Hanzo Style

I know I’m running the risk of this blog becoming Overwatch-heavy, but so be it – it’s a great game, and I really do enjoy it!

In response to Tracer being nerfed out of the world, I’ve started to work on refining my Hanzo skills. He fits the current meta so well, and although Hammond (I refuse to call him “Wrecking Ball” due to the fact that it’s so freaking dumb) seems to be a soft-counter for Hanzo, he at least has a sliver of a chance in 1v1s.

There are two important skills to master when it comes to Hanzo: aiming and mobility.

With good aim, Hanzo is an absolute beast. He can one-shot about half the characters with a headshot, and cut down most of the tanks pretty quickly with his Storm Bow. The tough part about Hanzo’s aiming is the factor of projectile aiming and predicting your enemies movements. Because he is most effective from medium to long range, you must be able to lead your targets with your shots. Factor in the difficulty of placing headshots, and aiming with Hanzo can be quite a challenge. The hitbox for his arrows is forgiving, but only to a point; you really do need to know how to shoot.

Mastering Hanzo’s mobility is essential to increasing his survivability – the less you die, the more arrows you can plant in people’s craniums. Combining his wall climbing with his new lunge ability allows him to get out of difficult situations – Hanzo’s biggest weakness is that he is extremely dive-able, so being able to jump away and climb over a wall is an important escape tactic to know.

Lunge isn’t just a defensive tool, though; it can also be used for insane flank routes to set up sneaky ambushes:

Instead of firing Deadeye across the point and wiping my team, McCree instead takes an arrow to the back of the head and my team takes the point.

It’s making plays like these when I know I’m starting to really get into the flow of a hero.

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Mets Hindsight

I normally enjoy the articles over at sbnation.com – there are tons of blogs on the site, and you can find posts about pretty much anything sports related (they even have MMA blogs!). Of course, I look for Mets news most of the time, but I recently read an article that had me shaking my head.

For those “non link clickers” out there, the premise of the article is that, despite the horrid mess that the Mets are in right now, there isn’t much different that could have been done between the 2015 World Series appearance and now that would have changed things. Personally, I disagree with this, and here’s why.

2015 was actually a pleasant surprise type of year: it’s not like anyone expected the Mets to be a World Series contender or anything. In fact, the Mets were only 3 games over .500 before going on an epic tear through August. Much of that run was fueled by Cespedes going supernova and carrying the team to the postseason. And the World Series run was propelled by Murphy’s sudden dominance over LA pitching. Would it have been too out of line to consider this a string of good luck? I know I thought that at the time.

So, if it’s just extraordinarily good luck getting us to the World Series, is it prudent to continue to bank on it? I don’t think so.

The biggest mistake that the Mets made was “going for it” during the 2016 season. We were once again mediocre at the end of July (4 games over .500 this time around), and we expected the same magic to fall into our lap… hence, the Jay Bruce trade. I have NEVER liked Bruce… sure, he hits homeruns, but never when you need them. Instead, he strikes out in high leverage situations. He’s very much the Armando Benitez of hitters – great stats on paper, absolutely abysmal player in real life.

What the Mets should have done instead in 2016 was stay the course and continue developing talent. Now, I’m not saying that Dilson Herrera would have ended up being the savior of the franchise. However, if the Bruce trade isn’t made, then you don’t end up with him on the payroll in 2017. Maybe the rest of 2016 doesn’t go all that well, and you don’t waste $17 on a Neil Walker resign. Maybe Lucas Duda doesn’t get squeezed out of town and you keep his smaller salary on the books.

There isn’t one specific deal that the Mets could have made in order to avoid the mess that they are in now. But they could have adopted a different perspective: one that treated 2015 as an overachievement, and continued on a development course for 2016 and beyond. Instead, they took their shot too early on players that ended up not having enough impact, and now they are left in worse shape than they would have been if they had just done nothing.

It’s Hammond Time!

The next new Overwatch hero is here, and yes, he’s a mech-driving hamster.

Sometimes this game is just silly.

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I haven’t had the chance to play Hammond yet – I’m a console player, so I don’t have access to the PTR. I have seen some gameplay videos, however, and I am aware of his play style/powers/etc. With that said, here’s my take on the new guy:

Hammond is an interesting add to the Overwatch roster, mainly because he seems to go counter to everything the devs have been trying to do lately. With recent nerfs to flanker heroes and the addition of Brigitte, it seemed as though the devs were trying to push the game out of the dive meta… however, it doesn’t take more than three seconds of watching Hammond game footage to tell that he’s pretty much a dive tank on steroids.

So what’s the deal?

I think that the devs realized just how much they swung the pendulum away from dive, that they needed to give it a little push back in the opposite direction in order to balance things out.

I’m not going to get too much into the details of Hammond’s kit (you can find that stuff in any one of 400 YouTube videos), but I would like to talk about my predictions on how he is going to alter the utility of other current Overwatch heroes.

Just from his role, one would think Hammond would supplant both Winston (the original dive tank) and D.va (the original mech driver). I think he’s only going to make them more popular – having two mobile dive tanks throwing the enemy team into chaos is better than one, I would say. I think the immobile tanks like Orisa and Reinhart are going to suffer. It is also going to make heroes like Tracer and Genji even weaker than they are now – they will be sitting ducks when a humongous hamster ball is rolling around aiming to crush them.

Instead of trying to bring about a brand new meta with the addition of Hammond – or, as some people have suggested, trying to get rid of the idea of “metas” completely – it seems as though the devs are trying to move the game towards a “rock-paper-scissors” type of equilibrium regarding comps, which will lead to teams switching mid-match in response to what their opponents are showing. This will reduce the value of one-tricking and greatly increase the value of acquiring flex skills.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t know if we can be sure yet. Is it a good thing to move away from the idea of “mains” being a good thing? Are players going to lose interest when they find they aren’t dominating in every game with the same hero all the time? I guess we’ll see. For now, I’m going to work on expanding my hero pool some more.

The Music In My Head

A few years ago, I realized I started going through was pretty much amounted to a mid-life crisis. While most guys will end up getting a funky haircut or buying done expensive sports car, I went the “less disruptive” route and simply developed a new hobby. What was the new hobby, you ask?

Parkour?

Bungee jumping?

Tiger wrestling?

Nah… I’m too boring for any of that. Instead, I settled on composing music.

Since I was little, I always felt I had music inside my head, but I never learned to pay an instrument or to actually write music. At the same time I started craving a hobby, I was hearing “my music” more and more. I realized that I needed to create it somehow. Thankfully, I was able to find Caustic: it’s an EDM music creator app that allows to you make full songs, edit them, and convert them into mp3s for full playback.

So, yes… I am now an amateur EDM composer.

Now, I don’t have any crazy fantasies about becoming a chart-topping EDM artist – I very much realize that I’m not all that good. But I am able to bring to life the music that’s in my head and make it real, and that is something amazing.

So, without further ado, here are three of my songs that I’ve written. I hope I enjoy listening to these when I check back later to make sure I embedded them properly!

I’m Gonna Say It…

Just gonna come right out with it:

After the new rework, Symmetra is now horrendously OP’d.

I know, everything is new and we should see how things shake out.

I know, the new play mechanics with the teleporter are fun and interesting.

But seriously… OP’d to all hell.

The biggest problems with her new kit are the turrets; it’s basically impossible to walk around ANYWHERE anymore without running into one (or three). Not only did they make it easier for her to throw them anywhere on the battlefield – 75 ft in the air inside a tree, on the spawn point from two choke points away, on a DIFFERENT FREAKING PLANET – but they made them stronger and more damaging. If you are going to make something easier to do, there needs to be a balance in order to keep it from being too overly effective.

The new Sym rework has basically neutered a bunch of heroes that were already significantly weakened by the addition of Brigitte – Tracer and Genji might as well not even be in the game anymore. It’s gotten to the point where if you see Symmetra, you can’t even TRY to get within decent attack range – I saw her peeking out one of the side rooms on Volskya Industries the other day; normally I’d go in and take her out, but this time I was like, “Nah, that’s suicide, I’ll just avoid her for the rest of the match.” Something is wrong when your best response is to an opponent is, “I hope they don’t decide to kill me, because I have no way to defend myself or counter-attack.”

I don’t have a problem with her other changes – her ammo gain from shooting barriers is very innovative – but the turret situation is just… bad. They need to adjust them by doing one (or some) of the following things:

– reducing the attack damage of the turrets
– reducing the range of turret launch (or have gravity take effect after a certain distance)
– apply a time duration to the turrets
(I don’t have a problem with the increased HP of the turrets, I always thought it was too easy for heroes like Winston or Moira to clear a room of turrets so easily)

I have a feeling that none of these changes will take place – the OW devs have been trying to put a damper on dive for so long now, they would rather continue to push heroes like Genji and Tracer way down the tier list in order to bring about a new interesting meta rather than try to keep things balanced. Looks like I’m going to have to try and pick up a new hero to main. Thanks to Mystery Heroes, I’m starting to figure out Zarya a little bit, and my Moira has gotten stronger. My Hanzo skills have been improving (albeit slowly):
Perhaps there is hope for me, after all.

Get Along, Little Slimeys!

My kids got me into playing a game called Slime Rancher – it’s a game where you basically collect cute little Slime guys and feed them food in order for them to produce (a.k.a. poop) these things called “plorts.” You can sell these plorts for money, or use them to build things on your ranch. It’s a very cute and interesting game, with lots of hidden secrets and fun ways to play.
Of course, me being me, I got really into it and built an efficient plort-farming system, which ended up making me TONS of money… sometimes, I take games WAY too seriously….
Anyway, a recent update (with new slimes added!) dragged me back in, and I spent this afternoon planning out a total redo of my ranch in order to make it even more efficient. And I think I’ve worked out the ultimate setup.
A few details about the game first:
1) You can cross breed slimes into what are called “largos” – these guys give you two different types of plorts, one for each of the type of slime they are made out of.
2) Each slime has a favorite food, which gives you double the amount of plorts.
3) You can grow fruits and vegetables on your ranch, and also keep chicken coops with various types of hens/roosters.
Before the changes I worked out, I had pretty much combined the meat eating slimes together and put them in one area where there were free roaming chickens, so they could eat those along with the food I gave them. But I now realize that it is very difficult to keep up with the demands of the meat eaters with just a couple of chicken coops – I am constantly running out of chickens to feed them!
So what I plan on doing now is mixing the meat eaters with the fruit/vegetable eaters, because I can grow a hell of a lot more of the produce in the gardens. And each mix is going to be put in a corral right next to a garden that grows their favorite food. This should make it a lot easier to keep them fed, with a lot less running around.
Here is what will be my largo lineup, along with their diet:
Pink Mosaics – Silver Parsnips
Crystal Rocks – Heart Beets
Phosphor Tabbys – Cube Berries
Honey Hunters – Mint Mangos
Boom Rads – Oca Oca
Dervish Tangles – Prickle Pears
Quantum Sabers – Phase Lemons