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343iBot

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  1. If you're wanting to build everything Disney Dreamlight Valley has to offer, you'll be gathering a whole lot of materials to do so. One of those you're going to need is Dry Wood, which is used to craft a variety of different pieces of furniture and is occasionally required to complete quests. We'll tell you where to round it up below. Where to get Dry Wood in Disney Dreamlight ValleyDry Wood can be found laying on the ground near trees in the following biomes: Forgotten LandsFrosted HeightsSunlit PlateauDry Wood is gray and can be found in multiple biomes.Because wood drops are random, you may find that there aren't many pieces of Dry Wood when you visit these locations. If that happens, pick up all of the other types of wood around all three biomes, then wait just a bit to hopefully get more Dry Wood to spawn in them. It goes without saying (but we'll say it anyway): If you're noticing you're a bit light on wood drops in general, it might be best to plant more trees in the biomes you're needing specific types (like Dry Wood) from. For more on Dreamlight Valley, head over to our comprehensive guides hub. View the full article
  2. Building everything in Disney Dreamlight Valley means collecting a wide variety of materials, including multiple types of wood. Dark Wood is arguably the rarest of the different types in the game, only spawning in a single biome, which is likely to require quite a few hours of playing to unlock. We'll tell you everything you need to know below. Where to get Dark Wood in Disney Dreamlight ValleyDark Wood only spawns in the Forgotten Lands, which is likely to be the last biome that most players unlock due to the high Dreamlight cost required to remove the night thorns blocking the path. Once you've gotten together the 15,000 Dreamlight to gain access, however, you should have no problem finding Dark Wood. Dark Wood only spawns in the Forgotten Lands.Multiple types of wood spawn in the Forgotten Lands, so if you're not seeing much Dark Wood around, you may need to pick up other kinds and wait for new spawns. If you're still having trouble getting enough Dark Wood, try planting more tree in the Forgotten Lands to increase the amount of wood that drops there. For more on Dreamlight Valley, check out our comprehensive guides hub. View the full article
  3. As you play Disney Dreamlight Valley, you'll quickly note that Dream Shards are quite the commodity. These special little shards are used for a variety of purposes, including as part of quests, to craft certain items, and to combine with Night Shards to make Purified Night Shards. Here's how to get more Dream Shards. Where to get Dream Shards in Disney Dreamlight ValleyDream Shards can be obtained in multiple different ways, so you're guaranteed to come across some naturally as you play. But here are the main ways to get them. DiggingYou can find quite a lot of Dream Shards by seeking out cracked pieces of ground throughout your valley and digging at those spots. You'll also be able to stock up on Night Shards this way, making it the most efficient method of gaining a good amount of both types quickly. Digging up cracked spots in the soil will frequently reward you with Dream Shards.Feeding CrittersEach time you feed a critter, you run a pretty good chance of getting a Dream Shard to drop. To improve your chances even further, feed them their favorite food. This helps you work towards potentially earning them as a companion, too! Removing Night ThornsEvery time you remove a Night Thorn in your valley, there's a decent chance of having a Dream Shard pop out. You'll have plenty of these to clear out at the beginning of the game, but afterward, ten of them will spawn in a random biome each day. Clear these out daily to keep your valley looking nice and earn some Dream Shards in the process. For more on Dreamlight Valley, check out our comprehensive guides hub. View the full article
  4. Fire Emblem Awakening is celebrating its 10-year anniversary today, February 4, 2023. Below, we take a look at how a strict sales mandate from Nintendo almost spelled doom for the series, until it didn't. Even among Nintendo's collection of top-tier IPs, Fire Emblem stands as one of the strongest. Announcements of new Fire Emblem titles frequently headline Nintendo's beloved Direct presentations, where they are received with a flurry of excitement and anticipation. But things weren't always this good for the Fire Emblem series. In fact, around a decade ago, Nintendo was ready to toss Fire Emblem into its vault of forgotten franchises. But in an amazing turnaround, the game that developers feared might be the final Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem Awakening, turned into the series' savior--though the influence it's had on the series over the past decade is not without some controversy. According to a 2013 interview in Spanish publication Hobby Consolas, The Fire Emblem series had been declining in popularity during the Wii and DS era, and leaders at Nintendo told the team and co-developer Intelligent Systems that the series would be shelved if the new game didn't sell at least 250,000 copies. With the knowledge that this might be the last Fire Emblem game in mind, the developers came up with some truly wild ideas, including the possibility of setting the game in the modern-day world, and even on Mars. Ultimately, however, the team stuck with a traditional fantasy setting. They then decided to look at story and gameplay elements that had been received positively in previous FE games for ideas about what to implement and build upon. Awakening's story treads familiar territory for Fire Emblem, but includes many of the elements that made the previous narratives memorable: struggles between opposing nations, mysterious artifacts of hidden power, a dark force manipulating behind the scenes, and some extremely powerful and sometimes-humanoid dragons. Taking control of your player-controlled character, you join up with Chrom, prince of Ylisse, and his band of vigilantes protecting the populace from the dangerous bandits and creatures that roam the land. Two crucial "new" features were also visible from the very beginning of the game. Upon starting, players could name and customize a playable avatar character unit, who is of crucial importance to the story. You also had the option of selecting a "casual" difficulty setting that altered an element some players considered essential to Fire Emblem: permadeath. In previous games, units killed in battle were forever lost, but casual mode would auto-revive them at the end of battle. Getting a primary unit killed off was still an instant Game Over, but this mode helped take a lot of the pressure out of the game's more challenging encounters for less experienced strategy/RPG players--and removed the fear of losing your favorite character to a stray critical hit. While these gameplay additions were new to players outside of Japan, they actually weren't introduced in Awakening: Both the customizable player unit and the Casual Mode debuted in the previous Fire Emblem game, a remake of Mystery of the Emblem for the Nintendo DS. But since that game wasn't released outside of Japan, Fire Emblem Awakening was many overseas players' first experience with these features, and their reception proved to be very positive--so much so that they have been carried over to most of the main Fire Emblem games released since. But the biggest impact Fire Emblem Awakening would leave on the series involves not the tactical gameplay, but the characters. Taking heavy inspiration from the fourth Fire Emblem game (the as-of-yet-unlocalized fourth game, Genealogy of the Holy War), Awakening put a heavy emphasis on building inter-character relationships. By setting up units to fight close to or directly with each other during combat, they would build a rapport. After battle, you could choose to view support conversations where the two characters grow closer to each other, raising their support level. This provided tactical benefits in battle--pairing up two units directly gives stat boosts and benefits like damage nullification. But perhaps even more importantly to a lot of players, this allowed you to pair up characters in romantic relationships of your choosing. You'd even get a chance to meet and recruit the children of your carefully crafted couples through time-travel shenanigans. Support conversations and their accompanying combat benefits have existed in Fire Emblem for quite some time, and paired unit couples having children is a concept present in the aforementioned FE4. But the emphasis put on Supports and romance in Awakening--even allowing you to pair off your avatar with your dream waifu/hazubando--was unlike anything that had come before in the series. And this focus proved tremendously successful for Awakening, bringing in new fans who were unfamiliar with Fire Emblem and strategy games in general. It's not hard to see why this worked so well: "Shipping" characters together has been a thing in media fandom since time immemorial, and Awakening both outright encouraged it and rewarded you for it, both gameplay- and story-wise. It's not a stretch to say that Awakening's success was in large part due to its appeal to an audience more interested in hooking units up than deep strategic planning. Awakening's glowing reviews and retail reception had more than just saved the series: It had single-handedly turned Fire Emblem into a powerhouse franchise again, this time on a global scale. Awakening's success would have far-reaching effects on the main Fire Emblem series as a whole from this point on--but not all of the longtime fans would be happy with it. Recognizing how well the heavy emphasis on character relationships in Awakening went over, the developers would go heavy on this newfound focus for the next installment, Fire Emblem Fates, which featured not one but two warring kingdoms filled with units to play matchmaker with, each with their own (sold separately) campaign and a third DLC campaign to play. However, Fates's reception proved more mixed. Reviews and sales were very strong, but some players (me included) found the gameplay portions disappointing, the story an absolute mess, and the whole thing overly long and bloated. Fanservice, however, was cranked up to 11, to the delight of many--but the handful of voices from longtime series fans that had bemoaned the loss of focus on tight strategy gameplay became noticeably louder. Since then, Fire Emblem has walked a delicate tightrope of balancing rewarding strategy gameplay with the popular relationship and social aspects Awakening established. Fire Emblem Echoes and the recent Engage, which put more emphasis on the strategy/RPG elements, were viewed as disappointing to some players and critics who came to enjoy the relationship focus of previous titles, but were welcomed by others who preferred these elements as more of a bonus than a primary focus. But Fire Emblem: Three Houses, a critically beloved title and the best-selling game in the series so far, was another entry that heavily pushed character relationships to the forefront. It's clear that, despite how some old-school fans might feel, social elements help make the series' games special to modern players. The way Awakening has transformed this genre-defining franchise has cemented its legacy for years to come. View the full article
  5. Whether you're a Hitman veteran or a more recent convert who just got their start in this World of Assassination, the new roguelite Freelancer mode is gonna force feed you a slice of humble pie and make you feel like a fake gamer. That's a good thing--this mode is, in essence, the endgame for this rebooted Hitman trilogy. Short of actual new maps, Hitman Freelancer is a great way to tie this experience off because it's extremely tough in some brand-new ways, and the overall structure is very different from what we're used to thanks to the new framework. Before, each mission was completely self-contained. Nothing you did in one mission would matter in the next. But in Freelancer, death has consequences: you lose everything you had in your inventory, and half of the money you've been earning for jobs. Not to mention you might have to start over from scratch. But succeeding at Hitman Freelancer is not impossible, and the learning curve isn't as steep as it may seem at first. So much of it is just about getting a handle on what's important and what isn't. That would take hours if you just dive in head first without guidance--a delightful experience, and the way we went about procuring our understanding of this mode, but not everybody has the time. So if you wanna skip the self-tutorial period, we've got eight pieces of advice that you'll wanna consider as you and Agent 47 go hunting. Freelancer is hard modeWhile this mode does skip one of the most annoying aspects of Master difficulty (bloody kills rendering a disguise unusable), Freelancer is hard mode from the very beginning, and the further you get into it, the harder it gets. You'll notice early on that guards have eagle eyes and tend to respond to murders in larger numbers than you're used to. By the third tier of its tiered mission structure there will be a security camera around every corner and you'll get immediately melted by guards if you hold a letter opener in public. This isn't meant to dissuade you from trying the mode. No, this is just our way of telling you that you need to have a healthy respect for what you're going up against here. While there are still fun and games to be had in Freelancer mode, you'll need to take everything pretty seriously if you want to get very far. Remember what actually mattersHitman Freelancer is full of distractions--bonus objectives to complete, safes to crack, couriers to take out, loot to steal, etc etc. But, ultimately, that stuff doesn't matter. What does matter is killing your target and not getting killed in return. That's it! Having better guns and money to spend is great. But in this mode, where you cannot save or load your game, where if you screw up you might have to start over from the beginning of the entire campaign, your survival matters far more than a safe that's surrounded by guards who can see through your disguise. While that extra 3,000 merces--the mode's exclusive currency--might come in handy later if you can pull off the heist, it's probably not worth the time or risk involved to get it. So don't be afraid to leave money behind. You'll need luck to make it to the endQuit clowning around and get in there.There's something you need to accept up front when you start playing Hitman Freelancer: you will lose campaigns even though you did everything perfectly. Sometimes it's just bad luck, and sometimes it's bugs. Sometimes NPCs witness a murder through the floor or ceiling and compromise our disguise. Sometimes you spawn into a level in a hostile area with a guard looking right at you. And with the way alerts spread stupid fast in this mode, that kind of thing is often a death sentence. Since losing a deep run already feels pretty bad as it is, regardless of whose fault it is, it's best to accept now that your failures aren't always your failures. Luck matters. Silenced guns are your best friendWe'll admit that we didn't fully appreciate just how hard we leaned on our default silenced pistol until we no longer had one by default. Because, holy cow, it really does change the equation in your head when you walk into a mission with literally nothing. It's a good thing at first, as that added complication helps get you acquainted with the extra overall difficulty. But as that difficulty ramps up over the course of a campaign, a silenced weapon is going to help you so much. There are five ways to get a silenced gun: as a reward for increasing your Freelancer Mastery, as a reward for defeating a Syndicate, by buying one from an arms dealer during a mission, by looting one off a guard who's carrying one (such as the penthouse guards in Dubai, all of whom have either a silenced SMG or assault rifle), or by looting a silenced pistol from an assassin (they all carry one) during a mission to take out a Syndicate leader. You only get to keep one of each type, though, so there's no need to take out every guard in Dubai just to collect their guns. Don't leave your gadgets at homeWhile you get to keep your guns for new campaigns as long as you don't lose them during a mission, you're guaranteed to lose your gadgets when your campaign ends. So there's not really any reason to leave that legendary explosive duck at home if you have spare inventory space. Gadgets are use-them-or-lose-them items, so use them already. While your natural instinct will be to save the really rare stuff for when an objective calls for it, the nature of Freelancer mode demands that you stuff your pockets as full as you can with as many different gadgets as you have available when it's time to head off on a mission. Be prepared for some messed up spawn locationsRandom spawn points add a fascinating new wrinkle to Hitman levels.One of the quirks of Freelancer mode is you cannot start any mission with a disguise, and the game will randomly pick your spawn point. So, for example, in Marrakesh you might be spawned into the back of the military base, where you'll be trespassing and every NPC is armed. Or in the Hokkaido morgue right behind two morticians who will scream for help if they see you, as pictured above. Most of the maps have spawn points like that, and Colorado pretty much only has that. It's just something you'll have to accept and learn to deal with, which honestly isn't usually mega-difficult so long as you're ready to go as soon as you load in and keep your cool. Leader suspects will have only the traits listed, no more and no fewerWhen you're on the hunt for a Syndicate leader, Diana will give you a list of traits for the correct target: four physical characteristics, and three behavioral ones. The correct target will display exactly the characteristics listed, and only the characteristics listed. So, of course, if the target is supposed to have a tattoo but the suspect you're looking at does not, then that suspect isn't the target. But the inverse is also true: if the suspect has a tattoo but the target description doesn't mention a tattoo, then that suspect isn't the target. A suspect having an extra trait is just as disqualifying as them not having a stated one would be. Napoleon BlownapartesSometimes you'll get really unlucky and have a target who just hangs out in a busy crowd with no real openings for taking them out without causing a whole scene that will quickly get you killed. And in those cases I like to use the Napoleon Blownaparte gadget. This thing, which you cannot take home with you, is a very common, but also very special, item in the new Freelancer chests that are scattered around each level. This thing is actually two gadgets in one. It's a noisemaker at first, drawing the attention of anybody who's near it. And then it's a remote explosive. But since it looks like a toy, you generally can toss it on the ground wherever you want without getting in trouble, then slip out of the room before blowing it up. It's messy, but it's also relatively safe compared with most assassination methods in crowded areas. It's also expedient if you've been in a level for a while and just want to move on. Just be sure you toss it near your target rather than at them--beaning somebody in the face is still a crime! View the full article
  6. Just about every week brings something new to Destiny 2, whether it's story beats, new activities, or interesting new combinations of elements that let players devastate each other in the Crucible. Iron Banter is our weekly look at what's going on in the world of Destiny and a rundown of what's drawing our attention across the solar system. I was playing a legendary PsiOp mission on the EDZ with GameSpot's own Jean-Luc Seipke earlier this week, and I spent a good deal of time just blankly staring at DIM (the third-party Destiny Item Manager) trying to figure out what would give me the easiest time. We were planning on going into the activity without a third guardian, and since the activity isn't matchmade, it can get pretty dicey. That being said, it's not that I had difficulty deciding what I wanted in my overall loadout, but the Power weapon slot was bothering me. Legendary seasonal activities aren't necessarily hard, but they can be challenging if you don't go into them with a somewhat decent kit. Unfortunately, Destiny has suffered at times when it stifles creativity--where the meta basically amounts to, "use this weapon, or you're stupid." In this case, it's Heavy linear fusion rifles. They have dominated the PvE space for what feels like an eternity now, especially with the introduction of the burst-fire versions such as Stormchaser or Fire and Forget. Countless beefy yellow bar enemies, raid bosses, and other baddies have been on the receiving end of these overpowered weapons. If you were lucky enough to have one with damage-boosting perks, a Veist Stinger Origin trait, Enhanced craftable mods, or an Adept Big Ones perk (hello, Reed's Regret), it was a no-brainer. You used a linear (and Arbalest) if you were serious, and if you didn't…well, let's just say your clanmates probably had the higher DPS numbers. Ok, I might actually miss you a little bit. This isn't a foreign concept to me, and I get the need to min-max your stats and build; some of my friends get the majority of their joy from doing this. The higher the damage numbers, the happier they are, which is fine. For me, though, that's not where the fun lies. Instead, the best eras in Destiny are when you have more weapons in the sandbox being viable. When you can bring a machine gun or a grenade launcher to the fight and still be very effective, you're deciding your loadout not on what gives you the higher number but on what feels more fun. On Wednesday, Bungie dropped a sandbox tuning preview for Season 20, and it had me grinning from ear to ear because we are moving towards exactly that. The main takeaway is that Linears are getting a significant 15% damage decrease against all Champions, minibosses, and bosses. Yeah. Woof. This does not affect Sleeper Simulant or Queenbreakers, and I'm going to jump in front of this bus now and plead, please do not just resort to Sleeper and try something different. Honestly, the Legendary linear changes are the biggest thing to note, but that's not to say there weren't other compelling changes made to Power weapons. Machine guns and Heavy grenade launchers were also buffed, with machine guns getting a blanket 10% increase to base damage. Meanwhile, grenade launchers have been fairly lackluster since the bonkers season in which Anarchy reigned supreme thanks to a busted seasonal artifact. In Season 20 they're being buffed to be more viable (except for the Exotic Parasite, which is already quite powerful). Improved projectile collision (you'll miss less), a larger blast radius by about a meter, and damage buffs of 40% to minions and 20% to Champions, minibosses, bosses, and vehicles all are tantalizing reasons to use these weapons a bit more day to day. But if we're talking pure DPS on a stationary boss, then yeah, even with the buffs, you'll probably be ill-advised to go waltzing in with a grenade launcher. And of course, immediately after the sandbox changes were revealed, Twitter, Discord, Reddit, and everything in between concluded that we're probably going back to an Izanagi-dominated DPS meta. Other folks still feel Arbalest will be a beast, but I'm gonna dig my heels in a little bit. We're in a rare moment in the Destiny content cycle where there's an opportunity for discovery whenever the sandbox undergoes certain changes. Whether we're able to actually make interesting builds that defy the looming Izanagi meta is up for debate. Truth is, no amount of creativity can stand against the allure of maximizing damage, especially with the new Lightfall raid just around the corner. Watch--as soon as the changes go live, we're gonna get the community doing what they do best: push the damage barrier to its limit. But personally? I hope the next video I click on Twitter isn't just a static Izanagi reload but something a bit more creative and outside the box. The thrill of buildcrafting is finding something that works that isn't just a copy/paste of every streamer or YouTuber out there, at least for me, and I strongly encourage you to experiment as much as possible. The sandbox changes come at a great time because we also got to see a sliver of the incoming Lightfall Exotic weapons and armor, and they really do look exciting as hell. Most of the armor shown is synergistic with Strand, the new subclass exclusive to Lightfall. Titan's Abeyant Leap and Warlock's Swarmers were more ability based with Strand, but the Hunter's Cyrtarachne's Facade has some great PvP precision weapon benefits. Once a hunter grapples using Strand, they're given extra body armor, increasing their flinch resistance, so you'll want to get your snipers ready for that. The standout Exotic weapon reveal for me, though, especially in light of the sandbox changes, is Deterministic Chaos. The Heavy Void machine gun ties itself deep into Void 3.0's best perks: weaken and volatile. Just hold the trigger, and every fourth bullet turns into a heavy projectile that weakens targets on impact, letting them take crit damage. On top of that, every fourth heavy projectile (so every 16th round) will make targets volatile on impact. That…sounds amazing. Of course, if it takes eons to get to that 16th round, it renders my excitement moot. However, all I can think about are boss encounters that require sustained damage and the fact that you now have a Void 3.0-friendly weapon that weakens targets without you needing to use up a subclass fragment, and maybe…maybe we won't need to bring a Divinity to every boss fight? This small sampling of new Exotics serves as a gentle reminder Destiny has created a kingdom of making our guardians powerful through a varied arsenal and imagination. The sandbox changes have been consistent in one thing: tipping the balance in letting different weapons a chance in the spotlight. The changes Bungie listed this time feel no different, and personally, I'm thrilled that the biggest losers of the bunch are the legendary linears. Death to them all! They had their time, they dominated easily, and over half a year of a linear fusion rifle meta was enough for me to have my fill. Seeing the new Exotics, and scouring my vault to brush the dust off some different ol' reliable weapons for once is something I'm going to celebrate. View the full article
  7. Fortnite is several weeks into the first season of its fourth chapter. In real time, it's been going strong since the summer of 2017, and though Epic doesn't share player counts, by any available metric it seems to still be doing incredibly well. But in the live-service world, Fortnite's success feels increasingly rare. While there do exist other major successes in the pocket of the games industry where studios operate one game for years on end, many others are closing their proverbial doors for good, which is extremely scary both for players worried about gaming history and future developers concerned with the trends they may be tasked with chasing. Can live-service games survive modest successes, or must they all be as massive as Fortnite to make it? This is not an investigative feature that can bring closure to some of these questions, I admit. Rather, I'm merely mourning the loss of yet more games that will soon be lost to time, including another of my all-time favorites. When Velan Studios took to social media to alert players that its PvP dodgeball game, Knockout City (KOC), would be closing forever in June, it genuinely ruined my night. Roughly one year after breaking away from EA to self-publish the game and reimagine its economy for a free-to-play world, it seems KOC's successes were not numerous enough to keep the game going. Kinda Funny's Blessing Adeoye Jr. put it best: What actually are we doing? According to Velan, more than 12 million players jumped into Knockout City in its two years on the market. While that includes months in Xbox Game Pass and a year as a free-to-play game, it boggles the mind to think that even a fraction of those players who were buying into the game's Brawl Pass and optional cosmetics couldn't keep the game going. Most games would love to boast player counts of this sort, so for Knockout City, and games like it, to sink despite 12 million players giving it at least a try suggests development teams either have unrealistic expectations to meet or the in-game content for sale wasn't eye-catching enough. Knockout City isn't the only one, either. In January alone, we saw the teams behind last fall's brawler-royale Rumbleverse, Apex Legends Mobile, Ubisoft's Hyper Scape, and even Marvel's Avengers announce closures that each feel premature when compared to their original visions. If Marvel can't survive, maybe there are deeper issues in play here. Other high-profile shutdowns in recent years include EA's intended Destiny killer Anthem, ahead-of-its-time co-op shooter Evolve, and what I'd argue is Harmonix's best music game in an illustrious catalog, Fuser. No doubt it can be a good thing when a game comes to an end. Not every game needs to live on forever. But the problem is these games and many others are intended to, but due to what looks like an unstable market, far too many fail, even when they've found a passionate fanbase. It's hard to quantify how costly and dangerous this can be for video game studios. We've seen some live-service games close only for their studios to follow, like when Motiga's MOBA Gigantic failed to survive a rough launch and the studio was soon shuttered by publisher Perfect World. But even in the best case of a game closing, where the developers' jobs are safe, the disappearance of these games is a devastating blow to game preservation. For many games, living beyond their server closures will be limited to YouTube videos and firsthand accounts from players who got to experience them. We might even live in a post-Fortnite world someday, but it would seem to come on Epic's terms, not the competitiveness of the live-service market. So few can sit atop that mountain, but for Fortnite, Warzone, Rocket League, and a handful of others, it seems comparatively cozy. Again, I'm sadly without answers to these economic problems, and I come here only to lament the feeling that one of my favorite games (Fortnite) is indirectly and partly responsible for the closure of another (Knockout City). Were Knockout City's goals too lofty, or is the live-service world just not sustainable for most who enter it?Epic's battle royale has defined the live-service world for over half a decade, and it seems as though many other publishers are unable to predict how large of an audience they will be able to retain or make plans to sustain a game at those levels. They want to be the next Fortnite, but there's not enough room at the top. Each of these games is built on an economy that relentlessly vies for not just your money, but your time, too. There must be at least some space to survive between industry-defining hits and games hemorrhaging money. From the outside, games like Sea of Thieves, Genshin Impact, Rainbow Six Siege, Warframe, and more seem to have built up communities that can keep them going strong. And yet, it feels like so many more come and go even with fans of their own tearfully seeing them off. For there to be a way forward, game makers must be able to reliably predict the size and habits of its fanbase, and then pivot when that base expands or shrinks. Is this an unrealistic level of maneuverability in a volatile industry? Must it be that a live-service game dominates its genre, if not its industry, or else it has a shelf life of a few months or years before being effectively wiped from video game history? Where do we go from here? I don't know, and it's scary to consider that maybe no one else knows either. View the full article
  8. Dragon Age: Dreadwolf might be farther from release than previously thought, according to a new report. Two anonymous sources interviewed by Insider Gaming disclosed that the game lacks features, voice lines, and is still using placeholder text. The report claims that, although rumors suggested that Dragon Age: Dreadwolf will release in 2023, the game is likely still further out. The sources also share details of the game's structure. Although multiplayer was cut from the game earlier in development, the report claims that some of systems connected to multiplayer remain. Players interact with a central hub between quests, where they can talk with party members, as well as buy and customize equipment. Completing missions will net players more crew members and resources to spend back at base. One of the sources claims the combat takes cues from Final Fantasy XV, with a real-time combat system. Players are also unable to directly control crew members, instead selecting an ability for them to use during combat. According to Bioware itself, the game was playable from start to finish in October 2022. A report from 2021 suggested that Dreadwolf was in good shape and progressing toward release. None of these reports necessarily contradict each other, however it's difficult to know what Dreadwolf's actual release window will be. View the full article
  9. It's been over two months since the release of last Magic: The Gathering set, "The Brothers' War." There, the original Magic plane of Dominaria was under attack by one of the most evil forces in the Multiverse. Now, it's time to head to the plane behind the invasion, and take on the enemy in their home turf. Welcome to "Phyrexia: All Will Be One." Unlike the relatively peaceful blue skies and natural oases of Dominaria, the plane of New Phyrexia is a twisted fever dream--one full of death, decay, and metal monstrosities held together by tissue and tendon. At the helm is the loathsome leader, the "Mother of Machines": Elesh Norn. Phyrexia: All Will Be One (ONE) is a large set, bringing 271 new cards into rotation. Both flavorfully and mechanically, it is a much different landscape than the previous two Dominaria-based sets we played with. To tackle your prerelease, or get a head start on building new decks for constructed, you'll want to have an understanding of everything going on in ONE. Here's where to start. Welcome to metal hell. New and returning mechanicsLike any set, ONE brings to the table a mix of returning, reimagined, and brand-new card mechanics. Whether you're building a sealed deck at your prerelease, or brewing up something spicy for standard, you'll want to know how these mechanics operate and interact to get a competitive edge. Here are the main set mechanics to be on the lookout for: ToxicPoison counters are back, this time in the form of a new keyword ability known as "toxic." Branchblight StalkerUnlike the vast majority of counters you'll encounter in Magic, poison counters are placed on players, rather than any permanents on the battlefield. When a player gets 10 or more poison counters, they lose the game. Poison damage, in other words, effectively halves your life total. Toxic is similar to the old mechanic "infect," but not exactly the same. Whereas poison counters dealt by creatures with infect was always equal to their power, a toxic creature's power and toxic number can be different. When Branchblight Stalker deals damage to a player, for example, that player takes 3 normal damage and gains 2 poison counters. Also, toxic creatures deal normal damage to creatures in combat, whereas infect creature dealt combat damage in the form of -1/-1 counters. In ONE, toxic is most heavily supported in white, black, and green. Green, naturally, has a high density of beefy creatures with high toxic numbers (all the way up to toxic 6), whereas white shines at flooding the board with 1/1 Phyrexian Mite artifact creature tokens with toxic 1. Be on the lookout for toxic creatures with evasive abilities, such a flying or trample. The sooner you can get the toxic train rolling, the sooner you can poison your opponent out of the game. CorruptedClosely related to toxic is "corrupted." Corrupted is an ability word that grants your cards additional abilities or benefits if an opponent has three or more poison counters. Annoint with AfflictionAnoint with Affliction, for example, is an instant that exiles a creature with mana value 3 or less at its baseline. But with corrupted online, it can exile any creature instead. In other cases, corrupted can grant power and toughness bonuses, mana cost reduction, and other number of other effects. Corrupted shows up mostly in white and black, with a couple of instances in blue and green, as well. Worth noting, it is not as common a mechanic as toxic in ONE; there are 47 toxic cards in the set, and only 18 corrupted. However, with enough corrupted payoffs in your deck, you can worry less about killing your opponent with poison, and more about just getting in the first couple hits and reaping the rewards. High toxic numbers matter less here than efficiency and evasion. The sooner you can get up to three poison counters and turn on your corrupted cards, the better. Oil counters"Oil counters" are a new type of counter introduced in ONE. Unlike poison, or +1/+1 counters (which are notably absent in the set), oil counters don't inherently do anything on their own. Rather, their value and function are dictated by how your specific cards make use of them. Forgehammer CenturionThe types of effects that oil counters have vary wildly in the set. Some cards look at how many oil counters are on a permanent, and offer some reward the higher you go. In other cases, like with Forgehammer Centurion, cards have abilities that require removing oil counters. Doing so can benefit you in combat, or in any number of other ways. There are also cards in the set that pay you off for the number of permanents you control with oil counters on them. Oil counters show up in all five colors in ONE, but are most common in blue, red, and green. Given that these types of counters haven't been seen before--and the broad range of strategies that seem to want to make use of them--it's hard to predict exactly how they'll play, or just how powerful they will be. Look to the cards you're building with to determine the role that oil counters might look to serve in your particular deck, and go from there. ProliferateTying together toxic, corrupted, and oil counters is the most noteworthy returning mechanic in the set: "Proliferate." The reminder text reads: "Chose any number of permanents and/or players, then give each another counter of each kind already there." So, in the context of ONE, this means an extra poison counter, oil counter, or loyalty counter (if you're lucky enough to pull a planeswalker). Experimental AuguryFor the most part, proliferate is tacked onto already-decent cards as an small bonus throughout the set. Experimental Augury, for example, is an Anticipate-style spell you might want to play anyway, especially if your deck cares about instants and sorceries. But with proliferate added, it becomes just a bit more enticing in a wider range of strategies. Other cards in the set, such as the blue-black uncommon creature (more on that below), have abilities that trigger whenever you proliferate, regardless of the effect that doing so may have on the rest of your permanents. Proliferate pops up in every color in ONE, but not in huge numbers; there are certainly more cards in the set that benefit from proliferating than there are cards that proliferate themselves. But given the seeming prevalence of counters-based strategies, the mechanic should fit well into just about any type of deck in the format. It can help keep the oil flowing, get you to corrupted a turn sooner, or even serve the finishing blow of the 10th poison counter on your opponent. Take proliferate cards highly, put them in your deck, and they'll likely be good. For Mirrodin!"For Mirrodin!" (yes, exclamation point included) stands on its own against the four other main mechanics in ONE. Corrupted works with toxic, which works with proliferate, with works with oil counters, etc. But For Mirrodin! has nothing to do with counters of any kind. Vulshok SplitterFor Mirrodin! is a keyword ability found of many (but not all) equipment cards in the set. When an equipment with For Mirrodin! enters the battlefield, you get a 2/2 red Rebel creature token, and then attach the equipment to it. The mechanic certainly helps get around the potential pitfall of running too many equipment in your deck--namely, drawing your equipment cards, but not the creatures to attach them to. Therefore, the best way to think about cards with For Mirrodin! is as creatures with some extra utility/flexibility. Vulshok Splitter, for example, can be evaluated as a four-mana 4/2, with the potential of helping pump up some of your other creatures later in the game, once the Rebel creature has died or been outmatched. For Mirrodin! is primarily a red and white mechanic, though there is one blue and one green card with the ability in the set, as well. There's not a ton to say about the mechanic overall, though their value can certainly go up if included in a deck with ample artifact and/or equipment synergies (more on that in the "Archetypes" section below). ArchetypesUnderstanding the various mechanics of a Magic set is only step one: Step two is figuring out how these mechanics interact with each other across the five colors. To do so, it can be helpful to look at what the 10 different two-color combinations in a set appear to be trying to do--what's their strategy, what are their strengths and weaknesses compared to the other color pairs, how do their core mechanics interact, etc. Learning what these two-color archetypes look like is most important for preparing for your prerelease or subsequent limited events, but can also serve as valuable jumping-off points for constructed deck building. It can be difficult to gauge all this before seeing how the cards actually play out in practice. And, at time of publication, Wizards of the Coast hasn't explicitly stated what the exact archetypes are meant to be. But luckily, as is the case in most modern "expert-level" sets, there is one uncommon creature card for each two-color pair in ONE. These cards are often a good indicator of what that color pair's primary game plan is all about. Blue-white: ArtifactsCephalopod SentryCephalopod Sentry is just about as clear-cut a signpost uncommon as they come. The strategy appears to simply be, "Play lots of artifacts." Luckily, the color pair seems well-prepared to do just that. Nearly half of the white cards in ONE either are artifacts themselves or make 1/1 artifact creature tokens, and blue isn't far behind. (Not to mention the 25 total colorless artifacts in the set, as well). Just how aggressive or controlling the archetype may be remains to be seen, but regardless, Cephalopod Sentry appears to be a solid reason to go down the artifact path. Blue-black: Poison/proliferateVoidwing HybridWith blue-black, it's a bit less clear how the archetype might play out. As a two-mana flying creature with toxic, Voiding Hybrid makes turning on corrupted trivial. But with the potential to repeatedly recur it, getting your opponent to 10 poison counters also seems like a viable game plan (especially if you're proliferating on top of it, which the card is asking you to do anyway). Whether blue-black will play out as a control deck that leans into corrupted payoffs, or a more assertive, turbo-poison deck is up in the air. But with such good baseline stats and high upside potential, Voidwing Hybrid should do well in just about any deck you can cast it in. Black-red: Sacrifice/oilCharforgerIn typical black-red fashion, Charforger benefits you when your creatures or artifacts hit the graveyard from play. It may not have the word "sacrifice" in its text box, but clearly shines most in a deck that can do so. However, going down the sacrifice path may not even be necessary for this archetype. Charforger can fairly easily get up to three oil counters over the course of the game without much work--creatures die all the time in Magic, after all. There may be a version of black-red that cares more about stacking up oil counters, proliferating, and reaping the rewards, be it with card advantage like we see on Charforger, or with more aggressively slanted effects. Green-red: OilCinderslash RavagerUnlike the previous two gold uncommons, Cinderslash Ravager requires a bit more work. Six mana for a 5/5 vigilance isn't anything to write home about in terms of efficiency, even if it has the potential to wipe out an opposing X/1 creature or two. That said, with enough oil spread (smeared?) amongst your permanents on the battlefield, this card can be a huge payoff. It doesn't care about how many oil counters are on any single card, but rather how many cards have oil counters on them, so effects that can move around or add oil counters to your permanents pair beautifully with this. Cinderslash Ravager shouldn't be thrown into a deck willy-nilly; you want to be fairly all-in on oil before you get excited about it. However, cost reduction mechanics are traditionally among the most broken in Magic, and this qualifies. Spending two or three mana on a 5/5 with upside is a potentially game-winning play. Green-white: Toxic tokensSlaughter SingerYou don't necessarily need tokens to make Slaughter Singer great--it does its job just fine alongside regular toxic creatures, too--but pairing it with an army of 1/1 Phyrexian Mites that attack as 2/2's is a match made in heaven. With ample ways to pump out the tokens in white, it shouldn't be hard to go wide enough for this card to have a profound effect on the game. With a healthy mix of white's smaller toxic creatures to flood the board with, and green's high-toxic trampling beasts, green-white seems like one of the best archetypes for getting your opponent up to 10 poison counters in just a few attack steps. Black-white: CorruptedVivisection EvangelistVivisection Evangelist is just about as great a corrupted payoff as you could ask for. Creatures that destroy opposing creatures when they enter the battlefield have traditionally been among some of the best cards ever printed in Magic. Based on the texture of black and white's colors in the set, it seems likely that the archetype will play out like a traditional midrange deck. Unlike the green-based toxic color pairs, black-white is more interested in just getting up to the minimum three poison counters, and then winning the game by grinding the opponent out with the advantages afforded by corrupted. Green-black: ToxicNecrogen RotpriestIt's hard to tell exactly how green-black will play out, but poison counters are sure to be a central part of the strategy. Necrogen Rotpriest not only increases the poison counters dealt by your toxic creatures, but also has an activated ability that makes them all a nightmare to block. (Worth noting, Necrogen Rotpriest can deal three poison counters on its own, single-handedly turning on corrupted). With green's slew of high-toxic creatures, and black's suite of removal spells to help clear the way for attacks, it may turn out to be one of the best color pairs for killing your opponent via poison counters. Blue-green: Toxic/proliferateTainted ObserverAs a toxic 2/3 flier for three mana with a repeatable proliferate ability, Tainted Observer is almost a game plan all on its own. Get in a few hits, then spend the rest of the game playing creatures and activating its ability, and you could get your opponent up to 10 poison counters out of nowhere. However, poison may not need to be a central part of the archetype for it to be good. Tainted Observer works great with blue's many oil counter-centric cards, as well. A mix of oil and toxic--along with some classic blue-green ramp--could lead to a solid, if less tunnel-visioned, midrange strategy. Blue-red: Spells/oilSerum-Core ChimeraAs is almost always the case, blue-red seems to care about casting non-creature spells in this set. In the case of Serum-Core Chimera, the payoff is stacking up oil counters, which can be removed to draw cards and maybe Lightning Bolt something. Unlike some blue-red "spells matter" cards, this one doesn't require you cast instants and sorceries to get the effect; non-creature artifacts, enchantments, or planeswalkers will trigger it, as well. Be on the lookout for non-creature spells with incidental proliferate for this archetype, too. Experimental Augury, which we mentioned earlier, will put two oil counters on the Chimera on its own, for example. Red-white: EquipmentBladehold War-WhipWith the bulk of the equipment being in red and white in ONE, it's only natural for red-white to be the equipment archetype. Bladehold War-Whip, which functions as a three-mana 2/2 double strike, pays you off for having a critical mass of equipment cards on the battlefield to move around on the cheap. Traditionally, equipment-centric strategies have not been the most competitive in Magic--especially in limited, where the risk of getting blown out by removal or not drawing your creatures and equipment in the right order is so high. However, it's possible that the For Mirrodin! mechanic changes the equation here. It's much less risky when your equipment come with power and toughness attached from the start. Notable card cyclesLike most sets, ONE features a handful of card cycles across the five colors. They range from common to mythic rare, and have vastly varying effects, but you'll want to keep them in mind when it comes time for deck building. PlaneswalkersThere are planeswalkers printed in every modern Magic set, but it's not every day that we get 10--five of which being only rare, instead of the standard mythic rarity! Jace, the Perfected MindAll five of the mythic rare planeswalkers in ONE are "Compleated." Lore-wise, this means that they've reached Phyrexians' (questionable) ideal of perfection, having become soulless, largely artificial husks of their former selves (poor Jace). Rules-wise, all compleated planeswalkers have "Phyrexian mana" in their mana costs, which can be paid with either the color represented or two life. If you chose to pay the life, the planeswalker enters with two fewer loyalty counters. It might sound like a bad deal, but Phyrexian mana has proven time and time again to be one of the most broken mechanics ever printed in the game. The flexibility that it grants to the five compleated planeswalkers in the set is huge. The Eternal WandererHowever, the five rare planeswalkers in the set are certainly no slouches, either. The Eternal Wanderer looks to be a particularly unbeatable bomb, especially in limited. Keep in mind that you'll be seeing these cards more than normal given their lower rarity, and consider trying to include some answers to them when deck-building Dominus creaturesThis is a cycle of mythic rare legendary Phyrexian horror creatures. There is one in each color, and while their stats and static abilities vary wildly, they all share the ability to get "indestructible counters," but at a steep cost. Zopandrel, Hunger DominusWith Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus, you get a giant power and toughness doubler. To get the indestructible counter, you must pay two green Phyrexian mana and sacrifice two other creatures. Solphim, Mayhem DominusIn the case of Solphim, Mayhem Dominus, your noncombat damage is doubled. Getting your indestructible counter requires discarding two cards, as well as paying three mana, two of which being Phyrexian. Don't let the high price of these creatures' activated abilities scare you away! They're all well-statted monsters with relevant, sometimes even game-ending static abilities. The flexibility to give them indestructible when you really need to is all upside. TwilightsNext up is a cycle of rare instants and sorceries, one in each color. They all have "X" in their casting cost, and they all benefit you greatly when X is five or more. White Sun's TwilightThese cards may prove to be too inefficient to be big players in high-level constructed formats. But at your prerelease, or any other subsequent limited event, you should do everything in your power to include them in your deck. They all have devastatingly game-swinging effects when you get X up to five, with the white, blue, and black ones being the best of the bunch by a good margin. SkullbombsThis common cycle of artifacts all cost one generic mana, and can all be sacrificed for one generic mana to draw a card. In addition, they all have a second activated ability--one for each color--that provides a minor bonus, while also still drawing you a card. Maze SkullbombThese cards may look innocuous at first glance. None of the effects that they provide are particularly exciting, after all. However, they may prove to be important players in the format for the synergy they provide by upping your artifact count and serving as sacrifice fodder. Also, don't underestimate cheap cards that draw you a card in return. They're essentially "free," and probably better than you think! Fast landsThe rare "fast lands" are back, this time in the five allied color pairs. Darkslick ShoresThey may not be the most exciting card to see in your rare slot at the prerelease. That said, they are certainly good at what they do! The fast lands will surely see tons of play in Standard, and should definitely be included in your limited decks when possible, as well. Sphere landsThe other land cycle in ONE is the "Spheres." These common lands tap for one color, enter the battlefield tapped, and can be tapped and sacrificed for two mana (one being the color that the land itself produces) to draw a card. The Autonomous FurnaceEntering the battlefield tapped is a real cost, so you probably don't want to throw too many of these into your deck. However, the ability to turn one of your lands into a new card in the late-game is a nice bit of value. Most limited decks would probably be well served running one or two of these in their colors for good measure. Other notable cardsThere are far too many cards in the set with the potential to impact both limited and constructed Magic to list here. However, there are a few standouts to keep your eyes peeled for when cracking packs at your prerelease and beyond. Elesh Norn, Mother of MachinesElesh Norn, Mother of MachinesWe'd be remiss not to mention the true villain of Phyrexia, Elesh Norn. As a five-mana 4/7 vigilance, she's already a great card on stats alone, and one you should include in any white deck. Her first static ability may look like a "build-around" at first glance, but it's really not. Just about any deck in constructed and limited alike will be full of cards with ETB abilities, without even doing any work. For the same reason, her second static ability will almost assuredly be good in any game of Magic. Elesh Norn is a true bomb, and a fitting signpost card for everything going on in the format. Phyrexian Obliterator/VindicatorPhyrexian ObliteratorA notable reprint in ONE is the ever-terrifying Phyrexian Obliterator. This is a huge threat when on the battlefield. However, with such a demanding mana cost, casting it is no small feat. You basically only want to include it in a mono-black deck. But in such a shell, it can have a devastating effect on a game. It will likely be more of a player in constructed, where getting away with a mono-colored deck is more attainable than in limited. Phyrexian VindicatorAlongside it is a new card, Phyrexian Vindicator. It has the same base stats at Obliterator, but with flying instead of trample and the ability to prevent all damage dealt to it and instead deal that much damage to anything, it may prove to be even more powerful. Again, save this for your mono-white decks. Phyrexian ArenaPhyrexian ArenaAnother noteworthy reprint is the enchantment, Phyrexian Arena. Any effect that draws you an extra card a turn is worth paying attention to. The life loss is a real cost that can stack up over time, but this can be offset but slotting the card into it deck with some life-gain effects, or simply a hyper-aggressive deck where you can get your opponent's life total to zero before the life loss has the chance to catch up to you. Thrun, Breaker of SilenceThrun, Breaker of SilenceA new take on a classic Magic character first introduced in Mirrodin Besieged, Thrun, Breaker of Silence is the ultimate hoser of blue, controlling strategies. Thrun is a true bomb in limited, and you should do everything in your power to include it in your deck if you're lucky enough to open it at your prerelease. It's likely to have constructed implications, as well, especially as a sideboard option against decks with lots of counters and removal spells. Atraxa, Grand UnifierAtraxa, Grand UnifierThe fearsome Legendary Phyrexian Angel Horror has been reimagined in ONE at Atraxa, Grand Unifier. It hosts the same laundry list of keyword abilities as the original Atraxa, Praetor's Voice, but it's bigger, more expensive, and now draws cards instead of proliferating. In the right deck, Atraxa has the potential to draw you upwards of four-plus cards, and give you selection while doing so. As a four-color card, you need to do some work to make your mana base support casting Atraxa. But if you do, it can pay you off handsomely. Sword of Forge and FrontierSword of Forge and FrontierLast on the list is the newest mythic rare Mirran sword. It is the fourth allied-color protection sword, which were first introduced in Modern Horizons in 2019. Here, it grants protection from red and green, and essentially draws you two cards whenever you deal damage to a player with equipped creature. Almost every sword printed in Magic has been exceptionally powerful, and Sword of Forge and Frontier does not seem to be an exception. With the solid power and toughness buff for the low cost of two to equip, and the potential to make your creature both unblockable and un-killable against the right deck, this card should be an auto-include in any limited deck with creatures, and only goes up in value once you have artifact or equipment themes going. How it fits into the landscape of constructed remains to be seen. How to playThat's it for the breakdown of Phyrexia: All Will Be One! The set officially releases on Arena on February 7, and for tabletop on February 10. However, during the weekend of February 3-5, you can get your hands on the cards early at a prerelease. To find an LGS hosting prerelease events near you, check out Wizards of the Coasts' event locator. Good luck, and have fun! View the full article
  10. If you’re looking for some chill games to relax with, Humble’s new Sim-ple Life bundle includes eight farming, town-building, and social life sims starting at just $10. Like other Humble bundles, a portion of your purchase goes to helping a charity--in this case JDRF, which helps people living with type 1 diabetes. See at Humble The games you get include Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, which is a bit like if The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a chill farming sim with no combat. You explore a vast, idyllic island teeming with magical ruins and mysterious caves to explore, creatures to befriend and raise, and characters to help. Summer in Mara is another open-world farming sim where you climb, sail, and craft your way around a beautiful island archipelago, taking on hundreds of optional side quests from the many characters you meet. Then there's Luna's Fishing Garden, which is the perfect farming sim for players who love fishing minigames, and Animal Crossing fans will likely enjoy the village life simulators Garden Paws and Staxel. If you’re looking for more socializing and less farming or exploring, there’s Lake, a slice-of-life narrative where players have two in-game weeks to explore the fictional rural town of Providence Oaks, Oregon, meeting new friends and even sparking up romances. And for those that want a more economic-focused experience, there's the city builder Townscaper, or the shopkeep simulator Winkeltje: The Little Shop. Normally, these games would total $133 if you bought them outside the bundle, but you can grab them all for just $10. Paying at least $10 gets you all eight games in the Sim-ple Life bundle, but you can increase your pledge if you want to give more money to the developers and the JDRF charity. Humble Sim-ple Life BundlePay at least $10 Garden PawsLakeLuna’s Fishing GardenStaxelSummer in MaraTownscaperWinkeltje: The Little ShopYonder: The Cloud Catcher ChroniclesView the full article
  11. World of Warcraft's in-game Valentine's Day celebration is nearly here, and this year Blizzard is "sharing the love" by dramatically increasing the drop rate for one of the game's most hard to come by mounts. The mount in question is the X-45 Heartbreaker, a giant, flying pink rocket that is only earnable for a few weeks out of the year while the Love is in the Air event is ongoing. Players queue for the event dungeon with the hope of earning the mount in one of the Heart-Shaped Boxes rewarded for completing the dungeon once per day, per character. Because of the way the rewards are structured and the mount's incredibly low drop chance, players have long felt forced to complete the event dungeon on as many characters as possible every day the event was active in order to maximize their chances of earning the mount. Thankfully, that won't be necessary going forward. In a forum post, Blizzard has explained how the event will work differently this year so that the first Heart-Shaped Box earned each day on an account-wide basis has a greatly increased chance to contain the mount. All subsequent boxes earned across various characters will still have a chance to drop the mount, but it will be the ultra-rare, original drop rate. The change should encourage players to complete the dungeon once per day for the best chance to earn the mount while simultaneously making it so players don't feel forced to grind the event dungeon on multiple characters. According to data from Wowhead, the chance of earning the X-45 Heartbreaker prior to this change was estimated to be around .03% per dungeon run, a frustratingly low number that was made even worse by the fact that the event was only active for a few weeks per year. The mount saw its name changed in 2021 as part of Blizzard's efforts to make its MMORPG more inclusive amidst ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits. Though there is no word yet if a similar system will be applied to other holiday events later this year, Blizzard did state last year that it was looking into solutions targeted towards "holiday events in general." WoW's Love is in the Air event will begin on February 6. It comes hot on the heels of the MMO's new Trading Post feature, a battle-pass-like system where players earn a special currency by completing tasks that can then be exchanged for new or previously cash-shop-exclusive mounts and cosmetics. The game's next major update, patch 10.0.7, is slated to arrive this spring, and will include long-awaited Heritage armor sets for orcs and humans, new story content, and a major rework for Retribution Paladins specialization. View the full article
  12. Logitech’s G435 Lightspeed wireless gaming headset is on sale at Amazon for just $30 (normally $80). The 63% discount applies to the blue and white models. There is also a black model available, but it is only down to $50 (from $80). See at AmazonThe Logitech G435 Lightspeed pairs with your PC, PlayStation 5/4, Nintendo Switch, or mobile device with either a low-latency Bluetooth connection or a simple USB dongle. The headset supports Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic spatial audio for better surround sound in supported games, and the battery lasts about 18 hours on a single full charge. The G435 also uses dual built-in beamforming microphones that capture your voice without the need for an unsightly mic arm. Logitech G435 This is a solid deal for a decent entry-level headset, so definitely check out Amazon’s offer while you can. View the full article
  13. Developer Second Dinner offers plenty of incentives to keep checking in to Marvel Snap, most notably with its Featured and Hot Locations. These in-game events give specific locations a higher chance of appearing, motivating players to change up their decks. But what exactly are Featured and Hot Locations and when do they run? Here's what you need to know. Featured LocationsFeatured Locations are Marvel Snap events that implement a specific new location at a higher rate. This marks the introduction of a brand new location, with a 40% appearance rate during the event's duration. An example is Plunder Castle, which only allows you to play cards that cost 6 energy to be played there. Featured Locations go live every Tuesday at 10 PM Eastern and last for 48 hours. After the 48-hour period, the Featured Location will then be folded into the regular location pool, with a chance of appearing during standard play. So, even after a Featured Location period has ended, it's a good idea to be familiar with that particular location so you can adapt if it appears during a match. Hot LocationsHot Locations are similar, but only focus on locations from the regular pool, at a 60% appearance rate. This means you won't come across new locations when a Hot Location is available, but instead, you'll see ones that appear during standard matches such as Onslaught’s Citadel, Asgard, or Hala (among dozens of others). Hot Locations go live on Saturdays at 10 PM EST and only last 24 hours. So, they have a higher appearance rate than Featured Locations but only include locations you're likely familiar with already. It's important to at least be familiar with Featured and Hot Locations so you can either build decks around them, or plan your plays accordingly during matches. Even if you have a powerful deck on hand, you can easily lose if you aren't familiar with how certain locations work. For instance, if the Hot Location is Luke's Bar (When you play a card here, return it to your hand), you'll want to come equipped with cards that have some sort of effect that triggers each time they're played--such as Scorpion or Iceman. Being aware of this can turn the match in your favor. For more on how to build decks around the Plunder Castle Location, visit our guide here. View the full article
  14. With Apex Legends Season 15: Eclipse wrapping up and Season 16 just a few days away, speculation about the upcoming season's content has reached a fever pitch. Players want to know who the new legend will be, what kind of battle pass cosmetics players can look forward to, and what kind of gameplay changes to expect going forward. Although we don't have all the answers, we've compiled a list of info about the upcoming season's content (including both confirmed facts and speculation based on leaks), and will update it as we uncover more information. Here's everything we know about Apex Legends Season 16 so far. Unconfirmed: Launch dateApex's current battle pass ends on February 14, but Season 16's start date has not yet been confirmed. If the battle pass timer is correct and this season follows similar patterns as previous seasons, Apex Legends Season 16 is likely to launch on February 14, 2023 at 10 AM PT / 1 PM PT. Rumor: No new legendAccording to various sources--including reliable Apex Legends leakers like iLootGames, KralRindo, ThordanSmash, and iLootGames--there will be no new legend coming to the game this season. If true, this will mark the first-ever time that an Apex Legends season has been launched without a new legend to accompany it. This may sound rather far-fetched, but there's actually a good chance it could be accurate. Last May, Respawn confirmed that it may slow down or space out legend releases in the future. While this could mean the pre-season hype train takes a bit of a hit, it could actually be a good thing. It would likely go over well with a great deal of the playerbase, as it would give Apex developers a chance to focus more energy and resources on the parts of the game that need attention, like sound design, next-gen console optimization, and cross-progression. Rumor: No cross-progressionSpeaking of cross-platform progression, iLootGames also said he could personally confirm that the highly requested feature will not be coming to Apex Legends in Season 16, much to the chagrin of console players who want to swap. Unfortunately for Playstation 4 players who decided to purchase an Xbox X|S over a Playstation 5 (or vice versa), no news of cross-progression is on the horizon. Rumor: A party-themed battle pass may be setting the stage for the next legendDataminers have apparently gotten their hands on the Season 16 battle pass, which appears to have a rave- or party-themed aesthetic. Some Apex players and content creators think these cosmetics may be setting the stage for Rhapsody--a deathmatch-loving DJ from Apex's recently canceled mobile game--to make her grand entrance. But Lifeline is also a notorious lover of music, and it plays a major role in her backstory, so it's possible these cosmetics are just hinting at more Lifeline lore. Rumor: TDMThe Apex Legends dataminer known as ThordanSmash has allegedly gotten his hands on a great deal of information about Season 16--possibly including the patch notes. Among the first details the popular Apex Legends leaker revealed was the reported addition of Team Deathmatch as a new permanent mode. Apex Legends Mobile launched with a permanent TDM mode last March, but console and PC players have never gotten to experience it--not even as a limited-time mode. If true, the new mode would be the biggest permanent feature to hit the game since Arenas debuted in Season 9. This could just be hearsay, but with Apex Legends Mobile scheduled to shut down in May, it's possible the developers want to make sure Apex's playerbase still has access to TDM. Rumor: New WeaponAccording to ThordanSmash, a new assault rifle called the Nemesis will appear in the game once the new season goes live. The dataminer claims that the Nemesis is an AR that takes energy ammo and deals 17 damage per hit (headshots are presumably higher). The weapon's existence was initially uncovered last March, when an unknown individual leaked a massive amount of information about future Apex Legends content on reddit. That leak accurately predicted the arrival of Newcastle, Vantage, and Catalyst, along with Valkyrie's Heirloom Weapon and the Broken Moon map, so it's very likely that Nemesis is going to make an appearance. The real question is when, not if. Rumor: Legends are getting a major makeoverMultiple leakers are reporting that a large number of legends will be receiving a buff or nerf this season. Notable changes allegedly include a 50% increase to the length of Wraith's portals and a serious nerf for both Valkyrie and Bloodhound. According to the individuals who are leaking info regarding Season 16, when the new season goes live, Valkyrie will no longer be able to scan enemies while skydiving from the dropship, and Bloodhound will only be able to see static images of enemies scanned by their powerful Eye Of The Allfather. The latter nerf would affect the game's meta quite heavily, as many players rely on the character's X-ray vision to survive firefights. Displaying only a static image of an enemy's location when they're scanned is far less useful than Bloodhound's current ability to see where an enemy is headed after they've been scanned. Rumor: Kunai knife redesignAnother tidbit uncovered by dataminers is what appears to be a redesigned version of Wraith's Kunai knife. Called Wraith Kunai 2.0 in the leaks, the weapon features a curved blade with a red glow--a sharp contrast to Wraith's original Kunai throwing knife, which has a symmetrical arrow-shaped blade with a blue glow. The original Kunai lacks the plethora of unique animations that the other legends' Heirloom Weapons feature, and it seems that the majority of the playerbase (or at least those who own the Kunai) want the weapon reworked. The Kunai's comparatively lackluster design has evidently left some players disappointed after seeing the wildly creative animations displayed when players inspect other characters' Heirloom Weapons. It's unclear exactly how the new Heirloom Weapon might be made available to players, but because the original Kunai design plays a major part in Wraith's backstory, the new Kunai 2.0 is unlikely to be a replacement weapon simply handed out to current Kunai owners free of charge. It's also possible that the new and improved Kunai may instead come as a reward for completing a future Collection Event, or simply appear in the Mythic Store when the season launches. That's all we know about Season 16 for the moment, but stay tuned--this page will be updated as more information becomes available. Apex Legends is free to play on console and PC. A mobile version of the game, Apex Legends Mobile, is available to play on Android and iOS devices, but will be sunset on May 1, 2023. View the full article
  15. Smilegate has announced that its first-person shooter CrossfireX will have its servers shut down on May 18. In a new blog post on the official website--via Wario64--the developer said, "It is with the deepest regret that we are informing you of our decision to end support for CrossfireX on May 18, 2023. Since the launch of the game, we have worked tirelessly to bring it to a point where we can all be proud, and throughout it all we have had the honor and pleasure of supporting our players." "Coming to this decision was not easy, however, we can proudly say that our players have been amazingly active, passionate and enthusiastic in working with us to create a game that would be fun and enjoyable by all. We want to thank each and every one of our players for playing CrossfireX and being a part of this journey with us." The blog post then confirmed that effective immediately, all sales of the game on the Xbox Store will be halted and any purchases made within the last 14 days as of February 3 may be eligible for a refund. Smilegate states that there will also be no new content added to the game such as maps, modes, and camos. CrossfireX is a live-service game that launched almost a year ago on February 10, 2022, for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. The news comes after it was recently reported that CrossfireX would be leaving Xbox Game Pass this month, along with a selection of other games. View the full article
  16. Looking to bulk up your Steam library without spending very much money? Consider heading over to Fanatical and checking out February's Platinum Collection, which lets you build your own bundle of seven games for just $20. There are also options to purchase three games for $10 or five games for $15, making it easy to fit the sale into your budget. Build your Platinum Collection The February Platinum Collection lets you pick from 16 different titles. Best-selling blockbusters, darling indies, and hidden gems are all part of the catalog--and there’s bound to be something that piques your interest. Fallout 3: GOTY Edition is arguably the most notable game included in the catalog, although Superhot: Mind Control Delete is another standout game (and it’s less likely to already be in your Steam library). As far as lesser-known games are concerned, you’ll find the retro-puzzler Dusk ‘82, the aquarium simulator Aquarist, and the Kafka-inspired Metamorphosis. All three were well-received at launch, so they are definitely worth considering. Every game in the February Platinum Collection is offered as a Steam key, and you'll also get a 5% off coupon for your next purchase through Fanatical. You’ll find a complete list of games included in the deal below. February Platinum Collection Itorah Metamorphosis Minute of Islands The Council: Complete Season The Surge: Augmented Edition The Citadel Aquarist Trials of Fire Fallout 3: GOTY Edition Charterstone: Digital Edition Fallout Classic Collection Dusk ’82: Ultimate Edition Superhot: Mind Control Delete Airport CEO Spirit of the Island ATOM RPG Trudograd View the full article
  17. Only a few more weeks remain in Destiny 2's current Witch Queen era, but as we head into the most romantic month of the year, Xur is here to offer some early Valentine's gifts from his rotating inventory of Exotic armor and weapons. Here's where you can find Xur this weekend and what the Agent of the Nine has for sale. This week you can find Xur in the EDZ, in the Winding Cove area. For his weapon, Xur is offering Lord of Wolves. Hunters can pick up Raiju's Harness chest armor; Titans can grab Doom Fang Pauldrons arm armor; and for Warlocks, Xur has Felwinter's Helm. Xur LocationXur's location in the EDZ Spawn in at the Winding Cove transmat zone, then hop on your sparrow and go north. Take the collapsed overpass on the left and look for a cave near the bend in the road. Follow the tunnel through the cliff face to reach a higher ridge where a Fallen dropship has crashed; you'll find Xur waiting there. Xur is present every weekend in Destiny 2, starting with the daily reset at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET each Friday. His exact location is always a mystery when he first arrives, as he is not listed on the map, and for novice players, he can be easy to miss. However, there are a set number of locations where he takes up residence, including the Tower Hangar area, on Nessus in Watcher's Grave, and in the Winding Cove area of the EDZ. View the full article
  18. The Nier Automata anime adaptation is currently on hiatus due to COVID-related production problems, but series creator Yoko Taro has a surprise for update-hungry fans. He's collaborated with rock band Amazarashi to create a 15-minute long music video that consists of a puppet show that retells the story of Nier Automata itself. Set to the ending theme of the Automata anime, Antimony, this is a telling from the perspective of its ubiquitous robots, who are controlled by two creators known as "Father" and "Mother." Though we won't give away how exactly this conflict turns out for our cute robot friends, let's just say that there are a lot of parallels between theirs and the plight of the androids that star in the original Automata. Yoko Taro has made music videos with Amazarashi before, collaborating on the video Deserving of Life to mark Nier Automata's original release all the way back in 2017. As spotted by Polygon, Yoko said in a recent interview that the music video's script was inspired by the Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa, who is best-known for his work Night on the Galactic Railroad. We don't know when the Nier Automata anime will return from its hiatus, but it'll surely make for a memorable time. View the full article
  19. The PC release of The Last of Us Part 1 has been delayed by just under a month, though it's still coming out in March. Naughty Dog announced today, February 3, that The Last of Us Part 1 will now be releasing March 28, an almost four-week delay from its original March 3 release date. "We know a lot of you have been revisiting the story that started it all with The Last of us Part 1 on PlayStation 5 console, and we realize many of you have been excited to jump in--some for the first time--when Part 1 hits PC," reads the statement from Naughty Dog, in reference to fans revisiting the game following the release of the HBO show. "And so we want to make sure that The Last of Us Part 1 PC debut is in the best shape possible. These additional few weeks will allow us to ensure this version of The Last of Us lives up to your, and our, standards." Naughty Dog also thanked fans for their support and enthusiasm, promising it would have more to share about the PC port soon. The effects of the HBO show definitely can't be understated on recent success for The Last of Us on PS5, as sales jumped by more than 200%, with The Last of Us: Remastered (the PS4 version of the game) also jumping up by more than 300% on the boxed UK sales charts. As well as the games seeing growth, the show has increased its audience week over week too, with the recent third episode having its biggest Sunday viewership yet. Naughty Dog announced that The Last of Us Part 1 would be coming to PC at The Game Awards in December, though it was only a brief announcement, with no details on what players could expect from the port. View the full article
  20. Developer Hazelight Studios has announced It Takes Two has sold over 10 million copies. The cooperative adventure game, published by Electronic Arts, originally launched in March 2021. The major sales milestone was publicized on Twitter by Hazelight Studios. "Our minds are officially blown," the developer said. "... Potentially twice as many players have enjoyed our game--we never dared to dream of so many fans! Thank you for all the love." In July 2022, Hazelight revealed that It Takes Two had sold over seven million copies. That means the co-op game, which won Game of the Year at The Game Awards in 2021, has added three million in sales during the past seven months. In that time, It Takes Two launched on Nintendo Switch in November. Hazelight Studios previously worked on A Way Out. Looking ahead, the It Takes Two developer has stated its next game is "something really f**cking cool!" And the co-op game might even become a movie for Amazon Prime Video with Dwayne Johnson. It Takes Two sees two parents, who are planning to get divorced, turning into dolls, similar to a Freaky Friday-type situation. What follows is the pair going on a 3D platforming adventure together. GameSpot's It Takes Two review from Andrew King said it's "the best 3D platformer I've played since Super Mario Odyssey, and like that game, it has a flair for variety." View the full article
  21. Activision Blizzard has reached a settlement deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission that sees the Call of Duty company pay $35 million to settle workplace charges. Per the SEC's press release, Activision Blizzard is paying the settlement fee, but not admitting or denying any wrongdoing, over claims that it "failed to maintain disclosure controls and procedures to ensure that the company could assess whether its disclosures pertaining to its workforce were adequate." Additionally, the $35 million settlement pertains to charges that Activision Blizzard "violated an SEC whistleblower protection rule." The SEC said Activision Blizzard, between 2018 and 2021, "lacked controls and procedures" among its business divisions related to how it collected and analyzed complaints about workplace misconduct. "A a result, the company's management lacked sufficient information to understand the volume and substance of employee complaints about workplace misconduct and did not assess whether any material issues existed that would have required public disclosure," the SEC said. "Separately, the SEC's order finds that, between 2016 and 2021, Activision Blizzard executed separation agreements in the ordinary course of its business that violated a Commission whistleblower protection rule by requiring former employees to provide notice to the company if they received a request for information from the Commission's staff." SEC boss Jason Burt said Activision Blizzard's actions left the company "without the means to determine whether larger issues existed and needed to be disclosed to investors." As for the whistleblower complaints, Burt said this is "not only bad corporate governance, it is illegal." Specifically, the SEC said Activision Blizzard violated Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(a) and 21F-17(a). Again, Activision Blizzard is not admitting or denying the SEC's charges, but is agreeing to the settlement to put an end to the case. The SEC's order stated that the settlement payment pertains to disclosure controls and Activision Blizzard's separation agreements. Activision Blizzard said in a statement to GameSpot that the company is "pleased to have amicably resolved this matter." "We have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language. We did so as part of our continuing commitment to operational excellence and transparency. Activision Blizzard is confident in its workplace disclosures," the company said. Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of criticism in recent years over a variety of workplace issues. For more, check out a timeline of all the major lawsuits and issues. This is happening as Microsoft attempts to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The proposed buyout has faced pressure and scrutiny, as well as a lawsuit in the US from the FTC. View the full article
  22. Monster Hunter Rise has hit a new sales milestone, having now reached more than 12 million units sold worldwide. While Monster Hunter Rise is coming up on its second anniversary, sales for the game are showing no signs of slowing down, as the official Twitter account for the game shared earlier today that the game has now sold 12 million copies worldwide. "Thank you all so much for your incredible support and passion, we know Kamura is in safe hands with you," reads the tweet, paired with some very nice art of everyone's favourite chef Yomogi. Back in October, Capcom reported the game had hit 11 million sales, making this a solid increase of a million in just three months, an impressive feat for a series that's not typically new-player friendly. Capcom has largely attributed this to the consistent free updates that have been released for the game, as well as the Sunbreak expansion that has also had a number of free updates. The third Sunbreak update arrived in November, adding in a big selection of new monsters to hunt, as well as some new variants of some familiar ones. It also expanded the follower system so you can bring them on more quests. Update four is due to arrive next week, February 7, once again promising new monsters, layered armor, and more event quests. The most notable monster it's adding is Velkhana, the main monster found in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. Monster Hunter Rise also recently released on Xbox for the first time, joining the ever-popular Game Pass, making it easier than ever to try it out for yourself to see what all the fuss is about. View the full article
  23. Everyone likes a nice cup of java, so it makes sense that you'd want to find Coffee Beans in Disney Dreamlight Valley and brew some for your character. Getting your hands on this cooking ingredient requires you to befriend a mischievous friend and complete a few quests, though, so read on to find out for the full scoop on Coffee Beans. How to get coffee beans in Disney Dreamlight ValleyThe first step towards getting Coffee Beans in Dreamlight Valley will require you to become friends with Stitch. It's a somewhat complicated process that will take days to complete, so you'll want to get started on that as quickly as possible if you haven't met the blue menace yet. Once you're friends with Stitch, you'll need to raise his friendship to level 4 and begin the quest "Very Sleepy Stitch." However, this quest isn't started by simply talking to Stitch--instead, you'll need to head over to WALL-E's garden and look for a white mug on the ground. Take this to WALL-E, who will then tell you to go speak with Stitch to start the quest proper. Coffee Beans are used to make a variety of caffeinated beverages.Stitch is feeling very sleepy and wants some coffee. He gives you a Coffee Sapling for you to nurse back to health, which you'll then need to take back over to WALL-E, who will task you with finding some items. 25x Pebbles25x Clay1x SackThe pebbles and clay can be dug up in Sunlit Plateau, while the Sack can be crafted by using one Fiber and one Soil. When you've gathered these materials, go back and speak to WALL-E, then use a crafting station to fix up the Coffee Sapling. With the revitalized sapling in your possession, head to the Glade of Trust, dig a hole, plant it there, and water it. In a little under an hour, a small shrub will finally sprout up, allowing you to harvest Coffee Beans, which you can use to make some unique caffeinated beverages. Don't forget to finish Stitch's quest, too! For more on Dreamlight Valley, check out our comprehensive guides hub. View the full article
  24. GameFly has a deal on used copies of Bayonetta 3 for just $40. Considering Bayonetta 3 hasn't been on sale much since launching last year, this is a great opportunity for anyone looking to grab one of the best action games on Nintendo Switch at a discount. See at GameFlyBayonetta 3 is the latest game in Platinum Games’ character-action series. Players once again take the role of gun-slinging witch Bayonetta, battling demons across various planes of reality. This time around, you also get a chance to play as witch-in-training Viola, as well as control giant Kaiju beasts that join Bayonetta throughout the game’s many stages. In our Bayonetta 3 review, GameSpot editor Jessica Howard praised the game’s action set pieces, smooth controls, and flashy presentation, calling it a “fast-paced and joyous adventure that achieves its goals with an abundance of charisma and style.” While fans waited almost 10 years for Bayonetta’s third outing, series director Hideki Kamiya has already confirmed Bayonetta 4 is in the works, and a spin-off prequel, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon, releases in March. Head over to GameFly to grab Bayonetta 3 while it's on sale so you’re caught up on the story. View the full article
  25. Last night, there was growing concern Microsoft was closing down the Xbox 360 marketplace for good, possibly as soon as May. But those worries can apparently be put to rest. It all started with people--like Twitter user Wario64--noticing an Xbox Support page showing an Xbox 360 marketplace update article. It read: "We will be closing the Xbox 360 marketplace over the next year, so we encourage you to purchase any 360 games or DLC by May 2023." However, Gematsu shortly thereafter contacted a Microsoft spokesperson, who confirmed this article was posted in error. The marketplace will not close down in May. Microsoft will be removing 45-plus old games and DLC from the Xbox 360 marketplace later this month. The purge will begin on February 7 and includes games like Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Mass Effect 2. That said, some of these titles will still be available to purchase on newer Xbox consoles. And people who previously purchased said games will still be able to download them in the future. Speaking of games leaving a service, here are all of the titles being removed from Xbox Game Pass in February. The list includes Infernax, Recompile, and CrossfireX: Operation Catalyst. View the full article
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