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Friday, Jan 26, 2018 Happy Australia Day, Mate

  

Paragon Closing in April; Refunds Offered

Epic Games announces that Paragon will close down as of April 26th, saying they "feel there isn't a clear path" to grow their MOBA to the point that it "retains enough players to be sustainable." They take full responsibility, apologizing for failing to deliver on the game's promise, and they are offering refunds to everyone who bought the game. Less than two weeks ago Epic admitted that they were deciding on the future of the game after it started being overshadowed by Fortnite and its free-to-play battle royale mode. Now the other shoe has dropped:

Hey Everyone,

It’s with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon.

We truly appreciate everything you’ve put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community.

After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable.

We didn’t execute well enough to deliver on the promise of Paragon. We have failed you -- despite the team’s incredibly hard work -- and we’re sorry.

To try to make this right, Epic is offering a full refund to every Paragon player for every purchase on any platform. This refund will come directly from Epic rather than your platform provider.

To request your refund, follow these steps:

If you’re not playing on PC, link your Epic account (create one if necessary).
If you play on PC, or have already linked your Epic account, you can request your refund here.
We’ll continue operating Paragon servers until April 26, 2018. As the player population continues to decrease, matchmaking times and quality will further degrade.

Thank you for joining us on this journey and for your dedication to Paragon.

DRAGON BALL FighterZ Rolls Out

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment announces that DRAGON BALL FighterZ is now live in North America, offering a fighting game based on the Dragon Ball manga. The launch trailer offers a look, and the Windows edition can be picked up on Steam. Here's word:

DRAGON BALL FighterZ gives fans the opportunity to take their favorite DRAGON BALL characters into battle and bring to bear some of the most famous moves from the DRAGON BALL universe such as Goku’s “Kamehameha”, Vegeta’s “Big Bang Attack”, and Frieza’s “Death Ball”. Featuring 3 vs. 3 battle mechanics, players assemble their teams and take to the field-of-battle to experience eye-popping fights that are sure to wow any fighting game aficionado. DRAGON BALL FighterZ debuts an original character – Android 21 – whose creation was supervised by DRAGON BALL creator, Akira Toriyama. The game also features a unique storyline, dynamically told through animated cut-scenes. With its cast of fan-favorite characters, players will surely train and master more than one fighter and style, delivering richer gameplay and motivation to take down the competition.

“DRAGON BALL FighterZ has been a pleasure to work on since we announced the game at the Microsoft E3 press conference last year. Throughout the year, we’ve received nothing but high praise, support, and excitement from media and fans alike; the energy surrounding this title is definitely over 9000!” said Eric Hartness, Vice President of Marketing at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “Now that the game is in the hands of players, we’re looking forward to seeing both fighting game and DRAGON BALL anime fans battle for bragging rights in DRAGON BALL FighterZ.”

Continue here to read the full story.

Railway Empire Released

Kalypso Media announces Railway Empire is now available on GOG.com and Steam, offering a transportation simulation for Windows and Linux. This post on Steam offers this release trailer and the following details:

The age of industry has arrived on PC and console! Kalypso Media and Gaming Minds Studios are thrilled to announce that highly-anticipated rail tycoon simulator Railway Empire is available today worldwide on Steam, and on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One in the UK, Europe and export territories, with the North American release to follow on 30th January. The boxed retail edition includes a copy of the game’s digital soundtrack, panoramic poster and a printed manual, while the digital version can be purchased through Steam, GOG, the PlayStation® Store and the Xbox Games Store.

In Railway Empire, players will conquer 19th century North America as they work to establish a vast rail network stretching from coast to coast. On the way to entrepreneurial superstardom, players must deal with cutthroat competitors, hire and fire their staff, research over 300 technologies and put over 40 historically authentic locomotives to work as they place miles of tracks across a massive, stunningly-detailed game world. A powerful graphics engine (available in 4k on PlayStation®4 Pro and Xbox One X) lets you seamlessly transition from a birds-eye view to a first-person perspective as you ride along with your favourite trains across your carefully laid rail network.

Continue here to read the full story.

Maiev Coming to Heroes of the Storm

A new spotlight trailer introduces Maiev Shadowsong from World of Warcraft as the next hero coming to Heroes of the Storm, paying off on that green teaser tweet from the other day. Word is she will fill a melee assassin role, and that she is "particularly strong against high-mobility heroes like Genji" (and dare one say Illidan?). Here's the description:

Maiev Shadowsong stood watch over the imprisoned Betrayer for ten thousand years, and hunted him relentlessly after he was released. Some say she’s determined; others say she’s obsessed. Either way, she will stop at nothing to ensure the security of her world. Get all the necessary information and gameplay tips on our newest Assassin Hero, Maiev, The Warden, in this spotlight video!

Continue here to read the full story.

Laser League Open Beta

The promised Laser League open beta is now underway on Steam, offering a chance to play this virtual sports game for Windows through Sunday evening. This post has word on the beta and a busy schedule of streams where copies of the game will be given away for free. Here's a new accolades trailer (at least arguably better than the last one), and here's the plan:

Laser League’s open beta is finally here, and we’ve gone and done it again: We’ve partnered with more of our favorite community-based broadcasters across Twitch and Mixer for the Laser League open beta, which kicks off today!

With this being an open beta, it’s your turn to hop in game and deliver the ultimate beat down to these streamers… LIVE!

But, the stakes are a bit higher this time. Not only do you get a chance to watch some of the most high-octane streams across Twitch and Mixer, but they each have a few chances for you to win a full copy of Laser League for when it launches into Early Access on Thursday, Feb. 8. So, here’s your opportunity to get ahead of the game, with our streamers.

You must be quick though, as you only have from 4-6 p.m. PST (7-9 p.m. EST) today and 12-2 p.m. PST (3-5 p.m. EST) tomorrow to catch these amazing casters live and earn your chance to win a copy of Laser League!

Continue here to read the full story.

SOULCALIBUR VI Character Trailer

A new character reveal trailer from BANDAI NAMCO introduces four more fighters who will compete for glory in SOULCALIBUR VI when the next installment in the fighting series rolls out this year. Word is this includes three familiar faces along with a newcomer:

The SOULCALIBUR series is home to some of the most iconic characters in the fighting game genre and today we’re excited to announce Kilik, Nightmare, Xianghua, and newcomer Grøh as the next four characters who are ready to wield their weapons in SOULCALIBUR VI and fight for their place in history.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Sea of Thieves Beta Extended

The Sea of Thieves Website announces the extension of the Sea of Thieves beta due to issues that prevented qualified players from being able to join at first (thanks GameSpot). Here's word:

We know your gaming hours are precious and our number one goal is to get everyone with Closed Beta access into the game as soon as possible. Whilst we work on making this happen, we’d like to announce that we’re extending the Sea of Thieves Closed Beta by two days. This means the Closed Beta will now end on Wednesday, January 31st at 8am GMT. We want to ensure that anyone who has missed out on any time sailing the seas still gets to enjoy the Closed Beta to its fullest.

Overwatch Social Media Bans

In his latest Developer Update Video, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan takes on some "popular community topics" relating to Overwatch, Blizzard's multiplayer shooter. Word is: "We’re listening to your feedback! Join game director Jeff Kaplan as he covers popular community topics including progress on minimizing toxicity and insight to Overwatch’s hero balancing philosophy." Following that, he discusses general hero balancing, as well as specific balance issues surrounding Hanzo, Mei, Symmetra, and, as usual, Mercy. As for the toxicity issue, Jeff discusses the successes of their enhanced reporting system, and also warns players that Blizzard is now going so far as to track down their toxic behavior demonstrated through social media. Here's word:

We now proactively seek out social media sites, like YouTube, for example, and look for incidents of very toxic behavior and track down the accounts that are participating in those, and action them, often times before anybody's even reported them or they've shown up in any other place. So that's just one example of us being proactive that I think is going to make a big difference over time.

Continue here to read the full story.

Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan Free Weekend

Insel Games announces those interested in Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan can play the Early Access online action/RPG for free this weekend on Steam. They are also offering discounts on the various founder's editions of the game for those who find themselves hooked. They celebrate the news with a new trailer featuring Jon St. John (or as they put it, John St. John) as the voice of Duke Nukem, since Duke is a character in the game. The free weekend will continue until Sunday afternoon, and here are the details on the event and the new hero they've just added:

With today's start of the free weekend of Wild Buster, players can dive into the gritty Sci-Fi action of the MMOARPG and test out the diverse heroes to choose their favourite. Insel Games adds a new hero called Heating Fist, which marks the start of a continuously growing roster of heroes this weekend as well. The Heating Fist is a high damage melee fighter which uses different stances to improve either her aggressive or defensive stats. She is utilizing mechanical rocket fists to increase the power of her punches and is recommended for experienced players to unlock her full potential.

Legendary John St. John, the talent behind Duke Nukem’s iconic voice, has collaborated with Insel Games for Wild Buster. In the new action-packed trailer, Duke, who alongside Serious Sam is one of the +13 playable heroes, describes in his typical sardonic tone the range of content players can look forward to when they play Wild Buster and doesn’t hold back when he expresses his opinion on Titan’s other heroes.

For those wanting to have a look at the action from a backseat, various influencers like Rev from RizeUpGaming will be livestreaming the game during the free weekend on Twitch, inviting their communities to take part and hang out together on Titan.

The free weekend runs from January 26th until Sunday, 28th and offers the full content of Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan. In addition to that, Insel Games grants 33% discount on the Founder Edition of the game.

Continue here to read the full story.

Celeste Released

Steam now offers Celeste, a throwback platformer for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Here's a launch trailer with a look at gameplay along with word on what to expect:

Help Madeline survive her inner demons on her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain, in this super-tight, hand-crafted platformer from the creators of multiplayer classic TowerFall.

  • A narrative-driven, single-player adventure like mom used to make, with a charming cast of characters and a touching story of self-discovery
  • A massive mountain teeming with 700+ screens of hardcore platforming challenges and devious secrets
  • Brutal B-side chapters to unlock, built for only the bravest mountaineers
  • IGF “Excellence in Audio” finalist, with over 2 hours of original music led by dazzling live piano and catchy synth beats
  • Pie

The controls are simple and accessible - simply jump, air-dash, and climb - but with layers of expressive depth to master, where every death is a lesson. Lightning-fast respawns keep you climbing as you uncover the mysteries of the mountain and brave its many perils.

Continue here to read the full story.

Out of the Park Baseball 19 in March

Out of the Park Productions announces March 22nd will be opening day for Out of the Park Baseball 19, the latest installment in their professional baseball simulation for Windows, Linux, and macOS. As usual, the new version features new enhancement as well as updated player ratings, and this year's installment will add new 3D stadiums and player models, improved animations, re-written scouting reports, new tournament modes, AI improvements, and more. They also announce plans to launch a new online mode called PERFECT TEAM this summer, saying this will be preceded by open beta testing and that we can expect further details soon. They offer an interview with OOTP creator Markus Heinsohn to discuss the project, and true fans can preorder the game now through this link. The advance commitment comes with a perk, as preorder customers will get early access to the final beta build three days early. Here's a teaser trailer and here's word:

Step into the shoes of a GM and/or manager to own the future or rewrite the past of your favorite real-world baseball franchise. Build the team the way you want. Start a new career with your favorite 2018 MLB team or go back through almost 150 years of baseball history and run any team from the past! You can even set up your own fictional baseball universe or compete in online leagues against other OOTP players. Make your move!

The brand new 2018 MLB roster set will include all projected Opening Day MLB rosters as well as the complete minor league system down to the rookie leagues and even future draft classes. On top of this, 8 international leagues (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Italy, The Netherlands, Mexico and Cuba) and several international and US independent leagues return to OOTP 19 with accurate and projected 2018 rosters.

Discover new talent, draft the next superstar, negotiate with free agents, enter trade talks with other teams, build your dynasty and guide a franchise into an infinite future! As a manager, dive into the more hands-on management and set your team's lineups, pitching staffs, in-game strategy and call the shots from the dugout. You can oversee your league at a high level, or play out each game in the redesigned 3D game mode, managing play by play or even pitch by pitch. OOTP has it all covered!

Coming later this Summer: PERFECT TEAM, the new and exciting online competition mode in Out of the Park Baseball. Stay tuned for an open beta and more information!

Continue here to read the full story.

Wars of Succession Breaks Out

Matrix Games now offers the release of Wars of Succession, AGEOD's new strategy wargame covering a pair of historical conflicts at the turn of the 18th century, the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1713) and the Great Northern War (1700-1721). This post covers the news, and has a video of the release livestream. Here are details on the game:

It is the year 1700 but this new century is not bringing peace to Europe. Two great wars are erupting almost simultaneously, covering the Old World with fire, smoke and steel.

Over Western and southwest Europe, the War of Spanish Succession sees the French - Spanish Bourbons monarchs against the Grand Alliance built by Austrian Habsburgs, Britain and the United Provinces. The stakes are high, as every power involved is willing to conquer a share of the "Empire where the Sun never sets".

In Eastern and Northeastern Europe, Sweden and Russia (and its allies) have started a bloody confrontation for dominance in the North. The consequences of a struggle between Czar Peter I and King Charles XII of Sweden are unpredictable. The Great Northern War is about to commence.

Wars of Succession, the new turn-based grand strategy game developed by Ageod and published by Matrix Games aims to recreate these crucial wars with incredible accuracy. With a detailed selection of each historical unit involved in the conflict, you'll have the chance to command over 200 different types of troops from Grenadiers and Musketeers to Winged Hussars and Cossacks, as well as a dozen types of different warships.

You will coordinate the movements of several armies across all major European countries, take care of supplies, fatigue and seek the most favourable conditions to engage in combat, hold sieges or retreat to recover.

Conqueror's Blade Beta Begins

Booming Games announces that beta testing for Conqueror's Blade is now underway, and will continue through 1:00 am EST on February 3rd, though there will be a few hours of downtime for maintenance each day. You can register for the beta on this page on the official website, which is also where to look for more details on this project. Here's an overview: "Conqueror's Blade is a sandbox medieval warfare game for PC that recreates vast medieval civilizations and showcases their legendary weapons and fighting styles in a massive world where players command generals and their legions in pursuit of victory. Attack and occupy cities and counties to earn more resources and materials for better equipment. The birth of your empire begins by conquering a single city!" The announcement has more details on the beta:

Booming Games is pleased to announce that the beta test for Conqueror's Blade will launch today at 7:00 a.m. EST and continue through 1:00 a.m. EST on February 3rd. The game will be down for maintenance and unavailable each day from 2:00 to 5:00 a.m. EST.

Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of challenging events. The Kingdom War event allows players to occupy Cities, Villages or Passes as a House unit which is comprised of 1-40 players. The more territory players conquer, the more resources and materials they can gather, and particular territories offer the chance to unlock rare Legions. The Kingdom Quest and Honor Quest are limited time events only occurring every few hours, and after completing a particular Pass Challenge, players may receive special rewards such as coins, honor and experience, which are especially helpful for upgrading Legions. There will also be a limited time PvE event in which players may team up and challenge a powerful enemy to win coins and experience.

By logging into the beta each day, players may also win gold, Legions, equipment and siege weapons. If participants reach a certain level and log in on the eighth day, they will receive a special "Veteran" achievement that is exclusive to this beta.

During the test, 10 different weapons will be available to players, each providing unique appearances and abilities. The full selection of famous siege weapons from Eastern and Western history will also be available, including Congreve Rockets, Dardanelles Guns, Hurricane Crossbows and Mortars. Up to twenty different siege weapons may be selected in game. Some giant weapons, like the Battering Ram and Siege Tower are critical for destroying gates or breaching walls, and some may only be placed in certain areas and require collaboration with Legions to operate, forcing players to choose wisely when equipping armies for battle.

Star Citizen Website Relaunches, Offers New Trailer

The Roberts Space Industries Website has relaunched, offering an enhanced homebase for Star Citizen, Cloud Imperium's upcoming crowdfunded space game. They explain the goal of the renovation is to provide visitors "a more intuitive experience and stronger branding for all three pillars of the game’s development." The latest post offers a new trailer from Squadron 42 called "Welcome to the Coil." Here's a bit on what that means: "This week, we present our latest Squadron 42 feature. Take an in-depth look at the foreboding, mysterious Coil, and the design challenges our devs had to overcome while bringing this distinctive setting to life in the game." Continue here to read the full story.

More Destiny 2 Changes Outlined

A new This Week At Bungie update on Bungie.net is a status report on Destiny 2 that may take all week to read, due to its length (Cozmo confesses, "I realize this is a bit of an avalanche of text more than a wall"). The post discusses the conclusion of the latest Faction Rallies, outlines a new Salad Bar event (mind the sneeze guard), how it is possible to still earn rewards for last season, an outline of Season 2 rewards, a preview of the next patch, and more. This also touches on the game's controversial shader system, and explains why its implementation makes it difficult to allow players to delete entire stacks of shaders, saying they are working on that as well as a way of re-introducing shader collections to make them less limited and more freely usable. The post also includes the latest on tweaking rewards in the first-person shooter. Here's a bit:

Raiding is one of Destiny 2’s ultimate endgame experiences. So far, you have explored the mysteries of the Leviathan and dove even deeper into its first Lair, the Eater of Worlds. We’ve received feedback that, while the experiences were epic, the rewards could use some more love. We invited Senior Designer Daniel Auchenpaugh to tell you more about what we’re changing with rewards starting with next week’s Raids.

Daniel Auchenpaugh: With the upcoming January patch, we're making a number of changes to the way Raid rewards work. We've been hearing that the current system doesn't feel exciting when you kill bosses, that tokens aren't interesting enough, and that you want more deep-chase items to hunt down. This is our first swing at tackling some of those, and we hope you'll jump in and play with these changes a bit and then let us know how you feel. For now, let's dive in to the changes and talk a bit about our goals and thinking with them.

Raid Armor: Now With Raid Perks!
Raid armor now drops with perks that function on the Leviathan; these appear on mods that are selectable on both new drops and existing Raid armor pieces you may alread have in your inventory. Additionally, these mods are reusable: if you swap to another one these will always be in the list to swap back to on your Raid armor for the low, low price of 1 Calus Token. Since no one wants to take a -5 Power penalty if they remove their Legendary mods while in the Raid, all the Raid mods are Legendary by default. This should also be extra icing on the cake for players who can’t seem to get that last mod they need to max their gear out.

The goal for these perks was to elevate the power of Guardians in the Raid, and we aimed to build things that were useful in every encounter. As a result, we avoided things that relied on specific mechanics to be useful and moved to broadly useful perks like "Recharge your grenade when you activate your Super" and "Deal 20% extra damage after getting a melee kill" as opposed to things tied to specific mechanics.

Double Drops
Clearing Prestige now gives you Prestige and normal drops. If you have the prowess to clear Prestige, then you've proven yourself enough that we don't need to force you to go back and do Normal as well.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

We've been living in this area for over 17 years now, and in that entire time our postal delivery has been later than we were used to. The mail would generally arrive after 6:00 pm, and sometimes as late as 8:30, which seems weird. Earlier this week something magic happened. A day after receiving no mail at all, we got an extra large delivery before noon. I assumed this was to somehow make up for the missed delivery, but the mail has consistently arrived around midday all week. This is not that big a deal, but it's still noticeably cool, and presuming it continues as such, I'm greatly looking forward to no longer having to wait until after dark for Amazon deliveries.

Postal Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Adam and Eve 6: Sleepwalker.
Story: Deputies interrupt inmate's escape to pick up booze, food.
Science: Swat at a Mosquito and It Could Remember You for Days. Not if you do it right.
Out of Africa: When Did Prehistoric Humans Actually Leave—And Where Did They Go?
Billions of Pieces of Plastic Are Sickening the World’s Coral Reefs.
Media: Pencil Inception. Now we need Pen Pineapple Apple Pen Inception.
Al's Original Plasma Poppers.
ELDERS REACT TO VRCHAT.



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