Online Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Online RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Nintendo Switch Online Service Details Revealed Fri, 02 Jun 2017 10:16:58 -0400 girlwonder

It's official -- we'll be getting online capabilities for the Nintendo Switch in 2018. Nintendo just released details about its paid service and the compatible smart device app.

Let's dive in.

The Nintendo Switch Online service is indeed a paid service. So users will have to pay a monthly subscription fee to enjoy the benefits of this new system. The pricing will be as follows:

  • 1-Month Membership: $3.99 USD
  • 3-Month Membership: $7.99 USD
  • 12-Month Membership: $19.99 USD

Subscribers will also have the chance to download classic Nintendo games with added online play. Some of the titles include Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, and Dr. Mario.

Also launching in 2018 is a dedicated smart device app that will allow users to invite friends to play online, set play appointments, and engage in voice chat during online matches (for compatible games). Users will have access to a free version of this app in Summer 2017.

Online gameplay will be free until the paid service launches in 2018. Subscribers will have access to the following:

  • Online gameplay
  • Online Lobby & Voice Chat app
  • Classic Game Selection
  • Nintendo eShop deals

The following features will be available to both paid subscribers and non-subscribers:

  • Access to Nintendo eShop
  • Register and manage friends
  • Share screenshots to social media
  • Access to Nintendo Switch Parental Controls App

This will be Nintendo's first-ever paid online service. Playing online on the Nintendo Switch is free until 2018. Users will be able to play compatible co-op and competitive games online by signing into their Nintendo Account. After this trial ends, players will be required to purchase a subscription in order to play online. Keep in mind, this service is only for the Nintendo Switch and will not effect the 3DS or Wii U.

With E3 just around the corner, stay tuned for more updates on Nintendo!

NBA Playgrounds: How to Start Playing With Friends Mon, 22 May 2017 15:26:19 -0400 Nick Lee

Since its release on May 9, players of NBA Playgrounds have noticed one vital feature missing from the game -- a true online mode that allows them to play with or against friends. NBA 2K and most other sport games have normalized the fact that when you get a modern sports game, you're going to get online play, too. But as of right now, Playgrounds users can only engage in random-match online game modes or a classic offline co-op mode with friends.

Yes, you read that right: you currently cannot play with your friends in online mode -- only in the local offline co-op.

So until a true online co-op mode appears, players can still get comfortable with the local multiplayer feature to challenge their friends on the basketball court. For those who would rather ball solo, you can participate in ranked play (unless playing on the Nintendo Switch). 

How to Play With Friends in Offline Co-Op for NBA Playgrounds

The classic fun with friends around one TV is brought to life in Playgrounds. To access this local mode, head to the the main menu select an Exhibition Match. From there, you'll see be four spaces that you can choose, which represent the four characters in the teams. Players will then choose a team and a player, and then you can start the fun.

If you have played a single-player Exhibition Match previously, the characters you choose may already be pre-selected, so just press the circle/B button until all four boxes are cleared.

How to Unlock Online Play in NBA Playgrounds

If you want to hop online and test out your skills against people other than your friends, there's a mode for that! But to play online in NBA Playgrounds, you first have to unlock the mode. Unlike a lot of a games that have you go through tutorial runs before you can access some of the game's core features, NBA Playgrounds requires a full unlock.

First, you need to unlock Tournament Mode in order to get online, but that won't be too difficult. To unlock Tournament Mode, you need to reach level two, then open the player pack you receive.

From there, you only need to reach round three of the tournament. With the tournament finished, you'll be able to take on friends or participate in ranked play for online modes.

Will Online Mode Ever Let You Play With Friends?

Saber Interactive promised to include a full-fledged online mode a few days after launch -- but now two weeks later, players are still on the bench. We hope to see a patch in the coming months that will upgrade online for the Switch, but can't say for sure if that's actually going to happen. 

 As you wait and grind through Playgrounds, check out our other guides to get ahead of the game:

9 Overwatch Heroes That Elevate the FPS to New Heights Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Stephen Brown

Overwatch is one of the games that I'm currently addicted to. A huge part of this is because yes, the core mechanics are sharp, fun and all work extremely well together, but it's the colourful and diverse cast of characters that are the heart and soul of it all.

It would not be the same without any of them and I want to tell you, dear reader, who are my most favourite characters to play as, based on a mixture of abilities, role to the team and personality.

9. Soldier: 76 

The guy who you play in the tutorial, (if you've never played a single first-person shooter before-level) the first hero I played as is the most helpful character to play when getting to grips with how the game modes work and when learning about what other heroes do. His assault rifle packs a strong and easy punch against the enemy and it is the most familiar weapon to use as it plays like any standard gun in any other shooter.

He also has helix rockets for extra damage to finish off enemies and to help take down the stronger heroes. Soldier: 76 is a self-sustaining hero with his healing ability, quickly healing himself and others around him. He is an easy hero to use but he also a very effective one for beginners and adepts alike.

8. Roadhog

The 'One-man apocalypse' himself, Roadhog is both an efficient and annoying tank hero to have and to face. Another self-sustaining character but arguably more deadly, he is a tank that isn't so much about protecting ally heroes but more about charging forward and eliminating the enemy before they have a chance to kill your team. His hook ability is great to use if you're playing him, but is frustrating if you get targeted by it, as it can halt an enemy whilst their using their abilities and it's possible to land a quick one-shot kill straight after.

I played him recently in the map Route 66 and 3 times in a row I was lucky enough to interrupt the enemy Genji 3 times in a row with his hook and quickly kill him. His other ability allows him to heal a chunk of his health, this also has a surprisingly fast cooldown as well. It is because of this reason you will most likely see a Roadhog in every match for being so deadly efficient.

7. Torbjorn

Torbjorn is one of two heroes that is arguably, solely for defence modes unlike other heroes in the defence category. This is due to his main role as setting up his turret in a position to easily pick off enemies and defend areas. It's because of this ability that makes him much less efficient in attacking situations.

However saying this, he is very fun to play and can sometimes be necessary to have on your team due to him being able to defend points with his turret but also create armour packs for your allies. His gun is more deadly up close compared with at distance however having to modes is helpful nonetheless. It's always nice to see multiple elimination notifications pop up from a well-placed turret.

6. Mercy

A team's guardian angel, Mercy is the easiest healer to use but that doesn't mean she is only good for new players. Her Caduceus Staff is heavily proficient in supporting your team, able to quickly restore huge amounts of health but also able to increase the amount of damage an ally can do.

Because of her being the most support focused hero, it is more difficult to rack up a decent amount of kills unless you're an expert with her. But you'll find there will always be someone needing healing so you will be literally flying across the map, (due to one of her abilities) healing everyone. Mercy makes you feel like you are the most important person on your team due to the amount of healing you will do.

Her resurrection ultimate is the most tide-turning ability in the game potentially resurrecting the entire team and winning the match. Because of this, it is highly likely you will be voted for at the end of the game in the cards screen.

5. Reaper

Reaper has some of the highest damage in the game, provided you're up close and personal with his shotguns. He is better at some maps than others, but because of his high attack, he can take out enemy tanks quickly and efficiently. What makes him even better is that he can consume the souls of dead enemies to heal himself. So if you are on the front lines taking out multiple heroes, he is able to constantly sustain his own health.

Reaper is also perfect at flanking the enemy team since he can teleport a distance away and get in close behind to take them out. His ultimate 'death blossom' is perfect for eliminating a whole group at close range but is a target for snipers and other distance shooters, so it is important like with any ultimate to use it at the right time.

4. Pharah

Pharah is one of those heroes that potentially can be very effective against the enemy but in the wrong hands can just be a liability due to her vulnerability in the skies. Because of her flying skill and rocket launcher, it allows her to get around behind the other team and help pick off enemy healers and other lower health heroes with ease. It's also extremely satisfying to be able to fly around the map taking out enemies from above.

Like I said before: if the other team has a Widowmaker, Soldier or Mcree, you'll find yourself getting killed pretty easily, so drop to the ground if you start getting shot at so you can dodge it. However, like Reaper, her ultimate can obliterate the enemy team but it leaves her vulnerable, so it is best to use it when flanking them.

3. Junkrat

Junkrat isn't that widely popular and it isn't common to see him on most games, however, although he is much better at defence as is his role, he is still surprisingly useful on attack maps. His primary attack, the bouncing bombs are great at shooting out into a group as you don't necessarily need to aim them to make contact and deal heavy damage. Also if you need to deal a burst of damage against a quick hero such as Tracer, who doesn't have a lot of health, chucking out a remote mine and triggering it immediately can likely kill the enemy.

His bear trap is perfect at defending a side route, as even if you aren't there at the spot, it will notify you of their presence even when it is destroyed and allow you to hold off the other team at that position. His 'Riptire' ultimate is deadly but it can easily be destroyed before it deals any damage.

2. Symmetra

Symmetra is the other hero alongside Torbjorn that is mostly useful at defence rather than attack. Her main ability, the six sentry turrets are perfect and defending a variety of flanking routes from the enemy. Although on their own they might not be able to take out enemies, but they help slowly deal damage for allies to finish off, granting an elimination still. They are also useful at telling you when and where the other team is coming from as you can see when your turrets are making contact.

Her weapon is also effective at close range as you only need to aim in the general direction for it to lock on and deal damage. Since this gets stronger the longer you have it activated, it makes it perfect at getting double and triple kills in groups. The ranged attack is not very useful as the orb is slow and easy to dodge, however, if you take the enemy unawares you can manage to get kills. Plus it is able to pass through shields and barriers, which is perfect against a Reinhardt or Orisa.

Her teleporter and shield generator are useful for both attack and defence since you can regroup fallen allies at a point quickly or boost your allies defences with added shields. Just make sure they are placed in a hidden or easily defendable position.

1. Zenyatta

Zenyatta is arguably one of the most useful support hero to have on a team, since he is flexible as a healing support, debuffing enemies and as a surprisingly proficient attack hero from mid-range. He may not have the best healing, however, it can work from a good distance so you don't need to be right next to a damaged ally.

His debuffing skill is better than Mercy's I find as it makes an enemy hero more vulnerable to damage and does not rely on a single ally hero, plus you don't need to hold a button down, you are able to send a discord orb out and still heal and attack the other team.

His only drawback is that he is slow at moving, making him an easy target for a Genji or Tracer. His 'Transcendence' ultimate can drastically heal all allies around and is invulnerable to all damage, including other ultimates making a great counter to Zarya and in other tight situations.

Final Thoughts...

This list is my personal favourite Overwatch heroes to play and who I find most useful and fun. I could write a list of why every hero is useful but these are who I think does it better than the rest. This is the thing with Overwatch, every single character is incredible and unique which makes it stand out to other games in the genre. Who are your favourite Overwatch heroes and why, let me know in the comments and thanks for reading.

Destiny 2 Needs to Wisen Up to Succeed Long Term Sat, 01 Apr 2017 16:00:02 -0400 Dan Roemer

Destiny, for the most part, is held in a very high regard from loyal fans and fans of Bungie alike, but its player base since launch has dropped immensely -- as has the sentiment towards the series itself from non-fans or casual players alike. So the question to ask is; what can Destiny 2 improve upon and do to avoid it having the same fate as its predecessor?

If we take a step back from Destiny for a moment and look at Titanfall, the same thing happened with that player base; it tanked within weeks of release. Then with the release of Titanfall 2 back in October, it sold well below expectations -- now sure you can blame this on the monstrous release schedule from fall of last year, but how exactly can Destiny 2 also avoid this same fate? Today I'll be breaking down the three things that I believe need to be improved upon and that in the end originally made me stop playing.

Tell Me an Actual Story

Easily the biggest complaint I had with the original Destiny at launch was the extreme lack of any kind of narrative. The game was completely void of almost any kind of story or progression structure altogether -- a character would blatantly tell you they don't have time to explain, then you basically stood there and shot waves of enemies, this would then happen about twenty more times throughout the game, then the main quest line would be over. For any real depth, character bio, or lore you'd have to go to some website and read walls of text; invigorating stuff.

So if Destiny 2 is going to have any hope in hell of keeping me interested, it better actually have some characters I can care about -- if you're like me and only played Destiny at launch, let me ask you this; can you even remember a single character's name from Destiny? -- I sure as hell can't. That or at least throw me some sort of overarching plot or goal I can actually stay attached too, loot grinding and PVP can only keep me interested for so long; which in my case, not very.

Raid Matchmaking Absolutely Needs to be Added

Bungie thought it would be an incredible idea to design these challenging yet fun raids to take part in, which are so hard -- you have no choice but to have a full team before going into one... Except they decided you can only play and enter them with your friends because they believed you needed coordination and voice chat in order to tackle these -- which is such a weird naively incompetent design choice that it makes my head spin. However it probably also then explains why less than 20% of Destiny's player-base have never even completed a raid to begin with. This absolutely needs to change for Destiny 2, not including matchmaking for something like this was such a weirdly bad choice from a developer who gave us the Halo trilogy. Which by the way is a common theme in my opinion for Destiny overall -- a cool concept wrapped up in weirdly stupid decisions.


Tone Down the Grinding

The final thing that absolutely made me stop playing the original Destiny and made me never come back despite how cool or possibly interesting those expansions were, because I'd always think to myself “Yeah that looks cool, but I don't wanna spend another 10 hours replaying the same two missions over and over for some new specific gear.” -- Seriously when I think back to my time spent with Destiny, I'd say 50% of it was just grinding and replaying the same missions and boss fights over and over late into the night, just so I can find some better gear and increase my level more. I think this needs to be completely toned down in Destiny 2, a game like this shouldn't have to be a complete grind fest if you want some half decent gear.

But like I mentioned, I haven't played Destiny since launch -- so if any hardcore players still playing today have any recommendations for Destiny 2 I'd love to hear them in the comments below, as always thanks for reading and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Destiny 2 coverage.

Don't Overlook Avorion If You're Looking for a Space Sandbox Thu, 09 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 Caio Sampaio

Since Minecraft became successful, many games have tried to create crafting experiences that replicate the same success. In these games, outer space tends to be the preferred setting.

We all know the formula by now. Crafting systems + procedural art + space.

Recently many games have managed to thrive using this concept, including Astroneer and Starbound, but another strong contestant has arrived in the market -- Avorion.

Developed by Boxelware, it was released on Steam on January 23, where it currently remains on Early Access, but has already stacked good impressions, with more than 600 reviews marked as "very positive" by the platform.

The questions that begs for an answer, however, is...

When so many games use the same formula, how does Avorion differentiates itself from its competitors?

We will analyze the game and find out through the next topics.

Sense of scale:

In most games, the camera remains close to the playable character, in order to give to players more precision in their movements, but in experiences that are all about exploration, this may counter the premise of the game.

In a close-up shot, the camera will successfully frame the main character, but while doing this, it may also make it difficult to communicate the size of the universe to the user.

In Avorion, however, the camera can go as far as even framing an entire planet, which helps to show to players the size of the universe they are playing in.

Another element that communicates well the scope of the game is the magnitude of the constructions players can create therein.

This game relies on scalable blocks to create ships and space stations (above). 

This is a key difference between this game and the others on Steam. Through its visuals, it communicates with mastery how vast the room for exploration is and allows players to tackle much larger projects.

Which leads us to the next topic...

As the developer states in its page on Steam:

"There are no limits to ship size or complexity besides your resources"

While other games in the space exploration genre feature choices, in regards to how to explore and what to do with the resources players gather, in Avorion, choices are presented a bit differently to the audience.

As the quote above says, players can build ships that are as large as they wish, as long as they have the resources to build it, but they need to think carefully about the size of their vessels.

Maneuverability and energy consumption are two characteristics players must keep in mind when building their ships, but there are many others, as the developer explains:

"Adjust your ships perfectly to their operational purpose by building light and agile or heavily armored ships. Build specialized transport ships with lots of cargo space or heavily armored battleships with strong shields."

This is the type of choice that will make players think before building their ships, thus adding more depth to the gameplay, as users will perceive the impact their choices have in the outcomes of how the game plays.


In this game, players will not only build a ship to cruise through space. Combat is a vital part of the gameplay of this title.

Adding to the choices players need to make, in regards to the stats of their ships as they craft them, they can also craft guns and choose which one works best for their style of play.

The weapons can vary from chainguns to lasers and each behave differently, leaving to players the mission of figuring it out which one works best for their style and/or for the objective they have in mind.


Through the previous slides, we have introduced the sense of scale of the game, its system to build ships and guns for it, but now it is time to share this experience with others.

The game features two online modes -- cooperative and player versus players.

The multiplayer experience in this game is also grounded on choice.

As the developer describes it:

"Team up with your friends to build stations together and destroy pirates and enemy factions! Work together to extend your influence in the galaxy and build your own empire. Or, you know, blow them apart in large PvP battles. It's a sandbox, you can do whatever you want."


While this game does rely on the old formula, it offers many interesting twists. Its sense of scale presents to players a grander view of the universe and communicates better the size of the exploration that can be done.

This works together with the choices players need to make when crafting items and building their ships, as they must have a clear goal and build a ship that serves this purpose, keeping its specs in mind.

On top of that, players can either travel through space or engage in combats, alone or with the help of their peers.

Through the qualities above and many more, Avorion is game that will continue to gain momentum on Steam as it prepares for its full release on Q3 2017.

If you are a fan of this genre, this is a title that you should strongly consider to invest your time and money on.

Never Played Online Games? Try These 7 to Get Started Off Right. Fri, 27 Jan 2017 05:06:28 -0500 Eliot Lefebvre

Let's face it -- online games can be intimidating to someone who hasn't played them before. It's easy enough to say that they allow you to interact with huge numbers of people from around the world. But for people who haven't played the games before that means that you're going to be teaming up with people who have more experience, predetermined ideas about how you're supposed to act, and (perhaps most importantly) who will not be happy if you don't do things correctly.

Still, everyone needs to start somewhere, and the bright side is that there are lots of great places to start -- more than there have ever been. A good introductory game should be accessible to new players and straightforward to play from the start. But it should also offer something unique to the genre, and provide a good teaching tool for something that players will need even if they choose to explore other online titles. The following games may or may not be your favorites, but they're a good way to bring your friends into online gaming.

1. World of Warcraft

Even if World of Warcraft isn't as big as it was a few years ago, it's still huge -- and the continued series of rolling updates the developers make to the game ensure that each given expansion is a good place to jump in. Players who join in now can easily boost up to 100, get an introductory tutorial, and start in on the most recent expansion content immediately. So you don't even have to worry about outleveling your friends if it's your main game. And there's still a lot to like here, along with a low difficulty curve for early content that slowly introduces you to the concepts you'll need for later.

The biggest drawback to introducing your friends here is, well, there's a lot of critical mass that's been built up in WoW over the years. More than any other game on this list, the culture of this game has become deeply entrenched. Still, that's not something that should stop you, and you could do worse for your first stop on a tour of online gaming.

2. Heroes of the Storm

By contrast, Heroes of the Storm is not the "default" MOBA like WoW. But it offers something that League of Legends does not: a strong emphasis on teamwork. Unlike most other MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm makes most achievements collective goals, with experience earned as part of a group effort and most major battlefield objectives requiring a team to secure.

That difference is going to be felt. In LoL, a more skilled player might outright walk away from new players simply because they don't need to coordinate with the new player, and thus a newcomer is left feeling like they're left to their own devices. In HotS, that new player is a part of the team right away, and the team needs everyone to work in unison to be successful. Rather than leaving new folks as a sideline, they become a focus.

3. Marvel Heroes

At this point, roughly 150% of all films made are superhero movies, so odds are that pretty much everyone has at least passing familiarity with bits and pieces of the Marvel universe. That makes this free-to-play ARPG romp the sort of thing that almost everyone can jump into with minimal explanation. If you're fairly new to online games, you might need to be told what things like threat and healing are all about, but you don't need to be told what Captain America does. You've probably picked that up through cultural osmosis alone.

There's also a ton of content here and a lot of things for new players to cut their teeth on, so you can get an idea of what it's like to play one of these click-'em-up loot festivals while playing with other people. That definitely serves as a boon before moving on to more baroque titles or other points of interest.

4. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Did I say that 150% of all movies were superhero films? Because you have to allow for the now-yearly Star Wars movie (films which have, thus far, been remarkably good), so everyone has at least passing familiarity with that. And if you want to show how narrative can work in an MMO, you can do worse than playing a game which starts your new character off complete with a classic Star Wars narration crawl.

Yes, the game is set long before the movies during a wholly different era, and it's not exactly a perfect conversion. But this is the sort of game that introduces the idea that these worlds have people in them, and more importantly that you can have a character who matters and does neat stuff. That's not always easy to come by, and it provides a nice bridge to other titles with a strong narrative focus... or just a chance to lightsaber lots of Sith in the face. Either one.

5. Neverwinter

Action MMOs have become more and more common lately, and Neverwinter is a pretty good example of the type. It's straightforward enough that you don't need a grounding in Dungeons & Dragons to understand the broad strokes of the setting, and it gives a sense of what it's like to play a full-featured MMO with a more active combat system.

It also has some wonderfully straightforward options for characters. Want to be a fighter with a big two-handed weapon? Great Weapon Fighter, right there. You still have plenty of opportunities to customize your character, yes, but outside of Marvel Heroes no other game is quite as good at telling you exactly what a given character should be doing in play.

6. Trove

If you had asked me back when this game launched, I would have thought that a game that looked for all the world like a kid-friendly action-based Minecraft clone didn't have a bright future. But the thing is that Trove is far, far better than that might suggest. It's all of those things, yes, but it's also like a handful of delicious candy. It rewards you for picking up and playing, even for a bit, and it has never met a concept so silly that it won't pick it up and run with it.

Equally fun? It's not just action. You can play the game as nothing more than a run-and-gun romp, but you can also spend time making intricate creations for other players to enjoy. There's lots of cool stuff going down on all levels, tons of player creation to indulge yourself with or just admire from afar. You can play the game how you'd like and interact with others through means other than just beating up baddies together.

7. Grand Theft Auto Online

Here's a fun fact: odds are not bad that your friend already owns this game, since it's the online component of Grand Theft Auto V. And while that may not sound like much, there's tons of DLC, side activities, and stuff to do with others in a game world. It may not be a full-featured MMO, but in some ways it's the best way to show off what an online game can be.

Have you ever been playing Grand Theft Auto V and thought that a bank heist would be even more fun with all of your friends alongside you, causing chaos together? That's what Grand Theft Auto Online is meant to deliver, and while it's not perfect, it puts paid to the concept. That alone earns it a spot on the list.

That wraps up all the games that we'd recommend to players who've never entered the online world, but what about you? Got any others that you think are perfect for newbies? Let me know in the comments!

Online Vendors with Awesome Gaming Gear Tue, 29 Nov 2016 03:00:01 -0500 ChocolateCat42


Tell Your Wallet I'm Sorry


It's time to fill up those wishlists or empty that bank account, gamers. Now that you have a launch point, start finding what speaks to you. You might discover a unique combination or confirm your current tastes. Perhaps you'll find just the thing to take to that White Elephant party, or you'll find the perfect gift for that special someone. Or maybe, like me, you're having a moment of Finally, someone who carries _______ merchandise!


Just remember, with the Holidays fast approaching, so, too, are deadlines to order. So why are you still sitting there and reading? Get shopping!




Whoever you are, find whatever you're into.


If mainstream shops aren't your thing, or if you are looking for something handmade, or, perhaps, a little more personal, then Etsy is the best place for you. Etsy is not a store; it's a community. Hundreds of individually owned shops make up the Etsy community, with Etsy itself acting as a secure go-between so that your purchases -- and personal information -- are protected.


From home decor to jewelry, greetings cards to wall art, Etsy quite literally has it all. You can find Pokeball battery chargers for playing Pokemon GO and Baby Apparel for future gamers. Want a Legend of Zelda collar for your dog? You can find it. Want a clock made from a retrofitted Playstation? That's here, too. You can even find a pregnancy announcement shirt based on Pokemon Go.


The options are limitless, and shop owners are standing by to take your orders. Almost every shop offers custom-made products, with owners happy to take personal contacts. Bugzie's Crochet Creations even offers hand-crocheted video game characters such as Pokemon and Master Chief, though she sticks to their advertisement on her Facebook.


The options are never ending with Etsy, so why don't you head on over and take a look?




A leading designer and creator in Pop Culture Fashion.


The team at Musterbrand celebrated a grand victory this year as they reached an agreement with Nintendo to launch an official Legend of Zelda clothing line. Musterbrand offers a selection of high-quality fashion based off of popular titles like Assassin's Creed and Deus Ex. Not for the light of wallet, these chic items come with a hefty price tag. However, they offer specials through their social media accounts. If you keep a weather eye on the discounts and start saving, you may just be able to afford that leather jacket to look like Solid Snake.


International users will want to access Musterbrand's worldwide store while shoppers in the continental US will want to go to their regional store. To watch for the latest products and specials, be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.




Defy the Meta. Blaze a Trail. Win on Your Terms.


J!NX offers a variety of gaming gear, from shirts to stickers, but their three biggest claims to fame are as follows:

  • They are the official store for Echo Fox
  • \n
  • They are the official store for Team Liquid
  • \n
  • And they offer jerseys for their own brand, J!NX Pro
  • \n

J!NX offers products from franchises such as HaloHalf-Life, Heroes of the Storm, Portal 2, Minecraft and Dota. They also feature collections for Blizzard Entertainment and Valve.


If you would like to browse J!NX's offerings for yourself, check out their website. The Gaming Collections are listed out under Shop, Game Brands. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter if you want some more information.


As an added benefit, J!NX takes the extra step for their community. Not only can you access their "Moodboard," which displays images, gifs, and whatnot that inspires them, but you can also find links to resources for certain games in their FAQs. While they don't offer the assistance themselves, they help players find where to go.




We provide designs that are far more wearable - non-gamers will see them as everyday t-shirts but fellow fans will give you a knowing nod when they pass you in the street.


If you're looking for something a little more subtle, then GamerPrint should be your first stop. They offer T-shirts, hoodies, wall art, and accessories with unique designs based off of things inside the worlds of our favorite titles, such as Oak Laboratories for Pokemon fans and Shinra logos for Final Fantasy VII. GamerPrint first hit the scene in 2009, when a group of gamers grew frustrated with the substandard products available around them. What started as an offering of five shirts has grown to a massively popular team of designers with a slew of products for gamers to enjoy.


If you would like to see these designs for yourself, check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.


Insert Coin


Insert Coin is the leading name in high quality, 100% official videogame apparel - designed to help you get your geek on.


Insert Coin is based out of the UK, but they offer worldwide shipping. Their apparel stretches through the genres, from Pokemon to Dark Souls to Journey, so you're bound to find something that suits your style. In fact, they offer selections from 28 titles plus Console-specific options.


All of their merchandise is not only official but also made in close collaboration with the title's developers. Insert Coin is dedicated to quality, as they state on their About page:


"Everything we do is designed to bring the videogame experience out into the real world... Every item is made from scratch, which enables us to make truly unique and exclusive products every time. No corners are cut. Nothing is relabelled. You can rest assured that when you order an official Insert Coin product, you’re not getting ‘just another piece of merch’, you’re getting our commitment to innovation and quality too."


If you would like to see more styles and game selections from Insert Coin, you can check their website. They also have a Facebook and a Twitter.




Massive range of video game merchandise, gaming-inspired apparel, gifts and accessories.


Grindstore is a UK-based retailer for alternative clothing and band merchandise with an extensive collection of gamer gear. From popular top-name brands to slogans and creative designs, Grindstore offers a variety of products that ship to the US, CAN, EU, UK (obviously), and ROW. If you're shopping for holiday presents, then you'd best hurry:


UK Standard: 9am, 21st Dec
UK Express: 4pm, 22nd Dec
EU: 9am, 12th Dec
US & CAN: 9am, 12th Dec
ROW: 9am, 3rd Dec."


If you would like to see what Grindstore has to offer, check out their Gaming selection. You can also like them on Facebook or follow their Twitter.




Buy Awesome, Official Geek Merchandise.


Merchoid has two claims to fame: 

  • Everything they offer is officially licensed
  • \n
  • Free global shipping
  • \n

With over twenty game titles to choose from, Gamers have their pick of great shirts, nightwear, toys, figures, etc. For the Holiday season, they've launched a special category of Christmas Sweaters and Jumpers featuring a few fan favorites: Deadpool, Link, Master Chief, Sonic, and more!


Merchoid is a UK-based retailer that is fairly new on the scene, but its creators have years of internet retail experience, as explained on their site:


"Although is definitely the new kid on the block, the team behind it have been in business since 2007, trading as and In that time, these sites have been nominated for multiple industry awards and have the highest videogame store customer service satisfaction in the UK.


As time went on, our team decked out our offices in more and more cool video game and geek merchandise. We reasoned that if we love this stuff, other people must do too. With Merchoid, we’re bringing all the expertise we’ve learned in videogame retail to provide you with the best possible experience in ordering official geek merchandise."


If you would like to browse what Merchoid has to offer, check out their official site.




Join In. Geek Out.


By Geeks, for Geeks. Started in 1999, ThinkGeek is a well-known provider for all-things geek. With products ranging from video game to pop-culture merchandise, Star Wars to Borderlands to Doctor Who, Apparel to Accessories (both for people and for electronics) to Decor.


Geeks were thrilled to learn it is now possible to find physical ThinkGeek locations in the mainland US. However, their heart has always been with the online community.


Fans and the Newly-Discovering can shop ThinkGeek's collections, like them on Facebook, and follow their Twitter.




The Product of Fans.


What started as a team of friends renting out an Artist's Alley table in 2009 has grown to a premium brand merchandiser for gaming products. With Collections ranging from the Legend of Zelda to Dragon Age, earrings and scarfs to shirts and plushies, Sanshee has something for everyone. The team constantly expands their collections, and the merchandise is high-quality and durable.


Sanshee's items are reasonably priced, and any sales or coupon codes will be announced on Facebook, Twitter, and Sanshee's main site.


You can jump right in and start browsing on their website, or go and find them on Facebook and Twitter.




Order items designed by people like you, made per order by us. Start searching to find something just for you.


Designs on Teespring are made by independent artists like with Redbubble, with one major difference: Teespring designs are only available for a limited time and will only print if enough orders are made. This per-order model allows Teespring to offer their merchandise at lower prices. Designs on Teespring are available on a multitude of merchandise, from apparel to mugs and totes. Designs can be game specific, mash-up, or general "I'm a Gamer."


Teespring often sends coupons through their mailing list and to previous customers. You can also see a sample of their designs on Facebook.


Interested in checking out their designs? It's time to start shopping.




Uncommon Designs by Independent Artists Everywhere.


Redbubble works with independent designers to offer designs for Gamers. Redbubble's designs are available on shirts, pillows, cell phone cases, mugs, bags, and more! Designs range from fan-made art based on existing games to mash-ups and generic designs such as birthday shirts. Simply type what you are looking for in the Search and start browsing!


Keep your eye out for specials! As of today (11/27), Redbubble is offering 25% off Samsung and iPhone cases and 20% off everything else. They also tend to run a special for joining their mailing list.


If you would like to browse their products, then take a peek at Redbubble's website.


Perhaps you've had a busy work week and don't want to be seen in public. Or, maybe, your pajamas are entirely too comfortable to change. Most likely, no shops in the nearby area have even a slightly decent gamer collection. Regardless of your reason, online shopping is an easy way to find gifts for the gamers in your life (including yourself) without having to leave the comfort of your home.


From mainstream sources like ThinkGeek to small business sources like Sanshee to individually owned and operated stores on Etsy, an abundance of vendors are available to fill our gaming merchandise and apparel needs (read: wants). So, where do you start? With the following 12 slides.

Fairy Tail: Hero's Journey Beta Sign-Ups Now Open Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:53:08 -0400 Richard Sherry

Developer GameSamba has revealed that closed beta sign-ups for its upcoming online RPG, Fairy Tail: Hero’s Journey, are now open.

You can sign up on the official website for a chance to participate in the beta. The game and its beta will be playable via browser and is the only officially licensed Fairy Tail game of this kind.

Fairy Tail: Hero’s Journey is based on Funimation’s long-running anime series about a fantastical Tolkien-inspired world of wizards and magic. Hero’s Journey will build upon the deep and colorful world of Natsu Dragneel and friends, featuring a brand new story set within the Fairy Tail universe.

Natsu Dragneel

Players will be able to create their own character and guild, teaming up with their favorite wizards from the show.

While little else is known about Fairy Tail: Hero’s Journey as of yet, more details will be revealed in the coming weeks. GameSamba is known for its free-to-play and mobile games and has already created a number of anime-related mobile games set in the Fairy Tail and Attack on Titan universes.

Signing up online is also the best way to stay updated on the game as new features and details are released.

According to the game’s Facebook page, Hero’s Journey is set for release in 2016.

Hideo Kojima Reveals New Details About "Death Stranding" Wed, 14 Sep 2016 05:30:20 -0400 Greyson Ditzler

Hideo Kojima revealed new details about the enigmatic project he is working on with PlayStation, Death Stranding, earlier this week. While he did answer some questions raised by the game's bizarre cinematic trailer, he also raised a few new ones at the same time, as Kojima is sometimes known to do. 

Kojima announced at this year's Tokyo Game that Death Stranding will be an open-world action game framed by a story akin to those he is known for in his other titles. Unfortunately, there was still no word on an official release date.

Although he also briefly discussed the game's online play, although in a manner that has evidently confused some people, saying:

"At the end of the day I want to offer an action game where people get connected with different elements, not just clubs,".

Visual representation of what Kojima hopes to accomplish with online play. 

While his metaphorical statements regarding the gameplay weren't very straightforward, it seems that Kojima is trying to explain that the online will be both cooperative and competitive, given his reference to ropes and sticks.

Hideo Kojima is on of the most well-known names in the entire gaming industry, being chiefly responsible for the genre-defining and boundary-pushing Metal Gear Solid series. Death Stranding will be the first game that both he and his studio, Kojima Productions, will have made since his separation from Konami.

If you're interested in Death Stranding, you can look at the game's mystifying reveal trailer below, and join in on the confusion. (Although we have some ideas on what might be going on.)

Street Fighter V Finally Dealing with Rage Quitters Tue, 16 Aug 2016 06:01:56 -0400 Brawler1993

When Street Fighter V first launched back in February, it had numerous problems plaguing it. There was a lack of content, dodgy servers and (arguably most annoyingly) no real countermeasures for rage quitters -- players who drop out of online matches just as they lose or just before they lose, thus denying the victor their well-deserved win. Well, after months and months of waiting, Capcom has finally come up with ways to deter and punish these players.

Starting from today, Capcom's new set of measures will be rolling out. First is a new set of penalties. If you rage-quit a match, your standing in the online leagues will automatically drop. Plus, every time you rage-quit, you will be locked out of online matchmaking for a set period of time. Basically, if you're going to keep quitting matches, you can't play the game and have to go sit in the naughty corner.

Capcom has also apparently developed a new set of guidelines that will make it easier to determine who is actually rage-quitting matches. Capcom has had trouble in the past discerning the different between rage-quitters and players who exit the fight after losing.

With any luck, Capcom's new countermeasures will prove successful and players can look forward to clean and fair matches in the future. Or at the very least know that the sore losers are being punished.

Guild Guide: How to deal with server changes Fri, 12 Aug 2016 06:30:01 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

If you're playing online with other people, servers are kind of important. They're the part of the network that allows you to actually do the whole "interacting with others" thing, after all. MMORPGs usually have different servers to facilitate different languages and locations as well as specific rulesets, so that players can either experience a more open PvP environment or a more roleplaying-heavy game. All of these things are important.

And almost all of these things will change.

Server changes are not wholly inevitable, but they're pretty common with any long-running game. There are merges, there are rule changes, there are expansions that change the makeup of servers, there are new servers that your group is considering swapping to, and so forth. Unless you're dealing with one of the handful of single-shard MMOs on the market, you will have to deal with server changes sooner or later. So let's talk a little bit about how to deal with major changes on your home server.

Understanding the nature of the change

There are a lot of different things that can happen with servers, but for the purposes of this article we're going to group them into two broad categories: mechanical changes and community changes.

Mechanical changes are things like a change to a server's ruleset (say, from RP-only to RP-PvP), turning on an expansion's features, rollbacks, and the like. Fundamentally, the population of the server has not significantly changed, but what the people on that server might value or be looking for has changed in a major way. Your guild's main way of generating money may no longer be viable, or people might have more need to be in a guild than in the past. But the community is still present, and the people you knew before are still around and active.

Community changes are usually server merges, but they can also include things like World of Warcraft's cross-realm zones, new chat modes, game integration, and so forth. These changes mean that the mechanics of the game likely aren't changing significantly, but the people in the game will be different. During the all-too-common server merges, you'll be seeing people you didn't know before, often encountering traditions you didn't know, and so forth. Or perhaps the servers will just be moved to a new location, affecting the ping rate of players in various ways.

Both of these will require some flexibility in dealing with a changing environment, but the bright side is that pretty much everyone else on your server will be dealing with the same issues at the same time. The down side, of course, is that this means you're not necessarily all working together.

The economy will shift

Whenever you have a major server change, this is a constant. Your guild probably has a way of making money if you have a guild bank, or it has a way of having wealthier members provide some sort of necessary financing otherwise. That means providing income on a regular basis, and all of that is going to change when a major change happens.

When a mechanical change goes down, your economy is shifting because what was super-valuable before may or may not still have any value. Crafting ingredients that were hard to get before the expansion might still be hard to get, but the items they make may no longer be worthwhile. Community changes, on the other hand, mean that communities are all going to be dealing with a very different player makeup; there may be a larger or smaller number of people selling the same things, and depending on the differences of the existing server communities, differing emphasis will be put on certain items.

The smartest thing to do, then, is to prepare ahead of time. Sell the stuff your guild had been hoarding for a rainy day, make your money, and then pull back. Put a moratorium on money-making for a bit until you've seen how the new economy will shake out and what's still valuable. You might miss out on an opportunity or two by being cautious, but you'll also avoid sinking big money into something that might not pan out. If previously rare items are suddenly selling for a pittance, that doesn't necessarily mean that you can make a killing; the value may never go back up, and you don't want to be left holding the bag.

Hold back a little bit. Sure, you might miss a deal, but you might also miss out on buying a lot of things only to watch their value fall further.

Culture shock

With server merges, this is a big deal. The server has certain accepted rules about how things are done, usually, based on time and what's worked. Rare enemies are pulled five minutes after the first sighting, for example. Quest enemies have a queue in place. New players learn the accepted rules of a given server or server cluster. But another server might have different rules, like only pulling an enemy after no one responds that they're coming to kill it, and you have to deal with a server full of people who think that there are different behaviors which count as rude.

The usual effect for guilds is to dig in. "We're from server A, and we're doing things like server A has always done things!" And that's a great way to ensure that you get left behind.

See, the fact is that once the merge happens, you're not in server A or server B, you're on server AB, and new rules need to be in place. So your best bet is to instead recruit people from the other server, welcome them, and understand the culture there. Use a mix of rules, and be flexible as things settle into place.

For mechanical changes, there's less culture animosity, but there's still some learning to be had as things no longer work the way they once did. Here, again, it's a matter of having good behavior rules in place for your guild as you wait for an overriding cultural imperative to become dominant. As long as your guild does its best to be respectful, you may very well have a hand in shaping the server culture as a whole to be respectful and polite to other players.

Progression issues

This affects both sorts of changes equally, but in different ways. With culture changes, suddenly the top progression groups or the most competitive PvP groups are at odds with one another for that distinction; they're pulling from the same crop of players. For mechanical changes, suddenly there's a question of what progression actually matters, and whether or not progression actually ought to continue.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer for this particular problem; a lot of push-and-pull is necessary. It's important, for example, to evaluate where you are in progression when you're getting close to the edge of a major change, and asking the important question about whether or not continuing is worth the effort. Remember that "no" is a valid effort; you could not want to compete in a more competitive environment or when the mechanics are shifting rapidly.

Most important is the matter of sticking by your guild's focus. If you're trying to focus on progress, continue to do so, but give yourself the space to change your lineup or experiment with new sorts of content. It may or may not be exactly what you had planned, but like all of these items, you need to be ready to roll with the changes.

Race Up To 40 People In NASCAR Heat Evolution Tue, 09 Aug 2016 07:15:08 -0400 Angie Harvey

Monster Games is no stranger to NASCAR racing, as they are known for developing classic NASCAR games like the original NASCAR Heat and NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona.

Teaming up with Monster Games is Sean Wilson, Executive Producer at Dusenberry Martin Racing. And he's taken to the Official PlayStation Blog to discuss more details about their upcoming game, NASCAR Heat Evolution, which is set for release on September 13.

In order to create a NASCAR game that lived up to everyone's expectations, the team had to push themselves to find innovative ways to create an in-depth, realistic NASCAR racing game. In order to do so, Sean stated that the game would need to feature:

"Extensive car tuning options, adaptive AI that adjusts to your skill level, in-depth Career and Championship modes to capture the exhilaration of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and a new Challenge mode for those who want to step into the cockpit of their favorite drivers and recreate real-life history."

As you can see in their latest trailer (below), NASCAR Heat Evolution is committed to providing the players with the most realistic NASCAR experience possible. NASCAR Heat Evolution will allow you to race up to 40 other human players within its online multiplayer mode. With the power of the PlayStation 4 behind them and being the first NASCAR game on PS4, the team is able to provide players with experiences that they are yet to see in any other NASCAR game.

In order to accommodate 40-player online races, a new hosting system has been built to help prevent poor connection issues and hosts leaving. The new system has been built so that each online game’s data is hosted by a server. This will result in all race data coming from the server, so the entire racing experience will no longer be tied to any one player.

At launch, there will be three different lobbies available: No Rules, Normal, and Hosted.

  • No Rules: If you’re a beginner just looking to learn, bump, and crash (or you just want to bump and crash), the No Rules lobby is for you. This is a great place to practice, try things out, or just have a good time with friends.
  • Normal: For players who want to test their skills but are still looking for a good, clean, and friendly race.
  • Hosted: This lobby is for people who are more serious about racing. Race hosts will have the option to decide which level of player can join the race session. For example, if the host only wants racers level 5 or higher, he or she can set that parameter when creating the session. In addition, hosts have the right to boot players from their game.

Sean has also taken to the comments section of the trailer to clarify that only humans will be on the track during online racing mode. And unfortunately, the team didn't have enough time to add split-screen racing, so that feature is not available as of yet.

Are you excited to race up to 40 other players in NASCAR Heat Evolution? Let us know in the comments below!

Guild Guide: How to grow permanently when dealing with a short-term population boom Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:40:38 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

Games get popular at times. You might roll your eyes at that and say that it's obvious, and in some ways it is. When a new World of Warcraft expansion hits? Popularity goes up. Major Final Fantasy XIV patch? Popularity goes up. League of Legends adds in a massively overpowered hero? Popularity goes up, at least until that hero is nerfed into the ground. And that's not counting bounces from bits of pop culture and the like, like people suddenly jumping into Star Wars: The Old Republic around December because some film franchise releases a new installment. I don't remember which one. James Bond, maybe.

But when you're in those games, these surges mean something. If your game was looking like a bit of a ghost town beforehand, suddenly it's populated. If it always features a healthy population, suddenly it's crowded. There are a bunch of additional people around unexpectedly.

And this is great! It means a lot of new people are coming in and experiencing a game that you love to no end; that's wonderful. What is less wonderful is that you know most of them are going to come in, experience it, and then leave. And they aren't looking at it that way. They show up, they talk about enjoying themselves, and then one day they're just... gone. Like a relationship in college, they thought they were sticking around, but they were really just on the tour.

When you're working as part of a guild, you have to be aware of these things. And the thing is, a guild can grow, and grow permanently, as a result of these population surges. You just have to know what you're doing. So let's talk about making these short-term population surges work for you.

Decide who you're courting

There are three groups of players to court in these population surges, and you can court one of them. That's it. Make your choice early, and make it well.

The first group are visitors. Visitors are new to the game, but they joined in the huge mass of other people checking it out for the first time. They are quite possibly new to the entire genre and still have a lot of wide-eyed enthusiasm, and every new experience they have in the game is really cool because it has literally no equivalent. And, on the generous side, I'd say about 10% of them will stick around after the surge dies down; give it about three months.

The second group are returners. Returners are not, in this case, rebels from Final Fantasy VI; they're former players who stopped playing for a while for a variety of reasons, but all of the buzz brought them back in. What level of play they previously engaged in can wildly vary, but on an average I'd say about half of them will stick around for at least six months after they head back. They also tend to be very knowledgeable about the game, or at the least not much less so than your average active player.

Speaking of which, that third group is players. We're talking the people who are still there and were playing before the population boom started. These people are likely to stick around simply because they were already around; if they were going to leave, they wouldn't do so while the game is on an uptick. You might think that this group can't be courted during a boom, but there will always be people who want to play with other committed players rather than folks who swarmed in on the back of a movie/book/comic/whatever.

If you're going to make use of the population surge, pick a group and court them. My personal preference here is usually to court the returners, because they're the sort of people who already have incentive to come back and just need the anchor a guild can provide. It's not a certainty, but it's better than even odds. But there are plenty of reasons to pick another group to court; just pick one and stick with it.

Nudge but don't deform

So you've decided which group you're courting. Great! Now comes the tricky part - nudging your focus just enough that it includes the people you're courting without alienating the people already in the guild.

If you've got a hardcore progression group, you do not want to be mixing in visitors in the group. Yes, there's a small chance that people will see you talk about progression and say "wow, that sounds so cool," but more likely you'll be splitting your time and attention between two radically different groups with extremely different needs. The visitors won't feel included, and your existing guild members won't feel as if they have a place amidst your swarm of visitors... and when the surge ends, you're left with no one.

This is where picking a group and running with it becomes important. A hardcore progression group can definitely court existing players, because it can bring them into the fold without having to worry about coaching new people. A more casual or dungeon-focused group can court returners or visitors. A group focused on teaching newer players how to play should be courting visitors left and right; sure, a lot of them will leave, but the ones who stick around will both be in a position to teach and will have the guild as their anchor for learning.

Your key is gently nudging your overall focus rather than actually pushing it off. If you have a dungeon-focused group in Final Fantasy XIV, for example, you would be well-served by having a few more lower-level or inclusive runs... stuff that people can clear if they've missed or if they need some obscure content cleared. Make the new players feel as if they're welcomed and valued, but don't give your existing players the feeling that continuity has been suspended.

Expect the departures

While I'm normally big on making sure that your guild is the right size for what you want, when you've got a population surge, the rules get wonky. You are going to get an influx of new players, and then many of those players are going to be gone before too long. That's normal, and frankly, it's all right.

Even if it's not all right, it's going to have to be all right, because those players are leaving.

When you know that you're going to lose some of your members before the ink gets cold on their applications, you have to cultivate a slightly different attitude. You try your best to provide people with a positive anchor, but you cannot be certain that even the veteran players won't decide that the game isn't what it used to be and it's time to leave.

Let yourself get flush with new members, but be aware that the shrink is coming, just as surely. Don't worry about new officers while the population surges; know that players are going to leave and you're going to shrink back down to a more reasonable size. Keep your eyes on the longer-term. In three months, a sudden burst of popularity will have faded, and you'll be able to examine what your guild needs and where it stands in the final assessment.

In all likelihood, if you're playing it smart, you've got a few new members and a slightly quieter game. And that's all right! It's a few new members you wouldn't have had before, and now you can get back down to the usual ebb and flow. Until the next surge, anyhow.

Guild Guide: Dealing with an ebbing game Fri, 15 Jul 2016 06:30:02 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

No game lasts forever, including online ones. There's always some push and pull to how many players are in a given game, and that new game is not going to have a huge player population. All of this is natural. However, understanding this doesn't help much when you are trying to recruit new members to the guild and you look across a friend list that has actual tumbleweeds blowing across it, because there's no one around any more.

Healthy games do, in fact, experience ebbs in the population. You should expect that. However, leading a guild in a game in the middle of an ebb poses unique challenges, and as a result, you have to be ready to deal with this problem. It's something that's going to affect the members, so if you're not in charge of the guild, you still want to be aware of it.

For this article, I'm not going to be talking about why the game is ebbing--let's take that as a given. There's no need to go out and see whether or not the population is actually trending down at all; you know it's happening. You know it'll fill up again later, but how do you deal with it now?

Double down on the game itself

The first instinct I see in a lot of guild leadership--and I do mean a lot--is to make a real effort to keep the guild's primary social space online. The idea is that if people are stepping away from the game for a bit, this reinforces the guild as a shared social space, right? Sure, you might not be feeling the game proper as much any more, but you're still part of the gang, you're still a team player. You're still all together.

And that's a great idea if you want to ensure that the guild is no longer actually a part of the game. Because that's the message you're sending.

I realize this might seem a little bit harsh, but if you want to keep playing this game, you want to also make it clear to people that this game is where the guild is. Not another game, not another venue, not a website or a Twitter feed. This is the game, and this is the guild. Moving your presence out of the game resolutely encourages your guild members to not be in the game, after all -- if you can get that same sense of camaraderie without logging in, why bother? The game is ebbing lately anyway, and you no longer have your friends to play with as often, and oh look, now the population has dropped more again.

I'm not saying that you should tell the people who are taking a break something along the lines of "depart from here, ye who are cursed in my eyes." That's ridiculous. But you should keep the core of the guild within the game, rather than drifting outside of it. Don't encourage the line of thinking that the game is irrelevant unless you actually want the game to be irrelevant, at which point you're dealing with a different issue altogether.

Keep the guild in the game. Give people more reasons to be in the game, more things to do. And along those lines...

Be prepared to step up

One of the better guilds I was in around Wrath of the Lich King in World of Warcraft was a guild that had an interesting way of handling its officer corps. The officer list was fairly small, which was appropriate, but the officer list also had an addendum for raid leadership roles. The idea was that while we had officers responsible for scheduling and maintaining raids, there were a number of people -- several of whom were not officers -- who could step in and lead the raid if the normal officer was not available. I was one of those people, and I did lead a few of the guild's raids during lulls, and then I stepped out of that role once we were diving into the next raid with a fervor.

In an odd way, ebbing game populations are a bit like sicknesses in that the people struck by them can seem random. People are just leaving or not logging in as often. Ironically, one of the fastest ways to get someone to leave a game for good rather than just for a little while is to make them feel like they have to log in regularly, that it's a need rather than an option.

So smart leadership -- and smart membership -- is all about being able to give other people a break. Sure, Tina is still the officer, but you know enough about leading your guild's regular dungeon runs that you can handle it for her for a week if she wants it. No one can match Mike's strategies or training scenarios in Heroes of the Storm, but you can run through the stuff he usually does. You can step in and fill in the gaps until people start returning and make the game flush once more.

Shift recruitment (and possibly focus)

Some guilds are used to having applicants. Lots of applicants. They're the guilds that are going to notice an ebb first, because a stream of new potential members will become a stream of nothing, and then a stream of departing members stepping away from the game for a while. Things are no longer the way they used to be, and you can't help but notice it.

Active recruiting becomes difficult to near-impossible during an ebb, because most of the people who were going to join your guild are already guilded. You're advertising to an increasingly small population. Thus, a better option is to shift from recruiting more people to handling the existing population of the guild. Cultivate the outward impression that your guild is fine with its current population, even if you'd rather have more members; it can help attract new members who are looking for a healthier guild.

Of course, you also want to actually be a healthy guild. And some of that might involve scaling back your focus slightly to what your group can actually support on a regular basis.

Let me make it clear that what I'm discussing here is not actually compromising your core focus. If you're a raiding guild, you should not shuttle yourself down to being a dungeon guild. Rather, you might want to move from progression to more farming, or tone down the number of raids you have running in a given week. Scale down the pressure on individual members and let the slightly lighter population dictate what you can actually achieve. It's frustrating as heck when you have to scale back like that, I know, but it's also the sort of thing that can make the difference between a guild that's suited to the ebbing situation and one that overreaches and induces burnout.

An ebbing population is not a death sentence for your guild. If it's a game that you know will fill out once again (and let's be honest, many will), you can handle the downturn and pick back up later. But you have to be smart about it, lest one of the casualties of the population drop be the guild you worked so hard to keep together.

New Attack on Titan Features Revealed Sun, 10 Jul 2016 17:31:06 -0400 Joe Passantino

KOEI TECMO America has revealed new features for Attack on Titan, an action game based on the anime series of the same name. These include the online multiplayer Scout Mode, gear upgrades and the Decisive Battle Signal.

In Scout Mode, four players can band together online to take on the "eerily human-like" Titans. The team leader selects a mission, with options including the Forest of Giant Trees, the Ruined Town, a Farm Village and the Shohess District.

Team members have the opportunity to prepare for their battle at the camp by upgrading their gear and changing their costumes. When players slay Titans in single player and multiplayer missions, they can gain materials for later use in enhancing several types of gear. These include the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, blades and scabbard.

Finally, the Decisive Battle Signal allows a player to call others in their vicinity to their side, in order to deal significant damage.

Fans of the anime, as well as other interested gamers, should also check out protagonist Eren's Titan transformation here on GameSkinny.

Attack on Titan will physically release on August 30 in North America for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Digital releases will also be available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PC.

5 Huge Video Game Beta Tests That You Don't Want to Miss Thu, 23 Jun 2016 06:16:04 -0400 HaruOfTime


GWENT was originally a fast-paced card minigame in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It is now becoming its own standalone game that will be free to play on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Since GWENT is its own separate game, players do not need to be familiar with The Witcher universe to enjoy it.


The GWENT standalone will be more than the minigame in The Witcher 3. It will have features such as card voice-overs and a PVP mode.


The closed beta will start sometime in September 2016 for the Xbox One and PC. The beta PlayStation 4 will come at a later time.


For more information on the game and to register for the beta, check out the GWENT website.


So that's it, those were the beta testing opportunities you should not miss out on. From FPS, to trading card games, there is something for everyone. But as there are many more than just these out there; if you want to share any betas you know of, let me know in the comments below.

4. Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 is an FPS game that takes place during World War 1. The game will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 21, 2016.


Players will be able to use a variety of new weapons and vehicles, and even ride horses. Maps will be massive and multiplayer will support up to 64 players.


The beta has been confirmed, however no other details about the beta have been released.


Sign up for Battlefield Insiders to stay up to date on the game and for a chance to test Battlefield 1.

3. Titanfall 2

Titanfall 2 is an FPS mech game by Respawn Entertainment. The game will be released on October 28, 2016 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


There will be new features, such as a single player campaign mode, 6 new Titans, new Pilot abilities, and more. Players that sign up for the test will have a chance to earn in-game rewards and other exclusive offers.


The test will be for the multiplayer aspect for the game, and you can register for the beta test on the Titanfall website.

2. World of Warcraft: Legion

World of Warcraft: Legion is the sixth expansion of the game after Warlords of Draenor. The expansion pack is expected to release on August 30, 2016 and is already in beta testing.


The expansion pack has plenty of new features, such as a a new continent to explore, called The Broken Isles. There's also a new class, called Demon Hunters -- who are disciples of Illidan Stormrage -- a level cap of 110, and more!


Opt in the World of Warcraft beta on your account for a chance to test the new expansion.

1. For Honor

Play as a Viking, Samurai, or Knight in Ubisoft's upcoming game For Honor, which will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 14, 2017.


The three factions are warring against each other. Prepare to storm castles and fortresses, and fight on the battlefield using fast-paced melee combat. The game will have a story campaign as well as multiplayer game modes. 


Register on the For Honor website for a chance of alpha and beta access to the game on any of the three platforms. You can also have a chance to win special rewards, such as gear, digital content, custom consoles, and more.


I enjoy beta testing games, and I'm always on the lookout for new beta testing opportunities. Beta testing allows you to get a small preview of the game and provide important feedback to the developers.


So here are five of some of the biggest beta testing opportunities that you don't want to miss.

Guild Guide: Improving your guild's performance in World of Warcraft Wed, 15 Jun 2016 14:59:19 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

There's a new expansion for World of Warcraft in August, and that means a whole lot of additional content for your guild to take on as a team. Maybe you run a casual raiding group, maybe you prefer dungeons, maybe you're a PvP guild - it doesn't matter. No matter what sort of guild you're in, you've got stuff to do, and that means that it's time to make the rest of your guild get competent.

Yes, I know, you were expecting a "git gud" joke in there. No need to be so predictable.

Helping your fellow players get better is a lot harder than it might seem, though, and simply screaming at them to get better is not a strategy that works. You've seen it not work in countless pick-up groups, and it's just as unsuccessful on your friends. So here are some tips to help your guildmates get better at whatever content you intend to take on in World of Warcraft, whether it's high-level raiding or just weekly challenge runs on low pressure.

Make your intentions clear

This is something that's useful to set forth right away, For some players, any overtures that imply they need to get better at the game are met with disdain, like you can't possibly expect to have fun while focusing on improvement. These are, unfortunately, usually the people who are the worst part of the group, but that's neither here nor there. So it's important to outline your expectations for the group as a whole and for individual players.

Part of this is the play level you expect - flawless play, optimized specs, best possible gear, or solid play even with sub-optimal specs. But it's also important to outline what you're trying to do (help people get better) and what the expectations of a run are. You don't get to go on an improvement run and then complain that you're being asked to improve, and you don't get to whine when people don't want you on runs because you refuse to improve.

I do recommend setting aside designated practice/improvement runs for this sort of instruction. The point there is not progress so much as understanding - you all want to see how you're doing and see what areas you could stand to improve upon. Anyone heading along for a run like that knows that critique, analysis, and feedback are to be expected regardless.

Make sure everyone is on the same page for addons

Getting better at WoW requires a certain amount of data, and it also requires everyone to know what everyone else is doing. I'm not going to say that your group needs to necessarily be running a specific addon or voice chat application - maybe you all like Mumble, maybe you like Discord, maybe you think that Skype is all right for some reason. But if you're going to be using a voice chat app, you need to be using the same one, and you need to make it clear that you're doing so before the run happens.

The same goes for mods. If data from DBM is considered important to your group, everyone should have it installed and up to date. I've seen raids try to coordinate wherein some people have it and some people don't, and it's messier than just requiring it or leaving it to one side. "Recommended" mods usually aren't; have requirements you expect people to be using and expect no one to use anything that isn't required. It may be blunt, but it's more straightforward in the long run.

It's also important to consider that different mods lead to different environments, and there's some stuff that you might not need for your guild's environment. DPS meters, for example, are only useful for two things when trying to get better - seeing who is lagging behind in encounters that need people to produce more DPS, and distributing party members according to their strengths. If you're not running into those problems, you probably don't need them, and you might even want to have the meters only for people in charge of improving performance.

Recognize that there are different causes to problems

Let's say that you do have a DPS who is lagging behind the rest of the group by a significant margin. Your first step is to sit that member down and figure out why. There are lots of possible reasons, and very few of them are just "get better." Only one is, in fact.

Check out the player's item level as well as their actual items. It could be that your DPS Warrior is wearing a lot of gear with Versatility, which isn't really helping him all that much; it might also be that he's just been unlucky with drops on the past few runs. Even if his rotation is fine, he's going to lag behind if he's several levels below the other DPS and stuck with secondaries that don't help him.

Also check on whether or not the mechanics of the encounters are solid for him or not. There are fights which are just plain unfriendly to melee DPS, and it's easy to miss that if you're in a raid with mostly ranged DPS. Heck, your tanks might have habits that are transparent for ranged DPS that make melee DPS harder to manage. You only know if you pay attention.

Assuming that it is a problem of the player and not extraneous factors, take a step back and determine what the problem is and why. Telling someone to up their DPS is a bit like telling someone mired in poverty to make more money - it's technically advice, but it focuses on the what instead of the how. Sit down with the player in question and make sure that they know their rotation, then find out which parts of their rotation are proving problematic. Sometimes, just knowing a better rotation for abilities or priorities is all it takes to make a big improvement.

Keep it congenial

There's an attitude that runs through certain improvement pushes that I've seen in various guilds, that what matters is a clear. If you want to be in the guild, clear. Optimize your rotation, optimize your build, be the best or there's no space for you in the guild. And the fact of the matter is that such an attitude is fine. If that's what the guild is together to do, first and foremost, it's the right attitude to have. If you want to be involved in that guild, you clear content, or you go find another guild.

That does not mean that you should be a drill sergeant in the runs and it doesn't mean that you should be shouting that in the middle of runs. Because very few things turn a group off from working to clear content faster than feeling like they're being yelled at for just playing the damn game.

By all means, you have the right to say that someone isn't cutting it. You are allowed to have standards and make sure that people are living up to those standards, otherwise they're out. It's a true statement of life, even; either you're clearing bosses or you're not progressing. It's a simple reality that needs to be accepted. But you can push that mindset as an enemy or as a friend.

In business, it might be different. But in a guild in a game you're playing for fun, you don't have to get up like Alec Baldwin every night shouting, "If you want to raid here, clear." You can be fun to be around and even congenial. In the long run, it's going to be a better motivator.

The Division is getting a(nother) Movie Tue, 07 Jun 2016 00:07:42 -0400 Sagger Khraishi

Depending on how you look at it, Tom Clancy's The Division is getting a film adaptation. Ubisoft has already begun to put together a team for the film, and it will be directed by Prince of Persia's, Jake Gyllenhaal. Known for a large cast of films, this Academy Award nominated actor will be both directing The Division as well as be playing the lead character.

While video game movies can be dire or exceptional, the setting of The Division might help the film out. The Division is set in Manhattan, which means that it is set in the real world. If you compare it to Warcraft: The Beginnings, which has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29%, it does not need to create a sense of believably to the viewer in order to create a connection. There aren't any magic powers either, or anything that would dissolve the idea that "this could be real".

This could count as the second Division film out there, with a four part mini series released on YouTube. It was put together and released as a short film on Amazon Prime.

While it is going to be a while till the film actually comes out, you can watch the mini-film below.


What do you think of the video game movies coming out? Will this one flop?

Are "Multiplayer Only" Games Inherently a Bad Idea? Mon, 06 Jun 2016 16:42:20 -0400 Donald Strohman

The ability to play your favorite video games with other people has been a principal facet of gaming since the beginning. Whether it was arcade cabinets implementing two button or light gun layouts, or the first video game console created - the Magnavox Odyssey - offering dual paddle controllers, games have always been better with a friend at your side. Nowadays, with local split-screen multiplayer becoming a dying breed, most AAA titles rely solely on online multiplayer - the ability for gamers to play with other gamers from around the world -- as the only means of player to player interaction.

Some games offer a single player campaign and an online multiplayer mode, but a growing trend this past decade has been the rise of "Online Multiplayer Only" titles, in which they offer a vast outing of online modes for the player and nothing more. Examples include Warhawk, MAG, and Socom: Confrontation on the PS3. What do all three of these games have in common?

You Can't Play Any of them Anymore.

That's because when people eventually move on to other, more relevant titles fresh off the market, the online multiplayer servers will eventually have to be shut down from a lack activity. Therefore, that $60 online only game you shelled out for will be worth absolutely nothing. You can go on right now and buy a brand new copy of MAG for $5 (which is still too much considering the fact that you can't even play it.) 

Blizzard newcomer Overwatch could eventually suffer the same fate if people grow tired of the game over the next few years, even with the high amount of praise its receiving. While some game journalists have stated "they would rather have one great mode instead of two mediocre modes- whether it's a great single or a great online multiplayer mode - it doesn't feel like that big of a stretch to try and make a game that can be played years down the road and not only temporarily. So, what are some ways that a developer can make a title still heavily focused on an "online multiplayer" experience, while also ensuring there's something past the servers' eventual demise?


This would appear to be the fairly obvious choice, but not too many games offer local multiplayer anymore. When you're no longer able to play with people from halfway across the world, some form of local multiplayer mode should definitely be included in modern big budget titles as a way to keep players engaged well into the future. I can outright guarantee people would still be playing games like Socom: Confrontation if there was any means to actually enjoy it. The perfect work around to permanent server shutdown would in arguably be local multiplayer options. 


Now before you go sharpening your pitchforks, think about what makes Call of Duty such a success nowadays: the bang you get for your buck. Many feel new entries are just copy and paste - and there might be some legitimacy to those claims - but games like World at War and Black Ops III threw three different modes at you in just one game, as opposed to titles like Overwatch only giving you one. Single player, multiplayer, and zombie mode. As much as people enjoy hating on the series, these modes really could be sold as three different games for three times the asking price, but instead they're all packed together under the roof of Call of Duty

Not only does zombie mode offer local multiplayer options for you to enjoy once the online servers disappear, but you still have that brief campaign to enjoy as well. Take Titanfall into account. People may have complained that the single player wasn't as fun as the multiplayer, but wouldn't you rather have a game that was worth something as opposed to nothing down the line? Even if the campaigns are brief, you can still go back to these games in 10 or 15 years and remember why you loved them so much. In 10 or 15 years, what will become of online only games like Overwatch


Perhaps this article will get some flak for this but hear me out: games like Starhawk and Titanfall may have had the right idea in mind when creating their lackluster campaigns. Essentially, some games create a single player that more or less serves as practice for the online multiplayer, showing the ins and outs and what to expect. People today have complained about them, but in the future, they may be held in a higher esteem. 

The fact that they're setting you up for the online multiplayer may seem lame today, but once you can no longer play online, you have the campaign to go back to and enjoy what you can no longer have in an online space. These campaigns implemented everything that made the multiplayer so much fun, as it serves as a great secondary option. Better yet is if these campaigns feature the local multiplayer/co-op options mentioned before. That way, even with the online community dead, there's still a way for the online mode to be played offline with friends and fans of the game. 

In the end, players just want to enjoy their games. Today, everyone is loving the new Overwatch or Battleborn, but will we love them as much over a decade down the line? The reason a game such as Super Mario Bros. has remained relevant after all these years is that anyone can pick it up and playing almost instantly. The reason a great game such as MAG will be forgotten in time is the literal fact that nobody can play it anymore. 

Maybe it's not the developer's concern to make a game timeless, maybe Blizzard's Overwatch will have the same impact as the long running World of Warcraft and the online servers will run till the end of time. But it's not like this is the first time something like this has happened. Remember your favorite light gun games growing up like Time Crisis? You can't play them anymore unless you have a CRT screen television that recognizes the light gun technology. Your flat-screen certainly doesn't have such an old school technology, and once all the old televisions are thrown away, you're boned.

Maybe it's not the end of the world today, but it certainly could be down the line. The online multiplayer only games you love so much will eventually die out, and maybe you'll have moved on to a totally different "online only" game to waste time with. One day though, you just might want to pop in your favorite game from your past, and realize there's no way to enjoy it thanks to the lack of anything outside the online modes. 

Rainbow Six: Siege, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and even Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 are all likely to suffer a similar fate as titles such as MAG, which is a shame when you consider their sizable following. Maybe it's being too nit-picky on how the modern market works, but it would still be nice to see some kind of initiative start from developers to keep their games as accessible in five years as they can possibly be. What are your thoughts on multiplayer only titles? Do you think "online only" games are a bad idea too, or do you think it's an idea that's here to stay? Be sure to share your thoughts on where you think the online market is headed next. 


Guild Guide: Making sure your applicants have the qualities you need Thu, 12 May 2016 05:30:01 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

Sitting down and reviewing applications to join a guild is hard. The bright side is that building a good set of tools and application questions means that you can effectively shut down the applications that never have a chance of being worthwhile; it's very easy to be sure that the people applying to the guild are people you would actually want in the guild. Or, at least those who can sound like solid additions to the guild on a written application.

If that's not clear enough, let's be direct - a good application is nice, but it's not the same as knowing whether or not someone is actually going to sit well with the rest of the guild. And interviews might help, but it's still going to ultimately come down to whether or not you you make that judgement call.

The fact is that a lot of this comes down to instinct, which is not something that you can necessarily teach. There are applicants which can look great that don't hold up; there are others who look awful but actually do a great job in almost any guild. But you can at least start to make some assumptions, and that's exactly what this week's article is about. It's time to start developing that metaphorical third eye and figuring out if these new applicants are going to have the qualities you need for the future.

Be honest about what you're looking for

How often is the first step to filtering just being honest about your filtering? Remove the words "we'd prefer" or "particular consideration given to" from anything you have going. You wouldn't prefer Elemental Shaman to join your dungeon group in World of Warcraft, you are looking for an Elemental Shaman. That's what you want. Ask for that.

Sure, maybe you would accept someone who wasn't an Elemental Shaman, but the important thing is that this produces a very different string of questions. If you put forth that you want X, people who want to join that don't fill the criteria will ask if they can apply even though they aren't X. You can make the call based on what you want and add in a different layer of filtering.

More to the point, as discussed elsewhere, there's only so much space in a guild. You can and will reach a point where you have too many members for your guild to support effectively. So start by recruiting the people that you actually want, and make sure that you're filtering out the people that you could maybe accept but don't necessarily strongly want in the guild.

Don't rely on interviews

Interviews are a vital part of the application process, but they're not always a perfect indicator of how someone is going to act in the guild proper. This should be obvious if you've ever been interviewed for a job, during which you almost invariably took part in the time-old art of "fudging the truth."

Not lying, of course, you would never lie. But you may have... nudged reality a bit here and there. Stretched the truth. It's fine, there's nothing to be ashamed of, but you know it and we know it.

Interviews are a good chance to get to know your applicant, but they cannot be your sole source of information about what the applicant will actually do once they're with the guild. It's not enough to assume that someone is going to be able to lead your guild through raids based on their say-so.

What is useful during interviews, aside from just getting a feel for the player, is to ask hypothetical questions. If you're looking for someone to act as part of a raid, ask them what they'd do in situations that have actually come up and determine whether their answers are on-point or not. Ask questions that give you a chance to know how the person is likely to respond.

Get time with the applicant

Most guilds have a bit of time with a new member during which the new member is something of a provisional entrant - they've got some privileges and they're in the guild, but there's still a chance to step away. But it can be helpful to get some time with the applicant before even that, just to evaluate them on a more honest level, especially because at the time you're doing so they don't know you.

I don't mean that in the sense of they don't know who you are, just in the sense that they don't know how well you play your game of choice, what you prefer, and so forth. You are still probably a cipher to them. So be a cipher and go do something with them, and see how they handle themselves. Especially if you make a point of not being very good.

A guild master I knew in Star Wars: The Old Republic used to make a point of running dungeons with applicants and making small-scale mistakes all through the run - not enough to sabotage things, but just enough to appear kind of derpy. He ran a guild that was meant to be helpful and beneficial for new players. The point was that he wanted to see how his applicants would react to having people without great skills in the party. Some of them were quiet, some were loudly dismissive, and some were helpful or just silly in response.

Similarly, you want to pay attention to parts in an application that allow an applicant's personality to shine through. If someone is applying for serious progression but mentioned needing to learn more, that could be a sign of humility, or it could be a sign of not being ready for the top end despite outward signs. Keep your eyes open and remain alert for what you might not be expecting.

Trust your instincts

At the end of the day, if you get to say yes or no to applicants, you have to be willing to say no. You have to be ready to reach down and say "no, this person feels like a bad fit," and you have to trust yourself in that regard. It's not always satisfying, but it is important.

Obviously, you can't just turn people away because your instincts tell you on some level that it's a good idea. You can, however, say that despite everything, this person is just rubbing you the wrong way, that something makes you feel as if they aren't actually right for the guild. If you can get another person to interview them, that's great; if not, you need to be willing to say no, just because something isn't sitting right with you.

It's tricky, but that's the nature of leadership. Sometimes every sign will point to the person being fine while you feel in your heart that something is wrong. Develop your instincts and learn to trust them.

Of course, you also need to make sure that you're giving applicants what they need to succeed in your guild... but that's a topic for another week.