Category Archives: Free to play

League of Legends – Teamwork OP

I have been actively playing League of Legends for the past couples of months. Not ranked games, mind you, but normal games (for those who do not play Dota/LoL/HoN, that means non-ranked games, that could be considered “casual”). Even normal games call for a lot of teamwork, individual skill and know-how. Without it there is very little chance of victory. It’s not like playing Co-op vs AI opponents, here you might just solo the entire game. Playing a normal game is just a small step below playing ranked, and the thing is, the higher your level, the tougher your games become. I am almost at level 28 right now and I can feel the pressure during every single game. This is only only because you are somewhat expected to know what you are doing, at this stage, but also because you will start facing players who actually play in ranked games. In other words, things got real, but you might not be fully prepared for them.

War of the Roses: Five Survival Tips

War of the Roses is not the simplest game out there. It’s on the level of Mount and Blade, which makes it a mildly difficult game when it comes to PvP. Aside from directional combat and blocking you also have types of armor, different weapons, Perks and more. In other words, you have countless different possibilities but that does not always translate into effectiveness. You could have a bowman in heavy armor, but a bow might be less optimal than a crossbow. You could have a a longsword for a sidearm but that does not mean that you will kill enemies in heavy armor. There are many different tid-bits here and there so the purpose of this short guide is to help you a bit, if you need the extra help. Some of this knowledge might be “common” to experienced players but if you are new this will help you greatly.

War of the Roses

Having a fancy armor, crest and a barded horse does not translate into skill. Heavy armor is very common, due to its price. Even if it looks fancy once you figure out how to beat it no fancy crest will scare you away.

Ghost Recon: Online – Class Guide

Ghost Recon: Online has only three classes. It might not seem like much, but with each class you have a decent choice in equipment, allowing you to customize your “Ghost” in any way you like.  In this guide we will discuss the different classes in Ghost Recon: Online, their strengths and weaknesses. We will also look over their Devices and potential strategies. Hopefully with this guide you will learn that every class can multi-task, in a number of ways.

Jagged Alliance: Online – 10 “Survival” Tips

So, you gave Jagged Alliance: Online a try, but things are not going as planned? Do not worry, this is not the simplest or easiest Tactical Game out there, and even a Strategy veteran like myself had problems getting an easy start. So I formulated this series of Tips so that you may have an easier time starting your Merc career in Jagged Alliance: Online. While this Guide will not teach you everything there is to know about the game it will certainly help you, whether you are completely green or already experienced.

Jagged Alliance: Online

My base. The Hospital is the most of all your structures, but maintaining your warehouse and workshop will also pay-off.

Ghost Recon: Online Preview

There is a time when a Strategy fan, like me, will reach out to a more “FPS” tactics game. Since I am still in the mood for reviewing/previewing Free to Play games I decided to give Ghost Recon: Online a go. I never payed much attention to the series. Not because I do not like FPS/Tactics games but because I have a bit of a problem with “Tom Clancy”. There are countless “Tom Clancy” brand games, and not just FPSs. There was at least one Strategy game and a Flight Sim. It sort of reminded me of the Modern Warfare franchise, and I could really care less who and why I am killing this time.

So here we have it, Ghost Recon: Online. What is it about? How does it compare to other Free to Play Games? Let’s find out!

Ghost Recon: Online

“Lock ‘n Load gents.” – From left to Right: Recon, Assault and Specialist.

Ghost Recon: Online – What is it about?

Ghost Recon: Online is about… Special Forces fighting against other Special Forces, in what appears to be Russia, with a Middle Eastern undertone. Our guys are brighter than the dark enemy guys, but we both play as the good guys. The game uses the America’s Army “trick” of making the opposing team always look like the enemy.

There are three classes to choose from, the Assault, Specialist and Recon. You would think that’s highly limited and I would agree. Each class has two main weapons to choose from and a side arm. Each class also has two Devices and Team Support “Buffs”. So, into battle you will take only one of each… but it’s surprisingly deep, for so little content.

The Recon can use a cloak or Oracle, essentially limited range “X-Ray” glasses, that ping enemy positions. Now, if you played Planetside 2 a few months ago you would had heard a lot of criticism regarding the Infiltrator class. The Infiltrator had a cloak and Sniper Rifle, and he could hack terminals. However, he had VERY limited usefulness. People wanted for him to use SMGs, or have more to choose from, so that he could be more useful. Well, Ghost Recon: Online does something Planetside 2 should had. The Recon can have the a fore mentioned Cloak and Oracle, and in terms of weapons he can use an SMG or sniper rifle. Normally the SMG goes with the cloak and the Oracle with the Sniper rifle, but you can experiment. The Recon class can be used in brutal close combat, or as a distant sniper. He always has as little health, but that always comes into the equation. A sneaky Recon can wreck havoc on the enemy.

Ghost Recon: Online

Normally a game will not look this organized, although you might see very similar scenes as you play.

The Specialist at first reminded me of an Engineer. He can use either a Shotgun or LMG (Light Machine Gun) and has the Blackout or Aegis shield. Blackout, when used, causes a small “Ion” storm in the local area, and any enemy player in that area will lose his HUD and will be defenseless for a short while. Think of it as an introduction to an attack, where you make the enemy defenseless. The Aegis shield create a “bubble” around the Specialist, blocking pretty much any and all shots. This means that people behind the Bubble are also safe, and your own men can fire through it. However, grenades can pass through the Aegis bubble, and if an enemy walks “through” the bubble (gets very close) he can kill the Specialist.

The Assault has an Assault Rifle and shotgun (just like the specialist). His Devices are the HEAT and Blitz. HEAT creates a radioactive “wave” in the direction that it is pointing. This causes damage to enemy looking toward the HEAT, and makes it impossible for them to fire. Friendlies, as far as I can tell, are not effected by this. The Blitz is a deployable shield, that allows the Assault to charge forward and knock out the enemy with his shield. The shield acts as front protection (when active) but when inactive it protects your back (from shots and grenades).

You can begin to see how these three classes, with their different setups, can work together. A Recon uses an Oracle to locate enemy troops, the Assault then pins them down with the HEAT, while his squad advances, and just before they jump over the barricades the Specialist could cause a Blackout, giving your team a brief advantage at the start of combat. The Squad Benefit devices also differ in usefulness, so you might be a Specialist that resupplies ammo or speeds up the energy recharge on himself and his allies.

There are different maps, and while we could say that all of them are relatively small they offer enough space to flank and outsmart the enemy, in multiple ways. Usually the teams are not big enough to cover every direction fully, so a slightly tougher push, with the use of devices can benefit either team.

Ghost Recon: Online

Oracle in action, note the highlighted enemy silhouettes. Your entire team can see them as well.

As far as I can tell, all game modes are about capturing points. There are a few variations of this. For example, there is a single point, and the team that holds it when the timer expires wins. Then there is a pretty standard “Conquer” mode, where there are five points, and the team that captures all, or holds the majority, wins. Then there is an Attack/Defense game mode, where teams take turns defending three points from the enemy team.

The overall victory is calculated based on the results from two or three rounds. So while one team might win by holding three out of five points in the first round, the other team might then capture four points in the second round and win overall.

What happens next? Well, there is an economy in the game. Each battle (won or lost) gives XP and RP. RP is used to purchase weapons, armor and “Mods”, for your classes. As you level up with your classes you will unlock more weapons, but they cost an arm and a leg. It is tempting to say that you do not need new weapons but sometimes it is necessary. For example, you start the game with a pump-action shotgun, while already at level 5 you can purchase an automatic one. You can also purchase the a fore mentioned Mods, that can be installed on your armor, for example, giving you certain bonuses. These Mods are not game breaking, at least not when I played the game, but they might give you that small edge over your enemies.

There is also a qualification system, that gives you achievements points. I have no idea what those are for, other than telling your enemies “Oh hey, you got killed by somebody who has more qualification points! Eat that!”. I complete them as a sort of “training regimen”. I practice with the different weapons, and when I finish mastering one qualification for a weapon I then jump to the next one.

What of Premium?

Premium currency in Ghost Recon: Online feels optional. It is mainly used for buying cooler hats/helmets, and it may be used to speed up the buying of higher level weapons or gear. It may also be used to obtain “Supply Crates” with random gear. As far as I can tell, in terms of “balance”, somebody who chooses not to use Premium can obtain the same gear as somebody who does. So you will not be that much far off in the arms race, especially if you want to focus on just one specific class (I do recommend trying all of them first though).

Yay or Nay?

I will put it this way, I was very surprised with Ghost Recon: Online. It is very well thought out, with in-game voice chat, Fireteams, and optional challenges for Solo and Fireteam play. Each Class feels useful in some way and teamwork pays off. The problem is that it might be hard to work together effectively, since people will not always communicate, so your best friend is self awareness.

I would say that one of the best additions is the “Firing Range”, where you can test out any weapon in the store, with different attachments, on “Mannequins” with basic health values. You can practice moving to and from cover, etc. even while the game is still looking for a Match or Server.

The main issue I had was other people… but that is something that always seems to happen between me and FPS games.

You can find more information on Ghost Recon: Online on their official site. There you can also view a number of videos explaining the different Devices the three classes unlock.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

Jagged Alliance: Online – “Why are we here?”

Jagged Alliance: Online is a browser based Video Game that recently showed up on Steam. That is the main reason how I learned of it and I was anxious to try it out, after my lengthy escapades with Company of Heroes 2. I only played Jagged Alliance: Wildfire before, and I must say that I loved that game. You were the head of a small Mercenary Company, tasked with taking back a small country from the clutches of a corrupt and ruthless dictator. You operated through a laptop and a small starting sum of money. You needed to contact A.I.M. to recruit Mercenaries to your company. If you wanted more gear or supplies you had to order it online and get it shipped to the country (bribing the local “care taker” to give you your goods). All was not beautiful and in order to make money you would have to do all manner of tasks. Sometimes you would have to box, other times hunt for known criminals. Your “main” source of money were the towns you would liberate, and the mines that were attached to them. The higher your achievements during the game the more money the mines would produce, but you would also have to protect the liberated cities, by training Militias… It all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And I did not even start talking about the complex turn-based or real-time combat, where each Merc had his own abilities and specialties, and you could perform any attack in a multitude of ways… So where does Jagged Alliance: Online stand in all of this?

Navy Field 2 – Battles on the High Seas

Did I already mention I love Free to Play games? No? Well, I say it now. Today we shall talk about Navy Field 2. The first Navy Field was a 2D Arcade-Style Naval warfare game. Two teams would duke it out in the open seas, and the task of the player would be to improve their crew, obtain better ships and survive these challenging naval engagements. As you might imagine, it was not easy. When I joined the game all my opponents were wielding Cruisers, Battleships and Carriers, while I swam around in my small Destroyer, firing my handful of cannons at the Titans in front of me. Eventually I got a hold of Torpedoes and that changed the story somewhat but make no mistake, war at sea was, indeed, a challenge. You could improve certain aspects of your ship, reinforcing those areas of your ship you considered to be important. Each ship had a limit how big a Crew and what thickness of armor it could handle, so you had to be smart about your ship.

Now we have the New Navy Field 2, with fancy 3D graphics. How does it hold up to the original? Let’s find out.

Navy Field 2

“Join the Navy they said, it will be fun they said!”

Warframe: Space Ninjas, in Space

Another day another Free to Play game. A few months ago I saw advertisements of Warframe but the gun/blade wielding warriors fighting some strange beasts did not appeal to me overly. Some time ago I watched a number of videos with EatMyDiction1, where him and his pals played Warframe, and I got slightly more interested. Recently, I decided to give it a go myself, and I am both pleasantly surprised and somewhat disappointed. For a Free to Play game Warframe has a bit to offer, but is it enough to keep me interested? Or for that matter, is it enough for you?

Warframe

Space Ninjas! (With Guns)

Last Stand: Dead Zone – Not A Normal Facebook Game

If you are familiar with Flash Games, especially Zombie Flash Games, then I am certain at some point you played or heard of the Last Stand Series. They are three separate Flash Games, each one focusing around the life of a poor lone Survivor who tries to escape from the horrors of the Zombie Apocalypse. First he is holed up in a Fast Food Joint. Then, he has to travel between different locations, scavenging for fuel and supplies to reach Union City. In the third game of the Series the theme from a “Tower Defense” and Management game was shifted to a Survival RPG, where you create your own character and end up in Union City, trying to find your wife in a zombie infested hell hole. All three Flash Games were excellent. While not always challenging they provided a lot of entertainment to a zombie genre fan. Then I stumbled on the next Last Stand game… in a place I did not expect to find it, Facebook.

Last Stand: Dead Zone

While this is not my own Safehouse, you can see what yours can grow up to be! Also, here you can see how the Survivors are protecting their home from a Zombie Attack.

War Thunder: The Guide to Stukas

The Stuka is one of the major symbols of the German Blitzkrieg during World War 2. It is a Dive Bomber which had one denoting feature, the siren. When the Stuka dived in for the kill there would be a terrorizing wail accompanying it, causing panic. As stated, the Stuka is a Bomber, and while historically it had a wider selection of possible bomb load-outs in War Thunder the choice in Stuka Bombs depends more on the model, rather than your “unlocks”. In this Guide we will explore the different Stuka Models available in War Thunder, together with their respective strengths and weaknesses.

War Thunder

The Stuka G-1 or G-2. You can identify them by the oddly shaped cannons.