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Better Together – The Top 5 Anticipated Co-Op Games

A new year has begun, and it’s already quite promising! Here are five awesome upcoming coop games that we are definitely looking forward to. Those titles are a great opportunity to hang out and play with your friends, and that’s why we love them!  

Anthem Suit LFG

#5. Our number five is “Anthem” by EA. In the world of Anthem, you and your friends are Freelancers – heroes who leave the walls of safe cities to explore the world and protect humanity. Sounds great, huh? Add insane mech-like suits and you’re set to go! The world looks truly beautiful and fun to explore with mates while taking on vicious beasts and ravaging marauders. Looks like the developers are making this game to stick for a while – keeping up with players who want to play both solo and in groups. Overall – we are cautiously excited since it is coming from EA and we’re still sore over Battlefront 2. Still, if you want to become amongst first players to get on top of leaderboards you may want to find people to play Anthem with beforehand, since the release date is already said to be in early 2019 – we can’t wait for it!


A way out

#4. “A Way Out” Now this is a truly unique game to keep your eye on. This action title has two players escaping prison and living life on the run from the authorities. What makes this game interesting is how it manages to synchronize both players’ actions on a split-screen or online, with one occasionally watching a cutscene while the other is busy completing the task for their good. Acknowledging potential problems of requiring two players to progress, Hazelight studios made it so you can play the game either locally or via the internet with just one copy – way easier to LFG!    


State of decay

#3. Get ready for some zombie co-op action “State of Decay 2”!  If you’re curious about how you and your buddies would survive a zombie apocalypse and you’re not satisfied by the other games in the genre – this one’s for you! Up to four players can team up to gather resources, build and protect shelter and, overall, survive in this harsh world. This includes great character customization and progression, as well as hard decisions: do you wish to keep up with your group or betray them for supplies? Well, anyway, at some point in time you might have to overstep any differences and decide, if your buddy is going to live or die, for example – if he or she gets bitten. Anyway, this is a great overall experience and coop is just the thing that the first game lacked, so if you find some awesome teammates for it – there will be fun time for everyone.


Sea of Thieves LFG

#2 Yarr! Buckle up for the “Sea of Thieves”!  While there are many games that allow you to tackle campaigns and side missions with friends, there are few that have fully settled into the good old pirate theme (not counting space pirates, of course). You and a couple of friends are able to head out to an open sea, sink other ships, battle for gold and reputation, and discover great treasures! This Xbox One / Windows 10 exclusive is the first game developed by Rare after those awkward years of making Kinect games. They are now ready to set sail for a new legacy, and so are we!


Red Dead Redemption 2, RDR2, people to play with

#1 And our number one pick is, of course, “Red Dead Redemption 2”! It has been a long time since we’ve seen a Red Dead franchise. The first game was an immersive open-world set in the wild west, where players could become infamous outlaws – robbing trains, playing poker and needlessly challenging others to deadly duels. Those were the days! Now, take those same experiences, update them with modern-day graphics and technologies and then – add your friends to the mix! Now we know that the single-player aspect is going to be great, but Rockstar is making emphasis on online and coop features of the game, and we already can see ourselves spending hours messing around with our buddies doing outlaw stuff. According to the recent leak, Red Dead Redemption 2’s online component will feature ‘Battle Royale’, ‘Revive and Survive’, and ‘Money Grab’ modes – and that’s exciting!

  • It remains unknown whether Battle Royale will operate in a similar fashion to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Fortnite, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Rockstar hopes to capitalise on the popularity of those two titles.
  • Revive and Survive pits two teams against each other as they try to stay alive. You’ll have a limited amount of time to revive your teammates before they are eliminated.
  • Finally, Money Grab features two teams fighting to procure bags of money in a central location. You’re expected to collect and return them to your base as quickly as possible.

Playing co-op games surely doesn’t have to be hard, and we hope you are as excited as we are about those titles. Even though game developers are leaning towards online multiplayer features for their new releases, some of them still aim for audience that wants to play together, not against each other. Furthermore, those titles are incredibly fitting for any “lan-party” or simply staying at home with your buddies, and focus on people, that will not simply play around for a week or two, but will continue doing so for quite some time. This list of games, of course, can be expanded, and we hope new games will be coming out later this year and later. Prepare yourselves, and also make sure to hang out and play them with some friends, and if you are looking for some – GameTree app has got you covered with advanced personality psychology algorithms, that help you find your perfect co-op team!


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What’s behind PUBG and Battle Royale’s success?

Lately, an emerging trend has covered our small quiet gaming world: Battle royale – styled games. Since PUBG transformed from a small mod for ArmA into a beast of a game to play and stream more and more games have implemented some type of “last to survive” game modes, and even a movie was filmed.

But the true question remains: WHY IS IT HAPPENING? PUBG, Fortnite, Warface, Minecraft minigames and so on – it’s everywhere. The answer is simple: it’s the best combination of human psychology and perfect timing to release a game that made so big of an impact.
The first factor is incredibly easy to understand – the game makes our blood boil. It’s the adrenaline, it’s the immersion that you get every time that plane (or anything else) comes over a distant island, filled with weapons, vehicles and other cool stuff. And the basics of this issue is simple: it’s in our DNA. Our genetics have, pretty much, been hacked, to offer the best chance to try and survive, and that is one of our main goals.

Avoiding conflict, taking a risk for guns or gear, killing for the sake of killing – any one of us can find something for themselves there. For example, ESTJ, ISTJ, and INTJ types are more risk-averse and prone to defending, and that makes them rarely engage in combat. We’ve seen some top players of PUBG camp for an entire match just to make one shot – and that one shot puts them directly in the first place – ISTP, ENTJ, ENFJ, and INTP‘s are calculated risk takers – all they do is more tactical and thoughtful. Others go all-out and attack other players, lacking patience and behaving quite like animals, or more – just as predators, and ESTP, ESFP and ENFP types are just like this. And, of course, some of us are unpredictable and, sort of, random – those types include ENTP and ESFJ. Sure, everybody has his or her’s own way to play the game, but those are some general properties of some types. And, if you want to know more about your own personality type – you’re welcome to take a quick test 🙂 

Those games simply offer players what they want deep inside, and that’s what made them popular.

Flak – Member of Fortnite developing company, EPIC

I love shooters, that’s the biggest reason for me. I also love the adrenaline you get as you get down to the top 10. I don’t mind the wait times because they aren’t all that long, and it affords me the ability to run around the house and throw in some laundry, answer some emails or take out my dog. Most of all, it’s just loads of fun for me.

On the other hand – PUBG came out as a perfect game to stream. A lot of people enjoy simply watching live gameplay of their favorite streamer massacring some other random dudes while cooking or playing some other games. The game offers a lot of repetitive content, that doesn’t feel boring, because one as a player receives a chance to start in different locations of the map, drop from the plane earlier or later, and this makes each game sort of unique. As well as that – there’s drama and tension. People die left and right, streamers get rekt and have to start all over, and we all love ourselves some funny and unexpected content.

Paradoxial-Error – Fortnite’s community member

It’s a buzz, it gets the heart pumping.

It’s a bit slower, gives streamers a chance to interact with their chat and audience members, and then there’s action later. As streamers become more and more impactful on video gaming community, this trend will definitely grow.
Those are the reasons why most of the shooter fans are into those types of games. Moreover, battle royale is a great basis for a movie, tv series and any other type of content that can be made nowadays, giving people intense action and adrenaline rush.
Of course, if you are a hardcore shooter fan like myself – PUBG is not enough for you. I enjoy taking my time before shots, actually valuing my life as a digital character and behaving like a real soldier on the battlefield, and that’s why I don’t play this type of games. Nevertheless, I admire the time and effort put into the creation of such a phenomenon, and totally understand the explosion in gaming sphere it has caused.

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Eastern Europe’s Toxic Gamer Problem

Imagine playing with a Donald Trump in every online game; someone who throws hissy fits and treats every encounter like a win-lose situation. This is the sad reality most of the time in Eastern Europe. Together we’ll inspect this toxic gamer epidemic, how their/our misery is being monetized for personal profit and strategies on how we can deal with trolls.

Our research

GameTree unsuspectingly stumbled into this hornet’s nest at the behest of numerous write-in responses about gaming desires while conducting market research for our startup. 60% of gamers would “very much” like to play games with “more courteous, less toxic players”. This is according to 478 respondents in Europe and America on a four point scale about their gaming desires.

*based on 478 Europeans and Americans

Playing games with less toxic players was rated twice as high as second place. Sorry guys, no “discovering new games and genres you would like, but otherwise, never know about” for you.

Americans and Western Europeans ranked every gaming desire stronger than Eastern Europeans except one: playing with non-toxic gamers. The differences weren’t even small, they were extreme.

The data tell us that:

  1. Americans and Western Europeans are needy babies, and
  2. Eastern Europe has a severe toxic gamer problem

A staggering 86% of respondents said “Post-Soviet Countries (Russia, Ukraine, etc…)” have the most toxicity. This follow-up poll was conducted to confirm the prior result

*based on 2,566 Eastern Europeans

The reality from complaints around the internet seems to mirror our data. Though edited for clarity, this statement from a thread on Steam sums it up:

“My friends and I have met very different sorts of players from all over Europe. We’ve encountered ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥s from nearly everywhere, but there is clearly an abundance of players in the East (sorry if someone here is from the East).”

79% of League of Legends matches in Eastern Europe contain toxic players, reported a frustrated Reddit user enerccio who recorded toxicity from 100 matches. He even made an infographic detailing types and frequencies of toxicity. Playing DotA, a similar game, I encounter toxicity in a large majority of my games on Eastern European servers though only in about half of my games on American servers.

*In Western Europe, the main consideration when selecting a Planetside 2 server is how few Russians are on it

I was reminded of this reality coming back from a recent two-week DotA hiatus in Ukraine where my first match was greeted by a player first-picking sniper. This is a hero who is easy to counter, annoying to play against, and who should be picked last to optimize your team’s chance of winning. Even though I live in Eastern Europe, I now exclusively queue for Western Europe to avoid toxic players.

Meet the Professional Trolls of Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe, professional trolling is a big industry. Most of the GameTree team in Ukraine was familiar with famous Twitch trolls. As an American gamer, I never even knew professional trolling existed.

Karina Kozyreva, also known as Karina Sichova, also known as Shkuragaming

Wouldn’t you like to be trolled by this goddess? Shkuragaming’s YouTube channel has 750,000 subscribers and she rakes in an estimated $6,500,000 per year. She initially gained popularity for being a hot DotA player. After constantly complaining to her fans who would donate to her with the worst notes they could say, she eventually gave in. Karina’s channel is now a joke where her fans pay so they can publicly troll her, she acknowledges the post with disappointment and begs them not to do it again, then she trolls people in-game with purposefully poor performance while screaming and shouting at them.

Denis Petrov, aka Penis Detrov, aka Glad Valakas, aka Valeriy Albertovich Zhmyshenko, aka GladiatorPWNZ

GladiatorPWNZ’s face looks like it was just made to be punched. Or at least that’s the feeling he’s trying to invoke when he chose his avatar. In reality, he’s a Russian in his middle-twenties with voice modification software. Online he’s a 54 year-old ex-Russian marine, firefighter, or bomber pilot with a chip on his shoulder. His 120,000 Twitch subscribers pay him approximately $850,000 per year to be the biggest asshole on Earth he can be, abusing all in-game mechanics he can to make his teammates’ lives worse. His preferred weapons are World of Tanks, DotA, CS: Go, Rust, and Skype.

What Causes This Toxic Waste

The large majority of toxicity comes from ordinary people just having a bad day. This is what a major study by League of Legends creator Riot Games reported, and we confirmed this with our own GameTree poll.

*based on 2,228 Eastern European gamers

A Slayer’s Guide to Trolls

Not all toxicity is the same. To defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy:

1. The “Bad Day” Gamer

Maybe this person’s only way to get to experience gaming at all is with lag, or they just had to walk through five miles of snow – their fingers are numb and emotions volatile. The key is to keep an upbeat atmosphere and the team focused on winning. Criticizing people only makes them play worse. Understand that tomorrow, you could be the unwitting troll.

2. The Selfish Gamer

The odds are this person is not actually a troll and there is another reason. Maybe they are super close to leveling up or got stuck in a role they don’t like for the last five games. Again, the best thing you can do is just work with them and focus on the game. Be sympathetic and understanding knowing they’re probably somebody just like you.

3. The Emotionally Immature Gamer

Many things like in-game violence and high competitiveness can make people react poorly to what’s going on. This gamer’s personality cannot withstand such pressure and, subsequently, collapses on their teammates. To deal with this type, you should help them emotionally by supporting them.

4. The Miscommunicator

We are all unknowing trolls sometimes because we are biased by our own personalities and world views. What is friendly advice to one person is cruelty to another. It pays to know your personality type to understand your biases and minimize miscommunications.

5. The Troll:

This so-called “gamer” lives off of negative energy. Feeding it only makes it stronger. Defeat it by ignoring it.

How to deal with it?

Toxicity isn’t just another problem. It is a disaster level threat to our community, that manages to poison us through MOBA’s, shooters, and other competitive games. High levels of stress and pressure from team-based gameplay make us irritated even after a single mistake. Everyone at least once was toxic in one way or another. As research suggests, almost all toxicity comes from a regular guy, who just had a bad day.

The truth is you can’t really make people less toxic, but you can control what games you play and who you play them with. Taking out the anonymity of your teammates will make you care more about the game and be confident in those you play with.

Games are a more pleasant experience if played with people you know. Find your tribe, download GameTree for free.

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Bullshots: How Video Game Creators Deceive Their Customers


False advertisement is not as strong as before, but you can still find instances of it. Unfortunately, one of the places where this problem is greatly at large is the gaming industry. Countless times we saw trailers, gameplay footages or even live demos that promised so much, but in the end, did not deliver.

Why does this keep happening?

Well, the reason for why the developers do this is obvious – to make people more excited for the game. But the real question is why are they allowed to keep doing this? More often than not, there were no penalties when something like this happened. Let’s look at a recent example when there actually were some consequences – No Man’s Sky. Hello Games – the developers – kept talking about such great features as multiplayer, a nearly infinite number of randomly-generated planets with different climates, flora, and fauna. In the end, we got some of the things they promised, but not much. Graphically the game was good, but everything else was not. Not much to do, boring grinding, no multiplayer – people were disappointed. All this lead to terrible reviews and eventually, investigation for false advertisement. So why has No Man’s Sky bombed, but other titles didn’t? Simply because it was an indie game? Not really, as Mighty No.9, a Kickstarter project, got mixed reactions to say the least but never got into that much trouble. Then what was it?

Watch Dogs E3 downgrade graphics

It’s all about crossing the line

The reason Hello Games suffered such a blow was probably due to the fact that they simply overdid it. In every interview, every convention and showcase they talked about how great the game will be and all the features it will include, that by the time they presented their product the whiplash was too much. Something similar happened when we first saw trailers of project Natal, later known as Xbox Kinect. I remember my jaw dropping when I watched that video, it looked like Microsoft made a leap in time and brought some next-generation technology with them. But it turned out that unfortunately, all that footage did not depict the ending product at all. The camera quality was worse, the sensors less responsive and the overall experience did not match up. But they did tone it down with the boasting when it came to real live demonstrations of the software, so people had a better idea of what they were actually buying. So, usually when other developers – be it AAA giants or other independent folks – do some embellishing, they are much more discreet. For example, one of such important aspects is the appearance of the “in-game footage” disclaimer on any trailer that shows off gameplay, since its absence almost guarantees, that the game will not look as good, if even similar at all. It was a huge uproar when after promising a survival-horror Alien game, SEGA released the plain and uninventive Colonial Marines. Developers also often save themselves by promising DLCs and patches if something goes badly like studio DICE did with Battlefield 4. But No Man’s Sky had no excuses, nothing to redeem themselves with. Even if they were a big company, something like this could not be overlooked by an over-hyped crowd. This goes to show that, fortunately, we live in the time when consumers’ opinion matters.


So, will this ever change?

Probably no, not really. No matter how strict the rules get, people always find a way to sprinkle lies in order to make their product look better. So what we need to do is stay vigilant, not let ourselves be fooled by pretty words and work on improving the gaming community. One of the ways to do it is by becoming a member of GameTree. We thoroughly analyze all the information for our database to make sure that every game that we recommend to our customers will satisfy their personal tastes so that both their money and their time will not be wasted.

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Kishotenketsu vs. Western storytelling in videogames. What is the difference?

mountains clouds forest fog

One goal, many paths.

-B. Üke

The question had been biting at the back of my neck for some time, so I decided to ask several online boards of proclaimed experts:
“What the differences were between Eastern and Western computer games? Why are the stories so different?”
After numerous posts making jokes about tentacles I decided then that their minds were like soup at a dodgy restaurant: better left unstirred for everyone’s health. I decided to solve the problem myself.

Fallout4 dog RPG

Is it only aesthetics?

Western RPGs like Fallout tend to be drab and dull, almost monochromatic when Japanese RPGs such as Earthbound are lavishly colorful, even surreal.
Maybe it was Character design? Western game developers try for gritty hyper-realism, drawing on their backgrounds of movies and TV and over-engineered to the smallest pore on their gravel-encrusted noses. Meanwhile, the Japanese creators brought up on the ornate, bright, swirling colors of anime and manga, have been known to have a minimalist design in using simple lines to convey the maximum effect for the minimum effort.
The surface aesthetics are fairly easy to expound away, all artists have their preferences.

EarthBound RPG

But what about the story?

The truth of the matter is that many of the story arcs in Asian culture vary significantly from their western counterparts.
In the west, the plot is thought to revolve around confrontations between two or more elements, where one side is dominating the other, like with the critically acclaimed game Bioshock. What you see there is a typical three to five-act structure with a single conflict. A chosen setback appears near the end of the first act (Jack’s plane crash, his arriving in rapture unsure of what’s going on), and then the character gets drawn into it (getting contacted by Atlas who asks to ‘save’ everyone).
On the other hand, in the Asian storytelling tradition, the plot structure does not have a central conflict. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest.

Super Mario Game

The word for this is kishōtenketsu

It is organized into four parts:
Ki: A scene is set.
Shou: Elaboration on the scene, flushing out the characters and their relationships
Ten: Climax, an unforeseen event that doesn’t have to do with ki and shou directly, things become more complex.
Ketsu: Resolution, focuses on how the third act interacts with the previous ones.

A more literal example from every level of Mario 3-D
Ki: Mario has to learn how to use a gameplay mechanic.
Shou: the stage will offer you a slightly more complicated scenario in which you have to use it.
Ten: something crazy happens that makes you think about it in a way you weren’t expecting and how to use the game mechanic to deal with this situation.
Ketsu: you get to demonstrate; finally, what sort of mastery you’ve gained over it.

This doesn’t mean that the conflict is not present within the plot, just that isn’t the main focus for the drama. Look at the world of Dark Souls; major events and their significance are often implicit and left for the player to interpret rather than fully exposed or explained. Namco, the publisher, even had a $10,000 offer to anybody who could explain the Dark Souls story. The same people who put countless hours into making the game did not think that a storyline was an important feature.
The best way to see the difference is in looking at RPGs. Sure, some of the basics are the same, flat characters exist to be the guides for the plot. But there are slight differences with the round characters; while they change and develop as the story unfolds there is a noticeable scale of personalization.

Dark Souls RPG

Let’s compare

Japanese RPGs follow a classic formula that was started by Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Both are linear role playing games that set you on a specific course to tell a powerful story of epic proportions. You would get a specific character whose role you are assigned to and act out. You get the opportunity to play as the soldier Solid-Snake. Sure, the player can control the individual actions of Snake, but the narrative is still in the control of the designer. This is a reason  behind a lot of the original games having a third-person perspective paired with a slew of cinematic sequences.
On the contrary, RPGs in the West usually focus on roaming freely through the vast world and developing your character to take on unknown challenges like in Skyrim. The character’s personality is determined by the freedom of choice a player has over it. Thanks to this all the decisions made during the game become an avatar for the player’s actions. First person perspective is American invention for a reason, you do not play as a hero you are the hero.
Or the villain.
Or the guy who tries to put all the NPCs in comical bucket hats named Chumley.
Ok, we’ve clearly figured out there are some differences, but what made them?

Pixel Art Game campfire chill

One word: history

Given that I’m describing thousands of years of culture, bear that this observation is a bit roughshod. Besides, if people were so simple we could understand them easily, we’d be so simple we couldn’t.
The west can trace its storytelling back to ancient Greek dramatists whose stories may be chanted or sung, along with musical accompaniment on a certain instrument. Therefore some who would be called folk musicians, starting with Homer and his Iliad and going all the way to the medieval Troubadours, you would tell your story from memory over a few hours and move along. The romantic figure of the blind traveling minstrel accompanying his tales of past heroes can be seen throughout Europe, there are even accounts of highly-respected blind Guslar (Serbian story-singers) as recent as 1918.
Meanwhile many Asian cultures did traveling storytellers, but Confucian ethics made sure they were the lowest form of humanity imaginable, even below merchants. They were portrayed as disloyal mercenaries who contaminated everything they laid their eyes upon. The respected storytellers of this civilization were kept in-house, forming guilds to give members an official status, regulate other performers in their territory and exert control over fees and conditions in regional story houses. The Chinese guilds would even have annual multi-day gatherings, called hui-shu or shu-hui, at which a number of storytellers told their best episodes.

Skyrim Dog RPG Quest

Time is the father of contrast

Time is the father of contrast. The nomadic lifestyle of the western storytellers means they have an economy of time to tell their stories. They have to distil the style down to its most bare and high-impact form. In computer game terms: the first Halo game, in a single story arc of saving the universe and the villain, Guilty-spark, escapes for the next game. Bam! Story done. Audience-impressed –hopefully enough to get paid-, there’s a plot so you can come back for a sequel, time to move on to the next village.
Meanwhile, their Asian storytellers were mostly townsmen, they need to take the same beloved characters and use them across multiple stories and scenarios, the entertainment comes from the context and their interaction; the backgrounds are always being changed so the storyteller will spend less time crafting something that they’re going to change in the next few weeks. The gaming example: Final-Fantasy, you follow the war-ravaged cast of heroes who are in a struggle against all odds to defeat some ancient evil. The worlds are usually large and packed with interesting but constantly changing backgrounds.
These differences go on to influence the perspectives used by the game developers. Games with a complex narrative often involve many characters becoming a group. Such multiple embodiments separate a player into multiple bodies. The player is an outside force influencing the interaction between people rather than the experience by any one character. In contrast, the first-person narrative often has a powerful elegance in its simplicity; the player is immersed into the role of the protagonist.

Japanese painting two guys walking

So, what can we say in the end?

Ultimately there are many paths to making a good storyline. Be they the kishōtenketsu writing style builds on itself and lets the game focus on the mechanics, meanwhile the western epic-conflict takes away from them by focusing on the grand epic storyline.