Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 14 – Chris Benefield

Chris Benefield bio3
Chris Benefield

This week I’m joined by Chris Benefield, a longtime friend I first met during our days in graduate school way back in 1998. Chris has a masters degree in Educational Psychology, and is now working toward an advanced degree to become a school counselor.  In the episode, we discuss our history of arguing, “Who is the bigger nerd?” and explore how social comparison theory affects geekdom, “Sure, I’m a nerd – but I’m not THAT nerdy.” I ask Chris why he cannot get into tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons, and he asks me why I’m unwilling to dive into Magic: The Gathering (MtG). He discusses the merits of MtG, and we explore how games like Hearthstone, SolForge, and Eternal scratch a similar itch. We delve into our approaches to mindfully engage in our hobbies and time management, which leads into our use of social media – for better and sometimes worse. Along the way, we review our trip to GenCon 2012, and talk about trying to remain a nerd while parenting young children.

Enjoy the episode, and please provide feedback if you would like Chris and I to continue recording similar discussions as we are considering spinning this off into a separate podcast.

Enjoy the 14th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

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Hearthstone Session #3 – Netdecking

When I first started to play Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft more often, I sought out advice on how to improve my skill in the game. The popularity of Hearthstone has resulted in many outlets to learn about the game, which I will detail in a later post. One option for players is to look at successful decks and use those decks in his or her games. This process is known as netdecking, which Urban Dictionary defines as:

The process of stealing a tournament winning TCG/OCG/CCG decklist from a discussion forum and replicating it. Implies a lack of creativity and desire to do nothing other than win in the player.

Stealing! Lack of creativity! Desire to do nothing!

Netdecking has a strong negative connotation among some that play Hearthstone while others are supportive of it. In the video below, I present my thoughts on netdecking and return to earlier points I made about watching professional players at a higher skill level than me.

eggoAlso in the video is a game with a new decklist I found from a Legend-ranked Hearthstone player on Twitter. In recent weeks, I have been mostly playing a Secret Paladin and I felt it was time for a change of pace. I considered running an Egg Druid decklist, but decided to stick with Paladin. The decklist for Eggo the Paladin relies on several low-cost minions to get extreme value out of each turn, make efficient trades on the board, and stymie the opponent with Taunts and Secrets. I struggled with the deck at first, but have used it to move from Rank 10 to Rank 6 over the weekend.

When the deck is running well, the Dragon Egg and Nerubian Egg create additional minions to swarm the board. Minions such as Abusive Sergeant, Keeper of Uldaman, and Defender of Argus can boost those minions to make them more of a threat, not to mention the Blessing of Kings spell. Eggo’s minions should be able to trade favorably with most things the opponent can throw down and it sets the stage for finishers like Mysterious Challenger, Dr. Boom, and Tirion.

Perhaps my favorite moment from the weekend was beating a Priest (I have a terrible record against them) after they used all their clever Priest tools to negate my deck, only to have Tirion appear when I killed off their Deathlord and Tirion reappeared after their Shadow Word: Death because my Redemption secret was active. I always lose to Priest; it was nice to win one of those games!

In summary, expose yourself to experienced players that have likely spent a lot of time crafting decks and trying to make them competitive. However, instead of simply “stealing” the decklist, consider why the deck is effective. What problems does it cause for the opponent? What are the useful synergies in the deck, and how could you exploit similar synergies with other heroes or cards? By exposing yourself to new decklists and styles of play, the overall level of your strategy and understanding of Hearthstone is likely to increase.

Good luck!

Well Met? Hearthstone & Social Comparison Theory

I started to play Hearthstone more frequently this summer. I downloaded it last year and experimented with the gameplay, but ultimately felt that SolForge was a more interesting experience. Over time I lost interest in SolForge and allowed the Hearthstone app on my iPad to get dusty, but my interest was renewed when Hearthstone became available on my iPhone. It allowed me to play more often and I slowly got sucked into the gameplay mechanics. Hearthstone is an online competitive, collectible card game that relies on numerous factors including a growing element of randomness, player skill, and the quality of the cards. Some cards are clearly more powerful and effective than others, and players must spend resources – time and/or money – to unlock, craft, or purchase new cards.

Hearthstone Logo

Playing Hearthstone is fun, but winning is better! Like any good researcher, I set out to learn how to best play the game and what cards I should unlock, craft, or purchase so I could win more often. What followed was a lesson in the merits and perils of comparing myself to others who I deem more successful than me – commonly known in the psychological field as Social Comparison Theory.

Continue reading “Well Met? Hearthstone & Social Comparison Theory”