#210: The Wild

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with a new game mode on Hearthstone, called “Wild Mode.”

That’s what I’ll be discussing a little bit today. I like to play Hearthstone on my phone, because it gives me the chance to do something during my downtime. Whether it’s the adventure mode or something else, there’s always something interesting to check out in this game. I can climb the Wild ladder, for example, and explore what that world has to offer as compared to the Standard ladder.

Hearthstone has two modes of deck construction: Standard, which includes the last two years of cards that have been released, and Wild, which includes all cards from all previous expansions and other content releases, such as solo adventures. Both modes are separated on the ranked and unranked ladders, allowing for people to pit Wild decks against Wild decks and Standard decks against other Standard decks. That way, it’s fair, and people aren’t playing at a disadvantage against each other based on what cards are available to them. Having Wild cards available to you changes what’s strong and what isn’t strong.

I generally like to play on the Standard ladder, but recently, I’ve been exploring Wild because of the different deck archetypes available to this mode. The two modes have drastically different metas, with different classes superior in this mode versus what classes are superior in Standard. For example, Warrior is a strong class in Standard right now but is considered one of the weakest in Wild. Shaman is great in Wild but mostly mediocre in Standard right now. The diversity of decks is what entices me most to this mode. I’ve been running an Even Shaman deck on the ladder and have won many of my games so far. It’s pretty dominant over casual, constructed decks that aren’t as refined as it. It’s unfortunate for my opponents, but great for me!

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#141: The Fishing Tourney

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When I think about Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, one of my favorite and most consistently played mobile games, I think of the fishing tournament and flower festivals. The latter is for another time to discuss, but the former I’ll be discussing now for the first time on this blog. Fishing tourneys appear about once or so a month, and they last for about a week. Chip, the walrus animal friend who runs the fishing tourneys, shows up and offers you the Golden Rod (over and over again), then introduces you to the different types of fish you’ll be attempting to catch over the next week. Every three hours or so, the fish reset and you’re able to catch more of the tourney fish.

The most recent tourney featured Mario-themed fish, such as bloopers and cheep cheeps and cheep chomps, with Mario-themed rewards, such as balloons, 8-bit furniture, and common blocks and coins. The amount of fish you collect determines how many rewards you are given for your participation in the tourney. It also determines the rarity of trophy you are given at the end of the tourney; there are four types: wood, bronze, silver, and gold. I think I’ve gotten a gold trophy every tourney except for maybe one. It’s not difficult to get, and if you buy the Golden Rod it’s exponentially easier than before, but it’s something that people can strive for regardless and it feels good to collect from your mailbox once the whole thing is over.

The reason I discuss Pocket Camp so much on this blog is it’s a frequent part of my life, and I love being able to play it every few hours. My friends also play it, as well as my younger sister. There’s a sense of camaraderie that develops by bonding over this fun, small, mobile game.

#135: The Card Expansion

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When I think about collectible card games, the first one that comes to mind is always Hearthstone, and for good reason. First of all, you can’t trade cards in this game, but you just collect them by opening packs. Secondly, it’s available on smartphones and computers and tablets, so it’s incredibly versatile and useful. When you open packs, it gives you five cards, with at least one being rare quality. There are other qualities of cards, though, such as epic and legendary, but those have a less likely chance of appearing when you open packs and they aren’t guaranteed, either.

The reason I bring all of this up is because a new expansion for Hearthstone has been announced, titled “Rise of Shadows.” It features lots of homebrewed villains from the Hearthstone universe forming an evil league to take down Dalaran, the city of magic in the sky. I have no idea what will actually take place in the adventure portion of this game, when the story is actually relevant to the gameplay, but I’m interested regardless. Whenever a new expansion is announced, I always look forward to the spoilers season, when new cards are slowly trickled in and unveiled by the development team through publishers. I always get caught in the hype and am interested in what’s coming next to the game. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype when things are getting exciting like this!

My favorite time is when the legendary cards are revealed, as they usually have the most ridiculous, over-the-top effects and abilities. Those are usually meta-defining and absolutely shape and warp the way the game is played in standard and wild. The past few sets haven’t been that impactful, but with there being a rotation in standard with it being Year of the Dragon now, this new expansion set is bound to change things up.

#134: The Fitness Pal

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Let’s talk about physical fitness, everyone’s favorite subject!

When I first started exercising fully, I did so in my dorm room in London while studying abroad. I was motivated to get into better shape, and walking around the city by myself (or with a companion) allowed me the opportunity to do so. It was only cardio, nothing more than that, but it still fulfilled my desire to work out more regularly.

The smartphone app, My Fitness Pal, is what helped me take charge of my health and fitness, and I’ve used it off and on since then. I used it while I was in London, tracked the food I ate each day and weekend, and I made sure to put in all the foods I didn’t normally have on the app. Thankfully, the app has a great deal of options for foods and you don’t usually have to put foods in by yourself. It goes in all on its own!

When you log into the app, it puts you on a screen that marks Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snack. You can enter your food and nutritional info anywhere in any of the categories, and it fills up the amount of calories you’ve had during the day when you enter food. You can also add exercise, and it counts the amount of calories you’ve burnt and calculates those into your daily total of calories, too. It’s a wonderful little app, and without it, I don’t think I would have been able to lose weight like I did back in 2014. To think that was five years ago at this point is crazy! I can barely believe it. I’ve changed so much since then and also because of that time period. I should write about it more often.

#119: Pocket Camp

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How have I gone a hundred and nineteen posts without talking about Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp? I know I just made a post about video games, and I don’t like to inundate my posts with video game info, but this is the first idea that came to my mind. Pocket camp is a daily fixation for us, so I think it’s important to talk about on my daily blog! It just works.

Alex and I have played pocket camp since November of 2017, and it’s been a consistent joy for us ever since. It’s a camp, but in your pocket (on the phone)! I always have my phone with me, so I can always play whenever I need to fulfill my animal requests. It’s available all the time for catching fish and bugs, harvesting fruit and flowers, and talking with animal friends. The campsite (and cabin) is always available for decorating and updating with modern options, and the developers are constantly adding new furniture to the game to spice things up. The fortune cookies allow for unique designs to make their way into the game, and the animals sometimes give you furniture to decorate with too. Alex and I are both super high levels, have tons of campsite items, and have unlocked pretty much every amenity and animal available. It’s awesome to look back at where we started and where we are now. The improvements added to the game in the time since we started have been numerous and game-changing, also. The cabin, the happy home mansion, the fortune cookie shop, Gulliver, Pete, treasure maps, snacks, the garden, and more? I can’t even imagine starting this mobile game for the first time now, with so much to learn about and so much to explore. My sister Bella also plays pocket camp, and is helplessly addicted to it with us. We bond over our mutual conquests in the realm of pocket camp.

#103: The Smartphone

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Continuing the trend of talking about technology in these blogs, I’ll be discussing smartphones today, and my history of having them. I saw an article on my Facebook feed about how young kids shouldn’t have smartphones until they’re 14 years old, apparently. I can see the many arguments as to why; the exposure of privacy, the complete freedom it offers and the consequences a few missteps on the Internet can result in, and more. Having access to a smartphone regularly as a kid is probably not a good idea, in my opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend giving phones to kids in the first place. But that’s besides the point of this blog, and I’m just rambling at this point!

My first cell phone was from Verizon, my old cell phone carrier, and it was an Envy 2. It was, of course, a flip phone. If I could find a picture of it on the Internet, I would put it right here for all to see and marvel at. The Envy 2 could search the internet and text friends, but that was about the extent of its power. It couldn’t really do much else, but it survived for awhile and kept me fairly social during middle school and my teenage years. I wasn’t the kind of person to text during class, as I hated drawing unnecessary or unneeded attention to myself under any circumstances in school, but as a student, the Envy 2 allowed me to be a teenager with the rest of my teenage friends for a bit.

I switched over to the iPhone brand afterwards, but that was a short-lived stint that lasted until I studied abroad in 2014, when my mom took me to T Mobile to get me a Samsung Galaxy Mini to take abroad with me. Shortly after, I switched to Android and the rest has been history! I’ve managed to try the HTC One brand, as well as the next evolution in the Samsung Galaxy. That’s actually what my current phone is.