An Epic E3 2014

I love the day after a great E3.
Damn, it feels good to be a gamer.
Microsoft started the show with a bang this year ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT GAMES the ENTIRE CONFERENCE.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Xbox will have some exclusives like the highly anticipated Phantom Dust, Fable Legends (which is a MOBA now?!), and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (at only a $60 price point, too). Also, the Kinect-less version of the Xbox One will be available today, at a price point of $399.

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EA’s press conference was slightly unproductive, with the highlight being the announcement of the Battlefield: Hardline Beta becoming available for download and play IMMEDIATELY on PS4 and PC.

I ran to my PS4 and downloaded it as soon as I possibly could, and scurried to sign up for the PC version, as well. I must say, I’m really enjoying the PS4 version of Battlefield:Hardline so far, even though it’s still in beta. The new game modes are exciting, the mechanics feel fluid, and the graphics look good. I’m eager to see how this game will transition from beta.

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Next up to bat was Ubisoft.

I must say….Assassin’s Creed:Unity…looks…astounding. The graphics are amazing, the movements look natural, and they are adding a four player co-op mode where you can play with friends to complete missions.

FOUR PLAYER CO-OP. YES, YES, YES, PLEASE.

They also showed us the trailer for Far Cry 4, which interested me right away.
I’m not even a fan of the previous Far Cry games (I tried, I just couldn’t get into them), Far Cry 4 looks fresh– like a game that will certainly hold my attention. The first few minutes of the story, alone, were enough to pull me in.

Last up to bat– Sony. Sony announced that YouTube will be coming to PS4, and that it will allow users to upload directly from PS4 to YouTube, seamlessly.

YESSSSSSSS.

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This is going to make the PS4 the console of choice with people who enjoy streaming and uploading videos directly to the interwebs. PS4/Twitch compatibility is already SUPER user-friendly and easy, this is only going to expand on that experience. PS4 has the upper hand on exclusives, which include Destiny, Little Big Planet 3, and Uncharted 4.
Destiny’s beta will launch on July 17th, you can actually sign up for the alpha if you JUST CAN’T WAIT–that access will be available later THIS week.
Little Big Planet 3 was announced, along with countless other titles I am SUPER FRIGGIN’ stoked about but already knew were coming to PS4 (thanks, insiders!) like PlanetSide 2.

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Ugh, there is just TOO MUCH gaming awesomeness coming up this year. Even though we already knew all or most of the titles that were going to be announced, I still think this was a great E3. There was focus on GAMES. Last year’s pissing contest kinda missed the mark on the games and focused more on who had a bigger d*@% (Microsoft FAILED miserably last year).
All in all, I thought this was a pretty evenly-matched, well-executed, exciting E3 this year, and I have no complaints. Even the indie games coming out look astounding, interesting, and jaw-dropping, graphics-wise.

Mass Effect 4 announced. Mirror’s Edge 2 announced. Star Wars: Battlefront. Batman:Arkham Knight where you can drive the batmobile.

YOU CAN DRIVE THE FREAKIN’ BATMOBILE.

arkham knight

Need I say more?

It’s going to be a good year to be a gamer, people.

Personally, my most anticipated games for this year are: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and The Order:1886. I realize now that they all have colons in their names. Coincidence? Aaaaaanyway…

 

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Our wallets will be empty, but our hearts will be full.

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Leetgion Hellion RTS gaming mouse review

I was recently sent a Leetgion Hellion RTS gaming mouse, and I’ve enjoyed using it so much, that I decided to give it a review.

It was specifically designed for Starcraft II players by a sister company of the ultimate CPU cooling solutions co., Thermalright. They decided to get into the game of peripherals, and I’m sure glad they did.

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With a price tag just shy of $80 US dollars, it’s on the pricey side, but if you’re a PC gamer looking for a super-responsive, lag-free RTS mouse, THIS is the one to get.

The Hellion is specifically designed for RTS gaming, but can also be used for everyday PC use, and has 4 pre-set profile settings (all with different-colored, corresponding LED lights), and a final fifth setting, which is completely customizable to your liking, and allows you to load any custom-made profile directly on to Hellion’s hardware.  You’re also able to customize EACH profile setting through the Hellion Configuration software, if you so desire.

The pre-set profiles are as follows:

Setting 1 – Default – Glows red

Setting 2 – Terran – Glows blue

Setting 3 – Zerg – Glows Purple

Setting 4 – Protoss – Glows yellow

Setting 5 – Custom – Glows green

It also has seven adjustable DPI levels which range from 100 to 5000 DPI.

And it’s got mechanical buttons.  I LOVE MECHANICAL BUTTONS. They feel absolutely flawless and deliberate.

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I must say… I’ve never really had a ‘luxury’ mouse before, so this is a first for me, but this one is amazing. The feel of the mouse is sleek, soft, and smooth, and…just…all around PERFECT.  I would say my hands are AVERAGE sized, and the fit and feel of my hand resting on it is pure bliss.

Seriously. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Even the packaging shouts luxury.

It arrived  to me wistfully placed inside what appears to be a Pandora’s Box of eye-catching, clean, yet sophisticated infold.

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Whether you’re a serious PC gamer looking to up your game and some of your hardware, or someone who spends a lot of time on your computer for work or play — THIS is a mouse everyone can appreciate and feel like a king–or queen— while using.

Overall rating: 9.5/10

Elite Girl Gamer Sprkly Reviews Guild Wars 2

After hearing fantastic things about the wildly customizable character creation and beautiful game world, I recently started playing Guild Wars 2. Here’s my take on the game, for those of you who are considering it as well.

One of the great bonuses of Guild Wars 2 is that there are no subscription fees, unlike most of the mainstream MMO’s we’re used to. You buy the game, then you play it for free for as long as you want. That being said, the up front investment of purchasing the game isn’t too bad either. Prices I found ranged from $46 to $60 USD, depending on if you purchased directly from NCSoft or if you purchased someone’s personal copy for sale on Amazon or eBay, which I would caution you against, as those can be unreliable and can sometimes get you in trouble with the game companies.

When you open Guild Wars 2 for the first time and come to character creation, I have to say I think that’s the best part of the game. There are five races to choose from in the world of Tyria. The Asura are completely adorable little dwarf-like Yoda-looking dudes who are incredibly intelligent and great with magic and crafting. The Sylvari are billed as the “mysterious, noble plant beings” and have a really cool backstory. Having never been born, but simply awakening beneath the Pale Tree and pursuing a life of adventure and discovery, the Sylvari are mysterious and strikingly beautiful. If you’re more interested in a savage, warrior-type race, the Charr are big, tough, cat-like beasts that kick much butt. Then there are the Norn, who look basically human, but come from an icy wasteland and are supposedly “giant,” though I haven’t seen much proportional difference between them and the other races (save for the miniature Asura). And of course, if you prefer to go with a traditional Human character, that’s available too.

Character creation

The next big step is to choose your profession. I won’t go into much detail about these, but you have your magical classes, your warrior classes, and your stealth classes. All of them can heal and support, and are pretty versatile, so what you’re really choosing is your basic combat role with the profession. I find them to be pretty well balanced.

Character creation allows you several choices for your physique, head, hair, and various other physical attributes in extremely high detail. Want a Michael Jackson nose? No problem! Just adjust the nose tip slider until it’s ultra skinny. It can be as detailed as you like. You can also change the colors of your armor set, which is super fun as you get further along in the game because you can acquire new dyes.

So now that your female Sylvari necromancer with the gigantic chest is created, you are delivered into the world of Tyria with some fascinating cut scenes. The cut scenes are pretty interesting and give you some great information about your history and what’s going on in the world now. They’re fun to watch at first, but I found them to be pretty long and now I tend to just skip over them.

Upon arriving in my starter area the first time, I really felt like the world was absolutely beautiful. I was honestly not as impressed with the graphics as I had hoped to be. Perhaps it’s the fact that so many of their character classes are a bit cartoonish that made it feel less realistic, graphically speaking. But with games like Skyrim out right now with the intensely realistic graphics, GW2 wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But it was beautiful, nonetheless.

The gameplay is pretty linear, from what I’ve played so far. You go from one quest to the next, but they do require some brains to figure out at times. It’s not mindless questing like in World of Warcraft, but a bit more puzzle-solving in many cases, which I found very enjoyable. Leveling feels very slow to me, and there isn’t much hand-holding to show you where to go and what to do, so you have to figure out your leveling technique yourself, for the most part.

One thing I haven’t experienced yet is the booming industry of crafting in GW2. Again, there’s not a whole lot of hand-holding going on, so without reading a guide on it, I honestly wouldn’t have any idea where to start with crafting. However, I’m told by some of my guild-mates that one can make a nice chunk of credits by crafting and selling items. It’s a nice draw to those who enjoy the trading and economy aspects of MMO’s.

So far, it doesn’t seem as social as some of the other MMO’s I’ve played. I do belong to a guild, but I haven’t even had a conversation with any players outside of my own guild. I suppose quietness is preferable to whiny kids, though, so I can’t complain much.

For those of you considering playing or not, the things I love about GW2 are the detailed character creation, the versatility of the professions, the quests that make you really use your brain, the beautiful game world and rich backstory. The only things I don’t love are the graphics, which I found a bit more cartoonish than I expected, and the feeling of “sink or swim” in some cases. It’s a game that definitely has a learning curve, and I clearly need to learn a little more of it. All in all, you’ll love how pretty it is and enjoy the questing, if you’re willing to put in the time to learn it.

How To Improve Your CoD Game

So, since I started my Facebook page, Elite Girl Gamers, I’ve been getting messages from people asking advice, tips, and strategies to improve on their Call of Duty skills. People asking which class I use, which perks and killstreaks I use, etc. So I decided to compile all my advice into one post, making it a little easier and more accessible to my followers.

The first and most valuable piece of advice I have ever been given is– SLOW THE F*CK DOWN!

1) As soon as that count down begins at the beginning of a match, don’t get too excited. Keep your cool and go slow. You want to see people BEFORE they see you, and have time to react. Try playing an entire match without sprinting ONCE. Do it.

Wait for them to come to you

2) AIM AROUND CORNERS. One thing I have found in playing with higher-ranked players is that they ALL aim around corners. Every time. It gives you the upper hand, while just running aimlessly around the corner makes you an easy target for those waiting on the other side. I can’t tell you how many more kills I got when I started aiming around corners. Your K/D will thank you for it.

3) Tap the trigger…don’t squeeze it. Holding R1 down completely  is just asking for your shots to be wild all over the place.

4) Watch the mini-map intensely. Think of it as your rear-view mirror, COD-style. Take note of the position of your teammates at all times. Try to stay in an area where you are surrounded by your own teammates. If you hear gunshots, take a glance at the mini-map. If one of your teammates disappears, that’s where an enemy is.

Use It! A lot! Always be looking!

5) Play the walls. Try to position yourself towards the outside of whatever map you are on. This way, you have one less side to cover. If you are in the middle of a map, make sure there is something (boxes, vehicles) between you and your enemy. Make yourself a harder target.

6) Have many different, varying classes for different style of play. If you enter a lobby where people are running and gunning, you need to sit back at a distance and pick them off. If you are in a match with an opposing team that is sitting back, not moving, you need to go search them out. Slowly, aiming around corners–giving yourself the upper hand.

This brings me to “which classes are best?”

Now, I can’t tell you which classes are ‘best’, but I can tell you which classes I USE, and why.

Someone call the DOCTOR!

1st class on my selection is my ‘pwning’ class. It’s the class I probably use most often, because I find it to be most effective. It is as follows;

Class 1-   G36C with Kick and Red Dot. Just a regular red dot. No ‘omega’, no ‘delta’. Hit the ‘none’ option when selecting your red dot. This gives you a smaller target, making your shots more accurate. This is my only class that uses a red dot sight. The rest are all iron sights.With  this class, I use Sleight of Hand, Hardline, and Marksman. Well, I use Marksman on EVERY class. Because, I believe, it is the most valuable perk in slot three, for sure. Being able to see someone before they see you is most important in this game, and Marksman gives you that upper hand.

Class 2- AK-47, silenced with impact. The AK is accurate enough as it is. No red dot needed. Perks on this class are; Blind Eye, Assassin, and Marksman again. ALWAYS use Marksman.

Class 3- MP7 with kick and either impact, or melee. I haven’t had too much extra luck adding the ‘melee’ feature, but find myself switching back and forth between impact and melee. Personally, I think I like impact better on this class. It gives you a slight upper hand when running and gunning. The less bullets it takes you to kill them, the better. Perks, again are Sleight of Hand, Hardline, and Marksman. This is also the only class I use ‘Support” killstreaks on. For Support, I recommend advanced UAV, Stealth Bomber, and EMP.

Class 4- My Specialist class. ACR silenced with impact. See where I’m going, here? You want to be as quiet as possible. Try to not be seen, but still have your presence be known in the game. Silencers and ‘impact’ proficiency does this for you. Perks are…Blind Eye, Hardline, and Marksman. (Yes, I use Hardline and Marksman on almost every class. They are the the most valuable perks.) Killstreaks are, Assassin first, Sleight of Hand second, and Scavenger last. By then, you’ll need more ammo.

Class 5- When jumping into a lobby with people who are using explosives…A LOT…you need to have something up your sleeve. Class 5 is my tubing class. ACR with attachments, silencer and grenade launcher. I ONLY use this class if I have to. I go back and forth between Semtex and Frag. I like that a Frag will roll into place, but sometimes prefer to stick it somewhere 🙂

For assault killstreaks, I usually use Predator, Attack Helicopter, and Reaper.

For support, I usually use Advanced UAV, Stealth Bomber, and EMP…just to piss off the other team. Chances are, if I’m using my Support class, they’re pissing me off, so I give it right back.

My perks are always the same. I like Sleight of Hand/Blind Eye, Hardline, and Marksman. They work well for me. Find out which ones work best for you.

After playing this game for YEARS, going from GOD AWFUL to pretty-freakin’-good, following this advice will definitely help your K/D and get your some more kills. Use whatever classes you want as long as you follow these steps, you should be in a much better position to merc the enemy.

They say everything happens for a reason…

I never really knew or understood how life-changing it could be when a loved one dies. On May 21, 2011, I watched as my father took his last breaths at Saint Peter’s Hospital in Albany. It had only been five or six weeks since we found out he had stage four lung cancer, and by that time it had progressed to a point at which there was nothing more they could do. He spent his last 11 days alive in the hospital, and the last three of those on hospice care.

The pain I felt in my heart was overwhelming. Indescribable. Unless you have been in this same circumstance, you will never understand. To watch someone you love very much die right in front of you is hard enough—the things that happened in my life immediately following the most heart-breaking experience in my life made it even more overbearing.

We immediately moved back into my mother’s two-family home to try and help her with some expenses, and to just be there for her. She quickly found that, with taxes coming up soon and his final expenses (he had no life insurance) she wasn’t going to be able to afford the mortgage. She put the house on the market, and it sold in five days. They wanted to close by the end of the month, so we had about three weeks to vacate the premises. The last day before we had to be out, I went downstairs into my mother’s apartment to say goodbye to our cat who we had for about eight years (he was staying with the house per the new buyer’s request), and I had a realization. My whole family was now gone. Everyone. Growing up, it was my Mother, Father, The Dog, The Cat, and I. Our dog had died in February, my Father in May, now the cat was gone, and my Mother was moving away. My entire family was gone. I had taken them for granted for so long, and now they were all gone. I could still call my mother on the phone, but they days of her being close by were no more. Now it would be weeks – even months between seeing her

We found out later that week that it would be my husband’s last day at work. He worked for a subcontractor for DirecTV, and they were bought out by a larger corporation. Almost everyone that worked there was out of a job, including him. So, along with everything else that was going on in our lives, now this. We had no money saved up to move into a new apartment, and with him losing his job we really had nowhere left to go. We called my husband’s parents and asked if we could stay at their home for an undisclosed length of time. They have a nice home, with two extra bedrooms, so I suppose it worked out fine.

Now, here we are a month and a half later, living in a home with five people and six cats. They already had four cats—Fuzzy, Cleo, Lucy and Flash, and we have our two—Clamps and Tiny Dancer. I have never before in my life had allergies to any animal. However, living in a house with six cats, I have developed the itchiest eyes I have ever had, along with a nose that at times runs like a water faucet.

I feel awful. We are a married 25-year-old couple with no savings, a one-year-old child, and two cats. We are such bums. Living in a house with this many living creatures just does NOT feel natural. I’m not sure how the Amish do it. I know it seems more economical to all live together and conserve things, but not at the expense of my privacy. My husband and I have had our own household for almost eight years. At first, I must admit it was nice to have dinner on the table at 6 o’clock every night, and have the dishes done, and not have to clean much but at a certain point I want to cook my own dinners again. I wish I could be using my dishes, and sitting on my brand new furniture. We were so unprepared for all of this.

I am currently in the process of taking control of my life. A month after my father died, I decided to enroll in school. He had always told me to go to school and do something with myself, and after what I had saw and heard from him over the last week or so of his life, I knew I did NOT want to waste ANY MORE of my life…ever. If something that quick and drastic could happen to someone like him, then it could happen to anyone. Even me. I looked at my family’s situation and knew I couldn’t depend on anyone to change it. Not my mother, not even my husband. I knew I couldn’t complain about something I wasn’t willing to take action on. I took on a second, part-time job at Stewart’s and eventually quit my full time job to work there only. Working two jobs and going to school full time, along with having a family was too much for me, so I decided that one part time job was enough. School needs to be my number one priority if I’m ever going to get my family out of the situation we’re in.

My husband recently heard of a good job opportunity, so he’s in the process of interviewing for that, and applying to other companies in the area. Hopefully he will get something soon (UPDATE- He got that job!). For now, I suppose things worked out all right. We are all still alive (for now), my mother is happy in her new life, I am on a career path that will make me very fulfilled (and rich, hopefully), my husband is able to stay home with the baby so we can avoid day care costs, and we are all okay. We’re also saving up some money and most important of all – I now have direction. Something I never had before. I know where we are, and I know where we need to be.

I would have to say that my father dying changed my entire life. It hurts me very much to think that he is gone, but in a way, it made me a better person. I now have an appreciation for life that I never had before. I have purpose and direction and a will to succeed. It’s hard to think of my father’s death as a positive experience, but when I think of all the knowledge and power that I received from having gone through that, I can’t say it was bad. If it was going to happen anyway, I am so glad that I took what I could from it and gained what I did. I feel and know he would be proud of me right now even though we are living with my husband’s parents. All he ever wanted was for me to work hard to reach my full potential, and I never did before. It feels satisfying to know that I am doing everything I possibly can to make my life turn into what I want it to be, while I still can.