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Sunday, Mar 04, 2018


StarCraft 20th Anniversary Celebrations

Blizzard offers this outline of plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original StarCraft throughout this month across their catalog. Beginning March 6th they will offer a commemorative 20th Anniversary UI Skin for StarCraft: Remastered and a special UI Skin for each race in StarCraft II. This will also spill over into other Blizzard games, as at that time they will release a Battlecruiser-themed pet in Diablo III and a Sarah Kerrigan Ghost skin for Widowmaker in Overwatch. Later in the month a Salute to StarCraft will get underway in World of Warcraft, StarCraft 20th anniversary portraits will be released in Heroes of the Storm, and they will be rewarding three Kobolds & Catacombs packs to anyone who plays a StarCraft-inspired Tavern Brawl between March 21 and 25 in Hearthstone. This trailer offers a look at what to expect. Finally, they plan a special event on March 30 and 31 on Twitch to celebrate with "your favorite StarCraft personalities" and they will release a new feature on YouTube on March 31st, saying, "In StarCraft is Life: A Celebration, some of StarCraft’s biggest fans look back on their favorite memories from the past 20 years." Continue here to read the full story.

Heroes of the Storm Season Rollover This Week has word that 2018 Season 2 for Heroes of the Storm will get underway with the release of the next patch for Blizzard's MOBA, which is expected on Tuesday. They outline seasonal rewards that will reward players at the end of the season, which they say should come on June 12th. They also announce changes to the placement system that will hopefully eliminate some of the wonky results players encountered at the onset of this season. Here's word:

In past ranked seasons, we’ve received a lot of feedback about the importance of placement games. We’ve made some changes this season to address that.

First, we will no longer boost the system’s uncertainty level in players’ matchmaking ratings (MMRs) at the start of a new ranked season. Previously, this uncertainty boost made movement more fluid during players’ initial matches each season. Removing it will smooth out cases where players could make considerable swings in rank over a relatively small number of games.

We’ve also received feedback that rising or falling more than one league (5 divisions) during placements can feel like too much movement over too short a timeframe. Removing the uncertainty boost will address this in most cases. To catch any outliers, we’ve also implemented a one-league cap on how much your rank can move as a result of placement matches.

  • Example: A player who ended the previous season at Gold 1 cannot fall lower than Silver 1, or rise higher than Platinum 1, during their 10 placement games this season, regardless of how uncertain the system is about their MMR.

Finally, first time ranked players cannot be seeded higher than Platinum 3 when they start placement matches. This is an older rule, but when combined with the changes mentioned above, the highest those players can exit placements will now be Diamond 3.

  • Example: A player with a Master level MMR in Quick Match, who decides to step into Hero League for the first time, will be initially seeded into placements at Platinum 3. If that player proceeds to win all of their placement games, they can be placed at a maximum of Diamond 3.

Steam Top 10

Valve says the following are the 10 bestselling titles on Steam for last week, with a possible record-setter at number nine for longest title:

  2. NieR:Automata
  3. Warhammer: Vermintide 2
  5. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  6. Hunt Showdown
  7. Into the Breach
  8. Deep Rock Galactic
  9. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online | 四女神オンライン CYBER DIMENSION NEPTUNE | 四女神ONLINE 幻次元遊戲戰機少女
  10. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Sunday Patches

On Sale

Sunday Crowdfunding Roundup

Sunday Interviews

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Metaverse

Sunday Tech Bits

Sunday Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

  • Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Sound Card on Vortez.


Out of the Blue

Tonight is the Oscars, where the Hollywood elite find out if all the training they did for the competition will pay off. I have seen exactly one nominee, which seems about par for the course for me, since I see most movies at home. So if I was the typical voter, Get Out would win in every category it's nominated in, and the other categories would go un-awarded. I guess that's why I'm not a member of the academy. I still do have a rooting interest, however, as I'd be happy to see Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, and Frances McDormand take home trophies just because they are all personal favorites of mine.

R.I.P.: Roger Bannister: First man to run mile in under 4 minutes dies.
R.I.P.: 'M.A.S.H.' star David Ogden Stiers dies at 75. Thanks Neutronbeam.

Worthy Links: Thanks Ant and RedEye9.
Play: Plated Glory.
Link: My 2018 Oscar predictions – Jason Bergman. The artist formerly known as loonyboi.
Stories: Razzie winners announced ahead of Oscar ceremony.
The Oscars always get it wrong. Here are the real best pictures of the past 42 years.
Science: Barbra Streisand Explains: Why I Cloned My Dog.
Scientists Model Rare Ball Lightning With Help From Tangled 'Skyrmion' Quasiparticle.
Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia: When The Painkiller Intensifies Pain.
Images: Chicken Game.
Media: Delaware Linemen Help Get The Power On in Puerto Rico.
Ice chunk dropped down 90m Antarctic Borehole.
The Floppotron: You Spin Me Round.

Saturday, Mar 03, 2018

Cyan's Firmament Revealed

A Firmament Website is online, teasing the next project from Myst developer Cyan (thanks PCGamesN). There is very little to go by right now besides word that this is a "steampunk adventure." But they offer this extended teaser trailer which shows this is another of the studio's placid mysteries set in deserted environments. The description also mentions this is a virtual reality title, which is not mentioned on the website. They offer newsletter signups and the following overview:

From Cyan, the indie studio that brought you Myst and Obduction, comes a new steampunk adventure.

The game of Firmament is a resplendent, magical, journey — a monumental voyage through four diverse and curious realms, working in concert with an ever-present, clockwork companion, and the support and instruction of a long-dead, ethereal mentor.

Everything is not as it seems.

Continue here to read the full story.

Phoenix Point Pre-Alpha Next Month

We missed this from when it came out a couple of weeks ago, but this video offers a look at pre-alpha gameplay footage of Phoenix Point, the upcoming turn-based strategy game from Snapshot Games and X-COM creator Julian Gollop (thanks InBlack). The clip is gameplay presented by one of the game's developers, and the description includes word to expect pre-alpha access to be offered sometime in April. The clip also includes some sound desync that are problems with the recording and were not present during play. Here's more:

I play through the tactical combat pre-alpha development demo of Phoenix Point, first revealed at the PC Gamer Weekender in London in 2018. This gameplay is intended to give an idea of the mechanical workings of Phoenix Point. With a year of development time remaining, please remember that this is a work-in-progress build, and as such should be considered incomplete an liable to change.

Continue here to read the full story.

Saturday Consolidation

Saturday Mobilization

Saturday Metaverse

Saturday Safety Dance

Saturday Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Well, we survived the bomb cyclone, and the ensuing rain combined with the mild temperatures so that after hours of snow, we ended up with less snow on the ground than we had when the snow started. We had a surprisingly close call along the way, though. A fairly substantial tree across the street snapped at the base due to high wind and some dry rot. The wind was blowing perpendicular to the street, but this sucker fought that to fall 45º cross-wind in an effort to reach my car. This was dramatically close, I'd say the tips of the branches were about two feet from the car when it came to rest. The neighbor across the street wasn't so lucky, as the tree yanked the electrical main right out of her house, and as far as we can see, this still hasn't been fixed, though the tree was cleared after a few hours. It's clear out there now, but not calm, as the high winds persist, presumably hunting for more vulnerable trees to separate from the herd.

Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Feudal Wars.
Stories: "Six Billion Dollar Man" Set For 2019.
Warren Beatty , Faye Dunaway will give Oscars 2018 a Hollywood ending.
Science: Stephen Hawking Claims To Know What Happened Before The Big Bang.
Media: FORTNITE (Honest Game Trailers).
HeroStorm Ep37 '360 No Hope.'
Jennifer Lawrence Takes a Lie Detector Test. Thanks RedEye9.
Follow-up: At least 6 dead as Nor'easter slams East Coast with violent wind, rain, snow and floods.
The Funnies: Adult Children.

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