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Friday, Aug 26, 2011


Warlock Announced

PC Gamer has word from PAX Prime where Paradox Interactive has announced Warlock: Master of the Arcane, a turn-based strategy game. This trailer teases the project, and says it's "coming soon." Here's a bit:

This global turn-based strategy game puts players in the robes of a Grand Mage fighting for the control of Ardania. While territory and control is nice, the ultimate goal is to be the one and only mage with the title of Warlock. You will have to utilize strategy, armies and dozens of spells in a symphony of doom to attain victory. If being an all powerful being isn’t something you are interested in, battle on behalf of one of eight gods.

The Secret World Beta Signup and Business Model Details

The countdown timer on The Secret World Website has reached zero, so presumably beta signups for Funcom's upcoming conspiratorial MMOG are now underway. Also, Massively has word on the game's business model, saying it will feature both subscriptions and a cash shop, as noted in this forum post, which reads:

At the presentation we revealed that The Secret World will feature a traditional paid subscription model combined with micro-transactions through an in-game store. This information was provided as part of Funcom's financial forecast going forward, and no further details were given due to the fact that we are still working on finalizing the model.

We are very excited about introducing an in-game store already from launch. Being able to integrate the store into the actual design of the game pre-launch gives us opportunities you do not normally get when introducing a store after you have launched a game.

We will be revealing more information about the store at a later date, but what we can say for now is that it will focus mostly on convenience item and character customization items such as clothing - of which The Secret World will offer a ton of variety! As developers we are being very careful in making sure that items purchased through the store does not give players any unfair advantage against those who do not use the in-game store.

Character power in The Secret World will be determined by how well you play the game, not how much money you are willing to put into it. Funcom already has considerable experience with in-game stores such as these and we have previously implemented these systems without damaging game balance in our other games, and as such we are confident the same will be true for The Secret World.

Valve on Steam Trade-Ins

An interview with Valve's Gabe Newell on Eurogamer talks with the Valve boss about a variety of topics, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the future of the company. An item of particular interest, as noted by GameSpot, is his answer to whether he foresees ever allowing gamers to trade-in used games on Steam. Here's his response:

We need to hire an economist, because we keep bumping up into these issues. You're starting to look at weird issues like currency and inflation and productivity and asset values and liquidity of asset categories. We just wish we were smarter about this stuff. We're reading frantically. We're brushing up, and all we're doing is convincing ourselves that we're more stupid. Half the time people are saying, oh, well, illiquid assets inherently have a penalty, so this argues for trade-ability, that we're essentially becoming a Russian currency model in the 1970s. Everybody races off to try to read papers on the implications of that.

We think we want to move in the direction where everything is an item of exchange. We just aren't totally sure how to do that right. We're sure there are economists out there who understand this really well. We feel like we're this third-world developing country. We've discovered rocks! And we've discovered sticks! And there's this other thing out there and we should move our economy in that direction. There must be somebody at the World Bank who can tell us what we ought to be doing. We just don't know what that is yet.

XCOM E3 2011 Playthrough - Changes Detailed

This trailer offers the E3 2011 playthrough demo for XCOM, with more than 20 minutes of gameplay and cinematic footage from the upcoming FPS installment in the classic UFO strategy series (thanks GayGamer). This includes an introduction from narrative director Jordan Thomas explaining the "pretty aggressive design changes" they've made to the game over the past year because it just wasn't "XCOM" enough for the hardcore fans of the original games at 2K Marin, who serve as our creative conscience." Here's that intro:

Hey folks,

So we've been flying under the radar with XCOM, for about a year -- and felt that it was about time to put together a little video update in order to lift the curtain on the reasons why.

2K Marin had just finished working on BioShock 2, and that game will always be deep in our DNA -- but our first crack at adapting XCOM to a more personal, real-time experience was way too much within our creative 'comfort zone'. It was kind of a run-and-gun affair, without a lot of focus on the command of your squad, or indeed on tactical play itself.

Candidly, it just wasn't "XCOM" enough for the hardcore fans of the original games at 2K Marin, who serve as our creative conscience. So over the past year, we've made some pretty aggressive design changes, in pursuit of the feelings that we experienced when we played the original games. I'll cover those in the video itself, but a quick note about story:

Continue here to read the full story.

Homefront Patch

The Homefront Website announces a new patch for Homefront is now automatically available from Steam to update the Windows edition of Kaos Studios' first-person shooter to version 1.0.5 (thanks Gamer's Hell). The notes mention "Downloadable content pack 2 support," but two bits of DLC are already available for the game, so it is not clear if this refers to The Rock DLC that's available for the Xbox 360 edition, or something else. The patch is not mentioned on the Steam website, but the Homefront Website offers the following change list: Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

New Via Digital Distribution


  • Cossacks and American Conquest Pack on Steam.
  • Post Mortem on Steam.
  • Robin Hood – The Legend of Sherwood on Steam.


  • Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam.

On Sale

  • Cossacks and American Conquest Pack on Steam. Save 25%.
  • Cyan Bundle on Save 50%.
  • Garshasp: The Monster Slayer on Steam. Save 67%.
  • The Manhole: Masterpiece Edition on Save 50%.
  • Men of War: Vietnam on Steam. Save 10% on prepurchases.
  • Myst: Masterpiece Edition on Save 50%.
  • Post Mortem on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Real Myst on Save 50%.
  • Riven: The Sequel to Myst on Save 50%.
  • Robin Hood – The Legend of Sherwood on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Uru: Complete Chronicles on Save 50%.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: The best pet ever? Thanks Ant.

GameStop to Offer Compensation for DX:HR OnLive Coupon Removal

GameStop seems to continue to leak memos like a sieve, as Kotaku now features another alleged internal missive from the game store. This indicates they plan to give customers who purchased the standard Windows edition of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from GameStop a $50.00 gift certificate and an offer to buy two used games and get one free as compensation for having discarded the OnLive vouchers that were supposed to come with Eidos Montreal's action/RPG prequel. They say they've confirmed with GameStop retail locations that the following message will be sent to customers:

Dear GameStop customer,

Earlier this week, GameStop removed a competitor's coupon from standard edition PC versions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a recent release by Square Enix. We were not aware that the product box would contain this competitor's offer. We regret the events surrounding this title release and that our customers were put in the middle of this issue between GameStop and Square Enix, the publisher of this game. And for this, we are truly sorry.

For your inconvenience, we would like to offer you a free $50 GameStop gift card and a Buy 2 Get 1 Free pre-owned purchase. We want to earn back your trust and confidence in the GameStop experience. Please bring in this email and your store receipt or order confirmation from and present it to a Game Advisor.

Sincerely, Paul Raines CEO, GameStop

Star Wars: The Old Republic "The Eternity Vault" Trailer

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website offers a new trailer from BioWare's upcoming Star Wars MMORPG introducing The Eternity Vault, a high-level multi-party operation in Star Wars: The Old Republic that was shown off to attendees of Gamescom. The trailer is introduced by Dallas Dickenson, who explains that this operation will be presented to players when they reach level 50, regardless of which side they are playing for, and that the scene in the trailer shows the first pert of the experience from the Imperial perspective. Here's the caption from the clip: "A prison discovered buried in the ice on Belsavis is thought to house an ancient and deadly evil that could threaten the galaxy. To counter this threat, General Thredoldt dispatches Imperial forces to investigate the prison and confront the dangers within. Watch as a group of players work their way towards the prison gates in the opening section of the Eternity Vault, one of the high-level Operations in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™."

Quantum Conundrum Announcement

Following the game's unveiling yesterday, Square Enix and Airtight Games officially announce Quantum Conundrum, calling their first project from Portal co-creator Kim Swift "a quirky and engaging first-person platform puzzle game." This offers some additional details about the game, and is accompanied by this trailer and some screenshots and word that the Quantum Conundrum Website is now online. "The team at Airtight Games is creating an engaging puzzle game complete with a charming story and witty, humorous touches throughout," said Mike Fischer, chief executive officer of Square Enix, Inc. "We’re confident Quantum Conundrum will appeal to a broad audience and are thrilled to be part of the team that will bring this game to life." Continue here to read the full story.

Razer Blade Gaming Laptop Announced

Razer's now shows off the Razer Blade, a gaming laptop computer they recently teased will "bring a new age of openness and innovation to all gaming." The Razer Blade announcement calls this "the world’s first true gaming laptop," though they then explain the innovation is that their take on portable gaming is thinner and lighter than their competition's, saying other gaming laptops "compromise on portability and form factor" as opposed to theirs, which strikes "a balance between portability and performance." The Razer Blade is under an inch thick, weighs just under seven pounds, features an Intel i7 CPU, an NVIDIA GPU, and Razer's Switchblade User Interface, which "is comprised of 10 dynamic adaptive tactile keys for easier access of in-game commands, and an LCD capable of two modes: one mode that displays in-game information when a mouse is in use; and another mode that functions as an ultra-sensitive, multi-touch panel designed for gaming on the go." Its expected to go on sale in North America by the end of this year carrying a price tag of $2799.99 USD.

Torchlight 2 Classier, Not Pricier

Runic Games announces the final class for Torchlight 2 as "the magic-wielding Embermage. The mysterious Embermage joins the previously announced Engineer, Outlander, and Berserker classes. This marks the culmination of a month long buildup introducing each class to players." They also reveal the action/RPG sequel will occupy the same accessible price point as its forebear, which is $19.99 USD. "It’s always been our goal to provide exceptional value for the price," says Max Schaefer, CEO of Runic Games. "Everyone who wants to play Torchlight II will be able to comfortably afford to do so, and they’ll be able to play with their friend online or via a LAN, or play single player offline, all with no further purchases."

First Skyrim DLCs Timed Xbox 360 Exclusives

The Bethesda Blog has a news roundup for the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the upcoming RPG sequel. They point to a RipTen preview where the author describes a vampire encounter, and interviews by the tireless Pete Hines, who discussed the game with Computec, Destructoid, FBC, and GameSpot during Gamescom. They also note the news on Joystiq that the first two DLC packs for Skyrim will be timed Xbox 360 exclusives: "Earlier this morning, Microsoft announced that the first two pieces of game add-on content for Skyrim will be releasing exclusively on Xbox 360 — 30 days before they’re available anywhere else. When we have more details on the content, we’ll let everyone know. "

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Trailers

A new preview on IGN takes a look at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the recently announced installment in Valve's tactical shooter series. They discuss how this does not attempt to reinvent the series, saying there will be updated versions of maps like Dust and Aztec, while others, "like Dust 2, are largely unchanged." They discuss how bots will fill out teams, and how PC players will be able to set up servers (console players will not), and offer further details on gameplay, including plans for cross-platform play. Capping this all off, they also offer a Video Preview along with an Underpass Firefight Video and a Planting the Bomb Video, which all show off gameplay. Continue here to read the full story.

Tropico 4 in the U.K.

Kalypso Media UK announces that Tropico 4 is now available in the U.K., offering the latest installment in this city-building/simulation game that puts players in the fatigues of El Presidente of an island republic. The game will be released in North America on Tuesday, a playable demo is available, and here's word:

Tropico 4 sees you return as El Presidente, the tyrannical (or benevolent) dictator of the island paradise of Tropico. The world is changing and Tropico is moving with the times – geographical powers rise and fall and the world market is dominated by new players with new demands and offers – and you, as El Presidente, face a whole new set of challenges. If you are to triumph over your naysayers you will need to gain as much support from your people as possible. Your decisions will shape the future of your nation, and more importantly, the size of your Swiss bank account.

Tropico 4 features all new missions across new maps and includes exciting and fun new features to keep the action fresh and challenging. You can even elect ministers into power to help get your more controversial decisions passed through the government. But remember to keep your friends close and your enemies closer as everyone has an agenda!

Legend of Grimrock

The Legend of Grimrock Blog introduces Legend of Grimrock, a throwback dungeon crawler in the vein of Dungeon Master or Eye of the Beholder in development at Almost Human for Windows, OS X and iOS. They offer a FAQ with details, saying they hope to release the game by the end of this year via digital distribution, and that the four member development team includes industry veterans "with combined experience of more than 30 years in creating commercial games," having worked on Max Payne 2, Alan Wake, Shattered Horizon, and the 3DMark benchmark. They offer the first trailer showing off gameplay where a party explores a dungeon, picks up loot, and does combat with the denizens they encounter. Thanks LittleMe. Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Gunnar-man seems to be having some intestinal distress, as our Poodle has made four incredible messes in less than 24 hours. I'd euphemistically say he has the runs, but this has been quite stationary, as he has been leaving his prizes on the kitchen floor, and I don't have the heart to try and scold him for not asking to go out since he's obviously not feeling well. Actually, by all other appearances he's doing fine; he's a plucky dog, and besides the mess this doesn't seem to be bothering him at all. But I hope this clears up soon for both of our sakes, since he's going to end up dehydrating himself, and I am starting to feel like the guy in the old "what, and leave show business?" joke.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Zombees.
Tobes Great Escape.
Stories: Dangerous fridge stopped by Richmond RCMP. Thanks dakslf.
Rebels find album of Condoleezza Rice's photos in Gadhafi compound. Thanks brother19.
Science: Alien Planet Made of Diamond Discovered. DeBeers to buy and hide it. Thanks DrEnter.
Media: Shelf Life chapter one part 1 (machinima) and part 2 NSFW. Thanks reddit.
Move Your Car - DJO. NSFW.
Cat vs. Dog Showdown.
Follow-up: National Zoo Animals React to the Earthquake. Thanks reddit. Honey Badger don't care.

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