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Monday, Nov 13, 2017

  

New AMD Drivers (Sort Of)

AMD Support now offers Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.1 drivers for Windows (thanks Bill). Those paying careful attention may notice this is the same version number as the hotfix drivers released at the start of this month. The difference here is that these are a reissue that is now officially WHQL-certified, so these can be installed on systems using Microsoft Secure boot. The main features of the new drivers is improved Call of Duty: WWII performance on Radeon RX Vega64 (8GB) graphics and support for AMD XConnect technology on Radeon RX Vega56 graphics cards for select eGPU enclosures.

Star Wars Battlefront II Progression Eased

Presumably in response to the firestorm (including death threats) over the grind to unlock characters in Star Wars Battlefront II mentioned this morning, EA announces the Play First Trial was patched today in advance of the game's official release on Friday (thanks ASLayerAODsk). They explain that "change will be a constant" in presenting the game, and that today's changes reduce the amount of credits required to unlock characters by 75%. Here are the details, including word that they will hold an AMA on reddit on Wednesday to further discuss plans for the Star Wars action sequel:

Since the start of the project, listening to fans has been important in making sure Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II is the very best experience for all of you. We’ve done this with the closed alpha, through the beta last month, and our Play First Trial. And we continue to make adjustments based on your feedback as the game launches worldwide this week. Listening, and providing choices in how you play, will always be our principle with Star Wars Battlefront II. We want to ensure the game is balanced and fun both today and for years into the future.

Making games great comes from regular tuning. As one example, today we’re making a substantial change based on what we’ve seen during the Play First trial. There’s been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it’s clear that more changes were needed.

So, we’re reducing the amount of credits needed to unlock the top heroes by 75%. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will now be available for 15,000 credits; Emperor Palpatine, Chewbacca, and Leia Organa for 10,000 credits; and Iden at 5,000 credits. Based on what we’ve seen in the trial, this amount will make earning these heroes an achievement, but one that will be accessible for all players.

It's a big change, and it’s one we can make quickly. It will be live today, with an update that is getting loaded into the game.

Continue here to read the full story.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus DLC Roadmap

Bethesda.net offers a post-launch roadmap for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, outlining when to expect the DLC for the shooter sequel. The DLC will be sold individually, or as part of a season pass. Here are the details:

BJ Blazkowicz might be a nigh-unstoppable Nazi-killing machine, but it takes more than one man to make a revolution. That’s where The Freedom Chronicles comes in. Starring three different heroes, this multipart DLC will give players a chance make America Nazi-free again – but from a trio of fresh perspectives. Available as individual DLC packs or all together in the Season Pass, The Freedom Chronicles includes:

Episode Zero

Included with pre-order or Season Pass. Available now.
Episode Zero introduces you to Joseph Stallion, Jessica Valiant and Gerald Wilkins as they fight for freedom in the American Territories. Blast your way through Nazis using unique abilities and an arsenal of guns in this opening DLC mission.

The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe
December 14
As former professional quarterback Joseph Stallion, smash through Nazi hordes from the ruins of Chicago to the vastness of space!

The Diaries of Agent Silent Death
January 30
As ex-OSS agent and assassin Jessica Valiant, infiltrate Nazi bunkers in California and discover the secrets of Operation San Andreas!

The Amazing Deeds of Captain Wilkins
March 2018
As the US Army’s renowned hero Captain Gerald Wilkins, embark on a mission to Nazi-controlled Alaska to dismantle Operation Black Sun!

The Freedom Chronicles Season Pass is available now, for $24.99 (US) / £17.99 (UK) / $34.95 (AUS).

Season Four for For Honor Tomorrow

Sorry we won't have the three "for" headline for much longer (here's a classic comedy homage), as Season 4 in For Honor kicks off tomorrow. UbiBlog has details on how this adds (wait for it) four-versus-four combat to the melee action game. Here's word:

The centerpiece of any new content drop is, of course, the new Heroes, and Season Four’s are especially formidable. The Samurai get a new Hybrid, the Aramusha, who wields dual katanas and can unleash quick attack chains and counters to keep enemies off-balance. Meanwhile, the Vikings add the Shaman to their ranks, a nimble Assassin type who can pounce on unsuspecting foes and becomes far deadlier if her opponent is bleeding. Both the Aramusha and the Shaman will be immediately available to Season Pass holders tomorrow, and other players will be able to unlock them for 15,000 Steel each beginning November 21.

The new maps, meanwhile, will be free to all players starting tomorrow. One of them, Market Town, offers up a multi-tiered battlefield of rooftops and alleyways crisscrossed with ziplines, which you can use to get around quickly or drop onto foes from above. The other is Gauntlet, a huge Viking fortress that funnels attackers through a series of deadly defenses.

Finally, Tribute is a new 4v4 mode that challenges teams of players to capture three Offerings scattered around the map, which then have to be returned to your team’s Shrines. Placing an Offering at a Shrine gives your team a special buff, making the battle increasingly tougher on your opponents. Like the maps, Tribute will be free to all players at launch.

Additionally, For Honor is on sale today across all digital platforms for up to 60% off, giving new players an extra incentive to start playing the most refined For Honor experience yet.

"One-Trick" Overwatch Player Bans?

A thread on reddit discusses a ban handed down to a Torbjörn main in Overwatch which is apparently connected to his unwillingness to switch to a different character (thanks PCGamesN). The banned player, Fuey500, took his case to Twitter, saying, "Please unban me I am a high elo one trick who does not do anything wrong I am a wholesome boi. Thanks!" Blizzard responded, indicating they are struggling to decide how this fits with their vague guideline about playing nice. Then, somewhat confusingly, they followed up with another post explaining that the bans in question were for abuse beyond simply being a "one-trick pony," though it's hard to see how this relates to the Fuey500 case. Here's word:

After investigating a number of the cases that have been surfaced over the past 24 hours, we can confirm that the system is working as intended.

None of these were simple cases of “one tricking” or off-meta hero selection. These were examples of behavior intended to disrupt Competitive Play. As such, the punishments will stand.

To be clear, specializing in certain heroes or playing off-meta heroes is not bad behavior on its own. In fact, we actively encourage people to be clever with their team comps and work with their teammates to counter the enemy comp. Teamwork is important and should be considered when making your hero selections, especially in Competitive Play.

We take these kinds of reports very seriously, along with your feedback. We’ll continue to fine-tune our systems, and we apologize for any confusion about the way that these policies have been communicated.

WARFACE Battle Royale Plans

Battle Royale mode seems to be the new black in gaming, as the WARFACE website announces Crytek is planning their own experimental version of the game mode for their free-to-play online shooter (thanks Gamasutra). They say this will be part of their next update, but oddly, they also indicate this will only be active for a limited time. Here's word:

Soldier, this is by far the toughest challenge of the year — the new game mode will require you to be always on the ready, it’s Battle Royale. The game mode will be available in the next update, only for a limited time.

MAP

Warface has a broad variety of game modes available — some are more conservative and classic, suited to the 5-on-5 scenarios, whilst some others are more dynamic and perhaps even, arcade. With Battle Royale, we wanted to create something on the thin verge between the two, and here you have it: quick-paced combat with an element of the unknown — you never know which gun you’re going to get, with action taking place on the largest PvP map ever seen in the game.

MAIN FEATURES

  • The game mode takes after the most classic scenario: each man for himself.
  • Dynamic engagement, that always keeps you on the move — linger a minute too long and you’ll be caught outside the shield and left for dead.
  • An enormous new map with plenty of areas to explore. No round will ever feel the same — you never know where you’re headed until the “Zone” hits.
    Plenty of achievements to unlock!

Hyper Universe Free Weekend

The Hyper Universe website has details on a new patch that's now live in the early access version of the side-scrolling MOBA. The new version introduces Liu, a martial artist that is not even remotely based on Bruce Lee, so don't go calling any lawyers here. Here's a trailer where you can see the lack of resemblance for yourself. The clip also covers a free weekend for the game that gets underway on Thursday. Word is:

The latest update preview for Hyper Universe has gone live. Joining the current roster of eclectic Hypers this Thursday is Liu, the famed martial artist who brings his dragon-kicking skills to the assassin class. There is also a free weekend event coming on Nov. 16 through Nov. 21 for players that download the game through the Nexon launcher. Check out the developer blog that went live today for the latest information and stay tuned for even more details coming this Thursday.

Continue here to read the full story.

Tekken 7 Adding Noctis Lucis Caelum

A new trailer for Tekken 7 introduces a new character, revealing Noctis Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV is coming to the fighting game. The clip's description has more details on the plan:

Noctis Lucis Caelum from Final Fantasy XV enters the TEKKEN 7 ring! Wielding his signature Engine Blade, Noctis is ready to deal heavy hard-hitting blows as he takes on the likes of Yoshimitsu, Devil Jin, Jack 7, and the rest of the TEKKEN 7 fighters when he enters the King of Iron Fist Tournament in spring 2018!

Continue here to read the full story.

Hitman TV Series Plans

Deadline reports a TV series based on the Hitman games is coming to Hulu, and the pilot is being penned by Derek Kolstad, creator of the John Wick films. This is a third attempt at creating a non-interactive version of IO Interactive's assassination series following a movie that most people hated and follow-up that was even less popular. Here's word:

Kolstad will be an executive producer along with Adrian Askarieh and Chuck Gordon. The project will be overseen at Fox 21 by Bert Salke, Jane Francis, Gloria Fan and Kira Innes, and at Hulu by Jordan Helman. The hope is for Hitman to become a flagship series.

Hitman has sold more than 25 million copies since being launched in 2000. It centers on Agent 47, a meticulous and lethal assassin with a mysterious backstory. The character has been the subject of two films released by Fox — 2007’s Hitman and 2015’s Hitman: Agent 47 — and the intention here is to hew closely to the mythology of the perennially popular video game.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Previews

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Grandmaster Jan Gustafsson trolled by Norwegian chess player. Was a good sport about it. Would be better if he learned the truth in the clip.

Star Wars Battlefront II Grind Complaints

This now-locked thread on reddit shares more pre-release player dissatisfaction with Star Wars Battlefront II, kicking off a series of complaints about the upcoming game's grind (thanks ASLayerAODsk). The original poster says they will seek a refund for their eighty-dollar Deluxe Edition since it will still require unlocking characters (specifically Darth Vader in this case). A subsequent thread notes that the response from the EA Community Team has inspired a reddit record number of downvotes for suggesting players should take pride in the grind. Here is the post, which has well over a quarter-million downvotes, and counting:

The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.

As for cost, we selected initial values based upon data from the Open Beta and other adjustments made to milestone rewards before launch. Among other things, we're looking at average per-player credit earn rates on a daily basis, and we'll be making constant adjustments to ensure that players have challenges that are compelling, rewarding, and of course attainable via gameplay.

We appreciate the candid feedback, and the passion the community has put forth around the current topics here on Reddit, our forums and across numerous social media outlets.

Our team will continue to make changes and monitor community feedback and update everyone as soon and as often as we can.

Return to FINAL FANTASY XI Campaign

Square Enix is celebrating the 15th anniversary of FINAL FANTASY XI with a "Return Home to Vana'diel Campaign," which offers a couple of weeks of free play in the MMORPG (thanks GameWatcher). This kicked off on Friday, and there are details on the FINAL FANTASY XI website, which explains that for some unfathomable reason this is restricted to former players. Word is:

During the campaign period, those who have subscribed to PlayOnline/FINAL FANTASY XI service in the past are eligible to play FINAL FANTASY XI free of charge! Experience the world of Vana'diel now with a variety of new content that has been added throughout the fifteen years of development, along with many system improvements to match your playstyle!

DiRT Rally for macOS This Week

Feral Interactive announces the macOS edition of DiRT Rally is ready to roll on November 16th on their store and Steam. As always, this will be included along with the previously released Windows and Linux editions on Steam. They have a new mini-site dedicated to the ports, which offers this trailer which prematurely says this is out now. Here's the announcement, which splits hairs by saying "system requirements will be confirmed closer to release":

Feral Interactive announced today that DiRT Rally®, the acclaimed rally simulation game, will be released for macOS via Steam on November 16th. The Mac App Store version will be arriving shortly afterwards. Developed and published by Codemasters for Windows and consoles, DiRT Rally has been praised for its realistic handling and pure focus on rally driving. DiRT Rally will support Metal 2, Apple’s latest graphics API.

DiRT Rally is the most authentic rally game ever made, with a highly sophisticated handling model that perfectly captures the exhilaration of driving cars at the edge of control while tearing along treacherous, undulating tracks at breakneck speed. Its high-risk, high-reward gameplay challenges players to learn and master three different disciplines: the point-to-point races of Rally, the tight circuits of Rallycross, and the legendary slopes of Hillclimb.

“DiRT Rally offers players a thrilling, mud-splattered racing experience, but under the bonnet, it’s a meticulously-crafted game,” said David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive. “As they tweak the brake bias and gear ratios of their cars, and take their skill and concentration to the limit on every combination of road surface and weather condition, players will discover a great game that’s driven by detail.”

Continue here to read the full story.

U.K. Sales Charts

GFK Chart-Track announces Call of Duty: WWII is the number one game on their all-platforms chart tracking U.K. game sales for the week ending November 11th. They also note this was the highest second week sales they've recorded for the past two years. There are also three debuts in the top 10 this week, with Football Manager 2018 at number 10, Sonic Forces at number five, and Need for Speed: Payback at number three. There are three new entries on the top 10 on their PC top 30 chart as well, were Need for Speed: Payback launches at seven, The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs at two, and Football Manager 2018 kicking off at number one. Here's the PC top 10:

LW TW Title Developer Label Publisher
- * 1 FOOTBALL MANAGER 2018 SPORTS INTERACTIVE SEGA SEGA
- * 2 THE SIMS 4: CATS & DOGS THE SIMS STUDIO EA GAMES ELECTRONIC ARTS
2 ˅ 3 THE SIMS 4 THE SIMS STUDIO EA GAMES ELECTRONIC ARTS
1 ˅ 4 CALL OF DUTY: WWII SLEDGEHAMMER GAMES ACTIVISION ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
3 ˅ 5 WOLFENSTEIN II: THE NEW COLOSSUS MACHINEGAMES BETHESDA SOFTWORKS BETHESDA SOFTWORKS
4 ˅ 6 DESTINY 2 BUNGIE ACTIVISION ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
- * 7 NEED FOR SPEED: PAYBACK GHOST GAMES EA GAMES ELECTRONIC ARTS
8 - 8 OVERWATCH GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT BLIZZARD ACTIVISION BLIZZARD
7 ˅ 9 TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II CREATIVE ASSEMBLY SEGA SEGA
14 ˄ 10 MINECRAFT: STORY MODE - SEASON 2 TELLTALE GAMES TELLTALE GAMES TELLTALE GAMES

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Our plan to move drags on, and I recently ratted out MrsBlue for obstructing the process. But there have been complications along the way as well. We recently got some water in our basement, something that's only happened a few times since we've lived here. This coincidentally came after we removed some ratty old paneling down there which exposed a crack in the foundation. This probably sounds worse than it is, but it did require a repair involving digging up the earth around the crack on the outside and patching it up with cement and a layer of tar. The good news is that the mason who's doing this actually had nothing but good things to say about the brickwork on our 90 year-old house, pointing out that brick houses tend to have relatively harmless cracks from settling around the windows, and we have nothing at all like that here. The bad news is they are working on this right now, and I never would have imagined how distracting and aggravating the clamor of their work would be. It basically seems like someone has been hitting the side of the house with a sledgehammer every few seconds, and it's starting to drive me crazy (okay, crazier). Hopefully they'll be done soon.

R.I.P.: Liz Smith, Longtime Queen of Tabloid Gossip Columns, Dies at 94.

Bricked Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Bicycle Kick Master.
Links: John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’: The Story of an SF Horror Game-Changer. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
R.E.M. Reflects On 25 Years Of 'Automatic For The People.' Thanks RedEye9.
Dupes gather at sold-out Flat Earth International Conference. Fly in from all around across the world.
Stories: Finally! Someone Is Crowdfunding a Statue for the First Cat in Space.
Headline fail: Alabama Republicans divided over 'sex clams.'
Science: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Semi Truck Stops Amazingly Fast In An Emergency. Don't watch if you have a heart condition.
PYRAMIDHEAD - Cuphead meets Silent Hill! - YouTube!
CarMax's answer to the guy's ad for his fiancé's used Honda.
Follow-up: ‘Deadwood’ Revival Looking At Fall 2018 Production Start Date.
The Funnies: Smarta - FoxTrot.



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