Saturday, October 1, 2016

Gearbox Denies F2P Rumor About Battleborn


So the Kotaku rumor about Battleborn going free to play may have been too soon or just wrong. These are just rumors after all and us writers are just reporting the facts that we read about. Gearbox has come out and said that they're planning a "trial version" rather than flat out saying its going free to play.

Gearbox president Randy Pitchford has denied the rumor on Twitter, calling it "false." Pitchford adds that Gearbox has plans to release a free version of Battleborn that can be upgraded. Its unclear how this model will play out but it might be like Paladins where you can play for free but you can choose to purchase all of the current/future heroes.

Battleborn is a failure in terms of sales and I don't really think its too popular compared to Overwatch or even Paladins for that matter. Gearbox was originally going to go f2p on launch but chose to go with a full $60 price for some reason at the last minute.

"The price has since dropped precipitously: Amazon is currently listing it, on all platforms, at $20, compared to the $60 launch price. (Steam, oddly enough, is still selling it for full pop.) Its peak concurrent PC player count has taken a similar swan dive, from a peak of 12,101 in May to, at this moment, 304." (PC Gamer)

Seems like Battleborn might be a good game but its not a success by any means. I do think the game looks cool and that the characters look interesting but the price tag is annoying considering how few people play the game and how its been out for a while now. Going free to play for this game seems inevitable. However, we'll just have to wait and see in November. Unless we get the scoop sooner.

Amazon Has a Gaming Studio


I was searching for things to write about and tonight was kind of a dry night when it comes to PC gaming. However, I thought this was interesting. Apparently Amazon has a gaming studio called Amazon Game Studios, and they just announced three games at Twitchcon 2016. They announced three games, one of which is a first person shooter that was talked about back in June last year.

Amazon purchased Twitch in 2014 for $970 million and they plan to make the most of it. Amazon Game Studios VP Mike Frazzini said he wanted to know what it would mean to build games for Twitch. Basically they're creating games with the Twitch viewer aspect in mind. Interesting idea. But will it actually be fun to play?

"The most obvious bid for the esports market is Breakaway, a 4v4 "mythological sports brawler" hybrid. It's not quite Rocket League: the game is a class-based, hero-centric combat game first and foremost. You can see a match in action here, and registrations for the alpha are currently open." (PC GAMER)

"Meanwhile, Crucible is a third-person shooter where 12 players fight (or shoot) for survival on an alien planet, with cooperation seemingly mandatory for survival. The game will also feature a 13th player who can influence the game – or grief the participants – in a role resembling a game master." (PC GAMER)

Then there's New World, a massive multiplayer open world sandbox game set in 17th century colonial America. The era's supernatural beliefs will be real in the game so its not entirely realistic. "The full presentation is here, or if you want to watch the entire Amazon Game Studios event, here you go." (PC GAMER)

I'm a huge Amazon consumer and love their streaming as well as mailing services for products. I don't even buy shoes, socks, or underwear from real stores anymore. I just go through Amazon. The fact that they're entering the gaming market is no surprise. It will be interesting to see if any of these games see some great intense esports fame. They certainly sound like fun games but it takes more than just building a game for Twitch to create a great game. Quite frankly most of the games people stream on Twitch aren't that fun for me to watch, which makes me not want to play them-even if they are great games.

I will probably check out some of these games and find out for myself if they are fun. Until then I'll be using Amazon to order my next pair of boxer briefs.

Side note-enjoy the One Piece Overwatch crossover fan art I saw on Kotaku, it's hella cool!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Battleborn goes F2P


Battleborn will go free to play later this year! A close source to Gearbox Software said this to Kotaku. They said its going free as early as November. The unnamed source also said the game was initially going to launch as free to play but that 2K changed that.

"Sales have slowed for Battleborn since its launch in early May, and the game has struggled to topple its closest competitor, Overwatch, which arrived at the end of that month. Comparisons between the two have often left Battleborn as the butt of a joke, despite some positive reviews.

Transforming the $60 retail release into a free-to-play title is not unprecedented for 2K, whose controversial survival-based multiplayer game Evolve has found renewed success since it became a free download. 2K pulled the paid version of Evolve this summer, only to relaunch it under the name Evolve Stage 2 shortly thereafter." (Polygon)

This is pretty cool news indeed. I've watched my brother play a lot of Battleborn and it does look like a super sick game. But that $60 price tag has made me not want to play, plus I have Overwatch, which only cost me $40. The games are a lot different, especially and mainly the characters and the combat. I don't think combat in Battleborn is as fast or fluid as it is in Overwatch is but once it goes free to play I'm definitely going to be trying it out. So should you if you haven't played it already.

Nice!

Ana NERF, Widowmaker, and Junkrat BUFF-September 22 PTR Patch Notes


Ana has only just begun to make pro Overwatch teams and now Blizzard thinks she's too strong, so they've nerfed her. The tank heavy meta really focuses on the nano boost ability and its super fast charge. They nerfed the ultimate cost by 20% which means it takes that much longer to charge up.

Ana
  • Nano Boost
    • Ultimate cost has been increased by 20%
  • Biotic Grenade
    • Radius has been increased from 3 to 4 meters
Developer Comments: So far, we haven't seen any indication that Ana is too strong overall, but her ultimate charges a little too fast, especially considering the impact it can have on a match. Also, her Biotic Grenades are getting a small boost to help her hit multiple targets.

Now I haven't had that much time to play PTR to test her out but I've heard from YouTubers that her ultimate charges up fast still, albeit just not as fast. For sure its a nerf but its not a super duper heavy nerf. However, this nerf was a little too fast given that this 3 tank 3 healer meta just started. I hope this doesn't get rid of this new change in the game because its a good change.

The biotic grenade range was increased. This is great! You'll be able to hit allies as well as enemies just a tiny bit further. Not too shabby. Not that much of a buff but acceptable for our favorite healing sniper mom.

Now for the buffs, starting with Widowmaker.

Widowmaker
  • Widow's Kiss
    • Scoping-in animation time has been reduced from 0.5 to 0.3 seconds
Developer Comments: This change will help Widowmaker acquire new targets more quickly and speed up her reaction time in fast-paced situations.

In the past it was popular to have quick scoping Widowmakers but they ended up changing it so that you couldn't rescope until the scope animation had finished. This ended Widowmaker pretty much since then. This won't bring back the old school Widowmaker killer quick scopes but it might make her picked a bit more often.

And then Junkrat got a buff.

Junkrat
  • RIP-Tire
    • Ability now activates more quickly
Developer Comments: Junkrat can be an extremely effective hero in the right hands, but RIP-Tire often felt underpowered when compared to his counterparts.

So the Rip-tire now activates more quickly. He's not seen much in pro play because he just fuels Zarya's shield and charge but his problem wasn't so much of casting his ultimate super fast. The problem is that his tire is super easy to destroy. The tire always gets shot before it gets close enough. They should've increased the speed of his tire instead. However, a buff is still a buff. This just isn't that effective for a better Junkrat. I do dig Junkrat and this is still cool.

General Updates

Static cameras are now supported in spectator mode. This is awesome for increasing the view-ability of the game (for esports). Team names can now be edited in Custom Games, which you can also pause! There was a raise in volume for Hanzo's Dragonstrike voice-line when using the wolf skins. Heroes hit by Ana's nano-boost now have a voice-line informing of who's getting the boost. And then there's a voice-line for when Reinhardt's shield drops. There's also news about potential Symmetra buffs.

We expect all this which is now only on the PTR to appear on the base game in a few weeks, like they always do. I'm a bit annoyed that they decided to nerf Ana when she's still super fresh and is just making her way into the competitive scene. I hope she stays in the limelight, at least in the professional scene. I'll still be playing her in competitive, as long as someone else is playing a healer too. There's talks about possible future Symmetra buffs so expect that in the near future. I'm also looking forward to hearing more about the Sombra reveal during October.

Get in there, you're powered up!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Heroes of the Storm Patch Notes-September 27, 2016





The latest Heroes of the Storm patch was a biggie. Gaming changing. Great. Incredible. All those jazzy kinda words. Blizzard added Zarya from Overwatch into the game as well as another Starcraft themed map. Let me lay out some of the patch notes for you and explain.


New Hero: Zarya

Aleksandra Zaryanova is one of the world's strongest women and was a promising athlete, but all that changed when the Siberian omnium reawakened. As a soldier in the Russian Defense Force, she now proudly uses her strength to protect the ones she loves.
Trait
  • Energy
    • Each time Zarya’s Personal Barrier or Shield Ally absorbs 10 damage, her Energy is increased by 1. Each point of Energy increases Zarya’s damage by 2%. After 0.5 seconds, Energy decays by 3 per second.
Basic Abilities
  • Particle Grenade (Q)
    • Launch a Particle Grenade that deals damage to enemies within a small area. Deals 50% damage to Structures.
  • Personal Barrier (W)
    • Gain a Shield that absorbs damage for 3 seconds.
  • Shield Ally (E)
    • Grants an allied Hero a Shield that absorbs damage for 3 seconds.
Heroic Abilities
  • Graviton Surge (R)
    • Launch a gravity bomb that detonates after 1 second and draws enemy Heroes toward the center for 2.5 seconds.
  • Expulsion Zone (R)
    • Launch a gravity bomb that deals light damage and creates an expulsion zone for 3.5 seconds. Enemies who enter the affected area are knocked back and have their Movement Speed reduced by 50% for 1 second. 
     
Zarya is pretty cool. Right now I'm trying to save up the gold so I can buy her. I saw her in every game I played today and she is a pretty strong tank. She seems to have a lot of offensive power too, at least in the games I played. Zarya's were getting like 30 assists easy and plenty of kills to boot. I really love how her ultimate from Overwatch, Graviton Surge made it into Heroes. Not gonna lie, it does feel a lot like Overwatch when she uses that ability. And you know you're going to do a ton of damage to your enemies in that gravity bomb. She's awesome. I'll probably enjoy playing her when I get the 15,000 gold to purchase her. 

New Battleground-Warhead Junction

Once a testing facility for nuclear weapons, Warhead Junction has since fallen into ruin. However, the site's abandonment hasn't stopped its glitchy adjutant from continuing to produce and hand out nuclear weapons. Join the arms race of Warhead Junction, build up your stockpile, and rain hell on your enemies!

Warhead Deployment
  • Multiple Warheads will spawn periodically across the battleground.
Collect Warheads
  • Pick up a Warhead to activate your Nuke. Use it or you will drop it when you die!
Call Down the Thunder
  • Launch Nukes to devastate the enemy team's fortifications.

Performance

General
  • Additional improvements have been made to Heroes of the Storm’s overall frame rate, affecting all game modes and Battlegrounds.
This is major! Everyone that's played Heroes has been affected by lag or had frame rate issues. For instance, I used to be able to run Heroes fine on my laptop but suddenly whenever I went on to play it became too laggy to even run properly. It's good to see that Blizzard is making improvements to the frame rate. Maybe they could work on improving the netcode too? 

Shop

Bundles
  • New Bundles
    • Thunder Guard Zarya Bundle – Available until October 11, 2016.
    • Raider Rexxar Bundle – Available until October 11, 2016.
    • Undying Legends Bundle – Available until October 18, 2016.
    • Ultimate Undying Legends Bundle – Available until October 18, 2016.
New Hero
  • Zarya has been added to the in-game Shop.
Mounts
  • Returning Mounts
    • Judgement Charger
  • Removed Mounts
    • Lunar Dragon
    • Spectre Phantom
    • Dire Wolf
Skins
  • Raider Rexxar
  • Thunder Guard Zarya
  • Master Zarya
Price Changes
  • Diablo’s prices have been reduced to $3.49 USD and 2,000 Gold.
  • Muradin’s prices have been increased to $6.49 USD and 4,000 Gold.
Everyone that plays mobas knows its cool to have the sweet looking skins. I'm pretty proud of the skins I've bought in both Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm. I have some of the best in both games. It's pretty rad going into battle looking like a suave dapper character. I'm already interested in the Thunder Guard Zarya and the Raider Rexxar skins. Both of which look awesome. 

There was a ton of changes to a bunch of heroes as well. But the biggies here is the addition of Zarya and the Starcraft map Warhead Junction. Warhead is an okay battleground. It doesn't bring anything new to the table, just a fun gamemode to add to the mix. You basically just pick up nukes and you can nuke your enemies' base or wherever you want. If you die you lose the nuke. Nothing too crazy but pretty fun. It's great to see Heroes of the Storm getting some much needed love and attention from Blizzard. I want to see Heroes stay in the limelight it has, however dim that may be compared to League and Dota. It's still a great game. I enjoy playing it over Overwatch even sometimes because I can just relax and listen to music while I play. 

I've heard a lot of great albums playing Heroes. A lot of metal but a lot of jazz too. Anyways, I can't wait to get Zarya and add her to my tank playing roster.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ice Nine Kills Concert Plus Birthday


This weekend I celebrated my birthday. For two days straight. Saturday and Sunday. It was awesome! On Sunday, the actual day of my bday we went to Hurricane Harbor and went to a concert at the White Oak Music Hall right here in Encino. Here I'd like to discuss the concert.

The venue is pretty small and very loud. Not loud enough to pierce my ears so hard that they hurt for too long thankfully. But loud enough to sound deafening in that small venue. The first band that played had a lot of sound troubles. This became a trend as the night went on. They had some major feedback problems from one of the speakers and it cut into their vocals and stuff. It seemed cool that they had a hot girl singer doing clean vocals with a guy doing the screaming growly death metal stuff but the girl's cleans weren't very good. Out of tune mess. At least she was hot. XD

There was another band with a good growler but the clean vocals guy just had the most annoying nasally high pitched voice. If you have a high pitched voice you should stay focused on the melody and sing in tune. How people don't understand this is beyond me. Not the best singers that's for sure.

There were some people moshing in a small pit but it wasn't until later on that the pit got a little crazy. Remember, its a small place so you can't really mosh too hard without hurting someone. My friend got a little hurt by these two guys and his shoulder is a little fucked up still. Kinda funny but it must suck.

This was pretty weird but when the bands were done playing they played this post-bop jazz music pretty loudly. I thought it was strange that they playing jazz loudly to feverish metal fans during the setups. It would've been better if they played metal music, or just no music at all. However, I did enjoy it for a little while until I kept thinking that I was gonna arrive at the fourth floor. XD

The next important thing to take note on was this rap nu-metal band. They went pretty fucking hard. The rap with nu-metal thing has been done to death in the 90s so I wasn't impressed that they were playing a stale style of music. However, I was impressed with the singer. The rest of the band, not so much. The singer could do aggressive screaming and rap pretty well. However, with only a mediocre band and riffs he can only do so much.

None of the guitar players in any of these bands played guitar solos. Which begs the question, are they even good enough to play guitar solos? Or are guitar solos just not welcome in this style of metal? Has metal music taken a turn for the wimpy guitar worst, like the 90s alternate grunge era when it was frowned upon to be a long hair neoclassical guitar shredder? I feel like it has in some ways.

For example I think its great that some bands don't have solos. That's cool. But its always nice when a band has a guitarist who can deliver the goods in every form-and that has to include solos. I get it. Solo's aren't for everybody and not all fans like them. It's not commercial in today's musical market. But I still like them.

These kinds of bands that I saw all have a certain style that many other bands have. They play aggressive music but they all have clean vocals to go with the screaming. So its kinda emo but its also super heavy metal too. The music has a lot of breakdowns but nothing complicated to play, and nothing too memorable. It's not heavy on melody. It's a style of new metal-core I would say. The latest edition if you will. My friends dig these kinds of bands a lot. After seeing the best bands in this style at Warped Tour this summer I would say its pretty fun to see live. But I wouldn't really listen to it while relaxing at home. I have listened to some bands like Motionless in White and Sum 41 at home recently though.

There was also a lot of hot girls there. There was this short girl with black hair who was going fucking hard in the pit. She grabbed my friend's hand and threw him in the pit at one point. Pretty funny.

The headliner was Ice Nine Kills, this band we saw play back at the Warped Tour. They were the best band in terms of everything. The visual stage show, the sound (although they too had technical difficulties), and the music. Their breakdowns were super heavy and aggressive. They had a mascot there-someone wearing a Fox outfit carrying an axe (plastic axe). It was really funny because I was wearing my Starfox shirt my friend got me for my birthday and they were standing next to me looking at me. It looked like a girl's body in the Fox outfit but it could've been a guy just staring at me. Funny either way. 

Ice Nine slayed pretty hard. For a while here and there they made me feel like I was back at Warped Tour. It was a great feeling. Reliving my glory days of Warped Tour....The last song they played was a song I actually remembered from the Warped Tour. I headbanged pretty hard. It was awesome.

Although the other bands weren't that great I think Ice Nine Kills made up for that. They played a long set and were super professional. The White Oak venue is a pretty great place to see shows near my house and I'll most definitely go there again. Hope you all had a great weekend enjoying time with your family, friends, or co-workers. Take time throughout the week to listen to some great music, perhaps even see a show if you're free. Concerts are super fun!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

New Axe, A Four String Twanger



I just recently bought this bass pictured above. This is the Guitar Center picture of it. It's now sitting peacefully in my living room, along with my other axes. This includes a red Hagstrom Super Swede Les Paul modded with a Seymour Duncan Jazz Pickup in the neck and DiZimazio Super Distortion Pickup in the bridge, a white Jackson Dinky with a Floyd Rose, and a Granada classical guitar.

I'm definitely ballin' super hard when it comes to musical equipment. The best part is that equipped with this bass me and my friends will be able to get our band going. I'm teaching my friends guitar and bass respectively and so far they're doing a great job picking it up. They still have some way before they can jam or improvise together but I've been teaching them easy riffs that I improvise and I'm also teaching them Smoke on the Water and Iron Man. I've been so immersed in teaching them music every-time we hang out now. I'm officially a music teacher. I've had guitar students in the past but none of those other people had as much promise or showed off too much skill in early development of playing the instrument.

This is all pretty exciting. The bass was a gift to myself for my birthday but I was thinking that eventually my other friend would borrow it to practice and git good on his own as well as learning from me when we hang out. We'll wait and see. The first day he practiced the bass he said he was interested in buying his own. We did see cheap basses at Guitar Center for as low as 80 bucks.

I was thinking the band would start off pretty punk, and then as the guys get better and faster we'd improve the riffs, make them more metal, and add some jazzy flair in there as well. We'll have to wait and see.

As far as the drummer goes we're still unsure. I was thinking about just using a drum machine or programs for recording purposes until we figure out about live drums. We want our other good friend to be the drummer but he's always too low on dough to afford to buy a kit and he lives in a small apartment so we'd have to stash it at my house or something.

The difficulties of starting a band. Hopefully we can make some great music together! I'll keep you updated on the guys' improvement and my teaching methodology.