Sunday, August 26, 2012

MLGrama - Curse and Dignitas Disqualified - Destiny Leaves MLG Day 1

The final culmination of the Major League Gaming (MLG) Raleigh League of Legends tournament ended with Dignitas and Curse in a surprising face off. Surprising to most, anyway. Although they had met and agreed on one of their matches being an ARAM match, a non traditional game mode where players pick random champions and face off in a single lane instead of three, that was merely the tip of the iceberg. MLG was actually okay with the ARAM match, which was an interesting and unexpected twist to the Finals. What they were not okay with was both teams publicly talking about splitting the prize pool, which SirScoots overheard and tweeted about. In response, both teams have been disqualified. They will not receive any of the tournament points that Riot Games, creator of League of Legends, keeps track of for their Season 2 tourney, nor will a first or second place be awarded for MLG Raleigh. [EDIT: Curse has released an apology video]

ROOTDestiny, a Zerg StarCraft 2 player and member of Team ROOT, left the Starcraft 2 MLG Raleigh tournament shortly into it over a personal emergency. Allegedly, one of his friends by the name of Bluetea sent nude pictures of herself to Destiny at some point in the past. He later showed them, in a private conversation, to a few friends over Skype. Someone in the conversation sent the chat logs via an anonymous e-mail address to Bluetea. Outraged, she attempted to contact Destiny, but could not get in touch with him before MLG. Taking advantage of a password that she had for Destiny's e-mail from when she helped schedule his training sessions, Bluetea logged into his public Twitter and posted pictures of his penis that she had in a folder on her computer. Finding out what she did, Destiny left the tournament to take care of personal matters that came up as a result of these events.

[An Important Message Regarding MLG Summer Championship League of Legends]
[To spare Erin, here's what's going on]

SG's Hurricane Survival Guide

With Isaac about to touch down, this is the perfect time for a long time Floridian to share his considerable Hurricane survival knowledge.

Step 1 :: Make sure you're not standing in a place that can be easily struck by lightning before proceeding.

Step 2 :: Form your hand into a fist.

Step 3 :: Raise it up above your head while glaring at the nearest clouds, preferably through a window.

Step 4 :: Move your fist forward and backward, similar to a shaking motion.

Optional :: Curse your favorite despicable Gods/Demons/etc. Remember Step 1.

That's about it. You are now fully prepared for everything that hurricane can throw at you. And I mean that literally. Watch out for trees.

If you still feel like there's more you want to do to prepare, the government has provided an extremely useful One Stop Hurricane Resource Guide to alleviate your anxiety. Aw, look at how happy that family is in the picture on the cover! Do they not realize that their home will probably be destroyed? Oh, check out page 1. That dog isn't going to make it. Looks as light as a football.

Seriously though, good luck everybody!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Technical Support : Maintaining League of Legends

If you have been playing League of Legends for a while, you may have run into a few instances where the game fails to launch or loads slowly. The solutions to most of those problems can be found here, but today we're going to be discussing how to properly maintain your League of Legends installation to prevent these sorts of bugs from happening.

Proper Maintenance
League of Legends frequently updates, which can cause a lot of fragmentation and a fairly high chance for corrupted files. This is not bad programming or anything like that, it's just basically how Windows works. In fact, LoL uses some pre-existing Windows programs to help it run. The most important of which is Adobe AIR.

AIR is the platform for the LoL Launcher. Think of it as a sort of browser. Keeping it up to date with the latest version can help prevent many launcher related issues. There is a method to determine which version of Adobe AIR that is currently installed in your system ( found here ), but it's just as simple to go to the web site below and install the latest version.

Download Adobe AIR Installer

Other Software
Fragmentation. This has been the bane of Windows for a millennium (or almost 30 years). The way to combat this is through defragmentation utility programs. There is one that ships with Windows, but there are a lot better alternatives. Two of my favorites are:

Advanced System Care, or ASC for short, is made by IOBit, and is a suite of repair and maintenance programs for your entire computer. It can help fix more than just League of Legends, and is extremely easy to use. You can use the free version to scan your system once a week, or buy the pro version to allow it to run in the background and perform automated services for you as well as giving you access to a few more programs in its Toolbox to configure your internet for maximum speed.

Defraggler comes from Piriform, the developers of CCleaner. Defraggler is sleek and a bit faster than ASC. It also allows you to target a single folder for defrag by right clicking the folder and selecting the option in the drop down menu. On top of that, the free version won't hound you to upgrade it like ASC free sometimes will. The pro version comes with a year of tech support and automated updates, but if you're going to go that route, spring for the package deal with CCleaner Professional to get the most out of your purchase.

Game Booster is a subset of ASC. This is deceptively more advanced than the last two programs. It has five main functions:
  • Boosting - What the program is most known for. Using this before starting a game can be a huge help to many people. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Everytime you boost, it shuts down background services and defragments your ram. When you end your boost, it restarts the services. This has a tendency to restart programs that you don't want to reopen, like iTunes. Extended use also appears to have a negative impact on the system, so don't use this feature unless you know how to customize your services.
  • Defragging - When it first installs, it creates a catalogue of all of the games on your computer. This allows you to boost and launch a program with a click, but also to defrag specific installations, like Defraggler can.
  • Tweaking - The functionality of this feature is similar to what the main ASC program offers as part of the scan. It checks system settings to make sure they're optimized, and checks virtual memory settings. Run this once, and again whenever Game Booster updates.
  • Checking Drivers - Game Booster can check to make sure that all of your drivers are up to date, which is important, but this is another feature that needs to be handled with care. If you bought your computer from Dell, HP, etc. use their support site to download the latest drivers for your system instead. A lot of the time, those companies use proprietary drivers in their machines which may not be detected properly by Game Booster.
  • Diagnose - This is extremely useful if you run into any major errors. This won't fix the problem, but it will create a detailed log of your system that you can copy and paste to tech forums. This will provide almost all of the information that tech support will need, regarding your system configuration. For League of Legends, there are separate log files that will also need to be uploaded when using the forums. Details about where to find those are here.
You can find Game Booster in the Toolbox tab of ASC, or download it separate for free.

Download Advanced System Care

Download Defraggler

Download Game Booster

At the top of the League of Legends Launcher is a button that looks like two gears. Click that and it should open a tiny window within your window with an option for Repair. Repair checks all of your League of Legend files against the most current files on the server. It will locate corrupt files that can cause a lot of the major issues. It's mainly used for taking care of issues without having to reinstall the entire program, but it doesn't hurt to run this once a month when you're heading to bed or work. Most often, it's not going to find any issues, but even that can help maintain your own piece of mind.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Syndra Preview Analysis

Syndra, the Dark Sovereign, is the next League of Legends champion to be released in the next patch, barring any additional testing that might be required before the due date. From the early build, it looks like Riot has her tech fully implemented, but is busy balancing the numbers to prevent another Zyra incident. For the current numbers (which will probably change by release) check here.

Her abilities are fairly interesting:

Q creates a sphere at a target location. The sphere appears at the location, dealing damage in an AoE, and remains in that position for a few seconds. Currently, it's possible to have 3 spheres out at a time from her Q.

W is a dual activation ability changing after the first time you press it. It allows Syndra to pick up a sphere or minion. The sphere or minion will be dragged slightly behind Syndra. Upon activating the ability a second time, she can throw the minion or sphere to a target location to deal damage and Slow in an AoE.

E deals damage in a cone and pushes enemies hit away a certain distance based upon how close they are to Syndra. It also launches any spheres, which will deal additional magic damage and stun enemies hit.

R generates three spheres and picks up any additional spheres in the area, then launches them at a target opponent for massive single target damage. Currently, the maximum damage of this ability is at Veigar levels of damage, but it does require a setting up 3 spheres and using R before the spheres disappear.

Her passive increases the power of all her other abilities when they reach their rank 5. Her Q has an increase in damage on champions, her W becomes an AoE Knock Up and Slow, her E conal area increases in size. Her R does not currently benefit from her passive.

Syndra has a play style similar to Orianna. Her ability to zone is her strong point in lane, and the amount of set up for her ultimate ensures that her most effective usage will be in poke comps. Poke comps revolve around laying siege to an opponent and whittling down their HP from out of range of the opponent's ability to retaliate. The amount of range she can achieve with her Q, and her Q and E combination, and the amount of set up required for her R to reach full potential, make her ideal for this strategy.

Check out the Yogscast interview with Paul Bellezza for more information about Syndra, Dominion, and, of course, Poppy.

[Gamescom - Riot Games Interview - Syndra Preview]
[Syndra, the Dark Sovereign, Revealed at Gamescom]

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.4 Notes - Simplified

     Patch 1.0.4 is live on the Americas realm. Below is a simplified look at the notes, boiling them down to buffs and nerfs for classes. The other areas, such as the Auction House and have a few major changes and several minor changes. Consider this the highlights of the patch notes. You can read the full patch notes here.

Auction House
     Major Changes -
          The first thing you'll notice upon opening the new Auction House (referred to as the AH), is that the number of searchable item property fields has been doubled. The initial limit on the fields was a design choice towards the end of development to force players to focus on a few stats instead of trying to find items with 6 perfect stats. In practice, it just made it really hard for players to find items with 6 perfect stats. This is probably the biggest change to the AH that most people will find useful.
          The second major change is the ability to cancel auctions if there are no current bids on the item. This is extremely useful for most players that are trying to clear out their inventory quickly, but are having a tough time with the 10 item auction limit. Now, if they have an item that's been up for a day without bids, they can take it down and re-auction it at a better price. This also shouldn't impact bargain bid snipers, who wait till the last minute to get the best deals. Bidding on the item will lock it out from being canceled, so those bid wars will proceed as planned.
     Minor Changes -
           Several item properties that existed on items but were not searchable, such as Attack Speed on Quivers, are now searchable properties. Reduced Level Requirement items will show up properly in item level searches. Before, you would need to search for level 60 items with a minimum Reduced Level Requirement of 10 or what have you. The compare tooltip is working in several more areas, but there's still no stat comparison underneath. Finally, the listing price of unsold items will appear on the completed page, which should help out all those people that don't create Excel spreadsheets to operate the AH.
     Major Changes -
     Minor Changes -
          Mousing over a Quick Join game will display all the players in the game in a new window, as well as the amount of open slots. Reporting for Spam will now automatically decline the message. Before, you would have to manually decline the spammer after reporting them.

     Maghda : A new interaction. Her insect projectiles can be slowed. They're already slow...
     Ghom : Nerfed. Gas cloud spawn time increased. Less damage to minions. Invulnerable bug fix.
     Cydaea : Minor bug fix.
     Azmodan : A new interaction. The slow moving fireball of death can now be affected by slows.
     Izual : Several bug fixes, especially with his charge ability. It was sometimes not damaging players, or damaging them twice.
     Rakanoth : Bug fix. Fully immune to CC during enrage.
     Diablo : Leaves players in the Shadow Realm, even if they defeat Shadow Diablo, because why wouldn't he/she/it? Just kidding. Only minor cosmetic bug fixes, and an exploit nerf on monks using seven sided strike to avoid Shadow Clone creation.

     Barbarian -
          Buffs : Damage buffs to
  • Bash
  • Ancient Spear
  • Cleave
  • Hammer of the Ancients
  • Rend, Seismic Slam
  • Weapon Throw
  • Whirlwind
Leap can now be used while CC'd, but won't break the CC. For instance you can Leap while Jailed, but you're still Jailed where you land.
          Nerfs : Proc coefficient nerfs to
  • Hammer of the Ancients
  • Overpower (No longer procs on hit effects)
     Demon Hunter -
          Buffs : Damage buffs to
  • Bola Shot
  • Chakram
  • Cluster Arrow
  • Entangling Shot
  • Evasive Fire
  • Impale
  • Rain of Vengeance
  • Rapid Fire
  • Sentry
  • Smoke Screen (Choking Gas Rune)
  • Strafe
  • Vault (Trail of Cinders Rune)
Cost lowered on Multishot. Brooding healing no longer paused by taking damage.
          Nerfs : Proc coefficient nerfs to
  • Caltrops (no longer triggers on hit effects)
  • Chakram
  • Grenades
     Monk -
          Buffs : Damage buffs to
  • Exploding Palm
  • Lashing Tail Kick
  • Seven-Sided Strike
  • Tempest Rush
  • Wave of Light
Spirit generation increased on Crippling Wave, Way of the Hundred Fists, The Guardian's Path Two-Handed Weapon specialization and Exalted Soul now generates 1 Spirit per second. Cyclone Strike can now trigger on hit effects. Duration of Sweeping Wind Master of Wind Rune doubled to 20 seconds.
          Nerfs : Fixed the exploding palm exploit that allowed Monks to gain multiple rare drops by exploding all mobs in a Champion or Rare pack simultaneously. Mystic Ally can no longer trigger on hit effects.

     Witch Doctor -
          Buffs : Damage buffs to
  • Acid Cloud
  • Corpse Spiders (they now benefit from +Critical Damage)
  • Firebats
  • Firebombs
  • Gargantuan
  • Grasp of the Dead
  • Spirit Barrage
  • Spirit Walk (Umbral Shock and Severance Runes)
  • Soul Harvest (Vengeful Spirit Rune)
  • Wall of Zombies
  • Zombie Charger (Leprous Zombie and Wave of Zombies Runes)
Circle of Life spawn chance increased to 30%. Grave Injustice health and mana gain doubled. Base Mana regeneration increased by 225% to 45 (ha, bet you got all excited about that big number). Spellcasting animations have been tightened. Spirit Vessel form can now walk through monsters and the heal has been increased(incoming exploits?) Tribal Rites affects Zombie Dogs, Gargantuan, and Mass Confusion. Pets should now be much more durable.
          Nerfs : Pet coeffecients drastically reduced (Gargantuan can no longer proc effects). Spirit Vessel duration reduced to 2 seconds.
          ??? : Rush of Essence now returns 49 Mana at Level 60, instead of 30% of the Spirit Spell's cost. Vision Quest redesigned to grant 30% Mana regen instead of 300%, but with a much more forgiving cost. I don't have a level 60 witch doctor to try these out on, so if anyone knows the answer to whether that's a buff or nerf, let me know.
     Wizard -
          Buffs : Damage buffs to
  • Arcane Torrent
  • Archon (Arcane Destruction Rune)
  • Diamond Skin (Diamond Shards and Mirror Skin)
  • Electrocute, Explosive Blast (Time Bomb Runes)
  • Hydra (Arcane, Lightning, Frost, and Mammoth Runes)
  • Ice Armor (Jagged Ice Rune), Meteor, Shock Pulse (Fire Bolts)
  • Teleport (Calamity Rune)

They finally fixed the tooltip on Cold Blooded (which has always affected all damage, but the tooltip said only Cold damage was increased). Ice Armor has an increased chance to freeze targets.
         Nerfs : Proc Coefficient on Energy Twister cut in half. Melee Wizards take note.

     Major Changes -
          You can craft new Legendaries compliant with the 1.04 changes!
     Minor Changes - 
          Blacksmith figured out how to repair items.

     Major Changes -
          Pretty much every item you find from here on out is going to be much better than what you would have found in previous patches. Legendary weapons and armor now have unique properties, and can roll for much higher stats than before. Remember that all of these changes are not retro active. Items from pre-1.04 are referred to as "Legacy" on the AH. Make sure you aren't scammed while buying.
     Minor Changes -
          Stack size of Gems is now 100 instead of 30. Repair costs reduced by 25%. Two-Hander stats received a massive buff. Quiver drop rate finally reduced! The hex code trick to let players identify the stats of of an item before identifying the item has been fixed. There's a market for unidentified items that was recently threatened by the mass discovery of this exploit.

     Major Changes -
          Drop rate from normal monsters increased by 400% of the previous value. Less bonus bonus health when players co-op. Inferno monster damage and health nerfed across the board. No more enrage timer. No more Invulnerable Minions. Shielding Monsters nerfed. Fire Chains nerfed. Arcane Enchanted nerfed. Nightmarish Monsters can no longer chain fear players. Mortar should no longer land in the dead zone. Oppressor charge will no longer deal damage to players twice (bug).
     Minor Changes –
          Quite a lot of monsters were bugged. Their bug list is extensive. Some monsters were dealing double damage (like the Oppressor charge), while some monsters were spawning in weird areas or without loot.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Diablo 3 Patch 1.04 Paragon System - The Breakdown

If you haven't read the patch 1.04 preview for the Paragon system, check it out here. Most of the relevant information in that article can be found directly below "Introducing the Paragon System". Those bullet points are the bare bones of the system, such as how Paragon levels are gained and what effect they have on the character. Basically, they add Gold Find, Magic Find, and a little bit of the base stats to your character, as well as giving you a slightly cooler looking portrait every 10 Paragon levels.

Jay Wilson went on to talk about the length of time involved in acquiring the levels, and the solution to the magic find item property issue which has been bugging the community for a while. It should take roughly the same amount of time that it takes for a level 1 Diablo 2 character to reach level 99. This means that reaching Paragon level 100 will take several months for most people.This ties in nicely with the solution to the Magic Find problem.

There is going to be a cap of 300% Magic Find and Gold Find in 1.04, which does not include Nephalem Valor. At Paragon level 100, the player will naturally reach the cap and only gain a further bonus from Nephalem Valor stacks (reaching a maximum of 450% Magic Find and Gold Find) instead of from items.

This will help phase out the highly priced Magic Find items on the AH very gradually. A sudden shift could have resulted in economic turmoil. Over the next year, expect Magic Find gear to be phased out of the top tier items as players gain more Paragon.

David Brevik Throws Diablo 3 Creators Under a Bus: Gaming Community Dissapointed That It's Only a Figure of Speech

What Jay Wilson could have said, "David Brevik certainly has a few points. However, he doesn't know how hard we are working on the item overhaul, the class skill redesigns, and other surprises being released in patch 1.04, this very week. There are a lot of gears turning behind the scenes to tackle the issues brought up in that interview. That aside, we shouldn't overreact to this. I feel David was trying his best not to point the finger or accuse us of anything we didn't do. I wish him the best of luck with his upcoming Marvel Heroes MMO."

What Jay Wilson actually said, "Fuck that loser".

[Diablo 3 Team Spars with Series Creator Online]