There has been a massive trend in the video game industry for a while now of reinventing, rebooting, and revamping major franchises. It seems almost every direct sequel or new story in an already well-established world today is being released with a whole new wardrobe.
God of War has indeed been taken to the tailors, with this latest chapter in the barbaric saga changing a lot of what you know about the franchise, its anti-hero, and the world he lives in – one which he is constantly at odds with.
Despite all of the changes having being made, one thing remains the same, and that is Kratos’ inability to achieve anything close to peaceful involvement with his environment, be it in the hot sands of Greece, or the icy forests of Scandinavia.
This time around, however, it is not through his own volition that everything takes a turn for the bloodsoaked. Kratos would rather be something as close to a family man as he can be. Unfortunately, this Greek alien is not welcome in the frozen shores of Midgard.
A Mythological Reimagining
For reasons unknown, Kratos has somehow ended up living deep in the forests of Midgard, in the realms of Norse mythology, where he is surrounded by all manner of Nordic creatures and deities.
Knowing Kratos’ track record with anything celestial, you can expect him to come to blows with the spiritual authorities very soon. Unlike previous games, however, Kratos will not be doing it alone…
The ash-covered brute will be accompanied this time by his lovable son, Atreus, who balances out Kratos’ humorlessly grim approach to life with his youthful vitality and innocence. Needless to say, being the son of the most hardcore deicidal maniac on the planet is only one side of the struggle, the other being helping him battle it out against Northern European religion.
A More Grounded Kratos
Kratos is older, and despite still relying on brute force to solve most confrontations, has become much wiser and in control. Initially, it seems that he has finally mastered his previously volatile fury, as he continues to reprimand his budding killer of a son when his passions run amok.
That is not to say that his brutality has been curbed in any way, and his Spartan Rage still burns brightly when charged sufficiently, he just seems to have matured to a point where he can wield his martial zeal, rather than be possessed by it.
It is not only his temperament which has become more down-to-earth, Kratos now fights mostly on the ground. You can no longer even jump in the sense that tapping X will leap you into the air, and so those gravity-defying combos are out of the picture, and your alacritous Blades of Athena have been replaced with a hefty axe.
Instead of the fixed cameras we had in previous God of War titles, this one has opted for an over-the-shoulder approach, as if some documentary maker is stalking Kratos. The whole game has now been remodelled for a far more intimate, in-your-face dynamic.
While Kratos may have wanted nothing more than to teach his son the ways of life in relative peace, trouble soon comes knocking on his front door in the form of a perturbed agent of Odin. From here on out, Kratos and his son will be cleaving their way through the majority of the Scandinavian pantheon, and all of its servants.
While Kratos may be a veteran in tearing monsters and gods limb from limb, his sapling of a son goes from hunting his first deer to taking on titans of lore in a very short amount of time. It is an unforgiving transition for one so young and sweet, and we cannot help but feel for the poor little guy.
That being said, he is Kratos’ son, and we can expect him to progressively grow into a fine warrior, and it is indeed not long at all before Atreus proves himself as capable in a scuffle with all manner of fiends.
It is sometimes difficult to adjust to a new set up when one of your favorite franchises has been remodelled. This God of War does not present such a challenge, and you will very quickly ease into this compelling, absorbing, and mightily enjoyable tale of fatherhood and maturation.
It is not only the most splendid-looking game on the PS4, it may even be the best released so far. Whether you agree with such a sentiment or not, you cannot deny that God of War has pushed the PS4’s content to marvelous heights.
5 Tips to Help You Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
“High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.” –
The age-old adage: “Content is King” is more relevant in the global digital media marketing world that it has ever been before. Statistics generated by Newscred.com show the following:
- 71% of consumers are turned away from a brand by direct sales pitches.
- 40% of consumers prefer emails that are content-rich and not promotional.
- 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising.
- 2017 statistics show that 615 million mobile devices have installed adblocker technology.
- 2017 statistics show that 84% of people expect brands to create content.
It should be noted at this juncture that we are talking about high-quality, informative, authoritative content. Publishing run-of-the-mill spun content is counterproductive and can harm your brand’s reputation as a leader in its field.
Finally, 2016 studies have shown that circa 75% of brand marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets to allocate a more significant slice of their overall marketing budgets to content strategy and content marketing.
Implementing a content strategy
From the figures mentioned above, we can see that designing and implementing a content marketing strategy is a vital part of a brand’s digital marketing strategy. And it should not be avoided or downgraded to a very low priority. Therefore, here are five tips to help you with your content strategy:
Work with a reputable agency
It is vital to partner with a digital marketing agency that has years of experience writing high-quality, informative content. Additionally, it’s a good idea for this agency to keep up to date with the changes to Google’s ranking search engine algorithms to ensure that their clients’ brands continue to rank up in the top three to five brands on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Identify your brand’s target audience
Let us assume for this article that you own a business that designs and manufactures Merino wool jackets for the athleisure and casual outdoor market. It is vital to describe each persona-type that will be interested in purchasing this jacket. For example, someone that is interested in only wearing high fashion and is not interested in spending time outdoors hiking is probably not going to wear this jacket. Therefore, there will be very little ROI if you market your brand to this persona.
Identify the type of content that will add value to your brand
Different content types suit different brands. It depends both on the brand’s products and the target audience. Once again, if we look at our Merino wool jacket, we can see that the following content types are suitable:
- Instagram and Pinterest posts with high-quality photos showing how the jacket can be worn.
- Long-form articles that are related to the jacket and how to care for the jacket.
- Informative emails that provide links to the long-form articles as well as links to new products.
Consistency is critical
Consistency is a cornerstone of all content marketing strategies. Regular content gets ranked higher on Google (or other search engines) because of its consistency. It does not matter what the time frame of each post is. What matters is that if the content strategy states that a guest blog post will be published three times a week, the brand marketer must stick to the plan. On the other hand, brands that do not post regular content do not keep on “reminding” Google that they are essential, and they add value to their target audience’s lives.
Content builds trust
High-authority, informative content builds trust. For example, let us go back to our Merino wool jackets. It is natural to assume that the brand’s target audience will ask what temperature can the jacket be worn at, whether the jacket is waterproof or not, how to wash the jacket, and how should the jacket be stored when not in use.
The best way to answer these valid questions is, not only to add this information (in bullet point form) to the jacket’s description but to write and publish an informative article on the value of a Merino wool jacket and how to care for it. As a result, the brand’s target audience will see the brand owners as knowledgeable. Additionally, they will assume that the brand cares about its customers.
This article does not attempt to be a comprehensive guide to the mastery of content strategy. For more information, talk to Firecrab Digital Media.
The Purpose of Business Intelligence and Big Data in Enterprises
Enterprises collect an unprecedented volume of data about their consumers, sales, and products. In most scenarios, these rows of information move very fast, are too big, or they surpass the processing capacity of the existing technology applications in the organization. But with Big Data and Business Intelligence, enterprises get to enhance operations, their profit margins and also make quicker, more brilliant business decisions.
The retail market has been trading on its gut instinct for years. But now, they’re recognizing the importance of capturing data around their strategic business activities. The ability of businesses to back their decisions up with evidence of things that might work is essential.
BI and Big Data analytics have revolutionized a myriad of industries, with the retail sector being the biggest beneficiary. Big players like Walmart and Amazon leverage BI and Big data analytics to enhance their retail performance. However, these benefits aren’t limited to full-blown companies alone, medium and small businesses can also realize great value in integrating the systems into their operations.
The advantage that comes with the ability to process significant volumes of data is the main attraction of business intelligence and big data analytics.
Here’s how enterprises can turn BI and Big data into a business advantage.
In retail business – supermarkets, department stores, and e-tailers – transaction histories and sales receipts can produce incredible volumes of data depending on the business size. These rows of information present a massive opportunity for business to analyze their sales. However, valuable insights are not based on volume alone.
Integrating a successful business intelligence solution can assist retail organizations to pull out essential information from a chunk of data, by addressing the question at hand. It gives definite answers to question like how much of a product is being sold and the type of client that’s buying the product as well as the store or outlet that sold the product, and the specific time.
These are critical answers that retail businesses need to improve their decision-making process. The trends in the data showcase the strengths, weakness, and opportunities for the company. For instance, one can know when they make the most sales and the time. This way, they ensure that that particular store has enough commodities to meet the demands. The data also points out areas that perform poorly, allowing the enterprises to make drastic decisions to rectify the problem and identify potential opportunities.
That said, the real value of BI or Big Data isn’t just based on the ability to address the questions on an individual basis; it comes with the ability to converge data from multiple systems and sources so that users can gain more insight from the available information.
Like never before, Big Data and Business Intelligence are helping to merge business systems in retail stores to enhance operational efficiency while providing higher profits. BI and big data allow operations managers to have a detailed summary of the operations, so they can eliminate any bottlenecks and enhance efficiency.
The access to real-time information also enables finance managers to take care of traditionally narrow margins of profit with greater context to make sure they enjoy maximum gains from investment into inventory.
And since all these processes happen on the cloud as opposed to the traditional books and hard drives, there’s a reduction in hardware and maintenance costs. Enterprises can also integrate cloud into the current systems with less expense.
Knowing who the most profitable consumers are is a crucial concept in retail business intelligence and Big Data. The sales analysis allows businesses to increase their profits margin by understanding who their most loyal consumers are and strategizing on ways to keep them on board. The realization also lets enterprises define a unique opportunity around insight creation.
Having access to real-time consumer demand pattern information allows enterprises to match their inventory to their orders accurately, which results in customer satisfaction. Consumer analysis can also help predict seasonal spikes, trends, and depression. This way, retailers can always avail the right inventory levels to match their demands.
Besides, the cost incurred in finding and acquiring new clients is far much expensive than the cost of maintaining the existing ones. So it’s more realistic for retailers to pay attention to what the data is saying concerning these individuals.
Consumer analytics, as part of BI and Big Data, can be leveraged to create and maintain loyalty programs aimed at pleasing these customers. This plan is sure to increase the consumer retention rate and also result in more business through referral of happy and contended buyers.
Imagine if you woke up one day to terrifyingly unusual icy weather. Leading climate change scientists suddenly announce that a freak ice age is on its way, and that the world is going to be utterly devastated.
It is the ultimate nightmare for the environmentally paranoid. This is the premise of Frostpunk, only instead of an apocalyptic ice age hitting modern or future humanity, it is alternate history which has to deal with climatic horror. A handful of 19th century English steampunks are the final survivors of this frozen end to life on earth.
Steampunks become Frostpunks – A New Hope
It is not all completely over for sophisticated organisms on this now shivering planetary surface. Luckily, the British Empire was at the peak of steampunk industrial prominence before annihilation arrived. Its leading scientists and engineers prepared for a desperate struggle for Her Majesty’s humanity by constructing titanic generators.
These towering marvels of ingenuity would provide the coal-powered heat and energy needed for the erection of makeshift civilization. This is where you come in, as the elected leader of one of several newly-established budding cities.
As you can imagine, resisting a world hellbent on extinguishing its denizens is no easy task, and it is going to take all of your ingenuity – as well as morally ambiguous decision making – to turn desperation into flourishment.
Social Justice for All
Although Frostpunk is about ensuring that your continually growing settlement’s most basic needs are being taken care of, it is also a game where each individual has needs which go beyond that of bare-bones survival.
Each person has to be fed, housed, and kept warm. But each individual also has a host of extra-mural needs following a day at the coal mine. These include entertainment, inspiration, and a sense of purpose.
A New Age of Urban Planning Simulation
This is what separates Frostpunk from other city-building survival games, you have to take care of people’s minds as well as their bodies. This is done by keeping track of the ‘Hope’ and ‘Discontent’ meters, which ascend and descend based not only on how physically comfortable your people are, but how happy they are with their little society’s existential progression.
This social aspect of the game is a geniusly dynamic one, which you must personally tailor according to what you feel is just or practical. Do you need children to work in harsh conditions, or would you rather have them be safely educated?
Such decisions are struck on a daily basis, as you are allowed to sign a new law every 24 hours, which radically readjusts the progression of your city and its population. Medical care, entertainment, labor rights, religion and policing are all in your hands to shape.
From Ruins to Riches
Although you will begin this game with a handful of cold and tired people scooping handfuls of coal to feed the heat-bringing sentinel generator, the peak of civilized enjoyment comes with successfully navigating your settlement from a primitive informal settlement to a flourishing metropolis.
You will have a growing number of engineers at your disposal, who will research new technologies for every level of civil advancement. The weather is only going to get steadily worse, and surviving an environment conspiring to blow humanity away requires a steady rate of scientific discovery.
Soon you will not only be concerned for your own people’s welfare, but that of others beyond your city. There are plenty of other people trudging through ice in search for a smidgen of warmth and safety, and you will have to send out teams of scouts to rescue them.
These brave explorers are not only tasked with securing a larger workforce and resources, but also discovering just what went wrong with our little planet.
Conclusion – Melting the Ice on the Truth
It isn’t enough that mankind should defy the inevitability of catastrophic weather change, we need to find out just why we were struck with such snowy devastation in the first place. This is the final task in an already impressively demanding mission statement.
Frostpunk is indeed a highly stressful and demanding game, but it is without a doubt one of the most rewarding and satisfying strategy games seen in recent history. If you ever dream of leading humanity through climate armageddon, now is your chance.
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