Gaming on Low-Powered Hardware: A Primer

If you haven’t already seen our other article about latest gaming technology, here you go. Trust me, it’s a good read!

There are lots of potential players out there who want to delve in to the world of PC gaming, but are hesitant due to the expensive technical requirements that most modern computer games seem to have. While some bleeding edge AAA titles honestly do require the best of the best when it comes to PC hardware you’d be surprised at just how much gaming you can get away with on a machine that’s older or cheaper. In this article I’ll attempt to show you some ways to stretch the performance of more modest computers so you can still enjoy gaming with the rest of the community.

Before we get in to the practicalities, let me first start by saying you should set realistic expectations. If you’re hoping to play the latest Medal of Duty: Honor Call at the highest settings on a toaster then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. A lot of the recommendations I’m going to make here revolve around making compromises to various things so that you can still enjoy a pleasant and worthwhile gaming experience even though it won’t be absolutely perfect. If you’re the type of gamer who can’t appreciate a title without experiencing it with the highest resolution textures and insane framerates, then this article may not be for you.

So, without further ado, here are my suggestions:

The biggest performance saver I can think of is to simply drop your screen resolution. Many PC games today support the newest 4K monitors, but they’ll still be designed to look good on regular ‘ol HD. Even if you managed to snag a 4K, give serious consideration to dropping the game’s render resolution down to 1920×1080 or even less. As long as you maintain the same aspect ratio you’ll be surprised how little you notice the resolution drop after a few minutes.

Next, learn how to fiddle with a game’s advanced video settings. Many games try to give you a quick, user-friendly way to adjust the relative graphical quality they’ll run at, usually in the form of a “Good – Better – Best” slider or drop down menu. This is great for convenience, however if you want to trim the maximum performance out of your game you might want to think about hitting that “advanced” button instead and manually changing the various values that go in to the game’s visual quality. The specifics will of course be different for each individual game but it seems like pretty much all of them have one or two values that can have a profound impact on performance while having relatively little impact to what you see on screen.

Third, remember to take note of your computer’s overall state of operations. You have to keep in mind that a PC is a universal machine that’s more often than not handling many other things in the background while your game is playing out on your screen. Ease the burden on your machine by checking to see what background processes are running before you play and closing them down whenever possible. Not only will it help your in-game performance but it will also benefit your computer’s overall health.

If you game on a desktop PC then you get a rather unique advantage that consoles and most laptops don’t get to enjoy: you get to cheaply upgrade the individual components of your machine instead of being forced to purchase an entire new computer. This might be a little intimidating at first if you’re not technically-savvy, but if you watch a few Youtube tutorials you’ll quickly see that manually swapping out PC parts is a surprisingly simple process in most cases. What’s more, websites like PCPartPicker will make sure that the parts you buy are actually compatible with the rest of your rig. Usually you’ll see the biggest performance boost from upgrading your graphics card, however if you can’t spare that kind of cash even a cheap memory upgrade can often help tons. And if you DO game on a laptop, you aren’t necessarily left out in the cold – while you have less options than with a desktop, most laptops mid-range and up still at least allow you to upgrade your system memory and hard drive (tip: replacing your hard drive with a newer solid state drive [SSD] will have an insanely massive impact on your load times).

My final recommendation would be to simply remember that video games have been around for several decades now, and there’s countless great older titles out there that you may have never gotten around to playing. Even a game only a few years old may be able to run more than comfortably on your hardware and provide hundreds of hours of enjoyment. Even better – most of the older games are sold at a steep discount!

So there you have it – if you configure things right, throw a memory upgrade in your machine, and consider starting with the classics, you could easily dip your toe in to the incredibly diverse and infinitely expanding PC gaming community.

Recent Overwatch Updates!

The Overwatch developement team has been generally transparent about what is happening with the game and future updates on the game. There are a lot of things the team would like to do as upgrades for the future to boost their ratings, the performance of the game but that does not mean that they will all happen. It takes time to come up with the upgrades and to also implement all of them. Below are some of the updates the team have provided for thee public so as to let them in on their progress. It is worth to keep note that none of this are guaranteed even though the game director Jeff Kaaplan and the whole Overwatch team are open about it.

People want more with the introduction of the Overwatch server browser and so the team has confirmed that the savings setting is being worked on.

Another update is that the assault maps are being improved. The assault maps together with their more frequent draws are being worked on actively by the whole team.

There is a presumption that Lucioball returns probably as part of the Arcade and this is because it is one of the most popular brawls that the team has made.

There is a feature that Jeff the game director had confirmed but it was never implemented and this is because they will probably need more time or it was not completed on time and this feature is the Sound toggle hotkeys. It is thought that maybe it was harder to implement than people thought and so all that is left to do is wait and see the progress.

There is also another upgrade that was confirmed to be happening but is better to be termed as under development since it obviously requires more voice acting work and it is Genji and D.Va ult-block voice-lines.

More upgrades on the way include lines for reacting to and destroying shield generators placed by enemy Symmetras. The upgrade itself can be termed as Symmetra shield generator voice lines but this too will take time since it requires that all the voice actors are back in the office.

There have been complaints from lower-level players about more experienced players creating a ‘smurf’ account by intentionally losing games and then going from low levels to high levels and this is not liked by the lower-level players. So, the development team looks forward to eliminating this by creating harsher punishment for players that intentionally lose games.

The development team is also looking for a way to come up with an in game way to track the top 500 players and where they rank compared to other players. This is thought to be able to create more interest in the game and to boost competition between the different players involved.

Though not much information has been given about on bug-fixing, anti-hack and anti-cheat as an upgrade, all that the team has let out is that it is happening. this is understandable because if they get into details there are possible risks of their plans being thwarted.

Here are some of our other Overwatch articles and related sources if you are keen to read up more:

 

Space is Hard, You Guys: A Look at Kerbal Space Program

Kerbal Space Program is one of those games that, despite being out for several years now, I feel like it hasn’t really gotten the attention it deserves. While its goofy characters and cartoonish aesthetic might lead you to believe the game is simple, the truth is it offers one of the steepest learning curves of any sandbox game I’ve ever played. Today I want to give a general overview of KSP, to explain what it is, what makes it special, and why it’s built up such a dedicated fan base.

At its most basic level, the premise of Kerbal Space Program is simple. You’re placed on the planet Kerbin, populated by small green creatures known as Kerbals (naturally), and tasked with helping them run a NASA-style aerospace program. This includes everything from designing your own rockets and spacecraft to tracking celestial objects to eventually heading out and exploring the final frontier. Even though the current iteration of KSP does offer a decently thorough career mode it’s still at its heart a sandbox game – you’re given an assortment of parts and the tools to use them and beyond that you’re given the freedom to invent your own solutions to the game’s many challenges.

And make no mistake, the game is definitely challenging. Even though your Kerbal pals look like low-budget cartoon characters KSP takes a surprisingly realistic approach to celestial mechanics. Planets, moons, and your own spacecraft all follow the Newtonian laws of gravity, which means if you want to actually get anywhere you’re going to need to learn how actual orbital physics work and design a spacecraft that can go from pad to orbit under realistic constraints. This is one game where looking up Youtube tutorials isn’t only fair – it’s downright expected. Don’t be surprised if the first few (or first dozen!) rockets you build crash and burn without reaching their mark – this trial-and error approach is the cornerstone of how the game works.

It’s also why the game is so ridiculously satisfying. When you do finally reach low orbit for the first time, or execute your first in-space rendezvous, or land on a celestial body for the first time, you’re going to be filled with a terrific sense of pride and accomplishment. Hitting those milestones is HARD, and being able to meet that challenge simply tastes sweet. What’s more, those milestones get progressively harder at a very gratifying rate, so you’re always left with the sense of a well-won victory.

The scale of the game is also expansive. Thanks to the magic of procedural generation the game map is quite seriously an entire solar system, complete with 7 planets and 8(?) moons. All of these bodies are completely explorable – if you can build a hardy enough spacecraft and figure out the orbital mechanics to get you there. Much like with real-world space exploration, you have lots of different options for surveying these worlds – you can choose to build unmanned craft to explore cheaply and safely, or you can pick a handful of brave Kerbanauts to pilot a manned vessel to strange new worlds. You can opt to do basic flybys, establish a stable orbit, or even land on the surface to examine the world in fine detail. There’s a large collection of different science experiments you can perform at these places, garnering science points with which to research new spacecraft parts. Or you can forego all of that and simply scour the solar system searching for the plethora of Easter eggs the developers left behind.

Each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses, and you’re encouraged to experiment and figure out on your own what works best. The fan forums are chock full of amazing spacecraft designs, from gigantic orbiting capital ships to incredibly minimalist single-seat vessels.

When you do finally get tired of the base game, Kerbal Space Program also has a huge and very active modding community. These mods offer all sorts of things from graphical enhancements, to new spacecraft parts, to even whole new gameplay mechanics. In short, you’re never really going to run out of things to do with this game.

Kerbal Space Program has been a dear favorite of mine ever since the studio released the beta as a crowdfunding measure. It’s grown and expanded steadily since those early days in to an incredibly rich and challenging sandbox experience. Even if you choose to ignore the career mode there’s still so much to do – literally an entire star system to explore. If you’re a fan of spaceflight, sandboxes, exploration, or just love a good challenge, then you definitely need to give Kerbal Space Program a look.

Fallout 4 – ”Crawl Out Through the Fallout”

”Crawl Out Through the Fallout” is the best way to describe the concept of this beautiful role-playing game masterpiece. With a lot of surprises, fantastic storyline, marvelous graphic performances, Fallout 4 offers the unique experience of surviving in the post-apocalyptic period. Like all previous versions, the player confronts hordes of evil and mutated creatures, as well as humans and robots. Certainly, the best thing is the storyline which follows player’s created character who starts searching for his long lost son. As always, the developer surprises its fans with adding huge improvements, and one of them is building your own settlement with your own settlers! Although this version of the game is a bit demanding when it comes to your system performance, it can be played on low-quality machines, but then be prepared not to see all of its visual beauty.

The game settles in fictional future of the United States which faced atomic war, with all its inhabitants closed underground in shelters called Vaults. As expected, all living creatures who were not hidden had faced the horrors of atomic mutations. Most of the “lucky” creatures are really enraged beasts who just need a player’s bullet to set them free of their misery. But on the other side, there’s good in this savage world. Mutated creatures who refused to follow their natural instinct of surviving as well as robots who didn’t obey orders of their creators (in game called ”Institute”) sooner or later come in contact with a player, offering their help with various possibilities. The most interesting thing about the storyline is that game has three possible endings which depend on player’s choices and his behavior while playing.

When it comes to characters, first of all, it’s important to say that it is completely made by the player’s choice, whether it is about character’s skills, weapons that player uses (players can modify and make his own weapon), clothes to wear, or the way the player will build and lead his settlement, and if all of this is not enough, character can be accompanied with a lot of interesting creatures and people who can be used, for example, as a defending force.

Building and organization of the settlements in the game are also completely based on the player’s will. There is a various possibility such as fortification, organizing settlement defense, satisfying settlers needs (building stores and giving electricity) as well as assembling trade routes which increase the settlement’s prosperity.

The game’s developer has given his best to present us a picture of possible world’s ending, by creating a post-apocalyptic surrounding, with visual effects that hypnotize a player, wanting to explore every corner of that the barren wasteland. With the reddish atmosphere and previously mentioned visual spectacle, all you have left is a sound of Bing Crosby’s hits including other singers of the past as well, which will follow you on your merciless surviving adventure throughout the whole game.

Visually, Fallout 4 is a masterpiece. As we mentioned before, they recently even visually remastered the game. You can really tell the amount of effort and hours that went into making this game look the way it looks, and it all pays off! When you’re in this game, you can feel the story, the characters, and to a certain extent even believe that you are a part of this apocalyptic wasteland. Fighting for your life and principles.

At the end, as a result of the developers work, Fallout 4 was awarded the title of ”Game of the year” during last year’s DICE awards. But, with or without awards this is surely a must-play game, satisfying the imagination of everyone who decides to embark on this breathtaking adventure.

4 Easy Overwatch Tips

Overwatch is one of the most popular first person shooter games to date. Millions and millions of people are in are of its style and sophistication, as well as its ever changing nature. It can be a confusing game to play, with all of its twists and turns and amazing amounts of heroes and gameplay options. While we all try to keep up with the constant barrage of updates and changes, some of us are losing sight of the basics. Here are a few tips and tricks to refocus your eyes back on the prize.

TAKE A HINT FROM THE AUDIO

The point of the audio in Overwatch is to deliver information to the player. Remember that the sounds of your team members make in gameplay are not as prominent as those of your opponents. That means that when you hear something that is louder and more in the foreground, chances are it’s an enemy and not a teammate. Keep in mind also, that every character who walks on the ground has a different audio effect. Basically, every character sounds different. It is important to pay attention to this and not to dismiss it as silly. It is important to pay attention to the language that is being spoken as well. If you hear another language being spoken, chances are that is an enemy. So, keep your guard up and get ready.

FIRE AT WILL

All heroes in Overwatch are equipped with infinite ammunition, so you don’t have to waste your energy and time thinking about your ammo levels and trying to find more when you run out. Also, paying for ammo seems trite when it is such a focal point of the game. So, the next time you are trying to destroy a shield or take down a seemingly impenetrable enemy, just keep shooting. Shoot randomly and don’t even waste your time aiming sometimes. Your ultimate charge will build up more quickly that way than if you take your time and aim for just the right shot.

KEEP YOUR GUARD UP

All you need to do is to figure out what the timing is of each character’s shot and you can then figure out how much time you need to deflect. After you play for a little while, it will be fairly simple to learn how long you have before you need to raise up that shield and deflect. And, in terms of ultimate abilities, you can actually gain the upper hand just by knowing when to deflect. You can take advantage of an enemy’s ultimate just by timing, which can be super useful in a number of tight and dizzying situations.

DON’T FORGET TO MELEE

Even though this sounds silly and I am sure that most of you know it, don’t forget to use the melee attack. It is quick and dishes out plenty of sometimes unexpected damage to your opponent. It also can be more effective when you are very close to your enemy, rather than relying on and using your weapon as your only line of defense and attack. Basically, whenever you can, use the melee attack. It’s effective and unexpected and can make or break your gameplay in certain situations.

Those are just a few obvious but often overlooked tips and tricks in Overwatch. There are plenty more, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out this Overwatch tier list that was written by our friends at Boostards! It contains a bunch of useful information about your favourite heroes and also provides some insight into what the strongest picks in the current meta for Season 4 are. We’re sure that you will make full use of this information to gain the unfair advantage against your competitive opponents!

7 Video Games That Don’t Involve Violence

Video games tend to be focused around violence and gore- but if you look hard enough, there are some gems that cater to other genres. While they may be hard to find, they are worth the search. I have compiled a list of 7 worth mentioning, and have personally played a couple of them.

1. Minecraft

Minecraft is one of the most popular non-violent games on this list, and for good reason. It keeps you busy, gets creative juices flowing, and passes time. The game involves building houses and exploring. The number of things you can build in Minecraft is basically limitless if you get creative. There are even some players who have built gigantic pieces of art in the limitless world. God knows how long it actually took for them to build a sculpture of Ironman out of tiny pixel pieces.

2. Child of Light

This is one of the games that I have played and found myself really enjoying! Child of Light is based on the life of Aurora, a 19th century Austrian girl. Aurora gets transported to a fantastical land where she has to go on quests to save the moon, sun, and stars from the Dark Queen. There are some battles in this game, but they are battles between Aurora and monsters that are found within the land, so they aren’t overly bloody.

3. Braid

Braid is a 2008 puzzle game. It’s unique partly due to its art style which makes it appear as if it is a moving painting. In the game, players must journey through different lands to save the princess. Users are also able to manipulate time within the game.

4. Stacking

Stacking is a game the has heavy Russian influence. The main part of the game includes live Russian stacking dolls, in which the players inhabits in order to complete over 100 challenging levels. Each stacking doll has its own special ability that can help players through the more frustrating levels.

5. Catherine

For romance lovers, Catherine is a great game to invest in. Catherine follows a male character named Vincent, who must choose between his girlfriend Katherine, and a woman who is also named Catherine that he woke up with one morning. Players have to be careful which decisions they make because some choices can lead to Vincent’s death. The storyline of Catherine is a nice change of pace from the usual, and the puzzle gameplay is actually pretty good, considering how much of the game is focused around the story.

6. Contrast

Contrast is based in the 1920’s and switches between two different worlds- a 3D fantasy world, and a 2D shadowy world. The game is based off the performance art world of vaudeville and includes touches of film noir.

7. Papo & Yo

Papo & Yo is an adventure game. The game has two main characters: Quico, and Monster. Monster is a beast with razor-sharp teeth, and a strong liking for poisonous frogs and Quico is his human best friend. The game is about utilizing Monster’s strange moods to complete the game’s levels and find Quico.

The above is a list that contains only a few of the interesting games that don’t involve assassins, guns, or war. It just takes a bit of patience and fishing around to find them, but for someone who doesn’t like fighting games, finding a few gems in other genres will be worth the effort. Another plus of non-violent games, is that despite being less popular, they’re often created to be played on multiple different platforms including hand held gaming devices like the Nintendo DS.

I hope you enjoyed this list, and try out some of these titles yourself! Happy gaming!

Identity of Next Overwatch Hero Leaks

Update: New hero Orisa was released!

Despite being released May last year, Overwatch has quickly gained ground to become one of the most popular video games in the market today. However, this is unsurprising when you consider its’ highly developed characters called heroes, and the fact that new game content is released every month. We’ve taken a liking to this game, as you can tell by our coverage of Overwatch updates in our previous posts.

The initial heroes of the game were 21 playable characters split up into offense, defense, tank and support roles and included; Genji, Soldier: 76, Reaper, Tracer, McCree, Pharah, Baston, Mei, Widowmaker, Hanzo, Junkrat, Torbjörn, Winston, Roadhog, D.Va, Zarya, Reinhardt, Mercy, Lucio, Symmetra and Zenyatta. However, it is well-known that more playable heroes will be added, amidst speculation that some might also be removed. In light of this, July 2016 saw the addition of Ana Amari who plays a support role. Sombra, an offense hero, was added four months later.

New Overwatch Hero?

Currently, the best bet on a new hero is Efi Oladele, a child prodigy, and robotics genius. An 11-year old from Numbani, Efi was given a robotic kit by her parents at an early age which cultivated her interest in artificial intelligence. This interest has seen her on the receiving end of a number of prestigious awards, including the highly-coveted Adawe Foundation grant. In a faux interview, Efi boasts of her skills and prowess and reveals an obsession with creating robots and drones to assist her with house chores. As expected, there are minimal details on her role or other abilities, or when she will become playable. However, it is safe to assume that considering her age she might be kept out of the active battlefield.

Doomfist

Word on the grapevine was that Doomfist would be the latest addition, however, Kaplan, one of the series directors, seems to have ruled him out in one of the game’s forums. Despite his popularity in Overwatch lore, Doomfist remains a mystery. What we do know is that Doomfist is not a single individual, but rather a title passed down among a series of equally mysterious individuals. Mezten described this character as a ‘generational hero’, akin to the legendary Green Lantern and the Flash. Three individuals have taken up the title of Doomfist identifying as the Savior, the Scourge, and the Successor respectively.

Athena and Liao

There are rumors that other characters, namely Athena and Liao, might soon get playable hero upgrades. Athena, a computer system, is the game’s narrator. She is a friend and valuable asset to Winston in Overwatch lore, as she keeps track of his health and assists him with his creations. Athena plays a crucial role in the series of events which initiates the game although, she almost gets infected by a virus uploaded by the Reaper. Athena would be an effortless addition to the playable characters of the game and is seemingly perfect for a support role given the role she plays in guiding Overwatch agents.

Liao is one of the most mysterious characters of the game. All that is known about him is that he was one of the founding members of Overwatch together with the Reaper, Soldier:76 and others.

Now that you’ve been “leaked” the next Overwatch hero releases, get back to claiming your Skill Rating in competitive! Our friends at Boostards actually made a nifty complete guide detailing all the changes that Overwatch’s competitive game mode underwent during their Season 2 update. You can read more about that over here!

5 Gaming Technologies That Will Blow Your Mind!

Hologram experiences that once were only possible in movies like Star Wars are no longer a fantasy. But what else does the gaming future hold? Today, I wanna talk about these futuristic gaming tech that might be available for us in the near future!

1. CABLE ROBOT SIMULATOR

This technology provides the gaming world with one thing they need: MOTION. The cable robot system allows you to experience motion while having a virtual reality experience you’ve never had before.

The simulator can have one or two passengers and is held in the air by some cables. It then moves in many different directions with you in the center of it.

Add virtual reality glasses to this technology and you will be blown away! It can give you a realistic and breath-taking flight simulation, or put you in the middle of a car race.

2. HOLOLENS

This one is a support innovation created by Microsoft. With Hololens the possibilities are endless, everything from visiting the surface of Mars, seeing and modifying virtual objects around your house, to shooting aliens on your walls.

Hololens uses the technology of holograms in its most impactful way. This technology will not only change the gaming world but also the way we use computers.

3. GAMING SUITS

This one will give you an incredibly immersive experience. It is a suit that allows you to feel things on your body according to what’s happening in the game, allowing you to feel nearby explosions, bullets passing right through you or even hitting you. For only about $300 this can be all yours, as soon as they are tested and released for public use, of course.

4. THE VOID

What once used to be impossible now is a revolutionary virtual reality world. Introducing — The Void. A virtual reality complete system created for you to be fully immersed in the gaming world. It is set in a physical environment combined with virtual elements, rain, dragons, earthquakes, spaceship adventures and more.

You will be using a special suit with a sensor that allows you to physically feel virtual elements such as rain, explosions, or snows. How awesome is that?

5. KOR-FX

KOR-FX is basically a game vest that allows you to hear and sense what’s happening in the game as it were happening in your own room. It uses a 4d technology to give you an immersing gaming experience.It takes the audio coming from your game into an environmental and situational feedback that is synched to what’s happening on the screen.

“You can feel everything around you that’s happening, when you get shot you can feel the direction of where it’s coming from” says a Gaming Expo visitor.

New and excited experiences, gaming suits, hologram technologies, all of these new innovative gaming technologies promise to change the future of gaming and even how we use computers. Are you looking forward to the future? I know I sure am after reading about all this!

Fallout 4 Receives Graphics Overhaul

Wasteland wanderers will be getting a welcome surprise next week – Bethesda Studios has announced that their year old Fallout 4 will be receiving a fresh batch of high-definition textures for users playing the PC version. This graphics overhaul (arriving in the form of a free patch) will be very welcome in some circles – while many (including myself) consider the visuals of the post-apocalyptic RPG to be just as stunning as ever, there were several fans who lamented the fact that the quality didn’t hold a candle to other AAA’s released around the same time (Witcher III, for example). With the addition of this new texture pack (which clocks in at a whopping 58GB) that all may change.

It’s not all good news, however: In addition to the aforementioned storage requirements, you’ll want some relatively serious horsepower. Bethesda recommends PCs have at minimum an i7-5820K, 8GB of memory, and a GTX1080 (or equivalent). While this might exclude those of us with more budget conscious rigs, Bethesda assures us that we can try the updated textures and then easily disable them from the launcher if they don’t work out.

Console gamers are getting some love too – although they won’t be receiving the high resolution textures, players on the PS4 will be receiving a patch of their own around the same time that will buff the game’s native rendering resolution to 1440p as well as some other perks such as increased draw distance for in-game objects and enhanced godray effects.

Fallout 4 was released a little over a year ago on November 10, 2015. While receiving positive reviews from the general gaming community, some die-hard Fallout fans have often had misgivings over it. In addition to the graphics complaints mentioned above, players also criticized the comparatively linear story line and overly-streamlined dialog system, especially when compared to the franchise’s previous installment, Fallout: New Vegas. In some fan communities there have also been rumblings about allegedly sparse DLC (Nuka-World, released in August 2016, is confirmed to be the final expansion for the game). With the addition of the new high-resolution textures, Bethesda may be hoping to quell at least some of the fan’s complaints.

All in all, this looks like it will be a welcome refresh to the game. As a serial screenshooter, I’m looking forward to donning my favorite power armor (a souped up T-65e with Atom Cats paint, naturally) and revisiting some of the more photogenic areas of the Commonwealth.

I haven’t personally played this game, but I’ve watched some videos and walkthroughs of it, and I’d have to say it definitely looks like an enjoyable game. I actually finished watching the complete walkthrough of it, and I enjoyed myself just as much as if I were to play the game! Fallout4 is definitely a must-have for any RPG-FPS fan, if there’s even such a genre. If you’re unsure, you can watch some videos of the gameplay before committing to a purchase.

 

Overwatch Updates – 2017

Overwatch fans are in for a big surprise and perhaps the best treat so far in 2017 with the latest updates coming into effect to celebrate the year of the Rooster. Blizzard has been working on some items and special in game events marking the 20th birthday of Diablo. A selection of in game sprays representing various Diablo classes will be presented, also available will be a new player icon styled after the Lord of Terror.

There is also an on-going sale for Overwatch so if you haven’t already bought the game, now is a great chance for you to get it and start your journey to Overwatch addiction, very much like myself. You can check out prices and more info from Blizzard’s Playoverwatch site!

The openness of the overwatch team has been of great assistance in the gathering of all latest relevant news regarding updates and information on any key future happenings and events related to the game. As relayed by Blizzard’s Overwatch team, we are to expect one major update per month moving forward. However, we this is just an estimate and not a confirmation as most are used to with how Blizzard works. In this post I will list out the expected changes and updates that Blizzard has in store for Overwatch players, but please not that none of them are set in stone!

Expected Overwatch Updates in Early 2017

  • Assault map improvements
  • The return of Lucioball
    Possibility of the introduction of an 8v8 brawl alongside a 4v4 brawl. Lucioball would return perhaps in an arcade mode since it was such a popular game mode back when they launched it the first time.
  • Custom Game Tweaks. Confirmed custom changes will include:
    – Enabling all chat.
    – An option to turn off kicking for inactivity.
    – The options to change who is the moderator in lobby.
    – The ability to switch teams in lobby.
  • Symmetra shield generator voice lines
    Similar to her teleporter, Blizzard will be working on the introduction of lines for reacting to the creation and destruction of shield generators installed by enemy Symmetras.
  • Replay system
    Not expected to be released anytime soon, but Blizzard has given confirmation that a replay system is in the works by their internal team and we should expect to see this in 2017.
  • Map editor
    Similar to the replay system, this is also another one for the future.
  • New heroes
    Ana and Sombra are out but recent information update says heroes will not be released in batches we are yet which more heroes are up for contention for release. We are all looking forward in anticipation for the next heroes to be unvailed.
  • Anti-hack, Anti-cheat and bug fixing
    Little info or specifics were divulged regarding this matter but a lot of Blizzard’s resources are going into trying to find a viable and consistent solution for this. Hackers and cheaters are a huge problem in Overwatch and require a similar reaction before things start to get out of hand.
  • Social improvements
    Constantly being worked on and developed. Also in the works are improvements to the reporting functions in-game. As things are now, it is rather limited.

This limited time event is ending on the 13th of Feb, so if you haven’t already farmed all the legendary and epic skins, I definitely recommend that you take some time to grind them out! Some of them, especially the Mei one is super cute. If you don’t have the time to play the game yourself, you can get others to play it for you! Boostards, whom we have done an interview a couple of weeks back are offering Overwatch boosting services to those we are in need of help, or don’t have the time to play the game themselves.

Highly Anticipated Games of 2017

2017 may have only just begun but everyone is already on the edge of their seat in anticipation of some of these amazing titles that are on their way. Some games that we’ve been super excited about for years will finally be hitting the shelves while others are just being announced. Regardless, if you play Xbox One, Playstation4, Wii U, PC, or all of the above, you will want to know about some of the great upcoming titles. Here are just a few of some of the most anticipated games that will be released sometime this year.

Nioh / PS4 Exclusive

If you have ever envisioned being in 16th century Japan amidst fantastical demons all while being a samurai then you should look at PS4’s exclusive new title Nioh. This action RPG offers the opportunity to see Japan in a beautiful yet war-torn period and engages you with an intricate and rewarding combat system. There is even a unique co-op system built in for those samurais who may need a little help in fighting off some fierce demons. Nioh finally hits the stores on February the 7th.

Checkout this neat video featuring the gameplay of Nioh!

Halo Wars 2 / Xbox One Exclusive

Halo Wars 2 continues in the same vein as the previous title of the same name. It is a real-time strategy game designed for those mentalists who may want to play a more vivid game of chess. Build and lead powerful armies against other players or join up with allies to attack others. Whatever you prefer, this game provides the opportunity to be your own powerful general and to display those skills amongst others. HW2 will become available on February 21st.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild / Wii U / Switch

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes a slight depart from previous games and nearly does a 360 in returning to the game that started it all. This time Zelda provides an open world environment free for the gamer to explore at their leisure. There will be no intent geared storytelling in this title as the story and the pace of the story is solely up to the player. Considering their 30th anniversary was last year it made sense that the developers would want to come full circle with the legendary franchise. The newest installment in the Zelda series will be available on March 3rd.

For Honor / PS4 / Xbox One / PC

For Honor has been getting some buzz for some time for its MMORPG style. Although, it is an action game with intense melee combat it also provides a truly visceral online experience. Whether you are single player and experiencing the main story or have chosen to link up with a group of other players to fight in one army against another, you are promised a breathtaking realistic experience. Ironically, this intense war game will be available on February 14th.

The battle mechanics in For Honor are really unique and you just have to see it for yourself to understand how great of a game this will turn out to be. I’m really excited to play this game as you can tell!

Tekken 7 / PS4 / Xbox One / PC

Tekken 7 is setting new milestones for all fighting games with their new graphical might by their utilization of the Unreal Engine 4. All of the old fighters we know and love as well as new ones will be available with new moves and combos. Street Fighter’s Akuma is also available for all of the new epic battles. Tekken 7’s release date is not as close as the previous titles but is still worth waiting for on June 2nd.

These are just a few of the game titles everyone is looking forward to, so keep your eyes peeled or follow our blog to find out more about the big games that will be released this 2017!

CS:GO Remains Popular 5 Years After Release

The first person shooter genre is full of popular and engaging games. Game franchises such as Call of Duty or Halo have gone from being mere video games to pop culture icons, spawning their own lingo, merchandise, and memes. All while bringing tens of millions of dollars for their publishers. And as the big name games consistently steal the spotlight their remain a bevy of other compelling shooters out there that are perhaps equally deserving of notoriety.

Enter Counter Strike: Global Offensive

CS:GO can boast of accomplishments that few FPS games, or games of any genre, have attained. Released in 2012, CS:GO is still incredibly popular and features a rabid fan base of loyal players. Published by Valve Corporation, it is the fourth installment in the Counter Strike series that began 14 years ago.

CS:GO has stayed true to the gameplay it pioneered at its inception. In stark contrast to most multiplayer shooting games, it doesn’t take many bullets to kill or be killed. The hardcore element gives a simplicity to the game that makes it easy to jump into yet difficult to master. Game modes are fairly straight forward as well: you’re either a terrorist or a counter terrorist. Battles range across a variety of maps with objectives being anything from a standard deathmatch to a race to defuse or detonate an explosive device.

What keeps CS:GO relevant today despite being 5 years old is the community that has built up around it. The quick, exciting gameplay has a tendency to suck players in and keep you playing for long periods of time. It isn’t uncommon to encounter people who have dedicated over one thousand hours or more to the game.

This immense loyalty and popularity has led to CS:GO becoming a popular game in professional competitions. Many third party tournaments are held each year but Valve itself sponsors a ‘Majors’ event annually as well. Introduced in 2013, the first Major had a prize pool of $250,000. That amount has since been increased to an impressive $1 million in 2016. The competitions are as popular as most major sporting events, with live attendance in the tens of thousands while millions watch online via live stream.

CS:GO’s popularity shows no signs of diminishing. Dedicated updates and support by the developers continue to keep the game well balanced and fresh. A fifth installment of the series will no doubt be coming in the near future but for now, players can use services like CSGO Boosting which CSGO Academy provides, will continue to earn bragging rights from their friends as they blast digital foes into eternity.

Interview With a Elo Booster

It might please (or displease) you to know that the authors of PiracySim has managed to get in touch with some boosting companies to get permission to interview some of their boosters. For those who are unfamiliar, boosting services for games like League of Legends and Overwatch have taken off in the recent years. With the demand from gamers who want to achieve better rankings on the ladder, the boosting industry is thriving! This is may be a rather unpopular topic in the gaming community, but we think it’s an interesting topic that nobody has covered, and seeing things from their perspective can also be interesting. Today, we managed to get in touch with the boosters of LoL Academy and Overwatch boosting. These companies provide their boosting services for the games League of Legends and Overwatch, so without further ado, here’s the interview!


How many boosters do you estimate work for your sites?

LoL Academy: I’d estimate about 50-100 active boosters at any one given time. League of Legends is a pretty popular game, and more players mean more business.

Boostards: Probably less than 10. Overwatch is a relatively new game so…

 

How do you feel the community views “boosting”?

LoL Academy: I really don’t care what they think, as long as we’re selling and they’re buying. We’ll keep selling it. It doesn’t matter what people think. It’s just capitalism, nothing personal.

Boostards: Boosting is a very taboo topic in the gaming community for obvious reasons. Many people see it negatively, and rightly so, but we do this because there’s a demand for it. If nobody wanted to buy boosting, nobody would be selling it as a service. It’s like drugs and prostitution, consumers drive the market. I also think that there are 2 kinds of gamers, the kind with time and no money, and the kind with money but no time. If you play a game that you like, and there is something you cannot obtain in the game because of the lack of time, it would make sense to pay someone to do it for you.

 

Do you feel the boosting market will ever die?

LoL Academy: It probably will die at one point, we’re not sure when but nothing lasts forever.

Boostards: I don’t think it’s my place to say whether it will die or not. All that matters is I will keep having work to do while boosting is still going strong. Will it die? Maybe. Does it really matter to me? Nope. My life isn’t just about boosting, so I will move on to other things if boosting dies.

 

Do you agree with the statement “elo hell is real”?

LoL Academy: This is a really popular question that has sparked a lot of debate over the past years. I’d say it’s not true. After all, boosters don’t have problems when playing on customer accounts. It just goes to show huh? People create this idea of “elo hell” because they can’t climb out of whatever ranking bracket it is they are trying to get out of.

Boostards: I think I would agree with this to a certain extent. After all, Overwatch is a team game and even if you are slightly better than the average player in your rank, it would still be hard to carry if you have really bad luck. As a booster playing in the lower ranks, of course I wouldn’t have a problem, but the players who belong there, sure they would have trouble even if they are good and are supposed to go up in rank.

 

How much time do you spend on boosting every week?

LoL Academy: I’m not sure… Probably 8 hours a day? It’s pretty good money for a part-time job.

Boostards: I’m required to complete all orders on the site, so I don’t really track the amount of time I spend playing, I just play when there are boosting orders.

 

Thank you for your time and giving us a glace into your niche industry, any final words for our blog’s readers?

LoL Academy: I hope I get a pay raise for this. I don’t make nearly enough with boosting.

Boostards: Thank you for the interview. As for your readers, I hope you guys think of Boostards if you ever run into problems ranking up in Overwatch.

 


That’s it for the interview. We hope you enjoyed this. If you like the format and would like similar content, please feel free to leave a comment or send us an email if you have something similar to contribute. Thank you for reading, and you can check out LoL Academy here, and Boostards here.

A Look at Ark: Survival Evolved

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You awake on a beach, but uncertain of your surroundings or how you got there. You rise up and discover an implant on your arm. Confused and looking for anything resembling civilization, a pteranodon flies over your head. Shocked in awe, you follow it through the sky. As your eyes hit the horizon a Tyrannosaurus Rex comes into view in the distance. RUN! You can read more about this game on Steam.

Early Access Game

This is the world of Ark: Survival Evolved. Released as an early access game, Ark: Survival Evolved has quickly become one of the best early access Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games in the open world, survival genre. Since its release in June 2015, Studio Wildcard, Ark’s development team has expanded the game’s content by leaps and bounds. Its initial release was arguably on the level of many other finished games. No alpha game is without its bugs, but Studio Wildcard has addressed many issues over the course of the game’s development. The development team is one of the best as far as communicating with its base and resolving issues.

The Island

The game’s enormous map is a beautiful landscape. There are currently over 100 creatures, most are tameable, with more to come. Tame all them and build a dinosaur army! Have your most powerful pets mate to create the strongest spinosaurus.

You will become immersed in this mysterious world. Experience the island and its dangers on land, in the sky, and underwater. Caves with artifacts and loot will appeal to explorers in search of rare items. Summon and slay enormous beasts. Build a home, a fortress, or even a compound to protect you from the dangers of the wild animals, or other players.

PVP/PVE/RP

Ark is both a PVP and PVE survival game. For PVP players, there is an array of weapons and explosives to raid and kill to your heart’s content. You can test your dinosaur army, loot and go to war with others for control of the island. Or battle it out in the free, Multiplayer Online Survival Arena (MOSA) version, Ark: Survival of the Fittest. Here, Wildcard gives you a taste of the base game in a “Hunger Games” style, battle royale. 72 players begin with nothing, only one will survive. The map is a section of the base game and closes in on the players as time expires. There are monthly rankings and competitions for money! So hone your skills and be the last man standing!

There are many features that will cater to PVE players as well. Some include the ability to cook, paint, explore, farm, tame dinosaurs, and build structures, with many more features to come. Since its start, roleplay (RP) communities have gathered around this game and have contributed to the game’s development. TwitchRP, to name one, has a large and loyal following. They are providing their own content and storylines in this open world atmosphere. The possibilities are endless in RP, and Ark accommodates for that where it can.

The Future of ARK

If Wildcard’s current progress a reflection of their future, great things are coming as Ark: Survival Evolved continues to develop. Along with the free to play Ark: Survival of the Fittest, there is a free, second map, “The Center” and a free total conversion, “Primitive +” available for download. If that’s not enough content for you, there is already a newly released expansion pack, Ark: Scorched Earth. They don’t stop there! The developers have limited time, special events during holidays to spice things up. This type of content for an early access game is above and beyond all others. This is definitely an alpha game that’s here to stay until its completion. With the constant release of content, it feels fresh every time you mount your dinosaur to roam the island.

Picking Your Game Console

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Picking the appropriate video game is tougher than it is supposed to be. However, it isn’t a difficult task because Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony are the only game players to pick from. So far, there are captivating reasons to pick out a video game that is the best in 2016. You may be asking yourself, what are game consoles? Which video game is appropriate for me? How will I tell which is appropriate for me? And what singles out each one? All answers depend on your decision, though every console comes with advantages and disadvantages. In this article, you’ll find some help with picking something suitable for yourself.

Exclusive Games

Many available games are cross-platform, indicating that they are obtainable for various consoles. Every system comes with exclusives, though there are at all times many multi-platform games than exclusives. When a video game emerge for several consoles, it’s normally only on the newest PlayStation and Xbox since those two systems come with similar features. Nintendo’s game consoles have pleasurable and exclusive features, but they are not very effective. This makes it difficult for game developers to design similar game versions. When choosing the games that you, your friends and family want to play, ensure the console you obtain supports many exclusive games.

Network Gaming

When you are playing a game, go for video game consoles that let you stream, upload or download a video snippet of most of your modern video games to the cloud. This is simply a great one-touch experience that makes multiplayer gaming full of fun and enjoyment. If you desire to play with family and friends, then I would recommend you to choose the PS4. Even though this may perhaps change in the coming years, currently online multiplayer usually works on the same platform only; if you choose to play with your friends and family, you will definitely have to buy a gaming console that is the same as theirs.

Multiplayer Gaming

All the modern game consoles support online multiplayer nowadays, though, you cannot play with a friend with a console that is different from yours, meaning that you are limited to play video games with people owning the same game console as yours. Moreover, there is another kind of multiplayer gaming known as local multiplayer, it used to be very popular but has declined nowadays. Most recent video games don’t support it, because a lot of processing power is required to display a game twice using one screen.

Budget

The modern consoles come with high quality gaming and the best graphics, but you are required to pay extra cash. If you don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket, companies like Sony and Microsoft still offer their last-generation game consoles. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are each considerably cheaper than the modern ones especially if you purchase the used consoles. One of the great advantages of purchasing an old system is not about its price; it’s all about the game features. If your pocket doesn’t sound well, there’s also a cheaper option known as micro consoles. Many people play video games of one type or another using their phones, just for enjoyment purposes. Some, then again, love the exclusive take offered by the Google Play Store and desire to play the same game type in a larger screen. Micro consoles enables you play Android video games on larger screen.

Overwatch Heroes Retired?

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Overwatch has become very popular among many online gamers. In fact, many players have gotten more experience with certain characters. All players have their own favorites in terms of the different playstyles and game mechanics these characters have. This game is incredibly varied and the assortment of great characters makes it a noteworthy game for all to look forward to.

However, there is a real potential for many Overwatch characters to become retired in the future. That is, some of these characters will be removed from the game.

This could be concerning to a variety of players, what with there being no telling just who might be removed. It is essentially going to prompt existing players to try and find some new characters to work with in the future. in addition, there are plenty of candidates that could be removed although there are a few that, according to Blizzard, are essentially safe and will not be at risk of being lost in some manner.

Blizzard made this announcement through Jeff Kaplan, the company’s game director. Kaplan states that there is a potential for the roster of players to need to be balanced. This could result in some characters being changed or modified in one way or another. This would certainly be an issue for many players who have become experts with any of these characters that might be removed from the game in general.

This is practically designed to ensure that there is a balance between all the characters. That is, one character is not necessarily going to dominate the entire competitive scene after all aspects are considered carefully. This could actually be great for Overwatch players as it ensures that there is a better sense of diversity and game balance among the many players that are in the game.

It should be noted that Kaplan also mentioned that no game heroes are going to be retired. This is important as many of these heroes make up a good bulk of the game’s action and are critical to how the game is run. Changes and modifications may take place, but the current heroes are here and are good to stay.

Of course, there will certainly be plenty of new characters and maps and other features to be added into the game as time goes along. These new features should make it easier for the game to be balanced out. In fact, it could make it to where no characters are going to be removed over time. This is an interesting aspect of the game that Blizzard is clearly trying to work with.

The game will also require plenty of teamwork over time. This includes work within a variety of levels that will entail trying to control different items and with getting access to a variety of spaces. This is just one key part of what makes Overwatch such an appealing game for all players to look forward to.

Still, people should be aware of what is happening with Overwatch in terms of how it is being developed. Despite the “confirmation” from Kaplan, much remains to be seen about the future of the current roster of Overwatch heroes.

Blizzard’s Genius Idea: The Overwatch League

As most of you would have probably noticed over the past week. Game developer, Blizzard Games, has come up with a brand new competitive eSport League called the Overwatch League. If you’re following the eSport scene, you would have also noticed how similar the format this league has with League of Legend’s LCS, LoL Championship League. This is a great move by Blizzard in an attempt to create more hype and exposure to their relatively new game, Overwatch.

Following in Riot’s Footsteps

Riot Games has been wildly successfully in running their flagship title, League of Legends. They manage their Championship Series globally and it brings a huge amount of viewership and awareness online from platforms like Twitch.tv and Hitbox. Mostly streaming platforms, and of course from players who are hoping to enter the Championship Series. This is really good for the eSport sub-industry which includes services like player management, and League of Legends coaching and boosting.

The championship series in itself runs in multiple regions and countries, and spans over months of rounds and matches. The winners of each individual League will then represent their respective regions and compete in the prestigious League of Legends World Championship, sporting a prize pool of more than USD $2,000,000. This is a huge event that takes place every single year. 2 teams from every region compete against each other in the round robin format. Leading up to the grand finals, where one team bags the first prize of usually more than USD $1,000,000.

It’s not a surprise to see that Blizzard is trying to do the same thing, or at least something very similar to what Riot Games are doing.

The Overwatch League

As shown on the official Overwatch League site, we can see there are a number of different phases. First the pre-season where they hand pick skilled and talented players from the pool in the ranked ladder. eSport organizations will then have their pick on all of these players, have time to sign them into their teams. Then we move to the “Inaugural Season” where league action is streamed live every week, showcasing the best teams playing against each other. Moving on from this, we have the World Championship Run, where the top teams compete against each other for the Championship title and chance to bring pride to their respective regions. The final phase of this is the “League expansion”, where Blizzard doesn’t really elaborate on. I’m sure we will find out more about this in the future, but now things are still rather vague.

Check out the promotion video they did for the Overwatch League –

Not a lot of information in it, it probably qualifies as a “hype video” more than anything else, but it’s really interesting to see the steps that Blizzard is taking in order to make their game a more competitive and catered to both the casual and competitive player.

Where does Blizzard go from here?

As the Overwatch League is still very new. The results of this little “experiment” are unsure. Will it bring more players to the game? Probably. Will it make a big difference? We’re not sure. Even looking back to how things were during the Overwatch World Cup, which we did an article on and you can read it here. Things still look very uncertain, even though we can tell that the direction Blizzard seems to be going in is positive.

What we can be sure of is that players wanting to compete in the League will drive many new services, and organizations looking to cash in on this new and exciting area of eSports. There are a number of things Blizzard can do better to attract more players and make this a better move for them overall.

For example, giving players base salaries and more attractive prize pools in the League, or similar to what Riot does, link everything and focus on the main yearly Championship event. Which increases the prestige and makes the League all the more harder to ignore for businesses, sponsors and players alike.

 

The Overwatch World Cup

Overwatch has quickly become one of the world’s hottest multiplayer video games. The strong teamwork aspect of the game and the variety of maps and playable characters has made it to where there are many ways for players to win big in this game.

In fact, it has especially made its way in the world of electronic sports. The Overwatch World Cup is one particular event that shows that this game has truly arrived.

The World Cup features teams from fifty different countries from all corners of the world. The players were voted upon by fans of the game with the team captains of each country choosing two additional players each.

Many of the players who have been chosen are among the world’s top competitors in the world of Overwatch. These include players who have racked plenty of experience with many individual fighters in the game and know all of its ins and outs. They also know many of the strategies associated with playing the game to where they can get top ranks.

The Overwatch community was especially instrumental to figuring out the people who will compete in the tournament. More than three million votes were tallied to determine who the competitors in this event will be. This was all to ensure that the playing field features not only the top players in the world but also a few of the more popular favorites all around.

Some of the people who are playing in the Overwatch World Cup were instead voted for based on their general popularity. In particular, a prominent YouTube star in Brazil will be the captain for that country’s team. This is in spite of that player not having any tournament experience and only having a mediocre rank on the game.

A single-elimination qualifier will be used in each playing region. This will entail sixteen teams that will qualify for the main event. This event will take place at the BlizzCon in Anaheim. Six teams will also automatically qualify based on their performances in the tournament.

Specifically, there will be six teams from the European region, six from the Asia-Pacific region and four from the Americas. This will provide the tournament with an extensive variety of great players from many parts of the world, thus resulting in a thrilling and entertaining event for all to watch.

The event will bring out players from many parts of the world that have been especially popular in terms of their many Overwatch players. These include players from countries like the United States, Sweden, South Korea, China, Germany and Canada to name a few. The competition will certainly be thrilling as it brings out players from so many places.

The Overwatch World Cup is a big evolution in this popular online game. The competition will bring out the best players in the world for a unique experience that will determine which country has the best heroes in the world! This will especially show the world how big and exciting of a game Overwatch truly is.

The World Cup is currently on-going and we can expect to see the winners (and losers), by the end of the coming week. All the best to all participating teams and countries, we can’t watch to watch the grand final matches!

Ps. We’re still waiting for Sombra…