Saturday, September 24, 2016

Oh M F'in G. I broke platinum.

I'd given up.


In season one, I placed at around 47 - rather generous, I think - and warbled back and forth between there and 43, never coming really close to breaking 50.  In season 2, the equivalent of 50 is 2,500 - platinum rank.  There is some discussion on whether or not being platinum is well above average or not - some people say it's precisely average, others insist there are far more players below platinum than above it - but I'm pretty sure I'm pretty average.

This season, I had actually climbed to 2498.  Two four nine EIGHT.  And then I'd get Anubis again, or go up against a six-stack, or maybe just have a shitty game, and I'd tumble back down to the mid-2400s.

I had decided, after the last tumble, that I was going to stop trying.  The reward for reaching platinum is 800 comp points - the things you need to buy a golden gun for one of your heroes - while the reward for gold is 400.  You earn 10 comp points per win, so this is the equivalent of not having to win another 40 games (playing another 80) to score my golden gun.  It's not a big deal, it's just something you want.  But it wasn't happening.


I didn't like that the disappointment in failing to break platinum was getting to me.  I don't like... feeling negative about a game, but I still love Overwatch, so I played a couple quick play games last night to warm up, and decided to hop into competitive.

Ilios came up as the first match.  I've owned with Tracer on Ilios, but we already had a lot of DPS, and only Lucio healing.

I went with Zenyatta.  And Zenyatta took me to 2500.  I can't remember the last time I had such a good night on Overwatch.




Did you know the defense heroes (Hanzo, Junkrat, Widowmaker, Mei, Torb) were originally mixed in with Tracer, Soldier and Reaper in the offense class?  Yep.  There were three classes, once, along with support and tank.

I feel like Mei, with her ability to stop a high-profile target in its tracks with her freeze spray and block off a major attack with a wall, is more of a support hero than any other defense.  Symmetra's ability to completely lock down a flanking rout suggests she's more a defensive character than any of the supports.  Point is, each class has a somewhat hazy definition, and Zenyatta is a rather weird support.

Lucio and Mercy rely heavily on the excellence of their teammates - Mercy and Ana buff so your teammates can get the kills and Lucio heals at such a broad, low level that he's most effective when your team is already good enough not to take much damage.  Zenyatta is very different.  He drops a discord orb on an enemy, and your entire team does +30% damage to them.  He slips behind cover, charges up a barrage and sweeps out to unload six orbs on a distant Bastion - he's almost a backline assassin.

He also has one of the most powerful and valuable ults in the game.  Like Mercy, his ult is arguably the most important part of his kit - but unlike Mercy, whose ult is only important after something horrific has happened to your team, Zenyatta's ult stops the horrific thing from happening.   Mercy gives you a second chance.  Zenyatta just saves the day.


It took me a while to figure out how it worked, when I first started playing.  Even now, I see Zenyattas popping Transcendence to counter D.Va, Junkrat, McCree and Tracer ults (which is a waste of an ult) - but for every other offensive ult in the game, Transcendence is The Answer.  Transcendence (which heals teammates for 100 health per second in a wide radius around you) completely nullifies the ultimate abilities of... Ana, Bastion, Genji, Hanzo, Mei, Pharah, Reaper, Reinhardt, Roadhog, Soldier, Torbjorn and Zarya.  It can only be countered by the anti-healing effects of Ana's grenade.

This, in addition to the fantastic ability to prioritize and melt targets with discord orb, heal distant allies with harmony orb and deal some legit fierce damage, makes Zenyatta, overall, a sick character.  His only weakness is his complete lack of mobility, and he did... very well for me last night.

 I did not see this coming.



0:00 - 0:32 : I am dis pleased that I wasn't able to kill that Lucio in the two seconds I had him in my sights, caught in Zarya's ult - but popping my ult in time to save my Zarya and Lucio from their Reaper's death blossom is the important bit.

It always feels good when your teammates take a second over mikes to say "(your hero!)'s puttin' in worrrk!"

0:32 - 1:07 : So last night, Chamberlain and Alex and I end up drunk-emailing each other.  Chamberlain wants permission to stop playing No Man's Sky, Alex is also drunk, and Chamberlain wants me to listen to Blood in the Cut by K. Flay.  So that's our song today!

The hill on Nepal is an iffy spot for Zen - who needs to stay behind his teammates to keep from getting instagibbed, and can't see well up on to the point when your team isn't currently holding it.  But this worked out beautifully.  Rein charges our D.Va, but he's already eaten most of an orb barrage and a discord - he's dead by the time they hit the wall.

A harmony orb here, a harmony orb there and bam, discord on Reaper!  Reaper's erased.

Zip!  Discord on Mei - Mei's gone. Discord on Roadhog!  This'll take a bit longer.  I build up a barrage from behind cover and sweep out to blow off 90% of his health - the team finishes the job.  Whup!  Phara's here!  Discord!  Bye Pharah!



1:07 - 1:35 : Believe me I was not happy when I completely wiffed my barrage on this Zen, but it didn't cost us anything.  He blows his ult to heal... no one at all - he's not even healing his Pharah when she ults, I discord her and our Soldier and Mei melt her.

Zenyatta, then, doesn't use the speed boost of his ult to get off the point to safety - he settles down right in the middle, where I can discord him and shear off 88% of his health in about a second and a half and oh noooes Roadhog's here and he's ulting but you ain't shit embrace tranquility motherfucker!



1:35 - 1:47 : This Bastion was instantly walled off by our Mei, but when the wall came down I was the only one goin' after him!  What the fuck, guys?

I completely whiff the barrage on him, but the half-second it takes him to transform into turret mode is enough for me to lay discord on him and start heating him up with orbs.  What kind of Zen needs to solo a Bastion at point-blank range?  The best kind.

1:47 - 2:07 : You can't discord a wraithing Reaper.  Still - worked out!  Perfect barrage.

It was, otherwise, a totally unremarkable match.  It was pretty close.  I think it went 3 and 1.

And with it, I broke Platinum.  In my head, the match where I broke Platinum was gonna' be this epic tooth-and-nail balls-to-the-walls ultimate-effort thing, but... it was unremarkable.

I solo'd a Bastion and wrecked a Reaper with my barrage.


2:07 - 2:28 : One of the teammates remarked over voice that this was a "really good Transendence," but he was wrong - our Reinhardt completely blocked our team from the red Rein's Earthshatter, and he could have easily shielded us from the Soldier's ult.  It was a burned ult. But it looked cool and the win streak continues!


2:28 - 3:12 : Iknorite, Chance playing Soldier?   What is goin' onnn here?!

I don't know, but it worked out well.  This is quite clearly my feeble attempt to emulate the excellent Soldier ult of that "thanks!"ing fellow in The Lijiang Match last week, but man did it ever work out well!  I have never done anything that cool with Soldier before.

Victoreee!  And whose play of the game is this?  Why it's me!  Wrecking two-thirds of the enemy team with a Reaper ult and then totally failing to stick the landing by doing an arrogant I-just-got-Play-of-the-Game emote instead of finishing off that Roadhog!

Ha!



3:12 - 3:40 : I've had a lot of Mercy PotGs lately, but this is The Good One.  Hiding for just the right moment, leaping on to the point as soon as three are down for the res, and watching this Soldier backpedal as fast as his little legs can take him, desperate to get out of the way of a Mercy with visions of PotGs dancing in her eyes.  He can't, though.  He dies.

This was the defense round of a Hanamura comp game, and when we were on attack I played one of the worst Rein games I've ever had.  When the PotG popped, I had to laugh into my mike.  "T'was I!  The shitty Reinhardt all along!"

But in all seriousness, I should play Mercy more.  My comp rating with her this season is insane.


And that's a good Friday night!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Overwatch news! Clip Show 19 : Mei Day.






A new balance patch went live on the PC's test servers yesterday with some interesting balance tweaks for Ana, in particular.
Ana
  • Nano Boost
    • Ultimate cost has been increased by 20%
  • Biotic Grenade
    • Radius has been increased from 3 to 4 meters
Developer Comments: So far, we haven't seen any indication that Ana is too strong overall, but her ultimate charges a little too fast, especially considering the impact it can have on a match. Also, her Biotic Grenades are getting a small boost to help her hit multiple targets. 
Widowmaker
  • Widow's Kiss
    • Scoping-in animation time has been reduced from 0.5 to 0.3 seconds
Developer Comments: This change will help Widowmaker acquire new targets more quickly and speed up her reaction time in fast-paced situations. 
Junkrat
  • RIP-Tire
    • Ability now activates more quickly
Developer Comments: Junkrat can be an extremely effective hero in the right hands, but RIP-Tire often felt underpowered when compared to his counterparts.

Ana (obviously - as if you didn't already know) is currently the core of The 3/3 Meta.  The previous meta was two offense heroes, two tanks and two healers or 2/2/2.  The 3/3 is three healers (usually Lucio, Zen and Ana) and three tanks to intentionally take damage from the enemy team so the healers - and most crucially, Ana - can heal them up and gain her ult.  Ana's ult is, of course, best used on tanks (or an ulting Genji/Soldier, or a Reaper).

Ana gains ult charge super fast - so fast that she essentially has it ready to go for every single team fight.  The tanks and the supports all do damage in addition to their healing, the tanks' ults create team wipes, and Zenyatta and Lucio's ults protect the team from events that may wipe them.

It's incredibly powerful and effective at "pro-level" play, and it really put a spotlight on how quickly Ana is able to get her ult ready.  This change won't have a huge impact on her ability to build ult, and the buff to her grenade is actually pretty darned huge - but it's always... a little exciting when Blizz makes these changes.

Elsewhere... guess what showed up last night?  Just kidding you don't have to guess, I'm posting pics!


Behold!  Two (impressively high-quality) prints of T.Racer by the artist going by jn3.  The paper is like super heavy-gauge - you could use it for making boxes or immortal Christmas cards - and it fits perfectly in frames that I already had!  One for home, one for the office.


There is an insane amount of incredible fan art for Overwatch - the boggling wealth of fan-created media for the game, from music to comics to cartoons to the art, is one of the many things I adore about it - but for my money, the above piece is The Best Piece of Overwatch Fan Art.

I was, honestly, a bit worried about taking it into the office.  If you're not counting the sleek helmet and machine pistols, its most obvious feature is the curvature of a woman's back end.  So first thing this morning, when I overheard my boss talking Overwatch with another colleague, I rolled over, said "did somebody say Overwatch?" and steered him back towards my desk.  He proclaimed it "cool," so I am now safe until a harassment complaint appears.

Tee Racerrr!

Tracer, it's worth noting, barely appears in this week's Clip Show.




0:00 - 0:17 : Mercy PotGs are... a bit common, lately.  It's actually pretty cool!  Healing now seriously seems to be a thing that will win you PotG (more on that later), but Mercy rezzes have been getting PotG left and right - to the point that if I see my PotG splash come up and I know I never did more than a 2-rez, I'll apologize over chat for what the team is about to see.

I did not apologize over chat for this one.  Rare is the day your team is literally applauding you over the mics for your Play of the Game.  Hot stuff!



0:17 - 0:26 : Oh God I've been flanked by a Mei!

SOMEBODY HELP ME!


...annnd I'm frozen.

Annnd I'm dead.

Fucking Mei, man.  Fucking Mei.


0:26 - 0:43 : Zenyatta the lifesaver!  I was super-surprised when this popped up in my highlight reel, but it was a pretty cool moment.  This Mercy and I are alone, trying to stop the attackers at the payload on King's Row, and we're flanked by a McCree.  The McCree immediately goes after Mercy, but I drop the harmony orb on her and the discord on McCree as he ducks into cover to reload.

I wind up my barrage and move in for a clearer shot, but he nails me with his flashbang!  I had no idea this would happen, but when he nails me with it, it unleashes the barrage I've built up - at the precise moment I had my reticle exactly where it needed to be to kill him.

Delicious.

0:43 - 1:16 : I actually got Play of the Game for this Transcendence!  But the actual clip is all weirded out - the ulting Winston doesn't load, for example.  When it popped at the end of the game, one of the dudes in chat goes "seriously?  Zenyatta?" and another dude says "man, that was clutch.  That saved the point."

It was clutch :) that Transcendence did save the point.  And then I got to kill Mei who thinks she's about to take the point with her ult!  You ain't takin' shit, you soulless monster!

Meiii...

...is so much fun to play as.


1:35 - 2:11 : I made this Lucio's life a living hell.  It's pretty common to receive a little crossfire, this way and that, as you play Overwatch, and a little bit of damage pinging your hud isn't a big deal... until you notice your movement speed slowing to a crawl.

Then, you get chills.  You know what's about to happen.  You pan the camera around.  You see her adorable face.  You see her ice-pistol-thing sweep up to your head.

Snap.

It's an uncomfortable rhythm to get in to, as the attacking Mei.  Mei's alt fire - the icicle - actually fires off like a second of three-quarters of a second after you pull the trigger, and the effective moment of the freeze is always earlier than it seems.  You need to pull it super-early - before they even seem to be frozen - but once you get the hang of it you feel... very powerful.

There are few heroes in the game that a Mei can't solo, if she gets the drop on them.

Hahhh he used his ult and we shredded him like tissue.


2:11 - 2:23 : You'll see a lot of less-than-great uses of my Mei ult, in this clip show.  I'm... still coming to terms with it - but I have this thing where I have to throw it out when a Zarya uses hers and anyone gets caught in it - but when you're pushin' and it's goin' well and you get caught up in the swing of things why not fling your ult in there and contribute like 20% to a quad kill?  I'll take it!


2:23 - 2:36 : Tracer Vs. Mei generally favors Tracer, with a big IF in between.  IF that Mei can land a headshot on the Tracer with her icicle, she wins, end of story.  If Mei can't land that (in all honesty very difficult on a fast-moving target) shot, Tracer still has to negotiate Mei's wall, keep enough distance to steer clear of Mei's freezing primary fire (which drastically reduces Tracer's potential damage), and even then Mei might just pop into her deep freeze and regain that health back.

I've had a lot of Tracers try to nab me with the pulse bomb when I use deep freeze, but it's a tricky timing to master.  Mei's deep freeze lasts four seconds (and she can cancel it), while Tracer's pulse bomb has a 2 or 1.5 second fuse (no one's really sure).

So pulling this off was sweeter than candy.


2:36 - 3:07 : Behold, some fine-ass Mei work on King's Row.  I have no idea why I own King's Row so hard with Mei, but this time - much like the last memorable time - began with me hoping the reds wouldn't notice me slipping out the second-story window of the right flank, and sneaking around behind them.  They were all off the point, keeping pressure on the choke, so I had to go for it.  And it worked out so well!

  1. A nicely-timed ice wall keeps Junkrat off the point for a few more precious seconds. 
  2. A charismatic wave lowers the defending D.Va's guard enough to emote back, which buys me a free freeze-and-headshot combo. 
  3. My brother and our whole crew rolls in as I heal up, and our Zarya keeps them away from the point with her ult, giving me time to sweep forward and wall off the Junkrat - the only class that could have lobbed damage at us from afar.  



3:07 - 4:10 : Mei leads the way!

  1. A quick wall on the choke forces Bastion to set up in a corner, which makes him very easy to focus fire. 
  2. Oh noooes Roadhog's got me with his ult!  Where the hell did he come from?  And why didn't I use my cryo freeze?!
  3. Thanks Mercy!  I won't let'cha down!
  4. Oh shits it's D.Va's ult!  Our Mercy has nowhere to run!  But Mei will save the day!  Also you'll notice our Zarya runs in to gain ult charge off the D.Va ult, and then like disappears when I pop the wall - did I ruin her ult charge?  No!  You can tell by the glow that she's got it when she gets hit by the sleep dart.  That all worked out lovely
  5. The red Zarya fires her ult just behind the payload - and I don't even need a wall to block my team from the incoming damage.  Mei's cryo freeze will protect everyone behind her from incoming fire - it also blocks a D.Va ult, the buff of an enemy Lucio's sound barrier and the area of effect of an enemy Mei's ult!  Handy.  
  6. I set up a wall just beyond the payload to earn a few more free feet, and slip around to... charge right into their tanks and pick a fight with their Zarya.  Her charge is low, but she's got a lot of fight in her.  Why didn't she use her primary fire at the end there, when it would've done way more damage than her alt grenades?  Probably the same reason I used my primary instead of my alt-fire, which would've finished that fight way sooner - we're dumb!
  7. Another exceedingly mediocre use of Mei's ult sees the payload another twenty feet.  My dumbness returns as I use my primary fire on Junk's tire instead of just snappin' an icicle into it.  Doi!



4:10 - 5:26 : Mei leads the charge down the final stretch!

  1. I was surprised when I landed two headshots on that Ana too. 
  2. A quick wall renders their Zarya, D.Va and Torb's turrets useless as we gain a few more precious yards. 
  3. Oh shits the Roadhog is ulting again!  I screw up the wall and he comes flying in, but this is where Mei's superpower comes into play.  I freeze 'em and we all DPS him down. 
  4. It seems like Mercy and I are the only ones left, here, and she switches to damage boost as I ineffectually harass the closest of the defenders - but there's too many to deal with, and I'm about to withdraw when the D.Va fires her ult behind Mercy and I.  
  5. I don't have the presence of mind to try to wall off the Mercy and protect her, so I bail into the nearby room - which was also not... a great idea. 
  6. Ana, Zarya and D.Va all gang up on me!  They're hurtin' for some payback, and Ana knows her biotic grenade is gonna' screw me big time.  That's why she starts teabagging me when I go into my deep freeze - she knows I'm not getting any health back, thanks to her grenade, and there's no way I'll be able to throw a wall up to protect myself before they kill me.  But I can pop my ult as the Roadhog trundles into the room... 
  7. ...which sets up my brother to get Play of the Game while they're all frozen.  The D.Va makes it out thanks to her boosters, but their Torb wanders into the path of the explosion.  Very nice, Chris!


5:26 - 5:41 : Ugh I was so proud of walling this Zarya off when she pushed forward on us.  She just wanted to poke ahead to get a little charge and shrink back into her team!  But newp.


5:41 - 6:30 : Remember that epic stretch on Nepal where I wiped like the entire enemy team with Tracer?  This is the same thing, but with Reaper on Gibraltar.

  1. Pharah's already half-dead, and goes down easy. 
  2. It actually felt super cool to leap off the back of the payload, shooting down at this Zarya, who immediately backs off into her team as our Mei blocks them off.  But I ain't done
  3. I sweep around the side of Mei's wall and keep on slapping Zarya - and nearly die before she falls - but go wraith at just the right moment to slip in a side door and grab a little health pack.  
  4. I stay back, waiting for my moment.  It comes, in the form of our Mei. 
  5. She pops her ult.  I run in. 
  6. And there goes the rest of their team.  That.  Was.  Delicious.  
  7. For the record, after I emoted "thanks," the Mei emoted "understood!"
It's Friday.  I think I'll play some more Mei tonight...




This weekend's PSN flash sale has some hot hot heat.



It's mostly Japanese stuff, but there are some fine North American indies in the mix too.  Just this week on the podcast, we were talkin' about Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, and now it's down to sixteen bucks on Vita!

So here's the highlights:
  • Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed - $11.99 on PS4, $7.99 on Vita and PS3
  • Broken Age - cross-buy $4.99
  • Child of Light Ultimate Edition - cross-buy $4.99
  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered - cross-buy $5.99
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - $23.99 on PS4, $15.99 on Vita
  • Grim Fandango Remastered - cross-buy $2.99!
  • Guilty Gear Xrd -Relevator- - $23.99 on PS4
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 - $23.99 on PS4
  • Catherine - $4.99 on PS3
  • Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - $7.99 on PS3
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth - $7.99 on PS4
  • Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit - $5.99 on Vita
  • Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus - $15.99 on Vita
  • Superbeat Xonic - $15.99 on Vita
  • Sword Art Online: Lost Song - $15.99 on Vita
  • Sword Art Online -Hollow Fragment- - $4.99 on Vita. 
Usually sales mean nothing to me because I have this condition that forces me to buy games I want upon release, but limited time this year makes Day of the Tentacle, Digimon Story, Superbeat Xonic and Sword Art Online look pret-ty darned appealing.

Buttt I've always wanted to try Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit (it's a rhythm game with the SK girls), and I've heard terribly positive things about Superbeat Xonic (also a rhythm game), so yeah!  That's happening.

Annnd bought.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ahah. So now I have to care about Oceanhorn.




What the ef is Oceanhorn..?



Hmmmm I see.  Apparently it's a straight-up Zelda clone.  So let's check out its PC release...


Okay so I don't have to care too much... but a 7/10 can still be a good time, so this is gonna' have to stay on my radar.

24 minutes of hot, hot NieR: Automata footage!

Woooo thank you, Tokyo Games Show!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Darkest Dungeon gets some content bonuses on PlayStation!


Sweeeeeeet!

  • For all our PlayStation players we now start fresh estates with two trinkets: a Stone of Patience and a Stone of Endurance, as a small way of thanking our fans for their gratitude and support and patience as we developed the game.
  • We are also adding three new, extremely rare trinkets for players to find. “The Tempting Goblet” is one such rare trinket that can be found from the now-infamous skeletal courtiers, who have a habit of dousing heroes in acrid liquid of questionable origin. To imaginative players, the other two trinkets may foreshadow a looming threat not yet made manifest…
  • We’ve taken some time to embellish each of the four main dungeons — a new background has been added to the Ruins, Weald, Warrens, and Cove, adding more variety and character to each location.
  • We’ve also added a new Town Event: “A Day Long Awaited.” In celebration of the PlayStation launch, this event gives players a Stagecoach bursting with bonus recruits — word has spread of the riches to be found in the dungeons beneath the Estate! Been waiting desperately for that Jester? This event can help it happen.

The PC release won't get the PS-exclusive content any time soon, but it will come eventually according to the devs.  Also worth noting, Darkest Dungeon will be 20% off on PSN for the first two weeks!  Also cross buy and cross save yayyy!

Also this!  (On the Vita version...)


I want to see Mark Ruffalo's wedding tackle. What's the problem? Don't YOU?



You know you wanna' see it!

Also you should vote.  Please vote.

What's happening in your country is terrifying the rest of the world.  It's funny when it happens to Great Britain, but when it happens to that country with all the next-gen stealth bombers and nuclear weapons, it's not really ha ha funny.   The vid's pretty funny though!  Apparently Joss Whedon made it.

Dark Souls III - Ashes of Ariandel gameplay!



Nooo spoilers nooo eh I'm never gonna' play it, who am I kiddin'?

Overwatch!

Dishonored 2 : Creative Kills gameplay trailer.



Smexy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chamberlain & Chance 41 : There Is Only Overwatch.


It's the awesomest podcast in all the podcastin' land!  Wiiith Alex!

Alex writes thisChamberlain writes that, and I occasionally write this thing right here and the podcast's on iTunes!


Chamberlain and Chance - There is only Overwatch

THIS WEEK!

  • Even Chamberlain must admit that Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is The Good Shit. 
  • There is a legit long-ass discussion on which is the best BioShock game (psst: it's 2.  BioShock 2 is the best BioShock game).  
  • Alex has begun to understand the deeper meanings behind the Holy Scriptures of the Church of Overwatch.
  • All the news that's fit to print, and then talk about!
  • And the most-anticipated game of 2016 comes out how soon?
You'll have to tune in to find out!