Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My time with Z and my ENC Family


  Yesterday I lost a good friend.  I wasn't part of his inner circle, or his high school crowd, but he was a part of my closest gamer family.  He was a profound influence on my growth as a man, and the development of my life's passion.  He was there for me when I needed friends the most.  He wasn't the most vocal person, but he always had a good heart and was loyal to his friends.
     Most people don't understand the world of gaming yet, and that's fine because it's still a relatively new medium and field of study.  Unfortunately it usually has this bad stigma attached to it, and the people you spend your time "playing games" with is viewed as a waste of time.  My time with my ENC family (ENC being the internet cafe I spent countless hours at) and my time with my friend, Z, were some of the best years of my life and I know I'm not alone in my feelings about my time there.  To those that choose to remain ignorant, it might look like we had been wasting our time on games, but it was hardly time wasted.
     The reason I'm heavily invested into the world of gaming is because of my time at ENC.  Our ENC family remains a band of brothers that I'll always have the utmost respect for and I'll care about forever.  We always had tough times in our life, but we could put that aside and share our time together playing games.
     Z was one of the main people in my life that taught me about the Mobile Online Battle Arena genre, which popular titles include Dota 2 and League of Legends.  They are popular player vs. player games in which teams of five compete to destroy each others main base.  The online battlefields are filled with both meta and micro managed strategies that takes years to properly master.  Z not only had achieved a level of mastery over this game type, he also had the patience to help someone new to the genre (Me) learn the ropes and realize how fun competing with friends can be.  We were always a competitive bunch at ENC.  We'd yell at each other about the nice plays being made, and heckle each other for the mistakes we'd make.  I'll never forget Mike Vo and Z yelling across the room, "OH NOOOO!  THE CREEEEEPSSS!"  Creeps were small cannon fodder-esque units in the game that represented the army you were fighting for.  When you'd attack another player, the enemy creeps would turn to attack you in order to back up their ally.
    Our group of gamers at ENC was very similar to a recreational sports team.  We were friends, but we also were a task-oriented group dedicated to killing bosses, slaying dragons, and defeating online opponents.  Then when we weren't playing the games, we'd hang out, talk, grab a pizza or possibly some Chipotle, and I'd usually join people outside for their cigarette break.  We were like any group of friends, we'd hang out, do activities (Monday Night Raids anyone?), and just have a good time.
  It was this group of friends that shaped me.  We might be tough on each other when it came to getting better at competitive games like Dota, but I feel like we were and are loyal friends to each other.
    Z epitomized this for me.  From my time with him, I could tell he had a good heart.  He enjoyed the company of his friends, and he enjoyed being a positive influence.  He'd buy people food when they were low on money, or just zone out and play some games with you if you'd rather not really be too social.  He helped make ENC into a very comfortable place for our group to spend time.  He'd invite you to play with him and was excellent at providing constructive feedback to make you better at what you were playing.  We'd have conversations about playing a paladin in World of Warcraft and the best methods of healing.  We weren't just gamers, we were serious gamers.  This wasn't just a tiny distraction in our life, this was our priority in how we spent our free time.  Some people go to bars, some go to movies, and some people even read books.  We would spend our time, effort, and money on our games.  However, it wasn't all serious.  We'd have a great time doing it too, and we made friends for life.
    I can't say that I spent enough time with Z recently, but I can say that the time I DID spend with him changed my life forever.  It was this social interaction that fostered my love of gaming.  It was this community that sparked my interest in psychology and sociology.  It was this group that helped remind me how important my friends are in my life.  It was looking back at my time with this group that convinced me to go back to school to learn more about gamer communities and why people enjoy them so much.
     Z was a wonderful person, a great friend, and one of the best Dota teammates you could ever ask for.  I'll miss him more than I can probably process at the moment.  Ultimately, I love you Z, and I love you my ENC family.  I know we're huge bros, but you're some of the best friends I've ever made.  We'll miss you Z.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Titanfall Impression via Steam Conversation

This post is just a brief conversation I had on Steam about my Titanfall beta experience.  It sums up the issues I have with the game and sheds some light on the features.  I know it's not the most eloquent language, but at least you'll still get my raw impressions of the experience.

Elandrian: man
Elandrian: i am SUPER upset about titanfall
Elandrian: i need to talk to someone
Elandrian: hahahaha
I have a pwner: is it that baf?
I have a pwner: bad
Elandrian: yes
Elandrian: yes and no
Elandrian: hahaha, that's why i'm conflicted, but, overall, not worth 60 dollars
I have a pwner: boo
Elandrian: like, at all
I have a pwner: multiplayer good at least?
Elandrian: it's ONLY multiplayer
I have a pwner: lol
Elandrian: man, i'm SO salty
Elandrian: so here's the nutshell
Elandrian: It's a good evolution of call of duty multiplayer, the parkour and mechs make it feel fresh
Elandrian: BUT
Elandrian: It's fucking call of duty multiplayer, ultimately it's just dudes blasting each other
I have a pwner: lol
Elandrian: but they create a false sense of badassness by adding AI units
I have a pwner: sounds like typical console shittiness
I have a pwner: ahhh
Elandrian: like, there's AI dudes that are worthless on the battlefield "helping"
Elandrian: so it's only 6v6 players
I have a pwner: free kills
Elandrian: but there's AI dudes
Elandrian: EXACTLY
Elandrian: free kills, they're worthless
Elandrian: but they distract you from thinking you're bad because at least you're killing something right?
I have a pwner: sounds like a game for kids
Elandrian: exactly
I have a pwner: it's like giving everyone a trophy in little league
Elandrian: YES
I have a pwner: even if they're dead last
Elandrian: it's just the "grass is greener" issue
Elandrian: it's like, "man, I'm so happy that I can blast more dudes in new ways, and oo the graphics are pretty over here and ooo mechs are cool"
Elandrian: but then with no story or deeper objective to playing... what's the point?
Elandrian: i mean shit, at least give me character customization
Elandrian: NOT loadout customization, that means NOTHING
I have a pwner: wow
I have a pwner: that's just bare bones they gave you
I have a pwner: doesn't have the finess of a $60 game you'd expect
Elandrian: and it has no intention of being worth a full 60 dollars
Elandrian: It's a 20 dollar PC shooter title
Elandrian: that's what it's worth to me
I have a pwner: and this is why I wait before I play games
Elandrian: i mean fuck
I have a pwner: haha
Elandrian: make it free to play and give it character customization that you pay microtransactions for
I have a pwner: oooh
Elandrian: well... this is why i play betas
I have a pwner: that's an idea
I have a pwner: make it like league
I have a pwner: like that one first person moba
Elandrian: or just play Hawken
Elandrian: it's going to be free to play
I have a pwner: what's that
Elandrian: all mech titanfall
I have a pwner: ah
Elandrian: i've been in beta for it for like 2 years
Elandrian: it's on steam early access now
Elandrian: but it's 20 bucks for early access, but i got a free key for being in closed beta
Elandrian: but anyway, if i want to play a mech combat game
I have a pwner: niceee
Elandrian: i'll play mechwarrior online or hawken
I have a pwner: yeah
I have a pwner: word
Elandrian: both of which are/will be free
Elandrian: so if i'm gonna pay 60 bucks for titanfall
Elandrian: it better be the bees knees of mech games
Elandrian: and the content is has IS polished... but it's not enough to be worth 60
Elandrian: i should just post our conversation as to why it's bad
Elandrian: then i don't have to retype
Elandrian: lolll
I have a pwner: lol
I have a pwner: i'm fine with that
I have a pwner: especially if you keep my name as i have a pwner
Elandrian: yes, well now I HAVE to post it