The internet’s latest craze

Most people have heard about the mannequin challenge, which has swept through the internet just a fast as previous internet challenges. If you are one of the smarter ones who haven’t come across this, then let me give you a quick explanation. The mannequin challenge was started in a Florida High School, by some teenagers who decided it would be cool to film their entire class posing in statuesque positions – hence the name coined The Mannequin Challenge.

As to expect from online community & their love of internet challenges, it wasn’t long until we started seeing more mannequin challenges appearing, from regular people to sport stars & even political figures.

We’ve yet to see brands adopt these internet crazes, however I don’t think it will be long until we do see 1 brand try and re-create this and share on their social media.

As for the the original thinkers of this internet sensation, they probably didn’t know how far it would go and who it would ‘inspire’; they are probably now thinking of how to create a professional career from this.

 

Advertisements

How to watch Blizzcon 2016 Overwatch tournament

As we head into the last few months of 2016 and anticipate what’s to come in 2017 for us gamers, before that we must welcome Blizzcon 2016. Opening on November 4 & 5th 2016, this year’s Blizzcon will be the 10th they’ve hosted and their 25th anniversary. That’s pretty impressive.

Before all the developer talks, fantastic cosplays & announcements, plenty of action is already underway with the Blizzcon esports tournaments. Those that have already started are Heroes of the Storm & Hearthstone Group stages, with World of Warcraft starting on October 28th. Obviously, Blizzcon are also hosting an Overwatch tournament and the group stages will start on 29 Oct (12PM PDT/ 8PM BST).

This year, Blizzcon have partnered with Twitch & MLG to livestream all of the esports online and through their Blizzcon mobile app, so literally nobody has an excuse not to catch any of the games being streamed.

Here’s the rundown of the teams that are participating in the Overwatch group stages, which this year is a world cup based tournament, therefore you will have pro players representing their country.

ow world cup.PNG

 

What’s interesting about this competition, is that the community helped to vote and source the potential Pros to represent their own countries, based on their popularity, skill & regional tournament rankings. And now, these remaining 16 teams will battle it out to become the No 1 country in Overwatch. I’m definitely excited to see how the different Pro players, who wouldn’t normally be in a team together, be able to cooperate & strategise to victory.

Make sure to bookmark the url below so you’re ready to catch the start of the World Cup on the 29th October!

https://blizzcon.com/en-us/watch

 

 

The best thing to come from Microsoft’s conference

Focused around Window’s 10, today’s live conference showcased a bunch of interesting new tech & innovations.

We were shown an updated version of Paint to support 3d drawings, which will also be made available to the previous Surface tablets. They also released new 3d software that will allow anyone to capture an object and create a 3d object without requiring prior skill in developing 3d applications. Users will be able to share their creations through an online community (Remix3d.com), where they can help to inspire others.

Microsoft finally announced the integration of Beam with Xbox, so gamers can stream games directly from their console.

Now to one of two the big announcements, Microsoft showed off their new all-in-one desktop PC, Microsoft Surface Studio. Packed with a tremendous amount of tech, the Surface Studio manages to hide it all away inside a small case that sits underneath the screen, as the base. What seems to be specifically marketed to artists & engineers, Microsoft have suggested it is for anyone who can create and they showed off the features which definitely could help attract creative users to switch from using an iMac to Surface Studio, such as the zero gravity stand, which allows the user to easily position the screen in an angle to suit their work.

The second big announcement was the Microsoft Surface Dial. A gadget which looks like a switch from an oven, serves as a nifty tool, that gives users a host of functions such as zoom & movement. However, it was the next function that sparked a huge cheer from the crowd. You are able to place the Microsoft Surface Dial onto the screen and it can be used as a colour wheel or to switch between brushes. Those, who worry about it scratching the precious screen shouldn’t be worried, as the Dial seems to have a rubber bottom.

Priced at $2,999, the Surface Studio will definitely be a luxury to most creators, but time will tell if this will replace designers table in the future.

Top 14 things we know from Nintendo’s new console: Nintendo Switch

Ok, this was a bit of a surprise.

So today on October 20th, Nintendo decided to treat the world with the official teaser of their new highly anticipated console. Over the months we’ve seen rumoured prototypes and apparent leaked patents describing their next console to be a console/handheld hybrid. Well, it looks like that was pretty much spot on.

Here are the 15 things I noticed after watching the Nintendo Switch reveal.

1.NEW LOGO AND NEW NAME

1

2. The console itself. This could be the smallest console yet. Not sure what the 2 ports are on the side. Could be memory card slots.

2

3.  The controller with light indicators to suggest up to 4 can be connected. Looks more ergonomically designed than Wii U controller.

 

Capture.PNG

4. Controllers slide onto console.

4

5. Console becomes a handheld gaming tablet

5

6. Increased numbers of missing dogs to be registered in the future

7

7. Return of game cartridges to the console

8

8. Kickstand

9

9. Wireless Wii like controllers + new headset?

10

10. Another new controller

11

11. Return of in car gaming + 3rd type of controller for small hands. In car bracket accessory announced.

12

12. Multi device support for multiplayer gameplay

14

13. New Mario announced? And spotted Mario amiibos next to console.

16

14. Nintendo moving to e-sports?  Future goal?

17

Is Youtube Heroes secretly a villain in disguise?

Youtube recently published a video on 20th September announcing a new community program to reward youtubers for helping report negative comments, add captions & subtitles and engage with the conversation. By doing so, they will earn points which you grant them different rewards. The higher you progress, the better the rewards. Sounds good so far right? I mean, we are encouraged to help clean up youtube content and get rewarded for it?

Well, that’s not how the internet have reacted. Since the video was published 2 days ago, it has aggregated over 177k dislikes, which puts it within the 200 most disliked Youtube videos of all time. The last time I remember a Youtube video which generated so much hate was one of the latest Call of Duty game trailers.

It’s also currently the 1st and 2nd most talked about topic in /R/videos in Reddit and I should foresee it shared on social media fairly soon.

Let’s dig down further into why there’s so much hate for Youtube Heroes? To do this, we need to further understand what they are offering to the community. They’re encouraging youtube users to perform 3 main tasks: flagging inappropriate content, adding captions & subtitles to videos and share their knowledge with other users in the Youtube Help forum. They stated that contributors to the Youtube Heroes will have access to certain rewards via a tier system. Currently, they have announced 5 levels with different rewards. To progress to the next level, you are required to earn a set number of points by completing the 3 tasks. Some of the rewards are being invited to exclusive workshops, taking part in HERO hangouts, sneak preview product launches, contact Youtube staff directly, test products before release and apply for Heroes summit. These rewards aren’t the best sounding and that seems to be the reason that has caused the sheer many number of dislikes.

Or perhaps many have disliked this video in pure spite, after they recent changes which have affected the way Youtuber’s content is moderated for use of excessive violence or inappropriate content and effectively wouldn’t be monetised. This problem, has been brought up by many popular Youtubers such as Phillip De Franko and Pewdiepie, mainly due to the supposedly lack of communication from Youtube, before they announced the changes.

Although Youtube are hoping this new rewards system will help clean up their site and make it better for the user, I foresee certain channels that users don’t like and just report all their videos, even if they are not offensive. However, Youtube have stated in the Youtube Hero Program rules that Heroes must accurately report videos in order to receive points.

“Each YouTube Hero who is in compliance with these Rules will be able to earn points for every qualifying contribution to YouTube (such as accurately flagging inappropriate videos),  that is verifiable and organic, and not gamed, improperly received or otherwise in violation of these Rules, including the YouTube Community Guidelines (each a “Qualifying Contribution”).  We will determine each qualifying Contribution.

and

“Any abuse of the point system, the Program, or other violative behavior, may reduce the points accrued in your program account and/or restrict or prohibit any aspect of your participation in the Program.”

The Youtube Heroes program is still in beta, so it might be expected that they alter the rewards or the way the system works after viewing the initial responses.

Popular Youtuber OfficialNerdCubed has recently posted a video about how he thinks they can improve this system.

 

My thoughts playing Paladins [Open Beta]

Similar gameplay. Different battleground.

After watching one of the trailers for Paladins, you might think it is just  another copycat title. Although some of Paladin’s characters and gameplay looks like a different version of Overwatch, it introduces a few different elements in hope to stand out a bit differently.

Paladins is created by the developers HI-REZ Studios who brought you SMITE. It is a 5 v 5 team brawl in which you compete in 2 modes; Capture point and Escort. These modes don’t really help Paladins to stand out from the crowd and it would have been nice for them to at least come up with a different gameplay objective.

In terms of gameplay modes, you have the basic options of Casual, Competitive, Training & Custom. Competitive is locked until you meet its’ requirements of mastering 12 champions to level 5. During this open beta, I spent most of my time in Casual, trying to get better acquainted with the controls and gameplay. If you’ve played other titles like SMITE, Overwatch or Team Fortress 2 then you will find it quite easy to get use to the gameplay.

p0.PNG

In the open beta, you can choose to play 16 different champions, 7 which are unlocked first and the rest requiring you to purchase with in game currency or real money. Some character designs are fairly creative, however others seem to be a direct copy from Overwatch characters, such as Barik and Torbjorn.

You can customise each character with different colours for their weapons, head & some will have legendary costumes. After selecting your champion, you’re given another short round where you can customise your character. I think that they could just shorten this and merge the two together so you get into the games faster.

When you get into the game, you’re presented with your loadout, a set of 5 cards that alters your characters stats. You can asquire new cards by unlocking loot chests or purchasing cards from the store and can create a few different loadouts for each champion. Before the game starts, you can also purchase items to boost your characters even more from the card shop. These are individual cards which impact your defense, utility, healing & attack attributes. You can choose up to 1 different skill card from each tree and can hold up to 4 during a game. During the beta, I wasn’t able to sell back my cards and purchase a different one, so it seems that the ones you choose you have to play with for the entirety of that match, which adds a degree of careful planning to figure out which cards you should get. To earn these cards, you need to spend credits, which you get by killing enemy champions and completing the match objectives. You can then choose to purchase new cards or spend it to level your current purchased cards.

Once the game starts, every champion receives a horse mount that you can ride into battle. These mounts seem to serve as a quick way for you to get back into the game, which seems fitting as these maps are not that large, so it keeps the gameplay at a constant pace. Currently there are only 3 different types of mounts you can choose from, although it would be nice to see unique mounts for each champion in the final game.

The 16 Champions fill the criteria of Front line, Support, Damage & Flank. I tried out 1 champion from each criteria and they each felt unique and simple to master. You will definitely notice some characters, although presented differently, have moves similar to the characters from Overwatch. However, I think they do enough with the other characters so it feels like a different game. The style of some characters seem to take inspiration from other types of games, as well as other pop culture references. One example being a raccoon and tree champion which seem similar to Rocket Raccoon and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.

With titles such as Overwatch, they’ve built up a backstory and lore of characters and how they interconnect with eachother. Even with Team Fortress, we were introduced to the characters back story through comedic short videos. Players enjoy reading the lore as much as playing the game, as it makes the game world that the developers are trying to create seem more alive. So far with Paladins, there’s not much indication of a lore or backstory connecting the different champions but hopefully they are working on this.

p1

Being a free to play title, it feels like a solid game and is a fun alternative for gamers that don’t want to pay $60 for a multiplayer game, however with the in game currency elements they might unknowingly spend more than that. Hi-Rez studios have been developing Paladins since before 2015 and is currently in Open beta state.

If you feel like trying out Paladins, you can currently download it in STEAM or game client from their website.

 

 

Happy gaming.

 

 

 

 

 

Replaying Ubisoft’s: The Crew

As part of Ubisoft’s 30th anniversary, since June, Ubisoft have released a game every month that you can download and own for free. We’ve had classic titles such as Prince of Persia, Rayman & Splinter Cell. The only requirement is that gamers must download Uplay client in order to play their games.

man-with-limes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will we see a time in the future, where we can consolidate all  our gaming clients into one easily accessible manager?

 

This month, Ubisoft have announced The Crew as the free title as part of their 30th anniversary.  The question is whether The Crew is any better even as a free title.

The Crew is Ubisoft’s attempt at an open world racing game with online elements weaved in to its’ single game. I won’t delve too much about the main story, as it is a fairly simple story about being framed for your brother’s murder, getting released early in order to work with the officials to bring down the top member of the racing underworld and get your revenge for your brother’s killer.

You are given a small selection of cars that you can own and customise, however you will encounter racing events where you get to operate a different vehicle. Each of these events, span from simple A to B races, takedowns, escaping cops, time-trials & various mini games. You find these events by travelling across a scaled down region of North America. The map size is definitely one of The Crew’s highlights and you can get simple pleasures by taking a virtual road trip from the west coast all the way to Miami. The problem is, The Crew only has a limited number of vehicles that you can own in its’ freedrive mode, so after a while, you have driven the same car across the map. The Crew: Wild Run, which is an expansion pack is not included in the free version of the game, but offers additional content & vehicles to drive. Ubisoft’s reason is probably to hope that releasing the base game for free will encourage more people to try out the game and maybe some of them will like it enough to purchase the extra content.

Is The Crew still fun to play?

Well, yes and no. As a free game, the base version is still worth a playthrough for gamers who decided not to buy it or never heard about it previously. It offers a few moments of highlights such as the ability to drive across North America, a cool photo mode feature and variety of events to try out. It also uses a few nice animations such as watching your car explode into a million pieces when you’re upgrading, is pretty to look at and a nice bit of detail included by the developers. However, if you’re hoping for a thrilling story and huge roster of cars to own, then this isn’t the game for you. The online element also doesn’t really add much to the game, apart from the occasional meetups which inevitably end with you or the other person crashing in each other; on purpose.

They’ve announced a new expansion called The Crew: Calling All Units to fix some complaints people have had about the police AI, increasing the level cap and introduced a new selection of vehicles to drive. This expansion seems to be their attempt in recreating the Police vs Racers gameplay, that most people have experienced in NFS: Hot Pursuit and is expected to be released in November 2016. With Forza Horizon, another open world mmo racing game, to be released shortly, I think fewer people will come back to The Crew, even with another expansion coming soon.

 

Happy gaming.