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Tuesday, Jul 09, 2013

  

Dota 2 Leaves Beta [Updated]

The Steam page for Dota 2 today announced Valve's free-to-play MOBA game is in the midst of launching, saying: "Dota 2 is officially launching. In order to ensure the best possible experience for new and existing players, there may be a short wait for you to download the game. Visit the Dota 2 Launch page for more information about how the release process works." This message has since been removed, and that launch page does not actually shed any of that promised light on the release schedule, so there seems to have been a hitch in the plan somewhere along the way, but there is no word yet from Valve on what's going on. Update: It looks like the issues were all worked out, and the game is now being offered again.

Team Fortress 2 Balance Changes

The Team Fortress 2 website outlines plans for balance changes to the weapons in Valve's teamplay shooter in an upcoming patch. Here's a bit:

One of our goals as we continue to work on Team Fortress is to support a wide variety of play styles. In order to achieve that, it's been vitally important that the weapons in the game are fun not just to use, but to play against. We want players on both the winning and losing sides of an engagement to feel like their skill is being rewarded. In other words, when someone beats you, it's because they played better, either through pure combat skill, or through their strategic choices in selecting their loadout. Consequently, we are always reviewing both real world player sessions and player feedback to hunt down items that aren't meeting this standard.

We'll be tweaking the stats on dozens of weapons in this next update—but we thought you might find it interesting if we walked you through the decision-making process on a select few.

Firefall Open Beta

Red 5 announces the promised open beta testing of Firefall, which is basically a soft launch for the free-to-play open world shooter, evidenced by the sale of Starter Packs for the beta. A new live action trailer celebrates the news as does the Firefall Fest, which will present live streams for the next couple of days along with other special events. Here's word on the game:

Firefall, an upcoming free-to-play MMO shooter, is set in a unique and beautiful science fiction universe 200 years in the future. Players are part of the last remnant of humanity on Earth, fighting to survive against all odds on a hostile planet ravaged by an aggressive energy storm and under attack by a mysterious humanoid race, known as the Chosen. One of the most anticipated PC games of 2013, Firefall consists of two triple-A components that will entice shooter fans: a polished PvP combat system tuned for elite-level eSports competition and a robust open world experience designed to immerse players in a deep storyline with dynamic events and social gameplay.

Face Noir Demo

The Face Noir website now offers a playable demo of Phoenix Online Studios' Al Jolson-free mystery/adventure game in advance of the game's full release on July 18th. Here's word on the game's film noir-inspired motif:

Developed by Italian indie studio Mad Orange and localized into English by Phoenix Online Studios (devs of The Silver Lining and Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller), Face Noir is a moody tale that combines the intrigue and atmosphere of a Raymond Chandler novel or Humphrey Bogart film with classic point-and-click adventure gameplay. This demo sets the scene for Face Noir's atmospheric take on 1930s New York City, introduces the disillusioned private eye Jack Del Nero, and lets players jump in on his first case -- the mystery of a missing dame named Susan Webber.

Command Modern Air/Naval Operations Beta

Matrix Games is putting out the call for dedicated beta testers to help vet Command Modern Air/Naval Operations, their upcoming tactical strategy game. This page is where to sign up, and here's word on the game: "Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations models modern air and naval operations in extreme detail. It covers the period stretching from post-WW2 all the way to the modern day and even the near future at the tactical and operation scale. Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations aims to set a new benchmark for depth and realism in a wargame, with its careful treatment of aircraft, surface ships, and submarines, satellite technology, covering many historic and hypothetical conflicts. It also comes complete with an integrated scenario editor."

On Sale

  • The Debut 3 Bundle on the Indie Royale Website. Five up-and-coming indies for under $5.00.
  • Half-Life 2 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit on Steam. Save 70%.
  • Organ Trail: Director's Cut on Steam. Save 50%.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Nice Guy Russian Dash Cam Compilation. Thanks Ant.

Strategic Command WWII Assault on Democracy Demo

Battlefront.com now offers a playable demo for Strategic Command WWII Assault on Democracy, the World War II turn-based strategy expansion. The demo includes two campaigns, one based on the war, and the other a speculative Invasion America scenario, and certain features from the full game are disabled, including multiplayer, game saves, and unit purchases.

Grand Theft Auto V Gameplay Trailer Teases "Grand Theft Auto Online"

Rockstar Games now offers the promised new gameplay video from Grand Theft Auto V, their upcoming open-world action sequel. That page seems to be a little choked up, but the clip is also available on the YouTube (NSFW). The clip shows off the game's environments, some cutscenes, and introduces the game's three "heroes." It also shows off gameplay, and how the player can switch between the viewpoints of the multiple protagonists. The clip concludes teasing "and then there's Grand Theft Auto Online, which we will show you properly soon."

Continue here to read the full story.

World of Warcraft PTR Updated - Microtransactions Confirmed

Battle.net has word that the new version 5.4 patch for World of Warcraft is now live on the Public Test Realm for Blizzard's MMORPG. They have a comprehensive set of patch notes outlining what's included, though they warn that the final patch notes could change by the time the patch leaves testing. The patch introduces a new siege, flexible raid difficulty, a redesigned arena system, and more. As previously indicated, version 5.4 will also introduce in-game microtransactions, and here's word from Blizzard on this development:

Thanks for all the feedback so far, everyone. We’re still pretty early in the exploration process, but we did want to go into more detail about our rationale for introducing an in-game store, as well as provide some insight into what you might ultimately see available there.

For players who are already interested in the in-game items we offer, such as Pet Store pets and mounts, the benefits of an in-game store are pretty clear. We think everyone would appreciate the convenience of being able to make such purchases without having to leave the game, and ultimately that’s our long-term goal for the system, though there’s quite a bit of work involved in retrofitting those existing items into the new system.

First, we’ll be testing the in-game store with some new kinds of items we’re looking into introducing (in Asian regions, at the outset) based on player feedback: specifically, an experience buff to assist with the leveling process, as well as an alternate way to acquire Lesser Charms of Good Fortune. We’ve had a lot of requests from players in different regions for convenience-oriented items such as these, and as with other new ideas we’ve introduced as WoW has evolved—including Pet Store pets, mounts, and more—your feedback plays a hugely important part in determining what we add to the game.

Ultimately it’s still too early in the process to make any final determinations about our plans, but in the meantime, we hope you’ll check out the in-game store once it’s implemented on the PTR and let us know what you think.

Titanfall Preorders Reveal $60 Price

It's never too early to accept customers' money, and keeping with that, Origin is already accepting preorders of Titanfall, even though Respawn's upcoming mech game is not due until the beginning of next year. This also answers the question of price point for the game, which is a AAA project, but is only going to support multiplayer play. The price point turns out to be a full USD $60.00 on Windows, Xbox One, and even the Xbox 360 edition, which will be a port. Thanks IncGamers.

Morning Screenshots

  • Sir, You Are Being Hunted on Kotaku. Thanks nin.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The alarm on my phone failed to go off this morning... or rather it seems to have gone off without making any noise, which is tantamount to the same thing. This was followed shortly by turning on my Kindle and having the backlight not come on. I played with the light setting and it came on, but then wouldn't go off when I shutdown the Kindle. I was worried something was really broken, but rebooting it solved the problem. Still, having two mobile devices go wacky in such a short span is a little weird. It makes me a little wary about using the car.

Mobile Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: World War 3.
Buccaneer.
Links: Konami Code. Thanks [H]ard-Forum.
Stories: German language now officially includes "shitstorm."
Science: Zombies offer key to understanding how crowds evacuate.
New research reveals alcohol impairs humans' ability to override their 'autopilot'.
New tissue engineering breakthrough encourages nerve repair.
Images: New Windows Surface 3.1.
Media: Portlandia - Nerd PSA. Thanks reddit.
Fart Attack.
Follow-Up: Beyond the Finish Line. Tale of a Boston Marathon bombing survivor. Thanks nin.
Remembering STS-135, the final Space Shuttle launch, 2 years ago today.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.



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