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In an age where free PC games are becoming increasingly common, the burden falls on us hardcore gamers to try out all games and figure out which ones are worth our time. League of Legends (LoL) by Riot Games is one free game that stands out among the crowd as being very fun, competitive, and graphically beautiful to behold. Essentially, it’s a stand-alone Defense of the Ancients (DotA) game, which is a highly popular Warcraft III The Frozen Throne custom map.

There has been a demand and rumor for a stand-alone Defense of the Ancients for a long time. Coincidentally, two games are being released in a very short time. League of Legends was released only two months ago, while Heroes of Newerth (another DotA like game) will enter open beta very soon. League of Legends consist of minds such as Guinsoo, a previous designer of DotA, and Pendragon, the administrator of dota-allstars.com.

In LoL, your team consists of one to five players, depending on the map and game, and each player controls a Champion. As of right now, there are 43 champions to choose from, which invoke a lot of variety and replayability. Each champion has their own persona with their own set of powers. So it’s very interesting to try out the different Champions, based on their characteristic (such as Tank, Figter, Mage, Assasin, Support, etc) and choose one as a favorite. Chances are, you will want to try out all the Champions to learn their powers so that you don’t get surprised in-game against a cunning opponent. Each Champion has a set of 4 ability powers, and can level up to 18th level, having the chance to improve one ability power each new level.

Your basic objective is to destroy the enemy headquarter, or Nexus. To do that, you have to destroy the towers along each lanes (one map has 3 lanes, the traditional DotA map, and the other map has 2 lanes). Periodically minions will spawn and head towards the towers. So it’s your job to aid your minions and push them towards the enemy tower to clear the way. As easy as it sounds, the enemy will be trying the same thing, which makes it all the more fun.

Other RPG elements include buying items with gold (you accumulate gold constantly and also through killing enemies). The items further diversify LoL, because of the endless possibilities of customizing your Champion. While LoL offers you item recommendations for each Champion, you might want to build your own sets of items depending on how you play. A notable difference from DotA is the inclusion of only one item shop in your base, where the items are neatly organized into categories. First tab includes Attack, Defense, Movement, Consumables; each tab is farther subdivided, for instance Attack tab contains Life Steal, Attack Speed, and so on. Furthermore, if you click on an item, you can see what advanced items you can build from this one. In fact, if you have enough gold, you can build an advanced item simply by buying that. This saves a lot of time rather than buying each individual item before buying the advanced item. All these features make LoL a very newbie-friendly game and takes away some of the steep learning curve associated with DotA.

Another interesting inclusion in LoL is the Summoner system. As a Summoner, you gain experience and influence points for playing each game (practice games earn you less). Your stats are also tracked through your Summoner page. You can also buy Runes to modify your Champion powers. As your Summoner gains levels, you can unlock new Rune slots. Each new Summoner Level also gives you a Mastery point, which you can then put into Passive skills that improve your Champion’s stats and spells. The Mastery, reminiscent of WoW, contains of three sections: Offense, Defense, and Utility. Personally, the Summoner system is a nice touch, as it encourages finishing a game to gain Summoner levels. You don’t gain any XP or IP for leaving.

League of Legends has an interesting matchmaking system that pits players of similar Summoner levels against each other in a 5v5 game. So far, I haven’t been disappointed in this, even though sometimes it can take a while to find a game. The Practice games room, on the other hand, is almost always filled with players and open games to join. While Practice games do earn you slightly less XP, it’s a quick way to jump into a game and have fun. The chat and messenger function is nicely integrated as well, and serves its purpose wonderfully.

Graphics-wise, League of Legends looks beautiful with its cel-shaded animations. It certainly has a stylized unique feel to it, and is definitely a much better update to DotA. Each character looks unique and fresh and the spell effects are wonderful while not being a pain for the eyes. With a decent graphics card, you should be able to run the game at a full 60 fps without any stutter and beautiful images. The map has two modes, Summer and Winter, and the graphics of each mode is gorgeous to behold, Winter being my slightly higher preference.

The sound effects of League of Legends are awesome. I love the effects of each spell, some of which are very unique. The music suits the mood of the game and delivers an intense feel while you are in the heat of battle. The Champion selection screen has a particular drum beat music that reminds me of ancient wars and sets me in the mood every time. While the amount of voice acting for each Champion is limited, they are still original and entertaining most of the time.

The only drawback of League of Legends is the lack of content; we know that much more will be released soon, via in-game options and website news, but it’s all very teasing. For instance, we are promised ranked games, more champions, more items, and better features. At this stage, the game should be safely called to be in open beta. You will see that not all Champions will be available to you at once; you can either buy the digital version to unlock everything, or win IP and buy them. It’s possible to play League of Legends without paying a single dime; only cosmetic upgrades cost real money.

Overall, League of Legends is a very addicting and fun filled game that will certainly draw DotA veterans who want an improved game. It will also draw a lot of players who wanted to try out DotA, but never had the courage to overcome the steep barrier amidst cussing from the hardcore DotA community. Either way, expect LoL to be filled with players online at all times. League of Legends is a game that promises to grow, and I hope they reach a final stage very soon.

CS Secrets Revealed - Counter-Strike Pwnage Guide


No matter how hardware companies release new product after new product to impress us, there are still classic gaming products that haven’t really been outmatched yet. Some have simply fallen under the radar of of hardware companies, or there is an original version of a product we’ve simply fallen in love with despite all the remakes, and sometimes there’s just an old feeling that seem like will never be replaced with new technology. So keep reading this special article on rare discontinued gear you should look out for.

The 120 hz monitor

First, we have an item that’s becoming harder and harder to find, but that’s still a must for any LAN BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Computer) fanatic: the old huge white 120hz CRT monitor. Indeed, if you hope to find the incredible gaming performance of a 120hz CRT monitor, you will have to carry the weight and the simple color and design that come with it. It’s still totally worth it though.

"If it's so heavy, why is it so suited for BYOCs then?" Well to this day, a huge 120hz CRT monitor still performs better than any other monitor, particularly the heavily-advertised LCDs. Until further improvements are made to LCDs, especially ghosting, CRTs will be king. Ghosting is a blur of images in fast motion and performance in games is heavily affected by it. Although ghosting has become more and more subtle on LCDs as the years go by, it is still present, and that’s without mentioning ghosting wasn’t even ever an issue on CRTs in the first place. Therefore, the players that are most likely to appreciate and notice the difference with a 120hz CRT monitor compared to LCDs are players that play very high-speed and quick-turning games like Quake, Unreal Tournament and different racing games. Quick turns and flick shots still seem to be way more crispy-clear and precise on that big CRT even after all these years, no matter the MS count of these overrated LCD monitors.

The Viewsonic P95f+, which can run 120hz along with great image quality.

These monitors can be hard to find, but that doesn't mean that they will cost you a lot. They are indeed often in the hands of regular computer users who bought one of these back in the days, still own one, and who will be happy to get rid of it in favor of an LCD monitor taking much less space. They usually don't even know the value it can have for gaming. Your best bet to find a big 120hz CRT is, therefore, through auctions and classified ads.

Warning: Just because you read this article, doesn't mean you should try to put your monitor on overdrive and try to reach 120hz if it isn’t capable of doing so. Doing so will most likely break it. This is why these big white CRTs are so precious: it is pretty rare to find one that was really meant to run at 120hz.

Old school mice

My Top Pick is the Razer Diamondback Original release - not the 3G one. These came in solid large boxes with a mouse pouch. I have about 6 of these original razer diamondback mouses and the sensors on these mouses are top notch. They just don't make it like these anymore.

The next rare discontinued gear you should look out for are old school mice. Most of them have been reproduced by companies like Steelseries and Razer, but the original versions are still in high-demand by both amateur and professional gamers. To my knowledge, new-technology mice by Steelseries and Razer have been known to have trust issues when it comes to their sensors that aren’t perfect when they head out in the public, so some players might want to choose the original over the modern version so that they get the piece of mind of that tried-and-tested sensor that successfully want through the years. For example, even if Steelseries has done a remake version of the Microsoft Intellimouse 3.0, it never even came close to reaching the popularity of the original because well… nothing beats the original version of a legendary product. Mice are all about feeling good in your hand, and when a mouse is so critically acclaimed as the 3.0, you can’t help but think the original is perfect and shouldn’t be touched or remade in any way. Even the very similar re-release by Microsoft of the 3.0 wasn’t as popular as the very first model before it was discontinued. (which triggered the rage of gamers at the time).

A very slick and accurate remake of the 3.0 by Steelseries, but purists are still looking for originals…

Of course, a lot of modern gaming mice have the option of updating the firmware, but why care about updates when you already have stable and consistent mouse? The firmware are the program and data structures that control an electronic device. Plus, modern gaming mice have been known to have a pretty limited lifespan, while old school mice user are bragging about how they have been carrying the same one around for almost a decade.

See you in the classified ads!

CS Secrets Revealed - Counter-Strike Pwnage Guide

Video Lesson 4b

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CS Secrets Revealed - Counter-Strike Pwnage Guide

Here is a quick optimization guide showing how to adjust key settings in Counter-Strike Global Operations (GO) for Counter-Strike veterans and new-comers into the CS community. At first glance CS GO just looks like a prettied up Counter-Strike Source version with many of the default maps like De_Dust, De_dust 2, aztec, train, and inferno, most of the guns and gadgets in CS source with a few additional ones, and gameplay tweaked a little. I'm not going to go over strategies, or shooting techniques with this first part and just go over the main things you need to adjust to make CS GO optimized for higher shooting accuracy. There is still a console tab that can be enabled in CS GO by going to Help & Options -> Game settings At the bottom check the Enabled developer Console with the ~ key being the default key to open.

Next go to Keyboard and Mouse Settings. In this settings tab disable mouse acceleration and raw mouse input.By default these are on.

Next go to Game Settings. The first option on this tab allows you to change the crosshair for CS GO. By default it is a dynamic crosshair with a dot in the middle and 4 small lines in the  horizontal and vertical position. When burst firing this is just too crazy and will distract your eyes. I suggest setting this to classic, classsic static or static default. Another good crosshair option is just making a small dot in the middle of your screen without any lines - just a dot in the center. This can be accomplished now with commands  cl_crosshairdot 1 and cl_crosshairthickness 2 and cl_crosshairscale 0

 

 

 

CS Secrets Revealed - Counter-Strike Pwnage Guide

Video Lesson  4b

Continue Reading »

CS Secrets Revealed - Counter-Strike Pwnage Guide

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