Category Archives: Breaking news

Making an E-Sport Team in EVOLVE

Evolve is only 11 days from going live in the wild. After a successful ALPHA and BETA, developer Turtle Rock is ready to unleash it into the hands of gamers around the world and if the feedback they have received so far is any indication; it looks like we will have a truly fun and unique new IP for Next Gen Consoles!

EVOLVE is an important game for a couple reasons. The fact that its a NEW IP is a huge draw and exactly what this new generation of console players  need. In order to move this industry forward it needs new blood and EVOLVE is ready to deliver that!
Secondly EVOLVE is the first new game this year to throw its hat into the ever so finicky realm of competitive gaming.While not being heavy handed about this aspect of the gameplay, studio Turtle Rock has been quoted as saying that the game has a very competitive component to it and this is not something they have turned a blind eye to. In fact most of the games early footage showed it accompanied by a “Shoutcaster“. The game has been showcased to the public in several events wrapped around a tournament format. So many elements of the game screams competitive play but on the surface the 4V1 nature causes a lot of the E-Sport purists out there to hesitate.

In this article I am going top give some tips on how to create you E-Sport Team for EVOLVE and some tips to go with it. In my follow  up article I will be sowing everyone the default Rule Set that PRO will be using for organized competitive play once the game goes LIVE.

How do I build a team with a Monster?!?!

Traditional team based multiplayer games revolve around symmetrical amounts of players typically 4v4 or higher. EVOLVE presents a unique format in that a team needs to be comprised of a 4 man team of Hunters and then when the next round starts a single team member needs to be allocated as the MONSTER ( Sorry guys EVOLVE does not allow a team of 4 MONSTERS)

1v4
Its best if you think of an EVOLVE team along the same lines as Hockey Team. A team is made up of players who are talented in the position they fill. Like a Hockey team there is a single Goalie; a player who represents your teams ultimate defensive barrier. This is your MONSTER player!

Can I have more than one player assume the MONSTER Role?

Certainly! The idea is that you make sure the MONSTER Player each round is competent and skilled at handling the Monster’s unique style of play and not just a player looking for a thrill ride to smash the competing team’s players. Remember, each MONSTER has a different play style suited for different types of players.
2K_EVOLVE_WRAITH_ABILITIESYou may want to set up a player roster for specific MONSTER types based on the match and or opposing team  ie. Have a aggressive player take the reigns of Goliath and another player entirely slotted to play Wraith for a more sneaky approach to the match. Your team captain is the coach and look to him to call the play .

I only play a certain Hunter class and my team mate wants to play it as well

Since EVOLVE supports a class based team line up it becomes tricky when players of a team all want to play the same class. I get it…we all want to be the star forward and get alL the glory. I mean who wants to be play as the defense players in a high stakes E-Sport?
Well in EVOLVE everyone plays a role in the road to victory. If there is one thing the BETA taught me is that a team of Gung Ho glory seekers will always fail against a smart MONSTER player. Take it upon yourself to become well versed in all classes regardless of your favourite character. Evolve-Assault-Trapper-Medic-Support-ClassesAs your team starts carving out a career you may find your play style preference changing and you may WANT to lace up those skates and play as a defensive player. Be flexible and mindful of your team mates desire to expand his/her skillset into different roles.

Make a Playbook

This one sounds silly but trust me its NOT! Playing EVOLVE in a team versus playing EVOLVE with a bunch of Randoms are two different experiences. Thankfully the BETA allowed us to form up private matches and create our own personal hunting party with friends but also gave us the option of random matchmaking. My time spent in public matchmaking was frustrating to say the least. I experienced little to no communication between players/team mates and what ensued was a mess of run and gunning and or chasing a MONSTER around the map with no sense of a plan or strategy. It always ended up with a loss and in most cases a sense of boredom as we chased a MONSTER around the map in circles.
While its not necessary to create a physical playbook to carry with you to each match , I highly recommend that you and your team develop some “go to strategies” for  various maps and scenarios. EVOLVE is no different than any other multiplayer shooter in the sense that your team needs to communicate with each other during the match and for strategies on the fly. Communication is the key because EVOLVE”s maps are huge and its nots as simple as just running around a common corridor lane or simply camping a spot hoping to pick off a random opponent who walks by your cozy campfire.

Experiment with the Hunters

Try different combos of Hunters each time you play and make sure you talk it through with your team mates. The game will launch with 3 sets of Characters ( thats 12 different playable characters spread over 4 classes) and each of them sport a different array of abilities and perks. Use your early days of matchmaking or competitive matches to establish a working knowledge of how all these variables interlock. Your Hunting team will eventually settle on some key characters base don the different playstyles of your team but allow that process to take shape naturally. Dont force yourself into a specific character without first trying the others.PRO-VI-EVOLVE-LEAGUE

EVOLVE is set to change the landscape of competitive play and introduce some fresh new ideas into the stagnant world of competitive gaming. I dont expect the game to be an unprecedented overnight success in this space but with a little love from the community and an open mind as to what defines a competitive video game experience, I think we just might have a bonafide E-Sport hit on our hands.

Dwayne”EVO Knight” Morash

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Halo: 30 to 60 fps in 14 years

If you haven’t played a first person shooter in 60fps then please stop reading and go do so now. There are lots of games to choose from and everyone has an opinion ( my preference lies with either BF4 or Titanfall on Next Gen hardware) but the one thing everyone will agree on is that when it comes to a FPS ; framerate is KING!

The one game that is interestingly NOT on the list of 60 fps games is Halo. Since the game debuted back in 2001 not a single entry in this longstanding franchise has enjoyed the benefits of silky smooth framerate that the benchmark delivers.

There are numerous reasons to be had for this and Halo fans everywhere will attest that it hasn’t diminished the appeal nor the gameplay of its masterful formula.  To be fair though I can tell you that after playing a smattering of FPS games clocking in at the fabled 60fps and then going back and playing a game of Halo 4 at 30fps ( Heck even playing Destiny on Next Gen results in the same feeling) feels akin to wading through molasses or caught in a old school slide show ( Okay Im exaggerating but you get the idea). Its a jarring experience and actually does impact your gameplay and by default your score suffers. It takes awhile to adjust but its noticeable and severe especially if you have been clocking a lot of hours with aforementioned games with 60fps.

So what happens when you take a beloved franchise like Halo and shove it into the world of 60fps?

Have your cake and eat it too…all in glorious 1080p 60fps

The newly released Master Chief Collection does just that and not only the newest entry in the franchise but it goes all the way back to 2000’s Halo:CE as well. Yup thats right, you can now play a 14 year old game in 1080P and 60fps!

My playtest was mostly centered on Halo 4 as it was the title that I had most recently played in its old incarnation on Xbox 360. Having watched several videos of gameplay at the new clock speed I was somewhat prepared for what I was about to experience .
I want to get this out of the way. Halo 4 running at 1080P and 60fps feels like a Next Gen game!


Design choices and overall arguments about the entries adherence to the Halo formula aside ; the game rocks!
Movement and moment to moment gun battles flowed and felt awesome. That feeling of sluggishness quickly faded and I kept asking myself ” Why did it take 15 years to experience Halo this way??!!”

Halo 5 is the new hotness. Get ready for it!

The ironic part of this story is that I have a friend who experienced the opposite effect of my experience inn that he was completely thrown off by the increase in framerate and felt that it was ” unnatural”. The best way to explain this I suppose is with whats happening in cinema today. Movies are being filmed in higher framerates ( The new Hobbit movie comes to mind) and Television sets are now ” upscaling” framerates for existing content that we have all watched in the past. Having watched a section of the new Captain America; Winter Soldier on a 4K TV with the movie’s frame rate upscaled as mentioned above; well lets just say it looked like I was watching a news real or a Live broadcast not a cinematic feeling motion picture.

Whether your eyes and cerebellum can adjust to the new hotness that is 60fps only you can find out. I for one love the new sexy of Halo running on Nitrus and if you cant adjust to a older game amped up…..well you better get ready by the time the next entry in the Halo Franchise arrives because it looks like all Halo’s are hitting the NOS moving forward!

Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash

Gottacon 2015 Halo 2 Anniversary Tournament

In February of this year PRO and Gottacon will be partnering to bring Victoria BC the first ever Halo 2 Anniversary Tournament Sponsored by none other than Astro Gaming ! The Tournament line up will consist of two events ( FFA and a 4v4 Team Based Tournament) that will be spread over the weekend of February 27th-March 1st.

The full details of the Gottacon Convention and how to participate in the Tournaments are available HERE



Day: Friday
Time: 7:00pm
Format: Slayer (Xbox One Halo 2 Anniversary)
Price: Free with BYOC CONSOLE LAN Full Weekend Pass
Location: Console BYOC LAN

Join us for an intense night of Halo as up to 40 players face off in a free for all tournament. In Round one Players will be placed in one of two groups. Groups will play three games of Slayer in Halo 2 from the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Each player will have their 3 total scores combined into a final score. The top half of each group move on to the next round.

Round two will see all remaining players put into one group and those players will compete in another round of three games of Slayer in Halo 2 from the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The top half of the of this round move on to the finals.

In round three, the finals, the remaining players will face off in a final round of games in Halo 2. The top 3 players will prize.

Halo SLAYER (FFA) (Xbox One) $450 Total + $250 Cash

1st Place:
1x A40 (Xbox One) and $100

2nd Place:
1x Scout bag and $100

3rd Place:
1x Scout bag +$50

Day: Saturday
Time: 10:00am
Format: Multiple (Xbox One Halo 2 Anniversary)
Price: Free with BYOC CONSOLE LAN Full Weekend Pass
Location: Console BYOC LAN

Saturday will feature our 4v4 multi game mode team tournament in Halo 2 from the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. In group stage teams will be placed in one of two groups. Groups will play a round robin style round to determine seeding for the single elimination bracket. Each match will have teams facing off in a best of one slayer format.

Bracket stage will be Single elimination. Each Stage of the bracket will be a best of 3 and feature a new game mode. The first round will be Slayer. Game modes for the remaining rounds is yet to be determined.

HALO 4v4 (Xbox One) Prizing $1800 Total + $600 cash

1st Place:
4x A40 (Xbox One)
$100/player

2nd Place:
4x Scout Bag
$50/player

3rd Place:
4x Scout bag

 

Links: 
Gottacon Conventions: www.gottacon.com
PRO: www.areyoureadytogopro.com
Astro Gaming:http://www.astrogaming.com

 

A Destiny that wasn’t realized

” What Happened?” I ask myself as I sit here typing this. Destiny was a game we all wanted to love and whether it was our fault or the developers; we all had high hopes for this game. In short the Hype meter was off the scale.
We all had good reason to expect amazing things from Destiny. Developed by the studio that brought us one of the greatest console shooter of all time and a history of masterful game design; Destiny was supposed to be the Next Big shooter to usher in this new generation of hardware and gaming.

So what went wrong. I could write a whole article outlining all the things that Destiny didn’t get right as it pertains to the core PVE side of the game but rather than beat it up more than the rest of the internet already has; Ill instead endeavour to explain what it didnt get right in its suite of PVP offerings.
PVP is Destiny is called ” Crucible” cru·ci·ble,ˈkro͞osəb(ə)l/

  • a place or occasion of severe test or trial.
    “the crucible of combat”

This is actually a fitting name and just one example of how Bungie has infused the game with flavour. It also sounds better than ” Multiplayer lobby”. The Crucible is a blend of traditional competitive matches wound  up in a nice little narrative wrapper.  Players actually ” Travel” to the crucible in their spaceship and proceed  to land in the Map with their team via a nifty little cutscene of them all standing at the ready.

Again Destiny has no shortage of flavour to embrace the player with, .even in its head to head game space.
So where did all of this go sideways?

Outside of a small amount of Maps and game modes Destiny’s biggest crime in the competitive gaming circle was/is the fact that to this day you cannot create a custom lobby to play against your rivals and or friend. Creating a team via the games Party system is all fine and dandy but matching your Fireteam up against a specific opponent of your choosing sadly isn’t in the cards.
This omission literally destroyed any chances of Destiny challenging its creators prodigal son’s legacy ( Halo).
One of the reasons Halo grew to prominence is that the first XBOX was able  to LAN up and give players the option of connecting their consoles for direct head to head play. Future iterations of Halo and the newly introduced XBOX LIVE gave players freedom to connect to each other via private matches. It is because of these features that Halo became an E-Sport .
Everyone assumed that lightning would strike twice and that Bungie would replicate its success by allowing players that same choice with its new flagship game.

Many players will argue that the fact that the only way to play PVP in Destiny is via public matchmaking is irrelevant and that the game itself is broken to the point of its PVP offerings are simply too unbalanced to be considered a true competitive experience. There are arguments for and against that opinion but in reality if we had been given an extensive amount of tools in the form of custom lobbies; the player base could sculpt and shape its own rules and match settings.
This would have all but ensured that Destiny would have a life outside of its never ending grinding and cultivate a community that was slanted towards competitive play versus the World of Warcraft crowd looking for a MMO experience with Halo mechanics.

All is not lost however. While not announcing anything specific; Bungie has acknowledged the lack of private lobbies and by doing that the community is one step closer to one day seeing features like this implemented. the real question is whether or not anyone will actually care by the time that happens. In a crowded market where new games are landing in front of us every couple months Destiny may not have much longer to sink its hooks into us. The competitive community is already eyeing new experiences such as Rainbow Six, Evolve and of course the inevitable Halo 5 later this year.

Destiny was hyped and almost had us locked down but a first round fumble may have cost it the game.

Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash

“6 Players does a Titan Make”

What defines the quality of a multi-player shooter these days?

Is it graphics? Is it frame rate? or is it how easy or hard the game is?

If you strip mult-player gaming down to its core fundamentals it essentially is any game that lets you play with more than a single person. This can take the form of a dedicated Co-Op experience with a single buddy or the opposite side of extreme and be a massively multi-player game Ala’ World of Warcraft.

No matter what your preference of multi-player is ,its safe to say that playing with friends or strangers is an exciting feature in games these days.

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Yes Please!!!!!!

Then why is it that there are legions of entitled players in the world redefining the minimum requirement of players to be involved in a multi-player experience ? Of course this argument has been making the rounds for years now and every time a Battlefield game gets launched on console you here the inevitable screams from the fan base saying ” sacrilege…Battlefield was meant to be played with 64 players on PC!”

Pop Quiz: Can anyone tell me the largest amount of players supported on XBOX360 and of course the name of said game? Stay tuned to the end of this article and Ill tell you 🙂 

The latest argument has been kicked off with the announcement that the soon to be released game TITAN FALL will ship with a ” meager” offering of 6v6 head to head multi-player.

Respawn ( the games developers) have made a conscious design choice to limit the matches to 6 players on either  team. This is of course supplemented with a healthy supply of AI troops populating the battlefield to create a sense of scale and give teams some cannon fodder to buff their self esteem.

The key wording here is that this was a pre-meditated design choice by the developers ; NOT a technical limitation ( Yes Battlefield games have a technical restriction on console folks). Shouldn’t we trust that these guys know there own game and have also play tested it while developing it?

Titanfall_E3_014
Titan Fall will not have a shortage of stuff to shoot at .

I for one do not need Titan Fall to be a 64 players “Mech Fest” and am quite happy to fill that void by the AMAZING Battlefield 4 that I have installed on my console.

There is of course the whole issue of Game Balance to consider as well. When you start throwing in more players the dynamics of the game itself begin to buckle. Things like Map layout  and design become crucial to whether or not the game becomes broken. Team Cohesion and synergy takes a back seat to random amounts of players running around a map like a BOT. Keep in mind that no game has successfully thrown an entire 32 man team into one squad or fire team. I cant even imagine using call outs with that large of a player count!

Large scale combat also adds fuel to the age old whining of Camping. When you create a map that supports large amounts of players you will always find players who are too lazy to walk a few feet in it; instead electing to set up camp on a rooftop or in a bush and wait for an unlucky player to stroll across his/her path.

More players in a multi-player game does not make it better it simply turns it into a different experience.

From a competitive gaming point of view ; I am actually very happy to hear that TITAN FALL will only be supporting 6v6 matches. This puts it squarely in our sights for a PRO selected title and will make facilitating tournaments that much easier. Teams will work together better and the intensity will ramp up thanks to our little AI friends.

Mmmmm....I wonder if this guy is a real player?
Mmmmm….I wonder if this guy is a real player?

Respawn entertainment has crafted a shooter with specific intent and is playing by its rules. IT IS NOT Battlefield 4 in Mechs but I applaud them for waiting to create an atmosphere akin to Dices shooter even if it is an illusion created with cloud powered AI troops.

Dwayne”EVO Knight” Morash

Pop Quiz Answer: The game is Frontlines Fuel of War ( Xbox 360/PC exclusive) developed by KAOS studios ( also created Homefront).Frontlines

The maximum player count in that game was 50 players on a dedicated server that KAOS hosted

5 Reasons Titanfall Deserves your Respect

Titanfall launches on March 11 here in North America and while the internet is buzzing about why or why not this is a game changing piece of software; I have compiled a short list of reasons you need to stop bickering and listen to me. Enjoy!

1: ” Whats old is new again” The FPS genre has been slipping into a state of laziness for the past 4-5 years while developers churn out near carbon copy games of either others like it or equals to existing franchises. Titanfall is a FRESH new IP and with that comes a sense of freedom from past experiences. We as players get to step into a brand new world and experience all sorts of new moments along with everyone else.

tf_2014There is no ” Late to the party syndrome” where you end up playing a game that everyone else has been learning to master for years. Everyone in  the world is playing it for the first time along with you on day 1 ( or whenever you decide to jump in) Yes people will argue that this is just another FPS albeit with giant Mechs and jet packs but the keen observers have already noted that Titanfall is much more…

cod4-21
Thank you Infinity Ward…err,…Respawn for giving us COD4

2: ” Remember that game called Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare ?” Lest  we forget a time when Call of Duty was actually a good game. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the turning point for the franchise.  COD4 as it was really considered became an overnight success and ushered in a new era of shooters. It single-handedly usurped HALO from its thrown and despite several attempts at revolting ; poor Master Chief and his loyal minions haven’t been able to reclaim it! More than just a financial success; COD4 is viewed as the pinnacle of the series quality.

It introduced us to new concepts for a shooter that pervade all shooters to this day. Experience points, leveling systems, un-lockable’s and the special abilities/perks where more akin to fantasy Role Playing games than they where First person shooters but Infinity Ward where blazing new trails here to be sure and that gamble paid off beyond belief. Hardcore shooter fans soon adopted the concepts of a progressive leveling system in a military FPS. It was like  dropping a chocolate bar into a tub of peanut butter…

have-fun
This guy is having FUN…must be playing Titanfall

3:” Fun…you remember what fun is ?” Gamers have lost there way. This is a general statement across all genres and not just shooting games. As a gamer who has played games since 1977 and literally seen the evolution of the gaming industry I can personally tell you that the internet has destroyed the soul of a true gamer! Daily I read forums and message  boards and they are filled with ” gamers” who are ranting about game graphics, frame rates, which consoles are better and why games suck….as in every game! For every positive comment about a particular game there is at least 10 more negative. The internet is sucking the soul out of gaming. I remember a time when there was no internet. A time when you where excited to walk into your local game shop < yes they had them back in the day> and discover a new game. You bought it without knowing much about it and guess what…You enjoyed it because it was something new and different. It didn’t get judged on a website by privileged little kids who think that they can make video games better  than the developers themselves. Titanfall is SUPER FUN! The game is fast paced and is always engaging. Playing the BETA I can tell  you that I caught myself grinning more often than naught and I was experiencing something I haven’t felt in a long time. FUN. Running, boosting, shooting, piloting Titans and seeing my character level over the course of every match I played was thrilling and exciting.I couldn’t stop playing and that was just on two maps ! Titanfall puts the FUN back into FPS  ( err…..maybe a new genre called FFPS )

4: ” Gameplay trumps Graphics” The whole industry is obsessed with resolution ( 1080p versus 720p) and gamers are now the equivalent of spoiled little brats when it comes to how video games look. Remember when games where comprised of just square blocks bouncing another square block between them? How about that game called Pac-Man that sits in the history books as one of the most famous video games of all  time.

pitfall
Yeah I actually owned this game……and loved it!

Those are extreme examples from an era of gaming that most of you have never experienced. The point Im getting at iis that the expectations of gamers in this generation is that better graphics makes a better game and when a game doesnt boast 1080p resolution or 60FPS the game in question instant;y becomes a lesser valued product subjected to ridicule by the Internet. Without a solid foundation it doesnt matter what the game looks like; especially considering that in most FPS games today you barely have time to look around much less admire the scenery! Titanfall is forecast to be running 60FPS and boast resolution of 720-900p. I challenge anyone who has played it that the game doesn’t look and play amazingly well, despite not being native 1080p .

5:”Because Its the game we deserve, but not the one it wants”  To be honest I don’t think anyone knows what exactly they want anymore. Millions of players complain about games being the same year over year and that there is no more diversity in the market. Those same gamers complain when a developer changes something in an established franchise in order to ” shake things up” Its a viscous circle of ” we want change” and ” don’t you dare change what we love”. This industry relies on consumers buying the software nd not the hardware we play it on. Developers know that any deviation from the status quo could turn and amazing idea into an abysmall failure and in most cases a nail in the coffin for the studio. No one wants to temp fate and the ones who have paid dearly for thier ambition.

Titanfall may in fact be more badass than Batman !
Titanfall may in fact be more badass than Batman !

Respawn entertainment is a new studio with nothing to lose. No established franchise, No built in fan base. They literally have an opportunity to create something special here without bowing to the needs or wants of the fans. They are going  to create new ones with Titanfall and the only real question I have about the game is…where do we go from here?

Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash