This update from BioWare's James Ohlen discusses bugs in Star Wars: The Old Republic, reassuring players of the MMORPG that they plan constant updates as well as fixes for emergencies with the game (thanks Massively). Word is:
Almost every week we will be releasing a new patch. These weekly patches are almost entirely focused on bug fixes, minor balance changes and fixing any exploits in the game. These issues are the highest priority items at the studio. They are reviewed by senior leadership on a daily basis. Bug fixes usually take longer than a week to get into the game because we need to fix the issue and then test the fix. Some bugs take longer than that because of the complexity of the issue.
There are issues that we will fix immediately. These are rare and not every issue can be fixed in this manner. We usually reserve these "emergency fixes" for bugs that are stopping players from playing the game or to exploits that could unbalance the entire game if not corrected.
Any game as big and as complex as The Old Republic will have bugs. We’re working as hard as we can to find, fix, test and patch the game to eliminate as many of them as possible.
Since the founding of Child’s Play in 2003, each year has exceeded our expectations in a big way. Thanks to the support of the community, we’ve grown from sending a truck full of toys to Seattle Children’s Hospital to benefiting a network of over 80 hospitals worldwide. 2011 brought some incredible milestones, including breaking the $10 million mark in lifetime contributions, founding our Annual Child’s Play Golf Tournament, rolling out a full website overhaul and seeing the community activism explode via hundreds of events put on by the community. The generosity of gamers has yet again been overwhelming, and our total for 2011 is a number we both amazed and humbled by:
Let that sink in for a second. Over three and a half million dollars going to hospitals worldwide to ease the suffering of kids when they need it most. All because you, as a community, came together to make a difference. And what a difference it is.
Soar With the Blood Eagles on PC PowerPlay Magazine is a preview of Tribes Ascend that includes a Q&A with Hi-Rez Studios CEO Todd Harris discussing the upcoming continuation of the Tribes multiplayer shooter series. Topics of the interview include lessons learned from Global Agenda, the return of the Blood Eagle and the Diamond Sword factions, the passion of the Tribes community, the loadout system, paid content, and more. They also ask about Tribes Universe, and the answer indicates that this is on hold at best, but they plan to continue to explore the Tribes universe, as well as the Starsiege series from which it was born:
Our studio is a huge fan of the previous Tribes games. So after we acquired the rights to Tribes our first goal was to get the movement and physics and combat feeling right. When we made enough progress toward that goal we decided to release a pure match-based shooter ahead of any MMO and that shooter became Ascend. We do still intend to further explore the Tribes and Starsiege IP with future projects, but right now our Tribes dev team is working only on Ascend.
GameStop announces in-game items as pre-order incentives for Mass Effect 3, BioWare's upcoming action/RPG sequel. They offer screenshots and trailers showing off the following items:
N7 “Valkyrie” Assault Rifle
After the carnage of the Battle of the Citadel, Alliance officers commissioned a new rifle for their ground forces. A variation of the popular Avenger design, the Valkyrie is now standard issue for new recruits. Exceptionally well-crafted, accurate, and packing ample firepower, the rifle is a hot black-market item on the rare occasion it surfaces.
N7 “Defender” Armor
The Defender Armor is a variation on the N7 Special Forces’ combat gear, built to protect soldiers in long-running engagements where reinforcements may be sparse. When the wearer fires a weapon, the suit's computers divert energy from the main power cell to the gun's kinetic coils, offering an extra punch. The Defender's storage compartments are designed to hold spare thermal clips, while capacitors throughout the armor provide extra power to shields during critical moments in battle. The armor also comes with an injection system built into the suit and neural-linked bio-monitors that help adjust the wearer's breathing rate and adrenaline levels.
The Wakfu Website is now allowing participants into the North American open beta test for Square Enix's upcoming action/RPG (thanks Gamer's Hell). Here's word:
With the new Content Update 0.311 well underway, the former restrictions of Closed Beta have been removed. And while you all are rushing to get in, we’re just bursting at the seams with a slew of events and contests that are just waiting to be announced. There’s always something new to enjoy in WAKFU and many there to enjoy it with.
Due to all of the recent changes related with the test phase transition, we’ve put together an accommodating Frequently Asked Questions listing, suitable for both new and returning readers alike.
A new developer blog on the MechWarrior Online Website offers more on the upcoming multiplayer Battletech game. This blog discusses information warfare in MechWarrior Online, discussing various aspects of battlefield intelligence and situational warfare. It also discusses the module system for loadouts, targeting tweaks, and more.
An interview on PC Games Hardware talks about King Arthur 2, focusing on technical aspects of the upcoming role-playing wargame sequel. They discuss the game's DirectX 11 support, how it was part of the engine from the beginning, what DX11 feature benefits the game the most, and more.
This press release (in Swedish) announces the Missionary Church of Kopimism is now officially recognized in Sweden, the first country to sanction the religion. Kopimism holds file-sharing as one of its central principles, and the announcement refers to the involvement of Gustav Nipe, who is also affiliated with Sweden's Pirate Party. Here's word from the translation: "Information is sacred to the missionary Kopimistsamfundet, and copy the sacrament. Information has value, both in itself and in its content, and this value increases by copying. Thus, copying the heart of everything in the community." Thanks Ant via Digg.
The Microsoft Flight Website now offers more details on Microsoft Flight, Microsoft Games Studio's upcoming replacement for MS Flight Simulator. Word is the game, currently in beta, will be released for Windows PC this spring, and will be a free release, supported by sales of new aircraft, regions, and customization options: "In addition, players who sign in to their Games for Windows – LIVE account automatically receive additional free content, including the legendary Boeing Stearman plane, supplementary missions, and access to Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile. Those looking to deepen their experience can purchase and download additional content that adds new aircraft, regions and customization options. The frequently released new content for Microsoft Flight includes daily aerocache challenges and updates that make every flight unique and fun." Here's more:
Today, Microsoft Studios premiered Microsoft Flight, a PC game that lets players jump into the challenge, fun, and freedom of flight. Microsoft Flight will be available as a free download this spring, giving players the freedom to fly the skies over the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii, complete a variety of exciting missions, test their skills in flying challenges, or find hidden aerocaches on the island.
In Microsoft Flight, players view the world from above in a visually stunning and realistic representation of the earth, complete with region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks. Players can choose to take the helm using highly rendered, accurate cockpits and authentic piloting procedures, or simply use their mouse and keyboard to control the plane in an exterior view. More experienced players can tailor the flight controls to match their skill level, making Microsoft Flight easy for beginners while still challenging for the most accomplished PC pilots.
“Many people dream of flying, but few have the chance to experience the fun of exploring the world from above. Microsoft Flight provides players the opportunity to explore that curiosity and interest,” said Joshua Howard, executive producer of Microsoft Flight. “Aviation can be incredibly technical, but we’ve taken great care to build an experience that makes taking to the skies thrilling and accessible for everyone.”
The Korea Times has word that the prospects for releasing Diablo III in South Korea are still up in the air, as the ratings board there struggles with the implications of the real-money auction house in Blizzard's upcoming action/RPG sequel (thanks IncGamers). Word is this may throw a monkey wrench into the game's planned simultaneous global release:
Though a ruling on the third and latest in the series of global bestseller Diablo was rumored to be due today, the board spokesman said Tuesday there were no signs suggesting a definitive answer.
“Committee members are conflicted about what to do with Diablo 3,” he said, “because of (its American developer) Blizzard’s information on the game’s ‘auction house’ feature.”
The virtual auction allows users to buy and sell items won during the game, which for many, including the board, resembles gambling. The controversial cashing-out feature, which would convert play money into real currency, was excluded in the most recent resubmission on Dec. 22 but continues to confound the process.
The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, but the spokesman cautioned fans against optimism, saying instead that reviews take place every Wednesday and Friday.
“As it is described in the (re)submission, committee members are still reluctant.”
Blizzard has dug a grave for itself by publicly committing to a simultaneous global, region-free launch for the first time in company history. Because every country will receive identical software, the Korean board’s decision is keeping the global game giant in chains.
“In principle, we are always committed to a global release,” said spokeswoman for Blizzard.
Retrode is accepting preorders for a USB adaptor to allow vintage 16-bit Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Nintendo SNES/SFC games on a PC. The hardware includes ports for controllers from each system, and optimistically promises "Driverless operation on any USB host, under any OS, using any emulator." MCV notes that the legality of such a device is not entirely clear, though the fact that this still requires an emulator may work in its favor (I am not a lawyer).
Over the holidays Valve's Steam service hit a new milestone of five million concurrent users, reports GamesRadar, noting that even after the post-holiday falloff, Steam is still peaking at 4.7 million concurrent users every day.
After suffering for a while with flaky behavior from my computer I assumed was a driver issue or some other bug, I came to the realization today that my mouse was in the process of dying. I sheepishly admit that this should have been the first conclusion I drew when I started experiencing oddities when dragging and dropping items and highlighting text, as I should have immediately focused on the element in the equation with moving parts. That, of course, was the desk rodent, but it was only when it started registering single-clicks as double-clicks did it sink in (ah, you thought I was going to say click, didn't you?) that it was the mouse itself acting up. I dug up a semi-generic mouse to use as a stop-gap before I find a long-term replacement, at least something that fits my hand better.