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Other authors who submitted their entries to the FiringSquad Editors Challenge tried several different paths on their themes and their writing skills. We had detailed reviews of games like “Dark Messiah Of Might and Magic (single player)” by author suibhne and “Dreamfall: The Longest Journey Review” by author petewilliams, We had expert PC hardware articles like “Gaming PCs, Vista, and You: Part 1 of 3, Upgrading” by author p4l1ndr0m3. Then there were editorials that examined issues in gaming like “Wii should play together.” by ExpertPenguin. We even had personal look backs at great gaming experiences like “A look back at how the WoW juggernaut began”, composed by OldFriend. There was a ton of variety in the submitted entries and of course that kind of diversity makes judging the contest even tougher but also more rewarding.
Now that the first 15 people are moving to the second full round, its time for our second prelim round to begin. We know that many of your who are regular readers of FiringSquad have held back in submitting contest entries for the Editors Challenge to see how the first prelim round turned out and examined what articles got good reviews and why they were chosen. We also know authors who submitted entries in the first prelim but didn’t make it in the top 15 are going to try again, having learned from feedback from editors and readers on what worked and what didn’t in their first articles and applying them to their new entries. And of course there are people reading this who may have never heard of this challenge before today but realizing that they might have a shot at becoming a professional writer.
We want to encourage all of those people to join our second prelim round and take the plunge. Yes, having your writing critiqued by not just FiringSquad staff members but members of the general public can be a painful experience for many. However, it’s also the chance of a lifetime to enter a field of work that can be extremely rewarding. Above all else, the next prelim round begins with a clean slate. We don’t care if you entered the first round or not. We don’t care how well or how poorly you did in the first round if you did enter. Today you enter the second prelim round fresh.
Remember, the top 15 entries from the second round join the first15 authors from the first prelim to join the second full round of competition in early March. From that group, 10 people will be selected to move to the third round that begins in late March. From that group we will announce the finalists who will then enter the last round of the competition where they will get a chance to write a hands-on review of the Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme processor. The winner of the final round will get $1,500 cash and a $10,000 contract from FiringSquad that will let them become a editor on this web site.
And let’s not forget the video portion of the Editor’s Challenge. While this part of the competition hasn’t gotten as much attention it’s still ongoing. People can submit video reviews, features and other subjects of interest to FiringSquad readers using our Matrix feature. The winner of that competition gets $1,000 in cash along with a video editor contract from FiringSquad worth $5,000.
Whether it’s for the writing or video portion of the competition, keep in mind a few things when entering the contest. Now that the first prelim round of the writing portion has been completed you know what our readers and the staff are looking for. We want articles that are well written, interesting, and have a hook – whether it’s personality and style, or a clear and logical presentation of facts. We want features that have a subject that is both in tune to the FiringSquad audience but also examines a theme that perhaps we haven’t discussed on this web site before. We want articles that bring a writer’s unique voice and ideas to the table. That may sound like a lot to ask for but the truth is we want the best editor to join our site. This competition will allow us to find that person. Remember, submissions to the second prelim round ends on Feb. 28. We hope you will find the time to enter and have the chance to join us on our team.
Every year we see and pass by opportunities, thinking “it’s not worth it”, or “I’ll try again later”, but this really is a once-in-a-lifetime contest. The old Latin saying, carpe diem, or seize the day, applies perfectly. You have nothing to lose, thousands to win and potentially a career to launch. We are not alone in watching you on this and have friends at at least one other major site who are looking for staff. Talent is hard to find and you never know if you’ve got it or not, show confidence in yourselves and your abilities and give your dreams a shot. Good luck!
If you’re interested in our scoring system, it’s scored 7 ways of 100 points each, for a maximum total of 700 points. A #1 rating by a judge gives 100 points and a #15 gives 7. The four judges thusly assign 400 points. The rest of the points are up to the readers and authors to earn. The article with the most pageviews gets 100 points, every article gets a percentage of that – so if you had 80% of the top article’s page views, you’ll get 80 points. Then there are rating points, it’s a complicated formula that is weighted by total votes and the percentage of vote. Naturally then, the ambitious author will promote his own article and seek as many readers, votes, and the best votes he can. This is the only way to score points independently without bribing judges (paypal $1000 to FiringSquadBribes@We’reJustJokingOrAreWe.com)
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Hear that? It's the sound of the largest computer chip manufacturer in the world churning out new processors to power your gaming rig. This week, Intel is launching their next generation of Core CPUs, code-named Ivy Bridge. Like last year's Sandy Bridge chips, they're low-power, quad-core powerhouses that also feature integrated graphics processors. Want to find out more? Maybe check out a whole bunch of performance benchmarks on both the CPU and graphics sides of things? Well you can, in today's review!
Intel Z77 Chipset & DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview
Looking forward to those new Ivy Bridge CPUs? In anticipation of their release later this month, Intel has already unveiled the new Series 7 chipsets designed especially to take advantage of what will be the 3rd-generation of Core processors. In today's article, we take a look at the architecture of the enthusiast variant, the Z77, and how it's used in the Intel Desktop Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard. Even if you're not particularly interested in the motherboard itself, you'll probably want to see some of the new features that come along with it, so read on!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!