Thursday, Apr 3
Feature to be released over time, to different areas
Many changes are coming to Guild Wars 2 this month, with the megaserver system being one of them. Today, ArenaNet revealed their ambitious plans to bring the Guild Wars 2 community even closer together, by doing away with overflowers and cramming even more people into one map instance as possible.
While Anet has yet to divulge all the details, we do know the new megaserver technology will place users based on multiple factors, including party, guild, language, home world, and others. All map instances will be "created equal," thus setting the new system apart from the current overflow system. No longer will you miss out on world events because the main instance is full! Now this is a blessing.
So aside from doing away with the flaws of overflows and fitting more people into a map instance, the megaservers will potentially ensure no one ever winds up on a low-population map again, thanks to better tech. Maps will still be restricted based on region, however, so players will still be separated by NA and EU servers.
The new system is expected to go live with the April 2014 Feature Pack and take affect a little at a time. It will first be implemented in main cities, the PVP lobby, and 1-15 PVE maps. Over time, higher level zones will also get the megaserver treatment.
Stay tuned for more. For now, lets all take a moment to appreciate Claw of Jormag with a bobblehead.
Amazon Game Studios has the burden of being the Amazon Fire TV's primary first-party developer, a difficult place to be for a brand new console touting itself as solid gaming platform. They've put out a launch title, third-person tower defense shooter Sev Zero, but one $7 game isn't going to be enough to sell the platform to a core gaming audience. Luckily, it looks like they're hard at work on a handful of much more interesting games.
Accompanying the launch of the Amazon Fire TV and Sev Zero, Amazon Game Studios released a teaser trailer showcasing a number of what can only be assumed to be "in-development" titles. Many of these games, especially when compared directly to Sev Zero, were quite striking and inspired. Here's a short list of the different games that were shown, in description due to the lack of titles:
- Origami safari, featuring an environment made of folded and cut pieces of paper. A protagonist, perhaps, made of white folded paper runs alongside a yellow bear. Light blue elephants roam an orange plain. Cell shaded and simple. Overall quite beautiful.
- 3D platformer featuring a red-headed boy in a backpack. He swims through waters filled with ruins, bright balloon mines and giant clamshells. He falls into a giant temple of sorts where mysterious blue light rises out of a spot on the ground. His trusty dog sidekick right beside him teh whole way.
- An RPG where adventurous looking characters take turns shooting pistols and swinging swords at each other. A circle around their feet shows each characters' remaining HP. In the background, island huts made of wood and sitting on stilts. Reminds me of Waka's home in Final Fantasy X.
- A 2D shooter where the player is a caveman fighting dinosaurs geared up with giant lasers and parachutes. Yes, a tyranasaurus rex with a huge laser on its back. Fighting a caveman with a club. Oh no, who gave the caveman the laser? This isn't going well.
- Another turn-based RPG? This one's set in some sort of jungle ruins with warriors taking turns attacking each other. Much bloodier than the previous RPG. Much more Age of Conan than Final Fantasy X.
- A mystery/adventure type game where the player explores what looks like an empty surgery room with what appears to be a time disparity system, past/present switch.
- Some sort of action or RPG game where girl with a pipe fights flying globs of goo and teeth with a metal pipe.
- A defense sort of game where the player fires a cannon set on the wall of a fortress at an incoming army of all sorts of monsters, including a giant of sorts that could simply reach over the wall and end the battle instantly
- A 2D shooter/platformer that looks a lot like Pid, starring a little space man flying around on a scooter and shooting aliens from cover.
If I'm right about which game is which, that's nine games total. My personal favorites are the origami safari and the 2D Pid-style platformer/shooter, simply because they have such stylized art. The other games, well, let's remember that this is an Android-based platformer. The graphics are bad, man. You have to try harder than, "We've got modern graphics, only with 5% of the polygons and extremely low resolution textures!" I figure everyone's going to beg for the laser t-rex game, though.
It sounds like Amazon Game Studios have a number of games in the pipeline. I wonder if they're going to aim for small games released quickly versus larger games released less often. I don't see people buying a console for 5 cool 15-minute games. Who knows what Amazon's strategy is. This whole thing is super weird.
Wednesday, Apr 2
Net Articles Summary
- Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review - MadShrimps
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan vs AMD Radeon R9 290X Comparison - ocaholic
- NZXT H440 Review - Tom's Hardware
- Thermaltake Tte eSports Saphira Review - ThinkComputers
- NZXT H440 Review - Modders-Inc
Indie developer Spiral House has just announced PlayStation Vita Pets, the most adorable game that will ever hit Sony's recent handheld console. The development team behind this Nintendogs inspired title is creating it with the idea of avoiding a typical pet simulator, while still allowing for the overflow of cuteness to come into play. PS Vita Pets will play almost as an action/adventure title, providing players with a full journey layered on top of the simply-presented duties of being a pet owner. Feed your pup, walk your pup, and teach your pup to become an epic adventurer.
Players will be given the option of four different breeds of puppies with distinct personalities, traits, and senses of humor. After meeting the pup, new pet owners will embark on a quest around Castlewood Island. Of course, players can still enjoy the everyday life with their dogs; bathing, brushing, and training are important for every growing puppy. They simply have the vast expanse of an entire island to do so. The tricks taught can be used in abandoned mines and graveyards to uncover the greatest secret on all of Castlewood Island, hidden away in the royal palace.
Wagging your tail in excitement yet? Interested players don't have to suffer through too long of a wait, as PlayStation Vita Pets will be released on the North American PlayStation Store in June 3rd. No set pricing has been provided at this time, but Vita owners can expect to work to the bone with the cutest virtual friend of all time in just over two months.
Click here to see more images
Hobbitses rejoice! No, it's not time for second breakfast. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor will be unleashing Talion's undead vengeance in a single-player only campaign on October 7, according to a new story trailer. On top of that, pre-ordering the game will unlock a cosmetic suit and exclusive game mode designed to help you gain an edge over Sauron's armies in the campaign.
Titled "Banished from Death," the story trailer gives us a glimpse into Talion's tale rather than just reading about it. Sauron's army took everything from the ranger, and thanks to a spirit of vengeance, you'll slowly work your way into Mordor to confront the Evil One. Players will also be learning about the Rings of Power along the way, a topic mentioned in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings several times. After all, it wouldn't be Middle Earth without at least One Ring.
Lore fanatics who don't find all the answers they seek in Shadow of Mordor can download the Palantir iOS app to provide a second screen experience full of additional content, both official and fan-generated. To get an idea of how the app will interact with the final game, download it and enable sync mode while watching the trailer below.
Story isn't all that's found its way into the trailer. Keen hobbitses will notice a brief mentioning of pre-order bonuses at the end. The Dark Ranger suit appears to be mostly cosmetic while the Test of Power challenge mode lets you earn Runes to get a head start on your quest. These may become DLC some time after the game's release, but there's currently no information on that.
Prepare yourself, Sauron, for Talion is coming. His quest for vengeance begins October 7 for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. In the meantime, enjoy the story trailer and second breakfast.
League of Legends' visual updates are glorious. It's only fitting that one of the League's most glorious champions is next in line. Twitch, the rat and not the livestream website, will soon be waking up with a nose job. Well, that and so much more. All of Twitch's skins are being updated with Riot's 2014 skin quality expectations. That includes all new voice-over, a new "rig" that includes legs (Twitch currently doesn't have legs), and delightful stink animations.
Perhaps most importantly, however, is Riot's dedication to retaining Twitch's personality and style through the changes. Dedicating a large portion of the announcement post to the subject, Riot wants all Twitch players to know that they're doing their best to make sure the character will be familiar after the rework:
"We loved Twitch’s character, and took active steps not just to preserve it in the rework, but give it avenues to really shine. Now, his models, animations and voice over reinforce the same slightly manic and silly-but-he’s-still-killing-me-ow-my-face persona. Check the video above to hear a couple of his lines."
As part of the update Riot is also making a few visual changes that will improve Twitch's gameplay. That is, they're adding or changing a few animations to better help with information conveyance. Here are those changes:
- "We added a sound effect and puff of poison particles to better indicate the moment when Ambush’s invisibility kicks in. This should better indicate to Twitch players when they’ve turned invisible, particularly when they’re being attacked."
- "We gave Expunge a range indicator, and added a particle linking Twitch with his Expunged victims. This should help players on the opposite team understand why their health just took a nosedive."
- "We added extra particles to Spray and Pray that show who else is being hit by Twitch’s ult. This should help both Twitch and his enemies see where his damage is going."
Plus, on top of all the updates Twitch is already getting, there's also a new bit of lore for the plague rat too. It... it paints an apt picture of Twitch, that's for sure. Check that out over at Riot's official site.
Twitch's visual rework with soon be added to the League of Legends PBE along with new splash art and the whole shebang. After Riot deems him bug tested and ready to go then we'll update everyone when he's pushed to the live servers.
Click here to see more images
The launch of Amazon's Fire TV console was certainly a big surprise, but I'm probably more surprised that the company's first exclusive game looks solid. Sev Zero, from Amazon Game Studios, is a third-person tower defense type game that looks like it takes heavy, heavy influence from Sanctum. Good news is Sanctum is an awesome series. Bad news is to play Sev Zero requires both the new $99 Amazon Fire TV console and a $40 controller too. Good news is the game comes with the controller!
Here's a brief introduction to the story in Sev Zero, which I seriously doubt plays a major role in the events of the game:
"Earth is threatened by an alien species, the Ne'ahtu. Early in the twenty second century, the Ne'ahtu infected Earth's energy grid with a computer virus that disabled the planet's defenses. Before the Ne'ahtu could strike, computer prodigy Amy Ramanujan neutralized the alien computer virus and saved the planet. Now, the Ne'ahtu are back and Dr. Ramanujan is trying to prevent another all-out invasion of Earth. Switching between towers (to launch missiles and mortars) and face-to-face combat (to attack with machine guns), the player's mission is to join Dr. Ramanujan and defend Earth from the Ne'ahtu."
I think I figured it out. Sev Zero looks a ton like Mass Effect 3's multiplayer and I loved Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. That close, over-the-shoulder camera with shotguns and lasers and giant alien monsters rushing towards you. Gah, that's actually a really solid idea, to mix Sanctum and Mass Effect 3's style. It almost looks like Shepard or Garrus is the one inside that space armor.
Unfortunately Sev Zero doesn't actually have multiplayer, err, kind of. It allows a friend to connect via mobile device and drop lasers down by tapping the mini-map. Considering the Amazon Fire TV supports like 7 controllers this seems like a big omissions. Both Sanctum and Mass Effect 3's multiplayer are terrible without friends.
Sev Zero is now available on the Amazon app store for $6.99, but anyone who purchases a controller (which the game requires) gets it for free. They could have priced it at $50 and it wouldn't matter. Perhaps the best reminder to close out on, however, is that this is a small Android game. This isn't a robust indie game like Sanctum. There's only 15 levels and the graphics should speak for themselves. A solid launch title for an Android console, but hardly a system seller from the looks of it.
Rubber-banding continues nearly six months and three multiplayer expansions on
If you ask me, Nintendo fanboys aren't the ones who should be getting all miffed over the series of (now-deleted) April Fools' tweets from the Frostbite engine crew over bringing Battlefield 4 to the "powerful Gen4" Wii U. Nope, the grievances ought to be coming from Battlefield 4 players who have to put up with the jokes over the game's "netcode" being fixed and optimized "for Zero Latency connections" (exclusively for Wii U!!!) in the process. That's because the reality is Battlefield 4's server performance is anything but fixed or optimized even after nearly six months.
In its defence, Battlefield and Frostbite developer DICE admits it remain "unhappy" over the game's online experience. Issues were so prevalent that even publisher EA saw fit to dial down on the release of future Battlefield 4 expansions until the game itself got more or less fixed (that didn't stop the Naval Strike DLC pack from being released after being pushed back for the same reason). The developer today pledges to make it a top priority to alleviate continued "rubber-banding" (lag and synchronization issues) during 64-player Conquest matches "on certain platforms." To this end, DICE will invest in hardware upgrades for the game's servers. It's a matter of when, and DICE promises to share more details when a solid timetable emerges.
Amazon's Android-based console wasn't launched in 2013 like rumors initially implied. Instead, it was launched today. The Amazon Fire TV is half Apple TV and half OUYA, mixing the media streaming-based capabilities of popular set-top boxes with the Android library of games available right now (currently partial). Here's the big deal though: it's Amazon. Their already huge cloud-based servers, already hard at work first-party game developers and already affordable hardware makes them an instant contender.
Let's go over each of those points one by one. Amazon's online infrastructure and partnerships is so large it's almost disgusting. Netflix, Youtube and Hulu Plus as well as any number of other applications currently available on the store like Twitch and Pandora are all there, right now. If the 8GB internal storage isn't enough, keep in mind that everything is connected to the user's Amazon account, so it's all accessible via Amazon's cloud.
Games? Bah, Android games, right? Sure, it's easy to discount the myriad of cruddy mobile games that even Amazon is touting like some great achievement. "The average price is $1.85," and it makes me want to never touch a single one of those games. Amazon's doing work though. They've got their own internal Amazon Game Studios working on a handful of titles, including their launch exclusive Sev Zero, a third-person tower defense game in the vein of Sanctum. Then they've got recent purchase Double Helix Games now making games for the platform. Oh, and did I mention Amazon just hired Kim Swift, designer of Portal, and Clint Hocking, designer of Far Cry 2? Amazon's taking gaming seriously. Or at least more seriously than any other cheap Android box.
Then there's the hardware. This box runs a quad-core Qualcomm Krait up to 1.7 Ghz, has 2GB of memory (the OUYA has 512MB), and it has its own GPU as well, a Qualcomm Adreno 320. That is to say, the Amazon Fire TV is the hot rod of Android gaming and set-top livestreaming. It puts the Apple TV, Roku and OUYA combined to shame. Add in some great additional functionality like voice-command searching and a first-party controller said to have 55-hours of battery life per two AA batteries and damn, yo. It supports 1080p and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. Optical audio out. Ethernet port and WiFi. How much that thing cost?
The Amazon Fire TV costs $99 out of the box. It comes with a remote and batteries, a power cord and an instruction manual. Notably absent is an HDMI cable. The controller costs an additional $40 and for a limited time comes with Sev Zero, the console's first exclusive, and $10 in Amazon Coins to spend on other apps. Oh, and it's available right now. It might just make Android-based consoles worth investing in.
Click here to see more images
From the Kickstarter success helmed by Far Cry 3 narrative director
Hinterland Studios has released the first in-game screenshots for The Last Dark, their upcoming post-apocalyptic survival sim. The images depict a number of environments and greater landscapes from the game, comprised primarily of the the North American wilderness. That is, after all, where protagonist William Mackenzie gets stranded: the cold yet beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Also of note in these screenshots is the unique art style The Last Dark is implementing. The game has an almost storybook quality to it, with an illustrative style rather than hyper-realism.
As the story goes, pilot William Mackenzie was making a delivery when his plane loses power and crashes into in the woods. What he doesn't realize is the world had apparently suffered a calamity -- an apocalypse, if you will. In its own way, The Long Dark is post-apocalyptic in theme, though the events occur immediately after the world "ends," rather than however many generations after, as we often expect from post-apocalyptic settings.
For The Long Dark backers, Hinterland recently launched a new community under Hinterland Forums, letting fans interact and discuss. Kickstarter is rather limited, in this respect. Helmed by former Far Cry 3 narrative director Raphael van Lierop, the game originally debuted last September on Kickstarter and managed to hit its $200K goal a week before its fundraising campaign ended.
In October, Hinterland announced Jennifer Hale and David Hayter would be lending their voices to the game. A morality system will also be implemented as a part of the gameplay.
Click here to see more images
Tuesday, Apr 1
Net Articles Summary
- Microcool Banchetto 101 Review - ocaholic
- Sapphire R7 240 Dual HDMI Low Profile Review - Bjorn3D
- ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC - Watercooling EK-FC GTX780 DCII vs. Aircooling - ocaholic
- Attitude One Almaz Review - eTeknix.com
- Crucial M550 Review - techPowerUp!
Today's probably been the best April Fools' Day I've covered yet, but there are only so many full April Fools' Day articles I can write before my brains start to leak out of my ear. That's not to say that there are a lot of bad jokes out there (there are), but also yes I am saying there are a lot of really bad jokes out there (there are). Instead of giving every remaining joke their own post, we'll just round them up here and let everyone sort through them at their own discretion.
I have to warn everyone, because there are a lot of jokes to get through. I'll try to sort through them by game title, but some may be noted by developer or publisher. Also, if there's a joke missing from the list then please feel free to comment and I'll 100% add them to the list. The only requirement is that they're made by a publisher or a developer, because they have a relevancy that other outlets don't really carry with their jokes.
- ARMA 3 - Teaser trailer parodying Jean Claude Van Dam's "Splits" commercial for ARMA III's first premium DLC, ARMA III KARTS: trailer.
- Blizzard Outcasts (Blizzard Europe) - If Blizzard made a fighting game starring franchise characters that don't deserve a roster spot, such as Deckard Cain, the Dirt Devil car, a Diablo III treasure Goblin, Kael'Thas Sunstrider, and a Battlecruiser: link, trailer.
- Call of Duty: Ghosts - What happens when Infinity Ward takes their Call of Duty: Ghosts playlist titles and puts hilarious and slightly obscene replacements there instead? Microsoft gets a ton of angry parent support calls: link.
- Destiny - For $7,000,000,000 Bungie will turn Destiny "Get Your Ass to Mars" Collector's Edition buyers into cyborgs and then ship them off to Mars. Or put them into cold storage for hundreds of years until it's cheap to send someone to Mars. What a deal: link.
- Diablo III - It's like Flappy Bird, only the player is Malphael the Angel of Death and each obstacle involves killing the heroes of Diablo III. Unfortunately, I guess the devs didn't finish in time so it's not playable: link.
- Dragon Age - Yuk, BioWare made a "Varric's Chest Hair and Necklace" piece of memorabilia available in their store (but not really): read more here.
- DudeBro II - VR mode announced: link.
- Fez II - Phil Fish canceled Fez II on Twitter, he can reannounce it on Twitter: link.
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn - Oh dear, Final Fantasy XIV's devs teased a new "Favour" system that allows players to... romance their favorite NPCs. Each NPC has their own prerequisites to be romanced, but as you grow on them events may begin to get complicated: link.
- GRID Railroad - "Authentic forward, stop and go train movements we’re taking things to the next level," enough said: link.
- Guild Wars II - ArenaNet made every Guild Wars 2 character, whether player character or NPC, have a giant, wobbling bobblehead (video linked from Youtuber Paper Plays):
- Heroes of the Storm - Baby Abathur was added as a hero after Abathur was said to be too hard to learn: read more here.
- Killzone - How about a Killzone movie? Sure, that's cool. How about a Killzone movie... directed by Time Burton? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes: link.
- League of Legends - "Ultra Rapid Fire" mode, also known as Urf mode is now playable: read more here.
- Mass Effect - BioWare launched a Garrus body pillow in their store: read more here.
- Mighty No. 9 - In what must be the most adorable April Fool's Day joke today, the devs from Concept dress up like Keiji Inafune testing out a demo of Mighty No. 9 and then show off new protagonists Apple No. 1, Apple No. 2, and Apple No. 3 (he's a cherry): trailer.
- Nuclear Throne - Vlambeer has decided to take their dungeon crawler Nuclear Throne in a new direction by making it first-person. No joke, it's playable as a first-person shooter if players have downloaded the early access version of it. Just don't expect it to last: link.
- Octodad: Dadliest Catch - All of the Octopi are in this multiplayer trailer for Octodad! More, more, more, more: trailer.
- Path of Exile - Research taught Grinding Gear Games that "Paying to Win" and "Nickle and Diming" leads to prophet. Confused with the language, as they're English, they since released fireworks that prompt the text "You win!" for the price of $.15: link, trailer.
- Pokemon - A very real Google Maps mini-game that lets players hunt for over 150 Pokemon from across the world
- Rappy Bird (Sega) - It's like Flappy Bird, only starring Rappy of Phantasy Star Online fame and filled with the tears of those waiting for Phantasy Star Online II to be localized. Yes, it's playable: link, game.
- Ricochet 2 (Valve): How dare you, Valve. How dare you:
- Roundabout - What happens when you move the camera in a top-down spinning limo puzzle game into the driver's seat: read more here.
- Skullgirls - Taking a dig at street fighter, Skullgirls added a cloned character to their game with identical visuals, but a whole new skillset: read more here.
- StarCraft II: Herald of the Stars - Blizzard is so comfortable with the HotS acronym from StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Heroes of Storm that they want go three for three. Introducing chapter three of StarCraft II, Herald of the Stars: link.
- Titanfall - Titanfall is all about robots, so why not offer DLC that lets players summon Transformers' Optimus Prime with a giant axe: trailer.
- Thief - It's less a joke or a game than a fun thing that Square Enix threw together just for the heck of it. It's a Thief/Final Fantasy mini-game, but unfortunately it's all in Japanese so I don't think any of us will truly grasp what's going on here: link.
- The Witcher 3 - What happens when a mocap actor is pushed too far? Behind the scenes look at the creation of The Witcher 3: trailer.
- Untamed Armaments (Zeboyd Games) - It's like Wild Arms, but not real. I am now sad: read more here.
- War Thunder - GaiJilla is on a rampage in-game, for realsies. This giant, lightning shooting snail ain't nothing to mess with: link, trailer.
- World of Tanks - How about a brand new "Labyrinth" game mode featuring a retro inspired map and a single tank type -- the Karl. This fast-paced game mode is available for all players to try, just don't expect a reward: link, trailer.
- World of Tanks - Have you ever tried to defend a tank from giant crawfish via a top-down in-browser game? Maybe now's the time to try: game.
- World of Warcraft - Blizzard decided to jokingly "redesign" their female Dranei. I suppose it's because folk in the community complain that the current model is basically has a model's figure with blue skin and horns. The redesign wouldn't look half bad if Blizzard hadn't gone out of their way to add less attractive features like crossed eyes and bowed legs to the model: link.
- World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor - Everyone loves fake beta patch notes: link.
Obviously there are many more video game April Fools' Day jokes that we're missing or haven't included. While some use the day simply to push marketing or some other agenda, it's great to see so many different developers and publishers embracing this community embracing event for what it is. It's a time for many of us to step back, look at the whole of it, and laugh. Video games are positively absurd. Isn't that great?
Drop a comment with any absent April Fools' Day jokes that should be included on this list. Until next year!
- PlayStation 4's 1.70 update adds SHAREfactory video editor, pre-launch game downloads 
- Codemasters teasing GRID 2 follow-up with cockpit view, reveal expected April 22 
- League of Legends: Trials of the Poro animated short is ADORABLE, could be teasing new champ 
- March NPD Number Crunch: PS4 maintains hardware lead for third consecutive month 
- Halo and Destiny composer Martin O'Donnell fired "without cause" by Bungie 
- Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS knows who that Pokemon is, it's Charizard and Greninja 
- Batman: Arkham Knight screenshots get up close with Oracle and rogues, including creepy Riddler 
- Lost Dimension PS Vita/PS3 RPG announced from Lancarse, Etrian Odyssey veterans 
- Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct Live Blog: Bring on that release date! 
- Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS knows who that Pokemon is, it's Charizard and Greninja 
- Super Smash Bros. focused Nintendo Direct airs April 8, dare we hope for a release date? 
- April Fool's: Google Maps now tracking Pokemon, creates challenge to find true Pokemon Master 
- Yoshi stands triumphant at last for Super Smash Bros 3DS & Wii U 
- Xbox One 'Reputation' update coming, red 'Avoid Me' reputation leads to penalties