Archived News:

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015

Free HotS Stimpacks for New Players

Blizzard announces that all new players who log in to Heroes of the Storm over the next week will receive a free Stimpack to double the XP and gold they get during their introduction to the game. They offer a couple of stipulations, indicating this is a valid way for players to get a leg up on competing in a new region:

  • Players will only receive this Stimpack if they have never logged in to Heroes of the Storm, and they must log in at least once during the hours mentioned above.
  • Players can log in to another region and receive a free Stimpack if they have never played in that region before.

Minecraft Windows 10 Edition Beta Instructions

With Windows 10 due tomorrow, Mojang announces how to get a free beta copy of the Minecraft Windows 10 Edition if you are one of the millions who own the Java Windows/OS X version of the game. Yes, they once again take the opportunity to call the new OS "swanky." Here's word: 
Update: This is still rolling out, so don’t panic if you can’t see the button on your account page yet! Check back later!


Windows 10 – Microsoft’s shiny new operating system – launches tomorrow. As announced at MINECON 2015 a few weeks ago it features a brand-new Edition of Minecraft. We’re calling it Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta.

If you’re one of the 20 million(ish) players who already own Minecraft for PC/Mac, you get the new version for free. Completely free!

To download your copy, first log into your Mojang account (My password is significantly more complex than those dots so don’t bother trying, criminal person).

Next, click the “Redeem” button on your account page, sign into your Microsoft account, and follow the instructions that follow. That’s it! You’ll be playing Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta in a jiffy.

Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta will be available to download in the Windows 10 Store.

Have fun with Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta, kind crafters! And enjoy fiddling about with your swanky new operating system!

Diablo III Kanai’s Cube Previewed

The Diablo III website previews Kanai's Cube, one of the new features in the upcoming version 2.3.0 patch for the action/RPG sequel which they say is "set to change the foundation of Diablo III as we know it." They also note that this item is a tribute to Kevin Kanai Griffith, a Blizzard artist and Diablo fan who died of cancer last year. The item has several functions, including the ability to reforge legendary items and to provide a use for legendary items you can't trash because they have intriguing powers but can't actually use, as they explain here:
One of the first, most frequent powers you’ll utilize is the ability to extract a Legendary power from an item. This will add the power to your collection list, a comprehensive history detailing the vast amount of powers you’ve amassed. This also allows your hero to equip a Legendary power without having the item equipped, clearing up your stash of all those items you’ve been keeping “just in case.” You’ll be able to equip one power each from three categories:

  • Weapons
    • Includes all main hand and off-hand items, including Shields, Mojos, Quivers, and the like
  • Armor
    • Virtually everything else; Hands, Legs, Feet, Chest, Belt, Wrists, Shoulders, and Head
  • Jewelry
    • Rings and Amulets

Characters may only equip powers from items that their class can normally equip. Powers are also extracted at their most potent value, making it a tough decision between equipping a well-rolled item or melting it down to utilize a maximized power. Powers can be extracted from any level Legendary. Finally, don’t worry if you get tired of a particular ability—you’ll be able to swap freely between the powers you’ve collected at any time by visiting Kanai’s Cube.

King's Quest: A Knight to Remember Released

Activision's Sierra division announces the North American release of King's Quest: A Knight to Remember, the first chapter in their reimagining of the beloved King's Quest series, saying the second of the five chapters in the series is expected later this year. The Windows version is on Steam as a complete season or individually with a season pass option (protip: the latter is a penny less expensive), and the console editions are on the PlayStation Store and Xbox Games Store. "Today is a new beginning, both for those of us who grew up with the King’s Quest games that Roberta Williams and Sierra Entertainment created, as well as for those who are visiting Daventry for the very first time," said Matt Korba of developer The Odd Gentlemen. "We hope we’ve made something that feels special for everyone as we turn together to a new page in Graham’s legend." Here's the launch trailer and here's more:
Developed by The Odd Gentlemen, an independent studio with a talent for crafting fantastical tales, characters and worlds, the new King’s Quest rekindles the classic charm and curiosity that has captivated fans of this family-friendly series for over 30 years. As an aging King Graham looks back on a life of heroic adventure with his precocious granddaughter, Gwendolyn, players will be able to experience firsthand the unforgettable puzzles, places and personalities of his greatest untold stories. The first passage in a five-chapter journey, King’s Quest: A Knight to Remember unfolds on Graham’s early days as a bright-eyed teen in Daventry, competing in a contest of wits and valor for a knighthood in King Edward’s royal court.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steamship Ahoy - The Swindle

The Swindle is now available for Windows and OS X on Steam, carrying a 15% launch discount on the latest game from Dan Marshall's Size Five Games. The game is also available on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita, with an Xbox One version coming on July 31st, and a Wii U version to follow down the road. There's an article about the game on Gamasutra based on a conversation with Marshall discussing how limiting the game to 100 in-game "days" added a dimension of excitement to gameplay. Here's a launch trailer, and here's a description of the game:
The Swindle is a steampunk cybercrime caper about breaking into buildings, hacking their systems, stealing all their cash, and quickly running away again before the police show up.

All the buildings you’ll be robbing are randomly-generated, so you’ll never get the same level twice.

Meanwhile, from the safety of your rickety airship up in Outer Space, you can modify your thief with new skills, tools, and all manner of advanced technological horrors, allowing you to take on bigger buildings with better security, for gargantuan rewards!

Have you got what it takes to pull off The Swindle?
Continue here to read the full story.

Kyn Released

Kyn is now available on and Steam, offering a Viking-themed action/RPG from two-person developer Tangrin Entertainment. The funnier announcement comes from GOG:
Kyn an unforgiving Viking action-RPG, is available now for Windows, DRM-free on!

1. Be a viking. 2. Be buried alive. 3. ??? 4. Profit. That's the short version of an ancient Viking ritual designed to grant might and magical powers to the bravest Nordic warriors. Meet the Kyn, six rowdy vikings on a quest to fight off every single monster-like thing that infests their icy world. The thing about Kyn is that it's tough, real tough. It's a tactical RPG that's all about combat like you know it from Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale, no frills attached. Enemies are quick and brutal, and though you have your magic - health is always in short supply, one wrong turn and you're down for the count. Active-pause? Please. While you can slow down the game briefly to catch your bearings, in this world, even time is a limited resource.

On Sale

  • Dungeon Defenders II on Steam. Save 40%.
  • Galacide on Steam. Save 15%.
  • Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Never Alone: Foxtales DLC on Steam. Save 10%. New.
  • Watch_Dogs on Steam. Save 60%.
  • Zotrix on Steam. Save 25%. New.

Evening Previews

Fallout 4 "Basically Done"

Fallout 4 is "basically done," Bethesda's Pete Hines tells GameSpot, saying the game is in the bug fixing and polishing phase to prepare for its release on November 10th. They offer an excerpt from an interview with Hines where he explained that the time to suggest new features for the RPG sequel has passed. "Let's be honest, [right now] it doesn't matter what anybody wants for a feature in Fallout 4," Hines told them. "The game is basically done. It was by and large done before we announced it, in terms of the features going in. You're not adding new features in May, June, July in the year you're releasing; you're trying to get everything fixed." Also, thanks Batman for pointing out the hardcover strategy guide (URL pre-stuffed with our affiliate code) is now available for preorder, offering exclusive bonuses.

PC Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Next Month; Specs

Square Enix announces the PC edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will be released on Steam on August 18th, and they are offering a preorder bonus of a couple of wards in Dota 2, and "an exclusive FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 HD loading screen," so they are not holding back on the meh in trying to get an advance commitment. They outline what makes this different from the console editions: "FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 HD for Steam® will bring a selection of updated features including an improved in-game battle camera, full Steam achievements and trading cards, scalable motion blur settings and a customizable dynamic screen shot mode. The PC release will also offer full controller support, and for high end PCs - upgraded graphics resolution options. Other additions include increased blood levels and new character speed boosts." They also offer system specifications:
Minimum System Requirements:
Operating System: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 64bit
Processor: CPU Core i3 2.5GHz
Memory: RAM 4GB
Disk Space: HDD/SSD 30GB
Video: GTX560Ti or AMD Radeon 7790 mp4 [H.264]
Sound: DirectX XAudio2API
DirectX®: 11 and over

Recommended System Requirements:
Operating System: Windows 7, 8, 8.1 64bit
Processor: CPU Core i5 2.7GHz
Memory: RAM 6GB
Disk Space: HDD/SSD 30GB
Video: GTX750 mp4 [H.264]
Sound: DirectX XAudio2API
DirectX®: 11 and over

Mafia 3 Confirmed: Full Reveal Next Week

2K Games officially confirms plans for Mafia 3, following hints early this year and the discovery of last month's discovery of domain registrations for the crime sequel (thanks PC Gamer). They tweet about plans to unveil this at Gamescom next week with a new video: "See the worldwide reveal of the #Mafia3 announcement trailer on 8/5/15 here:"

OlliOlli2 Revealed

A new Steam page reveals plans for OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, a sequel to the skateboarding action of OlliOlli, saying this is coming later this summer, and according to VG247 a PR representative narrowed the release date for this to August 11th. They offer this trailer along with the following description of what to expect:
Drop in to Olliwood and prepare for finger-flippin’ mayhem in this follow up to cult skateboarding smash OlliOlli. The iconic skater is going all green-screen with a stunning new look, plucking you from the street and dropping you squarely in the middle of the big screen’s most bodacious cinematic locations.

Revamped Paths and Combos: The sequel boasts all new ramps and epic hills allowing for monster air and multi-route levels. Further, OlliOlli2’s combo system has been expanded with the joy of manuals, reverts, revert manuals and grind switching giving you more control and expression than ever before.

Expanded Bag of Tricks: The hallowed ‘Tricktionary’ also expands with new specials including 540 Shove-its, Anti-Casper Flips and Darkslides.

New Worlds and Levels: Five new worlds, 50 new Amateur and Pro Levels and 250 new Challenges to tear through, along with the return of the much loved Daily Grind, Spots Mode and RAD Mode.

Multiplayer Mode: OlliOlli2 introduces a gnarly new multiplayer mode – Combo Rush, a split-screen four-player party mode with four unique game modes.

Legendary Soundtrack: Once again, the crate diggers at Roll7 have scoured the airwaves for a shimmering extended soundtrack, including, Cid Rim, Lone, Faulty DL, Submerse and Mike Slott.
Continue here to read the full story.

Steamship Ahoy - Life Is Strange: Episode 4

Steam News announces the release of episode 4 of Life Is Strange, the five-part adventure series. Word is: "Life Is Strange Episode 4 is now available on Steam! Life Is Strange is a beautifully written episodic game that sets out to revolutionize story based choice and consequence games. Changing the past can sometimes lead to a devastating future."

Sports Demos & More on Steam

A couple of new sports game are now available on Steam, where they have a demo for Rugby Challenge 3 FanHub which allows you to create custom players and teams for the sports sim, but not actually play them. There's also a Baseball Mogul 2015 Demo, well over a year after the game's release, which does allow you to play the baseball game, though only for one season. It was a busy day for demos on Steam yesterday, as they also posted demos for Coffin Dodgers, Dark Storm, and Stick 'Em Up 2: Paper Adventures. Thanks Frans.

Lord of the Rings Online Servers Closing

WBIE announces plans to sunset some servers for The Lord of the Rings Online, their Tolkien-inspired MMORPG. They offer a timeline for the closures, which begin on August 3rd and will conclude at the beginning of the new year. They also provide details on how transfers to the remaining servers will work, saying: "We appreciate your patience as we have worked to make the new transfer process as well-rounded, simple, and effortless as possible." Here's a bit:
All characters on all worlds will receive a gift box as a thank you from us as a remembrance of the worlds we will be closing that hold so many fond memories for all of us. The Free Peoples' gift box will contain a Title Picker Box “Of <World> with choice of any of the 29 worlds, hooded and hoodless variants of a cloak, and a housing banner decoration. Monster Characters will receive the monster version of the Title Box “Bane of <World>” with choice of any of the 29 worlds.

The new Transfer Service will become available with this patch. You will be able to access it through the launcher at the World Selection screen after logging into your account. There will be a button that says “Transfer” underneath the “Play” button. Beginning August 3rd the service will be available for copying characters to the Bullroarer Test World and for free moves between the ten worlds (5 US and 5 EU) that will be remaining available after the end of this year. This is just the beginning of the process.

We will be monitoring the transfers between those worlds for a couple weeks and if all is going well, we will move on to the next step of the process which will be to turn off Auction Houses on the first two of the sunsetting worlds and allow characters, kinships and shared items on those worlds to move to the ten remaining worlds.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

We're into another couple of days of especially hot weather in these parts, which reminds me it's time to give the Gunnar-man another shearing. This is okay timing, but not actually ideal, as it would be a lot smarter for me to do this when it's a little cooler, because it's a pretty hot process to start with, and that's not even counting how uncomfortably hot the clipper gets after operating for a while. I need to plan this better next time.

Shear Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Duke Dashington.
Sink My Treasure.
Whack your Neighbor.
Link: #DeputiesLoveBabyOwls hashtag on Twitter.
Story: Man killed by escort was likely a serial killer, police say.
Science: New Horizons data shows Pluto’s atmosphere, surface features.
Media: Why Movie Cops are Terrible at their Jobs.
This clever chameleon just can't get enough of popping bubbles.
One Week-Old Pygmy Goats Meet the Protective Resident Barn Cat For the First Time.
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