Hearthstone is an awesome game to play with friends

Hearthstone is completely free, easy to get into and it’s the next most addicting game to Flappy Bird and 2048.  A thing to try would be, wandering around with an tablet strapped to your arm and a shirt that says something like “I challenge you to a game of Hearthstone” so you can go around playing against random people. Given that you can carry around on your iPad (and soon on Android tablets), you’ll soon be playing this while riding in on a motorcycle (shout out to Yu-gi-oh) which is slightly less cool than board games on hang gliders but nevertheless still awesome.

To play traditional trading card games like “Magic: The Gathering” , you would have to buy all the cards yourself and spend considerable amounts of time trying to trade for the cards you want which you could potentially lose if you’re not careful. However all the cards you own in Hearthstone are saved to your Battle.Net account which means you won’t accidentally leave your cards behind somewhere and instead of waiting for some one to trade the cards off you, you can just disenchant them for Arcane dust which you can use to craft new cards. Given you don’t need to buy any cards, and won’t accidentally lose them or have to go through the hassle of trading your cards for the ones you want, it’s easier for new players to get into.

Speaking of new players, this is a great game to introduce to the gamer and non-gamer crowd alike. It’s an eSport without much pressure to to actively play in real time like in StarCraft II, DoTA 2 or League of Legends since it’s turn based so there’s no pressure of micro-management to speak of, you don’t have to think on your feet or multi-task so it gives you more time to think. For non-gamers, having to go through the amount of competitive pressure in the RTS, FPS and MOBA genres is overwhelming and it will take time for them a few weeks to actually pick the game up and a few months before they can kick your ass. Hearthstone only takes a few days and a little bit of effort to explain how the game works, how to gain card advantage, explain a few basic gamer lingo and before you know it, you’ll be in a social group playing Hearthstone.

A few of my friends from SUAnime (the anime society from the University of Sydney) were already playing the game when I first started, I’ve challenged a few of them to a few matches and we had a great time. Apart from KuroKitsune, I’ve played against Elton in a Best of 5, got wrecked in the first 2 games and won 3 games in the end, his “YOLO” Druid deck either wins hard or loses hard.

Yeah, [Elton] why are you so crap? – Events Director of SUAnime
Hmmm… The game’s quite fun – Micvic

Another friend of mine, Micvic who’s the president of SUAnime only started a few days ago, and already she could play at a reasonable skill level. With a bit more practice and a bit of help building her decks, she’ll be winning games in no time. Though I kinda feel bad winning the game against her using my Paladin deck that has expert set and rare cards in it when she has only basic cards in her Druid deck. Given the amount of fun I had, I think it’s safe to say I would love to play Hearthstone more with them. In the future I want to challenge Otahku and spyodus123 to a duel and play against KuroKitsune, Elton and Micvic more.

Good Luck, Have Fun!

– Haiji Onii-san

Advertisements

I’m addicted to Hearth of the Stone and I just can’t stop!

As a kid I used to play ‘Yugioh’, was never good at it, and I knew about ‘Magic: The Gathering’ but never really got into it. Since I stopped playing during my early years at high school I never touched a trading card game ever since then, I lost interest in playing them.  Trading card games take too much commitment to play and a whole lot of money to get the cards you actually want. Most of the people I’ve played against had more pocket money to spare than I did, so naturally they had better cards and combined with my own incompetence, I never won a single game. When Hearthstone came out, I lacked any interest in playing it as I thought TCG’s weren’t my thing, but when I gave it a spin, I was hooked.

+2000 Hearthstone EXP
– 9001 Productivity

gg procrastination. ;___________________;

The game released on Windows, and Mac, and just recently it was released on iOS. When it finally comes to Android, I don’t think I’ll be able to get any work done so I’ll be playing the game on my buggy as hell Nexus 7 Android Tablet (2013 edition) for hours on end. I’ve played all classes except Warlock, and I can’t wait until I get all the basic cards and some really nice ones from those Expert packs.

Getting Started and First Impressions

I first joined the Hearthstone Society (HearthSoc is currently hosted at UNSW, and the male to female ratio is worse than Engineering Degrees) and then I started up the game for the first time and breezed through the tutorial. After that I got my ass kicked when playing Unranked (aka Casual) and only won one game. I just continued playing after that to try out all the classes.

This game seemed simple enough to understand and I can play it with one hand so, when I’m taking a break between StarCraft 2 sessions, I can play Hearthstone while eating a food. It’s impossible to eat while playing a game of StarCraft 2 unless I use Bronze League Heroes level macro skills (shout out to Husky) which is beside the point of laddering.

I liked the simple and intuitive gameplay, and it’s a card game that’s basically free and no need to go in store to buy physical cards and potentially lose them. The atmosphere of this game is also a plus, when you log in the voice of the Innkeeper hails you like a legend and welcomes you to a cheerful atmosphere with the sounds chatter of the guests of playing in the background. It’s the sort of atmosphere you would want to get drunk on while laughing everything away with a few mates around a table. This makes me smile everytime, kudos to Blizzard for this nice addition, it’s simple yet it makes the game just so much more enjoyable.

One week later…

I’ve had a go at playing all the classes except Druid. I started off using the basic decks from Icy Veins because of the lack of skill, cards and arcane dust. Icy Veins has many decks you can use for reference if you’re just starting  out however I would recommend checking other sources as well so you can get a clear idea of what to do.

Click here to go to Icy Veins

Haiji Onii-san – Play Hearthstone.
Spear_Of_Odin – No I don’t want to get back into card games.
Haiji Onii-san – DO EET.

I played a few with a friend who I’ll refer to as KuroKitsune from the Anime club at USYD  (shout out to SUAnime and Anime Sydney) and had a great time. On the last game I used Paladin and he used Rogue, I was dominating him until he made a last minute come back and won the game, damn it, I was very close to winning! It’s actually more fun playing against someone you know rather than playing against someone Casual/Ranked games online. I found that I was using too many cards and by the late game, my hand would be almost empty so I started to conserve cards, learnt about card advantage, and played more carefully. My main deck currently is my Mage control Deck which I’ve gotten input from the awesome people from HearthSoc after I acquired my first legendary card from a card pack.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_4.12.2014.19.31.23

Infinite Fireball Works.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_4.12.2014.22.20.35

Still far from finished. I’ll need to play more Arena to get more dust and card parks.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_4.12.2014.22.20.59

I really need to stop procrastinating…

Now it’s time for me to get back to work and get cracking on my homework and assignments. In the future I’ll be playing more, and getting more cards to pump up all my decks.

Good Luck, Have Fun!

– Haiji Onii-san

The most irritating aspects of Anime that really need to stop.

Note – I’ll be using anime fan lingo in this, so if you don’t understand the words please search it up on Google.

WARNING – The following post contains spoilers and material that may not be appropriate for the younger audience. You have been warned, I will not be liable for any grief this post may cause you should you decide to read it.

While I find Anime to be very enjoyable to watch, there are many annoying wrinkles that need to be ironed out. These annoying mistakes are being made every single season, and most likely you’ll only find a few diamonds in the rough. It breaks the hearts many Anime fans, including the most jaded and experienced few to see that the people behind the scenes aren’t performing at their full potential to create wonderful series that will catch our attention and keep it until the series ends. A lot of the times, a series would last a season or two, however it won’t follow through and create at least one sequel, leaving us fans dissatisfied. The main problem here is that the most irritating aspects of Anime are being done every single damn season and it really needs to stop.

Here are the things that need to be addressed.

4. Annoying romance stories that never end.

You have a protagonist, and he has a love interest or two, or three, or four or Nine thousand and one. What annoys viewers the most in the romance and harem genres is that the main protagonist put in the most accurate way possible is a complete idiot with a mind that has a density which rivals a super massive black hole. They never seem to notice the affections of their admirers and they often dismiss it as something else. They trample over the hopes and dreams of their potential love interests which often is met with an appropriate use of a punch to the face. We’ve all heard of this line before.

I wonder why is she mad? I only answered her question though. – Random Harem King.

e45[1]

Self explanatory.

The love interests are no better than the main protagonist either, they often fall in love with him unconditionally. It’s a story of guy meets girl, girl hates him, they somehow get to know each other a little bit better, *BOOM*, and the result is girl becomes delusional enough have the desire to marry the guy. Such a romance is paced too fast and is unconvincing at best. There is literally no reason for these love interests to like the main protagonist, he’s a lost cause and it’s probably better for them to look for someone else who genuinely cares about them. Instead all logic and reasoning is thrown out of the airlock and they compete with each other to get the main protagonist’s attention which often is the same shit all over again.

is-e8-05-houki-found-a-new-way-to-clean-her-shoes[1]

When the punch to the face doesn’t work, kick him instead.

Why are you chasing him when all he is going to do is not notice your affections? Even if you throw it into his face, and you already know he’s going to brush it off and meet it with indifference. Why do you still bother? It’ll just be a never ending cycle of getting pissed off, calming down and getting pissed off again. Seriously, this is annoying and frustrating to watch, please stop making cheap romance stories like these into Anime.

Let me write a more realistic and developed concept for a romance story.

It was bright and soothing spring afternoon, the air smelt of fragrant flowers and leaves. I just finished delivering a stack of exam papers to the staff room and I was free to go home. In the corner of my eye I noticed a somewhat muscular figure leaning on the window sill, I turned and looked at him. His jet black hair were flowing in the wind, and his crystal like eyes were gazing into the sky. It was senpai, I’ve admired him from a distance for as long as I can remember, he doesn’t know me, I’ve never introduced myself to him.

I would slowly and gradually walk towards him, my knees would start to give out and my legs would be shaking. I would curl my arms and twiddle my fingers, thinking what I should do. My heart would become a prisoner inside my rib cage beating hard and trying to break out of its cell. I try to gather my courage to speak to him but my mind would stop working so I get very lost and confused. What should I do? What if he rejects me? What if the girl he speaks to everyday is his girlfriend?

It’s impossible now, I’ll only be able to watch him from a distance. My wish will never be granted.

Please notice me senpai…

3. Having a plot but not developing it enough.

While some Anime can get by without a plot like the Comedy genre which is meant to make you laugh your socks off and some Slice-of-life series that make you feel some emotions that you’d normally won’t get in real life so that you can relate with the characters. The Anime that do actually tell a story however will have to contain a well written plot that will captivate our short attention spans. As the writer, you have 30 or less seconds to sell your story to us, and at least 3-5 episodes to get us to keep our interest which means there’s no screwing around, you have to write an interesting story. If your story isn’t interesting, there’s no reason for us viewers to even watch.

Sometimes the plot doesn’t go deep enough, we get introduced to a world that we want to explore and then it screws around, beats around the bush and throws away all the potential. A plot that doesn’t go through the main points of the story doesn’t appeal to the viewers. We’ll just see characters walk and talk and never actually see them contributing to the themes and ideas they’re meant to portray to you. A story should have a message to be sent to the viewer, themes and ideas are the substances that hold the story together, and it gives reason to the characters so that they can advance the plot. Without these, the plot will be uninteresting and the story being shown in the Anime won’t be worth watching.

Too often we see poor pacing in the plot, which results in a lot of potential views being dropped because the plot just doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. You could have a good story but it starts too late or a good story that starts early from episode one but it goes into boring mindless dribble from episode 3 and onwards. Sometimes pacing can be too fast, and before we know what the hell just happened, the story is already moving to the next chapter. You can also get a series like “Attack On Titan” (Shingeki no Kyojin) is an anime that would’ve done better if it was faster paced, the entire 25 + 2 OVA episodes can be literally be compacted into just 13-15 episodes. Often the reason why anime fails to keep our attention is that it the pace isn’t set at the right speed and the key points are not distributed very evenly.

shingeki-no-kyojin-4-eren-vs-colossus[1]

This anime series is literally Dragon Ball Z divided by 2.

Another example of a poorly written plot is the improper use of “Deus ex machina” in which somehow something happens but we don’t how and it breaks the established rules of the world the story is set in. The general rule is that for every effect to advance the plot, you must have a cause to support it. If the writers fail follow this rule, throw them into the naughty corner and make them reflect on what they did wrong.

A proper use of a Deus ex machina would be when you get a reasonable explanation and a decent plot twist. For example, in a story, the main protagonist supposedly dies and then he is revealed to have a special power, this special power saves him from the brink of death however it causes him to feel anguish because it hurts his friends and the story continues. The explanation for this plot is decent, however it also begs the question, “Where does this special power come from?”, this will help move the plot in the right direction and it leaves us viewers wondering what will happen from that point onwards. The air of mystery keeps us interested because we want to know what happens next, and why the protagonist has this ability.

An improper use of Deus ex machina would be a story that goes along the lines of being in a no-win situation, and then suddenly there’s conveniently a get out of jail free card that solves everything. An example of this would be the main protagonist trying to save his lover who is being molested by Mr Evil Doctor Lord Count Butterfly. However the protagonist’s injuries are so severe he can’t stand up and somehow the Purposeless Mad Super Genius who trapped the main protagonist in his world for two years manages to come back to life and give him god powers so that he can defeat the villain, save the damsel in distress and it’s happily ever after. It’s common sense that the dead can’t come back to life and unless there’s a reasonable cause you can’t revive them, however we don’t see the cause, instead it just happens for the sake of just making sure the story has a happy ending.

HorribleSubsSwordArtOnline-24720pmkv_snapshot_1058_20121216_102321[1]

A severe case of Deus ex machina. – THAT’S BULLSHIT.

All in all, we want to see more time and effort into developing and making the plot. If the Anime has a story, and the plot isn’t up to par, it will not work out very well.

2. Characters are too shallow

There are a whole heap of anime that take advantage of using pre-established character archetypes. You get a guy who can be dense, stupid, perverted, a total chick magnet or wimpy little kid who needs to get into the damn robot (shout out to Neon Genesis Evangelion), or the girls could be tsundere, yandere, dandere, kuudere, deredere, a little sister type, etc. There are many archetypes out there which are ripe for the picking which many writers use to save time instead of fleshing out the characters themselves. The work is already done for them so why waste time? While it’s actually alright to use these character archetypes to save time, however the truth is if these character archetypes that are used are not well developed, the character will just seem generic.

It’s quite easy to make up a character on the spot by using these archetypes off the shelf however, the characters will be very shallow. A generic tsundere would say the following.

It’s n-not that I-I-I like you or anything b-b-b-b-b-BAKA!!! I just thought you might n-need some h-h-help. Yeah! Help! – Generic Tsundere

Let’s say she’s around 168cm tall, weighs 55kg and is a brunette with long hair and there you go, a tsundere character ready for your story….

asuna__s_kawaii_face_by_hazetakumi-d5cv63v[1]

Appealing character design, personality of a cookie cutter tsundere. A prime example.

…HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!!!

Is there any reason for this character to be a tsundere? Why is she being a complete pain in the neck to towards the main protagonist? Just why? A generic off the shelf archetype does not answer these questions, the character needs to be more fleshed out.

I hated him from the bottom of my heart, but he’s so kind to me even if I do everything to push him away, I kind of feel sorry for him but I can’t let him know. He’s my rival! He’ll mock me for it, I can’t be honest with him, I must hide these feelings! Now I must concentrate on training to beat him again! – Iris (A tsundere character I just made up on the spot)

Just ask yourself. Which tsundere character I’ve presented appeals to you more? Using an off the shelf character archetype will yield an uninteresting and shallow character. While we can relate to these characters since they’re in pretty much a majority of the Anime we watch, however we can’t relate to them as much as we’d like to. It’s like having your favourite food served to you every single day and over time you start to lose interest.

It’s not impossible to start from scratch, and develop the character from the ground up however it’s very difficult to do. It’s not the use of character archetypes that irritates us, it’s just that writers don’t add substance to the character enough to make it stand out from the rest.

1. Fan-servicing done horribly wrong.

The reason why we see so many poorly developed plots and very shallow characters is because fanservice is getting in the way. Fanservice when implemented incorrectly will just ruin everything. All logic and reasoning is thrown out the air lock and the important aspects such as character development and a well written plot are pushed aside to make way for screen time showing upskirt panty shots, boob shots, beautiful guys with abs and muscles, girls interacting with each other so adorably to the point that it’s very unrealistic, very skimpy outfits, big breasts, flat chests, pretty girls kissing each other, hot guys kissing each other, naked girls with sexy bodies, naked guys with sexy bodies and the list goes on.

A majority of Anime these days are just cookie cutters made purely of fan-service and these are just PG-13+ rated pornography full of juvenile fantasies. These may arouse you at first if you’re a hormone charged teenager but as you watch you’ll begin to notice that these Anime are lacking substance. In short, you can grow out of these real quick.

kono-naka-ni-hitori-imouto-ga-iru-episode-4-064[1]

The anime this screenshot came from gave me diabeetus.

It’s not that there is anything thing wrong with fan-service, it’s just that it is often too involved in the Anime itself that it ignores the plot and character development. Fan service should only complement the plot itself and shouldn’t be the central theme to the Anime. If there’s too much of it to the point that it’s sacrificing the plot, it’s not worth our time. Fan-service shouldn’t be shoved right into the Anime itself when it clearly doesn’t fit, instead it would be a better idea to create an OVA to contain it so that there will be enough room for the characters and plot to develop.

f4l-1[1]

OMG, HARUKA I’LL BE YOUR WAIFU. KYAA~!!! > W<

As I’ve said before, a story that doesn’t go through the main plot points are uninteresting and characters that only borrow off the shelf archetypes are too shallow.  Fan-service is very integrated in Anime culture however too often we see Anime that doesn’t have an interesting plot or deep character development because of forced fan-service. As long as the Anime develops its plot we don’t actually mind the sexual content, however if we get too much to the point it starts taking too much screen time and it sacrifices the plot to do so, it just ruins the entire experience.

To wrap things up, we would like to see more time invested in planning out the plot, using more unique characters and the people making the Anime actually listen to what we fans have to say rather than just assuming what we want.

Good Luck, Have Fun

– Haiji Onii-san