Frog Fractions 2 Finally Uncovered; Here’s How to Play It Now

A seemingly nondescript game launched on Steam earlier this month is in fact hiding the long-awaited Frog Fractions 2, a group of players have discovered.

As detailed by the group calling itself the Game Detectives, Frog Fractions 2 is hidden inside Glittermitten Grove, which debuted on Steam on December 13. Patch notes for an update released on December 25 caught the attention of some internet sleuths who have taken part in an ongoing augmented-reality game hunt for the Frog Fractions sequel. The search is now over, something that has since been confirmed by developer Jim Crawford. Those who backed its Kickstarter (or contributed to the subsequent Slacker Backer crowdfunding campaign) are now eligible to receive keys for it.

All of this brings an end to a years-long search for Frog Fractions 2, which is detailed on the Game Detectives wiki. The original Frog Fractions was an innocuous browser game that achieved considerable acclaim. Through the guise of a classic edutainment game, it actually amounts to a surprisingly fun game full of strange power-ups, and one that has nothing to do with teaching you math or fractions. You can play it for free here.

A sequel was later confirmed and arrived on Kickstarter in early 2014, but with some unusual qualifications. Crawford, who stated he “created Frog Fractions explicitly to evoke the air of mystery that all video games held in the 1980s,” said the follow-up would come as a true surprise. It would not be called Frog Fractions 2 and, more importantly, its release would not be formally announced in any way. It would be quietly released on PC, with crowdfunding backers only receiving their download keys once the “jig is up,” meaning its existence began to be widely reported.

To access Frog Fractions 2, you’ll first need to buy (or obtain your key for) the $20 Glittermitten Grove, which is its own game. Playing it will allow you to reach a door located in the sky, which leads into the new Frog Fractions. Alternatively, you can get into the game more quickly by using fireworks to dig into the ground, where you can find another door that takes you into Frog Fractions 2. You can see one such door, and some gameplay, through the video above.

New Overwatch heroes are in the works — but we may never get to play them

New Overwatch heroes are in the works — but we may never get to play them

 

Overwatch has had a pretty big year, by most measures. It’s won several awards, millions of fans and hundreds of hours of players’ time since it launched this past May, among other achievements and honors.

But Jeff Kaplan, the game’s director, took to YouTube to offer more than just a pat on the back in his latest developer update. Instead, as he explains over the course of 12 minutes, he’s looking ahead to what 2017 will bring to Overwatch.

Not everything Kaplan discusses is so revelatory on its own, but even the vague hints of what’s to come should appease fans. Oasis, a map that’s now in beta on the Windows PC version’s public test realm, will launch in full early next year. Kaplan’s team is also working on adding customization to the spray and communication wheels, so that players can select multiples at a time. It’s planning another update for early next year that should “strongly encourage players who are partied up to join team chat,” instead of party chat. That’s one of hardcore fans’ bigger requests, according to Kaplan.

Another huge request, and one that Blizzard Entertainment has acknowledged not long since Overwatch’s release, is a server browser for custom games.

“Right now we have a lot of great functionality in the custom game feature, but not everybody knows that you’re running a custom game,” Kaplan said. To streamline that process and make it more accessible, Blizzard has plans to release a matchmaking system that will let players scroll through the custom games they can join, along with what rulesets are in play, how many people are in the match and other important details.

This is commonly found in other popular multiplayer shooters, like Battlefield 1 and Team Fortress 2. When big games don’t include a server browser on release, fans tend to make their dissatisfaction known. It’s considered a key feature in this day and age, and Blizzard has promised fans as recently as BlizzCon 2016 in November that it was working on bringing a server browser to Overwatch.

More interesting are the promises Kaplan could not make, however. He teased that the development team has more heroes, maps and modes in progress right now, but whether they’ll see the light of day is no guarantee.

“We tend to work on more content than we release because we prototype stuff and sometimes it fails or we don’t like it or we wanna go back to the drawing board,” he said. That includes playable characters, of which there are “multiple” new ones in the works.

At least one of those new heroes has made it to the art phase, however, which should bode well for its chance of making it into Overwatch. There’s no timeline in place for when we’ll be introduced to Overwatch’s next playable character, although we can only hope the wait will be less drawn out and stressful than the one for Sombra, the most recent addition to the cast.

As 2016 comes to a close, Blizzard is helping fans wind down with the game’s Winter Wonderland event, as well as a new installment of the Overwatch comics that features the heroes relaxing, not fighting. But that short story only got the community more excited, as it confirmed the game’s first LGBT hero.

Most Informative Electro Wizard Strategy & Analysis

Hey guys, this is Chucky and I’ve got some great news – the Electro Wizard is coming to the game very shortly and it’s likely we’ll see a few of them flying about before Christmas given the fact that anyone who wins 12 games in the upcoming Electro Wizard Challenge will automatically receive it as a reward. This is a great reward from Clash Royale as it really gives people an incentive to play the challenge in the hope that they’ll get the new legendary before anyone else.

Supercell have also been kind enough to release some footage showing just how powerful the new Electro Wizard will be. The below video takes a closer look at this footage and the stats of the Electro Wizard to ascertain just what it will be able to do and in which situations it will be most useful. Look out for the second slow motion footage as well where you can see just exactly what this latest card is doing.

Let’s take a closer look at the various traits of the Electro Wizard so that we can understand better how it will be used and what cards it will be good against. The E-Wiz has 3 distinguishable traits – it zaps as it lands, it hits two targets at once with its MASSIVE hit range and it has a fast speed.

The Electro Wizard Zap:

At level one the E-Wiz lands with a zap that stuns for 0.5 seconds and thus stunning units and buildings (hint – good bye spark and inferno!). It does 169 damage which is the exact same as a level 9 zap and will kill goblins and skeletons as well as severely damage minions and kill them if they are under-levelled. This is incredibly powerful considering that after it zaps it will then take out two units at a time. This zap will be especially good at countering Inferno Towers, Inferno Dragons and Sparkies as the zap will also reset their damage timers due to the 0.5 second stun.

Hitting two targets & hit range:

This may seem like not such a big deal consider a wizard of an equivalent level will hit all the targets straight in front of it but there is a huge difference here. As the video shows, the Electro Wizard can hit targets on opposite lanes from each other. This means that despite technically only having a 5 tile radius, it can hit targets over a 10 tile space as each lightning bolt from its hands is capable of 5 tiles. This will be utterly brilliant against split pushes. Imagine for a second that you have a 3 musketeer split push coming your way – normally something to make the most calm amongst us panic. You can plonk the Electro Wizard down in the middle of the map and it will hit the musketeers in both lanes. Essentially it will cover the entire width of the map making it a seriously powerful defensive unit. Bear in mind, that you’ll ideally have some cover like a tank or a heavier duty unit in front of the Electro Wizard so that it doesn’t take damage. The range of this unit should not be underestimated.

Fast Speed:

One of the more subtle differences between this unit and the normal Wizard is that his has a fast movement speed instead of medium. This means it will be useful behind a Lumberjack or better yet Elite Barbarians as it will be able to keep up with them whilst providing cover fire to both ground and air. Combine this with a clone and you’ll see 4 heavy hitting barbarians with 4 lightning bolts constantly striking the air around them. There is a lot of different decks to play with using this unit.

Weaknesses:

As with all cards, whilst it’s nice to concentrate on the strengths and what they will bring to the game, it’s also important to look at the weaknesses and what could stop this from being useful in any given situation.

The first thing must be that the Electro Wizard has very low life – lower than a wizard. At just 550 HP he will be unable to survive Fireballs, Lightning or Rocket attacks and will be quickly killed by a variety of units once they target him. He definitely needs to have protection whilst he gets off his lightning bolts.

The second weakness is his hit speed. He hits every 1.7 seconds which is fairly slow for a lighter unit character and to put it in perspective, the musketeer hits every 1.1 seconds meaning it will get 3 shots off for every 2 shots the Electro Wizard manages to get off.

Played correctly, this unit looks to be absolutely awesome and at only 4 elixir it will be great to try it out in all sorts of combinations.

Peria Chronicles: New Interview Tells Everything You Want to Know – Part 2

We continue to translate the interview Korean media Thisisgame did with Peria Chronicles developer Thingsoft recently. You can read the first part here. In this part, you can finally hear of the beta and release time the developer plans for the game.

Will the lands run out if players keep building things?
We should add relevant content to our previous video. In fact if you have enough materials you can create new lands, it’s like building a new world. At first an area may be small but it gets bigger as more materials are used. Players can build portals to connect different areas.

With portals, players can build villages. A powerful clan/guild might be able to control the entire area as well as the portals. But we think this is very unlikely to happen, because there are 2 types of portals: one just exists in the world but can’t be moved, and the other one is built by players and can be destroyed. It’s worth mentioning that portals will disappear itself if no one use it for a long time. So we have complicated rules to manage the portals.

What contents you have for players who aren’t interested in building and crafting?
In our plan, it will be quite impressive if 1-5% players of the game can focus on building and maintaining villages. This small group of players will become mayors or lords and they have some powers. Of course they can choose to run the village in democratic ways. With that everyone can be part of the community.

Will loners feel they don’t have much stuff to play, compared with those who stick the community?
Never forget that the player community is a very creative group. It will be difficult for a single player to create new terrains but it’s not a problem for him/her to modify the terrains.

Once players complete building an instance, the game will reward them. Players and their groups will be happy to create fun instances that loners can also play.

Server capacity and stability must be a great challenge to you?
We have to deal with server issues like performance since players can change many things in the game. We have to think of security and anti-cheating. We are always improving the servers.

MapleStory 2 is a MMO stresses on player-created contents. However the game isn’t as popular as it’s expected. Aren’t you worried the same thing could happen in Peria Chronicles?
It’s difficult to answer this question. We can’t say it’s not possible. We have to reach hardcore players and manage them. We have many players in our forum that know programming, and many of them are waiting for the game. We plan to build our community starting from recruiting those players.

Player-created contents in other MMOs may be just for fun, but those contents influence and change the gameplay in Peria Chronicles. So I think there is a big difference.

That means the game will be a hardcore MMO, and you will have to have a large amount of hardcore gamers at the beginning.
Since there’s no similar game in the market, we don’t have any reference and feedback. But first we will invite players who share our concept to the focus tests.

Tell us about the main story and missions.
Many people try to level up as fast as they can today, and they consume content fast and then ask for new content. To avoid that, we decided to create a game where the community creates its own content. So the developer team doesn’t focus on adding a lot of content and they don’t make a huge storyline for the game.

On the other hand, every village and town in the game is built by players, and they can be destroyed and completely gone. If there are missions in the village, there could be bugs once the village is gone. So honestly, with such game structure, it’s impractical to add deep story content into the game.

Will players feel lost in the game without any mission in the game?
The game does have missions but it offers missions to players in a different way. We have some ideas, such as contracts signed by players. After all, building and managing villages need a lot of players. So villagers and mayors can post bounty missions such as looking for materials and they will pay once the items are delivered.

What’s more, players can create NPCs with certain logics. NPCs can help post bounty missions and contracts for players. The contract we can create is pretty simple at this moment, and it’s like “need A materials to be delivered at B time.” However, we hope players can think of different situation when they create a contract. For instance, if the server goes down or is in maintenance, the contract could expire. If this happens a lot, we’ll consider posting “official contracts” for players.

This game has so many uncertainty and unexpected situations! So when do you plan to release the game?
We already have a lot of props, enough to build a village and instances, and it’s good enough to start small scale tests. We’ll start alpha test as soon as possible in 2017, and then start closed beta in the middle of 2017.

Although there are still a lot of difficult problems we need to deal with. Take house as an example. We could just design a house according to the concept art but we have to give players the freedom to build their own house, and we have to divide a house to different parts from wall to door and to windows. This is very different to the current MMOs and sometimes we really get lost in the development.

We use our own engine so we frequently improve it and add new features. That costs us much more time, and no wonder some players think we are not doing anything. We are working hard and we hope to release the game at the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Peria Chronicles: New Interview Tells Everything You Want to Know – Part 1

Back in November Thingsoft presented a playable demo at G-STAR 2016, allowing players to try the remake version of Peria Chronicles. It was a very raw demo that included terrain editing and combat, and it got mixed reactions. To address the community concern, the developer team did an interview with Korean media Thisisgame. Below is the translation of the interview.

Any community feedback of the G-STAR demo impressed you?
We didn’t want feedback and comments like “good, great”, and instead, we needed actual impressions after playing our demo. We heard comments like “with the combat system, my character didn’t have too much freedom, it’s not good.” “How are we supposed to play with other players in this way?” We loved to see both negative and positive comments that players made after they played the demo.

We were worried about combining TCG style combat with player-created content inside our team. The reaction at G-STAR showed this combination was possible.

However, players who never played anything like that before still felt lost.
That’s right. People thought the game was like Mabinogi after they saw the gameplay video but felt disappointed after playing the demo. The game is never advertised as an action game and the actual combat gameplay does disappoint people who expect Mabinogi style combat.

People mentioned the issue of optimization. We tried our best to attend G-STAR in order to tell the world that we were still developing the game, so we didn’t have much time to optimize the demo.

There were also concerns on the progress of the game development.
Indeed, the game is still in very early phase and we hear feedback about the incompletion of the demo. People may feel weird when they see the character creation UI. The fact is the UI can be created by players themselves, including buttons and different types of windows which were composed of props.

Mobs in the game drop these props and players can collect these props to design their own UI. The G-STAR demo’s UI wasn’t created by our artists but built with the props in the game. That’s why it looked strange to players.

That means the demo’s UI isn’t created by the developers?
Players can trade props and UI in the game, and some players can design beautiful UI while others can’t. That’s why players will have such confusion.

It seems that players can access to a lot of content which is beyond our expectation.
Peria Chronicles encourages players to create content, with a large part of content developed to allow players to learn to create things. The G-STAR demo which offered 20 minutes of gameplay didn’t really show what the game is about.

G-STAR 2016 allowed us to show the terrain modification tool and combat system earlier. We wanted to get feedback and will make changes to the content if players said that’s not right. TCG combat is played in real-time and players can walk into it anytime.

First time hear of we can edit the combat. So basically the game content is composed of player-created content?
This game is not focusing on combat and it’s not easy thing to learn to create. Even the developers in our team made mistakes when they tried to build something. Even the fastest learners need 2-3 days to create something from the scratch. It’s impossible to learn everything in a 20 minutes demo.

Peria Chronicles’ instances are built by players as well. We hope players can create interesting instances. The instance in the G-STAR demo was a prototype. It looked no different to other MMOs’ instances but its traps and mobs were actually from the props in the game. We offered every possible thing to players and see what instances they can make.

The G-STAR demo was more like a preview of what the future instances could look like?
Yes. How a door opens and closes, and how mobs appear are all created using the props and the tools. I’d like to clarify that the instance in that demo had a logical mistake and a door wouldn’t open. Our staff had to help players to get through it via the demo’s console.

About the future of the game, we want to know how the game will evolve. Because many players saw this game as Mabinogi 2, and is Peria Chronicles going to be like Mabinogi that gets new features regularly, or is it focuses on adding new stories?

It’s an honor our game is compared with Mabinogi. In fact, Peria Chronicles is a very different game, and if players expect this game to be Mabinogi 2, they may be disappointed. If we have to find a game that’s similar to Peria Chronicles, probably we will say Minecraft. Our goal is to allow players to constantly build the game rules and system to replace the old ones.

Then the game will have to implement social system, isn’t it too complicated to players?
We planned to separate the economy, politics, and creating parts at the beginning, but as we simplified the creation logics, we believed it’s easier for players to learn how to create and build in the game now.

The G-STAR demo had a mission that required players to control the panel in the instance to open a door. As long as the logic is right, the door can be opened. What is creation logic? A simple example is if you want to build a village that disallows smoking, you have 2 logical options: create a law to punish smoking or simply make smoking disable.

If you choose the former option, you have to use props work like CCTV to catch the smokers and then use props that can fine or expel the smokers. If you take the alternative option, you will use a non-smoking sign that comes with a command “disable smoking within a X meters radius”. This will make smoking impossible.

Of course we don’t have the behavior of smoking in the game, but we have similar things. Our G-STAR demo allows players to implement logics like disable PK, no communication with NPCs, and disable repairing villages, etc.

How do we use these props and logics to create a village’s economy and politics?
First players have to build a village on a plot of land. That involves modifying terrains (flat land will make your village easy to break into), preparing for materials to build houses and facilities, and determining the rules of the village’s economy, politics, and NPC behaviors.

Say you want to build a village that disallows any form of fight, you have to use the no-PK sign, or you want to charge taxes, you will use another sign. Minecraft allows you to make your own rules, and Peria Chronicles allows you to make your own systems.

Can I say the game will become more completed gradually?
We want players to take the time from simple to complication. Go back to the logic of “no-PK in the village”, you can actually add another logic such as “PK is allowed for level 20+ players.” We will do a lot of experiments to design a manual for players to use logics. We will offer preset logics so players know they have these options and they can make changes to the logics. For instance, a preset logic for charging taxes can be modified or improved. You can decide whether the taxes go to the village’s storage or go straight into your own pocket, and you can charge specific amount of taxes to specific behaviors of the visitors.

I can’t imagine how many props the game will have if everything is composed of it.
We try to simplify the logics and allow combining multiple props to work as a new prop. Players will need some program knowledge to write logics and it’s fine if they don’t know any. They can combine different props together to get what they want. We will monitor players behaviors in the game and if we find many players combine the similar props to make another prop or achieve a new logic, we’ll add that prop or a preset logic to the game.

Looks like if a player invests enough time to the creation, they can play more contents.
We do have blueprints to tell players how to create things and what materials they need. So even a player doesn’t know how to write the logic for the No-PK sign, they can purchase the blueprint for the No-PK sign and all they need to do is gathering necessary materials. Whether you can use props created by other players is still in discussion. Directly download other players creation is a easy solution but what want it happens in the game.

Would the in-game chat channel be full of contents like “where to purchase no-smoking sign?”
Right. Can’t help to imagine how fun it would be.

Peria Chronicles is an MMORPG and in the game if a group of powerful players gang together there could be problems. How do you balance it?
Once a player learns how to create content or become a “game developer”, the concern of “power” pops up. From setting a sign to modify the terrains, it’s an act of playing god. We thought this through before we started making the game. In fact, it’s impossible to build a village by one man. You can’t play god without the materials needed to build the village. Let’s say to produce a unit of material (the material is a general concept), it takes 10 minutes. To set up a sign or get a plot of land, it requires 100 units of materials, and if it’s produced by one man, it will take over 10 hours.

One man doesn’t have enough materials to build and manage a village but a large group has. Whether a single person or a community wants to manage a village, they have to rely on materials from the mass.

So if there is a mean player tries to use his power to do bad things, the mass won’t let him access to their materials and that bad player won’t be able to do too many things.

There is an even faster way to make money on Runescape

 

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Cloud Pirates – Pros and Cons of My.com’s New Aerial Shooter

Hello Gamers,

In this article we will be looking at a game called Cloud Pirates.

What is Cloud Pirates?

Cloud Pirates is a new MMO being developed by the Allods Team. Allods Team is a Russian game developer and is the company behind Allods Online and Skyforge. Their newest project is Cloud Pirates which is currently in Closed Beta.
Cloud Pirates is a steampunk, fantasy themed, shooting game in which the player assumes the role of an airship captain and his job is to clear the skies from the enemies.

It is not just shooting game with airships though. The game also has RPG and MOBA elements in it. There are many airships to play with, all with different strengths and weaknesses and various degrees of difficulty and all of them customizable. Each ships also has abilities which it can use in combat and depending on the type of ship those abilities differ. For example small, fast ships which are used for attacking have offensive abilities while heavy ships have support or defensive spells to help their teammates.

Personally, I would label this game as a hero shooter game with RPG elements in it.

Is it a clone of Warthunder?

The answer to this is no.
I wouldn’t call this a clone since the only common feature that these two share is the air combat; and even that largely differs between the two.
In Warthunder you pilot a WWII plane and the combat is more realistic and slow; and planes are not the main feature of the game, WWII vehicles are, which includes ships, tanks etc.
In Cloud Pirates, you basically control an airship with all sorts of different weapons: cannons, laser beams etc. and the type of your ship determines your role into the game.

For a better reference , you can see a gameplay video of the game below:

Before I begin with the PROS & CONS of the game. Let me just say that this is a
First-impressions article about this game, not a review. And I would like to ask you to treat it as such.
This means that things that I might say here may or may not be the same in the future when the game releases.
I shall start with the PROS as usual and then move on to the CONS.

PROS

Original Idea

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

Besides Warthunder, this is the only MMO which focuses around aerial combat and it does it pretty well. If you like air-battles and you want to try something different then, you should definitely put this game on your list. After playing it for about 12 hours for test purposes, I am certain that I will surely keep it installed in my computer for a long time.

In-Depth Customization

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

The customization options are crazy in this game. There are overall three types of ships in the game, light, medium and heavy ships. You start the game with the starting ship of each category. Each ship has its own each tree which unlocks new ships of that category as you keep playing. Ships also have a wide variety of weapons and armors which you can buy in order to improve your ship.
It is not easy to upgrade all the equipment of an airship, thus you will have to decide on what you like the most and specialize in that certain category of ships.

Strategic and tactical combat

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

The way you fight is one of the big PLUS in the game. It requires both team play and personal skill. The maps are mostly objective based which means you have to work as a team if you want to win. If you run off on your own to capture an objective, you will most likely end up bombarded by the enemy fleet. Advantage in numbers is crucial when you engage an enemy.

Each ship has broadside and front cannons and depending on where you aim the cursor the appropriate weapon will fire. You have to constantly be on the move and attack him from different positions and angles, not only to confuse him, but because the cannons overheat after firing for a while.
Also, the maps’ design promotes its tactical combat feature. For example, there are places to hide and escape enemy fire, nice locations for ambushing enemies who try to cross the map in order to get to the fight after respawning and locations which periodically spawn power ups or heal orbs for you ship which act as secondary control points in the game.
.
Colorful graphics and locations

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

The game uses the same graphic engine as Allods Online which has been praised in the past for its beautiful graphics and performance. And the same goes for Cloud Pirares, I experienced no FPS drop in my 12 hours of gameplay and I was satisfied with the game’s aesthetics very much. The graphics may not be realistic, but overall those cartoony, colorful graphics blend together into a very nice looking end result.

Impactful Gameplay

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

I have only one word for this
EXPLOSION!!!

Good Graphics are one thing, but when you manage to deliver that along with good sound effects which enhance the experience then you have won my approval from me.
The sound of the cannonfire, slowing watching the flames engulf the enemy airships as you bombard them and finally going BOOM with a very powerful sound effect, I can tell you that this is very satisfying.

CONS

Limits the player to a certain gameplay-style

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

As I’ve already said there lots of ships and all kinds of improvements that can be applied to them, however all that takes a lot of grinding.
I’ll give you an example to make things clearer:
In order to unlock a new e.g. heavy category ship, you have to play until you have a certain amount of experience, before you become certified to unlock the new heavy airship. And sometimes you have to play multiple ships until you can unlock the one you want.
There is some versatility among airships of each category, but ultimately I consider this feature very bad, as it limits the player to one airship category which at the end of the day it defines your role in the game.
Trying to unlock high-tier airships from each category would take at least months.

Clunky UI

Cloud Pirates - Pros and Cons of My.com's New Aerial Shooter

The User Interface wasn’t the best I’ve seen. Especially the customization menu, required a lot of backtrack in order to navigate. Plus, sometimes it felt a little unresponsive. However, the game is still in Closed Beta so problems such as these are expected. That’s why I don’t consider this a big disadvantage.

It is developed by Allods Team

As I’ve mentioned earlier the Allods Team is responsible for two famous MMOs, Skyforge and Allods Online. I have tried both of them, Skyforge especially kept me occupied for some time, but in the end I dropped it a few months after release. This past spring I was thinking of rejoining the game, but before that I did some research to see how the game was holding up.

It turned out that the game had become a horrible P2W abomination. Every post that I’ve looked up had mostly unpleasant things to say for the game, bugs, glitches, hacks and of course P2W features. It was a shame that it ended up like that, because at the start Skyforge looked like a really promising game with a lot of potential. And for the sake of this article, I’ve also checked on Allods Online and the opinions were pretty much the same.
And that’s why my biggest fear for this great game are not its own shortcomings, but its own creators.

Conclusion

Overall, liked this game and I would certainly keep playing it casually in the future and depending on how the company handles their cash policy, I would decide if I would focus on it more or uninstall it.

Endless Space 2, Early Access First Impressions

For anyone who likes space adventure and conquest games that are a bit demanding, Endless Space is a gem. Amplitude, the studio behind this intergalactic 4X game is back with a second episode that is now in Early Access on Steam. After the success of the first, expectations are high. Good news, Endless Space 2 didn’t stray too far from what made the success of its predecessor.

With Sins of a Solar Empire, Master of Orion, Civilization: Beyond Earth, Galactic Civilizations (no relation to the former) or even the excellent Stellaris, the 4X genre (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate) seems irremediably attracted by the concepts of infinite space and galactic empires. And while this may came as surprising for some, the first 4X game, Reach for the Stars released in 1983, took place in outer space. Almost thirty years later, it is a French studio that stands out in this genre with Endless Space, a title that has now reached the status of cult for all the space opera lovers. Do not forget that Amplitude is also one of those studios that always seem to know how to renew its successful licenses. After passing through the medieval fantasy with another 4X called Endless Legend, and the dungeon-crawler with Dungeon of the Endless, Amplitude goes back to Endless Space, this time under the banner of Sega.

First of all, keep in mind that the game is in early access. Regardless, the game still looks great in its final version and no noticeable bugs have affected my gameplay so far. Moreover, developers are always working to improve what can still be improved, and slowly adding the many missing features. Thus, there are only two types of victory conditions available in early access, scoring and military, which somewhat limits the game experience. Regarding the races, there are currently 4 available ones. And big news, they are totally asymmetrical, each has its own style of play.

Endless Space 2, Early Access First Impressions

The Cravers, for example, are militaristic, expansionist and generally motivated by a desire to destroy, where Sophons are nice scholars, most likely to focus on scientific development than on fights. The Lumeris, meanwhile, are merchants, always looking for their best financial interests. The Vodyani, however, are difficult to describe. This race is the result of uncontrolled overdevelopment, and literally sucks the resources of the planets they encounter without bothering to colonize them.

The principle remains unchanged from the setting of Endless Space: the player is the leader of a nation in the middle of space, which will expand its empire and explore the galaxy, develop itself technologically and militarily, but also manage its domestic policy, with a galactic senate system divided between factions or clans. These are separated according to their affinities (Ecologists, Religious, Militarists, Pacifists, Industrialists), their loyalty to you changing according to your actions. Moreover, the atmosphere of Endless Space is still clearly present, both in the the interface and some of the new options. Evidence that a studio take the best of its previous titles to offer increasingly complete and enjoyable games.

UI navigation is now much more fluid, without the player being drowned in numbers with each click. Tabs display the minimum required information, without polluting the statistics screen, which are obtained through the very friendly “scan” function. This displays the details of planets, their economy, their population, and so on. No need to beat around the bush, the interface is rid of all reproaches that we could have against Endless Space.

Endless Space 2, Early Access First Impressions

Diplomacy and policies will play a major role in Endless Space 2. Each player action, from the choices of quest to the assimilation of other races, and even technological research or construction of buildings, will impact the factions within your senate and the results of elections held regularly. And the weight of each faction will determine which laws you can vote for or repeal, knowing that the dominant political faction can pass laws without your consent. Note that (fortunately?) you can rig elections by funding your candidate, bribing or threatening the opposing candidates, and so on. Thankfully, these shenanigans are rarely required, and the political changes regarding who is in power can sometimes be beneficial. Additionally, certain quests will move the senate towards the direction you desire, or conversely bring about the end of your empire, plunging into the sort of political anarchy that has Trump elected as president.

Regarding the military matters, some might be disappointed to see that there are no fight where your are in manual control. You are the emperor, not a lowly space admiral. The fighting, generally offers three tactical choices, more or less compatible with the type of vessels or land units that you encounter. It is, admittedly, a bit limited and we can only hope for the addition or more options in the final version of Endless Space 2. But for now, depending on your choice and the forces you are fighting, it is the AI that determines the outcome of the battle, the player here being only a passive spectator.

Endless Space 2, Early Access First Impressions

Conclusion

As it stands, Endless Space 2 promises to be a great title. Graphically beautiful, intuitive and readable without disappointing fans of 4X hardcore games. The developers are really taking advantage of the Early Access to reveal its flaws and improve the game. Each patch balances the game with a number of fixes, gradually correcting anything fans could complain about on release. We can also expect new playable races, perhaps new political factions, a more extensive technology tree and a fleet that moves a bit faster. What really matters is the transformation of gameplay, more intuitive, more fluid, more accessible, strongly inspired by Endless Legend.

Elite Barbarians First Look and Impressions

Hi guys and gals Galbers Gaming here bringing to you a first look at the Elite Barbarians but before I get into them please let me know in the comment section:

*what combinations you are using them with

*what strategies in defence (both with them and against them) and offence you are using them with

*and if you rate the card or not

The Elite Barbarians are, using SuperCell’s words,”like regular Barbarians, only harder, better, faster and stronger”;. On a one to one basis SuperCell ain’t wrong but Barbarians beat Elite Barbarians due to their superior numbers, for one less Elixir I may add.

The speed of the Elite Barbarians, very fast, reduces the reaction speed of the player trying to defend against them. A solid strategy which I show in my video is the Elite Barbarians coupled with the Miner.

Elite Barbarians although they don’t do as much damage as Barbarians, they still kill tanks very quickly and due to their speed they are very good in counter attack especially like I said above, when paired with the Miner.

Against Barbarians I like to drop Minions down which if timed right can take out all of them before reaching your tower. This strategy does not work against Elite Barbarians, their speed will carry them through to the tower where they will get a few hits off.

Be wary of dropping range units (or non spawning buildings) in the middle of the field to kite the Elite Barbarians, you will find that only one will go to the middle whereas the other will go straight for your tower and every shot he gets off is the equivalent damage to a fireball.

Something should also be said for dropping your Elite Barbarians down when your opponent drops down an expensive unit at the back like a Golem, Pekka or even a Lava Hound. Your opponent will have to respond to your attack stopping them getting their ideal push off.

In summary, Elite Barbarians are scary units if allowed to reach a tower. If attacking with them build up an Elixir advantage and push in with them or counter attack with the Miner. To defend against them, make sure you do not allow them to hit your tower. The Elite Barbarians is an expensive card at six Elixir so don’t be afraid of using the same amount to stop them but if you are on equal Elixir standing you should be able to relatively easily make a positive Elixir trade by distracting them.

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Hog Rider and Ice Golem Cycle Deck & Strategy – Arena 8 and 9

Hi guys and gals, Here bringing to you a Hog Rider cycle deck built around the Hog Rider Ice Golem combo. I, and I Imagine like most of you knew of this combination but didn’t think much of it until I was comprehensively chipped down by an opponent with the same troops level as I (with few exceptions 10, 7, 4, 1) and so I decided to give the deck a try-out. A deck that enables me to breach the 3500 trophies mark in my eyes deserves a write up, so, here I am!

The deck that I mostly ran with included the: Hog Rider, Log, Zap, Princess, Ice Golem, Ice Spirit, Mini Pekka and Barbarians. I say mostly as I switched out the Legendaries to see how the deck would perform without them which is still well (Archers for Princess and Arrows for Log), as well as including the Inferno Tower instead of the Mini Pekka if stumbling across excess tanks in particular the Lava Hound. The deck is essentially a Hog Rider cycle deck which means that outside the core cards, Hog Rider, Ice Golem and the cheaper cards, the deck can be tailored to your playstyle or to what you are coming up against.

Attacking card: Hog Rider

Supporting cards: Log, Zap, Princess, Ice Golem, Ice Spirit, [Arrows, Archers,]

Defending cards: Mini Pekka, Barbarians, [Inferno Tower]

Video reference:

There are two playstyles to this deck:

1.Cycle through your deck as quickly (and sensibly) as possible to get to your Hog Rider Ice Golem push. The aim here is to take advantage of decks which cannot cope with your cycle capability, for example: on your first wave (push) they might drop an Inferno Tower but that Inferno Tower will be out of the opponent’s cycle on the next round – in this case it maybe best on the second round to drop the Hog Rider asap instead of pushing out with the Ice Golem as well.

2.Play slowly get ahead in Elixir and then tailor your push accordingly, personally I prefer this style. At the back: split your barbarians, split your archers, drop your princess and see how the opponent responds. However even in this style if I have the Hog Rider and Ice Golem in hand I would immediately push out with them.

Starting hand

Generally the best starting hand is the Hog Rider and Ice Golem push with Zap to hand. If this is not possible just play it slow, which given the deck is a little tricky, until you have the push cards to hand.

Attacking

As I already highlighted the main push is the Ice Golem with the Hog Rider. The Ice Golem tanks the tower damage whilst the Hog Rider pushes the Ice Golem to the tower and then starts hammering away at it. On death the Ice Golem will explode slowing units and their rate of fire (tower) as well as doing a bit of damage which is enough to one shot skeletons, the skeleton army and bring minions to a Zapable range – zap and the ice golem death is one of my favourite combinations in Clash Royale, I show a couple of clips of this combination in the video above. Be aware that the Ice Golem’s death damage does not destroy the Guards’ shield nor does it kill unshielded Guards…

The Ice Golem’s death slow will also allow your Hog Rider to get one or two shots off even when Barbarians are dropped off.

If the opponent is using a Mini Pekka or Inferno Tower in defence make sure to include the little Ice Spirit in your combo as well.

For those who have the Princess, use her to help the Hog Rider get to the tower when facing against Tombstone, one volley and a Hog Rider hit will destroy it, the Princess’ next volley will finish off the skeletons.

On the subject of Princess, if you see the opponent has no efficient way of dealing with her (arrows, log, miner) then make sure you take advantage of this! It is a nightmare attacking someone with multiple Princesses up with no way of dealing with them. If the opponent is using miner to kill her, drop your Ice Spirit and a troop to take his attention away.
Defending

In defence, use Barbarians to surround the tank, they will cut through the tank like butter, do make sure you get the surround though as this will minimise area of effect (AoE) damage from the opponent’s units.

Ice Spirit, Zap, Princess, Archers and even the Ice Golem are your ‘go to’ Air defenders.

If placed properly your Mini Pekka will stop a Hog Rider getting a single shot off, drop your ice spirit or Ice Golem to stop the enemy’s Ice Spirit freezing your Mini Pekka.

Against Lava Hound decks you are somewhat at their mercy, strategy here is to race them or stop them building up their perfect push by pressuring them constantly.

With Ice Spirit and Zap you will not have a problem with Sparkys.

A given but, if the opponent has a Princess, give her wood!
Summary

As with all Hog cycle decks which this one is, they are good, no doubt about it. This deck will push you up the ladder and if you have at least tournament level cards it will allow you to reach Arena 9, the legendary arena.
If you have any questions please let me know, and apologies for the wood pun earlier in the post, I just couldn’t help it!