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Friday, Jul 05, 2019

Gears of War 5 Versus Tech Test This Month

Xbox Wire has word that a Multiplayer Tech Test for Gears of War 5 Versus will kick off on July 19th for Windows 10 and Xbox One. Here are details on the test and how to participate:
Included with your Xbox Game Pass membership or as part of your Gears 5 pre-order (whether as a separate 5×5 code from a participating retailer or bundled in your digital pre-order), the Tech Test will be available to download starting July 17 with online play being active from July 19 (starting at 10 a.m. PDT) through July 21, and then active again on July 26 (at 10 a.m. PDT) through July 29.

As mentioned earlier, starting on July 17 at 10 p.m. PDT, you can search for “Gears 5” to pull up the Technical Test on your Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC. If you’re an Xbox Game Pass member, you will see the Tech Test available to download in your library – same as any of the 100+ great games in the catalog. Note that between the weekend test periods, the Tech Test itself will be available for download, but servers will be offline. We also wanted to remind you that online multiplayer will require Xbox Live Gold on console, and that because this Tech Test is to help test our servers, you might encounter some queueing as you start to play. We hope to make Gears 5 a great online experience for all players and Xbox Game Pass members on launch, and this Tech Test will help.

For players on Windows 10 PC, we have the below chart that outlines minimum and recommended specs for the Tech Test:
Continue here to read the full story.

Mike Rose Starts G2A Petition

An extremely long string of tweets from Mike Rose (showing why Twitter is not ideal for complex thoughts) reacts to G2A's statement from earlier today. G2A defended their practices in what was in part a response to previous posts by Rose saying he'd rather see customers pirate his games than buy keys from G2A. Here are Mike's tweets, which culminate in a Petition asking G2A to "Stop selling indie titles on your platform," which G2A says will simply leave a vacuum in the marketplace that others will fill:
G2A have written a lengthy post responded to my tweets https://www.g2a.com/news/latest/g2...

So here's my response:

- They're lying. I did get in contact, and talked to them at length. I have all the emails, so I guess I'll have to post those soon
- I never mentioned chargebacks at any point

- They say I have a "pretty good at handling the keys they don’t want available on the free market". Yes I do! And that's because G2A exists. I've had to stop giving out keys so freely to potential press + influencers because G2A doesn't care about policing their site

- Because of this "pretty good handling", it means that we're far less inclined to get involved with things like, for example, a Humble Bundle, as we know all the keys will appear on G2A afterwards, and tank our Steam sales from that point onwards. *This* is the issue with G2A

- They say "Just join G2A Direct!", but this is nonsense, as they then sell your game alongside all the illegitimate keys. Why on earth would any developer want their game sold officially alongside a grey market? Do they think we're idiots?

I have so many more thoughts on their bullshit, but the tl;dr is:

G2A do not care about the people who make games, no matter what spin they keep frothing out. Do not fall for it. Plenty of devs have tried to reason with them, but they are not to be reasoned with.

And hey, when you read this G2A: You have my phone number, I gave it to you when we were emailing back and forth. Ask your dev relations person Mateusz. I'm waiting on your call!
Continue here to read the full story.

G2A Fights Back

A post on the G2A Website responds to the recent news of developers saying they'd prefer gamers pirate their games over buying keys through G2A's marketplace. G2A offers a lengthy defense of their practices, claiming their business is based on the same principles as other digital storefronts while telling their side of the story about where they get their game keys. They also look to address complaints about credit card chargebacks, promising to reimburse developers tenfold for any money they've lost on them, though the developer must be able to prove keys were illegally obtained before doing so. They offer "wall of text" explanation along with this shorter version:
Let’s lay all cards on the table. We will pay developers 10 times the money they lost on chargebacks after their illegally obtained keys were sold on G2A. The idea is simple: developers just need to prove such a thing actually happened on their stores.

To assure honesty and transparency, we will ask a reputable and independent auditing company to make an unbiased examination of both sides – the developer’s store and G2A Marketplace. The cost of the first three audits is on us, every next one will be split 50/50.

The auditing company will check if any game keys sold on G2A were obtained using stolen credit cards on a developer’s store compliant with card scheme rules from Visa and Master Card/payment provider rules. If so, G2A guarantees it’ll pay all the money the developer lost on chargebacks… multiplied by 10.

We want this process to be transparent, so we will publicly report every step of the procedure. Meaning, you will get information such as who came forward, and what the verdict was, all of which will be published for everyone to see.

If you’re a developer willing to cooperate, contact the G2A Direct team

***

And now onto some other Twitter-related issues that have popped up in the last few days.

For the sake of your time, here’s a TL;DR version:

  • G2A is a marketplace that’s all about making the prices for gamers as low as possible.
  • G2A’s business model is the same as any other big, global marketplaces’ like Amazon or eBay, with all its ups and downs. And just like them, we always try to maximize the ups and minimize the downs. Not only because of the law, but also because the customers require certain standards, and because the competition would beat us if we stayed behind.
  • Out of all marketplaces, G2A offers the best benefits for copyright owners – G2A Direct. Nobody else gives developers a percentage cut of all sales on their games sold by someone else.
  • G2A, like most online businesses, uses automated marketing, so every product available on the marketplace can be shown based on what the user is interested in.
  • If any developer suspects there are keys on the marketplace that shouldn’t be there, there’s a quick and easy way to report it. All it takes is to contact us. If any key was illegally obtained, we’ll remove it, block the seller and provide their personal data to the proper authorities.
  • We are and always were open for discussion, but a real one, not empty accusations and catchy slogans.

Sea of Solitude Flows Out

Origin now offers the Windows edition of Sea of Solitude, a new adventure game from Jo-Mei Games. Word is: "When humans get too lonely, they turn into monsters… Sea of Solitude takes you on a personal journey of a young woman’s loneliness. Set sail across a beautiful and evolving world, where nothing is quite what it seems. Meet fantastical creatures and monsters, learn their stories, and solve challenges." Here's the Launch Trailer, and here's more:
Sea of Solitude takes you on a personal journey of a young woman’s loneliness. Set sail across a beautiful and evolving world, where nothing is quite what it seems. Meet fantastical creatures and monsters, learn their stories, and solve challenges. Explore a flooded city, either by boat, on foot, or by swimming through the water itself. Dare to look what lies beneath the surface, in a haunting struggle of darkness and light, and discover what it truly means to be human.

KEY FEATURES

AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY
Sea of Solitude embarks players on a nuanced and intimate action-adventure, experienced through the mind of Kay, as she struggles to overcome her inner loneliness. Players must help Kay see below the surface and beyond, guiding her through her Sea of Solitude, in this deeply touching tale of darkness and light.

A METAPHORICAL WORLD As her journey evolves, Kay’s dark and stormy environment begins to transform, with light and color shining into the world. Water levels rise and fall to reflect her own state of mind, transforming the flooded city landscape into new areas for the player to explore, with new challenges to face.

FACE THE MONSTERS WITHIN Encounter fantastical creatures, solve puzzles, and rid the world of tainted memories. Meet a variety of beautiful and terrifying monsters, each with their own struggles of loneliness to tell. Through confronting these monsters, Kay will not only learn more about them, but also herself, and what it means to be human.
Continue here to read the full story.

Total War: THREE KINGDOMS Mod Support

The Total War Blog announces that mod support has arrived for Total War: THREE KINGDOMS, the latest installment in Creative Assembly's strategy series. The Assembly Kit and Steam Workshop support are now available, and they have word on some improvements they've made to some of the tools in the kit. Here are the details:
We know that modding is an important part of the Total War community, and so we’re happy to officially announce the release of the Assembly Kit and Steam Workshop support for Total War: THREE KINGDOMS.

I’M NOT A MODDER – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This means you can expect to see a wide variety of Total War: THREE KINGDOMS mods including unit reskins, balance tweaks, new battle maps, scripted mods, new UI elements, new events, new characters, and much more.

You’ll be able to find these on the Steam Workshop, much like you would for other titles such as Total War: WARHAMMER II or Total War: ROME II. Simply find the mod you like, subscribe to it, and check it’s loaded in the launcher’s mod manager next time you launch the game.

KNOWN ISSUES
There are currently some unexpected issues when downloading custom battle maps through multiplayer lobbies. On occasion, acquiring a map this way can cause the game to become temporarily unresponsive, and may additionally place players in separate lobbies. There is also a crash that can occur when loading a replay after quitting a game on a map acquired through the lobby.

While we are working on a fix, we recommend you acquire maps from the Steam Workshop before attempting multiplayer battles that use them.

AND FOR THE MODDERS?
First and foremost, the modding process will largely remain the same as in previous titles.

As such, if you want to take a dive into modding THREE KINGDOMS we recommend you take a look at some of the guides out there for ROME II onwards to get you ready for release on Thursday the 4th of July.

Attack on Titan 2 Final Battle Upgrade Pack Released

This announcement on Steam has the news of the release of the Final Battle Upgrade Pack for Attack on Titan 2, the action game sequel based on the popular anime. Here's word on what this brings to the game, which includes a bonus for everyone who buys this prior to the end of this month:
Help take back the walls and win one for humanity as all of the action based on Seasons 1-3 of the worldwide phenomenon anime is now playable for the first time in this all-new excitement-laced experience.
Take on the Titans with an innovative and fresh array of weapons, including Thunder Spears and a Gatling Gun, not to mention Omni-Directional Mobility gear that will send you swinging from rooftops to slice enemies with your trusty blade.
But the action doesn’t stop there, as Territory Recover mode lets gamers select from over 40 playable characters to assemble their own dream team in hopes of defeating the Titans and reclaiming the map for humanity.
Humanity or Titans? Which side will live? Which side will perish?
The fate of the world lies in your hands.

Early Bonus
The following bonus will be downloadable for free until August 1, 2019:
the “Queen Historia” costume for Christa; “Young Male Coat” for Kenny; “Plain Clothes (Underground City)” for Levi; and the “One-piece Dress” costume for Mikasa.

Talisman: Origins Goes Beyond the Veil

Beyond the Veil is now available on Steam as a new DLC pack for Talisman: Origins, the digital adaptation of Games Workshop's boardgame. This post has the news:
Grab the newest expansion for Talisman: Origins today!

Beyond the Veil adds a new book to Talisman: Origins, with 5 exciting chapters to play through.

After years of tormenting players, now it's your turn to take on the role of deciding who lives and who dies. Death is no longer the end, as this DLC also brings back the ability to traverse the lands of the dead from the Realm of Souls expansion for Talisman: Digital Edition.

This expansion features 5-10 hours of new content, with new challenges and achievements in which you have to find creative ways to kill your foes.

Get ready for a dark twist on the classic Talisman experience!

Blue Protocol Trailer

A first trailer for Blue Protocol is now available, offering a look at BANDAI NAMCO's recently revealed online action/RPG (thanks PC Gamer). This offers a look at gameplay, but the language spoken is Japanese, and there's no word yet if this is planned for release in the West. If you are conversant in Japanese you can check out the BLUE PROTOCOL Website where word is a closed alpha for Japanese players will take place later this month. The website does also offer an English description:
The world is on the brink of devastation, now is the time to unite. March on with friends and strangers and defeat foes beyond your might. Travel through space and time, to change the future beyond this fight!
Continue here to read the full story.

Hardware Reviews

  • ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming X Motherboard on TechPowerUp.
  • CORSAIR Force Series MP510 480GB M.2 SSD on Mad Shrimps.
  • Sennheiser GSP670 Wireless Gaming Headset on AnandTech.

Out of the Blue

We had a fine old time celebrating Independence Day, and capped off the evening with some alcohol-fuelled unpacking, as we're still buried in boxes from our move. We hit a homerun with this effort, as we finally located the coffee filter holder that is the final key to the puzzle needed to make our own coffee. So for the first time in a week we were able to forego a trip to Dunkin Donuts and brew our own coffee. This is definitely a milestone in feeling more at home in our new place.

Home-Brewed Links: Thanks Ant.
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Science: NASA Selects New Teams to Study the Moon, Mars, Asteroids and More.
Media: DEADPOOL 3 Teaser (2020). NSFW.
Cats getting brain freeze.
The Real Sound of Falcon Heavy STP-2 Launch+Booster Landing.
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