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Computing

Steam Deck battery life: 5 tips to extend your play time

The Steam Deck is a great device, but it has a major flaw: Battery life. In the best of cases, you can get around four hours before charging, and in the worst, the Deck can die in as little as 90 minutes. We rounded up the five Steam Deck battery life tips so you can extend your playtime as long as possible.

If you just picked up your device, make sure to read our top Steam Deck tips so you can get the most out of it. We also have a roundup of the best battery packs for the Steam Deck, which are essential if you plan on taking the handheld on a long trip.

Reduce screen brightness

The easiest way to save battery life on the Steam Deck is to turn down the brightness of the screen. Valve includes an option for dynamic brightness in the settings, but you shouldn’t use it — it’s way too sensitive, and the constant adjustment could actually decrease your battery life. Set it manually to the lowest point you can while still being able to see the screen.

Valve sets the default screen brightness fairly high. With God of War, we were able to play for just over an hour longer with the brightness down to its minimum setting. That’s the difference between playing for two hours and three hours in a demanding game like God of War. It’s simple, but screen brightness goes a long way to improve the Steam Deck’s battery life.

Use the frame rate limiter

The Steam Deck laying on a laptop.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Beyond reducing the screen brightness, always use the frame rate limiter on the Steam Deck — even if you don’t need to. We recommend setting the frame rate limiter to 30 fps in the Quick settings menu regardless of the game you’re playing. This is especially true for games that hover between 40 fps to 50 fps on the Steam Deck. Those extra frames could represent 45 minutes or more of extra battery life (as we saw in God of War).

You can also adjust the refresh rate of the display, which you should do to match whatever your frame rate is set at. The refresh rate won’t save as much battery life as turning on the frame rate limiter, but the two together can give you an extra hour or more of playtime.

Limit power and GPU speed

Power limit settings on the Steam Deck.

If you don’t mind a bit of trial and error, limiting the Steam Deck’s total power and GPU speed can massively improve battery life without sacrificing performance. You’ll find both in the Quick settings menu, and you’ll have to play with the exact numbers depending on the game you’re playing and the frame rate you want to hit.

We recommend turning on the frame rate overlay on your Steam Deck to see how much power the device is consuming and the clock speed of your GPU. From there, set the TDP and GPU around the mark you see in the overlay. It’s best to start low, see where your frame rate is at, and then slowly increase from there until you can maintain the frame rate you want.

For example, we limited the retro-styled platformer Blasphemous to 5W and were able to maintain a steady 60 fps (and improve battery life by around an hour and a half). The Steam Deck allows you to store these settings as per-game profiles, too, so you can set everything up once and keep your battery life steady.

Use FSR

Performance overlay on the Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck supports AMD’s FidelityFX Super Sampling (FSR) upscaling, and it’s hands-down the easiest way to save battery life. FSR essentially runs your game at a lower resolution, which takes a lot of strain off of the Steam Deck to improve battery life (and reduce fan noise in the process).

Using FSR on the Steam Deck is a little confusing, though. You can turn it on in the Quick settings menu, but you’ll need to turn down your in-game resolution for FSR to actually do anything. The Steam Deck has a resolution of 1,280 x 800, so bump down your resolution to 960 x 600 to save some battery life (or 640 x 400 if you need your battery to last even longer).

Turn on half rate shading

Half-rate shading option on the Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Valve recently added half rate shading to the Steam Deck, which is an interesting piece of graphics tech that can massively improve battery life. Shading is a complex topic, but the short of it is that every pixel on the screen needs a color value — and figuring out all of those colors takes a lot of power. Half rate shading cuts the rate in half, essentially only shading half of the pixels on-screen and using nearby pixels to fill in the missing information.

The result is that your game looks like it’s running at a lower resolution, even if half rate shading isn’t exactly the same as FSR. Keep this tip in your back pocket, though. Several Steam Deck games don’t allow you to adjust the resolution, so half rate shading can be a major help to save your battery life.

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Computing

Steam Deck tricks and tips you need to know about

The Steam Deck is absolutely stuffed with features, settings, and configuration options, and you might not know about all of them. I’ve pulled together nine Steam Deck tricks and tips that you can use to get around the machine faster, save battery life, and make the most of of Valve’s handheld gaming PC.

Pull up Steam Deck shortcuts

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Steam button will quickly become your best friend with the Steam Deck, but it does more than open your menu. Hold it down for a couple of seconds longer to pull up a list of Steam Deck shortcuts that show you how to take a screenshot, force quit a game, and more.

You’ll find the full list of shortcuts by holding down the Steam button, but here they are for quick reference:

  • Steam + B (long press): Force game shutdown
  • Steam + X: Show keyboard
  • Steam + L1: Toggle magnifier
  • Steam + R1: Take screenshot
  • Steam + L2: Right mouse click (this is correct, believe it or not)
  • Steam + R2: Left mouse click
  • Steam + Right joystick: Joystick mouse
  • Steam + Right trackpad: Trackpad mouse
  • Steam + Right trackpad (click): Left mouse click
  • Steam + Left joystick up: Increase screen brightness
  • Steam + Left joystick down: Decrease screen brightness
  • Steam + D-pad right: Enter key
  • Steam + D-pad down: Tab key
  • Steam + D-pad left: Escape key

Customize your controls

You have access to four back buttons on the Steam Deck, but they don’t do anything by default. You can customize your controls in any game by launching it and pressing the Steam button. Scroll to the right and select Controller settings to rebind any of the buttons on the Deck, browse community layouts, and create your own layouts. Valve even includes several controller templates to get you started, regardless of if a game supports controllers or not. You can’t do that on a Nintendo Switch.

Ignore the ‘Great on Deck’ category

Library filters on the Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Steam Deck automatically sorts your library and provides a “Great on Deck” category that’s a little misleading. These are all of the Deck Verified games in your library, which means they’ve been tested by Valve and provide a seamless experience when playing on Deck. That doesn’t mean the rest of your Steam library is out, though.

Swap over to your full library and press the button to select Filter by Verified and playable. Countless titles work perfectly well on Steam Deck but don’t have full verification due to a pregame launcher or a minor configuration issue. Although you should explore your full library, I recommend starting with the best Deck Verified games first.

Change your keyboard theme

The default Steam Deck keyboard theme is boring. Head to the Settings menu and select Keyboard to change it. You’ll have a few themes by default, plus an extra if you have a 512GB model, and Valve sells more themes in the Steam points shop. There aren’t a ton of options now, but I expect we’ll see a lot more keyboard themes in the future.

Turn on half-rate shading in pixel art games

Half-rate shading option on the Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Steam Deck now supports half-rate shading, which can massively improve your battery life. Half-rate shading basically cuts the resolution of pixel shaders in half. Although half-rate shading is available in every game, I recommend using in pixel art games in particular.

If you’re a big fan of platformer games and indie titles like me, half-rate shading will save you a ton of battery life (hours, in many cases). The lower resolution doesn’t matter in pixel art games, but be careful with half-rate shading in more graphically complex games — it can really hurt image quality.

Use FSR when you can

You can use AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) with any game on Steam Deck, but enabling it is a little confusing. FSR improves performance and saves battery by upscaling a game from a lower resolution. To turn it on, lower your resolution in any game and open the Quick settings menu. Scroll down to Performance and select FSR under the Scaling Filter section.

There are a ton of other options here, too — make sure to read our guide on how to check your frame rate on Steam Deck to see what some of them do.

Use desktop mode for Xbox Game Pass

Desktop mode on the Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

You can use Xbox Game Pass on the Steam Deck, at least a little bit. You can only stream Game Pass titles through Microsoft Edge, which you need to access the Steam Deck desktop for. To get there, press the Steam button, select Power, and choose Switch to Desktop. 

Once you’ve gotten Edge working and you’re signed into your Game Pass account, make sure to check out our roundup of the best games on Xbox Game Pass to know what to play first.

Limit power while traveling

Battery life is a big issue, so if you can’t pick up a power bank for Steam Deck, you’ll have to find other ways to save power. Open the Quick settings menu and scroll down to Performance to limit your graphics power (listed as Thermal power TDP). Turning the power down can save you massive battery life while traveling (though, the TSA might still make fun on your Steam Deck at the airport).

Make use of the Magnifier

The Magnifier on the Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Open up a game like Civilization VI, and you’ll quickly see the problem with the size of the Steam Deck’s screen. Thankfully, you can use the Magnifier to zoom in on areas that may be hard to read. To use it, hold down Steam and L1 and use the right joystick to select the area of the screen you want to zoom in on. Let go and it’ll stay there. You can turn off the Magnifier by using the same Steam L1 shortcut.

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Game

Halo Infinite multiplayer tips to make you a better slayer

Though Halo Infinite‘s campaign launched this week, the game’s multiplayer component has been available for a few weeks already. This is the first time Halo multiplayer has ever been free-to-play, which has almost certainly led to an influx of players who are entirely new to the Halo franchise. If this is your first outing with the series, there’s a decent chance you’ve found yourself outgunned by Halo veterans in multiplayer matches. This article will give you a few tips that can instantly make you a better Halo Infinite player.

343 Industries/Microsoft

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that these are basic gameplay tips that are meant to help new or casual players get better at the game. These are not meant for Halo veterans. If you’ve been playing Halo games since the early days, you can probably move on because you likely already know a lot of this stuff (we suggest checking out our full Halo Infinite review instead).

Use those grenades

There’s no such thing as friendly fire in Halo Infinite‘s social modes – Bot Bootcamp, Quick Play, and Big Team Battle. This is new for the Halo series because, in previous games, it was entirely possible to blow up your teammates with a poorly placed grenade or assassinate them with an ill-timed melee attack. Since this isn’t the case in Halo Infinite, you can let those grenades fly.

343 Industries/Microsoft

However, there are a few things to consider before you prime your throwing arm. The first is that the grenades you throw can still hurt you, so don’t throw a grenade and go running in after it right away. The second is that the enemy team knows that grenades can’t cause friendly fire damage, too, so they will be spamming grenades whenever they have them, especially around corners. In short: watch out for grenades at the beginning of an engagement, because they’ll be coming in hot more often than not.

Stay with your team

Given Halo‘s recharging shields, it can be tempting to try to break off on your own, find isolated enemies, and become some kind of lone wolf Spartan-hunter, but that kind of thinking is a trap. If you run into more than one enemy after going off on your own, you’re almost certainly dead, so often going solo means that you’ll die without getting anything in return for it (like an enemy kill).

Slayer shooting at enemy

343 Industries/Microsoft

Instead, pick someone on your team and follow them. You don’t need to be communicating with them in voice chat, just follow them around the map. If you two encounter a lone enemy, you’re almost guaranteed a kill, and if you encounter another duo, the fact that you’re with a buddy will even the odds.

In objective games like Oddball and Stronghold, you’ll often see the winning team grouped up as players on the losing team spawn and then filter into the objective one-by-one. The only thing this accomplishes is feeding the enemy team kills. It doesn’t make any progress toward claiming the objective and makes it easier for the winning team to grow their lead. When you’re on the back foot in a match with an objective, stay near your team so you can stage an assault as one unit rather than staggering your attacks.

When you’re ahead in an objective-based match, play defense

On the other side of that coin, if there’s ever a time that your team is ahead in Capture the Flag or Oddball, stick with your team and defend the objective. Don’t split off from your group and go looking for kills because that makes it easier for the enemy team to group up and successfully attack the ball carrier or steal the flag. If you’re playing Oddball, stay near the ball carrier and defend them. In Capture the Flag, stick near your flag and protect it. Remember: the enemy team can’t even the score and pull ahead if they can never get to the objective in the first place.

Capture the flag screenshot

343 Industries/Microsoft

I often see players who only ever play offense in my games. For example, my team will be ahead in a Capture the Flag match, but instead of hanging back and letting the enemy come to us, one or two individuals will run off on their own, get killed, and give the enemy team a numbers advantage, which is exactly what they want. It may be fun to get kills, but kills don’t win Capture the Flag or Oddball matches.

Steer clear of the middle of maps (most of the time)

Many maps in Halo Infinite – Aquarius, Bazaar, Recharge, and Streets, in particular – have wide-open central areas surrounded by hallways and buildings that allow for more cover. When playing on these maps, try to avoid going into the center if you can. Sticking to the sides will give you more coverage and makes it easier to hide when you come under enemy fire.

Halo Infinite Live Fire screenshot

343 Industries/Microsoft

Conversely, walking into the center of these maps exposes you from multiple angles and makes it hard for you to keep tabs on your enemies. When you consider that even the smallest maps tend to house weapons that can be effective at medium-to-long range (such as the Battle Rifle), that’s an even better reason to stick to cover. Behemoth is one of the few maps where it may be better to stick to the center, as the sides don’t offer much cover.

Reload often (except in the heat of battle)

The starting weapons in Halo Infinite‘s social modes, the MA40 Assault Rifle and MK50 Sidekick Pistol, are very effective weapons. If you get the jump on an enemy, you can burn them down with a single assault rifle magazine if your aim is good. With that in mind, you want to make sure that you’ve always got a fresh magazine in your weapon because starting a fight with a partially empty magazine is a great way to wind up dead.

Snipers running on platform

343 Industries/Microsoft

If, however, you’re forced to start a fight with a partially full magazine, don’t bother reloading. Empty your current magazine, then switch to your other weapon instead of reloading the first. When you reload in the middle of a fight, you’re essentially leaving yourself utterly defenseless for the second or two it takes for the reload animation to complete. Quickly switching weapons will allow you to keep firing and can help secure a lot of kills.

Don’t ignore plasma weapons

Player with energy sword

343 Industries/Microsoft

Plasma weapons like the Pulse Carbine and the Plasma Pistol may not have the same power behind each shot that the more traditional weapons do, but they can still be handy. Both the Pulse Carbine and the Plasma Pistol can be effective at quickly dropping enemy shields, allowing you to switch to a kinetic weapon like the Assault Rifle, Battle Rifle, Pistol, or Commando to finish off enemies. Both guns have their drawbacks, as their slow projectiles can make it hard to hit bouncy enemies, but they’re still worth considering if you’re having a problem taking down enemy shields.

The pistol is highly effective at medium range

Halo Infinite‘s MK50 Sidekick is one of the weapons you start each social match with, and while it isn’t as strong as the Pistol we had in Halo: Combat Evolved, it can still do work. This is especially true at medium range; since the MK50 is a semi-automatic weapon, it fires as quickly as you pull the trigger on the controller/click the left mouse button, so you can fire it quickly while maintaining decent accuracy.

While I have even had some success with the Pistol at long range, it’s much better as a fallback for when enemies outrange your Assault Rifle. At those ranges, whip out the MK50 to keep the pressure on, and don’t be afraid to fire quickly. With some practice, you’ll be pressuring and even killing enemies half a map away with nothing but this small sidearm.

Don’t go for the head – at least not at first

Player riding Behemoth vehicle

343 Industries/Microsoft

If there’s one thing first-person shooter games have ingrained in our heads over the years, it’s this notion that headshots reign supreme. That’s true in Halo too, as headshots will do more damage to enemies but only when their shields are down. While the enemy still has their shields up, headshots do as much damage as body shots, so save yourself the trouble of precise aiming and focus only on landing hits until you get those shields down. Focus too much on aiming for the head in a duel and your enemy may very well burn you down faster.

Don’t get tilted

This last tip goes without saying for anyone who has played a competitive game before, but there will be times when it seems like you’re completely outmatched. Maybe your aim feels slightly off, or it feels like you can’t quite finish the fights you start. When this happens, it’s important to take some deep breaths and keep your cool because tilting will only make things worse. I’ve already seen some impressive come-from-behind victories in Halo Infinite, but those are only possible with cool heads.

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Game

Tips for finding a PS5 this holiday season

More than a year after the PlayStation 5 launched, it’s still a very hard console to find. With the ongoing semiconductor shortage impacting consumer electronics manufacturers worldwide, it probably won’t get any easier to find a PS5 in the short term, either. We won’t lie: it’s going to be difficult to get a PS5 this holiday season, but these tips might give you an edge in finding one.

Don’t forget about Google News

There’s a lot of clickbait about PS5 restocks out there, with headlines that seem to promise information on upcoming restocks paired with articles that ultimately say nothing at all. It can be infuriating to land on one of those articles, but you can avoid a lot of them by checking out the technology section of Google News on the regular.

I’ve noticed that, in recent months at least, Google News has become a good way to find out about incoming stock drops for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Obviously, Google News isn’t very handy when it comes to unannounced stock drops, but when a retailer announces ahead of time that it has an impending PS5 restock, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to read about it there. If nothing else, checking Google News a few times throughout the day beats following a bunch of retailers on Twitter and trying to keep up with all their announcements.

Put a Twitch stream on in the background

This tip is admittedly a little strange at first blush, but it can potentially save you a lot of time. There’s at least one Twitch live stream that tracks PS5 and Xbox Series X restocks at various retailers and alerts viewers when new stock is detected. The only stream I’ve found that does this is KillerCam1020, though those of you who are on the prowl for new PC hardware can also check out Falcodrin, which runs a very similar Twitch tracker for GPU stock.

Following KillerCam1020 and running the stream in the background whenever you happen to be at your computer is a hands-off way to follow PS5 restocks at a pretty wide selection of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Ant Online, Sam’s Club, and PlayStation Direct. The alarm the stream plays when new PS5 stock is detected is suitably loud and annoying so there’s no chance you’ll miss it, and the stream is otherwise silent so you can focus on whatever else you’re doing while it runs in the background.

KillerCam1020 is an excellent way to better your chances at getting a PS5 without having to put in a ton of leg work yourself. There are a few downsides to this method, though. First, the stream actually has to be open before you can get alerts about new PS5 stock. Second, the stream only tracks US stock, so this tip doesn’t really do much for our EU brothers and sisters trying to score a PS5 for themselves.

Join the StockDrops Discord

Following StockDrops is probably the best tip I can give because it has actually worked for me in the past. These days, StockDrops has an app you can download, but joining the Discord also works (you can find links to both on the StockDrops website). When you join the Discord server, you can sign up for alerts for all sorts of hard-to-find hardware, whether it’s the PS5, Xbox Series X, or any number of GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD.

If you join and sign up to receive alerts about new PS5 stock, you’ll only be pinged when new stock is available, while all other notifications will remain muted. Joining the StockDrops Discord is how I managed to snag the RTX 3070 that sits in the very machine I’m using to write this article, so joining up and setting your notification preferences is something I enthusiastically recommend.

Again, there are some drawbacks to this one (because no method is perfect). If you only join the Discord, you need to be ready to act when that notification comes through, and though StockDrops says that the desktop app gives the fastest notifications, I don’t have any experience with that. StockDrops also has a considerable following – there are thousands upon thousands of people in that server – so you’re potentially still competing with many others for your PS5.

Even more tips

To supplement this article, you should also have a look at our PS5 and Xbox Series X tips guide from last year. Many, if not all, of those tips are still relevant today, so if you’re in the market for a PS5, give that article a read for even more strategies to give you an edge. Even though you’re now armed with tips and tricks, landing a PS5 during the busiest shopping period of the year is going to be a challenge, so good luck to you if you’re giving it a shot.

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Game

Battlefield 2042 Specialist Guide: Gear, Traits, and Tips

Battlefield 2042 introduced Specialists for the first time in franchise history. No longer are you limited to four fragmented classes — now, you have access to several unique characters with dozens of unique abilities.

Understanding how these Specialists operate is fundamental to your success during each match. Not only do you need to utilize everything offered by your selected character, but you’ll also need to be aware of the skills available to your opponents.

Before diving into your next match, take a few minutes to catch up on every Specialist in Battlefield 2042 and how they can change the tide of battle.

Further reading

What are Specialists in Battlefield 2042?

Specialists are unique, playable characters in Battlefield 2042. Instead of the typical class format of previous entries, you now have access to 10 Specialists who bring various abilities to the warzone.

Each Specialist comes with a unique Trait and Specialty that cannot be swapped out or used by any other character. For example, one character might come equipped with a Wingsuit, while another might make use of deployable shields. These abilities are specific to each Specialist and cannot be changed.

However, all Specialists can be further customized by changing out their weapons or other gadgets. Unlike previous Battlefield games, weapons aren’t locked behind a specific class or character. It’s a flexible system and one that makes it easy to find a loadout for your playstyle.

Battlefield 2042 Specialist overview

The 10 available Specialists are currently grouped into one of four categories — Assault, Recon, Support, or Engineer — but keep in mind that these are largely suggestions. Nothing is stopping you from picking a Specialist in the Recon group and kitting them out to play as an Assault character, even if their Specialty and Trait are largely intended for a certain playstyle.

Here’s a closer look at all 10 Specialists in Battlefield 2042.

Assault Specialists

Sundance from Battlefield 2042 drinks wine at a bar.

Emma “Sundance” Rosier

  • Specialty: Smart Explosives
  • Trait: Wingsuit

Sundance is easy to spot in-game thanks to their Wingsuit — if you see a player soaring high in the sky, then you’re looking at Emma. This gives them incredible mobility and makes it easy to move across the entire map in seconds. Sundance also brings Smart Explosives to the fray, which includes deadly scatter grenades and microdrones to help disorientate the opposition.

Santiago “Dozer” Espinoza

  • Specialty: SOB-8 Ballistic Shield
  • Trait: Blast Resistant

The aptly named Dozer comes equipped with an SOB-8 Ballistic Shield that can “bulldoze” through enemy lines. Beyond its offensive capabilities, it can also deflect incoming gunfire — making it easy to close the gap between you and the opponent. Dozer’s Trait is Blast Resistant, which provides them with improved resistance to explosives. If you like getting up close and personal with your enemies, Dozer might be the perfect fit — just make sure to pair him up with a shotgun.

Webster Mackay

  • Specialty: Grappling Hook
  • Trait: Nimble

As one of the most agile Specialists in the game, Mackay excels at zipping across the map and securing optimal vantage points. His Grappling Hook allows him to quickly scale large structures, while the Nimble Trait lets him move faster when aiming down sights. If you’re looking for a fast-paced Specialist, look no further than Mackay.

Recon Specialists

Battlefield 2042 player hacking electronics.

Navin Rao

  • Specialty: Cyber Warfare Suite
  • Trait: Trojan Network

Disabling enemy vehicles and electronics is Rao’s specialty. His Cyber Warfare Suite can disable Rangers, trigger base defenses, and even scramble enemy vehicle systems, making it difficult to effectively move across the map with their team. Rao also uses the Trojan Network Trait to hack into enemy systems and gain important intel.

Ji-Soo Paik

  • Specialty: EMG-X Scanner
  • Trait: Threat Perception

Recon characters are all about spotting enemies and conveying useful info to your team — and no one does that better in the heat of battle than Ji-Soo Paik. Their EMG-X Scanner lets you see enemies through walls, and the Threat Perception Trait can help you locate enemies while taking fire. If you like playing Recon but love being in the middle of the action, Ji-Soo Paik might be a good compromise.

Wikus “Casper” Van Daele

  • Specialty: OV-P Recon Drone
  • Trait: Movement Sensor

Casper plays a bit like a lone wolf, as you’ll often find yourself perched on a hillside with no squadmates in sight. However, using their OV-P Recon Drone, Casper can spot moving targets and confuse enemies with EMP blasts. It can also mark targets for lock-on weapons, making them a strong addition to any squad. Combine that with their Movement Sensor Trait — which alerts you to nearby enemies — and you’re looking at a strong starting point for a deadly sniper build.

Support Specialists

Angel petting a Ranger in Battlefield 2042.

Constantin “Angel” Anghel

  • Specialty: Loadout Crate
  • Trait: Trauma Specialist

A squad is only as good as the supplies they have on hand, and it’s Angel’s job to make sure they’re always fully stocked. His Loadout Crate can supply armor, ammo, and even be used to call in a beacon for a quick loadout swap. Angel can also revive players with their bonus armor health filled. If you’re looking to play the ultimate support role in Battlefield 2042, Angel deserves a minute of your time.

Maria Falck

  • Specialty: S21 Syrette Pistol
  • Trait: Combat Surgeon

Not only does her S21 Syrette Pistol allow her to heal allies at a distance, but she can also revive downed allies with full health. No squad is complete without a good medic, and Falck is a strong choice for anyone looking to fill that role.

Engineer Specialists

Irish from Battlefield staring out a window.

Kimble “Irish” Graves”

  • Specialty: Fortification System
  • Trait: Veteran

Irish makes use of a deployable Fortification System that can protect your team from incoming projectiles. He also comes with the passive Veteran Trait, which provides armor and additional bonuses from downed teammates. Irish is an excellent choice for players looking to secure tight corridors or small rooms, as the Fortification System makes it difficult for attackers to advance.

Pyotr “Boris” Guskovsky

  • Specialty: SG-36 Sentry Gun
  • Trait: Sentry Operator

Boris is one of the best Specialists for racking up kills without doing much work. The SG-36 Sentry Gun can reliably take down nearby enemies — and when placed strategically, it can secure an entire room. Boris’ Sentry Operator Trait allows the sentry to spot targets after locking on to them, making it easy to alert your team to nearby threats.

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Battlefield 2042 Tips and Tricks

Finally, longtime Battlefield fans can sink their teeth into EA DICE’s latest release, Battlefield 2042. While several kinks and hiccups still need ironing out, the game delivers on its promise of being a groundbreaking multiplayer experience (at least on current-gen). Players are eager to jump into the semi-post-apocalyptic action. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started in Battlefield 2042, including the best settings to use, which specialists are top-tier, and how to farm XP quickly and efficiently.

Initial settings to change

Off the bat, you’ll be prompted to turn cross-play on. Turn it on and keep it on, especially on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Turning it off effectively slashes your player pool by two-thirds, making for long wait times between games. Some players, scarred by Call of Duty: Warzone’s rampant cheater problem, elect to turn cross-play off to avoid hackers altogether. They, along with the rest of the community, can rest assured knowing Battlefield 2042 implements Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC), the same anti-cheat used in Fortnite and Apex Legends. With cross-play on, let’s talk about some visual settings to change in Battlefield 2042.

To change your settings, open the Options menu after you’ve selected your game mode. Then, make the following changes:

General settings

Under the General tab, set the Camera Shake to 50 (the lowest it can go). Other than creating a more immersive experience, there’s no reason to let your camera shake out of control when things are blowing up all around you.

Display settings

Under the Display tab, you can change your FOV and Motion Blur. Set your FOV somewhere between 80 and 100. You can always tinker around with it if you’re having difficulty seeing enemies with a broader FOV. At the same time, set your ADS FOV to on. Then, set your Motion Blur to zero, and bump the brightness up somewhere around 65.

Controller settings

We’ve put an extensive controller scheme guide together already, but here are a few general tips to keep in mind. Battlefield 2042 lets players completely remap their controllers. Bumper-jumper players will have to toy around with the controller mapping to find the right fit. When it comes to fine-tuning your sensitivity, it’s best to start low and work your way up. This is especially true for higher magnifications, as lower sensitivities give you much more control.

Test your settings in solo mode

When you’re making those fine tunings, it’s best to test your settings in solo/co-op mode against bots. For the most realistic results, set the bots to the hardest difficulty. The Battlefield 2042 maps are massive, so we don’t recommend using solo mode to explore them. You’ll end up spending days fighting bots and still won’t venture to every corner of Orbital or Hourglass.

The best settings to test in solo mode are your pilot settings. Set the bots to the easiest difficulty, and spawn in a helicopter or jet. This works for two reasons. First, bots won’t take vehicles from you. Secondly, easy bots aren’t smart enough to shoot you down with anti-air rockets. Flying in Battlefield 2042, especially helicopters, is like using both sides of your brain. You’ll never get the chance to test different settings online as everyone scrambles to pilot their favorite aircraft.

That being said, helicopters and jets work off the same control scheme. We’ve put together a solid control setup that works well for both vehicles.

Top 3 specialists

With ten specialists to choose from, players may feel overwhelmed when learning how each plays a different role in Battlefield 2042. Furthermore, two specialists, Paik and Mackay, are locked when you first start the game. Matches can last upwards of 30 minutes if it comes down to the wire, but you still may not get in enough engagements to learn how each specialist works. Thankfully, we’ve done it for you. Here are our top three specialists in Battlefield 2042 (excluding the ones you have to unlock).

Angel

Angel from Battlefield 2042 petting a ranger.

So far, we’re having the most fun with Constantin “Angel” Anghel in Battlefield 2042. This Romanian engineer acts as the all-around support specialist since he can heal downed teammates, supply ammo and armor, and call in loadout crates. Whenever he heals an ally, they also gain armor. You’ll earn a decent amount of XP for each heal and an overall medic bonus ribbon at the end of each match. However, Angel’s loadout drops make him the most useful specialist in Battlefield 2042. Here’s why.

Unlike previous games, there are no resupply points in Battlefield 2042. Players must rely on specialists like Angel to supply ammo and armor during each match. However, Angel can’t drop you more M5 Recoilless Rocket ammo or homing missiles, at least not directly.

When you interact with Angel’s loadout drop, you can choose the same class you were already using to refill on all ammo types, including rockets and grenades. You’re effectively selecting a new class; you just happen to be choosing the one you were already using. Hovercrafts are taking over the Battlefield 2042 landscape. Players will need all the explosives they can to take them out.

Angel’s loadout drop works like the One Man Army perk from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Whenever you find yourself saying, “I wish I had my sniper,” you’re in luck! Call in a loadout drop and change to your sniper class.

Boris

Boris from Battlefield 2042 atop a tank.

Pyotr “Boris” Guskovsky is your XP-farming/objective-defending specialist. His sentry guns must have gotten a decent upgrade from the Battlefield 2042 beta, because we’re getting killed by them far more often. There’s also a reason Boris is usually the assists leader at the end of each match. Boris shines when he’s near his sentry guns. They are more effective when he’s in range, so partnering with Irish for shields or Angel for revives and ammo make him an effective objective defender.

You’re earning 50 XP for every assist in Battlefield 2042. Even if Boris’ sentry gun shoots an enemy once, you’re still getting 50 XP if that enemy dies. You’ll also earn XP for defending objectives, which is Boris’ primary function. Offensively, Boris isn’t doing much more when he’s not near his sentry gun.

Irish

Irish from Battlefield staring out a window.

Kimble “Irish” Graves is a valuable blend of offense and defense if you know how to use him. When moving towards an objective, Irish can quickly place his fortification system in an open area. These shields can take a severe beating, but their best feature is their transparency. Irish can see who’s shooting at him without taking any damage. Since his shields are waist-high, he can pop up, fire back, and duck back down for cover. When the bullet storm calms for a moment, Irish can pick the shield up, run forward, and place it down again when an enemy pops up.

You will have to be quick to place his shields, so using them to advance on an objective will take practice. We found this trick worked best when moving across the center chip (Sectors D and C) on Discarded.

Defensively, Irish’s shields work well. But his APS-36 Shootdown Sentinel (aka Trophy System in Call of Duty terms) will intercept incoming grenades and rockets. Find a chokepoint, place a shield in front of you and a Sentinel nearby, and have fun defending.

The best gear in Battlefield 2042

Medicale crate on the gear screen in Battlefield 2042.

Outside of specialist-specific gadgets, players have a handful of gear options to choose from. We don’t have many standard grenade options at the moment, although Sundance does come with several unique grenades for her specialist ability. We’ve found smoke grenades to be the most useful, especially when playing the medic role.

Every Battlefield 2042 map is full of open space. Traversing that space without the cover of smoke is a death sentence. Frag grenades have come in handy but not as handy as smoke grenades. You’ll unlock EMPs at level 30 and incendiary grenades at level 42. We can see EMPs taking over the grenade meta, as most players rely on their tech in Battlefield 2042. Heck, even our optics connect to the wi-fi!

The Medical Crate is the best piece of gear in the game. Instead of interacting with it, the medical crate creates a healing circle that’ll keep healing you as long as you’re standing in it. Since there is no way to self-heal outside of Falck’s healing pistol and Med Pens (which you’ll unlock at level 26), the Medical Crate is your most consistent option.

For anti-vehicle purposes, we like the M5 Rockets over the AA Missiles. The AA Missiles require an aircraft target lock, so you’re just carrying extra weight if nobody is flying overhead. An attentive pilot will always deflect your first rocket. Thankfully, you have two. If you can lock back on and fire your second shot, the enemy pilot won’t have enough time to recharge their countermeasures.

M5 Rockets can be free-fired, making them useful against infantry and vehicles alike. They travel incredibly fast and suffer from minimal drop, so don’t overcompensate when aiming at a moving target.

XP farming tips and tricks

A helicopter dives into a fiery battle in Battlefield 2042.

We’ve touched on a few ways to farm XP already, so here are a few more XP-farming tips and tricks to use outside of Battlefield Portal. We say outside of Portal because XP-farming servers are currently taking over, putting unsuspecting players on bot-filled teams with nothing but defibrillators to defend themselves.

When the match begins, hop in a vehicle and drive to the nearest objective. Continue bouncing between early objectives to accumulate about 375 free XP for capturing each one. Once everything is captured, drive around the map to the furthest enemy objective. If you’ve got a full hovercraft, you’ll be in for some easy kills and XP; this objective won’t be well defended.

Playing a pure medic is a great way to farm XP. Since Angel can revive players and resupply them with ammo, equipping the Medical Crate and smoke grenades will turn him into an XP farming machine. You won’t even have to kill a single enemy if you focus solely on playing the support role. Of course, make sure you’re paying attention when you have to defend yourself.

Situational awareness

Battlefield 2042’s most unique new feature is the attachment swap mechanic. As you unlock attachments, you can create what we’ll call a loadout-within-a-loadout. You’ll assign different attachments to the allotted number of slots (three in most cases) for each area of your weapon, ammo, optic, barrel, and underbarrel. The best strategy is to fit your gun with the attachments necessary for three different setups, long-range, close-range, and stealth.

Always keep a silencer handy and ready to go. They’ll keep you from appearing on the mini-map, which is most useful when you’re outnumbered and trying to capture an objective. Long-range and short-range barrels are self-explanatory. Finally, the difference between muzzle brakes and compensators is how they affect either horizontal or vertical recoil. At close range, you’ll want to keep your horizontal recoil control in check. For long-range fights, it’s better to increase your vertical recoil control.

Your understanding of the situation tells you what attachments to equip and when. For example, when you’re moving through a building, it doesn’t make sense to keep your 3x scope attached. Instead, change to a close-range optic for better results.

Set your loadouts

Loadout screen from Battlefield 2042.

We don’t find the quick-swapping pre-spawn UI to be user-friendly. Instead, we’re having an easier time building four different loadouts and switching between those and our specialists. Since every specialist can use every weapon, building loadouts is pretty easy. There are only three you need to build with one extra left over for fun.

Primary loadout

Your primary loadout comes with your favorite weapons and gear. This is the setup you’ll be using for most of the game and the one you feel most comfortable with. This shouldn’t feature a weapon you’re trying to level up, though.

Sniper loadout

Everyone loves to snipe in any Battlefield game. Mix and match this loadout with the different operators to see who you prefer to snipe as. Casper may be wearing a ghillie suit, but that doesn’t mean he should be your default sniper specialist.

Leveling loadout

Here’s where you’ll equip whatever weapon you’re trying to level up (other than your sniper rifle). You can either dedicate the entire game to this class or only switch to it when the opportunity to grind kills presents itself. For example, if your squadmates are in the thick of a heated battle over objective C, spawn in with the gun you’re trying to level up and get as many kills as possible.

The fourth loadout slot is entirely up to you. This can be another leveling loadout or another primary loadout if you like to bounce between ARs, SMGs, and LMGs.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

Mac User Guide: The Best Tips and Tricks for Your Mac

Want to learn how to get the most from your Mac? Or perhaps you’ve run into a problem with your Apple computer and aren’t sure how to fix it. Regardless, our Mac user guide is here to help with our expert tips and tricks for Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops.

If you want to learn how to use MacOS and take your knowledge to the next level, we’ve grouped everything you need into categories, helping you discover more secret tips and helpful tutorials. You’ll be a Mac expert in next to no time.

Contents

Great features on your Mac

Apple

Over the years, Apple has built a lot of killer features into its Macs. These are things you won’t get on any other computer, from the ease and convenience of Apple Pay to the productivity power of Focus mode and Split View. Some of these features are unique to MacOS Monterey, the latest version of MacOS, so make sure you download and install it first.

How to use Focus mode in MacOS Monterey

Tired of being distracted? Apple’s Focus mode lets you set customizable rules that block annoying apps and signal to others that you’re busy. It’s perfect for keeping you in the zone, no matter what you’re doing. Here’s how to use Focus mode in MacOS Monterey.

How to use Shared with You in MacOS Monterey

Over time, you will collect a lot of shared photos, links, documents, and more that have all been sent to you by your contacts. Instead of searching through your apps to find this content, just use the Shared with You section, which groups everything together. Here’s how to use Shared with You in MacOS Monterey.

How to use Live Text in MacOS Monterey

Live Text is a clever new feature that lets you copy text from any picture on your device. It also works when you point your camera at text in front of you. That can then be copied and used in your documents. Here’s how to use Live Text in MacOS Monterey.

How to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac

Why get a separate Wacom tablet or drawing pad if you already have an iPad? After all, Apple’s Sidecar feature lets you use an iPad as a second screen or drawing tablet for your Mac. It’s super easy, too. Here’s how to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac.

How to use iCloud

The beauty of Apple’s ecosystem is that everything is connected, so you can access your files on any Apple device. The key to that is iCloud, which has a ton of great cross-platform features. Here’s how to use iCloud.

How to use Siri on a Mac

Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, has improved every year since its inception. Now, it’s an excellent helper whatever you want to do, with many different uses for different situations. Here’s how to use Siri on a Mac.

How to use Apple Pay

If you carry your phone everywhere you go, it makes sense to use it to pay for purchases, right? That’s just what Apple Pay enables, giving you a secure way to pay with your phone. Here’s how to use Apple Pay.

How to use Notification Center widgets

Widgets are handy mini-apps that display quick bits of info, such as the upcoming weather forecast or your latest emails. They’re a great way to see what you need when you need it on your Mac. Here’s how to use Notification Center widgets.

How to use Control Center

The more you use your Mac, the more you find yourself diving into System Preferences to change some settings. Instead of rooting around for them, Control Center puts them at your fingertips in your Mac menu bar. Here’s how to use Control Center.

How to use Split View

Multitasking is made much easier with Split View, which gives you straightforward window management tools to display your apps how you want. Here’s how to use Split View.

How to get emoji on your Mac

Think emoji are just for mobile devices? Think again, as you can use them to your heart’s content on your Mac too. Here’s how to get emoji on your Mac.

Personalization and tweaks

macbook-pro-touch-bar

Getting your Mac just right is key to using it efficiently. Once you’ve followed the tips below, you’ll be able to tweak and tune it the way you like it. And once that’s the case, you won’t have to contend with annoying settings that don’t work the way they should, meaning there’s less getting in your way.

How to change your username

You’re not stuck with the username you created when you first set up your Mac. A few quick clicks and you can customize it how you want. Here’s how to change your username.

How to turn off notifications

There’s no doubting that notifications can be annoying, especially if they’re constantly going off. Rein in the chaos with our handy guide. Here’s how to turn off notifications.

How to allow pop-ups

There are times when you want to see a pop-up window when browsing the web. If your Mac automatically blocks them, we’ll show you how to enable them once again. Here’s how to allow pop-ups.

How to install fonts

Fonts are a key way to customize your Mac and can be useful for all kinds of projects. Luckily, installing them is simple and straightforward. Here’s how to install fonts.

How to change where screenshots are saved

Taking a screenshot on a Mac simply requires a three-button shortcut. But did you know you can change where screenshots are saved by default? Here’s how to change where screenshots are saved.

How to disable the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar has many uses, but sometimes its position means it can be accidentally pressed. That can be annoying if it launches processes you don’t want to run. Here’s how to disable the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro.

Documents and apps

Apps are the beating heart of any Mac, so learning how to use some of the ones that come you’re your Apple computer is important. The same goes for documents — each Mac has some handy tricks that can make document creation and management a lot easier. Note that some of the features below only work in MacOS Monterey or later, so make sure you download and install MacOS Monterey before getting started.

How to change your Mac’s default apps

Apple likes to set the default apps that open certain file types, but you’re not stuck with the company’s choices. If you’d rather set your own default apps, here’s how to change your Mac’s default apps.

How to force quit an app

It’s a fact of life: Sometimes, an app will freeze on your Mac. But occasionally you can’t quit a frozen app in the standard way. Fortunately, there’s a solution thanks to the force quit command. Here’s how to force quit an app.

How to master Safari tabs in MacOS Monterey

MacOS Monterey brought an all-new Safari design, and tabs are a key element of that. Here’s how to get to grips with the new design and features. Here’s how to master Safari tabs in MacOS Monterey.

How to use Reminders to stay on track

Are you forgetful? There’s help at hand in the form of Apple’s Reminders app, which is packed full of features to help you remember the important things in your life. Here’s how to use Reminders to stay on track.

How to use FaceTime’s SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey

What’s better than watching a great movie? Watching it with friends. The new SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey lets you do just that. Here’s how to use FaceTime’s SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey.

How to disable FaceTime

Apple’s FaceTime app is the default for Mac video calls, but it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather it didn’t get in your way, you can disable it. Here’s how to disable FaceTime.

How to turn off iMessage

The little blue blobs in iMessage, Apple’s texting app, are ubiquitous. If it’s causing you problems on your Mac or you simply don’t want to use it, it can be turned off with a few quick clicks. Here’s how to turn off iMessage.

How to use Apple Maps’ globe view in MacOS Monterey

MacOS Monterey’s Maps app gives you a great way to view the world. Zoom out and you see the earth at a distance. Here’s how to use Apple Maps’ globe view in MacOS Monterey.

How to create Apple Maps Guides

Got a collection of great places you want to visit? Store them together in Apple Maps using its Guides feature, newly added in MacOS Monterey. It’s a great way to share local info with friends. Here’s how to create Apple Maps Guides.

How to use Shortcuts in MacOS Monterey

A lot of Mac tasks can become repetitive if you do them a lot. Save the pain and tedium with Shortcuts, which automates complex tasks at the click of a button. Here’s how to use Shortcuts in MacOS Monterey.

How to print a PDF

There are many times when you might want to print a PDF on your Mac, but what if it’s not immediately obvious how to do it? Just follow our guide and you’ll be ready to go. Here’s how to print a PDF.

How to annotate a PDF

At first glance, you might not know you can annotate PDFs on your Mac. Yet there are actually a few ways to do it and add notes to your files. Here’s how to annotate a PDF.

Utilities

Owning a computer sometimes means getting down into the nitty-gritty like backing up your files and uninstalling apps. Macs are no different, and there are a lot of useful tools under the hood, like those that let you zoom in on any part of the screen or take a screenshot of any app or screen section. Here’s how to put them all to good use.

How to back up your Mac

No one wants to lose their precious data, yet that can happen if you don’t back it up. It needn’t be complicated though, and backing up your Mac can be a lot simpler than you might think. Here’s how to back up your Mac.

How to forget a network

Network problems are not uncommon, and it can be frustrating when you can’t connect to a network. Sometimes, getting your Mac to forget a troublesome network can be the solution. Here’s how to forget a network.

How to delete a user

If you have user profiles on your Mac that are no longer used, there’s no need to have them littering your computer any longer than is necessary. Here’s how to delete a user.

How to uninstall apps

Got some apps that you no longer use? Instead of having them taking up precious storage space, it’s best to uninstall them. Here’s how to uninstall apps.

How to take a screenshot

On a Mac, you can take a screenshot that is automatically saved to a location of your choice. It’s really quick and simple but has plenty of everyday uses. Here’s how to take a screenshot.

How to record your screen on a Mac

Whether you want to show a friend a gameplay clip or work out what is going wrong on your Mac, recording your Mac’s screen can help. Instead of using a phone, though, it’s best to record it directly from your computer. Here’s how to record your screen on a Mac.

How to record a video

Recording a video of yourself with your Mac webcam can be a fun way to send a message to friends and family, record a vlog, or create a segment as part of a larger video project. The good news is it’s easy to do. Here’s how to record a video on your Mac.

How to zoom in

Apple is well-known for its commitment to accessibility. If you struggle to see small details on your screen, you can zoom in for a closer look. Here’s how to zoom in.

How to password protect a folder

Sometimes, you might want to keep the contents of a folder safe from prying eyes. To keep things under lock and key, you can password protect it. Here’s how to password protect a folder.

How to enable picture-in-picture for YouTube

A lot of people like to have a video open while working, but that might normally require you to switch between windows. When you’re watching YouTube on your Mac, though, you can pop the video out into its own small window. Here’s how to enable picture-in-picture for YouTube.

How to right-click

It might sound odd, but some Mac mice and trackpads lack a right-click button. But don’t worry, there are other ways to get the same functionality even if you don’t have this button. Here’s how to right-click.

Cross-platform: Connecting and sharing with your devices

Person using iPhone and MacBook.
Tomasz Zagorski/Unsplash

One of the great things about having a Mac is the interconnected ecosystem that comes with it. If you own any other Apple devices, they will all play nice with your computer, allowing you to do things that no other system can do. Here are our favorites.

How to run iOS apps on an M1 Mac

One of the great benefits of Apple’s M1 chip is that it can run iOS apps without issue. That opens up a whole new world of apps on your Mac. Here’s how to run iOS apps on an M1 Mac.

How to connect AirPods to a MacBook

Apple’s AirPods are some of the best wireless headphones in the business, so it’s natural you’d want to use them with your Mac. As you’d expect with Apple, connecting them couldn’t be easier. Here’s how to connect AirPods to a MacBook.

How to access your iCloud Photo Stream from your Mac

If you use iCloud and have enabled iCloud Photo Stream, any photos you take on your iPhone will be synced to your Mac. It’s a great way to keep your photo collection up to date wherever you are. Here’s how to access your iCloud Photo Stream from your Mac.

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

MacOS and Windows are two very different systems, but they can still work together. That’s true if you want to use an external hard drive with both operating systems, but you’ll need to make sure you take a few key steps first. Here’s how to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows.

How to share your Apple Music library on Mac, iOS, and more

Want to share your Apple music library with other people? It’s easy to do with Apple’s Home Sharing feature. Here’s how to share your Apple Music library on Mac, iOS, and more.

Installing MacOS and fixing problems

Macbook Air
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Everyone occasionally has to fix problems with their computer, and Macs are not immune. But don’t worry, there is help at hand in the form of our tutorials and guides, which will take you through everything you need to do to get your Mac up and running again.

How to install MacOS Monterey

Apple’s latest Mac operating system is called MacOS Monterey, and it comes with a raft of new features and tools. If you want to download it, there are some steps you need to take. Here’s how to upgrade to MacOS Monterey.

How to stop your Mac from freezing

Every once in a while, the chances are your Mac will freeze. It doesn’t have to keep happening, though, and you can fix it by taking action in a few different ways. Here’s how to stop your Mac from freezing.

How to speed up your Mac

No one likes a slow computer. But just because your Mac has lost its zip, that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. A few tweaks here and there can make a real difference. Here’s how to speed up your Mac.

How to check the storage space on your Mac

No one likes running out of space on their Mac. The best way to prevent that is to work out how much space you have left and clear out unnecessary files once you’re in the know. Here’s how to check the storage space on your Mac.

How to free up space on your Mac

It’s difficult to upgrade your Mac’s storage space after purchase, so if you’re running out of room, you’ll want to know how to free up as much space as possible. Here’s how to free up space on your Mac.

How to fix problems with your Mac’s Wi-Fi

Sorting out your Wi-Fi connection can be a finicky business, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. We’ve put together our best tips in a single guide to help. Here’s how to fix problems with your Mac’s Wi-Fi.

How to fix audio issues in MacOS

Tired of your Mac’s audio causing problems? Not to worry, we’ve got some top suggestions no matter what is going wrong. Here’s how to fix audio issues in MacOS.

How to restore a Mac to its factory settings

Restoring to factory settings means putting everything back to the way it was when you first got your Mac — as it was when it came out of the factory, in other words. If you’re struggling to fix recurrent problems, this can be a good solution. Here’s how to restore a Mac to its factory settings.

Common MacBook Air problems and how to fix them

The MacBook Air is an incredibly popular laptop, but that doesn’t make it immune from problems. If you’re suffering, don’t worry, as there’s help at hand. Here are some common MacBook Air problems and how to fix them.

Common MacBook problems and how to fix them

MacBook Pro or MacBook Air — both of Apple’s laptop flavors can be beset by problems. Here are the most common ones and how to put them right. These are the most common MacBook problems and how to fix them.

How to reset your Mac’s PRAM and SMC

Every modern Mac uses Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM) and a System Management Controller (SMC). Occasionally, these can cause problems with your Mac, and giving them a quick refresh can help to solve otherwise intractable problems. Here’s how to reset your Mac’s PRAM and SMC.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Game

Back 4 Blood Swarm Guide: Tips for Playing PvP

The Left 4 Dead games were marketed primarily as co-operative survival experiences. The main focus was clearly on designing a fun experience for players and their friends to work together in fighting off the swarms of the undead. The multiplayer component that put players in the role of both the human characters and the special zombie types turned out to be a simple yet surprisingly fun addition. Back 4 Blood, the spiritual sequel to those original zombie shooters by the same team, is back with its new-and-improved take on PvP in a zombie shooter.

Playing as a human in the campaign mode is very simple for most gamers to get a grip on. Aside from the nuances, it is a co-operative FPS that plays as you would expect. In the PvP mode, however, half the time, you’ll be taking control of those special Ridden types you fight off during the campaign. Not only is it a major change to go from the standard FPS controls to a zombie, but each of the Ridden types also has its own abilities and best strategy. You’ll need to master all the Ridden types, as well as the humans, to win in Back 4 Blood‘s PvP mode, so we’ve collected all the best tips you need to dominate.

Further reading

What is the PvP mode, and how does it work?

The single PvP mode in Back 4 Blood, at least for now, is called Swarm mode. While Left 4 Dead games simply added four players to spawn as special infected in the normal campaign missions, this time, matches are all about surviving for as long as possible rather than making it through the level. Swarm mode works in rounds of three, with whichever team wins two first being the victors. Each round alternates which team plays as the humans and which hunts them as the Ridden. The goal of the Cleaners is to simply survive for as long as possible, while the Ridden obviously want to eliminate them as fast as possible. Whichever team of Cleaners sets the longer survival time wins that round.

The Swarm for which the mode is named functions just like a storm in a battle royale game. This cloud of infected bugs will close in as the match goes on, shrinking the area the Cleaners have and slowly tipping the scales more and more in the Ridden’s favor. It also makes sure rounds can’t go on indefinitely.

Before a round properly starts, each team has a chance to prepare. The Cleaners will pick their character as well as one of the set PvP cards from a deck that will give you a buff, with a new one added each round. Next, you and your team will be placed on the map in a preparation phase before the Ridden onslaught begins. You have some time here to loot some crates, get yourself loaded with weapons, and put down defenses like traps and barbed wire.

If you’re on the Ridden team, you also have some pre-game tasks to take care of. Instead of cards to pick, Ridden will use things called Mutation Points to upgrade either themselves or the basic A.I.-controlled Ridden on the map. Ridden players will earn points by dealing damage to the Cleaners during the match and will be able to continue to spend points and get stronger during the course of the entire round. Your other task is to choose which of the special Ridden types you want to play as from the three choices available, each of which has three classes. There’s the Stinger, Reeker, and Tallboy.

Once the round starts, it’s a race for the Ridden to kill the entire Cleaner team as fast as possible while the Cleaners try and, well, survive as long as possible. Cleaners don’t respawn while the team playing as the Ridden will keep coming back after a brief respawn timer until the Cleaners eventually perish.

Tips for playing as the Ridden

Back 4 Blood Stinger ready to attack.

Unlike the PvP modes in Left 4 Dead where you are randomly assigned one of the special infected to play as each time you spawn, in Back 4 Blood you get the choice of which Ridden you want to control. You’ll be familiar with them from fighting them in the campaign missions, but actually controlling them is a very different experience. Here’s how each of the three types, and their respective subclasses, work.

Stinger

The Stinger is a small, nimble, and generally low-health Ridden type. Every type has the standard Leap ability to move around the map and escape danger, making all types great at distracting and chipping away at the Cleaners’ health. Because they’re not very tanky, you don’t want to rush in or initiate an attack on your own.

The Stinger type is the only one of the three that can’t restrain Cleaners in any way. Instead, this version has a projectile to damage Cleaners from a distance. This version can be very annoying and great to play if you like taking potshots and leaping away so your team can take advantage of you splitting their attention.

Hockers also have a projectile, but rather than dealing raw damage, it functions more like a disgusting trap. Any Cleaner hit by this gooey mass will get caught and trapped in the mess, leaving them open for you, or your team, to deal free damage until another Cleaner comes to free them. However, this goo doesn’t last forever, so a Cleaner will eventually break free on their own, and because you’re able to do it from a distance, this move has a pretty long cooldown timer.

Finally, we have the Stalker. This version can pin down Cleaners too but has to get up close and personal to do it. Their grab move is very reminiscent of the Jockey from Left 4 Dead 2, where you can steer your prey in whatever direction you want once you’ve jumped on them, as well as deal damage all the while. This is a highly risky move, but if done at the right time, can pull a team apart and allow your team to get a ton of damage in on one Cleaner at a time.

Reeker

Breaker raising arms to attack in Back 4 Blood.

Reekers are bigger and far slower than Stingers. They want to get right in close to the enemy for melee and kamikaze-style effects, again calling back to a Boomer from Left 4 Dead. Like that class, Reekers will limit the vision of any Cleaner that is too close when it’s killed, as well as attract more of the common infected to attack them. They all come with a basic rush ability to get into the middle of a group and hopefully explode right in the enemy’s face.

The basic Reeker type is melee-centered and has the nice benefit of not having a weak point like the others. They’re something like a tank, rushing in and dealing damage with their charge, taking as many melee hits as they can get, and then exploding on as many Cleaners as possible.

Speaking of exploding, the Exploder is built to die, but in a good way. The best way to utilize this specific class of Reeker is in ambush situations where you take Cleaners by surprise right up in their faces so they kill you before realizing how bad an idea that is. You can still charge into them like any other variant, but it’s obviously riskier.

Last up is the Retch. This class is part Boomer, as with the entire Reeker type, but mixed with the Spitter. It can vomit like a Boomer, but the vomit isn’t used to attract other infected but leaves a damaging pool like the Spitter would. This class is best kept far away and sniping key areas with acid to prevent Cleaners from helping each other.

Tallboy

A massive Ridden in Back 4 Blood.

Tallboys may be the most popular Ridden type because of how action-focused they are. While slow, they can pack a serious punch if you’re able to get into close range. Every type has a dash to help close distances, plus the highest base health of any Ridden. However, that makes them a clear target for Cleaners, so despite their tanky nature, you probably won’t get far rushing a team alone.

Your regular Tallboy gets a bit more distance on their sprint ability than the others and deals a little more damage. Really, they’re your more generic, balanced Tallboy type.

Crushers are the only Tallboy type that can restrain a Cleaner by using their big arm to grab a Cleaner and crush them for damage over time, plus opening them up to damage from other infected while they’re unable to escape. Crushers do have an obvious weak point right on their front, so if a team notices you coming, you’re in a bad spot.

And Bruisers are the real tanks of the team. They have the most health of any Ridden but at the cost of how far you’re able to sprint with your ability. You’ll want to play similar to the Exploder and set yourself up in spots where you can quickly initiate an attack without giving the Cleaners much time to zone you out and chip your health away, and make your big AOE slam attack most effective.

After picking your Ridden, the main point to keep in mind when playing this team is how you spend your Mutation Points. You have four options for dumping your points, one for each of the three Ridden classes, and one for the common Ridden. Upgrading one Ridden class does upgrade all three of the variants within, but you should still invest in the common infected, too. These little guys may be cannon fodder at first, but over time will be constant pressure on the Cleaners.

Second, don’t just spend points on whatever class you’re playing. Your upgrades are not just yours but shared across the entire team. That means if your teammate is just a few Mutation Points away from an upgrade with their class, you can invest some into it to push them over the edge, and vice versa. Spread the love and invest as a team, not an individual.

Tips for playing as the Cleaners

Hunters in Back 4 Blood.

Cleaners don’t need as much explanation since they function just like they do in normal campaign missions. The difference here is that rather than trying to make it through an area to the next saferoom, you and your team just need to hold out for as long as possible. After picking your cards, you get a few moments to scavenge the map before the Ridden come at you.

The two obvious points are to stay together as a team at all times and avoid the Swarm. Going off on your own, just like in the campaign, is the fastest way to get picked off by the other team, either forcing your team to risk saving you or going on with one less player. Communication is just as important in this mode as in the campaign mode.

Don’t bunker yourselves down in a tight area. Many Ridden have AOE attacks, like the slam and acid vomit, that make clumping up a bad idea. You will also want to be free to move around and collect resources as the match goes on, so give your team a little breathing room to move around in. Likewise, make sure at least someone has a stun gun on your team for when a Ridden either rushes in close or pins one of your teammates. Freeing your teammate from any form of incapacitation should be priority No. 1.

Finally, keep an eye on that Swarm. As it closes in, it will be easier and easier for you to accidentally get too close or for Ridden to actually knock you into it. Do your best to position your squad in areas where you can’t easily be hit into damage. At the same time, there are areas on maps that act as environmental hazards even worse than the Swarm since they act as instant death, like water. Stay clear of these spots at all costs.

As far as team composition goes, no Cleaner is going to be useless or even bad in PvP but there are some that you will want to have on your team.

Mom has an extra life and a quick revive that is perfect for squeaking out just a bit more time for your team.

Doc is great for the free heal he can give all members of his team, allowing you to save up resources like healing items.

And an EvANGELo is another great class due his ability to get out of pins on his own. That doesn’t mean you should go wild and go out on your own, but it does mean one less thing your team will have to worry about.

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Riders Republic: Tips and Tricks to Get Started

Are you ready to ride? Ubisoft’s massive extreme sports game Riders Republic has launched onto the scene with more options on how you want to bomb your way down the mountain than any other game. No longer do you have to choose between a skiing and snowboarding game and a mountain bike or, heck, even wingsuit game. This open-world experience lets you do them all, and sometimes even all at once! With so many different methods to jack up your heart rate, it might feel a little overwhelming to learn how to properly race with each of the options available.

Unlike in real life, there are a few universal mechanics worth learning that can apply to all, or at least most, of your extreme sport of choice in Riders Republic. The game itself wants you to experiment and explore, which you will spend plenty of time doing, but at the same time may gloss over some of the essentials you will want to keep in mind. Whether you’re trying to reach the top of the podium, or just hit a satisfying line from the peak of the mountain all the way to the base, here’s some tips and tricks to get started in Riders Republic.

Further reading

Learn to brake

Just like learning any real sport, the first thing you should master in Riders Republic is how to brake. Now, we’re not saying you’ll want to actually stop during a race, but braking is essential to make it around tons of tight corners and turns in all categories of races. Even wingsuit and jetpack races will have moments where just trying to hold top speed will end up with you falling behind as you skid off-course.

Anticipate what’s coming ahead in a race. If you know a sharp turn is coming up, it can be wise to cut back on your speed early, brake around the turn, and cut it as close as possible. Winning a race isn’t about hitting top speed, but rather having the most consistent run. It can feel counterintuitive, but trust us, the brake is your most powerful tool.

Start out using Racer style

When you first load up into Riders Republic, one of the first options you will be presented with is what style you want your character to use. Your choices are Racer or Trickster, but don’t sweat this decision too much. Racer style essentially makes your character, and the camera, easier to control, but sacrifices your ability to directly choose what tricks you can do. You can still pull tricks off, but this style is clearly intended for making downhill and race events easier.

Trickster is, well, the opposite. Instead of face buttons relating to tricks, you can use the analog sticks to pull off more intricate and creative tricks for way higher scores in trick events. But, with the stick now used for tricking, you won’t have that camera control.

Racer is a good choice when first learning the game since not having that camera control can feel quite awkward. However, once you get to grips with the game, you might want to experiment with Trickster more. Aside from some of the higher-level trick events, Trickster isn’t necessarily required for any events. Thankfully you can swap back and forth between styles easily via the menu.

Master the manual landing

By default, Riders Republic will have an auto-landing system turned on. What this system does, when left on, is correct your rider after a trick to make sure they will land safely. Sounds good, right? Early on, maybe, but you will quickly want to ditch it and learn to land yourself to be able to pull off way more dangerous and extreme stunts. The more you can risk in a trick, the higher your score, after all.

This will take some adjustment, but if you switch it off right away you will quickly feel out and learn how to land after hitting a trick or spinning. Failing your landing will lead to some wipeouts, but that’s all part of the experience. Playing it safe with auto-landing will only end up handicapping you as your skills grow.

Avoid the pack

Riders Republic players riding bikes.

A cluster of racers is one bad, or intentionally bad, move away from becoming a massive pileup of bikes, skis, or what have you. Through no fault of your own, you could end up eating a face full of snow or dirt because you couldn’t avoid the domino effect of all the racers around you losing control. Falling not only slows you down in the moment, but forces you to start from scratch again to build up all that speed you had, which can feel agonizing. This is most important in Mass Races, where the number of competitors is highest.

If you have to choose, hang back a little from the pack. Keep your eye on those ahead and wait for the inevitable crashes to thin out the pack, or moments where you’re safe to squeeze ahead. Those ahead are also more likely to drain their sprint meters faster, letting you swoop in at the tail end of the race for an upset. Don’t sweat being behind for a while in a race. The ones who start out in first almost never remain in first all the way to the end.

Experiment in the practice area

This is mainly for people who want to get into the trick events and online trick battles. There are a lot of tricks in Riders Republic, and pulling them off isn’t easy. Once you’ve turned off auto-landing, you will want to master the execution and timing for as many tricks as you can before heading into these events. The practice area is perfect for learning all the aspects of how tricking works for all the different sports you can hit. Try diving in and mastering one sport at a time rather than switching too much early on. You’ll find a lot of the skill will carry over from one sport to the next, but the differences can make it hard to get the basics down if you swap too frequently while trying to learn.

Don’t mess with first person

Riding a mountain bike in first person.

One really cool aspect of Riders Republic is the ability to go into first person at any time. You should by all means play around and feel the vertigo of racing down the mountain from this terrifying perspective, but when it comes to actually competing, lock yourself in third person. For one thing, any time you do a trick, the camera will automatically pull out to third person to show off the trick, which can be massively disorienting as you are shoved out and back into perspective. Needless to say, you’ll have a very bad time in first person doing any trick events.

For races, first person can be exhilarating, but you’re so much more limited in awareness compared to third person. You won’t be able to see other racers on your flanks, and it can be much more difficult to see the track ahead of you, as well as accurately determine how far away you are from hazards. Play with it all you want when exploring the map, but if you want to be competitive in either event type, you’re only putting yourself at a disadvantage in first person.

Keep an eye on your compass

Riding a bike through the snow to a checkpoint.

Finally, don’t ignore your compass. Until you’ve done a race multiple times, which will probably be a while considering how many different courses there are in Riders Republic, you probably won’t know what’s coming up ahead. Courses are hard to predict, which is why your trusty compass will tell you what direction the upcoming checkpoint is in even when you can’t physically see it yet. Following its direction will keep you from veering off in the wrong direction on some of the more open races.

With that, you have all the basics you need to hit the massive open world of Riders Republic and shred, fly, and ride your way to victory.

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Far Cry 6: Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Overthrowing the government of the fictional island nation known as Yara in Far Cry 6 will be no simple task. Under the oppressive rule of the dictator Anton Castillo, who is already in the process of educating his son Diego to follow in his brutal footsteps, the people need a hero to free them from his grasp. Dani Rojas, who can be either male or female depending on your choice, decides to lend their skills to the rebels in an attempt to free the people of Yara and overthrow the government that treats them so poorly.

You will be given free rein of the entire world of Yara, after a short introduction, which can quickly be overwhelming. Like with previous Far Cry games and other traditional Ubisoft titles, Far Cry 6’s world is jam-packed with missions, side quests, activities, bases, animals, random encounters, and more to pull your attention. While it doesn’t do much to change the core gameplay the series has been known for since Far Cry 3, there are a few key new systems that you will need to learn in order to be an effective rebel soldier. To help you become the hero the people of Yara so desperately need, check out the tips and tricks in this beginner’s guide to Far Cry 6.

Further reading

Dress to impress

In every past Far Cry game since 3, part of the experience of the game was, well, earning experience to level up. Each game had different skill trees with different perks and abilities you could unlock as you leveled up. Far Cry 6 ditches that entire system. Now, rather than earning skills by investing points into yourself, upgrading your character will all come down to what gear you have equipped. You will still get XP and level up, don’t be confused, but that is mainly used to tell you what missions you should be doing and which to avoid until later and trickle in new Supremo and Resolver weapons to craft.

Unlike many other games, specifically single-player shooters, what you wear in Far Cry 6 does more than just change how you look. You have five slots to equip different types of gear, such as headgear, chest, waist, leg, and footwear. Gear can come in sets that give similar bonuses, like sets that focus on giving you scavenger bonuses, but you should feel free to mix and match depending on your play style and the mission at hand. These bonuses range from increasing your stamina, ammo capacity, and defense while sprinting, to more situational perks like automatically collecting items while driving vehicles.

While it might seem like a strange choice for a first-person game to have so many types of gear with different looks and stats, you do actually see your character in specific areas and cut scenes. Also, who doesn’t like dressing up your character? The fact that you can change the appearance of any piece of gear to any other that you’ve found should be a relief to all you fashion-focused players out there who want to look good but still get the benefits you want.

Don’t worry about being stealthy

Far Cry games have light stealth elements, but they’ve never been quite as light as they are in Far Cry 6. Outside of specific missions where stealth is mandatory for some portions, you are never required to do anything without being detected. The stealth features of the game — like the awareness meter that builds as you are noticed, silenced weapons, and distraction tools — may make you want to play it like a first-person stealth game. While you certainly can do this, it isn’t exactly the ideal way to play.

By all means, start off with a silent approach. Take out a few key targets, maybe disable some alarms, but when things inevitably kick off, embrace the chaos of going loud. Far Cry 6 is at its most interesting, and unpredictable, when you just let things go off the rails. There are way more systems and potential for explosive excitement by tossing your plans out the window and just unleashing destruction however you can. You’ll be dead quick if you are reckless, don’t get us wrong, but that shouldn’t stop you from at least trying to embrace the sandbox the game is built on.

Scout out bases

Sliding down a roof in Far Cry 6.

To help keep you alive, whether you take our advice to get loud every now and then or not, always take the time to scout out any base you’re planning on raiding. By whipping out your trusty camera, you can identify and mark all the enemies inside, plus where alarms are, to better plan out where and how you should attack. The data you can get on what enemies are around, what armor they’re wearing, any vehicles they may have access to, if there’s medics around, and general positions will play a major part in how you plan your attack and prioritize targets depending on the situation and what you have equipped in your current loadout.

You do get an idea of where enemies are without spotting them with your camera via the minimap, but only as a general zone rather than a precise location. You also won’t know how many enemies are in that red zone, only that the darker red the circle, the more enemies are there. If you still see red splotches on your minimap in an area, spend a little extra time scoping the place out to get as much info as you can.

Finally, you will also learn how tough the enemies you’re about to face off with actually are. If enemies are high above your current level, they will have red health bars and won’t even go down from a single headshot. If they’re way above your level, then they will also be indicated with a skull icon. Now, you can absolutely brute force your way through fights like this, but it will not be easy.

Design your loadout

A character shoots a gattling gun in Far Cry 6.

While not at the level of a looter-shooter, there are still quite a lot of weapon choices in Far Cry 6 to experiment with. There are normal weapons, which you can mod and upgrade, unique weapons that can’t be modded but have special properties, resolver weapons, and more. Play around with what weapon types you like early and make a build that is versatile.

Modding weapons can change how a gun functions in many different ways, and you should mix up what types of mods you give different weapons you take out into battle. You can change a gun’s ammo type to be armor-piercing, explosive, incendiary, and more. Generally, you will want to prioritize having something armor-piercing and another explosive for taking down the tougher enemies and vehicles that can really soak up your ammo if you’re using the wrong kind.

Adding silencers, extended mags, and other bonuses should be a priority for your favorite guns. Those unique guns mentioned are fun to play around with, and if they fit a role in your ideal loadout, great, but they are by design way less versatile. Generally speaking, customizing your own guns will be more useful than using one set in stone.

Aside from your traditional firepower, you also have your Supremo. This backpack gives you a different special ability, kind of like an ultimate, depending on the one you have equipped. These are all balanced pretty well, so while you should spend time gathering materials to get new ones, don’t feel bad about sticking with the early ones. They’re all good from start to finish, so just pick the one you like best.

Finally, don’t spend money on buying a new gun unless you’re desperate. Guns are quite expensive and you can always find them somewhere on the map for free. Cash takes a while to build up and is better saved to use on other things if you have the choice.

Bring an Amigo along

The wild animals in whatever region a specific Far Cry game takes place in have been a major gameplay element for just about the entire series. Predators will attack you as you explore, and can be used against enemies, and in Far Cry: Primal, you were able to tame certain beasts. Far Cry 6 takes things a step further with your animal Amigos. There are five unique animal buddies you can lead into battle, plus two more as DLC. While you may not feel the need to bring help along, these buddies can really make a difference.

Each Amigo has its own uses, strengths, and weakness, but can also be upgraded in a sense. If you check them in your menu, you can see specific objectives tied to that buddy that, if completed, will further power them up. Guapo the crocodile, for example, normally regenerates health and can revive himself if he goes down. If you power him up, he will also restore health on kills, have more defense on low HP, and regain more HP after using his self-revive.

Just bringing them along is fine, but to make the most of them you should give them orders in battle. Unlock them all and call upon the right animal for the right job. Chorizo is a great stealth buddy, helping scout and tag enemies, while Guapo is better suited for assaults.

Talk to the locals

A car and a big building in Far Cry 6.

After liberating a camp, don’t just check the box off your list and carry on so quickly. Once the rebel forces move in, there will almost always be someone there with a new quest or bit of useful intel to give you. Aside from side missions, they can point out things like supply drop locations. If you’re short on crafting materials in particular, these quick diversions are well worth pinging on your map.

Side quests are also not too long, but can have payouts that you’ll want to spend some time getting. Gear is the most valuable reward these tend to give, and you never know when you might get that new piece of equipment that completely changes your experience for the better. If nothing else, you might just like the style of it and want to glamor your current perks onto it.

Upgrade your camp

There are multiple bases you will establish in Far Cry 6, and they can all be upgraded via the Construction Desk by talking to the foreman at that location. This is a new system to the Far Cry series, and while it may seem like busywork you won’t want to engage with much, the benefits you get from it can make your running and gunning far more enjoyable. There are six options for upgrades at your bases:

Hideout Network: This should be one of your first priorities to upgrade. This will give you the use of the extremely fun wingsuit, but also let you buy more hideouts around the map that serve as fast travel points. Yara is a massive place, so having faster ways to get around the map, especially if you’re hunting collectibles or cleaning up side quests, will cut down on your downtime by a substantial amount. Each new addition can also be upgraded after you build them to be even more effective.

Guerilla Garrison: This upgrade places special Recon Laptops around the map to point out the best locations to get a view on enemy bases, and makes any rebel fighters around the map a bit stronger and more capable. This isn’t too essential, but is nice to have if you want to know where you can go to easily mark basically everything at a base from one spot.

Fishing Hut: If you enjoy the fishing aspect of Far Cry 6, this hut will give you another spot to cast your line.

La Cantina: This is another great one to get early. This gives you a vendor at your camp to whom you can turn in any meat you hunt for temporary buffs to your character.

Bandidos Barracks: If you’re short on materials, building this barracks will let you hire some locals to gather various resources on your behalf while you do other, more important, things. It also sells some movement-related gear to speed up your character or increase stamina to run longer.

Hunter’s Lodge: For you hunters out there, this lodge opens up a shop that specifically caters to hunting equipment, as well as shows you new hunting locations on your map to make tracking down specific game easier.

Scan vehicles you like

A character reloads a large gun in Far Cry 6.

Aside from traveling on foot, via wingsuit, and on horseback, vehicles are probably going to be your go-to option for covering long distances quickly. Cars can be found, or taken, around the map, but you also can request ones you’ve collected to be brought to you. There are two ways to add a vehicle to your list of available rides. First is to find said vehicle and drive it back to a specific vehicle pickup area, which can be a pain, take you out of the way, and even get you killed in a bad situation. Instead, with the exception of military vehicles, you can simply scan any car you like with your phone to effectively “capture” it and make it available to request.

It’s worth collecting military vehicles too, especially flying ones like helicopters. Horses, for whatever reason, also fall into this category and need to be manually dropped off. Considering how strong these are, especially tanks, they’re worth being able to pull out when you need some serious firepower.

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