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Thursday, Sep 25

League of Legends Sion rework, the Undead Juggernaut is bigger, faster and scarier than before

9 comments Rory Young - 5:44pm (PST) Like Share

Aw, look, I think he's smiling

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Sion, ironically, has been taken back to the choppa. The undead, axe-wielding, walking slaughterhouse had Riot take him into the back and rebuild him... stronger, faster, better than ever before. League of Legends will never be the same as Sion, the Undead Juggernaut has been reworked, unveiled and is now live on the Public Beta Environment. Expect him to hit the live servers in the next few weeks.

Old Sion players will immediately recognize a majority of Sion's kit, though every single bit of it has been retooled to an extent. His shield returns, scaling off of ability power still. Replacing his targeted stun, however, is a "Roar" that slows and an axe smash which knocks up. It was the direct CC that Riot was apparently unhappy about, as now all of Sion's CC is connected to skill shots. Finally, his stacking health off of last hits is also back, though now it's a passive on his shield skill rather than a skill of its own. His new kit, his passive and his ultimate, should make many players very excited... or terrified.

Here's Sion's full new skill kit. Should anyone want to see his various skills in motion, Riot has made several short videos available on the Sion rework preview page:

  • Passive: Glory in Death - Sion turns berserk once he loses all his health, gaining a full life bar along with significant attack damage, attack speed and lifesteal as he bleeds out. His abilities are all replaced by Death Surge, which gives him a huge but brief movement speed boost. Sion dies once his health drains out.
  • Q: Decimating SmashSion plants his feet, rooting himself as he winds up and swings his axe in a broad area before him. Decimating Smash deals increasing damage the longer it’s charged, and once it’s at least half-charged, knocks up all caught enemies when unleashed.
  • W: Soul Furnace
    • Passive: Sion earns bonus max health every time he kills a unit.
    • Active: Sion creates a bloody shield around him. If the shield stays intact for its duration, it explodes, dealing magic damage to all nearby enemies. Sion can also detonate the shield early by reactivating the ability.
  • E: Roar of the SlayerSion bellows in a target direction, damaging, slowing and shredding the armor of the first enemy struck. If Roar of the Slayer hits an enemy minion or jungle monster, Sion’s scream also knocks them back a significant distance. The thrown minion or monster then damages and slows all other enemy units hit.
  • R: Unstoppable Onslaught Sion starts charging in a target direction, building up speed as he moves and trampling enemy minions along his path. He can cancel his charge early, at which point he slams the ground, dealing area of effect damage to all nearby enemies. Otherwise, Sion charges an extremely long distance, only stopping once he hits an enemy champion, wall, or reaches the end of his charge. If Sion charges into an enemy champion, he knocks them up and deals area of effect damage; if he hits a wall, Sion stuns himself briefly and deals area of effect damage around him.

I think his kit can be summed up in one simple statement: Get out of Sion's way.

Sion's lore rewrite is also particularly interesting, because Riot mixes in a few new details but largely retains all of the classic Sion story as well as several previously established world building lore. For instance, Leblanc's ties to Noxus, Swain's rise to power, and Sion's fall fighting an invading Demacian army have been carried over. Now, however, it's known that Sion was once brought to life as a mindless abomination and then put back to sleep. His current resurrection gives him back his intelligence due in part to an infusion of Jarvan IV's blood. That could definitely lead to something interesting.

As for Sion's gameplay, Riot believes he can be played as either a top laner or a jungle, though top lane seems to be his core focus. After all, he's clearly designed to charge head first into battle, which wouldn't be very rewarding if he can't tank a bit of damage. Well, maybe a support Sion would still be fun. 

Sion is currently on the League of Legends Public Beta Environment server for testing. Expect him to be fully released over the next few weeks, as soon as Riot puts together their next significant patch.

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Categories: PC Games

Conquest awaits in The Creative Assembly's next title, Total War: Attila

2 comments Rory Young - 4:00pm (PST) Like Share

Imagine the places The Creative Assembly will take us with Attila

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Despite the term "total war" referring to more modern events, Attila and the  Hunnic empire embody much of the term's principles. As he conquered a vast span of territory, he took in as much as could be useful and laid waste to to the rest. That may be why The Creative Assembly announced today that their next game, an apt follow-up to Total War: Rome II, will be Total War: Attila.

While new features were promised on Total War: Attila, few specific details were mention. "Improvements" and "additions" to the core turn-based and real-time systems isn't anything more than buzz, in my opinion. Still, I'm sure Total War fans await the reveal of these changes with bated breath.

Janos Gaspar, project lead of Total War: Attila, offered the following prepared statement to introduce his game:

"With Total War: Attila we will create a Total War game that will challenge and enthrall fans of the series. We’re reintroducing some features that fans have been asking for, such as family trees and skill trees, and improving many of the core aspects of Total War we know are important to them. But to really bring the period to life, we’re building on these foundations with many new strategic features for them to consider, such as advanced street-fighting, civilians, complete settlement destruction and dynamic fire that can rage across a city as armies clash. We want to push players to the limits of their skill to survive against the odds, and to love every minute of it."

It's rather fitting The Creative Assembly's era of Rome, which started all the way back in 2004 and was continued just last year with Total War: Rome II (don't worry, post-launch content is still being worked on). As Rome's era dwindles, so does the threat of Attila grow. This is the perfect opportunity for The Creative Assembly to surprise us.

Total War: Attila is planned to be released on PC and Mac in 2015.

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Categories: PC Games

Games With Gold debuts Chariot on Xbox One, Bad Company 2 and Darksiders II to Xbox 360 in October

4 comments Rory Young - 2:55pm (PST) Like Share

Where are this chariot's horses? Why are you looking at me?

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Another month goes by, another Games With Gold approaches for both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Xbox 360 gamers will be pleased to find two relatively large, if a tad dated, action-packed games coming to their console in October. Xbox One Games With Gold members, however, may be mixed. The bad news is that only one new title will be introduced to the Xbox One via Games With Gold, again. The good news is that it will be an indie debut on the console. 

Chariot, the utterly charming indie title where a king's daughter and her fiance transport their father's coffin to a location of their father's (ghost's) choosing, is the Xbox One Games With Gold title of the month. It will be replacing Super Time Force, which was added in September. While it's not the highest profile title, it does look like a lot of fun and it's a great way to support the ID@Xbox program. Oh, and it has co-op too, which I'm starting to think is requisite from Games With Gold titles.

Xbox 360's Games With Gold titles should appeal to quite a few more gamers, though I'd hope everyone's played at least one of these games by now. Darksiders II, from the now dead and buried Vigil Games, will be the first Games With Gold release of October. Think Zelda mixed with the apocalypse, only now with fancy Borderlands loot drops. Game number two is Battlefield: Bad Company 2. These days, among the Battlefield faithful, Bad Company 2 is referred to as perhaps the most recent outstanding Battlefield shooter (without excessive problems, at least).

There's Microsoft trio of October games that come free with Games With Gold. Considering everyone with an Xbox probably has Xbox Live Gold out of necessity these days, since most of their big exclusives are multiplayer-focused, then the more fun for everyone! 

Thanks for the tip, Fortitudo!


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt trailer goes in-depth with exploration and the world, as Geralt learns to swim

1 comments Lydia Sung - 12:54pm (PST) Like (1) Share

The world is your oyster, so go explore it

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a game that encourages players to explore the farthest reaches of the world, namely by making it as open as possible. In a new trailer for the RPG, CD Projekt devs proudly discuss the many ways in which you can immerse yourself in the world they've so lovingly crafted, by it by land or sea. Did I mention Geralt is an excellent swimmer now?

The Witcher 3 will be the biggest Witcher to date, even just in terms of content and the size of the open world. Loading screens will be kept to a minimum as well, allowing for a much smoother transition from one region to another. Hey, why can't a man just walk indoors and out freely and without having to wait? Little things like that can go a long way toward bringing the virtual to life.

To get around, Geralt can walk, ride a horse, take a boat or swim. The where and when are very important, too, dictating your encounters accordingly. Some creatures won't be seen until after sunset, and the weather might draw out different beasts as well. Better get busy, Witcher.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be out for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next year, on February 24.


Destiny changes incoming, Bungie discusses fixing Cryptarch decoding and other massive updates

15 comments Lydia Sung - 12:30pm (PST) Like (1) Share (1)

Oh, and just forget about cave farming

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Destiny has been out for a couple weeks now, and Bungie have finally revealed their plans for some major changes that will encompass everything from the Cryptarch's rage-inducing decryption system to the never-ending struggle that is class balance.

A (fairly) long blog post on today essentially lists the plethora of issues -- big and small -- slated to be addressed soon. Here are the key points: loot, social, activities, and balance.


  • He Who Shall Not Be Named - Given that much of the late-game content revolves around acquiring better gear to increase Light and overall effectiveness in combat, loot is extremely important and the source of much player frustration. The devs know they have a major problem here with how much rage the Cryptarch and his frankly crappy random descryption process has inspired. Changes are coming.
  • Destiny: The Cave - So cave farming caught on really fast, and while the "social experience" of farming caves can be pretty fun, "shooting at a black hole for hours on end" just isn't the way Bungie envisioned their beautiful shooter. As such, we can expect a "decrease the efficiency of cave farming and correspondingly increase engram drops from completing activities." Sounds good to me.
  • Reward Celebration - Earning rewards should feel pretty amazing, and the developers want to better convey this. Some key issues they've noticed so far are below, but these aren't the only ones slated for change.
  • The Vault of Glass contains highly coveted loot but the actual moment of reward happens without fanfare and can be easily missed.
  • The lowest level of the Daily Heroic gives great XP and Reputation rewards, but neither of these progressions appears on the postgame screen.


  • Voice Communication - Voice chat is a nice convenience to have, no matter which game mode you prefer, but this also gives toxic players a means of abusing their fellow Guardians. Even with Halo, Bungie felt they "have not done enough to protect players from abusive griefing from a minority of players." For the time being, an opt-in option for voice communication will be added later this year in Strikes and the Crucible.


  • Strikes - Strikes are meant to be tough, but not grindy. Right now, they are often both, which isn't what the devs want. As they are now, Strikes feel more challenging because boss damage output grossly outweighs the damage players are doing. "Expect to see this addressed soon, and for Strikes to become a little less grindy as a result." Incoming damage in the Vault of Glass is working fine, however.


  • Exotic Weapons - Not all Exotic weapons feel like they should. These are a tier above Legendary, and yet, some just fall short of expectation. "Exotic Weapons are designed to look, feel and sound overpowered, but to not actually break the game," and effectively challenge players to work their tactics and loadouts around these quirky yet amazing weapons. Unfortunately, not all of these gold-named, hard-to-attain weapons live up to expectation. Expect this to change, so don't shard those guns!
  • Auto Rifles - Ever have trouble hitting the broad side of a barn? Auto rifles are the guns for you. Right now, however, they seem too effective at close range. As such, "stability and/or damage adjustments" will be doled out in the coming weeks.
  • Scout Rifles - Scout rifles are awkward at close range, but they're incredibly at medium to long range. Overall, though, they feel too weak right now compared to other precision weapons. This will be fixed "soon."
  • Shotguns - Shotguns are too effective "beyond their intended range," plain and simple, especially after they've been upgraded a few times. Thankfully, the devs will be looking into adjusting shotties to better encapsulate the whole "close quarters" aspect. Praise Bungie!

You can read the full blog post from Bungie, too. Currently, Destiny is welcoming the Queen of the Reef and her emissary to the Tower, and Guardians have a number of new activities to tackle in order to win her favor and buy some very vibrant-looking gear.


QuakeCon 2015 dates already officialized, celebrate event's 20th anniversary next year in July

1 comments Lydia Sung - 11:33am (PST) Like Share

Computer not required, but recommended

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QuakeCon will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year in Dallas, Texas, and we already know when. Dates for QuakeCon 2015 were announced this morning, dropping the continent's biggest BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Computer) LAN party right at the end of July.

The gathering will be taking place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, where they have a special rate if you reference QuakeCon 2015. As always, admission to the event itself is free, hosted by Bethesda and id Software, though special packages will likely be offered once we get closer to the date.

Aside from the mention of QuakeCon reaching its 20-year landmark, we don't know at this point what -- if any -- special plans are in the works to celebrate the anniversary. Bethesda only noted, in their announcement:

In its landmark year, QuakeCon 2015 continues its non-stop celebration of games and the people who play them with North America’s largest BYOC (Bring-Your-Own-Computer) LAN party.

As always, QuakeCon offers lots of excitement for those who don’t bring their own computer. QuakeCon has long been recognized for its panels and presentations given by top industry luminaries and exhibits showcasing previews of Bethesda’s highly anticipated unreleased games. Additionally, the world’s leading technology companies will be on site to demonstrate their latest hardware and accessories. Each day of QuakeCon is packed with tournaments, game presentations, contests, entertainment, announcements, panel discussions, parties and more!

So expect more of the same, plus whatever crazy new reveals 2015 will bring.

Categories: PC Games

Guild Wars 2 free trial kicks off and will run until October 1, while world tournament set for December

0 comments Lydia Sung - 6:21am (PST) Like Share

Hopefully with fewer gold spammers this time

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Curious about Guild Wars 2? Well, as of right now and through October 1, ArenaNet's subscription-free MMO is completely free to play in another trial event. To further entice new players, the game is also 50 percent off until October 5, a few days after the trial period ends.

For the existing player base worried about more gold spammers, bear in mind these trial accounts do have heavy restrictions. For instance, trial players will only be allowed to mail and whisper people on their friends list, and can't access map chat at all. The Gem Store (cash shop) and currency exchange feature are also off limits.

ArenaNet have also been gearing up with various partners to kick off the Guild Wars 2 inaugural World Tournament Series Championships, set to take place in Beijing this December. Talk about cold winters.

Either way, the WTS Championships event is set for December 4 through December 5, when players will go head to head in a test of skill and teamwork for a $50,000 prize pool. Two other global events will move on to North America and Europe.

Until then, bear in mind the free trial week only goes until 11:59 PM (Pacific) on October 1. You can grab the game on sale from the official Guild Wars 2 site.

Categories: PC Games

Wednesday, Sep 24

Dota 2 'Rekindling Soul' update finds Shadow Fiend reborn, Roshan's pit moved, 6.82 balance changes

1 comments Rory Young - 9:25pm (PST) Like Share

Hopefully hitting live servers in the next week

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Another Dota 2 patch is coming to Valve's MOBA. Today the team revealed the "Rekindling Soul" update which ties into the 6.82 balance changes. The focus of the update will, as the name suggests, be on the completely new look of Shadow Fiend. He'll be sporting an all new model, all new animations, and will also have a fancy, firey Arcana available for purchase. However, if you think that's all that Rekindling Soul has to offer then you're dead wrong.

In addition to the Shadow Fiend update, several large gameplay changes will be going into effect. Two specific changes will alter the way every single match  of Dota 2 is played, those being the location of Roshan's pit being moved as well as the introduction of the "Bounty Rune" designed to even out the advantage a team gets when picking up a rune in the river. Both Bloodseeker and Phantom Lancer have been reworked to, well, make them playable, and the Crimson Guard armor has been added to the shop. These are just the update highlights, too!

Let's get to the patch notes themselves. Here are some highlighted notes and changes, but for the full list make sure to head over to the official Dota 2 Rekindling Soul update page:

  • Fountain area is now at a higher elevation level
  • Reworked terrain surrounding the Roshan area

  • Two runes now spawn in the river every two minutes. One of them will always be a Bounty Rune (Bounty Rune grants 50XP +5/min and 50g +2/min)
  • Glyph of Fortification cooldown is now refreshed whenever you lose a Tier 1 tower
  • Aegis duration decreased from 6 minutes to 5
  • Bloodseeker:
    • Reworked Bloodrage: A hero affected by the Bloodrage buff who kills a unit will be healed for 25% of the dying unit's max HP, however heroes affected by Bloodrage when killed will heal 25% of their max health to their killer 
    • Blood Bath replaced with active ability Blood Rite: Targets an area. An effect that is visible to enemies appears on the ground. After 3 seconds, enemies in the area are damaged and silenced. 
  • Earth Spirit:
    • Added Aghanim's Scepter: Grants Earth Spirit a new ability, Enchant Remnant, which lets him temporarily convert a hero into a Stone Remnant.
  • Elder Titan:
    • Added Aghanim's Scepter: Causes units that are pulled in by Earth Splitter to be disarmed in addition to being slowed. Slow/disarm duration increased from 3/4/5 to 4/5/6.
  • Phantom Lancer:
    • Spirit Lance: Unchanged
    • Phantom Rush: a passive basic ability for Phantom Lancer, or his illusions, to quickly close the distance to an enemy
    • Doppelganger: a new ability for dodging immediate danger, and confusing enemies with deceiving illusions
    • Juxtapose: now his Ultimate, and allows both Phantom Lancer and his illusions to create more illusions

  • Riki:
    • Permanent Invisibility is now a basic ability
    • Blink Strike is now an Ultimate and can target Spell Immune
  • Sven:
    • Added Aghanim's Scepter: While activated, God's Strength grants an allied aura (900 area of effect) for 40/60/80% of base damage.
  • Timbersaw:
    • Added Aghanim's Scepter: Grants Timbersaw a second Chakram.
  • Treant Protector:
    • Added Aghanim's Scepter: Grants a new ability, Eyes in the Forest, which allows Treant to enchant trees to spy on his enemies and expand the area Overgrowth affects.
  • Crimson Guard item added, formed from Vanguard and Buckler
    • Costs Vanguard (2225), Buckler (800), Recipe (825) and provides 250 HP, +6 HP Regeen, Passive Damage Block (80% chance for 40/20 melee/ranged), +5 Armor, and +2 All Stats. 
    • Active: Guard - Gives nearby allied heroes (750 range) +2 armor and a damage block shell that has a 100% chance to block 50 damage. Lasts 9 seconds. Cooldown 70. 
    • Passive: Damage Block - Gives the wearer a chance to block damage from each incoming attack based on whether the equipped hero is melee or ranged.
  • Changes to ability and damage type mechanics, as well as Spell Immunity

While the notes listed here might seem like a lot for any Dota 2 player to take in, these are again just highlights of the high list Valve has put together. The ones organized here introduce entirely new gameplay elements, while the notes passed by are primarily alterations to already existing mechanics. I'd recommend any serious player read the full notes.

In addition to, well, everything listed above, there are a few other non-game related things to mention. An all new "Treasure of the Forged Fury" chest is being added which includes sets for Mirana, Naga Siren, Magnus and more. Plus, an all new courier named Lil Nova. Fantasy Season 2 will also be starting with the release of the patch. An all new "Fight Recap" feature will be added for players and spectators to research the shifting points in their matches. Finally, something called "Courier Morph" has been added, which will transform the existing courier into your own when it delivers items to you.

Considering Valve just added Techies to the game recently, the size of this patch is rather astonishing. Still, that's what makes Dota 2 one of the best games, one of the most popular games in the world, right? Rekindling Soul and 6.82 are currently on the PTR and should be hitting live servers within the next week (just based off of past patch releases). Expect an update when it goes live. 

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Categories: PC Games

Final Fantasy IV now on Steam with Trading Cards and Achievements support, relive the retro glory

3 comments Lydia Sung - 6:04pm (PST) Like Share

Sorry in advance, Kain

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Take yet another trip down memory lane with Final Fantasy IV, now available for PC on Steam. Square Enix also wants everyone to know that this version has full Steam Trading Card and Achievements support, for the fans who are concerned with that sort of thing.

Final Fantasy IV brought together a rather memorable cast, comprised of Cecil, Kain Highwind and Rosa. Essentially, Cecil gets hired by this monarch to retrieve powerful Crystals, only to realize this guy isn't exactly on the up and up. Drama ensues, complete with a romantic subplot.

If you remember there being another Final Fantasy IV remake at some point, you'd be correct, but the Steam version boasts several platform-specific features over the 2006 re-release. Either way, here's what the $15 game gets you:

  • High-quality opening movie created by Visual Works
  • Quicker browsing through the monster bestiary and other game records
  • Upgraded graphics
  • Achievements
  • New feature of Steam Trading Cards
Categories: PC Games

Watch Dogs: Bad Blood DLC out now for Season Pass holders, play a new campaign as T-Bone

1 comments Lydia Sung - 3:27pm (PST) Like Share

He even gets his own trailer today

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Watch Dogs: Bad Blood is officially out today, continuing the story through the eyes of one Raymond "T-Bone" Kenney. You remember T-Bone, right? Well, now he has his own story campaign and a new trailer to celebrate.

The Bad Blood DLC basically picks up after the main campaign with Aiden, when T-Bone gets an ominous call from his former Blume colleague, Tobias Frewer, in a desperate bid for help. Being the nice guy that he is, our bearded hero goes to his buddy's aid, only to wind up in some deep trouble himself. Hey, we already know Tobias isn't being upfront, and this is what happens when you decide to help shady people.

Bad Blood also unlocks access to Street Sweep contracts, a "dynamic new system" of side missions playable solo or cooperatively. Hacking and Trailing modes, as well as the ctOS mobile companion app, are fully playable with T-Bone.

The DLC is available now for Watch Dogs Season Pass holders and on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC. The Xbox 360 version is "coming soon," while anyone who doesn't own the Season Pass can pick up Bad Blood starting September 30.