“I’m Offended!” – The Worlds Favourite Phrase

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!” An age old saying that apparently means nothing anymore… Oh yes, this one’s really going to put the rant in ‘Rants & Rambles’.

So if you haven’t seen the news, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, everyone’s favourite Hindu Kwik-e-Mart owner from The Simpsons is being pulled from the show for good. A beloved character who’s been in since it all began back in 1989 just gone, like that… The reason? Well apparently, he’s a racist stereotype… *Sigh*

I’m sorry, but I am sick to fucking death of this new age, soft shite bullshit with easily offended morons ruining everything! You can’t say anything nowadays without someone proclaiming to be offended and hurling a torrent of abuse your way. Now I’m all for treating others with respect and not going out your way to offend someone and be a dick, but c’mon… Being offended shouldn’t have anywhere near as much power as it does… I think Stephen Fry put it best with his famous quote on the matter:

“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… Than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?”

Spoken like a champion and I couldn’t agree with him more! If you’re offended by something, then why not just keep your fucking mouth shut and move on? People are more than entitled to not like something or find something distasteful, but that doesn’t give you some sort of moral superiority just because you disagree with their opinion.

Back to the whole Apu situation, the character has been around for years! Christ, multiple surveys have been done over the years with Hindu’s and the likes, where the general consensus found was that most didn’t find him offensive at all… £20 says the one’s who’ve actually pushed for the character to be removed are young, white college kids majoring in Social Studies. (Once again, getting offended on other peoples behalf.) And let’s be fair, the Simpson’s has been chock full of satirical humour since it’s conception, with cultures ranging anywhere from us Brit’s to the Jew’s being portrayed under a stereotypical fashion… Does that mean it’s done in an offensive manner? Of course not! It’s blatant tongue-in-cheek humour meant in a lighthearted way.

But recently it seems there’s more than just poor ol’ Apu who’s coming under flak. Kleenex have just re-branded their ‘Mansize’ tissues to extra large, because y’know.. Gender equality. Many complained to the company deeming the products name to be sexist, to which Kleenex eventually caved under. I mean it’s a total fucking non-issue, but whatever… People aren’t happy if they aren’t complaining about something.

The real issue I have is the hypocrisy from these offended parties…

Let’s take modern feminists for example. (Or Feminazi’s as I like to call them. :P) Now originally, feminism is supposed to be about equality. That’s EQUALITY mind you, as in both genders being equal and not placing one above the other. However, it seems this definition has been lost in translation somehow, because half of the bullshit I see out there is less about making men and women equal (which by the way girls, you already are…) and more about creating a bloody Matriarchy and demonising all men.

I’d like to clarify that this isn’t all feminists and there’s plenty out there who still believe in the true cause, but I’m quite confident the Suffragette’s would be spinning in their graves if they could see what their movement has become.

And who can forget good ol’ ANTIFA? (Being anti-fascist by using fascist tactics!) If you’re not familiar with these cockwombles, they’re the ‘Anti-Fascist Movement’ and basically the lefts mini militia. They see themselves as the good guys, going round and punching Nazi’s! (Bearing in mind, their definition of Nazi is literally anyone who has a different view point to them.) I mean just look at them in this picture… Nothing says moral high ground like a fucking death squad. (Not to mention their bloody riot shields!) Of course, you don’t have to look very far online to find examples of these morons causing more trouble and damage than the ones they’re meant to be opposing. (Check out the Bikelock Fugitive for a perfect example.)

Look, I’ma just sum this all up now before this turns into an in-coherent rant. (I actually started writing this two days ago, but keep getting side-tracked and re-pissing myself off everytime I come back to review the topic.)

My problem with today’s society is two things… Too many easily offended parties forcing their bullshit down peoples throats, and far too many divides and barriers placed up between one another.

If the world stepped back for a moment, forgot about all this White Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, Feminist, Meninist BULLSHIT for just two bloody minutes and actually thought about HUMAN RIGHTS, maybe we wouldn’t have such a clusterfuck of a society! We’re all the bloody same at the end of the day. Your skin colour means NOTHING.. Your gender means NOTHING.. Stop creating groups and barriers between everyone, start thinking of humanity on the whole and what we can do to sort this train-wreck of a planet out and for the love of god, stop getting so triggered over pointless, non-issues that contribute nothing productive to the big picture on a whole.. If you’re one of these people who believe that Apu should be banned, or that ANTIFA are the good guys.. Go sit in a corner, give your head a wobble and have fucking words with yourself.

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The joys (and stress) of moving home!

You thought you’d got rid of me didn’t you? Nope! Just been busy moving so haven’t really had the chance to sit down and ramble away to the void that is the internet. But I’m back, and have a few things planned over the next week to make up for my absence! So rest easy friends, I’m sure you’ll sleep well tonight knowing this. 😉 But anyways, lets talk about moving home and all the shit that comes with doing so!


So, me and the missus had been planning to move for months now. The 1 bedroom flat we shared before moving into our new place was, well… Shit. (If you’re in the North East and reading this, DON’T rent from Andrew Craig.. Bunch of useless fucks.) But here we are! In our new 3 bedroom palace only a stones throw away from the family, back in the town I spent most of my teenage years!

Now this certainly isn’t my first rodeo, being the 8th time I’ve uprooted and moved. (Most with my family while I was younger of course, moving from the top end of England, down to the bottom and back.) This time though, it was special. Although me and my partner have been living together for almost a year, I actually moved into my girlfriends flat whilst she was already living there. So this is technically the first big move where we’ve done EVERYTHING together. From arranging viewings, choosing the property and actually organising everything to get moved across, we’ve been a team all the way! (Not to say we didn’t receive some truly amazing help from family members throughout, who made the whole process a million times easier!) But overall, it’s gone great and we’re already settled in nicely. 🙂

Granted I’m sitting here a week on with my future gaming room amass of IKEA bags filled with god knows what, but it’ll get there in due time. Which leads me to the main thing I’ve taken away from this whole experience…

… How the fuck did we manage to keep SO MUCH SHIT in a one bedroom flat?!

Like honestly! If we’re talking clothes, I’d say we’ve enough right now to keep a small country’s worth of people dignified. (And that’s after donating loads!) When my grandparents came round on the morning of the move, they could barely believe how many boxes we actually managed to fill! (About 14 if I had to take a guess, not including all our furniture and around 10 full, heavy duty bags.) Managed to get it all moved in only a few hours though thankfully!

I really should be upstairs dealing with it all and seeing what’s what, but instead I’m using this an excuse to avoid that nightmare for now. But even taking away all the clothes, some of the things I’ve found that were long forgotten about is crazy! The whole packing process could have gone much quicker if it wasn’t for me stopping every time I found something and going on a nostalgia trip for 10 minutes.

One thing’s for sure though, I’ve got a place I can be proud of and want to show off! Our previous home as I said was awful, with some truly shoddy craftsmanship done throughout. (From paint falling off the wall due to rising damp underneath, to our electric meter having multiple exposed live points… Again, Andrew Craig are a bunch of useless cunts.) But our family over the years have always gone out their way to host different events around Christmas time, so me and the missus will definitely be putting on a spread come Boxing Day using our lush new kitchen!

But yeah! Not going to lie, only wrote this as I’ve been so distracted with everything, I’m at a total mind blank for topics to talk about! Been doing a bit of research though and have a couple things planned for the next few days! (Just gained a bit of spare time, so may as well get as much writing in as I can… And un-packing of course. :P)

So until then, have a good one!

Back to Reality: Stepping away from the game.

As I’m sure we’ve all gathered by now, I love gaming. Ask me during my teen years, I’d have considered myself a fairly ‘hardcore’ gamer, spending literally all of my spare time wasting away in-front of the PC. These days, I still try to fit in an hour or two if I can, but I can easily go weeks easy without picking up a controller. For some however, gaming is life, dedicating literally their entire time to it… So yeah, let’s look at that!

Recently I joined a few gaming related groups on Facebook, mainly to share some of my articles what with this whole blog still being rather new! Now if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s plenty, and I mean PLENTY of people on there who are quite simply no-lives, spending their entire time sitting in a dark room, blasting their platform of choice from morning to night non-stop. Like I just said, this was pretty much me during my teenage years, with most of my time being dedicated to the likes of Modern Warfare and TF2. On weekends I’d wake up, switch my PC on and go make a coffee before plonking my arse into the chair, spending all day there gaming away. (Bar food and toilet trips, obviously.)

Well… I say obviously, but there’s been stories of guys over in the likes of Taiwan and China literally dropping dead in-front of their PC’s from starvation, one even being found with a bucket full of shit next to him. (Time in the toilet is wasted XP!) Needless to say, at this level it’s a pure addiction and nothing more. I personally game for fun, but if your life is based solely around video games and nothing else, then surely the fun is taken away? It’s like eating your favourite food every single day. Sooner or later, you’re going to get sick of the taste and ruin it for yourself. But that’s the thing, if it is an addiction, even if the taste’s gone sour, you can’t stop yourself.

Here’s one for you. Below I’ve popped an example of one of the many posts that’re spammed into these groups on a daily basis. (My poor phone battery’s been decimated from the bloody notifications.)

The right answer? Both. 😛

Though I love gaming, my partner is everything to me and she’s a million times more important than any game out there. Does that mean I’d stop playing entirely if a girl I was with told me to? No, probably not… But for starters, if you love someone you shouldn’t be forcing them into stopping something they enjoy. And besides, I don’t game anywhere near enough now for it to be considered a problem anyways! What is concerning though, is the amount of people in the comments who chose gaming without a second thought. Though there were plenty others choosing the latter, several received flak from the single members of the group, calling them shit like ‘casual cucks’ and ‘fags’. (I wouldn’t be too offended like, since half of them are prime candidates for the next 40 year old virgin.)

Now, let’s say the earlier situation was played out again but with someone like 16 year old me, waking up and spending their every moment gaming. Would their partner be fair in asking them to cut down the video games? Sure, especially if you’re meant to be in a real relationship. Moderation is everything, and finding time for those loved ones in your life is much more important than getting a few extra hours on Skyrim. You see, the beauty of video games is they’ve been around for years. Christ, you can still play titles from 30 years ago, so they certainly aren’t going anywhere! People however, don’t hang around for eternity. Making memories with those close to you in the limited time we all have is a much more valuable thing than something you can pick up and play at anytime. (Deep bruh.)

So with all this in mind, could we consider gaming to be a valid addiction?

Absolutely! Video Game Addiction is already a recognised condition in the medical world. I know it sounds fairly minimal when compared to something like shooting heroin everyday or drinking yourself to an early grave, but people don’t realise that it can still be detrimental to your health, both mental and physical.

Spending all your spare time gaming (or just sitting in-front of a PC in general) can lead to several physical issues; Constant fatigue, migraines from intense concentration and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to name a few. (Along with circulation issues if you’re sitting immobile for too long.) In terms of mental health, many people with more extreme cases of game addiction can experience withdrawal symptoms, much like that of someone addicted to drugs or alcohol. Whether that’s feeling irritable and restless when not gaming, or drastic mood changes and resorting to desperate measures in order to satisfy their cravings. (Be that isolating themselves from the world, to quitting their jobs or even ending relationships.) So it’s definitely something that should be taken seriously.

I look back to how much I used to game, thinking how crazy it was. (Clocking 1000+ hours on god knows how many titles.) The difference however, is I was a teenager. Yes, I could have been out with my mates playing football or something, but that was me. (Along with plenty others I knew.) It’s when you’re pulling this shit as an adult that it becomes a real issue. That’s not to say the problem can’t occur with children, but it’s something that’s more easily tackled with some good parenting and a bit of guidance. At 32 years old though, like that dude in Taiwan who dropped dead? Well, that’s where it becomes a real problem.

But that doesn’t mean things can’t be turned around!

If you’re reading this thinking ‘hmm, this sounds like me’, then congratulations! You’re already taking the right step by reading this and not gaming. (A fine taste in blog my friend, I commend you! ;D) But seriously, there’s nothing wrong with playing and enjoying video games so long as you step outside every now and again! If you’ve got a job, pour some of that game effort into your work and grind for some real cash and XP! (If not, then go get one!) Go visit your family and friends, spend some time out in the real world! You can still dedicate a couple hours an evening to playing. If anything, this makes the whole experience more rewarding, rather than turning it into a mundane, daily routine. (Less time spent with something you enjoy will make you appreciate it more!)

And if you’ve got friends or family who you think could do with taking a step back into reality, then tell them! Tough love my friends, sometimes it’s needed! And finally, to the partner who keeps nagging their other half to stop gaming… If they fit the bill of a full on game addict then fair enough, maybe time to intervene. But if it’s more of a hobby than anything then chill out! Why not pick up a controller and join in? Take an interest in their hobbies and remember! Couples who game together, stay together! ;D

Being Nerdy: From Bullied at School to Hip and Trendy.

I’ve been what people would consider a nerd for many a year, whether I’m geeking out at video games (as I’m sure you’ve seen if you’ve read anything else on here), to my love of all things Dragon Ball and a rather large Pop Vinyl collection. Now as you’d expect, I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, everyone’s got their own thing! However…

During my time at school, I got plenty of shit from the popular kids for being a ‘nerd’, or a ‘swot’ as many folks around the North East would say. (Someone who stuck in, studied and actually did their work.) And with me being into a bit of anime (though certainly not weeb levels) and reading a lot, quite frankly I was bully victim number 1, 2 and 3 during secondary. (High School for you Yanks. :P)

Of course, I’ve been out of school now knocking 10 years, so I can’t really speak for what things are like now. But one thing I’ve noticed is that nerd culture on the whole, something that was considered ‘un-cool’ and the source of plenty shit I received during my teenage years, has suddenly become popular and the ‘in-thing.’ Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it’s good that people are embracing it! (Means plenty cool shops opening due to the hype, so more neat stuff for me to buy!) However, a couple people who used to give me flak for it during school, are now claiming themselves to be full on ‘nerds’ and are basically hypocritical dicks.

Of course, many only say it to get a few likes and shares

Aah, the ‘gamer girl’. Not a term I use frankly, I don’t see why gender has to be brought into the equation. If you enjoy gaming then you’re just a gamer, full stop. What I have seen plenty times however, are these lasses posing half-naked in their bedrooms, with some cheap Turtle Beach headset they got off Craigslist and a PS4 controller, bragging on about them being a ‘girl gamer’ and how you should totally subscribe and donate to her.

Once again, I know this isn’t everyone out there, with plenty lasses I’ve met being avid gamer’s and not screaming it to the high heavens. (Christ, the missus has been blasting Bioshock now for the past few hours now aha!) But you don’t have to search far on the likes of Twitter and Instagram to find yourself one of these girls, doing it purely for likes and a bit of publicity. (Normally trying to promote her aspiring modelling career or some bullshit.)

And let’s not forget the popularity of Let’s Plays and streaming!

If there’s one thing the internet is full of, it’s channels for gaming. Near enough every game out there is guaranteed to have at least a handful people dedicating their time to them, be it on Youtube or the likes of Twitch. The past few years have seen an absolute boom in video game content, and I think this is largely thanks to the rise in popularity surrounding high profile E-Sports events, with more and more popping up each year! (Along with plenty games featuring competitive modes for the aspiring Coldzera’s and KuroKy’s out there.)

Of course, if I could make a living purely from gaming, you best believe I would! (Get me into the London Spitfire ranks! ;D) However, you don’t need to become a big name E-Sports player to make yourself some money, with plenty content creators out there reaping the benefits of monetisation. (Just look at PewDiePie, a multimillionaire from sitting at home, gaming and screaming.) And I think that’s another major factor in people openly declaring themselves as proud gamer’s and nerds, as there’s the possibility of some decent money to be made if you’ve got the know-how and skills to match.

Though I say power to you if you are going for it, the amount of channels and streamers out there is ridiculous, so you’ve got to do something pretty special to get properly noticed. (So maybe don’t go quitting your job just yet. ;D)

Of course, there’s more than just the good ol’ gamer nerd…

Another term I rarely use is hipster, but if there’s one thing that seems to be synonymous with the label, it’s sitting in coffee shops, writing your latest novel or reading non-stop. Again, I love a good read, and I obviously have a passion for writing! (Having a couple original stories in the works alongside this blog!) But again, the amount of people I see who’re so in your face about it, taking every given opportunity to push the fact is nuts. (Seem’s everyone’s a lifestyle / travel blogger these days.)

And Harry Potter.. The amount of people I see walking round with HP merch on is nuts! Obviously it’s a highly popular piece of media (one I thoroughly enjoy, with a Deathly Hallow tattoo adorning my middle finger), but here’s one for you… Last year I was out in Newcastle and there were two lasses walking in front of me, one who happened to be wearing a Gryffindor bag. Her friend commented on the bag and referred to a moment in one of the movies, to which the girl with the bag responds, “Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t actually seen the movies or owt.” … Yeah, so you buy a bag for something that you’ve never watched? Even if you put it down to it just being a nice looking bag, c’mon… That’s like the video of the girl wearing a Nirvana shirt who’s never heard Smells Like Teen Spirit. (With another I’ve seen having a lass think Nirvana was the clothing brand…)

It’s people jumping on a bandwagon for something that’s now ‘cool’ just to be liked and get noticed. If it were up to me, people would have to name at least 10 songs from the artist and quote some lyrics before they’re even allowed to buy a bloody band top.

But yeah, overall I’m not against people embracing the nerdy culture, but I just find it amusing that something I used to get shit for all through my time at school has become popular and the new, ‘in-thing’ so many people are diving on.

Sorry for the rant, just felt like doing something a little different rather than the usual game / vape content… But yeah, what do you think? Let me know in the comment section!

Until then, have a good one and thanks for reading! 🙂

Nintendo Switch Online: What a fucking mess…

Now this is one I just couldn’t miss bitching about. Like seriously, Nintendo have pulled some next level bullshit here… Strap in folks, it’s going to be fast and bumpy.


So, Nintendo have introduced their ‘Nintendo Switch Online’ service for their newest smash hit console and holy fuck balls, they’ve messed it up something wicked… Like seriously, where the hell to begin…

I know, let’s start with the fact that only a select amount of games are actually compatible! Many ridiculously popular titles such as the latest Pokemon Let’s Go releases, Dark Souls: Remastered and the ever quirky Splatoon 2 have been completely excluded from any cloud save functionality, among others. So if for whatever reason your Switch decides to brick and die, then say goodbye to any progress you’ve made, because your saves are gone… Seriously, what in Christ are they thinking?! Granted you can fit select types of SD Cards into your device for removable storage, but still! Unless you’re whacking in a decent sized SD and moving everything over, you’re probably going to end up losing something.

Well, Nintendo have actually commented on this issue, stating that it’s for ‘security reasons’ and to prevent people from tampering and possibly hacking the game… Yeah, just let that one sink in for a moment. Honestly, have you ever heard such bollocks? Not taking into account that this feature has been standard on the PlayStation, Xbox One and PC with the likes of Steam for years, this is the first I’ve ever heard about game tampering being done via a Cloud service. One scenario Nintendo present for example, is a player trading an in-game item, going back to a previous cloud save and tampering to recover their item, whilst still retaining whatever they gained through the transaction… However the fuck that’d be possible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but save games tend to overwrite everything and anything you’ve done beyond that point. Unless Nintendo have some serious security issue with their latest system, I can’t see this scenario being particularly plausible. (And besides, if this kind of tampering could be done to a cloud save, what’s to stop someone doing the same with a physical save? Pop it onto an SD card, quick tamper via a PC and voila.. Your ‘security reasons’ are invalid.)

Anyway, cloud technology has been around for awhile now, there’s plenty of security measures available that have been implemented on other platforms to prevent such bullshit from happening… So why not just do that? I’m no expert, but I’m sure Nintendo have some on the payroll, surely they’ve got some ounce of common sense and skill amongst them? (Apparently not.)

But wait! The tomfuckery gets better!

To top it off, Nintendo have included a monthly fee to their new Switch Online system, costing £3 a month to get the full benefits of the cloud save functionality. However, if for whatever reason a payment is missed on your subscription, your saves will most certainly be deleted. Though a time scale hasn’t been mentioned, the way they’ve been talking it sounds to be almost instantaneous. An FAQ posted on Nintendo’s website states that “Save data stored with Save Data Cloud cannot be kept outside of the duration of your Nintendo Switch Online membership.” So basically, even if you’re using the cloud system, it’s best to keep a hard save just in-case.

Talk about some gestapo level bullshit, Nintendo have gone full dictatorship here… Come on, even Sony give you a 6 month window in which they’ll store your cloud data after payments have ceased. And Microsoft? Well they simply don’t give a shit, holding onto your Xbox data indefinitely, with some people reporting their saves still being present years down the line after having no gold subscription… So what the hell? Nintendo are meant to be the ‘family friendly’ good guy of the game industry, making wholesome classic games… If this was the likes of Activision or EA I’d still be pissed, but certainly not surprised. But to come from these guys, it’s honestly not what I’d expect.

Needless to say, there’s plenty of backlash out there, with many people saying pretty much what I’ve said here. Perhaps the pressure will cause Nintendo to crack and they’ll fix it down the line, but for now the whole system is fucked and most certainly broken.

I don’t personally own a Switch but it’s one I’ve wanted adding to the collection since it was first announced. But after this, the whole thing feels a little soured, so I think I’ma hold off for awhile and see what plays out. If they do end up sorting things out and actually holding on to peoples data (along with including it in EVERY TITLE), then great! I’ll be sure to go grab one. But until then, I’ma just stick with bashing Age of Empires II Remastered on Steam.

Blackout (BO4): Another Beta Review!

Last week I played and reviewed the Battlefield V beta, so I thought it only fitting to take a peek at the latest Black Ops 4 one too! So let’s have a look at Activision’s cheap cash-in to the Battle Royale hype and see if it’s got any chance of taking on the big dogs like PUBG and Fortnite.

I’ma structure this the same way as the last, but one thing I’ve decided to include this time round is my system specs, since plenty reviewers normally do when they’re talking about PC games: (Obviously different system specifications will give different performance results, so what I experienced may be different from you.)

ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM 17.1″ Gaming Laptop.
CPU – Intel i7-6700HQ @ 2.60GHz (Dual Thread Quad.)
RAM – 16GB DDR4 2666mhz.
GPU – NVidia GeForce GTX 970M 3GB GDDR5.

I got to spend a bit more time with the Blackout beta compared to the Battlefield V one, managing to reach Echelon 4 over around 10 hours of playing. (Though the highest I managed to place was 3rd, so no chicken dinner yet. D:) The beta itself finished on PC earlier today, but is still active on XB1 till tomorrow afternoon. (18/09 at 5pm I believe.)

So yeah, let’s get into things!


Graphics & Physics:

Graphics wise it looks okay. Compared to some titles released in the past few years and that of Battlefield V, it’s certainly lacking. If I was to put it on par with anything, I’d say something like Battlefield 3. (Though I’d say it still looks nicer than PUBG.) The flora generation is pretty good, with plenty of bushes and tall grass generated that work effectively for cover whilst you’re moving about the open fields. The textures on the weapons are sweet too, looking particularly more detailed compared to the surrounding environments. Of course the multiple franchise developers have been building upon the ol’ IW Engine for years, an engine that’s always suffered and lagged behind the competition. (Especially when compared to the likes of Frostbite and Unreal Engine 4… Time for an upgrade me thinks!)

In terms of physics, there has been one noticeable and welcome change added… Bullet drop! That’s right folks, a franchise that’s used gravity defying ballistics for years has finally gotten on board and allowed nature to play a part in where your bullet lands. I’d say it compares nicely to Battlefield’s, a series notorious for including this feature, with rounds falling noticeably from your cross-hair the further they travel. This obviously adds a tad to the games skill ceiling and requires more effort and studying of a weapons recoil pattern to nail those kills consistently. (With recoil being improved also, each gun feeling truly distinct from one another in how they operate.)

One thing I have to note in comparison to Battlefield V’s beta is the movement. Everything’s just so much smoother and cleaner in Blackout, with running around, sliding and vaulting over walls feeling genuinely satisfying. Compared to the clunkiness of BFV’s beta, where animation pauses were noticeable and you got caught on every little jut the environment had to offer, this is one thing Treyarch got right. (Though really, nailing movement in an FPS game isn’t something that should have to be praised.) They’ve also included the ability to reload whilst sprinting, something COD has always taken an aversion too. (But once again, a welcome inclusion and fits nice within the overall gameplay style.)


Gameplay:

Now this is where things get interesting. The question everyone’s been asking is will Blackout be able to keep up with, or even surpass the Battle Royale giants PUBG and Fortnite? In my opinion from what I’ve tried… Yes, It’ll definitely compete! (Though a price tag starting at £49.99 may put people off who’re only interested in playing Blackout and not the Multiplayer / Zombies.)

Like other games in the genre, players are dropped into a large open environment, having to scavenge for gear and fight for survival against everyone else till only one remains. (In Blackouts case, the cap is 80.) As expected, the map gradually shrinks over time, with a safe zone being marked out that players scramble to reach. If you’re caught outside the circle, damage is dealt to you over time. (Minor in the early game, drastic in the late stages.) So pretty standard stuff if you’re familiar with the genre.
Like PUBG, Blackout has chosen to include a handful of vehicles to help players get around the large, yet modest map. (Size wise being a bit smaller than Erangel.) You’ve got choices ranging from quad bikes, to military transport trucks and even helicopters! (Of which you and your squad can all occupy and cause havoc!)

When first dropped in, I kept finding nothing but the same 2 – 3 weapons over and over again (mostly a Spitfire or MOG-12), and it stayed that way for a good few games. However, part way through my time playing, an update appeared and when I spawned into my next game, I was greeted with all sorts I hadn’t seen before, from bull-pup rifles to LMG’s like the TITAN. I’m not sure whether this is coincidental or Treyarch decided to do a last second patch introducing more weapons, but either way you’re given plenty to try out! (My personal favourites being the GKS and KN-57.) Oh, and if you like a good attachment or two then you’re in luck! With most weapons ranging from 4 – 6 attachment slots, there’s a fair amount of choice in how you can setup your killing machine. And trust me, it isn’t hard to find them. Many a game I found myself with several attachments and med packs before even finding a weapon! So you’re not going to be short of stocks, sights and fore-grips.

A rarity system has also been implemented, with several rarer, more unique weapons being dotted about in sparce locations. The only ones I was able to find myself were the MP40 and Hellion Salvo; one a classic Nazi favourite, the other a fuck off rocket launcher. (And let me tell you, it works a treat for helicopters!)
One thing I didn’t manage to get my hands on however was a proper sniper rifle. I came across a fair few scopes, ranging from x3 through to full on ‘sniper scopes’ as the game calls them, but no single shot rifles that’d pair nicely. (Sniping with an assault rifle just isn’t the same.) I spent a lot of my time on foot running from building to building rather than using vehicles, so I put in plenty time exploring and hunting gear down. I know they feature in the beta as I’ve seen footage on streams of people using them, so I guess I’m just unlucky. I’d imagine a good bolt action and x5 scope would work lovely!

As is standard with all Call of Duty games, you’re able to carry any two weapons of your choice. You’re also given an inventory system, with 5 slots available to carry your health packs, grenades and upgrades. This can be increased to 10 if you find and equip a backpack, but for the moment there’s only one size available, unlike PlayerUnknown’s. There’s also a slot for armour, coming in 3 different levels and grades of effectiveness, a feature taken straight outta’ PUBG’s gear system. (Though there’s a severe lack of frying pans.)
Health packs are automatically hot-keyed for convenience and can be applied whilst moving (even sprinting!), which is a nice touch and makes surviving more likely in the long run compared to PUBG. (Where you’re forced to stop and heal for anything up to 10 seconds, leaving yourself vulnerable.)

One unique feature in Blackout compared to other Battle Royale titles is the inclusion of ‘perk packs.’ (Don’t know if that’s the official term, but hell that’s what I’m going with!) As the name suggests, they’re packs you find scattered across the map that offer different perks and abilities for a limited duration. From classics like Dead Silence where you move silently, to an ability that increases melee damage whilst giving you health steal for every successful hit. Over all I’ve came across 7 different perk packs, though there could be more I haven’t found! Most I did try however, were at least semi-useful in one way or another. (Though once you’ve got yourself some good base gear, you’ll find them clogging up your inventory pretty quick.)

A quick note to mention is the melee system, with an auto-lock feature being included. This has made things a million times easier in landing punches to your opponents jaw, but if you’re facing off against multiple people just after landing, you may find it locking onto the wrong person accidentally. I can imagine many people will like this inclusion, but for those who don’t I’d expect they’ll include a feature to disable it within the settings. (Though actively putting yourself at a disadvantage compared to the competition.)

Zombies have also made an inclusion, because of course they have… It’s COD… But to be fair, I only came across them twice over what must have been 30+ matches. When I did, it was certainly a different experience to anything I’ve had in any other BR title. I was bunkered down in this house laying some suppressing fire down on a guy out in the courtyard. All of a sudden, several zombies burst up from the ground and started going for both of us. Caught up in the excitement, both me and this guy forgot about each other for a moment and teamed up to take out the undead scourge. (With me popping a bullet into his skull 30 seconds later of course. :P) Afterwards, I found the good ol’ Mystery Box where I was able to take a spin and receive a random weapon… I’d hoped for a Ray Gun, but got a bloody Spitfire, something you can find in abundance around the map… But definitely a nice touch for sure, giving it that unique, Call of Duty twist. (Plus, the Ray Gun Mk.2 would absolutely dominate!)

Finally, in terms of game modes you’re given the standards you’d come to expect with the genre. Solo (what I mainly stuck with), duo and quad. (Don’t know if they forgot the S, or just went with quad to be different.) Every time I clicked to be put in a game, no matter what team size I chose I ended up being placed into a lobby within 30 seconds, games being relatively lag free. (Even whilst the missus streamed away on Netflix, so good signs for their servers!) Compare this to my time with Battlefield V’s beta, where I experienced regular ping spikes and sometimes waited 10 minutes for an active game, all seems promising for things to come. (Sort your servers out EA!)

The Map:

Now a crucial part to any gaming experience is the setting, and personally though I find the Blackout’s map to be alright, it’s certainly nothing outstanding. (Feeling once again very similar to PUBG’s original map, Erangel.)

Though the layout is obviously different and on a smaller scale, when running around I didn’t feel there to be any real sense of where you were. Unless you were slap bang inside one of the named locations, all you’re greeted with are open fields, hills and incredibly similar huts and houses. Now Treyarch have included a few Easter eggs and throwbacks, such as the blasted remains of Nuketown being placed upon the aptly named ‘Nuketown Island’, to maps like Firing Range and Estate also being featured. I think this is a pretty nice touch and allows players to fight again in some of their favourite settings, but with that BR twist!
There’s a fair amount of open areas with plenty room for new zones to be added or existing ones built upon (just as Epic Games have with Fortnite, rather than releasing multiple maps), so who knows? I’m sure we’ll see a few other fan favourites pop up down the line.

As I said, in terms of the size Blackout’s map sits comfortably between Fortnite’s and Erangel. Though some people have complained saying they hoped for something bigger, I think it’s just right. Big enough to justify the inclusion of vehicles, but not too large where you couldn’t run from one side to another in a match if you needed to. The terrain itself is pretty varied with plenty of valleys and hillsides, providing an abundance of natural cover and vantage points for the opportunist player. One thing that is noticeable throughout is the lack of a mini-map, something that would be a welcome inclusion for sure, finding myself referencing the main map far often than I normally would in these kind of games.

A final, but nice touch to mention are the sneaky little spots and crevices hidden around the map. For example, I came across a vent tucked into the corner of a building, concealed by a couple bushes but able to be crawled through. Upon doing so, I was gifted on the other side with a rare weapon, the legendary MP40 and a set of Level 3 Armour.. A good find indeed! Having them tucked away and harder to obtain makes finding them all the more rewarding, even if I did only come across two during my entire time playing. You can also find chests placed strategically around the map, many including these rare weapons along with plenty other goodies! And as expected, you’ve got supply crates being air dropped regularly, being lit up with a bright red smoke signal upon landing. (Plenty of rewards to gain, but a risky move as players swarm to it with the same mentality.)

Right then, let’s summarise!

Overall, I quite enjoyed my time with the Blackout beta. Though I found myself preferring the Fortnite experience overall compared to PUBG, this is one that could definitely grab and hold my attention. (Especially if they plan to include more maps and game-modes down the line.. 40 v 40 would be cool!)

Will I be purchasing Black Ops 4 to play it? No, probably not… The only way I’d pick this up is if they gave us the option to purchase Blackout separately, without charging us stupid money. (Or they could y’know, give us it for free and include those micro-transactions they know and love… So long as they’re not pay to win of course… Ugh.)
I still feel that having a Battle Royale mode feature in the likes of Call of Duty is cheap, especially when it’s replacing the single player campaign! (Once again, the only artistic flair this franchise had left. They could have quite easily continued on the Black Ops story line, but noooooo…) But hey, that’s Activision… What’d you expect? Anything to keep the money rolling in and the pennies out your pocket.

And to top it all off, the DLC system has been changed this time round, with all planned releases to be tied specifically to the season pass. Put simply, this means if you want to keep getting any new content down the line, you’re forced to purchase the season pass whether you want it or not, rather then being able to go, pick and choose what you want to buy and avoid any content you’re not interested in.
As expected this has caused quite the backlash, with many accusing the likes of Activision and EA ‘splitting the community’ with constant paid DLC releases, meaning that many players can’t always be in the same match due to one not having the appropriate content installed. I remember back in the good ol’ days on PC when I was playing the first Modern Warfare, a gem in the series and Call of Duty at it’s height. (Not including the beauty that is MW2.) All content released like the China Town map were 100% free! At the time I had mates at school who were also playing but on console, and they were forced to pay! At the time I thought this was ridiculous, little did 15 year old me know how badly things would spiral and get progressively more greedy as time went on… Welcome to the game industry folks!

But yeah, I didn’t get the chance to try the MP beta, what with it being exclusive to select pre-order customers, but I’d imagine you’re going to get the classic COD experience we all know. (Though with more boots on the ground action, removing the wall running and exo suits apparently.) If you like the Battle Royale experience, particularly PUBG, then I think you’d quite enjoy Blackout. But I certainly wouldn’t say it’s worth the minimum £49.99 price tag you’re forced to pay… Maybe when the price’s dropped. (If the game still has a community by then.)

Well that’s it! Hope you’ve enjoyed, until next time have a good one! 🙂

Vaping 101: A Beginners Guide!

So I used to smoke quite a bit. I remember being 15 years old and going with my mate to the local ‘tab wifey’ and getting a few illegal regals, my first real venture into the world of smoking. From there I continued to smoke for a good 5 years, trying a couple times along the way to quit. (Patches made me sick and the inhalators were quite simply bollocks..) But then, I discovered vaping! I’ve now been smoke free and using a vape knocking 6 years now, working in a vape shop for the past couple years. So I thought I’d share some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years! If you’re looking to quit smoking and venture into the world of vaping, then welcome to class 101! Take a seat.

Before I get into the main stuff, one thing I’d like to quickly cover is where to actually get your first e-cigarette. If you are thinking of quitting smoking then great! You’re already taking the right step by reading this! (I’d like to think.) However, one thing I’d strongly recommend against doing is buying your first kit online. Find yourself a good, well reviewed local vape shop, pop in and try some stuff out!

Having the knowledge of someone with experience is key to finding the right device! Too many times I’ve had people say that they’ve tried vaping and failed, because they went and bought entirely the wrong kind of kit and liquid without any prior research. If you don’t get things right at step one, chances are you’ll fail. (And most people who do rarely go back to try a second time.) Some stores even have some testers setup for you to try different styles of device and flavours, so you can make sure what you’re getting is going to be what’s best for you! Amazon? Not so much.

So what is an e-cigarette?

Kind of does what it says on the tin, but basically your standard e-cigarette consists of these parts:

Tank / Atomiser:

Tanks come in all shapes and sizes, and I’m not talking about the kind on tracks with big fucking guns. This is the section that sits on the top of your device and contains the liquid. You have several kinds of tanks; Mouth to lung Atomisers, Sub Ohms and the likes of RDA’s and RTA’s. (Some terms you won’t quite get, but we’ll explain everything as it goes.)

You fill them up with liquid, pop them on your battery and away you go! Wattage is an important factor in a tanks performance, with different ones requiring different wattage ranges, but we’ll cover that in a bit.

Battery Unit:

As the name suggests, the battery unit is what powers your device. Most are rechargeable nowadays (bar a few disposable systems out there) and come in all shapes and sizes. You’ve got the eGo style pen batteries that are most commonly used on starter devices, to large ‘mods’ that take separate batteries and can pump out some serious wattage. (These being designed for larger, sub ohm devices and re-buildable setups.)

I mentioned wattage, because some mods will allow you to adjust the power output, resulting in a stronger or weaker hit depending on the tank and coil you’re using. (Each coming with their own recommended wattage ranges.) Not every device features this capability however, with some hosting just a single button to activate. These style devices normally have a maximum or set wattage output and will therefore only work with certain tanks and atomisers.

Coil:

The coil is where the magic happens. This is a replaceable unit housed within the tank that actually vaporises the e-liquid. Most tanks will take a coil system (bar disposable devices once again) but these will naturally need to be replaced every 1 – 4 weeks, depending on the kind of setup and liquid you’re using. A coils construction consists of a central metal wire wound into a coil (hence the name) with surrounding cotton. The cotton absorbs the liquid as it’s put into the tank and when the coil heats, it’s vaporised.

This is one thing I’ve seen a lot of people overlook in the early days of vaping, with some months down the line complaining of flavour issues not even realising that they needed to replace anything! This is down to the cotton naturally burning over time from the constant heat, along with any sugars in the e-liquids caramelising, thus being burned as well. (Don’t panic! Doesn’t do you any harm if you do accidentally vape a burned coil, but won’t be the most pleasant of experiences.)

So to anyone who is thinking about starting vaping, remember.. Keep an eye on your coil!

Alright, now that I’ve covered some of the basics of the components themselves (don’t worry, don’t need to know the whole in’s and out’s straight off), we’ll move onto the different types of vapes out there, along with pro’s and con’s for each.

Mouth to Lung (MTL) Device:

An MTL device is the most commonly used starter kit and are designed to closely simulate the overall experience and sensation of a real cigarette. They’re normally small, skinny pen devices with a tight draw that hits the throat and tend to be used with a higher strength nicotine. You can get larger MTL devices with adjustable battery power, but for a first device most people tend to stick with a basic single button kit.


As the name suggests, a Mouth to Lung should be used as such. You take a long, slow draw upon the device, take it back to your lungs then exhale, the same as how you’d normally smoke. (I know this sounds like a daft thing to explain, but sub ohms are also known as ‘Direct to Lung’, where you simply take it straight back.) It’s because of this that these style kits are by far the best thing to begin with. Me personally though I’ve sub ohm’d for years, a MTL was the best thing I ever bought to properly quit smoking. (And has worked for countless customers over the years.)

As I said, these devices are best used with a higher nicotine strength, and this is another key part to why they work in helping people quit. You will find however, that as you progress down the strengths you’ll start to feel less and less on your throat. It’s at that point, people tend to get curious and venture for a bigger, more powerful sub ohm device.

Quick summary!

Pro’s:
– Tight draw & throat hit like a real cigarette.
– Cheaper and more cost effective.
– Longer average coil life.
– Works well for high nicotine strength.
– Similar vapor production to that of cigarette smoke.

Con’s:
– Usually have smaller battery mAh capacity.
– Lose effectiveness with lower nicotine strengths.

Now before we move on, I’m going to quickly touch on what I’d consider a sub-category to the Mouth to Lung experience…

Pod Systems:

Aah, the JUUL. Even if you haven’t vaped, if you live in the States chances are you’ve heard of them. Though these aren’t the only pod systems on the market, they’re by far the most popular, generating $224 million a year on average.


The main difference with pod systems is that instead of buying a bottle of liquid and refilling a tank, you buy a pack of pre-filled pods and pop them onto the battery unit. This isn’t true for every pod system however, with the likes of the Breeze 2 allowing you to still buy coils and liquid to swap out as and when you please. Another key difference with your average pod system is that unlike most devices that require the push of a button to fire, these will activate simply as you draw upon them. (Helping to simulate the cigarette experience even better!)

With most pods usually coming in a high nicotine content (and some like the JUUL including salts), along with the drag activated styling, these devices can be ideal for heavier smokers to make the switch, a nigh on perfect simulation of smoking!

The only downside I’ve really got is the price point. Most pods tend to range between 1ml – 2ml capacity and come in a pack of 4, meaning you can blast through them fairly quick. (JUUL, make a bigger bloody device!) And when the price point is anywhere between £10 – £13 a pack, you’re looking at almost the same price as smoking. Compare this to a regular MTL pen where you can re-fill it with any liquid (some costing as little as £1), you’re looking at a much pricier experience.

Summary time!

Pro’s:
– Closest experience to a real cigarette.
– Small, portable devices.
– Tight draw & throat hit.
– High nicotine content. (Plenty nic salt pods too!)
– Small, discreet vapor production.

Con’s:
– Very small battery mAh capacity on average.
– More expensive to run, many systems being similar prices to smoking.
– Found more frequent misfires with pod systems compared to any other device type.

Well, let’s move on to the big boys!

Sub Ohm Devices:

The good ol’ sub ohm, an iconic member of the vaping family and something I’m sure you’ve all seen. Guy walking down the street chucking out more clouds than the Flying Scotsman, big box in his hand the guilty source of it all. That’s me! (See my cloud chucker below, from a quick jaunt to the local! And my favourite liquid, Deep Fried Donut by Donut King. <3)

These are the big chunky devices pumping out some serious power, dense clouds and top knotch flavour! (Shout out to the HorizonTech Falcon!) Now, the ridiculously large clouds are a bi-product of design choice, with sub ohms opting for a much larger air flow slit and a wider bore mouth piece. Because of this more airy experience, you don’t want to use too high a nicotine strength, unless you don’t mind feeling like you’ve swallowed several cheese graters whilst simultaneously developing asthma. (No more than 6mg tops!)

It’s because of this I wouldn’t recommend these devices to a smoker looking to quit, unless they were very casual to begin with, only smoking a few a day max. Someone who’s a heavy smoker won’t get the satisfaction they’d normally expect and just end up coughing their lungs out first toke. Normally, it’s something people progress too after a year or two using a MTL.

You’ll tend to find that these devices are capable of delivering a much richer experience in terms of flavour, with some tanks being designed for just that! As I also mentioned, different tanks and coils run at different wattage ranges, just like different mods are capable of delivering different levels of power. You’ll find that with a lower wattage experience, your liquid won’t drain quite as fast. Pump it into the 60+ range, you’re going to start blasting through juice and get a much warmer experience, along with some rather dense clouds!

Most of these devices also include multiple levels of safety regulations, from reverse polar protection (so you can’t blow yourself up if you put your batteries in the wrong way) along with making sure you don’t over-drain your batteries or short out from a dodgy coil or build. Mech mods are the total opposite, with little to no regulations present and everything being battery fed, meaning you need a basic understanding of ohms law so as to not use the wrong build with the wrong kind of battery. (Though not something I’d recommend a beginner to venture into.)

Summary!

Pro’s:
– Larger battery mAh capacity on average.
– Far superior flavour to MTL & Pod Systems.
– More liquids on market suited for sub ohms.

Con’s:
– Silly large clouds. (May be a pro for some people, though personally I can take or leave it.)
– Airy draw, doesn’t simulate cigarette experience.
– Restricted nicotine strength. (Seriously, don’t go above 6mg..)

Like mech’s, there’s a few other niche kinds of vape out there. You’ve got re-buildable decks, where you wrap your own coils using special wire and wick the cotton yourself, rather than constantly buying pre-built ones. These can range from RDA’s (drippers), where you drip liquid direct onto the cotton, allowing you to dive between multiple flavours. You’ve also got RTA’s, where you still build your own coils but a tank section is also present to hold your liquid, a lot more convenient then constantly dripping if you’re on the go! (You can even get a combination of both with an RDTA, but not my cup of tea.)

A final interesting form of vape is the ‘Squonk’, in which your mod (normally a mech) contains a bottle which can hold a fair amount of liquid, with tubing leading up to an RDA deck. This allows you to build your own coil in a dripper style, but have your liquid fed in from the bottle below, squeezing it now and again to top up the cotton. (Though these have sadly just been made illegal to sell in the UK / EU as per TPD regulations… Kill joys!)

But as with mech mods, I wouldn’t recommend any of these to a beginner. Definitely something to look into after gaining a bit of experience, but you don’t want to dive in too deep!

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the hardware, let’s move on to liquids, what they’re composed of and what works best with each kit style:

What’s actually in your average E-Liquid?

Your standard, regulated e-liquid contains 3 to 4 ingredients; Propelyne Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, Flavouring Concentrates (all regulated, some natural) and Nicotine. I say 3 to 4 because the nicotine is optional, with shortfills being mandatory under TPD. This basically means that any bottle above a 10ml capacity must contain 0mg nicotine, with shots sold separate that can be added. (Though you can buy pre-mixed liquids in a 10ml or below format.) So let’s have a quick look at each ingredient!

Propelyne Glycol:

Propelyne Glycol is a chemical additive from the same family as alcohol. Apart from e-liquid, PG is used primarily as an a food additive and in some cosmetic products. In terms of e-liquid, it’s the thinner of the two main ingredients and a higher PG liquid will normally look more watery. You’ll also find that a higher PG liquid will give you a slightly heavier throat hit than that of a higher VG. (We’ll get to ratio’s in a moment.)

The US and European Food Authorities have declared Propelyne Glycol to be generally safe for ingestion and has so far shown to cause no issues. By itself, it’s practically flavourless and odourless, bar a very mild sweetness.

Vegetable Glycerin:

The second primary component in an e-liquid, VG is a basic polyol compound and is a widespread ingredient used in multiple products, ranging from toothpaste, soap, herbal remedies and many more. As I said, it’s a much thicker liquid than PG and has a rather sweet smell and taste. It really helps to enhance the flavour in e-liquids, along with helping to produce denser, larger clouds. (VG being the main ingredient used in smoke machines.)

Once again, US and EU Food Authorities have deemed it perfectly safe for human consumption, to the point of being used in many pharmaceutical products.

Flavourings:

Now the range of flavourings available for e-liquid is abundant, with literally hundreds upon hundreds of different flavour profiles out there, each with their own unique twist. Some are natural, with companies experimenting with infusing real blueberry juice into their liquids for the truest, most natural experience possible. Any artificial flavourings used are tried and tested and will be something you’ve no doubt already ingested via some form of food product.

When vaped, so far there’s been no evidence to suggest any harm, so long as all flavourings used are FDA regulated. (Which 99% of liquids on the market are.)

Nicotine:

Aah nicotine, the one ingredient that gets the most flak and seems to scare people off the most. Though highly addictive, nicotine in low dosages (like featured in vapes, the highest permitted by TPD being a mere 2.0%) is fairly harmless. Though I wouldn’t recommend getting hands on with 100% pure nicotine, it’s something you’ll rarely come by, especially in any vape product.

A stimulant and alkali, when fed into your system nicotine gives you a satisfying relief from any cravings you were experiencing, relaxing you and taking the edge off. Of course, this feeds the issue because if you didn’t have any to begin with, you wouldn’t be craving anything.

As I said, 0mg liquids are available if you want to go down that route, where you’ll get all the flavour and vape production, minus the throat hit and addiction. (Though again, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking to quit smoking. Work your way down over time.. Christ, I’ve vaped for nearly 6 years and I still use 0.3% strength!)

So what are these ratios, and what works with what?

So, I was talking about liquids being either high PG or VG. This is because you can include more of one than the other, giving you different ratios of ingredient content. (70 / 30 being the most common, one way or another.)

Let’s look at the different ratio’s and what kind of kit you should be using them with!

High PG:

High PG is any liquid that has a higher content of Propelyne Glycol than Vegetable Glycerin. These liquids are more commonly suited for an MTL style device, what with them running at a lower wattage and the liquid being thinner, therefore being easier to vape. With the PG also enhancing the throat it, you’ll find that these liquids won’t be particularly enjoyable in a sub ohm device. (On top of wrecking your coils along with possible leaking issues.)

Most pre-filled pod systems will be using either a high PG or a 50/50 mixture, but some refillable pod systems will have the option for a MTL or sub ohm style coil, so best to double check which one you’re using!

High VG:

As you’d guess, a high VG liquid has a higher content of Vegetable Glycerin. Due to the increased amount of VG, these liquids are a lot thicker and are better suited to a higher wattage, sub ohm device. With the lower PG content, you’ll get less of a throat hit too, meaning it won’t be as intense pairing with the larger airflow. With the increased viscosity and lower throat hit, these liquids aren’t ideal for a MTL device. The lower wattage’s will struggle to heat the coil enough to properly vape the juice, causing clogging issues and your coil burning out twice as fast.

Again, with pod systems double check and see if a sub ohm coil is available. If so, get chucking those clouds!

50/50 Blend:

Finally, you’ve got 50/50’s. Straight down the middle, they’ve got even amounts of both VG and PG. These liquids are quite versatile and can run in both device styles, but I still find them to be better suited towards a MTL pen or a pod style system. If you’ve got an ohm reading in the higher ranges (0.6 – 0.8) you should be fine, but if you’re rocking a high wattage 0.16 resistance sub ohm, you might still find it to be a tad harsher, even at the lower strengths, along with a reduced coil life.

Multiple times throughout I’ve mentioned nicotine strength, so as you may guess you can buy your liquids with varying nicotine contents. In the UK, these commonly range as follows:

– 0mg
– 3mg (2 – 4 Cigarette’s a day.)
– 6mg (5 – 8 Cigarette’s a day.)
– 12mg (9 – 14 Cigarette’s a day.)
– 18mg (15+ Cigarette’s a day.)

I’ve included what strength’s I’d recommend to people based upon the amount of cigarette’s they’d smoke a day on average. So if you’re curious, there you go! As with PG / VG blends, there’s certain kinds of kit you want to stick with depending on your preferred nicotine strengths. With a sub ohm for example, due to the high wattage and airflow, anything above a 6mg is brave to say the least, as it’ll give you a throat hit similar to that taking back a King Edward cigar. On the flip side, I find that once you drop to 6mg or below in a MTL device, you get better flavour but really lose out on any sort of throat hit. Once you reach this strength, I’d personally advise moving into sub ohm territory.

Now that we’ve gone over the more ‘sciencey’ bit, it’s worth noting that there’s an absolute plethora of flavours out there, some being absolutely spectacular! (And others utterly foul, heh.) You’ve got ones ranging from your basic tobacco’s, menthol’s (fruity or otherwise) and desserts galore with every cake, donut and ice cream imaginable! (My personal favourites!)
In my experience, most new vapers tend to lean towards the tobacco or menthol route since it’s closer to smoking the real thing, but some do occasionally dive straight in and attempt to distance themselves from the stinkies all together with a good vanilla custard or fruit salad.

Well, I’d say we’ve covered mostly everything. Just a couple final things to note…

I’ve talked about coils a few times throughout this guide and if there’s one key thing to note, it’s about priming up before use. So when you get yourself a brand new coil, the last thing you want to do is fire it up immediately after filling your tank. The cotton will have had no time to absorb any liquid and you’re looking at a burnt out coil in one little press of a button.

The trick is to pop a few drips of juice onto any exposed cotton you see before putting your coil back in and filling up. (Try not to go too crazy though, otherwise you’ll flood the coil and get a mouth full of juice first pull!) Once you’ve done that, I’d recommend taking a few dry tokes on your tank without pressing any buttons just to pull the juice deep into the cotton, then leave it standing for a good 5 minutes. This ensures that every possible spot of cotton gets saturated, giving you a good experience from the off without burning anything out.

Make sure to start on the lower end of the wattage range too then work your way up, rather than jumping straight up to 100W.. If you don’t ease your coils in, you’re going to be looking at a pretty short life expectancy. (The coils.. Not you.)

And again, make sure to get yourself into a good, reputable vape shop! There’s too many examples out there of people opening up vape stores purely down to the hype and to make some money, without having any knowledge or passion for the industry. If you get the right vape shop with the right person behind the counter who’s got honest, knowledgeable advice and doesn’t try to up-sell you, you’re off to a good start! If you really must go down the route of ordering online, then make sure to do some research! (Which you obviously have if you’ve got this far!)

But no, go and check out reviews for any kits you’re interested in and look up some videos on YouTube. There’s plenty of knowledgeable, honest and down to earth reviewers out there who can give some great advice and steer you in the right direction.. At the very end of this, I’ll pop some recommendations and links to some kits I’d personally recommend for people to get started with! 🙂

So yeah, that’s it! I hope this has helped in some way, and if you are looking to quit smoking and venture down the road of vaping then I wish you the best of luck! It can be a tough road, but with the right piece of kit and a positive mindset, there’s no reason you can’t conquer that habit, save yourself some money and your health! (I was going to include a segment on the health benefits, but there’s a fair bit to go through so I’ll do a separate post. If you are interested, then here’s an article from Public Health England going through some in’s and out’s about all the recent studies conducted.)

And if you’re wondering about the money saving aspects, then it purely depends how far you take it! In the early days, I found myself saving a small fortune compared to what I was spending on pouches of tobacco, skins and filters. (For example, you can get a decent MTL kit for around £15 and a 10ml TPD bottle for as little as £1.) Once it becomes a hobby however, things can get a tad more expensive.. But that’s purely down to you! (If you’re like me, you’ll have at least 8.. And they’re rookie numbers compared to some people I know!)

As promised, here’s a few recommendations for some good starter setups: (All links are for UK shipping only, though Google is your friend! ;D)

Mouth to Lung (Anyone looking for that cigarette experience.)

Pen Style:
Innokin T18E Starter Pen
Order Here

Adjustable Style:
Innokin Kroma Zenith 75W Kit
Order Here

Sub Ohm (For clouds, flavour and low nicotine strengths.)

Pen Style:
Smok Vape Pen 22
Order Here

Adjustable Style:
Voopoo Mojo 88W Kit
Order Here

Thanks and have a good one! 🙂