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February 18, 2015

Every once in a while, Penny Arcade provides solid insight on some aspect of our hobby, this time it is on keeping abreast of gaming news:

I once suggested that we must consider Free To Play a genre, as opposed to merely a business model, because it warps product in such reliable ways. The same mutations occur mechanically, reproducibly, in what you might call the Internet News model. We must, as conscious beings, observe when we are told things that are strategically lathed not to inform us but to make us fight with one another. Tycho

…Just read Reddit. It’s where all these news sites get their stories so you might as well just cut out the middle man. When you see headlines like “How many people did John Wick kill? “You can beat the Order 1886 in five hours” or “Some guy solo’s Destiny’s hardest raid!” you can be sure that I already read those stories yesterday on Reddit. Not only that but I read them without the bullshit clickbait spin….

For me I actually made a big change to my bookmark bar a few weeks ago. I removed all the game news sites and replaced them with other stuff. I have quick links now to r/games, and r/gaming for general purpose game news. Then I have specific subreddits for the games I’m currently into. Right now it’s r/DestinyTheGame , r/monsterhunter , and r/hearthstone. The rest of my bookmarks now are just art sites that I like. I figure if I’m going to waste some time browsing the web it should be stuff that will inspire me or inform me rather than just piss me off. So now when I have some spare time I don’t go to Kotaku I go to Eat Sleep Draw. Instead of going to Polygon I go to Design Clever. I’ve had this new system for about a month now and I cannot tell you how much better I feel. Gabe

Following their example, I have moved most of the gaming “News” site links back into the main pile further below, and have replaced them at the top with the reddit threads.

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19 Comments
  1. Herandar permalink
    February 19, 2015 9:30 am

    Why did Game Informer survive the purge?

  2. February 19, 2015 5:29 pm

    You noticed!

    Game Informer, whether for reasons noble or other, tend to write “positive” headlines (possibly securing for themselves special exclusives). They don’t write without criticism of the publishers or developers, but they refrain from using “inflammatory” taglines to bring in hits and rages. In fact, they called out DICE pretty good for the launch of BF4, but my personal experience reading their articles has been more therapeutic (releasing the steam while not stoking the flames) than enraging. Shacknews also almost made the cut, but they don’t actually offer much news at all.

    Yesterday, after I got the links updated, I spent some time in the reddit threads and actually learned a TON, all without feeling even a little that I, or someone “needed to set the record straight”. I do not regret the choice of making the switch.

    Here is a tidbit from this morning’s surfing:

    Tyrant waters.. Reminds me:

    I’m stage 3, they’re all down/dead except for one; Griffin.

    I’m trying to chow down on the hunters when this brave son of a bitch harpoons me in the back.

    I turn and face him and break the cord, but I do not approach, I simply look.

    He whips out his gun and starts unloading into my heavily armoured bod.

    This guy has guts, I figure I won’t pounce him for an insta win, I’ll give him a fight if he’s looking for one.

    Slowly striding towards him he begins to back pedal, still pumping his pea shooter into my seemingly endless pool of armour.

    I give a jet of flame to show him I mean business & that he should probably take advantage of my mercy. Alas he does not.

    Walking faster now, he continues to backpedal back out of the humans base, into paths, into shrubbery.

    And then I notice it, hes back pedaling right towards some murky water.

    So I continue to walk, he back pedals, I shoot some more flame, he turns to run-

    Dragged into the swamp by the Tyrant.. king of the swamp.
    BeforeShock

    and

    Why I am absolutely in love with this game. (self.EvolveGame)
    submitted 6 hours ago by Some_Italian_Guy

    I was lying in my bed last night after a very long play session and I couldn’t help but go over and over in my head what I adored about this game. I woke up this morning and felt the need to share it.

    Just to get this out of the way – In my opinion, Evolve is a casual gamer’s worst nightmare. It really is. If you’re playing as the hunters and don’t realize that you shouldn’t be reviving a teammate if you have Lazarus on your team, or are tossing toxic grenades as Hyde that slows your team while you’re chasing the monster, etc, then you are a detriment to your team. You just are. You’re essentially helping the monster win. That’s the way the game’s designed.

    In spite of that though, I find that if you pour a little bit of time into learning the synergy of the classes and allow yourself some breathing room for losing a few matches as you move through the learning curve, then this game has one of the most rewarding multiplayer experiences since L4D/L4D2, The Last of Us (MP), the original Halo trilogy, etc.

    I am an Abe player on PS4 and I’ve clocked quite a bit of time with him, enough to reach Elite Status. I also happen to be top 100 on the leaderboards as Abe right now, not that it matters, it’s pretty easy to inflate that. But what I’ve found thrilling in the 60+ hours I’ve poured into the game already is that winning with a random team in matchmaking can be just as fun if not more rewarding than besting a monster with three other ‘premade’ friends.

    I had this wonderful match last night where I was paired with three others. None of them had mics. I was Abe and our support was Bucket and I said through my mic, “Hey support, I know you can hear me through your TV even though you don’t have a mic, if we drop and there are no tracks just go ahead and UAV right off the bat to see if you notice anything.” And sure enough, he did. I came to realize that even though no one in this particular PUG had mics, they were all still listening and using teamwork. It was very exciting because unlike going into a match with a bunch of friends you know, when dropping with these guys I felt as if it was emulating some exciting sci-fi moment where a bunch of hunters who don’t know each other are paired together to try to accomplish something and they have no idea if they can trust each other or if they even play well together, quite literally.

    This game got a lot of negative publicity largely due to the DLC debate but also because it’s lack of a single player. But what I want to point out is that even though there isn’t a single player campaign it doesn’t mean there isn’t a ‘story.’ I happen to find that every single match is it’s own little story. This is due to the unbelievable concise and subtle dialogue the 4 hunters have as they’re about to drop as well as the gorgeously designed maps they’re dropping into. Each of the 5 players in the match have a different experience, all affected by each other.

    While I’m playing I feel as if the game is recreating some of the best moments from Jurassic Park, Predator, Alien, etc in original and exciting ways. Sure, the game can be unforgiving when you make a mistake, but that’s what’s so rewarding when you’re finally able to bring down a monster.

    Just some thoughts I wanted to share.

    tl;dr – This game gets me rock hard.

  3. February 19, 2015 6:25 pm

    And here is another gem, links discovered from the reddit thread above:

    Official Canon background stories for the Hunters!

    Grinding Mastery (basically what we know with a few other interesting points – like choosing Kraken for headshot mastery).

    • Herandar permalink
      February 20, 2015 2:37 am

      I still recommend Forbes Games section, as I mentioned the other night. Their clickbait is mostly financial. YMMV.

      Why the subreddit for a specific game over the official and/or developer site/forums? I already saw the hunters back-stories on TRS’ Evolve Forums. For what its worth, I’ve avoided reddit so far in my life.

    • February 20, 2015 4:51 pm

      The official forums often do not show or comment on “leaked” stuff. reddit is probably faster on most news, and the official forums are often just as full of the negative stuff as any stuff that one might find on reddit. I have used it for two days now, gliding past the undesirable threads, and still catching all the important news/game commentary.

      Finally, for games in which the majority here are interested, we have entire pages dedicated with all the official links, often including premiere fan site links as well.

      It is a good question, and I might find reddit to be a lousy way to get news, but so far, my experience has been good.

  4. February 21, 2015 2:04 pm

    OT


    Cornie’s latest for me.

    • February 21, 2015 3:18 pm

      Cornie, that is a truly beautiful composition. Happy birthday Suns! May your wisdom grow faster than your twitch skills decay!

    • Blankman permalink*
      February 21, 2015 8:38 pm

      Happy Birthday, Mike! Much love from YBFAM!

  5. February 22, 2015 2:33 am

    Very sweet. Love to Cornie’ and Michael, Timothy, Johann and dear Chiiko.

    May the Lord keep you, protect and bless you. May his face shine upon you and give you peace.

    Happy Birthday Suns!!

  6. February 22, 2015 2:37 am

    Thanks, Guys! ❤

  7. FrenkoFrenik permalink
    February 23, 2015 2:00 pm

    OT:

    Happy Birthday Suns. I would like to apologize to everyone for disrupting the posts. I shouldn’t have blurted out in fits of rage my thoughts, and much less stepped inside the house with the shoes on bringing crap to a very much clean carpet.

    A deluded notion of entitlement for purchasing a form of entertainment shouldn’t mess with something that has created a great bond for so many years. I lost touch by my own accord and will definitely pick up whatever is left of my dignity and my sanity in this realms, and just nod and be on my way.

    • February 23, 2015 5:18 pm

      LOL! Nothin’ can make us rage like broken games and consoles. Great to have you back so soon, Frenik!

      Stay!! And thanks for the birthday wishes! Look forward to gaming with you soon.

      P.S. If you sent me any XBL messages, I haven’t checked since Saturday night (your time) and that would be why I have responded if you did. Cheers! ❤

    • February 23, 2015 9:27 pm

      Hey buddy, we all rage, we all make a mess. Then we clean it up like the cat in the hat, and life is better for it. And so are we. Now put the mop and broom away, and let’s play some games.

  8. FrenkoFrenik permalink
    February 24, 2015 1:11 pm

    http://www.gamespot.com/articles/evolve-nearly-6-million-matches-played-in-first-we/1100-6425430/

    They Got the top Hunters:

    Hyde
    Abe
    Cabot
    Lazarus

    Now from the chatter yesterday I see the notion is that Lazarus and Hyde are terrible. I think this is a wrong perception of the characters.

    Hyde is a CQC DPS machine. His flame thrower melts armor quick and does damage over time even while you switch to the mini-gun. The other thing is both guns reload quickly when you switch as opposed to Markov. Lastly if a Wraith makes the mistake of going toe-to-toe with Hyde, he will lose very quickly.

    I use Jetpack recharge or Health Regen with him. Recharge is crucial to cut distance, as not even the mini-gun has a lot of range.

    Regen is mainly because he is the token point Assault guy, he has no business backing down from a fight for any reason, unlike Markov when you are planting mines.

    If being babysit by a medic on a small map (Like Defend) then definitely Damage Amp.

    The Achilles Heel on him is the grenades, if you don’t know how to throw them over the geometry you will end up slowing your team, and most importantly yourself (which beats the purpose for having him).

    Lazarus on the other hand is a much trickier character. Most people do not know how to play him effectively. They try to heal with the healing burst while engaging with the monster, they try to cloak and use the Lazarus Device near the monster.

    Both are wrong because the whole point of Lazarus is that he can spam a monster’s armor with his *Silenced* sniper Rifle. Meaning his shots do not have a bullet trace like Val, and the sound is not as noticeable. So standing next to teammates that are very noticeable, defeats that purpose.

    If you cloak, and use the Lazarus Device, it will reveal you. You have to only use the Lazarus device once the monster is away from the target. Or take a chance and use the regular revive without the device and revive the teammate with a strike.

    The Healing Burst for me only comes into play when there is no active attacks going on, or if you are vertical to your teammate where the monster can’t see you as easily, and right after a revive. At any other moments teammates can either use the self healing bonus, and/or have Hank in the mix to constantly lessen the damage.

    However the true payoff is when you have the full DPS team of coincidentally: Hyde, Abe, Cabot and Lazarus (The popular character combo).

    Hyde’s gatling gun, Abe’s shotgun and Cabot’s Rail Gun, is just a very destructive combo with Lazarus Spam. Val can’t even come close in being able to put as many weak points with it’s single shot sniper, and Abe can do a much easier job of slowing down the monster and tracking him than her tranq dart gun.

    If you put enough pressure on the monster, the monster will not have a chance to Stage 2-3, and will definitely not be pounding on hunters as much. Cancels out the need of a constantly healing hunters.

    —–

    The other good strategy with Lazarus, is using teammates as bait. This works really well with Hank in the mix, and Markov.

    For example a Stage 3 monster on Hunt.

    You make a death bed of arc mines next to the generator. Hank cloaks everyone and only Markov draws the monster to him by firing. Once the monster comes in for the kill, and gets blown by mines, then Lazarus spams weak points on the monster, and Hank Orbital strikes.
    Trapper needs to shoot the weakpoints accurately non-stop, and if it’s Abe, slow down the Monster. Hank can alternatively Shield Markov and shot the weakpoints as well.

    By this point the Monster should be trying to retreat, that’s when you trap him, and the spam continues. If Markov is down, then Lazarus revives. If he is not down, he should be setting up mines next to a fall back point for the trapper in case he gets targeted.

    If none of this goes smoothly Lazarus is the MVP here because he is the only one that can self-heal and Cloak, and still shoot from very far off smell range, and await the next drop ship, to try and finish off the monster.

    Anyways the whole point of Lazarus is that he is the sneaky, survival and attack character. Val’s med gun makes her very visible even on the darkest maps, and Caira has trouble healing when everyone is jumping around and spread out. Most stage 3 Monsters can exploit those two very easily and quickly.

    Lazarus on the other hand, is much harder to single out if played properly, can then just turn the tide by reviving because Monsters rely on taking down characters as the reward of losing all their armor. When you flip the switch and revive with no strikes and no dropship waiting time it screws up the timing for a Monster to regroup and setup another attack.

    and once he has little to no armor, and it’s on the run, or a stage 1, there’s no better medic to have than Lazarus because he just does much more DPS, creates more weak points and the weak points can be done at a longer range and duration than Cabot’s Amplify Damage.

    and once everyone gets Self-Healing per second to the third star. It will not require Val or Caira as much, if at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if they in turn drop lower in popularity.

    • Blankman permalink*
      February 24, 2015 8:55 pm

      Nice analysis on Hyde & Lazarus, Frenik! The problem with picking the ‘health regen’ perk is that it doesn’t regenerate in combat as confirmed by MacMan (TRS’ Chris Ashton). As in regards to Lazarus, he’s definitely a reactionary medic. His med burst is so diminutive that he can’t really effectively heal his teammates. So, teammates are going into monster confrontations with significant health already depleted if they’ve had run-ins with wildlife.

      A team is only as good as its weakest player. So that goes without saying that if you have an inexperience Laz, there’s no chance that your team is walking off with a win. Experienced monsters will bait Laz to show himself by “camping” an incapped teammate. If there’s not enough damage done to it, there’s no reason to leave until the downed hunter either bleeds out or gets his/her body eaten by the monster. Since Laz depends so much on everyone playing practically perfectly, there’s not much room for mistakes. For those reasons, there’s not much confidence in that specific medic.

    • FrenkoFrenik permalink
      February 25, 2015 2:35 am

      Well That’s the thing. You use the health Regen for wildlife confrontations. In Combat situations your team either dodges, goes full aggro or relies on Hank or other defensive measures.

      Support Cloaks, Assault Shields up and Trapper can either dodge by slowing down and/or hide behind traps.

      It doesn’t require as much perfection as you might think.

      As for downed teammates the timer is slow enough on regular modes, only on Rescue if you are resuscitating survivors the timer is limited.

      Without a regular medic there’s not much reason to bunch up so each class can spread out offensively instead, and one thing Lazarus does really really well is light up a monster like a Chrismas Tree, and if you make a good cluster of weak points, Parnell can actually hit with his combat shotgun multiple targets with one blast.

      A monster doesn’t simply camp unless multiple teammates are down. Otherwise he will still have Three other guys taking advantage of the weak points.

      But here’s the thing, this is all assuming that the monster made it past stage 1-2. Because with a full team of self-regen that can cut the map more effectively, any monster will be huffing and puffing throught the entire map.

      I have tested by using Lazarus, by playing alongside many Lazarus in matchmaking (Both from the noobie level up to a Pro) and as a monster versus both human Lazarus and Ai Lazarus.

      It just takes time to adjust for it, but eventually it will be an end game strategy. 3rd star for regen per second is level 39

      Unless the team can’t shoot well collectively, I would prefer Lazarus.

      Even then, he is still the best guy to be a “Dropship Savior” and the only one that can negate two strikes.

      Right now everyone is still used to being healed constantly, but eventually I think the strategy will change, and once people learn how to play without constant healing it might actually be better to put a noobie medic on a Lazarus that can stay alive and revive if there’s any mistakes, than healing erratically, and not having a 4th gunner(Laz sniper would be much easier than trying to aim and heal in combat situations) and getting killed.

  9. February 24, 2015 9:45 pm

    Thanks for this analysis, Frenik!

    Yes, over at reddit, I read a lot of posts defending Hyde and Lazarus. Perception is extremely important in this game, and one of biggest hurdles for Hyde and Lazarus is earning the trust of their teammates. When you play with Lazarus, he had better know and do his job well and be paired properly with his teammates, and because his teammates are forced to play like Indy crossing the chasm. Just have blind faith and walk forward…almost dead.

    I am becoming convinced that every single character is not only entertaining, but also very effective, if paired with the proper perk and teammates. It is exciting because it shows me just how little I have scratched the surface of this game.

    I think that “Defend” mode is an excellent area to try these characters out and get a feel for them. Learning how to play Hyde will be next on my list.

    Last point. The other surprise about this game is how people are choosing entire classes and preferring those over other classes. I would have thought I would be all about the Medic, but I am not. I like playing Assault and Support best.

    • FrenkoFrenik permalink
      February 25, 2015 3:03 am

      Well I quickly turned my perception around in the first week of the game. I jumped into random rooms first as Parnell, and whenever I saw a Lazarus I just equiped Regen per second all the time and didn’t expect to be healed. It almost never was a problem, even with experienced monsters because of the added damage.

      Most of the fails was actually the trapper putting up the dome on really bad spots, than lazarus not resucitating properly.

      Then switched to Hyde and his gattling gun works really well with the Laz targets.

      Same thing with Griffin, I thought he was the lamest, until you get good a interrupting monsters animations.

      and people are doing it too, playing a monster requires a specific timming and Griffin can really screw up the cool down transitions and climbing/jumping.

      The tedious part of ranking up stars is actually quite a learning process. Changed my perspective on all characters.

      I think in the end the best way to play evolve is what I hated at the beginning, constantly swapping and trying out new characters, and make different teams on the go to spice things up.

      The only drawback I see is that until the new hunters arrive the ceiling for variety will be limited, and once you hit 40, I don’t see how badges are meaningful ( I have a lot maxed out already on week 2).

    • February 25, 2015 8:32 pm

      Thanks for the info/strats. It gives us reason to try the other combinations.

      Once the game-breaking bugs are squashed and some of the first balance tweaks are done, there is lots of room for TRS to pour out some love in all other aspects of their game. The DLC model has been established and announced, so if they want to court the community, they have all sorts of options, including buffing the level/reward system. Here’s hoping.

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