Archived News:

Friday, Nov 03, 2017

Total War: ARENA Free Weekend

Creative Assembly and Wargaming announce a free weekend is underway for Total War: ARENA, offering the first public access to the multiplayer strategy game. Here's word on what's happening and where to pick up a copy:
Creative Assembly and Wargaming Alliance announced today the free-to-play battle game Total War: ARENA has launched a limited-time open weekend. Players who are not part of the closed beta can join the fray with just a account and hit the battlefield from November 3 at 2PM UTC through Monday November 6 at 6AM UTC.

The open weekend will allow full access to the latest version of Total War: ARENA, letting new commanders test their mettle in epic scale 10 vs 10 multiplayer battles. Choose a commander from three historical factions: Romans, Greeks and Barbarians, and fight on ancient battlefields with your own customized army. This follows on from recent content patch 2.2 that added Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, a new Roman commander and master of defensive and supportive play.

“We’re really excited to open Total War: ARENA to gamers everywhere for the weekend,” said Sergei Laptenok, Total War: ARENA Product Director at Wargaming Alliance. “This is a fantastic opportunity for players, both new and old, to explore all the awesome features and provide valuable feedback so we can all make ARENA better together.”

Download Total War: ARENA here: (CIS) (EU) (Asia) (NA)

For more information on Total War: ARENA, visit: (CIS) (EU) (Asia) (NA)

Runic Closed, Motiga Layoffs

Kotaku has word that Perfect World has laid off most of the staff at Motiga, developer of the MOBA Gigantic. They also report the Chinese publisher has shut down Torchlight developer Runic Games, who just released Hob, a puzzle game. The Runic Games website has a farewell note from this developer that formed from the ashes of Flagship Studios:
Hey everyone,

It’s been over nine years since a rag-tag team of 17 developers helped open Runic Games. We’ve been so lucky for the community that has supported us and made us successful. Thanks to that support, we have had the chance to meet and work with the best people in the world. Our team here at Runic has released three successful games, and over that time we have seen many changes; team members got married, kids were born, but the most important thing is that we have become a family.

I’m sorry to say that today will be Runic’s last day open. Our focus is on our family here, and helping them find a new place to call home. If you are in games and looking for some of the best talent in the industry, please email

For those that love the Torchlight series, there will be some news coming. And for all our fans, our community and multiplayer services will keep running even after the studio's lights go off.

It has been an amazing experience. To my family here at Runic, I know we won’t be far from each other, and I’ll miss seeing you all every week.

You haven’t heard the last of us,

Marsh Lefler
Studio Head

.hack//G.U. Last Recode Released

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment announces the release of .hack//G.U. Last Recode, with the Windows edition of the RPG bundle available on Steam. They note this can be a starting point for newcomers, as along with a new chapter, it offers remastered versions of the whole trilogy: Here's word:
Leading interactive entertainment company, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., today launches .hack//G.U.™ Last Recode for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and PC via STEAM®. .hack//G.U. Last Recode is the ultimate experience for fans and newcomers to the cult classic series featuring a collection of three remastered .hack//G.U. action-RPG titles including; Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption, along with a brand new chapter to the series, Reconnection. The updated trilogy includes 1080p resolution, 16:9 widescreen picture, 60fps frame rate, enhanced battle balance and game pacing, a new Cheat Mode and numerous additional features.

.hack is a multimedia franchise developed by famed Japanese developer CyberConnect2, the developers behind the critically acclaimed Naruto® Storm series of video games. Comprising of video games, anime, novels, and manga, the world of .hack focuses on the mysterious events surrounding a wildly popular in-universe massively multiplayer role-playing game called The World. .hack//G.U. begins after the events of the original .hack series with players assuming the role of Haseo as he tracks down a powerful Player Killer named Tri-Edge who killed his friend’s in-game avatar Shino, which put her into a coma in real life.

.hack//G.U. ™ Vol.4//Reconnection is the long-awaited epilogue to the original .hack//G.U. trilogy of video games. The new chapter finds Haseo back in The World one last time before its servers go offline at the end of the month. When he arrives, he quickly finds himself in the midst of another adventure as he learns that a long-lost friend has been found alive.

“.hack//G.U. ™ Last Recode brings together three massive RPG experiences to form one epic compelling story,” said Dennis Lee, Brand Marketing Director at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “The launch of .hack//G.U. Last Recode also marks the celebration of the 15 year anniversary of the release of the original game, which was coincidentally set in the futuristic sci-fi world of 2017.”

TransRoad: USA Roadmap

Publisher astragon Entertainment reconfirms the November 9th release date for TransRoad: USA, and with Deck13's logistics simulator due next week, they offer more details on what to expect:
Only a few more days until fans of business simulations will once more be able to prove the full scope of their management skills: On November 9, 2017 they will get the unique chance to build up their very own US logistics empire with TransRoad: USA and become the United States’ biggest hauler!

Three exciting game modes (campaign, quest and sandbox), up to five AI-controlled competitors, 37 US-American cities and a potential client base consisting of 77 businesses from 14 industries await the ambitious entrepreneur in Deck13 Hamburg’s TransRoad: USA. Other features include seven different trailer types, hundreds of trucks, lots of drivers and of course a wide range of interesting challenges such as economic upturns, financial crises, demanding (and therefore especially lucrative) special orders as well as tricky missions in the quest and campaign modes.

The game’s freely zoomable 3D map ensures that the virtual manager will always stay on top of things when it comes to his trucks, contracts, clients and marketing measures within all the US cities. A little bit of relaxation between difficult decisions offers the truck camera with which the player can follow individual trucks on their way across the whole country. 19 famous landmarks such as the Hoover Dam, the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate Bridge can also be discovered by the player and will create a feeling of really travelling across the USA.

How about some uplifting tunes to make all this company building go a little bit smoother? In addition to its own country music inspired soundtrack TransRoad: USA offers its players an internet radio plug-in that will give them the opportunity to add their favorite radio stations to the game and thus create the perfect musical score for their very own trucking adventure.

Op Ed

The Trouble with Trailers -
"Worse is the fact that this trailer was dropped without warning into the middle of a press event that was live-streamed across Europe at around six in the evening, and filled mostly with kid-friendly games. I roll my eyes at a fair bit of parental outrage over games (my glib, obviously-not-a-parent-myself solution to most of it being "try not buying him a copy of GTAV then?") but I have a hell of a lot of sympathy for a parent who looks away for a few minutes from their kid watching a video of the new Spider-Man game, and when they turn back he's gawping at a woman being held down and having her elbows broken with a hammer."

Evening Previews

World of Warcraft Classic and New WoW Expansion Announced

Blizzard's final BlizzCon reveals are of a new Battle for Azeroth expansion coming to World of Warcraft, as well as plans to introduce a World of Warcraft Classic server option for the MMORPG, something many have been expecting/hoping for ever since Blizzard had a private vanilla server shut down. This cinematic trailer and this features video show off the new expansion, and urges players to hear over to the World of Warcraft website to opt in to the beta. This page has details on what to expect, including a new level cap, new dungeons & raids, an included character boost, and new social options. This video announces World of Warcraft Classic. They say to stay tuned for details. In the meantime, word is: "We’re pleased to announce the development of a “classic server” option for World of Warcraft. We’ll have more information to share in the future." Continue here to read the full story.

New Overwatch Hero and Map Revealed

Blizzard unveiled three new Overwatch videos today at BlizzCon, introducing a new hero and map. This clip shows off Moira, the new support character they say is "a Talon geneticist as brilliant as she is ambitious." Her overview page is already online giving details on her kit and her backstory. Word is: "Moira’s biotic abilities enable her to contribute healing or damage in any crisis. While Biotic Grasp gives Moira short-range options, her Biotic Orbs contribute longer-range, hands-off damage and healing; she can also Fade to escape groups or remain close to allies in need of support. Once she’s charged Coalescence, Moira can save multiple allies from elimination at once or finish off weakened enemies." This trailer introduces Blizzard World, a new Hybrid map coming to the multiplayer shooter. Word on that is: "See your favorite gaming memories come to life in Overwatch’s new hybrid map as you attack and defend the payload across Azeroth, Tristram, the Koprulu Sector, and beyond!" Finally, Honor and Glory is a new animated short with a closer look at Reinhardt's history, though you should have tissues handy when you watch this in case someone starts slicing onions. Continue here to read the full story.

Hearthstone: Kobolds & Catacombs Announced

The Hearthstone website has the announcement of Kobolds & Catacombs, a new expansion coming to the virtual card game. This kicks off with a free Marin the Fox card giveaway for logging in on Monday (they tease that a golden version of this card is only for BlizzCon attendees and Virtual Ticket holders). This trailer shows off the add-on, and here's word:
Explore the catacombs, survive deadly encounters, and unearth wondrous treasures!

Azeroth’s rat-like, candle-loving cave folk—the kobolds—have been digging deep beneath the surface for millennia. Their catacombs stretch on for miles, wending through forbidden tombs and breaking through the walls of long-forgotten treasure vaults. A hoard of glorious loot is there for the taking—if you can survive the dangers that lurk in those uncharted tunnels!

Secreted away in Kobolds & Catacombs await many wonders, including:

  • Dungeon Runs: FREE repeatable single-player experience where everything you need is provided!
  • Legendary weapon collectible cards for ALL nine classes
  • A new keyword: Recruit
  • In total, 135 new cards to add to your collection!

Continue here to read the full story.

Alexstrasza, Hanzo, and Major Changes Coming to Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm website has details on "Dragons of the Nexus" with the expected announcement that Alexstrasza and Hanzo are the next heroes coming to the Nexus. This cinematic trailer introduces the pair, while this one shows off gameplay for each, while also touching on new features coming in what they are calling a 2018 update for the MOBA. They mention plans for performance-based matchmaking that departs from MMRs based on wins and losses, voice chat, a new camera, laning improvements, a stealth rework, and evolved battleground mechanics. The page has further details on this, and says it's coming to the PTR later this month:
We're always looking for ways to improve Heroes of the Storm, and this year we've been hard at work on a number of changes designed to improve gameplay at all skill levels. We showed these changes to professional players and key community members earlier this year, and now we're opening them up to the public through an extended testing period on the PTR, beginning on November 20. Let us know what you think!
Continue here to read the full story.

StarCraft II Going Free-to-Play

Blizzard announced today at BlizzCon that StarCraft II is going free-to-play, offering unfettered access to their real-time strategy sequel. The StarCraft II website has details, saying this begins on November 14th. Here's an overview trailer and here are some details:
Starting November 14, you’ll have free access to the original Wings of Liberty single-player campaign and every Co-op Commander, and will be able to unlock access to StarCraft II’s competitive multiplayer content for free. Here is a specific rundown of everything that will be available to you for free:

  • The original Wings of Liberty campaign. Experience the original epic campaign that kicked off the StarCraft II saga! If you picked up Wings of Liberty previously but haven’t come back to StarCraft II in a while, we’ve got good news for you too—if you already own Wings of Liberty, you’ll receive the second installment in StarCraft II’s campaign, the zerg-focused Heart of the Swarm, for free. Make sure to log in between November 8 and December 8 to claim it.
  • You will be able to access the ranked multiplayer ladder to compete with other players to become the best of the best, complete with all of the multiplayer units from Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void. All you have to do to unlock it permanently is earn 10 First Wins of the Day in Unranked or Versus A.I. play—our way to preserve the quality and integrity of the ranked experience.
  • Current and upcoming Co-op Commanders are available to play for free up to level five, and the level restriction for weekly mutations has been removed. You’ll be able to tackle these extra challenging missions with your friends right away. The Co-op Commanders Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis will remain completely free, meaning that you can keep leveling them to your heart’s content.

In other words, you can now play all of StarCraft II’s multiplayer, every Co-op Commander, and the entire first campaign in the single-player story, for free.

If you play through Wings of Liberty and want to see how the rest of the epic single-player saga unfolds, all the other single-player campaigns—Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops will be available to purchase individually for $14.99 or as a bundle for $39.99. We will also continue to offer premium upgrades like announcer packs, special skins, and new Co-op Commanders to enhance your StarCraft II experience in a number of different ways. As with the existing line-up of Co-op Commanders, however, you will be able to play upcoming new Co-op Commanders who are released for free until they reach level 5. You can also purchase any of the campaigns or a seasonal War Chest to gain immediate access to ranked play if you desire.

For those of you who have already purchased any of the three campaigns as of October 31, we’ll soon be sending you a small thank-you in the form of an exclusive Ghost skin as well as three new portraits.

Continue here to read the full story.

Call of Duty: WWII Released

Activision announces the release of Call of Duty: WWII, a new installment in the military shooter series that returns to its original World War II setting. The announcement is lengthy, covering the various SKUs and details on season pass content as well as the game. No need for a launch trailer as every moment of the game is depicted in an endless stream of livestreams. Here are the details in case you want to play instead of watch:
Call of Duty: WWII is loaded with an incredible amount of content, and delivers a variety of new ways for all players to connect, compete, and engage as a community across the unique modes of play. The Call of Duty: WWII story campaign immerses players into an intense journey filled with gripping action and epic battles. Players follow the story of Ronald “Red” Daniels, a member of the US 1st Infantry Division, who joins British forces and the French Resistance, and battle across the beaches of Normandy, to the liberation of Paris and ultimately into Germany.

Call of Duty®: WWII multiplayer is a fast-paced, grounded, and action-packed mode set in some of the most iconic locations in World War II’s European theater with an arsenal of iconic weapons and equipment to suit different play styles and innovative ways to experience the mode, including:

  • War Mode: Developed in partnership with Raven Software, allows players to compete against each other as Allies and Axis forces in team-driven, objective missions.
  • Divisions: Redefines create-a-class system for how players develop their WWII Multiplayer Careers by enlisting in five iconic divisions, including the first to the fight Airborne Division, sharpshooting Mountain Division, the versatile Infantry Division, heavily-equipped Armored Division, and the Expeditionary Division armed with incendiary rounds and shotguns.
  • Headquarters: An evolving, shared social space for players to connect with fans and friends.

Nazi Zombies is an all-new, cooperative zombies mode that thrusts players into a dark and terrifying, new and unique storyline set within a mythical and mystical World War II universe. Players embark on a chilling journey through a snowy Bavarian village in Germany, which holds a twisted secret to an unimaginable and monstrous power.

AMD ReLive Hotfix Drivers

AMD Support now offers new version 17.11.1 Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition drivers (thanks Bill). This is a non-WHQL-certified hotfix released to address a handful of issues. Here's an outline:
Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.1 Highlights

Support For

  • Call of Duty®: WWII
    • Up to 5% faster performance on Radeon™ RX Vega64 (8GB) graphics than with Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.10.3 at 2560x1440. (1)
  • AMD XConnect™ Technology
    • Now supported on Radeon RX Vega56 series graphics products for select eGPU enclosures.

Fixed Issues

  • Radeon Software may intermittently cause an application crash on limited numbers of DirectX®11 or OpenGL applications on their first run.
  • Some gaming or productivity applications may experience a random hang or application crash when performing task switching.
  • Radeon WattMan reset and restore factory default options may not reset graphics or memory clocks.
  • Radeon WattMan reset and restore factory default options may not reset graphics or memory clocks.
  • Oculus™ Dash may experience a random application hang.
  • Bezel compensation in mixed mode Eyefinity cannot be applied.
  • Radeon Settings may experience overlapping text or corruption in the Multi GPU profiles page.
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon®: Wildlands may experience minor corruption with Anisotropic Filtering (AF) enabled.
  • Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™ may experience ghosting or distortion in gameplay on Multi GPU enabled system configurations.
  • AMD XConnect™ Technology products may not be detected/enabled on reconnection if previously disconnected during system sleep
  • A limited number of system devices such as printers may be removed during Radeon Software uninstallation.

Guardians of Ember Free Weekend

Insel Publishing announces a free weekend is underway on Steam for Guardians of Ember, the new hack-and-slash MMORPG from Runes of Magic developer Runewaker. The game is subscription-free, but requires a purchase, and both the base and deluxe editions are on sale for half-off for the duration of the weekend. Here's the pitch:
Just a few weeks after leaving Early Access, Insel Games opens up Guardians of Ember to a broader audience, giving players the opportunity to check out the game before buying. Through the whole weekend players can try out each of the six different classes, create unique builds with more than 300 skills and a dual class system at their disposal. Fans of traditional MMOs will enjoy features like housing, crafting, fishing and can use the Group Finder to make new friends. More action awaits the brave heroes of Olyndale as they slash their way through hordes of enemies, level up, and tackle randomized and instanced dungeons in the new nightmare mode together with their allies or alone. Now is the time to grab a friend and explore every corner of Olyndale and not only take part in Public Events but in special events put on especially for the occasion as well. All progress made during the free weekend will carry over should players decide to dive in and buy the game so that they can keep on leveling up their heroes as they continue their adventures against the Black Army.

Nioh: Complete Edition Has Incomplete Controls (No Mouse)

DSOGaming reports a tidbit picked up in an hour-long stream of gameplay from Nioh: Complete Edition. Word is the PC edition of the third-person action game does not have mouse support, and must be played with the keyboard or a controller. There is no explanation of the omission from developer Team Ninja, but they do quote a reply they got from The Outerhaven Productions about their video: "There is no M+K. The game does not support the mouse at all. It’s either controller or keyboard. No mouse."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

BlizzCon gets underway today, so here's a shout out to all the gamers who made the sojourn to Cali to take part. This still reminds me of an idea my friends and I came up with when we were busy with Diablo III. The nature of the game requires repeatedly playing through the same segments, and our irritation over unwelcome aspects of the story eventually became so overwhelming that we vowed to attend BlizzCon as a group of Leahs. The goal would be to express our hatred of the character with the world's worst cosplay... beards, potbellies, blathering about Uncle Deckard in deep voices, the whole shebang. Not sure what point this would actually make, but it still makes me laugh to consider it. "This is about as exciting as the time Uncle Deckard and I spent the summer in Bramwell. People are quite boring there."

Cosplay Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Dinosaur Simulator 2: Dino City.
Story: UK To Get A Stunning View Of Beaver Moon In November.
Science: Using particle physics, scientists find hidden structure inside Egypt's Great Pyramid.
Gut bacteria 'boost' cancer therapy.
The Earth’s ozone hole is shrinking and is the smallest it has been since 1988.
Image: When your 4 year old wants to be a Sentry Turret for Halloween.
Media: Tim Minchin - Nine life lessons.
KILLER POOP WATER!?: PORTAL - Part 2 (React- Let's Plays).
Grave Digger's record breaking front wheelie. And I can't parallel park.
Follow-up: Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming And Humans Are The Cause. Thanks RedEye9.
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