Disposable Teammates – The Downside of Apex Legends

If you haven’t noticed, there is a new kick ass game out there on PS4, XBox One and PC and it also happens to be free to play.

Apex Legends still hasn’t lost its luster in almost every way but one. Unless you have a lot of friends that have adopted this game as their primary go-to FPS Battle Royale you are essentially doomed to get paired up with random players. My experience to this point as a level 20 player has been getting paired up with level one and two players that don’t use mics. Usually I don’t mind being on a team with noobs. In case you haven’t noticed the name of the website – I understand noobs and the plight of being one.

The worst part about the current matchmaking is that if you find a couple gamers you enjoy playing with Respawn hasn’t implemented a way for you to stick together. One thing Blackout has done a decent job of doing is having a section of ‘Recent Players’ that you can access between rounds. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal as so many teammates go by the wayside when you get into a match and die in the first 20 seconds – but on those few occasions you get paired up with a couple decent Apex players, it would go a long way to be able to team up with them or even add them to your friends list after the match.

Hopefully this is something they can take care of in the near future. Rumor has it that they are already working on things like this for the game. If only the developers at Call of Duty listened to the community as much as Respawn seem to… for now, we can still smile about the fact that at least we have Apex to play instead of the Blackout which has suddenly become more stale than your grandmother’s Christmas candy.

Apex Legends Just Killed Blackout – In Three Days

I didn’t know what Apex Legends was last week. I didn’t know it was in development, let alone coming out on consoles and PC – for free. I was knee deep in Call of Duty Blackout shrugging off multiple 2nd and 3rd place finishes after getting concussion grenades to the face with a quick burst of fire to finish me off.

Then I saw the Titanfall community on Reddit talking about some sort of non-Titanfall (yet, still kind-of Titanfall) Battle Royale game. I chalked it up to gaming nerds complaining about something that didn’t exist. Suddenly, I start seeing the game Apex Legends marketed and talked about more and more over the next 72 hours. I ended up on my smart phone as I was blasting my quads on the spinning bike at my local gym (it’s my passion… if you don’t get the reference just google it).

I logged on and started by playing a couple matches on February 6. I was so bad at the game after having played Blackout for months that I ended up going back to Blackout for the rest of that night after getting my teeth kicked in and voicing my displeasure on the live stream. The next day something changed – I wanted to give Apex another try, but I wanted to go at it more slowly and methodically just to get a feel for how it worked. It was the best decision I’ve made in gaming in quite some time.

The best comparison I can make for Apex is that it is a cross between Titanfall (gunplay/aiming), Borderlands (general looting feel), Fortnite (albeit in first person), and a splash of Overwatch (players with unique abilities).

Apex had over 10 million players in the first three days of release. That is amazing. That’s not even the most shocking aspect to me. For what it’s worth I got the most out of the reactions from David Vonderhaar on Twitter over the last 24 hours or so – he is the studio design director for Blackout. While I generally appreciate the pressure and the hard work that goes into keeping a game like COD/Blackout running with such a massive following, his tweets scream frustration and desperation just days after Apex released.

Do you ever feel like the harder you try to do the right thing the worse you do? That feels awful.— Lord Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) February 8, 2019

I love this tweet because it illustrates my point. You are diverse. You don’t all agree. You are not made up of just Twitter or Reddit communities. You are beautiful. You are complicated. You are right. You are wrong. https://t.co/7zZ5dm0bAT— Lord Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) February 8, 2019

The best part about Apex coming in out of left field and slapping Call of Duty in the face isn’t even about the games themselves. It’s about the developer of Apex.

Respawn Entertainment created Apex. You might recognize the bigger names of Respawn (Jason West and Vince Zampella) as the original names behind Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare back when they were at Infinity Ward. These guys had a very public falling out with Activision and after a few years they ended up coming back as Respawn and creating the Titanfall series. They lost their ability to create Call of Duty games and were forced to make something new and different with Titanfall – and they succeeded. Titanfall 2 is still widely played by the close-knit community and now to have Apex come out of the blue and take the hearts and minds of so many Blackout players from Call of Duty is some of the best schadenfreude I can think of from the perspective of Respawn and the developers over there.

Famous Last Words – Call of Duty Still Has One Thing Hilariously Right

There are a lot of things that Call of Duty has done wrong over the years… Infinite Warfare, World War Two, Level Three Armor in Blackout, etc.

One thing they have had right for some time is being able to hear the dying words of your opponents in multiplayer. Now that we have Battle Royale it has opened a whole new level for the reactions we hear from other gamers out there. Some of my most recent favorites have been as follows –

“Oh, f*ck you, buddy.” After I sliced and diced a guy with a sneaky knife attack under Nuketown.

“But Hoowwwww?! *With a puberty squeak in the scream* After lighting up a young adult in a final fifteen gun battle in fields near the red barn.

“Dude, you’re a di*k.” After I ran over a guy trying to collect a care package in a semi-wooded area.

I will be adding more to this list and wish I could record and post the video/audio of this through Twitch, but sadly I have no way of capturing in-game voice chat.

What are some of your favorite reactions in the seconds after taking out an opponent?

Post in the comments below.

Is There A Right Way to Play Blackout (or any type of Battle Royale)?

Am I the only one that gets a kick out of hearing an enemy say something in that half-second after killing their character in Call of Duty?  I have a feeling I’m not alone in this joy.  However, I must admit that one verbal reaction makes me smile more than others when it comes to verbal rage and that is when I kill an opponent as they loudly run or sprint in my vicinity – as I lay quietly on the ground, usually in the shadow of a bush or in some thick vegetation.  I will spare you the details of their limited vocabulary, but chances are good that you know some of the words that get shouted.

It did make me think for a moment about my tactics and whether or not they were lacking gamesmanship.  I quickly came to reason that this was not the case at all.  First and foremost, this game is about surviving – not stacking up the most kills.  If that was the goal, you’d see a lot more people aggressively pursuing kills and most likely resulting in a shorter match where the storm circle remains large ever at the end of the game.

This is why I think it is bad practice to camp in Team Deathmatch or any other sort of mode that requires you to pile up kills rather than survive.  It isn’t camping when you are defending in Search and Destroy – it is called tactical advantage.  It is camping when you are spawn killing opponents in Team Deathmatch because the spawning AI is broken.  Some may disagree, and I would love to hear your input in this regard.

What is your take on hiding in Battle Royale?  Is it gutless or is it tactical?


You Are Your Own Best Weapon In Blackout

Keep in mind that there are some weapons of choice in Black Ops 4’s Blackout Mode that are indeed wonderful finds almost no matter what.  That said, the focus of this article is on your own presence in Call of Duty’s first version of Battle Royale.

The best way to get better at this mode is by playing it.  That sounds obvious, but in reality, it is a battle type that changes almost every single time you spawn.  The deployment point changes nearly every match and no weapon or item is typically found in the same spot from match to match.  When you play as a team with the same group of gamers in Quads you might start to notice you have a landing point that serves as a default.  That seems to be a common goal for most as the named areas on the maps certainly serve as great spots to find enough loot for your entire team.  The issue with that is every other team knows that as well!

cod-blackout

Playing solo or even duos is a different beast.  You can generally find any spot on the map near a building that could house enough weapons and items for you (both) if you are fortunate.  The difference I have noticed with Solo compared to the two team-based aspects is that you will immediately find yourself taking one of two strategies – collecting gear in relative safety (if you are lucky) or picking up any gun or weapon you can and trying to mow down the multitudes of other gamers in your vicinity.  I personally have developed a growing enjoyment for jumping into more populated areas because it can be a great way of finding hiding spots as well as getting some relatively easy kills before everyone finds armor and better weapons.

Some of the best things you can do as you start learning Blackout’s intricacies is to start experimenting with your weapon choice on top of your preferred landing zone.  There are some weapons that you might find work well for your aiming ability or play style.  This might actually differ highly from what you use in multiplayer modes like Team Death Match or Domination, so don’t necessarily go into it thinking you will only do well if you find the Swordfish or another weapon you use in the other modes.  That said, you will also become accustomed to getting shot from quite a distance by the Maddox with a 3x scope.  The same can be said when you land in a populated area and get one-shotted by someone with a shotgun of any sort (they won’t keep those in their inventory for long, as shotguns are certainly some of the worst weapons in blackout, by far).

One perk you will want to take a bit more seriously is ‘Brawler’.  It doesn’t only work for bare knuckles as you might initially believe, it also works for melee with weapons and will put an opponent down with one good hit – it’s a great feeling now that they have nerfed melee for everything besides hits from behind.

One last tip for this article and how to make yourself the best weapon is all about Situational Awareness and Tactical Advantages.

You have to be ready for enemies to literally be hiding anywhere on the map.  This includes coming out of the blue storm as they try to take out any stragglers on the edge of the white safe circle.  I fell victim in the worst way this week to an enemy at the top of some stairs in a house because I was looking down at the floor for items rather than seeking out safety and clearing the entire house first.  The same can be said about running through the landscapes of as well.  Look and listen for enemies firing weapons (their tracers can be easy to follow and their steps can be heard if you have good headphones… SIDE NOTE!!!! GET A GOOD PAIR OF HEADPHONES!!!  They make a huge difference in game and are totally necessary for teaming up with other people in Quads and Duos).

One more bonus tip is to avoid making your movements along the top of hills and ridges that make you into silhouettes against the skyline.  This makes you incredibly easy to see and if you’re moving as a team along a ridge in this manner you will be easy targets for anyone.  Instead, try to make your movements occur from elevated positions that are just below the ridge line/skyline.  This doesn’t mean that you will be invisible to opponents, but you will be a lot less easy to spot as you move to new areas.

There is more to come, but for now be sure to follow NoobTubeTV on Twitch as the broadcasting will become more regular.  Maybe we can even team up for some Quads or Duos!  Subscribe and Follow on Twitch for a chance to team up with me and some of my friends.

Happy Hunting!

COD Is Dead

Call of Duty was my go-to game during the Modern Warfare Trilogy.  From the campaign to the multiplayer it was at its best between 2007 and 2011.  While I agree that there were decent titles released by Treyarch in the time between these releases, MW was my favorite experience altogether.CodMeme

By the time Activision (the publisher and owner of the Call of Duty series) decided to part ways (unceremoniously fire) the main brains behind the Modern Warfare trilogy it had become obvious that two things were happening.  Call of Duty was still growing at an incredible rate and Activision was going to milk/destroy the game for every drop of money they could get.codisdead

Now that we are firmly into the new generation of consoles (PS4 and XBox One) it is easy to see what their strategy has become.  Cosmetic changes to weapons, loot boxes, and everything else that can be made into a micro-transaction in order to milk every last dime out of your bedazzled wallet.

The days of playing some of the coolest games with your friends are long gone.  Sure, you can still party up with your buds and wreck some lobbies if you want.  However, a lot of the focus has turned to two things – replicating the success of Fortnite, PUBG, & the concept of ‘Battle Royale’ in general and pandering to the streaming crowd on YouTube and Twitch.

Black Ops 4 won’t have a typical campaign, which isn’t something COD has really focused on since MW (sorry, but Black Ops 3 was one of the most insulting campaigns from a story perspective, maybe ever… until I played Infinite Warfare, anyway).  It feels like Activision’s new motto is ‘Call of Duty, we know you’ll buy it anyway…’.

While Battlefield 5 will be including their own type of Battle Royale, I must say EA DICE has impressed me with their move to not only open accessibility by simply including playable female characters but they have also announced that they will not have a season pass or maps that you have to purchase separately.  You can still option your way to buying bedazzled gear, but it isn’t being forced on you like COD.

It seems to me that Call of Duty has decided that they don’t need a rather large group of gamers.  While I have fond memories of the old titles and the MW Trilogy in particular I must say that at this point the feeling of not wanting eachother is mutual.

COD IS DEAD