Off to Vegas

In just under three months, I’ll be on a plane heading to Las Vegas. Sin City. Capital of Second Chances.

Las Vegas

Bright lights! (courtesy Pedro Szekely)

Yet it is only my second trip to Vegas ever (which apparently is very odd to many, many people) and frankly, not being a Vegas expert has me a little worried.

Where do I find the deals? Who must the wife and I make sure to see? Will I come home rich, or possibly with a tattoo I don’t remember getting?

So many questions!

So what say you world? While I know it’s generally recognized that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” I’ve been known to keep a secret! And our new wondrous world of social media has already let the cat out of the bag! I know there are deals! I know you have favourite places to stay! I know you know how to get sweet airline deals!

And it’s all that first-hand knowledge I want access to!

And while we’re at it, if I get stuck in the airport on my way home, I’m so going to make a video that rivals this:

Onside Memories – Manchester City vs Whitecaps FC

In today’s Daily Prompt from The Daily Post, we’re asked to answer the following:

Team USA is playing today in the soccer World Cup in Brazil. Do you have any funny/harrowing/interesting memories from a sporting event you attended, participated in, or watched?

While I don’t care much that the United States is taking on Portugal later today, I am a fan of soccer and have been attentively following the World Cup (for instance, does Ronaldo play and risk his career?).

And sure it’s true I wish that Canada was playing in the group stage instead of watching on TV like me. It’s important to note I take refuge in knowing that the Whitecaps FC are back in action this week.

So it makes sense my favourite soccer-related memory is their friendly against Manchester City FC a few seasons back.

Eric Hassli surrounded by Manchester City players

Hassli and the City – via Matt Boulton

In their inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) season, the Whitecaps FC found themselves playing in a temporary stadium against much tougher sides and suffice to say, losses were more plentiful than wins. Whether or not this played into their decision-making process, the organization announced early on they had arranged a friendly against the touring Manchester City FC and suffice to say I was coloured purple. Or pink. Or whatever excited people are coloured.

You see, prior to this match I’d only seen a handful of CONCACAF qualifying matches live and never had I been exposed to the stellar play of a side from the premiership. Sure I’d seen solid play on TV, but there is something lost when you’re at home and on the couch.

The match also provided me the opportunity to take my future (and now) father-in-law. Being from the old country, and a Liverpool supporter to boot, he viewed this as an opportunity to see a high quality side play some quality soccer and quite possibly lose – like heck a supporter of The Reds would look for a win from City. And me looking for a way to further connect with him, it gave us a chance to talk about the sport we both grew up with.

While the ‘Caps fell 2-1 to City, the energy in the stadium was electric. Whether this was due to the number of City supporters, or the belief the ‘Caps could pull out a win, the match was hard-fought and well-played (pitiful, soggy and temporary grass field aside). Yes, Camilo he who shall not be named scored a deflected goal early to give the home side and the fans confidence. But even after City fought back to take a lead, no fan was found not to be urging the Whitecaps on.

Eric Hassli attempts to play a ball towards goal.

Hand of Hass – via Matt Boulton

What a wonderful experience. It’s been a shame the ‘Caps have not been successful at attracting another touring side in since.

It would be nice to have another memory or two.

Logo from Destiny Alpha

Destiny’s Alpha

As an owner of a PlayStation 4, I was tickled pink to learn of Bungie’s alpha test of their upcoming title “Destiny” over the course of this weekend. And having lost many, many hours the past few days glued to the console, I thought I would share my thoughts on the game.

Screenshot of The Tower from Destiny

I have arrived!

What I liked:

  • Shadows – whether it’s distance or the angle of the light source, shadows are cast with great detail. In fact, my attention to this detail got me out of many ambushes.
  • Graphic Detail – if this is the quality of product we get for an alpha release, I can’t wait to see what the beta and final releases will have in-store. Whether it’s birds in flight (which you disturbed from rest), or the transition from day to night, it’s obvious Bungie has put a dollar or two down on this area.
  • Raiding & Teamplay – while I enjoy an FPS title like the next guy, I’m more a storyline/cooperative play type of player and Destiny doesn’t look to disappoint. While we only had access to one dungeon in the alpha, it took our team of 3 just over an hour to clear – something I would attribute to our inability to communicate or coordinate.

Screenshot of ship from Destiny Alpha

Look ma, I’m flying!

And what I didn’t:

  • Ships and Vehicles – not sure if this is really a dislike or a question, but what exactly is the purpose of the two? Aside from transportation on a map, vehicles had no real purpose outside of the Crucible (multiplayer arena) and the ship was a neat way to showcase a loading screen.
  • Class Differentiation – while we had access to the Titan, Hunter and Warlock classes, there didn’t seem to be much difference between the three aside from their special ability. Each could use any weapon and with the immense cooldown associated to the special ability, we were just different dressed fraggers running around shooting things that moved. I’m hoping this was simply a problem due to the limits in the alpha and that we see much more differentiation and customization in the final release.
  • Race Abilities – I like customization, but customization with purpose. There are three races in the game and all they seem to do is help you look just a tad different from the guy next to you. No benefit, detriment or anything in between.
  • Navigation – whether by design or not, the fact you don’t have access to a map in a game which wants you to freely explore the world is odd. While missions will eventually populate a waypoint on your HUD, it’s easy to get lost and turned around.
  • Shotguns – one shot, one kill. I’m really, really, really hoping this weapon gets nerfed in multiplayer. The fact I was able to get 20 frags in multiplayer is a definitive sign of an overpowered weapon. I’m not that good!

Now before you go and castigate me for the simplicity of my opinions, keep in mind that this alpha release provided us only a small taste of the overall game. We had access to one multiplayer arena type with two maps, one storyline, one dungeon, and a level cap of 8. In fact, the only real expansive component of the alpha was the exploration of the open world of Old Russia.

But that’s all okay. I’m still freaking excited to have had the chance to find my Destiny.

I just hope the beta launches tomorrow and not July 17th as advertised. :D

Oh, and one last thing – recognize this guy’s voice?