Category Archives: Gaming

League of Legends Live: A Concert Experience at 2017 Worlds Countdown

League of Legends Live: A Concert Experience at 2017 Worlds Countdown

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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!

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.

How I am feeling about the upcoming games of 2016

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We’re almost halfway into 2016 and taking a look at the lineups of late May and all of June I also took a look back at what I wrote back at the end of January. In terms of big releases I’m not sure this year is going to be as good as 2015 was but it’s still going to be better than 2014 or 2013. We’re out of the AAA slump as developers have eased into the existing hardware. I’m still in hype mode for almost nothing though.

 

Again, there’s a difference between “games I intend to play” and “games I’m waiting for the way IGN preview editors write about them with terms like ‘bated breath.’” Actually the main reason I’m writing this today is because No Man’s Sky is only a month out and I can scarcely believe it. I really do think it’s going to be a new step forward, if only for exploration-oriented video games. Even compared to my experience with the Elite games it looks like a new step forward. Even if it has every flaw people have feared it will have: repetitive planet generation, or a lack of actual activities, I’m already sure what we’ve seen will be enough for NMS to be a significant game for me personally.
That’s what it’s all about really. In the midst of all these AAA games trying to be all things to all people, I’m mostly attracted to the games this year that aren’t necessarily for everyone. This goes for another game I’m buying that comes out on the same day as NMS — Zero Time Dilemma. I’m also going to go ahead and say that there might only be one quarter-four 2016 game I care about at all — Dishonored 2. That’s probably my pre-E3-announcements opinion, but that game is pretty much it for late 2016 in terms of what’s already known. I guess I count “late” as being “after August” because Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is probably the other post-June 2016 game I care about. And both of these games are only on the “intend to buy” anticipation level.
I guess the biggest change in my thinking since January is that I’m now much more interested in getting DOOM after its excellent word-of-mouth and the PC 60fps video that surfaced right before launch. It should probably have been what Bethesda used to reveal the game at E3 2015. I’m also slightly more optimistic about Mirror’s Edge. Both however are going to depend on when I can get my hands on a GTX 1070.
The big X-factor might end up being the Apex expansion for ArmA III. I’ll be honest: I’ve had to drag myself away from ArmA III to keep myself focused on other games I want to play. The pure open-world toy chest simulation nature of it makes it a thing I can’t stop playing with from time to time, and Apex is offering a whole new open world along with possibly significantly improved performance.
Overwatch? After the beta and some soul-searching I’ve come around to what probably everybody else already knows: it’s going to depend on your friends (which is what initially got me into Team Fortress 2). I have one friend who’s confirmed to be getting into Overwatch, maybe two. I’ll keep tabs to see how things develop. In regards to multiplayer games in general though I am playing Street Fighter V. Not regularly but enough to try to keep my game up and even improve it.
BULLETS:

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:
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  • 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.

The Scariest Part of Alien: Isolation is The Unknown

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Alien was a horror movie. It may not seem as scary in hindsight, but it was always a cerebral adventure about not knowing what lurks in the unknown. Alien: Isolation has that down pat.
It takes at least a half hour before the titular creature makes its appearance, maybe longer if a player takes his time cautiously exploring Sevastopol Station. In that time, there are constant hints that something is wrong. Messages are scrawled along walls. The station is in ruins. Power is off in most areas. Oh, and there’s also that dead body in the spare room.
Alien: Isolation lays it on thick. Something is out there. Multiple somethings, actually, because it’s clear the alien isn’t the only danger. However, there’s no immediate threat. No one is coming after Amanda Ripley during this initial mission. However, I was more frightened during these opening moments than I was through the rest of the game.
It’s all because I didn’t know what was coming. It was the same feeling we all experienced 35 years ago when Alien was released. Something was on the Nostromo, and it was worst when we had no idea what was going on. Once Ellen Ripley had a sense of purpose it was easier to bear. Because then, we knew what was out there and what needed to be done for her to survive.
Alien: Isolation parallels that with Amanda Ripley. Once I successfully made my way through what was essentially the “introduction” and saw the threats Ripley would face, I was no longer afraid. I was determined. Sure, there were jump scares, but it became a cerebral thriller, rather than a horrific game of hide and seek.
Which is part of why I believe Alien: Isolation feels successful. The Creative Assembly paid attention toAlien. They understood what it was about the movie that scared people, and implemented that in the game.

The Alien: Isolation Review You Need To Read!


I couldn’t play Alien: Isolation at night. The notion of being alone, in a dark room, in an empty house, while going through a game where I’m also alone, in dark rooms and corridors, in an almost-deserted space station, hit too close to home. Especially since both had an invader. In Alien: Isolation, it was a xenomorph playing cat-and-mouse with Ellen Ripley’s daughter, while at home my cat waited until the absolute worst moments to make his presence known. Alien: Isolation gets inside of your head.
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In space, no one can hear you scream. If someone does, they won’t care.
15 years ago, the Nostromo disappeared. No one ever found out what happened to it or its crew, and Amanda Ripley has spent all that time waiting for any kind of news about her mother. Finally, an opportunity arrives. The flight recorder has been recovered, and Weyland-Yutani wants to send Ripley, a synthetic named Christopher Samuels, and a lawyer named Nina Taylor to go get it. It feels like it should be a simple trip, but the second the Torrens drops the trio off at Sevastopol Station, things go wrong. There’s evidence of disaster and no way to reach anyone inside.
Instead of taking this ominous situation as a clue that the Nostromo’s flight recorder isn’t worth it, Ripley, Samuels, and Taylor attempt to access the station. Debris cuts Ripley off from Samuels and Taylors, and she is forced to board the station alone. It’s more a ruin than a functioning hub, and Ripley quickly learns that anything still alive or active is against her.
The result is a truly isolating adventure. While Ripley isn’t truly “alone,” it is her against everyone and everything. Other humans, synthetics, the alien, and environmental obstacles stand in her way. It’s haunting, and even though the dialogue isn’t the best, the story is still engaging.
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Stealthy survival.
The highest praise for Alien: Isolation would have to be that it is faithful to Alien. The journey and experience of Amanda Ripley perfectly parallels that of her mother. In each case, a person thinks they know what they are getting into, quickly sees things go wrong, and spends the rest of the thriller attempting to stay alive as things progressively get worse. There’s a constant dread of knowing something is out there, watching and waiting, and it could at any second attack. There’s a determination, as in both cases a glimmer of hope provides every incentive to attempt everything to survive. With Alien: Isolation, that means silently creeping around a huge station, dealing with conspiracies and revelations, being aware of the surroundings and praying for the best.
It works because Sevastopol Station encourages a sense of desolation. One could even consider the location as important a character as Ripley and the alien. The wreckage littering corridors, graffiti sprawled along walls, and vast expanses of emptiness come together to tell its own kind of story. The environment is what encourages the sense of unease and desperation, and little details clearly show it once was something far greater and more welcoming, but that comfort was shattered in an instant. In fact, I lamented lack of interaction with it. Unless there’s an item that specifically has to be moved to allow Ripley to progress, something like a plan or tool that has to be taken, or a spot that can act as a hideout, everything is cemented in place. Considering the necessity of stealth, I would have loved the opportunity to try and arrange areas to offer cover, or the challenge of knowing Ripley backing into a desk could cause whatever is on it to fall and alert opponents.
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Unfortunately, there’s a bigger problem than being unable to properly tool around Sevastopol Station. I feel as though Alien: Isolation is a victim of filler. There were times when I felt like The Creative Assembly intentionally padded certain quests or events in the hopes of lengthening the experience, increasing the tension, and providing more opportunity for interactions with hostile forces. It made the experience less unsettling, because instead of feeling as though I was on edge because I didn’t know what was ahead, I wanted to get things over with. It may have even resulted in a few, critical mistakes on my part, because I was so tired of things going on as they were, that I wanted to speed ahead when I could. I stopped caring about other characters, because all they did was eat away at my time.
Though, I can’t help but feel that some will feel differently about the extended sequences and series of events. While I grew impatient and felt it further distanced me from other members of Alien: Isolation’s cast, I could see some people enjoying these extra moments. After all, they do allow for more opportunities to interact with the xenomorph, as well as other hostile forces. This, in turn, can allow for a stronger bond to be forged with Ripley. Spending more time protecting her from harm undoubtedly makes a player care more about the character. It’s a divisive issue, and I’m sure every player will have their own feelings about the pacing.
One thing is for certain, no one will doubt how scary Alien: Isolation can be. It really does feel like a person has been placed in a situation where they could very easily die. There’s always a chance the xenomorph is lurking about, and it’s AI is programmed in such a way that it feels as though it is learning. At least one opponent is smarter than you, and it’s refreshing to know. Despiration is palpable, especially on higher difficulties. Alien: Isolation is a chilling game that feels like it could best you, because a good player has to be constantly, cautiously playing and watching their surroundings, taking care not to make Ripley a target.
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Redemption
Alien: Isolation is more than a video game. It’s a sign of redemption, and reparations for Aliens: Colonial Marines. It shows that hype can sometimes be merited for a title. It proves that Sega can be trusted to make a good game. Most importantly, The Creative Assembly has shown that the Alienseries can be counted on to provide inspiration for thought provoking, thrilling spin-offs. Alien: Isolation offers an ambiance and story that draws perfect parallels to the source material, and successfully immerses players in a world where it really feels like a xenomorph could come and upend everything you’ve worked for over the course of hours in moments. It is scary for all the right reasons, and I’m positive anyone who plays will appreciate it.

Goat Simulator joke has just gone far enough

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For the very few of our readers who don’t know, there exists a game called Goat Simulator. The game exists for the sole reason that the internet thought the joke was too hilarious not too exist. I use the word “game” in the loosest sense of the term, because the developers stated outright that they were going to leave all non-game breaking bugs in it. So now there exists a thing where you run around as a goat, headbutting things, licking things, and eating things.
And now, there’s going to be a Goat Simulator update that makes it simulate a fantasy style MMO.
I can’t tell if this is the greatest thing, or the dumbest thing. Goat Simulator was already fairly dumb to begin with, but it was that kind of dumb that wrapped back around into hilarious. The various bugs and glitches the game had actually added to the enjoyment factor, and I’d be lying if I said it was the worst ten dollars I’d ever spent.
At the same time, something like this may be gilding the lily, so to speak. The promised update looks utterly ridiculous, but will it be the right kind of ridiculous? Or will it be the straw that breaks the goat’s back, showing once and for all that the bearded emperor has no clothes?
You can see the video for yourself, and come to your own conclusions.

Pokemon Alpha Sapphire / Omega Ruby animated segment is Kawaii!

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Prepare for something that will melt your heart. Nintendo has released a new commercial for Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby in Japan that is probably one of the most precious, Pokemon-related things you’ll see all week, if not all year. To prepare people for the practically worldwide,November 21, 2014 launch date, an original animated segment has been released starring the trainers from the games.
Though I’m referring to this as a Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby commercial, it’s more of an incredibly brief OVA. Players get to see the male and female trainer waking up with their Mudkip, Torchic, and Treeko. There’s some frolicking, but then we get glimpses of the two trainers as they go around the Pokemon world, fighting and seeing all of the new Mega Evolutions. Don’t let the fact that it’s in Japanese scare you, as there’s very little talking and it’s mainly about seeing animated versions of various pokemon.
The section at the 25 second mark where the Mudkip and Torchic are playing in the pool is the best part. Really, that’s all you need to see.
This really is quite a successful promotion tool for Nintendo, don’t you think?