Changes to blog, AGAIN~

Hi Reader,

I know  I’ve been a stranger. To my own blog no less. Graduate school is super busy and boo. Anyway, I am thinking of reinventing my blog somewhat in the next couple months. I plan to focus on these things:

  • Reviewing more books, particularly ARCs.
  • Possibly cutting down on Gamer-related posts, if only because I only play Pokemon, Necrodancer, and the Binding of Isaac: Rebirth anymore. There will still be gamer posts, but the title of the blog will probably change.
  • Posting more teen librarian things. I mean, that’s what I want to be, so I want to start focusing in on that a bit more.
  • Cutting down on my naughty bad no-no language. I love to curse, but I will try to hold back. A little.

I’m about to finish reading Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman, so expect a post about that soonish! I want to start setting goal dates to post on this blog if only because due dates are the most motivating thing for me. For two of my classes, I have to read a lot of YA books, so expect the majority of posts from this blog to be related to YA things.

Finally, I totally want to continue my weird way of reviewing GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I still haven’t scratched A Feast for Crows. I got as far as meeting the Sand Vipers, which was amazing, but drowning in homework makes keeping up with this epic really difficult. I’ll find a way to make it work!

Thanks for reading,

D

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When things start to suck, go read Hyperbole and a Half!

hyperbole_and_a_half_book_1

Hello readers,

My birthday was on November 11th (yay!), and I am 25 now. For my birthday, my little sisters gave me Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Hyperbole and a Half started as a blog and has blossomed into a wonderful book. For those that don’t know yet, Hyperbole and a Half is like a memoir blog with horribly drawn pictures. Yet, it is so awesome that I can’t wait when Allie posts new content.

Hyperbole and a Half is one of the most sincere things you will ever read, either as a book or as a blog. When I get depressed or angry with myself, I often go onto Hyperbole and a Half to read about a plucky person who has experienced similar feelings or hang-ups. Allie is an amazing writer, and she has a way of conveying things that I never would have thought of.

It is a long story, but this is about how some people present solutions that don't really fit the problem. I spent a good 10 minutes laughing about this.

It is a long story, but this is about how some people present solutions that don’t really fit the problem. I spent a good 10 minutes laughing about this.

Her book is no different. While there is some older content in there from her blog, Allie shares new stories about her crazy childhood and her coping mechanisms. Some of which don’t always work, of course. This book is definitely worth checking out of your local library or purchasing from your local bookstore, even if the art turns you off! I promise, you will find yourself laughing about all the horrible things and leave with an understanding that you are not alone.

D does a lot of stuff! Gaming/Reading

Hello readers,

I have been up to quite a lot of stuff lately. I’ve picked up two new games and finished a few books. To recap what you already know:

  • I purchased Pokemon and X-COM: ENEMY UNKNOWN
  • I finished reading A Storm of Swords, Warm BodiesNeverwhere, and At the End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel
  • I am finally going to get to read books alongside my book club, Bad Wolf Bookclub at Tumblr — The Night Circus
  • I played actual PvP games in League of Legends and didn’t do so bad

POKEMON

With Pokemon White 2, I’ve beaten the 8th gym. I have to say, Pokemon has a great RPG plot going on. Its target audience aside, I am really enjoying the game. I traded up a bunch of my Pokemon from my Pokemon White game, so my main team consists of: Whimsicott, Galvantula, Braviary, Flygon, Krookodile, and Jellicent. I have quite a few Pokemon on reserve, such as Chandelure.

I love Chandelure, so stylish!

There was also a confrontation with Lord Dennis, as I call him, as well as other cameos. If the Pokemon trend continues, I hope the next generation has even more story elements added to the mix. Maybe even allow us to design our own character? Multiple story line trees? Elderscrolls: Pokemon Edition? I know I am wishing for a lot, but I hope that the writers for the game continue to flesh out the Pokemon world. Its completely possible to have deep subjects in children’s fiction, I know. Have you ever seen Avatar: The Last Airbender? Once I finally gave it a try, cause I was in the anime or bust group before, I came to love it. Such a full and rich world with real conflict. I can always wish!

X-COM: ENEMY UNKNOWN

I picked up X-COM last weekend too. Boy, is that game just SO MUCH fun. The micromanagement of research and equipment, the strategy of whom to take with me on a mission, the complete fear of losing any of my characters (whom are named after IRL loved ones), and, of course, missing a 99% shot while I am right in front of the alien — THAT’S X-COM, BABY! At first, I was totally worried about the remake, because the first thing we were shown was an FPS game. A complete betrayal, as Internet Personality Guy Spoony would say, but the Civilization guys got their hands on the game and worked to bring X-COM to 2012. X-COM was originally a game that came out in the early 1990’s. It was pretty much the best game ever made for the PC for that entire decade. Yeah, I played Doom, Duke Nukem, and other games, but X-COM was the only game that made me actually scared to make a single move.

The original X-COM had two core gameplay elements. The TBS and the spreadsheets.

I get tingly just thinking about it.

The player could see all of X-COM’s expenses right down to what you paid everyone monthly including scientists and engineers. The player could also see which countries were contributing to the X-COM project and which ones seemed to be waning in support. The original X-COM also utilized a system of time units and every thing you did during battle aside from a few small actions cost time units. Some of your soldiers could have a lot of time units or could be totally restricted. Stats seemed to be generated at random, but usually you wanted to make your team have the best of the best. You could also have a squad as big as 20some people, but you could also get majorly boned if the game loaded your Skyranger in a bad place. For example, as soon as the map loads, an alien throws a grenade STRAIGHT into your plane. This causes panic sometimes, but mostly your soldiers are likely to die, because there is not enough room for all of them to make it out alive.

The X-COM remake takes the essence of all that, but streamlines it in a way that is both easy to get into and challenging. Instead of Time Units, there are 2 actions per turn (where attacking first will end your turn, so be wise). Instead of hiring and firing scientists and engineers, you must earn these personnel or build more laboratories/workshops. They also made it extremely clear, at all times, how countries felt about your operation around the world. There was also a reduction in the amount of units you could take with you on any given mission. From 22 to 6 total. WOW! Yet, the game is pretty balanced for the casualcore and diehard fans of the series. Playing on Ironman in any mode is likely to cause balding. Ironman is a mode in which you CANNOT revert to previous saves. Once that team member dies or that country leaves X-COM — its for good. This adds a whole new level of difficulty and drama to the game.

I am having a buttload of fun playing X-COM and trying to 100% every mission I encounter (or at least get away with 15/18 civilians in Terror Missions). I haven’t bothered to do priority missions yet, since I am too busy building enough Titan Armor to accommodate EVERY soldier in my barracks, but so far the combat seems pretty legit. Also, a minimeme has been born from the frustration and nerdrage this game has induced.

BOOKS

I have been reading so many books lately. My head is bubbling from all the fictional knowledge. I feel like I know WAY too much about the geography and history of the Song of Ice and Fire series (alternatively known as the Game of Thrones series). I know where the Twins are located and why its an important, strategic location. I know about how Rhaegar made Lysanna the Queen of Beauty and Love (I believe that was the title) and how it may have been the trigger for starting Robert’s rebellion. I also have a few theories about Jon Snow’s origin, because I have a lot of doubts about him being Eddard’s child.

I have also finished a charming book called Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. The story takes place from the POV of a zombie guy. His name is R, because he honestly can’t remember his entire name. He is lucky, though, because most zombies don’t even have that much to go on. He’s an average guy, married with kids, gets hungry and sometimes eats folks, and enjoys a good laugh with his buddy M from time to time. One of the driving forces behind the story is the REASON zombies eat people. Its not much of a spoiler, but zombies eat the brains of the living in order to feel alive and thrive on the devoured’s memory. Zombies don’t really have memories of being alive. They don’t recall their 8 to 5’s or family, but they can relive ALIVE moments by eating the brain of a living person. This stirs R into a journey of understanding as he rescues a living girl whose boyfriend’s brain he’d just eaten. Its a completely heart-touching story that was a breeze to read! I finished it in a single day, because I simply couldn’t put it down. I won’t tell you more except to buy it or check it out! Its worth your time if you love zombies or strange stories.

Neverwhere is everything I expected it would be. It seems like it could be a graphic novel on the same level as The Sandman. Its about common man Richard Mayhew. He’s got no spine, but he is fine with what his life is like. He does everything his girlfriend asks of him. Richard’s life is changed forever as he stumbles onto a dying girl — that apparently everyone around him just wants to ignore. Doing her a favor causes everything to go haywire for Richard, so he has to embark on a reluctant journey in order for things to be normal and samey again. People often accuse Neil Gaiman (the author) of writing the same story over and over, but honestly, its just that his style conveys the story of normal vs weird so well. I can’t wait to bite into Stardust. 

At The End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel was terrible. THE END.

D Sucks at Dota 2: The History

Dota 2, for those of you who don’t know, is the sequel to Defense of the Ancients. DotA is a mod that was created for Warcraft III that is like a mix between tower defense and an RPG. Called an ARTS or MOBA depending on who you converse with,  DotA is a game that requires a lot of skill to play well and oddly enough is one of the few videogames that takes just as much practice as a real life sport. I love this game so very much, but I guess I should give you some history before we talk about how bad I am at this game.

In the winter of 2010, I was getting really bored of Aion (a crappy MMO) and I was looking for something to fill in the free time I still had even with school. I needed a free game, because I simply didn’t have a job and didn’t want to jeopardize my schoolwork. My friend from Australia told me about League of Legends many times before the winter, but I just wasn’t interested cause I couldn’t wrap my head around what an ARTS/MOBA even was. I decided it would be a good time to check it out since I still had winter break going on. My first game I picked Veigar, arguably one of the hardest characters you could pick at the time, and completely dominated with a score like 14/3/10. It felt good to do so well and have no idea what I was doing. I played League of Legends for my entire Spring semester. I was pretty good at the game, typically winning my solo queues. It felt really good.

Annie, Solo Mid, Boots First.

Sadly at the start of summer, I got involved in a car wreck. While I didn’t break anything, both of my arms were too sore to even type with. I had to have a few final papers pushed back simply because I couldn’t take the pain that shot throughout my arm when I lifted them. Though I did start playing League of Legends a little bit at the end of summer, I realized the pain in my arms was going to continue to be a dull pain. I also seem to have a slower reaction time than I used to, because the pain in my hands is somewhat distracting. Nowadays, the pain is not as intense, but it is a constant factor in my playtime. Holding a game controller is probably the worst, because BlazBlue (a cool fighting game) made my hands turn red and puffy.

When I started school up again in the fall, I tried my best to get back into League of Legends. I had a falling out with a boyfriend and just stayed away from League of Legends for a long while. In late November, I took an interest in another man and he was pretty cool, but he played Heroes of Newerth. Heroes of Newerth, at the time, was supposed to be the spiritual successor of DotA. I had heard of HoN before, but was always offput by the rumors of the community being the worst mannered players in all of online gaming. It was actually a little shocking to me that the guy who is now my boyfriend wasn’t a total douchebag. I digress, but its important to note that I hadn’t ever played any other ARTS/MOBA than LoL.

Since my new boyfriend tried LoL out, I decided I should give HoN a few tries. As expected, I did really badly my first few games. I was told to pick Arachna (semi-port of Drow Ranger) and I went 0/4/7. This was a carry, a character that is supposed to win the game for the team, but I had no idea. In LoL there were carries, but the laning was completely different in HoN. It was harder to last hit (to get gold) and hard to avoid being ganked. The jungle was much larger and so even if someone called MIA there would be no way to know if he was just jungling, hiding, or coming to gank your lane. I eventually settled onto a character named Plaguerider (direct Lich port that got a buff ms to 320).  He was a badass because:

  1. He rode on a dead wyrm that pukes death as an ultimate (it bounces like Lich’s ult).
  2. Easy denying.
  3. A dangerous early game nuke that could secure first blood if you laned with a strong stunner like Magmas (Sand King) or Pyromancer (Lina).
  4. A DRAGON THAT PUKES AN ULT.

Seriously, this is the most badass thing in the world.

All of those things made Plaguerider an amazing support/ganker. The fact that he didn’t need farm or items, just levels, made him a character I could play and learn with. Even with the state of my hands, the easiness of his kit made everything easier for me to do. The biggest hurdle after maining Plaguerider would be learning all the hero names and their abilities. I was a decent/great hard supporter, depending on what game you watch in my replays, that warded at least 80% of the time and always picked up courier at the start of each game. Sometimes I would do courier and wards at the start to just show off how little Plaguerider needed to be a dominant babysitter in lane.

I played HoN a lot on the weekends and really enjoyed myself, but I felt I was reaching the ceiling when it came to playing a hard support. I was able to play most of them,  but I started to want to carry. My ‘best’ character for it was Swiftblade, but for some reason the idea of just farming for 20-30 minutes didn’t meld with my mindset. I would try to get involved with ganks I shouldn’t have tried, or ignored ganks I could have easily stolen kills from. Due to some rage about being unable to learn how to carry, I stopped playing Heroes of Newerth for a while in summer 2011 and started playing League of Legends again. Oddly enough the handicap with my hands were much harder to deal with in League of Legends and soon I ended up giving up on that game as well and picked up playing Team Fortress 2 for the rest of summer.

Then it happened, The International 2011 for DotA2. It caught me by surprise and I watched the entirety of the tournament live would I could. I will admit it here and now, I am a Valve fangirl. I think Valve does right 99% of the time and the – 1% is just for Left 4 Dead 2 not being a free expansion like they had promised (or so that’s how I remembered it). I ate up the game and applied for a beta key.

If you look close enough you will see the screams of a million people crying out for beta keys.

Winter 2011, just in time for my first year anniversary with my boyfriend, I got a key and wanted to play all day and night. We did some practice pub games and a few matchmaking ones. My score for matchmaking mostly occurred during that winter break.  20/10 w/l ratio. Almost all of those wins were with my playing of Lich usually combo’d with my boyfriend as Viper. School started for Spring 2012 and it was all over for me. I had decided to try to graduate school sooner than later and took on a lot of hard courses that I didn’t want to take over the next school year separately like a wimp. Instead, I took them all at once and not peppered with easy classes as was suggested to me. There was no more DotA2, LoL, HoN, TF2, or any game. I did sneak in a game, but I was mostly stuck writing papers for the rest of spring 2012.

Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I am the kind of person who becomes EXTREMELY rusty when I don’t play a game for so long. It was easy to get into DotA 2 since everyone was just getting their beta keys and a good number of them were LoL-only players (aka not used to the idea of how laning works) so it was kind of easy to get into the way DotA 2 worked with my HoN experience. Now, however, people had time to hone their skills and practiced while I’ve been at school. Now there are bot games for people to try out heroes and practice their abilities. I’m somewhat like a minnow being thrown into a pool of sharks.

The worst part is my IRL friends, whom I love, only seem to want to play bot games now. I don’t have anything against the idea, but I personally want to play against real people. Its quite easy to dominate bots of any skill level, but human players are surprising and actually have tactics most of the time. I have tried solo queuing, but its quite scary to attempt since I want to first pick Lich. I have joined a group called DotA Noobs, but I feel like their skill level is so above mine that there is no way I can really queue up with them and NOT ruin their games.

Maybe I should just keep watching Purge Plays.

I’ve gotten myself into a weird pickle and so this series “D Sucks at Dota 2” is going to be a documentation of my attempt to reach where I was with my confidence in my skill as well as hopefully become better.

D

An Introduction

Hello,

My name is D. I have some other internet handles floating around that I may share with you, but I prefer being called D. I’m a recent college graduate and a gamer. It wasn’t easy the last year or so, I pretty much put my gaming life on hold. As some of you know, the two don’t necessarily get along. Now I’m adrift in a sea of possibilities for gaming and reading — my two favorite hobbies.

When one is going to college, they don’t get to read the books they want most of the time. Let’s not even talk about my lack of gaming, because I missed a lot of games that I might not really get to touch. Sure, I played some games on the weekend, but I don’t necessarily count playing WoW or HoN/LoL sparingly as gaming.

The point of this blog is for me to record my rediscover of sorts when it comes to reading for fun and getting back into gaming. With any luck, I may get some comments about suggestions on games I may like that are flying under my radar or books I haven’t gotten to read! Primarily the blog posts about reading and gaming will be separate!

Since I graduated I’ve started to pick up on games I already had access to, but couldn’t play before. One of the biggest ones would have to be DotA 2. I love this game! I also suck very badly at it. I will probably post a blog after every few games or so to talk about my progress, or lack thereof, with pictures or videos to highlight the fail. I’m ready for the flame, because I am totally terrible and I am about to ruin many games for 9 other players. Another game I’ve picked up is Guild Wars 2. I played Guild Wars back when it was first released and loved it. Ever since I’ve literally been waiting for the release of Guild Wars 2.

For single-player games, I managed to pick up the Bestheda software deal back during the Steam Summer Sale aka bye-bye wallet money! I may potentially blog about my (mis)adventures in Fallout: New Vegas and TES: Skyrim. I have also picked up The Walking Dead due to my love of the comic book series. The game has been amazing so far so I can’t wait for the 4th and 5th installment of the game. Its really excellent so far.

Now, I know I’ve been talking a lot about videogames, but I don’t want it to go unmentioned that I love reading. Scratch that, I love reading when its by my own will. I’ll admit that there are times I will ragequit a book and never pick it up again. I may have to dig into my Goodreads account just to let you know about the subpar books I just couldn’t get through. HOWEVER, I have read quite a few books that I have come to love!

A Song of Ice and Fire is probably one of my favorite series right now. I know, I know, that isn’t very original or surprising, but its a book that mostly deserves the hype that engulfs it. I’m currently reading book 3, A Storm of Swords. I’ve also begun reading Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series. Yes, its a graphic novel, but they count too! Something I noticed at the start of my summer reading was that YA books are now very hit or miss with me. When I was a teen girl, I loved YA books. I even liked most of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anite Blake series before it turned into creepy smut! Now I just find myself either disgusted with the presentation of the lead characters (of both genders) or upset with the lack of content these books seem to have so that they may stretch themselves into a series rather than a standalone.

I look forward to exploring foreign worlds and hanging out with cool characters.

D