Getting a good deal from your Xbox One

I recently purchased an Xbox One X, mostly because it is supposed to be the most powerful console in the world (at the time of writing) and also because I thought the Xbox Live Gold deals seemed pretty good. As you might have already figured, I haven’t owned an Xbox before. Neither have I owned any other console for that matter. So I suppose I feel a little satisfaction at getting the most powerful console as my first console.

Well anyway, as I said I really liked the Xbox Gold deals. The part that I thought was really good was that you could play Xbox 360 games on an Xbox One. Also, the fact that I’d be getting 4 games a month with Gold. Little did I know that I had to download the Xbox 360 games on a Xbox 360! So when my subscription started, I was able to download the two Xbox One games but not the two Xbox 360 games. I really don’t know the point of this, but yeah it’s nothing short of silly.

I somehow got the intuition to contact customer support and ask them about this. Thankfully, I got a great response and a solution to my queries. Apparently, you can redeem the two other Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One by physically signing in on an Xbox 360 and then downloading them. Luckily for me, there was an Xbox 360 at my workplace and the rest was easy. But honestly, I searched high and low for this answer and I didn’t find anything that would help. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place. The Xbox at my workplace is 4Gb and the game was 12Gb, so I had to plug in an external drive. The download to the drive didn’t start however, but the game did get added to my list of games (the purchase was successful). So as long as the space on the drive is more than that of the game, you can purchase it.

Contrast ~ An Amazing Puzzle Game

Recently, I completed this game called Contrast. Not sure how popular it is, but if you had heard of it before, I suppose it is famous!

You play as Dawn. Who is a Ghost? I do not know, but I didn’t ask myself such questions while playing because the puzzles and the graphics in general were really captivating. It was created in the Unreal engine. It has a good replay value too, but after a while. I mean the puzzles can get so hard at times that… Whew, the satisfaction you get from completing them is beyond GODLIKE! So yeah, it’s mainly a puzzle game with the puzzles getting increasingly complex as the game goes on. It even has a really good story and absolutely fantastic ambient lighting!

For some puzzles you need to find luminaries. It’s usually easy to do so, because they are in easily accessible places, you just have to look around a bit. But I think finding all of them in a level can be a little difficult (because I couldn’t). It’s essentially an open world puzzle game. A small world however. But it’s still very chic. It’s always night time in the game. The entire gameplay time is not too much, maybe for experienced gamers it would take 5-6 hours. Though a lot could be said about the puzzles. Some of them are outright challenging and require you to use a whole lot of creativity in order to solve them. Others require you to have good control over your button pressing since there is a lot of jumping around and dashing through the shadows involved. I would say that it requires a crazy amount of thinking because the developers were super creative in making this masterpiece. So if you are not ready for that, don’t buy this. But anyway, if you think your brain needs a little intelligent stimulation, this is the game for you. Don’t worry, the difficulty of the puzzles increases progressively. And I’m sure people online would have posted walkthroughs for them in case you need them.

Highly recommended, 10/10 would love to play it again!

Doki Doki Literature Club ~ The Review

This was my first VN, and I’ve just played one ending till now. Went with my instincts 😀

But I thought it would be good to share a few thoughts about how my first ever VN was. To be frank, this was an quite extraordinary VN (I keep saying VM in my head lol) even for those who are well versed in playing VNs. So, first off I’ll tell you how I found out about this game. Through Twitter and Reddit mostly. Saw a couple of posts relating to it, and especially one which was a picture from Twitch that showed that DDLC had more viewers than DotA 2 (I find that surprising no more, sorry DotA folks!). Well, anyway it just took one search to find that game on Steam and add it to my library. I hadn’t played it for a week or so, it was just sitting idly in my library. But I have this friend who was playing it and recommended it to me. So I was like, “Okay, let’s give it a shot.”

I won’t give away any spoilers other than the fact that it’s a psychological horror game (I didn’t know that when I started playing). Take the warning on the loading screen seriously if you are a sensitive person. Jokes aside, the story is about four cute girls and is essentially a dating sim. You are supposed to understand the personalities of all the girls and pick words that match their personality. Based on the highest number of words you pick for the girl that you want, the story changes and takes different routes.

It was definitely more fun than what it was worth (it’s free). I am going to support the developer (Team Salvato) for this amazing game. From a reviewer’s point of view, it could be said that the narration and dialogues were very well written. Just enjoy it! It’s worth playing, and recommending to friends 🙂

Get out of the trench!

It’s not a surprise that such a thing actually exists, and even more so that the internet has come up with a taxonomy just to classify it. Frankly speaking, the Internet has hit the nail on the head with this one, the reason behind which I shall explain to you shortly. The infamous MMR trench in Dota 2 is the MMR below 1000 and is notoriously difficult to get out of simply because the skill level of the players in that zone is really, really low. Why is it so low? I can speak for myself and say that, I had pretty much no gaming experience other than a few bouts of osu! from time to time which does not help much in the vast and versatile world of gaming. Another reason is that lots of people who are playing Dota 2 for the first time and calibrate once they reach the required level to play ranked matches usually aren’t good enough to get past 1000 MMR. As for myself, I calibrated at around 650 MMR. Which isn’t anything special. But what is special is that, at one point in time, I was down to 1 MMR! I had to climb the entire ranked ladder to get to 1000, which is my MMR now. But the biggest and exuberant achievement of all is that, I made all the MMR playing support!! Take that bitches!

Here’s the story of my Road to 1K

I started out by analyzing the general picks of the lower MMR brackets. They mostly pick carry heroes, that’s really no huge surprise because once they are six-slotted they can get out of control. Everyone likes RAMPAGES. Even supports (but let’s get real now). PA, LC, DK, CK, Riki, Sniper and even a few bouts of Axe and BB are prevalent at the lowest of the low MMR (0 – 400). You really can’t do much other than hope that you get a good team and try your best to win. I spammed Vengeful Spirit in that MMR range, and I even hit 100 games with her! VS can be a really good hero who can transition to carry role depending on how the game goes. We had to win the laning phase, and the game was pretty much ours. This fact is true throughout the low MMR range. Get a medallion, with stun and right click to win the lane. So, spamming heroes is actually a good thing. Don’t think too much, find a hero that you like to play, or a hero that suits your style of playing and start winning games. Don’t feel that you are inferior to others by having a smaller hero pool. I will explain to you later why.

One of the obvious things in the lower MMR brackets is that everyone plays carry role. So, I chose to play support. Well, at least for the first half part of the game. Once I got high around 400 – 450 MMR, I got stuck. Spamming VS no longer worked. My play style did not suit the changing skill of the players. As a tribute to my winning strategy of spamming heroes, I realized that I had to analyze the game and chose a hero (to spam) which better suited this bracket.

Jakiro was it! It was exactly the kind of hero that I had been looking for! THD or Two Headed Dragon is the alias given to him. He is the only hero who has 4/4 AoE active abilities (Underlord is similar but has one passive)! Isn’t that awesome! I knew I had to continue to play support, because the rest of the team would anyway pick cores and there would be farm deprivation. Basically, in every game my job was to make sure my carries had the best game of their lives. But when I started playing Jakiro, I went for the lane winning harass build, maxing out E. My current build isn’t the same, since my play style has changed a whole lot from that time. THD has a AoE stun, AoE attack slow and tower push, an AoE slow with DPS and an AoE DPS ultimate. In addition to that, I always made a Veil of Discord and Euls (which proved incredibly useful to dodge attacks like sniper’s ult). He was simply the perfect hero and won me another 400 – 450 MMR, till my MMR was around 800 – 850.

Then I faced the same problem that I had faced with VS, a saturation where I couldn’t win any more MMR. Once I was watching Artour’s stream when I heard him say the enemy team had the 2 most cancerous heroes in dota. Indeed, one of them was Treant Protector, a strangely good support. He hadn’t been played much (due to the fact that he’s a “shitty hero”, not my words, mind you). I played a couple of Normal games with him, and immediately realized the latent potential. So that was it, I became a hard support in all my games, I played in safe lane healing all the heroes on the other lanes. But towards the end of my pursuit to 1K, I just pulled creeps and gave my safe lane carry a solo lane while healing them up. I maxed out E and W although that’s not the build pro players use (but it certainly paired well with this MMR bracket). I seldom reached level 25, but the talent at that level just takes Treant to the next level. It’s so good that I have seriously considered building Midas on him. He gets an additional 5 stacks of E. All your teammates will instantly become unkillable. I went Arcane to Medallion to Solar Crest to Guardian Greaves, and by then we had won the game already!

Why should you spam heroes?

It’s actually a good question, much debatable among dota players. Some would say, play different heroes so your versatility would eventually pay off when picking a counter for the enemy team. Or simply that playing just one hero every time can become boring. It doesn’t, once you start raking your MMR like a popcorn maker makes popcorn! You want to win! Don’t you? So focus on winning. Versatility comes later, at least in my books. Just master a couple of heroes first. Learn to use items, be versatile with items and leveling up your abilities and learn from those. Win some MMR, practice other heroes at that bracket, then win some more. That’s how you can rise. Playing with people who are better than you will make you better, and dota is no exception to that rule.

One other thing that I had forgotten to add before is the fact that timings can play an incredibly important role in you winning ranked matches. By timings, I don’t mean your reaction speed but the time at which you play. If you look at the stats, you will see that the highest population of players exist in the 3K MMR range. Surprising, right? As a 1K player, reaching there seems like some dream! How did they even grind for so many countless number of hours? Well, that’s a question for some other day. As I was saying, the population is highest not in the < 1K range at all! In fact, it is very low in there. Which means that there is a high chance that the matchmaking will result in you having a bad team. At the end of the day, your chances of winning a game also depend on the kind of team that you get.

At least, in the region that I play in (SEA), I have observed that both my team and the enemy team get good players when I play between a certain time range. So now, I only play during that time and not so surprisingly enough, it has won me a hell of a lot games! It’s not the matchmaking fault by all means that you get bad teammates. If there simply aren’t good players around when you match make how can you expect the MM to be so good? You really can’t. This is something that’s out of your control as well as Valve’s control. But you can do something about this, how about converting LoL players into Dota 2 players? Ahahaha…