At a recent Rome Revolution esports team meeting I did a quick count to measure how long we’ve been at it with regular weekly practices for League and Overwatch. Nine months have passed since we set off down the path for the original Zehn Masters, which by the law of nature means we aught to be giving birth to a LCS or OWL team any day now. Players have come and gone, and sometimes come back again, but every week for 2-3 nights per week we’ve had that constant presence of players and coaches in and around the shop. We’ve all grown in skill and knowledge and continue to push forward every week.

Often with learning there is struggle, a period where things are difficult and don’t quite make sense. It can at times feel like we’ve plateaued and hit our skill cap. The truth often is that we have plateaued, but these are only temporary stops on the road to improving, and It’s exactly at these difficult times when the true progress is made. That constant push to always be learning and improving will eventually pay dividends when there is a breakthrough in learning and sudden growth in skill. I’ve seen it happening individually with players and coaches, and more importantly with teams improving as a whole, where concepts and strategies are just starting to come together. This is the payoff for our consistency in approach every week and I couldn’t be happier with the players and coaches for putting in that work.

The teams are getting hungry for tournaments and we plan to be active on four fronts: 1) The upcoming Zehn Masters Summer Series 2) Local college and other locally sponsored events 3) LAN Mob sponsored tournaments and 4) Online tournaments. In particular with League of Legends we’re also eagerly anticipating the release of Clash (we believe in you Rito!). We’ve also reached the point with the League team where we’re doing full scrims and twice weekly practices. If you’re interested in joining either team just stop by any Tuesday (Overwatch) or Wednesday/Friday (League) and we’ll get you a tryout.

Mario Kart Event


It should be noted the outdoor Mario Kart event that was held at the Rome City Hall Green earlier this month was absolute bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I’ll link some videos below and you can check it out for yourself, but we quickly ran out of our 200 tickets, and I estimate had around 500 people total in attendance. We were sad we could only fit 50 or so racers in before having to kick off the grand finals, and will likely move to more of a lottery for the next time to at least give everyone a chance. Special thanks to Makenzi at Rome City Hall, Mario and Mikey from Nomad Cinema, and the City of Rome Fire Department for sponsoring.
Outdoor Mario Kart Tournament

Last Friday's Outdoor Mario Kart Tournament was a blast. Thank you to all who came out and all who made it possible! The City of Rome, NY LAN Mob Rome Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 694 The Melt Gourmet Grilled Cheese LLC Come Fry With Me

Posted by Nomad Cinema on Friday, July 6, 2018
Congrats to Caleb on the win! We’re already at work planning the next one and are excited to bring those details to everyone soon.



We’ve been a bit less frequent at blog posting for reasons I’ll get into later in this post, but I wanted to touch base with everyone on some changes happening at LAN Mob. We’ll have reached our third year in business this September and making progress towards our five year plan for the business. Our esports teams are making strides in team play and individual ranks, and I’m excited for what the summer will bring for our business

A Departure


One of the more difficult things to happen in the last six weeks was Sage departing for a new job. He had his own personal reasons for doing so and we all wish him the best and have left the door open for his return someday. Sage was a considerable contributor to all the projects we had going, giving constant feedback and ideas. Together we’ve tried things that have succeeded and things that have failed, and through this we’ve learned and grown together.

As an entrepreneur I’ve always seen failure in a way as an indirect success. In a new industry like ours we don’t always know what will work until we try it and find out, which sometimes means failure. The old saying is it’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all. I know Sage in particular has taken the failures hard and often on himself, and I wish that weren’t the case - we've always failed as a team and honestly wouldn’t be where we are today without all of that effort, successful or not. I deeply appreciate his time at LAN Mob and look forward to the day when we can work together again, and until that day am grateful for his continued presence as head coach of the Rome Revolution League of Legends team.

New Blood


We opened up a job posting on Facebook over the weekend and received 25 applications in a few short days. Thank you to everyone for applying! There are a lot of traits that I look for in a new hire above and beyond just having strong video game and game system knowledge. The most important to me personally is how well that person will work with kids, as they make up a good portion of our customer base. Rob and Enrique are amazing at this: ensuring we keep games, language, and behavior age-appropriate.

Other things like work ethic are a major consideration. Familiarity with us at the shop was an added bonus, and every name we recognized received extra consideration as we already had some idea how well they would fit with our company culture. The majority of applications were from people we did not know, some who lived as close as a block away, but many of these had not ever really been to the shop.

We brought three of you in for interviews and after careful deliberation reached a consensus among our staff on the next hire. It’s my pleasure to welcome Alex (A5) to the LAN Mob team!

Alex looking busy


We first met Alex through the summer camp we ran in 2016 and I was happy to see his application come through. He’s been a consistent presence at the business since then, often stopping in for our special events and participating on two of our esports teams. Alex graduates this summer and is headed to college locally, and we felt his knowledge of games, positive attitude and good energy would be an asset to LAN Mob. There is a lot to learn about how we run day-to-day so Alex has a curve ahead of him but we’ve already begun training and getting him up to speed as quickly as possible.

More Changes


My goal with LAN Mob has always been to make the kind of place that’s awesome to work at. With any job there are always going to be parts of it that we don’t like, but how do we make the job as close to something we love that it doesn’t feel like work? In the past I’ve pushed on the team with individual projects and tried to get them to shape LAN Mob and the events we offer tailored to their own interests, but this has sometimes led to unneeded stress and anxiety.

Sage let us know of his leaving on the eve of his departure for a Florida vacation back in mid-April, so I've been working 30+ hours/week at the front desk in the meantime. This got me re-acquainted with the position and how we interact with customers and our social media on a daily basis. It also gave me a reminder of the parts of the job that feel stale or out of place. In the end we've engineered this place, and if there are parts of the job that need replacing or improving we're within our powers to do that. All the time on front desk also allowed me to put some creative thought into how we can better improve the front desk job and our business. This led to some wild and crazy ideas that the more I thought about, the more they just felt right.

So over the next couple of weeks you’re going to notice some changes at the shop. The front desk will be moving, we’ll have some new furniture and technology set up, and we’re going to aim to be a more active part of your experience at the shop from the front desk. This is the neat thing about being a small business is that we can constantly reinvent and redefine what our work is and how we interact with everyone. Together with some of the changes that are coming down the line from the good folks at ggLeap, we can really start to reconsider what it means to work at a LAN Center. I’m excited for these changes and what they mean for us and look forward to sharing more with everyone in the coming weeks!

$100 Summer Week Pass



We have summer passes available to all 17 & under - $100 flat for unlimited gaming Monday - Friday noon - 8 pm. We defnitely encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy the summer while it’s here, but if you’re a parent and need a spot for your kid for a week due to work or other commitments, we’re open every day at noon.

Events - Zehn Masters Summer Series & Thursday Night Fights



We’re eyeballing the Zehn Masters Summer Series and all it’s Fortnite goodness, but also taking a pause to look at our qualifier sales from the Spring Series. There was a considerable dip in qualifier sales from Zehn 1 to Zehn 2, so much so that we suffered a large loss on offering the series to CNY. We feel like this is a great opportunity for CNY to compete on the national stage, but also we need you guys to show up and support the series through your qualifier tickets. This is a chance to play against some of the best in the US and level up, and potentially even win some cash - the Spring Series brought gold medal cashes in both Hearthstone and Street Fighter V bringing $600 and $400 cashes back to CNY. Even if the Zehn Masters is a break-even venture to our business, it's a huge win for us to get some local players on a national stage and a shot at huge prize pools.

It only works if people show up for the qualifiers! So we’re proceeding carefully into the summer series but absolutely need more participation from everyone locally. Even if you don’t always feel like you’re guaranteed a victory, competing is a great way to improve, and supporting us locally means we can continue to bring these offers to you.

Likewise with the Thursday Night Fights, we saw a dwindling of attendance into Season 2, and have had to cancel the last two fight nights due to low attendance. If fighting game communities locally are something you care about then show up and participate, and we’ll keep grinding it out. Ultimately our business by it’s nature has to follow popular trends, as interest always wanes in one game and moves on to another, sometimes very slowly and sometimes quite abruptly - like the night Ninja and Drake played Fortnite together and broke the Internet. FGC is maybe a bit of a rarity in it’s offline-local scene focus, but again we need to see your faces around the shop come event night if these are events you wish to see continue.

Blogging Regularity


If you follow us regularly you may have noticed a drop-off in blogging activity. Blogging is one of the activities that we do at the front desk during the downtime where the shop is at medium to low activity and not requiring too much of our focus. It helps us fill those empty hours more productively by creating content for the business. We've focused in the past on putting out 3 blogs a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), and this has led to the question of if we're forcing quantity over quality. I initially tried to step up and fill the void for this blogging schedule in Sage's absence but I found I didn't have much gaming content to put forward given my work schedule and current League of Legends obsession. I also saw the struggle from the others to put together the content on time at a quality they were happy with.

With some of my other plans for the shop we're going to need that time back for the front desk, and again this is one of those self-imposed prisons we've made for ourselves: we publish three times a week because that's the standard we've set for ourselves of what's possible and adequate for an active blog. I spoke to both Rob and Enrique individually on this and we all agreed that dropping this standard will allow us to publish when we really have something to say (like this post!), improving our blog quality, reducing a stress on us, and freeing up those hours at the front desk for new endeavors.

We're small enough to make these transitions and as always are open to guest blog content - if you have something you'd like to write about a game, or an experience at LAN Mob, or even something about CNY in general that you want to get off your chest: contact us on Facebook and we'll see what we can do to get it published!
I recently passed my 100th ranked win this season in League of Legends. That seems like a lot of games in hindsight when really I don't feel like I play the game that much. I fit them in whenever I can - on weeknights after work, or weekends, or sometimes even on desk at LAN Mob during a slow shift (don't tell my boss!).

My champion pool is up to two now (!) with the addition of Janna. I had played her before on a secondary account and she was pretty easy to dust off and pick up again. Janna has great utility but I've sort of lived and died with my ADC skill, and since I'm usually solo queued it can be hit or miss. I couldn't handle the swings of five game win/lose streaks so I'm still primarily a Sona main. Sona just allows me to bully a lane better and switch into the healing role when it's needed. This leads to a bit steadier of a climb in ranked, but I feel when I start breaking into Gold I might make the switch back to Janna.

I was placed for the season in Silver 4 and I've bounced around mostly in Silver, peaking in Silver 2.

My tier graph - the long grind
I still make a lot of mistakes early, giving up more than my share of first bloods and often helping to feed the enemy lane early. This is mostly just me not understanding or respecting power spikes, but sometimes I'll be doing something correct like placing a ward in our tri-bush and get pounced on by a jungle. Another area I'm still struggling in is correctly using my ultimate in a team fight. For example with Sona ult, I can sometimes jump the gun with a great ultimate snagging 4 or 5 enemies but without my team in position to capitalize, and as soon as it wears off the enemy team can engage freely knowing I'm on cooldown. I also can sometimes ult the front line/tanks which leaves their powerful back line free to fire away. My Janna ultimates are in an even worse place - I'll often push the enemies in the wrong direction and sometimes miss the push back and get chunked down while standing and healing.

There are still plenty of scenarios where I'll do well but my team will lose. I just have to let those games go. It will range from an AFK, to every other lane losing out, or sometimes I'll help get my ADC fed out of their minds to find they're very poor at late game team fighting, and sometimes the enemy team will just have a better comp period. Today I went against a Kayle/Skarner/Mordekaisers/Jhin/Lux comp and watched the enemy Skarner continually drag my teammates off to a pit of death. These are always learning experiences and the very next game I went against another Skarner, so when I saw him grab our super fed Urgot and pull him away I knew what I had to do, leading my team in right after with a flash-crescendo and watching my team delete them.

I would benefit greatly from introducing ARAM into my daily grind. There are so many champions I haven't played or just don't fully understand their kits. I've also paid attention to things like rest, diet, exercise - it may sound unusual but I really play at my best when I'm coming off a good night's rest, have eaten a salad over some bad fast food, and have a little bit of caffeine in my system. I can totally understand why LCS teams run with nutritionist coaches.

We still practice for Rome Revolution every Wednesday night here at the shop. The League team is really coming along - all the Rome Revolution teams are. We're always looking to expand our depth chart so if you're interested in playing for the team and are ranked around Silver or higher, stop in some Wednesday night for a tryout. We keep a grading system which allows your performance to dictate your price of entry for the next practice.


Remember to take a break & stretch during gaming sessions! I've had the misfortune of jamming a few of my fingers and possibly coming down with carpal tunnel. Short and skinny: my fingers are all janky! Unfortunately, video games are among my favorite past times so I've had to adjust the controls for a few of the games I've been playing and abstain from the ones I could not. Realistically, this left me with only two choices in my recently played list: Warframe and Guild Wars 2! I thought it made for a fun blog topic because I had to change my key bindings to accommodate  me & adjust my playing style. While I'm happy I was able to pull it off, I think I'll be spending this next week icing my hands and engage in some HEAVY STRETCHING.


Warframe


Goodness,my last blog about Warframe was terrible. I could have done a better job adding pictures and breaking up the text. I was so optimistic about Gears of War 4 and Battleborn! Moving on, I haven't touched Warframe since that 2 year old post. A friend recently brought me back to start fresh on PC and while a lot of change, it's still the same run and gun third-person shooter I enjoyed. The big thing about Warframe is the movement, specifically the parkour. You use a combination of running,gliding, dodge roll, sliding and "bullet jumping"( a leaping barrel roll) to maneuver. It's one of my favorite things! It's also murder on hands as they are. Instead of press& hold to perform most functions, I've been using a toggle for sliding, running and aiming to make it easier on my fingers. If you can imagine, engaging multiple enemies with toggle aim has been a challenge. Despite that, it's been working great! I don't feel like I'm punishing my fingers after a rousing session of Warframe. Thanks to playing on Steam's Big Picture Mode", I was able to customize the controls to do neat things like toggle run if I hold the left stick in a direction. I'm really proud of figuring that out!

Guild Wars 2
GW2 has some great concept art.HERE

BACK AT IT AGAIN. I had a lot of trouble adapting to GW2. In combat, you use keys 1-0, with 1-5 being your low-cooldown weapon skills and 6-0 being moderate-cooldown class skills. My favorite class is the engineer, which uses F1-F5 in addition to keys 1-0. You move with WASD and can dodge roll by pressing a key or double tapping a direction(I use the latter). It's very active and very hectic when you're fighting boss monsters. I ended up binding dodge and my best healing spell to my mouse because that was too many key presses for me to currently do without cramping up. It's amazing how smooth combat goes with those two changes. Now, I ended up redoing my skill build on my Engineer to make it easier on me. I switched to a passive turret based build where I drop offensive and defensive turrets and the rest of my class skills are buffing allies and myself. I shifted as much power as I could to my turrets and switched to a ranged weapon to prevent myself from rolling as much. It's not as engaging as I would like but it helps me itch that MMO fix.


If this trailer doesn't make you want to pick up this game, I feel sorry for you. Devolver Digital is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers and it's not hard to see why. With releases like Hotline Miami, Shadow Warrior, Broforce, and the Talos Principle, they have gained quite the reputation for publishing quality titles. The Swords of Ditto is no different. After playing it at PAX East I found myself loving everything about it and I've been patiently waiting for it's release.


The Swords of Ditto is a Rouge-Like game that has the looks of Adventure Time and gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Starting off the game gets you acquainted with the controls necessary to complete your adventure. The story isn't anything you haven't experienced before. You are the only hero that can save the land and conquer evil! To be more precise though, every 100 years a new bearer of The Sword of Ditto is found by the spirit Puku. Your sole mission as the wielder of the sword is to defeat the evil witch Mormo, who has brought monsters to the land. Though Spoiler: your first time doesn't end too well. You die.


The animation is fantastic and the characters you interact with are quite quirky. There is a nice variation of enemies as well, with different colored variants that are stronger. In every playthrough, he objective stays the same. Though everything around you changes. From the people, places, and of course items. The dungeons are excellent too. They are rarely the same, always having some sort of surprise hidden somewhere.


You only have a 4 days to achieve your destiny, though with a certain amount of items and some help, you can turn back to time to give you chance to get stronger. You can use "stickers" to put on your weapon to give you different skills/abilities. Toys are items like bombs, torches, toy guns, etc. With the numerous dungeons to find and some require certain Toys to advance. Combining stickers and toys gives you interesting ways to approach the gameplay with different ways of combat.


The Swords of Ditto has a local co-op mode so you and a friend/family member can take down Mormo together! Or you could fail every time and never win. Either way it would be fun!


Overall, The Swords of Ditto is so charming it's hard to not enjoy it. It's by no means the greatest game of it's genre but it's pretty damn fun. If you're a fan of the older The Legend of Zelda games and like rogue-likes you'll definitely enjoy The Swords of Ditto

Technically speaking, I made good on my promise to not spend money on any games last month. CUE THE CRAB:

Okay, not really.I'm a terrible person and I sit on a throne of lies. I usually keep some money loaded on my accounts in the event there's DLC I want but am waiting for it to go on sale. Every game transaction this month was from those emergency funds! I have to admit, I almost cracked and outright bought The Last War Within Us 4/God of War/Dad of War because I had a 20% off the PSN coupon. I'm still working on Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and don't think I can handle another story-driven game. As I'm typing this up I see that mindset reflected my purchases over the month as they were a combination of beat em ups or platformers.


Devil May Cry 4
DMC featuring Dante from Devil May Cry 4

Despite my best friend trying his damndest, I've never played a Devil May Cry game before. Not out of spite, it's just how circumstances went. I was told DMC4 was one of my friend's favorites in the series and I should pick it up while it was on sale. JACKPOT
Cost:$7.19
Fight n Rage


I've had my eye on this game it was on sale. Not only does it have pretty spritework but the game is full of references to my favorite childhood beat em ups. THE GAME WAS ALSO MADE BY ONE GUY. I can't quite explain it but I really enjoyed how Fight n Rage handled. You could choose to finish a combo by throwing enemies  forward or backwards and characters have special moves usually by inputting quarter circle foward+ attack/special. In terms of replayablity, the stages branch out and depending on your route, the ending changes. There's also a currency to earn used to unlock new colors and costumes for the characters, new modes and I believe more playable characters! You can feel the love playing this game.
Cost:$13.39

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove


REBUY. I'm not sure if I'm the beefy filling of an idiot sandwich or if I really love Shovel Knight. Bit of both I guess because I picked it up on Switch after owning it on PS4/Vita and beating it on 3DS. In my (weak) defense, "Shovel Knight Treasure Trove" has all the DLC and I did plan on revisiting the DLC. I  believe I missed out on the cutoff and would have had to pay extra if I wanted to upgrade into Treasure Trove. Point is, I bought Shovel Knight and all its DLC on the Switch because it was on sale, worth every penny and I have no ragrets.
Cost:$13.99

Streets of Red

Another beat em up with pretty spritework! Unfortunately, I got back on the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 train before I got to play this. Fortunately, I know this game by another name, Devil's Dare. Technically a REBUY, it was in a humble bundle I bought in 2015. What I liked about it was the game let you choose what stages you wanted to play. As you advanced in the game, the stages would become more and more difficult. There's also a rouge-lite element where you earn money by beating dudes up and can spend that money on upgrades at the the end of the stage. Alternatively, you can save that money to buy revives once your character bites the dust. If memory serves correctly, the game does a neat thing where it DELETES YOUR SAVE if you're unable to revive yourself. That sounds right up my alley and I can't wait to take on the Devils' Dare the Streets of Red!
Cost:$7.19
There hasn't been too much gaming for me lately aside from getting caught in Fortnite's grasp. Though there are quite a few games that have been on my list to get through this month.

Dad of Boy
God of War

I'm constantly hearing about this game from everybody. More so that it's "one of the greatest games ever made." I started it when it came out but I couldn't get too into it. I really enjoyed the first interaction with The Stranger but afterwards I got really bored. Hopefully when I jump back into it I'll enjoy it.

The Swords of Ditto

One of my favorite games that I played at PAX East this year. There is so much this game does right but there are a few things that hinder it. I plan on doing a review on this to touch more on it. Regardless I've been having a ton of fun zoning out and playing this.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk

I watched the anime about a few months ago and oh my. It's one of the greatest/goriest things I've ever seen. Since then I've been all about it, watching the movies and reading the manga. The newer series has a negative view from the fanbase due to the overuse of CGI effects but I'm still going to give it a shot.  Luckily Cody let me borrow this so I can get even more into the series!

Fortnite

Can't stop won't stop.
This post is to cover some of the latest happenings around LAN Mob. I may ramble a bit but this is to give some insight to those of you that have never been to the LAN Center, or just haven't been in a while, an idea of what it is we're doing and what's coming up next.

Summer Time

The Best Time to Live in CNY

This last week of spring break we had a reminder of how busy the shop gets when school is out. We've been once again discussing a summer program, and were close to launching a program this year based on content creation, but we decided this week not to proceed. This is definitely a dream of mine to one day run a fun, exciting summer program based out of the shop, but for now the dream has to go back on the shelf.

We are planning to offer a One Week Summer Pass for 17 & under youth this summer - $100 for  unlimited gaming Monday-Friday 12 pm - 8 pm. That's $185 value worth of gaming at a steep discount. We understand parents have various camps and vacations planned for kids throughout the summer so selling the pass in one week increments allows some flexibility.

Zehn Masters Spring Series

Zehn Masters $10,000 Spring Series

We've had a decent spring series for Rome Revolution with national wins in both Hearthstone (Farfignewton) and Street Fighter V (Chris D). Most of the nationals have come and gone and we're entering our final week, with League of Legends on Saturday and MUT_DUCK chasing the gold in Madden on Sunday. We'll have a live stream of the Madden event on Sunday so be sure to tune in at twitch.tv/lanmob

I imagine it won't be long before we'll have another season announced for you with some new games in store - stay tuned!

ggCircuit Season 7

Season 7 is Here!
Season 7 began this week, with players able to earn bonus skill coins by playing League of Legends in the shop. We're also keeping weekly leader boards for overall coins earned and will be awarding medals and giving away Gamdias loot including mice, keyboards, mouse mats, headsets, and ear buds. To qualify for the Monday loot giveaways you have to be in the top 10 for coins earned at the shop during the week. You'll earn 50 coins an hour for just playing, and bonus skill coins for playing ranked League of Legends matches. Coming to events like the Saturday night lock-in and playing ranked League are great ways to get yourselves up on the leaderboards.

I'm adding one more challenge for the League players - anybody who can beat my weekly score will snag a free BAWLS. Your weekly League score is based on your five best ranked matches played in shop that week.

Season 7 Weekly Medals
Season 7 Trophy

New Peripherals



Our keyboards and mice have been pretty banged up, with a couple of stations now rocking some standard windows keyboards and assorted mice. Most of the keyboards have had the WASD worn off them from so much use. We snagged a keyboard for testing out of the Gamdias loot crate for ggCircuit Season 7, and have been pleased with the performance that we went and ordered new Gamdias mice/keyboards and mousepads for the entire shop. The keyboards are 7 color backlit and feature some nice spill protection, which is an unfortunate problem in our business. If you really loved the old keyboards and mice and want to take a piece of LAN Mob nostalgia home with you, we'll be selling our old red & black peripherals used at $10/piece or $15 for a mouse/keyboard combo.



Our esports Teams

Join the Revolution

We have weekly practice nights for our three esports teams playing under the Rome Revolution banner - Overwatch on Tuesdays, League of Legends on Wednesdays, and PUBG on Thursdays or Fridays depending on the week. The Overwatch and PUBG teams both recently competed in the Zehn Masters nationals and fell short of placing, but had positive takeaways from the events. I've seen so much gain in skill from the players working together week after week and am encouraged that these are going to grow into monster teams.

The League of Legends event is this weekend but the team has voted against participating, which is something I've disagreed with but can understand and respect. They want to do it right and they have high standards for where they should be as a team, and want to make sure when they do enter a tournament they're set to make a big splash. I've invested heavily into the game and into coaching, and the gains the players are making in ranks are evidence of the time we're all putting into developing the players and the team.

We're always holding open tryouts weekly for all three teams - just show up at the shop on practice night and we'll get you in for some games, and get you added to the private discord channels.

Discord

An active, local, gaming discord


I'm happy with how active our discord has been and across a diverse bunch of games and interests. We keep a channel specifically for announcing streams, and the quality the local streamers are putting out is great to see. If I'm on a shift when you announce I always drop a tab, follow & host. If you're not on the discord and would like to be just talk to the front desk person and they will get you added in.

TNT presents CoD WWii LAN - June 9th

Coming in June!

We'll be helping to host the TNT tournament out in Syracuse June 9th. This event is sold out and will be a big one - we're giving away a sponsorship package to 1st place. Details on the Facebook event here, and you'll also be able to catch our stream live at twitch.tv/lanmob

Upcoming Outdoor Rome Event - TBA

Gaming Outdoors

We can't let out the details yet but we have something awesome planned for outdoors this June. We're happy for the opportunity to bring video games outdoors and exposure to a whole new group of people. Keep an eye on our Facebook for all the details!

The Best Damn Staff



I'm often told by customers how great the staff is here and I couldn't agree more. I really appreciate all the work they put in towards keeping the place chugging along, and this remains the reason why a 50% profit share goes towards the staff. I'm often working to keep our eyes down the road at not where we are currently, but where we're heading in the future. The road to get there is the adventure and I'm happy to have these guys along for the journey.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has been consuming my life for the past two weeks. I'm really into the combat system and looking for fast travel points. My current obsession is exploring every corner of  the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. There's also the added bonus of discovering fast travel points  that I can use while on side-quests.  The combat system has a ton of depth to it, the upgrade system is tied to exploring AND there's a gacha/lottery system where I don't have to spend real money!

This game has great trees.

Finding Monsters to Punch (and Enjoying Nature)
I find the world of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 really interesting,not just the trees. Here's the setting: mankind lives on top of these giant monsters because the world is covered in a sea of clouds that monster inhabit. The giant monsters,called Titans, act as walking continents with their own climate. The second titan you travel to is covered in greenery and is known for their forestry while the next titan is covered in wetlands with rivers,lakes and waterfalls throughout the region. It's crazy that there are ecosystems on the back of these massive creatures but I totally buy it. I've had so much time to appreciate the world because of how exploration is tied to upgrading your Blade(living weapons you wield), in an indirect sort of way. There's a grid system for you blade where you unlock power-up nodes by doing tasks. Ranging from kill a specific monster found in a certain area to gather a certain type of material or talk to a certain species. I find myself spending an hour or two unlocking as many nodes on my favorite Blades.


Sadly,I can't punch him.

Punching Monsters
 Instead of random encounters, you can choose to engage enemies locking on them or can avoid confrontation by sneaking past enemies. If you're a higher level than monsters, they generally won't engage you otherwise you'll have to be wary of how close you are to monsters. My favorite part about this system is XC2 mixes high level monsters with the low level monsters. There a point early on where I needed to sneak past this giant monster to complete a mission. Every time I tried to move past the giant monster a giant bird a few levels ahead of me would fly out of nowhere and start attacking me! As frustrating as it was, I learned that hour to be careful how I moved around monsters (and to show NO MERCY FOR BIRDS)!

Speak of,the combat is much deeper than I expected. Before you even start, you have to understand the drive and blade dynamic. You control 1 of three "Drivers" in your party, the other two are controlled by the A.I.  A Driver's class depends on the role of your weapon or "Blade" which are categorized as Attacker,Healer or Tank. You have the choice of being really good at one role or making hybrid roles depending on which Blades you have equipped! With all that in mind, each Driver has access to a different set of skills or "Arts" despite equipping the same weapon type. For example, one character might have Arts that focus on defending themselves or drawing aggro as a tank while another character will use that same weapon but will gain Arts that do extra damage when you attack a monster from the front or extra damage while you aggro'd them. I found the most success with sticking to the "holy trinity" of MMOs and having each party member focusing on 1 role. Let's just say I was really feeling it when I was missing a tank or healer during battle. I don't want to give anything away but this is just the surface. You'll learn how to do elemental combos or "Blade Combos" where you chain elemental super moves and then "Driver Combos" where you chain status effects in a specific order to inflict massive damage!


It's my personal mission to get KOS-MOS in every game she appears in.HAVEN'T FAILED YET

Gambling
Getting More Blades to Punch More Monsters

No matter how hard I try, it seems I can't escape gacha/lottery systems! To get new Blades, you have to awaken them using Core Crystals. I haven't found a Core Crystal merchant yet but you can get them as monster drops and opening treasure chests. Normally, when you use a core crystal, you'll get a generic Blade with a random element,weapon type, stats and upgrade nodes. Blades can get field skills which can do anything from helping you explore new areas to increase the number of items you get from a gathering point.  Rarely, you'll get a "Rare Blade" which have a unique appearance, special skills and a more defined personality. Rare Blades can get special cutscenes called "Heart to Hearts" where you learn more about them and I find that really neat. My only complaint with XC2 is this is essentially a worse version of Pokemon's HMs.

While you won't need them for story purposes, you can't access certain areas,open special treasure chests or complete sidequests if you don't have a Rare Blade with the necessary skill. On the other hand, it seems when I get far enough I get a new party member that has a blade with a field skill I'll need.Despite that, I can't put this infernal game down! There's so much stuff for me to do! I need to explore every Titan I come across and upgrade ALL of my blades regardless of usefulness!
Seriously, give Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a try. I cannot put it down.
After a light April, May is looking a bit heavier with some bigger console exclusives along with other third party titles. Let's check 'em out!


Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze (Switch)
5/4

Donkey Kong makes his debut on the Switch! While it is a Wii-U remaster it's just a placeholder until we get the next Donkey Kong Country. As a bonus Nintendo added some extra levels and the addition of Funky Kong as a playable character!

Conan Exiles (PS4, XB1)
5/8

While it's been on PC early access for a little over a year now, Conan Exiles is making its console debut! Start with nothing and survive in the harsh living conditions of a world filled with challenge and opportunity. There is also a collector's edition which looks rather nice too!


State of Decay 2 (XB1, PC)
5/22

The second of the big exclusive Microsoft games this year, State of Decay 2 is a open world zombie game where you establish a base and fight to survive in a world full of zombies. It looks pretty good and will also be available on the Xbox Game Pass like Sea of Thieves was. Let's just hope that there is more to do in this game.

Dark Souls Remastered (PS4, XB1, Switch, PC)
(5/25)

Dark Souls has gained vast amounts of popularity since its release 7 years ago. This title is viewed by plenty as the best in the series, regardless of the glitches that are present. The remaster aims to fix that and add some higher resolutions to boot.

Detroit Become Human (PS4)
5/25

The latest title from Quantic Dream (Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls) brings you into the perspective of 3 different androids. Every decision changes the outcome. Will you be able to make the right choice? Or will you fail?

Owlboy (PS4, Switch)
5/29

A 2D Platforming Adventure, Owlboy was developed by D-Pad Studio and production began in 2007! It was initially released on Windows in 2016 but is now looking at a multi-platform release.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection (PS4, XB1, Switch)
5/29

12 Street Fighter Classics. All arcade perfect ports. Would you ask for anything else? If you pre-order it you get a copy of Ultra Street Fighter IV as well! A Street Fighter fan's dream.

Sega Genesis Classics (PS4, XB1, PC)
5/29 

With 50+ amazing titles, Sega releases another Genesis Collection for the current generation of consoles!
Freeing from Constraints


Our lives are often lived within certain constraints which are both within and without our control. These range from limited resources to circumstances of our individual situations.


Time

It's been called our most valuable resource as we only have so much of it in each day, and so many days in our lives. The Internet and cell phones have made it so easy to squander away time without thinking about it, and this becomes more alarming the older we get, as we can look back in the rear view mirror and go from saying "Where did the last year go?" to "Where did the last decade go?"  

The easiest to attack is our free time, leisure time, downtime or whatever you call it. If we intend to improve at something - a video game or otherwise - could those three hours I spend a night browsing reddit or YouTube or vegging out on Netflix had been better used studying players on Twitch, reading up on new strategies, or practicing in game? What if I combine that time over a week, a month, or a year?  Those three hours a day adds up to over a thousand hours a year I could have invested at bettering myself at something important to me, video game or otherwise, and would no doubt show results. We just need the discipline and desire to make it happen.

But a larger amount of time that we often ignore are the hours we spend with work, family, and in relationships. Gary Vaynerchuk lives by the philosophy that if today he was told he only had a week left to live, would his time spent on an average day - from work to family to relationships - be doing the thing that's most fulfilling for him? He's in a place where he can answer "yes" every day, but most people are not! Finding those major timesinks in your life that are not fulfilling and finding ways to make them so are the hard "big" decisions we make to put us on a better path.


Money

How much we earn and how much we can save are limiting factors on our growth as human beings. Certainly in the realm of competitive offline gaming like Smash I believe some of the top players had not just the skill and time invested but also the money to get themselves to larger events and expose themselves to as many players as possible before they found sponsors. When I look at a player like Draxsel who just gets better every time he plays someone, I know that a major constraint limiting him and others like him is money invested. Given enough exposure to top talent I have no doubts he can be a contender at the professional level, and I'm happy we can help towards that end with LML and trips like Pound and EVO.

But there are certainly other things in life where money can be a limiting factor. I'm sure there are things you've wanted to do your whole life that you just have never been able to afford, be it travel or experiences or otherwise. Money has become an unfortunate roadblock to that for many people, and with the wage gaps between rich and poor at all-time highs this will remain so until our current socioeconomic conditions improve.


Family / Relationships

We are both born into circumstances outside of our control, and become tied to these through our relationships with others. These may provide us with love and support but also tie us to physical locations and may temporarily limit our pursuits in life. When we're bound to others we don't always take heed of our own needs, which means we may end up putting others needs in front of our own. This is necessary at some level for all relationships, but when this becomes one-sided you can lose track of your own self identity and path through life.

We can take some control over this by choosing who we relate with. Is a person dragging you down or lifting you up? Are their goals and desires in life on a similar trajectory to your own? The saying goes that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with - who are your five?



Often in life there can be a chorus of voices of doubt and pessimism all around us.

You can't do it.

These voices can even be people you respect and hold in high regard, like a parent, teacher, boss, or co-worker.

This is childish, it will never work.

In their mind they may feel like what they're saying is what you need to hear, and that it's in your best interests.

You should just give up.

Dealing With Toxicity


The player known as Flaming Popcorn

In my free time I've been investing into League of Legends supporting. On Thursday I was playing Janna support solo queue and paired with a Gold Mastery 7 Draven against a Leona/Vayne lane. Our Draven made sure everyone knew his mastery, spamming the emote on the rift and in lane repeatedly. The game started to go downhill after a level 2 jungle gank, when the enemy Warwick came via tri-bush, pausing long enough to clear my vision ward before Leona caught the Draven out of position and all three pounced on him. I blew all my cooldowns trying to save him with no luck. Flaming Popcorn began to type.

Janna Exhaust - 191 seconds
Way too long to use Janna

It's a fair criticism, I could have been quicker, but it still wouldn't have saved him from the 3v2 gank. More importantly my past experience has taught me that this Draven was going to be a problem, and that I should proceed with caution with how I respond. I can get defensive and type back at him, or I can just continue playing my game and let my results prove me right. More often than not I choose the latter and did so in this case. The Draven came back to lane, I set up a nice kill for him, and he seemed to calm down for the moment. A few minutes later the Draven was engaged on again by the Leona, and I was down a cooldown and unable to save him. He immediately started spamming question marks on top of me in lane.

The week leading up to this game I had been playing hot, cruising from Silver IV up to Silver II on the back of my newfound support main Janna, and my confidence was pretty high heading into the game. With this Draven dumping on me the thoughts of doubt started to creep in.

Am I playing poorly? Maybe I'm too tired and should be calling it a night after this?

I didn't have too much time to dwell as our turret was being pushed in on, and Janna is pretty great at holding a turret early game. I took turns shielding the turret, throwing tornados at the enemy champs and minions, and keeping myself out of range of the Leona initiate. I noticed the Draven had respawned but hadn't left the rift for 30 seconds.

Draven you still there?

Another minute of me holding the turret and finally the Draven starts returning to lane. He immediately begins pushing to catch up on CS and I do what I usually do when my ADC is pushing a wave - poking and preparing minions for his last hits. The Draven pings caution on my head.

DON'T PUSH
THE WAVE
I CAN DO IT MYSELF

This triggered me in all sorts of ways. The Draven known as Flaming Popcorn had been flaming me the entire game, blaming me for any bot lane mishaps and taking zero responsibility for his own play. He was rude and obnoxious, and I wanted to type something back but stopped myself. If I want to win then no good can come from arguing with a guy who is clearly ready to explode and make a mess of the game and my rank.

So I went and stood in a bush and held the "S" button and made myself the best Janna ward possible. For whatever reason the Draven had decided he had zero faith in my ability, and I knew that wasn't the reality of what I'm capable of. It wasn't even the ten minute mark of the game and we hadn't had a proper fight yet. I just needed a chance to prove myself and I knew the Draven would back off.

At the 10:30 mark my opportunity came. It was a long sequence and I made a clip of Flaming Popcorn's conversion to the church of SammySammy (skip to 1 minute mark):



Following this play his attitude went from night to day.

Good job Janna
I was having mouse problems earlier and couldn't click right

We went on to win the game at 28 minutes with the Draven finishing 14/4/4 on my 17 assists. Flaming Popcorn left one message in post-game chat.

Honor Janna

You Can't Let the Naysayers Win

I didn't need this Draven's approval for my own well being. If I lived my life clinging to the approval of every Flaming Popcorn that came through I'd be an emotional wreck. That doesn't mean blatantly ignoring all criticism in a conceited way, but I do have to take a moment and consider what's said and be able to some of the time confidently think "Nope, that's wrong and toxic and I'm going to ignore it." If I don't move through the world with that filter on then I'm basically just a leaf blowing in the wind.

Throughout life there are going to be people that doubt you and just don't believe in you. It could be they're just having a bad day and have this gray cloud hanging over their heads, or just their general outlook on life every day is cynical and pessimistic. It could also be they feel like they have your best intentions at heart and know what's best for you, or are trying to protect you from the dangers of the world. If you let the voices of doubt get to you, you'll find yourself caving and giving up.

The truth is it has to come from inside us from a lot of thought and deep introspection. For a moment just ignore all that noise and whirlwind around you and look within. Whatever you're working toward improving in your life - do you believe in the underlying truth and value in that, and do you believe you have what it takes to do it? If you really want to do X thing but you're just unsure of yourself, then you have to work on your self confidence first. This is half the battle because if you don't believe in yourself you've already lost.

Once you have that self confidence that you can say belongs to you and nobody else, the difficulty then becomes persisting, because if you're doing anything difficult in life the voices of doubt from without aren't going to ever let up until you can convince them otherwise. Some are just so stubborn that they'll never be satisfied no matter what you do. In the end it's only the self identity that matters, how YOU feel about YOU. But believe in your abilities and be confident in yourself, and you can accomplish great change.


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