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An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 5: The Hideout

An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 5: The Hideout

Now we’re got some of the main items out of the way (previous article on Loadouts can be found here), we can start to look at the more involved aspects of the game. Chief amongst these is the hideout. The hideout itself is a very complex-interconnected project you work on in-between raids, granting passive bonuses to character stats, a selection of ‘in-raid’ items, and can be used as a passive income source. It’s definitely worth your time and can greatly ease your way through a number of the missions.

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An Escape from Tarkov guide, Part 4: Your Load-Out, Guns and Ammo

An Escape from Tarkov guide, Part 4: Your Load-Out, Guns and Ammo

Ok, time to delve into what makes an effective load-out. Which guns and gear should you be considering and what play-style best suits you. The previous piece in this series on Trades and missions can be found here.

This ‘should‘ be pretty straightforward though it does come with the following disclaimer: The advice here is based off my particular play-style (which I’ll explain in a minute), but I have tried to make some general comments based on other styles as well. Depending on how you play you may want to adjust appropriately.

It’s going to be a looong post though, so maybe grab a cuppa…

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An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 2: The Maps

An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 2: The Maps

So, we covered the basics in the first part of our Escape From Tarkov guide; next on the list are the maps. Knowledge of which aside from not only being integral to the game and actually getting the misison themselves, will often make-or-break your entire raid and whether you’re likely to survive an engagement or not. So, Let’s find out about them!

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An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 3: The Economy, Traders and Missions

An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 3: The Economy, Traders and Missions

OK we’re flying through these now, here’s part 3 of our Tarkov guide where we’ll focus on the Economy, the Flea Market and a bit on Traders. The first and second parts of this uber guide can be found here and here.

This will be a nice short one as the essentials are easy to cover. So let’s jump in.

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Escape From Tarkov: The guide starts here

Escape From Tarkov: The guide starts here

Escape from Tarkov has been available since July 2017 and has come a long way since then. It’s been constantly developed and updated by BattleState Games, and is turning into something very special indeed having exploded in popularity through some genius marketing on Twitch.

I’ve been playing it since late 2018 and have put in a ridiculous amount of time in it- I’m not exactly sure how much as the stats are reset each wipe, but the last time I checked I was at over 100 hours in the last wipe alone. What?!?! Don’t look at me like that….

So given that, I decided it was time to start pulling my experience together into a guide that will hopefully stop people making some of the mistakes I made during my early Tarkov life, and bridge some of the middle ground between newbie and pro.

It helps though to understand why Tarkov is such a great game. One of these reasons is that it generates truly memorable experiences like the one I had just the other day.

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PUBG: a Reticule guide

PUBG: a Reticule guide

As you may have gathered from my review, I quite like PUBG. Having got my first Chicken Dinner not so long ago, I finally think I’m in a position to write some hints and tips and to share some of my more successful strategies.

This will end up being a 4-part piece (probably)  where I’ll cover some general information and tips, before I move onto the start, middle and end of each game and the strategies that I’ve found that work best in each section of play.

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Six Steps For First-Time PC Builders

Six Steps For First-Time PC Builders

There comes a time in everyone’s gaming life when their machine of choice decides to call it a day and ascends to the heavens. For some this could be 20 years after buying your first Gameboy or in my case 8 years after buying my HP laptop. It had served me well in that time, but I now desperately needed an upgrade.

Now, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a tech savvy and money wise individual and after a couple of quotes for custom PC builds had come in, it just didn’t feel like I was getting the value for money that I really wanted. After a short period of despair I decided to undertake the task of building the new PC myself and I learnt a lot of useful information in the process.

I’ve since finished my build and am glad that I took up the challenge, but at the same time it took a lot more time and effort than I had originally anticipated. In this article I aim to layout my plan of action for anyone who’s thinking of building their first PC, in the hope that I can save you some time and maybe even some money.

Step 1: Budget

Budget

Budgeting is the single most important thing you should consider. It’s easy to say I want A, B and C, but what can you actually afford to spend. Before you even browse for components you should sit down and work out how much of your hard earned money you can dedicate to the new build. Once you have a good idea of how much you can spend, then start looking at the market and getting an idea of what specifications your new PC will consist of.

There’s nothing worse than getting ahead of yourself in this situation as costs can easily begin to spiral out of control, especially once you factor in all the different components. If like me you want to build a gaming PC I would recommend that as a very minimum to build a decent rig you are going to need to spend at least £450 on main components only. That’s Processor, Motherboard, Graphics Card, RAM, Storage, Monitor, Case and Power supply. If you can get something good put together for cheaper than this then you are in luck, but at this minimum level you would be expecting to upgrade parts within a year.

Step 2: Research

This was the longest part of the process for me as it took a while to decide exactly what it was that I wanted in my PC. In the end I decided to push the budget more towards the graphics card and processor as these would be taking most of the strain. Below I’ve listed the full specifications of the main components that I eventually chose.

Spec

Getting to this final specification list took a couple of steps. First of all I used Logical Increments to get an idea of what I could afford for the amount I was willing to spend. I then took the information from there and input that to PC Part Picker and adjusted various components to more suit my needs. A little less on a case and monitor and a little more on graphics and processor and I was almost there.

These two website were invaluable for me as without them I wouldn’t have even known where to start. They gave me a base idea and allowed me to adjust it to suit my needs while keeping a tab on price and compatibility. PC Part Picker was the most helpful, giving you a final summary of your specification, listing any incompatible parts or issues that you may have using certain components. For example if there was a case that was too small for the components you had chosen, or the monitor didn’t have HDMI input, it would let you know.

When putting your spec together, don’t forget to factor in costs such as Windows OS, mouse and keyboard, anti-virus, Microsoft office, external hard drive, headphones and anything else you might need or want for your particular set up. It’s easy to miss out the smaller things in your budget and they can often add unexpected cost to your overall build.

Step 3: Advice

Advice from friends was an important part of the procedure for me as a first time builder. That outside view from someone who had completed their own PC build can be invaluable in helping you choose the right components and spending money in the right places. If you don’t know anyone who has built their own machine, try using social media or searching for tips and answers on the internet. Beware though, people don’t always know what they’re talking about and might give you bad advice. It’s always best to double check everything.

If you have a bit of money to spare it might be worth popping into your local PC store and asking for advice there. I find independent shops to be much more honest and helpful than the large chain stores that try to push sales on you.

Step 4: Bargain Hunt

While PC Part Pickers is a great way to gauge what prices you will be paying for components, there are only a select few websites to choose between. It’s always a good idea to bargain hunt and if you’re lucky enough to find somewhere that does what your looking for a bit cheaper, that saved money could go towards improving other components or upgrades down the line. Certain websites can offer free postage or discounts if you buy more than one item, but remember to always order from reputable sources, a quick Google check always cleared my mind on this front.

Step 5: Build

Of all the steps I took, the build was both the part I was least confident about and most looking forward to.

Luckily an experienced friend agreed to oversee the construction (and by oversee i mean he did most of the work). In this short time I went from complete novice to having a good idea of what I would need to do if I ever had to replace or upgrade a component in the future. This experience was invaluable and if it wasn’t for my friend I would have probably looked up a guide on the internet instead. Each piece I ordered also came with a fairly in depth manual explaining exactly how it fitted into the motherboard or connected to the power.

If you don’t know or can’t convince anyone to help you out, there are number of helpful guides online that can be used to aid you in your build. They can be found here, here and here.

Step 6: Game On

OK, so this is not so much of a step as a celebration of all that you have achieved, your machine is finally up and running! You’ve spent weeks buying all the components, waiting for delivery, building it, installing the OS and countless updates and you want to finally test it out. Make sure you have anti-virus installed and download your most graphics heavy game, turn everything up and test it out to make sure everything is running ok. No lag, no graphical or sound problems, unexpected crashes or faults with the system. Once this is all done you’re pretty much free to do what you want. Enjoy your system, you deserve it.

Hearthstone Gameplay Guide – Arena, Ranked and Casual Modes

Hearthstone Gameplay Guide – Arena, Ranked and Casual Modes

Back in January I gave my favourable first impressions on Hearthstone’s closed beta phase. Now that open beta is in full effect and streams of new players are experiencing their first foray into Hearthstone I thought it was high time for some more content and some further insight into the game. For this article I will be focussing on the three types of gameplay found within Hearthstone; Ranked, Casual and Arena. I will briefly cover what you should expect to achieve in each game type along with some basic tactics, playstyles, deck lists and a video of my attempts at each area.

Casual

Casual mode is the first game type that any player should acquaint themselves with. Here is where you unlock the heroes for each class and where all of the basic cards can be collected by advancing each class to level 10. Casual mode itself consists of two game types; The first against scalable AI of your choosing and the second against a live opponent in unranked play.

Playing against the scalable AI is a great way to introduce yourself to all the heroes and get to grips with how their various unique cards and abilities work without unsettling yourself too much. Once you unlock a few heroes it’s a good idea to pick one or two that you feel more comfortable playing and stick with them until you’ve really got the basics of the game nailed down.

Once you’ve built up some knowledge of your class by playing the AI, and have reached at least level 10, you can begin to construct your first deck, which is always a hard thing to do. You’ll have a few cards that you know work well with your playstyle and a few that are random picks. The great thing is that you can experiment and change your deck around as you gain more experience and more of an idea of what you want to do with your cards on each turn. There are also various deck guides that explain what the best cards are and how to use them effectively.

Below I have posted a video of a Bloodlust/Windfury Shaman deck I created and tested out in unranked mode. The deck is not perfect by any means but the general idea is there and as I’m playing casual the win ratio is likely to be higher which is handy for completing those daily quests and earning a bit of extra gold.

The general idea of the above deck is to build up as many minions on the board as you can, remove your opponents taunts and then wait for the opportune moment to use Bloodlust and then Windfury on your highest damage minion. This tactic often results in one turn kills but is vulnerable to rush and taunt heavy decks. A link to the deck list can be found here.

Ranked

Ranked gameplay is generally considered as Hardcore mode within Hearthstone as this is where the serious players go to show off decks they have honed to perfection after hours of trial and error and many changes to their cards. Make no mistake there will always be gimmick decks and players who play inefficiently with their cards, but these you will usually find languishing around the bottom of the leagues.

If you’re serious about wanting to advance through the ranks and become a better player you need to be flexible with your hero class, flexible with your play styles and above all, knowledgeable. I would suggest checking out a couple of the pro players YouTube channels or official websites as these are often crammed with useful tips and examples of gameplay techniques that can help you better understand the mechanics of the game. A prime examples of someone to watch is none other than Hearthstone’s first professional player Trump. His Twitch channel, on which he regularly streams can be found here and his arena tier list here.

Below I have included a video of my attempts at ranked gameplay with a control mage deck. While I succeed at three out of the four games, it’s fair to say that the victories are far from the walkover that you would expect from unranked gameplay.

The goal of the above deck is efficient trades, control and flexibility and can be quite aggressive especially if you manage a turn one mana worm followed by a few spells. It can work equally well as a control deck however, as the high health minions coupled with spells and the mage’s hero power make for some efficient trades. As you can see from watching the video above the games are a lot closer and it’s often the case that just one wrong move can cost you the win later on in the game.

Arena

Arena is where most of the fun is to be had (that is when you have a spare 150g to enter) and is also where you can potentially maximise the use of your gold. To explain that a little better, buying a pack of cards costs you 100g, whilst entry to the arena costs 150g. The rewards from arena if you win enough games can be around two packs of cards plus 200g and the minimum reward one pack of cards. So if you think your skills are up to the test, paying the initial extra 50g can make things a lot more worthwhile in the long run.

The idea of arena is that you play to either a maximum of twelve wins or three losses, which ever comes first. Depending on the amount of wins at the end of your run, your reward will differ. You use the same deck of 30 cards for your whole run and these are chosen at random just before you start your first game. Unlike ranked or casual gameplay, in arena all of the games cards have a random chance of being available for you to choose putting players on more even grounds in the respect that a new player would have just as much random chance at getting good cards as a veteran.

Below I have included a two part video of me creating and playing an arena deck. If you click through to YouTube on the first video I have included in the description, my reasoning behind choosing the cards that I did.

Arena runs can vary dramatically in how they are played out as sometimes you will get a class you don’t play very often, or just not have very good cards. Other times things can go in your favour. Either way it’s good to learn which general cards are efficient to play in arena and try to stick to these with class specific cards on top. It’s a bad idea to try and select cards that would work with a gimmick deck such as a murloc rush down deck as what you will often find is one or two murloc cards showing up and then none for the rest of the deck.