Steam Winter Sale 2016 Verdict & Tips

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Seasonal Steam sales haven’t been the same since Valve did away with flashes and dailies. Some publishers might change their prices during the sale, but for the most part what you see now is what you’re going to get until Jan 2nd.

Being in dire financial straits, I was hoping to make my $8 on Steam count for something during the winter sale. I wanted Rimworld or Stranger of Sword City to be heavily discounted, or to pick up a few of my top wishlist prospects that were on the older side of the spectrum. Neither wish came to pass. Stranger of Sword City still costs more than I’d pay even if I could afford it and Rimworld wasn’t discounted at all! (Hell, I might’ve squeezed a few pennies together to make the difference if it at least dropped 50%!)

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Dishonored 2: Improved Disappointment

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Dishonored 2 is a good game, let’s just get that out of the way now. You can add it to the short list of sequels that are vastly superior to their predecessors. If you liked the first, you’ll enjoy the second and hopefully we’ll see more games from this series in the future. On the other hand, as a fan of the franchise it’s hard not to be disappointed by Dishonored 2.

The first game got a bit of a pass because of its originality. It had to build a world from scratch and breathe life into it while also creating an engrossing game to play. We’ve seen developers fail to do this time and again, which is why Dishonored was so heavily praised for its success. Dishonored 2 doesn’t get the same pass.

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ELeague Major Qualifier Recap

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What a crazy year for CSGO! We’ve seen the rise of the Americas with the Brazilians of Luminosity Gaming, now better known as SK Gaming, winning back-to-back Majors and Team Liquid securing 2nd at ESL One Cologne 2016 – the highest Major placement ever for an NA team. It’s been a changing of the guard, a year of redefinitions as the French and Swedish titans of competitive CSGO fell from their once untouchable perch atop of nearly every CSGO Major tournament.

Even though the Majors were done back in July, 2016 wasn’t done surprising everyone. The ELeague Major Qualifier was just held to determine the final 8 teams that would secure a spot at 2017’s first CSGO Major. Recent upsets and changes in the competitive scene left the qualifier stacked with household names like Envyus, NiP, Mousesports, Dignitas, G2, Cloud 9 and many others battling across four days for a chance to kick off 2017 right.

The results of the qualifier left commentators and fans alike scratching their heads in disbelief.

NiP is OuT at 1-3

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Diving into the Dino-rific World of Durango

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How the hell is the survival game genre still thriving? Ever since Minecraft blew the minds of gamers and developers alike we’ve been inundated with a constant barrage of survival-based games. Ever depleting hunger bars and durability stats are becoming inescapable headaches that, according to the ever blossoming Early Access Survival genre, gamers just can seem to get enough of.

While we still can’t get a full-fledged Monster Hunter title in NA, Nexon has chosen to bring Ark: Survival Evolved to mobile devices. Nope, not beating around the Mesozoic Era bush with this one. Durango is pretty much the mobile equivalent of Ark, seeking to capitalize on the latest popularity trends that include dinosaurs and survival games.

Nexon is hardly the only company to follow trends and pump out safe bets. What sets the publisher apart from other MMO conglomerates like Webzen, Aeria and OGPlanet is the quality of their library. That isn’t to say the aforementioned companies don’t publish fun and interesting titles, but Nexon has consistently been a cut above the rest for years.

Durango is no exception. Despite the obvious placation towards the massive crowd of gamers garnered by titles like Ark: Survival Evolved, What! Studio is creating one of the most addictive and high quality MMO experiences on Android.

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Want to Read a Fun Cover Letter?

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I’ve been looking for work recently after a previous major client of mine went against my advice and ran their company into the ground in less than two weeks. And as much as I enjoy freelancing, I’m getting a little old for this roller-coaster lifestyle so I’m also looking for full-time positions to create a little stability if at all possible.

That being said, have you seen the state of the job market today? It’s ridiculous! If you ever need proof that overpopulation is a real concern just take a look at unemployment and job saturation rates. Getting work is a constant struggle for millions of people all over the world.

As always, I like to make things as hard on myself as possible and instead of looking for jobs in my immediate area I also tend to attempt my hand at opportunities 3000 miles away. What follows is a cover letter that I wrote for a company in Los Angeles.

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Delving Into Dishonored, 4 Years Later

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Giving players a free digital copy of Dishonored: Definitive Edition with Dishonored 2 was a fantastic idea. I remember liking the original game four years ago but not really being all that impressed with its story. Picking up the sequel was a bit of an afterthought. During Gamestop’s Black Friday sale I traded in some games to get Skyrim, which was only $30 at the time, and had another $30 in credit left over which I impulsively used to get Dishonored 2 since it was also on sale for $30.

I’m telling you this so you understand why I decided to play the original before diving into the sequel. It was a matter of happenstance. I wasn’t itching to play the sequel, it just sort of fell into my lap. And it turned out to be a phenomenal decision.

My Overall Thoughts on Dishonored

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Final Fantasy XV’s Misuse of Achievements

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(There are no spoilers in this article.)

Even as ignored as they are, achievements have had a substantial impact on gaming over the last decade. They can serve a myriad of functions, from keeping players invested for longer than usual with a steady drip of accolades to encouraging exploration and self-induced difficulty settings like Dishonored’s ‘Mostly Flesh and Steel’. Yet for some reason even the most practiced and highly regarded developers don’t seem to understand how to utilize achievements effectively.

Final Fantasy XV is a great example of how achievements can be overlooked and misused. Most of the achievements are story-based and many others are “do X for the first time.” Very few require any bit of end game content or even mild exploration, making it fairly easy to stumble your way into getting all of the achievements shortly after you see the end credits. You can get all of the achievements in about 50 – 60 hours, which is incredibly short for an RPG that has Final Fantasy in the title.

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