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An Event List: 10 Games to play during the Holidays

Holidays – BAH HUMBUG! I am not a huge fan of Christmas. I will take Halloween over it any day of the year. However, we do get some pretty great events in gaming this time of year. Just in case you forgot, or didn’t know when they started, here’s a short list of some to watch out for!


 

Overwatch: Winter Wonderland 2018: Dec 11 – Jan 2 

Anyone who plays this game loves holidays because it means new skins! Winter Wonderland is no exception. This holiday season Blizzard World is getting a makeover and with new heroes this year, we can expect new skins. There was an “accident” earlier this year that revealed a skin called “Figure Skater.” but no news on who’s getting this skin. It is confirmed that the Yeti Hunt and Mei’s Snowball Fight will be back in the arcade. There is rumor of a “Rat King” Junkrat, but we will have to wait a few more days to find out! 

 

World of Warcraft: Feast of Winter Veil: Dec 16 – Jan 2 

Feast of Winter Veil is a yearly occurrence for those of us that still play WoW. There are snowballs and cookies and ice cold milk. We get to save Metzen from the Greench and return some stolen treats. You can decorate your garrison for the holidays and don’t forget Great-Father Winter wants some milk and cookies before Christmas. Added last year was the snowglobe in which a Yeti spawns every 30 minutes or so and whoever gets there first wins! And of course come Christmas there are gifts under the tree for all to partake in. Get your pets, your toys, and decorate your pug and mounts – have all the holiday fun! 

 

Fortnite: Season 7: Dec 6 

Fortnite’s sixth season is coming to a close, just in time for a Christmas themed Season 7! It is confirmed a big announcement and world premiere will be happening on The Game Awards that same night. There have been subtle hints about the cold front coming.. It is said you can see your breath on the starting island for Battle Royale, there is an iceberg on the horizon, and the message “A bitter ice spreads…” from their Twitter. So far no leaked trailers (the one everyone thought was leaked.. A fake!) to show what’s coming and also no leaked skins. Stay tuned to Fortnite’s Twitter this week as they will be sure to give more hints as Season 6 comes to a close. 

 

Creativerse: Elfi’s Toy Drive: Dec 24 

Nothing has been officially released on Creativerse’s News page, but a quick search reveals that they plan to update for the holidays later this month. In recent years the login chest was replaced by a Trog Trap Login Chest and most likely will again this year. It gives you traps for starting timed holiday events similar to the Halloween ones. You can also randomly find presents on blocks of ice and snow all day and night. You use rescued toys from these events to buy the holiday themed recipes and hopefully other holiday decorations. 

 

Ark: Winter Wonderland: No date released yet 

Ark may have missed Halloween this year because of the release of Extinction, but be damned if they will miss the rest of the holidays! This event brings Raptor Claws who will drop random presents around the map and there is a possibility of snow. No word yet if there is anything new coming with this new expansion, but with the devs saying to stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. So we can hope! 

 

DC Universe: Season’s Greetings: Nov 30 – Jan 2 

This holiday season there are new quests to be found. Go and thwart Larfleeze! Be sure to look for the new feats to accomplish, as well as go to Skeet’s Workshop daily to view the discounted item of the day. 

 

Blade and Soul: Holiday Treasure Trove: Dec 5 

Blade and Soul doesn’t do big events for holidays like many other MMO’s. Instead, they mark it with troves! You get one chance daily to get extra awesome loots from this trove. You can buy extra slots and keys to increase your chances. The trove is essentially a store roll – but with drastically reduced prices. This is the time to try and get all those items you need to upgrade the legendary weapons of your dreams. I have also found out that there are a few quests this year that you can do. The event currency is snow crystals and you can get all the loots with it – including 2 items that reduce the cost of upgrading a legendary by 50%. If you go into the store for 0 hongmoon coins you can get a Joy to the Realm Jackpot gift that keeps on giving every 10 hours until you reach the end and it grants the phat loots!

 

Destiny 2: Dawning: Dec 11 

This will be the second year for this event, but is starting a bit later than last year. It still promises holiday quests to be done and the possibility of the return of the Mayhem PVP Mode. Not much is available for this right now, so keep an eye on their news feed! 

 

MapleStory 2 : Dec 6

We all know the adorableness of this game. This year we get to do The Holiday Uproar where we help a sad little girl enjoy the holidays. Could it get any cuter? There is also Schwanda’s Holiday Gallery where you can get lots of consumables and 2 event-exclusive prizes by doing tasks in the Merry Village. Plus! Our favorite game Dance Dance Stop is also getting a holiday makeover! I should also mention this is a huge expansion that has lots of goodies in it!

 


These games are going to have Holiday events, we just don’t really know when or what! But honorably mentioned anyway!

 

Slime Rancher – Wiggly Wonderland

There is no official information on when this will start, but it has happened in past years and has been confirmed for 2018. You get a visit from the Twinkle Slime on your ranch daily.

GTA 5 Online – Festive Surprise

Nothing out yet on whether this will be coming back this year. Generally, GTA releases some snow for snowball fights and masks for the occasion. Hopefully, this continues! 

 

Loot Boxes and the FTC

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Loot boxes. Any gamer know what that means. FREE STUFF! Or is it? So, for some games you can purchase loot boxes and/or get them from completing objectives in the game. In Overwatch, you get them when you level up, get so many arcade wins, or buy them with your hard earned cash. Loot boxes can be found in other games like FIFA, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, Gears of War 4, Hearthstone, League of Legends and many more. So, are they harming people? What about kids?  

This is the new controversy in the U.S. However, it isn’t new around the world. Earlier this year, Belgium declared loot boxes to be gambling and therefore illegal. There are hefty fines, and jail time, that can be given. These fines can be doubled if they include the kids using these boxes. And they aren’t the only ones. Fifteen countries in Europe are looking at these boxes as gambling and now the FTC here at home is investigating as well.  

The problem seems to be they are comparing loot boxes to slot machines. You have a chance to get something great or to get something worthless. While lots of loot boxes are purely cosmetic, some games do allow their loot boxes to give weapons or other things that can improve a player’s performance. Does this really seem like gambling to you? I think it’s a close line because of being able to buy the boxes with hard earned cash, but other than that I don’t see an issue. 

I think there should be a difference made between the loot boxes in games like Overwatch and mobile games. I can see where mobile games are causing a problem because people are not regulating how their kids use their mobile games and are getting “addicted” to loot boxes on them. Honestly, if you don’t give a kid your credit card number to purchase them – why are you worried about a gambling addiction? I think this shouldn’t all be on the gaming industry, but also on how kids aren’t being regulated by their parents. 

But.. Not my business! So onward! 

So far, all the FTC has said is that they are going to investigate. They won’t reveal anything else. What does this mean? It means they will look into it and it will most likely result in some proceedings where all sides get to bring forward their case to the FTC. This may end up in rules governing loot boxes, a ban, or hopefully nothing. Right now we have to wait and hope that the games with loot boxes explain them well when queried.  

It is possible that if the gaming industry itself were to come up with some rules and regulations on loot boxes, then governments wouldn’t have the need to do this. For now, all we can do is sit and wait. I will keep you up-to-date as more information comes out! 

Gaming News: Halloween Events in Games 2018

Hey everyone! It’s my FAVORITE time of year! October! Halloween! Black cats and Vampires roam! And hopefully they find their way into our favorite games! I know that all year I look forward to Halloween events so I thought I’d share a few that have great looks and fun stuffs to do!

First up, Fortnite.

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As I’m writing this, we are in week 2 of Season 6 in Fortnite Battle Royale. This season is full of spooky costumes, new pets and challenges to keep you busy. While Epic hasn’t officially said what is going on for Halloween this year, there are big expectations since their original release was around Halloween. There has been some information leaked that there will be Halloween quests for the PVE side, Save the World. Also, they have already decorated for Halloween on the Battle Royale Map for Season 6. You can find spooky ghosts hoisted up randomly on lightposts and houses. There are spooky cornfields in Fatal Fields and a Halloween Store in Retail Row currently. And they’ve already had a few costumes out in the store. I know I’m looking forward to seeing all that they release this year!

Next, Overwatch.

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Everyone knows that Blizzard loves their holidays and this year is no exception. As always with Overwatch, previous years skins are available during Halloween Terror. There are also 6 new skins available this year and a limited-time brawl. Junkenstein’s Revenge is a fan favorite, including mine, where you can rage against your friends or random people. New this year to Junkenstein is the ability to use Brigitte and Tracer. Also, if you feel like dropping some cash on it, if you buy the 50 Halloween Loot boxes bundle you can get 10 free. This even started on October 9, 2018 and goes through the end of October.

Another Blizzard Favorite – World of Warcraft.

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Every year, we get the Hallow’s End event. There are temporary broomsticks to ride, masks to wear, and tons of Inns to trick or treat at. There are achievements for wearing all the masks, eating so much candy you get sick, and interrupting the other sides fun. You get to go burn the opposing faction’s wickerman and you can eat G.N.E.R.D.S and kill them in PVP. It’s always fun to put out the fires and kill the Shade of the Horseman. Make sure you put pumpkins on all races, clean your teeth with toothpicks, get transformed by all the wands, and going to all the Candy Buckets. Most of all, make sure you ready up and kill the Headless Horseman in the Scarlet Monastery. I don’t know about you, but I’m still itching to get his mount! This goes from October 18 – November 1, so don’t miss it!

A new game this year – Monster Hunter: World

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Currently in this game, they have an Autumn Festival going until October 18th. This seems to include their Halloween activities this year and has costumes for your Palico and Poogie; as well as a new dress for your handler. Not to mention, the spooky gear you can get for yourself. There are quests as well which seem to be extended to October 25th due to some issues. If this is your game, make sure you don’t miss this!

P.S. If you already have this game, you got a free voucher on the 5th for a one-time character redesign!

Another MMO, Black Desert Online.

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It isn’t entirely clear what is going on in BDO this year, but if it’s anything like last year there will be quests with hat rewards, event boxes, and possible login rewards. They do already have bundles for sale (IRL money) on their store from previous Halloweens. There are costumes, mount skins, prop bundles, wall décor, a lighting set, a table set, and even a Jukebox available. Some are in limited quantity so make sure you get them while you can!

An honorable mention for Halloween that makes me sad: Ark is foregoing its annual Fear Evolved event because of the new DLC drop the beginning of November – Extinction. Until next time, play what you love!

– Azkadelya

Influential Women in the Gaming Industry: Team Sailor Scouts

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Esports is a growing phenomenon that is surpassing even the gaming world. It is a form of competitive gaming. Now team gaming has been going on for years but Esports is a little different. These competitions have it all; professional players, live broadcasts and cash prizes. It has even made it onto ESPN. The one thing that seems to be lacking in the field is female competitors. Team Sailor Scouts is working hard to change that.

Team Sailor Scouts is a group of female gamers who compete in Esports playing Overwatch. This young team of women is taking the field by storm from Canada.

The team meet at Meltdown, an Esports bar. There they discovered a few things. They all loved gaming. There was a lack of female teams and they wanted to change that. Thusly the seeds were planted for Team Sailor Scouts were sown. Funny enough none of the members had known each other previously. They were brought together by a love of gaming.

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The team has meetings throughout the week to play together. Twice a month there is a big meetup to exchange information. The Scouts also try to make time to hang out together outside of gaming as well. Every member of the team is considered important and they want to make sure everyone feels that way.

Team Sailor Scouts have a two fold mission that they are trying to achieve, well other then kicking some serious butt in Overwatch that is. The Scouts want each player to reach her maximum potential. They also, of course, to introduce more women to Esports. They hope to achieve this mission statement by doing what they love, gaming. They know that the best way to get women included is by making space for women to be able to game. To really compete and win against all kinds of gamers.

The members of Team Sailor Scouts are:

Fabulous– Main Roster

IDDQT– Main Roster

Mixy– Main Roster

Quake– Main Roster

Annieonfire– Main Roster

Calypso– Main Roster

Surlysheep– Substitute Player

Tachikoma– Substitute Player

Idkmonkey– Substitute Player

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Team Sailor Scouts are proof that women can make more space for themselves in the world of gaming by fighting like a girl. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

 

Why I Came Back to Overwatch

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Vel got Overwatch on Xbox One to play with his friends. I spent one night going through the tutorial and playing different characters against the computer. I enjoyed it, it was fun, but I was too nervous to talk to my teammates. I may have said “Hi” once, but two very important things were swimming through my head:

  1. Every time I’ve talked to a bunch of people I didn’t know over Xbox, it ended badly. Usually in trolling through the entire match, mostly because I am female. I am used to harassment, but that doesn’t mean that I want to put myself in a situation with the potential for harassment when I’m not streaming.
  2. Overwatch is considered one of the most toxic gaming communities. To me, that just screams that the above-mentioned harassment is bound to happen. Plus, I’ve left several games ( League of Legends is one of them ) due to that elitist attitude.

So I finished playing, put my controller down and didn’t pick it up again. At the time, I didn’t really have a problem with this because I didn’t know anyone who had it and played it often. Why bother with it? Plus, there is always Paladins, and that’s free-to-play.

Years went by and I didn’t think about it. I occasionally saw a streamer I follow playing it, but that was about it. That was until I started to make friends with the people who played it. Now it was more than just streamers I followed playing, it was my friends. Of course, I’m going to go into their streams, even if I’m not 100% interested in the game because that is what friends do. We hang out, show love and support and never miss an opportunity to watch them get sniped from across the map.

They looked like they were having SO MUCH FUN. I was even having fun watching them play. They would tell me about what characters they liked and why. I noticed that the outfits are amazing and they’ve added new characters. There is so much to see and many events to be had. I wanted to give it a go, play with friends and see if that makes a difference. Pro Tip: friends typically make any game way better. Big problem: all of my friend’s play PC and I have it on Xbox One. I was going to have to wait.

When I started to talk about it, though, an amazing friend sent me a copy. I call it an early birthday present. I installed it and played with them the very next day. I had so much fun! Much more than I had by myself. I played for nearly 4 hours and then came back later that night and played for another hour or more. Right now I have the itch to play, but I have work and no one is on. That also helps me from getting burned out on a game.

The game is nicknamed Oversalt, so of course there were some salty people. I turned off the general chat. After the match, people were a bit salty but mostly they just said “GG” and moved on. I was more concerned with talking with my friends in group chat and opening my loot boxes.

My take away from this is this: form your own opinion. Don’t avoid a game just because of the community, especially if you can play with friends. I feel the same way about Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th, both are games that I love to play but often have to deal with annoying people, just like Overwatch. I’m glad that I had an opportunity to play a great game with amazing people.

A New Generation of Women in Gaming and Film

Wonder Woman’s success at the box office is a sign that the portrayal of women in the media is improving. This film showed the world that female superhero films can be on par with any other blockbuster within the genre. And it’s not just in terms of revenue, but also on audience impact. Like Soliyra shared in a previous RWOG post, she was floored when she realized Diana is the same as her gamer persona – a long-time “tank” player who would rush into battle and absorb all the damage. It’s a far cry from a decade ago when women were stereotyped as either damsel in distress or nurturing lovers.

18673115_1499705770082033_9026401747109957452_o(image credit: Injustice Facebook Page)

Usually, superhero movie releases are accompanied by big-budget video games featuring the same hero. Unfortunately, the gaming community is still waiting for a Wonder Woman-centered video game but fans can at least enjoy playing Diana Prince in other big titles like Injustice 2. There are also projects from non-AAA game developers who have been inspired by the character. For instance, the global player base of Slingo has access to a mobile-friendly Wonder Woman slot game that has borrowed elements from Lynda Carter’s version the character. All of this goes to show how the Amazon princess remains relevant even decades after her first appearance in comic books and TV.

But Patty Jenkins and the new Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, are just two of the women who are making waves on the big screen today. Charlize Theron, for instance, showed that she still has what it takes to be an action star in the spy thriller Atomic Blonde. She played a top-level MI6 operative on the hunt for double-agents in this flick, so there were heavily stylized and well-choreographed fight scenes.

Theron has long been an advocate of women’s rights, and she’s vocal in her support for women in the industry. She’s actually friends with Jenkins due to their collaboration in Monster and the latter expressed on ComicBook how much she looks forward to working with Theron again.

On the other hand, Warner Bros.’ trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider film shows Alicia Vikander portraying a different Lara Croft, in the sense that the character is not yet the badass explorer like Angelina Jolie’s version. It’s necessary so as to stay true to the ‘origin story’ angle. But still, Vikander’s Lara is fierce and willing to go beyond her limits.


(video credit: Warner Bros.)

The video game industry meanwhile, has already gone far in portraying strong female characters. We have Samus Aran (Metroid), and Max Caulfield (Life is Strange), to name a few. But like Wonder Woman, new female leads are generating a lot of buzz this year.

13247836_1195894880443571_5935357477196211488_o(image credit: Guerrilla Games Facebook Page)

Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn piqued many players’ interests back in 2015 when its first trailer featured the female protagonist, Aloy, battling a gigantic machine with a bow. CBR noted how the character played a big role in becoming a system seller. Since Horizon: Zero Dawn is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, it became a selling point for Sony. The decision to promote a female-led original game clearly worked because the game already sold 2.6 million units just two weeks following its release earlier this year. Some gamers even went as far as to buy the console just to play the action RPG title.

Blizzard’s popular online multiplayer game Overwatch also surprised fans when it announced that one of its characters, namely Tracer, is a lesbian. Tracer is a fan favorite, so it was a huge statement for Blizzard to present her as having an unorthodox sexuality. The move drew ire from some players, but the majority praised the studio’s initiative to diversify the world of gaming.

All things considered, onscreen female characters are now becoming more layered and varied. While there are still a lot of improvements to be made regarding our portrayal, it’s safe to say that the world openly welcomes this new generation of women in gaming and film.

About the Author: Alexa Henderson is a freelance writer and avid fan of RPGs. Her favorite game of all time is Squaresoft’s Chrono Cross.

Overwatch Just Can’t Catch a Break

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It wasn’t long ago that one person managed to complain hard enough to get Tracer’s pose changed in Overwatch.  Nevermind that the new pose isn’t really that much different from the original, or that the original is just like many of the other character victory poses.  Ignore the male victory poses that have them thrusting themselves forward as if proclaiming their victory with a burst of manhood at the screen.  This one character had to be changed, and Blizzard changed it.  They didn’t change it so much though.  She still shows her backside, looking over her shoulder, flirty look; not much difference at all.

Then comes winter.  Blizzard releases a fun holiday skin for Mei and people get upset.  It’s a fun skin, perfectly matched to the season.  It fits her character theme, and her original costume design.  Again, Blizzard apologizes, for a design choice!  They wanted to create something fun, fun being an entirely subjective word, and the company says sorry.  Of course gamers have a right to voice their complaints, but when’s the last time a painter apologized for a painting, or a writer apologized for a book?  It doesn’t happen all that often does it?  The artists that create our games, however, they always seem to be apologizing.

If only that were the end.  Now comes the Lunar New Year update and people are upset about Mei again.  Now, while the profile view looks odd, and yes it could either be her clothing or a strange bug, people weren’t just complaining about that.  Take off her thick fur parka and voila, she’s still a curvy girl but sans a thick parka.  Blizzard is saying this bug will be fixed, and granted they may not change her all that much.  How can we know, at this point, whether it was a bug, a design choice, or just a mistake?  Is it Blizzard just apologizing again?  We won’t know for sure, because they’ve set a precedent.

It’s not just them though, and no this isn’t going to turn into an ‘entitled gamers’ rant.  If you don’t like a game, something about a game, or the company that makes it, say so.  Don’t buy the game, express your suggestions, and do whatever you think best.  What I have a problem with is every company bending over backwards in an attempt to please everyone.  It creates an environment where if a few of us yell loud enough we can make an artist change their creation however we want.

It’s one thing to apologize about a mistake, a large number of bugs, or delays of release.  The list of apologies for design choices is long however.  Christina Love recently apologized and censored her own game because of complaints about one sex scene.  Just this past year a handful of games were censored because of outrage, localization or fear of outrage as in the case of Uncharted 4.  Watchdogs 2, a game featuring male genitalia, had to be changed to remove one instance of female nudity that was found (not readily on display), and shared to social media.

We’re creating an atmosphere where creativity is chained by fear.  Where art has to run through a checklist of things that are allowed and aren’t, and where artists are always questioning their decisions because someone might be upset.  I’m here to tell you someone will always be upset.  I’ve seen games change things to please one group, only to piss off another, then change something else that pisses off the first group again.  I’m a writer, and I can tell you there’s nothing less creative than having to work off a checklist of things you can and can’t do, things you have to do.  Then there’s the realization that even if you check off all those boxes, and do your best to make sure it doesn’t seem like you’re just checking off boxes, someone will still be pissed.

Don’t get me wrong.  Voice your opinion and give feedback.  Let them know when a game’s broken or that you are upset at a ridiculous delay.  Report bugs and offer suggestions.  Just remember that those hard-working artists that put all those hours into the games we love are people too.  They’re creative, caring, and real people.  When criticism turns into just a mob crapping over a design choice, or getting offended by a joke, we’ll wind up with games created by automatons rather than artists.  I don’t think any of us want that.

Artists, stop apologizing so much.  If you have to change your art to please some people, then you inevitably lose others.  If some people don’t want your work because of what it involves, guess what…that’s normal.  Not every person in the world is going to read my book, like someone’s painting, or play your game.  Make the stories you want to tell.  Create the art you want to share.  Never apologize for creating what’s in your heart.  If you make an honest mistake then own up to it, but when you bring something artistic out of your mind, or your heart and soul, that’s not a mistake, a bug, or an error.