It’s called AOC RISING HEROES, it’s an online gaming event for New Zealand + Australia gamers and the entry is free – so it’s a a good time to get together with friends and play to win!
For those who have been thinking about getting into esports this is a really good event to start off with. The Valorant game is free to play, it’s a competitive 5v5 tac-shooter. If you’ve enjoyed CS:GO, Overwatch or Paladins previously it will feel familiar. The characters are called Agents in this one, and your special powers will depend on which one you choose, use them to create new opportunities and let your gunplay shine.
Don’t worry if the timing doesn’t fit and you’re unable to play in this one, the event will be streaming on Twitch & YouTube too, watching competitions is great for learning good tactics for the next one 😛
In this event players will compete in teams of five, you can also have subs & coaches but there are limits (see the event rulebook for more info).
The first stage of competition consisting of three open double elimination qualifiers each qualifying four teams to the swiss stage.
The event qualifiers begin on March 27th, with another two on April 10th & finally April 17th.
Once qualifiers are completed, the best of Australian & New Zealand Valorant players compete with each other, the eSports competition proper is set to begin on May 8th with the final playoffs ending June 6th.
It’s not all about glory and good times though, this event also has a prize pool of gaming monitors, mice, keyboards, headsets and more from the top chaps at AOC & HyperX!
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)
Genshin Impact– A 3D platform adventure game that takes notes from the popular Nintendo Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This anime adventure begins in a large world named Teyvat, and quickly establishes a solid main quest line to get the ball rolling, introducing new gameplay mechanics and puzzles via a party of four characters, each harnessing the power of the elements to overcome specific obstacles. This quickly expands with more characters, with more creative puzzles and solutions becoming available as you progress.
Destiny 2– If you’re looking for responsive first-person looter shooter combat with an array of abilities, weapons and armour that lend to the customisation of a unique character – Destiny 2 is a solid game. Excellent solo and even better with a couple of friends, the cinematic story is a joy to play. Explore the various planets, each with a their own look and feel, you could say in many ways it’s a lot like Warframe below – but with a first person / Halo combat evolved feel to it.
War Thunder – This one gives us action-packed battles on the ground and in the skies, and now also at sea, it’s crazy how good this game is with beautiful graphics and a massive line-up of tanks, planes and boats for us to use in the PVP battles + recently the game’s creators added a new PVE game mode named Assault which is a blast to play.
We’ve done 3 quick videos to show gameplay from each mode, the tanks, planes and boats are all so unique too which is great for keeping things fresh and interesting. Each mode has a deeper layer of difficulty settings taking the gameplay from Simulation to Arcade to suit players.
The online player matching is top notch and War Thunder is also a good game to enjoy with friends, with easy to follow menus that just make sense.
You could say it’s similar in many ways to World of Tanks and World of Warships but ultimately War Thunder wins the day with a seamless combination of modes and unmatched intensity of aerial dogfights. A truly great game that deserves a download 🙂
Dauntless – Dauntless is a free to play co-op action RPG, it’s so polished and so much fun to play with friends that it will certainly make a fine addition to your gaming library too 🙂 Filled with airships and giant beasts this one is very similar to Monster Hunter although the art style is completely different. Players team up to take down a range of Behemoths, bashing and slicing bits off to collect the parts needed craft and upgrade weapons and equipment with which we then proceed to hunt down larger Behemoths and smash them. Combos are a big part of the game, learning patterns of the monsters another – it all comes together perfectly in what feels like an almost finished, excellent game.
Warframe – A team based hack’n’slash shooter with some pretty action-packed moments, heaps of gear and hours of fun 🙂 With a massive range of characters, powers, customisation and mission types to get stuck there’s a lot to do, and as you progress through each planet you’ll unlock even more missions and events to team up with other players in. The player base is very large, so auto-matching a group is hassle-free. The ongoing (and massive) updates introduced new open worlds which are beautiful, the developers are very active too, steaming all kinds of behind the scenes goodness and sometimes even jumping into the game and hunting groups of players by taking control of what is usually, an evil NPC named Stalker. One of the best bits about Warframe is you start out extremely powerful, able to flip and slow-motion dive while shooting enemies to pieces. You play as a Tenno, an agile weapon master who wields the mighty Warframe and commands some awesome powers – Overpowered but unprepared and often forced out of your comfort zone, you must find it in yourself to improvise, not just to save yourself but the fate of all Tenno.
Apex Legends – A recently released 3 player team shooter set in the Titanfall universe. Apex Legends features top-notch graphics and an excellent communication system that allows players to clearly call objectives, item locations and enemy movements without voice chat. Players can choose from a lineup of outlaws, soldiers, misfits, and misanthropes, each with their own set of skills ranging from tanky shield bubbles to evasive grappling hooks. The Apex Games welcome all comers – survive long enough, and they call you a Legend.
Valorant– Riot takes on the competitive shooter in their latest a 5v5 tac-shooter. If you’ve enjoyed CS:GO and Paladins, this one will have you and your mates teaming up yet again to plant or defuse the Spike in one-life-per-round, first to 13 series. The characters are called Agents in this one, and depending on which one you choose you’ll be getting powers. use them to create new opportunities to let your gunplay shine.
Path of Exile – 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’s very similar to Diablo, and 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 not at all “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. 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!
Warzone– the latest addition to the Free to Play battle royal genre and this time with a Call of Duty theme! Packed full of super familar gameplay with dashes of originality mixed in to keep things fresh, it’s the usual drop in a survive scenario with an ever constricting wall of deadly gas keeping everyone together but when you die you get one chance to fight your way out of a prison to re-join your team – die again and your team can still buy your freedom!
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 wargaming experience 🙂
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.
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!
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 do not expect to just run in and win, this is a thinking persons shooter for sure.
Battlerite – If you enjoyed League of Legends but just want the team fights, you should check out this one for sure. A PvP arena brawler and the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed Bloodline Champions. The unique combination of a top-down shooter meeting a fast-paced fighting game and take part in highly competitive, adrenaline-fueled 2v2 and 3v3 battles. Engage in quick and intense action as you take control over one of many Champions, each with unique abilities to master. Welcome to a world where Champions dedicate their lives to the Arena.
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 universe 🙂
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 playstyle, as you progress through 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 is a lot!
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 is 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’s still a lot of fun 🙂
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.
Blade and Soul – A rather fun 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 has got detailed character customization tools, offers some brilliant PVP matches and has an excellent action-based combat system. The storyline is very enjoyable, especially the introduction to the game world.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive – You’ve undoubtedly already heard of this one, a team based first person shooter with a range of real-world weapons options, maps, and a passionate community of players. The base game puts terrorists against a counter-terrorist force, with the bad guys trying to plant a bomb and the good guys trying to stop them, and this leads to some amazing engagements, team tactics and replays. There are missions to save hostages too, with the counter-terrorists having to successfully escort them back to the starting point of the map, making things quite intense in the final dash. With CSGO joining the free to play ranks, you can now you can enjoy the FPS shooter without paying a cent. The original Counter-Strike took the gaming industry by surprise when the unlikely MOD became the most played online PC action game in the world almost immediately after its release in August 1999, and since then, it has continued to be one of the most-played games in the world. It’s very popular in eSports circles, and you can run it well without the need for the latest hardware.
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.
Fortnite – More than just you vs 99 battle royale with even changing modes available (50v50 is great!) what really sets this one apart from other 3rd person shooters games is the building system, with almost all the objects in the map being able to be smashed apart into useful wood, stone, and metal. These can then be used to build ramps, walls, floors etc to create a defensible building, protect your team, or access a hard to reach the area and flank your opponents. It all takes place in one large map, with a zeppelin battle bus full of opponents (and some friends) all scrambling to grab a whole lot of guns. Construct and destroy environments while engaged in intense PvP combat, explore, or just riding around in golf carts if that’s what you do – with so many players no matter what you’re up to it’s likely you’ll stumble into some crazy fun times along the way!
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!
We’ll continue adding to this list as we test more and more Gaming PC, 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!