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Thursday, Mar 02, 2017

  

Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven Announced

Paradox Interactive announces Mandate of Heaven, a new expansion coming to Europa Universalis IV, their grand strategy sequel. This focuses on the major nations of East Asia, as shown in this trailer. This will be available "soon," and in the meantime, here's an outline:

Dynasties come and dynasties go, but China is eternal. An unbroken chain stretches through the millennia, and now this mantle lies on your shoulders. Rest secure in the Forbidden City, husbanding your power for the storms you know are coming. Your neighbors will kowtow and bring tribute to your palace. Does anyone dare challenge you, the heir to the Mandate of Heaven?

Mandate of Heaven is the newest expansion to Europa Universalis IV, the renowned historical grand-strategy game from Paradox Development Studio. Mandate of Heaven enhances the game experience for playing the major nations of East Asia, especially Ming China, Japan, and the Manchu tribes.

One of the centerpieces of Mandate of Heaven is managing the Celestial Empire, similar to how the Holy Roman Empire has been handled in Europa Universalis IV. Increase the power of your mandate by commanding tribute, then use your mandate to reform the imperial system, strengthening your grip on the Middle Kingdom and the continent as a whole. Embrace the meritocracy of China’s civil service to pass decrees that meet your empire’s immediate needs. Can you hold off challengers to your claim?

Mandate of Heaven’s features include:

  • Ages and Golden Eras: Earn perks in four historical ages for meeting specific goals, building up to declaring your nation’s single Golden Era - 50 years of prosperity and power.
  • Meritocracy: The Chinese emperor can hire good advisors more cheaply, keeping the empire functional no matter who rules.
  • Tributaries: Some Asian nations can demand that weaker powers pay an annual tribute, whether in gold, manpower or monarch points.
  • Manchu Banners: Manchu provinces can provide cheap and effective Banner armies drawn from the traditional tribe system.
  • Japanese Shogunate: Compel the loyalty of your daimyos with new interactions that require them to submit to your authority, contribute to your power or even commit seppuku
  • Diplomatic Macrobuilder: Common diplomatic actions are now easily available from the macrobuilder interface.
  • New Events and Decisions: Most of these new systems are connected to new event series or decisions, enhancing your historical immersion.

Mandate of Heaven will also ship alongside new Content Packs fitting the theme of the expansion, with new unit designs for many of the East Asian powers and other updated army models.

Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Sabotage Released

You're scheming on a thing that's a mirage, I'm trying to tell you now the Sabotage DLC is now available for the Windows and Xbox One editions of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, following its release for the PlayStation 4 at the end of January. The DLC adds four new maps, and a new chapter of their zombie storyline that takes the series into the 90s. Here's the deal:

Call of Duty®: Infinite Warfare Sabotage, the first DLC pack for the game, is available now on PlayStation® 4, Xbox One and PC. Sabotage delivers four new, epic multiplayer maps, including the return of one of Call of Duty's most famed maps from Modern Warfare®2, Afghan, re-imagined for a new generation. The new DLC pack also features "Rave in the Redwoods," the next thrilling chapter of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare zombies experience that continues the macabre narrative and takes players into a new decade: the 1990s.

Rave in the Redwoods takes fans through a new storyline taking place in an abandoned lakeside summer camp. The four playable characters return, and are voiced by the same actors from the original story, but now take on fresh, over-the-top roles from the ‘90s era including "the Hip Hop Wannabe," "the Kandi Raver," "the Grunge Rocker," and "the Westside Gangsta." Willard Wyler, the enigmatic movie director villain, has once again trapped them inside a twisted horror movie where the protagonists must fight the undead against zombie ravers who have turned the campgrounds into a techno-fueled nightmare.

In addition to the Rave in the Redwoods zombies content, Sabotage also includes four new multiplayer maps:

  • Renaissance - Set in Northern Italy, Renaissance pits players against each other on the narrow streets of Venice surrounded by classic architecture and buildings. The map promotes continuous action through the canals and neighborhoods of this iconic city.
  • Noir - A dark, grimy city map inspired by futuristic Brooklyn at night, Noir is a classic three-lane map set against a backdrop of a dystopian future. Noir is filled with cafes and parks surrounding a brutal downtown warzone.
  • Neon - A virtual training center designed for urban warfare, Neon is a unique, digitized battle arena where cars and other structures spawn out of thin air and enemies dissolve into hundreds of pixels when defeated. Middle-lane sightlines cater to long-range players, while the perimeter of the map allows for quick counter-attacks in close-quarter action.
  • Dominion - A re-imagining of the classic Afghan map from Modern Warfare®2, now set on Mars, Dominion retains all the memorable landmarks and gameplay of the original. Anchored by the crashed ship in the center, Dominion offers enhancements designed to fully engage the new movement system of Infinite Warfare.

Ghost Recon Wildlands Post-Release Plans

Ubisoft announces plans for post-release content and a season pass for Ghost Recon Wildlands, which will include a free PvP update for the tactical shooter. Here's a trailer covering the news, and here's word:

The Ghosts are ready to take on the Santa Blanca drug cartel on March 7, but their mission in the wilderness won’t end there – a free PvP update (featuring 4v4 team combat) is coming to Ghost Recon Wildlands after launch, along with two major paid expansions: Narco Road and Fallen Ghosts. In Narco Road, you must infiltrate a gang of smugglers and earn their leader’s trust by competing in races and challenges. Yes, you have to take them down…from the inside! Fallen Ghosts, the second major expansion for Wildlands, has your squad running from their downed helicopter to escape some powerful new enemies that are hot on their trail.

Season pass owners will receive one week early access to both expansions, as well as access to The Unidad Conspiracy Missions, The Peruvian Connection Pack, an exclusive Bolivian Minibus vehicle, and equipment packs that include outfits inspired by the Katari 26 rebels, the Unidad, and the Santa Blanca. These three themed packs also include weapons, such as an AK-47 equipped with a larger magazine, a Unidad LMG with a red dot scope and larger magazine, and the Santa Blanca golden M1911, respectively.

Finally, the Ghost Recon Wildlands Season Pass comes with a host of bonuses. Owners will receive a permanent 5% XP booster; a single-use two hour XP booster that gives a 50% boost to you and a 25% boost to players in your session; and a Ghost Recon Credits Pack with 800 credits. Additional credits can be purchased at any time to spend on cosmetic items, XP boosts, and weapons comparable to those you can find through normal gameplay.

Ghost Recon Wildlands will release on March 7 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Continue here to read the full story.

Overwatch Bastion Nerf Inbound

Reacting to the outrage of Overwatch players over Bastion improvements in the latest patch, forum post by Jeff Kaplan promises to return some of the suckage to the bullet-spewing robo-turret. He concludes his post with his personal outlook:

I want to share my personal opinion on Bastion (which is dangerous because I know I am a spokesperson for the game). I play every night. I'm playing both Quick Play and Competitive (I played 2 games of CTF to get my loot box). Over the past few nights I've played with, as and against Bastion. My perception is that he is a little too powerful right now. In particular, in one match I was playing Bastion and the enemy Tracer was trying to hunt me down. The Tracer player was clearly a better player than I am -- a very skilled individual. I relied heavily on my self-heal and the Tracer could not finish me off. But I was able to kill Tracer in recon mode almost through attrition. This part felt wrong to me. But a lot of the feedback I read feels wildly blown out of proportion. Bastion isn't the "I Win button" and he can be focused and countered. When a team is coordinated, he is far scarier than when a team is just playing a pick-up/deathmatch style of play -- and I've witnessed both over the past few nights. I think complaints and praise of Bastion are both valid. I don't think he's perfect yet. But I do think there is a high amount of hyperbole around this particular situation.

In any event, will put some changes up and we're eager to hear your thoughts.

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

  • Rock Band VR on Harmonix Blog. First setlist reveal, scoring details announced.
  • StarCraft II on Battle.net. Patch 3.11 Preview: Dead of Night.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

New Overwatch Hero Revealed

The Overwatch website has a preview of Orisa, the next character coming to the multiplayer shooter. Orisa is a female four-legged robot designed by an 11-year-old who is a brilliant engineer, so there's no LEGO involved. This new tank character is now playable on the PTR, and you can get the details on her abilities and story on her new hero page. Here's an Orisa origin story trailer as well as a video developer update with an introduction from Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan. Here's her ability overview:

Orisa's main weapon is her rapid-fire Fusion Driver, an automatic gun with good range and accuracy even at a distance—though it comes at a cost, as Orisa’s movement slows down while she fires. Her alternate fire, Halt!, launches a graviton charge across the map, slowing nearby enemies as it passes, then pulling them toward it when it detonates.

Her Fortify ability boosts her personal defense, reducing damage taken and making her unstoppable for a short time. She can throw a device that creates a curved, stationary Protective Barrier, perfect for intercepting projectiles and shielding teammates. Lastly, as her ultimate ability, Orisa deploys a high-powered Supercharger that beams a buff to allies within its range, increasing the damage they can inflict on the opposing team.

Continue here to read the full story.

Supreme Ruler: The Great War Announced

Battlegoat Studios announces Supreme Ruler: The Great War, taking on the topic of World War I in a continuation of their geopolitical strategy/wargame series. Or maybe this heralds World War III, since their last content for the series accurately predicted the U.S. election, sort of. The new game doesn't yet have a release date, but the announcement has a lot of details:

BattleGoat Studios is delighted to announce the development of their upcoming Real Time Geopolitical Strategy/Wargame, Supreme Ruler The Great War. BattleGoat's Lead Programmer and Co-Founder George Geczy commented, "Supreme Ruler The Great War adds a new era to the franchise, building upon a game system which has evolved over more than a decade. The combat, diplomatic and economic systems developed for the series continue to offer a unique strategy experience, one which has always been well suited to global conflicts. The First World War remains a topic of great interest to historians and gamers alike, although few games model the strategic challenges that the great powers faced during that era. Adding a World War I title to the series fills a gap in both the franchise and within the PC strategy genre."

Game Designer and Project Lead Christian Latour added, "Since completion of Supreme Ruler Ultimate, the community has continued to ask if we'll be developing more content. Most players wanted us to go further back in history, and the First World War remained the most popular request. The scope of an entirely new era goes beyond adding another DLC to one of the existing games, it fits best as its own title within the franchise. Having developed the later eras already, we are able to add the earlier time frame and flow seamlessly into the gameplay experiences for which the Supreme Ruler titles are so well known. With the required development tools and an experienced team in house, we know that we can build the World War I strategy game fans have been asking for."

About Supreme Ruler The Great War
Expanding on sixteen years of development on the Supreme Ruler series of Real Time Geo-Political Military Strategy Games for PC and Mac. Supreme Ruler The Great War brings players back to 1914, to a world that has little understanding of the devastation that will be unleashed as long-time alliances and animosities drive ever-growing conflicts. Whether leading a major power or a minor nation, players can experience the tensions of a world descending into chaos. Campaigns follow paths similar to historical events while allowing players control of their own destiny, with the opportunity to change those events and chart their own course. Set-Piece Scenarios will provide for a shorter game focused on specific events from the era. As well, the ever popular sandbox mode allows players to customize their gaming experience by picking any nation and choosing their own preferred Victory Condition. With the further option of multiplayer matches, Supreme Ruler The Great War provides incredible amounts of replayability.

  • World War I Campaigns for various major powers from the era.
  • Take Control of any Nation in Sandbox Mode and impact the outcome of the conflict.
  • Start in 1914 and progress well into the 21st century for an Epic Game-play experience.
  • Challenge yourself with Set-Piece Scenarios for a faster-paced game.
  • The butterfly effect... Influence the timeline and outcome of thousands of historical events.
  • Use Diplomacy, Trade, Espionage, and Intimidation to influence the policies of other nations.
  • Guide your Nation through the first war waged on a global scale.
  • Modernize your economy to support whatever social and military policies you choose.
  • Comprehensive Tech Tree features over 100 years of technology and equipment advances.
  • Sophisticated Real-Time Strategic and Tactical Control of your Military Forces.
  • Detailed historically-accurate Armies down to the Battalion level.
  • Choose your level of control. Make all decisions or use your Cabinet Ministers to help.
  • Battle the elements! Fully integrated weather model influences battlefield outcomes.
  • Up to 16 players in Multiplayer over local network or Internet.

AMD Ryzen Reviews

Game Developers Choice Awards

Overwatch took Game of the Year in the 17th annual Game Developers Choice Awards held last night at the Game Developers Conference. Epic Game's Tim Sweeney received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner took a Pioneer Award home in his covered wagon. The winners aren't yet shown on the Game Developers Choice Awards website, but we have the full list, which has been carefully guarded by Pricewaterhouse Cooper:

Best Audio
Inside (Playdead)

Best Debut
Campo Santo (Firewatch)

Best Design
Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

Best Mobile/Handheld Game
Pokemon Go (Niantic)

Innovation Award
No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

Best Narrative
Firewatch (Campo Santo)

Best Technology
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog)

Best Visual Art
Inside (Playdead)

Best VR/AR Game
Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives (Owlchemy Labs)

Audience Award
Battlefield 1 (EA DICE)

Game of the Year
Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

Pioneer Award
Jordan Mechner

Ambassador Award
Mark DeLoura

Lifetime Achievement Award
Tim Sweeney

System Shock Remake Gets Unreal

The System Shock Kickstarter page has a "shocking" announcement from Night Dive Studios from GDC (thanks K 2 the W). They say their crowdfunded remake of System Shock is switching to Epic's Unreal Engine because the Unity engine would not allow them to achieve their goals for the console versions. Polygon has a look at the changes and some comments from the developers. Switching engines has not always turned out to be the ideal move for in-development games, but they say they've "mitigated that risk by switching over early." Here's a new pre-alpha trailer showing off the game's new look. Continue here to read the full story.

River City Underground Release

Thanks Mordecai for the nudge noting we failed to mention the release of River City Ransom: Underground on Steam earlier this week. Steam News has details on this remake of what they call "one of the best beat'em ups of the NES era." Here's word:

Alex and Ryan must take to the streets to help a new crop of fighters. You'll earn money, unlock moves, and upgrade your skills in a sprawling city. This modern take on an old classic features over 500 unique street fighting moves, dozens of weapons, and fun online multiplayer modes.

Mass Effect Andromeda Multiplayer Beta Cancelled

A blog post from BioWare describes live multiplayer sessions for Mass Effect Andromeda at GDC and PAX East, but also announces the planned multiplayer beta is not longer happening (thanks PC Gamer). Here's word:

Join us at the BioWare Base (room 2AB) and be one of the first to join APEX and defend our new home in Andromeda. Featuring different character kits each day, this is your chance to try out Mass Effect’s fast-paced cooperative multiplayer on PC.

We’ll be running 12 NVidia PCs from 10am-10pm, giving you plenty of time to join the fight. You can also visit Microsoft on the show floor (booth #13019) for your chance to play on Xbox One.

While we will have live multiplayer at PAX East, there will no longer be a multiplayer tech test for players at home. Thank you to everyone who signed up. We look forward to seeing you in Andromeda.

Mirage: Arcane Warfare Beta This Month

Torn Banner Studios announces closed beta testing for Mirage: Arcane Warfare will begin this month as they progress with development of this sequel to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. The beta will begin on March 27th, and will launch alongside preorders of a standard or special edition of the melee combat game. Those who preorder either edition will receive instant access to the beta. Here's the plan:

The Closed Beta presents Mirage in a long-term format, playable until close to its full 2017 release. The game has been in a private, testing-focused Closed Alpha weekends under NDA since September 2016.

Available for the first time in the Closed Beta:

  • Six playable character classes ranging from the ghostly Vypress assassin to the hulking Taurant, all with customizable magic ability loadouts and hundreds of voice emotes
  • First reveal of new character, the Entropist - a jolly, portly mage imbued with terrifying, often hilarious powers who rides a flying carpet and wields a magic staff
  • 10+ maps available throughout the Beta period, each playable in multiple game modes including Team Objective, Point Capture, Capture-the-Flag and more
  • Automatic matchmaking to pair players of the same skill level, or classic server browser

On March 27, gamers will be able to pre-order Mirage for PC and unlock special rewards for doing so, including 10% off for those who already own Chivalry: Medieval Warfare on Steam. Mirage is due for full release in 2017 and there are two basic tiers of pre-order, Standard Edition and Special Edition. They include:

Standard Edition
Price: $29.99

  • Instant Beta Access
  • Full version of Mirage: Arcane Warfare
  • “Bones of the Bygone” helmet pack
  • Option to upgrade to Special Edition

Special Edition
Price: $39.99

  • All Standard Edition contents and perks
  • Original Game Soundtrack
  • “Honor Masks” Helmet Pack
  • Welcome Random Drops Package
  • HD Fan Pack (including wallpapers, propaganda art and a world map)
  • Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Complete Edition FREE

DiRT Rally for Linux

Feral Interactive announces the release of the Linux edition of DiRT Rally, Codemasters' rally racing game. This can be picked up from Feral Interactive or via Steam, where it is a free addition for all who already own the Windows edition. Word is:

OUT NOW ON LINUX
Experience all the thrill of racing on the edge in DiRT Rally, the most authentic rally game ever engineered.

DiRT, the champion rally series from racing studio Codemasters, comes to Linux with the ultimate in high-risk high-reward gameplay. Strap yourself in and hurtle down the most dangerous tracks in the world, from the drenched pine forests of Wales to the crumbling hillsides of Greece.

Push your nerve, your ability and your car to the extremes of control in Rally, Rallycross and Hillclimb races, and win championships to score cash for even more powerful rides. It will take all your focus and finesse to succeed in this spectacular world of off-road motor racing.

Agony Trailers

A new trailer from Agony introduces the demons in this upcoming first-person survival/horror game set in hell. They accompany this with another trailer showing off some demon gameplay. The description of the clip covers what to expect from the game:

Agony is a first-person survival horror game currently in development. Players will begin their journey as tormented soul within the depths of hell without any memories about his past.

The special ability to control people on their path, and even possess simple minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in.

By exploring hostile environment and interacting with the other weary souls of the hellscape, the hero will soon understand that there is only one way to escape from Hell, and it will require a meeting of the mystical Red Goddess.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

It is quite windy around here at the moment, you can hear it battering things and occasionally rattling the windows. The forecast says winds are currently around 45 mph and there are gusts up to 55 mph, and there is a high wind warning that extends for more than the next 24 hours. The timing of this is not ideal, as we have a dumpster full of garbage and debris sitting out front right now, which has the potential to strew garbage all over. The good news is that most of the junk in there is too heavy to become airborne, but in looking out there, I cant help thinking some of the lighter stuff may already be out there exploring the world.

Windy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Idle Raiders: Second Run.
Images: Wonderful photos of rescued seal hugging its plushy seal plaything.
Hotel checkout checklist.
Media: Incredible Roller Blades Performance By 11 Year Old Girl.
Sea Lions Playing Volleyball.
Follow-up: Oscars Envelopegate: This is why both PwC accountants have been banned.
The Funnies: Wally And Gandhi Have Lots In Common - Dilbert.



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