Good Gaming PC

Good Gaming – Free to Play PC Games

We’ve been playing a fair few games lately (as always :P) and recently we’ve been diving into as many free to play PC games as we can, this blog will be a sticky one that we constantly update with new games as we play them but for now we’ll start things off with a few unique and rather good games for your PC that will cost you nothing but the data to download them 🙂 (the titles for each are download links, videos are short gameplay tests captured by GGPC NZ)

Currently checking out Duelyst and Warhammer: Eternal Crusade \o/

ARGO – A hardcore tactical first-person shooter, jump straight into combat in this official standalone FREE total conversion of Arma 3. This one has us fighting for supremacy in a familiar but new setting – the Mediterranean island of Malden, complete with dense urban areas and wide open plains ideal for snipers you’ll find each location has been built to provide an optimal experience for each game mode 😛 What really makes this one stand out for us here at GGPC so far is the new Combat Patrol CO-OP mode in which you can team up with some friends and fight against AI opponents with both randomized objectives and procedural generation of enemy forces making each session of Combat Patrol unique. Combine this with three competitive game modes and a pretty good looking Scenario Editor with which you can create your own missions with and you’ve got ARGO, it’s a pretty darn impressive free to play war gaming experience 🙂

Dreadnought – This is a medium paced arcade action game which puts you in command of a massive sci-fi battleship, similar in many ways to Fractured Space and Cloud Pirates below but with some really beautiful landscapes to wage war on this is one can be a stunner with settings cranked to high. Customisation for your starship is first class from guns and turrets to coatings and decals and there are a range of configs for each ship class so you’re sure to find one that fits your playstyle perfectly. Massively enjoyable in a group or alone, we’ve been playing this one since early BETA days and it just keeps getting better!

Atlus Reactor – A rather refreshing and unique take on turn-based tactical combat. Engage in 4v4 team battles with a short moment between each round to lock in your players actions after which all eight players will execute their command lists. Each character has a range of moves available to them that will initiate at different times in the action que depending on the type of move selected, this makes playing Altus Reactor a game of predicting what your opponents might do which just keeps getting better the more familiar you become with the growing roster of freelancers available (numbering 25 as I write this). Once you reach level 10 there is also a “Seasons” XP event in which players can complete challenges and receive some extra bonus loot to customise their characters.

Paladins – A team-based shooter set in a vibrant fantasy world and features a diverse cast of Champions ranging from sharpshooting humans to mech-riding goblins, mystical elves, jetpack-clad dragons, and bomb golems. Each Champion brings a unique set of abilities to the battlefield and new Champions are regularly added to Paladins, keeping the game exciting.  With strategy elements and character customisation through a unique collectable card system, players can amplify and augment a character’s core set of abilities to play exactly how they want to play.

Cloud Pirates – Arcade airship based combat awaits you in this science-fiction fantasy battleground game 🙂 Remarkably tactical but also good fun early on for a casual run-and-gun play style, as you progress though you’ll gain access a bunch of unique upgrades for your airships, captain and crew which leads to much more challenging matches and modes as you progress.  There are numerous visual customization options to tinker which as you go and plenty of airships to choose from each with their own unique handling and firing arcs – snipers, tanks, dps, tackle – there really are a lot!

Warframe – A team based hack’n’slash shooter with some pretty action packed moments, heaps of gear and hours of fun 🙂 The “War Within” update recently went live live for this one so it’s a great time to jump into the fray and hack some enemies to pieces. You play as a Tenno, an ancient warrior, a weapon master… You wield the mighty Warframes and command their awesome powers – the Grineer Empire grows stronger as a cryptic adversary surfaces. Underpowered, unprepared and forced out of your comfort, you must find it in yourself to improvise, not just to save yourself but the fate of all Tenno. The Queens’ Fortress awaits, where both Warframe and Operator will be pushed past their limits as they slowly unravel mysteries about the Tenno’s past and their true capabilities.

Blade and Soul – A rather excellent MMO set in a world of martial arts masters and mythology 🙂 A tale of revenge at its core that will have you exploring a beautiful, cinematic world inspired by the distinct visual style of acclaimed artist Hyung Tae Kim. This one’s got detailed character customization tools, offers some brilliant PVP matches and has an excellent action based combat system. The storyline is very good, especially the introduction to the game world and no matter which class you choose the cross server PVE multiplayer instances are quick to find match ups.

Path of Exile – You are an Exile, struggling to survive as you fight to earn power that will allow you to exact your revenge against those who wronged you. Created by NZ game studio Grinding Gear Games, Path of Exile is an isometric online action RPG is set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. It offers excellent co-op gaming with extremely deep character customisation, the best skill tree we’ve seen in a long long time and even a hardcore mode in which staying alive actually matters 😛 The game is completely free and will never be “pay to win”, the community is excellent and graphics are top notch. All in all this is our most recommended game right now, crazy good times to be had playing on your own but in a group with some friends the game really shines.

Planetside 2 – It’s a very different experience from most first person shooters because instead of the usual 24v24 firefights – battles in Planetside 2 can typically involve a few hundred players. This war takes place over several continents each of which has a defined landscape, there are 3 factions to choose from each with there own infantry weapons, ground vehicles and aircraft. The scale of the game can be quite daunting at first but for new players if you go Engineer class and get a Sunderer vehicle you’ll rapidly begin leveling up while being a great addition to the war effort, doing this will allow you to quickly amass enough experience points to buy new weapons, vehicle mods or abilities. The game world is large, but getting around is easy thanks to an instant action button on the map screen that will take you into hot spots, you can also hover over locations to see just how many players from each faction are fighting in that specific sector which is excellent. Community wise (NZ players) we highly recommend jumping into this one on a Sunday afternoon, it’s pretty crazy!

Paragon – Is a multiplayer online battle arena game that feels a bit like SMITE, but with some beautiful graphics 🙂 There are a range of heroes to choose from and a new ones joins the mix every three weeks so it’s going to be great to see just how diverse the range will become. Like most MOBA games the action starts out pretty slow and this escalates as the players level up and unlock more and more abilities leading to some great end game battles, there is also a card powerup system with which you can tweak each character to your play style a bit. It’s hard to say where to start with this one, having played so much League of Legends and DOTA 2 this game just seems to make sense right away.

Mechwarrior Online – A slower paced, tactical online shooter set in the BattleTech Universe. Victory requires a mastery of tactical positioning, teamwork, and firing discipline to prevent overheating and the dreaded shutdown (overload only works so much!). Each battle will reward you with credits depending on performance and these can be spent on new weapons, equipment and mech chassis to full your hangers. For new players there is a rotation of free to play pre-configured mechs to take into battle and these will give you a good taste of how each weight class performs so you can spend your credits wisely. Once you’ve brought a BattleMech of your very own there is a faction warfare system and if you spend a little time in each jumping from faction to faction you can quickly amass a bunch of personal hangers to store more and more of your own mechs in, this becomes more important with multiple variants of the same frame offering different hardpoints to mount weaponry on and new skills to unlock as you progress. It’s not an easy fight and don’t expect to just run in and win, this is a thinking persons shooter for sure.

Fractured Space – Another MOBA at its core but very different from Paragon above, this one has us controlling a large battleship in space based 5v5 combat pushing our way towards a large enemy base that your team can only reach by pushing a spacelane all the way up. Each multiplayer match provides some pretty intense team battles and also some smaller skirmishes with ships able to quickly warp to other locations on the map. The starships themselves look beautiful, there are three factions/manufacturers in the game right now each with their own unique art style for each class of ship available – each class backs some pretty awesome weapons and abilities that you can further tweak to suit your play style as you progress in the game. Fractured space is in early access now and we’ll be excitedly watching this one as it evolves, right now though it’s in pretty excellent shape and certainly a blast to play!

EVE Online – The new free to play mode in EVE will allow you gain a lot of skills with no money down 🙂 Leveling up an EVE Online character has always been a little different from most MMORPG, every player in the game controls a clone which they train in new skills over time (even when you’re not logged in) as opposed to the far more common “kill this and fetch that for XP”. As your clone learns more and more you will be able to fly more ships and kit these out with new modules and equipment. When you die you respawn into another clone but depending on when you last did a clone imprint that new clone may or may not have the skills you previously acquired and it’s this investment in time that makes up one of many factors that gives each life in EVE a real feeling of value – there are of course the in game monetary losses involved with death in EVE, losing your favourite ship certainly hurts! The new alpha clone state will allow you to get some pretty potent ships like the Caracal below, armed with many heavy missile launchers you’ll be a fine addition to fleets around the univese 🙂

DOTA 2  Originating as a fan-made Warcraft 3 modification, Dota was an instant underground hit. After coming to Valve, the original community developers have bridged the gap to a more inclusive audience, so that the rest of the world can experience the same core gameplay, but with a level of polish and depth that’s unmatched. Much like League of Legends, Dota is a competitive game of action and strategy. Players can choose from a roster of over a hundred unique heroes, forming two teams of five players. Radiant heroes then battle their Dire counterparts to control on a beautiful fantasy landscape, battling one another with cunning, stealth, and outright warfare.

League of Legends – A popular take on the multiplayer online battle arena game type that first came about as a mod for Warcraft 3 named DOTA back in 2003… or was it 2002, anyways it was a while ago 🙂 League of Legends released to the public in 2009 and it has since become one of the most played games in the world today with some very cool new heroes to play as and more joining the ranks constantly. It’s quite a wonderful game to play if you’re a gamer that’s short on time with matches lasting from twenty minutes to one hour depending on how well each team performs. The game is both newbie friendly and deep enough to keep a long term player interested, the roster of heroes to play as changes often and there is even a rune loadout enabling you to tweak you heroes slightly using various power-ups you can purchase using currency accrued as you play matches.

Killer Instinct – This one has been made available via the Windows Store so you’ll need a Windows 10 Gaming PC to try it out. It’s the same Killer Instinct we remember playing in movie theatres wayyy back in the 90’s but with some wonderful new graphics to enjoy 🙂 The free version of this one gives players a single character with which you can access all game modes, including online multiplayer!

War Thunder –  This one gives us action packed battles both on the ground and in the skies (also boats are in BETA!), it’s crazy how good this game is with beautiful graphics and a massive line-up of tanks and planes for us to use in the PVP battles + recently the games creators added a new PVE game mode named Assault which is a blast to play. A perfect game to play with friends this one has options from Simulation to Arcade, it’s similar in many ways to World of Tanks and World of Warships but ultimately War Thunder wins the day with it’s seamless combination of modes and unmatched intensity of aerial dogfights. A truly great game that deserves a download 🙂

We’ll continue adding to this list as we test more and more Gaming PC, we’ve got our eyes on Battlerite but if you know a great new free game you think we should test out please drop a comment in via our GGPC YouTube channel – we are on the hunt now for a nice driving game!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming PC Case – CM MasterBox Lite 5 Dark Mirror

Another great Cooler Master chassis called the MasterBox Lite 5 has just landed in New Zealand and we couldn’t resist opening it up to see what improvements they’ve made over the already excellent MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror which we fell in love with just a few months back 🙂

Starting off with the packaging it’s pretty standard stuff coming in a nice brown box with handles which, once opened, reveals a foam packed chassis inside, you can faintly see the transparency of the dark mirror front panel within the protective bag.

Removing the outer protective packaging we can see that the two dark mirror areas have a secondary protective layer on them also, with the window panel the screw holes are also fitted with rubber protectors and there is a subtle pattern along the edges. We had a bit of a funny moment during our first build when we were re-attaching this panel (upside down it turned out) and it we couldn’t quite align it – so yep turn it around if that happens to you, just letting y’all know!

Inside we find a handy little instruction booklet, warranty card and an assortment of essential screws and handy zip ties full cable management, the little brown box inside however has something really very cool – two optional colour plates for the front panel are included with the chassis!

Swapping out the coloured trims is an easy process with screws and clips holding everything in place but the best bit is Cooler Master didn’t stop there, those fine folks know the community has awesome ideas of their own so with that in mind, they’ve made 3D printing schematics for both the top and bottom trim available right away and you can download the files for 3D Printing your own MasterBox Lite 5 parts here \o/ Fun times ahead!

Looking at the main body now we find an included 120mm fan pre-mounted on the rear exhaust which sports a nice all-black 3-pin cable to keep things looking good. Along the top we don’t have any mounting holes for fans but the front is savvy for mounting an additional 3x 120mm intakes or a massive radiator for a killer water cooled system.

Everything has a clean black coating, even the dual USB ports are dark grey instead of the usual blue and they’ve made things great for system builder by adding the common little details like the good tool-less drive trays (the ones with the sliders) and also the not-so-common ones like the power supply bracket which is just wonderful to see.

Build wise we’ve dived right in and created a nice red/black themed Ryzen 5 + GTX 1060 system to test it all out for ourselves, with the PSU shield now extending all the way to the front and the brilliant worked done by CM design with those additional cable management slots along the right of the motherboard we were able to make a nice and tidy Gaming PC in this chassis extremely quickly, it’s a absolute pleasure to build with!

We can’t wait to do more builds (as I write this we’ve already done some quick GTX 1050Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 builds with a range of different Ryzen) and we even setup the cameras during our first build so we’ll be adding a quick timelapse to this blog soon enough but anyways – onto the best bit – Cooler Master have created an exceptionally good chassis here, not only does it look amazing and sport those neat little trim mods that are super easy to tweak but everything is just right on the inside and on that note we happily give this case our GGPC Recommends Award  – The MasterBox Lite 5 is GOOD! 

 

Good eSports – Intel Extreme Masters Gaming

Sydney just hosted a massive gaming event, an Intel Extreme Masters CSGO tournament and it was GOOD!

This tournament goes hand in hand with another cool promotion on now in NZ, IEM Certified Gaming PC \o/ Grabbing a system that’s certified in this way gets you a really sweet golden sticker for your new PC, that holographic certificate guarantees quality that meets only the highest standards from Intel and it also signals a FREE GAMES BONUS!

Looking specifically at the current games in the IEM Certified Gaming PC bundle there are a few “Free to Play” ones, the bonus with these comes in the form of in-game currency that you can use to add a little customisation to your tank, battleship or hero. If you’re wanting to check these out for yourself right away you can find the download links in our GGPC Free to Play PC Games Sticky Blog 🙂

You’ll also get Just Cause 3, Warhammer Vermintide (This one is multi-player Left for Dead style gaming gold) and the space battleship brawler Dreadnought  \o/ which we’ve been happily playing since early BETA testing:)

Topping the bonus games list right now is the recently released Halo Wars 2! Real-time strategy Halo style with Spartans, Warthogs and other classic Halo fighting forces. You’ll get the full game with the IEM bundle but there is also a Window 10 Store Halo Wars 2 demo available now you can check out now 🙂

The setup for the event was absolutely first class, from the moment you walked through the doors intel had a range of latest gaming laptops and IEM custom desktops ready to go with games to play and you could even join in on mini competitions in everything from a quick round of 3v3 CSGO to VR Racing time attacks.

The quality of the interactive experiences on offer were what made this opening experience so enjoyable though, it wasn’t just a nice seat for the racing games, intel had flown over VESARO force feedback equipment to give players genuine motion, these racing kits actually move with you and give you a real feeling of acceleration as you push yourself to take poll position and take away some of the prizes which flowed throughout the event.

Once we had made our way through the first gaming zone (pretty tough to do as they had an early access VR spellcasting fighting game right before the stairs to the arena) we got to check out the main event stage which lived up to the hype \o/ Some pretty epic lighting and smoke machines ensured the announcements for each match were exciting and the triple massive screens above would make following the gameplay easy. Behind this main stage a backstage team monitored everything, and further behind this there was another studio setup reminiscent of the Full Circle studio here in NZ – it would be from here that the casters did there sportscenter like commentary of each match.

Although early we could see from behind the stage that the arena was already starting to full up 🙂

The commentators were brilliant and whoever was responsible for switching the player camera to show the best moments of each round was amazing, they deserve a medal and speaking of! Between the two teams 5v5 gaming setups was a MASSIVE round medal, the trophy for the competition.

With the stage set we attempted to find our seats, which although reserved, had been claimed by some very excited chaps, they were kiwis as well who had flown over especially for the Intel Extreme Masters, we all enjoyed the matches together and had a great time debating (was more of a yelling match) who was going to to take the win for each round 🙂

The arena filled up fast and the weekends gaming begun with a roar! Massive applause welcomed each team as they approached the main stage, fun times ahead!

We estimate around 7000 people spectating in the arena and the competition was both fierce and extremely close, with the finals proving themselves to be the best! The rounds swung back and forth with bomb disarms coming down to microseconds and jumping knives being thwarted by deagles 😛

You can check out all the matches for yourself with the IEM Sydney game replays available via this link, because the games were so close it take a while to watch it all but it’s worth it 🙂

The local area in which the event was held was originally built to host the Olympics and handled the crowd with ease, special mention here to just how nice everyone was, both staff and attendees 🙂 two instances, in particular, stood out though, the first was meeting a chap that had lost his phone so we let him use ours to call it and a someone nice had handed it to the staff already. The second was the aftermath of the event, or lack of, we hung around for a bit after the finals chatting to some of the intel team and when we eventually left the outside wasn’t trashed, a little rubbish here are there but honestly pretty good with that amount of people!

We had a blast and can’t wait for the next big event, full credit to the teams from ESL and Intel for putting this one together so flawlessly – hope to see you at the next one!

GG

Good Gaming PC NZ – Custom PC Building Tool

We absolutely love designing Gaming PC here at GGPC NZ and with our new PC building tool you can too! We’ve just launched our new visual tool which will show you what your system design looks like as you choose/change components.

You won’t need to be a hardware guru to design a system, we only provide options which are compatible with each other. The tool works by providing a range of fully functional base builds from which you can customise your system upwards, changing the chassis, adding additional graphics power or digital storage depending on your needs. You’ll be happily swapping out components to get the perfect look with no worries.

Because a great looking build often has a specific flavour, to make things a bit easier for everyone you’ll see a colour listed in brackets with each option which indicates the primary highlights on that specific piece of hardware,

You can check out the current range of Custom Gaming PC options here with many more coming.

We’re now onto the most fun part of the project, adding lot’s of glorious components into our tool which will make designing builds even more fun – if you’ve got a specific build in mind and need a component added you’ll find a facebook comments section at the bottom of each custom gaming pc page – just pop in a link to the component you need added and we’ll bump it up the list 🙂

To make things even better we’ve also activated a “BUY BUTTON” up top which will send your specific components through to PB Tech NZ along with a special code signalling the assembly of components into a complete system with OS installed and drivers loaded, it usually takes a couple days to complete the order (including system testing) at which point the build will be couriered to your doorstep 🙂 When they say “You dream it, we build it” they aren’t kidding, you can read more about Custom Gaming PC assembly here 🙂

BUILD ON!

Good Gaming PC – The GTX 1050 Hero

Good Gaming PC NZ GGPC Hero GTX 1050Fresh from the workshop our latest GGPC Hero Gaming PC returns armed with EVGA GTX 1050 graphics \o/ Like all GGPC builds we’re always tinkering with slightly different components to see if we can squeeze out a little more performance for each $ spent, and on that note – let’s take a look at the latest tweaks!

Firstly, a really cool update that effects all our Gaming PC in the GGPC custom chassis – we’ve taken out all the LED strip lighting kits and static fans and replaced both with RGB cooling 😛 A total of three RGB fans are now fitted in the front panel of the chassis and both the colour and fan speed can be adjusted via an included remote control, we left the rear 120mm outtake in the chassis as a standard GGPC black fan so you can game comfortably without a blinding LED directly in your line of sight. When the rig is on your desk and the glow from the front shines backwards to light up the beautiful components inside 🙂 Taking out the strips has also brought down the internal temperature a little and being able to tweak the fan speeds allows the gaming rig to run even quieter than before.

Another little tweak is a small update to the internal AC Wireless cards we use which now supports Bluetooth 4.2, this gives us improvements in three areas – co-existence (bluetooth and 4G (LTE) didn’t get on well, this is now fixed), smarter connectivity (improved re-connection timeout for saving battery life) and improved data transfer (connects more things!). Oh, one last thing – it’s wayyy faster than the previous versions 😛

Now onto a tweak specifically for the Hero build – we added a new GTX 1050 from EVGA 🙂 This one’s as much about ascetics as performance with the new GPU being a nice gunmetal grey that suits the case perfectly and in-game it’s a little beast!

In our last blog on the Hero we tested to see just how much performance we could get by overclocking the graphics but before we get into that let’s see what the new graphics card can do at factory settings with some in-game performance tests, after all “What is a good gaming PC?” can only be answered by “it plays the games you want to play!”

First up, the new Hero proves itself to be a good gaming PC for Overwatch players by keeping things very smooth as we get up close and personal with Roadhog and his wonderful hook 😛

If you’re thinking about getting a good gaming PC for Minecraft you’ll probably be interested in playing with Shaders on, for our tests here we installed Optifine HD D3 Ultra + Sildurs Vibrant Shaders v1.153 Medium and then went for our signature run around looking for a nice town by the water 🙂

This next one’s still under development so we’ll be stepping back in to test things out with each update but right now the just released Star Marine early access for Star Citizen is working very well with these gaming PC specs, we happily ran around the awesome looking space stations chasing down bandits while having a blast being sneaky in space 🙂

Heaps of more games to test and fun times ahead! You can check out more GTX 1050 Gameplay FPS Tests here and many more on our GGPC YouTube Channel, keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog and we’ll update with the latest.

Good Gaming PC – eSports Edition Live Streaming Tests!

GGPC Live Stream tests begin

A good gaming PC should be able to play the games you’re wanting to play and with our latest designs in our lineup, the eSports editions of Paladin and Dark Knight, we wanted to make rigs that could not only play the games but also stream them simultaneously via Twitch, YouTube, Xsplit and other services. This of course means a lot of testing in the background to make sure things are GOOD! We’ve been quietly checking out several configs over the last few months and now that we’ve got things perfect (massive thanks to Bubba Kush for all the help with this!) it’s time to start sharing some game streams so we can check out things for together 🙂

Today at around 2pm (New Zealand Time) Gabbu will be live streaming a bit of Witcher 3 and League of Legends on the i7-6700K + GTX 1070 config, if you’re tuning in make sure to set quality to “source” so we can double check our settings are good, we’ll be increasing these throughout a series of tests on different internet providers and packages to get a feel for what’s possible over the various connection types in NZ. Once we’ve got a good feel for things we’ll begin capturing a series of new tests via our GGPC YouTube channel with settings used and any helpful tweaks so everyone can join in on this rather fun way to play games with people around the world 🙂

GGPC set quality to source

 

Good Graphics Card – GTX 1060 Gaming FPS Tests on Laptop & Desktop

UPDATE: GTX 1060 Laptop Playlist

UPDATE: GTX 1060 Desktop Playlist

GAME ON! What better way to test out the new range of GTX 1060 Graphics Cards than by quickly playing a whole range of games with the new GTX 1060 Laptop and Gaming PC \o/

We’ve had some epic battles in Titanfall 2 with the 3GB Gigabyte GTX 1060 sticking pretty darn close to 60FPS even when jumping on the back of an enemy titan to pop a grenade 🙂 This game plays best on the 6GB version letting you push those textures all the up.

With Battlefield 1 you can go ultra all the way for most maps, in the big city map when all the smokey rubble, flame throwers and gas grenades start going it can get a little dicey but you can still keep above 60 by tweaking post processing and mesh to high 🙂

Moving away from first person shooters now we jump into a bit of Black Desert Online and with this one the 6GB Asus Strix GTX 1060 really shines, BDO is framelocked to 60 but achieving this isn’t easy – nicely done nVidia!

The GTX 1060 isn’t invincible though, we threw the Witcher 3 at it with some very high settings and while it’s still playable, it pushes the 1060 to its limits.

Tweaking the settings a little makes for smooth gaming though, as you can see with the GTX 1060 Laptop below 🙂

Lots more games to play and more tests coming, keep your eyes on the GGPC YouTube Channel for the latest!

Good Gaming PC – eSports NZ custom builds!

GoodGamingTeam

We’re pretty excited to be competing in the upcoming Ping Zero! eSports tournaments and we’ve been working hard on creating some very special gaming PC for our GGPC team players to use throughout the event.

GGPC GTX 1070 Warlock eSports Edition PC!

We’ve made this build quite small by using the Phanteks EVOLV and with this new form factor we had plenty of space on the desk for our weapons of choice – Logitech G Gaming Gear setups for eSports!

eSportsRig