Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hearthstone: Maximizing Your Match Experience

How To Get More Experience In Your Hearthstone Games

Hearthstone XP Grinding

Earning experience in Hearthstone is important to newer Hearthstone players because leveling your decks is how you unlock the free basic cards.  For the more experienced Hearthstone player, experience is required to unlock the golden versions of the class cards, as well as golden versions of some of the neutral minion cards in the game.  How do you earn more experience so that you can unlock your golden cards faster and get that deck to level 60?  Well, there are 4 main elements that figure into how much experience you earn in a real game of Hearthstone.  I say a real match, because joining a match where one player concedes before round 3 doesn't award nearly as much experience.  Here are the 4 primary factors that contribute to how much experience you will earn.

4 Key Elements in Earning More Experience In Hearthstone Matches:

  1. Playing Versus Human Opponents Awards More Experience (Past Level 10)
  2. Winning A Match Awards More Experience Than Losing
  3. The More Cards You Play, The More Experience You Earn
  4. You Get More Experience The More Enemy Minions You Kill

Playing Against Humans Awards More Experience Than Playing AI

You earn less experience against the AI, than against human opponents.  Once you reach level 10 with a deck, you will get nerfed experience if you continue to play versus the AI.  It's perfectly ok to play versus the AI up until level 10, then switch over to playing humans.  Up until level 10 the experience award is the same versus bots or versus humans.  The bots are more easily exploited to earn maximum experience from the other key elements below.  After Level 10, Play Against Humans.


Winning Awards More Experience Than Losing

Ok, this should be a no-brainer.  No matter what game mode you are playing in Hearthstone, you will always see a bigger experience award for a win.  If you are losing and you are trying to maximize your experience earned in your Hearthstone matches, then You Should Never Concede because of the next 2 key elements.


The More Cards You Play, The More Experience You Earn

You earn extra experience for every card you play in your Hearthstone games (and again if re-casting a minion returned to your hand). That's one reason why you shouldn't concede.  Even if you are losing, you should try to play as many minions and cast as many spells as you can before the match ends in order to earn the most experience possible.  It doesn't matter what cards you play, because they are all worth the same amount of experience.  So if the match is over and you are just waiting to lose, Play As Many Cards As You Can before your death.

The same holds true if you are winning!  Even if you already can kill the opponent on this turn, playing more cards before you deliver the lethal blow, will earn you more experience for the match victory.  Always Dump Your Hand Before Giving The Lethal Blow.


The More Minions You Kill, The More Experience You Will Receive

Killing enemy minions awards experience for every enemy killed, including totems and other token creatures.  (Token creature: A minion originally created by a Hero Power or summoned from a Battlecry or Deathrattle effect.)  Every minion you destroy awards the same amount of experience, so it doesn't matter which ones you choose to destroy.  This is another reason for not conceding too early.  Even if the match is lost, you can earn more experience be killing some of his minions before the end of your turn.  So if you are completely dead next turn, don't concede and don't just attack the player.  Use your minions and spells to destroy some of the enemy minions to maximize how much experience your losing match will award you.

If you are winning, instead of just immediately dealing lethal damage to the opposing player, wipe out more of his minions before delivering that final blow so that you too can earn more experience for your Hearthstone victory.  So remember whether you are winning or losing, Kill More Minions Before The Match Ends.


Hearthstone Beginner Tips
More Kills, More Hearthstone XP

End of Match Trolling Versus Experience Farming In Hearthstone

One of the common misconceptions that new players have is that their opponent is trolling them when they should just go ahead and kill the new player off and end the match.  Many times you know you are dead, the opponent has lethal damage on the board, yet he continues to cast spells and play more minions when he doesn't even need to because we think he's just showing off, gloating, or trolling us.

"I'm already dead, you wanker! Just kill me!"  We've all been there and thought it.  Just put us out of our misery so we can move on to the next game, right?  Wrong!  Think about those 4 Key Elements In How Hearthstone Experience Is Earned that we just covered.

Instead of getting upset that your opponent is trolling you or just showing off instead of dealing you lethal damage, let's assume that she's trying to maximize her own experience earned in her Hearthstone match.  Or we could assume that she's working on completing her daily quests so that she can maximize her gold earned while playing Hearthstone.  Most likely, she's probably working on her daily quests and trying to earn more experience at the same time.  So try to give your opponent the benefit of the doubt.  They are working on unlocking their decks and golden cards too.

And you should be doing the same thing to maximize your experience earned in each Hearthstone match.  Don't concede too early.  Play your cards and take out as many minions as you can before you lose.  And even if you are winning, dumping your hand and killing as many minions as you can will earn you more experience and shorten your grind to 60.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

League of Legends - Player Behavior & The "It's Just Bots" Fallacy

The "It's Just Bots" Fallacy in Riot's MOBA: League of Legends

League of Legends Basics

League of Legends is a MOBA (Multi-Player Online Battle Arena) that I have been playing as my main game for the last few months.  League of Legends is an absolute blast and the game really tailors to my competitive nature as it can be highly competitive, especially within ranked play.  Before you can even think about trying out Ranked Play Mode in League of Legends, you must first get your Summoner (this is what they call player accounts in LoL) level to 30 and only then does the option of beginning to start competitive ranked play become an option on your game selection screen.

Prior to reaching level 30, you must continue to play the various game modes and accumulate experience for your summoner, unlocking Runes and Mastery skill points along the way.  This grind to 30 is best used as a learning experience for newer players to figure out the game mechanics, start to understand the meta-game involved with competitive play, and serve as times to help identify which Champions (the characters you select to play in a given League of Legends match) best fit your own play-style, as well as which roles you prefer to play on your team.  You see, League of Legends is a team game, or team sport.  So you must work together as a team in order to achieve victory.

Random Teammates in League of Legends Aren't Always Friendly

Problems start to arise within all the forms of the games due to the inclusion of all types of players into these same matchmaking queues.  League of Legends has been known for having a horrible community of players, probably because of the mixing of very competitive players and brand new fresh players, both of which can be paired in the same non-ranked matches.  Add in the ability to queue up with your brand new friend, and you've got a mixture of all types of skill levels within the same non-ranked games and tempers can flare when someone is holding the team back, or worse, feeding the opposing team and making them stronger.

Luckily I haven't seen much in the ways of the horrible nature of insults that such a "toxic gaming player base" is known to spew out at other players (probably because I'm still grinding to level 30), but I have seen my fair share of whining, bitching, nagging, and attacking other players for their Champion choice, play style, or inexperience in playing League of Legends properly.  While I tend to try to be one of the team leaders and more helpful players for those that appear inexperienced, I do try hard not to get frustrated with new players who don't seem to understand exactly how to play League of Legends properly.  New players don't frustrate me nearly as much as the more experienced players who think they are some special snowflake that got stuck playing with us inexperienced losers.

Learning Through AI Bot Matches in League of Legends

As stated before, I tend to try and help out new players that I get matched with on my team while playing un-ranked games in League of Legends.  We were all new at one point in time.  Many of us resorted to learning the game on our own through trial and error.  When trial and error wasn't good enough we turned to the internet, online champion builds, and strategy articles to try and get a better grasp on the game mechanics because the in game tutorial can only teach you the absolute basics of the game and most other players aren't helpful or aren't teaching new players how to properly play League of Legends during matches.

Within most game modes, you have the option of playing versus humans (PvP) or playing vs bots (AI).  It is best to start learning how to play LoL in the matches versus Basic level bots and then work your way up to Intermediate bots, before advancing on to the hardcore PvP mode versus other players.  The bot options are there for new players to learn the game, for any player to learn a new Champion, a new lane, a new play style, or test out a new item build.  Bot games are practice modes within 2 levels of difficulty designed for teaching and learning.  The biggest problem with teaching and learning in the AI bot games is other experienced players and the commonly thrown out statement "It's Just Bots!"

The "It's Just Bots!" Fallacy in League of Legends

Bot games are for learning the game or learning a new champion.  Bot games are for teaching your newly installed friend how to play.  Bot games are for teaching team make up, how to last kill, proper phases of the game, knowing your role, learning to team fight, and advancing your skills.  Bot games are where you take that new recruit you signed up so they can learn before being exposure to PvP mode.  For some though, bot games are for farming IP (the currency you get from matches that is used to purchase Champions, Runes, and other items in the League of Legends shop.  And for other more experienced veterans, bot games are just a faceroll where you can't possibly lose, or so they believe.  Then when things get ugly and the team gets behind because not everyone is as proficient as the snobby veteran player, the fangs can come out and the bitching, whining, nagging, and harassing starts.

There are many players that understand that the AI bot games are for learning, teaching, and improving your skills.  There are also many players that commonly spout out "It's Just Bots!" anytime someone asks a question, asks for help, or questions someones choice of Champion to be added to the team.  "It's Just Bots!" is not a statement that helps anyone.  There are plenty of matches that my team has got their ass handed to us by an AI bot team.  Bots aren't a pushover.  Bots aren't always easy, especially if fed.  Bots definitely aren't an easy faceroll to a newer player.  There are plenty of times that Mr Badass hasn't been able to carry the team, even when facing ""just bots", so stop with the damn "It's Just Bots!" attitudes please!

When teaching or helping newer players learn the game, the best results will come from teach them the proper ways to play, which includes what team makeup is expected on your team.

For most teams in PvP mode, you will expect to find:

  • 1 Top Lane Fighter/Tank type
  • 1 Jungler
  • 1 Mid Lane Mage / AP Carry
  • 1 Bot Lane ADC Marksman
  • 1 Bot Lane Support
So when your team queues up as 4 Fighters and 1 Tank (happened just the other night), don't be surprised when the match goes poorly (we lost).  Of course, what was the response during the team building phase when I asked, "Is anyone going to play an ADC, Support, or a Mage?"  Yup, you guessed it.  "It's Just Bots!"  Well, those bots just kicked our ass and you've contributed to wasting all of our time.

Stop With The "It's Just Bots!"

The "It's Just Bots!" excuses need to stop.  You can't expect players to perform up to your standards in PvP, if you are constantly reinforcing poor choices and bad behaviors in the bot training matches.  I'm willing to bet that the "It's Just Bots!" crowd is part of the same crowd that bitches and whines when players aren't performing properly in PvP and Intermediate bot games.  You people are part of the problem!  You continually allow poor team construction and improper Champion lane placement and then bitch and whine when that same player continues to do what they've been allowed to do in the games they've played so far.  You can't just flip a magical switch and say "Ok, forget all of the bad habits we taught you in bot matches and start to play correctly now that we are in PvP matches".  It just doesn't work.  You send mixed messages and those lead to new player frustration and in turn, more frustration for experienced players when matched with improperly taught newer players.

So let's stop with the "It's Just Bots!" mentality and instead focus on teaching newer players the proper way of playing from the start.  The entire community experience and player skill level will improve as a whole and new players can more quickly become quality contributing members of any team.  Teach them properly and you too will reap the rewards.  If you continue to shrug off those "just bots", then the new players will continue to learn poor habits and the experienced player base will continue to be frustrated with the new players joining the ranks in the of League of Legends.

Teach a new player how to play the game properly.  They may be the guy responsible for saving your ass or winning the game, as opposed to feeding the enemy and costing us all the match.  It's not "just bots", it's a tool for teaching how to play the game properly.

What do you guys think?