Curse-of-Naxxramas

Naxxramas Revisited: Ranking The Impact of Every Curse of Naxxramas Card on Hearthstone

While it has become somewhat foolish to expect anything less than total success from Blizzard Entertainment, I must say that the growth of Hearthstone in just over a years time has simply astounded me.

It’s easy to point to the game’s sizeable player base and revenue numbers to really drive this point home, but as a somewhat religious player of Hearthsone, when I talk about growth in Hearthstone, what I’m talking about is content.

Looking back at the average Hearthstone game when I began playing in its beta stages compared to the game now reveals two entirely different animals. Hearthstone‘s meta game (a term used to describe the ever shifting value of certain cards, decks and strategies) has kept chugging along due in some part to the creative strategies of that aforementioned astounding player base, but largely because of the contributions of Blizzard, who have been routinely updating the game with card tweaks, updates and of course, expansions.

The latest expansion (the PvE style adventure mode Blackrock Mountain) released this past Thursday, and even though we’ve only been able to experience one of it’s five weekly released wings, already it has left a footprint on the game’s meta, that has Hearthstone players everywhere going headstrong into the breach once more battling against the winds of change.

It’s also left me thinking about the last Hearthstone expansion we got, Curse of Naxxramas. Released in July of 2014, Naxxramas was the first substantial injection of new content into Hearthstone, and its overwhelming success forever set the benchmark for expansions.

But as I said, Hearthstone is a game that changes quickly. So, in honor of the release of the newest adventure, I thought it might be fun to look back on  Naxxramas to determine just what cards have left the biggest impact on the game’s meta.

Largely, then, these rankings are based on the overall effect they had on the game, but in cases of cards that are about equal, the tiebreaker went to overall quality.

Let’s get started.

29. Stoneskin Gargoyle

Gargoyle

Not much to say on this one. Bad stats, heavily dependent on elaborate scenarios for even theoretical uses and possess an ability that’s more unique than it is genuinely useful.

Pretty much everybody thought it was going to be bad at the start of Naxxramas, and they were right.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

Friday-the-13th-wallpaper

Why It’s Time We Finally Pay Friday the 13th for the NES A Little Respect

*It’s been a long  break since my last post. Maybe I’ll break that down later, but for now let’s talk about Friday the 13th

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Wait.

Before you start, I just want to let you know that I’m not trying to say Friday the 13th is a good game. It’s quite far from it. In fact, I can’t imagine the scenario wherein I would say to a gamer, regardless of their age or gaming experience; “Hey, you know what you should play? Friday the motherfucking 13th for the NES.”  In fact, I’m not even trying to argue that the game is some kind of underrated experience, or hidden gem that’s value has only revealed itself after the years have weathered away the earth and dirt that once covered it, leaving us with only a glint of something beautiful that we can truly admire.

Friday the 13th for the NES is not that gem. But it is what I used to refer to in my youth as a “shiny stone.” A shiny stone is ultimately just a worthless rock. However, it may have glints of minerals or some other crystalized formation that give it just a little more merit than the average stone. Not enough to make it an irreplaceable piece of history mind you, but just compelling enough to keep with you longer than you otherwise would.

But let’s back up a bit for the unfamiliar. Why is Friday the 13th for the NES so hated?

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

VH_SC_6_Freddie_Marne_2_140678

Valiant Hearts Video Review

A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

Valiant_Hearts_Key_Art

Valiant Hearts: The Great War Review

Valiant Hearts is a game that makes me question the very nature of video game reviews.

It takes us to a time and place that video games rarely explore; Europe during the First World War. There we follow the stories of four people who have all found themselves mixed up in the war against their will. There’s Karl, a native German living in France with his wife Marie, who is called back to Germany to serve. Marie’s father Emile, who gets drafted into the war by France. Freddie, an American living in France who joins the war in order to seek vengeance for his fallen wife. And Ana, whose nursing and driving abilities aid her in a quest to find her kidnapped father.

Oh, and there’s of course a loveable medical assistant dog named Walt, who crosses paths with each of these characters throughout the game.

Part of what makes this game so very hard to review, is just how beautiful it is. Valiant Hearts’ art style takes cues from several prominent graphic novels and classic Disney films, but I can’t say that I’ve ever really seen anything quite its equal in any other medium. You can get an idea of just how gorgeous this game is by looking at pictures of it, but to truly appreciate the full extent of its artistic majesty, it must be seen in motion.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

MarioHand

Amidst Concerns, There is Hope to Be Found in Nintendo’s New YouTube Policy

Earlier this year I managed to upset a few people by suggesting that Nintendo was making an error by not even bothering to acknowledge the Twitch Plays Pokemon phenomenon. I believe the phrase “click-bait” was tossed around.

Despite some of the more enthusiastic claims to the contrary, it wasn’t my intention to insult Nintendo or its fanbase to any serious degree. It’s just that as a fan of Nintendo who happens to live in the modern world, it became frustrating to see another instance of them falling so far behind the times, in terms of adapting to, and even taken advantage of, modern internet gaming culture culture.

Nintendo’s going through some rough times at the moment, that admittedly have very little to do with whether or not they gave Twitter shout-outs to Twitch. But for a company with a history of sticking to their ways to a fault, it was disheartening to think that they were not learning from the past, and were very much willing to repeat it.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

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Just As It Should, Unreal Tournament Now Belongs to the Fans

Like the ending to a good Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, sometimes its satisfying to see it all come together.

In a previous post, I mentioned that not enough was being done to cherish the games and franchises of days gone past, and ensure that they have a healthy presence in the future. In another word related doo-hicky about Unreal Tournament 2004, I also lamented the notions  from developer Epic that suggested we would not be seeing another Unreal Tournament game anytime soon.

In both instances, it was troubling to realize that no matter how beloved, influential, successful, and full of potential a gaming series may be, ultimately its place in the future is not certain.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

hl2

10 Years Later: Half-Life 2

This is the 30th, and final, part of a month-long look at the games of 2004. To see the other parts, click here.

At no point was Half-Life 2 just a game.

Following the cliffhanger ending of the legendary Half-Life, the idea of its sequel was a pipe dream. One that’s grandeur and impossibility seemed to grow with each year, as the hype train rolled along with a fury never before seen by the industry.

At the time of its release, Half-Life 2 stopped the world (not to mention, the still young Steam service). November 16, 2004 was a day that seemed surreal to many. The sight of Half-Life 2 on your computer was a real “pinch-me” moment. Even before you booted it up, that sensation it provided damn near justified the 6 year long wait.

After its release? Well, we’re living in that world now. One where Half-Life 2 has achieved god-like status, and the mere idea of a follow-up has become a cultural phenomenon on-par with any actual release in the series so far.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

G8ME01-4

10 Years Later – Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

This is part 29 of a month-long look at the games of 2004. To see the other parts, click here.

To me, there’s a strong difference between “loved,” and “beloved.”

Beloved is a word that implies more of a deep, unquestionable fondness for something. Even when you love something, you can readily admit to its faults. When something is beloved, though, it’s reached this point where your affection for it is well-beyond reason, yet at the same time, seems to be a perfectly logical emotion, based on the thing itself.

A big part of the reason that Nintendo has one of the more…shall we say ‘enthusiastic’ fanbases out there, is that they tend to deal heavily in the production of games aimed at achieving the beloved status. That’s certainly the case with Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

284397-blackangel

10 Years Later – Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

This is part 28 of a month-long look at the games of 2004. To see the other parts, click here.

In 2004, I can safely say I knew nothing about the Warhammer 40k universe, aside from the fact that it existed. This may not sound like a big deal, but among my friends, it was a mortal sin.

From what I was able to gleam of that whole universe, it seemed interesting enough. The trouble was that every time someone would try to fill me in on the particulars regarding it, they would launch into this half-hour diatribe that you tend to encounter when you mix super-fandom and a fictional universe with years and years of history to cover.

The result of these sit-down conversations was the distinct feeling that I was on the brink of something fairly intriguing, but could never really get the proper introduction required to really bridge the gap, and get me to the land of fandom properly.

But then came a real-time-strategy game set within the Warhammer universe called Dawn of War. With it arrived an introduction trailer of particular merit. This one, in fact:

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

San_Andreas_Map

10 Years Later – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

This is part 27 of a month-long look at the games of 2004. To see the other parts, click here.

The argument of which Grand Theft Auto game is the best, is one that I’m constantly thrilled to find myself engaged in, simply because there is a strong argument to be made that any of them deserve the title.

Maybe you prefer the overhead, arcade style simplicity of the original installments. Perhaps the revolutionary third title holds an inescapable nostalgic appeal for you. If Vice City‘s 80′s throwback era charmed the pants off of you, who could blame you? Then again, GTA: IV‘s dark tones or GTA: V‘s air tight mechanics and technical majesty, may just be your cup of tea.

There’s a case to be made for any in the GTA series to be the greatest, as each possess their own unique quality which separates them from the pack, and ultimately boils that discussion down to the tried and true qualifier of personal preference.

Now, that being said, if you ever try to argue with me that there is any GTA game bigger than San Andreas, then prepare for a verbal thrashing my good fellow.

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A gamer and writer since developing motor skills, I'm just here doing the things I love the most. Click on my name above for a more complete bio, and full contact information. Also don't forget to follow me on Twitter at: @ByrdMan014

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