Monday, 31 March 2014

Why I'm Tired of League of Legends

I have to warn you that today's blog post will be mostly me venting out about how I am tired of League of Legends.

I was a huge gamer even back before I played League of Legends, but mostly for single player games. I played the NES, the SNES, an N64 emulator, bought a 360, and of course, eventually played on the PC (which I now realize is undoubtedly the master race). I didn't only play single player games - I also played multiplayer games as well, such as the Halo series and Call of Duty. So, I of course had my fair share of video-games.

I think for me, and probably many others, League was definitely the gateway game into MOBA and what I'd like to call "serious multiplayer gaming". I never actually took other multiplayer games seriously, nor did I ever care about my rank in other games until I started playing this game.

By the time I started playing (which was during the later half of season 2), the game was already popular, so I thought I was behind on the times. This made me motivated to try and catch up to what I have missed. So, I started in the summer of 2012. As everyone knows, the learning curve of League is easy, so naturally I improved very fast. I feel in a way, the easy learning curve, and the fact that it is a competitive game makes the game turn into a very addictive one - and I for one was hooked.

After a couple of months of playing 24/7, I got to plat skill level. I got so "into" the game. I followed the League subreddit everyday, I was always up to date with the League e-sports scene, and even had nights where I dreamed that I dropped out of university and somehow "made it" in the league scene (either by getting a job in e-sports or playing somewhat professionally, or just streaming). My friends had to console me a lot out of the idea of "making it big" in the league scene. They helped me realize that after a few years, League will eventually die out. Even if Riot tries to pump more money, invest more money into the League e-sports scene, it'll be like any other video-game. It's not going to last. I am 99.99% sure. So, if I ever do become a pro, I would only have my fame for a few years. After that, I would have nothing.

I realize that it is better to take a smarter approach to life. I went into university for engineering. Everyone knows that engineering takes up a lot of time in one's schedule, so naturally, I had no time to play any games, let alone League. Though, finally, when all the exams were done for the term, I had some free time before the next term started. I got into DOTA 2 instead of going back into League. I also got into CS: GO. I'd say they both have a much higher learning curve compared to League. These two new games were so refreshing for me. I felt that after playing these two games, I have just grown bored of League, and even started to dislike it. League honestly isn't that difficult, the builds for each lane are always the same (especially for the role that I mained, which was mid lane), and I felt like every game seemed to always be the same.

I really hope I am not coming across as a DOTA 2 elitist. I just think I got genuinely bored of League. You can only sap so much fun out of it. The only incentive I have for League nowadays is to "keep up my skills" since everyone is playing and everyone is improving - either catching up to me, or surpassing far beyond me.

But, at some point in trying to "get ahead of the curve" again, I realized that I wasn't playing the game for fun anymore. I was literally just grinding this game so that I can catch up or stay ahead. After coming to this realization, I had this empty feeling with League. I realized that for me, Dota and CS are loads more fun. I had fun trying out every hero in dota, whereas League's champs just seem boring to me now. They all have the same basic types of attacks e.g. aoe, single shot, four abilities, etc.

So, after realizing that I wasn't playing League purely for entertainment anyway, I have been really wishing that League would stop being so popular. I'm just sick and tired of hearing League all of the time! All my friends keep talking about it.

Perhaps some League players should try Dota? I tried converting them to Dota, though they always complained about the mechanics and how it "wasn't as smooth as League". I jokingly said that they weren't good enough to play Dota, and one wittingly replied back that "it wasn't due to his skills, but the game itself is frustrating players because of its lousy mechanics".

I'm not saying everyone should "convert", but I think people should definitely try to playing Dota (for more than 10 games and not just for 1 game). Not even dota though! I hope people will see that there are more games than League out there. So many in fact!

My wish is already starting to occur. Before, the number of League players has been climbing up. But now it's hit a plateau. A typical sign in video-games, right before it goes down... and down... and down... until it's never heard of again :) (By then, I HOPE people will start playing more fun games!)


So, what will be the next big thing? Well, I hoped it was Heart of the Storm (but I saw a gameplay video of it by TotalBiscuit, and honestly, it's not that good. It's too easy. It's shared exp. There are NO ITEMS to buy.) Even if we don't know what will be the next big thing, I'm not worried. As long as League declines, I'm happy. Although it was a great game, I'm just hoping something new will come along so that my friends can also enjoy a fresh game with me (without me just playing alone!)

A Female Nerd/Otaku's Guide to Fitness and Health! Part 1 - Why you should exercise!

Hey ladies! (and maybe for the gents who read this as well.) This is a guide that I have written to help all those out there who have never actually exercised outside of those dreadful physical education classes.

When I was in high school, I never really started to work out at all. But believe me when I say that working out is a crucial part of one's lifestyle. I did not realize how big of a negative consequence it was to not work out. I hope that this post will help teenage girls out there realize the importance of exercising.

So, who did I make this motivational guide to?

This guide is to help those who are too scared to go to the gym, and those who were never good at any sport. Believe me when I say that I basically fit all of those characteristics. My head got hit by more baseballs/basketballs/volleyballs/etc. than I could count! I also had a huge phobia of going to the gym (as I was super self-conscious back then). And of course, as a stereotypical straight A high school Asian student that I was, I was horrified when I got a 70 in phys. ed. That mark just extremely demotivated me from exercising in general.

I was basically a huge nerd. Huge geek. Huge otaku. I watched anime since I was super young (as my brother and I immigrated to Canada from Japan). This guide is dedicated to the people who can relate to me - my fellow nerds!

The following is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I feel like I should share it so that you (the reader) can better relate to me. Hopefully, by being able to relate to me, I can help you guys to live a better life. So, after the single mandatory phys. ed. course that I was forced to take in my freshman year, I vowed to never do any exercise again in order to avoid scrutiny and embarrassment. However, I realized that during my 10th grade year in high school, my thighs grew fatter. Because I got a lot fatter in this area in such a short amount of time, I developed a lot of stretch marks on both of my inner thighs. (A lot of them!) After some time, I even felt like I had to suck in my stomach every time I wore my skirts (which means I got fatter around my stomach area as well). I was exceedingly self-conscious about my big hips and thighs, which made me have a pear-shaped body (the body shape that I did not like at all back then).

I tried to ignore my weight gain. I began a life of pure unhealthiness. I played games all day. It was when I got into Starcraft 2 for a while, and then started to play League of Legends addictingly.

Ahri - My Favorite League of Legends Champion

That was basically my life during this rather depressing period. Games and anime. Anime and games. Food. I barely ate any vegetables or fruit. I had a hard time trying to escape from this cycle.

I basically was ignoring, or to be more precise, a unconscious about the status of my health. In fact, I thought I wasn't fat. Sure I had fat, but if you looked at me during those days, you would have seen a girl of an average weight for her height. I thought that because I couldn't see any huge protruding sections of fat on my body, I was healthy.

I couldn't have been more wrong. If I had to summarize this blog post in a few short sentences, the following would be it: The key is to be fit. Not to lose weight,  but to be fit and healthy. Most geeks/nerds don't even realize what it means to be "fit and healthy"!

You see, just because you don't look "externally" fat, does not mean you are healthy. You could be like I was during high school - you might not be overweight, but that does not mean you are fit. Weight should never be a "sign" of how healthy you are. You know why? Fit people generally weigh more than their chubby counterparts. This is because muscle is more dense than fat. So from now on, I would like to encourage my fellow females to please disregard how much you weigh. Instead, start caring about the foods you eat, and also start caring how much exercising you're doing!

If you are like the past me, then that means you are not only unfit, but you might actually be fat "internally" as well. To clarify, your body actually stores a lot of internal fat that you cannot see. This kind of fat is worse than the external fat that actually makes you look fat. Internal fat is worse than external fat because they are nearest to your vital organs. Because they are near your vitals, you will have an increased chance of getting cardiovascular disease when you're older.

Now that you have heard all of the reasons why your lifestyle is bad, The remainder of this blog post will be to try and persuade you and motivate you to start leading a healthy life. I personally like Nike's slogan, because the meaning behind it fits with what I am trying to say: "Just do it". Just start exercising regularly starting right now. No excuses! Then, have your diet mainly consist of vegetables. The second thing your diet should mainly consist of should be fruits. Most people eat lots of those fatty, calorie rich, or sugar-loaded food. Just start getting on the right track now.

In order to further persuade you to exercise, I have written two lists: one that lists all of the negative consequences of not exercising, and one that lists all of the positive things about exercising. Of course, I have written these lists in the perspective that will suit female nerds!

Not Exercising Leads to Lots of Problems:
  • more severe/more sicknesses
  • loss of muscle (i.e. you won't even be able to simple objects when you are older. This is especially frightening to me)
  • loss of bone (This is especially something we females need to worry about. Osteoporosis is very common in females. There are lots of exercises that help prevent bone loss.)
  • depression (I had depression for most of my high school life, and in the beginning of my university life as well. You know what helped me? Regular exercise. Exercising actually releases hormones that will help prevent depression. With exercising, self-confidence can also be increased since you will be seeing objectively that you are making progress on your body!)
  • premature deaths
  • back pain (obesity is linked to back pain)

Why you should Exercise:
  • after only a month, you will be able to actually touch and feel parts of your body having less fat or more muscle
  • after a few months, a more drastic change will occur (i.e. if you got a bit chubby like me in high school, then you can practically revert back to your old self!)
  • you will be stronger, and you'll be more confident (who doesn't want to brag about how they can lift more than their own weight?)
  • you will be able to fit and look good in cosplay
  • you will be healthier, live a longer life, be happier, and potentially get rid of your depression! (which is pretty much what happened to me!)

I hope this blog post has helped motivate some of you to start living a healthy life!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Haiku on School


Written by: Cherry

English Translation:
  I go to the school
I study, [then] I go home
I sleep on my bed

Granted, this isn't necessarily a traditional haiku :) A traditional haiku consists of three main things:
  • It has to be about nature/seasons. Most haikus have striking visual words, called "kigo", that are words/concepts that are reminiscent to the seasons. For example, "snow" pertains to winter. "east wind" pertains to Spring. etc. etc.
  • It needs kireji. These are basically particles in the Japanese language. "ya" is a common particle that is used in haikus. "ya" is used to connect two ideas together. e.g. "kaeru ya ike" (frog "ya" pond). Using kireji basically creates juxtaposition of two elements.
  • Finally, the one criterion that most people know: the 5-7-5 structure of haikus. Three lines: first line being 5 syllables, second line having 7 syllables, and the third one having 5 syllables.
 Obviously, my haiku only meets 1/3 of those criteria for a "traditional haiku". :) Oh well, it was a fun thing to do!

A Disappointing Ending for the Mass Effect Trilogy - A Short Informal Essay

PLEASE READ: I wrote this precisely when the ME3 online hate was at its biggest. I never actually posted this until now.

Beginning. Middle. End. Be successful in each, and you'll have a good story or plot. It is within the very foundations of the dramatic structure of most media out there today. Say if I changed it to beginning, middle, oops. Say if you invested 5 whole years of your life to this story when it was released in 2007, only to have it slap you across your face with its terrible excuse for an ending.

I'm talking about a revolutionary video-game trilogy, accompanied with numerous comic books, and even 5 written novels . I have personally spent over 150 hours playing all three video-games, read 3 of the books, and read all of the comics. To have this series end in such a cheap way is undermining the rest of the success of the franchise. I'm talking about Mass Effect.

The major overarching theme of this science-fiction series is that your choices in the game affect the entire galaxy. One wrong move and you can destroy a solar system, or even an entire sentient alien species. The ending was promised by Bioware, the company who developed this series, to effectively factor in the thousands of choices that you have made throughout the three games into a unique and memorable ending. Casey Hudson, the project director for Bioware, stated that "It's not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C". I've played the ending myself, and my eyes saw only three endings to choose from, exactly unlike what Hudson has promised this game wouldn’t have.  Furthermore, these endings are 99% equivalent to each other - the same special effects and the same cinematic scenes. All I can say is that the ending was a hypocrisy to the game’s theme of free choice - and that's excluding the abundance of plot holes all packed into such a short 15-minute time which could decanonize the entire third part of the trilogy. Imagine, 15 minutes that could ruin over 5 years of work. How is this a satisfactory ending at all?

It's no secret that an overwhelming majority of gamers who have played Mass Effect 3 found the ending to be disappointing or worse. It’s no secret that we have been disheartened to the extent that us hardcore fanatics have donated almost $80 000 dollars to The Child's Play Charity in under a week in order to raise awareness about this issue. It’s no secret that out of 54 898 votes on the official Mass Effect forums online, 91% found that the "endings suck". It’s no secret that entire campaigns, such as "Retake Mass Effect" on Facebook have launched in hopes of Bioware listening to us. 

The media also hasn't helped at all. They portray us as entitled, whiny gamers hwo wanted a happier ending. They who argue that we are supposedly "entitled", or that Bioware's artistic ending was creative and imaginative are wrong. This is not an issue of the lack of a "happily ever after"; it's about an ending that was promised and takes the rest of our 150 hours of gameplay into consideration. All in all, the message that Bioware send to us fans is that our choices and our time invested into this franchise ultimately meant nothing.