Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2014 - 05:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: riot games, moba, lol, free to play
MOBAs are known to be intricate, unforgiving PC games. League of Legends is one of the most popular at the moment (#1 PC game in terms of hours played for May 2014 according to Raptr). It is free to install and play, with small purchases to unlock more content ("microtransaction"). The free-to-play business model is quite interesting, albeit polarizing, because your commitment starts when your users installs your title, not ends. This often leads to one of two outcomes: abusers of human psychology or constantly developed, great games that strive to never get boring.
Now you can see why it is polarizing (or just read our impending comments).
The business model does permit games that are deep in gameplay mechanics, however, if it keeps a core user base playing (and buying additional content) forever. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult for new players to join -- especially when it is competitive and multiplayer.
Riot Games noted that they were uncomfortable with how many of their players lose "Battle Training", which is supposed to be a tutorial. Some even prove to have significant skill later on. They interpret this as the problem being how they educate new players. There is high complexity that is fair, and then there is just bad user experience.
"Intro Bots" is designed to be a mode which adjusts its difficulty to match the player currently, and as they progress. Hopefully it works. Obviously that is the limiting factor. It does seem to be designed reasonably. It teaches with repetition and in realistic scenarios.
Intro Bots is coming soon, after a brief stop in public beta. Ironically, the public beta realm was refered to as "PBE"... in a press release for a feature intended to be easier for new players. You know, the people who might not know the game's vocabulary. Just saying.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 11, 2014 - 05:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kraken X61, nzxt, AIO, water cooling
NZXT's new Kraken X61 has a new trick up its sleeving, a variable speed pump for those who want as quiet a cooler as possible. [H]ard|OCP found that the design was so efficient and quiet that they really didn't need that feature but for those with sensitive ears it might be a perfect solution. The performance was on par with many of the other AIO coolers they have tested however the price was higher at ~$140 which may be a deal breaker for some. The other possible barrier for potential purchasers is the lack of documentation for both the physical installation and the software; experienced users will not be daunted by this but those who are not comfortable with muddling around in advanced settings and mounting coolers may want to print out the online docs before attempting to use the X61.
"NZXT is known to many enthusiasts for its computer cases but not so much for its Kraken series of CPU closed loop liquid coolers. After a year of design NZXT has introduced its new Kraken X61. Its claim to fame is that it is the "world's first variable speed liquid cooler." Let's see what this variable RPM pump does for the new Kraken."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240 @ techPowerUp
- Swiftech Apogee XL CPU Block Review @HiTech Legion
- Cooler Master Seidon 120XL Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Review @ OCC
- NZXT Phantom 240 Case Review @ Neoseeker
- DimasTech EasyXL Test Bench Review @ Modders-Inc
- Raidmax Horus MX Micro ATX Tower Review @ NikKTech
- In Win S-Frame @ techPowerUp
- In Win S-Frame Open Air Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Rosewill Legacy W1 Mini-ITX @ Benchmark Reviews
- Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Full Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
- SilentiumPC Aquarius X90 Mid-Tower Case Review @ Madshrimps
- BitFenix Comrade M-ATX Chassis @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2014 - 09:20 PM | Scott Michaud
There have been significant changes in the Top 20 list of most played PC games for June. Raptr, the service for PC gamers to update drivers, stream gameplay, and tune settings, records the number of hours played for each game, compiling it into a monthly list. While not sales figures, it does suggest how popular one game is compared to another -- at least if you want to factor in hours played, not just the number of players.
By far the most funny increase is Battlefield 3. This month, due to EA's Origin "On the House" program, the three-year-old shooter jumped thirty places, from 42nd to 12th. At the same time, Battlefield 4 dropped three places, from 7th to 10th, leaving it with just a 0.04% lead over its previous version. Jokes aside, this probably means that EA has a significant, untapped user base who would be interested in the Battlefield franchise.
Watch Dogs jumped eleven places, from 19th to 8th, which might sound surprising but was actually predicted by Raptr. The bigger surprise is how high it was in the last ranking, being that it launched on May 27th. That was a lot of usage for just a handful of days, almost as much as Team Fortress 2 had for the entire month.
Of course, League of Legends is still in first place, over doubling the game time of DOTA2.
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