Stream of Consciousness: Fun and Relaxing

The following details a regular night with my rotation of games.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

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I’ve actually had this game opened 5 different times during the course of the day, doing the auto-dueling and PvE events and whatnot. But after a layover of about 12 hours, I’m going to grind some of the PvP ladder! Geargias are such a good deck in this meta…

First opponent is Archfiends. Super difficult matchup, with all the milling and removal. Of course, you had your Archfiend’s Call not milled. That Wild Tornado tech to destroy your Archfiend Cavalry to get Archfiend Emperor at 3000 was pretty neat. Tough game, I wish I had the cards to play that deck.

Amazoness next, this is the archetype is making PvP fun again, for sure. Amazoness Princess down, Onslaught set. Hit, banish, special summon. Repeat a few times. Baby Tiger dead. Baby Tiger back. That was a close game, but just not enough. If only I had more than 1 Ties of the Breatheren.

Sylvans next, I thought this was the Masked HERO meta? My Geargiattacker, Pulse Mines, and Forbidden Chalice are down. I negate Komushroomo, but can’t do anything about that Guardioak. Carrot excavated, toss Rose Lover, I lose. I hate Sylvans. Back to Legend 1 I go.

Ah, a guy who hasn’t gotten more than Legend, this should end my losing streak. Fire Formation – Gyokkou, Tensu, Raven, Fire Formation – Gyokkou, Peryton, Sphynx, Beatdown. RIP.

Extra, Extra Mill/Stall Pegasus next. I can’t believe these stupid decks are back! I just wasted 10 minutes…

Oh right, here are some Sylvans again. Why did I take out my Memory Loss? I thought this was the Masked HERO meta? Oh yeah, that was last week’s meta.

Shadowverse

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Logging in for my daily reward. I definitely want to play this game more, and I realize I’ve been saying this for years. I’m still a B rank, and everyone’s probably easy pickings. My neutral Runecraft is still good when I play it. If only I didn’t have other games to play… Oh well, I ‘ll login tomorrow for another reward.

Hearthstone

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Turn on the Blizzard Launcher for Hearthstone, my Ex that I’m still awkwardly kinda friends with. I don’t really know what’s going on anymore with Hearthstone, but we had some great memories. Going to play that Warrior Arena I drafted last night.

Facing a Mage. She cleans up my board pretty well for the first half of the game, and I’m down to 13 life on Turn 7. I build a wall of taunts and Armor Up a lot. Remember when Warriors were literally unplayable in Arena? The Armor Up was the downfall? I’m here with 15 armor and 10 health, too well protected by 2 Pyroblasts and Chargers. I win.

Next up is a Priest. I do a lot of board value trading and eventually have 5 minions on the board on Turn 9. But you never expect that Spirit Lash into Thoughsteal into Blood Razor right? That Obsidian Destroyer I took care of is back… Free from Amber into Violet Wurm, the value is too much. Devour Mind and use my Commanding Shout and Fiery War Axe. I play all my cards and clear up the grubs. Another Free from Amber into Lich King, welp no point in continuing this game…

The old me would’ve found something enjoyable about playing Warrior in Arena. I don’t really know what is going on anymore.

Warframe

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Time to kick back with my new favorite game, Warframe. Such an amazing game that is so overlooked. While I am fairly bad at this game, the learning curve has to do with it. It’s DE’s way of weeding out people!

Tonight I am going to continuing some Tier 2 Spy missions. Building up my Vaykor Hek, which probably needs the Hell’s Chamber mod. Hell’s Chamber increases multishot for Shotguns. I frankly don’t even know what multishot is in Warframe. I think it gives your gun a chance to shoot extra bullets. The damage goes up a good amount with multishot mods. But do Shotguns get more out of multishot, since they are already shooting a bunch of projectiles?

While my Ivara is stabbing Corpus Crewmen and doing parkour, someone in my clan is complaining about the Razorback Armada not being here despite the bar being filled. He literally did this yesterday morning. And possibly every other time I was not logged in. I would probably say something funny, but I realized I made enemies in my last clan, which I left voluntarily. I’ll shut up. Everyone in the clan is annoyed about it. Someone even openly said that in the clan chat yesterday, but after this guy logged off. Finally, people say the Razorback Armada is not coming since DE has to remotely activate it. The guy pipes down finally.

I ran 3 Spy runs, but no Hell’s Chamber. I did get Thermite Rounds though, I guess new mods are always exciting. More Spy runs tomorrow I guess.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

I have some pressure to do well in this game, but the meta the last few hours has been very unenjoyable. I’m going to ambush some people with Ice Barriers!

After losing my only game with Ice Barriers, I go to bed.

 

 

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Getting to Know the Duel Links NPCs

Getting to Know the Duel Links NPCs

Yu-Gi-Oh!, being a fairly big money name with anime, movies, manga, video games, and card game, has numerous memorable characters. These characters are put through very dark and unforgiving storylines, which allow for much introspection into characters, and opportunity for character development. Duel Links, the new mobile phone game, has been rolling out these characters for use in the game, with Maximillion Pegasus coming out recently (lol), and characters like Mokuba, Bakura, and Marik coming down the line. While these legendary duelists are the characters you get to use, and provide opportunities to win good prizes, you can’t face them all of the time. You need to spend colored keys in order to face the brand name characters typically. So, a lot of the dirty work playing Duel Links involves fighting NPCs. The NPCs in Duel Links fill many roles:

  1. Quest Completion – You need to do a certain number of things each stage to advance to the next. Since the NPCs show up freqeuntly and respawn, their typical loss will allow you to check off requirements for questing.
  2. Experience Gain – Your characters level up, and you get good rewards for this. Grinding through NPCs will get you most of your experience.
  3. Resource Gain – Depending on what score you get in your duel assessment, you’ll get chests of rewards. The NPCs will always give at least 2 chests for a win, and you can prolong a game, to get more.
  4. Practice – Of course, they are the easiest competition around, so good for practice.

Now that you see that the NPCs are quite important in Duel Links, here’s the kicker: nothing is known about them! They have no backstory, and are just in the game. No guides online have any articles on them either. So, I am here to provide images and possibly provide some backstory for each NPC in this game. Cannon fodder have feelings too!

The NPCs can broadly be broken down into 3 groups, by possible age:

  • Children
  • High schoolers
  • Young adults

Children

No better way to remind the player they are playing a children’s card game than with actual children. These kids are likely less than 10 years of age.

  • Emma – A child with a limited vocabulary, speaking with very simple words. She is not very competitive, and appears to take the game casually. Likely has not endured the rigors of life.

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  • Bella – She is a more mature girl than Emma, in that she often thanks you for dueling with her. Actually, might be the NPC who thanks you the most. Owing to being a little child, she has a limited vocabulary and speaks slowly.

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  • Mickey – This kid is just a stereotypical boy NPC. A little cocky and talkative, but with not much substance to back up his words.

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  • Nick – The most interesting of all the little kid NPCs. Nick talks about homework and Duel School a lot, which means he likely spends some time training. He speaks better than the other children, so he might be older. He also never smiles, which gives him a sense of cool confidence.

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High schoolers (teens)

The teens are easily distinguished because they wear school uniforms that the better-known characters wear. The male characters wear a blue jacket and pants, like Yugi and Joey. The female characters wear a pink jacks and blue skirt, like Tea. Because of this, one can assume these NPCs go to Domino High School, and may possibly have outside interaction with the main cast.

  • Christine – One of the most competitive NPCs around, she seeks to be Duel World Queen. Her arrogance comes out bad often, and she just seems very pushy. Also has an annoying catchphrase, “Hecks to the yeah.”

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  • Jess – She is easily distinguished with the dark grey hair. Is apparently a big admirer of all the legendary duelists, as she often says “You are the one I look most forward to facing.” Comes off as timid and lacking confidence during the matches.

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  • Hailey – Her tone of voice is more confident than that of Jess, but she talks about having fun more than her. Overall, is fairly similar to Jess, as being a lot less uptight than Christine.

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  • Andrew – The male high school counterpart to Christine. He is apparently a tactician of some sorts, referencing probabilities and numbers he ran. Is overtly cocky and wonders why he isn’t a legendary duelist. Arguably the most bitter and angry NPC. Always has a chip on his shoulder.

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  • Josh – The overconfident but ultimately harmless NPC. Has a strong front, but loses confidence quickly while losing a duel.

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  • Daniel – A chill dude of a few words. He just says “Fine, let’s duel.” He might not wanted to have gone to Duel World with all his classmates, or he didn’t really care he had to go. Maybe he was the 6th best duelist in the school, and he was selected. He didn’t really care about the honor.

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Young adults

I have no idea what age these duelists are, but they look older than the high school students, and don’t wear school uniforms. These people could be of college age or young professionals. Likely in their 20s. These characters have the least personality, and were likely created in the last minute as filler.

  • Meg – She has a weird catchphrase of “let’s get the lead out.” I had to look up what this meant, and it is something you just don’t hear people say in public nowadays. Anyways she is nice, but not much personality.

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  • Ashley – She talks about having fun a lot, like the little children. She puts more emphasis on deck building being the fun aspect of the game, so she likes that. She also wears the same outfit as Meg, but a different color.

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  • David – This guy looks chill and just has some generic lines about dueling. Really no personality at all.

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  • Jay – This guy is very similar to David, but mentions being in the fantasy world, so he might be onto something. Wears the same outfit as David, but different colors. Lacks personality like the other young adults.

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  • The Vagabond – Nobody knows much about this guy, but I assume he is an adult. He has the special challenge matches, which are the hardest duels to do at any given time and stage. His style could be an homage to Red in the Pokemon series, or other nondescript player characters. He pretty much says nothing, until the end of the game, or if he wants to challenge your friends.

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Overall, the NPCs just get by, and shuffle along Duel World, waiting to get beat by you. Eventually they get their comeuppance, when they become difficult competition and not free auto-duel wins, when you hit stage 40.

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The Fall: Personal Hearthstone Crisis

The Fall: Personal Hearthstone Crisis

I’ve always been an honest person in my life, sometimes too much to a fault. I also have difficulty hiding emotions or disguising facial expressions, and this has gotten me in trouble now-and-then. So, I’m going to say it: I’ve played the least Hearthstone I have played in a while. I started this January 2017 season very strong, getting to Rank 8 or 9 within the first week, doing well with various Miracle Rogue decks. Then things slowed down to a halt, and I find myself barely getting by the past few weeks. I must note that I have listened to the first 8 minutes of the Top Deck Kings Podcast #79 (which you should totally listen to) as of this writing, and I have paused it, until I finish all my thoughts, to prevent any cross-contamination. But I have pinpointed a few obvious reasons to my playing Hearthstone at a minimum these days.

1. Real life getting in the way

One of the perks to being a professional gamer is that gaming is your “real life.” While you may have family and friends to interact with, the job portion of real life is bundled into your gaming space. My real life is definitely getting in the way, as I am looking for a new job. While people look for jobs all the time, I was rather complacent in that area, and I am in a bit of trouble. Writing cover letters, updating resumes, and applying takes time, but the more arduous task is figuring out what I want to do in my life. This is something I am unlikely to figure out by the time I get my next job, and will be a struggle for the future. But, I am cutting out time each day to look for and apply to jobs.

2. Other games getting in the way

When I am very enthused with Hearthstone, it is the only game I play and devote time to. With other games getting mixed into my more limited gaming time, I am starting to manage my interests. Heroes of the Storm has a Lunar New Year promotion Rooster Race, with the special golden rooster mount acquired with 25 Rooster Races completed. I completely suck at HotS, but by god, I want that golden rooster mount. Valeera is also a new hero that appeared in HotS. While she is difficult to play, and I have a habit of overextending, I am a big fan of the character, and she has brought me back to the game. Competing card games Shadowverse and Duelyst have daily login rewards that require my logging in to get as well.

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Here we go

And thanks to LA-based esquire Decktech (@hsdecktech), I have been hooked on Yugi-Oh Duel Links on my phone. The whole reason I got into Hearthstone likely is tied to my interests in Yugi-Oh, and now it has been recreated as an addictive phone game. This is not unlike the Pokemon Go craze, but I do not have to brave the outdoor elements to play Duel Links. Also unlike Pokemon Go, Duel Links is actually quite the strategic and interactive game, not just walking around and throwing a ball in different angles.

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Sending people to the Shadow Realm is a full-time job.

 

3. Meta getting in the way

The above two reasons are actual excuses for me, but let’s not sugarcoat the problems affecting Hearthstone. While I am hesitant to say that the meta has gotten stale already, the game just seems very “binary” now. There still remain various competitive decks in Hearthstone, and definitely more than there were in certain points of the game’s history. But it seems like “everything” is Face Aggro (Warrior, Shaman) or Highlander (Kazakus/Reno). Classes are clustering too much it seems, and deck types don’t seem too different by class. Rogues are still doing fine in their own thing, and Jade Druid is here now and then. But Paladins and Hunters are suffering now. These problems have been discussed at length by Devs in recent articles and tweets. The main problem of course is the high rate of Shaman play, something bolstered by seemingly-continual OP cards released for the class.

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The HS Problem, courtesy of Vicious Syndicate

This is all likely some sort of bias, losing to frustrating decks like Pirate Shaman and Warrior. But truthfully, If Hearthstone didn’t have it’s problems, I would likely not be playing other games as much.

What now

Of course, what now? I actually expected possible nerfs to Small-Time Buccaneer by the end of this month, but it seems like the Devs are deciding what to do about that card, and perhaps others. I haven’t stopped playing Hearthstone, as I am still interested in completing dailies, and doing an Arena run almost nightly. But the already tepid desire I had to play Ranked has just gotten cold. If things don’t change, I will likely revert to my old self, and just play Arena until the last 2 weeks of the month, when I can pick on weaker competition. Yep, Scavenging Buzzard mode is likely for next month.