Quick Tips For A Happy Christmas of Gaming

You just got it!  The game you have been waiting for for months (or years).  Now the time has come to  go into your gaming realm and avoid the family on this joyous day!  There are a few things to consider quickly before we let you go bury yourself in gaming bliss.

It is Christmas Day and you are a noob. It doesn’t have to suck… but you have some things you have to do first.
  1. MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT GAME! – Did you get the game for the correct system?  Is it the right version (Battlefield 3 or Battlefield 3 Premium)?  Is it brand new?… If it is, don’t be too immediate taking off that plastic wrap and use the 10 seconds you have to read the game and make sure it is the right one!
  2. Is there an installation necessary? – If there is some sort of time involved to install the game before you even get a chance to play it (Metal Gear Solid 4… or any game you want to put on your 360 HDD to prevent unnecessary spinning of the disc) you should go get it started and then find something else to do/open.
  3. Give yourself a moment to learn the feel of the game if it is an FPS.  This is primarily for online shooters like Call of Duty or Halo.  (Don’t let yourself be the ‘Christmas Noob’)
  4. If you are getting Madden or any other sports game make sure you give yourself a challenge and get some sliders before you jump into a career mode.  This can often be key in having strong longevity in your games.
  5. If there is DLC you want/need make sure you buy the points first and give yourself the time needed to download and install.

Happy Holidays and Happy Gaming

Advertisements

Crossing The Anger Bridge and Enjoying Games Again

Over the last seven years or so something happened to my overall enjoyment of games.  It went from a fun-filled hobby and past-time to some sort of hardcore, anger filled, ‘if you ain’t first you’re last’, no holds barred, screaming at my TV, stress-filled and slightly enjoyable time to myself.

I had to find out what was going on in my head.  It wasn’t until I read a couple articles on Kotaku and was put on ‘probation’ by Call of Duty Black Ops 2 for rage quitting out of matches that I figured it out.  I was caring way too much about winning.  Winning what?… who knows.  There aren’t any prizes for having a positive KDr in any game.  There isn’t any reason to think (or desire) some sort of pro-gaming status (considering I am currently employed and I’m just not that dedicated to become ‘pro’ at something so trivial) besides the fact that I’m also not among the best in the world (at any game).  Why was I getting so angry?  That is the first question I had to ask before I came to a solution.

The primary reason I was getting angry with FPS games was due to the online component.  Whether it was network lag, my own lack of skill, my team’s lack of skill or people camping like cowards – there was always something pushing my buttons.  It wasn’t until the other day that I simply stopped caring about all of it.  My KDr in Black Ops 2 is currently 1.02.  I am going even almost every time out and that isn’t terrible but it also isn’t amazing.  The real question is why do I really care about it anyway?

A lot of the reasons why people rage quit is because they hold pride in their KDr.  Let go, my friends…. let go.  When you start playing the game for fun you will find something even more important than your KDr is doing better – your stress level.  No one wants to be in a room where you are cussing and screaming about getting killed by some quick scoping camper.  If they are the type of person that wants to use a cheap way to get kills, let them do that and stop going the same direction.  Or… you can also hit the power button and do something else.

Another point of frustration in my gaming came from Madden 13.  I have only played one online game (and my opponent quit in the second quarter) but that isn’t where my stress came from.  It came from the dumbest AI in all of gaming.  In Madden in All-Madden difficulty you are going to watch the CPU cheat – blatantly.  I have seen my team go up 21-0 and somehow stop moving the ball or doing anything right.  I have been fully aware of EA putting in (and denying) CPU comeback AI (aka cheating CPU teams to make for a ‘better game’) but it wasn’t until I lost a couple key games that I started to get annoyed.  Then all it started to take was one bogus interception or terrible throw from my up-to-that-point perfect throwing QB and I would quit out of the game.

Stop worrying about the losses.  No one is watching you and if something is watching you – you should be ashamed to simply back out of a game that might have been on its way to being somewhat entertaining for them to watch.  (Pro Tip – many people hate watching sports games, so game with care when you have company)

Before you start screaming at your TV (or at the heavens) when you get killed in Halo, COD, BF3 or lose at any game – ask yourself this question.

WHY AM I PLAYING VIDEO GAMES RIGHT NOW?

If your answer is anything other than ‘To win tons of money and further my bogus pro-gaming career.” you should have a much easier time having fun again and walking away with a little less stress in your life.

Scouting In Madden 13 – Your Guide To Scouting Every Player Effectively

Madden 13 has the new scouting system that essentially allows you to ‘buy’ information on each prospect.  There are a few ways you can go about scouting, but we are going to give you the most efficient way to use your points and find potential talent in the draft.

Aren’t you glad they changed some of the costs of the scouting categories?…. 3000 for scheme?!

The first thing you have to do is determine your teams needs.  This will help the allocation go a bit more smoothly when it comes to scouting points.  Once you determine your team needs and your coach’s schemes (offense and defense) you can start looking at the players.  I am of the opinion that OVR is the most overrated and un-sim rating in gaming.  We will give you a quick way to look for the best OVR players and then a quick way to find the best players in general (depending on your play-style) and we will assume that your coach gets 2000 points as a motivator for scouting.

FOR BEST OVR RATINGS

Scout These Categories ($cost)

  1. Awareness ($100)– If they have a ‘B’ it means they will have a closer OVR to 80 or maybe even mid-80s if they fit your scheme (you should be able to scout at least 20 players’ AWR each week with this.
  2. Scheme ($25)– This is a key for a higher OVR for a player once they are on your team.  If you go after a player that isn’t going to fit your scheme, expect his rating to drop once he is on your team.
  3. Position Specific Ratings ($50-100)– These are pretty obvious things to scout for some player – we will give you a full run-down later.

FINDING THE BEST PLAYERS

I’m not much for finding the highest OVRs in the draft.  I like to find players that come in with raw talent that needs to be built in some way.  With that said, if you are more of a realistic team-builder or just want to possibly find that hidden gem in the draft that has the best OVR anyway – use these tips:

  1. Position Specific  Ratings ($50-100)– For some reason there are a ton of CBs and WRs that are amazing and are projected to be 3rd-7th Rd picks.  Look up the CTH and RLS Ratings for WRs and if you can find someone with a 90+ RLS, snag him as late as you can.  With a CB, a lot will depend on your preferred defense, but look up their MCV and ZCV first to find out if they are decent at covering anyone first.  If the coverage ratings are low, you should stay away from them as they will be useless on the field.
  2. Speed ($100)- This is unfortunately still the most important rating in many ways.  The only position this should rarely (almost never) be used on is OLinemen.  Otherwise, you should look this up for your WRs and HBs every time.  If they have a B or lower, you should think twice about drafting them high or at all.  (This might change if you need a possession WR or a power HB though)
  3. Strength ($100)- Check this out as it does tend to matter a little bit more in this Madden.  Find a stronger lineman later in the draft and you might have a decent player to build in the future.

The best part about knowing what to look for first is that once you see a rating that is low in an important category, you don’t have to waste anymore time or points on that prospect.  This is what will allow you to scout almost every player out there and have a great draft board from your first pick to your last pick!

My Favorite Ratings To Scout For Each Position

QBs – Throw Power, Throw Accuracy, Throw On Run, Injury, Toughness

HBs – Speed, Elusiveness, Trucking, Spin, Juke, Injury, Toughness

WRs – Catching, Release, Catch In Traffic, Speed, Injury, Toughness

OLs – Run Block, Pass Block, Strength, Impact Block, Awareness

DEs – Tackle, Hit Power, Speed

DTs – Tackle, Hit Power, Power Moves

LBs – Tackle, Hit Power, Speed, Play Recognition, Awareness, Zone Coverage, Injury, Toughness

CBs – Speed, Man Coverage, Zone Coverage, Awareness

FSs – Speed, Tackle, Hit Power, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage

SSs – Speed, Tackle, Hit Power, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage

EA Sports and Madden Exposed – Former Developer Vents On Twitter

Madden NFL has been scrutinized more by hardcore fans over the last few years of the XBox 360/PS3 era than at any other point.  This is largely because the ability to communicate over the internet via forums and social media has taken off, but it isn’t just because of the ease of communication. However, there are some things that are said that come straight from people ‘on the front’ that can’t be ignored.

Over the last couple years we have seen some of the top names at EA Tiburon (Madden’s development group) leave for greener pastures.  When Madden 10 was in development it was one of the first times Madden Fans got the chance to truly interact with the developers.  Ian Cummings opened a lot of doors for the fan-base to openly communicate have have a voice (even if just the illusion of a voice).  By the time Cummings left EA and Phil Frazier took over as one of the primary HNICs (he was already one of the top guys on the team) there were people from the Madden community hired by EA to help make the game better… or were they?

Mr. Dembroski was/is a tremendously informative hardcore football fan with valuable input for the Madden team during community days that were largely started by Cummings.  He was eventually hired to work on Madden in an official capacity.  If you take a look at the chain of posts he has recently made and many of the comments from other past Tiburon developers; you have to wonder if the complaints we are seeing are simply because communication is easier or because the game’s quality and innovation is truly being held back.

It was interesting to read about the people getting lied to in such an open manner.  After reading that tweet I had a moment of clarity.

We (hardcore gamers and corporate consumers) already know we are being lied to by the companies in question. 

It doesn’t matter which game you are talking about.  By the time your favorite game goes ‘corporate’ or ‘mass market’ it is no longer a question of how to make the game better.  It is a question of how to sell more games to more people every. single. year.  The worst part about this is the fact that the consumer always loses when companies start using statistics and metrics to determine the development of any product – especially video games.

While some people might look at the comments from past developers of any game as ‘sour grapes’ (which would be easy to do); it should be understood that when it is one person leaving under bad circumstances it is highly probable.  On the other hand, when you have multiple people leaving EA’s development studios on all fronts with bad things to say about the company – it isn’t just sour grapes.  It is a sign that something is terribly wrong with the company.

The biggest sign I saw that EA Sports was going the wrong direction was when they started pushing Ultimate Team.  This is one of the biggest cash-hoarding schemes I have seen in gaming.  It isn’t too dissimilar from Call of Duty or any other shooter releasing map packs other than the fact that with Ultimate Team you are sinking money into created players that expire after using them for so long.  So in reality – it is totally different!  EA Sports is not a company focused on giving the gamer a better experience or a new direction for sports gaming… it is a company dedicated to making money and putting out annual cash cows that can be patched between two and four times because it is easier (more cost effective) to put out a half-finished piece of software and fix major issues than it is to release a quality (and slightly more time consuming) product.

Are Shooter Games Starting To Lose Their Appeal?

You can only re-hash the same thing so many times before it is no longer desired.  This goes for movies (see – Saw, Rocky, Rambo, Star Wars (the new crappy ones) as much as it goes for music and video games.  In gaming we are starting to experience something that isn’t too dissimilar.  Every November we expect a new Call of Duty game.  While COD is the most common direction people look when it comes to games being the same every year, it is also a trend that is getting (or has gotten) old very fast.

https://i2.wp.com/i.qkme.me/3pku0b.jpg

I am almost to my second prestige in Black Ops 2.  While this isn’t shocking to the many people that have already reached the 5th or 10th prestige it is something relatively new to me.  I didn’t prestige in Modern Warfare 3 and I thought I would give it a chance in Black Ops 2.  The problem with this is the fact that I am playing games and leveling up in their second and third iterations.  There have been some changes along the way, but the one thing that remains a constant is the move towards an almost exclusively multiplayer focused game that revolves around leveling, leaderboards and people trying to make it big on YouTube.

While there are other games that are being milked as a franchise (Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear, Angry Birds and let’s not forget sports games and their wonderful annual roster updates) – it seems that shooters are still the cash-cow that get most of the development attention.  There have been some reports/rumors that Call of Duty is starting to see a slight decline in sales.  Does this really surprise you?  Madden and NCAA have also both started to see a decline in sales over the last few years.  While there have been some fluctuations to these numbers in some cases, it should tell the gaming industry from production company to developer that gamers want new games with new ideas.

If you want to look for hope in gaming, take a look at what some of the indie game developers are putting out.  Support their cause, but please… demand creativity instead of sequels.  That is so… Michael Bay.