Archived News:

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2018

Overwatch Patched

A new patch is now live in Overwatch, updating Blizzard's multiplayer shooter with changes and fixes while paving the way for the launch of the Overwatch league. This includes new league team skins and a new token system by which they can be purchased. This separate post has details on the skins and tokens, and here's the overview:
Time to suit up! Overwatch League home-team skins are now live and can be purchased via our new League Token system, which allows players to directly support their favorite Overwatch League team (or teams!). Home-team skins are available for all 12 OVerwatch League teams and all 26 Overwatch heroes.

Blaze Heats Up Heroes of the Storm

A new update is now live in Heroes of the Storm, adding Blaze to the MOBA, a StarCraft Firebat unit that fills a tank role. This also changes that were not on the PTR, including hero balancing as well as changes intended to lessen the snowball tendencies introduced by their 2018 gameplay update. These patch notes have all the details, including word on Blaze, who unlike Sgt. Hammer and Lt. Morales seems ashamed of his rank: "Cpl. Miles "Blaze" Lewis has always been drawn to the flame, but it wasn't until he joined up with Raynor's Raiders that he put his pyromania to good use. He's seen his fair share of battles since then, and has never failed to bring the heat."

League of Legends New Season Nears

The League of Legends Website has patch notes for a new version 8.1 update for Riot's MOBA. This is the last update before the new season, which begins on January 16th, so brace yourself for placement matches. Here's word:
It's the first patch of the new season, and that means it's our last chance to make changes before the season starts! We already had an extra patch (7.24b) to round out the preseason leading into the holiday break, so this patch is a good deal smaller than usual.

The Ranked ladder resets with this patch, so we’ll see you out there for placements. To go with that, there are a few updates to the Honor system aimed at rewarding honorable players with some sweet loot!

Call of Duty: WWII: Resistance Trailer

The Darkest Shore is a new trailer from Call of Duty: WWII: Resistance takes a look at the Nazi zombie campaign in the upcoming DLC for the military shooter. The DLC is due on PlayStation 4 on January 30th, so users of other systems should expect it about 30 days after that. Here's word:
The Resistance DLC for Call of Duty: WWII brings three new multiplayer maps to Call of Duty: WWII, along with a new War Mode mission - Operation Intercept, and the next chapter in the Nazi Zombies saga – The Darkest Shore. Available first on the PlayStation 4 beginning on January 30, check out what The Resistance has to offer.

The Darkest Shore follows our heroes into the next chapter of their dangerous journey. Only days after the horrific disaster of Mittelburg, the crew has received intel that suggests Doktor Straub is on an island just north of Germany. Blanketed in fog, this island is surrounded by Nazi air and sea power – and crawling with the Undead. Marie, Drostan, Olivia, and Jefferson will need to battle all this and more to uncover the mysteries hidden within the Darkest Shore.
Continue here to read the full story.

Free Game with The Red Strings Club Pre-purchases

Developer Deconstructeam and publisher Devolver Digital announce The Red Strings Club will launch on January 22nd. They are now accepting pre-purchases on Steam for this throwback point-and-click adventure, and while there are indeed strings attached, those who pre-purchase will get a free copy of Gods Will Be Watching. You can check out the game's retro style and cool vibe in this reveal trailer, and here are some details:
Independent developer Deconstructeam and amateur bartenders Devolver Digital announced that point and click thriller The Red Strings Club will launch Jan. 22. Eager cyberpunk fans can preorder now on Steam to receive 20 percent off and a free copy of Deconstructeam’s debut game, Gods Will Be Watching, for free or as a giftable copy if they already own it.

The Red Strings Club is a cyberpunk narrative experience about fate and happiness featuring the extensive use of pottery, bartending and impersonating people on the phone to take down a corporate conspiracy. The professed altruistic corporation Supercontinent Ltd. is on the verge of releasing Social Psyche Welfare, a system which will eliminate depression, anger and fear from society. However, the bartender of a clandestine club and a freelance hacker don't regard this evolution as an improvement, but as brainwashing. Alongside unwitting company employees and a rogue empathy android, the duo will pull all the strings they can to bring down this scheme.

Deconstructeam first splashed on the indie game scene with 2014’s Gods Will Be Watching, a game jam project turned debut release with partner Devolver Digital. The team’s first effort went on to gain critical acclaim for its bold narrative and unorthodox approach to the point and click adventure genre. The team has continued their work with notable entries in the world’s largest game jam competitions, with a few of these experiments coming together to assemble The Red Strings Club.
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Genifer the sweet spider.

EA Gaming Patents

In March 2016 EA filed to patent a pair of gaming concepts that have just come to light. One of them is pretty straightforward, as it outlines dynamic difficulty adjustment to promote player retention by tweaking difficulty levels under the hood. Word is: "The game retention prediction model may be applied to a user's activity data to determine an indication of the user's expected duration of game play. Based on the determined expected duration of game play, the difficulty level of the video game may be automatically adjusted." The other patent seems a little trickier, as it looks to tailor the online gaming experience by tweaking matchmaking to use factors besides game performance. Destructoid notes this is based on principles outlined in this research paper describing "An Engagement Optimized Matchmaking Framework." Here's the a bit from the Multiplayer Video Game Matchmaking Optimization application United States Patent Application:
Embodiments presented herein use machine learning algorithms to determine the impact that a match plan for a multiplayer video game is likely to have on the retention for the individual users included in the match plan. Further, certain embodiments herein relate to determining whether a grouping of two or more players as teammates and/or opponents may result in one of the players being more likely to cease playing the video game. Systems presented herein can use a parameter function or a prediction model to predict or estimate a churn or retention rate for users based at least in part on the configuration of particular match plans and user interaction data for the users relating to interaction with the video game by the users. The match plan may include the identification of the number of users and/or teams, the number of users on a team, and whether two (or more) users are teammates or opponents, and one or more roles of each user within the video game, or match. The roles may include the identity of in-game or playable characters used by the users and/or the role of the playable character, such as an offense character (such as a forward in a soccer game), a defense character (such as a cornerback in a football game), a tank character (or a character that is designed to withstand a lot of in-game damage), a healer character, a range character, a side-kick, and the like.

Subnautica This Month

Unknown Worlds announces January 23rd will be the release date for Subnautica, their underwater action game. This game has traveled at least 20,000 leagues under the sea since its "earliest access" launch in October of 2014 and its Early Access launch two months later. They are celebrating the event with a Subnautica Launch Livestream from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. This game follows the scenario of a lot of sci-fi survival games, except you crash land on the ocean floor, rather than an alien planet. Here's a bit:
Dive Into a Vast Underwater World
You have crash-landed on alien ocean world, and the only way to go is down. Subnautica's oceans range from sun drenched shallow coral reefs to treacherous deep-sea trenches, lava fields, and bio-luminescent underwater rivers. Manage your oxygen supply as you explore kelp forests, plateaus, reefs, and winding cave systems. The water teems with life: Some of it helpful, much of it harmful.

Scavenge, Craft, and Survive
After crash landing in your Life Pod, the clock is ticking to find water, food, and to develop the equipment you need to explore. Collect resources from the ocean around you. Craft knives, lights, diving gear, and personal water craft. Venture deeper and further form to find rarer resources, allowing you to craft more advanced items.

Construct Underwater Habitats
Build bases on the sea floor. Choose layouts and components, and manage hull-integrity as depth and pressure increase. Use your base to store resources, park vehicles, and replenish oxygen supplies as you explore the vast ocean.

Injustice 2 Enchantress Released

First access to the Enchantress is now available in Injustice 2 for those who own Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition, Injustice 2 Ultimate Pack, or Fighter Pack #3. This will be for the next week, and after that the new character will be available to all owners of the game. This previously released trailer offers a look at the Suicide Squad antagonist, and this blurb has word:
Today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment welcomes the newest addition to the Injustice 2 roster: the powerful sorceress, Enchantress. Beginning today, players who have purchased the Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition, Injustice 2 Ultimate Pack or Fighter Pack #3 can wield Enchantress’ dark magic to force her foes into submission. Beginning Jan. 16, Enchantress will be available as a standalone purchase from the PlayStation® Store, Xbox Store, Steam and Microsoft Store.
Continue here to read the full story.

PUBG Testing New Crates

A post on Steam outlines a new patch for PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS that includes a bunch of tweaks as well a two new microtransaction crates. Here's word:
We will also be testing the new crate system with two new crates. We know some of you have been looking forward to this. One crate will be free to open and the other one will require a key. Every test server user will be granted 100 000 BP and 6 Early Bird keys (the new unified PUBG crate key that can open Desperado and Gamescom crates), so that they can test the new crates and the items within. Each time you spend BP to get a crate, you will get one of the 4 available crates. There will be a much higher chance of getting one of the two new ones. You can see the exact percentage values below. The BP value, the new items and the keys won’t be transferred to live accounts. They are granted purely for the purpose of testing, to make sure that everything stays stable once the test build is moved to the live servers. As always, all our crate items are purely cosmetic in nature and provide no gameplay advantage.

Please read the detailed patch notes below to learn about these and other changes and fixes included in the current test build and please keep providing your valuable feedback on our forums:

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Including more Corsairs than an episode of Baa Baa Black Sheep.


Out of the Blue

Congrats to the new college football champions and their fans! Also hats off to the winners of this weekend's NFL playoffs and their fans. If this all seems a little generic, it's not because it was written in advance of the outcomes. It's because I know of at least one regular reader who catches up to their football results via DVR. I don't know how it's possible to avoid having results spoiled following the conclusions of these games, but there's no reason to be part of the problem.

Unspoiled Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Puppet Wrestling.
Link: The Countries Working The Most Hours Every Year.
Science: Widespread Flu Hits 46 States.
Ibuprofen linked to male infertility, study says.
Media: Keanu Reeves Tactical 3 gun shooting.
Brazilian Police demonstrate how to get out of tight park
Secret The Dog Takes Herself Sledding. Awesome.
The Funnies: Dilbert.
Prescribed Date.
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