Monday, Aug 25
A piece of breaking news popped up in the Diablo III client this morning confirming that Patch 2.1.0 will be arriving sooner than thought. Starting August 26 at 3:00 AM PDT the game servers will be taken down to prepare for the pending patch. The servers will then come back up at 1:00 PM PDT patched and ready to go. Greater Rifts, The Vault, The Cesspools, Leaderboards and ... oh goodness, yes... Seasons are almost here.
Since they're by far the most exciting part of patch 2.1.0 let's start off by saying that a Season will not be starting the day of the patch. Odds are Blizzard doesn't want the added stress of ensuring the Season is running smoothly on top of making sure the rest of the patch's content isn't catching on fire. However, a Diablo community representative confirmed that the season will likely be starting "a few days after." Explore the new patch and then get Diablo III's first Season started the right way.
The text of the breaking news, from Diablo III's client, reads as follows:
"Breaking News -- We will be performing scheduled maintenance beginning on Tuesday, August 26, at 3:00 a.m. PDT to apply patch 2.1.0 and we expect the service to be available again at approximately 1:00 p.m. PDT. During this time the game will be unavailable to play."
Diablo III and its expansion Reaper of Souls are both currently available on PC and Mac. This patch is a PC/Mac-only update, so console folk will have wait until a later date to find out when they'll be receiving patch 2.1.0. Blizzard hopes that patches between the PC and the console Ultimate Evil editions will eventually be mirrored, but for now PS4 and Xbox One Diablo III players will have to wait a bit longer.
New Master Tier and Challenger rules to be in effect prior to end of season
With the League of Legends North American LCS for Season 4 currently underway, Riot Games took the time to reveal what rewards its community can look forward to later this year. The "End of Season" rewards, prizes given out based on ranked ladder placement, will mirror those of years prior. Summoner Icons, Banner Trims as well as the Victorious skin for a pre-selected champion will all be available for those who climb into the top ranks of League of Legends.
First and foremost, Riot wanted to clarify that the all new Master Tier and Challenger changes will be well in place by the time the season is planned to end this November. Master Tier will simply be another level on top of Diamond 1, while Challenger will become the top 200 players of the Master tier -- updated on a 24-hour clock and without immunity. Challenger teams will acquire unique Summoner Icons based on their positioning (top 10, 50 or 200 in solo queue, or top 3, 15 and 50 in team queue) as well as the standard rewards for Gold+ rankings.
What might those more standard tier rewards be? Let's dive right in:
Bronze or Above (everbody who is placed in ranked queues, hooray)
- Summoner Icon styled after one's league placement
Silver or Above
- Banner Trim styled after one's league placement
- Loading Screen Border styled after one's league placement
Gold or Above
- Season Icon appears in Game Invite and Friend Request notifications
- Victorious Champion skin
As in previous years, Riot didn't outright name the Victorious skin that would be given to all Gold or higher players. They might as well have, however, as a teaser splash-art all but gives it entirely away -- again, much like previous years. Introducing Victorious Morgana. Note that everyone who gets Gold or higher who will also unlock Morgana if they don't already have her.
Season 4 of League of Legends will officially end in November, with a specific date to be unveiled in October. Group stages for the 2014 World Championship in League of Legends will begin September 18 and the finals will conclude October 19. Two and a half to three months left to get that rank, everybody. In the mean time, why not take advantage of the upcoming Sugar Rush event? Good luck!
... but independence is a funny word these days, isn't it?
Despite lingering rumors revolving around Google's on-again, off-again acquisition of livestreaming service Twitch, a new contender has entered the ring and taken the prize. Amazon announced their acquisition of Twitch today for the healthy sum of $970 million cash, adjusted for options and other items. Twitch has since confirmed that the deal has been agreed upon. Deals of this magnitude don't happen overnight, however, though the acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2014.
Almost immediately after word of the acquisition began to spread, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear released a letter in which he confirmed that his company would retain their independence. The letter, which was largely directed towards community members as an expression of thanks, also went out of its way to say that Twitch would largely remain unchanged. Amazon would simply allow them to reach their "long-term vision" faster:
"Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon. We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch."
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, meanwhile, seemed more focused on lifting Twitch's acquisition over his head like a trophy. Little indication was given as to why Amazon invested so heavily into the livestreaming service, beyond the acknowledgment that has and will continue to grow at an insane rate:
"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."
In July alone Twitch measured over 55 million unique views across 15 billion minutes of content, delivered by more than a million broadcasters. The acquisition is unsurprising, given the site's growing popularity and the hunger of large conglomerates like Amazon and Google gaming and video-related tech. It's almost impossible to imagine that Amazon won't profit on the acquisition monetarily over time.
The question that resounds in the gaming community is whether this purchase will prove better or worse for them. Will anti-streamer decisions like the now-revoked removal of 480p, or the mandatory stream lag that still plagues their service propagate? Will the service retain its gaming-focused identity, its community-focused identity, or will... no.
Let's not speculate at all. What this acquisition means to Twitch as a service and its community members is yet to be defined. What comes next is entirely up to Amazon and Twitch, but the ever-growing community for the streaming service will certainly make their voices heard as well. A lot of very cool things can be done with $970 million. Make it happen, Twitch.
Far Cry 4 antagonist Yuma revealed with close-up art, described as main villain Pagan Min's right hand
A new face joins the Far Cry 4 today, as Ubisoft officially unveils Yuma, a deadly lady with a mind for tactics. She's described as "general of the Royal Army" and Pagan Min's trusted right hand. For those who haven't kept up, Pagan is the main baddie of Far Cry 4.
Her image was released in concept art form via the official Far Cry Twitter, and the woman has both a dangerous stare and crazy dye job. We don't know much about her as a character beyond her role in Pagan's army, however, so stay tuned for all that.
I do wonder if everyone who works for the guy is required to sport an outrageous hairdo.
Meet Yuma: Deadly tactician, general of the Royal Army, and Pagan Min’s right-hand woman. pic.twitter.com/yBwGkelzZp— FarCryGame (@FarCrygame) August 22, 2014
Let's hope she proves more interesting than the ladies of Far Cry 3, and doesn't wind up in some weird plot involving ritualistic sex I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around.
Pagan already proved himself an interesting character when he was showcased in the Far Cry 4 reveal cinematic, during which the guy brutally stabbed to death one of his own men and then proceeded to laugh it off with the protagonist. You know, before he took a selfie with the terrified hero. In a way, the trailer was really all about him, and Troy Baker blew us away once again with his vocal talents.
Far Cry 4 will be released November 18 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC.
Sugar Rush is upon League of Legends, Summoners, so hide your wallets. 47 Legacy skins will be returning starting August 26 for a limited time, all marked down by 50% for one day each.
Should you choose not to spend any RP on the skins, a number of bundles and the Candy-coated Cupcake Icon will also be available during the Sugar Rush event. Heck, you'll even be rewarded for spending money; the Hextech Hard Candy Icon can be earned by gifting a friend during Sugar Rush. Mystery gifts will have double the normal chances of unlocking a legendary status skin, as well.
August 30 will also mark the start of a Douple IP weekend, which will run until September 1, 11:59 PM Pacific. Let's not forget the RP boost during Sugar Rush:
- $5.00 – 650 RP
- $10.00 – 1460 RP (1300 + 80 standard bonus RP + 80 extra bonus RP)
- $20.00 – 3000 RP (2600 + 200 standard bonus RP + 200 extra bonus RP)
- $35.00 – 5450 RP (4550 + 450 standard bonus RP + 450 extra bonus RP)
- $50.00 – 7900 RP (6500 + 700 standard bonus RP + 700 extra bonus RP)
- $100.00 – 17000 RP (13000 + 2000 standard bonus RP + 2000 extra bonus RP)
Overall, lots of reasons to play. Check out the full roster of Legacy skins to be released during Sugar Rush week:
|Time Machine Zilean||520||8/27/2014|
|Red Baron Corki||1820||8/28/2014|
|Swamp Master Kennen||520||8/28/2014|
|Dragon Knight Mordekaiser||520||8/29/2014|
|Red Riding Annie||520||8/29/2014|
|Alien Invader Heimerdinger||1820||8/30/2014|
|Toxic Dr. Mundo||520||8/30/2014|
|The Magnificent Twisted Fate||1820||8/31/2014|
|Annie in Wonderland||1820||9/1/2014|
|Desert Trooper Garen||520||9/1/2014|
|Yellow Jacket Shen||520||9/1/2014|
Prepare for spoilers, if there is indeed any kernel of truth to the unknown
The official launch of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is a little over a month away, and some very daring mystery men have been upping the intensity of their Fiend's Scale with appear to be leaks from the upcoming handheld version of the game, including a shot of the full roster. They're even bringing out the shakycam video showcasing as-of-yet-unannounced characters like Bowser Jr. and Ganondorf.
More leaked images also suggest the return of old hands like Wario (as rumored earlier), as well as more newcomers like the freakin' Dog from Duck Hunt and Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles. Seriously, Shulk has been a rumored character since forever.
These purported leaks certainly count as spoilers, and Nintendo usually doesn't take very kindly to them as demonstrated by their friendly visit to an Instagram leaker during the Pokemon X and Y launch. For the time being however, Nintendo will only say that it has nothing else to announce at this time, oh and plesae visit the Smash Bros. site for the currently known roster of characters.
Update: Leaked videos have since been removed from YouTube.
Today, SEGA reveals Yakuza Zero, the next Yakuza title to join the long-running franchise. Go figure, that's about all we know about it right now, however, beyond which PlayStation platforms Zero will be available on.
The announcement comes right on schedule, at least, following a teaser that was posted right before gamescom this month and promised some sort of Yakuza reveal on August 24. Earlier, the official teaser site was updated to include the title, among other things.
So now we know a Yakuza Zero is on the way for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. I'd guess the release window falls somewhere in 2015, but SEGA has yet to confirm even that. Also left to question is whether Zero will be making it westward, when Yakuza 5 and Yakuza Restoration remained in Japan.
Expect to hear more next month, when more details will be revealed during the Tokyo Game Show.
Friday, Aug 22
Net Articles Summary
It's time to draw some Pikachus. All of the Pikachus. Pokemon Art Academy now has an official release date, so everyone better start clearing their late October schedules. Pick up the 3DS-exclusive drawing and painting training game starting October 24. Pokemon Art Academy will offer a variety of tutorials and guides to drawing a large variety of Pokemon, as well as provide digital tools to create a wide variety of art. Plus, artists can share their pictures on the Miiverse!
Okay, so sharing on the Miiverse isn't exactly every artists aspiration, especially considering the majority of the images there are of Luigi stamps placed into awkward and often terrifying positions. Luckily Nintendo realizes that not everyone wants their art limited to such a service and so has opened up sharing to the 3DS' SD card as well. Gamers can then take those SD cards wherever they please and post their art anywhere they like.
Whether someone is a professional artist or just sketching stick figures in the corners of the notebooks, a game like Pokemon Art Academy unites us all. There's a glorious community for sharing Pokemon fan art, because Pokemon is for everyone. Sharing that enjoyment with others is a part of enjoying the game. Just look at our wonderful Pokemon community as evidence.
Pokemon Art Academy will be available starting October 24. Just... try not to draw just Pikachus, okay?
Skylanders Sidekicks have, up to this point, been a fun promotional boon for fans who pick up figures or bundles at certain retailers. Sidekicks are smaller figures, shrunken versions of their larger and more threatening forms. A good descriptor would be chibi-esque, a Japanese term for cute versions of characters with exaggerated features. However, up to this point sidekicks have not been playable. They fit alongside a main Skylander on a portal, but otherwise in-game just follow the player around and look adorable.
With Skylanders Trap Force, the next iteration of the fun third person action game tied with unending figure collecting, Sidekicks will be evolving. Introducing Skylanders Minis, small, adorable figures much like Sidekicks, but fully playable in-game with all of the abilities and upgrades of a standard Skylander. Skylanders Trap Team will feature 16 of these Minis, each of them a version of a classic Skylander from an earlier game in the series.
The plan, I suppose, is that Activision was already creating these mini-sized Skylanders for promotional events. Why not take the time and make them into something legitimately exciting for fans and equally collectible with other figurines.The other side of the equation being Toys for Bob's want to make new Skylanders, or explore exciting poses for characters that haven't been in the spotlight yet. Minis will allow them to revisit those classic characters at the same time, but in a new way.
Let's get to the exciting stuff, like which characters will be receiving Mini versions of themselves with the release of Trap Team:
- Tree Rex as Barkley
- Bash as Bop
- Whirlwind as Breeze
- Drobot as Drobit
- Eye Brawl as Eye Small
- Gill Grunt as Gill Runt
- Hex as Hijinx
- Ninjini as Mini Jini
- Jet Vac as Pet Vac
- Fryno as Small Fry
- Spyro as Spry
- Terrafin as Terrabit
- Thumpback as Thumpling
- Trigger Happy as Trigger Snappy
- Erupter as Weeruptor
- Whisper Elf as herself
Yes, each Mini has its own adorable name to go along with its adorable miniature figure. Ah, looks like more money for Activision from me this holiday season.
Skylanders Trap Team will be coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS and for the first time iOS, Android and Kindle Fire tablets starting October 5 in North America, October 10 in Europe and October 2 in Australia.
Click here to see more images
Edwin 503 Double Knee Shoe Cut jeans confirmed for Smash
Nintendo released a list of music composers who will be contributing tracks to the upcoming 3DS version of Super Smash Bros., and it looks like producer Masahiro Sakurai is keeping some fine company. In addition to Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka of Metroid and Earthbound fame lending tunes, the 3DS list includes many other esteemed names from across the Japanese industry, not least of these being Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono series, Xenogears) and Yoko Shimomura (Super Mario RPG, Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi series, Final Fantasy XV).
The list arrives just after word from Sakurai himself that tracks from the 3DS version's Sound collection (sound test) will run even when the handheld itself is in Sleep mode (i.e. clamshell closed), while the L/R shoulder buttons can be used to navigate tracks. We'll have to wait until this October 3rd to hear these tracks for ourselves, and how the following artists got to bring what classic tunes to life in their own way.
|ACE (TOMOri Kudo / CHiCO)|| Xenoblade Chronicles |
Music for "ONE PIECE exhibition" under the editorship of Eiichiro Oda
|Masato Coda (designwave Co., Ltd.)|| Monster Hunter series |
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
|Masashi Hamauzu|| Final Fantasy XIII |
Saga Frontier II
|Kenji Ito|| Romancing SaGa series |
Puzzle & Dragons
|Noriyuki Iwadare|| Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies |
|Shota Kageyama|| Pokémon X and Pokémon Y |
Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version
|Yuzo Koshiro (Ancient-corp.)|| Etrian Odyssey |
Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune
|Yasunori Mitsuda (PROCYON STUDIO)|| CHRONO TRIGGER |
|Michiko Naruke (Naru2 Co., Ltd.)|| Wild Arms |
Nora to Toki no Kōbō: Kiri no Mori no Majo
|Keiichi Okabe (MONACA)|| NieR Replicant / Gestalt |
|Hideki Sakamoto (noisycroak Co., Ltd.)|| Toukiden |
|Tetsuya Shibata (Unique Note Co., Ltd.)|| Devil May Cry 2, 3, 4 |
|Yoko Shimomura|| Kingdom Hearts series |
Mario & Luigi RPG series
|Masafumi Takada (Sound Prestige LLC)|| Danganronpa series |
Earth Defense Force series
|Yusuke Takahama (TARGET ENTERTAINMENT INC.)|| Digital Pinball: Last Gladiators |
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
|Hirokazu Tanaka|| Metroid |
|Kumi Tanioka|| FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES series |
Ragnarok Odyssey series
|Nobuko Toda (FILM SCORE LLC)|| Metal Gear Solid 4 |
TIME SCOOP HUNTER
|Shohei Tsuchiya (TAITO / ZUNTATA)|| DARIUSBURST series |
GROOVE COASTER series
|Atsuko Asahi (Nintendo)|| Mario Kart 8 |
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
|Daisuke Matsuoka (Nintendo)|| StreetPass: Find Mii series |
|Toru Minegishi (Nintendo)|| The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks |
|Ryo Nagamatsu (Nintendo)|| Nintendo Land |
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
|Mahito Yokota (Nintendo)|| Super Mario Galaxy 1&2 |
Super Mario 3D World
|Keiki Kobayashi (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| ACE COMBAT series |
THE IDOLM@STER series
|Rio Hamamoto (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| TEKKEN series |
THE IDOLM@STER JUPITER
|Hiroki Hashimoto (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| TANK! TANK! TANK! |
PAC-MAN & Galaga DIMENSIONS
|Yoshinori Hirai (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Taiko: Drum Master series |
|Taku Inoue (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| TEKKEN series |
THE IDOLM@STER series
|Jesahm (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Donkey Konga series |
THE IDOLM@STER series
|Saki Kasuga (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Fire Emblem series |
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
|Hiroyuki Kawada (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Walküre series |
|LindaAI-CUE (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Taiko: Drum Master series |
|Yuji Masubuchi (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Taiko: Drum Master series |
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
|Junichi Nakatsuru (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| SOULCALIBUR series |
ACE COMBAT series
|Katsuro Tajima (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| SPLATTERHOUSE |
|Torine (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Taiko:Drum Master series |
|Ryo Watanabe (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| RIDGE RACER series |
THE IDOLM@STER series
|Yoshihito Yano (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.)|| Katamari Damacy series |
- Assassin's Creed movie gets pushed back to 2016, misses Summer 2015 release 
- Neoseeker is giving away Guild Wars 2 Living Story t-shirts! 
- Toxikk gameplay debut trailer promises authentic arena shooting without the fluff 
- Final Fantasy XV Tokyo Games Show trailer is searching for 2016 in the back of a convertible 
- Wasteland 2 launches, inXile's release trailer capitalizes on 25 years of waiting 
- Killer Instinct Season 2 trailer showcases Maya, a returning fighter with a massive makeover 
- Sakurai cites 3DS' limited hardware for Ice Climbers absence in Super Smash Bros. 
- Dark Souls II TGS assets for Crown of the Ivory King tease an icy nightmare