Funny Tribunal Cases

Hi everyone. First and foremost, MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you are all having a great holiday, and with any luck, have some time off from work or school to actually enjoy yourself. Don’t worry, I want you to keep enjoying yourself and not spend too much time reading this post.

In case you’re looking for a quick League related laugh, I saw this and decided it had to be shared. I am definitely still chuckling.

If you do the Tribunal (I don’t any more) what is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen? Heck, maybe it wasn’t even in the Tribunal – just probably on its way. Bonus points if you actually copied it down and can post it in the comments.

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Fives Things I Hate about Rome Total War 2

 

Thank you based Listmas for giving me a chance to take something that has been gnawing at me for a while and letting me get it off my chest. I am a huge fan of the Total War franchise. I have logged hundreds of hours playing Medieval and Rome Total Wars. I don’t regret any of it, but there are some things about the newest game that really bug the heck out of me. I hope to write a larger, more coherent, review on this later. Until then…

1) Lack of Unit Variety: This bugs me in two categories. When you break the game down, there really aren’t that many different unit classes. There are melee infantry, spear infantry, spear cavalry, melee cavalry, javelin missile troops, archer missile troops, hoplites and that’s pretty much it. Sure each faction has subtle varieties of this, but that is basically all you will primarily see.

I wouldn’t mind this nearly as much but the units tend to look the same regardless of which faction is playing them. Hoplites look the same wherever you are. Swordsmen in Asian Minor look the same as those in North Africa. I know the Mediterranean world at this time was largely homogenous, but when the units in the original Rome Total War still ended up looking and actually being quite unique to each faction you really start to think that Rome Total War 2 could have done a lot better job at giving us some unit variety.

2) The AI: What can I say. Total War games have always been lengthy endeavors to play. You end up logging many, many hours playing against computer opponents, and if you’re like me, you want a bit of a challenge out of your AI opponents. So far, the Rome Total War 2 bots have been quite lackluster. Their strategies appear to be quite linnear, and any time they control more than one settlement at the start of the game they seem to lose them quite quickly. This is kind of problematic because when you are playing a faction like Rome you are kind of hoping that a few other empires will rise up to challenge you. So far, this rarely seems to happen.

I won’t deny that changes have been made and the bots do seem to be getting smarter, but then you start a siege battle where you bombard the computer defenders with missile troops and you laugh as the AI refuses to attack you and dumbly holds their defensive lines while you cut down all of their troops, unscathed.

Their campaign map strategy also seems to resemble how most people play the board game Risk. Wait for your opponent to let his guard down then try and roll him up with one long attack. Then watch as your neighbor does the same to you next turn. Hopefully some middle ground could be found for the poor bots.

I know Creative Assembly would probably tell me that I should be fighting humans if I want a real challenge. I admit that I could do more of this, but I honestly just don’t have the time to regularly start and play through multiplayer campaigns. Thus, I would like the AI to be just a bit smarter. I know Creative Assembly can do this because they did it in the older Total War games.

3) The Unfinished Feel of the Game: Once again, this is something that Creative Assembly has worked hard to remedy, but when I am paying $60 for a game I kind of expect it to be finished. Factions that should have been playable weren’t done, the AI was silly and game features were bad (having to defend stationary points for no reason in defensive battles). The first couple of months playing Rome Total War 2 were downright painful. Creative Assembly recognized this and apologized to fans for it – even offering free content to fans.

Despite all of the fixes Creative Assembly have thrown out you can still find things in the game that just leave you shaking your head. Just the other day I was trying to fight an enemy army using multiple armies. I moved my armies into position and picked one force to launch the attack, expecting that my other armies would be available as reinforcements. Unfortunately, because the enemy army was in force marched stance, I kept ambushing the enemy force. You would think this would be a good thing, but because I was “ambushing” the enemy the game would not allow me to bring in my other armies as reinforcements.

I understand that armies that are BEING ambushed shouldn’t be able to call for reinforcements. You would think that the armies doing the ambushing should be able to bring in as many troops as they would like. Oh well, maybe my understanding of how things were in 240 BC is lacking. I only have a history degree, what do I know?

4) Unpredictable Allies/Diplomacy: This one is a little weird, but it has come back to bite me a couple of times. No one wants to fight their wars alone, but I am learning that sometimes it is more worthwhile to leave your allies at home in Rome Total War 2. In order to get the maximum economic value from your provinces you must control all of the territories in said province. Thus, when you look to conquer a new province you are looking to take the entire province.

Unfortunately, it seems like any time you invite your allies to take part in your wars they manage to send a small detachment of troops to take one settlement in the province you are attacking – essentially blocking you from benefiting from your new conquest. At this point, you have no way to pick up the missing settlement from your allies except to attack them. To me, this doesn’t seem quite right. In real life you would likely work out some kind of agreement to get the settlement handed over from your ally or simply bullying them into doing it with your superior military strength (if you have it).

This may seem like a fairly minor detail to be unhappy with, but honestly the entire diplomatic system could use some work. If the Civilization games taught me anything it’s that most games of this ilk tend to struggle in this category. No matter how much you’d like the AI to deal with you like another human would it never quite happens. I would never expect perfection in this area, but I would at least like to see a few fixes, like some options to get settlements from your allies without attack them down.

5) Roman Infantry not being able to fire at will/tons of unique abilities: I admit that this is a very specific item, and you will not get this if you don’t play the game. Historically, a lot of Roman infantry units carried spears that they would throw before engaging in melee combat. In Rome Total War, your infantry could throw about three volleys of spears into the enemy, causing quite decent damage, before either charging or simply continuing waiting for the enemy attack.

In Rome Total War Two, Roman infantry (and other javelin carrying melee infantry) will only throw their spears if they are charging in to attack. Now again, I’m no expert in ancient combat, but you would really think that soldiers probably threw their spears at other times then when they were charging. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if Roman infantry wasn’t such a huge part of the Rome Total War games. I mean Rome is the namesake faction and they have the biggest variety of infantry of any faction. Leaving them without this ability quickly becomes very noticeable and really takes away an important tool for Roman commanders.

Maybe this was a balance thing that they did to try and make Roman infantry less powerful. But when they give pretty much all sword infantry the ability to do this why not just let all of these units throw their spears from a stationary stance?

My other problem is with the large number of active abilities the game now includes. Your general can have around five or six abilities he can activate to improve everything from your unites morale to their stamina. Honestly, I liked the game better when it was all about how you built and used your army, not about how many special abilities you could spam from your general.

In conclusion, Rome Total War 2 is still a work in progress. I would contend that the new game has introduced more potential than it has introduced negative features, but the lack of unique units and graphics is a very concerning trend. The game does a lot of things well, especially the multiplayer which us Total Wars players have been dreaming of for years, and I really hope they take the time to make it even better before they start releasing all of the expansions.

If you’re itching for a new Total War game this holiday, I think the time is almost right to buy Rome 2. Don’t expect it to feel totally complete, but it is a lot better than where it was at when released.

Top 5 Supports you Should Play or Try

Hi everyone,

Merry Listmas. With all of the preseason changes finally sinking in, I thought it would be good to take suggest a few support champions that you should be playing in League of Legends. The first five are supports who are currently very popular and should get you some wins. The last five are ones that I believe could become popular very soon.

Top Five Supports you Should Play

1) Annie: We know the AoE stun is devestating, but what makes her the complete package is the long auto attack poke range. This allows her to easily poke at even other ranged supports. Look to use your flash aggressively, especially if you have your Ult and perhaps ignite up. You will kill pretty much any other bot lane champion you use your full combo on.

2) Thresh: The complete package. Every ability he has is useful. His hook is the ability that everyone knows and fears, but it is his lantern that makes him uniquely useful. Even when losing to his opponents Thresh is able to bail out teammates with a single press of his W. He is my personal favorite support, and still one of the best out there – other than queen Annie.

3) Leona: The most hard charging support out there. While most other tanky supports were nerfed, Leona was able to keep her strong defensive stats. I’ve been saying for months that her time was coming and with the Season 4 changes it has finally come. The final strengthening of her W was what pushed her over the top. Can be a little one dimensional, because it will feel like all you do is look to fight, but she is just so good at that one dimension.

4) Taric: Probably one of the easiest supports to play. A single target stun that isn’t a skill shot will always be super valuable. The nerfs did hurt him, but he remains a decent bully in lane and beyond. Also has a strong heal that allows his lane to play from behind. Try and space your spells out between auto attacks to make maximum use of his passive.

5) Sona: The Season 4 changes hurt her a bit, but she continues to have some of the best support poke in the game. And if poking doesn’t work she can heal herself and her ADC back up to full health quite easily with the improved mana regen. Her only problem is that the other supports on this list tend to be able to blow her up fairly easily.

Now that we’ve gone over the supports you should be playing let’s take a look at some I think you should be trying out. Who knows, they might be the next big things.

1) Zyra: Hey, remember that half a season where all people played was support Zyra? Well, not a lot has changed. True, her Q range has been shortened and her base damages reduced, but her actual AP ratios have been strengthening. Now that most supports are able to build more AP, this more than makes up for the lowered base damages. And let’s face it, one of Zyra’s biggest assets, her amazing ultimate, wasn’t touched. I expect her to be played a lot as soon as people remember how decent she is.

2) Lulu: This delightful little sprite is one of those champs that has been receiving a lot of buffs and not a lot of play time. Her mana costs are back to being in a good place and her poke is quite strong. Also benefits quite nicely from a little AP.

3) Morgana: In a world where Annie is queen and stuns are the greatest, one champion stands against even the hardest of CC. That champion is Morgana. Yes, her damage won’t blow you away, and you really shouldn’t be using her W at all. But being able to block an Annie ult or a Thresh hook can be game changing. As long as stuns are the rage I highly recommend giving Morg a try. Split your skill points between her Q and E and I believe you will find that you can not only keep your ADC alive but also help set up the occasional kill. Just remember to get that black shield down.

4) Kayle: Just like Morgana, Kayle has the ability to allow her ADC to withstand a deadly barrage of enemy spells. Her Q is one of the strongest slows in the game and also happens to have one of the best AP and AD ratios in the game. Did I mention she also has a heal that serves as a speed boost? Her short range is a bit of a detriment, but she excels against melee bruisers like Taric or Thresh.

5) Soraka: I know, it’s kind of funny that I have this traditional support listed below a couple of semi crazy ones, but that is how League of Legends works sometimes. Soraka has amazing sustain. Assists give you even more money is Season 4 and Soraka can pick up a lot of them with a press of a single R key. In lane, try and pair her with someone like Sivir who can use their abilities to win the lane with their own abilities/damage. In teamfights make sure you have enough CC coming from other sources. If you have CC, Soraka will make sure that you have enough health and mana to never go down.

Let me know what supports you are currently rocking in Season Four. Have you made like the Koreans and picked up Zilean? Maybe you have another crazy support you think we should all be playing. Let me know!

Interesting Look at a Pro Gamer who is Done

I have to say I have never been overly fond of this particular League of Legends player, but something drew me to this video. So many times we have listen to athletes talk about how it feels to want to retire or what it feels like when their careers have been derailed.

Locco is just articulate enough to paint a pretty good picture of how he is feeling, and a lot of what he is describing sounds pretty similar to what a lot of athletes would say – it’s just that he’s still in his early 20’s and plays video games and not football..

Some League to Watch this Weekend

“Twohp, it’s December and I miss watching the League Championship Series (LCS). Where can I go to get my fix of high quality League of Legends?” Well, Billy, if the gigantic letdown that was the World Cyber Games didn’t do it for you, you can’t find the OGN VODs or the Battle of the Atlantic is too far away, why not turn your attention to the NA LCS Promotion Tournament.

That’s right. After what felt like months of qualifying, sorry, after months of qualifying tournaments the scene is finally set for three challenger teams to emerge to fight three former LCS teams for a chance to enter into the spring split of the LCS. At the bottom of this post will be a link to the schedule of the games. It will also let you know where you can watch them.

Why should you watch? Well, honestly, because most of these teams aren’t half bad, and at least one of them has a great shot at actually making it into the LCS. Of the three LCS teams forced to partake to keep their spot in the LCS, basically no one believes Velocity eSports will  keep their spot. Considering that the team has undergone repeated roster changes and has been losing in every preseason league they are a part of, I would say that these views are justified.

The actual games to decide who goes into the LCS and who falls out won’t take place until the end of the month. This weekend’s round robin play will still be interesting. The top three teams at the end of this weekend will advance, and it looks like the top team will be the one slated to play Velocity – meaning they will have a great chance of making it to the LCS and everyone will be fighting hard for that top spot.

For those of you who follow the scene enough to be interested in this tournament, but who perhaps don’t know anything about the teams participating, let me give you a few brief identifiers for each team. For everyone else, thanks for making it this far into the article. If you want to stop reading right here I won’t hold it against you. Thanks for humouring me as I play reporter 🙂 Now where was I? Right, the teams.

To Be Determined – Westrice’s team. Also contains Arthelon, who is a pretty funny streamer and was the only guy playing Elise for the longest time. Also have Robertxlee who has been around for a while. A lot of these guys have some pro experience, and the rest are pretty talented. Definitely a team to watch.
compLexity – MegaZero’s team. For a long time these guys were considered the team most likely to make it into the LCS. Their future is questionable after their mid laner, Prolly, left and their support/captain seemed uncertain of his role with the team. MegaZero is probably one of the best tops in North America, but it will be interesting to see if the rest of the team can hold it together enough to get the wins they need.

COGnitive Gaming – Not a lot of big names here unless you’ve heard of Zamphira’s mid Lulu. Strong team play got them this far. Not quite sure if they have the individual skill to match up against the players on the teams mentioned above.

Quantic Gaming – The group of Korean players, led by Locodoco, that Quantic brought over to apparently beat us worthless North Americans into the ground. Seriously though, these guys have been working hard to get into the LCS. They struggled in the early qualifiers but looked dominant in the last one. You have to think that they will likely disband if they don’t finish in the top three this weekend.

The Walking Zed – I think you have to cheer for these guys just because they have the best name. You have to laugh because you know that if they do make it to the LCS they will sell that name in two seconds to an organization like Quantic that would gladly buy them up. Bischu is a player a lot of Nidalee fans know. NydusHerMain is another awesome name, and he has some LCS experience. This team has veteran players and could be capable of an upset or two.

vVv – Never actually qualified for this tournament. They finished 3rd in the last qualifier but got the spot when Napkins in Disguise basically broke up. Not a lot of big names here. It would make for a heck of a Cinderella story if they finished in the top three, but I won’t be holding my breath.

There you have a quick run down of how this first weekend of the NA Promotion Tournament will shape up. If you are hankering for some LCS related League of Legends this is as close as you will get till at least the end of the month. So check it out or do what I’ll be doing and play a ton of Left for Dead 2 with friends. I definitely recommend checking out the tournament but only if you don’t have the option to play Left for Dead. Seriously, I can never get enough Left for Dead.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/1s9v8j/in_3_hours_spring_promotion_tournament_quantic/

Riot Announces Season Four Streaming Restrictions

Ever catch your favorite LCS player streaming a late night game of Starcraft or enjoying some Heartstone? Well it looks like that will soon be a thing of the past.

Parts of the contract that Riot will be making players sign before they are able to take part in the upcoming season of LCS play has made its way on to reddit. Contained within the contract are a list of other games that LCS players will not be able to stream while competing in the LCS.

Riot’s director of eSports, Whalen Rozelle, released the following quote giving some insight into Riot’s thought process behind these new restrictions:

“I can’t stress enough how these guys in the LCS are on the road to being real, legitimate athletes. This is new territory for a lot of teams (especially in esports), because the transition goes from being a group of talented individuals to being real icons of a sport and a league. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t see an NFL player promoting Arena Football or a Nike-sponsored player wearing Reebok on camera. Pro players are free to play whatever games they want – we’re simply asking them to keep in mind that, on-stream, they’re the face of competitive League of Legends.”

Player reaction is still coming in. The bits that are available have been mixed. Doublelift took to Twitter to express his frustration with the new restrictions. Saintvicious expressed some doubts regarding whether the restrictions would make it into the final contract, stating that he felt it was something Riot was hoping to get but might be talked down from.

Either way, it will be interesting to see if Riot continues to uphold the restrictions and how players will react to them once Season Four arrives and the restrictions kick in.

How do you feel about these new rules? Should players be allowed to stream whatever they want in their free time, or as paid players of a gaming brand, should they be required to only promote the brand that is paying them. Let me know what you think.

Image of contract: http://www.ongamers.com/articles/riot-season-4-lcs-contracts-stipulate-players-cannot-stream-dota-2-blizzard-games/1100-261/

UPDATE: Well it looks like Saint is living up to his reputation of being strangely well informed. It looks like Riot will be softening their stance after pros and fans alike spent the better part of the last few days being up in arms. Makes you wonder why we can’t convince them to do a better job of cleaning up the community…but that’s beside the point I guess.

http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/1sa59j/update_on_the_lcs_streaming_policy/

League of Legends Showdown Arrives: Thoughts and Strategy

I have to admit that I didn’t remember that Riot announced they would be cycling in new game modes. That’s right, All for One will not become a permanent feature just yet. Instead, All for One will get rotated out for assessment and we get to try out Showdown – a new 1v1 and 2v2 mode that will, I believe, use the Howling Abyss map.

The rules for the new mode are going to be the same rules that we saw at the all-star game, or that most of you probably use when doing duels. The winner of the showdown will be whoever gets first blood, first turret kill or is first to 100 cs. In 2v2’s it will be the first team to two kills, first turret or first team to a combined 100 cs.

For those of you who like to suicide in Arams when your health gets low and you want to back doing this in Showdown will count as a kill for the other team. You will, however, be allowed to back and shop whenever you want. This is exactly the same type of game mode that Riot used during the all-star game, the only difference appears to be that it won’t use the map that they made specifically for the all-star duels.

My first thoughts on this new game mode were the ones I usually have whenever Riot introduces a new game mode – what have you done for threes lately? Seriously, they have this perfectly amazing map and game mode that remains unbalanced and open for tons of changes to make it better. What does Riot do? Removes the word “beta” from the map title, calls it good for preseason Twisted Treeline changes and proceeds to develop a whole new game mode that also isn’t focused on 5v5 play.

Uh Riot, I thought you said the reason you weren’t working on threes was because 5v5 was supposed to be the main draw. Now you’re going and developing even more game modes involving fewer combatants? How about we just clean up threes some more first.

As you can tell…I’m quite a big fan of the Twisted Treeline. But then I thought about it a bit. Why do I like threes? Because it lets you queue up and play a game with fewer people. Once I realized this I quickly decided that 2v2 and even 1v1 will probably be decent simply because it now allows you to queue up with even fewer people and still have a full team. Any game mode that allows me to have fun while keeping me clear of random ragers is ok in my books, and that alone will drive me to try out this game mode.

Otherwise, it doesn’t sound like Showdown will be introducing anything really unique to LoL. Outside of the smaller teams and new rules to win the game everything else remains the same. I’m curious to see if it will be blind pick or if there will be bans. Based on All for One my guess is that it will be blind pick, which could lead to a lot of mirror matches. Some champs are just better at fighting 2v2 than others.

It would be interesting to see a draft pick scenario with picks and bans. The problem with it I could see developing is that the actual pick and ban phase could end up being longer than the actual match itself. I’m just not sure if it’s worth doing picks and bans for something like this that should draw its strength from quick games and small teams. What could be interesting is randomized 2v2 where you don’t get to pick your champ…

I know some people might not think there’s much thinking involved in a 1v1 or 2v2 match up, but that isn’t true. I have had the pleasure of partaking in a 2v2 tournament in the past, and there’s actually a fair bit of strategy involved. Do you go for the farm with ranged damage and decent disengage spells? Do you take heavy damaging ranged champs and go for a turret push? Or do you take that Elise Jarvan comp and go for the early all in?

1v1 also has a surprising amount of considerations, though it relies more heavily on the champs you pick. Some popular duelists that you often see in 1v1 are Caitlyn (great range and poke), Vayne (godly damage) and Nunu (incredible early damage and sustain). One of my personal favorites is Teemo. His damage and poke are very strong, and his blind allows him to trade very well with other ranged attackers. He is one of the few ranged champs who can consistently out duel Vayne in single combat.

But what summoner spells do you run? What are your first items when all you need to worry about is the opponent in front of you? Like I said, a surprisingly large number of things to consider – if you’re playing to win!

Oh and if you’re looking for some champions to play in a 2v2 setting I highly recommend Annie. To be fair, I can’t think of situation in which Annie is bad right now, but she is particularly decent in a 2v2 situation. She can push waves, stun both of your opponents and farm/poke safely with her massive auto attack range. I have even built her as an AD/AP hybrid to start the game just because she can pump out so much safe damage with her auto attacks.

Basically, unless you are going for a pure “let’s go all in and kill them team” consider using some of the champs that have long auto attack ranges. Champs like Varus, Caitlyn, and Zyra give you a lot of flexibility in how you play out the game. This is especially good when you can’t see what your opponents are picking.

Unfortunately there is no set release date for Showdown, but expect it to be showing up sometime towards the middle of the month. Until then, practice with your friends, prep your strats and get in your last few games of All for One. Oh, and if they ask, be sure you tell Riot exactly how I said All For One could be made better 😉