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Winter Is Coming… Wait… No… Just Frostpunk For Consoles

Winter Is Coming… Wait… No… Just Frostpunk For Consoles


Frostpunk has received plenty of praise since it was released. The Bafta-nominated PC game from 11 Bit Studios proved that there is still a spark of creativity left in the gaming world. For the ones that may not know what Frostpunk is here is a brief introduction:

Frostpunk is a city-builder survival game in which the player must help a small village survive extreme temperatures that go way below freezing point. Visuals are stunning, game mechanics are punishing, and the difficulty will prove to be quite challenging.

There have been rumors back in 2018 that Frostpunk will come to consoles in early 2019. No official source confirmed the information and with the new announcement from 11 Bit Studios, a release before Q3 2019 is highly unlikely.

11 Bit Studios has been quiet in terms of updates, despite the fact that there is an extensive development plan to add more features and content in the future. Recently, the silence was broken with a new announcement from the developers stating that the game will get a console version. This update means that the game will reach an even bigger audience and because there are not that many strategy games for consoles, it should harness a bit of attention from the ones that do not own a PC. Frostpunk will be ported on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

While this announcement might be a good move from the developers from a financial standpoint, it does mean that new content for the PC version might be delayed. As of now, 11 Bit Studio is already working on tweaking controls and the game UI itself so that it becomes functional for controllers. Some game mechanics have been altered so that it feels more casual. More specifically, the game will automatically pause in certain situations and several other tweaks that will help the player manage less things than what it would be like on the PC version of the game. More challenging content will come in the form of custom scenarios according to 11 Bit Studios. Their main goal is to deliver a strategy came to console players that might have not experienced a strategy game yet and avoid getting frustrated playing Frostpunk.

No exact release date has been announced yet. More details are expected to be available in the following months as the development moves ahead. The game will be available with all the updates that were already released for the PC version and should be priced the same.

Apex Legends: Octane vs Wraith

Apex Legends: Octane vs Wraith

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Following our previous Lorthar’s Edge vs Blink Dagger post, which you can read over here, today we want to talk about Apex Legends!

Apex Legends is a game all about movement, and the newest character to be revealed takes that very seriously. Introducing Octane, for the price of 12,000 Legend tokens or 750 Apex coins. This bug-eyed masked guy in shorts is all about speed tactics– perfect if you’re good at spotting opportunities quickly and would rather exploit them fast.

His tactical ability provides a six-second speed boost in exchange for a bit of health, which pairs nicely with his passive (health regen out of combat). You can charge in like a berserker when there’s a brief opening, rush over to help a friend, chase someone down, run away from someone chasing you down, etc; the health regeneration encourages riskier tactics. Octane’s ultimate ability is a jump pad that anyone on your team can use for a short-range leap, which is useful for gaining a better position on the field.

How does Octane compare to the rest of the roster? The closest class I can think of is probably the Wraith. The Wraith is different in the sense that her focus is on re-positioning and Octane is just about raw speed. If you think about it, she’s more of a survivalist, and he’s more like her offensive counterpart. Wraith’s tactical move is of course also a speed boost (with invisibility), but it prevents you from attacking or even seeing the enemy. Her passive gives her the heads-up when she’s targeted, but that just allows her to escape with her tactical and get in a safer position. Her ultimate likewise spawns two portals with which you can re-position. With Wraith you’re always thinking about how to initiate, how to leave, and where to stand for maximum effect at the lowest risk.

Octane is sort of like the opposite. Although you can use his speed for defensive purposes, he’s clearly built for a more high-risk play-style. This is the guy who charges in immediately when his opponent glances away for a second, knowing a second is all he needs. Any re-positioning you do with his ultimate is meant to help you get the drop on the enemy, rather than to help you escape, as its range is fairly limited. His tactical probably screams this most of all with the way it leverages speed for health, the quintessential “no pain, no gain” philosophy of combat so characteristic of berserker fighters in other games.

Given all that, I would say Octane calls for a very different mindset than Wraith does. Wraith is for the cautious player who picks her spots carefully, looking for the best advantage at the lowest risk; Octane is for the restless player with a hair trigger offence, looking for the immediate advantage and laughing at risk. This guy works best with hit-and-run tactics, as a gorilla fighter following the “hard to hit, harder to evade” style of combat. Use him if you’re comfortable with snap decisions, reflexive thinking, and you need a character who can move fast enough to carry out your hastily concocted stratagems.

Speaking of stratagems, we strongly recommend trying out Hero Boosting and their Apex Legends boosting services. They are still providing the same Overwatch boost services over at Boosting Hero.

 

Lothar’s Edge or Blink Dagger?

Lothar’s Edge or Blink Dagger?

Many people who play DotA 2 have a bad habit of always choosing Lothar’s Edge, or they always go Blink Dagger without thinking about why the item is a good or bad choice. Sometimes they find out later on in a game why their decision was a bad choice, but they still never learn to correct their mistake when having to decide what item to get in a game later on. I’m going to give you some foundational advice on when to pick up a Blink Dagger and when to go Lothar’s Edge.

A lot of people have a hard time knowing when to choose Lothar’s Edge and when to pick up a Blink Dagger for escape and/or initiation. A good rule of thumb that I like to go by is, make sure to pay attention to if the enemy has any DoT (Damage Over Time) spells or do they have a lot of AoE (Area of Effect) spells.

If they don’t have many DoT spells or AoE spells then you almost always want to get Blink Dagger (make sure you or your teammates buy sentry wards and/or dust if the enemy goes Lothar’s Edge and you will have them looking like a noob every time they try to gank you, otherwise Lothar’s Edge can counter your blink if you get caught off-guard). Blink Dagger will always be the superior item if they can’t disable the cooldown on your dagger. A couple of other things to look out for is if the enemy has heroes that have long range stuns, like Earth Shaker’s Fissure and Monkey King’s Boundless Strike (another thing with Blink Dagger that you have to be careful with is if the enemy is going to have any natural Radiance carriers, as the AoE from Radiance can take your cooldown off if you’re not careful). The AoE and DoT spells can also be devastating to you if you go Blink Dagger, but sometimes you can counter them first as long as you have a hero with good initiation and can wipe them out before they get a chance to initiate on you.

The best time to get Lothar’s Edge is when you can pick off any squishy supports and/or find the enemy carry in the jungle trying to get safe farm. Pay attention to where the enemy is placing sentry wards, because in the higher MMR games, the supports (if they’re good) will provide protection for their carry by placing sentry wards in the jungle and they will also be putting them there to deward their jungle so your team won’t be able to have any valuable vision in their territory. Once you have Lothar’s Edge, you can try to pick off the enemy supports (better if you can pickoff a carry). Try to see how the game is being played out (is the enemy being aggressive or passive) and if the enemy is leaving themselves vulnerable or not to get picked off. The earlier you can pick up the Lothar’s Edge the better. This can cause the enemy support’s to start spending a lot of gold on sentry wards and dust and delay any item they want to get to save their carry later on in the game.

I hope this gives you a better idea of when to get Lothar’s Edge and when to get Blink Dagger. Remember every game is situational. Sometimes Blink Dagger is a better choice (usually it is), but sometimes there might be an enemy hero that you need the Silver Edge upgrade and it will be better to farm Lothar’s Edge and just keep focusing on farming instead of going around ganking a bunch. Always try to pay attention to if the enemy is being passive or aggressive with their play style and adjust how you play accordingly.

To end off this post, we just want to leave a sponsored message, as it so happens our partners www.boostinghero.com and www.heroboosting.com have recently launched their Dota 2 boosting division! If you need help with any tasks in the game, be it gaining MMR or trying your hand at the weekend Battle Cup, you can definitely give them a look-see and I’m sure you’ll find someone useful there!

Epic Acquires Rocket League Developer, Gains More Community Hate

Epic Acquires Rocket League Developer, Gains More Community Hate

Epic received a lot of hate for making their own store and launcher. The complaint from gamers comes from the fact that there are already too many launchers and clients, as well as too many login credentials to remember.

As if the feedback from the community was not enough, Epic decided to make another move that will cause an even bigger outbreak of hate. Epic announced the acquisition of Rocket League developer Psyonix. While the deal itself has not been finalized, the community already manifested their outrage.

The vast majority of Rocket League players come from Steam. As the Epic Games Store is considered direct competition to Steam, multiple online news outlets spread rumors that the game will be removed from Steam and offered online via the Epic client. The internet refused to remain silent and Epic started getting even more negative attention.

In an effort to remove any kind of unfounded rumors, Epic announced that there are currently no plans to remove the game from Steam. The announcement was made over Twitter. Epic also confirmed that they will continue to sell the game over Steam. To be noted that the deal is not yet finalized. The transaction should be closed by the end of May or early June. Also, the game is expected to be available on the Epic Store, but it is not yet confirmed if there will be cross-platform support and matchmaking once the acquisition is finalized.

Psyonix had a recent Q&A on the Rocket League website and addressed some of the questions from the players and the community in general. According to Psyonix, the game will not change and will continue to offer support for the players. The acquisition enables them access to new resources for esports events and a wider reach to an even bigger audience outside of Steam. Psyonix has collaborated with Epic in the past on Gears of War as well as Unreal Tournament. After the acquisition is finalized, the developer will remain in its San Diego studio where it currently has 132 employees.

The continuous discontent towards Epic comes after the community found their client to be mining Steam data and sending it back to Epic. Things got worse as multiple users reported issues with the Epic refund policy which appears to have some issues and not refunding the full amount paid in some cases. Epic still struggles today as players report poor customer support and many other issues that cause the company to gain unwanted attention from the community.

Just Cause 4 IS HERE!!

Just Cause 4 IS HERE!!

Square Enix is back with the next edition of the adrenalin-charged, free-roaming game – Just Cause 4.And what’s better is the fact that it’s scheduled release date is right around the corner – 4th December 2018. This anticipated video game has some new and interesting features which appear to make it even more destructive and insane than the ones that preceded it. But is it going to be as appealing as its award-winning predecessors?

The new action-packed sequel also stars rogue agent Rico Rodriguez wherein he journeys to the South American world of Solis, the home of conflict and oppression. His mission – to hunt down the truth about his father’s past and to take down the Black Hand, a hi-tech military organisation. The trailer, loved by many gamers, displays no lack of crazy action-packed adventure, which is what this game was created for. Restraint was something that the developers didn’t show whilst creating such a wondrously insane game. This is the main reason as to why this is the most awaited game after Red Dead Redemption that released on 26th October 2018.
The newest features include a customizable grapple hook with newer abilities, allowing you to perform stunts that are limited only by your creativity. Also, the newest range of military jets, helicopters, supercars will fuel your destructive play style. Not to forget a wingsuit with which you may glide to safety after jumping out of one of those burning aerial contraptions, which is probably going to be your doing. The absolutely insane weather, including massive tornadoes and tropical thunderstorms that are frequent in Solis, and the fact that they can be used to your advantage in certain situations is amazing. Also, the 1024 square kilometre area of Solis with a topography ranging from rain forest to desert, not to mention a variety of regions from busy cities to ruins giving you many options to explore in this digital wonderland.
The best part of this game is the fact that it is available on all the four platforms – PC, XBOX, PS4 and Switch making it widely and easily accessible to all those who own either one of these platforms. Also, AMD has shown its added support to it by especially optimising its latest GPU drivers for this game. So, not only visually, but hardware-wise as well, this game is an absolute treat!. It is currently available for pre-order on websites like Steam and Amazon and will officially go on sale on its scheduled release date – 4th December 2018.
Based on its trailer and description, this game appears to be absolutely mad in comparison to all the other games around it, but whether or not it will as great a success as its precursors is still unknown. Only time will tell, after its release, if it is actually going to be as promised and if the added features and methods of destruction are going to be attractive, boring or repulsive to the audience. But, if you are willing to spend top dollar on this game just have a firsthand experience of it as soon as it releases, please do share a review!
Overwatch Patch 1.30: The Good, The Great, and The Awesome

Overwatch Patch 1.30: The Good, The Great, and The Awesome

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If you are still in the dark, the much hyped Overwatch upgrade (Patch 1.30) is now live. If you are still sulking over the fact that the PTR guys
are having all the fun, well the upgrade is now off the PTR and available to everyone. This version introduces a new hero- Ashe- A lethal white-haired, trigger-happy gunslinger. If you are yet to get the upgrade, you are missing out. There is a lot to be said about this new addition but let us limit this to our four favorite heroes; Symmetra, Reaper, Mercy, and Roadhog.

Patch 1.30 comes with awesome upgrades for all our heroes but true to his name, Roadhog hogged the lion’s share of the upgrades.

After the last update, you probably- like me- cursed under your breath when you saw how slowly Mercy’s Ultimate was charging. This was
because the update nerfed her base healing. In this upgrade, in response to all that, her base healing cost has been reduced by 15%. The rate of healing is now up to 60 per second instead of the 50 we luckily did not have to get used to. Mercy’s Ultimate has restored some of the strength lost in the previous upgrade and now builds up quicker than ever before.

Symmetra’s Photon Projector also performs better in this new upgrade. Despite an increase in range, however, it is still a little challenging to use. Her primary beam helps the experience by charging up to 20% faster. She now gets to her full damage potential much faster and that is a welcome addition. Reaper’s ability (life steal) has been boosted to 30% from the previously (I admit still awesome) 20%. His Hellfire shotgun is also now more consistent and its spread tighter in this new upgrade making Overwatch all the more impressive.

Let us now move on to the star of the improvements, Roadhog. We’ve all had issues with Roadhog’s Chain Hook, Blizzard heard us loud and clear. For starters, the cooldown is now immediate with every use. It was previously dependent on Roadhog’s proximity to the hook target but not anymore, it does not wait for the target to be reeled in. The hook also slows down targets more when it lands and takes significantly less time to reel them in. The delay before reeling in a target is now 0.3 seconds- all the way down from 0.5 seconds. The change is quite noticeable. The issues with breaking when targets jump or fall behind collisions have also been addressed in the new update. Roadhog’s Scrap Gun also offers more consistent damage in Patch 1.30- both the primary and alternate fire. This is because some projectiles have been moved towards the center of the Scarp Gun’s spread pattern. Finally, a bug in previous versions made close-range targets fly much further than would be ordinarily expected. Here is where I tip the hat to Blizzard. They fixed the bug but retained much of the knockback burst effect because we loved it!

So in a nutshell, Patch 1.30 will be the talk of the town for quite some time because Blizzard has not only fixed the overall game performance, our heroes are now better than ever.

Also, a friendly reminder that Boosting Hero has extended their Christmas promotion into the new year! Visit their site to find our more about their Overwatch boosting services!

Overwatch Winter Wonderland Event 2018

Overwatch Winter Wonderland Event 2018

overwatch boostBefore we talk about the event itself, allow us to shamelessly plug our partner’s Christmas promotion! Boosting Hero is offering some XMAS specials for their Overwatch Boost services, just head on over to their site to find out more!

As the holidays begin to approach, Overwatch is once again hosting their annual winter-themed event, “Winter Wonderland”. During the month of December, players can participate in event-specialized modes of gameplay, and have the chance of earning holiday-based skins. Overwatch players are anxiously awaiting for the onset of the Winter Wonderland event, taking place on December 11th this year.

Holiday easter eggs, and other winter-inspired decorations are sprawled across the maps Blizzard World, Hanamura, and King’s Row, hoping to add some holiday cheer.

One of the things players enjoy most about this annual event are the limited-time only modes of gameplay, only available during the month of December. The Overwatch team has announced that their main focus this year for the event is the addition of new skins, rather than new gameplay modes, so rather than adding in brand new ones, they’re adding small tweaks to modes added in past years. One of them, “Mei’s Snowball Offensive”, consists of two teams of 6, pitted against one another in a snowball fight, and each player is eliminated individually.

The other, “Yeti’s Hunter”, places five players against one, and includes asymmetric player battles. The “Yeti” must gather meat in order to become more powerful against the other players. Once the player has collected enough meat, they have the ability to release a powerful rage, and gain immunity from the players’ freeze attack, along with several other bonuses.

The Mei’s objective in this game mode is to track down the yeti and destroy it before it has the chance to consume enough meat and unlock the power ups.

Another popular part of the event are the newly available skins. Something new added this year is the ability to earn skins from previous Winter Wonderland events. These skins, available in loot boxes, are cheaper than loot boxes containing items from this year’s event.

Some of the newly available skins added include a legendary snowboarding skin for Zarya. Another one, “Arctic Fox Lucio”, will be available later this month.

The most recent skin released is for Blizzard’s character Marcy, which consists of a Sugar Plum Fairy inspired ensemble. Rather than being dressed in white, Marcy’s new skin is dressed in shades of purples, greens, and magentas. Instead of the usual halo placed on top of her head, Marcy’s been given a curved crown, one that’s reminiscent of a fairy, or nymph. Also her ears have been given points to further add to her new role as a winter-themed pixie.

Players continue to wonder if the game’s newest character, Ashe, will also be given a winter makeover. As an automatic rifle wielding character, players hope to see the rifle impacted by the skin as well, whether it be a color change or an extra feature.

Blizzard has also recently announced that the newest skin they’ll be adding, “Figure Skater Symmetra”, will be available on Tuesday. The skin consists of a green figure skater dress, along with a bedazzled head piece. It’s been announced that the skin will cost 3,000 credits, being a legendary skin, if players wish to immediately give Symmetra a new look.

Is Lúcio getting a nerf in Capture the Flag?

Is Lúcio getting a nerf in Capture the Flag?

Remember when last year’s Year of the Rooster event brought back Capture the Flag as a memorable game mode for players of all skill levels to enjoy? This also introduced the new map Ayutthaya for players to experience. It was a big hit, and it paved the way for Capture the Flag’s competitive season.

To nobody’s surprise, Lúcio has been a popular support pick in this particular game mode. It’s almost impossible to see a Capture the Flag match without someone choosing this versatile hero to accompany their team to victory.

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But what may come as a surprise is the fatal news that Lúcio is getting a big nerf – and soon. When this year’s Year of the Dog event springs into action, which should be happening this week, Lúcio may suddenly drop in popularity when it comes to choice hero selection.

A Bad Time for Movement Abilities

Blizzard has explained – and explicitly shown us – that any hero with movement abilities will instantly drop the flag as soon as they enable those movements. But the ever-elusive Lúcio has been able to evade this annoying circumstance. So far, his movement abilities have not impacted his flag-dropping skills. Players love to use Wall Ride to quickly escape with the flag, bringing his team to victory every time. Most people are lead to believe that this is why Lúcio is such a popular pick in Capture the Flag: If his movement abilities aren’t affected like everyone else’s, doesn’t that make him broken?

Alas, Blizzard has finally taken notice of this. Whether or not they have deemed this as an official “exploit”, they are bringing the patch hammer down hard on Lúcio. As the Year of the Dog patch is well underway, players can expect to see a nerf to Lúcio’s movement abilities during Capture the Flag events.

While unfortunate, it does make sense: Lúcio has been able to get to unreachable places and escape with the flag far too fast. It puts all other heroes to shame. With the new changes in this week’s patch, there will at least be a more balanced opportunity for heroes in Capture the Flag mode.

Also, for those of you having a tough time in the competitive mode for Capture the Flag, you might want to take a look at what Boostards and Boosting Hero have to offer. They generally offer Overwatch Boosting services, but have been known to also sell boosting for timed events like Lucioball and Uprising!

Confirmed and Updated

It’s true; Jeff Kaplan himself announced that changes to Lúcio would be coming very soon. As of the newest patch, Lúcio will now drop the flag if he uses Wall Ride.

Kaplan says, “Not only is his speed unreasonably fast with the boost from Wall Ride, but he can also get to places that are very difficult to defend against.”

If you’re playing Overwatch on the PC, you are likely already seeing this change in Lúcio’s abilities with Capture the Flag. If you are a console player, the patch should come in sometime later this week.

Have you noticed any other changes or nerfs to heroes with this newest patch? What kind of changes are you looking forward to the most? Let us know your thoughts!

The Reason You Haven’t Been Able to Find a Graphics Card Lately

The Reason You Haven’t Been Able to Find a Graphics Card Lately

Today’s topic is not exactly related to gaming, but it’s close enough!

One of my favorite activities as a gamer has nothing to do with the games at all: the building and maintaining of a sweet ass gaming PC. I know many people prefer to just order a rig from a company or even buy a pre-built unit from the store, but I love researching and picking out the parts and assembling them in to a custom machine that’s truly and uniquely mine. That’s why it saddens me to say that right now is a terrible time to build a gaming PC or any other type of computer that requires a decent graphics card.

A quick overview for the less technical gamers out there: to render the graphics in a video game requires a massive amount of calculations. What’s more, those calculations have to be performed as close to real-time as possible or else the game would be unplayable (any player who’s had to suffer a drop in frame rates understands what I’m talking about). This kind of load would easily overwhelm your computer’s CPU (Central Processing Unit) – the “boss chip” inside your machine that handles most of the machine’s operations. That’s why gaming machines use a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) – a special chip that’s hardwired to perform graphics-related calculations at exceedingly fast speed. Since this chip is very often mounted on its own circuit board that gets slotted in to the main “motherboard” of the computer it’s sometimes referred to as a “graphics card”.

Sometimes people are able to use graphics cards for non-graphics related tasks, if those tasks happen to require calculations that are similar to the type needed to render graphics. For example, astronomers will sometimes use PC’s with graphics cards to analyze the images from their telescopes to find stellar objects faster than a human could. Another “GPU-friendly” type of task is cryptocurrency mining – and that, unfortunately, is where the problem lies.

Many of you have probably heard about cryptocurrency in the news, since Bitcoin and a few others have recently seen a huge spike in value. I won’t go in to the technical details of how they work but the important thing to know is this: new currency is “minted” by people running mining software on their computers. This software has to perform extremely intense calculations as fast as possible… sound familiar?

That’s right – many forms of crypto mining happen to be highly effective on graphics cards (although, ironically, Bitcoin isn’t one of them). Because of this miners have been buying up GPUs like gangbusters, resulting in a stock shortage for us gamers. If you’ve been trying to do a new build recently you may have noticed that most of your favorite retailers are out of stock on the cards you want, and if you go to alternative markets like eBay you might find cards going for almost double their retail price. For example, a GTX 1070 (normally going for around $380) was recently spotted selling for $700! Now you know why.

Both AMD and Nvidia say they’re scrambling to increase production and meet demand, but it will likely be months before we see stock (and prices) go back to normal. I don’t recommend buying in to the jacked up prices – if you can, hold off on that new build until the costs come back down. If you can’t wait, consider buying a cheaper or last-generation card to tide you over for awhile – most of them perform just fine unless you’re trying to play on Super Ultra Deluxe graphics settings.

Do let me know if you enjoy content like this, or if I should just stick to strictly game related topics! I recently found myself emmersed in the Cryptosphere and so I thought I’d do an article related to this on the blog, so let me know if you like topics like this!

The Year of the Dog is Here!

The Year of the Dog is Here!

Overwatch’s now customary annual event has finally arrived! For this Lunar New Year, it’s the Year of the Dog, and the game is celebrating with some new additions and loot options that you’ll certainly be wagging your tail for.

The long-awaited New Year’s event has returned with a bucketload of new skins, emotes, loot box items, and much more.

So, here’s what’s in store for the Year of the Dog event this weekend. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know!

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When is the Lunar New Year event?

The Year of the Dog Overwatch event takes place from February 16th until March 5th, giving you three weeks of magical Lunar New Year celebrations.

Why does it start later than it did last year?

For those of you who participated in the Year of the Rooster event in 2017, you may remember it starting at the tail end of January. Blizzard has done a good job keeping in line with the actual Chinese New Year, which starts much later this year. That’s why this year’s release date for the event isn’t until February 16th.

What New Features Have Been Added?

In spirit of the Lunar New Year and the cultures that celebrate it, a new Thailand map has been added for the event. But that’s not the only exciting addition to the game – there are also six new Legendary skins for some of your favorite heroes!

You have to check out Road Hog’s sea-faring new skin, as well as Mercy’s Chinese-inspired New Year holiday garb. They are al skins worth working hard for!

Competitive CTF?

As most of you should also know by now, there’s a competitive mode for CTF with its own ranking ladder! Just like Lucioball in the previous event. The same goes for this time, and as we know that many players won’t have enough time to juggle between regular competitive and CTF competitive, there are many options and services available out there that might be able to help with getting that elusive CTF rank boost for your ego 😉

Two options we’re aware of are Boostards and Boosting Hero. These sites have been featured on our blog before for their usual services, but as far as we know, they also provide event-related services and very well might support something for CTF as well!

How Can You Get the New Skins?

Just like last year’s event, you can acquire the new skins through loot boxes, which are only available during the Lunar New Year event. This is why it’s super important to play as much as you can during the event, because once the Year of the Dog has ended, you won’t be able to acquire the skins!

And if you weren’t able to get your favorite New Years’ skins from last year, don’t fret! They’ll be returning for purchase to the in-game store. Based on past events, the previous Lunar New Year skins should be purchasable for about 3,000 Overwatch coins. Most of the time, Blizzard sponsors a discount during the event to make it easier to get ahold of the ones you missed.

What Else is Coming to Overwatch?

While this isn’t paired with the Year of the Dog, the PvE Uprising mode will be returning soon too! While there aren’t too many details on it yet, players can absolutely look forward to the return of the popular PvE mode. As the Year of the Dog launches, there may be more updates and information regarding obtainable items and features. It’s always best to keep an eye out!

Discussion: Will Valve Ever Make Games Again?

Discussion: Will Valve Ever Make Games Again?

Valve is arguably one of the most influential studios in the gaming industry. Many of their properties such as Portal, Left4Dead, and Team Fortress 2 were considered instant classics. Their most famous series, Half Life, set the stage for every FPS that came after it by introducing features so intrinsic to the genre that we can scarcely remember a time without them. And yet, in the modern age things feel a little different – it’s been years since Valve has released an original title and jokes like “Valve can’t count to three” pervade the Internet. Even Half Life, their flagship franchise, has gone an entire decade without a release to tie up the massive cliffhanger gamers were left with.

Valve obviously isn’t hurting, though. Despite some competitors cropping up in recent years the Steam platform is still the main way most PC gamers buy their games. They’re even making an effort to pick away at the console market by introducing Big Picture Mode, SteamOS, and hardware like the Steam Controller. In addition to Steam, Valve is also still making money off of some of its older titles like Team Fortress 2. With all of this cash flowing in, many people have speculated that they’re simply not interested in producing any new titles.

Despite the accusations, Valve insists that they are, in fact, still making games. Even though many have written it off as vaporware, Valve has never officially stated that they’ve stopped development on Half Life 3. They’ve also gone on record stating that they’re developing new titles for their heavily-pushed virtual reality platform, although to date the only VR content they’ve released have been short demo-like “experiences”. Two years ago they released a DOTA 2 beta built on the Source 2 engine – the follow up to the famed Source engine that had driven their most famous games. Although this way a ray of hope, Source 2 has never been released to outside developers and to date has only been used on the aforementioned beta and an update to Counterstrike:GO.

Perhaps the most damning evidence is that recently Chet Faliszek, one of Valve’s most prolific writers, left the company. He was one of the writers responsible for Half Life, Portal, and several other of Valve’s most beloved games. All the other “original” writers have long since left, meaning that Feliszek’s departure was especially hard felt. A big part of why those games got big in the first place where their unique and engaging story lines, and now it’s an open question whether Valve will ever be able to deliver that again.

I’m sorry to say it, but I think Valve’s hey day as a game studio has passed. I have faith that they’ll continue to be a powerhouse through their Steam platform, but as for original game content I just don’t see it – we might get one or two lackluster titles but that’s it. But who knows? If there’s one thing Valve has always been good at its surprises – if there’s one developer who could pull off an unexpected comeback it would be them.

The Overwatch Summer Games are Back!

The Overwatch Summer Games are Back!

After a popular debut during 2016’s Summer Olympics, the 2017 Overwatch Summer Games have returned for another fun summer. Represent your favorite hero’s country with exciting new skins, themes, arenas, and leaderboards. Visit new parts of the world that all of your favorite characters can take pride in! From August 8th to August 28th, you will be able to feel the spirit of competition by participating in limited-time events, with 10 action-packed days full of new skins and exciting loot crate opportunities. From Lucioball to over 50 new items, the Overwatch Summer Games are here in full force! Jump in this season for the opportunity to get some original event loot!

Overwatch Summer Games Skins

There are a lot of new features, additions, and play styles available in this year’s Summer Games. 2016 sported new skins, some of which have returned this year for a second chance to acquire them. If you missed out on McCree’s “American” skin or Genji’s “Nihon” skin from last year, now’s your chance to fight for victory and claim your customization prizes. The same goes for emotes and victory poses as well.

Of course, this year is not without its wide variety of new skins as well. Some exciting new customization textures have been added to the most popular characters of Overwatch, making players even more excited to get their hands on those loot crates. Check out Grillmaster: 76, Mercy’s Winged Victory, or even the grumpy Lifeguard McCree to pair perfectly with the heroes whose summer skins you earned last year.

And if you don’t feel like testing your RNG luck by buying loot boxes, you can purchase the previous year’s Legendary skins with credits too. They are even sold at a discount!

And speaking of loot boxes…

Overwatch Summer Games Loot Boxes

There are over 10 new cosmetic items available for 10 days only this year. By taking part in the Overwatch Summer Games, you have the unique chance of acquiring loot boxes like never before. All of the popular victory poses, emotes, and voice lines from last year have a chance to show up in a loot box as well, but you’ll really want to get your hands on one so that you can see some of the best items fresh from Blizzard’s Overwatch team. We know it’s a lot of work to grind for these boxes, so if you rather get someone else to do this for you, you can consider getting an overwatch boost from these guys.

Emotes, Highlight Intros, and Victory Poses

All of the popular emotes and cosmetic choices from 2016’s Overwatch Summer Games have returned, and you have a chance to score them through loot boxes. There are a lot of new emotes, highlight intros, and victory poses as well that players are dying to get their hands on. Pharah’s Slam Dunk and Hanzo’s Target Practice highlight intros are bound to be popular picks, while Ana’s Beach Ball emote is an exciting new choice that players can’t wait to experience live.

The New Arena

This year’s Overwatch Summer Games has an exciting arena opportunity for players to get invested in. It’s easy to spend hours in this fun tournament mode! You may remember Lucioball from last year’s exciting Olympic-inspired games – well, it has returned for another exciting season of intense play! But now, there are several new changes and featured added to make Lucioball even more fun.

You may be familiar with the futuristic location of Rio de Janiero that Lucioball was placed in last year. You still have a chance to play on that beautiful 3v3 field, but now you have a chance to land in a new arena as well – the Sydney Harbour Arena!

Plus, there are now two Lucioball game modes: Lucioball, and Copa Lucioball, which introduces an all-new rating tier, competitive placement matches, and its very own leaderboard. You are free to play either of these two gaming styles as much as you want, but for 10 days only!

Play the Overwatch Summer Games Today!

There are only 2 weeks to experience everything the exciting Summer Games have to offer. For a limited time, you can gain experience with new leaderboards, a competitive arena, an exciting ranking system, and of course, over 150 new cosmetic options that will come as part of the loot box system. The more you play, the better chance you have to get your hands on some limited-time loot. It’s hard to pass up this deal! By participating in the Overwatch Summer Games, you will be able to acquire a piece of something that may not ever return to Overwatch again. Make your mark in Overwatch history by jumping into the Overwatch Summer Games today! Hurry, because you only have until August 28th!

Gaming Gets the Red Carpet Treatment at the IDF and GDC Awards

Gaming Gets the Red Carpet Treatment at the IDF and GDC Awards

It’s awards season here in America. While most of the country is focused on the Oscars, the Grammys, and other mainstream awards ceremonies, the world of gaming has its own accolades to give out. This comes primarily in the form of the Independent Games Festival for Indie titles, and the Games Developers Choice awards for more mainstream works. Both organizations debuted their annual ceremonies a little while ago, so now is the perfect time to take a look at who won, who got snubbed, and which categories saw surprises this year.

You can read up more about this from here.

First, a little background on each event. Both organizations are run by the Games Developers Conference, an annual meet up of games developers that tries to emphasize learning and networking with fellow game makers. The Independent Games Festival was started in the late 90’s to try and promote smaller indie games and help them grow, much in the same way that the Sundance film festival has helped indie movies. IGF winners typically benefit from a cash prize, which helps to fund these smaller companies as they bring out innovative new content.

The Game Developers Choice Awards are the IGF’s more mainstream counterpart. This awards ceremony targets the bigger AAA studios in the industry – if we were talking about movies, then the GDCA would be the Oscars. That’s not to say that smaller studios can’t still make a breakthrough in the GDC awards – in fact, there are a few arguably-indie studios represented in the winners this year.

All that being said, let’s take a look at the results! We’ll start with the IGF before moving on to discuss the GDC awards.

The top award at the IGF is the “Seumas McNally Grand Prize”, a $30,000 honor named for the famed founder of Longbow Digital Arts. This year, the winner of the McNally Prize was the game Quadrilateral Cowboy, by Blendo Games. This innovate first-person puzzle game featured the novel gameplay mechanic of having to type in actual computer code in order to hack various objects – making it a sensible choice for this prize. Quadrilateral Cowboy also took home the “Excellence in Design” award.

Other notable categories from the IGF include the “Excellence in Narrative” award, won by erotic visual novel Ladykiller in a Bind (Made by Love Conquers All Games) and “Excellence in Visual Art” won by action RPG Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine).

Over at the GDC Awards we saw a wider pool of categories and naturally a lot more titles that most gamers would be familiar with. The top award (Game of the Year) was won by Blizzard’s competitive team-based shooter Overwatch, a runaway hit that’s been lighting up gaming blogs and other news media since its release. Overwatch also managed to snag the “Best Design” award while it was at it.

I’m very pleased to say that one of my personal favorite games of this year, Firewatch (by Campo Santo) captured both “Best Narrative” and “Best Debut” this year. Meanwhile, Playdead Studio’s newest title Inside grabbed the well deserved “Best Visual Art” and “Best Audio” awards.

Perhaps one of the most shocking awards given at either ceremony was the GDC “Innovation” award, handed to none other than No Man’s Sky (Hello Games). This open world space exploration/survival game is infamous in the community for building up large amounts of funds via a crowdfunding campaign promising lofty and ambitious features, and then releasing a product that didn’t remotely live up to those vows. The whole game was a glitchy mess on release, and several key (and highly advertised) features were quite noticeably missing. In fact, more than one lawsuit has cropped up targeting Hello Games for falsely advertising the features of the game. Given all of this it’s a bit of a wonder how No Man’s Sky even got a nomination, much less an actual award.

Despite that one curious hiccup, overall I’d say it was a pretty good turnout for this year’s awards season. It’s great to see good developers get recognized for their hard work, and most of the category winners absolutely deserved their trophies. In the case of the IGF it’s also awesome to see newer studios granted with monetary support so that they can continue innovating and bring us fantastic new experiences. 2016 was an abnormally good year for gaming, but hopefully the trend will continue and when next year’s awards roll around we’ll see fantastic new content up for nomination.

New Playable Character Teased For Overwatch

New Playable Character Teased For Overwatch

Since taking top honors at the 2016 Game Awards, Overwatch, the team based, multiplayer, First-Person Shooter (Whew, Quite a mouthful!) has steadily increased its loyal following of gamers by doling out a near constant stream of updates and new characters to take control of and create havoc in the game world. It’s popularity has birthed a whole crew of new service providers including Overwatch boosting, which has taken over the Overwatch competitive playerbase. The latest update from Blizzard has teased the possible identity of Overwatch’s upcoming new playable character, number 24 if anyone is keeping count out there.

In a blog post from Blizzard’s official website, we are introduced to 11 year old Efi Oladele. Hailing from Numbani, Efi is the prestigious recipient of the “Adawe Foundation’s Genius Grant.” From the in-universe interview, we learn that she has a deep interest in all things mechanical and chats about her achievements in robotics and Artificial Intelligence. She has a clear plan on what she wants to do with the Grant, but purposefully doesn’t reveal it in the interview, only stating that her parents are taking her on a trip to celebrate, which will also see her flying for the first time.

From the brief interview, she comes across as humble and slightly overwhelmed with the attention she’s receiving from winning the Grant, but determined to advance her knowledge of robotics and AI. Sporting a snazzy gold crown, some headphones with earrings attached and what looks to be a necklace with an electrical cord connected to it, Efi certainly looks the part of a child robotics expert.

Although gamers were still disappointed with the news of Doomfist’s character reveal being delayed, the blog was met with enthusiasm from the Overwatch community. Also, it has led to debate whether Efi will actually be the 24th playable character, or if she’s simply being used to flesh out the backstory of the real upcoming playable character. Many gamers have suggested this on the basis that it seems quite unlikely that Blizzard would have you controlling an eleven year old child in battle. If we examine Blizzard’s track record of character reveals, each one was preceded by a similar blog post, which lends credence to Efi being a playable character.

Other users have suggested that an older version of Efi will be used instead, but that rumour was shot down in a twitter post from lead writer Michael Chu, stating that the interview takes place in the present day and there will be no time skips or flash forwards. This definitively rules out the possibility of seeing an older Efi laying waste in the game world.

Another interesting theory that has been doing the rounds concerns Efi’s genius ability with AI, some believe she will use the grant money to build a robot, as she states she wants to build something to keep the world safe just like the OR15’s. In this case, the robot that Efi builds will be the playable character instead.

While speculation is rampant and theories are flying around the internet faster than a speeding bullet, one thing is certain, Blizzard always has a knack for surprising their fans, and when the 24th playable character is finally revealed, it will no doubt be a cause for celebration.

Read more news on our other Overwatch articles here, and also here’s an Overwatch tier list if you wanted to learn the different tiers of heroes according to strength in Overwatch.

Pokémon GO! The Wonders of Nature

Pokémon GO! The Wonders of Nature

Consider this. It’s a warm and beautiful day outside. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. You want to get outside and do something but you aren’t sure what quite yet. You decide to hop on your bike and head to the park. You love the park, with all of its birds and trees and nature walks. It’s hard to find great places like this one in the city in which you live, so whenever you can, you go to the park. When you get there, you begin to tune into sounds and sights that you normally night not see if you weren’t paying attention. Once you’ve dialed in, you notice so many wonderful and natural things and begin to classify them in your brain. “Too bad there isn’t a video game for something like this,” you think to yourself. “If there was, I would play it all day!”.

Just when you thought that you would need to buy a virtual reality headset and pay tons of money in order to experience the outdoors like this, along comes Pokémon Go and it completely reshapes your world. Released in July 2016 and downloaded more than five million times in less than two months, this smartphone game is creating quite a buzz. I still remember playing Pokemon on my Gameboy when I was just a child. It’s incredible how this has now expanded on that phenomenon, the best-selling card game, and how this app treats its players to adventures in the outdoors.

Take your mobile device with you and root out and capture different species of Pokémon creatures and gain points and ranking as you do. There are about one hundred fifty-one different species in Pokémon Go. Some are easy to find and are very common and might take you no time at all to discover, while others are extremely difficult to find, leading you on a day’s journey just to find that one special little pocket monster.

It is said that one hundred forty-two of them are discoverable in the United States, three more in international regions, and six characters that, up to this point, have not yet been found. Imagine then, deciding to find those missing six characters. Imagine where you might go and what you might see. The possibilities are endless and the opportunity for travel is astounding.

Who would have thought that a little game like Pokémon Go could offer the player the tools to travel the world, classifying and categorizing various species of animals, just like scientists do, all over the planet? Now think about the way the different environments that are in play. Certain Pokémon characters only appear near lakes or rivers. Some only reside in the mountains or in forests. This inadvertently teaches players of biomes and natural habitats, which is amazing and educational at the same time. They also vary in terms of population, just like certain species that actually exist in the world, and sometimes one type of Pokémon character will evolve into another, mimicking evolution of the species on our planet! With all of this variety, imagine the places you’ll go to catch your wild Pokémon!

Whatever you do, don’t miss out on your chance to play this game. As much as we enjoy sitting at home playing Battlefield 1, this is a good chance to step outside and get some exercise in! Download Pokémon Go, pack a bag with some food and water and maybe a sweater, call a friend and get out there! Here’s some motivation before you step out into the wild for your own adventure –

Our Thoughts on Resident Evil 7

Our Thoughts on Resident Evil 7

Resident evil 7: Biohazard is the latest installment of the franchise, published by Capcom. fans of the Resident evil Franchise were disappointed with Resident Evil 6 which was released four years ago. The series has lost it much taunted touch with its fanbase. However, with the latest release, Capcom hopes to prove you wrong and that the new numbered game in the series is more than just a return to form.

This is by far the most popular and commercially successful game of the franchise. It is the first installment of the franchise in which it is played from first person perspective. The game portrays an intimate horror with a tightly focused scope and all the traps you will expect from a survival game. No meaningless stuff like the horror of guiding a seemingly terrified character out of a waking nightmare into a safety.

The story of the RE7 revolves around protagonist Ethan Winters as he searches for his wife Mia, which leads him to a garden inhabited by the Baker family. Ethan makes use of weapons and tools in the fight against the murderous cannibals of evil creatures who are referred to as the moulded and the Baker family . The game is a departure of the action oriented and zombie outbreaks of the former series toward a larger emphasis on horror and exploration.

This time, our protagonist is Ethan Winters. Just a regular joe looking for his wife. This is quite a different approach as compared to previous Resident Evil titles. Another big change, and not just a change in the story or approach is how the game is now played in First Person Perspective. This makes such a huge difference to the gameplay and I honestly think that this is the one change that made the game into such a success. Having to navigate your way around the claustrophobic Baker house, traps, and not knowing what you could encounter around the next corner just makes RE7 such an amazing and immersive experience.

To take things even further, on the Playstation 4,  you can even play the game on a VR headset. Although this is quite a game changer considering the genre of the game being horror, many people find it less ideal. Citing issues with how the game isn’t compatible with VR, or motion sickness. Moving in the game while standing still in real life can be quite a disorienting experience. Certain visuals aspects in the game seem much darker and muddier in VR, which might affect gameplay negatively.

Capcom has acknowledged that these problems exist and that you might expect a fix to be coming sometime soon.  If you can get past all the minor inconveniences that come with playing with the VR set, you might actually enjoy the game in VR. If not for your entire playthrough, but just for novelty’s sake.

If you’re a horror game buff, give RE7 a shot. If you’re not, still give it a shot! It’s honestly not that scary, and pretty fun even for non-horror fans.

Well, if you’re too scared, here’s a short gameplay video so you can get an idea of what the game is like before you commit to a purchase. Don’t worry, this video doesn’t have any spoilers in it.

A Positive Spin on Video Games

A Positive Spin on Video Games

Since they first came out more than thirty years ago, video games have entertained, confused, frustrated and delighted millions of people of different ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Think of it like you would the evolution of Rock and Roll music or various fashion trends throughout time; terrible at first. And then, over time the positive effects come shining through and cannot be disputed.

Here’s a serious blog about video gaming for once. As “lifelong gamers” of course we are big advocates of this particular hobby and activity, but as much as we would think it’s a healthy activity, many have argued against this in the past, saying video games promote violence, etc. Our friends from CS:GO Academy had this to say about it – “We feel that we are able to focus better in real life, and also perform certain tasks better than the average person who doesn’t play video games. This is our take on gaming, and our humble opinion on it”. These guys play games (they provide boosting services for CSGO) for a living and Counter Strike: Global Offensive is known as one of the most high-requirement hand-eye coordination games in the world.

Playing video games can’t be that bad! I mean, come on, even BBC says so. Of course, there are numerous studies that “prove” higher levels of aggression, various negative health effects like obesity and physical issues that result from gross overuse in those people who play video games. It would make sense that such a debated topic would garnish more attention if the news is bad rather than good. That way, people can continue to condemn video games and “gamers”, and dismiss the entire industry as a silly and base money making a scheme that aims to capitalize on the disenfranchised and the young.

Historically, video games and simulators were used in various training programs like NASA and the military. When trainees couldn’t actually and logistically be somewhere to train, they could utilize new technologies that allow them virtually to participate. Things such as flight simulators and various war games all allowed for experience and exposure and offered the potential of learning and mastering various skills and techniques.

There is a direct link between the use of video games and improved hand-eye coordination and time between action and response. Studies show that participants who have had no more than twenty-five to fifty hours of exposure and experience playing video games, when tested after their gameplay, had quicker reaction times to stimuli, achieved better scores in visual discrimination and cognition tests and, strangely enough, had longer and more focused attention spans that those participants who did not play video games.

In the field of academia and education, there have been numerous studies which have concluded that incorporating video games into the classroom can be beneficial to children in a variety of ways. In today’s world, it is vital to provide children with all of the tools they will need to get out in there and make a positive impact on society.

We all learn differently and have different abilities and natural propensities. Some of us are good at math. Some of us are great readers or story writers. Some kids love science. Some kids really just love to build and create. Instead of reducing and limiting education to the traditional methods of book learning, we have the ability to utilize our advanced forms of technology in order to make the learning come alive and be really palpable to children who might otherwise not find any of it stimulating and might now take the opportunity to open their minds to learning. Video games can be just the thing that some children might find engaging, interesting and worthwhile. Educational video games are sneaky in all of the right ways. They can help increase attention spans and heighten spatial sensitivity and awareness.

Now, let’s put this in some kind of context that we all can understand. No one is saying that video games make you smarter or give you special abilities or superpowers. But they can help people overcome many obstacles and lead them on a path to success, one joystick at a time.

Red Dead Redemption Online: Features We’d Like To See

Red Dead Redemption Online: Features We’d Like To See

Red Dead Redemption 2, the highly anticipated next chapter in the Red Dead series has finally been announced. Aside from a trailer and a few glorious screenshots we don’t know much about the game. However, with the incredible success of GTA 5’s online portion it seems a safe bet that Rockstar will feature a similar mode for their Western epic. With that in mind, here are a couple of things that we’d love to see included in an online version of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Heists

The heists in GTA 5 online were some of the most fun and exciting things you could do with your friends and they seem a perfect fit for Red Dead Redemption. Picture this: A group of your friends saddle up and ride into the nearest town. Upon arrival you hold up the local bank and gun down the local sheriff and his posse before high tailing it back to your hideout. Other online players could even play as the long arm of the law and attempt to bring you to justice before you were able to escape.

Become a Land Baron

The wild west was a sprawling expanse and an ideal location for enterprising pioneers to carve out an existence. We’d love to be able to purchase large tracts of land and set up our own ranches online. Perhaps we could populate the plains with our herds of cattle. Of course, no ranch would be complete without a great name and a custom icon to brand on all our cattle, and maybe on outlaws who were foolish enough to trespass.

Hunting Expeditions

The original Red Dead Redemption had a robust hunting system with plenty of creatures to gun down but we think an online version could take it just a bit further. Rockstar should allow players to go on hunting trips for rare and dangerous creatures. If and when you find one of these beasts, assuming you aren’t mauled and eaten by it, you could shoot it and bring it back to your home to be mounted in your trophy room. This way all my friends could come and see how many elk I had brought down or grizzlies I had killed. Call it bragging rights if you will, but this is definitely a feature I want to see if Red Dead Redemption ever goes forth with the online mode.
It’s all speculation at this point as to what Rockstar has in mind for their upcoming game, but we’re confident it’ll be phenomenal. Rockstar’s record of success is virtually unmatched and this next iteration is not likely to disappoint. Red Dead Redemption is slated to be released on October

Red Dead Redemption is slated to be released on October 20th 2017, you can pre-order and read more about it’s release date here: http://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption2/