The Diablo III Website has the first of the promised updates on the upcoming version 1.04 patch for Diablo III, which they say "is still a few weeks away," though they later specify the fourth week of August. The post gives an overview of things they are changing, including removing the averaging of gold find for a group, shrinking the gap between normal monsters and Elite packs (making normals less of a joke and elites less of a nightmare), dealing with some of the more difficult affixes, addressing the insanely small chance of finding anything useful, making two-handed weapons viable, getting rid of enrage timers, improving future legendary items, and finding ways to make some unused skills more useful and/or appealing. Here's the summary:
These are really just a few of the topline systems changes we’ll be making in 1.0.4, and we hope you’re looking forward to them as much as we are. We’ll of course have a lot more info coming at you in the weeks ahead on Legendary items, classes and more, as well as some interviews we’ll be holding shortly before the patch goes live – which, by the way, is currently targeted for the fourth week of August.
The Battleground Europe Website announces Cornered Rat Software's MMO shooter also known as World War II Online is now officially free-to-play. They are not making any bones about the fact that you are still going to have to pay to gain access to the best weapons:
As you are all no doubt aware, we announced that we were going to replace our free trial promotion which was never working as well as we'd have liked at getting new accounts into the playerbase, and rolling that change into our desire to offer the ability to play WWIIOL:Battleground Europe for FREE.
Well that day has come! As I write, free accounts are now able to be created and played on the live server. Equipment choices are limited and a premium account cannot be downgraded to a free account. The general rule of thumb is that the equipment a free account user can access is lower down the scale to encourage them to get a paid account in order to get the "good stuff" you all want. As the campaign progresses the quality of equipment a free account can access does improve, but they can never access the latest or best gear.
We hope there are no big issues or hiccups (well d'uh!) and will be watching for any should they occur. So far it's all looking very good.
Everyone have a great time and don't kill all the new dweebs too quickly ok !
Codemasters today announced that F1 2012 will launch in North America on Sept. 18, 2012 for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PLAYSTATION ®3 computer entertainment system and PC. F1 2012 is the next game in the award-winning, multi-million selling FORMULA ONE series from Codemasters as part of an exclusive multi-year deal with Formula One World Championship Limited that takes players to the heart of the sport like never before.
A new developer diary, also released today, details several of F1 2012’s new features including the Young Driver Test, which will act as the game’s tutorial mode, teaching the player about the nuances of racing a FORMULA ONE car. Featuring the first glimpses of F1 2012 gameplay footage, the new developer diary can be viewed at www.youtube.com/formula1game.
A "letter" on the Team Fortress 2 Website references a third son of Zepheniah Mann named Gray who was "absconded by that Scourge of London, the EAGLE." The NeoGAF Forums hash through the possibilities that this might mean we can expect a third Gray faction to join the teamplay shooter, or perhaps the Grays will be a robot hoard to battle both red and Blu forces in a Mann versus Machine mode. The letter says Gray's birthday is September 2nd (the final day of PAX and The International tournament), so some are speculating that date may be when this all comes together. Thanks Kotaku.
Soldak Entertainment bow offers new patches to update the Windows and OS X betas of Drox Operative to version 0.914. The patch notes outline how this changes the upcoming sci-fi action/RPG, and here's a summary: "This patch improves the legend win condition, adds Drox High Command bonus missions, and fixes a bunch of other little things."
2K Games and Firaxis Games announce they are including multiplayer support in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the upcoming action/strategy continuation of the classic UFO series. There are firsthand multiplayer previews on Eurogamer, GameSpy, and Kotaku, and here's word:
2K Games announced today that XCOM®: Enemy Unknown, the highly anticipated action-strategy game from Firaxis Games, will include a unique multiplayer game mode featuring a one-on-one deathmatch against another player for the first time in an XCOM game. Players will be able to pick a squad of soldiers, aliens or even combine a squad of both unit types to create the ultimate mixed squad to command in battle.
“Throughout the history of the XCOM series, players have acted as the world’s last hope against the alien invasion,” said Jake Solomon, lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. “With the multiplayer mode in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, gamers can finally find out what it’s like to command alien units and unleash extraterrestrial destruction on Planet Earth or defend it with a squad of XCOM soldiers and alien allies.”
Multiplayer in XCOM: Enemy Unknown draws on the gameplay, tactics and strategy of the single-player experience without making any direct ties to the narrative, offering a standalone opportunity for gamers to enjoy the XCOM universe. Players can mix and match both alien and soldier units to comprise their squad, outfitting soldiers with dozens of armor types, weapons, items and class-based abilities for thousands of possible loadout combinations. These dream squads of up to six units are built using a point cap that can be scaled for players to fight in small skirmishes all the way up to epic battles. Matches can be modified by point limit or time limit per turn. Just like the single-player experience, the fog of war will conceal your enemy’s units until you encounter them on the battlefield, creating the tense anticipation that is the hallmark of the XCOM series.
Paradox Interactive reveals development of Europa Universalis IV is underway, and the grand strategy sequel is due in Q3 2013. Here is the announcement trailer, and there are previews of the game on Kotaku, Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and Strategy Informer where there are screenshots and further details. Here is a feature list from the video description::
Prepare to join a worldwide community of over half a million players and experience the drama and tension that only the grand stage of history can provide. Following on the success of the critically acclaimed "Crusader Kings II", Paradox Development Studio is ready to take you to worlds both old and new -- each yours for the taking.
Make your own decisions: Nation building is completely flexible.
Use your Monarch Power: In this new system, a leader's traits will direct the ebb and flow of gameplay.
Experience history come to life: The great personalities of the past are on hand to support you as you make your mark on thousands of historical events.
Turn the world into your playground: Enjoy over 300 years of gameplay in a lush topographic map in full 3D.
Gain control of vital trade routes and make the wealth of the world flow to your coffers in the all-new trade system.
Bring out your negotiating skills in a deeper diplomatic system.
Go online and battle against your friends in a newall-new multiplayer gameplay that features hot-join, improved chat, a new matchmaking server and support for a standalone server.
Create your own history and customize your game: Europa Universalis IV gives you the chance to customize and mod practically anything your heart may desire.
A report in German from earlier this week noted that the LinkedIn profile of Greg Zeschuk lists his position as "Co-Founder, BioWare," but also lists the company as one of his previous employers. They also noted that Zeschuk and fellow cofounder Ray Muzyka had not been present at a recent company meeting, but followed this up concluding it should be considered a "mere rumor" after EA gave them the following statement: "When Greg Zeschuk announced the reorganization of BWA in May, he outlined his plan to return to his family in Edmonton for a much deserved vacation. Greg also announced the new GM of BioWare Austin and SWTOR, Matt Bromberg. Greg is still with EA. He’s now back in Canada, taking time off and thinking about new projects. No change with Ray Muzyka." This resurfaced overnight as Eurogamer reported Zeschuk "resigned his post as General Manager of BioWare Austin." Gamasutra has a follow-up directly from Zeschuk:
"With regard to BioWare Austin, I handed off the leadership of the studio to Matthew Bromberg quite some time ago (back in May). Ray [Muzyka, BioWare co-founder] and I picked Matthew to take over and he's been doing a great job with the studio.
"My time in Austin was always planned to have a finite endpoint (my family was still living in Edmonton throughout my time in Austin) and now that I've handed the baton to Matt, I will be able to spend more time on a wider range of BioWare games rather than focusing on just one as I did with SWTOR."
Focus Home Interactive announces Wargame: AirLand Battle, a sequel to Wargame: European Escalation, Eugen systems' real-time strategy game released earlier this year. The game is expected next year and they are showing it off at gamescom 2012. For those not close enough for a whiff of Cologne, Germany, the Wargame : European Escalation Website has a teaser trailer that can be viewed from the comfort of home. Here's word:
While the first Wargame made a splash with its powerful engine, Wargame: AirLand Battle will be the series's leap forward by bringing a level of detail never before seen in a real-time strategy game. The new version of the IRISZOOM Engine™ will display spectacular graphics with a wide variety of units, scenery, and impressive topography reproduced from satellite maps, all of which are visible in today's teaser.
Just like its predecessor, Wagame: AirLand Battle takes players through a series of conflicts commanding NATO and Warsaw Pact troops between 1975 & 1985 at a turning point of the Cold War. In this episode, war rages in Northern Europe, notably Scandinavia, whose architecture and magnificent landscapes are faithfully recreated in the game.
Kalypso Media is pleased to announce the release of Legends of Pegasus for Windows PC. Legends of Pegasus is a 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate) science-fiction empire-building game which features three playable races and multiple factions battling to conquer the galaxy. In Legends of Pegasus, you can custom-design starships, from frigates and corvettes to battle cruisers, and take them into fierce 3D battles as you explore and colonise space. A deep technology tree allows you to almost infinitely customise your faction as you research new weapons and devices. Legends of Pegasus is available now for Windows PC.
We are also pleased to unveil a new trailer showcasing the Arthrox. The Arthrox are a bio-mechanical race featured in Legends of Pegasus. They have travelled the galaxy for longer than man has existed, escorting “The Forgotten” ancients as they explored the depths of space. Download the new trailer to learn more about the Arthrox, and see their fleets and technologies in action.
Red 5 Studios announces plans to an what they cal an eSports toolkit to Firefall to further support the competitive modes in its upcoming free-to-play online shooter with "unique spectator modes and streamlined shoutcaster controls." This trailer shows off the two new modes and other features this will add, and here's a description:
The eSports Toolkit from Red 5 Studios offers a new “look” at competitive gaming with two feature-packed modes, Observer and Broadcast. In Observer Mode, anyone can choose to watch matches through an assortment of cameras at their disposal, including the Action Cam, a dynamic top-down camera that calculates where the action is and auto-zooms accordingly; static cameras that can be switched to on-the-fly for a number of easily accessible viewpoints; and selectable player cams that show gameplay focusing on any player. Broadcast mode includes a number of additional features specifically added for shoutcasters, including replay controls – which allow users to skip forward and back 10 seconds, pause, slow motion and fast forward – a Multi-Camera Preview for linecutting into a broadcast, and built in player stat tracking.
The Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Trust have won a court case allowing them to take possession of the assets of bankrupt developer 38 Studios, reports Bloomberg (thanks Examiner.com). Word is this was to stave off the possibility that remnants if the IP the state now owns as a result of its investment in the studio would be lost by the trustee in this case, who apparently did not understand the implications of selling off the company's computers:
The move was necessitated when the trustee assigned to 38 Studios' bankruptcy proceedings wanted to sell the assets individually. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, the state entity that lent funds to 38 Studios, and investment banking firm Bank of New York Mellon Inc. won a judgment against the trustee to prevent the sale of the assets.
Sold individually the computers are not worth much, but each computer contains parts of the intellectual properties formerly owned by 38 Studios and would have negatively impacted the ability for Rhode Island or the bank to recoup any monies to cover their losses in the loans made to the studio. The judgment won by the agency and bank will give them time to transfer the information over to new servers which can take weeks to complete.
An interview on MCV and a Letter from the Producer, XXXIII (08-08-2012) on the Final Fantasy XIV outline plans for FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, a reworking of the MMO version of Square Enix's flagship franchise that has failed to live up to their expectations. The producer's letter is accompanied by a director's cut trailer "intended to give those currently experiencing the current struggles in Eorzea a few hints at the rebirth that FINAL FANTASY XIV is headed toward." The trailer doesn't offer gameplay, but word is: "For old-school FF fans out there like me, I hope that you can feel a nice mix of the old and the new—some nostalgia and some novelty. This is the second trailer for the game. The last one was The Fate of Eorzea. Let’s go ahead and call this one A Realm Reborn. Boom. That just happened." Continue here to read the full story.
After a few days using those belly belts to control the Gunnar-man's marking have been successful at keeping him from peeing on the stove, though it's not for lack of trying: Leaving him to his own devices results in a wet "diaper" every time. I'm hopeful that he will eventually grow weary of failing to mark the stove and/or walking around in a soggy belly belt, but so far that's not the case, and with his remarkable adaptability, this may never happen, but at least we have the mess under control for the moment, and that adaptability is showing through in just how little he is bothered by having to wear it.