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Halo 5: Guardians – Intro

Howdy gamers!  The Halo Series of first person shooters have been around almost 20 years now and has 10 different titles.  It has also become one of the highest grossing video game franchises ever, with the series raking in over 3.4 Billion dollars.  Halo 5: Guardians is the tenth installment, and the fifth main installment.  Over the years it has had several development teams, but lately 343 Industries have been the lead, with XBox Game studios publishing Halo 5 in 2015.

Halo 5 Guardians Warzone Assault Temple Hunter

The game campaign begins with Spartan Locke’s Fireteam Osiris looking for Master Chief who has gone awol.  Just like the rest of the series the Spartans have their powered armor that can deflect attacks and mitigate damage until they are diminished, but recharge quickly.  You can also only carry two weapons at any given time, but can exchange them for new ones that you find anytime.  Spartan abilities replace armor abilities in Halo 5 and use thrusters to increase the wearer’s mobility.  Unlike previous Halo titles that had teams of NPC’s (non-player characters) that were changed over time with the story, In Halo 5 you have the same fire-team throughout the game and can give them limited commands.  In co-op play spartans can be controlled by other players.  If a team member takes too much damage they must be revived quickly before they die for good.  

Halo 5 Guardians Warzone Assault Temple Gunfighter

There are 2 main multiplayer areas in Halo 5; Arena and Warzone.  The Arena itself comprises several modes, but all have a 4v4 format.  Slayer is a team deathmatch, the team with the most kills, or that reaches 50 kills first wins.  Capture the flag in Halo is just like most other games, except you can toss the flag to other players.  The goal is to get the opposing team’s flag to your base 3 times, or more time than they do before the match is over.  Stronghold mode is similar to     king of the hills type modes.  Each team must try to maintain control of 2 out 3 objectives.  When they do they start to accumulate points, and the first to 100 points wins.  Finally Breakout is a hybrid mode.  There is a flag in the center of the map that must be brought to the opposition team’s base to score a point and win the round.  You can also eliminate the other team to win a round, and players don’t respawn if killed until the beginning of the next round.

Warzones are a larger scale multiplayer mode.  There are two teams of 12 and the maps are up to 4 times larger than those in Arena modes.  There are 3 variations of Warzones.  Assault has a team attacking and one defending.  The defending team has 3 bases to defend, as well as their core at their home base.  If the defenders can stop the attackers taking over bases and destroying the core they win.  Players can use in-game points in the Requisition system (REQ) to get gear and weapons for the matches.  Turbo mode is largely the same but faster pace and grants REQ level much faster.  Firefight mode is a 8 player PvE version of Warzones.  There are 5 rounds each lasting 5 minutes with tasks that must be completed as well in order to advance.  Each round spawns progressively tougher enemies and culminates with a boss fight.    If at any time a task isn’t completed in the allotted time the match ends.  There are 3 difficulty levels, and the tougher the match the better the rewards.  

Halo 5 Guardians Arena Mercy Duel

For those that have played the Halo series in the past, this game is a no brainer.  But if you haven’t played the series yet and you have an Xbox one why not pick up a copy and test your FPS skills in one the best running series there is!  Lead your fireteam to victory today!

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Final Fantasy XIV – Intro

Howdy gamers!  Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV) has a pretty interesting development story.  When it was first launched back in 2010 the game received widely poor reviews.  However instead of giving up on the game and moving onto the next project, Square Enux went back to the drawing board to essentially recreate the game.  Then in 2013 Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn was released, essentially version 2.0 of the game, and was much more well received.  Since then 3 major expansion packs have been released; Heavensward, Stormblood and in 2019 Shadow Bringers.

FFXIV is an MMORPG set in the fictional world of Hydaelyn with 3 large continents, and is set in the Eorzea region.  Like other online role playing games, players gain experience points (EXP) form in game actions and level their character up, and enhance their characters statistics.  The main sources for EXP are quest, dungeons, Full Active Time Events (FATE) or killing monsters as you journey around the world.  FATE is a new game mechanic and lets a large number of players engage in the saem quest even if they are not in the same party or group.  Once your character reaches maximum level most players then focus on getting better gear.  While most of the game content is PvE there are a few modes that are PvP.

In The Wolves Den, a four-player team is created and challenges another.  Frontlines is a much larger battle scale with 24 players versus 24 and there are multiple rule sets that can be chosen.  Lastly, there is a battle arena mode when players control waves of minions and use a mech to take out the enemy objectives.  

One cool thing about FFXIV is the way the character class system works.  The player controls their class with the weapon and equipment choices, so it can be changed on the fly.  Each class is part of a Discipline that gives access to powerful items and skills.  There is also a in game economy that is mostly player controlled.

If you like MMORPGs then you probably already knew about FFXIV, but if not what are you waiting for?  Start questing on Windows, Mac, PlayStation 3 & 4, or Xbox One right now!

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive – Intro

Howdy Gamers!  Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is the fourth installment in the Counter Strike series.  It was developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve and released in 2012 and continues the legacy of the original Half-Life mod that became so popular Valve bought the IP so it could develop a full blown game from it.

In this multiplayer first person shooter, there are always 2 teams, the Terrorists and the Counter Terrorists.  There are several game modes to choose from in CS: GO.  Competitive matches are between 2 teams of five.  Friendly fire is enabled in this mode, so teammates need to be careful to not fire upon their allies.  Matches are in a best of 30 format, the first team to win 16 matches are crowned the winners.  Wingman is a 2v2 match type in a best of 16 format.  In these game modes, you can use in-game currency to buy weapons, armor and other supplies for your match to try to gain a competitive edge. 

In casual mode players receive armor and bomb defusal kits and friend fire doesn’t register.  Death match is fast paced, with instant respawns on death.  You are given a few moments to change your gear and weapons before engaging the enemy again.  Points are gained through kills, some weapons giving more, and the weapon point bonus changes throughout the match.  In Arms Race mode, you cycle through weapons as you kill opponents, and win a player gets a kill with the final weapon, the golden knife, they win.  Demolition mode tasks one team with planting a bomb, while the other guards the bomb site, and similar to arms racem you get better weapons as you kill the other team.  Another casual more called Flying Scoutsman reduces the gravity for the match and only has sniper rifles and knives available to the teams of eight players.  All online games use matchmaking managed by Steam, but players can also use custom modes and maps by hosting games on their own server.  Player server rules are often way different than the core game play modes.  

Overall CS: GO is a great addition to the series and definitely worth your gaming time.  Pick up a copy for Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 now!

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Battlerite – Intro

Howdy gamers!  The main difference in most MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games is the cast of characters.  Battlerite is the spiritual successor to Bloodline Champions and was also created by Stunlock Studios in 2017.  

The game is much more focused on combat than tactics.  Unlike other MOBAs there are no lanes or neutral units.  Instead each match is deathmatch style where the team with the most kills in the allotted time wins.  The team size is also smaller than most MOBAs, limited to 2-3 players.  These game parameters lead to quicker matches and faster paced combat, and that’s really what we want right?  Some time after the release of Battlerite, Battlerite Royale was released as a speerage game that had the core mechanics of vanilla Battlerite, but changed the game play to be more like a battle royale game, like PUBG.  In this game players team up to battle to be the last man standing.  

Another variation from most MOBA games was the way the players gear their champions.  You can modify your skills and abilities outside of combat, creating a load out for them that will be used when in a match.  The modifications change or add effects of skills, or can increase their power.  And instead of having to level up in a match to unlock abilities, in Battlerite you have all of them available at the beginning of the match.  

If you like quick matches with fast-paced action Battlerite could be your game!  Grab a copy and start playing on Windows today!

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Destiny – Intro

Howdy gamers! Destiny is Bungie’s first console release since the Halo series, and was published by Activision in 2014.  This FPS has PvP and PvE content in addition to the main story line.  The game has MMO and RPG elements, but Bungie calls is a Shared-World Shooter.

Destiny has 3 core classes, with 3 sub-classes, and also 3 species.  The species is only a cosmetic characteristic, but the other class identifiers modify the characters abilities.  Hunters focus on mobility.  The Gunslinger sub-class gets a boost accuracy stats and is rewarded for being accurate in game.  Bladedancers are another sub-class, but are tuned for close quarters combat.  The Nightstalker sub-class is more stealth and is able to blind their enemies.  THe next main class are Warlocks, the mages of Destiny.  They have powerful offensive abilities, as well as skills to help them recover and can use melee attacks to reduce the cool-down of other skills.  Titans are tanks and can souk up high amounts of damage.  The Striker sub-class has powerful melee attacks, and their ultimate move can eliminate all enemies in close quarters.  The Defender subclass can help protect allies with a shield.  The Sunbreaker subclass can wield a flamming hammer, and also throw it at enemies.  

The main content of the game is PvE and includes a main story line, but updates have add side missions.  Players can create a fireteam of up to 3 players for co-op PvE.  They can also enter Strikes that have a boss fight at the end of the mission.  There are also 4 PvE Raids for groups of 6 players that must take down a major boss that ties into the games story line.

PvP combat takes place in the Crucible games which include; Control, Clash, Rumble, Skirmish, Elimination, Rift and Supremacy.  Control mode is a control point capture mode with teams of 6 players.  Clash is a team-deathmatch made mode similar to other FPS games.  Rumble is a 6v6 free for all mode.  Skirmishes are similar to Clashes but allies can be revived.  Elimination is like Skirmish mode, but has nine rounds.  A team wins a round once they have eliminated all opposing team members.  Rift is a 6v6 capture the flag style mode.  Supremacy is a 6v6 mode where upon death enemy players drop a chest, and points are gained when the chests are picked up.  There a few time-limited games modes as well.  Salvage is a 3v3 King of the Hill style mode.  Combined Arms modes adds vehicles and turrets to Control and Clash maps.  Inferno mode disables the players radar, and points are scored by killing the enemy.  Doubles mode is a 2v2 version of a Skirmish.  Mayhem modifies skill cooldowns for Clash and Rumble modes.  Zone Control is similar to Control mode but larger zones have to be capture and held to score points.  

If you are ready to take on enemy as you travel around the Galaxy its time to give Destiny a try!  Play on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 now!

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Destiny 2 – Intro

Howdy Gamers! In 2017 Destiny 2 was released and developer Bungie took Destiny to the next level.  Just like the original, Destiny 2 is a sci-fi FPS with MMO and RPG elements.  Originally launching and paid title, it is now free-to-play with paid expansion packs.  

Similar to the prequel, Destiny 2 lets the player take control of a Guarding from one of 3 classes, each class gaining another subclass.  The Hunter Bladedancer subclass was replaced with the Arcstrider subclass.  Arcstriders use a staff to control and focus electrical energy and are very agile.  Warlocks new subclass the Dawnblade can create Solar Blades and strike enemies while in mid-air, replacing the Sunsinger subclass.  The Titans Defender is replaced by the Sentinel subclass which can create the Defenders shields, but also use the offensively.  Each subclass also receives an additional super ability for more gameplay options.  Once a player reaches Level 50 they shift to gaining power levels through their armor and weapons.   Higher player levels allow them to equip more powerful gear and can be found in daily activities, but the best comes from the more challenging difficulties.  Gear can be improved by infusing old or unwanted gear.

PvP still takes place in the Crucible, like Destiny, but most game modes are 4v4.  The new Quickplay mode does require two 6 player teams however.  A new more complex mode was also added called the Gambit.  In this mode 2 teams of 6 players fight against AI controlled enemies.  When they are killed they drop motes that must be collected and banked.  Every 5 motes a team banks spawns a Blocker for the team to take down.  When one teams banks 75 motes the final boss spawns, and the first to take their boss down wins.  Periodically a portal is open that allows one team to attack the other teams players and try to steal unbanked motes.  Gambit Prime is the was introduced, bringing the mote count to spawn the boss to 100 as well as player level advantage being enabled, so higher level players can have better stats and are not equalized.

As in the original Destiny, the most of the game content is PvE focused.  Most of the PvE missions are similar style but the biggest addition is the new Adventure game mode.  This is similar to dungeon crawling, the player explores area looking for loot.  Some Adventures lead to a Lost Sector, these are hard to find ears that will lead to a boss that will drop a reward when defeated.  Lost Sectors can also be found without starting an Adventure.  There are also Heroic Adventures that are much harder and rotate each week.

Destiny 2 takes its predecessor up a notch in most of its content and gameplay. It expanse the Destiny universe a little, while improving but staying true to the original game.  Some of the game content requires paid expansion, but the core of the game is now free-to-play!  So if you have a Windows PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, or Stadia you can begin the journey for your “destiny” today!

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DOTA 2 – Intro

Howdy Gamers! Defense of the Ancients was a Warcraft 3 mod that was wildly popular.  So popular in fact that Valve released a full stand-alone sequel (DOTA2) in 2013.  DOTA was the “game” that created the MOBA genre and is still going strong.  Its gameplay model is still the standard mode for many MOBA games.

DOTA2 pits 2 teams of 5 against each other, each team projecting the Ancient in their base.  There are 3 paths or lanes to the enemy base that creeps, weak AI characters, spawn and travel down towards the other teams base.  Areas off the paths are the called the Jungle.  Their are neutral creeps at camp in the Jungle that protect useful items and the team that defeats the creeps gets the goods.  Each hero has a set of abilities that use mana points to cast.  A heroes mana pool is limited, and takes time to regenerate so time of abilities can be a key factor in winning or losing a battle.  The heroes can be divided into 2 primary types; cores and supports.  Cores are typically weak in the beginning of the match, but as they progress in the math, become more powerful. THey are also the main damage dealing types, and lead the charge against the opposing team.  Supporter duty is typically to heal and buff the cores to allow them to fight at their maximum potential. 

Players can use the Talent Tree to improve the development of the hero during the match.  Items can also be bought at the shop in-game to enhance heroes.  These items are purchased with gold earned during the match, and some are lost when a hero is killed.  Heroes have a cooldown until they respawn then they are placed in their own base.  There are a few game modes that mainly affect the way players choose their heroes.  In a standard match, there is a draft phase where players choose their heroes.  There can only be one of each hero in a match, so selecting heroes can be a strategic choice.  There are a few other modes that slightly change the rules.  In All Pick, there are no hero selection restrictions.  In All Random, each team is randomly chosen by the game.  There is also a Captain’s Mode, where one team captain chooses the team’s heroes and is typically used for competitive esport play.  Occasionally, there are also themed events that have new rules too.

Though the learning curve for getting gear, talents, and timing down, DOTA2 has received high ratings and still has a large player base.  So if you are new to MOBA’s and want to give one a shot DOTA2 is a great place to start anywhere you can play Steam games!

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osu! – Intro

Howdy Gamers! Not all games are about beating your opponent to submission in a battle.  There are other unique genres out there like rhythm games that challenge a player’s skills in certain areas, like dexterity and precision.  osu! is a fun take on the rhythm game genre and was released in 2007 by Dean “peppy” Herbert for windows, but is now on Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.  

osu! has 4 game play modes each slightly different.  The standard version gives the player a beat map to play by clicking circles, rotating spinners, and holding sliders to the beat of the music.  The next game mode, called osu!taiko is played on a drum like interface that has red and blue notes that the player must hit to the beat.  osu!catch makes the player control a character at the bottom of the screen that catches fruit as it falls the music.  Finally, osu!mania has a piano style layout and the player must play notes to the beat.

The beatmaps used in these game modes are broken up into 5 categories.  Ranked & Approved and beatmaps that have been approved to be playable and offer a global top 50 player leaderboard for each song.  This category also awards points that are used for the player overall global ranking.  Qualified beatmaps are in the approval process, and could be set to Pending if there are issues found with the beatmap.  This category will not grant leaderboard points.  Loved beatmaps are well liked by the community and have their own leaderboard that the creator can reset at any time, it also does not give ranking points.  Pending or WIP (Work in progress) are beatmaps waiting to be ranked or are not yet complete and don’t offer points or a leaderboard.  Graveyard is a category of stale beatmaps that aren’t receiving updates, and not submitted are usually still being made and only available if you have the .osz beatmap file.

osu! has a fairly large world-wide competitive scene and is even being remade and updated, but that’s still in the works.  The game is free to play but has a subscription that offers several perks that allow customization of parts of the game.  Download it today and see if you can feel the beat!

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Overwatch – Intro

Howdy Gamers! Blizzard is known for some very big hit games, and in 2016 they stepped into the FPS arena with another one called Overwatch, a squad-based shooter with a wide range of heroes.  Overwatch started out with a casual gameplay focus but has flourished and turned into an esport staple for FPS fans.

One thing that sets Overwatch apart is the depth of the roster of heroes there are to choose from.  All the heros are very different in their attributes and abilities, but they typically fall into 3 categories: Damage Dealer, Tank, or Support.  Damage dealers typically fight near the objectives to eliminate enemy heroes and stop their progress.  They are also usually able to maneuver quickly to avoid taking too much damage themselves.  Tanks are the defenders of the objectives and the rest of the team.  They are also generally close quarter combatants, dealing the most damage to nearby targets, especially when they have Support characters assistance.  Supports typically aid the team heroes with healing or damage mitigation techniques or deal their distance from a far.  Some supports in more of a healing role will either focus their heals, or are able to give a lower amount of healing to a large portion of the team at once.  Most other supports will be sniper types, or deploy gun turrets in key locations to keep the enemy at bay.

There are various game play modes that are typical to the FPS genre, some with a unique twist.  First is Assault, where one team defends 2 captures points, the second capture point is unlocked when the attacking team takes control of the first and extends the match.  The defending team’s goal is to stop the enemy from capturing the points and let the game clock expire.  An overtime period can be triggered by the attacking team being present on the control point, or capturing the first point and unlocking the 2nd.  Capture mode has three rounds without a time limit where two teams fight for control of one capture point at a time.  After points are captured, another is unlocked in a different area of the map and another round begins.  Over time can be activated by one team getting to 99% captured, and the other team being present on the point.  Up to 3 team members can speed up capturing a point.  Escort mode has one team advancing a vehicle along a path while the opposing team tries to stop their progress.  At least one team member must be in the vicinity of the vehicle to advance it, and the opposing team can stop the progress by being present at the same time, or if they are alone begin to move the vehicle back to the last checkpoint.  If the vehicle isn’t escorted to its destination the defending team wins.  There are seasonal match types that come and go with unique rules.

Like other games that have high replayability, Overwatch’s characters make the game fun to come back to over and over.  You can try out all the characters and see which of them fits your play style.  If you are looking for a great new FPS experience give Overwatch a shot on Windows, Playstation 4 Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch now!

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Paladins: Champions of the Realm – Intro

Howdy Gamers! If you are looking for an FPS with a slightly different style, Paladins might just be the game for you.  Developed by Evil Mojo Game, and published by Hi-Rez Studios in 2018 Paladins has many standard FPS features, but also incorporates cards for each character that can be used to change and enhance them.

In Paladins each character has a set of cards that can be used to dramatically change their characteristics and their skills.  A player creates a load-out for their character, a set of 5 cards of rank 1-5 and the sum for the values of the ranks can’t be over 15.  Players can also choose from 3 Talents that have the most significant impact on their characters playstyle.  By customizing their character load-outs 2 players can have the same character, yet have very different skills and stats.  Characters can be further augmented with cards that can be bought while in game.  Each character has 4 abilities, an Ultimate skill, as well as a unique weapon. They are broken into 4 different types.  Front Line characters are the tanks, best for holding objectives and protecting the rest of their team, and earn 100% more in game credits while near an objective.  Damage characters deal high amounts of damage and bonus credits while dealing damage to the enemy.  Support characters can give offensive and defensive boosts to their teams, and get bonus credits for healing.  Flank champions are quick and deal heavy damage as well, but their low health can lead to them being overwhelmed by enemies in groups.  They receive 30% bonus points for landing the killing blow on an enemy.

Paladins primary game mode is Siege.  In Siege matches start with a central capture point.  When captured a payload spawns for the capturing team and must be escorted to the enemy base.  Each time the points changes hands or a payload is successfully escorted to its destination a point is earned.  If a teams payload does not reach the destination in time, the opposing team can earn a point.  The first team to 4 points wins. Onslaught and King of the Hill are very similar modes.  In Onslaught mode, Teams earn points by capturing the control point or eliminating enemy team members.  First to 400 points, or tickets, wins.  The King of the Hill variation is that every 90 seconds the point relocates.  In a Team Deathmatch, the first team to 40 kills is the victor.  There is also a competitive Ranked mode that players can use to have higher quality matches.

Paladins can be played for free on Windows, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch so why not put your skills to the test today!