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Player Unknowns Battle Grounds – Intro

Howdy Gamers! There aren’t that many games made that are smash hits every year, and way less game mods that become popular.  But that didn’t stop Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene from taking his original ARMA 2 mod and turning it into one of the biggest games in recent years.  The game was based on a Japanese film called Battle Royale from 2000, and that’s pretty much exactly what PlayerUnknowns Battleground (PUBG) is.  PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Bluehole, released PUBG in 2017 under the direction of Green.  

PUBG was one of the first battle royale games, and its gameplay directly influenced other titles that would follow in the wake of its success.  Players parachute from an airplane onto a large island and begin to search for weapons and armor to help them go up against rival players.  The number of players can be up to 100 playing solo, in a 2 person duo, or up to 4 players as a squad.

The last man or team standing wins.  As the match timer ticks down, the playable area of the island begins to shrink, and if a player doesn’t move into the playable area they will begin to take damage and eventually be killed and eliminated from the round.  Players earn in-game currency for cosmetics upgrades for their character.  There are event mods that occur, typically with holidays, that allow larger squads, and often change the spawn points for weapons and armor on maps.

PUBG became a smash hit fast, making over $11 million in the first 3 days after launch, so it’s pretty safe to say they got something right when they made it.  If you haven’t played yet, grab your parachute and jump into this free-to-play hit on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Playstation 4, Xbox One, or Stadia now!

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SMITE – Intro

Howdy gamers! There are deep histories and lore behind the mythology of ancient civilizations.  Most of the stories talk about wars waged and victories won.  Have you ever wondered what would happen if these characters were able to square off against other pantheons?  Would Zeus defeat Thor?  Smite is the game that can help you find out!  Smite is a MOBA developed by Titan Forge Games and published by Hi-Rez studios in 2014.  

Smite is played in 3rd person and is more skill-based than most other MOBA games.  Your ability to move and aim can greatly increase your effectiveness in battle.  Like other MOBAs however, you can buy items in-game to help improve your stats and restore health.  There are several game modes to choose from that change up the experience.  Conquest mode is the standard 3 lane style, each lane spawning minions that advance toward your enemies base  Titans are large characters with high hit points and strong melee attacks.  To help slow down the enemy, each lane has 2 towers and a powerful Phoenix guarding them at points.  In the area between lanes, called the jungle, there are camps guarded by neutral units until they are provoked.  Clearing the camp will give you a powerful bonus.  Each base houses the team’s Titan and must be defended at all costs, or your team will lose the match.  Arena mode is a smaller map without lanes or Titans where each team has to reduce the opposition’s ticket count to zero. 

When players die, they spawn in their base, with an invulnerable Phoenix guarding the entrance.  Assault is very much like Conquest, except there is one lane and no jungle area.  Also, the Gods for each team are randomly chosen, but they can be traded with other players or re-rolled for another random selection.  Joust is another similar mode, with a short lane and some jungle camps with a single Tower and Phoenix as defenses.  Siege mode introduces Siege Juggernauts.  These are creatures that are tough to take down and deal extra damage to structures.  They are summoned each time a team gets 100 points or kills the wild Juggernaut in the center of the map.  When a Juggernaut is alive for a team, a portal is created that will move friendly units to the Juggernaut location on the battlefield.  Clash is another mode similar to Conquest but only has 2 lanes.  There is also the Match Of The Day that changes daily and can have many different unconventional rule sets.  There is also a Training mode that can be used for practicing or to help new players learn the game.

There are over 100 playable gods in the game mythologies all around the world.  As you play you will earn favor used to unlock gods to use in battle.  The gods are grouped into 2 categories, those that use Physical or Magical powers.  Gods only get bonuses to their stats by equipping items of the same power type.  The gods can also be divided into classes.  Hunters and Mages have mostly ranged attacks.  Guardians are the tanks and melee support types.  Warriors are melee bruisers doing more damage than tanks, and not quite as tough.  Assassins, the final class, are mostly more stealthy melee damage dealers and often used to capture jungle camps.  Each team can only have one of each god, unless dictated by the match rules. 

One of the best things about Smite is the sheer number of playable gods.  Once you have mastered one, you can choose another to play as and learn, or keep things fresh by rotating them constantly.  This great MOBA game is also free-to-play on Windows, Mac, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch so you really have no excuse not to play it!

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ARK: Survival Evolved – Intro

Howdy gamers!  To me the idea of a Jurassic Park type scenario has been kinda scary, but also just as cool.  I think it would likely end like the first movie (spoiler alert) with the dinosaurs escaping the cages and wreaking havoc.  If that ever happened you would have a scenario alot like ARK: Survival Evolved.  In Ark you find yourself on an island inhabited with prehistoric creatures and dinosaurs and you must forage for food, find or make tools, and do whatever it takes to survive.  

Development on Ark started in 2014 and an early release version was available in 2015.  The game was released in August 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux, with Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch versions released in 2018.   The game play is similar to other survival games, you can explore a 48 square kilometer world, build a base and defense, and try to tame dinosaurs so you can ride them.   Well that last bit is unique and one of the key features of the.  Taming can be accomplished by either knocking them out with a club or with tranquilizer darts, then feeding them various foods.  Some animals can be tamed by approaching them cautiously and feeding them.  Once an animal is tamed it will follow the players commands.

To stay alive players need to minotaur various meters that track stat levels, like oxygen, health, hunger, stamina, thirst and your carrying capacity.  Your health will slowly regenerate, unless you eat food or other crafted items.  The other meters when depleted can damage your health meter so keep an eye on them.  As you complete the necessary tasks to survive you will gain experience points.  When you level up your maximum health, stamina, oxygen, hunger, thrist, carrying capacity, melee damage, movement speed, and crafting speed will increase.  Players also need to create a base to ensure their survival.  Bases are built by combining crafted items like pillars, floors, doors and walls.  The builder’s imagination is really the only limit to what a base can be.  As you progress in the game you can build with better materials, going from thatch structures, to wood and eventually tek, a late game material.  The game can be played solo, in PvP mode where players can fight each other, or in PvE mode without players being able to harm each other.  

If you like survival games, and you like dinosaurs Ark: Survival evolved might be the perfect game for you.  Grab a copy and tame a T-Rex today!

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Apex Legends – Intro

Howdy gamers! In the digital age, it’s tough to keep almost anything under wraps for very long.  But that’s just what Respawn Entertainment did as it developed Apex Legends, as most people assumed they were working on the next game in the Titanfall series.  But in February 2019 Electronic Arts published the game with prior promotion or announcements.  But players soon found out about Apex Legends to the tune of about 25 million the first week after launch.

Like other hero shooters Apex Legends has a variety of different playable characters, called legends, with their own unique weapons and skills.  Game play is generally a squad based battle royale.  Players team up in squads of three, and choose their legends.  Each squad can only have one of each legend so making the right choice could be the key to victory.  Matches start with 20 3 man squads in an aircraft with a jumpmaster in each squad deciding when to jump into the battlefield.  Like other battle royale games players scavenge for gear and weapons to help them take on the other squads.  One unique aspect of Apex Legends is the “ping system” that allows players to communicate with the rest of their squad non-verbally.  Its very handy when using a game controller and makes quick simple communication possible.  Like the Titan fall series, Apex Legends lets players vault over low walls, use zip lines, and slide down sloped surfaces.  As the playable area of the map shrinks, and forces encounters with other squads, one squad will eventually emerge victorious even if they only have one member left.  It is easier for some other battle royales to win with more of the squad alive though.  You can revive wounded, but not dead teammates.  Also resurrect members by collecting their respawn banner and taking it to a beacon on the battlefield.  However, if the respawn banner expires the player is eliminated from the rest of the match.

Apex Legends has seasons that span about 3 months and usually introduce new content such as legends and maps.  There are time-limited events typically with holidays that pop up from time to time.

The game is a great blend of a hero shooter and battle royale games, and since it’s free to play there is no reason you shouldn’t give it a shot.  Try it on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch now!

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Team Fortress 2 – Intro

Howdy gamers! There are tons of games out there that are fun and different, but how many of them can say they lead to a whole genre of titles?  There are even fewer that come to mind that started out as a mod like Team Fortress 2 (TF2).  Since its original Quake mod days, TF2 changed quite a bit, it was released in its trademark cartoon-like style in 2007 by Valve.  It wasn’t the first FPS with teams but it was one of the first that had very different characters with traits and skills that were unique and complemented each other and led the way for many squad-based games to come.

The characters of TF2 can be broken into 3 types; Offense, Defense, and Support.  Each type fills a certain type of role that is needed in a team to be successful.  We won’t go in-depth into each character class here, but we will touch on each.  The offensive classes are the damage dealers; Scout, Soldier, and Pyro.  They are fairly nimble and are great at taking down the enemy on the run.  Next are the Defensive classes; Demoman, Heavy Weapons Guy, and Engineer.  Their strengths come in controlling areas of maps and holding them for your team.  Finally, we have the support classes; Medic, Sniper, and Spy.  These classes are each very different and their names are very apt descriptors of their abilities.  

Next, let’s dive into the game modes.  We are going to stick to the core game modes in this intro.  First is Attack/Defense (A/D) mode.  In TF2 the teams called RED team and BLU teams.  In A/D the BLU team attempts to capture the RED team’s locations called control points.  BLU team wins if they can capture all the control points, but if the RED team can hold them off until time expires they win.  Each time the BLU team takes over a control point the game time is extended, and the RED team cannot retake points taken.

A similar mode called Control Points uses the same idea but the mission is for your team to take control of all the 3-5 points on the map.  Teams can recapture points and extend the game timer.  Matches start out with only the center point being active and able to be controlled, and the rest unlock after the first point is taken.

The last map control point mode is called King Of The Hill.  The objective here is to take control over one control point and hold it until the time runs out.  Each time the point changes hands the match timer is reset and the countdown begins again.

Capture the flag (CTF) is a race to capture the opposing team’s flag (or in TF2 their intelligence briefcase) and return it to their base.  The intelligence can be dropped manually, or when the player carrying it is killed.  Once the briefcase is dropped it will remain for a minute before returning to its start point.  This makes the game interesting because you can’t carry your own team’s briefcase, so if it’s dropped you must keep the enemy away for the one-minute reset time.  The first team to capture the intel 3 times comes out on top.

The last of the core game modes is Payload.  This is a timed match where BLU team must push an explosive cart along a track, while the RED team fights to stop it from advancing.  While the BLU team is close to the payload, it will slowly retreat if there are no team members nearby.  Along the route, the BLU team can reach checkpoints that can affect the player spawn locations and the payload will now not retreat beyond the checkpoint.  Getting to a checkpoint also extends the game clock.  If the BLU team can’t push the cart to the end of the track by the time the countdown is over, they lose.

While this isn’t 100% coverage of all the game features, these are the main points and should give you a good overview of how the game works.  If you want to take a crack at this game it can be played on PC, MAC, Linux, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.  Hope you have a fragging good time!

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World of Wartanks – Intro

Howdy gamers!

Some of the most feared vehicles in combat have been tanks.  World of Tanks (WoT) lets you get in the belly of the beast and compete against other players for battlefield domination!  The game was released in 2010 by Wargaming and its success has spawned other vehicular combat style games.  

The vehicles of WoT feature mid-20th-century vehicles and can be broken into 6 types: light, medium and heavy tanks, tank destroyers, self-propelled guns, and main battle tanks.  There are over 600 tanks to choose from and can be customized as you unlock parts from the tech-tree.  Up to 3 pieces of additional equipment can be added to each tank to enhance things like firing rate, as well as 3 consumables that can be used: repair kits, medical kits, and extra rations.

There are several battle modes to choose from in WoT.  Each battle type also has missions that offer special rewards for completing them.  The Standard game mode has 2 bases, one for each team.  The goal is to either eliminate the opposition or take control of the enemy base before the match time expires.  In Assault mode, one base is controlled by the defending team, and to win the opposing team must either capture the base or destroy the defender’s tanks.  The defending team can claim victory also by destroying the other team, or holding their base until the time is up, which is typically 10 minutes.  The Encounter mode is almost the same as Standard mode, except that capturing is much slower, and if the battle timer runs out it’s a draw.  The Random battle mode will choose from Standard, Assault, or Encounter and place the player in a match.  Frontline matches have multiple phases with 2 teams of 30 vehicles.  T

hey are only offered once a month for tier VIII tanks, and if you don’t have one they can be rented.  In Grand Battle mode it’s a 30 player free for all, and only the top tier, X tier, tanks can be used.  Team Training lets a player choose many parameters for the match, make it private or public, and assign players to teams.  This is primarily used for experimentation as this mode gives no experience points or credit, but repairs are free.  Clan wars is a browser-based component of the game where clans battle over territories on the global map.  Strongholds let clans use their Industrial Resource to create buildings that offer benefits to the clan.  Your clan can team up and enter a queue to fight in the Skirmish battle mode.  

As you can see there is plenty to do in WoT to keep you engaged.  So start moving in double time to find a match on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 4, iOS, Android Mac, or Nintendo switch now soldier!

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World of Warships – Intro

There are not a lot of hit naval warfare games but World of Warships is one of the few.  It is a free-to-play MMO published by Wargaming in 2015 after its other hit war games World of Tanks and World of Warplanes.  The premise of the game is to take the helm of warships from throughout the 20th century and use them in PvP or PvE content.  

You can choose from several naval powerhouses fleets in a variety of game modes.  There are a limited number of maps, mostly taking place in locations that had historic naval battles.  For PvE matches players must complete several objectives to claim victory.   In PvP battles the goal is to eliminate the enemy vessels.

To gain access to new ships you can spend your experience points gained from playing to progress through a tech-tree.  Once you have unlocked all modules needed for a particular vessel you can move on to the next, and if you fully upgrade a ship it is given Elite status.  There are also skill trees for ship commanders and other unique perks that can be unlocked to further customize your fleet.  

There are also features like combat missions, challenges, campaigns  and collections that give extra rewards to use for player progression.  In addition there are Ranked and Clan battles.  Ranked battles are where individuals square off, and in Clan battles you must bring teammates to the fight.  Over time there have been other World of Warships interactions that have allowed the game to be played on mobile devices and consoles.  

That being said what’s stopping you from conquering the high seas?  Take the helm on PC, Mac, iOS, Android Playstation 4 or Xbox One now!

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Fortnite – Intro

Howdy gamers! Fortnite has a unique development story.  It started out as a zombie survival game that allowed players to build fortifications and traps in order to help them survive.  This became the standard game mode and is called Fortnite: Save the World, and is the PvE portion of the game and must be purchased.

As the game was being made, PUBG came out to huge success.  Seeing the success of the battle royale style game, Epic Games, who released Fortnite with early access in 2017, and fully in 2020, added a game mode that would be called Fortnite Battle Royale.  The battle royale mode was also separate from Save the World, allowing it to be developed for additional platforms.  The game pits 100 players against each other in a free for all battle.  There can be teams for 3-4, duo’s (2 players) or solo players queued for matches.  The players begin in the “Battle Bus” high above an island, and airdrop into the fray.  Players must find the resources they need to stay alive and hunt down others.  Over time the playable area of the match shrinks as a toxic storm envelopes the island.  Eventually, this leads the remaining players to encounter each other and leave one player or group to emerge victoriously.  Battle Royale is out now for PC, Mac, Playstation $, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

There is also Fortnite Creative, a Minecraft like mode that lets players be, well, creative.  Each player has private islands for building just about whatever they want with the ability to invite friends to see and interact with whatever they built.  Players can use their pickaxe to collect resources and destroy structures in all modes of the game.  Fortnite Creative and Battle Royale and free-to-play, and all modes have the option to buy aesthetic enhancements to set your character apart from others.  Creative and Save the World, are not available for Android and iOS.

If you haven’t tried Fortnite yet, what are you waiting for!  Get in the Battle Bus and drop into the action!

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Heroes of the Storm – Intro

Howday gamers! Have you ever thought about who would win in a fight between some of your favorite game characters?  Well, why not find out!  In Heroes of the Storm, you can go into battle with your favorite characters from the Blizzard games universe, like Diablo versus Raynor.  Heroes of the Storm (HotS) is a MOBA released in 2015, and the battle maps are locations from many other Blizzard games.

That’s the cool thing about this game, it has a lot of heroes that we know and love from other games, and we can play as them against just about any other Blizzard heroes.  There are the standard types of MOBA heroes, support, damage, and tanks, all uniquely suited for their roles.  However no one of them is able to win the match on their own, and team effort is needed to win the match.

Matches are all very similar styles like other MOBAs with 3 lanes that mobs travel down toward the other team’s base and your team tries to take down the opposition’s towers, mobs, and heroes, and ultimately their base.  However, a few maps change the rules on how the enemy base is damaged or augment the bonus that can be used to help with the task.  Most have a mechanic that requires control over areas of the battlefield to unlock a powerful way to damage the enemy base. Some examples are a giant robot, pirate ship cannons, or nuclear bombs.  All of the maps can be used in different modes.  There are tutorials, training, and versus AI matches that can be used to learn when you are new to the game or to test our new heroes.  Quick matches are for more casual fast matchmaking and match up 2 teams against each other.  Unranked matches use a draft style that lets teams choose one hero at a time, and allows for up to 3 heroes to be banned from play for that match.  Ranked mode is the same, except that it counts towards a player’s competitive ranking, so Unranked can be used to practice without having a negative effect on players ranking.  Finally, there is a Hero Brawl mode that’s has a random ruleset each week and sometimes a non-standard map.  This can be fun, plus you get a loot chest for winning once a week.

There are plenty of maps and heroes to keep the game experience fresh.  See you in the Nexus soon!

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Marvel Strike Force – Intro

Howdy gamers!  Have you ever wanted to experience the raw power of a superhero?  Well, Marvel Strike Force might be the closest thing to that you can get in a mobile game.    In this game, you can control some of your favorite heroes, and villains as you battle across multiple encounters that will test the skill of you and your heroes.  Marvel Strike Force is developed by a top-notch mobile game maker, FoxNext.  The game was released back in 2018 and still a favorite of comic book fans around the globe.  Your mission is to team up with the Agents of S.T.R.I.K.E.(Special Tactical Reserve for Interdimensional Key Events) and create a squad to stop Ultimus and his minions from taking over the world.

Like other games in the genre, this is a gatch style game that is turn based, you collect shards of characters from orbs.  Once you get enough shards you can unlock that character, and as you gain even more, promote them  and make them more powerful.  You will earn orbs and shards from most gameplay area, through achievements, or purchasing them form the shop.  Their are limited time Events and Challenges that offer unique items and shards from time to time.

On the home screen you will see the various game modes, your character roster, the shop to acquire supplies, a place to see and collect your achievement rewards and Inbox to check communications from the game.  There is also a offers tab where you will find new packs of supplies for a limited time that can grant you power tools for your team.

There are several game modes to choose from which you unlock as you progress in the game. You will start out with the heroes campaign, and move on to other chapters as you advance.  The campaign is a great place to level up and gain needed items to promote your characters.

Next you can go into the Blitz mode and choose your missions to earn milestone rewards for limited time.  These prizes are specific to characters.  Blitz mode lets you face off against others players defensive teams control with AI.  The arena is a similar game mode, but you are fighting to be at the top of the global leader board.

To battle in the Alliance Raids you will need to join a player Alliance, or just stay in the game generated one that you are assigned.  You will team up with up to 24 other members to defeat all the raid nodes for big rewards.  DIfferent levels of raids take more alliance members, and can eventually be your entire alliance needed to beat one.  The next phase of Alliance battles, Alliance Wars takes place between 2 different Alliances.  Each defends their Helicarrier from the attacks.  The Helicarrier’s have 12 rooms each with 2 sets of 8 teams defending them.  The opposing alliance gets to set its defenses per room, so you need a deep roster to be able to help out your alliance the most.

Last but not least is the Dark Dimension.  This mode is for high level players who are truly end game.  There are 3 modes, each more difficult than the next, the rewards are pretty awesome.  Depending on the difficulty you need a certain level of characters and gear and fight through a series of levels, they are tough but offer some of the best rewards in game.

So are you ready to leave your strike force to victory?  Get started collecting your all-star team of Marvel heroes and villains today on iOS or Android.