Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hearthstone: The Plague Quarter Unlock Issues on launch

I was looking forward to the new wing but I'm glad I checked the forums first. There is currently an issue with unlocking at both the NA and Europe servers. Many people have reported buying with gold but not getting the wing unlocked.

Blizzard's Official Sticky-ed Forum Post on the matter

Reddit post: Lost 700g plague wing still locked

Reddit post: Gold Glitch is happening on NA, watch out.

Update#1Latest Blizzard thread: Known Purchase Issues with Plague Quarter - 07/30. The thread has 121 pages with a lot of failed purchase posts at this time of writing!

I guess I'll hold off on unlocking first... Update#2 (31/07/2014 02:00pm GMT): I just managed to unlock it with gold without any problems.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hearthstone "Epic-less" decks *Update with note on Blizzard's Balance Changes*

Edit#1: These decks are legendary-less as well... they are basically rare-s and below only decks.
Edit#2: Check out The Case for Budget Decks: Zoo & Things thread at Hearthstone Reddit for more budget decks.

If you are a budget player or just starting out in Hearthstone and are looking to build a competitive or some-what competitive deck, Hearthstone Topdeck website is a website with excellent resource for that with decks from competition as well as their dust cost shown. Cheaper decks have their dust cost highlighted in green and from the many that I'm looking at, their highest rarity cards are rare-s.

After searching around for a while, here are the top 3 "Epic-less" decks, ordered in terms of least number of rare-s, I can find at this point of writing:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hearthstone Primer for MTG players links

Reddit post by bulletr0k

The main information is the comparison of the hero class to the MTG colors as well as description of what the hero class can do.

Channel Fireball article: Hearthstone for Magic Players

A well-written in-depth writeup that also compares the rules by Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, a top MTG pro player. It provides comparison between the Hearthstone decks and MTG decks which is really cool. (a small interesting reference to League of Legends too!) It also uses some sample decklist as example and great for netdecking. The article was written before the Naxxramas expansion but it is definitely a must read for MTG and non-MTG players.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hearthstone Curse of Naxxramas Expansion out on Tuesday, first chapter free during launch

I haven't been playing Hearthstone for a long time as I was bored of it after a while. I did have fun though and the upcoming expansion brings me back to the game again as during the launch event, which should last roughly a month or so, the first wing (chapter) is free during this period only!

I'll also need to start grinding out more in-game gold to buy the remaining 4 wings. They can be bought with money too but being able to unlock with in-game gold is really nice. I think Hearthstone has emulated the free-to-play system of League of Legends really well; you don't need to spend money in the game to get the full experience.

Update: It's out! You need to unlock all 9 heroes to access the expansion.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Swords & Poker Adventures General Strategy

iOS App Store link

An interesting puzzle game that uses poker hands. It was originally a paid app but Konami bought it over and the game is now free to play with energy system in place. The main gameplay revolves around a board of 9 playing cards and both players take turn putting a pair of cards at the opposite sides vertically, horizontally or diagonally to form a poker hand. You are only allowed to place cards if they form a poker hand and can choose to pass to redraw a new hand. Once the board gets filled, it opens up the possibility to get multiple combos if you can connect up multiple lines of poker hand.

With this design, there are only eight moves to be made each board thus there is very little variation in how each board will play out. Without taking spells into account which might affect the board, I think the general strategy will be just to go for the multiple poke hand combo slots each board by "abusing" the "pass" button as you are allowed to "pass" even if you have playable cards.

There are generally 2 ways the board can end:

1) All sides filled leaving the corners for the final 2 moves; there will only be 1 "combo slot" which is the final corner placement of the game. It is most probably always the right choice to pass if required to make sure you get that final corner as you can score multiple combos of it where the damage can get huge. Conversely, you also want to get the final corner to prevent the opponent from combo-ing on you.

2) Corners are filled early; there will be 2 "combo slots" which are the final slots of each side and they are worth up to 3 combos. Again, you will probably want to "pass" to ensure you get them as well as prevent opponents from taking them.

I personally always take the corners as soon as possible and try to setup for the 2 "combo slots" as leaving the final corner up(1st scenario) can be risky.

There are other kinds of play like taking away slots to prevent opponent from putting out a good hand and there is the possibility of getting to the combo slot but not having the right cards (a Joker wild card, which will turn any hand into a poker hand, can help a lot) but it will seem like going for the combo slots should work most of the time. (I didn't factor in the comparison between "combo slots" damage vs a good poker hand damage like full house though, so that might be something to be considered) I would imagine if this game has multiplayer, it might end up in a stalemate with both players passing to get that combo slot...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Magic 2015 (iPad): Have you bought the Premium Packs yet?

Well written opinion about the premium content of this year's game by Orthor over at The Wizards Community forum. A lot of good points were brought up.

I personally have not bought any packs and will probably just enjoy the campaign and content of the Unlock all chapters bundle.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Metal Slug Defense ver 1.3.0 New Emergency Missions

Emuchu has a great summary of the version overview over at the Touch Arcade forums. Nothing much else to add except I've taken an interest in the new Emergency Missions, in particular the new Hell difficulty for the last stage. (The new mission mode do enable you to try out different units from the shop which is nice!) They last for the entire day now and rescuing enough POW unlocks new units. I'll be trying to see if I can beat them without any shop units. One improvement I hope for is that we can have deck arrangement sorting via AP cost, health, attack, etc. The current sorting options aren't very useful IMO. It will also be nice for SNK Playmore to provide balance changes to the units in notes as a heads-up.

Sunday - Saudi Arabia

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Magic 2015 (iPad) Smash and Burn Deck tweaks

Full original starting deck list can be found here. I manage to reach Garruk, the final boss, but could not defeat his second "Worldslayer" form although I came close quite a few times. I read that you do not get boosters from beating him so I'll probably go back to exploring the other planes to strengthen the deck.

I'm listing the tweaked deck for recording and reference. They are made up only of cards won through the campaign/story so I think I was pretty lucky with the boosters. I ended up with a deck that uses token for stalling and the convoke summoning mechanic, ramp cards to accelerate mana growth and a few big creatures with red control spells.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Magic 2015 iPad Impressions, Starter Decks, Tips and about the IAP *Updated w Manual Saving Guide*

iOS App Store link

I was pleasantly surprised to find it out in the App Store today. I manage to play through the free content and the user interface seems improved over previous version and also simpler. The cards do look a little fuzzy like in the 2014 version (cards were probably too small) and I am guessing they are optimised for Retina iPads but wasn't able to test it out. I am running it on the iPad 2 and did not face with the free content. However, the game starting crashing when I tried playing the first unlock level and I had to clear out all the other Apps before the situation improved. The loading times were sometimes long but the after battle loading were so quick that you don't get to rid the text on the loading screen.

It looks like a few features have been removed while the biggest addition is the ability to completely customise your deck. Drafting seems missing No drafting this time around and a lot of people over at The Wizards Community forum are complaining about the removal of 2v2 play. (It is available in the unlocked Practice mode but only against A.I.) I personally think the feature to completely customise deck alone is enough to make me interested to try it out again; I skipped unlocking Magic 2013 and 2014 if I'm remember correctly.

A lot of people will definitely be comparing the game to Hearthstone and with Hearthstone being free-to-play (even the new expansion can be bought with in-game earned coins if I'm not mistaken) while Magic 2015 being free to try, I think Magic 2015 will be on the losing end. However, Magic 2015 definitely has more depth compared to Hearthstone. Ultimately, it is still not Magic Online (basically the full digital version of the game) but maybe with each iteration, we might get there soon.

- able to build your own deck.

- quite a lot of crashes on my iPad 2 although I have closed every other app.
- to get the full card pool, you need to pay almost thrice as much for the premium packs.
- many IAP options and lack of description for some, which may be confusing to customers.

Update: After playing through most of the game, I notice the A.I. has very interesting decks and uses cards which are not available to the player. In particular, the one named "Cruel Reflection" really caught my eye... I've also gotten quite a number of crashes and I encounter the same crashes in Zendikar as mobiuschickenstrips over at the No Goblins Allowed forum. The Explore nodes encounters have underlying themes as well. I also find the game's battery usage high.

Starter Decks