The HTC Vive is on its way!  We'll need a few hours to, uh...research it next week, but expect by mid to late week you'll be able to stop in and give it a try.  We've heard that people just don't understand VR until they actually try it, and we're excited to give it a test run.  These babies are super rare right now and won't be hitting mass market until June; you'll be hard pressed to find these anywhere else!

Our in-store quests have gotten off to a nice start, with Tax1k, Kindrid Skylar and DoomMuffins all reaching the 250 point milestone and closing fast on the 750 mark.  We're adding new quests daily and hope to always have a quest available, no matter what game is being played.

The League grind continues with Lost 0nes winning his promo series and moving on to Silver V.  Kindrid Skylar is in the middle of his provisionals and should be ready for ranked this weekend.  I've been playing a lot non-ranked Sona myself with the hopes of doing provisionals when I have more time later this summer.

I wanted to recognize the LAN Mob team for all that they do to run the shop on a daily basis.  My physical time in the shop is limited due to other responsibilities, but they're constantly taking care of all the little things that make a LAN Center tick.  I'm grateful for that every day.

Our summer program planning is in full swing - expect to see more details released soon!  We're really aiming for a well-rounded experience for our day campers, with lots of content & goals to reach.  If you're a parent looking for a summer camp this will be money well spent.

New games you can find in shop - Ratchet & Clank, Star Fox & Gears of War 4 Beta (we only have a few early beta invites but should have more available next week when the open beta starts).

It's spring break and we're open every day at 10 AM - day passes are $25.
Bossman - My best advice is to bring a friend!  The energy at our lock-ins scales up with the number of attendees.  The wider the variety of games & players to team up with, the more fun everyone will have.  Expect the next 24-48 hours to be a groggy mess, but try to get back on your normal sleep schedule as quickly as possible.  Our natural body REM comes in 4-hour cycles, so if you're looking to get some sleep during the Sunday after a lock-in, set an alarm and aim for a 4-hour nap.  You'll be a little groggy when you wake up but once your usual bedtime rolls around Sunday night you'll be ready for a solid 8 hours sleep.

Connorkaze - Sleep takes away enough time from your life anyway; It's time to get even! Take back your time from the sinister sleep schedule your body forces you to follow!
Tips: There's no better advice than Bringing/making a friend. The friend will stop you from going to sleep. Friends don't let friends sleep on their paid gaming time.
If you really are going for a solo gaming grind (I believe you're missing out on the lock-in experience but I'm also glad you chose to come to LAN Mob to do it, so have at it, friend) be sure to pick an engaging game, and not something monotonous. While it may be tempting to spend your 12-hour marathon taking out a chunk of your favorite epic RPG quest, I recommend something with a little more engagement. Video games do a great job of immersing the player, but if you disconnect your body from your mind for too long your body might just turn off on you, and you'll look like a MattyB (LAN Mob veteran) at the 6am mark.

Cody - There's no doubt about it...lock-ins are brutal. Gaming for 14 hours is amazing and an incredibly good way to spend your Saturday night but obviously it takes its toll. However, for the first time in public, I'll tell you the secret to getting the most out of your lock-in and surviving until the fabled 8am. WATER! Drink water! Typically during a lock-in I drink 2 waters per 1 energy drink, and it seems to work pretty well. Conversing with all of you guys helps keep me awake too, so bring/make friends! Also, make sure to get up and stretch a little bit. Moving around will go a long way.
           
 Sundays following lock-ins are a little tough for me. Back in high school, I could stay up for days on end, but now I'm a decrepit old man at 23 years old and I just have a hard time. I asked resident Lock-In King, Quentin "Kindrid" DeJosie, the legend who has made it through almost every lock in what the magic trick is. Kindrid said he's simply a natural at it, having demonic stamina to get through the night and make it to work on Monday. Quentin also says it's important to stay busy on Sunday, as to make sure you get a good night's sleep Sunday night. So there ya have it! The ultimate secrets culminating from our 20+ all nighters here at LAN Mob.


Zachary - Lock-ins are such a unique way to spend your Saturday night in Central New York.  I'd like to think that I handle the lock-ins pretty well, I'm still high energy come 8 AM when the store needs the most love.  For anyone wanting to give the lock-in experience a shot, I would recommend having a good run or some sort of physical activity during the day followed by a quick nap.  Going somewhere with the purpose of gaming all night is an investment of your time, so optimize the experience!  Getting some good physical activity in before a lock-in will increase your overall energy, improve your focus and help you get over that 4-6 AM lull that so many of us face.  Not only that, but you'll have less of a desire for caffeine, or rather, less of a need for it.  This will give you an opportunity to get good rest post-lockin and get turned around for the early Monday morning.
This will be a regular series where I detail events happening in and around the shop, to keep everyone up to date with the latest happenings in our community.

Our big announcement today is a new in-store Quests system!  These are a series of video game challenges which when completed in shop rewards points to earn free stuff (Bawls, Night Passes, Day Passes, Week Passes!).  Details will be up on the website later this week complete with leaderboards, but you can talk to an attendant today and they'll fill you in on any quests available for your favorite game.

The League of Legends fever has been spreading throughout the shop.  It's rare that I stop in some night and don't see a league match (or three) ongoing.  Some players have joined the ranked grind, with Spydude43 hitting Bronze 1 this week on his way to Silver (just as soon as his AP regents are complete!).  Lost 0nes is continuing his Bronze grind approaching Bronze 1, and Kindrid Skylar has become our most newly minted level 30.

For new games in the shop - Dark Souls 3 hit on Tuesday, and you may have caught Sage's degenerate all-night stream.  We've been dealing out swag all week at the shop, with Alpha winning a limited edition key-chain for beating the first boss, and MattB working hard on taking out the second boss for a shot at another prize.  A wild Enrique has been spotted playing Battleborn, and I'm prepared to hop into the Overwatch stress test this weekend.  If you're interested in any of these new games stop by the shop and have a look.

There is some interest in Heroes of the Storm around the shop, and you can find Tax1k most weekends grinding out ranked.  He's very interested in getting a team of five together, so if you play or are interested in the game seek him out!  Smite is another game that has gotten regular in-shop play, generally mid week (Tuesday - Thursday).

Draxsel and Grey made the journey to Pound 2016 where they entered the Sm4sh singles event with the some of the best Sm4sh players in the world.  Both players got some time on the main stream, which we had up on both sides of the shop, causing everyone to drop what they were doing and swarm the televisions.  Draxsel made it the furthest, winning through the loser's bracket of pools and upsetting DKWill in Round 2 of pools before falling to a Mewtwo main and tying for 49th out of 550+ entrants.  For his first major he performed really well, and he'll spend the next three months hitting up local events courtesy of LAN Mob.  Follow Draxsel's progress on our website here.

At the conclusion of LML Week 2 we ran a special free "reverse mains" tournament, where every match was played against the other player's main.  This was a huge hit and I personally learned a good bit playing against Yoshis on effective plays (pro tip: throw more eggs).  Slooze (R.O.B. main) cruised through winner's bracket and scooped the tournament with a win over Tax1k (Toon Link main).  Expect more special events like this following our LMLs on Saturdays!

     Hey everyone! I've had a lot of people in the shop ask me my thoughts on "Battleborn", the upcoming unique MOBA shooter by Gearbox Software. The Open Beta went live on April 8th on PS4, and April 13th for other platforms, and I have clocked an enormous amount of time into the game. Currently, I'm doing my best to devour Dark Souls 3 in all of it's majesty, but Battleborn is definitely a game that deserves attention.

    Battleborn is firing on all cylinders, sporting a really dynamic co-op experience in the form of episodic missions, a multiplayer mode with quite a few game types and, last but not least, some of the craziest characters I've seen in a long time. The game is like a weird and extremely unique combination of League of Legends and Borderlands, falling somewhere on the spectrum near games like Monday Night Combat and Team Fortress  As of right now, there are 25 characters to choose from, although many need to be unlocked by leveling up, or simply completing specific challenges. Each of these characters plays completely different from the next and bring a level of goofiness and badassery that only Gearbox could provide. My current favorite characters to play are Rath, Miko and Shayne & Aurox.

     Verod Rath, a sith-esque swordsman, utilizes 3 red energy swords and specializes in assassination. Simply put, Rath does close quarters damage...and ALOT of it. To top it off, Rath's voice actor is none other than Christopher Sabat (Vegeta from DBZ), and listening to Rath trash talk his way through the battle is hilarious. My next favorite, Miko, the "combat botanist" is a kunai slinging mushroom man from a fungal colony. Quite possibly the most effective healer in the game as of right now, Miko provides a high level of support to his team, but is also capable of holding his own in a fair fight. Last but not least is Shayne & Aurox. Shayne is a 16 year old, boomerang slinging teenage girl. Oh and she also has an omnidimensional horror at her side, named Aurox. One of the most unique characters I've played so far, Shayne & Aurox play like a front line brawler. Fearsome together but still capable when apart, Shayne & Aurox are incredible at displacing enemies and pushing lanes. There are many more characters to choose from, like a mech-piloting penguin, a robot butler who's cane doubles as a sniper rifle, a heavily armored bird and even a luchador wrestler with metal arms. There's something here for everybody, and thanks to Gearbox's "Helix System", each character can be leveled up in unique ways.

     So my best summary is; Battleborn is a completely chaotic shooter, with multiple game types and even a co-op episodic story mode. Utilizing Gearbox Software's infamous flavor of humor, the game's strongest point, in my opinion, is it's characters. Obviously, a studio like Gearbox is extremely capable of making a mechanically sound game, and sure enough the guns work, the explosions happen and it all feels good. The game still has a few kinks to work out, but is to be expected in a Beta. I have spent upwards of 15 minutes in matchmaking randomly, even when the lobby is full of players. There are also some small balance issues, with a few characters running rampant. But hey, that's what a beta is for, amirite?! Overall, Battleborn is a game I'm keeping my eye on. I'm slightly nervous about Gearbox's choice to release Battleborn so close to Blizzard's "Overwatch", but there is a distinction. Battleborn is very objective based, in all of it's game modes, plus Battleborn is sporting a really unique Story experience, if that is your jam. The Beta ends on April 18th, so come on in and check it out. I'd LOVE to get some games going with a group of people. We have the Beta available right here in LAN Mob! 

For years companies have chased the dream of virtual reality gaming, where the player becomes fully immersed in the action.  The early iterations of the technology were clunky, nauseating mass-market failures that tied the user to a physical location.  It wasn't until recent advances in processing power and VR techniques allowed smaller headset-sized systems to be created at an affordable price, allowing users to actually move around in physical space.  Input lag and stutter has been reduced to the point where these systems no longer create that nauseating motion sickness feeling that many experience with 3D.

2016 is shaping up to be the year of VR, with three major VR devices shipping and more announcements on the way.  We're anticipating having the steam powered HTC Vive in store when they start shipping sometime in late April, but the now Facebook-owned Occulus Rift can already be found in the wild (currently sold out through June 2016), and details have now emerged for a late-year release of the affordably priced PS4 VR system.  Microsoft and Google are hard at work in their research labs playing catch up, and Nintendo has pushed their next generation system out to 2017.  VR it appears will play some role in shaping what the next generation of mainstream consoles will look like.

A Paradigm Shift


While it's clear that VR is set to make a big splash this year, what remains to be seen is how quickly gamers adopt these systems.  Mark Zuckerberg was quoted in a recent interview as seeing VR as not being fully adopted & functional for at least 10 years; other companies are betting on adoption much, much sooner.  As with any new technology in a crowded marketplace, it will take some time to shake out the weaker devices.  More importantly the medium completely changes how games are to be played, so we have yet to see what the first major VR blockbuster game is.  Sure, you can take a 3D shooter like Call of Duty and wrap it in a VR world, but gamers are hungry for something new.  There is a good chance we see the first VR blockbuster game come from a completely new IP.

For this reason developers may make or break which of the new VR systems become mainstream and which ones become relics.  Each system possesses its own unique blend of features and limitations that will make the gaming possibilities slightly different between each system.  The Occulus has name recognition and the most natural friends list at its fingertips in Facebook integration.  Sony's PS4 VR will have a solid backing of games due to their current console market hold.  The HTC Vive is powered by Steam which has access to top PC developers as well as its own internal studio at Valve.

Which One is Best?


As a LAN Gaming Center it's hard to pick sides, and each system offers its own unique abilities.  We've always been a proponent of PC gaming so there is a special place in our hearts for Steam.  The HTC Vive looks to be the most LAN-ready right now and we're planning to have one featured in store this spring.  The PS4 VR may be a game changer as a mass-marketed affordable option, but a lot can happen in six months.  For now we're looking towards the Vive and Steam to lead us into the next level of gaming.

We're still working out pricing but it will likely be a one hour block of time for a flat price where we fit the headset, give you a tutorial, and let you try out some of the games.  We're expecting a lot of people are going to want to try out the technology and we're happy to be one of the first to bring it to you!
The latest game in Sony's "Launch Party 2016" event is a beautiful indie title called "Enter the Gungeon". Now, I've only played "Enter the Gungeon" for a few hours with Slooze, but I already know I'm going to play the game A LOT more.

Gungeon is a hard game to describe, the best I can come up with is a twin stick rogue-like. To anyone who has ever played games like "The Binding of Isaac" or "Rogue Legacy", Gungeon is pretty similar. Each "run" of the game has randomly generated dungeons, randomly generated enemy placement, and even random bosses picked out of a slew of baddies. Controls are simple, but as any rogue-like, the game is pretty challenging.

With over 200 guns and 200 items to possibly get, each run will be significantly different then the last. We'll be streaming "Enter the Gungeon" when we can, over at www.twitch.tv/lanmob! Expect a full review soon!

In the early winter of 2012 I found myself installing League of Legends on my old laptop.  It was the game that my friends were into at the time and a game that I had only tried once back in season 1 (they called me the mid Alistar genius).  At this point season 2 had just wrapped up and preseason 3 had just begun.  Throwing myself into a few bot games to level up my new account, I was immediately drawn to characters such as Garen, Udyr and Master Yi.  I had no idea what the metagame was and found success only when I had a team carry me or when laning against someone who was noticeably worse than myself.

We kept playing regularly back then.  There was a core group of us who would play a few times a week.  Eventually, I worked my way to level 30 and found my first 'main' in Graves.  The old Graves.  With the cigar.  I had a very good feel for the all-in type marksman and found a lot of success around my team.  One of the most memorable lanes we played frequently was Graves/Sona with bossman.

Eventually, Cody and I decided to try out ranked.  After our 10 provisionals, we were placed into Silver II and Silver III, respectively.  It felt good to be somewhere in the ranked system! Maybe we could climb to gold if we tried hard enough.  Maybe I was actually the next Faker and I hadn't realized it yet.  

Nope! I was awful.  We tried our hand at playing ranked after we placed and found 0 success.  Every game I fed hard and couldn't understand what wasn't going right.  I started blaming others for losing and finding excuses as to why I didn't do well.  Through all the defeating losses I slowly discovered, like most League players do when they hit a wall, that the problem was with me.  I had reached my skill cap and wasn't going to get any further until I had learned more about the game.  At this time, around the summer of 2013, my league friends were into the professional league scene.  I would see the game being played at the highest level.  I got hooked.  The players, the trash talk, the hyped up plays (I witnessed the game where Xpecial outplayed Saintvicious three times on Thresh).  I began to understand trading, win conditions, the everlasting importance of map awareness and I finally felt like I was getting better.  

There were many times over the course of the next year where league hit the backburner.  Life happens, people play different games.  In spring 2014, when I was attending SUNY Fredonia for Music Therapy, I decided to try ranked again.  After a lot of grinding in normals from my half-decent dorm internet, I found an attraction to Lucian, a high-mobility ADC who I view as a bursty assasin.  I practically forced myself on the champion every ranked game I could and was placed into Bronze I. Hmm... that's not so bad, right? I mean, if I was placed in Silver III last season I could easily carry my way up the ranks!  

It took me almost three weeks of consistently playing ranked to reach my promos and win.  I was done after that.  There was no drive to continue ranked after this experience, seeing as I would get the shiny silver border at the end of the season (what a monster I've become..)  So once again league goes to the back of my mind save some normals with my friends back home.  The seasons pass and it's finally autumn.  I log in one fateful October day to see that I've decayed back into bronze.  My precious silver border!  There's a few weeks until the ranked season is over but maybe not enough time to climb.  I remember Tristana being in favor at the time so she was my go-to champ for hard carrying. It was as difficult as the first grind of season 4.  Nine other people are trying to do exactly the same thing as I am every game.  Finally, I won through my promos and sat at silver V.  As I wiped the sweat away from my brow and declared, "Never again." I closed the client for the ranked season.  

A lot happened for me between season 4 and season 5.  Some big plans changed that ended up keeping me local and allowing me to be a part of LAN Mob's startup process.  It was around April that ranked became a thought once again.  I struggled through promos going 3-7 and placing into bronze II.  There was a pattern in my ranked decline every season.  Part of me wants to blame my lack of ambition to play more ranked, but the truth is that I probably belong there! Sometimes there are games that just can't be won.  When you install the game in the first place you should be warned that you will win 50% of your games and lose 50% of your games.  You will have winning streaks, you will have losing streaks, and sometimes you'll get pretty looking holiday lights in your match history.  

I was able to climb to bronze I in my April push but then grew sour playing ranked.  This was something I noticed from the last season.  Grinding ranked games actually exhausted me and made me not want to play.  This is when I decided to step away for basically the entirety of season 5.  I made one final push the day before the ranked season ended with a very high win rate, but lost game 5 of my division promos.  I settled for the bronze life and it wasn't so bad.  

The truth about League is that it's a constant struggle to come out on top.  You might be pulling more than your weight but someone on your team will make the bad calls, feed in lane, disconnect or just troll.  It all happens and it's all part of the experience.  What you'll find, however, is that when you're in the position of carrying and you're 20/0 in the mid lane and you still lose, you shouldn't blame your team.  You should hold yourself accountable for not carrying; it's your fault that you weren't there to help bot lane out of a hole.  It was you who decided to farm that giant wave top lane instead of grouping for a make-or-break team fight at dragon.  It was you who decided to talk in all-chat and got caught out of position when you should have instead focused on your win conditions.  When you win your ranked games you should be proud of yourself for having an impact that lead to a victory screen, even if you admittedly got carried.  At some point, you were at the right place at the right time and you played the team fight just well enough to come out on top.  

It's season 6 now and I've already been demoted from bronze II to bronze III.  I'm not too worried yet, there's still plenty of time to climb.  If I end the season still in bronze that's alright, too.  However, I have the tools to play a lot, and comfortably at that.  It's the first season in a while where I have friends around me who are also trying to get out of bronze.  This could be the season that I pass my season 3 height and prove that I can climb if I put in the time.  Climbing ranked doesn't mean much on a day-to-day basis or in the grand scheme of things.  It does sate the need to gradually play at higher and higher levels and that's what I want.

Thanks to LAN Mob, the opportunity is there if I want to pursue the path of ranked grinding; something which has been a part of my life for a few years now.


I work at LAN Mob from Rochester. How I do it?

I'm going to start this article with a shout out to Slack.com for being an effective communication tool for any business but especially for a LAN Mob employee living in a different city. I've managed to stay more or less on top of the happenings around LAN Mob even while attending college and working two other jobs to bring home the bacon. Slack uses channels to filter conversations based on their relevancy to certain areas of business, while also having very helpful search features to make anything that's ever been posted easily retrievable. The mobile app is very clean and quick to use making it a great tool to check on-the-go. Slack is a very integrated part of my life and has made my LAN Mob job a lot easier than it would have been had we been relying on email or anything else for communication. Thanks Slack



Endorsement over: 10 out of 10. Would Slack again.

What Slack doesn't provide is face-to-face interactions with the customers, which is very important to the success of a small business. Getting to know our community is how we make the best decisions to give everyone the valuable gaming service they deserve. I'm very user experience focused and try my best to see things from all perspectives to come up with ideas that satisfy everybody. Baring in mind, you can't satisfy everyone and you are limited by the resources that are available. Can't win 'em all, right?

Coming home for spring break, I have learned so much about the frequent LAN Mobbers and LML Smash guys that I couldn't learn about through secondary conversations on Slack with the team and by watching the Smash stream every Saturday. I love seeing how tight-knit the gaming community around my town has become because of LAN Mob. It's amazing to see the roads of life that have opened for the like-minded gamers of Central New York. Thanks LAN Mob. You have brought so many people together.
With hundreds on MMOs out there, ranging from the mainstream "World of Warcraft" and "Runescape" to "WildStar" and "Blade & Soul", it can be hard to get into this genre of games. MMOs are personally one of my favorite types of games because of a large amount of content and community-based play that many MMOs encourage. Nothing compares to teaming up with 100s of complete strangers to work towards a common goal, ranging from defeating the giant world boss in front of you or helping your server succeed in WorldvsWorld. MMOs, in my experience, have the nicest and most helpful communities. Veteran players will go out of their way to escort and educate new players, offer tips about certain classes and lead the charge against bosses. MMOs also offer rewards for helping others, such as achievements for reviving X players or exclusive items for being a positive player. While many MMOs require a lot of time spent grinding, having a group or guild of friends to team up with makes it a much more enjoyable experience, because who doesn't like slaying ogres and dragons with your pals? MMOs also offer a much more open gameplay experience. Want to learn to be a master smith rather than be an explorer? That's fine. Rather make your money gathering rare ingredients and selling them to the highest bidder? That's fine too. Or you could grind dungeons 100s of times in hopes of getting that one legendary drop. In MMOs, you have almost unlimited options in how to spend your time, which is why they're my favorite genre of games!
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