The bluffer's guide to PC games

Here’s PCR’s crash course on the most popular genres, the biggest upcoming games and the geekiest gaming lingo
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MOBA, MMO, FPS – the world of PC gaming can be pretty intimidating to those unfamiliar with it. Here’s PCR’s crash course on the most popular genres, the biggest upcoming games and the geekiest gaming lingo…

FPS

More violent than MOBAs and RPGs, first-person shooters allow players to fire bullets at enemies from a first-person perspective. Old PC games such as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom from id Software helped put the genre on the map in the ‘90s, paving the way for gargantuan game franchises such as Activision’s Call of Duty, Valve’s Half-Life and EA’s Battlefield. 

FPS games are popular with the male 18 to 36 demographic. 

Biggest franchises: Half-Life, Call of Duty, Battlefield

Ones to watch: Doom, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Half-Life 3?

MOBA

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Multiplayer online battle arena games are the hot PC property of the moment. They usually involve two teams of five battling it out in order to destroy each other’s base. Maps tend to consist of three lanes (top, middle and bottom) which players must navigate to fight their way to the rival team’s base.

MOBAs utilise a free-to-play model, where gamers can play for free and pay real money to unlock new characters and features. 

Biggest franchises: League of Legends, Dota 2, Smite

Ones to watch: Heroes of the Storm, Dawngate, Strife

MMO/RPG 

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Massively multiplayer online games allow thousands of users to play, interact and communicate with one another at the same time over the internet. 

MMOs became synonymous with the fantasy RPG (role-playing game) genre, which lends itself well to the large worlds that MMOs offer. These types of games are regularly updated with fresh content and expansions, and usually charge users around £10 per month to play. Regular RPGs tend to be single-player only.

Biggest franchises: World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls

Ones to watch: World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor (MMO), Dragon Age: Inquisition (RPG), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (RPG)

Indie

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While the term ‘indie’ can be used to describe any independent game developer or studio, it is now also used to describe a new genre. 

Indie games are often smaller digital-only titles featuring more basic graphics, made by one or a few developers. There have been several PC indie game hits over the past few years, including Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Fez, as well as more humorous titles like Goat Simulator.

Lower game prices, pleasant gameplay and openness with the gaming community has set indies apart from the traditional publishing giants.

Ones to watch: No Man’s Sky, Cube World

RTS

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While not as popular as MOBA or FPS games, real-time strategy remains a classic gaming genre that lends itself well to the PC gaming platform. 

Players can largely use the mouse alone to play RTS games, by selecting multiple troops before commanding them to move and attack. These titles allow players to experience genuine battles from history, for example in Napoleon: Total War, as well as large-scale futuristic skirmishes in Blizzard’s StarCraft series.

RTS games allow the player to zoom out and enjoy a wide view of the battle, as well as partake in esports matches.

Biggest franchises: StarCraft, Total War, Command and Conquer

Ones to watch: Civilization: Beyond Earth, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void 

Simulation/sports

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Simulation games range from niche cult successes with a few million game sales (Euro Truck Simulator) to series with more than 175 million sales (The Sims). 

These titles allow gamers to replicate real life activities in extreme detail, whether it’s Farming Simulator or the lives of humans in The Sims. Football Manager is an enormously popular sports/sim game in the UK, and other sports games like FIFA now allow users to buy and sell players.

Biggest franchises/ones to watch: The Sims 4, Football Manager 2015, FIFA 15

TOP TEN JARGON BUSTERS

- 1337 – a term used to describe a ‘leet’, elite or skilled player.

- F2P – free-to-play. F2P games usually have microtransactions – virtual goods that can be bought for real money.

- Frag – to kill another player, usually in a shooter game.

- Gank – to gang up on a player with a surprise attack in order to take them down quickly, or the act of killing a weaker or undefended fellow player. 

- GG – short for ‘good game’ – tends to be typed at the end of a match.

- GLHF – this is short for ‘good luck, have fun’. 

- Nerf – the act of decreasing the power of an ability or character. 

- Ninja – someone who steals a virtual item that isn’t theirs, or takes it before other players have a chance of reaching it.

- Noob – a new or unskilled player.

- Pwn – to ‘own’ or beat an opponent with ease.

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