This is part 2 of a 2-part series featuring the lives of our yearly Smash invitational players.  Our yearly 16-player tournament featuring over $600 in cash & prizes and a grand prize regional sponsorship will be broadcast live this Saturday October 1st at 2pm on twitch.tv/lanmob




We hope you enjoyed Part 1 and getting to know a bit more about the people behind the gamer tags.  Today we're rounding out our player biographies with Groups C & D.

Group C - GnG, Fruitsnack, JTYME & Taggles



GnG out of New Hartford, NY is currently studying Data Processing, Programming & Systems with a projected graduation of December 2016.  His favorite food is eggs and he enjoys long walks on the beach.  "Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of armoring through aerials and dropping hot sticky eggs on disgusting Cloud pickers."






Fruitsnack out of New Hartford, NY is in his first semester of college majoring in Photography. His introduction to gaming came from his father with Ocarina of Time, eventually graduating on to Pokemon and discovering SSB4 at last year's SUNY-IT Fragfest in November 2015.  He's also spent extensive time playing TF2 and LoL.  Fruitsnack dabbles in guitar and enjoys a variety of music. "I listen to mostly jam bands/classic rock, like Grateful Dead/Phish and some other lesser known music like Neutral Milk Hotel."



JTYME out of Herkimer, NY is employed at Remington Arms manufacturing Marlin guns.  His first exposure to video games was with the game StarTropics on Nintendo, graduating to Zelda on Super Nintendo and today can be found playing WoW.  He considers the most difficult part of his life Army basic training.  "Being an 18 year old in the grown up world and doing everything on your own while getting screamed at is always interesting."





Taggles out of Rome, NY works as a Behavior Specialist Assistant at UCP while studying for his masters degree in Clinical Psychology.  He was a competitive swimmer from high school through college, and has enjoyed video games throughout his life.  He struggled through his 1st and 2nd years of college with serious bouts of depression but has been able to pull himself out and get better.  "I didn't grew up with wolves. but everyone who knows me knows I have a passion for wolves. I also believe it is my spirit animal."

Group D - CJ, Xifaxan, Kindrid Skylar, Rolo



CJ out of Utica, NY is not well known to the community, appearing at our major events and annihilating the fields before disappearing just as quickly.  We're not 100% sure but we think he may be a ninja.






Xifaxan out of Rome, NY has worked in various fields such as food business, hardware stores, stagehand work and presently in an office job.  He's played various instruments including guitar, bass, and drums.  "I'm enjoying the simple, single life of working, lifting, gaming, consuming caffeine and hanging out with cats.  I'm hoping to expand my horizons in every aspect."







Kindrid Skylar out of Rome, NY (aka Hype God Kindrid) can often be found playing League of Legends around the shop.  "When this hype train starts, THERE IS NO STOPPIN IT!"







Rolo out of New Hartford, NY is currently attending college with a projected graduation date of May 2017.  Rolo recently led Team LML - a platinium/diamond mixed team - to a win in MVCC's League of Legends 5v5 tournament.

Worlds will be played on patch 6.18 with Yorick disabled due to his fresh rework and Aurelion Sol temporarily disabled due to an in-game bug.  Group stage will run for 8 days spanning from 9/30/16-10/9/16.  These are first impressions and opinions.

The first game of the day has a lot of expectations.  It sets the stage for the worlds meta that will build over the next month.  The first match will be a crowd favorite: EU vs NA.


Game 1
(Group A)
G2 Esports vs Counter Logic Gaming 

      
             Blue                                                    Red
G2 - Elise (1)                                 CLG - Nami, Cait (1)
        Jayce, Syndra (2)                               Vladamir, Poppy (2) 
        Jhin, Braum (3)                                  Olaf (3)                           

Bans: Aurelion Sol, Rek'sai, Karma                            Bans: Nidalee, Sivir, Soraka



Going into this match, CLG was definitely the underdog.  Having a bumpy summer split and facing off against first seed G2, it was assumed that CLG would get rolled over.  

Having bootcamped in Korea with Reignover as another mind to help manage CLG's jungle, I was skeptical as to how much of an impact Reignover's addition would have on Xmithie's play.  In fact, I believed the move may backfire and create uncertainty.

This was not the case.  This game was the Xmithie show.  Getting an early lead and snowballing Stixxay in the bot lane, the North American jungler finished with a respectable 6/0/5 score.


Darshan also did an incredible job by applying necessary pressure after giving first blood to counterpart Expect, constantly demanding jungle pressure from G2.

G2's saving grace was Expect on Jayce.  However with the incredible peel of Poppy and Olaf, as well as Nami Tidal Wave, Jayce could only hope to trade kills in team fights.    

Despite the final scores showing a CLG stomp, I couldn't help but feel there was still a bit of shakiness within the teams.  It's probably nothing more than some day 1 jitters, or simply the teams trying to feel each other out.  This was a very enjoyable game 1 and a big win for NA fans.  


Game 2
(Group A)
ROX Tigers vs. Albus NoX Luna

Oh, Korea vs. Wildcard, I can only hope for a juicy upset.



                 Blue                                               Red
ROX - Elise (1)                               ANX - Bard, Jhin (1)
            Nami, Lucian (2)                             Shen, Graves (2)
            Jayce, Rumble (3)                           Vladimir (3)

Bans: Brand, Karma, Rek'sai                                                     Bans: Sivir, Nidalee, Ezreal         



What a chaotic first 10 minutes.  ANX collapsed on greedy map movements from ROX which gave them an early kill lead.  If you looked close enough, you could see ROX smiling through it all.  

It wasn't long before the first seed from Korea turned on, stopping all momentum that the Russian squad had gained early on.  Playing around Smeb's teleport and executing coordinated team play, it wasn't long before ROX was clean acing ANX - twice.

First impressions, there is no doubt that ANX is here to play.  They demand respect in the early game when everyone is on an even playing field.  The question will be whether or not they can translate any early advantages into meaningful objectives - tower first blood, dragons, rift, and most importantly, will they be able to outplay in those mid game team fights?  As far as weaknesses go, aMiracle is under criticism from his Jhin play. Only having dealt 6.9k damage to enemy champs, the weakest from any of the damage dealers on ANX, he'll have to step up big if ANX is to have a chance in Group A.

ROX will have to clean up their early game.  An early invade from Peanut forced Smeb and Kuro into positions where they gave up early kills.  Clearly they were playing aggressively to test how well ANX would react, but they will not be able to easily bounce back in the mid game against any of these top competing teams.


Game 3
(Group C)
H2K vs. ahq e-Sports Club



               Blue                                                 Red
H2K - Elise (1)                                       ahq - Rumble, Olaf (1)
                 Braum, Casseiopeia (2)                         Malzahar, Bard (2)
           Caitlyn, Gnar (3)                                   Jinx (3)

Bans: Twisted Fate, Tahm Kench, Rek'sai                                   Bans: Nidalee, Syndra, Karma




The first Jinx at World's! I'm hyped!

This was the longest match of the night at 47:07.  The infamous slow play style of European teams was put to the test against the ahq squad, resulting in a back-and-forth type game where neither team wanted to heavily commit to team fights.  

An early Quicksilver Sash purchase from Ryu negated a lot of potential plays that could have happened around Malzahar and for a while it seemed like H2K had a hold on ahq.  A lack of effective macro play was what allowed ahq time to scale.  Perhaps H2K put too much attention to kills, or had a lack of decisive shotcalling, but whatever the issues, ahq found objectives and successful team fights. 

Weeding through the ResidentSleeper's in twitch chat, I was excited by the Jinx pick and by how ahq planned to catapult An's Jinx ahead of Forg1ven's Caitlyn.  It wasn't until an explosive 43 minute baron fight where ahq clean aced H2K, secured the Baron and gained a 8k gold lead.  


Game 4
(Group C)
INTZ e-Sports vs. Edward Gaming



           Blue                                                 Red
ITZ - Syndra (1)                                    EDG - Nami, Ezreal (1)
          Ashe, Braum (2)                                      Vladimir, Graves (2)
          Lee Sin, Gnar (3)                                     Irelia (3)

Bans: Jayce, Rek'sai, Rumble                                                        Bans: Nidalee, Elise, Bard


Wildcard vs. the number 1 seed in the LPL.  We know this story all to well, don't you think...? 

BUT YOU NEVER SLEEP ON THE WILDCARD TEAM!

This might be the biggest upset in LoL World Championship history.  Early on, we saw Deft and Meiko pressuring micaO and Jockster in the bottom lane and it seemed like foreshadowing for what was to come.  On the other side of the map, Yang was coordinating some very stylish ganks with the help of Revolta.  Chaining their CC and lining up Lee Sin Q's, they took out the first two top turrets fairly quickly and bullied Mouse's Irelia around.  

At 20 minutes, ITZ managed to accumulate a 6k gold lead, knock down 5 towers, be up 3 kills and get a cloud dragon.  The real test was going to be if they could close out the game against one of the best teams in the world.

There were moments when it seemed like ITZ may throw, specifically around their bottom lane.  Multiple times they would get caught out by Vladimir and give momentum back to EDG.  Fortunately, Yang and Revolta were able to continue to find picks onto Deft and Mouse, as well as disengage when things went out of favor.  

Notable mention to Jockster who had top level Braum mechanics, shielding countless Trueshot Barrages and Tidal Waves.

ITZ were hungry to play against the LPL monster EDG.  It is clear that their plan of attack was to play around the top/jungle duo, and with those advantages they were able to carry through to EDG's nexus.  What an entrance to Season 6 World's for this vastly underrated team.

Eyes will be on EDG to see if they bounce back from the upset.  Nobody wants to see a team tilt at worlds because of one bad game.  There's a reason that they are the number 1 seed from the LPL, they have to shake it off and plan for tomorrow's match against ahq. 



Game 5
(Group D)
Samsung Galaxy vs. Splyce

                Blue                                                Red
SSG - Rek'sai (1)                      SPY - Cassiopeia, Tahm Kench (1)
           Rumble, Ezreal (2)                   Graves, Jinx (2)
           Nami, Viktor (3)                       Kled (3)

Bans: Kassadin, Aurelion Sol, Karma                                       Bans: Nidalee, Elize, Syndra



This will be the first time that Kled will be played in a professional game.  Shameless Kled Jungle guide plug.

First impressions during the early game left me to think that Splyce were outmatched.  Despite being praised for his jungle pathing, Trashy was late to countergank the telegraphed top lane gank onto Wunder.  With Ruler taking out Kobbe shortly after, it appeared that Korea was on course to roll this one over.

They may have been a bit too hasty, with an aggressive dive bot only picking off Tahm Kench.  Quick rotations from midlane, as well as aggressive use of summoner spells gave Cass a double and Jinx a kill on Nami.  Just like that, the gold was even.

Unfortunately for Splyce, their team composition, relative to SSG's, left them without clear-cut engage, leaving them in a position where they needed to bank on Samsung engaging while keeping Jinx alive in order to turn a team fight.  

Cuvee did an incredible job at zoning with Rumble against Kobbe's Jinx, stopping any opportunity for Jinx to get a fight changing Get Excited reset.  Micro plays like this are part of the reason why Cuvee is praised for the impact he has had on this team.  He even did his best Faker impersonation and sidestepped a predicted Cass ult.  What a god.

It's good to see that Splyce has the confidence to pull out Kled in a high pressure situation like day one of world's.  However, it didn't seem like the team was completely comfortable with the forced Kled engages.  It took Wunder about 3 ults to even get a favorable fight for his team, who would have to get through the disengage of Nami and reengage of Rek'sai and Rumble to even have a chance at coming out on top.  All things considered, Splyce seemed out of sorts.

The most memorable point of the match was the extended team fight around 25 minutes that began when Cassiopeia went deep on a kill to Rumble.  Tahm Kench ulted Graves and himself up to the inevitable collapse on Sencux and the next 45 seconds resulted in many blown summoner spells, a blood bath, a chase to the mid-lane, more TPs and a hype fadaway auto attack from Jinx as she was swallowed up by Tahm Kench.  

Definitely an enjoyable match to watch, but not clean from either side.  Both of these teams share a group with RNG and TSM so there is absolutely no room to breathe.  


Game 6
(Group D)
Team SoloMid vs. Royal Never Give Up

Doublelift vs. Uzi!!!

                  Blue                                                    Red
TSM - Lee Sin (1)                            RNG - Rumble, Cassiopeia (1)
            Jhin, Nami (2)                                   Hecarim, Sivir (2)
            Orianna, Kennen (3)                         Alistar (3) 

Bans: Caitlyn, Jayce, Syndra                                                 Bans: Nidalee, Elise, Rek'sai



I'm pretty sure Bjergsen hates Aurelion Sol.  After a brief break, a remake was made due to a bug with Aurelion Sol's orbs, leaving him temporarily disabled for the tournament.

So remember the Xmithie show earlier?  The early game was a Svenskeren marathon.  After giving up first blood while peacefully taking his raptors, something snapped inside the Danish jungler.  He spent the next 10 minutes making plays and outplays all around the map.

It didn't take RNG long to pick up the pace, though.  Once the team fights started, RNG had TSM's number.  They were always one step ahead with consistent deep vision control and flanking in fights.  

Most notably, Mata halted TSM's momentum with constant flash Headbutt/Pulverize engages, or simply the fear of the engage.  Mata, a season 4 World Champion and World Championship MVP credits his lane partner, Uzi, with having, "the best lane phase of any ADC in the world."


The bot lane was where RNG found their opening.  Misplays from the TSM duo and returned jungle pressure from Mlxg led to a 16 minute tower bot followed by a successful TP flank from Looper around dragon.  

There were definitely some uncoordinated plays from the solo lanes on TSM.  Bjergsen was not connecting with Orianna's Shockwave when it mattered most, and late Slicing Maelstrom's from Kennen missed the fragile window of opportunity before the TSM bot lane was blown up.  TSM will have to sharpen their coordination here if they're going to get the edge against these teamfight-centered teams.

This game felt like the most competitive of the day.  Both teams had shining moments but in the end RNG's superior teamfighting was what tipped the scales.  If RNG is to set themselves apart from their group as the number 1 seed, it appears that it will be TSM and SSG fighting for that second spot out of groups.  



Day One Summary

Overall pretty shaky.  Moving forward teams will find their stride while adapting to the World's meta.  Here at LAN Mob we're all waiting for Corki to make an appearance.  It's only a matter of time, right?

Strongest: RNG

Being able to keep their cool and bounce back even when Svenskeren was pressuring RNG solo laners and Mlxg's jungle through coordinated team fighting and superior vision control.  The individual players are strong enough to hold their own while becoming an intimidating beast when they group as 5.  

Weakest: ANX

Even though they were able to demand respect against the number 1 seed in Korea, it all fell apart after a few plays swung the gold lead back into ROX Tigers favor.  The troubling part for ANX was their ADC's lack of damage to champions.  The stakes are high at World's.  At this point, teams should be beyond worrying about whether or not their damage dealers are able to get damage off in team fights.  The fact that it was so surprisingly low lead me to believe that ANX are still steps behind where they need to be in order to succeed.



Onto Day 2

A very exciting start to worlds indeed!  I'll be back with more wrap-ups as the group stage moves forward.  Things I didn't touch on that you'd like me to focus more on? Let me know how I can improve.

This is part 1 of a 2-part series featuring the lives of our yearly Smash invitational players.  Our yearly 16-player tournament featuring over $600 in cash & prizes and a grand prize regional sponsorship will be broadcast live this Saturday October 1st at 2pm on twitch.tv/lanmob



It's time! 52 long weeks of Smash are culminating this weekend in the LML Yearly event. 16 players have qualified for a shot at earning a regional sponsorship to three northeast majors over the course of the next year. We've waited a long time for this moment to arrive and we're excited to bring it to you live this Saturday.

If you've attended or followed along you may have gotten to know some of our regulars, but we'd like to take you behind the scenes to really get to know the players lives when they don't have a Smash controller in their hands.

Group A - Draxsel | Figy | dbot | Spydude43


Draxsel out of Syracuse, NY is currently studying IT / End User Computing at Morrisville State College, where he also tutors psychology, computing, and English part-time.  In his free time he's an avid reader, currently reading the Wheel of Time series. He also enjoys hacky sack and playing guitar.  He considers the games Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro to be his top five games.

Draxsel's introduction to Smash was on Nintendo 64. He recently traveled to his first major at Pound 2016 in McLean, VA where he placed 49th out of 550 in SSB4 and was able to meet some of the top Smash players in the world.




Figy out of Whitesboro, NY is currently studying at SUNY Oswego. He recently attended EVO 2016 in Las Vegas where he did his best HungryBox impersonation, check it out below!




dbot out of Rome, NY was our week 2 winner and has continued to participate throughout the last year.




Spydude43 out of Verona, NY is officially our youngest contestant. Currently in his senior year at VVS high school, he has plans to attend college locally majoring in engineering. He joined the LAN Mob team in late 2015 and has been working behind the scenes every week clipping Twitch highlights and sending the best to our YouTube channel.

Spydude enjoys the MMO Guild Wars 2, and can be found playing the occasional match of League of Legends. He's also present owner to Gannon the dog, destroyer of worlds and LAN Mob celebrity canine.


Group B - Grey, Utahlol, ZeroGoukiX, KamakaziFrost



Grey out of Syracuse, NY is an avid RPG gamer and Bowser lover.  Favoring the heavier, harder hitting side of the cast, Grey's patient play will be a terror in this group.






Utahlol out of New Hartford, NY is a 2012 graduate of St. Elizabeth's College of Nursing, and now works in the field pediatric care. Originating from the state of Utah, his brother encouraged him to come to CNY to live and work. His first exposure to Smash came with Nintendo 64 and he regularly plays online matches through Anther's Ladder. Utah has also spent extensive time in World of Warcraft as a high level PVP competitor. He recently moved into a new home with his fiance and looks forward to starting a family together.





ZeroGoukiX out of New Hartford, NY has a degree in Digital Media/3D Animation and also works in the hospital industry.  His gaming career started with Super Mario Brothers at the age of 5, graduating on to Street Fighter II where he found his competitive niche in fighting games.  Zero has attended two majors for Street Fighter IV this year, and is planning a trip to compete at next year's EVO in Las Vegas.





KamakaziFrost out of Rome, NY is currently studying engineering and a jack of all trades, enjoying music, video games, hiking, art, and tattoos.  Week 1 winner and a regular in our LML chat room, you can find him on Twitch at twitch.tv/kamakazifrost where he plays a variety of games including League of Legends, Overwatch, and numerous retro games.  


We've all been here before.



There's no doubt that if you play this game, or any competitive game where you set expectations for yourself and/or your team, you've felt rage.

The reasons for rage are countless.  In league, someone is feeding, a teammate took the kill you flashed for, you are getting camped, you have a troll on your team. In Sm4sh or any fighting game, the other guy played too campy, you missed a crucial input, the tournament sucked, or pretty much any john you can think of.

The best way to deal with rage, like any problem, is admitting that it happens.  Nobody likes to get upset.  Rage leads to tilt, and tilt leads to poor decision making.  So accepting rage: what the hell are we dealing with here?

Rage is rooted in two things; hope and fear.  

When you feel that anger brewing deep within you, you've let  these two things get the best of your play.  Maybe you were hoping that the last tick of ignite would get you first blood and because it didn't, you fear that your summoner spell disadvantage will now cost you lane pressure.  Maybe you hoped your opponent didn't have an answer to your character, and because they do, you fear that they'll have an edge in the match-up. This culminates in the obscenities that you no doubt have been guilty of spewing after the matter.

I'm guilty of getting frustrated with my teammates when "they didn't do what I needed them to do."  This is a selfish behavior (go figure, I'm a no good ADC main.)  The game of League, specifically, goes beyond one players' situation at any given moment.  The time between entering the rift and the Victory/Defeat screen creates ten different stories that can be told ten different ways.

Why It's Important

A game, like League of Legends for example, takes a lot of time and energy.  You might only get four or five games in before the night is over.  What doesn't seem to change, however, is the desire to play the game, despite the horrible freaking games you might have.  All I'm saying is that you'll probably feel pretty damn weird after those four to five games if you were tilted since game one.  

If you haven't watched Imaqtpie's Motivational Speech that I posted at the start of this, I'd recommend taking a second to scroll up and watching that now.  Imaqtpie is a challenger level LoL player in North America and an ex-pro.  He streams League content for 8-10 hours for 5-7 days a week.  How does he not burn out?

Well, besides having played the game since it's launch (6 years), he still manages to grind game after game while laughing off high pressure situations.  I believe these years of experience attest to his understanding of the game and ability to brush off a bad game.  He already knows what went wrong, so there's no reason to be upset.  He's not trying to go pro again, he just wants to do his best and have fun in a game that is competitive by nature.

To me, it seems like a waste of time waiting for the game where everybody on your team snowballs their lane, only to be completely caught off guard when it's the enemy team doing the snowballing.  I feel like this attitude caters to a false understanding of the game.  This is where rage hibernates from one moment of triggering to the next.  Unless you do something about it, it will keep stirring and finding new experiences (or old ones) to feed it's insatiable hunger.  At heart, it's a poison.  

Flipping The Switch

Accept it.  Embrace the fact that you will get mad.  Tell yourself before the loading screen that the next 30-45 minutes may have moments leaving you with feelings of rage.  Do away with the attitude telling you that you need to go 20/0 to have fun.  You should never underestimate your opponents' ability to play better than you.

This isn't to say that you should rage, though!  Simply, you should understand that your worst moments in league or competitive gaming are not past you, and in order to improve you will need to break the frustration barrier.  By accepting early that you will have moments of rage, you're actively tackling half of the battle.  This is the easy part!

In the second half of the battle to beat raging, the outcome will be determined by how you handle those moments where you fall short.  How do you assess what happened?  Are you the type to die and immediately start typing to your team in an attempt to push the blame off on somebody else?  


The Not-So-Fun Part

Process what happens in the moment.  Most competitive games require some time for reflection in order for players to understand what they can improve on.  In League, start with looking at the death recap instead of typing in team chat.  In fighting games, identify where you were beaten and work backwards to see how you were put in the position that made you lose.  

This chipping process can allow you to see your mistakes through an objective lens.  In meditation this is called vipassana, or seeing things as they really are.  Once you see those mistakes for yourself, you can learn.  When you learn enough, you become a much stronger opponent than you were before.  

This has to be the part where most people roll their eyes or tune out.  The thing is, most players think they have their shit together when they really don't.  The only difference between a naturally talented player and one who isn't naturally talented is that the former can progress faster than the latter.  When these two players face off, it's no longer a question of who's better but one of who put in the work necessary to come out on top.  

If you keep letting yourself rage, you stall yourself from ever seeing anything beyond that instance, and why it wasn't your fault, and all the different ways that you could have approached the same situation.  

Do Better.
This weekend's PSN flash sale is a pretty exciting one! Titled the "Animation" sale, these offers are celebrating titles "that run the gamut from hand-drawn to 16-bit, classic comic book to Japanese anime and beyond." There's some really good stuff for sale, and I'll highlight my favorites/suggested but check out the full sale here!








There's a ton of games and movies for sale but if you need some guidance sifting through the savings, I really recommend the following titles! (even though honestly, almost everything in this flash sale is pretty good)



Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth
PS4 - $59.99 - $23.99

PS Vita - $39.99 - $15.99





Even if you aren't into Digimon, Cyber Sleuth has a ton to offer as a title. Blending turn-based RPG mechanics with monster raising and breeding with a surprisingly deep storyline, Cyber Sleuth has a ton of gameplay packed in. Multiple LAN Mob regulars and myself sunk 100+ hours into Cyber Sleuth when it released in February.







Rayman Legends

PS4 - $39.99 - $11.99




You may remember Rayman Origins found itself on our Top 10 Couch Co-Op games list back in August. Rayman Legends, is the second installment in the goofy platformer from Ubisoft and it improves the original title in almost every aspect. I highly recommend picking this up if you have some extra remotes and friends laying around.




Grim Fandango Remastered

PS4 - $14.99 - $2.99








The original Grim Fandango released back 1998 under LucasArts. The lead designer, Tim Schafer went on to form Double Fine studios and the rest is history. However, back in the day, Grim Fandango was the first adventure game by Lucas Arts to use 3D computer graphics overlaid on pre-rendered static background, leaving a bit of a mark on the genre. Grim Fandango Remastered is a bit of a history lesson in gaming but I recommend the unique and memorable adventure title.


These titles barely scratch the surface of this weekends' offers, so definitely check them out. There might even be a title for sale you've been waiting on. On top of all the games, there's also a plethora of films for sale via PlayStation Video celebrating Animation. There's a plethora of children's animation and Japanese anime for sale, one of which is one of my favorite films of all time.








The Boy and the Beast

HD- $14.99 - $8.99



SD- $12.99 - $5.99











The Boy and the Beast is one of those films that had my attention before it's release due to the team behind it. Directed by the legendary Mamoru Hosoda and animated by his own Studio Chizu, The Boy and the Beast was building up to be one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm ecstatic to say it is. I've seen the film upwards of 5 times, making everyone I know sit down and watch it. You can purchase it for pretty cheap and you can also rent it for just a few bucks this weekend. Do it. The intro alone is enough to give a man goosebumps.


There ya have it! I hope everyone finds a good deal this weekend! My wallet will hurt, but at least I can finally own Akiba's Trip...again.



When I was first introduced to the idea of employee-owned businesses I disliked the idea as being too socialist-bent.  Outside of the burdensome time spent voting on every little decision, why would any business owner give away their business in that way?  I'm a believer in capitalism as the best economic system for growth & prosperity, however there are parts of our corporate society that I'm ashamed of.  Extreme wealth has concentrated with shareholders and owners, while employee wages continue to decline or remain stagnant.  Efforts by government to increase wages have simply led to staff reductions or costs being passed on to consumers.  The rich stay rich, and the poor stay poor.  Surely there must be a better way!


From "Mine" to "Ours"


I'm in no way rich, and LAN Mob is still a ways off from profitability.  The first few months of running LAN Mob I was constantly talking to the others about how much debt I was personally carrying, and the rate at which we were burning through cash.  It frustrated me every time I felt I had to point it out.  It felt like my biggest struggle was how to get the others to care about "my" business as if it were their own?

As we started to plot out business growth over weeks and months it became more apparent that yes, we were growing!  I couldn't be around most of the time due to my day job, but the others stepped up and showed a deep commitment to the business.  Customer relationships were being forged directly with employees, and responsibilities were becoming increasingly decentralized.  Every employee put their own stamp on it, and LAN Mob began to grow away from being "my" business and instead "our" business.

Once I made that connection, the money really meant nothing anymore, and I'm now looking at how best I can divide the business up and still make it the lean machine it is now.  I haven't found the perfect model yet - business structures are tied up in so much legalese.  "Ownership" could be translated to mean decision-making power, and while we make a lot of decisions as a team, I feel a completely democratic decision making model is too idealistic, slow and burdensome.  The last thing we need is to get bogged down in arguments and high drama.

So I don't see the management structure changing in any drastic ways.  I'll still be making the occasional unpopular decision when I feel like it's in the best interests of the company.  What will change is how the eventual profits are divided, and that will somehow be based on a formula that we all agree on.  My early models weigh highly actual hours put in and their effect to the growth and/or bottom line.  The last thing we need are owners who are not actively involved in the business, and that includes myself.  So as team members migrate away from the business, so will their ownership.


What an Ideal Team Member Looks Like


Zachary wrote recently about the ever-changing job positions that come with a small start-up.  It seems we're adjusting and pivoting all the time, but the future of the company is starting to take shape, and if you can peak through the fog you get a rough idea of what a future LAN Mob team member may look like.


  • Gaming Enthusiasts - LAN Mob employees need to have a passion for multiple games and a basic understanding of gaming culture.  I'll admit to be the weakest person on the team when it comes to this area of expertise!  When we opened LAN Mob I hadn't gamed in months, and my vault of gaming knowledge was nearly empty.  I've taken to listening to gaming podcasts on my daily commutes, and am constantly talking games with the staff & customers to try to stay up to speed.
  • Console & PC knowledge - An intermediate knowledge of consoles and PC configurations is necessary.  As our staff goes, some of us are stronger or weaker in certain areas, but as a team we manage to get by.  For the tougher problems we all rely on each other's expertise, and we are always learning.
  • Positive Attitude - Not only for dealing with customers, but internally with our team as well.  We all have the occasional down days, but a poor attitude can be a drain on all of us.  It's a constant struggle to reach and stay in the "zen state" as a team, but an overall positive attitude and optimistic outlook helps.
  • Information processing & communication - Ask any LAN Mob employee about Slack and they'll agree that it's become a way of life for us.  Facebook, Twitter, Twitch & this blog constitute a social media package which we all contribute on.  We're bombarded daily with information relating to the business and are in almost constant communication with the community & with each other.



The Future


The gaming industry is in constant change - just recently Xbox announced they are opening up their online platform, and a slew of VR headsets are hitting market very soon.  So we don't know yet what LAN Mob will look like 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years from now.  What we do know is that it's going to take a team effort to continue to adjust, grow & expand the business, and that team will ultimately reap the results of their efforts.


Oh boy, I'm really excited for this guy. Yesterday Riot officially unveiled Ivern, the Green Father and I couldn't be more ecstatic. I've been a jungle main since around Season 3, preferring support prior to that and when I play with Slooze currently. That being said, Ivern is being dubbed "the true support jungler", and his kit is crammed with utility and aid for his fellow champs. Ivern, much like the last batch of champions, is incredibly unique, bringing a whole bunch of new mechanics and a completely new style of jungling. Let's go over his kit!

Passive 
Friend of The Forest




"Ivern loves jungle monsters and would never harm them. instead he sets them free! Clicking on any jungle camp creates a grove using some of Ivern's health and mana. The grove matures over time; when fully grown it can be clicked on again to free the camp's denizens, granting Ivern gold and xp. Smiting a camp with a grove instantly sends the monsters to safety.

After level five, the Green Father creates copies of the red and blue buff whenever he frees Red Brambleback or Blue Sentinel - they'll leave behind a sapling which can be picked up by allies."


This is insane. Not in an overpowered way, as this system has it's weaknesses, but this completely changes the way junglers will have to think while playing Ivern and against him. Counter jungling becomes a much bigger part of the game, as enemies will attempt to encroach on Ivern's groves and Ivern will attempt to create groves in the enemy jungle. This passive will also allow Ivern to create unique paths through the jungle, as he will need to double back to "free the denizens" of the camps once the grove is ready.



Q
Rootcaller



"Ivern shoots out a ropey root that deals magic damage and (as you'd expect) roots the first enemy it hits. Allies who use a basic attack on the rooted target will automatically dash to get within attack range."


Rootcaller is Ivern's primary ability for securing kills. Snatching an enemy while you have nearby allies is kill secure or at the very least some summoner spells blown if your team has enough damage.



W
Brushmaker



"Passive: When hiding in brush, basic attacks have increased magic damage and range. This effect lasts for a couple seconds upon leaving the brush.

Active: Ivern creates a patch of brush, temporarily revealing the area around it. The amount of brush created is slightly greater if it is placed near a wall or any other brush. The Green Father's grassy patches disappear on their own after a moderate delay."



Ironically enough, during Ivern's initial cinematic teaser, I totally predicted this ability's active. I think this is my personal favorite part of Ivern's kit, as it has so many uses and forces the entire game to be played differently. Placing brush can be used to bluff, obstruct vision, bait wards, etc etc. It has so much potential, and on top of the abilities passive, Ivern can help fight too!


E
Triggerseed

"Ivern places a protective seed onto his ally, granting them a shield. After a short delay the seed explodes, damaging and slowing all nearby enemies."


Triggerseed is pretty self-explanatory. Good for helping your allies disengage or slow down an enemy in pursuit.



R
Daisy!

"Ivern summons Daisy, an enormous sentinel who loves hugs. Daisy scampers around joyfully, knocking up Ivern's target after a few hits. Ivern can recast this ability to redirect his boisterous friend toward new targets. She'll hang around until her hankering for hugs has been satisfied or her health bar has been depleted."


Daisy! is an interesting ability. One part Annie's Tibbers and one part Braum ultimate, Daisy! will definitely cause a ton of havoc during team fights. 



Ivern's release skin, "Candy King Ivern"

I haven't had the chance to play Ivern yet, but I will as soon as I can. My PBE account is "GreatSaltSage" and I'll try to at least mess around with him in custom games to avoid the instalocks. I think Ivern has a ton of potential to be played a lot differently then other junglers and disrupt games in a really unique way. On Riot's reveal page they mention an interesting strategy involving teleport that I will work on myself. On top of jungle routes, Ivern's Brushmaker makes me giddy with possibilities, not to mention his passive ability to share buffs throughout. When League champions come out I usually like their design and play them a bit but recently I haven't LOVED any of the recent champions. I think I'm going to love Ivern. If you have any questions about his very...odd...kit, or anything to mention let me know in the comments! I'll definitely be writing a jungle guide for The Green Father soon. Stay tuned!












World of Warcraft's latest expansion, Legion, has been a generally very positive experience for me. I've loved the time I've spent in The Broken Isles, whether it be questing, pet battling, doing dungeons or picking roses in Suramar that sell for way too much, I feel I've always had something to do. One of the best focus points of Legion is "order halls", which are essentially a hub world of quests, follower management, artifact development and other events specific to your class. Of these other events, every class is tasked with an over arcing quest chain specific to their class titled their "Campaign". I have been running a Night Elf Monk, so in my case this campaign was entitled "Monk Campaign." These campaigns are very long, and a little grindy, forcing players to wait up to several days for their followers to return from vital missions. This never bothered me too much. I always saw it as something to look forward to, working through each step of the story line. I think Blizzard took extra care to make these quest chains very memorable through out, really stressing what your class is all about. The only negative thing is to see all of these quest lines you would need to level up a character to 110 and grind them out, which is a ton of time. These quests are dripping with lore and awesome moments so I figured I'd share my experience with the Monk Campaign for anyone who doesn't plan to play a monk, or is just interested in general! After multiple ventures to Pandaria to assist with the Legion plague, days and days of waiting for my best followers to return from dangerous missions and hours of The Monkey King following me around speaking in riddles and talking about dookins and slammin', I was finally ready to undertake the finale of my campaign, entitled "The Storm Brew". To anyone unfamiliar with the monk's campaign to this point, I'll do a quick recap! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Legion is invading and causing devastation all across Azeroth, with Pandaria being no exception. The Legion brings on the destruction of The Peak of Serenity and the death of the Grandmaster of Monks, Grandmaster Hight. Following his untimely death, it is up to you to take over the title of Grandmaster and lead a defense against the Legion. After some time, the same demon who was responsible for the attack on The Peak of Serenity, Lady Keletress, has now set her sights on Tian Monastary. Upon arriving and defeating a multitude of demons, you see monks being led into portals by Vrykul loyal to the Legion. You track them to the Gates of Valor and free many of your fellow monks, and discover a powerful Vrykul brew called "Storm Brew." After drinking some and utilizing it's strength, you seek out the creator of the magical brew, Brewmaster Melba. You track her down to a remote location in Highmountain, only to find her apprentice, Aegira, who tells you of Melba's passing. Aegira informs you the brew you tasted at the Gates of Valor was weak, and nothing compared to the original brew of Melba. After helping her avenge Melba's death and acquire the recipe for the brew, you must collect a variety of ingredients from a variety of places to recreate it. Upon gathering water from the spring of Freya, hops that grow in the Emerald Dream and Odyn's Cauldron, you are ready to create the Storm Brew. 


The Storm Brew

Once all the ingredients are gathered, Aegira and Chen Stormstout are prepared to brew the legendary drink with your help. However, Lady Kelletress took her fight very close to The Temple of The Five Dawns. You take Tak-Tak's kite to the nearby Morning Breeze Village only to be presented with war. Felguard are everywhere and you are forced to trust in your monk brethren to ward off the demons as you ride through The Ridge of Laughing Winds and into The Valley of Sighs. At the end of The Valley of Sighs sits a temple, free of all violence. Upon entering the well lit monastery, you see that Chen Stormstout and Aegira await your assistance. They are in the middle of brewing the powerful Storm Brew and need your help defending Odyn's Cauldron. After fighting a multitude of demons with their sights on the Cauldron, the brew is finished and you have the honor of drinking some for the upcoming battle. Storm Brew gives you a buff that states "All damage reduced by 50%, crit chance increase by 50%." Lady Keletress wastes no time challenging you, Chen and Aegira to battle, mocking the traditions of Pandaria. Thanks to Chen and Aegira's help, on top of the Storm brew buff, you make very short work of Keletress. "The Legion witch is dead!". You ride back to Morning Breeze Village to meet with Li-Li and her Uncle Chen, Aegira, Taran Zhu, The Monkey King, Hiro, Angus Ironfist and even Sylara Steelsong.

Chen toasts, (Keone Young's voice acting in this sequence was INCREDIBLE) "When the Burning Legion arrived, they took much from us. Many of us still grieve for our fallen friends. We long for the yesteryears of peace. And like you, I fear dark days are yet to come...but...today is NOT that day. Today we celebrate the dawn of a new order! Today we toast to friendship and fellowship!  Under the Grandmaster's leadership let everyday be a new dawn! Let us never give up the fight for another tomorrow! To the Grandmaster!" The village cheers and Aegira becomes a follower, joining the Order and accepting you as a master equal to Melba. You are also awarded the in game title of "Grandmaster", the Grandmaster chest piece (830 item level), a new artifact relic and a ton of artifact power. You can head back to the order hall now, but if you walk up to some of the monks in the village they have stuff to say to you, one of them being "To be a monk is to strive for harmony and balance. There is no one better to lead us then you." I liked that.

Upon arriving back at The Temple of Five Dawns, Iron Body Ponshu tells you to present your artifact weapon to the Forge of the Roaring Mountain. You get a prompt on the screen called "Commander's Valor" to hold up Fu-Zan, The Wanderer's Companion to the forge and unlock the next relic slot and a few artifact appearances. 


Fu-Zan, The Wanderer's Companion - The Monkey King's Burden



I loved this quest. In fact, "The Storm Brew" may be one of my favorite quests in World of Warcraft to this point. These order halls and artifacts already give a lot of weight to your choice of class and specialization focus, but the campaign, at least in my experience, adds even more. It was cool to have Chen Stormstout as a follower, train up monks in Tiger and Ox style and drink all sorts of weird alcohol. I've also started my Rogue order hall and that doesn't disappoint either. Now, I'm not a connoisseur of World of Warcraft, I came in to the game late, and I've played on and off at best, but I think that these order hall campaigns are pretty special and the writer's did an excellent job at making you actually care about what's happening. I just want to play them all now, just to see what they're like! I hope to play through all of my rogue's order campaign and maybe boost a druid. I'll roll a dice or something, and try to budget the time. What Campaign did you complete or is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! Help me decide what class to do next!


Recently I had the great misfortune of breaking the screen on my smartphone.  The story?  Simple: A delicious bagel and gravity.  Sometimes you just don't have enough hands to handle everything at once.  




This is something that happens to plenty of people and that's okay.  Shit happens.  Cracking the screen and not having a working phone didn't bother me much outside of not being able to immediately communicate with the LAN Mob guys, family and my girlfriend.  I've learned a few things in the two weeks that I haven't been directly connected to the world, and all things considered, I would prefer to live without the tech.  

Unpopular Opinion

Smartphones are good for so much, no denying that.  Being able to talk to anyone at any time is typically taken for granted as well as being able to access information so quickly.  The technology has advanced so fast this century that it can be hard to keep up.  Watching my parents figure their way around their phones is still enjoyable.  So fundamentally, there's so much value from having one.

I suppose it's difficult to say "We all have a smartphone addiction!"  There's certainly people who are disciplined in moderating how they use/waste time on their phone.  There's also plenty of people who rely on their phones for business and would completely fall apart if they didn't have one.  

I'll be the first to admit that I'm the friend in the group constantly checking their phone.  It's an awful habit and I have no idea when it started.  I remember having my first unlimited text TracFone plan and thinking that that was a problem.  Now you can escape to anywhere at any time.  

It's important to accept that smartphone addiction is a thing.  It affects how we communicate and is rooted in much more complicated problems.  So how do we break away from the connection in a culture that's so dependent on it?

My Experience

I grew up with parents who were strict with the time we spent looking at the TV.  Generally we were limited to 2 hours of video gaming or TV a day.  I'm grateful for this because, although I wasn't able to play ALL the games, I was able to cherish the ones I did play that much more.

Now, I'm sure that my folks didn't see the impact that smartphone technology would have in 2016, but they definitely had the right idea and now I see why.  

Giving yourself a limit, whether necessary or not, is better than letting yourself get consumed without a purpose.  The line between responsible usage and over-usage is thin so it's important to draw that line for yourself.  Despite this, I can still manage to see why there are gamers who can play countless hours and still be high functioning; the game has meaning to them and translates into their daily life.  It's more than a mindless distraction.

A similar problem and one that I've been trying to rid myself of is sleeping without TV/stream/netflix.



All growing up I NEVER had a TV in my room, so sleeping without any tech was something I was used to.  As soon as I had my own, though, it became a routine before bed.  It's fun to watch your favorite streamer at the end of the day, but the background noise has been proven to make for some very uneven sleeping patterns.  

So with that, I'll talk briefly about some things I noticed during my time without a phone.  

- Using your old phone as an alarm clock really trips you when you wake up and hear that old jingle you spend so many days years ago waking up to.

- Communicating bits of info has never been so important.  I've never appreciated timely responses more in my life.  

- Getting out of bed is easier.

- Ordering food seemed awkward at first and, as I reach into an empty pocket, I realize that I'll have to make the best of this experience.  It isn't that bad, though.  Make small talk, look around a bit.  

- Everyone is on their phone so much.

- Having a contact number for the guy fixing your phone is laughable.


WHAT DO WE DO?!

I can't tell you that you're on your phone too much.  You have to see that on your own.  There's plenty of research done about how looking at your phone too much messes with you but here's a few handouts and challenges:

-When you wake up, don't look at your phone.  I know it's hard.  Get out of bed first and do your morning ritual whether it be some combination of meditation, going to the bathroom, getting something to eat, stretching, going for a run, scratching your dog, just do that instead.  Get in the right state of mind first.  Getting on your phone first thing will make you all jumbled and you won't be thinking clearly.

- Turn your phone on silent during your busy time of the day (if you can.)  There is no phone god, I think.  You don't owe anything to anyone, so don't let anyone guilt you into being glued to your phone.  Someone clearly has more free time than you.  

-  Use your phone less in social situations.  You can still use it, but once the voice in your head tells you just how long you've been doing it, you should listen.  Physical interactions will always trump some text on a screen.  

- Turn your phone completely off about an hour before bed.  Decompress.  You should be getting ready for the best sleep of your life, not in a twitter rabbit hole about some nonsense that doesn't really matter.  The real challenge here is turning your phone back on before you finally lay down.  Don't you look at that phone. Don't you even dare. Stop it. Sleep now, child.


Final Thoughts

So living in 2016 can be quite a demanding time as far as keeping up with the latest technology and trends.  It's arguably harder to find someone who doesn't have a smartphone or tablet than someone who does.  



There's no doubt that having access to these devices serves a valuable role in the way we communicate day-to-day, but certainly affects how reliant we become in the long term.  

So I challenge anyone reading to consciously spend a little less time on your phone, tablet or TV per day.  You don't have to break it like me, or completely remove these devices from your daily life, but when the voice in your head says "I've been here for too long", just take a hint and shut it down.

Can anyone out there relate?  Had a similar situation where you were forced to be without your phone for an extended period of time?  I'd like to hear your thoughts on this topic! It's one that will be relevant for many years to come.  

Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home