Author Archives : Alex Wice


About Alex Wice

Alex Wice looks for awesome experiences. Never satisfied, his audaciousness has taken him through math olympiads, high stakes poker, and dozens of countries. As a founder of Lunarch Studios, Alex has an enthusiasm for crafting beautiful user experiences through great design, for understanding the motivations of players playing games, and for appreciating what works and doesn't work in the plethora of games he has played.


Road to the Alpha World Championship: Wildcard Weekend

After last weekend’s Halloween break, we’re now gearing up for the grand conclusion of our big pre-release tourney: the Prismata Alpha World Championship. This weekend is Wildcard Weekend—on Saturday, a selection of the top players from the Grand Prix will be competing for the final two spots in the grand finals, which will take place later this month.

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A variety of fun events are planned. Here’s the schedule for the weekend:

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Four reasons you MUST watch the Prismata Cup 2 FINALS, airing this Sunday Sep 21 1pm Eastern Time 1

The stage is set as 64 of the best players in Hearthstone will play to a winner in the Prismata Cup 2—probably the most hyped Hearthstone tournament ever. Following the success of the original Prismata Cup, which saw a peak of 40k concurrent viewers and was the strongest Hearthstone tournament to date, this event is already promising to be even bigger.

 

Stream: twitch.tv/lunarchstudios

Date: Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Time: 1:00pm Eastern Time

Casters: Frodan and Reynad

Produced by m1lkcast LIVE

 

If you watch one Hearthstone tournament this year, watch the Prismata Cup 2 finals.  Below are four reasons why this event will be even better than last time:

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Tempo Storm Gaara: “The best matches ever recorded in Hearthstone history.” Why you should watch the Prismata Cup finals 8

The matches have been played, the VODs are in the casters’ hands, and the stage is set.  In roughly 7 hours from the time I post this, the Prismata Cup finals will be aired.

Stream: twitch.tv/itshafu
Date: Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
Time: 6:00pm EDT
Casters: Trump and Hafu

The Prismata Cup is a merit-based tournament open only to high-rank legends. 32 incredibly good players—likely the strongest field of any Hearthstone tournament that has taken place thus far—competed in a competitive 5-round Swiss format, with those having 4-0 or 4-1 records advancing to the single elimination finals that will be broadcast today.

Tempo Storm Gaara, one of the finalists, claims that this tournament produced the best matches ever recorded in Hearthstone history. Having taken a peek at the VODs myself, I couldn’t agree more. If you watch one Hearthstone tournament this year, watch the Prismata Cup finals. Below are five reasons why:

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The Prismata Cup: Why it happened, how it went down, and what Blizzard can do to improve Organized Play 1

Last weekend, we ran the Prismata Cup—a merit-based Hearthstone tournament open to high-ranking players. It featured 32 of Hearthstone’s top Legend-rank players, and likely had the strongest field of any Hearthstone tournament that has taken place thus far.

 

“The best matches ever recorded in Hearthstone history.”

“Everyone who plays Hearthstone has to watch these games.”

-Two of the six finalists from the Prismata Cup

 

The playoff rounds of the Prismata Cup, featuring the top 6 players from the tournament, will be broadcast this Sunday, August 3rd, with Trump and Hafu commentating.

You should watch them. Because the games are unbelievable.

The Prismata Cup wasn’t the first competitive tournament that I’ve directed. But it was the first time we’ve run a Hearthstone tournament of this scale. Though things generally went well, some hiccups inevitably had to be dealt with on competition day. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the more amusing things that happened, along with some of the problems that arose, and what Blizzard could change to help organized tournaments run more smoothly.

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New Techniques I Discovered That Doubled My Poker Potential … And Income 27

For the first time ever in public, I detail exactly what decisions led to my success.  Some of these techniques are so good, I kept them a secret until retirement.

“This was pretty tough and I ended up 50 tabling. […]  I was getting 6k vpp an hour.  This is completely insane, if you cough you are done.

In general, for high-count tabling there is extreme stress induced on the body, I think my practice with exercise beforehand has helped me sleep and play more comfortably …. I probably sweated an entire bucket through my hands over the last couple of days — talcum powder, gloves, and many towels didn’t help.”

This is what I said January 2nd, 2013 before winning the trophy that I am most proud of — after playing poker nonstop for most of 40 hours, at an insane speed for high stakes that has never been attempted before or since.  I won $5,100 on the table, plus another $12,700 in rakeback, and $3,100 in special awards for winning the contest, for a total of $20,900.  That year in total, I ended up profiting over $500,000.

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The Solution To Frustrating Time Controls 34

Many turn-based games have different systems for allocating time to players.  Sometimes, these systems result in very negative experiences.  Looking at Hearthstone, Magic Online, Poker, Chess, and Prismata, we analyze the effectiveness of these games at producing positive experiences through their time control systems.

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In Hearthstone, there is a 90 second increment, with no timebank.  (A timebank is time you can choose to spend on any turn.) This overly simple system is easy to understand, but has consequences for players.  There is no future penalty for spending time now, and there is no reward for playing faster as you cannot save any time into your timebank.  This is detrimental to the game for a few reasons.

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New Formats That Would Improve Tournaments 1

Tournament formats in gaming events have remained largely unchanged for a long time. As E-sports progresses, tournament organizers will frequently copy formats from past events, often selecting formats that are not optimally suited for their needs. In this article, we’ll take a look at 4 examples of actual tournament structures used in past Hearthstone, League of Legends, and Starcraft events, and we’ll suggest changes that would have made these events better.

Getting the format right is principally important to every element of a tournament. Having a proper format can dramatically improve the quality of the experience for both the viewers and competitors. For the viewers, a good format can create a more exciting and competitive finals by being much more likely to match the best two teams together. For the players, it makes the distribution of prize money more legitimate, ensuring that the earnings are deserved. It’s very important to understand that choosing a better format that optimizes for its goals will produce a better overall outcome on average.

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