Mimicking Monkey Men: Why I didn’t get past my first Overwatch match

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It’s not you, Overwatch, it’s me. You taught me something about myself, even if we were only together for half an hour.

I did your tutorial. It taught me extremely basic mechanics that I would have figured out by myself and not much else. But that was ok. I figure, it means that the veterans will be relieved that’s it’s over quickly, and the noobs will not feel left behind. It did misfire and would not let me move on before I had taken out all the target dummies even though there were none left. So I had to restart it but that was ok because, as I said, it’s short. I ended it thinking, those are some very basic mechanics, Overwatch, I wonder how you will teach me your actual game.

I was then gently nudged towards either a real match or a match with bots. I can’t remember which I picked. Somehow your UI confused me and with no previous experience of the game, how do you tell the difference? Avatars monkey about, be they real monkeymen or fake.

We were let loose on a scene and I though, what now? Everbody else jumped, ran and were generally off to the races. I stood still, thinking, pondering, asking questions, not moving. What was the goal, what was I there for? Was there a team or was it all against all? How could I tell the difference? Was it indiscriminate murderizing from the get-go or would there be a signal? Should I start moving? I probably should but why? I stood there for a while. I guess you’re expecting me to tell you that somebody ended my reverie shouting “You think too much, therefore you aren’t” before blasting me in the face. In reality, everybody else were much too busy and away and I quietly saw myself out.

You didn’t give me an answer to my questions, Overwatch, and I think I know the reason. Aping. You want me to learn this game by aping the other players. They jump about, I jump about. They shoot, I shoot. I won’t quite know why or how at first but I’ll figure it out as I go. For now, I should just do what everybody else is doing.

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In defense of Captain Blackheart’s Treasure

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I just got my 30th win in this week’s Hearthstone tavern brawl, a repeat of Captain Blackheart’s Treasure. That’s a lot of games in a game mode that is widely derided as being mere box opening, i.e. RNG for RNG’s sake. So why bother with it to that extent? Is my curiosity for the insides of boxes really that insatiable?

The easy explanation is of course that everybody likes to win and my win rate in this week’s tavern brawl has been ridiculous, tending towards 80%. Which is easily explained by three im-not-a-genius factors, i.e. 1) like in Arena, mage is by far and away the queen of this format but most people use the brawl to clear out dailies for other classes, 2) unconstructed brawls tend to attract more beginners, 3) I played so much that I began to know what cards I could expect to choose from.

However, I think there’s more to it than that. Captain Blackheart’s Treasure requires tactics and forethought but adds – at least for a while – more fun and creativity to the mix.

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Delivery or Deliverance

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I have just requested a refund for my 2013 Kickstarter contribution to the development of Kingdom Come: Deliverance from the Czech developer Warhorse Studios. I’m conflicted in doing so but I think it’s the right thing. Here’s my reasoning.

Warhorse promised support for Windows, linux and OS X in the Kickstarter but has since failed to put out a linux/OS X beta and failed to meet a self-imposed deadline at E3 for signalling their intentions regarding platforms. That is to say they were supposed to tell backers and the public whether the promised platform support would be abandoned.

Instead Warhorse studios no longer advertise linux/OS X support on the website and their community manager has recently stated that support “might unfortunately not happen on day 1 of release, but we don’t know about any details yet”. Which can be read pretty much any way you want. That support will eventually happen, will happen but be broken as f**k or will not happen at all.

If I were of a more cynical and angry disposition I might make allusions to a scene from the film of the same (sub)title (no, not that one; that one) But I think that would be stretching it. Linux users aren’t getting viciously shafted here even though it feels like we’re up shit creek without a port. Still, I don’t think Warhorse deserves my money anymore.

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Playing Around Touchy-Feely Stuff or How to Apply Hearthstone Lessons IRL

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The dating app conversation started well enough: He said I looked good (I’d paid a good photographer), I said he looked good (he did, from most angles), and soon we were talking about meeting up. More photos were exchanged to mutual satisfaction.

The he told me he was a virgin and asked me if that changed anything. I told him it didn’t and wrote a minor treatise on how I thought it was kind of endearing and we didn’t have to force anything he wasn’t comfortable with and I’d be perfectly fine with just making out if that was the extent of it. Okay, so it was like seven or eight lines but in dating app land that _is_ a treatise. No response and next day I couldn’t see his profile anymore. Missing, presumed blocked.

I didn’t write anything inappropriate or offensive or downright bad. And I’m not even sure it was anything I said that made him block me. Maybe it’s just the modus operandi of someone who’s not out and still a virgin. Cold feet, delete, block, erase. Start over again in a couple of days.

The reason this is on a games blog is because I realised that the only reproach I had for myself felt so much like that sinking feeling of having filled a board with 2-3s as you hand turn 7 over to a mage. You don’t know if your opponent has it but you should probably not play into it. I had overcommitted to the board and this was the dating equivalent of a flamestrike.

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C’thun Cockup

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The centrepiece of the Old Gods expansion for Hearthstone, C’thun, looks like equal parts Vagina Dentata and One-Eyed Meat Monster (note the goo-spitting attack). Does that mean that someone at Blizzard thinks the ultimate horror is a ghastly genitalia (gender?) mixup?

Of course, getting your C’thun out sounds rude regardless of sex.

Keep on truckin’

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My last post got a bit of a bump after being featured in RPS’ Sunday Papers yesterday. When I say a bit of a bump, I mean that it got 5 views in the first week after it was published and in the past 24 hours it has garnered 4,000 views. So I’m obviously grateful to RPS editor Graham Smith who included it in his weekly round-up and pleased that the RPS comments are all positive.

In case you’re wondering after reading the post just how seriously I take the game myself, the answer is very seriously. Yesterday – at same time as The Sunday Papers piece unbeknownst to me featured the post – I was realising the dream of owning my own truck. Behold my Volvo FH Globetrotter XL with Eastern Eagle rims and chrome handles and custom hot cerise metallic paint and bullhorns and stuff in all it’s glory. God, ain’t she a beaut’? How could you not take this shit seriously?