Category Archives: gamer

D&D’s New Digital Toolset Is A Convincing Argument Against Pen And Paper Purists

An official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons called D&D Beyond has been announced, first at PAX East and now on the D&D website.

D&D Beyond is set to include a host of features that will be useful for players and GMs alike. A built-in compendium should make it easy for people to refer to tables and lore as needed. A character sheet manager will mean that you’ll have much less paper to shuffle around. Players can even pop onto official Dungeons & Dragons communities or check out the latest news from the wider world of Dungeons & Dragons. A trailer showcasing the company’s vision for the service was released alongside the announcement:

The information we have about D&D Beyond states that it will be set in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. It’s also stated to support homebrew content; the robustness of this particular feature is likely to be of some importance to Dungeon Masters new and old alike, if only for the ability to create custom content for their campaign

The official website doesn’t detail the pricing model, but a comment on Reddit’s r/Games subreddit from Adam at Curse has laid out some of the details of the pricing and functionality. It’s going to be a web application, but it will nonetheless have offline support. The tool is being developed by Curse, but it won’t be tied into the Curse app which is currently undergoing a relaunch and rebrand as the Twitch Desktop App. A subscription fee will be necessary for managing “more than a handful of characters” and to enable features such as homebrew content integration.

Additionally, thanks to a comment from Adam over at ENWorld we know that this is not going to be a VTT (Virtual Table Top):

D&D Beyond is intended to enhance gameplay around a table (virtual or otherwise) – we intend this to be completely complementary and have no intention of creating a VTT.

The demo trailer certainly shows a clean experience, it’s the features and how well they work that is likely to determine how successful D&D Beyond will be. If you’re interested in checking out more and signing up for the beta you can head over to the official D&D Beyond website.


Quick Take

Having used Fantasy Grounds and Tabletop Simulator quite a bit, I think that D&D Beyond is going to be fighting an uphill battle. I have the feeling that they may be reluctant to support older versions of Dungeons & Dragons, and I personally know dozens of players of the classic tabletop RPG that have very few kind words to say about 4th or 5th edition. There’s also the issue of cost – we don’t yet know what this will cost exactly, but there are plenty of free tools that can do the job. It will need to compete against the stuff already out there that can be picked up for a one-time cost (if not entirely free) and it will have to provide a better level of functionality. In any case, hopefully Wizards can bring D&D 5th edition into the 21st century with this service.

What do you think of D&D Beyond? Do you think this is something that many Dungeons & Dragons players will be using? Let us know in the comments below!

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Survival Game – The Lone Dark


I’ve never played survival games before: the ones that sort of took over Steam Early Access and got popular with streamers like RustDayZ7 Days To DieArk: Survival Evolved, or The Forest. I’ve never even played Minecraft for any significant amount of time. Right before the recent Steam Summer sale ran out I saw The Long Dark for $7 and decided to give that a shot since it seems to be the most highly praised one.
After a few hours and a couple lengthy attempts to survive in its sandbox, what I see here is a pretty well-formulated simulation game, even if it isn’t entirely my kind of thing. Though I am now wondering if other survival games might have a flow that is more my kind of thing.
Part of the reason I dipped in is because I was wondering if Long Dark might end up being another of the simulation games I’ve come to enjoy playing on and off in-between everything else I play. I’ve gotten into a pattern of spending bits of time with games like ArmAElite: Dangerous, and Space Engine because of the way the systems of each game continually react to each other in new ways. I guess you could call it “emergent gameplay,” but in these cases I find the emergent element to have more longevity than the games for which Ubisoft might use that term as a marketing tool. Long Dark indeed seems to have the potential for this.
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Firstly, as expected, Long Dark goes for a nice immersive simulation feel in how it leverages its first person perspective and its adventure elements. It really demands that players look at its world and investigate it the way a person would were it real, and its environments are built up to look as if they functioned at one time. Whenever the story mode developer Hinterland Studio Inc. has planned hits, I imagine it probably being a first person adventure game with heavier survival elements than most others.
But, I’m also glad Hinterland set aside a separate “sandbox” mode where players can just engage in the world and its systems without the burden of a story, whether or not the developer did so due to the necessities of open alpha development. Ever since I saw mods for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. offer this I wondered why other open-world games couldn’t do it. The equivalent for a popular game I guess would be something like how you can play Grand Theft Auto Online alone and do nothing but go crazy in the open world with your own character instead of one of the story characters. I think I did a blog here once wondering why games did’t do this, like Elder Scrolls where a chunk of players don’t care about the main story anyway. In the context of Long Dark though it’s just part of the emerging trend of open-world survival-esque games that ask players to do nothing but exist in their worlds without pre-defined goals. ArmAElite: Dangerous, and Space Engine all allow this. It only makes sense for a game to have a mode letting you do this apart from a separate mode guided by a story, instead of forcing the two to coexist like Bethesda has been doing.
The sandbox mode in Long Dark harbors just enough randomness to encourage repeated attempts. Even if it didn’t have multiple environments, players start in different places every time (from what I can tell), and the resources available seem to be randomized. Maybe once you play enough you’ll either get into a good routine or find to be a bit too much like gambling (which was my experience with FTL),  but I wouldn’t know. If the story mode can actually be the meaty adventure people may be expecting, Long Dark looks like it could shape up to be a game that is unique, well-considered in its design, and meaty in content.
All that said, I’m not sure Long Dark, or at least its sandbox mode, appeals to me in particular, and the reason has to do with its ultimate goal. From what I understand, Minecraft starts out being all about survival but eventually resource scarcity ceases being a real problem and you just have fun building, and thus building (or in some cases exploring) becomes the main draw of the game. Some of these other games I understand are also more about building than surviving. Ark is about taming more and progressively cooler dinosaurs. Elite may have some survival situations if your ship get’s badly damaged or you run out of fuel and its universe’s systems really turn against you, but it’s really about using your ship to get more and more things. Even No Man’s Sky, from what we know, isn’t just going to be about surviving on planets but also exploring the galaxy once you get a ship. The common theme I see here is that these games may start out being about surviving, but eventually they become about thriving. In Long Dark, you’re not gathering food and materials to eventually get and do cool things, you’re just continually doing all that stuff in order to not die. Maybe if you don’t suck at it there is a point of indefinite survival, but survival still seems to be all there is to the game.
I imagine there are certainly people out there who like that and are thus absolutely this game’s audience. I just personally need a little bit more than “surviving” to draw me into the game. The story mode might just do it for me. Maybe I’ll be a little more likely to take a look at something like Minecraft now.

My Perspective of Patch 6.13

Patch 6.13 was launched few hours ago, and this might be one of the most support influential patches in recent history. For long, the support meta was hovering around carry champions like Blitzcrank and Zyra. This patch might be the end of a chapter.
Season 6 patch 13 brought nerfs to many meta relevant or over-powered champions like Blitz, Zyra, Vladimir, Kindred just to mention a few. The nerf to Blitzcrank ultimate might be addressed to top lane Blitz, but it sure affects him in the bottom lane as well. Some people say that the ultimate was not used every minute anyway, but it sure limits his roams to mid-lane and top. Kindred lost 7 armor, clear death threat to her. The last champion that got such a nerf was J4rvan, and he hasn’t been seen as a strong champion in ages.
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Now after our condolences, lets hop onto the interesting part. The changes to Talisman of Ascension and its constituents. This item will form the meta with regards to supports. If we look at the stats we can see why:
Coin line changes.jpg
  • Increased cooldown reduction
  • Increased armor
  • Increased health regen
  • Decreased mana regen
  • Speed up around towers & gates
If you disregard the mana regeneration debuff, they are all great positives, favouring the likes of Thresh, Soraka, Janna and Taric. These of course are my predictions. I can see Lulu coming back on the rift with the recent changes while Tahm Kench will be more difficult to play but rewarding once mastered. 
Together with the buffs to shields and heals on certain items like Ardent Censer and Michael’s Crucible, champions with synergistic skills and utility are buffed. Janna and Nami are the first two that come to mind, but there is always Soraka.
Only time will tell what this patch will bring with it but it is sure much more exciting for supports.
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Hurray, finally a patch where the underdogs (a.k.a. supports) shine.
Link to the full patch notes HERE

Top 5 Basic Overwatch Player Tips

 

 

Since its launch, the hit first-person shooter game Overwatch has attracted more than 10 million players. You, too, may want to join in — or you already have been playing and are just looking to get an edge on the competition. Regardless of your experience, there are a few things you should probably know. Though simple, these five basic tips are efficient and will help you and your team come out of battle with countless victories.

 

 

KILL FEED

Honestly, it’s kind of shocking that Blizzard hasn’t made the kill feed a feature that’s automatically on from the get-go. If you don’t have it on, do so. This live feed in the upper right-hand corner gives you a visual of who’s dying in the game. Knowing when all of your teammates have been eliminated can keep you from going in as a one-man army on the prowl for his/her own death. You don’t want to be that one player on the team that trickles in thinking they can save the match on their own. Overwatch is a team-based game, and with the kill feed on, you can keep tabs on your team at all times.

 

MELEE — USE IT

It can be easy in the heat of the battle to forget to reload, especially when an enemy is on the last of their health and you need to think fast. This is why it’s a good habit to finish off enemies with melee when in close combat. Depending on your character choosing to reload could lead to an enemy trapping you or an enemy teammate swooping in to get the kill for themselves. Fire off your rounds and finish with a punch and, more often than not, you’ll find yourself with a kill.

 

KNOW WHEN TO SWITCH

You might be confident before the game starts that a certain character is going to be perfect for a particular battle. You may then find that you’re getting slaughtered shortly after it begins. Know when to switch. With 21 different characters to choose from, building a team with members that complement each other is crucial. Building a team that offsets the enemy teams’ abilities is equally as important. You might want to wait to power up an ultimate ability or give it one more shot with a particular character, but oftentimes another character could be more useful for your team. Again, know when to switch. Help your team by giving them the support they need. Help yourself and adopt a new strategy to come out with a victory.

 

LISTEN

While it can be particularly easy to take notice of Overwatch’s creative art style, it’s also important as a player looking to become better to take note of it’s many sounds. Enemy sounds throughout the game are generally louder. If you hear footsteps that means it’s time to put your guard up. Each character will also sound their own chime when powering off their ultimate, so stay cautious if you hear it’s high noon. This means get out of McCree’s sight to avoid a devastating shot to the head. Listening to the game will make you just as effective as what you’re seeing does and can ultimately be what saves you from many deaths.

USE YOUR ULTIMATES

Everybody wants to get play of the game but not everybody wants to put in the work to come out with a victory. Use your ultimates when you have them, not only when it’s convenient for a spectacular show. Every elimination counts, and sometimes when you can’t reload and you have an ultimate when playing one-on-one, that ultimate will keep you alive. So use it. Time spent running around with an ultimate in your pocket is time wasted that could be spent loading another ultimate to use. Just keep calm and use your ultimates when you have them and you’re teammates will thank you for staying alive and adding a kill.

GIGABYTE X99 SOC Champion 6950X Broadwell-E Overclocking Guide

GIGABYTE X99 SOC Champion OC Guide (Broadwell E Update)

1. SINGLE BIOS mode: make sure you turn it ON (position 2). This switch will disable Dual bios mode in case it triggers a bios switch or update due to OC fail.

2. This CPU_Mode switch is ONLY required for 5960X (Haswell-E) and it is not required for Broadwell-E (6950X). We suggest that you leave it in DEFAULT position (position 1)

3. POWER DRAW: Our testing has shown that Broadwell-E draws less power than Haswell-E, despite the fact it has a higher amount of cores. This is welcome news as some PSUs were having problems with OCP shutdown as power draw exceeded the Amp draw limit on 12V rail. This may still be happening on PSUs of lesser quality or with aggressive OCP spec. We recommend discussing with peers what PSUs to use for extreme OC.

4. CB (Cold Bug) & CBB (Cold Boot Bug) changes: From our experience testing 6950X CPUs, we’ve seen very similar behaviour with CB and CBB overall. CB is generally between -95C and -110C. CBB is more CPU specific and can sometimes be same as CB but mostly ranges around -90C.

Some tips: Find your CB and CBB first and test it a few times. Once you have a rough idea, it will make it a lot smoother to bench your CPU. Here are some post LED codes to watch out for:

· Post Code “bF”: When you restart and you see post code “bF”, switch off PSU and let all power drain from board before switching PSU back on, start again. Most times it will boot straight back up and you are ready to go. However, you may see post code 91!

· Post Code “91”: Switch PSU off if you see this post code, let power drain from board (you will see power LED light turn off on board so there is no residual power in the board), switch PSU back on and hit start and go. Sometimes you may need to go warmer than your regular CBB (i.e from -90C to -80C) to avoid post code 91.

· Post Code “BLANK”: This is generally CBB (no post code showing at all). Just turn off PSU, warm up below CBB temp (try -80C) and turn on.

This is simply a guide and may not be the case with your CPU so it is advisable to test the limits of your chips specifically.

5. Voltage Changes, Limits and Frequencies: We are going to talk about 4 categories, core voltage, uncore voltage, memory voltage and voltage limits

· Core Voltage: Air cooling 4GHz, you are looking at around 1.2vcore. We tested up to 1.35vcore with benchmarks such as XTU and found CPUs were mainly running below throttling temperature and frequency of up to 4.4GHz.

LN2 cooling we find that it’s best to start with 1.5v at -60C and go colder. Most CPUs will like 1.55vcore with -80 to -110C. Some chips will scale higher with 1.6v-1.7v but majority we tested stop scaling up to 1.6vcore. Majority of CPUs did 5GHz, great CPUs did 5.2GHz and special chips will go beyond 5.3GHz with Cinebench R15. This may change with new retail batches.

VRIN is another voltage you need to use (up to 2V on air and generally 2.2v LN2). 2.6v can kill CPUs so be careful.

PLL TRIM is the last one to look out for. Use +15. Improves OC performance and stability.


LLC (load line calibration), set to Extreme (refer to screenshot below for full settings).

· Uncore Voltage: This voltage has changed compared to Haswell-E. There are two voltages that affect uncore/cache frequency. One is “VRING” and other is “VccU Offset”.

Air testing showed that uncore will scale to 3.75GHz roughly using up to 1.40VRING and +0.25 VccU Offset. You don’t really need high VccU offset for air or LN2, +0.25 is generally enough for majority of CPUs.

LN2 testing showed that uncore will scale to 4.6GHz roughly using a mix of voltage and correct temperature. In terms of voltage, we could see uncore scaling up to 1.6VRING and we use +0.25 VccU Offset. You can try higher voltages and see if it helps with your CPU. Temperature is very important with uncore. You must be cold enough to boot at very high uncore clocks (-80C or colder). We recommend booting at lower uncore and using GTL to clock up core and uncore frequency in OS.

Post Code tips: If you see the post code looping after restart and board suddenly shuts down, that usually means the uncore is too high for that boot which will either need colder temp or bios reset and reloading profile. You may see postcodes such as “b0”, “bF”, “b2” but it might be others as well.

· Memory Voltage: We will specifically refer to B-die based memory ICs here as they have shown to be best for extreme OC. There are two different volts (VSA & memory volts) you need to use to clock memory well as well as memory voltage training.

VSA voltage is generally recommended in +0.25 to +0.35v.

Memory voltage we generally use 1.6v for 3000MHz 12-12-12-28. For 3400MHz and higher, we use 1.7-1.75v. CPU must be cold (use -80C or higher).

· Voltage Limits: CPUs did not really scale past 1.7vcore. Uncore voltage did not really scale past 1.6v on most CPUs. Memory voltage we suggest keeping below 1.8. Offset voltage and VSA are not needed any higher than previously shown. These are extreme limits and you must find out what your CPU and memory like. If you use too high a volts, you will probably lose max MHz frequency. Best to find the ideal volts for your hardware!


6. Post Code LED tips: Please check point 4. & 5. for some tips. We will also provide some additional info for various memory related post code troubleshooting below:

· Post Code “61”: Overtightening CPU pot can cause this post code. This can also be pure memory frequency or vdimm limitation. If a RAM slot is wet, it can also show 61.

· Post Code “50”: System not detecting memory correctly due to dirt in dimm slot or not inserted properly. Tight timings limitation can also show this code.

· Post Code “91”: Uncore too high, CPU too cold

· Post Code “8A”: 1T unstable, too high VTT termination volts, RTL incorrect

· Post Code “bF”: memory wet

7. CPU temperature, paste, correct mount and stability: Make sure you have a stable mount when you are overclocking. You will find that once you start to push high frequency and volts that your paste may not work correctly and can become unstable and previously stable frequency. Best way to OC is to use a staggered approach where you start with 4.5GHz profile, 4.8, 5 , 5.2 with specific volts and temp ranges. If you crash at any stage, you probably “lost your mount”. Essentially your paste snapped and is not conducting heat properly between CPU HS and CPU pot. One way you can detect this is via a delta probe (keep one temperature probe on HS and second on CPU pot). Quick way to fix this is to turn off system and cool down to -25C and then quickly bring back temps down to cold and start. 90% if the time, you will be able to clock high again but may not be able to get max clocks until full paste remount (full CPU pot warm up, paste replacement etc)

8. B-die memory screenshots

9. GIGABYTE Tweak Launcher (GTL):

Download link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nilp1r52k5u0xsx/GTL%202.1%20B16.0527.1.zip?dl=0

10. BIOS: You don’t need a special bios for extreme overclocking. Download the latest bios from here
http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5280#bios

Haswell-E (5960X, 5930K, 5820K) OC Guide

11. Voltages for Uncore (make sure CPU_Mode switch is turned to ENABLE (position 2)
In the CPU Advanced Voltages when you have switched to the OC mode you will see some extra voltages. VL1 to VL6.

You only have to change VL4, VL5 and VL6 as below.


The voltage you have to change to get higher uncore is mostly the VL6. Almost all the CPUs can do 1.45V, most of the CPUs can do 1.5V but some CPUs can do even higher Voltage. There are few CPUs that boot with lower than 1.45V though. If the CPU can do high VL6 then probably it can do and high Uncore but not all the times. It depends on the CPU. In the OS through GTL all you have to do is to raise the VRING to 1.45V-1.5V in able to get high Uncore.

12. RTLs.
You can change the RTLs but not manually only changing the IOLs manually.
IOLs to 1 will bring the RTLs all the way down to what the board is capable of until now.
You need to change the IOLs at every channel. Set the option at manual mode and change the primary and secondary timings only for channel A and then change the IOLs to each channel manually.

13. Use both 8pin and 4pin cables for CPU Power otherwise with heavy load the system maybe will be shutting down.

14. You don’t need extremely high VSA and VDIMM. VSA between +0.25-0.35V should be enough to drive the mems high. +0.25-+0.3V should max your mems on most cases. VDIMM 1.55-1.65V is ok. I was able to do even C11 with 1.6V.

15. Few times you will see codes like 72, 74, 50, 51, 60, 8A. Try to press the reset button few times. There’re times that doing it it passes the training. Especially when you change the RTLs and you get 8A try it for sure. It doesn’t happen on latest bios so often.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/g46ggra2mtkvv4z/F4f.rar?dl=0

16. X99 MemTweak, GTL
https://www.dropbox.com/s/546fstudskrtpb8/GTL%202.1%20B15.0129.1.rar?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/op86rsq2ikubgcl/MemoryTweak-X99%20B14.1218.1.rar?dl=0

Highest bootable VL6 cannot be overridden through software. Same value that your CPU won’t boot from bios if you set it through software it will shut down.

17. Please be careful! The VLs can affect your CPU cold bug so make sure that when you change you don’t hit the cold bug earlier than before. If you have this problem try higher or lower VL3 (usually higher helps). If VL3 doesn’t fix your problem then try the same for VL6.
Also, different bclk affects the cold bug too, so try this as well. Almost all the CPUs are ok with 127.5 bclk and PCI3.

18. Make sure that you’re using proper insulation around the memories area and also put some paper towel around the PCH cooler. The way that worked best for us was a layer of plastidip, then a layer of Vaseline and paper towel.

19. Always save a profile before you save and exit cause most of the times the only way to go back is the CMOS button.

20. For memory voltage we used up to 1.9V on single sided dimms on LN2 without a problem. But it doesn’t mean that all the dimms can handle it so be careful in case you don’t want to degrade or kill your memories. Dino was benching with 1.8V without any issue.