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Hirez Roundup #10

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Good morning, Internet! Today we’re going to talk briefly about the new Smite Season 5 Map/Thoughts from their tumblr/MLC Topdamage, a brief chat about Paladins, and then some predictions on the SMITE Worlds. That will probably make some people unhappy, but I’ve been giving it a little thought. I’m not expecting everything I predict to come true, but it’s just an opening for some dialogue. I know I’ve neglected HOTG a little in these, but it’s not on purpose. I haven’t had as much of a chance to really sit down with it lately, as my holiday time has been very limited. But I’ll be coming up with some hot HOTG content soon, I promise.

We’re so close to HRX that I can taste it! I go from a holiday break, a few days of work, another break, then HRX. It’ll be a week of amazing Paladins, SMITE, and Hand of the Gods content, commentated/analyzed by yours truly and our Lead Video Nerd, Colton. You know, the guy you guys all ask “Where’s James?” you know, that guy. We’re going to try and produce some daily content for the websites/channel while we’re down there, hopefully, a few interviews. We can’t wait and if you’re reading this, no matter how you feel about the state of a game, you’re probably hyped deep down. Don’t lie about it now! I remember my first Smite Worlds. It was Season 2, and around November Darren (the guy who used to run the show here) asked if I wanted to go to Smite Worlds. I’d have to drive (~5 hours) but I could stay in the hotel and get a press badge to see everything. There was a problem though: I had played almost NO Smite! I leveled an account from 5-30 in about two and a half weeks, while also preparing for my finals.

So I have very fond memories of Worlds, seeing insane matches, finding my first team (NME, RIP), watching them move all the way to the Grand Finals with essentially a brand new team. It was so exciting! Meeting incredible people and learning more about a game I would find myself playing daily. I found myself playing League less, and Smite more. Then League pretty much took the backseat, and I might play a match in a few weeks. I fell in love with the game, despite all of my issues with Conquest. Arena’s my favorite mode, always will be, but I do keep up with Conquest Meta because I play ranked (not while streaming, because I love myself). I really wish teams in lower ELO would stop imitating the pros though. If you don’t understand why they are sending Support to help mid, then don’t do it. Don’t, please don’t. I get yelled at so much when I don’t do it because it’s not something we need to be doing. But that does lead me to my first thought of the day.

SMITE: Season 5:

Hirez Roundup #10

So far I'm really digging this map. Yay equality!

Man, we just can’t have nice things, can we? That’s all I’ve heard on the Internet this week, was kvetching. You know what people are saying about the new Smite map? “There’s a lot of rocks on it.” “Why is speed buff so close!? Now we can’t invade it!!!” Yes, you can, it’s just going to be a little riskier. You probably still have time to get there.  You know what I find funniest about all of this? It’s a jpeg. Maybe a png file. Have you taken a tour of it yet? Seen everything finished? If you have, you either work at Hirez or are a liar. It’s symmetrical, which is important because I get pretty tired of hearing that one side has a distinct advantage over the other, and if you aren’t on the correct side of the map in Ranked Conquest, you’re mathematically going to have a higher chance of losing. I’m not sure how true that is, but if it is the case, then that has to change. You haven’t even seen it yet, so how about you be patient? There’s going to be an extended PTS for it, starting on January  15, 2018, and they will be monitoring feedback about it.

Yes, actually monitoring feedback. That doesn’t mean “Oh, I hate it, cancel 5.1” is feedback. MLC coming out and saying he likes it so far counts a lot to me. I don’t think he’d go on the Internet and just lie to the people who have followed his trek from pro player to community manager. Not for a minute. This Conquest map is 20% wider and will promote greater tactical plays, and allow each player to shine, instead of feeling like they simply don’t matter. Jungle Camps will respawn faster, but be worth more (but will scale to give more over the course of the game). I think the biggest change that I appreciate, is that the values for XP sharing will be decreased. The meta is very heavy on splitting XP and grouping, and if you are going solo, you’re wrong, and probably going to get reported for going solo. So often I see (or am told) to go mid as a Guardian, and then the Jungler starts in the Solo lane. Only the Hunter gets to be by himself. Now it’s going to ideally promote varied gameplay, instead of every team doing the exact same thing every game. That’s boring; let’s see some more tactical goodness.

Between this, the exp curve growing over the course of the game (but starting a bit on the lower side) will allow for more than one strategy. I’m sure many players will stand fast to whatever they see at HRX for months to come; only the players who pay attention to patch notes, enter the PTS, and have their own informed opinion will be successful for quite a while after 5.1. This will also hopefully curtail Snowballing. Smite Ranked Conquest is a game where things get out of control way too fast. Typically, by the 10-minute mark, the game is “over” in one team or another’s eyes. With the game speed slowing down, the map increasing in size, the matches will feel less hopeless after such a short period of time. Players will feel like if they get camped early, that they can wait out the late game, farm, play safe, solo and group when they need to, instead of when the meta demands it, and the games will, in general, be better. I for one, am looking forward to these changes. No matter positive I try to be in games, there are people that just give up, once a few bad ganks/plays happen. I’m hoping this will help curb their enthusiasm for embracing defeat. My best advice is to Never Give Up, Never Surrender. Especially if these Season 5 changes work the way I think they will. Think less about “Lol more rocks” and more about “How can I take this new map and these changes and create opportunity/victory”! The game will be more consistent, and that will promote far better/more enjoyable gameplay.

Paladins: Brief Chat:

Hirez Roundup #10

What do you know? Match wins! People to play against! I still like OB64.

I do want to address Paladins very briefly though. OB64 happened, and surprise of surprises, I still have people to play against online. Not only that, I feel like matches have been better! As I said in a previous piece, I created a fresh account and played oB64, and had absolutely no problems playing and succeeding. I do think a Gold Cap per day is a dreadful idea, that’s the kind I think would definitely slow down the experience for new players. Veterans, who already have a pile of gold probably won’t care as much, but from the perspective of a new player? It’s very easy to get gold, but if I’m not getting gold, I’m probably going to play the game less, because it’s less valuable for me as a player trying to grind chests/champion unlocks. As someone who does have a ton of gold, honestly, I don’t even care enough to open Radiant Chests, as I said last night in the stream. I only play Bound/Competitive, I don’t have any interest in the “Unbound Mode”. I’m glad it’s there, but it’s not really what interests me. Eventually, I’ll unlock a bunch of ridiculous cards and take them into Unbound, but even when I played in Unbound Mode, I still had fun, no matter what happened. But it’s been very easy to get gold, and overall I’ve had a very positive experience (and am terribly grateful to the people who have DMed/messaged me saying they too, enjoy the mode). Is it perfect? Nothing is. But they’re working hard to make it enjoyable for all levels of play. And so far, I’ve had a very fun time in this new environment. I’ve played Unbound too, and it’s neat, silly fun. But I’m personally invested in Bound/Ranked.

I’m glad to see that while there was a lot of resistance, and a lot of shouting and anger, the game is still fun to play. I streamed it for about two hours last night, over on Bottom Tier, and everyone had fun. Nobody complained and everyone had a great time! Though I did have to make an !ob64 command because over the last week I’ve had a lot of people ask me my opinion. Spoiler Warning: I like the system. I don’t think it’s p2w (because it doesn’t affect the competitive mode in any way whatsoever). In fact, not having to grind to “get” the cards for Ranked makes it faster and more enjoyable. Sure, the cards feel a bit weaker, some of them, but I think overall there are way more choices. I think the only thing I hate about this patch is how slow Jenos’ weapon got. It’s stronger with Binary Star, but oh man, it’s so slow. It felt like I was shooting a rifle. The big change I think I’d like to see in Paladins in the next season, is to see Sniper/Ranged Damage feel less useless. I do not feel like they contribute much to the sieging process. Sure, they are pretty nifty on defense if they’re good, but I’ve almost never seen a Kinessa that made me glad to have them on the team. My general thought process is “We could’ve had Tyra or Viktor, someone who is going to apply pressure”. It’s not that I think they’re bad as players, but I don’t think she contributes as much to the team. Maybe it’s the gold/plat bracket that simply has a hard time with her? If the devs think she’s still useful, maybe some kind of primer could be released on how to effectively user her/Strix in a series of comps to help new players. Now there’s a good idea for a series . . . Time to do some research.

HRX 2018: SMITE PC Thoughts:

Hirez Roundup #10

I hope you guys are ready for crazy insane matches!

So, if you go to this link, you’ll see the brackets for HRX 2018’s SMITE PC/Console League.  The first set of matches will be one match (Or a “Best of One” . . .) to see who moves forward. The Gauntlet winners from NA/EU will do battle with Brazil, LatAm, SEA, and Oceania. The losers of these matches will go to a Best of Three “Knockout Round”, where one team will be done! So, who am I condemning to an early loss? Please don’t be mad if I don’t pick your team! I’m definitely seeing Luminosity Gaming and NRG Esports moving on, having Scylla Esports and Nocturns Gaming to move to the first Knockout Round. Scylla I think will move on from here.  The second set I think we’ll see Obey Alliance and Elevate moving on, with Entity Gaming and Black Dragons moving on. I love Black Dragons, I do. But if Elevate keeps using their mighty 3 Tank/2 Hunter comp, they won’t know what hit them. But I foresee Black Dragons moving on. They’re definitely one of my “Dark Horse” picks.

Okay, I hope I’m not reading this wrong.  So if I’m reading the brackets right, that will put Team Rival against Black Dragons. Whew, that’s going to be a slugfest if it goes that way. I love both of these teams, but I’d love to see Black Dragons move on from here. So my official call is 2-1, Black Dragons. This where one of the Rounds of the Week will happen: LG vs. NRG. I’d hate to see NRG get cocky and drop out before here. And while you can’t discount the two-time champs, I believe that this the year of the NA Dream. Jeff and Barra have the Energy of the People on their side, a’la DBZ. They’ll move on, 2-1. EUnited vs. Scylla? Sorry, Scylla. You’re no match for the mighty PBM.  He will lead EU to a mighty 2-0 victory. Next up is Obey Alliance and Elevate doing battle, and oh my lanta. This will no doubt be the other Match of the Week candidate. But, while I love the Elevate strategy, I’m a little biased because I’ve had a few chances to talk to EmilZy. 2-1, Obey Alliance.  From here, if my prophecy comes true, we have Black Dragons vs. Luminosity gaming, and while I think Black Dragons are fantastic, it’ll be a 3-0 sweep by LG. I also have a feeling that EU vs. Obey will go to game 5, but I see Obey going over. So, my final call as of this writing is Luminosity Gaming vs. Obey Alliance for the Grand Finals. This will truly be a match worth watching.

Do you agree? Do you disagree? Of course, you do, this is the Internet! If you have some thoughts on how these matches would play out, I’d love to hear them!

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