Gaming, Gears of War, Multiplayer, Video Games, Xbox, XBox One

#GearsLove

I cannot say how excited I am to have Gears4 finally drop! So far I have only been able to scratch the surface of the latest installment & am breathless with anticipation of all that is to come. As anyone who knows me or has read previous posts on this site realizes, Gears of War from the beginning to the present has always been and will always be my first & deepest love. In tribute to the new release, I share this video….Enjoy ❤

And to whom it may concern: Ethel thinks of you often & appreciates your concern. Peace.

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Gaming, Multiplayer, Online, Video Games, Xbox

Handsome Jack is Calling!

Finally, the Destiny spell has been broken & who could do it better than 2K & Gearbox?

Borderlands The Pre=Sequel has it all: Four player co=op, epic weapons, interesting characters with actual personalities and names, a terrific sense of humor AND a storyline. Seriously, there is nothing I have found to complain about with this game.

First of all, I feel I must give kudos to 2K & Gearbox for giving gamers not one but TWO female characters to choose from straight out of the box. We have come a LONG way, baby, in getting lady gamers not only recognized but respected as relevant in the genre & the developers of Borderlands should be highly commended for “getting” that. Well done, well done!

In this edition of the Borderlands saga, you play alongside Handsome Jack and find out how he went from just another good guy to the notorious villain we all love to hate. He helps you to escape Pandora by sending you to the moon, which of course if being ripped apart by Lost Legion soldiers and  random degenerates. The excitement begins with the first spin of the disc. There are four classes of “heroes” to choose from: Athena, The Gladiator, Willhem, The Enforcer, Nisha, The Lawbringer, and Claptarp, The Fragtrap. Each character class has its own special skill class and three different skill trees to climb, depending on which abilities you wish to perfect.

As a huge fan of the Borderlands & Borderlands 2, I was a little taken back at first by the non-gravity, non-oxygen environments one encounters. It took a little getting used to but once I did, I found that it only adds to enjoyment of the game, especially being able to pull off astounding jumps and shoot from the air, not to mention the ability to ass slam opponents. But please, let me set the stage…..

~ I began my adventure by playing as Nisha, The Lawbringer. She is cool, cute, funny and she will melee bandits with a badass bullwhip. Her “special” is called Showdown, which auto aims enemies and temporarily raises gun damage, fire rate, reload & bullet speed and reduces recoil.  It is extremely effective. We first met Nisha in Borderlands 2, as an enemy to dispose of. Being able to play as her gives interesting insight into her psyche and exactly what makes her tick. She is as bloodthirsty as ever and her insights on life will leave you ROTFL. She is loads of fun!

At the moment, I am playing an add-on character, Lady Hammerlock, Aurelia, the Diva. She happens to be Sir Hammerlock’s much hated sister. For those of you who have played Borderlands 2, you will remember Hammerlock as the scientist/researcher type who sends you on several missions, usually involving something like skag poo or robotic eyes. Aurelia makes her first appearance in the Pre Sequel as his jet-setting, aristocratic sister who is heir to the family fortune & whose heart is as frozen as the enemy bouncing shurikens she doles out. I am thoroughly enjoying this character & cannot wait to delve deeper into her narcissistic persona.

Guns, guns, guns! Borderlands has them all. From regular, everyday bullets to those that cause explosive, fire or ice damage. Throw lasers into the mix and this game becomes an online shooter’s sweetest dream. Tired of walking through Borderlands? Climb on a Moon Zoomy with your co-op buddies or ride solo on a Stingray. Want to trade items with a friend or give them that awesomely cool class mod you’ve found but can’t use? No problem with the in-game trading system. Want to give your character a new look? Belly up to the New You Station for alternative skins and heads. Want to try a different avatar? You have the ability to have up to eight different character saves without losing any game progression on any of them.

In my opinion, everything about this game is spot on & I, for one, am loving it! The developer’s formula of a strong storyline, 4 player co-op, interesting characters, badass weaponry, a wicked sense of adult humor & sarcasm and plenty of DLC coming down the pike makes this game a must have for anyone who enjoys an online shooter.

Let’s get to shootin’ & lootin’, Vault Hunter! Cya on the box!

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Gaming, PC, Playstation, Video Games, Xbox

I AM Gamer

I approach video games much the same as I do life: I want to get something out of it. Whether that something is time with my friends, progression of an interesting storyline, slaying a badass boss or raising my gamerscore, I need some type of payoff to make it all seem worthwhile.

Hanging with my friends is probably the number one reason I game. There is a bonding effect to co-op gaming. Sometimes my guy and I will split-screen when we don’t have to or “pass the paddle” between us even though we both have consoles. We do this because we enjoy the closeness and the comradery created by putting two minds together. And we love discovering & experiencing new adventures side by side. Together.

The same goes for online co-op. There is a feeling of satisfaction when you have found the right wingman or group to game with. I fully believe that once you know a person’s fighting style, you pretty much know them as a person. It is a beautiful thing when a group moves as one across a virtual battlefield, watching each other’s backs, anticipating one another’s next move, achieving victory as a whole. My regs and I could complete the hardest of challenges together, without a word to one another because we know each other’s style well enough to practically read thoughts telepathically. When you spend hundreds of gaming hours with someone, you definitely get to know them in a way that others may not. Some of my closest friends I met on Xbox.

Gamerscore is another thing that motivates me to pick up the controller. I can be a bit of a “cheevos ho” & when the mood strikes, I can farm for hours just to get that 20g. The best is when we all go achievement hunting together as a group. Helping each other and doing whatever it takes to get the bling. Believe me, when you wingman with someone for weeks straight trying to get that almost in reach but nearly impossible achievement without a word of complaint or a hint of hesitation, you have found a friend indeed.

Yes, gaming is a social experience for the most part, but I also enjoy it because it relieves stress and aggression. I have heard tales of people committing horrendous crimes in reality and blaming violent video games or movies for their actions. I find that to be an unbelievable cop-out. Surely, such individuals had major problems before playing that game or watching that flick. For me, there is nothing I like better after a long, hard day at work than to come home and “shoot some shit in the face.” (virtually, of course) I find it rather relaxing, And it is certainly better than taking out any pent-up aggression that I may be experiencing on the real world around me.

Video games once thought to turn our brains to mush and make us anti-social trolls have now been proven to be good for us. They help to develop hand-eye coordination as well as exercise the brain, teach cooperation and foster good sportsmanship. With the development of Kinect and Wi, you can now literally exercise your body while you game. It’s a total win-win.

To identify as a gamer no longer has the stigma it once carried. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. Once accused of having no life, gamers have changed the world by hosting charity events, giving back to their communities and raising awareness of all types of issues. Once stereotyped as basement living, socially inept, teenagers, the persona of gamers has grown to include doctors, lawyers, plumbers, waitresses, business owners and even the hot mom next door, etc. Gamers have proven that they fit into no particular box and even though they enjoy the hobby of gaming, they are capable of and are accomplishing so much more. Truly, who doesn’t game anymore? Before any non-console or non-pc gamers answer that question, think about your reply the next time you grow a virtual garden on your Facebook page or play Angry Birds or Candy Crush  on your phone or tablet. Gamers are everywhere!  And I am happy & proud to be part of the community.

I am gamer. And more than likely, so are you.

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Destiny, Far Cry 4, Gaming, Gears of War, Kinect, Xbox, XBox One

Pop Goes the Weasel

Old Saint Nick was a sweetheart this year. He left a shiny new Xbox One under my tree, so I am guessing I have been an extremely good girl this year. 🙂  The holiday season was a busy one, as usual, so while the XBOne and I haven’t been properly introduced as of yet, we have fooled around a bit. The console itself is bigger than the 360. It reminds me a little of the original Xbox. Just more sleek. The dashboard is similar enough to what I’m used to that I had no problems navigating it and neither will anyone who may have purchased Xbox One as their first gaming system. It did come with a Kinect which I have not tried out yet. I’m sure I will not be disappointed when the time comes. I am told by others that the Kinect will allow for voice control over the system as well as hand comands, Skype and of course, one is necessary for the truly interactive physicality of Kinect games, such as Just Dance, Xbox Fitness or The Fighter Within.

The first game that I plugged into my new console was Far Cry 4. I was a huge player of its predecessor so my expectations were high and I am happy to say that I am not disappointed. Ubisoft has once again delivered a beautiful game with colorful characters, an interesting storyline and loads & loads of stuff to do. Straight from the opening scene, the excitement and adventure is rich and intriguing. I know that this game will be in my tray for quite a while and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys shooters.

The next game that I tried on the XBOne was Destiny  I know, I know, you have heard me bitch about this game and as I have explained, I’m still spinning it on 360. Mostly for the multiplayer value. Just so happens, my cousin also moved on to the next-gen console at Christmas and he made sure to provide me with a copy of Destiny so we could take this journey together. Games for the XBOne must be installed and this does take a little time. Next I had trouble connecting to Destiny servers but who doesn’t these days? Even Dinklebot looses signal in the Ocean of Storms story mission. Between Bungie’s Zoo (baboon, elk, rabbit, kingfisher, sheep, weasel, Marion Berry, etc.) & asshole hackers, I had a difficult time getting this version of Destiny to load. When I finally did get to play…wow! The graphics “pop” and are much more pristine than in the 360 version. All of my Destiny 360 content moved over to the new console effortlessly and even the DLC, The Dark Below downloaded without me having to repurchase the season pass. This I was thrilled about! It saves me money and it makes it easy to bounce between platforms depending on my mood and who I’m playing with. That being said, I would not mind spending more time on the XBOne version, if I could ever get to the servers. Eight out of ten times when I try to play Destiny on  XBOne, I can’t, even though I have done an uninstall/reinstall. Thank my lucky stars I have Far Cry to fall back on during these times.

Even though I have plenty of new “shinys” to explore, examine and experience (all of which you will be hearing about in the near future), tonight, my friends and are going old school. We are spinning my first love, Gears of War 2 as well as a little Gears 3, just to get the party star-ted. 🙂 Yes! It’s officially game night ’round here and I for one cannot wait to be back in the arms of Marcus Fenix as his frag-taggin’, two-piecing, cog-lovin’, death-defying, killing machine, femme fatale!! It’s going to be a BLAST!

See ya’ll on the box! Stay warm & stay real!

Peace

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Destiny, Gaming, Xbox

Let’s Get Sharded!

Yes! I am still spinning Destiny in spite of the fact that Bungie is at the top of my naughty list this holiday season. The disappearing Murmur is my bone of contention. According to the forums over at bungie.net, the weapon has vanished from many player’s backpacks. This is obviously a flaw in the DLC, The Dark Below, but Bungie has yet to do anything about it and a posted a statement on their website saying this:

BNGHelp4

Dec 14 at ‎8‎:‎43‎:‎43‎ ‎PM Permalink
“Hi everyone,
We have taken your information and have spun up an investigation. That said, we   cannot restore missing items or gear. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
I find this response totally unacceptable. First of all, the way I see it everyone who purchased the DLC, The Dark Below, paid $35 for the Murmur. It was a mission based drop from Eris. No one had to complete some grand feat or spend hours of gameplay to attain it. Secondly, the implication here is that the missing weapons are the fault of the gamer or cases of user fraud. That, in itself, is a kick in the teeth to all who play Destiny and frankly, is insulting as hell. Well, I have news for Bungie: One claim of the Murmur disappearing or even a dozen, may constitute the possibility of fraud, but hundreds of reports of the same problem means that the error is yours and the responsibility of “making it right” rests solely on your shoulders. The fact that a studio that is as successful as said mentioned would sweep this issue under the rug and then take a “sorry about your bad luck” attitude is beyond me. I mean let’s face it, IF there are cases where someone’s weapon was replaced illegitimately (ie., they have broken it down and claimed to have lost it just so they can get another, which in my opinion is ludicrous, but hey, Bungie is the one that is suggesting this, not I) IF that were the case, which it isn’t but IF it were & IF Bungie were to replace the Murmur thru the Postmaster, Cryptarch or various other creative ways, what is the worst that would happen? Players would end up with an extra weapon that they would dismantle and receive a shard?!? Please! Does Bungie really feel that would be such a loss?? Is a shard really worth all the bad press and lost revenue that could result from the fallout of Bungie not standing behind their product? I personally feel that a “patch” or “fix” was not and has not been put into place because someone would have to lose some valuable holiday time away from the studio in order to correct the problem. And we, the consumers are obviously not worth the overtime it would take. Or the loss of a programmer’s extra slice of pumpkin pie on Christmas.
On this matter, my message to Bungie is this: If “Sorry for the inconvenience” is the best you can do, how about I inconvenience you by never buying another product that comes out of your studio! Seriously, the only reason the game is still in my tray is for the multiplayer value. And that will get old as the grapes grow more and more sour. My friends and I will move on. So will others. The competition is high. There are other games coming out on the regular. There are other development houses that guarantee excellence and care about the satisfaction of their customers, that own their mistakes and do their best to correct them. It is a shame that the first MMO that I have actually enjoyed playing has disappointed me (and others) so profoundly. My voice is small, Bungie, but I can make it large. And I intend to make it large enough to tell anyone who is listening that I paid cold, hard, cash for a product that is defective. And that no one at your studio cares.  Please correct your mistake and restore the faith.
And please address the issue of the Vanguard Mentor Missive which does not work. (for me anyway). It is broken. If not fixed, that will make two weapons that I have lost out on since The Dark Below dropped. I am not a happy camper. And I can’t help but feel that I have been “sharded” on. Big time.
Thanks, Bungie & Happy Holidays!
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Destiny, Gaming, Xbox

All I Want For Christmas Is My Murmur Back ~ I’ve Been Robbed!

In between all the turkeys and tinsel and family get-togethers, it is hard for a girl to find the time to pick up a controller. But hey, who doesn’t love the holidays and the joy this time of year brings. And fear not, lads and lassies, a true gamer will always make the time to push that button no matter how hectic one’s schedule may become.

Of course, I picked up the DLC that dropped December 9th for Destiny ~ The Dark Below. This addition to the game definitely raises the bar and offers some new objectives for players that may have been feeling like things were getting a little stale. Especially those of us who have been spinning it since drop date. The addition of Eris and her missions give us some deeper perspective on the very vague storyline. The bounties she hands out make me think though that she may be a jilted lover of Crota and is having Guardians exact her revenge on him and the Hive. She definitely has it out for them specifically.

Along with the new missions that Eris provides, players will find new and more powerful weaponry and armor from vendors on tower. These items will be needed because the Blades of Crota have invaded and they are much more formidable enemies than previously seen in the game.

I am enjoying the DLC for the most part and only have two negative things to say about it:

1. The new portion of the game feels like it should have been part of the original $60 game. Story wise, I feel no real connection to any of the game characters, not even the one I play. Bungie basically shipped us the game and said play it with no explanation or a very vague one, as to how or why we got here and how things became they way they are.  I am told that you can learn more about the backgrounds of the races and enemies in the game by going online and reading the grimoire cards collected during gameplay. But truly, I barely can find time to play, much less spend hours on bungie.net reading what I could be learning through storyline. I feel that the best games touch a nerve and create a emotional bond with the gamer. Destiny lacks this. Too, the stronger items now available seem as though they should have been in play from the start. I understand that the main objective of development houses is to keep their game in your console for as long as possible and DLC helps to achieve that. I find sandbagging unacceptable though.I have absolutely no proof that is what happened here. This is just an opinion. Maybe it’s just me but I do wonder if The Dark Below was ever part of the original storyboard.

2. I ran into a major problem doing a daily story which just happened to be a DLC mission. At some point during this , a very nice legendary fusion rifle, which was given to me by Eris, called Murmur and does both Arc and Solar damage, disappeared from my backpack. No, I did not break it down. It just vanished. Looking at the forums, I am not the only unfortunate soul this has happened to. Also during this same session, Eris presented me with a Vanguard Mentor Missive and instructed me to take it to Xander 99-40, the Bounty Tracker. This missive does not work. Xander has an exclamation mark over his head, indicating we need to talk, but when I try to nothing happens, the missive does not pop up and Xander stays silent. I do hope that Bungie will address and fix these issues quickly.

Other than that I enjoy the game and so do my friends. I hope that we continue to.

In the past week I have also tried Game of Thrones, available on the dashboard. It is an arcade game and plays as such but could be enjoyable for fans of the television series. I like it so far myself even though the first episode seemed a little short the storyline is breath-taking.

Until next time…….Peace

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Gaming, Xbox

Take The Heat or Stay Out of the Kitchen!

That is the message I feel I got recently from an Xbox Live Ambassador after asking what Microsoft was doing to update and perfect their rep system. At the time, I was upset by a nasty-gram I received from a complete random during a solo gaming session on an MMO. The message itself was disturbing. But to be quite honest, it’s nothing I haven’t experienced before as a female gamer. I will not disclose the content. I believe words become powerful when you use them and I will not repeat them here. The gamertag of this person I will not reveal because I will not give this person an audience. The behavior displayed is only done so by a minority in the gaming community, at least I would hope so, that is at the very bottom of the food chain and is usually misogynistic. As I’ve said, it’s not my first experience. And actually, it was mild compared to some of the bs I’ve had to endure while gaming. Believe me when I say that I have received “dick pics” from people I don’t know  across XBL before and that is no joke. So yes, I was pissed off when I received this latest message but I could handle it. What I couldn’t handle was that after I responded to this message with a F OFF and blocked that user, I was dinged on my xbox rep. And that really made me mad and prompted me to speak with an ambassador.

For those of you who may not be familiar with system, Xbox 360 Live has a rep system associated with your profile. To the best of ability, I cannot see where it really effects anything at all except possibly matchmaking during live matches. No one can see your rep as far as I know except you the user. You can prefer players or avoid them and the user then has a percentage that begins at 100 percent and goes down from there. As I say, as far as I know, no one but the user can see these percentages. There is a 5 star rating that is public and I know that positive preferences from other users build these stars to full. Not sure if negativity brings them back down. But to me, it was a matter of principle and fairness.

So I contacted my ambassador and asked when Microsoft was going to fix a flawed rep system that gives false results and explained what had happened. What I was told was the most hurtful response I could have been given and it opened my eyes and made me begin to think about my last 8 years of being a part of the XBL community and the things I have had to deal with as a female gamer. It made me think that I’m probably not alone in that. So what advice did my ambassador give me? To set my profile to private, to lock down my messaging system to only receive messages from people on my friends list. To which I responded, “Why should I have to hide to play just because I’m female?” It was a kick in the stomach and what I felt like I was hearing was, “How dare you identify as a female online and not expect the harassment?”

Please let me clarify, ambassadors are NOT employees of Microsoft or Xbox. They are volunteers in the community that are selected to help others. The selection process is done by whom? I’m not sure but my best guess is MS or XBL. I can say with some certainty that these volunteers are not chosen by the community itself. If I happen to be wrong, someone please correct me. Since ambassadors are not employees, I doubt if they have had any official training in dealing with community issues, so the one I spoke with was most likely shooting from the hip, so to speak. That in itself is wrong. And the response was hurtful. Hurtful enough to make me re-evaluate my relationship with my beloved Xbox & XBL.

The second thing I feel I should clarify is  that on XBL the rep system has always been abused. If you play anything online with live random players, your rep is going to take a hit. Play too well, you will get dinged by others who don’t want the challenge that you present. Don’t play well enough, you’re going down. Play well but they just don’t like you for whatever reason ( may be they don’t like your color armor) then you could possibly be dinged down on your Xbox live reputation.  As I have stated other users have the ability to “prefer” you as a player or they can give negative feedback, such as trash talking or disruptive or quit early. People abuse this for personal reasons. It has always been this way and it will until Microsoft does something different. All of us though have learned to live with it. But it is unfair  For instance, most of the negativity recorded on mine is for trash taking. Not sure how I ever trash talked anyone since I never, ever talk to anyone outside my friends list except for friends of friends. And never, ever have I been rude or mean to anyone. I like meeting new gamers that I share interest with. Plus I’m a nice person. Yet there it is on my rep and like I say we have all learned to live with it. What I refuse to tolerate is being dinged as a rude player simply because I won’t participate in the harassment or “Sext” with degenerates hiding within the community. The rep is not a huge thing. Users do have the ability to file reports against the worst of the worst, and that is serious stuff. But to me it is the principle. In itself, the forced toleration feels like a sort of harassment and no one seems to care. I wonder how many other “girl” gamers would agree?

Thirdly, I feel I should clarify who I am as a gamer. I am a adult female. My genre of choice is shooters.  I have been a member of the XBL community for 8 years. For the first year of that relationship, I spoke to no one over LIVE because I tend to be shy like that. Now I only speak with friends or friends of friends. I am not a phenomenal player nor am I the worst. I do not have a competitive bone in my whole body. I just love, love, love  XBL, gaming and hanging out with my friends. I promote Xbox to whoever asks and I even co-founded and administrate a group specifically for adult gamers to come hang out, have fun & a laugh, meet other gamers and exchange game info without the high intensity competitiveness and harassment that is abundant within the general community. I am friendly to everyone I encounter until they give me a very good reason not to be. I judge no one based on skill level. I consider myself to be an upstanding & outstanding member of the XBL community. That is why it is infuriating to be branded a bitch player  for things I did not do and it is especially hurtful to be branded a bad citizen simply because I won’t play along with sexual harassment.  It is devastating to be told by a “representative” of the community  to “hide” and put my communications on “lockdown” to avoid harassment. Is that the best answer? Who has my back and the backs of the countless other females in the community who can’t even ever hope to jump into the game chat of an MMO and speak with our voices and not receive misogynistic responses immediately? This is a problem, people.

I refuse to hide.

I don’t pay  $60 a year to have my experience impeded by rude dudes who have no idea how to treat other human beings, much less a lady.

To the community, I say this: Most guy gamers enjoy the company of female gamers. They are not intimidated by them and are actually quite accommodating to the ladies. These type of guys enhance the gaming experience and are actually a joy to spend time with. They make me proud to be a part of XBL. The rudes are a minority but they must be stomped out. For the time being, it is up to the community to police this and report sexual harassment, discourage it, make it unacceptable, obliterate it. Truly, when I opened the XBL message that contained a full color picture of a hairy penis, the sender had no idea if I was 3 or 30. ( I was in fact playing a game with my young niece, split screen) The sender was no one that I knew or had encountered before, a complete random. This cannot be tolerated. What if the message had been received by your daughter or a young child? Until Microsoft changes the system it is up to us as a community to have each others backs and put a stop to the madness.

To Microsoft & XBL I say this:  Females gamers account for a huge percentage of the community.  I would guess about half.  Of the accounts held by males, probably 80 percent of them, their household entertainment budget is influenced, if not controlled, by a female.   You are a powerful entity with endless resources.  You need to, with a very loud and proactive voice, take care of the women in your community. If you refuse to address this issue and fix a broken system, you are in danger of women taking their accounts and the accounts of their family members over to Sony. Xbox Live is a beautiful and wonderful thing. It is within your power to make the community a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone of all ages, regardless of gender. Make it so.

To other female gamers who may be feeling my pain I say this: DO NOT HIDE! Do not tolerate the abuse! Expose and report the online perverts! Do not allow them to humiliate you and ruin your gaming experience. Scream at the top of your lungs to the powers that be until a change is made and we get the respect we desire & deserve. And by all means, ladies, GAME ON!

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