Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas -- 2014

Merry Christmas! Next year, I'll be trying to write more.

For now, go spend time with your family. Because that's more important than my blog.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thoughts on Dawngate

First of all: I liked Dawngate. It was a fun game. But, the people on the Dawngate Reddit are really getting in their two-minute hate at EA. I'm not a huge fan of EA, but, in this case, I can see the business sense in what they did.

I can't really blame them for closing Dawngate though. It's been in Beta for a year and a half, still had balance problems and had low populations even during peak hours (sometimes taking 15~ minutes for a game to pop for me, someone at the middle/newbie MMR.) There's no guarantee it was going to be a money maker with LoL, DotA2, Smite and soon Heroes of the Storm to compete with. EA is also giving refunds on in-game purchases. Every dollar spent on Dawngate is a loss; odds are, they would have been throwing good money after bad to keep developing it. An economic reality that a lot of gamers don't want to face, I know, but games need to either make money or not be someone's primary source of income to get made.

If Dawngate had gotten to this level of polish a year, maybe two years ago, it would have been well-positioned to be a major player. Unfortunately, it just didn't strike at the right moment. What Waystone provided [an amazing lore and world] is sadly something that the vast market of MOBA players don't care about.

People blame EA for not advertising; I constantly see people saying "my friends say they would have played it if they heard about it!" Honestly, these people are most likely soft lying. They honestly believe that they would have played it, but the fact is, they would not have. You know how I know? Because anyone passingly familiar with MOBAs is aware when new ones show up because we all follow the same news outlets, or have friends who try them and try to get us to play. I doubt most of them would have tried Dawngate if they had heard about it, and those that DID try, even fewer would become paying customers.

Which is sad. Dawngate was on the way to be a very good game. It just missed the moment.



With NaNoWriMo happening, I realized I'd been neglecting the blog. Maybe after, I'll get back to writing more regularly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The IRS Needs a New IT Infrastructure

Hard drives at the IRS have an insane failure rate. I think the only logical thing to do is stop hiring to backfill positions, giving bonuses, awards, cash prizes, having giant galas/parties for IRS employees and instead, use all of that money to upgrade the apparently incredibly out of date and vulnerable IT infrastructure at the IRS. Around 30 hard drives have failed at the organization -- and that's just at the level of senior leadership that Congress had questions for!

Not only that, we need to fire everyone who was responsible for acquiring these IT assets and everyone who didn't follow the proper back up protocols. Those exist for a reason; they exist just in case your organization receives a shipment of almost 30 [and growing!] faulty hard drives so that you don't lose years of institutional knowledge at the flip of a switch.

We probably also should mandate that the IRS print everything off in triplicate and give a copy of the files to someone more responsible until we've determined how many faulty hard drives and servers they may have acquired. Who knows what critical information might be on a hard drive, ready to fail at any moment!

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Basic Rules, A Quick Note

The new D&D Basic Rules are posted.

I expect I'll do a full read over the weekend and give you a lot more insight as I go. But, just after skimming the opening [which I'll re-read again], one thing stands out to me as kind of... awkward. Especially given the reason we moved AWAY from 3.5/3.0 to the 4E model was to fix the very problem.

Go read The Wonders of Magic section.

Though, the section on the Wonders of Magic makes me leery for our brave non-magical people. All of their examples are ways adventurers are screwed without their magical helpers. You need clerics or you will DIE. You need bards or you will be OVERWHELMED. Without wizards and druids everything is TEN TIMES WORSE. Even if everything is more balanced, someone may have wanted to say something about warriors and paladins being a protective shield in front of their more vulnerable members, just so it didn't seem like the warriors were just sort of there for other people to be awesome around.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dear IRS: Email Does Not Work Like That

Obligatory Politics Warning.

Quick note to the IRS: Email doesn't work that way. How it works is more ably explained in links at the link, but, if my computer crashes, I don't lose my emails. You know how you can access your GMail from your work computer AND your home computer?

Yeah. That's more how email works.

This excuse? I'm embarrassed for the people who had to make it. But, empathy only goes so far. The IRS deserves to be better managed and not have what little public faith remains in it shattered to protect political actors. We need to investigate it, now. If it turns out the IRS's email architecture is so archaic that this IS how their email works, well then, at least we can fix that.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bad Ideas

Sometimes, you should leave well enough alone. This is the conversation I imagine preceding this article:

"It'd be super easy to recreate a highly lethal contagion."

"It would not."

"Would too."

"Prove it." -- The start of a dark, tongue-in-cheek Outbreak parody, or a bunch of real scientists?

Some real quotes: “'These critics fail to appreciate the precautions and safeguards built into our work. ... The risks of conducting this research are not ignored, but they can be effectively managed and mitigated,' Professor Kawaoka said."

Also said by every bad guy in Jurassic Park ever.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


I've become a Geocacher, but not officially yet, as I've yet to find a cache. Expect more pictures to come. I love the idea behind this. It is an excuse to go out into nature, take pictures of things, explore, and all around have an awesome day.

Other things I've been doing while neglecting the blog mainly involve working, playing various iterations of Magic EDH, board games and being a real adult.

Geocaching is one of the few things that I'm going to actually need a smartphone for. Expect pictures. And a cool new tag.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

GM Secrets: The Importance of Names

If you give any inconsequential NPC a name, he or she is suddenly the most important person in the session. If ever a PC asks an unimportant person's name, you are doomed. The adventure is now officially going off whatever carefully planned path you had set out. Accept that now Bob, Farmer guy with the Cows, is the central point of your plot. Your heroes are now cow wranglers for Bob. It is happening -- accept it, move on.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tomoya, the Revealer -- Tuned and With More Power

As always, you'll want Gatherer open. After playing the deck once, and just examining it, I came to the realization that I was trying too much to make things happen without the right tools to combo effectively. While Blue is a great color for enabling infinite combos, I just don't feel like with the cards I own, I could actually make decking the entire table with Jace's Archivist or winning with Laboratory Maniac happen. That left me just fumbling looking for answers most of the game, unable to advance an attack. Not only that, mana was a problem. Most of the changes you'll see below are based around fixing that, while also just upping card quality now that I'm not worried about staying in budget.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tomoya, the Revealer -- Deck Skeleton

EDIT: If you're following the comments you'll see I've been making some tweaks as I go, here is the current deck list. Everything that follows [before the comments] is the initial skeleton, with the comments working on taking that skeleton and fine-tuning it. One of the biggest things I noticed is that I lacked a lot of big answers/threats, and effective ways to get to them. That's what drove a lot of the changes from the comments [especially Control Magic/Nevinyrral's Disc.]

You're going to want this open in another window. First, let's remember who my general is [my playgroup is allowing the use of flip cards as generals.] The card reads:

Card 1: 1U -- Jushi Apprentice
Creature -- Human Wizard
2U, Tap: Draw a card. If you have nine or more cards in hand, flip Jushi Apprentice.
Tomoya, the Revealer
Legendary Creature -- Human Wizard
3UU, Tap: Target player draws X cards, where X is the number of cards in your hand.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Matt's First EDH Deck: Jushi Apprentice/Tomoya, the Revealer

The dice decided my general. So, mono-blue, card draw is going to be my game. This... this should be a thing. I'll start working on a deck list over the week.

So, I'm going to need to figure out how to: A) Get reliable card draw [Oh gee, how ever will Blue draw cards!?]; B) Protect my general [However will Blue stop threats from resolving!?]; C) Find a win condition [However will I find a way to win the game in Blue!?]

Not nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

Building an EDH Deck

So, now that I've finished logging all the creatures, it is time to pick a commander to start building a deck around. Here are a few of the rules:

1. I've removed any commander I know other people I'm playing with are using as theirs, just to avoid Lameness.

2. Not that I think I have any, but any purely vanilla legendary creatures are out. They're just Not Fun. Also, Chandler/Glissa got removed because, while I won't mind playing a clunky commander, such narrow hate is not fun [I guess I'll find ways to tutor a Mycosynth Lattice/ways to turn your permanents into artifacts... yay?]

3. Likewise, two other generals that are just Not Fun were removed [Dosan and Empress Galina -- one stops spells other people's spells on your turn, the other kills legendary things.] I also cut Captain Sisay for the same reason [Just fishing up excellent legendary creatures is not very interactive/fun.]

4. Brothers Yamazaki were removed because, well, there will never be two of them [due to the Highlander rule.]

5. Rofellos and Kokusho are banned as a general, so I removed them.

That, conveniently, leaves me with exactly 100 Legendary creatures. So, at some point tomorrow, I'll pick one at random. Then, we'll start building a Commander deck. Click here for the deckbox with my available generals. As you can see, there's some real crap in there. If I draw Karn, though, I may actually need to spend time and see if I actually have enough non-basic lands to play him.

Deck Construction Rules:

1. The deck needs to actually use the Commander as a focus piece, either thematically or mechanically. So, if I draw a crap general, I can't just play a good-stuff deck that leaves him/her/it in the Command Zone. No sir, if I draw Sidar Jabari, we're finding ways to make him swing for lethal, and finding auras for Hakim, Loreweaver to recur for some benefit. We will find a way to untap Jeska, Warrior Adept and let her be a pinging mad Tim. We'll find ways to work around crippling drawbacks! Did we draw a Myojin who isn't getting a divinity counter for not being played from our hand? Fine! We'll get it INTO OUR BLEEPING HAND! This is Commander: Anything goes, and it MUST GO.

2. Minimal buying specific things, we're going to work with my existing collection for the first draft, unless we absolutely need things to make a deck work [such as more colorless non-basic lands for Karn.]

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Did You Know Magic's Webpage Has A Draft Simulator?

Here's the link to the draft simulator. Go ahead and do it, then go below to see what I did. I feel like I made some bad choices going into black as early as I did; white would have been better. But, c'est la vie.

To read the copy of this post with card hotlinks.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pet Peeve in Gaming

Gammarauders comes with empty plastic bags for its own punch outs.

This is a TSR game from the 80s. Board game designers: Why don't you think of these things today? My biggest pet peeve with new board game design are game boxes that will not fit sleeved cards. Designers, you know people are going to sleeve your cards. Why should I need to buy a deck box and mess things up just to protect my game?

If TSR in the 80s could do it, you can do it too. Make my life easier.