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DOTA2: Techies are here!

I have been playing DOTA2 for about a year and a half now. Ever since it was available on Steam, and the multitude of patches that came in. For the past 3-4 months, one thing that I have seen in the DOTA2 community is the hype of Techies.

For the uninitiated, Techies is a hero which specializes in laying traps (mines) and demolitions. This is a team of goblins who happily skitter over the map laying explosive mines for an unsuspecting hero to walk on, they also have the ability to put stasis traps and to commit suicide (with a large area damage).

Now, interestingly, the launch of Techies changes game play drastically.

How Techies impact the meta game

Techies do not need a lot of farm. At the start of the game (before they hit Level 6), you are most likely going to lay a lot of mines. Not only mines all over the place, but rather stack mines in strategic locations (3-4 in one stack) so that one trigger will end up in a kill!

What this means, is that when Techies kills a hero, they do not necessarily have to be at that location. Most likely at that point they are busy stacking mines at some other location.

How this impacts the meta game, is that when Techies are happily laying traps at different choke points (more on this later), the off-lane hero is getting double the XP (since there is no sharing of XP). Which results in two powerful heros (the mid-lane solo, and the offlane solo).

Meanwhile, Techies also are going about playing a mental game with the opposite team.

The mental game

In DOTA2, you have to roam the map. In doing so, there are some popular routes that people take within the map. On these routes, you also have choke points. Whenever the Techies is not seen in lane, the obvious inference that you would come to is that they are busy laying mines.

When this happens, the team is forced to either buy Observer Wards or to take chances against being blown to smithereens.

Even if they do see Techies, and if the Techies suddenly starts charging towards you, then would they commit suicide or are they bringing on a sudden team gank, thats the next likely question going through the opposite team’s minds.

All in all, Techies are a great little twist in the Meta and in the hands of a good player, this can turn the tides of a game.

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Recapping Rise of Nations

I have been playing Rise of Nations on and off since 2005. I really got into it in the year 2008, when I started playing with my brother-in-law on Gamespy and on Virtual Private Networks.

As I started playing the game, I started picking up on the core concepts of the game like rushing, booming and raiding.

It is at that point when I decided to share my experiences and tips on this blog. While posting articles about Rise of Nations, I had another realization – and this is a nuance of the game, but it definitely is there. Some strategies are civilization specific.

Here is a list of civ-specific strategies that I have written till now –

  • Egyptians – Powered by wonders, Delayed rush and early wonders
  • Turks – Militia Rush, Villagers and Siege (will work for Koreans as well)
  • Japanese – Boom and strong infantry

Besides these, I have also covered some concepts about the game here –

I had lost my installations of the Rise of Nations discs, also the community was dwindling pretty fast. But now with Steam Integration, my hopes are up and I can think about picking up from where I left off!

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FoodForThought

Food for Thought: Part Four

It’s been a tumultuous month at 13 Llama Studio. We recently shifted to a new office and are currently handling multiple projects … projects where someone has to bleed to take it to its logical conclusion. I do not mind the bleeding, as long as I manage to do a job well done in my mind (more on this later, this requires a heartfelt post). Here’s what I have been reading and bookmarking in the past few days months.

The Decline and Fall of The Great Gate

A great metaphor on how the publishing industry is changing. The folks at CopyBlogger are always a constant source of inspiration and ideas for budding bloggers. However, this story also talks about how the publishing industry is slowly changing. The Great Gate used to be publishing houses and authors used to clamor to get their books published.

With internet and blogging, all of this has changed, and now power is back to we, the people!

The Evolution of the Developer

The story of how the developer has become so central in the new paradigm of a tech enabled organization is strongly aligned to how I have seen my own career progression. It’s a great piece on how Cloud technologies are giving better results than Enterprise Software (which is often considered slow and bloated).

The enterprise IT infrastructure agenda for 2014

Here is an article from the other side, the Enterprise. Link this article with the one I just shared above and you will see the fear of Enterprise Architects and software providers who supply to Enterprises. So what is the Enterprise’s answer to Cloud computing … a private cloud of course!!

Does that help cut costs, well if you work at it, you might get operational efficiency, however the Total Cost of Ownership is always high. The way things have been running are changing, and agencies which rely on businesses have to follow suit.

Personas: The Art and Science of Understanding the Person Behind the Visit

Moz has not only become the go to community for Search Engine Optimizers, but also for all things related to increasing traffic via organic methods (read not PPC).

The article shares how to go about understanding the people who visit your site. It’s fairly indepth and requires for you to study it .. yes not read, but study! I’d suggest 1 skim while at work, and then a slow line by line comprehension when alone and free from interruptions.

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Food for Thought: Part Three

Desperately trying to keep this series to a one a month affair, so that my blog does not look like a link farm … eep! I am even afraid to type that … but I have to say this .. I don’t want my blog to end up being a link farm. There I said it!!

Having said that, there were quite a few articles which I wanted to share this month!

The Top 10 Algorithms in the 20th Century

Computer.org put together this list of algorithms which had the greatest influence in the 20th century. Now, that’s a lot to think about … some of the algorithms which are mentioned, I had studied as a student! I would not say cutting edge, however, they did have a huge impact.

Funny, I did not see the Y2K or the Bubble Sort algorithm (which every green gilled programmer ends up using).

The Ultimate Guide to Leaving Comments On Blogs

I am a big fan of Darren Rowse and the words of actionable wisdom he shares on ProBlogger. Every blogger wants comments on his posts and although I haven’t had much comment love from you folks, I would still prefer genuine comments as opposed to spammy comments from Black Hat SEO agents.

In this post, ProBlogger teaches how to correctly post comments on popular blogs. It’s a great way to get noticed, start interacting with like minded people and get some trickle down traffic on your blog.

Why did Google make an ad for promoting “Search” in India where it has over 97% market share?

In India, Google has a huge 97% market share in search engines. That’s huge! If you have been an internet user in the past month or so, you would have noticed a slew of Ads on Google Search. Warming and touching this Ad reminds us of how we use search and how Google search is now accessible for mobiles.

I am not going to give the answer away, read this article on Medium!

Financing a Start-Up

Starting an organization is difficult. Especially when you have to arrange the financial support to aid your endeavour. This article on Edupristine helps us in finding different ways in which one can raise money to fund their venture.

This article is close to me for personal reasons as well .. not only have I worked with this organization, but also I am trying to start an organization and this article has come of use already!

Deep Learning 101

Step aside Big Data, there is a new buzzword in town … it’s Deep Learning!!

Yes, we already have Neural Networks, and Machine Learning … Deep Learning goes a step further. Do take some time and read this. It’s on the climbing slope of the Hype Cycle right now. If you can talk more about it, it will get you noticed Winking smile

Why I am not canceling class tomorrow

It is not often when students talk in awe of their teachers. I have been fortunate to have met such teachers … some of whom I have already mentioned in the past.

In this case, the university staff were on a strike, but the professor still went on to teach his class and emailed them in advance to come attend that lecture. It’s a heartfelt email where the professor brings the focus on the value one must place on education and how individuals should look at learning.

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Hacking your Alexa Ranking

Hacking your Alexa Ranking

In case if you are working in any web related business based in India, then you would be aware of Alexa. The site which maintains website rankings by traffic. These numbers are indicative, however some people rely on them so much so that they look at a definitive way of increasing the rankings only … instead of actually working on making an awesome site.

I am going to share a little secret with you.

These rankings can be easily hacked.

So, if you have a boss or a reporting manager who fusses over Alexa rankings, then here’s what you need to do –

  • Convince your team or co-workers (who are most likely bound to keep visiting your site on a regular basis) to install the Alexa browser plug-in. It’s a nifty tool for easily checking rankings of any site. Not only that, but also this is the plugin that Alexa uses to guesstimate traffic numbers on the site. Having more plugin users visit the site reduces your Alexa ranking.
  • To correctly estimate the figures, Alexa asks you to include a javascript on your site. Using this javascript, a small widget is displayed on your site … now although that might ruin the look of your initial design, the javascript will ensure that all your traffic is correctly accounted for by Alexa. Soon you should see a reduction in your Alexa rank.
  • Claim your site. Add as much detail as you can and also get some friends to give you good testimonials for the site.

Now I know what you will say … how does this really help your cause?

  • Well … over a period the person who monitors this false metric will see an improvement and hopefully ask about it. Then you can tell them about the hack. Reckoning will soon follow.
  • A competitor who is trying to assess your site’s traffic will be overwhelmed

Alexa rankings are an extremely rough and over rated method of traffic estimation. Let me repeat what I said earlier, this is a hack and should be treated as such … ideally you should be focusing on your product/service.

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India’s first passenger train journey

On 16th April 1853, India’s first passenger train journey began. It started from Bori Bunder in Mumbai, all the way up to Thane. This was a distance of 32 km, wherein 3 coaches were hauled by the engine. Thus started rail transport in India.

India's first passenger train journey

This piece of history came to my notice not because of the local channels, but due to it being covered prominently by international websites such as Google (see their Doodle above) and the detailed article on Wikipedia.

What started off as India’s first passenger train journey, is now a multi-crore business and one of the few profitable industries run by the Government of India. Some of this credit needs to be given to Laloo of course, however what works for the railways is the availability of transport, the cost and it’s efficiency.

I recently traveled from Mumbai to Baroda in the Rajdhani express, and although the quality of food being served has declined over the past decade, the service and efficiency of things have gone up. The entire journey is orchestrated with your travel and you can even predict which course will be served to you with the station that is approaching. So all in all, I would say we have gone quite far since India’s first passenger train journey.

Kudos to the Indian Railways!

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