Sorry about all the damn sound problems, fixed in a couple videos!
Sorry about all the damn sound problems, fixed in a couple videos!
Watching the CLG v Cloud 9 match last night, a big thing talked about was the significance of Cloud 9’s aggression.
They were pushing turrets incredibly quickly, taking a turret by 3 minutes, 20 seconds. Although losing First Blood, their early aggression earned them a lot of praise. You see, CLG have become somewhat known for their late-game strategy; picking champions that scale well into the late game (like Nasus and Vayne in this game) and just attempting to protect their turrets and farm as hard as possible, so as to win mid-late game fights.
Something interesting happened at a certain point in the game; around 12 minutes or so: Cloud 9’s aggression just… stopped. Two champions (Ryze and Ezreal) had just purchased Tear of the Goddess, an item that increases mana based on spellcasts. This meant that the champions they were opposed against in lane had an incredible damage potential over them. This meant that their incredibly aggression early game gave them a lot of early gold to survive this period of weakness wherein they were forced to play somewhat passively.
This perfectly highlights the importance and significance of early-game pressure. That huge push at the start of the game gave them not just a gold advantage, but a morale superiority; they were ahead, the crowd is cheering for their play-making, and CLG are very aware that they’re behind. Although obviously CLG somewhat pulled it back (not going to spoil the ending) – these guys are pros after all – but the lesson is an incredible one in solo queue.
As my friends say, go HAM (hard as a motherfucker). In solo queue, instead take it as knowing when to apply pressure in your lane and then roam, so as to exert pressure elsewhere. In 5v5s, try to emulate Cloud 9 in their effective pushing and pressure strategy.
Obviously, please don’t try it when you have terrible early game potential – I have seen many a Nautilus trying to make plays at the enemy’s Inner Turret without having even levelled his Dredge Line… but if you can practise it, do it! The pressure certainly demoralizes your enemies at the very least.
Just something I’m going to endeavour to emulate in future games as well.
Hrolf could not believe himself.
He was a Count. A leader of men. Someone to whom people expected to lead.
And somehow, there were people arriving from all over with just that in mind.
Numerous great leaders of Norsemen, ready to fight for him. Small bands of men arrived from all over, weapons at the ready, all bending the knee to Hrolf, every single one of them attesting to a dream they had, wherein a one-eyed man in a cowl spoke to them and urged them to come and fight for Hrolf de Normandie.
Of all the men that joined Hrolf, 3 stood out as powerful warriors renowned for their military prowess.
Ragnaar af Hoorn was one. Fabled as a man with a harsh temper, and one who greatly hated all those worshipers of the White God. Tales speak of his losing his entire family to so called “noble knights”. Hrolf had to admit, his name was especially fantastic; “Ragnaar”. Almost like a monster of the deep. Hrolf made a mental note to keep an eye on him, and ensure that this “Monster of the Deep” lead some of his armies.
Arnbjorn af Hoorn was another. A great leader of men, one who inspired great courage in others. Reputed to be humble towards those he served, but Hrolf’s courtier’s whispered to beware of his macinations, as he often plotted against those her served. Hrolf thought that those two qualities were somewhat conflicting to him… He was a distant relation to Ragnaar and thus shared in his hatred of the White Gods. The two maintained an long-running feud.
Sæmundr af Egmund was the last. Persistently plagued by paranoia, he was known as being highly aggressive in combat, yet arbitrary and distant in his dealings with others. A man truly only fit for combat; Hrolf ensured that he would get his share of blood to keep him appeased.
It was important to populate the council, and thus Hrolf had to decide who to appoint!
Putting the fabled Ragnaar as Marshal, Hrolf’s armies were sure to be ever aware of their leaders’s might. The other positions he filled rather indiscriminately; who is he to care about scheming or money making? He is a Viking! He will make his money through taking it from others!
All this completed, Hrolf needed to decide what he wanted to do with his new found power. In only the space of a short month, he was granted huge amounts of true power; he decided to do what a Viking does best! RAID. He has taken it upon himself to gain as much wealth as possible. He will raid until his ships are full and his coffers overflowing!
He assembled his armies.
He knew the importance of assigning proper people in charge of flanks, as he had prior experience serving as the Marshal of Holland. He put his generals in charge of respective flanks that he thought they would deal with best. Here’s hoping they don’t get themselves killed! Except for Arnbjorn… Hrolf didn’t lack that one so much…
The ships were ready. The armies were ready. Hrolf was ready.
He was going raiding.
Poor, poor abused Hrolf.
He exists normally as nothing more than a courtier of Holland.
No more, I say! No. More.
Hrolf de Normandie was born with a great destiny. The Gods truly had a plan laid out for him; why else would the birthing woman so insist, as if commanded by Odin himself, to strike Hrolf’s father’s name, and replace it with the mysterious “de Normandie”?
Hrolf has spent his entire life wondering why he was cursed with this affliction, this… This Frankish name. It plagued him throughout childhood. Constantly, people would mock him “Do you have no Father? A concubine’s bastard, eh? What Jarl would want you in his service?” It, of course, only pushed him; made him want to be better than all of them. This, the Gods planned well.
What they did not plan well was Hrolf’s father dying, and his brother being executed at the orders of a Danish noblemen. Hrolf often wonders why the nobleman didn’t have him killed as well. He never got a chance to ask before being shipped off to this silly Dutch land of Holland. If the noble were ever asked why he spared a young man such as Hrolf he would only pause, clearly in distress at the question, and say “History demanded it”.
So, Hrolf spends his days in the court of Holland, unsure of his life and his meaning. He serves this reformed Norseman Hrorekr, the Catholic bastard, as Marshal. Administering his armed forces, it is never enough to occupy his time – Hrolf is nothing if not diligent however, so he performs his duties well.
Again, the Gods deign it necessary to interfere.
Odin speaks to Hrorekr in the night. He tells him plainly and simply, with no allusions to his betrayal of the old ways, what he must do. Hrorekr speaks to no one about this.
Instead, he summons Hrolf to his hall early in the morning, conferring upon him a most unexpected and rather confusing honour:
“You will leave this moment for Westfriesland. It is now your land. You are also hereby released from my vassalage… You are your own free man now… Go. And speak no more of it”
Hrolf de Normandie is now the Count of Westfriesland. An independent Norse count, no less! Two Norse vassals serve beneath him as heads of the city and church there, thus giving him real and true power.
Truly, Hrolf did not quite understand why he was given this; court rumours states the Duke’s insanity and betrayal of some figure known as “Christ”, but Hrolf did not care. He did not question it. He simply assumed that the Gods had this planned all along, a chance at last to allow him some real power. He envisioned himself raiding Northern Europe and dying surrounded by wealth and women, content in his new home of Westfriesland.
The Gods did indeed plan this. But their plotting was not yet over. Hrolf still had plenty left to do before they were done with him.
Ever since The Old Gods came out, I’ve been wanting to play as Hrolf de Normandie, the founder of the dynastic line that eventually begot William the Conqueror. One can consider Hrolf the beginning of a line that would eventually utterly change England, and indeed the political scene of Europe, for ever.
For anyone interested, I own all the DLC so this could be a good example to see the different DLCs’ effects in-game.
Here’s some small historical context – you can skip past if you find this kind of stuff boring and you just want to skip to me being a badass raider, I won’t judge you. Promise.
“Rollo of Normandy”‘s identity is somewhat shrouded in mystery, as his true identity is difficult to pinpoint thanks to rather lax record keeping. Two prime candidates exist for his identity: the son of a deposed Danish nobleman, his brother was executed by the Danes, whilst he was exiled to a life of wandering; or, the first born son of a small Jarldom in Norway.
I like to think it’s the former of the two, simply because it’s way more badass. Paradox has seemingly agreed with me on this, as the historical character of Hrolf (the Norse spelling of the name) exists as a courtier in the Duchy of Holland. The other candidate (likely being around 7 years old at the 867 start) exists as some kid in Norway, so we can forget about him. Actually, no. Maybe I’ll kill him? End history’s questions once and for all? That would be cool.
In-game, Hrolf has been given the dynastic name of “de Normandie” as a nice little nod towards history, but I want to make that reality!
I’ve had to do some mild modding of the game so as to make him playable; namely, I’ve given him the county of Westfriesland in Holland, making him independent of the Norse Duke there. I’ve also made him of the Norse Pagan religion once again because the game has, for some reason, decided to label him as a Catholic (when, in truth, he likely only adopted Catholicism once settling in Normandy). I mean, what kind of fun would it be if I couldn’t raid and collect endless amounts of booty and women?
A couple rules first:
1. I won’t cheat to the best of my ability.
2. I won’t save scum. Unless I mess something up for stupid reasons based on me being a moron. Then again, how will you know? I’m not recording this. You’re not the boss of me! Still, I won’t.
So, some AAR goals. These are the things I will attempt to achieve within my play-through. It will be a fairly dynamic play-through, and I’ll try and incorporate as much role-play with regards to my character’s actions as I can, so if I fail a goal I won’t Alt+F4 and commit Seppuku. Right, here they are:
1. Raid and be an awesome Norse badass. Experience playing a Norse in CK2 to its fullest. Conquer stuff, kill prisoners, make noble women concubines, you name it.
2. Possibly aim to take the Duchy of Holland. Clearly, the current Norse Duke of Holland has betrayed the old ways and adopted the dreaded White God worship, with all their fancy hats, prayer books and silly languages… His title is an insult to Odin, thus it must be removed!
3. Conquer as many De Jure counties in the Duchy of Normandy as possible before Hrolf de Normandie dies.
4. [Edit: Thanks to the information of redditor One0Eyed0King, I’ve laxed this one. I don’t need to form the Duchy of Normandy anymore, as Rollo never properly did.] Before death, form the Duchy of Normandy, and make it my main title. My aim, ideally, is that by the end of his life Hrolf is the owner of two Duchies, thus his children will split them up, allowing me to continue to play as the one in charge of Normandy.
5. Keep being a badass. Conquer some stuff, raid, maybe conquer some places in Spain and put Norse Pagans there? Also awesome.
6. Eventually except the Norman-ization of my dynasty. For thus uninitiated, in a recent patch to the game, an event is included that allows people of the Norse culture to adopt “Norman” culture if they have their main holdings in French, Breton or Occitan lands. This is for the purpose of keep things somewhat historical, as that’s exactly what happened to the Norse conquerors of Normandy in real life.
7: I guess accept that blasted White God that those Catholics seem to like so much… I’d have to endeavour to marry my line into the English line at some point so as to get a claim. OR, even better, I could actually do a proper style Papal Invasion of England, just like William did.
8. Continue on with being an awesome Norman. Rule England, all that jazz.
9. Eventually accept the English conversion of my Norman culture. In the same manner of the Norman conversion event, as long as the year is at least 1100, any Normans who hold land in places of de Jure England will eventually be able to adopt the new English culture in the “English Culture Melting-Pot” event.
10. Then, finally: be an awesome Englishman. Maybe form the Empire of Brittania? Conquer Europe? Put my dynasty on as many thrones as I can? I like that. Imagine a de Normandie on every throne in Europe. Ahhh, it’d be glorious.
So, expect the first section of my AAR to come soon; it’ll introduce Hrolf, talk about his starting abilities and his stats and his situation, and then do some delicious raiding.
Hope you enjoy it!
A little while ago I advertised the sale of Crusader Kings 2 at 75% off.
The reason I did that is not just because of my love for the company; don’t get me wrong, I do support Paradox and all their endeavours – I buy pretty much every damn DLC they release because I always know it’s going to be good. I had a more selfish reason to display it though. I want my friend to buy it.
This game is… Good. It is so good. And yet, somehow, it is so damn niche that a lot of people either haven’t heard of it or just simply don’t care! Why?!
Whilst at work the other day – menial phone surveys; hey, a guy’s gotta eat – I was perusing the CK2 forums as I usually do. A member of the cleaning staff put his face next to mine, paused for a moment and then said “Another CK2 fan, eh? Finally!” Thus began a rather long discussion about the game, it’s inherent merits and its general awesomeness. Nice guy. Obviously I was terrified to begin with; I assumed this person was about to the murder me and eat my face. Maybe he still will? Perhaps the game attracts homicidal people? Can’t tell. What I can tell is that the game is so fantastic and yet so damn unknown, that people who do enjoy it are so desperately hoping to lure other people into playing just so they can have someone to damn talk to about it.
I’ve been somewhat successful so far in luring at least one of my friends to the game. I’ve been selling it as a truly glorious medieval dynasty simulator wherein one could accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself in a truly epic history of your own. Instead, I should have just mentioned it has a critically acclaimed and wholesomely accurate ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ conversion mod. Next time it’s on sale, he’s going to buy it; thank christ, someone to talk to about the damn game…
Of course, he playing Heart of Iron before, so he’s somewhat used to Paradox Interactive games. That’s the main problem however; people who aren’t used to it just have no idea what to expect or how to go about learning it.
I started on the original Crusader Kings, and a little bit of Heart of Iron. It was… so hard. I don’t even remember who I played – what countries, what families… It was all a blur of inheritance laws, rebels, embarking mechanics and other confusions. I don’t know how I eventually got good at it, but I did. So, when CK2 was released, I bought it Day 1 and then of course spend the next few weeks horribly confused all over again.
And I loved it.
And so will you. I’m not paid by Paradox or anything like that (unless you really want me to, PI… Call me) but I simply just want more people to talk to about the game! It’s so moddable, so fun, so re-playable that I always have questions: How can I make it so I can play as the founder of the de Normandie dynasty? Is there events? How do I get an invasion army for free at the beginning of the game so I can go raiding? These are things that I’ve had to deduce on my own (well… with the help of the fantastic modding community that exists on the PI forums hint-hint) but which I would love to discuss with friends. At least my girlfriend is picking it up, and dammit I hope she likes it. We could totally play multiplayer together. That’d be awesome.
I just want other people to buy the damn game so I can play it with them!
Or… Maybe I just want to see them lose everything due to accidentally marrying their heir matrilineally. Yeah… that too.
Addendum: I might actually be doing an AAR (After Action Report, kinda like a Let’s Play with more roleplaying) on the CK forums soon, so stay tuned for that!
Any fans of Paradox Interactive must know about Crusader Kings 2.
This game is… Let’s face it, it’s like crack. I go through periods of binging on this game that last a week or two; this typically occurs every few months.
I want to be a stand-up member of society. I want to encourage you all to not buy this game, so that you don’t suddenly discover that massive stretches of time have disappeared. I don’t want you guys to become addicted, I mean it. It’s horrible… The enjoyment, the satsifaction… Oh god, the sense of accomplishment in this game! It ruins you.
I want to be a good man. But I can’t. I’m weak. So, you’re going to go take a look at Gamersgate and you’re going to go any buy Crusader Kings 2 and all the relevent DLC, and then you’re going to thank me. At first.
Then, you’ll curse me. You’ll loathe me. But in the long run, it’ll be worth it, just trust me on that.
The new DLC “The Old Gods is also available for pre-order here. I am so damn excited for it. Might be good to give you guys a list of the Developer Diaries, the episodic teasers by Paradox about the DLC:
On the 16th of this month, Razer’s Europe store had either a bug or a mistake that meant that entering “1234” as a discount code automatically lowered the cost of one’s order by 90%!
As you can imagine, I took part in it wholeheartedly, ordering myself an Orb-weaver and a Tournament keyboard. My girlfriend (who told me about the discount) got a crap ton of stuff as well, as did many of my friends.
However, we are now all in Limbo. Razer has said nothing other than “this was a not a true discount code, and we are looking into it”. It would appear they’re refusing to share information with their customers, or just generally keep us informed as to what they’re going to do.
Regardless of the economic loss to themselves, Razer is currently in the possession of a large amount of money from a lot of people who partook in this offer, and they’re not sending out the items yet. This means that they’ve taken the money from out Pay-pals, they’ve made all the items not already shipped before the error was discovered on backlog, and have closed their site.
They are, essentially, withholding our money from us. I am not sure of the legal ramifications of this, as we have paid, and many have recieved confirmation of their order.
In looking at their terms and conditions, simply clicking “Place Order” is not a confirmation of sale legally; to be a true promise of sale, one needs to have their order confirmed. One of my order was confirmed, as was the first order of my girlfriend’s, but our other orders still remains in limbo. Taking their terms and conditions into account, this should feasibly mean that the confirmed orders have to go through.
But, we don’t know. Either they’re frantically speaking to their lawyers trying to find a way out of this, or they’re simply withholding information for whatever reason. It’d sure help restore satisfaction and trust in the company if they would say something though.
It sure would help to let us know something.
I just finished Bioshock:Infinite. Work (both Uni and actual) kept getting in the way of me just sitting down and finishing this game, so it took me about four days. I technically have about 40 hours logged on Steam into this game, except a large portion of that is just the game sitting there whilst I was out for the day because I didn’t want to lose my save!
I stayed up till 03:30 this morning to finish this game. I am done. That. Was. Amazing.
I appear to be a part of a minority here, in that I’ve never played any of the other Bioshock games. Honestly, I never have. I heard they were scary, so I didn’t play them. I know, I know, childish but… I’m a pansy. It took me ages for my friends to convince me to play Left for Dead: 2 with them, I’m that terrible with any kind of horror / thriller games. I wish I wasn’t, because I know I’m missing out on so many great experiences, and it is something I’m trying to overcome but… Still. It persists. I would have put Bioshock: Infinite down after that one jump scare that everyone who’s played it knows about if it weren’t for the simply fantastic story that I could never bring myself to part with.
This article is going to be fairly riddled with spoilers. I’ll make a spoiler free section wherein I discuss the general motif of the game that won’t contain many spoilers. In fact, I think I’ll start with that first!
Relatively spoiler-free section – Only discussing
The game is a visual masterpiece. Few dissenting opinions appear to exist just yet; Columbia is painted so beautifully and truthfully as to be an image of heaven. This heaven soon reveals the tragic and dark underbelly of any metropolis, but the journey wherein Booker discovers the reality of Columbia is one that I will forever envy my past self for getting to experience.
What I believe to be the first hint of the truth of Columbia is at the carnival very early-on in the game. Besides all of the general revelry that the rich white people partake in, there is on who does not enjoy himself. A clown looks forlornly at you at the carnival. He just stares at you, juggling balls. That sad smile… This is the first real hint that all is not what it seems.
It’s things like that that are amazing. There are just numerous untold details that I can’t even begin to fully encompass without spoiling anything.
The gameplay was just electric. Not just the damn Shock Jockey Vigor, the whole experience; I thoroughly enjoyed battling enemies with a variety of both vigors and guns. Truth be told, the powers were sometimes a little bit lackluster and I was well aware of the fact that the powers couldn’t actually be relied upon – they just up the bad guys to be 2nd Amendment-ed by my guns. Still, the merging of powers with guns, as well as the sky-line combat just made it all so fantastic.
A few other points that are devoid of spoilers before I move on:
Rotten Apples – The game penalizes you for just accepting everything you find; it forces you to actually think what you’re doing, to stop and look at your surroundings. This is just… fantastic. It forces the player to not just spam F and eat everything they find, and to instead stop and realize what you’re looking at. This cultivates a fantastic mindset in the game where you are never not paying attention.
Elizabeth is so damn fast – This annoyed me slightly, but I guess it was necessarily in the times that Elizabeth is… separated from you, shall we say, she runs so damn fast. How? You’re goddamn Booker DeWitt, you kill countless buggers with your awesome array of weapons, vigors and bad-assery. How can this 20 year old girl with no physical training or experience (except dancing) somehow outrun you?!
Elizabeth helps you search – When searching through a variety of places for equipment, resources or some such, Elizabeth actually looks with you. She actively looks around the room, surveying stuff, making it look like she’s really helping you. She’ll also point out lock-picks to you – although it would be nice if she were to pick them up herself, the lazy cow… After all, it’s the only item she actually uses.
Without discussing spoilers, this game truly is a visual and thematic masterpiece. Obviously it has some flaws (some of which I’ll talk about in my next article, wherein I respond to a few reviews about it), but I can safely place it among my most enjoyable gaming experiences of all time.
Right, the story. My god, was that twist enjoyable. The type of experience that requires you to stop a while, consider what’s happened – hell, even go on a few forums and figure it out. The sudden and ultimate twist is something that people always enjoy, but the fantastic thing about Bioshock: Infinite’s twist was how it tied everything together. The entire game is spent on this hunt for Elizabeth with no real understanding of why you’re trying to get her; everything is ultimately hinting at this grand finale that ties everything together.
Dammit, it was satisfying. I actually had trouble playing the game due to my hands being on my head in mind-baffling bam-boozlement.
If people do not understand the story, there are plenty of places out there where you can figure it out (possibly go to the bioshock subreddit?) but just… Damn, I enjoyed it.
I was writing notes for this article whilst playing it; I thought I would be constantly referring back to it, but I ultimately just got too engrossed in the whole experience to step away long enough to put anything to paper.
I don’t want to be another writer who simply gives Bioshock: Infinite a 10/10 rating, because it doesn’t actually deserve that. It is not a perfect game. 10/10 in the sense of an excellent experience that I would recommend to anyone? Absolutely. In my next article, I’m going to be responding to a few reviews of Bioshock: Infinite – both favourable and not – about how the game failed in some areas; some of it may be nitpicking, be warned – it is hard to fault a game such as this, but however much I want to give it a perfect review one simply can’t…
So, tune in next time!
Just thought I’d link it, just played the game and it went very well. Very enjoyable! We actually lost thanks to some silly decisions late game, but damn it was fun.