Updated: May 20, 2018 1:04 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Battlefield V Reveal Hype

The Battlefield V twitter account provides more hype for this week's Battlefield V reveal on Wednesday. You should pick the right tool for the right job, so twitter may not be ideal for a message that needs to be spread across five (or V) tweets. Here they are reunited for clarity:

1. A New Battlefield in a New Setting. It’s a brand-new experience and still everything you love about Battlefield – where every fight is different and brought to life across unexpected theaters of war.

2. Info Straight from the Developers (and @Trevornoah). Hear from @EA_DICE team members Andreas Morell, Lars Gustavsson, and Daniel Berlin as they fill you in on their #Battlefield V vision.

3. The Return of War Stories. DICE believes in both all-out multiplayer and single player, and the live reveal will have more info on the returning fan-favorite War Stories. Prepare for untold, compelling narratives in a new setting.

4. New Modes and Experiences. Operations in Battlefield 1 gave you the chance to take on epic journeys across several maps. Will this teamplay-focused experience be in the next Battlefield? You’ll know if you watch the live reveal.

V. Gameplay Changes. While we don’t want to scoop our own reveal, you can bet exciting gameplay changes are coming. Let’s just say you might want to avoid blinking during the Battlefield V Live Reveal.

Ghost Platoon Demo

Steam now offers a playable demo for Ghost Platoon, a fast-paced, Unreal Engine 4 first-person shooter for Windows (thanks Frans). This may signal an official release is near, as they say they expected the game's Early Access run to end in March. There are no details on the demo, so here is a description of the game:

Ghost Platoon is a fast-paced easy-to-pick-up PvP First Person Shooter with stunning visuals. The game is built on Unreal Engine 4, with much love and details in every part of the maps. Currently netcode is based on P2P technology. We, Polygon Arts and Toplitz Productions want to deliver the best quality experience. Even with extensive testing in closed sessions our beta team could never mirror the experience we could have with the whole community in our back from the beginning. With starting Ghost Platoon as an Early-Access-Game we want to avoid major problems, refine balancing of weapons and maps and create new maps hand in hand with the players. Overall the early access phase should guarantee a well-polished and community-driven experience.

Overwatch Petra Map Trailer

A new trailer from Blizzard promotes Petra, a new deathmatch map coming to Overwatch, as part of the second anniversary celebration for their multiplayer first-person shooter. This is set around an archeological dig in the game's Egyptian environment, and features a destructible floor. The description offers more details:

A group of archaeologists have begun an excavation and preservation project among the ruins of Petra, a new Deathmatch map that puts all heroes on their own, facing off against one another until one hero scores enough eliminations to win the match.

Take in Petra’s majestic views, from high vistas to twisting passageways and deep caverns. Travel along deadly cliffs, but be careful to not fall off! A dilapidated bridge stretches across the map, and the ground underneath it can crumble away to reveal a lethal pit. Hopping on a green jump pad will boost you up to Petra’s higher levels and unlock new strategic possibilities for you. . . .

Continue here to read the full story.

Diablo III Season 13 Ends Soon

Blizzard reminds us that Season 13 for Diablo III is ending soon, specifying June 3rd as the end date and June 15th as the start date for Season 14. Here's a reminder of the seasonal rewards that can still be earned in the action/RPG sequel:

Season 13 Rewards

  • All players who reach level 70 on a hero in Season 13 will unlock exclusive transmogrification appearances for helm and shoulders. These appearances will unlock immediately upon hitting level 70 on a Seasonal hero, and will be available on Seasonal and non-Seasonal heroes alike (even before the Season concludes). To access your new appearances, simply visit Myriam the Mystic and open the Transmogrification tab.
  • Players can also earn portrait frames and an exclusive cosmetic pet for completing various chapters of the Season Journey.

Steam Top 10

Here's a rundown of the bestselling titles on Steam for last week:

  2. Conan Exiles
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Wizard of Legend
  5. House Flipper
  6. The Forest
  7. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
  8. Stardew Valley
  9. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
  10. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

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Out of the Blue

There must be a blue moon on the way, or something, as we got out to the movies yesterday for the second time in a couple of weeks. We got out to see Deadpool 2, in spite of MrsBlue threatening to drag me to a chick flick to make up for our recent viewing of The Avengers. The movie turned out to be great. I was a little skeptical at first since the first Deadpool drew me in instantly in a way this did not. There are a point at the very beginning when I was doubting they'd recreate the same magic, but I quickly was fully immersed, and at one point had tears of laughter streaming down my face, which is not a response many movies can provoke. The other shoe is going to drop for me soon, though, as it sounds like my better half has a trip to see The Book Club lined up in our future.

R.I.P.: Longtime LG Group chairman Koo Bon-Moo dies at 73.

Pooled Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Galactic Alien Mars.
Links: A dozen years after near-death, Star Trek’s future may be stronger than ever. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: StarCrafts S6 Ep 11 Labotoss.
PERFECT MODDED BEAT SABER- Kaskade - Never Sleep Alone. Thanks TheFlyingPenguin.
This Squirrel's Battle With The Bird Feeder Set To 'Wrecking Ball' Is Pure Perfection. Thanks nin.
The Funnies: Cramming - FoxTrot.

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Imperator: Rome Announced

Paradox Interactive has several announcements today from their PDXCON. We'll start with the reveal for Imperator: Rome, a grand strategy game set during the heyday of Rome that allows the player to chart his or her own history. The announcement trailer is a nothingburger (unless you really dig statues), but they promise "glory and rewards" if you sign up to keep tabs on the game through the official website. Meanwhile, they do offer some details in the announcement:

What we think of as “western civilization” was not guaranteed. Imagine Alexander’s empire centralized under one successor. Italy might never have been unified under Roman rule, strangling a juggernaut in its cradle. A world without Caesar. Now you can explore these alternate histories in Imperator: Rome.

The masters of historical strategy have returned to the days of legions and legends. Paradox Development Studio is happy to announce Imperator: Rome, an upcoming grand strategy game set in the classical world from the glory days of Athens to the establishment of the Roman Empire four centuries later. Rule any nation on the most detailed Paradox map ever stretching from the Pillars of Hercules to the far reaches of of India, allowing you to build an empire to dwarf that of Alexander. Govern republics or monarchies, balancing the factions, and keeping the loyalty of your most capable generals.

Imperator: Rome’s features include:

  • Character Management: A living world of characters with varying skills and traits that will change over time. They will lead your nation, govern your provinces and command your armies and fleets. We also introduce our new, more human-like character art.
  • Diverse Populations: Citizens, freemen, tribesmen and slaves - each population with its own culture and religion. Whether they fill your armies, fill your coffers or fill your colonies, keep an eye on their happiness - your success depends on their satisfaction.
  • Battle Tactics: Choose your approach before battle to counter the stratagems of your foes.
  • Military Traditions: Each culture has a unique way of waging war. Romans and Celts have different options available to them. Unlock unique bonuses, abilities and units.
  • Different Government Types: Manage the senate in a Republic, hold your court together in a monarchy, answer to the clans in a tribal system.
  • Barbarians and Rebellions: Migrating barbarians may sack or settle your best land, while disloyal governors or generals can turn against you - taking their armies with them!
  • Trade: Goods provide bonuses to their home province. Will you take advantage of stockpiles for local strength or trade excess goods to spread the wealth around?
  • Provincial Improvement: Invest in buildings, roads and defences to make your kingdom stronger and richer.

Imperator: Rome is scheduled for a 2019 release.

Continue here to read the full story.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Age of Wonders: Planetfall, an upcoming strategy game from Triumph Studios, who are taking the turn-based strategy of their Age of Wonders into a science fiction setting. The accompanying trailer is probably the most satisfying of today's videos from Paradox announcements, but that's not saying much. The Age of Wonders: Planetfall Website is recruiting a community, promising special unlocks as more join in. Here's the announcement:

Paradox Interactive today announced Age of Wonders: Planetfall, a new upcoming strategy game from Triumph Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed Age of Wonders and Overlord series. Slated for release for PC and console in 2019, Planetfall will bring all the exciting turn-based empire building and immersive tactical combat of its predecessors to an all-new sci-fi setting.

In Age of Wonders: Planetfall, players will emerge from the dark age of a fallen galactic empire to craft a new future for their people. Exploring the planetary ruins and encountering other surviving factions that have each evolved in their own way, players will unravel the history of a shattered civilization. Fight, build, negotiate and technologically advance the way to utopia, in a deep single player campaign, on random maps and against friends in multiplayer.

“We’re thrilled to finally announce our latest endeavor alongside Paradox,” said Lennart Sas, Triumph Studios CEO. “Age of Wonders: Planetfall is roughly three years into development, running on a new generation of our multi-platform Creator Engine. While the setting is new, we’re confident that Age of Wonders fans will feel right at home exploring the remnants of the Star Union. Our aim is to make a game that greatly expands upon its predecessors, and still employs the core principles that made Age of Wonders such a success.”

Key Features:

  • Strategic Turn-Based Sci-Fi Combat - Perfect your combat strategy in intense turn-based battles that offer tactical challenges, a large cast of races, units with customizable weapons, and destructible environments.
  • Discover a Rich Science Fiction World - Uncover the history of the fallen galactic empire as you explore lush landscapes, and experience the emergent story. Encounter NPC factions and rival houses, and discover hidden technologies that can strengthen your society and give you advantage over enemies.
  • Planetary Empire Building - Create your own unique House, and build prosperous colonies through economic specializations of planetary sectors and governing doctrines.
  • Multiple Paths to Victory - Achieve your end goals through conquest, diplomacy or doomsday technologies. Engrossing options with NPC factions and rival Houses won’t make the decisions easy!

Continue here to read the full story.

Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury Announced

Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury is the title of a new add-on coming later this year, bringing what Paradox calls "one of the most wide-ranging expansions" to their strategic medieval RPG. The gameplay-free announcement trailer sets the stage for the religious battles this take on the Crusades will bring, and there's more on this product page. Here's word:

“One heart and one soul against the Christian name.” So went the message from Estonia after the routing of the Teuton invaders at Umera. The fires of faith burn hot, as local gods come under attack from a universal church that offers a stark choice - God or the Sword?

Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury is the newest and one of the most wide-ranging expansions to Paradox Development Studio’s beloved medieval grand strategy role-playing game. Take charge of a body of righteous warriors in Holy Fury, leading your army on a Crusade for the faith, or defending against attackers. Holy Fury takes its inspiration from the Northern Crusaders of Catholic Europe against its Pagan neighbors. Play either side in a new holy war.

In Holy Fury, Pagan rulers who reform their religion instead of converting will have a chance to design that new Reformed Paganism. A religion of peace or one of war? Will you be guided by the stars or bow to the whims of bloodthirsty gods? Who will lead this new church? Build a new creed on the ashes of the old ways.

Other features in Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury include:

  • Shattered and Random Worlds: Start your game on a fictional map of Europe as a small realm fighting for space, or on a random map with historical analogues for the great kingdoms of yore.
  • Warrior Lodges: Join a Pagan warrior lodge and raid your way up the ranks, unlocking access to powerful allies and greater military skill.
  • Legendary Bloodlines: Descendants of great warrior heroes will have bonuses that match the accomplishments of their forefathers, including historical bloodlines of Charlemagne, Genghis Khan and others..
  • Sway or Antagonize Your Neighbors: Try to win a reluctant vassal through charm and persuasion, or provoke someone you want to push into conflict.
  • Sainthood: Pious Catholics can become canonized, passing on their glory to their descendants and making their resting place a site of great value.
  • Coronations: Feudal kings and emperors must find clergy to crown them, since all power descends from the heavens.
  • New Crusade Events: Deeper gameplay for the religious wars of the era.
  • New Succession Laws: A Pagan Elder Council may have the final word in how a realm is divided among heirs, or a ruler may challenge his brother to combat to unify a realm.
  • And much more: Changes to religion, custom names for people or objects, deeper baptismal mechanics, lists of people you’ve killed, and other small changes for flavor and variety.

Like all Crusader Kings II expansions, Holy Fury will be accompanied by a major free update for all Crusader Kings players, including changes to how Crusades work.

Holy Fury is coming in 2018 for the suggested retail price of $19.99.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hearts of Iron IV Expansion and Anniversary Edition Announced

Paradox Development Studio announces that Hearts of Iron IV has sold more than one million copies since they launched the World War II strategy sequel. They celebrate the milestone by revealing plans for a new expansion and a new anniversary edition which will include the expansion as well as a "special historical diorama." You can find more details on this page, where they show off the $169.99 edition that paradoxically would most appeal to those one million players who already own the game. As for the new expansion, it is called Man the Guns, it focuses on naval action, and they say it will be "available soon." They accompany the news with this trailer which tells the stirring tale to the lead up to "The Battle for the Mexican Gulf," a naval engagement which, as far a we know, never occurred. Here's a product page, and here's the announcement:

Two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water, and free access to the nautical highways is essential to empire. In wartime, these highways are contested waters and you, or an ally, must be able to regulate that traffic. Carriers, convoys and battle cruisers -- these are the weapons of the sea. Your enemy is over the horizon. It is time to Man the Guns!

Man the Guns is the newest expansion to the best-selling grand strategy wargame, Hearts of Iron IV. Paradox Development Studio will have more to say in coming weeks, but, for now, our intelligence agents have been cleared to forward the following information:

Man the Guns adds greater depth to the naval side of the war, including the ability to design your warships in more detail. Add armor or heavier guns through a modular design. You can also refit older ships so that they are more in line with the latest technology..

Man the Guns also introduces new options for the democratic nations, including new paths for the United States and other great free nations. Explore alternate histories or fully mobilize the arsenal of democracy.

There are many more details to reveal, but, at the moment, these are state secrets.

And, as usual, Man the Guns will accompanied by a large, free update available to everyone who owns Hearts of Iron IV.

Hearts of Iron IV: Man the Guns will be available soon for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Continue here to read the full story.

Europa Universalis IV: Dharma Announced

Dharma is the name of a new expansion that Paradox is announcing today for Europa Universalis IV, their historical grand strategy sequel. This will add a new focus on the Indian subcontinent, but do not expect instant Dharma, as this won't be released until later this year. Here is their page for the add-on, here is the announcement trailer which does not caste any light on the game, but does make someone's fancy chess set tax deductible. Here's the announcement:

A hundred and fifty million souls speaking dozens of languages stand between European traders and unimaginable wealth. Diplomacy, war and subterfuge will be used on both sides to either preserve the power of the Mughal emperor and his dependents or to undermine that throne. Unite the Indian people, or divide and conquer. You write the history in Europa Universalis IV: Dharma.

Dharma is the newest expansion for Europa Universalis IV, Paradox Development Studio’s best selling history strategy game about the early modern era. Dharma puts greater emphasis on peacetime interactions, especially for the varied nations of India and those colonial powers who want to make their fortune in Asia. This government design feature is the most significant change in Dharma, with some exclusive reforms for many nations.

In Dharma, players will find a new level of customization for their governments, since not every monarchy should be the same! Design a kingdom or republic with new reforms and upgrades as the balance of priorities shifts around you.

Features in Europa Universalis IV: Dharma include:

  • Design Your Government: Unlock reforms that will define how you govern your kingdom or republic, earning free policies and boosting the power of some estates.
  • Reworked Policy System: Policies get a new look in the free update, but Dharma will include special bonuses that make this system even more attractive.
  • Trade Company Investments: Upgrade and improve the provinces tied to your trade companies, conferring bonuses both to the European master and neighboring Indian nations.
  • New Cossack Government: Exclusive for owners of The Cossacks expansion.
  • New Indian Mission Trees: Unique mission paths for the most important Indian sultanates and kingdoms.
  • New Indian Estates: Alongside a free update to the estate system, India gets five new castes. Raise the brahmins to reduce unrest in a province or install Jain governors for a boost to income while reducing manpower..
  • New Mughal Culture Bonus: The Mughal Empire can assimilate and accommodate newly conquered cultures with ease.
  • Charter Companies: Europeans can buy a foothold into trade charter zones in Africa and Asia, if they can find a prince that trusts them.
  • Upgraded Trade Centers: Invest in the development of your Centers of Trade
  • And more, including: new ways to suppress rebellion, the monsoon season, new uses for colonists in non-colonial development, scornful insults, multiplayer teams, new art, and a host of new achievements.

As usual, Europa Universalis IV: Dharma will be accompanied by a free update for all Europa Universalis IV players, including a major reworking of the game’s map of India, Tibet and Burma.

Europa Universalis IV: Dharma will be available later this year for a suggested retail price of $19,99..

Continue here to read the full story.

GTA Online Trap Door Opens

Rockstar Games announces a Trap Door update is live in GTA Online, offering players a crack at a new game mode plus bonuses and discounts all weekend in the multiplayer side of Grand Theft Auto V. Here's a bit:

The brand new Trap Door mode is the latest blood sport to sweep Los Santos, where teams strapped with an arsenal of weaponry compete on a rapidly shrinking floating platform high above the Pacific. Every kill banishes your enemies to respawn in the dreaded red zone – a purgatory area that only gives you scant seconds to escape back to the mainland before the rug is pulled out from under you and your fatal plummet begins.

Pride always comes before a fall, but in this deadly new Adversary Mode that fall is a few hundred feet into the ocean – and you’re probably dead before you hit the water. Get on top, stay on top and be the last squad to avoid being a drop in the bucket.

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Out of the Blue


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