Desktop Platform RSS Feed | Desktop RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network For Honor Guide: Nobushi Info and Tips,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a0f539962f92ab62323b8515c2a9d12c.jpg ttbc3/for-honor-guide-nobushi-info-and-tips Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:27:09 -0500 Synzer

Nobushi is a slippery Hybrid character for the Samurai faction in For Honor. She uses a Naginata, which is a long staff with a curved blade at the end. Nobushi has the longest range of any character in the game, and keeps opponents under pressure with her myriad of bleeds.

She has the lowest health in the game, so she can die pretty fast if you aren't careful. Luckily, she has a few tricks to keep out of harms way, and several ways to cancel attacks to keep the enemy guessing. I'm going to explain how to best use the Samurai's snake.

If you want general help with the game and other Hero guides, check out my For Honor Beginner Tips and Tricks.

This guide will go everything you need to know about the Nobushi in For Honor, including:

  • Nobushi Basics - Specific mechanics the Nobushi uses, as well as her moves
  • Nobushi Gear - Suggested stats to shoot for when equipping gear
  • Nobushi Tips - Extra tips for playing this hero at a higher level

Nobushi Basics

for honor nobushi moves

  • Poke the Nest - Light Attack, Light Attack, Light Attack
    • This move causes the enemy to Bleed for additional damage.
  • Hiss and Bite - Light Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Death Rattle Form - Heavy Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Slithering Thrust - Press Light Attack while sprinting
    • This causes Bleed.
  • Coiling Slash - Press Heavy Attack while sprinting
  • Hidden Stance - Hold down on the Guard direction
  • Cobra Strike - Dodge in any direction and press Light Attack
    • This causes Bleed.
  • Cobra Strike Mix Up - Guardbreak throw, Light Attack
    • This causes Bleed.
  • Viper's Retreat - Down on the movement direction and Light Attack
    • This causes Bleed.
  • Kick - Guardbreak after an attack
  • Sidewinder Form - Dodge left or right and press Heavy Attack
  • Swift Recoil - Block an attack, then dodge
Specific Mechanics
  • This character earns balanced Renown across all activities.
  • Way of the Shark - Deal extra damage when hitting opponents already affected by Bleed.
  • Hidden Stance - Startup has a Dodge property. Basic attacks startup can be cancelled into Hidden Stance.
    • Hidden Stance can be followed by Attack, Kick, or Dodge. 
  • Cancel Attack Recovery - Attacks can be followed by Hidden Stance, Viper's Retreat, or Kick. Kicks can be followed by Hidden Stance or Cobra Strike.
  • Light Attack Combo - Third chained Light Attack is guaranteed to hit if the second hit is successful.
  • Side Slashes - Hit at the opposite direction of the way you dodge. Side Slashes can be followed by Hidden Stance, Viper's retreat, Kick, or Dodge.

Nobushi Gear

for honor nobushi gear stats

This character already has low health, so she works well as a glass cannon. Raise Attack and Stamina stats whenever you can.

  • Weapon Part 1 - Attack followed by Stamina Cost Reduction.
  • Weapon Part 2 - Revenge Mode Gain by Defense and Revenge Mode Defense.
  • Weapon Part 3 - Revenge Mode Attack
  • Helm - This depends on who you fight. Normally I would go with Revenge Mode Duration, but if fighting other Nobushis or Heroes with Bleed, take Debuff Resistance.
  • Arms - Execution Health Regen, followed by Block Damage.
  • Chest - All stats are useful, so this one is up to you.
    • Revive speed can make reviving nearly instant, especially if you have the Revive Speed feat. 
    • You can also replace the Revive Speed feat if you raise this stat enough.

Other Nobushi Tips

for honor nobushi guide

Master Hidden Stance

Nobushi's Hidden Stance is extremely helpful. It can let you escape certain attacks, then come back with a counter. It also lets you start in the middle of chains, or do the kick to catch your opponent off guard. Mastering this will put you above most average Nobushi players. 

Always have a Bleed on the enemy

Nobushi's biggest strength is making the enemy Bleed. Applying constant pressure will take any opponent down -- no matter how strong. It may take a while, and you may not get to execute, but it better than dying. Plus, you deal more damage when the opponent is Bleeding, so always keep one on.

Practice Kicks and Viper's Retreat

These are great moves that you can do after most attacks. Kicks knock opponents back and can go right into a bleed attack, Cobra Strike. Viper's Retreat has the added benefit of backing up and putting you out of harm's way.

Those are all the tips I have for playing Nobushi in For Honor. Let me know if you have any tips of your own, or questions about anything else!

Top 3 Politically Motivated Simulation Games on Steam,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/m/combine-images-36d6a.jpg 2h2q6/top-3-politically-motivated-simulation-games-on-steam Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:00:01 -0500 Michael Llewellyn


Gaming as an entertainment medium like any other, is often a reflection of our time. With what seems like every news, entertainment and social media outlet being full of political opinion, we're also starting to see videogames reflect and convey political messages of their own.


Perhaps more than ever, videogames have the ability to speak to a larger and more mainstream audience. Creating videogames has allowed some developers to have a voice in a more unique and creative way. With games like Papers, Please and Orwell being able to force the player to question themselves on an emotional level, it speaks volumes for videogames as an intelligent medium for political thought.


Do you play games that are politically motivated? Let me know in the comments below.

Papers, Please

Available for purchase on Steam


Papers, Please is a game by indie developer Lucas Pope that will challenge you, not only in video game terms, but morally as a human being too. You'll have to make decisions and cruel judgements based on the fact that you're "just following orders" from your superiors. As a result the tension this game creates is almost overwhelming at times.


With Donald Trump and Britain's leave campaigners ambitions to build walls and ban immigration, the political message in this incredibly bleak and dark game is more relevant than ever.



The Political Machine 2016

Available for purchase on Steam


Being a political sim doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Sometimes satire will draw in fans as much as a medium that tries to make a serious statement. A simulation in gaming is a simplification of a far more complex system, and satirical caricatures can be seen as another simplification through the use of irony and sarcasm. Combining the two in gaming can often work brilliantly.


With the publicity fueled media storm that was the US electoral campaign still very fresh in our minds, The Political Machine 2016 is still very relevant with its humorous take on sweet talking, back tracking or paying your way to votes.


Available for purchase on Steam.


Orwell is a 5 part episodic visual adventure game based on the George Orwell novel 1984. Orwell is the name given to a government internet surveillance system and it is your job to analyse the digital footprint of the citizens that "The Party" has labelled a potential threat.


Orwell is a voyeuristic conspiracy thriller where you will watch a group of political activists and determine who is responsible for a bomb attack. It's a unique approach to storytelling that's full of twists and turns as its plot unfolds.


With Edward Snowden leaking classified NSA files on surveillance programs, the UK passing the current "Snoopers Charter" bill, and paranoia at an all time high Orwell is a perfect representation of the current political affairs in our times.


With the news of Donald Trump's recent exploits, or the United Kingdom's Brexit, dominating almost every aspect of the media in today's political climate -- and with video games reaching more audiences than ever before -- it shouldn't be surprising that gaming has become a modern day medium for current political comment.


Whether the genre of the Political Sim in videogames is trying to convey a serious message, or if it chooses the satirical route, modern day gaming is the perfect way to give voice to political opinion by using  the playful interactivity of gaming to reach a much wider audience.


Without further ado here are three politically motivated videogames that I think stand out on Steam.

3 Hilarious Indie Games That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/o/a/goat-26fcd.png lhepx/3-hilarious-indie-games-that-will-make-you-laugh-out-loud Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:38:12 -0500 Rob Kershaw

As gamers, we sometimes need a break from killing, puzzling, or being overwhelmed by all of the earnest feels. Too often, the medium takes itself far more seriously than it needs to and overlooks the fact that, like film, there is as much scope for comedy in gaming as there is for drama.

Since many triple-A studios are happy to just pump out the latest dour iteration of whatever franchise their publishers think will sell, it's often down to the indie community to bring the heart of humor to the masses. We're not talking about the likes of Goat Simulator -- which, while amusing for ten minutes, was more physics experiment than game. 

There have been a number of standout titles that have justifiably succeeded because of their comedy, not despite it. So if you're looking for a giggle -- and in the current climate, the gods only know we need one -- check out these three offerings, and set your gaming dial to "chuckle".


If you're looking for absurd humor, Jazzpunk will deliver everything you want and more. Part exploration game, part avant-garde take on the spy genre, it refuses to take itself seriously for even a moment. While you have objectives such as infiltrating a "consolate" building, many of its finer moments come from traipsing around the sandbox world and interacting with the random assortment of people and things scattered throughout.

Side quests are as ridiculous as they are funny. You'll help a frog retrieve a "Starbux" password code it dropped in the road by playing a game of Frogger, where failure results in him wearing more and more casts and bandages. Maybe you'll be transported into a virtual pizza which spoofs The Shining, and makes you fend off angry toppings with a pizza cutter. Alternatively, you could end up in a cinema, throwing popcorn at other members of the audience for no good reason.

Jazzpunk succeeds despite not having a strong narrative thread or cohesion to its gameplay. It throws a lot of wacky ideas into the ring, and while some of them fall flat, there are are plenty more just around the corner to drag you back in. It rewards exploration, and searching around for the next bizarre joke is basically the point. It's a short game which could easily be completed quickly if you decided to speedrun it, but that would miss the point entirely. It's an experience to be savored and prodded, coaxing out its humor from every refuse-filled alley or deliberately locked door. If you ever wanted to degauss a pigeon, Jazzpunk is the game for you.

The Stanley Parable

If Jazzpunk is an out-and-out comedy, then The Stanley Parable derives its laughs from far more subtle elements -- the deconstruction of gaming itself. You play as Stanley, a silent office worker whose mundane life pushing buttons is upended when the computer he is working on stops giving him orders. He is forced to leave the comfort and safety of his office, and explore the building to find out what happened.

Unlike other first-person games, this story is narrated entirely by an unseen and haughty Englishman who directs Stanley to where he should go. The comedy -- and indeed, the entire point of the game -- originates in the choices Stanley makes, whether following the narrator or not. If you choose to defy the narrator, he becomes more and more annoyed, suggesting with increasing forcefulness that Stanley return and follow the correct path.

While the game offers little more than rudimentary mechanics such as opening doors and pressing buttons, its brilliance lies in the game's reaction to you willfully disobeying its instructions. Galactic Cafe have catered for every possible path you take and decision you make -- going down in an elevator when it tells you to go up, taking the right door instead of the left, and so on -- and the fourth wall is broken more times than you can count. There are at least seventeen endings and a plethora of Easter eggs to discover. When a second narrator steps in and starts deriding the first, you'll be shaking your head at how such a simple, yet fiendishly funny concept hadn't been realized before.

For all the laughs though, The Stanley Parable is also a deeper look at our own actions as gamers, programmed to follow the set route laid out by designers through visual markers, and constrained by the lack of alternatives to simply treading the line that a studio has laid out. The game even represents that idea visually, ultimately resulting in the game world breaking before your eyes as the narrator snarkily berates you. It's a hilariously dry meta-treat which all gaming fans need to experience.

Shovel Knight

As much of a revelation for its take on the platforming genre as its humor, Shovel Knight successfully delivers a robust and interesting throwback to NES-style gaming, while simultaneously delighting players with its corny dialog and spade-based puns. 

Though the gameplay and aesthetic may feel at times like Ghosts 'N' Goblins meshed with DuckTales, Shovel Knight valiantly forges its own path, giving you the option of destroying checkpoints for mega moolah and potentially sabotaging your game in an innovative risk/reward mechanic. Peppered throughout are wonderful characters, engaging bosses, and enough bad jokes to warrant eight hours of anyone's time.

It may not be a full-blown comedy, but Shovel Knight goes one better by layering the laughs onto a seriously impressive base game. It's occasionally self-referential, but never overly so; Kratos appears as a boss, but the rewards for defeating him make his appearance more than worthwhile. The insults flung between Shovel Knight and his foes never overstep their boundaries, and the entire experience is one of reverence to the genre, bolstered by pithy putdowns.

Still, if you fancy adding a dash of puerility to your game, you can always unlock Butt Mode which replaces many of the game's proper nouns with the word "butt". Seriously, it's never not funny. You're welcome.

Which indie games have made you laugh out loud? Let us know in the comments!

For Honor Guide: Warden Info and Tips,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/465c386c62d81560bef4fe83b29d5dea.jpg dhi6i/for-honor-guide-warden-info-and-tips Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:37:44 -0500 Synzer

Warden is a basic, yet powerful, Vanguard character for the Knights in For Honor. It has an unblockable Shoulder Bash and uses a longsword to dispatch foes with quick attacks.

Playing this character well requires a good grasp of the game's basic mechanics, and it's a good place to start if you are new to the game. Don't let the simple nature fool you though -- this hero is a force to be reckoned with in the hands of a good player.

If you want general help with the game and other Hero guides, check out my For Honor Beginner Tips and Tricks.

This guide will go everything you need to know about the Warden in For Honor, including:

  • Warden Basics - Specific mechanics the Warden uses, as well as their moves
  • Warden Gear - Suggested stats to shoot for when equipping gear
  • Warden Tips - Extra tips for playing this hero at a higher level

Warden Basics

for honor warden guide

  • Vanguard's Advance - Light Attack, Light Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Guardian's Assault - Light Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Warden's Wrath - Heavy Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Rushing Slash - Press Heavy Attack while sprinting
  • Crushing Counterstrike - Press Light Attack while sprinting
    • This has Superior Block, which means it will interrupt Light and Heavy Attacks.
  • Shoulder Bash - Dodge in any direction, then hold Guardbreak
  • Shoulder Bash Mix Up - Light Attack, Guardbreak, Light Attack
    • Guardbreak must be successful to do the last Light Attack.
Specific Mechanics
  • Earn more Renown in outnumbered fights, controlling objectives, and by killing enemy soldiers.
  • Light Attack Combo - Second Side Light Attack is guaranteed to hit if the first one hits.
  • Crushing Counterstrike - Top Light Attacks have Superior Block during startup. It becomes unblockable after a counter.

Warden Gear

for honor warden gear stats

The Warden is an all-around good character, so most stats are good to use. I still prefer Attack and more offensive stats overall. You can still afford a more defensive approach for certain stats.

  • Weapon Part 1 - All 3 are useful for Warden, but I prefer Attack over the others.
  • Weapon Part 2 - Revenge Mode Gain by Defense and Revenge Mode Defense.
    • Feat Cooldown can also be useful, especially for the immunity to Bleed attacks when fighting Peacekeepers and Nobushis.
  • Weapon Part 3 - Either Revenge Mode Attack or Revenge Gain By Injury.
    • I typically don't suggest Throw Distance.
  • Helm - Revenge Mode Duration, followed by Exhaustion Recovery.
    • There is a feat to save you from Bleed damage, but it doesn't work on other debuffs.
    • This should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to use Debuff Resistance.
  • Arms - Execution Health Regen, followed by Block Damage.
    • Sprint Speed can be very helpful when chasing down escaping enemies, or getting to points faster.
  • Chest - Block Damage Resistance, followed by Stamina Regen.

Other Warden Tips

for honor warden combat

Master the Basics

The Warden is a very straightforward character, with only a couple of tricks. Learning the basic mechanics of the game and using them correctly will make this character shine.

Practice Shoulder Bash

One of the Warden's biggest strengths in the Shoulder Bash. This is an unblockable push back, so the enemy cannot parry like normal unblockable attacks.

This can set your opponents up for other combos and moves to give you the advantage. It is also great for pushing enemies off edges when either surrounded or low on health.

Remember the Superior Block Top Light Attacks

Knowing when you can counter the enemy with Top Light Attacks will make you a great Warden player and make an opening for other unblockable attacks. Don't forget you can also do this while sprinting, so you can catch your opponent off-guard.

Those are all the tips I have for the Warden in For Honor. Let me know if you have any extra tips or need help with anything else!

Take Off Into Space With Sunless Skies,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/i/t/title-c141c.jpg 6du4k/take-off-into-space-with-sunless-skies Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:33:26 -0500 ESpalding

Following on from their 2015 success with Sunless Sea, London-based developer Failbetter Games are adding a new game to their repertoire called Sunless Skies. The game is currently nearing the end of its Kickstarter campaign and has amassed nearly triple its original target! The studio was hoping to crowdfund £100,000 but they are nearly at £300,000 with 9 days still to go!

Sunless Skies is a story-led top-down exploration game set in a Victorian England setting, already developed in the studio's first game Fallen London. Players take on the role of a captain onboard a locomotive spacecraft who sets out to explore the heavens, or the "High Wilderness" as it is called in the game. You will come face to face with great and terrible beasts who call it their home. As any good captain does, you will need to keep an eye on your crew to stop them from succumbing to the terror of facing these fearsome foes.

The game sets itself apart from others in the same genre by highlighting the technological and ideological differences between Victorian and modern day exploration.

“The idea of Victorians in space is absurd, but when you get beyond that, it’s actually terrifying. What would that much industrial hunger and capability do, if it were untethered by gravity and far from the moral compass of home?”

CEO and Art Director Paul Arendt

After the Kickstarter campaign has finished, the game is expected to get an Early Access release in Summer 2017 with the full game expected to release in May 2018.

Check out the Kickstarter video to find out more!

Small Town Adventure Game "Night in the Woods" Released Today,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cb3dc706b1d14c83714f771e6caf5f12.jpg g3mhx/small-town-adventure-game-night-in-the-woods-released-today Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:30:26 -0500 Greyson Ditzler (PurplePocketPirate)

Night in the Woods, an intriguing and visually captivating story of a diabolical small town mystery, was just released today on Steam. The result of a Kickstarter back in 2013, Night in the Woods was created by indie developer Infinite Fall, and has finally been released after over three years of effort. 

The game revolves around a twenty-something named Mae, who has recently returned to her home town after dropping out of college -- only to find that everything has changed while she's been gone. Some things in more bizarre and sinister ways than others.

Night in the Woods is a game that greatly emphasizes story over gameplay. The majority of the experience involves exploration, talking to people, and the occasional mini-game with a new control scheme.

While most of the game is dialogue and walking around, there is also light platforming to do, and challenge to be found, even with such lenient fail-states. It's a game with a diverse cast of characters, rich dialogue, and relatable themes.

Night in the Woods is available now on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux, as well as on the PS4. The European version of the game is planned for release on February 28th. 

Square Enix NA Reveals NieR: Automata: "Arsenal of Elegant Destruction" Trailer,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cea00cd0f9660f9cc19e3e1cfb99817a.jpg rc75l/square-enix-na-reveals-nier-automata-arsenal-of-elegant-destruction-trailer Wed, 22 Feb 2017 04:29:40 -0500 asilris

On February 21, 2017, Square Enix uploaded the newest trailer "Arsenal of Elegant Destruction" for their upcoming game NieR: Automata to YouTube.

"Arsenal of Elegant Destruction" highlights the game's four unique weapon types: small sword, large swords, spears, and combat bracers. These weapons can be changed during attacks to create unique combos. Unlockable skills bring valuable upgrades and additional abilities to weapons, including the "Pod" ranged support system.

NieR: Automata is an action RPG developed by Platinum Games and published by Square Enix for PS4 (and later PC). Taking place on a post-apocalyptic Earth within the NieR universe, the story follows combat android YoRHa No.2 Type B (2B) and her companion YoRHa No.9 Type S (9S). 2B and 9S fight to survive in the midst of a proxy war between machines, which were created by alien invaders, and the last remnants of humanity.

NieR: Automata will be released on PS4 on February 23 in Japan, March 7 in North America and March 10, 2017 in Europe. The PS4 demo is currently available worldwide and a free PS4 theme will be available on February 22. A PC release is also scheduled for 2017.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk Review,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/e/r/berserk-head-4438c.png 8xxs0/berserk-and-the-band-of-the-hawk-review Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:39:42 -0500 Ashley Gill

The Berserk manga series is no stranger to adaptations both animated and in video games. Running since 1989, the story follows protagonist Guts in his journey to first find himself, and then seek revenge.

But of course, if you're a fan of the series you already know this and also know it's a gross simplification. Berserk is dark, violent, and more "heavy" than the Western market sees in anime and manga as a whole. Koei Tecmo's own take on the series in Berserk and the Band of the Hawk does its best to present the series to modern gaming, though it wears its Warriors roots on its sleeve.

Unlike many of Koei Tecmo's recent franchise Warriors games, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk does not bring much new to the table. While fans of the manga and Warriors titles in general will probably get a kick out of seeing the story unfold and being able to play as Guts in the most serialized segments of the series, anyone not a fan of either formula will quickly get bored -- and even those tired of seeing the Golden Age and Black Swordsman played out may choose to put this one down.

In all of its 27 years of its manga running, Berserk has seen two anime adaptations and three connected movies. None of these adaptations go very far into Guts's journey but out of them all so far, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk goes the furthest for now. That's a definite plus if you're waiting for the next season of the CG anime.

One could go on and on about the series outside of this game adaptation, but you're here to find out if Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is worth your time. The answer to that question will really depend on whether you like Berserk or whether you like Warriors-style games. There really is no middle ground here.

Mash square and triangle for 10 minutes because this is a Warriors game

From a gameplay perspective Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is a Warriors game through and through. That means simple combat that mostly utilizes three buttons, leagues of worthless peons to kill, and running around a map to fulfill objectives that push along the story.

While the game has eight playable characters, you spend the vast majority of your time in story mode playing solely as Guts. Guts moves with the weight you would expect him to -- not being exceptionally nimble thanks to being a pretty huge guy with a sword as big as his body.

It makes sense to play as Guts throughout most of the story so there are no complaints there, but the other characters are essentially useless unless you take the dive into the Endless Eclipse, the game's side mode akin to running a 100-stage gauntlet. You may be able to play them in a few missions in story mode, but it never gives you a chance to get a taste for their playstyle.

This is a bit of a double-sided complaint, because it does in fact make sense to almost solely play Guts throughout the story -- but it gets repetitive. By the time you're done with the 40+ mission story you've pretty much mastered all Guts has to offer and are hungry for another way to play.

The biggest gameplay complaint isn't that you primarily take control of Guts, but that the game is so easy. A complaint familiar to anyone into any Warriors title, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is very easy. Figure out your preferred button combo and spam it until you're finished with the game, easy peasy. That's the way I like my Warriors games, and I didn't expect much different here. That's what difficulty settings are for, though as always it simply makes enemies block more often and have more health.

This trend continues into the Endless Eclipse side mode, which does not press the player in any unique ways but does at least let you play as other characters and has a reasonable list of unlockables upon completion with each character.

Free mode, a staple of any of this style of game from Koei Tecmo, brings absolutely nothing new. If you want to get Behelits (rewards for completing specific objectives) you missed or want to throw down in the story missions with someone other than Guts, this is the way to go. But there are no unique missions in free mode.

The game also boasts an accessory and item equipping system, but the only real part you're going to be paying attention to is accessories.

Accessories are obtained in battle and in the shop, but the real meat of them is improving them via amalgamation -- feeding other accessories into your primary accessories for better stats. Improvements like being able to stun enemies for longer, increase your damage while in frenzy, or do even more damage with your death blow are very welcome, and the boosts provided via accessories are noticeable. It makes upgrading accessories a rewarding process.

The handling of Berserk

Both between missions and intertwined with them are a number of cutscenes taken from the recent Berserk: The Golden Age Arc movies and the recent TV CG anime series. At times these cutscenes are as long as the gameplay missions themselves.

The game's cutscenes are the binding that holds the game together, each one setting the tone for the beat down you're about to administer -- but not touching on the intricacies of the side characters nor the situations at hand. Regardless they serve as a powerful vehicle to keep the player pushing forward, and I'd be lying if I said part of my motivation to keep going was to see the cutscenes play out (as I skipped the recent movie trilogy).

While the amount and length of the game's cutscenes are certainly a cut above the other Warriors-type games, they do not do the story of Berserk justice. What's shown in Band of the Hawk is only the topmost layer of the events in the portions of the series it covers and gives just the tiniest glimpses into the motivations of the supporting characters or even Guts himself.

The story contents of the game, while hefty compared to other Koei Tecmo outings, are bare bones compared to the actual scope of the source material. As such I cannot recommend it as a worthwhile starting point for newcomers to Berserk and its story. Not just because you do not feel the full effects of what happens at a certain core event, but because the sheer brutality and cruelty depicted in the manga is entirely missing here.

One can understand having to censor Berserk for a game release -- there's more violence and sexual imagery in even the arcs covered in Band of the Hawk that a game would have to be rated AO to even touch half of it. But diehard fans should be aware that the game is essentially in the same censored state as it was in the Japanese release with little changes. If you wanted the real messy work as seen in Miura's manga, you'll have to look elsewhere.

These things all said, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is a great bit of fanservice for fans wanting to take the story into their own hands and play it out, with a unique impact one can only get from a video game. Those unfamiliar with Berserk would do better to read the manga first and then take the dive into this title. If you don't care and just want another Warriors-style game, go for it. You could definitely do worse.

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk doesn't do its source material's story justice but it holds up as a Warriors game, even if you are essentially stuck playing one character throughout the game's story. With boss fights (!) and admittedly more gore than other similar titles -- not to mention some very fitting music -- this one has its own charms, and Endless Eclipse mode grants plenty of mindless grinding opportunities after the game's 15 ~ 20 hour story has completed.

Disclosure: Writer was granted a review copy of this game by the publisher.

8 Minecraft Survival Island Seeds To Test Your Skills,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/r/survival-a5251.jpg pegs6/8-minecraft-survival-island-seeds-to-test-your-skills Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Ty Arthur

[Take me back to GameSkinny's Ultimate Minecraft Seed Guide]

After the silliness of recent detours into not-so-famous celebrity Minecraft skins and a series of naughty seeds for the dirty minded, it's time to get back on track with some serious seeds.

All the seeds below spawn you on an island with various biome types that have one thing in common: very few resources, and lots of ways to die. Think you have what it takes to tackle a survival island seed?

Important note: these seeds were all tested in Minecraft's Windows 10 edition (which is very similar to the Pocket Edition). In other versions you will get totally different biomes or the seed may not load at all.

Spawn On A Sparse Island Surrounded By Water

Seed: 750505317

This one will test your skills, with only sparse elements available and very little opportunity to build anything substantial before night falls and the monsters come out. If you scan the horizon, you can see more (equally sparse) islands at the edge of your vision for those who fancy a nice long swim.

Spawn On A Towering Vertical Island

Seed: 750505317

A beauty to behold, this seed starts you on a small island that goes vertical rather than horizontal. There's a killer view from the top, but you shouldn't just go up - be sure to head around the side and find the cave to delve into that goes even further down!

Spawn Near Two Lush Islands

Seed: 238746687714901116

A little more survivable, this one has a lot more to offer and some underground areas to explore. There's also an interesting difference on display here between the various version of Minecraft: in Windows 10 edition, this one spawns on a small island covered in tall trees next to a larger island covered in flowers with a few animals. In other editions, this is a tiny, dead island that's nearly impossible to play.

Spawn Near A Series Of Large Islands

Seed: -6185261765285097501

With a long string of bigger islands with different biomes, it might seem like this one's not too difficult to survive... but wait until you see all the aggressive mobs that come out of the forest!

Spawn On A Triple Island

Seed: 1631701723

This nifty seed gets you a varied collection of biome types on three small islands right next to one another, along with a random cow and pig here and there. The triple island seems to be a recurring theme, because you can swim off the coast and find more of these triple chains off in the distance with different spawns.

Spawn Near A Land Bridge

Seed: -398293529024122595

This seed plops you on a small island covered in trees but otherwise with very sparse vegetation: you'll be lucky to grab a few mushrooms and that's it. There's lots of room to explore though without the danger of drowning, as the water isn't deep at all. In fact, there's only a tiny one-block layer of water leading to chain of similar islands with slightly different spawns.

Spawn On A Deserted Crescent Island

Seed: -398293529024122595

This crescent-shaped island is so big it's nearly an archipelago, but for all that land mass its nearly devoid of anything usable or interesting. Staying alive through the night will be difficult for all but the most seasoned of Minecraft veterans.

Spawn On An Island With A Village

Seed: -1060246543

For when you're tired of a lack of resources and nowhere to hide at night, use this fun little seed as a palette cleanser, starting you off on an island but straight in a pre-built and occupied village for safety.

What did you think of these Minecraft survival islands, and what seeds would you recommend we try out that start you off in a desert island with minimal resources?

3 Reasons Budding Game Designers Should Dig Into Dota 2's Map Editor,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/d/v/fdvgdf-7e07c.jpg ag23f/3-reasons-budding-game-designers-should-dig-into-dota-2s-map-editor Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Sergey_3847

Video games are not only fun to play, but also fun to make. Except when you're first starting out -- because it seems scary how much knowledge you must accumulate in order to make your first steps as a game dev. But if you're willing to get creative, there are other ways to learn game design that are considerably more enjoyable than trudging through piles of tutorials. 

If learning code is hard for you, then the best way to enter the world of game design is through in-game map editors. So many games have them, including Skyrim, Crysis, Counter-Strike, and more. But if you're an aspiring developer, then the one you should really be looking at is the Dota 2 map editor.

This is not just some random level generator, but a tool that can open the gates to professional game development for you. Here's why it's such a powerful way to learn.

You will learn how to design levels professionally

There are many ways you can start learning level design. Lots of people learn through creating modifications for their favorite games, but that's not always the best starting point. Creating maps in a top-tier MOBA game like Dota 2 allows you to really feel what it takes to design your first levels.

There aren’t that many great offers on the game market, but the one from Valve is truly intriguing. So, if you really want to enter the game dev, now’s the time!

All you need is to install Dota 2, if you still don’t have it, and add a free Dota "Workshop Tools" DLC to the install queue. It includes a whole package for creating, editing and scripting custom maps in Dota 2. The level editor is called Hammer and is very simple to use, which is great for those who only start designing levels.

The Hammer manual is simple and intuitive, so you will easily start creating your first custom maps for Dota 2. The results of your level design in Hammer Editor can be included in your future resume, if you are planning to apply for a job in game dev.

Make it easy for yourself and begin with a simple solo map, and later you can create full-fledged games within Dota 2, such as Roshpit Champions or Warchasers.

You will have a direct access to Source 2

You may have heard that Dota 2 has been recently transferred to Valve’s own Source 2 graphics engine. This is a huge step forward for everyone involved in the development of the game, including third-party developers. Here’s what Gabe Newell had to say about Source 2 in his recent AMA at Reddit:

“We are continuing to use Source 2 as our primary game development environment. Aside from moving Dota 2 to the engine recently, we are using it as the foundation of some unannounced products. We would like to have everyone working on games here at Valve to eventually be using the same engine. We also intend to continue to make the Source 2 engine work available to the broad developer community as we go, and to make it available free of charge.”

This is amazing news for all aspiring game developers! Now with this announcement anyone who wants to create content for Dota 2 will have a direct experience of working with the Source 2 graphics engine. With this kind of knowledge your qualification will be of highest priority and you can be confident that entering the game dev community will be easier than ever before.

Later you can start making your own games on Source 2 and Valve will be happy to see your games in their top lists. They really, really want people to use the same engine for all their projects, and they’re welcoming everybody who will follow their call.

You will start making real money

If the two reasons above are not enough to make you pursue the goal of making content for Dota 2 on a new Source 2 engine, then maybe this third reason will give you some food for thought. It may sound trivial, but money is always a good reason to start doing something in your life.

Valve fully supports their third-party developers -- it lets them receive payments for custom game passes and even shares a few percents on top. If you want to know more about the Valve reward system, then check out this official FAQ.

This is a really great deal, since right now there aren’t that many custom games with passes in Dota 2. This means that the competition is very low and you can enter this market with no drawbacks at all. There is only one condition -- your mods should be really good.

Hopefully, this information was useful to you. There aren’t that many great offers on the game market, but the one from Valve is truly intriguing. So, if you really want to enter the game dev, now’s the time!

Frontier Is Missing the Point With Elite: Dangerous "The Commanders" Addition,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/i/w/siwajal-349cc.png nprjv/frontier-is-missing-the-point-with-elite-dangerous-the-commanders-addition Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Rafal Gac CodeRM11

There is a lot of hype amongst Elite: Dangerous fans due to the newly presented addition to the game. Patch 2.3 AKA The Commanders is indeed very shiny but under the glitter there is no meat to feed the bored community.

Players are concentrating on multiple crew ships and character creation, but all I can see is a lack of really important changes introduced by Frontier. Changes, which would have pushed Elite: Dangerous in any direction, bring some dynamics, instead of letting it to become a symbol of endless grinding and be some odd universe where people play solo on MMO servers.

To clarify -- what we will have in patch 2.3 is very nice, I cannot deny, and some additions will also please commanders dedicated to PvP fights.

I just don't think these are exactly THE most important improvements.

Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous (ED) is a Kickstarter born baby of Frontier Developments, a small development studio founded by David Braben. ED is the follow up to the old eighties game Elite, popular on early computers.

There's no denying that Elite: Dangerous is the legend of persistent universe gaming; it is also one of the best space MMO titles on the market.

ED was originally released in December 2014, and Frontier announced it will be updated through major expansion packs, and updates.

The first season pack (called Horizons) was added to the game at the end of 2015, bringing a really significant change -- the ability to land on planets. This practically doubled the amount of fun, as players could not only fly in space but also land and use small SRV vehicles to drive around and do some planetary missions.

Later The Engineers and The Guardians were added as a part of the same season, bringing ship upgrades and also the ability to fly fighter ships stored in big player space ships. The latter update also brought changes to in-game UI.

Now it is time for The Commanders

From the first look everything was very promising. I am a dedicated Elite: Dangerous player and I am very excited with every addition to the game, and it is pleasure to see how it is growing.

The new additions to the game were presented to the general public during the "On the Horizon" life preview on YouTube.

The new additions brought by The Commanders:

Multi-crew: players will be able to connect and fly ships together. Up to 3 commanders will be able to be in the same ship. Commanders invited to the ship will be able to take on different roles like gunner for example.

Holo-Me: which is the system for creation of the player's in-game persona/characters. This looks very good, and gives players tonnes of options to prepare their own original characters.

The Camera Suite: till now it was a very fiddly system of third person camera, and screenshotting  letting players to do some selfies of the ship in space. Now this system is much easier to operate and will even let you fly ships while in third person view.

There is also an additional small passenger ship added called Dolphin, some very big ships which nobody alone can fly, and the cherry on the cake -- ship naming will be added as well!

Galactic in grey

While I am an active Elite: Dangerous player, I do not have very positive feelings about these new additions. I feel this new patch lacks features which would bring some much needed dynamics to the game.

I am, right now, somewhere half way through a mission of taking passengers to a remote Nebula. With my trusty ship I am jumping between star systems -- every time traveling round 32 light years. In this flight operation I can do about about 30 jumps per hour, meaning the whole mission will require about 20 hours of gameplay.

The views are also stunning, so I will take a lot of good photos of this trip.

Where is the problem then?

The biggest one is that actually NOTHING is going on. I am just jumping, fueling up and jumping again. I am scanning planets. I can also land on them and take some nice pictures. But actually there is nothing on the planets to see or do -- other than some of them are beautiful.

Once the 20 hours are up (and I've completed the mission) I will have 20 million more credits, an addition to my Elite Explorer title grind, and then... I will take another mission.

For a change I can go and fight pirates, I can transport some goods, but overall all this is about is finding the most profitable missions to buy the biggest ships. Then -- guess what -- grind again. Mostly for nothing.

There is also not too much opportunity to interact with other players -- they are usually not even playing on open servers. The reason why they are not playing is quite simple -- PvP is occupied by those who play only to destroy others. Dog fights in Elite: Dangerous require some skill, and not every player decided to play the game to participate in some space dogfights. Some can accept being shot on site while in completely defenceless transport ships, but others would rather decide to withdraw to solo or private servers where so called ganking has no place.

I have nothing against PvP; I just need to learn how to be better, but for many players this is too much -- which is understandable.

Probably the best option would be to have only open, multiplayer servers -- like in other similar games. Players would need to accept the possibility of being interdicted and killed at every minute of the game. This would probably convince them to learn and improve their skills or work together to defend from the attacks.

Adding the multi-crew system, in theory, should support player to player interaction. However, just because there will be more people sitting in the same ship, this doesn't mean actual in-game interaction will happen.

Let me explain.

Glitter and fireworks

This is what we're actually receiving with these new additions to the game.

Multi-crew: I will be able to invite one or two of my in-game friends to board my ship. This means that now all three of us will be bored to death, while flying to the Nebula I mentioned above. There's no use for gunner or second pilot, or whatever else these poor souls are going to do. Of course it could be fun if we would decide to go into PvP or at least go for some bounties.

But as mentioned above, the amount of living players sitting in the same cockpit will not stop them from going into the safety of private servers. This is why, in my opinion, this new patch is not going to really support team cooperation.

I mean cooperation in building in-game lore. For example why not get together and set up a convoy with gunship support?

That would be much more beneficial than just sitting together in one cockpit.

Holo-Me: This is actually useful for the selfies in my ship. I was really fed up with this anonymous guy sitting in my shiny space ship. Now I will be able to see my "own" face.

Again, the only issue I have is that this is just a cosmetic move. Pilots will have faces but they are not going to be able to leave their ships anyway. So there is no change in gameplay, or need for cooperation.

The Camera Suite: I'm sort of used to the wonky system currently in ED, but I can appreciate this upgrade. Again, Elite: Dangerous is mostly about the views around you. Having the ability to use an operational third person view will be an asset during long and boring passenger trips. It is cosmetic again though.

I am not going to concentrate too much on smaller additions like the ability to name own ships, but I really would like to mention Dolphin.

Why Dolphin

Can somebody explain why the devs are introducing a third identical passenger ship to the game? 

All  three passenger ships: Beluga, Orca and now Dolphin are nearly the same -- only the size is different. Due to their specifications, they can only really be used to do passenger missions.

But, players can already do passenger missions in ANY ship in game -- as long as it's big enough to fit the passenger module. Therefore, the idea of having just passenger ships does nothing good to the game. Having one was good for role playing, but that's all that was needed. One.

Average passenger ships are also easy prey for ganker and pirate-alike, so sooner or later 90% of passenger missions will be taken to private and solo servers for safety. It feels that with more and more passenger ships, and passenger missions are quite profitable, there will be more players hiding on safe servers and voiding open play.

It means less commanders "in open," so means less person to person interaction.


As a big fan of space gaming, especially space MMOs, I love Elite: Dangerous and I have spent hundreds of hours in game just to fly around.

After watching the new patch presentation, I can say the changes brought by Frontier look impressive, but won't necessarily add any important changes to ED.

Multi-Crew, Holo-Me and Third Person View Cameras are just normal features. Expected, and great, but not groundbreaking.

I wonder if after waiting a long time for new and amazing content, is this going to be enough for the hungry Elite: Dangerous player base? I am also worried that the Multi-Crew option will (instead of bringing more in-game interaction) support the decision for many players to hide away from open servers -- they will be able to play in solo, and still create some sort of team play, but this won't affect the overall game.

ED is supposed to be a Massively Multiplayer Online game, set in a persistent universe. I feel that this is not exactly the case for many of players right now, and I feel that this new patch is not going to change that.

What I would rather see in patch 2.3 is some content which would force groups of players to team up, maybe some team quests, or even more Human vs Thargoid action.

Less glitter, and more meat please Frontier! We have a starving community, and adding some real substance will work better than naming ships.

Innovative Shardbound Gets Instant Kickstarter Success,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-shardbound-7abfd.png 9j0d5/innovative-shardbound-gets-instant-kickstarter-success Tue, 21 Feb 2017 04:25:19 -0500 ESpalding

Some developers head to Kickstarter to raise funds for their new games, while it can be a real struggle to raise the funds, some games capture people's interest and instantly take off!

This is what has happened for San Francisco Bay-based studio Spiritwalk Games and their tactical CCG Shardbound. Within the space of a day (the project was started on Feb 16th and was fully backed by 17th), backers had funded their entire $50,000 total! So now any extra funding, for the remaining 25 days, can go straight on stretch goals.

Shardbound brings elements of board-based tactical games and fuses them with your typical CCG gameplay. However, it also goes one step further. Shardbound has been specifically created for Twitch streamers and their community and aims to give them new levels of interaction with each other.

The game takes place in a high-adventure World where survivors from a huge planet-decimating event have rebuilt their civilization on huge floating islands above the remains of their planet. Smaller remains of the planet, Shards, which have been floating around in the atmosphere are starting to fall back down. While taking part in PVP matches, your aim is to take control of these shards and make a name for yourself and your House.

Shardbound is currently in private pre-alpha testing but, with the help of the Kickstarter funding, is hoping to move into Steam Early Access and public alpha testing soon. There are still many days left to give this game a boost and there is much more to read over on the campaign page about the gameplay and a specifically designed system created to allow this steamer/viewer interaction. So, head on over and consider giving the Spiritwalk Games folks a hand!

For Honor Guide: Shugoki Info and Tips,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e15905af1b4cec8a1154dcdfb8c74185.jpg 0lhsm/for-honor-guide-shugoki-info-and-tips Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:18:04 -0500 Synzer

Shugoki is the hard-hitting Heavy character for the Samurai faction in For Honor. He attacks with a giant spiked club, and has a passive uninterruptible stance -- which lets him get a free attack off even if being hit.

He attacks very slowly and moves even slower, but his massive attack makes up for it. Even though he is listed as Easy because of his powerful attack and simple moves, playing him well is pretty difficult. I'm going to help by explaining how to best use the Saumrai's muscle.

If you want general help with the game and other Hero guides, check out my For Honor Beginner Tips and Tricks.

This guide will go everything you need to know about the Shugoki in For Honor, including:

  • Shugoki Basics - Specific mechanics the Shugoki uses, as well as his moves
  • Shugoki Gear - Suggested stats to shoot for when equipping gear
  • Shugoki Tips - Extra tips for playing this hero at a higher level

Shugoki Basics

for honor shugoki basics

  • Charging Heavy Attack - Hold Heavy Attack
    • This charges the attack to make it hit even harder. Great for when you have uninterruptible stance.
  • Bash and Smash - Light Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Bone Crusher - Heavy Attack, Heavy Attack
  • Crashing Thunder - Press Heavy Attack while sprinting
  • Charge of the Oni - Press Dodge while sprinting
  • Demon's Embrace - Down+Guardbreak
  • Demon Ball - Guardbreak, Heavy Attack
  • Headbutt - Light or Heavy Attack, Guardbreak
Specific Mechanics
  • Earn more Renown by assisting or saving heroes, and defending objectives to unlock your feats in a match.
  • Passive Uninterruptible Stance that lets you attack even when getting hit.
    • This is consumed whenever you get hit or Guardbroken, but will recover after a short time.
    • You take more damage while this stance is recharging.
  • Light Attacks are not interrupted on block, but are interrupted by Superrior Block.
  • Demon's Embrace will recover health when you succeed, but lose some if you miss.
    • This move will always kill an opponent when Shugoki is in a Critical health State.

Shugoki Gear

For honor shugoki gear stats

Shugoki hits hard and has a lot of health, but you will be taking damage a lot when using the uninterruptible stance -- so investing in Defense is a good idea.

  • Weapon Part 1 - All 3 are useful for Shugoki, but I prefer Defense over the others.
  • Weapon Part 2 - Revenge Mode Gain by Defense and Revenge Mode Defense.
    • Feat Cooldown can also be useful for getting certain passive feats, but I would still primarily raise one of the other 2.
  • Weapon Part 3 - Another stat where all 3 are useful for this hero. I suggest either Revenge Mode Attack or Revenge Gain by Injury.
  • Helm - Exhaustion Recovery is most important since Shugoki has an even bigger disadvantage in Exhaustion.
  • Arms - Execution Health Regen, followed by Block Damage.
  • Chest - Stamina Regen or Block Damage Resistance.

Other Shugoki Tips

for honor shugoki combat

Learn how your Uninterruptible Stance Works

This is a huge part of Shugoki's playstyle and will mean the difference between a good and bad player. Learn which attacks you can safely shrug off to go into your attack, and which you should block or parry instead.

Also, be sure to go on the defensive when you are recovering your Stance. You take more damage without it, so don't get hasty.

Master Demon's Embrace

This is a big risk, but great reward move at low critical health. You can come back from losing with an instant kill, but if you don't learn the distance and when it is safe -- you will die quickly.

It is also great when playing team games, or when someone is blocking since it is an unblockable grab. It is safer to use when your opponent has their back to something.

Don't be afraid to Demon Ball your way to Victory

Demon Ball is one of, if the longest, knockbacks in the game. It also has the added benefit of dealing decent damage, so keeping this in your rotation can make victory come more easily.

That's all of the For Honor Shugoki tips I have for you. Let me know if you have any questions or tips of your own!

Halo Wars 2 Review: The Comeback of the Console RTS,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/fca5f06c8ddcbaf07b865b2260968d88.jpg l7n6u/halo-wars-2-review-the-comeback-of-the-console-rts Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:50:41 -0500 Synzer

Halo Wars 2 does a fantastic job at translating the usually difficult-to-control real time strategy genre from PC to console. It also lets you decide whether you want to play on PC or Xbox One, though it surprisingly plays better on Xbox One.

It has a story that rivals even the main first-person titles in the series, and a unique Blitz mode that is the very essence of Halo

What I Liked

Blitz Mode

Halo Wars 2 blitz mode

This is by far my favorite part of Halo Wars 2. It is a fast-paced and quick game mode that utilizes cards to customize your units. There are special units and powers you can use to gain an advantage, and you can bring them in on the battlefield in an instant.

This game mode fits the theme of the Halo series (and this game) perfectly. You have the classic announcer, shorter games, and more easily accessible style -- similar to what Overwatch does for the arena shooter genre. For beginners and people that don't want to spend a lot of time building up resources, energy, and bases, this is the perfect game mode.

I also enjoyed customizing by deck to get the best cards I could come up with, which offers another layer of strategy you don't usually see in an RTS.


The story was interesting enough that I wanted to keep playing just to see what would happen. And you could do it co-op, which is almost always a plus. The game flows so well from mission to mission, and it feels like actual warfare instead of just a lone savior like Master Chief. The cut-scenes were also very well done and impressive. 

What I Disliked


I don't have many complaints, but its is odd how they made this game work almost too well for console. Selecting certain units is still easier on PC, but I actually liked using the controller and playing on Xbox One more than PC.

Even though it is more accessible, it still has a steep learning curve for those that are not familiar with RTS games or the first Halo Wars 2. Even after the tutorials, normal multiplayer games can get overwhelming.

Blitz mode brings that pick-up-and-play style to the RTS, but it is still not enough to revolutionize the genre.


Although I did enjoy the story, it was still pretty short at 12 missions. I only wish there was more of it.

The Verdict

halo wars 2 campaign

In the end, I appreciate what Halo Wars 2 has to offer. It may not be a huge step forward for the genre, but its ease-of-use on console -- and the new Blitz mode -- are things other games should look at.

Fans of Halo or RTS games should definitely give this one a try. Even players looking to branch out will find this an enjoyable experience, if for nothing else but the campaign.

Runescape: One of The Best MMORPG Out There,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/85553bf6d2e9c525467caedaac6280eb.jpg uo9rj/runescape-one-of-the-best-mmorpg-out-there Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:24:40 -0500 Javi Dux

 I have been an avid mmorpg fan since I was 12. Sherwood dungeon was one of the first online games I played. Eventually, I was introduced to Runescape, which was only the beginning of my journey, and after almost 10 years, I've seen players come and go, and when I bring up Runescape today, I often hear the question,

"Do you still play Runescape?"

Yes, I do. In fact, many people do. Who hasn't heard of Runescape before?
It's a game that has been with us since our early teenage years, maybe even childhood for some.

It's a game that's 16 years old, that's right, sixteen.

But what makes this game so good?

For a game to survive for more than a decade, there has to be something special about it, something to keep the game engaging and immersive for so long, and I think for Runescape, it's the sheer amount of content and how it's distributed that has kept old players hooked on the game and new players coming in.

Unlike many other grindfest games (Looking at you, Aeria Games) where the majority of quests are focused on killing a reskin of the monster you've been fighting for 10 hours. Runescape offers players 27 different skills to master, ranging from classic combat to fishing, cooking, farming and even complex dungeon delving.

One of Runescape's raid bosses

It doesn't stop there. The game is also comprised of 212 quests, which include simple quests about helping to bake a cake, restoring guilds and even traveling to different dimensions and meeting the Elder Gods.

Runescape offers a vast and beautiful world with an almost endless system of skills, quests, bosses, raids, minigames, and the best part of all is that even 16 years after the game launched, it is being constantly updated, with two planned expansions coming out later this year.

Menaphos, one of the upcoming expansions for Runescape this year.

The Community

Another of the many aspects that make this game great is its community. They're one of the most helpful communities I've seen in online gaming, very welcoming to new players and returning players alike, and often willing to lend a hand. There's also a lot of interaction between the developers and the player base in social media and in-game forums, which shows the interest and willingness the devs have to listen to the players and their feedback.

If you're an ex-Runescape player, there's no better time to get back into the game than now. If you've heard about the game before but never gave it a try, go do it now. I can assure that you will not regret it.



On the other hand, something that new players often complain about and causes them to drop the game entirely is that barely a few hours in, the game already offers an enormous amount of content. It can be really overwhelming for new players who are not familiar with the world it has to offer. Thankfully, there are two really helpful systems in place to help the newbies get acquainted with the game. The "Path system" which guides the player through the early game after finishing the tutorial, introducing them to more in-depth training techniques and early quests. There are also the "Daily Challenges",  pushing you to further explore the game to complete said challenges, rewarding the player experience or a loot bag when completed.

 There's more! Besides in-game help, there are many sites with helpful information for newcomers, including social media fan pages, a wiki, and even starting guides such as this.

To sum it up, I think Runescape is one of the best MMORPGs out there, not only because of the vast content it offers but also because of its quality, the dev-player base interactions, and as mentioned before, how different it is from many other games in the same genre. If you're looking for a fresh experience, immersive lore, jolly co-operation or straight up grinding, Runescape is the game for you.

Grinding to a Halt: Why MMOs Should Really Rebuild Their Quest Structures,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/b/f/abf559ca987789d0b75cb8cc0bb4d7c894f8b5c868261213319e7eb204ae-bf980.jpg c9rdd/grinding-to-a-halt-why-mmos-should-really-rebuild-their-quest-structures Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:00:02 -0500 Rafal Gac CodeRM11

MMO games need grinding to give players the ability to achieve more, and go further. The same grinding process is also the reason why people are playing MMOs less and less, even if they seem to be very interesting.

Let me be perfectly honest with you; there is no chance that there will be no grinding in games -- especially true in MMO games.

Do I think this is ok? No, not really. Grinding is boring, and some serious TLC is needed to make it bearable and interesting.

So what should really happen to make sure that grinding is brought to a halt?

For starters, a game which is not even an MMO, but at the same time is the poster boy for a bad grinding system:

No Man's Sky

Let's forget the whole discussion about what NMS was/is, and if the advertising on the Steam store was actually cheating or lying. I believe that everything has been said by everybody about Sean Murray and his vision of almost unlimited worlds -- hint: they all just appeared to be a second class cartoon with a lot of limitations.

This is not how NMS look in reality. Sorry!

What is important though, NMS is a perfect example of a game with boring grinding for no reason. Or rather I should write -- grinding is actually THE reason for everything.

No Man's Sky, due to ill design, did not present any interesting aim for the players. Very quickly it was established that there is nothing in the heavily advertised "centre of the Universe" -- the endgame for NMS. I think someone got there in the first couple of hours of the game, and was transferred to exactly the same Universe (at least it looked the same). How very sad and a boring idea for the game finale it was.

Grinding in NMS is very bad, by waving some sort of blaster taking chunks of different coloured blobs. That's it.

If anybody thinks that I chose NMS as an example of bad grinding in games because it was easy target -- this is exactly the reason! But I will not feel guilty, the grinding of the games should feel guilty of being bland.

The reason I have brought No Man's Sky is, that the grinding in the game failed badly. There was no really interesting story behind it. It seems that Hello Games people one day were sitting behind the table and decided that NMS players must grind something. Otherwise the game will have no purpose.

I think this is the worst case scenario for any game -- when grinding becomes the aim for it.

What about Elite: Dangerous?

I love the game, don't get me wrong, but repetition in Frontier's version of the Milky Way can sometimes be concerning. It certainly drags player out of the game very often.

There is an aim here though. The reason for grinding in ED is to reach Elite rank in three categories: fight, exploration, and trading. Higher ranks are also responsible for the access to some of the solar systems, and also grant access to more sophisticated space ships.

Where is the problem?

I feel that the problem is lack of variety in the quests. It is not so visible at the beginning, but with time, when players have most of the space ships and ranks it becomes very apparent; there is not too much else to do.

I am just in the middle of a passenger trip taking 6 people to some sort of Nebula. Hours of jumping from star system to star system. Nice views -- I can admit -- but nothing more. This is where the problem lies; grinding is lonely and overly prolonged.

A lot of players who are leaving ED claim that they achieved everything. Sometimes two or three times, and that is it.

I can understand this point of view and I can see where those leavers are coming from.

I didn't quit though, and regardless that I am sure there is much to say about endless grinding in ED, there is also one thing, which makes it different comparing to many other titles. The reason why grinding can be acceptable is that you can interact with other players (when you are not on your way to a nebula) and create some sort of own story.

This is an important feature of properly designed MMO games, such as Elite: Dangerous; people are never alone and they can interact not only with the in-game world but also with each other. This makes a difference and provides sense to questing and grinding.

The same principle applies to every MMO game

Let's take a look at the really big titles. World of Warcraft is certainly top of the bunch. Highly acclaimed, easily playable but still based on the old MMORPG principle of waving your sword/axe/knife or shooting, and just in world doing repetitive quests to achieve higher ranks. Mega grind in progress...

Star Wars: The Old Republic? Exactly the same. After 2 hours of playing this game I was ready to uninstall it and forget it forever. And I actually did -- until a friend, who has been playing for the last 5 years, told me exactly why he is still playing and why I was unwise to quit.

He stays in game for the people who are playing with him. It is not so much about another quest, another skill or ability any more. What keeps him coming back, grinding another quest, achieving another skill is an ability to use what he learned during team escapades against other clans or teams.

It seems to be really clear, that to avoid grinding which will put people out of the MMO game, developers must re-think the position of quests/grinding in their game design.

Quest structure should be rebuilt...

...and players should gain deeper control over their own development paths.

The easiest way to describe a good grinding system would be our real life structure.

Of course people need to work, and work quite often reminds us of proper in-game grinding. The difference is that in life we are fully in charge of our decisions and choices. Therefore we are in power to stop our grind -- change of job, move to another country, write a book, or start to write for GameSkinny (editor note -- in our JTP program hint hint)...

Good MMO games should follow a similar pattern; of course games are not real life and never should be. The popularity of sandbox games, like Life is Feudal, Astroneer, Evochron Legacy, shows quite clearly that set quests and grinding becoming rather obsolete. Players want to decide about their in-game life and what to do next.

This is the reason why in Elite: Dangerous, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, and so many other games, people are slowly adding an element of team cooperation though factions, corporations, any sort of PvP interaction, and more.

This is the way of bringing grinding back to life -- making it useful for the community and a force for good.

Therefore quest structure should rely on the choice of the players. They should be less designed as a path from A to B, and should be about choices with the support of others, skip a couple of levels, jump higher, and succeed or fail. Learn from experience, learn from mistakes. Learn from others.

EVE Online is all about players and learning

There is only one world in EVE. The world is cruel and requires you to learn from all the players. It can be a painful experience, dragging people out of the game, but they have the option to work with other people, have some advice, and above all support. In exchange they just need to be useful for the community.

A few days ago I was in my tier 1 frigate flying around. As a noob in space, I wasn't grinding. I was attacking space structures surrounded by players with tonnes of skills, and flying ships I was not be able to buy for another two years of playing EVE. I was still part of this story. It was fun. Much better than endless missions for local militia.

In many games I would need to level up for ages to even gain access to this kind of "boss fight."

I think that CCP, the developers of EVE Online, learned a long time ago that the best method of keeping your game interesting and popular is to give players an ability to mould the game and run it. This is why EVE has such a sophisticated economy system, lively corporations, and constant buzz around main alliances -- as well as  space battles with thousands of players.

There is no reason to remove grinding from a game. What should really happen is developers making sure that grinding will not become the reason for the game.

With interesting, non-linear quest design, stunning visuals, and an attention grabbing believable story behind it all, every MMO game will be closer to being a better version of real life. Regardless that many look at games as an escape, we are also hoping to find something familiar there, as well as a life changing experience which would require effort but not constant boredom.

Minecraft PC 1.11+ Multi-Mansion, Multi-Village SEED!!!,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/6/1/5/6158aa01bd894f3.jpeg jv7ow/minecraft-pc-111-multi-mansion-multi-village-seed Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:22:11 -0500 Repherb

Picture this, while messing around on your Minecraft server, you (so actually I) thought, "why don't I mess around with some random numbers and see what I come up with?"

Lo and behold, you (but again, I) have created a seed with no less than 7 Woodland Mansions!

Not only that, there are no less than 40 Villages too!

From Diamond horse armor in temples to Iron Ingots, Iron Swords and more Diamonds, you will not be disappointed.

Here's the seed:


And here are the coordinates for the Woodland Mansions:

  1. -1959 -2023
  2. 5640 -898
  3. 11845 -8362
  4. -4742 -8294
  5. 27656 -807
  6. 30040 -695
  7. 28703 24559

As for  Villages, well, there are too many to list so I will give only the first 10 -- with Blacksmiths, of course!

  1. 289 63 1097 - Gold, Bread, Apples, Diamond
  2. 371 66 -1005 - Gold, Iron, Bread, Apples, Saplings
  3. 421 67 -948 - Gold, Iron, Bread, Apples, Saplings
  4. -372 65 1770 - Iron, Bread, Diamonds
  5. -3763 65 2462 - Iron, Armor, Gold
  6. 3652 69 2624 - Armor, Iron
  7. 2106 69 3635 - Diamonds, Armor, Pickaxe, Saplings
  8. -4309 69 3302 - Sword, Pickaxe, Iron, Bread
  9. -3716 68 3198 - Pickaxe, Iron, Apples, Bread, Gold
  10. -4433 68 -437 - Obsidian, Armor, Bread, Apples, Saddle, Sapling

Now, you're probably wondering, "what the @#$% would I do with 7 Woodland Mansions?!" And I mean, I don't know either, but why not find out right?

Have you discovered what to do with 7 Woodland Mansions yet? Did you visit all 40 Villages? Are you ruling the world? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to share this article.

Deep Ocean Update for; The Ocean Version of,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/e/e/deeeep-b8705.jpg dqctq/deep-ocean-update-for-deeeepio-the-ocean-version-of-mopeio Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:29:28 -0500 LillyBilly

A new update has recently hit, bringing access to the deep sea as an addition to the regular map -- on beta servers -- via the blobfish or worm. And it brings a whole new mechanic and feeling of exploration to the game.

What is the deep sea?

This update adds a lower depth to the ocean which gives access to new terrain, new food and of course new creatures. These new creatures include things such as the blobfish, an anglerfish, and even a manta.

The anglerfish, along with a few other creatures, are the only ones who can survive in the deep ocean, but will take damage upon leaving the area. Fear not, if you evolve into a deep sea creature whilst in a different environment you’ll be protected from damage until you arrive there. This does not mean that you’ll be able to safely eat whilst being immune from attacks. As well as not being able to take/deal damage, you won’t be able to eat any food from any area other than the deep sea.

Just remember at the time of writing this article the deep sea is in beta testing and features are likely to change.

What else is new?

The biggest additions to the game come in the form of 2 new starting creatures; the blobfish and the worm, as well as a tonne of other animals later down the line.

The blobfish is an ugly looking fish that thrives in the deepest depths of the ocean, and as such will struggle to survive the higher levels (much like the anglerfish).

The worm adds a brand new mechanic to the game which was previously unexplored -- the ability to burrow into the ground. Doing so will make the previously solid ground appear transparent as you venture through it. While you are in the soil, outside fish will not be able to see you unless you type in chat (a big white text box appears).

Another nice touch is the addition of schools of fish in the upper levels of the ocean. Giving the ocean a more realistic feeling.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, is essentially the ocean version of It isn’t exactly the same,  so don’t be too upset if some things are different.


Sources and Credit

Game details:

Full video credit goes to Draegast

Why Are ".io" Games So Popular?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/l/i/slither-agario-e646c.jpg 57sor/why-are-io-games-so-popular Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 LillyBilly

In the event that you have been living under a virtual rock for the past two years, you would have missed the birthing and evolution of a completely new gaming genre: .io games.

But before we dive into what makes this new genre so universally loved, let us take a look at its origins.

Where Did .io Games Come From?

By now, you will probably have seen some news about and or They are the most infamous games in the budding genre.

You have also probably heard about's seemingly explosive rise to popularity, from the darkest, obscure corners of the internet. And there is a good reason that its growth is newsworthy.

Nowadays, the mobile gaming market is saturated and any new game seems to be lost to the murky depths of the ubiquitous app store. Unless of course, the publishing company has a monstrously huge PR budget and is willing to throw endless bundles of cash at Youtubers and on ads. The same seems to apply to the browser-based gaming industry. However, against all odds took the whole gaming industry by storm. There was no big PR budget and no promotional stunts.

A nineteen-year-old student by the name of Matheus Valadares simply posted a link to his game on the site 4chan in 2015. The user base exploded and soon was all over the internet.

The success of naturally caught the attention of other game developers. Most notably Steve Howse, creator of A game that closely followed and dominated the gaming industry. It was even reported that was making $100,000 per day. Naturally, the gaming industry could not ignore this new gaming evolution.

What Makes and So Popular?

Matheus Valadares' game is simple. You are a cell. Your mission is to eat smaller cells and food, with the goal of growing bigger and avoiding larger cells that might eat you. Sounds like a simple game, right? It is. And the graphics are equally as simple. So if the game is so simple why did it become so popular?'s, key to success was its simplicity and resulting accessibility. It is a game that you can pick up and play instantly. There is no need to download anything and there are no complicated tutorials. If you have a few minutes to spare, you can jump into the game and start eating other players and dominating the virtual world. This really appealed to the modern gaming community and the user count grew to millions in a very short period of time. mirrors the same simplicity that propelled into the limelight. But has two additional tricks up its sleeve. First, it has more visually appealing graphics. Second, has a feeling of nostalgia, with game mechanics and visuals that echo those heady days of the classic arcade game, snake.

The nostalgic feeling of and simple gameplay, coupled with the beautiful graphics, resulted in the game quickly dwarfing and becoming the most downloaded mobile app. A position held for many months.

What About Other IO Games?

Since and, there have been a plethora of new .io games. Not all of them have been a huge success. So let us examine a few games and see what makes them work or why they failed.

This game was a big success and is still considered one of the more popular .io games, or "Big 5" game, as some people are calling them., in essence, is very basic. You are a tank and your goal is to shoot other tanks and objects, with the objective of collecting experience points to spend on upgrades. A notion that most gamers are familiar with and requires very little in the way of in-game experience to understand.

The game graphics are no more complicated than geometric shapes. Making it seem like child's play.

Combining all these features created a game that is very easy to pick up and play, easy to look at and once you become addicted to the game (and you will), you find the game can be different every time, by virtue of the upgrades you buy.

Sadly this game really did not make it off the starting blocks.

If seems to follow the rules of simplicity with its graphics and general gameplay. But after playing the game for a few minutes, you start to become frustrated with the difficulty of shooting other players and bots.

Relatively new to the .io game scene, started off slowly but has recently exploded. is a virtual ecosystem with a fully functioning food chain, comprised of players controlling the various animals, trying to eat food that spawns, and other animals. This is a genius idea for a game, as we have all been taught about the food chain as children and so we start playing with a basic understanding. However, when was first released, the graphics didn't clearly represent the animals and this created confusion among some players.

Later on, the graphics were tweaked and now the rabbit looks like a rabbit. This small change resulted in the game going viral and today commands a user base of over 5 million players a month and a very active community., follows the same game mechanics as Your goal is to grow bigger by collecting various objects or food, in a bid to become bigger than your opponents, allowing you to kill them.

The graphics and gameplay are both simple and everything seems to add up, but somehow never went truly viral.

Plagued by lag and the missing X factor, the game saw a brief spell of popularity before sinking into obscurity.

Putting It All Together

Building any game is difficult, but creating a game that goes viral can be a near impossible task. Right now, the .io game genre is commanding a massive audience and game developers are trying to get a piece of that and it seems simplicity is the key. pioneered the genre with basic gameplay and graphics, closely followed by A game that set the industry standard, by combining easy, intuitive gameplay, with a touch of nostalgia and beautiful graphics.

More recent games like, continued to build on these foundations and have seen great success.

In short, if you want to create a viral .io game, keep everything simple, recognisable, visually appealing, intuitive and if you can add some nostalgia into that mix, then you will probably succeed. And do not forget to make sure everything runs smoothly and without lag.


Sources and Credit

You can find a more detailed history of and here, more details on the other listed games, as well as more about Steve House:

Conan Exiles Is Selling Like Hotcakes, But What's with the Mixed Reviews?,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/n/conan-exiles-2016-33a02.jpg rhbz2/conan-exiles-is-selling-like-hotcakes-but-whats-with-the-mixed-reviews Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Michael Llewellyn

For some people, first impressions last -- especially when it comes to videogames. And early fan reactions to Funcom's Conan Exiles shouldn't have been any different. Fortunately, in modern gaming, it isn't always so black and white, as patches and updates allow developers a bit more flexibility to fix bugs and iron out any problems that gamers are experiencing.

By releasing Conan Exiles into Early Access on Steam, it allows the game's developers, Funcom, a lot more flexibility to give fans what they want and to work with them to create an open world survival game in the Conan universe that works well before it's ready to launch.

A big advantage of going the Early Access route is if a developer is willing take on customer feedback -- either negative or positive -- and work to fix the issues as they continue to build on the foundations of their game through regular updates and patches, fans will (mostly) react in a positive way. You only have to take look at the dedicated Conan pages on Reddit to see how quickly fan reaction is turning around from initial early (and negative) impressions.

Word of mouth in Early Access goes a long way -- and fast It's basically free marketing for the developer and its potential for providing success is evident with Conan Exiles reaching over 360,000 sales within its first two weeks on the platform. It would be a mistake, too, to not consider that Conan has quite a large fanbase that are often difficult to please -- so endorsement from old and new fans alike will help elevate the game to a successful launch.

Fans have also been rewarded with the game's development tools to create their own mods to add to the game, which another a great way of continuing positive rapport with the current fanbase and drawing in new fans from the modding scene.

Funcom are the first to admit that they have made mistakes in the past -- despite being quite well received by critics, Age Of Conan did launch with a lot of bugs and other issues. Problems like this hurt the game's sales in the long run, so releasing a massive game of Conan Exiles' magnitude into Early Access allows the developers to target any bugs and gameplay problems early on before the final launch.

Open World Survival 

The land of Hyboria's already established and detailed world written and drawn up by author Robert E Howard almost 90 years ago, already feels like it was designed to experienced in an open world game. The lands and its inhabitants, from beasts to men/women are unforgiving and deadly. To help set it apart from other open world survival games, its unique setting is full of gigantic and vicious creatures and a deep mythology that has been the inspiration for just about every sword and sorcery tale that succeeded it. Hyboria is the perfect backdrop for a survival adventure game like Conan Exiles and something I have gone into far more detail with.

What makes a survival game work so well is the player's freedom to play solo, join a clan, build a fortress, and survive against the landscape and everything it throws at you. The sub-genre is giving many gamers what they have wanted for years, an adventure with no hand holding, where experimentation and discovering the game for yourself is as much part of the fun as the building and raiding.

A good recent example of an open world survival game that Funcom have no doubt looked to as a good business model of how to successfully build and market a game of this type with full community support is Ark: Survival Evolved.  Where Ark succeeded was it tirelessly worked on fixing bugs, continuously added new content and really got the fans involved. Popular YouTubers and Twitch users dominated gaming channels with their experiences with the Ark -- which was a great PR tactic from Studio Wildcard. As I mentioned above word of mouth and enthusiasm from the fans has the potential to really make a game succeed and drive a title to an almost cult-like status through early development.

The Tools To Create A Good Game

Obviously it has taken a lot more than just good PR and fan interaction to start creating a game that has made fans take notice. Fans and reviewers that have had the patience to stick with the game beyond its early flaws, have been rewarded with a game that has the foundations of being something special. These foundations didn't come from thin air, it was the culmination of the skills and knowledge they have brought forward from past development projects.

Although Age Of Conan lost quite a bit of momentum in the early stages with some game breaking bugs -- even though they were eventually patched -- the game itself was inviting, easy to pick up and has a lovingly crafted and a deep world based on the Conan mythos. This is an invaluable level of experience that they can no doubt adapt again as they continue to expand on Conan Exiles. Funcom know the world that Conan inhabits probably better than any other developer.

Conan Exiles has been particularly successful with its building mechanics, and the flexible tools in place really allow players to get creative. You can build your fortresses upwards and around cliffside mountains. The blocks and materials mesh together in a way that looks natural and blends nicely so it looks like real part of the environment. Of course Funcom are no strangers to implementing building mechanics in their games, as they developed Lego Minifigures Online and being able to bring that skillset and level of experience over into an open world survival game like this has pieced together perfectly.

There are areas that need improvement in the game like its combat and I'm sure the developers have heard the complaints and understand better than anyone that swordplay is an important part of the Conan universe and will fix this later -- which is the beauty of Early Access titles.

Conan: Exiles is improving with almost daily updates from Funcom. The team there are clearly working hard at making this game everything it has the potential to be, and build on what already has the solid foundations in place to make this game a continued success both financially and critically by its full launch in 2018.