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Excitement Brewing

 

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It has been awhile since I posted. I know. In my defense there has been a lot going on and time has been something I have had in short supply.

So, as some of you may know awhile back I got hired on at Good Gaming, Inc. I am now managing the content on the site. All the videos and guides are under my purview and I am very pleased with all the progress my team has made there.

While not an easy job, I LOVE IT! Everyday is filled with new things. New ideas being thrown around and new challenges to face. We have a built a pretty solid following of folks. Since we focus on Hearthstone and Overwatch because they are the games we run tournaments for, I have not had much time to really invest in any other games. If you play Hearthstone or Overwatch, click that link to sign up for our open tournaments. Since we are focused on amatuer gamers, even the most casual of players have a chance to win some really amazing prize pools.

With being so busy at work the only thing I have been really playing lately is Stardew Valley. It kinda eats my brain, and also has a great soundtrack that I inevitably fall asleep to.

Great! Now that I have put you all to sleep, back to the really exciting stuff!

At the end of this month I will be playing Conan Exiles. As most of my readers are aware, survival games are my mojo. What you may not be aware of is that I love the stories of Hyboria as much as I love Star Wars. That is saying something right there, as I sit here in my Star Wars pjs. You get the picture.

In relation to the release of Conan, my desire to get into streaming again, and my intent to engage with the gaming community, I will be moving my blog over to a bonafide domain and begin truly developing it. You will see lots of Conan content, but I will also be expanding into other games and genres and will bring on other producers of video and written content.

So look for these developments in the coming months, along with an actual review of Conan. I have been following the dev blog and streams and will give a peremptory review prior to release next week and then follow up post release with both a live stream and written review.

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Be sure not to miss any of the coming content by joining me on my twitter @GGorawyn and my twitch channel https://www.twitch.tv/geekygorawyn.

 

 

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Beta Review: Tom Clancy’s – The Division

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Today I spent the day playing Tom Clancy’s The Division on the XBox One. I have to say I am mighty impressed. You can check out Twitch Stream of it here. Morning Campaign with Iago and here Afternoon DarkZone Funzies!

There Had to Be One

Lets start with my one complaint. Because I really only had one. I did not like the way the camera turned. It felt stiff. Instead of flowing with the character you kinda strafed around which made it feel like you were kinda stiff necked. After awhile I got used to it. I had some difficulty with throwing the grenades as well but that was primarily player error and not a problem with the game mechanics.

The Good Stuff

In the beta we are only able to get to level 8 and the Dark Zone rank max achievable is rank 12. So needless to say I did not get to see everything, but what I did was awesome!

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You do get a nice home base of operations. In this particular beta we are only able to unlock the Medical and Tech wings. The Security wing is still under construction apparently. Each wing gives you access to different skills that you can use in the field. You can upgrade the wings through game play and then upgrade skills and unlock new skills.

While in the field you will come across people in need. In exchange for a paltry soda or energy bar they will give you items, upgrades, or vanity gear. I got a cool looking red jacket and a backpack with 16 more slots, that was better than the 12 slot backpack a level 6 boss dropped, from some bum for a soda. He then asked me if I was trying to make him crap his pants but I thought it was an awesome trade!

Interesting to note, there is a crafting system for the game. We are not able to access it yet but it is something I know I want to see! I hear it is supposed to be awesome. Based on how the mods work on the guns I am guessing it is going to rival the Fallout 4 crafting system. Maybe not quite as in-depth but my hopes are up.

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The Dark Zone

I expected entering the Dark Zone to be killed immediately. If you watch the second video the minute I enter the zone the guys surrounding me are like, “Who is this guy?” They have a conversation during which they horribly kill my name, and then kindly decide to not kill me. During the entire time in the DZ I was only killed once by another player.

Unlike Call of Duty where the sole goal of PVP is to kill one another, here the goal is to get loot. When you are out getting loot, you are not flagged, (gone Rogue). Your name is white, not red. You can kill players who are red without penalty, however, kill a player with a white name and you are now a rogue agent. Die as a rogue agent and you lose DZ funds. If you outlast the timer, you will gain a substantial amount and rank.

When you have gotten loot you will have a hazmat canister on your back everyone can see. If you die you drop it. You must make it to an extraction site, call for a helicopter, wait for the copter and then put the item on the rope for it to be extracted. Once it is on the rope it gets taken out to be decontaminated and is waiting for you in your stash.

When people kill you there is very little in it for them. While they do get whatever loot you had on you, and a bit of xp. If someone comes along and then kills them and they are rogue they lose a ton, while you may have lost a crappy green item. They don’t get to loot your equipped gear, only the gear you were taking to the extraction zone.

I think this is a brilliant mechanic. It makes you think. Should I go Rogue or do I help this guy? For instance I was at the extraction zone. NPC’s came out, I had called the chopper to come extract. Another agent shows. I covered him while he put his gear on the extraction. Took out two NPC’s. Put my gear on. Was taken down. He revived me. We went on to kill two more NPC’s and went our separate ways. We ran into one another later and another guy PK’d me. He killed the Rogue agent. Got the DZ points. I got the gear drop. Again went our separate ways. But we knew. We run into one another down the line. We will know. “One of the good guys. Maybe. Or is he…this time.”

All in all, I really didn’t want to like this game. Because… I can’t afford to buy it. But good job. I do like it. I hope you all do too and if we get to play together. Just know. I don’t go rogue, until you do.

 

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On Stream Today : Tom Clancy’s The Division

I will be on my Twitch Stream today playing the open Beta of Tom Clancy’s The Division, starting at 10:00 EST.8_old-alley_195938 If you would like to join me and play with me, I will be playing multiplayer during the afternoon. Gamertag – Gorawyn. Warning: I am not normally a shooter type player! Yall may just have to teach a girl a thing or two. I will be writing up a beta review afterwards for the site and will be taking down some notes between games.

I will play through the campaign in the morning, break for lunch around 1PM EST (to give my husband a chance to play during his lunch hour) and then begin multiplayer around 2PM and play til 6PM.

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Cyber Bullying from an Old Schooler’s Perspective

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I recently went through some things online that set me to thinking about cyber bullying. It is a very real problem that is out there on the internet today. I have two children who use the internet and since I am technologically savvy, I am lucky enough to be aware that cyber bullying exists and educate them about it.

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In spite of being a techie, even I have been a victim of it. People on the internet who engage in this kind of behavior are not just kids, some of them are very clever adults. They are individuals who are so wrapped up in their own desires or pains, that they can’t see that their actions and words are painful to the people they are engaging with online. They are clever and say things like, “I was just joking.” and “Don’t be so serious!” taking away their responsibility for saying painful things. After so long, those painful words start to hurt. When the victim brings it up, they look like a drama monger and fear even saying anything. They begin to internalize the issue and this can lead to depression, anger, and even suicide.

imagesThe bully may be experiencing their own pain, or think they are just making light fun. Either way the anonymity of the internet makes it easy. They don’t have to see the hurt in the other person’s eyes, or the anger, or the pain. They only have words on a screen. Not the other person in front of them.

 

cyberbullying-laptop-kidEven if asked to stop, there is little emotion in words on a screen, and there is the catch all phrase, “I was just joking, chill out.” There is no one to tell them what they are doing is wrong. No one the victim to turn to if they could. The bully can just turn off the computer. They can go do something else, and never suffering any consequences for any of the actions they have taken. They can have a good laugh and go on about their day. It is all very cathartic for the one doing the bullying.

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When I was a kid growing up, the internet was in its’ birthing stages. BBS’ were still a thing. People who were behind the computers were the same people I hung out with at the local bookstores and coffee shops and played D&D with. Because I was logging into a person’s local computer server to play games and trade files.

If someone was rude to me as a kid, or vice versa (as was just as often the case), my mom and their mom had words, and one or both of us got our computers taken away for a week or two. Like any other kid with their hobbies. So we had to play nice.

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The community in the 90’s technology age was very different than today. Now I log into the gaming world and it is like wading through muck and mire. I find myself wondering where I fit in. Children are able to create macros to do what I once took pride in, and now spend more of their time firing off hate speech towards one another, than creating new brilliant things. Trolling used to be about being witty and clever, now its about being cruel and viscous.

I watch as the state of gaming is degraded by cyber bullying. No where is safe. I have to ask myself where did all these people come from that are causing so much grief and sorrow across all these platforms. Why is this happening?

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I have yet to get into a guild without someone being “the troll”. It seems like now that is the accepted reality and we should all just deal with it. Is it O.K. now to treat others with disrespect in the name of it being a joke? Is it O.K. now to say things that are hurtful to others simply because you don’t have to answer to anyone and can walk away from the computer? Because they can’t retaliate or there are no real consequences?

The consequences are there. The consequences can be seen in the above graphics, the teens committing suicide, the depression as a result of cyber bullying, the decline in community and family style atmosphere in gaming online, the rise in toxic atmosphere online, and the traits and actions we are teaching our children to perpetuate in the next generation.

The bottom line. Cyber bullying is killing our games and our kids. Stop it.

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Socialization through Online Gaming

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Over the years I have come to know some interesting people through gaming. Some of them have lasted long through the years, longer than what most would consider my real life friends. Those individuals are as dear to me as the people who interact with me in the real world.

My current group of online friends devised a way to get to know one another better. They call it question night. It’s kinda like truth or dare, without the dare. Each person in turn in TeamSpeak asks a question, and we all have to answer it. Some of the questions are simple. Like – What’s your favorite color. Sometimes though, the questions are deep and thought provoking.

Last night one of those questions was: Do you think you have made better friends online or offline?

At first I did not know how to answer. Luckily it was not my turn right away. Most of the others answered – online.

I thought about it long and hard. I thought about my current friends in the real world – Reikonyx, Zerox, Juubles. Then I thought about my current friends online – Athyrie, BountyHunter, NeuroToxxic. Then I looked over to my husband, Jaxxiel. I thought about the long years we spent as the leaders of a great guild, just as friends. I thought about the development of our relationship online, and then the transition of that into the real world. I thought about how I spend more time hanging out with the people in my video games than the real world.

Then it hit me. There is no difference. To answer the question truthfully I said online. Because the majority of my friends do come from online sources. Many of them come into my life as part of a game and stay a part of my life past that game.

But this can also be said of my real life friends. I meet someone due to an activity. Usually gaming, cause let’s face it, it’s what I am into. Then that person becomes an active part of my life, till said activity is over. Then they move on, keeping in touch till the next activity we decide to engage in together.

There is good times and bad times in both types of friendships. There is inevitable drama in both, but the best friends I have are those I have made in games.

I suppose in the real world people would say I have no life. I would disagree. My life is full of good people, laughter, and sharing something I love with others. Gaming.

 

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Review: Ark Survival Evolved

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Did I mention how pretty it is?

And finally a review on the game that has eaten my brainmeats lately, ARK Survival Evolved.

Lets get the basics out of the way first. I do play on an unofficial server which is owned by my good friends, Reikonyx and Relax. You can find out more information on it via the Steam Group, my Steam Profile, the About Me section on this website, and on the Ark Servers Website. I am an admin/moderator on the server and am happy to help out any new member to the server.

Now that’s done, moving on to the game itself.

To describe the game: It is as if Minecraft, Jurassic Park, Fallout, and DayZ, all got together and had a baby. Take the best elements of each thing and bam you have ARK.

In its simplest form it is a survival game.

Description on the Steam Store page describes it thus: “As a man or woman stranded naked, freezing & starving on a mysterious island, you must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops, & build shelters to survive. Use skill and cunning to kill or tame & ride the Dinosaurs & primeval creatures roaming the land, & team up with hundreds of players or play locally!”

But I like my description better.

I cannot describe in simple words the sheer beauty of the game. All pictures in this post are from my actual gameplay. I run the game on medium settings and every week they increase the optimization of the game so my screenshots have progressively gotten prettier as time has gone by.

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The Crossbow and Miners Helmet – Two of my favorite additions to the game.

The game is still in its alpha infancy so there are many bugs, however for the first time in the history of the time I have been reviewing games, I am seeing developers that listen to their players. Each week they produce an ARK Digest, describing features in the most recent of their frequent updates, to upcoming bug fixes and dino’s they intend to include in future updates. At least once a week we get something new and cool, a new dino or tool, and performance/graphics gains.

An ARK Digest

You have the ability to play on the official servers or to find an unofficial server or host one of your own. One of the downsides to the game is that on PVP servers griefing can happen if the moderator is not active or if good rules are not in place.  This is particularly frequent on the Official PVP servers.

Hosting a server is not recommended on your own machine though it is possible. The sheer amount of bandwith and processing it takes lends itself to being best served by a external host. This will cost extra if you decide to go that route. On a good note, even if there is a wipe on the main servers your admin may choose to wipe the server or not, so you are less likely to lose everything.

I think one of the biggest issues that people have with this game is they forget a few basic things. The game is in Alpha. It is a survival game. It is a building simulator. You will die, there will be bugs, and yes it takes a long time to gather materials to build that awesome building you want to create.

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No Sylvester Stegalone, dinner is not ready yet!

As it sits you wake up on the beach naked with this implant in your arm and immediately you need food, water, clothing, and shelter and you have no idea why you are there or what has happened to you. They don’t play around. There have been times I have spawned 2 or three times and been killed 5 seconds into the game by a random raptor or dilo. However once you get your feet under you a bit, find a spot, build a thatch hut, and tame your first dinos, the game becomes slightly easier.

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Trabe and I in our new fancy flak armor, colored to match our dino saddles.

The tribal system in the game is vital to your survival. While you can play solo even on a server with others, the game becomes infinitely better with friends. Tasks that seemed daunting before are capable of being achieved. Need 1000 chitin? Sure I’ll take out the Sabertooth and grab some for you, while you gather stone to make cementing paste. Don’t have an engram for that saddle you need to ride your new Sarco, someone in your tribe does. And if you are smart you wont all take the same engrams.

Engrams

On the subject of engrams. Engrams are how you learn to make things. As you level up and you can level up just by surviving alone, not to mention from crafting, killing, gathering, and your nearby tribe mates doing any of the above in your general vicinity, you learn engrams. At this point you cannot learn every engram on your own, so you are forced to either pray the ones you need come in a supply drop (more on this later), or work with others on your server to get the materials / items you need.

One of the quickest way to gather materials to make your newly learned engrams (from walls to weapons) is to tame a dino to help you gather. Each dino has a purpose in the game, even if that purpose is not immediately evident, it is there. For instance, the Anklyo, is a flint gathering machine, the Mammoth gathers wood like you wouldn’t believe, and the Trike loves to help you gather thatch. Dinos can gather more than one thing but they seem to be best at one thing. Sometimes that is simply having amazing stamina for long runs, or speed, or poison to help you tame other dinos.

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My Scorpion has helped me tame many a dodo for my eventual dodo army.

Taming in and of itself is a process that takes a time investment on the end of the player. I am going to explain the process to the best of my ability in a concise manner.

1. Knock dino unconscious. You can do this a number of ways, including punching it in the face. But the best methods are tranq arrows with a bow/crossbow, or utilizing a scorpion who has a tranq attack.

2. Add Narcotics / Narcoberries and preferred food to its inventory. (Carnivores like meat, Herbivores like berries, and they even have preferences as to which ones they like more ie: Prime Meat, Kibble, and preferred berry type, be sure to look up its preference to increase tame speed)

3. Watch its torpor, and remote use narcotics in the inventory as needed. Higher torpor means less loss of efficiency, more efficiency = higher level dino and skills when done.

4. It will eat at certain intervals increasing its amount tamed. When the bar is full, you will be able to name your new dino!

There are many different guides and speculations on taming strategies. From feeding it an item it doesn’t like in order to make it eat faster, to starving it before giving it food. I think it is based on personal preference and I have found that regardless of my method the taming time for a dino depends more on having food it likes in its inventory and staying nearby as it tames to keep its torpor at max.

My first Tame was a trike. I named her Princess

My first Tame was a trike. I named her Princess

 

This game is hard at times and you will want to scream at the screen, and at others you will die laughing, and ultimately you will return to it time and again because it is fun. I can’t wait to see the final release version because even in its infancy it is far better than most at this stage.

As an added benefit the game has controller support as well as VR capabilities. I personally am excited to try this game with an Oculus as it was built with VR in mind.

Be sure to check out our server and let me know in game that you found us here and I will be sure to stop by and give you a welcome gift in game!

GG

 

 

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Update: XBOX Preview, Upcoming Reviews and More

So a lot of things have been happening lately that has kept me from writing as much as I want to.

Ok, so the truth is, I have become addicted to ARK Survival Evolved. Today, I promise I will get a review up on that and more but I wanted to give you an update on all the things I am working on.

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I have been an XBOX Ambassador for quite some time now, occasionally I will log in and answer a few questions for people. Very recently, I received an invite to the XBOX preview program as well. I have the ability to invite others into the program and am happy to do so, within reason.

If you would like an invite to the program, I do ask that you do a few things for me.

1. You must friend me on Xbox. I can only invite people on my friends list. You can find my Xbox info via my About Me page along with many other places you can game with me.

2. You must follow my blog, twitter, facebook, tumblr. You don’t have to follow them all, just one. When you do send me that inevitable friend request via Xbox, I want to know who you are, and where you follow me at so I can possibly chat with you in the future about updates and get feedback on the games you are playing and how you are enjoying them. I want to invite friends, not just random people on the internet.

3. Actually use the application and give Xbox feedback on its updates. They aren’t doing this so you get free content before everyone else. They are doing it so they can get feedback and create the best release version of the update they can. Your input is as important as anyone else’s.

4. Keep in mind the entire process takes awhile. So be patient. If you send me multiple messages asking why your registration hasn’t gone through… I will … give you a cookie and tell you to calm the hell down. Wait I forgot…

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So now that all that is established, feel free to hit me up and let me know you want in the program.

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In other news, I also recently received a review copy of RPG Tycoon. Unfortunately there are a few bugs that need to be worked out before I can give an accurate review of it.

I am excited for it as it looks super cool, however I think the issue in the game I am experiencing may have something to do with my recent Windows 10 Update. Hopefully I will be able to work that out today. The developer of the game is quick to respond to bug reports and is already working with me on a workaround to figure out why it is happening.

 

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And last but not least – WINDOWS 10! This bad boy of an Operating System is a BAMF!

At first glance your all like – Yay… a revamped Windows 8. And then you start playing around, and realize you can talk to your computer, stream your Xbox games directly on your PC, and your husband can play Witcher 3 on his computer, signed in to his profile on the XBox, while you answer messages on your Xbox app signed into yours. I intend in a few days once I’ve played around with it more to give a more in-depth review of the features and aspects I enjoy about this OS as well as some tips and tricks.

So, all that is coming. But for today – ARK Survival Evolved.

Be sure to take a look at the ABOUT ME section of the website to find more ways you can connect with me.

GG

 

 

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