Busy week! (and not because of work)

Well, this week was way more amazing than I originally expected. I honestly have been a bit out of the loop recently with new-ish job, so imagine my surprise when I realised that the Overwatch League pre-season has now started. I’ve been waiting for this for a while and now that it has launched I will be following it fervently. However, the majority of the matches are at times that I just cannot be awake for due to time difference, so I will be viewing the VODs the next day; 2am is not a time I can do on a work night!

So far, I was actually surprised with what I saw. Teams looked rusty by comparison to some of the matches I have seen before in tournaments such as APEX in South Korea, or even some of the matches from Contenders Season 1. With added context it makes a lot of sense for some teams, such as the Shanghai Dragons who didn’t have one of their primary dps players in the country until the day before their match against the titans in Seoul Dynasty. Also, I find myself in a difficult position of wanting to support London Spitfire, but I have been a long-time EnVyUs fan after they went to Korea won APEX season 1; my attentions are therefore split between the London Spitfire, as my local team, and Dallas Fuel as the team I have already supported all this time.

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But this week didn’t stop there. I also came to the realisation that Kobolds and Catacombs released this week for Hearthstone as well. Now, I’m not a huge Hearthstone player, mainly just using it as a game to play during the morning and evening commute, however I will say that I love this expansion. As a filthy casual who loves my PvE content, I have been loving the dungeon runs so far and somehow managed to succeed on my first try as paladin. I don’t even play paladin much in Hearthstone, but amusingly I main a paladin in World of Warcraft, so maybe that’s why I decided on impulse to make my first dungeon run as a paladin; either that or I just decided I really felt like having Liadrin as my hero. Always loved Liadrin as a character…

My hammer burns with holy fire!

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Titanic clash as NRG and Lunatic-Hai compete for a spot in the APAC finals in Shanghai

The semi finals for the APAC Premier in Shanghai had fans on their toes as giants clashed for a place in the finals.

The first match saw two favourites to win clashing head to head, with NRG from the United States facing off against Lunatic-Hai from South Korea, starting on Numbani, then moving to Nepal, Lijiang Tower and finally Ilios, ending with a victory for Lunatic-Hai three maps to one.

However, the final score didn’t accurately show how close the matches were, with NRG putting up an excellent performance against the Korean squad.

Seagull had some exceptionally strong Mei plays on Numbani, putting up ice walls to isolate fights and save one of his team mates from being dragged in by a Roadhog hook.


NRG Gods put on a very good show as Roadhog

On the king of the hill maps, we saw Gods pull some very strong Roadhog gameplay.

It wasn’t enough. NRG managed to take back Lijiang Tower and then force Ilios into the fifth stage, but couldn’t keep Lunatic-Hai out, losing a crucial engagement where graviton surges and pulse bombs were exchanged, but NRG didn’t have a sound barrier ready to defend whereas Lunatic-Hai did, costing them the map and the series.

The second match featured Rogue from Europe against NGA Club from China.


Rogue and NGA faced off for the opportunity to face Lunatic-Hai in the finals

Rogue put on a very strong performance, the matches appearing very one sided as the European squad almost completely shut NGA out on every map, with NGA only capturing a single point on Hollywood across all three maps.

Now all eyes are on the finals tomorrow: a rematch between Lunatic-Hai from South Korea and Rogue from Europe. Can Rogue make something happen in this third match up between the two teams?

– Lexi Taylor

APAC Premier Overwatch quarter finals conclude with a bang

The second set of quarter finals at the APAC Premier in Shanghai got off to another explosive start with one of the most anticipated matches.

The first match saw South Korea’s AF Blue up against Rogue from Europe. The first map was Watchpoint Gibraltar, with Rogue getting off to a sluggish start. AF Blue managed to roll over Rogue, claiming the first two points with relative ease, though they finally ground to a halt on the final point. Rogue found themselves struggling when they switched to attack, getting held at the first point for a long time, though they eventually managed to push through, cleaning up the second point in no time. Rogue kept up the momentum and managed to push through, finishing the map and claiming victory.

The second map was Hollywood, a good map for Rogue. They started with a solid defense, keeping AF Blue held up at the second point and forcing them into overtime. AF Blue managed to push through to the second point and then the third in overtime, but it wasn’t enough as Rogue pushed hard on attack, with Tviq taking apart AF Blue’s defense as Hanzo on the first point. Rogue managed to finish the map with four minutes left on the clock, leaving them four minutes to re-take the first point which they did handily to win the second map.

Lijiang Tower was the next map to come up, picked by AF Blue to play to their strengths. A bit of a back and forward was shown on this map, with both teams trading maps, trading points, however Rogue were unable to counter AF Blue and ended up losing the map, although the match was a fairly close one.

We then saw these two teams clash on Dorado, a fairly obvious pick from Rogue after losing Lijiang Tower. They started strong, pushing past the first point in a respectable time. AF Blue mounted a strong defense on the second and third points, however Rogue managed to push through, capturing the third point in overtime. AF Blue, on the other hand, found it difficult to push Rogue off the first point, pushing the cart within two metres of the first checkpoint, but were delayed and eventually shut down, unable to clear it and giving the map, and the series, to Rogue three maps to one.


The play that won the match. Nano-boosted Tviq tears through AF Blue’s defence on Dorado.

The last quarter final match up was between two Chinese teams, All Strike Gaming and NGA. However,

Numbani was chosen as the second map between these two teams, but it started with a very dominant performance by NGA. All Strike’s composition was questionable, with Samsara on Genji instead of Reaper, and ended up getting walked over by NGA’s defense, not even capturing the second checkpoint. NGA’s attack was far cleaner, taking the first point in the first push and pushing through with no trouble.

Nepal was chosen as the third map, All Strike’s last chance to stay alive. The first push saw NGA continuing their dominant performance over All Strike, taking the first point quickly and keeping All Strike out with an aggressive defence. Going into the second map, All Strike’s Rain had some technical issues and disconnected from the game. In the end, the tournament organisers said that the results stood, letting NGA take the final map and winning the series three to zero.

Now we know the matches for the semi finals tomorrow at 11:00 BST. First, we will have two of the favourites clashing with NRG vs Lunatic-Hai followed by our winners from today, Rogue and NGA, facing off afterwards.

– Lexi Taylor

APAC Premier Overwatch quarter finals kick off in Shanghai

The quarter final stage of the APAC Premier in Shanghai kicked off this evening to an explosive start.


Left to right: Mitch “@UberShouts” Leslie and Jason “@JKaplan” Kaplan have been casting this tournament for English language viewers.

The first match saw NRG from the United States against Snake e-sports from China. NRG, the favourites going into the match, dominated Snake during the first two maps, completely shutting them out of the first point on Hollywood before taking it in a long first push.

However on Watchpoint Gibraltar, the third map to be played, Snake appeared to have learned, almost pushing the cart the whole way and stalling NRG at the 2nd point. It was a decisive team wipe that gave NRG the advantage through a nano-boosted, Seagull popping dragonblade as Genji. The rest of the map proved no issue for NRG, pushing the payload all the way through to completion.

This sealed the first quarter final match up as a victory for the North American squad, NRG yet to drop a map, defeating Snake 3 – 0. The mvp for the match was NRG’s Seagull.

The second match of the quarter finals put Lunatic-Hai from South Korea against Vici Gaming from China. A very difficult match up for Vici Gaming, with Lunatic-Hai being one of the favourites to win the tournament, they definitely came out swinging. They pushed Lunatic-Hai all the way up to the third point but not quite managing to finish the map, however Lunatic-Hai pushed back just as hard, pushing through to the final point and completing the map. This performance was mirrored on the second map, Dorado.

The third map choice was Temple of Anubis, a risky map pick as one of the least played maps of the tournament. Vici Gaming were held up at the first point, trying to switch up their hero choices to no avail. They eventually took the first point, pushing to the second point and managing to capture it in overtime. However it wasn’t enough, with Lunatic-Hai pushing them back and taking the map far quicker, then taking the first point again with the time they had left at the end.

This sealed the victory for Lunatic-Hai with a score of 3 – 0. The mvp for the match was Lunatic-Hai’s Ryu Jae Hong with his incredible Ana play.

This puts both NRG and Lunatic-Hai into the semi finals. The two teams will clash on Saturday and will surely be a match to watch as both teams have put on such strong performances up until this point. The match will be at 18:00 CST (10:00 BST) and will be streamed live on Twitch.tv.

Tomorrow we will see the other two quarter finals games starting at 18:00 CST (10:00 BST) on Friday. The one to watch will be AF Blue from South Korea against Rogue from Europe, as they are the other two stronger teams remaining; Rogue is a strong team, but were cocky against Lunatic-Hai in the group phase and paid for it. However All Strike Gaming against NGA, both from China, will also be one to watch, with All Strike Gaming being the only team left that went all the way through all of the qualifying rounds.

– Lexi Taylor

Things are… looking up(?)


That’s the best way to describe the past two weeks. I haven’t done a post in three weeks, I know, but it’s been… interesting. I already wrote about how I am no longer a teacher and how I am rather pleased about that due to various reasons that I have already ranted about. However, I also have a new job. This is the wowowowowowowowow part. My friend’s family helped me out and I managed to get a job, a corporate job, where I, for once, can leave the office after my shift is over and not have to worry about work in the slightest until my next shift. The corporate structure suits me way better than the teaching structure did, and I know what I have to do to advance. It’s a lot more logical than teaching where, to move up, you basically have to become a deputy head and then a headteacher. That’s right, I have officially become a wageslave and I love it! I mean, I always have been the corporate type when it came to cyberpunk, after all. Only this is reality, which is less dystopian which means that I might, possibly, maybe… actually have a future.

Speaking of which, I’ve had cyberpunk on the brain lately. I would be lying if I said that my new job had nothing to do with it, the new corporate environment has had my mind wandering during my breaks; “I could turn that into a plot device” and “I could adapt this sort of environment for my fiction” are two thoughts that have been cropping up, as well as the increased awareness of how the modern corporate world works; the insights that this is giving are wonderful and I plan to fully apply my new knowledge to my fiction, and I have definitely been thinking cyberpunk over the past week or two. I have been in a swords and sorcery fantasy mood recently, due to my D&D games being my favourite, however this rather large new development in my life may have tipped me back towards cyberpunk. Inspiration can come from any source!

One game that I have been looking at, continuing on from the cyberpunk feel, is Sindome. Sindome is a multiplayer, text based RPG with an emphasis on RP set in a cyberpunk universe that draws inspiration from cyberpunk heavy hitters, such as Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Total Recall and Judge Dredd. The game takes place in Witmore City, a typical cyberpunk city flooded with inequality, violence and corporate influence. I gave the game mechanics a quick read over and, whilst I do like my 3d interfaces, I felt like I could deal with the text-based system that the game was using. Everything looked fine and dandy… until I realised that your character is always available. When you log out, your character goes to sleep, but time doesn’t freeze. I can see how this would really help immersion, and the generic job system helps to accommodate for that, however this is a real problem for me. Some of you will know that I hate it when I have to live a game, when a game becomes like a job to maintain. I just do not have the time or energy to dedicate in such a way, nor would I want to. For me, this is a massive shame as I really loved the idea of Sindome. I really loved the setting, I loved the aesthetic, I loved the job system, I loved that it didn’t shoehorn me in to playing a certain type of character and that I could be a corp if I really wanted to. I was really looking forward to making my corporate cyber-jockey and fleshing her out, but this singular feature stopped me in my tracks. If I have a busy month of writing, work or other gaming, which is very possible with Overwatch on the horizon, my character’s rent runs down on their apartment or coffin or whatever I have used for them to sleep in, and eventually they get dumped on the street, all whilst you’re working through a busy time at work. I can’t stress how disappointed I am about this, as I would have absolutely loved to give it a shot. Maybe I’ll write something based in Whitmore City as a compromise, as the setting is great and I’d love to have a play around with it.

The other game that I mentioned is Overwatch. In the last few weeks I made the fatal mistake of watching three of the cinematic trailers and the hype train has come into the station. The cinematic trailers, not the gameplay ones, are like Pixar with teeth. They’re incredibly well done and really show case the characters well; albeit only Tracer, Winston, Reaper and Widowmaker (with a bit of Zenyatta, but all he does is get shot!). The cinematics are expertly done and, as I said, it just feels like watching Pixar with teeth. The voice acting could be a little bit better, as a lot of people have slanted Tracer’s voice as annoying, and as an English woman I can verify that nobody speaks like Tracer…) and Widowmaker sounds sort of French, but sort of not; I find it strange, at least. The hype that has built around Overwatch now has grown for me and I’m just glad I only did this a month or so before release, so I only have a month to get through before release. Oh, I cannot wait to play Overwatch. I’ve already decided on five heroes that will be my main ones: Tracer, Mei, D.Va, McCree and Mercy; however I will play all of the heroes at least once. Except maybe Bastion. How can people find Bastion fun to play? All you do is sit in a corner and occasionally left click! I’ll never understand some people…

I’ve been toying with the idea of running a Stars Without Number game, set in my own sci-fi universe too. It would be my first foray into GMing a game, though with the recent developments in my life I am really liking the idea of something cyberpunk. The main problem I have with that is that cyberpunk systems that I’ve seen are Cyberpunk 2020, which is horrendously broken, and Shadowrun which has a load about magic and fantasy races which I wouldn’t be looking at including. I know Cyberpunk 2020 better, but I think Shadowrun with house rules would be better, honestly. It would mean that I would have to learn a new system though, so there’s that. Decisions!

Finally, concerning The Old Republic, I have started to upload some videos to my Youtube channel. Nothing too fancy, just some galactic starfighter gameplay since I saw one of the other pilots that I like doing the same. It’s interesting for me to see a gsf match from another perspective, and it’s really helping me to up my game. Similarly, it’s giving some of the other members of the community a brief look into how I play and I’ve gotten a few pointers from people who are undoubtedly better at the game than me.

It’s been an exciting few weeks for me, and my future is looking up for the first time in at least a year, though really it’s looking better than it has for about three. Onwards and upwards!