Dote Night: How League Of Legends’ Starter Champs Work

By Philippa Warr on May 13th, 2015.

Ashe. She's the first champion I played and I absolutely ripped the other team apart. Coming from another MOBA and knowing a lot fo the rules already is fun!

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart. THIS WEEK, however, she will be finding out how League of Legends picked out their starter champion lineup!

League of Legends [official site] treats newcomers ever so slightly differently to veterans when it come to which champions they are allowed to play for their first few games. Instead of just plunging these baby Leaguers into whatever’s on the free rotation you get to pick from a pre-selected roster of more straightforward characters like Ashe and Aatrox. If you’re more familiar with Dota 2, it’s similar to that game’s Limited Hero pool. The idea is to give players a bit of guidance and prime them for a more positive introductory experience to League than if they pick a character like Orianna and proceed to get utterly destroyed. I got in touch with Riot to find out how their picked their champs:

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

33 Comments »

Wot I Think: Kerbal Space Program

By Brendan Caldwell on May 13th, 2015.

Kerbal Space Program [official site] is a game about exploration, vehicular design and physics. It involves triumph and tragedy, careful meticulous planning and improvised catastrophe. We asked Brendan to suit up and go forth, in the name of science.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

72 Comments »

The 50 Best FPS Ever Made

By Alec Meer on May 13th, 2015.

Gathering together the best shooters is no easy task, but if you’re looking for a new PC FPS to play, look no further.

Your favourite game is at number 51.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

330 Comments »

Europa Universalis IV: How To Survive A Long War

By Rob Zacny on May 13th, 2015.

First off, let’s not fall to finger-pointing of the laying of blame. It’s nobody’s business but your own why this article is suddenly relevant and important to your well-being. Europa Universalis IV [official site] is a game of ruthless caprice, where even slight mistakes, misjudgments, and lapses in attention can bring you to ruin.

Perhaps you declared war on someone the day before they hit a new level of military technology. Maybe you gambled that your enemy’s powerful ally wouldn’t actually bother to travel across Europe to fight you, but they did, and now they have arrived, unwanted and obligatory guests at your war, and they look hungry. Or maybe you just got unlucky, and your enemy had a military genius in their back pocket while you’re stuck with the equivalent of Ambrose Burnside.

The point is, you’re losing a major war in EUIV, and you’re losing it badly. And getting out isn’t going to be easy. If it were easy, if it were just a matter of agreeing to a minor settlement, you wouldn’t hesitate. But no, this is a war that poses an existential threat.

It seems like all is lost. But this is why EUIV is a game where it pays to never give up, and never reload. The chances are, you can not only survive this crisis, but come out of it almost unscathed.

You might be watching a rout unfold, but here is how you turn that into a victory.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , .

53 Comments »

Those Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Pre-Order Packs In Full

By John Walker on May 13th, 2015.

Yesterday Ubisoft live-streamed its announcement of a new bounty of pre-order bonus opportunities, offering collections containing exclusive figurines, hip flasks, art books and a game called Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. With so much variety on offer, we’ve compiled a list of all those packs to help you choose which one to buy a full six months before the first review!

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

76 Comments »

Raised By Screens, Chapter 14: Doom

By Alec Meer on May 13th, 2015.

Raised By Screens is probably the closest I’ll ever get to a memoir – glancing back at the games I played as a child in the order in which I remember playing them, and focusing on how I remember them rather than what they truly were. There will be errors and there will be interpretations that are simply wrong, because that’s how memory works.

Note – due to a silly error on my part, this chapter is out of chronological order. If I ever compile the series, this would become chapter 12 and the UFO Enemy Unknown essays 13 and 14.

As much as PC gaming was my escape, just about my only psychic refuge during the unhappiest years of my life, it didn’t do me any social favours. Despite the great longevity and multiple resurgences of the PC as a gaming platform, there’s a fundamental aesthetic difference which persists even to this day – the solitary, bespectacled man sat at an ugly desk, leaning into a small screen versus a pack of sociable fellows lounging on a sofa, gamepads in hand, hooting at a large television set. I’ll defend the superiority of choice and inventiveness on PC with my dying breath, but it’s just not cool, is it? I’ve long since ceased to care about such things, but as a schoolboy in the early 1990s, having a PC rather than a console was at least as much a curse as a blessing. The spod with his beige box. The fascination with specs and speeds, the absence of big, characterful mascots, the keyboard. It’s as though I actively wanted to be an outcast.

And then Doom.
Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

22 Comments »

Cardboard Children – Forbidden Stars

By Robert Florence on May 12th, 2015.

Hello youse.

Forbidden Stars is the much-anticipated board game of galactic conquest set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K universe. It’s a game from Fantasy Flight Games, who used to do these big epic board games that shipped in what we called “coffin boxes”. Twilight Imperium III, Starcraft, Runewars, Descent First Edition – all these games came in big giant boxes, packed full of miniatures. These games launched before the current board game boom, when board gaming was still quite niche, and players were willing to plow through 40-page rulebooks before getting a game on the table.

But things changed. The audience expanded, and board games started to become more streamlined, more simple. The length of time you could expect to play a board game for started to shrink. Fantasy Flight released a Second Edition of Descent, and it was a prime example of how the industry was shifting. It was cleaned-up, stripped down, faster to run through. The rulebooks were improved and slimmed down. Descent Second Edition was a better game, probably, but it was definitely lighter. It had definitely lost a bit of that crunch.

And me? I was waiting for things to tip back a little bit in the other direction. I was waiting for the big, long, deep games to come back – with a little bit of that new-age streamlining in the mix. The perfect mix of the old ways and the new. And the wait, thankfully, is over.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , .

37 Comments »

What’s So Great About Esports?

By Philippa Warr on May 12th, 2015.

He's having a lovely time

I spent the last six months of my freelance life reporting on the world of eSports. One of the questions I fielded most frequently during that time was “What’s so great about eSports?” People with no involvement or current interest in the world of professional competitive gaming were often confused as to where the pleasure was in watching those matches. The bafflement only increased when conversation involved some of the prize pools.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , .

39 Comments »

Wot I Think: Invisible, Inc.

By Quintin Smith on May 12th, 2015.

Invisible, Inc. [official site] is a game of “tactical espionage” from the creators of Mark of the Ninja, immediately understandable as XCOM meets Mission Impossible. You control a tiny team of sleuths working to rob the procedurally-generated vaults, server farms and detention centres of four high-tech corporations. In just 72 hours you’ll be taking on a fittingly impossible mission, and failure is not an option. Here’s wot I think.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , .

91 Comments »

Premature Evaluation: Black Mesa

By Marsh Davies on May 11th, 2015.

Alt-text is having a week off to recover from the election. Soz.

Each week Marsh Davies latches onto Early Access like a brain-eating alien parisitoid and slurps up any stories he can find. This week we’re back in Black Mesa [official site] – the classy fan remake of Half-Life 1 in a hybrid version of the Source engine which was used for its sequels. An incomplete release of the project was made available on Steam for free last year, but the Early Access incarnation is a more polished, ongoing, funded development, with additional chapters planned, multiplayer, workshop integration and modding tools.

If the past is another country, then it’s one under constant mnemonic invasion from the present. This is doubly true of moments from a distant childhood, a time when experience was already enlarged so dramatically by the imagination, when the emotional significance of toys, or books, or games far exceeded their actual sophistication – and it is these responses which then endure in memory, rewriting the reality. 22 years of brain death has sneakily uprezzed my recollection of the original Syndicate, for example, transforming it into a glorious cyberpunk cityscape that its crude, mud-paletted pixels have never really deserved. So when I say Black Mesa is every bit as good as the Half-Life I remember playing 17 years ago, you’ll understand that I’m praising something much greater than an act of recreation.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , .

50 Comments »

How Half-Life Killed The First-Person Shooter

By John Walker on May 11th, 2015.

There is a peculiar irony to the impression people have of gaming. When “videogames” are lazily portrayed in the wider world, they inevitably show a soldier being shot through a gun scope. Hell, even within the highest enclave walls, people are wont to dismiss the poor taste of others by snarking, “They’d probably like it if it had a gun floating at the bottom of the screen.” The first-person shooter is the most emblematic genre of gaming, and yet it’s now the most under-served, under-developed, and rarest of mainstream releases. There are barely any new non-indie FPS games. And it’s all Half-Life’s fault.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , .

151 Comments »

Wot I Think: Magicka – Wizard Wars

By Adam Smith on May 11th, 2015.

After a year of Early Access, Magicka: Wizard Wars [official site] has finally graduated from Hogwarts. We’ve already shared our thoughts on various versions of the game but there’s still plenty to say about this maybe-a-MOBA and its complex combo-based elemental magic system. Here’s wot I think.

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , .

9 Comments »

The RPG Scrollbars: The Worst Parts Of RPGs, Vol I

By Richard Cobbett on May 11th, 2015.

Hmmm? Sorry, is there something in my teeth?

As wonderful as RPGs are, some tropes and cliches and just general bloody annoyances really do spoil the fun. Some of them might only crop up occasionally, others just won’t go away. Some, you might think, are just petty irritations. But no! All these incontrovertible sins must be destroyed at once! Here’s a few of my least favourite offenders. What others would you add to the cursed list?

Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , , , , , , , , .

307 Comments »