Oh, you want to hear more about Origins? Come in, and know me better man.
by, 06-27-2016 at 07:27 PM (1802 Views)
I'd like to stick to mostly positive things in this post, however, I will try to address some of my concerns with what I've experienced at US Nats, and Worlds in hopes that maybe someone will see this and try to improve the over all experience.
Not sure how much I should go into personal things with this, but hey, everyone likes a happy ending. After much anticipation, Kelly and I finally got our chance to meet, it's been over a year in the making and he finally won me over, completely <3. So that last short, 45 minute airplane ride from Toronto to Ohio was one of the most nerve wracking experiences I'd ever been through. I landed and had a bunch of messages waiting for me, I was texing him the whole way through the airport, feeling like I was going to barf. I even had to make a pit stop in the washroom to compose myself. Coming down the escalator to the baggage area, where he was waiting, felt like this rom-com gone wrong. I was sure I was going to trip and fall on my face going down, or he would decide that after all the fuss, I wasn't what he'd want, then it would be awkward. But all worries aside, everything went great in that department, and shockingly, was the most nervous I had felt the entire weekend. Now that I got that mushy part out of the way, and if I haven't lost you yet. I'll move on to the actual gaming part of my trip.
After dropping off our baggage at the hotel, Jacob picked us up with his wife and we all drove down there to grab our badge, we knew it would be a mess the next morning. I haven't seen it rain that hard in I don't even know how long, and I live in a rain forest. The street started to flood as we walked up to the convention center. Thankfully it was only a quick stay and not a day full of gaming with wet shoes.
We got to the convention center at about 8 PM and there was virtually no lineup for badge pick up. A small line for event registration (I totally derped and forgot I had to register Nats, but more on that later) Kelly went in that line up to register for Nats as well as the Worlds Qualifier the next day. The staff were pleasant and helpful, can't complain about them one bit. While Kelly and Jacob registered for events, I headed into the main hall to meet up with some of my friends I'd been waiting to meet for a long time.
First group of people I ran into were Isaac, Jason and Gene. Seriously some of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. So friendly and welcoming. Isaac and I were both part of the PDC and a play test group before all the WKOs. We've had the opportunity to chat a lot and get to know each other, so it was amazing to be able to finally put a face to him. He was one of my favourite people going in, and still one of my favourite people when I left. (Seriously, you're in like everyone one of my photos) We played a few games that night with their kids (who are also amazing) and then headed back to the hotel.
I kept wavering back and forth between playing my WKO team, substituting out Hulk for Elf Thief, or playing a version of a Bard fabricate team. In the end, I went with my team. I felt comfortable with it, and wanted that for my first day. I felt confident that I would do well, and was hoping for the best, like everyone else I'm sure.
Arriving there that morning, I was excited, happy, jovial, nervous, ecstatic, pretty much all the good stuff you want from going to an event of this calibre. Not to mention I got to meet a good friend of mine Stuart. He was one of the first people I ever played Dice Masters with online, and also a member of the PDC. I can't say enough good things about this man. He is a joy to be around, and such a gift to the dice masters community. If you haven't gotten the chance, get to know him, your life will be better because of it. I felt like I did as a kid going back to school again after a long summer break and getting to see my friends. I couldn't contain my excitement. Though that excitement was short lived.
My performance at Nats was decent, 5th overall. I say decent because of a few things, and not to take away from my skill as a player, or anyone elses. But as I'm sure everyone has heard by now, the majority of games came down to who went first. Of the 23 games played in US Nats, 21 of them were won by who went first. I was lucky that day, and went first my 4 first games, my last two competitors and I decided to take IDs for our last two games. For a couple reason, 1, we barely got any time to eat had we actually played. After Kelly was done playing his last round before the cut, he had about 15 minutes to grab food. I realize they had a schedule to keep, but 15 minutes of break when you play all day long is hardly acceptable. Secondly, even had I lost my last two games, I would have made the cut, so by taking a draw, I wasn't taking a place away from anyone else. I placed top 1-2 for the top 8 cut.
Feeling good about my standings after leaving, I was matched up with JT again, we played each other in Swiss earlier that day. Let me just start by saying this. It was a total pleasure being able to play JT in person. He is one of the most amazing people I've met, so nice and friendly, not a mean bone in his body. We had played once before on Hangouts, but it just isn't quite the same without the face to face interaction. We rolled for sidekicks, and JT went first, he easily took me in those rounds and I was eliminated. Out of everyone that could have kicked me out of the running, I'm glad that it was either JT or Stuart.
I wanted to be angry with myself for not playing better, I wanted to be angry for my rolls, for a million reasons. But at the end of the day, there wasn't a single thing I could have done that would have saved me those games. Once I came to that realization, a weight was lifted off my shoulders for Worlds, and it wasn't because I didn't care about the game, or winning, believe me, I care a whole lot, more than most, which is why I'm so passionate about this game. But I accepted the fact that my fate was mostly held in a coin flip. This brought relief, but also a great deal of sadness. The game had been reduced to a coin flip. I went to US Nats to play a game that I love, I spent close to a 1000 dollars of my own money to participate, and in the end, I don't think any of my games went longer than 5-10 mins, most of them closer to the 5 min mark. Except maybe one, with Anthony. I wanted so much more from my games, I wanted to feel like I earned my 5th spot, but the reality is that I didn't. I wasn't any better in those games than anyone else. I just lucked out and went first the majority of the day.
There were a few reasons first turn advantage was so apparent in most games. One, ramp... PXG has killed this game. Without PXG, the game slows down and gives the second player a chance to do something to protect themselves, or counter the things across from them. When I go second, and every little bit of possible ramp I could have on my turn two is stollen from me, but they have had a chance to ramp to full potential, not only are you going second, but you're now like 4 turns behind because everything you buy has to cycle through your bag, unlike your opponent, so they are even further ahead than you are.
In my local scene, I have a healthy ban list at my events, and we don't see these issues. Of course there will always be mistakes, and over powered cards, or card combinations the creators didn't anticipate, but Wizkids needs to take care of these issues before a farce of US Nats and Worlds happens again. How much do people have to scream and shout about broken cards before they get fixed. I don't know any CCG that doesn't have a healthy ban list, or have gone through mass erratas at some point to streamline wording or to nerf over powered cards.
I qualified for Worlds through my Nats performance and so I had the day off from Dice Masters on Friday. Thank god for that, I don't think I could have handled 3 days of those kinds of games. Leaving the hotel in the morning, I check my bag for my badge, saw a badge thinking it was mine. Turns out, it was Kellys and I left mine at the hotel. You'd think, hey, it's 2016, we live in a computerized world. They can probably just reprint it. UH no, they told me I would have had to pay for a whole new badge. So another 50 odd dollars. Thanks to the amazing Brian Le for stepping up and helping me. He drove me back to the hotel and I was able to grab my badge and make it back to the con. Believe me, that badge did not leave my purse the rest of the weekend hahaha.
After the morning shenanigans, I was able to play a bunch of games that I wanted to try, some that weren't released yet, I tried this adorable little game called Potion Party. It caught my interest right away because it was pretty, and had dice that looked like delicious Jolly Rancher Candies. The game was basic, fast, and fun. It involved rolling a series of red and blue dice to create start dust to then make a potion with. Each player was give a character card, and each had a special ability. Over all, it was a great filler game, something you can learn in a few minutes, and only 15 bucks! My good friend Brian also got a game called Dead Fellas awesome card game where you send out your zombie minions to wack other zombie minions, gangster style! I wish I had got that one, but will be picking it up as soon as I can find it.
I was also able to try our CodeNames Pictures. It's a great alternative to the regular CodeNames game if you are more visual and plays just as quickly. Other than that, we didn't have a whole lot of time that day as Kelly was playing in the Qualifier. One thing I do have to say that I was disappointed with was that the area to purchase was closed at 6 PM, even on the Friday and Saturday nights. Most of our events ran later than that, so it was almost impossible to be able to get in there if you were in some of the tournaments.
That evening we had some dinner, went back to the hotel and play tested a bit. This was the point that first turn advantage really sunk in. We played the vicious struggle team. Going first, there is nothing stopping it. It honestly left me speechless. There were so many combinations of damage causing globals that you could use. Almost any combination worked. Short of not being able to ramp at all, which does happen, it's awful. I went to bed thinking great... another day of coin flipping and getting ROLFSTOMPED going second.
My first match-up at worlds was against Remington, we flipped for it, and I went first. I apologized to him, and went at it like no ones business. I think I did something like 32 damage turn 3. This upset me, for the same reasons I stated before. But also because there was nothing to be done to stop it. I wanted more from my time there.
But that winning streak ended as quickly as it started. I went second every other game in that event, other than my 5th game, but by that point, I had already had 3 loses and was out of the running. Sadly, in one of my previous games, it should have ended in a tie. I was unaware that the games ended at 3 turns, not 5, and so we played to 5 turns, and I lost on my opponents last turn. That tie would have changed my standing a fair bit, and who knows how I would have placed after that. But that's my fault for not asking. I had never had a game go to time, so I didn't ever hear them say it was 3 turns, and maybe they did say it when our game went to time, but was paying attention to my game, and not the talking. Lesson learned for next time.
The other thing that struck me, and maybe this was because I had heard such amazing things about Nats and Worlds last year. But, we paid all this money, gave our entire weekend to play a game that we love, and there weren't even any participation prizes for players at Nats, or Worlds. Maybe they went a little too gungho last year, but to go from handing out premier event playmats, full art Tsarinas, Cables, and a bunch of other signed SRS, etc, to not even giving your Nats and Worlds players a participation Melinda May/Terry McGuiness, I wasn't impressed.
Despite all that... and I know it's a lot of "all that" the people running the dice masters events were AMAZING, every single one of the volunteers, and Wizkids employees.
The events were run really well, the fan appreciation event was informative, and they tried to accommodated everyone that they could, so I can't really fault them for anything game related, it's unfortunately just the current state of the competitive game. I have hopes that it will change.
But fortunately, because I didn't place well in Worlds, I was able to enjoy the con for the rest of the day and get in to the buying area to pick up a few things. I got Chicago Express for a whole 13$, a broken token insert and a bunch of promos. Kelly also managed to snag a full box of sleeves for 20 bucks. It's kinda amazing the deals you can find for next to nothing. It was a good haul!
Boy oh boy, the list of amazing people could go on forever, seriously, you guys are ALL amazing, and so cool to have people from all different parts of the world show up. Even though we had a few language barriers, the guys from Chile were so sweet and kind and we managed to get some chats in!
But I wanted to bring particular attention to two wonderful ladies that I met. Diane Mohsen and Kirsten Lunde (I was too drunk to get a selfie with her). Seriously, these women are beautiful, talented, and exceptional dice masters players and such a vital part of the Dice Masters community. You can see Diane's Origins review here.
I've had the pleasure of chatting with both of them throughout the weekend, and to Kirsten especially. You've been awesome to talk to, and shoot ideas/rulings back and forth on. I've never had a bad interaction with you, and am so grateful to have gotten to finally meet you. I hope that we see each other again soon, and maybe next time you can actually stay to play in the events :P
Over all my experience at the con was great. Had it not been for the amazing community, I probably couldn't have said that. They will likely be the reason I keep playing, and why I try to do so much to make this game better for our players. Because I love it, and I want others to love it too. I really do hope that for next year, they listen to what the community has to say, for a game that is barely 2 years old, it's got amazing potential. I look forward to seeing changes to the game, and hopefully everyone at Worlds again next year!