Updated: Nov 23, 2020 7:06 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Monday, Nov 23, 2020

World of Warcraft Shadowlands Launches

Blizzard celebrates today's 16th anniversary of World of Warcraft with the launch of Shadowlands, the eighth expansion for the MMORPG. The announcement has details on the various versions of the add-on, including ways to avoid the grind of leveling up characters to play the new content. Here's the Official Trailer and here's word:
In World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, the heroes of the Horde and the Alliance will come face-to-face with the mysteries of death as they journey through the next world’s wondrous realms. Along the way, they’ll forge a fate-changing pact with one of the Shadowlands’ four ruling Covenants, drawing upon their otherworldly power to confront the forces of the Jailer, the malevolent entity who holds dominion over the hopeless depths of the Maw. Players’ resolve will be tested as they seek to reclaim lost souls from the Jailer’s watchful eye and venture into the labyrinthine corridors of Torghast, Tower of the Damned, where long-imprisoned horrors—and legendary rewards—await.

“Shadowlands takes WoW players to a part of the Warcraft universe they’ve never set foot in before, and gives them opportunities to shape their characters’ destinies in completely new ways,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “Whether they’re exploring every facet of their chosen Covenant or creating their own legendary gear in the Tower of the Damned, we’re excited for players to discover the experiences waiting for them on the other side.”
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Path of Exile Plans Three December Events

Grinding Gear Games announces plans to cap off 2020 with three December events in Path of Exile, their action/RPG. They are holding a one-week Mayhem Event starting on December 4th, a one-week Endless Delve Event that begins on December 11th, and a three-week Heist Flashback Event that will get underway on December 18th. This will all lead up to the release of their version 3.13 expansion in January. You can read all about this in this forum post and here's a summary of how they will end the year, as they put it, with a bang, bang, bang:
Starting at 12PM PT on December 4th, a one-week Mayhem Event will kick off by taking classic Path of Exile modifiers from past leagues Anarchy, Invasion, Breach, Ambush, Torment, and Harbinger and turning them up to 11. Each area in Wraeclast will have one of the following scenarios: 20 Rogue Exiles, 20 Strongboxes, 20 Invasion Bosses, 20 Breaches, 20 Tormented Spirits, or 20 Harbingers, with mods changing every hour.

The one-week Endless Delve event kicks off a week later on December 11th at 12PM PT, taking place entirely in the Azurite Mine. In this unique event, players start their plunge into the perilous darkness with some starter gear. Players will have access to the passive points normally gained from quests and incur Kitava’s resistance penalties at various level thresholds. Players can ascend their character using the Altar of Ascendancy from within the Mine Encampment while Lilly Roth and Niko will be available to provide skill gems. Players will not have access to their Hideouts or any towns, which means they’ll be going solo against the darkness. Good luck with that.
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Rainbow Six Siege Sixth Guardian Charity Bundles

Ubisoft announces Sixth Guardian Charity Bundles for Rainbow Six Siege to benefit The AbleGamers Charity:
Rainbow Six Siege is no stranger to lending a hand for charitable causes, and with the launch of the Sixth Guardian program, players will be able to support charitable efforts through the game while netting exclusive gear for their Operators. The Sixth Guardian initiative kicks off in Operation Neon Dawn with the AbleGamers Operator bundle for Doc, with more bundles to be announced for future seasons. Best of all, 100% of net proceeds from the sale of the bundles will go directly to the organization they are in support of.

The first of the Sixth Guardian bundles will allow players to deck out heavily armored healer Doc with some headgear, a uniform, a weapon skin, and a weapon charm, all designed in collaboration with AbleGamers and themed around their logo and colors. The bundle launches alongside Year 5 Season 4, and will cost 1200 R6 credits through the in-game store, with all net proceeds (set at a minimum of $6) going to AbleGamers to support players with disabilities.

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition on GOG.com Tomorrow

GOG.COM tweets that Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition is coming to GOG.com tomorrow (thanks DSOGaming). Word is:
Horizon Zero Dawn™ Complete Edition is coming to http://GOG.COM on Nov 24 with a full GOG GALAXY 2.0 features support 🤘

Unravel the mysteries of a future Earth & explore a stunning open world in this award-winning action RPG!

Football Manager 2021 Reviews

Football Manager 2021 launches tomorrow, so you won't have Football Manager 2020 to kick around any more. A bunch of sites have had the chance to dip a toe into the new version of the sports management game, so here's a roundup of early reviews:

New Diablo III Season Begins

Blizzard announces that Season 22 is now live in Diablo III, bringing new challenges to their action/RPG sequel. This previous post is updated to reflect the launch, offering updated patch notes. Here's an overview of the central theme of the new season:
New Season Theme
Nephalem, do you feel it? All around, the shadows of the past linger, waiting for an opportunity to channel their power once more and aid you against the minions of hell. Will you stand up to the challenge and accept the aid of these erstwhile spirits? The Shades of the Nephalem await....

During Season 22, activating a Shrine or Pylon will spawn in a shadow clone of your class. The clone's power will scale with your character and will last for one minute or until death.

Shadow Clones in action
In addition, for the duration of Season 22, Kanai's Cube will have a fourth slot. You will have the option to choose any power for this one, but it won't stack with powers from other slots.

NG20+ This Week

Nordic Games announces their NG20+ festival begins this week, launching on Wednesday for all, with an early start tomorrow for pass holders. Here's the game plan:
Doubling up on NG20, May’s successful digital debut – which pass holders can once again enjoy on Tuesday, 24 November – this week’s conference celebrates twice the Nordic Game knowledge, emotion and business in 2020, as the NG20+ live stream kicks-off at 10:30 CET on Wednesday, 25 November from Slagthuset in Malmö.

Opening the conference with Unboxing NG20+, host and Nordic Game program director Jacob Riis, along with co-hosts and Sharkmob developers Sara Casén and Rasmus Kunstlicher, will guide the live audience through this week’s exciting (and extensive) speaker program, the many activities slated for the Nordic Game Discord channel, the new Chatroulette à la Nordic Game, the highly anticipated NGDC Season IV Grand Finals and much, much more.

Gym Tycoon Early Access

Gym Tycoon is now ready to pump... you up on Steam, offering an Early Access Windows game that allows you to run your own fitness empire. This industry has taken a hit in the age of COVID-19, but this lets you to run your gymnasium without being a super-spreader. There's a playable demo if you want a sample an a Launch Trailer with a look at what to expect. Here's a bit more before we hit the showers:
Gym Tycoon is the ultimate management game in which you can evolve your business into a unique world-renowned gym capable of attracting, training and turning it’s customers into true prize-winning fans.

Gym Tycoon is being launched in Early Access and it will stay like that for around 12 months. In the current version of the game you will be able to build and furnish your gym, attract customers, keep them satisfied, watch them develop and take part in contests.

The full version of Gym Tycoon will contain staffing, bars and wellness facilities as well as more furniture. Some features and content present in the game will have rough edges (e.g. missing animations) and missing features, refinements and balances will be added over time.
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Morning Multiplex

Out of the Blue

As my birthday fades into the rearview we turn our attention to the onset of Thanksgiving. This is typical, as my birthday is the last day in November that can't be Thanksgiving day (besides the 29th and 30th). This was not ideal when I was little, but nothing like the pain of kids born too close to the winter holidays. We considered a turkey breast dish for the occasion, but we ended up picking up a small turkey over the weekend. There's talk of setting up some sort of video conference with family members, which should be interesting.

Today's logo shows World of Warcraft, celebrating the launch of Blizzard's MMORPG 16 years ago on November 23, 2004. As with all our logos, this was designed by Walter "2" Costinak.

Obituary: Patrick Quinn, co-creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, dies. Thanks RedEye9.

Thankful Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Sunday, Nov 22, 2020

SimBus Announced

Publisher PlayWay announces plans for SimBus, another addition to their gigantic roster of simulations of everything under the sun. This is coming to Steam where it currently carries a TBA release date, probably because developer SimRail is still also working on completing SimRail 2021, their recently announced eponymous railway simulator. Neither project involves Maxis, though one wonders if these titles may eventually involve Maxis' lawyers. This trailer shows some retro and modern scenarios, including sexy speed-bump physics. The description follows:
SimBus is new, advanced bus simulator. Drive historic and modern vehicles from all parts of the world. Visit living cities of USA, Europe and China in different eras. Become bus driver, follow the timetable and meet other players on multiplayer mode.

Main features:

  • faithfully made historical and modern vehicles models
  • realistic street traffic
  • locations mapped using geodetic data
  • real-time weather conditions and full day-night cycle
  • popular steering wheels, gamepads support
  • authentic bus physics and sounds
  • interactive passengers
  • multiplayer mode
  • high graphic quality thank to use Unity technology

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Blue

Thanks to all of you who offered birthday wishes. I had a fine old time laying low after our shopping trip. Dinner was a whopping 2.25 lb bone-in ribeye that MrsBlue and I split, accompanied by store-prepared creamed spinach and packaged potato sticks. This made for a super low-fuss faux steakhouse dinner that took about 15 minutes to prepare. I nailed the medium-rare temp for the steak (hail Manstovia!) and it was all wonderful. I also didn't have to be concerned with how much wine I drank, since there was no drive home. I think this will be my birthday ritual from now on, as it was basically perfect.

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Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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