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Activision

The hardcore Destiny community forgets why we play

Feb 06 // Darren Nakamura
There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but the most common among the hardcore players is because they are not at the maximum light level, or don't have every piece of exotic gear. Basically, they're in it for the stuff. This isn't some mindblowing revelation. Bungie has employed specific knowledge of human psychology in order to hook people into the loop. It's a classic Skinner box through and through, and Bungie wants players to keep hitting that lever for the chance at getting a food pellet. This is even more apparent now that Bungie has shifted to its limited-time events. I read a sentiment about the Sparrow Racing League from late last year that paraphrases to "I play SRL because the loot drops are high and frequent." More recently, Iron Banner Rift has seen players manipulating the Mercy Rule to intentionally throw matches and get to the end-of-game rewards more quickly. The problem with this mindset is that it treats the game like work. As players, we should be saying "I want to engage with this content because it is entertaining," not "I want to get to the end of this content as quickly as possible because my number might go up." I played a decent bit of SRL when it was around because the racing was a nice change of pace to the usual shooting. I played the most recent Iron Banner because Rift is my strongest game type and I knew I'd enjoy the process. I run King's Fall because it's a great feeling coordinating six Guardians into a well-oiled machine. Heck, I will still run the old raids, Vault of Glass and Crota's End, despite that they drop useless rewards. I play Destiny for the intrinsic value. I play Destiny because it is entertaining. When you treat a game like it's a job, then the saltiness comes out. Farming materials for the exotic sword quest is a good example. If you view it as an item on a checklist and try to power through it as quickly as possible, you're in for a bad time. Sure, you can mainline material routes for four hours straight to get it, but it'll be a boring four hours. Instead, I would go on Patrol, grab a few materials, participate in public events, kill some Taken champions, and head back to orbit when I felt like doing something else. It probably took me twice as long over multiple days to finish farming, but that was eight hours of enjoying myself instead of four hours of hating the world. The economics here are clear: if you play only for the reward at the end, you rob yourself of the enjoyment throughout. I implore players: divorce yourself from the reptilian part of your brain that is so susceptible to Destiny's operant conditioning. If you ever find yourself playing because you feel you have to rather than because you want to, ask yourself, "Am I enjoying this?" If you find yourself more interested in the reward at the end than the content in which you use the reward, ask yourself, "Is this worth it?" If your answers to those questions are no, there's no shame in finding something else to do, inside the world of Destiny or outside of it. Never forget the reason we play in the first place: to have fun.
Destiny opinion photo
Forget chasing loot for once
I've been playing a lot of Destiny lately -- late to the party, I know -- and going deep into the rabbit hole almost requires players to frequent r/DestinyTheGame or some other similar community site. Without it, I'd never kn...

Destiny photo
Destiny

Bungie to Destiny players: Are we having fun yet?!


New poll floods inboxes
Feb 03
// Chris Carter
For weeks now, players have been sharing their frustrations with the direction of Destiny. If you just jumped into the game recently -- awesome! You have a ton of fun new stuff to do, including the base game, two previous exp...

Guitar Hero Live is resurrecting the infamous 'Through the Fire and the Flames'

Feb 03 // Chris Carter
As explained by Coppard, "veterans have risen to the challenge so far which everything we've thrown at them, so bringing this song back is the next natural step. We found that with this challenge, the tracks we've identified as 'difficult' are on the level. We'll be surprised to see full combos for these songs back-to-back, but we know people are going to do it." With the "Rivals" leaderboard feature enabled throughout the challenge, you're also constantly going head to head with other people through this gauntlet. The rest of the event includes Hangar 18, Strife, Ghost Walking, and Cry of Achilles. When asked how the team builds these tracks (particularly the madness of Fire and Flames), Coppard noted that they "start from the top, then work their way down." He says once they have all the notes they need for Expert level, they can then start simplifying it further. But for Guitar Hero Live they had to add in a few new elements, which Coppard says will weed out a lot of players right off the bat. "First off, if you couldn't play the intro to Fire and Flames, you were kicked out, full stop. It's like a right of passage. Now we're using open strums and the six-button layout that wasn't in the original, so it adds a whole new dimension to the song." He calls it the "final boss of all of Guitar Hero." I believe him, as the song caused a bunch of people in my play group in college to quit. The event kicks today, and will run through February 8 at 7AM PT. After the event, Fire and Flames will be added into the normal rotation of GHTV.
Guitar Hero Live photo
For a five-song expert marathon event
Activision has been steadily supporting Guitar Hero Live's TV element for months now, adding constant new content to the game. Although it has microtransactions the system is more than fair, and allows for a ton of songs to b...

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Awakening

Feb 02 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: TreyarchPublisher: ActivisionReleased: February 2, 2016 (PS4) / TBA (PC, Xbox One)MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) When it comes to map design, Treyarch is one of the best in the business. One of its go-to staples is the three-lane approach, which allows for all sorts of interesting firefights and strategies throughout every game type. It takes it to an extreme here with Gauntlet, as it hosts three unique themes in each lane -- tropical, arctic, and industrial. Each area evokes feelings of the past Black Ops maps, Jungle, Discovery, and Kowloon respectively, which is good company to be in. Gauntlet is instantly recognizable, and really feels like three maps in one. If anything it's a bit too tunnel-oriented as folks will no doubt have issues with a lack of elevation (especially in the arctic and jungle themes), but it gets the job done and I'm glad it's in the rotation. [embed]338194:62083:0[/embed] Splash (pictured up top) is typical Treyarch at its finest. It's an absurd water park map that wouldn't feel out of place at Disney World's Caribbean Beach Resort. It's bright, it's littered with shops and rides, and even has a Main Street area. Water slides dot the landscape, as do cute mascot signs that top the previous meta Burger Town franchise -- it would feel right at home in the wackier Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare games. It's crazy that you can consistently read the detail on individual signs now as well (a few of which made me laugh, like the "no selfie stick" one), instead of haphazardly trying to read blurry scrawls. It's one of my favorite maps in years, with a wide array of open areas and indoor close-quarters combat sections. Skyjacked, quite simply, is a remake of Hijacked from Black Ops II. This map was a bit divisive in the community due to its close-quarters focus and propensity to promote camping, so most of you have already made up your mind on it. Personally it was one of my favorites, so I'm glad to see Treyarch bringing it back here, and was happy to play it again. The new theme isn't a half-measure like some past remakes, as the entire affair now takes place in a floating fortress, set to the backdrop of an ongoing city battle. It's a remake of a good map that's made even better due to jumpjet and wallrunning capabilities. There's usually one map that I outright dislike in a pack, and this time it's Rise. It's far too gated and familiar for my tastes, and is nearly indistinguishable from a few industrial levels included in the base package (namely Exodus). There are times where you'd think a cool new area is just waiting around a corner, but then the game doesn't allow you to actually go there due to invisible walls. It's almost like they spent too much time building the other three to really put the proper amount of care in here. If it comes up in the rotation I usually cringe. Der Eisendrache (The Iron Dragon) caps off the DLC, which immediately adds more of an incentive to pick up Awakening. Peppering in one zombie (or alien) map is a strategy the other Call of Duty developers (Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer) have adopted for good reason -- the sheer amount of depth in these things keep people coming back for more. I really dig the whole castle theme, which basically goes full Wolfenstein from the start. I'm sad to see the Jeff Goldblum crew seemingly isn't returning for more, but the original cast is iconic enough to last, spearheaded by Steve Blum's Dempsey. The animated intro certainly helps give the level a different feel as well, and it's crazy that Treyarch is still building upon the lore it created so many years ago in World at War. Der Eisendrache surprised me as well with its open layout, with plenty of room to move, lots of teleporters, and tons of secrets that players will be tracking down weeks after launch. As Nikolai even remarks during Der Eisendrache, "will there ever be an end to this nightmare?" Not as long as Activision keeps selling DLC, there isn't! But one man's nightmare is another man's video game, and the good news is that each Call of Duty developer has been pushing itself harder in recent years to justify the price. If you still play Black Ops III, you can't really go wrong with Awakening -- especially since the new maps are now built into normal playlists from the get-go.
Call of Duty DLC review photo
Four maps and some zombies
It's still crazy to me that I'm loading up a Call of Duty DLC pack first on PlayStation 4. After years of Microsoft-dominated timed exclusivity Sony finally has its shot at heading it up, and it has perfect timing with Black Ops III. As one of the best Call of Duty games in years, it allows Awakening plenty of room to breathe, and lets Treyarch be its unconventional self.


Ghostbusters photo
Ghostbusters

New Ghostbusters game reportedly in the works, I hope we get to be the ladies


Let's change it up in here
Jan 30
// Zack Furniss
2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game was a pleasant return to the ghoul-infested New York City, and it sounds like we'll have another chance to get bustin' this year. What remains unclear is whether it'll feature the cast...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Peter Stormare returns in Call of Duty's new ad campaign


'The Replacer'
Jan 29
// Chris Carter
Peter Stormare has entertained me for years, and is one of the greatest character actors of our time -- Fargo, Big Lebowski, Bad Boys II, Until Dawn, hell, even Prison Break -- classic performances. Now he's ba...
Destiny photo
Destiny

You can now view Destiny's Calcified Fragment list by character


Finally!
Jan 28
// Chris Carter
After not having it since launch, Bungie has made it possible to view Destiny's Calcified Fragments per character. For those who aren't aware, fragments are small little hidden objects found in various missions -- if you...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Black Ops III's newest zombie map has Wolfenstein vibes


I'm in
Jan 27
// Chris Carter
I'm all in with the new zombie cast in Call of Duty: Black Ops III (headlined by Jeff Goldbum), but I'll take Der Eisendrache as well -- the newest map set to debut in the Awakening DLC. It brings back the original ...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Destiny's matchmaking is getting overhauled this week


During Iron Banner
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
Destiny is getting a much needed overhaul with its matchmaking process, as it pertains to the PVP element of the game -- the Crucible. According to a post from Bungie, "more emphasis" will be placed on connection quality...
TMNT photo
TMNT

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan officially announced


That took forever
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
Well, Activision finally announced the Platinum-developed game we all knew existed -- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. It's a third-person action game set in the Big Apple (though likely not at 3AM), and wi...
Ninja Turtles photo
Ninja Turtles

Someone leaked the trailer for Platinum's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before the 'official' leak


No, it's not live-action
Jan 25
// Zack Furniss
Earlier today, a tweet from Platinum Games teased the "official reveal" of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan. We've been getting small glimpses of it up until now (including the art style, possible ...
TMNT photo
TMNT

Platinum's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game is getting revealed tomorrow


'Bout time
Jan 25
// Brett Makedonski
Video games' worst-kept secret is getting announced tomorrow. Platinum's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan will finally be revealed, as not-so-subtly hinted at by this tweet from the developer. Dubiously...
Destiny Valentine's photo
Destiny Valentine's

Love is in the air for Destiny's Crimson Days


Valentine's Day-themed event
Jan 21
// Darren Nakamura
After a long holiday, Bungie is back to work this week. For the first update of the new year, Destiny will be adding an event not unlike the Festival of the Lost from Halloween. Except since this one is coming in February, it...
Gaming News photo
Never a dull moment in gaming!
Keeping up with gaming news can be bloody hard.  In gaming terms, a week is an eternity, so here we are with this handy-dandy breakdown of the past week’s most important, interesting, or downright bizarre gaming ne...

Platinum photo
It's all but confirmed at this point
Weeks ago, we learned that there is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game in the works from Platinum Games by way of Activision, in the same vein as The Legend of Korra and Transformers: Devastation. It made perfect s...

Square Enix - Activision photo
Square Enix - Activision

Rise of the Tomb Raider director leaves Crystal Dynamics for Infinity Ward


Now art director at Call of Duty studio
Jan 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Tomb Raider Senior Art Director and Rise of the Tomb Raider Game Director Brian Horton has left Crystal Dynamics, the developer announced via the official Tomb Raider Tumblr account Friday. "It’s been a huge honor to be...
Vivendi photo
Vivendi

Vivendi sells off all remaining stake in Activision Blizzard


Eyes trained on Ubisoft?
Jan 15
// Brett Makedonski
Many in video game circles know Vivendi solely for its role in owning Activision Blizzard in recent years. The timeline of events looks something like this: The French mass media company owned a controlling stake in Activisio...
Call of Duty sales photo
Call of Duty sales

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is 2015's best-seller, series tops 250 million sold


Racking up quite a phone bill
Jan 15
// Steven Hansen
Call of Duty: Black Ops III launched November 6. That means that is was for sale for less than two months in 2015. Despite this, Black Ops III was the best-selling video game of 2015 according to NPD data. While NPD data only...
Jonas Savimbi photo
Jonas Savimbi

The family of an Angolan rebel is suing Activision for Black Ops 2


It really takes three years to notice?
Jan 15
// Joe Parlock
Jonas Savimbi played a pretty important role in Angola’s history. He regularly fought against the Portuguese, who had colonised the country, and then also fought against the new ruling political party, the MLPA, up unti...
Activision movies photo
Activision movies

Ex-Tarantino producer joins Activision Blizzard movie studio


The Hateful Skylanders
Jan 13
// Steven Hansen
Seeking new money-making avenues, Activision Blizzard announced it would start its own "film and television studio devoted to creating original content" for its series like Call of Duty, StarCraft, and Diablo. Activision Bliz...
Destiny photo
Destiny

PSA: Destiny's Nightfall is broken at the moment


Hey, get the door
Jan 12
// Chris Carter
[Update: Bungie has rectified the issue as of this afternoon.] As if there already wasn't a reason to do the Nightfall (hello useless multiple 290ish Ghost rewards!), Destiny's weekly event is now broken this week. After the ...
Guitar Hero photo
Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero Live players love them some Tenacious D


'Tribute' #1 in the UK, #3 globally
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
FreeStyle Games has come out with a list of the most-played songs in Guitar Hero Live over the holidays and I can't be the only one who finds lists like this somewhat entertaining. Between December 24 and January 3, the most ...
Destiny photo
Destiny

If you log into Destiny in the next few days, you'll net bonus rewards


Coins, Motes, and an Emblem
Jan 08
// Chris Carter
Bungie crafted an incentive for Destiny players to log on after a long winter break, and it's as easy as logging in and completing one activity (a PVP skirmish, for example). As of today you can pick up rewards, which in...
MLG sold photo
MLG sold

Yep, Activision bought Major League Gaming


Foundation for eSports broadcast network
Jan 04
// Jordan Devore
As suspected, Activision has acquired Major League Gaming. The move falls in line with the company's ambitious goal to "create the ESPN of eSports," according to CEO Bobby Kotick. "MLG's ability to create premium content and ...
Platinum's TMNT photo
Platinum's TMNT

Further proof confirming Platinum's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game


I give to you the future of ninjutsu
Jan 04
// Brett Makedonski
It's a new year, but we already have a prime candidate for "Worst Kept Secret." No one is willing to admit that Platinum's making a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, but Platinum's totally making a Teenage Mutant Ninja ...
MLG photo
Uhhh
Man, the eSports world is so much more interesting these days. With so many big-time publishers attempting to enter the market, Activision just up and did what everyone probably wanted to do all along -- it potentially bought...

Skylanders amiibo photo
Skylanders amiibo

Good news, collectors: The Skylanders amiibo are going to be sold separately


$24.99
Jan 01
// Chris Carter
[Update: It looks like the pair are going to be sold on 1/9 at GameStop -- there's no current word on what the stock looks like, but since they're being distributed by Activision, there's no doubt that it will be more plentif...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Destiny's weekly raid challenge is the Warpriest again


Well that was short-lived
Dec 24
// Chris Carter
Over the course of the past month or so, we've seen the raid challenge mode in Destiny shift to the Warpriest, then Golgoroth, and Oryx. Now it's back to the Warpriest with the exact same challenge as the initial week, w...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is getting a more Call of Duty-like PVP system


Honor levels and Prestige!
Dec 21
// Chris Carter
Blizzard is changing things up for World of Warcraft's PVP mode once the Legion expansion hits, and it sounds like the system is going to get closer to the Vanilla era. For starters, currencies for buying gear will be er...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Iron Banner is coming back to Destiny this month


December 29
Dec 18
// Chris Carter
For those of you who enjoy Destiny's Iron Banner PVP event, you won't have to sneak away from whatever family events you're doing this Christmas week to play it. Bungie has announced that it will start on December 29, ru...

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