The MOBA effect

Recently, I’ve only been playing MOBAs. I haven’t had the desire to branch out very much, especially into a time intensive genre like MMOs.

I honestly think it’s because of the game progression… or the lack thereof. By ‘progression’ I mean that you aren’t leveling up a character like in an MMO, which would take a lot of time to get that character to the maximum level. That kind of progression definitely has its merits and satisfactions but in my current state of life it hasn’t been as enjoyable with the limited playing time I do have.

I’ve had discussions about this with a good friend from high school (I’m 31 now) and he tends to feel the same. Granted we are both in a similar position – we are both married and have little one(s) that we happily give up time for – but it just doesn’t feel like we have the time or the drive to devote to an MMO. Oh how we’ve tried! From going back to the nostalgic (Everquest) to trying a few of the new kids on the block such as Rift, Neverwinter Online, Guild Wars 2 (debatable). None of them are able to keep me coming back.

MOBAs, however, operate on a different kind of progression. One that, contrary to MMOs, does compel me to log in night after night.

Dota 2 has been my MOBA of choice for a while, a decent run with Smite, a little stint with League of Legends, and a few smatterings of Infinite Crisis but, Dota 2 is my choice. steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_181979094_preview

Smite has kept me playing the second longest out of the bunch. Whether this was because my friend played it pretty much non-stop and my desire to play with a friend kept me going or the change in pace it provided with its different game modes (which could end in a 15 minute match), Smite had me for a while.

League of Legends was along the lines of a standard MOBA but, it felt slower than Dota, the champions didn’t seem to move as fast to me. The movement speed may have been a factor but, the time it took to unlock a champion that seemed interesting was demoralizing. Don’t get me wrong though, my brother and I saved up for characters who were also brothers, which cost a ton to get, and we wrecked face! It was glorious… still, it wasn’t enough.

Infinite Crisis was an interesting occurrence for me. I was able to get into the beta for this game with a friend. Needless to say the game is totally different from what it was back then (for the better). One thing I’m thankful for was that it helped me determine that I don’t want to play games while they are in beta. In this instance the UI was horrid, the game felt buggy, and it was not enjoyable until you were actually in the game and even then it wasn’t the smoothest. HOWEVER, playing as the Flash or Green Lantern was definitely worth it. They recently had a huge patch/improvements and I have been meaning to check it out one more time.

Some of the things that drew me in to MOBAs were the semi-short game length which can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more in rare cases, no need to grind anything if you don’t want to, and you can still get the sense of accomplishment from getting items or even more so from improving your play.

Dota 2 had all that I needed. My friends were playing it, the fun was there, the amount of hero choices was staggering (and continues to grow), it looked great (see League of Legends or Infinite Crisis), and it was Valves baby (I dumped a lot of time into Team Fortress 2 so, I enjoyed the Steam network/Valve’s quality of work).

With a MOBA I feel like I am working on me, on my skill as a player, on my ability to fulfill a role on a team, and it was rewarding. I always thought that I would need progression that didn’t go away for a character in order to enjoy a game (i.e. leveling an MMO character) but, that isn’t the case. I’m don’t feel like I’m falling behind anyone if I can’t devote time to the game like I felt when I played MMOs and my friends would spend more time in-game than me. In essence the effect of a MOBA engages the player more as an individual than the MMO genre which mostly requires your time.

Dota 2 is definitely something that will force you to honestly look at yourself and your capabilities. I have the perfect example!

Let me share a story with you… ready?

I was in a match playing Visage this is a hero which requires the player to control up to three other summoned units in addition to himself, other active skills, as well as any items with active abilities. The additional units Visage controls also have active abilities in order for them to do damage or stun. This juggling act required that I had to be on my A-game, and I knew it. Controlling your hero’s position, timing your attacks with your teammates, using items at the appropriate time, while watching the mini map to make sure you’re not about to get ganked, etc is hard enough. But playing Visage under these circumstances can be a hectic experience. I even thought my history of playing RTS games would help with that some but, not so much.

It was a non-stop match for me, if I wasn’t busy trying to control my units I was trying not to die/kill the other team. There were a few times that I was mixed up and thought, “Why isn’t my guy moving?” or “Oh crap, they are attacking my hero and I’m controlling my units not my hero!” but, overall I was successful and my team was victorious.

After that match I knew I could handle the hero but I wouldn’t want to do it again. Having the ability to do something doesn’t necessarily make it fun. I’m more inclined to play a hero that doesn’t rely on other units to be effective or make a contribution to the team. This made clear that as a player I don’t really appreciate having more units to control/the game is complex enough that I don’t need to ramp up the difficulty for not much in return. After realizing that about myself I steered clear of Visage and stayed with the heroes that were more my style.

My main hero is Sven – he’s a beast that can do a LOT of damage and is a pretty straight forward hero. “Get in there and smash people’s faces”, is the name of his game.Sven!! I’ve also got to the point where I want to experiment with different builds (skill order and item use). Sven is a strength hero that is normally played one way – MOAR DAMAGE!! Looking at some really old Reddit posts has lead to me to the realization that Sven used to be played as a support hero and not a tank. I’ve attempted to try a support Sven once and it didn’t work out to well. I have to admit that my decision was on the fly and I didn’t give the proper preparation or forethought before the match began. I’d like to try it out again but, I’ll probably try it against some bots instead of impairing my team.

Even though the hero is played one way by everyone doesn’t mean he can’t be played a different way and still be viable and effective. It is fun to try and tinker a hero (PUNNY!) to see what they can do and what items can change the way they play. Matching these variables up with a five man team doing the same thing yields a very, very complex interaction.
This complexity can get someone so obsessed with all of the different options, builds, timings, etc. that it can take over their “free thought” time. I felt like this a little bit during the height of my playing. I was playing every night with friends, multiple games in a row, and I would think about it throughout the day while looking towards that night’s game.

Then again, there are people who love to play the game to play the game – they just don’t worry about any of the details and enjoy a fun time with their friends. Personally, I don’t take loses to heart at all – I say, “Oh well” and try to determine where things went wrong or what I did/didn’t do to help my team and learn from it for next time.

The two best ways I improved my play in Dota 2 are – replays and spectating. Replays of your matches allow you to relive what just happened in your game and pause it at any point or even repeat a battle over and over again. This really allows you to pick apart an engagement or determine why a Laguna blade from Lina at Faceless Void just might not be the best idea.

Spectating was key for developing a foundation for any hero I wanted to play. I was able to watch a player who had experience play that hero and watch how they used their abilities, the timing of their attacks, or even, “So, that’s how I missed that gank”. The signs and little queues are what can make the difference in a game where one mistake or taking the advantage of one can turn the tide of a battle.

Coming back to the game has also changed my perspective. Instead of working on the basic mechanics of the game I am giving more thought to parts of the game at the higher level. I would tell you more but, that will have to wait for another post – this one has already become a little long in the tooth.

Hit me up if you’re interested in playing!

(My Dotabuff profile for anyone who may be interested: Semaji Thunder)

PC: Infinite Crisis

So a friend and I have been granted access to the beta for Infinite Crisis because they had a stress test tonight and I’ll give you the lowdown.

The game is, as I’ve read and now have experienced, more similar to the League of Legends model than the DOTA2 model. That really isn’t all too different because they are both MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) but, if you’ve played both then you’ll know what I mean.

The gameplay is solid, the characters are unique with abilities that match the character. The thing about Infinite Crisis that gets me excited is all of the possibilities of character types that are available. Take Green Lantern for example:

Green Lantern(s)?

These are the Green Lanterns (from left to right) from Arcane (Earth-13), Prime (Earth-0), and Atomic (Earth-17). Each of these characters are Green Lantern but, each version will have their own skills/abilities that reflect their world.

The game lists six earths/universes – Prime, Arcane, Atomic, Gaslight, Nightmare, and Mecha but, the total universes in the comics are 52!


Can you imagine all of the different kinds of incarnations of the Flash there are?!?


The Flash was my favorite from the characters available, I look forward to all of the versions of characters that will come from this game.

I’ll keep you posted as the awesome keeps coming.

For a beta it’s been surprisingly solid thus far.

XBox 360 – Injustice: Gods Among Us (mini review)

The single-player’s story mode is very similar to the most recent Mortal Kombat or DC vs Mortal Kombat AKA – the first Injustice game.

In my book, this is a good thing. I appreciated the cinematic sequences that were in between each fight but, not that it forced me to play characters that I didn’t want to play(i.e. Cyborg), while not letting me play others(i.e. Shazam). Now, this was somewhat related to the story that they crafted but, it would have been nice to be able to pick which character’s story/role you would like to be a part of as it played out. The “Battle” mode on the other hand will allow you to choose any character to play as and after beating a certain number of opponents you get a picture with a voice over that gives you that character’s ending story.

The playable characters are plentiful and the alternate skins are a welcome addition.

Each character has a super move that just rocks the other player – Aquaman has one of the eye-catching ones, and I recommend you check out the others Superman, Flash, Doomsday, etc. as they are all very entertaining.

I have only played online multiplayer once but, I can’t see myself playing the game into the wee hours of the morning night in and night out. The fun which I enjoyed from the single player alone was worth the purchase price to me but, I’m a confessed comic book fan. There will be DLC and the first character to be added to the roster is “The Main Man”, Lobo.

Here is a taste of what he can do!

If you’re a DC Comics fan or like the recent Mortal Kombat fighting mechanics, you should pick up this game. If you’re neither of those – rent it or take a pass.

Lumia 920

So I just picked up a Lumia 920 and I am pleasantly pleased with this fine work of art.

I post this because I am going to be looking forward to playing some Windows Phone games on it. If you hear of any you would like a review of shoot me a message or comment here.

Guild Wars 2: An Asura’s Tale (Part 2)

Welcome Back!

Solymir here;

Lets continue with our story where we left off in Ventry Bay:

After swimming out into the bay I peered down through the water and saw something that captured my attention. As an inquisitive Asura, of course I had to check it out!

I decided to take a dive down and see what was going on under the surface.

Turns out some poor souls had crashed their ship to the bottom of the bay. There were some cages with frogmen locked inside. That wasn’t right! Turns out the snake men (they have a specific name but, I didn’t catch it) are not to happy with the frog guys.

After saving some frog guys and unlocking some underwater attacks (being underwater makes you use a different set of attacks then on land) I started to head to shore.

Looks like the frog – snake war made its way onto land. The fight seemed neverending…

and there were losses…

After doing what I could to help frog guys I moved further inland.

Oooo! This little mound of dirt says its a skill challenge. What kind of skill challenge could it be? Maybe it is a challenge to see who could dig the most dirt? Lets find out!

Uhhhhh… why is the earth shaking?!?

Oh. Crap.

Only one thing to do in a situation like this:

Look out for: An Asura’s Tale (Part 3) coming soon!

(Catch Part 1 if you haven’t already)

Torchlight II – First Impressions

Torchlight II … I never played the first torchlight because the Diablo-esque video game genre always seemed to shine with MULTIPLAYER!

Thankfully they decided to listen to what the players want and added two multiplayer options (Internet and LAN). This is probably the thing that stood out the most to me. The problem I had with this was that I wasn’t able to register and create an account to use Runic’s game system. In all honesty I was hoping that it would be integrated with Steam but, it wasn’t…sadface.

FYI: I’m not going to be comparing this to Diablo 3 because everyone else is and I feel that every game should be judged by its own merits.

Anyway, on to the good stuff!

The gameplay is your standard button-mash fest but, it has several unique things that deserves some extra fanfare. Let me preface this by saying that I was privileged to have a brother who is a video game a·fi·ci·o·na·do and decided to buy the 4-pack that steam had on sale not too long ago. The first thing he told me about the game that sparked my interest was the ability to equip an item based on the level requirement OR the ability requirement. For example, you could use a weapon if you were lv 15+ or if you had 40 Str. This is a nice take on how to give multiple options for players to access different gear.

Another thing that I found very earlier in my time in the world of Torchlight II was that there are ‘Phase Beasts’ that will leave a portal behind after they die that will take you to a challenge world. An example is one that had 4 torches to light up in a specific order while you are being attacked from all sides and then once you complete this task…you are attacked by a boss! After killing this boss the screen was filled to the brim with gold and there were several dropped items that made the fight worth it.

I decided to pick the ‘Outlander’ class because I felt it would be good stealth/ranged class to play and so far the class itself has been underwhelming.

Take this with a grain of salt though, I haven’t made it too far into the game to make any judgement of the class but, I am really thinking of starting an ‘Embermage’ and seeing if it is more my style.

(Check out those flames!)

The boss encounters have been interesting – a decent challenge and a reward that fits.

I appreciate the fact that there are many hints at pop culture items in the game (Goonies!!!) and the art style.

The art is simple but, I really like it. The intro cut scene was a cartoon that looked really good and is a nice change of pace from the uber-realistic CGI with most AAA titles.

So far, I am digging Torchlight II but, I have a feeling that Guild Wars 2 will last me longer.

Time will tell…

Guild Wars 2: An Asura’s Tale (Part 1)

Hello Fellow Buttonmashers!

This post will be about an adventure I took as my Asura Elementalist with my Asura Engineer friend.

***Side Note: Look out for a post here on Buttonmashing, from that friend, soon.***

To start things off I was running around the Human starting area and bumped into this guy:

There were some others trying to kill the big guy, so I decided to help out! Firestorm anyone?

After the worm, I went to meet up with a friend in the Sylvari newbie area – basically a forest/jungle/plant area. Coming into the basin where we had planned to meet, this grabbed my attention. Yea, floating rocks!

My friend who had been waiting for me was already doing the ‘Jumping Puzzle’, as I later found out they were so named, and I joined in the fun. That was for the first five minutes, then ten, then I lost count. One thing that the ‘Jumping Puzzle’ taught me was that you pretty much have to turn off the option to double-tap a direction to roll/dodge. I don’t know how many times I had to start the jumping puzzle over again because I was moving ever so slightly in one direction and felt I could take one more step and then boom, off the edge. At a certain point you were so high up you died if you feel to boot.

In the end, I made it! Thankfully there was a chest at the end of the jumping puzzle to make my efforts a little more worth it.

Whoa whoa whoa…what’s this?!?

Lets see how far the rabbit hole really goes!

Wow, okay so it goes pretty far!

Like any good explorers, we decided to kill everything in the picture (sarcasm). The most annoying part was the flower mortars that bombarded us from all over – we were always trying to find where they shot at us from. From here we found a back entrance hidden in the bottom of a mountain that contained this area inside.

NEXT TIME!!! On An Asura’s Tale!

We delve into the murky waters of Ventry Bay!

Guild Wars 2 – A good different

Yo Buttonmashers!

I have a little more free time than usual this week and it has allowed me to make this post about Guild Wars 2. Here are some of my thoughts on my experience in the first hours of the game.

First things first, the people at ArenaNet have their stuff together. Anyone who has played the first Guild Wars or has seen some of the beautiful concept art will know what I mean when I say video games can be considered art. I feel that the art team on Guild Wars 2 should be the winners of every award they can get for their wonderful work – regardless of the game itself.

Lets get to the game already!

It plays great. Currently it feels like an MMO without the subscription fee and that isn’t bad in my book. Something different from the first is that your weapon will determine what the first half of your skills will be. When you switch your weapon (2-handed, dual-wield two weapons of the same type, dual-wield weapons of different types) the skills will change and you will need to work on unlocking them by using the skills in line prior to them. Then the other half of your skills will be skills of your choice that you can unlock with skill points.

I have found that the easiest way to get skill points is to use the skill point events out in the world. One of these skill point events was as easy as clicking on a fountain of power and boom, you get your skill point. A second one of these was to kill a group of three bandits – one of which was named – and then you get your point. Its pretty straight forward but, rewarding regardless.

There are 8 professions and 5 races.

Official Name – My translation

Norn – Barbarians
Asura – Gnomes
Sylvari – Elves
Humans – Humans
Charr – Dogmen (they are one of the unique races that Guild Wars introduced)


Ranger (my choice at the moment)
Elementalist (Current champ! – I can summon elementals!)

I will say that the best thing I have found so far is the random events in the world. You could be running along minding your own business and out of nowhere there is an event. Luckily in writing this post I logged in to look for some awesome scenery to show everyone and low and behold I encounter an event.

This first picture is me running into an event where people were taking down an Oakheart,

After checking out the battle and throwing a few arrows into the mix, I continued on to find a better screenshot for all of you.

I guess I should warn you, if you don’t want to have part of the game spoiled for you by reading the rest of this post.

That’s when I happened upon the swamp and noticed something through the trees that began to roar in the voice of the Balrog from LOTR.

What's that?!?

I decided to grow a pair (mostly because the death penalty is minor – repair some gear and start over at the closest waypoint, plus events like these are like akin to, ” a moth to a flame” to quote a friend) and venture into the madness. Needless to say the ‘Shadow Monster’ was NOT happy.


The fight continued for a good 4 – 5 minutes, I even got knocked down once. Thankfully, ArenaNet added the ability to be revived by anyone – effectively removing the need for a “Cleric/Healer” class and makes the game flow a lot better in my opinion then the standard MMO fare. Even shadow monsters go the way of the Earth and it was defeated!


To my surprise, as this was my first BIG BOSS world event, there was a huge chest left where the monster had stood and it was waiting with treasures all for me!

Ooooo shiny!

The PvE (Player vs Enviroment) has not disappointed me in the slightest. The world is huge and there is plenty to do, you can look for vistas, quest, grind, event hop, etc. that I think I’ll be busy for a while. I haven’t even scratched the surface of PvP (Player vs Player) or WvW (World vs World) where three servers are pit in a battle against each other, fighting for control of forts, with siege weapons, hot oil to burn attackers from the turrets, etc.

I’m just starting out but, let me know if you’re in-game! Dragonbrand server.

You know what…I think I’m going to hop in now and get back to it.

See you inside!

(More to come – Next up:Rock JUMPING!)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to post something on the site. What better game than Skyrim to bring me back?

If you haven’t heard, Skyrim is releasing on 11.11.11, which puts it about 12 days out but, who’s counting?

***Raises hand***

I wanted to get a pulse on how many of you readers are:

A. Planning on getting Skyrim – whether its a pre-order, day 1 purchase, or waiting for it to go cheap on a steam sale.

– I have a pre-order thanks to my brother’s superb trading skills in Team Fortress 2 (TF2).

B. Which system? 360, PS3, PC?

– I will be enjoying Skyrim on the PC (where it was born), that is, if my computer doesn’t melt from the sheer awesomeness of the game of from it’s PC requirements.

C. What class/race combination are you thinking?

– In most fantasy games I play, I tend to lean towards the ranger/archer/sharpshooter classes. I feel like Skyrim seems to have archery down as a valid means of dealing death, which has not been the case in the other games I’ve played. I don’t mind being a human or an elf, whichever looks cooler wins out in my book.

D. Have you played any of the other Elder Scroll games?

– I began with Daggerfall (PC), dabbled in Morrowind(PC), and only slightly played some Oblivion(PC).

I want to go here!

Age of Empires: Online

Lets get ready to rumble!!!!

Dibs on the Japanese (whenever they are implemented).