5 Tips for Beginners of No Man’s Sky

     There is no way to over exaggerate just how big No Man’s Sky actually is, when they told us 18 quintillion planets- they weren’t joking and that wasn’t hyperbole. So for the individual that is just picking up their copy, the idea of getting dropped into the middle of all of this can seem incredibly daunting. Lucky for you, the crew here at the HUD wanted to set you up for success with some helpful tips on how to get you off on the right foot. So whether you haven’t started the game and looking to dive in, or someone that’s already begun but wants to get a better grasp of the conventions- here are 5 pro tips to make sure you are master of the universe in no time. 

1.) Learn what Elements are Associated with which Plant/Rock

While inevitable someone is reading this first tip and saying, “You’ve got to be joking me”- no I’m really not, your survival depends on it. Personally, science has never been my strong suit, however after nearly 20 hours of element hunting, I am comfortable to say I know exactly what I am looking for when I touch a worlds surface. Even though every world will look and feel different, for the most part rocks and plants will look similar or often the same that produces a particular type of element. For example, low on Plutonium? Scour the land for the spike red rocks. Seriously, the quicker you learn this, the more time you will save yourself walking up to random stuff seeing what it produces.

2.) Don’t Take Decisions Lightly

There are going to be many moments in the universe of No Man’s Sky that you find yourself faced with options in dialogue, whether it be something pertaining to the story or on a side quest. When asked to make a decision, make sure you weigh all the odds and think about what you know whether it pertains to a race of aliens that you have learned about leading up to it, or what generally what kind of a character you want to represent in the universe. Once you have made that decision- there is no going back, no do overs, nada- you decision is final and you have to live with the consequences. On multiple occasions I have stumbled upon a treasure or terminal that promises secrets, but upon my failure to answer the question correctly, the opportunity closes forever. 

3.) Upgrade Your Inventory Space Often

Nobody likes playing the “every time I pick up an item, I have to delete an item” game, so don’t. One of the main ways that you are going to make money in No Man’s Sky is going to directly tie to the resources you can carry with you, and if you don’t have room to carry a lot, you will eventually find yourself making unnecessary trips across the galaxy to pawn them off. The easiest way to upgrade your inventory slots is by hacking Signal Scanners (objects that shoot a beam of light into the air), and opting to find a Shelter. This normally brings you to a drop pod, in which you will find your upgrade. *Remember, this will cost you a fee that continually gets more expensive with each time you upgrade.

4.) How to Make Money

Although it can be time consuming at times, depending on how upgraded your multi tool is, scoping the planets surface for massive gold looking boulders is going to be you safest bet. I have seen people randomly selling common material trying to make a few thousand on a transaction, instead when you land on a planet and it gives you an overview, look to see if the planet is rich in resources. Now all you have to do is fly around, look for gold boulders, and cash in at your nearest space station. This will allow you to buy upgrades to your inventory, as well as better ships. While this seems like common sense, you’d be surprised at how often I have had people ask how to make more money in this game.

5.) Relax, and Don’t Stress It

No Man’s Sky is a massive game, and in the first moments of the game when you are dropped onto a planet then told to go figure it out- it can be incredibly overwhelming. While there are going to be moments that you may want to walk away, just remember that the game is made of a few simple conventions: Discover, Gather Resources, Sell & Upgrade,  and Combat. The specifics are going to seem alien to you at first (oh yes I did!), but the more time you spend with it, you will find the pattern and learn to explore the galaxy with a smile on your face. This game is meant to be many things, frustrating is not one of them- so don’t let it.

5 Tips to Become a ‘PokeMaster’ in PokemonGO

     In case you have some how managed to avoid all media sites today and as well as the usual chatter at work, PokemonGO has now taken the US by storm. For the first time in more than a decade, I found myself walking to meetings at work humming the tune we all love, and pondering where I will head to first after work to look for a Pikachu. And with what started out as a normal day at the office, turned to pandemonium by the end as people all over were walking around the floor looking at each others “tiny companions” and comparing stats. Basically, this game is catching on quick, and you DO NOT want to be left behind. Even those in the office that would normally scoff at this sort of thing, were bragging of an Abra catch by lunch time. So to make sure that you start off on the right foot, here are a few tips in starting out to ensure you are the local Gym Leader and Pokemon expert.

Preface: This is NOT the typical Pokemon game:

While they don’t stray to far away from the essential formula that made the game a staple for handheld consoles, such as the thrill of the catch, leveling up, and of course gym battles- developer Niantic Labs managed to mix it up enough to keep you on your toes from the beginning. Yes, you are thrown into the mix with your 3 normal options: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle in the beginning, but from there on you are kind of left to figure it out as you go. This is a game that is going to challenge you to get off the couch and go out into the world, search for Pokestops, and level up your Pokemon in a completely different way.

1.) Leveling up your Pokemon comes from Candy:

Anyone that played an entry of the Pokemon franchise knows allllllll about the grind of leveling up your tiny friends, however this time around it will not come from 1v1 battles- instead it comes from the tasty treats known as (insert PokeName)Candy. With each Pokemon you capture, you will find they come with a certain number of candy, and listed underneath the name info you will find two options: Power Up & Evolve. Both require certain number of candies specific to that Pokemon and the generic Stardust that is used for all Pokemon. Earn candy of that type by capturing more of that specific creature and “Transferring” them in to claim one piece of candy. 

Pro Tip: Never pass up a potential Pokemon capture, even if you already have one- you can trade it in for Candy.

2.) Use your Incense & use them wisely:

If you go to your backpack you will see the items section that you can dive into, take time to go through each item that you could potentially receive one day and become familiar with them. One of the most important is of course the “Incense”, which when activated lures Pokemon to find you for a period of 30 minutes (a clock literally displays in the top right of the screen to keep you posted). During this time, it is wise to make sure you have Pokeballs as well as moving around while in use, instead of sitting stationary. This only increases your odds finding more Pokemon, as well as the different types that could potentially come your way. 

Pro Tip: Not only does this get you more Pokemon, but it gets you XP quickly. Try combining with a “Lucky Egg”!

3.) Diversify the areas you go:

While this one seems like a “no-brainer”, being that this game is literally called PokemonGO, but the game really does want you to get up and make your way to different areas and places. By doing this, you will only increase your odds of finding different types of Pokemon, rather than the same 4 or 5 that live around your neighborhood. Keep in mind the environments you are in as well, meaning if you find yourself by a lake for the weekend- now would be a good time to look for that Psyduck you’ve always wanted. If you find yourself with only replicas of the same Pokemon after a few hours of playing, this means it’s time to get up and MOVE!

Pro Tip: Some of the best ways to get Pokemon at a higher level, rather than the “Candy Method” is by catching them. The more you travel and search, the more likely you are to find that Alakazam!

4.) Pokestops are not “One-time-deals”:

One of the many markers that you will come across early in the game as you investigate your surroundings in the map, will be a blue indicator for Pokestops. The fact the game forgets to tell you, is that these refresh every 5-10 minutes on avg, meaning that if you need to stock up on supplies or just want that extra XP bump of 50 points, make sure to check back often. 

Pro Tip: You are going to go through A LOT of Pokeballs off the get-go while you grow accustomed to the physics in throwing- it is important to stock up on these at the Pokestops often (unless you plan to buy them with cash of course).

5.) Power up Multiple Pokemon Early for the Gym Battles:

While you have to wait until level 5 to gain access to the Pokemon Gyms and claim your team (GO TEAM VALOR *wink*), it is important to start planning for it now if you want to be competitive. It may be easier right now since this game is still getting off the ground, so you will find a lot of the premeditated placements are easier in some cases. However, as the game ages and gets more fleshed out it will be a different story. Since the battles are not turn based, you are going to be trading a lot of blows with the opposite fighter and quick. It is wise to have at least 3 decently leveled Pokemon as you attempt these gyms, but remember that you can always click on the gym icon to get a preview of the CP that is in store for you.

Pro Tip: Share the wealth when it comes to your Stardust in leveling up Pokemon, and remember sometimes it’s easier to catch stronger Pokemon than it is to raise them.

This only begins to scratch the surface of the tips and tricks that can help you be successful in this game. As you come across useful hints, let us know in the comments below. Now please excuse me, there is a Wild Eevee staring at me from my closet…

Thumbnail Picture Credit: Nintendo

Things I Wish I Knew When First Playing Overwatch

Overwatch has been doing a good job of occupying my time. Whether it’s the variety the game provides with its colorful cast of characters, or the thrill of opening a loot box; the game has me hooked. If you’re first starting out or just needing that extra edge, here are a few tips I wish I knew when I first started out in Overwatch.

Play as Every Character at Least Once.

First off, I recommend playing at least one match with each character. By doing this, you will naturally familiarize yourself with each character’s abilities, movement and their ultimate. Exposing yourself to each character’s play style will also teach you how to compliment others on a team, or exploit weaknesses in enemy characters. This leads to my next tip…

Find at Least One Favorite in Every Category of Character.

 Photo Credit: alexnegrea.blogspot.com
Photo Credit: alexnegrea.blogspot.com

Overwatch’s characters are broken down into class categories: Offensive, Defensive, Tank, and Support. Find at least one favorite in each category and practice with them. This will allow you to fill out your teams needs, without being at a disadvantage by learning a new character. You will always have a fall back character to switch into mid game; giving the opposing team a different look, or providing your team with that key support character they needed to make a push for the objective.

Winning Objectives is Top Priority.

Speaking of objectives, they are top priority in Overwatch. While focusing on kills is helpful in some games, you should think of kills as more of a byproduct of taking objectives. Everything in Overwatch rewards playing for objectives rather than kills, so prioritize your play accordingly. Don’t sell out an objective to rack up kills. That is an easy way to lose quickly.

Focus on Healers First.

This tip is meant in two ways. First, learning support characters first is the easiest way to learn Overwatch, as it allows you to contribute to your team’s success, at the same time allowing you to hang back and allow more experienced teammates to neutralize the opposing team. The second way you should focus on healers first is in battle. If you are caught in a shootout with a healer and another character, focus on the healer first to increase your chances of survival. Healers can turn most characters into bullet sponges, so kill them first to combat enemies more effectively.

Certain Characters are Meant for Certain Match Types.

Overwatch allows for flexibility as you could play most of the characters in any situation, but you will find some characters excel in particular match types. Turret characters like Bastion, Torbjorn and Symmetra do wonders on defense and are not as effective when attacking objectives. Tank characters are used to push up on objectives and hold down areas, but are mostly ineffective long range. Take each character’s play style, the level design and the objective into consideration to find the strongest team compositions in any given moment.

 Communicate as Much as Possible.

Communication in Overwatch can be the difference in matches. A whole game can be turned around in an instant by coordinating assaults or syncing up ultimate abilities. Calling out enemy positions or simply letting your team know your plans will improve your teamwork and increase your chances of winning dramatically.

Unique Options for Characters

Once you have found some favorite characters, make sure to check out the unique options menu for those characters. You can tweak specific settings for your favorite characters to suit your play style such as auto wall-running for Genji or toggling heals/buffs for Mercy. Be sure to take advantage of these settings as they could help in your quality of play.

Buying Loot Boxes is a Slippery Slope.

Just don’t. Or do. Just don’t ask me how to stop. Please. Help me.