Corsair K70 MK2

I’ve been using Corsair’s K70 MK2 keyboard for at least a year now, but I’ve never written about it until now. Since there’s been a lot of time since I started using it, I have been able to tell what I like and don’t like about it. So this week, I’ll be writing about my experience using the keyboard for things like games, but also general use.

First, I’ll mention that the model I have uses Cherry’s MX Speed or Silver switches which are have the lightest and fastest actuation out of the Cherry switches. That come’s with some pros and cons, but I’ll get to that later. The Speed switches are also linear switch which means its a straight up and down switch with no tactile bumps or clicks.

Some of the nice things I found with the Speed switches is that my finger’s didn’t get as tired compared to when I was using my old keyboard which was membrane. Especially for things like osu!, not having to press as hard to actuate the key was a pretty big plus. I still bottom out the keys a lot when I play, but if I have to press the keys really fast, I sometimes won’t actually press the key all the way down and the switch still actuates. In general, the switches just make it easier on your fingers while using them.

However, one thing that I don’t really like about the Speed switches is that the short actuation distance makes it really easy to accidentally press other keys. Sometime’s I’ll just be resting my hands on the keyboard, but I’ll accidentally hold down a key without even noticing. This also makes making typos really easy while typing, and can be kind of frusturating at times.

In terms of the build quality of the keyboard, it uses an aluminum frame and smooth ABS plastic keycaps. The aluminum frame gives it a good weight, and the cable is pretty thick and durable. The ABS keycaps aren’t the best though and started getting a bit shiny after a few weeks. Still, I think it’s still a lot better than what I used to use.

Some of the extra features the keyboard comes with include RGB lighting, macros, and multimedia buttons. To be honest, most of the times I just use the white colour for most of my keys. For a few games, I’ll only light up the keys I use for that game, but otherwise I don’t really do any other customization. I also never use the macro feature since there isn’t a whole lot I need them for. The multimedia buttons aren’t really too useful either since I can just use the arrow keys, although, I do use the volume wheel quite often. The keyboard also comes with a plastic wrist rest, but I personally don’t use it.

Overall, the keyboard has done me quite well in the past couple years. It’s definitely a lot better than my past keyboards, but there’s a pretty big difference between how well it performs playing games and during normal use. I’d say the biggest plus for me is just how light the keys are, but other than that, it’d probably be better to have some sort of tactile bump for typing. However, I don’t really feel that big of a need to upgrade yet. If I were to though, I’d definitely want to try building my own custom keyboard instead of a prebuilt one.

Online Learning

I’ve had a few months now to get used to the new online learning system that my school board has put in place. There are a few things that I like about the way they’re doing things, but there are also some things that aren’t really all that great. I’ll start with the things that I’m enjoying about the online learning so far.

The main advantage of online learning for me is how I’m just able to stay at home the entire time. This means I don’t have to walk to school, move from classroom to classroom, and can eat lunch at home. Usually, I’d have to wake up earlier to walk to school, but now I can sleep in a bit longer since I just have to join a Google Meet in order to be in class. Not having to move between different classrooms means that I can use to go on my phone for a little bit because they’re still giving us five minutes between the end and start of each class. Being able to eat lunch at home is also really nice since I can eat comfortably while also eating good food prepared by my mom.

Some of the things that aren’t so nice are mostly related to the limitations of the online classroom environment. A lot of the times in the classes the teacher’s are either talking for a really long time or nothing is happening and the class is doing independent work. If it’s something like math where you’re taking notes when the teacher is going through a lesson, you’d have something to do. However, there’s also some teacher’s that like to give really long presentations where you just kind of sit there and listen for an hour, but you end up going back to look at the PowerPoint yourself later anyways.

Unlike in a physical classroom environment, you don’t get any opportunities at all to talk to your classmates at all since the chat is usually reserved for asking questions and responding to teachers. Sometimes teachers will give group assignments, but they’re almost always “do research and put it on a Google Slides” kind of thing where everyone divides the work at the start. From there, you’re basically doing an individual research assignment.

In general, I’d just say that online learning can get boring sometimes, but I think that’s just kind of how it’s going to be for a while. I feel like the way the system is set up would be really hard to change in order to make things more enjoyable for the students without compromising learning efficiency. Presentations are boring, but demonstrations and class activities are hard to pull off. A chat where you can ask the teacher a question anytime is also nice, but it makes it impossible for students to chat with each other comfortably.

Overall, I think the current online learning model is satisfactory. If you learn well through presentations and are able to figure things out on your own then you’ll probably be fine. However, if you’re one of those people who always talks with your classmates and can’t sit through long presentations then you might have a tough time. Of course, there are small advantages and the big fact that you’re not exposed to the current COVID-19 virus. Personally, while I don’t think online learning is great, in-person learning right now probably isn’t that much better. As of the current situation, I can’t really see a reason why the school board isn’t making the decision to move everyone online.

Revisiting CS: GO

This week, one of my friends asked me if I wanted to play a few games of CS: GO with him, and I decided to play again since I wasn’t really doing anything at the time. I haven’t really played CS: GO at all since around April, so there were some things that I think were a bit interesting playing since then.

The first thing that I noticed was how much the game hadn’t changed. Everything was still pretty much exactly the same. As far as I know the only big things that Valve added to the game this year were two new skin collections which is pretty disappointing. Supposedly, there’s supposed to be a big update coming out soon, but those are just speculations. Even then, I feel like CS: GO has it’s gameplay pretty solidified, and if there’s nothing wrong with the game then I guess there’s not really a need to make changes.

Another thing that I noticed was that it took a little while to get used to the feeling of the movement and shooting. I’ve been playing Valorant which is really similar to CS: GO, but it’s still not quite the same. Player models move faster in CS: GO and aiming feels it needs to be a lot more precise. I was ranked a lot higher than my friend when I stopped playing, but he was still doing better than I was for our first few games.

However, once I got back into the feel of the game I was doing consistently better than my friend. That probably has to due to the fact that I just had to get my aim warmed up, but also because I’ve played a lot more than he has. I think a large part skill of CS: GO definitely lies in your aim, but also how well you can communicate, your utility usage, map knowledge, and experience. For me, I’ve spent a lot of time in the past learning different smokes and flashes that I can throw that will help my team get into advantageous positions. As long as I don’t forget them, I’m still able to help the team even if my aim isn’t that good and I’m not getting kills.

I think that just goes to show that in CS: GO you can’t just be a good player through aim and getting kills alone. The same friend I was playing with this week used to complain he was getting so many kills in his games, but how his teammates were always bad and he was never ranking up. The thing is that he never bothered learning how to use his utility to support his teammates or how to communicate with them effectively. Personally, I don’t think that my aim is that much better than his, but I think that the knowledge and experience is the reason why I used to be ranked a lot higher than he was.

Overall, playing CS: GO again was definitely a lot of fun. Of course we weren’t always 100% focused on winning and more so having fun, but there were a few times where we had to step up our game for the win. Even if there’s a skill difference in a naturally competitive game, you can still have fun with the right people.

Valorant Patch 1.11

A few days ago Valorant went live with its 1.11 patch and there were definitely a few things that caught my attention. This update brings in a new agent called Skye, changes to a few other agents, and tweaks to the economic system. I won’t be able to comment much on Skye since I’ve never played her before, but the other changes I can already tell will make a difference to me.

The biggest thing that they made for me are the debuffs they did to one of the agents I mainly play which is Cypher. His main strengths are being able to lock down sites on defense and cover the team’s flanks on offense. The changes made were only towards his Trapwire and Spy Camera abilities.

Trapwire is a placeable tripwire ability that slows and stuns enemies that walk into it. Before, you were able to place your Trapwires and not have to worry about them for the rest of the round, but now, your Trapwires will be revealed and deactivated if you die. This makes a pretty big difference because one of the best things about playing as Cypher is that you could still have an impact in the round even if you died. However now, you have to play extra careful in order to make sure your Trapwires stay active. Another thing that was changed was that you can no longer carry over the Trapwires you place from previous rounds into the next. Even if nobody walked into or destroyed them, you’d still have to rebuy your Trapwires which are not exactly the cheapest ability.

The other change that was made to his Spy Camera is that its location gets revealed if Cypher dies. Spy Camera allows you to place a camera that you can use to watch areas and is really useful for gathering information. At first it might not seem like that big of a deal for it to be revealed since you can’t even access the camera once you’re dead anyways, but this means you probably won’t be able to get away with placing the camera in the same spots anymore. Once the enemy knows where you often place your cameras they’ll be able to easily check and destroy them. I feel like the changes are pretty harsh, but it doesn’t make sense considering Cypher is a really strong agent with a really high pick rate in professional play.

Another agent that had changes made this patch was Breach who I also occasionally use. Compared to Cypher, Breach plays more of an attacking role and got both buffs and debuffs instead. Breach’s Flashpoint ability which is used to blind enemies now has an increased blinding duration of 0.25 seconds. It’s not a lot, but it will help in being able for Breach to play off of his own utility instead of just supporting other teammates.

Breach’s Fault Line and Ultimate ability also got some changes. His Fault Line and Ultimate ability are quite similar in that they stun enemies that are caught in their area. Fault Line creates a straight line while his Ultimate is a much larger area. The charge up for Fault Line was decreased by 0.5 seconds, but now both Fault Line and Breach’s ultimate ability will not affect the first 8 meters in front of Breach making them less effective for close ranges. This makes it so that while it might make it easier for Breach to play off of his Flashpoints, he’ll have to be more supportive when using Fault Line and his Ultimate.

The last thing I’ll write about are the changes to the economy system. The change is focused on deterring players from saving their weapons in rounds that they may not feel confident in winning. “Saving” is a common concept in both Valorant and CS: GO where in a round that doesn’t seem winnable, players can try to hide safely in order to save whatever equipment they have for the next round. The new change makes it so that players who survive a lost round will receive less money than their other teammates who had died for the next. This is almost exactly the same way CS: GO has its economy set up for players who save which forces players to decide whether or not the equipment they have is worth saving, or if it would just be better to try and clutch the round with what they have.

There were a few other changes like debuffs to the agent Killjoy, but I’ve never played her before, so I won’t really comment about those changes. A left-handed view model was also added which is nice because it should make it easier for left eye dominant people to control recoil easier. However, since the model is just a mirrored version of the right-handed model, the direction the gun sways towards is opposite to where your shots are going. So that’s something Riot might want to fix.

Overall, patch 1.11 has some changes that are making me think about some other agents that I could try out because of the changes they made to Cypher, but I’m also interested in how these changes will affect professional play. I think saving will become a lot less common, and players will have to try playing other agents or adapt their playstyle.