Video Game Tuesday: Playing to Win isn’t Always Fun

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic that is about how being super serious isn’t always entertaining. It’s about how Playing to Win isn’t Always Fun!

What do you mean “Playing to Win”: Well I mean that pretty literally, sometimes it’s just more fun to just goof off in games, and in fact some games don’t have set objectives and are made purely for goofing off in.

Like what?: Well Minecraft for one is a perfect example of a game that’s made purely to goof off in, you can create amazing things in the game including working calculators, but it’s really mostly used to just goof off and make stuff. There’s a reason why Rooster Teeth has a weekly episode of their Let’s Play crew just playing Minecraft. It’s got pretty much endless potential to just mess around with friends.

What do you like?: I personally keep Grand Theft Auto V always installed on my PS4 just to load up on days where I’m stressed to just goof off online. I go around creating havoc and just having a blast destroying other players. Sure it’s not always a nice thing to do, and I tend to do it to people who aren’t doing special activities like the Motorcycle Club stuff, but just going around and goofing off is pretty fun.

So what about playing to win?: Well I tend to avoid the PvP aspects of games because I personally don’t find them much fun as people take it way too seriously sometimes. League of Legends is a pretty great example of people getting way too invested in pick up games. Now I’d understand if they were playing in ranked mode, but if they are just playing casually I’m not expecting someone to be perfect. PvE activities for me tend to be more fun as it involves either the plot, or just good old team work oriented gameplay with other players.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What are some of your favorite games to just mess around in? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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Video Game Tuesday: Modding

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m taking a look at something I wish Console gamers had more access to. It’s Modding!

What is Modding?: Editing the game software to add or change certain parts of a game. For instance tweaking the game to include higher resolution textures and models is a pretty standard mod for just about any game.

What Else can Mods do?: They can add fun game mods to a game to increase the games longevity. For years after the last Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne patch went out people were still playing because of the ability to create custom game modes. This lead to the popularization of the MOBA genre through the map DOTA Allstars. League of Legends, DOTA 2 and Heroes of the Storm wouldn’t exist without that original mod.

Is there anything else?: Well they can be used to for more explicit purposes like nudity mods in Skyrim, which while juvenile are still some of the most popular mod types in the community. They can also be used to include musical soundtracks and custom models. Which leads to fun things like the recent Star Wars mod in Grand Theft Auto V.

Why Do I want it on Consoles?: Because it’s a pity that console players can’t get access to fun mods to increase the game’s longevity. Granted certain mods like cheat modes would be problematic with online multiplayer, but it can still be fun. I once played a Halo: CE game on my Mac Pro where the creator of a map modified the guns to increase the physics modifier. It lead to fun times where a single pistol shot sent vehicles flying through the air to crash into the other team to score kills. You weren’t able to shoot the other team, but if you shot the vehicles in the middle of the map correctly you could score a kill by crushing them with a flying vehicle. That was endlessly fun and pretty clever, and it’s a pity that game mode hasn’t appeared in future Halo games. Did you shoot the easy to control smaller vehicles like the ghost and have a tough time hitting the enemy or did you try to control the larger and tougher to control vehicles like the Scorpion to get an easy kill.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday? What are some of your favorite mods in games and would you like to see it on console versions?

Video Game Tuesday: Free to Play

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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic that can really bug me sometimes. It’s Free to Play games!

What is Free to Play?: Free-to-play (F2P) refers to video games which give players access to a significant portion of their content without paying.

What’s so bad about something being free?: I’ve got no problem with a game being free, in fact I laud a company that can make a good game that is free to play. Hearthstone is a great example of a properly done F2P game. However so many other games out there take advantage of the consumer, you, by having incredibly intrusive advertising and constant prompts to buy the game or features that will let you beat it easier. I don’t like having advertising forced on me, in fact I hate it with a passion, and paying to beat a game that is supposed to be free is incredibly unethical. Some games out there are impossible to beat without cheating, it’s not very common, but I find them to be the lowest type of scam and despise anyone who makes such a game. A game is meant to be played for fun, not to frustrate you so much that you end up buying something to beat it because it’s impossible to accomplish for 99.99% of the human population.

Candy Crush is a perfect example of a game that I hate, I can understand if you locked some game modes behind a paywall. Go for it, that’s a reasonable thing to sell. But selling something to allow you to continue playing the already free game modes is incredibly messed up. It scams more ignorant consumers and is to me an incredibly shady sort of business.

Any good suggestions on well made F2P games?: MOBAs are a good example with League of Legends being an incredibly well made F2P game. Hearthstone like I mentioned above is another one. There are F2P games out there that aren’t scams, but you need to be careful and choose wisely.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Toxicity in Gaming

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Hey all I’m back with a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but haven’t really covered directly yet, for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! It’s all about Toxicity in Gaming!

What do I mean Toxic?: I mean players who revel in making other player’s lives miserable, some people call them Trolls, I call them jerks.

It’s the Internet what was I expecting?: I get that the internet is the cesspit of human interaction, you only need to look at places like 8chan or the like and see that there is a very vocal minority of assholes out there who enjoy making other’s lives miserable. These are the kind of people who claim to be protesting for better Ethics in Journalism or the like. They are all the kinds of people I would love to do nothing more than slug and give them a good lesson. But I’m above that, and so I just tend to ignore them. These people are the kinds of people who believe in Chemtrails and other stupid things. People like a certain Real Estate magnate who is an asshole, but people like watching his show anyway. I’m not going to lower myself trying to explain things to an idiot, ignorance can be cured, stupidity cannot.

What can be done?: Not much unfortunately at the moment, most people who harass others online get away because Law Enforcement doesn’t get how devastating it can be to have assholes do stuff to you online. The best you can do is to ignore them, mute them, and then report them to the game developers. They will ban their ass and your game will be one less asshole in the future.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Heroes of the Storm [Technical Alpha Impressions]

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This week I’m going over a game that isn’t even close to being in Beta let alone released yet! It’s Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s take on the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre.

Plot Synopsis: There is no plot as of right now, and it’s highly unlikely that there will be one, however if were to be one it’d be weird.

Gameplay: This is going to be the main section of this review since it’s in Technical Alpha right now and things are very likely to change gameplay wise for individual heroes, however the core gameplay will stay most likely. If you’ve never played a MOBA before here is quick rundown from the League of Legends wikipedia entry:  Players gain levels from killing the opposing team’s Champions, controlled by other players or bots, and minions that regularly spawn and attack the other team’s turrets, minions, and champions. In the classic game mode, the map is typically divided into “lanes”, which are paths that spawned minions take, the “jungle”, an area between lanes where neutral monsters spawn, and “bases”.

The main differences between HotS and other MOBA games is that you don’t get any currency to spend back at base to buy items to improve your hero, instead you get talents at certain level milestones that let you modify your abilities and at level 10 you unlock a choice between two different ultimate abilities. In addition you gain experience as a team instead of as an individual which removes the need for last-hitting and kill stealing, which is a major skill in other games that can be very aggravating to your teammates and opponents. Everything you do gains experience for your team, be it healing other teammates or lane minions as a support character, laying traps down to ambush the other team as a specalist hero (more on them later) or taking down the opposing team as a warrior or assassin hero. This makes playing as a healer on your team fun instead of something you do cause you drew the short stick, and you can still kick butt even as a healer, just not as much as other heroes can. Specialist heroes, like Gazlowe from the Warcraft universe, are special heroes that focus on laning (progressing your minions and therefore your teams overall progress towards victory) and aren’t very offensive oriented. They are more adept at laying traps although some like Abathur can be very offensively capable with their abilities. As of right now there are only 4 specialist heroes in the game, and I’d love to see more because I hate playing as all the ones that are out at the moment.

I recently played as Malfurion, from the Warcraft universe, and had a blast even though I tend to hate healing in games. I prefer heroes like Nova, a stealthy ranged assassin from the Starcraft universe that specializes in taking down the enemies but has terrible health) in other games like League of Legends. I also don’t tend to like playing against other people in games, but I really enjoy playing against humans in HotS because you can’t really be bad as long as you learn throughout the match.

That said there are things that concern me, it takes way too long to accrue enough in game money to unlock certain heroes, like Nova, whereas other heroes, like Malfurion, are easily bought. I think the upper limit on in game money purchases should be no higher than 5,000 gold, which if you are lucky for 10 days and did every daily those days, you could buy any hero. 10,000 is too large a number even when you are just starting out and getting a lot of money from leveling up your account. Also you should be able to complete a daily with any hero rotation, this last week I got a daily to play as a specialist hero and couldn’t finish it without buying a hero because there were none in the free rotation. Also you should be able to buy vanity items like hero skins for a very high amount of gold, something like 10,000 for a skin would be reasonable, because all things should be unlockable given enough time. If people want to just buy something with real money outright and earn that immediately that’s okay, I’d rather earn it without spending real money but still be able to have fun skins or mounts.

Art: The art is pretty amazing, but I expect it to get better by launch. Certain things bug me, like the little puddles in the Raven Lords map which has the same effect as cloaked units like Nova or Zerateul which is very confusing for some players.

Music: While I enjoy the fact that it’s a mixture of the three main Blizzard universes I really would love for some more variety, like taking really popular songs from each franchise and being able to have that play in the background. Maybe even being able to pick your own favorite BGM from a selection of BGM’s from each franchise in the menu.

Overall: I’m going to enjoy playing HotS much more than I ever enjoyed playing League of Legends or Defense of the Ancients All-Stars back in Warcraft 3.

For those who like: MOBAs, Blizzard Games, Online Multiplayer.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.