Crossnary Reviews: Deceit Exposed- 5 Reasons Why You

[Review] Ranking all the Switch shmups Ep25 - Q-YO Blaster

There was a time when I believed that shmups could only feature ships. Then games like Parodius came to challenge that belief. If an Octopus can be the player, then anything is possible. And don’t get me started on Cho Aniki…
When it comes to unusual characters for a shmup, it’s always a coin toss. They could either be the most fun you’ve had in a while or end up being a disappointment. Time for me to toss this coin!
Publisher: Forever entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 27, 2019
Price: $9.99
Tate: You can, but you might need to tilt your head
Q-YO Blaster is by far the strangest 2D horizontal shmup I’ve reviewed for this ranking list. The gameplay and mechanics aren’t anything particularly odd, but there’s something about the presentation and the lore which is legitimately fascinating. For some reason it feels like a game developed by someone out of this world who learned about our culture through animated movies.

SATURDAY MORNING SHMUP

One of the aspects that tipped me over the edge when deciding what to review was the art style. Keeping up with the animation vibe, Q-YO Blaster sports an old school cartoon art style. Enemies will be colorful creatures with quirky details such as baseball caps, big eyes or even Mickey Mouse styled gloves. Their animations are equally as comical whether it is their attack animation of their death animation.
Of course, cartoony can be used to describe maybe half of the style. The other half is probably more akin to a sci-fi coat of paint. Along the many bugs and animals, there’s also a great deal of robots, monsters, heavy weaponry and even blood running rampant (or maybe it’s oil?). It does makes sense considering the bugs came from space, and it definitely adds a touch of mystery when navigating through the stages of Q-YO Blaster.

EVERYONE IS HERE!

My original expectation of the game was to have a few pilots including the Q-YO, floating dog head from the screenshots and doggy airplane. Little did I know that Q-YO Blaster has more pilots than I have fingers in both of my hands.
Pilots are arranged into 3 different teams. Each pilot has different stats which include damage, speed and fire. The teams can have +damage, +endurance or a mixture of both. Fortunately, despite the outrageous pilot designs and sprites, their hitboxes are all the same. After picking your pilot, you can pick one of 7 different special weapons to round out your style. From whichever angle you want to watch it, Q-YO Blaster offers a crazy amount of customization options.
The defining feature of each team is their assistant. Assistant are powerful screen-wide effects that trigger once you fill the assistant gauge. The gauge can be filled by continuously shooting and defeating enemies. Once filled, you can hold the fire button to unleash its effect. The effects are a screen explosion that clears bullets, a temporary shield or a 360 barrage of missiles.

BUILDING YOUR OFFENSE

With all of the previous elements combined, you can play as one of 112 possible combinations of team, pilot and special weapons.
In terms of weapons at your disposal, you have 3: your basic shot, your special weapon and your assistant. Your basic shot is an infinite gun that shoots bullets straight ahead with some degree of spread. The first shot is always straight, so you can opt for manual rapid fire to keep a straight line of fire. Alternatively, you can hold the button and just auto-fire.
Occasionally, you’ll find power-up weapons flying around the stage. This power-ups will grant you a limited weapon when collected. These extra weapons are considerably faster than your basic shot at the cost of having limited ammo. They also have a unique effect on their very first shot, once more giving you a choice between manually shooting or going with the auto-fire.

ALSO BUILD YOUR DEFENSE

One defensive tool you have at your disposal is the pulse. Pulse clears every bullet on screen and turns them into gems. When collected, this gems will increase the level of your special weapon gauge. This special weapon will be whatever you picked on the character select, and has 3 different levels of strength depending on how many gems you have collected. It also comes with some slight invulnerability so you can use it to get out of sticky situations.
The caveat of pulse is that you can only carry 3 stocks, and it is only refilled by collecting extra pulse power-ups. I have mixed feelings about this limitation, as I feel it plays an integral part of your offensive game plan. Its hard limit prevents any smart usage other than just a get-out-of-jail card. I would have loved if it had a gauge like the assistant, as that would have created a balance between building pulse and shooting your special.

LITTLE ADVENTURES

Every stage carries a sort of familiar scenery. I like to think of it as Toy Story levels. Considering the characters are Q-YOs and bugs, it makes sense for the scenery to be a relatively small scale such as houses or gardens. I find them to be very charming, or it might be just my nostalgia kicking in because I grew up with Toy Story. Nonetheless, I really dig the stages.
At the end of each stage, there’s a very comical boss waiting for you. These bosses represent whichever vibe you got from the level. For example, the boss of the garden level is none other than Queen Bee herself. Bosses turn the action up to 11 featuring huge bullet patterns and significantly more aggressive tactics. My one complaint about the bosses is that they feel a lot like a flow chart. They have a couple of attacks and will cycle through them in the same order all the time. Assuming you can dodge them, it’s only a matter of repeating the same moves over and over until the boss goes down. This is even worse on the harder difficulties when the bosses have much more HP.
The most interesting aspects of the stages are the end rewards. Similar to many rogue-lite games, clearing a stage will let you choose a perk for the rest of your adventure. The perks are always the same, but include upgrades such as increased speed, faster shots or even 1ups.

STORY TIME!

Despite being a shmup, I really recommend paying attention to the story! It really is something else! I don’t think it actually makes much sense, but there’s something about the way it’s told that crashes my brain. It does have some powerful moments as well! Including that one stage with the sad music and the rain. I don’t want to spoil it, but it really hit me hard.
I didn’t delve too much into game modes, but there’s basically classic and arcade. Classic is your base mode with the entire story and 3 selectable difficulties. If you don’t want to go through the story every time (even though it is skippable), then arcade mode is for you. Arcade mode features 0 cutscenes, so it’s all fun and games. Arcade mode is also much harder, but has 99 continues.

HARDER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER

I have to make one of my classic parenthesis to talk about difficulty. Being honest, I think the expert difficulty and to some extent arcade are pretty terrible. The reason is because of the way the game is balanced as a result of them. Harder difficulties feature faster bullets and more complex patterns, but also feature increased vitality for the enemies. The increased lethality of the enemies makes for a hearty challenge, but all good is wiped out by the tedium of enemy endurance.
What I found out was that enemies are very durable in the harder difficulties. Rather than creating a fun challenge, it makes it incredibly hard to destroy enemies. Most enemies feel like sponges that just refuse to die unless you have a special weapon. Some enemies feel outright impossible to kill before they leave the screen, an issue which hurts a lot when it comes to homing projectiles that need to be destroyed. Fun and dynamic dog fights become grindy situations where you focus on a single ship and fail to destroy it while having others flood the screen. I really think harder difficulties would have been better without the added HP on enemies but retaining the faster bullets and harder patterns.

SLOW AND STEADY DOESN’T WIN THE RACE

While on the topic of hard difficulties, the homing bullets are another culprit behind the reason the difficulty isn’t fun. I’ve never been a fan of homing attacks as they feel cheap, but it feels like it wasn’t play tested because some slower ships can’t actually avoid a homing shot without the speed upgrade. To be fair, no one shoots homing bullets on stage 1, so taking speed is utmost priority.
One thing I do like about speed is that most boss patterns allow you to dodge at high speed. You can’t slow your speed, so it’s nice that there isn’t finesse required to survive some waves.

A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME IN THE OVEN

If I was on a game show about quick words and someone mentioned “Q-YO Blaster”, my response would be “rough”. While some aspects of the game are really cool, there are other where it feels a little bit incomplete. Some enemies don’t match the visual quality of others such as Major Tomm. The UI and menus also seem to come from a prototype version.
There’s also a sort of bug where if you die and use a credit, the game immediately pauses. Not a big deal, but it feels out of place. The customization screen is also all sorts of blurry. You can’t remap controls either, which is a shame considering the shoulder buttons would really come in handy.
Most of these issues aren’t a big deal by themselves, but they taint the final product by making it feel a little like shovelware. The game is really fun though, so it is sad to think about having it fall under that umbrella.

FINAL WORDS

So the mandatory question is, is it fun? It definitely is! With its bizarre and unsettling vibe, Q-YO Blaster is still tons of fun to play. While there is certainly a lot of room for improvement, Q-YO Blaster is still a solid choice for a shmup if you are fan of the cartoon style, of the horizontal shmup format or just a fan of little critters in general.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Devil Engine
  4. Rolling Gunner
  5. Blazing Star
  6. Jamestown+
  7. Tengai
  8. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  9. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  10. Sky Force: Reloaded
  11. Strikers 1945
  12. Black Paradox
  13. R-Type Dimensions EX
  14. Sine Mora EX
  15. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  16. Ghost Blade HD
  17. AngerForce: Reloaded
  18. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  19. Q-YO Blaster
  20. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  21. Pawarumi
  22. Red Death
  23. Task Force Kampas
  24. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  25. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
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Through 2019, I've played over 70 games, and have beaten 39 of them. Here's a short review for all of them.

I made it a goal this year to play as many games as I possibly could and try to deplete my backlog. Through doing that, I've played games this year that have made me laugh, cry, complain, hate, and love. I enjoy seeing others post game reviews like this, so hopefully there are others out there like me who just enjoy reading about games.
All games that I've completed are listed in chronological order from when I beat them, and contain a #/10 for final review score (for the ones that I completed). As a bonus, there will be three segments: Completed, Currently playing/hope to get back to, and Retired. At the end, I will include a TLDR; for my completed games in three sections; Good, Average, and Bad. Like others, I used howlongtobeat which proved to be a great tool for my backlog and clearing it out. Here we go:
 
January 2019
 
Condemned: Criminal Origins
I had tried this game a couple years back and it didn't really click. When I tried it this year something changed and I felt the need to keep playing it. The premise of the game is very unique, and although there seem to be a few games like this on Steam, there really isn't an experience like this on console. The gameplay is VERY dated, but the story, location, and overall feel behind the game drew me into it. I finished the entire game on New Years Day, and had a great time doing it. For anyone looking for a fun, old school CSI/Survival Horror esque game, even though it has its problems, check this one out. 7.5/10.
 
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
What a game. Like Condemned, this was another game that I initially tried years ago and didn't get hooked on, mainly because the driving is so bad especially when you first start out, but I'm so glad I gave this one another chance. Easily in my top 5 games played this year. Enjoyed every single second of it. Aside from the driving, I have no complaints. This is one of those games where you'll actually want to go do everything else even after you complete the story. It's that good. 9/10
 
Crysis 2
Extra short review because I kinda just blew through this one. Didn't really enjoy it at all, and while this series may have been ahead of its time, its not too impressive playing it in 2019. No story and forgettable gameplay, two things that a campaign of a multiplayer focused game relies on. You're much better off playing through one of the call of duty's if you want an FPS campaign. 4/10
 
Bioshock: Remastered
Forewarning for this one and another review coming up: I'm not a fan of this series. This is another one I tried years ago on the 360, gave up on (see a trend?), but decided to give it another go after hearing all the praise for this series. Let me just say, Bioshock is not a bad game at all, obviously, but for some reason it just didn't click with me like it has other people. I enjoyed my time with the game, but wasn't left speechless after it. The setting got old, the story never really interested me, and the gameplay was quite similar to that of other games (Fallout in particular). It looks and performs quite well as a remaster, and I'd say that's probably the best thing I have to say about the game. Not bad, but not deserving of the critical acclaim it has gotten IMO. 7/10
 
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. I've never seen a batman movie before, nor did I/do I have a desire to before/after beating the game, but I still somehow enjoyed it. It's a nice little change of pace from many games, as the combat is melee focused and is set to one main location with other branching locations instead of the overly used open-world. The backtracking did get tiresome, but overall as a non-batman fan I enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it to somehow looking for a change of pace type of game. 7.5/10
 
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
After beating Deadly Premonition and it subsequently moving into my Top 5 favorite games of all time, I decided to give D4 a try after realizing I had downloaded for free years and years ago. All I have to say is this: Swery is a genius. Not a game I would have EVER expected to like, but one that I couldn't put down. Wacky characters, plot, setting, and gameplay all make D4 just a fun, enjoyable experience. It was meant to be an episodic game, but was unfortunately cancelled after the first episode, and it did leave on a little bit of a cliffhanger. Although the talk around the street is that this game won't be finished, we do have hope considering Swery shocked the world announcing Deadly Premonition 2 for next year, a game which I won't be patient for. If you just want wacky experience, definitely check this one out. 8.5/10
 
Bioshock 2
You're probably wondering why this one is on the list if you read through my Bioshock 1 summary. Well, I am too. I had burning desire for whatever reason to return to Bioshock, and experience Bioshock 2, and honestly, my experience was basically the exact same as Bioshock 1 but a little worse. While I found Bioshock 1 to have a forgettable story, I found Bioshock 2 to have a REALLY forgettable story. I also wasn't a fan of the increased combat that was put into this game, as I feel like this is the type of game where exploration should be focus and not fighting a enemies every time you enter a new location or room. Again, not a terrible experience, just not one that left a lasting impression on me whatsoever. 6/10
 
February 2019
 
Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3
Here's where the tears come in. Wow. Just wow. Before playing this series I never thought anything in any type of entertainment could be this good. I was wrong. Mass Effect 1-3 is the greatest achievement in entertainment history. Am I saying this after doing/watching/playing everything that has ever been put out? No. But I am saying it as I'm confident I, like many others, will NEVER have the pleasure of experiencing anything like the first run through the Mass Effect Trilogy ever again. This is a must play for people not even interested in gaming. The plot that carries over across all three games while taking everything you did from the previous game into account is something that I haven't seen replicated in gaming since, and that was over 12 years ago. The story, world, characters, and gameplay is truly something remarkable in all of entertainment. 2 was my favorite, only because of all the amazing characters you got to meet, otherwise 1 was very close behind. 3 was great, and despite what all the critics had to say, I felt the ending was justified. 10/10
 
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
A much better entry into the Tomb Raider franchise than Rise, one of the two games which I credit that turned me into a patient gamer. The gameplay was more enjoyable than Rise, and the somewhat open-world sections that the devs added was a nice little change to the series. I still don't think this was nearly as good as Tomb Raider (2013), but this one is definitely still worth checking out. 7/10
 
The Technomancer
My first truly bad experience of 2019. This game was just bad. It had potential and you can see it when you play it, but unfortunately it's just bad. So bad. The plot is bad, the characters are bad, and the gameplay is just downright garbage. The one thing that had true potential which was the world was just shamelessly butchered as well. No one should touch this game. 1/10
 
March 2019
 
The Wolf Among Us
Another masterpiece. This was my first telltale game and I'm scared to play another one because I know it will probably not come close to comparing to TWAU. This game has twists and turns that you wouldn't have ever expected, and draws you into the world VERY quickly. This was another one that was hard to put down. The voice acting and story are top notch, and HOLY COW, WOLF AMONG US 2 COMING?? Other than Deadly Premonition 2, it's currently my most hyped upcoming game. 10/10
 
DmC: Devil May Cry (2013)
My first and possibly my last entry in the DMC series. I know its considered to be the worst or at least one of the worst games in the series, but the main draws of the game just bored me to death. The weird enemies types with the spam attack hack-n-slashing combat just really didn't provide me with joy. The story was interesting IMO and the boss fights were cool, but just running around hack n slashing everything as well as backtracking to certain locations just wasn't fun at all to me. Another forgettable experience. 6/10
 
Watch Dogs 2
This one really surprised me. I was in the minority where I actually really enjoyed Watch Dogs 1, but held off this one due to vocal people saying that this game was political nonsense. My experience with the game was the complete opposite, as I played it from pure game perspective and didn't think much in the overall deep meaning of the plot. The setting was great, and as someone who lives near SF but absolutely hates the city IRL, it was still quite cool to experience something so similar in a game. The graphics were great, the gameplay was smooth, and the characters were interesting, which in total made Watch Dogs 2 a great experience. There were a few characters who were over the top or just not needed in the game, but all I had to do was skip the scenes they were in. 8.5/10
 
Thimbleweed Park
My first true point and click game since the early 2000's. Im a big fan of detective/mystery games, so this one was on my list for a while. Since I lack the mental capacity to solve most puzzles in games, I did have to use a walkthrough for a large part of this game. Even so, I still very much enjoyed this game. If you're looking for a fun point and click adventure game with tons of mystery included, this is a great game to choose. 7.5/10
 
Bound By Flame
As an RPG fan, I had to give this one at least a try. After the horror that I experienced in The Technomancer, I didn't know what to expect with this one. This was just average all the way through. Literally take the definition of an RPG and put it into this game. Much better than The Technomancer, but still not that good of an RPG. I'd probably suggest only to play this If you run out of other RPGs or simply just want a mediocre experience. Also, what's up with Spiders making the ability to climb up objects impossible if you're in combat? You have to clear out every single enemy in an area if you want to continue on, and this includes the backtracking and minor areas. One of the most annoying things I can remember experiencing in a video game. 5/10
 
Outward
Wasn't patient for this one but I wish I was. Like Bound By Flame, this is just an insanely bland RPG, and in this case, is considered a "Hardcore RPG". It's hardcore in the fact that you REALLY have to want to play this game otherwise you're going to be bored within an hour. Its not worth having to make the 10 minute walk across the map 10-20 times to get supplies and to complete quests. Just a totally bland game that I would've quit right away if I hadn't bought it on release. Another great example on why to be a patient gamer. I also found out later on this year that this game was already made in 2009, and was much better then. I'll save that for a later review. 4/10
 
April 2019
 
Dead Rising 2 Remastered
A classic. This was my first replay of 2019, but this time it was the remastered version. I played through Dead Rising 2 5-6 times on my 360 solo and with different coop partners. The remastered version is just a better version of this great game. Absolutely flawless performance even on my OG Xbox One. This game is the ultimate sit back and chill game. 8.5/10
 
L.A. Noire
My second replay of 2019, and, up until I played the Mass Effect series earlier in the year, was my favorite game of all time. Crime/noir is my favorite genre of games, and it's too bad we really don't see many of them anymore. L.A. Noire blows every other crime game out of the water, and not only that, but throws in the detective element and makes you feel like you are truly investigating the cases in the game. The noir element is also just totally flawless in the game. While the performance of the remastered version was again, flawless, I really didn't like how they removed the Truth/Lie dialogue options with "Good Cop/Bad Cop". I honestly preferred the last gen version. Still, I consider this game a masterpiece. 10/10
 
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Was hoping to play this after I saw the new season to get into the mood, but decided to dive right in instead. To this day, the South Park games are the only turn-based games that I've managed to play through. While I preferred the premise of The Stick Of Truth better, I still absolutely loved my time with this game. It truly is remarkable that not only are Trey and Matt able to continually make arguably the greatest show in entertainment history, but also put out really great games. 8/10
 
June 2019
 
Assassins Creed: Odyssey
I spent all of May playing this one, so that should tell most of what you need to know. I'm a sucker for Ubisoft games and the mindless enjoyment I get out of them. While nothing Odyssey does is groundbreaking, it still provided me with more than 65 hours of content and that's without the DLC, which I hope to get back to someday. Due to the story and characters, I think this is better than Origins, although both are great games worthy of your time. I'm glad the series has turned into an basically open world RPG, because I was not a fan at all of any of the older AC games. 9/10
 
Brutal Legend
Didn't even know this game existed until I picked it up over the summer. It was a fun little experience. Extremely unique, but I wasn't a fan of the main RTS element and the very empty open world. Music was fantastic though, and I really enjoyed the plot. Wish we had more games that went really outside the box like this. 7/10
 
Alpha Protocol
My second bad experience this year. I heard so many positives about this game, but I just hated absolutely every second of this one. The so-called story and "decision making" that I heard so much about was, IMO, a total lie, as none of the decisions you make truly matter, and not to mention they're insanely quickly timed so half the time you don't even know what you're picking. Im going to say it, this is just a very, very, very bad prequel to Hitman: Absolution (yes, I liked that game). This one should be buried and forgotten. 2/10
 
Wanted: Weapons Of Fate
Another one of my 360 pickups during the summer. Not much to summarize as it's apparently a video game version of a movie I had never seen or heard of. It's a nice little straightforward action game that's playable for its duration, which is only about 6 hours. Easily beaten in a day. 6/10
 
Heavy Rain
Finally got to this one after wanting to play it for so long. I heard it had everything that I wanted: Crime, Mystery, Noir elements....... and it absolutely delivered on all fronts. I actually accidentally spoiled the plot for myself a few years ago which put me off of the game for so long, but since I only knew the major twist, everything else was new to me making it extremely enjoyable to start to finish. People talk about the mainstream PS exclusives like God Of War, Bloodborne, etc., but not enough talk goes into Heavy Rain and it's later counterpart, Until Dawn. 9/10
 
July 2019
 
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
Now I'm totally in the minority on this one, but I really enjoyed this game. Disclosure: I've never played any other XCOM game due to them being turn-based, which is why I gave this one a try. This game is solid all around, but where it shines is the setting. Some of the locations that this game puts you in, including places in New Mexico and CA, along with your base of operations, are very unique. Unless all the hate for this game was from XCOM fanboys who wanted more turn-based, than I truly don't understand what the deal was. This was a great game. 8/10
 
Tacoma
Again, not much to really review here. A walking sim in space with its own little touch on interaction and dialogue. It's very colorful and different from most walking space sims. If you're a fan of these types of games, I think this one might be worth checking out. 7/10
 
Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition
As the 3rd person cover shooter genre is growing quickly on me, I decided to check out the series that a number of people have credited with starting it. I also started out with the goal of playing through the entire series for the first time before Gears 5 came out. Ultimately, it fell short after this one, but I'll save that for later. GoW: UE is a great remaster. The graphics are phenomenal, and gameplay is smooth, and seemingly is the way that someone starting out on Gears Of War should start their entry into the series. The grass is not so greener after this one, but this game by itself is definitely worth your time. 7.5/10
 
August 2019
 
Red Faction: Guerrilla Remarstered
Didn't know how I expected this one going. I love Sci-Fi and space, and had never played a labeled destruction game before, but as soon as I stepped foot on Mars, I knew this was going to be a good one. You truly don't know how enjoyable breaking everything is until you do it, and that's all you need to focus on while playing this game. Yea other elements are there, but the destruction is just so damn satisfying that it makes this game just worth it for that. 8/10
 
Gears Of War 2
Man did I have to absolutely slog through this one. I've seen people credit this game as the best in the series, but all I credit it as is the game which completely killed any interest I had in Gears of War. You can only run through caves for so long before it gets mind numbingly boring. Not to mention the completely random story bits that this game throws in. This was not a fun game at all to play. 3/10
 
September 2019
 
Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan
After playing until dawn 3 years ago and immediately saying right afterwards "If only supermassive did an anthology series. I'd buy every game on release", here we are 3 years later and they actually are doing exactly that. While I wouldn't say that this one is as good as Until Dawn, it's still a fantastic game and one that all fans of Until Dawn should experience. Not to mention it has Shawn Ashmore in it, one of the greater lesser known actors. 8/10
 
October 2019
 
Risen 1
Remember how I said a far superior version of Outward had come out in 2009? Yea, this it it. This was the ideal hardcore RPG experience I was looking for. It had everything: Fantastic story, great characters, janky combat, among all the other things that I look for in an RPG. Perhaps the most surprising part of this game was the Dialogue, and dare I say may be the best dialogue of any game that I have ever played. They have some lines in this one that are absolutely hilarious, and the best part is you would have never expected a game like this to have such strong writing, which makes it even better. This game was so close to being a legitimate masterpiece if it wasn't for the last chapter in the game which almost killed my enjoyment in the game. Other than that, this is a must play RPG. 9/10
 
Far Cry 3
Another one on the long list of games that I tried years ago and decided on trying again this year. Far Cry 3 ended up being just an average experience. Cheesy story, tedious objectives (crawl up a tower, liberate an outpost, rinse and repeat). I did like the main missions though, and the setting was pretty cool. A better game than Far Cry 4. 6/10
 
Binary Domain
Boy did I enjoy my time with this one. This one is easily the hidden gem of all my 2019 games if I don't count the arguably more popular Risen 1. This game had it all, but more importantly, found a way to skillfully mix in an engaging and emotional story with a good amount of comedy. Not to mention, it probably has the best shooter physics of any game I've ever played it. It's truly a shame this one is not talked about more. 9.5/10
 
Far Cry 5
Decided to pick this one up after not minding Far Cry 3. Let me start by saying this: Far Cry 5 is BY FAR the best in the series in almost every facet of the series' core. I can't tell you how nice it was not having to climb up 20 towers in the game. Graphics were superb, setting was by far the best in the series, and so was the story. I also didn't realize how much of a powerhouse cast they had for this game until I finished it. Impressive. 8/10
 
November 2019
 
The Outer Worlds
Easily my 2019 GOTY. I haven't had that much fun playing a game since Mass Effect in February. I know I've said it a lot in these reviews, but again, this game had it all. I didn't have a single complaint about this game. Not one. Story, graphics, characters, world, all absolutely phenomenal. I was so glad to see this game get universal acclaim. It deserved it. 10/10
 
Rage 2
And now my worst game of 2019. This game was garbage. That is all I can say about this one. Don't ever waste your time on this POS. I can't believe I did till the end. 1/10
 
December 2019
 
The Darkness
This one was another slog to get through. The reviews of this game from 2007 are not representative of the game today. I can't really say one thing that this game did positive, at least by today's standards, other than offer a unique system of combat. Everything else was just not good. 4.5/10
 
TLDR;
The Good: Mass Effect series, Outer Worlds, Binary Domain, Risen 1, L.A. Noire, The Wolf Among Us, Sleeping Dogs, Watch Dogs 2, Dead Rising 2, Far Cry 5, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Red Faction Guerrilla Remarstered, The Bureau XCOM Declassified, Heavy Rain, South Park Fractured But Whole, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
 
The Average: Condemned Criminal Origins, Bioshock 1 & 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, DmC: Devil May Cry, Thimbleweed Park, Brutal Legend, Wanted Weapons Of Fate, Tacoma, Gears Of War Ultimate Edition, Far Cry 3, Bound By Flame
 
The Bad: Crysis 2, The Technomancer, Outward, Alpha Protocol, Gears Of War 2, Rage 2, The Darkness
 
Now onto games that I'm currently playing/hope to get back to....
 
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Playing)
Black Friday pickup. Really enjoying my time with this game, and after absolutely hating Dark Souls, this one has surprised me.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Playing)
The games locations are so cool, especially after growing up around all these things... but the game is just so boring to play.
Little Nightmares
Not a big fan of sidescrollers but got this one for a good price. About half way through the game, just need to find motivation to finish it.
Fallout: New Vegas
Decided to give NV one more go and actually got into it. Unfortunately it's been paused due to me buying so many games on Black Friday, but it will soon be resumed.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Enjoyed my time with it but the turn-based combat really just makes it a slow hassle to play. Honestly don't know if I'll return to it.
Metro Exodus
Wasn't a fan of what I had played, but will likely give it another try in the future before I put it down for good.
 
And now for games that have been retired, for the better good....
 
Resident Evil 2
This was my last attempt at trying to get into the Resident Evil franchise. After trying 0, 4, 5 and now 2, this series just isn't for me. I dreaded my time with Resident Evil 2, as I can only take backtracking through the same boring hallways with no ammo so many times. (Black Friday buy - returned)
Control
Didn't have high hopes for this game so I wasn't disappointed, but this game was just really, really bad. Easily the worse lighting/color palette of any game I've ever played, not to mention there's nothing interesting at all about the game and the combat sucks hard. I also had a table stuck around my character 3 times in the first 2 hours. (Black Friday buy - returned)
X-Blades
Just a bad game.
Recore
Enjoyed the game up until the point where I had to deal with BS and wasn't willing to deal with the BS. Didn't leave any lasting expressions on me.
Alien Isolation
I can't stand insta-kill games. I've tried to pick this one up on three different occasions, but the last one was my last straw. Just not a game for me.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Bad game with the worst voice acting in a video game. What else is there to say?
Red Faction: Armageddon
Bad game that could've been good but instead is bad.
Vampyr
Another game that could've been okay but just fell completely flat on its face.
Ashen
Man, I really did enjoy my time with this game, but once they wanted me to through an entire castle with loads of enemies on each floor and no respawn points, that was it for me sadly.
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Just a boring game. I can see how it might've been fun for its time, but at least for me it doesn't hold up in the slightest.
 
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my 2019 in gaming review! Hopefully it helped out on some games on your list.
submitted by xOfMalice to patientgamers [link] [comments]

Gaarawarr's Guide to Greengrass - Year 3

Last Updated: April 8th, 2020, at 8:27pm PDT - Added tips for The Problem Solvers and Wheat from the Chaff for brand new players
Last Updated: April 2nd, 2020, at 3:15pm PDT - Updated Melf's upgrade info; guide complete unless I missed something
Last Updated: April 1st, 2020, at 9:41pm PDT - Updated Melf's Feat info
Last Updated: Initial Post
 

Event Introduction

The start of spring is traditionally marked by a day of peace and rejoicing, featuring beautiful displays of flowers in celebration of Lathander, God of Spring and The Morninglord. Unfortunately for the town of Triboar on the Sword Coast, their celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of a githyanki raiding party...
Greengrass runs from Wednesday April 1st, 2020, at Noon PST, thru Monday April 13th, 2020, at Noon PST.
You can find the official Greengrass blog post here.
 

General Event Tips

I highly recommend reading my Guide to Event Planning for basic progression information and ways to maximize your gains/efficiency during Events. There is too much information to put here as this specific Event guide is long enough already.
 
Don't be afraid to ask questions in the comment section! Also, I stream the game now and welcome any and all questions there as well!
You can find all of my Idle Champions guides here.
Good luck & have fun!
~ Gaar
 
Note: Event guides are always a work-in-progress and will update over time so check back frequently! I'll note at the top in the revisions area when it's complete.
Important: In Year 3 and beyond, there will be a lot to do to unlock all Champions Gear from an Event if it's your first time doing it. I recommend focusing your time and resources on Gear for no more than 2 Champions as a new player. You can still unlock all 3 Champions though, and should. Your Event tokens are a finite resource, as is your time, and it can be challenging enough to complete two full sets of adventures as a new player, not to mention have time left to do Free Plays for more gear. You also end up with fewer Chests for each Champion if you go for 3+ Champions per Event.
Feel free to ask in the comments about which Champions are recommended in the current iteration of the game so you can make an informed decision on how to spend your time.
 

Year One Champion - Nrakk, the Githzerai Monk

You can find their Event Guide here.
Feel free to ask questions about them and their formations here in the comments as the linked discussion may be locked to new comments.
 

Year Two Champion - Aila, the Wild Elf Barbarian

You can find their Event Guide here.
Feel free to ask questions about them and their formations here in the comments as the linked discussion may be locked to new comments.
 

Year Three Champion - Melf, the Elf FighteWizard

You can read their original Champion Spotlight here.
Slot 12: Swaps with Arkhan, Azaka, Nerys, & Zorbu.
Good with: Elves; everyone
Eligible for Patrons: Mirt, Vajra, & Strahd
 
Class Race Alignment Gender Age Affiliation Role(s) Overwhelm Point
FighteWizard Elf Neutral Good Male 210 None Support 5
 
Strength Dexterity Constitution Intelligence Wisdom Charisma
17 15 14 19 11 10
 
Bio: Born into the royal family of Celene, he assumed the simple name of Melf eschewing a life of comfort as a noble to study the arcane arts and train as a swordsman. He delved in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk, the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and many other harrowing places honing his skills, knowledge and amassing powerful magic items. Melf sees himself as a weapon of weal hurtling toward the heart of the darkest evils in the realm. He is opinionated and has a touch of conceit that he is blissfully ignorant of possessing.
 
Base Attack Speed: 5 seconds
Basic Attack: Zagyg’s Needle - Melf leaps out and attacks the nearest enemy with his magic spear. If Melf has any Minute Meteors active, he fires one at a random enemy as well.
Ultimate: Melf's Minute Meteors — Melf summons six Minute Meteors that float around him. They are fired when he attacks normally and deal BUD-based damage to all enemies in a small area.
 

Interesting Abilities

Melf's Adaptive Support Spell: Melf creates a new spell to assist the formation. He customizes it based on the Champions in the formation and where Melf is placed within it. It increases the damage of Champions adjacent to Melf by 100% and that value is augmented based on some other parameters, each of which applies multiplicatively.
  • If there is another Elf (aside from Melf) in the formation, increase the effect by 50%
  • Increase the range by 2 if Melf is not in the front-most or rear-most columns in the formation (affects all champions within 3 slots)
  • Increase the effect by 10% for each unique race in the formation
This ability is buffed by upgrades and equipment (buffs apply to the final calculated value, not the individual increases).
Melf's Augmented Support Spell: Melf augments his Adaptive Support Spell for each Champion it affects.
  • Increase the effect by 50% on the non-dominant gender in the formation (applies to non-binary champions all the time)
  • Increase the effect by 50% for each slot away from Melf a Champion is (multiplicatively)
Melf's Speedy Supplement: Melf provides one of the following effects at random. A new effect is chosen at random every 50 areas (though it could pick the same one multiple times in a row).
  • Increase chance to spawn an additional enemy with each wave by 25%
  • Increase enemy spawn speed by 25%
  • Increase chance of double quest drops by 25%
This ability is buffed by equipment; note if the chance of double quest drops gets above 100% it will then always cause double quest drops with a chance to cause triple quest drops, etc. Likewise with spawning additional enemies with each wave.
Melf's Righteous Determination: Melf knows exactly what evil is. Whenever an enemy spawns it has a 50% chance of being deemed "evil" by Melf. Enemies that are deemed evil take 100% more damage from all Ultimate attacks.
 

Specializations

Bonus Adaption: Increases the effect of Melf's Adaptive Support Spell by 100%
Extra Supplements: Increase the effect of Melf's Speedy Supplement by 100%
Absolute Righteousness: Increase the effect of Melf's Righteous Determination by 100%
 

Equipment

Slot 1: Spear - Increases the damage of all Champions
Slot 2: Shield - Increases the damage of all Champions
Slot 3: Cloak - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability
Slot 4: Spellbook - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Speedy Supplement ability
Slot 5: Chainmail - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Righteous Determination ability
Slot 6: Meteor - Buffs Melf's Ultimate attack Damage
 

Feats

First slot is available at 60 while the second is available at 1140.
Default: Selflessness - Increases the damage of all Champions by 10%
Default: Supportive Ally - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 20%
12,500 Gems: Inspiring Leader - Increases the damage of all Champions by 25%
12,500 Gems: Melf's Medium Meteors - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Righteous Determination ability by 40%
Gold Chest: Encouraging Ally - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 40%
Gold Chest: Rushed Plans - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Speedy Supplement ability by 40%
 

Level Upgrades

  • 20 - Melf's Adaptive Support Spell
  • 40 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 50 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 60 - Melf's Righteous Determination
  • 65 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 70 - Melf's Speedy Supplement
  • 80 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 85 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 90 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 95 - Ultimate
  • 100 - Specialization Choice
  • 110 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 120 - Melf's Augmented Support Spell
  • 140 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 150 - Increases the damage of Melf by 100%
  • 160 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 210 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 230 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 250 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 300 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 350 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 360 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 370 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 430 - Increases the damage of Melf by 200%
  • 490 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 500 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 550 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 560 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 585 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 645 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 655 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 725 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 765 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 775 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 815 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 825 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 920 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 935 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
  • 950 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 200%
  • 1010 - Increases the damage of Melf by 300%
  • 1025 - Increases the damage of all Champions by 100%
  • 1035 - Increases the effect of Melf's Melf's Adaptive Support Spell ability by 200%
Current max upgrade level is 1035
 

Formation & Mission Information

Once you complete the first mission, three Variants and a Free Play show up. There is a new formation that holds 10 Champions. It has an Event-specific format that I've done my best to re-create below.
Back Column 4th Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
0
0
0
0 0 0
0 0
0
0
New Player Formation & Specializations:
Back Column 4th Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
NA
NA
Bruenor - Shield Master
Minsc - Humanoids Calliope - College of Lore Nayeli - Oath of Devotion
Asharra - Elves & Dwarves Jarlaxle - Leader of Bregan D'aerthe
Celeste - Life Domain
Hitch - Charismatic
This formation is for the first couple of runs where you're just not going to get enough Gold to get everyone on the field, let alone level people up into their power curves. At this point, Jarlaxle is focusing on being your Primary DPS while everyone else is set up to support him.
The following formation is for once you can get Hitch up into his power curve for damage and he starts outpacing Jarlaxle. You'll have to figure this out during your runs by swapping him and Jarlaxle around every now and then and seeing who's doing better in that Primary DPS slot.
Back Column 4th Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
Tyril - Moonbeam
Makos - Dark Blessing
Bruenor - Shield Master
Asharra - Humans Calliope - College of Lore Nayeli - Oath of Devotion
Jarlaxle - Leader of Bregan D'aerthe Hitch - Charismatic
Celeste - Life Domain
Minsc - Humanoids
This formation should get you through the Event as a new player. If you have other options or think a different DPS is geared better, try it out and see what happens! Swapping DPS around like this can help you figure out what works best for you with your specific items.
If you need assistance with formations, ask in the Comment section and be sure to list out what extra Champs you have so people know what to work with.
These are the rough Favor values you need to reach to make a Variant (Second through Fourth missions) show as Easy in terms of Difficulty. Keep in mind that this is just a generic rating system and some Variants may be harder than others, even when they show as Easy.
Mission Favor Level (Normal) Favor Level (Scientific Notation)
Second 20,000 ~2e04
Third 15,000,000 ~1.5e07
Fourth 1,000,000,000 ~1e09
 

Initial Mission: The Endless War (Melf)

Cost: 100 Bouquets
Complete: Level 50
Reward: Melf + whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: No restrictions.
 

Second Mission: Honorable Discharge

Cost: 1,000 Bouquets
Complete: Level 75
Reward: Gold Melf Chest & whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: Each Champion can only be used to complete 50 areas.
Gaar's Notes: Not gonna lie, this could be rough if you don't have much Favor. New players will need to remove all Champions from the formation and rely on Click Damage only through the first 25 levels and then build a formation on 26 to beat this due to lack of swappable Champions. Make sure it shows as Easy before starting. Even then, maybe wait until The Problem Solvers shows as Easy as well before starting this one.
 

Third Mission: The Problem Solvers

Cost: 2,500 Bouquets
Complete: Level 125
Reward: Gold Melf Chest & whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: Only Champions with an INT score of 13 or higher can be used.
Gaar's Notes: Well, this is basically your introduction to Strahd as a Patron, only in an Event. Here's a list of viable Champs with those that can be used with a Feat in ():
  • Slot 1: Sisaspia, K'thriss, & Turiel
  • Slot 2: Regis & (Celeste)
  • Slot 3: Artemis
  • Slot 4: Jarlaxle, Paultin, & Stoki
  • Slot 5: Dhadius, Xander, & Qillek
  • Slot 6: Asharra, Krond, & Shandie
  • Slot 7: Jim, Catti-Brie, & Farideh
  • Slot 8: Delina, Vlahnya, Hitch, & (Nrakk)
  • Slot 9: Makos, Morgaen, Birdsong, & (Drizzt)
  • Slot 10: Tyril & (Rosie)
  • Slot 11: Strix, Dragonbait, & Avren
  • Slot 12: Melf, (Zorbu), & (Nerys)
If you don't have a viable formation after this restriction, stock up on Favor before attempting. Get it to Easy, or even better, get Wheat From the Chaff to show as Easy before starting.
As a brand new player who may only have Core Champs and Melf, you may end up at a point where your Champs just aren't doing damage. At that point, try leveling up your Click Damage. Normally I don't recommend this, but I beat it that way on my gearless account with Core/Melf in the formation. So keep it open as an option.
 

Fourth Mission: Wheat From the Chaff

Cost: 5,000 Bouquets
Complete: Level 175
Reward: Gold Melf Chest & whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: Melf starts out in the formation with Melf's Righteous Determination unlocked. Only enemies that Melf deems evil can be damaged. Blockers, bosses, and boss trash mobs are always deemed evil. All non-evil enemies are invulnerable and can not even be attacked.
Gaar's Notes: Oof. Make sure you have a reliable tank for this one because they're going to get some work. Do not attempt this before it shows as Easy if you're new. This is going to be difficult without AoE DPS options. It's also going to take a long time... (pssst...set up your formation, level up your Champs, place familiars to level them up if you can, then go offline...)
If you're brand new and only have Core/Evergreen Champs plus Melf, here's a formation setup that should help get you through the early levels until you can get another tank in front. Basically, you're splitting damage between two Champs to help you die slower. Bruenor has his Overhwelm Feat slotted while Nayeli is in Devotion spec and Calliope is in Lore spec to increases survivability. Good luck!
 

Free Play

Cost: 500-2500 Bouquets
Complete: Level 50 to earn a random Melf chest
Reward: See above + whatever Lathander's Favor you earned
Info: No restrictions.
 

Achievements

Recruit Melf - 1%
Recruit Melf, the Elf Wizard/Fighter
Melf's Vigorous Variants - 1%
Complete all three variants of the "The Endless War (Melf)" adventure.
Melf's Marvelous Equipment - 1%
Obtain a piece of gear for each of Melf's six equipment slots. (Event Champ gear does not come from regular SilveGold Chests. You can earn Event Champ gear from their specific Event Chests, Time Gates, and other limited-time Chests as noted.)
Melf's Free Play Slog - 1%
Complete area 275 in any "The Endless War" free play.
Melf's "Broken" RNG - 1%
Complete 200 consecutive areas with Melf's Speedy Supplement providing the same buff.

Adventure Information

Indoor # Outdoor #
30 20

Type Summary

Bosses
  • Aberration - 4
  • Humanoid - 4
  • Fey - 1
  • Undead - 1
Normal Mobs
  • Humanoid - 26
  • Undead - 14
  • Plant - 11
  • Aberration - 11
  • Beasts - 7
  • Fey - 3

Type by Level - repeats after 50

  1. O - Beasts
  2. O - Beasts
  3. O - Beasts & Fey
  4. O - Beasts & Fey
  5. O - Beasts & Fey > Fey
  6. O - Beasts
  7. O - Humanoid
  8. O - Humanoid
  9. O - Humanoid
  10. O - Humanoid > Humanoid
  11. O - Humanoid
  12. O - Humanoid
  13. O - Humanoid
  14. O - Humanoid
  15. O - Humanoid > Humanoid
  16. O - Humanoid
  17. O - Humanoid
  18. O - Undead & Humanoid
  19. O - Undead
  20. O - Undead > Undead
  21. I - Undead
  22. I - Undead & Humanoid
  23. I - Humanoid > Blockade
  24. I - Humanoid
  25. I - Humanoid > Humanoid
  26. I - Undead
  27. I - Undead
  28. I - Undead
  29. I - Undead
  30. I - Undead > Aberration
  31. I - Plant
  32. I - Plant
  33. I - Plant & Aberration
  34. I - Plant & Aberration
  35. I - Plant > Aberration
  36. I - Undead & Beasts
  37. I - Undead & Humanoid
  38. I - Humanoid
  39. I - Aberration & Humanoid
  40. I - Humanoid > Humanoid
  41. I - Plant
  42. I - Plant & Aberration
  43. I - Plant & Humanoid
  44. I - Humanoid & Aberration
  45. I - Plant & Humanoid > Aberration
  46. I - Undead & Humanoid
  47. I - Undead & Plant & Humanoid
  48. I - Humanoid & Aberration
  49. I - Aberration & Plant
  50. I - Aberration > Aberration

Community Event Discussions

submitted by Gaarawarr to idlechampions [link] [comments]

Vampyr - Review Thread

Game Information

Game Title: Vampyr
Genre: Action role-playing game, third-person
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Media: Concept Teaser
E3 2016 Trailer
Pre-Alpha Gameplay Trailer
'The Darkness Within'
E3 2017 Trailer
Dontnod Presents Vampyr - Webseries Playlist
Story Trailer
'Becoming the Monster' Trailer
Launch Trailer
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment Info
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Price: PC - $49.99 USD
PS4, XB1 - $59.99 USD
Release Date: June 4th, 2018
More Info: Vampyr | Wikipedia Page)
Review Aggregator:
OpenCritic - 73 [Cross-Platform] Current Score Distribution
MetaCritic - 72 [PS4]
MetaCritic - 71 [XB1]
MetaCritic - 74 [PC]
Bloody arbitrary list of past DONTNOD games -
Entry Score Platform, Year, # of Critics
Remember Me 70 X360, 2013, 42 critics
Life Is Strange 85 PS4, 2015, 23 critics

Reviews

Website/Author Aggregates' Score ~ Critic's Score Quote Platform
AngryCentaurGaming - Jeremy Penter Buy ~ Buy This is absolutely a 'Buy', it is well worth it at full price on the consoles and for the 45 it is available on Steam for. The game does betray its "double-A" budget at times, but to me, Vampyr is a great example of a title doing something different that I'm not sure a AAA company company would do. A lot of the safeguards that we see, even in some other AA games, when it comes to society's impacts and the social decisions you can make are gone here. Those consequences hard-felt and they are instant, and the inevitable character death of somebody that you actually like is gonna hit you even more. Combat's fun and not perfect, but it works to keep you engaged as well. At 25 hours without doing everything with so many different ways and situations this can play out, I would assume two playthroughs at minimum is what I'll do with this title, and it really does show that a game can be far more than the sum of its parts, and certainly not reflect just the budget. PS4, XB1, PC
Player2.net.au - Matt Hewson Unscored ~ Unscored A beautifully told gothic tale with interesting skill systems and some fun combat is only let down by window dressing and a location that feels like a stage and not an actual city. Vampyr might not be the game of the year, but it is certainly going to be one of the most interesting titles we see in 2018 and, sales permitting, a title that will only get better in future sequels. PS4, XB1, PC
Eurogamer - Aoife Wilson Unscored ~ Not Recommended Dontnod takes a thrillingly Gothic perspective on early 19th century London, but squanders it in a dreary and indecisive adventure. PS4
VG247 - Marshall Lemon Unscored ~ Unscored Vampyr is an ambitious masterpiece with forgivable flaws
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Alec Meer Unscored ~ Unscored I'm left frustrated that Vampyr falls short of truly combining a smart choose-your-own-adventure game with a meaty action one. PC
Polygon - Charlie Hall Review-in-Progress ~ Review-In-Progress The easy way out for Dontnod would have been to take the most time-worn tropes from dime store horror novels, season to taste with period melodrama and serve it all up for players to enjoy. Vampyr reaches for more, and I'm very interested to see if the finale does it all justice
Nerd Much? - Rhys Pugatschew 90 ~ 9 / 10 Victorian vampires have never been so intriguing and exciting as they are in Vampyr. PS4
GameSkinny - Autumn Fish 90 ~ 9 / 10 stars Vampyr is a brilliant single-player RPG with deep social mechanics that make playing as a vampire a truly unique and satisfying experience. PC
COGconnected - Garrett Drake 88 ~ 88 / 100 Witnessing a studio succeed beyond what their audience expects of them is always a pleasure, and DONTNOD Entertainment has done just that with Vampyr. Whether you're intrigued by the idea of stalking London as a bloodthirsty vampire or expressly fancy a rock-solid ARPG, consider sinking your teeth into this gem. PS4
Hobby Consolas - Álvaro Alonso - Spanish 88 ~ 88 / 100 Even with it's noticeable flaws, Vampyr has the potential to be the new cult gem among vampire lovers. If you can see beyond technical limitations, the story and characters will trap you within their arms and suck until the very last drop of... your time. PS4
Cerealkillerz - Gabriel Bogdan - German 87 ~ 8.7 / 10 Vampyr exceeds all expectations and delivers a thrilling vampire adventure with great storytelling and a gameplay that borrows the right elements from games like Bloodborne. If you can live with some longer loading screens and a missing fast travel option you'll get a well made Action-RPG with lots of enjoyable content. PS4
DualShockers - Tanner Pierce 85 ~ 8.5 / 10 While a couple of technical issues stop it from being a masterpiece, Vampyr is still a fantastic title that will keep you entertained for hours. PS4
GameSpace - Brandedwolf 85 ~ 8.5 / 10 If you enjoy your story a bit on the darker side and making choices that matter, then give Vampyr a try. PC
GamingTrend - Ron Burke 85 ~ 85 / 100 Vampyr manages to deliver on its promise to make choices matter. Every decision has implications that spider out in unseen directions, often far into the future. While there are some wobbles in terms of combat and load times, the engaging storyline and premise carry this title far. PC
PlayStation Universe - Neil Bolt 80 ~ 8 / 10 There's no denying that Vampyr has some mighty rough edges to it and combat that is decent, but unspectacular. Yet there's a delicious sense of place to it that makes it undeniably interesting to get stuck into. Many of the game's flaws melt away as you get lost in the moody grime of this alternate version of wartime London. The most important job Vampyr had to do was to present a compelling game about the tragic romanticism of being a vampire, and the fight for retaining humanity or embracing the unnatural power it brings. Vampyr does drop the ball on many small things, but it does that important job superbly. PS4
Twinfinite - Alex Gibson 80 ~ 4 / 5 Ultimately, the sum of Vampyr's emphasis on story, combat, and progression combine to produce a video gaming experience that will appeal to those outside the RPG and adventure genres that it seeks to combine. My hope is that it finds its audience so that we might yet again see Dr. Reid on an even grander scale in the future. PS4
Total Gaming Network - Shawn Zipay 80 ~ 4 / 5 stars Aside from a few technical issues, Vampyr delivers one of the most engaging action-RPGs in recent memory. It is a game where everything and everyone is connected through some fantastic gameplay design and yes, your choices do actually matter here. PC
IGN Spain - Jose A. Rodríguez - Spanish 80 ~ 8 / 10 An amazing game full of darkness, vampires and blood in the London of the first quarter of the 20th Century. A great mix of exploration, conversations and hard ecounters with dangerous creatures of the night. PS4
SelectButton - Kevin Mitchell 80 ~ 8 / 10 Although Vampyr's combat system is thoroughly satisfying, it's the dark atmosphere and narrative that genuinely makes the game a must-have. Your choices define the experience, altering a world full of discovery and intrigue all around you. Do you give in to your blight and feast upon the weak and unworthy inhabitants of London or do you become their salvation? It should take you anywhere from 20-30 hours to complete the narrative, but if you want to see all of the possible endings, you'll have to play through multiple times, altering your choices and decisions regarding the lives of the citizens. PC
Hardcore Gamer - Jordan Helm 80 ~ 4 / 5 It takes some doing to find a middle-ground between two such conflicting genres, but Dontnod have done a terrific job marrying Adventure and Action RPG elements into a pleasant and modestly cohesive whole. PC
Tech Advisor - Lewis Painter 80 ~ 4 / 5 stars If you're looking for a story-focused RPG, Vampyr is a solid option. It offers in-depth conversation options, game-changing choices to make and an intriguing storyline full of plot twists and betrayal.
EGM - Emma Schaefer 80 ~ 8 / 10 Vampyr walks a fine line between narrative storytelling and action-oriented combat, trying to appeal to fans of both genres and mostly succeeding. Though the game lacks polish in many areas, it stars a clever morality system that entices players towards both good and evil deeds, a well-rounded web of background NPCs, and an intriguing overall narrative of an undead doctor investigating the spread of the Spanish Influenza, making Vampyr a treat for any vampire fan. PC
Wccftech - Rosh Kelly 80 ~ 8 / 10 Dontnod worked hard to create an immersive, dark world to explore and it succeeds in doing so. Despite some boring conversations, most of the world of Vampyr is an exciting, dangerous place and if nothing else, being a vampire in here is also very fun. PS4
TrustedReviews - Andi Hamilton 80 ~ 4 / 5 stars Vampyr might not be what many wanted after Life Is Strange, but it’s still an enjoyable – well, as enjoyable as its grim nature allows – game nonetheless. It follows the modern action RPG template almost to a fault, but the agency the player has in shaping the districts by disease control and straight up murder is a lot more interesting than some of the moments in other games within the genre, where they present you a binary choice that pushes the plot forward. It’s a decent idea holding up an otherwise solid game, but overall Vampyr is worth a look if you’re looking for something to plug the gap in your life in this post- Witcher 3 world. PS4
GamesBeat - Anthony John Agnello 75 ~ 75 / 100 At no point in Vampyr did I have fun following trails of blood, mixing antiquated remedies out of opium, or bludgeoning some Crucifix wielding goon in a mask for the 50th time. But I was constantly compelled forward to find out what next grim choice it would give me, anxious to spend yet another night in one of its safehouses to see if my efforts to keep London's souls alive another day had worked. PS4
WellPlayed - Kieran Stockton 75 ~ 7.5 / 10 If you can fight your way through some technical issues, a good story and interesting action RPG mechanics can make for a bloody good time PS4
Just Push Start - Grant E. Gaines 73 ~ 7.3 / 10 Vampyr is a hard game to review, because there is enough to warrant a low score, yet the experience is satisfying enough to make up for this. For better or worse, giving answers and explaining things make it easier to invest in the story, with the conclusion certainly being worth the time. The ability to interact with NPCs, heal them, figure out more about the world and extract new information also adds a lot. It’s just, when it comes to gameplay, Vampyr falls short. With loading screens being common when players move too fast, combat often being more about managing stamina, difficulty stemming from how willing are you to kill innocent people and a needlessly frustrating waypoint system, it’s easy to get frustrated. With this in mind, anyone looking for a vampire romance story or just want to experience a world filled with answers should consider picking Vampyr up, where as action-RPG or open world fans can probably skip it. PS4
Heavy - Collin MacGregor 75 ~ 7.5 / 10 Vampyr is a bloody good time that is marred by some tedious mechanics and some technical issues. Hitting a game-breaking bug certainly soured my experience, but the wonderfully written characters kept me going until the credits rolled. This may not be a perfect RPG, but Vampyr is still a fun time for those wanting something a bit darker in their games. PC
VideoGamer - Alice Bell 70 ~ 7 / 10 Vampyr serves delicious ladles of angst and drama with a hearty slice of excellent, morally grey choice system that will genuinely surprise you, all wrapped up in a wonderfully gloomy London. It's just a shame the combat turns a bit sour. PS4
Rocket Chainsaw - Adam Ghiggino 70 ~ 3.5 / 5 stars Tying hard moral decisions to real gameplay in a compelling open-world RPG is an ambitious goal, and it’s one that Vampyr achieves to an extent. PS4
GamesRadar+ - Leon Hurley 70 ~ 3.5 / 5 stars As much a detective story as a horror one, Vampyr rewards you for taking an interest in the people around you and tests your moral compass with a lack of black and white options.
GameSpot - Justin Clark 70 ~ 7 / 10 Dontnod follows up Life Is Strange with a surprisingly enthralling supernatural thriller. PS4, PC
IGN - Brandin Tyrrel 70 ~ 7 / 10 Vampyr is a slow burn of an RPG, taking its time to ramp up its intriguing blend of science and the supernatural in an elaborately gloomy version of London. When it gets going you can see the potential of the way it offers you more power if you consume its interesting citizens. But Vampyr never commits to this idea to the point where I felt I needed to make that sacrifice to succeed in its relatively simple combat, which leaves it feeling toothless and vulnerable to having a lot of its fun sucked away by technical issues, despite its genuinely engaging story. PS4
Metro GameCentral - GameCentral 70 ~ 7 / 10 An inspired use of the usual vampire clichés with some fascinating moral decisions to make, that always impact the game world and its combat in unexpected ways. PS4
PC Gamer - Andy Kelly 68 ~ 68 / 100 There are some brilliant, original ideas in here, but Vampyr tries to do too much at once and suffers for it. PC
GameMAG - ACE - Russian 60 ~ 6 / 10 Vampyr did not live up to our expectations and did not reach the level of Life is Strange. So, if If you were expecting another Dontnod masterpiece, you'll be disappointed. If you're interested in setting, then it's probably worth a try, but only at a discount price. PC
Destructoid - Kevin Mersereau 60 ~ 6 / 10 The story may be a tad lackluster, and the combat may be clunky as hell, but Vampyr does offer a compelling adventure for those looking for some blood-sucking fun. It also manages to effectively make you feel like a creature of the night at times. Unfortunately, the frequent technical issues sapped just about every ounce of joy from the experience, leaving this digital world a dry, lifeless husk. PS4
TheSixthAxis - Aran Suddi 60 ~ 6 / 10 Much like its early 20th century setting, Vampyr feels like a bit of a throwback to a past age of action RPGs. In a time where the genre is evolving Vampyr holds on to past ideas for much of its tenure, and it doesn't have a story strong enough to overcome that fact. The world itself is ripe for lots of stories to be told within, with Dontnod having done a good job with world building, but while Vampyr isn't a bad game, nor is it as great as it could be. PS4
RPG Site - Kyle Campbell 60 ~ 6 / 10 Vampyr is ambitious for sure, but with ambition comes risk, and unfortunately, here it provides very little in the way of rewards. PC
Cubed3 - Renan Fontes 60 ~ 6 / 10 Although flawed and at times painfully inconsistent, Vampyr manages to offer relatively engaging gameplay in spite of a lack of overall polish. Combat is stiff and quite mindless, but Jonathan's progression deeper into Vampiredom is handled well and the abilities at his disposal go a long way towards masking some of the more mundane aspects of the battle system. It's more whether or not Jonathan decides to prey on the people of London, and its consequences, that keep the experience fresh. There's a trade off between making Jonathan and keeping districts stable, each one offering their own benefits. There are technical issues, and the performance is lacking on every front, but Vampyr has enough going for it conceptually that it's worth sinking some time into, if only to be a vampire in 20th century London. PS4
Push Square - Glen Fox 60 ~ 6 / 10 Vampyr has a ton of interesting ideas, an intriguing world, and a great cast of characters, but is ultimately let down by its narrow-minded focus on unnecessary combat. PS4
USgamer - Hirun Cryer 60 ~ 3 / 5 stars Vampyr unfortunately flounders after building some solid foundations in the opening hours. London feels like a city on a knife edge, and the citizens prove to be an inviting cast of creative characters. But Vampyr then lures you into sacrificing these characters, cutting out a key part of the game, all to have a hope of standing up to the horrors that await you in the shadows of London. PS4
TechRaptor - Robert Grosso 60 ~ 6 / 10 Vampyr has a lot of good ideas, but its execution is sorely lacking in most areas. It is a game that is competent in terms of its systems, but ultimately fairly boring to play. PS4
Game Revolution - Matt Utley 50 ~ 2.5 / 5 stars Vampyr feels like a dug-up PlayStation 2 game. It wears its ambition on its sleeve, even if it looks at times to be wearing a tank top. The underlying game mechanics require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, but those that can will find an entertaining penny dreadful. PS4
Slant Magazine - Steven Scaife 50 ~ 2.5 / 5 stars Rather than going for size in the character roster, Dontnod might have done better to shoot for complexity. PC
We Got This Covered - David Morgan 50 ~ 2.5 / 5 stars Vampyr competently displays an understanding of combat, dialogue, and narrative choice, but it never rises above mediocrity, and is an utter failure on a technical level. The aesthetic of the world is the best thing on display, but beyond it lies a derivative title that fails to leave a lasting impression. PS4
EDIT - Well ain't this confusing. This was the first review thread posted, which was removed by automod I'm assuming. There was another thread posted after this that is now removed and this one is back up (Just in case anyone needs context). I'll be back to updating!
EDIT 2 - Apparently automod was NOT the reason the thread was removed, it was reddit itself that removed this thread because of one of the websites being flagged for spam.
EDIT 3 - Would people rather have reviews be ordered by website names in alphabetical order or ascending/descending list of scores or completely random?
submitted by ninjyte to Games [link] [comments]

Tools & Info for SysAdmins - Mega Summary Q4 (Over 80 Items)

Hi sysadmin,
Each week I thought I'd post these SysAdmin tools, tips, tutorials etc with just one link to get it in your inbox each week (with extras). Let me know any ideas for future version in the comments!
This week is mega list of all the items we've featured to in the last 3 months, broken down into categories, for you to explore at your leisure. I hope you enjoy it.

Free Tools

Free MailFlow Monitor. Rejection / Delay Text Alerts, Group Policies, Alerts By SMTP Code, Trouble Shooting Tools including header analysis. MailFlow Monitor is EveryCloud’s (Our) free, cloud-based, round-trip tool that sends you an alert as soon as there is an issue with your email flow. Settings are adjustable to allow you to choose how much of a delay is acceptable and which types of bounce alerts you want to see. Helps you get to the bottom of a problem before users (or your boss) have even noticed it.

Postman is a popular, free app to make API development faster and easier. It offers a powerful GUI, saved history of requests, flexible monitoring, automated testing with collection runner, mock servers, and unlimited collections, environments, tests, and sharing. It also provides detailed documentation.

Microsoft Sysinternals Suite is all their utilities in one convenient file. Contains the all the individual troubleshooting tools as well as help files, but not non-troubleshooting tools like the BSOD Screen Saver or NotMyFault. A shout out to azers for recommending this one.

RichCopy is a simple tool written by a Microsoft engineer named Derk Benisch. It provides a much-appreciated graphical interface for the very popular Robocopy command-line utility.

Windows Update MiniTool is an alternative to the standard (and sometimes overbearing) Windows Update. It allows you to control updates by giving you the power to search, install, and block Windows updates in any way you like.

Space Monger gives you a graphical image of your whole disk, where large files and folders are easily identified. This handy tool can be run from a USB drive, so you don't even need to install it. Thanks for this one and Windows Update MiniTool go to mikedopp.

UNetbootin is a terrific, cross-platform utility for creating bootable live USB drives for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions without burning a CD. Thanks go to Gianks for this one.

CopyQ is a clipboard manager that adds some advanced editing and scripting capabilities. It monitors the system clipboard and saves text, HTML, images and more into customized tabs. From there, the saved content can be copied and pasted directly into any application. Clipboard history is easily searchable and can be filtered. Suggested by majkinetor.

Desktop Info provides a quick view of every kind of metric about your Windows system right on your desktop. The display looks like wallpaper but stays resident in memory and updates in real time. Gives you a quick way to monitor what any system is up to, while using very little memory and requiring almost nothing from the CPU. This one was recommended by mikedopp.

Healthstone is a lightweight, self-hosted, agent-based system-monitoring solution that runs lots of customizable health checks. The dashboard runs on a Windows or Linux server, and it has agents for the Windows and Linux hosts you want to monitor. You can customize the dashboard to send notifications via email, Pushbullet, or NodePoint tickets whenever a client stops checking in or any of the configured checks fail. Configuration is retrieved from the dashboard by all agents in the form of templates, which are stored in the templates folder and can be customized for your needs. Thanks to mikedopp for this one!

Rufus is another utility for formatting and creating bootable USB flash drives. This one works with MRB/GPT and BIOS/UEFI. Rufus is about twice as fast as UNetbootin, Universal USB Installer, or Windows 7 USB download tool when creating a Windows 7 USB installation drive from an ISO. It is also marginally faster for creating a Linux bootable USB from ISOs. We first heard of this one from Gianks, but there were quite a few others who shared the recommendation as well.

Axence netTools is a set of ten free tools for network scanning and monitoring. Includes: Netwatch (multiple host availability and response-time monitoring); Network port and service scanner; Wintools (view of launched processes/services, remote register editor and Windows event log view, HDD/RAM/CPU details, custom queries based on WMI protocol); TCP/IP workshop and SNMP browser; Traceroute; NetStat (list of inbound and outbound connections and open ports); Local info (tables with local configuration details, TCP/UDP stats); Lookup (DNS and WHOIS records); Bandwidth test; and NetCheck (LAN hardware and wiring quality check). This was recommended by DollarMindy as an "easy ping monitor with email alerts."

MediCat USB is a a bootable troubleshooting environment with Linux and Windows boot environments and troubleshooting tools. A complete Hiren's Boot Disk replacement for modern hardware that follows the Ubuntu release cycle with a new update released every 6 months. The DVD version was originally recommended to us by Spikerman "for when you need to helpdesk warrior."

MobaXterm is an enhanced terminal for remote computing. It brings all the key remote network tools (SSH, X11, RDP, VNC, FTP, MOSH) and Unix commands (bash, ls, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync) to Windows desktop in a single, portable .exe file that works out of the box. The free version includes full X server and SSH support, remote desktop (RDP, VNC, Xdmcp), remote terminal (SSH, telnet, rlogin, Mosh), X11-Forwarding, automatic SFTP browser, plugins support, portable and installer versions but only 12 sessions, 2 SSH tunnels, 4 macros, and 360 seconds for Tftp/Nfs/Cron. Thanks go out to lazylion_ca for suggesting this one.

WinDirStat provides free, open-source graphical disk-usage analysis for MS Windows. You'll get a sub-tree view with disk-use percent and a list of file extensions ordered by usage. This tool was recommended by ohyeahwell, who likes to use it "for freespace as it can be deployed via ninite pro."

IIS Crypto allows administrators to enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows Server 2008, 2012 and 2016. You can also reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions. EOTFOFFTW tells us, “This tool has been very helpful in configuring SSL settings for Windows IIS servers.”

Ditto saves all your clipboard items so you can access them later. It works with anything that can be put on the clipboard—images, text, html and custom formats. The simple interface includes search and sync functions for ease of finding what you need. Thanks go to Arkiteck for suggesting this one!

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware should be your first stop if you suspect a malware infection. It is the most-effective malware remover—featuring deep scans and daily updates—and blocks malware, hacker, viruses, ransomware and malicious websites that slip through your traditional antivirus. Also available as a full AV program that you can buy if you wish to do so.

Termius is a complete command-line solution providing portable server management for UNIX and Linux systems—whether a local machine, a remote service, Docker Container, VM, Raspberry Pi, or AWS instance (similar to Putty for Android). This cross-platform Telnet, Mosh-compatible and SSH client. Securely access Linux or IoT devices to quickly fix issues from your laptop or phone. Thanks for this one go to blendelabor.

WSUS Offline Update lets you safely patch any computer running Microsoft Windows and Office—even when there's no connection to the Internet or a network of any sort. More specifically, you first run WSUS Offline Update on a machine that has Internet connectivity to download the updates you need and copy the resulting update media to a USB drive. You then use the USB drive to run the update on the target computers. Recommended by mikedopp.

SystemRescueCd is a Linux system rescue disk that allows you to administer or repair your system and data after a crash. It can be booted via CD/DVD, USB or installed directly on the hard disk. Many system utilities like GParted, fsarchiver, filesystem tools and basic tools (editors, midnight commander, network tools) are included, and it works on Linux and Windows computers, desktops and servers. Supports ext3/ext4, xfs, btrfs, reiserfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs—as well as network filesystems such as Samba and NFS.

KiTTY is a fork of PuTTY, the popular Telnet and SSH client. It runs on Windows and can perform all the tasks of PuTTY plus many more. Features include portability, predefined command shortcuts, sessions filter, session launcher, automatic log-on script, URL hyperlinks, automatic command and password, running locally saved scripts in remote sessions, ZModem integration, icons for each session, transparency, unfortunate keyboard input protection, roll-up, quick start of duplicate sessions, configuration box, automatic saving, Internet Explorer integration for SSH Handler, binary compression, clipboard printing, PuTTYCyg patch, background images/transparency and organizing sessions you save in a folder hierarchy.

WinMTR is a free, open-source Windows application that integrates the functions of the traceroute and ping utilities into a single, convenient network diagnostic tool. Many thanks to generalmx for suggesting both this and SystemRescueCd!

Free Services

SSL Labs SSL Server Test is a free online service that will run a deep analysis on the configuration for any SSL web server. Simply enter the hostname, and you'll get a detailed report highlighting any problems found on each server.

Draw.io is a free, browser-based diagramming application that's terrific for creating flowcharts and org charts. It's available as an online application with optional integration to various cloud storage options.

ImmuniWeb® SSLScan allows you to test SSL/TLS security and implementation for compliance with PCI DSS requirements, HIPAA guidance and NIST guidelines. Checks SSL certificate expiration for subdomains, insecure third-party content, and email servers’ SPF, DKIM, and DMARC implementation. Credit for this one goes to pixl_graphix.

BadSSL.com offers a simple, free way to test a browser's security setup. This helpful service was suggested by Already__Taken who advises you to "test what your MITM proxy will happily re-sign and present to you as a valid site."

Testssl.sh is a free command line tool that checks a server's service on any port for the support of TLS/SSL ciphers, protocols, recent cryptographic flaws and more. Recommended by stuck_in_the_tubes who likes it "for when you need to assess protocol encryption without the use of external services."

Tips

For access to all of the sysinternals tools on any Windows box with internet, just Win+R and open \\live.sysinternals.com\tools. It's a public SMB share with all of the tools that Microsoft hosts. Thanks to jedieaston for the tip.

BASH keyboard shortcut: 'Control + r' initiates a name/command lookup from the bash history. As you type, this 'reverse incremental search' will autocomplete with the most-recent match from your history.

Podcasts

Darknet Diaries podcast relates the fascinating, true stories of hackers, defenders, threats, malware, botnets, breaches, and privacy. The show's producer, Jack Rhysider, is a security-world veteran who gained experience fighting such exploits at a Security Operations Center. Thanks to unarj for suggesting this one.

StormCast is a daily 5-10 minute podcast from the Internet Storm Center covering the latest information security threat updates. New podcasts are released late in the day, so they're waiting for you to listen on your morning commute. While the format is compact, the information is very high-level and provides a real overview of the current state of affairs in the info-sec world.

Microsoft Cloud IT Pro podcast is hosted by Scott and Ben, two IT Pros with expertise in SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure. The podcast focuses primarily on Office 365 with some discussion on Azure, especially as it relates to Office 365 in areas such as Azure AD and Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Mobile Application Management (MAM).

Datanauts podcast keeps you up to date on developments in data center and infrastructure related to cloud, storage, virtualization, containers, networking, and convergence. Discussions focus on data center compute, storage, networking and automation to explore the newest technologies, including hyperconvergence and cloud.

Cloud Architects is a podcast on best practices, the latest news, and cutting-edge Microsoft cloud technologies. Nicolas Blank, Warren du Toit and Chris Goosen host discussions with various experts in the cloud space to gather helpful guidance and ideas.

Risky Business is a weekly podcast that covers both the latest news and thoughtful, in-depth discussions with the top minds in the security industry. Hosted by award-winning journalist Patrick Gray, it is a terrific way to stay up to date on information security.

The rollBak is a podcast on systems engineering, DevOps, networking, and automation—along with the odd discussion on software development or information security. Conversation is casual with the intention of making complex topics approachable in a way that fosters learning.

Tutorials

Get Started in PowerShell3 is a great jump start video series on starting out in PowerShell. According to sysadmin FireLucid, "It's a great broad overview of how it works and I found it extremely useful to have watched before starting on the book."

Websites

Ask Woody is a no-nonsense news, tips, and help site for Windows, Office, and more. You can post questions about Windows 10, Win8.1, Win7, Surface, Office, or browse through their forums. Recommended to us by deeperdownunder.

Learn X in Y minutes is a community-driven site that provides quick syntax for many popular programming languages. Here are direct links for some common ones, kindly provided by ssebs:

WintelGuy offers a handy collection of useful links, calculators, resources, and tools for the sysadmin. Thanks LateralLimey for the recommendation!

How-To Geek is a website dedicated to explaining today's technology. Content is written to be useful for all audiences—from regular people to geeky technophiles—and the focus is to put the latest news and tech into context.

EventSentry is a comprehensive, well-organized resource for Windows security events and auditing on the web. It allows you to see how events correlate using insertion strings and review the associated audit instructions. This was recommended by _deftoner_ as an “online DB where you can search for Windows Event Log by id, os, error code, etc. I do a lot of auditing on a big network thru event log ids, and sometimes I found rare errors—and there is not a good db with all of them. Not even Microsoft has one.”

Books

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win tells the story of an IT manager's efforts to save his company's dysfunctional IT dept. The company's new IT initiative, code named Phoenix Project, is behind schedule and hugely over budget. Bill is given 90 days to resolve the entire mess—or have his entire department outsourced. An entertaining read, with elements that seem familiar to most system admins. Comes highly recommended by sp00n_b3nd3r.

UNIX® and Linux® System Administration Handbook, 5th Edition, is a comprehensive guide written by world-class, hands-on experts. It covers best practices for every area of system administration—including storage management, network design and administration, security, web hosting, automation, configuration management, performance analysis, virtualization, DNS, security, and management of IT service organizations. You'll learn all about installing, configuring, and maintaining any UNIX or Linux system, even those that supply core Internet and cloud infrastructure. A great resource for anyone responsible for running systems built on UNIX or Linux.

Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators (Human Technology Interaction Series)was suggested by AngryMountainBiker, who describes it as "essentially an ethnographic study of system administrators. The authors videotaped and otherwise documented SA's over a period of time and were able to break down a number of fascinating incidents and how to improve the art. I'm disappointed this hasn't been recommended reading for all SA's and maybe more importantly, their bosses, who too often don't really know what SA's do."

Learn Active Directory Management in a Month of Lunches is a practical, hands-on guide for those who are new to Active Directory. It covers the administration tasks that keep a network running smoothly and how to administer AD both from the GUI tools built into Windows and from PowerShell at the command line. Provides best practices for managing user access, setting group policies, automating backups, and more. All examples are based in Windows Server 2012.

CheatSheets

Sans Digital Forensics and Incident Response Cheat Sheets provide a collection of assorted, handy incident response cheat sheets. It's a helpful reference for commands, process, tactics, tips, tools and techniques that was compiled by Sans DFIR, the experts in incident-response training.

Blogs

Ned Pyle's blog from Microsoft's Directory Services Team contains a wealth of posts on best practices and solutions to common issues. While no longer actively maintained by Ned Pyle, the library of information already posted is incredibly valuable. Thanks to azers for bringing this to our attention.

Happy SysAdm has been providing resources, solutions and tips for system administrators since 2010. The blog is written by a Senior Systems Administrator with close to 15 years experience in designing, scripting, monitoring and performance-tuning Microsoft environments going all the way back to Windows 3.1/95/NT4.

Stephanos Constantinou's Blog shares the author's original scripts for PowerShell, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange On-Premise and Online (Office 365) and Microsoft Azure. His current focus is on retrieving data from systems, editing it and automating procedures. You'll also find a section with some PowerShell tutorials.

Have a fantastic week!!
u/crispyducks (Graham @ EveryCloud)

P.S. Some Extra Free Tools We Put In The Email Version

Clonezilla is free, open-source software for disk cloning, disk imaging, data recovery, and deployment—helping with system deployment, bare metal backup, and recovery. Cloning efficiency is optimized by the program's approach of saving/restoring only used blocks in the hard disk.

SPF Record Testing Tools is a query tool designed to help you deploy SPF records for your domain. It validates if an SPF record exists and whether it is formatted correctly and entered into your DNS as a proper TXT record.

PS Remote Registry module contains functions to create, modify, or delete registry subkeys and values on local or remote computers. This one was recommended to us by IhaveGin.

PowerCopy GUI was recommended by Elementix, who described it as "similar to RichCopy, but it uses .Net, PowerShell, and Robocopy. A good (non-install) alternative." The tool allows you to set up predefined options, one-click access to help and log file, and instant error analysis.

Gitbash is a package containing bash and a collection of other, separate *nix utilities like ssh, scp, cat, find and others—compiled for Windows—and a new command-line interface terminal window called mintty. Recommended by sysacc who tells us he's been "dealing with log files lately and I've been using...Gitbash a LOT... It's part of the Git tools, I love having access to Linux commands on Windows."

Easy2Boot is a collection of grub4dos scripts to be copied onto a grub4dos-bootable USB drive. Each time you boot, the E2B scripts automatically find all the payload files (.ISO, .IMA, .BIN, .IMG, etc.) on the USB drive and dynamically generate the menus. Thanks to Phx86 who says it "creates a very versatile USB drive. It checks a lot of marks other various tools did not. Formats NTFS, your ISO boot disks doubles as standard NTFS storage. Drag and drop .ISO files to the correct folder, then boot directly to them. Boot menu reads the .ISO files and builds a menu based on what is loaded on the drive. No fiddling around with custom boot menus when you add a new .ISO."

CCleaner is the fastest way to eliminate temporary files and Windows Registry problems. Our own Matt Frye says, "When a machine is having problems, this is almost always the tool I use first. It also helps to ensure privacy by getting rid of traces left behind (such as cookies) by web browsers."

Netwrix Auditor Free Community Edition is a great auditing/monitoring tool for the Windows sysadmin. It lets you see changes and access events in your hybrid cloud IT environment, so you can stop worrying you'll miss critical changes to AD objects, file server permissions, Windows Server configuration or other security incidents.

WinSCP is an SFTP client and FTP client for Windows with a GUI, integrated text editor, scripting and task automation. It allows you to copy files between a local computer and remote servers via FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP, WebDAV or S3 file transfer protocols.

Why am I doing this each week?
I want to be mindful of the rules of the subreddit, so if you’d like to know more about my reasons for doing this, please visit the bottom of the sister post on SysAdminBlogs:
https://www.reddit.com/SysAdminBlogs/comments/a560s6/tools_info_for_sysadmins_mega_summary_q4_over_80/
You can view last weeks post here: https://www.reddit.com/sysadmin/comments/a2zuhy/tools_info_for_sysadmins_linux_rescue_disk_telnet/

Edit 1: As some of you may know this post got caught in site wide filters today. It's since been released as you can see, but whilst that was all happening I set up a new subreddit /ITProTuesday. We'll post them in here each week to, so please subscribe if you want to make sure you don't miss out on them!

Edit 2: I'm greatly honoured by the gold!! Thank you anonymous user.
submitted by crispyducks to sysadmin [link] [comments]

The 2017 Wreddit Census Results + New Rules Announcement

To ensure maximum effiency with our stickies, we've decided to contain the Wreddit census results and the 'new rules' announcement within one thread. First, the rule changes (the next week or so will act as a trial run for these changes, if they aren't effective or don't work then they may be further amended):
SPOILERS RULES UPDATED
LOW EFFORT RULES UPDATED
MEMES
In the past we've seen the rise of posts following a trend. For example:
Now what will occur is one follow up type post is allowed after the original, after that all others will removed under the "don't reply as a new post make a comment instead"
Next, HAPPY SIXTH ANNIVERSARY WREDDIT! It only seems appropriate the community census data is released on this oh-so-glorious day. I'd just like to thank everyone for their patience with the results with the census, I initially postponed the analysis of the results to push for more data. There were 8,611 responses in total. I've done my best to display the results in the most appropriate manner, if you'd like to know any further data (such as country residence that isn't listed) then feel free to request numbers. I had originally planned on further research questions but due to issues with my laptop I've been unable to get ahold of the software I planned on using so if anyone wants to use this data to do additional research, feel free to PM me and I'll look into adding you as a contributor.
Anyways.. LET'S GET SOME STATISTICS!
Question 1: Are you male or female?
  1. Male: 94.7% (7,753)
  2. Female: 4.4% (360)
  3. Prefer not to say: 0.9% (71)
Points of Interest
  • 360 ladies on Squared CIRCLE? Suspicious..
  • Not really a lot to observe here, I'd say this was a result easily predicted; in the future I will add other options such as "non-binary" for those who PM'd and requested as such.
Question 2: How old are you?
  1. 20: 7.3%
  2. 21: 6.6%
  3. 22: 6.2%
  4. 19: 6.2%
  5. 24: 5.9%
  6. 18: 5.7%
  7. 23: 5.7%
  8. 25: 5.5%
  9. 26: 5.1%
  10. 27: 4.6%
  11. 28: 4.7%
  12. 29: 4.6%
  13. 30: 4.6%
  14. 17: 3.6%
  15. 31: 3.4%
  16. 32: 3.4%
  17. 33: 2.7%
  18. 34: 2.2%
  19. 16: 1.9%
  20. 35: 1.9%
  21. 36: 1.3%
  22. 37: 1.3%
  23. 15: 1.2%
  24. 38: 0.8%
  25. 39: 0.6%
  26. 40: 0.5%
  27. 14: 0.4%
  28. 42: 0.2%
  29. 41: 0.2%
  30. 43: 0.2%
60+: 13 (0.2%)
Points of Interest
  • The average age of an /SquaredCircle user is 25.
  • Ages 19-23 account for 32% of the Subreddit
  • 13 users chose "60+" as their age
Question 3: What is your country of residence?
The following is the top 10 results, if you'd like to know a certain country's percentage feel free to ask.
  1. United States: 55.3% (4,759)
  2. United Kingdom: 16.5% (1,417)
  3. Canada: 6.9% (591)
  4. Australia: 5.4% (461)
  5. Ireland: 1.9% (163)
  6. Germany: 1.5% (130)
  7. India: 1% (83)
  8. New Zealand: 0.9% (78)
  9. Portugal: 0.9% (65)
  10. Philippines: 0.9% (50)
Points of Interest
  • The US reigns with 55.3% of the community hailing from the US of A
  • The UK comes second with almost three-times as many users as Canada
  • The US, UK, Canada and Australia account for 84.1% of /SquaredCircle
Question 4: Which shows/brands of pro wrestling do you regularly watch?
The following is the top 20 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. SmackDown Live: 87.3% (7,514)
  2. RAW: 79.4% (6,836)
  3. NXT: 58.1% (5,006)
  4. NJPW: 33.6% (2,890)
  5. 205 Live: 23.7% (2,044)
  6. Lucha Underground: 23.5% (2,027)
  7. ROH: 15.7% (1,356)
  8. PWG: 12% (1,033)
  9. PROGRESS: 7.5% (644)
  10. Impact: 6.4% (550)
  11. WCPW: 3.2% (270) 12: EVOLVE: 2.9% (251)
  12. ICW: 2.6% (228)
  13. Rev Pro: 2.3% (201)
  14. Stardom: 2.3% (199)
  15. Chikara: 2.1% (185)
  16. CMLL: 1.6% (136)
  17. AJPW: 1.3% (115)
  18. Dragon Gate: 1.1% (92)
  19. Pro Wrestling Noah: 0.9% (78)
Points of Interest
  • 0.5% (42) of people chose 'None' - maybe they just wanted the gold?
  • SmackDown Live is officially the most watched show on /SquaredCircle despite RAW discussion threads always getting more comments
  • Roughly a third of the sub claim to watch NJPW but around 16.3% of people are subscribed to NJPWWorld
  • PROGRESS is the most popular British indy on /SquaredCircle
  • Impact Wrestling scrapes the top 10
  • Despite it not doing well on the Network (reportedly), 205 Live is still watched by more /SquaredCircle users than LU, ROH, PWG and PROGRESS
Question 5: How many hours of pro wrestling do you watch per week (on average)?
The following is the top 10 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. 5: 14.1% (1,215)
  2. 6: 13.1% (1,131)
  3. 4: 11.1% (958)
  4. 3: 10.8% (929)
  5. 2: 9.7% (836)
  6. 10: 9% (775)
  7. 8: 8.3% (714)
  8. 7: 7.9% (684)
  9. Less than 1: 6.6% (566)
  10. 12: 2.8% (243)
Points of Interest
  • The average numbers of hours watched per users is 5.8 when "less than 1" = "0" and "20+" = "20"
  • The most popular number of hours per week was 5, which is the accumulated length of RAW and SmackDown Live
  • Roughly 27% of users watch 3 hours or less per week
Question 6: Which pro wrestling on-demand services do you pay for??
The following is the top 10 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. WWE Network: 73% (6,296)
  2. None: 22.5% (1,940)
  3. NJPWWorld: 16.3% (1,402)
  4. PROGRESS On Demand: 4.5% (391)
  5. Highspots Wrestling Network: 1.9% (167)
  6. Stardom World: 1.4% (123)
  7. Chikaratopia: 1.1% (96)
  8. Fite Network: 0.8% (71)
  9. ICW On Demand: 0.8% (68)
  10. Floslam: 0.4% (34)
Points of Interest
  • The WWE Network is the most popular option with 73%; the percentage of people who watch RAW is 73%
  • 7.5% of users watch PROGRESS but 4.5% of users pay for their On Demand service
  • Just outside of the top 10, WhatCulture Extra was 11th with 33 users
Question 7: Are you a subscriber of F4WOnline.com?
  1. No, I'm not interested in subscribing: 46.3% (3,988)
  2. No, but I might subscribe in the future: 25.4% (2,184)
  3. No, I don't know what that is: 17.2% (1,478)
  4. No, but I have subscribed before: 5.1% (441)
  5. Yes, I am a regular subscriber: 4.7% (409)
  6. Yes, but I am a fairly new subscriber 1.3% (111)
Points of Interest
  • 94% of users are not subscribed to F4WOnline.com, despite Dave Meltzer being so highly regarded on the site
Question 8: Which of the following wrestling news websites do you visit regularly??
  1. None: 68.5% (5,902)
  2. PWInsider: 17.1% (1,471)
  3. WrestlingInc: 11.7% (1,008)
  4. 411Mania: 10.6% (912)
  5. WrestleZone: 10% (859)
  6. PWTorch: 6.9% (590)
  7. ProWrestling.net: 5.5% (470)
  8. SEScoops: 3% (258)
  9. eWrestlingNews: 1.5% (127)
Points of Interest
  • An overwhelming majority of users on /SquaredCircle do not use other wrestling news websites (68.5%)
  • PWInsider appears to be the most popular website among users with 17.1% of people using it regularly
Question 9: Subscribers to the WWE Network, which programming do you watch regularly??
The following is the top 15 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. WWE PPVs: 75.5% (6,498)
  2. NXT: 50.3% (4,328)
  3. 24: 45.6% (3,922)
  4. Old PPVs: 44.4% (3,820)
  5. Talking Smack: 39.7% (3,419)
  6. Table For 3: 31.6% (2,718)
  7. I'm not a paying subscriber: 22.1% (1,902)
  8. 205 Live: 21% (1,807)
  9. Bring It To The Table: 16.4% (1,410)
  10. RAW/SD Replays: 13.5% (1,165)
  11. WCW Nitro: 12.6% (1,088)
  12. RAW Talk: 9.7% (832)
  13. Total Divas: 5.1% (443)
  14. Total Bellas: 4.2% (359)
  15. Other: 2.7% (231)
Points of Interest
  • 73% of users said that they were a subscriber to the WWE Network whereas in this question it appears that 75% of users are subscribers who watch WWE PPVs; confusion with the question perhaps?
  • 12% of the sub still regularly watches WCW Nitro, yes lads
  • There appears to be no clear preference when it comes to wrestling or documentary-style content on the Network, although PPVs/NXT are the top choices
Question 10: How many years have you watched or followed any brand of pro wrestling?
10 most popular answers given
  1. 10-12 years: 14.7% (1,265)
  2. 13-15 years: 12% (1,037)
  3. 1-3 years: 11.8% (1,013)
  4. 7-9 years: 11.5% (986)
  5. 16-18 years: 10.7% (925)
  6. 4-6 years: 10.2% (875)
  7. 19-21 years: 9.4% (811)
  8. 25-27 years: 6.2% (530)
  9. 22-24 years: 5.4% (463)
  10. 29-31 years: 3.5% (302)
Points of Interest
  • Not too much to observe here, interesting to see that more people are in the '1-3 years' category than '7-9', '16-18', '4-6' etc.
Question 11: Which pro wrestling podcasts do you listen to regularly?
The following is the top 10 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. Talk Is Jericho: 44% (3,799)
  2. The Steve Austin Show: 29.1% (2,504)
  3. None: 27.5% (2,369)
  4. Edge and Christian's Pod of Awesomeness: 17.3% (1,490)
  5. WhatCulture Wrestling: 13.9% (1,208)
  6. Wrestling Observer: 13.9%( 1,194)
  7. Art of Wrestling: 12.5% (1,073)
  8. The Ross Report: 9.2% (794)
  9. Going In Raw: 8.9% (769)
  10. Other: 8.8% (757)
Points of Interest
  • Talk Is Jericho is by far and beyond the most popular wrestling podcast out there with 44% of users claiming to listen to it
  • 'Other' turned out to be a popular choice here showing that there are so many different podcast options out there right now
  • 6% of people claim to have subscribed to F4WOnline.com however 14% of people listen to the Wrestling Observer podcast regularly
  • This was a difficult question to poll as there were so many podcast options, in the future I'll be sure to collect more potential poll answers
Question 12: How much have you spent on wrestling merchandise in the past year (since May 2016)? (T-Shirts, DVDs etc.)
  1. $0-$10: 42.4% (3,648)
  2. $150+: 7.8% (671)
  3. $21-$30: 7.7% (661)
  4. $91-$100: 6.6% (572)
  5. $41-$50: 6.6% (564)
  6. $31-40: 5.8% (500)
  7. $51-$60: 5.4% (465)
  8. $101-$110: 2.6% (224)
  9. $61-$70: 2.5% (216)
  10. $71-$80: 2.3% (198)
Points of Interest
  • Interestingly, 42% of users on the sub said they've spent below $10 on wrestling merchandise in the past 12 months
  • In second place (with a big drop) was people who have spent $150 or more, in the future I'll be sure to expand that range
Question 13: Which pro wrestling books have you read?
The following is the top 10 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. None: 48.8% (4,203)
  2. Have A Nice Day: 27% (2,335)
  3. A Lion's Tale: 18.9% (1,625)
  4. Foley Is Good: 17.3% (1,487)
  5. Yes! By Daniel Bryan 15.9% (1,368)
  6. The Death of WCW: 14.3% (1,235)
  7. Hitman: 10.6% (915)
  8. The Rock Says: 8.6% (737)
  9. The Stone Cold Truth: 6.1% (528)
  10. Adam Copeland On Edge: 6% (519)
Points of Interest
  • Almost half of /SquaredCircle has never read a wrestling book (maybe we should all try and read one? and then all get together with reviews and shit? that'd be cool)
  • The most popular authors include Mick Foley (are you surprised?), Chris ericho and Daniel Bryan
Question 14: How much do you spend on average for a ticket to a wrestling show?
The following is the top 10 results, if you'd like to know the number for another choice, just ask.
  1. Never been to a wrestling show: 30.6% (2,632)
  2. $41-$50: 8.6% (743)
  3. $21-$30: 8.3% (711)
  4. $51-$60: 8% (693)
  5. $31-$40: 7.7% (662)
  6. $61-$70: 5.6% (479)
  7. $11-$20: 5.1% (437)
  8. $71-$80: 5.1% (436)
  9. $91-$100: 4.2% (360)
  10. $101-$110: 3.6% (312)
Points of Interest
  • Roughly 31% of /SquaredCircle has never been to a wrestling show, I found this quite surprising
  • Roughly 90% of users spend less than $100 when they purchase a wrestling ticket
As I mentioned before, if anyone does want to have a play around with the census data to research further, feel free to ask and I'll add you as a contributor.
submitted by Coldcoffees to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

Tools & Info for SysAdmins - Mega Summary Q4 (Over 80 Items)

Hi Everyone,
Each week I thought I'd post these SysAdmin tools, tips, tutorials etc with just one link to get it in your inbox each week (with extras). Let me know any ideas for future version in the comments!
This week is mega list of all the items we've featured to in the last 3 months, broken down into categories, for you to explore at your leisure. I hope you enjoy it.

Free Tools

Free MailFlow Monitor. Rejection / Delay Text Alerts, Group Policies, Alerts By SMTP Code, Trouble Shooting Tools including header analysis. MailFlow Monitor is EveryCloud’s (Our) free, cloud-based, round-trip tool that sends you an alert as soon as there is an issue with your email flow. Settings are adjustable to allow you to choose how much of a delay is acceptable and which types of bounce alerts you want to see. Helps you get to the bottom of a problem before users (or your boss) have even noticed it.

Postman is a popular, free app to make API development faster and easier. It offers a powerful GUI, saved history of requests, flexible monitoring, automated testing with collection runner, mock servers, and unlimited collections, environments, tests, and sharing. It also provides detailed documentation.

Microsoft Sysinternals Suite is all their utilities in one convenient file. Contains the all the individual troubleshooting tools as well as help files, but not non-troubleshooting tools like the BSOD Screen Saver or NotMyFault. A shout out to azers for recommending this one.

RichCopy is a simple tool written by a Microsoft engineer named Derk Benisch. It provides a much-appreciated graphical interface for the very popular Robocopy command-line utility.

Windows Update MiniTool is an alternative to the standard (and sometimes overbearing) Windows Update. It allows you to control updates by giving you the power to search, install, and block Windows updates in any way you like.

Space Monger gives you a graphical image of your whole disk, where large files and folders are easily identified. This handy tool can be run from a USB drive, so you don't even need to install it. Thanks for this one and Windows Update MiniTool go to mikedopp.

UNetbootin is a terrific, cross-platform utility for creating bootable live USB drives for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions without burning a CD. Thanks go to Gianks for this one.

CopyQ is a clipboard manager that adds some advanced editing and scripting capabilities. It monitors the system clipboard and saves text, HTML, images and more into customized tabs. From there, the saved content can be copied and pasted directly into any application. Clipboard history is easily searchable and can be filtered. Suggested by majkinetor.

Desktop Info provides a quick view of every kind of metric about your Windows system right on your desktop. The display looks like wallpaper but stays resident in memory and updates in real time. Gives you a quick way to monitor what any system is up to, while using very little memory and requiring almost nothing from the CPU. This one was recommended by mikedopp.

Healthstone is a lightweight, self-hosted, agent-based system-monitoring solution that runs lots of customizable health checks. The dashboard runs on a Windows or Linux server, and it has agents for the Windows and Linux hosts you want to monitor. You can customize the dashboard to send notifications via email, Pushbullet, or NodePoint tickets whenever a client stops checking in or any of the configured checks fail. Configuration is retrieved from the dashboard by all agents in the form of templates, which are stored in the templates folder and can be customized for your needs. Thanks to mikedopp for this one!

Rufus is another utility for formatting and creating bootable USB flash drives. This one works with MRB/GPT and BIOS/UEFI. Rufus is about twice as fast as UNetbootin, Universal USB Installer, or Windows 7 USB download tool when creating a Windows 7 USB installation drive from an ISO. It is also marginally faster for creating a Linux bootable USB from ISOs. We first heard of this one from Gianks, but there were quite a few others who shared the recommendation as well.

Axence netTools is a set of ten free tools for network scanning and monitoring. Includes: Netwatch (multiple host availability and response-time monitoring); Network port and service scanner; Wintools (view of launched processes/services, remote register editor and Windows event log view, HDD/RAM/CPU details, custom queries based on WMI protocol); TCP/IP workshop and SNMP browser; Traceroute; NetStat (list of inbound and outbound connections and open ports); Local info (tables with local configuration details, TCP/UDP stats); Lookup (DNS and WHOIS records); Bandwidth test; and NetCheck (LAN hardware and wiring quality check). This was recommended by DollarMindy as an "easy ping monitor with email alerts."

MediCat USB is a a bootable troubleshooting environment with Linux and Windows boot environments and troubleshooting tools. A complete Hiren's Boot Disk replacement for modern hardware that follows the Ubuntu release cycle with a new update released every 6 months. The DVD version was originally recommended to us by Spikerman "for when you need to helpdesk warrior."

MobaXterm is an enhanced terminal for remote computing. It brings all the key remote network tools (SSH, X11, RDP, VNC, FTP, MOSH) and Unix commands (bash, ls, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync) to Windows desktop in a single, portable .exe file that works out of the box. The free version includes full X server and SSH support, remote desktop (RDP, VNC, Xdmcp), remote terminal (SSH, telnet, rlogin, Mosh), X11-Forwarding, automatic SFTP browser, plugins support, portable and installer versions but only 12 sessions, 2 SSH tunnels, 4 macros, and 360 seconds for Tftp/Nfs/Cron. Thanks go out to lazylion_ca for suggesting this one.

WinDirStat provides free, open-source graphical disk-usage analysis for MS Windows. You'll get a sub-tree view with disk-use percent and a list of file extensions ordered by usage. This tool was recommended by ohyeahwell, who likes to use it "for freespace as it can be deployed via ninite pro."

IIS Crypto allows administrators to enable or disable protocols, ciphers, hashes and key exchange algorithms on Windows Server 2008, 2012 and 2016. You can also reorder SSL/TLS cipher suites from IIS, implement best practices with a single click, create custom templates and test your website. Available in both command line and GUI versions. EOTFOFFTW tells us, “This tool has been very helpful in configuring SSL settings for Windows IIS servers.”

Ditto saves all your clipboard items so you can access them later. It works with anything that can be put on the clipboard—images, text, html and custom formats. The simple interface includes search and sync functions for ease of finding what you need. Thanks go to Arkiteck for suggesting this one!

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware should be your first stop if you suspect a malware infection. It is the most-effective malware remover—featuring deep scans and daily updates—and blocks malware, hacker, viruses, ransomware and malicious websites that slip through your traditional antivirus. Also available as a full AV program that you can buy if you wish to do so.

Termius is a complete command-line solution providing portable server management for UNIX and Linux systems—whether a local machine, a remote service, Docker Container, VM, Raspberry Pi, or AWS instance (similar to Putty for Android). This cross-platform Telnet, Mosh-compatible and SSH client. Securely access Linux or IoT devices to quickly fix issues from your laptop or phone. Thanks for this one go to blendelabor.

WSUS Offline Update lets you safely patch any computer running Microsoft Windows and Office—even when there's no connection to the Internet or a network of any sort. More specifically, you first run WSUS Offline Update on a machine that has Internet connectivity to download the updates you need and copy the resulting update media to a USB drive. You then use the USB drive to run the update on the target computers. Recommended by mikedopp.

SystemRescueCd is a Linux system rescue disk that allows you to administer or repair your system and data after a crash. It can be booted via CD/DVD, USB or installed directly on the hard disk. Many system utilities like GParted, fsarchiver, filesystem tools and basic tools (editors, midnight commander, network tools) are included, and it works on Linux and Windows computers, desktops and servers. Supports ext3/ext4, xfs, btrfs, reiserfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs—as well as network filesystems such as Samba and NFS.

KiTTY is a fork of PuTTY, the popular Telnet and SSH client. It runs on Windows and can perform all the tasks of PuTTY plus many more. Features include portability, predefined command shortcuts, sessions filter, session launcher, automatic log-on script, URL hyperlinks, automatic command and password, running locally saved scripts in remote sessions, ZModem integration, icons for each session, transparency, unfortunate keyboard input protection, roll-up, quick start of duplicate sessions, configuration box, automatic saving, Internet Explorer integration for SSH Handler, binary compression, clipboard printing, PuTTYCyg patch, background images/transparency and organizing sessions you save in a folder hierarchy.

WinMTR is a free, open-source Windows application that integrates the functions of the traceroute and ping utilities into a single, convenient network diagnostic tool. Many thanks to generalmx for suggesting both this and SystemRescueCd!

Free Services

SSL Labs SSL Server Test is a free online service that will run a deep analysis on the configuration for any SSL web server. Simply enter the hostname, and you'll get a detailed report highlighting any problems found on each server.

Draw.io is a free, browser-based diagramming application that's terrific for creating flowcharts and org charts. It's available as an online application with optional integration to various cloud storage options.

ImmuniWeb® SSLScan allows you to test SSL/TLS security and implementation for compliance with PCI DSS requirements, HIPAA guidance and NIST guidelines. Checks SSL certificate expiration for subdomains, insecure third-party content, and email servers’ SPF, DKIM, and DMARC implementation. Credit for this one goes to pixl_graphix.

BadSSL.com offers a simple, free way to test a browser's security setup. This helpful service was suggested by Already__Taken who advises you to "test what your MITM proxy will happily re-sign and present to you as a valid site."

Testssl.sh is a free command line tool that checks a server's service on any port for the support of TLS/SSL ciphers, protocols, recent cryptographic flaws and more. Recommended by stuck_in_the_tubes who likes it "for when you need to assess protocol encryption without the use of external services."

Tips

For access to all of the sysinternals tools on any Windows box with internet, just Win+R and open \\live.sysinternals.com\tools. It's a public SMB share with all of the tools that Microsoft hosts. Thanks to jedieaston for the tip.

BASH keyboard shortcut: 'Control + r' initiates a name/command lookup from the bash history. As you type, this 'reverse incremental search' will autocomplete with the most-recent match from your history.

Podcasts

Darknet Diaries podcast relates the fascinating, true stories of hackers, defenders, threats, malware, botnets, breaches, and privacy. The show's producer, Jack Rhysider, is a security-world veteran who gained experience fighting such exploits at a Security Operations Center. Thanks to unarj for suggesting this one.

StormCast is a daily 5-10 minute podcast from the Internet Storm Center covering the latest information security threat updates. New podcasts are released late in the day, so they're waiting for you to listen on your morning commute. While the format is compact, the information is very high-level and provides a real overview of the current state of affairs in the info-sec world.

Microsoft Cloud IT Pro podcast is hosted by Scott and Ben, two IT Pros with expertise in SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure. The podcast focuses primarily on Office 365 with some discussion on Azure, especially as it relates to Office 365 in areas such as Azure AD and Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Mobile Application Management (MAM).

Datanauts podcast keeps you up to date on developments in data center and infrastructure related to cloud, storage, virtualization, containers, networking, and convergence. Discussions focus on data center compute, storage, networking and automation to explore the newest technologies, including hyperconvergence and cloud.

Cloud Architects is a podcast on best practices, the latest news, and cutting-edge Microsoft cloud technologies. Nicolas Blank, Warren du Toit and Chris Goosen host discussions with various experts in the cloud space to gather helpful guidance and ideas.

Risky Business is a weekly podcast that covers both the latest news and thoughtful, in-depth discussions with the top minds in the security industry. Hosted by award-winning journalist Patrick Gray, it is a terrific way to stay up to date on information security.

The rollBak is a podcast on systems engineering, DevOps, networking, and automation—along with the odd discussion on software development or information security. Conversation is casual with the intention of making complex topics approachable in a way that fosters learning.

Tutorials

Get Started in PowerShell3 is a great jump start video series on starting out in PowerShell. According to sysadmin FireLucid, "It's a great broad overview of how it works and I found it extremely useful to have watched before starting on the book."

Websites

Ask Woody is a no-nonsense news, tips, and help site for Windows, Office, and more. You can post questions about Windows 10, Win8.1, Win7, Surface, Office, or browse through their forums. Recommended to us by deeperdownunder.

Learn X in Y minutes is a community-driven site that provides quick syntax for many popular programming languages. Here are direct links for some common ones, kindly provided by ssebs:

WintelGuy offers a handy collection of useful links, calculators, resources, and tools for the sysadmin. Thanks LateralLimey for the recommendation!

How-To Geek is a website dedicated to explaining today's technology. Content is written to be useful for all audiences—from regular people to geeky technophiles—and the focus is to put the latest news and tech into context.

EventSentry is a comprehensive, well-organized resource for Windows security events and auditing on the web. It allows you to see how events correlate using insertion strings and review the associated audit instructions. This was recommended by _deftoner_ as an “online DB where you can search for Windows Event Log by id, os, error code, etc. I do a lot of auditing on a big network thru event log ids, and sometimes I found rare errors—and there is not a good db with all of them. Not even Microsoft has one.”

Books

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win tells the story of an IT manager's efforts to save his company's dysfunctional IT dept. The company's new IT initiative, code named Phoenix Project, is behind schedule and hugely over budget. Bill is given 90 days to resolve the entire mess—or have his entire department outsourced. An entertaining read, with elements that seem familiar to most system admins. Comes highly recommended by sp00n_b3nd3r.

UNIX® and Linux® System Administration Handbook, 5th Edition, is a comprehensive guide written by world-class, hands-on experts. It covers best practices for every area of system administration—including storage management, network design and administration, security, web hosting, automation, configuration management, performance analysis, virtualization, DNS, security, and management of IT service organizations. You'll learn all about installing, configuring, and maintaining any UNIX or Linux system, even those that supply core Internet and cloud infrastructure. A great resource for anyone responsible for running systems built on UNIX or Linux.

Taming Information Technology: Lessons from Studies of System Administrators (Human Technology Interaction Series)was suggested by AngryMountainBiker, who describes it as "essentially an ethnographic study of system administrators. The authors videotaped and otherwise documented SA's over a period of time and were able to break down a number of fascinating incidents and how to improve the art. I'm disappointed this hasn't been recommended reading for all SA's and maybe more importantly, their bosses, who too often don't really know what SA's do."

Learn Active Directory Management in a Month of Lunches is a practical, hands-on guide for those who are new to Active Directory. It covers the administration tasks that keep a network running smoothly and how to administer AD both from the GUI tools built into Windows and from PowerShell at the command line. Provides best practices for managing user access, setting group policies, automating backups, and more. All examples are based in Windows Server 2012.

CheatSheets

Sans Digital Forensics and Incident Response Cheat Sheets provide a collection of assorted, handy incident response cheat sheets. It's a helpful reference for commands, process, tactics, tips, tools and techniques that was compiled by Sans DFIR, the experts in incident-response training.

Blogs

Ned Pyle's blog from Microsoft's Directory Services Team contains a wealth of posts on best practices and solutions to common issues. While no longer actively maintained by Ned Pyle, the library of information already posted is incredibly valuable. Thanks to azers for bringing this to our attention.

Happy SysAdm has been providing resources, solutions and tips for system administrators since 2010. The blog is written by a Senior Systems Administrator with close to 15 years experience in designing, scripting, monitoring and performance-tuning Microsoft environments going all the way back to Windows 3.1/95/NT4.

Stephanos Constantinou's Blog shares the author's original scripts for PowerShell, Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange On-Premise and Online (Office 365) and Microsoft Azure. His current focus is on retrieving data from systems, editing it and automating procedures. You'll also find a section with some PowerShell tutorials.

Have a fantastic week!!
u/crispyducks (Graham @ EveryCloud)

P.S. Some Extra Free Tools We Put In The Email Version

Clonezilla is free, open-source software for disk cloning, disk imaging, data recovery, and deployment—helping with system deployment, bare metal backup, and recovery. Cloning efficiency is optimized by the program's approach of saving/restoring only used blocks in the hard disk.

SPF Record Testing Tools is a query tool designed to help you deploy SPF records for your domain. It validates if an SPF record exists and whether it is formatted correctly and entered into your DNS as a proper TXT record.

PS Remote Registry module contains functions to create, modify, or delete registry subkeys and values on local or remote computers. This one was recommended to us by IhaveGin.

PowerCopy GUI was recommended by Elementix, who described it as "similar to RichCopy, but it uses .Net, PowerShell, and Robocopy. A good (non-install) alternative." The tool allows you to set up predefined options, one-click access to help and log file, and instant error analysis.

Gitbash is a package containing bash and a collection of other, separate *nix utilities like ssh, scp, cat, find and others—compiled for Windows—and a new command-line interface terminal window called mintty. Recommended by sysacc who tells us he's been "dealing with log files lately and I've been using...Gitbash a LOT... It's part of the Git tools, I love having access to Linux commands on Windows."

Easy2Boot is a collection of grub4dos scripts to be copied onto a grub4dos-bootable USB drive. Each time you boot, the E2B scripts automatically find all the payload files (.ISO, .IMA, .BIN, .IMG, etc.) on the USB drive and dynamically generate the menus. Thanks to Phx86 who says it "creates a very versatile USB drive. It checks a lot of marks other various tools did not. Formats NTFS, your ISO boot disks doubles as standard NTFS storage. Drag and drop .ISO files to the correct folder, then boot directly to them. Boot menu reads the .ISO files and builds a menu based on what is loaded on the drive. No fiddling around with custom boot menus when you add a new .ISO."

CCleaner is the fastest way to eliminate temporary files and Windows Registry problems. Our own Matt Frye says, "When a machine is having problems, this is almost always the tool I use first. It also helps to ensure privacy by getting rid of traces left behind (such as cookies) by web browsers."

Netwrix Auditor Free Community Edition is a great auditing/monitoring tool for the Windows sysadmin. It lets you see changes and access events in your hybrid cloud IT environment, so you can stop worrying you'll miss critical changes to AD objects, file server permissions, Windows Server configuration or other security incidents.

WinSCP is an SFTP client and FTP client for Windows with a GUI, integrated text editor, scripting and task automation. It allows you to copy files between a local computer and remote servers via FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP, WebDAV or S3 file transfer protocols.
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Binary Options 360 Binary Options Reviews - YouTube Signals 365 Binary Options Signals Review

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Binary Options 360

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