Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Nerdy stuff’ Category

Overwatch update

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I got my skill rank up into the 900s after I became a Mercy main. Mercy was, recently, significantly buffed, and she’s also an easier hero to play because she has a healing beam that has a very forgiving aiming window and once it’s turned on it stays turns on no matter what you do, unless you move too far away from the hero whom you are healing or you leave line-of-site.

So if you wish to start playing this game, I recommend Mercy. Mercy is also a good hero for middle-aged men, because I was told that middle-age men are good at helping younger people. So as a middle-aged Mercy, you can help the younger players on your team who have better aim and faster reflexes.

There are three other healers:

Lucio: he has been nerfed and is not as easy or as useful as when I first started playing. He has an AOE heal which works automatically, but he needs to have good aim now to be the best Lucio. I would learn him as a second healer in case someone else on your team has insta-locked Mercy. It’s beneficial to have two healers on your team.
Zenyatta: In order to be good with him, you need good aim and reflexes. He’s a more of a hybrid DPS/healer than a pure healer.
Ana: She’s the hardest healer to play. Avoid her. You’re not good enough to play her.

The other best hero for a middle-aged man to play is Winston. Winston is a high hitpoint tank hero with high mobility and an attack which doesn’t have to be aimed. As long as you are close enough and people are generally in front of you, they will take damage from your attack. Winston’s role is either to distract the enemy from firing at the squishier higher-DPS players on your team, or to jump in, kill a weak hero, and then jump out before you die. Winston also has a shield-bubble, but it’s not as powerful of a shield as Orisa and Reinhardt have.

Additionally, the following heroes are easier for new players with bad reflexes to pick up:


The latter three heroes are considered to be only good on defense. Don’t pick them on offense or your teammates will be mad at you. Actually, Bastion can be powerful on offense, but requires more skill to be used in that manner, so I recommend not doing that in competitive play unless you are really sure you can play him well on offense.

And then there is Reinhardt. Reinhardt doesn’t require aiming (he swings a massive hammer that hits hard anyone in front of him), but I found him very difficult to pick up anyway. However, he is a well-liked tank hero in lower ranked play, so give him a try too.

Honorable mention hereos. These two DPS heroes listed below are harder to play than any of the heroes mentioned above as easy heroes, but they are generally considered to be powerful heroes in lower-ranked play and easier than most other DPS heroes.

Soldier 76: Best hero against flying heroes on the other team, which are Pharah and Mercy. But still good on any map and against any enemy team composition. You can’t go wrong learning Soldier if you want to do DPS.

Pharah: Can really dominate if the other team doesn’t have a hero who is good at picking off flying heroes. Requires very good map knowledge to play well. Strong against tanks, Junkrat, Symmetra, and any other hero who only has short-range attacks. Weak against Soldier 76, McCree, other long-range heroes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 23, 2017 at 11:23 am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

The mathematics of casino comps

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Suppose the average video-poker player has a 3% loss rate. So someone who pushes $100,000 through the machine on a typical visit is expected to lose $3,000. It makes sense for the hotel to give away $1,000 in comps in order to keep the guy at their casino and still make a $2,000 profit.

But that means an expert video-poker player who plays only at a 1% loss rate has an expected loss of only $1,000, and if he gets the same comps then he breaks even, assuming he values the comps as much as he values the lost money.

But still, why not play blackjack instead of video-poker? Blackjack has a very easy basic strategy to follow which only gives the house a 0.5% advantage, while the typical bad player gives the house a 2% advantage. Furthermore, with blackjack, you get the social aspect of being able to talk to the other players or the dealer, rather than staring, all alone, at a computer screen.

In order to give the house an expected win of $3000 at blackjack, you must bet a total of $150,000. (But because you are playing with a 0.5% house advantage, you would only expect to lose $750.)

If the average table has 70 hands per hour, and you play at a $100 minimum bet table (and always bet the minimum), then you have to play a little more than 21 hours of blackjack on your vacation to demonstrate that you’re worth $1000 in comps (assuming I’m correct in guessing that a $3,000 loser merits $1,000 in comps).

The only problem with this strategy is that you are far more likely to have a winning streak or a losing streak than you are to lose exactly $750, so you need to be able to stomach the possibility that you could have a run of bad luck and lose $10,000 or more over the course of your vacation.

But based on my math, you probably have to play at a $100 table, at least, to get decent comps.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

New York Comic Con 2017

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When a girl who’s a 4 or a 5 dresses up in a cosplay outfit, she suddenly becomes like a 7 or an 8! I wonder if I’m too old to get into this? (Alas, all tickets are sold out.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 5, 2017 at 9:07 am

Posted in Nerdy stuff

It pays to play Overwatch

A 17-year-old kid signs a contract for $150,000/year salary, plus bonus-sharing. Not a bad salary for a 17 at all. But what is the kid going to do in a few years when he becomes too old to win at videogames (or when Overwatch is loses popularity and he’s too old to learn a new videogame?

* * *

Meanwhile, I suck so badly at this game. My skill rank stays in the 500 level. I think it recently dipped below 500 again.

Maybe in the next update, when Mercy is going to be improved, she will become so powerful that I can play her and rise in the skill ranks.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Jonathan Coulton – Code Monkey

A fan-made video, made by splicing together clips from an existing anime TV show or movie.

I wrote about this video ten years ago after reading the NY Times article about Jonathan Coulton, but it was so long ago that maybe most here no longer remember.

There’s also an even more nerdy video based on World of Warcraft. I think the WoW video does a better job of demonstrating that the code monkey has a “big warm fuzzy secret heart.” But using a giant gorilla as a stand-in for a beta computer programmer just doesn’t work.

I like this song because there are so few songs about incel computer programmers.

What doesn’t make sense: if the computer programmer (aka code monkey) is into both Tab and Mountain Dew, why didn’t he bring the girl (whom he has oneitis for) a Tab, which she wouldn’t have been able to reject for having too many calories?

* * *

Irma is now a category four hurricane, as of 500 PM AST Mon Sep 04 2017. South Florida still looks like a good possibility for landfall.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 4, 2017 at 6:15 pm

More on the topic of unemployed young men who play video games

Commenter “Simba” provided me a link to this article (or maybe more of an essay than an article) at Reason:

It’s another take on the topic of young men who are playing video games instead of working.

All of these types of articles are addressing a topic I addressed many years before (I was way ahead of the times.) This is what I wrote in 2006:

In WoW and similar games, your status increases slowly but surely every time you play. After so many hours in the game, you can see exactly how many more experience points you have, maybe your level has increased, maybe you have better armor or weapons than you had before. Unlike the real world, where you can work 40 hours of overtime and not even get paid for it, if you put an extra 40 hours into WoW you will definitely have something to show for it. Your status within the virtual world of WoW will have increased in ways you can clearly ascertain.

* * *

In Overwatch, although your skill rank never goes up, they do give you some consolation prizes like a higher “level” and loot boxes that give you things like “skins” and “victory poses.” But I don’t care about that stuff. I feel like the real game in Overwatch is your competitive skill rank, and therefore Overwatch kind of depresses me because it demonstrates that I’m not even very good at playing video games.

Maybe I should switch to a role playing game (one of many WoW clones) which gives you the illusion that, as long as you keep putting in playtime, you’re becoming more powerful.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 14, 2017 at 7:37 am

Overwatch update

Once your Skill Rank declines below 500, they stop telling you how low it has gotten.

How can I be so bad at this game?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 16, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

17-year-old kid becomes pro Overwatch player despite his parents

Liked this article. His parents, not surprisingly, didn’t like the idea of him playing Overwatch all the time, so they tried to cut off his internet.

I’m glad the kid was able to persevere and pursue self-actualization from playing Overwatch. Why should Overwatch be treated differently than training for the Olympics. I bet most parents would be a lot more supportive if their kid forwent college to train for the Olympics, even though 99% of Olympic athletes make no money from it. On the other hand, the Olympics probably look a lot better on a college application being a pro Overwatch player.

I guess the counterargument is that even if the kid makes a living for a few years from being a pro Overwatch player, his reflexes will be shot by the time he’s 30 and then he has no self-actualizing career path.

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My current Overwatch skill rank is only 548. I think that puts me in the bottom 1% of players. I am too old to play videogames.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 28, 2017 at 10:54 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

Middle-aged man plays Overwatch: update

Playing Zenyatta, a hero who’s a healer but who can also debuff enemies and dish out some damage. At the expense of low mobility. Zenyatta is a harder hero to play than Lucio because you have to aim your healing, while at the same time you are less evasive and that much easier for enemies to pick off. Plus being a good damage dealer requires good aim, which I don’t have.

Based on my stats in this competitive match, I held my own and did pretty good, but my competitive skill rank is between 1000 and 1100, which I think means that I’m in the bottom 10% of players, maybe worse, so my good performance here was relative to the players on the other team being pretty bad.

Whenever I rise above 1100, I fall back down after a few games. I am stuck at my level of incompetence.

I think this means that middle-aged men aren’t any good at playing videogames. I am sure that if I were in my teens, after putting so much time into this game, I’d be at a higher competitive skill rank.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

April 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Nerdy stuff

In the future, will the government pay people to drive virtual trucks?

Self-driving trucks will soon put all truck drivers out of work. What will they do instead? Every other industry they might migrate to will also be laying off workers because of automation. Pizza delivery will be done by robots. Stores will no longer have cashiers. Even the cashier-less McDonalds won’t be hiring anyone, because robots will be in the kitchen making the hamburgers.

The government could simply give everyone a basic income check. But there’s too much political opposition to that. The idea of poor people getting something from the government without having to work for it drives a lot of people, especially conservative blog commenters, crazy. Even free healthcare for everyone, which is an important first step towards a basic income, outrages the conservative types.

Furthermore, there are some legitimate concerns about people without the kind of structure to their lives that comes from having a job becoming social problems, joining gangs, committing crimes, etc.

Thus paying people to do virtual jobs like driving virtual trucks could be a necessary first towards a true post-scarcity economic model. And it’s a lot better than paying people to drive real trucks because the virtual trucks don’t pollute and don’t waste any scarce natural resources. Plus the truck simulator provides reinforcement of civic values because you have to obey the traffic laws.

* * *

Am I serious, or is this just tongue-in-cheek?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 29, 2017 at 12:37 pm

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