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frankveilleux5: Google Zerg Rush: That was an order, soldier
Let's talk about Wall Neutrality – The destruction of walls is significant and deserves a developer discussion.
I wrote this post before the video was ready, and we've since gotten a response!! see below – Blue Post:
The gist of the change is that once the gate and tower is down, the walls can end up being more of a hindrance to the defending team than a benefit as attacking heroes utilize them for their own defense, but the defending team doesn't have any option to destroy the walls.
My comment: Defenders may feel choked in their base but it's not like the walls aren't giving them any advantage. For instance walls will tank Triple Tap shots for them when they position properly! So ideally, defenders should be able to keep their walls up if they want to. This is just additional argument in favor of the neutral walls proposition I discuss below, which would allow defenders to decide whether they want the walls or not. More decision making! Today I also see this as a top post. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for both Blizzard and wall interactions.
The plays in this video are not possible in the PTR.
What’s my concern?
The walls removal change remains unjustified; I want it to be proven to be a good change, or else see it replaced or reverted. I also want to circulate what I think is the best alternative change: 'Wall Neutrality'.
What's this post for?
This post serves as an extended discussion for the comment I will be making in the upcoming Developer Q&A. It echoes all of my discussion this past week or so.
Who is affected?
Every hero. This game is not played in a vacuum. If it affects one character directly, it then indirectly affects every other character. Many characters are directly affected anyway. I’m not going to list them all here because it’s been done several times now. Notable mention to Illidan because I main him, and I would argue he uses walls the most.
What would I miss with this change?
What is the epitome of a game? The most game-like experience a game can offer? To me, the plays I'm going to discuss are those exact epitome-stuff. To take them away is to diminish the point of playing the game at all. What I'm talking about is like the yūgen of games: the potentiality of plays to be made. The knowledge that there is a play to be made, and the feeling you have as a player to strive and make those plays. These mechanics are some of the best ways of exploring this feeling of skillful exploration in Heroes. I've always been fascinated by mechanically exploring games. I'm basically an explorer player-type in Bartle's Taxonomy of Player Types. This change would take away heavily from that motivation's target content. Lots of playmaking potential:
Kerrigan already can't do her situationally strong and satisfying shrine minion Q resetting anymore, this change will have finished dumbing her down... it pains me to see plays that satisfy cognitively being removed from the game
(the most similar hero to Illidan) Diablo: wallstunning an enemy into a Wall with Devastating Charge, or Shadow Charging to a wall to escape/chase or attacking it to reduce cooldowns
strategic layer of deciding whether to manually destroy walls or let them stand (for the sake of ability interactions as well as pathing and vision)
the tangible reward of taking down a fort, because it feels like you've captured the walls in the territory for your own use; the change would instead make taking down forts less appealing, and purely destructive as a behavior
More realistic/immersive design:
it makes sense that Illidan and Chen can use their acrobatics to jump over walls, Diablo and Butcher can charge toward walls, Kerrigan can leap at walls, and similarly for multiple other characters...
for many melee characters, this feels like the touch of added agility they both need, and should realistically have, to at least have some counterplay to other heroes like Genji dashing great distances; i.e. Kerrigan (who entirely relies on her Q to navigate the battlefield) can dive out to a wall to help retreat instead of painfully walking the whole way while Genji dances around her
forts leaving behind ruins tells a story
displays the degree to which the attackers bothered to ransack the place, allowing insight into the enemy team's behaviours
a measure by which to judge the enemy's interest in vision – for example if you see a Sonya destroy a wall, it's likely she is interested in sneaking the boss nearby
enemy patterns of aiming AoE skillshots
helps you to notice reasons the enemy will try to attack walls, for cooldown reduction talents, lifesteal, mobility, etc.
as a Chromie player, a measure by which to judge the enemy's understanding of Chromie's Slowing Sands chokepoint advantage – maybe it won't be worth picking Slowing Sands this game
it reminds the player that a fort used to stand there, leading them to appreciate their surviving forts more
Why shouldn’t something remain standing after you've taken down only the main components of a base? It's a more natural progression than a binary situation where either the fort is intact or the fort is totally gone. What if a hero was introduced later that could place turrets on walls? They would be unique in that they could rebuild defenses where forts had fallen. Much to the same goal as Ragnaros's trait, defense where once forts stood. That would be cool, might as well save potential for the possibility.
In summary, I would miss playmaking potential and player agency.
On the unusual lack of developer comments
I originally found out about this change here. Apparently it's supposed to "clean up the battlefield a little bit." You're going to have to make a stronger argument to sell me on this change for all the playmaking I lose as a result. Is a "little bit"ty change really worth the large impact players like I feel? Does Blizzard truly appreciate the impact this has? I consider this more important than the removal of ammo to my playstyle of Illidan and Diablo. I'd rather lose the ability to mount in order to maintain the leftover wall interactions that define my gameplay. I've said it before, Illidan's ability to Dive leftover walls is more valuable than his ability to mount. I can go a whole fort or keep deeper than I would otherwise, because I know I can Dive-chain back through the fort/keep and then the wall to get out. Take that wall away, and the effective distance I would have to go to chase under a fort/keep is much greater (via mere walking), so it's also much more often lethal. That tipping point is a huge effect on the viability of Illidan doing what he does, and more importantly, it takes away a fun skill to master. There are also many situations where I'm not even deep within fort territory but a wall allows me to escape – as far as I can remember, mounting has never saved my life, except to get out of Archangel's Wrath. And we already went through how many heroes are affected. Everything from blocking Triple Tap to heroes like Kerrigan and Valla getting creative resets. The event announcements didn't mention this change, presumably because it's seen as unimportant or the developers realized internally it would be controversial. Based on the poll I ran, a lot of people think they prefer walls how they are now. This means we deserve an explanation for the proposed change, at the least. I also hope the developers would consider our own opinions, since people such as myself have put the most time into playing heroes such as Illidan. We've been asking:
You may argue, walls are still in the game... you can use them before they get auto-destroyed. Well the unique role walls play only begins once the accompanying structures are destroyed. Not only is it much less worth diving a wall when a tower or fort is still up, but you can simply dive the tower, gate, or fort instead. On the only mentioned dev argument, that of "cleaning up a little bit": Cleaning up the game isn't really a good thing when you do so by introducing arbitrary rules. The point of cleaning up is to make things simpler to understand. But having walls auto-destruct when the nonadjacent gate falls is arbitrary. Why do they auto-destruct? Are they rigged to explode? It's arbitrary and also it erodes at player decision, the very ideal which simplicity is supposed to enhance. Many players on Reddit have actually argued for the proposed change, for a different reason. It reminds me very much of my qualms with Genji, and so I find it relateable. I'd like to find a solution for both wall-divers and those who feel abused by it. Here are the most prominent forms of this argument for automatically removing walls, which I have broken down by my paraphrased responses: 1)
More metacognitive question is, is balance second to design? I'd say yes. The fun and engaging playmaking potential comes first, balance after. Regardless of whether Illidan has a balance advantage from this interaction, he can still be balanced in other ways. Hence I think your usage of the term "extra" is incorrect; balance in this game is asymmetric. And you know he is not some broken hero right now anyway.
To expand on this... Each hero softly breaks the game in their own way. Walls are one way that Illidan is characterized. Lucio rides the walls; Illidan dives them. Ragnaros takes over enemy forts, erupting volcano-like from their ashes. Illidan climbs around on their remains. This is just hero differentiation. Each hero does something the others cannot, and goes "Ha-ha, I'm better than you at this." Like when you're getting pelted by Chromie and you can do nothing about it but run around pseudorandomly. Or when Dva hops in her mech like, "You are never gonna kill me, is this EZ mode?" Or when... Illidan dives a wall, showing you how much more acrobatic he is than your fat Azmodan. Azmodan the fatboi has his glory later when he bodyblocks you to death. Balance-wise, this is called asymmetrical balance. Starcraft is built around this premise too; each race is unique and so able to perform feats the other race cannot. Terran structures can lift off the ground. Zerg units can burrow. Protoss units can warp in. Etc. This game is much the same; each hero has a shtick. Varian is always protected. Auriel is always generating energy, healing without ever backing. Genji is always abusing absurd mobility. Whether or not there is counterplay is no question; each ability has counterplay. They are each countered in different ways, to different degrees. This fairness all resolves via balance, i.e. how often can Genji dash, how large is Auriel's heal, what is Chromie's range value, what is Illidan's Dive cooldown. But Illidan's ability to dive walls is not a continuous variable, it's a design binary to be balanced indirectly. Just like the binary of whether Genji can land anywhere he wants with Swift Strike, or if he has to pick a target. It should depend entirely on whether it's fun and defining for the character. So in short, getting mobility from walls is not extra, but designed, and fairness is dependent on the values associated with the interaction, not whether the interaction can happen in the first place. No need to remove a fun interaction. 2)
There IS counterplay. Absolute statements are the easiest to disprove. Polymorph me. I can't Dive that wall. Blind me. I can't get Dive off cooldown to Dive that wall fast enough. Kill me. I can't Dive that wall, I'm dead. Stun me. I can't Dive that wall, I'm stunned. Root me. I can't Dive that wall, I'm rooted. ...Are you living in a vacuum? This game has a flux of conditions going on, from a myriad of different abilities. How about use them against me?... Stasis me. I can't Dive that wall. Temporal Loop me. I just Dived that wall and came back. Vorpal Blade me. You can still catch me. Swift Strike after me. You just traveled farther than I did. Stage Dive me. You caught me. Fly after me and Gust me back. You outplayed me. Stun me when I land on the other side. Now I feel like I have no counterplay, good job you are now playing like a Grandmaster tank player known as Fate or a skilled Tyrande known as Kure. Or simply get me away from the wall. Sometimes I am simply going too deep to Dive back out over the wall, because you are too hard to finish in time. I may have to burn Meta to get back out. Illidan is forced to Dive to a specific point. This is classic counterplay in that you know EXACTLY where I will land, and you can take advantage of that information. Kure has taken advantage of this like nobody else has, for some reason – I remember him intelligently stunning me with a Lunar Flare because he knew I had to Dive the wall to get out. That's textbook counterplay, my friend. That's how you counterplay Illidan. Stun me when I land after ANY Dive. Not just a wall. That's my moment of weakness. I've played against smart tank players (such as Fate) who will hang out around the wall, forcing me to not Dive to it or else get stunlocked on the other side. That is literally countering my play; I don't want to go there anymore.
Yes, it is simple. Overly simple. By that logic, Ragnaros shouldn't be allowed to take over forts in enemy territory, because that's using an enemy structure for your own advantage. Just like Ragnaros must first destroy the fort to even cast the abililty, a wall-diver such as Illidan must first destroy/disable the fort, to remove its slowing attacks and thus make going over useful. It's only once you've disabled the fort that both Ragnaros and wall-divers really start to shine. I personally adore the depth of gameplay this allows. As Ragnaros, it's a rush to take over an enemy fort, you feel like you're wresting control. You're the raid boss now. It's like, I own this place! Besides, he wouldn't get much value with his trait if he was winning, otherwise. Against Illidan, you get a real sense for your base being overrun when Illidan is diving all over it, doing acrobatic parkour. It's very much an Assassins Creed situation where Illidan is dashing from rooftop to rooftop, treading enemy territory. He isn't overpowered by doing this, but rather he is given windows of time where he can be enabled to shine, such as the Raven Lord's Curse. If you haven't pulled off one of these maneuvers, you don't know what you're missing out on! You may want the sides of the map to be black and white (this wall is mine, you can't interact with it), but in the current state of the game there is nuanced gameplay. And there ARE counters. In the same vein of stunning Ragnaros when he's doing his fort thing, you can stun Illidan, for example, then he can't Dive.
This is a dichotomy over the philosophical concept of ownership. Of whether ownership implies it only helps you, or if it just means it's located on the side of the map you came from. I take the latter stance. There's a common motive I've noticed that's important to acknowledge for the pro-removal side of the argument. This opinion stems from a desire for greater player agency. These players are mostly concerned about their perceived lack of counterplay options. Many have taken the stance that the planned change is a good one because it will reduce situations where they cannot counterplay acrobatic wall maneuvers. Now I've already argued there is actually counterplay, but it's understandable that players want to feel more capable of countering the play than they are now (in the same way I am annoyed by Genji's crazy mobility andthinkmoreofhiskitshouldbetowardlininguptargetstogetbonusesalaBatteredAssaultandFlowLikeWaterinsteadofflyingacrossthewholescreeneverytime,butthat'sforanotherday ); I think we can agree that there is some substantial counterplay against Illidan (one of the most counterable heroes in draft), but there could be more. What I suggest is to turn the change around in a way that satisfies the desire for player agency on both sides...
The proposed alternative change
I propose an alternative that has been mentioned by players such as quickiler and dragonsroc. Once the tower adjoining a wall has fallen, the adjacent wall becomes neutral. This allows both teams to target the wall, which is only going to mean more potential for interactivity than before (where only the opposing team could target either team's wall). This way, both player agencies are resolved, in that Illidan opponents can destroy their own walls to counterplay the Wall interactions, and Illidan players can save the Walls so that they may actually perform the Wall interactions. Having the neutrality happen only after the tower destruction instead of from the beginning of the game keeps the annoying task of going around OCD-like destroying every wall on your side of the map from having to occur, just because there is an Illidan (or any other significant wall-interacting hero) on the opposing team. Having the neutrality happen after the tower destruction and not based on the gate makes it less arbitrary; the gates don't touch the walls, anyway. This also poses interesting new scenarios: do you destroy your wall to keep the Illidan from chasing, while at the same time letting that Triple Tap get through? In the end, there is more depth added to the game. That's more counterplay, more realism, more decision making, more outplay moments. In my opinion, elegant depth (emergent gameplay based on intuitive patterns) is an ideal design goal; arbitrary simplicity (reducing mechanics for the supposed sake of making the game simpler but in fact it makes less sense, like walls automatically destroying themselves when a gate falls, without player decision being possible) is not. This is what my hero does, and it's so integral to his design that I need to hear a satisfying replacement design before I can accept it. All I'm asking for right now is an explanation from the developers. We've gotten feedback on all other announcements except for this one. It was under the radar in the announcements, for reasons I'm not aware. Don't destroy walls when the towers and gate fall. Make them neutral. I want to be outplayed, and continue outplaying.
About the "MSC was good" posts that are popping up now: We should do what is right for the game and be open to innovation and change
Sorry for the long post, but this is something I need to get off my chest, and I hope at least some of you bear with me. People here hated on msc for years now, practically begged Blizzard for a different solution, but most were so cynical that nothing would be ever done about it. MSC became the posterboy for everything wrong with SC2, the symbol of things going downhill: We knew that real problems with the game wouldn't be solved anymore, manpower wouldn't be invested into fixing bad design, innovation was a thing of the past. Instead, bandaids were now acceptable and what the players had to live with, if they wanted a balanced game that is. Why did we see it as such? Because ms core was binary, it made players rely on a gimmicky hero unit too much, when they had it at the right place and time, they defended, when they didn't, they lost. It made the game unintuitive for new players, it made early-game interaction with protoss pointless in many cases and limited variety. We intuitively knew that this unit did not belong to the game. It never felt "right". When the balance team announced the possibility of removal, my heart jumped. Not because I want p players to lose, not because it gives me more aggression options as a z (ok this is "a" reason, but I think it will be more fun for both sides), but because it is a step back from giving up on the game and one towards making it the best game it can be. I love this game so much, and god I want it to be perfect so much. To some protoss players who are discouraged: Did you expect this to be easy? It is going to be a daunting task to replace the ms core which is actually not really a unit, but a core mechanic of the race. "We have tried three solutions and failed" some say, but maybe we have to try five, maybe ten. Maybe the new mechanics have to be buffed big time to feel good at first, at least until people optimize their builds around these and learn to play with them, discovering their strengths and weaknesses. There is also the fact that whatever we try might feel weak despite its real strength, because let's be honest, nobody will learn how to use a new mechanic in a week - this is just how stacraft is, some of the most op stuff gets discovered years down the line, but even "efficient" usage might need months. The point I am trying to make is not that we should start 2018 with a new mechanic that feels shitty or weak for the protoss race, but that "points" a mechanic uses can always be tweaked. It is the "feel" that has to be correct, and I do think that any of the suggested mechanics have a much better feel than the mothership core which embodies several features that are just deadly to what makes starcraft starcraft. Again, it is not going to be easy. Maybe we have to nerf terran and zerg early aggression, make zerg tech to drops again, make medivac boost an upgrade, maybe mine needs a different change or maybe current bile range should be an upgrade. I don't know honestly. What I am saying is there is a need to think outside the box here, consider many things, and ask ourselves: Why can't protoss defend? How do we make the race defend reasonably with units? Another person suggested a ray that is channeled by the nexus which buffs a single protoss unit's damage and speed. This is one of my favourite suggestions. Why not try before being discouraged and giving up? It could be powerful in defending (damage and speed instead of hp regen) and it is not really very abusable. I have mentioned several points here, but ultimately: There is so much that can be done that can replace the ms core and they all present better alternatives, if one is not getting too hung up on the numbers that is. P players, don't fear that you'll get stuck with something that doesn't allow you to defend. In this game winrates have never been too lopsided, when they almost were adjustments were made. T and Z players, don't fear that some overpowered abomination comes out of this (mass healing carriers were mentioned), abusable shit will stick out in the competitive environment that we have in SC2 and will be changed. Let's all have the courage for innovation. One last word, but this time to Blizzard: It has happened time and again, people complained about something for ages, it was removed, then people started to complain about its removal, apparently it was the best thing after all. Tankivac example comes to mind. Probably there still are some people who prefer tankivacs, but most of us simply know, this was the better tank design for this game. It ultimately never mattered which tank was more powerful, but which one was intuitive, which one played more like a tank, which one "felt" right. Tanks are made so often now and are a staple position-holding unit, not a drop harass unit like x other units in SC2. They are extremely powerful, imo much more so than tankivacs, but they don't feel like a gimmick, they aren't "frustrating". They provide interesting interaction for both sides. What I am getting at is: There is such a thing as correct game design. Blizzard, you saw that tankivac didn't make sense, even when a lot of people were suddenly against it, you still changed it. You did the correct thing. Take suggestions from community, they usually are correct when they complain about something adamantly. But ultimately, you are the game designers. As a young and passionate team (this is how I view the current balance team, hope I do not offend) you know what is wrong and you will find out how you can fix it in the end. Don't get discouraged by the community that seems to change its mind by the minute, it is the nature of reddit, it is the fact that unhappy people are the loudest, it is also the fact that some people are just worried. But worry is part of the game when we do such a big change. Let me conclude by saying that we need courage and innovation. We need to think about starcraft as a whole, and the goal should always be to make its full potential unfold. tl;dr: i lost to pylon rush and came to whine.
[ALL] I just found the best analysis of the ending decision of the first game. (Warning: long text)
Courtesy of TVTropes:
The option to save Chloe and why it exists ... a k a Max is not Commander Shepard At the end of Day 5, you are presented with a binary choice — Save Arcadia Bay or Save Chloe. The game sends you clue after clue, hint after hint that Chloe is a Doom Magnet and trying to save her only causes bad things to continue to occur. Almost every day has you trying to save Chloe's life, be it Nathan with a gun, Chloe shooting at junk, Chloe playing on the train tracks, Chloe becoming a quadriplegic who is slowly withering away, Chloe being killed by Mr. Jefferson and so on. The game is telling you that YOU DONE FUCKED IT UP!! when you saved Chloe the first time, and the only way to prevent the tornado from wrecking the town is to go back to Day 1 and let Nathan kill Chloe. Now, accepting that realization and fixing the timeline would have in itself been an excellent ending — by providing An Aesop about causality, how linear time strongly enforces it, and the disastrous pitfalls of messing with it. So why does the game allow Max to not learn that valuable lesson, instead opting to save Chloe? It is because Max would have to learn the extremely Family-Unfriendly Aesop that sometimes an innocent life must be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, consider who is this particular Aesop useful to? It is usually people with tremendous responsibility and a great deal of authority over people, who will assist that leader. People like ship's captains, mission commanders, field commanders, secret agents, law enforcement superagents, ICU personnel doing triage, emergency medicine specialists, governors, presidents, prime ministers etc. For the most part, these people volunteered for the job, or were otherwise qualified for it, thus they are receptive to this lesson. Now consider what Max Caulfield is? She is a shy introverted photography nerd who is in high school. She is just concerned with navigating high school cliques, not navigating a spaceship through a mine field. She just wants to make it through her Science, Lit and Art classes, not make it through a Zerg Rush, a Macross Missile Massacre and a Beam Spam. The most risky thing she would have ever considered doing, is to dip in the pool with Chloe and maybe steal a kiss, not say, infiltrating an enemy base and stealing vital intelligence. She is content to trade barbs with Victoria, not trading broadsides across the bow. Max is even an Actual Pacifist who Does Not Like Guns. She realizes, like other teen superheroes such as Spider-Man do, that with her ability Comes Great Responsibility. But should she be expected to learn the harsh truth about the brutal calculus? Should she be expected to at that age bear the burden of sacrificing Chloe, knowing that doing so will save the town? Or would it be ok for Max the high schooler to just want to be with Chloe? Ultimately that is the choice the game puts to the player. Should you as the player act like you are playing Deus Ex or Mass Effect 3 and make the cold calculating choice? Or should you realize that you are role playing as an eighteen year old introverted art student and act with the heart? THAT is the choice in the end. The ending cutscenes play out accordingly. Sacrifice Chloe and all you see Max do is cry — she weeps uncontrollably, huddled in the corner as Chloe gets shot, then is shown crying at the funeral. This cutscene is a What the Hell, Player? montage saying, "Look! Because you made her act according to the brutal calculus when she wasn't prepared to handle it, she is now broken!" The other cutscene where she saves Chloe shows a happier Max. Yes, the town was destroyed, but in the end she didn't lose her true companion. She isn't as broken about Arcadia Bay being destroyed and whatever loss of life may have occurred because they are abstract things, while Chloe is a concrete real thing that she didn't have to sacrifice.
This makes so much sense. I'd gone for the Sacrifice Arcadia Bay ending because I thought Max couldn't sacrifice Chloe as all that(Looking at things without the surrounding context, saving the Bay is definitely the more 'correct' decision, logically, but I try to think when playing games with the mindset of my character, not myself), but I hadn't realized it this deeply. It's perfectly fitting. O unknown Troper who wrote this: bless thy heart.
Stronghold: What it's bringing and how it could be better.
After watching the EU and NA Academy Gaming Stronghold cup I felt it would be important to have a large discussion on the state of the game type. This will be a really long read so I will try to keep each section as short as possible but I did want to be exhaustive so I tried to write down everything. I’m interested to see what other people think so please read it if you have the time and let’s try to have a discussion about the game-type as a whole. I think it has a lot of potential and I hope ArenaNet are really taking a good look at this and what it could be. Thanks for reading. User-Interface/View-Ability: This is written mostly from the perspective of watching the game in spectator mode. -Party UI: While spectating a match, the current UI which shows the teams and their health/boons is difficult to view. A better alternative might be having a larger party UI which shows the faces of the players. Viewers could then identify players quicker and the players could even have their faces greyed out with death timers present, once they died. -Countdown timer on hero: When playing Stronghold, the Mist Hero Summon gives a warning in advance, with a countdown timer. While spectating, that timer is absent which may leave some viewers confused. It would be nice if the timer was visible so that people could watch the map rotate as the summon becomes available. -Targeting the lord by clicking the icon: This is a fairly small QoL change and may actually be in the game already, but since the lord is such a large mechanic of the game it would be nice if the spectator could click the Lord Icon and have their health and status pulled up on the center of the screen. -Supply counts: This might be unnecessary, but it could be another nice QoL change to have supply on characters shown in the Team UI and possibly how much supply is in the center and a countdown to when it is refreshed. -Visual effects: ArenaNet have already stated that they are putting in some adjustments to the particle effects but I think it is worth mentioning that it is extremely important for the view-ability of plays. -Locations for the camera: It seems like ArenaNet designed the map and camera locations with a spectator mentality. There seem to be a lot more places for the camera to view wide angles of the action going on the map. Map Mechanics: The idea behind this section is to increase the styles of play and diverse strategies for teams. It was also apparent that once a team gains a slight lead, they mostly close out the game. With some changes it will hopefully be more rewarding to successfully guard a base. -Guards need to be veterans: As it is, the first two sets of guards are basically a non-factor. By changing all the guards to veterans, teams would have more of a difficulty zerging them down, possibly allowing for more room to spawn archers. Often times we see teams being able to hold a defense at the second set of gates, because those guards are useful and can actually survive and deal damage. The last set of guards could possibly be Elites, but that may promote turtling too much. -Gates need more health: Similar to the issue of guards, all the gates currently break down way too fast. This will especially be true if teams start adding might to their Door Breakers (which may need to also be discussed). If gates have more health, players can be more incentivized to fight other players, because their doors aren’t going to fall from a few Door Breakers after 2 hits. -Barracks sides of base seem under-utilized: The barracks side of each teams’ lane seems to not hold enough weight for the other team. Because of this the gameplay becomes very linear, with teams only crossing in the middle, if ever. By adding some sort of mechanic that the opposing team can capitalize on (such as being able to break the barracks and need them repaired,) the plays can feel more dynamic. -Points on a Hero kill: Right now, losing out on a hero channel is doubly punishing. The first loss is from raw points and the second loss is from the pressure of a hero. There should be at least some point gain from killing a hero (maybe 10 points) in order for teams to have a chance at coming back. -Trebuchets being auto-repaired: I believe this was fixed now to require supply, but if trebuchets are still auto-repaired, they need to cost supply. -Damage on hero channel: The process of interrupting a channel seems less exciting than it could be. Currently the only way to stop a channel is by stripping stability, either through boon corrupt or the trebuchet. This makes for a binary situation which can be frustrating. If the hero channel pulsed damage to the people channeling (say 500 HP a tick) then teams could also have the option of trying to burst a player down. This would also incentive build diversity with the necessity of tanks or healers. -Second gate being repaired: Defense still feels very unrewarding to teams trying to push out attackers. This could be solved by the second gate having a respawn mechanic. After a set amount of time the gate would respawn at 25% health (give or take) but could be less health if more guards were killing the lord room. Maybe even not respawning if all guards are taken out. This would allow teams to have breathing room with a successful defense, while still incentivizing offensive pressure in the lord room. -Timer: ArenaNet tried to solve this issue with the OverTime mechanic, but it still feels very unrewarding for a game to go to time. The timer should be increased to 25 minutes or even possibly eliminated, with teams being able to win through a lord kill or reaching a set amount of points (maybe 300.) There will always be That one game that a team could have won with just a few more minutes. -Scaling death timers: I feel this is a fairly easy way to punish the strategy of full offensive pressure. As the game goes on, the death timers should be longer. That way teams can actually push a defense out of their base. -Scaling damage from archers and door breakers: This I am not too sure on, but I thought it was an interesting idea. What if as time went on, archers and door breakers did more damage? That would allow teams to push back as late game comps while not totally punishing full offensive early game teams. Competitive Viability: This is the "can Stronghold be E-Sports" section. -Audience involvement: Due to the relative ease that teams can achieve intermediate objectives (killing guards, breaking walls, channeling heroes, etc.) it is hard as a viewer to get immersed in the game and appreciate the accomplishments of the team until a team kills a lord. Essentially, certain objectives in the game can be achieved so easily that it is hard as a viewer to appreciate the accomplishment or the impact it has on the team winning or losing the game. -More to watch: A positive thing about Stronghold is that it brings more mechanics to the game meaning there are more ways for players to utilize their skill/understanding of the game and also their are more ways for spectators to enjoy their favorite players and see them improve or not improve each week. -Team identities: Because of the new mechanics in stronghold and the different ways a team can go about winning the game this leaves room for teams to develop identities as far as what strategies they prefer or are good at executing. This creates a more dynamic environment in tournament or league play because it becomes a conflict of strategies and the execution of the individual strategies -Team coordination: Stronghold can punish and reward a team based off of their ability to coordinate. In this game mode success is more heavily focused on a team’s ability to win the game rather than one or two key players being able to bunker nodes or pain train priority targets. Essentially, individual play is not as impactful without a team being able to follow up on those plays. Class Variety/Playstyle/Builds: This was written to asses how much diversity we can expect from teams. -Support playstyle: The ability for support/healing classes to sustain and buff the npcs proved to be a potent strategy in Stronghold. That being said, it seemed that supporting npcs that are on offensive proved far more rewarding than supporting the guards at your base due to how quickly they died to berserkemarauder based builds. -High damage builds: Despite support and tank playstyles being more impactful in Stronghold it still seemed like high damage builds had little to no counterplay to their abilities to rush guards and burst them down to clear the path for their bomb breakers. This led to teams prioritizing aoe waveclear on their defensive units to try and kill bomb breakers rather than wasting resources trying to protect guards. There seems to be little counterplay here to the point that buffing guard stats could help give teams a larger window to counter the rushing guards strategy. -Control playstyles: Being able to control the pace of the match or even just control which direction a bomb breaker goes flying can be extremely impactful on this map, this led to teams choosing builds that complimented hard crowd control abilities. Conversely, being able to resist being controlled (stacking stability) proved to also be impactful. -AoE damage: Being able to punish teams for grouping together too tightly or cleave down a group of bomb breakers proved to be the best way to defend in Stronghold so far. This strategy entailed essentially leaving guards as distractions for enemy players and focusing on cleaving down assaulting mercenaries before any damage can be done to the base. -Low mobility comps: These compositions were not as strongly punished on stronghold. The linear shape of the map allows teams to commit certain players to a more streamlined task to help the team win. This meant support guards, for example, didn’t have to worry about their lack of mobility if they only have a small amount of the map they need to be impacting to help their team be successful. Tl:dr - Stronghold has a lot of potential to diversify the PvP scene but seems limited by largely non-existent comeback mechanics and low impact, intermediate objectives. Sorry for the not-great formatting. Reddit posting is not a specialty of mine.
My noob experiences and insights into Planestide 2 (warning: many words)
So I've been trying to get to grips with this game for about a week now on and off playing as the NC and so far these are my observations as someone with a fair amount of time logged on FPS games. TL;DR People complaining about balance aren’t doing so because of the lack of balance in the game, they are moaning about the lack of counterplay available to them once they have deployed. Sometimes, just sometimes, this game feels amazing. The feeling of rolling up against an outpost as part of a platoon running against a decent number of defenders, moving behind your tanks for cover as they move up, breaking ranks to jump jet over the walls, getting involved in tight firefights while fighters buzz the base, racking up kills in CQB but going down eventually, but then spawning on a Sunderer that came in while the base was distracted, just amazing. This is the reason I keep coming back to the game (also, Good Guy Medic and Good Guy Engineer players are awesome, I’ve never asked for ammo or a heal and not received help so if you play one of these classes, you rock). Unfortunately, 90% of my experiences with Planetside are not this, I’m either running around going "Where is everyone" and ghost capping outposts, getting zerged and pinned on a spawn, zerging and not getting a kill as we roll over some hapless outpost, or (sigh) rushing The Crown or TI Alloys because that’s the only place people are actually playing. What epitomises these is the lack of counterplay. I play fast assault because jetpacks! I like the idea of how this class is meant to work, I hop up on buildings, I re-position, I shoot people from odd angles but usually at ranges just beyond what is ideal for my gun. If they are fast and accurate they can kill me so I don't feel overpowered against anyone but at the same time I don't feel underpowered, I just have to play smart. When people become aware of my presence they have time to re-formulate and change their strategy (duck into cover, activate their cloak or shield, shoot back, zig-zag) and we can fight each other and I need to make decisions myself (close the distance to more effectoive range for my gun, retreat and reposition, Jetapck!). This is awesome until I run into MAXs, Aircraft, Tanks, Turrets or any of the dozen or so bases where there is effectively no cover on the approach. I group these all together because they share the same problem, in all of these situations there is NOTHING I can do (I'm working to unlock C4 now so maybe that will change things but I don't seriously expect it to). In other words there is no GAME to be had. This to me is the biggest flaw with Planetside 2. I don't mind being outmatched in certain situations, but I want to feel like I can do something about it. MAXs are particularly annoying to me m personally because they tend to spoil the best part of Planetside for me, the CQB infantry combat. It feels like whenever one of these fucks turn up my options go right down to 0. Even if I sneak behind them and unload a magazine in their back they don’t go down. They stand in open areas in Biolabs and they chew you apart in fractions of a second if you don’t duck before they turn towards you. They annoy me because I don’t see anything tactical or skilled in their use in 1-on-1 situations, they just win. I understand you need to resupply and heal them between fights and I’m sure that there is a game there but they aren’t playing that game with me, I’m just a bag of mincemeat waiting to happen around those things. What’s also galling is if I unload enough ammo into those things to bring down a mid sized zombie apocvalypse but someone else scores the final kill I get some infinitesimal amount of XP as a reward when I could have used that ammo and time to score 2 or even 3 infantry kills. I think this is a big part of the problem with the game, infantry are such soft, squishy, XP piñatas. 4The final major issue in this game is related to this and it's the fact that the scale of fights combines with the lack of counterplay above to make things unsatisfying. For example, let’s say I see a zerg coming and spawn a reaver to try to help deal with it. Chances are if that zerg is big enough it has some anti-air in it (MAXs, anti-air light tanks, lock on equipped heavies) and they shred me before I can do anything! From the first hit on my fighter to dropping out of the sky feels like it takes maybe 4 seconds? There's no time to dive for cover, no useful evasive I can pull. This is the wider issue, I'm just dead because they have the counter to my vehicle, class, build, whatever available. In combination with the scale of the game, this feels like it turns things into a game of chance, in any large conflict. There will be a unit that can counter me somewhere in the opposing side and when it turns on me, I’m just fucked. In my opinion, tanks are the worst for evoking this sense of “Nothing you can do”. The number of times, as light assault, I’ve worked my way behind 6 or so enemy tanks and been able to sit on top of them at times without them noticing is ridiculous but there’s still nothing I can do about them because I haven’t unlocked C4 and even if I do unlock it, I still need 2 sticks unlocked to actually score a kill? I want things to feel more like me vs. other infantry fights where it’s a game about employing my tactics against them, not a game where I have to go “Oh well, they have a tank, better give up and go home”. So this is the crux of the issue, once you are playing the game in your tank, ESF or infantry class, when your kryptonite turns up at the moment, that’s it, game over, you die. Sure it’s particularly bad if you play infantry (excluding fucking MAXs- nooffence MAX players) but the real issue is that the mechanics of gameplay feel binary, rock, paper, scissors, rather than being about flexibility in tactics.
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