Category Archives: Free to Play

Recently: Borderlands $4.99, Preorder Borderlands 2

Recently: Borderlands $4.99, Preorder 2

Borderlands 2 is $4.99 on Steam right now until July 30th. You can play the original for FREE on Steam until Sunday 1PM PST. You can also preorder Borderlands 2 now for $59.99.

As of right now the phenominally successful Arma 2 DayZ mod lists 882,168 unique players. The mod is still in its alpha stage and suffers quite a large number of issues such as griefers ALT-F4ing out of combat, “ghosting” (momentarily changing servers to flank players) and connection issues. Along with bugs in general. Regardless of these issues the mod is still going strong. I think players generally feel that the right issues aren’t being fixed at the right time but fixes are coming in on a semi-regular basis.

The Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod is in development again. Retail (legit) copies will be required according to the developers.

Check out the video below detailing Sonic Ether’s shaders mod for Minecraft.

Release Dates:
Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition – Sept 18 PC, Mac and iOS
World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria – Sept. 25 2012
Guild Wars 2 – Aug 28 2012
Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan – Sept. 5 2012
Borderlands 2 – Sept 18 2012

Deals:
NewEgg: EVGA GTX 560 SE 1GB for $119 (109 after rebate)
Borderlands for $4.99 plus Free Weekend until Sunday 1PM EST

Links:
Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders for Minecraft
F1 2012 Video Detailed
MechWarrior Online: Founders Program Video
Battlefield Aftermath Details: GameInformer / Shacknews
Hawken Hands-On: stfuandplay.com

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Arma 2 DayZ Mod: Why We Die

Arma 2 DayZ Mod: Why We Die

Contrary to popular belief the common death in DayZ is not suffered to the dreaded brandit or zombie. Oh no. It is true; you will die often. Just not from circumstances which can be called “legitimate”. I can guarantee you that without a slither of a doubt that you will die nearly entirely to bugs, what might appear to be a hacker (or could be) and unfortunate other Real Virtuality 3 game engine issues.

In the past week of playing I’ve died zero times to what I would call a “fair death situation”. When it comes to a PvP death I’ve gotten the drop on the “enemy player” all but once. The one exception was when a player exploited the ability to disconnect and spawn back in to sneak in a kill. I’m very good at stalking players and getting the first shot but I’ve only successfully killed a player once.

I’m not going to thoroughly explain every situation that I’ve encountered but to be brief with one: I recently hid in a tent in Stary Sobor at night and waited for a player to either enter my tent or the one across from me while waiting prone. The player entered the tent across from me and I placed a head shot with the revolver. The bullet did not land because of a bug in Arma 2 which causes prone fired rounds to collide with ground terrain instead. This alerted the player to my presence bringing about my death. This is a very common occurrence which makes firing “around a corner” impossible in Arma 2 even though the feature exists: it does not work. Prone fire is a risky tactic.

Issues like these bring about an interesting point. The battle to survive in DayZ is very little about not being eaten alive or killed by bandits. It’s about learning the nuances of the issues in Arma 2 and DayZ and figuring out how to work around those issues. While I am a nerd and I get a certain kick out of such things; it defeats the purpose of the entire mod.

You will quickly realize that attempting to outrun a zombie is literally and metaphorically an “uphill battle”. Whether or not you survive attracting the attention of a zombie will depend on whether or not you can find a barn to run into and whether or not clunky controls (or lag due to the extremely horrible netcode in Arma 2) resulting in accidentally getting hit resulting in bleeding out profusely in the middle of nowhere trying to find a barn to run into: while also attracting 15 more zombies.

The ultimate goal in DayZ for most is not to survive. No one survives this mod. As of right now the average survival time is about 31 minutes. It’s to find the best gear that you can before you do die. For some it’s make as many players’ virtual lives hell as possible. What’s incredibly frustrating is that like clockwork you find a very useful item such as matches and then die to a bug or lag that results in a broken leg. That’s game over.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve picked up morphine and then broken my leg leaving the room. Recently I picked up a FN FAL with 120 rounds (a powerful weapon) while literally out in the middle of nowhere and was killed within 20 minutes while moving through an open field. Like I said: like clockwork.

You never have morphine when you need it. Blood is basically a hit points system that is impossible to renew without finding matches plus an axe (or wood) plus an animal to kill for meat. Unless you’re lucky enough to find a blood pack (good luck) and a friend to transfuse it for you (good luck).

To be fair: yes Dayz is an alpha mod. But let’s be realistic here rather than extremely illogical. The issues that really break the mod are Arma 2 issues. Not DayZ issues. I just do not see Rocket (the developer) fixing these issues without some very hefty fixes to Arma 2. So don’t get your hopes up. Arma 3 is around the corner and I don’t see any productive fixes on the horizon. To be honest: I don’t have much hope for Arma 3 either. I want to love this game and I do for a lot of reasons but the issues far outweigh the fun.

To conclude my thoughts: DayZ is fun but equally as aggravating and at times infuriating. You will lose your gear. You will lose your head. Now go kill some zombies.


Call of Duty: MW3 Free Weekend Starts April 26

COD: MW3 Free Weekend Starts April 26

This weekend Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PC is free-to-play. The F2P offer includes multiplayer. The event starts at 1PM Eastern (10AM Pacific) on Thursday the 26th of April. You can begin pre-loading the game on Steam from here. You can purchase the game as a PC download for $40.19 from Gamestop or $35 from Amazon.

Preload now from Steam.


World of Tanks: Unbalanced, Otherwise a Blast

World of Tanks: Unbalanced, Otherwise a Blast

There are game-breaking issues with World of Tanks: attributed mostly to the excessive balance issues. I’ve been playing since beta early last year though I only have around 1000 total battles since post-beta. In Wot you are forced to suffer through bad balance until you earn top tier tanks.

WoT is a fun game when your battles don’t suffer to outrageous match-ups. These battles match you with tanks that are so much more powerful than you that they can easily (and will) take 20 direct hits from your best gun to the one that it takes to kill you. It’s laughable and defies logic completely.

Battles in a T4 generally either result in being matched against T5, T6 or T7 tanks (and lower tiers). One T5 is the Soviet KV heavy tank which has a strong gun, high armor and medium hit points (560HP) but has a low rate of fire. The low rate of fire should compensate for its strength. It does not. Everything you shoot at the KV bounces off if you’re not in at least a T5 and one round from the KV can take out a T4 like its hull is made of paper.

One example is when playing the Hetzer (a tank destroyer) which often gets matched up against Tier 7s that have easily over a 1000 more hit points (the Hetzer has 270). The PzKpfw VI Tiger (Tier 7) has 1350 hit points. That alone makes you wonder what the hell is up Wargaming.net‘s creative ass.

I have replays of a Tier 3 Sturmpanzer II SPG (artillery) getting at least 6 direct hits on a KV (plus splash damage) and the KV survives but finally takes it on the 7th direct hit. The KV is only a T5. And you only get about 16 rounds (if I remember correctly) in the SII.

Then there is spotting and camouflage. Both need work. I won’t go in-depth but I still see tanks appear 20 feet away, directly in the line of sight out of nowhere. Their are also issues with tanks becoming invisible mid fire-fight while exchanging fire. These takes are able to continue firing unseen.

World of Tanks is enjoyable when matched against tanks that are at least somewhat equal in strength but that is rarely ever the case. You get matched against your own tier about every 1 in 5 matches. One excuse given by many fan boys of WoT when you mention the balance issues are that the tanks you can’t damage are heavies. But regardless; these tanks shouldn’t take over half your rack of shells to achieve a damaging hit.

There are some great things about WoT. Getting in a match is extremely quick (around 10 seconds) and matches are over fast. There are also some nice mods available. Check out the World of Tanks StartPack.


Recently: 0x10c, EA’s Poo Award, Aion F2P

Mojang's 0x10c, EA's Poo Award, Aion F2P

On April 11th Aion will be free-to-play and you can download the client now to get ready. We will be streaming Aion live at our Twitch.TV on the 11th. Vanguard will be going free-to-play this summer.

Those with an active subscription of Star Wars: The Old Republic are now able to invite 25 of their friends for a seven day trial. TOR offered up another free-to-play weekend for new players. That trial period ends at 5:00PM AEST April 9.

Mojang and Notch’s newly announced possibly-to-be online (with monthly charge) space travel game called 0x10c is slightly reminiscent of Eve Online. Their may be seamless space-to-planet transitions. Seamless transitions are relatively new to games but have been done before (Evochron Mercenary and Infinity Universe). That doesn’t mean they’re not awesome!

Check out Infinity Universe’s seamless transitions:

Minecraft 1.2.5 is officially released. Check here for the change log. Changes include: shift-click support for furnaces, fixes for chat crashes and changes to cat behavior.

Electronic Arts has received the 2012 Golden Poo award from Consumerist for being the Worst Company in America. Rightfully so! Well, I wouldn’t say the worst company ever but they have a bad reputation in gaming for valid reasons. Back in 2004 EA was sued by employees for unpaid overtime. Read Forbe’s Paul Tassi’s thoughts on the pre-win and Erik Kain’s post-win thoughts.

Secret World is now accepting pre-orders.

Trailers and Videos:
The Shotguns of Max Payne 3
Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter trailer
Destructoid: New Aliens Colonial Marines gameplay & Borderlands 2 Hands-On
Megaman X Fan Video
Far Cry 3: First in-game multiplayer footage
Borderlands 2 New Gameplay + PC Co-op Hands on Impressions
Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition New Elements
Starhawk: Ride, Drive and Fly

Articles:
Starcraft II World Championship Series details
Borderlands 2 Exclusive Hands-On: Returning to Pandora never looked so good


F2P Opinions: Blacklight Retribution, MS: Flight

F2P Opinions: Blacklight Retributions, MS Flight

Blacklight: Retribution and Microsoft Flight are both free-to-play. BL:R is in open beta. MS:F was just released. I was looking forward to seeing MS:F thinking it was an at least half-assed F2P version of MS Flight Simulator. I was wrong. As far as BL:F I didn’t know much about it but it looked worth a try.

The BL:R open beta started recently and I jumped on the opportunity. At first I wasn’t sure what to think about the game. One positive would be that the game runs smoothly on older video cards. What isn’t so positive is that combat just isn’t very fluid or natural.

What I cannot stand more than anything in a video game is clunky controls. It is my number one pet peeve. The fact that you actually are able to hit anything is more often luck than not. I recently played Modern Warfare 3 after avoiding it for many months. Aiming is very fluid and natural in MW3 and not at all in BL:R. Adjusting mouse sensitivity doesn’t really help. I really hate to use Call of Duty as an example but it just does something right that BL:R doesn’t.

The maps remind me of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. As do some of the abilities.

Being inside of the mech-like armor that you can purchase if you have enough points usually around mid to late game is very cool but practically useless right now.

BL:R has the opportunity to be a fun game but I don’t see it going very far and expect it not to do any better than pre-Reloaded All Points Bulletin.

Microsoft Flight doesn’t deserve the title. It is not a flight simulator in any sense whatsoever. Having the name implies that there is some element of simulation. There isn’t. You control the aircraft with the mouse and a cursor on the screen. Controls are a joke. The whole game is. It belongs on a discount shelf in the kiddie section with other Simpsons quality video games.

As soon as you are in control of the aircraft it’s all downhill from there. I am a fan of Microsoft’s flight simulators and have been since the original. This game doesn’t cut it. It just begs the question: what IS Microsoft Flight?

I would stay away from MS:F but give BL:R a try.


Free to Play: Dwarf Fortress Update 0.34.02

Free to Play: Dwarf Fortress Update 0.34.02

Dwarf Fortress released a new update on February 14th and with it new players are jumping on the underground sensation. The game was again updated on the 18th (0.34.02). I’m one of the new players and after the initial hurdle of learning I’m loving it. Yes the graphics might or might not remind you of old DOS games, but it’s interesting and addictive. It’s very difficult to grasp in the beginning but once you do it’s a rewarding experience.

Free to Play: Dwarf Fortress Update 0.34.02

Read Boatmurdered a popular story among Dwarf Fortress fans about fourteen Dwarf Fortress kings who pass around a saved game and chronicle their experiences.

The Lazy Newb Pack contains several great texture packs for use in Dwarf Fortress along with different applications that can be used while playing to manage your dwarves jobs with a windows user interface and add additional sound and music.

You will want to read the Dwarf Fortress wiki Quickstart Guide and follow it closely.

A great way to learn is to hang out in Dwarf Fortress live streams on sites like Twitch.TV. A few streamers on Twitch are captainhorfe, jefmajor and we stream the game from time to time on our Twitch channel.