Dragon Age: annual edition of the investigation is on the way the game

In Dragon Age: Explore your pick games a year? In fact, it does not really matter how you feel, because Electronic Arts has announced that Dragon Age: annual edition of the tournament next month investigation.
The GOTY edition will come with everything, “including the release of all those who plot and game content,” Kazakh library like Jaws, Descent, and the intruder, as well as all the official add-ons, as well as: gear, weapons, mounts , and everything else with the game of the Deluxe Edition.
BioWare company on Twitter, said Dragon Age: annual edition of the investigation game is priced at $ 60 (international pricing yet to be determined), and will be available in physical and digital versions. It plans to come out on October 6 to find more Dragon Age website.

Vertical roguelike TowerClimb accidental release

Arthas returned his attention to the altar he approached, but felt a little bit of the trepidation leave his heart. He hoped there would be a chance for him to talk to her after all the formalities were taken care of.

Independence years, TowerClimb has been developed into one million gajillion decades, which is literally too. Vertical platform roguelike the program generated about Steam Greenlight was approved two years ago, but I’ve been concerned about its development longer. I silently accepted, I may be an old, old man with big gray beard, and when it finally came out, but then, yes ah, after five years in development, TowerClimb suddenly released yesterday. (And my beard just slightly gray.)
This is steam. It actually came out! And it has nothing to do TowerFall, I can tell you. This is a big game to ascend the tower is so desperately trying to kill you, and there’s magic, spikes, and monsters and things like chest. It is a bit developer Davioware and automatically associate action.

Profiling sword of the Spirit beta date and plans

Viryx imagined Ikiss sitting in the archive, reading over the same scrolls and books she was. What had led him here in the first place? More importantly, where had he gone afterward?

NCsoft today finally announced, free to play MMORPG Sword of Hope next month will kick off its closed beta on October 30. If you are looking for French or German version of the client, you will have to wait until November 24.

NCSoft’s goal is to hold at least 5 closed beta test, the test for at least 20 of the total number of days in order to ensure that Soul Calibur OL preparing its launch early next year. You can still have the opportunity to register on the site to be invited Soul Calibur OL testing phase, but the only way to ensure the test access is still through the purchase of the Founder of the package.

“We look forward to Soul Calibur OL to the player’s hands and our upcoming beta,” Nicolas COUTANT, producer NCSOFT West said. “Players will have a ton of fun with the game, because our goal is to create the best gaming experience, we can not wait to get more feedback from players, and implemented in the final stages of development of the next launch.”

If you want to take a peek at how to locate development, tune into convulsions Livestream developers today at 01:00 EDT.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Announced, To Be Founded Via Kickstarter

Larian Studios have announced that there will indeed be a sequel to the incredibly well-recieved Divinity: Original Sin, which got 19,541 backers tp pledge $944,282 in April of 2013. The game got stellar reviews on release, and managed to sell over half-a-million copies. Larian are currently porting to the game to both PS3 and Xbox One.

The follow-up, aptly named Divinity: Original Sin 2 is also going to be founded via a Kickstarter campaign which will launch on August 26th. Potential backers can head over to and vote for what they think the rewards for backing the project should be.

“Divinity: Original Sin 2 builds further on the foundations we’ve been laying with Divinity: Original Sin (D: OS), and Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition (D: OS EE). For us, this allows for an unprecedented focus on the gameplay. We won’t be “losing time” building the elementary systems that typically take up more than 60% of our development time. Instead, we can start building the world immediately and try out all kinds of things.” stated Larian in a blog post.

Anticipating potential backlash from fans about returning again to Kickstarter to fund a sequel despite the success of the original and working on an Enhanced Edition of the first game for console Larian talked about how work on the Enhanced Edition will directly help the sequel:

“Now that news about D:OS 2 is in the open, I can also talk a bit about the commercial reasoning behind making D:OS EE. By now, the investment we did in D:OS EE is beyond what most would consider reasonable, both financially and in terms of time we’ve been putting in. But, other than allowing us to perfect the game which I think always make commercial sense, the work that is being done on D:OS EE would in any case still have had to be done for D:OS 2. So it’s not as if we haven’t been moving forward. On the contrary, all the money we’re investing in D:OS EE is also investment in the tech that’s powering D:OS 2. And the tech can do a lot.”

However, some comments have already appeared on the blog indicating that some people feel the developer shouldn’t be returning to Kickstarter, and instead should be using the money from the success of Divinity: Original Sin to either fund the development of the Enhanced Edition or the sequel.

A prototype for Original Sin 2 will be playable at PAX Prime this year, but nothing else is known about the game.

 

Shadow Blade: Reload Review – A Mobile Port That Doesn’t Suck. Also, Ninjas

Usually when I discover a game is actually a mobile port my immediate reaction is to loudly scream, “NOPE!” at my computer screen, possibly while spraying tea across the room, and then try to wipe all knowledge of said game’s existence from my memory with the use of copious amounts of alcohol. Sometimes, however, a mobile port comes along and somehow manages to surprise me, as was the case with this; Shadow Blade: Reload, which has made the transition from its hand-held origins (where it was simply known as Shadow Blade) to PC with some new features, including a story. After checking the game out I was compelled to abandon my own presumptions and give it a whirl. I’m glad I did.

Speaking of the story it is instantly forgettable dross that follows a ninja attempting to locate and rescue his captured Sensei before becoming involved in a larger plot involving three different clans, all told via the medium of some rather nicely drawn comic-book style pages and questionable voice-overs that frequently sound cheesy and phoned-in, not helped by shoddy dialogue. The game seems to hang around in the no-mans land between being a deliberate spoof of classic martial arts flicks where the dialogue and acting were often terrible, and actually being deadly serious about the whole thing. I still can’t decide which it is, but I sincerely hope it’s the former. Still, the plot manages to keep prodding you along through the numerous stages and does have a hokey charm to it, depending on your tolerance level for cheesiness. It’s not like you really need the encouragement to keep playing, though, since the gameplay is more than capable of holding your attention on its own.

In his 2D side-scrolling action-platformer your goal is a simple one; make it to the end as quickly and efficiently as you can. Your tiny ninja of pent up fury is capable of running, jumping, double jumping, wall-running, wall-sliding, wall-jumping and dashing both on land and in the air. All of these moves are ably delivered through a slick and responsive control system that ensures your platforming failures always feel like your fault rather than the game’s – you weren’t quick enough, you weren’t smart enough, you just weren’t good enough. It’s quite honestly flawless in its response times and precision; tap the button and it happens on-screen with nary a delay to worry about. Quite frankly numerous other developer’s could do with playing Shadow Blade and taking notes on how to do a slick control system. As a ninja you’ve naturally got some offensive tools for dealing with the myriad of foes who’ll get in your way, too, including a throwable shuriken which regenerates over time, a standard sword attack and even a brutal chain-spear combination that can yank foes toward you. By sneaking up on an enemy you can deliver a swift takedown, plus you can also perform a slightly over-powered air attack that you can bounce out of and repeat on the next nearby enemy. Finally your handy air/land dash can not only be used for clearing big distances but can also be combined with the attack button.

It all gets tied together by flowing level design which quickly draws you into smooth rhythm. Unsurprisingly timing and quick reactions are key to making it through alive. Meanwhile a grading system awards you a rank based on your speed, amount of deaths and how many of the collectibles you managed to grab along the way. Although on the surface Shadow Blade is a action-platformer, the truth is that it’s actually a speedrunner in disguise, naturally pushing you toward tackling each stage as quickly and effectively as you can. Crumbling platforms, deadly lasers, kamikaze bots, snipers, rocket launchers and the fact that you can only take a single hit before dying all serve to keep you constantly moving and assessing the level, and there’s an incredibly satisfying rhythm to the action and stage design which drags you in and refuses to let go. You can slow down and approach each situation with a bit more caution, perhaps using stealth attacks to take down enemies or even opting to bypass them altogether, but at that point the game becomes far less fun to play. Shadow Blade is at its best when you’re charging through the levels faster than your brain can keep up, reacting to each and ever new threat purely on instinct. It’s built around that idea, and hopes that you’ll be willing to come back to each stage and try to get a bit quicker, a bit better. To this end there’s leaderboards for every stage so that you can constantly push to become the quickest ninja to ever ninja.

The game has impeccable pacing, too, introducing new foes at a steady rate while ramping up the platforming challenge as well, constantly forcing you to up your game or become nothing more than a bloody mass upon the ground. New baddies include flame-thrower wielding dudes, vicious snipers and much more to keep you on your toes. It all begins simply enough, but before you know it you’ll be tackling a series of snipers while leaping up a wall, dodging circular saw blades and bullets at the time. The flow of the levels really is downright impressive, and even more so when you consider that multiple paths and hidden collectibles are included, too, without ever damaging the experience. This is one of the smoothest, slickest feelings games I have played in a very long time, and boy is it a whole lot of fun when you get into the magical zone. Even when you aren’t, though, Shadow Blade is addictive and enjoyable, the bite-sized levels lasting no more than a few minutes apiece and thereby ensuring the, “just one more go” mentality.

In total there’s 50+ stages to work your way through, plus a challenge mode as well that tosses you into some devilishly tricky situations. If that wasn’t enough there’s also two higher unlockable difficulty settings that don’t just go for the cheap option of lobbing more enemies in your direction but also radically alter the level’s themselves, adding in more traps and spiky things in an effort to make your life miserable.

A lovely bonus is the included level editor so that players can toss together new challenges and share them via the Steam Workshop, potentially giving the game a much longer lifespan depending on how much the community embraces it. At the time of writing the Workshop is looking disappointingly sparse with just 24 levels up for download. Hopefully business will pick up, though, as it’s easy to understand, letting you leap into creating stages with minimal fuss, even if the UI is pretty basic looking.

Basic looking also perhaps describes the game best. Though it is by far not a bad-looking title Shadow Blade is still fairly forgettable in its visuals, its varied locations failing to make much of an impression past the initially nice backgrounds. However, the quality of the animations is more impressive, making your little ninja come to life as he leaps and slashes his way across the screen like some sort of hyperactive serial killer with a penchant for parkour. It’s a small shame that the characters often seem to small on the screen, making hard to really appreciate the kill animations. The audio work manages to impress, too. The voice acting might be poor, but the music is brilliant, mixing some traditional, calming sounds with more upbeat techno stuff to create a really engaging soundtrack that is somehow both calming and frantic. It does a good job of complementing the various stages and of helping get you into the flow of the levels. I’m also a fan of how collecting the little glowing orbs adds a series of gentle musical notes to the tune as well. It’s a nice touch.

Special mention goes to the developers themselves who are showing an impressive turnaround rate for patches. Shortly after myself and one other person mentioned a problem where kamikaze drones were frozen a patch was up that fixed the problem. The developers have reacted like this to every problem thus far, and as I put the finishing touches to this review I’ve yet to encounter any more glitches or bugs.

A short review, yes, but Shadow Blade: Reload is a simple game that doesn’t take much wordage to explain, and yet really no amount of writing could capture how smoothly it plays or how enjoyable it is. Repetition can be something of a small problem, after all there’s only so many times you can bounce up a wall or slice up a sniper without it starting to feel very familiar, but the quick nature of the levels makes it easy to just fire the game up, blast through a few levels and then wander off to do something else for a few hours. It’s fluid, fun and addictive, making it one of the most enjoyable and satisfying action-platformers I’ve played in a while, tapping into my innate desire to be faster and better than everyone else, even if I’m actually nowhere near competitive.

Recommended games may either be truly amazing all round, or possess some quality or qualities which make them worth playing, such as a stellar story, amazing graphics, superb gameplay etc. This also means it’s possible for a game that plays badly, looks terrible and sounds horrible to achieve a recommendation if it has, for instance, an amazing story.

 

World of Warcraft is about to reclaim character names from inactive accounts

In the decade of World of Warcraft’s existence, quite a few characters have been birthed and named. Should you be in the market for creating a new character right this second, you can probably imagine that trying to find a unique name is quite problematic. That’s why this week, with the launch of patch 6.2, Blizzard will be reclaiming the names of any character that has been inactive for a while.

If you’re character hasn’t been accessed since December 7th 2010, its name will be freed up for other players to take. Looks like my Blood Elf and Undead characters are about to become nameless, then.

If you have a character name you’ve not used in over four years and are determined to keep it, you have just a couple of days to log into World of Warcraft before the patch is applied on June 24th. Log into your characters before then, and their names will be safe.

“Our goal with this great name liberation is to make sure new and returning players have a large and varied pool of names available to choose from,” Blizzard wrote on the World of Warcraft blog. “So log in now if you wish to preserve your unused characters’ names for your ongoing journey through Draenor.”

 

Albion Online Detailed

For our final day at Games we met up with the guys at Albion Online, the free to play open sandbox fantasy MMORPG that makes us think of an updated version of older more retro style MMORPGs in terms of features that balk at the overdone theme-park style titles we frequently see. In such an overcrowded fantasy MMORPG market we have to say that in many ways Albion Online is a breath of fresh air, taking us back to our old Ultima Online days where life was brutal, challenging and a hell of a lot more rewarding. Sitting down with two of the developers they gave us a brief overview of where the game was at, having only played it in very early Alpha, as we watched the game on the PC screen with one of the two characters running around we could see the instant cross-platform compatibility on the tablet in front of us seamlessly tracking the second character.

Our guides launched into the general core functions of the game and the notion that everything is built around the player driven economy: players gather resources, they craft items, they trade them to other players; it’s a fairly simple process but with a very uncommon level of detail that we were given an insight to.

First and foremost the resource gathering, practically everything can yield some sort of resources, whether mining rocks, chopping trees, harvesting bushes, these are things you find in the world as your base resources, but from there you can actively try to create other resources by farming, or breeding horses and livestock. Some resources are fairly easy to acquire, some are extremely difficult and require heading into more dangerous locations, but more on that later.

Second is crafting; pretty much everything in the game is crafted by players, from weapons, armor, items, consumables and even houses; the real estate plays a huge function in the game providing players not only with a fundamental personal goal but also a community driven one as players band together to create player cities. Player cities themselves offer more options for crafting, as opposed to the standard workstations found in the early areas, so as ever there is a reason to try and aspire to that next big thing and get rewarded for it. The best gear in the game will always be craftable, again the mantra is that this is a player driven economy, but will require the most difficult to attain resources, so the crafters, resource gathers and traders have this symbiotic relationship where they all need each other. Furthermore there is durability on everything in the game, all items are finite and are generally an item sink, from weapons, tools and in a way even real estate as your personal buildings or player cities can be attacked, raided, captured and destroyed.

Crafting is particularly important when it comes to gear as when you craft an item you get to choose which abilities it has applied to it, which will then determine what skills a player has available to them when it is equipped; essentially there are no classes in the game and your abilities are determined by what you wear. Crafted or looted items can also be reforged at a cost, but there are no drops from mobs of items, only the resources required to craft them such as runes and gems. The types of items and weapons you can use are determined by the Destiny Board, a large web of talents that players must unlock to equip new items (if you don’t have a talent for a Two Handed Axe then you simply can’t equip it), however the Destiny Board also has branches for crafting and farming as well.

The trade component is an interesting one as players have the ability to head to the market and either fulfil trade requests of players looking for a certain item, or create their own sell orders to put up for sale their own items. Markets, as with banks, are localized and so if you put your items in one place then you don’t have access to them in the next area, this all plays a part of the bigger picture that they don’t want players to get too comfortable, for the game to be too easy, to constantly provide a challenge (albeit this type of game is definitely not going to be for everyone.. but what do they know, right?).

So what is the main objective to the game? Well as a sandbox the truth is that there probably isn’t one, or more that it is endless, but PVP is going to play a major part in the game but absolutely doesn’t require players to be combat focused characters. The world itself is divided into two main playgrounds, outside the wall and inside the wall. Outside the wall is the newplayer regions for the most part, though they are littered with camps of AI mobs, mini dungeons, plenty of resources, they are at least a safe haven when it comes to other players. Players also have the ability to access the islands to go to their own instanced based home, the initial island layout is identical for everyone, but what you do with your own instance is up to you and how you spend plot of land is your choice; as with all plots of land you have so much of an area to build on and can either go for something big and grand or throw up a couple of useful buildings; it’s your choice. Players can build their own farm, as mentioned, to grow food which is used by all buildings, so even as a solo player you can still make a living selling your food to big guilds that need to keep their territories and cities running.

Inside the wall is a different, here is it open PVP with full looting; you die and whatever you had on you at the time is now the property of your killer. In many MMORPGs PVP and full looting really just doesn’t work, it becomes more a chore and an annoyance and a wall to enjoying the game; in Albion Online this constant threat is there to actually create content. As mentioned some of the rarest resources are found in the most dangerous places, typically inside the wall, so even trying to resource gather can be very dangerous. Second of all there needs to be trade from inside the wall to the outside and vice versa, which means traveling through the zone is dangerous when you have player bandits looking to make a quick kill and some free loot. If you need to transport a lot of items then you can make lots of journeys, because there is a weight limit for players before they become over encumbered, or they can hire oxen as beasts of burden to carry more items, but these creatures move a lot slower and so hiring other players as escorts to fight for you (particularly if you have focused on being a crafter type character) again adds realism, content and a challenge to the game. It’s all optional though, you can live an easy live and never step into the walled area, but you’re going to be missing out on a lot and those willing to make the journey for Guilds and Cities can find themselves making a nice tidy profit.

The Guilds vs Guild territory control is going to play a huge part in the game, contesting and controlling territories being the primary end game content. Within the walled area are various territories that Guilds can lay claim to, by claiming a territory players must choose four times throughout a day where their city is vulnerable for a period of one hour, during this time other Guilds can attack your territory and try to level it or take control of it. Outside of these times a mage appears in your city and casts a magic forcefield preventing anyone but the guild from entering, so offering a sanctuary in the walled area, and as crafting is considerably more efficient in these areas it pays to control them. For an attack during the vulnerable times a guild has to have at least 5 players within the area who are then teleported for an instanced based battle, if they win the fight then the territory loses one of its Defend Points (which replenish over time) meaning players can’t simply take a territory as soon as it appears and must whittle it down over time with multiple attacks.

Whilst the focus is on PVP there are of course PVE elements, including random spawns across the world, but the main challenges can be found in dungeons with deadly boss monsters that have some pretty interesting and challenging mechanics. The thing we liked the most about these dungeons is that they are designed for 15 people, but you can have 20 people in a party, if more than 15 people show up then the Boss will automatically rebalance itself to make it tougher for the increased party size. As if that wasn’t challenging enough the PVE Dungeons are also open PVP areas, so whilst you’re in the middle of trying to kill a powerful boss you might suddenly find yourself having to contend with a rival Guild looking to take the kill for themselves; so it always pays to keep a scout on the door keeping watch.

The monetization aspect is following a free to play model with an optional Premium Account that can either be purchased with cash or earned through in game tradeable currency, very similar to the EVE Plex system, one of the greatest examples of a player driven economy of any MMO out there; Premium Accounts will grant more XP, silver and quicker progress through the Destiny Board. Right now the game is still Early Access but they are planning to go into Closed Beta at the end of the year and we thoroughly recommend you try and sign up to get access.

INSTANT CLASS SWITCHES – THE LAST BASTION OF CHARACTER RESTRICTION

Some time ago Tesh voiced his support of Allods’ class change coupons in a minipost. While he called it the small and simple things, it is remarkable how this one feature among convenience features is still essentially taboo in most of today’s MMOs. And why is that?

When World of Warcraft started off in 2004, the answer to most player wishes concerning character freedom was NO. Over the years slowly but surely, the strict regiment of a character of one name, one race, one faction, with one same look and tedious respecs, changed completely. Today, there are hardly any final parameters left for an already created character. For a fee, you can not only change your server or your character’s looks but significant allegiances such as faction or race. With WotLK, Blizzard also introduced death knights, offering players not just a new class but instant level 55 character. For the Warlords of Draenor expansion, one instant level 90 per account has already been announced, in an attempt to draw parts of that retired audience back in.

In the light of such overwhelming flexibility, the question of instant class switches remains unanswered. You would think that in this day and age, where players are not only used to extensive alting and multi-classing in other games (Final Fantasy XI already featured this for the same character in 2002) but adjusting quickly to race -, spec- or faction-related switches, there were no genuine reasons left to prohibit such freedom in WoW or elsewhere.

What does it matter if I choose to go shaman with my priest? Will I not put in my own time to adjust to all the new abilities and have quests and dungeon runs as my harsh teachers? If I ever went back for WoD, boosting my old priest to level 90, I would essentially have to relearn the entire class after all this time. How is that so different? And who doesn’t already have several high-level alts anyway (except for me…), so why not make different classes available on the same character for those who like?

OH WOW, THAT RAID ATTUNEMENT

So I like attunements. I missed them a little when WoW made away with them entirely, mostly because it’s always an all-or-nothing approach with some developers. I like attunements for their symbolic value: they’re a rite of passage and as such an opportunity to add meaning to the event of unlocking a raid dungeon for your character. Perfect time to have a special quest chain with the obligatory lore tidbits before you send your players off to the abyss or city above the clouds, or wherever it is they are going. Think the personal storyline in GW2 for instance, doable enough for any player on his way to level-cap, plus one Arah run on normal mode. Fair enough.

What attunements absolutely shouldn’t be is a way to divide your playerbase and essentially make it excruciatingly frustrating to nigh impossible for the more casual crowd, which constitutes the majority of your paying customers, to ever experience endgame or raid content. It makes no sense to create content for your top 1% or even top 5% and that’s a lesson Blizzard learned down the line, to a point where even flex raids have become a reality.

After seeing Carbine’s excessive 12-step attunement to 40man raid entry in Wildstar (thanks Jeromai!) which makes a 100 jailbreaks look decent, I am trying very hard to stay cool and understand what they were thinking and cui bono? Not the l33t kids and top guilds either, surely – anyone who has ever run a raid guild in WoW (or elsewhere) and been in charge of recruitment, shudders at the prospect of finding suitable recruits or getting new people attuned over and over just to access raiding in Wildstar. And we’re talking 40man. Good luck with that roster, the competition is on!

While reserving ultimate judgement is probably the way to go while the game is new and we’re all newbies still, it’s hard to stay positive when reading through the same old vitriolic forum discussions of “casual versus hardcore” that 12-step attunement infographic has sparked in Wildstar’s early community. An infographic which by the by, is brought to us not by Carbine but your self-proclaimed staple elitist guild, sporting core values such as “If you want to bring your shitty girlfriend along, I will personally show you where to shove it” on their about-page.

That’s my main issue right there, the fact that Carbine consciously or not, are catering to this type of demographic rather than their core playerbase. I’m not sure they realize it yet, just as they clearly didn’t foresee what one PvP realm per region would do to launch day. Yeah, sometimes developers don’t have the ultimate foresight. That’s also why I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and 6 months at most before they nerf Wildstar’s raid entry requirements considerably. They seem at odds with everything else I’ve seen of the game so far and Carbine have proven they’re in touch with community feedback before.

It would be a great shame to see this game go down a similar road as GW2; no endgame or inaccessible endgame is all the same to me. That said, early days friends, early days.