Updated: Aug 13, 2018 6:50 pm Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
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Monday, Aug 13, 2018

Get Insurgency Free on Steam

To celebrate next month's launch of Insurgency: Sandstorm next month, New World Interactive announces they are giving away the original Insurgency on Steam. For the next two days players who add the Windows, Linux, and macOS shooter to their libraries will get to keep it forever. Further, this will entitle those players to the loyalty bonus that takes an additional 10% off the price of the sequel. Here's the deal:

In advance of the release of Insurgency: Sandstorm on September 18th New World Interactive invite all First Person Shooter fans to try the game which inspired the much-anticipated sequel, Insurgency: Sandstorm.

Starting at 10:00 AM PDT today the original 'Insurgency' will be FREE TO KEEP on Steam for 48hrs. Simply install and play the game during the 48hr window and it is yours to keep forever.

Owning the original Insurgency on Steam will also entitle fans to 10% off Insurgency: Sandstorm in addition to the 10% Pre-order discount currently on offer for a combined 20% off, bringing the cost down from $29.99 to $23.99

About Insurgency
Insurgency is an intense, immersive, hardcore, tactical shooter based on the award winning source engine mod 'Insurgency: Modern Infantry Combat'.

Take to the streets for intense close quarters combat, where a team's survival depends upon securing crucial strongholds and destroying enemy supply in this multiplayer and cooperative Source Engine based experience. The follow-up game to the award-winning Source mod, Insurgency is highly competitive and lethal, striking a balance between one-life gameplay and prolonged action.

Don't Delete the Black Ops 4 Beta

Activision Support tweets a suggestion that we not delete the client from the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 multiplayer just yet (thanks USgamer). Turns out this will be utilized by a beta for the Blackout battle royale mode next month:

Thanks for playing the Black Ops 4 Multiplayer Beta! We recommend not deleting the Beta – the file will be updated in September for the Blackout Beta.

The Battle for Azeroth Begins in World of Warcraft

Blizzard announces The Battle for Azeroth is underway with the release of the new expansion for World of Warcraft. The announcement covers details on the Standard, Digital Deluxe, and Collector's Editions of the MMORPG expansion, and the following outline of what it brings to the party:

The tensions between the Horde and the Alliance have reached the breaking point, and the entire world of Azeroth is now consumed in the fires of war. Battle for Azeroth™, the seventh expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s internationally acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft®, is now live!

Today’s launch signals the start of a new era of all-out warfare between the Alliance and the Horde, as players around the globe set out on a vital mission to ensure that Azeroth’s future belongs to their faction. Defenders of the Alliance are called to the kingdom of Kul Tiras, ancestral home of Jaina Proudmoore, to enlist the aid of their legendary navy, while champions of the Horde must seek allies in the distant empire of Zandalar, home of the ancient Zandalari trolls. As part of the campaign ahead, heroes will clash for critical resources in myriad Island Expeditions; draw upon the strength of Azerite, lifeblood of the planet, to unlock new powers using the Heart of Azeroth artifact; prepare for a massive confrontation on the Warfront of Stromgarde; recruit new Allied Races to bolster their faction’s cause; and much more.

“Battle for Azeroth builds upon nearly 25 years of faction rivalry, history, and pride to challenge World of Warcraft players with the question of what it truly means to be a member of the Alliance or the Horde,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This expansion is loaded with new content and features that draw upon that core conflict, but today’s launch is just the beginning—we’re excited for players to experience everything we have planned as the Battle for Azeroth unfolds.”

PAYDAY 2 Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Overkill Studios Announces they are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the release of PAYDAY 2 with the launch of a week-long event called ICEBREAKER in the heist shooter. This dedicated site outlines the first day of a five day celebration that will play out over the week. Here's word:

Exactly today, 5 years ago on the 13th of August 2013, PAYDAY 2 officially released on steam. What better way to celebrate such anniversary by kicking off an event?

ICEBREAKER has officially started and guess who arrives first? Joy is making her pc debut and directly proofs herself useful by helping the gang with the auction invitation. What appears to be an impossible task to most of us, looks like easy cake when she starts playing her keyboard just like a piano! Joy comes with her own “Hacker” Perk Deck, Akimbo Signature SMG and her Hackaton Melee weapon.

More information can be found on the official event website: ICEBREAKER [www.overkillsoftware.com]

To all the collectors out there, don’t worry, we didn’t forget. Today, alongside Joy and to celebrate the 5th anniversary of PAYDAY 2, we release the Golden Wolf Mask! [www.overkillsoftware.com]

Europa Universalis IV: Dharma Next Month

Paradox Interactive announces a September 6th release date for Dharma, the upcoming Jenna Elfman-free expansion for Europa Universalis IV. Owners of the base game who don't become dharma chameleons are still going to get something out of this, as the add-on will be accompanied by a patch: "As usual with Paradox expansions, Dharma will be accompanied by a large update, free for all Europa Universalis players. The Mughals update will include a more detailed map of the Indian region, a renewed Estate system, and a new approach to Policies." Here's a new trailer and here's more:

The riches and intrigue of Indian politics are the focus of Europa Universalis IV: Dharma, the newest expansion to Paradox Development Studio’s classic historical grand strategy game. Will you defend the subcontinent against foreign commercial empires? Can you set up a European trading empire in one of the richest lands on the globe?

You will get your chance to build a new world-spanning empire on 06 September, 2018, less than a month from today.

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.

Continue here to read the full story.

F1 2018 Gameplay Trailer

A new trailer from F1 2018 shows off more gameplay from the next installment in Codemasters' Formula One racing series. The clip illustrates the "huge leap forward" the visuals take over F1 2017 after a "visual rebrand." Here's more on the game, which is due to take the green flag on August 24th:

Codemasters® released the second official gameplay trailer for F1 2018 today, the official videogame of the 2018 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™. Featuring stunning in-game footage and the new official F1 theme music, expertly composed by Brian Tyler, the latest trailer is available to watch now at www.youtube.com/formula1game.

Commenting on the game’s recreation of the real-world sport, F1 2018’s Art Director Stu Campbell said, “F1 has undergone a huge visual rebrand this year. It has an exciting, fresh new look and we are looking to bring that into the game as much as we can. Our aim this year was to create as big a visual leap forward as we possibly could to create a more authentic and realistic experience. When you see it side by side with the 2017 game I think you will see a huge leap forward.”

F1 2018 features all the official teams, the drivers and all 21 circuits of the thrilling 2018 season, including Circuit Paul Ricard and the Hockenheimring. The current season’s offerings also includes 20 iconic cars from the history of the sport. F1 2018 will release onto PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including the Xbox One X, and Windows PC on Aug. 24.

Continue here to read the full story.

Fallout 76 Video

This video is Bethesda's presentation from the just-concluded QuakeCon 2018 for Fallout 76, their upcoming RPG sequel. Rather than a gameplay video or a cinematic this is one of their animated clips from the Vault-Tec Corporation featuring Vault Boy. Here's the description of the clip:

You Will Emerge! Brought to you by the Vault-Tec American Tricentennial Committee. Today’s episode, “Being a Better You: Success is in the Cards”.

What role will you fulfill in life outside of Vault 76? The latest episode helps Dwellers new to the outside world choose a path or many!

Fallout 76 arrives worldwide on November 14, 2018.

Continue here to read the full story.

League of Legends Reveals New Nunu

A post on the League of Legends website tells the heartwarming tale of a boy and his yeti, introducing a rework planned for Nunu & Willump on Riot's MOBA. This trailer offers a whimsical look at the two besties in action, offering a cinematic look at some of their reworked kit. It also answers a burning question in its description: "What’s the best way to see the world? On the back of your best yeti buddy, of course!" Continue here to read the full story.

GRIS Announced

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Nomada Studio announce GRIS, a serene platformer coming to Windows and Switch later this year. This is heavy on atmosphere, as seen in this reveal trailer, but may be light on gameplay, as suggested by the announcement: "Free of danger, frustration or death, players will explore a meticulous designed world brought to life with delicate art, detailed animation, and an elegant original score. Through the game light puzzles, platforming sequences, and optional skill-based challenges will reveal themselves as more of Gris’s world becomes accessible." Here's the full announcement:

Nomada Studio and Devolver Digital have announced GRIS, a serene and evocative narrative experience, for Nintendo Switch and PC later this year. Free of danger, frustration or death, players will explore a meticulous designed world brought to life with delicate art, detailed animation, and an elegant original score. Through the game light puzzles, platforming sequences, and optional skill-based challenges will reveal themselves as more of Gris’s world becomes accessible.

GRIS is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality. As the story unfolds, Gris will grow emotionally and see her world in a different way, revealing new paths to explore using her new abilities.

Based in Barcelona, Nomada Studio is composed of experienced developers and artists outside of video games with disciplines in illustration, painting, and graphic design. Featuring art from noted artist Conrad Roset and the music of Berlinist, GRIS is their debut title as a team.

GRIS will be playable at gamescom and PAX West later this month. Follow @nomadastudiobcn and visit nomada.studio for more news and information on the game.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Evening Interviews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

MONSTER HUNTER WORLD Sales Rise, Reviews Fall

The Steam Game and Player Statistics page shows the PC edition of MONSTER HUNTER WORLD, is regularly attracting well over 300,000 concurrent players since launching last week. VG247 reports that a story on Steam Spy behind a paywall says the game has sold between two and five million units since launch. This serves as testimony to both the popularity of the game, and how badly accuracy of Steam sales estimates have become following recent backend changes by Valve. It's not all good news for CAPCOM's newest release, however, as DSOGaming reports that the PC version was permanently removed from WeGame in China by Tencent after complaints that it is "not fully comply with relevant regulatory and policy requirements." They also report that issues with the ports have sent its approval rating on Steam plummeting below the midpoint. They note the irony of this in light of previous claims that the port was being delayed to provide a "really great optimized PC experience."

Rainbow Six Siege Free Weekend Plans

Ubisoft announces a free weekend for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege will get underway on Thursday. This will offer free access to all the operators and maps in the tactical shooter. They also say that any progress earned can be carried over into the full game, which will go on sale at that time. Here are the details:

WHEN CAN I PLAY?

You can access the Free Weekend during the following times for each platform:

PC: August 16th 17:00 UTC - August 19th 20:00 UTC.
XBOX ONE: August 16th 07:01 UTC - August 20th 06:59 UTC.
PLAYSTATION 4: August 16th 13:00 UTC - August 20th 13:00 UTC.

HOW CAN I ACCESS RAINBOW 6 FREE WEEKEND?

PC: Go to your Uplay PC Launcher.
XBOX ONE: The Free Weekend will be available to both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Live Silver users for the first time! To join in on your Xbox One, visit the Rainbow Six Siege product page on the Xbox Store.
PLAYSTATION 4: Join the Free Weekend on your PlayStation 4 by visiting the Rainbow Six Siege product page on the PlayStation Network. PlayStation Plus membership is required to play online.

CAN I PRELOAD THE GAME?
Yes, preload is available for this Free Weekend only on PS4 & PC (UPLAY). You can preload the game starting August 14th. Xbox One and PC (STEAM) will be available at the start of the Free Weekend.

CAN I PLAY WITH MY FRIENDS DURING THE FREE WEEKEND?
Of course. You can play with anyone who already owns the game or is enjoying the Free Weekend like you are.

Continue here to read the full story.

Elea Next Month

Publisher SOEDESCO and developer Kyodai announce a September 6th release date for Elea, the science fiction, first-person adventure that entered Early Access on Steam back back in April. The game will also come to Xbox One on that date, and preorders for the console edition are already available. They celebrate the news with a story trailer, and offer this description of what to expects that invokes some of great authors from the genre:

Kyodai, the developer of Elea, got the inspiration for the game’s narrative from the books of classic sci-fi writers such as Stanislaw Lem, Arthur C. Clarke and Frank Herbert. Being big fans of story-driven first person games, they asked themselves at the early stages of development what innovation Elea could offer to the genre besides its unique and touching story.

They noticed that many first person adventures offer just one main distinct location, with one specific visual style. Inspired by their love of old-school platformer games, they decided to take a completely different approach for Elea. In classic platformer games the environments can vary from a lava level to a snow level, followed by a jungle level for example. The developers wanted to give Elea this same incredible variety in surroundings, to make it feel like an enormous journey through time and space.

Continue here to read the full story.

Total War: Three Kingdoms Campaign Map Revealed

A new trailer from Total War: THREE KINGDOMS shows off how ancient China is depicted in the upcoming installment in Creative Assembly's strategy series. This is a cinematic clip, but it's created entirely using in-engine footage. This introduces warlord Sun Jian, another of the game's faction leaders, and SEGA offers some details on the clip and the character:

Discover the beauty of ancient China in the latest Total War: THREE KINGDOMS cinematic trailer, which features the first glimpse of the game's spectacular campaign map. This stunning video showcases a land of vibrant colours and rich detail, but one plagued by tyranny and turbulence.

In this time of chaos, the heavens shine on warlord Sun Jian, The Tiger of Jiangdong, when he finds the fabled Imperial Seal: a legendary artefact said to find its way to the true emperor. Believing destiny has chosen him to rule, he gathers his children to his side. The time is nigh to bring an end to conflict, and unify a land divided.

Historically, the Sun family played a vital role in the Three Kingdoms period by establishing the kingdom of Sun Wu; and this is where their dynastic journey began.

The next historical title in the Total War™ strategy series will launch in Spring 2019.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Over the years I've cleared a couple of abandoned mud wasp nests from the BlueTower. They're small and easy enough to scrape off a wall, since they basically seem like dried mud. However, the one MrsBlue recently found was different, as it was brown and sealed instead of gray and open. This lead to concerns that scraping at it would lead to some sort of live wasp encounter I wanted no part of. So we called back the exterminator that recently dealt with our carpenter bee situation who cleared this up easily. It was only after the fact that I did a little more research to learn that the mud dauber wasps that make such nests are not aggressive, and basically harmless to humans. They are also helpful at controlling other pests, so there is an argument for just leaving them be (bee?). But this was right over the front door of the house, and however benign they may be, these wasps look at least as scary as the more aggressive varieties. Now I feel bad, but leaving the nest there would terrorize visitors, so it's probably best that we had it removed.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Rift Knight.
Stories: Aretha Franklin Gravely Ill from Cancer.
Carr Fire evacuees find fish alive, fed by Cal Fire firefighters.
Crocs no longer making Crocs. Fallout from the Mario Batali scandal gets serious.
Science: Should the U.S. Air Force Bomb Forest Fires? Space Force should nuke 'em from orbit. Thanks Slashdot.
Solar-powered aircraft stays aloft for record-breaking 25 days.
Growers Are Beaming Over The Success Of Lasers To Stave Off Thieving Birds. Real men use photon torpedoes. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: Ralph Breaks the Internet - Sneak Peek.
We Hope Someday We Can Love Something As Much As This Sheep Loves Bouncing On A Trampoline.
Aphex Twin Mindmelting Video T69 Collapse.


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Sunday, Aug 12, 2018

Bethesda Blocked Game Sale Because of "New" Designation

Eurogamer follows up yesterday's report of Bethesda preventing the sale of a copy of The Evil Within 2 on the Amazon Marketplace. We mentioned this was a "used" game sale, but the shrink-wrapped copy of the game was actually listed as "new." That distinction is key, as Pete Hines tells them Bethesda does not have an issue with used game sales. The problem was advertising this copy as new, since that carries with it guarantees and assumptions. Here's word:

"He's not trying to sell a secondhand game, he's trying to sell a new game," he told me. "He was listing the product as if it was new. All we're saying is if it's a previously owned product, you have to sell it as a previously owned product - you cannot represent it's new because we have no way to verify what you're selling actually is new.

"You could have opened it up, played it for five hours, taken whatever inserts or stuff was in there, put it back in shrink wrap and said, 'Hey this is new.' It's not new - you owned it, you bought it, so just list it as a used title. That's it, that's the end of the argument.

"We're not trying to stop anybody from selling used games," he clarified. "People sell used games all the time - we understand that, we're not trying to stop that.

"He, specifically, was trying to list it as a new product as if he was GameStop or Best Buy... He's not a company, he's not a distributor... and we don't want our customers buying stuff from a vendor like Amazon where they think they're buying a new product and suddenly finding out they got a disc that's been played, somebody kicked across the floor and scratched and 'oh they took out the insert that had the special items I was supposed to get for buying this'."

Rise of the Tomb Raider Trailer

SQUARE ENIX released a new trailer on Friday to show off some jungle gameplay in Rise of the Tomb Raider, the upcoming return of Lara Croft (thanks Dark Horizons via Ant). The clip also includes thoughts on the topic from Game Director Daniel Chayer-Bisson, who talks about Lara "becoming one with the Jungle," as a way of overcoming the superiority of the forces she is battling. Here's word:

Game Director Daniel Chayer-Bisson introduces an all-new gameplay clip that highlights how Lara will become one with the jungle to survive and stop a Maya apocalypse. Outgunned and outnumbered - Lara must use everything she's learned from the brutal environment against Trinity.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be available on September 14th, 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC/Steam. Preorder now at TombRaider.com.

Continue here to read the full story.

Steam Top 10

Valve's report of last week's bestselling titles on Steam is 30% Monster Hunter World, as CAPCOM's new game sold well as a Deluxe Kit, in all caps, and even in upper/lower case:

  1. MONSTER HUNTER: WORLD
  2. Monster Hunter: World
  3. PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS
  4. No Man's Sky
  5. Monster Hunter: World - Deluxe Kit
  6. Dead Cells
  7. Sniper Elite 4
  8. Grand Theft Auto V
  9. Overcooked! 2
  10. DOOM

On Sale

Sunday Patches

Sunday Previews

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Metaverse

Sunday Tech Bits

Sunday Safety Dance

Hardware Reviews

  • Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Router on Vortez.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Idris Elba on James Bond- ‘Don’t Believe the Hype.’ Then he proceeds to add to the hype. Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery, but I think Idris is great, and could continue to breathe a little new life into the franchise, just as Craig has.

R.I.P.: V.S. Naipaul, Nobel Prize-winning author, dies at 85.

Hyped Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: How to Fall in Love With Art.
Story: Fan puts on full pads, tries to practice with Steelers.
Science: French park trains crows to pick up litter. Easier to train a crow to throw out butts than a person.
Eye Disease Link to Alzheimer's Seen.
Media: Kid vs Fence.
Opossums Enjoying Bananas. Nom nom nom.
When you see your friend causing trouble. Good looking out.
The Funnies: Sun and Shoes - Beatrice the Biologist.


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