PC Gaming NZ

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 – Fallout 4 Free Weekend

Those fine folks at Bethesda are making their epic game, Fallout 4, free to play via Steam this weekend! 

If you’ve someone missed this one (or maybe just experienced it on a console) Fallout 4 is a massive post-apocalyptic role-playing extravaganza that’s quite brilliant, you can play in a bunch of different styles and if you really want to rush it, you could actually complete the main storyline over the weekend 😛

The PC version is MOD ready and plays well on range of graphics cards, we’ve tested this one quite recently with the new Gaming Laptops as well and it ran like a dream!

If you’re lucky enough to be packing something like a GTX 1080 in your system you can even use our custom settings below and get crazy good performance at 4K \o/

Res: 3840×2160
Anitaliasing: Off
Anisotropic Filtering: 16 Samples
Textures: Ultra
Shadow Quality: Ultra
Shadow Distance: Medium
Decal Quality: Ultra
Lighting Quality: Medium
Godrays Quality: Low
Depth of Field: Standard
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Weapon Debris: Off (ON test)
Screen Space Reflections: On
Wetness: On
Rain Occlusion: On
Motion Blur: Off
Lens Flare: On

GAME ON!

 

Good Motherboard – Massive ROG Towel Bonus

GGPC ROG Motheboard Bath Towel BONUS

UPDATE: Promotion extended, now 1st June 2017 to 31st July 2017.

Asus Republic of Gamers have a sweet new bonus offer available now for those gearing up with selected ROG STRIX series motherboards, it’s BIG, RED and is the leading cause of dry skin in the world – a giant ROG towel \o/

With all the rain lately in NZ this promo really couldn’t have come at a better time, when summer returns it’ll also be great for the beach, it’s certainly easy to spot 🙂

Asus ROG STRIX motherboards have killer looks and an all important feature which allows you to control a host of RGB devices from a single software package – we’ve done some special builds to demonstrate this and we know you’ll agree, when building a PC around Asus AURA RGB things really do look good!

GGPC ASUS ROG AURA SYNC

Getting your ROG bonus is pretty easy, once you’ve geared up with your killer new motherboard simply visit the ASUS Redemption Site to fill in your details on the form below.

Not all the motherboards listed in this promotion on the Asus website are available in NZ right now and others have just arrived making them a little hard to find, below are quick links so you can check them out – we’ll add to this as more arrive 🙂

ASUS STRIX Z270E GAMING

ASUS STRIX Z270F GAMING <- We used this one in the build above

ASUS STRIX Z270H GAMING

ASUS ROG STRIX H270F GAMING

ASUS ROG STRIX Z270G GAMING

ASUS ROG STRIX Z270I GAMING

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS IX HERO <- We used this in our Corsair Black Sails build \o/

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS IX CODE

ASUS MAXIMUS IX FORMULA

GAME ON!

 

 

Good Gaming – Overwatch Birthday Event LIVE

It’s live!

The party has begun and Blizzard kicked off their  celebration by adding three new Arena maps to the Arcade, unleashing more than 100 Anniversary rewards which include their largest-ever release of new Legendary skins! You can check out all the new emotes and skins here 🙂

You’ll earn Anniversary Loot Boxes as you play, plus pick up a free box when you log in between May 23 and June 12, 2017.

The new arena maps are smaller and designed for intense action. Eliminate all enemy players to win a round – and, ultimately, win the match. As part of the Anniversary event, the three new maps can be found in the Arcade Mode and support up to 3v3 elimination matches.

Everyone will be able to play Overwatch during the FREE weekend event which is on between May 26th and 29th (Likely 27th and 30th here in NZ)

A lot of us have been playing Overwatch for more than the year, the BETA tests where frequent before its release so thought we’d have a bit of a reminisce about all the good times we’ve had and share some of our favourite videos from a year+ of playing Overwatch with all the sweet sweet graphics cards that have released over that time – and it’s certainly been a treat!

The first test we posted on YouTube for Overwatch was on April 16th 2016 with a GTX960m Gaming Laptop, I do remember playing a lot of Soldier 76 at first as he felt the most familiar – after all Overwatch really did shake things up in the world of Class Shooters and some of the character options like Winston took a lot of getting used to… but soon enough I was running around with Bastion and flying around with Pharah – it was on this day I captured my first POTG as well, it’s an unlisted video but you can check it out here 🙂

Overwatch introduced us to some really cool game modes over the last year as well, the gameplay below is from release day and the mode allowed us to use our powers with a 3 second cooldown! I’m not sure how a mode like this would play out today with players having a little more experience using the characters but part of me hopes that they fire this one back up during the birthday celebrations 😛

When Overwatch first started being played a lot there where a lot of comparisons made to Team Fortress 2 and looking back I can kinda see it, especially within the moving objective modes – we game capped the clip below on the 26th of April 2016 \o/

Fast-forward to the 9th of August and competition was getting fierce, players knew the game pretty well now and the objectives became real hot points within matches – the clip below was captured on the release day for the now iconic RX 470 which has just been updated to the new RX 570 \o/

Before Blizzards own online competitive Overwatch had officially begun there were LAN tournaments you could enter and test you grit against other teams, Ping Zero was the first of these in New Zealand and GGPC had two teams enter the competition – we got smashed! Looking back though, specifically at the guys who won the competition you might recognise a player in the team…

AVRL, who just got elected to the NZ Overwatch Committee for the World Championships played as captain on that team, you can check out the extremely excellent finals in the gameplay captured below – or you could watch this unlisted clip of me camping and killing AVRL 😛

Being in New Zealand our internet connection has it’s ups and downs, and while we could keep on linking great gameplay like the matches above I think i’ll leave this blog with some gamecap of us using our exclusive NZ internet to peek over the wall – we’ll be updating the GGPC PC Gaming Blog with all the details as the event itself unfolds and of course join in on all the fun ourselves from Taipei as we’re just about to head over and check out their brand new Blizzard Gaming Arena \o/

We’re looking forward to another great year ahead! 

Good Gaming Laptop – GTX 1050 Sabre 15

It’s not often that we see a gaming laptop with such amazing price/performance but the new Sabre 15 GTX 1050 Gaming Laptop brings it all together pretty perfectly, before we dive into the gameplay FPS tests though let’s take a quick look at the specifications.

Essentials…

– NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5
– Intel Kaby Lake Core i7 7700HQ
– 16 GB RAM
– 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
– 15.6″ 1080P Display
– AC Wireless + Bluetooth 4.2

With a very quick M.2 SSD for loading times along with mass storage for games via the 1TB HDD the Sabre 15 is a versatile and agile gaming laptop, the i7-7700HQ and GTX 1050 combo is backed by an unexpectedly large 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 ram also.

The frame of the laptop screams gamer with aggressive detailing on the lid and also along the rear cooling vent, and the chiclet keyboard glows with a cool white LED which can adjust manually or automatically via the light sensor. This chassis supports a range of connection options including the USB type-C and twin Mini DisplayPorts along with the must haves like HDMI and USB 3.1, it even sports a discreet 6 in 1 card reader which is pretty handy to have!

Inputs and Outputs…

– 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port
– 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C port
– 1 x USB 3.0 port
– 1 x USB 2.0 Port
– 1 x Mic-In/Headphone-out
– 2 x Mini DisplayPort
– 1 x HDMI 1.4
– 1 x RJ45 (for LAN insert)
– 6 in 1 Card Reader
– Auto-adjusting Backlit Keyboard
– Webcam and Mic build in.

Jumping into gaming with the Sabre 15 we see the performance align with it’s desktop brothers, and considering this system has a monitor and keyboard built into it the value kicker is that much better – investing in both a gaming keyboard and gaming mouse is advised though as this one can connect to your TV in the lounge via the HDMI for a wonderful console killing experience 🙂

Looking specifically at Overwatch we were able to maintain our 60FPS target even with the texture filtering quality set to EPIC, furthermore we recorded this very heavy battle with the built-in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture tools which can now even stream to Twitch, Facebook and more… and our CPU usage spent most of its time in the 30’s and didn’t even cross the 50% usage mark… insanity!

Swinging around to an older game that won’t use much of the graphics card but should put more stress onto our CPU we fired up CS:GO 🙂 Again using the built in Shadowplay Game Capture to record the clip below we where able to hit a whopping 69% peak usage in an online match with both bots and real people playing.

Rounding off the tests with a quick game of League of Legends we set out to get into a large team fight and succeeded 🙂 Even with all the explosions and effects on screen (game settings on MAX) our lowest dip was to 62.4FPS and that was only for a microsecond, crazy cool!

While the performance for this laptop is excellent it’s not quite invincible 😛 for our final test of the night we headed to Novigrad – the largest city in the Witcher 3 and got into a some fights just at daybreak when the lighting effects hit hard 🙂 Even with all the settings turned down for this one hitting our 60FPS target wasn’t quite possible in the city although we did come close with around 45FPS even during our bomb test on a poor chap with shield 🙂 If you’re looking for great performance in Witcher 3 there is also another version of the Sabre 15 with a GTX 1050Ti we’re about to test and also check out our latest GTX 1060 Laptop tests with the Aero 15, it handled the Novigrad run insanely well!

We’ve had a blast testing this one out for ourselves and look forward to playing more games with the Sabre 15, right now we’re on the hunt for a good one to try and use up some more of the that ram… (16GB really is a lot) and we’ll update our GGPC PC Gaming Blog and Gameplay FPS Test YouTube Channel with the latest \o/

GG

Good Gaming Laptop – Aero 15 GTX 1060!

Update: Aero 15 Laptops are available for order in NZ now!

These new ones have a slightly bigger screen size, but by opting for a class-leading 15” 5mm bezel display the new Aero 15 offers you greater display real estate without increasing chassis size allowing them to keep their signature, super slimness 🙂

Little tweaks to the design, like placement on the webcam and mics within the hinge keep things very slim indeed, and nice touches like the carbon fiber detailing on the back along with the way the RGB led shines through the dual cooling fans is just beautiful 🙂 When comparing with the previous Aero 14 the rear cooling vents on the Aero 15 have been extended and air blown out from two positions on the back of the laptop while gaming, and to go even further, a Thunderbolt 3 port has been added for a premium ultra-fast transfer speed at 40Gbps and the ability to connect external graphics enclosures (we tested this by adding a GTX 1080Ti), or run with twin 5K external displays… truly a mobile powerhouse without limits!

Specifications wise it’s packing the latest 7th gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a 6GB GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card along with 16GB of DDR4 ram and a super quick PCIe M.2 for storage. They’ve also done wonderful things to the keys on these new version and the new Aero 15 now sports a RGB Fusion chicklet keyboard with the best keys we’ve even seen – vibrant but with little light leakage!

In-game the Aero15 is excellent, far above expectations. The GTX 1060 inside was able to keep our framerates high in a range of games and when we tested the i7-7700HQ with a little CS:GO we were pleasantly surprised to see the CPU usage keeping around 50% even while using the built in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture tools. You can manually set fans speeds via the control center but leaving them set to auto is just fine, the laptop will pulse up the speed as needed when you’re gaming – we did a quick test to see at what point the CPU begins to throttle itself and the mark is 89 degrees, at this point the fans kick in and the CPU changes from its 3.8GHz boost to 3.2GHz (base is 2.8GHz) to keep things cooler, during these moments we noticed no bumps or jumps in game 🙂

We’ve continued adding to our GTX 1060 Laptop Test YouTube Playlist and as you can see in the latest Witcher 3 Novigrad gameplay test below – things are looking very good indeed!

Now that we’ve had a really good play with the new GTX 1060 Aero we happily give this super slim and powerful little laptop our GGPC Recommends Award – the Aero 15 is GOOD!

We’ve got more new laptops incoming, keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for the latest!

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 – Quake Champions Closed BETA test about to begin!

Check that inbox, a wave of Quake Champions BETA codes have just gone out for the upcoming tests running May 5th – 8th \o/

Bethesda have just revealed a new trailer for a map featured in this closed BETA test – the Ruins of Sarnath in which nature has taken hold, dripping verdant greens into the wreckage of this ancient temple, now, untold ages after they rose from the inky blackness of the Dreamlands, the Ruins of Sarnath are a blood-soaked killing field where Champions from the waking world fight to the death!

If you’ve not already registered to get into these you can find all the links needed in our Quake BETA Sign Up blog 🙂 Signups are still open, so come join us in the Arena.

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – Nvidia Overwatch Screenshot Competition!

Those fine folks at Nvidia and Gigabyte are having an Overwatch screenshot contest with some excellent GTX gear up for grabs \o/

This one’s as easy as playing some Overwatch and taking some sweet pics along the way!

When you’ve captured your amazing screenshot you then upload it the hi-res gallery here and register your details. Once that’s all set if you also want to post it onto Facebook use the hashtags #GAMEREADY #PLAYOVERWATCH – this competition is set to run until the 28th May.

When it comes to taking screenshots you can use the classic ‘printscrn‘ button on your keyboard but that great shot will get overwritten if you decide to ‘printscrn’ again. A better option here is to use the screenshot tool within Nvidia Experience, it’s tied to ALT+F1 by default and with this you can happily take as many shots as you like. They’ll automatically save to the videos folder, the same one as your Shadowplay clips to save in.

This also presents another really cool way to do screenshots, you can record a Shadowplay clip and then afterwards capture the perfect screenshot from it!

In Overwatch you can turn your HUD off with ALT+Z, this happens to be the default shortcut for Nvidia Experience also so be sure to change one of them before you jump into a game, or you could find yourself stuck in NO-HUD mode 😛 Without all the stats on screen you can capture some beautiful shots like this quick one we captured below, now we just need to get a good POTG with our new D.Va Police skin

GAME ON!