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Friday, Nov 01, 2019 All Saints' Day

Diablo IV Announced

Blizzard has officially revealed Diablo IV at BlizzCon, capping off much speculation and confirming the details that leaked yesterday about plans for a new installment in the action/RPG series. They don't yet offer a release date, but say to stay tuned to the Diablo Website where they offer an Announce Cinematic and an Official Gameplay Trailer. The announcement explains this will use "modern technology" to offer dark, visceral gameplay; robust customization; deep loot; and infinite adventures. They also reveal three of the classes will be the Barbarian, the Sorceress, and the Druid. They also say the game "will also provide opportunities for groups of players to encounter each other in the same shared world." Thankfully there's no mention of any auction houses. Here's word:
An ancient evil threatens to engulf Sanctuary in darkness, and new heroes have been called upon to face challenges the world has never seen before. Today, Blizzard Entertainment announced Diablo IV, the highly anticipated next entry in its genre-defining action–role-playing series. The newest installment of Diablo was announced during BlizzCon® 2019, where attendees were eager to be the first in the world to play a public demo of the game. Diablo IV draws players into a grim story line and gives them the freedom to explore and forge their own path across the most expansive and intense vision of the world of Sanctuary—a bleak and shattered hellscape bereft of hope and beset by demons.

True to the franchise’s roots, Diablo IV will deliver visceral combat, gruesome and varied monsters, an epic hunt for legendary loot, and endless playability and progression. Players will find a lifetime’s worth of adventure scattered across a land rooted in unique ecologies and inhabited by dangerous new foes. They’ll delve into randomized dungeons packed with unpredictable adversaries and unimaginable treasures. While continuing to fully support solo and coordinated party play, Diablo IV will also provide opportunities for groups of players to encounter each other in the same shared world—whether to tackle bigger challenges . . . or possibly even slaughter one another in player-vs.-player combat.
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Overwatch 2 Announced

Blizzard Entertainment announces Overwatch 2, confirming the rumor that a sequel to their team-based shooter would be one of their BlizzCon revelations. This will feature new heroes, co-op PvE play, and new maps using a new engine that will allow for larger environments. Meanwhile, in an interesting twist, the PvP multiplayer side of the game will allow Overwatch 2 players to play along with the existing Overwatch community. There's no release date yet, but they promise more on new heroes and other details soon. Here's a Gameplay Trailer, and there's more on the official website. Here's the announcement:
More than 50 million players* worldwide have teamed up to capture objectives, push payloads, and fight for the future in Overwatch®, Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed team-based shooter. Today, before a sold-out crowd of BlizzCon 2019 attendees and millions watching online, Blizzard Entertainment revealed Overwatch 2, a supercharged sequel that will send players deeper into the world and story of Overwatch and build upon the original game’s critically acclaimed foundation of world-class PvP competition.

In Overwatch 2, players will take on the roles of the world’s heroes in cooperative missions that challenge them to team up, power up, and stand together against an overwhelming outbreak of threats around the globe. Players will also battle each other in the next evolution of competitive Overwatch play, which carries forward existing players’ accomplishments and loot collections and features the current complete Overwatch roster, a new generation of heroes, new internationally recognizable maps that widen the scope of the world, a new Push map type, and more.
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World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Announced

BlizzCon also provided Blizzard the opportunity to announce World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, a new expansion to their long-running MMORPG. They say this is to be released sometime before the end of next year, but that they are willing to take your money for it right now if you want to pre-purchase your copy from the Blizzard Shop. The World of Warcraft Website is updated with information and media, including a Cinematic Trailer. Here's the announcement:
Sylvanas Windrunner, fallen leader of the Horde, has pierced the veil between Azeroth and the realm of the dead, setting in motion a series of events that threatens to upset the cosmic balance between life and death. Blizzard Entertainment today revealed World of Warcraft®: Shadowlands, the latest expansion for the company’s acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, in which Azeroth’s heroes will confront the wonders and horrors of the afterlife as they deal with the consequences of Sylvanas’ actions.

World of Warcraft players entering the fabled Shadowlands will find the realms of the dead in upheaval. Under the normal order, departed souls were delivered to a realm appropriate to the lives they led, but now, all souls are being funneled into the Maw, where the most wicked are damned to suffer for eternity. As they seek to right the cycle and uncover the extent of Sylvanas’ designs, players will forge bonds with the Covenants who hold domain over different planes within the Shadowlands:
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Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons Next Month

Also from BlizzCon, Blizzard announces Hearthstone: Descent of Dragons, a new free expansion that will launch for their digital card game on December 10th. This will introduce Hearthstone: Battlegrounds, a standalone mode which they describe as an all-new way to play. This is now featured on the Hearthstone Website where they offer a Cinematic Trailer. Here's word:
The Year of the Dragon—Blizzard Entertainment today unveiled Descent of Dragons™, a high-flying 135-card expansion for their smash-hit free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone®. Hatching on December 10, the epic conclusion to Hearthstone’s first-ever year-long story line will arm players with draconic firepower—including the ability to transform into Galakrond, the mightiest dragon in Warcraft® history.

The Year of the Dragon began with Rise of Shadows™, where players were introduced to the League of E.V.I.L., a shadowy organization led by the notorious Archvillain Rafaam. In Saviors of Uldum™, the villains threatened to unleash a world-ending plague, but players joined up with the League of Explorers to save the day. Now, in Descent of Dragons, the forces of good and evil will settle things once and for all with the help of dragons—lots and lots of dragons.
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Warhammer: Chaos And Conquest This Month

Publisher Tilting Point and developer Hunted Cow Studios announce Warhammer: Chaos And Conquest will come to Steam, Facebook Gameroom, and the Microsoft Store as a free-to-play release on November 18th. This is the PC edition of a multiplayer Warhammer strategy game that's already available for Android and iOS, and they say cross-platform play will be supported. More details are expected as this nears, and in the meantime here's what they say:
Set in the classic world of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the game lets players construct an imposing stronghold, lead a powerful horde and dominate foes as they spread Chaos across the Old World. Warhammer: Chaos & Conquest will allow Android and iOS players to sync their progress between all platforms by downloading the game for free on Steam, Facebook Gameroom, and the Microsoft Store.

Battlefield V Free Weekend Deployed

The latest free weekend for Battlefield V is now underway, and you can check out the Windows edition of the World War II shooter on Origin. This includes a chance to check out the new content from the recently launched War in the Pacific Update. Here's more on this date which [sic] will live in infamy:
With Update 5.0, we’re heading to the Pacific. This update brings two new maps, new factions, new weapons and vehicles into this all new theater of war.

Our focus for this update has been on delivering this amazing content, and on continuing to improve the quality of life for our Battlefield V players. Some of the QoL improvements include UI tweaks, fortifications, significant sound and audio adjustments, a new option for soldier movement, map tweaks, and more.

Australian Fallout 76 Refund Fallout

Australian gamers whose requests for refunds for Fallout 76 were denied are now entitled to receive their money back. A post from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) explains that ZeniMax admits they may have misled consumers and improperly denied these requests, and will now make good (thanks VideoGamer.com). Here's an excerpt:
The ACCC received complaints that ZeniMax representatives told consumers that they were not entitled to a refund after they had experienced a variety of faults with the Fallout 76 game, including, in some cases, problems with the servers, lagging, graphic and visual problems.

“ZeniMax has acknowledged that they are likely to have misled certain Australian consumers about their rights to a refund when they experienced faults with their Fallout 76 game,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

ZeniMax will offer to provide refunds to consumers who contacted them between 24 November 2018 and 1 June 2019 to request a refund and have not already received one. Consumers who accept a refund will no longer be entitled to access and play the game.
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No Ray Tracing in PC RDR2; Preview Roundup

A tweet from NVIDIA seeks to clear up any confusion about a new batch of screenshots from the upcoming PC edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 by stating the wild west shooter will not include support for ray tracing (thanks DSOGaming). Word is: "Just a heads up to avoid confusion - the GeForce RTX logo here references our GeForce RTX 20 series products. Red Dead Redemption 2 does not have ray tracing." The PC edition is due on November 5th, and today also seems to mark the end of a preview embargo, as a bunch of first looks are now online. Here's a roundup:

Halo Reach PC Specs and Settings

A Development Update for October 2019 on the Halo Website offers extensive details on the upcoming Windows edition of Halo Reach (thanks PC Gamer). This covers the in-progress PC test, cross-play and cross-progression support, matchmaking, how to access legacy content, customization, new PC settings, minimum system specifications for the Steam edition, and more. The specs are oddly formatted and posted as an image, so rather than try and recreate them here, we'll just note they are quite modest, showing the game will run at 50-60 FPS on most gaming systems (for example 60 FPS at 4K requires an AMD FX-6350 or Intel i5-3450 CPU and an AMD Radeon 480 or NVIDIA GTX 770 graphics card). They say the specs for the Windows Store version will be slightly different, and they will share them soon. Here are the new settings options they will add when Halo Reach is added to the Master Chief Collection:
Note: Anything with a * next to it is a PC only option and all others are available to Xbox One and PC.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Speech to text dictation for text chat
  • Text to speech narration for text chat

Enhancements to HUD to Support Ultrawide Monitors*

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Deadhaus Sonata Demo May Come Next Month

Eurogamer.net reports a conversation with Denis Dyack where the controversial developer told them he thinks his Apocalypse Studios will release a playable demo for Deadhaus Sonata next month to give everyone a chance to check out his upcoming free-to-play action/RPG. Here's word:
The demo will be the prototype you can see running in recent gameplay footage. In it, you'll be able to play as the vampire character, try a few fancy-looking abilities and swing a few weapons. The prototype represents about half-a-year's work, apparently.

It's a surprising move so early in development. Dyack only opened Apocalypse Studios a year ago and has had to staff it from scratch. Currently there are just under 20 people there. It's a move indicative of the open and transparent development approach he wants to take with Deadhaus Sonata. He wants the community involved.

It's also, frankly, reassuring to hear there's an actual, tangible game there to play. After all, Dyack hasn't produced much of late; the last project he was involved with, Shadows of the Eternals, failed to materialise.
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Race With Ryan Races Out

Steam now offers the Windows edition of Race With Ryan, a new cart-racing game. Here's a Launch Trailer which show off some colorful gameplay and Ryan's colorful personality. Here are some details:
With simple controls, optional auto-acceleration and a tutorial to guide younger players through their first video game, drivers of all ages will love to Race with Ryan. Race your way to the top in Career Mode or speed past your friends in 2 - 4 players split-screen races, the fun keeps coming. Will you be first across the finish line?

  • Race for victory across the colorful world of YouTube sensation, Ryan
  • Challenge yourself in Career mode or race with friends in split-screen play
  • Simple racing controls, auto-acceleration, auto-steering and tutorial mean everyone can play
  • Unlock Ryan’s World toy characters and vehicles including Moe, Gus, Alpha Lexa, Peck and Ryan himself!
  • Speed around 6 magical locations including The Toy Shop, Wild West and Spooky Land"

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Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Our trip to Minnesota is drawing to a conclusion soon, today is our last full day in the land of 10,000 lakes, and we will head home tomorrow. We inquired into whether we might be able to move our flight up, but that wasn't practical. But that's fine, we're getting to spend some extra time with MrsBlue's family in the area and enjoy some of the region's natural beauty. Yesterday we took a walk in a park near one of those lakes (there are actually 15,000 of them, as I recently learned) and it was pretty breathtaking. Which is also how to describe the climate, as it's already pretty wintery here. At least by our standards, as it was around 60℉ when we left, and around 30℉ here. But this is a place where it can dip to -30℉, so I guess it was fitting that we passed a couple of natives playing catch in shorts and t-shirts (I am not kidding). I love nature and critters, and we got to see all sorts of both, but I don't think a skinny guy like me who dislikes the cold is well suited to this environment.

Chilly Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: ‘The Witcher’ Producers Assure Gamers Netflix Series Will Include All 400 Side Quests From ‘Wild Hunt’
Here’s what happens when you leave marijuana up your nose for 18 years. Asking for a friend.
What If World War Two Tanks, But Also Mechs. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Stories: California fires: Goats help save Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Thanks Max.
Indiana woman found dead with 8-foot python around her neck.
Japan Getting Life-Sized Godzilla Theme Park Attraction. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Science: Scientists Now Know How Sleep Cleans Toxins From the Brain.
No, a genetic study didn’t pinpoint the ancestral homeland of all humans.
Root of Humanity's Belief in Evil Possibly Found. Thanks Max.
Images: Happy Blade Runner Month.
Heidi Klum reveals 2019 Halloween costume.
Lightning strike leaves gaping hole in parking lot. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Media: News anchors in tears as meteorologist shows up in mystical unicorn costume. Thanks Acleacius.
4D Thrust Vectored RC Aerobatics.
Slacklining Over Huge Waves At Nazare.
Follow-up: Measles Can Cause ‘Immune Amnesia,’ Increasing Risk of Other Infections. Thanks j.c.f.
The Funnies: Comics By Dane Johnson on Instagram.
Comics By Dane Johnson on Instagram.
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