Eric Watson

Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.

Steam Fights Back Against Review Bombing

Posted by | News, PC | No Comments

Valve has taken firm action to deterring review bombing on Steam. A new algorithm will flag potential review bombs and notify a team of real people for investigation. If that team determines a malicious review bombing campaign has taken place, all reviews in that time frame will have their scores removed from the game’s total user score. The reviews themselves will remain.

Review bombing is “where players post a large number of reviews in a short period of time, aimed at lowering the Review Score of a game,” to quote Valve’s post. Valve specifically calls out off-topic reviews as focusing on elements outside of the game itself, such as a game’s DRM, or comments a developer has made online.

In 2017 Valve was well aware of review bombing. They added a histogram to track reviews over time, making it obvious to see when review bombing occurs. Today’s new system comes after years of testing and discussion. Valve has pledged to not remove the reviews themselves. But their downvoted scores will not be counted toward the game’s overall review score. Review scores have become an increasingly important tool for consumers to quickly gauge whether or not a game is worth their time.

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Unfortunately any legitimate reviews that happen to be posted during a review bomb period will be affected, and their scores hidden as well. “[…] it isn’t feasible for us to read every single review. But as we mentioned back in our first User Review post, our data shows us that review bombs tend to be temporary distortions, so we believe the Review Score will still be accurate, and other players will still be able to find and read your review within the period.”

Reviewing bombing is a well-known tactic for online trolls, and isn’t limited to video games. Most recently popular movie site Rotten Tomatoes removed the ability to post user reviews on unreleased movies, due to a reviewing bombing campaign with Captain Marvel.

If any of this is upsetting, Valve has a catch-all solution. You can simply turn this feature off entirely. There’s now a checkbox in your Steam Store options where you can re-enable all review scores. “Reviews are an important part of Steam,” states the post, “which is why we continue to do the work to make sure that they are not being manipulated by anyone.

apex legends

Apex Legends Battle Pass Revealed, Season 1 Starts Tomorrow

Posted by | News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Respawn Entertainment has officially unveiled the first Battle Pass for battle royale shooter, Apex Legends. The first competitive season, called Wild Frontier, will start tomorrow, March 19 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern.

If you’re familiar with Fortnite, Apex Legends’ Battle Pass is largely the same. You can purchase a Battle Pass in game for 950 Apex Coins, which translates to about $10 of real money. The Battle Pass includes 100 cosmetic items that you can then earn through regular play by gaining experience and leveling up.

Note that you’ll work towards unlocking the battle pass goodies whether you purchase the pass or not, but you’ll obviously need to purchase it to gain the rewards. If you purchase the Battle Pass later during the season, your progress will carry over and you’ll earn all the applicable rewards.

Unlockable rewards include weapon skins, character skins, banners, badges, epic and legendary loot boxes, and 1,000 in Apex Coins. The last unlock in the Battle Pass is also the first evolving Legendary weapon skin for the Havoc, which has three stages. The Season 1 Battle Pass is purposefully designed to feature all Legends and provide a variety of unlocks for newcomers.

“In terms of rewards, we’ve tried to create a Battle Pass where first-time spenders can get a strong base of weapon and character cosmetics to fill out their initial collection at a deep discount,” writes Lee Horn, Lead Product Manger, Respawn Entertainment.

If you’ve got the cash and want to skip ahead, Apex Legends is offering a Battle Pass Bundle. The Battle Pass Bundle costs 2,800 Apex Coins and grants the Battle Pass as well as instantly unlocking 25 levels of rewards.

Everyone who plays during Season 1, which will last about three months, can earn one Wild Frontier Legend skin, five Apex Packs, and 18 Wild Frontier Stat Trackers. Purchasing the Battle Pass will grant access to three new Wild Frontier skins for Lifeline, Wraith, and Mirage.

Also arriving in Season 1 is the first post-launch Legend, Octane. Look for Octane’s official reveal soon. Respawn has stated that every season of Apex Legends will add a new Legend.

Battle Pass rewards are exclusive to that season. Once earned you keep them forever, but they can never be earned again.

Apex Legends is available on PC (Origin), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s rated T for Teen.