Weekend Gaming – Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is weird.

No. I take that back. Offworld Trading Company is in fact quite elegant. A description worthy of even more celebration when you consider what the game does: It completely redraws what a RTS can be. An approach this new, working so well the way that it does, takes a little bit of time to get onboarded – for me, at least.

No. OTC is not the weird one. I’m the weird one.

I’m still learning the ropes. I’m taking the task of learning this game in measured paces, and this process has generated an unusual matrix of emotions. Indeed. Never before has a game made me feel so self-powered and competent yet so dadgum blockheaded. Although, I trust that practice will help chisel my blockhead into something less grotesque and stupid looking…

Offworld Trading Company Screen Shot

Yes. The skill ceiling in the game seems to be so very high. N00b mistakes are common but so very valuable. Every game I learn something new, one golden nugget of truth that I can carry with me into the next skirmish. These nuggets can be little things like figuring out how to toggle auto-sell – all the way up to big things like overbuilding with complete and utter oversight to energy costs.

Little things. Big things. And everything inbetween. Learning how to play Offworld Trading Company has never been frustrating; it’s always been fun, enlightening, and with a healthy dose of DERP! mixed in. It is rarely about how to do something, but when…When, when, when! Freaking, WHEN!? This is a testament to how well-designed OTC is. I dig it.

What are you playing this weekend?

Weekend Gaming – The International 6, Grand Finals

The International 2016 has certainly captured our attention this past week. Dota2’s annual championship continues to be so captivating, so exciting, so distracting that the prospect of any other types of personal gaming or Twitch streaming on our part is simply a non-factor.

And with the finals coming up today, well… let’s just say that I am still sitting on this newly acquired mound of AGEOD games courtesy of BundleStars. I’ve got bigger business to attend to…

TI6 logo

As do Wings Gaming! Now nested comfortably in the final position, their progression through the upper bracket looks like it was an easy coast, easily crushing several old dogs of the professional Dota scene.

All that remains is for Digital Chaos and Evil Geniuses to face off. The winner of this series moves on to oppose Wings in the final. DC’s performance has been especially impressive when you consider the work they’ve done to get to where they are now. EG has likewise had quite the slog. The group stage was less than favorable, but their time in the upper bracket showed some redeeming qualities. This series does promise to be bombastic as both teams are still very strong and have scary midlaners.

Whichever of these two teams moves on, the Grand Final of TI6 will still be awesome, heightened by the fact that it is also a bitter rematch as both teams at one point were booted down to the lower bracket by Wings. Good stuff!

Personally, I don’t really give a rat’s patoot who wins between DC and EG. They both are directly responsible for eliminating EHOME. And since I root for EHOME, I therefore can only hope that Wings will shut down either one of these ‘Murican teams in the Grand Final.

But let us set aside petty squabbles and incessant pouting about my favorite team totally hitting a wall and playing like a bunch of scrubs after what was easily one of the greatest matches in the history Dota. Let us instead focus on some of the highlights of a competition that clearly year-after-year only improves in performances and production.

EHOME vs. EG

Collectively amongst the ButtonMashing group, we are all STILL coming down from game 1 of EHOME vs. EG. That was three days ago. This is an example of ‘real’ Dota. See, when casuals que up for a pub match, the tendency is to play selfishly, to break down the whole team aspect of the game. But, as illustrated by EG, when a team can keep their heads on straight, get creative with itemization, react accordingly, and coordinate, then some awesome Dota tends to blossom from that.

Fnatic’s climb through the brackets

Taking us all by surprise, Fnatic fought and scrapped their way through the muck. They went down swinging. Plus, midone’s persistent Juggernaut pick and eventual dominance takes Sir Tony ButtonMasher to his happy place.

Elder Titan and Shadow Demon and Sand King

I am absolutely tickled — TICKLED — by how often Elder Titan was drafted. The same goes for Shadow Demon. Sand King’s caustic finale was the bane of so many melee cores through the tournament. These heroes, when played competently, will do so much for the team. And often are the unsung heroes. Such is the life of an offlaner and support.

New Dota2 Heroes, Monkey King and Underlord

After the DC victory last night, all fans were treated with a striking live performance including Taiko drumming and cavorting sword-wielders. Indeed. Monkey King, wielding his very own MKB, made his presence known to an unsuspecting crowd. An excitement still riding high on the revealing of yet another hero, Underlord, only the day before. Dota is unstoppable.

The Production of TI6

Lastly, for what it is worth, I just want to give a quick commend to all the cast and crew responsible for broadcasting this year’s The International. I am not an esports advocate in any sense of the word, but the professionalism shown in the casting and production this year has been phenomenal – aside from the muppets segment on day one (wtf was that?), and, perhaps, @SirActionSlacks even allowed to be on the premises let alone hold a microphone and squawk into a camera. Purge’s play post-game analysis was always informative. ReDeYe, the true veteran he is, maintained a great pace at the panel. And commentators like Draskyl and OD, gave an extra dimension of excitement and immersion. This is far from a comprehensive list, all the more illustrating that The International is becoming quite the force of nature.

Good stuff, all around. And what’s better, the winner of the Grand Final walks away with a handsome $9 million. Well done, Dota community. Well done.

Weekend Gaming, circa 2008

Did you hear that the video game weblog, buttonmashing.com, is now on Twitter? So, in honor of finally getting involved in some Serious Social Media (follow us, why don’t ya!), this weekend’s gaming is a throwback.

While the Twitter account represents the site as a whole, our Managing Editor Nick has been running the Twitter account to great effect. Earlier this week, he tweeted about a minor issue I had with my PC — the power supply went kaput:

So I made the pilgrimage to Nerd Mecca, Micro Center. I picked up a new power supply (an EVGA 650 GQ) and started tinkering under the hood. Prior to the power supply failure, I had been dealing with issues with a hard drive I installed when I first built the PC. Might as well try to solve that problem while working on the power supply.

I think some cabling was loose, so after the power supply was installed and I got everything buttoned up, I booted the machine up and lo and behold the issues with the hard drive were gone. My precious gigs, which I thought were lost to the ages, were suddenly there. (They were empty gigs, but I have plans for them!). To test out the hard drive and make sure everything was copacetic, I picked a title out of my steam library that I knew wouldn’t need the speed and horsepower of the SSD that I could install to the old-school hard drive. I settled on reinstalling Recettear: An Item Shop Tale

recettear

I won’t bore you with the details of Recettear, only to say it’s a mashup of a simple hack-and-slash RPG and a Shopkeeper simulator. It’s very Japanese Cutesy and that’s all I’m going to say about that. I’m addicted and I’m not ashamed to say so. I think a good portion of this weekend’s gaming will be going towards making my Item Shop the Best Item Shop.

With all systems GO!, I decided to reinstall Spelunky on the newly fixed hard drive as well, inspired by one of Nick’s recent streams. I don’t quite rage like Nick can, but Spelunky is still a never ending stream of rage-inducing moments.

So welcome to 2008 this weekend! I’ll be your host, introducing you to such wonders as Indie Darlings Spelunky and Recettear, and give you an introduction to this new fangled social media site, Twitter dot com. Why won’t you join us on this trip down recent memory lane!

What will you be playing this weekend (2008 or not)?

Weekend Gaming – Atlas Reactor, System Crash

There’s been low-level chatter amongst the ButtonMashing crew about investigating Atlas Reactor. The game is currently F2P, and will be so for the next six days. So, since Dota and Heroes of the Storm and Rocket League have been on the backburner for quite some time, we figured it is time to try a new team-based PvP game where we get snippy, huffy puffy at each other.

4v4 PvP

Personally, I think Atlas Reactor looks very promising. It is one of those examples of genre merging that yields something fresh and exciting. I like that it is a primarily tactical game and coordination with teammates is essential. Plus, the psychological element, the game theory, the need to get into the heads of your opponents’ will also give an advantage – So cool. And then, when all tactical decisions have been made, the orders are all carried out simultaneously, the potential spectacle value of just this is enough to warrant checking the game out.

On other fronts, we’ve been given a review code for System Crash. It is a cyberpunk CCG with a singleplayer campaign steeped in heady subterfuge and electronica music. I’ve only been able to dip my toes in but I can confidently report: So far, so good! The presentation and setting is convincing. An initial impression is that the AI is a conniving little devil, it doesn’t mess around. And I already despise haste cards – unless, of course, I am the one playing it, in which case: I love haste cards! Expect a full review of System Crash sometime early next week.

What are you playing this weekend?

Weekend Gaming – The Confusion (not a video game)

A thought keeps recurring. This thought goes something like: Take a break from video games for a little bit. If anything, for as long as it takes to finally – FINALLY – finish reading The Confusion. You’ve only got 150 more pages to go. Neal Stephenson is your literary comfort food. Instead of poking around, aimlessly playing stuff from your steam library, return to Mr. Stephenson’s world and dwell happily therein.

Not a Video Game

Not a Video Game

But then I read about new updates made to Thea: The Awakening which perks my curiosity. Or, I get pulled back into the undertow of the twin-stick madness of Waves, of which I crushed my previous high-score of 93mil with a staggering 1.2bil. And then fellow ButtonMashers put a little bug in my ear about Hex: Shards of Fate, and I tinker with that for a little bit. And then I just randomly booted up the Risk-like domination game Lux Delux. And then I wanted to give Prison Architect another shot. And then I found it Bastion is 5 years old today, so I wanted to revisit that…

And then… And then…
And then…

I normally don’t like just skipping along the surface like this. I like to be able to dig into a game. And while every single one of the game mentioned above are totally legit, I haven’t allowed myself to gain any traction with them. This can lead to underwhelming and unsatisfying gametime.

Maybe it is time to heed this recurring thought. This need to tip the scales in favor of the printed word over video games always seems to happen mid-late summer for me. All things considered, perhaps this is the weekend where I make a clean break from the desktop and burrow into the reading chair to finally finish the last fraction of The Confusion.

Play doubly hard for me this weekend, dear reader. I’m sitting this one out.

Writer of Words, Shaver of Heads - Neal Stephenson

Writer of Words, Shaver of Heads – Neal Stephenson