Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stirring Up Esports Drama

The League of Legends World Championship is underway, and what a series it has been!

So while this week's PopMatters article comes to the defense of the analysts on the desk at Worlds, I do think Riot could improve the viewing experience of the World Championship with two things:

1) More play-by-plays. When I first started getting into Fantasy Football, I found the process of actually watching the games incredibly boring. I was confused by the long breaks and the scramble of men around the line of scrimmage was just a jumbled mess. The only easy thing to understand in football for someone unfamiliar with the sport are long throws for epic touchdowns.

As I started to pay more attention to the individual players on my team, the detailed play-by-plays of specific moments in the game provided so much insight. It sounds silly, but grabbing a pen and drawing on a huge screen is super useful for beginners. It turns what at first looks like a random mess into a discrete moving system of key players in key positions. When the analysts take pen to screen, they generally do a great job analyzing single plays in a match, especially positioning.

2) A beginners stream. The Dota 2 International has been doing this for awhile. A second stream of shoutcasters catering to those unfamiliar with League could walk players through basic character abilities during a match. Most importantly, a beginners stream could bring new viewers clarity into the incredibly important pick-and-ban phase. Unless you are familiar with every character in League of Legends, you will miss out on one of the most crucial elements of a match.

I mean, I'm pro and all, but I would love to be able to watch and talk about the World Championship with others. As long as we keep the drama to a minimum.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

EXP Podcast #349: The News Blues

That poor man; he's been stuck like that for hours.
They say no news is good news and this week we can't really argue with that.  It's been a little rough out there, but we can't use that as an excuse to turn a blind eye.  Instead we wade into the mess and actually manage to find a few glimmers of hope here and there.  In fact, you might say that we are the heroes Tony Hawk, Deus Ex, Batman all deserve.

- Here's the show's stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format, or click play below.

Show Notes:

- Runtime: 40 mins 59 sec
- "Activision aware of Tony Hawk 5 issues and working with dev to address them," by  Brian Crecente, via Polygon
- "Batman: Arkham Knight PC version circles October for retail return," by Allegra Frank, via Polygon
- "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided ‘Augment Your Pre-Order’ program canceled," by Allegra Frank, via Polygon
- "Sources: Destiny's DLC Plan Is Changing Big-Time," by Jason Schreier, via Kotaku
- Music by Brad Sucks

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EXP Podcast #348: Destiny Revisited

If this guy asks you to raid, don't flake on him.
The latest Destiny ads are using Led Zeppelin songs, but based on all the events of Destiny's first year, I think Katy Perry might fit better.  The Taken King is out and with it come a slew of big changes.  This week, we talk about what's new.  Sick helmets, strange coins, and social faux pas: you can find it all in this big ol' universe.

- Here's the show's stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking here, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format, or click play below.

Show Notes:

- Runtime: 37 mins 54 sec
- "I never expected Destiny to make me feel so very, very alone," by Chris Plante, via The Verge
- Music by Brad Sucks

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Metal Gear Solid V: The Legend of the Shonkey

In which we discover new discover new lifeforms, tranquilize known lifeforms, and try to ride shipping containers.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Getting to Know the Ground in ‘Metal Gear Solid V’

PopMatters is undergoing some maintenance, so I'm posting this now and will update with links once the column goes live.

This week on PopMatters I talk about how Snake gets low.

I mean literally low to the ground.  Like hiding in the brush low.  Like down in the dirt low.  This assumes you’re playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain stealthily of course, which is a reasonable assumption seeing as how you’re rewarded with points and unlocks for avoiding detection.  If you’ve decided against the Rambo path you’ll need to do lots of hiding, which means becoming very familiar with the way the world looks from a snake’s eye view.

If you pay attention, MGS V telegraphs this from its very opening moments.  A huge portion of the hospital scene is focused on introducing you to crawling, crouching, and hiding under things.  The pace is deliberately slow and Snake is fairly fragile compared to his enemies.  The “normal” state of the world is one where you’re looking at it from the ground up.

I also got to do some pretty fun research around how many different ways there are to interact with the ground in MGS V.  Here is a video of my studies:

Silliness aside, MGS V’s open world feels very different than GTA or Saint’s Row.  Instead of being rewarded for stealing planes or jumping halfway across the map, you’re prompted to spend time inching along the terrain.  It’s a slower, more methodical pace that is unique and useful as a juxtaposition for scenes when everything goes to shit.  The quiet moments are more tense and the chaotic scenes are more bombastic when it feels like your life is tied to your ability to become part of the landscape itself.