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GTA V Releases Its First Major Update For 2017

Grand Theft Auto is the real reason why people even know of Rockstar Games. These bad asses have given us titles that are gory, catchy and packed to the brim with hours of endless fun and mayhem. With GTA V, Rockstar managed to build on its reputation for endless gaming and RPG action when it announced that this would have an online multiplayer universe above and beyond its story mode. Nice move Rockstar, no wonder you guys currently top the charts worldwide for the most played RPG game at present.

In fact, if current reports are true then Rockstar Games has managed to sell over 70 million copies of GTA V. Instead of sitting on their laurels and working on future game title releases, the production house continues to toil away the hours building upgrades, new vehicles, expansion packs and what not. Latest in its series of rollouts is the new vehicles that just hit the GTA universe. This has already created a buzz around the GTA community with many even saving up virtual mullah just so they can get their shiny new dream machine.

The newest content available for download in the GTA 5 universe is the final piece of the 2016 packs and it is available on all platforms. The Dewbauchee Spectre sports car is now open for sale at Benny’s Original Motor Works shop with a price tag of $599,000. This is a two-door coupe that boasts of exclusivity and Benny will strip it down to the core and reassemble it into a super beast as per the player’s liking – as Rockstar describes the Dewbauchee Spectre on its official website.

Along with the release of this sports car, Rockstar has also added another game mode in the Adversary Mode, which they are calling Collection Time. The objective of this brand new mode is to pick through opponents in a defined sequence within a given time frame. This particular mode was long awaited but it was called “Pointless” at the time, or so the gossip columns suggest. Benny’s shop will now offer till 30th January a discount of 25 percent on any upgrade done to a new or old car. Finally, the Executive Upgrade will dole out more discounts on upgrades that players make in their personal garage.

Seems that the holiday spirit is lingering at the Rockstar studios. The developers aren’t happy with all the shiny new things they just gave us so they have decided to double the GTA$ and RP for Special Vehicle Works and Online Biker Clubhouse Contracts. This too will last till January 30th. A few other items too received a markdown such as Biker Business Properties, any import/export tattoo, Executive Garage renovations and also the Custom Auto Shop renovations.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Rockstar ended its tirade of upgrades and discounts by announcing yet another premium race that it dubbed, “Chiliad”. This being a stunt race, allows players to generate a whole lot of GTA$ by simply finishing in the top three. Outside the top spots though players don’t get any GTA$ but have to make do with RP.

Why Is Rockstar Actively Supporting GTA V

It truly is astonishing how hard the developers are working at keeping GTA V relevant. No wonder then that the fan base just keeps on growing. As per current estimates, the growth does not seem likely to stop for at least a couple more years even with the new titles, “Red Dead Redemption 2” and “GTA 6” scheduled for launch in the near future. If the folks at Rockstar had their way, they would continue keeping GTA 5 alive for another decade. All this is possible thanks to the online multiplayer mode. In fact, 95% of the updates rolled out periodically are aimed towards the multiplayer arena, some debugs while most giving level updates, add-ons, new vehicle packs and much more.

It makes a lot of sense too as to why Rockstar Games continues to invest in the upkeep of a released title. First, GTA V is still its major money spinner. Second, if it can keep the profits up from this title, the risks of its future title’s uncertain income are mitigated in the long run. In fact, current fan following for “Red Dead Redemption 2” isn’t all that great if you compare it to GTA V though there is a lot of hype surrounding this particular title. According to GTA 5 Cheats, the gaming community doesn’t seem that excited with the upcoming title and the chances of it ever overtaking GTA V in terms of popularity is slim.

Just recently GTA V Online was scheduled for a crucial update across all platforms. While this wasn’t particularly advertised, some players who witnessed a few glitches reported the servers showing them an “update is coming” screen. If it refers only to the vehicle pack that just came out, or if it is for a major overhaul/addition – only time will tell.

One thing is for certain though. Cross-platform popularity is priority for the developers as they have promised a final DLC content release this year. Take for instance the background scripts which are being tweaked by Rockstar Games. This has caused many players a lot of pain as they get booted out from the system and notified of a critical update which would be taking care of the issue.

samsung notebook odyssey

Samsung Makes Foray Into Gaming Laptop Segment, Announces The Notebook Odyssey

A week back, Samsung Electronics announced its Notebook Odyssey, a brand new entrant in the world of portable gaming PCs. Available in two models, Samsung provides the option to buyers of either a smaller screen of 15.6 inch or a larger screen of 17.3 inch. As of now though, the 15.6-inch model has its specifications clearly laid out by Samsung and it seems this unit will ship with a GTX1050 GDDR5 4GB graphics card.

As hardware differences between laptops and desktops begin to disappear, demand for portable gaming machines grows. Customers today are just as much interested in laptops with gaming capabilities as they are in building their own PC from scratch. The latest generation of graphics cards from NVidia has made it easier for laptop makers to market their gaming products as cutting edge. This was earlier a problem since laptop versions of graphics cards always underperformed as opposed to their desktop variants.

Samsung has taken this opportunity and the power of the 10 series GTX NVidia cards to enter the gaming market with its Odyssey segment. The Samsung Odyssey Laptop just won the innovation award at CES 2017 Las Vegas and is reported to sell for 1.8 million won, which is around $1528. Considering, the rave reception it received at the Las Vegas show, maybe it truly is worth the steep price on its head.

In the words of YoungGyoo Choi, the Senior Vice President for the PC Business Team at Samsung Electronics, “The Notebook Odyssey is exclusively designed keeping gamers in mind. It is equipped with features that will give users the best ever gaming experience from a notebook”. In the current age, gamers prefer a stylish, powerful and portable solution rather than a premium bulky and fixed unit. Samsung is confident that its newest entrant will be able to steal some of the market from existing big punters such as Alienware, MSI and the lot.

High Performance and Power

Keeping the desires of casual and intense gamers in mind, the engineers at Samsung have produced the unique body and cooling system for the Notebook Odyssey. The outer casing of this laptop features a HexaFlow Vent that basically provides better ventilation and cooling by guzzling in a lot more air and improving the airflow through the inside of the laptop. Additionally, if the customer wants to upgrade his machine, he can open the HexaFlow vents on the bottom panel to switch out the memory and storage device.

To ensure performance without a compromise in power, the Samsung Notebook Odyssey will come equipped with 7th Generation Core i7 Intel processors 45W. These processors will operate on both the smaller 15.6 inch and larger 17.3 inch models and shall use actual four cores rather than hyper threading.

Superior Display With Vivid High Quality Images

On the display front, these performance machines boast of a beautiful display that offers backlight as high as 300 nits on the 17.3-inch model and 280 nits on the 15.6-inch model. The high brightness should help gamers get superior clarity and crystal clear images. The screen is also treated to remove glare and reduce reflections as much as possible. As for viewing angles, the Samsung Notebook Odyssey brings life-like color contrast regardless of the angle you view from thanks to the wide-view angle display. Overall, the screen performance of the Odyssey series will outmatch any ever made by Samsung and knowing this company’s history with television panels and screens, it should be a real treat for the eyes.

Design Meets Function Through Usability

How can you provide superior functionality without compromising on the design aspects? The designers at Samsung must have spent several sleepless nights trying to pack the innovations, power and performance into a casing that won’t just look attractive but also justify its gaming ambitions.

The end result is an innovative design refined for optimal usability, stylish and yet highly functional. One key aspect where Samsung seems to have made improvements is in the portability. Up until now, most gaming laptop makers gave a lot of features and performance but failed in portability by making the machines big and bulky. Samsung has gone the opposite way by ensuring ergonomics is maintained as well as the weight of the complete package.

Samsung promises ergonomic curved keycaps that will provide better tactile performance and response in gaming scenarios. The keys are 0.5mm volcano keys on the 17.3-inch unit while the 15.6-inch unit will feature 0.3mm crater keys. Keys on the Samsung Notebook Odyssey 17.3-inch model will come with individual backlit color for keycaps thus providing customers the chance to customize their keyboard experience.

Moving away from the hardware and gaming features, the software package seems rather sleek too with the ability to share files with compatible smartphones, PC Gallery, PC Message and more.

The Inspiration

As seen in the teaser trailer for the Samsung Notebook Odyssey, the notebooks draw their styling and inspiration from the legendary dragon. This is in fact noticeable in the device features such as the front logo that bears close resemblance to the eye of a dragon while the vents instantly appear as scales of the magnificent beast.

While the teaser doesn’t reveal much else, what is evident is that the gaming laptop will be cutting edge in design and features. As seen in the recently held CES 2017, both models come feature packed and cleverly designed. As standard both will ship with 8GB DDR4 memory, 256GB SSD and Windows 10 as OS. The exact dates haven’t yet been revealed by Samsung but when they do finally begin commercial production, the Notebook Odyssey is sure to give stiff competition to existing market leaders.

  • Jonas
  • January 18, 2017
  • PC
overwatch nuking

Overwatch ‘Nuking’ Cheats Are Now Actively Hunted And Banned

Back in July 2016, Blizzard proudly reported over 15 million players worldwide with 500 million hours already been registered on its global servers. A runaway success, Overwatch continues to go strong across the globe and while the masters of online multiplayer gaming, Blizzard made a game that was enjoyable and easily acceptable beyond global borders and boundaries, it has recently landed itself in a bit of soup thanks to a new breed of players, more appropriately cheats who engage in the black arts of ‘nuking’.

As with any massive community based online game, the potential to exploit new updates, patches and releases is ever present. Blizzard only recently realized the phenomenon of nuking thanks to several official and unofficial message boards for Overwatch where players described a game behavior that eventually came to be called – ‘nuking’.

What Is Nuking

Imagine playing a match and suddenly you realize all your controls are lagging, you simply cannot do anything and it feels like your connection has either slowed to a halt or the server is facing an overload of requests. First few times, it is understandable as this happens periodically in almost all online gaming titles with servers suddenly getting overloaded with requests or your own internet connection bottoming out. However, when it happens too often and then you notice the frequency is directly proportional to the presence of specific player profiles – you know it isn’t natural. That is how nuking was discovered in overwatch.

In the practice of nuking, you bombard the opposing team’s IP with large number of packets. This basically brings the victim’s game down to a crawl allowing you to exploit the game and notch up kills and points while the victim team desperately tries to get back control over their match. With regards to the mechanism of Nuking, it is pretty close to DDoS attacks conducted on websites. In fact, if you look at the anatomy of nuking, it is practically the same thing except you are targeting specific user IPs rather than server IPs.

Why Does Nuking Suck

The problem with nuking is that it is difficult to report since your entire game has now crippled to a slow crawl. Those who notice the hack and are certain of it cannot report in-game because their system is now unplayable for the match. While almost all previous hacks were easy to report, nuking is difficult to report.

Other Dangerous Hacks

Aimbots is yet another dangerous hack but it is not limited to only Overwatch. Any multiplayer shoot’em up title suffers from this hack. Aimbots are automated scripts designed for Overwatch that help a player get kills quicker because they are automated and not user controlled. The fact is that while Aimbots exist, majority of complaints against users using aimbots boils down to sore losers who just cannot handle getting outplayed. Nevertheless, this hack is continuously being dealt with and it is much easier to tackle than Nuking because, it is easier to investigate such instances and more importantly, victims can instantly report the abuse to the game mod.

The Nuking Ban

After repeated complaints on various forums and discussion boards, Blizzard took the drastic step to ban over 10,000 players from South Korean servers who engaged in the black arts of nuking. Henceforth, Blizzard has also promised to keep a watch on the practice of nuking and ban any player or account that participates in this act.

According to Blizzard, the need for a pleasant gaming experience is key to ensuring longevity of Overwatch and thus increasing its player base. However, practices such as nuking and aimbot are detriments to their objectives as they turn away new and intermediate players as it is always impossible to compete against gaming cheats.

The Impact of the Ban

Some proponents of the ban suggest that it is impractical to impose such bans especially in a South Korea because it does not address the root of the problem. In South Korea majority of gamers do not invest into games. Instead they hop over to PC bangs, which are basically internet cafes where a customer can pay $1 per hour and enjoy any online game. PC bangs use special versions of Battle.net such that all Blizzard games are almost free to play.

Unfortunately, this method of gaming in Korea is the reason why a ban on profiles involved in nuking will not work. A banned player can simply create a new account and start playing from the beginning. He or she can then continue to practice the nuking hack until his account is once more banned. In fact, it is widely believed that several PC bangs in South Korea actually encourage their customers to engage more in the dark arts of nuking by pre-installing cheating clients on their systems!

Reddit user, TISRobins311 suggests that nearly 10% of all Overwatch Grandmasters use nuking and other hacks to maintain their position. While this is more of an educated guess, it isn’t hard to imagine this being true. With the numerous loopholes the ban presents, why would someone not indulge in this activity along with aimbots, especially if they happen to have access to PC bangs?

The good news for now though is that nuking as a practice hasn’t yet spread beyond South Korea but the popularity of this hack makes it only a matter of time before it does cross borders.

If You Are Nuked

If you are ever nuked in a match, stop trying to press the report button. Instead, immediately take down the name of all opposing players and then try to press the report button. Once you get back control of your game, immediately open a ticket to Blizzard and mention the match, opponent names and exact time that you experienced nuking.

Fact is, the ban is only a temporary solution from Blizzard to help control the outrage on forums and discussion boards worldwide. It is really only a matter of time before they come up with a permanent solution that prevents nuking. But, until then it is best to stay aware of what Nuking and Aimbot is, how you can help Blizzard and what to do if it happens to you.

  • Jonas
  • January 17, 2017
  • PC
PC gaming improvements 2017

6 Simple Improvements For PC Gaming in 2017

While 2016 saw many huge titles release, there was still a lot of room for improvement. Here’s 6 areas where we believe PC Gaming should improve in 2017.

Properly Testing Out Titles

Several major releases in 2016 left PC gamers wanting thanks to bugs, glitches and downright lack of PC testing. Major offenders for the past year include Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Forza Horizon 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Dishonored 2 and Mafia 3. The biggest though according to us was XCOM 2. The final mission for some reason kept on degrading graphics performance the further you went towards the end of the game. At the end, it was barely running at 15 fps. A patch came much later that eventually allowed gamers to finish the stage but this could have been avoided with appropriate testing before release.

Yes, developers today have to account for several hardware configurations, consoles and what not but with the resources at their disposal plus the experience of making massive game titles in the past, this should no longer happen in 2017.

Why Go Exclusive?

Over the years, the allure for PC gamers has been the lack of exclusivity. Any game that launches for a PC is playable as long as your hardware meets minimum requirements. Unlike games that are made solely for Xbox or Playstation, majority of games are actually made with PC as an eventual platform if not the first. Even your choice of OS on a PC does not matter since now most games are released eventually to operate on the Mac or Linux.

Unfortunately, the exclusivity war has reached PC Games too with a huge divide going up between users of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. While the latter relies on timed exclusives to allure users its way, the fact remains exclusivity is becoming commonplace. Take for instance the VR game, Arizona Sunshine with two game modes locked unless you had an Intel Core i7 CPU. The outrage on such exclusivity eventually forced the game developers to unlock the modes for all players but if this is a glimpse of what to expect in 2017, then we are all against exclusivity.

Allowing Modding in UWAs

As it currently stands, Microsoft’s Universal Windows Applications are safe from modding in any way. Basically, the API calls are completely secured and they cannot be modified in any manner. Unfortunately, because of this games cannot be modded after their release by developers. Players cannot create mods like before and this is a huge concern because it limits the life of a game. The moment a game stops making money, it has lost its place in the marketplace because of the lack of modding ability.

Previously on Win32 platform, players could tweak their games and make maps that kept the game alive much longer than its lifetime. We hope this comes back in 2017.

Thankless Roles in Team Cooperation

Ever since multiplayer gaming made its appearance, the onus has been on playing offensive. Hardly any player wants to be the defensive person. Why? Because game developers reward offense more than they does defense. Good to see though that Overwatch has made changes and Blizzard, its developer has downplayed the importance of kills/death ratio thus bringing in more value to support roles. This is evident from the number of players willing to take up support roles of Lucio and Mercy. If games are developed intelligently and reward more than just kills, they will become more community based and stay for longer. We just hope games of 2017 take cues from Blizzard’s Overwatch.

Preserve Dying Games

Games are dying a slow death and there is no way to preserve their legacy thanks to almost all titles going zero media route. Just recently Daybreak Games shutdown PlanetSide and soon Lineage’s western servers too will receive the same treatment. How then will these games be remembered? Only passionate hackers who build private server emulators will keep the names alive.

Best example of this problem is Diablo 2. If you ever feel the need to take a trip down memory lane, just throw in the disc and start playing but this won’t be the case with Diablo 3 when the day comes for it to get scraped. Because Blizzard does not allow offline play on it, it will simply be lost in videogame history.

In 2017, we hope to see more developers and publishers doing more to safeguard videogame history. Just because a game stopped churning in money does not mean it needs to be scraped forever. Take for instance the Everquest private server Project 1999 by Daybreak Games, why can’t more publishers go this route to preserve some gaming history?

Online only games should not be lost in oblivion once their craze dies down. They should allow players to build their own private servers, so that their history lives on.

Treat Workers Better

Contractors are always preferred by game developers and publishing houses because they need not be paid more. Besides, you don’t give benefits to contractors and they can all be fired easily the moment a contract is up. Unfortunately, this practice is so rampant in the gaming industry that employees are far and few in between. Those that exist have to suffer through unpaid overtime, which is just as rampant in the game development industry.

The film and television union has managed to overcome such situations but the game development world has yet to build its own union. It is appalling to see that publishers such as Electronic Arts, which rakes in millions per title will not agree for secondary payments or even options to SAG-AFTRA performers. The truth is that big name companies do not want employees to know just how much of the billions they make are actually owed to them.

Games in 2017 should begin sharing prosperity among employees and reduce the number of contractual employees rather than hoarding all the profits they make over the life of game titles.

  • Jonas
  • January 17, 2017
  • PC
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