The Bone Fletcher : Fire Burns Eternal

“He’d been hunting down and battling the demon for many hours now and could barely recall what his beloved, once idyllic homelands looked like before hellfire had rained down upon them. Exhausted, he stumbled into the clearing in front of him and took a moment to gather his strength.  The air around him smelt of fiery death. The ground at his feet had begun to melt from the heat. Wiping ash from his eyes he peered through the smoke and flames searching for his target and spotted him limping towards the hellish gate from which he’d emerged. Knowing that the demon was momentarily unaware of his whereabouts he leapt into the nearest pool of tarry blood and, as he’d done many times before while hunting his prey, covered himself in the gooey substance. He was now completely shrouded in black and indistinguishable from the pool he was crouched in. Determined to prevent the demon from escaping to the sixth hell and returning with renewed power, the elvish archer took a shallow breath and nocked yet another arrow.

“”No match for me. This demon shall perish at the gates of hell from whence he came.”” the archer muttered to himself as he prepared to unleash it upon Maraxiform.

An unimaginable, searing heat surrounded him as the demon unleashed one more blast of hellfire as his arrow flew towards its monstrous target. The elf, seeing the immense balls of fire rushing towards him, knew that this time he would not be able to cheat death as he had done so many times before. The pool, in which he had sought shelter from the heat and the demon’s gaze, would now ensure his end. As the inferno drew closer he dropped his bow, fell to his knees and closed his eyes. He took solace in the fact that the last arrow would find its mark and take the beast down with him. Surrounded by the pools with which he was ever so familiar he found peace in the cool, liquid calm. It was over.

His eyes snapped open as his body writhed with pain. There were flames everywhere and the pain was bright, blinding, white and all-consuming. The world beyond the incredible pain made no sense. Why was he still here? How was this possible? He set his gaze on the distance where the demon had once been and saw Maraxiform’s corpse collapsed on the steps to the gate. The demon was dead but he was still alive. If anyone could call this state of pain and suffering alive. He glanced down and saw that all that remained of himself was bone. Where once there was astute and nimble Elven fingers there were now flaming and exposed bony hands. He flexed them and felt yet more pain course through him. Restless, he sought distraction in exploring what was left of the Hoven.

As he moved through the scorched landscape his exposed bones clinked together and it began to become clearer to him. If he was still alive despite being engulfed by hellfire it had to have been the result of magical intervention. Someone had granted him protection from death and left him in this damned state. But what good was that protection? He could no longer smell beyond the sulfurous flames engulfing him nor feel beyond the endless torment that the hellfire brought him. Where once he had flesh he had naught but bone. All that was dear to him was taken away. His home now a burnt shell of itself, all those he’d loved consumed by hellfire, and himself rendered into a horrifying creature that was continuously tortured by the constant, violent flames. He could feel the good burning away as hatred began to bubble up inside him.

WHY! After all he’d done. After saving the Hoven lands from further destruction. After chasing down and defeating Maraxiform rather than turning his back and running like so many others had done. Why did he deserve eternal suffering? The hatred bubbled up again. He tried to hold it back. To think of a solution for his awful fate. Perhaps he could seek the help of the king-mage Sutherex? But the injustice combined with the pain overwhelmed and consumed him.

Whoever played this cruel joke on him would have to pay. And in the meantime, the entire world would come to experience the incredible pain that he was stuck with for all eternity. Village by village they would burn with the same fire that he was bound to. They would all come to know the fiery rage of a being now known as Clinkz.

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

Using Illustrator to Make Labels and Fill Out Label Sheets Quickly

“I recently had to make many changes to labels (inserting barcodes for a large number of them) and I didn’t want to go through the pain of making the initial change and then copying it through to the other spots on the label sheet.

After doing some research and tinkering I came to a solution that has worked remarkably well for me and saved a lot of time.

By using a combination of the Distort and Transform tool and saving the changes as a Graphic Style (transform two copies horizontally the appropriate distance and then 9 copies vertically the appropriate distance) I was able to make the change to the barcode and populate it across the sheet in just one minute (once I’d really gotten into the groove of  things).

I made a video describing the technique so you can follow along in Illustrator should you be interested!

[youtube_video clip_id=””CClJ9qMa_6M”” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).

Counterstrike: Prioritization of Objectives and Positional Advantage

Prioritization of various objectives:

As previously discussed, when you play as either team (the Terrorists or Counter-Terrorists), in the majority of competitive maps, you have two distinct objectives: kill all the members of the enemy team or plant the bomb and allow for its detonation/prevent the planting of the bomb and defuse it before detonation. Nevertheless, within these simple objectives are many sub-objectives that also demand your attention. Cover a chokepoint, hold off an enemy advance, flash out an entrenched position and take it, cover the fallen bomb and prevent it being recaptured, come to an ally’s aid, avoid an imminent death, retrieve a significant upgrade over your current weapon, get into a favourable position, etc. As you play you must decide which of these are most important and plan accordingly. This (as in other games like DotA and Starcraft) are what differentiate the average players from the excellent ones once a certain mechanical skill plateau has been reached. Should you move across to a position with a better vantage point and risk being shot or heard or stay put and try to angle for a better view from where you are? Should you reload or rush your opponent while they may be reloading? Should you aim for the body or try for a high-risk, high-reward headshot? There are so many decisions that you constantly need to make and this another part of what makes it so rewarding when you manage to cobble together something resembling an optimal path and successfully navigate a difficult scenario.

Positional advantage:

Position is incredibly important in CS:GO. Because of how easy it is to kill someone with just a few shots if you have the better position you can quickly kill off an enemy before they can finish you off. You can see just how central positioning is to a successful round by the fact that everyone whips out their knives at the beginning of each round so that they can run to their destination that little bit quicker. A scenario that comes up often demonstrating the power of position is when the Terrorists attempt to rush a bomb site but are held off for just those few extra moments by someone on the Counter-Terrorists who has an advantageous position and is covering a choke-point. If he or she can hold off the Terrorists until some backup gets to the site before they break through the defenses the round is all but won. However, if the Terrorists manage to break through and take out the lone defender or two they will often win the round despite taking equivalent losses because they now hold the positional advantage and can predict that the CTs will be coming to them unless they are willing to cast aside the round as a loss (as they have no choice but to do so due to the requirement that the bomb be defused).

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

The Daily Hero Challenge: A Daily Struggle Leading to Enlightenment

“The Daily Hero Challenge (or, as I like to refer to it: the DHC) is a fascinating beast. Like it’s younger brother before it (the Ten Hero Challenge) the DHC brings with it a set of obstacles beyond simply winning a game with the hero you have been assigned. To reach this lofty goal you must overcome all before you and push forward to achieve the greatness that you were destined for. This leads to games where, with everyone deadset on picking their hero of the day, compositions that are normally well-coordinated, elegant creatures become monstrous abominations.

Rather than be upset by such misshapen heaps of flesh and bone I suggest you consider this an opportunity to make at least one game every day a unique challenge and struggle. Consider this, when the DHC ends you will not have an opportunity to experience such delightfully skewed and strange games again until it comes around for the next International.

I will not lie. I have had games where I thought it might be better to give up rather than have to suffer through such horrors for any length of time longer. But, having breached that initial wave of disgust I am now ready to embrace my fate. The DHC shall pollute my games with all sorts of sub-optimal decision making and players choosing heroes they are awful with or have very little experience with. But that is ok. I will make the best of it and find the humour in the situation I and so many other people find themselves in. Let’s make the best of a silly situation!

With that in mind, a few tips on how to go about enjoying your time with the DHC.

If you haven’t finished your DHC yet ALWAYS pick your hero. No matter what

  • Let’s be honest, you’re not playing to win. So, reach for the stars and grab the hard carry that you have been commanded from on up high to play despite there already being 3 other hard carries and a jungler on your team already.

Do not expect your unranked games to make any sense.

  • Though this may not be the case for everyone, or in every game, you’ll likely see some of the strangest compositions you have ever witnessed. It may just be your teammates being stupid but give them the benefit and assume they are doing their DHC (just as you likely are since you are in unranked). Embrace the uncertainty and surprise your opponents (who likely have a few strange picks of their own due to similar factors).

Adopt the title of “”Comeback King””

  • You’ve seen the worst of it. You’ve seen your lane reduced to a bloody battlefield littered with copies of your team’s level one corpses. But all is not lost. Shake off that thousand yard stare and wait for your opponents to get cocky and pounce on their mistakes. Snatch glorious victory from the jaws of defeat and be forever remembered as the Comeback King.

Should the contagion show signs of spreading to ranked play stamp it out immediately

  • Shenanigans in unranked play are to be expected. DHCs are not to be attempted in ranked play. Should a dubious suggestion come to light immediately dismiss it and remind your teammates of the one true goal. MMR.

Party up to share the pain

  • Having just suffered through a brutal game as a support Slardar (in an attempt to complete my DHC) I wasn’t sure if I could go on any longer. But, whilst on the brink of despair I found comfort in the company of friends. We queued together and embraced our attempts at the DHC with gusto and good humour. Our game went surprisingly well and despite our attempts to throw it we still won handily. So, if you are beginning to feel the weight of your daily duties beginning to drag you down, consider dragging some of your friends into your suffering and make light of it.

Like it or not, this is an unprecedented period for experimentation and you will be a part of the scientific inquiry whether you like it or not. Let’s all look forward to the ridiculous team compositions and game scenarios that will rise out of this. Heck, even I feel better after writing this post. It’s not going to be all bad, right?

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating (see link on sidebar) or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).

5 More Tips to Keep Healthy While Gaming: Because You Don’t Want Your Performance to Fall!

“Itching for some more tips to continue improving your gaming setup and flow? Well, you’re in luck. I’ve got 5 more for you!

6. Get up and take a break for 5 minutes every hour or  so (if possible). Use focus booster to keep track.

This is an easy way to ensure that your body gets a break. If you can, take a break and stand up and walk around every hour or so (obviously sometimes the intervals will vary due to being in game). I like using Focus Booster to keep track of time and get alerts as to when I should be taking a break. Try and stretch out a bit during your break if you can and get even more benefit out of your brief respite. As a bonus, you can use Focus Booster to get yourself focused on a task for a defined period of time and reward yourself with a break when appropriate!

7. Make sure you have proper back support.

I’m quite obsessive about the design of chairs and proper back support because I suffered from chronic back pain for a 3 years while I was in high school. Eventually, I figured out that I needed orthopedics to change the way that my feet were absorbing shock and ended that awful, constant pain. But I will never forgot what it was like, and thus, will not settle for anything that doesn’t offer proper back support. If you’re going to be sitting for 8, 10, 12, whatever hours a day you need to make sure that the chair that you are sitting in allows you to sit comfortably whilst supporting your back. An ideal chair supports you from your lower back up to just below your shoulder blades and should allow you to sit without slouching or arching your back to find a comfortable position. There are an incredible number of chairs out there that have been designed by people who obviously didn’t think at all about their effect on the users after long periods.

Please be careful and remind mindful of whether your chair is supporting you properly. You don’t want to end up with constant back pain! It’s one of the worst, most frustrating issues to deal with.

Note: If you’ve adjusted your chair and taken care to set up an ergonomic workplace and are still suffering from back pain you may want to start doing core exercises regularly. Strengthening your core will allow you to hold yourself in an ideal position and allow you to avoid putting too much strain on your back when sitting.

8. Consider standing!

While I was suffering from my back pain I decided I’d had enough of sitting all the time and exacerbating my condition so I set up a standing desk. I built a stand (that you can see in the photo below) and put my keyboard and mouse on it. The first few days were pretty brutal as I was standing in one spot for 6, 7, 8 hours at a time. But as I got used to standing all day I found that I was much less tired at the end of the day, my gaming had improved (more alert) and my back was hurting less! Now, whenever I go to a friend’s place, I gather together whichever materials are suitable and set myself to be able to stand while playing. They love to laugh at me and tease me but eventually I plan to convert them all to standing desks so that they can also experience the joy that is not being stuck in a chair and slouching all day.

9. Get a keyboard and mouse that suit your needs.

Although this may seem obvious, it is critical that you find a keyboard and mouse that suit your preferences and the size of your hands. For example, when I was playing Starcraft II with my girlfriend I just couldn’t understand how she could micro so inefficiently. Rather than dismiss her as just being incapable (she’s actually a pretty good gamer and learns super quickly!) I thought about it for a bit and tried out her mouse. She was using a mouse that was way too big for her hand and it was so large that even I was uncomfortable trying to hold and use it. I termed it the “”spaceship mouse”” because of the clunky and unnatural feeling you got when you tried to use it. We got her a smaller mouse that fit her hand better and she instantly improved noticeably.

Don’t settle for some shitty setup. As with the other factors, you don’t the state of your equipment to be a reason for you performing sub-optimally.  Honestly, it’s not even a question of how expensive the product you are using is. It’s more about whether it fits you properly. You can find plenty of quality keyboard+mouse setups (my entire setup is $189.76 before tax and shipping on Amazon)  for under $70 or even less if you get some good deals at the thrift store.

Links for my gaming equipment if you’re interested: Steelseries Apex [RAW] Gaming Keyboard $48.02| Steelseries Sensei [RAW] Gaming Mouse $42.55 | Steelseries Siberia V2 Full-size Gaming Headset $69.20 | Logitech G440 Hard Gaming Mousepad $29.99

10. Check out flux.

If you’re like me and you game deep into the night at times you should check out flux in order to reduce the eyestrain and confusion that your body will be experiencing due to being awake and staring at a computer screen when everything else around you is pitch black. What flux does is change the colour tones of your screen to match the time of day you are using your computer. This means that at around 8PM (during the summer) your screen will become slightly less bright and brighten up again when the sun rises in the morning. It’s a subtle change but it gives your eyes a break and helps you eventually settle down and go to sleep by reminding your body that the day has come to an end.

I love gaming and am devoted to maintaining performance so keeping in good shape has the dual benefit of ensuring my health doesn’t deteriorate whilst preserving my level of execution that allows me to continue to excel (or at least attempt to). Consider this, would you want to be hampered by a nagging pain in your wrist while struggling for survival in a epic 70 minute game of DotA 2? Would you consider it to be a valid excuse to your teammates in CS:GO if you claim that you couldn’t see your foe and shoot him first because your eyes were too tired? No, you’d feel pretty shitty about messing up in DotA 2 and your teammates in CS:GO would rag on you for needing glasses or some such (and that would be a real shame if you’d managed to avoid having to get them so far!). Preserve your physical health for your own good as well as for the sake of continuing to be able to play the games that you love.

Preserve your physical health for your own good as well as for the sake of continuing to be able to play the games that you love.

That’s all for now. Keep healthy and keep on gaming! Have a pezant day.

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating (see link on sidebar) or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

5 Tips to Keep Healthy While Gaming: Even Being a Gamer Requires Being in Good Shape!

“I’ve been playing games ever since I was a small child (see my introduction post for more details on that charming story) and over the course of years have battled a variety of ailments related to my love of video games and the many hours of computer usage that come along with it. I distinctly remember playing one Flash game where I was a little Wizard and had to shoot fireballs to fight off my foes. This game involved a lot of clicking and moving the mouse and was my first exposure to a game that was actually quite trying on my hands and wrists.

I clicked furiously so many times that I actually ended up straining my hand and wrist and had to take a break from it for a few days in order for it to heal. The interval during which I couldn’t play and complete the game was painful in its own right as it was such a compelling game and ever since then I have been quite careful with regards to how things are set up to and have managed to avoid any more serious injuries.

So, with that preamble in mind, let’s discuss maintaining your health while gaming (especially if you game 6+ hours a day on a regular basis). Playing on the computer is definitely less physically exerting than playing a sport or doing a workout but it does still take its toll on your body. I’ve assembled a list of 10 tips (everyone loves lists) to minimize its effect on the areas that are most affected by regular, extensive computer use (bear in mind, some of these are applicable for office workers as well!).

1. Set up your space in an ergonomic fashion to avoid multiplying the negative effect of the position you are holding for so many hours.

[youtube_video clip_id=””MTL8EBBH69o”” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

  • Try to ensure that your monitor is at least 20 inches away from you.
  • Adjust the monitor so that your eyes are at a point about 3 inches from the top of it.
  • Place your keyboard and mouse in a position so that you have a 90 degree angle where your elbow and forearm meet.
  • Keep your mouse close enough to your keyboard that you don’t have to reach out for it.

This article from WikiHow gives a good, in-depth run down of how your space should be set up ideally  (should you want even more detail).

Note: As pointed out by Arm, there are inconsistencies between my bullet point list and the video. The article on Wikihow recommends that your monitor be set so that the centre is at eye level but, based on the follow-up research I’ve done, it is ideal that your eyes be level at a point about 3 inches from the top of the monitor.

2. Stretch your hands and wrists (see this Day9 video for some nice direction on how to do that effectively)

[youtube_video clip_id=””SSbf4mBKq-o”” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

When using the computer for long periods you put a long of pressure on your hands and wrists (especially if your set up isn’t entirely ideal). Stretch those areas out to avoid injuries (and preserve your dexterity)!

3. Reset your neck to it’s ideal position and get rid of that hunchback look!

[youtube_video clip_id=””FTV6UCh-yhs”” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

It feels really strange doing these neck exercises but they actually work. If you’ve ever worked in an office environment you’ll have seen the effect of slouching one’s neck forward for so many years. Should you wish to avoid becoming a hunchback take care to preserve an ergonomic workspace and do these exercises regularly to avoid a deterioration of your alignment.
4. Keep hydrated.

A pretty easy indicator of whether you’ve been drinking enough water is whether your urine is clear or not. If you do have clear urine then you’re all good to go. The darker it is the more severely dehydrated you are. If you ever see a reddish brown colour (this has happened to me once and is quite alarming) then you’re at danger of suffering from dehydration and need to drink some water immediately.

What works for me quite well is just keeping a big glass of water by my computer and filling it back up whenever I go to get food or take a break from using the computer for a while.

5. Give your eyes a break. Look 20 feet away, every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds.

[youtube_video clip_id=””vT1N1Pwc50w”” hd=””true”” width=560 height=315]

Out of everything that could potentially affected by my frequent computer use I am most worried about my eyes. A wrist you can let rest and stretch out and usually rehabilitate. Your neck can be corrected to return from a hunchback state. Muscles can be loosened and habits can be reformed. But your eyes are something else. You mess your eyes up and you’re stuck with glasses for the rest of your life (unless you get surgery or something). Now, don’t get me wrong, glasses can give you some interesting options in terms of attire but asides from that there aren’t really too many other benefits to having to wear them. So, don’t mess this up. Keep your eyes in good shape!

[Y]our eyes are something else. You mess your eyes up and you’re stuck with glasses for the rest of your life…

Other than looking away for 20 feet every 20 minutes for 20 seconds you should:

  • Try to have natural lighting
  • Keep your monitor 20+ inches away

If you’re interested in getting the getting the glasses mentioned in the video there is the name brand Gunnar and some generic glasses (purport to fulfill the same purpose but less expensive) that you can check out (I tried to find the best prices in both categories). Gunnar Glasses for Graphic Designers, for Gamers and the generic brand option (Clearoptix).

Check out CNET’s accompanying post on reducing eyestrain for more details.

That’s all for now. Check back on Wednesday for 5 more tips! Keep healthy and keep on gaming! Have a pezant day.

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating (see link on sidebar) or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

The Ten Hero Challenge: A Surprisingly Difficult and Interesting Task

“By now, I imagine most of you have completed your 10 Hero Challenge but for those of us who are still attempting to complete it it is an interesting experience in perseverance,  experimentation and temptation.

It sounds simple. You get ten random heroes and you just have to win a game with each of them. But it’s not quite as simple as that because almost nothing is simple in DotA. With hero selection being one of the most important factors in determining whether you will win the game or not, the additional factor of a group of ten heroes having an unwarranted (performance or composition wise) edge in being picked can throw a real wrench into things.

I was fortunate enough to get a slate of relatively competitive heroes and am also able to play pretty much all of the heroes (Invoker remains a weakness of mine) so those factors weren’t too significant in my quest to get a tasty 300 points for my Compendium. However, I still had to contend with the fact that I would be biased towards these heroes when playing games and might end up losing because of a sub-optimal choice made in the hopes that my team would pull through and win despite me not picking a better hero for the situation.

In fact, you can see in my match history (and above) that I lost a ranked game as Drow Ranger. Now, I picked Drow Ranger because I wanted to get my challenge done but in the back of my mind I knew that she was not the best hero for that match up and my team ended up suffering as a result. Was it worth it to get  a stab at getting that hero checked off? In the short term, it seems like a decent decision as pretty much hero can fit into a team’s lineup. But in the long term, you can see that your normally sharp decision making is dulled by these additional, irrelevant (to winning the game) factors. I eventually gave it another shot in unranked and pulled through but it definitely made me realize that some things are more important than compendium points (at least for me, my MMR is quite valuable).

Despite my difficulties  and personal dilemmas, this experience has been quite enjoyable and I am looking forward to the daily hero challenge stretch goal. But, at the same time, I am afraid for what that daily challenge will bring. Just imagine, if my friends and I have been picking sub-optimally due to a list of ten heroes that they are trying to play and win games with (with it getting steadily more difficult to pick intelligently as the number available dwindles) then I can only shiver in horror at the incoming nightmare that will be five players stubbornly trying to win with the same  hero they picked in the last few games (regardless of the composition).

Of course, things may not be as chaotic as they seem to be turning out to be and there could also be the potential that the other team will also have silly picks due to Daily Hero Challenge influences. Regardless, based on my experience with the Ten Hero Challenge, I await the coming of the Daily Hero Challenge with a mix of excitement and dread. I wonder if Valve has considered the potential impact it will have. Only time will tell…

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).

BONUS! Having trouble keeping track of which heroes you’ve completed? Use Paint and just pull up your snapshot before you start playing for easy tracking and experience the joy of crossing those bad boys off yourself!

Counterstrike: The Risk and Reward of Alternate Routes and the Impact of Movement

“Haven’t had much of a chance to play CS:GO over the past few weeks. But a few more thoughts on strategy and risk and reward in the game. My friends may make fun of me for being much worse than them but at least I can write analytically about the game and develop a high-level understanding that cannot be substituted by skill, :)!

Risk and reward of pursuing alternate routes: For most maps, there are some pre-established routes that you take and areas that you cover. But, if you hang back for a moment and leave the starting zone a little bit later or choose to take a more circuitous route you can actually evade the full intensity of the initial firefights that break out. On rare occasions, you can wrap around the enemy team and lay into them from behind. In a strange way, this is a high-risk, high-reward strategy. If you do manage to break through enemy lines and take out a bunch of them or pick off the bomb carrier and ensure that it can’t be retaken you’ve done your team a great service. Yet, if you venture too far off to the corners of the map you may end up being way too far out of position to help your team when the bomb site is being assaulted and end up being the last individual standing with 4 low health enemies on the other team guarding the objective and a complete lack of positional advantage. It’s up to you, be the lone wolf or run with the pack. But remember, there’s always a tradeoff between the decisions that you are making.

Impact of movement: Movement is a simple idea. You push W, A, S or D and your characters goes in whichever direction pleases you. And in many games that’s the long and short of it. But CS:GO, true to it’s nature and delightful complexity goes one step further. The base form of movement is a run and though it may get you places a lot quicker it also creates audible footsteps for your foes to tune in to and inform themselves about your potential approach (as well as hugely reducing your accuracy if you fire while moving). This makes the run very useful for traversing large distances in areas that you have confidence are safe to move in but it is dangerous option if you are anywhere near to the enemy. In those cases, you would be better off walking or crouching in order to couch the sound of your footsteps and give you the ability to aim more precisely. This mechanic has created some of my favourite moments as only two players are left on either team and they are carefully crouching and checking around corners hoping to spot their rival before they spot them. You’ve got the rest of your team carefully listening for footsteps as they try their best to help their last remaining comrade. It’s quite the experience and makes something as arbitrary as movement yet another important consideration when playing CS:GO.

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

Counterstrike: The Value and Fragility of Cover and Mitigating Positional Advantage

“The value and fragility of cover: Because of how little it takes to kill or be killed in CS:GO cover is incredibly important when you are trying to engage the enemy on more favourable terms. Why not enlist an inanimate object to absorb shots that would otherwise spell your end? Well, it may sound like there are only potential upsides to cover – reduced area for the enemy to shoot at, a safe place to reload and observe the area around you, and a comfy place to take a nap and hang out for a while if you’re really pinned down – but, there are also some downsides, a known location for your foe to circle around and keep an eye on, an easy target for various grenades, and, if you’re particularly unlucky, it’s possible your cover can be shot through and leave you a sitting dead duck. It’s just another facet of the game that makes it so engrossing. There are no free passes. No completely broken tactics. Think carefully enough and you can figure out a way to counter a seemingly broken tactic.

Camping busting options: In order to prevent usage of positional advantage from being entirely unfair (often times referred to as camping by frustrated players who don’t take enough care to play around it) there are a multitude of what I like to call “”camping busting”” options available in CS:GO. If you can establish that someone is in a certain position you have several options to force them out of their position or at least reduce their positional advantage. The main options, (available to an individual player), are flashbangs, high explosive grenades and smoke grenades (Molotovs could also be used but are more commonly utilized to prevent movement through areas) and they are quite effective. Flashbangs cause nothing but blinding white light to be seen by those effected for a few seconds (with the intensity dependent on the distance from the explosion). These allow you to toss one in and move in aggressively while they are unable to see (assuming you haven’t also flashbanged yourself or your teammates). High explosive grenades can be tossed into the area where the player is situated and will quite literally blow them up unless they move out of the way. Smoke grenades are especially interesting. They put up a cloud of gray smoke that you cannot see through and allow you to obscure vision in a certain area. However, there is a risk to using them. If you move predictably through the smoke on your way to assault your adversary you could find yourself in a worse position then before as you’ve closed distance between you and them and they will likely have their sights trained on the cloud ready to fire on anything moving through it. You may also be giving your foe an opportunity to launch a sneak attack or move to another position as they take advantage of the lack of vision for you.

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

Part III – You’re Not Alone: How to be a Selfless Support

“Now the last set of tips.  You now know a great deal about the mechanics of supporting and what your role can and should be. You know how to maximize your effectiveness without being dependent on gold. What else could there be there to learn? Well, take a peek down below and see!

You can take advantage of your overarching view of the game as a whole to facilitate coordination.

  • Keep note of item progression on enemy team. Also keep an eye on inventory for wards, gems, smoke, etc.
    • Due to the nature of your role, you are more aware of events occurring throughout the map and have a little bit more time to gather intelligence on the going-on’s of your opponents. By keeping tabs on how close the steadily fattening Anti-Mage is to getting his Battlefury you can help your team plan and strategize accordingly. Additionally, keeping track of whether the enemy team has wards that they would like to place (e.g. wards in inventory, none the next, must be placed nearby), the ability to detect invisible units (your Bounty Hunters, Nyx Assassins and Rikimarus will be grateful to be informed of such things, or are carrying a smoke (the whole team was grouped up a moment ago and are now gone, perhaps your team should be wary of an incoming gank) will help your team to better predict the other team’s actions. The more information you can collect the better. Information is the tool with which you make decisions and, ultimately, it is the quality of your decisions that determine much of the outcome of a game of DotA.
  • Keep Roshan timer in mind.
    • Roshan becomes a vital strategic objective later on in the game where an instant respawn of a powerful hero in the middle of a teamfight can very well swing it in the favour of the team in possession of such a magnificent artifact. By marking down the time at which Roshan has fallen and diligently checking to see if he has returned (at either the 8, 9, 10 or 11 minute mark) you are ensuring that your team will be well prepared for when he returns.
  • Mark fortification timers.
    • Your enemy’s being invulnerable for 5 seconds can be a real downer and can make the difference between you being able to take down their last remaining tower and one of their barracks or not. However, once they’ve used it is on a cooldown for 5 minutes. This information is useful in being able to anticipate whether your push will be rudely interrupted by a 5 second pause or not.
  • Warn allies if in danger of being killed.
    • If you are glancing at the mini map and notice that most of the enemy team is missing and your ally is farming deep in a lane with little or no vision covering the various approaches to his location then you potentially save his life by warning him of impeding danger. Though he may not be the intended victim of an incoming gank your warning will serve to draw his attention to the potential of such a thing occurring and allow him to be better prepared for such an eventuality.
  • Suggest strategies.
    • As you move about the map and assist your allies while completing various objectives you continue to build on your comprehension of how the game is developing. Unlike the carry set in his lane and utterly focused on continuously accelerating the rate at which he is earning gold or the offlaner desperately dodging and seeking to stay alive or your mid-laner dead set on crushing his inferior opponent you are acutely aware of how the game is progressing. You see that your carry is farming well (or not), you notice that your mid-laner is dominating his lane and keeping control over the runes (or not) or you know that your offlaner has managed to turn the tables and grab a few kills while avoiding his own untimely demise.
    • On top of all of that, you are also mindful of how your opponents are doing. With these things in mind, you are well positioned to advise your team on how they should proceed. Perhaps the offlaner should simply abandon his lane and set his focus on ganking the other lanes, or your team should form up and push out the middle tower while your enemies are distracted, or you should grab Roshan now that your team fight ultimates are online and the others’ are not.You see all. And because of this you are likely able to make the most well-informed calls out of anyone on your team. This is why many professional teams have a captain who is a support. Though it may not be the most glamorous role a good support is always vigilant and surveying the events that are unfolding before them Because they don’t have to be as single-minded and focused on a particular task they are able to see past the minutia of moment to moment happenings and see the bigger picture.

I hope you find these short tips handy. Feel free to comment and suggest additional resources for me to add in. Now that you’ve read them you’ll see that your role extends beyond just buying wards and the courier. You have so much at your disposal and can do so much to improve your team’s chances of winning. Isn’t it exciting?

Keep fighting the good fight. Without players like you, your teams will be much less successful and as you gradually improve you’ll find that more skilled players are much more grateful for the contributions that their supports make.

And finally, additional resources should you wish to consult them!

XVRogue’s videos on various topics

XVRogue provides a thorough explanation of various facets of DotA 2. I’ve always found his videos to be well-made, succint and to the point and knowledgeable. Of particular interest to us is his guide on playing as a support. If you don’t feel like reading a bunch of text, this is probably the best option for you!

Tsunami’s articles (Pull Camp/Rune WardsPushing Wards, Situational Wards) on placing wards and Making Money as a Support

With warding being one of the most important roles of a support, these articles provide additional information on where exactly to place your wards and sentry wards to block camps, rune and Roshan pit vision, using wards to get additional information while in lane, placement around towers, where to place wards based on your current situation (T1, T2, T3), as well as a variety of situational wards that you may find useful. In his article on making Money as a Support, Tsunami gives a few helpful tips to maximize your usefulness as a support, make the best use of the limited funds available to you and take advantage of the select few opportunities you do have to generate income.

Sando’s guide on supporting

Sando goes into more detail on the theory behind hard supports and the reason to pick them (and is a great deal more articulate). He also provides specific examples of lane compositions and potential situations (and the strategies to match them). He then goes into application of game knowledge and capitalizing on situations that present themselves. He gives a useful snapshot of the support mindset with regards to gold and experience, team fights, when to fight or run, managing your mana and dewarding. I would recommend this guide for anyone new to the role or who feels like  they could do with a refresher with regards to some of the facets of such a complicated role.

BurningSera’s guide on how to play supports.

BurningSera provides an in-depth look at playing the role of support with a breakdown between basic, intermediate and advanced points. He has some points that I don’t quite agree with (like buying a Divine to intentionally suicide and attempt to ensure it’s transfer to your carry and playing with near-reckless abandon in a lane that you feel you will likely lose) and it’s not written in the most articulate fashion but it has many useful points and images to illustrate said points.

Parliament’s guide to Competitive Positions

Parliament briefly covers the concept of the 1-5 role system and gives examples of heroes that fit those roles and professional players who play them. With each role he briefly covers what is to expected of them and their goals in the game. This guide is less friendly to new players as it uses a lot of jargon but it is an effective breakdown of what is to be expected from each role. His description of the #5 role (the hard support) is pretty on point and would provide a new player with a good understanding of what they should be doing.

That’s all for now! Have a pezant day.

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

Part II – You’re Not Alone: How to be a Selfless Support

“So you’re probably feeling pretty good about your supporting at this point. You know you serve a noble purpose and you’re aware that you’ve got to try and do it as efficiently as possible but you’re probably wondering. What about later on? What do I do? Or, how about the mid game? I feel like I just wander about for the most part. Well! You’re in luck, this part is all about that and will answer most of your questions!

You are relevant at all stages of the game. Adjust your play to match the role you should be playing at any given point.

  • You are powerful in the early game. Use this to ensure lane advantage. Roam to help mid and other lanes. Teleport to towers to save a hero that is being attacked in lane.
    • By the nature of your role you will (or should) be playing a hero that is strong early on. This allows you to perform the functions of a support while minimizing the effect of these responsibilities on your performance. Take advantage of that early game strength. Muscle your way around in lane. Go to other lanes and set a kill up on the opposing team’s mid hero.
  • Keep up sight and deward when possible.
    • Though it may not seem obvious at first (I played almost all of my DotA 1 games with little to no ward coverage), wards are incredibly important. Being able to have constant vision on an area of the map allows you to coordinate and make much better decisions than if you were operating in the dark. So, as a support, it will be your task to keep those beacons of light (wards) burning bright. Conversely, an additional goal for you is to try your best to bring deep, dangerous darkness to the enemy team by hunting down their purposefully placed wards and extinguishing them (with sentries).
  • Play defensively and act to slow down the other team’s powerful heroes.
    • Later on you will likely be less effective in teamfights than you were before (unless you are playing a hero with a stun or silence or similarly consistently powerful ability) so you will need to adjust your approach from just smashing everyone to working to disable, damage and slow down key targets. For example, if you are able to silence or hex an opposing support before they can cast their ultimate then you’ve managed to still make a significant contribution even at the late phase in the game where you autoattacks do nothing but tickle the enemy carry.
  • Check for Roshan.
    • This is a simple but effective way to contribute to your team. By keeping tabs on Roshan (when it is safe to do so) you are making sure that the other team isn’t killing him unnoticed and your team is aware if he has respawned and can begin to organize trying to kill him and get the aegis (should they wish to do so).
  • Distract/draw attention to yourself.
    • If you are playing a hero who really tails off quite badly by the time you’ve reached the late game (say CM who doesn’t have much to offer unless she is able to get off an ultimate in the middle of the fight) then one of the best things you can is distract the enemy team from targeting more valuable heroes on your team. Though you may perish in a quick and painful fashion you can have made an important contribution by a giving your team leeway to smash through the three other players on the enemy team that weren’t tricked into running off and chasing you.
  • Try and get spells off before dying.
    • Another tip for the late game. If you are liable to get killed in one or two hits then try and play defensively and use your spells before you inevitably fall. For example, if you are playing as Lich, armor up all your teammates before the fight begins and then use your ultimate as soon as it is suitable. Given the probability of you falling quickly it is better to use your ultimate and have it be slightly less than optimal rather than not using it at all.
  • Stacking/pulling creeps.
    • Early on you can get quite a lot of gold and experience for yourself and control your lane better by stacking (drawing their attention and making sure they are outside of certain boundaries surrounding their area at the minute mark) and pulling (drawing their attention and bringing them towards the lane when your units are moving along it so that they attack and get the attention of your units) the jungle camps that are within reach of your lane. Later on in the game you can give your allies a big gold and experience boost by stacking Jungle and Ancient camps for them to kill in one fell swoop once they’ve grown powerful enough to do so. This is an activity that you can do throughout the game and will help your team gain a gold and experience advantage. The only caveat is that you need to bear in mind that those stacked camps can also be taken by the enemy team so also creates a bit of a liability in your team is not in a position to take them within a reasonable period of time.

And again, additional resources should you wish to consult them!

XVRogue’s videos on various topics

XVRogue provides a thorough explanation of various facets of DotA 2. I’ve always found his videos to be well-made, succint and to the point and knowledgeable. Of particular interest to us is his guide on playing as a support. If you don’t feel like reading a bunch of text, this is probably the best option for you!

Tsunami’s articles (Pull Camp/Rune WardsPushing Wards, Situational Wards) on placing wards and Making Money as a Support

With warding being one of the most important roles of a support, these articles provide additional information on where exactly to place your wards and sentry wards to block camps, rune and Roshan pit vision, using wards to get additional information while in lane, placement around towers, where to place wards based on your current situation (T1, T2, T3), as well as a variety of situational wards that you may find useful. In his article on making Money as a Support, Tsunami gives a few helpful tips to maximize your usefulness as a support, make the best use of the limited funds available to you and take advantage of the select few opportunities you do have to generate income.

Sando’s guide on supporting

Sando goes into more detail on the theory behind hard supports and the reason to pick them (and is a great deal more articulate). He also provides specific examples of lane compositions and potential situations (and the strategies to match them). He then goes into application of game knowledge and capitalizing on situations that present themselves. He gives a useful snapshot of the support mindset with regards to gold and experience, team fights, when to fight or run, managing your mana and dewarding. I would recommend this guide for anyone new to the role or who feels like  they could do with a refresher with regards to some of the facets of such a complicated role.

BurningSera’s guide on how to play supports.

BurningSera provides an in-depth look at playing the role of support with a breakdown between basic, intermediate and advanced points. He has some points that I don’t quite agree with (like buying a Divine to intentionally suicide and attempt to ensure it’s transfer to your carry and playing with near-reckless abandon in a lane that you feel you will likely lose) and it’s not written in the most articulate fashion but it has many useful points and images to illustrate said points.

Parliament’s guide to Competitive Positions

Parliament briefly covers the concept of the 1-5 role system and gives examples of heroes that fit those roles and professional players who play them. With each role he briefly covers what is to expected of them and their goals in the game. This guide is less friendly to new players as it uses a lot of jargon but it is an effective breakdown of what is to be expected from each role. His description of the #5 role (the hard support) is pretty on point and would provide a new player with a good understanding of what they should be doing.

That’s all for now! Have a pezant day.

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”

Part I – You’re Not Alone: How to be a Selfless Support

“Supporting in DotA is a tough, sometimes thankless job. We’ll all been there and there are many articles about it. This is a short rundown of what you contribute to your team as a support and how you can build on your contributions. At the end of the article there is a variety of sources that provide information and guides on supporting along with brief descriptions of their contents and my opinion on them. Consider this your cheat sheet on how to support most effectively and your reservoir of knowledge and optimism should you ever fall into a state of despair after a particularly awful game.

Supporting in a few short points.

You exist to facilitate the success of your team.

  • If your core (hero with strong mid game potential) or carry (hero who is strong in the late game) does well then you’ve done well.
    • This does not mean you should just die meaninglessly but if you sacrifice yourself in order to protect your carry and secure a kill for him then you are playing your role correctly.
  • The overall success of your team is what is important. Many deaths does not mean you’ve done a bad job.
    • Many professional support players go through entire games while only taking one or two kills to their name. Sometimes even none!

You must make use of the limited resources at your disposal in as efficient a way as possible.

  • Buy items as soon as you can
    • This reduces the amount of money you lose when you die.
  • Place wards carefully
    • Wards cost you 75 gold each (150 per two) and are limited in available quantity. Misplaced or obviously placed wards leave your team with less vision and a disadvantage in positioning and decision-making.
  • Carry things like dust pre-emptively
    • This does not mean that you should just purchase dust every game but if you are on your way to help out in a lane with an invisible hero bring dust if you can afford it. That way you can secure a kill that you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten if the opportunity arises.
  • Smoke when opportunities arise
    • You may sometimes feel like you are left to twiddle your thumbs at certain points in the game. If there is a lull in the action or you see an opportunity arise (e.g. 3 heroes in a lane, other two missing likely in jungle or at Roshan) get a smoke and orchestrate a gank or favourable teamfight engagement. By making plays like this you can have a huge impact on the outcome of the game even with limited resources (Smoke of Deceit only costs 100 gold).
  • Do not sacrifice the well-being of your team to obtain an item
    • Though it may be tempting to neglect purchasing wards for the next eight minutes as you struggle to afford your upgrade to Arcane Boots or get that elusive Blink Dagger, you need to continue taking care of your support duties regardless of your itemization aspirations. If you really need an item, see if you can get some help from another person on your team who is also less in need of gold. They can take over your support duties until you get your key item at which point you can resume being the one responsible for those duties.
  • Coordinate with your fellow supports to ease the burden of your role.
    • If you’re fortunate enough to be playing a game where you aren’t the only support on your team then you can coordinate (if suitable) for one person to get the next set of wards while the other upgrades the flying courier (for example).
  • Let your teammates know which items you are getting.
    • Thus preventing the purchase of two Mekansms for example.

Some additional sources that I have vetted and you may find useful.

XVRogue’s videos on various topics

XVRogue provides a thorough explanation of various facets of DotA 2. I’ve always found his videos to be well-made, succint and to the point and knowledgeable. Of particular interest to us is his guide on playing as a support. If you don’t feel like reading a bunch of text, this is probably the best option for you!

Tsunami’s articles (Pull Camp/Rune WardsPushing Wards, Situational Wards) on placing wards and Making Money as a Support

With warding being one of the most important roles of a support, these articles provide additional information on where exactly to place your wards and sentry wards to block camps, rune and Roshan pit vision, using wards to get additional information while in lane, placement around towers, where to place wards based on your current situation (T1, T2, T3), as well as a variety of situational wards that you may find useful. In his article on making Money as a Support, Tsunami gives a few helpful tips to maximize your usefulness as a support, make the best use of the limited funds available to you and take advantage of the select few opportunities you do have to generate income.

Sando’s guide on supporting

Sando goes into more detail on the theory behind hard supports and the reason to pick them (and is a great deal more articulate). He also provides specific examples of lane compositions and potential situations (and the strategies to match them). He then goes into application of game knowledge and capitalizing on situations that present themselves. He gives a useful snapshot of the support mindset with regards to gold and experience, team fights, when to fight or run, managing your mana and dewarding. I would recommend this guide for anyone new to the role or who feels like  they could do with a refresher with regards to some of the facets of such a complicated role.

BurningSera’s guide on how to play supports.

BurningSera provides an in-depth look at playing the role of support with a breakdown between basic, intermediate and advanced points. He has some points that I don’t quite agree with (like buying a Divine to intentionally suicide and attempt to ensure it’s transfer to your carry and playing with near-reckless abandon in a lane that you feel you will likely lose) and it’s not written in the most articulate fashion but it has many useful points and images to illustrate said points.

Parliament’s guide to Competitive Positions

Parliament briefly covers the concept of the 1-5 role system and gives examples of heroes that fit those roles and professional players who play them. With each role he briefly covers what is to expected of them and their goals in the game. This guide is less friendly to new players as it uses a lot of jargon but it is an effective breakdown of what is to be expected from each role. His description of the #5 role (the hard support) is pretty on point and would provide a new player with a good understanding of what they should be doing.

Keep an eye out for Parts 2 and 3 of this guide!

That’s all for now. Have a pezant day!

Note: If you liked this article. Consider donating or installing this Chrome Extension I made that gives me credit for your Amazon purchases (by adding in my referral tag when you’re browsing Amazon).”