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July 2019 – Kalen Lu

CS:GO Danger Zone Update

A few days ago Valve introduced new ranks into the Danger Zone gamemode of CS:GO. Danger Zone is CS:GO’s version of a battle royale which was implemented in early 2019.

In the CS:GO community, it’s common knowledge that the Danger Zone player base is a lot smaller compared to the normal competitive matchmaking gamemode that has been around for way longer. I think there were a lot of people that played a few games of Danger Zone when it was first released, but after a few weeks, people just stopped playing it. My guess is that Valve added the new ranks in the hope that it would make more people play the gamemode and improve its player base.

Compared to the standard matchmaking ranks, the Danger Zone ranks are completely new, and instead of 18 ranks, there are only 15. In my opinion, I think that the Danger Zone ranks look a lot better than the original matchmaking ones, but maybe it’s because they’re something new that I haven’t seen before. However, the highest Danger Zone rank (The Howling Alpha) looks a lot cooler than The Global Elite which is the highest rank in matchmaking.

As of now, players of all ranks in Danger Zone play together in one system. This is way different from matchmaking where you typically play against players in a similar skill group to you. I’m pretty sure the reason why they’re doing this, for now, is because they still don’t have enough players playing the game for a matchmaking system to work. So as of now, the Danger Zone ranks are just a status symbol as to how good you are in the gamemode, but doesn’t actually affect the people you play against.

I never really did play Danger Zone, and even after the new ranks have been added I still don’t think that I’ll play it. However, I still think it’s a good idea to get more people to play the gamemode in order to keep it alive, and if it works, they’ll be able to create a ranked ladder for people to try and climb.

One Year of osu!

The last time I made an actual post about the osu! rhythm game was around seven to eight months ago when I was getting my tablet. I actually started playing the game on July 5th of last year, and now it has been just over a year since I’ve started. I think I’ve made a lot of improvements since then, and have definitely learned a lot more about the game.

As of now, I rank around 50,000 out of millions of active users and 2,204 in the country’s 269,000 active users. The numbers may seem good, but I think you’d have to be around the four-digit number in the overall database to actually be a good player. However, I’m pretty sure it’s a very big improvement from when I last wrote about osu!. Part of it is because the way pp (performance points) were awarded was changed a few months ago causing the pp value of certain maps (songs) to change. Luckily the most of the pp values of the maps I already had good scores on went up instead of down.

Recently, the last person out of our main friend group that plays osu! just purchased a drawing tablet to play the game with, and now every single one of us uses a tablet to play the game. Personally, I still don’t think you need a tablet to “get better”, but for some people, it might help. However, I definitely think that a mechanical keyboard with light switches will help you a lot in the game, especially later on. Because of the speed and amount of times you have to press your keys in order to hit the notes, it can become tiring over longer periods of time in rapid succession. I even have a friend who switches his keyboard whenever he plays osu!.

Most other people will say when you ask them, “How do I get better?” is to “play more”. I think that’s true to a certain extent though because once you get the basics down by playing more maps you can try and focus more on certain areas and slowly improve from there. There are even dedicated practice maps that help you practice certain techniques such as jumps and streams. In my opinion, I think the best skill to improve is your (hit) accuracy though because the amount of pp you are rewarded after completing a map will change vastly depending on your accuracy.

Overall, I still have lots of fun playing osu! and I think I can still improve just like everything else in life. It’s not only my friends and me that are improving though because even professional players are making new plays. After a year I can say that osu! is a really fun game with a nice community that I really enjoy.

Volunteering

Last week I finished most of my volunteer hours for high school by volunteering at a summer camp close by. I spent pretty much the entire week there, so I’ll be writing about my volunteer experience this week.

The camp I volunteered for was an outdoor challenge course that had obstacles like rock climbing and other interesting things. The obstacles they had didn’t seem too recognizable to me besides the rock climbing though. Some of the other obstacles that were there was a vertical climb with rope walls, tires, and wooden beams. Another obstacle was a bunch of wooden crosses suspended in the air that got smaller as you went up. Climbing the obstacles wasn’t the only thing they did there though because when we weren’t climbing they played outdoor games and sometimes did crafts inside.

I got to the camp around 15 minutes earlier than the campers do, but since setting up the obstacle equipment requires special training, I just helped set up a table and chairs for parents to sign their kids in. For the rest of the day, I just had to make sure the kids weren’t fighting, and if the counselours needed some help or needed to get something they asked me to do it. That was pretty much all I did for the five days that I was there.

The campers there were between 9-13 years old, so some of them weren’t even that much younger than me. When they did outdoor games sometimes I played with them, or when they were eating their lunch I would come off my break early and talk with some of them. Basically, I was just another camper, but I just didn’t participate in some of their activities and made sure they stayed safe.

Overall, I got over three-quarters of my volunteer hours finished by not doing much at all really. I think it was pretty easy volunteering there. The hardest part was dealing with the kids that thought they were superior to the other campers, but the rest of the time it was smooth sailing.

Summer Break

School ended around a week ago, and summer has already started. So far, I’ve gone up to the cottage with my brother, mom, and a friend of mine, but here are the other things I plan on doing over the summer break.

I mentioned before that I went up to the cottage; which was around a week ago. While we were there, my mom helped me record some video for the song, “O Canada” which I recorded the audio for when we got back. After I mixed the audio and posted it on Instagram for Canada Day I was done with the project, but it was pretty fun. If we ever go back to the cottage another time over the summer I might try to record something else.

I’m also going to try writing some more guitar arrangements for some other songs because the song I’m currently trying to write with my music teacher is coming close to completion. After that, I’ll have some more time to look at some other songs because I have a few arrangements that I’m not really happy with or haven’t finished. I also want to try out some new songs too.

Another thing I plan on doing is completing most of my volunteer hours. In our education system, every student needs a minimum of 40 hours of volunteering for a nonprofit and registered organization before you graduate from high school. You are able to spend time volunteering anytime throughout your four years in high school or even after, but I plan on getting most of my high school hours done this summer to get them over with. However, if something else interesting comes up later on I might volunteer for it anyways.

Additionally, I want to spend a lot of time playing games. Since school is out I can even play on weekdays now. I’ve still been playing osu! after a whole year as well as CS:GO, but recently my friends and I have started playing a lot more Minecraft again. We’re spending time checking out all the new features that were added since the last time we played. I think one of the most fun things we’ve done is spending time rebuilding and working on different types of in-game projects that we used to make. One more game I’ve been getting into is League of Legends which is a really popular game. I’d already played it a little bit before a long time ago, but now my friends are trying to get me into it. Even though I’m really bad, I’m still having fun playing with the rest of my friends.

Overall, that’s almost everything I’m doing this summer besides following the new 2019 Summer anime season. Maybe if I feel like it, I’ll write about all of the different shows near the end of the summer, but those are all my plans for this year’s summer.