Monday, February 7, 2011

Swarm Arena Tournament, Other News

I want to apologize for the delay in posting about the tournament.  Unfortunately we've only had 6 people show interest in playing.  While this would be more than enough people for a fun LAN-party style evening, chances are it will be extremely difficult to arrange for all of us to be online and free in the same evening.

Given that there are so few people to play in Swarm Arena, I am no longer suddenly enlightened with ideas for strategy posts.  I'd be lying if I said that I could keep posting regularly.  However, given how much I have enjoyed writing about Swarm Arena and how many people have visited the Real Gaming Review, I plan on releasing a review for the strategy game Greed Corp, available on Steam, within the next week.  If there is some interest, I will blog about Greed Corp strategy as well.  For anyone interested, Greed is a turn-based strategy game where you destroy the land by harvesting from it.  This has some pretty interesting, different, and non-linear implications on the gameplay.  It's a good game, and it has a campaign worth playing.  I got it on sale, but I'm about 3/4 through the campaign and I've already got much more than the regular price of $10 out of it.

Company of Heroes Online is currently it its free Beta cycle, and it will be that way until March 31st.  There is a good chance I'll be playing more of it.  I missed the wave where CoH was popular, so now is my chance to learn and get some good competition for the next couple of months.  For those of you who don't know, CoH is the highest rated RTS of all time, and for good reason; it has fantastic strategic depth, excellent graphics (especially for 2007), and a great atmosphere.  It is likely that I will be posting about CoHO as well.

Lastly, I recommend visiting .  It currently redirects here, but soon it will be a different site with all currently existing content uploaded as well.  I plan on using it for many gaming purposes including news, finding other like-minded gamers, as well as a homepage for Clan RG (Real Gamers), a brand new idea for an open clan that anyone can join.  And, of course, I will be posting reviews and game strategy as a primary function.

Daniel Moniz

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Swarm: Arena #6 - Playing to Learn

Believe it or not, Swarm Arena is not the only game I play.  Indeed, I recently entered a Starcraft II tournament. It having been a long time since I've been in any sort of gaming tournament, the old feelings of excitement and nervousness are back! Given that I'm currently gauging interest in a tournament within the Swarm Arena community, I was inspired to write a post about 'sparring'.

Sparring is, as it sounds, practicing any game against an opponent. I think it's important that the match is competitive, or else it should be more accurately classified as "dicking around". Sparring is when we ask our friends to help us try out that new strategy, or perhaps to have a mock tornament best-of-5 match of some sort. This is when we're playing to learn.

This definition has some pretty profound consequences. I run into many gamers in multitudes of games who perform the same techniques/strategies over and over again and stunt their own learning.  We tend to brand these people with the pejorative term 'scrubs', but ultimately a scrub is only someone as above who also thinks they are competitive. Let's leave those fun-loving gamers alone and not brand them with mean names!

An extreme example of Pikaaa (Red) and myself (Green) playing to learn in an experimental fashion.

Playing To Learn

When we play to learn, we experiment with new techniques and play styles that we might not have otherwise discovered.  An excellent example is the following: two friends play against each other regularly.  Because neither of them can figure out shoot, they declare, "Circulate is better than Shoot."  If either of them would take the time to learn the physics - and through that the true potential - of the power, they would drastically increase their skill level.  Indeed, if either of them were to play a higher-level player on the ladder, they would be outmatched (to put it lightly).

Examples of more successful (and more interesting) plays, especially by Red (Pikaaa).

In actual fact, the first video contains some samples of the outcome of myself telling Pikaaa that we are going to play experimentally.  When then played as we normally do, and all kinds of experimentation still occurred!  The purpose of this experimentation is to find new techniques that we can perfect and use as standard moves on the ladder.  Leaving at that would be selling it short, however; discovering and trying new risky plays can leave your opponent guessing, especially at the vital beginning of each game.

I therefore finish this post with two recommendations:
1. Watch your replays!  Often I feel as though I played a game to the best of my abilities and saw no fault in my play.  Yet, when I watch replays, I see all kinds of room for improvement, especially on the tactical/strategic side.  Watching replays is useful and important in any strategy game.
2. Try new things on a regular basis to prevent falling into a rut.  Find what works, add it to your routine, and continue playing like Pandora on both Playful and Strong!


Unfortunately we are getting very little interest in a Swarm tournament, but I have thus far only advertised on this website.  If you have any interest whatsoever in playing, please vote Yes, and let's have a fun tournament!  I'll be taking Steam IDs on both this site and the official Steam forum within the next few days.