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Top 10 Free-to-Play Steam Games of All Time

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1. Counter-Strike

This is a game that has changed a lot and only a little over the years that it has been out. It was actually created 19 years ago and has evolved into a free-to-play game. It was once a pay-to-play (that’s when I got it!) and has since become free-to-play as of 2018. There is a more battle royale feel to this in the Danger rwog_csgoZone, but you can still just go play with bots if you wish.

You start the match as either Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist and after so many rounds, you switch sides. The idea is for the Terrorist team to win by setting off the bomb, or the Counter-Terrorist team to stop them from doing this to win. I spent many hours with my friends practicing and playing this because my significant other needed to practice a lot for the super-insane group of people he played this with. There is no pay-to-win here as you can only purchase cosmetics with real money.

2. Warframe

This is a third person co-op game that has always been free-to-play, to my knowledge anyway. You are located in space and you can warframe_rwogchoose different characters to play, some of which are free, some of which you find parts to get, and others that you can buy. You go and do missions on different planets to get upgrades to your armor, pets, weapons, abilities, etc. In the past year they added a more open-world planet (possibly more than one) to go get items on as well instead of just the missions. I can say I didn’t play this much, but I did enjoy the few times that I did. You could say this game has a few pay-to-win advantages as you can buy upgrades and characters to play.

3. Path of Exile

This is an MMORPG game that has a bit of a learning curve. You have to go through the story and zones to level up, get better armor and wpoe_rwogeapons, as well as learn more skills. You can customize your character a hell of a lot in this game, but it can be overwhelming for some as the gameplay can be difficult at times. A bonus to this customization is you can choose the same type of character as your friends and still have completely different spells and play styles. I hear this is much easier (and more fun) with your friends, but can definitely be played alone. I never made it very far in this game (it updates a lot and I have shitty internet), but I know a few people who really enjoy it. Also, it is never pay-to-win as you can’t purchase advantages with real money.

4. Smite

To me, Smite seems like a very complicated game. I did try to play this a few times, but never really got into it. This is a battleground game that now has over 100 gods that you smite_rwogcan choose from to play. You can be Zeus, or Loki, or even the Monkey King.  There are multiple types of competition that you can play such as competitive mode and conquest.  This is a hugely popular game that people like to brag about where they are on the leaderboard and I would say they have good reason as I found it a bit difficult. Also, no pay-to-win here that I know of, unless you consider being able to open up all Gods with the Ultimate God Pack an advantage.

5. Team Fortress 2

This is another game that was not originally free-to-play, but has become so recently. I have not played this game, but it seems to be another battleground battle. It has a lot of maps and nine different classes that you can teamfortress2_rwogplay as. They advertise it as constantly being updated with new game modes, maps, equipment, and hats (which they say is most important! Lol). You can collect, craft, buy and trade hats and weapons in this game so that you can truly customize your character and therefore your gameplay. As that is about all you can buy.. this is not a pay-to-win game either!

6. War Thunder

This is a military game that has aircraft, naval, and ground vehicles from the 1930s all the way up into the 2000s for you to command… in the same match! They advertise it as warthunder_rwogthe most comprehensive free-to-play, cross-platform, MMO military game for Windows, Linux, Mac, and PS4. It basically lets you have a full on war with all of the vehicles you would want. And who doesn’t love a game that is cross-platform?! I’ve never played it, but my significant other has and says that it is a great time if you like free military games. There is both PvE and PvP content so that everyone can enjoy it. And definitely not a pay-to-win game.

7. DOTA 2

This is another battleground game – I think I’m seeing a pattern! – that you can play that is constantly evolving. They boast that alldota2_rwog of their heroes are free and can fill multiple roles in the game allowing people to change things up in every battle. They want you to play how you want and find your favorite play style, but also be able to change it if the need arises. You can play co-op versus bots or you can go play PvP. I have never played this game, so I have no personal experience with it, but it is definitely not pay-to-win!

8. Paladins

This is one of the first battle royales that I can remember playing and came out just months after Overwatch did. This is more of a fantasy shooter where you can have guns or magic and customize your abilities to play the way you like. When I played this it was paladins_rwog5 v 5 battles, but I’m not sure if that has changed at all. There are a lot of cool skins that you can get for the characters and the battles can sometimes be really intense. They have done a few updates since it came out and currently Future’s End is the game going on. They have a new champion, Atlas, and as the others are he is free. Anything that affects gameplay is unlocked just by playing, so this is not a pay-to-win game. Although you could call it a pay-to-look good game (lol).

9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

So, if you don’t know, Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally a Japanese Manga series about gaming that was written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. Over the years this has morphedyugioh_rwog into animes, novels, films, and games. This game is based upon trading cards for Yu-Gi-Oh! and is basically that, but online. It allows you to do duels, and PvP, as well as create your own deck with the cards you get in-game. They have voices from the anime in-game and great 3D animations. I have not personally played it, but it looks like fun if you are into trading cards. I am not sure if any of the in-app purchases make this pay-to-win.

10. World of Warships

Another battle game! (I told you – pattern!) As you can gather by the name, this is naval combat at its finest. You can choose from Japanese, American, German, British, French, Russian, Pan Asia, Italy, Commonwealth, and Poland. Not to mention, the premium ships that can be from nations not in those tech trees. Within these tech trees you can choose from Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships, and aircraft carriers. You will always start in a cruiser, but from there you can work your way up to tier 10 ships via the different worldofwarships_rwogbranches as you choose. You can play PvP in this game – the fastest way to level up – or you can choose to level up by playing PvE. My significant other plays this game heavily and really enjoys it (if you want to try it, I can get you an invite link that will give you free stuff! Just send me a message on our Discord!).

You can purchase ships for real money, but I’m not really considering that pay-to-win as when you play matches the ships on the other side are the same ships on your side of the battle. A fun fact about Wargaming is that they choose to use some of their proceeds to benefit real ships that are still out there. Earlier this year I actually went to the U.S.S Texas for free thanks to Wargaming. They had a scavenger hunt to give away prizes, they gave away ships in the game, and they gave away some nice take-home prizes (a gaming console and some leaves made from metal from the ship!). It was a great time and a great way for them to give back! From my knowledge they do this every year at the Texas.


That’s all for this list! But keep an eye out for many more Top Tens right here on Real Women of Gaming!

Maid-Sama!: An Anime Review

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Everyone has different versions of themselves that they present to the world. Who we are at work or school verses who we are when in the comfort of our own homes. Sometimes these worlds collide before we are ready.

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In Maid Sama! that is exactly what happens. Misaki Ayuzawa is a girl on a mission. She and her female classmates are the minority at Sieka High School as it has just become co-ed. The rowdy boys of the school are harassing the girls and Misaki is not about to stand for it. With her top marks, get it done attitude and a passion for equality she becomes the first female class president. To protect the girls and to get the boys in line her persona at school that of a unrelenting dictator.

However Misaki has a secret. At home her mother is ill. She has a younger sister and her father has left them in debt. So she has a part time job at a Maid Cafe. Yes, outside of school she wears a maid outfit and waits on patrons with the most demure of dispositions. What happens when her a popular boy from school discovers her job?

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The story of Maid Sama! started off as a manga written by Hiro Fujiwara in 2006. The drama and the romance of the story attracted many readers. In 2010 Maid Sama! came to life in the form of an anime. Again the drama of the story and it’s continual twists drew viewers. The artistic style of the characters is lovely, particularly the differences in Misaki school verses maid looks. The music is cute, particularly the upbeat theme.

Maid Sama! is an anime that I would recommend to a viewer who is looking for a love story. There is a lot of humor in the series as well.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Top Ten Ways to Engage with your Nerdy Child

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Understanding your kids can be tough. Particularly if they have very different interests then you do. Fandoms can seem weird and perhaps even a bit scary to a person who is unfamiliar. They are also a lot of fun! For some of us these nerdy years will be the foundation of who we will become. I think my parents would have loved a list of ways to engage with me, probably still would. So here are ten ways that you can engage with your nerdy child.

1. Listen.

I know it can be difficult, particularly if you have no idea what they are talking about. However just sitting down to listen to them talk will not only keep your child’s trust but will also give them a confidence boost. It makes them feel important. It will also give good memories associated with both you and the interests that they are cultivating. Who knows you might end up loving it too.

2. Check out your local Library.

Yes I know that I have a bias for this as I have run many events for children in different fandoms and activities. So take this one from personal experience that these events can be really great. They are usually free. They give your child a safe space to interact with others about what they love. So please go check out your local Library and see what they have going on.  Also the staff who are running the event are having just as much fun as the kids. As proof here is a picture of myself and Iris the Keyblade Master at an event we were working.

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ThiaTheBard and IrisTheKeybladeMaster

3. The internet can be your friend.

You can and should research what your child is into. Not only will it help you talk to them about it but it gives you resources that you can look into on your own time.

4. Go to your local shops, comic or gaming.

There is a lot of good that can come from this suggestion. These shops are one more space for you and your child to experience what they love. The employees can also help you to learn more about what your child is into. How you can support them and can also help support you. Also, you being a patron of these places helps them to stay open and provide these services for others. It is a great, grand nerdy circle of life!

5. Get together with other parents to learn from each other and support each other.

As mentioned above you also need support. You can all learn from each other. Vent to each other. Just try to figure out what is happening together. Being confused in a group is always better than being confused alone.

6. Encourage your child.

Particularly if they are doing art, cosplay or writing. It can be difficult when just starting out. You are a person they can look to for guidance and a little boost.

7. Help them with goals related to their interests.

Anything from cosplay, making models or word count. It can be really tough for children to break up their path to success. Sometimes they may need a hand in figuring out how to best navigate the steps to their goals. What may seem insurmountable to them but something you can break down to make it a little more manageable.

8. Help them get to safe spaces they can make friends who actually share their interests.

Sometimes just giving them a ride can be a huge help.

9. Try their interests.

Ask them to help teach you to draw, sew, design, game, watch the movie or read the book. Not only will this help you learn it shows them that you care. Also, you may really like it.

10. Remember something you loved.

Remember what you needed and try to give it to them. Talk to your child about it. Let them know you have cool interests too.

I hope that this might have helped a little. Mostly just remember to show love. Love will always be the best way to have your child’s back and give them a little advantage in this world. If you have any other tips leave them in a comments below! 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Review: The Umbrella Academy

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Everyone wonders what it would be like to grow up with superpowers. How would we be? How would we take those powers and make our own justice? We grew up inspired by the heroes of comic books and want to be like them.

Netflix’s new hit show, The Umbrella Academy, gives viewers a look into the lives of superheroes. The children of the Umbrella Academy were adopted as babies by an eccentric billionaire. He schooled them, fed them, clothed them and trained them to fight. These children have grown up in the spotlight created for them and the consequences that come with that. Some of them left, running from their demons, and some were lost. Now those that are left have been called back to their childhood compound by the one thing that unites them, their “father.” They will be faced with a mystery that will lead them to a crisis. Will this dysfunctional and emotionally stunted group be able to band together to save the world one more time?

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The Umbrella Academy started off as a comic which was rolled out by Dark Horse Comics. Written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá this dark story took fans by storm in 2008. After rumors of a movie the title was picked up by Netflix as a series. We can all be grateful that Netflix did because The Umbrella Academy is almost too good. The line of dark realism and humor is straddled perfectly in this show.  

The casting is spot on and they give fantastic performances. The sets are masterfully crafted, really allowing the viewer to become immersed in this world. The soundtrack is perfection. It sets the mood for every scene and helps the audience to get to know the characters. The costumes were also perfection. Every character has their own look. It is clear that a lot of attention was put into giving us clues about the characters, both what they want to be and who they truly are, through their clothing. The cinematography is a thing of beauty.

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I would highly recommend The Umbrella Academy. I was blown away by the experience that is this show. Everything comes together to tell an interesting story. The characters are well thought out. You feel for them and root for them. My only words of caution are be careful about binge watching it, and you will, because when the ten episodes are over you will be left with a very real need for the next season. Seriously though, just go watch it.

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!  

Games Created by Women: Centipede

250px-Atari0028For many gamers, there are fantastic memories associated with games from the 1980s. Between the accessibility of arcades and finally being able to play at home these games became a foundation for so many of us who like to game.

One such game was released in 1981. Centipede was sent out into the world by Atari and it has been a favorite ever since. Many quarters have been lined up on Centipede machines in arcades through the years. One of the creators of this game is Dona Bailey. Dona has truly been a pioneer for women in the field of programming.

 

If you choose to play this game you should know that you are our only hope. Using a gun at the bottom of the screen you must target and shoot down threats. These threats come down the screen in waves. The player must try to shoot them down with a gun at the bottom of the screen. You can only go so far and so fast so this game so it requires patience and skill. It is a lot of fun though!

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The game isn’t very complicated looking by today’s standards. However that is not to take away from the graphic design of it’s time. Centipede has a classic look and feel when being played. The concept is great. The music is timeless. So if you are looking for an old school game to play this is the one to get.

 

I would like totally recommend this game. It is a great game to start off with. It is also a great game for nostalgia feels. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Review: Black Butler

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A legacy can be a difficult thing to live with. The knowledge that you have something so important tied to your name that you must protect. What lengths would you go to? Would you make a deal with a demon if you had to?

Black Butler premiered in Japan on May 2 2008. The series is based of a manga that was written and illustrated by Yana Toboso. There are three whole seasons of this wonderful anime.

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Young Ciel  is an earl in Victorian England. When he loses his parents he understands that the world sees him as weak due to his age. So he makes a choice and gains a very capable butler, of sorts. Sebastian certainly has many talents and can help Ciel to continue the family name. He can also help the young Earl on dangerous errands they are sent on by the Queen. They also have a household staff of dedicated characters who often add a lot of humor to the story.

The character design in Black Butler is stunning. The costumes designed for each character enrich the anime and are just a treat to watch. The art for the settings are also just so well done. Black Butler easily transitions between the pristine upper class life of Ciel’s station and the dark underworld of Victorian England. The music subtly sets the mood for every scene.

The story itself dances between darkness and humor flawlessly. The characters are all well written and fleshed out. None of them are perfect but their complexity adds to the story.

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I would very much recommend Black Butler. It is a great historical anime. Fans of the fashion if the ear will enjoy the eye candy that is the character designs. Fans of darker anime will appreciate the themes of the story. It is also just a plain fun anime. The story is good. The music is good and the characters are likable.

I hope you will all pay a visit to young Master Ciel very soon, I hear he has one hell of a butler.  

 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Zenkaikon 2019: Mental Health

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Last year, we had the pleasure of meeting Nicole Spickerman of Corgi Cosplay. Nicole is a huge mental health advocate who dresses up her service dog, Kiba, in cosplay. This year, we were ecstatic to hear that she was coming back to Zenkaikon 2019.

This year, Nicole did a panel called Fandom Saved my Life with Sam Sawyer, AKA Sincerely Sam. In this panel, they talked about their respective battles with mental illness and how they deal with it at conventions.

This type of panel is amazing in many ways. Not only is it creating a safe space for con-goers who struggle with their mental health, but it is also creating a dialogue about mental health issues within the geek/nerd community.

Opening up this dialogue in these settings helps to normalize mental illness, which makes it easier for those suffering to come forward and seek help. If we as a community can start to actually talk about mental health issues, then not only are we making it comfortable for more people to talk about it, but we’re also helping mental health professionals get a better understanding what helps us.

This panel also brought up a very important point about living with mental health issues at a convention. They gave wonderful advice about quickly identifying a safe space. Both Nicole and Sam made it clear that their booths are safe spaces. If someone is overwhelmed, panicking, scared, they can go to either of them and sit behind their booth until they feel more comfortable.

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We at Real Women of Gaming want to emphasize this as well. If you see myself, CrymsonPleasure or any other member of RWOG at a convention, we will help you find a safe space. If you are overwhelmed, lost, scared, panicking, we will help you get to a safe space and we will make sure that you are okay.

Please pay attention to your mental health at conventions. They are large and loud and can be very scary. Drink lots of water, take your medication, and – above all – take care of yourself by being prepared, avoiding your triggers as much as possible, identifying safe spaces, and having someone you trust with you.

We hope to see Nicole back next year with another Fandom Saved my Life panel, and we hope to see more mental health panels pop up in years to come.