Monday, August 7, 2017

Some Very Interesting Airline Safety Videos

I love how I had just chosen to change my blog's title because I've been posting about Heroes of the Storm lately and the reason it was Open Mind for a long time was because so many things interest me, like books and earphones and games and such. So the moment I change my title, I write something Open Mind worthy. Oh well. Due to the recent buzz about British Airways' new Airline Safety Video (which we will get to shortly), I've decided to see if any other airlines have interesting safety videos that are worth checking out. And given the time and effort it took to make them as interesting, we should give credit where credit's due. So hence, this post. Here are some interesting airline safety videos in no specific order:

British Airways:

Yeap, the first video that got me started on this journey. The safety video included cameos from a cast of familiar faces, some of which (if not all) you might know. Very simple with very little visual clutter, it gets the point across all the while including subtle humour very akin to how Brits like their comedy. The language and presentation used is both hilarious, concise and endearing to listen to, so definitely give this one a watch!

Virgin America:

And next we have, in very stark contrast, Virgin America's Airline Safety Video. Nothing subtle about this video with the very in your face presentation with the music and visuals. I don't think anyone can sleep while this video is playing. I love how they incorporated different music styles for different scenes and you seriously won't get bored watching this safety video.

Turkish Airlines:

Some airlines call upon online sensations or YouTube stars to make their videos more interesting. That's definitely something Turkish Airlines did. Nice forced perspective shots and CGI tricks really make this interesting but not too much to the point of distracting from the purpose of the video. I could say they could have done a few things more creatively but we must remember that the initial point of a safety video is to inform, anything else is just icing on the cake.

Air France:

This is one of those videos that really impress. One, because it's obvious they didn't spend a lot to make it, the whole video is shot in the same set but it's still very visually appealing. And two, it's very minimal yet with a whimsical charm of elegance and simplicity. The message is very clearly presented, but they still managed to include a few hints of France culture, and the video is interesting enough to keep you watching till the end.

Philippine Airlines:

I love how the Philippine Airlines attempted to kill two birds with one stone and how they actually nailed it! (Trust me there are a few that try this and then end up too visually cluttered) It shows off what you can expect from the Philippines (I had trouble spelling Philippines, after this post, not anymore) bringing you to different parts of the country, and at the same time, giving you safety instructions. A few nods here and there to their language and culture, very well placed and delightful and it never gets too distracting or cluttered. Elegant and breathtaking, well done Philippine Airlines, thumbs up to you!

LATAM Airlines:

This has got to be the most visually interesting safety video without becoming too cluttered or confusing. They make great use of colour and textures, as well as showing off what they have to offer for tourists. There's an apparent tropical theme going on there which is refreshing just like the Philippines' safety video.

Air New Zealand:

If you're a Lord of the Ring's fan, this video's for you. From the scenery to the references to the characters and presentation, there's an obvious Lord of the Ring's theme going on. And I'm not complaining. So elaborate and playful, they weren't pulling any punches with this video and you can really see it. Though I try to include the latest safety videos the airline has published, this one is still better than their current ones.

Alas, we are at the end. Let me just get a few questions out of the way, yes, I did binge watch airline safety videos to come up with this list. (Probably never have to watch another airline safety video in my life thanks to this) And yes, only when I binge-watched these videos, the simple occurrence of ohhh what's this one like and what's this one like, did I get the idea of writing this post. There were a few airlines that disappointed me as well, I expected some anime-ish type of presentation from Japan but they opted for a more straight-forward style, the same was true for Korea. Australia's was similar to Philippines but it became too confusing and cluttered. Most airlines kept it professional and straight-forward but I loved these ones because the culture of the country shows through. Like the humour in the British Airways and the very loud and noisy Virgin America ones, it gives you an idea of the country their coming from. Since you already have to put in the effort of making the video, a little extra effort goes a long way and for those videos up there, it clearly shows~

Have fun watching these videos! And then you can proudly say to others that you have just binge-watched airline safety videos. Remember, whenever you're flying, just watch the video, most are around 5-6 minutes long so you can afford to spend a few minutes watching, as they say, the safety procedures may differ from other aircrafts ;)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Heroes of the Storm - Basic Drafting Guide to Hero League

So I've been playing Hero League for a while now, but always only within the first 10 placement matches. However, during the last season, my rank dropped really low so as soon as I was done with my placement matches, I kept playing Hero League, despite the long wait times, despite the toxicity and forced hero selections. And I kept losing. I kept losing because of bad hero picks and bad team compositions, very rarely do I lose due to poor matchups with players too far below or above my rank. As you can imagine, one can only take so many losses.

At the same time, HGC (Heroes Global Championship) was going on so I watched a ton of games to see if I could draft better heroes and ban heroes properly. Which got me like this:

Me, watching team drafts in HGC

So after a few weeks of contemplating before sleep and discussions with my friend, I've come with some basic guidelines on how to start drafting if you wanna have some sort of success in Hero League. Also I hope people I have played with read this so that we can achieve victory better (because usually when I lose I only know why after the game is already over) as Heroes of the Storm is a team game.

This is the screen you'll see when you start Hero League

The heroes (or more specifically classes) you need in any draft and I mean ANY DRAFT is:
- 1 Main Warrior
- 1 Main Support
- 1 Sustained Damage

Exactly in that order as well,

The reason for this is you need a Main Warrior first and foremost because warriors allow you to do basically anything you need to do in game.

Main Warriors allow you to:
- Engage or Disengage
- Create a hindrance to enemies so your damage dealers can actually deal damage
- Lockdown or interrupt enemies for counterplay
- Protect the rest of your team like supports and assassins

The problem here is that not all Heroes in the Warrior category are actually Main Warriors. So here is where it gets tricky, because I could either give you a list of heroes to memorize as Main Warriors or I could explain to you what makes a Warrior a Main Warrior.

Main Warriors must be able to:
- Take a large amount of damage meaning Large Health Pools
- Mitigate damage, ie, reducing damage or absorbing damage
- Crowd control (CC), ie, displace, stun, slow, trap or root a large number of units at one time
- and finally, Move around quickly or cover some distance quickly

From these main aspects, you can kind of have an idea of what heroes belong in the Main Warrior category. Some of the most popular Main Warriors are Muradin and ETC. Please note that Main Warriors must be able to do these things with their basic abilities, so if a Warrior Hero only completes these criterias after a Heroic Ability, that hero is not a Main Tank (until he gets his Heroics).

As for the Warriors that don't fit the criterias, they would most probably fit the Bruiser category. To elaborate, Bruisers trade off one or more of those aspects for more damage. Bruisers are important as well but should only be considered after you've planned those first 3 classes. They don't really fit a single role as some Bruisers can Solo Lane, some can act as a Side Support.

The next is a Main Support, and just like Warriors, some supports are not considered as Main Supports but rather they are split into Main Supports and Side Supports. Uther and Malfurion are the most popular Main Supports.

Main Supports must be able to:
- Heal a significant amount of health and not provide temporary health
- Provide some form of CC

Side Supports trade off some of these aspects by adding more CC, or damage.

And finally the string that ties all this together, the Sustained Damage Assassin. There are many types of Assassins but the Assassin with the damage type you need the most is Sustained Damage. Sustained Damage usually refers to Assassins that mostly rely on Auto Attacks for damage. Because Auto Attacks don't require any sort of resource to dish out, they are the most reliable in the hands of a good player and they can consistently deal damage no matter how long the team fight drags on. Hence the name, Sustained Damage. Raynor and Valla are good examples of Sustained Damage and the most important thing to know when using a Sustained Damage Hero is positioning (so you can deal damage safely) and stutter stepping (so you can deal damage while positioning). The easiest way to discern a Sustained Damage Assassin is the hero must be Ranged and they have High Attack Damage/ Attack Speed.

The other Assassins would either fall into the Burst Damage category (most mages are in this category), the Bruiser category (most melee assassins fall in this category) or the Backline category (assassins that can pressure the enemy backline).
If you want to learn just the basics quickly you can stop here, but I have a few more categories to go over and how they all come together to form a viable team composition.

Bruisers are heroes that have abilities similar to Main Warriors but they are not as disruptive as Main Tanks, most Bruisers have CC that affect only one hero and if they do, it is often displacements, slows and traps but not stuns or roots. However, the trade-off to this is that, they can deal more damage than Main Warriors and have ways to self-sustain through teamfights. Bruisers exist because they help take the pressure off of Main Tanks by tanking some of the damage themselves and then retreating to the backline whilst healing back up until they are needed again. Opponents cannot simply ignore them as they can do a sizeable amount of damage and they can tank some damage while regenerating health as well as the fight goes on. The main difference a Main Warrior has with Bruisers are that Main Warriors have a huge presence on the battlefield and are very disruptive whereas Bruisers can only disrupt one or two enemies.

Side Supports are Heroes that are able to slowly regenerate health over time or provide a significant amount of damage mitigation while simultaneously providing CC and damage to the team. Being Side Supports, they help to keep the team healthy through long fights or take the brunt of an attack, 
getting rid of burst damage.

And finally, we have Specialists.

Specialists are the hardest class to explain, but to put it simply, they fulfill some of the requirements of two or more classes. The difference Specialists have with Multi-Class Heroes are that while Multi-Class Heroes are similar at the start of a game to Specialists, Multi-Class must ultimately commit to one role at the end of the game whereas Specialists continue to fill the role of different classes until the end. Therefore, Specialists are best to pick if you have a very odd requirements to fill in your composition. Another attribute unique to most Specialists are their ability to pressure and push lanes really well. In fact, when left unchecked, they can destroy forts before Level 4.

One last thing I want to address is the role needed in Professional Games, the Solo Laner. I left this for last because unlike tournament games, most casual players don't play as pro players do. In tournament games, most games start off with 4 heroes pushing down a lane and 1 hero (the Solo Laner) pushing down another lane. The 4 heroes then proceed to rotate from one lane to the other while the Solo Laner stays on the last lane. The reason this is not common in casual games is because it requires a lot cooperation from all players to rotate at the same time and such. This arrangement acts as a sort of stalemate between teams as the 4 heroes can devastate a lane if the opposing team commits some heroes to take down the Solo Laner, which is a hero that has enough self-sustain to survive a gank from the opposing team. This stalemate goes away when huge rotations occur due to objectives and ganks which is when the teams try to create advantage in any game.

A Solo Laner is a hero with:
- Good waveclear
- Some form of self-sustain

Ok now you know what different classes of heroes provide to a team and the base composition required in any team. Now let's see how they fit in a team.

Starting with the 3 required hero classes:
- Main Warrior
- Main Support
- Sustained Damage

You can add a mage class to this composition, giving you more burst damage, in which case a hero with more lockdown would make this composition more effective, so adding another Warrior or Bruiser to the composition wouldn't hurt. Now you have a composition that has a lot of damage and quite a healthy frontline.

Or you could add a second support class to your team, making the whole team more survivable, meaning a team with 2 Assassins could work. Or you could play it safe and go for a Bruiser to ease some pressure from your Main Warrior.

Although this is the simplest way to introduce drafting to you, in Heroes of the Storm, there are more things to consider as well when drafting like map objectives and wave clear but it's something you'll learn overtime but at least you'll have a guideline to start with while at the same time considering those other aspects.

Good Luck!!

And as always, have fun playing HotS =D (Let's hope you don't almost burn out like I did because of Hero League)

DPS - Damage per second or refers to a hero that supplies the damage to a team
Physical Damage - Damage dealt by auto attacks
Spell Damage - Damage dealt by spells (can also be called Ability Damage)
Percent Damage - Damage dealt equal to a percent of health
Burst - A large amount of damage dealt in a short amount of time to quickly take down a target

Self-Sustain - The ability to regenerate health by yourself

CC (Crowd Control) - The ability to displace, slow, trap, stun or root enemies
Displacement - Moving enemies against their will, during movement the affected is considered stunned
Slow - Having reduced movement speed
Stunned - Preventing movement and action to the affected
Root - Preventing movement or abilities related to movement but allowing action
Time Stop/ Stasis - Prevents movement and action but prevents damage to the affected
Trapped - Creating impassable terrain limiting movement
Silence - Prevents usage of spells and abilities by the affected for the duration

Damage Mitigation - The ability to reduce damage taken
Shields - Gains temporary health that is consumed first when taking damage, shown as white in health bar
Physical Armor - Reduces Physical Damage
Spell Armor - Reduce Spell or Ability Damage
Armor - Reduces all sources of damage except percent damage
Damage Reduction - Reduces all damage sources
Protected - Prevents all damage sources
Unstoppable - Prevents all CC except stasis
Invulnerable - Prevents all damage and CC

Gank - Using a numbers advantage to overwhelm and take the enemy by surprise
Lockdown - Keeping a target in place by means of chaining CC one after the other
Rotation - Moving across the map to engage objectives, lanes or targets
Wave Clear - The ability to clear minions quickly and effectively
Soaking - To stay in lane to gather EXP for the team, optimally for maximum soak, all lanes must have 1 hero to soaking experience
Numbers Advantage - Removing a member of the team to gain advantage
Snowball - Getting stronger with each hero takedown
Escape - The ability to retreat effectively from an unfavourable situation
Backline Harass - The ability to dive past the frontline to take out weak targets in the backline
Dive - To charge into the enemy

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Problem With Tracer - Rework Suggestion (Brainstorm)

Ah yes, Tracer, one of the first (well let's be honest here, the first) heroes I fell in love with when keeping up with the development of Overwatch. So imagine my delight when they announced that they were going to bring her over to Heroes of the Storm. And to prove just how much I wanted to play her, she's the only hero (up to this point) that I've ever bought when she was first released at 15000 coins. Yes, I didn't wait for her price to be lowered to 10000 coins, and I played a lot of games when she was announced just so that I would be able to purchase this hero when she was finally released!

But alas, time was not so nice to the Overwatch agent, after being repeatedly bombarded with nerf after nerf, some justified, like increasing the cooldown of Recall, and some not, like adding more cooldown if you picked the level 20 Total Recall Talent, a first for Heroes of the Storm, simply because other talents in the same level weren't picked as often. The problem here, however, is not that Tracer's kit is bad. Her kit is really strong, but as a person who plays Tracer quite often, there simply isn't that much diversity to her talents. No diversity and to add to that not much synergy between her talents.

That's her Master Skin btw, one of the things that need a remake as well IMO

So how about we contemplate on this (because this is so important, am I right?) and figure out how we can iron out a few of her kinks without making her extremely overpowered. Just to clarify, I'm not saying that she's a bad hero, by all means, she still plays quite well in some situations, but when you consider her talent choices and kit, she seems to have gotten the short end of the straw. If you compare her to some of the other popular picks, like Kael thas, Li Ming and Valla, heck even Thrall, all have well rounded talent choices with a lot synergy between them. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start from the beginning.


The reason why most of her talents are nerfed is because those talents were picked more often than others. And there are two reasons for that, let's get to it:

When people pick talents, it's either to enhance her current play style or counter the enemy's lineup. So when Tracer was first released, her popular talents were Slipstream at Level 1 and Spatial Echo at Level 7. Why? Mostly because, Slipstream reduces the cooldown of Tracer's Recall ability, one that allowed her to be placed at where she was 3 seconds ago. On top of that, it made her go back 1 second more, so instead of going back 3 seconds, she'd go back 4. Now, compared to her other talents, Pulse Strike and Tracer Rounds (let's not even talk about Tracer Rounds) Slipstream had the least amount of skill required to make it work. Pulse Strike, though a good talent as well, required you to land Melees on enemies, which required you to get in close to the enemy. And being a squishy hero with a low health pool, most players won't want to do that, even though it was a good trade off. Slipstream had zero, and I mean ZERO trade off, you just get a lowered cooldown and you get transported further. Of course, this made that talent extremely popular. Slipstream has since been nerfed to oblivion, so now it only increases the time recalled by 1 second.

Current Talent Effects:
Pulse Strike: Increases ultimate charge from Melee strikes on Heroes from 10% to 20%
Slipstream: Increases time recalled by 1 second
Tracer Rounds: Tracer's basic attacks reveal heroes for 4 seconds (see? useless...)

The current situation for these talents, taken from HotsLogs, look at the popularity

Now let's talk about her second favourite, Spatial Echo, it returns 2 charges of Blink when Tracer uses Recall. Compared to her other talents, Bullet Time and Jumper, which reduced her Blink cooldowns by 0.1 second per shot and Jumper which increased the Blink charges by 1, Spatial Echo was of course the better choice. And again, I'll bring up the fact that it didn't need any skill to use, Bullet Time needed you to constantly be attacking for you to benefit from it, and Jumper was only useful at full charge. In addition to the fact that Spatial Echo synergized with Slipstream, it was an extremely favourable talent compared to the others.

If you've been following me closely, you'd notice that those then popular talents (now not so much), gave a lot for the zero skill needed to use them. AND THAT'S WHY THEY WERE SO POPULAR! Now consider these talents after the nerfs, Slipstream is picked less now, because people would rather gamble a little than just go back 1 second further. And Spatial Echo now requiring you get the kill to get those charges is picked the least. BECAUSE IT REQUIRES SKILL AND A KILL. Guess what talent is picked the most now, Jumper. Why? Because you get one extra blink, no strings attached, a blink and nothing else. It's simple, and that's why people go there. And speaking from experience, Bullet Time actually gives so much more once you get the hang of Tracer. But the ease and security of the pick is what people mostly go for.

Current Talent Effects:
Jumper: Increases Blink charges by 1
Bullet Time: Basic attacks reduce blink cooldown by 0.1 seconds (note that Tracer dishes 10 attacks per magazine)
Spatial Echo: Hero kills grant 2 charges of Blink

Need another argument? Let's look at Tracer's Level 16 Talents, or in other words, her power spike talents, Sleight of Hand reduces her reload time, allowing her to attack faster, Focus Fire, increases the damage of her last bullet, should she empty the whole clip on the same target and Locked and Loaded, which by pressing reload at the right moment, increases the damage for the whole clip. Now, just a guess, which talent is the most popular? SLEIGHT OF HAND!!! Why? Security, it requires no skill yet it gives a decent damage boost, even though her other talents promise more damage should they be used effectively.

Current Talent Effects:
Sleight of Hand: Reduces Reload time by 50% (0.75->0.375), increasing damage over time by 20%
Focus Fire: The last bullet of a clip deals an additional 35% damage, if the whole clip is used on the same target
Locked and Loaded: Activating Reload at the right time increases damage for the whole clip by 40%

Her Level 10 Talents show the same story, increase explosion size and slow, increase damage or increase throwing range and charge rate? Of course, THROWING RANGE AND CHARGE RATE. People mostly use her Pulse Bomb to kill off single targets, so the increased explosion size and slow doesn't give anything to her kit, the increased damage is good but because of security, the increased range and charge rate is the most favourable here. IT'S THE SAME WITH HER LEVEL 20 TALENTS AS WELL. Reduce melee cooldown and give knockback, Recall heals but increases cooldown or if the bomb sticks to an enemy, a second one is dropped. Just based on the previous arguments, of course they'd pick the Recall talent. Even though the cooldown is increased, the security of getting her health back makes it better than the other talents.

Current Talent Effects:
Sticky Bomb: Increases explosion radius by 50% and slows by 70% for 3 seconds
Quantum Spike: Pulse Bomb deals additional damage equal to 10% of the target's health
Pulse Rounds: Increases Pulse Bomb's range and charge rate (against heroes) by 100%

Current Talent Effects:
Get Stuffed!: Reduces melee cooldown by 3 seconds and causes knockback when used on an enemy with a bomb stuck, causing the bomb to explode instantly
Total Recall: Causes Recall to heal health lost during that time but increases Recall's cooldown by 8 seconds
Composition B: Tracer drops another bomb that explodes sooner if it sticks on an enemy hero that deals 50% less damage

So what have we learnt so far? People go for security and ease above anything else, yes sure but the bigger picture here is, Tracer's other talents suck, BIG TIME. I have to be blunt because I love Heroes and I want it be a popular MOBA (you can call it Hero Brawler all you like but it directly competes with DoTA and LoL) but the lack of versatility and choice in a game that has no items means the meta for Tracer stays the same. It's stagnant and people can't develop new strategies or play styles for a hero. Let's not blame anyone here, be it poor planning and such, let's do something about it. And hence I introduce...


So the problem we know right now is that Tracer's talents don't really offer much for her talent choices to be diverse and we all know (based on the arguments above) that it's because the trade off is not compelling enough for people to trade security for advantage (in the right moments because if you see Untouchable, people do go for power, only if it's compelling enough)

Another problem is that her talents don't synergize much, so talents that offer less, have nothing to else to be more compelling. If she had weaker talents, but had amazing synergy with her higher tier talents, it would make those talents more compelling with the potential it offers in the future.

Ability Changes:
I can hear the collective gasps from you guys, now hear me out first, I know her kit is strong enough so just keep an open mind (hehe see what I did there?) These changes are mostly to even out benefits from talents so they are not as compelling.

Recall: Tracer heals health lost during that time, but cannot heal more than 30% of her maximum health this way. Cooldown is increased from 26 seconds to 30 seconds

Recall was one of the talents that was the hardest for me to suggest balancing, initially I wanted to suggest that she can only heal 50% of the health lost. But that would be too powerful if she lost a big chunk of health only to heal 50% of it back. A big counter to Tracer before she hits Level 20 is to pile on damage so that she can't be as aggressive during teamfights. Which also justifies the power spike she gets from Total Recall at Level 20. By doing this, it kinda makes Total Recall irrelevant, which we don't want. But then again, she wouldn't be able to shrug off chip damage because she'd only heal 50% of what she lost. Which is one of the reasons why people pick Total Recall in the first place, to get rid of unintended damage she receives. So by adding the 30% health limitation, we can give her half of what Total Recall promises, but if they truly want the sustain that Total Recall gives, they still need to take that talent. And why 30%? Because at 30% health, it's still dangerously low for Tracer, but it can help to avoid sudden death after a recall from one unintended auto attack. The increased cooldown justifies this as well since she actually regains health now.

Allows you to get rid of chip damage which is one of the reasons Total Recall is picked, but still makes the counter to Tracer relevant. This makes Total Recall less compelling which opens up choices for her other Level 20 Talents.

Pulse Bomb: Damage and charge rate remain the same, but the throwing range is increased by 25%

I've talked about security and reliability when it comes to picking talents, so by increasing the base throwing range of Pulse Bomb, we get rid of some functionality that comes with Pulse Rounds, making the other talents more compelling. It's also necessary because in Overwatch you can at least alter the throwing range of Pulse Bomb. Following this, Pulse Rounds range increase would have to be reduced to only 75%, which is a still a big increase, justifying the talent, but not so much that the other talents become irrelevant. If this change is too strong for a Level 1 Tracer, every talent at Level 10 could increase the range by 25% but Pulse Rounds would still increase the range by 100%, giving her a power spike at Level 10 instead of Level 1.

The added throwing range makes Pulse Bomb more reliable so that Pulse Rounds is less compelling,

Talent Changes:
Level 1:
Pulse Strike: -no changes-
Slipstream: same functionality but Recall's cooldown regenerates 50% faster when below 30% health
Tracer Rounds: -no changes- (jk, remove it please, it's like bait for those who's never played Tracer)

Motion Blur: Tracer gains evasion after using Blink for 0.5 seconds -1 second (based on how OP this could be, I don't know how much time should be given)

The added functionality for Slipstream makes it more compelling and maintains the initial essence of the talent with the trade off so that more experienced players can benefit more from this talent. Motion Blur gives nice added functionality for Blink and gives Tracer the option of sustain by trading up mobility. One of the problems that Tracer faces is that she can't approach a powerful but less mobile team so this allows her to linger in the fight more, trading off her blinks for much needed evasion instead.

I view Level 1 Talents as a foundation for the player to use the Hero, Pulse Strike allows for more Pulse Bombs and in effect more damage, Slipstream let's the player play more aggressively for those clutch moments and Motion Blur let's players mitigate some damage against auto attack heroes by trading Blinks for evasion. You might also see Tracers being played differently with these different talents.

Level 4:
Parting Gift: I personally don't understand this talent but yeah, -no changes-
Untouchable: -no changes-
Is that a Health Pack?!: same functionality but this is a questing talent

After collecting 15 regen globes, Tracer gains an ability that generates a regen globe for her, cooldown: 60 seconds

Get Stuffed! (ver 2.0): If Melee hits only one target, the target is slowed by 50% by 1 second. Additionally if she hits a target with Pulse Bomb stuck to them, they are knocked back. (knockback distance reduced by 50% from the 20 talent)

I KNOW YOU GUYS WOULD SAY THAT THE SLOW WITH BULLET SPRAY WOULD BE OP SO WAYYYY AHEAD OF YOU!!! Anyways, the problem with Get Stuffed! is that usually people would melee first and THEN pulse bomb, so there was a learning curve to the talent. So moving it to Level 4, removing the cooldown reduction and halving the knockback distance would make it less powerful but allow people to experiment with that talent earlier on. The slow is so that Tracer has a way to contribute to the team, one of the things Tracer lacks in her kit and play style. It also adds more versatility because she can slow down an enemy chasing an ally or do so to help the team secure a kill.

The added questing talent is because that talent is really good as it offers Tracer an option for self sustain, however, most of the functionality is lost as you advance into the game. So the quest doesn't give her that self sustain instantly, but provides it when you get into the later stages of the game.

Level 7:
Jumper: doesn't increase the charges but increases blink range by 15-20%
Bullet Time: -no change-
Spatial Echo: -no change- (though returning the old functionality wouldn't hurt, because I could see some Tracers played quite differently, as they used those added blinks as a way to scout ahead for the team, then recalling away, giving her some sort of way to benefit the team)

The reason why I'm suggesting the change for Jumper is because of how her talents would synergize with the Level 20 Talents I'm going to suggest, but Jumper as it is doesn't really need a change actually. Also, if you were outraged or felt some feelings reading the change, MADE YOU FEEL THINGS! Another reason why the old functionality of Spatial Echo wouldn't hurt is because Bullet Time now synergizes with Motion Blur, so it makes Bullet Time a decent pick even though Spatial Echo grants extra charges.

Level 10:
Sticky Bomb: Same functionality but also increases throwing range by 25%
Quantum Spike: Same functionality but also increases throwing range by 25%
Pulse Rounds: -no change-

These changes are if, and only if, the changes to Pulse Bomb, were too strong for a Tracer at Level 1.

Level 13:
Her Level 13 talents are the most balanced, in my opinion, and it also changes the way Tracer is played with each one. Bullet Spray gives her a wave clear, Ricochet is good when you want inflict more damage as it becomes harder for healers to keep up with her damage. Leeching Rounds allows her to be more aggressive and stay in the fight longer.

Level 16:
Her Level 16 talents are also balanced, each trading off some reliability with the promise of more damage. Level 16 talents are usually really powerful, so I'm fine with the current choices available.

Level 20:
Get Stuffed!: -moved to level 4-
Total Recall: Recall can now heal 100% of Tracer's maximum health, no increased cooldown
Composition B: -removed-

Combat Ready: Reduces Melee's cooldown by 3 seconds and increases Tracer's attack speed by 50%
Extra Ammunition: Tracer gains a second charge for Pulse Bomb, 10 second cooldown between charges
Overclock: Reduces Blink's cooldown by 1 second - 1.5 seconds and increases the charges by 1 (or increases the range depending on Jumper)

I've explained Total Recall so the increased cooldown is unnecessary because it was just to make the other talents more compelling. Combat Ready can synergize with Pulse Strike, Sleight of Hand and Pulse Rounds, Extra Ammunition gives people the security they want with landing Pulse Bombs by adding another charge. Overclock allows you to have a healthy list of talent synergies, as it can synergize with Motion Blur, Jumper or Bullet Time. It's also quite flexible because you can build Tracer to be very mobile or you can make it so you get more evasion charges with Blink. Which is why I suggested the change for Jumper.

The problem with Tracer is that she has a powerful kit but the kit only works one way. The talents I'm suggesting here allows her to trade off some of her strengths for added functionality while giving her better talents that have synergy, making them more compelling and this should even out her talent picks more.

That's it and have fun playing TRACER!!!

Also please share this if you agree with these changes, maybe the devs might read this and inspire some changes!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Paratyphoid Fever - Resolution (Part 4)

If you haven't read Parts 1, 2 and 3, go read those first! You're missing out ;)

If you knew how time has easily slipped through your hands, you'd grasp it with all your might. And while I was there, lying down in bed, doing nothing, and wishing instead I could do something, I saw it. My days came and went, but I was still there, I wasn't getting better and why wasn't I? We knew what was wrong with me, we knew the cause of my suffering, I ate the medicine and yet there I was, in the same place I was in before all that. The thing they don't tell you about recovering is how patient you have to be. Sometimes you'd learn it, then forget, but this time I had no choice. Everything was in the way. I had planned for so much more and this was a reminder that, you can't plan everything and you have to accept that there will be things you can't control.

I had two weeks left in Miri before I started my semester and I already knew, even though I planned a few simple things to do, that it would be uneventful. And it was. It was kinda depressing watching each day go by and it depressed me even more when I think about it as the days grew short. The double vision robbed me of driving (the two lanes would merge together) and using the computer, that is if fatigue and vertigo haven't done so already, so three days before I had to go back to KL, I just tried playing Heroes of the Storm, any game would have sufficed but I wanted to try Li Ming for ages already. So I played, the double vision meant I could only see the center of the screen clearly, any peripheral vision was useless, but it was the most fun I've had in days, wait, no WEEKS. The first game, I was sluggish, I kept getting hit, I kept dying, and none of my attacks hit. The second, still sluggish, I didn't really die much and my attacks finally connected. Things started to pick on with the third and there were a few times honestly I felt as though I didn't have a headache.

My twin was there playing as well, but that was all I could muster before my return to KL. My bags were packed, everything was ready, it's kinda sad to leave your home knowing you've just spent around 9 months there since the start of my practical training, and now you have to leave again. The fever also made it seem longer so I felt like I was leaving home for the first time all over again. I still had to recover for another week or so as the doctor said meaning I had to run errands a different way. Plan around the fever y'know? So I had to go to Shah Alam to get my transfer letter to the new campus, I thought I would use that opportunity to get supplies as well. I needed clothes so I would need to make time for that. The registration for the new student's college was on Saturday. Should be easy right? Well some things are easier said than done.

I arrived on a Thursday, meaning I had to do the Shah Alam thing on Friday and then check in on Saturday, if everything plans out right. Thanks to my recent encounter with drug induced insomnia, I was always sleepy to getting to sleep early was easy, CHECK. I woke up early and proceeded to go to KL Sentral. At the same time sending my cousin off since he was going back to Kuching. He didn't really know KL yet so I brought him around and we ate breakfast before we left. Everything going great so far right? WRONG, as we sat down to eat, I could already feel my head getting heavier. And my double vision was getting worse. My double vision served the purpose of informing me of my condition, if you divide your peripheral vision into 3 parts, the front, the sides and the corners, you can kinda get a feel of how this works. When I wake up, well rested and fresh, there's no double vision unless I glance left or right, like move my eyeballs. As I start to get tired, the double vision creeps into my peripheral vision, so at that point, the double vision had already creeped into the sides of my vision. AND I HAVEN'T EVEN REACHED SHAH ALAM YET. Maybe I shouldn't have walked to the LRT station. I went to the platform for the KTM train, and proceeded to sit down, hoping to get some rest while waiting for the train. If any of you know KL, you'll know there aren't any seats at the KTM platform so I at on the stairs, I even made sure I sat down on the side so that people could pass by easily. But when a crowd came down the stairs I had a person come up to me and told me not to sit on the stairs. I didn't look sick so I stood up.

Again, if any of you know KL, you'd know how long it took for the train to come, so let's just say by the time I boarded the train, I was burned out. To the point I fell asleep on the train, at 10 am in the morning. I messaged my sister, who was in Shah Alam, because of that, I didn't want to at first because she was sending her husband off at the airport and the whole family was there and such. But she had already planned to pick me up at the station, she just needed to know the time (bless you). They picked me up, I got my letter, materials, and then they brought me to their house in which I slept like nobody's business. So thankful to get the opportunity to recharge~ Having done that, we then proceeded to go the airport. But then my friend called. Apparently you can register for the student college on that day. I knew we could register early on Wednesday but obviously I wouldn't be in KL then so that ship had sailed, I was fine with it. But now my friend calls and tells me I could have registered on that day as well and the places were running out. The problem was it was already 3.30pm and the offices close at 5pm, the journey from Shah Alam to Puncak Alam would take about an hour and I had to get on a cab and such. After much thought and discussion with my sister, I opted to not go. If I get a place, I get a place, but if I don't it's fine, because there are other colleges around.

So we went to the airport, and we sent my brother in law off, my sister told me earlier on to not ask her if she's fine, if she'll be able to handle him not being there, just let her collect her feelings and carry on. What comes, comes, so to speak. We stood there waving goodbye, then proceeded to head back to the car. My attempt at making her feel better was simply buying chocolate and offering some to her (cause like chocolate is scientifically proved to make you feel better and such so I was thinking, stuff her with chocolate, I know, such a good brother, so lucky to have me) We had a wonderful dinner, got home at around 2 am and slept at 3 am after the usual routine of checking instagram and facebook. Suffice to say, I didn't wake up early to fight for those final spots in the 5 minutes away student college. And true enough, there were no rooms left, the only ones available were the rooms in the student college on the hill. BUMMER. I dropped my stuff off and for some reason I don't know what (it's the fever, you always blame the fever) I decided to go back to KL. Despite my fever, despite the fact I had no transport, despite I was already there I didn't need to go back. But alas, the heart always yearns for home (if you can't blame the fever, homesickness is a good second)

I spent the last few hours in the condo, playin games and whatnot, doing my final checks of what I need and don't have. When the time came I went to puncak alam, along the way discovering that if you want to ride the bus to shah alam at kl sentral you have to wait at the bus stop in front of the tennis court and not the bus stop in front of nu sentral (after having 3-4 buses pass me and then finally deciding to ask that is). And that the bus to puncak alam comes every 2 hours as you'd better plan around that because of which I arrived at puncak alam at around 10pm, leaving the condo at 5.30pm ish. The first week of class started off fine, I woke up early (yeah, I know, I was surprised as well) and headed to class, it was my first time meeting my friends since we left for practical training so we chatted and I felt fine, no double vision or fatigue (like is this real? Was I cured, finally?). Then the lecturers came in and as we gathered around for our briefing, it hit me, the double vision and headache. I felt like sleeping right there. And so that happened for the rest of the week. Luckily I had friends that were willing to send me to my college, waiting for the bus in the hot sun didn't exactly work well given my condition. What really shocked me was that during that weekend, I woke up  from bed and there was no double vision anymore, I immediately knew I had fully recovered which was weird cause you don't normally know you're done but yeah. Quite anti climactic if you ask me (the doctor was right by the way, that was two weeks and I was cured)

So that's it, going through a fever that was supposed to last 2 weeks ended up being one for more than a month. Mostly because the doctors didn't know what it was since it was really hard to get it in the first place and in a place where dengue steals the spotlight, people don't really take into account other things. My advice here is that just go for an in depth blood test if it's more than a week and it's not dengue.

That's all and have fun not being sick?

P.S. Yes I know this post is a little late (little here meaning I was sick before the start last semester and I'm already in my new semester). And I must say that after the 3rd entry I felt it was kind of hard to follow up with this one since what transpired after was somewhat boring. But I'm happy it's over, I can finally go back to posting about Heroes of the Storm and other things, especially with Machines of War out and everything. I like Warhead Junction a lot, though the sheer size of the map is a bit off putting, Braxis Holdout is a bit of a mixed bag to me because it's really easy to snowball in it. But that's for another post, bye!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Paratyphoid Fever - Revelation (Part 3)

If you haven't read parts 1 and 2, go read those first!

We went to the general Hospital two more times but honestly I don't remember when anymore, the things I do remember were the that on one trip I was assigned this really rough doctor that gave me my first ultrasound (because I haven't pooped for like 3 weeks). The gel is super cold guys, no joke but I remember him just really ramming the scanner into my stomach cause he couldn't get a clear picture. He even pressed down on the lower part of my stomach, telling me it's hard because of all the "waste" deposited there. I understand the severity of my situation but peeing was hard enough so I guessed my body just simply couldn't handle number two. We left with some poop medicine, pee medicine and painkillers.

The other trip I remember quite vividly because it was the first time I ever got a rectal exam (am I being to informative here? I don't know) and I must say it's highly unpleasant. I still wasn't defecating so he wanted to check whether... I actually don't know why he wanted to check THAT part. As for the experience, I would accustom to having a baseball shoved up your butt. Because it's such a long time since I last pooped, he said he was going to induce it, because it was getting dangerous. You know that liquid they squirt up your butt when you have constipation? I did exactly that, and though pooping felt so good, it felt like my intestines were burning the whole time. The first poop I've had in three weeks and it was induced, what a monumental chapter in my life.

It was nearing the weekend, and my mom was going to take my grandfather to the doctor, something about his back. She suggested that I come along, because like why not right? And this doctor was considered one of the best in my town because he tries to tackle an ailment from all angles, very thorough. You know, maybe 7th time's the charm, right? And considering my twin was coming back to here tomorrow, I didn't think it was a bad idea. I just wanted to get better, to get rid of this headache, the double vision, fatigue, muscle pains and I wanted to poop, badly. The thing you don't realize unless you haven't pooped for two weeks is that you're constantly feeling bloated, your farts stink like crazy, you feel full all the time and you just feel uneasy. They have a medical term for that, believe it or not, MALAISE, you can check it out yourself, really helps explaining what your feeling in one word.

But I digress, we met up with the doctor, and went through the usual Q&A session, and I loved the part when I told him I haven't pooped in two weeks, his eyes grew wide with surprise and just stared at me. It's nice to see someone comprehend how bad you feel, without you telling them, he knew the implications of that and I knew by looking at him as well. Then we did an ultrasound, yeap, my second trimester and then, surprise, surprise, they needed my blood. But somehow I felt this visit gave more information compared to those other visits, and I hoped for the best, even more so judging by this doctor's reputation. So we returned home, it was Chinese New Year so my results weren't coming for another week. And so the waiting game began, my twin came back home and so did my sister. I was really excited but I was still bedridden most of the time so I couldn't really do much with either of them. My twin made attempts to play Monster Hunter 4 since our friends were on holiday as well but honestly I couldn't even sit up, let alone play an intense game. For real though, as a person that loves playing video games, I would if I could right? So I clearly couldn't.

Another thing they don't tell you about being sick is how depressing just lying in bed and staying in can be. Because I didn't even know I was depressed, (just a note though, this was not like hardcore "omg so depressed gonna kill myself" kind of depression,  there are people actually suffering from that but I wasn't) and I actually found out because I felt down and wanted to cry all the time. Not to mention tear inducing ads which I could just watch without feeling anything, suddenly broke me, it was like I was looking for reasons to cry just to make myself feel better. And clearly it didn't work cause I kept feeling that way. My family were really nice because looking at the state I was in, you just had to believe what I was telling you, there weren't any visible clues that could tell them what I was going through but they were very accommodating and let me be a lazy slob by just lying down all the time.

As expected, Chinese New Year was uneventful, I didn't visit anyone, which was a bummer because I really wanted to visit my boss' house, I left on a good note, and I wanted to keep it that way. I was actually excited because the week after, if all was well, I could finally know what was wrong with me. I was treated to a wonderful gift on the weekend, I POOPED. And not just any poop, a poop that lasted for half an hour with excruciating pain cause you haven't flexed those muscles in a long time (if you know what I mean) but at the same time, with that pain I was rewarded with one of the best poops in my life. Not induced whatsoever, a totally natural poop, like my body was telling me, "yo faruq, this is yo body man, you don't worry, you gettin better bruh". It was so monumental (haha this is so sad) that I went down stairs, and hugged my mom, and I was like "guess what, I pooped". She was glad as well, so yeah, story of my life. My full appetite kicked in too and how I craved spicy food, from which I proceeded to poop 2 more times.

We could finally get the results on Wednesday, and the doctor said those magic words everyone was waiting to hear. PARATYPHOID FEVER. Which was a lesser version of Typhoid Fever, and he was surprised I actually got it considering they were only common is rural areas, and not a city like Miri. I was happy, I finally knew what was wrong with me but then came the bad news, Chinese New Year was from 7-13 February, and I only got my results on Wednesday which was on 17 February, I needed at least 2-3 weeks to fully recover. And I was going back to university on the 25th. I was worried that my parents would worry, I was worried I couldn't make the trip, I was worried I had to live with the sickness alone in KL until I got better. I had to get better in 2 weeks, it's true I was going back on the 25th but my classes would only start the week after was was more than 2 weeks. Renewed hope, I just had to survive and not push myself too much until I got better.

We left the clinic, all contented (still sick though) that we finally knew what it was. I even googled it on the way home. Symptoms included, constipation, fatique, high fever for the first few weeks of illness, muscle pains and headaches. All the things I've been suffering from the past few weeks and they at last made sense! I did also have double vision, which was one of the reasons why I couldn't drive, because the lanes would merge together and I was scared I would drive into other cars. The doctor wasn't sure if it waa related but if I still had double vision after the 2-3 weeks were over I would have to see a specialist again. I continued to take the medicine he gave me, and here comes another bit of advice, check the side effects of the medicine the doctor gives you. Because the medicine he gave me for my fatigue, headaches and vertigo could cause insomnia, I couldn't sleep properly (hereby referring to going to sleep at 12 but being unable to do so until 4 am in the morning) for 5 days, it's like having red bull in your system, 24/7, when the initial kick has worn off, your eyelids heavy and tired but your brain keeps running. I rationalized that I didn't need the medicine, so I stopped taking the ones for fatigue and headaches, I only continued taking  medicine for the liver and pooping.

I still couldn't bake or play games, I have to get better in 10 days, I'm going back to KL soon and I just wasted more than a month's worth of holidays. What is life people?

To be continued in part 4, hehe~

Ok guys it's official, I'm posting every month which is a far cry from my initial plan to post every week. I'm having fun writing this series though, it's like writing a story, which is probably why it's long and winded. I promised myself I wouldn't post anything else until I got this series done, my original plan was to write a four part story, I wanted to get it over with and end it with this one, but it turned out longer than expected so I guess there'll have to be another post! BTW Tracer's (super fun hero) out already and I've been meaning to write a first impressions post, I've also been meaning to write about Li Ming, I've learned quite a bit about how to use her abilities and talents to the fullest. All those coming up next! Final year is no joke guys, I'm struggling to find the time to write so I appreciate that you still follow my blog!

Have fun and be careful what you eat!!