Category Archives: Gaming

The Ultimate Downfall of Card Games: Power Creep

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It is hard to talk about the evolution card games, both online and paper, without mentioning the genre’s most fatal flaw: power-creep. Now, because card games have been around for such a long time, and because many of them have grown quite old, there are many examples of this phenomenon that have been discussed in detail elsewhere. Still, as someone who has spent years in multiple different communities, I want to share my perspective on the issue.

First, for those who aren’t familiar with cards games or gaming terminology in general, power creep describes the gradual increase in strength of cards, both to compete with the current best cards of any given meta as well continually generate interest from players in the game. Over a long period of time, this usually results in cards that are significantly stronger than anything that came out during the initial period of the game.

There are a lot of obvious negatives to this phenomenon. For one, power-creep makes it so that it is very hard for someone to leave a given game for any extended period of time and then return to the game, because it likely that by the time that person gets back a lot new game mechanics have been added that are necessary to learn in order to play the game at a high level.

Another is that those who enjoy a specific archetype/playstyle will likely not be able to play with that deck indefinitely. This is because power-creep will inevitably start favoring another archetype/playstyle depending on what kind of cards are made more powerful in an given format.

Then there are the less obvious negatives, like the fact that increasing the power of cards does not necessarily drive any outside interesting in the game, but rather only serves to keep the already existing player base interested. This because even with all of the advertising in the world, a potential new player only has their pre-existing knowledge to go off of which, by definition, is probably not a lot.

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One of the few positives, though, is the increased interest for already existing players. As a former Yugioh player and current Hearthstone player, I can tell you that the prospect of a new extra deck mechanic in Yugioh, as well as the introduction new keywords in Hearthstone was and is always incredibly exciting. Constantly expanding games also make it so that there is a continued sense of community among any given player base.

Regardless of the positives and negatives, though, the reality is that it is very hard to deal with power-creep in any meaningful way. One non-direct solution that games like Magic the Gathering have adopted is simply introducing different formats with different rules. This makes it so that players only have a specific-meta game, and thus make it a little easier to understand. However, this does not inherently limit power-creep in any way, as it is like that new combinations of cards will be discovered depending on the format.

Card games could also introduce new cards less often, thus decreasing the amount of power-creep in a given time period, but this has the effect of causing existing player bases to be less interested in the game and potentially even quitting.

There is also the question of is power-creep even necessarily that bad. After all, part of the appeal of competitive card games is seeing just how successful people can be in different formats, whether that be aggressive metas, control, tempo, or even burn and combo decks.

Personally, while I don’t find it particularly fun to constantly learn new game mechanics and deal with whatever overpowered BS comes out during a given expansion, and I cannot deny the fun I have theory crafting and deck testing with other people about the game. Overall, I think the best solution to power-creep is design a game such as DC Deck Builders, one that can use expansions, but doesn’t need to, and that is versatile enough to have multiple winning strategies and also rewards people for skillful plays.


What’s your opinion on power-creep? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Top 5 Games I Want to Try Now That I have a Gaming PC

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…uuuuuuuuuuuuggggghhh. Sorry, its been hard to muster up any kind of energy given the last week. Whether it be current events and the country slowly falling into fascism or always having 20 assignments due, lets just say its not been particularly motivating. However, one bright spot did occur over the weekend: I was able to get my first ever PC. Despite not actually building it myself (shout out to my friend Jeremy who is also a Team Fight Tactics and variety twitch streamer), aside from plugging in wires and downloading software, I’m still incredibly happy about finally having one. Now that I do have a PC, I have begun to think about all of the games I want to play. So here is a quick list of my most anticipated games now that I have one.

Valorant

Its hard to say that I haven’t felt at least a little behind or even left out because I have been playing on console for so long. Granted, many PC gamers have made others feel bad about their preferred gaming setup, but it still felt bad knowing their were certain games I just did not have access to, and games like “Valorant” are why I felt that way. Not only does it have a sleek and interesting design, its game play, aside from just being similar to “CS:GO,” looks incredibly fun and rewarding, and definitely something I want to get my hands on.

League of Legends

Alright, listen, I can explain. Remember how I just said that I felt bad about missing out on trends? Well, “League” is kind of like the trend that never dies, at least not yet anyway. Despite the fact that I have been playing Smite for well over 4 years now, I still have wanted to the game for the sole fact that it seems to draw a lot of attention and, at least when played with similarly skilled people, appears to be a lot of fun.

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Persona 4 Golden

It is almost crazy to think about just how much fun I have already had with the “Persona” series solely through its most recent entry. “Persona 5” has already cemented itself as one of my favorite games of all time, and I think it would be a miss to not check at the series older entries. From my experience playing “Smash Ultimate,” the game has a wonderfully vibrant soundtrack, and even though I do find myself being a bit biased because of what games look like now, it still has a fairly impressive set of graphics.

Rivals of Aether

The next two games on this list are games that I actually have already played, but would like to experience on a better graphics card than what my laptop can provide. As for “Rivals of Aether,” I have always enjoyed its faster, more adaptive game-play, relative to other platform fighters. However, the game never looked quite right playing on a laptop, and it was always hard to play with multiple people because of having a smaller screen. Now, thought, it should be a much more comfortable experience.

Smite

Like I mentioned before, I have had a long and storied history with “Smite,” a lot of it bad, but most of it good. As with “Rivals of Aether,” the game just never felt quite right on a non-gaming focused laptop, with the hundreds of stutters and disconnects, so I never really bothered trying accept on PS4. I definitely prefer “Smite” conceptually to a lot of other MOBAs because of the third party view, and now I hope I can experience a slightly more competitive version of it.


What games have you all been playing, and what should I add to this list in the future? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

5 of the Most Influential Cards from Scholomance Academy

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With all of the cards from the newest Hearthstone set Scholomance Academy finally revealed, It is safe to say that this set is going to have a lot of influence on the direction of the game going forward. Certainly not as much as Ashes of Outland did with Demon Hunter, but enough to be more significant than a normal new expansion, especially with the introduction of dual class cards and the new mechanic spellburst. Today, I want to talk about how Scholomance will affect the meta, and list what I think will be the five most influential cards of the set.

Lorekeeper Polkelt

While its current decklist is surprisingly tight, it is very likely that Lorekeeper Polkelt will find his way into the current iteration of Quest Warlock. His ability to reorder one’s deck with the highest cost cards on top will make it much easier to find win conditions in the form of Dragon Queen Alexstrasza, Malygos, and base Alexstrasza. It is also likely that Polkelt will find his way into a number of tempo and control decks as a way of improving one’s curve in the late game. It might even its way into an aggro deck as a finishing tool that will let them draw into their high end cards. Polkelt’s influence resides in his wide range on utility across classes and deck types. He is certainly not a card to be underestimated.

Vectus

While not having an obvious home in any of the current competitive archetypes, Vectus is another card who’s versatility will likely give him a spot in many decks, even those for which deathrattle is not the main focus. For one, 6/6 worth of stats on turn five is pretty impressive by itself, especially split across three bodies. On top of that however, depending on the copied deathrattles, Vectus can also generate a large amount of value, which can set up for the following turn. All of this will make him a threat to watch out for.

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Soulciologist Malicia

Malicia, along with the rest of the Soul Fragment package, is likely going to be a strong option for both Demon Hunter and Warlock for the foreseeable future. Not only do the fragments themselves provide healing to classes that have historically benefited greatly from it, the payoff cards for adding in fragments for classes can be quite potent. On top of that, because the fragments are cast when drawn affects, there is zero risk in clogging your deck. Malicia, arguably being the best, will likely be the bane of many people’s existence.

Sphere of Sapience

Scholomance has also introduced, along with many other mechanics, the first neutral weapon. While it may just be 1 mana make 4 of your draws slightly better, those slightly better draws could be the difference between winning and losing in a lot of cases. Though it will probably not see much play in aggro style decks, tempo and control decks will likely experiment a lot with this card. If watching Yugioh has taught me anything its that believing in the heart of the cards can often be the answer.

Secret Passage

Though Legendary cards often do have the biggest, flashiest affects, they certainly are not the end all be all of the game. Often times games are one with smaller, more consistently present affects, like with Secret Passage. To say the card is good would be a huge understatement. While Rogue currently has a lot of value generation already in the form of Galakrond and secrets, after the rotation of last years sets, this card will likely be the bread and butter of most decks for the class. Though its impact will not be immediate, it certainly will be felt.

There have been a number of sets in Hearthstone’s life span that have defined competitive metas. Witchwood introduced the even and odd deck restriction in the form of Gen and Baku, and Ashes of Outland introduced the horrifically unbalanced at launch Demon Hunter. All though at first glance Scholomance Academy lacks any meta defining cards, the ones listed here do have the potential to do so. Only time will tell now.


What are your favorite cards from Scholomance Academy? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

5 of the Most Interesting Competitive Character Designs in Smash Ultimate

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Being the forefather of the modern platform fighter, Smash Bros and its many iterations have seen a number of changes. Many of those changes have been in game play, like the the removal of many mechanics from Melee to Brawl. However, arguably a bigger change is the number of characters available in its latest iteration, Smash Ultimate. Not only does this create a more interesting challenge competitively, with players having to memorize many more match ups, but there are also many new types of characters. Here are five of the most interesting characters in Smash Ultimate.

Zero Suit Samus

Zero Suit Samus (ZSS) was introduced in Super Smash Brothers Brawl and was given the unique identity of starting the game with items that she could pick up and throw. However, it was in Smash for the Wii U/3DS where her current design was finalized. While her combo game and raw kill power were nerfed fairly heavily coming into Ultimate, ZSS still retains the raw speed and mix up game that made her so deadly during competitive Smash Wii U.

The biggest and most talked about part of her kit is her down special flip jump. The move can be used to hop over a given area in both horizontal directions, and can even bury a grounded opponent or spike and aerial opponent if they are hit with the second input of the move. Not only does the move allow her to maneuver through space, it also makes it so that she can go fairly deep off stage and expect to make it back safely.

ZSS also has built in stuns in the form of her neutral b and down smash which give her near guaranteed kills if landed. Combine all of this with her relatively fast air speed and strong aerials and you get one of the the more satisfying characters to play.

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Incineroar

Given just how different platform fighters usual are from their 2D and 3D counterparts, it makes sense that a different type of character would excel within the genre, mainly those that are faster, have longer combos and more ability to go offstage. However, one type of character has remained a staple of the fighting game community, an archetype known as the grappler. Grapplers are usually reliant on throw combos to do damage and get wins, and Incineroar, who was introduced in Ultimate, is Nintendo’s nod to this archetype.

Incineroar has a few obvious strengths and weaknesses. First, the characters throws give him a lot of options. His down throw can combo into any of his aerials given the right percent, and can even combo into his special moves like neutral special. Additionally, his other three throws are considered kill throws, meaning at higher percents they can outright take an opponents stock.

However, given his slower movement speed and lack of a projectile, Incineroar can also find himself walled out relatively easily, which means the character often has to rely on an opponent making a mistake in order to get anywhere. This variance in his play has made the character extremely polarizing to many, but also puts him in line with many of the grapplers that came before him.

Greninja

Unlike his slower, fire-type counterpart, Greninja plays exactly like how you would want a character in this genre to feel. Not only his he fast, with a relatively high air and ground speed, he also has a number of high damage combos and kill confirms. He is, in a lot of cases, the definition of rewarding.

However, it is not just that the character feels good to play that makes him so interesting. Many of the character’s special moves also reflect his origins very well. His side special shadow sneak gives him a decent neutral mix-up as well as increased horizontal recovery. Water shuriken, his neutral special, gives him a projectile that can help wall out opponents and build up chip damage. His down special substitute acts as a counter and gives him another way to edge guard opponents offstage. His up special, much like Pickachu’s, gives him a number of angles from which to recover.

The character does lack significant defensive options, however, as most of his kit is focused on constant aggression. Because of this, his disadvantage can often be pretty bad, allowing opponents to rack up quite a bit of damage, and often times leading to a stock as well. Still, despite this lackluster aspect of his character, Greninja is still one of the most interesting designs in Smash Ultimate.

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Shulk

Despite his reputation among many in the competitive community as a “cheater” due to his strong defensive options, Shulk was not considered much of a strong character until Ultimate. Not only does he have a frame 1 Monado Arts switch, which allows him to change the properties of his character, making him faster, heavier, stronger, etc, his large disjointed sword gives him the ability to wall out opponents fairly easily.

Shulk also has something that not many other characters do. Using a mechanic called dial storage, Shulk is able to store frames of charge on his neutral special, making it easier to pull out his Monado Arts. This mechanic also gives him the ability to do things such as L cancel and wavedash, two mechanics that have thus far been limited to Melee. This means that has access to tools that other characters simply do not. As pro player Salem notes in the linked video, mastery of these techniques will likely mean that Shulk becomes one of if not the best character in the game.

Wolf

If there was ever a character who just oozes cool, outside of Joker, it would be Wolf. Not only does he just look badass, his move set and fast falling classification given him an extremely smooth feel that a lot of the DLC characters in smash simply don’t have. Moreover, Wolf’s combos and kill confirms all feel incredibly satisfying to hit due to many of them being fairly difficult or being extremely risky to go for.

It is unfortunate, however, that the character does not see much play. Relative to his popularity in the first year of the game’s lifespan, coupled with many nerfs to the character overall, Wolf has seen dramatically less play at the top level. In fact, most of his highest level appearances have been at the hands of Zachray, the best player in Japan, and even then he only uses him on occasion.

Still, at least before the worldwide appearance of COVID-19, Wolf was making a resurgence from players like Charliedaking and Larry Lurr. So, despite the relative difficulty of playing him optimally, Wolf will likely to continue to see play for years to come.


What characters do you think have interesting designs in Smash Ultimate? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Smash’s #MeToo was Swift and Widespread. Here are their Stories

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*Trigger Warning*

In the past week, the FGC and other gaming communities have been hit with a wave allegations ranging from minor sexual misconduct to outright rape and Pedophilia. Specifically, though, many of these allegations have come from members of the smash community against many prominent commentators and players. Given the severity and descriptiveness of these allegations, along with the strong evidence on the part of many of the accusers, I wanted to take time this week to highlight these stories.

CaptainZack’s account of events with Nairo, a now former smash ultimate pro, who, according to Zack, took advantage of him during a 2015 tournament when he was 15 and Nairo was 20.
KTDominate’s story of how long time smash commentator D1 forced himself on her when she was 18 while she was drunk, and then afterwards proceeded to brag about it to others at Smash the Record, the tournament the two were located at.
Puppeh, formerly on the PGRU and ranked on the top 10 of the MDVA power rankings, was sexually abused by Cinnpie, a smash ultimate commentator from the same region.
Katie, who was a fan of top smash 4 player Zero, accused the pro of using grooming language in their conversations and asking for sexually explicit images despite knowing her to be underage, around 14-15 at the time.
Corrin accuses smash 4 player Pugwest of asking for sexually explicit photos of her, providing screenshots of their conversation to corroborate the allegations.
Aliylian discusses her interactions with commentator DJ Nintendo and his attempts to solicit sexually explicit images of herself when she was 16-17 years old.

While he has since locked his account, commentator Keitaro has also admitted to excepting the sexual advances of a then drunk 17 year old girl. His account of the situation can be read here.

While I have a lot to say in regards to this reckoning within the smash community, I feel as though anything I say here would only take away from the stories of the individuals abused. I encourage everyone to read the full accounts of each. While these are not all of the stories that have emerged over the past couple of days, they are important ones.

Considering the seriousness of the situation, I will not be attempting to monetize anything in regards to this post. Thanks for reading, and always be looking to make things better.

Persona 5 Royal Definitely Seems Like the Better Version

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You ever just play one of the best RPG’s of all time and realize it pretty much instantly? Yeah, that’s how I felt playing the original “Persona 5.” From its incredible presentation and art style, to its amazing storytelling, the game did just about everything right. There was so much to explore in the original that to this day I have yet to do everything in it.

Despite this, however, I decided to take a look at “Persona 5 Royal,” the newest version of the game with even more content than the original, and oh boy are there a lot of improvements. Even though I am currently only part of the way into the game, its clear to see that “P5 Royal” is a marked improvement on the base game.

For starters, the existence of multiple new confidants along with a new main character and palace makes the game totally worth replaying, especially for someone who played the original and is looking to revisit the series. It was hard enough managing ones time through the original “Persona 5,” and the addition of new content makes that even more challenging than before.

The new content also means that, despite the $60 price tag for virtually the same game, it does not feel as bad buying the game a second time.

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The game play also feels newly energized. For starters, the addition of several new mechanics, such as technicals, have made fights a bit more interesting. Now, instead of only being able to down enemies from persona attacks, it is possible to down them using physical attacks as well.

The addition of new confidants also means a ton of new personas are available as well, making the options for combat even more varied than they were previously.

While the aesthetic of the game remains largely the same, there are even some very minor changes that feel welcome. For example, the new start of game screen, while totally different, feels very in style for “Persona 5” and also gives a sort of newer look to the game. The prominence of red compared to the original is considerably increased, and overall it feels like a very welcomed change.

The music in the series also remains largely unchanged, and yet for the additions that do appear, they also, as the kids would say, “go hard” and very much so “slap.” There are indeed quite a few “bangers” and “dope joints” added on to an already top tier soundtrack.

While it may seem impossible that Atlus was able to improve on an already incredible game, they somehow managed to do it. Every aspect, art, music, game play, was improved upon significantly, to the point of almost being ridiculous. While I cannot yet comment on all of the new content, and I can say without a doubt the game is absolutely worth looking into, especially for any returning fans. For those who have yet to play the series, I would definitely recommend playing “Persona 5 Royal.”


Have you all played Persona 5 Royal? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Wolf: From Powerhouse to Barely a Pocket Pick

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The early meta of “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate” was defined by a much different group of characters than what is popularly seen today. In the beginning of the game’s competitive lifespan, characters fell into two main groups based on their strengths. Either they had ridiculously strong combo games, such as Pichu and Olimar, or they rewarded strong fundamentals and game knowledge, such as Lucina.

Wolf falls into the latter category, and was indeed an incredibly strong character. He was introduced in “Super Smash Brothers Brawl” and has since been a fan favorite. His return in “Smash Ultimate” came with the support of nearly everyone.

Not only are many of his moves somewhat disjointed, meaning the hit-box of those moves is separated from the rest of the character, Many of his moves serve as combo starters, including his down throw, up throw, forward aerial, and many others. Wolf at his core rewards those who are aware of his advantages and know how to play the game on a more fundamental level.

This, in large part, explains his popularity among the competitive scene at the time. His reliance on fundamentals to do well made him easier to pick up, and his strong reward because of his easier combos and strong down smash used for reads made him well worth the relatively small time investment.

This lead to many top players, including Nairo, Void, MKLeo, and Zachray, to picking up the character as a secondary and many more to outright main the character. In fact, on the first PGRU, the official ranking of top smash players created by Panda Global, lists wolf five times, with most of his appearances in the top half of the list.

However, after the first few months of the game, many began developing the meta for other characters, most notably MKLeo rising in skill with his Joker, Nairo with Palutena, Marss with ZSS, Samsora with Peach, and Ally with Snake.

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Wolf also suffered from some compromising nerfs, which included a base knockback reduction on his down smash, and a increase in ending lag on his blaster. While he did get lots of other minor buffs, overall the character seemed to lose more than he gained.

Both of these things, combined with Wolf’s lackluster offstage options, lead many to abandoning the character. By the time the second official PGRU rolled around in the following fall, Wolf’s appearances went from five to just one in the form of Zachray, who only occasional played the character in specific match-ups.

While his popularity has certainly been at a low point, not all hope is lost for the furry villain. Many regions across the United States have a number of prominent Wolfs. Of these regions, SoCal stands out the most, who is home top Smash 4 player Larry Lurr, as well as rising star Charlie “Charliedaking” Haruno, the latter of whom recently made an incredible run at Genesis 7, getting ninth out of over 1,600 entrants and who almost beat current number six Maister.

Current number three Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey has also show much interest in the character as of late, using him most recently at Frostbite 2020 and getting third out of over 1,200 players. Even Zachray, who lost faith in the character fairly early on, has continued to use him sparingly in tournament play.

While it is hard to see the character’s widespread popularity returning anytime soon, his history in “Smash Ultimate” is interesting. At the end of the day, Wolf alongside others like Lucina felt a lot like characters that people were just messing around with while they got a feel for the game. Even despite the competitive scene’s strange online transition, it is possible that Wolf may see a minor return in the form of new and old top players.


Something a little different, this time around. I haven’t spent much time talking about competitive smash on this blog, most recently because pretty much all offline tournaments have grinded to a halt. However, I had a sudden inspiration and so this is the final product. Who is your favorite “Smash Bros” character? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Looking Back at Hearthstone: An RNG Nightmare, but Still Incredible Fun

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Ever Since its release in March of 2014, “Hearthstone” has enjoyed an incredible amount of popular support. Even after more than six years since its initial release, it still has 10,000’s of players. On top of that, despite Blizzard’s relatively recent controversy over its position on player speech during its Grandmasters event, It still boasts a solid competitive scene, with many prominent esports teams, including Liquid and T1.

However, despite both of those things, “Hearthstone” has almost always been a gamed ruled by RNG. Whether it be the card that started it all, Yogg-Saron, or the more recent mechanic Discover, which prompts a player to pick one card of a given three, it has become an accepted part of reality for those playing the game.

There are, of course, benefits and drawbacks to RNG. It definitely makes watching the game more interesting. Given that there is an increasing RNG in the game, it becomes even more likely that a given player high rolls on a given effect. The possibility of that high roll always keeps the entertainment value high as well.

RNG also presents an interesting challenge for the player. Even though the effects are by definition random, one could argue that being able to manage ones resources well enough to overcome any potential random benefit for the opponent is the sign of a truly good player.

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However, that is not necessarily always the case. Some RNG is so powerful that it can be hard to deal with even as a good player. A good example is the recent card Dragon Queen Alexstrasza, who when played adds two random dragons to that players hand. There is currently a larger number dragons in standard play, which means the variance on its effect can range from a minor benefit, to a game swinging play.

This can be frustrating to deal with, especially in situations where one player has performed nearly perfect in a game, but even so losses to one good random effect.

Despite these large competitive failings, though, “Hearthstone” still remains a largely entertaining game. With every expansion comes many new cards, play-styles, and experimental decks worth trying. Even though some competitive metas can feel stale, as was the case after the release of “The Witchwood,” the balancing team has become much more liberal in fixing problem cards and has definitely made more of an effort to limit big RNG effects, like Yogg-Saron.

On top of that, with the addition of battlegrounds and more content in Solo-adventures, Blizzard has also given players more of a reason to stick around aside from just climbing ladder.

“Hearthstone” is definitely not a perfect game by any means. The RNG can be frustrating for sure, especially on top of already being a card game. Still, if one can get over that aspect, there is still plenty about it worth enjoying.


How do you all feel about “Hearthstone?” Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

First Impressions: Dragon Quest 11 Echoes of an Elusive Age

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Although I greatly enjoyed, and am still on my way towards completing, “Fire Emblem Three Houses,” I took a break because I wanted to play something a little more traditional. I could think of nothing else more traditional than the latest entry in one of the series that helped define the JRPG genre. While it has not fully impressed me as of yet, despite it in all likelyhood a fairly long game, I have seen enough within the first eight or so hours of the game that makes me want to continue on.

For Starters, despite being presented well, Dragon Quest 11’s story does not seem out of the ordinary for the series. It focuses on a main character who was born as the reincarnation of the luminary, a being of light who is destined to battle the dark one. Along the way, he meets a number of individuals who are either told to or tasked with meeting the luminary and helping them on their journey.

While the main character, who is simply dubbed “The Destined Hero,” does not have much in the way of compelling traits, the rest of the cast, at least so far, more than carries the weight. Erik, for instance, starts out as a totally mystery, fitting of his rouge-like origins. However, it becomes apparent that he has only the intentions of helping the luminary. His gestures and manner of dialogue make him pretty entertaining.

The game does not due much to alter the classic RPG formula of game-play. It mainly consists of fighting monsters, gaining levels and skills points, and doing various missions and side-missions along the way. While some might argue that there is something to be said for keeping it simple, Dragon Quest is a series that could arguably stand to benefit from a serious overall in its combat.

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The enemies by themselves are not particularly difficult to fight, including many of the bosses. In fact, the only way the combat becomes even remotely difficult is by altering the game through the draconian mode, which allows the player to put certain restrictions and challenges on while they play.

Outside of these restrictions however, it is fair to say that the combat is uncompelling at best.

However, despite a fair amount of mediocrity, their remains a lot to be liked about the game. For instance, nearly all of the games cut scenes are beautifully animated and worthy of extreme praise. Leave it to Square Enix to create yet another incredibly animated game that breathes life into the characters it is portraying.

One scene that was incredibly well done is when the main character returns to his home village with Erik. He is shown a vision of his grandfather, as well as himself when he was younger, and gets the chance to talk with him. Upon being released from his allusion, he sees his home village burnt to the ground, with homes and other buildings destroyed by the King’s troops.

Another aspect of the game that is well done is the soundtrack. This is not really a surprise, considering Square Enix is also well known for their incredibly soundtracks, but it is worth noting regardless. Often times game soundtracks have little diversity, or just do not have very interesting music, and make the person playing want to turn on their own music. However, this is simply not the case with “Dragon Quest 11.”

Overall, I will likely continue on with the game, if only to meet the rest of the cast. Despite having a few mediocre elements, “Dragon Quest 11” still has enough elements going for it that make it worth seeing through.


Have you guys played “Dragon Quest 11?” What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

A Smash Ultimate Tier List (for When Things Go Back to Normal)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly across all parts of the world, its fair to say that the number of in person smash events has dropped to an all time low. Presumably though, with the right combination of government policy and social distancing to stop the virus’ spread, it will end at some point, and when it does it is likely that tournaments will start again en masse. Here is what I think the meta will look like when tournaments start again.

To start, only the section labled high tier, top tier, and bottom tier are in numeric order. Every tier below and above that is a rough estimation.

Also, I thought it might be worth briefly explaining my own personal methodology on how I made this tier list. Basically, my opinion is made up of equal parts pro opinion, major tournament results, and theory crafting. Personally, I think when it comes to evaluating the potential of a character, it is important to take into account all three.

Additionally, I try to weigh whether or not the character has more advantages than disadvantages. For example, if a character has a larger than average number of moves that are safe on shield, that would be considered an advantage. conversely, if a character has a recovery that is weaker than average, that would be considered a disadvantage.

Other than that, I will address a few placements that I think might cause contention, and that need clarification.

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Pikachu is the Best Character

Largely due to its much more balanced characters than in previous iterations, Smash Ultimate’s best character is a tough thing to figure out. However, Pikachu stands out as the best for a number of reasons.

First, Pikachu has a lot of fast aerials, and against a number of characters on the roster, his moves come out so fast and have so little lag that effectively, he cannot be punished. This makes pressuring the opponents shield safe and incredibly easy.

Second, Pikachu’s now infamous “pancakes” mean that during the animation of certain attacks, his hurt box shrinks so that even during unsafe moves where he theoretically could be punished, he often times is not. In situations where this happens, it often times means the pikachu gets to go back on the offensive because the opponent whiffed an attack.

Lastly, Pikachu’s combo game is second to none. Those who are familiar with the character competitively are likely also familiar with his “lighting loops” a drag down combo consisting of a grab down-throw, nair drag, up tilt and then repeat.

Pikachu not only competes with the best, but often beats them by a lot.

Shulk in High Tier

Those who pay attention to competitive “Smash Ultimate” are probably aware of Shulk’s continued rise to prominence. Originally starting in the meta as a high-mid tier, players such as Nicko and Kome have proven Shulk’s power again and again. As such his position has raised significantly among both pro opinion and tournament results.

However, new tech that was discovered more recently, as explained in the video above, allows Shulk to perform techniques such as L-cancelling and wave-dashing, techniques that are only available in two other smash games, Melee and Project+. While Shulk is currently held back by his more lag ridden aerials and poor movement, if pro players were to master these techniques, it is possible he could move even higher up.

Young Link in High Tier

Many players saw promise in Young Link upon the games release. His quick projectiles and low lag aerials made him, at least theoretically, one of the best characters in the game.

However, as time went on, many lost faith, and as a result, was not valued as highly. After a recent patch blessed the character with many new buffs, including now a forward throw that can kill near the ledge fairly early, and a recent top 8 placement at Frostbite 2020, players are again changing their minds about the character.


Do any of you play Smash Ultimate? If so, which characters do you enjoy playing? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Check out my writing blog, Solidly Liquid!

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!