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The world before the fall, Lovely is the light of dawn, Noble is the heart of man...

WEDNESDAY - JULY 9TH, 2014

Introducing LegacyStats.com

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Long post, get ready! TLDR at bottom :)

Years ago (2007) I made a Halo stat tracking website called HaloCharts. It was a fun hobby project that turned into a pretty big website and community. It was a great ride and a lot of work, but ultimately had to close down in 2011 (for a number of reasons I won't get into). After nearly 3 years of dabbling in various other projects and websites, I've decided to build a new site in the same vein as HaloCharts, but with a few differences to keep things manageable.

Since HC's closing in 2011, I actually reopened the site twice in different ways. The first was just a forum that a few of the old HC regulars hung out at, but that only lasted a few months. Then about a year later it opened again in a more private, invite-only fashion that has been up and down with activity since then. I rebuilt a few things for Halo 4, including some basic stats and a signature maker. I also built a Halo Career tool that essentially went viral for a day and attracted some 30,000 people in 24 hours time. I've been torn on reopening HaloCharts in a more public way for about a year, essentially watching to see where Halo goes and what else is on the horizon, like Destiny.

At the same time, I actually created a Destiny site called Cult of Destiny, that was invite-only and really was a place for me to write some code that I'd been wanting to write. I started that site prematurely, around the time of the first Destiny leaks and didn't do much to really push it anywhere since it was built around a game that was 1.5 years away still. Hard to run a site on a game that isn't out! I bought a few other Destiny related domain names in the last year as well, really unsure on what I wanted to do and which game franchise I wanted to focus on.

Then it dawned on me to do something like HC, but not around any single game franchise. I attempted this once before, I think around 2010, called FPSCharts. It had some Halo stats and some Battlefield stats in a single place. It hosted a forum that got taken over by spammers too and was a big mess. I still felt like the idea was sound, but the execution failed. FPSCharts in name forced me to stay with FPS games, and at the time really limited me. So all of this has just been thoughts and ideas in my mind building up over time, but nothing was working out.

I really have to consider where I'm at with things in order to build something that is compelling and fun. If I'm not enjoying the work it takes to build something like a HaloCharts, then I will fizzle out and move to the next thing. A hobby has to be fun right? I felt like going with HaloCharts again or CultofDestiny could be fun in their own ways, but also essentially forces me to pick a game franchise and go all-in, which isn't how I operate anymore. I play a ton of different games, usually at the same time, and rarely do I finish a game. Nothing wrong with that, haha, but I know that in order to build something fun I need it to be flexible enough to allow me the freedom to work on what I feel like working on and not get bogged down with any one thing too much. Like I said, HC was awesome, but it was more work than I can describe. It was a 2nd full-time job without the pay.

With all that said, it was clear I need to build a website that focuses on more than just Halo or Destiny. Those games can have a lot of focus, but they can't be the only focus for what I'm wanting to make. Finding a good name was pretty hard, honestly, because just about every domain with the word game or play in it has been snatched up and usually just by a squatter. I went through hundreds of combinations before I found LegacyStats.com was available. I think it speaks to what I want to make clearly. A site to show your Gaming Legacy, with the inclusion of as many different games as possible (with at least basic stats for each). The second focus being more on Groups and Clans. HaloCharts had a strong group system, and I believe LegacyStats can have this, but even better. These 2 focuses can lead to a site that is easy to use and should be compelling to players of many different games out there. It can also act as a jumping off point to larger, more in-depth stats sites like BF4Stats, HaloTracker and DestinyTracker.

Lastly, the site will steer away from things that caused drama and extra work, the biggest of those being global leaderboards. There will be other sites that offer those for Halo and Destiny, so I don't feel the need to attempt to tackle them, especially for the number of games I hope to grab stats on. I'd like to believe LegacyStats can be a fun place to just come and hang out, talk about a lot of games, check out a lot of high-level stats and start a group or clan for whatever you're playing at the time.

So that's the history of where my head is at currently. I think the name is spot on, I'm happy with the logo and initial look and feel of the site. I would love to see LegacyStats work together with other gaming communities out there also, similar to what HaloUnity did (another site that I started but didn't work out). Time will tell!

http://legacystats.com

TLDR: HaloCharts is now LegacyStats, except different.

TUESDAY - JUNE 24TH, 2014

Destiny Shirt Design Desktops

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@spawnling had the idea! Enjoy!

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MONDAY - JUNE 23RD, 2014
TUESDAY - JUNE 10TH, 2014

My time so far in the Destiny Alpha

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Surprisingly last week, I was invited to play in the Destiny Alpha. The entire thing took me by surprise, so I want to thank my Bungie friends immensely for the opportunity (especially @Halcylon). The timing was perfect since I had just picked up a PS4 the weekend before.

So where do I begin? How do I even write about this game, what it's trying to do, where it's going and so on? It's been boggling my brain since I first picked up the controller to play it. I don't think I can write something that will go into huge amounts of detail about the various aspects of the game, but I do think I can write about how the game felt and how it made me think. It was a curveball for sure.

Every game nowadays seems to pretty much have a storyline, some main characters, etc, including a protagonist and an antagonist. There's a start and a finish, usually, and a lot of things to see and do on the way to the end. Destiny has these things too, but with one major difference, YOU. Destiny is all about the player, it's all about what YOU want to look like, what YOU want to do, where YOU want to go, how YOU want to play and so on. When the alpha starts, you are presented with a character creation tool with seemingly endless amounts of options, colors, etc. I spent a solid 30 minutes here just messing around with how I will look as I play. Even the cover of the box art illustrates that this game is what you make of it, it's your own Destiny to play. You may play the game completely different from somebody else. I'm looking forward to my own experience of the 'full' Destiny.

To further the customization aspects of the game and it's focus on you as a player, you'll quickly see that there is just an absolute ton of gear to find and earn. In about 6 hours of playing I had quite a few pieces I could switch between. I had whole bunch of guns too. You'll be loot hunting for a long time to come and all major pieces of the game work together to make the hunt for better gear a rewarding thing to do. I ended with some stuff I couldn't even wear thanks to the level cap (8) in the alpha.

The next thing I found to be quite clever is how you get around, from solo/coop play to The Tower to PvP. You simply fly there using your ship. When the full game ships, I would guess you have to earn the first ship, not sure, but in the Alpha you start with one. I could go to Old Russia, The Tower and The Crucible (PvP). If you're by yourself you only see your ship. If you're in a fireteam, you see their ships too. It's a pretty cool animation and it does vary based on where you're heading. I hope that there's a tad more interaction in it down the road, but it's the coolest loading screen you've seen. It does make things feel seamless as you don't end up having to traverse through menus too much to figure out where you want to go.

The game handles wonderfully. The controls are tight, not surprisingly. The guns are awesome. The skills you earn based on your class are awesome. The combat and AI seem really good. The difficulty is somewhat on the easy side, but let it be known you can explore to a point where you get yourself in trouble. I found this out as I went down too deep in Old Russia and was immediately killed. There's an endless number of quests you can do down on Earth, all of which vary from cleaning out enemies to finding computer data. I've played against a couple "bosses" that were very challenging. While you're doing these things you might run into a Public Event which are very fun. For me at least, I could wander around forever just looking at all there is to see.

The graphics were top-notch with a lot of variety. Same goes for the music, which I do hope can continue to be awesome in the future. The alien variety is great and we're only scratching the surface. Everything just felt really polished, from the UI to the game mechanics. Destiny seems to combine a lot of different games into one massive experience, with plenty of innovation as well. It feels like a cross between Borderlands and your typical MMO, like Final Fantasy XIV, with the gunplay of Halo and progression like Battlefield, or some strange hodgepodge of those games. It's got it's own personality though. The style of the game is something I've found to be great since the very first leaks oh so long ago.

The newest trailer sheds a little more light on the storyline than we've seen so far. The Alpha doesn't give you much story, besides quests really. It's a good taste of what we can expect when the game ships this fall. I'm pretty sold based on my time with the Alpha.

If you're looking for some PvP insight, check out Obi Wan Stevobi's writeup:
http://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post?id=65325489

MONDAY - JUNE 2ND, 2014

Destiny Desktop

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First Destiny themed one in quite a while.

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SUNDAY - JUNE 1ST, 2014

My WWDC 2014 Predictions

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Who knows this year, but I'm less hyped than I usually am. I'm sure my predictions are going to be spot on.

- iOS 8 - Now even brighter
- OS X 10.10 TinTin
- Apple Home Security System
- iBelt - the world's first smart belt
- iMac Mini - a combination of the Mac Mini and the iMac with a 12" retina display
- Apple TV - an actual Apple branded TV that is 4X the price of the competition
- New software for iOS to track your fast-food eating habits
- iPhone 6 with Beats audio
- iPad Pro with 17" screen

From @Smyf
- Dr. Dre does the keynote

I bet I'm right this year.

FRIDAY - MAY 30TH, 2014

Going next-gen: PS4

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I finally made my decision: I decided to get a Playstation 4. After a fiasco with Target and their triple trade in deal I had what I needed to make the purchase. It's too soon to make an opinion, but I like what I'm seeing so far. Been playing MGS5:Ground Zeros because it was cheap ($25). It looks phenomenal too and I've always been a big MGS fan.

After a ton of thought, it really became clear that either console (XBO and PS4) would be a great console to get. The hard part was figuring out which way to go first, as I bet I'll end up with both over time. Even when the XBO drops to $399, it didn't seem 'worth it' knowing that the PS4's specs are better. That and I had just gotten a Vita, so remote play is a big deal to me. The only thing that was swinging in the Xbox's favor is exclusives, but the big ones like Halo 5 are over a year away. Destiny comes this fall, and that's the game I am most excited for. I have no doubt the PS4 version of Destiny is going to be awesome. I also play FFXIV, and it has a great version for PS4 that is on my list to pick up.

Initial impressions:
- love the DS4 controller
- love the look of the PS4, smaller than I expected
- the new UI is slick and simple to get around on
- PS+ gave me 5 games to start with
- Remote play works!

WEDNESDAY - MAY 28TH, 2014

a barren wasteland 1.3 is out for Android

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This is a substantial update to the game. You can save your location, making death a bit easier to recover from. The story has also been expanded and a lot of the text has been refined to be more 'barren'. There are still 3 endings about about 10 ways to die.

Windows Phone 8 version will be next followed by iOS (since they require a review).

SATURDAY - MAY 24TH, 2014

The Great Next-gen Kerfuffle

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For some reason I've set it in my mind that I'm ready to buy a next-gen console. I have just about $400 ready to go towards either an Xbox One or a PS4. The problem I'm having is deciding on which one. If you watch "The Big Bang Theory", Sheldon went through the same thing (hilarious episode!). Maybe a pro/con list and your feedback will help me :)

Playstation 4 (PS4)
Pros:
- Cheaper at this point in time, but in 2 weeks that changes when the Kinect-less XBO comes out
- Better (?) hardware, at least from what I've read it will be able to produce better looking games, etc, than the Xbox One, although I hear that without Kinect, the XBO may actually get better. However, to my eye, both systems appear to produce fantastic looking games that will only improve down the road. So is this a pro?
- PS Vita Remote Play - This is huge for me. I love the PS Vita (now) and the idea of playing PS4 games on it in my house (or even over the internet) is extremely appealing.
- PS+ - Fantastic service. I'm paid up for a year just about. I've got a library of games going for Vita/PS4 and PS4, even though I don't own one yet. I expect to continue my subscription.
- Loads of Indie titles, a lot of which are really great games.
- Removable HDD

Cons:
- No external HDD support
- Not as many of my friends are on PSN, way more on XBL
- Fewer exclusives I care about

Exclusives I care about
- FFXIV
- The Order 1886
- The Last of Us (missed it on PS3, waiting for PS4 remake)
- Gran Turismo

Xbox One
Pros:
- More exclusives I care about
- HALO's - This is a big one for me, although the days of being able to play like I once did are gone, so I would still be focused on campaigns with light online MM
- Ext. HDD support - really cool, maybe the PS4 will get this?
- The only next-gen console to have Halo and Destiny
- Titanfall

Cons:
- More expensive (today)
- Bigger console, including power brick
- Fewer Indie Titles (for now)
- XBL Gold - only a negative because I don't currently have Gold, so we're talking an extra cost right up front
- No remote play, something I think would be extremely nice about the PS4

Exclusives I care about
- Halo (all of em)
- Forza series
- Gears of War series

Games that will be on both consoles:
- Titanfall 2 (?)
- Destiny
- Watch Dogs
- The Division
- MGS series
- FF XV

So help me decide! Maybe I should wait until after E3 to decide.

TUESDAY - MAY 20TH, 2014

First Halo 5 Desktop

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I didn't go too crazy, but just messing around with the new Halo 5 art:
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Big HS2 Event and small HC update!

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HaloSphere Memorial Day Spectacular!
The team (and myself) at HaloSphere2 have been working hard to plan a big Memorial Day Weekend Event. News on that event has been posted on HS2, including the rules and prize details. Gonna be a blast, hope to see you there!

HaloCharts.com Update!
Really, its more of a completion of something I started doing over a year ago. Basically, you can enter your player tag now and see a brief Halo career summary for Halo 4, Halo Reach and Halo 3. Nothing big and fancy, but a nice clean page you can show people. As for the future of HC, it's going to remain as is until I see a need to do more with the site.

http://halocharts.com