My Top 10 favorite video games

I have been playing video games since the tender age of five.  I still remember the first time I played a video game.  I came home from school and my new baby sitter had bought me a Nintendo 64, pretty cool gift right?  I was so excited.  The first game I ever played was Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.  It was a game that would keep me entertained for hours until I finally got my hands on one of the best games the N64 would ever know, James Bond: Goldeneye.  I would have friends over to play the split screen all the time and would have fun destroying my friends every chance I got.  Soon after this game, I started playing Super Smash Bros. which immediately became my new favorite game for routing my friends whenever they would challenge me to a game.

As I got older, I went through the systems.  From N64 to Playstation, from Playstation to PS2, from PS2 to Xbox, from Xbox to Xbox 360, from Xbox 360 to PC and now, I can call myself a multi-platform gamer.  I even experimented with the handheld systems a bit but ultimately decided my fate laid with the bigger systems.  Today, you can usually find me on the PC but I still like to play my Xbox One to this day.

The first game that would allow me to spend all day just playing would probably be Runescape, however, this wasn’t the only game that caused me to become a regular couch potato.  World of Warcraft of course played a role in this too and became the first game that really immersed me in the gaming world.  As the expansions came out however, I found myself not being interested in this game anymore and switched over to League of Legends during Season 1.  This game became the game that immersed me in a world that I hope I can be apart of forever, eSports.  As my passion for eSports has grown, I have branched out to try many games, CS:GO, DotA, Team Fortress 2; all for the sake of growing my knowledge within this ever-changing landscape.  All of this is to give you background into what I will be calling my Top 10 favorite games ever.  We will start you from the bottom to get you acclimated to the awesomeness you are about to behold and slowly, the nostalgia will start to flow through your veins as thick as the blood that runs through you.


 

(Courtesy of sandbox.yoyogames.com)

(Courtesy of sandbox.yoyogames.com)

10.  Classic Runescape

Before the days of the new engine and no wilderness, these were the good days of Runescape.  In my middle school days, I would rush home just so I could start leveling again.  Playing Caste Wars and doing quests were a great past time to save yourself from the boredom of grinding all of your skills to make money.  Good were the days when you could fish at the fishing guild for sharks and the amazing times of PKing with friends.  Baiting people to come fight you in the wilderness and laughing at their misfortune as you steal all of their loot just to be sold at the nearest bank.  These were good days indeed.  Hour upon hours were spent playing this game for me and I will always treasure those memories.

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League of Legends for Dummies

(Courtesy of ibtimes.com)

(Courtesy of ibtimes.com)

As eSports gets more and more popular, these games will begin to bring in fans that aren’t watching because they play the game.  For these people, they may need something to educate them on what the craze is all about, however, in order to get into the next big sport.  I will be covering the basics of League of Legends and the eSports scene in a three part series.

League of Legends was one of the first games to bring massive crowds and is one of the most popular to this day.  The game has brought in millions of fans, having more viewers than some of the most popular sporting events in North America.  This is because League of Legends boasts a global audience reaching not only Europe, but other countries in multiple continents around the world.  This audience makes up a very passionate community that develops artwork, cosplays, even game ideas that Riot Games uses to improve the quality of their game.

About the Game

Now I’ll tell you what all the buzz is about.  League of Legends is a part of a larger game genre known as MOBAs.  MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.  Other games that accompany League in this family are Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard Entertainment), Smite (Hi-Rez Studios) and DotA 2 (Valve).  All of these games have a fairly large following in eSports and though their tournament format is a little different than that of League’s, they all follow a general format that is very close to traditional sports.  All of these games have a regular season that consists of multiple weeks, usually around nine weeks, to be followed by playoffs and eventually a championship at the end of the season.  This championship is actually a world championship, bringing together the top teams from all over the globe to compete for one trophy.  This two week long tournament starts with a group stage consisting of four groups of four teams each.  During this stage, each team in each group will play each other twice and the top two teams from each group move on to the knockout stage.  In this next stage, these teams face off in a general format starting with a round of eight, to a final four to a final two championship.  All of the games played in the knockout stage are a best of 5 games.

Gameplay

In a game of League of Legends, there are two teams of five players.  These two teams face off against each other on Summoner’s Rift in an attempt to take down the other teams Nexus through team-based strategies.  On the road to the Nexus, players must take down towers and inhibitors to grant them access to the center of the enemy team’s base.  As each tower falls, the team that takes down the turret is granted gold to purchase items to make them stronger.  Needless to say, taking down these turrets not only progresses your team towards the nexus, but also gives you a way to gain an advantage over the enemy team.

(Courtesy of redbull.com)

(Courtesy of redbull.com)

There are a few other ways to gain advantages over your opponents as well.  Killing the enemy champions gives you a large amount, along with killing minions that spawn in the jungle or the ones that walk down each lane as the game progresses.  Other than slaughtering enemy champions and little minions, a team can choose to take down large map objectives such as Baron Nashor, dragon, or the newly introduced Rift Herald.

Baron Nashor and Rift Herald spawn in the same upper crevasse of the map, however their spawn times are different.  Rift Herald is an early game objective that is substituted for Baron Nashor at twenty minutes.  When the Herald is killed, a little buff drops that can be picked up by any player.  This buff gives movement speed, empowered minions that have greater attack speed and range, a shorter four second recall, as well as a 10% damage increase for two minutes.  The third monster on the map that gives a buff, dragon, gives a stacking buff that stacks up to five times.

The first dragon take gives a 6% AD (attack damage) and AP (ability power).  The second dragon gives a +15% damage buff to buildings and towers.  The third dragon gives a 5% movement speed buff.  The fourth dragon gives a 15% damage increase to minions and monsters and the fifth dragon doubles all of these previous bonuses, as well as 150 true damage (damage that goes through resistances) over five seconds.

Though the previous four dragon buffs last the whole game, the fifth dragon buff only lasts three minutes.  These three buffs are highly instrumental in winning a team the game and should not go unchallenged.  An exception to this rule, that you will see in competitive, is the second dragon buff.  You will often see teams trade this buff for towers on the other side of the map since this will give the whole team gold instead of a less useful buff to towers.

Two other buffs that exist on the map but don’t require as much contesting are the red and blue buffs. These buffs reside in the jungle and are given to laners as the junglers make their way to these buffs.  The blue buff is normally given over to the mid laner because of the cooldown reduction and mana regeneration the buff gives for its duration.  The red buff is given to the AD Carry as the game reaches mid-late game.  This buff gives health regeneration as well as true damage over time on hit.

This concludes part one, I hope you enjoyed it!

In part two we will discuss champion select, roles filled on a team and what each position does.

David vs. Goliath, are player salaries worth it?

RickFox

(courtesy of esportsedition.com)

This off-season has seen much change within the Esports community.  In the last couple months, there has been a lot of hype surrounding League of Legends specifically.  Rick Fox’s purchase of Gravity Gaming’s LCS slot, along with Marc Cuban’s participation in an ARAM with Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich at IEM San Jose have generated a lot of interest in this game.  As the off-season continues, the more spots are bought out by potential leaders in a growing competitive scene.  A thing that has come with this massive investment in the League of Legends scene has been the argument over whether teams should make the salaries of their players public to the world.  To the average sports fan this may seem like a good idea since this is how all pro sports teams run their organizations but this could actually ruin the pro scene in League of Legends.

In a market that is seeing more and more large investors enter the scene, making salaries known to the public could potentially be the end of the small organizations we see come up through the Challenger Series every year at the end of every season.  In a world where LCS spots are just sold to the highest bidder, we will no longer see teams like NME esports or Team Coast (now NRG) rise through the ranks to try to prove to the world that they belong with the pros.  We will begin to see an impure community where passion and love for the game isn’t the tool that drives organizations to do their best every season, but instead players working to cash that paycheck for millions of dollars.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it would be great to see a world where Esports pros are able to earn millions of dollars from playing a game they love, but we as a community have to work to get there.  League of Legends, despite being a few years old now, is still in its infancy stage as a sport.  Pouring this much money into a market in it’s infancy stage can cause a bubble to pop before it reaches its maturity, ending in a massive breakdown of the entire system.  In other words, League of Legends and possibly Esports as a whole would see a shut down in operations due to the small return to the investors.  CLG’s CEO, Devin “Mylixia” Nash, weighed in on the situation by releasing a TwitLonger on Sunday afternoon also rebuking the need to release player salaries to the public.  At one point in his post Mylixia notes that the potential bubble burst in the future would be very real because “people see the return isn’t there and run to get money out of the failing system.”  Due to this, he says “we experience an e-sports EMP and player salaries are back to $1000/month.”  Is this a world we want to live in?  This entry by Venture Capitalists will do nothing but destroy a game we all love to watch and experience.  In the future there may be room for investors with millions of dollars to invest, but at the moment all it does is slit the throat of a community that is just taking its first steps.

cropped_EmberHeader

(courtesy of thescoreesports.com)

This massive explosion wouldn’t happen because there is no return to gain from Esports, but because the massive return just isn’t there yet.  The industry is just gaining steam.  No team has really begun to figure out how to monetize this sport and maybe this is where the Venture Capitalists come in.  Afterall, they are good at making money right?  We have seen one team give in to the urge to release their player’s salaries and that is the new North American team, Ember.  A team that seems to offer a different methodology in how they are run all together.  Their key belief?  Believing that better humans become better athletes.  Not to say that all athletes are bad people, but this is a new idea that no Esports athlete has began to explore.  Most gamers sell their souls to the organizations they pledge to; playing endless hours of their game each day.  They wake up thinking about the game and go to bed thinking about the game, there is no end.  As you can imagine this
can create massive depression within these young players and can take a massive toll on their performance.  What Ember suggests for their players is a lifestyle that is outside of this.  They want their players to experience deep relationships and love.  They believe this will help their team perform on a constant basis.  There is basis to this claim.  Look at traditional sports stars like Stephen Curry.  Curry is arguably one of the best basketball players of our generation and has started a family.  He also makes his faith in Christianity well-known, which by many it is believed religion helps one lead a happier life.  Maybe Ember is on to something?  Ember has a lot to prove this season because of these new ideas they hold and their release of their player’s salaries.

Overall, I believe it is a good idea to release player salaries, but not yet.  The Esports world has more to prove before this is something to worry about.  The community is gaining ground as Twitter just announced last week that Esports athletes now have verified Twitter accounts but there is still more ahead.  All members of this amazing group of supporters can do is hope that these new investors help the game rather than destroy something we have created.