League of Legends….The Reality Show

Zac’s entertainment


No, you did read that correctly. Eurogamer has an article today detailing an upcoming Australian reality show, in which 40 players will compete over a series of weeks to eventually win a contract to play professionally with a top team in the Oceanic Pro League. Not the most obsurd reality show concept ever – Big Brother still exists – but surprising nonetheless.

As a lapsed League of Legends addict and, until recently, an avid follower of the game as an Esport (go Fnatic!), I must say I’m interested in this. Hopefully it’ll do decently and encourage a copycat show in the North American or Europe regions. Then, whoever wins might actually have a shot at making the semifinal at Worlds before being ruthlessly crushed by a North Korean team, as is the natural order of things.

Adventures in Clash Royale: Final Part

Clash finale

It’s been an interesting couple of months with Supercell’s Clash Royale; two months of highs and lows with a game so brilliant yet so frustrating. Since the last update, I’ve quit the game and returned to it twice; the second time in hilarious fashion, as I spent all my hard-earned gems and gold on absolute shit in a mad fury, only to reopen the app an hour later; devastated. The trophy level I’m at seems to be just so difficult to break through, especially for someone like me who is spending a long time getting the necessary cards through grinding. It’s enough to induce a rage-quit every so often, but the smooth gameplay and ease of use sucks me back in.

The level of strategy in Clash is just so; it really does satisfy that cerebral desire to out-think and out-maneuver an opponent, just like any AAA RTS, or so they may claim. It’s not all serious business though; these past few weeks, I’ve been absolutely loving the 2 vs 2 mode, which enables players to team up against another pair, seeking the best synergies and timings to win. It’s a lot of fun, and the cheeky “bad manners” King faces just add to the flavour. Nothing better than beating a taunter.

In terms of money spending, I’m still at a great big zero pounds, zero pence. However, I did actually make the definitive decision to buy a load of gold and gems when I saw they were available on special offer, but I ended up forgetting and missing the deal! Good to know that my subconscious has sanctioned real spending though. I’m fully on board and ready to dive in when the next big offer comes around.

The deck. Trusty favourites still there,  new additions in tow.

My deck has evolved yet again to include the Miner legendary I had unpacked prior to the last update. I’m enjoying some good success by pairing it up with my beloved Goblin Barrel; drop the Miner first then the barrel straight after, and the tower targets the tough Miner, leaving the gobbos to do the damage, or at worst, suck up some of my opponents’ resources as he adapts to my plan. I can’t wait to get another Miner and get mine upgraded, it’s a great distraction card and adds some much-needed tankiness to my offering.

Clash Royale is a really great game. After two months I’m playing it more than ever, and finding myself ensuring I have some time every day to play. The combination of quick games, satisfying unlocks, clever strategy and hidden depth makes for a definite mobile app winner; give the game some time and it’ll get its claws in you, barely letting you out of its sight as you find yourself playing just one more game.

Give in to mighty overlord Supercell. You may not agree with the so-called “freemium” games market, but you’d be missing a true strategy gem if you dodged this one. It can be obtuse at first, but stick with it; let it into your mind, and you’ll soon be loving the 3-minute strategy blasts it can provide.

Join me in Clash Royale. My adventures are well and truly underway.

Starcraft: Remastered Out August 14th

Broodling for more

Blizzard have given the world the details on their upcoming remaster of the original Starcraft. Arriving August 14th, the game will be a modest £12.99/$14.99, a generous move from Blizzard who could have probably charged a lot more given the game’s immense nostalgia factor. Looking forward to playing this one; I love Starcraft 2 but never played the original (BLASPHEMY!). I hear very positive things, and will enjoy getting my arse kicked over and over again online, as is the true order of life.

As a side note, I’ll have a review of the new Zelda content up next week, and another episode of Adventures in Clash Royale too. Stick around, why dontchya.

Adventures in Clash Royal: Part 3

Ladder anxiety blues

Good news: since the last update, I’ve absolutely smashed my targets; I’ve reached over 2500 trophies, I’m in Arena 8 and I’ve also leveled up to 8.

Bad news: Nobody warned me about the CRIPPLING LADDER ANXIETY.


It’s becoming a problem. As the caliber of opponent improves, things are starting to get dicier in ladder matches. It’s very hard to predict a battle at this stage, and people are generally making fewer mistakes; for my humble little deck this means a swing of anywhere up to 200 trophies once the dreaded tilt kicks in. Then, when I get back on track and start making gains, the ladder anxiety is compounded. Oh, strategy games.

My trusty deck has evolved once more, with the subtraction of the 1-elixir Skeletons, and the addition of the 3-elixir Skeleton Army. My rationale for the choice was to provide more cover for the legions of Hog Riders coming my way, whilst also increasing survivability a bit against AoE. Initially, the extra elixir cost was difficult to play with – I found myself down to 1800 trophies at one stage early on in my climb – but once I’d gotten used to it, I was able to offset the elixir cost with more strategic split pushing that could occur with leftover Skeletons. Chucking a cheeky Knight on the opposite lane to the Skellies can sometimes work wonders. Along with level-ups for most of my other cards, the trajectory has, until recently, been pretty much consistently upwards.

I’ve been lucky enough to get my first two Legendary cards in the past week or so; Graveyard and Miner. I haven’t been able to slot them into my deck, but I feel like Graveyard is just begging to be tinkered with soon. Opening it up gave those serotonin receptors a nice little treat; I’m looking forward to more of this now I can start entering Tournaments and the like.

Still, getting over that ladder anxiety is proving to be tough. I reached my lifetime-best 2509 trophies, then spent two days not playing at all. What did I do, my first three games after? Lost.

Next goal is to conquer the ladder fear and kick on to 3000 trophies. Hoping to get some card levels in the double figures sometime soon, too.

What a game, though. The beauty is in its speed; a game takes just two minutes, but in that time is distilled all the strategic planning, mini-maxing, resource management and bad manners deflecting that you could ever want. The gotta-catch-em-all monetization factor with the Chests doesn’t hurt its appeal, either.

The quest continues.

Adventures In Clash Royale: Part 2

Full tilt

The tilt is real, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m discovering just how damaging tilt can be in this game; with such short matches it can be easy to launch yourself into another one straight from a loss, furious at yourself/your opponent/the game/fucking RNG, and continue the downward spiral.

Approaching 2000!

Since last time, I’ve managed to gradually claw my up to a peak of 1902 trophies, but I’m currently bouncing between 1800-1900. I’ve reached Arena 6, and am starting to see a few more legendary cards appearing in peoples’ decks, such as the infamous Log. Really looking forward to getting my hands on that one for all the Goblin Barrels/Skeleton Armies I’m facing.

Speaking of Goblin Barrel, I’ve actually introduced it into my deck, which besides that remains largely the same as last post. I removed the 2-elixir cost Goblins for it, so I’ve now got a slight increase in average elixir cost, but the Barrel seems to be more than making up for it; doing work on those towers often whilst I’m attempting to feign an attack elsewhere is working well.

Current deck

As I gradually creep towards 2000 trophies, I must say I’m starting to rue the slow leveling that is a feature of this game. Players can only enter special Challenges and Tournaments, where the big money prizes are on offer, from level 8. As a lowly level 6, I anticipate I’m still a month away at least from being able to access them. The geniunely enjoyable gameplay and deep strategy of Royale is keeping me hooked, though.

I still haven’t spent any money, although the temptation grows stronger each day. The difficulty being a Free-to-Player is becoming more apparent now that cards are getting more expensive; there have been a couple of occasions in which I have completely run out of Gold in the past two weeks, mainly due to buying much-needed Epic cards from the store. Again; I have to salute the cunning monetization of the game by Supercell. This shit is hard to ignore.

Hopefully by the next post I’ll have smashed through that 2000 trophies mark and reached Arena 7. Time to turn that tilt around!

Adventures In Clash Royale: Part 1

Royale with cheese

For those that don’t know, Clash Royale is a free-to-play mobile game for Android and iOS from Supercell, the chaps that brought you Clash of Clans and subsequently laughed as it printed money. Royale brings that same graphical style, cheesy humour and addictive collectathon gameplay into the 1 vs 1 strategy genre. In it, players collect cards which summon all manner of strange creatures, and play them against each other to see who can destroy each others’ towers first in incredibly quick, minutes-long matches. Cards are harvested from chests, which are earned through play or bought in the store for in-game currency or real money. Cards need to be leveled up, which requires collecting more and more duplicates of them; the sheer brilliance in the monetization design by Supercell is plain to see and, according to Think Gaming, makes them over two million dollars a day.

As both a big strategy game fan, and a sucker for a freebie, I thought I’d give Clash Royale a go and see how I enjoyed it. Initial impressions were very good. I started a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll be blogging about my adventures semi-regularly. Don’t roll your eyes at me like that.

My first few weeks with the game have been enjoyable, and I’m really starting to get a feel for the basic strategies that go into successful climbing. I’m currently sitting at a little over 1600 trophies, which is the scoring system by which you are ranked, and whilst progress is now much slower, I’m still finding that I’m generally winning more than losing (or drawing).

Deck wise, I’ve just gone with what feels good, and it’s usually fairly competitive, but I find I get roasted by players with a lot of AoE:

My current deck. No idea if it’s any cop. Tips?

MVP of the deck so far is definitely the Minion Horde; up at level 6, they are getting serious work done dealing with Balloons, Princes, Hog Riders, and many of the other common damage dealers I’m seeing at Arena 5. They are also my only reliable Baby Dragon counter, although sadly I need to let the BD aggro on my tower and get a hit in before I can play the ‘Horde without them getting killed. This is something I hope to rectify as I get used to the game.

I’ve tried to keep the overall Elixer cost of the deck down; I feel much more comfortable knowing I’ve got shit I can play whenever necessary rather than having a few high-cost hitters. As of now I’m trying to focus on leveling and avoid distractions with shiny new cards. I absolutely love the Prince; if you can drop it at the right time it just wrecks towers, and usually forces overcompensation in terms of Elixer from your opponent to counter it.

In terms of financial expenditure, I’m still firmly in the free-to-play camp, and haven’t as yet felt like dropping any dollar on it. I’m getting a good stream of cards from regular play at the moment, although I can totally see why people would drop a few bob on a magical chest or two. This is an addictive game indeed.

I’ve been really surprised by the depth of strategy so far; for a game that takes all of three minutes to play a round of, there is so much to think about and do, and I’m experiencing real thrills playing it. This is interesting, as I usually cannot immerse myself in mobile games such as this at all. This ain’t Starcraft, but it’s scratching an itch at the moment and I intend to see how far I can go before either boredom sets in, or, heaven forbid, the wallet is called forth from its dusty resting place.

Check back soon to see how much I’m tilting  I’m getting on.