Free To Play Guide: Warframe

The last mmorpg I played and had heavily invested hours of  leveling up my characters on different classes was Prefect World which offered a classic seamless open world mmorpg where one can get easily lost wondering an exploring alone. The grind still catches up to you though and after more than 1000 hours logged and characters at lvl 106. I started staying away from mmorpg’s for good while and played PC Game titles such as Prince of Persia’s Franchise, Skyrim, and Assassins Creed Saga from AC1 to Syndicates. I’ve noticed games are evolving and are not just offering cool powers to bring down your enemies, action, magic, adventure, or lore. Open world games that offer a lot of content for discovery and freedom to explore the environment have been popping out for the last 3 years from Skyrim, Dragon Age Inquisition, and the game that is still setting the benchmark for open world PC game titles The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt.

After a while you miss that interactive gameplay with other people and start looking for new game titles that might offer something different. I’ll be honest playing single player PC game titles can get pretty lonesome. So I started browsing steam for new titles and I found something called “Warframe” with its game trailer saying “Nijas Play for FREE!!!! (OMG even better it’s for free!!!) I know I’m such a cheap bastard but gaming can be an expensive hobby and I would like to see some free stuff out there can offer some really interesting content.

I started playing Warframe about January last 2016 and after 2042 hours or more logged over at Steam. The game is among one of the most-played games available on Steam. Digital Extremes attributes the success of the title to the frequent updates they are developing for the game and the game’s fanbase. Digital Extremes describes the game as a “rogue success”, as the game is able to secure and sustain a large number of players without gaining significant attention from other people. More than 26 million players have played the game upon launch. It’s been a year of extensive gameplay of a refreshing new free to play mmorpg and I can’t remember the last time I got hooked by a free to play game title.

Warframe is a free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter video game developed by Digital Extremes for Microsoft WindowsPlayStation 4, and Xbox One. In Warframe, players control members of the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors who have awoken from centuries of cryosleep to find themselves at war with different factions.

In Warframe, players control the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors who have awoken from centuries of cryosleep to find themselves at war with the Grineer, a race of militarized and deteriorated human clones; the Corpus, a mega-corporation with advanced robotics and laser technology; the Infested, disfigured victims of the Technocyte infection; and later the Sentients, an alien force of mechanical beings returning from the Tau system after being driven back centuries ago. To fight back, the Tenno use remotely controlled biomechanical suits to channel their unique abilities — the eponymous Warframes.[1] Later missions reveal that the Warframes are actually biomechanical shells which are connected to the consciousness of the actual Tenno, human children who were given unpredictable powers by the Void. Those powers led to them being demonized and they were exiled into stasis pods on the Moon. The Tenno and their Warframes were used by the Orokin Empire in a desperate fight against the Sentients and stopped their invasion. However, for unknown reasons, the former turned on the latter and caused the Empire to collapse. The Empire shattered with the remnants becoming the Grineer and the Corpus while the Tenno were placed in stasis until centuries later.

GAMEPLAY

The player may engage in PvE content through missions or PvP content through “Conclave”. There are also “Quests”, which are a set of PvE missions with a narrative or story behind them.

Available missions are scattered across the planets of the solar system, the moons Phobos, Europa, Lua (Earth’s moon), and dwarf planets Pluto, Ceres, Eris and Sedna. Players can also access missions set in a pocket dimension known as The Void through completing junctions on other planets or through Void Fissures, small volatile rifts which react with acquirable Void Relics.

The titular Warframes are biomechanical suits that possess a set of 4 active abilities as well as a passive ability, as well as varying attributes and statistics. The player begins with a choice of Warframe among 3 initially offered. Additional Warframes can be acquired through various in-game activities, such as mission rewards, quest rewards, etc. Players can possess all Warframes in their inventory but may only equip one at a time. Warframes, as well as various other elements in the game, are highly color-customizable. New Warframes are developed and released every 3-5 months.

The players are equipped with three weapons: a primary weapon (such as a rifle, bow, or shotgun), a secondary weapon (typically a pistol, but sometimes ranged bladed weapons like kunai), and a melee weapon (such as swords, axes, and hammers). All equipment can be upgraded with “mods” that drop from enemies or are given as mission rewards; these can be installed, removed and upgraded into slots on the piece of equipment. Companions can also be equipped and accompany Tenno on missions, each with their own powers. These can be floating mechanical sentries, or, following a quest, players can earn their own Kubrow, a canine-esque monotreme with a horned nose, or a Kavat, a feline-esque animal with reptilian features. Warframes, equipment, companions as well as various other elements in the game can level up, which increases attributes and/or allowing more “mods” to be equipped.

Players rest and travel in their own small, customizable ship in-between missions. Up to four (Trial missions allow eight) players work together to complete missions, such as eliminating enemies, retrieving data from terminals, assassinating high ranking/dangerous targets, defending an artifact, or surviving as long as possible, before they can be extracted and the mission considered a success. Missions are ranked on a level basis, indicating the strength of opponents the player will face. There are various endless wave missions, which enables the players to continue for as long as they like, with increasingly difficult enemies and proportionally greater rewards.

The camera is positioned over the shoulder for third-person shooting. The player can jump, sprint, slide, and roll, as well as combine techniques to quickly move throughout the level and avoid enemy shots. The game also allows players to utilize parkour techniques to evade enemies, bypass obstacles or gain access to secret areas. Maps are generated procedurally with pre-built rooms connected together so that no levels have the same layout. At times, the player will be required to hack security terminals by completing a puzzle mini-game within a small time limit to proceed in the missions. Credits, ammo, resources, and mods can be found in set locations, such as lockers and destructible containers, as well as dropped by enemies. If a player’s Tenno loses all its health, that Tenno is down; if the player is alone, they can expend one of their revives for that mission to be returned to full health, while if with other players, another player can revive that Tenno. If all Tenno are down and no one revives, or in the case of certain missions if the objective is not met, the mission ends prematurely with players forgoing any rewards beyond what they have already collected.

New weapons, Warframes, equipment, and blueprints to construct such equipment can be purchased in the market, using either Credits earned in-game, or Platinum, a premium currency that can be purchased via microtransaction or traded for in-game.[2] Also, some blueprints are dropped by certain enemies. Gear defined by blueprints can be constructed using resources collected from missions. Players can engage in trading/selling of some of earned blueprints and gears as well.

Waking Up

After a short cut scene, players start off with a choice of three starter Warframes: Excalibur, Mag, or Volt (A year back it was only Excalibur offered as a starter frame). Other Warframes can be purchased using Platinum or crafted in the Foundry later on in the game. Primed variants of the standard Warframes are also available in the game and are received in the form of prime blueprints as a reward for unlocking void relics. The game starts off with a tutorial mission that walks players through the basics of movement and combat. Unfortunately, there is no option to skip the tutorial since the tutorial mission is part of the game’s story. The tutorial mission will have players trying to evade capture and escape Grineer forces with help from the Lotus. After successfully escaping on the player’s old ship, they then proceed to go on missions to repair the ship’s damaged segments. Oris, the ship’s AI, literally has a few screws loose. Whether it’s from sustaining damage or from being abandoned and left alone for too long, we’ll never know for sure, but that AI definitely has some issues. Some of his lines really had me cracking up, especially the part about being self-destructed during a bout of depression early in the game. Replacement segments for the ship are acquired by completing the first few missions. The first mission to retrieve the communications segment can only be done solo. Succeeding missions can then be completed alone or with help the help of friends through the game’s cooperative mode.

Carrying Out Orders

After the tutorial mission, the game continues as a campaign that slowly acquaints players with Warframe’s gameplay features, such as crafting and upgrading, while revealing the story of the Grineer’s plans for domination and why the Tenno need to stop them. Missions can be accessed through the ship’s cockpit. After completing the campaign, players can choose from a variety of missions located in different planets and moons across the solar system. Missions range from simple extermination and sabotage to more difficult ones, like survival and rescue missions. Some missions also take place in space. Space missions, however, require that a player’s Warframe is equipped with Archwings – the first of which can be acquired by completing a quest upon reaching Mastery Rank 2. Aside from the loot that players pick up during the course of the mission, successfully completing missions also rewards players with credits, items for crafting, as well as Modules (Mods for short) to upgrade their Warframe parts. Achievements, like getting a certain number of stealth kills or killing a certain number of enemies, are also automatically awarded to players once they meet the requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Way of the Ninja

Warframe’s controls are easy enough to get used to and is quite similar to typical FPSs. The environment allows players to sprint, slide, jump, do backflips, and run on walls to gain an advantage over enemies during combat. Combat can be as fast or slow as players want it to be. They can opt for the shock and awe method or they can use stealth to their advantage, depending on their preferred playstyle. Mission levels and enemy positions are randomly generated using pre-designed rooms and halls, so no two missions are the same. However, some of the levels still look pretty much the same, even if they’re randomly generated, and tend to get old fast, especially when grinding for that rare item needed to craft the weapon of your dreams. Even though combat is fast-paced and fun, Warframe feels a bit too easy sometimes.

End Game: FashionFrame

Warframe features an in-depth customization system that lets players customize basically everything about their Warframes, from the type of helmets and shoulder pads to their overall color scheme. Players can also choose from a variety of weapons depending on the mission or their playstyle. Feel like going Rambo on the Grineer? Strap on an assault rifle and a sub-machine gun, and blast your way through their ranks. Want to take on a rescue mission with a bit of stealth and finesse? Equip a bow, throwing knives, and a futuristic katana and stealth-kill your way through the whole mission.

Bigger and Better

Weapons and Warframes can both be customized and upgraded using Mods that players acquire as loot, as rewards for completing missions, or by purchasing the from the item shop. Mods can also be bought, sold, or traded with other players. Rare mods can even be sold for Platinum, the game’s premium currency. Another way to get Mods is to Transmute four unranked Mods to generate one random Mod. Weapon Mods are different from those used for Warframes and are automatically sorted in the Arsenal menu. Mods, when equipped, give bonuses to a weapon or to a Warframe’s stats or abilities. Keep in mind, though, that the number of equipable Mods and are limited by the available Mod capacity. The number of Capacity points a Mod uses up is shown on the Mod description. Mods can be swapped out at any time by visiting the ship’s Arsenal bay.

Weapons gain Affinity or XP when used in combat and increase in rank when the Affinity points reach a certain level (up to a maximum of 30 levels). Mastery Points are also awarded to players when one of their weapons levels up. Players gain Mastery Ranks when their Mastery Points reach a certain level. Higher Mastery Ranks unlock additional weapons and Warframes, and increases a player’s daily trade limit.

Like weapons, Warframes also gain Affinity points and gain rank up to Level 30. Warframes are rewarded Affinity points by using abilities, killing enemies, reviving fallen teammates, completing objectives, or by simply completing the mission. Aside from getting additional Mod capacity, Warframes also get passive increases to health, shields, and energy capacity as well as Mastery Points. Warframe abilities are also unlocked automatically and improve every few levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foundry

The Foundry is a section of a player’s ship where crafting takes place. Player can craft Weapons, Warframes, Archwings, and Sentinels (mechanical “pets” that assist in combat), provided that they have the items and blueprints required for crafting. Players then have to wait for the crafting process to finish, which happens in real time. Items with long build times can be left building since the process continues even when the player is offline. Players can also spend Platinum to instantly complete the process. Different items, however, require different amounts of Platinum to instantly finish.

Check this trailer compilation on Warframe’s content on Youtube

Final Verdict – Great

For a free-to-play game, Warframe is a great MMO that can keep players entertained and hold their attention for hours on end, unless you’re the type that’s easily put off by grinding for items because this game has more than its fair share of repetitive grinding. The lack of endgame content and goals may also deter hardcore players. Even so, it’s still worth checking out, even if it’s just for the campaign or for players looking for a change of pace from their usual mainstream games. The community is awesome and its been the most non-toxic gaming environment I have ever been into. Overall, I’m hooked and two tiers away from its highest mastery level. Warframe is a fun game with huge potential. Aside from the visual eye-candy, the fast-paced gameplay and ninja/parkour combat alone should be enough to entice even the most finicky player. I mean, who doesn’t love ninjas?

 

NOTE: If you want to try out the game, click my In Game Name and join our Storm Clan.n be sure to add me as a friend so I can help your journey as well.

IGN: Mordhekhai

Clan: Amestris

Position: Councillor

Mastery Rank: Rank 21

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My only impression of the iOS 7

ios7iveMost of the changes in iOS 7 have to do with design, but many of the software features Apple did add are things Android owners have been enjoying for years. In fact, Android fans and bloggers began howling about all the copycat features as soon as Apple announced iOS 7.

They have a point.

Android evolved quickly, but Apple has taken a slow, cautious approach with iOS. It feels like Apple’s iOS team has buried their heads in the sand when it comes to making big improvements that people want. iOS 7 finally brings some of those features to the iPhone.

The most obvious is the Control Center, a panel that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen and lets you adjust basic settings like screen brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and airplane mode. It’s been one of the most-requested iOS features for years now, and you’ll finally get it with iOS 7.

There are other things: improved multitasking with apps, an assistant in the drop-down notifications menu that gives you an overview of the weather and events in your day’s calendar, and a feature called AirDrop that lets you wirelessly swap files between iPhones. All are really nice features, but they all copy Android in one form or another.

In the end, iOS 7 is an admission from Apple that it needs to catch up to all the great stuff owners of other smartphone platforms enjoy.

The iOS 7 is among the largest upgrades the OS has ever been given – not quite the game changer that the iPhone OS 2 and the App Store were, but it certainly took a lot of effort. It not only brings some key new features and a few cool system apps, but it also completely overhauls the user interface and tweaks the right things under the hood.

Key features

  • Complete UI overhaul with adaptive colors and system-wide Back swipe gesture
  • New system icons and folders, animated icons available
  • System-wide parallax effect
  • Dynamic wallpapers
  • Control Center with toggles, multimedia controls and shortcuts
  • Updated Notification Center with three tabs
  • All apps multitasking with new card interface
  • Updated Safari browser with unified search filed
  • iTunes radio
  • AirDrop file sharing
  • Inclinometer within the Compass app
  • Camera filters with live preview and new square mode
  • New Photos app with better photo organization, picture editing
  • Weather app with live weather animations
  • Updated Maps with Night mode and Turn-by-Turn walking directions
  • New Siri interface, new supported commands, new voices
  • Contact Blacklist
  • FaceTime audio
  • Activation lock
  • Automatic app update
  • Cellular data usage breakdown
  • Chinese-English, Italian, Korean and Dutch dictionaries
  • iOS in the Car coming in 2014 in selected cars

Main disadvantages

  • Very iTunes dependent for uploading files and multimedia
  • No open file system means you often have to duplicate files
  • Limited integration of 3rd party social networks and services
  • No widgets
  • Air Drop works only between selected iOS 7 or later running devices
  • No lockscreen shortcuts (besides those in the Control Center)
  • Very basic camera UI with limited features and settings
  • Limited codecs support
  • iTunes radio only works in the US

The changes are more cosmetic and iterative than they are record-breaking. Even with all the overhauled design that reskins practically every element with a gleaming-new interface. From what I’ve seen so far (including hands-on time with iOS 7 on an iPhone 5), we like the latest  do more.

 

Below, you’ll find a list of the iOS 7 features that Apple focused on today, and next to that, a brief description of how that trait exists on AndroidWindows Phone, and BlackBerry rivals (or at least one manufacturer’s take on said platform). Read on below for more detail about how iOS 7 stacks up.

 

iOS 7 Android 4.2 Windows Phone 8 BlackBerry 10
Control Center Yes, varies by phone-maker No, settings
menu
System access settings
Notification center Detailed notifications Live tile
badges
BlackBerry Hub, badges
Multitasking preview Recents list Multitasking preview Active Frames grid
Surfaced camera modes Varies by Android skin Third-party
lenses
Video, Time Shift modes
Photos grouped by
years, location
Albums, other filters Albums, date Albums, recent
Shared photo stream Samsung Galaxy S4 Share one by one Share one by one
Peer-to-peer sharing (AirDrop) Android Beam (NFC) Tap + Share (NFC) NFC sharing
Unified browser bar Yes Yes Yes
Personalized radio/discovery Google Play Music All Access Nokia Music Third-party app
Voice access to
system settings
Samsung’s S Voice No systems access No systems access
Automatic app updates Optional, by app ‘Update all’ option Individual
Password-protected
reset
No No No
In-dash integration
(iOS for cars)
Driving mode/S Drive Nokia Drive Third-party apps

 

 

Skyrim Mod Downloads for this Week

Download this week’s mods:

 

UFO – Ultimate Follower Overhaul by fLokii
Skyrim Nexus Link

Colossus – The Ancient Arena – Beta v.1.2 by ZedalisDesign
Steam Workshop Link

Spell Master The Time And Space by WarriorKeKe
Skyrim Nexus Link

Dovahkiin Relaxes Too by perplexmachine
Steam Workshop Link or Skyrim Nexus Link

Bonus Mod: Grim Reaper Hoods by Kempalot
Steam Workshop Link

Levelers Tower v13 by WillieSea
Skyrim Nexus Link

A lot of the instructions on how to make these mods work are on the links so please do take the time to read them before doing anything. The last thing I want you to do is mess up your games. Happy gaming!

Best Gaming Laptop for 2011

Hardcore gaming has taken a new leap into the mobile world and can now be done anywhere. Gaming laptops have given gamers around the world a new way to destroy their friends online or work together to take down the next raid boss. Being able to play a game while on a plane or on the road is not only possible but has become very popular. The Battalion 101 X8100-U3 from iBuypower gives the player an absolutely amazing gaming experience every time. The 2x Mobility Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire graphics card, 4GB of DDR3 memory and Intel Core i7 740QM processor give this computer plenty of power to handle most any game on the market. The Battalion 101 X8100-U3 has the best hardware out of any gaming laptop we reviewed and has earned our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for its amazing performance.

Video/Audio: 

When looking into getting a gaming system of any kind the first thing to look at is the graphics card. You are going to want a card that will not only work for the current games out, but one that will be able to handle games for the next few years as well. It is even more important to look at what comes in a gaming laptop because it is very hard to replace parts on your own, so having something that is going to work for a long time is a must. The Battalion 101 X8100-U3 has one of the best mobile ATI graphics cards on the market which means you are going to be able to run pretty much any game on the highest graphic settings. The 2x Mobility Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire has 1GB of memory which allows the card to display those very detailed images even better.

A 3D premium surround sound onboard sound card is used for the audio on this laptop. Almost all laptops use simple sound cards and will not be able to produce the amazing sound you will find on a desktop computer. The Battalion 101 X8100-U3 and all of the other gaming laptops we reviewed all have this same issue; the sound quality is far below that of standalone speakers. That being said, the Battalion does produce very good sound for a laptop and that is due to the size of this notebook. With a 18.4 inch screen and base they were able to fit a lot more into this gaming laptop.

Processor: 

The processor is basically the brain of your computer; it tells the computer what instructions to do and how to carry them out. The Battalion 101 X8100-U3 gaming laptop has one of the best CPUs (Central processing unit) available for laptops. The Intel Core i7-740QM mobile processor will keep your computer and all of its programs running at top notch. This amazing little device has a clock speed of 1.72GHz, four cores and eight threads. What does all of that mean in terms of processing speed and how your gaming laptop will work? Basically, the clock speed is how fast information can be processed (speed limit); the threads and cores would be similar to freeways (four cores) and lanes (eight threads) on the freeway. There are four areas that have eight threads in which information can move to and from the processor. 1.73GHz is actually quite fast when compared to the best processors which run around 1.86GHz or really close to that speed.

Memory/Storage: 

If we take a step back and look at what games required to run at top performance 5 years ago and look at what they take now, it is easy to see why RAM (random access memory) is becoming even more important. If you are not running at least 4GB of ram in any gaming laptop or computer, odds are you are not having the best performance. Luckily for those who choose this top ranked gaming laptop you will have 4GB of DDR3 RAM which is about perfect for most games. There is an option to upgrade and if you are planning for the future it may be a good choice.

That being said, almost all gaming laptops out right now use 4GB so the Battalion 101 X8100-U3 is right on track. The only place this laptop lacks is when we look at the amount of hard drive space it has, with only 320GB of RAM you will want to be careful about loading too many movies, music or other such extras. 320GB is more than enough for most gamers since some of the biggest games out only use about 30GB at most.

Additional Features: 

The first thing you are going to notice is that all of the high end gaming laptops use Windows 7 Home Premium. This is because all gaming companies are making games for this OS (operating system) because it works well and can handle multitasking. The Battalion 101 X8100-U3 is by far our largest gaming laptop coming in at 18.4 inches. Some may find this to be a huge plus because of the very large screen whiles others may not like the large size when it comes to portability. It does weigh a lot more than the 15 inch screens, but will provide a much better gaming experience. It also has a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels which is what we would expect from our number one gaming laptop.

One thing we really loved on this computer was the overall look and feel of the laptop; it feels very sturdy and the buttons don’t feel like they are going to fall off. You will find all of your basic volume and other touch screen controls along the top of the keyboard, along with a set of hotkey buttons on the left hand side of the keyboard. One of the most important connection types for a laptop would be USB ports and this computer offers four. These allow for connecting a mouse, external hard drive, Blu-ray player and just about anything else. When running games, media and other such software the Battalion 101 X8100-U3 will run for about two and half hours on a full charge. This is about average for a gaming laptop and plenty long for most people.

Support/Warranty: 

iBuyPower’s support and warranties page is very easy to navigate and you will find all of the different help options on one page. This is a huge plus since some sites send you from page to page just to view additional information. Drivers, FAQs, technical support and warranty services are all quick and simple to use and find the answers you seek. There is also a live chat option for those concerned about the purchase process. Overall, we were pleased with the one year warranty offered for this gaming laptop and found this site’s support and warranty section very inviting.

Summary:

Purchasing a gaming laptop can be a very scary thing but iBuyPower has made it very easy, the Battalion 101 X8100-U3 is by far one of the best gaming laptops on the market today. This amazing device allows you to take your gaming experience on the road and still run those graphic-intense games with ease. When it comes to top of the line hardware and large viewing experience, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than the Battalion 101 X8100-U3.

Specifications

Case
Battalion 101 X8100-U3 18.4″ Full HD 1920X1080 Widescreen LCD TFT Laptop w/8 Gaming Key, 2 HDMI ports, eSATA port, Fingerprint Security, Bluetooth, Li-Polymer battery, Universal AC Power Adapter – Original Metallic Black

Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-740QM Mobile Processor (4x 1.73GHz/6MB L3 Cache)

Memory
4GB [2GB x 2] 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM [Laptop Memory] – Corsair or Major Brand

Video Card
2x ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 – 1GB [X8100] – CrossFire Mode

Hard Drive
320 GB 7200rpm Serial-ATA Super Slim Laptop Hard Drive

Optical Drive
8x Dual Format DVD±R/±RW + 16x CD-R/RW Combo Drive [X8100]

Flash Media Reader/Writer
Built-in 7-in-1 Media Card Reader/Writer [Laptop]

Sound Card
3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard

Network Card
Built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN [Laptop]

Fax Modem
Built-in 56K V.92 Fax Modem [Laptop]

IEEE 1394 FireWire Card
Built-in 1x IEEE 1394 FireWire Port [Laptop]

Internal Wireless Network Adapter
Standard 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel) – 64-Bit

USB Accessories
Built-in 4x USB 2.0 Ports + 2x USB 3.0 Port [Laptop]

Carrying Case
Free Deluxe Carrying Case

Video Camera
Built-in 2.0 Mega Pixels Digital Web Video Camera

Warranty
Standard Warranty Service – Standard One(1) Year Limited Warranty + Lifetime

Playing Online while being Shipped Cross Country!!! Top that!!!!

Jordan Wayne Long is preparing for his summer vacation- seven days, locked in a crate, traveling from Bald Knob, Arkansas to Portland, Oregon. Yes, you read that right.

Long, a “performance and video artist” according to his website, plans to travel by crate for a week with no connection to the outside world, except for his Lord of the Rings Onlineaccount. He has said that this relates to his study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and coping mechanisms related to PTSD. Many sufferers of the disorder escape into online communities, where they can reinvent themselves and the society in which they live.

While the concept is interesting, I fail to see why Long has to build himself a crate and ship himself across the country in order to do what millions of others do from the cold, clammy comfort of their mothers’ basement. Long keeps the public updated on his exploits via his twitter and personal blog. He has also created a blog for his in-game character, which he plans to update regularly from the road. He will be playing as “Townsfolk”, a level 40 Dwarf on the Meneldor server. No word yet on whether or not his mom will be delivering regular plates of cookies to his crate.

The actual travel will take place from July 1 to July 7, concluding in a presentation at one of Fourteen30’s Portland art galleries. A friend of Long’s, Bradi Roberts, will be shipping the crate with Long inside on her truck. Follow Long’s twitter here and his personal blog here.

This One Goes Out to All the Ladies

Reader Bondage_Zombie has spent over a decade in video game drag. He’d like this option in more games, but not just for his sake. He thinks that there aren’t enough female gamers out there and it could be the developers’ faults. So what can devs do to bring in the elusive audience?

It seems like a lot of people have been talking about courting female gamers, so here’s my 2 cents.

Every gamer has their own ‘flavor’; a genre addiction that constantly calls out. All you have to do is look at the games you own to find out exactly what scratches your itch; for me, bullets do the trick.

When Quake II came out I tore through it in no time, and quickly learned to use Gamespy and other clients to ferret out competitive servers for my burgeoning addiction. One-shot railgun kills and grappling hooks changed the game into a caffeine-fueled-eye-straining-gibfest. My favorite part of the entire experience was the angry waves of text as my female avatar soared through each level, pumping depleted uranium slugs into the face of her ham-necked counterparts.

That’s right, female. A presence that is almost always conspicuously absent from games that involve unloading a few clips into the faces of a diverse range of assailants. The loving developers at Id gave me a choice that forever changed my view of shooters by allowing me the preference of a strong female lead in my blood-streaked after school playground.

I am male; at least I was the last time I checked. In most games that give me the option, I play a female because it almost always seems like a novelty. The main characters in games like Quake II, Call of Duty and many others are overwhelmingly male

This is not by accident. Roleplaying has always relied on story to drive the action and choice to give characters more involvement in growth, appearance and even gender; helping to bridge the gap between sexes, even if that sex isn’t what you live day-to-day. Big developers like Activision have even come under fire by claiming that female leads “don’t sell games”, even generating as much focus group data (in delightfully skewed ways) to support their claims, according to articles popping up at industry-focused sites like Gamasutra [url][www.gamasutra.com]
This would explain why their female leads tend to be Barbie and Dora the Explorer; not exactly reaching out to the female community.

Activision even seemed close to hitting the mark when their Black Ops commercial “There is a Soldier in all of us” featured women, in a variety of dress, duking it out with their male counterparts. Unfortunately, females are wholly absent from the multiplayer and single-player campaign, even though the game offers many degrees of customization it seems strange that they would fall short in this area, despite many online community forums consistently raising the issue with developers of First Person Shooters.

The developers that break stale tradition, like Valve’s Portal franchise, strike gold with the female set seemingly without effort. It takes aim at puzzles instead of wanton bloodshed, narrating the single-player campaign with witty dialogue and continuing narrative. Hell, there aren’t even any faeries, horses or shades of pink anywhere on the box! Other genres, particularly RPGs, have often given the option to play as a female character in some way while including an overall narrative that appeals more to women.

So, what are companies like Valve doing that is so right while other companies let a growing market slip through their fingers?

Interpret, a marketing research firm, released a new report “Games and Girls: Video Gaming’s Ignored Audience”, which examined behaviours of female gamers. It found that the market is growing and not just in casual(facebook), music and exercise games. They are only putting numbers to what developers like Bioware(makers of Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Baldur’s Gate) Lionhead (Fable) and Valve (Team Fortress 2, Half-Life, Left For Dead) have known for years: A good story and the availability of strong female leads help their games appeal to women, even if they exist in gaming domains people consider to be dominated by males. Not only that, but these numbers are GROWING—according to the report recently released, by 50 percent in just the past two years. This time frame saw the releases of 2 Mass Effect and Dragon Age games as well as Fable III and Left For Dead 2.

It’s no surprise then, that the story-heavy games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age try to further their appeal by allowing characters to use even simple tools to modify the faces of their characters, helping them feel more emotionally invested as they make decisions and occasionally engage in visceral combat. The research lends more weight to this approach. Courtney Johnson, an analyst for Interpret notes “they[women] are much more likely to prefer to play solo than men, and play games for less competitive and more narrative- and character-driven reasons.”

When I think about it, it seems like the simplest thing in the world: inclusion. Games have had narrative and female characters for years, but many developers have been wildly successful making games where women are only present as eye-candy or impractical beings better suited to burlesque than serious protagonists (not that there isn’t a time and place for these things).

It’s no silver bullet, but it’s a start.