It's been about two weeks since LAN Mob's vacation, and before I get into the meat of this blog title, I really got to say I'm still feeling some great positive effects from our week off. Overall I feel like I have more energy, more focus and generally a better disposition since our return, and I've been feeling much more positive in general. Even as I type this, my family is going through a hardship, and I feel very capable of coping with it on almost every front. I digress, there was many reasons for our pre-vacation burnout, and one of my own personal contributions was a bit of a struggle with balancing competition/casual gaming. In this beautiful day and age of eSports opportunities and gaming careers, the competitive side of gaming is extremely easy to get completely absorbed in. Now don't get me wrong, being absorbed in competitive gaming is amazing, in fact I have an immeasurable amount of respect for people out there grinding away to forge their own careers in this gaming renaissance, but if this passion is unchecked sometimes it can cause some pretty serious burnout.

"The Summoner's Cup" - the most prestigious award to earn in League of Legends eSports. Every year many many teams compete to take home the Cup, and every year only one team can succeed. 

Whatever level you may be playing at, striving to be the best, or even just better takes a lot of energy, focus, time and a very strong mental game. I believe this to be a blanket truth across any and all competition, whether it be Street Fighter, League of Legends, bowling or chess. I think applying yourself with the ultimate goal of greatness can take a lot out of you, especially with more and more time invested. As you spend more time looking to achieve your goals, I think our pure enjoyment of the game can be lost as a result, due to our own mindset of playing the game from a purely competitive perspective. I recently read an article about a really staggering number of competitive swimmers quitting due to simply no longer enjoying what they do, and that got me ruminating on the subject. Using myself as an example, I've always played League of Legends pretty casually. I distinctly only really played with my friends, who take the game at various levels of competitive seriousness. However, even playing pretty casually with the occasional competitive itch along with watching competitive League of Legends for so many years has left me with a good amount of game knowledge, and I'm not too shabby of a player myself. I've always had a bit of balance when it came to being a good League player, while still maintaining a good amount of competitive chops and knowledge. When I started coaching for Rome Revolution, I sort of leaped down the rabbit hole and began to look at League in a purely competitive sense, and in a way I think I started thinking about the game in a way that really sucked the fun out of it, which was my initial reason for ever playing the game. This was all at the time where I was also trying to level up my play in a competitive sense in countless fighting games, which I was taking pretty seriously. It got kind of bad, to the point where I really wanted nothing to do with the game and I didn't even enjoy watching high level play of League, and that's when I knew somewhere down the line I made some errors in my pursuit of higher level play and allowed myself to burn out. I'm happy to say I'm back and feeling better than ever, not just as a player but as a coach, for me the secret lies in balance.

Enjoying the game = OP

I used my week off to pretty much cut myself off from almost all competitive gaming. I played in our weekly fight night but with the full aim of having fun, and dialed back on absorbing League of Legends resources. I spent a lot of time playing games like Monster Hunter World and Stardew Valley, and just took some time to decompress. In short order, I felt 100 times better and started having genuine fun again, and that's ultimately my first tip to avoid the same burnout I encountered - have fun. It sounds so simple, but for me it made all the difference, and enjoying the game that I love so much is really the key to succeeding in it. This epiphany led to some stellar games, both with my group of friends and with the Rome Revolution team, and I'm ecstatic to say that I really understand and, more importantly, love the game again. I want to stress that enjoying something is not synonymous with not taking something seriously, quite the contrary. I've been playing more seriously than ever before, but whether things work out or not, I am enjoying the time I spend playing the game. I think this lesson is a hard one to teach specifically, because when I was in my spiral of competitive fog, the last thing I would want to here is somebody coming along and saying, "Oh just enjoy the game BRO", but that doesn't make it any less true. I think there are a few ways that can help you reach this perfect level of competitive drive, or to maintain it.

I think one of the reasons I was especially burned out in a competitive sense was was on top of my coaching responsibilities I was also taking a plethora of fighting games very seriously. I was putting in a lot of time trying to learn how to play Tekken 7 and DBZF at competitive levels, on top of learning UNIEL, improving in Injustice, Rivals and even a little bit of Street Fighter V. For lack of a better term, I put too much on my plate and I think juggling too many games can have a negative effect on your improvement in each of them. I think once again, every person will have their own limits and plate size, but I really needed to dial back and take a look at my priorities. Ultimately, I have narrowed down my focus to playing one or two fighting games seriously, and devoting the rest of my competitive game time to League of Legends and LoL resources. I would stress anyone else juggling a whole bunch of competitive games to dial back and examine your place on all of them and make some decisions. This doesn't always mean that you need to quit playing those extra games, I guess my best advice would be to play a bit more casually, and even delegate some of those games to a "cool off" game, but more on that later. Once again, I want to stress that every player can have different limits, so do your best to understand your own and create fair expectations for yourself.

Well this looks difficult.

Another tactic that's used by even the highest level of players in any game is simply having a "cool off" game. If you check out some high ranked League of Legends players' streams, in between queue or after a tough game they'll typically spend extra time playing a completely different game unrelated to the game they compete in. More often then not these games are distinctly not competitive in any way, and usually single player. Obviously I can't tell everyone reading this what game would be best for cooling off, everyone is different. Rome Revolution's Kolunas has been playing a lot of Mega Crit Game's Slay the Spire, which is an excellent example of a great game to play between matches of whatever you may be playing. Each run takes less than half an hour and challenges your decision making abilities, but without all the ego and focus of playing a game competitively. While I would certainly recommend Slay the Spire, take some time and find a game that works for you. My personal favorite cooldown (at least for right now!) game is Stardew Valley. Some people like to cool off by completely getting away from gaming for a short time, taking a walk, watching an episode of a TV show, etc etc, and that can be just as effective. I think it's important to understand when the best time and place is for these breaks, which feeds into the last topic I'd really like to touch on - raging.


      At Touyuken 2017, an Ontario IJ2 player had a bit of a breaking point out of pure competitive frustration.
Raging at video games has always been a well known joke, as much as it is a well known truth. I can't say I've ever truly RAGED at a game, at least nothing beyond turning a game off and leaving for a short amount of time, which is what I would actually recommend. However, as a coach and a player I understand that "raging" comes from a place of passion, more so than anger. This thought process may be giving some players the benefit of the doubt, but in my experience it rings true. Raging in a competitive environment, even just practice, is pretty harmful in a lot of ways, and is NOT always related to burn out, which tends to be a popular excuse. I think more often than not, raging in all forms comes from an incredibly raw feeling of frustration, which like I mentioned, is born from a deep passion for the thing that has you so frustrated. When you're so frustrated to the point of exploding in a fit of rage, you need to take a moment and ask yourself a few questions, the most important being "What has me so frustrated?" Once you can answer this question for yourself, it's much easier to reach out for resources and grow as a player, instead of allowing yourself to enter the nasty fog of frustration and anger. I feel confident in saying that despite how this frustration may not be born from burn out, it will almost certainly be followed by it if you don't keep yourself in check. Thankfully there's more resources than ever before when it comes to frustrating match-ups across a variety of games, how to do X tech and even threads of players dealing with the exact same frustration you are. If you're playing a team based competitive game, it's pretty nice to have those people to reach out to when you're frustrated with your own play and (assuming these teammates are good teammates) get the feedback you're looking for to help get over the hump. Just raging without any real vocalization or focus is just going to feed into more negativity and more frustration, so it's incredibly important to understand and vocalize these frustrations and grow from them. They don't say top players have amazing mental games for no reason!

I'm happy to be back and refreshed, especially when it comes to League of Legends and my role in the Rome Revolution team. It's important to take care of your mind when you're striving for improvement and greatness, and maintaining a good schedule and keeping yourself in check is essential. I'm happy to provide any and all advice I can to the Rome Revolution players on their respectable quest for improvement, and to anyone else who may have found some of this helpful. I think it's easiest to teach from a place you understand, so in a way I'm kinda glad I burned myself out because I feel more balanced than ever before, and hungry for personal improvement in the games I have prioritized, as well as helping to improve others. Thanks for reading everybody! 



We're back on that Nintendo Switch grind(but not really)! Love to say it but Monster Hunter World still has its claws in me. There's a lot of post-game stuff I'm navigating through as well working on mixed armor sets to yield the skill combinations I want. HOWEVER, a few games went under my radar, partly because I'm dumb and partly because I haven't read Rob's fabulous blogs about monthly  game releases. Two games I'm hoping to pick up are Bayonetta 1+2 and Mercenary Kings:Reloaded Edition, two games I've owned and played through previously.

Bayonetta 1+2
I'm a huge fan of Bayonetta. I fell in love with the game after watching my buddy play it ages ago on the Xbox 360. When Bayonetta 2 came out on the Wii-U I picked that up day 1 and was surprised that it included Bayonetta 1 along with Bayonetta 2. Sadly, I never had the chance to fully play through Bayonetta 2. After an unfortunate accident, my Wii-U gamepad broke and I didn't want to go through the hassle of buying another Wii-U to play all my games. BUT NOW SHE'S BACK AND ON THE SWITCH. I was very close to buying Bayonetta 1 on the PC but ultimately backed down in an attempt to cut down spending. Oh how the times have changed. Saving grace about Bayonetta 1+ 2 is they are available for purchase separately. To control myself, I haven't looked up the prices of the two games but I read you'll receive a discount when on whichever Bayonetta game you did not buy and total won't exceed $60(not counting tax). Which I find real neat. Bayonetta 1's going to be the first thing I buy once I shake off Monster Hunter World's icy grip.

Mercenary Kings:Reloaded Edition


So, Mercenary Kings is a 2D action game that plays like Metal Slug with metroidvania style levels. There's crafting and you can customize your gun and knife(!) with things like length,elemental damage, rate of fire/handing with guns and of course damage. I owned this on the PC but all my save data went down the drain when my laptop ceased to me. Such is the way. A few years back, this game was suppose to arrive on Vita. The game can be long and grindy so I was looking forward to playing it on the go but it never came....UNTIL 2/6/18 where it re-released on PC & PS4 and made its debut on Switch and Vita! I ended up jumping the gun and bought this on my Switch in a weird way to say thanks for finally making good on your promise. From what I understand, more weapons were added to the crafting table,two new characters(the two characters on the right side of the above image) and I believe some new missions? It's been a while since I've last played this and I'm looking forward to seeing what's new!

Looking back, these are the only games I plan to buy in the month of February,with only Mercenary Kings the only game I've bought as of publishing this blog. Not bad, but I'm just saying that to soften the blow of rebuying games I already own! Though, this might be a monthy thing I do to better keep track of what games I've bought over the year. We will see! BONUS: Here's me going full Fashion Hunter in Monster Hunter World!

Hey yo. March is around the corner which means we get some more dope games!


Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS4, XB1, PC)
3/13


Remaster of a remaster. Devil May Cry HD Collection will bring you the 3 original Devil May Cry games originally released on the PS2. If by some chance you have never played these games I would highly recommend you do! Devil May Cry 3 is one of the best games released on the console. The gameplay is fantastic, the fixed camera angles rarely give you any issues and the boss battles are a ton of fun. Not to mention some of the campy dialogue. People give Devil May Cry 2 some flack for being a less than average sequel but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. All in all the trilogy is a fun playthrough and for $29.99 you can't go wrong!

Kirby Star Allies (Switch)
3/16


New Kirby! Nintendo knocking it out of the park like always. Kirby Star Allies looks like a ton of co-op fun. Plus you can never go wrong with some buff Dedede.

LOOK. AT. THAT. BOD.

Sea of Thieves (XB1)
3/20

Finally, a Rare title that isn't a Kinect game. The company is more or less can be considered a shell of it's former self. With most of the original crew that brought you all of those great SNES and N64 games gone to either other development companies or even completely different endeavors. Sea of Thieves however looks like the new Rare is ready to put those words back into peoples' mouths. Sea of Theives is a co-op pirate adventure where you can travel the seas and plunder the booty. Sea of Thieves is very heavy of co-op, involving you and you're crew to battle against other pirates and take their treasures. Ya know, like pirates do! This Xbox One exclusive is quite impressive and I can't wait for it's release. With a group of friends to play with this could be a game with some longevity behind it! Plus that controller looks sweet. It's glow in the dark too!


Attack on Titan 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)
3/20

I've never watched Attack on Titan but I know it has a huge following both in the east and west. I hear plenty of people praise the show and I've heard quite a few pleasant things about the first game as well. I still have yet to give it any attention. Maybe one of these days!

A Way Out (PS4, XB1, PC)
3/23

A Way Out has had my attention since it was announced last year at E3 and captured it even more after the developer had that fantastic little coked up speech at the Game Awards. The splitscreen gameplay is a neat approach. Even online it's splitscreen so you're able to see what you're partner in crime is up to. I'm glad to see ambitious games like this get the attention it should deserve. I'm personally very excited for this. Especially since this game will be perfect for our Lock-Ins.

Detective Pikachu (3DS)
3/23

I'm not supporting this since Pikachu isn't voiced by Danny Devito.

Ni No Kuni II (PS4, PC)
3/23

Studio Ghibli and Level 5 are back with a sequel to one of the best JRPG games released for the PS3. Taking place 100 years after the first game, you'll play as the King Evan, who is usurped from his castle and goes on an adventure to reclaim his kingdom. Along with the aid of a few friends, will he succeed? 

Far Cry 5 (PS4, XB1, PC)
3/27

I know plenty of people were upset about a month delay but I would gladly take a delay over a broken release. Far Cry games have always excelled in what they are. Fantastic open world first-person shooters. The interesting thing about Far Cry 5 is the fact that it's the first in the series to take place in the USA. With most of the games aside from Primal taking place in tropical settings. 

MLB The Show 18 (PS4)
3/27

Another year another MLB game! This year we got that crazy Aaron Judge guy on the cover. Hitting all those home runs and stuff. Cool guy!

Crackdown 3 (XB1)
3/30

Finally we'll see a new Crackdown after 7 years of waiting. I just recently bought the first Crackdown since I have never played it. I never owned a Microsoft console until last year and even then I still don't play it. Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves is looking to take me away from my PlayStation for a bit which would be surprising. BLOWING STUFF UP AND CAUSING MAHYEM FOR YOUR ENEMIES. Plus that ad with Terry Crews. I love that guy.
LOL JUST KIDDING IT'S NEVER COMING OUT.
Whether you ask a veteran or a newbie, I think anyone would agree that Monster Hunter is a pretty in-depth and complicated game series. Ever since its inception in 2004, the Monster Hunter series is pretty synonymous with unique systems and menus, mechanics, grinding and of course killing giant monsters. Monster Hunter: World stays relatively true to what one would expect from a Monster Hunter title, but manages to be an entirely new and fresh experience, not to mention an excellent way for new players to enter the franchise. That being said, Monster Hunter World is not only a milestone for the entire franchise, it has genuinely reminded me of why I started playing video games in the first place.

Released January 26th, 2018
PlayStation 4 + Xbox One
Coming to Windows Q3-Q4
Available at LAN Mob!

Monster Hunter is as much as its own genre of games as it is an RPG adventure title focused around well...hunting monsters. Players are tasked with eliminating/capturing a robust cast of creatures ranging from fire breathing dinosaurs, poison clawed Wyverns and even lava fish, and while the core gameplay is completing these tasks, there's a plethora of other gameplay systems to help you accomplish these goals. Hunting is definitely the primary focus but taking down these beasts would be ten times harder without utilizing a multitude of other gameplay systems such as fishing, gardening, and even cooking. 1 to 4 players can participate in hunts but the game will crank up the difficulty accordingly, so communication and teamwork is definitely the key to success while playing in a group.

I have nowhere near the sheer game time that Enrique has, but this is my Hunter as of right now! 76 hours and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface.

Outside of the incredible amount of preparation and resource management pre-hunt, hunts themselves are no simple task. These missions far exceed loading in and slapping around a monster until it's dead or weak enough to be captured. Depending on the task, players are dropped into a huge territory, such as the massive and beautiful Ancient Forest or the eerie and carcass littered Rotten Vale. Once you enter said zone, you (and possibly your pals) have to track down the monster you're looking to hunt before you even get to start battle. Thankfully all hunters are equipped with special "Scoutflies" which act as a sort of hunting dog, which help lead the way to the monster after you find a track or two by illuminating the next track or general sign of the beast. Once you finally pin-point the beast's location, it's up to the player how they choose to attack and ultimately defeat the creature. Each monster requires different strategies to take down effectively and quickly, and each monster has body parts that can be broken or severed to make the fight easier/provide better and more plentiful rewards after the hunt. Every Hunt rewards players with a number of materials from said monster, whether it be horns, claws or tails, and these materials are used in crafting to create better and better equipment, but more on that later. As I said earlier, Monster Hunter is pretty synonymous with grinding, and MHW is definitely no different. You'll be finding yourself going toe to toe with a lot of these monsters a TON of times, whether it be grinding for materials, optional quests or simply on a whim. However, thanks to Monster Hunter's learning curve, hunting the same monster over and over takes quite a long time to become monotonous. There is a large number of variables when fighting a monster, whether it be in your own equipment load out, environment, turf wars (turf wars are when two monsters in the ecosystem start to fight each other) and general strategy evolution. There's something to be said about how absurdly well designed each and every monster actually is in MHW. Sometimes these creatures feel like just as much as a main character as the hunters you interact with do, with personalities of their own and incredible design. It's fun to discuss what everybody's favorite and least favorite monsters are and why. (My favorite monster by far is Pukei-Pukei, but I can't stand a few others).

One of my favorite additions in MHW is the "Hunter's Guide" , which is essentially a detailed Bestiary of each monster you encounter in The New World. The Hunter's Guide fills out as you gather foot prints, mucous, feathers, claw marks and everything in-between for specific monsters, and upon reaching a certain threshold, unlocks more information relating to said monster. After a certain amount of data is collected, it's really nice to be able to open up your Guide and check out elemental susceptibilities, weak parts on the body, behavioral tendencies and even drops + drop chance! 

Monster Hunter World's plot follows the player created Hunter and Palico on their trip to The New World, as they study the ecosystems and get a better understanding for them. The New World is a relatively untamed wilderness where many new and powerful creatures roam, and the Research Commission tasks hunters with quests that end up particularly focusing on a mysterious event known as "The Elder's Crossing". Every ten years Elder Dragons (some of the most powerful beasts in the entire Monster Hunter universe) migrate from The Old World to The New World, and The Fifth Fleet (the fleet your hunter arrives with) is tasked with ultimately understanding this migration. The plot is relatively loose with some pretty cool cutscenes and NPCs to interact with but offers little more than a few epic story missions and a general narrative focused reason for why you're doing all this monster slaying to begin with. The narrative won't blow you out of the water, but it certainly does the job. Outside of the narrative, the real reason why you get so invested from a gameplay mechanic is equipment.

"Astera" serves as the main hub of Monster Hunter World. Basically if you're not out in the wilderness, you're spending time here preparing to do so. Astera is home to the blacksmith, the Meowscular Chef (it's a ripped cat that cooks you food), your garden, various NPCs and shops. There's a whole lot of support to make you the best hunter possible!

A Hunter is completely naked without equipment, and thankfully Monster Hunter World is filled to the brim with plenty of it. Every Hunter is equipped with a special wrist mounted "Slinger" which can fire a plethora of special ammunition. It sounds simple enough but the Slinger is one of the most important tools in your arsenal. Flash pods can stun flying monsters out of the sky, Screamer pods can pull monsters out of the earth, rocks can be fired to trigger environmental traps and you can even use it to zip line on special beetles. The world is your playground! Your Hunter is also equipped with one of 12 weapon types, all of which are available right from the get go. Each weapon comes with a completely different moveset and quite a learning curve, and I can't help but compare these move sets to fighting game strings. Weapons range from a simple sword and shield to greatswords to bow guns, and everything in between. These weapons can be upgraded via the materials you collect in the world/from the Monsters you hunt, making them more powerful, sharper and even adding elemental effects, not to mention turning them into amazing trophies from the monsters you hunted to create it. Armor works the same way in the sense that hunters can forge pieces of protective armor out of the various materials they've hunted and gathered. Armor also has the additional benefit of coming with "skills" which modify your gameplay and synergize with your playstyle. For example, my favorite weapon is the insect glaive, a spear like weapon designed for mid air mobility. Some armor pieces have a skill called "Jump Master" which prevents my hunter from being knocked backwards mid-air. A perfect fit! There are a surplus of special builds and synergistic gear combinations that can help make each monster a total pushover, but be prepared to grind hard to build and upgrade all the gear you'd like to build, it's definitely no easy task.


For me, Monster Hunter World's strengths don't just lay in the game's impressive depth and complexity, but MHW's ability to immerse you so deeply in this "New World". As I mentioned earlier, Monster Hunter World helped remind me of why I even started gaming in the first place - adventure. I think now more than ever it's so easy to get wrapped up in eSports, competitive gaming and "being the best" that sometimes we can forget one of the most important aspects of gaming; immersion. The world of Monster Hunter World (heh) is one that I feel like I can't get enough of, and I'm constantly learning and growing as a player that resides in it. Monster Hunter World is an all consuming adventure, and no amount of writing can do justice to the thrill of a successful hunt, and the sting of a failure, especially when playing with a group of friends. Capcom has not only created the most audacious Monster Hunter title to date, but did so in a way that the established Monster Hunter fandom and newcomers alike can enjoy together. It's funny to say that in late February I already have a strong bid for game of the year, but that's how strongly I feel about Capcom's masterpiece. I'd strongly recommend giving Monster Hunter World a shot, regardless of how you feel about the past entries in the series. We've got the game loaded up on every PlayStation right here in the shop, so come on down and give it a shot!  

Mandatory fish picture.

Or should I say it has ruined. I swear I'm taking a break after I grind out a few more pieces for my new armor set and learn all the ranged weapons. The last Monster Hunter game I played this heavily was Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Nintendo 3DS which was quite a few years ago.This is my first Monster Hunter with online multiplayer and I was super excited to finally run missions with hunters from around the world! Outside of my brother, this was also the first time I was able to play Monster Hunter with friends and it's been quite the experience!



Monster Hunter World is a really pretty game! I've been so used to my Monster Hunter games looking like something from the PS2 era that I was pleasantly surprised at how the game looks in MHW! The screenshot above is from the TITLE SCREEN! I believe the title screen changes based on the last area you quested in, which happens to be based off my favorite area(visually) in the game. Speaking of the world, there's a chance for two large size monsters to get into a turf war where they start fighting each other. It's treated as a special event where the two monster ignore any hunters and begin a special sequence fighting each other. I really appreciate how alive the ares feel watching the monsters,small animals and even insects interact with one another!
Low Rank Space Cat armor!!

I want to take a moment to appreciate some of the quality of life changes I've noticed since my playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. First and foremost, you can swap equipment,manage items and EAT MEALS while in camp while you're out on quests/expeditions.  I forgot the best part, you can fast travel to your campsites as long as you aren't targeted by a monster or in combat! Perfect for times where you forgot to eat for the food buffs or brought fire weak armor against a lava monster. Have I mentioned you have an area wide map that lists what monsters are in which zones,what gathering nodes you can find and even the ability to sort through all that information? I'm so happy I don't need my laptop to find where bonepiles or mining nodes are in a given area. Second, you no longer have to craft separate armors for melee and ranged weapons! This made learning ranged weapons easier because I no longer had to craft a decent armor set before I could practice using it out in quests. Perhaps the largest change I noticed what how items work. Before, your bag space was where you held usable items, mined ore and monster parts. In Monster Hunter World, you have separate space for monster/ores/gathering materials and usable items. Item management was a serious issue!

Even though I sunk so many hours into the game already I can't wait to continue the hunt. I want to put my playtime to good use and make a beginner's guide but I had so much fun exploring and learning everything in game.That's it for now, here's a picture of what weapons I've been using in my ~120 hours of playtime. I'm serious about learning a ranged weapon! I've taken a liking to the bow!!



After 3 years in the arcades in Japan and a closed & open beta, the newest installment of the Dissidia series has been released. NT takes a new approach by introducing 3v3 combat as opposed to 1v1 in the past two entries on PSP.

Take note that this game is pure fan service. Giving you the ability to square up characters from the Final Fantasy Universe against each other. Does it work well though?

Characters
Each game in the mainline series has one representative along with a few special guests:

Final Fantasy I: Warrior of Light & Garland
Final Fantasy II: Firion & The Emperor
Final Fantasy III: Onion Knight & Cloud of Darkness
Final Fantasy IV: Cecil, Kain & Golbez
Final Fantasy V: Bartz & Exdeath
Final Fantasy VI: Terra & Kefka
Final Fantasy VII: Cloud & Sephiroth
Final Fantasy VIII: Squall & Ultimecia
Final Fantasy IX: Zidane & Kuja
Final Fantasy X: Tidus & Jecht
Final Fantasy XI: Shantotto
Final Fantasy XII: Vaan
Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning
Final Fantasy XIV: Y'shtola
Final Fantasy XV: Noctis
Final Fantasy Tactics: Ramza
Final Fantasy Type-0: Ace

That is partial of the selection screen

It's a really nice character selection. I was hoping for more but 28 it will make due. With 6 more characters slotted as DLC (with no announcements of who as of yet). And developers have been on record supposedly saying they were aiming for 50 with all past Dissidia characters available for play. I'm hoping to see a lot of lasting replay value to this title. Especially with the target of an eSports approach.

The stages are very well designed too! With areas spanning from all fifteen mainline titles it's cool to have a fight with all the different characters in places like Midgar or Alexandria. Adds to that sweet fan service.

Battle System

NT's battle system was completely revamped from scratch, with a few elements of the past games staying intact. Characters will be divided between four classes: Vanguards (Power), Assassins (Agility), Marksmen (Ranged), and Specialists (Trait-Based). The mechanics in Dissidia are vastly different in comparison to other fighting games. There are two different attacks; Bravery and HP. When performing Bravery attacks, your bravery level goes up and when your opponents drops to zero, a Bravery Break will occur. Giving you a Bravery boost, which then you will use your HP attack to completely drain your enemy of their health. The controls are easy to get a hang of and its very fun to master. Each face button corresponds to certain attacks. Combining down/up/left/right/neutral & circle will each do different attacks both on ground and air.


Story Mode

Sadly, the story mode lacking. Massively. You progress by playing games online and leveling up. Each level giving you two "Memoria" for you to use to unlock paths in the story, much like a sphere grid. There are XX amount of nodes to unlock which consist of mostly cut-scenes and a few battles. It feels like the Story was rushed to meet deadlines and to at least say "Hey, but we made a single-player mode for you!" The regular battles were very easy. Luckily a few summon battles presented a challenge. Yes, there are summon battles. You fight Ifrit, Shiva, Odin, Leviathan, Ramuh, Bahamut and Alexander. The hardest ones for me being Ramuh and Alexander. Then comes the last battle. You fight the 'Planesgorger" Shinyru. A being that is threatening the existence of the planet you are on. It thrives from battle. So you and the villains conduct a huge battle to make the beast show itself. Once it does, it begins the final battle. You choose your team and the worst boss fight I've had in awhile starts. Shinyru, like the rest of the Story Mode, lacks as a final boss. Though he was pretty difficult, I switched to Bartz and ended up winning easily after spamming his attacks. Once Shinyru is defeated to watch a quick cut-scene and it's over. All that's left is "Hard Mode" which is just fighting the Summons and Shinryu again on a higher difficulty. Again, it was severely lacking and it felt like a waste of time.

Main Menu layout

Online

So since this is a primarily online-focused game, I figured I'd make a section dedicated to it. Most of the time the online works beautifully. Like a fighting game should. Then there are times when it doesn't work. Which is incredibly frustrating since it happens every 4 matches or so. Aside from that glaring issue everything about this game works very well and is well balanced (to an extent). For example if you're a Vanguard like Cloud and you're trying to square off against a marksman like Shantotto or Ace, you're going to have quite some trouble engaging thanks to their ranged attacks. Where as if you were to go against an Assassin or another Vanguard it would be a more accessible match-up. Characters can be leveled up to 10 and with every few levels granting another HP attack for you to equip. When jumping online if you're going against a level 10 character you're most likely going to have trouble due to those HP attacks having some crazy range. While you cant attribute some of those issues to skill, some attacks are absolutely ridiculous and could hinder your experience in this competitive game.

One of the bigger issues in my opinion is the rewards. The costumes, icons, and weapons are nice especially when there are no microtransactions involved. But when I get the treasure it still feels like I didn't get anything out of it. It's stuffed with icons and I feel there should be more weapon/costume options considering how many weapons are available in each Final Fantasy game. Plus the online rewards are nothing compared to playing the offline modes. You can spam the Core Battles and get more Gil and EXP than playing online. A full round of Offline Core Battles gets you (depending on skill level) 10-30 times the amount of Gil you'd get playing online. There is no real incentive to playing online if you don't get better rewards on Online play.

Some sweet treasure right here.

Another problem is the summon animations. Yes, it's cool to see once or twice but not having to see them once or twice a game. Why not just nullify the animation when it comes to online play? It stops the flow of the game completely. Having it stop for the character summoning the say whatever is fine to make it aware to everyone that a summon has occurred. But there is no reason to play the whole summon animation.

Yeah, I'm pretty good with Cloud.

Verdict

While I think this game is pretty solid, the people that have fond memories of the PSP titles may look at Dissidia NT with disdain. I feel it would be difficult to enjoy the game due to the different paths Square-Enix and Team Ninja took. I do have quite a bit of fun playing it but I definitely burned myself on it pretty hard. I wish there was more single player content as well. What we got in this game is honestly garbage. If you are living in an area that doesn't have online or if you just don't have it the game is pretty pointless. Unless you are a BIG fan of Final Fantasy and can get past the flaws in this or are just looking for a competitive game I would recommend it. If not I wouldn't pick it up. It's online focus has it's give and take because of it. I really hope this game can take off for the better because if not I feel like we won't see another Dissidia.




As many of you may know, last week LAN Mob took a short hiatus and was closed Monday to Monday. The break was for a lot of reasons which Bossman has documented in the last few blog posts! The week off was excellent, and I'm happy to be back at the shop with some new energy and focus. I spent my week off spending some much needed time with the people I care about, playing Monster Hunter, regaining my League of Legends chops and being outdoors as much as possible. An extra bonus of the vacation was being able to spend some time relaxing and watching my favorite non-eSports Twitch channels, which is something I feel like I haven't been able to do in a long time. I generally don't spend a ton of time on Twitch outside of eSports/Dev Diaries but there are definitely a few Twitch streamers I genuinely enjoy tuning into; here's a few!


CohhCarnage

So I went into this post intending to not order these streamers, but to be completely honest CohhCarnage is my favorite streamer of all time. As you can tell from his introduction video, Cohh is a variety streamer with a really important cornerstone built on good vibes and keeping the channel focused on what's important - having fun playing video games. I've watched Cohh play through a whole mess of games, my favorites being Dishonored, Bioshock, Fallout and just recently Divinity: Original Sin 2. Cohh's love of RPGs is similar to my own, so it's easy to get invested in his runs, as long as they may be. It's also worth mentioning that Cohh's streams have a pretty impressive production quality, certainly unlike anything I've ever seen. I may not watch him as much as I'd like anymore, but he'll always have my support via sub. Check out his channel here, I'm sure you'll find something to love, this guy's love of community is pretty unparrallaled.


Scarra
This is my favorite Scarra picture, I don't care.

To anyone who may be familiar with League of Legends eSports, Scarra is a pretty well known name. Scarra's rise to popularity is probably mostly attributed to his time on Team Dignitas as their midlaner, followed by his time coaching Dignitas and CLG. Scarra's stream usually consists of playing a whole lot of League with various people, but his incredible game knowledge and ability to vocalize thought processes, win conditions and understanding of the meta is what makes him such a stand out guy. To put it simply, Scarra has an immense wealth of knowledge and understanding of League of Legends and a mindset to go along with it. I can't help but feel like I'm learning a ton whenever I sit down and watch Scarra play some games; it helps he's a hilarious guy too! Check out his channel here and learn a thing or two!


Maximilian Dood
Max at EVO 2017!

Similar to Scarra's innate ability to teach, Maximilian Dood is incredibly knowledgeable on all things fighting games and is quite good at teaching to the online community. Max may be more known for his YouTube Channel but his Twitch channel is incredibly active, usually every day. Typically his content is completely focused around fighting games, but he occasionally plays other games, especially Capcom titles. Max is well known in the FGC, regardless how people may feel about him, this guy has a lot of pull in the community that he loves so much. This guy's resume is jam packed with various YouTube series with insane viewership, various guest star appearances in other channels, commentator at EVO and even a host for the Killer Instict World Cup. I don't watch a lot of YouTube honestly, but whenever I see Max streaming I try to tune in and I usually learn something about some fighting game, and have a few laughs. Check out his channel here!

To seasoned FGC guys, this video may seem so pointless, but Max's delivery is incredibly easy to understand and never belittles newer players. His content is a great way for players to feel comfortable learning new tech.


NorthernLion

Ahhh NorthernLion. Ryan Letourneau, aka "Northern Lion" is first a foremost a YouTuber with a love of independent games. If you're not a fan of NL but have heard of him before, it's likely due to Binding of Isaac, which is what he's most known for. NorthernLion's presence on Twitch is usually focused around the "NorthernLion Live Super Show" or NLSS. Every single Monday, Wednesday and Thursday NL and various other YouTube/Twitch personalities such as RockLeeSmile, JSmithOTI, Ohmwrecker and AlpacaPatrol cast the show together. The NLSS is simply just playing games, discussing gaming related news and interacting with fans but thanks to NL's charismatic nature, I look forward to watch the NLSS whenever I get the chance. Last week I was able to tune in to almost all 3 of them! Check out NL's Twitch channel here!


LAN Mob

It's time to shill! In all seriousness, regardless of my own presence at Rome's LAN Center, I'd tune in regardless, simply to see what gaming events are going on in our own city. Our channel is relatively simple but we do our best to broadcast the various events we throw around the shop. We got our start streaming our weekly Smash events but have since started streaming various tournaments such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, Overwatch and various fighting games. We've been able to accommodate members of the LAN Mob community on the channel as well, whether it be playing competitive games or streaming some more random games such as Slay the Spire or Divinity. Tune in this upcoming Sunday for our Dragonball FighterZ event, on top of upcoming Zehn Masters events and various other streams! Drop us a follow at our channel right here! Thanks for reading everyone! Who are your favorite Twitch streamers and why? Let us know in the comments!  



We recently took a one week hiatus from the business, closing up early Super Bowl Sunday and - with the exception of Thursday Night Fights - keeping the doors closed for 1 week straight. There were varying reasons for this, including some fatigue and the fact that the guys have honestly never had a vacation from the place in almost 2 & 1/2 years. I myself was tired mentally in my approach to the business and our efforts. It has been a lot in just a few months and I thought tapping the brakes might help.

Killing Social Media to Let the Subconcious Work


Meditation is a practice I turn to when my mind gets in a bad place, and it usually helps me to flush out my head and refocus on what’s important. I practice a form of mindful meditation where I close my eyes and let my thoughts come to me, not making an effort to force these thoughts out but recognizing them while continually refocusing on my breathing. It’s amazing what thoughts will come through and how much better I feel when I can reach a state of calm in my mind. This works well for a while, but when you’re constantly on the go day to day and never have a break even meditation can not fully keep up with everything going on. A vacation in contrast allows a step away from everything, a chance for the subconcious mind to crank away on all those problems that have been grinding at us and reach some conclusions.

Myself and the rest of the staff have become heavy users of social media to support the business, and not just our internal communications day to day, but also an increasing daily presence on our Discord, an Instagram, three Facebook pages, five Facebook groups, two Twitter accounts and a Twitch. These are sometimes so busy that I can sit and flip from app to app and have a constant flow of communications revolving around the business that never seems to end. While this is a great thing, it can also be exhausting and a source of stress even after we’ve left our shifts behind and are at home with family or out with friends.

One thing I asked of the staff this week was to disable/remove certain apps from our phones for the duration of the week. This was really the only way we could make a clean break from the busy-ness of LAN Mob and spend some times focusing on our own lives. I myself dumped Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and Basecamp for the week. I also limited my Discord for the majority of the week. Now that we’re back it’s clear to me that I need to keep Facebook, Messenger and Twitter off my phone due to the distraction that causes me daily, and agree to only use those platforms when I’m at LAN Mob.

The real value in the week though was all of us reconvening on Sunday afternoon to talk through the entire business A-Z. What’s working, what’s not, what’s stressful, what’s rewarding, and how can we better shape the business towards where we want to take it 1, 3, 5 years from now? This led to a great 3 hour discussion just prior to us recording the AMA podcast last night, and we were able to make some good decisions on how we can improve LAN Mob. I highlighted each of the major decisions below in bold to make the rest of this blog a bit easier to read for just the high level takeaways.

By the way: if you haven’t already listened to our AMA podcast recording yesterday you can give it a listen here:

Lock-ins


The Saturday night lock-in has always been a big hit for us, an event we’ve even sold out every seat before, and is an important factor in keeping our doors open. More recently we’ve experienced some softness with the lock-in attendance, frequently barely breaking the minimum number of lock-ins needed to run the event. We’ve been trying different things including running tournaments, not running tournaments, planning special events around releases, discounted pricing for consoles & more.

A problem that we became aware of at the last lock-in was some unfriendliness coming from various patrons. LAN Mob isn’t a huge space, so it’s important everyone get along to some degree and act appropriately towards one another. We are a social space and the event is social in nature, so when people are making other’s experience unenjoyable that’s a problem. At the end of the day everyone is there to game, so just play, and if you don’t want to play with others it’s fine to play by yourself or with your own group, but just don’t be an a-hole about it. Decision 1: we’re handing out some lock-in bans for the month of February, and will be more proactive in kicking people from lock-ins who are making it unenjoyable for others.

We also spent some time discussing what our true customer demographic is for the lock-ins, and how we can better serve them. When we think back to all the past lock-ins that saw 75% utilization of the shop these were often packed with kids 13-16 years old. We have had patrons both younger and older than that, but that’s really the ages the lock-ins have been popular with. As we’ve grown as a business some of these customers have aged out, some even graduating high school (or about to), and for whatever reason the lock-in hasn’t been able to stick with the new crowd of teens. If you’ve been to a lock-in or have any feedback on our lock-ins, we would definitely like to hear from you. Decision 2: changing the console discount to a school discount instead - a valid student ID for junior/senior high school will give you a 10% discount to the lock-in ($22.50).

Rome Revolution eSports


We launched this new brand back in November to coincide with Zehn Masters 1, and have fielded teams for Overwatch, League of Legends, and are just starting out to build a PubG team. We’re also offering as many as twelve sponsorship pools tied to our Thursday Night Fight events for various fighting games. It’s been a lot happening in a short period of time so tapping the brakes was a great help for us to clear our thinking on where we’re at and where we need to head with our teams.

We want to be clear - long-term we want these to be finely tuned eSports teams with sponsorships, regular tournaments, salaries and potentially even our own gaming houses. But we’re living in the reality of right now, and working with what we have to grow to that point. Our players vary where they’re at skillwise, but all are in need of major improvements to get to the mountaintop that is the professional level. That only comes through time and hard work, and that work is all going to come through the Discord discussions, practice nights at the shop, and personal effort between practices.

I’ll start off with pricing. During Zehn 1 we were sometimes doing 2-3 practices a week, and dropped a special $5 night pass to help alleviate from a financial standpoint. That pricing has stuck around even after Zehn 1, and given all of the extra value we’re adding for the night from structure to comms to video reviews and coaching, it just doesn’t make sense for us to charge less for the night while providing all that extra value. Decision 3: we’re returning to our standard pricing on all nights including practice nights; VIP discounts can be applied.

Along those same lines, we’re going to start pushing the teams to be a bit more self-sufficient. We’ll still have a coach along to guide you on that practice night, but everyone needs to be able to understand the team, communicate, and act as an individual contributor. Individuals also need to learn to rely less on their coach and rely more on each other. The Discord channels are set up to allow this but we have way too many one-on-one conversations being funneled between some team members and their coaches. I respect what Mike and Cody have accomplished and they’ve proven the coaches time is valuable, and their services should not be squandered for free. Decision 4: outside of practice nights, League and Overwatch individual one-on-one coaching can be purchased at the rate of $20 an hour.

Next is structure. We’ve applied some loose structure to how we operate the practice nights, and I’m comfortable leaving it up to the individual coaches on how they wish to structure each night. The major change here is coming to the League practice night structure. Decision 5: League practice night begins officially at 7 pm with duos from 7-8 pm, flex from 8-9:30 pm, and video review from 9:30-10 pm.

Lastly is our agreements between the players and the organization. Long-term we want you all to succeed as players and to help us grow the organization to a profitable venture for all of us, so we have expectations of how our players should behave and what the expectations are both ways. We’re offering structured & coached practice nights, media exposure, & entry into future tournaments as the Rome Revolution eSports team. In exchange we’re asking for a certain level of commitment from each of you - basically just showing up and playing your game. But we agreed it’s time to get some of this in writing. Decision 6: if you’re on one of our teams currently, we’ll be looking for you to sign an agreement outlining the expectations both ways.

Coming Soon


There was quite a bit more discussed last night and more decisions made, but many of these more focused on how we run the shop day to day. In other news - we have a lot of announcements pending finalization - I’m hoping we can get them out this week, but long story short we have more tournaments on the way for everyone.

Thank you to everyone for giving us a week to stop and refocus and we look forward to seeing you back at the shop soon! Also don’t forget our DBZ event this Sunday with a $100 pot bonus! Tournament begins around 1 pm.

LAN Mob is taking a quick break from our busy 7-day a week schedule! We'll be closing up the shop Monday February 5th, re-opening on Monday February 12th. On Thursday February 8th we will keep open hours between 6 pm and 10 pm for our Thursday Night Fight Nights - $10 at the door.

The reason for the vacation is we haven't really had a pause in the 29 months of operating, and the staff really deserves a break to take it easy. Outside of being absent from the shop you may notice a reduced social media presence as well.

We are doing an AMA on Sunday February 11th, if you would like to leave a question for us with your name (or anonymous) fill out the form here:


We appreciate everyone's business and patience for the week!  See you again next Monday!

- LAN Mob Staff
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