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  4. After weeks of leaks, the Meta Quest 3 virtual reality headset has been officially announced. Meta says that the Quest 3 headset will begin shipping out this fall and that the new hardware features higher resolution, stronger performance, and a slimmer design. The price for the 128GB version of the headset will start at $500 and more details will be shared at Meta Connect on September 27. Meta says that the Quest 3 has its highest resolution display yet, and pancake optics are used to increase the quality of images. A next-generation Snapdragon chipset powers the gear and Meta claims that it delivers more than twice the graphical performance as the previous generation Snapdragon GPU inside of the Quest 2. The controllers have also received a redesign and have dropped the outer tracking rings. Hand tracking will be supported out of the box and the controllers have new haptic feedback features. The Quest 3 will also be compatible with the hundreds of games in the Quest 2 library, but its predecessor won't be left behind for now. After it was increased several months ago, the price of The Quest 2 will be reverting back to its original MSRP of $300 for the 128GB version and $350 for the 256GB version. This is good news for Quest 3 owners, as support for the original Quest headset ended very quickly after the arrival of the Quest 2. An upcoming patch for the Quest 2 will see significant CPU and GPU performance increases, which should allow for smoother and more responsive gameplay. As for the upcoming games that'll be available on the Quest 3 and Quest 2, you'll be able to see a number of games in development for the systems in today's Meta Quest Games Showcase. View the full article
  5. Redfall is one of the biggest disappointments of 2023 so far, falling well short of the standards set by not only Xbox exclusives, but also developer Arkane's high reputation. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the project was beset with difficulties from the start, leading to roughly 70% of the company's staff that worked on Prey leaving by the end of development. The report, which cites more than a dozen anonymous sources that worked on the game, states that the game's lack of success was not a surprise to many at the studio. The sources say that the project lacked clear direction from the start, with management offering conflicting visions for the game's overall goals--some felt that they were making Redfall's Far Cry, while others were told they were making something akin to Borderlands. In general, the report shows that studio staff felt uneasy about working on Arkane's first multiplayer game, given that the developer was well-known for crafting high-quality immersive sims like the Dishonored series and Prey. The report estimates that roughly 70% of the staff who worked on Prey, the studio's last game, were no longer employed by Arkane Austin at the end of Redfall's development. However, because Redfall was under wraps for most of its development, the studio reportedly struggled to replace outgoing talent. Sources say that those who applied to fill the empty seats at the studio wanted to make the immersive single-player games that the developer is best-known for, rather than its first stab at multiplayer success. The report also corroborates a rumor that's spread widely about Redfall since its launch, which is that the game was essentially designed with microtransactions in mind for much of its development. Bloomberg suggests that its "monetization plans" were scrapped in 2021 due to mounting difficulties and controversies that "games-as-a-service" titles faced at that time. With Redfall's unfortunate failure, the pressure is now on Bethesda's exclusive Starfield to deliver for Xbox when it releases later this year. Starfield releases on September 6, 2023. View the full article
  6. Gears 6 hasn't been officially announced by Microsoft, but the former head of The Coalition knows how he would have approached the game. Rod Fergusson, who now serves as general manager of the Diablo franchise, admitted he drafted up an outline for the project years ago. Fergusson was asked on IGN's Unlocked podcast whether he knew what happened after the cliffhanger ending of Gears 5. He prefaced his answer acknowledging he has "no insider information" but touched on what he did before leaving The Coalition for the Diablo franchise back in 2020. "I did want to make sure when I left The Coalition that I left them in a good place," Fergusson said. "So I did write the synopsis story for Gears 6. If I were to have stayed, here's the game we would have made--at least from a story perspective. Now they probably threw that out and said, 'Good luck and goodbye.' And that's fine. I definitely had where I would go with 6." Spoilers ahead for Gears 5: At the end of Gears 5, players chose whether to save Marcus Fenix's son JD or Del. So how the narrative continues canonically in Gears 6 has been debated after such a split path was offered. Fergusson said he's intrigued to see how the studio resolves that in the next game. Earlier this year, Giant Bomb's Jeff Grubb reported that Gears 6 would be the next game from The Coalition. The studio also apparently canceled two other projects and suffered layoffs. As for Fergusson, Diablo IV early access begins today with the official launch happening June 5. For more, check out GameSpot's Diablo IV review. View the full article
  7. A new historical Total War is an exciting prospect for the franchise. As a Warhammer fan, I've been well catered to with Total War: Warhammer 1, 2, and 3, but for those virtual generals among us who prefer history books over Games Workshop's Black Library, the pickings have been much slimmer and mostly in the form of Total War's Sagas. After a demo of some of the new elements coming to the campaign, as well as a few hours hands-on with battles, it feels as though with Total War: Pharaoh, Creative Assembly Sofia is aiming to bring the feature experimentation and development that has been traditionally delivered through its new historical titles, while also aiming to deliver a much deeper, more fleshed-out Total War experience. The setting of the 1200 BCE New Kingdom period of ancient Egypt in the late Bronze Age was an interesting pick, as, broadly speaking, Total War is double dipping into this period of history, having previously explored the same century with Total War Saga: Troy. While some of that Troy DNA is visible and the time period feels a little like treading familiar ground, overall, Total War: Pharaoh looks like a different beast. Pharaoh aims to showcase the most extensive empire in Egyptian history, mixing the beauty of the setting with the brutality of the Bronze Age. This combination is poised to deliver new gameplay and mechanics, while also exploring this period in depths previously unseen in the franchise. From a campaign perspective, the issue at hand for the armchair Pharaoh will be the Late Bronze Age's collapse. This was a historically devastating period of time that was culturally disruptive, violent, and led to the economic downfall of many regions. It's this event that you as ruler will eventually need to delay, battle against, or weather the storm of to see what awaits you on the other side. In order to immerse you in these cataclysmic events, players will need to manage their Pillars of Civilization, with elements like stability and prosperity caught in the balance as you work to prevent your kingdom from falling into crisis. Higher prosperity comes with benefits like boosts to production, and the game will become brighter and lusher visually. However, if you slip closer to chaos the whole visual aesthetic becomes darker as natural disasters and aggressive nomads increase in frequency. The pantheon of Egyptian gods is of course a key element of ancient Egypt that goes hand in hand with its history, so I was curious if there would be any of the history-behind-the-myth information that was included in Troy. But during an interview with game director Todor Nikolov, he made it clear that while the gods are an element in the game that can affect gameplay, Total War: Pharaoh is a much more grounded, authentic game than Troy, so we won't be seeing any mythical beasts on the battlefield. From what I saw, authenticity and immersion are key to Creative Assembly Sofia's vision of Pharaoh, and while some liberties have been taken with historical accuracy either for gameplay considerations or due simply to missing historical records, those considerations and liberties are being implemented and balanced to broaden player choice. But it's not just Egyptian rulers that make up the roster of Bronze Age leaders, with eight leaders hailing from three different cultures: the Egyptians, Canaanites, and Hittites. Each of these three has their own unique traits, units, identities, and varied faction leaders. While Egyptians may favor lightly armored units, utilizing chariots and archers with hit-and-run tactics, the Hittites are experts in metallurgy and can field slower but more robust armored units. The Canaanites, meanwhile, are a uniquely flexible combination of Hittite and Egyptian cultures, favoring stealth tactics and adaptable troops. Unit choice and variety was surprisingly in-depth, and while the battles I played were pre-made, I was left feeling that army composition is an even more impactful consideration than in previous games, with many of the new gameplay elements that Pharaoh introduces making your choice of army all that more impactful. First among these elements is the new dynamic weather system. Battles take place across three main geographical areas that will dictate the terrain and potentially the changing weather considerations in battle. Skirmishes in deserts may fall victim to violent sandstorms that chip away at unit health slowly while adding extreme penalties to your archer's range and accuracy. Thunderstorms may result in the landscape becoming muddy and slowing your units, with claps of thunder being seen as omens from the gods and reducing morale. Or extreme heat may sap units of their stamina, preventing fatigue recovery and drying out the surrounding flora, thus increasing the risk of fires spreading throughout the battle as embers are carried by the wind. As the weather system is dynamic, the considerations of a map's terrain and your units are more vital than ever. Warm, sunny weather can dry up a muddy creek, opening up a potential flank; a piece of high ground can be made useless with a blinding sandstorm; or if rain is forecast, you can use lightly armored units to your advantage and further sap the speed and energy from slower, armored foes as you force them to wade through a bog, with the troops often reacting accordingly to their changing environment. All of the battles that I played used this weather system in one way or another, with one instance sticking in my memory as especially satisfying. I was defending my capital city of Mennefer (modern-day Memphis… not the one in Tennessee) from a siege during sweltering heat, while all units were being sapped of energy as the sun beat down on them. The fact that my army wasn't having to push battering rams or siege towers increased my advantage, but on top of that, my enemies were having to push said engines through patches of dry grass, an element I was able to take advantage of with my archers loosing fire arrows. Later in the battle, I retreated further into the city to make use of the bottlenecks in the streets. My enemy used parks and open areas still filled with trees and bushes to chase my troops, but that greenery was also similarly engulfed in flame, engulfing the inhabitants of these spaces with fire or cutting off an avenue of movement. It was only when I saw the fires had spread to my own buildings that I realized I wasn't quite the master general I thought… While units have familiar abilities, such as shielded fighters forming a wall, they also have new stances that go hand-in-hand with utilizing the map's terrain, as well as their own size and weight. Troops can now advance and slowly push a line forward, hold position and maintain their formation as well as the ground they are on, or use the Give Ground stance, allowing your units to retreat while still facing the enemy and remaining in combat so they may slowly fall back without suffering the additional damage that always came with manually moving your units and being shot, stabbed, or slashed in the back. Your leader's unit and their bodyguards have always been some of the most powerful and pivotal units in Total War games, Pharaoh is also building on this element, allowing for more unit flexibility. These bodyguard units will follow their leader into battle, but will also mirror their discipline. Equipping your Pharaoh with a bow and chariot will change the unit as a whole to one of chariot archers. Or, if you wish your leader to take to the frontlines, you can equip them with a sword, shield, and heavier armor and the troops that march alongside them will follow suit. Nikolov said that while there is some evidence of Pharaohs being trained in multiple disciplines, this gameplay element was mostly designed to further player choice and flexibility. While we've had some control over our leaders and generals in previous games, it has never been to this degree of depth. This new layer of flexibility also extends to how players are able to prepare for a battle, allowing them to define if they want an extra unit of archers for an upcoming siege or a hit-and-run chariot unit if their approaching enemy is the slow, armored sort. That armor is also a more in-depth consideration as it can now degrade as a battle progresses and a unit takes damage. It took some time before I could get my head around the impact this had and forced me to be smarter with my armored units, and the result was that I was better able to wear down the enemy's using lower-ranked troops equipped with hammers and maces. On paper, it may look like a small change, but I think every veteran of Total War can remember one time or another where a particularly stubborn squad of heavy infantry became an immovable nuisance on the battlefield, so in practice it could be something that will make that kind of situation less prevalent. One element in army composition that returning generals will have to consider is the lack of cavalry as, in this time period, there were no traditional cavalry units. Instead, chariots have been tweaked to make them more diverse in their function and utility than they were in previous titles. Altogether, the reworked elements and new gameplay have really slowed the pace of the battles, but so far I think it's for the better. A slower pace means that high-speed micromanagement is less important, especially when it comes to the precise use of timed skills and abilities. I was told that this was supposed to feel like a classic Total War experience, while also being simpler and more natural, with battles that feel authentic. I was left wondering if this element could be a dividing one within the community or a stumbling block for new players or those who have come exclusively from the Warhammer titles, but for me, so far, I think this is how the historical titles should feel. Gallery As it stands, sound tactical decisions feel more impactful, while a strategic slip-up doesn't feel so devastating. Reacting to the dynamic weather during battle and twisting it to your advantage feels rewarding, and the idea of having to plan around the elements in the campaign layer is both exciting and daunting. It does mean, however, that the game has more tools in its arsenal to ensure that skirmishes remain varied and engaging. I really do feel more engaged and immersed, too, as the game creates more opportunities for you to tap into your strategic thinking, with more aspects like troop type, weather, armor, and fatigue to consider. That immersion is certainly helped by the game looking gorgeous. The landscapes of the battlemaps look incredible, with sand dunes looking appropriately arid, riverbanks offering pleasant strokes of green against the desert, or rocky crags all reacting to the ever-changing light and colors of the game's weather system. All of this space is host to the most detailed units to ever feature in a historical Total War title, and since all troops--not just your heroes--have matched combat animations where individuals can meet blade to blade or deliver a precise killing blow, it was hard at times to take my eyes off the landscape and combat and instead focus on winning the battle. There's much more of Total War: Pharaoh to see, as my hands-on was confined to a few battles rather than any turns in a campaign. But from everything I've seen so far, my excitement for a new historical Total War has only been accelerated by my time with the Pharaohs. View the full article
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  9. Marvel's X-Men starred in some of the best arcade games of the '80s and '90s, and if you're looking to bring some mutant nostalgia home, then check out this deal on an Arcade1Up X-Men arcade cabinet. Usually retailing for $750, this package includes a full-sized arcade cabinet, riser, themed stool, and a light-up marquee for just $350 (today-only deal, June 1). See at Best Buy As for the games that you can play on it, the X-Men arcade game is a classic four-player co-op experience starring the children of the Atom. The 1992 X-Men arcade game allows you to choose between Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, or Dazzler and face off against Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Up to four players can hop into a session, and if you don't have three friends to join you, you can team up with other players around the world through Arcade1Up's Live Wi-Fi system. Captain America and the Avengers and The Avengers in Galactic Storm are also included in this unit. The cabinet itself has a design that's accurate to the original arcade units, a 17-inch screen, and full-sized controls for up to four players. The stool isn't too bad either, although the image of Cyclops firing off an optic blast suggests that he really doesn't want to be sat on. Show him who's the boss and that even his mutant powers are no match for your posterior. You'll want to be quick with this deal, as it'll only be available until June 2, after which it'll revert back to its original price. If you'd prefer a different arcade experience, Best Buy also has deals on Mortal Kombat and classic Bandai Namco arcade cabinets, if you're shopping for something that's even more retro. View the full article
  10. As a massive lover of all things space, I was thrilled to finally get my hands on the first chapter of The Expanse: A Telltale Series. Telltale made its name by delivering an authentic take on The Walking Dead at a time when the franchise was at the height of its popularity. The team working on The Expanse is different from the old Telltale--the studio has partnered with Deck Nine, developers of Life is Strange: True Colors, giving The Expanse series a good chance of hitting the narrative highs it needs to. Gameplay, however, initially had me a little worried. The upcoming sci-fi adventure gives players much more physical freedom than the studio's previous offerings, allowing them to roam, run, and float through zero-g environments and explore at their leisure--a potentially daunting task from a technical perspective. Although The Expanse's enormous universe offers plenty of material for great storytelling, the game could easily become messy if not handled with care. With fan-favorite Camina Drummer as its main character, The Expanse: A Telltale Series is already in a great position from a narrative perspective. Both studios have created immersive, stunning games over the years, but The Expanse is new territory for Telltale when it comes to both gameplay and story. The game sees a beloved character from a visually stunning sci-fi franchise with firmly established lore get a prequel to fill in her sparse backstory--a concept that certainly holds promise. After diving into the first episode of the game itself and speaking to some of its creators, it seems Telltale is thoroughly committed to telling Drummer's backstory in a way that will please fans of both the books and the television series. "At every level of the team, everyone cares about story first," Deck Nine art director Emerson Oaks told me. "We're super focused on telling the story, respecting the characters, and making the game as good as we can within those boundaries. That's the kind of lens that [the narrative team] is looking at the game through." Episode One encompasses every event featured in the initial launch trailer, and it's not pulling any punches. The year is 2327, and Drummer--voiced by Cara Gee, the same actress who played her on The Expanse television show--is the executive officer aboard The Artemis, a salvage ship operated by a crew with wildly varying personalities and motivations. Similar to the television show, the game sees tension between characters of different backgrounds immediately bubble to the surface, with each character's status as an Earther, a Martian, or a Belter informing the way they relate to their fellow crewmates. The Artemis' crew is led by Captain Garrison Cox, a gruff former U.N.N. military man who game director Stephan Frost tells me was inspired by "some gaming executives I've met." Also aboard is Khan, the ship's sarcastic elderly pilot (though she'd almost certainly leave a cigar hole in your vac-suit if she heard you refer to her as such), a pair of twins named Arlen and Rayen Morozov, ship medic Virgil Marks, and mechanic Maya Castillo. Like Drummer, the Morozov twins' Belter status is clearly stated in one of the game's codex entries, but other crew members' backgrounds aren't explicitly spelled out, forcing players to pay close attention if they don't want their interactions with these characters to go awry. Cox, Khan, and Virgil are all "Inners"--a Belter term for individuals who originated from Earth and Luna (though Martians are sometimes included in this category). The only Martian aboard is Maya, the character with whom Drummer appears to be closest to emotionally. The destroyed remains of the U.N.N. Urshanabi make up the majority of Episode 1's fully-explorable environment.The initial scenario is a familiar one: A U.N.N. ship, the Urshanabi, went dark a few days ago, with no distress beacon activated. The Artemis' crew have stumbled upon the ship's wreckage and aim to scavenge it for goods, which are likely to be plentiful on a military ship. Food, necessities, and morale are all in short supply, but the Urshanabi's wreckage is the solution to the Artemis' interstellar woes: This salvage is to be the crew's last job, and according to Cox, once the job is done, "We're all gonna be f***ing rich." Ultimately, riches and relaxation prove to be an elusive goal. The Urshanabi job goes sideways in very short order, and survival quickly takes precedence. Though episode one's overall playtime is a bit short--it only took me about an hour and 20 minutes to finish it--the game's debut episode still manages to put the fate of two crew members directly into Drummer's hands. Fans of Telltale's "Do I or don't I?" decision-making challenges will certainly not be let down--the game's atmosphere had me second-guessing myself almost immediately, and the added conflict between Belters, Earthers, and Martians layered on an extra challenge. An action or comment that might get a hearty laugh out of Khan could easily see Rayan's feelings hurt for the entirety of the voyage, and Drummer must make her moves accordingly. Speaking of making moves, physically navigating the world of The Expanse is where the game looks like it could both shine and suffer. Episode one functions as a tutorial level, and obviously, leaving the franchise's ubiquitous magboots out of the equation would be a crime. The good news is the magboots are there, and using them is intuitive and fun. When the tutorial prompted me to engage the magnets, I was pleasantly surprised by how fluid and natural it felt to stomp around. The smooth way the camera rotates as Drummer casually strolls up a wall at a 90-degree angle is so satisfying I found myself looking for excuses to do so at every opportunity, and the game did not disappoint. Naturally, the ability to just walk up the side of a spaceship that's been split in two and leads directly into the vacuum of open space can be a little disorienting, but navigation via magboots manages to be disorienting in a fun way that really drove home the believability of the game's setting. Navigation only became an issue once I disengaged the magnets to float in zero-g. The Urshanabi was evidently targeted by pirates and blown to bits, meaning a significant portion of the vessel's interior has few places to actually walk (or walk far) in mag boots. While this makes perfect sense for a ship that's been ripped in half, having to travel long distances in zero-g can get frustrating quickly. The default movement pace in zero-g is extremely slow, but the real problem was acceleration. The thrusters on Drummer's vac-suit engage when players press the button normally reserved for sprinting, but doing so doesn't allow Drummer to move much faster than the default floating speed, which made backtracking much more difficult and time-consuming than it could be. In both The Expanse television series and real life, humans navigating zero-gravity environments in an enclosed space will frequently propel themselves forward by using an arm or leg to push themselves away from a surface and gain some momentum. Unfortunately, this isn't something Drummer can do in the game, because aiming the reticle at the nearest flat surface brings up a prompt to engage her magboots. As previously mentioned, the transition between engaged magboots and zero-gravity is incredibly seamless and satisfying, but with no way to propel Drummer forward quickly, navigating some parts of the game could feel more frustrating than fluid. Easily visible electric cables running along the walls and floor did a decent job of giving me a better idea of where I was going, but zero-gravity navigation is also complicated by waypoints that can be difficult to decipher, and I sometimes found myself inches away from a waypoint only to realize it was on the opposite side of the surface I was floating next to, requiring me to retrace my path through the ship to get to the other side of a wall or floor--something that wouldn't be particularly painful were zero-gravity movement a little speedier. Exploring zero-gravity environments is rewarding, if a little slow-going.Exploring the outer hull of the destroyed spacecraft is obviously much easier than getting around twisted remains of the interior, but the camera did occasionally clip though the hull while I was standing or floating too close to a wall. Still, the transition from magboots to zero-g (and vice versa) is a lot of fun. I frequently found myself comparing the game's disorienting zero-g sections to the sprawling underwater environments of ABZU, a third-person diving simulator released in 2017. In ABZU, players can swim in any direction, and many areas are so vast it can be hard to tell up from down or left from right without a landmark. It's a nearly identical experience to navigating The Expanse's gravity-free areas, with one significant difference: In ABZU, players have three swim speeds, making backtracking simple and frustration-free while still showing off the game's vast seascapes in a manner that makes the player feel appropriately tiny. Giving Drummer's vac-suit a speed boost would quickly solve just about every issue I had with navigation, but according to game director Stephan Frost, there are no current plans for Drummer's gear to receive an upgrade in later chapters. So, what does the game get right? Based on my preview of the first episode: everything else. Cara Gee's vocal performance is quite powerful, and her dialogue manages to come across as genuinely believable for Drummer, while also making it clear that Telltale's Drummer is younger, less experienced, and more vulnerable than the Drummer we meet in Season 2 of the television show. The original characters created for the game by Telltale and Deck Nine feel just as authentic as Drummer--Khan, for example, would fit just as well into the books or television series as she fits into the game, and by the end of episode one, I struggled with the idea of making a choice that would result in any of Drummer's crewmates dying. Khan's "badass grandma" attitude quickly won me over, but when it comes to the crew of The Artemis, Martian mechanic Maya Castillo was the character who really stuck with me. As the lone Mars-born member of the crew, Maya is unique, and one quickly wonders what a former Martian military brat is doing on a scavenger ship in Jupiter's orbit. Maya, the ship's mechanic, seems to have a strong relationship with Drummer from the get-go.But it's Maya's relationship with Drummer that really drew me in. Spoiler warning: By Season 5 of the television show, Drummer is revealed to be bisexual, taking her place as the leader of a polyamorous Belter fleet. Drummer's sexuality appears to play a part in the Telltale game as well--her first scene with Maya hints at a deeper bond between the two, and it seems that what comes of this bond will ultimately be left up to the player. Maya's introductory scene also pays homage to the book series upon which the show is based, highlighting the physiological differences between the Expanse's three main factions. As a Martian, Maya has served in the military (by law, all Martians are required to serve), and it appears that she and Drummer frequently have good-natured sparring matches on The Artemis. But because Maya grew up and trained in an environment with gravity--albeit less gravity than that of Earth--she naturally has stronger bones than Belters like Drummer, who she jokingly refers to as "brittle bones." Living most of their lives in the low- or no-gravity environment of the asteroid belt and surrounding areas, Belters are known to struggle in environments with gravity, and the book series describes them as long-limbed and lanky, with special medications required for them to survive long periods in environments with significant gravitational pull. Similar to the way Alien: Isolation was littered with visual references to its source material, The Expanse: A Telltale Series is stuffed to the brim with little nods to the lore of the books and television series, making it clear that the developers did their homework. I also had the opportunity to speak with Deck Nine art director Emerson Oaks and lead environment artist Tommy Spampinato to get a better understanding of the bones of the game, from narrative design to lighting up the dark environments of deep space. Our conversation is transcribed below. The game opens with a mystery: Who attacked the Ushanabi and decapitated every last member of her crew?GameSpot: First things first: Aside from the player's ability to shape the story itself, what's the biggest difference between The Expanse we see on TV and the one players will be diving into this summer? Emerson Oaks: I think the biggest difference is that the show has a very broad reach. I mean that in terms of like, the scope of the characters--where they are in space, where they are in the solar system, the kinds of things that they get involved with… Very, very quickly, characters like [James] Holden get involved in politics on a system-wide scale, doing things that affect entire planets, entire governments. But the scope of the interactions within The Expanse: A Telltale Series is much more personal in nature, it's more about a single crew on the Artemis and their interactions with each other. They're from all these different cultures, so they have friction because of that. Drummer's not really playing on that system-wide scale, she's much more focused on individuals, her crewmates. What makes The Expanse different from other games set in space, like Dead Space, Alien: Isolation, Mass Effect, or Deliver Us The Moon/Deliver Us Mars, where you might be going out on a spacewalk? Oaks: Some of those other games, if they're built on their own IP, they're probably built around some of the gameplay needs or expectations for that genre. Our game is coming directly from a story perspective, trying to faithfully and authentically tell the story of The Expanse universe in our own flavor, and in our own way. We come up with game mechanics and narrative mechanics that exist mainly to help service the story we're trying to tell. That makes sense. But I have to ask, why Drummer? Oaks: [laughs] I mean, why not? She's the best character in the whole series. Tommy Spampinato: She's pretty amazing. Just watching the show, she starts off as this scrappy character, and all of a sudden, through her interactions, you're just drawn into that character. I mean, me and my wife would watch it and we'd yell her name out whenever she comes on, like, "Drummer! Yeah!" I just fell in love with that character, and then when we heard that we had this opportunity to do The Expanse. Of the characters we were deciding [to base the game] on--and I mean, not that I swayed anyone's opinion--but I immediately said, "Drummer." There's not much known about her, she was kind of created for the show, because she's a culmination of a bunch of different characters from the books. Oaks: Yeah, yeah. Like, why is Drummer great? She has a strong personality, she has a strong will, she doesn't play to type, she knows what she wants to do. Spampinato: Mysterious, too. So did you consider anyone else, play with any other ideas for the main character, or was it always just Drummer from day one? Oaks: Of course, yeah, so we considered other things… I feel like we probably shouldn't talk about those things here, not least because y'know, there's always a possibility that those characters come up in the future. Spampinato: I mean there are so many great characters, I mean, you can imagine the people we thought about. But really, with Drummer, there was so much we could do with that character, so that's what we chose. Interesting! In that case, what's the biggest difference between the Drummer we've seen on the show and this younger prequel Drummer we'll be playing in the game? Oaks: She has room to grow. She's got an arc that she needs to hit to land at the spot she's at when you meet her in the show, and she's a fairly indestructible character in the show. She's got really tough skin, it's hard to get through it, but nobody starts out that way, right? So she has some experiences she needs to go through to get to the place where she is in Season 2 [of the TV show]. Spampinato: Perfectly put. Drummer's strong personality and mysterious past were major factors in making her the game's main character, according to developers.What led to the decision to make a Belter the main character and craft the narrative around that identity Spampinato: I think they're the most fascinating of the bunch. I think the Martians are fascinating, too. But with the Belters, the thought of how they exist, and what they have to do to live and thrive in contained environments--it's fascinating. All the tattoos, and the grittiness… I mean, I wouldn't want to be a Belter, but I certainly love the Belter culture that's shown in the show. Oaks: Also, the Terran and Martian cultures are kind of monocultural. They have very strong, singular cultural identities. We wanted to tell a story about lots fo different characters coming together and having friction, so if we want to do that, we need to do it inside a culture that accepts other cultures or has to work with them out of necessity. So what are the biggest differences that people who have maybe only played some of the older Telltale games like The Walking Dead expect from The Expanse: A Telltale Series? Spampinato: I'd say a big one is you have free-roam movement in our game, you can move around a lot. Oaks: You can move in zero-g. These environments are very expansive [chuckles], there's a lot of exploration to do, it's very open-ended. Spampinato: And we made sure the choices you make affect the outcome. So there are consequences to her actions throughout the whole game. Oaks: Yeah, the narrative team and our game director [Stephan] Frost went to a lot of effort to make sure that the narrative choices in the game have a lot of branches, those branches have meaningful consequences, and things that you do very early on in the game have really meaningful outcomes. Were there any big design or programming hurdles you guys had to overcome to build this game? Oaks: Obviously, Deck Nine has some experience with narrative games. As far as innovations that we're adding to the narrative genre--we added new features like broader free-roam levels, zero-g movement. Those things automatically introduced gigantic scope changes and engineering challenges. Our engineering team and our design team and art teams have done a great job of adapting to that and getting the game out, which is a huge challenge. Were there any lessons you learned from previous games, like the Life Is Strange franchise, that informed how you designed The Expanse? Spampinato: Because we have these free-roam environments, nothing's sacred, nothing's safe. I can stick a really low-res asset in the background and think, "Oh, nobody's gonna see it." But then it's like, "Well actually, that guy's gonna see it." We realized that there's certain camera angles that are favored by cinematic films, so we've learned from that. That was a lesson I learned a long time ago, and we were able to bring that to this game. Oaks: Much like a TV show that's in a serialized format, you need to think about how to work modularly, and how to use stuff over and over, because you need to work somewhat efficiently. You get good at sort of mashing things together to create these new environments, and then light them very differently to create something that's much more unique visually. One thing it can be easy to forget in these super-futuristic games where we've settled in outer space is that space wants to kill you. How did you guys go about cultivating an atmosphere that reminds the player that space is their adversary just as much as any human enemy? Oaks: I think audio is a huge component of that. There are lots of effects due to the oxygen apparatus that characters have to wear when they're in space. There's also a slightly different color-grading treatment that we actually ripped from the show that's a great way to show that you're in space. There's a feeling when you're out in space that it's stark, the cinematic team's done a great job with framing, and helping create that sense of emptiness of standing alone on the hull. Any moment you could fly off if your magboots turn off. All those little things kind of go together to help reinforce that feeling. Also, there are things in the game that demonstrate very clearly how dangerous space is. Those "object lessons" are pretty powerful. Out of all the new characters Telltale and Deck Nine created for the game, who's your favorite? Oaks: I really like Khan, just from a visual standpoint. She's unconventional, she's got a great attitude. [laughs] I mean, she's got a terrible attitude, but it's great. She's got reasons behind that [attitude], and I think the players will like those reasons. Spampinato: I've always liked Virgil. I just wanna hug him, I don't know, there's something about him. I really love this guy, and his personality. Oaks: He's bursting with umami. Spampinato: Ha, yeah, yeah. He's bursting with umami. Got any plans for mobile or Switch? Oaks: Not at this time, no. The trailers released so far have all depicted a very tense moment in episode one where Drummer is forced to choose between saving a vault full of supplies that could feed the crew for weeks, or saving Rayan's leg, which is lodged in the door to the vault. Let's say you only get one playthrough. Do you save the leg, or save the vault? We're all dying to know. Spampinato: I guess what I would choose is to…[groans] I would choose to save the leg. 'Cause, y'know, I'm a nice guy. But my first choice would probably be to cut the leg so I can see the effects and make sure they're working! [laughs] Oaks: I choose to sweep the leg. The Leg Question haunts me long after I've stepped away from the mouse and keyboard.When the time comes, I ultimately choose to save Rayan's leg. But the decision follows me the whole ride home. What if Rayan dies anyway? What if he eats more food than the rest of the crew and someone starves? What if he turns out to be a serial killer and I spend the next three episodes wishing I threw him to the space-wolves? I never work out the "right" answer to this quandary, and it's not until several hours into my pondering that I arrive at one undeniable answer: Telltale and Deck Nine are on the right track, and are thoroughly committed to giving fans of The Expanse a game that's faithful to the soul of the franchise. The time I spent with The Expanse: A Telltale Series showed the game to be a tense, exciting interstellar adventure that instantly throws players into a tumultuous, mutinous situation where every decision counts, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, despite wishing the first episode were a bit longer. My most striking memory, surprisingly, isn't that of a cutscene or a dialogue choice, but a single item floating somewhere in space: At one point, a side-quest appeared, directing me to look for a replacement part needed by the ship's engineer. When I returned to the rest of Drummer's crew on the Artemis without managing to find it, all I could think was, "Which one of these guys did I just kill by not grabbing that?" Fans of both Deck Nine's narrative touch and Telltale's difficult decision-making could find themselves right at home with all the severed heads floating about inside the remains of The Urshanabi. As for the fate of Rayan's leg, players will have to wait to learn how their choices play out, but they won't have to wait for long. Episode one of The Expanse: A Telltale Series launches July 27, 2023, with a new episode set to release every two weeks after that. View the full article
  11. Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka has been formally sentenced to prison for insider trading, and is expected to serve two and a half years in jail. Additionally, Naka has received two fines, one of $17,800 and a supplementary penalty of $1.2 million. Naka's defense team is now aiming for his sentence to be suspended sentence and to have his fines lowered, as it claims that Naka "accidentally saw information that was extremely unrelated to [his] work," as reported by Japanese news site Abema Times (via VGC). Final judgment for Naka is expected to arrive on July 7, and prosecutors claim that the Balan Wonderworld director has "showed no signs of remorse" for the crimes that he admitted to being guilty of. After reports of insider trading at Square Enix went public, Naka was first arrested in November 2022. He was accused of purchasing around $20,000 in shares in Aiming, a Japanese developer tasked with producing a Dragon Quest mobile game for Square Enix, before the studio's involvement was made public. Naka would be re-arrested in December last year, as new allegations of him purchasing shares worth more than $1 million in mobile developer ATeam--before the studio's work on Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier was officially revealed-- surfaced. He'd later be formally charged for insider trading crimes, and he was accused of netting the equivalent of $146,000 from these sales. Several other former Square Enix employees were also accused of being involved in the scheme. Naka originally joined Square Enix in 2018 and began work on Balan Wonderworld, but after the game was released to scathing reviews from critics and players alike, he'd later leave Square Enix in 2021 and then sued the company in 2022, as he claimed that the game was released in an unfinished state and that he'd been removed as director six months before it launched. View the full article
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  14. Don't you guys at 343 think it would have been a good idea to alert the player as to having to choose either a keyboard/mouse or controller for multiplayer? Bad developer taste, no excuse. What is wrong with you people? Common sense, not trial and error. Geese!
  15. Yesterday
  16. Fortnite's Chapter 4 Season 2 has been a real doozy, adding the incredible Mega City to the Battle Royale island as part of an all-new Japan-inspired biome, along with the recently vaulted Kinetic Blade. But now spring is ending, and summer is upon us--and it's almost time for Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3. Here's everything we know so far about Fortnite's latest summer season. When does Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 begin?According to in-game messaging, the current season will end on June 9 at 11 PM PT / 2 AM ET, which indicates there's once again no live event this season. If Season 3 starts the way Season 2 did, then the game will only be offline for a few hours--meaning that you should expect Season 3 to begin sometime in the early morning of June 9. Beyond the ending time for this season, Epic hasn't made any announcements about what's in store for Season 3. And there haven't been many leaks yet, either--just one, really. But it's a big one. Not as big as the battle pass splash page leaking ahead of last year's summer season, but it's been enough to get a lot of folks all hot and bothered, in a good way. Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 key art teases Tranformers crossoverThere is a lot to discuss about this image, which was provided in full by Shiina after a portion of the image appeared on reddit, but let's start with the elephant in the room: That's Optimus Prime, the Transformer, right there on the left. We know this is key art rather than some random loading screen because of the "CONNECTING…" message at the bottom--this is an image of the game booting up, rather than loading into a match. If Optimus Prime is on the key art, then it seems pretty likely he'll be in the battle pass. But Shiina says he's not the bonus skin, which was Attack on Titan's Eren Yeager this season. Since we know very little about next season beyond what we can see in the key art, we've got no info on the particulars of the Optimus Prime skin, which we have to assume will have some kind of built-in transformation emote. Possibly even a traversal emote where he turns into a big rig, a la Kit's motorcycle emote. What's the theme for Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3?It has been rumored for a while that next season would feature a jungle theme and would bring back raptors, and this key art would appear to confirm that. That means you should expect Season 3 to add a new jungle/rainforest-type of area to the Battle Royale island, probably over an area that's currently largely empty. When Season 2 added its Japan biome, we only lost one named location and gained four new ones. A similar change should be expected here, probably in either the southwest or north central parts of the map--Epic could probably expand the northern end of the island without losing any current named locations, even. The return of raptors, which haven't been around since Chapter 2, indicates that Season 3 could be a new primal-like season, a la Chapter 2 Season 6. If Fortnite is collaborating with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and bringing back raptors, then a new primal season would track. But judging by the "18th century shipwreck victim" look of the guy in the center of the key art, not to mention the old-timey pistol he's holding, we could instead be looking at a new pirate-themed season. Or it could be a bit of both. This season's Attack on Titan collaboration, for example, doesn't mesh at all with the Mega theme since that show has a medieval Europe aesthetic--it fit with the parts of the map that were already there more than it did with the new stuff. So it clearly doesn't have to be one or the other. Will we actually be able to ride the raptors?While we haven't had any animals big enough to ride on the Chapter 4 island so far, Fortnite did add rideable animals (wolves and boars) to Battle Royale back in Chapter 3. So there's no reason to think this image is misleading. You'll probably be able to ride the raptors. If they work like the wolves and boars did, they'll also follow you around and help fight your opponents when you're on foot, too. The raptors will probably be a lot more helpful in that regard than those other animals were, though, because the raptors were always pretty aggressive to begin with--random wild ones could easily murder you if you weren't paying attention. So they may end up being on par with current hireable NPCs in terms of helpfulness in combat, though it's doubtful they'll be able to rez you in the heat of battle. What skins will be in Fortnite's Chapter 4 Season 3 battle pass?If the image above is the key art for the season, then all four of the skins we see here should be in the battle pass. Two of these are folks who appear to be brand-new original characters--the guy in the center, and the woman on the raptor. Other than that, we've got Optimus Prime, and a new, summer version of the Meowscles skin surfing that vine in the back. Shiina says the bonus slot on this pass will go to an original skin rather than a collab. What new guns and other weapons are coming in Chapter 4 Season 3?HypeX has mentioned a number of changes to the Battle Royale arsenal for this season. Such as a new bolt-action sniper with a thermal scope (with one-shot headshots still in play), a "Lever Pistol" which is the old-timey gun from the key art I mentioned before, and a new mythic drum shotgun. That shotgun being specified as mythic likely means the drum is not returning to the general loot pool, but will rather be a specific drop from a boss or a capture point. So don't expect more of the complete drum shotgun mayhem that we had during Chapter 3 Season 2 when the gun was last in the game. Meanwhile, helicopters have apparently been updated with a grenade or rocket launcher--which could indicate we'll be seeing helicopters this season as well. What should we expect from Fortnite Chapter 4 Season 3 outside of Battle Royale?Word is that Season 3 will add a new limited-time mode (LTM) that will be a racing game in the vein of Mario Kart, and that it will have its own battle pass. Could this be a Rocket League thing? Will this other pass be a proper battle pass that's included with Fortnite Crew, or will it be more like the Star Wars Find the Force event with its mini-pass that had a premium track that you had to pay for? The details are elusive--we don't even know when it's being added to the game. But if it actually has its own battle pass, I wouldn't expect it to release at the beginning of the season. View the full article
  17. Diablo 4 has finally arrived, tasking you with defeating Lilith and the forces of Hell. At launch, Diablo 4 has five classes to pick from, with each class having its own unique pros and cons. While seasoned Diablo veterans will likely already know which class they are rolling with first, new players might be unsure which one will give them the best experience. Here are the pros and cons for each class and which ones will be the easiest to master. The classes are ranked from most newcomer-friendly to least, all according to an experience set to World Tier 1 difficulty, the game's beginner-friendly mode. Pros and cons of each class in Diablo 4NecromancerThe Necromancer is powerhouse and very easy for new players to grasp.The Necromancer is a fan-favorite class in Diablo and there is a reason for it. The Necromancer is both the most powerful damage-focused class and fairly simple. This class focuses on creating minions from dead enemies and can even use dead enemies' bones to attack foes. They can also have the ability to make corpses explode, making them more powerful as more enemies die around them. The biggest benefits of the Necromancer class are the Minions and the Book of the Dead, which allow you to pick from a variety of different minions, unlocking more as you level up. Having an extra set of hands on the battlefield is a big boon to newcomers, making it feel like you have extra help, even if you are playing alone. As for the downsides of the Necromancer, the main issue new players will find with this class--and the other damage-focused classes--is how squishy you can be, especially if you are playing alone. You will need to learn to keep your distance and focus on enemies getting too close to you, otherwise you might find yourself dying frequently, especially on higher World Tiers. Necromancer skillsNecromancer talentsNecromancer buildNecromancer Book of the DeadSorcererThe Sorcerer is a little less powerful than the Necromancer, but has much simpler abilities.The Sorcerer comes in just under the Necromancer in terms of approachability, only missing slightly due to it not being as much of a powerhouse as the Necromancer. While the Sorcerer deals a bit less damage, the skills are far easier to understand; the system of regenerating mana for more powerful attacks is fairly simple. Sorcerer's can harness the power of the elements to deal a ton of damage to enemies in large areas, with skills that focus on ice, fire, lightning, and more. The Sorcerer does have some abilities that provide them with extra defense in the middle of combat, but they have limited mobility compared to the other classes and the health pool isn't as deep. Luckily, the majority of attacks are ranged and you can deal damage to many enemies at the same time, so you won't find yourself getting overwhelmed by large groups too often. The Enhancement system for Sorcerer is also fairly simple, providing powerful passive bonuses depending on which skills you currently have equipped. Sorcerer skillsSorcerer talentsSorcerer leveling buildSorcerer EnchantmentsDruidThe Druid gives a great balance of both offense and defense.The Druid functions as a hybrid class, with high-damage magic abilities and wild beast forms that can tank more damage than some of the other classes. During the beta for Diablo 4, there were complaints that the Druid wasn't as offensively capable as the other classes, but a build focused on area-of-effect attacks and defensive buffs can create a capable damage dealer that won't go down as quickly as some of the squishier classes. The Druid's main fault is how cooldown-heavy the class can be, with you needing to bide time and take some damage between large attacks. Even with the ability to switch to different animal forms, which let you shred enemies at close range, you might spend a decent amount of time waiting for cooldowns to end. However, being able to have both defensive abilities and powerful attacks makes Druid a nice, middling class for newbies. Druid skillsDruid talentsDruid buildDruid Spirit AnimalsRogueThe Rogue is a powerhouse, but it's also a very complicated class.The Rogue is easily the least newcomer-friendly class in Diablo 4 from a mechanical sense, due to this class's focus on dealing large amounts of damage to single targets and using buffs and debuffs to your advantage. The Rogue uses a mixture of melee attacks and ranged attacks, many of which inflict debuffs like vulnerable. After making an enemy vulnerable, they take additional damage. To maximize this class you will need to focus on activating debuffs on enemies before using your bigger damage abilities. The Rogue also has to take advantage of the Imbuement system, which lets you imbue some abilities with either poison, ice, or shadow. Imbuement only affects the next two abilities used, so you have to know which combos you are going to use ahead of time before activating it. The Rogue's special system is the Specializations, which provides special bonuses and buffs, assuming you do whatever the requirements are of each Specialization. You will need to build your skills around each different kind, making it one of the more complicated characters to build. The Rogue's biggest flaw is that it's the class that struggles with large groups the most. There are plenty of abilities that deal damage in a large area, but your primary attacks are all single target focused. You will need to dash and roll around the battlefield to keep from getting surrounded. Rogue's have very high damage potential, but it takes more game knowledge than new players might have for their first character. Rogue skillsRogue talentsRogue buildRogue SpecializationsBarbarianThe Barbarian in Diablo 4 is a tank, but its low damage output makes it difficult to play.The Barbarian is the main tank-focused class, using a vast arsenal of melee weapons to slice and bash enemies at close range. Barbarians have the special ability to rotate through different weapon types using the Weapon Arsenal mechanic, with different Barbarian skills available to use depending on the weapons currently equipped. While rotating through different weapon types might sound a bit difficult, it's fairly easy to grasp, especially since you will slowly unlock new abilities as you level up. The most newcomer-friendly part about the Barbarian is that it's the tank class, making it much easier to survive massive amounts of damage. The trade-off is that you don't deal as much damage as the other classes, but if you're new to Diablo and playing alone, you will be grateful for the larger health pool. You can pick skills, like Bleed abilities, to get more damage out of the Barbarian. The reason the Barbarian falls at the bottom of the list is that it can be very difficult to take down bosses and some of the tougher enemies alone, due to the lower damage output and the need to get in close to deal damage. This shouldn't put anyone off from trying it, but you might find yourself unhappy with how long it takes to kill enemies. Barbarian skillsBarbarian talentsBarbarian buildBarbarian Expertise and Arsenal Weapon SwappingCheck out GameSpot's Diablo 4 Guides Hub for more information about the five classes and other important aspects of Sanctuary. View the full article
  18. Heads up, if you will be playing Diablo 4 on PC and have a Nvidia graphics card, you should download the latest Game Ready driver. It's available now and promises to bring many of Nvidia card's performance boosting features to the demon-slaying RPG. Diablo 4 will have day one support for DLSS 3 and Nividia Reflex. With DLSS 3 Frame Generation, you can run Diablo 4 on max settings from 113 to 229 frames per second, depending on which 40 Series graphics card you have. Even on Laptops, DLSS 3 can boost the frame rate to over 80 fps at max settings and over 120 fps at 1080p. Nvidia Reflex reduces system latency, shortening the gap between hitting a button and on-screen action. According to Nvidia, Reflex reduces latency in Diablo 4 by 67%. You'll have to wait on ray tracing; Nvidia promised the feature would come "at a later date." Even if you don't have a top-of-the-line graphic card, it is still best to install the latest driver. The included changes and fixes should your PC better able to handle any new releases. Diablo 4 launches on June 6, but you'll get to play four days early if you picked up the Digital Deluxe or Ultimate Editions. The game driver also boosts compatibility with the System Shock remake, which launched today. View the full article
  19. It's been a decade since the last entry in the series, but Diablo 4 is shaping up to be a massive hit. If this is your first foray into Diablo or an action dungeon crawler, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of systems and the frenetic combat. Luckily, Diablo 4 looks more complicated than it is and with a few tips, you should be more than prepared to take down Lilith. Here are 15 tips to bring with you when you go to Hell. Balance between selling items and salvaging early onOnce you hit the endgame you likely won't be thinking too much about how much gold you have, but early on you might find yourself strapped for cash. Once you make it to the main hub city in Act I, you will unlock the ability to salvage unwanted loot for materials, which are used to upgrade the gear you do like. Upgrading requires both gold and materials, so you will want to try and make sure you have plenty of both. A good strategy is selling all of your unwanted junk, instead of salvaging, roughly every third trip to the armorer. Stash gemsInventory management has always been an important part of Diablo, and Diablo 4 is no exception. While every item takes up only a single slot, one item type might fill your inventory very quickly; gems. Gems come in a variety of different colors and quality, with each different kind taking up its own inventory slot. You won't want to sell these, but you certainly don't want to have them taking up inventory space. Once you start collecting gems, you will want to regularly drop them off at your stash until you need them. Read items closer than just the big numbersDiablo 4 does an excellent job of quickly informing you of whether an item has higher damage/armor than what you have currently equipped, but you might want to take a closer look at the specific bonuses each item provides. This is especially true with higher tier loot, since these will have several bonuses that go beyond just damage. It's also important to remember if you have upgraded an item. If you pick up a weapon that's only a few points lower than what you have currently equipped but your current gear was upgraded multiple tiers, it means that the new item is better, as long as you upgrade it right away. Try and hit region level 2 in each regionEach new region has its own reward track.There are five total regions that you will explore in Diablo 4, each of which has its own series of dungeons, strongholds, and other side activities to complete. In the map menu you can find Region Rewards, which gives rewards at different tiers based on how much of that region's content you've completed. While you likely won't want to complete each region before moving on, you will want to reach Tier 2. Tier 2 of each region awards another potion charge, increasing how many you can hold. This is important early on, especially if you are playing solo. Don't be afraid to respec your build early onOne of the most important aspects of Diablo is how you build your character, but for new players, it can be quite daunting. The skill tree is massive, with multiple options at each tier, as well as smaller bonuses and differences. Luckily, early on your build isn't too impactful and you can refund all of your skill points at any time for a fee of gold. While this fee gets pretty big late in the game, early on you can do it for a few thousand gold, so feel free to experiment and make changes. You can also refund individual skill points by going to that skill in the tree, so you can make small changes too. Get passives for abilities earlyOn the topic of the skill tree, one of the more important skills to invest in early on are the smaller bonuses and passives for the abilities you choose. You are limited to only one passive bonus for each skill, separated into different upgrades. These can drastically impact how your abilities work, giving you an early advantage of the battlefield if you invest your points in. Visit the potion upgrade vendor/craft elixirs for XP bonusEarly into Act I after arriving at the Kyovashad, you will receive a quest to visit the potion vendor, which prompts you to upgrade your health potions for the first time. You might notice that at certain level milestones you can upgrade your potions to do more healing, which is essential to do whenever possible. In addition to upgrading your potions, you can also craft elixirs here. Elixirs can provide a wide variety of bonuses, but all of them also award a 5% XP bonus, so early on in the game you want to have one of these buffs running pretty much at all times. Clearing dungeons is worth a detourAs you explore Diablo 4's open world, you will frequently run into dungeons, which are marked on the maps but small gates, with dungeons you haven't completed having a small gold stack icon. Each dungeon in the game awards a unique Aspect, some of which are only usable by specific classes. While you might not get an Aspect you can actually use, dungeons almost always award a decent haul of XP and at least one treasure chest, which can provide valuable loot early on. Even if it becomes a side activity to what your focus was, it's worth it to tackle these as often as you can. Use the Leave Dungeon Emote/map optionAn important tool that Diablo 4 doesn't surface very well is the ability to quickly leave a dungeon once you have completed it. If you don't know about the option, you might think you have to walk back to the entrance of a dungeon once it's finished. Instead, you have two ways to quickly return to the entrance. The first option is the Leave Dungeon Emote, which can be found in the emote wheel. The second option is to open the map in the dungeon and use the cursor to select the entrance, which will also teleport you out of the dungeon. Explore the mapThere are surprises and loot to be found in every corner of Sanctuary. Diablo 4 takes the series a step forward with its fully open world, which you are free to explore in its entirety. While you can always navigate straight from one quest marker to the next, there are benefits to fully exploring the map. There are important things to find, like Altars of Lilith which provides Region Renown and a permanent boost to your character. You can also find crafting materials, dungeons, strongholds, and side quests scattered throughout the world. Pick up side quests whenever possibleSomething you should get into the habit of early is picking up side quests whenever you see them. Side quests are marked by a blue exclamation mark on the map. The majority of side quests in Diablo 4 won't force you into anything when you pick them up and there's always a good chance that you happen to end up in the necessary area as you explore the world. Completing side quests award gold, loot, and Region Renown. Always do public eventsMarked by an orange icon or circle, you will occasionally come across public events in Diablo 4. These typically require you to fight large groups of enemies and usually last a few waves, but they always reward a chest which typically has high quality loot in it. You also get Murmuring Obols, which can be used at the Purveyor of Curiosities shop to roll loot or to purchase Whispering Keys, which unlock chests found throughout Sanctuary. These events usually aren't too tough for one person to take on and there will usually be other people around anyway. Focus your Murmuring Obols rollsOnce you have a bunch of Murmuring Obols, you will want to visit the vendor to try and get some gear with your currency. The loot varies pretty wildly in quality, with many rolls resulting in low rarity gear that you won't want to use. The best strategy for getting decent gear is to focus on a single item type, like a weapon or chest armor, and only roll that item repeatedly. This won't impact the odds of getting a better item, but if you have a particular piece of gear you need, it's a good strategy. Bump up the World Tier if you are finding the game easyUpon starting Diablo 4 you will have the option to play on either World Tier 1 or Tier 2, with the higher tiers locked behind a level requirement. These function as a difficulty setting in Diablo and new players will likely want to start on World Tier 1. Once you reach the first hub city, you will have the option to change the World Tier and if you feel like the game has been a bit easy, you should consider bumping it up. The higher tiers offer more XP, Gold, and better loot, so there are benefits to tackling the harder difficulties. To answer riddles for small buffs use Emotes at the altarsThroughout the world are small altars that provide special, temporary buffs, if you can solve their riddles. There is a side quest in the early part of the game that teaches you this mechanic, but the basic version is that you need to use a specific emote to get the buff, with that emote being different at each altar. There are a limited number of these altars throughout Sanctuary, but the buffs can be pretty powerful, so if you see an altar, stop by. View the full article
  20. Season 4 of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 is quickly approaching, with a release date expected to arrive around mid-June. Here is everything already announced for the big update, plus some potential Warzone 2 leaks for Season 4. Call of Duty Season 4 start timesBased on the number of days left in the battle pass, Season 4 should arrive on or around Wednesday, June 14. These seasonal refreshes usually go live at around 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET / 5 PM BST. What to expect from Season 4A brand-new season of Call of Duty generally includes a new 100-tier battle pass to level up and unlock new weapons and cosmetics. Seasonal passes usually contain at least one operator and two DLC weapons. While the weapons haven't officially been announced for Season 4, Call of Duty leakers known as Task Force Leakers 141 tweeted claims of the game files including an unreleased light machine gun as part of the game's Bruen weapon platform. So far, the seasonal updates haven't included a new LMG for the weapon pool, so it's possible this could be one of the weapons arriving in Season 4. Additionally, the big seasonal update will likely include more game modes, maps, and additional weapon balancing and bug fixes for both Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2. Warzone 2There haven't been many confirmations for Season 4 of Warzone 2, however, a new report from CharlieIntel claims that Season 4 will include a new Warzone map called Vondel, which is set in the Netherlands and is developed by Beenox. Reportedly, the map will have Resurgence support to start, and at some point will also be supported in DMZ. Additionally, Task Force Leakers 141 tweeted the data-mined placeholder images for Vondel. Season 3 Reloaded introduced the beta for Ranked Play mode with a half season, but players can expect a new full season of Ranked Play and new rewards for the start of Season 4. For DMZ, a seasonal update usually brings new challenges and updates as well. Modern Warfare 2While a standard map hasn't been confirmed for Season 4, Infinity Ward has recently teased an "older" map from Call of Duty's history is coming to Modern Warfare 2. Additionally, players can expect new Gunfight maps, as new ones were confirmed for each season. Just like Warzone 2's competitive mode, multiplayer's Ranked Play will also get a seasonal refresh with new rewards to unlock. A new season means a new Raid episode. These episodic Raids continue Modern Warfare 2's story with a mix of stealth, gunfights, and puzzle-solving teamwork. However, if following the timeframe of the past two episodes, the fourth episode will likely be saved for the midseason update. Most recently, Season 3 Reloaded added two new pistols to unlock, Warzone Ranked Play, a new exclusion zone in DMZ, and more. There's also an ongoing camo challenge event that ends with the start of Season 4. View the full article
  21. Gems are one of the many returning features in Diablo 4. These items slot into certain pieces of armor, jewelry, and weapons to give them added bonuses, depending on what you slotted them into. Not all equippable items that you find or purchase will have a gem socket, but you can pay a fee at a gem shop to add a single socket to that item if you wish. You can find gems as lootable drops from killing mobs, bosses, and opening chests. In Diablo 4, there are five different rarity levels that a gem can come in. The lowest level will give your item a small buff while the highest level will provide a much larger buff. The gems will also give different bonuses depending on if you slot it into a piece of armor, jewelry (amulet or ring), or a weapon (one-handed or two-handed). To see all of the available gems and what bonuses they give each item in Diablo 4, check out the guide below. All gems and their bonusesFor the most part during your run through the main story of Diablo 4, you will only see the Crude or Chipped variety of gems as lootable drops. Crude is the lowest level a gem can come in, and you are able to upgrade it to a Chipped gem by visiting a gem vendor and trading three Crude gems to obtain a single Chipped one. From here, you need to reach a higher level (it's unclear what level) and you will be able to trade three Chipped gems to obtain a single regular gem. After this, you can repeat the same process to obtain a Flawless and Royal gem, but those are not available until after you have beaten the main story with a character in Diablo 4. Below, we will list all of the different gems, their varieties, and their bonuses so you can see exactly which ones will work best for your build. AmethystAmethystCrude Amethyst Weapons: +4.0% Damage Over TimeArmor: 4.0% Damage Taken Over Time ReductionJewelry: 11.5% Shadow ResistanceChipped Amethyst To Weapons: +5.0% Damage Over TimeTo Armor: 5.0% Damage Taken Over Time ReductionTo Jewelry: 14.3% Shadow ResistanceAmethyst Weapons: +6.0% Damage Over TimeArmor: 6.0% Damage Taken Over Time ReductionJewelry: 16.9% Shadow ResistanceFlawless Amethyst Weapons: +7.0% Damage Over TimeArmor: 7.0% Damage Taken Over Time ReductionJewelry: 19.6% Shadow ResistanceRoyal Amethyst Weapons: +8.0% Damage Over TimeArmor: 8.0% Damage Taken Over Time ReductionJewelry: 22.1% Shadow ResistanceDiamondDiamondCrude Diamond Weapons: +4% Ultimate Skill DamageArmor: +3% Barrier GenerationJewelry: 4% Resistance to All ElementsChipped Diamond Weapons: +9% Ultimate Skill DamageArmor: +3.5% Barrier GenerationJewelry: 5% Resistance to All ElementsDiamond Weapons: +11% Ultimate Skill DamageArmor: +4% Barrier GenerationJewelry: 6% Resistance to All ElementsFlawless Diamond Weapons: +13% Ultimate Skill DamageArmor: +4.5% Barrier GenerationJewelry: 7% Resistance to All ElementsRoyal Diamond Weapons: +15% Ultimate Skill DamageArmor: +5% Barrier GenerationJewelry: 8% Resistance to All ElementsEmeraldEmeraldCrude Emerald Weapons: +6% Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable EnemiesArmor: +12 ThornsJewelry: 11.5% Poison ResistanceChipped Emerald Weapons: +7.5% Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable EnemiesArmor: +28 ThornsJewelry: 14.3% Poison ResistanceEmerald Weapons: +9% Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable EnemiesArmor: +70 ThornsJewelry: 16.9% Poison ResistanceFlawless Emerald Weapons: +10.5% Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable EnemiesArmor: +128 ThornsJewelry: 19.6% Poison ResistanceRoyal Emerald Weapons: (Unclear at this moment)Armor: (Unclear at this moment)Jewelry: 22.1% Poison ResistanceRuby RubyCrude Ruby Weapons: +12% Overpower DamageArmor: 2% Maximum LifeJewelry: 11.5% Fire ResistanceChipped Ruby Weapons: +15%Overpower DamageArmor: 2.5% Maximum LifeJewelry: 14.3% Fire ResistanceRuby Weapons: +18% Overpower DamageArmor: 3% Maximum LifeJewelry: 16.9% Fire ResistanceFlawless Ruby Weapons: +21% Overpower DamageArmor: 3.5% Maximum LifeJewelry: 19.6% Fire ResistanceRoyal Ruby Weapons: +24% Overpower DamageArmor: 4% Maximum LifeJewelry: 22.1% Fire ResistanceSapphireSapphireCrude Sapphire Weapons: +6% Critical Strike Damage to Crowd Controlled EnemiesArmor: 1% Damage Reduction while FortifiedJewelry: 11.5% Cold ResistanceChipped Sapphire Weapons: +7.5% Critical Strike Damage to Crowd Controlled EnemiesArmor: 1.5% Damage Reduction while FortifiedJewelry: 14.3%Cold ResistanceSapphire Weapons: +9% Critical Strike Damage to Crowd Controlled EnemiesArmor: 2% Damage Reduction while FortifiedJewelry: 16.9% Cold ResistanceFlawless Sapphire Weapons: +10.5% Critical Strike Damage to Crowd Controlled EnemiesArmor: 2.5% Damage Reduction while FortifiedJewelry: 19.6% Cold ResistanceRoyal Sapphire Weapons: +12% Critical Strike Damage to Crowd Controlled EnemiesArmor: 3% Damage Reduction while FortifiedJewelry: 22.1% Cold ResistanceSkullSkullCrude Skull Weapons: +2 Life on KillArmor: 3% Healing ReceivedJewelry: +75 ArmorChipped Skull Weapons: +5 Life on KillArmor: 3.5% Healing ReceivedJewelry: +125 ArmorSkull Weapons: +8 Life on KillArmor: 4% Healing ReceivedJewelry: +170 ArmorFlawless Skull Weapons: +11 Life on KillArmor: 4.5% Healing ReceivedJewelry: +210 ArmorRoyal Skull Weapons: +14 Life on KillArmor: 5% Healing ReceivedJewelry: +245 ArmorTopazTopazCrude Topaz Weapons: +10% Basic Skill DamageArmor: 6% Damage Reduction while Control ImpairedJewelry: 11.5% Lightning ResistanceChipped Topaz Weapons: +12.5% Basic Skill DamageArmor: 7% Damage Reduction while Control ImpairedJewelry: 14.3% Lightning ResistanceTopaz Weapons: +15% Basic Skill DamageArmor: 8% Damage Reduction while Control ImpairedJewelry: 16.9% Lightning ResistanceFlawless Topaz Weapons: +17.5 Basic Skill DamageArmor: 9% Damage Reduction while Control ImpairedJewelry: 19.6% Lightning ResistanceRoyal Topaz Weapons: +20% Basic Skill DamageArmor: 10% Damage Reduction while Control ImpairedJewelry: 22.1% Lightning ResistanceThat's it for all of the gems in Diablo 4 along with the bonuses that each one carries. Remember that you'll be slotting in the Crude and Chipped gems for most of your initial playthrough, but as time goes on, the higher rarity gems will begin to come into play and grant a huge boost to your build. For a lot more on the game, check out our Diablo 4 guides hub. View the full article
  22. The Capstone Dungeons are one of the primary pieces of endgame material that players can take on and complete in Diablo 4. They contain the same basic principles as any other dungeon in the game, but they represent a much tougher challenge than any other one you might have completed prior. You can't unlock the ability to complete a Capstone Dungeon until you have completed the main campaign in Diablo 4. The first Capstone Dungeon can only be done on World Tier 2, will require you to be roughly level 45-50, and upon completion, will give you access to World Tier 3: Nightmare, which features tougher enemies but more XP, gold, and better loot drops. While there is a second Capstone Dungeon you can complete to unlock World Tier 4 in Diablo 4, we'll be mainly going over the first one in today's guide. Starting the first Capstone DungeonWhen you see the end credits roll and hop back into Diablo 4, you will go on a couple of short quests that are considered the "Epilogue." After completing these, you can look at your quest list, and under the Priority Quest tab, you will see a new task titled "World Tier 3: Nightmare." This quest has a level recommendation of 50, but we were able to beat it as a level 48 Sorcerer, so you don't have to be right at level 50 to start it, or perhaps even prevail. The first Capstone Dungeon can be tracked under the Priority Quest tab.The quest takes place in Kyovashad at the cathedral in the northern part of the city. By tracking the quest and setting your World Tier to 2, you can head up to the cathedral and enter the Capstone Dungeon at the back of the building. Completing the Nightmare Capstone DungeonOnce you enter the Nightmare Capstone Dungeon, you will be shown your first task, which is to "Collect Animus from the Revenant Knights." Essentially, you need to go around the first section of the dungeon and defeat the Revenant Knight enemies specifically. These enemies are clearly labeled and you will certainly know when you see one, as they are large and possess more attacks than any other enemy in the dungeon. The Revenant Knights are not to be trifled with.The Revenant Knights will usually be surrounded by dozens of other enemies and sometimes even two Revenant Knights will be in one area. You need to kill all of them in the first section for the door to open at the center of the dungeon. The door is directly near the Animus, which is a pedestal in the middle of the central room. From the Animus, you need to go to both the left and right paths to find all of the Revenant Knights you need. You can check your map to ensure you have cleared both areas. The areas surrounding the Animus door need to be fully cleared.Once all of the Revenant Knights are pushing up daisies, the door near the Animus will open, allowing you to go on through. Your task in this section of the dungeon is to travel to the High Council Court and then defeat the High Council. The High Council consists of four different bosses, all with their own health bars and attacks. You will face the Sacred Physician, Grand Inquisitor, Lord Commander, and Devoted Champion all at the same time. We recommend staying on the move constantly for this fight, as staying still will allow more than one boss to attack you at once. It's also wise to try and kill the Sacred Physician first because if you don't, the boss will be able to revive any other boss that dies. Killing the physician first stops this from happening. Your biggest trouble will likely be the Lord Commander, as they have a ton of health and several heavy attacks with a giant hammer that inflict severe damage. The other three bosses don't put up as much of a fight, but after they die, they will reappear as green ghosts that can still deal damage to you, so watch out for them as well. The Lord Commander is the toughest boss of the High Council. After you have defeated all four of the High Council bosses, collect your loot and head on through the teleporter at the back of the room. This will take you to the second part of the Nightmare Capstone Dungeon. That's right, you're not done yet. Upon entering the new section, your first task is to simply kill all of the enemies in the immediate area, called the Reliquary of Erudition. While this sounds easy enough, it can be a tad difficult given the sheer volume of enemies in certain parts of the dungeon. The ratio of enemies to the player was roughly 12:1 in most areas, so you will have your hands full most of the time. If you have a build with great AoE damage, we recommend getting a train of enemies following you and then decimating all of them at once with a combination of skills. Your strategy will largely depend on your build, however. You can see just how many enemies are around you in this part of the dungeon.Once you manage to slay all of the enemies in the Reliquary of Erudition, you will face your final task: taking down The Curator. It's safe to say this was one of, if not the toughest boss fight of the entire game for us up to that point (World Bosses aside). The Curator is level 50 and only has two damage stages on their health bar, meaning your chances of receiving extra health potions will be extremely limited. The Curator will summon several enemies every minute or so as well, meaning you have to contend with avoiding all kinds of attacks. The boss utilizes magical attacks more than anything else, sending flying green skulls at you constantly that deal chunks of damage every time they hit you. The Curator will also send streaks of magic in several directions at once as a follow-up attack, which you can avoid by standing in between two of the streaks. The Curator is one of the toughest bosses in all of Diablo 4. Then, as the fight goes on, The Curator has a devastating attack where they go up into the air and send three magical streaks down, which go in different directions. This is quickly followed up by two more of these attacks, and you hardly have any time to react and get to a safe location to avoid them. As a Sorcerer, this fight was especially tough for us, as you need to quickly dodge attacks that are all long-range, and we couldn't move that fast. Rogues will likely have an easier time with the fight, as they have access to several different dodges. If you have a close-range damage build, you might find the fight easier as well given that The Curator tends to stay still for several seconds while casting their attacks. However, you will still need to find a way to dodge all of the green skulls and magical streaks. In the end, after defeating The Curator, you will be rewarded with high-tier loot and the ability to play on World Tier 3 in Diablo 4. Your next Capstone Dungeon can technically also be completed in Dry Steppes at this point, but the recommended level for that dungeon is 50-70. We highly recommend waiting to try that dungeon until at least level 60-65, unless you have a full party. For lots more on Blizzard's new action-RPG, check out our Diablo 4 guides hub. View the full article
  23. A speedrunner and YouTuber by the name of Zdi6923 has completed The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom in under an hour, claiming the world record in the process. The speedrunner posted a YouTube video of the run in its entirety, which resulted in an impressive completion time of 59 minutes, 22 seconds. According to Speedrun.com, this is now the fastest completion time in the world. It's also the first recorded run of under an hour. As expected, the run is full of skips and wild strategies that break the game in many ways. Interestingly, the majority of the run takes place in the Sky Islands, as speedrunners have yet to discover a way to effectively skip through the opening area just yet. However, the game has been out for less than a month, so there's likely plenty to discover in terms of time skips. Tears of the Kingdom launched on May 12 and garnered universal acclaim from critics and players. It became immensely popular on social media as players shared videos and images of wild in-game creations (such as a Metal Gear-like mech). Tears of the Kingdom has performed well not only critically, but also commercially. It surpassed 10 million copies sold in the first three days on the market. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available for Nintendo Switch now. View the full article
  24. Metroid and Castlevania might be the metroidvania crown jewels (understandably), but indie developers have kept the subgenre alive over the years, and thanks to Humble’s new Must-Play Metroidvanias bundle, you can grab a collection of seven indie metroidvanias for PC, plus coupon codes for two more for just $15. See at HumbleTrue to the bundle’s name, every game included is a standout, such as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which is the latest title from Koji Igarashi, the developer best known for his work on the Castlevania series. Unsurprisingly, Bloodstained looks and plays like a modern successor to exploration-focused Castlevania titles like Symphony of the Night and Aria of Sorrow. It's the perfect game if you miss that era of Castlevania. Hollow Knight is also included in the bundle, which is widely considered one of the best metroidvania games ever made thanks to its slick combat, memorable soundtrack, and hand-drawn world filled with adorable, melancholic bugs. Play this to see why fans are eager for the sequel, Silksong. The bundle also includes Blasphemous, which offers a moodier spin on the genre through its difficult combat and haunting dark fantasy visuals, and Rain World, which sees players control a tiny creature called a “slugcat,” sneaking and surviving in a giant post-apocalyptic world. A 20%-off coupon for the sequel, Rain World: Downpour, is also included. Lost Ruins, Lone Fungus, and Haiku, the Robot round out the list of games, and Humble tops the whole thing off with a 50%-off coupon for Zapling Bygone. Lone Fungus was heavily inspired by Hollow Knight, and it just exited early access in April. It's a massive metroidvania that's certainly worth checking out. Haiku, the Robot is also an incredibly polished (and adorable) metroidvania for Hollow Knight fans, and it received a free update with a lot of new content today (May 31). Altogether, you're getting a $164 value for as little as $15. However, you can up your donation to the suggested $25 or more if you want to give more money to the Girls Who Code charity, which this bundle supports. Humble also lets you adjust the revenue split between the publishers, charity, and Humble. All codes unlock via Steam. Humble’s Must-Play Metroidvanias bundle is available until June 21. Humble Must-Play Metroidvanias BundlePay $15 Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Blasphemous Hollow Knight Rain World Lost Ruins Lone Fungus Haiku, the Robot Zapling Bygone 50%-off couponRain World: Downpour 20%-off couponView the full article
  25. Player versus player combat, or PvP for short, is a major feature in Diablo 4. Of course, players can choose whether or not to participate in PvP, as it's a totally optional feature within the game. If some fans want to stick solely with the main story and PvE elements of Diablo 4, they are completely free to do so. However, those that want to venture into PvP will need to head to the Fields of Hatred in Sanctuary. This is a part of the world map in Diablo 4 and it's solely where PvP takes place. The Fields of Hatred are located in the Dry Steppes region of the map and are found just north of the desert of Kehjistan. If you want to learn more about what goes on in the Fields of Hatred and exactly how PvP works in Diablo 4, you have come to the right place. How PvP works in Diablo 4As previously mentioned, you can find the Fields of Hatred in the southern part of the Dry Steppes region (as seen in the screenshot below). You can enter the fields in one of three paths and there is also a town waypoint found in the northwestern part of the area. We recommend visiting and capturing this waypoint as soon as possible so it's easier to fast travel between the area and other parts of the map. The Fields of Hatred is the area in red on the map. Right next to the waypoint in the town, you will see that a new Priority Quest icon has appeared to your left. Talk to the man with the icon over his head, and he will introduce you to the Seeds of Hatred and PvP. Basically, Seeds of Hatred is a currency that is only found within the Fields of Hatred. It is obtained through killing mobs, bosses in the area, chests, and other events. When you leave the Fields of Hatred, all of the Seeds of Hatred you have will be purged, meaning you no longer have them. You can keep track of how many you have by looking at the counter to the left of your mini-map. If you die in the Fields of Hatred, your seeds will be dropped for any other player to pick up. The goal of the Seeds of Hatred is to bring them to the Altars of Extraction. There are three of these altars in the different corners of the Fields of Hatred. Bringing your seeds there and performing a Purification Ritual allows players to turn them into Red Dust, which is permanent and gets moved to your inventory. You can use Red Dust to buy certain items from vendors in the Fields of Hatred town. While that's the overall gameplay loop of the Fields of Hatred, players can also "Mark for Blood," which is how they enable PvP in Diablo 4. You can do this by bringing up your quick wheel (E on PC) and scrolling through the options. By marking yourself for blood, you are enabling the ability to kill other players, and for other marked players to kill you. You cannot kill unmarked players and vice versa. To remove a bloodmark, you need to visit the Altar of Cleansing, which is found within the Fields of Hatred town. A general explanation on how to Mark for Blood in Diablo 4.Once you are bloodmarked, you can kill other players to become Hatred's Chosen. This title is awarded to the person with the most kills in the Fields of Hatred at a given time. When you are Hatred's Chosen, your position on the map will be revealed to every other player. You can also not perform Purification Rituals at altars and must survive long enough to earn powerful rewards. The Hatred's Chosen title is removed when entering town or leaving the Fields of Hatred. That just about does it for the PvP system in Diablo 4. The Fields of Hatred will undoubtedly require players to change up their builds and strategy, as they're going up against actual players who can deal a lot more damage than a measly mob can. For more on the new action-RPG, check out our Diablo 4 guides hub. View the full article
  26. Just like any other class in Diablo 4, Sorcerers will have access to a variety of Legendary Aspects they can equip on their gear and weapons. For the most part, players will obtain the Aspects by completing certain Dungeons or extracting them from pieces of gear at The Occulist's shop. Either way, players will want to obtain as many Aspects as possible so they will have plenty of choices when it comes to synergizing their build. We have compiled a list of the best possible Aspects for Sorcerers to use. Not only that, but we have identified specific Aspects that can be used for the three main Sorcerer builds: Lightning, Frost, and Fire. The best Sorcerer Legendary Aspects in Diablo 4We have selected the best Legendary Aspects that you can mainly obtain from completing dungeons found around the map of Sanctuary in Diablo 4, which will go into your Codex of Power. We will continue to update this list as more Legendary Aspects that might help out a Sorcerer are discovered. Best General Legendary Aspects for a SorcererThese general Aspects are ones that can be used for any type of Sorcerer build and might not be exclusive to just the class. Aspects of Disobedience Source: Kehjistan - Halls of the DamnedEffect: You gain 0.25% increased Armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to 25%.Aspect of Might Source: Dry Steppes - Dark RavineEffect: Basic skills grant +20% damage reduction for 2 seconds.Rapid Aspect Source: Dry Steppes - Buried HallsEffect: Basic skills gain +15% attack speed.Aspect of Inner Calm Source: Scosglen - Raethwind WildsEffect: Deal 5% increased damage for each second you stand still, up to 30%.Frost Sorcerer AspectsThe Frost Sorcerer can be extremely strong, especially with matching Aspects. Snowveiled Aspect Source: Scosglen - Sarat's LairEffect: Casting Ice Armor makes you Unstoppable for 2 seconds.Aspect of Biting Cold Source: Dry Steppes - Forgotten DepthsEffect: When you freeze an enemy there is a 25% chance they become Vulnerable for 3 seconds.Snowguard's Aspect Source: Hawezar - Fetid MausoleumEffect: While within your own Blizzard, you take 10% less damage.Lightning Sorcerer AspectsRecharging Aspect Source: Fractured Peaks - ZenithEffect: Each time Chain Lightning bounces off you, you gain 4 Mana.Charged Aspect Source: Scosglen - Maddux WatchEffect: Collecting Crackling Energy increases your movement speed by 10% for 4 seconds.Aspect of Static Cling Source: Dry Steppes - Wretched DelveEffect: Your casts of Charged Bolts have a 15% chance to be attracted to enemies and last 300% longer.Aspect of Splintering Energy Source: Kehjistan - Crumbling HekmaEffect: Lightning Spear has an 11% chance to spawn an additional Lightning Spear when you cast it.Fire Sorcerer AspectsThe Serpent's Lair dungeon carries the Aspect of Three CursesIncendiary Aspect Source: Kehjistan - Tomb of the SaintsEffect: Lucky Hit; Burning damage has an up to 5% chance to restore +10 mana.Aspect of Three Curses Source: Hawezar - Serpent's LairEffect: Meteor deals +35% increased critical damage against healthy targets.For many more guides on the new action-RPG, visit our Diablo 4 guides hub. View the full article
  27. Diablo 4 Strongholds are smaller and open dungeon-style areas that players can visit to earn terrific rewards, such as Renown and XP. They usually involve a set of tasks that players need to complete before they can challenge the boss of the Stronghold to earn their rewards. Luckily for players, the tasks are laid out for them upon arriving at each Stronghold's location, so all players really need to do is find that specific location. There are three Strongholds in every single region of the map in Diablo 4, making for 15 in total. If players want to find them all, they will have to uncover the specific areas they are in. While you can spend hours doing this yourself, it's easier if you know the Stronghold locations ahead of time. Below, you can see exactly where all 15 Strongholds are located on the map of Sanctuary in Diablo 4. All Diablo 4 StrongholdsWe will go region by region and state/describe the exact area of the map that the Stronghold is located in. Since Diablo 4 is an open-world game, players can choose to visit any of the Strongholds at a given time regardless of where they are in the story. From what we can tell, though, the Strongholds will almost always feature enemies and bosses that are two or three levels above the player's current level. This is to add some extra difficulty to the areas. We can confirm that you are able to complete any of the Strongholds as a solo player, even on World Tier 2, but they are fairly challenging no matter what your build is. Fractured Peaks StrongholdsThe three Strongholds in Fractured Peaks are found to the north, southwest, and east of Kyovashad. Kor Dragan - Found to the north of Kyovashad and Sarkova Pass, Kor Dragan is located at the northernmost point in Fractured Peaks. It's infested with vampires and is one of the only Strongholds to not feature enemies that are above your current level. Nostrava - Located in southwestern Fractured Peaks, Nostrava is above the starting town of Nevesk. This Stronghold will also not feature higher-level enemies and once completed, will be a hub for vendors in Diablo 4. Malnok - Found directly east of Kyovashad and nestled to the north of Gale Valley. This Stronghold will feature enemies of two higher levels than the player and utilizes ice enemies, so drink a Cold Resistance Elixir before heading in. The Strongholds are located at the red demon icons on the map. Scosglen StrongholdsScosglen is where the Strongholds begin to get tougher, as players will need to navigate some treacherous terrain in order to reach some of them. All of the Strongholds here will have enemies that are higher levels than the player. Moordaine Lodge - Situated in the northeastern corner of Scosglen, Moordaine Lodge is located just outside of the red swamp that players will eventually travel to for the Diablo 4 campaign. Hope's Light - If you look on our map below, you will find Hope's Light found all the way at the top of the screen. The location for that Stronghold isn't exactly correct, as we couldn't fit the top of the region on our screenshot. The Hope's Light Stronghold is located on the peninsula that branches out from the northern tip of Scosglen and will require players to perform some parkour in order to get into. Túr Dúlra - The final Stronghold of Scosglen is found on the western side of the region, just to the north of Dry Steppes. Dry Steppes StrongholdsThe Strongholds in Dry Steppes are much more compact than the other regions, making for easier navigation. The Onyx Watchtower - Located near the center of Dry Steppes and south of the main town of Ked Bardu, this Stronghold can be entered in a few different ways, which allows players to escape if their health gets too low. Temple of Rot - In our opinion, this was one of the harder Strongholds in Diablo 4, as players have to deal with several poisonous enemies and an extremely difficult boss fight. The Ruins of Qara-Yisu - The final Stronghold of Dry Steppes is situated in the southwestern corner of the region, right outside the road that leads into Fractured Peaks. Kehjistan StrongholdsThe desert can be an unforgiving place, and Kehjistan features some extremely challenging Strongholds to boot. Altar of Ruin - Located in the northwestern corner of the region, this Stronghold will take some work to get to unless players take the road that goes along the western coast of Sanctuary. Alcarnus - Found as soon as you enter the region of Kehjistan from the center of Sanctuary. Alcarnus features a relatively large area and some tedious tasks before you get to challenge its boss. Omath's Stronghold - It's difficult to go farther south than Omath's Stronghold. You will need to seek this Stronghold out specifically if you want to complete it. Hawezar StrongholdsThe final region you will visit in Diablo 4 (unless you don't follow the main story acts). Hawezar is home to some of the toughest Strongholds in Sanctuary. Crusaders' Monument - Found to the north of the main town of Zabinzet in Hawezar and in the western section of the region overall. Vyersez - A Stronghold located in the middle of a swamp, Vyersez is not for the faint of heart. You will need to travel to the very southern tip of the region to find it. Eriman's Pyre - A fiery Stronghold located in the northern part of Hawezar, Eriman's Pyre features plenty of enemies that deal fire damage. And that does it for all of the Strongholds we currently have in Diablo 4. Most aren't difficult to find, some present a challenge in order to enter, and all of them will surely test your skills to the maximum. View the full article
  28. The Diablo 4 campaign takes you all over the world of Sanctuary. From snow-capped mountains and rolling fields, to fetid marshlands and endless sand dunes, you're bound to face threats and earn more rewards. Still, you might be wondering what else you can expect from this entire journey. Here's our guide on how long it takes to beat Diablo 4, as well as details on campaign acts, quests, and characters. Likewise, please be reminded that this article contains spoilers. How Long To Beat Diablo 4On the question of how long it takes to beat Diablo 4, look to our Diablo 4 official review, written by Alessandro Barbosa. Alessandro notes that the campaign took roughly 30 hours to complete while maining a Necromancer. Additional activities were also completed, such as side quests and dungeons, to experience a chunk of what the game world has to offer. For those looking to beat it faster, others on staff were able to rush through the campaign in less than 15 hours. Of course, these totals don't account for endgame content, which is the main attraction for many players and will likely add dozens more hours to any player's total experience. Diablo 4 Campaign Acts and QuestsBelow, we've listed the Diablo 4 campaign acts and quests overview. We've only included quest names to avoid spoilers, and until launch we're only including the quests from Act 1--stay tuned for the full quest list soon. Likewise, you'll notice that some acts have branches. Essentially, there might be two main objectives that are available at the same time. You can do either of these in any order, though you still need to finish everything to reach the conclusion of the chapter. Prologue: WanderingDusk on the MountainDarkness WithinA Hero's ReturnA Hero's RewardPrayers for SalvationIn Search of AnswersRite of PassageMissing PiecesAct 1: A Cold and Iron FaithIll TidingsTarnished LusterThe Knight and the MagpieUndertakingBelowIn Her WakeStorming the GatesThe Cost of KnowledgeBranch 1: Light's Guidance Kor ValarPilgrimageLight's JudgmentLight's ProtectionBranch 2 and conclusion: Wayward Shroud of the HoradrimFledgling ScholarCrossing OverDescentLight's ResolveDetails on Acts 2-6 coming soon. Lorath Nair plays a pivotal role in the story, but you do find him in the most unexpected places.Diablo 4 story summary with spoilersAh, you're still here? We're glad you stuck around and listened. In any case, the redacted information above was mostly due to names and terms that were too on the nose. As such, we've opted to summarize Diablo 4's campaign and narrative beats here. We're not going to spoil everything, but we're going to add the necessary details to let you know how the journey plays out, why certain acts are so short, and more. Prologue and Act 1 summaryA lot of players are already familiar with this given that Act 1 was available during the early access beta. Basically, your character, the Wanderer, drinks Lilith's blood and sees visions of the elusive demoness. This leads to encounters with Lorath Nair, Neyrelle, Mother Prava, Vigo, and Inarius, all taking place in the Fractured Peaks. Lorath seeks to learn more about Lilith's plans, whereas Neyrelle wants to find her mother. Archangel Inarius, meanwhile, is worshiped in the Cathedral of Light, where Prava has become its human leader. As for Vigo, the penitent knight seeks to atone, sacrificing himself near the end of the act and rewarding you with one of the most useful Legendary Aspects in terms of survivability. Acts 2-6 summaries coming soon. Diablo 4 has numerous classes, mechanics, and activities. For more about the game, you can visit our D4 guides hub. View the full article
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