Archive for Ubisoft tag

The Division Has A Dark And Devastating World For Me To Get Lost In (Fo Sho)! ☣

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The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World

Yes, there are far better worlds to immerse myself in – I’m literally sitting on a pile of old games, like Far Cry 4, that probably have better shooting and much more colourful worlds to escape to – but Tom Clancy has me by the balls when it comes to The Division. Everything about this dark story fascinates me, plus it’s satisfying to run around this version of New York City. Almost the entire population has been wiped out (by the Dollar Flu, aka the Green Poison), gangs and other enemy factions are on the rise; it’s complete chaos. Ubisoft has created such a beautiful mess with this world and I love diving in, like a lone gunman with a huge chip on my shoulder, trying to turn the tide.

Now if I haven’t said it before – and I don’t think that I have – Ubisoft (arguably) makes some of the best open-world games in the video game business. Now that’s just my opinion; you can take it with a grain of salt. I haven’t played that many open-world games – I’ve played small slices of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and EA’s Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (two more note-worthy games that I desperately need to finish) – but I have to give Ubisoft mad props for creating all of their beautiful, fully-realized, and captivating worlds because their worlds are the ones that I always want to go back to. Especially with The Division. There’s a spookiness and a stickiness that comes with it. (Stickiness meaning that the game has a hook that I like, the game is so good that I can’t put it down because it’s sticky.)

Guess What? I Like Oo-be-soft

No, I haven’t played The Witcher 3, or Skyrim, and I don’t intend to. I can see why The Division might fail in comparison when it comes to vast open worlds, but who the hell has 100 hours to dedicate to just one game? I certainly do not, so when it comes to exploratory gaming, Ubisoft gets my hard earned dollars every time…well almost every time. I say almost only because I can’t play every open-world game they make, no matter how great it is. So I pick and choose the games that speak to me, but if I did have the time (make no mistake) I would play every fucking game with the Ubisoft logo on it! That’s how much I like Ubisoft.

Take Cover Because There Are Some Caveats

Like most games, The Division definitely has it’s issues. As much as I am in love with the world, I would be remiss to not mention the few things that do ruin the experience for me. I know that Ubisoft finally released a hefty patch (1.4) to fix many of The Division’s major problems, but they missed a couple of things.

One: forcing me to do side missions in order to keep the story going. I find this type of grinding very annoying. Now I’m not new to grindy, RPG-type, shooters – Destiny has lots of grinding – but never has Destiny put me in a position like this, where I need to do side missions in order to level up, so that I can continue with the main story. The Division (on the other hand) does.

In Destiny, you reach the level requirements for the next story mission by the time you finish the mission that you’re currently doing. At least that’s how I remember it. I don’t remember having to do side missions in Destiny, also known as patrolling, to boost my level up before tackling the next part of the story. But in The Division I’m currently at level 12 and the next story mission is level 14. So now I have to grind, by completing side missions, to get to level 14 before I can continue with the main story. It’s really killing my momentum because I don’t like being forced to do these side missions. They’re supposed to be optional. Do them, don’t do them, or continue with the story; that’s the beauty of it. It’s up to you to decide, but The Division has taken that choice away from me. The only choice I have, at this point in time, is which side missions to tackle to boost my level.

The Zone Of Darkness 💀

Two: the Dark Zone fucking sucks! (If you go it alone)! The Dark Zone is the PvP (Player vs. Player, aka the competitive multiplayer) portion of the game, which has a very interesting hook. This section of New York was where you got all of the best loot (before the patch). Most of the best weapons and gear was found here so there was lots of incentive to explore this area. Now (post patch) you can acquire better loot out in the world – while you do story and side missions – but you can still try your luck in the Dark Zone, at your own risk.

Risk one: the enemy AI is hella strong, making them a lot tougher to take down (again, if you’re alone). They can over- whelm and flank you super quick, and when you die you lose all of your precious loot.

Risk two: the online community that frequent the Dark Zone will almost always jack you for your loot. Especially if you’re a lone gunman like myself. No one has my back in there so it’s open season and I’m the sitting duck.

There is a matchmaking system that I can use to find other players to help me out with my Dark Zone excursions – and in any other in-game scenario matchmaking would be a good way to go – but here, not so much. The other thing about this bloody Dark Zone is that your would-be allies can also turn against you, at any time, and also steal your loot. It’s a real crapshoot and way too risky unless you’re fucking John McClane from Die Hard (which I am most certainly not). You have to be a really good runner and gunner if you brave it alone, or you have to go in with people that you actually know and can trust.

So that’s my two cents on The Division right now. It has an infectious world (no pun intended) that keeps me engaged, but as a lone player, the grindiness of it all, and mastering the Dark Zone, is enough to make me question how much further down the rabbit hole I want to go. But in all fairness, it could just be a matter of finding a few good people to tackle these obstacles with…like my Destiny compadre Rick. (He made a guest appearance on my last two let’s plays). He has The Division too, but he’s so far up Destiny’s ass right now I don’t know if he’ll ever make time to jump into this game. Or my friend Angie who’s taking her sweet ass time on getting a PlayStation. Come on people! New York is on the brink of extinction and I have to save it!

🗽☣️🚑

Top Employee Perks And Benefits In Toronto’s Tech Bubble

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Featured Image: Street Dance by Pascal Campion

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That was the million dollar question back when I was a dreamy eyed rascal. The answer usually derived from whatever job seemed cool at the time or from whatever semi-interests I had. The best answers were the ones I got creative with because I combined real jobs with not so real ones. This one time I told my grade school teacher that I wanted to be a swashbuckling astronaut. Another time I wanted to be a fire breathing submarine driver. I had quite the imagination. Alas, as I grew older, and somewhat wiser, my neurological pendulum swung and my answers started to make actual sense. Professions like comic book artist and graphic designer entered the fray as I wavered back and forth in my very own, personal and ongoing, high school musical. Not really knowing how to break into the sequential arts, which was once believed to be my true calling, I opted to choose the latter. Graphic design. And so the story continued, yada (x3), press fast forward and here we are today. Fifteen years later I wake up and find myself living in this brave new world filled with brave new employers.

Canada is getting very creative with Toronto’s very own tech bubble being at the forefront trying to attract the best and brightest talent. The tech industry is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to employee benefits and, if you ask me, the rest of the business world needs to fall in line. Many old school employers still have limited and outdated company benefit plans. Now please don’t get me wrong. Health insurance, maternity leave and vacation days are still very important, but it’s a different time. Nowadays these key benefits just barely mark the starting point of a much more interesting list. If companies want to attract top talent and truly keep employees happy, whether they’re in the tech industry or not, they’ll need to step their game up. Employers, if you don’t know how then let this article be your reference. I’ve taken it upon myself to put together a list of the top employee perks and benefits from Toronto’s most notable tech companies. Here they are in alphabetical order.

Big Viking Games

Big Viking Games is not shy when it comes to their perks and company benefits. All you have to do is check out their Twitter and/or Facebook page and you’ll see a plethora of tweets and/or posts about their amazing company culture. #BVGLife. After sixty seconds of viewing their social media content it’s easy to see why they’ve been selected as one of Canada’s top employers for young people in 2015. An award that they’ve won twice. Their blog is also geared towards attracting top talent with more posts about what it’s like to be a “viking.” But it’s not all fun and games at BVG. There’s hard work to be done as this notable company develops free-to-play social and mobile games. Working here gets you the following.

  • Hot catered breakfast and lunches daily
  • Endless snacks
  • On site massage therapy
  • Paid time off and money towards conferences, including travel
  • Paid parental leave
  • Paid outings to Canada’s Wonderland, paint ball, bowling etc.
  • Stock options
  • Health coverage, personal/sick days and competitive salary

Google

This company needs no introduction. And it’s no question why Google jobs are some of the sought after positions in the entire tech industry. Have you seen their office spaces? I mean Hollywood just had to make a movie about it. The Toronto office is nothing to sneeze at either. Needless to say, the big G takes the benefit package that they offer very seriously. As a matter of fact you can tell that many of the other tech companies take their perk and benefit cues from Google because they set the benchmark. Their entire benefit package revolves around improving the happiness and health of their Googlers. And it’s working. You won’t find one negative remark about the life at Google and rightfully so. Here are some of their note worthy benefits and perks. Please note that they vary by location.

  • Healthy gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinners
  • Organic homegrown produce
  • Endless snacks
  • Testing new tech before public release
  • On site oil change, car wash, massage therapy and dry cleaning
  • On site hair stylist, fitness…let’s just say lots of on site stuff
  • Shuttle bus (with WiFi) to and from work
  • Extended time off for passion projects
  • Extended time off new parents, including spending money
  • Reimbursement for approved extra schooling
  • Free and/or discounted legal aid
  • Health care coverage (on site)
  • Indoor slide

Shopify

If you want to launch a web store it’s no question that Shopify is the place you go. They have a brilliant, easy to use platform with all of the support that a person would need to dive right into the ecommerce swimming pool. Those of you who are familiar with Shopify already know about the great Canadian service that they provide. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the service is so great? Take a closer look at the company and their culture. Very similar to Google, Shopify’s objective as an employer is to keep their employees happy and healthy. The mighty powers that be realize that this equals and sustains productivity. It’s truly a no brainer. Take care of your people and they will take care of your business. And there’s plenty of candidates that want the opportunity to take care of this business. If you are lucky enough to work at Shopify this is what you would get.

  • Latest Apple gear (27″ iMac and Macbook Pro)
  • Breakfast, lunch and snacks
  • Flexible work hours
  • Full health coverage
  • Paid parental leave
  • 85% paid maternity leave
  • All expenses paid towards conferences, including travel
  • Child care bonuses up until your child turns 5 years old
  • Free house cleaning services every two weeks
  • $250 allowance towards staying active and healthy
  • Stock options
  • Plus much more!

Ubisoft

Last, but certainly not least are the creators of the many games I love to play! From the annually produced Assassin’s Creed to Far Cry and Watch Dogs we have Ubisoft Entertainment. This French multinational video game behemoth has been developing games for almost thirty years and is arguably the third largest independent publisher of video games worldwide. Ubisoft has a mixed bag of games to satisfy a number of different tastes and this shows that they truly love what they do. They know what business they’re in and they’re not afraid to take risks. The very first Ubisoft game that I played was Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on the original Xbox, if I’m not mistaken. What an awesome third-person, action-adventure, puzzle-platformer that was! But I digress. The Ubisoft Toronto office opened it’s doors in 2010 and has assembled a diverse team of some of the most talented game creators around. Keeping this talented team engaged, happy and motivated needs to be the number one priority and I think Ubisoft gets the job done. Most game developers automatically do this because they’re in the entertainment business in the first place. If they know how to keep gamers happy then they should know how to keep their own people happy. Their benefits and perks are as follows.

  • On site massage
  • Yoga classes
  • Fitness bootcamp
  • Gym discount
  • Chili cook off
  • Summer Barbecue
  • Monthly parties (UbiBash)
  • Halloween party and contest
  • Office relocation specialists
  • Subsidized public transport
  • Christmas party for kids
  • Video game room…obviously!

Now scroll up and take another look at the sub-headline. What do you want to be when you grow up? Think about the answer carefully. If you weren’t thinking about a career in the tech industry before, you’re definitely thinking about it now. Start ups, tech companies and video game developers are doing things right when it comes to awesome perks, benefits and company culture. In my opinion this is where you need to get in. If you’re tech savvy that is. This sector isn’t for everybody, but it definitely deserves praise because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t want this new world order of scintillating, healthy and/or fun package of benefits? I can’t think of anyone. Can you?

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