Archived News:

Thursday, Oct 07, 2010

City of Heroes Reactivation Weekend

City of Heroes Website has word that the reactivation weekend for Paragon Studios' superhero MMORPG is now underway, offering returning players the chance to play the new Going Rogue expansion. Word is:
It's time for another City of Heroes® Reactivation Weekend and this one is going to be better than ever! Why, you ask? Because old and new players alike will get a preview of the new content in City of Heroes Going Rogue™! For everyone's gaming pleasure, Praetoria will be accessible to ALL accounts in good standing whether they are brand new, have been reactivated or have remained active!

If you've let your City of Heroes account lapse, but would like to see what Going Rogue is like, we will reactivate your account for FREE. Because there is so much new content to explore, you're getting almost FIVE full days to experience it all!

Active and reactivated account holders will be able to try out our newest and most visually captivating power sets* while discovering a brand new parallel world and the intestine struggle ripping apart its denizens behind those sterile Praetorian walls**!

Killing Floor Free Content & New Character Pack

Tripwire Interactive announces the availability of a new free content pack for Killing Floor, their zombie shooter, as well as the release of a new PostMortem character pack as premium Killing Floor DLC. The free Incendiary content pack includes four new maps, a MAC-10 that fires incendiary rounds as a new Firebug weapon, a new money system, balance changes, as well as bug fixes. The PostMortem pack adds four new playable characters to the game's mix. In celebration, the game is for sale on Steam for 50% off, and a 50% discount also applies to the game's three character packs, including the new one.

StarCraft II Plans

A "developer's corner" post on talks about one-on-one game balance in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. They offer statistics showing the breakdown of how often each of the game's playable races wins when matched up against the other races, which demonstrate some apparent imbalances in the RTS sequel (what can you expect after rushing a game out after just seven years of development?). They outline some changes they are working on "to make zerg matchups feel and play better." Here's word:

  • We're increasing roach range. This will allow roaches to be more effective in large groups, giving the zerg more options in the mid to end game.
  • Fungal Growth will now prevent Blink, which will give zerg a way to stop endlessly Blinking stalkers which can be very challenging to deal with in large numbers.
  • The Barracks are going to require a Supply Depot, which will impact a lot of early terran reaper pushes.
  • The reaper speed upgrade will require the Factory, which is meant to weaken a lot of the early terran reaper attacks that dominate so many matches, especially in team games.
  • We're making a number of increases to the health of zerg buildings, which will make the very vulnerable zerg technology structures more resistant to raids. We don't expect these hit point changes to have a super significant impact on the game, but the current numbers felt way too low.

11 bit studios Launches

11 bit studios is a new developer founded by veterans of Metropolis Software and CD Projekt with the intention of creating "high-value, high-quality, digitally-distributed games" for Windows, iPhone, iPad, and more, and they say to expect the announcement of their debut project next week. "The games industry is constantly changing, and there is a tremendous opportunity for independent developers to succeed and to push the boundaries of gameplay on digital platforms," said Grzegorz Miechowski, Managing Director of 11 bit studios. "We’re going to create games that introduce unique gameplay mechanics, carry high production values and are, most importantly, fun for both hardcore gamers and more casual players."

Behind-the-Scenes at Gearbox has a trailer shot by Gearbox Software with a behind-the-scenes look at their operation originally shot for PAX, but now available for all. The clip is just for fun, offering tongue-in-cheek answers to all the questions asked.

Diablo III Interview

Designing Diablo III on is an interview with Blizzard's Jay Wilson about progress on Diablo III, the upcoming action/RPG. Topics include the addition of crafting to the game, the role of artisans, limitations to item customization, lessons learned from the launch of StarCraft II, randomizing loot, more involved resource mechanics, whether they are looking to advance the genre, and more.

Supreme Commander 2 Patched

Steam News announces the release of a new patch to automatically update Supreme Commander 2, the real-time strategy sequel from Gas Powered Games. The update includes significant changes to the way building queues are handed, which will require a new approach from players, as well as bug fixes, and more. Word on all this follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Din's Curse Beta Patch

The Dins Curse Patches Page has a new beta version 1.008 patch for Din's Curse, Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG. The beta patch is available for both the PC and Mac editions of the game, and this page has the patch notes, which has a number of items, most of which are related to polish.

Dogfighter Patched

Steam now offers a new automatic patch for Dogfighter with lots of changes for the aerial combat game. The change list follows. Continue here to read the full story.

More Steam Patches

A few smaller patches are now automatically available through Steam, where they have word on patches for Garry's Mod, Left 4 Dead 2, Nation Red, Sol Survivor, and X3: Terran Conflict.

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Would you? Could you? I'm thinking not, but who knows in an emergency? Thanks dakslf.

Paragon Studio Layoffs

There is a report of layoffs at Paragon Studios on saying as many as nine jobs were lost, possibly including that of senior animator/VFX lead Christopher Bruce. They have confirmation from NCsoft of job losses at this development studio NCsoft formed to support their acquisition of City of Heroes, the superhero MMORPG originally created by Cryptic Studios. They received the following statement about this from NCsoft, where they spin the cuts as a way to put a greater focus on the game: "In an effort to put a greater focus on the City of Heroes franchise, Paragon Studios is shifting resources within the studio. In order to optimize the refocus, there has been a reduction in force that has impacted a small amount of people. Paragon Studios is an integral part of the NCsoft West family and will continue to prosper, delivering the world’s most popular superpowered hero MMO game, City of Heroes, to fans around the world."

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Trailer

A new Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 Trailer shows some previously released cinematics from the upcoming Star Wars action game sequel. The clip also offers further insight into the game's story, which will feature a good deal of clone-on-clone violence. Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.

12 Million WoW Subscribers

Almost two years since Blizzard announced WoW had 11 million subscribers comes a new announcement saying World of Warcraft has now reached the 12 million subscriber plateau. They explain: "This milestone was reached in the wake of the mainland Chinese launch of World of Warcraft's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, and also as global anticipation continues to mount for the December 7 release of the game's third expansion, Cataclysm." They also answer the inevitable questions about the methodology for tabulating these numbers: "World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules."

Zenimax Media Raises Cash

Bethesda Softworks and id Software parent company Zenimax Media has scored a $150 million USD investment from private equity fund Providence Equity, reports the Los Angeles Times. They don't have specifics about what the cash is for other than it will help them expand production and publishing capabilities, and may fund further acquisitions.

Pitchford: DNF Cost Broussard $20-30M

Development of Duke Nukem Forever cost 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard 20 to 30 million dollars of his own money according to Randy Pitchford, reports Computer and Video Games. "George Broussard is not a poor man but I would estimate that he lost 20 to 30 million dollars of his own money on Duke Nukem Forever - I don't care who you are, that's a hell of a lot of money. He was committed to Duke to the point of insanity... and now Duke was dead," the Gearbox boss said at a London press event. "He decided he would rather have it burn that have a bad version of the game come out."

Ships Ahoy - Iron Cross for Hearts of Iron II

Iron Cross is a new independently developed expansion for Hearts of Iron II being distributed by Paradox Interactive under their Europa Engine Projects label. The add-on, available through GamersGate, requires ownership of Hearts of Iron 2 Armageddon, Hearts of Iron 2 Complete, or Arsenal of Democracy: A Hearts of Iron Game. Here's how they describe what it offers: "Developed by Irshappa, Iron Cross introduces a completely overhauled map with 4,000 new provinces, fresh scenarios as well an extended playtime of 1933 to 1964. New units and brigades, thousands of historical events, improved AI and an impressive new technology tree will ensure that Iron Cross elevates the Hearts of Iron II playing experience to unprecedented heights."

Team Fortress 2 & Counter-Strike: Source Patched

Steam announces a minor Counter-Strike: Source patch that's a hotfix for this automatic patch offering a much larger update with changes for Team Fortress 2 as well as Counter-Strike: Source and other Source engine games. Here's the change list for that: Continue here to read the full story.

Victoria II Patch

A new patch is now available for Victoria II, offering changes and improvements for the recently released strategy game, including the playable Babylon as free DLC. Download locations are listed on this page, where they warn: "if you have purchased a digital copy, use the patch provided by the same digital download portal to avoid compatability issues." Here are the changes: Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Driving to a suburban train station every day as I do when I drop off MrsBlue treats me to a view of some amazingly rude driving, but the other day took the cake. As I was driving out of the parking lot, I saw the incoming traffic was stopped by one of those jerks who couldn't be bothered to pull into the station to make their drop off, so he just held up everyone behind them to let out his passenger by the side of the road. This was impressive lack of consideration in and of itself, but he then proceeded to pull a sharp left to cut off the car in front of me as he executed a k-turn to leave, making our lane wait as well. He capped this by needing to make a left turn out of the parking lot, opposing 99% of the traffic flow, which required a several minute wait for him to find a break to get out of everyone's way. Priceless.

Considerate Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Cube Me: I am a transformer.
Crash Test Launcher.
Rolling Drones.
Link: Stupid Decisions in Movies.
Story: "The End of Coffee As We Know It".
Science: How Jeff Hohensee's Home Creates More Energy Than It Uses.
How Grunting Could Improve Your Tennis Game. Thanks Neatorama.
Images: Best Paradox Of The Day.
The Circle Of Life Personified.
Media: When Minecraft Meets Halo: Reach.
Special Day FAIL.
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