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  1. Today
  2. The world of turn-based strategy games just got a new player, as former Firaxis developer Greg Foertsch revealed his new studio Bit Reactor. The studio is made up of other Firaxis alumni, as well as talent pulled from other studios. Greg Foertsch was previously a Firaxis art director, who spent over 20 years employed at the studio. His many credits on Firaxis games include XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2, and Sid Meyer's Civilization III and Civilization IV. It's no surprise that Foertsch is sticking to the turn-based strategy genre at Bit Reactor, revealing in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz that he has big plans for the future of the studio, and the genre as a whole. "The whole genre started to fall backwards while not having enough production values and it got dropped a bit," Foertsch explained. "There are ways to tell stories and convey information that doesn't require a wall of text. That's what we're focused on--bringing that to the genre, and really blurring that line between what a strategy game is and what an action game is." Foertsch's goals for the studio are ambitious, saying that he wants Bit Reactor to take home a "Game of the Year" title. "We expect to go head to head with Halo or whoever is out there, just like we did in 2012 [with XCOM: Enemy Unknown]," Foertsch elaborated. Reports say Bit Reactor already has multiple unannounced games in the works, though the new studio isn't ready to share details on any specific titles yet. Foertsch has said that the studio's focus will be on providing a good experience for a tactics game on both console and PC, but that he is "super interested" in the potential cross-play and mobile platforms hold for the genre. View the full article
  3. Inflexion Games, a Canadian game studio made up of ex-Bioware developers and headed by former Bioware GM Aaryn Flynn, announced its first game Nightingale at last year's Game Awards. At first glance, the survival crafting game doesn't seem to have much in common with the types of games Bioware is known for--but Flynn says the team have taken a number of important lessons from Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and even Anthem in developing Nightingale. In a new interview with IGN, Flynn has explained how Nightingale ended up the project it is today, from its first conception and even further back in his history as Bioware's general manager. While Flynn says that Nightingale won't have the "narrative spine" of a game like Mass Effect, there was still plenty of lessons the team could take from the Bioware style of game development. "We think we can take a lot of lessons learned from Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and even Anthem," Flynn explained. "And say, 'How can we build a world that has survival crafting gameplay in it, but still provides that tremendous umbrella of lore and rich conceits, that make it just a compelling place to be in that space?'" Flynn also said that Nightingale will lean into the idea of player choice, something Bioware games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age are well known for. While the choices in Nightingale may not take the same form due to the differences in genre, Flynn said the important aspect was making players feel like their decisions had real weight and impact on the game's world. "I think one thing that great RPGs, and these survival sandbox games should have in common is this notion of autonomy," Flynn said. "That players feel like [they] get to do what [they] want in this world. And we can only offer so much; there are always going to be invisible walls and things like that. But the more we can, as developers, offer autonomy and real meaningful chances to impact and change the world of the game, and see those choices reflected back in compelling ways, the better a job we've done." Another lesson Flynn has brought with him from Bioware comes from another former Bioware developer, Mike Laidlaw--this time about how to make sure the game finds its intended audience. "A former colleague of mine, Michael Laidlaw, who was the creative director on Dragon Age: Inquisition had a great phrase he used to use that always resonated with me," Flynn explained. "When it came to things like marketing the games... he used to say, 'I just wish we'd have a marketing campaign that was, "Here's our game. I hope you like it."' And that's really what it comes down to." Nightingale is currently planned to release in early access on PC sometime in 2022. Players who are interested in checking the game out early can register for closed beta testing, which is due to begin in the next few months. View the full article
  4. Have A Nice Death, the hand-drawn indie roguelite that was announced at last year's Game Awards, now has an official release date. Developer Magic Design Studios will launch on March 8 via Steam early access, for a price of $15. The so-called "hack'n'scythe" 2D roguelite puts players in the role of Death, the founder and CEO of Death, Incorporated, a huge company responsible for processing the souls of the deceased. As Death, players will have to fight through the company headquarters in a bid to subdue a number of Death, Inc. employees who have been collecting more souls than the company can handle. The game's bosses are made up of the company's heads of department, who are also called Sorrows. The game will initially release on Steam and Valve's Steam Deck, when it becomes available. Players can wishlist the game on Steam now in anticipation of the early access release on March 8. On its Steam page, Magic Design Studios says the game is intended to stay in early access for around a year before the full version is released, with the studio saying it's "been excited about creating a game with the help of our players." View the full article
  5. League of Legends' first new champion for 2022, Zeri, the Spark of Zaun, arrives this week on January 20, along with the rest of the updates included in patch 12.2. With Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger coming up on February 1, the patch includes a number of event-themed skins and chromas, as well as the return of ARURF for a limited time. The patch introduces new champion Zeri, who boasts an electricity-themed kit including a shield that buffs her move speed, an electric pulse that slows enemies, and a dash that gives Zeri the ability to vault over terrain. Zeri will launch on January 20 when Patch 12.2 drops, along with her Withered Rose skin. A huge number of skins and chromas are also being added for League's Lunar New Year event, with five champions getting new Porcelain skins and another five getting Firecracker skins. The full list of new Lunar New Year skins includes Porcelain Protector Ezreal, Porcelain Lissandra, Porcelain Amumu, Porcelain Lux, Porcelain Kindred, Firecracker Sett, Firecracker Diana, Firecracker Teemo, Firecracker Tristana, and Firecracker Xin Zhao. The event will also include Prestige Edition skins for Porcelain Lux and Brave Phoenix Xayah. While a number of champion tweaks are included with this patch, Janna is receiving a more in-depth champion refresh, with the patch notes pointing out that "Janna just hasn't felt very rewarding to play over the past few seasons, especially when compared to other enchanter options in bot lane." Riot is also bringing All Random Ultra Rapid Fire mode, or ARURF, back for the Lunar New Year event. The patch notes promise a few surprises on top of what players might expect from previous ARURF runs, saying "we added a flipper full of changes to a couple of runes and a few surprises to the Awesome Buff of Awesomely Awesome Buffing's tooltip." Check out the full patch notes below, including Champion balance tweaks, item tweaks, bug fixes, and quality of life changes: League of Legends Patch 12.2 #Champions +++ Zeri The Spark of Zaun Zip, zap, and zoom across Summoner's Rift with Zeri on January 20! --- +++ Janna Base stats and all abilities adjusted. Janna just hasn't felt very rewarding to play over the past few seasons, especially when compared to other enchanter options in bot lane. We wanted to approach this mid-scope update to her while staying true to her classic playstyle and identity. In particular, we believe Janna's ally shielding and peel are what makes her appealing to most enchanter players, so we've shifted some power from her W and poke damage into her Es and Qs. We also made a few nice little QoL changes here and there in hopes of blowing you away~ ###Base Stats Move Speed :: 315 >>> 330 Base AD :: 46-71.5 >>> 52-103 AD Growth :: 1.5 >>> 3 Basic Attack Range :: 550 >>> 500 Passive - Tailwind TAILWIND :: Janna gains 8% bonus move speed only while moving toward allied champions. (Bonus move speed for allied champions moving towards Janna unchanged.) FAST & FURIOUS :: Janna's basic attacks and W - Zephyr no longer deal bonus magic damage based on her bonus move speed Q - Howling Gale Cost :: 60/90/100/120/140 mana >>> 60/70/80/90/100 mana Minimum Range :: 1000 >>> 1100 Maximum Range :: 1750 >>> 1760 Time to Destination :: 1.5 seconds >>> 1.25 seconds W - Zephyr Range :: 550 (from edge to edge) >>> 650 (centered) Slow Duration :: 2 seconds >>> 3 seconds Cooldown :: 8/7.5/7/6.5/6 seconds >>> 12 seconds at all ranks Base Damage :: 55/85/115/145/175 >>> 70/100/130/160/190 Bonus Move Speed :: 6/7/8/9/10% >>> 8/9/10/11/12% E - Eye of the Storm A FRIENDLY FORECAST :: Innate - Whenever Janna's abilities slow or knock up at least one enemy champion, ||| E - Eye of the Storm's cooldown is reduced by 20% >>> she receives +20% heal and shield power for 5 seconds Shield :: 80/115/150/185/220 (+70% AP) >>> 80/110/140/170/200 (+65% AP) Cooldown :: 16/15/14/13/12 seconds >>> 15/13.5/12/10.5/9 seconds Shield Decay Starts After :: 0.75 seconds >>> 1.25 seconds R - Monsoon Healing Tick Rate :: 0.5 seconds >>> 0.25 seconds (total heal amount unchanged) --- +++ Lulu W cooldown increased. Lulu's been queen of the bot lane for quite some time now—especially at the highest levels of play—so we're reducing access to her most versatile spell just a pinch! W - Whimsy Cooldown :: 16/15/14/13/12 seconds >>> 17/16/15/14/13 seconds --- +++ Nocturne Health growth increased. Q damage ratio increased. Nocturne has been a nightmare to play as in all skill brackets, regardless of his builds or runes. We're buffing him with some scaling power, so he can become more useful as the game progresses, rather than just relying on his ultimate as his only way to say lights out. ###Base Stats Health Growth :: 85 >> 95 Q - Duskbringer Bonus AD Ratio :: 75% >>> 85% --- +++ Qiyana Base health regen decreased. Brush Q zone duration decreased. Qiyana is dominating Elite play quite a bit right now. We're reducing how much time she gets to spend being invisible in a fight, which should help lower some frustration when playing against the Empress of the Elements. ###Base Stats Base Health Regeneration :: 7.5 >>> 6 Q - Edge of Ixtal Grass Trail Zone Duration :: 3.5 seconds >>> 3 seconds --- +++ Rengar R passive now enables leaping from camouflage. As a primary jungler, this battle kitty has been suffering a lot on the Chemtech Rift. While he's not the only champion affected, Rengar has certainly gotten the worst of it as so much of his power budget is dedicated to his passive's interaction with brush. Removing 12 spots of it is incredibly disruptive—not just to his core farming pattern, but his entire gameplay, really—so we're giving him a new way to pounce and prowl. No catnip needed. (Note that this passive is on his R and only takes effect once he ranks up his ultimate.) R - Thrill of the Hunt HIDE AND LEAP :: Innate - Rengar can leap to enemies with his next basic attack when he is in camouflage --- +++ Samira R base damage increased. Now that her mid-game transition is less reliable with the Shieldbow nerfs, we're giving Samira a bit more baseline potential in her R so she can snowball in style. R - Inferno Trigger Physical Damage per Shot :: 0/10/20 (+50% AD) >>> 5/15/25 (+50% AD) Total Damage per Target :: 0/100/200 (+500% AD) >>> 50/150/250 (+500% AD) --- +++ Senna Q passive now empowers basic attacks with slows. Senna is quite weak this season, especially when she builds for DPS. The old Glacial Augment was a crucial part of that playstyle and since it no longer procs off Senna's basic attacks, we're adding some utility back into her kit. Q - Absolution LOW VISIBILITY :: Innate - Senna's basic attacks now slow enemies by 20% (+6% per 100 AP) (+10% per 100 bonus AD) for 2 seconds --- +++ Shen Q damage decreased. With the changes to Teleport in 12.1, Shen has once again become king when it comes to map influence from top lane. To bring things back to equilibrium, we're lowering his damage as a duelist instead of bringing down his cross-map power so that his unique, global presence remains his most powerful tool. Q - Twilight Assault Increased Bonus Damage :: 10-40 (+6 every 3 levels) (+5/5.5/6/6.5/7% (+2% per 100 AP) of target's max health) >>> 10-40 (+6 every 3 levels) (+4/4.5/5/5.5/6% (+2% per 100 AP) of target's max health) --- +++ Tahm Kench Q slow increased. E adjusted; damage stored as grey health decreased (unless near multiple enemies). R ally shield increased; now grants move speed upon devouring ally. We did a mini-rework of Tahm Kench back in 11.13 because his old kit held huge advantages in highly coordinated team play. Our goal back then was to lower his priority in Pro pick/ban while putting him in a place where he could have a fun playstyle, as well as reasonable winrates in both of his roles. (Historically, his top lane winrate has been higher than that of his support.) The rework is looking pretty good so far in terms of Pro play as he doesn't have nearly as much priority there as he used to. When it comes to his winrates, the rework didn't dramatically affect the difference between his support versus top capabilities, but it did highlight the gap. This left support Tahm Kench players feeling like the catfish was no longer viable in their role. Now that we've had some time to observe all of these effects together, we're willing to take a riskier swing to buff support Kench while nerfing his top lane capabilities to keep him in check up there. Q - Tongue Lash Enemy Slow :: 40% >>> 50% E - Thick Skin Amount of Damage Stored into Grey Health :: 45/50/55/60/65% >>> 15/25/35/45/55%, increased to 45/50/55/60/65% if there are 2 or more visible enemy champions nearby (dead or alive) Amount of Healing Restored from Grey Health :: 30-100% (levels 1-18) >>> 45-100% (levels 1-18) R - Devour Ally Shield Upon Devour :: 400/500/600 (+100% AP) >>> 500/700/900 (+150% AP) Move Speed Upon Devouring Ally :: Slows Tahm Kench by 30/20/10% while ally is swallowed >>> Grants Tahm Kench 40% move speed for 3 seconds (regardless of swallow duration) --- +++ Talon W monster damage ratio decreased. We introduced Talon jungle in 11.18 in hopes of bringing new players and playstyles into the jungle. He ended up becoming one of the stronger jungle assassins, especially in Elite play where his mobility, damage, and clear speed are almost unmatched. He's still extremely fun as a flex pick, but we also understand that his current state has very few weaknesses, which can be frustrating to play against. In turn, we're heavily nerfing his clear speed to tune him down. He'll still be viable there and will keep his high-mobility edge, but you might need to think a little longer before jumping into the jungle with him. W - Rake Damage Against Monsters :: 130% >>> 105% --- +++ Tristana Base health and health regen increased. Our rocket girl isn't doing so hot lately. Her abilities already hit super hard, but they're pretty risky and can take a while to stack up. We're bumping up her early durability to give Tristana the time she needs to finish her combos and survive those explosive plays. ###Base Stats Base Health :: 559 >>> 600 Base Health Regeneration :: 3.75 >>> 4 --- +++ Veigar Q cooldown decreased; stacks from large monsters and minions increased. The tiny master of evil has been less threatening than usual as of late. We're upping the rate on his Phenomenal Evil stacks so that he can stand above his competitors in the mid lane. (Figuratively speaking, at least.) Q - Baleful Strike Cooldown :: 7/6.5/6/5.5/5 seconds >>> 6/5.5/5/4.5/4 seconds Stacks Granted Upon Killing Large Monsters and Minions :: 2 >>> 3 --- +++ Volibear Base AD growth increased. E cooldown decreased. The once-fearsome Volibear is bad for everyone, everywhere. We're giving him a reliable baseline stat buff and more access to his signature stormy skill. ###Base Stats Attack Damage Growth :: 3 >>> 3.5 E - Sky Splitter Cooldown :: 15 seconds >>> 13 seconds --- +++ Yasuo Q damage ratio increased. Like Samira, the wind brothers were hit hard by the Immortal Shieldbow nerfs. We're compensating for this by returning some of that power into their more skill-dependent abilities. Q - Steel Tempest Damage :: 20/45/70/95/120 (+100% AD) >>> 20/45/70/95/120 (+105% AD) --- +++ Yone Q damage ratio increased. Of course, we have to do the same for Yone to make sure he doesn't fall behind in the sibling rivalry. Q - Mortal Steel Damage :: 20/40/60/80/100 (+100% AD) >>> 20/40/60/80/100 (+105% AD) --- +++ Zed R base damage ratio decreased. Zed has been creeping up from the shadows in terms of both power and ban rate. We're tapping him back down in a way that will require him to make better use of his base kit to secure kills. R - Death Mark Damage :: 100% AD (+25/40/55% of damage dealt against marked target)>>> 65% AD (+25/40/55% of damage dealt against marked target) --- #Items +++ Lich Bane At the start of Season 2021, we revamped Lich Bane to broaden its user base by removing its ability haste and increasing Spellblade's damage and cooldown. These changes made it very powerful as a burst tool, but that burst also got a few nerfs throughout the year. As a result, Lich Bane was left feeling pretty underwhelming for its core users, so we're partially restoring it to a healthier state. Build Path :: Blasting Wand + Aether Wisp + Sheen + 600g >>> Fiendish Codex + Aether Wisp + Sheen + 550g (total cost unchanged) Ability Haste :: 0 >>> 15 Spellblade Damage :: 150% base AD (+40% AP) >>> 75% base AD (+50% AP) Spellblade Cooldown :: 2.5 seconds >>> 1.5 seconds --- +++ Rylai's Crystal Scepter Rylai's has been struggling to find its place in the last couple of seasons because it's been trying to serve tanky battlemages, burn mages, and AP supports alike all at once. We're focusing on its purpose as a utility item by lowering its cost and increasing its health to make it more accessible to tankier midrange mages and supports. Total Cost :: 3000 gold >>> 2600 gold Combine Cost :: 815 gold >>> 415 gold Ability Power :: 90 >>> 75 Health :: 350 >>> 400 --- #Jungle +++ Chemtech Drake ###Chemtech Dragon Soul The Chemtech Dragon Soul is still significantly overperforming compared to other dragon soul buffs. We're nerfing the undeads' health and, uh, longevity. Expected lifetime? Active duration? ... You get what we mean. Zombie Health :: 80% base health + 50% bonus health >>> 70% base health + 40% bonus health Zombie Duration (Without Other Health Impacting Factors) :: 4 seconds >>> 3 seconds ###Chemtech Rift We're making a few changes to make the ahead team slightly less advantaged when fighting in the Chemtech Rift. (Now's a good time to mention we stealth-nerfed (heh) the Chemtech Rift last patch. At launch, champions instantly entered camouflage when they entered the fog. In 11.24, we made the camouflage timer check if you've made any offensive moves in the last 1.5 seconds upon entering the fog as well. The only change to the camouflage mechanics this patch is an increase to that timer.) Offensive Action Camouflage Timer :: 1.5 seconds* >>> 2.5 seconds Bonus Damage Vs Enemies with More Current Health :: Up to 10% >>> Up to 12% --- +++ Hextech Drake ###Hextech Dragon Soul Hextech Dragon Soul is also overperforming compared to other soul effects, though not to the same degree as Chemtech. Chain Lightning True Damage :: 25-75 (based on attacker's level, 1-18) >>> 25-50 (based on attacker's level, 1-18) --- #Runes +++ Lethal Tempo Lethal Tempo's power is skewed a little too much toward early game right now, making it especially cheese for melee champions. We're adjusting it to be weaker early on and letting it scale instead. Attack Speed per Stack (Melee) :: 13% >>> 10-15% (levels 1-15) Attack Speed per Stack (Ranged) :: 7% >>> 5-9% (levels 1-12) -- #ARURF is Back! Ring in the Lunar New Year with ARURF starting on January 26! (That's the All Random Ultra Rapid Fire game mode if you're new around these parts.) Beyond the normal ARURF that you know and love, we added a flipper full of changes to a couple of runes and a few surprises to the Awesome Buff of Awesomely Awesome Buffing's tooltip. ARURF First Strike Cooldown :: 25-15 seconds (levels 1-18) >>> 15-9 seconds (levels 1-18) ARURF Glacial Augment Cooldown :: 25 seconds >>> 15 seconds #VFX Updates +++ Sona Base Sona :: Complete overhaul Muse Sona :: Minor details added to new base Pentakill Sona :: Same as new base Silent Night Sona :: Recolored from new base Guqin Sona :: Minor details added to new base Arcade Sona :: Complete overhaul DJ Sona :: Complete overhaul and additional special celebration effects for each passive aura Sweetheart Sona :: Same as new base, plus some cleanup Odyssey Sona :: Minimal tweaks Pentakill III: Lost Chapter Sona :: Minimal tweaks --- +++ Vayne Base Vayne :: Complete overhaul Dragonslayer Vayne :: Recolored from base with added smoke and flames Heartseeker Vayne :: Recolored from base with heart in W decal SKT T1 :: Same as new base, different missiles to match model Arclight Vayne :: Recolored from base with more golden, divine sparks --- #Bugfixes & QoL Changes Fixed a bug where Teleport could sometimes still target certain units other than towers before 14 minutes Fixed a bug where Unleashed Teleport would permanently replace one of your Summoner Spells if acquired and used via the Unsealed Spellbook rune Champions will now correctly drop Unleashed Teleport spell shards if used after 14 minutes into a game with Zoe Fixed a bug where Yone could sometimes cast Unleashed Teleport while his E - Soul Unbound was active The exclamation point stealth indicator has been fixed and will correctly reappear above your champion if you are visible to an enemy inside the Chemtech Fog after completing certain stealthing abilities (such as Akali's W - Twilight Shroud) Fixed a bug where towers would incorrectly target enemy champions who took damage from Kog'Maw's Passive - Icathian Surprise or Karthus's Passive - Death Defied Rengar's Passive - Unseen Predator leap basic attacks will correctly trigger Navori Quickblades' Deft Strikes effect Fixed a bug where taking damage from certain jungle monsters would sometimes incorrectly grant stacks toward Force of Nature's Absorb passive Fixed a bug where triggering Glacial Augment's passive would incorrectly count toward triggering Eclipse's Ever Rising Moon passive Fixed a bug where Mythic or active item icon borders would sometimes appear in incorrect locations. (Yes, the mysterious orange squares...) Enemy player chat and emote mute toggle buttons have been fixed and will no longer overlap with other icons in the scoreboard DJ Sona and K/DA Seraphine's in-game music mute toggle buttons have been fixed and will display correctly next to their champion icon in the scoreboard every game Chat restriction notifications have been fixed and will once again inform players how many messages they have left in their limit View the full article
  6. Barely a week after Dying Light 2 Stay Human developer Techland made the questionable decision to brag that the game would take 500 hours to fully complete, the studio is at it again, this time flexing its enormous amount of dialogue. In a tweet, the Dying Light 2 studio revealed that the game's script contained 350,000 words, amounting to around 40,000 lines of dialogue. In a reply, the account added that the word count is the same as Tolstoy's classic novel, Anna Karenina. In terms of video game scripts the count is ambitious, though not remarkably so. Skyrim, for example, has 60,000 lines of voiced dialogue, while Red Dead Redemption 2 famously boasted over 500,000 lines of dialogue. Mass Effect 3 has the same number as Dying Light 2, at 40,000. The word count of 350,000 puts the game on par with titles like Fable 2, Shenmue, and Final Fantasy VII. After the reaction to Dying Light 2's supposed 500-hour length, which the devs later had to clarify was not a mandatory playtime, it's surprising Techland has still chosen to try to drum up hype based on the sheer size of the game. Dying Light 2 is out on February 4, releasing on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and on Nintendo Switch via the cloud. View the full article
  7. Mobile gaming is about to invade the PC ecosystem, as Google Play Games has begun registrations in three Asian countries for a Google Play Games on PC beta test today. Players in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan can sign up for a chance to participate in the limited beta test of Google Play Games' new platform, though the dates and times of the test have not yet been announced. Google has announced a few games that will be part of the limited beta however, with the list including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Summoners War, State of Survival: The Joker Collaboration, and Three Kingdoms Tactics. Google Play Games announced the Google Play Games for PC initiative during The Game Awards in December. It will allow players to play and carry over progress between PCs, Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks in any of the included games. "As part of our broader goal to make our products and services work better together," group product manager for Google Play Games Arjun Dayal said in the official release, "this product strives to meet players where they are and give them access to their games on as many devices as possible." Google Play Games has not announced specifics on when the beta will extend to other countries, but has promised "more to share on future beta releases and regional availability soon." View the full article
  8. Yesterday
  9. Gerginz


    I get on with limited time to play before work. First event challenge 30 kills with assault rifle nah skip. Get 5 back smack nah skip. Complete 3 matches of Attrition so I play about 8 matches and never complete the challenge!? So I skip it and then I get 30 kills with assault rifle again! This stuff feels like work I’m going to have a hard time talking myself into playing this game like this.
  10. The Fortnite Item Shop has been renewed for another day of digital goods for sale, with new crossovers debuting yet again. This time, however, you won't see any new skins, but there are a few new songs to go along with the upcoming Tones And I Soundwave Series event. Here's a look at those new toe-tappers and everything else in the Fortnite Item Shop for January 20, 2022. The full range of Tones And I songs includes two tracks with accompanying dance moves. You can grab the Dance Monkey emote and the Cloudy Day lobby track for 300 and 200 V-Bucks respectively. Elsewhere in the Item Shop, the music festival continues, with a huge offering of past licensed music emotes, including Gangnam Style, Say So, Don't Start Now, and Bim Bam Boom. All of these are part of the Fortnite Icon Series emote collection, which grows at a pace of about one new emote every month, if not faster. If you're in it for the characters rather than dance moves, you'll have plenty to choose from there, as well. Included in the shop today are past Icon Series heroes such as Loserfruit, Lachlan, and Lazarbeam. For the complete breakdown of Fortnite Item Shop goods today, refer to the ever-reliable FireMonkey: View the full article
  11. Monster Hunter Rise launched on PC last week, becoming the second mainline Monster Hunter game available on the platform (in the West, anyway). Rise is the latest installment in the franchise since Monster Hunter World and its Iceborne expansion finally took the series from a niche Japanese action-RPG to a worldwide hit. Longtime fans of the series undoubtedly have a soft spot for every Monster Hunter game, but we've decided to rank the mainline series from worst to best. For many players, Monster Hunter is one now a “forever game” akin to Pokémon, Destiny, or Final Fantasy XIV. The kind of game you could easily put hundreds--even thousands--of hours into (speaking from personal experience) and boasting a vibrant community of die-hard fans all over the world. Monster Hunter has been around since 2004, but since most players outside Japan jumped on at World, there are likely many fans curious about the Monster Hunter games that came before it. In celebration of Rise's arrival on PC, let's take a trip back to revisit some of the more niche entries in the mainline series. Spoiler: The best Monster Hunter game is probably the one you think it is. Keep in mind that we're only featuring mainline games that released in North America and Europe, and we've excluded spin-offs such as Monster Hunter Stories. Also, it's a great time to dive into Monster Hunter Rise on PC or Switch ahead of the big Sunbreak expansion that releases this summer. 8. Monster Hunter Monster Hunter The original Monster Hunter on PlayStation 2 introduced players to the series’ loot-driven, beast-slaying gameplay… but people just didn’t understand it at the time. In many ways, the original Monster Hunter plays just like any other game in the main series: you take on hunting quests from a village hub, head out into large arena-like maps where you bag and tag your prey, then head back to town to upgrade your gear with the bits and bob carved from the monster’s hide. Repeat until you beat the game. This gameplay loop was reminiscent of other popular series like Diablo and Phantasy Star Online, but Capcom’s first attempt was riddled with issues. Part of the issue was audience expectations; players and critics struggled with the slow combat that emphasized long fights against single large enemies rather than hordes of baddies, tedious resource management, and grindy crafting system. While these elements are now seen as hallmarks of the series, they simply weren’t fully realized yet. If you played Monster Hunter today, it’d be difficult to tell what parts of the cumbersome gameplay were intentional, and which were janky mishaps. Yet despite these setbacks, many players stuck with the first Monster hunter long enough for the addictive gameplay loop to click, and the game sold well enough to warrant several sequels that refined the series into the worldwide success it is today. See our Monster Hunter review. 7. Monster Hunter Freedom Monster Hunter FreedomMonster Hunter Freedom (aka Monster Hunter Portable in Japan) is technically a PSP port of the first game with some minor updates, but it’s worth giving this title its own entry because of what it did for the franchise. In short, Capcom’s gamble to take Monster Hunter’s from home consoles to portable devices was a masterstroke--in Japan, anyway. Monster Hunter Portable sparked the series’ long-lasting popularity in Japan thanks to the PSP’s ad-hoc wireless multiplayer feature. Monster Hunter Freedom, however, didn’t catch on the same way in the west, where most players had to slog through the game’s grind solo. The handheld gameplay also came with tradeoffs that made Freedom even more difficult to play than the PS2 version in some ways--the notorious “Monster Hunter claw” control scheme and long load times, especially. It was still possible to play and enjoy Monster Hunter Freedom by yourself (I certainly did when I was a teenager), but the game’s flaws were much easier to overlook if you were lucky enough to experience the high of multiplayer hunting… or were stubborn enough to force your way past the slow opening hours. See our Monster Hunter Freedom review. 6. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and Freedom Unite Monster Hunter Freedom UniteContinuing the formula that Monster Hunter Freedom started, Freedom 2 was the PSP port of the Japan-exclusive PS2 game, Monster Hunter 2 (pronounced Monster Hunter “Dos”), and the only version of Monster Hunter 2 released in the West. Freedom 2 refined the first portable outing’s gameplay and introduced new monsters that would become series staples like the Tigrex, as well as mainstay weapons like the Long Sword, Hunting Horn, Gunlance, and Bow. But while Freedom 2 was simply a portable remake of Monster Hunter 2, the game’s immediate follow-up, Freedom Unite, was the bigger innovation. Freedom Unite was an expanded version of Freedom 2, introducing super-difficult “G Rank” quests (now known as “Master Rank”), and even more new content--you could easily spend a few hundred hours battling giant monsters and crafting ornate armor. Not only was Freedom Unite a bigger Monster Hunter game than ever, it was also a more enjoyable experience in general thanks to faster load times than previous Freedom titles, and the addition of the Palico sidekick, making the game friendlier for solo players even with “old Monster Hunter” quirks and notorious difficulty still intact. However, Freedom Unite is also where Capcom started the annoying tradition of releasing a comparatively limited base Monster Hunter game, then following up with an expanded “G-Rank” or “Master Rank” version of the same game just a few months later. So while it’s one of the most important releases in the series, it’s also arguably one of the most notorious as well. See our Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite reviews. 5. Monster Hunter Tri and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Monster Hunter 3 UltimateThe third Monster Hunter generation was a major change for the series in several ways. Most notably, the series pivoted from Sony’s consoles to Nintendo’s hardware, with Monster Hunter Tri releasing for Wii, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for Wii U and 3DS, making these the first Monster Hunter games to launch on home consoles outside of Japan since the original on PS2. Content-wise, Monster Hunter Tri felt like a step backward, missing many of the monsters and weapons introduced in Freedom Unite--though Tri is notable as the first game to include the Switch Axe weapon type. It wasn’t Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate that Monster Hunter’s third generation felt complete. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate combined all the content from Tri and the Japan-only Monster Hunter Portable Third, and added tons of extra quests and new gameplay systems, including a cross-save between 3DS and Wii U versions of the game, and wireless online multiplayer for Wii U (but not 3DS, much to the frustration of players). The generation three games saw the first instances of important gameplay features, such as a unique map where players can freely hunt randomly appearing monsters outside of quests, gen three is also notorious for its divisive underwater combat. This new fighting style gave us fan-favorite monsters like Lagiacrus, but there’s a reason underwater hunts never made a comeback: it was terrible. The on-land gameplay was the best in the series yet, thankfully, and the new lock-in camera setting in 3 Ultimate made playing on 3DS more comfortable than on PSP, but the old-school Monster Hunter jank was still a steep barrier for new players to overcome. See our Monster Hunter Tri and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate reviews. See Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Amazon See Monster Hunter Tri at Amazon 4. Monster Hunter Generations and Generations Ultimate Monster Hunter Generations UltimateCapping off Monster Hunter’s fourth generation of games, Monster Hunter Generations on 3DS and Generations Ultimate on Nintendo Switch are basically the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate of the Monster Hunter franchise. These games packed more content than ever before. Generations Ultimate includes 93 new and returning monsters from across the series. It also let players revisit the village hubs from the previous numbered Monster Hunter games, and added new abilities and moveset variations to each of the 14 available weapon types through the new “hunting style” mechanic. While the abundance of quests and gameplay options are exciting for long-time fans, jumping in with Generations or Generations Ultimate as a first-timer can be overwhelming. In fairness, the core gameplay was easily the most accessible for the series at the time thanks to smart quality-of-life changes that made gathering items and organizing multiplayer easier, but Generations Ultimate is still firmly rooted in the “old Monster Hunter” style that later games like World and Rise would shake up (and largely for the better). See our Monster Hunter Generations and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate reviews. See Generations Ultimate at Amazon See Generations at Amazon 3. Monster Hunter Rise Monster Hunter RiseThe latest entry in the series, Monster Hunter Rise is by far the fastest-paced Monster Hunter to date. Hunts feel shorter (in a good way), and moving around the environments or performing important actions like gathering materials and executing special attacks has never been easier. The best of these changes are the new traversal options: the grapple hook-like wirebugs, and the new companion mount, the Palamute. These additions make traversal a breeze, and give a greater sense of verticality to Rise’s open environments. Other changes are a bit more controversial among long-time players, including major shakeups to each weapon’s movesets (for better and for worse). Rise also ditches the “hunting” phase of previous games, and monsters are now immediately visible on the minimap when you start a quest. So instead of tracking down your mark, the early minutes of each hunt is spent getting to the monster as quickly and efficiently as possible. And once you’re in combat, the new Silkbind attacks make it easier to immobilize monsters. The result is an overall quicker pace for hunts, which is great for handheld play or short sessions, but it does feel like an important part of the classic Monster Hunter gameplay loop is missing. On the other hand, Rise brings back some of the color and charm of “classic MonHun” that was lost in World and Iceborne, but it also feels like a streamlined spinoff compared to World’s maximalist design, rather than a proper follow up. Those who prefer Rise’s quicker pace and streamlined design may rank this higher, but there are other issues that are harder to ignore, such as the underwhelming rampage quests and the lackluster end-game, that hold Rise back from the top of our rankings. But if the upcoming Sunbreak beefs up the excellent base game as much as other Monster Hunter expansions have, this may turn out to be the best Monster Hunter experience yet. See our Monster Hunter Rise review. See Monster Hunter Rise at GameStop 2. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Monster Hunter 4 UltimateMonster Hunter 4 Ultimate for 3DS is one of the few games in the series that launched in its perfect form, at least in the west. Monster Hunter’s fourth-gen base game (Monster Hunter 4 in Japan) never saw a worldwide release. Instead, players in North America and Europe got to skip straight to the enhanced G-Rank version, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate added more verticality to its maps and added more movement options and attack combos for players (and monsters) to take advantage of. The result was more dynamic hunts with better controls, and more varied maps that were more interesting to navigate and explore. These ideas would go on to influence the larger scale maps and environmental interactivity seen in World and Rise. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate also introduced the new “Guild Quests,” which offered a more story-driven experience for players to enjoy, and its numerous bonus DLC quests and costumes are among the best in the series, featuring crossovers with major Nintendo franchises like Zelda and Metroid. The most important feature 4 Ultimate included was wireless online multiplayer on a portable. Online multiplayer was previously available on the Wii U version of 3 Ultimate (the first time since the original Monster Hunter on PS2), but the series was vastly more popular on 3DS, so including online multiplayer in 4 Ultimate was a much bigger deal. For many, this was their first experience playing Monster Hunter with others--which is arguably the way these games are meant to be played--and the main reason why 4 Ultimate is so beloved by western fans. See our Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate review. See at Amazon 1. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Monster Hunter World: IceborneIt’s almost been four years since its initial release, and yet Monster Hunter World combined with its massive Iceborne DLC is still the best Monster Hunter experience available right now. For starters, it’s the best looking and smoothest playing Monster Hunter yet, especially if you can play on PC or a 4K-enabled console. World also features seamless open environments, rather than the sectioned-off maps riddled with loading screens like in every prior game in the series. World’s maps are also much more detailed, brimming with endemic life and interactive elements like vines to swing on or boulders to drop on a monster’s head. Monster Hunter World’s gameplay is more varied and, in general, more accessible than ever.. Capcom doubled down on the “Hunting” aspects of the series, so instead of meandering a map aimlessly trying to spot and tag your target, players could now seek out footprints and other signs of life that help you track your target. World also made the “boring” parts of previous Monster Hunter games much less of a hassle--namely harvesting materials and crafting support items like potions and traps. Combat is more exciting, too, with new moves available for each of the weapons, and a new control scheme that makes pulling off important counter attacks and combos easier. That’s not to say Monster Hunter World is flawless. World initially launched with a slim monster list and even slimmer end-game content, and while post-launch DLC and the Iceborne expansion boosted the roster significantly, added even more new mechanics (like the clutch claw) and gave players tons to do, other games in the series still eclipse World and Iceborne in terms of sheer content. And if you ask around certain circles of the die-hard MonHun community, opinions vary on whether all the combat changes were truly for the better, and many lament the more “realistic” aesthetic of World and Iceborne compared to the more fantastical tone of its predecessors. Nonetheless, the success of Monster Hunter World and Iceborne speaks for itself. World has gone one to become Capcom’s all-time bestselling game, and solidified the franchise’s presence in the West. And yes, it’s still worth going back to if you haven’t played in a while--or you run out of stuff to do in Rise before Sunbreak comes out later this year. See our Monster Hunter World and Monster Hunter World: Iceborne reviews. See at Amazon View the full article
  12. A hotfix for Halo Infinite meant to fix ongoing matchmaking issues for the game's Big Team Battle mode is now live, but looks to have only brought "minor improvements." Big Team Battle has been largely unplayable since late December, with many players unable to load into matches. The issue is worse for larger groups. Developer 343 Industries announced prior to the holidays that a fix for the issue likely wouldn't come until the new year, but it seems like this fix isn't quite what was needed. Halo community director Brian Jarrard stated on Twitter that the team is "sorry this didn't quite get the job done" and that "work continues" on the issue. Jarrard also stated that the team is investigating temporarily removing Big Team Battle-focused challenges until the matchmaking issues plaguing the mode are resolved. As compensation for the mode's issues, all players who log in between January 19 and February 16 will receive five double XP boosts and five challenge swaps. The items will automatically be added to each player's inventory upon launching the game. The hotfix also brings "minor physics improvement to the Oddball to mitigate exploits." This week also sees 343's first attempt at improving Halo Infinite's microtransaction store, reducing prices for many of the game's premium cosmetic bundles. In the future, 343 plans to sell more items individually outside of bundles, along with other changes. Halo Infinite's multiplayer recently received a new game mode, Attrition, alongside the free Cyber Showdown event. Players can earn free cosmetics like armor coatings, helmet accessories, and more by completing Attrition-themed challenges. The Cyber Showdown event will run for two weeks, after which the game's samurai-themed Fracture: Tenrai event is slated to return. In big Xbox news, Microsoft is the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard in a nearly $70 billion deal. The deal will put Call of Duty and Halo, two of the largest FPS franchises in the world, under the same roof and give Microsoft a huge list of franchises. View the full article
  13. With Fortnite, almost everything leaks, but not usually at such a rate as we've been seeing lately. A trio of high-profile crossovers appear set to come to Fortnite, with at least some of them arriving perhaps as soon as this week. The leaks credibly point to Marvel's Green Goblin and Hawkeye, as well as Riot's Arcane, all arriving in the Item Shop this month. Here's a breakdown of each leaked crossover. Fortnite Vi Skin - Arcane crossover returns late last year, Fortnite's Jinx skin marked the debut of a Riot Games character appearing in a non-Riot game, and now we're already getting another character from the Riot and Netflix production, Arcane. This time, it looks like Vi will be joining the fray, according to credible leaks that have gone so far as to show off the character in-game. Vi is Jinx's sister on the breakout Netflix animated series, Arcane, which takes place in the world of League of Legends. There's no known release date yet, but these sort of in-game leaks typically imply an imminent release--within the next week or two at most. Fortnite Hawkeye skins Also accidentally revealed was a trio of Marvel characters, including two heroes straight out of the Disney+ catalog. Since it seems like every Marvel launch now includes a Fortnite collaboration, it may have seemed odd when Hawkeye debuted on Disney+ without a such a crossover. As it turns out, the Hawkeye crossover is on the way after all. The leak is said to include both versions of Hawkeye, Clint and Kate, and will include accessories for each. Though it's not yet been confirmed, we can presume a bundle featuring both heroes will be sold in the Item Shop too. The characters will be modeled after their MCU counterparts, marking only the fourth and fifth characters in Fortnite to be designed that way (Venom, Spider-Man No Way Home, MJ), even as the full list of every Fortnite Marvel skin so far is much longer. Fortnite Green Goblin skin The last leak prematurely revealed Green Goblin, Spider-Man's most fearsome foe. Though this version brings more of a comic book than the beloved Willem Dafoe rendition, it should come as no surprise that Green Goblin is arriving in some form, especially considering his image is currently featured in an Easter egg on the Fortnite island. Each new content update of Fortnite opens the door for dataminers to try and pick apart the game's files and find new surprises like these, and once we see them in-game, as we have here, they are all but confirmed. Look for these characters to debut at different times over the next two weeks. View the full article
  14. Amazon Games' MMORPG New World won't see any major content releases in February, with the team instead looking to focus on delivering as many bug fixes as possible. The news comes via a New World developer update video, in which different members of the development team discuss a variety of topics, ranging from soon-to-be-added systems like mutators to various technical issues the team is looking to address. Bug fixes are currently a big priority for Amazon, which is why the game's February update won't include any new content. "February is just a bug fix month," senior producer Katy Kaszynski said. "There's no major content that is coming with the February release. We have some things that we are focusing on for that to make sure we get a good amount of fixes in and we make a real difference for the players that have been asking for things for a long time." New World has been crippled on multiple occasions due to various bugs, including multiple instances of gold and item duplication exploits that led to Amazon temporarily disabling the game's entire economy. While most of those issues have been fixed quickly once discovered, there are still a number of issues that are priorities for the team. In addition to fixes for various bugged quests, missing ingredients, and other issues, the team is also looking to improve server desync issues and making weapon swapping more reliable. Part of ironing out many of the game's technical issues means giving players more time on the game's public test realm--at least two and a half weeks--to test out potential bug fixes and new features, which in turn gives the team more time to react to player feedback. "We learned the first PTR, when we gave ourselves like seven days, we were like 'We'll just do scale testing, we'll check to make sure the servers can handle it, and then we are good,'" Kaszynski said. "What we found out is we were not good. We were the opposite of good. Players felt like we lost their trust, we felt like we lost their trust, so we've been gaining it back since then and we want to continue to do that by providing the PTRs far enough in advance that we can listen to them, take their advice, find out what the biggest sticking points are and address those before things get released into the live game." The update also touches on Amazon's plans to merge various low population New World servers, plans that didn't go as smoothly as planned. A housing persistence bug caused a delay in the process, but more merges are being planned in the near future. Once those merges are complete, characters will once again be able to transfer servers. In terms of what players can expect in the long term, the dev update was light on details, but did reaffirm that a new weapon, the Blunderbuss, is in the works. Other details include the possibility of mutated expeditions coming to lower-level expeditions. The team also likes the idea of more small-scale PvP like matchmade arenas or more casual versions of activities like Invasions or War, though no concrete plans were discussed. More dev-playthrough videos will be coming soon as well. A previous video saw the dev team accepting the community's challenge to complete the Myrkgard endgame zone, with some humorous results. New World's next update will add a new endgame system in the form of Mutated Expeditions, as well a way to raise the maximum gear score of items. The new content is currently being tested on the game's PTR and is slated to officially release later this month. View the full article
  15. In Rainbow Six Extraction, a great number of Operators from Rainbow Six Siege have been called upon to form REACT, the only team equipped to deal with the Archaean threat. But some Operators are better equipped than others. While most of the game's customizable characters come over from Siege with all of their abilities and gear intact, a few have seen minor tweaks to suit the PvE setting. Collectively, this means the meta of Extraction will prove to be different from its sibling game in the long run. Out of the gate, here are the five best Operators in Rainbow Six Extraction, according to the GameSpot team that spent many hours fighting for our lives. Finka Finka is a great healer character to bring on your toughest missions.Of all the healers in Extraction, Finka is the best one, and for a few reasons. Right away, her Adrenal Surge ability allows you to revive teammates instantly and without even needing to be near them. This is a crucial skill for when you're learning the ropes of each difficulty level, and it can be the determining factor between extraction and capture. If you use her surge when everyone is standing, the squad receives a temporary health boost instead. At level five, Finka can also self-revive by notching kills. Each Archean killed restores five HP and if you restore her health all the way, she gets back on her feet. Bring Finka on an Incursion when you know things will get tense. Vigil Vigil is the stealthiest of all Operators, which plays perfectly into the game's meta.Vigil is the stealthiest character in the game, and like most on this list, he's available right away as one of the game's introductory nine Operators. His ERC-8 Disruptor gives him a brief moment of invisibility and silent movement, but it tends to be just long enough to sneak up on an Elite for a takedown, or you slink out of a sticky situation so you can be the one in your group left standing and giving you all a shot at a successful extraction. His skill tree eventually makes him much faster, with a shorter cooldown on his Disruptor, and even the ability to make allies go invisible too. He's well worth getting to level 10. Lion Lion gets this writer's vote as best overall Operator.Lion is the best recon-centric character in Extraction thanks to his EE-One-D Drone that scans all moving Archaeans in an area. With enough usage, you'll soon increase the radius of his drone scan, reduce its cooldown, and even ping the enemies so that they stay visible even after the drone scan expires. All around, Lion is an excellent member of any team because, no matter the objective, you always benefit from knowing where the enemy is lurking. His combination of skills is quick and quiet, making him perfect for high-level play, because in Rainbow Six Extraction, quick and quiet is always your best path to success. Ela Ela's GRZMOT mines can provide a much-needed moment of respite.Ela's rechargeable GRZMOT stun mines are an excellent defensive item to have in the game's many moments where a swarm is closing in and you and your teammates' backs are up against the wall. Stunned enemies become easier to shoot in their weak spots, or even to kill using a melee takedown, and her reliability in this regards means sub-zones have a better chance of staying clear of the slowing Sprawl that would spread if the Archeaens were killed more sloppily. Upgrading Ela eventually gives her more mines that stun for longer and in a wider radius too. She packs a great punch. IQ She's unlocked later than others, but IQ is worth upgrading all the way.IQ is the only Operator on this list who isn't available right away. Instead, you'll need to get your progression tree to level five. But she's the best of the Operators to come after such a delay, and level five means you'll still have her early on in the game. Her Red MK IV Spectre is a scanning device that can identify all tech objects (and eventually even some Archeaens) in a sub-zone. This makes some objectives, such as Triangulation and MIA Rescue, much easier. As a bonus, she is also the best Operator for locating the resource caches around each map, which saved us more times than we can count. For more on Rainbow Six Extraction, don't miss the complete beginner's guide, as well as a breakdown of how long it takes to beat the game. You can read our full thoughts on the new PvE game in our Rainbow Six Extraction review. View the full article
  16. Despite Microsoft's pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard, members of the Activision Blizzard King Workers Alliance are still dead set on improving the company as a whole for all of its workers. In a Twitter thread, the group simply stated "The news of Activision acquisition by Microsoft is surprising, but does not change the goals of the ABK Workers Alliance." The ABK Workers Alliance has been a prominent voice for workers' rights within Activision Blizzard since sexual misconduct allegations began plaguing the company. This past November, amidst the Wall Street Journal report that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew of sexual misconduct allegations and withheld them from the company's board of directors, the group organized a sizable walkout. "We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO," the group said at the time. Currently, the group's message is the same. "We called for the removal of Bobby Kotick as CEO in November for shielding abusers and he still remains CEO as of this writing," said the group. ABK Workers Alliance also cited the ongoing strike at another Activision studio, Raven Software, where QA staff has walked out in response to a mass layoff of other QA staffers. "Whatever the leadership structure of the company, we continue our push to #endabuseingaming," said the Workers Alliance in its thread, although changing the culture at Activision Blizzard may be a tall order. Speaking during an investor relations call following the acquisition's announcement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that addressing Activision Blizzard's cultural issues would require "significant work." "This is hard work," continued Nadella, "It requires consistency, commitment, and leadership that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. That's why we believe it's critical for Activision Blizzard to drive forward on its renewed cultural commitments." View the full article
  17. Following Egyptian artist Mohamed Hamaki's spotlight, the Fortnite Soundwave series has named its second act: Australian singer-songwriter Tones and I. The Soundwave Series: Tones And I interactive event will be free for all Fortnite players beginning January 21 at 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET. Tones and I's event will see her performing music from her debut album Welcome To The Madhouse, with players traveling through rooms themed around the songs she's performing. Those who finish the event will receive a free Soundwave Series - Tones and I spray, while the Item Shop will feature two Tones and I items: a lobby track for her song "Cloudy Day" and a "Dance Monkey" themed emote. Players interested in walking through the event can search for it using the in-game Island code 5462-3620-7544. The show will run nonstop for 72 hours, ending January 24 at 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET, so you won't need to be available at any specific time in order to check it out. Epic has also announced a few future international acts that will be coming to the Soundwave Series, including French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura, Brazilian rapper Emicida, and Japanese pop artist and music producer Gen Hoshino. Specific dates for their performances have not been announced, but Epic Games does suggest players "keep an eye out for details as each artist carries on the soundwave!" View the full article
  18. Activision has delayed the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone Pacific's Season 2. The new season is now scheduled to go live on Monday, February 14, which is Valentine's Day if that matters. The new season was previously slated to begin on February 2. In a blog post, Activision said it's spending the additional development time to release more updates and optimizations to Vanguard, Warzone Pacific, Black Ops Cold War, and Modern Warfare 2019 to get those games into better shape. "We feel your frustrations and hear you loud and clear," Activision said. "To date, we've deployed a number of updates, but more needs to be done. Upcoming implementations will address several concerns raised by the community and other quality-of-life improvements. Adjusting the core gameplay loop, mechanics, and balance is a continuing and important focus. Fixes will apply to your platform of choice--two generations of consoles and PC--as well as gameplay in general across all five systems." Also in the blog post, Activision promised to do more to communicate better with Call of Duty fans. Players can expect more regular updates from the developers. "Studios remain focused on continuously improving your game experience, and we greatly value our community feedback," Activision said. Activision is in the midst of being acquired by Microsoft, but the deal isn't expect to go through until later this year at the earliest. It remains to be seen if Call of Duty will become an Xbox-exclusive series going forward. View the full article
  19. Genshin Impact's Windtrace has returned, running now through January 27. The asymmetrical multiplayer mode pits three rebels against one hunter in a game of hide-and-seek. Similar to prop hunt modes in other games, the rebels can turn into inanimate objects in order to hide from the hunter. Players are awarded Windtrace coins for performing well, which can be used to get prizes like Primogens. Here's everything you need to know about Windtrace. How it works Gygax is located in MondstadtIn order to find Windtrace matches, you will need to talk to Gygax, who is located in Mondstadt. After he gives a brief explanation of the origin of Windtrace, you will be able to search for other players online to play with. Only random matches will award Windtrace coins. However, you can play custom matches with friends if you don't mind the lack of coins.. In matchmaking, four players will be randomly matched together and a lobby will be formed if all four players accept. Here, one player will be assigned to be a hunter, while the other three are assigned to be rebels. On this menu, players can select which character they are playing as, as well as Windward Arts. Windward Arts are abilities used during a match to improve either their hiding or seeking abilities. Each match lasts three and a half minutes, with the rebels having a short period at the start to hide. The hunter wins if they capture all three rebels and the rebels win as long as one of them isn't found. A favor will drop on the map about two-thirds of the way through the match, which grants a special ability. Hunters will get a special ability that will reveal the location of the rebels temporarily, while the rebels get the ability to move faster for 30 seconds. The first person to grab the favor gets the special ability. Only one favor drops during a Windtrace match. Rewards Coins are rewarded based on performance during a matchPlayers earn Windtrace coins for doing well during matches, which will unlock rewards at certain tiers. The number of coins needed to unlock all rewards is 6,000 Windtrace coins. Players can earn Primogens, talent upgrade materials, character XP items, weapon XP items, and Mora. If you reach 6,000 Windtrace coins during the event you will receive: 420 Primogens 27 talent upgrade materials 12 Hero's Wit Character XP 12 Mystic Enhancement Ore Weapon XP 390,000 Mora There is also an additional 150,000 Mora that can be earned by completing specific tasks during Windtrace matches. Tips and tricks Hiding on a roof or in an elevated place is a good strategy As a rebel, hunters tend not to immediately check elevated areas, like roofs. Use this as an initial hiding space for maximum value. You can play as any character you own in Windtrace, regardless of level or equipment. When playing as a rebel, it's best to use a character like Diona or Klee, who are smaller in stature, so you're harder to spot when moving. As a hunter, your capture ability is on a short cooldown and holds three charges, so use it frequently, just in case a rebel is hiding nearby. When playing the hunter, you should choose the Mysterious Hunch Windward Art instead of Sensor Aura, as it points you in the right direction to find the rebels. Sensor Aura functions similarly to the capture ability, so it's not very useful. View the full article
  20. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic players will soon be able to confront iconic Warcraft villain Illidan Stormrage himself, with the game's latest content update adding two new raids in the form of Black Temple and the Battle For Mount Hyjal. The new raids are the star of the patch, but the two endgame encounters aren't live just yet. As detailed by Blizzard, the new raids will actually unlock on January 27 alongside the Netherwing daily quest hub. The Netherwing quests eventually award one of the game's cooler mounts--the Netherdrake--but the grind to reach exalted reputation is a long one. Players will need to complete the necessary attunement questlines to access each new raid, which includes completing previous raids like Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern. Bosses from previous raids will now drop additional loot, which should make gearing up for the new content a little easier. This new patch also ushers in the start of a PvP Arena season 3, and unlike the raids, it's live now. New Arena gear will now be on sale, while gear from older seasons will be available at a discount. Warlock players can take part in an optional new quest to unlock the Incubus pet, a male version of the game's Succubus pet. The introduction of the Incubus comes as part of a wider initiative by the WoW development team to make Azeroth a more welcoming and inclusive place, with Blizzard having recently changed potentially problematic achievement names, dialogue, and other in-game content in the wake of multiple sexual harassment and lawsuit investigations at Activision Blizzard. Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard in a nearly $70 billion deal. You can check out the full Burning Crusade patch notes below. Burning Crusade Classic Patch 2.5.3 Notes Content The Black Temple Defeat the Betrayer himself—Illidan Stormrage—atop the Black Temple. Raid bosses: 9 (High Warlord Naj’entus, Supremus, Shade of Akama, Teron Gorefiend, Gurtogg Bloodboil, Reliquary of Souls, Mother Shahraz, The Illidari Council, Illidan Stormrage) Level: 70 Location: The Black Temple, Shadowmoon Valley Improve your standing with the Ashtongue Deathsworn to earn rewards from Okuno inside the Black Temple. The Battle for Mount Hyjal Preserve the outcome of the pivotal Battle for Mount Hyjal and ensure the demon Archimonde meets his fate. Raid bosses: 5 (Rage Winterchill, Anetheron, Kaz’rogal, Azgalor, Archimonde) Level: 70 Location: Caverns of Time, Tanaris Improve your standing with the Scale of the Sands to earn rewards from Indormi in the Caverns of time. Raid Attunements Those who wish to brave the two new raid instances must complete the required attunement quests first. The required quests must be completed once per character. All new raid content will unlock at 3:00 p.m. PST on Thursday, January 27. Epic Gems Epic gem Jewelcrating Designs will be available from Indormi in the Caverns of Time. Epic gems can be obtained from Battle for Mount Hyjal through mining (requires 375 mining skill), and as rare drops from Black Temple. Netherwing Daily Quests Earn Netherwing reputation through daily quests in Shadowmoon Valley. Collect Netherwing eggs to speed up reputation gains. Epic Netherdrake mounts will be available to players that reach Exalted reputation (requires Artisan Riding skill). Burning Crusade Arena Season 3 The week of January 18, with the weekly reset in each region, Arena Season 3 has begun. The matchmaker has been adjusted to increase the range of possible opponents. This will help match players of different matchmaking levels more quickly. As before, teams with similar ratings who queue at the same will be prioritized to match against each other. Updates Bosses in Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep now drop one additional class set token for a total of 3. Bosses in Magtheridon’s Lair and Gruul’s Lair now drop an additional loot token for a total of 3. The Lurker Below, Morogrim Tidewalker, A’lar, and High Astromancer Solarian have had their loot tables updated to their final state, which includes additional drops for each boss, and in some cases, new items. All dungeon bosses now have a chance to drop epic gems in Heroic difficulty. New Darkmoon cards now have a chance to drop. Warlocks can now learn to summon an Incubus by completing a new questline: In Undercity, speak to Carendin Halgar. In Orgrimmar, speak to Gan’rul Bloodeye. In Stormwind, speak to Gakin the Darkbinder. The Consortium vendor now sells: Formula: Enchant Weapon - Major Striking. The Honor Hold and Thrallmar vendor now sells: Pattern: Netherscale Ammo Pouch. The Lower City vendor now sells: Enchant Ring - Stats and Pattern: Quiver of a Thousand Feathers. Mind Quickening Gem is no longer usable in Arenas. The trinket is unchanged in all other areas of play. The following items are no longer usable inside Arenas: Nigh-Invulnerability Belt Net-o-Matic Projector Dazzling Longsword Silent Fang Skull of Impending Doom User Interface You can now select multiple activities when searching for groups in the Looking for More UI. After listing your group in the Looking for Group UI, the UI will now automatically search for other groups interested in the same activities. In the Looking for Group UI, the entire dropdown body can now be clicked to open the dropdown. You may now report players searched via /who using the right-click menu. Added a more descriptive error message when attempting to transfer a character who is an Arena team captain from one realm to another. Fixed an issue that caused Duels to end after 15 minutes. Added a “have materials” filter in the Profession UI. Fixed an issue that caused interface errors to appear when using the character Unstuck service. Fixed a bug where the player model in the character sheet could get stuck rotating when the player moves the mouse. Bug Fixes Made some improvements to player pathing during fear to reduce situations where players end up outside or under terrain. Fixed a bug that caused certain flight paths to incorrectly take players through mountains and other terrain. Fixed an issue where Alliance players who died in Ogri’la were teleported to the incorrect graveyard after releasing. Fixed a bug preventing dialogue options from working correctly in several quests that offer replacement quest items from the quest giver, such as “The Hawk’s Essence”. Fixed an issue that caused mounted footstep/hoof sounds to play at incorrect speeds for certain mounts. Fixed an incorrect tooltip for the Spell Reflection ability that the Coilfang Serpentguard in Serpentshrine Cavern cast on themselves that indicates that it reflects 4 spells when it actually reflects all spells for its duration. Resolved an issue where Renataki of the Thousand Blades’ Thousand Blades ability could register an unintentionally huge number of hits and cause performance issues. It’s meant to be a figurative Thousand Blades, not a literal thousand. Relax, Renataki. Fixed multiple issues with Succubus creature animations. Fixed multiple issues with Worgen creature animations. Fixed an issue that caused belts to sometimes vanish when equipping an unequipping items. Resolved an issue that caused human models to use the incorrect animations when slowed. Some tamable pets, such as Rip-Blade Ravager, will now correctly change colors randomly when they are resummoned by the Hunter. Developers’ note: This will only affect pets tamed after the launch of this patch. Fixed an issue where the Paladin Trainer Noellene in Eversong Woods doesn’t show up when tracking Class Trainers. The Gladiator’s Spellblade now displays the appropriate textures. Fixed an issue that caused Shaman weapon enhancements displayed their visual effects twice on player weapons. The Aurora Cowl item is no longer missing its model. Fixed an issue where Shadow Word: Death could damage the caster when a low-level target is killed by the spell. Fixed an issue where certain channeled auras, such as Mind Flay from Fel Eye Stalks, were not stacking correctly. Effects that increase damage taken from spells by a flat amount, such as Shadow Resonance, will now work correctly with stacking damage-over-time auras. Snakes created by Snake Trap will now correctly not trigger most “On Kill” procs. Developers’ note: Some “On Kill” effects, such as Spirit Tap, will still correctly be triggered by slaying the snakes. Fixed an issue that caused loot sparkles to not properly scale up in size for larger creatures. Now please – loot the hounds. View the full article
  21. Dying Light 2 Stay Human for Nintendo Switch has been delayed. Just a few weeks before the game was due to launch on February 4 on Nintendo's hybrid console, Techland has announced that the Switch version is now slated to arrive sometime within six months of that, so by August 4, 2022. Dying Light 2 for Switch is a cloud version of the game that is streamed to the console and not downloaded locally. The other editions of Dying Light 2 remain on schedule to release on February 4. In a statement, Techland mentioned that the Dying Light: Platinum Edition for Switch was received positively by fans and it helped affirm Techland's understanding that "quality matters." To that end, the studio is taking more time with Dying Light 2 for Switch. "Techland is asking Nintendo fans around the world for their patience," the studio said. In other news, Techland recently generated debate and discussion when it said Dying Light 2 would feature 500 hours worth of gameplay. The Polish studio later clarified that it won't take anywhere near that long to beat the campaign. February 2022 is shaping up to be a massive month for new releases. Other games releasing in February include Horizon: Forbidden West, Elden Ring, The King of Fighters XV, and Sifu. Also coming that month is Destiny 2's Witch Queen expansion and the Saints Row reboot. View the full article
  22. Razer's limited-edition Boba Fett Xbox controller is now available at the lowest price we've ever seen. First released during the 2021 holiday season, the highly rated gamepad is listed on Amazon with a $30 price cut--just in time for The Book of Boba Fett's fourth episode to premiere. All those features add up to an expensive product, although it’s a bit more manageable than usual thanks to its new $150 price tag. The Boba Fett controller is officially licensed by Xbox, Lucasfilm, and Disney, and the overall build of the gamepad is exactly what you'd expect from Razer. If you're not a big Boba fan, you can also check out the limited edition Mandalorian controller, which boasts the same specs and reduced price, but instead features a metallic silver color scheme. View the full article
  23. DICE has released the full patch notes for Battlefield 2042's next big update. The 3.2 update is releasing on January 20, and it includes bug fixes and stability improvements, mainly. Included in the patch are fixes for hit-registration issues, while instances of rubberbanding in some scenarios should be improved. The patch also addresses an issue where players could become stuck in a loop between being downed but still alive. "This update is part of our continued commitment to address your feedback related to resolving bugs and improving gameplay," DICE said. The 3.2 update for Battlefield 2042 goes live on January 20 at 12 AM PT / 3 AM ET, and it's a "zero downtime" update, so players can jump right in after the download finishes. A size for the install wasn't announced. After this, another update is coming in February that has additional quality-of-life improvements and new features, including the long-awaited new Scoreboard UI. Battlefield 2042 was 2021's fifth best-selling game in the US, though EA has not announced a specific sales number for the futuristic military shooter. Battlefield 2042 3.2 Patch Notes Fixes, Changes, and Improvements General Fixed an issue where leaving a party during matchmaking could make the game unresponsive Fixed an issue where connecting to EA servers after signing up with a new account would not work on the first attempt Updated behavior of the quit button during gameplay so it now returns you to the correct screen Fixed an issue where the loading music would stop playing during level load Soldier Fixed a rare occurrence where after landing with the Wingsuit, hits wouldn’t always register on some parts of Sundance’s hitbox Fixed occurrences of rubberbanding when running behind friendly players Fixed a rare issue that could cause you to be stuck in both an alive, and downed loop Fixed a variety of issues with attaching to ladders that could cause you to get stuck in a state where you could fly away or lose control of your Specialist Fixed an issue where soldier movement speed was impaired by nearby explosions that spawned craters Fixed an issue where camera shake and audio for landing would unintentionally trigger when dropping from very small heights Fixed an issue where weapons from a Loadout Crate would sometimes inherit ammo from the previously selected weapon Fixed an issue where being spotted when firing a weapon would spot you for too long Stability Added multiple fixes to improve overall game stability Fixed a rendering related crash that could occur for AMD Radeon VII users while Sundance was visible on screen Weapons Sniper and SOFLAM scope glints now show from a further distance Vehicles Fixed an issue where passenger weapons would no longer be in sync whenever the driver’s turret would rotate, causing bullets to not register when firing at enemies M1A5, T28 - improved the effective range and reduced spread on Canister Weapon Pod Reduced Bullet Spread from 1.6 -> 1.1 Increased Damage Fall Off Distance from 35 -> 40 Battlefield Hazard Zone Fixed a black rectangle being present on screen during Hazard Zone end of round when hitting quit at the level progress screen Battlefield Portal The Server Info tab now persists after hitting Refresh in the Portal Server Browser Fixed an issue where text would overlap when joining a Team Deathmatch game during the end of round sequence Rules Editor - the “IsInventorySlotActive” value now correctly handles melee weapons Certain admin commands can no longer be spammed View the full article
  24. One of the PlayStation Store's best sales has returned. The Games Under $20 promotion features more than 600 titles at some of the lowest prices we've seen. All games in the catalog are (you guessed it) listed for less than $20, and it covers everything from indie gems to triple-A blockbusters. One of the most enticing discounts is for Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition, which is available for just $12 ahead of the release for Dying Light 2. If you haven't yet found time to play through the original, now is the perfect time. Other high-profile titles in the sale include Persona 5 Royal Deluxe Edition, Saints Row: The Third Remastered, Mortal Kombat 11 Aftermath Expansion, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey Deluxe Edition. If you're in the mood for a puzzle game, be sure to check out either Lumines Remastered or Tetris Effect: Connected. Both launched several years ago, although they've stood the test of time incredibly well--and they're hard to pass up at $6 and $20, respectively. None of the above games pique your interest? Be sure to check out the entire Games Under $20 catalog below. With hundreds of titles included in the savings, there's bound to be one that catches your eye. See all deals at the PlayStation Store Best deals on the PlayStation Store The Forest -- $8 ($20) Need for Speed Heat -- $12 ($60) Dead by Daylight -- $15 ($30) Tetris Effect: Connected -- $20 ($40) Lumines Remastered -- $5 ($15) Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition -- $12 ($30) Persona 5 Royal Deluxe Edition -- $20 ($70) Saints Row: The Third Remastered -- $12 ($40) Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath Expansion -- $12 ($40) Assassin's Creed Odyssey Deluxe Edition -- $20 ($70) Star Wars Battlefront 2 -- $5 ($20) Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition -- $13 ($40) Jak and Daxter Bundle -- $20 ($40) Batman: Arkham Knight Premium Edition -- $8 ($40) Conan Exiles -- $20 ($50) Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen -- $9 ($30) Dishonored Definitive Edition -- $10 ($20) Rage 2 -- $12 ($40) Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1+2 -- $20 ($40) Knack 2 -- $10 ($20) View the full article
  25. Developer Eastshade Studios--the studio behind Eastshade--has announced its next game: Songs of Glimmerwick. An announcement trailer for Songs of Glimmerwick reveals the game to be a narrative-driven RPG where you play as a student at a university of magic where you cast spells through music. Also seen in the trailer, Songs of Glimmerwick will feature character customization and progression, allowing you to craft your ideal wizard or witch and grow their magic as you see fit. The game will also see you go to classes, tend to the university's garden, and sign up for extra curricular activities. Songs of Glimmerwick will feature voice acting as well. In a press release, Eastshade Studios writes that Songs of Glimmerwick will follow the developer's mission of "creating a sense of place." Songs of Glimmerwick is scheduled to launch in 2023. You can wishlist Songs of Glimmerwick on Steam. Eastshade Studios' last game, Eastshade, is superb, so we're excited to see what the studio manages to accomplish with this next title. In GameSpot's Eastshade review, David Wildgoose gave the game 9/10, writing, "By giving you a paintbrush (and a kettle) instead of a sword, Eastshade is a rare first-person open world game that's not about killing but rather about doing good deeds, helping people see the error of their ways, and bringing communities together all through the power of art. It's a breath of fresh Eastshadian air and a genuine, unironic feel-good game." View the full article
  26. Microsoft's planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard is a big moment of corporate consolidation, bringing together two of the largest video game publishers under a single roof. That has raised some questions regarding antitrust concerns, but at least one key lawmaker has expressed optimism that Microsoft is approaching this in the right way. The Washington Post reports that Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) says he's received "encouraging" assurances from Microsoft. Buck, who is heavily involved in antitrust issues and is currently working on App Store legislation in the House, said that the deal will need to be examined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ), but that the architects are saying the right things so far. "They've suggested that they’re going to emphasize access to titles and competition in the marketplace as well as the individual gaming experience," said Buck. GameSpot spoke to lawyer Richard Hoeg, who also said that this massive acquisition is likely to be combed through carefully by the FTC and DOJ. Hoeg said he doubts the whole deal will be blocked--and in fact that Microsoft certainly wouldn't have even made the announcement if it anticipated that outcome--but the regulatory agencies in both America and abroad could lead to changes in the finalized version of the deal. For more on the Microsoft Activision Blizzard acquisition, check out some of our coverage below: So, Is Call Of Duty Going Xbox-Exclusive? The Internet Reacts To Microsoft Buying Activision Blizzard Will Microsoft Now Own Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice? Bobby Kotick's Payout Is A Small Price For The Good That Could Come From Microsoft's Acquisition View the full article
  27. Microsoft is proposing to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, its biggest ever buyout and the largest acquisition in gaming history by a wide margin. The sale, should it go through, would "no doubt" have a material effect on Sony's position in the video game market, according to one analyst. Piers Harding-Rolls of Ampere Analysis said in a blog post, "There is no doubt that this deal weakens [Sony's] position in the market." Even if Microsoft continues to release Activision Blizzard games on PlayStation, their inclusion on Game Pass will "undermine Sony's third-party business," the analyst said. "Sony has benefitted from the ability to negotiate timed exclusive content for Call of Duty but this is now under threat," Harding-Rolls said of Sony's longstanding deal with Activision to release Call of Duty content first on PlayStation. There has already been an impact on Sony's business, it seems. The company's share price slid dramatically following the news about Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, wiping out $20 billion in Sony's value in the biggest drop since 2008. Microsoft's buyout of Activision Blizzard could have other ripple effects as well, Harding-Rolls said. Third-party games that don't launch on Game Pass "may suffer as the breadth and appeal of content in Game Pass expands," he said. Harding-Rolls went on to say that Microsoft would have a "formidable production engine" with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard and its numerous studios. Microsoft's proposed buyout might trigger another gigantic deal from another big company to keep pace, Harding-Rolls said. "This deal, its scale and wider industry ramifications, means that the chances of another large acquisition have risen to an extent. Other publishers and competitors will be busy evaluating what this means for their strategies," he explained. Also in the post, Harding-Rolls said the proposed buyout of Activision Blizzard gives Microsoft the opportunity to scale its mobile game business in a big way by taking ownership of the Candy Crush and Call of Duty Mobile franchises, among others. Check out Harding-Rolls' full blog post to learn more. For more, check out GameSpot's recent opinion piece, "Bobby Kotick's Payout Is A Small Price For The Good That Could Come From Microsoft's Acquisition." View the full article
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