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Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017 Happy Saint Valentine's Day


For Honor Launched

UbiBlog confirms that For Honor is now available for all platforms, allowing players to get in touch with their inner samurai, knights, and Vikings. Here's the previously released launch trailer and here's word:

The war horns have sounded and warriors around the world are answering their call: For Honor is out today! The Samurai, the Knights, and the Vikings have finally begun their war in earnest, and there are 12 Heroes with unique movesets to help you carve out your place on the battlefield. Whether you’re wading into the fray as the Shugoki, swinging your heavy kanabo, or darting in with painful dagger strikes as the Peacekeeper, it’s up to you to declare your allegiance and join the Faction War.

Every multiplayer match you play versus humans or AI, from 4v4 Dominion clashes to 1v1 Duel showdowns, will contribute war assets to the Faction War, the persistent metagame that chronicles the overall conflict between Knights, Vikings, and Samurai. In-game rewards and intangible glory await those who fight well during each 10-week season of Faction War, and the more you play, the more you will be able to level up your Heroes, unlocking new feats, earning new gear, and discovering new customization options.

For Honor’s innovative melee combat system also fuels the story campaign, in which players will experience the war from each of the three factions’ perspectives and confront the sinister machinations of the bellicose Apollyon. The campaign can be played solo or in online co-op. For Honor is available now for PC, Xbox One, and PS4, and season pass holders can look forward to new Heroes, maps, modes, and gear in the coming months.

Continue here to read the full story.

Lúcio Joins Heroes of the Storm

The new patch is now live in Heroes of the Storm, with the promised addition of Lúcio as the newest character in Blizzard's MOBA. This post has a detailed look at how the transplanted Overwatch medic works. This post has all the details on the patch, including changes to Lúcio since his run on the PTR as well as Murky's rework and other updates. They also kick off a "For Azeroth" event, which rewards players for playing Warcraft heroes, since they barely constitute half of the game's character base. Here's word on the new hero:

From the streets of Rio to the clubs on King’s Row, Lúcio’s beats bring the party to life, and drive the people to action! Now he’s on tour in the Nexus, ready to break it down, and to continue fighting for what’s right.

Read on for a breakdown of a few of Lúcio’s talents, a spotlight video, and some tips and tricks around drafting Lúcio, Freedom Fighting DJ!

More Apocalypse Now Crowdfunding

Though the Apocalypse Now Kickstarter is still running, but The Verge notes this campaign is being superseded by a new one running on the Apocalypse Now website. The Kickstarter only raised a small portion of its $900K goal, but the new campaign more ambitiously seeks $5.9 million to "maintain creative freedom and produce a daring and intense game about the horrors of war." If you picture a game based on the war movie to be like Fallout New Vegas on acid in Vietnam, then you might want to back this, because that is exactly what they are promising. Here's more of the pitch:

Apocalypse Now is going to be a video game.

You are an assassin. You've been given the most dangerous, most secret and most controversial special forces mission in U.S. History.

But this game is not Call of Duty: Vietnam. You will sneak. You will hide. You will gather resources. You will build your character. You will kill when necessary.

To maintain creative freedom and produce a daring and intense game about the horrors of war, the project is being financed outside the traditional system. We want your support, please back this game.

BOOR Released

BOOR is now available on Steam, offering a 2D puzzle/platformer for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Word is: "BOOR is a 2D puzzle-platformer game, where you play as a girl with the ability to multiply herself, stranded on Eden, a beautiful but strange world, full of challenging puzzles with platforming elements and a refreshing gameplay." Here's a trailer showing how that works, and here's more:

Eden is a human colony far from Earth. To develop a better society, settlers made an artificial intelligence, BOOR, to help them, but this machine turned against them. When a little girl accidentally lands on the planet of Eden, she discovers BOOR has taken over and there are only a few survivors left. With her special ability to multiply herself, she'll help them destroy BOOR and reclaim the world.

Continue here to read the full story.

Everest VR for Rift

Sólfar Studios now offer Everest VR for Oculus Rift and Touch, attacking a new summit with this mountain climbing game previously exclusive to the HTC Vive. They say this includes new content, and they provide this trailer with a look at what to expect. Here's word:

Virtual reality developer Sólfar Studios’ EVEREST VR is now available for Oculus Rift with support for the recently released Oculus Touch controllers. EVEREST VR, developed in partnership with Nordic visual effects and animation house RVX, is an immersive and interactive recreation of summiting Mt. Everest that is both realistic and emotionally stunning. Following its successful launch in August 2016 for the HTC Vive, EVEREST VR has earned critical acclaim for its impressive visual quality, with UploadVR calling it, “nothing short of breathtaking,” and Polygon stating that “the views are amazing.” Rift owners can immediately download the experience via Oculus Home for $14.99.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to optimize EVEREST VR for Oculus Rift,” said Kjartan Pierre Emilsson, co-founder and CEO of Sólfar Studios. “We’ve made numerous content updates to ensure that users have the most visually accurate experience of ascending Mt. Everest, including an expansion to our ‘God Mode’ and the addition of The Lhotse Face ascent. We’re particularly proud of the addition of the 1953 Hillary expedition photographs to the experience, which brings an entirely new documentary lens to the experience of being on the mountain in VR.”

Continue here to read the full story.

Crusader Kings II Turns Five

Paradox Interactive celebrates the fifth anniversary of the release of Crusader Kings II, their "game about Medieval conquest, intrigue, diplomacy, and faith." It's not every day that a game turns five (actually it probably is), so they are pulling out all the stops with the release of a portrait pack and the promise of a video tomorrow:

To mark this milestone, Paradox will dedicate much of 2017 to celebrating Crusader Kings II and its community. The first step in this year of modern medieval pageantry is to give away a free portrait pack to everyone that owns Crusader Kings II. This South Indian portrait pack will add more color and personality for those who fight for control of the great subcontinent. The pack is available here.

And then tomorrow the celebrations continue with a celebratory video from LongGameShort. His humorous animated videos are firm favorites of the Dev team and the community, so it seemed only right to involve him in our celebrations!

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Anew- The Distant Light by Resonator — Kickstarter. "An open-world action game for fans of single-player adventures. Battle, puzzle, and explore an exotic alien landscape. Anew: The Distant Light is an indie game currently in pre-alpha. It is being created by veteran developers Steve Copeland and Jeff Spoonhower, with an original soundtrack by Wilbert Roget II." Also on Steam Greenlight. Here's a trailer.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

GeForce Drivers; Halo Wars 2 Specs

GeForce website now offers new GeForce version 378.66 WHQL drivers for Windows. These are updated to provide an optimal experience playing For Honor, Halo Wars, and Sniper Elite 4 along with NVIDIA Ansel support for Paragon. For those interested in further details, they also have new articles on For Honor PC-exclusive effects and features and Halo Wars 2 extras and system requirements. Here are the specs for the upcoming Halo RTS game, though they obviously ignore AMD CPUs and GPUs:

Minimum Requirements

  • OS:64-bit Windows 10
  • DirectX version:DirectX 12 (feature level 11)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500
  • GPU:GeForce GTX 650 Ti
  • Memory: 6GB
  • HD space:25 GB

Recommended Requirements

  • OS:64-bit Windows 10
  • DirectX version:DirectX 12 (feature level 11)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
  • GPU:GeForce GTX 1060
  • Memory: 8GB
  • HD space:25 GB

Sniper Elite 4 Released

Steam News announces that Sniper Elite 4 is now available on Steam, offering the latest installment in this sharpshooting series. Word is: "Discover unrivaled sniping freedom in the largest and most advanced World War 2 shooter ever built. Experience tactical third-person combat, gameplay choice and epic longshots across gigantic levels as you liberate wartime Italy from the grip of Fascism." Here's more on the game:

Discover unrivalled sniping freedom in the largest and most advanced World War 2 shooter ever built. Experience tactical third-person combat, gameplay choice and epic longshots across gigantic levels as you liberate wartime Italy from the grip of Fascism.

Set in the aftermath of its award-winning predecessor, Sniper Elite 4 transports players across the beautiful Italian peninsula, from sun-drenched Mediterranean coastal towns, to ancient forests, mountain valleys and colossal Nazi megastructures.

Covert agent and elite marksman Karl Fairburne must fight alongside the brave men and women of the Italian Resistance and defeat a terrifying new threat with the potential to halt the Allied fightback in Europe before it’s even begun.

Battlefield 1 Winter Update

The Battlefield 1 website details the new Winter Update that's now live in DICE's first-person shooter. This adds ribbon awards, Elite Codex unlocks, new max class ranks, new rent-a-server features, and more. There are also dozens of bug fixes and balance tweaks. Here's word:

We’re happy to share with you some of the features we’ve been working on the last couple of months. In the Battlefield 1 Winter Update we’re bringing back the ever-popular ribbons from previous Battlefield titles. We’ve also heard your request to up Class Rank caps from 10. The new max Class Rank is now 50. Oh, and there will be unlockables on the way to maxing your Class Rank.

There are plenty of other new features and improvements, both big and small, in the Battlefield 1 Winter Update. We look forward to seeing you on the Battlefield!

Korean Overwatch Ban Changes

Kotaku has a follow-up to a recent round of Overwatch bans in Korea. At the time it was mentioned that one of the problems with these bans is how much of the cheating in the territory is done at cybercafés, so the bans don't actually hit the culprits. They offer a translation of this post explaining the way these café licenses will change. Word is:

Starting February 17, it will be necessary to log in with a Korean account at the country’s PC bangs. Meaning? It won’t be possible to use those freebie accounts.

Korean accounts require more personal information, including a Korean social security number. That means if someone is banned, then they’ll have to find another social security number to enter, which should deter hackers who previously could easily create another free one.

Blizzard announced that it will roll this same practice out for Diablo III and StarCraft II in South Korea at a later date.

Elite Dangerous Arena Sales Ending

Frontier Developments explains they have ended sales of Elite Dangerous Arena, the standalone combat spinoff of Elite Dangerous, their space sim (thanks Eurogamer). They say most players are accessing Arena through the main game client anyway, and that ending the standalone version will mean they have fewer builds to support, though they also say that those who already own Arena will be able to access the game as before. Here's the explanation, which was posted a few days ago on the Frontier Forums by senior community manager Edward Lewis:

'Elite Dangerous: Arena will be removed from sale on Steam, Frontier store, and on the Xbox store. This change is planned for later today.

We’ve been looking at our metrics which suggest that the vast majority of new and regular Arena players tend to play Arena through the main Elite Dangerous client rather than the standalone Arena one. We’ve made the decision to remove the standalone version of Elite Dangerous: Arena in order to reduce the number of builds that have to be maintained and managed across Steam, Xbox One and in 2Q'17 PlayStation Network, as well as clarifying the choices for new players of Elite Dangerous on these storefronts.

Elite Dangerous: Arena continues to be available and supported as part of the wider Elite Dangerous game. Existing and new players that join the Elite Dangerous galaxy will continue to be able to enjoy the fast-paced action of Arena through the main menu. Existing Elite Dangerous: Arena client owners will still be able to enjoy Arena as they have always done.

Not much change but we just wanted to give you a quick heads up, to avoid any confusion.'

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Op Ed

Rock, Paper, Shotgun -- Steam Could Be Easily Fixed, If Only They Used Humans.
"Yet Valve haven’t shown any sign that they’d consider that approach, or that they see it as a possibility. It’s a task that could be completed by a team of ten. Game is submitted to the store. Human plays game, finds it doesn’t work. Human emails developer and says, “This game doesn’t work, fix and resubmit.” Done. Even here, developers could benefit as well as people buying from the store. In some cases, they might avoid that first flurry of negative reviews, sparked by poor first impressions. Curation might not be the the greatest job in the world, but it isn’t carrying rebar or cleaning prison toilets. Hell, it’s a way into Valve. (And no, I have no time for the nonsense about no job titles – even if it were true, they damn well need some.)

Every solution they mention is always outward focused, about getting the community to “crowdsource” the fix, about shifting the responsibility further away from them in the guise of “opening it up to the users” or whatever ridiculous phrasing might be used. This isn’t a beautiful democracy, this is one of the richest corporations in the industry outsourcing their responsibilities to their customers. We don’t know why it is this way, whether it’s due to errant policy or dysfunction, but so far there doesn’t appear to be any plan to change that aspect of the store."

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy Valentine's Day! I am actually a bachelor for the occasion for the first time in a long time. MrsBlue's new job I mentioned yesterday began already, and she is spending a couple of days a week in Pennsylvania, which includes today. So it's me and the Gunnar-man on our own. I'm thinking we'll order a pizza and play some Rock Band. Here's hoping you enjoy your plans, even if you are flying solo.

Bachelor Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Drift Hunters.
Story: After a nudity-free year, Playboy will again run pictures of naked women.
Science: Heavy snowfall tied to higher heart attack risk for men.
The little yellow box that’s made thousands of operations safer.
Media: ANATOMICALLY CORRECT Spiderman. Thanks Ant.
Follow-up: Marathon pauses Duchenne drug launch amid price outcry.

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