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MLB: The Playoff System Is Just Fine

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BASEBALL’S TWO WILD CARD GAMES are now complete, with the Rays and Pirates moving on to face the Red Sox and Cardinals in the divisional round. And predictably, there’s a chorus of complaints about how unfair the system is, how a 162-game season shouldn’t come down to a one-game playoff. To which I say: shoosh. Not only is this system fair, it’s arguably the best system baseball has ever had, and we don’t need to muck it up.

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E3 2013: Monday’s Headlines

E3′s show floor officially opened Tuesday, but the traditional flood of headlines from the various press conferences was in full swing Monday. The buzz:

New Console Pricing: PS4 $399, XB1 $499

Sony won opening day in a number of ways, but the biggest headline by far was the PS4′s lower price point of $399, compared to the Xbox One’s $499 that Microsoft announced earlier in the day. There had been some rumblings that there might be several PS4 bundles with different levels of functionality, but if that’s in the works, Sony wisely left that out of their press conference and picked up a bunch of fans in the process. (Oh, and both consoles are officially 2013, with the Xbox One announced for November.)

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Mists of Pandaria: Into the Valley

I’VE BEEN TAKING IT SLOW with WoW: Mists of Pandaria, so I’ve only now finished the second high-level zone, Valley of the Four Winds. There’s an extremely familiar feel to it, evoking memories of previous zones like Westfall and Nagrand, but I have a strong suspicion it might end up as my favorite zone of the expansion.

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Mists Of Pandaria: Entering the Jade Forest

AFTER SUCCESSFULLY getting the realm first for fishing when Mists of Pandaria opened this week, I hit the new continent of Pandaria to start my journey from level 85 to 90. As with Cataclysm, I wanted to jot down some thoughts on each zone as I leveled, and the first stop, Jade Forest, took some warming up to.

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WoW: Angling For a Realm First

WHEN CATACLYSM LAUNCHED two years ago, I made a completely unplanned and half-assed attempt to get the achievement for being the first person on the server to max out their fishing skill. It was so spur-of-the-moment that it was a half hour before I actually started fishing, which was about the same amount of time I lost by.

Since then, I’ve acquired the <Salty> title on two characters and won the various fishing derbies six or seven times, so with the launch of Mists of Pandaria last night, I felt obligated to make a proper attempt at the [Realm First: Zen Master Angler] fishing achievement. Interestingly, you could argue it was more about the planning than the fishing.

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WoW v5.0: Rolling With The Changes

AS I OFTEN DO, I took a summer break from WoW, because I live in southern California and I’m a weird brand of geek who enjoys things like sunlight and beaches. But with last week’s release of the world-changing v5.0.4 patch in advance of Mists Of Pandaria, I spent some time getting reacquainted so I wouldn’t be totally lost when the expansion hits.

Naturally, the biggest changes won’t arrive until the expansion officially releases on September 25. That said, a lot of pretty big stuff has already gone live, so here are some thoughts on ten major changes that have already hit the game.

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Rock Band Blitz: I Like To Score

YOU MAY NOT HAVE REALIZED it was coming, but Harmonix released a new Rock Band game last week. Called Blitz, it’s an arcade game that ditches the plastic guitars and drums in favor of a standard controller and (hooray!) works with your existing DLC library. The gameplay isn’t revolutionary by any stretch, but as a $15 XBLA/PSN downloadable title that includes 25 new songs (“Jessie’s Girl”!), it’s a pretty sweet deal.

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Diablo III: v1.0.4 and Hardcore 60

I WAS ORGINALLY going to write something about the recent slap fight between the ex-Blizzard North folks and the current Diablo III team (and I still might), but for now, I’m simply enjoying the victory of reaching level 60 with my Hardcore character. Meet Chereyna, my unstoppable barbarella, who successfully navigated 60 levels of Diablo III without a single death.

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