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Batman V Superman: Presenting Unpredictable Savagery and Legacy

Every comic book movie that comes out is going to be under a lot of scrutiny by all of the avid readers of said comics or fans of the heroes. The newest movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was one of which that suffered horrible reviews by the critics at 29% on rotten tomatoes, yet was claimed by most fans to be a work of pure artistry at 7.5/10 on IMDB.
As for the actors themselves and how they fill the roles of the superhero or villain in general, I was initially not in favor of Ben Affleck for Batman as he has not played the somber decisive detective type in a movie before. I was immediately taken aback by how well he seemed to fit the role. He did transform it from “cold and calculating/hide in the shadows and wait” to a more impulsive “do it now” Batman, however, both types are shown in the comics as well. For Superman, I was noticeably disappointed in the choice for Henry Cavill only for the fact that in my opinion he has a weak chin and his voice was not confident enough. CGI can fix anything though. He is a good actor though and may prove to be a good choice yet. Gal Gadot was an amazing choice for Wonder Women, although I do not know why she showed up in this movie at all. Jeremy Irons as Alfred was very weak in my opinion. I understand they were trying to break the mold from the traditional Alfred in favor of a more hands-on Alfred in the assistance of Batman’s actual gadgetry. I was fine with this aspect. I was not find with believing that Bruce Wayne was in anyway raised by this man or was he in service to the wayne family since he was a child. Alfred’s character will play little to no role, however, in the Justice League so this can be overlooked fairly easily. Lois Lane was brought back from Superman where I had no problem with her there or here. For the only humanoid villain in this movie, Lex Luthor, Zack Snyder chose to go with Jesse Eisenburg in favor of one of the old portrayals of Lex as a sort of jokester as well as a genius. I have always been in favor of the alter-ego where he was more brash and preferred to take a small hand in whatever dealings that he set up as opposed to simply leaving it up to Henchmen. I hope they get rid of Jesse in the next screen time of Lex and replace him with a buffer villain like Vin Diesel (fingers crossed) and that they break out the kryptonian power suit with the League of Doom.

I felt that there was too much story that was tried to be packed into one movie as well as several different story arcs that I would have taken as opposed to the ones that they chose to go with. I still would rate the movie an 8/10 “go see in theaters”. After all, any superhero movie produced is going to have a lot of scrutiny, and will never fully live up to our expectations. It is up to the directors of said movies to produce a work of art that the general populace appreciates and will go see.

Black Desert: At First Glance

Roughly a week and a half ago, one of the largest played MMO’s in Korea came to North America and Europe. The game was so desired here that people were actually buying Korean’s social security numbers in order to register an account to play since it was not allowed to play over there unless you were from Korea. This game, called Black Desert, has had my attention for the past 2 weeks roughly and I am loving it as well.

The graphics on this game are truly amazing. If you decide to purchase this game, do yourself a favor and turn your graphics as high as your processor will allow you to. One of the best decisions they made was to make the game beautiful and feel almost real through the quality of the picture you see. Not only is the game visually satisfying, but it also has amazing sound reproduction in certain areas. Albeit, in some areas, the sounds get a little annoying. However, on the whole, the graphics and sound quality are a 4 out of 5. Large towns like Calpheon are hard to render for some as it is the most popular city for everyone above level 30 in North America until Mediah and Valencia are released. This means that the lag in those cities is hard for some computers to handle and you might want to adjust accordingly.

For game play, which is the most important, it has adopted a unique strategy on class roles. There is not a designated healer at all in Black Desert and they have not announced a plan to make or add one. Healing is taken care of by all classes on their own. You heal a set amount of your HP when you use MP or stamina abilities, and you recover a set amount of MP when using basic attacks. I personally use a Tamer, or Beast master, which uses a combination of MP and stamina for attacks very frequently. The skill cap isn’t extremely high for Tamer if you are able to press the buttons on the keyboard or controller in the right order. Tamer has an extremely fast regeneration of MP and health as her attacks all come at an extremely fast rate of time. It seems the regeneration is based on the amount of hits that you land which would make sense as opposed to the damage you are doing. Game play, I give a 4 out of 5.

There are eight playable classes in Black Desert with the promise of adding more in the future. Without a healer, there are still roles such as DPS, tank, and crowd-control, yet everything is a little different in Black Desert. The usual damage outputs of Black Desert seem to be the Sorceress, Ranger, Blader, and Tamer. The tanks literally are just Giants. The crowd-control supports are the wizard and the witch. The off-tank support is the Valkyrie. These may not be the main way to play these roles and I still consider myself new to the game having only played for almost 2 weeks. I am going to have to give classes a 3 out of 5 only for the fact that there are not enough as of right now.

As with any game, there are downsides to it. The game seems to fall in the same pitfall that most MMOs do being that the end of the game is basically all grinding for the same gear that everyone else is wearing. Speaking of gear, almost every class at the end of the game uses the same gear, save the obvious differences in weapons and even those have the same name on them. The lack of variety appalls me. You would think that with this much effort put into the game, there would be more variety in armor and weapons. It makes the build choices very limited as well which puts an overall hamper onto the experience. I separated this from game play for the sole reason that the rest of the game is the actual game play is awesome and should not be brought down by a score of 2 out of 5 for lack of variety.

On the whole I give an overall satisfaction rating of 3.5 out of 5. I will admit that the hype is definitely there for the game with the potential to increase my interest as time goes on. This is definitely a game worth picking up for the 30$ that it costs as this is only a one-time payment for life. There is a cash shop in game for those of you who want to spend a little more on the game for some small benefits in game such as pets that pick up your items and increased durability on weapons and the sort.

DarkScape: Death in Lumbridge

DarkScape is Jagex’s new spinoff of RuneScape© which came out on September 16 is already racking up its death counters. On the first day of release everyone started at level 3, viewed their surroundings, and then started and overall murder brawl of their neighbors which lasted for several hours until everyone got out of their systems that they could actually kill in Lumbridge.

There are several key differences between RuneScape© and DarkScape. First, is that several of the key farmable resources for money, such as yew trees, have been moved to “high risk” areas. This was to prevent players from inflating the economy too much in the first week of the game. Another key feature is the addition of actual are varying levels of risk. The areas of risk vary with the lowest risk area being the free to play area in regular RuneScape©. Risk areas function much like the Wilderness risk areas in that going to a higher risk area increases the level at which other players can attack you and vice versa. The wilderness is the highest risk area and has a drastically reduced vision and no mini-map available. Good old fashioned tracking skills are needed for this one. Another difference is the fact that all of the quests and land are available to anyone playing the game. While there is membership, it is only in the game to allow faster leveling in skills. Additionally, being a member in RuneScape© automatically gives membership in DarkScape. The Grand Exchange was changed completely in the sense that there is now a Grand Exchange in almost every major city. This is to prevent items being put into banks and sold in high risk areas to the low risk areas with ease. For all you runners out there, running items between risk areas will be the new way to make money with high risk-high reward. Obviously, with different exchanges there is different banks in the risk areas. Different tabs are available for different areas to store items in. No items may be transferred within the bank to another tab’s risk level. All teleportation has been disabled unless the user is completely naked.

Many other differences might exist or not exist which you and I will both have to explore for ourselves. Join me this week as I dive into the harsh and cruel world now known as DarkScape.

Feudums: The Future of Free Gaming

When game designer Matyas Suranyi was asked to give his ‘two cents’ about the current state of gaming, he did more than talk. Suranyi called up an old friend and together started their own indie game company, 2 Pence Studios, and began work on a game – Feudums – which promises to be his career opus.

Suranyi went into the project with a vision of a completely free game to both play and win. He had first-hand experiences with other games on the market where you get close to the finish line only to find you had to shell out money to win.

“I’ve played a lot of time- and money-intensive games in the past, but we’re putting a lot of effort to keep Feudums from taking this route. Long story short, there are no units or in-game options that can be bought for money. This game will offer the same challenge for every player,” he said.

Feudums is a FTP, social, casual MMO strategy game which can be played on a variety of platforms including Macs, PCs and certain tablets including iPads. It will have settings which will allow single or multi-players options as well as potential different end-game options.
“This game would never be made by one of the large game companies. Only an indie would even think of making something like this work,” he said.

Instead 2 Pence will make its money on in-game ads, subscriptions, hosting private worlds, and some cosmetic customization, such as more options when designing a personal coat of arms.

“We came into this project with two rules,” Suranyi said. “First, there are simply no game objects defined by the design that could be turned off for free gamers or offered for money. That means that you won’t find units, improvements or balance-breaking features that cost real money. In every game world, all players will have access to the same units, improvements and options. Money can’t make you a winner; strategy can. Even in the end-game, a free gamer won’t have any disadvantages nor will he be buried in constant micromanagement. He’ll have the same features to keep things clean as everyone else.”

“Second, all games have well-defined winning conditions right at the start. The game will always end in ‘X’ turns, or sooner, if one of the various winning conditions are met. Winning conditions will be similar to what a typical single player strategy game offers, so there will be multiple ways to win a world – battling your way over everyone to be the undisputed king is just one of the options. Also, there are accomplishments that will give you persistent rewards – so you can slowly develop your dynasty through the game. Both the winning conditions and game length are clear before a game starts.”

Feudums promises to be an active social environment for players seeking it. Gamers can invite their friends and set them up as their vassals giving new players immediate protection for their fledging fiefdom.

According to Suranyi, “Becoming a vassal is not a disgrace but an opportunity. Your allegiance to your liege consolidates your position and offers protection at the cost of some authority and freedom. But it’s a bargain price, if you find the right group of players to join.”

“A good liege,” he continued, “knows there isn’t a stable realm without loyal vassals and there won’t be any loyal vassals without mutual respect and aid. Most lieges will tend to offer a win-win situation so they don’t have to watch their back all the time.”

Even if you don’t have friends to invite you into a game, it will be easy to become a vassal. In game, you can offer an oath of fealty to someone in your vicinity – or to any crowned King, regardless of physical distance.

“I think we’ll see new or casual players offer oaths to more advanced players, for both protection and tutoring,” Suranyi noted. “Having vassals comes with a lot of benefits for a developed dynasty, so no doubt there we’ll see experienced players offer counselling and protection for a player’s loyalty.”

Just as it was in medieval times, there is a price for a liege’s protection. When you sign up as a vassal, you could lose some control over part of your land, depending on your liege’s whims. In addition, your liege will collect part of your regular income as a tax and you would be expected to help out in his military campaigns.

Since a large vassal base can help a player achieve victory, it’s not surprising Suranyi is trying to tie the game into various social and game networks.

“Most players will probably quick-start a game by accepting a knight service request from an active player, probably but not necessarily, a real-life friend,” Suranyi explained. “Such offers can be sent over social and gaming networks or via email. The request will spell out the terms for the player joining in, such as the lands ceded to the new player to establish a base of regular income.”

The flow of new players into the game will not unbalance the game, even if they join late in the game, because their lands come from existing claimed land. In the same way, game play will not be affected if players drop out. Those lands would just revert back to the player’s liege.

“New players appear on inhabited land, on the same side. No balance issues. It also means there won’t be servers which start with 40-thousand players and ends with 2000 with an average distance of 100-150 hexes between them like a lot of games do,” he said. “I believe our system will make it easier to maintain a constant flow of players during the whole game session, making late game more interesting and less repetitive.”

“We developed the game system to be a working ecosystem. You won’t ever grow to the point that it feels like your whole life is micromanaging every village and town unless you want that. The game rewards delegation through the vassal system. For example, you get lands but then lease them to smaller players as vassals. They tend those lands and give you part of the income and their armies. Under certain conditions, you can take the lands back, or the vassal can revolt, so it’s also about a healthy relationship.”

The whole structure is a pyramid with the liege at the top point and various vassals under him or her who each have their own vassals. However, just because you might be on the lower end of the medieval totem pole, doesn’t mean you don’t have options.

“The game supports different levels of game involvement. You can decide to remain unnoticed, sit back, and use your area’s resources to build and farm or you can branch out and invite others to join you as your vassal and grow,” Suranyi said. “There are different goals and challenges depending on how you play. The in-game economy and the vassal system guarantees that players playing on any scale are equally important both for us and for the community. Casual and hardcore gamers will live in symbiosis in Feudums.”

Of course, at any point or after binge watching too many episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, you can decide you want to break free of your liege to strike out on your own or even knife him in the back.

“You can do that,” Suranyi explained, “but there are consequences if your reasons aren’t valid. If you can persuade enough vassals to abandon their liege and join you, it could cause a civil war.”

“And it works both ways. You have to remember that as a liege lord, you retain de jure authority over all territories of your vassals. You could reclaim them if you want although there are penalties if you don’t have a reason. In addition, you have the rights to reject a vassal of your vassal if you don’t want a particular player to join your faction. This kind of direct authority makes the relationship complex, intimate and challenging.”

Turns in Feudums are tick based but what each tick means may be different in each world.

“Since this is a strategy game, we didn’t want to make it a click or timing contest and wanted to give players time to think about their next move,” Suranyi said. “For MMO mode, most ticks will be somewhere between 5 and 30 minutes per tick, but that could be easily tuned up or down based on the beta testing experience.”

“For single and multiplayer, it can be whatever the game owner chooses. We know for sure that there will be speed runs, where 1 tick equals 1 second, making it practically real-time. But that will be more of an exception than the general case.”

Players decide their moves between ticks and then all moves are finalized at the same time. Among the many options players have are moving units, fighting, and building or terrain improvements, working on diplomatic skills, changing tax rates or the focus of an area’s industry. You can also stack orders whenever you want.

Once the tick concludes, the game advances to the execution phase – which lasts only a couple seconds. The game server queues up all orders which are executed simultaneously in the server-queued order. After the plans are executed, all players are sent results.

“This will not be a boring text-only log,’ Suranyi explained, “but an animated recap which has all the movement and other changes recorded. You’ll be able to watch it over and over if you want. If you missed multiple turns, your recap will contain all the relevant changes to you since you were last online, so you will have everything you need to plan your next move.”

Armies will have their own initiative ability and set movement speeds and will move and fight accordingly.

“Each unit will have a certain level of autonomy, as you can give them basic orders, stack them, and off they go,” Suranyi said. “We even set up some default tactics for lazy gamers, such as whether to evade or pursue hostiles in sight. It’s like Civ or Endless Legend in that units have an area of control. If a hostile gets into yours, you’ll have a chance to react.”

“If two or more hostile armies meet, there will be a battle. Battles take several ticks, so they aren’t calculated in an instant. It’s important as this allows both you and your enemy to call for help and allies can join in.” Each tick, damage is calculated for the battle and you see an estimation of the battle’s length.

“I think this is where our war aspect is better than it is in a Tribal Wars-like game. You have battles that lasts several ticks, and you have marching plans that are programmed routes and lists of orders for units. These together, and the fact that you can’t have an unrealistic big army – because levies aren’t standing armies – means you’ll need your vassals for bigger campaigns. This makes war a highly cooperative and competitive event and it, again, rewards careful planning.”

Suranyi has built in a great element to aid player’s war planning.

“So you can, say, plan your units’ moves on the map, set some rally points along the marching route, and add targets. Then you share your plan. Any allied forces that are joining on a rally point will automatically follow the same plan, even if it’s changed over the course of the military campaign. So it’s an easy yet effective way to lend your armies to your ally or liege, and also a great way to collaborate and plan several waves in advance.” He further explained, “You could plan, for example, that troops should gather on a rally point for a certain amount of ticks, or until they’ll raise an army that has more than a pre-determined amount, before all proceeding together.”

The diplomacy aspect in the game has its roots in some of the classics, Suranyi admits. “A lot of the diplomacy system is related to hardcore single-player grand strategy games such as Crusader Kings 2, but it is fine-tuned for a MMO experience.”

Suranyi, a 32-year-old Hungarian native, grew up on the classics. It all started when his poor family managed to snag a used Commodore 64. From there, he graduated to a used Amiga 500, taught himself some basic BASIC and eventually went on to study computer programming at the university level. But it’s that period of his life, when he played such games as Defender of the Crown and Lords of the Realm, that he wants to recreate with Feudums.

“I’ve played a lot of games, and I think taken some of the best features from them and made them better, at least I hope so.”

Meanwhile, Suranyi’s friend, Imre Darics, is making his mark in the game writing line after line of code to make it tick. He worked for years at an online game company before he got the phone call from Suranyi outlining his game idea.

“Since we first started work on this game, we’ve changed where we live, changed how we work, how the project is financed, the size of the team – everything but the game idea. It is bold and brilliant, and we deeply believe that this game will be a great success,” Darics said.

Both Suranyi and Darics plan for early 2016 game debut, hopefully by February. This year, they still have plans to release a game map editor, create a game and community platform, run a Kickstarter campaign to raise some initial funds and host a beta test. According to Darics, both the game platform and map editor will be released soon, maybe as early as mid-October.

Get game updates on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/feudums).

No Man’s Hype: Are We Too Hyped for Hyperspace

Are we too hyped for hyperspace?

I’m going to buy a PS4 in the fall of 2015 because, well, No Man’s Sky. Honestly, that’s the reason I’ve been telling friends and co-workers alike that it’s time to pick up a PS4. I’m so psyched for this game, but am I too hyped? Let’s break it down and get real. We’re going to talk about some major sell points and how well they hold up based on what games we’ve already seen like Eve Online and Elite Dangerous as well as anticipated games like Star Citizen.

New developer Hello Games is gaining massive online attention following Sony’s E3 conference. Their game, No Man’s Sky, was already underway since 2009, but the on-stage presentation was the biggest for me personally. If you saw the video or were lucky enough to be there in person, chills may have run down your spine like they did mine when Sean Murray did something so simple: he zoomed out.

Every point of light that rushed by on the screen was a star with actual planets that have moons and “ecology” of their own. Ugh, I got the chills again. That’s what this game does well. It hits my very nerve center, mostly because I love space. So anyone who’s stared at the stars and wished to fly around up there is about to get that experience. I think of Star Trek. The starship Enterprise had a five year mission: to explore. Hello Games is calling us to that end, but there is no end!

No Man’s Sky will have roughly 18 quintillion planets to explore which would seriously take billions of years. Do the math, it’s true! Yet, there is something amiss in all the wonder. How is this done? Are numbers everything?

The answer is simultaneously yes and no. It’s all numbers, but the numbers are deceptive. The “18 quintillion” rave came about from the possible output of 64-bit seed generators. What does that even mean? It’s a binary language code that creates something or generates it. The best example is Minecraft because every new world has a seed number that generated the environment. How is Hello Game’s big hit going to stand against an already successful franchise? Microsoft just snagged Minecraft and its developer Mojang for – brace yourself – 2.5 billion dollars. People are already invested in a sandbox game with staying power.

Other than the giant of Minecraft, No Man’s Sky has to win the hearts of other gamers with bias. Eve Online has owned the favor of space simulator players for a long time, long enough to get them to compare all newcomers to Eve Online. So there is a predisposition to space games as well as Star Citizen: a very qualified new game that will tie in features of space sim with first person shooter. Real action hero stuff for the more Star Wars kind of space lovers rather than the docile exploration of Star Trek fans. Check the YouTube video link below for a breakdown comparison that really helps explain the pros, cons, differences and similarities

This list of competitors goes on. Dreadnought, a space combat game of huge battleships, was beyond successful at PAX this year. Elite Dangerous, with it’s impressive physics, also previewed at PAX to much praise. How is No Man’s Sky gonna hold up? I actually find myself rooting for it loudly, even with all this skeptic analysis.

Sean Murray has for now ducked out of the media because he’s got high hopes, higher than ours, and he knows too much hype can kill something before it arrives. I’m scared for the new Star Wars movie because of this phenomena of over excitement. Like when a friend talks up a video too much: that “you’re gonna love it” attitude can miser it before it happens. Sean Murray knows that, so he’s backed off to protect his creation.

Maybe I’ll back off, too. I really want to enjoy my PS4 without getting it for just one game. Luckily, the Playstation has a TON of games I wanna go broke for, so it’s gonna be worth it even if hyperspace lets me down.

Why Gamers Aren’t Cool

In the last decade, video games, how they are perceived, and the people who play them, have changed. What was once a hobby associated primarily with being socially inept, immature, and a dude, has expanded to include anyone at all who enjoys waggling peripherals in Wii Sports. With that change, the social stigmas that in the past caused many to shy away have been pushed aside. New people are starting to get into games and closet game lovers have stepped into the light. Video games are currently something most people associate themselves with comfortably with no fear of being treated like a loser. The coolest bro on the football team loves some NFL 2K16 and your mom is never shy to ask me for lives on Candy Crush (even though she still hasn’t responded to my messages on Tinder but whatever.)

However, while I accept the existence of this new audience, a clear distinction between the groups is necessary. There are people who have been around for a while and people who are just about that Farmville life. Minus those in the latter group who desire to be in and speak for the group of the prior, both groups are valuable. They’re valuable and vastly different. There is culture associated with playing games for a while and if you’re someone hasn’t played many games, you don’t understand our culture and cannot appreciate the shared experiences of the group. You should be comfortable outside of the group as your experiences are different from ours; you don’t belong.

To be a legitimate member of any culture you must have experience with multiple aspects of the culture, you must appreciate the things that make the culture unique and you must have respect for the other participants who have experienced what you have. By the standard I use for authenticity, anyone who does do those things is automatically an authentic member and anyone who does not is simply outside the group. When forcing their perspective, those who lack authenticity are harmful to progress as they promote ideas that are not in sync with the desires of most of the group. Those who love games do not wish for them to creatively stagnate in the ways other media forms have because of cultural exploitation. They do not want their desires misrepresented; they want to continue to grow and think faster than the masses. The culture has evolved because we have promoted the evolution through our purchases and attention. We continue to be at the forefront of technology, art, and social justice because of traditions and ideas passed to us from our cultural involvement.

The social justice aspect is often overlooked but those who play games are incredibly socially aware; it is part of the culture. In the case of many games that “we” have popularized, acceptance and understanding are often promoted through the cultural elements that lurk beneath all the sweet 60fps explosions and pretty colors. Even in the lewd and racially charged words exchanged with strangers during online games, there is an exchange and a conversation that is transcendent of class, color, gender, age and creed that didn’t previously exist. Games are secretly very socially progressive. This is true not only when playing with others over the internet but while enjoying a game’s narrative alone as well. It all ties together and encourages a player to become a more socially and culturally conscious person. Experienced players are open minded, creative, and progressive because of the nature of the most highly acclaimed games.

Our unique social perspective is established and you can particularly see this in the things that are becoming popular now. Not only have women become more prominent in games and in the community in recent years, but video games have given birth to some of the most positive and lovable representations of minority characters in all of popular media. I mean, who didn’t become attached to Lee after playing season one of Telltale’s “The Walking Dead”? Who didn’t get choked up when a certain black on black murder occurs toward the end of the game? I am very pleased at how far we have come and the way in which the voices of the cultured ones of us promote the odd things that should not be odd. It’s all very cool ((italics plz))

So, how is it with all of this awareness and progressive thinking that we have overlooked some pretty major cultural flubs? How have we accepted the input of the uninformed and recently uninvolved? How have we allowed ourselves to be made into fools? I have silently battled with certain terminology that during my adolescence mysteriously appeared and has yet to fade into obscurity. I have been forced to associate my history and my identity with an idea that I do not identify with simply because I like games. I know I’m not alone in my total rejection of this aspect of the culture and I believe understanding my hatred is the key in separating us from them. Knowing separates us from

“Gamers.”

That word as well as “gaming” and the verb “game” are a massive issue. I have a twenty year history with games and at no point in that time was I ever a “gamer.” I have not once been caught “gaming.” I have always been bothered by “gamers” and what began as a pet peeve has become a very thick, ropey, sticky kind of intense disgust. I play games. I play a lot of games. It used to be easy to explain that I was a dude who simply loved playing games. I would play my games and be secure in my identity. I didn’t need a title or a club. I could connect with game lovers without all of that. Then, seemingly over night, I was being verbally assaulted with a cringeworthy pseudo-slang term.

I am bothered primarily by the derogatory and culturally detached aspects of the word (but we shouldn’t ignore that it’s just ugly and feels bad in the mouth.) Before the term was more widely accepted by the gamers who identify with the word’s newer association’s, it was being developed as a advertisement tool to erase past stereotypes. After all, you can’t sell things to a group of people who are not unified and also imply that they’re hopeless neckbeards. So the negative, loser stereotype that games were once heavily associated with was pushed to the side and many new “gamers” (and sadly some more authentic game players) lined up to be part of a new identity that had been established. They did this in the name of pride not seeing the puppetmaster at work. In fabricating the gamer image, the corporate side of video games trivialized our cultural identity, manipulated many, and upset those of us who could see past the neat headsets, the merchandising, and the general commercialization of a once great artform and hobby.

With a sickening mixture of pop culture and big business branding, the term evolved into something a wider audience could grab on to. In your heart, we all know what a gamer really is. You’ve seen it: a very nonthreatening, test group dude holding a controller playing what appears to be the most fun game ever created. The ads picture nothing anyone who played gam approved es through the 80s or 90s would relate to. In other words, “gamer” has never been our word. It is a slur and a tool to exploit those who lack authenticity. It uses our own progressiveness against us and has us including people who want us to be whatever Reggie Fils-Aime is. ((Meme of him being creepy)) Is that something you want?

Also, where is that game the guy in the ad is playing? Nevermind.

In summary, I am excited to associate myself with anyone who has a genuine interest in games. If you have respect for the work that goes into games and value those who play games, you should proudly wave your banner as a game enthusiast. However, if you are using the word “gamer” and are very proud of your gamer identity, then you are likely a pawn. You are not in touch with those who respect the culture and the people who make games not awful. You work for the people who want games to be widely appealing and easy to make money off of. Just have fun playing with your friends, don’t try to be a part of a group, be what you are from doing what you enjoy and support the desires that come from that.

Please comment below with what you believe could be a better term to unify those of us who truly love games… Unless you’re like a filthy casual or something.

How to Properly Tame Live Dinosaurs in ARK: Survival Evolved

So you log into a server for the first time and maybe get a house and a place settled down, then you finally notice that the things you have been killing for food might have a better use. Training dinosaurs can be lucrative and profitable in the long run if the right materials are used for the job. This guide is here to simplify the process slightly so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

The best place to start is not always the most obvious. Those dodos that you have been killing day in and day out for instance for food – these are not the right place to start. After having trained over 30 of these useless, flight-less birds myself, it is no wonder that they became extinct. The literal only use these dodo birds have is the small carrying capacity of roughly 50 extra weight units. This, however, even becomes useless as they will no doubt get lost, eaten, or slow your traveling down so much that you wish you didn’t have them.

The actual place to start training would be one of two places: Velociraptors (Raptors) or Dilophosaurus (Dilos). You can only jump to raptor training if you have a team of at least two people, or if you are insanely good at hitting the raptor without taking return punishment. Raptors have a higher base damage than Dilos, which is why training the latter is generally safer. Punching is the cheapest way to knock an animal out, although, using slingshots while perched on a rock above the dinosaur is a great way to not take damage while attempting to train heavier hitting dinosaurs. Take care not to run out of items to repair a slingshot and stones to shoot for ammo, as the dinosaur you have been pelting will not give up the chase on you when you decide you are done shooting for the moment. Only fists or slingshots can be used for knocking out dinosaurs for early levels as of patch 206.2, with tranquilizer arrows coming into play for level 20 players. Using a pick or an axe will only succeed in killing the dinosaur. After the dinosaur is knocked out, you can determine if it is worth your time, or whether you should just kill it and save the meat for the next dinosaur to train. For an early Dilo or Raptor, look for around level 5-30 as these will allow you to farm enough meat in the surrounding area even if you are on your own and not in a group. If the dinosaur is low enough level, you will not need to pump that many narcoberries into it to keep it knocked out. Remember that narcoberries are needed as you can force-feed them to both herbivores and carnivores for an early sedative until they are fed well enough to be on your side.

^A555AEBC315020242837B52D309ED2167B89785E56FFFEC18B^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrMany people ask when they start training where the button is to automatically feed narcoberries to the dinosaur as it will not eat them automatically. Look for your narcoberries under the items in the dinosaur’s inventory after dumping them from your inventory then “remote use item”. Each narcoberry fed increases torpor (amount of time till awake) by eight. For example, feeding six berries at once will increase torpor by 48 units. Using narcotics will increase an animal’s torpor by 40 – but you’ve got to craft narcotics first. This means that there is no distinguishable difference between making narcoberries into narcotics unless long term storage is needed because narcotics do not spoil. For immediate taming, stick with narcoberries unless spoiled meat is directly on hand. This meat is an easy source of narcotics, using a pestle and mortar.

After at least one animal is trained, you will need to set the animal to passive in order to train others, or the dinosaur you have just trained will attack the next dinosaur in order to protect you – it won’t let you knock it out. After training a small pack of Dilos or Raptors you’ll have become “king of the beach”, so to speak. Make sure that you have at least one male and one female in the group. This is not for the eggs, although they are good for food, but instead for the mating bonus. The mating bonus increases damage by an unspecified amount and resistance to damage by 25% of their base for their level.

To train higher level and “grades” of dinosaurs, you will need a more efficient berry collector. There are three to choose from depending on your level. Trikes are the lowest level to saddle and ride, as well as easiest to train. Outsmarting a Trike involves being elevated on a rock or cliff, with about half of their body length between the two of you to maintain a safe distance. Pelting a trike with roughly eight to nine tranquilizer arrows will bring down a level 30 one down and unconscious. In order to efficiently use tranquilizer arrows, space the shooting time to eight seconds between each shot to maximize torpor increase per arrow shot. Trying to use stones is not smart, as it’s just not time efficient. Some other player will likely find you in the time that you are attempting to down the trike, and just kill you and take the dinosaur-based prize. Taming will take at least an hour for a trike. The Stegosaurus and the Ankylosaurus take roughly one to two more arrows, however, the time to train one increases exponentially to up to three hours for a low leveled Ankylo. though a saddle is needed to ride, the trike is highly recommended as a first to train and mount. Once this has been trained and saddled, start harvesting berries in the surrounding area. After the Trike is full, transfer all berries to you and drop all but narcoberries and mejoberries onto the ground or into your stomach. After doing this several times, craft all narcoberries into as many narcotics as possible and use the mejoberries to train the next dinosaur faster. Mejoberries are the preferred berry of every herbivore in the latest patch, and will train a herbivore the fastest until you learn to make “kibble” which is specific to each dinosaur. Do not try to tame a Brontosaurus until you have effective ranged weapons capable of firing the arrows at a long distance, as these large creatures are surprisingly agile for their size and weight.

rexasaurus

Once the Trike has been trained, you are pretty much able to train anything that has been knocked unconscious. You can use the Dilos/Raptors to harvest meat and the Trike/Stego/Ankylo to harvest berries. Train a large herd and start building the super pen for your fortress to keep all of your dinosaurs inside. Ankylo dinosaurs are our preferred defense dinos, so if you’re looking to make a small group of them “stay”, keep these at the gate of your fortress to protect you from imminent predators. Remember: dinos fight best in pairs of male-female.

Happy hunting!

Broken Bargain But I’m Addicted: Deadliest Warriors Battlegrounds

The Following Article is a Guest Editorial

Xbox 360 is slinging deals left and right to keep people coming back to last gen and spend the mighty dollar. Most games you’ll find for under 20 or even under 5-10 dollars are older, but there are occasionally goodies. While this is honestly awesome for a few good titles – looking at you, Mirrors Edge – some of the so called bargains are ball busters. A new out-of-nowhere title, Deadliest Warriors Battlegrounds, is straight up not worth my money but somehow all of my time. Since it came under the radars of promo media, I’m all the more intrigued.

If you’re familiar with the television show or the Mortal Kombat style fighter – Deadliest Warriors The Game – you already know about the debate topic: is a ninja deadlier than a pirate, or what about knights or Spartans? The show and game put historical study and statistics to the test, but ultimately, the debate survives. This out-of-the-blue first person fighting version, Battlegrounds, pits you against up to 11 online players or bots to see who is the best – or the worst!

I wanted to save the $14.99 in Xbox Live Marketplace and just try the demo to quench my curiosity. Holy s#!+ am I glad I took that route. This game is broken AF. Yeah, I got vulgar, but I’m serious. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics of the arenas and characters are beautiful, but the game-play’s guts are riddled with defects that the developers seemingly overlook. Weapon swinging, landing hits, and sweet jeebus, the running animation: they’re all laughable! Picture a guy trying to keep his pants up without a belt with a stick up his butt. Strafing will make you trololol or roflcopter, which you prefer.

All this anguish, but I burned my 30 minute demo time down before I knew it. In fact, I got an hour because it didn’t save my time the first day I tried it. I kept coming back like Chapelle Show’s guy on crack. I don’t smoke rocks, but I apparently did many lines of Deadliest Warrior Battlegrounds without inhibition. Maybe it was the hilarity of a character’s silly yell or the frustration of trying to land hits with Skyrim-rip-off controls with bad delay; whatever it was, I wanted and still want to play more. I even got my friend locked in by passing the controller each death. We skipped the tutorial at first and felt happy to finally self learn different slashes or the useful duck to dodge enemy swings. Shooting a Samurai bow or the pirate’s gun was the most fun, especially since the gun blows the enemy’s head off when point blank. Decapitations are a welcomed recurrence as well.

I sincerely hope some updates fix the bugs because there is more than I mentioned, but I’m addicted. I will say, of you read this far, download that damn demo & let PowerLeveled.com know what you laughed or yelled at in game-play. I’ll be trying hard not to accidentally buy this game while inebriated on Xbox Live because that crack game is hard to resist in dark alleys wandered while drunk.

Have you already played? Did you buy it? Who’s your favorite warrior? Post comments about Deadliest Warriors & if you want to see this played on Twitch, make your request known! Hell, I might buy it just to entertain you. Or is that because I’m addicted & need an excuse? Don’t judge me!

Ark: Survival Evolved, Basic Guide to Life

Ark: Survival Evolved, the name of the game sounds like some type of high-tech time machine to the wilderness set in a strange place where all of the lost species of Earth are. Well, it’s not wrong. Waking up the first time in the game is the same action sequence that one will get used to. Look around and see where you are, scratch the weird technology diamond-shaped thing in your arm, and look around some more as you stand up to try and figure out where in the world you are…if indeed it is our world. Welcome to the Ark – A “lifeboat” with a huge ecosystem of land, water, and air animals.

The first thing you are able to do is collect stones, wood, and thatch. This is highly advisable as your hunger and thirst runs out as you move or do things that lower your health. After getting your first gathering done you no longer have to hurt yourself on trees to gain materials until your next death(which will come pretty fast). Next task can be a large number of things depending on what you are trying to do in the game. I always play with friends because it is impossible to finish the engrams(blueprints) in the game without at least one other player. Therefore, by this time I would advise trying to find a tribe either in chat or just with some random other new player on the beach. Unlike almost every other survival scenario game, people are a tad nicer in this game because of the need to form a tribe to finish the game. However, after a player is in said tribe, it is exactly like every other survival game. There are the raiders, the pirates, the bandits, the survivalists, the pacifists, as well as the isolationists. It is your job and primary goal to figure out who is who on a server as fast as possible in order to maximize your strategy on who to be living near as well as who to trust and ally your tribe with. Another extremely important thing is to never ever…ever use a torch unless it is absolutely necessary. The first thing that I or any other player looks for in the night is lighted areas. If the prey is just a walking ball of fire it makes it so easy to kill you and take your gear. Yes, even though you cannot see, do not use a torch. The best thing to do is wait out the night when you can’t see, or do like I do and memorize your surroundings and quickly. Nighttime activity is still a great time to do stuff.

Back on the feature of Tribes, each tribe generally will consist of the four main tech trees as specialties with some tribe members able to pick up other items as well as fillers. The builder tech tree is by far the largest tech tree in the game and will not be able to pick up many alternate engrams in the tree until level 50. The weapon smith will have a small tech treeto start, with a vastly expanded tree after getting the first smithy and fabricator. The pipe worker/gardener will have a selection of engrams from beginning to late game, while the armor smith will pretty much have the smallest tech tree, and will be able to get the greatest variety of engrams from random places not in their tree. Early game, try to find at least one additional tribe member for minimum survival. If you can find two, then you will be having a much easier time and four makes it almost a cake walk.

Getting Tribes out of the way, it is highly advisable for everyone to focus on the main objectives: getting a house and a bed(in that order). Getting a house is always good because it allows for a safe place to hide from the dinosaurs that cannot break thatch(though players can) and store your stuff. As a house has no insulation it will not shield you from the elements except for rainfall. Getting a bed allows for a single point on the map where you are guaranteed for your whole tribe to re-spawn. It is advisable to get more than one bed in your house as when you die and respawn the bed goes on cool down for five minutes. Placing them near each other is fine as a drop down menu will show up asking you which bed you want to use. The most recently built bed will be the lowest on the list with the top being the oldest. Tribes of four should be fine with two beds while larger tribes should build more. The general rule should be one bed for every four people after four.

It is also wise while getting supplies for all this home development, to hunt for food from nearby rivers and beaches. The dodos, coel, and even yes, mega-piranhas are easily killable by one person to obtain large quantities of meat. Once a spear is constructed, killing or taming a dilophasaur becomes much more feasible. Once a few dilophasaurs (dilos*) are trained go for the more elusive prey, phiomias. These walking pigs with fat and juicy brisket hanging from their sides are the best early sources of meat and hide. When hitting one, they run like little children from a guy offering candy on the side of the street – this is where the dilos come in. Using the “equals” key, turn your dinos into aggressive beasts at your command and attack any target.These trained dogs will run after and keep on your target prey until it is dead so much as to even harvest some of the meat for you, if that option is also enabled. As a side note, it is recommended to carry at least three to five spears on a trip for hunting, as they will break and will do so at the worst possible moment. When hitting with spears, do not just spam the attack button as right after you kill your prey the spear will start to harvest said dead carcass with the worst efficiency possible, hurting the overall yield from said animal.

By the time the hunter has enough food to feed the tribe several times over, the house and probably the first bed should be built. I would go so far as to advise not building a roof on the first house and adding a second wall on top of the first wall. Having no ceiling opens you up to air attacks from people with air dinos, but it also decreases the chances of someone raiding you.If they find you don’t actually have a lot of items after they look in your house and see four naked bodies on the ground, chances are it is not worth their time. The flip side of that is that you might die anyways with some high level player coming in and evicting all of the “noob” houses with a level 158 Sarcosuchus named plop. (-.-) I harbor no ill feelings as this is a survival PvP game. Dying is a part of the game as much as it is in Dark Souls. If you don’t die at least five times in your first two real days of game play, you are not taking enough risks for this game. Dying helps you to explore the map by re-spawning in a new area each time within your region. Each region contains 12 re-spawn points on the map, excluding beds.

Speaking of the re-spawn points, these are very important to picking where you want to live and where to settle. These are two different places and long term survivalist players will understand the distinction. Where to live includes where your house is and the small area that you claim as yours. Where you settle is the general side of the island that you claim before you have to kick someone out because they are too close and/or too large. My general favorite place to spawn is North Zone 1 as I have a small and hidden alcove I place my base in that is generally close to anything one would need. However, this is risky as the level of dinosaurs in that area always seems to be much too high to actually find a reliable food source in early levels. This is why I would advise starting in “noob” island, West Zone 1 or 2. These two places will have enough materials to get one going for a long time, until around level 20-30 when it might be wise to move to a more mountainous terrain in the center of the map. Starting with a thatch 2×2 house will allow for almost everything,including a bed, to be able survive for early levels. When preparing to move away, tame a dodo for the small amount of extra space that they can carry with them. If you tame a male and a female you’ll have a small, albeit unreliable, source of dodo eggs. At level five, your builder will be able to build the wooden walls and foundations of your house and at level 10 unlocks the rest of the items for wood. This will be the time to consider moving to a more stable base location still near the water as the pipes will not be very advanced by this time.

Unfortunately, this is also the time that I start looking for a dinosaur of a sufficient level and strength to hold all of my items after the weapon smith gets starts building slingshots for the team. I say unfortunately, because the largest glitch in this game is the fact of dinosaur targeting and agro. With a sufficiently well placed rock between you and the dinosaur,having a large amount of stones and ability to repair a slingshot several times over, a level 110 triceratops will take around 400 stones to knock unconscious. After this, having one person continually making narcotics and the other three farming for berries in the grass, you’ll be taming that trike within three hours of hard farming. Once the triceratops is obtained, at level 20 you will want to unlock the saddle and use it to harvest berries to tame anything else herbivore related. In my opinion, this is a broken aspect of the game enabling characters to have late game dinosaurs almost immediately. This will work with meat eating dinosaurs as well, the only difference is that the rock must be taller as most of the meat eating dinosaurs can climb or jump a little bit.

Working through this guide, with many hours leading into days of dedicated service, you’ll be well on your way to bigger and better adventures in Ark. Dungeons await you on this mysterious island, and the adventures coming to Ark through 2015 and 2016 will tell us more about why we are all stuck here. Buckle up for the ride of your life, because things are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

This is the Moment that Console Gaming Died

[The Following is a Guest Editorial]

Look at us now my console brethren. DLC. Gimmicky peripherals. Pay to play. What happened to us? Remember cheat codes? Remember full products? No. All you remember is how many days it took you to get third and a half prestige in Call of Duty 5: Duty Assault. The soul is gone and you can’t even pinpoint where it all went wrong. I was once like you, afraid and misguided, but it all became clear to me. I was being digitally teabagged when it happened. But in that teabag, I saw the truth. I can now recall the exact moment when the console began to die.

It was early 2001 and I was excitedly flipping through the shiny pages of the newest issue of PlayStation Magazine. Though as a child I was never an avid reader, the articles were enough to keep me entertained while I waited on my brother’s return from the bathroom with the playable demo disc that was packaged with every issue. Prepared for a long wait, I happily flipped page after gorgeous page on a nonstop journey to the back of the magazine where the cheats for games were located. It was wonderful as usual and just as hype as the other issues I had read; I expected it to be a somewhat typical ride– but suddenly, that all changed.

I flipped another page and the air became heavy; I could feel that something had changed in the world. Something had changed in me. My journey had come to a violent stop and I was left sitting, stunned by a full spread. Socom U.S. Navy Seals. Oh, the glory. An online FPS. At the time, on the console this was relatively unheard of. My brother returned from the bathroom, his expression confused and his face dripping with sweat, he too had noticed the change. “What is happening?” he questioned, almost fearfully. It was too late for questions. All I could do was hand him the magazine.

We knew something strange had taken place in our bedroom and also moments before in the bathroom with the disc. I was naive and did not trust my gut. I ignored what my mind, heart, and soul were telling me. At the time a part of me knew this was wrong but I was still so excited. Surely the people I would play with would be nice. Surely I would make friends with them all. They would never pretend to place their testicles on my face or in my mouth. I read that piece about Socom more times than I can remember. How could something that seemed so great be a sign of the Consocalypse?

Not too many years later, that basic online functionality on the console became full blown Everquest and it seemed the console was transforming, from standalone game box to not-as-good PC. It wasn’t until 2005, with the release of the Xbox 360 that times became truly dark. I expected good games with shiny new graphics and instead received DLC, other non-game media being jammed in my face, and focus on the multiplayer experience. At the time, I didn’t want anything jammed in my face and hoped the assault on everything I loved would soon end.

Spoiler: It didn’t.

What was once perhaps harmless online console fun is now small children trolling you to death with rockets at your respawn, patching of content in order to fix games, and a desire in the game industry to limit general usage in order to make more money. What were once gorgeous worlds that were painstakingly created are now environments that are rushed and released with bare bones gameplay features and matchmaking capabilities. So often, developers are telling the player “Your stepmom and I are going upstairs, here is some online stuff, go do a deathmatch or something.” They stopped caring about us a long time ago.

Now, the “proto-duty” that was Socom has mutated into the full evil that is the CoD franchise. Though the title sounds like the desire to move one’s bowels, people are still eating it up and are prepared for even more. Its no secret that most of the best-selling console games are now first-person bro shooters that have gameplay that relies heavily on online matchmaking and its also easy to see that there is no end in sight for the duty or the FPS multiplayer genre. This change is permanent.

None of this is to say that the single player narrative experience no longer matters or that there are no longer any fun single player games. They are just not as important. There are great games with little to no online connectivity, they simply lack the love and close detail of games before the DLC era. BioShock, GTA: V, and Mass Effect are all wonderful games but they lack greatly in gameplay and writing when compared with titles like Metal Gear Solid, TES: Morrowind, or GTA: Vice City.

Some of the only games that make me feel special on the console now are from indie groups and are typically multiplatform. Telltale projects, Minecraft, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons are some of my favorites. These somewhat unusual games take me back to a time when I didn’t have to worry about updates or friends coming online, breaking my immersion. They take me back to a time when I would never have to play with people I wouldn’t otherwise play with. They take me way back, to a time when I did what I wanted to do with my games and I could flick through manuals and I could become invested in the games I played.

At the end of the day, this is damage that is irreversible and all I can do is mourn the console as I knew it. I will follow the growing indie scene as I continue to bitterly place all the blame on the birth and popularity of the online console shooter. I have faith that those who have played the games I have played will allow for in the future some form of content to ease the pain in my heart. I will never give up on the console but for now I’ll return to my Artificial Girl 2 save on the PC. I am the only one who will be doing teabagging around here.

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