Archived News:

Friday, Jul 09, 2010

Blizzard Relents on Real ID

Blizzard has backed off from its plan to require posters to the StarCraft II forums use Blizzard's Real ID system to use real names. The World of Warcraft Forum has a statement from Blizzard CEO & Cofounder Mike Morhaime, which reads in part: "We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums." He goes on to discuss they still have high hopes for improving the player experience with the Real ID system: "I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature."

New Left 4 Dead 2 Mutation

The Left 4 Dead Blog has word on this week's new mutation for Left 4 Dead 2, the zombified shooter sequel. It's called "Four Swordsmen of the Apocalypse," and yes, you are correct, this leaves the survivors armed only with swords. They offer the results of last week's poll, and pose this week's question, asking your favorite mêlée weapon.

H.A.W.X. 2 Trailer

The debut trailer from Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 shows off gameplay and cinematics from Ubisoft's upcoming aerial combat sequel. Here's the accompanying text: "As a member of the ultra-secret H.A.W.X. 2 squadron, the player is one of the chosen few, one of the truly elite. Using finely honed reflexes, bleeding-edge technology and ultra-sophisticated aircraft, gamers will dominate the skies. Developed by Ubisoft Bucharest, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 is scheduled to ship fall 2010." The clip is embedded below. Continue here to read the full story.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Testing Underway

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website announces that game testing is underway for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the first testers are already using the force and seeing if they can make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. Word is: "Game Testing is an on-going process being rolled out in several phases. These phases began with smaller, more focused tests with community members from North America, and later will expand to other territories. Users selected for the test program will be notified via email with more information on accessing the Game Testing Portal. If you’ve not been chosen yet, you may be selected in the next wave!" They also stress it's not too late to participate, urging those interested in testing to join their community to become eligible, and those who are already members to sign up through their Game Testing Portal. Their Game Testing FAQ has more details on how all this will operate.

Sid Meier's Civilization V SE Plans

2K Games announces plans for a special edition of Sid Meier's Civilization V, the upcoming turn-based strategy game. In addition to the game itself, the SE will offer five metal figurines based on Civilization V units, a two-disc CD (ask your parents) soundtrack of game score selections, a "Behind the Scenes at Firaxis on Civilization V" DVD, and a 176-page hardcover art book. The announcement we received was from the UK, putting the SE price at £59.99, compared with the price of the regular edition on which is £39.99, but currently on sale for £24.99.

Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War Announced

Matrix Games announces Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War, an upcoming historical turn-based strategy game with a title that just rolls off the tongue. The game does not yet have a projected release date, but here's the official description: "Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War is a new and innovative turn-based strategy game that puts you in command of the Carthaginian military during a period of total war over land and sea with the young Roman Republic. With this military juggernaut of the ancient world at your disposal, you will vie for control over Italy, Carthage, Spain and the Mediterranean Sea using a combination of strategic political maneuvering and sheer tactical skill both on land and sea. Play consists of two layers; the first is a strategic layer where you must prudently steer your forces to the destruction of Rome’s army and the ultimate destruction of the Republic and city itself. At your disposal are a variety of unit types and historical commanders from which to form your armies. On the tactical scale, when meeting the enemy in battle, skilled leadership and a knack for war come into play as you use a simple but engaging battle system to best your opponents."

Pirates of the Burning Sea: Power & Prestige Open Beta

The Pirates of the Burning Sea Website announces that open beta testing of the Power & Prestige expansion for Pirates of the Burning Sea is now underway, expanding the naval combat MMORPG with new content that expands upon its port conquest system. The beta is open to players of the game, but if you are not a subscriber you can also test the add-on by first signing on for their 14-day Free Trial.

The Sims 3 Patches

The Sims 3 Website now offers four new patches to update the ever-expanding array of expansions for the latest installment in the lifestyle simulation series. The version 1.14 patch for the base game is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls, the version 2.9.10 patch for The Sims 3: World Adventures is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls, the version 3.5.8 patch for The Sims 3: High-end Loft Stuff is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls, and the version 4.2 patch for The Sims 3: Ambitions is mirrored on The Patches Scrolls.

City of Heroes Issue 18 Details

There's an Issue 18: Shades of Gray Overview on the City of Heroes Website with details about the next patch for NCsoft's superhero MMORPG. The update will add a new Tips System, consolidate the Auction House for all alignments, add trading between alignments, Mission Architect additions, new hardware support, a new Cathedral of Pain trial, and more.

Op Ed

BitMob - Monster of the Week: Video Games and the Cycle of Censorship.
In the '90s, the video game industry continued to draw in new gamers, and graphics had improved to the point that it was no longer possible to convince even the most gullible of parents that a dead game character's death spasms were actually a celebratory dance of some kind. Games like Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Grand Theft Auto gave parents, politicians, and self-described experts all new reasons to fear for the future of humanity.

MacGamer - A Real ID editorial about a Real ID editorial.
What the article fails to shed enough light upon, however, is that the kid was an epic jacknozzle... and it seems those who are warring against Real ID use words like "retaliation" without understanding that, if you're not an assclown, there's nothing to retaliate against. Maybe if you're getting flowers and dildos sent to your real-life address (and you aren't, you know, ordering them yourself) it's time not to ask why Real ID is happening... but to ask why you're the kind of person who behaves such a way that others can't stand you.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Rules For Games- Do & Don’t #2. Thanks Morris.
Do: agree to an industry wide standard on the location of save games. Save games are not a secret. They are not a treasure. They’re something most right-thinking people want to be able to preserve after a game’s uninstalled. They’re something many people need to get at when building a new machine, or simply continuing the game on another machine. They aren’t a DRM risk. We just want to know where our save games are, and we don’t want to have to trawl through seventeen different possible locations in the very bowels of Windows, trying to discern which lunatic name you’ve filed them under. When I install a game you let me choose the install location. Can you guess where I want the save games to go to? Here’s a hint. It’s not in C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Roaming\Documents\Programs\Features\Gardening\Knitwear\Publisher\Developer\GameName\Sausages\X34265\ - Stealth-Action to Action-Stealth: Evolution or Abandonment? Thanks Ant.
It would be an easy argument to make that stealth-action is going the way of the dodo. One needs only look at the newest Splinter Cell title, Conviction. The heavy stealth element and sneak-focused mapmaking have given way to missions centered on smoothly kinetic action pieces. The new Sam Fisher is more Jason Bourne than the aging, acerbic agent we’d known in the past, and though the game carries with it recognizable elements such as Michael Ironsides’ character-defining voice work, the game typifies the changes that more and more franchises seem to be adopting: the mixing of genres with a heavy emphasis on quicker, more impactful gameplay.

BitMob - Backtracking: You'll Need the Blue Key to Read this Article.
Jon explains his frustration with Doom's approach to exploration and hails Metroidvanias for enticing the player by going the extra mile.

BitMob - Press B to Hit: Splinter Cell: Conviction's Most Shocking Scene.
Andrew looks at what happens when Splinter Cell: Conviction's narrative makes him do something he isn't comfortable with. (Minor spoilers.)

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Well LeBron went where expected, leaving a lot of unhappy fans in all the places he did not choose. I find the way this all played out fascinating, as it seemed like the whole run-up and TV special were to protect his "brand," but I think that, regardless of intent, it had the opposite effect, and he has harmed his image pretty badly. Of course lesser players have redeemed themselves with the public after worse offenses, so I doubt it's irreparable.

Repairable Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: MARDEK RPG- Chapter 3. Thanks Jay is Games.
Zombie Mice Annihilation.
Metal Slug: Death Defense.
Links: How We Really Spend Our Time: 13 Pie Graphs.
Amazing concept cars.
11 biggest sci-fi blockbusters that still managed to LOSE money.
Stories: From metal to money- Making America's coins.
Wives spend six days a year nagging their husbands, study shows. Thanks Neatorama.
'Beavis and Butt-Head' creator Mike Judge working on 30 new episodes.
Science: Advance in Quest for HIV Vaccine.
Black hole blows huge gas bubble. "It's Mega Maid. She's gone from suck to blow!"
Beetroot 'may cut blood pressure'.
Images: PRINCESS?!!
8-Bit Costume.
The Geekiest Bikinis Of All Time.
Probably Bad News: Education Fail.
Media: New Apple Friend Bar.
If Videogames had a Super Easy Mode.
Coraline vs. puppeteer- how stop-motion animations are made. Thanks dakslf.
The Funnies: Teachers in 1960 vs 2010. Thanks Digg.
Follow-up: BP's Operating Officer- 'We've Been Going Flat Out'.
Russian sub 'could stop oil leak'.
Mark Twain's Autobiography Reveals Shocking View Of Christianity, Criticism Of Roosevelt.
World Cup Ball Gets Red Card From NASA Researchers.
China 'rocket farmer' wins cash in demolition dispute.
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