How to Farm Effectively in Dota 2

How to Farm Effectively in Dota 2

When you pick a carry hero, one of the most important parts of the games is in the beginning stage, and making sure you get enough adequate farm to get the correct items you need to kill the opposing team. Sometimes you might get stuck with a teammate that doesn’t know how to support you very well in your lane, or maybe they just picked a bad laning hero and the enemy heroes are harassing you so much that you can hardly stay in the lane and get any farm. The first thing you need to learn to do is to control the creep equilibrium. This is more important in the mid lane than any other lane but it’s still extremely important when you’re playing as the safe-lane carry.

When the game starts always try to creep-block your creeps to make the enemy creeps end up fighting your creeps close to your tower (not under the tower though, otherwise you will start pushing into their lane). If you want to bring the enemy creeps closer to your tower because you can’t hit them without getting harassed, then what you can do is, stay a little bit behind your creeps and attack the enemy heroes, this will cause the enemy creeps to move past your creeps and start attacking you (also making them come closer to your tower, which will make them easier to get the last hits on).

Pulling is another effective way to get the enemy creeps closer to your tower. Hopefully your support will do this for you, but, if you’re not getting any farm from your lane, sometimes it’s best to pull the lane yourself (you can either stack and pull, or you can do a double pull and pull both the creep camps that are closest to your tower). Be careful if you do the double pull as if the enemy team has any experience at all they can come and try to harass you or steal some of the neutral camps that you pulled. The stack and pull method is the best way to pull but takes a little longer to setup as you have to stack first before you can pull.

Depending on your hero, if you aren’t getting great farm in your lane, it’s important to watch the mini-map and pay attention to any enemy heroes (especially squishy support heroes) that have low health and can easily be finished off with one of your skills or with your ulti). Be careful though because if you leave your lane too much you will lose out on valuable experience in the lane and you have to have a good balance of gold and experience to be effective in the late game. Staying by the tower and pulling the enemy creeps closer to your tower to get last hits is often the best strategy so you can soak up experience, but is not always the case (especially if you’re going against a tri-lane and they’re making farming impossible for you).

The last way to get really good farm, is getting some lifesteal and heading to the neutral camps. The most ideal situation is your supports will buy wards for you so you can farm the neutrals without getting ganked, but when you get into the higher MMR games, you need to sometimes ward yourself (if your teammates aren’t doing it for you) as the supports on the other team will most likely be warding and dewarding your territory so they can try to gain control of the map.

Remember farming is just half the battle, paying attention to what the enemies items are and building the most effective items to win the game is the other half of the battle. Give your team the biggest chance of winning by giving yourself as much gold as possible is the first half to winning the game. Item prioritization and knowing when to join the battle and also what heroes to take out first is the other part to helping your team win the game.

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Enter The Gungeon And Difficulty In Games

Enter The Gungeon And Difficulty In Games


Enter the Gungeon is tough, like really tough. It’ll chew you up and spit you out in a hailstorm of bullets with no obligation to fight fair. Through its lead-lined walls lies a challenge that even the veterans struggle with. So why is dying over and over so much fun?

Difficulty in games, no matter how you look at it, has changed over the years. The entire purpose of arcade machines was to take as many quarters as possible from their unsuspecting victims. They had to be difficult in order to fulfill their purpose but despite that, they still remain some of the most influential titles to date. ETG falls under the same category for me as the difficulty it shares with most others from the roguelike genera simply is another defining feature that makes it what it is. With over 170 hours in the game, I can conclusively say that it just wouldn’t be the same without the grind for perfection. The constant battle to get a few rooms farther than last time is made fresh by the stedy tricle of progress letting you know you are in fact getting somewhere. It’s a formula that’s still being perfected by these types of games but when done right, it’s a satisfaction that’s impossible to recreate without the brutal challenge.

A common argument for the addition of easier modes in many modern games stems from the belief that games should be accessible to everyone. Despite it, however, we’re starting to see that some of the most iconic games to come out in recent years, those by FromSoftware and indie devs, come about with any attempt to reforge their creations into something they’re not. In the absence of the easy mode is the proverbial “get good”, that is more a statement to how the games where meant to be played than anything else. Their design is that the player should throw themselves at the wall so many times that failure no longer fazes them. This core ideology works perfectly with the Gungeon as only a skill set committed to muscle memory will allow you access to its deepest depths. It, while still having a story to uncover, works by allowing the player to create their own tales in the madness of the shootout. It’s not hard to see why such a following has congregated around the game in recent years, it’s impossible to ignore the call of the Gungeon.

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.

Subnautica: An Overview

Subnautica: An Overview

It’s pretty rare for a single game to grip me so much that I dedicate the bulk of my free time to it for weeks on end. As some of you may be aware, my tastes in gaming are somewhat eclectic – I have a tendency to prefer slower paced titles that put less emphasis on action and more on exploration, story, or creativity/sandboxing. About a month ago I was fortunate enough to find a game that has all three: the open-world survival game Subnautica.

The general premise of Subnautica is easy to pick up: in it, you play the role of an unnamed crew member stranded alone on an ocean planet after your starship suffers a catastrophic accident. At the outset your only shelter is your damaged life pod bobbing helplessly in the water, and your only supplies are a few measly food and water rations to tide you over until you’re able to find a more sustainable means of eating. From there you’re tasked with diving in to the depths to find materials, salvage the the wreckage of your doomed vessel, and find a way to escape.

When the game first released on Steam Early Access in 2014 it made a modest splash (pun intended). Gamers were intrigued by the unique concept and were drawn in by the beautiful art style and heavy emphasis on exploration. Unfortunately, like many Early Access titles, Subnautica had a lack of content and many gamers eventually moved on to other things. However, a small but dedicated fan base stuck by and watched as Subnautica’s creators (Unknown Worlds Entertainment) routinely updated the game with bug fixes, new features, and most importantly content. Fast forward to today: Subnautica is almost a complete game on the verge of announcing its official release (right now estimated for January 2018) and packed rich with features such as the ability to build custom bases and various submersible vehicles, a diverse array of alien sea life (including some truly terrifying “leviathan” class creatures), and a surprisingly complex story line to work through.

This is the state that I found Subnautica in: not the bare-bones “just another survival game” but a fully fleshed out rich environment that’s truly impressive in its scope. The game map is on par with other open world games such as Skyrim, taking several minutes to traverse corner-to-corner. However you have to remember that Subnautica is underwater, which means you also have several kilometers of DEPTH to cover and explore. This leads to a world that feels staggeringly huge, and as you go deeper and deeper to discover the planet’s mysteries things get more difficult and threatening. Many are tempted to just stay in the shallows and enjoy the plethora of content near the ocean’s surface but trust me, the depths of the game’s story ARE worth exploring despite the risk.

I regret that I don’t have the space to go in to all the great things about Subnautica, so I’ll simply say this: you should definitely try it, even if you’re one of the people who looked at it a few years ago and dismissed it. If you’re a fan of open world exploration at all it will immediately grab hold of you and pull you in to its depths, and you’ll love every minute of it. If you have the time, check out my old guide on the game!

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.

How To Make A Video Game Review

How To Make A Video Game Review

It must sound fun for many individuals to hear that a person can bring home a living out of making a video game review. What people don’t understand is that creating a game review is similarly as hard as any job out there. Regardless of whether you just plan to make a review for casual games or much browser games, it will in any case set aside some opportunity to make a quality review. There are sure regions that you just need to focus your energy on with the end goal to make a sensible review of the game. Here are steps on the most proficient method to make a video game review.

Research About The Game.

It is imperative to incorporate into your review what type of game you are reviewing. It’s additionally valuable to tell your readers when the game was discharged and on which platforms. Recount a little about the story or plot of the game, however, don’t ruin the peruser on imperative events.

Play the Game.

You need to get a few hands-on experiences of the game. You should focus on the accompanying regions:

Gameplay – In this criteria, you can say in regards to how fun the game is, the means by which difficult it is and what kind of adversaries you’d experience and even what a number of levels there are in the game. You can give a few hints and tricks on the best way to play the game. It’s additionally helpful to enlighten the peruser something regarding the one of a kind features of a game, for example, if the game backings daily and night system, joining items to make new items, online mode.

Graphics – Mention specifically how the game resembles. Is it 2D or 3D? There are different sorts of 2D games like platform, isometric, side looking over. The equivalent goes for 3D games. Focus on subtle elements, for example, the character appearances and movement, tell the peruser how you acknowledge or scorn them. Compliment on the visual effects, for example, the glow of flame or shadows in dungeons.

Music or Sound – Some people are simply fans of the game’s arranger from different games and that may very well intrigue your readers. Portray the type of music played all through the game like is it rock, western, ditty. Depict how sound effects help in playing the game or how it isn’t helping the player endure.

Controls – You can consolidate this with the gameplay classification however it won’t hurt to make an uncommon area on how the control system functions. You can begin with the standard equipment required to play the game like a mouse, joystick or DPad and remark on how the controls are set up naturally and if the controls are adjustable. In a few games like blaze games, you can incorporate sound and screen configuration under controls.

Replay Value – If you can make reference to if there are unlockable modes after beating the game then this would post a high enthusiasm for the peruser. For instance, on RPG games side missions are extremely average beside overcoming the last manager. An RPG that doesn’t have a side mission is poor in this class. Castlevania games like Symphony of the Night and Castlevania Order of Ecclesia have great replay values.

Score the Game – Based on the above criteria, it’s likewise helpful to score the game. This is on the grounds that a few readers don’t have the tolerance of perusing the whole review and simply searching for a type of the second opinion of whether the game is great or not. Scores are made only for this reason. You can utilize measurements, for example, a size of 1 to 5 or a size of 1 to 10 or even out and out words, for example, amazing, great or awful.

Finally, tell your general experience of the game. Do you have a fabulous time and would you prescribe to your readers to get it?

Is Overwatch Going Free-To-Play?

Is Overwatch Going Free-To-Play?

Is Overwatch Going Free-To-Play? Blizzard might be faced with some hard-hitting news: They may be forced to make Overwatch free-to-play. How could this be? Well, we already know that China has some pretty strict laws and regulations about the ability to purchase loot boxes. Since gambling is absolutely illegal in the nation, the Chinese officials have had to find a workaround with Blizzard so that Chinese citizens can still buy loot boxes. When you purchase a loot box in China, you are given more descriptive information about what’s inside of it, as well as the statistics of receiving a certain item, so that you are not forced to gamble. Even in virtual reality, gambling is illegal, it seems.

Could those same types of laws and regulations be coming to the United States? Well, they very well could, if the voice of the State of Hawaii’s Representative, Chris Lee, is heard loud enough. Representative Chris Lee is proposing two loot box bills to the U.S. House and Senate. In these bills, he proposes an end to the ability to legally purchase a game featuring loot boxes. Lee believes that this is an exploitative measure that costs gamers too heavily and takes away enjoyment of the game. Lee is quoted to have said, “I grew up playing video games my whole life. I’ve watched in firsthand the evolution of the gaming industry from one that creates new things to one that’s started to exploit [people], especially children, to maximize their own profits”.

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If the bill were to pass, that would mean that any purchasable game involving loot boxes – such as Overwatch, Call of Duty WW2, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 would be forced to go free-to-play, or else they’d have to get rid of their loot box system entirely. This is an unprecedented measure in the gaming industry. It’s always a scary (and highly fascinating) moment when the video game industry gets in conflict with a national government. And now, it’s the United States’ turn to face the fire.

This could be a potential blow to Blizzard’s profits, and it can even cause the popularity of Overwatch to dwindle as a whole. If one or both of the proposed bills were to pass, what could this mean for Blizzard? Is Blizzard prepared to make some major changes to Overwatch and the loot box system? What other creative ways can they offer loot box prizes to dedicated players without having to make the entire game free-to-play? This week will certainly be an interesting test of Overwatch’s popularity. During the Lunar New Year event, there will be a small free-to-play event in which players can experience all aspects of the game – even the special game modes during the event – without having to pay. Perhaps this is a way to subtly test what the environment would be like if Overwatch were a free-to-play game. What do you think?

Breaking: MechWarrior 5 Will Feature Co-Op Play!

Breaking: MechWarrior 5 Will Feature Co-Op Play!

It’s been about sixteen years since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries was released in the US. Ever since, fans of the robot-piloting sim have been sitting on their hands waiting for a true successor. In 2013 we got MechWarrior Online, but it wasn’t quite the same. Thankfully, the end is in sight: last year we learned that Piranha Games (the current owners of the franchise) is working on a MechWarrior 5, slated to be released some time in 2018. Last year they released a small gameplay trailer showing off some of the gorgeous new graphics of the updated game, but little else. Piranha’s been pretty tight-lipped since then, but after a year of waiting they’ve finally given us a little more: just today we received a new teaser along with a few details about the new game.

Out of those details, probably the most exciting thing to learn is that MW5 is going to feature (and apparently heavily emphasis) four-person co-op play. As some older gamers may be aware, in previous incarnations of MechWarrior all of your teammates were firmly under computer control. Now, with MW5, those AI allies will be replaced with your actual, human friends (no word on what will happen if you can’t muster 4 friends to play with – I’m just speculating but I assume AI control is still an option).

The other big news that was included in the announcement is that there will be support for mods via Steam Workshop, meaning that even after the base campaign is complete we’ll still be treated to a steady stream of new content thanks to the fan community.

The rest of the details announced are fairly sparse, but still pretty juicy. Supposedly the game is based around “running your own mercenary company” – it’s not exactly clear what that means or how involved it will be, but it’s definitely intriguing. For those of you wondering where the game fits in to the larger Battletech time line, it’s reportedly set around 3015 during the Clan invasion.

The trailer doesn’t disclose all that much either (it is just a teaser, after all). The video opens with a slow pan through a mech hangar (it appears to be the same hangar from last year’s trailer). As we get some gorgeous vanity shots of all the mechs standing in their respective bays, we listen to a voice recording apparently addressed to the player character from their parents. The recording seems to be an audio-will, complete with the classic “if you’re listening to this it means we’re dead” trope. All of this is meant to imply that your deceased parents are apparently handing their mercenary company to you, the player. After the voice over the trailer then shifts to quick cuts of gameplay, in all their bot-destroying glory. It doesn’t really explain much of anything, but after a year of silence it’s definitely welcome.

The Noob’s Guide to Subnautica

The Noob’s Guide to Subnautica

The Early Access title Subnautica is just on the verge of being released, expected to hit 1.0 some time early in 2018. Now is a great time to dive in to the underwater open-world survival sim, or to get back in to it if you were one of the gamers who took a peek at it a few years ago. The game can be a little daunting at the beginning, though, especially if you’re new to survival games in general. That’s why I’ve compiled a short guide to help you make the most of your undersea adventures. Be advised that while I’m trying my best not to ruin the plot, a few small spoilers may still slip in.

The guide is mainly going to focus on the start of the game: you’re stranded in the middle of a vast ocean, floating in a damaged life pod, with a vast array of strange and intimidating alien sea life swimming around you. You’ve managed to put out the fire that was raging inside your pod, but what do you do now?

The goal of the beginning of the game is to secure your survival by finding a sustainable source of food and water and constructing a more permanent shelter for yourself. Inside your lifepod is a small storage compartment with a tiny cache of goodies to help you get started: some fresh water, a few nutrient blocks, and some flares that can serve as a temporary light source. More importantly, hanging on your wall is a medkit fabricator: this device will spawn a fresh first aid kit for you once every game day (about 30 minutes or so). However, it won’t spawn a new kit if there’s still one sitting in the dispenser, so I recommend you check it regularly to help build up a backlog of medkits for emergency use.

These supplies only help you get started, though – in order to REALLY survive on this planet, you’re going to need to head out in to the water to gather materials. These materials can then be fed in to the fabricator hanging in your life pod in order to craft useful tools. A lot of raw minerals such as copper, quartz, and the like can be found by looking for small rocks called “outcroppings” on the ocean floor. Tapping these rocks will cause them to break open, revealing a mineral within. One of the core resources you’ll need is titanium – it’s necessary for crafting nearly every component in the game. Luckily, it happens to be one of the most abundant and easiest to find – you can get single pieces of titanium from rock outcroppings or retrieve “metal salvage”, which your fabricator can break down in to 4 titanium a pop. While you’re out there don’t forget to catch smaller fish such as the Peeper and the Bladderfish, which can be converted in to food and water, respectively.

Once you start collecting resources its important to use them wisely by crafting the most essential tools first. One of the first things you’re going to want to create is the survival knife. Not only is it one of the game’s only weapons, but it’s also essential for harvesting resources from certain plants and animals. Next you’re going to want to craft a scanner: this tool allows you scan plants and animals you come across to learn up on the game’s lore, but more importantly it lets you scan wrecked equipment scattered around the seabed, which unlocks fabricator blueprints for more complex (and more helpful!) tools. After the scanner you’re going to want the “repair tool” – as the name implies it repairs damaged equipment such as the radio on your lifepod (hint hint!). Lastly, you’re going to want to build the “Habitat Builder” – it’s essentially a handheld fabricator that allows you to craft the various rooms and connecting tubes of your very first underwater seabase.

Once you’ve gotten to the point that you can construct your own habitat your survival should be sustainable and you should be able to start exploring the world and pursuing the game’s story in earnest.

Breaking News: PUBG is Getting a New Map!

Breaking News: PUBG is Getting a New Map!

Surprise runaway hit PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battle Ground) has announced that it’s adding a new map in an upcoming update. The new map, called “Erangel”, is in many ways the complete opposite of the “Miramar” map that players have been familiar with since the game’s inception. Erangel features a sparse desert setting as opposed to Miramar’s more forrested environment, but there’s still plenty of towns dotting the map where players can find loot and secure strategic vantage points against their competitors. According to the announcement new weapons and vehicles will also be included in the update.

The Erangel map appears to be designed to force PUBG veterans to rethink their favorite strategies. Thanks to the desert setting most of the map is devoid of trees or any other cover that players may be used to, thus encouraging players to seek out one of the numerous towns (featuring structures such as casinos, railyards, and construction sites). The towns also tend to feature unique tactical advantages. For instance, the town of “Valle del Mar” sports a bridge which the developers say is “the only direct route between mainland and the island.”

As for new items, it appears we’ll be getting a new weapon and two new vehicles. The weapon in question is the “Win94” rifle, which appears to be modeled after a classic Winchester. The two new vehicles are a humble pickup truck and the “Aquarail”, which appears to be some kind of small watercraft that looks almost like a wood-paneled jetski. There’s no word yet on any detailed specifications for the new items, although there has been confirmation that the Win94 and the pickup truck will be exclusive to the Erangel map (on the flip side, it has also been confirmed the Aquarail will be available on both maps).

PUBG came out of nowhere in March 2017 when Brendan Greene (known by his online handle “PlayerUnkown”) created a mod for ARMA 2, turning it in to a “Battle Royale” game. This unique style of gameplay drops a large group of online players (in PUBG’s case, 100) on to a large map, where they then scavenge for weapons and supplies and try to take out their opponents. The goal of the game is to be the last person (or last team) alive. Every few minutes the game shrinks the playable area, forcing players to abandon hiding places and confront their opponents head on until a winner is determined.

The game’s popularity has absolutely exploded, thanks in no small part to the staggering amount of Twitch streams showcasing the game as audiences cheer their favorite streamers on. Because of this, it’s entirely likely that PUBG or something like it may very well become the next hot e-Sport, following in the tradition of games like Overwatch and League of Legends. The game has long since abandoned its “mod” status and has become a full-fledged game in its own right, despite still technically being in Early Access. Official release is currently planned on PC for some time late 2017, and console ports are expected soon thereafter.

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!

Game Overview – Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Game Overview – Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

As regular readers may know, I’m a big fan of narrative-focused games, sometimes pejoratively referred to as “walking simulators”. Examples of this genre would include games like “Firewatch” and “The Beginner’s Guide”, where the focus is more on being led through the story and less on challenging game mechanics. In fact, many of the games don’t even have traditional game elements like puzzles or over-the-top action. In many of them you just… walk, hence the name. I seem to have found a title that takes this concept and elevate it to a new level: “Where the Water Tastes Like Wine”.

More than anything I find this game intriguing simply because of how different it is. Set in the United States during the depression era, you play as a person who lost a card game with the devil and is now cursed to walk the country listening to people’s stories and spreading them across the land. As the stories spread they slowly get embellished and changed (just as folk lore tends to do in real life) – you could find yourself hearing a story you told someone ages ago only to discover that it’s been completely warped into something new.

The game’s art direction further strengthens this theme of American folk-lore. The visuals are a stunning blend of traditional “hand painted” 2D images bolstered by cel-shaded 3D graphics, which create the feeling that you’re walking through a painting from the 1930’s. The music, as you might imagine, is mostly in the style of that era – lots of blues and and folk singing. Perhaps most striking is the voice talent the studio has managed to snag: names like Melissa Hutchison (Clementine, “The Walking Dead”), Cissy Jones (Delilah, “Firewatch”), and Sting (Do you really need me to explain Sting?) all play characters in the game.

It’s not clear what the end goal of the game is, or if there even is an end goal. What’s more, unlike traditional walking sims “Where the Water Tastes Like Wine” doesn’t focus on a single overarching narrative; instead it invites you to explore the multiple branching stories that each individual character possesses. Also unlike most walking simulators, this game invites you to be an active participant instead of a casual observer – by choosing which stories to share and who to share them to, you’re able to shape how they grow and how they ultimately end up.

Ultimately, this is definitely a game to watch and I plan on trying it myself soon after it releases. I’m not quite sure how it will turn out, but either way I know I’ll have a new story to tell 🙂

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!

Sea of Thieves is On the Horizon

Sea of Thieves is On the Horizon

It’s been a couple years since I’ve heard anything about Rare, the famed studio responsible for bringing us such classics as Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong Country, and GoldenEye 007. I’m happy to report that they’re apparently still active, and have actually been working on a pretty exciting new project due to come out some time this year.

That project is the sailing simulator “Sea of Thieves”. There’s not too terribly much known about it right now, as it’s currently in a semi-closed alpha program and Rare is is keeping most details pretty close to the chest. What we do know, however, is pretty compelling: Sea of Thieves is claimed to be an open world collaborative multiplayer game set during the golden age of piracy, apparently in a bid to finish off everybody’s “Perfect Game Bingo” cards. Joking aside, the game allegedly takes you to an island-dotted oceanic world and places you on a pirate ship along with your teammates (who will either be your friends or be supplied via a matchmaking system). It then becomes your team’s job to band together as a proper crew to operate your ship and set off for exploration, adventure, and looting.

There seems to be a heavy (and welcome) emphasis on cooperative play. Just like a real world sailing vessel, the ships are complex with a lot of moving parts that need to be operated in conjunction with each other. One player will need to man the wheel while another trims the sails, and yet another raises the anchor, etc. Crews will need to be in constant communication with each other and work well together as a team, or else they’ll soon meet with disaster.

Not all of the action takes place on your ship, however. Early gameplay footage reveals that you do (as least occasionally) make port and go ashore for some land-faring adventures. What exactly these adventures will entail remains a mystery but there is footage of a pirate crew sitting in a tavern drinking rather impressive amounts of ale. To me this implies there might be some RPG-style trading or merchant mechanics in the game, but who knows? The studio has also gone on record saying that there will be treasure hunting, crafting, and other classic gameplay mechanics.

And yes, of course there’s going to be ship-to-ship combat (how could there not be?) Released footage shows a rather exciting fight between a player vessel and another ship (it wasn’t clear if this hostile ship was another human crew or if it was computer controlled). One thing I noticed during the exchange was a surprising lack of a hit bar or other artificial health indicator. Now, it’s entirely possible that Rare simply hasn’t gotten around to inserting those elements yet, but they have stated that they’re striving for realistic physics simulation. In my mind this opens up a really thrilling possibility (and it’s important to note that this is pure, wild speculation on my part): It’s entirely possible that in this game combat isn’t governed by artificial stats like armor or hit points. It’s possible that if you want to sink an enemy it will mean ACTUALLY GETTING TO SINK AN ENEMY. While that’s just my own personal guess later footage seems to hint I might be on to something: the clip shows the player’s ship listing hard to the side with water coming up over the bow, and GENUINE PANIC in the player’s voices as they frantically debate what to do.

Unfortunately that’s really all we know at this point. If you’re eager to take a peak you can try applying to the “Sea of Thieves Insider Program” (I’m trying to get in myself), which will reportedly grant you access to the studio’s alpha sessions. If you’re not one of those lucky few in the program then it looks like you’ll be left in the dark until much closer to release. Rare will probably (hopefully) release more gameplay footage in the coming months, so maybe soon we’ll know more details. In the meantime though I’m incredibly excited. I love ships, and it’s no secret that I love open world exploratory games. A “run your own ship with your friends” open world game like this is exactly the type of thing I’ve been dreaming of since MMO’s first started making big waves a couple decades ago. Part of me wants to temper my excitement and remember that what’s promised isn’t always what’s delivered (looking at you, No Man’s Sky), but with Rare at the helm it’s hard not to have confidence in the game’s success.

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.