Maple Story 2 SHUTTING DOWN

Less than 2 years from opening its Global version, Maple Story 2 has received the axe from Nexon. Unfortunately the game failed to recapture the massive audience that the original Maple Story lured in. The official date for closure is May 27, 2020. With that being said, Nexon is running some events before shutting down for good, mostly massive EXP and DROP increases. So if you want to go in for one last hurrah, now would be the time.

I did play the game upon release, but like many others felt, the game didn’t have the same allure as the original. The social aspect was significantly diminished; the simplicity and lack of features actually made the original Maple Story more sociable. Grinding through Maple Story 2 felt more like a single player game with a so-so combat system. In the original, you spent more time with people as you were forced to do Party Quests and since the grind for levels was so heavy, you had to lean on others to pass the time and took breaks to do other activities or just hang out in the Free Market. It was a more rewarding journey with a massive community behind you. None of these characteristics were present in MS2. I was extremely excited for this sequel, but in the end, it was a let down. Even so, I am saddened to see it end so soon, instead of being fixed by a major update. Even Final Fantasy 14 was considered a flop when it first released, but it was reworked into one of the most popular MMOs. I hope something like a Maple Story 3 will be in the works.

Read the Nexon press release here.

$129.99 Razer Huntsman Tournament Keyboard AND Viper Mouse

Combo on sale at Best Buy!
Grab both the Razer Huntsman Tournament keyboard with RGB lighting and the Wired Razer Viper Mouse for one bundle price.
Both are extremely highly rated. Do note that the tournament edition keyboard means it does not have a num pad on the right side, but it does have arrow keys and the function keys.

$39.99 Logitech G305 Wireless Gaming Mouse

You can grab the Logitech G305 wireless gaming mouse directly from logitech for only $39.99 (usually $59.99)
Available in both White and Black.

Gamers are probably familiar with the Logitech G Pro Wireless that has been a hot seller for the last year. A well kept secret is that the G305 has the same exact high performance HERO sensor as the much more expensive G Pro. So you get the same lightning fast wireless no lag technology & sensor. The only main differences between the G305 and G Pro are the sizes, weight, and battery type. The G305 uses AA or AAA (with adapter) while the G Pro is rechargeable and compatible with their wireless charging mouse pad as well. The G305 is slightly smaller and heavier. However many enthusiasts have been using a AAA battery with an adapter or piece of tin foil to reduce weight from the AA battery. Using the right AAA batteries, you can get the weight within a few grams of the G Pro. You can also remove the battery cover (if you use claw grip) or even buy custom 3D printed covers to reduce the weight some more. So all in all, you can match the weight of the G Pro.

Stay tuned for a full review of the G305 when we get our order in!

One Week of Valorant Ranked

Valorant ranked competitive mode has been out for about a week now, giving me some time to evaluate the new mode, here are my thoughts.

Ranking System

The ranking system is similar to league of legends, in order from worst to best, Iron – Bronze – Silver – Gold – Platinum – Diamond – Immortal – Valorant. Each tier has 3 sub-levels, i.e. Gold 1, Gold 2, Gold 3. Now here is where the curve ball comes in – In league of legends, Gold 4 is considered worst, while Gold 1 is highest of the tier; In Valorant however, Gold 1 would be the lowest and Gold 3 is the highest. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, but it did cause some confusion for a good while, I would think they would just be consistent about it across their own games within Riot, but the only reasoning I could conjure up was that, in counter strike it went from 1 to 4 (highest) as well, and its safe to assume that CS players are going to make up a solid chunk of Valorant players. The only requirement to start playing ranked is to have 20 games played, no level requirement or anything else (thankfully). This seems pretty reasonable compared to LoL, where you had to play a ludicrous amount of games to reach level 30, although at the same time, this could lead to a smurfing problem when the game is fully released.

Gameplay

So how did my first week of ranked go? Not bad. Even in closed beta, there are enough people playing for matchmaking to be decently fair in most games. Individual performance is definitely factored into the rankings, as one person in my party climbed the ranks higher than the rest of us by scoring MVP many games. This did however, introduce another problem, even though we all started at the same time and played many games together, if you are 6 ranks below someone, you can no longer queue up with them. This is total nonsense, considering we ALL won those games as a team, but suddenly we can no longer queue with our friend anymore, because he became 6 ranks higher. The Valorant algorithm doesn’t seem to care for anything aside from kills. Scouting enemies, planting or defusing, healing , resurrection, walls, etc. All of these things can turn games around and create wins for your team, but if you’re not getting maximum kills, then your rank will suffer. This leave no incentive for people to pick up the bomb ever, or play heroes like Sage that are a huge boost to the team, but might not have an offensive toolkit. This also promotes smurfing, as people naturally will still want to play with their friends, but have no choice but to create a new account and purposely tank the MMR, and then proceed into ranked to ruin Iron player’s dreams. Streamers have also pointed out that even though you can’t queue with your lower ranked friends, Matchmaking will still put you into a game with people of those ranks considered “too low” sometimes, which makes even less sense. There is also no definitive separation of solo vs 5 stacks, so an entire team of solos can sometimes end up playing against a 5 stack; summit1g made a comment about this unfairness as well. I would love to see a solo queue mode as well.

Anticheat Issues

Valorant has still been facing a handful of issues. Aside from regular game bugs, there was quite a big issue with their Vanguard Anti cheat system this week. Many users (including myself) have been reporting the Anti cheat has been blocking various things from drivers for PC components, to cooling software being blocked. Yes, you read that right, COOLING SOFTWARE was being shut off, one redditor has his GPU almost fry and start burning plastic, because Riot shut off their cooling software. I was luckier in that it was shutting of drivers for my RAM, causing RGB function to cease, but I haven’t seen any other symptoms. One of my friends stopped being able to launch the game completely for a couple days due to more Vanguard issues. Riot released a hot fix on 5/8/20, hopefully that resolves any major issues for most players.

All in all, its a good start of beta ranked. Get out there and enjoy!
If you still don’t have access to the game, read below.

If you haven’t gotten into the Valorant closed beta, here’s how:

  1. Create a riot account if you don’t already have one
  2. Create a Twitch account
  3. Link your riot to your twitch account here
  4. Watch any drop enabled streamer on twitch playing Valorant here

Riot has stated that watching multiple streams does not increase your chances. We recommend that you leave one stream running all day, you can also lower the resolution in the video player to reduce the network usage.

$274.98 – Acer EI272UR 27″ Curved WQHD 2560 x 1440 144Hz 4ms Freesync

Acer EI272UR Monitor available at newegg for only $274.98 with the promo code EMCDKDH33

The specs are quite good for this price bracket. The only thing to note is that this is a VA panel, not an IPS.
That generally means worse color accuracy and viewing angles when comparing to an IPS panel. If you are on a budget and can’t dish out a bit extra for an IPS, this is not a bad way to go; it still retains 144hz refresh at 1440p and the 4ms response shouldn’t be a deal breaker unless you are an actual professional gamer.

If you’re still looking for an IPS display, check out our review of the Acer Nitro.

Valorant – Ranked Matchmaking Patch!

Patch 0.49 just came out and it includes ranked matchmaking…almost. Riot stated that they are working on a few stability/bug fixes before officially turning on matchmaking. There are actually quite a few changes in this patch, ranging from visual changes, game play, and balance. You can catch the full notes below from Riot, but a few of the noticeable things after playing a few rounds:

-Your dot on the mini map is a white dot, making it easier to identify yourself
-Nerf to Sage’s wall, so it can’t be used to boost into outer space anymore (thank god)
-New visuals – damage indicator, low health/ammo, voice activity icons, ult, spike , etc.
-UI Tweaks
-Penalty for leaving or dodging games
-Numerous bug fixes
-Ranked Mode will be activated *soon*

Read all the patch notes from Riot: https://beta.playvalorant.com/en-us/news/game-updates/valorant-patch-notes-0-49/

Update: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 4/28/20

New Modern Warfare update out.
The cliff notes:
-New Contract: Most Wanted
-New LMG: MK9
-New Store Bundles
-Shoot the Ship Playlist
-Gunsmith Customs

This update brings a few pretty neat tweaks. In addition to the existing contracts of recon, bounty, and scavenge, MOST WANTED will now be an option to activate. This essentially makes you the bounty target for every team in the game…why? If all of your teammates happen to be dead and you don’t have the money to buy them all back, if you survive as MOST WANTED – they all come back to life. Interesting concept, but I am curious as to how many would try it out.

New LMG, the MK9, supposedly has high accuracy, you’ll have to complete the weapons challenge to unlock it. In addition to that, the update brings new weapon bundles and more importantly, the new Gunsmith Customs editor. You can now take parts off of all blueprints and blend them all together to make a super epic gun – can’t wait for people to find OP combinations.

Shoot the ship is back…nuff said.

All patch notes: https://blog.activision.com/call-of-duty/2020-04/This-Week-in-Call-of-Duty-April-27

Review: Acer Nitro VG271U Pbmiipx 27″

Everyone is looking for some gaming hardware upgrades during these stay at home times. For those competitive gamers out there, a 144hz gaming monitor might be one of the best investments you could make. I picked up the Acer Nitro VG271U. Here are my concise thoughts on it.

Important Specs:
– 27 inch IPS Panel
-Freesync
-144hz / 1ms response
-VESA Mount
-2560 x 1440

Out of the box, the stand design is simple and easy to hook up, although it doesn’t adjust much, it will do its job. It has a VESA mount so you can use an existing stand you may have. The colors without adjustment looks pretty great, it was one of the best ones I’ve seen calibrated out of the box, I barely had to make any adjustments.
In my opinion 27 inches is the perfect size for serious gamers, going bigger would cause you to lose sight of your peripheral vision on the screen, some pros even prefer 24″ so they can see the entire screen easier. The 144hz panel also ensures super smooth movement and is probably the ideal refresh rate. Opting for a 240hz panel, you would have to compromise the resolution since driving 240 fps on 1440p is pretty difficult unless you’re packing some serious hardware. I am coming off of a 75hz Ultrawide and while ultrawide is amazing for productivity, gaming on the 144hz 27inch is a lot easier (more competitive). I am immediately noticing improvement in most games, especially shooters like CS GO and Valorant.

It has been selling at a great price and may be out of stock, but they are restocking every few days on Amazon. You can check amazon stock here