Category Archives: Digital Playground

From 8-bit to whatever-the-hell-bit we are in right now, plug in and take a ride with us.

MK11 Aftermath Gameplay/Friendship Reaction

Thanks for watching my MK11 Aftermath gameplay/friendship reaction video. A friend mentioned the gameplay video and warned me against spoiling myself. Those of you who regularly visit the page know that I care nothing about spoilers, so I immediately searched up the trailer to watch. When the friendship trailer then released, I knew I’d have to do a video. These reaction videos seem to be my thing right now.

They’ve been good for me to get comfortable in front of the camera and make more content over the last few months as I’ve been at home from work. I’ve been consistently updating the web page with articles, but podcasts and videos have been slower in happening. I think this makes 3 weeks in a row that I’ve produced at least one video and I do have a list of others that I’d like to finish.

Those will most likely happen after next week, as school ends then. As usual, I offer no promises. However, as I said earlier, I have been much more consistent with content recently so, *fingers crossed*, that will continue as I continue to expand into video.

The only potential “problem” I see is that everyone else will still be in “school” until the middle of June. They’ve been spreading out throughout the house. So, I might not be able to find a quiet place to record the videos. I might just have to do them later in the day or at night when everyone is asleep. Okay, that’s neither here nor there. You don’t really need to know my plans going forward.

Instead, let’s focus on the MK11 Aftermath gameplay/friendship reaction. I always hated animalities. Then again, I’m on board as MK3 being perhaps my least favorite Mortal Kombat game ever. I was fine with Babalities at first but they got old quickly. Friendships, on the other hand, are just as inspired as fatalities a lot of the time. It allows the developers to consider the personalities of the fighters when designing the moves.

Also, for you people who were complaining about the price of the expansion, you get the friendships for free. That’s a damn good deal. Stop complaining. And, for the love of god, get over Mileena already.

POOL OF RADIANCE: Noob’s Way Back Machine

Introduction

I don’t know if I ever played Pool of Radiance. One of my most fond memories of high school is playing Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve already talked some about my memories with paper and pencil D&D. However, I also have extensive experience with the computer games as well.

The thing about the PC games is that I don’t have specific memories of which games I played. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I remember playing the Spelljammer game and I remember playing at least one of the Dark Sun games. I don’t know if I played any of the Dragonlance games, though I’m almost positive that I did at one point or another. It remains my favorite setting even today.

In case there was any question, we’re putting the “way back” in Way Back Machine today.

One game I’m almost positive that I never played was Pool of Radiance. Why, then, am I picking that game to feature? Well, according to my extensive research (a single Google search), it is the first of the PC games to feature the mechanics of D&D. So, it’s only fair that I pick that one as my first entry into the Way Back Machine. If it goes well, I might take a look at one of the Dark Sun games in a couple of weeks. If it goes poorly, I definitely will.

The Great

Decent Graphics – I know many of you will scoff at this. And, you might have a right to do so. However, compared to my expectations, this game blew them away. Granted, I’m not sure what my expectations were, but I clearly forgot about the capabilities of those early games. There were different sprites for the different monsters and you were able to customize your characters to some degree.

I mean, doesn’t he have the classic dwarven features?

Surprisingly in depth – Again, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I mean, we’re not exactly in the prehistory of games, but 1988 is pretty early in the history. The Super Nintendo (when I really started to become involved in video games and consider to be the start of good graphics and consistently good gameplay) is still 3 or 4 years away. I guess the old PC gamer mentality of being a step ahead was true at the time. In addition to the character creation feeling almost (you don’t individually roll stats, but you do pick alignment) like pencil and paper, the features of the game are greater than the sum of their parts. Let’s talk about some of those features.

The Good

Intuitive – Granted, this isn’t pick up and play if you haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons before. It will take some getting used to. As I told Chris when he texted about flipping through a source book, “It’s a whole other language. However, like Magic, once you get used to it, it’s second nature.” This game is very much along those lines. Within a half an hour of (probably too in depth for a simple review article) character creation, I was into the game and wiping my party. (More on that in a bit)

Minimap – Again, those of you who have grown up in modern video game times might get a chuckle out of an oldbie like me thinking that the minimap is worth of mention in the article. But, hear me out. Being an oldbie pencil and paper D&D guy, I took about 5 minutes to look for some graph paper to start drawing my own map of the town before I realized there was a minimap built into the interface.

Even so, my map would have been more detailed.

The Decent

The Story – The story of Pool of Radiance isn’t bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty engaging and gets you into the action quickly. I’m not surprised because this is a TSR (the owners of the D&D license before WotC bought them) product. Even so, the story is pretty generic RPG stuff and isn’t engaging enough to keep me coming back for more. That’s to be expected since The Forgotten Realms is the most generic of D&D settings

Pool of Radiance is hard! – So, I went to the City Hall to find out what commissions I could collect. “Go to the ruins and help clear it of monsters.” Okay, sounds good. Let’s kill some monsters. First encounter in the ruins? A party of kobolds. No problem, right? Wrong. 2 party members dead. Crikey! Let’s rest. Nope. Interrupted by a party of monsters. Let’s rest in the city. Nope. It costs 1 platinum to rest in the inn. Let’s rest in an alley. Nope. Caught by the guards. WTF. Okay, how about a temple? 100 gold pieces for cure light wounds. Jesus. Fine. Now, back into the ruins. Second encounter is a party of orcs. And, we’re all dead. Well, that was fun.

Lucky I saved my game. Now, if only I could figure out how to load it.

The Verdict

Pool of Radiance is a game that definitely stands the test of time. Over 30 years later and I will probably keep going back to try to at least defeat that first dungeon. Who knows? Once I do that, I’m sure that I’ll be back to try to finish the rest of the game. Then, I’ll move on to other games in the series. I have been playing the game on this web based emulator. However, I recently discovered a place that has the game plus a bunch of others for only 10 bucks. I just have to vet the source to make sure that it is legit and not bloatware or virus ridden like the old Limewire files. In spite of the frustration of the game being hard, I suggest you give it a try.

WoW: Shadowlands Trailer Reaction

Thanks for watching my WoW: Shadowlands trailer reaction video. A couple of days ago, I recorded a reaction video for the new Mortal Kombat 11 expansion, Aftermath trailer. On the same day that I got the idea to do that video, I learned that there was a trailer for the new World of Warcraft expansion.

I have a long and somewhat checkered history with World of Warcraft. I won’t admit to being addicted to the game (because that just sounds sad). However, I played a ton of WoW and my /played time on that game is rivaled only by my played time on Skyrim. I haven’t played WoW in a few years. I sometimes miss it and feel the pull back into the game, though.

My most recent character was a Tauren (not this one pictured) named Karrne, because Carne is Spanish for “beef”. Cow man, beef, get it? Yeah, not many others did either. They thought I was paying homage to the Chieftain of the Tauren, Cairne. Oh well.

And, so, that’s how I ended up watching the trailer and texting my friend, “I just watched the trailer for the new World of Warcraft expansion and I think I’m back in.” He texted back about me being back out. You know, the old Godfather quote that everyone uses. I replied, “There’s plenty of time to change my mind.”

Honestly, I don’t think that I’ll end up playing World of Warcraft again. Sure, as I’ve mentioned more than once, I do have the time to play the game. But, I don’t think that it is one of those games that I need to play anymore. I have games that I play with the boys and those are more of a priority for me.

So, will this WoW: Shadowlands trailer reaction be the first in a series of dominoes that will send me spiraling back into the game? Stay tuned to find out!

Mortal Kombat 11 AfterMath Reaction

Thanks for watching my Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath Reaction Video. A few days ago, I noticed an announcement on Ed Boon’s Twitter account. It was about something coming for Mortal Kombat 11. People speculated that new story content was coming. They were partially right. Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath will arrive on May 26th with new story content, 3 characters, some skin packs, new stages, stage fatalities, and friendships!

I’ve never done a reaction video before. However, this one seemed perfect for my first one. I watched the video over a dozen times. It still makes me smile every time. There is so much in this update. Recently, I was told that some people are upset that it costs money.

Hey, you’re all entitled to your opinion. When I first discovered that it was going to cost 40 dollars, I was initially shocked. However, I talked to a buddy about it and he didn’t hesitate in his pre-purchase. That’s all I needed to hear. I’m going to put money down next Thursday when I get paid. The content alone is enough.

As you know if you read my article, I loved the story of Mortal Kombat 11. They hired an actual writer to do the story this time and it shows. Getting more of that story alone is a good thing and I’m willing to pay for that. Besides, we all knew deep down that this was going to cost us something. This is the same company that charged money for a Frost character that you could unlock simply by playing through the story mode. So, pay for it or don’t. I’ll be logged in on the 26th ready to play.

I hope you enjoyed my Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath Reaction video!

XBox One Minecraft Tour

Introduction

XBox One Minecraft Tour? I’ve been planning to do Minecraft in May for the last three years. Generally speaking, May is when things ramp up in school. This year is no different, but the ramping up looks quite different. As a result, I will at least get to do Minecraft in the first week of May for now. The rest of the month, I’m going to focus on family games.

Similar to Mortal Kombat, I’m not sure how I’d do a review of Minecraft at this point. I don’t think there have been any updates recently other than a hot fix of some bugs. Additionally, if you’ve ever even seen a screenshot of Minecraft, you pretty much know the game. Finally, for the purposes of this introduction, there aren’t the same kind of mods on XBox One as on the PC, so I can’t really review them.

As a result, I’m going to do the same thing I did with Mortal Kombat. I will record a couple of videos giving a tour of two worlds that Quinn and I have been working on recently. Check them out and hopefully these are the videos that get me uploading to YouTube more often!

Massive Mine World

Quinn started this world and I joined after he had built the small house and started to dig out the underground base. I added a Nether portal that he moved into the base, which was a better location. I, as I often do, started to mine for diamonds. My latest idea is to try to clear out the bordered level 12 that is inside our mines. We’ll see how that goes. See the video below for the tour.

Video coming soon.

Desert House

Quinn also started this world. He’s been playing a ton of Minecraft lately. As I was watching, I saw the multicolored sand mountains in the background. That gave me the idea to start the house that you will see in the tour. Check out the video for what I mean.

Video coming soon.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me for my XBox One Minecraft Tour. I hope you enjoyed the videos of our works in progress. I will continue to update, especially if I get that area cleared out in the Mine World. Otherwise, hope you enjoy your time in Minecraft. If you haven’t played it before, you are missing out. It’s a simple, but fun time!

Magic the Gathering Arena April 2020

Introduction

What’s new in Magic the Gathering Arena April 2020? I remember when I first reviewed the game, I think I denigrated it as MtG: Hearthstone edition. The game introduced animations and emotes into the sometimes overly serious MtG game space. It took me a while to warm up to the game. I played here and there, but never on a consistent basis.

They have been good at updating the game on a regular basis. All new sets have been available on the first day for as long as I can remember. I know in the beginning, they were still giving priority to MTGO, but that changed pretty quickly when they realized the audience of MTGA. There are daily quests and a “Mastery” system that allows you to rank up to get rewards. Those two things are what keeps me coming back every day to play.

The red orbs are used for the mastery tree to get “card styles”. Basically, those are like shiny versions of the cards, but because its digital, they are animated.

But, that’s not all. The most recent update brings with it the requisite set of Ikoria. That’s a month early due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The cards are also available on MTGO, but I never play that. It’s a real money system that doesn’t work for casual guys like me. MTGA is much more forgiving in that way. But, there’s more! Let’s explore all the new stuff.

The Decent

Standard Only – Sure, there’s “Historic”, too, but honestly I’m not sure anyone even knows that exists or what’s legal in “Historic”. I kind of wish they would start pushing out older sets, maybe as draft sets initially, to allow for “Pioneer” to eventually be legal, but I’m sure that’s not a priority right now. I just take solace in the fact that I only have to worry about the most recent sets. Unless they’re running an event, I don’t have to worry about any Lotuses (Loti?) except for the slightly underpowered ones they release every now and then.

I mean, this egg is legal in Historic. Doesn’t that make you want to play?

Daily Deals – Another relatively recent update is that they’ve been offering daily deals in the shop. I check every morning before playing to finish my quests. There are the aforementioned card styles, card sleeves, and sometimes even packs for a discounted price. They’re almost always available for gold, so you can build a collection pretty quickly.

A selection of the deals from the day I was tying this, Monday April 20.

The Good

Friday Night Magic at Home: I’ve mentioned Covid-19 in the last two articles because they’ve affected so much of life, MtG included. Obviously, the most recent set was delayed in paper. However, Channel Fireball was one of the first places I knew that shut down their warehouse due to the outbreak. And, finally, stores in the state have closed, so no Friday Night Magic. Now, I never took part in any FNM previously, but it was still good that WotC has allowed MtGA to host FNM events and you can even get prizes from your local store if they’re participating. Anything to retain that sense of normalcy in crazy times.

Mastery: I already said a bit about Mastery earlier. Here’s the rest. By completing quests and winning matches daily and weekly, you gain XP. That XP allows you to level up (1000 XP per level) which allows you to gain certain prizes. It could be packs. It could be cards. Every now and then, it is pets. I know, I know. That sounds dumb. And it is. But, it hasn’t stopped me from trying to collect more pets.

You can even level up your pets!

The Great

Early Access to Ikoria: This isn’t technically early access. As discussed, this is when Ikoria should have released to begin with. However, due to the current global pandemic, I’ve gotten to play with the new set and Chris hasn’t. I won’t make any sort of boasting comment about that because it’s potentially bad karma and I have enough of that to clean up after the last few years of my life.

Also, I’m just damn sick and tired of seeing this card already.

Player Drafts: This is probably what I’m most excited about in the new update. Previously, you would draft with bots, which wasn’t nearly as interesting as drafting with players. Sure, I could have played MTGO or gone to FNM. However, I’m a noob (as I already explained) and MTGO isn’t cost efficient for me. And, up until this year, I haven’t had the time to go to FNM. Now, I have all the time in the world.

Maybe? I have noticed that this virus (as much as viruses can) does have a wicked sense of irony sometimes.

The Verdict

Magic the Gathering Arena April 2020 is in a good spot right now. Initially, I thought this might be like many of WotC’s recent ventures into digital and founder under lack of support. However, the game quickly gathered a following due to them actually supporting it. They’ve used it in streams for tournaments and even have sponsored streamers who play it. If viewing numbers are any indication, it’s still not as popular as Hearthstone. However, it is popular enough that I rarely ever have difficulty finding an opponent. That’s a good thing because I find myself playing this much more than Hearthstone lately. Come join me!

Ikoria Notable Cards

Introduction

Thanks for reading my list of Ikoria notable cards. Just to get it out of the way, for those who haven’t been here before, this is not a list of the biggest and best cards in the set. Like I said to Chris the other day, nobody’s ever accused me of being a Spike. I’m more of a Johnny, but when it comes to these articles, I’m definitely a Timmy.

When looking at a set or opening packs, I always gravitate to the shiny cards. I mean that figuratively and literally. So, whenever a new set comes out, I pick the cards that I find interesting and I write an article about them. I did this again for the first time in a while for Hearthstone last week. It’s pretty exciting that both Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering had a new set release in back to back weeks. I mean, due to Covid-19, the MtG release is only online, but that means I get to play with the cards.

Actually, Sorry, Chris. Hopefully, it’s only a month.

White

Honorable Mention (Cubwarden): This is one of the few cards that I’ve gotten to play so far in the set. I put together a terrible GW vigilance deck to complete a quest, which was a mistake. Because, I found a Jeskai deck that I’d rather build and I don’t have the proper wild cards. Oh well, Mutate is a fun keyword that I haven’t completely figured out yet.

Mythos of Snapdex: When Chris and I were first looking at the spoilers, we both said something about pushing 3 colors again. While that might not have been entirely accurate, this Mythos cycle is certainly that. I like the stipulation of using different colored mana to augment the card. Very cool design.

Blue

Honorable Mention (Thieving Otter with Phase Dolphin): Hey, look, it’s a Johnny combo after all! Activate unblockable on that otter, draw your entire deck, play Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, and win the game! If anyone actually gets that combo to work, please tell me. Actually, someone will probably get it to work against me in MTGA because that’s just how things go.

Escape Protocol: There’s not really any new or unique counters in this set like there was in the last set. So, I was looking for a different kind of card. I played against an interesting cycle deck a few days ago and thought that building a cycle deck could be fun.

Black

Honorable Mention (Corpse Churn): For some reason, I was quite intrigued by this card in the one full player draft that I did on MtGA. I locked into Junk at the beginning of the draft and couldn’t get off of it, but it was wide open. I haven’t actually played the deck, but it has some human and graveyard synergies. Hoping that it’s not as terrible as it felt while I was drafting it.

Blood Curdle: More terribly costed removal for black in this set. I mostly picked this one because I noticed that the cards now say “lifelink counter” or “menace counter”. I assume that they are going to put these various counters in card packs now or have them otherwise available. They’re taking a page from their sister game of Pokemon in this regard.

Red

Honorable Mention (Reptilian Reflection): I could put this in my cycle deck that I mentioned earlier and make it an Izzet deck. I could further expand it by putting some of the “draw your second card of the turn” cards and I might actually have something. Probably not. My Johnny side is coming through in this article.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast: I think that Chris mentioned something about this being a bomb when he first saw it spoiled. I mean, he’s not wrong. It’s sort of a worse Fires of Invention and sort of a Garruk all at once. It’s not broken, but definitely one that could be fun to play.

Green

Honorable Mention (Colossification): Here’s that big, dumb card that you’ve been waiting to see. Plus, I just like the art. It makes me chuckle every single time I see it.

Vivien, Monster’s Advocate: Speaking of Garruk, it looks like our friend Vivien is picking up the slack that he left off when he went and died. Did he ever come back and is he dead again? Who knows? I liked the Vivien planeswalker from a couple of sets ago and this one is pretty neat, too.

Multicolor

I chose four for multicolored, since I didn’t find any (other than the triomes) coloreless cards that I wanted to include.

Honorable Mention (Inspired Ultimatum): Here’s another cycle for the set. Stupidly costed 3 color “Ultimatums” that look more like Hearthstone cards than Magic the Gathering cards. This one is almost exactly like Ultimate Infestation for those of you who play Heartstone.

Honorable Mention (Lutri, the Spellchaser): I have no idea what the hell companion even is, to be perfectly honest. But, some Vintage guys were discussing it on Twitch and they seem to think that the mechanic can break the game in fundamental ways. I just chose this one because look at that cute (but deadly!) otter.

Song of Creation: I was talking to Chris about this the other day because I’m thinking of making a deck for us to play Skype (or Zoom or Google Meets now?) games. I said that when you add another color to a deck, it dilutes that deck quite a bit. However, this card seems like it could be completely busted in a storm deck. Maybe Legacy or commander?

Narset of the Ancient Way: My girl Narset is back to Jeskai colors. This one isn’t as dumb or unfun to play against as her most recent mono blue card. However, it has some potential as spot removal or slight ramp. I’m just happy that she’s back to her roots.

Colorless

Triomes: There weren’t really any colorless cards that jumped out at me. But, these lands are pretty neat. What’s better than a biome? A triome! And they’re typed with basic lands, so they are fetchable. Chris and I were trying to figure out if that made them too broken for Modern. Initially I thought they might be, but I haven’t heard any rumblings about it, so maybe the fact that they enter tapped is enough to slow them.

The Verdict (My choices for Ikoria notable cards are fun at least)

Those are my choices for Ikoria notable cards. When the set was first spoiled, it looked like it was going to be broken beyond belief. Others agreed that some of the companions were going to be troublesome in eternal formats. I think we set a new record by having a card banned in a format (Commander) before it was even released. I’ve played a few games on MTGA with the set and the cards are fun, but the games have been sort of imbalanced. In any case, if you can’t get online, I hope the next month goes by quickly and you get to play these cards!

Note: All images for cards taken from Scryfall without permission. It’s a great searchable MtG database. Check them out!

Ashes of Outland Notable Cards

Introduction

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Ashes of Outland Notable cards. Those of you who have read my other articles that are “set reviews” know that this isn’t a simply a list of the best cards from the set. There are plenty of those lists out there. Rather, it is a list of cards that I find interesting or enjoyable from the set. That’s a good thing because this set introduces some of the most broken cards and mechanics in Hearthstone history.

Speaking of Demon Hunter, I question Blizzard’s game design and balance team more and more after this expansion. There’s no way that half of these cards should have even seen the light of day. If you don’t believe me, start an account, join ladder, and come back to see me after the first match where you don’t face Demon Hunter. I will see you next expansion. I’ve been playing with a basic Demon Hunter deck to finish their introduction quests and I don’t think I’ve lost yet.

How is it even possible? You will see this emote non-stop, too.

Okay, unhelpful pissing and moaning out of the way, let’s get to the actual introduction. As mentioned in the last article, it’s been a while since I’ve done Hearthstone content. The main reason for that is that it’s been a while since I’ve done any content. The real reason is that it was never a priority of mine when I wanted to write for the page. I’ve got nothing but time now and a new set just released, so why not jump on the bandwagon early. And, so, my Ashes of Outland notable cards.

Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter is so OP, it shot to the top of the alphabetical list.

Sightless Watcher: I was watching a stream (because Twitch has become my background entertainment of choice lately) and someone said, “Hey, we finally have scry!” It’s not exactly that, but it’s definitely the Hearthstone equivalent of that. Neat mechanic. I hope they do more.

Druid

They really like giving Druids things that cost 1.

Ysiel Windsinger: This card is somewhat redundant with the semi-broken Kael’thas. However, I’m intrigued by the fact that Blizzard keeps printing these cards for druids that cause other cards to cost one. I just don’t understand the reason for the mechanic. Look at me, trying to find reasons for things Blizzard does in this game.

Hunter

Zixor, Apex Predator and Zixor Prime: These cards are complete and utter garbage. Hey, I told you. This isn’t a list of the best cards. It’s just a list of cards that I find interesting. For whatever reason, these are the only “prime” cards that made the list. I honestly can’t tell you why. The other hunter cards must be real trash.

Mage

Free cards? Well, if you insist.

Evocation: As soon as I saw this card, I knew that it would be my favorite card in the set. It does stupid, and potentially broken, stuff with almost no draw back. Nuff said.

Paladin

I miss fishing in WoW.

Underlight Angling Rod: There was a time in World of Warcraft where I was chasing fishing achievements. Yes, there have been times in my life that I’ve been a sad World of Warcraft addict. I’ve actually found the pull of the game almost irresistible lately. Thank goodness the only computer that runs it is in Aiden’s bedroom right now, so I can avoid it.

Priest

Overcosted mass removal with a catch. Oh, priest, you slay me.

Soul Mirror: People hate priest and with good reason. Hearthstone is spam minions and go face. Witness demon hunter if you don’t believe me. Priest often makes it impossible to do just that. This card doesn’t do that. Since more and more minions are being printed with more toughness than attack (those are MTG terms, but I don’t care enough to learn the HS ones), this card is situational and, potentially stupid. It’s also legendary, so you can only put one in your deck. WTF, Blizzard.

Rogue

I love the Discover mechanic.

Shadowjeweler Hanar: Hearthstone loves random effects. Once upon a time, Chris tried to emulate Hearthstone on paper and all of the random effects stymied him. Still, good on him for sticking to his principles. What’s all this have to do with this card? Well, Blizzard actually did something right with Discover. It mitigates some of the randomness and feels like it gives you control over it. Discover is perhaps the best mechanic in this game.

Shaman

Have I mentioned that I love Discover?

Marshspawn: This is one of the few cards I’ve actually gotten to play in the game. I put together a highlander Shaman deck to do a quest and this is one of the cards in the deck. It has discover. It makes the list!

Warlock

YuGiOh fans are shouting “Pot of Greed!”

Hand of Gul’dan: Somehow part of Warlock’s identity is card draw. There’s supposed to be draw back to that card draw as part of that identity. Other than the cost, I don’t see a drawback here. But, who the hell is going to ever pay 6 for this card?

Warrior

Punch, punch, punch, punch, Zzzzzzzz….

Warmaul Challenger: This card is just dumb because potentially you are going to see the animation 10 times as it just punches the other card for 1 damage each time. That’s going to be annoying for your opponent. Hey, if I can’t have fun playing a game, neither will you!

The Verdict (There are some neat Ashes of Outland notable cards)

Ashes of Outland introduces the first new hero in the game. Demon Hunter is pathetically broken. However, let’s focus on the positive. There are some really fun cards in this set. Demon hunter be damned, I’m going to play each and every one before the end of this stay at home order. I suggest you get out there and do the same. Together, we can defeat the scourge of demon hunters!

Probably not. But, at least we will die happy. Eh, that’s probably not true, either.

Note: All images courtesy of Blizzard and Hearthstone. Taken and used without permission by using the Google machine. So, really, when you think about it, it’s all their fault. Plus, if you’re feeling litigious, I promise you they have much more money than me.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds April 2020

Introduction

Welcome to Hearthstone Battlegrounds April 2020. I remember the first time I saw Battlegrounds. Heavily invested in Autochess at the time, I also tried Teamfight Tactics, but was not nearly as good at that one. The thing about TFT is that I thought I had found someone to play the game with, but it turned out to be a missed opportunity. And, so, I continued to get my autobattling fix from Autochess.

I happened upon Battlegrounds by accident, if memory serves. It might not. The last month has been deleterious to my overall mental state. Then again, I did just properly use the word “deleterious”. However, I had to look it up in the dictionary to check the spelling and definition. See, mental state deteriorating. I’m having a conversation with myself.

Please send help.

There was an invitational for streamers to show off the game mode. I said in chat that I might never play the other modes of Hearthstone again. Not that he cares, but I probably even texted something like that to Chris. While that isn’t strictly true, I’ve definitely put more hours into Battlegrounds than any other Hearthstone mode. As evidenced by the lack of content on the page. Follow the link and laugh. Let’s explore why.

The Decent

No Emotes/Chat: This isn’t exactly true. There are only picture emotes, but I can’t entirely figure out what they are supposed to mean. Even so, some players spam them endlessly. There is nothing that online gaming communities can’t corrupt.

Not even a Happy Cow.

Broken Heroes: If there’s one thing that Blizzard is known for, it is terrible balance in Hearthstone. I’m going to give my “notable cards review” for the new set on Thursday, so there will be plenty of time to discuss their latest attempts there. However, this tendency has also extended into Battlegrounds. First there was Tirion. Then, they tried to “fix” Millhouse and that didn’t quite go as intended.

The Good

Good Auto Battler: In spite of these two minor issues, the game is still a decent auto battler. It does what Blizzard games do. It takes a concept, wraps it in a Blizzard property, strip it down to it’s simplest terms, and probably make a boatload of money from it. I’m ashamed that I spent some money to get the “perks” on one of my accounts.

Being in Quarantine, I have nothing else to spend money on. As I said, please send help.

Limited Tribal Strategy: Speaking of simplest terms, there isn’t much strategy to combining tribes like in other games. Some cards buff certain tribes, but that’s the only real synergy. Like, you don’t get extra attack or defense or anything like you do in other battlers. That makes for one of those “easy to learn, hard to master (not really)” games that Blizzard likes to tout.

The Great

Unique Hero Powers: One of the things that sold me on Hearthstone initially is that each hero has a unique power that they can use if they can afford to pay the mana for it. This adds a new dimension to card games. It also accomplishes the task of feeling like “at least I get to do something each turn” that Blizzard uses as justification for them.

Being able to do something every turn isn’t always a good thing.

Quick to Update: I thought that this game mode might have ended up just being another forgotten mode. Arena isn’t quite that, but Wild certainly is. In actuality, Blizzard has put a lot into the game mode. They regularly add new heroes, rotate out content, and even updated with a whole new tribe. A game mode that could quickly become boring becomes boring less quickly.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Battlegrounds April 2020 Is a Fun Diversion)

This game isn’t perfect. I feel like that’s my opening statement for most of these summaries. It’s perfect because it is almost always true. However, it has been a fun diversion. It’s kept me busy through much of this quarantine. If you’re looking for a different sort of game over the next few months, I’d say give this one a try. Unlike other games, you don’t have to pay anything to get started.

MK 11 Krypt Tour

Introduction

Now it’s an MK 11 Krypt tour? Still no gameplay? Well, let’s list the reasons again. (1) Technically the Krypt is part of playing the game, (B), as I said, there is plenty of gameplay contend out there and (∑) it’s Mortal Kombat. What do you expect for gameplay? Well, that’s what you’re getting.

With all of that being said, I’m not entirely sure how to write an article about the Krypt. I thought maybe a review, but that will most likely make for a boring article. I could do a virtual tour, but that’s dumb, too. Looks like I might have to get over my stage fright and just record a video.

Noob’s MK 11 Krypt Tour Video

The Verdict

I hope you enjoyed my first video in about 5 years. As I may have mentioned in the video, the Krypt is one of my favorite game modes. I’ve said numerous times to friends that it could be a game to itself if they wanted to develop it a little bit more. I’m sure that it will eventually get boring after I’ve opened everything, but I honestly don’t know how long that will be.

For instance, just the other day, I found a statue that led me on a bit of a scaly goose chase (yes, I’m still trying to be good about spoilers) that still hasn’t ended. And another character randomly appeared to try to sell me more stuff. In between farming towers with the Noob Saibot AI build given to me by a friend, I will spend all of my time in the Krypt. Hope to see you there!