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Rocket League Season 5 and Season 6

My Year in Gaming - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 16:17

Season 6 has just come to a close. I didn’t realize that I could get a silver badge for my efforts in Season 4’s competitive matches. In online play, there are bronze, silver and gold levels, with levels within each. Win a game, and you’re likely to advance a tier. Lose a game, and you’re likely to be relegated a single tier. (And cry a single tear.) I didn’t take Season 4 seriously, but I did gain a bronze badge. In Season 5, I won enough games at the silver tiers to get that reward at the end of the season.

Photo by Leximphoto on Unsplash

Season 6 introduced Haunted Hallows, a time-limited event where players are awarded candy corn which they can redeem for Hallowe’en-themed items. I got all the items save for a 3rd crate, so I’m pretty happy. At the beginning of the event, my opponents would forfeit as soon as they got a certain amount of in-game points (a goal is 100 points, and points would help determine whether you were the MVP of that game, assuming it was more than 2-on-2 or higher). They would even forfeit right when they themselves scored first, which wasn’t fun at all. A few days later, forfeits ceased. The best I could tell is that someone gamed the candy corn system and Psyonix caught on (or responded to complaints) and adjusted the rewards so that it incentivized complete games.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

At the end of the year, the game introduced Frosty Fest. I left my apartment for 3 weeks, and very seriously considered taking my PS4™with me across the country to get all the items. I settled for the thing I wanted the most, which was the sweater banner, which shows to the other player after I score a goal in any mode.

I lost interest in trying to grind for to get a gold-level season. It was frustrating, during one-on-one competitive play, to have players say “easy” to me if they started winning, or “No problem” if the score was slightly in my favour. I ignored it for the most part, but I don’t consider it very friendly to tell me you’re going to wipe the floor with me. Let me lose with some dignity!

My favourite altercation is when an opponent called me a “pussy” during a match when I was down by a significant margin, a game I would go on to win. Always stay till the end, I say.

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It also bugs me that players will run up the score even when the game is essentially over. There seem to be few unwritten rules in Rocket League, but this is something I’ll never, ever do. If I’m up by 3 goals and it looks like I’m going to win, I take my foot off the pedal and decide to play defence exclusively. Goalkeeping is a shortcoming of mine, so it’s a chance for me to practice, and, I hope, for my oppponent to gain some experience. This game is fun, OK? Fun goddammit.

Rocket League Season 5 and Season 6 was originally published in The Gaming Years on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

My Recommitment to Gaming for 2018

My Year in Gaming - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:02

I’m in for another year of gaming. MLB 17: The Show, which I purchased, as usual, late in the year at half price, sits in my suitcase. I made a commitment to buy a keyboard extension to my PS4™ controller so I can ask Rocket League opponents why they feel the need to run up the score on me. Based on the reviews, the Bluetooth connection between the keyboard and the console dies after a minute of non-use, which sounds like a very short amount of time. A similarly short amount of time elapses between the “second screen” iOS app, which Sony had the wisdom to make a separate app, and it disconnecting. Standing in the Best Buy, with a week between my reunion with my gaming platform of choice, I decided to buy the Chatpad or Chatboost online, and ordered closer to when I get back so it will be waiting for me at the door (or at least arrive shortly thereafter).

I have gone 2 weeks without gaming, for the bulk of Rocket League’s Winter Event, now over. My time with the event was long enough to get the banner, which is all I wanted in terms of items. 2018 will bring season 7, coming soon, and who knows what kind of special event that I’ll almost certainly be traveling for half of. I still like Rocket League enough to want to be better than just good at it, somewhere between good and great, or at least just good enough that my teammate in 2-on-2 doesn’t express their frustration with me. That might involve coaching beyond the lessons that are inside the game, which I have opinions about.

This single-year blog turned into a multi-year effort, hence the renaming in August of the site to The Gaming Years. I registered a Twitter account for the site if following that is more your bag. As long as there’s time to kill, I’ll keep gaming, and as long as I’m gaming, I’ll keep writing about it.

My Recommitment to Gaming for 2018 was originally published in The Gaming Years on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Random Run: David Balfour Park to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Just a Gwai Lo - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 21:11

After two years of living in Toronto, this city is still new to me, so I took the opportunity to pick a random point and make a randomly generated route that I could run.

Published by Richard on December 7th, 2017

Rocket League Season 4

My Year in Gaming - Wed, 07/12/2017 - 17:38

I got distracted from Rocket League by the current political situation in the United States and by playing MLB 16 The Show (which I buy at the end of the season for half price). The only notable thing that happened in Season 4 is that I plateaued in my skills and had to hide my level (determined exclusively by amount of experience) because my “teammates” couldn’t believe I was that level and that bad. Now that they don’t know my level, they can believe I’m bad for whatever reason they like. I went without playing RL for long enough to lose my ranking in competitive play sometime during the season.

Players have, for a while now, been able to add training sequences, so practicing is a lot easier and can be done in the privacy of my own arena. An example of my progress: I can now do arial hits from the wall with more regularity, and I spend more time in casual mode to warm up.

Season 5 has started and the arenas are refined. Neo Tokyo lost its ramps but still feels like the old arena, just easier to play. I continue to dislike Wasteland as being too big. Chats can now be exclusively private, so that teammates don’t have to be frustrated with me in public. The best experience of the latest patch so far has been playing with an obviously more-skilled player who would continuously want to play again after we were done. I got better as we went along, and wished the player goodnight when they outlasted me. I wish more players were like that.

Rocket League Season 4 was originally published in The Gaming Years on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Cycling Again

Just a Gwai Lo - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 18:34

I'm commuting between work by bike again. I signed up in 2016 as a member of the Toronto Bike Share, and renewed again this month. Their call centre operation is weird, with a call center that presents options for English and Spanish. This being the country where English and French are the official languages, I have an idea of what that means. I haven't had a problem with their support when needed, at least.

Published by Richard on June 26th, 2017

Picnic

Just a Gwai Lo - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 17:50

I show off my picnic basket and blanket.

Published by Richard on June 22nd, 2017

I Missed Tom Hawthorne’s Book Launch

Just a Gwai Lo - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 10:18

I would have gotten him to sign my Kindle.

Published by Richard on May 25th, 2017

How to Get a Free Printer from Best Buy

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 16:50

16 easy steps!

Published by Richard on January 15th, 2017

How to Get a Free Printer from Best Buy

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 01/15/2017 - 16:50

16 easy steps!

Published by Richard on January 15th, 2017

Index Cards

One Stack Deep - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 10:51

One thing that works for remembering things, at least when I know I need to call upon them in the near future, is index cards. Since starting learning a new language (Icelandic), and, separately, realizing over the holidays that I had lost sight of some important goals, with the added complexities of aging and a more complex life with a new job in a new city, index cards re-entered my life as a necessary tool.

Guides for using them suggest you make your own, and in the two cases where I needed them (for studying Mandarin Chinese and studying for a streetcar driving test), that worked. I hadn’t considered actually constructing my, though until I came across a guide from chinesehacks.com on how to make my own index cards on a keyring. I found all the items for cheap at Daiso’s Vancouver location over the holidays.

There’s no obstacles to stopping me from making them now. I’m going to start small (another thing that works in learning something new) and make one that lists the tasks during my Sunday routine (something else that works in offloading the work my brain needs to do). I can’t wait to see how this goes!


Rocket League Season 3

My Year in Gaming - Sun, 12/25/2016 - 17:44

I still play Rocket League. Despite being an Expert, I still make the same mistakes, unable to time a shot when my teammate centers the ball and unwilling to be as aggressive as everybody else. I have had to hide my level because it incurred criticism (“You’re an Expert and you’re this bad?”) from people who were supposedly trying to help me win games. At least the reporting mechanism seems to have resulted in fewer comments that were truly abusive. I can take the criticism to heart, just not the insults.

I continue to be awed by the amount of software built (like Rocket League Stats, where you can see my ranking) and the community discussions and the training guides people create. I continue to be awed by the updates Pysonix makes to the game, continuously adding improvements while sticking to their original vision of no buying your way to powering up. The mode with randomly-assigned powerups during the course of the game could not have been more ingenious. I even stumbled on a group of guys who wanted me to join their party and play with the microphone on, so they got to hear the sounds I made but also heard how players communicate using more than just the pre-fab in-game texting feature.

The only thing I would change about the game as it stands now is the starting points, which have predictable strategies associated with them. If starting points were themselves randomized and not matched up on the other end (as an option, say, in the non-competitive leagues), it would add another layer of difficulty while staying true to the game.

I continue with my attitude of praising the other team for great shots, reporting abusive players (or muting them if they are being sarcastic towards me), and hope to continue a new approach of being more aggressive when fighting for a ball and communicating more internally with a teammate. During any games where I blow out my opponents, I will still take my pedal off the gas and try to get the other team (or single player on the other side) the chance to improve on their play. I also want to get genuinely good at the game, assuming I can squeeze time out from my other pursuits. Rocket League continues to be fun, and continues to lead the way in making the game incrementally better.

Rocket League Season 3 was originally published in My Year of Gaming on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

No Longer Playing Ingress

Just a Gwai Lo - Sat, 09/17/2016 - 18:23

As a streak of 561 days in a row of playing Ingress comes to an end, I’ve decided to quit.

Published by Richard on September 17th, 2016

No Longer Playing Ingress

Just a Gwai Lo - Sat, 09/17/2016 - 18:23

As a streak of 561 days in a row of playing Ingress comes to an end, I’ve decided to quit.

Published by Richard on September 17th, 2016

Gravenhurst, Ontario

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 09/04/2016 - 10:00

A summary of my trip to Gravenhurst, Ontario on July 15th, 2016.

Published by Richard on September 4th, 2016

Gravenhurst, Ontario

Just a Gwai Lo - Sun, 09/04/2016 - 10:00

A summary of my trip to Gravenhurst, Ontario on July 15th, 2016.

Published by Richard on September 4th, 2016

No Bell and the Brakes Were Hilariously Loud

Just a Gwai Lo - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 09:07

Today was my first Bike Share Toronto commute, and I made as many blunders as possible. I added a few extra minutes by figuring out how to take a bike out, walking (not biking) from King to Adelaide, dodging trucks parked in the bike lane while properly crossing old streetcar tracks, turning into a one-way street, and getting turned around at least once, maybe twice. Next time I'm just going to turn right onto Church.

Published by Richard on May 10th, 2016

No Bell and the Brakes Were Hilariously Loud

Just a Gwai Lo - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 09:07

Today was my first Bike Share Toronto commute, and I made as many blunders as possible. I added a few extra minutes by figuring out how to take a bike out, walking (not biking) from King to Adelaide, dodging trucks parked in the bike lane while properly crossing old streetcar tracks, turning into a one-way street, and getting turned around at least once, maybe twice. Next time I'm just going to turn right onto Church.

Published by Richard on May 10th, 2016

Free Comic Book Day, May 2016

Just a Gwai Lo - Sat, 05/07/2016 - 07:00

I'm not a big comics guy, but I did read Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud just recently, so I'm determined to get a glimpse of the medium. This'll be a start.

Published by Richard on May 7th, 2016

Free Comic Book Day, May 2016

Just a Gwai Lo - Sat, 05/07/2016 - 07:00

My excellent haul from Free Comic Book Day, from Hairy Tarantula and Silver Snail Comics (both on Yonge), plus a cameo by the ad for the photo gallery opening I attended later in the day. I saw Captain America: Civil War the other day, and have a lot of blanks to fill in as a result of that. I'm not a big comics guy, but I did read Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud just recently, so I'm determined to get a glimpse of the medium. This'll be a start.

Published by Richard on May 7th, 2016

3D Me

Just a Gwai Lo - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 07:00

I met Douglas Coupland! I had known for a while about his project to 3D scan and print each and every Canadian (minus those who couldn't make it to their local branch of a Quebec-based fashion retailer) for an installation he will later make. I was finally able to do it this weekend. I know one of his collaborators, John Biehler, so it occurred to them to scan me both wearing the Blue Jays cap I showed up in and one without. Everybody who gets scanned will get a copy of themselves, and, lucky me, I get two.

Published by Richard on May 4th, 2016

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