Ireland’s First eSports Event.

On March 15th, Ireland was treated to its first ever eSports live event.

hotel

image: GLOI

Run by Geek Ireland and Gaming Leagues of Ireland, this event had an incredible amount of hype and hesitation in equal measure attached.

Due to the cancellation of events of it’s kinda, such as Noobcon in September of last year, ( If you want the lowdown of that entire situation you can read Random Drop’s piece on it here ). the community of eSports players in Ireland have been more than reseeved when it comes to a event of its kind popping up again.

I spoke to Bryan McNamara and Theo Goyvaerts, both of Geek Ireland and Gaming Leagues of Ireland, to give me the lowdown on what was to (hopefully) be a sucuessful day for Irish eSports:

theobryan

Theo and Bryan, seen left, as you just heard were more them optimistic that the event would triumph over past hiccups.

And it did.

After almost 8 hours of Gaming, the winners, “Looney Goons” proved victorous over their counterparts.

 

However the real winners were Bryan, Theo, Geek Ireland and Gaming Leagues of Ireland who managed to put on one hell of a “debut” for Irish eSports.

It’s only looking better for competitive gaming in Ireland.

The game final itself can be checked out here : http://www.twitch.tv/geek_ireland/b/511342733

 

Seth Rogen to Co-Direct ‘Console Wars’ Movie

Seth Rogen is set to team up with childhood friend Evan Goldberg to direct a Nintendo vs Sega movie, chronicling the first console war in the early 1990’s. Sony Pictures have greenlit the project, and I for one am possibly the most excited man. In this day and age we’re used to consoles lacing up and stepping into the proverbial ring every couple of years for an epic battle of wits, and marketing. Just take a look at some of the advertisements from the time and it is clear that this fight got dirty.

But back then, there was no war, there was only Nintendo. The Japanese giant may have fallen off it’s perch as of late, but then it had complete control of the US and Japanese markets. Enter Sega. Soon, the Mega Drive/Genesis and the SNES were the hottest pieces of technology on the planet and with gaming icons, Sonic and Mario at the helm, it turned out to be a battle for the ages.

I’m unsure what kind of direction the film is going to take, whether it’ll be flat documentary or more business politics drama. All I know for certain is that it’s going to be one to watch.

14 Million Tune in to Play Pokémon

Sometimes, great ideas come along, and in this internet age they gain rapid traction, circumnavigate the globe, and are interacted with by hundreds of thousands of people. Great things have been accomplished this way. This is not one of those things. Over 14 million people have gathered on the twitch channel, TwitchPlaysPokemon to watch, or take part in the most bizarre, interesting and at times infuriating gaming experiment in a long time. The concept is simple; 1996 edition of Pokemon Red for the gameboy is being streamed with the goal of completing the game. Easy enough. However, no one person is playing. In fact nearly 400,000 people have played. And how does this work, you ask? Well I’d argue it doesn’t really, but gosh darn is it amusing to watch.

Twitch

The twitch chat has become the controller, allowing viewers to input commands into the chat for the character, Red. As you might imagine, there is naught but chaos, yet miraculously, progress has been made. At the time of writing, the game has been running for six days and 12 hours. Thus far, they have beaten four gyms (somehow managing to coordinate Lt. Surges’ button puzzle), they have traversed Rock Tunnel and Mt.Moon, and though it took over 24 hours, beat the Rocket Hideout in Saffron City.

Pokemontwitch

Naturally, with six and a half days on their hands, a lot of fan art and lore has been generated surrounding the game, most notably with the The Helix God. In the early stages of the game, having picked up the Helix Fossil in Mt. Moon, the anarchy of the chat commands led to the player character, constantly reaching into the item backpack and producing the Helix Fossil to no effect, both in battle and in the outside world. This led players to believe that they were in fact consulting the fossil for guidance, and that all would become clear with the Helix God’s command  .

As for the Pokemon themselves, they currently have five in the party, each have been given out of game nicknames on the subredddit surrounding the game. The leader of the team is the currently level 48 Pigeot, affectionately known as ‘Bird Jesus’, seeing as he’s about the only effective Pokemon in the group. The others are a level 22 Oddish, known as ‘The Seed of Hope’, a level 16 Rattata called ‘Dig Rat’, a level 21 Farfetch’d ‘The Slayer of Trees’, and a 19 Drowzee, who’s time in Bill’s PC earned him the title of ‘The Keeper’. A name he garnered from holding back ‘The False Prophet’ Flareon at bay. Obviously.

Unsurprisingly this has gained phenomenal attention online, being reported on by the BBC and The Huffington Post, transcending your average gaming news piece. It is unclear how long it will take for the game to be completed, could be days, could be weeks, but someone, somewhere will still be playing. So says our lord and saviour, The Helix God.

EU League Championship Series: Week 4 Day 1

So I have been snowed under with college work and other commitments, but now they’re gone and we’re back with more coverage from the EU LCS. We’re back with four more games today and four tomorrow where the table is likely to start showing signs of separation and some clear favourites emerge. Since week one, there has been some intense plays and some surprise upsets. Let’s take a quick look at the standings heading into week 4:

  1. Fnatic (7-1)
  2. Gambit Gaming (6-2)
  3. ROCCAT (5-3)
  4. SK Gaming (4-5)
  5. Copenhagen Wolves (3-5)
  6. SUPA HOT CREW (3-5)
  7. Millennium (2-5)
  8. Alliance (2-6)

Game 1 – Fnatic (1) vs Alliance (8)

Alliance have been nothing short of disappointing this season so far, having come in with high expectations of being real contenders for the split, so a win here could change their fortunes against a Fnatic team coming off a loss versus Gambit. Alliance needed to pick up the win or start facing some serious doubts about contending in the second half of the split. In the champion select, Fnatic once again decided to risk a double AP composition with top laner sOAZ picking up LeBlanc with xPeke on mid Orianna.
Some attempted early aggression by Fnatic turned on them and while they didn’t give away any kills, it let Alliance know that the early game from Fnatic would be weak and could be capitalised on. After a very farm heavy and slow start to the game, Alliance decided to try and capitalise on a the early game advantage and jumped onto xPeke in mid lane with a Pantheon/Gragas ultimate combo for the kill. Alliance didn’t take their foot off the accelerator here and went aggressive in every lane. Froggen, confident in his early game started roaming into the Fnatic jungle and down to bottom lane, picking up another kill. Two taker takedowns followed, despite giving a dragon over to Fnatic.
Fnatic feeling the pressure, dived top lane trying to pick up the kill on Wickd’s Trundle, however they took more damage than expected and while they took the tower and kill, a counter gank from Shook, evened it out a bit. Meanwhile, Froggen continued to bully xPeke’s Orianna picking up a kill to leave the score a 1-4 in Alliance’s favour. Fnatic’s luck did not improve as they tried to steal a dragon from Alliance, but got caught and turned on, losing two and lucky that sOAZ managed to pick up a return kill. Fnatic remained as aggressive as they could, and a messy teamfight breaks out in mid lane. While Fnatic drew the first blood picking up kills on Nyph and Shook, they were unable to capitalise on it and Alliance turned on them picking up three kills in return. Fnatic were starting to lose grip on this game.

Alliance picked up Baron with a one for one trade, and were now firmly in the driving seat. Every engage Alliance were winning and Fnatic’s cocky, gambit team composition didn’t work as planned. The upest no one was expecting was on the verge of becoming reality. A second Baron, and a decisive teamfight later, and Alliance shut down the first place team and Alliance pick up the big win against all odds. This wasn’t the epic duel of mid laners we were hoping for and more complete domination from Froggen, something we haven’t seen in a while, and I for one am glad he’s returned.

Final Score: FNC 8 – 17 ALL (Winner: Alliance)
MVP: ALL Froggen (Gragas)

Game 2 – Millennium (7) vs ROCCAT (3)

Millennium picked up a win at IEM in Sao Paulo last weekend and were hoping to turn that success into LCS success as they sat in 7th place, following Alliance’s win. They needed to change something big in their gameplay to start turning this season around. ROCCAT had two hard losses last week, but are still the strongest of the new contenders in the EU LCS and looked up to this point as having the potential to contest for first and second place. Having seen Fnatic drop what should have been an easy win, ROCCAT might have felt this was their opportunity to capitalise on the chance to close the gap to a single win.
An aggressive start from ROCCAT proved fruitless in the bottom lane as they burned everything on very little and failed to pick up a kill. The first blood came out in mid lane as a dive from Kerp in mid lane with some help from Aranae in the jungle and a misclick stun from Overpow’s team mate Jankos allowed Millennium to pick up first blood without any return from ROCCAT.

An attempted two man dive on Xazus in top lane, almost dropped both Kev1n and Aranae as Xazus outplayed his attackers just managing to stay alive after the last ignite tick. However, Millenium later returned with backup in the form of Kerp’s Gragas and while Xazus bought enough time for the rest of his team to take a free dragon, he fell and the scores set at 2-0.

Needing to pick up a kill, ROCCAT went heavy on bottom lane catching out Jree and taking the tower but a swift counter attack from Millennium, and a perfectly timed ultimate from Gragas cut off their retreat, taking down two of the three fleeing players. A testament however to ROCCAT farming skills as despite being 4-1 down, they actually had a minor gold advantage meaning all was still to be played for.
Attempting to further their lead, a confident Millennium tried to counter jungle and catch out Jankos at the red buff, but some excellent positioning by the members of ROCCAT who came to his aid meaning that Aranae and his counter jungle assistant Kev1n fell to the team while Jankos walked away on a sliver of health. ROCCAT refusing to go down easy, picked up a third unanswered kill on a brave Kerp with Vander’s Thresh locking him under the tower and giving the kill over to Overpow.

The action didn’t let up as a fight broke out at dragon while MIllenium took it, and the teams traded one for one in the following fight, with two members of Millenium just managing to escape. As they game seemed to be moving into a lull, Aranae got caught lurking around Baron and ROCCAT quickly turned on it with the danger of a smite steal removed. Doing their best to harrass them off the Baron or pick up a steal Millenium weren’t able to commit fully and while they picked up a kill on Celaver, Kev1n fell and ROCCAT secured the Baron.

However, ROCCAT did very little with the buff duration other than scare Millennium, slowing the game down, and extend their gold lead. ROCCAT seemed to want Millennium to engage on them and as soon as Baron respawned they got their wish. Jankos caught a cocoon from Elise and Millennium dived in on it but ROCCAT turned on them splitting them up and melting them, turning for their second Baron in a row.
ROCCAT began a systematic end to this game picking up objective after objective. For their last 12 kills, Millennium had only managed to secure three. ROCCAT picked up a third Baron, this time completely without harassment from Millennium. ROCCAT were completely in control but needed to make a move closing this game out for sure. A dive onto the top lane inhibitor of Millenium traded two for one and ROCCAT picked up the inhibitor but still the game went on. However, some tech difficulties cut the game short but the win went over to ROCCAT.

ROCCAT move on up solidifying their position in the top half of the table. Millenium’s nightmare season continues.

Final Score: MIL 8 – 16 ROC (Winner: ROCCAT)
MVP: ROC VandeR (Thresh)

Game 3 – Copenhagen Wolves (5) vs Gambit Gaming (2)

Copenhagen Wolves got off to a strong start and had a good start to the split but like ROCCAT, had a rough week three and this was not a great start to week four. A win here and a loss for SK later meant the Copenhagen Wolves could push up into the top half of the table. Gambit Gaming have as always looked dominating, and their losses this split were quickly followed by decisive wins. This was their opportunity to draw level with Fnatic and put pressure on the team that has been in first since game one.
Gambit went for two unconventional picks with Alex Ich takinng Lulu into the mid lane and Genja taking Varus, an AD Carry we haven’t seen much of in a while. Copenhagen Wolves gave us our first 2 v 1 laneswap top today, and put the pressure on hard early game. Gambit however drew first blood utilising Evelynn’s stealth passive to creep up on Unlimited and Forgiven, taking down the support and forcing Forgiven to flash away.

Copenhagen Wolves swap top paid off allowing them to drop the first tower. Gambit quickly reacting by taking the first dragon of the game while the lanes rotated into their standard positions. Once again in bottom lane, Evelynn’s stealth comes into play as a triple ultimate combo onto Forgiven forces the flash in vain as he goes down, and Gambit nearly secure the follow up kill with a three man tower dive but Annie just forces them back.

Alex Ich picked up a cheeky kill on cowTard as the Wolves mid laner underestimated his lane opponents damage. With action in every lane, another fight breaks out in bottom lane, and a gank attempt from Copenhagen Wolves lets them get caught by Evelynn and they lose both Annie and Amazing on Wukong to Gambit.

The game taking no breaks, the bottom lane is the focus yet again as Gambit drop both laners, seconds later cowTard finally picks up a kill onto Alex Ich. Then again, in a matter of seconds Darien picks a fight with YoungBuck top but didn’t count on the Kayle returning from base and cowTard picks up a second kill. Quickly they try and peel for a dragon, but Evelynn was waiting and just as Amazing started it, Evelynn starts the fight and Gambit take two kills for one loss and take the dragon with them. Gambit quickly took a Baron with a teleport into the pit from Darien, before the Wolves could react.
The lull in play didn’t last long and the first 5v5 team fight of the game breaks out, and Gambit dominate despite Genja missing his big team fighting ultimate. Copenhagen Wolves appear to have no answer for Gambits magic heavy burst team. Then, an over confident Gambit team gets hit by a flash ultimate from Annie and Alex Ich drops in a second. Unfortunately for the Wolves, they aren’t able to follow it up with anything more than an uncontested dragon.

Every fight was messy and could have gone either way at any stage, with constant trades. Gambit still had the gold advantage but their objective takedowns had slowed slightly. Another hectic fight broke out at the Baron pit with Copenhagen Wolves taking one kill and trying to split away but after being chased by Gambit they turned and dropped Alex Ich making it a two for zero trade. Now confident they had the upper hand they chased Gambit back up the top lane but it was then Gambits turn to turn for the surprise kills, with cowTard and Amazing dropping.
Gambit’s first Baroned up attempt to push into the base of the Wolves ended with little tower damage and Alex Ich going down for no return kills. Gambit were waiting for Baron to come back up and as soon as it did, they went for it and a risky contest from the Wolves ended with Gambit walking away with Baron and three kills. Quickly they turned for the Wolves bases and there was nothing the Danish team could do but desperately fight for the towers. It was too little, too late and Gambit took down both remaining players and the nexus. A little harder work than the game merited but the Russians walked away with the win, and have now pulled level with Fnatic.

Final Score: CW 8 – 19 GMB (Winner: Gambit Gaming)
MVP: GMB Diamond (Evelynn)

Game 4 – SUPA HOT CREW (6) vs Millenium (7)

SUPA HOT CREW were coming off a big week three and had the opportunity to capitalise on a downtrodden Millennium. Once again, Millennium were in a position of need a win if only for morale at this stage. Both teams were in need of the win though to start a salvage of the split.
An early facecheck by Kev1n was about as interesting as the level one engages got and with standard lanes set up, the game got underway. The team compositions set up for a relatively uninteresting early game, with all lanes gunning to out farm their opponent. However, counting on that, the early bottom lane gank from Aranae on Lee Sin helped to secure the first blood on Migxa’s Sona. Millennium got off to a huge start, like their game with ROCCAT, after another Lee Sin gank bottom lane catches Migxa again, every SUPA HOT CREW member who joined was eventually picked off.

This was the beginning of a big snowball for Millennium, and after picking up another two kills and a dragon, the score sat at 1-7 to Milennium and a 4k gold deficit at just under 15 minutes into the game. Kerp’s LeBlanc was a terrifying force, with the ability to one shot nearly anyone from SUPA HOT CREW. The first twenty minutes of this game could hardly be classified as anything short of a murder, Millenium were just picking off anyone who was left alone.

At the 20 minute mark Millenium had doubled the gold lead to 8k and, the score was a horrifying 3-13. This was the most one sided game seen this season, and Millenium seemed nervous to close it out fully. Millenium while so far ahead looked anything but decisive. They were picking off easy kills and team fights but weren’t closing out big objectives. The question everyone was asking was what is taking so damn long.

Millennium baited SUPA HOT CREW to the Baron pit and turned on them taking 4 members and pushing the mid lane for the first inhibitor. Less than 5 minutes later and the game was over, with Milennium picking up the much needed win. It wasn’t pretty, even though the scoreline was slightly ridiculous. A tougher opponent would have capitalised on Millennium’s patient play and the game may have swung back to an even playing field.

Final Score: SHC 6 – 28 MIL (Winner: Millennium)
MVP: MIL Creaton (Lucian)

Standings at the end of day one:

  1. Fnatic (7-2)
  2. Gambit Gaming (7-2)
  3. ROCCAT (6-3)
  4. SK Gaming (4-5)
  5. Alliance (3-6)
  6. Copenhagen Wolves (3-6)
  7. Millennium (3-6)
  8. SUPA HOT CREW (3-6)

A Trip to bitSmith : An Irish Indie Games Developer

bitsmith_logo

bitSmith are a small Irish Indie games studio, located in Dublin. They’re a close knitted group, only containing Five members. However they range from Lectures in DIT and Griffith College, to Mod creators and animation masters.

These lads eat, sleep and breathe games. And it’s that focus and drive that’s gotten this small team to successfully get themselves through an arduous Steam Greenlight process with their first game, “Ku: Shroud of Morrigan“…

youtube : bitSmith

…and begin development on a new, already quite well received, second game. FranknJohn.

Vimeo : bitSmith

So I travelled down to Prince’s Street to talk with Ralph Croly, bitSmith’s UI and Game Designer, and Basil Kim, their illustrations, animations and concept artist.

The interview started off with me wondering just how long bitSmith was lost in the Greenlight :Points of conversation can be located on the Soundcloud wave above.

It didn’t take too long to get a controller into my hands after that, the lads started up a Pre-Alpha copy of FranknJohn for me to get royally slaughtered at…

( Contains strong language and stronger Nerd Rage )

And on that bombshell I was banished from bitSmith’s lair. However in all seriousness I meant what I said when I told Ralph and Basil how addictive the game currently sitting over at Valve HQ is. FranknJohn has TONS of potential, existing in a period where quick, deadly, roguelikes are flourishing.

2014 is looking good for bitSmith, and for Irish Indie games development.

me

 

Music Used :
FTL: Faster Than Light – Theme Song
Frozen Synapse Soundtrack #08 – Triumph

 

 

EU LCS Week 1 Day 1

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It’s back! This is like second Christmas for an esports and League of Legends junkie like me. I’ll be here bringing you everything you need to know every day after the action is wrapped up with match recaps, analysis of the league and the standings for both European and North American leagues. Week 1 kicks off with a super week, and on day 1 we’re being treated to six big games. First on the slate is the explosive start with LCS Champions from last split Fnatic, versus the Russian powerhouse, Gambit Gaming.

Week 1 Game 1 – Fnatic vs Gambit Gaming

The LCS organisers really know how to kick off a split and this was looking to be a an explosive game from the off. Particularly in mid lane, with two of the three most experienced and talented mid laners in the game coming head to head. Both teams have had changes to their bottom lane. Gambit returning to their former support, Edward, and Fnatic bringing Rekkles to his LCS debut. Without any risky picks, this game looked to come down to composition versus team skill. Gambit’s Dr. Mundo showed they’re gunning for a stall and late game win. Gambit kickoff the match with an invade into blue, but it backfires when they’re spotted by a ward and end up giving first blood over to sOAZ on Trundle. More aggression breaks out in the bottom side of Fnatic’s jungle as they force Fnatics front line back and back again. A clever defensive play by Alex Ich, dropped xPeke’s guard and with some help from Diamond on Shyvanna they pick up an equalising kill. The action didn’t let up with a gank from Cyanide bottom helped pick up a kill onto Darien, but a following counter gank by Diamond kept the score equal. Refusing to let play lull, Rekkles pulls of an incredible play top lane securing a double kill and just managing to get away from the chasing Shyvanna. Welcome to the LCS Rekkles. You’ll do well here.
The game got into full swing now with Gambit falling behind having lost two towers and allowing Rekkles three unanswered kills. They needed to shut down any potential snowball from the strong Fnatic team. The stalemate in mid lane continues, with neither champion picking up any serious advantages. After a risky tower assault by Fnatic on the remaining outer tower in mid lane, Gambit come in and the first team fight breaks out, but it’s left one for one, as Edward and Cyanide were casualties. Fnatic keep up their objective focused play style and dropped a fourth tower without any reply from Gambit. The Russians seemed to look a bit uncomfortable in their play. Bad turned to worse when Fnatic get caught out trying to take dragon, but some nifty teamwork, they turn the fight completely on Gambit, pulling away with a triple kill for Rekkles and an uncontested Baron. Fnatic use their advantage to steamroll their advantage and take the middle inhibitor and secure a triple kill on xPeke. Gambit continued to struggle for the rest of the game, being broken down at every turn. Forcing Fnatic off their nexus at the last-minute, Gambit tried a miracle Baron, but were easily thwarted by Fnatic and the nexus fell quickly after.

Final Score: Fnatic 21 – 5 Gambit
MVP: Fnatic Rekkles

Week 1 Game 2 – Copenhagen Wolves vs Alliance

The reformed Copenhagen Wolves faced off against the Alliance super team, featuring ex-Evil Geniuses players, Froggen and Wickd. Copenhagen Wolves have a lot to prove and were going to have a tough game ahead of them, but an early win versus one of the league favourites would boost their morale immensely. The game seemed to be getting off to a slow start but some incredible Caitlyn play by the Alliance AD Carry Tabzz to pick up first blood was quickly answered by Copenhagen Wolves top laner YoungBuck dropping Wickd. Quick back and forth fighting all over the map for the first 10 minutes set the score at 3-4 in Alliances favour. Alliance started to pull ahead with a dragon, another kill and the first tower in bot lane. Alliances grip on the game was loose and the underdogs were keeping a close grip on the game. A misfire by Froggen in a teamfight at Dragon let Copenhagen Wolves capitalise and take the team fight three for one to equalise the kills with a bonus dragon and tower taken. The pace of the game turned on its head and all momentum was with Copenhagen Wolves. The early advantage of Alliance was swapped and suddenly Copenhagen Wolves were in the driving seat.
At 30 minutes in some clever positioning from Copenhagen Wolves allowed them to take their third dragon, extending their gold advantage to over five thousand gold. Something big needed to happen for Alliance to get back in control of this game, but the Wolves kept their cool and stopped any miracle turnaround, keeping their cool. Every attempt by Alliance to get a foot back into this game was stamped out by the Wolves confident play. Picking up kill, after kill, after Baron, after kill, after tower. The Wolves kept up pressure and we had our first major upset of the LCS split. I guess the Alliance hype train has yet to leave the station.

Final Score: Copenhagen Wolves 14 – 9 Alliance
MVP: Copenhagen Wolves cowTard

Game 3: Supa Hot Crew XD – Roccat

This was the battle of the complete newcomers. For Supa Hot Crew, this was a match they needed to win to show what they had to bring after they got in following last seasons dark horse team Lemondogs had their spot in this split removed, having failed to qualify before that. Roccat looked strong in the qualifying competition and likely saw this game as an opportunity to acclimatize against a weaker team. Supa Hot Crew drew first blood after catching Roccat’s jungler in the bottom side river, chase him under the bottom lane tower and pick up three kills for one, taking a nice early lead. Supa Hot Crew kept up the pressure on the bottom lane, but Roccat were able to pull one back with a pressure relieving kill on Impaler’s Nunu. Roccat slowed the game right down hoping to counter the quick buff items that Supa Hot Crew were building. The first teamfight broke out in bottom lane, after some over extending from Supa Hot Crew, which turned into a very messy two for one win in Roccats favour to level the score at 4-4. From this point, Roccat had control of the game from this point on and would not let up on it, taking objectives quickly from Supa Hot Crew. At 20 minutes, Roccat’s team composition became obvious when they caught out Supa Hot Crew in mid lane, and melted four members in seconds walking away with four kills for no losses and an early Baron that solidified their place in the driving seat. Roccat moved between lanes, keeping pressure up on all sides of the map and not allowing Supa Hot Crew to get any foothold back in this game. A second Baron for Roccat at 28 minutes, was a sign that Roccat were starting to close out the game. A teleport/homeguard dive  inside the base of Supa Hot Crew from Roccat’s top laner signalled the end of the game in flashy style. A last ditch effort to rescue their base was thwarted and the game was wrapped up with a win for Roccat, in just over 30 minutes.

Final Score: Supa Hot Crew XD 4 – 15 Roccat
MVP: Roccat Xaxus

Game 4: Alliance – Fnatic

When it came down to it, Alliance should have beaten the Copenhagen Wolves but their composition was all off. Then going against a far stronger team hot off a win against Gambit, they needed to pull out all the stops to take down Fnatic. On the other hand, Fnatic also needed to pick up a win here to start solidifying a lead in the league, and more importantly, against their two biggest threats. The game got off to a slow start, despite some action in the bottom lane with both junglers coming in for ganks, everyone walked away from the fight with their lives. First blood actually came out top lane with a two man dive from Fnatic onto Wickd’s top lane and despite his best efforts he fell without being able to pick up a second kill. Alliance picked up the first dragon and after looking weak in the ensuing teamfight, they walk away with a one for one trade, that should’ve been more. Alliance looked to have recovered from their early difficulties, but their Support Nyph was still struggling, whereas Fnatic top laner sOAZ was on fire for this game, displaying incredible mechanical knowledge of the game. Alliance, in true CLG.eu, style were playing for the late game and hoping to get AD Carry Tabzz nice and fed one Vayne to pick apart Fnatic. The game was in the balance and was waiting for either team to make some big plays. Alliance went champion hunting and allowed Fnatic to start split pushing, and Fnatic picked up two towers and the top side inhibitor, swinging the match massively in their favour for the time being. The game suddenly picked up pace as the Baron dance began. A two for two trade in the Alliance jungle near Baron left both teams unable to take the objective but Fnatic wanted to stall out the game as a wave of super minions was hammering on the door of Alliances nexus dropping on of the towers. A gambit effort by Froggen on Gragas to drop some members of Fnatic back fired as he dived in 2 v 3, was killed and got nothing for his efforts. The pace of this game can be quantified by xPeke hitting over 400 CS just 37 minutes into the game. Alliance tried to pick up a quick Baron and push out the rest of the game. But Cyanide on Fnatic had other plans, diving in on Vi and suicide stealing the Baron away from Alliance, and allowing Fnatic to take three kills out of it. From here they regrouped and marched into the Alliance base, slowing picking apart the remaining objectives and taking down the nexus for their second win of the day, and Alliances second loss. That hype train is beginning to derail.

Final Score: Alliance 8 – 15 Fnatic
MVP: Fnatic xPeke

Game 5: Gambit Gaming – Copenhagen Wolves

Hoping to bounce back from an early defeat, Gambit were faced with a Copenhagen Wolves coming off an improbable win against Alliance. Having teased us with it on Twitter, Edward broke out one of his secret support picks and locked in a Kennen support. Darien picking Warwick top lane, was another risky pick, but with some dominating play on the champion in the Battle of the Atlantic, it could swing it in Gambit’s favour based on Wolves not being practiced against these champs.
An early duel midlane hands first blood over to Wolves’ cowTard but Gambit jungler Diamond, levels things and walks away on barely any health. The gold difference remained in Wolves’ favour thanks to some excellent CS’ing from the bottom lane, but Alex Ich, was picking up kill after kill, and would quickly become a problem unless Wolves had an answer to his Kha’Zix. The cautious play from Gambit paid off when some over extending from Wolves pays off and they picked up four kills for two. Gambit were in the driving seat the rest of the game. Early CS from Wolves allowed them to keep up the pace with them on the gold front, but they never looked as strong as they had earlier on in the day and every fight turned heavily in Gambit’s favour. Alex Ixh’s Kha’Six was decimating any champion that he saw. The game rounded out with an impressive quadra kill from Alex Ich before Gambit wrapped up the nexus kill.

Final Score: Gambit Gaming 25 – 6 Copenhagen Wolves
MVP: Gambit Alex Ich

Game 6: SK Gaming – Millenium

SK Gaming used to be a powerhouse of European eSports, but fell by the wayside in recent years. This is their chance to come back with a bang and prove themselves again. Millenium is a built up of some ex LCS players from team Alternate and former SK Gaming top laner Kev1n. This was a match up of two teams that many people won’t be expecting much from, and so they both have something to prove coming into the game. After a slow start to the game, Millenium took the upper hand early in the game and stayed in the driving seat throughout. Some incredible Ezreal play from Creaton, got Millenium off to a flying start. But all credit must go to SK Gaming for being able to repel them at every attempt they made to finish the game, but it was only delaying the inevitable. The longest game of the day, at just over 50 minutes, was proving that Millenium need to work on closing out games, because while this game was pretty locked in and it was just a matter of time. A more experienced team could punish them for their patience, as SK had begun towards the end of the match.

Final Score: SK Gaming 10 – 27 Millenium
MVP: MIllenium Creaton

STANDINGS:

  1. Fnatic                          2 – 0
  2. Millenium                   1 – 0
  3. ROCCAT                      1 – 0
  4. Gambit                        1 – 1
  5. Copenhagen Wolves  1 – 1
  6. SK Gaming                  0 – 1
  7. Supa Hot Crew XD      0 – 1
  8. Alliance                       0 – 2

Uninstall Pls – A Beginner’s Guide To League of Legends: Part 2 “Vital Mechanics”

(I’ve been given a column on an Irish gaming/geek website, so here’s the backdated posted from there. Orginal post by myself on the-arcade.ie on 28/11/13http://www.the-arcade.ie/2013/11/uninstall-pls-a-beginners-guide-to-league-of-legends-part-1-the-basics/)

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So last week we discussed the basic concept of League of Legends and what positions there are for players. This week we’ll be taking on the early mechanics you have to get behind and practice so you have a good grasp as you start playing, and for improving your play. I’ll be going over what you should be doing in lane, how to make it easier for you with proper minion killing, how to deal with those nasty turrets, and warding to keep yourself safe. If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about still, refer back to the first article and you can get up to speed in five minutes. Alright, let’s head to The Rift.

The Laning Phase

So let’s assume that you’ve jumped into your first game of League of Legends. You’ve picked up the recommended items and you’re heading to your lane, be it top, middle, or bottom lane. The basic rules will apply to all of them equally. You will not be alone in lane, as your team’s minions, or creeps as they are sometimes known, will trundle their way up to your lane with you after one minute and thirty seconds into the game. They spawn every 30 seconds thereafter. Minions are your buffer for progressing up to your enemies turret. They are expendable conscripts that you and your opponent will see as both meat shields and bags full of precious gold.

At the start of the lane you’re going to see who you’re matched up against, and initially you’re going to have to fight the urge to throw some punches too early in the game. Getting a kill is unlikely and can cost you a lot of time and health. If you have to recall to base more more than once in the first five minutes you’re in trouble. What you want to focus on is getting more gold than your opponent. Lanes are won by having more gold, and better items than your opponent. Think of champion kills as a bonus cheque. Nice, but not what you’re after.

Last Hits

The only way to make killing minions worth gold, is to land the killing blow on them. Last hitting minions is easily the most under estimated skill for new players. The best way to practice this skill is to jump into an game against an AI team and focus on landing as many last hits as possible. AD Carry champions are the best to practice with for this as they have to biggest window for landing the last hit and can do it from range. Don’t continously attack the minions but wait and try and land only the last hit possible. This means that your lane will puch with large groups of minions as it takes time for opponents minions to go down. The aim for a good level player is to be hitting at least 80 minions per 10 minutes of the game, e.g. 160 CS by 20 minutes. At the beginning, you’ll wanna be hitting about 60, but always strive for the 80 if you can. Mastering minion kills will make you a better player faster than racking up champion kills without a doubt.

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Dealing with Turrets

Eventually, you’ll kill enough of your opponents minions, force your opponent back and be able to push with your minions up to your opponent’s turret. Turrets will always focus on minions in range first over a champion, unless you attack a champion while in range of the turret and draw it’s attention. Turrets will do silly amounts of damage to low level champions and it increases with each consecutive hit, so don’t be a tough guy and take the damage as it’s almost never worth it. Taking a turret will take time and multiple minions waves so don’t try and over do it. Over compensating and staying too long under the enemy turret could cause you to get caught out by enemy champions and if they kill you, they’re allowed free reign of the lane whilst you’re respawning, which you do not want to let happen. Whilst under a turret, don’t focus too hard on hitting minions unless there’s a chance of a last hit. Killing enemy minions under the turret means your minions aren’t pushed back and a returning opponent is safe to take them without any fear of decent harassment from you.

Warding

Up there with last hitting on the list of under appreciated skills in League of Legends is warding. Wards are items purchased from the shop that will grant vision over a certain area for the length of time they are active. Wards come in two types; Sight Wards (Green) and Vision Wards (Pink). Sight wards will provide basic vision over the area revealing champions, whereas Vision Wards will allow you to spot other wards and invisible stealth champions. These wards will allow you a heads up if any enemy champion is trying any sneaky moves or ‘ganks’ to come in from behind to attack you and take the lane advantage. There is a myth, especially at lower levels of the game, that warding is entirely the job of the support champion and in the early stages of the game, especially in bottom lane, this may be true. But a good player will never leave the base without buying at least one ward if at all possible. Knowing where an enemy champion is will save your life better than any item in the game. The best places for wards are the brush area because any champion in there is invisible to an opponent, so by placing a ward in a brush, you’re severely reducing the risk of being sneak attacked.

Glossary

Each week we’ll end up with more and more jargon, so I’ll put a little explanation of each term into a little section at the end of every article.

Creeps - Just another name used for minions
CS - ’CS’ just stands for ‘creep score’ and it’s the total number of minions you have killed
Recall - A 6 second channeled spell that teleports you back to your base. Every champion has it hotkeyed to ‘b’.
Gank - An action whereby a champion not based in that lane, usually the jungler, travels into a lane and help to try and secure a kill.
Brush - Areas of long grass that a champion cannot see into. They are positioned all over the map in the jungle, river and lanes.

Sign up! - https://signup.leagueoflegends.com/en/signup/index

Uninstall Pls – A Beginner’s Guide To League of Legends: Part 1 “The Basics”

(I’ve been given a column on an Irish gaming/geek website, so here’s the backdated posted from there. Orginal post by myself on the-arcade.ie on 20/11/13http://www.the-arcade.ie/2013/11/uninstall-pls-a-beginners-guide-to-league-of-legends-part-1-the-basics/)

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So I’m soon about to embark on some weekly coverage of the League of Legends: League Championship Series and other big eSports tournaments in Europe and across the pond, so I thought the best way to get into that before the season began in earnest was to try and in the best and most intelligible way possible explain how this game works, in the hopes that playing and watching it become a smidge easier to handle. The rabbit hole for this game goes deep so I’ll only be doing a basic introduction, but if you’re interested, it is of course free to play. There’ll be more in depth discussions of tactics/champions/builds later.

The Basics

OK, so let’s start at the beginning; best place really. League of Legends is arguably the most successful installment in the ambiguously titled ‘MOBA’ genre. ‘MOBA’ stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, which of course describes about 90% of competitive multiplayer games. In this case, a ‘MOBA’ is a base attack/defense game that involves three lanes of progression.

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The aim of the game is to destroy your enemy’s towers in lane and then push them back to their base and take their nexus, located in the top right and bottom left of the map. You will not be alone in this mission however. Each team a blue team and a purple, consists of five players. In a strong team, each player has a different role which have varying strengths and weaknesses and together make your team more fluid in a fight. There are currently 116 champions, each suited to a different role and with varying abilities.

The Roles

So as previously discussed, there are three lanes on the map. They are helpfully called, top lane, middle lane and bottom lane in correspondence to their map placement. Easy. So in the average team there will be one player in top lane, one player in middle lane, two players in the bottom lane and one roaming player known as the ‘Jungler’. Here’s a little description of each role and what kind of player they suit.

Top Laner

The top lane is a war of attrition. A top laner would generally pick a defensive champion. High health, high defense, low damage output initially. Their suited to focused players who are will to get up close to the enemy and earn their win in lane. Later in the game they become behemoth, marching through the enemy team to lock down key target opponents.

Mid Laner

Mid lane is the blockbuster lane. A lot of action goes on in mid lane, and a good mid lane can control games easily moving to bottom or top lane to assist team mates. They generally take squishy magic users, with a high risk, high reward style of play. Someone playing in mid lane has to be confident in their abilities and willing to make tough plays and risky decisions from time to time. They will be a centerpiece of the late game damage on their team but need protection.

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Bottom Lane AD Carry

The title of AD Carry is bestowed upon the once again squishy, low health, high damage champions that are suited to the bottom lane. They are constantly locked in duels with their opponent trying desperately to gain the upper hand. The name, comes from the fact that they primarily do physical damage from range and towards the end of the game are used to shred big scary targets. They are however number one targets for the enemy. And that brings us to our next role.

Bottom Lane Support

Supports are the unsung heroes of this game. They are tasked with protecting their team mates in fights and with disrupting their opponents as much as possible. They are the ward pack mule (more on that in a later article) and they get very little time in the spotlight. But a good support can swing games. They keep their AD Carry alive and if they can give them the upper hand, the game becomes much easier. So many games are won and lost on a support doing his/her job. Someone who is okay with taking a backseat in the action and has a good eye for predicting an opponents movements makes an excellent support.

Jungler

The trickiest role of the game, but once mastered it’s an invaluable position and a good jungler will help control all three lanes. They don’t get a lane, but move through the jungle areas between the lanes, killing NPC’s for gold and experience, and when the time is right, surprise attack opponents lanes to help their teammates gain the upper hand. They need to keep constant watch of the action in all lanes, and their decision making has to be solid. It’s also the position where you’re likely to suffer the most criticism, as players will blame anyone but themselves in a pinch. This position is tough and shouldn’t be tackled too early on as a player without lots of practice.
Next time I’ll be looking at the basic gameplay aspects like gold, minions and some of the jargon you’ll encounter when playing.

Start playing! – (https://signup.leagueoflegends.com/en/signup/index)

Sam Williamson

Games That Made Me Think: Persona 4

Recently I was given a college assignment concerning media forms, and naturally I was drawn to a project about gaming. For this project we had to look at a certain aspect of gaming, and after some thought and some research I decided to look at the representation of homosexuality in videogames.

The games I intended to look at was Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, after it garnered some high praise from the Extra Credits team, and so I picked up a copy. Now, this article won’t be about that subject, though I will be coming back to it later. Instead I wanna talk about games that make you think, really and honestly think about not only the characters in the game and their actions, but also yourself as a player going through their experiences. Persona 4 is a rare game that has stuck with me long after I turned off my PS2 and stopped playing it.

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Image : by ImmortalMadness, Deviantart.com

Persona 4 tells the story of your character who moves from the hustle and bustle of city life, to a small Japanese countryside town to live with his uncle. While there you spend a year attending the school, but soon after your arrival, a number of curious and gruesome murders take place.

You and a group of friends must try to solve the case by entering an alternate reality world inside a television where people are confronted by their ‘shadows’ and must defeat them in order to survive. It’s a not so subtle metaphor for media reflecting who we really are and our own unwillingness to come to terms with our darker sides. Standard RPG fare, except that the construction of the characters makes it such an involving experience.

I first realised after I had completed the first dungeon, and was in the second that I was beginning to really think about this game. Without hitting too many spoilers, the second dungeon concerns the character Kanji Tatsumi. Each dungeon is specifically tailored to the inner battle a character is experiencing, and in this case Kanji is like many regular teenagers coming to terms with his sexuality.

I’m not blowing the lid of this game wide open by saying this, but Kanji is gay, and in the world of the game, and in real life at times, this is seen as a weakness. Kanji is a tough guy. He’s athletic and strong and a notorious fighter and this is reinforced by other characters talking about him. kanji however cannot come to terms with the fact that he is almost certainly gay. He fights it, reacting violently to any use of the words ‘weird’ or ‘strange’.

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Kanji’s shadow world is depicted as a bath house, with his shadow a barely dressed version of himself, his voice taking on quite camp tones and talking about “sublime love that surpasses the separation of the sexes.” At the end of each dungeon, a character confronts their shadow selves and their unwillingness to accept the parts of them they’d rather ignore eventually leads to boss battles against creatures characterised by their inner feelings made manifest. The game admirably stayed away from caricatures and stereotypes of gay characters and only slightly exaggerated the character’s ‘gayness’ in order to emphasize the fight he was dealing with.

While, I myself wasn’t experiencing the same kind of inner turmoil, I still had to stop and think about what my own shadow would be. Would I be able to come to terms with what I was saying to me? There is another important part of this game that made me stop and think but that’s enough walls of text for now.

Interested? – You can pick it up here.

sam

DreamLeague Kick-Off Season – Final

FANvsNAVI

Overview :

Na’vi have never tasted victory at a DreamHack event. The International, Defence and Starladder have all found there place in Na’Vi’s trophy cabinet, but never Sweden’s biggest eSport tournament.

After a dominating 3-0 win by an extremely impressive Fnatic in the Winners bracket final only a day before, the curse of Na’vi’s drought at DreamHack was backed by some to continue. However, these finals started with an organised and professional first win for Na’vi, with Fnatic on the back foot. However it was going to take a lot more than one good performance to damper the spirit of the European challengers.

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Game Two : Na’vi 1 – 0 Fnatic

Fly : Venomancer        Puppey : Crystal Maiden

n0Tail : Bane        XBOCT : Lifestealer

Era : Mirana        Dendi : Windranger

Trixi : Weaver        Funn1k : Luna

H4nn1 : Night Stalker        KuroKy : Lich              

Game two’s opening would prove an exciting one. After Bane and Mirana  worked nicely together, combining Nightmare and Arrow to capture first blood on Kuro in top lane, the bot lane duo of Luna and CM began to really overpower Trixi’s Weaver.

The repeated deaths of which, was a huge blow to Fanatic’s late game potential, with Weaver being the only late game hero available to Fnatic. Midas’s were bought, exemplifying the understanding that gold would have to be accrued to stop Na’Vi from really snowballing.

Wild teamfights began to break out. Beginning with a good smoke kill in bottom for Fnatic which would escalate into a frantic and sloppy fight, Na’Vi’s dominance in those fights began to show.

As those vital teamfights continued, Eclipse, Chain Frost and Blizzard proved devastating. And it was readily apparent for Fnatic, after gambling on three Midas’s, that game two was a lost cause. Awarding  the win to Na’Vi at the start of the 25th minute.

Result :   Na’Vi 17 – 9 Fnatic       25 Minutes.

Game Three : Na’Vi 2 – 0 Fnatic

Fly : Venomancer        Puppey : Enchantress

n0Tail : Sand King        XBOCT : Chaos Knight

Era : Pugna        Dendi : Outworld Devourer

Trixi : Windranger        Funn1k : Clockwerk

H4nn1 : Invoker        KuroKy : Wisp

Fnatic’s desire to create a miraculous comeback was exemplified by their risky 5-man smoke initiation at the games start. And although far from disastrous for Fnatic, the plan proved fruitless.

However explosive teamfights weren’t going to end anytime soon. Fnatic’s aggressive tri-lane of Veno, Sand King and Windranger showed its potential. But eventually XBOCT and KuroKy, with help from Puppey’s Enchantress, began to capitalise on sloppy ganks by the Trio.

The wild bottom lane antics spread to Mid Lane, where Dendi, who again was crushing his counterpart in H4nn1′s Invoker began to get himself involved in ultra aggressive teamfights, with heroes from both sides dropping left and right.

And then… Darude joined the party

Game Three Exploded.

Almost constant teamfights broke out for the duration of the game. With Na’VI absolutely snapping Fnatic in two in the majority of the confrontations. The intensity was as fierce as Fnatic’s dreams of that comeback were being crushed.

17 Minute GG. Na’Vi breaks the curse. And I need to lie down.

Final Result : Na’Vi 3 – 0 Fnatic.

Thanks for reading.

me