, and all the fun and hard things I have done and achieved. I also finally finished the “Your First Quest” quest, so now I have a shiny medal on my profile, which is pretty cool, and that makes me want to finish the “Beginner” quest (somehow I have not yet). Then I could have another easy medal. Also, every time I see a badge that belongs to a “Best of” quest, I am immediately more motivated to get it. There’s more value in it. So maybe it’s easy things. If something is not finished, but relatively simple to get, I will take the effort to finish it out. Notice that simple =/= takes a trivial amount of time, but anything to have the finished feeling. I think this may be key #1. I will bold it. If something is not finished, but almost finished and simple to finish, I will take the effort to finish it. So yes, badges are part of a larger motivation. Badges ultimately make a game more motivating to play than one without. In fact, unless the game is extremely good/alluring, I feel like I’m wasting my time playing a game without badges. It’s inefficient, see. I could be getting badges and points with the same time. I want to be earning as much as possible for the same amount of time.

That leads into a second possible motivation: efficiency. There are a number of games which I play a lot which utilize some version of an “energy” mechanic: you have a certain amount of energy to spend on playing, but once you have used it all, you must wait for it to replenish and return to use more of it. It’s a tried and true mechanic: if you need to achieve something but lose the means to do so, the game’s best way of keeping you around is to only allow you to achieve that thing if you return later, and so on, in a loop. So for people like me who enjoy F2P games but will not pay, they grow a fixation on efficiency. Once I’ve used all of my energy, any time I believe it’s refilled, I need to return in order to not waste it–I can only regenerate more if my reservoir is not full. And so I go back and back, because I have this semi-consciousness that it’s not efficient to stay there waiting for more energy all the time, but it is efficient to return and empty it when it is full, and I need to keep progressing in the game and leveling up and getting more achievements and completing quests. The worst part, however, is that each time I come to empty my energy reservoir, it is not a quick, short thing, unless I compromise “free” rewards. It takes a while–a lot of minutes. That’s where it starts to hurt me: I feel as if I’m doing the least I can, yet the least is a lot. Admittedly, I am able to pull myself away from Bush Whacker 2 (pleaseeee don’t laugh) because the story is so long and the game is quite repetitive and one of the only motivations is to compare yourself to others, hundreds of whom are already at a unattainable max level (unattainable unless you are ready to have absolutely no life/pay). A new game that sucked me in recently is Tower Keepers, which kept me captive for a couple weeks straight until just a couple days ago, when I realized I’m reaching a hard point in the game where I need leveling up to continue beating quests, but grinding levels is extremely slow at this point. So I’m losing interest and peeling away.

I also love to feel like I’ve bested something. Which games did I play in this past month that I really, really loved enough to completely finish? And why did I spend all the time on it?

  • Defender’s Quest [extended demo]. I’m really not sure what particularly appealed to me about this game, but it was just too long and not long enough, and it was still short enough for me to complete the demo and re-beat all levels on all three difficulty settings. Something about unlocking heroes with new powers, leveling them up, specializing them in skill points, equipping armor and weapons, discovering quests weapons…and the game was short enough that I didn’t feel guilty spending the time to complete it (although I actually did spend a lot of time); it was gratifying to have beaten the whole thing through and through.
  • Hat Wizard. This game had only 18 levels and they were no problem, pretty easy and interesting puzzle concept to enjoy solving. However, there was a bonus challenge level. And it was infuriating. I probably spent over an hour on that the first day I tried it, and then came back the next day to beat it in a nontrivial amount of time. Why did I do it? Firstly, because it seemed beatable but I felt not good enough and to keep trying until I became good enough to beat it. Secondly, because the Kong badge required you to beat the challenge level. Thirdly, because it would make me feel so good to have finished it. I am proud. But was it worth spending the time on?
  • BioGems. This was sort of Candy Crush meets Pokemon, and I liked the concept. For some reason I’m fundamentally against Candy Crush-style games but the mechanics were interesting enough that I was motivated to keep playing. There were also not very many levels (12?) so I felt like I had to finish once I was halfway through. Until the boss level. Which was so unfair, and I’m pretty sure, unbalanced, and also half based on luck, and whether you could have your defense up all the time, and whether you could have your counter up at the exact moment he launched a huge attack at you…I played that level way too many times and lost to bad luck. I actually thought I’d never win, but once I randomly won somehow. I know that I am averse to boss fights as a character trait, but I’m also averse to leaving something unfinished like that with one level left.
  • Continuity. I loved this game inside and out. It was a true puzzle game, clean art and concept, and challenging. Yet…it is to be admitted that I love games that seem challenging but are truly beatable. Which I guess Continuity was… Anyways, it just felt like a kind of puzzle that I could really get with, and I wanted to just keep getting new ones, and there was just the right amount of them that when I beat the game it felt right. And I got a Kong badge. :thinking:
  • Elephant Quest. Look, I just can’t deny jmtb02 his blue elephant. And also I don’t know why I never played this game before. The map was kind of big, forcing me to waste time running around in one-way loops to get to stuff, but it was a very fun platformer in jmtb02 style, and of course I have to beat all the quests and the final game, and use whatever time it took to do that. (I wonder what it would look like if Kongregate actually logged how much time you spent on certain games.)
  • Fancy Pants 2. This game doesn’t actually belong with this list, because I quit after the easy badge, but I appreciated it. It was very thought-through design and seemed like a good game. However, something in me didn’t really connect with the style, besides that it projected itself as somewhat of a long game, with time-consuming challenges were I to go through and complete every side quest/achievement. And just because it seemed a tad too challenging and too long overall, I didn’t go through with it.

So…these were mostly games that were a. “challenging” but totally beatable b. probably fresh, interesting game mechanic and c. on the short side. If this self-inspection essay is about trying to get me to cut back on games, what do I do? Not spend time on these? But these games are so hard to find…the good ones… Probably what I have to do is be more aware about letting myself go ham on these, and instead restrict myself to a certain amount of time each day or every few days, instead of going for an un-predetermined amount of time on some random day when I should be doing scheduled/more important things.

Here’s another big shame: idle games. Which are all about generating maximum efficiency in order to power yourself to further efficient-ize your efficiency, and so on. Clicker Heroes is the one I have been doing recently, but ultimately what drives me is the achievement page. If I can achieve the achievements, then I feel like I’ve bested the game. (I wonder how much of this stems from my first exposure being AU; something about meta-gaming achievements is so, so appealing to me, and I wonder if that’s something in me that matched up with AU, or if AU put that in me from the start). And I realize that idle games are probably even more shameful than the MMOs that grown adults sit around and click all day, but why do we like to play them? It’s because it deceives you into feeling like you’re accomplishing things while you’re actually doing nothing. If you’re not playing the game, you’re still getting more money. You’re still progressing in the game in general. To some extent, the puzzle challenge of creating the most efficiency is enjoyable. But the deceptive basis of the game is the worst part. Back to Tower Keepers–I don’t really care at all what’s in those chests I keep unlocking as long as I keep unlocking them. What does that say about me? On the other hand, I don’t care for PvP very much because I don’t like interaction with other players very much, besides that usually some other try-hards are just way better than you because they have no life and I’m not willing to have no life just to be better than others…I just want the game to reward me.

There was also something in Tower Keepers that is related to this creative challenge that idle games present. Something interesting that made this RPG unique is the special challenge of designing a challenge level that others are unable to beat. Of course, though, in order to have the resources to build something powerful enough, you have to keep playing and looting. That’s weird, I just realized: that’s a tower defense.

Man, this was so disorganized. In the end, I want to know, how do I remedy myself? How do I stop myself from playing so much flash games when I shouldn’t be, and I should be writing, or reading, or filing my papers? Firstly, I need to recognize that in-game achievements are just that; narrow constructs to make me believe I need to complete something. That’s not going to stop me from wanting to complete them, though, or games that I am nearly through that I just want to tie off. Honestly, I don’t think I can argue myself out of playing games, is my conclusion. This sucks. But it does mean that the only measure I can take is careful self-restriction to how much time I can spend on it per day, and I need to more consciously choose not to play games as a substitute for doing what I am supposed to do, because it is telling me I’m achieving things when I’m truly not. When going back in to use up energy, don’t spend all the time it takes to use it all up, count that time and restrict yourself and just miss out on free stuff, you have to, and for goodness’ sake don’t do it multiple times a day.

Anyways, playing flash games is lame and sissy grow up and play REAL games

So, if you haven’t noticed, I have an awful track record of accomplishing my self-imposed goals in real life. When faced with my dream of days and days of unrestricted free time, I tend to waste it instead of accomplishing the projects I complain I never have the time to complete. So I did nothing other than use the knowledge that I get off to leveling up and gathering points and xp against myself, and created a real-life RPG in which I must complete tasks and form habits in order to keep leveling up and earning video game/YouTube time. And finishing the boss level of Portal (no prob, but I’m putting it off) is half a gold star, and beating the boss level and bonus level of Papa Louie 2 was half a gold star (:thinking: is that ironic). I want to know why HabitRPG doesn’t work on me but this real life version seems to be working, because it thoroughly doesn’t work on me (although I did log on for the first time in almost two years and it seems massively improved from the unworkable thing it was before).

On an unrelated note, here are my flash game recommendations. I think either puzzle escape or tower defense is definitely my favorite non-MMO (I still hate that I play those but I do) flash game genre, although I feel like I’ve already played all the best tower defenses (except Bloons, I hate Bloons) and there’s little to nothing left in that genre. Other outstanding things I loved included AU2 (the best balance between AU1 which is scary the first time and then becomes a speedrunning game and AU3 which was just overkill), Rusty Lake series, and obviously my favorite two TDs, Gemcraft Labyrinth and the Kingdom Rush series. Favorite two individual creators in particular are jmtb02 and bontegames.