Heroes of the Dorm Made Me an Esports Fan [Playboy]

My love of Heroes of the Storm never translated to the competitive esports scene, until Heroes of the Dorm.

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Read the full article at Playboy

heroes of the dorm

I love the Blizzard game Heroes of the Storm. But despite its growing popularity as an esport, I’d never cared much about the competitive scene. That all changed when I spotted my wife’s alma mater among the college teams on the bracket for Blizzard’s second annual “Heroes of the Dorm” tournament. I suddenly found myself tuning into broadcasts and cheering on my adopted team. I learned about popular strategies and costly mistakes. I watched scrappy underdogs win against all odds, while big favorites fell apart. I forged a love for insightful commentary, risky gameplay, and college rivalries. I became a fan.

Heroes of the Dorm is the first of its kind—a college esports competition broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3. This year the tournament returned more popular than ever, and could be viewed on on Twitch, YouTube, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The Final Four and Grand Finale air today and tomorrow.

“Heroes of the Dorm is so cool because we’re from this culture that recognizes the growth of esports and how it provides a really positive form of entertainment,” says Adam Rosen, co-founder of college esports organization TESPA. “You tune into an average esports competition, you might not know who Evil Geniuses or Team Liquid are. You tune into ESPN and see Cal Berkeley vs Arizona State in the finals and you’re gonna have some affiliation with those schools.”

Read the full article at Playboy

Stardew Valley Review [Pixelkin]

Many mobile and social games have used farming gameplay to great success. Stardew Valley elevates the genre into something truly unique and special.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Farming games have existed since the 90s with the likes of Sim Farm and Harvest Moon. In recent years many mobile and social games like Farmville have used the rewarding feedback of growing your own crops to great success. Stardew Valley puts them all to shame, and elevates the genre into something truly unique and special.

After creating your pixelated character you re-discover a letter from your dying grandfather inviting you to take over some farmland in a rural village. You leave your mundane office job and set out to Pelican Town to start a new life.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Weekly D&D Programming Update

Due to connection woes, we’re going to stop live streaming and just record our D&D sessions. Uploads to YouTube on Monday!

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Hey everyone,

Lately my ability to stream has gone down the toilet. My internet connection has never been great, but it’s always been good enough.

In the last few weeks, however, I can’t live stream without dropping about 80% of the frames. Anyone that’s tried to drop into our Sunday evening live streams have noticed how unwatchable that is. My upload speed remains the same and I’m unsure what the specific culprit is, but it’s not going away.

Since it also records and uploads to YouTube, it’s starting to drag the quality of our recorded videos down as well. The solution is to just stop live streaming altogether.

Instead I will record our sessions on Sunday evening, and upload them on Monday. The majority of our viewership and audience interaction comes from these archived YouTube videos anyway, and now the quality should vastly improve.

We really appreciate all the views and comments on our adventures and here on my blog. “Princes of the Apocalypse” is well under way and should last us throughout the year. If my connection woes ever improve we can try live streaming again, but for now you can watch our weekly adventures on my YouTube channel, and read about them here on my bog every Monday.

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 8 Recap

The party explores the mines beneath the Sacred Stone Monastery, freeing prisoners, battling guards, and tripping arcane traps.

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Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

When my players are roaming around the world trying to figure out where to go and what to do, I’m a nervous wreck. With dungeon crawls, however, I’m in my element. D&D has a lot of dungeon crawls, and “Princes of the Apocalypse” is no exception.

Each dungeon features some unique hooks, denizens, and geography. In the Sacred Stone Monastery it’s the nifty Umber Hulk trap I sprung last week. This week’s session was a bit less exciting. But I enjoyed my players’ nervously shuffling through the dark winding mines having been weakened and drained from the last battle.

The mines aren’t a terribly safe place to rest but my players needed a breather. Thankfully D&D 5E has the Short Rest mechanic, which seems designed explicitly to allow some mid-dungeon breaks without completely leaving and setting up tents.

I had a patrolling orog (slightly tougher orc) wander by but the PCs chose not to engage. Not every enemy sighting has to lead straight to combat, and I like giving my players as many options as possible – even if they simply choose the straightforward path most of the time. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 8 Recap”

13 XCOM 2 Tips to Keep Your Soldiers Alive [Pixelkin]

Several crucial tips and guides to help you win the war against the alien menace.

Read the full guide at Pixelkin

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Greetings, Commander. The aliens continue their stranglehold over our planet. You and the brave men and women fighting for XCOM are our secret weapon. Many soldiers died bringing you these invaluable tips, so that others may live. Keep fighting and we’ll win this war. Good luck, Commander.

Know the Timing on the Avatar Project

The only way you can really lose XCOM 2 is if the Avatar Project is completed. However even when the bar fills up, a 20-day countdown timer begins. You get a bit of a grace period to immediately launch an assault on the nearest enemy base. Make sure you’ve been making the right contacts and always have a base to infiltrate when the counter gets too high.

Base Management

XCOM 2 is pretty forgiving when it comes to building your facilities. Prioritizing which to build first is largely a matter of preference. Build that Guerrilla Tactics School ASAP, as it provides the upgrades needed to field additional soldiers. Stick it in one of the top corners. You’ll also want your Workshop somewhere in the middle. It’s the only building that cares about adjacency, and you can staff an engineer to then staff nearby buildings via remote gremlins.

Read the full guide at Pixelkin

Pokkén Tournament Review [Pixelkin]

Pokkén Tournament has intuitive controls and a perfect difficulty ramp that successfully lets Pikachu and company brawl in glorious HD.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

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Available on Wii U

At its core Pokémon has always been a fighting game, albeit a turn-based one. Mapping Pokémon onto a traditional 3D fighting game makes perfect sense. Pokkén Tournament on Wii U has intuitive controls and a perfect difficulty ramp that successfully let Pikachu and company brawl in glorious HD.

Pokkén Tournament is structured like a typical fighting game. You select from a roster of a little over a dozen fighters and fight one-on-one with opponents.

Executing moves is similar to Super Smash Bros. Simple combos fire off various flashy attacks. Each fight is structured around two phases – a bigger 3D Field phase and a more intimate side-by-side Duel Phase. Knowing when to close in and when to back off is an interesting strategy. Different pokémon excel at different techniques.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 7 Recap

From the Feathergale Spire to the Sacred Stone Monastery, only to get dropped into a trap with an enraged Umber Hulk!

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

Sometimes your open world campaign may be a bit too open, or you sprinkled in a personal quest that was a bit too dire. Magical locked gates to the rescue!

I don’t feel great about it but it ultimately helped funnel my players into a much more agreeable path, especially after hinting how “Princes of the Apocalypse” is set up. Plus, I got to send them tumbling down a flight of stairs into a room with an enraged Umber Hulk. Fun stuff!

We picked up this week after the non-stop action at the Feathergale Spire that left most of its residents dead. The party swept through the rest of the now empty tower, seeing a few rooms on the ground floor for the first time.

Kalinaar made a dramatic show of releasing the last few hippogriffs in the stables, dumping oil all around and then lighting it all on fire with his dragon breath. A major structure like the spire won’t go down quickly but it did transform into a giant smoke stack as the flames did their work. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 7 Recap”