Tag Archives: service

How To Break Up With Your Online Gaming Friends

We don’t always really know the people we game with online. We might know what class they main, or which zones they like best. We might know what state they live in, or what they do for work. We might know them from high school but not have seen them since. But sometimes, when we’re in-character and thousands of miles apart we might realize that the semi-stranger we’re gaming with really, really sucks.

There are guidelines for breaking up with romantic partners, but it’s uniquely tricky to break up with the edgelords in your Discord group or the guy who goes apeshit when he loses a game of DOTA 2. Whether it’s just one person or an entire online gaming community, sometimes the people we game with make our lives worse. On occasion, it’s a good idea to cut them out and set yourself free.


Know When Enough Is Enough

The time you spend gaming after a hard day at school or work is valuable. Most of us play games to relax and enrich our lives. If another person’s behavior is getting in the way of that, then maybe it’s time to break up.


You don’t need to nuke a perfectly good gaming relationship after your buddy points out your positioning could have been better last game. Similarly, don’t hold it against an online gaming buddy if they had a bad day at work and don’t have the energy to bring the fun one night. If you’ve spent significant time chatting with someone online while you game, you’ve formed a connection, and leaving them in the dirt for some banal reason is callous.

That said, common online gaming wisdom maintains that you really don’t owe anyone shit. It’s easy as hell to hit the “eject” button on an online friendship and never think about or hear from that person again. But how do you know when you’re doing it for the right reason?


Ask yourself: Does this person bring you more joy or comfort than they bring you a) frustration, b) annoyance, or c) fear? If yes, then keep queueing up. If no, then consider ending the relationship.

Know Your Dealbreakers

We’ve all played with people who are annoying or whom we’d probably not hang out with in real life. Maybe that friend-of-a-friend in your party kind of gets on your nerves when she brags about her gameplay or when he disses the armor you spent so long trying to get, but isn’t, at heart, that bad. There are, however, some behaviors that you shouldn’t ever have to tolerate, and you shouldn’t question whether or not to cut the offender loose. Relationship-ending behaviors could include:

  • Consistent toxicity or abusive language toward you or others
  • Racism, sexism, homophobia or bigoted language, even in memes
  • Repeated anger problems or lashing out repeatedly after losing
  • Making violent threats
  • Making you feel bad about your gameplay every time you game with them
  • Regularly manipulating you into doing things you don’t want to do, like staying up too late grinding, or helping them with quests after you said no
  • Attempting to find out more about your IRL life than you feel comfortable sharing
  • Asking to meet in person after you’ve said no
  • Talking about you behind your back to other friends or sabotaging your friendships


Approach Them First

“If you are looking for healthy recommendations, I don’t know lol,” said one extremely online friend of mine when I asked how he’s broken up with online friends. “I feel like it’s always drama or just ghosting.”


It doesn’t have to be that way! Talking to someone about why you’re fed up with them can give them a chance to change. And if they respond poorly, it can give you closure that your decision to end things was a good one.

It’s tempting to address a gaming friend’s flaws immediately after they manifest. If they’ve crossed the line—used hateful language about you or another member of your group, or made violent threats—calling that behavior out in the moment might be necessary. In other instances, a more strategic line of action is to wait until everyone’s calmed down—maybe between games or a day later on Discord. People can come to the conversation with fresh eyes, and it’s likely your friend be more open to what you have to say when their heart rate is down.


If this is someone you know in real life and their behavior isn’t on the extreme end of things, you might offer to help them with the behavior. You can lean on your existing relationship to frame your conversation as something you want to address together so that you can keep being friends. Remember that communicating clearly is more likely to get you what you need, even though it may feel scary to be so straightforward with a friend. Don’t write a manifesto about why they suck. Just succinctly point out the behavior and explain how it makes you feel. Say you’re open to chatting about it more if you, in fact, are, but also be firm that you’re not open to debating the merits of racist memes or creepy flirting.

Here’s an example: “Hey buddy, I wanted to talk to you about something a little awkward. Last night’s game got me thinking—I’ve noticed that whenever you lose, you get really upset. It sucks to see you upset because I care about you and I don’t want you to feel that way. It also can stress me out a little when you flame teammates or yell into the mic. I’m just trying to have fun, so I’d love if we could talk about ways to handle your temper.”


If it’s someone you don’t know in real life, approaching them about an issue can be trickier. We don’t always share the same values as people we meet randomly online. In a lot of ways, that’s a beautiful thing because it means we befriend people we might have overlooked at the local pub. In other ways, you don’t have a lot of context for why someone behaves the way they do.

If their behavior is something that’s straight-up unacceptable to you, you should tell them clearly to cut it out. Here’s an example of how to broach that: “Hey buddy, let me know when you have a moment to talk about something a little sensitive. . . I’ve noticed that whenever there’s a woman on our team, you kind of single them out and hit on them, like last night when you did [specific example]. I get that you want to have fun, but I’m not really down with that. It just feels kind of creepy. Would you mind keeping it to yourself?”


Aside from differing values, when people game online, they often detach themselves from the standards they’re expected to live by in daily life. People don’t always consider what they’re saying when there are no repercussions for their behavior. That’s not an excuse. But it can help you strategize on how to talk to them once you’ve decided you’re fed up. It’s not your job to educate people on what good and bad behavior is. But sometimes online, people might not understand how they’re coming off.

Here’s an example: “I appreciate your sense of humor, but sometimes, I feel like you take it a little far. Yesterday, you thought it was funny to spam /all chat with all of the lyrics to “Hey Mamma” by The Black Eyed Peas. That was a little annoying for me. I’m hoping you could tone it down on the shitposts because it’s kind of distracting.”


Hopefully your conversation will go well, and they’ll change their behavior. If it doesn’t end well, you have a few options:


You gave them a chance, maybe many chances, but nothing sticks. Leave. Leave the Discord group. Leave the Linkshell or guild. Stop responding to their texts. Unfriend and block them on Battle.net. Switch servers. Fade into the darkness.


It will sting for a little bit. You might feel a ping of sadness. You’ll miss having that buddy to rank Marvel movies with or queueing up with the one person who actually supplements your tanking. Most of the time, that stinging feeling won’t last. Other people will replace them in your life. In a year, you’ll be like, Sorry, who?

Explain Yourself; Then Ghost

You don’t owe anyone an explanation of why you’re leaving if you felt strong enough in the first place to go. Empathy is a bitch, though. You’d feel bad, confused, and worried if someone you gamed with every night just dropped off the face of the earth.


It’s hard to leave a goodbye message. A lot of people just lie and say they got busy with school, a new relationship, or general life stuff. I’m not going to suggest lying, but it is certainly the easy way out. The alternative is to write a message like this to your Discord group:

“Hey, I’m sorry to say this, but I’ll be moving on from here. Wishing you all the best.”

Or to a specific person:

“Hey, I’m sorry to say this, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea for us to game together anymore. I let you know what was up and nothing changed. Wishing you the best.”


Sometimes a person’s behavior isn’t just damaging to you but to others, too. If that’s the case, you can leave a message like this before going:

“Hey, sorry to say, but I’m moving on from the guild. I’m not okay with the way you guys talk about [X] and this just isn’t for me.”


Take Your Allies With You

This isn’t as sneaky as it sounds. If there’s a rift in your group—some people are cool with edgy memes while you and others aren’t—then it’s okay to communicate with people who agree with you about branching off. “Hey all, I know this sounds really harsh, but a lot of us in here aren’t and haven’t been okay with [X]. We tried to sort it out, but we’re at an impasse. The best way forward for us is to start our own group. Feel free to contact me over there and thanks for understanding.”


Some people who decide to stay in the original group might view this as undermining. That’s okay, though. You and others can rebuild a more positive gaming community together. Once you do that, set some ground rules so things don’t get out of hand again.

Have you ever had to break up with an online gaming buddy? Share how you did it in the comments.

Source: Kotaku.com

One Month Later, Apple Arcade Is Worth My Five Bucks

It’s been nearly a month since the official September 19 launch of Apple Arcade. With my free 30-day trial of the subscription gaming service on the verge of expiring, I ask myself if I’m getting enough out of it to give Apple five of my hard-earned dollars to keep playing. Having barely made a dent in the 71 launch games, let alone the nine that have been added since, I’d say I still have plenty of playing to do.

Stephen Totilo and I called Apple Arcade “mobile gaming without all the bullshit” in our initial impressions of the service, and that assessment holds true. Having instant access to a massive, curated selection of quality games with no annoying microtransactions, energy meters, life timers, or other annoyances of free-to-play mobile gaming has changed how I play games on my iPhone and iPad. Instead of immediately heading to the iTunes app store’s game section to check out “New Games We Love,” I go straight to the Arcade page to see if anything new has popped up.


The service has spoiled me for traditional free-to-play games, like the recently-released Mario Kart Tour. I don’t mind the microtransaction model as much as some, but I’ve started minding it more since Arcade went live. Why spend money on chances at winning random Mario karts and racers when there’s a full-featured Sonic Racing game with all the trimmings on Arcade?

Apple Arcade hasn’t reached the 100-game mark yet. Between the launch games and two subsequent mini-waves of releases (which included some surprises), the service has 80 titles to choose from. I’ve downloaded every single one to my iPad Pro. Now when I pick up my tablet, I spend a good minute perusing the menu, trying to figure out what sort of game I’m in the mood to play. The soothing picture puzzles of Patterns? The random multiplayer madness of Lego Brawls? The unique future racing of Super Impossible Road? The Zelda-riffic Oceanhorn 2? A “Play Random Apple Arcade Game” button would not be unwelcome at this point.


Is Apple Arcade’s approach the future of gaming? I don’t know, but I do know it’s my next five dollars’ worth of gaming. We’ll see how I feel next month.

Source: Kotaku.com

Where To Start If You Haven’t Played Video Games In A While

Maybe you’ve taken an extended break from gaming and now want to get back into things. It can feel very intimidating: there are new games, new consoles, new slang, a lot of teenagers, and what’s the deal with Twitch? Here’s some tips on where to start.

I played a lot of games through high school, but I didn’t have the time or resources to play much during college. In my senior year, I ended up winning a free Xbox 360 in a raffle and decided to dip my toes back in the water. Here’s a few things that have worked for me, and for a couple other people I know that have had similar experiences.


Start With The Game That’s Hot Right Now

When I got my Xbox 360, the hottest game in the world was Skyrim. I had never played an Elder Scrolls game before and only vaguely knew what the game was about. But I knew that everyone was talking about it, so I decided to pick it up.

Playing the hot new game will give you something to talk about with other people who play games. Gaming websites will be talking about it, as will people on forums, which can help you feel like a part of the community again. Even though Skyrim wasn’t a transcendental experience for me, and it didn’t become my favorite game, I was able to step from it to games that appealed to me even more.

Start With The Last Game You Were Looking Forward To

I brought my Xbox 360 home that summer for my brother to play while he recovered from surgery. He wanted to play Assassin’s Creed and LA Noire, because those were the two biggest games he remembered wanting to play from the last time he was invested in gaming. (I also had the unique pleasure of explaining to my bewildered mother that yes, new games do cost 60 dollars each.)


While my brother was lying on a bed in the living room all summer, he talked to me about going back to a mindset he hadn’t visited since he was a teenager. I wouldn’t say he’s a big gamer now, though he has since started playing a few games here or there on his new PC.

Picking up the games you used to be excited about can help you remember what drew you to games in the first place. If you haven’t gamed in a while, some of these games might also be pretty cheap. Sometimes when I’ve looked for games that I didn’t play at release, I also discover that they’ve since been ported to PC, so I can play on my laptop at my own leisure.


Read About Games And Check Out Whatever Sounds The Most Intriguing

I sometimes credit my getting back into games to former Kotaku editor at large Kirk Hamilton. As a very pretentious college student with an interest in new media art, I was trying to think of games I could play for a potential college project. My research led me to an interview with Davey Wreden, the developer of The Stanley Parable, and what I read made me want to jump into the game immediately.


Reading interviews with developers can be especially helpful. Sometimes hearing someone else’s enthusiasm about their own art can pique your interest. Reading the level of care that Wreden put into The Stanley Parable got me excited about the game, which led to getting excited about games as a whole.

Play With A Friend

If you think you might stumble over controls or are nervous about not being able to complete a game, having a friend along for the ride can help a lot. When Bioshock Infinite came out, a friend of mine whose gaming experience extended only as far as Pokémon told me that she wanted to check it out but was afraid that she wouldn’t be good at it. My roommate and I had already bought it for my console, so we invited her over to play together.


My friend did have trouble with the controls, and ultimately passed the controller back to me for most of the gunfights, but since then, she’s branched out into more and more games. For me, getting frustrated with a game is the fastest way for me to take a break from games in general. Having a friend to guide you through it can elide that issue entirely, and help you rediscover all the exciting things happening in games today.

Source: Kotaku.com

Every Big Game Coming Out In Fall 2019

Illustration: Chelsea Beck

It’s fall, the season when the days grow colder, the nights grow longer, and the video games are ripe for harvesting. The changing leaves are pretty, but they’re also dead. Why go outside and revel in decay when you can stay inside and get your game on?

There’s a ton of Switch ports over the next three months, including big-name games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Overwatch, plus new games like Pokémon Sword and Shield and Luigi’s Mansion 3. That Kojima guy has a game coming out in November that people seem excited about. And believe it or not, this fall we’re getting a brand new Call of Duty game.

Here’s every big video game coming out this fall:

September 24

Contra Rogue Corps | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Dead by Daylight | Switch

Noita | PC

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid | PC

Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast | PS4, Switch

The Surge 2 | PC, PS4, Xbox One

September 26

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

September 27

Dragon Quest I, II, III | Switch

Dragon Quest XI | Switch

FIFA 20 | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Ori and the Blind Forest | Switch

September 30

Cube World | PC

October 1

80 Days | Switch

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep | PC, PS4, Xbox One

Sniper Elite III: Ultimate Edition | Switch

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint | PC, PS4, Xbox One (Early Access)

October 3

Neo Cab | Switch, PC

October 4

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

October 8

Burger Time Party! | Switch

Concrete Genie | PS4

Indivisible | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

John Wick Hex | PC

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

October 11

Frostpunk | PS4, Xbox One

Killer Queen Black | PC, Switch

October 15

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition | PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Overwatch | Switch

Planescape & Icewind Dale Enhanced Editions | PS4, Switch, Xbox One

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt | Switch

October 16

Little Town Hero | Switch

October 17

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes | PC, PS4

October 18

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Complete Edition | PC, Switch

Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville | PC, PS4, Xbox One

Ringfit Adventure | Switch

October 22

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III | PS4

WWE 2K20 | PC, PS4, Xbox One

October 25

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare | PC, PS4, Xbox One

Medievil | PS4

The Outer Worlds | PC, PS4, Xbox One

October 29

Afterparty | PC

Harvest Moon Mad Dash | PS4, Switch

Resident Evil 5 | Switch

Resident Evil 6 | Switch

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD | PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Vampyr | Switch

October 31

Luigi’s Mansion 3 | Switch

Moons of Madness | PC, PS4, Xbox One


Google Stadia Founder’s Pack

November 5

Just Dance | PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Wii

Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games | Switch

Planet Zoo | PC

November 7

Garfield Kart: Furious Racing | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

November 8

Death Stranding | PS4

Layton’s Mystery Journey | Switch

Need For Speed Heat | PC, PS4, Xbox One

New Super Lucky’s Tale | Switch

November 12

The Legend of Bum-bo | PC

November 14

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition | PC

November 15

Pokémon Sword and Shield | Switch

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order | PC, PS4, Xbox One

November 19

Shenmue 3 | PC, PS4

November 22

Doom 64 | Switch

Doom Eternal | PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts | PC, PS4, Xbox One

December 2

One Finger Death Punch 2 | Switch

December 3

Farm Simulator 20 | Switch

Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition | PS4, Switch, Xbox One

December 5

Star Ocean First Departure R | PS4, Switch

December 6

Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection | Switch

Source: Kotaku.com

Every Big Game Coming Out In Summer 2019

Illustration: Chelsea Beck

Summer used to be pretty sleepy in the world of video games. It was mostly convenient: School is out, beaches are open, and there are dozens of reasons to venture out and get some time in the sun. You know what’s also great? Not going out, because it is, like Cole Porter said, too darn hot.

Good thing the summer games drought is a thing of the past these days. Look at all the stuff going on: Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers are all bringing the heat over the next few months. There are games of all sorts incoming, so take a look at the list below and get ready to plan a staycation.

June 21

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled | PS4, Xbox One, Switch

The Sims 4: Island Living | PC

June 24

Heavy Rain | PC

June 25

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night | Switch

Judgment | PS4

June 27

The Sinking City | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Sega Ages Virtua Racing | Switch

Sega Ages Wonder Boy: Monster Land | Switch

June 28

Super Mario Maker 2 | Nintendo Switch

July 2

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers | PS4, PC

Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-tered Edition | Switch

Apex Legends Season 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC

July 4

Stranger Things 3: The Game | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

July 5

Sea of Solitude | PS4, Xbox One, PC

July 10

Dr. Mario World | iOS, Android

July 11

Griftlands (early access) | PC

July 12

Dragon Quest Builders 2 | PS4, Switch

God Eater 3 | Switch

July 16

The Sims 4: Island Living | PS4, Xbox One

July 19

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order | Switch

July 22

Beyond: Two Souls | PC

July 25

Kill la Kill — If | PC

July 26

Fire Emblem: Three Houses | Switch

Wolfenstein: Youngblood | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Kill la Kill — If | PS4, Switch

July TBA

The Division 2: Expansion 1: DC Outskirts | PC, PS4, Xbox One

August 2

Madden 20 | PS4, Xbox One, PC

August 6

Age of Wonders: Planetfall | PS4, Xbox One, PC

August 8

Necrobarista | PC (PS4 and Switch 2020)

August 20

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution | Switch

Rad | PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch

August 22

Life Is Strange 2: Episode 4 | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Oninaki | PS4, Switch, PC

August 27

Control | PS4, Xbox One, PC

World of Warcraft Classic | PC

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey | PC (Xbox One and PS4 in December)

August 30

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Blair Witch | Xbox One, PC

Astral Chain | Switch

September 3

Catherine: Full Body | PS4

Conan Chop Chop | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Last Oasis | PC

Spyro Reignited Trilogy | Switch, PC

September 6

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne | PS4, Xbox One

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries | PC

September 10

Gears 5 | Xbox One, PC

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries | PC

September 13

Grid | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Borderlands 3 | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Daemon X Machina | Switch

September 17

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep | PS4, Xbox One, PC

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries | PC

AI: The Somnium Files | PS4, Switch, PC

September 20

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening | Switch

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered | PC, PS4

Ni no Kuni | Switch

Source: Kotaku.com

How Battlefield V’s New Microtransactions Work

Battlefield V received microtransactions this week, almost five months after the first-person shooter was originally released. Players can now use Battlefield Currency, which can only be bought with real money, to customize the look of their characters, guns, and vehicles.

Prior to the update, players could buy common, uncommon, and rare cosmetics using an in-game currency called Company Coin, earned by ranking up and completing various daily missions and special assignments. The new premium currency offers players the option to shortcut that grind by paying for it. A new tier of epic cosmetics has also been added to the game. Some of these can only be purchased with actual cash, while others can be unlocked by completing various challenges and activities in the game. According to a tweet by Battlefield V’s community manager, Jeff Braddock, all epic items will at different times be unlockable by doing stuff in the game and not just by spending money.

The Jackal is one of these epic skins. It consists of three pieces of gear and costs 750 Battle Currency, or as the community lovingly calls it, 750 Boin. Boin can be purchased in packs of anywhere from 500 for $5 to 6,000 for $45, but not 750. Players save a little bit per Boin the bigger the pack but the most popular one currently is the 1,050 pack which costs $10. In other words, to buy those epic skins, people are overpaying. Rare cosmetics, like the MP28’s chromed finish, can be purchased for either 400 Boin or the same 13,200 Company Coin as before.

While this is cheaper than what epic skins cost in games like Fortnite and Apex Legends, where each one can cost closer to $20, it still feels like a lot for some drab WWII clothes. Some Battlefield V players on the game’s subreddit have also been making fun of the Jackal costume in particular for including not one but two gas masks and subsequent sets of goggles, as well as a third pair of goggles wrapped around the helmet. The bigger issue for some remains that players don’t have the option of buying it with the in-game currency they’ve already collected.

A post explaining how Battlefield V’s economy works on EA’s website contains a chart with a line going from both Battlefield Currency and Company Coin to cosmetics. Players previously took this to mean that no cosmetics in the game would be locked solely behind a premium currency. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for EA directed Kotaku to Braddock’s tweet.

Meanwhile, Star Wars: Battlefront II, whose microtransactions were temporarily removed after the game was released in November 2017 following the backlash to its loot box mechanics, allows players the option of buying even its rarest costumes with credits earned strictly through playing the game. As a result, players have an incentive to stockpile their credits for when new costumes are released.

In Battlefield V, some players were doing the same, and are now wondering where to spend their existing Company Coin since it can’t buy any of the new stuff. Time savers like temporary XP boosts and new elite-tier skins will be added to the game in the future and be purchasable with Battlefield Currency, but it’s not clear how much the inventory for Company Coin goods will grow. Braddock has confirmed that when elite skins are added, unlike the new epic skins, the only way to get them will be to spend money.

The game’s new microtransactions are far from being a disaster, and it’s possible EA will still refine how they work going forward. In the context of Battlefield V where players have been eagerly awaiting other content like additional maps, they’re a bit disappointing. EA had always made clear that the game would be getting a premium currency at some point, which is arguably preferable to some sort of loot box mechanic. The game’s content updates are also all free. At least for now, the new items players can purchase just don’t feel worth it.

Source: Kotaku.com

Every Big Game Coming Out In Spring 2019

Illustration: Angelica Alzona

Today, just for an instant, the Earth’s equator will line up perfectly with the center of the sun marking the first day of spring, at which point we will be collectively thrust into another season chuck full of game releases.

“A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car,” wrote Ray Bradbury in his novel Dandelion Wine. “It’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find.” Little did he know a stroll through the biggest games of spring can be just as rewarding.

Bookended by Dark Souls FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and an unlikely mash-up of an indie darling and beloved Nintendo series with Cadence of Hyrule, spring 2019 is full of potential delights both big and small. Here’s a look at everything coming out over the next few months.

March 20

Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy | PS4, Switch

Blaster Master Zero 2 | Switch

March 22

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Peasant Knight | Switch

Unravel 2 | Switch

March 26

Danganronpa Trilogy | PS4

MLB The Show 19 | PS4

Final Fantasy VII | Xbox One, Switch

Generation Zero | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland | PS4, Switch

Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World | PS4, Switch

The Princess Guide | PS4, Switch

The Walking Dead: The Final Season: Episode 4 | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Final Fantasy XV Episode Ardyn DLC | PS4, Xbox One, PC

March 27

DayZ | Xbox One

March 29

Yoshi’s Crafted World | Switch

Tropico 6 | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Assassin’s Creed III Remastered | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Assassin’s Creed Liberation Remastered | PS4, Xbox One, PC

March 31

American Ninja Warrior | PS4, Xbox One, Switch

April 2

Bomber Crew: Complete Edition | PS4, Switch

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition | Switch

April 5

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission | Switch, PC

April 9

Dangerous Driving | PS4, Xbox One

Neo Atlas 1469 | Switch

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

April 11

Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain | PS4

April 12

Nintendo Labo Toy-con 04: VR Kit | Switch

April 16

Anno 1800 | PC

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster | Xbox One, Switch

Tanks Meet Zombies | Switch

Wasteland 2 | Switch

April 18

Cuphead | Switch

Katana Zero | Switch, PC

April 19

Our World Is Ended | PS4

April 23

Mortal Kombat 11 | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen | Switch

April 26

Days Gone | PS4

BoxBoy + BoxGirl | Switch

April 30

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age | Xbox One, Switch

April (no date)

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: The Fate of Atlantis DLC Chapter 1  | PS4, Xbox One, PC

May 7

The Legend of Heroes: Trials of Cold Steel II | PS4

May 14

Rage 2 | PS4, Xbox One, PC

A Plague Tale: Innocence | PS4, Xbox One, PC

May 16

World War Z | PS4, Xbox One, PC

May 20

Resident Evil | Switch

Resident Evil 4 | Switch

Resident Evil Zero | Switch

May 21

Team Sonic Racing | PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Assassin’s Creed III Remastered | Switch

Assassin’s Creed Liberation Remastered | Switch

May 23

Total War: Three Kingdoms | PS4, Xbox One, PC

May 28

Lapis x Labyrinth | PS4, Switch

May (no date)

My Friend Pedro | PC, Switch

June 4

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr | PS4, Xbox One, PC

Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth | 3DS

Warhammer: Chaosbane | PS4, Xbox One, PC

June (no date)

Super Mario Maker 2 | Switch

Spring (no date)

Cadence of Hyrule | Switch

We’ll continue updating this post as new games, release dates, and delays are announced.

Source: Kotaku.com

5 Tips You Might Not Know For Building In The Sims 4

Although The Sims 4 has made building houses better than ever, it’s still a bit tricky to make your dream home. Here are a few tips to help you graduate beyond just making a box with windows.

There Are A Few Hidden Options For Roofing

Roofing is a pain in the ass. Roof pieces never seem to fit together in the way you want, leaving you with a roof that should not be seen by man. One huge annoyance I used to have with putting roofs on a Sims house was eaves. If you’re using a gabled roof, it has these little flaps that hang over the edge of the house. Those are called “eaves.”

This house looks like it’s off to a good start, but by placing that half gabled roof down, I’ve made myself a fun logic puzzle for finishing the roof. How can I blend this smaller roof with the roof that’ll go on top of the rest of the house? I’ll tell you how: hold shift to adjust one of the eaves at a time:

And then hold the alt key for more fidelity while adjusting the roof’s pitch.

Buildings Can Have Different Foundation Heights

This is new with the update for the Get Famous expansion. It used to be that every separate building on a lot would have to be on the same foundation level. If you wanted to make a main house with a porch, but then just a ramshackle shed in the backyard, you’d be out of luck, as the shed would also have to have a foundation like the other building on the lot.

Now, as long as the two seperate buildings are fully enclosed—meaning either they’ve got four walls, or you’re using the flat “foundation” pieces—each building can have a different foundation height.

I took the opportunity to go wild on renovating the Munch house, and gave them a little gazebo. Take a look at how it’s a different height than the mansion itself. I think it looks pretty classy.

You Can Make L-Shaped Stairs, Kinda

This one is tricky and probably won’t work right on the first try. Because different buildings can have different heights, players have figured out how to trick the game into building staircases in shapes other than just straight up and down.

The thing is, the game really doesn’t want to do this. I had to fiddle for about an hour to get it to work right. But it can be done, so if the game’s giving you trouble, just try again.

First you’ll want to place your foundations. To make these stairs, you want to arrange your foundation pieces in the shape of an L. You need one square about four notches high, another at eight, and then the last square is actually made of walls, at the smallest wall height. Place the stairs on these pieces, like this:

If nothing fits exactly the right way on the first try, try fiddling around with the heights of the foundations, bringing them up or down, or moving each square closer or farther apart from each other. This is actually the easy part, if you can believe it.

The hard part is enclosing these stairs in a room. You won’t be able to use the room tool, which allows you to manipulate an already enclosed square of walls, so use the plain old wall tool. When I tried this, I could get the walls all the way around, and then the game would give me an error reading “conflicting block clusters” when I tried to place the last piece of wall. I finally found success by drawing a small section of wall elsewhere on the lot, then moving that piece of wall to fill the gap in my room.

The game won’t recognize this as an enclosed room, but the only issue that’ll pose is with painting, and that’s not even that big of a deal. Instead of using the shift key to automatically fill the room with a paint color, just drag your mouse across each wall.

Put Your Furniture Anywhere

This tip isn’t complicated. The Sims 4 is built on a grid system, so objects snap to place on that grid by default. That leads to awkward-looking stuff like garbage cans sitting conspicuously far from walls.

If you type control+shift+C, a box you can type in will appear in the upper left corner of your screen. If you type bb.moveobjects on, you’ll no longer be as constricted to the grid, though objects will still snap to it. If you hold the alt key while you’ve selected an object in build mode, now you’ll be able to place it anywhere. If you hold alt and the left mouse button, the game will let you rotate the object freely. It’s how I got this backyard movie area looking so cute.

Don’t Forget To Landscape

So, you’ve built some L shaped stairs, fit a roof on top of your house, and decorated every inch with objects nestled in every corner. The last thing to do is landscape.

The Sims 4 now has terrain editing tools, which you can use to give your backyard some dimension, but I honestly don’t use it all that much. If you’ve planned for it ahead of time, you can have fun building retaining walls for the hills and valleys on your lot. While the terrain tools won’t allow the earth to envelop walls, it will swallow parts of foundations and roofs. To make this mediocre retaining wall, I made a thin room, raised its foundation, and then used terrain tools to submerge the foundation in the ground a little.

I think that adding plants and trees is what makes a house in The Sims 4 feel like a home. (I also feel that way about real life houses, which is why I belong to a subscription service that sends me two succulents a month. Sims plants are easier to care for than real ones, though.) In order to make your garden look like something off of HGTV, make sure bb.moveobjects is on, and then try layering plants on top of each other.

Here, I placed a tree, free rotated it to the angle I wanted, then started placing different grasses, bushes and flowers around the base. Plants aren’t very well behaved. In life, they just grow where there’s adequate light and water. While some people like manicured gardens, I like the wildness that comes with a garden whose gardener isn’t quite up to the task of regularly pulling weeds.

I used to hate building houses in The Sims 4, but now that I’ve seen what the game can do, I’ve come around to it. If you’ve got the right inspiration and a little bit of grit, you can use The Sims 4 to make your dream house—or at least, something Instagram worthy.

Source: Kotaku.com

Tips For Playing Slay The Spire

After over a year in Early Access, the challenging deck-building roguelike Slay the Spire is officially out on Steam today with a Switch port to following later in 2019. The game was really good when I played the hell out of it back in early 2018, and though the finished version is mostly the same, it still bears the marks of nearly 14 months of updates, balance improvements, and overall polish.

While the developers at Mega Crit Games made Slay the Spire somewhat more approachable during that time, it’s still far from easy. Most of your runs through its three-floor dungeon will be cut short, as mine often have been, through poor planning, bad luck, or a combination of both. Here are some tips to help you survive longer and, potentially, even make it to the end of the game in just a few short sittings.

Study each map ahead of time and plan your path so that it’s evenly balanced.

There are six types of rooms in Slay the Spire, each classified by what is in them: monsters, elites (mini-bosses), merchants, treasure chests, campfires, and mystery rooms (could be anything). Try to plot a course through each floor of rooms that minimizes the risk of you getting halfway through and dying because you hit an elite room with only a third of your health. There are usually two or three campfires where you can heal over the course of each level, so you’ll want to find a course that evenly spaces them out and doesn’t involve fighting more than three monster rooms in a row. That means choosing a path that has some treasure chest and question mark rooms mixed in. Don’t chart a course that brings you through four monster consecutive rooms that end in an elite.

Grab power cards early on and try to build the rest of your deck around them.

Unlike most cards whose effects are one-time, power cards’ effects reoccur every turn. The Ironclad card Demon Form, for instance, adds two strength to your character every turn, or three if you upgrade it (which you always should). This stat buff gets applied to all your attacks and makes them more powerful the longer a fight goes on, giving you room to play defense while still making progress. The Silent power card Noxious Fumes applies two points to all enemies at the start of every turn, another useful thing that stacks each turn. As soon as a power card pops up after a fight or at a merchant, do whatever you need to do to grab it. Start building additional card synergies as early as possible.

Play as many cards as you can every turn.

Unlike in other card games, you discard your hand after every turn. That means that even if you have a card that’s part of a combo, the other parts of which are currently missing, you should still go ahead and use it. It’s going in the discard pile either way.

Similarly you should try to use all of your energy each round as well. Maybe you have a card that costs two energy and three that cost one. Odds are you’ll want to use those three rather than just the one. That’s not always the case, especially if the choice is between blocking or attacking. Always make sure to do the math so you’re maximizing the damage you do each turn and/or minimizing the health you lose.

Block, block, block.

Decades of role-playing games have taught us to mash the attack button and heal up later. You can’t do that in Slay the Spire. Campfires are rare and only heal you 30% of your max health. If you’re playing as someone other than Ironclad, you’re not even getting the six regen points after reach fight. As a result, every bit of health is precious. While there are some cases in which you can minimize the bruising your character takes by going all out on attack, most enemies stick to patterns which you can exploit to cleverly navigate through fights mostly unscathed. If the bubble over an enemy’s head says it’s attacking, try to use at least one block card. If it’s going to buff itself or debuff you, go for damage. The later into a run you get, the more likely you are to have more cards that deal lots of damage in combos when they come into your hand. It’s fine to sit back on the defensive and wait for them to pop up.

Try to settle on whether to go with a small deck or big deck early on in a run.

There are two schools of thought on deck size in Slay the Spire. Some players try to removes cards from their deck so that only a powerful core of 15 or so are in rotation. Others find that, on average, you’re better off with a thick deck because it’s cheaper and also makes you more flexible depending on which bosses you encounter.

If when you start a new run the whale offers you the opportunity to remove two cards from your deck, you should take it. If by halfway through the first level you find you’ve been able to scrap at least half the dead weight from your deck (default strike and block are all dead weight compared to their more powerful variants) than you’re well on your way to creating a potentially great tiny deck. If that’s not the case, though, you should save your extra gold for relics, most of which have benefits you can capitalize on more frequently than the slightly increased odds of drawing your favorite card.

Don’t keep adding cards to your deck just because you can.

Every time you finish a regular monster room you’ll get to add one of three cards to your deck as a reward. You don’t have to. In fact, you can just grab your gold and skip that part. Early on, assuming you are building a thicker deck, you’ll want to grab cards as often as possible because they will likely all be better than the regular strikes and blocks you already have.

By the mid-game, there’s no reason to add a new card to your deck if it’s not better than two thirds of the cards already in your deck. Unless it fills an existing gap—not enough defense, not enough offense—it will just get in the way of drawing the strongest combination of cards you can. In addition, it can sometimes be hard to pass up on a rare card, even when it doesn’t fit in with the current strategy of your deck. Fight the urge to horde them.

Don’t be afraid of curses.

Slay the Spire is all about making trade-offs. No matter which decision you make it will always have at least some drawbacks. Curses are one sort of drawback. Often you’re given the choice of getting something—extra health, an additional energy per turn, or upgrading a card—in exchange for adding a curse to your deck. These curse cards take up space in your deck and have negative consequences when they’re drawn into your hand, so they might seem like more trouble than they’re worth. More often than not though it’s the opposite. Especially if you’re building out a thick deck, you’ll hardly notice them. Unless you’ve already got a handful in your deck, don’t be afraid to add a few more. Unlike the name suggests, they’re actually pretty benign in small quantities.

Don’t be afraid of elites.

Every level has a handful of elite fights. You can usually hit at least two of them on a single path, and while any one of them can kill you if you aren’t smart about the fight, the relics they give you from winning are invaluable. One of the hardest resources to manage in Slay the Spire is time. There are only so many rooms you can venture through before facing the final boss, and not getting the most out of them is an easy way to fall short when it comes to that final encounter. Slay the Spire runs don’t take a super long time to complete, so it’s better to risk fighting elites early on and being forced to restart than getting to the end and realizing you’re not powerful enough to win.

Cards you should almost always get when you see them.

Battle Trance
Noxious Fumes
Dagger Spray
Cloak And Dagger
All for One
Machine Learning

Relics you should almost always get when you see them.

Cursed Key
Bag of Preparation
Happy Flower
Oddly Smooth Stone
Nuclear Battery

Don’t sacrifice too much defense for offense.

Every character and every build requires both attacking and defensive cards. Staying alive in Slay the Spire is hard, and there are very few buffs or items that can turn a really great offense into a substitute for defense. Sooner or later you’re going to need to block a boss from wiping you out with back-to-back attacks dealing 40+ damage. Make sure you don’t chase one particular synergy at the expense of having an even number of attacking and defending cards. It will almost always end in tragedy.

Explore some mods!

One of the new features Slay the Spire got during its extended Early Access period was mod support. Even if you don’t normally mess around with them, Slay the Spire has some that are too good to pass up. While Mega Crit Games has only put three characters in the game to start, players have already added lots of their own, including a Witch that focuses on strategies around curse cards and a Slime that relies on acid-related buffs and debuffs.

There are also general mods that add new cards, make the game easier in various ways, and add unique new cards and relics to change things up. Since it’s all done through the Steam Workshop they’re easy enough to install and are an excellent way of extending the game beyond the content that currently exists. It’s not that the game is short, though. Unless your a Slay the Spire savant, getting through all 20 of the special Ascension runs will take a long time.

Those are my tips for getting started! If you’ve been playing Slay the Spire a ton over the last year, please be sure to share your own in the comments.

Source: Kotaku.com

A Gamer’s Guide To Not Getting Hacked

If you play video games, you are an ideal target to get wrecked by hackers.

Sure, you’re tech savvy—you know what a hard drive is and have seen an HDMI cable or two in your day. Still, there are some unassailable, totally exploitable truths about gamers: They are very online. They log in to a lot of stuff. They have some money. They want to be better than other gamers. And they like to use the password “Dragon.”

This post originally appeared 5/1/18.

In 2018, hackers broke into thousands of Fortnite players’ accounts and siphoned hundreds of dollars at a time. How? Those players had used their username and password combinations somewhere else on the world wide web. And somehow, they got leaked. Now, they’re begging for big refunds and scurrying to protect themselves from further financial harm. It was a preventable disaster. And we’re here to teach you how to prevent it.

Here some some tips on how to stay safe while gaming.

What matters when it comes to security?

Everything matters. That sucks to hear, I know. Security is like a balloon. If there’s even one hole, it’s not a balloon anymore. When it comes to your gaming apps, if you have unique passwords on your Blizzard and Epic Games accounts, but not on your five favorite gaming forums’ accounts—and if you use those same passwords on PayPal, e-mail or Facebook—then you’re vulnerable to hacking.

Password leaks happen all the time on all sorts of sites. Hackers can input your niche Everquest forum password into, say, your banking site if you use the same password for both. And then you get screwed. It’s that simple.

Think about everything you have an account for. Your PlayStation Network account, your Microsoft account, your Battle.Net account, your Steam account, your Reddit account… when you add it up, that’s a lot of stuff! And each of these accounts contains at least a little personal information, whether it’s your first and last name or your credit card number.

It can seem really intimidating to stay vigilant about so many accounts, but with good habits in place, keeping everything in check can become second nature.

Where do I start?

Start with your passwords. We all know “Password123” is easy to guess. But so is “Dragon.” “StarWars,” “monkey” and “football” are extremely common for the same reason—turns out a lot of people like popular stuff. It’s also likely that your unique, fun password you’ve kept since the fourth grade—“Pikachu,” maybe—is just as easy to figure out.

You need to have crazy passwords for everything. According to our sister site Lifehacker, passwords that are long and include numbers, capital letters and symbols are great. Don’t use common phrases or words. BiRdSaNdBeEs_123 isn’t as great a password as bVWx633HVN7Z.a!=.

Changing your passwords is totally tedious, but on the back end of a security breach, extremely worth it. Spend a few days recording which websites and apps you use regularly. Likely, it includes some combination of Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Discord and Amazon. For gamers, that list might include Battle.net, Steam or Xbox Live. Write all of it down. Then…..

Download a password manager

You simply cannot remember 20 very strong passwords. If you can, your passwords probably aren’t strong. You need a password manager. And a lot of password managers can even help you come up with secure passwords.

Since browser-based password managers like the one in Opera have been hacked before, I recommend downloading a password manager onto your phone. I use LastPass. Other people like 1Password. That way, you’ll only have to remember the password to your password manager (or you can just use your fingerprint).

Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a fancy way of saying, “the app asks you to verify yourself.” All it means is that, when you log in to something, you’ll receive a text message or an e-mail with an additional code. You can also get a special app that generates this code on your phone. No one will be able to log into your account unless they enter that code into the client.

Opting in to two-factor authentication can mean the difference between someone else logging into your MMORPG account and stealing all your hard-earned gold and, well, that not happening. Getting a two-factor authentication code when you’re not trying to log into something is also a great way to know someone’s trying to hack you!

Lots of gaming apps let you enable two-factor authentication. Here’s a list from TwoFactorAuth.org plus links to instructions on how to enable it:

If you just scrolled through this and wondered, “Where’s League of Legends?” or some other service not listed, then I have some advice for you: E-mail them! Make sure they know you want this security feature. Basic two-factor is something worth demanding.

Opt out

Here’s a fun fact: Random Call of Duty players you add as friends on your PlayStation might be able to see your first and last name! Maybe that’s cool with you. Maybe it’s not. Either way, you should know whether you’re leaking personal information you don’t want leaked.

Your PlayStation, Xbox, Steam account, etc. all have privacy settings. The Switch has very limited customization options here, but that’s because Nintendo’s online service doesn’t show friends your real name, anyway. You should familiarize yourself with the privacy and security settings for all your gaming accounts and modulate them to your liking. The PlayStation Network’s settings, for example, ask whether you’d like people on your friends list to see your real name. Microsoft blocks Xbox users’ real names by default, although there was once a bug that temporarily revealed people’s names. Now on Steam, you can even hide how few hours you’ve actually played of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Recognize Phishing

Wow, free Fortnite V-Bucks! Booyah! All I need to do is enter my social security number into the website f0rtn1te.net!

Nothing cool is free in online gaming. Even if all your passwords are perfect and you have two-factor enabled on everything, that won’t stop you from falling for hackers’ tricks.

Any sites or people offering free video game skins, currency, etc. are shady, and especially if a stranger messages links to you through an online game. If you receive an e-mail from a strange address telling you that your Elder Scrolls Online account has been compromised, and that you need to give them your username and password, type that address into Google to make sure it’s legit.

Sometimes, hackers will copy the look and feel of sites you frequent to make their scam see legitimate. If a website starts with http:// and not https://, that can be a red flag. If the website is http://www.ep1cgames.com, and not https://www.epicgames.com, that’s a big red flag.If the website is asking you to download something before proceeding, and that something is not Adobe Flash Player, Google what it is before just automatically downloading it. Most computers these days come with decent antivirus software that will let you know whether you’re downloading insidious malware, but it doesn’t hurt to double up. Here are some good options.

Don’t put your personal information out there

A decade ago, your parents probably warned you about the “strangers” and “dangerous people” haunting AOL chatrooms. Maybe they said that telling MMO buddies your first name could mean inviting some 50-year-old mouthbreather to stand outside your window all night. We’ve been on the internet long enough to know that, for the most part, people who play games online are not going to stalk you because you told them what city you live in. That said, it’s hard to vet how safe online friends are. And it’s easy to leverage even the tiniest bits of personal information against someone.

Somtetimes, even just knowing your mom’s maiden name can be the key to your goods. Other times, someone can impersonate you to your cell phone provider’s customer service rep using your birthday and the last four digits of your social security number. It might not even take that much. People voluntarily overshare on Twitter and Facebook all the time.

If you are playing video games online—or streaming yourself playing video games—here’s a handy list of topics to avoid to protect yourself from potential harm:

  • Your full name
  • The full names of the people closest to you
  • Your exact birthday
  • Your address or a picture of your home
  • Your phone number
  • Your social security number
  • Any banking information
  • Where embarrassing photos of you live
  • Physical places you frequent (i.e. schools, restaurants, stores)

Any combination of this information can spell out exactly who you are, where you live and how to find you. You will need to rely on your own judgment when it comes to trusting strangers. Suffice to say, there isn’t any reason to give out any of the above information to anyone you’re gaming with. (Bonus: You can get a gaming-specific VPN—or, a private network that masks where you are—to really protect yourself from getting tracked.)

Don’t do anything stupid, stupid

One time in 2008, I tried to pirate a copy of Spore and got a virus that bricked my computer instead. Did I deserve to have my $600 laptop destroyed? Probably not. But did I have it coming? Definitely.

Listen, if you’re trolling darkweb marketplaces for high-ranked League of Legends accounts, you’re inherently putting your security at risk. Games’ Terms of Service exist to protect developers, yes, but also, to protect gamers. If you’re doing something that flagrantly breaks a game’s Terms of Service, like purchasing in-game currency or installing cheat software, you could be giving an opening to hackers.

The sad, solemn truth is that it is impossible to account for everything. It really is. Good hacks happen to good, vigilant people. However, with these tips, you can exercise a little more control over the chaos that is the internet.

Source: Kotaku.com