Fire Emblem is love. Fire Emblem is life. But also love.

After the initial guffawing of Android phone users across the world that the iOS version of Fire Emblem Heroes was not defined in the game’s announcement, it seems like iOS owners are getting the game at the same time after all. In yesterday’s Fire Emblem-themed Direct presentation, Nintendo’s second smartphone game was announced with a specific date for the Android release, but not the iOS release.

A few hours later, after the dust settled on the announcement, Nintendo clarified that the iOS version of the game would be released on the same day as the Android version.

Not only that, but we were told that Nintendo is nearing completion on a new, proper Fire Emblem game, called Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which is meant to be a recreation of FE Gaiden. It looks awesome. Perhaps a bit simplified in combat, but yeah, it looks freaking awesome. I want. I need a new cast of characters to pair up and ship—I mean—I need new tactical puzzles to solve.

I’ll probably never get a real response to this.

to: tcook@apple.com
from: hello@bcarr.me
re: Real MBP upgrade?

Any chance Apple will ever get around to shipping a real MacBook Pro that isn’t afraid to trade power for battery life? Say, something with a desktop-class Nvidia 1000 series chipset, like other manufacturers are providing?

I mean, either that or being able to install OS X on PC hardware would be great too. I’d pay for that privilege.

I love Apple and my MacBook Air is the most solid Apple product I’ve ever purchased, but I’ve been thinking about upgrading for awhile now, and paying nearly three grand for a MacBook Pro that’s graphically less powerful than the refurbished Acer laptop I bought nearly a year ago for $900 hurts my soul too much to commit to.

— Brad

The WESG 2016-that-actually-took-place-in-2017 wrap-up.

Non-standard calendars and their year counting madness. How about those crazy things?

World Electronic Sports Games 2016, also known as Alibaba Spent 3.7M USD This Year To Virtue Signal Its Success To A New Vertical, is probably the closest thing esports has to a world final for multiple games. Well, at least a multi-title event that’s mildly relevant in this era of inflating prize pools not run by the usual suspects.

I keep up with events like these by going back after the fact and gathering information about the results, as well as some general statistics about the games and prize awards for each tournament. Here’s my entries regarding the WESG 2016 results (using my goto source, Liquipedia) and a little blurb about why I record the statistics I have.

  • CSGO
    • 1ST: ENVYUS, 800K USD
      • GROUP A WINNER (11PTS, 8-2)
      • 2-1 TYLOO (16-9 CACHE, 8-16 MIRAGE, 16-14 DUST2)
      • 2-1 SPACE SOLDIERS (8-16 CACHE, 22-19 CBBLE, 16-14 DUST2)
      • 2-0 KINGUIN (2ND: 400K USD) (16-5 TRAIN, 16-6 DUST2)
    • VIRTUS.PRO (3RD: 200K USD) 2-0 SPACE SOLDIERS (4TH: 60K USD) (16-8 CBBLE, 16-6 NUKE)

First: I usually don’t write anything in my notebook in lowercase unless I need to actually remember the case of what I’m writing down. Pretty ironic since the sub-title for the blog and prominent name for the podcast contains the word lowercase.

As for not recording game wins/losses and only recording map wins/losses in CSGO, the former is the only base statistic that matters without listing round wins/losses in series for group games. It’s the most basic representation of a team’s performance in a group stage without also stating the rosters’ cumulative kill-death-assist ration. In a perfect world, if you’re gathering KDA statistics, you might as well be gathering average economy statistics, too.

Knowing round scores against certain matchups, however, is a perfectly sane thing to remember. Especially when we’ve moved beyond the mundane

And let us not forget the real metric that matters, here, winnings. Yeah, I could be lazy and just write out $800K, but sometimes the currency of the award isn’t USD. Using symbols seems lame in a notebook that only I’m going to read. Might as well be pedantic if I’m going to do whatever in my magic book of personal records and notes and so on.

  • DOTA 2
    • 1ST: TNC, 800K USD
      • GROUP D WINNER (10PTS, 7-3 IN 361M46S)
      • 2-1 DILECOM (IN 114M43S)
      • 2-0 ALLIANCE (IN 75M50S)
      • 2-1 CLOUD9 (2ND: 400K USD) (IN 132M22S)
    • ALLIANCE (3RD: 200K USD) 2-1 INFAMOUS (4TH: 60K USD) (IN 126M52S)

Dota 2 is a grand ol’ game of strategy, tactics and fatigue. Typically, you could also say that League of Legends is the same thing, along with many other Dota-clones, however not all Dota-clones receive near-complete makeovers of their end-games as recently as Data 2 has. 7.00’s mid-to-late game changes revolving around its implementation of a skill tree is a huge change in game mechanics.

Match length might begin to tell us if the teams have adapted their strategies to the new mechanics in the patch and in turn optimize all heroes’ viability for all situations—which we’d see if games trended towards longer times.

OR… a trend for shorter match times could mean that matches are more often decided by the magic of a player hitting 25th level followed by a blatant, drastic steamrolling.

  • SC2
    • 1ST: TY (T), 200K USD
      • GROUPD D WINNER (8-4)
      • 3-0 STEPHANO (Z)
      • 3-0 NEEB (P)
      • 4-3 MARU (T) (2ND: 100K USD)
    • NEEB (P) (3RD: 50K USD) 3-1 SHOWTIME (P) (4TH: 20K USD)

When it comes to the top tiers of StarCraft 2 professional play, map selection, player race, and starting position might be more important statistics to track here, but I’m not a living, breathing statistics machine that is obsessed over identifying trends like this.

Maybe if SC2 was more of a major esport and not in the rut that it is.

  • RNGSTONE
    • 1ST: STAZ, 150K USD (25-16)
    • 2ND: ORANGE, 70K USD (28-15)
    • 3RD: BUNNYHOPPER, 40K USD (26-18)
    • 4TH: XIXO, 20K USD (21-18)

The only things that matter in RNGstone, since every player uses all classes of decks in a tournament setting, are game wins and… losses. Since the game is practically decided by a randomized, predetermined deck, there’s not really a reason to bother associating most of the statistics that one could reasonably derive from a game.

That statistic is average turns taken to win. With that statistic, you can identify those with the super-optimized decks and those with decks that might require longer to set up a victory condition.

Actually, yeah, sure. That statistic doesn’t help as much as I thought it might.

Take five mid-tier NA CSGO players combine with established EU org, add Heat, then blitz.

Sean Gares, ShahZam, Relyks, SicK and Twistzz are certainly positioned to take advantage of all of the opportunities that 2017 will offer mediocre teams. The five CSGO pros have gone from TSM’s latest hope to rise up out from the mediocrity to the Miami Heat’s new CSGO squad that will be using their recently-acquired Misfits name in about a month.

According to the Kotaku report regarding the matter, it seems like the Miami Heat organization is going to have more than just a League of Legends team and random FGC sponsorships to dump money into, but, on top of what they have, they’ll have a new team that’s going to have regular opportunities to play games and leagues in what is the most active esports scene out of the three major titles. Realistically, this rounds out the portfolio of teams for the organization to immediately wield going forward in the year, but also allows them to begin reestablishing the Misfits name as something other than a low-tier organization that barely keeps afloat.

Along with the transfer of the TSM-for-a-minute squad to the Misfits organization, TSM lost its right to play in the ESL Pro League due to the league’s majority-roster rule.

So not only does Misfits have to be getting a roster at some sort of premium, but they’re going to have brand awareness for their name in the best online league for the game straight out of the gate? How is this anything short of a massive victory for the account manager involved in this entire deal?

I mean, they’re seriously getting on the money dispensing train and committing to it.

Of course, CS:GO is not the only game in the Misfits’ portfolio. They’re active in five other games:

  • Their League of Legends squad, which just clinched a slot in the European LCS, wasted zero time in the off-season and added some reasonably strong free agents from EU and KR: PowerofEvil and KaKAO. They join Alphari, Hans and IgNar to round out the starting roster with Lamabear and Yuuki60 on the bench.

  • The Misfits’ Overwatch roster is based on an earlier acquisition of Graviton Surge made by the team before Heat ownership, from which Nevix and Zebbosai are the two remaining players from that transaction. During December, the organization made headlines for participating in a three-way player swap with Rogue and Luminosity. They round out the Misfits roster with a pile of Swedes: Manneten, Zave, TviQ and Reinforce.

  • Misfits even have a team playing the best Dota-clone that isn’t Dota 2! Their Heroes of the Storm team is still the old mYinsanity team the organization picked up this past summer. Captain Blumbi leads the team including StarCraft 2 veteran HasuObs along with Darkmok, Nurok and Splendour, the only non-German on the roster.

  • Misfits’ sole FGC sponsored played is a Smash Melee player called The Moon. The Moon’s Marth is certainly top-tier and has maintained a top-30 status in the SSBM Ranking Series for the past two years. He’s currently ranked 21st in the world. His best finish from last year was a $1250 purse from Shots Fired 2, where he finished runner up to Mew2King.

  • To round out the Misfits’ other holdings, the brand has recently signed a trio of RNGstone players from the EU scene: Georgec from the UK, and Pokrovac and StanCifka from the Czech Republic. Georegc and Pokrovac are both 2016 standouts, with multiple podium finishes in the European circuit of events, but StanCifka, on the other hand, has won multiple major tournaments in 2015 and has not regularly competed in 2016.