Satellite Internet and Streaming Video Games

I live out in the sticks.  I mean waaaay out in the middle of nowhere land.
For me, the only option for internet is Dial-Up (yeah, that still exists) or Satellite Internet.  I can’t even get decent 4G coverage out here.  Maybe if I hold a spoon in one hand and lean to my left side – then I might get 1 bar of 4G.

Point is, I have satellite internet and for a gamer, that’s harsh.

An Observation:
I’ve been a gamer since I was 8.
Zork, an all text adventure game was my first delve into the gaming world and I’ve never looked back.

Currently I am able to play some online games on my PC.  I can play Hearthstone and Warcraft, stuff like that.  But forget trying to go on raids, there is a tendency to experience what we call latency spikes, and when that happens, you can wipe the raid and not even know it.  Literally, you’ll still be fighting then things will speed up in fast-forward and then you are dead.

Fast Forward to Yesterday and Today..
I have a somewhat successful website here with GameMasters.  We do lots of reviews and other fun stuff so a logical step for me is to stream some game play and try my hand at monetizing that.
I’ve just always figured that satellite internet simply wouldn’t allow for it. Regardless, I signed up for a Twitch account (mainly because I’ve seen how much money some of these pro-gamers can make on there) and decided to give it a run.
I figured because of the latency that there would be issues, and I discovered that, for the most part, it really wasn’t an issue (at least not in terms of game play). There was latency in the game itself due to the satellite connection, but it’s always been like that. The streaming was fairly smooth.

However…
I did a 30 minute game session on Twitch… During that time things did slow down about 5 times that were fairly major (about a good 30 to 50 second “lag”). When I watched the play back I noticed that the times that it would “lag” that my stream went into an automatic Be-Right-Back mode until the “connection” was “re-established”. Certainly not good for someone who is wanting to monetize their game-play stream, as the moment you go into a BRB mode, you stand to lose viewers thus dropping your monetizing potential. When it happens 5ish times per 30 minutes, you might as well not even try.

Further…
I was also wondering how it would mess with my data plan. I figured that since I was streaming UP to Twitch’s servers that it (my data plan) would see it as an “upload”.

Not so!

I was streaming at 480p and that 30 minutes chewed up roughly 500MB. I’d really not want to stream at a resolution any lower than that, in fact, I really don’t want to stream lower than 720p, but the 480p was just a test really to see how much data would be used.

nostream

Ouch…
A lot of game-streamers will stream for 8 hours at a time, 5 days a week and they can make some MAD cash doing that! When you extrapolate that out; an average of 500MB per 30 minutes, OR 1GB per hour, you are looking at 8GB per day in streaming, OR 40GB to 48GB per week!  Toss in that I have a fairly high data plan (as far as satellite plans go), which is 50GB per month.

Suddenly, the option to monetize your game streams with satellite just become hopeless.

The Future…
Hopefully as we move into the future, faster and better internet access will become available to me, but for now…  I guess I won’t be streaming any of my games any time soon.

Photo Friday #1 – Wampa

I like to take photos.  Generally of landscapes, but I also take a lot for my various websites.

I present to you a new weekly addition here to GameMasters: Photo Friday!  Each friday I am going to add a new photo (and I’ll do my best to keep it game, geek, entertainment related).

We had a slight dusting of snow last night… and well… I couldn’t resist…

wampa1

D&D5E: Return to Ravenloft with Curse of Strahd

Vampires + Werewolves + Horror = Ravenloft!

Wizards of the Coast announced today that the original authors of Ravenloft, Tracy and Laura Hickman, are revamping (pun totally intended) the classic adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Originally published in 1983, Ravenloft quickly became the nightmare fuel that made many an adventurer scared to fall asleep. One could easily sit back while on watch while the party was resting, only to witness a sinister fog (they called it The Mists) slowly creep in. Within that fog something wicked happens, for when that fog lifts, the party finds themselves in a horror filled land called Barovia.

What was so sinister about Ravenloft is that it’s setting could be incorporated into almost any D&D setting, from Forgotten Realms to Greyhawk to Dark Sun to even Top Secret (trust me, that’s a tale for another day). Essentially The Mists was a fog and since fog can be created in any adventure setting, it’s a damn near perfect catalyst to throw players into the realm of Strahd.

Fast forward to now.

Curse of Strahd - Cover Art

As mentioned, Wizards of the Coast announced today the release of Curse of Strahd as well as a physical Tarroka deck produced by Gale Force 9.

Curse of Strahd will be a fantasy-horror adventure for characters levels 1 – 10.

It is set to be released on March 15th, 2016.

“Revisiting the land of Barovia with the creators of the original Ravenloft adventure has been a highlight of my professional career,” said Chris Perkins, principal story designer at Wizards of the Coast. “Tracy and Laura Hickman created a timeless villain whose faults reflect the darkest traits of humanity. I can’t begin to describe what it’s like to walk through the halls of Castle Ravenloft with its creators as your guides.”

CurseStrahd

Keep in mind that this is an adventure itself, not a campaign setting, although there should be more than enough information provided to tailor fit it and create a lengthy campaign.  Being that it is an all in one adventure there is a catalyst that propels the tale forward through a mysterious forune teller named Madam Eva.

Madam Eva makes use of her tarroka deck, which in turn will direct adventurers around Strand’s land in search of artifacts and allies.

CurseStrahdVamp

While you wait for this book to be released, Madam Eva is already working hard to help you.  Head on over to Twitter and retweet the official @Wizards_DnD Twitter account using the hashtag #DNDFortune (OR you can simply retweet the Pinned Tweet that is already there). Madam Eva’s fortunes are based on which random card she draws from her tarokka deck and displays for each reading. Check back each day with Madam Eva to see what your #DNDFortune will foretell.

Hearthstone Howling Mine Deck

I enjoy playing card games.  I go all the way back to Alpha days of Magic: The Gathering.  In fact, I can recall a buddy of mine, Jody, getting me a deck and 3 boosters of Beta.  I opened them and got a Mox Pearl.  I never cared for White decks and never in a million years would I have every thought that the value of these cards would amount to anything.  I played a Black deck, and I was drastically low on swamps.

I traded that Mox Pearl for 10 Swamps.

In my defense, I won 7 games in a row after I built that deck with those ten swamps…

It was a Howling Mine deck, one that was designed to run you out of cards and win me the game (when Antiquities came out, I tossed Millstone in and that sped things up tremendously).

When Hearthstone came out, I set out to build a Howling Mine / Millstone deck as well.  Obviously Hearthstone does not have Howling Mine / Millstone, but it does have cards that effectively do the same thing.

I tried several classes out to try build this deck, and ended up settling on a Rogue.

It works about 65% of the time, so I’m looking to vastly improve it, but when it does work, it WORKS.

The deck:

rogue2x Backstab
1x Preparation
2x Shadowstep
2x Betrayal
1x Eviscerate
2x Gang Up
2x Sap
1x Doomsayer
1x Ironbeak Owl
2x Patient Assassin
1x Youthful Brewmaster
1x Beneath the Grounds
2x Coldlight Oracle
2x Dancing Swords
1x Sabotage
2x Antique Healbot
1x Dark Iron Skulker
1x Loatheb
2x Vanish
1x Ragnaros the Firelord

How the deck works:

The entire focus of the deck is to burn your opponent’s cards down so they start taking burn damage.

Starting you want to have a Shadowstep, a Coldlight Oracle, and/or a Gang Up in your opening hand.  Those are priority.

You cannot toss out the Oracle without first having one of those cards, as the Oracle is the engine that makes this entire deck work.  Usually around turn 3 or 4 (depending of it you go first or not) you can start priming the engine.

Backstab is also for creature control.

Preparation is specifically for Vanish (makes it’s cost 3 mana instead of 6).

Shadowstep is specifically for your Oracles, make your opponent draw 4 cards in one turn filling their hand and making the extra cards poof.

Betrayal is also for creature control.

Eviscerate is also for creature control OR to hit your opponent to help drop them in health.

Gang Up is specifically for your Oracles ONLY.  Because you too are drawing cards, you don’t want to run out, this effectively adds 6 more cards into your deck.

Sap is also for creature control.

Doomsayer is typically played mid game and is a subterfuge card.  That is, it’s going to do one of two things.. You opponent is either going to ignore it, which will allow it to wipe the board, or your opponent will try to kill it, thus holding off at least 7 damage from being dealt to you that turn.

Ironbeak Owl is also for creature control.  Sortav.  He is best used against something that’s just nasty to deal with.

The Patient Assassins are there for creature control and are good to toss out early.

Youthful Brewmaster is specifically for your Oracles again, just keep them bouncing back into your hand.

Beneath the Grounds, well, your opponent is going to be drawing cards fast, how nice is it of them to give you three 4/4 creatures in the process?

Coldlight Oracle these guys are the engine that make the deck work.  Protect them and keep them bouncing back into your hand as often as you can.

Dancing Swords is another subterfuge card.  You opponent will see it as a nasty 4/4 that they have to get rid of and they get to draw a card when they do.  Little do they know that for each card they draw, that’s just one step closer to them burning.  And when able, attack the opponent to help whittle that life down for when they do start taking draw burn.

Sabotage is great because of all of the other creature control you have, you should be able to control the amount of enemies on the board and usually when this card is played there is typically only one minion on the board.

Antique Healbot is new for this deck.  I kept running low on health and getting down to the wire, however, with two of these in the deck and the speed at which I can draw them, I’ve got access to additional 16 life.

Dark Iron Skulker is a good early to mid-game card.  Being able to dish out 2 damage to all enemy minions is always helpful.

Loatheb is questionable in this deck.  5 mana is kindav expensive but I’ve ended up playing it more as a subterfuge card.  Mainly because my opponent usually goes after it instead of me thus saving me from taking 5 damage that turn.

Vanish is best played when you have 9 mana.  Drop an oracle first, draw two cards (and fill your opponent’s hand with their own minions and they draw two cards) and watch as they burn a card or two because their hand is full.

Ragnaros the Firelord…  this one works some of the time.  I usually end up using my Coin if I go first and drop him when I have 7 mana.  My opponent usually has no choice but to focus on that guy instead of me.

You can also see the deck in action here:

Feel free to hit me up for Hearthstone (Or Warcraft); my Battletag is : flisk#1211

Major Twitter Update for GameMasters

Major Twitter Update:

After 3 YEARS of trying to get the correct name on Twitter for this site, I finally have the correct name back!

I am unsure of exactly what happened, perhaps it was an ex-employee that registered the name (gamemasters) on Twitter thus preventing me from really being able to brand myself and this website over there, or perhaps it was a random namesake.  Regardless, I finally have it secured!

Current followers won’t see too much of a change, but for new ones, please head over to:  https://twitter.com/gamemasters and give me a follow!

You’ll love the game news we bring you!

 

-GameMasters.com

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