Monday, December 7, 2015

Drama: When Pro Gamers Retire

First appeared in Issue 37 of The Weekly All In

Some quick background: "Flash" is, more or less, the greatest StarCraft competitive player, ever. Period. He is frequently and unceremoniously referred to as "God" by many members of the StarCraft community (at least by ones that remember him from 5+ years ago). He was never so completely dominant while playing SC2, but he was always a force to be reckoned with. He's retiring from pro gaming as a player to fulfill the mandatory military service that Korea requires of him.

Some members of the SC community just don't get why/how players must move on from StarCraft, but it's a very real and common thing. This article was to try and explore the process that professional athletes go though as they come to terms with their decline in ability, and figure out what they're going to do next.

Drama of the Week: Retirement: When a God Fades Away
By: Mike Harrell

Flash announced his retirement from professional gaming this week, rocking StarCraft fans around the world. Some speculation informs us that Flash hopes to one day be the head coach of KT Rolster, but there is no indication of when that may happen, or of what Flash’s intended path to accomplish it may be.

Is It Really Retirement?

At 23 years old, “retired” seems like a strange word to describe Flash, or any other former pro gamer. But what does the elite StarCraft player do with himself (or herself, as we will hopefully be able to say before too long) once they’ve finished competing? At 28, I haven’t even entered my intended career yet. But by the time they reach my current age, the vast majority of pro gamers have peaked, declined, and then either taken up non-player roles in esports, moved on and faded into obscurity, or, worst of all, they put on bizarre outfits and create sad “entertainment” streams where they play on as a shadow of their former selves.

But then again, Flash won his first Premier tournament, the 2008 XNote GOMTV Star Invitational, at just 15 years old. Fifteen. What were you doing at fifteen? Probably about the same as I was: in high school, trying to not be scared of girls, and had a minimum-wage job in the summer. The notion of flying all around the world competing in video games for thousands of dollars had not yet even occurred to me..

Yet, Flash’s situation is hardly unique. History is repeating itself right now with Life and Maru, who are both currently just 18. Life won a GSL at 15 and is a BlizzCon champion. Maru won an OSL at 16, and just 6 months ago All-Killed KT Rolster in the Proleague playoffs, defeating Zest, Life, Stats, and Flash, one after the other. It stands to reason that both Life and Maru will continue to have impressive accomplishments for at least the next few years, just as Flash did.

Par for the Course

When will Life and Maru retire? Also at 23? If so, that gives them five more years. To put that in perspective, Wings of Liberty came out five years ago. When StarCraft II turns 10, will Life and Maru still be on the scene? We can only wait and watch, but one day, just as with all sports, even the current upstarts will eventually become a thing of the past.

But when they do, they will still have at least two-thirds of their lives ahead of them. It would be sad to even consider the idea that the greatest accomplishments of their lives occurred before they even turned 20. But what do professional gamers go on to do? Korean gamers generally have required military service, and sometimes, like Boxer and others, become coaches afterward.

Foreign players are just as enigmatic. Day9 got a master’s degree and now works at a game studio making an RTS. InControL is still on the EG roll in some capacity, but mostly commentates tournaments. Tasteless and Artosis have become legendary casters as well. Suppy’s floating around out there somewhere, going to school and competing on BaseTradeTV sometimes. And then there are players like IdrA who decided to go back to school and simply withdraw from StarCraft altogether.

More Than A Player: A Person

A large number of professional athletes of all sporting varieties become depressed after retirement. In fact, they say that a pro athlete dies twice, the first being the day they retire from their sport. Additionally, so many professional athletes go broke and even need to declare bankruptcy within just five years of their retirement that there is literally a book just for NBA players about how to manage salary and endorsement money during their career to make it last through the rest of their life. (It’s called “Winning the Money Game” by Adonal Foyle, an NBA veteran that eventually retired due to injury.)

After a lifetime of absolute dedication and maybe even incredible success, what is left? It’s a question that all pros ask themselves again and again as their retirement approaches and leaves them behind. Finances aside, many athletes struggle with identity, self-worth, and even dramatic changes in body chemistry as they look for new means of personal fulfillment and success. Competitive achievement is suddenly no longer their go-to source of serotonin. They have to find a new and more-rounded approach to life and success

So when a successful player feels like they’ve had enough of competitive training and competition, it’s actually in their best interest, financially, emotionally, and psychologically, to move on and pursue new avenues of interest.  And if they choose to remain part of the scene as a coach or commentator, that’s awesome! But we also cannot begrudge those that choose a different path, especially when that path is getting educated and starting a long-term career. You know, like anyone would at that age.

Fans: Continue Supporting Your Hero

When your favorite player gives up professional gaming, be disappointed, remember the good times, but don’t be mad. Nothing lasts forever, and your player needs your support now more than ever as they transition into a new career and a new lifestyle (especially if it’s a rocky transition).

And when they find that new career, be happy for them! There’s no reason their next 50 years can’t be just as incredible as the first 25, even if it’s not by pwning noobs every day.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Living Pokedex: Complete! (Also, tips)

I don't post about other games very much on here anymore, but that doesn't mean I'm not playing them!

Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to "Catch 'Em All!" Well, last week, I did! And not just completing the pokedex, but actually having one of every single kind in my bank at once. With new storage functions only recently available which allow you to send your collection to your other (and, I'm assuming, future) games pretty painlessly, it seemed like it was finally time to give this a shot. 11-year old Mike is so pleased! So is 28-year-old Mike, but it is kind of a clouded victory.

It took a LOT of time. Way more than I thought it would. But, once I started getting close, I just had to keep going. Lots of researching, trading, battling, leveling, catching, breeding, and everything else. The new trading utilities within the game make pretty much everything easier than the old games, but that's countered by the sheer number of pokemon now (720). Additionally, fewer and fewer pokemon evolve from just your standard "raise level to X." There's tons of other requirements, including ones that has to be leveled at a certain times of day or certain in-game weather. There's even one where you have to level it up and then hold your gameboy upside-down for it to trigger the evolution.

I was going to share some screenshots, but then I put off publishing this post for like two weeks. Plus, it'll look to same no matter what. It looks just like this, except it's my username and not this guy's.

I'll also share some general "how to get the pokemon you want" tips.

In Game Trading

There are kind "tiers" for how a Pokemon can be traded. It's not based on rarity so much as convenience/effort to obtain a pokemon. From highest-inconvenience to lowest it goes as follows: Mythical pokemon (which aren't tradeable on the GTS, but you can still request them for some reason) -> pokemon that evolve by being traded while holding a certain item -> legendaries -> pokemon evolved with stones or friendliness -> pretty much everything else.


1. You can deposit a Porygon with its Up-Grade item attached, and get pretty much anything you want. It's a great way to get legendaries that you need or want a duplicate of.

2. You can get any 'standard' pokemon with a Magby or Elekid. They're a pain to get, but once you have one, you can evolve it once and duplicate the crap out of it. Whatever you have to trade to get one, you'll get a good return on the investment.

3. More on can trade this guy for literally anything except a legendary or the aforementioned "trade with item" revolutions.


The Pokemon Plaza subreddit is amazing. You can get pretty much any pokemon you can imagine, with any stats/moves/whatever by making a deal on there. There are also lots of giveaways, which can be a lot of fun. It's also pretty much the only way you will ever obtain all of the mythical (not obtainable in game, only through events from Nintendo) pokemon. Just ask someone to hack you one of each and trade them to you via Friend trade (which lacks the restrictions that GTS has).

The Breeding Dittos subreddit's sole purpose is to give away Dittos with 6IV's for breeding. Save yourself a ton of trouble and go get one.

Secret Base Leveling

Also online, you can use QR codes to manually import other players' secret bases into your game. So here's my guide for high-octane low-effort leveling.

1. Get five of these bases where the owner has three level 100 Blissey's with a Toxic Orb equipped (they're worth a ton of exp, can't attack, and will eventually kill themselves),

2. Add all five to your "Pals" list or whatever, so they appear in your base.

3. Get a "level release" so their pokemon won't be capped at 50.

4. Profit.


These horribly-named abilities don't make or break you, but they can sure help keep things moving. Get yourself a party of 6 Magby's, pop the Exp. Boost and Befriending boost, and Bam! One battle later and you're looking at 6 Magmar's, which, I repeat, can be traded for just about any other breed of pokemon (or literally any other breed if you give it a Magmarizer before you attempt to trade it).

External Tracking

Sure, almost all of your in-game computer is labeled and ready to go for all your pokemon, but it helps to be able to see it on a real computer screen and see where you are and really get a sense of your progress and what you have remaining.

I had a hard time finding just one app that really did everything that I wanted. LivingDex is great because it's light, easy, and travels with you wherever you go. PokeCheckList is also great because it lists each pokemon, has some sorting functions, and lists how to obtain every pokemon. However, it only works in one browser and if you clear your cookies, it all gets cleared out. Why isn't there one app that does it all? I don't know.

But yeah, that's all of my tips for getting pokemon. I'm not sure I'd really recommend to anyone else that they do it too, but hey, I've officially got them all. And with Pokemon Bank, I'll hopefully have them forever and never have to do anything like this ever again. Win-win!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BlizzCon 2015

I went to BlizzCon this year.

It was awesome. I was able to watch the majority of the StarCraft events as well as some other things. My wife and 1 year old came out to California with me so it could be a bit of a mini-vacation for us all, and it ended up being a really, really good time!

I went to provide coverage for The Weekly All In, naturally. We didn't have press access so I mostly contented myself with getting good photographs for the articles that would eventually be written for our BlizzCon Special issue.

It was awesome to really get behind the camera again. I took a photography class in high school and dabbled with it and photoshop a little here and there for the following few years. This was the first time in years I really made an effort. I was using a borrowed camera (my wife's grandpa's digital Rebel). and really did my best to get in there to get the good shots. I figured this may be my only chance to got to BlizzCon, or do press coverage of an event, or get photographs in a magazine (even a digital one), so I should really go all out. 

While I am definitely an amateur, and my shots reflect that, there were a few that turned out really well. I'm putting some of my favorites here. There is (or will shortly be) a link to the rest in the sidebar.

You watch BlizzCon at home on twitch (or maybe you don't, it could go either way) and it's really fun and exciting. But when you're there, in a room with tens of thousands of nerds and  you're 15 feet from the stage, it's incredible. One of the single coolest experiences of my life. More fun than turning doughnuts in the snow as a teenager. More exciting than the time I possibly caused  increased security on the Haitian-Dominican boarder. 

Mike Morhaime, Founder and President of Blizzard and all-around good guy. This was probably my first photo of the event that was actually in focus. Such a cool guy. Glad I at least got one good shot.

Eric Dodds, lead designer of Hearthstone.Again, I'm just so happy that it looks half decent.

Chris Metzen. VP at Blizzard. All around bad@$$. Possibly a pirate.

The Future of StarCraft panel, with all of those guys that people like to threaten on forums. A pretty well-framed shot, if I say so myself.

Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen. One of my StarCraft heroes that is now a commentator for Heroes of the Storm. Such a nice guy. Really happy with the lighting and the pose on this one.

Lim Yo-hwan, or "BoxeR" as he is often known, is something of a StarCraft legend in the professional scene. He dominated competition for years back in the Brood War days. Very exciting to get to see him in person.

Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski and Nick "Tasteless" Plott. The bromance between these long-time StarCraft nerds runs deep. I wish there had been an opportunity to met them personally, but I'm glad to have gotten a few good shots all the same. 

Chris "HuK" Loranger (center) and Jang "MC" Min Chul. Huk was my very first StarCraft hero, and one of the few that still actively play. The only problem is that he usually looks kind of pissed, for like the last three years. I was really excited to not just see him (and MC!) in person up close, but to get a pic of him looking genuinely happy about something.

The stage for the StarCraft competition was awesome beyond words. Three screens (two for a POV of each player, and one for an observer's perceptive). The stage was mostly just a white, blocky, frame. However, ~40 projectors would simulate an animated stage that changed for each map and each race, complete with victory animations. This is a shot where Life, a Zerg player, won a match, so the stage exploded with a green acid effect. 

Kim "sOs" Yoo Jin kissing the trophy after winning the tournament. Possibly the best photo I have ever taken, or will ever take. This shot is completely unedited.. I'm super proud of it. I also had to kneel on the cement floor in front of the stage for about an hour to be up close for the opportunity to get it. Worth it.
My editor and one of the other writers really drilled the importance of getting good photos of the eventual winner into me. After about 100 shots of sOs right here up close, about two feet away, I realized that I hadn't actually had a fan moment yet. I hadn't given him a high five or get anything signed or anything. So I stopped taking photos (and got the camera out of his face) and got the high five and got my badge signed.  Such an incredible day.

Between games, I would check in with the rest of The Weekly All In guys to say what pics I got and ask if there was anything I should be looking out for. Near the finals, they started to say that they could see me on the stream (!!!). I haven't gone through and watched all of the event just to look for me, but I knew I'd definitely be at this part and one other. Can you see me? 
This one's a little easier.
But this one's my favorite. LOL!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Drama of the Week: Lilbow’s Poor Life Planning

This article is pretty self-explanatory. Lilbow did something super dumb and then everyone made fun of him for it. 

Drama of the Week: Lilbow’s Poor Life Planning - Dumps BlizzCon and GirlfriendBy: Mike Harrell 

The StarCraft community was shocked and appalled this weekend when Lilbow announced via Twitter that he did not prepare for his matches in the WCS Global Finals. He stated that it would be a better use of time to play Legacy of the Void after his victory at WCS Season 3, as he was very unlikely to beat Life in the round of 16 or Innovation in the round of 8 at BlizzCon later this week anyway.  

Even more astonishing, is that after interviewing his family and close friends, it is apparent that this behavior is becoming a habit for Lilbow. 

Last week, the night before Lilbow left France for California to compete in the WCS Global Finals, Lilbow dumped “Emma” (name has been changed), his girlfriend of over three years. The dumping occurred at a lavish family party, where many were expecting Lilbow and Emma to announce their engagement. Lilbow, however, had more ambitious plans. He separated himself from Emma entirely, citing a need to focus on the current object of his affections: Taylor Swift.  

No Tact from Lilbow 

“Judging me badly on a situation that u probably can't understand isn't something nice from you,” posted an indignant Lilbow on his Facebook page. He went on to explain that while Emma and he have enjoyed a very successful and fulfilling relationship over the past three years, that did not justify his continued efforts. If he was going to get anywhere with Taylor Swift, he needed to get started right away.  

Indeed, just hours before the party he tweeted his lack of intent towards Emma, “i know its Emma and its important but well, i didnt wanted to spend months planning for one wedding while i can plan for 5+ years.” However, it appears that his family should not have been surprised, as just before the bombshell tweet, he announced that “it would probably hurt if this party had any sense to me but as i said i saw Emma 2 times the past 3 months.” 

Yet, the lingering concern remains: why would Lilbow leave a satisfying and fulfilling relationship with Emma in favor of a currently-nonexistent relationship with Taylor Swift? Why wouldn’t he seek to enjoy the opportunity he has right now? Emma, by all accounts, is a fun, engaging, and all-around balanced woman who has stolen the hearts of, sources say, over a million people. And why would he announce the separation in such a way? Why not just remain silent? Why would Lilbow choose to publicly disrespect Emma and her family, especially when so many would give anything to be in his place?  

A Feint of Heart 

Unfortunately, Lilbow made yet another public statement regarding the true source of his interest in Emma: her popularity. “I don't wanna be the best match for a girl that nobody is pursuing anymore, it doesn't make any sense to me.” Yes, it appears that Lilbow has had a lifetime pass for the hype train all along. Despite Emma continuing to progress into what some say is a nearly perfect woman in her own right, Lilbow is only interested in ladies that make headlines. 

Many would argue that a marriage to Taylor Swift in the next five years could be a case of Lilbow setting an unrealistic goal. Swift, a 26-year old American singer, trendsetter, and Instagram enthusiast, is 6 years older than Lilbow and has millions of fans and admirers all around the world. It seems very unlikely that she would take particular interest in Lilbow, even if he got a chance. 

Lilbow, however, was adamant of the potential for marital bliss. “I decided to spend all my time on Taylor and I reached top 5 upvotes on global fanpage so far….I know what I want and if I have to look bad a party for it, then it's too bad.”  

An Uncertain Future 

While Lilbow’s effort is obviously genuine and intense, who can trust his level of commitment? What happens when, by succession or choice, Swift fades from the spotlight? Will Lilbow, again, move on to the next woman, despite Swift still having plenty to offer in terms of their relationship? We will probably never know, as the likelihood of Lilbow forming a serious relationship with Swift after his treatment of Emma is far from certain, or even likely. 

Returning to reality, why in the world would Lilbow broadcast that he was making only a minimum effort for the WCS Global Finals, likely the most prestigious event he will ever take part in, because he wanted to be ready for the release of Legacy of the Void? It’s been less than two months since Lilbow’s $30,000 1st place victory in Krak√≥w. It’s extremely unlikely that 6 weeks of laddering on an ever-shifting beta will raise him to heights in Legacy of the Void beyond playing at BlizzCon in Heart of the Swarm.  

Lilbow’s decision and the manner of its announcement displays a shameful lack of respect for his opponents, fans, and sponsors. It shows that the best of foreign players are unwilling to face challenges and are unworthy of serious consideration in top-tier competition. Lilbow chose to forgo competition in the largest event of his life and frame it as though he’s preparing for some future competition of greater consequence.  

Granted, it’s true that his chances of success were low and his means of preparation were very poor. But that doesn’t change the fact he, as a professional gamer, chose to broadcast his lack of intent to play the best he could. Using LotV as a shield does not excuse the action.  

I have bad news for Lilbow and his supporters. If he’s unwilling to honestly compete against the best players in the world when he has the opportunity now, we have no reason to assume that he’ll come through in the future, either.

So yeah... if Lilbow makes it into the top 16 of the WCS Global Finals at any point during Legacy of the Void, I'll eat my firstborn. Such a disappointing cop out.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Slaughtered Calf Inn Menu

Blizzard announced that there will be a "Slaughtered Calf Inn" at BlizzCon this year, fashioned as a replica of the inn in Diablo III. It looks like it'll mostly be a place for attendees to speak one on one with developers. However, my love of puns and restaurants won over and I felt compelled to make a full Blizzard-themed menu. It was published in The Weekly All In #34.

Drama of the Week: BlizzCon Announcement Leaked: Blizzard Restaurant Menu 
By: Mike Harrell 

Today I bring you Weekly All In EXCLUSIVE coverage of the Blizzard’s leaked plans for the a Blizzard themed restaurant. The pilot location is planned for southern California, with doors opening Soon. No announcements were meant to be made until BlizzCon, but it looks like someone jumped the gun. I can’t say I blame them! All of the food sounds excellent and have great names and descriptions. See full menu below.

Name: The Slaughtered Calf Inn 
Key: (D) Diablo, (W) WarCraft, (SC) StarCraft


(SC) Ghost Pepper Poppers: Deep fried jalapenos filled with cream cheese, wrapped in crispy bacon, and served with a ghost pepper dipping sauce. The exterminator’s favorite. 

(SC) Appetite for Destruction: Twelve crispy chicken wings tossed in our spicy buffalo sauce. Sure to bring about a Rain of Fire. 

(SC) MotherChip Core: Crispy tortilla chips prepared in house, topped with cheddar cheese, black beans, shredded chicken, avocado, and sour cream. Served with pico de gallo and a band aid. 

(D) Keep it Rare Ahi Tuna: Perfectly seared Ahi Tuna medallions with soy, ginger, and lime. Served on a yellow plate. 

(D) Demonic Body Parts: Lightly breaded and flash-fried calamari rings. Seasoned with pepper flakes and served with your choice of orange sauces. 

(W) Timeless Isle Gyoza: Time will stop when you bite into these delightful dumplings. Filled with our signature seasoned pork mixture and pan steamed and seared. We are under no obligation to tell you how long ago they were cooked. 

(W) The Starting Zone: Can’t choose just one? That’s okay, this selection comes with a miniature portion of all of our appetizers. Enough to share. Be wary of unsolicited guild invites.


(SC) Not So Brutalisk Shortribs: Pork spareribs, smoked all day, finished off over an open flame, and slathered in our house Zergling BBQ sauce. A sure favorite. 

(SC) Lurker Belly Sandwich: Thick slices of pan-fried belly with jalapeno cheese, red tomatoes, greens, and a dash of Zergling BBQ sauce. Served on a crusty roll. Contains real Lurker. 

(SC) Fleet Bacon Burger: FLEET BACON! 

(SC) Eggs Baneling: Poached green eggs over english muffins with lurker belly and a spicy hollandaise sauce. 

(SC) The Fast Expand: You’ll feel your belly expand with our fried chicken over a Belgian waffle, topped with an over-easy egg! 

(D) The Carrion Farm: Let us roll you a new pizza, adorned with every meat you can imagine and grilled in our wood burning pizza oven, lit by actual hellflames. 

(D) Full Set of Greens: An entree-sized wedge salad, topped with bleu cheese, bacon, tomatoes, onion, and the envy of everyone else in your party. 

(D) Zombie dogs: Discarded beef comes back to life in a set of three gourmet hot dogs. Toppings change daily. Consult your server. 

(W) Firecracker Salmon: Seared sockeye salmon served with a firecracker aimed in the general direction of your table. If you can eat for longer than 15 seconds without standing, something good may happen in the next hour.  

(W) The Metzen Plate: Our signature breakfast! Pan-seared reindeer sausage, served with house potatoes, three eggs, cooked to your specification, and toast. (W) Nat Pagle’s Fish Tacos: Grilled Lurker Below with cabbage, onions, cheese, and cilantro ranch, all folded into a corn tortilla. Also comes with a 50% chance of getting an extra taco at the beginning of your meal.


(SC) The Dark Archon: An unholy dish featuring a flame-seared New York Strip in weight equal to your left arm and a macadamia nut crusted halibut fillet equal in size to your right. If you can finish in one sitting, you may gain mind control abilities.

(D) The Slaughtered Calf: Veal as you’ve never seen it before. An entire roasted calf is delivered to your table on a cart, Deckard Cain will pass by your table frequently to slice off portions at your request.

(W) Twin Porterhouses of Azzinoth: A 100% chance drop of two 48-oz Porterhouse steaks, aged for 10,000 years, rubbed with salt, pepper, and parsley, and seared over a 2,500 degree, green flame. After being grilled to perfection, each steak is ser 
ved on a replica Warglaive of Azzinoth, which is yours to keep. Are you prepared? 

(SC) The Sushi Rush: The actualization of renown artist Nicolas Chaussois’ Zerg Sushi design. Enjoy a custom selection of Prawnalisks, Bane Rolls, Tamagoyaki Hosts, Unagidralisks, Sushinfestors, California Lings, Nigiroaches, and Muta Makis. Selection limited to 200 supply.


(W) Dr. Boom Biscuit: Our flakey house biscuit, topped with win and accompanied by two cheese “bombs” breaded with blue corn flour and deep fried. Accompanies literally all entrees. Limit one per customer. Exceptions may apply. 

(W) BRD Hot Pockets: Inserted into an absurd sleeve and microwaved according to the manufacturer’s directions. Guaranteed to be scalding hot on the outside and frozen on the inside. So good even Leeroy would wait for it.  

(W) Cheesy Poofs: Just like mother used to buy. Perfect for finishing up dailies. 

(D) Inna’s Green Beans: You thought Inna had one of everything, and you were right. Enjoy these garden fresh green beans, lightly steamed and sauteed with garlic, fresh cracked pepper, and crispy bacon pieces.  

(D) Uliana’s Seven-sided Smashed Potatoes: Sure to apply an explosion to your palate, enjoy our smashed potatoes prepared with cream, butter, bleu cheese, garlic, peppercorns, some more cheese, and, sure, some bacon. Why not? 

(SC) Basket of Deep Fried Larva: Just kidding, they’re french fries. Twice fried and tossed in garlic and rosemary.  

(SC) Basket of Deep Fried Sweet Larva: sweet potato fries, tossed in salt and pepper and served with a Zergling BBQ dipping sauce.


(SC) Stalker Delight: Emerge from the shadows for our sour cream blueberry pie. A la mode for $2.50 extra. It’ll be gone before Blink finishes. 

(D) Jar of Souls: A chocolate trifle fit for the Lords of Heaven and Hell. Enjoy layers of Devil’s Food Cake, chocolate creme fraiche, and Angel’s Food Cake. Topped with an orange slice and mint.  

(W) Vykrul Ice Creams: Secret recipes that were all thought to be destroyed during the Lich King’s reign. Made with pure, organic, wolvar milk.


(SC) Blaze of Glory: The mother of all milkshakes. A gallon of masterfully-crafted shake. Thick enough to require a spoon, creamy enough to make you swoon. Comes in chocolate, because that’s the only good flavor for milkshakes. 

(SC) Semi-Glorious: Half order of the Blaze of Glory. For sissies. 

(D) A Smash Hit: A shot of all 27 house liqueurs and whatever else we can find in our bar.  

(D) A Smash Hit (Cooperative): The same as A Smash Hit, but your friends are allowed to help. 

(D) Diet Kulle Aid: Don’t drink it.  

(W) Conjured Water: It’s water...that you didn’t have to get yourself.

I love this article so, so much. Pretty much none of these jokes make sense unless you've played the corresponding game (or hearthstone). One exception however, is the Fleet Bacon Burger's blurb of "FLEET BACON!" That comes from the long-discontinued podcast "The Creep" by Scott Johnson of Frogpants studios. He just kind of had a thing for yelling "FLEET BEACON!" I can't really recall why that was now, it may have just been that he had a hard time remember it. 

But yeah, I made up just about all of these myself, and I think I'd be willing to eat just about all of them. It's worth noting that the Twin Porterhouses of Azzinoth can be shared by several people, but there are only two warglaives per order, so the group will have to sort that out themselves, which seems appropriate. 

I'm not 100% happy with the variety of foods on the menu, however. It seems like the classes of food vary too greatly. We have chicken wings, fish tacos, biscuits, and top-tier steak all on the same menu. That just doesn't seem right.

Also, I showed this to a coworker and he made a great suggestion for a dessert. It was, "Dark Templar: A scrumptious 3 layer chocolate creme cake served free of charge when an entree is forgotten, delayed or burned in the kitchen as a last ditch effort to win the patrons repeat visit." I think the name needs a little work, but that's such a perfect idea! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Drama of the Week: Kerrigan Would Kill Over The New UI

Ever since we first started to see screenshots and concept art for Heart of the Swarm, I began to assume that Kerrigan's human model was a placeholder or somehow unfinished. She was just way, way too sexy, with baffling proportions and overly revealing "armor." Much to my dismay, that really was the official depiction. With the latest patch in StarCraft, the update for Legacy of the Void, the new central protagonist, Artanis, you can see that Blizzard really went all out to portray him as an incredible warrior. I really wished that Kerrigan had gotten the same treatment. This article was published in issue 32. Also, the initial title was "A Sex Object’s Objection."

Drama of the Week: Kerrigan Response to the New UI: It’s Still Missing SomethingBy: Mike Harrell 

StarCraft II players rejoiced this week with the implementation of patch 3.0, the precursor to the release of Legacy of the Void. The user experience for the entire menu system has been updated, and almost everything is just what the players have been asking for. Visually dynamic screens? Yes. Awesome new campaign selection screen that harkens back to StarCraft and Brood War? Oh, yes. Even the Arcade, which many players have all but given up on, was given a wondrous new “Join” page, which lists all of the games will open lobbies to join.  

More than anything, however, that new startup screen with Artanis charging out from the cliffs and laying some Zerglings low is 100% A+ 10/10 awesome StarCraft. It’s exactly what the game needed. When the player starts up the game, they’re greeted with the opportunity to gaze upon Artanis’ noble visage and peer into his fathomless eyes, followed by the new, beautiful “Space Clouds” screen, which effectively transports the player into another place and time. And then the player sees Artanis, leader of the Protoss, exert his majestic strength on the Zerg pestilence. Oh yeah baby, IT’S STARCRAFT TIME! 

Kerrigan Speaks Out 

There is, however, one person who is not impressed by the changes. Sarah “The Queen of Blades” Kerrigan is pissed, and she will not stew in silence. 

“The very nicest thing I can think to say about Artanis’ ‘glory jump’ is to encourage each person that was involved in the production to make sure your will is current and your life insurance premium is paid up,” growled a livid Kerrigan in our last communication. That’s right, the self-proclaimed “Queen Bitch of the Universe” is on the warpath, and it’s over the disparity in her and Artanis’ portrayals in the StarCraft title screen.    

“I can’t believe the difference,” Kerrigan continued. “Blizzard must have spent millions on the set, robotics, and post-effects required for Artanis to make that ‘jump.’ Seriously, they build a mountain, a bunch of robotic Zerglings, and add charge and shield effects to make him look like some kind of hero (as if that were possible for a Protoss). The last time I heard of Artanis, he was running around an abandoned Xel’Naga temple in his underwear because his home planet had been completely ravaged. Meanwhile, I was conquering the rest of the sector, and single-handedly defeated the United Earth Directorate. What has Artanis done?” 

Artanis Is Just Hype 

Kerrigan is correct on that point. As far as we can tell, Zeratul has been the driving force behind the Protoss’ relevance in the continuing narrative of the Koprulu Sector. It was Zeratul that led Raynor to the artifacts and convinced him not to kill Kerrigan when he got the chance. It was Zeratul that led Kerrigan to reclaim her lost power. I’d be willing to put down money it’s Zeratul that convinces the Protoss to stop screwing around and do something about Amon.  

Artanis has accomplished buying new clothes and turning a blind eye as the Tal’darim resurrected a dead god (that wants to kill us all). Hardly the kind of governance that merits the most awe-inspiring in-game animation to date. 

With violet bioluminescence flaring in her eyes, Kerrigan began to seethe, “I’ve been the death of billions across this sector, and I will be for billions more before I’m done. I can create life with my psionic ability alone. I have fought for and won my freedom again and again, from the Confederacy, from Mengsk, from the Overmind, from the UED, and now from an actual god. And how does Blizzard portray me? They recreate footage from my most vulnerable moments, when my strength had been taken from me, put me in some kind of bodypaint with LED’s glued to it, and have me stand around and flex. What a waste!” 

Kerrigan: The Ultimate Show of Force 

A waste indeed! If Blizzard was looking for an impressive show of strength and lethality, there is no better specimen than Sarah Kerrigan. As a Terran ghost she was a flawless assassin, and as the Queen of Blades she has become the single most dangerous and influential force in the known universe. It seems like she would be pretty hard to overlook in any kind of objective appraisal. 

I said this to Kerrigan and regretted it immediately. She stiffened and with terrible calmness she began to murmur, “The reason is that they fear me. I’m the only protagonist (or whatever) in this entire story that is actually dangerous without $50 million worth of equipment. In the blink of an eye, I could stop your heart with my mind, slit your throat with my wings, or transform you into discount hamburger meat by way of a 70-foot-tall Ultralisk. Blizzard sought to marginalize me due to my sex and usher me along out of view once my story was ‘over.’ I will not be forgotten so easily. They will know that I am I capable of more than walking in asinine chitinous heels and having breasts and a thighgap. Through their stinging tears and stifled sobs they will know the horrifying might of The Swarm.” 

Enfranchise The Players 

Putting aside the lust for murder, Kerrigan is right. If this new UI is the new StarCraft, all its heroes should be given equal treatment. Currently our heroes are represented as “Slayer Artanis,” “Had Some Work Done Barbie: Kerrigan,” and “Raynor’s Rear Bumper” (although it could easily be interpreted as Matt Horner’s bumper). Where is the equal opportunity in displays of power?  

We need a few more title screens added, featuring each hero (and villain!?) displaying their strengths and abilities in equally-inspiring fashion. It will be immersive and inspiring for players of all types. If it’s good for the player, it’s good for the game. Let’s get it done.

I really enjoyed writing this one. The way that Blizzard has portrayed Kerrigan in StarCraft II is such an incredible disservice. She was never meant to be sexy. She's powerful, dangerous, and ruthless. I hate that she reappeared in StarCraft II with hot air balloons on her chest. It felt good to finally get to get it out on paper (so to speak). Also, this is more or less the first time that I've attempted to think about what a fictitious character would say and do and write it down, as opposed to just referencing something and hoping for a laugh from the reader. I feel like it came out pretty good.