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Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013

  

Blizzard Acknowledges Diablo III Item Duping

A post by Blizzard to the forums for Diablo III announces planned changes to their "account rollback policy" in North America and Europe, saying that as of April 2nd, players in these regions who have their characters restored by Blizzard customer support will have all wearable items bound on account, so they cannot be sold, traded, or auctioned to other players. They say this matches a policy change they implemented in December for the Asia region, and for the first time to our knowledge, confirm the long-held theory of many of the game's players that there are duplicate items in circulation created by players abusing the rollback policy (a player sells items or passes them to an accomplice and calls Blizzard customer support to ask their character be restored from backup because their account was compromised, getting duplicates of all the gear back). "Last December, we made some changes to our regional account rollback policy for players in our Asia region. We implemented this update to protect the in-game economy from the noted rise of false compromised account claims by players attempting to gain duplicate items," the post states. "This policy has proven very effective in helping reduce the number of duplicate items in the game while still allowing us to assist legitimately compromised players, and now we’re ready to roll it out for our Americas and European regions."

Ships Ahoy - Battlefield 3 End Game

Battlefield 3 End Game is now available for Windows (and Xbox 360), offering the latest expansion for Battlefield 3, the latest installment in DICE's military shooter series (at least until tomorrow's official Battlefield 4 announcement). End game is sold individually, or as part of a season's pass. Here's word:

Battlefield 3: End Game delivers some of the most high-speed warfare to date across four vast maps. Race through enemy lines using the new dirt bike, bringing speed and agility to the Battlefield, or fight back aerial assaults with new lightweight AA vehicles. Coordinate lightning fast attacks and defenses in the return of the classic Capture The Flag game mode. In the skies, the new dropship introduces the ability to turn the tide with rapid deployment air drops of troop transports.

Steamships Ahoy - Sniper Ghost Warrior 2: Siberian Strike

Steam News announces that Sniper Ghost Warrior 2: Siberian Strike is now available, offering the promised expansion for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2, City Interactive's sharpshooting action game. Here's the outline:

Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 Siberian Strike is set in an isolated Siberian location and will offer a more open world experience for solving missions. Players will not be guided and the only way to find their way through the new location is by using the map.

In the remote abandoned Siberian city of Birsovik, the Russian government established a top secret military installation focused on arms R&D. American intelligence gets word that the facility shifted its focus recently to weapons of mass destruction. A CIA operative, M. Diaz is sent in undercover, posing as lab personnel, to uncover the truth. When he stops sending in reports, a search mission is quickly put together.

The player steps in the shoes of Cole “Sandman” Anderson, a veteran special ops sniper, now in the ranks of Task 121 – a group put together to counter any WMD-hungry warlord’s whim in the Asia – Pacific region. Anderson is ordered to locate Diaz’s GPS signal and assess the situation on the ground, then extract any intelligence he may have found.

Ships Ahoy - Pressure

Steam News announces the availability of Pressure, Chasing Carrots' steampunk racing game, which is 33% off for the first week. The game is also presumably now available in North American stores, and Steam also offers a playable demo. Here's word from Steam on what to expect:

Pressure is a unique combination of breakneck racing-action and arcade styled shoot’em up in a steampunk world filled with crazy characters and funky humor. As Morgan jumps into the river to take a refreshing bath, he lands hard and dusty: The river has vanished! It’s time to start up your steambuggy and pull the plug on this maniac water thief, Count Soap II. Stop his evil plans to erect his gigantic “uber-spa”!

Plants vs. Zombies 2 in Early Summer; PvZ Facebook App Beta

PopCap announces the "limited, regional launch" of a Plants vs. Zombies Adventures beta on Facebook, offering "the first social adaptation of PopCap’s megahit game." Word is this will be the "first of several new adaptations of the hit franchise coming to consumers in the next year that will take players beyond the confines of the backyard." They also announce they expect to release Plants vs. Zombies 2 early this summer, though they offer no details on the tower defense sequel at this time.

Guild Wars II - Flame and Frost: The Razing Live

The Guild Wars II Website has word that Flame and Frost: The Razing is now live in ArenaNet's MMORPG sequel. Word is: "Defend the innocent from the hybrid threat of the Molten Alliance. Join the norn Braham and Rox the charr on desperate missions to defend their homelands! Earn new titles and abilities with the new World vs. World progression system, track down three new fugitives in the latest Guild Missions, and more!" This page has all the details you need, including word on new features, performance improvements, and leaderboards, which are currently operating in stealth mode. Thanks Dredlord.

Guns of Icarus Online Adventure Mode Kickstarter

A new Kickstarter looks to fund development of a new Adventure Mode for Guns of Icarus Online, Muse Games' steampunk and multiplayer first-person shooter. Word is: "Kicking off live from the show floor at PAX East last weekend, Muse Games (www.gunsoficarus.com) has once again turned to Kickstarter to launch the next phase of its revolutionary airship combat game, Guns of Icaurs Online. The expansion, Guns of Icarus Online: Adventure Mode, takes the game’s unique team-based PvP battle system and places it in a fully realized persistent world, keeping the co-operative elements and expanding the game to include PvE, massive AI-controlled enemy ships, biplanes, missions, player progression, and a dynamic system of towns and player factions that evolves day by day as players actively affect and shape the world."

Rising Storm GDC Trailer

The Rising Storm website now offers the GDC trailer from Red Storm, the upcoming standalone multiplayer installment in Tripwire Interactive's Red Orchestra World War II shooter series. There's a high resolution edition of the trailer on Vimeo, where they offer the following explanation: "This is a brand new trailer for the upcoming Rising Storm, the next game in the Red Orchestra franchise. It was shot in full 1080p at 60 FPS to give the most accurate impression of what the game looks like in action. The trailer gives you a chance to get an impression of some of the maps – iconic locations in the Pacific Theater such as Guadalcanal, Saipan and Iwo Jima. It also gives you a great chance to see some of the new weapons in action – the Japanese knee mortar, their rifles, the well-loved Garand and Springfield rifles and the American flamethrower. Not forgetting the Japanese ability to banzai-charge, with leaders waving katanas!"

On Sale

Spring Indie Sale Day Six on Steam.

  • AirBuccaneers on Steam. Save 66%.
  • articy- draft SE on Steam. Save 20%.
  • The Cave on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Dangerous Waters on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Deadlight on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Dungeon Defenders on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Forge on Steam. Save 66%.
  • The Humble Weekly Sale: THQ on Humble Bundle. Pay what you want and help charity.
  • Ironclads: American Civil War on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ironclads: Anglo Russian War 1866 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ironclads: Chincha Islands War 1866 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ironclads: High Seas on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Ironclads: Schleswig War 1864 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Iron Warriors- T - 72 Tank Command on Steam. Save 75%.
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Steam. Save 50%.
  • LIMBO on Steam. Save 60%.
  • No Time to Explain on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Stronghold 3 Gold on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Tomb Raider on Amazon.com. Save 30%. Thanks Dealzon.
  • Trapped Dead on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Patches

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Pole Skewers Buses Windscreen - Luckiest Driver Ever. Thanks Ant and nin.

Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition, an RPG from Behold Studios coming to Windows, OS X, and Linux PCs as well as mobiles later this quarter as an enhanced version of a game previously released for mobiles (as much as the title might suggest this was a tabletop RPG). This trailer shows the player as a dungeon master outfitting a game room and a cast of characters to play in a pen & paper/tabletop campaign, explaining both the title, and why they categorize this as a "meta-RPG." A website for the game is live, as is a twitter feed, a discussion forum, and a Facebook Page. Here's the announcement:

NEW YORK — March 26, 2013 — Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games and a level eight rules-lawyer, announced today that they will be bringing the acclaimed mobile meta-RPG Knights of Pen & Paper to the PC, Mac, and Linux platforms in a new version of the game called Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition. Forming a partnership with Behold Studios, developers of the original mobile title, Paradox will be casting several fortitude and agility buffs to help summon Knights of Pen & Paper onto desktops with +1 Edition, which will include new features, improvements, and content. +1 Edition will also be coming to mobile devices, with the game launching across all platforms in Q2 2013.

Roll your 20-sided die. If you roll a 10 or above, watch the following trailer:

Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - BioShock Infinite

2K Games officially announces the release of BioShock Infinite, highlighting the great reviews contributing to the shooter sequel's sky high Metacritic rating. Here's word:

Windsor, UK – March 26, 2013 – 2K and Irrational Games today announced that BioShock® Infinite from Irrational Games is now available for Windows PC, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. The highly anticipated narrative-driven first-person shooter has critics raving and is the highest rated* game of the year, with perfect review scores of 10 out of 10 from Game Informer, 10 out of 10 from Eurogamer, 4 out of 4 stars from USA Today, and many more.

“Today’s the day we’ve been looking forward to. Our redefinition of BioShock is ready to be delivered from our hands to those of gamers around the world,” said Ken Levine, Creative Director and co-founder of Irrational Games. “We believe Infinite is very much a BioShock experience, but at the same time something very fresh that both fans of the original and newcomers to the series will be able to enjoy.”

“2K and Irrational Games are committed to bringing players experiences they cannot find anywhere else,” added Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “From the crumbling city of Rapture to the clear skies of Columbia, we’re proud to help Irrational Games bring their unique vision to players around the world.”

BioShock Infinite puts players in the shoes of U.S. Cavalry veteran turned hired gun Booker DeWitt. Indebted to the wrong people and with his life on the line, DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. He must rescue Elizabeth, a mysterious girl imprisoned since childhood and locked up in the flying city of Columbia. Forced to trust one another, Booker and Elizabeth form a powerful bond during their daring escape. Together, they learn to harness an expanding arsenal of weapons and abilities as they fight on zeppelins in the clouds, along high-speed Sky-Lines, and down in the streets of Columbia, all while surviving the threats of the air-city and uncovering its dark secret.

*Based on Metacritic average ranking across available platforms as of March 25, 2013.

Borderlands 2 Storage Increase Plans

The Gearbox Software Forums have some details on the upcoming free patch Gearbox is promising along with their upcoming DLC releases for Borderlands 2, their role-playing shooter sequel (thanks Eurogamer). Here's word on a planned storage increase and more:

You can still buy a Season Pass.

There will be inventory/backup/storage increases in the update (Free update). More ammo SDU's will be available in the black market along with eridium maximums increased.

Chris will have a full list of the changes sometime this week for everyone. He also is going to get the Krieg forum up sometime this week.

Square Enix Reports "Extraordinary Loss" - President Resigns

This sparse document (Adobe Acrobat format) announces the resignation of Yoichi Wada from his post as president of Square Enix. This follows the revelation that the Japanese publisher anticipates an "extraordinary loss" in its next financial reporting noted in a statement (Adobe Acrobat format) with revised financial forecasts. VG247 summarizes the bad news from the revision, noting that this includes lowering the company's projected sales slightly, but involves a giant increase in losses, saying the company's previously projected ¥3.5 billion net income loss is now anticipated to be closer to ¥13 billion ($138 million USD). Word is the revision is due to slow sales of major console titles, a sluggish arcade market, and the addition of approximately ¥10 billion in restructuring efforts, saying: "In view of the rapidly changing environment of the game businesses, the Company has decided to implement major reforms and restructuring in its development policy, organizational structure, some business models, and others."

Infinite Crisis Announced

WBIE and DC Entertainment announce Infinite Crisis, an upcoming free-to-play MOBA game set in the world of DC comics being designed by Turbine for release in autumn of this year on Windows PCs. The Infinite Crisis website is online, accepting beta signups, and offering an announce trailer with a look at some gameplay. Here's word on the game:

BURBANK, Calif. – March 25, 2013 – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced Infinite Crisis, an all-new multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game developed by Turbine, the award winning studio behind free-to-play online games including The Lord of the Rings Online™. Infinite Crisis is a free-to-play game that features a deep roster of DC Comics characters and is scheduled for release in 2013 for the PC.

Infinite Crisis is a new entrant into the wildly popular MOBA genre that delivers a heart-pounding competitive player vs. player battle experience set in the legendary DC Multiverse - a world in which familiar DC Comics characters have been reimagined in startling ways. Featuring a wide variety of DC Comics heroes and villains, Infinite Crisis puts players in control of twisted incarnations of their favorite characters throughout the Multiverse such as Nightmare Batman and Gaslight Catwoman, playing in league with well-known characters including Green Lantern and The Flash.

Continue here to read the full story.

World of Warcraft PvP Gear Change Plans

A new World of Warcraft blog post discusses the gap between PvP and PvE gear in World of Warcraft, delving into the issues Blizzard has grappled with in "narrowing the PvP gear gap," recapping their first attempt at PvP/PvE gear balancing in the previous version 5.2 patch. They proceed to outline "pretty dramatic changes to PvP gear and the PvP environment" coming in the upcoming version 5.3 of the MMORPG, explaining: "We’re taking these steps because we want to improve by providing a richer pool of potential competitors (which can result in faster queues, as well as queuing system refinements later on), and make an incredibly fun element of World of Warcraft more accessible to a larger audience." Here's a list of things that are changing: Continue here to read the full story.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag Gameplay Trailer Redux

An error in how the first gameplay trailer from Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag was posted here last night made it very difficult to find, so here it is again in case you missed it (consider the original post an Easter egg). Here's word from Ubisoft about this look at the upcoming stealth/action sequel: "In the Gameplay Reveal Trailer for Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, embark on a treacherous journey as Captain Edward Kenway, a pirate trained by assassins, and relive the truly explosive events that defined the Golden Age of Pirates." Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

BioShock Infinite is now up to 96 on Metacritic. User score is currently 9.2.

♪ intermission ♫

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Things have returned to normal here at the BlueTower after a little rushing around yesterday. The (*cough* spring) weather report called for a pretty nasty end of the day, so we assumed we were not going to attend the Passover Seder to which we were invited, but as the afternoon progressed, it became apparent the weatherman was channeling his inner groundhog, and there was not going to be the promised snowstorm. In the scramble to get out of the door, I made a couple of sloppy errors on a couple of posts, which have since been corrected. Sorry about that.

Corrected Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Hands of War 3.
Stories: As Coffee Rust Devastates Latin America, Colombia's Cenicafé Leads The Resistance.
Irish Town Legalizes Drinking and Driving. Thanks brother19.
Science: Learning hurts your brain.
Images: BioShock Infinite Cosplay Is As Impressive As The Actual Game.
Greyhound Sings Halo Theme.
Media: Mario e o Ladrão Brother.
Sergio Garcia climbs a tree to hit one-handed second shot. Thanks Videosift.
The Funnies: Dilbert comic strip for 03-25-2013 from the official Dilbert comic strips archive.
Follow-up: Dilbert.



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