5 Reasons Why Camping Is a Legitimate FPS Tactic – 1/15/2015

In the multiplayer FPS gaming world, the camper is among the most despised players (fourth only to cheaters, noobs and racist trolls). Camping is a tactic that is looked down upon because it relies on luck, cowardice, and having an auto-shotgun.

After all, everyone knows that running and gunning is the only real tactic to use in a game.

However, there is more to being a camper than finding a good hiding place. It requires mastery of a series of skills. Here are five reasons  why camping is a legitimate tactic.

5. You have to know yourself and the enemy.

As the great Sun Tzu said:

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”

This ancient quote holds merit even today, and it applies to how one plays online.

Being a camper is not all about finding a hiding spot then waiting for someone to pass (unless you’re a noob). Good campers need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of themselves (and their teams) as well as the tactics of the enemy.

4. You have to know the environment

Level designs have changed as programmers work to ensure that no map has a spot where players feel safe turning their backs. Hence, good campers need to be able to familiarize themselves with the level to find the ideal location to hide.

How difficult this is depends on the game. It’s relatively easy in Modern Warfare 3, while Battlefield 3 requires some time master the environment. To camp successfully, a player needs to quickly identify tactical advantages and disadvantages of an area. The player must also be aware of where other players will likely engage most often, as well as what secret unlocks may be hidden in the level. It takes practice and a certain level of skill to process an area quickly and use it to one’s advantage.

3. Adaptability

Knowing the enemy and the environment allows players to adapt quickly to a dynamic environment. Adaptability is a key skill for any good camper. The player must be able to quickly identify and equip the most effective camouflage or the ideal weapon for a given situation.

Camouflage makes all the difference in how quickly the enemy notices a players who is camping. To successfully blend into the environment, the ideal camouflage closely matches the details of the level. It also helps to add a camouflage design to the weapon to avoid sticking out.

2. Campers are masters of stealth

It isn’t enough to know a setting and to be able to adapt to it. Campers must also be able to navigate their evnironments quickly and quietly, so as not to attract excess attention. This requires a mastery of stealth.

Stealthy play demands both skill and patience. Players will need to be patient and calm when moving in on kills, as rushing in will expose their position. This becomes even more difficult when you’re trying to stab the enemy rather than shoot them.

1. Camping requires accuracy and killer reflexes

This is necessary for pretty much any FPS player, but it’s especially important for campers. When it’s time to make the kill, a camper has only a few seconds before giving away their position. To truly take advantage of this short window of time, it’s important for the camper to be quick and accurate.

Every second will matter, and being hesitant is not a real luxury for a camper. (There is a fine line between the patience that stealth requires and complete hesitation.) Being slow and not knowing how to aim properly are the best ways to fail. When it comes down to a camping encounter, the players’ levels of skill and the quickness of their reflexes will determine who comes out on top. 

As you can see, there is more to being a camper then being some noob hiding in a corner. It is a tactic that requires mastering one’s own skills and the environment, while being quick and quiet enough to successfully take out the target.

Written for GameSkinny
1/15/2015
Original Article: 5 Reasons Why Camping Is a Legitimate FPS Tactic

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Review: Call of Duty: Heroes is a mediocre take on a modern classic – 11/23/2014

‘Call of Duty: Heroes’ is a new vision of the iconic shooter by bring the action to the mobile device within the context of a Real Time Strategy game.

Inspired by the Modern Warfare and Black Ops story arc, players establish a base than build an army. Once everything is setup, players could either play a single-player campaign or attack the bases of other players.

Besides controlling the standard units seen in most RTS games, players will also have the ability to deploy iconic characters like Captain Price and Soap Soap MacTavish. Each of these Hero class characters have unique abilities based on the Perks from the multiplayer game.

Despite being a new setup based on the iconic series, its gameplay is almost identical to the setup featured in Clash of Clans. This would have been acceptable issue to overlook, however that setup could easily be described as having dumbed down the concept of the RTS genre.

This setup deprives the player of having to mentality develop a strategy to overcome an opponent. Instead the only plan is making a lot of units than overpowering them with sheer numbers. Sure the player may have the illusion that they are a military tactician but in truth it’s the equivalence of playing Candy Crush.

Not making the game any better is the lazy single player campaign that lacks any kind of a story to connect the events. The player just attacks the enemy base than move on to the next level that feels somewhat the same.

There is some sense of fun in this game but it really requires the player to have never played Clash of Clans or another RTS game on the mobile phone. At best its going to be one of those mediocre games someone will play just to kill time while on the toilet.

Call of Duty: Heroes tries to bring something new to gamers while preserving the essence of two iconic story arcs. Instead it uses a gameplay setup that has dumb down the RTS genre. On the bright side, it’s still a better game than Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Final Score: 3/5

 Written for Digital Journal 
11/23/2014
Original Article:

Noriega’s lawsuit over ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ dismissed – 10/31/2014

A judge in California ruled to dismiss Manuel Noriega lawsuit against Activsion for using his name and likeness without his consent in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II.’

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, William H. Fahey, ruled to dismiss the lawsuit because it violated Activsion’s right to free speech and the states anti-SLAPP laws. Court documents noted several similar cases in the past to support Activsion’s claim while also making note of the atrocities committed by Noriega when he was dictator of Panama.

Activision lead console and former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, statedin a press release, This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.

The former dictator filed the lawsuit against Activsion for using his name and likeness without consent in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Noriega appears as a minor villain who helps a terrorist escape than is hunted by the main character during Operation Just Cause.

Will Fulton of Digital Trend noted that ruling could set precedent for Lindsy Lohan’s lawsuit against Rockstar Games. The actress is suing over the appearance of a character in Grand Theft Auto V which she claims was based on her likeness without consent.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the ninth game in the series and was released on November 13, 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game focus on a father and son in the special forces as they hunt a terrorist starting from the Cold War circa 1980s up until the near future.

Written for Digital Journal 
10/31/2014
Original ArticleNoriega’s lawsuit over ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ dismissed

Op-Ed: A minor delay is better than a broken game – 7/26/2014

Hardline-578-80
It appears that the 2014 Holiday season is going to be a dry one for gamers as so many highly anticipated titles have been pushed back for a 2015 release.

Early this week, gamers got the news that Electronic Arts is pushing back the release date of Battlefield: Hardline from October 2014 to an unknown date in 2015. They are not alone as Ubisoft had announced before E3 that Batman: Arkham Knight and Tom Clancy’s The Division would be delayed until 2015. CD Projekt RED has also made the hard choice to push back The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for a Winter 2015 release.

While gamers will be disappointed that they have to wait until 2015 for another Battlefield, long time fans will understand that it was necessary to avoid another disastrous release like Battlefield 4.

Battlefield 4 was a very promising game and superior to Call of Duty: Ghosts in terms of the quality of gameplay. Yet due to a series of of glitches and bugs made the game unplayable upon its release. Hence many disgruntled fans began referring to it as “Brokenfield“.

Sadly a lot of the problems that plagued Battlefield 4 could have been avoided had more time gone into the development process. Yet due to an unrealistic deadlines along with the need to compete against Call of Duty: Ghosts probably pressured EA to sail full-steam ahead into the iceberg.

Common sense would dictate that delaying the game would have been the best action, yet game industry considers such a decision as a catch-22. Its a common belief that the longer a game is in development, its chances of being a disaster increases. Many studios continue to fear releasing a disastrous game like Duke Nukem: Forever while many old school fans still recall how Daikatana sullied the reputation of John Romero (I’m still confident he will have a career comeback).

However many always overlook that games like Duke Nukem: Forever and Daikatana were in development for more then four year while undergoing multiple software changes that forced the development team to start from scratch. Meanwhile Arkham Knight and Hardline are being delayed because more time is needed to fix the glitches and patch-up the bugs.

The decade long murky production of Duke Nukem: Forever has now become the textbook example of how not to develop a game. Production started by 3D Realms Studio back in 1996 using the Quake II engine until they switched to the Unreal engine in 1998. Meanwhile as the industry model began to change in the early 2000’s, 3D Realms failed to adopt while being in constant conflict with its parent company, Take-Two Interactive.

After a long production time, Gearbox acquired the intellectual property and took over the project with the goal of a 2011 release date. When the game was finally released for all major consoles, it was universally panned by both critics and gamers. Despite a decade long production, the game was neither innovative or cutting edge while also suffering from a series of annoying glitches.

Meanwhile successful games that have had long production time have been both innovative and groundbreaking while the staff had been focused on a set goal. The obvious example to look at would be Grand Theft Auto V, which development started back in 2009 and was released in 2013. Rockstar North had setup a series of goals that had to be meet while working with the RAGE engine along with adding components of the Euphoria engine and Bullet Physics.

Finally when Grand Theft Auto V was released in September 2013, it was highly praised by critics and gamers. Its story was highly praised for its in-depth analysis of the American Dream in a post-2008 crash society in a style influenced Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson. It also became one of the biggest selling media properties by generating over $1 billion in three days while going on to generate almost $2 billion by December.

Yet the production of Grand Theft Auto V might be a unique example while Ubisoft has demonstrated that a small delay payoff when the final game is a hit. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Watch Dogs had their release date pushed back while South Park: The Stick of Truth needed to be delayed as Ubisoft acquired the rights after THQ went bankrupt.

Ubisoft has demonstrated that a small delay is always necessary if time is needed to ensure the game is flawless when hits store shelves. The botched release of Battlefield 4 has taught the gaming industry the backlash of releasing a broken game outweigh the disappointment when it has to be delayed.

Gamers who were hoping to play Hardline or The Division are better waiting for a flawless game rather than playing a broken one in 2014. On the bright-side; Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 4, and Destiny should keep gamers entertained.

Written for Digital Journal 
07/26/2014
Original Article: Op-Ed: A minor delay is better than a broken game

Gamers surprised that Crytek is developing ‘Homefront: The Revolution’ – 6/6/2014

Crytek official announcement that they are developing Homefront: The Revolution has impressed many gamers while pundits in the media are surprised that this sequel was even considered.

The original Homefront was a highly anticipated game that was promoted as a new vision for the shooter genre by having players engage in a guerrilla war against North Korea’s (known as the Greater Korean Republic in game) occupation of America. Its biggest selling point was a story written by John Milius, Hollywood icon who directed Red Dawn.

However the game was meet with mediocre reviews due to what was seen as a bland gameplay that offered nothing original. The failure of Homefront resulted in Kaos Studios having to shutdown while playing a contributing factor that lead to THQ having to file for bankruptcy in 2012.

In a market dominated by the rivalry between Call of Duty and Battlefield while saturated with forgettable knock-offs, Homefront had faded from gamers memories. So when Crytek announced a squeal, the premise impressed the gaming media while also having them ask “why?”

Hayden Dingman of PC World started his article by stating, “I’ll be honest: I’d sort of forgotten that THQ ever contracted Crytek for a Homefront sequel. I’d definitely forgotten that Crytek then purchased those rights when THQ went bankrupt just so they could finish creating said sequel.It exists. Crytek is making Homefront 2—titled Homefront The Revolution—a reality.

Aaron Birch from Den of Geeks started his preview by stating, “Despite the first Homefront being almost universally mauled by the critics, and being seen by many as one of the worst FPS titles in recent memory, a second game is on the way. ” After that he goes into details about the game with some optimism.

In an interview with the development team, David Jenkins of Metro starts by asking, “I know everyone must be asking this but… why? Why buy the Homefront franchise when the basic gist of the story seems easy enough to recreate without the licence? I mean, the idea of America under occupation is interesting but the whole North Korean angle is rather silly and you could’ve easily just swapped in aliens or another country and made pretty much the same game.

In a less optimistic outlook, Jesse Rogalski of Hardcore Gamer stated, “Is the idea of a sequel to a title that undersold, under-delivered and one that can be directly linked to the demise of not only the developer, but the publisher itself, already doomed before release?

Gamers have also shared their concern on social media and forums as many surprised a sequel to Homefront is even being considered.

Despite many asking “why bother,” the premise along with Crytek reputation has sparked gamers interest and are whiling to give it a chance. Rogalski and Dingman do note at the end of their article that the game does look interesting.

Homefront: The Revolution will be a reboot the original game and will have players fight a guerrilla war in an open-world setting built using an updated version of the CryEngine.

Written for The Gamers Progress
06/6/2014
Original Article: Gamers surprised that Crytek is developing ‘Homefront: The Revolution’

Review: ‘Modern Warfare 2’ brings the battle to the Mac – 5/22/2014

Soap_Mactavish_MW2
It has been six years since ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’ wowed the gaming world but Aspyr Media is hoping to reignite that spark for Mac gamers.

While most of the gaming community has moved on to Black Ops II and Ghost as they await the release of Advanced Warfare, Mac gamers now have the opportunity to play one of the most iconic shooters. The series has changed since but Mac gamers have never had the chance to finish the story of Captain Price and Soap MacTavish.

To recap the story; the game is set several years after the events of the previous game with the Ultranationalist having take control of Russia while Irma Zakhaev has become a national martyr. Meanwhile an international special forces unit designated Task Force 141 is established under the command of General Shepard and the leadership of John “Soap” MacTavish.

The war never ended for Vladimir Makarov, a Zakhaev protégé, who has embarked on a terrorist campaign against the West. A CIA operation tries to shutdown his operation but it ends with America being framed for a terrorist attack in Russia. In response to the attack, Russia launches a massive invasion of the eastern United States which forces Task 141 in a race against time to capture Makarov.

The single player campaign switches between the Army Rangers defending the American homefront and Task Force 141’s hunt for Makarov. The Multiplayer feature gives players a verity of gameplay options while unlocking new gear as they improve their status. Overall it’s the same classic that console and PC gamers fell in love with a long time ago.

Some might feel it’s redundant to port a game that is six years old while the series has radically changed. However, it needs to be noted that Call of Duty games are the most popular online game and Modern Warfare 2 still has a strong multiplayer presence on both consoles and the PC.

Compared to the titles that followed, Modern Warfare 2 is an outstanding game by improving on its predecessor while enriching the already beloved characters and pushing the story to a peak of perfection.

Given the limited selection of games that are available for the Max OS, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the perfect title. Now Mac gamers can finally play the iconic shooter that all their PC and console friends talked so much about.

Final Score: 4/5

Written for Digital Journal
5/22/2014
Original ArticleReview: ‘Modern Warfare 2’ brings the battle to the Mac

Playing It Old School – ‘Wolfenstein’ and the birth of the shooter – 5/18/2014

Most of the iconic and popular games are first person shooter (FPS) that put gamers in the role of a hero who has to go against an army with nothing more than a few rounds in the magazine. A gamers time is mostly spent on the virtual battlefields of Counter Strike, Call of Duty, Halo and Battlefield.

This joy of the virtual war was made possible thanks to Wolfenstein 3D breaking the norm to establish a new genre for a mature audience. With Wolfenstein: The New Order on the horizon, Playing It Old School will like to go back and pay its respects to the Father of the Shooter genre.

Known to most gamers as a shooter, the Wolfenstein series actually started back in 1981 as a stealth action game developed by Muse Software. Castle Wolfenstein had players attempt to infiltrate a Nazi fortress to steal secret plans than escape undetected. The game was a hit and was followed by Beyond Castle Wolfenstein.

Unfortunately Muse Software closed in 1987 with most of its assets sold-off.

Then in 1991 John Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall, along with Adrian Carmack established Id Software LLC and one year later they would set the foundations for modern gaming. These pioneers acquired the Wolfenstein intellectual property and used it as the foundation to create the first-person shooter genre.

Wolfenstein 3D has players infiltrate the castle by fighting Nazi soldiers and their monstrous creations (including a Robot Hitler). The games success was followed by Spear of Destiny, which has the gamer attempt to recover the Holy Lance before the Nazi’s could use its power.

The game became the building blocks for the FPS genre and it’s success was followed by Doom and Quake. They would become a major influence on the development of other groundbreaking games like Half Life, Medal of Honor, Soldier of Fortune and 007 GoldenEye.

The game also introduced gamers to one of the most iconic characters, William “BJ”  Blazkowicz. He was the foundation for characters in an FPS while being one of the earliest gaming heroes that was targeted towards a more mature audience. On a side note; he is the grandfather of Billy Blaze from Commander Keen and a descendent of the “Doom guy” from the Doom-series.

The game itself was a pioneer in transforming video games from an expensive childs toy to a mature medium. Wolfenstein 3D was the first step needed for the gaming industry to grow and to experiment with more mature content.

After a decade long absence; the series was introduced to a new generation in 2001 with Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Gamers once again took on the role of Blazkowicz as he attempts to dismantle Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse secret weapons project and prevent Heinrich Himmler from using ancient magic to resurrect an evil warlord. This reimagining developed a new timeline within the context of a classic setting. The game also included a groundbreaking multiplayer feature that borrowed elements of Counter Strike with objective based missions set in a WWII setting,

Return to Castle Wolfenstein was the byproduct of taking one of the most iconic games and rebuilding it into something new. The end result was one of the best FPS games of the time while being awarded multiple “Game of the Year” awards. Its success was followed by a console port that expanded the story along with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, a free to play multiplayer game.

The story continued with the seque,l Wolfenstien in 2009, which had players once again taking on the role of Blazkowicz on a mission to stop the Nazi from harnessing black magic. This time Deathshead have concentrated his forces in the town of Isenstadt in a quest to acquire Nachtsonne crystals needed to access the Black Sun Dimension.

Unfortunately Wolfenstein failed to generate the same kind of buzz as its predecessors. The game was met with average reviews while sales were so poor that the game became a financial flop.

Now the series will enter into a new era of gaming with Wolfenstein: The New Order, a new twist on the classic that will take players to an alternative 1960 were the Nazi’s won the war. How this game will stack compared to its predecessors is hard to tell but the Wolfenstien  series has always been a pioneer in defining the shooter genre.

However being first at something is always followed by a wave of controversy, and Wolfenstein was no exception. Wolfenstein 3-D caused a firestorm of controversy due to its graphic violence and Nazi reference. The original game was banned in Germany because of the display of Nazi symbols and the use of Horst-Wessel-Lied as its theme music (see Strafgesetzbuch section 86a). The game had to undergo editing and censorship just to be sold on consoles and in different countries.

Years later; Return to Castle Wolfenstein became the victim of false moral panic after Jonathan Kay (not a gamer) of the New York Times accused it of promoting anti-Semitism. As a result of the article, the game was vaguely referred to in Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism by the United States Department of State.

Despite the controversy and censorship, the Wolfenstein series has always stood strong as the needed push for gaming culture to embrace a mature concept. The success of Wolfenstein: The New Order will determine if the series could still be a major influence on the shooter genre.

Playing It Old School is a column that looks back on classic games while reflecting on the influence it had on video game and pop culture.

Written for The Gamers Progress
05/18/2014
Original Article: Playing It Old School – ‘Wolfenstein’ and the birth of the shooter