Community

Community makes up allot in the world of online gaming and nothing is more prolific and controversial than the world of online FPS. CoD is known for it “fuck your mother” attitude and does allot in the way of alienating people away from playing a casual game of virtual war against their fellow man.

So what is it about shooting people in the face that makes people so angry.

Coming from Tribes, TF2, Halo, CoD, Overwatch, Quake and UT.  I have seen allot of different communities and its safe to say things have gotten worse. This can be contributed to more people clogging up the internet pipes with their “Go die in a car crash” attitudes but in the most part people have some kind of anonymity playing on the web, so shouting horrible shit at people has become a norm. It’s the truest form of ones self, you know, being a dick.

Team based games are one of the worst ways to find out someones fucking your mum. If your team gets trounced then its the first person to type “Fucking scrubs”. This highlights to the other team that; in no way did you contribute to this clown fuck of a game. When in actual fact the clue is in the game – Team based.

I always had better luck with Deathmatch/slayer. It’s a bit like golf. I guess, in away. Of course this doesn’t stop bitching and dirty play. CoD/Battlefield always suffered from campers, despite their best attempts they still do, in fact any game that has such a low thresh hold for mistake has a good camping problem. Arena shooter like Halo, UT or Quake always gave you a little bit of a chance to recover from an ambush.

So is it possible to remove griefer’s entirely from the FPS community, unlikely.

Is it the worst thing in the world? Being pissed at your fellow players has always helped to drive people to be better than their competition, fighters use it all the time to hype up a fight and get the mental advantage. If we can take this need to be better than the troll sending us verbal abuse down the packet tube, does this not lead us to do better.

Being accused of cheating or hacking when your clearly not, and having it followed up with a torrent of abuse is somewhat gratifying. Destroying your griefers on the score board after a bad game is also a lovely boost. But what we are really aiming for is the rage quit. Sometimes being pissed off leads us to play at our best and fuels us with determination to win.

Admittedly some abuse is just straight up illegal. I’m not denying that some people need to be muted immediately, just a shame that community management can sometimes be a little lacking. Or support for victims lacks  any real support from the community managers.

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PUG’s

PUGs or Pick up groups originated from MMO’s. It’s a group of people who have been put together by the server or by a lonely person looking to progress in the game but having no friend to help them. Normally used in a negative way; PUGs have become a staple of not only MMO’s but also FPS.

Although people have been throwing themselves into Team Death matches, etc with unknowns for a while its only recently been used to describe computer generated groups in FPS’s. And I think thats the point, the server puts people together; you don’t pick a server or a team. It’s completely random. Exactly like a group finder in WoW.

So what can we do to curve the stigma around this often negative term. Well for a start stop blaming everyone on your team for being “NOOBs”. At the end of the day its a team thing. You will find players that look at a teams loosing as the fault of everyone else other than them, and when that happens your chats going to fill up with abuse.

Most people are just hear to kill something. They might only play 5-10 hours a week (if not less), they probably have a family and this is just something to kill time. Then you have people who are here because no one else will play with them and thats the person shouting abuse at you in the chat window.

Apart from when I was at university most of my group experiences in games have fallen down to playing with PUGs and you get to learn a little bit about the types of groups that will win and the types of groups which will loose. Or the types of groups who will kill the raid boss; and the types of groups who get crushed in to elf paste.

Despite what 80% of PUG players think, people are not psychic talking about what your going to do, or what your team needs; is essential. Start the dialogue early. Outline what your group is missing, highlight what you group doesn’t need. Talk about tactics and ask if everyone is okay with the up and coming boss fight. If you get the chat flowing early people will be clear on what they need to do.

In order to keep it positive shut down negativity. It’s okay to get annoyed 10 mins into a game because everyones face planting a heavy-medic combo in TF2. Or your team has 3 Blackwidows in Overwatch. Provide constructive criticism, help people see the issue.

The types of people you want to shutdown are the ones who 2 mins into the game are shouting in caps and calling everyone a “noob” because they went off on their own and died.

So block, mute, kick, stab these people. They do nothing but shit on the game.

It’s okay to loose. Yep its fine. Someone has to loose its just ensuring everyone had fun getting their.

If you do loose a game drop in a “GG”, fuck the haters it was still a good game. I watched my team get shot in the head continuously by a sniper. Despite this we gave it a good go but in the end we couldn’t break through the last checkpoint. So at the end of the game I told the sniper he did a good job and he thanked me. The next game I didn’t get shot in the head once.

Its okay to disagree with someone on your team. Sometimes you might learn something. I had an issue with someone telling me what class to play. So I questioned why it was an issue. They then highlighted that Zenyatta was actually quite a weak hero and would require a decent buff before he could be usable as a support class. This was not that new to me but we did a a little test and Mercy performed much better.

WoW introduced PUG Raids about a year ago. The the role of a PUG Raid was to get people who only play part times through the end game content. After all they still pay the same as a hardcore gamer but they normally miss out on half the content. Normally a Raid is led by a tank, so if you have no interest in speaking to anyone I suggest you avoid this role.

Its rare but sometimes you will drop into a game, say nothing and steam role the opposition/Raid. It can happen. Sometimes you loose 20 games in a row. When this happens go watch a film your in no fit mental state to handle another lose.

Finally – you will never beat a pre-made group with a PUG.

Keep it positive.

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Playing support: Overwatch addition

Overwatch has quickly over taken Team Fortress 2 as my new class based shoot and with a large roster of interesting and colourful character it can seem a bit daunting entering a new game. Luckily the learning curve for Overwatch is low and the characters are quick to pick up.

Your chance of winning in Overwatch greatly increase if you have at least one support character, and what better way to learn the game than by helping your fellow team.

Overwatch comes with 4 support hero’s Lúcio, Mercy, Symmetra, Zenyatta each one providing various perks to your team which will help boost their efficiency and hopefully lead to a win. As stated in the previous intro to playing support one of these classes can significantly turn around a team chances if your suffering (unless you play Symmetra). I have seen mediocre teams pull out two Mercy’s and steam-role the game.

FPS healing is very different to MMO healing. Although in Overwatch you have a tank they are mainly their to provide cover or disrupt the enemy. Its important not to strictly stick to healing the tank, in the case of Mercy and Zenyatta  who can only heal one team member at a time you should keep your eyes open for low health players walking around with 10 hp. Its also important to avoid following DPS as they charge head first into the enemy. You want to stay around people as much as possible. Also never be afraid to save yourself, its better you live and heal someone else than everyone dies because you couldn’t avoid damage.

Mercy provides your standard “Cookie cutter” healing class. She is very efficient at healing one player at a time. She heals 50 points per seconds and also has “Guardian Angel”  which allows her to keep up with even the most dexterous of players; by gliding over to their position. Left on her own she will die – having only a standard pistol for defence. Her ultimate move is mass resurrection which you should try and use when more than one of your team mates is dead around you; this will allow for its maximum usage. Common sense is also a big factor when using resurrection.

Overwatch has no over-healing functionality so it important that when you have healed a player to its fullest, and you have no one left to heal that you use the main weapons secondary ability which boosts the player your targeting’s damage output. Mercy excels at most game types, but in my opinion she shines at pushing the payload. Your whole team generally sticks together near one location allowing her to keep track of everyone’s health easily. Overall Mercy is a simple, yet efficient healer who anyone new to the game will be able to pick up quickly.

Lúcio has been highlighted a few times as a “must have” hero when it comes to taking control points or holding a king of the hill match. His ability to AOE heal along with his speed boost makes him highly efficient at both securing points and holding them. If the other team has no Lucio they will likely reach the point last – giving you the advantage.

The secondary ability on his main weapon is a push back mechanic which helps keep the enemy off the point. His ultimate ability is an AOE boost to your teammates shield which comes in very useful when your struggling to keep a point. Lucio “Amp It Up” ability boosts the active buff you have running at the time, this increases the speed from 30% to 110% and healing from 25 points per 2 seconds – to 120 hp per 3 seconds. Lucio may not give the direct healing punch you get from Mercy but if your team is tightly grouped and reasonably competent he can provide some extra damage and speed Mercy is unable to provide.

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Zenyatta comes under the “no nubs” category of play. Having the lowest health in the game mean he dies if you look at him. He makes up for this trait by having “Orb of Discord” which once attached to an opponent increases the damage they take. His main attack also hits reasonably hard (35 damage per hit) and from a distance – meaning he can take out an enemy with hast. His healing ability “Orb of Harmony” will heal a character at 30hp per second, he only has to maintain line of sight with the player he is healing for the orb to stay active and the same applies to “Orb of Discord”.

All this line-of-sight mechanic means that Zenyatta is a player who stay at the back. Hovering around the edges of a battle throwing buffs and de-buffs up where needed. Zenyatta is a hero very much built for defensive play, he hangs back and heals from the outside. Despite this his ultimate is very much the opposite. ” Transcendence” makes him immune to damage and does an AOE heal of 100hp per second. Essentially healing everyone back to full health, very useful on the last point where its all or nothing.

If the team needs to group up or push a payload, where staying together is an essential play its probably more preferable to play Lúcio or Mercy. Defensively Zenyatta can provide a decent amount of DPS whilst also providing healing to your tank from a distance.

Symmetra is very unique in this line-up. She has no direct healing mechanic. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a bad support character it just means that your likely going to want a healer with you. Unless on the one rare occasion where you have a good team able to manage their own health. Symmetra aim is to support her team just in the none healing way. One of her main abilities is “Photon Shield” which she can cast of a friendly hero to give them a +25 shield which persists whilst the player stays alive.

She also has the ability put up very annoying turret on pretty much any surface. She can place 3 turret initially, then she generates more as time goes by. These turret can be placed in chokepoint and other niche location to force the enemy to bottleneck the main trail. Although the damage is minimal per turret you can bunch them together to do more damage. They also come with the added ability of slowing the enemy. Fun.

Her main ability is the “Photon Projector”. The primary function of this weapon is a beam which latches on to an enemy player and increases in damage over time. I personally prefer her main weapons secondary ability which is a charged up heavy hitting orb. It moves slowly but that isn’t a bad thing and on a bottle neck can do some pretty devastating damage.

Symmetra is fun to play and I suggest using her in a defensive situation where her turrets can be used to close down back routes and side ally. Unfortunately i don’t believe she makes a great support character and with a lack of any real healing she’s not going to help a weak team. So use her with one of the other support characters.

Overwatch is a team based game which requires all character types to create a successful team remember this next time you have 3 McCree.

Good luck.

 

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Deconstructing Doom

DOOM is a hellish, beautiful mess of demons and half cut-up people; with big guns and “no fucks given attitude”. But where it excels at single player it falls flat on its multiplayer offerings.

….where it excels at single player it falls flat on its multiplayer offerings.

I picked up Doom early from CD keys for about £22. Normally I wont commit to a game unless it has been reviewed and deemed working on PC as most games these days come this the optional setting of being a fuck-up. You also get the option of being trapped in a console port which has no relevance to a mouse and keyboard set-up. However the developers creating Doom should know better. It started on PC and thats where it need to come from.

It turned out to be a wise investment and Doom has been an enjoyable experience

DOOMs single player is a a lovely romp through a beautifully deigned hell infested Mars colony. Its a game that gives you exactly what you expect – big guns and demon hell spawn to decimate with said big guns. The weaponry packs a punch and feels satisfying to use. Nothing beats a double barrelled shot gun, well except taking that shot gun and shoving down some hell spawns throat and pulling the trigger.

Personally I got bored of cover shooters and military sims after the first GoW and CoD 4(?), but they sold and left us with little to fill the void. With a phenixdown being thrown on UT and now DOOM I’m hoping for a re-birth or the arena shooter much to the hate of Yahtzee.

Also give us back our bestie game mode, the Death-match

However first ID need to rip-out whatever the fuck Certain Affinity did with the multiplayer and start again. First off remove the load out rubbish and make guns available in level. Maybe strip back the secondary fire to something less OP and finally randomise the power ups in the level so that players can’t just camp them. Also give us back our bestie game mode, the Death-match. The only thing I would keep is the level side of things. I see the value of a level in multiplayer if its used to match players of similar skill level.

If they can solve this I might spend some more time in the multiplayer game but at the moment I’m all Overwatch, all the time.

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Firewatch, deconstructed

Firewatch is not my typical type of game. Normally I’m all shooty-shooty, knify-knify. Firewatch stood out for me as a game I wanted to know more about, I knew it was a mystery and that appealed to me a little bit, but i heard that it was also an “experience” – fuck knows what that means. The game is visually lovely, like a giant pack of starburst just exploded on your screen.

What I though was going to be a walking simulator turned out to be something allot deeper.

Needless to say this post will contain massive spoilers.

Firewatch starts off with a nice little intro, where you plan out how Henry met his wife and what you did in your life to get to this point. Things unfortunately start off on an emotional note. Your wife develops early-onset Alzheimers she slowly forgets things and people. You cant deal with seeing the woman you once loved slowly forgetting who you are and so decide to take a job in the mountains after the decision is made that your wife will go back and live with her family in Australia.

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Over the summer you take on the role as a fire martial, part of a group of watchtowers who survey the surrounding and report on any activity which your fellow camper might be doing which could trigger a forest fire. Your only point of contact is your supervisor – Delilah, who you stay in contact with via radio.

Needless to say your life of solitude and contemplation is disrupted by some strange going on. Your watchtowers in broken into, fires are started on purpose, teenagers are attacked in the woods, and your conversation with Delilah are recorded by a mysterious stranger resulting in everything you do or say being monitored.

As the game progresses you become more and more paranoid that something or someone is out to get you.

Delilah is your only point of contact and it becomes difficult to trust her as you go through the game, your not entirely sure if she’s in on all of this or just part of the same fucked situation. You choose how you want to interact with her, letting her know as much or as little about you as possible.

The end of the game has received a mixed reaction, and it partly why I took so long to write this little post. At the end you find a skeleton of a boy at the bottom of a cave, this boy turns out to be the son of a watchman named Ned who worked up here a year ago. His son Brian came along with him which is strictly forbidden under the rules of employment at the watchtower, however Delilah covers up this piece of information in order to let Ned and Brian have the summer together in the woods. Delilah mentions several times throughout the game that she never new what happened to Ned or Brian after the summer had ended and assumed they had gone there own way.

It turns out Ned believes Henry was sent here to find out what happened to Brian since he never came back from the woods over a year ago. So Ned does everything in his power to try and scare Henry away and to find out what he’s up to. It slowly becomes apparent to Ned that Henry isn’t here to find out what happened to them both instead he’s just here to get away from it all and live out his summer on his own. As Ned comes to realise this he also realises that the truth about his sons accident need to come to light and so he leeds Henry into the cave through a series of clues and actions he leaves around.

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In the end Ned confesses that he could never face up to the lose of his son and so decided to stay in the woods in order to continue living the life that he felt helped him to cope with the lose. He disappears further into the mountain after explaining everything to Henry, who at this point in the game is about to be evacuated as the fire has spread and will soon engulf the entire map.

What Ned did to help himself cope with the lose of his son; helps Henry to realise that he cannot run away from his life and that in order to move forward with everything he has to go home.

The big issue some people have with the end of the game is that its quite simple, everything has a rational explanation – its just a story about a man unable to handle whats happening to the woman he loves and has no idea whats best for him or her.

You are not part of a massive alien conspiracy theory, you are not stuck in a coma, this is not a dream.

Although I felt a bit like “WTF thats it”, I now realise that the ending was exactly what it needed to be.

 

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