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World of Warcraft – Intro

Howdy gamers!  World of Warcraft (WoW) is one of the games that even most non-gamers have at least heard about.  The game was launched in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment following their 3 previous Warcraft titles.  by 2017 it had grossed over $9 billion making the Warcraft franchise one of the highest-grossing of all time.  WoW uses a subscription model and has had eight major expansions so far.  

WoW is an MMORPG, massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and it’s truly massive.  There are over 100 million accounts.  When you start playing wow you begin with choosing the ‘realm’ or server you want to join.  Realms are based on the region you live in or languages the game will be in.  For a while, realms were broken into PvE and PvP types, but now players can choose between normal realms or realms where the player tries to role-play in character while playing.

Next, most races choose between the Alliance or Horde faction, you will be able to speak to your allies but only emote to the other side.  Next, the player chooses their race which can also affect the classes you can choose. Once all these choices are made you can start to play and progress your character. 

Eventually, you will also choose two professions such as a blacksmith that makes goods, or a miner that gathers materials.  there are also three secondary skills, fishing, cooking, and archeology that all characters can learn.  To help you progress and make relationships it’s good to join a guild.  This gives you access to guild chat and other perks.  

Like most MMORPGs the majority of the time you will be questing.  Guests can have a range of objectives but they are usually defeating a certain monster, or gathering certain items.  There are non-player characters, NPCs, that can give the player quests.  There is a main quest line that will tell you the story of the game, and also several side quests that can usually be done according to your own timing.  

A lot of WoW can be played solo but the more challenging aspects of the game are often designed to be played as a group.  Team composition is often key to winning end game content, so try to choose your team wisely!

If you choose to get involved in PvP play there are a few different ways to do so.  There are areas of the game that allow opposition faction members to attack each other for free for all combat.  You can also toggle between wanting to be in PvP mode or not for certain game areas.  There are also Battlegrounds that are instanced PvP dungeons with rewards.

This just barely scratches the surface of how World of Warcraft is played  And with the addition of several expansions the game keeps getting bigger and better.  So if you haven’t yet summoned the courage to take on WoW give the trial a shot on Windows or Mac today!  For the Horde… or Alliance!

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World of Warplanes – Intro

Howdy gamers!  Aircraft combat has drastically changed since its inception.  Prop powered planes could only go so fast, but jet aircraft seem to just get faster and faster.  While it’s tough to be able to pilot any military aircraft in the real world there are quite a few ways to do it virtually via games.  Wargaming and Persha Studia released World of Warplanes (WoWP) in 2013.

The game has over 100 aircraft from various countries that can be divided into 5 groups.  Fighters typically have fixed-wing and air mostly involved in air to air combat.  Multirole fighters might also carry bombs for targeting ground units.  Heavy fighters were designed to carry out long-range missions that other fighters, and also had larger caliber armament typically. Bombers, like the iconic B-29, carried a high amount of bombs and were more about quantity over precision when they were used heavily in combat. Finally, ground attack planes are more modern bombers that are more precise in their targeting of ground units.  There are nearly endless configurations of aircraft that can be created.  Customization of camouflage, reinforced sections, and engine upgrades are just a few ways you can boost your aircraft’s performance in matches.  New equipment and aircraft can be unlocked as you progress in the tech tree.

WoWP starts out with a tutorial to get you familiar with in-game controls.  There is a mix of PvP and PvE content, as well as a sandbox training mode that lets you test out new strategies and aircraft, but won’t earn you rewards.  In standard mode, players compete to either eliminate the other team or achieve air superiority by destroying more ground targets than the opposition.  

The primary mode in WoWP, Conquests, has 2 teams compete over territories on a map.  As territories are captured after completing objectives, the team will earn points.  Objectives can include destroying aircraft or ground targets in the territory.  Territories are grouped into different types.  Airfields that are captured give your team a new spawn location.  Military bases attack other territories for you adding to your point total as well.  If one side takes a commanding point lead, respawns will stop and as planes are taken down, they are down for the rest of the match.  Players earn rewards based on their match performance for their aircraft class. Fighters get more points for air to air combat while bombers get more points for eliminating ground targets etc.  Players can earn credits, experience, tokens, and gold for unlocking a purchasing difference in-game items and upgrades.

At air shows, you can see some of the aircraft from WoWP flying and show off, but good luck getting to pilot one!  The next best thing for most will be taking a free to play flight in World of Warplanes on Windows!

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World of Tanks Blitz – Intro

Howdy gamers! World of Tanks was a big hit for Wargaming, but it wasn’t playable on mobile devices.  In 2014 World of Tanks Blitz came out as a free-to-play game for Android and iOS devices, as well as Windows.  There are a few things that changed to make the game more suitable for mobile devices such as smaller maps and team sizes, but it’s still a similar experience to the original version of the game.

There is a similar progressing system, as you earn experience to unlock upgrades in your tech tree, you will be able to unlock new vehicles to use on the battlefield.  The team sizes are seven players a side and the maps are much smaller.  The good thing is that this change actually leads to more vehicle encounters and more intense and fast-paced gameplay.  So matches are typically shorter but still just as satisfying.  

The game’s matchmaking system will also keep you facing tanks of similar level to you.  This means that people can’t just buy the top tanks and pulverize folks who haven’t made purchases.  They will be facing players with similar tank levels.  So if you have a higher skill level than others you will notice it in battle.  Each tank also has weak points, so you need to learn your tank and use cover to protect yourself while confronting the enemy.

Though this game is smaller in scale it actually amps up the matches to make you feel like you’re part of the action.  So jump in your tank, close the hatch and load your main gun on iOS, Android, or Windows right now.

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Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands – Intro

Howdy gamers!  Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands (Wildlands)  is the tenth game in the Ghost Recon series and has the largest open-world environment of the games to date.  This is a marked change from the rest of the series which are typically not very open.  Ubisoft developed and published Wildlands in 2017 for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.  

Wildlands is a tactical shooter with the player being able to take advantage of cover.  There is a day and night cycle that presents either the cover of darkness for night missions or the ease of spotting the enemy in the day time.  But either way, you will be tasked with scoping out the area before carrying out your missions.  The missions don’t have a set way they have to be completed and allow the player to be creative in their approach.  As you complete your missions you can level up your character and customize them within game purchases and loot from dead enemies as well as found items.  To maximize your character, weapons and other gear can also be upgraded.

The game takes place in Bolivia and your job is to try to disrupt the Santa Blanca Cartels’ control over the area.  There are 21 regions that are controlled by buchones who are part of one of four cartel operations; production, security, smuggling, or influence.  As you complete missions in an area, you will also gather intel to figure out who the buchon is, and eventually, you can get a mission and try to capture or kill them.  If you are able to compromise enough of the cartel operations in a certain area, like production, you can unlock a mission to capture the head of that operation.  Taking down parts of the cartel’s operation leads to the cartel leader becoming vulnerable.  

If you like tactical gameplay, and being able to come up with your own approach to completing tasks, Wildlands is a great game for you.  So stealthily pick up a copy of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands and bust up the cartel!

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Star Trek Fleet Command

Howdy gamers!  The Star Trek franchise has been around since the 1960’s and with the recent movies it’s going just as strong as ever.  Digit Game Studios developed Star Trek Fleet Command and it was published with CBS Interactive and Scopely in 2018. 

Fleet Command is a 4X game (explore, expand, exploit, eliminate) strategy game that lets you control many iconic Star Trek ships and outfit them with iconic characters from the franchise as well.  There are also role playing elements in the game, as you must level up and upgrade your crew and ships to maximize your potential.  You can also research in a tech tree to gain bonus and unlock new ships that you can build to add to your fleet.  

Your home base has several buildings in it, some are generating resources, others train your crew or build your ships.  Once you upgrade your buildings to a certain level they will hit a cap until you upgrade your HQ.  There are lots of upgrades and research that need to be done as you advance, but the game does a great job of telling you what you need to do and where to go to do it.  

The crew can be upgraded and each have special bonuses they give to ships they are assigned to.  Ships can be leveled up as well, and need to be outfitted with upgradeable weapons to maximize their effectiveness.  The tech tree unlocks upgrades and bonuses for ships and crew, as well as more spaceships as you research.  

When I first started playing the game I will admit the amount of things to do was a little overwhelming, but now it feels more like there are just multiple things that you can do to help stay engaged in the game.  Paying attention to all the various aspects that keep your fleet improving will keep you busy but frantic.  Also since this game is free to play and available for iOS and Android you can command your fleet from you mobile device.  Try to live long and prosper in this game now!

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Rust – Intro

Howdy gamers!

Rust has been explained to many players as a combination of DayZ, a zombie apocalypse game mod for ARMA 2, and Minecraft, the blocky procedurally generated world of Creepers.  This is a fairly accurate representation of the game.  Developed and published by Facepunch Studios with an early release in 2013, and later full release in 2018, Rust is a multiplayer-only survival game.  And while you have to fight the elements and wild animals the most dangerous enemies are other players.

You start out with just a rock and torch and must figure out how to survive.  As you gather resources you can start to craft items.  As you explore and find blueprints and other materials you can start to craft more complex items.  Occasionally items are airdropped on the map from planes, and players often descend upon their location quickly.  A few of the airdrop vehicles also try to attack players in range but can drop more advanced loot.  

In order to travel larger distances, players can take advantage of a variety of vehicles.  Players must also keep an eye on their food intake to keep from starving to death.  But of course, starvations isn’t the only way to die in the game.  You can also drown, or get hypothermia, die from an animal bite, or die from radiation if you don’t have the proper protective attire.  If you do die, you have the option to respawn in a random location, or where you previously placed a sleeping bag.  There are places called compounds that are neutral areas for trading, and high damage auto-turrets that will fire on you if you draw a weapon.  to help you survive all the hazards of Rust player form clans to help each other out.  Often bases are made for housing the clan and give them a safer place to trade with one another.  Clans can gain significant resources if they are able to raid and loot the bases of other players or clans.  

The possibilities in Rust are pretty open and only really limited by what the game allows you to craft and your imagination.  Thinking of creative ways to survive makes this game very fun to replay.  If you have Windows or Mac you can try to make it on your own right now!

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TankPit – Intro

TankPit is a small Indie game that is actually a reboot of a game called Battlefield hosted at bonus.com in 1997.  The game moved to playbattlefild.com and was there until it was shut down in 2012.  In the same year, TankPit started to try to maintain the original game.  

The game lives on because of a veteran player and software developer.  The basics of this browsers based game lets you pilot a tank around a map, careful to avoid mines laid by the opposing team.  The teams are based on the color you choose when creating your tank.  You can also lay mines, and use your radar to help you survive.  You can take out the enemy with various weapons as you level up your tank and get new weapons.

This small Indie game is definitely a nostalgic walk down memory lane for some.  So dial up your router and take a trip back in time to how games used to be played in your favorite browser today!

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No Man’s Sky – Intro

Howdy gamers!  Released in 2016 No Man’s Sky is a survival and exploration game published and developed by Hello Games.  The game is a vast procedural generated universe that allows players to explore over 10 quintillion planets, though that might take a little while.  Each planet has its own unique ecosystems.  The player has four major categories of things to do in the game, survive, explore, fight, and trade.  

You set out to do all these things as a humanoid alien known as the Traveler.  Equipped with an exosuit to protect you in harsh environments and a multitool that is used to scan and collect resources or use as a weapon, you begin the game near your crashed spacecraft.  Once you have repaired your spacecraft you can start to travel to new planets and space stations, but beware alien factions might try to engage you in combat.  You can also use hyperspace jumps to travel to other galaxies.  As you explore you gain Units, the in-game currency, for finding new planets, alien bases, and species.  

As you collect blueprints you can use resources gathered to upgrade your exosuits and other equipment.  You don’t have unlimited space for your upgrades and resources, so these things must be managed closely as you progress.  On planets, you can be attacked by hostile animals or self-replicating robots called the Sentinels  Be careful who you attack though because the game has a wanted system that will lead to ever together robots to appear and attack you.  

The size of the universe makes this game almost instantly replayable.  It also allows players to experiment and find the right way to play for themselves.  So if you like a very open-world game, hop in your spacecraft and fly among the stars on PlayStation 4, Windows, or Xbox One today!

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Rainbow Six Siege – Intro

Howdy gamers!  Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is an online first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and was published in 2015.  The game utilizes technology to allow players to interact with and destroy the environment, most often to gain access to objectives. There is an international cast of operators from various counter-terrorism units.  Each unit has operators that fill either an attacker or defender role with abilities and weapons suited for their tasks.  

Players can earn an in-game currency, Renown, that can be used to unlock the various operators and or cosmetics changes, and R6 credits can be purchased with real currency to more quickly access these items.  There are a limited number of offline Situations or missions that act as a tutorial to prepare players for matches.  The rest of the game modes are multiplayer and share some common mechanics.

At the start of a round, each player on either side chooses a spawn point to start the round.  The attacking team has one minute to control drones and try to find out what the defenders are up to, while the defenders have the same amount of time to set up and try to conceal their preparations.  The drones can be destroyed, so defenders need to keep an eye out for them.  Maps are designed to encourage close-quarter engagements and have a 3-4 minute match length.  When players die they don’t respawn but can use drones and access security camera feeds to try to assist their teammates after being eliminated.  

Players can use the destruction of the environment to gain tactical advantages over the enemy.  The defenders can deploy heavy fortifications to help stop bullets from penetrating walls, but they can still be destroyed by some operators or devices like breaching charges.  However, these highly destructive items are limited in use per round so precision is key when using them.  

There are several multiplayer modes and two PvE modes.  The first PvE mode is Outbreak.  In this mode, 3 players team up to stop an extraterrestrial biohazard attack.  There are 2 versions, the harder mode including friendly fire.  In Terrorist Hunt five players fight again AI-controlled waves in various game modes.   Hostage mode, as well as the remaining modes, is a PvP match type.  The attackers must extract the hostages, while the defenders try to eliminate the attackers and defend the hostages until the match is over.  However, if a team injures a hostage, the other team can try to stop them reviving them before they bleed to death as an alternate way to win the round.  Bomb mode has two bombs that must be defused by the attacking team.  The defenders must either eliminate all attackers or destroy their defusal device.  If defusing starts before all attackers are taken out then the defusal must be stopped to win.  Secure Area mode tasks the defenders with protecting a biohazard container.  If the attackers can secure the container they win.  If all team members are killed the opposition will win the match.  Arcade mode offers limited-time events that modify existing modes, while Seasonal Events last for one game season and are a new unique mode.  

With downloadable content and seasons keeping the game fresh and new, it’s worth taking a look at Rainbow 6 Siege if you like FPS games.  If you have Windows, PlayStation  4, or Xbox One you can join the over 45 million other players already playing today!

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League of Legends – Intro

Howdy gamers!  League of Legends (LoL was released in 2009, developed by Riot Games, and is still one of the top MOBAs around.  But don;t take my word for it, the number speaks for themself.  In 2019 the world champions ships had almost 100 millions viewers, and a prize pool of $2.5 million.  

LoL gameplay is similar to most other MOBAs.  There are two teams of five players each choosing from a unique cast of champions.  Unlike other MOBAs, there is only one map design for each of the game modes.  Summoner’s Rift is the main mode, and the only one used in professional esports.  Both teams must defend their Nexus in their respective bases, and work to destroy the other teams to win.  Waves of AI controlled minions continuously spawn and attack towards the enemy base.  There are 3 routes to the enemy base, call lanes, and the area in between these lanes is called the jungle.  In the jungle, players can earn extra experience points to level up and gold for purchasing items from the in-game store to boost their stats for the match.  Along each lane there are also 3 turrets that each team tried to take down to allow their minions to advance further towards the enemy Nexus.  

ARAM (all random all mid) is a fast paced game mode, and a stripped down version of Summoner’s Rift.  Using the Howling Abyss map, there is a single lane with turrets along leading to the enemy Nexus.  There is no jungle on this map, and the teams are forced to engage one another often.  They can’t retreat to heal up in their base areor purchase items unless they are dead.  

The thing that can keep LoL fresh for players is the number of champions to play.  There are now over 150 to choose from and they are broken up into 6 main categories.  Tanks, the durable frontline fighters.  Fighters typically deal more damage than tanks but not quite as tough.  Slayers and melee experts that deal higher damage, but at the cost of survivability.  Mages are mostly damage dealers from afar, and are the class with the most champions.  Controllers are masters of manipulation and can either buff their team, or suppress the enemy.  Finally, the Marksmen class usually play back from the frontlines and while not being a heavy damage dealer, can be adept at dealing with enemy Tanks.

League of Legends has pretty much become a legendary game.  And its free to play model allows anyone to pick it up and give it a try on Windows or Mac.  So why not choose a champion and give it a shot today!