PC Gamer latest storieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/feed/en-usFri, 27 Feb 2015 17:43:30 +0000yesMedieval Engineers: the best videos for learning to build and destroyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers-the-best-videos-for-learning-to-build-and-destroy/ Taking a look at cool buildings and cooler ways of knocking them over.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:43:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/medieval-engineers-the-best-videos-for-learning-to-build-and-destroy/Keen Software HouseMedieval EngineerssimTutorialVideos <p> While we've all been intrigued, impressed, and occasionally horrified by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/30-incredible-machines-built-by-the-besiege-community/">the creations springing forth&nbsp;from&nbsp;Besiege</a>, there's a&nbsp;rather more serious medieval&nbsp;sandbox out there waiting to&nbsp;tempt your&nbsp;building skills.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.medievalengineers.com/">Medieval Engineers</a>, from Keen Software House,&nbsp;the&nbsp;makers of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/space-engineers/">Space Engineers</a>, is now&nbsp;in Early Access&nbsp;if you're looking to build some castles and then knock them down.</p><p> I've spent a little time in Medieval&nbsp;Engineers recently, and a little more time watching videos to understand just how to build something that actually works. If you've started playing yourself, or are interested in doing so,&nbsp;here's a selection of videos that might be of interest.</p><p> <strong>Basic Construction<br></strong>From Arron of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/LastStandGamers">Last Stand Gamers</a>, a nice&nbsp;introduction to the basics of how controls work, how to build blocks within blocks,&nbsp;and how to get started building&nbsp;the medieval city of your medieval&nbsp;dreams.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wzs4rj7d7aY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>Catapult<br></strong>This tutorial from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Beausafk">xBeau Gaming</a> will help you put together your first catapult. It also demonstrates how hard it can be to hit the thing you're aiming at.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kalQO3gouzQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> <strong>Floating Arm Trebuchet<br></strong>One of the more impressive&nbsp;and complicated&nbsp;siege engine designs I've seen is from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChn50gGegULImIZsoBQ06Cg">w4stedspace</a>, who built a giant&nbsp;floating arm trebuchet.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e3NGbhd1A7E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>Windmill<br></strong>A quick and concise tutorial on how to build a windmill from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/IamPetard">IamPetard</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_PdeJVROqV8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Working Clocktower<br></strong>This is impressive. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Ironvos">Ironvos</a> has built a lovely looking and structurally sound clock tower. The clock works, too,&nbsp;though it runs about 15 times real speed. Take a tour, won't you?</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k0CwTmezoCY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong>Helm's Deep<br></strong>Looking for something a bit bigger?&nbsp;Steam workshop user <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=394806372">Timathius</a> created this massive replica of Helm's Deep from Lord of the Rings. You can tour it in this dramatic video from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIpixsFaSq_eIGvAtzq-f0g">I Played Gamezz</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mbc21MdSzkk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Destruction<br></strong>Building is only half the fun: knocking everything down is the rest. In this video,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/ICBMRaptor2">Raptor</a> takes you on a tour of his detailed&nbsp;medieval city, and then proceeds to reduce the entire thing to rubble. <a href="http://youtu.be/yUG-pE61uu4?t=12m16s">The destruction begins at 12:16</a>.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yUG-pE61uu4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>More Destruction<br></strong>Some more fun footage of buildings falling down, this time from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/GameStarDE">Gamestar</a>,&nbsp;who includes&nbsp;some important&nbsp;lessons on structural integrity so your buildings <em style="background-color: initial;">won't</em> fall down (until you want them to).</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ICn1xZN1Q-M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p><strong style="background-color: initial;">Barbarians<br></strong>NPCs, in the form of barbarians, we added in a recent update.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/SleepArtGameEat">Video Sage</a> puts the new NPCs&nbsp;through the paces.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jjZBeaqvTvI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p>Naturally, the game has <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4-eBJaa6mY">its own&nbsp;alpha tutorial video</a>, worth checking out as well.</p> Star Wars games we really want to seehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-star-wars-games-we-really-want-to-see/This year the world's going to go Star Wars mad, here are a some entirely seriouspitches for great accompanying games that we'd love to see.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:08:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-star-wars-games-we-really-want-to-see/ActionAdventureStar WarsStar Wars Jedi KnightStar Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicStar Wars: X-Wing New GTA 5 PC screenshots show "detail and refinements"http://www.pcgamer.com/new-gta-5-pc-screenshots-show-detail-and-refinements/Damnit Rockstar, you tease.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:40:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/new-gta-5-pc-screenshots-show-detail-and-refinements/ActionGrand Theft Auto VNewsRockstar Europa Universalis 4 gets free weekend, El Dorado expansion releasedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/europa-universalis-4-gets-free-weekend-el-dorado-expansion-released/Conquer for free, or conquer more with DLC.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:19:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/europa-universalis-4-gets-free-weekend-el-dorado-expansion-released/Europa Universalis 4NewsParadoxStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9DisRShISBeu.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6P3ENzLxbezX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Europa Universalis IV preview thumb large"></p><p>If maps and menus are your thing, you could do worse than checking out Europa Universalis 4&mdash;something you can do this weekend for absolutely no money at all.</p><p>It's a Paradox grand strategy game, and so all but guaranteed to be unlearnable in a single weekend. Nevertheless, if you think you're up to the task, you can&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/236850/" target="_blank">head here</a> to download the Steam temporary&nbsp;trial version. If nothing else, you should have time to conquer a few of the smaller nations. If you like what you play, the base game is currently 75% off.</p><p>For current owners, new expansion opportunities arrive in the form of the now released El Dorado DLC. The add-on's focus is on Central and South America, and it also features a nation designer that'll let you custom create your own empire.</p><p>Here's a tiny trailer:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjK5520IP9Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Mortal Kombat X story trailer shows the cast of Mortal Kombat Xhttp://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x-story-trailer-shows-the-cast-of-mortal-kombat-x/A look at the bits of Mortal Kombat X that aren't punching and/or slicing.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:49:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/mortal-kombat-x-story-trailer-shows-the-cast-of-mortal-kombat-x/Mortal Kombat XNews <p>Mortal Kombat X is the Xth game in the popular series about punching. But! Not all is punching. Sometimes it's watching, because&nbsp;a story-bit is happening. Here is a trailer for these&nbsp;non-punching sections.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EAb4xycgNrg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Fans of the series will recognise returning characters like Chilly Scar, Mask Hair and That Guy.</p><p>"Taking place 25 years after the events of Mortal Kombat&trade; (2011)," writes a press release, non-ironically using a&nbsp;&trade; in case we had forgotten that Mortal Kombat is&nbsp;a popular, established&nbsp;and legally protected&nbsp;series of punch-'em-ups,&nbsp;"the new generation of characters will discover that Outworld is not the only threat they face. Fans will get a first look at the newest fighters to join Cassie Cage, including Jacqueline Briggs, daughter of Jax, Takashi Takeda, son of Kenshi and Kung Jin, descendant of Kung Lao."</p><p>Mortal Kombat X is due out on April 14.</p> Downwell is a vertical shooter about falling down a wellhttp://www.pcgamer.com/downwell-is-a-vertical-shooter-about-falling-down-a-well/Arcade shooter picked up by Devolver Digital.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 14:26:16 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/downwell-is-a-vertical-shooter-about-falling-down-a-well/Devolver DigitalIndieNews <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IHmhgMXXSJib.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AG8Kk19hr5YE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GUNSHOOTDOWNWELL"></p><p><a href="http://downwellgame.com/" target="_blank">Downwell</a> is a game about falling down a well, but also you have guns for feet. There are monsters in the well. Shoot them with your feet guns. The recoil will even give you more time to adjust your mid-air positioning, and thus demonstrate your&nbsp;wicked sick platforming precision. Feet guns: don't fall down a well without them.</p><p> Created by Japanese developer&nbsp;Ojiro "moppin" Fumoto, Downwell has been&nbsp;<a href="http://www.devolverdigital.com/blog/view/strap-on-your-gun-boots-and-jump-into-the-darkness">assimilated</a> into Devolver's growing indie portfolio. They'll be publishing the game on PC and mobiles.</p><p> I could probably say more, about the shops and treasures and upgrades that can be found. But really, all you need is this gif:</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b4sYC2SfTW-v.gif" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b4sYC2SfTW-v.gif" alt="FALLDOWNWELLSHOOTBADDIES"></p><p> And also maybe this gif?</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HdzXuLUESR6a.gif" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HdzXuLUESR6a.gif" alt="WELLWELLSHOOTWELL"></p><p>Downwell is due out later this year.</p> We Happy Few trailer reveals its creepy alt-'60s settinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/we-happy-few-trailer-reveals-its-creepy-alt-60s-setting/What if Britain had been invaded by hyper-violent mimes? It'd probably look a bit like this.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:35:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/we-happy-few-trailer-reveals-its-creepy-alt-60s-setting/AdventureNewsWe Happy Few <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U3dHusYgSy-v.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6sqK2KSuq9wg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="We Happy Few"></p><p>What if Britain was instead populated by drug-chugging mime-a-likes&nbsp;locked in a permanent state of violent&nbsp;bliss? That's a really strange question, and yet Compulsion Games have seemingly decided to ask it in their new game We Happy Few.</p><p>The announcement trailer is equal shades of Bioshock and Doctor Who.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MqWZkCqI6NM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>"We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial," explains the official site.&nbsp;"Set in a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England, you’ll have to blend in with its other inhabitants, who don’t take kindly to people who don’t abide by their not-so-normal rules."</p><p>It certainly looks interesting. Compulsion's last game, Contrast, wasn't entirely successful&mdash;we gave it 52% in the magazine&mdash;but the style on show here is undeniable. Hopefully it'll translate into an eerie adventure, whatever that actually involves.</p> Battlefield Hardline dev on PC launch stabilityhttp://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-dev-on-pc-launch-stability/Visceral producer implies a smooth PC launch for HardlineFri, 27 Feb 2015 11:08:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline-dev-on-pc-launch-stability/Battlefield HardlineFPSNewsVisceral <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZpdefCtFTfiP.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/m-4u3LNuYXfY.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Battlefield Hardline"></p><p>"We’re not just porting it over," writes Battlefield Hardline's&nbsp;gameplay systems producer&nbsp;Mike Glosecki over at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.battlefield.com/hardline/news/battlefield-hardline-on-pc" target="_blank">Battlefield Hardline official site</a>.&nbsp;"Battlefield started on the PC with 1942 and we know we have a passionate fan base on this platform."</p><p>These comments, and others, are all part of a fairly lengthy write up about Hardline's PC credentials. "I’m also a hard core PC gamer that builds his own systems and subscribes to the theory that the PC is by far the best gaming platform around," Glosecki stresses. Strip down readers, and prepare to be buttered up.</p><p>Much of the post is an attempt to reassure potential players that Hardline isn't just a re-skinned Battlefield. As for PC support, 64-player battles return, and basic features are present:</p><p><em>"</em><em>You can play at much higher resolutions, 1920x1080 and beyond up to the capabilities of your video card.&nbsp;You can also use much higher graphic settings on PC – which you gives you the best texture filtering, texture quality, and anti-aliasing in addition to other benefits. You can adjust your field of view or run higher than 60 FPS if you choose. You can even play with a three monitor setup for an immersive experience. Lastly, you get to use a mouse and keyboard which gives you the best control setup for a first person shooter."</em></p><p>As for stability of the game, Glosecki touches on Battlefield 4's extensive launch problems.</p><p><em>"</em><em>Stability has been one of the largest areas we’re focusing our attention at Visceral while developing Hardline. I think we can all agree that Battlefield 4’s stability at launch was less than stellar. In order to address stability for our game at launch, we’ve had the game up and running in the multiplayer environment for the last two years with both the development and quality assurance teams playing in daily matches. We’ve run two betas for the game as well, one at E3 and the pre-launch beta which just completed on Feb 9th. Both of these have not only helped us solidify the stability of our servers, but have also provided great feedback for us to address in the game. As a side note, we are also making changes to Battlelog to include a new pop-up on how to activate the plugin in your browser since this was an issue for some of our players."</em></p><p>It's not quite an explicit promise of a smooth launch. It is, however, a heavy implication that Visceral are confident they won't be troubled&nbsp;by the same issues that plagued the previous&nbsp;Battlefield.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battlefield-hardline/" target="_blank"><em>Head here</em></a><em>&nbsp;for our complete Battlefield Hardline coverage.</em></p> The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition 8K galleryhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-secret-of-monkey-island-special-edition-8k-gallery/Pixel Boost investigates the mysteries of Monkey Island in 8K resolution.Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:13:53 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-secret-of-monkey-island-special-edition-8k-gallery/AdventurePixel BoostThe Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Oculus Rift demo puts you in the Battle of Endorhttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-demo-puts-you-in-the-battle-of-endor/It's a trap!Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:30:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-demo-puts-you-in-the-battle-of-endor/NewsOculus RIFTOculus VR <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oWlH-C76lKI?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Have you ever found yourself with an <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift/">Oculus Rift</a> strapped to your face, and no real idea what to do with it next? Allow me to make a suggestion: Hop into the cockpit of an X-Wing starfighter and enjoy a front-row seat for the Battle of Endor.</p><p> The video is taken from an Oculus Rift X-Wing simulator being developed by James Clement, who wrote on YouTube that it "still needs a lot of polish" but made it available for download for those who want to try it anyway. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since September; the most recent related <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRtLd8wGox0">video</a>, a demonstration of a technical issue with flickering shadows, went up at the end of September.</p><p>The video starts off fairly slowly, but the intensity jumps up dramatically when the order to engage the capital ships at point-blank range comes in. Twisting around the massive Mon Calamari cruiser and then strafing the Star Destroyer provides a scale and sense of speed that the opening minutes lack, although it loses momentum again once the fighter dives into the exhaust port: There's no sense of anything at all happening beyond a pleasant, traffic-free cruise through a four-lane tunnel.</p><p> This kind of first-person, in-cockpit experience is exactly what the Oculus Rift is surely&nbsp;made for, and somewhat surprisingly, it doesn't take a whole lot of hardware to make it happen: According to the Oculus page, the Battle of Endor sim was tested on a 2.4 GHz dual-core AMD CPU with 6GB RAM, and a laptop with an unspecified 2.4 GHz CPU and 16GB of RAM. It's clearly not as polished as, say, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/elite-dangerous/">Elite: Dangerous</a>, but it's free. And it's Star Wars! Get the details at <a href="https://share.oculus.com/app/star-wars-the-battle-of-endor">Oculus.com</a>.</p> The best gaming laptopshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/We've updated our guide to the best gaming laptop, with new recommendations for a 15-inch model and a thin-and-light.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:25:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/ASUSAsus G750JS-DS71Best ofFeatured Guidegaming laptopGigabyteHardwareMSIMSIX MSI GE60-033 ApacheTech <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/di-WxIGhQ3Sv.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jqC4l7ZGwa22.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Asus G751 Left Open" style="background-color: initial;"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">More Buying Guides</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ncDtvXUIS3q8.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0YpI7Tp79X39.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Graphics Card Cropped"> </p> <p> <strong> Here are our&nbsp;lists of the best PC accessories and hardware:&nbsp;</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-mouse" target="_blank">Best gaming <strong>mice</strong></a> <br> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-keyboards" target="_blank">Best gaming <strong>keyboards</strong></a> <br> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/" target="_blank">Best gaming<strong> laptops</strong></a> <br> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-graphics-cards" target="_blank">Best <strong>graphics cards</strong></a> <br> <strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-headsets/" target="_blank">Best gaming <strong>headsets</strong></a> <br> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-wireless-gaming-headsets/" target="_blank">Best <strong>wireless headsets</strong></a><br> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-webcams" target="_blank">Best <strong>webcams</strong></a> <br> <strong>&mdash; </strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-monitors/">Best gaming<strong> monitors</strong><br> </a><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-gaming-cpus-processors/" target="_blank">Best gaming <strong>processors</strong></a><br> <strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong></strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-controller-for-pc-gaming/" target="_blank">Best&nbsp;</a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-controller-for-pc-gaming/" target="_blank" style="font-weight: bold;">controller for PC<br> </a><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong></strong><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-pc-gaming-chairs/">Best <strong>PC gaming chairs</strong></a> </p> <p> <strong>&mdash; </strong>New to PC Gaming? Here are <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/10-things-every-pc-gamer-should-own/">10 things every PC gamer should own</a>. </p> </div><p> <em>Article by Chris Angelini</em></p><p><em><strong>2/26/2015</strong>: We've completely updated this article for 2015 with a new best gaming laptop, a 15-inch recommendation, and a thin-and-light recommendation. Our new favorite gaming laptop is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NWE9RPA/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">Asus RoG G751JY-DH71</a>, an updated model of our previous favorite laptop.</em></p><p> Building a desktop PC has never been easier. Buying a gaming laptops, on the other hand, has never been harder. Mobile gaming GPUs are now capable of playing demanding games on high settings. There are a mind-boggling number of gaming notebook options aimed at PC enthusiasts. Efficient thin-and-light enclosures. Spacious laptops with enough cooling muscle to accommodate desktop-class hardware. There’s something for everyone. So how do you pick?</p><p> I set out to narrow the field for you. To do that, I needed to divide gaming laptops&nbsp;into a few different categories.</p><p> The first covers desktop replacements. Technically mobile systems (in that they have batteries), most DTRs are really designed for use plugged into a wall where their high-end components can shine. These machines tend to be bulky, heavy, and consequently awkward to lug around. But they’re typically fast. And expensive. Nevertheless, desktop replacements are popular for a reason: they can play your&nbsp;favorite games at high resolutions and maxed out detail settings, while still being more portable than a true desktop.</p><p> Thin-and-light notebooks are less common in gaming circles, since svelte little shells aren’t exactly ideal for housing power-hungry processors. They do exist, though. Laptops sporting attractive dimensions and competent internals are marvels of mechanical engineering, so expect to pay a premium. If you prioritize true mobility, you’ll find the extra investment worthwhile, even if it means taking a performance hit compared to behemoth DTRs.</p><p> Of course, I can’t ignore that variable obliquely referred to as value. Gaming-oriented hardware is often expensive, and it’s easy to fall in lust with the best of the best. Is it possible to play first-person shooters at their most taxing settings for cheap? Let’s be honest: not really, no. But can you still get an enjoyable experience without breaking the bank? Absolutely. The real challenge this category presents is defining its price ceiling. As you’ll see, I think the best gaming notebook has to deliver performance without hitting an astronomical price.</p><p> From those categories, one notebook rises to the top as our overall winner. That system is&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NWE9RPA/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">Asus’ Republic of Gamers G751JY-DH71</a>, a beefier successor of sorts to the G750JS-DS71 previously recognized as our favorite. This desktop replacement typifies hard-hitting mobile gaming hardware. It combines great balance between host processing, graphics, and ultra-fast storage; robust construction; and it does it all with a fair price tag.</p><h2>How we test gaming laptops</h2><p> Reaching my&nbsp;decision wasn’t easy. It involved weeks of benchmarking, hands-on feedback from several enthusiasts, and a fair bit of digging around under the hood of each system.</p><p> I began my quest by reaching out to the biggest hardware players in this space, offering each a chance to submit models for consideration. I didn't test every gaming laptop configuration on the market&mdash;there are hundreds of them&mdash;but the best representatives from laptop makers that I know make great gaming systems.</p><p> Each sample was loaded with a gaming benchmark suite, including Unigine Valley, 3DMark, Metro Last Light, Tomb Raider, GRID 2, and Thief. After extensive testing, both plugged in to the wall and on battery power, I took each notebook apart to inspect its innards. A handful of non-technical users were invited into our lab to go hands-on and convey their impressions of the keyboards, trackpads, and displays. Finally, I compared the prices of these systems to determine their comparative value.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2"><em>On the next page: the best gaming laptop.</em></a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">Page 1: Introduction to gaming laptops&nbsp;</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2">Page 2: The best gaming laptop&nbsp;(17-inch)&nbsp;</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3">Page 3: The Best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop&nbsp;</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4">Page 4: The Best Thin And Light Gaming Laptop</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5">Page 5: Gaming laptop benchmarks<br></a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6">Page 6: Wrapping up, competitors, and future testing</a></p><h2> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/di-WxIGhQ3Sv.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jqC4l7ZGwa22.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Asus G751 Left Open"></p></h2><h2>The best gaming laptop: Asus RoG G751JY-DH71 (17-inch desktop replacement)</h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> <strong>CPU:</strong> Core i7-4710HQ (2.5GHz Base)<br> <strong>GPU:</strong> GeForce GTX 980M 4GB<br> <strong>RAM: </strong>24GB DDR3L-1600<br> Display: 17.3” IPS&nbsp;LCD (1920x1080) <br> <strong>Storage:</strong> 256GB PCIe SSD, 1TB 7200RPM HDD<br> <strong>Optical Drive:</strong> Blu-ray writer<br> Networking: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.0, GbE <br> <strong>Battery:</strong> Eight-cell, 6000mAh<br> <strong>Connectivity:</strong> mic in, headphone out, 1 x VGA out, 4 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini-DP port, SD card reader<br> <strong>OS: </strong>Windows 8.1<br> <strong>Weight:</strong> 9lb, 2oz; 4.15kg (not including power adapter) </p> </div><p> For years, gamers on the go accepted one simple truth: notebooks couldn’t hold a candle to desktops when it came to performance. And while you still have to make certain compromises, purpose-built laptops now drive AAA games at their lushest settings.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NWE9RPA/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">Asus’ $2200&nbsp;RoG G751JY-DH71</a> (£1,949)&nbsp;embodies the company’s enthusiast-oriented approach with a combination of killer specs, a surprisingly sturdy chassis, and a price tag you’d probably expect to be higher after using it.</p><p> I'm a fan&nbsp;of balance, and Asus demonstrates wisdom in its component selection. The G751JY’s Core i7-4710HQ is actually on the light side of our round-up&mdash;most of the competition uses a -4720HQ or something even faster. But in the world of gaming, graphics performance is usually your bottleneck. The quad-core 4710HQ stretches up to 3.5GHz in lightly threaded workloads, making it an ideal complement to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980M. And while other vendors are touting the 8GB version of this flagship graphics processor, Asus saves some cash by using 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Again, that’s ample for driving a 1920x1080 display (or even a QHD screen, if you choose to dock at home).</p><p> The pièce de résistance, though, is Samsung’s 256GB XP941, a PCI Express-based drive known for exceptional storage performance. Asus backs the SSD up with a 1TB mechanical disk, which works well for storing music and movies. Curiously, the company splurges on 24GB of DDRL-1600 system memory when even 16GB would have been plenty. Asus also offers a G751JY-DH72X with an even faster CPU, more memory, and a larger SSD for $500 more, but those upgrades won’t do much for gaming performance.</p><p> All of the G751JY-DH71’s hardware serves to drive the latest games on a 17.3” display at up to 1920x1080. It’s an IPS panel, so you get consistent color reproduction at different viewing angles. And the response issues commonly associated with IPS technology are addressed in part by a 75Hz refresh rate. Asus Splendid Technology software gives you some control over color temperature and brightness, should you wish to alter the default configuration.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iDPq4Hc5RiiC.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7XELY_IiE2hy.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Asus G751 Side"></p><p> I personally detest trackpads, but of the notebooks I tested, Asus’ implementation is the most tolerable, offering plenty of surface area and oversized right- and left-click buttons. Still, gamers will want to use their own mice for play time. The G751JY-DH71’s keyboard is laid out well, with a bit of space between keys to minimize typing mistakes. I only wish the trackpad didn’t sit so far left; with fingers on the W, A, S, and D keys, your palm rests on the pad’s top corner.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">GTX 980M performance</h5> <p> Using the fastest mobile graphics processor currently available, it’s no wonder that Asus’ G751JY-DH71 is the fastest single-GPU notebook I tested. When you’re away from the wall, Nvidia’s Battery Boost technology artificially limits performance to avoid depleting your power source. Plugged in, though, you’ll enjoy smooth frame rates at 1920x1080 using the most taxing detail settings. And while Nvidia recently locked mobile GPU overclocking out of its drivers, Asus appears to benefit from firmware-based optimization. The G751JY-DH71 outperforms other GeForce GTX 980M-equipped notebooks in all of our benchmarks, despite a slightly slower CPU. </p> </div><p> Asus’ chassis design is simultaneously attractive and functional. Soft-touch material and brushed aluminum contrast nicely. The two surfaces effectively resist finger oils, so the G751JY-DH71 never stops looking good. Beyond aesthetics, an exceptional cooling system that vents out the back ensures you hardly hear this laptop, even when CPU and GPU utilization are pegged at 100%. With a lab full of gaming notebooks running full tilt, the G751JY-DH71’s lack of noise turns out to be its most noticeable (and pleasant) differentiator. It’s hard to imagine such a large desktop replacement resting on anyone’s lap for long. If that’s where you want to use it, though, frag away.</p><p> Lackluster audio seems to be this notebook’s biggest let-down. Bass-heavy music distorts and vibrates inside the chassis, while higher frequencies come out muddled. Circumvent the issue with a headset or external speakers; the G751JY-DH71 includes outputs for both.</p><p> Finally, the battery. Like any other gaming notebook, this is one you’ll mainly want to use plugged in. Seventy-nine minutes of battery life in a 3D workload might not sound like much, but it’s a class-leading result amongst the gaming notebooks I tested. That theme pervades my evaluation, earning Asus’ desktop replacement the top recommendation. At each turn, the&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NWE9RPA/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">Asus RoG G751JY-DH71</a> is a little bit faster, lasts a little bit longer, and is put together a little bit better than the competition.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3"><em>On the next page: the best 15.6-inch&nbsp;gaming laptop.</em></a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2"></a></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">Page 1: Introduction to gaming laptops </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2">Page 2: The best gaming laptop (17-inch) </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3">Page 3: The Best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4">Page 4: The Best Thin And Light Gaming Laptop</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5">Page 5: Gaming laptop benchmarks<br></a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6">Page 6: Wrapping up, competitors, and future testing</a></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9uPrtfCuRe6a.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nDXjlrn233RK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eon15 S Thin Right Back Keyboard"></p><h2> The best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop: Origin PC New EON15-S </h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> <strong>CPU</strong>: Core i7-4720HQ (2.6GHz Base) <br> <strong>GPU:</strong> GeForce GTX 980M 4GB<br> <strong>RAM:</strong> 8GB DDR3L-1600<br> <strong>Display:</strong> 15.6” (1920x1080)<br> <strong>Storage</strong><strong>:</strong> 256GB PCIe SSD, 1TB Hybrid HDD<br> <strong>Optical Drive:</strong> None<br> <strong>Networking:</strong> 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, GbE<br> <strong>Battery:</strong> Four-cell, 60Wh<br> <strong>Connectivity:</strong> mic in, headphone out, 3 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x eSATA/USB 3.0 combo port, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini-DP port, 6-in-1 card reader <br> <strong>OS:</strong> Windows 8.1<br> <strong>Weight:</strong> 6lb; 2.72kg (not including power adapter) </p> </div><p> The 17.3” form factor isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, the fastest components also fit into desktop replacements with 15.6” screens. Origin PC’s $2104&nbsp;New EON15-S, based on Clevo’s P650SG, stands out mostly for its balance of high-end hardware. Intel’s Core i7-4720HQ, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980M 4GB, and Samsung’s XP941 SSD come together in a way that won’t force you to accept ugly performance compromises. Moreover, because Origin PC offers some customization of this system, you can dial back under $2000 by choosing smaller storage devices, a different network adapter, and forgoing the company’s signature wooden crate armor without affecting your experience.</p><p> There’s even room to upgrade down the road. The review sample has two of its four memory slots occupied with 4GB SO-DIMMs. Adding a couple of 8GB modules takes total memory to 24GB. Spare M.2 and 2.5” bays accommodate as much storage as you need, too.</p><p> Presumably in an attempt to maximize battery life, Origin PC shipped the New EON15-S with brightness turned all the way down, doing the AU Optronics panel no favors. Manually adjust this setting in Windows to a more useable level. Even with the brightness tuned, you really need to look at the screen head-on to enjoy it. Other viewing angles simply serve to expose the most apparent weakness of TN technology. Expect to make frequent tilt adjustments as you shift in your seat.</p><p> Origin PC does its best to make Clevo’s platform its own with logos on the top cover and panel bezel. Brushed aluminum adorns most surfaces with black plastic everywhere else. Fingerprints stand out on the metal and oils are difficult to remove. It does take quite a bit of force to flex the compact chassis, though the slim display bends fairly easily. The keyboard is spaced nicely and easy to type on. Synaptics’ trackpad is situated to the left, so your palm overlaps it during gaming sessions. Of course you’ll be using a mouse; I’d just prefer to have my hand on a single, uniform surface.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/C3jrXgXDQ26_.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bodkN9EN7W1v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Origin Eon15s Flexibility Side Left"></p><p> It should be apparent by now that I like the New EON15-S for what’s inside more than anything else. Origin PC’s notebook blows through my benchmark suite at the most demanding detail settings and its native panel resolution. Unplugging from the wall drops you to Nvidia Battery Boost’s default 30 FPS, which cruises along smoothly. Just be sure to use the shipping graphics drivers. Upgrading to Nvidia’s recent 347.52 Game Ready build slaughtered performance on battery power. I recorded a run time of 65 minutes looping Unigine’s Valley demo, which isn’t bad for a six-pound system sporting the latest in graphics technology and a beefy quad-core CPU.</p><p> The New EON15-S is an entry point of sorts for enthusiasts looking to replicate a desktop gaming experience. You’ll find plenty of cheaper alternatives that dial back on host processing, graphics, or storage hardware. But they force you to give up eye candy for smooth frame rates. Given the muscle packed into this 15.6” form factor, Origin PC delivers plenty of bang for your buck.</p><p> <strong>Note To UK Readers:</strong> Origin PC is based in the U.S., but does ship internationally. Expect to pay more for freight and taxes.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4"><em>On the next page: the best thin-and-light gaming laptop.</em></a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2"></a></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">Page 1: Introduction to gaming laptops </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2">Page 2: The best gaming laptop (17-inch) </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3">Page 3: The Best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4">Page 4: The Best Thin And Light Gaming Laptop</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5">Page 5: Gaming laptop benchmarks<br></a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6">Page 6: Wrapping up, competitors, and future testing</a></p><h2> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DE2c_PbaQEuN.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VcaA4T8z2AnO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Msi Gs60 Ghost"></p></h2><h2>The best thin-and-light gaming laptop: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro-064</h2> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Specs</h5> <p> <strong>CPU:</strong> Core i7-4720HQ (2.6GHz Base)<br> <strong>GPU:</strong> GeForce GTX 970M 6GBRAM: 16GB DDR3L-1600<br> <strong>Display:</strong> 15.6”LCD (1920x1080)<br> <strong>Storage:</strong> 128GB SSD, 1TB 7200RPM HDD<br> <strong>Optical Drive:</strong> None<br> <strong>Networking: </strong>802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.0, GbE<br> <strong>Battery:</strong> Six-cell, 52Wh<br> <strong>Connectivity:</strong> mic in, headphone out, 3 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI, 1 x mini-DP port, SD card reader<br> <strong>OS:</strong> Windows 8.1<br> <strong>Weight: </strong>4lb, 6oz; 1.99kg (not including power adapter) </p> </div><p> Most high-performance gaming notebooks are big and heavy. Their roomy shells accommodate the fastest components, along with the cooling apparatus needed to maintain healthy temperatures. MSI goes a different direction with its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OBQ5YM8/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">$1900&nbsp;GS60 Ghost Pro-064</a> (£1246), cramming a Core i7-4710HQ, GeForce GTX 970M, and 128GB SSD into a chassis measuring less than an inch thick. At under two kilograms, you can even carry it around pinched between your thumb and index finger.</p><p> There’s no such thing as a free lunch, though. Without a large enclosure to help dissipate thermal energy, MSI relies on small fans spinning quickly to exhaust heat. As a result, under load, the GS60 Ghost Pro-064 gets distractingly loud. And then there’s the issue of surface temperature. Plugged into the wall, Intel’s Core i7 and Nvidia’s GeForce run at full speed, getting the laptop hot enough that you won’t want it on your lap. This issue isn’t as pronounced under battery power, since those same components aren’t forced to work as hard.</p><p> But don’t expect lengthy gaming sessions on the road, either. A six-cell, 52Wh battery yielded less than 40 minutes in the Unigine Valley loop test&mdash;a compromise I believe enthusiasts are willing to accept in the thin-and-light category. Your reward is stellar performance from AC power. Demanding first-person shooters like Metro Last Light average more than 50 FPS at 1920x1080 under their top quality presets.</p><p> All of those graphical details are reproduced excellently on a 15.6” Samsung PLS panel that offers consistent color at wide viewing angles. Its matte finish filters out reflections well, too. The display’s lid is ultra-thin, but still feels sturdy thanks to a brushed aluminum top cover. You’ll find the same material surrounding a SteelSeries keyboard down below. Fingerprints transfer easily to both surfaces, unfortunately.</p><p> MSI’s use of metal throughout the chassis means you have to press hard on keys to see any flex. In fact, I'm particularly impressed by the GS60’s build quality. The only place I see room for improvement is where the display and bezel meet&mdash;that cover material is thin and prone to bubbling. Sound emanating from the downward-firing speakers leaves much to be desired, but I don’t expect compact notebooks to fill a room. Rely on a good gaming headset to bridge the gap.</p><p> Although I benchmarked a version of the GS60 Ghost Pro-064 with Intel’s Core i7-4720HQ, this particular SKU only appears for sale in the U.S. with a -4710HQ. MSI should straighten that discrepancy out to avoid customer confusion. Aside from a couple of minor quibbles, though,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OBQ5YM8/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">the GS60 Ghost Pro-064</a> is my personal favorite. Small sacrifices in absolute performance are countered with functional nods to mobility. The result is a notebook that strikes an impressive profile and still throws down enthusiast-class benchmark numbers.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5B9imDH_T2GC.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yi4xULq_DK3Z.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Msi Gs60 Ghost Clam"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5"><em>On the next page: Gaming laptop benchmark charts.</em></a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2"></a></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">Page 1: Introduction to gaming laptops </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2">Page 2: The best gaming laptop (17-inch) </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3">Page 3: The Best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4">Page 4: The Best Thin And Light Gaming Laptop</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5">Page 5: Gaming laptop benchmarks<br></a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6">Page 6: Wrapping up, competitors, and future testing</a></p><h2>Gaming laptop benchmarks</h2><p> I ran each gaming laptop through a barrage of tests to gauge performance in GPU and CPU demanding game benchmarks. Check out the charts below for their scores.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ihMuVkh6RXOn.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KmY5Y-LjzZCb.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="3DMark Fire Strike"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YZG-tmM7TieQ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MKMLmrhsCU7j.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Grid 2"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/x_4XlRCpQr2q.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oGs_OTvN4HPG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Metro Last Light"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/t-YuBqdSTMaz.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2ZJrpFWqYMFR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Metro Last Light"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pZVlCH33ROCz.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZSQyBAUIY0tE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tomb Raider" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/qmoxWR_JSyyw.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bM25Pv00LtTi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Thief" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6"><em>On the next page: wrapping up, competitors, and future testing.</em></a></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2"></a></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">Page 1: Introduction to gaming laptops </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2">Page 2: The best gaming laptop (17-inch) </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3">Page 3: The Best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4">Page 4: The Best Thin And Light Gaming Laptop</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5">Page 5: Gaming laptop benchmarks<br></a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6">Page 6: Wrapping up, competitors, and future testing</a></p><h2> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/di-WxIGhQ3Sv.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jqC4l7ZGwa22.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Asus G751 Left Open"></p></h2><h2>Wrapping up: competitors and future testing</h2><p> All of the notebooks submitted for today’s round-up were tested thoroughly to best guide my recommendations. And although you’d think the opposite to be true, poring over the raw data made some of these decisions more difficult.</p><p> For example, Gigabyte sent over the $2500&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SD9KFM8/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">P37X-CF2</a>, which you can configure and order through XoticPC. It straddles a few different segments. At less than an inch thick and weighing 6.38 pounds, you could almost call this a thin-and-light. However, a 17.3” display and flagship-class specs qualify it as a desktop replacement as well. You get the best of both worlds&mdash;brilliant, right?</p><p> Asus has the more solidly-built DTR priced similarly though, while&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LIZQDG6/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">MSI’s GS60</a> is even more compact for $500 less. There’s no doubt that Gigabyte has an exceptional product on its hands, so perhaps I need another recommendation to properly recognize models in between conventional categories.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Falcon Northwest TLX</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zj0pbsSOSnSJ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/48mlwrL-0QZk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tlx Rainbow A-on-trans"></p></div><p> Falcon Northwest submitted another gem in its&nbsp; <a href="http://www.falcon-nw.com/laptops/tlx">TLX</a>, the most stunning-looking notebook I've seen. Based on a 15.6” platform, my sample came with a potent Core i7-4910MQ host processor, GeForce GTX 980M 8GB, 8GB of DDR3L-1600, a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD, and an Intel wireless networking adapter. But killer specs aren’t even this system’s differentiating feature. Rather, each TLX comes standard with the automotive finish of your choice. As you might expect, bespoke hardware is expensive&mdash;this red-candy-over-a-coarse-silver base-colored sample landed just under $4000. That kind of configuration appeals to a specific niche with the means to splurge. If you count yourself lucky enough to consider a TLX, this one-of-a-kind notebook ships with a custom Falcon-branded backpack, an eight-ounce bag of ground coffee, a Falcon mug, a t-shirt, and a mouse pad.</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">MSI GT80 Titan</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/U9T648iDSA6x.JPG" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Z1jgrRQVIWfS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GT80 Titan"></p></div><p> Larger still,&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S5SM9BW/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">MSI’s GT80 Titan SLI-001</a> broke all of our performance records. Why, then, is it not the desktop replacement champion? I’m a staunch believer in buying the right amount of hardware to get a job done. Asus’ G751JY is well-equipped at $2500. The GT80 Titan SLI is overkill for an additional $800. That premium buys you a Core i7-4720HQ CPU, two GeForce GTX 980Ms (each with 8GB of GDDR5) in SLI, 16GB of system memory, two 128GB SSDs in RAID 0, a 1TB hard drive, and a gorgeous 18.4” PLS panel with a native resolution of 1920x1080. Yes, it nearly averages 100 FPS in Metro Last Light’s built-in benchmark at Very High detail. It exceeds 200 FPS in Tomb Raider’s own test at the Ultra preset. But then, on battery power, it can’t even sustain 30 FPS in certain titles. I agree with MSI that gamers aren’t going to use a notebook like this away from a wall socket. In that case, though, why not just build a small mini-ITX-based machine with desktop-class components for less money?</p><p> Indeed, Digital Storm seems to have taken some inspiration from the desktop. Its&nbsp; <a href="http://www.digitalstormonline.com/harker.asp">Harker</a> (Model S:9772) employs a Core i7-4790K “Devil’s Canyon” processor mated to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980M with 8GB of GDDR5. You also get 16GB of memory, a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, a 750GB hard drive, and a 17.3” display. That’s a lot of great hardware for just north of $2500. The Harker is heavy though, nearing nine pounds without its AC adapter. And although it’s covered in a fingerprint-resistant soft-touch material, the Clevo chassis design looks dated. The TN-based Chi Mei FHD panel isn’t my favorite, either.</p><p> And then there’s the&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RVUMRKS/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">MSI GE62 Apache-002</a>. This one bears mention because its predecessor was our former budget gaming recommendation. Priced at $1300 with a Core i7-4720HQ and GeForce GTX 965, I was sure MSI’s updated model would secure the same title. In 2015, though, it’s difficult to bless a storage subsystem lacking a solid-state component. The GE62’s responsiveness suffers due to its reliance on a 1TB mechanical disk. We aren’t fans of the textured track pad either. Following the grain, vertical movement is easy. Navigating side to side is far courser. And any non-linear gestures just feel weird. The deal-breaker was when adhesive holding the bottom bezel to the display panel started separating on its own. We’re all about value, but won’t allow lapses in quality.</p><h3>Future testing</h3><p> Tthe&nbsp; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NWE9RPA/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=gaminglaptops">Asus RoG G751JY-DH71</a> is the best gaming laptop you can buy today. It's the best laptop I've&nbsp;tested, and it's received universally positive reviews elsewhere. Likewise, we're confident the other two laptops listed in this guide are great mobile gaming rigs.</p><p> Of course, I'm only scratching the surface of this year’s newest gaming systems. Alienware is gearing up to send a system in, and I'm working on getting some Lenovo hardware as well. If you’d like to see us review a specific model or add a category,&nbsp;leave a comment or shoot us an email with what you'd like to see. As promised, we'll be checking out budget laptops to find the best cheap portable gaming notebook around. Look for more standalone laptop reviews, and updates to this guide, in the next few months.</p><p> <em>A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to stores like Amazon. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which helps support our work evaluating PC components.</em></p><hr id="horizontalrule"> <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2"></a></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/">Page 1: Introduction to gaming laptops </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-2">Page 2: The best gaming laptop (17-inch) </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-3">Page 3: The Best 15-inch desktop replacement gaming laptop </a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-4">Page 4: The Best Thin And Light Gaming Laptop</a><br><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-5">Page 5: Gaming laptop benchmarks<br></a><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gaming-laptops-1/#page-6">Page 6: Wrapping up, competitors, and future testing</a></p> Blitzkrieg 3 ditches premium accounts for "pay once" pricinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/blitzkrieg-3-ditches-premium-accounts-for-pay-once-pricing/Blitzkrieg 3 will have no microtransactions or in-game currency.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:17:30 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/blitzkrieg-3-ditches-premium-accounts-for-pay-once-pricing/Blitzkrieg 3NewsNivalRTS <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SXYByz1AmuU?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> One of the more exciting innovations in videogames is a&nbsp;radical new "pay once and play" model, recently <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/31471966">popularized by Apple</a>, in which consumers hand over a single sum of money up front and then enjoy full access to a game in perpetuity. It will probably never catch on. But the latest developer hoping the model does take off is&nbsp;Nival, which announced today that it has removed the "premium account" system previously announced for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/blitzkrieg-3/">Blitzkrieg 3</a>.</p><p> "The pendulum is swinging once again when it comes to how consumers want to pay for their games. The market is shifting back towards a cleaner, simpler and more transparent model of one-time payments," Nival CEO Sergey Orlovsky said in a statement. "This trend inspired us to return to the classic distribution model of the series, thus honoring the series’ traditions."</p><p> Along with dropping premium accounts, Nival said there will be no&nbsp;microtransactions or in-game currency of any sort. Additional campaigns will be offered as conventional DLC, however.</p><p>Presenting the idea of "pay once and play" as an innovation is a joke, obviously, although there are times when it might not seem that way. But in this case, clarification on&nbsp;the pricing model was needed: In November, Orlovsky suggested Blitzkrieg 3 would feature some free-to-play elements, describing it very vaguely as having "paid single-player campaigns with free multiplayer, where you can purchase individual missions or an optional subscription via a premium account for all single-player missions."</p><p> Blitzkrieg 3 is currently undergoing <a href="https://account.blitzkrieg.com/en/preorder">closed alpha testing</a> and is expected to launch later this year.</p> FCC approves net neutrality, everyone rejoiceshttp://www.pcgamer.com/fcc-approves-net-neutrality-everyone-rejoices/The FCC votes 3-2 in support of stricter net neutrality regulations.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fcc-approves-net-neutrality-everyone-rejoices/HardwareNet neutralityNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5f5-fETARMyF.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bovc3rgxufR7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Save The Internet"></p><p><em>Photo via Flickr user Joseph Gruber</em></p><p>In a groundbreaking decision today, the Federal Communications Commission&nbsp;<a href="http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-votes-for-net-neutrality-a-ban-on-paid-fast-lanes-and-title-ii/">officially approved net neutrality</a>, the policy that will ensure the future of the open Internet. </p><p>The policy will enact strict regulations on ISPs&mdash;the companies that connect people to the Internet&mdash;making it so they are unable to give preferential treatment to certain content providers. Without net neutrality, for example, Netflix or Hulu could pay Comcast to grant their users faster access. </p><p>"No one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the Internet," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said just before the vote. “This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech!"</p><p>The regulation reclassifies&nbsp;the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, bringing it&nbsp;more in-line with traditional utilities like power and water. The vote was passed 3-2, along party lines, at today's FFC meeting. The new policy will ban blocking, throttling, and paid-prioritization fast lanes. The new open Internet rules will also be fully applicable to mobile.</p><p>The dissenting votes came from Republicans Michael O'Rielly and Ajut Pai, who both said that the FCC was overstepping its authority and interfering with an open free market by enacting such regulation. </p><p>"This is a victory for free speech, plain and simple," said the ACLU's legislative counsel Gabe Rottman, in response to the news. "Americans use the internet not just to work and play, but to discuss politics and learn about the world around them. The FCC has a critical role to play in protecting citizens' ability to see what they want and say what they want online, without interference."</p><p><a href="http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet">You can read the entirety of the FCC's policy here.</a></p> H1Z1 diary, part 1: Neighborhood watchhttp://www.pcgamer.com/h1z1-diary-part-1-neighborhood-watch/Defending a town and building a base in the zombie apocalypse.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/h1z1-diary-part-1-neighborhood-watch/Daybreak Game CompanyDiaryH1Z1Survival Data-mined Hearthstone patch hints at possible Blackrock Mountain expansionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/data-mined-hearthstone-patch-hints-at-possible-blackrock-mountain-expansion/A patch appeared on the Blizzard download servers this morning that might contain clues to next week's announcement.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:35:56 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/data-mined-hearthstone-patch-hints-at-possible-blackrock-mountain-expansion/BlizzardCard GameHearthstoneNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TMyWNpRgRhG0.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y7YOlnkEG88H.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Molten Core"></p><p>We are approaching some sort of spoiler event horizon where it’s impossible to keep anything a surprise. Blizzard may have <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pax-east-schedule-teases-big-things-from-blizzard/">already teased</a> an announcement at its PAX East panel next week but, thanks to data-miners at <a href="http://www.hearthhead.com/news=246481/blackrock-mountain-molten-core-and-ragnaros-achievements-and-card-backs-revealed">Hearthhead</a> and <a href="http://www.hearthpwn.com/news/792-hearthstone-patch-8036-blackrock-mountain-three">HearthPwn</a>, the community seems to be a step ahead. A new Hearthstone patch hit the servers this morning&mdash;but isn’t live yet&mdash;which was quickly data-mined for info.</p><p>It contained details of three new card backs, the names of which, and the requirements for unlocking them, hint at more. The card backs are called Molten Core, Ragnaros, and Golden Celebration, and while the Ragnaros card back is listed as being rewarded through ranked play as per usual, the other two have more unique requirements. </p><p>The Golden Celebration card back’s meaning is cryptic, but World of Warcraft&nbsp;fans will know that Molten Core is a raid in the Blackrock Mountain zone and home to two bosses that are already Hearthstone cards, Baron Geddon and Ragnaros the Firelord. The requirement for receiving the Molten Core card back has a note saying “purchase brm presale.” Although nothing’s confirmed, Molten Core’s WoW roots would likely mean “brm” is shorthand from Blackrock Mountain, and could suggest a Blackrock Mountain themed update.</p><p>With some sort of PAX East announcement due next Friday, it’s worth noting that Hearthstone’s previous adventure mode, the Curse of Naxxramas, was also based on a World of Warcraft raid, and revealed at the same event last year. Could we be&nbsp;about to get a second adventure mode, this time centred on Blackrock Mountain? Our Magic 8-Ball says ‘maybe’. We’ve reached out to Blizzard for comment.&nbsp;</p> If you like Fallout 3 you'll also like...http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-fallout-3-youll-also-like/...these movies, books and more thatshare the same irradiated,post-apocalyptic mindset.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:23:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/if-you-like-fallout-3-youll-also-like/BethesdaFallout 3If you likeRPGSurvival <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/slDH_2QBSxyt.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GlvhUZEpwTCH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fallout 3 Capitol"></p><p> Fallout 3’s bleak opening doesn’t give much away in terms of the post-apocalyptic world waiting for you outside Vault 101’s monolithic doors, but its vision of a ruined U.S. capitol remains one the most vividly-imagined RPG playgrounds of the what-might-have-been. We find a once great city that’s witnessed its power and glory literally vaporized, leaving behind sky, sand and sewers. When I think about Fallout 3, I’m immediately transported to a realm of alternate future histories, desperate urban decay, and unpredictable technology. It’s my kind of town.</p><p> And yet Fallout 3 also gets better each time I return, because I arrive from a new, often unexpected, direction. Games like Fallout 3&mdash;by which I mean, <em>the best games</em>&mdash;both draw on and feedback into other works of pop culture. Whenever I come across another brilliantly realized nuclear dystopia, I find myself itching to head back to Bethseda’s irradiated sandbox with a fresh set of eyes. In this, the first of our new ‘If you love...’ series, I’m going to pick out great books, movies and more which share some of Fallout 3’s mutated DNA, which I think you’ll enjoy and might inspire you to revisit the game.</p><h4>Wool, by Hugh Howey</h4> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Wool</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Cpco7ekeQDKi.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L1hNQho3HzYf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wool" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> </div><p> Hugh Howey’s Wool is great at modelling the psychological chaos of life after an apocalypse. Part one of the sprawling <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silo_(series)">Silo series</a> begins with the mystery of confinement inside an underground community, where history and memory are uncertain and dangerous concepts. Dissent is illegal and punished in the harshest way imaginable for such an insular society&mdash;you get a one-way ticket to the surface.</p><p> Book one of Wool struck me as especially poignant in the way it played with time and intimacy between partners&mdash;in this case a man and his wife. The way in which honesty, tradition, and paranoia converge to force difficult decisions also reminds me of Fallout 3’s world, where every choice seems to be a different shade of grey. As in Fallout, the “right” decisions in Wool aren’t always easy because the characters’ view of themselves&mdash;and the world they inhabit&mdash;isn’t clear at all.</p><p> If you want to get a taste of it, part one of Wool is available as a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wool-Part-One-Silo-Book-ebook/dp/B005FC52L0/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1424912367&amp;sr=1-3&amp;keywords=wool+hugh+howey">free ebook</a>, readable on a Kindle device or a Kindle app in your browser. For those of you who want to dive right into act one of the Silo series, the complete, five-book Wool collection is also compiled in a handy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wool-Omnibus-Silo-Hugh-Howey-ebook/dp/B0071XO8RA/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1424912367&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=wool+hugh+howey">omnibus edition</a>.</p><h4>Yves Marchand &amp; Romain Meffre: The Ruins of Detroit</h4><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tl7v5dYYF0Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Even if we find ourselves revisiting the atomic wasteland of Fallout 3’s 2277 Washington D.C. again and again, the 21st century has a few wastelands of its own to explore. In the case of another iconic American city, Detroit, its current devastation has less to do with radiation and more to do with a particular brand of economic warfare. Detroit’s struggles have been <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/magazine/how-detroit-became-the-world-capital-of-staring-at-abandoned-old-buildings.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">chronicled </a>by many artists and journalists in recent years, but few have captured the empty spaces of Motor City quite like the photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.</p><p> I’ve embedded a video slideshow of some of their work above compiled by YouTube user Erik Collett. It’s similar to photography which is also <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2011/jan/02/photography-detroit">featured here</a> at The Guardian website. The photographers’ work is strangely reminiscent of another great piece I came across recently, namely science writer George Johnson’s <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/nuclear-tourism/johnson-text">story on nuclear tourism</a> inside the irradiated zone surrounding Chernobyl. <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2014/09/the_stalkers_inside_the_youth_subculture_that_explores_chernobyl_s_dead.single.html">Stalkers</a> are real, and for a price, they’re happy to arrange tours of neighboring <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/nuclear-tourism/ludwig-photography">Pripyat</a>. Just don’t eat the mushrooms.</p><p> A hardbound edition of Marchand and Meffre’s complete look at Detroit’s urban decay is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/3869300426/ref=cm_sw_su_dp">available here</a>.</p><h4>Tag 26, director and writer Andreas Samland</h4><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uvW6lF-T028" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Andreas Samland’s 2003 <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0350182/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_2">short film</a> holds nothing back. Tag 26 (Day 26) deals directly with the topic of survival in a way that feels both unique and familiar. It starts with a simple premise&mdash;two wanderers need fuel for their vehicle. But what that fuel will ultimately cost them speaks to the horror built into the post-apocalyptic genre. What would you do in their place?</p><p> In a 2003 interview, the director <a href="http://www.makingthefilm.com/interview20.html">reveals </a>that he drew inspiration from Andrei Tarkovsky’s <a href="http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/watch-andrei-tarkovskys-mind-bending-masterpiece-stalker-free-online.html">Stalker</a> and says he was able to complete the film for just 7,000 euros. Hat tip to Luke “shinkicker” Hinds for the original tip on this brilliant film.</p><h4>Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams</h4> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Wastelands</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cVPclx3TQmqD.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KUrvVMURn6EZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Wastelands" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> </div><p> By now a classic example of the renewed focus on anthologies in science fiction and fantasy publishing since the turn of the millenium, editor John Joseph Adams’s <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wastelands-John-Joseph-Adams-ebook/dp/B006NZBG0E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_6?ie=UTF8&amp;refRID=1Y1RVT5QA2CWJAEN98M6">2008 collection</a> is a fantastic introduction to post-apocalyptic writing over the last four decades. It’s full of dystopian takes on dark passages, empty towns, and religious salvation among the ruins. I call this the Fallout 3 trifecta. And since every entry in the collection is a standalone story you can experience in one sitting, it’s perfect for those moments when we want to take a trip to the end of the world, but maybe not stay there too long.</p><p>Wastelands includes contributions by Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, and Orson Scott Card, among many others. And with the spectacular success of Martin’s fantasy writing, it’s easy to forget how masterful a stylist he is in other genres. His take on the post-apocalyptic in “Dark, Dark, Were the Tunnels” is no exception. In it, a scout named Greel encounters something he’s never seen before in all his subterranean wanderings&mdash;a tunnel filled with light.</p><p>Another favorite of mine is Elizabeth Bear’s “And the Deep Blue Sea.” We follow a messenger as she attempts a run from Phoenix to Sacramento in eight hours through an American West devastated by nuclear war. But fuel is scarce and radiation zones are everywhere.</p><p>Stephen King offers an unusual take&nbsp;on the apocalypse in “The End of the Whole Mess,” which&nbsp;opens the collection. It introduces us to a writer documenting the last hours of his life. For reasons that will&nbsp;become clear,&nbsp;as the world disintegrates, so does his language.&nbsp;</p><p>While the book contains reprints of previously published stories, the pacing and tone that Adams achieves through his selection makes for a great volume. Wastelands also includes a bibliography of post-apocalyptic literature for suggested further reading. And if that doesn’t satisfy your dystopian thirst, a second collection from Adams, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wastelands-2-More-Stories-Apocalypse-ebook/dp/B00MSQUTH8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1424913670&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=wastelands+2">Wastelands 2</a>, released this month.&nbsp;</p><h4>Tears of Steel, director and writer Ian Hubert</h4><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OHOpb2fS-cM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> One of my favorite aspects of Fallout 3 is its embrace of unreliable, often murderous technology. Robots, when sufficiently convinced through proper terminal hacking, can be helpful allies against bug infestations and unpleasant raiders. Or they <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047033/">might kill you</a>. In Tears of Steel, a group of scientists attempt a special kind of hack in order to save themselves in a future full of machines gone mad. The short film, embedded above, is a product of the <a href="https://mango.blender.org/about/">Blender Institute</a> and was filmed in the Netherlands.</p><p><em> Let us know in the comments what your favorite artistic Fallout 3 bedfellows are, and also help us pick the next game for the “If you like&hellip;” treatment.</em></p> Ubisoft unveils Far Cry 4: Valley of the Yetishttp://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-unveils-far-cry-4-valley-of-the-yetis/The next piece of the Far Cry 4 DLC puzzle will arrive in March. Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:04:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-unveils-far-cry-4-valley-of-the-yetis/Far Cry 4FPSNewsUbisoft <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A8jhSNqgggk?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> Ajay Ghale just can't catch a break. First, the intrepid <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/far-cry-4/">Far Cry 4</a> hero ends up stranded when his helicopter crashes in the Himalayas. Then he manages to annoy a mysterious and not-averse-to-violence cult. And in case that's not bad enough, it turns out that he's actually stuck in the Valley of the Yetis, and you know what that means: That's right, the clue was in the title. Yetis.</p><p> The one thing ol' Ajay has going for him is that he's handy with a gat, and based on this trailer, he'll be putting lots of them to use in&nbsp;more or less the same manner&nbsp;he did in the original Far Cry 4: Going to exciting new places, meeting interesting people, and filling them full of lead. Hey, a guy's gotta go with what he knows. Or "guys," as the case may be, as Valley of the Yetis will support both single-player and co-op&nbsp;mayhem.</p><p> Valley of the Yetis is included as part of the Far Cry 4 season pass, and will also be available for purchase separately. It comes out on March 10.</p> Nvidia announces Pro/Am Hearthstone Tournament with $25k prize poolhttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-proam-hearthstone-tournament-with-25k-prize-pool/The Nvidia Hearthstone Pro/Am is offering a $25,000 prize pool.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:18:45 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-announces-proam-hearthstone-tournament-with-25k-prize-pool/BlizzardCard GameE-sportsHearthstoneNewsNvidia <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NDHD4gWLRhGI.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pjiwR3w0ruaI.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="&quot;That's a nice Ysera you've got there. Be a shame if something happened to it&hellip;&quot;" class=""> <figcaption>"That's a nice Ysera you've got there. Be a shame if something happened to it&hellip;"</figcaption></figure><p>Nvidia is holding its very own Pro/Am <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone/">Hearthstone</a> tournament, which will run over an eight-week period from the end of March to the middle of May. There's a total prize pool of $25,000 up for grabs, and the top players will earn qualification points for the 2015 <a href="http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/17776013/join-us-for-the-2015-hearthstone-world-championship-1-30-2015">Hearthstone World Championship</a>.</p><p>The tournament will be split into two separate divisions, one for pro players and one for amateurs. The Professional Division will see 16 invited players facing off in round-robin play, two matches per week, in a single, global conference that will determine playoff seeding. Players in the Amateur Division will play one match per week in a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss-system_tournament">Swiss-style</a> format across three regional conferences, with the top 16 players advancing to the playoffs as well.</p><p>The first place winner will take home $10,000 and 100 World Championship qualification points. Second place will earn $5000 and 50 points, third and fourth will earn $1500 and an indeterminate number of points, fifth to eighth will receive $750 and points, and ninth to 16th will get $500 but no points. On top of that, all players who make it into the playoffs will be given an <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-shield-tablet-review/">Nvidia Shield</a> tablet.</p><p>Registration for the Nvidia Hearthstone Pro/Am is open now and will remain so until March 19. Tournament play will begin on March 26 and run until May 14, while the global grand finale takes place over May 30-31. Rules, signup links, and other such details may be found at Nvidia's <a href="https://esports.geforce.com/event/hearthstone-25k/">GeForce E-Sports page</a>.</p> Three Lane Highway: make war, not hatshttp://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-make-war-not-hats/There are no shortcuts in Dota, and chasing instant gratification will only get in your way.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:17:57 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-make-war-not-hats/Dota 2MOBAThree Lane HighwayValve <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EtEUpCC7RBqC.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/L6bHKjkOv-Fv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Donkey"></p><p> <em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">Three Lane Highway</a> is Chris' weekly column about Dota 2 and related games.</em></p><p> One of the best things I read about Dota 2 this week was <a href="http://www.joindota.com/en/news/23741-should-valve-separate-items-and-tickets">this JoinDota article</a> about the impact of cosmetic item bundles on the competitive scene. Their evidence is compelling, and it's hard to read through the entire thing without wanting Valve to rethink the way that tournament tickets are marketed and sold.</p><p> The article both rests upon and reveals the fact that players <em>really</em>&nbsp;covet cosmetic items. That's not a groundbreaking observation by any stretch, but it's one of those things that gets weirder the more you think about it. I mean, I collect Dota items and I'm not even entirely sure why. I am guilty of buying tournament tickets for the cosmetics first and the tournament itself second.</p><p> Players desire this stuff to the point where that desire eclipses the game it supports. I gestured at this <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway-the-problem-with-year-beast-isnt-the-cost-its-the-reward/">last week</a>&mdash;Dota events traditionally stumble because players will do literally anything, even if it isn't fun, to get a shot at free stuff&mdash;even if it makes them <em>less likely to continue playing the game those items are for</em>. I sometimes wonder if we're guilty, generally, of just assuming that 'hats are popular' without interrogating why&mdash;of missing a broader point about the game itself because the mania that surrounds cosmetic items has become a running joke.</p><p> A pet theory: collecting cosmetic items provides everything that traditional Dota 2 does not. They allow you to make clear, visible progress in a way that is quick&nbsp;and easily broadcast to other players. You can work on it entirely alone, and the factors that might mitigate your progress&mdash;money, time, luck&mdash;are all nontheless things that <em>you</em> can control. The ineptitude of four other people does affect your chances of getting items unless there's an event on, and the way the community behaves during events backs up what I'm saying.</p><p> (This doesn't mean that collecting items is always compensatory&mdash;it's perfectly reasonable to&nbsp;covet something because you, you know, like it. This is more about figuring out why collection gets taken so seriously, how it ends up valued above and beyond aspects of the game that, if pressed, most players would agree are more 'important'.)</p><p> In this sense, the negative influence of cosmetics on e-sports is symptomatic of a broader malaise experienced by Dota players: the drive to derive instant gratification from a game where almost everything you aspire to do or be takes significant time and effort. Watching a tournament requires engagement, investment of energy, learning, and so on. Collecting hats requires clicking on the hats.</p><p> The only thing that makes you better at Dota is playing more Dota. The best way to show your commitment to e-sports is to watch more e-sports. These are easy notions to forget, or at least it's easy to be distracted from them. It's so tempting to look for shortcuts to that feeling of progression that you may not even realise that you're doing it&mdash;at least, that's been my experience of this hobby over the last couple of years.</p><p> I had this fact hammered home late last week. I'd spent a week teaching four total newcomers to play Dota, colleagues from PCG's UK office with less than ten games played between them. We faced off against Rock Paper Shotgun's more experienced lineup&mdash;two and a half experienced players, two and a half total newcomers (one had played the game years ago for a hundred hours, but not returned since.)</p><p> I'd theorised that it was possible to break Dota down into general, easily-remembered principles that would ultimately give my wizard-babies the edge even if they had no idea what the majority of heroes did, how the majority of items worked, or even how their roles functioned. I attempted to explain what a gold and experience advantage looked like, what staying safe looked like, what map control was and how you got it&mdash;and I think I succeeded, to a limited extent.</p><p> What I realised, though, as we lost that game, was just how much Dota has passed into the lower, reactive levels of my brain. As I attempted to formulate a simplified <em>conscious</em> approach to Dota, I remained ignorant of just how much I'd picked up simply by playing a lot of the game for a long time. I can see it, now, in every screenshot of that match. A level 4 Sniper pushing a tower right next to an incoming TP belonging to a level 7 Puck who would inevitably kill him. I realised how natural it was for a new player to think nothing of another glowing effect among so many glowing effects; I realised how many different experiences contribute to me seeing that image in such a powerfully divergent way. Where the Sniper sees nothing wrong, I see imminent disaster: and I see it because I've lived it, in thousands of different ways, over the course of thousands of hours.</p><p> As our ancient exploded, I realised that there's no shortcut to that kind of experience&mdash;no way for me to simply beam it into the heads of my newbies with a couple of simple instructions. I realised, also, that there was no way I was going to get better through anything other than more experience. I had been on a losing streak, otherwise, from the finals of the Rektreational industry tournament (3-2, damn!) to my recent return to solo ranked. And all of it comes back to the same thing: hours invested, energy committed, losses accepted, lessons learned. It is so, so tempting to go back to 'proving' myself with a hat collection, to amass the badges and stack up the tournament ticket stubs and get the cosmetics that say <em>this guy cares</em>. But that is, I think, a placebo. It's a behaviour pattern that resembles nothing less than a mid-life crisis: the attempt to spend your way out of some broader sense of inadequacy.</p><p> It's actually kind of a relief to arrive at that understanding. It takes the pressure off. You really probably don't need every item set that comes out. You probably don't even need to worry about your MMR, or your winrate, or your all-time records. You probably just need to play more, and that is the least demanding thing Dota ever asks of you.</p><p> <em>To read more Three Lane Highway, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/three-lane-highway/">click here</a>.</em></p> Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is an RPG about masks and magichttp://www.pcgamer.com/masquerada-songs-and-shadows-is-an-rpg-about-masks-and-magic/2.5D isometric RPG is inspired by The Banner Saga and Baldur's Gate.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:25:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/masquerada-songs-and-shadows-is-an-rpg-about-masks-and-magic/Masquerada: Songs and ShadowsNewsRPG <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0_6OLn6AQUGF.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TQmcpPKp7We6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Masquerada"></p><p> Here's an RPG with an inspiration list that includes Dragon Age and Baldur's Gate. No pressure there, then.</p><p> It's called Masquerada: Songs and Shadows, and it's a beautiful looking thing. Perhaps more pertinently for RPG fans, it's an isometric-style RPG that&nbsp;includes real-time "pause-for-tactics" combat.</p><p> Hark, a trailer.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fpapxyXs3lU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> "Set in the Venetian-inspired fantasy city of Ombre where rare masks are the key to casting magic, Masquerada is dressed in the colours and style of French comic books and vivid games like Bastion," explains the description. "Players follow the Inspettore, Cicero Gavar as he returns from exile to solve a kidnapping that will shake up the foundations of the city."</p><p> The game isn't due out until early 2016, but Pax East 2015&nbsp;attendees will be able to check out a demo on the show's floor.</p><p> <em>[NB: Cassandra Khaw, who is&nbsp;an&nbsp;occasional&nbsp;contributor to PC Gamer, also&nbsp;works for Masquerada's publisher Ysbryd Games.]</em></p> Supernova hands-on: Bandai Namco’s sci-fi MOBAhttp://www.pcgamer.com/supernova-hands-on-bandai-namcos-sci-fi-moba/Bandai Namco's new game, Supernova, aims to bring macro to the MOBA world and we got chance to play it.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/supernova-hands-on-bandai-namcos-sci-fi-moba/Bandai NamcoHands OnMOBAPreviewsPrimal Game StudioRTSSupernova <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZuD6URImaYM" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p>Who wants another free-to-play MOBA? Everyone? You all raised your hands so fast I didn’t even see them! Well then you’ll all be thrilled to hear that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/bandai-namco/" target="_blank">Bandai Namco</a> has announced its newest game, Supernova, a space-themed free-to-play MOBA which aims to bring the genre closer to its RTS roots. Everything you’ve come to expect from the MOBA genre is here&mdash;a 5v5 match on a three-laned map with minions automatically pushing down towers while you control a stronger hero, in this case called a commander, who can level up through combat. Supernova diverges from the well-established formula by allowing you to customize your minion waves. </p><p>When I sat down to play Supernova at an event in San Francisco earlier this week, I was initially confused by developer Primal Game Studio’s pitch that it combines the RTS and MOBA genres. Given its origin in Warcraft 3, isn’t a MOBA already an RTS? After playing, however, I realized that Primal wants to bring the macro and economy aspects of an RTS to the traditional lane-pushing of a MOBA. Amid the last-hitting and cooldown tracking, each player is also in charge of a tech tree and unit production that determines the composition of their minion waves. Additionally, each time you level your commander, you earn points toward improving individual stats along with talent points for further customization&mdash;a system that takes the place of an item shop. Apart from these key differences, Supernova pretty much felt like business as usual. </p><p>Outside of a match, Supernova tells the story of two warring factions: the “Humans” and the “Cyborgs.” Based on the commanders that represent each faction, they might be more accurately called the “People in Robot Suits” and the “Aliens with Robot Parts” but I guess that’s a bit long-winded. The classic bells and whistles of the free-to-play business model are all here; leveling your account unlocks new faction abilities (comparable to League of Legends’ summoner spells) and army units. Your commanders can also be outfitted with craftable accessories&mdash;see League of Legends’ rune system. Cosmetic skins will be available for purchase with real money, but Primal assured us that Supernova wouldn’t put power up for sale.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/VEG9Ym8vRXW7.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SfwqTTUrzcZe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova 1"></p><p>It’s both ridiculous and wonderful that after 13 years I can still track a game’s influence to Warcraft 3, but the MOBA genre has kept its legacy alive. Where&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2/" target="_blank">Dota 2</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/" target="_blank">League of Legends</a> were based on the famous Defense of the Ancients custom game, Supernova feels more comparable to another custom game from that era, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO0FFLXxKpE" target="_blank">Footman vs Grunts</a>. The army management provides an extra level of strategic depth that I could see a hardcore community rally around, but that’s only if the majority of players aren’t scared off by just how deep that hole goes. I found myself completely overwhelmed by the amount of stat screens, resource and point types, and even number of pre-game choices.</p><p>If people are criticizing&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/heroes-of-the-storm/" target="_blank">Heroes of the Storm</a> for being MOBA-lite, then Supernova is the opposite end of the spectrum. The skill and strategy cap are undoubtedly high&mdash;even in my short time playing my mind raced with synergy ideas and how a team could take advantage of the unique army system&mdash;but that high cap comes at a high cost. The cost in this case is the steepest learning curve of any MOBA I’ve ever played. To its credit, Supernova allows you to let certain functions like leveling and army building be handled automatically, but that felt like a tacked-on move to make it more accessible to a casual market where it otherwise may not appeal.</p><p>Ultimately Supernova is going to live or die by the community that rallies around it. While its success as an e-sport seems unlikely&mdash;given that spectators usually like to understand what's going on in the game without being experts themselves&mdash;it could definitely be home to a high level of competitive play. As to be expected from Bandai Namco, it featured some top-notch production quality with good voice acting, animations, and character concepts. Its space theme is a&nbsp;refreshing change of pace in a fantasy dominated genre, but it’s all going to come down to Supernova reaching the right audience.</p><p>Supernova has been in development for three years and is already accepting signups for its closed alpha on its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supernovagame.com/" target="_blank">official site</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ajgY0d4oR1Sc.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bJzGljooYvYX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova 5"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vhAvWrkYSg2h.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NfzQzIoZPQAH.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova 6"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k5JzNwDVQcaz.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_5hKBzPJyCL6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova 2"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/n3bcszZfRD66.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/G3mioJgnQTsa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova 8"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AXgPrOfCT7eL.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NeUG1a4IFPy0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Supernova 10"></p> World of Warcraft – Show us your selfieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-show-us-your-selfies/Send usyour Azeroth snaps and we'll feature our favourites.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:10:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-show-us-your-selfies/BlizzardMMOWorld of Warcraft <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NkWnnTRoRu2U.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s7mgSxQajuTk.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="458143"></p><p> World of Warcraft's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/world-of-warcraft-61-will-release-next-week/" target="_blank">6.1 patch</a> is out in the wild, and that means one thing: selfies. Maybe you love them, maybe you hate them, or&nbsp;maybe you're irritated by the way Millenials take a familiar concept&nbsp;(ie. taking a picture of your face) and re-brand it in a way that implies that only <em>now </em>is it an acceptable thing to do. I&nbsp;don't know.</p><p> What I do know is that World of Warcraft now&nbsp;has a S.E.L.F.I.E. camera that lets people take pictures of their characters&mdash;our readers included. And so, we'd like to see your Azerothians.</p><p> We did this late last year with Dragon Age: Inquisition, and received a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/your-best-dragon-age-inquisitors/" target="_blank">great selection</a> of our community's Inquisitors. Naturally, World of Warcraft has a less flexible character creator, but that's not the only consideration. What armour are they wearing? Where are they standing? What expression are they pulling? All tell a story about who that person is.</p><p> For details of how to get and use the camera,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wowhead.com/guide=2963/s-e-l-f-i-e-cameras-and-the-field-photographer-achievement" target="_blank">head here</a>. To submit your shot, add an&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/">Imgur</a> link in a comment below, or&nbsp;<a href="mailto:phil.savage@futurenet.com?subject=WoW, a selfie!">email me</a>. Where possible, give us some details about your character, like their&nbsp;name, personality, achievements&mdash;that sort of thing.&nbsp;We'll pick out our favourites in a week's time.</p><p> [Image source:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wowhead.com/user=zerclinss#screenshots" target="_blank">zerclinss</a>]</p> Guild Wars 2 getting first-person camera, FOV sliderhttp://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-getting-first-person-camera-fov-slider/Camera-focused update will give players a new view of Tyria.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:30:58 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/guild-wars-2-getting-first-person-camera-fov-slider/ArenaNetGuild Wars 2MMONews <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Zd99ePSHTvy1.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6EmlDR4oLxfq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Extremely expensive first-person concept mock-up." class=""><figcaption>Extremely expensive first-person concept mock-up.</figcaption></figure><p> Guild Wars 2's Tyria is a pretty ol'&nbsp;place. Even the gross, rotting corpse area has fetching&nbsp;coral formations infecting its ruined temples and buildings. Maybe you'd like to take pictures of that place? Maybe you'd like those pictures to not feature a lumbering lion/cat thing, or hulking Norseman? Maybe you should wait until 10 March, as a first-person camera option is being added into the game.</p><p> First-person is just one of a number of camera tweaks planned for the update. While in first-person,&nbsp;players will still be able to run about, mess up a jumping puzzle, zerg through WvW and get insta-killed by those dick Lurchers in the Silverwastes&mdash;all the stuff they&nbsp;normally do. The only difference is their characters&nbsp;won't be on screen.</p><p> The default camera is also being changed to focus on a player's head. That means that, whether you're playing Norn or Asura, your character will take up around the same amount of screen space.</p><p> Also: a position slider will let players tweak the horizontal and vertical position of the camera, and a field-of-view slider is being added.</p> Fable Legends will be free-to-playhttp://www.pcgamer.com/fable-legends-will-be-free-to-play/Lionhead's four-versus-one RPG won't cost you a penny (for it's basic features, at least).Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:52:44 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/fable-legends-will-be-free-to-play/Fable LegendsLionheadNewsRPG 42 AI civilizations are fighting it out inside Civ 5http://www.pcgamer.com/42-ai-civilizations-are-fighting-it-out-in-civ-5/Civilization subreddit sets up AIBattle Royale.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:47:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/42-ai-civilizations-are-fighting-it-out-in-civ-5/FiraxisNewsSid Meier's Civilization VStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EH5Qzg71QuO6.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aU2t2Z4-hb9N.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CivAIs"></p><p>You would think 42 AI civilizations fighting for world domination would be hard to ignore, and yet it's been going on for almost a week and I'm only just now posting about it. Fortunately for all humankind, those AI nations are trapped inside the game Civilization V.</p><p>The game&nbsp;is brought to&nbsp;us courtesy of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/civ/">Reddit's r/Civ community</a>&mdash;specifically the user "TPangolin", who has organised what they're calling the Battle Royale. An excerpt:</p><p><em>"</em><em>Speaking of failed states, the Polish war machine looks to be more than happy to grind what is left of the Nazis into the ground whenever possible. Hence why they've focused such a large force to force Neuss into an Anschluss with the greater Polish Empire."</em></p><p>The battle is being catalogued via photo diary. Currently there are five parts, taking us through to turn 142. You can find the&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/a/MpTQS#0" target="_blank">first part here</a>, and follow the rest over at the Battle Royale's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/civbattleroyale/comments/2wkuaq/battle_royale_frequently_asked_questions/" target="_blank">official event thread</a>. Alternatively, you can follow along via&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/tpangolin" target="_blank">TPangolin's Twitch channel</a>. If you'd like to see the list of mods being used, you'll find a Steam Workshop collection&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com//workshop/filedetails/?id=394555407" target="_blank">right here</a>.</p> The secret history of LucasArtshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-secret-history-of-lucasarts/George Lucas’s studio has built some of the best PC games in existence. But what of the ones they never finished?Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:50:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-secret-history-of-lucasarts/AdventureDay of the TentacleFull ThrottleGrim FandangoLucasArtsMonkey IslandStar Wars: X-Wing <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vpQpnYdSQwi-.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lsB3Ym4GldyU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 1" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> <em>By Rick Lane.</em></p><p> Monkey Island, X-Wing, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango are each worthy of a chapter in the virtual history books. But for every game that LucasArts has released, there were another two or three that never made it onto the shelves. Some of these unfinished works were near-complete productions that almost made it out of the door. Others only ever existed as a few pages of concept outlines, the errant ideas of creative minds. Together, they form a secret history of the studio that, until now, has never been revealed in its entirety.</p><p> “When you’re in the moment, you may not realise that what you’re doing has historical value,” says Aric Wilmunder, co-creator of LucasArts’ much-venerated SCUMM engine. Employed at LucasArts from 1984 to 2001, Wilmunder was present during the studio’s golden years. More importantly, he was aware of it, and from time to time would bring home documents and designs in order to safeguard them. “When I saw something, I’d say, ‘God, some day, somebody’s gonna wish we had a copy of that.’”</p><p> Over the course of his time there, Wilmunder built up a small archive that charts virtually every LucasArts development during its first two decades in existence. Some items he collected are related to the studio’s best-known games, including the original design binder for Maniac Mansion, “which I don’t think Ron [Gilbert, the game’s co-creator] has seen in 20 years!” Wilmunder laughs. Many more, at a ratio of approximately three to one, are for games that were either partially built or never produced at all.</p><p> The vast majority of these unfinished or undeveloped games were bounced around between 1985 and 1995, and the diversity of the ideas is remarkable. Some are typically bizarre LucasArts adventures. I Was a Teenage Lobot was an idea that Wilmunder hatched with Gilbert while the two shared an office in 1985&mdash;the year before Maniac Mansion was proposed. The game was to be set on a space station, where the inhabitants discovered that, although creating true AI was impossible, a working robot could be built by lobotomising a person and installing their brain in a metal body. “[Imagine] you find yourself brought in front of a judge and convicted of a crime you didn’t commit,” explains Wilmunder. “And you find yourself&mdash;your brain at least&mdash;inside the body of this robot.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wJHES1CaQJux.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rlrCrrFDxu1s.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 2"></p><p> In Lobot’s story, the robot in question was a shoe-buffing robot&mdash;essentially a shoebox on wheels&mdash;and the plot revolved around the player trying to clear their name before their body&mdash;held elsewhere on the station&mdash;was mulched into dog food. “[The robot] could only say certain things, like, ‘Would you like a shine?’ So your ability to communicate was rather limited, your ability to travel was limited. But you still had this specific time constraint where your goal was to prove your innocence.”</p><p> Other concepts are completely removed from LucasArts’ usual fare. In 1989, a design was pitched called Life in the Balance, a wildlife-management game with a topdown view much like SimCity, which was released in the same year. Wilmunder reads from the document: “Assuming the role of a game warden, the player must manage the wildlife in his section of the preserve, protecting them from various threatening elements.” Game mechanics would have involved employing anti-poaching methods and cooperating with local governments to tackle issues such as overpopulation and pollution. Over the years, several management and simulation games were pitched at LucasArts, including a camping simulator entitled Camper and a TV studio-management game named TV Wasteland.</p><p> Some of the designs were curiously evocative of enormously successful games made decades later. Another project Wilmunder was involved in, proposed in 1990, was Second Genesis, a space-opera game inspired by TV shows like Mission: Impossible and The A-Team. The player took control of an interstellar task agency “ready to tackle any problem a customer may have”. Wilmunder’s rundown of the game’s structure sounds eerily like Mass Effect: “Infiltration, harsh environments, military ships, alien encounters, puzzles, planets breaking up.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/a3HOF5McRsaE.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/64QO_rr7F7tN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 3"></p><p> Meanwhile, an untitled project, simply referred to as ‘XXX’, revolved around the idea of building your own world and then interacting with it. Originally proposed in 1985, the design document pitched the idea by referring to childhood memories of constructing buildings, towns and cities from blocks or Lego, before asking the question, “After building an exceptionally complex world, did you ever wish you could shrink in size and play in it yourself?” In other words, LucasArts bounced around the idea for a Minecraft-style game decades before it became the phenomenon we know today.</p><p> Not all of these unproduced designs had such world-changing potential. A particularly strange example is the 1989 pitch Adventures in the Party Zone. Initially, the design sounds like The Sims, positing “a new kind of game designed to appeal to people who have never played a computer game, without alienating expert gamers”. The player was to assume the role of a host of a sequence of parties, trying to please all the attendees. So far, so innocent. Then things got a little weirder. Said the document, “You will be able to try things in this party, things in this world, that you always wanted to do but never had the nerve.” Examples included telling a high-society wife that her husband is sleeping with the babysitter (haven’t we all been to a party like that?).</p><p> Yet, arguably, the strangest aspect of Party Zone is that the designers had either already enlisted, or planned to enlist, Orson Scott Card (who had worked with LucasArts previously) to flesh out characters and write conversations. “LucasArts is known for the games we built, and we had just as many bad ideas. But three times as many bad ideas got rejected so that we could get to the good ideas,” Wilmunder says. “And it might have been revolutionary.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oeUt3hgJT-eb.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZgPFY0su-Vd-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 4"></p><p> Above all, what these proposals show is the immense creative energy at the studio in those first ten years. And this is just a small portion of what was pitched during that time. Between 1982&mdash;when LucasFilm Games was formed&mdash;and 1992, over 60 game ideas were put together and considered. “It was a very prolific organisation and a very open organisation, where really anybody could sit down and float a concept,” Wilmunder remarks.</p><p> The period between 1992 and 1999 saw LucasArts at the height of its creative power. This was also when it saw its first major failures. Up to this point, games could be put together with relative speed, usually within 12 months. But as the studio’s confidence grew, so did its ambition, and all the while game technology was accelerating rapidly. LucasArts began pushing the limits of what both the SCUMM engine and the adventure-game genre could do, and the result was multiple high-profile projects that either limped out of the door or collapsed before they arrived.</p><p> The first of these was Forge, the proposed sequel to the 1990 musical fantasy game Loom. Loom was a novel, ambitious game that didn’t sell enormously well. Forge was to take its ideas and expand upon them, switching the main character from a wizard to a blacksmith, and running with a more industrial theme. “It was more about the making and breaking of things,” says Dave Grossman, co-creator of Day of the Tentacle. “A bunch of art was done for it; it was all fiery and red and fun. It was in the era of 640[x480] maximum size.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4cHs5xXeSWSF.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2nxDw4mYvpoX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 5"></p><p> Forge was eventually cancelled as a consequence of LucasArts narrowing down its portfolio. “One thing they did at that point was lay off all the producers,” Grossman says, pointing out that the project leaders essentially acted in producer roles anyway. In addition, the studio had multiple ongoing projects at that time, one of which was Day of the Tentacle itself. “We wound up having four different producers over the course of that project,” recalls Grossman. “I believe that was the point at which Forge got shelved.”</p><p> The most significant cancelled game of this period, and possibly of LucasArts’ history, was Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, the proposed sequel to ...the Fate of Atlantis. This was a project that both Wilmunder and Grossman were involved in, with Grossman heading the project shortly before his departure in 1994. Set in 1947, the story had Indy chasing after the Philosopher’s Stone, travelling to Ireland, teaming up with a female communist sniper in Ukraine, and facing down Neo-Nazis fleeing to South America.</p><p> Wilmunder still has the original design binder, which is as thick as your forearm with concept art, storyboards and puzzle designs. He refers to it as ‘The Bible’. “To me, this is the effort that is design,” he says. “Before you even start coding, you go to this level of detail: every special-case animation, objects that change states, puzzles.” A pleasing example of this attention to detail is how every item the player could pick up in a scene is highlighted on the page in bold type.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pmd1E05MTACx.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y4AjorVZ1fxP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 6"></p><p> Phoenix was technologically innovative, too, blending handpainted backgrounds with motioncaptured animations, a technique that became known in-house as ‘Dave’s special process’. Grossman chuckles at the memory. “We had a VO guy called Mike Levine... we got him a hard drive that was a whole gigabyte, and it was this massive expensive thing; it was the biggest one you could get at the time,” he says. “We filled it up in a week, and they were like, ‘Can we get another one?’ And we were like, ‘No.’”</p><p> There were a number of reasons behind Phoenix’s cancellation, but the main one was a realisation on the corporate side of LucasArts that 30% of its adventure-game market was in Germany. The studio feared that this would impact on sales due to laws against depictions of Hitler and Nazism at the time. As a result, the team were asked if they could drop the Nazis from the game. “We were like, ‘Not easily,’” Grossman recalls. “We could’ve started over and done that, but it would’ve disrupted the entire design.” In the end, they figured that if they did have to start over, it might as well be on a new project. Their work wasn’t entirely wasted, as Phoenix’s story was eventually published as a Dark Horse comic series.</p><p> The period after Phoenix’s cancellation was when LucasArts’ production of adventure games slowed down, with 1999’s Grim Fandango being the last bona-fide classic from the studio. But, despite evidence to the contrary, the adventure-gaming spirit never left LucasArts. The early 2000s saw two sequels to Full Throttle and a sequel to Sam &amp; Max put into production. Paul Pierce, who worked on the UI for Full Throttle 2: Hell on Wheels, remembers the project: “It was a Sean Clark/Mike Stemmle project, with Chris Miles as the art director. I don’t recall how long this was in production before it was cancelled, but it seemed like at least a year. It was a big team and a lot was made for the project.” Developed during 2002, Hell on Wheels was cancelled because of negative reactions to the game’s dated 3D graphics, while the unfortunate demise of Roy Conrad, the voice actor for chief protagonist Ben, was also rumoured to be a contributing factor.</p><p> This troubled period of LucasArts’ history is fairly well documented. Both Hell on Wheels and Freelance Police are famous heartbreakers, often viewed as the final death throes of LucasArts’ adventuregaming pedigree. Less is known about what came after. Around 2008, a new LucasArts president was ushered in (the studio had almost as many presidents as it did games), who wanted to build smaller titles to take advantage of mobile platforms and digital distribution. LucasArts producer Craig Derrick, employed there since 2006, saw this as a chance to bring back adventure games: “That became something we referred to internally as Heritage. Heritage group was responsible for bringing life back into those titles.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EZCtyXs1SuKX.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/epylvcIw_Sgu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lucasarts 7"></p><p> This began with the Monkey Island Special Editions released in 2009/10, and the Tales of Monkey Island series developed by Telltale. Unfortunately, that’s as far as Heritage ever got, though Derrick and his team had plans for far more. Derrick had talks with Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer to do a ‘true’ Monkey Island 3, according to their original vision. “I found some notes and design docs that hinted at that, so that was on the table,” recalls Derrick, “and then, unfortunately, LucasArts changed direction again.”</p><p> In addition, Derrick wanted to do either a remaster or a remake of Maniac Mansion, as part of a longterm plan to create a new Day of the Tentacle game. “In DotT, you could play Maniac Mansion on one of the computers; it was a game within a game,” he says. “I always thought it would be funny to do the flipside of that, to create a new Maniac Mansion and have DotT playable in it.”</p><p> Due to managerial turbulence within LucasArts, and its eventual acquisition by Disney, none of this led to anything tangible. Yet, while it may be sad that these games were never created, at least they will be remembered. Indeed, when I first contacted Aric about his personal archives, he joked, “These belong in a museum!” Now, in all likelihood, that’s where they’re headed, to be preserved in the Film and Media Collection at Stanford Museum in the US, along with many designs of completed games. This way, the history of LucasArts&mdash;both the told and the untold&mdash;will be preserved, and not just to be examined by Top Men.</p> War Thunder 1.47 update brings out the Big Gunshttp://www.pcgamer.com/war-thunder-147-update-brings-out-the-big-guns/Featuring: updated graphics, terrain deformation and a B-29 Superfortress.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:19:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/war-thunder-147-update-brings-out-the-big-guns/Free To PlayNewsWar Thunder <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cFbZM-JcRWSu.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dAGx8aJGHsTK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="War Thunder"></p><p>Greetings Friends. It Seems Like This Is A News Post About War Thunder's New Update.</p><p>Sorry, you caught me trying to impersonate the narrator of free-to-play war-'em-up&nbsp;War Thunder's 1.47 update; a man who talks like every word in a sentence starts with a capital letter. It's pretty remarkable:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8MoVAKl9uFc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>The update is called "Big Guns," and so should probably feature some Big Guns.&nbsp;Let's see... contrails? No. Animated cockpit canopy? That's not it. New aircraft and ground vehicles&mdash;completing the US vehicle line, and this finishing the&nbsp;Steel Generals beta phase? Yeah, that's probably it.</p><p>As for the planes, the B-29 Superfortress makes its debut, as does a 1941 version of the USSR's famous&nbsp;IL-2.</p><p>Also in this update, terrain deformation means vehicles will handle differently depending on their surface. And there's a plethora of new visual effects. The update is now live, and you can see its full list of features over at the official&nbsp;<a href="http://warthunder.com/en/game/changelog/current/414" target="_blank">War Thunder site</a>.</p> Cities: Skylines devs give commitment to modding supporthttp://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-devs-give-commitment-to-modding-support/Make custom buildings; place on custom plots.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:32:33 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cities-skylines-devs-give-commitment-to-modding-support/Cities: SkylinesNewsParadox <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-hPHTamCTeG4.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RQ1GOofuLv0n.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cities Skylines 1"></p><p>I imagine it's pretty easy to appeal to city building fans in this post-SimCity world. All you'd need to do is tell people how much you're not SimCity. Offline support? Sure, you'd say, rolling your eyes at games that <em>didn't </em>offer such a basic&nbsp;feature at launch. Big cities? Of course, you'd reassure, your tone making it clear that to do otherwise would be inconceivable. Day-one mod support? Absolutely, you'd half-smile, presenting a video you'd prepared on just that subject.</p><p>Coincidentally, the creators of Cities: Skylines have prepared this video on just that subject.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jj2paF9IcqM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you'd like a run-down of what <em>exactly </em>that modding support allows, you can see Colossal Order's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skylineswiki.com/Modding" target="_blank">guide here</a>. So far, it's mostly asset and map editing, as well as a "presently minimalistic" modding API. According to the wiki page, "available features will evolve alongside user wishes in the future."</p><p>Cities: Skylines is due out 10 March.</p> Frictional apologizes for Soma silence with a new screenshothttp://www.pcgamer.com/frictional-apologizes-for-soma-silence-with-a-new-screenshot/The studio says it's "closing in" on a beta.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 03:21:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/frictional-apologizes-for-soma-silence-with-a-new-screenshot/Frictional GamesHorrorNewsSOMA <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yegoClOpQPat.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OgppReQ84L-y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Soma"></p><p>Remember <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma/">Soma</a>, the underwater first-person horror game from Frictional Games, the psychological sadists who gave us <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/amnesia-the-dark-descent/">Amnesia: The Dark Descent</a>? Of course you do&mdash;it hasn't been that long since we talked about it, after all. Even so, Frictional recently took to Twitter to apologize for the lack of communication.</p><p>"Sorry for all the all the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there," the studio <a href="https://twitter.com/frictionalgames/status/570188021980635136">tweeted</a> yesterday. "Once that's done, we'll reveal more!"</p><p>Soma, at least <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/soma-hands-on-submurged-scares-in-frictionals-sci-fi-horror/">what we've seen of it so far</a>, is very much a Frictional joint, but with a decided sci-fi bent this time around. It takes place in an underwater research facility called PATHOS-2, where the machines, for reasons unknown, have begun taking on elements of self-awareness. This, of course, leads to all sorts of unpleasantness that you will have to deal with, even though you'll almost certainly be woefully ill-equipped to do so. It was revealed in late 2013 but has actually been in development since sometime in 2010.</p><p>To distract the impatient masses, Frictional tossed out a new SOMA screenshot, seen above. It's dark, as you'd expect, and appropriately creepy when examined up close: There's what appears to be a dead guy with a malformed skull (or maybe just a super-evolved brain), some blood, and a sort of indeterminate thing with lights that I'm really not looking forward to running into when I play the game. Can't wait.</p> Hunger is a sidescrolling 'suspense adventure' about escaping The Mawhttp://www.pcgamer.com/hunger-is-a-sidescrolling-suspense-adventure-about-escaping-the-maw/It's not as whimsical as it sounds.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 03:06:01 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hunger-is-a-sidescrolling-suspense-adventure-about-escaping-the-maw/NewsPlatformer <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/w4hNv1GSSY2k.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JyNtPr13Qi9w.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hunger 05" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>Hunger is a sidescrolling platformer&nbsp;about a young girl escaping a labyrinth full&nbsp;of monsters. On paper it sounds like a whimsical little jaunt, but check out the teaser trailer below and you'll feel differently.</p><p>Dubbed 'suspense-adventure', the&nbsp;<a href="http://tarsier.se/fullblog/blog/hungerteaser">Tarsier Studios</a> developed title looks terrifying. That's mostly thanks to the sound design, which is closer to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/reinstall-silent-hill-2/">Silent Hill</a> than, say, Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Meanwhile, the puzzle-oriented platforming recalls Limbo, which was also pretty bloody terrifying. Tarsier Studios&nbsp;is responsible for a couple of LittleBigPlanet games as well as Tearaway Unfolded, so they've got plenty of experience building beautiful platformers.&nbsp;</p><p>Hunger is still early in development – and we don't know anything about which platforms it will appear on – but the trailer below is well worth a look.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5ctdjfUbLDE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Armored Warfare hands-on: Obsidian's tank war is a lot like World of Tankshttp://www.pcgamer.com/armored-warfare-hands-on-obsidians-tank-war-is-a-lot-like-world-of-tanks/Obsidian's tank gamestill has a lot to prove.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:34:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/armored-warfare-hands-on-obsidians-tank-war-is-a-lot-like-world-of-tanks/ActionArmored WarfareFree To PlayStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7eGTMPuVQc-c.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wOG3RGDuqQyG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Armoredwarfare 2015-02-23 21-31-25-28" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p>There’s a certain feeling I get while playing Armored Warfare. It’s impossible to shake: a growing tension, a tightness between my shoulder&nbsp;blades. I feel like I’ve done this all before. </p><p>The fact is, I have. I have driven a tank down a snowy road and through a destroyed Eastern European housing project before. I have shot at enemy tanks and seen my shells ricochet or destroy internal components before. I have had my tank destroyed in a free-to-play tank MMO and returned to a garage deployment screen.</p><p><a href="http://aw.my.com/us" target="_blank">Armored Warfare</a> is a new game from Obsidian, and it’s set to be a direct competitor to Wargaming’s very successful tanker game, World of Tanks. I knew all this going in to the multiplayer PvP alpha test last week, but what I was unprepared for was just how similar Obsidian’s prototype is to Wargaming’s growing empire.</p><p>In fact, any discussion of Armored Warfare would be incomplete without acknowledging that there is a striking resemblance to World of Tanks. More than striking, really. For example, there was no available control layout or remappable controls in the alpha test I played, but I knew how to do everything because it was the same as World of Tanks. I even started each round in a garage screen, where I could select a tank and use earned in-game credits to upgrade it.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OZKLB0rpQbC5.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M5FEVvUacH3a.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Armoredwarfare 2015-02-21 20-05-55-15"></p><p>Borrowing heavily from a competitor isn’t an automatic disqualifier, of course&mdash;not at all. What I want to see from Armored Warfare is innovation based off of the foundation that World of Tanks built. When it comes to new ideas, there are only three major differences.</p><p>The first difference is that Armored Warfare is focused on modern tanks instead of World War 2 and Korean War-era vehicles. This opens up a lot of possibilities exploring new gadgets like signal jammers, UAV uplinks, thermal sights, and all of the other computer-aided war toys militaries have developed over the last six decades. Each of these upgrades could be a source of emergent tactics and new ways to play that will contribute new experiences to this crowded genre.</p><p>Armored Warfare will also introduce new PvE campaigns and co-op multiplayer scenarios, which is a huge departure from the multiplayer-only realm of World of Tanks. Obsidian’s strong history with single-player games like Fallout and Dungeon Siege might be an asset here. Having a tank game that focuses on PvE and co-op missions would be a lot of fun for those of us who get tired of the Counter Strike-style one-death-you're-out team play. Alas, the PvE options weren’t included in the early test build I played, so they remain theoretical.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-TsLXcgWRdyW.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1CoooEMWP3Nw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Armoredwarfare 2015-02-23 21-34-19-31"></p><p>The third major difference between the two games is that Armored Warfare looks incredible. It’s running on a modified but powerful version of CryEngine, and it loves showing off great art. Smoke, explosions, dirt, snow, and destructible terrain all look great, not to mention flowing elements like camo nets or gorgeously rendered water. It looks a lot nicer than World of Tanks, and for many players, that might be enough.</p><p>Parsing out the similarities leaves me more conflicted than outraged. On one hand, control schemes and genre tropes get recycled to exhaustion all the time in FPS military games: the difference between Medal of Honor and Call of Duty and countless others is a matter of style and speed, but they share the same bones. Having two tank games that are very similar isn't exactly the worst creative crime in the gaming right now.</p><p>On the other hand, there are only two games in this space, the free-to-play tank MMO, so it's galling to see them be so close to each other. There’s so much more room to breathe and maneuver in this new genre, so why not spread out? Get some air. Take more risks. Try something new.</p><p>Even though I wasn't really impressed with the alpha build that I played, I think there will be a lot of stuff to like in Armored Warfare when it’s ready for release. Moving forward, I suspect that Armored Warfare will shine the best when it uses its new setting and tech level to introduce new ways to play. The closer it sticks to World of Tanks, the less interesting and more forgettable the whole thing will be.</p> The EULA that PC gamers deservehttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-eula-that-pc-gamers-deserve/Game companies make you agree to their EULAs. Time tomake them agree to yours.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:32:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-eula-that-pc-gamers-deserve/EULAOpinion <p><em>You've seen 'em. You've agreed to 'em. You may have even actually read one of 'em. A EULA (end-user license agreement)&nbsp;is&nbsp;a&nbsp;legal&nbsp;contract between a&nbsp;game publisher&nbsp;and you, the purchaser of the game license, that you must agree to in order to play the game. These contracts are often dozens of pages long,&nbsp;can be altered at any time by the seller, and are non-negotiable.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>Well, who says&nbsp;consumers can't&nbsp;draft their own long,&nbsp;one-sided&nbsp;legal document that game companies have to agree to as well? We call it a YOU-LA, and it's for you, the consumer!&nbsp;Just imagine submitting your credit card information, and having&nbsp;something pop up on their screen for a change...</em></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cHT0gqQRSvSA.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IRl4S8BNdRW1.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="You-La"></p><h2>YOU-LA</h2><p><strong>Very important:</strong> read this document before you process my credit card information for the software in question, hereinafter referred to as The Game. This constitutes an official and legally binding agreement concluded between you (the Game Company I Don't Entirely Trust) and me, the Consumer (Who Has Been Burned Way Too Many Times).</p><p><strong>BY ACCEPTING MY CREDIT CARD INFORMATION, YOU ACCEPT THESE TERMS. IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT THEM, DO NOT PROCESS MY CREDIT CARD.</strong></p><p>Please note: the Consumer is nice enough to give The Game Company this YOU-LA <em>before </em>you process my credit card information, as opposed to The Game Company's EULA, which is given to the Consumer <em>after </em>they've already had their credit cards processed. The Consumer just wanted to point that out.</p><h3>1.&nbsp;PROTECTION OF INFORMATION</h3><p>You agree to protect the Consumer's information. This includes email address, home address, phone number, logins and passwords, date of birth, credit card numbers, and all other account information supplied by the Consumer. The Game Company will not send an email three weeks after a data breach letting the Consumer know their information may have been compromised because there will not <em>be </em>a data breach because you will PROTECT THE CONSUMER'S GODDAMN INFORMATION. Failure to protect the Consumer's information will result in an immediate refund, a private apology, a public apology, a second, <em>better </em>public apology to make up for the inevitably substandard first public apology, and a designated representative of The Game Company to come over to the Consumer's house&nbsp;and sit on hold with the bank while they issue the Consumer a new credit card number.</p><h3>2.&nbsp;SUPPORT SERVICES</h3><p>Simply stating the product is sold "as-is" in your EULA&nbsp;does not absolve you of the responsibility of providing adequate support services. Unless you give the Consumer a chance to fully test The Game in advance of purchase, the Consumer cannot possibly know what the hell "as-is" actually means. As such, you will staff an adequate number of support technicians in the event that "as-is" means "broken as all hell." After all, the Consumer is not giving you "as-is" credit card information with a couple of numbers missing, right? Right.</p><h3>3.&nbsp;ALWAYS ONLINE DRM FOR SINGLE-PLAYER GAMES</h3><p>If The Game requires an always-on internet connection but The Game is a single-player experience, please provide a reason, hereinafter referred to as The Obviously Transparent Lie. Prepare to have The Obviously Transparent Lie mocked, belittled, and quickly disproved by modders (hereinafter known as Heroes). Then prepare to sheepishly remove the always-online DRM in a future patch.</p><p>Better still, avoid all this unpleasantness and irreparable&nbsp;damage to your reputation by simply&nbsp;<em>not making the Consumer always be online for single-player games</em>.</p><h3>4.&nbsp;HARDWARE SURVEY</h3><p>You are required to list the specs of the computer The Game Company used for The Game's promotional trailers. If The Game requires, for instance, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_(supercomputer)">Titan</a> supercomputer to achieve a steady 60&nbsp;FPS and all those awesome post-processing effects shown in the trailer, the Consumer would sure like to know that in advance.</p><p>You are also required to provide footage showing The Game running on a PC using&nbsp;what you consider to be "minimum requirements" because what The Game Company and the Consumer consider minimum acceptable performance are probably two very different things.</p><h3>5.&nbsp;DIGITAL DISCOUNT</h3><p>Releasing The Game digitally rather than on physical media saves The Game Company money. It also makes it impossible for the Consumer to trade or sell The Game when the Consumer is done with it, which makes the Game Company money in additional sales from other Consumers. The Consumer can't help but notice that games sold digitally are still somehow the same price as retail games. The Consumer would really like an explanation for that, and more importantly, a discount for purchasing a game digitally. The Consumer is still&nbsp;waiting for these discounts to appear. The Consumer has been waiting for quite some time.</p><h3>6.&nbsp;UPDATES</h3><p>You will provide full and descriptive patch notes when issuing an update to The Game. Your patch notes will not simply state "various fixes" were made, which will cost the Consumer the time it takes to see if you've fixed the specific problem that's been preventing the Consumer from enjoying the game, or if one such various fix completely neuters the Consumer's favorite weapon to the point where it might as well just pop out a flag that says "bang" on it. If The Game Company has someone making "various fixes" it surely can't be much of a strain for them to write down a list of these fixes in a text file as they fix them, right? It takes two seconds. Honestly.</p><p>Besides, the Consumer&nbsp;<a href="http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/news/game-updates/patch/patch-54-notes">loves reading comprehensive&nbsp;patch notes</a>.</p><h3>7.&nbsp;INTRODUCTORY LOGOS AND SEQUENCES</h3><p>The Game Company agrees to make intro logos skippable. These logos constitute advertising and as the Consumer has already purchased The Game, it should be ad-free. The Consumer is already well aware by now that Nvidia definitely&nbsp;considers Nvidia to be the way games are meant to be played. The Consumer gets it. Really.</p><p>While we're on this topic, The Game Company also agrees not to&nbsp;make the Consumer look at introductory movie&nbsp;sequences&nbsp;every single time they start The Game. Once is plenty: after the first viewing, the intro sequence should be automatically disabled and only viewable from the main menu. Does The Game Company sit through the intro sequence to Boardwalk Empire or Homeland every time they watch an episode? Of course not, those intro sequences are boring and interminable. (Game of Thrones is one exception, because watching&nbsp;those little cities&nbsp;pop up is cool every single time. Is your intro sequence as cool as Game of Thrones? No? Then we probably don't want to watch it more than once.)</p><h3>8. DAY ONE DLC AND RIDICULOUS PRE-PURCHASE "BONUSES"</h3><p>Do we even have to get into this, The Game Company? I don't think we do. Look at you.&nbsp;You're blushing and looking away from the screen. You <em>know </em>what you're doing is wrong. We're not even mad, we're just disappointed. <em>And </em>mad.</p><h3>9. CHANGE OF TERMS</h3><p>The Consumer reserves the right to change, update, revise, supplement, or otherwise modify this YOU-LA at any time in the future (or, should the Consumer gain access to a time machine, which the Consumer recognizes as a distinct possibility, in the past). Changes will probably be based on how angry and frustrated the Consumer gets about any given thing at any given time. Changes will not be highlighted or called out in any way: you'll just have to read this entire agreement again and try to figure what the changes are.&nbsp;</p><p>Your continued use of the Consumer's money will be deemed to constitute acceptance of these changes.</p> Smite Battle Frost patch ushers in new god Bellonahttp://www.pcgamer.com/smite-battle-frost-patch-ushers-in-new-god-bellona/Also: new skins, fixes and tweaks.Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:17:38 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/smite-battle-frost-patch-ushers-in-new-god-bellona/Hi-Rez StudiosMOBANewsSmite <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HzHeFKzvS9a0.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vt6pUsXHC129.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.58.32 am"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/smite/">Smite</a>'s new Battle Frost patch has introduced the first new God of the season in the form of Bellona. The Warrior class goddess&nbsp;will specialise in physical and melee combat, and is the first God capable of disarming basic enemy attacks via her Scourge ability, so good luck if you're facing her.&nbsp;According to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hirezstudios.com/smite/promo/dev-insight/bellona">short dev Q&amp;A</a> on Bellona's profile page, she'll "shine the most [when]&nbsp;picked against basic attack dependent teams".</p><p>In addition to Bellona, the Battle Frost patch ushers in a variety of other changes. There are new skins for Hercules, Scylla and Awilix, as well as an update to Ymir's model. Meanwhile, some changes in the God Roster rotation means Isis, Sin Wukong, Sobek, Anhur and Fenrir are now added to the pool.</p><p>The full patch notes, including a long list of tweaks, balance notes and bug fixes, can be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hirezstudios.com/smite/latest-news/view/smite-blog/2015/02/25/new-in-smite-battle-frost">perused over here</a>. Check out Bellona in action in the video below:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uogIpviIZlY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Toejam and Earl creator seeks sequel support on Kickstarterhttp://www.pcgamer.com/toejam-and-earl-creator-seeks-sequel-support-on-kickstarter/Toejam and Earl are getting their groove back.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 23:00:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/toejam-and-earl-creator-seeks-sequel-support-on-kickstarter/ActionKickstarterNewsToejam and Earl: Back in the Groove <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9lC-f-s0XbQ?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> Toejam and Earl was originally released for the Sega Gensis way back in the temporal boondocks of&nbsp;1991, and despite its alien rappers on Earth&nbsp;premise&mdash;read more on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ToeJam_%26_Earl">Wikipedia</a> if you're unfamiliar&mdash;it became a bona fide hit. A pair of sequels, Panic on Funkotron and Mission to Earth, didn't fare quite so well, but now the alien duo is hoping to get back in the groove on <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1578116861/toejam-and-earl-back-in-the-groove?ref=discovery">Kickstarter</a>.</p><p>Dazzling wordplay very much&nbsp;aside, that's actually the name of the new game&mdash;Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove. It's being headed up by original co-creator Greg Johnson, who described it as "the ultimate Toejam and Earl sequel that the fans have been asking for all these years," and unlike the prior sequels it will be very much like the first game.</p><p> "We plan to go old school with this one. Fixed isometric camera, 2D sprites, simple controls, and an emphasis on coop play. It will also pull in some of the more beloved elements from game two, AND we have a list of exciting new gameplay elements planned as well," Johnson wrote in the Kickstarter pitch. Terrain will be rendered in 3D, enabling the developers to "do some really fun stuff," and there will also be plenty of funky music.</p><p> The Kickstarter goal is $400,000, an amount Johnson assured <a href="http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/2/25/8107999/toejam-and-earl-kickstarter-reveal-feature-greg-johnson">Polygon</a> will be more than enough to get the job done. There are currently only three people working on the game&mdash;Johnson, an engineer, and an artist&mdash;and he said he didn't want that number to grow much beyond eight. He also doesn't want to rush through development: The Kickstarter has a delivery date for the physical rewards of November 2015, but the game itself will take a lot longer.</p><p> "If I can, I want to take two years to do this," he said. "I want to have a lot of time to play it and playtest it and polish it. I feel like that's what will really yield the best results."</p><p> The Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove Kickstarter runs until March 27. And now, you may enjoy this extraordinarily weird video in which Tim Schafer and Will Wright express their undying love for the previous games, and complete confidence in Johnson's ability to make a new one.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wViMTwcEFOQ?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe> Reynad calls Hearthstone subreddit a “scumbag community” over MagicAmy saga http://www.pcgamer.com/reynad-calls-hearthstone-subreddit-a-scumbag-community-over-magicamy-saga/Also hits out at the “dipshit” players who triggered the investigation into her identityWed, 25 Feb 2015 21:50:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/reynad-calls-hearthstone-subreddit-a-scumbag-community-over-magicamy-saga/BlizzardCard GameHearthstoneNews <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mhzXMKwzJGg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> Last week saw the unedifying spectacle of one of Hearthstone’s higher profile women players, Hyerim ‘MagicAmy’ Lee, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tempo-storm-and-magicamy-part-ways-following-investigation/">quitting her team</a>, and seemingly the scene, after <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-team-investigating-accusation-over-players-identity/">accusations</a> about her identity were made by an ex-teammate, who has himself been <a href="http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/470313-specialist-and-gabe-walls-banned-for-win-trading">banned by Blizzard for ‘win trading’</a>. That was followed by an Imgur dump of screengrabs by two Team Dignitas players showing various online accounts used by Lee, with captions intended to support the original claim. A full blown Reddit freakout followed, as a result of which her team, Tempo Storm, opted to conduct an investigation into whether the claims held any weight. Despite that investigation finding no evidence of wrongdoing, Lee decided to part ways from Tempo Storm rather than have to attend a LAN tournament in order to prove to her detractors that she is who she says she is.</p><p> At the time of the split Tempo Storm released a <a href="https://tempostorm.com/articles/tempostorm-parts-ways-with-hyerim-magicamy-lee">lengthy statement</a> explaining the situation, and wishing Lee all the best. Now, the team’s founder Andrey&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/TempoReynad/">‘Reynad’</a> Yanuk, has offered a considerably more robust take. Speaking on his stream, the VOD of which you can watch above, he said: “Basically, I’ve never been so embarrassed&mdash;I’ve never actually been embarrassed to be a Hearthstone player before last week. All of you should be fucking ashamed of yourselves and it’s probably the biggest setback to getting women into e-sports that I can recall happening in the past year or two&hellip; You all make me fucking sick.”</p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Hyerim 'magicamy' lee</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_EHj8m8gQ1io.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ulRDyK7TcEuK.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MagicAmy" style="background-color: initial;"></p></div><p> Reynad’s relationship with the Hearthstone community on Reddit has long been fractious, and no punches are pulled in terms of who he blames for the damage to Lee’s Hearthstone career: “...because all of the Reddit scumbag community just, like, tries to tear down her reputation she decides to quit Hearthstone. We never even fired her, she just didn’t want to play anymore because of all the shit that happened.”</p><p> He also called out Lee’s accusers, including instigator Eric 'Specialist' Lee, and the two Dignitas pros, Lewis <a href="https://twitter.com/blackouths">‘Blackout’</a> Spencer and Keaton <a href="https://twitter.com/chakki_hs">‘Chakki’</a> Gill, as “dipshits”. He said: “This girl, that’s a pretty good Hearthstone player and made a lot of good content for the community and everyone really liked her before dipshits one through five decided to start a witch hunt, now her career is being scrutinized by Blizzard, by her team, by the entire community. Everyone is convinced she is a man.” I’ve reached out to Chakki and Blackout for their response. The fourth and fifth “dipshits” Reynad refers to are other players who subsequently made claims about Lee’s character, unrelated to her Hearthstone ability.</p><p> In the video he also gives some insight into what was involved in Tempo Storm’s investigation, which he said involved 36 people and took three days: “It took all day, everyday. Cross-referencing times, everything. And what do we come up with? Absolutely fucking nothing. There is no evidence ever that somebody was playing for her, and unless we saw IP addresses on certain times and days that she had logged into her account from&mdash;which only Blizzard can see&mdash;then there’s nothing to ever support the fact that Tarei ever played for her. We talked to Tarei a lot about it. ” Jeffrey ‘Tarei’ Liu is another former teammate of Lee&mdash;the two practiced together as part of Team MagicAmy prior to Tarei’s top eight finish at Blizzcon 2014.</p><p> Reynad is clearly upset throughout, particularly when it comes to the reaction to Tempo Storm’s findings. Here are his closing remarks in full: “So then, even after we release this report&hellip; we say there was no evidence found anywhere, what’s the community’s response? Basically she’s guilty until proven innocent, that’s their response. ‘Prove to us she’s not a man. You’ve never played in an offline tournament.’ Well, you know, she hasn’t played in an offline tournament. Maybe it’s because some Canadian guy has been playing for her all this time. Maybe it’s that she didn’t have $1500 to go play a card game in Sweden for one weekend. I think it was more that thing.”</p><p> “Even after a bunch of 14 year-old retards bully [her] out of the scene, they keep making jokes at her expense for like a week straight afterwards. It’s actually disgusting if you think about it. You all make me fucking sick. I really mean that. And if something comes forward a month from now about her doing something scummy, or something with botting&mdash;that was like the one [accusation] we couldn’t disprove or find evidence for or against&mdash;even then it’s still scummy the way it was handled. I don’t know, just everything about it just makes me sick on so many levels. It’s not just Reddit, it’s Twitch too. It’s literally everywhere that there’s been posts about Amy anywhere. I’m sick of it. It’s actually disgusting.”</p><p> It will come as no surprise that Reynad’s attack has been met with a <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/2x2qx4/reynad_on_magicamy/">lively Reddit thread</a> of its own, and while most are dismissive of his position, (putting it politely), there are a few voices in there who clearly feel very uncomfortable with the way Lee has been hounded since the original accusation was made. The one element everyone can surely agree on is that the whole sorry mess can have only had a disastrous impact on the perception of professional women Hearthstone players, and the way women in e-sports are treated in general. There are no winners here.</p> Local co-op cut from Resident Evil Revelations 2, crowd goes wildhttp://www.pcgamer.com/local-co-op-cut-from-resident-evil-revelations-2-crowd-goes-wild/The description on Steam says it does, but it doesn't.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:22:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/local-co-op-cut-from-resident-evil-revelations-2-crowd-goes-wild/CapcomHorrorNewsResident Evil Revelations 2 <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mWR2on1qTS-L.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MUxK02BePRlu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Resident Evil Revelations 2"></p><p>[<strong>Update:</strong> Capcom has <a href="http://steamcommunity.com//games/287290/announcements/detail/234522998924485103">released a statement</a> saying that the inclusion of local co-op play in the Resident Evil Revelations 2 feature list was a simple mistake. "We apologize to our Resident Evil Revelations 2 PC players who purchased the game and expected to have local co-op as a feature. The feature wasn’t intended for this version and that caveat was mistakenly omitted from the product description on the Steam page earlier, and then included as soon as we were made aware. This was an unintentional error and again, we apologize for the confusion this may have caused," the statement says. "We are currently looking into the matter and potential solutions and we hope to have new information to share very soon, so please stay tuned. Thank you for your patience and understanding."</p><p>A Capcom rep said separately that refunds are now being offered through Steam.]</p><p>Original story:</p><p>The news that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/resident-evil-revelations-2/">Resident Evil Revelations 2</a> does not support local co-operative gameplay has resulted in a flood of negative user reviews on Steam. The problem isn't so much the absence of local co-op, however, but that the game's <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/287290/">Steam page</a> listed it as a feature when it launched, and still includes a reference to it in the extended description. </p><p>Capcom told <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-02-25-anger-over-lack-of-local-co-op-in-resident-evil-revelations-2-on-pc">Eurogamer</a> that the decision to cut local co-op play "was made to ensure a stable user experience across a variety of different PC settings and devices," but why the mode was listed in the first place remains unclear. And while the feature list no longer contains any reference to offline co-op, at the time of writing it was still listed as a feature in the "About This Game" section as "assistive co-op play."</p><p>"Players will need to switch between the two characters (Claire/Moira, Barry/Natalia) to overcome the nightmares in either single player mode with an AI partner or offline co-op," it states.</p><p>Capcom said the Raid mode will support online co-op play at some point in the future by way of a free patch, "but the main campaign on PC will only be available to play in single local screen." </p><p>The response has been predictably unhappy. Some of the dozens of negative user reviews include complaints about microtransactions and poor performance, but there is considerable anger over the fact that the feature was promised right up until yesterday, when it launched. We've reached out to Capcom for more information, but in the meantime, if you're looking for some offline co-op fun, you'll definitely want to look elsewhere.</p> Nvidia CEO addresses GTX 970 controversyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-ceo-addresses-gtx-970-controversy/Jen-Hsun Huang: "We won't let this happen again. We'll do a better job next time."Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:14:47 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-ceo-addresses-gtx-970-controversy/GTX 970HardwareNewsNvidia <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6PqVrfZhTqab.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ouzEKNNMxD2G.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang" class=""><figcaption>Jen-Hsun Huang at CES 2015. Photo credit: Nvidia.</figcaption></figure><p>Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2015/02/24/gtx-970/">spoken out</a> in response to the recent GTX 970 memory configuration controversy, an issue over which the company is now facing a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-faces-false-advertising-lawsuit-over-gtx-970-specs/">class-action lawsuit</a>. </p><p>For those unfamiliar, the controversy surrounds the GTX 970, which breaks its 4GB VRAM into a 3.5GB chunk of GDDR5 and a separate 500MB that runs significantly slower.</p><p>In a statement, Huang describes the segmentation as intentional, allowing the card to be a step up from a 3GB card. </p><p>"GTX 970 is a 4GB card," Huang said. "However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth. This is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment."</p><p>However, this was failed to be properly communicated to the company's internal marketing teams (as well as externally to reviewers at launch), leading to confusion and, on many users parts, anger. Rather than viewing the 970's segmented design as a step up from 3GB, it was seen as a failure to deliver on the promise of 4GB. </p><p>"We won’t let this happen again," Huang said. "We’ll do a better job next time."</p><p><a href="http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2015/02/24/gtx-970/">You can read Huang's full (though still brief)&nbsp;statement on the issue here</a>.</p> The Evil Within DLC gets launch date and gameplay trailerhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-dlc-gets-launch-date-and-gameplay-trailer/The Assignment is the first DLC release for The Evil Within.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 19:42:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-dlc-gets-launch-date-and-gameplay-trailer/Bethesda SoftworksHorrorNewsTango GameworksThe Evil Within <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-LwPZutr2tI?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> After much teasing, Bethesda Softworks has finally shone some light on The Assignment, the first DLC release for <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within/">The Evil Within</a>, including a proper launch date and a gameplay trailer. The focus this time around is on Detective Juli Kidman, partner to Evil Within hero Sebastian Castellanos, who is quite clearly having a very rough week.&nbsp;</p><p>"The Assignment features an increased focus on stealth gameplay mechanics as you untangle the secrets of what happened to [Kidman] and untangle the truth behind her connection with Mobius," Bethesda <a href="http://www.bethblog.com/2015/02/25/the-evil-within-the-assignment-official-gameplay-trailer/">explained</a>. "Introducing new enemies and gameplay tactics, The Assignment sets the stage for the concluding chapter of Kidman’s Adventure, The Consequence, releasing later this Spring."</p><p> The promise of more stealth might put some players off, but with any luck it will add some needed depth and tension to the game: As we noted in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-evil-within-review/">our review</a>, The Evil Within does put up a genuine survival-horror challenge, but it "relies on gross-out rather than real fear" for its thrills. The Assignment will be included with The Evil Within season pass, and will also be available separately for $10. Look for it to hit Steam on March 10.</p> Warhammer 40,000 gets its own MOBA with Dark Nexus Arenahttp://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-40000-joins-the-moba-milieu-with-dark-nexus-arena/An early access launch is slated for later this year.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:27:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-40000-joins-the-moba-milieu-with-dark-nexus-arena/MOBANews <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KvdpEwovrsg?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p>By its nature, a&nbsp;brutal,&nbsp;endless future war contains&nbsp;a lot of possible gaming&nbsp;scenarios&mdash;but it still&nbsp;seems like there are a <em>lot&nbsp;</em>of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-40k/">Warhammer 40,000</a> games in development&nbsp;these days. You may also have noted that there are a&nbsp;<em>lot </em>of <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/moba/">MOBAs</a> kicking around too. And now, in one fell swoop, there are more of both, thanks to the upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Dark Nexus Arena.</p><p>It's actually a blend of the MOBA and twin-stick shooter genres, according to the <a href="http://darknexusarena.tumblr.com/post/111982612532/introducing-warhammer-40-000-dark-nexus-arena">announcement</a>, in which teams of four players representing Space Marines, Orks, and Tau do battle across the city of Commorragh and the arenas of the Wych Cults. The website at <a href="https://www.darknexusarena.com">DarkNexusArena.com</a> currently lists Ork Stormboys, Assault Terminators, Scouts, and Fire Warriors as selectable "veterans," while the presence of numerous other faction logos&mdash;Adepta Sororitas, Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Tyranids, and several others&mdash;suggest that many more will be added.</p><p> "We are hardcore MOBA players with a shared passion for the Warhammer 40,000 intellectual property here at Whitebox," Jonathan Falkowski, CEO of developer Whitebox Interactive, said in a statement, via <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/02/25/dark-nexus-arena/">Rock, Paper, Shotgun</a>. "Our aim is to deliver a highly-polished experience that a player of any skill level can step into and find success and enjoyment."</p><p> An Early Access launch is planned for a bit later this year, and even though the game isn't actually available yet, Whitebox has put up a Dark Nexus Arena store offering limited edition bundles running from $25 to $250. Make of that what you will. A full release is expected to take place sometime in 2016.</p> Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number gets a release datehttp://www.pcgamer.com/hotline-miami-2-wrong-number-gets-a-release-date/Hotline Miami 2 is coming for your brain in March.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:34:10 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hotline-miami-2-wrong-number-gets-a-release-date/ActionHotline Miami 2News PC’s most stressful gameshttp://www.pcgamer.com/pcs-most-stressful-games/Feeling relaxed? These games will see to that.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:02:40 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pcs-most-stressful-games/GalleryMust Read Strategy and exploration in Sid Meier's Starshipshttp://www.pcgamer.com/strategy-and-exploration-in-sid-meiers-starships/We play Sid Meier's new game, and ask him about his sci-fi inspirations.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:01:48 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/strategy-and-exploration-in-sid-meiers-starships/FiraxisSid MeierSid Meier's StarshipssimStrategy <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/7QwVjbaGQHeW.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IdWNMAwZg-HG.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="5"></p><p> Civilization: Beyond Earth is about planets, but Starships, the latest strategy game from genre godfather Sid Meier, is about galaxies. You start a new game at the end point of a Beyond Earth game. Your civilisation has won and taken control of the planet, and a thousand years have passed. You’ve developed new starship technology, and now your sights are set on other planets. If a game of Beyond Earth is a story about <em>one</em> world, a game of Starships is a story about /multiple/ worlds.</p><p> “When I was ten or eleven, the original Star Trek came on TV, and I used to rush home on Friday to watch it,” says Meier. “That’s a p+retty impressionable age, and I remember really enjoying the show. That was probably the biggest influence on Starships. When designing a game, I often ask myself: who is having the most fun? And here I decided it was probably the admiral leading the fleet of starships.”</p><p> As you explore this new galaxy you’ll run into other civilisations who were once part of the ‘seeding’ that formed the basis of the story in Beyond Earth. They’ll have their own technology, politics, and desires. Some might happily share a world with you, while others will protect their turf with deadly force. It’s Civilization on a much grander scale, although the game itself is smaller in scope.</p><p> Meier is developing Starships with a small team. He tells me that he’s always coding something. He loves the prototyping stage of design, during which he pulls images from Firaxis’ art cache or Google and brings them to life. He loves programming systems and AI, and it’s the roaming exploration aspect of Starships that attracted him to the project. While a lot of veteran game designers take a step back from the actual production of a game to become a director or producer, Meier still gets his hands dirty.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c6zuMqVpRZSB.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hS99U6_UIEF7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="10"> </p><p> “Beyond Earth begins with thousands of expeditions leaving Earth to settle other worlds,” he says. “But what happened to all those other settlements? That’s one of the questions Starships will answer.” Like Civilization, Starships promises to be as much about small, emergent stories as it is about conquest on a grand scale. “The story is largely told by the player’s decisions and actions,” says Meier. “We create a setting and a universe, and let the player face off against different factions to create their story.”</p><p> It may be possible to exist peacefully in this galaxy, but it’ll be difficult. Just like in a game of Civ, conflict is often unavoidable, and combat will be a big part of the Starships experience. “Combat is really the heart of the game,” says Meier. “The strategy systems and what happens outside of combat directly feeds into your fleet and its capability. This creates a loop where victories in combat give you more strategic capability, which in turn makes you better at combat. That rolls together very nicely and is a lot of fun.”</p><p> Replayability is something Meier and his team are striving for. Affinities, returning from Beyond Earth, will inform your play style. “We use the affinity system as a way to customise your federation,” says Meier. “The idea is that the affinity you choose is the affinity that led you to victory in a game of Beyond Earth, and now you’re ready to move outside your world, out into the rest of the galaxy.”</p><p> Purity admirals are diplomats, and their emphasis on the heritage of humanity gives them double mission rewards. Harmony fleets focus on the interrelatedness of all living things, and their bonus is repairing their ships at half the cost. Then there’s Supremacy, who are leaders in technology and construction, and start the game with a random wonder. But your choice of affinity won’t restrict you in any way. You can still play how you want to play, a freedom that’s a crucial part of all of Meier’s games.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Pv7urdhuTxiu.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/F58aw05RVkjJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="1"> </p><p> But no matter how you decide to play, you’ll always have one thing on your mind: victory. “There are a number of ways to win,” says Meier. “There’s the traditional Domination victory, which carries over from Civilization. Here you win by taking out all the other factions. There’s also the Wonder victory, where you control seven wonders. The Science victory is won by unlocking three level six technologies. And finally there’s the Population victory, achieved by having a large amount of people in your empire.” Like Civ, you’ll be alerted when other factions make progress towards these victories. Take too long to reach your own victory and you’ll lose the game.</p><p> The road to a victory will be different every time you play the game. “There are a lot of different choices you can make,” says Meier. “These range from the affinity you choose, to your faction, to the starships you build, to the difficulty level you choose.”</p><p> The idea is that when you finish a game, you’ll always have an idea in the back of your head about how you’re going to play differently next time. Good strategy games, according to Meier, are the ones that keep your mind on the future. He doesn’t want players only reacting to what’s happening in the present, which is why he prefers turn-based games. They give players the time and space to always be planning ahead.</p><p> An interesting twist in Starships turn-based combat system lets you detonate torpedos several turns later, to blow up enemy ships or destroy asteroid fields to give you a new route through a battlefield. Battles take place on a hex grid, and things to consider while you move around include wormholes that zap you instantly to another part of the map. Sometimes it’ll be safer to use a turn to fly through one of these and escape than it would be to stand and fight.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2NtKZCZXSwer.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Xq3nzGO82DAe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="6"> </p><p> Land at a new planet and a random mission will pop up, which you can choose to accept or ignore. Complete the mission and you’ll be rewarded, so if you save a colony from some invading pirates, you’ll get tech or money in return. Land on a planet that’s already occupied by another faction and you’ll enter a Civ-style diplomacy screen, and you’ll have to come to an agreement. Do you want to share the planet, or fight their fleet and try and drive them out of their territory? Where once you fought over land masses, you’re now battling for the right to rule whole planets.</p><p> Starships doesn’t have the slick, contemporary, big budget feel of something like XCOM, and reminds me a lot of classic ‘90s PC strategy games. I get a sense from the look and feel that it’s a pet project for Meier that’s being made on the side. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking ambition. There’s a lot of depth here, including the ability to customise your starships. You can improve their engines and weapons, which will help you fly further into space and defeat tougher enemies.</p><p> As well as other factions, there are pirates to contend with out in the uncharted depths of the galaxy. There are no alien fleets, though, thankfully. “The other factions in the galaxy are all humans from other seeding expeditions,” says Meier. “There aren’t any aliens, although some of those Harmony guys are maybe a little less ‘human’ than everyone else.” Meier is writing Starships’ rich backstory based on Beyond Earth, and some familiar characters will return. How are they still alive a thousand years later? He says not to worry about that too much. It is sci-fi after all.</p> Batman: Arkham Knight video shows rogues gallery of Gothamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-video-shows-rogues-gallery-of-gotham/Tempting new footage of Bat-violence from Rocksteady's upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:21:43 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-video-shows-rogues-gallery-of-gotham/ActionBatman: Arkham KnightNews <p> Just when I had forgotten to be excited about the new Rocksteady Batman game, there it is, sprawling and grim and full of criminals to punch. The city looks beautiful, and I'm excited by the very brief shot of Batman crashing down on a car chase&mdash;will these replace Arkham City's ambient&nbsp;"political prisoner" missions?</p><p>For a closer look, check out this raft of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-blowout/">screenshots</a> and read&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/batman-arkham-knight-e3-hands-on-high-fiving-the-batmobile/">Sam's hands-on account</a>, in which he teams up with Batman's best friend: a big armoured street tank.</p><p>Batman: Arkham Knight was originally due out October last year, but was delayed to June 2 this year. It received an "M" rating, possibly because of the new execution moves that has Batman ramming goons into light fittings and power generators, non-fatally, of course.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VpXUIh7rlWI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Shadow of Mordor Bright Lord DLC lets you punch Sauronhttp://www.pcgamer.com/shadow-of-mordor-bright-lord-dlc-lets-you-punch-sauron/Wear the Ring of Power in Shadow of Mordor's latest DLC.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:30:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/shadow-of-mordor-bright-lord-dlc-lets-you-punch-sauron/ActionNewsShadow of Mordor <p>In Shadow of Mordor, you play an angry man haunted by a sad elf. The Bright Lord DLC tells the story of how that elf became sad, and lets you use The One Ring to take it out on Sauron. It plays out like a miniature version of the main game, which means you'll be magically turning orc generals to your side to get closer to the final boss. The difficulty has been hiked, so don't expect quite the same levels of wanton slaughter enabled by the second half of the main game.</p><p>Celebrimbor&mdash;now with added flesh!&mdash;has similar abilities to the angry man you play in the main game, but can use The Ring to slow time so he can hit enemies faster.&nbsp;In the books, The Ring is&nbsp;a physical embodiment of the corrupting influence of power, in Shadow of Mordor it gives you bullet time powers. Videogaaaames!</p><p>The DLC's out now, and there's a video to prove it.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d3VNV7hrnbg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Street Fighter 5: Nash revealedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/street-fighter-5-nash-revealed/New screenshots and footage shows Charlie Nash.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:48:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/street-fighter-5-nash-revealed/ActionNewsStreet Fighter V The Sims 4 Get To Work trailer shows detectives in actionhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-get-to-work-trailer-2/Expansion introduces concept of murder to theSims universe.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:16:27 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-sims-4-get-to-work-trailer-2/Electronic ArtsNewssimThe Sims 4 <p> The Get To Work expansion pack for The Sims 4 will let you micromanage your Sims through various careers, including doctoring, sciencing, businessing,&nbsp;and, as shown in the latest trailer, detectiving.</p><p> The neat thing about this is that it adds the concept of murder to the spotless Sims universe. Don't expect meticulously posed corpse sculptures a la Hannibal, though. In fact, murderers in the Sims universe manage to do their work without leaving a drop of blood behind. Maybe sims don't <em>have</em> blood. Think on that as you watch detectives detectiving in the new video.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2M91C8JdG80" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>And here's a video showing Sims doctors doing doctor things, though last time I checked doctors couldn't tell the sex of an unborn baby by touching the pregnant woman's belly. Also, still no blood. Maybe they are all empty eggshell people with faces painted on.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YV_tMljNtzw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> Get To Work will cost £30 / $40, which seems like rather a lot. We'll be able to create our own mini Rust Cohles when the pack is released in April.</p> Sid Meier's Starships prepares for March lift offhttp://www.pcgamer.com/sid-meiers-starships-prepares-for-march-lift-off/Will come with Civilization: Beyond Earth connectivitiy.Wed, 25 Feb 2015 01:24:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sid-meiers-starships-prepares-for-march-lift-off/FiraxisNewsSid Meier's StarshipsStrategy <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/f8dbplhoSE6h.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-YhEBvru0ZBU.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Starships"></p><p>Sid Meier's Starships will release on March 12 for PC and iPad, studio Firaxis has announced. It'll set you back $15 in the US,&nbsp;with&nbsp;prices in other regions yet to be confirmed.&nbsp;Recent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-the-first-footage-of-sid-meiers-starships/">gameplay footage</a> shows&nbsp;a relatively breezy affair compared to Civilization: Beyond Earth –&nbsp;which it shares a universe with –&nbsp;because you'll be looking after a fleet of spacecraft rather than an entire way of life.</p><p>Relatedly, a recent <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-update-brings-connectivity-with-starships/">software update</a> for Beyond Earth introduced connectivity between the games, though specifics on how this will work have not been detailed.&nbsp;</p><p>In case you missed it before, this recent discussion between&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sid-meier-talks-strategy-game-design-and-civ/">Sid Meier and Xcom: Enemy Unknown's Jake Solomon</a> is well worth the time if you're curious about the future of strategy games.</p> Lords of the Fallen 'Ancient Labyrinth' DLC to release next monthhttp://www.pcgamer.com/lords-of-the-fallen-ancient-labyrinth-dlc-to-release-next-month/Harkyn goes to the library on March 3.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:08:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/lords-of-the-fallen-ancient-labyrinth-dlc-to-release-next-month/ActionCI GamesLords of the FallenNewsRPG <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7ixCpV7UA8c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you've got an appetite for punishment and a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lords-of-the-fallen/">Lords of the Fallen</a> sitting in your Steam library, the game's forthcoming story expansion will release on March 4, or March 3 in Europe and Australia. Dubbed Ancient Labyrinth, the DLC pack will take Harkyn to "a long-forgotten library that exists somewhere between the human and demonic realms".</p><p>Developers CI Games and Deck13 Interactive promise&nbsp;new enemies, weapons, shields and armor in your quest to "destroy evil" (y'know, blowflies, bathroom mould, software updates), as well as the potential for multiple playthroughs. Lords of the Fallen 2<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lords-of-the-fallen-2-is-already-in-the-works/"> is in the works too</a>, in case you missed it.&nbsp;</p> Riot reveals Bard, the newest League of Legends Championhttp://www.pcgamer.com/riot-reveals-bard-the-newest-league-of-legends-champion/Bard is a roaming support.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/riot-reveals-bard-the-newest-league-of-legends-champion/League of LegendsMOBANewsRiot Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/J8qFoGOuTJCS.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/81xMnOYlihyS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="League of Legends Bard"></p><p>Riot Games has pulled back the curtain on the newest <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends/">League of Legends</a> Champion: Bard, the Wandering Caretaker, a mightily bearded "celestial vagabond" tasked with maintaining the cosmic equilibrium of Runeterra. Hey, nice work if you can get it.</p><p>Bard is unique, in that he's the first support who gains advantages simply by moving around. His presence causes sacred chimes to appear on the playing field, and collecting them gives him a brief burst of speed, experience, and mana. He also attracts Meeps, small spirits who travel at his side and throw themselves at his targets when he attacks, dealing extra damage; the more chimes he collects, the more Meeps that join him, and the more dangerous they become.</p><p>Mobility is obviously Bard's game, but he "fires out solid poke whenever he's in lane thanks to Cosmic Binding," Riot wrote in the new Champion's description. "Though it deals meaningful damage on its own, the slow (and if procced, stun) give Bard surprising ganking potential, particularly when used in conjunction with Magical Journey. Enemies will have to think twice about escaping through the bottom and top lane brush when Bard can pin them to the nearby wall with a well-placed Q."</p><p>Bard works particularly well with Caitlyn, Udyr, and Amumu, but he has trouble with Rek'Sai, Draven, and Leona. "Bard roams to empower both himself <em>and</em> his allies. Each chime he collects soups up his Meeps passive, and as he travels, he’s incentivized to help out his other lanes and jungler with Caretaker’s Shrine. Crucially, they don’t require him to hang around, so Bard can pop into mid, drop off a shrine, then carry on towards top on the hunt for more chimes," Riot's Rabid Llama explained in the Champion Insights section of the Bard page.&nbsp;</p><p>"Each chime gives him a short movement boost (so he can jet around at a decent pace), experience (so he doesn’t miss out on too much minion xp), and mana. All this means he’s rewarded for roaming, and can (hopefully) leave his marksman during laning <em style="background-color: initial;">without</em> handing them a big fat death sentence."</p><p>Catch all the details on the Wandering Caretaker at <a href="http://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/champion-reveal/bard-wandering-caretaker">LeagueOfLegends.com</a>.</p> Telltale blending games and TV for new "Super Show" concepthttp://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-blending-games-and-tv-for-new-super-show-concept/Super Shows will include both interactive and scripted content.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:20:07 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-blending-games-and-tv-for-new-super-show-concept/AdventureNewsTelltale Games <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tKiHiyZVTkWY.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/K9YefwZTf0Aj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="the walking dead episode 2 review"></p><p>Telltale Games CEO Kevin Bruner says the studio's partnership with Lionsgate, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hunger-games-mad-men-studio-partners-with-telltale/">announced earlier today</a>, will aid it in the development of "Super Shows," which will combine interactive content with "scripted, television-style content." </p><p>Bruner told <a href="http://www.ew.com/article/2015/02/24/telltale-games-ceo-kevin-bruner-super-show-interview">Entertainment Weekly</a> that neither the interactive nor the scripted segments will take precedence in Super Shows, saying that both are "first-class citizens during the writing process." The nature of their production will enable a more "predictable" release schedule, but also a slower one than conventional Telltale games, "to allow newer audiences time to consume and discuss both aspects of the show across their game consoles, tablets, mobile phones and computers."</p><p>The first Super Show is an original IP, presumably the one Bruner <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/telltale-games-has-an-original-ip-in-the-works/">referenced in January</a>, which he said is being developed with a "world-class creative partner." He said it's important that Telltale maintains some form of ownership of the Super Shows it develops, but he also left open the possibility of basing some on existing IPs later down the road.</p><p>Telltale and Lionsgate "share many similar ideas about the future of scripted entertainment," and the partnership will facilitate this new direction. "Successfully bringing a Super Show to market requires more than just game development and television acumen. It needs an entire integrated development, production and publishing strategy," Bruner said. "We felt Telltale and Lionsgate are both best in class at what we do and we’re eager to combine our efforts and compliment our skills."</p><p>As for the obvious question&mdash;the possibility of a Telltale game based on a Lionsgate property, like Hunger Games, Mad Men, or Orange Is the New Black&mdash;Bruner would only say that it's "feasible."</p><p>"We have a ton of respect for the IP they own and control," he said. "We will continue to explore how we can work together on some of their IP just as we have been doing for some time, but there's nothing to announce right now."</p> Trials Fusion races into the future with Fault One Zero DLChttp://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-races-into-the-future-with-fault-one-zero-dlc/Fault One Zero is the fifth of six planned Trials Fusion DLC.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:07:37 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-races-into-the-future-with-fault-one-zero-dlc/NewsRacingTrials FusionUbisoft <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/x8g6SWyYa8w?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion/">Trials Fusion</a> DLC puzzle is one piece closer to completion, as Fault One Zero, the fifth of six content packs planned for the aerobatic platform racer, is now available. The new content turns players loose in the futuristic city of Megalopolis, "where man and machine are only distinguishable by their medical records."</p><p> That's actually a pretty good line, isn't it? Sadly, the trailer doesn't indicate the presence of any particularly disturbing cybernetic racing-slash-death machines, but it does have "holographic cityscapes, testing facilities, assembly lines, retro gaming areas, and a robot dumping ground" to race through. Fault One Zero will add ten new tracks to the game, 24 new challenges, five trophies, and an indeterminate number of new objects for the track editor.</p><p> The trailer looks like a decent bit of fun, and in case you missed our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/trials-fusion-review/">review from last year</a>, Trials Fusion itself is apparently quite good too. Fault One Zero is available now from <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/337740/">Steam</a> and other fine online retailers, and also directly from <a href="http://shop.ubi.com/store/ubina/en_CA/pd/productID.299423400/sac.true">Ubisoft</a>.</p> What we want from Valve's SteamVRhttp://www.pcgamer.com/what-we-want-from-valves-steamvr/The PC Gamer staff talks SteamVR, the Oculus Rift, and what we hope to see from Valve's GDC announcement.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/what-we-want-from-valves-steamvr/HardwareOculus RIFTOculus VRSteamSteamVRValvevirtual reality <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5PyEAtL6SSqL.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WT6TI9ZnOGHu.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Valve Oculus"></p><p>We expected Steam Machines out of Valve at GDC 2015, but this is much bigger news: Valve's getting into the VR hardware game.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-to-show-steamvr-hardware-system-at-gdc-next-week/">Next week, Valve will be showing off SteamVR</a>. With the power of Steam behind it, Valve's virtual reality hardware will immediately be a serious challenger to the Oculus Rift.</p><p>Is that good? Bad? What do we hope for, and expect, out of SteamVR? The PC Gamer staff strapped on their virtual opinion headsets to think it over.</p><p> <strong></strong><strong>Phil:</strong> I've used an Oculus Rift, and it's pretty good. I'm not sure what I want from the VR experience except that, but a bit better. What I really want from Valve, then, is for them to not punish people for choosing someone else's hardware. I'd like for them not to announce that&mdash;say, for argument's sake&mdash;Ricochet 2 is locked down to Valve's hardware. I don't think it'll go down like that, but inevitably Valve will have some plan to make VR integration easier for developers. If that integration and support is specific to Valve's hardware, it'll potentially become the solution for developers on the fence about incorporating VR. I'd like Valve to make VR an easier and more attractive proposition for developers, but for the benefit of everyone who owns a VR headset&mdash;regardless of who made it.</p><p> I'd also quite like a virtual reality Half-Life 2 spin-off in which you play as one of those flying camera bots. You'd hover about City 17; enjoying Viktor Antonov's vision of dystopia, and also taking pictures of dissidents and trouble makers. That'd be neat.</p><p> <strong>Tom:</strong> Former special technology expert for Valve, Michael Abrash, kept <a href="http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/">a blog</a> that explored the huge challenges that face VR hardware developers. <a href="http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/down-the-vr-rabbit-hole-fixing-judder/">Here he is</a> addressing issues like screen judder, refresh rates and strobing at great length. Valve seem to be powerfully aware of the precise technological barriers that stand in the way of a great HD VR set, so it’s exciting to that they feel ready to show their proposed solution.</p><p> It’s also good to see some potentially serious competition emerging for the Oculus Rift. and not just from Valve. It looks like Nvidia will be introducing their own proprietary tech, and Sony have Project Morpheus. It’s true that separate insular devices could risk splitting the potential market for VR games, but it’s more important that the hardware is right before we start getting excited about our virtual reality future.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ZawoVXMFTr6-.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/gJV5KscXLI4v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="oculusconnect-crescentbay-hero" class=""> <figcaption>Oculus' latest VR headset prototype.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong>Tyler:</strong> As Tom and Phil raise, I both fear an Oculus monopoly and fear segmentation, where only certain games work on SteamVR and others on the Rift. My impression from speaking to devs over the past few years is that if you can make it work on a Rift, it isn’t any big stretch to make it work on similar VR hardware, and I hope that’s the case (though I really don’t have any deep technical knowledge of the complex stuff they’re doing).</p><p> Otherwise, I’m not too concerned about the hardware. We’re starting to know what good VR feels like, and I think we can expect that Valve’s hardware will be at least as good as the latest Rift prototype we’ve demoed. What I really want to know is what kind of software they’re bringing&mdash;maybe there’s something we haven’t even thought to do with VR yet? Or maybe it’ll give me telekinetic powers. I’d be fine with that, too.</p><p> <strong>Evan: </strong>We expect so much from Valve, but it’s important to remember that all of Steam, Dota 2, CS:GO, TF2, this VR project, Steam Machines, SteamOS, and whatever else is happening inside the black box of a studio is being produced by about 300 people. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/assassins-creed-4-dev-team-simply-massive-at-900-people-game-director-says-multiple-worlds-unlikely/">900 people worked on Assassin’s Creed IV</a>. Not for the entire project, mind you, but that comparison hopefully gives some perspective: Valve isn’t a vast corporate behemoth.</p><p> My only hope for Valve’s project is that it doesn’t fragment the VR market too much. The last thing VR needs is a situation where anyone making a VR game needs to port it to multiple “platforms”&mdash;including <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/razer-osvr-interview-first-vr-consumer-product-will-be-a-peripheral/">Razer’s</a> open-source crack at it, too.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/maccguHQRTKo.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hH_tcjeUrJHh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Razer Osvr 2" class=""> <figcaption>Razer's Hacker Dev Kit for its Open Source VR initiative.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong>Chris L:</strong> As resident VR skeptic, what I want is for Valve to announce: “Look, VR is pretty silly and we all know it. The average consumer is never going to buy an expensive computer they have to strap to their face, especially since they’ll need to already have another expensive computer just to run it. Basically, the only reason we’re even working on VR is that we have some smart people at Valve that we don’t want to lose to Oculus. VR is just our version of free soda in the breakroom: it keeps our people happy.”</p><p> <strong>Tim: </strong>I think that for anyone worried that Facebook buying Oculus might lead to the tech re-routed into some sort of virtual shopping sensorium (or, more likely, tri-dimensional colleagues’ holiday photos stalking sim), Valve committing to its own VR hardware can only be good news. Valve knows games, (he said, in the most obvious sentence ever written on this site), and I have to assume that their version of VR will be purely focused on pure gaming experiences, and making it as easy as possible for developers to create those. The nagging doubt, of course, is that Valve knows hardware design a lot less than it does software, and our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/steam-controller-hands-on-at-gdc-2014/">initial impressions of the Steam controller</a> were underwhelming. But hey, Valve also knows plenty about waiting until something’s right. As we’ll hopefully see next week.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/3n45DbWMRA6f.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/CpT_Jcjyopfp.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Valve Vr Room Steam Dev Days" class=""><figcaption>Valve's VR room at Steam Dev Days. Image credit: RoadtoVR.</figcaption></figure><p> <strong>Wes:</strong> The latest Oculus Rift headset, Crescent Bay,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-crescent-bay-prototype-hands-on-experiencing-true-vr-presence-for-the-first-time/">is incredible</a>. But from people I’ve talked to who are in-the-know, the feeling of presence it creates, and the quality of the screen, are basically on par with the VR demo room <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-to-demo-vr-prototype-at-next-januarys-steam-dev-days-conference/">Valve showed off</a> more than a year ago. The big differences: Valve’s setup required a specially configured room, and was probably prohibitively expensive for a consumer headset. That’s Valve’s thing: it’s been researching VR hardware for years, but has said <a href="http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/01/report-valve-has-no-current-plans-to-release-its-own-vr-headset/">time and again it has no plans to sell it</a>.</p><p> I fully believe in the brainpower of Valve’s R&amp;D, but I have less faith in Valve’s business sense when it comes to hardware. They announced Steam Machines and the Steam controller, then bungled plans for a Steam Machine launch in 2014 and dramatically iterated on a controller prototype that just wasn’t right. What I want from SteamVR, more than anything, is for Valve to have a really good plan. Don’t announce it too early. Don’t show a sketchy prototype that turns out to be completely different hardware a year from now. Don’t try to corner exclusives for SteamVR, to the detriment of VR gaming at large. With a well-planned, confident hardware release that embraces the openness of the PC platform, SteamVR could be the final push virtual reality needs to reach critical mass. Make a mess of the release, and it takes VR just a little longer to take hold.</p> Origin's Omega home theater PC starts at $999http://www.pcgamer.com/origins-omega-home-theater-pc-starts-at-999/Origin's beefy home theater PCs are, as usual, extremely customizable.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/origins-omega-home-theater-pc-starts-at-999/HardwareNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Z4CfPbknSsm8.JPG" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c_j2kETQGOxz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Origin Omega"></p><p>Today Origin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.originpc.com/gaming/desktops/omega/">officially unveiled</a> their new line of living-room minded gaming PCs. The Origin Omega is designed with a minimalist home theater receiver aesthetic on the outside with the innards of a high-end gaming machine, starting at $999.</p><p>You may remember Origin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/origin-omega-is-a-gaming-beast-disguised-as-a-home-theater-receiver/">showing off</a> the Omega machine back at CES in January&mdash;the same machine the company originally designed for Valve's Steam Machines initiative. But rather than running the still-in-the-works SteamOS, the Omega is set to launch with&nbsp;Windows 7 and 8.1.</p><p>Hardware-wise, the machines are highly customizable. You&nbsp;can choose from a variety of home-theater PC cases, processors ranging from an Intel Pentium dual-core to a Core i7 4790K quad-core, and power supplies from 450 to 1050 Watts.&nbsp;&nbsp;Memory starts at 8GB (2x4GB) 1600Mhz and ranges up to 32GB (4x8GB) via Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133Mhz. Naturally, Origin's offering a serious range of mechanical, hybrid, and SSD storage options as well.</p><p>For graphics, the low end starts with a single 2GB Nvidia GTX 960 but can be configured for up to 12GB VRAM via a single 12GB GTX Titan Z, dual 6GB Titan Blacks, or 3x 4GB GTX 980s. That's a whole lot of power for the living room.</p><p>The case pictured above is one of Origin's beefier HTPC options, meant to conjure up the black boxy profile of a receiver. A couple of the other options, pictured below, are more compact, though they won't be able to hold three GTX 980s.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Uf8YIB-_QnaF.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_HuITMNr45VJ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Origin Silverstone Sg06bb Above Left"></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/45pJ3ploRPOM.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2htaktzAYQct.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Origin Silverstone Rvz01 Main Right Vert"></p> ESL announces $1 million prize pool for 2015 Dota 2 serieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/esl-announces-1-million-prize-pool-for-2015-dota-2-series/The ESL says it has quadrupled its investment in Dota 2 this year.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:25:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/esl-announces-1-million-prize-pool-for-2015-dota-2-series/Dota 2E-sportsESLMOBANews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AbC4v9OVRXiy.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pSCjyqueHa0g.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dota 2"></p><p>The ESL has announced a <a href="http://www.eslgaming.com/news/announcing-us1-million-prize-pool-esl-one-dota-2-series">$1 million prize pool</a> for the 2015 ESL One <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dota-2/">Dota 2</a> tournament series, which it says represents a quadrupling of its investment in the series last year.</p><p>"We’re starting with ESL One Frankfurt 2015 in June this year, where the prize money has been raised from US$150,000 to US$250,000 - and this is just the beginning," Ulrich Schulze, ESL's managing director of pro gaming, said in a statement. "ESL One is here to set a new standard for professional Dota 2 events at this level. We’re dedicated to pushing the boundaries, and giving players from around the world more chances to make their careers as professional gamers is a key aspect of that."</p><p>As <a href="http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/esl-announces-1m-prize-pool-for-2015-s-dota-2-series/0145655">MCV UK</a> pointed out, last year's Dota 2 series consisted of two events, in Frankfurt and New York. Assuming my math is correct, 2015 will see that number at least double, with tournaments set to take place "in some of the world's most iconic stadiums and arenas."</p><p>The news follows closely behind last week's announcement that the ESL will hold the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/esl-brings-worlds-largest-csgo-tournament-to-cologne-this-summer/">world's largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament</a> in Cologne, Germany, with its own $250,000 prize pool funded entirely by the ESL. I'd say it sounds like things are going pretty well over there.</p> Show Us Your Rig: Battle Royale modder Brendan Greenehttp://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-battle-royale-modder-brendan-greene/Brendan "PLAYERUNKNOWN" Greene shows us his fancy new peripherals along side some old school tech.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:42:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig-battle-royale-modder-brendan-greene/Arma 3H1Z1show us your rig <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GkcaTQblQZ6w.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Lkc1L852qAXh.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Brendan Greene 2"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Show us your rig</h5> <p> Each week&nbsp;on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/show-us-your-rig/" target="_blank">Show Us Your Rig</a>, we feature PC gaming's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play. </p> </div><p> Brendan Greene, creator of "PLAYERUNKNOWN's&nbsp;Battle Royale" mode for Arma 3 and H1Z1, has a modest rig but one with an air of old school cool about it. Then again, I don't think a GTX 770 really counts as old school, so maybe I'm just saying that because of the slight sepia filter and the&nbsp;Morse Key on his desk. I was lucky enough to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/battle-royale-modder-brendan-greene-on-his-official-h1z1-mode/" target="_blank">interview Greene</a> last month, and he&nbsp;was kind enough to take some time and show off where he does his modding.</p><h4> What's in your PC?</h4><p> I live by myself in a small village in Kildare, Ireland. I built this PC a few years ago while I was in Brazil and as such it is not the most powerful setup and I hope to upgrade soon, but for now it does the job.</p><ul> <li>CPU: Intel Core i5 @ 3.00GHz</li> <li>Storage: Corsair Force 3 SSD + a few external drives for storage</li> <li>RAM: 8GB Dual-Channel DDR3</li> <li>GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770</li> <li>Mouse: Razer Death Adder</li> <li>Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow Chroma</li> <li>Headphones: Logitech G35</li> <li>Monitors: 23" Samsung SyncMaster &amp; 22" HP Pavilion Monitors.</li></ul><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c9lRJqSpTN-G.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B1qDZLHyCnS0.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Brendan Greene 1"></p><p> I also have a Razor Blade I got while over in San Diego with Daybreak Games (SOE) and they also hooked me up with some nice peripherals which I badly needed.</p><h4> What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?</h4><p> Interesting? Well I do have a Vibroplex "Lightning Bug" Morse Key which I love. I have a soft spot for old tech like that. I also have an old leather sampler as my mouse pad.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5Twz6HIvROaC.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DiyHLbnrGC3U.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Brendan Greene 3"></p><h4> What's always within arm's reach on your desk?</h4><p> A notepad and a cup for tea. Both are very useful things when trying to figure out problems.</p><h4> What are you playing right now?</h4><p> H1Z1, Arma 3: KotH, and Next Car Game: Wreckfest.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/eqTEa_m2Ryqd.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/s_k3Pymm3qLX.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Show Us Your Rig Brendan Greene 5"></p><h4> What's your favorite game and why?</h4><p> Delta Force: Black Hawk Down Multiplayer. I loved that game as it had so many intense modes, player created maps,&nbsp;and what really got me hooked was that you had to learn to zero correctly as it had actual bullet physics.</p> Intel Skylake processors reportedly delayed until late Augusthttp://www.pcgamer.com/intel-skylake-processors-reportedly-delayed-until-late-august/Intel's next major processor release may be delayed until fall, to make room for Broadwell's release this summer.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:36:02 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-skylake-processors-reportedly-delayed-until-late-august/HardwareIntelNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1On7aRWET-ig.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RRnHJ7t0bFS5.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Intel Skylake"></p><p>Intel has reportedly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20150216PD207.html">delayed</a> its upcoming 14nm Skylake desktop CPUs to the end of August, according to sources speaking to Digitimes.</p><p>The CPUs and their corresponding 100-series chipsets were originally set to launch in the second quarter of 2015, following Intel's normal release schedule, but sources in Taiwan's motherboard industry say we won't see them until later than that. The delay will also affect production and shipment plans of the Haswell Refresh and Broadwell-U series, and could also affect other Broadwell models featuring a 65W TDP.</p><p>The report of the delay, if it's accurate, is disappointing. But it's not surprising. Due to delays to Intel's Broadwell platform (specifically, the desktop processors), Skylake was going to release nearly simultaneously.&nbsp;Even as recently as January, reports said&nbsp;Skylake wouldn't be delayed, but it makes far more sense for Intel to space the two platform launches out by several months.</p><p>Unfortunately this means that PC makers won't get their hands on the chip in time to have Skylake-based models ready to show off at Computex 2015 in June, when we&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-broadwell-cpus-arrive-but-youll-have-to-wait-for-gaming-chips/">previously expected</a> to first see Skylake machines in the wild. This could potentially affect PC sales in the second half of 2015, but could also be a move to encourage people to upgrade to Broadwell now, rather than skipping a generation and waiting for Skylake.</p><p>Following Intel's typical pattern, Broadwell is the smaller "tick" upgrade, while Skylake will be a more substantial "tock" architecture change.</p> Homeworld Remastered launch trailer is surprisingly danceablehttp://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-launch-trailer-is-surprisingly-danceable/The Homeworld 2 story trailer is in here too.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:27:26 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-launch-trailer-is-surprisingly-danceable/Gearbox SoftwareHomeworld RemasteredNewsRTS <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4q4aSVddNHk?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"> </iframe><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered/">Homeworld Remastered</a> comes out tomorrow, but the Homeworld Remastered launch trailer is here today. It's a bit different than the trailers that have come before it. Can you figure out why?</p><p> I'll give you a hint: <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-story-trailer-sets-up-an-epic-journey-home/">Watch this</a>, or, more precisely, listen to it. That's the original Homeworld music playing in the background, simultaneously understated and epic, and it's a huge part of what made the game so iconic. So I can't help wondering why someone decided to change it for this trailer. Several YouTube commenters have asked the same question, while others have pointed out that this is a 15-year-old game, and there's a potentially huge new audience out there that isn't quite so hung up on Adagio for Strings.</p><p> In any event, the 4K visual upgrade certainly looks fantastic, the score has been remastered&mdash;thankfully, this trailer notwithstanding, the original soundtrack remains in place&mdash;and there are "new, high-fidelity voice recordings by the original actors" as well. Hard to go wrong with that.</p><p> And since we're talking about Homeworld trailers anyway, here's the story trailer for Homeworld 2, which is also included in the Homeworld Remastered collection. I've always thought that Homeworld 2 suffered in comparison to the original&mdash;after all, how do you top a galaxy-spanning quest to reclaim your ancient homeworld from the clutches of an evil interstellar empire?&mdash;but inherent narrative weaknesses aside, it's still a pretty good way to bang mighty battle fleets together in three-dimensional space.&nbsp;Homeworld Remastered hits <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/244160/">Steam</a> on February 25.</p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JH8ETGPXBO4?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe> GTA 5 screenshots show online heist action http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-screenshots-show-online-heist-action/Tasty four-player co-op action on show.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:42:34 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-screenshots-show-online-heist-action/ActionGTA 5News Hunger Games, Mad Men studio partners with Telltalehttp://www.pcgamer.com/hunger-games-mad-men-studio-partners-with-telltale/Don Draper will remember that.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 16:01:08 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/hunger-games-mad-men-studio-partners-with-telltale/AdventureNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jZRrve-iT9CJ.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/rhZkZztr6z06.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Mad Men 1"></p><p>Film and telly producers Lionsgate announce that they've made "significant investment" in Telltale games, with&nbsp;CEO Jon Feltheimer joining Telltale's board of directors.</p><p>They say the partnership will allow both parties to&nbsp;"explore opportunities to co-develop existing and original IP into episodic games and television".</p><p>That means we'll likely see episodic adventure&nbsp;games based on Lionsgate's hot properties, which include the Hunger Games films and Mad Men. A few fans on the PCG crew&nbsp;relish the idea of roleplaying a terrifying Kelsey Grammer in an interactive Boss spinoff, but we'll be waiting a long time for that one. They're also linked to the Saw horror series, Orange is the new Black&nbsp;and, of course,&nbsp;Paris Hilton's my new BFF.</p><p>Interesting times for Telltale.&nbsp;Press release quotes from Peter Levin,&nbsp;Lionsgate's president of interactive ventures and games suggest that "the convergence between premium filmed entertainment brands and original game properties is a natural direction in which to continue diversifying our content business." Stop it Peter you don't know what you're doing to me.</p><p>My mind's already whirling with Lionsgate/Telltale game pitches. What do you think they should do first?</p> GTA 5 delayed again on PChttp://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-delayed-again-on-pc/Rockstar's gangster epic pushed back again on PC.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:36:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/gta-5-delayed-again-on-pc/ActionGrand Theft Auto VNewsRockstar <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OarhrbBIT7mJ.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xshTuXXHPBh6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GTA 5 pc 2"></p><p>Grand Theft Auto 5's release date has been rejigged from March&nbsp;24 to April 14 according to a new update on Rockstar's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockstargames.com/newswire/article/52394/gtav-updates-online-heists-coming-march-10-gtav-for-pc">Newswire</a>. That's the second delay in six weeks.</p><p>"Our apologies to PC gamers worldwide who have been counting down the days until the launch of the game," says the official statement, "but a bit more time is needed to ensure that the game is as polished as possible, and to make certain that both Heists and the GTA Online experience are ready to roll out on day one for PC."</p><p>It sounds like we should expect a few bugs and connection issues when the game finally appears. "As always, we ask for the GTA PC community’s understanding and assistance in helping to report any concerns during the early days of launch when those inevitable initial teething issues arise on the new platform."</p><p>Tough news for fans waiting for the definitive, most graphically polished edition of the game, but you can always ease the pain by turning your copy of GTA 4 into GTA 5&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-gta-5-mods-for-gta-4/">with these nifty mod</a>s. If that's not enough, check out a the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/10-games-to-play-while-you-wait-for-gta-5/">10 games to play while waiting for GTA 5</a>, and Andy's thoughts about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-grand-theft-auto-v-will-be-best-on-pc/">why GTA 5 will be best on PC</a>.</p> Dreamfall Chapters Book Two trailer thickens plothttp://www.pcgamer.com/dreamfall-chapters-book-two-trailer-thickens-plot/Enjoy a sneak peak of "book" two, the second part of Dreamfall's episodic run.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:53:22 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/dreamfall-chapters-book-two-trailer-thickens-plot/AdventureDreamfall ChaptersNews <p> Episode two of the new Kickstarted Dreamfall series of adventure games will be here on March 10, which gives us plenty of time to mull over the events of today's teaser trailer, in which a man is punched, an arrow is caught mid-flight and clothes are forgotten in an awkward meeting between Zoe and a giant elderly&nbsp;frog man.</p><p>Episode two introduces a new city called Marcuria and continues the dual stories of Kian and Zoe as they puzzle their way through their respective realities, one set in a fantasy world full of men shooting arrows, and another set in a glowing cyberpunk future.</p><p>For analysis on Book One's attempt to bring back this much-loved series, check out Richard Cobbett's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dreamfall-chapters-a-stark-contrast-with-cyberpunk/">Critical Paths</a> piece.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nCASIJTJddw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Crowfall preview: an MMO you can win, again and againhttp://www.pcgamer.com/crowfall-preview-an-mmo-you-can-win-again-and-again/Veteran MMO creators join up to build their PvP dream universe.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/crowfall-preview-an-mmo-you-can-win-again-and-again/CrowfallMMO <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EVr7zN2fQ5Cd.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Hb4_rB_1_8TR.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall TemplarPreview"></p><p> The big idea behind Crowfall is something typically antithetical to MMO design: victory. In most&nbsp;MMOs&mdash;say, PlanetSide 2&mdash;you keep fighting on and on forever, or at least until the servers shutter one day. But by embracing impermanence, Crowfall’s PvP battles will end, and there will be winners. And when they're over,&nbsp;they'll&nbsp;start all over again on new worlds.</p><p> The MMO (which is&nbsp;<a href="http://crowfall.com/#/kickstarter" target="_blank">on Kickstarter as of today</a>)&nbsp;is being designed by ArtCraft Entertainment, a studio founded by J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton, whose collective credits (among others)&nbsp;include Ultima Online, Shadowbane,&nbsp;Star Wars: Galaxies, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. So, they know something about MMOs, and my interest was also piqued by the person who brought them to my attention. In 2012, long-time games industry PR professional David Swofford brought Chris Roberts by the office to show me a prototype of Star Citizen, and then in 2013 he showed up with Richard “Lord British” Garriott and Shroud of the Avatar. So when he arrived last week with Coleman and Walton, I expected to see something interesting.</p><p> There’s really more to hear than see, though. On Walton’s hefty gaming laptop, Coleman shows me a prototype of&nbsp;Crowfall, and I can mostly only say that I like the art style, which he describes as “a&nbsp;Dota 2-style take on a Game of Thrones universe” and “like&nbsp;high-quality resin toys.” The knight he's controlling looks strong,&nbsp;heavy, and nicely stylized as he demonstrates the physics system by bashing skeletons around. So, I get the&nbsp;gist: this is a good-looking fantasy MMO in a fantasy MMO world.</p><p> But that's&nbsp;just my impression of a&nbsp;character wandering alone in a prototype, and hardly the most interesting thing I can say&nbsp;about Crowfall. We spend most of our time talking about what Crowfall <em>will</em> be, and it feels a lot like the first time Roberts showed me Star Citizen: I saw some neat-looking spaceships, but the bulk of the pitch&nbsp;was this big, ethereal cloud of exciting possibilities.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bkuzcRR6R9eo.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/B2UcJtZq6QFe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall C1Gameplay"></p><h2>Dying worlds</h2><p> Off to imagination-land then, where Coleman tells me that Crowfall’s design comes from a problem he identified in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowbane">Shadowbane</a>, which he worked on back at Wolfpack Studios.</p><p> “What would happen with Shadowbane, and is actually typical of strategy games, is that over time, somebody wins,” says Coleman. “And once somebody’s won, the game’s not fun anymore. New people that come in get crushed instantly, old people that come back can’t get a leg up, and so you’ve got the one guy or group who’s sitting on top of the world, and they basically&mdash;human nature&mdash;they crush everybody new that comes in until people stop coming in, and then they get bored and they leave too.”</p><blockquote>Once somebody’s won, the game’s not fun anymore.</blockquote><p> The solution, says Coleman, is “eternal heroes, dying worlds.” Crowfall will include permanent home worlds&mdash;sort of building, socializing, PvE lands&mdash;but the big rewards will be earned by joining campaigns on fresh, procedurally-generated continents and battling for victory. And when one of these campaigns is over (there will be multiple types and win conditions), it’s over and done. The pocked landscape&mdash;which will be buildable and destructible through Voxel Tree tech&mdash;will be retired, the winners will reap their rewards, and everyone will set out on the next adventure.</p><p> There will be lots of campaigns running at the same time, and multiple campaign rulesets (such as the Bloodstone campaign I describe below). At the highest level, campaigns will be grouped by team structure. Faction campaigns will pit the three factions, Order, Balance, and Chaos, against each other, while another campaign type&nbsp;will divide players into 12 teams by their deity of choice, and guild-based campaigns will allow players to self-organize. We also discussed the Dregs, where dangerous free-for-all campaigns will be housed.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/W7mrfzQAS96J.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/UQ6Vtb6wTdIj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall WorldRules 3" class=""><figcaption>The worlds will be divided into rings which represent the campaign&nbsp;team composition and difficulty.</figcaption></figure><p> Unlike the faction warfare of games like Dark Age of Camelot or PlanetSide, which Coleman describes as “tug-of-wars,” each campaign will have a clear victory condition. One campaign might last three months, and the winning team is whichever holds the most territory at the end. Another might have no time limit, ending only when one team has amassed enough “Victory Points” through some action defined by the ruleset.</p><h2>The Bloodstone ruleset</h2><p> Coleman and Walton offered me the first (subject to change) details on one of these rulesets&nbsp;in the form of a comprehensive FAQ, which I’ll share the main points of here. This hypothetical campaign is a faction-based campaign, so the teams are Order, Balance, and Chaos. It lasts three months, and both Order and Chaos are fighting to amass the most Victory Points (VPs) before it ends, while Balance seeks to end the campaign with Order and Chaos having as close to an even number of VPs as possible.</p><p> In the Bloodstone ruleset, VPs are acquired by escorting Bloodstones to their randomized target destinations and sacrificing them to the Gods. Bloodstones are created by Bloodstone trees (of course they are), which, once planted, cannot be moved&mdash;but they can be destroyed. Each tree has a cycle timer which triggers protected and unprotected states. During the protected state, the tree and any defenses built around it are safe, but when the tree is unprotected the fortress and tree can be sieged and destroyed. It’s during this unprotected period that the tree spawns Bloodstones, which immediately begin to decay. So, in the midst of a vulnerability, the most valuable item in the campaign must be scooped up, protected, and delivered to its destination.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/oHkus9b-TnSi.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y-rz-xrPxJsn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall ResourceMapConcept" class=""> <figcaption>A conceptual campaign map.</figcaption></figure><p> There are a lot of fun-sounding roles to play here: You have the building game, where players are transporting raw materials from quarries and building fortresses to keep out intruders. Then you have the siege game, where armies gather to kick over those fortresses and attack the Trees (they drop even more Bloodstones when destroyed). And then you have all the little treacherous journeys, where small bands are entrusted to deliver and sacrifice Bloodstones while gangs hiding in the forests try to ambush them.</p><p>How well it all&nbsp;works when it's full of players is yet to be seen. Right now, ArtCraft is working on Crowfall’s core systems&mdash;what they refer to as the “deck of cards”&mdash;which include the basics like character animation and&nbsp;movement, world&nbsp;generation, combat, and skills. To use their metaphor, the campaigns will be the games you can play with that deck of cards, and they may come in all kinds of varieties.&nbsp;</p><blockquote>It gives us the ability to make mistakes, and enjoy those mistakes.</blockquote><p>Not even these Bloodstone&nbsp;details are finalized, but for as long as Crowfall&nbsp;runs, the rulesets&nbsp;never really will be. Coleman and Walton are excited at the opportunity to iterate. If one campaign doesn’t work, they can tweak it or retire it and try something else. If one class or item is overpowered, the hope is that it’ll become a funny story to tell 10 campaigns later, where the imbalance has long since been corrected. “It gives us the ability to make mistakes, and enjoy those mistakes,” says Coleman, “And have those mistakes come to a natural expiration without having to walk in with a Nerf stick and hit everything.”</p><p> I fear that even one three-month campaign with a fatal flaw could turn some players off, even if they know it'll be fixed in the next one, but the impermanence does give ArtCraft the opportunity to analyze player behavior and eventually hone the campaigns into their ideal selves. So if all goes well, Crowfall&nbsp;should only get better, instead of staler, with time.&nbsp;The fallout of mistakes is also contained by a passive training system, à la Eve Online. Exploiting a design flaw isn’t going to let anyone train up faster than anyone else, it may just offset the balance of a specific set of campaigns until it's fixed.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pJl2J8zPQAei.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-XiPYhY6O_Dt.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall Ass1Gameplay12"></p><h2>20 questions</h2><p> As with any MMO, there are a ton more questions to ask. How will crafting work? They say it will be important, and the economy will be truly player-run. How will combat work? The physics model is meant to ensure that it’s not of the ‘standing still clipping through a monster’ variety, and as of now it’ll require some skill with&nbsp;targeting and&nbsp;active dodges. Will there be permadeath? A character can’t be killed off, but there could be a campaign ruleset that gives you only one life before booting you out. Can you play solo? You can try, but it sounds like the fun is meant to come from group PvP warfare, not lone-wolf PvE grinding&mdash;and grinding isn't really an issue anyway with the passive skill training.</p><p> And then there’s that one big question: will it be free-to-play? No. A lot hasn't been nailed down, but&nbsp;Coleman and Walton seem certain about this: it will be pay-to-play, with an optional subscription. It isn’t worked out exactly what the subscription will do, but one idea is that it will allow you to passively train all three of your characters simultaneously rather than one at a time. It will also be possible to trade or gift subscriptions to other players.</p><iframe src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/PettyClearcutFlyinglemur" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="702" height="356" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);"> </iframe><p> Crowfall&nbsp;<em>will&nbsp;</em>be crowdfunded, though, and&nbsp;<a href="http://crowfall.com/#/kickstarter" target="_blank">its Kickstarter campaign is running now</a>&mdash;though they've already spent money setting up the company and prototype. That funding came&nbsp;from themselves, "friends and&nbsp;family," and&nbsp;"strategic investors," and it&nbsp;sounds possible that additional funding may be sought. "If it doesn't work&mdash;if the Kickstarter campaign&nbsp;just isn't that interesting to a lot of people&mdash;we have a background of raising money for games," says Coleman. "But we really don't want to, because the inevitable pressure to widen the funnel will be there if we start taking money from other people. We'll be right back in that same situation where somebody will want a spreadsheet and say, 'Well these numbers look good, but they could look really&nbsp;great if you started to change the design to do X,Y, and Z.'"</p><p>MMOs <em>are</em> expensive, though, and I think Coleman and Walton are a little mad for attempting one at all, but as our conversation turns toward traditional publishing and <em>that one MMO</em>, it’s pretty apparent why so many experienced designers&nbsp;want to build MMOs outside the traditional publisher/developer system.</p><p>Talking about the days when World of Warcraft took off, Coleman reminisces:&nbsp;“If you were to go into a pitch meeting and say, ‘Hey, I want to make an MMO,’ then the standard question they ask you is, ‘Well, how are you going to do compared to WoW? What percentage of the WoW playerbase are you going to have?’&nbsp;And if you’re having to pitch WoW-like numbers, the best way to make it sound like you can achieve that is to borrow heavily, or clone.”</p><blockquote>We don’t need to be WoW. We don’t even need to be a tiny part of WoW.</blockquote><p> “We don’t want to take anything away from WoW,” adds Walton. “WoW’s awesome for what it is&mdash;the very first time I played it in beta I went ‘Oh shit, this is going to change the whole thing.’ But it doesn’t mean there’s not other niches. We don’t need to be WoW. We don’t even need to be a tiny part of WoW. We’re looking for customers who want the kind of thing we’re building. We don’t expect or actually want 50% of the WoW players to come. All they would do is torture us to change the game to make it like WoW and we would not like that.”</p><p> “It would take everything that’s special about our game and strip it away,” says Coleman. “It’s a great game, but it doesn’t have to be the only game.”</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WfxWlMdKQtqg.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/JC4goFzzkpyj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crowfall D1Gameplay" class=""> <figcaption>Even if I knew nothing about Crowfall, I'd know I desperately want to play as this guy.&nbsp;</figcaption></figure><p> I appreciate the sentiment, because I’m also&nbsp;tired of games that say they <em>definitely</em> aren’t going to be anything like WoW but then are actually&nbsp;quite a bit like WoW. But all of this interesting talk is still just interesting talk, and I have to be a little skeptical of any crowdfunded MMO. I am encouraged by the creators’ experience and their prototype, though. I saw a game with animations and worlds and physics and combat, as well as some basic voxel&nbsp;building tools, so they're not going into this Kickstarter campaign&nbsp;with only&nbsp;dreams and concept art.</p><p> Still,&nbsp;we’ve all started to learn pretty well how expensive and long a saga MMO development is. Even if Crowfall exceeds its Kickstater goal or&nbsp;acquires additional funding, I'm curious to see how long it takes to get this deck of cards ready for a deal. (Sometime before Star Citizen releases, maybe?)&nbsp;</p> Sword Coast Legends dev on adapting 5th edition D&Dhttp://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-dev-on-adapting-5th-edition-dd/N-Space president Dan Tudge talks about what's different overthe old DD cRPGs.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 11:22:06 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-dev-on-adapting-5th-edition-dd/NewsRPGSword Coast Legends <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ApLsUKTxSIqz.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LsnIS3TuhbId.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sword Coast Legends"></p><p>Where Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale used AD&amp;D 2nd edition, and Icewind Dale 2 and Neverwinter used 3rd edition, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sword-coast-legends-is-a-dd-rpg-due-later-this-year/" target="_blank">upcoming Sword Coasts Legends</a> is based on Dungeon &amp; Dragons' latest&nbsp;5th edition ruleset. What does that mean for (c)RPG&nbsp;players planning a return to the Forgotten Realms?</p><p>Dan Tudge, president of Sword Coast Legends developer N-Space, explains. "I played the first AD&amp;D, the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons," Tudge tells PC Gamer's&nbsp;Dan Griliopoulos.&nbsp;"For&nbsp;me I think fifth is the first time that they've really captured that original set of rules. Ease of use is the wrong word, because it is very, very deep, but it is accessible and it swings the focus back to adventuring rather than being all about the rules. It's about having fun and having a great adventure, which is why I got into D&amp;D."</p><p>While there are specific things that need changing&nbsp;for Sword Coast Legends, Tudge thinks the new ruleset lends itself well to adaptation.&nbsp;"There's things that just don't translate from a six second round on the table top to a real time practical RPG, he says.&nbsp;"We've had to make some adaptations, but I think that's one thing that's really great about the fifth edition rules. They are almost more about the spirit of D&amp;D, and the spirit of playing a great adventure with your friends. So it's actually been a very good rule set to adapt."</p><p>According to Tudge, the benefit of fifth edition is that players have more to do in combat. "It's been balanced in a way where you do a lot more hitting ... The fights don't end any quicker or any worse, but it's balanced in such a way that everybody still gets to have a lot more fun, because they're hitting more and wizards and casters are doing a lot more hitting. They're not limited to one or two things per encounter. And I think that's made it way more enjoyable for groups to play."</p><p>In addition, Tudge says, racial specialisations now offer more variety. "You&nbsp;get some really interesting variations of other classes now based on race," he says. "That, to me, is pretty cool. So now you can also have a cleric that can do some range damage and keep out of the fight and doesn't have to go in and tank. I think there's a lot more freedom now to really create the kind of character you want and it's very well-balanced within each other."</p><p>Sword Coast Legends will offer a full single-player campaign, as well as a Dungeon Master mode that will let players create dungeons on the fly, or pre-prepare full campaigns. For more from this interview, check out the next issue of PC Gamer, out 12 March in the UK.</p> Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide preview: Building a better mouse traphttp://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-end-times-vermintide-preview-building-a-better-mouse-trap/The end isn’t nigh in the Warhammer universe. It’s well underway.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 07:59:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warhammer-end-times-vermintide-preview-building-a-better-mouse-trap/Co-opFPSWarhammer: End Times – Vermintide <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ngUI_kTRRcSN.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GYU77S7mry-V.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Exclusive_Fatshark_PC Gamer USA_002_2015-01-20" class=""> <figcaption>"Man, what do they put into the cheese around here?"</figcaption></figure><p> The end isn’t nigh in the Warhammer universe. It’s well underway.</p><p> Here’s the Cliffs Notes: a ritual has awoken&nbsp; <a href="http://www.games-workshop.com/en-DK/Nagash">Nagash</a>, the world’s first necromancer, progenitor of vampires, and Supreme Lord of the Undead, and he’s grumpy after his nap. A full, poison-green moon is carting along the sky, a beacon of capital-c Chaos. Hordes of vicious, intelligent ratmen known as Skaven swarm the Empire’s cities. Even for a world mostly populated by monsters that’s perpetually in war, it’s been a hell of a week.</p><p> Roll all this bad stuff together and you’ve got&nbsp; <a href="http://www.blacklibrary.com/Warhammer/warhammer-the-end-times">The End Times</a>, an event currently playing out in Warhammer’s fiction, and the grim background for Swedish studio&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fatsharkgames.com/">Fatshark</a>’s biggest game ever,&nbsp;<a href="http://vermintide.com/">Vermintide</a>.</p><h3>The perfect pests</h3><p> Fatshark’s pitch is simple but interesting: Left 4 Dead: Warhammer. Vermintide is a four-player, cooperative FPS that intermingles melee and gunplay, and the Skaven, those pesky ratmen, are stand-ins for the undead. There’s an AI director pulling the strings in the background, procedurally populating levels with new threats. A finale caps off each level. Several types of “Elite Skaven,” including a roided-out rodent equivalent to L4D’s Tank, seen above,&nbsp;challenge you alongside hordes of basic rats.</p><p> The parallels to Valve and Turtle Rock’s zombie co-op classic are anything but blurry. But my visit to Fatshark’s Stockholm office, making me one of the first in the world to see Vermintide, reassured me that the similarities are coming from a place of reverence for Valve’s series.</p><p> “We love Left 4 Dead. From the get go we wanted to do a game ‘in the genre’ of Left 4 Dead, in their interpretation of cooperation.” Victor Magnuson, one of the designers, tells me. “The only way to really do it is to take the approach where if you go off alone, you’re in bad shape, you can’t survive on your own,” Magnuson says.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/83DaxEaJQNCz.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/6_dkVXu-xInr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fatshark Press Screenshot 017 2015-01-20" class=""> <figcaption>Danish composer Jesper Kyd (Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed) will do the music.</figcaption></figure><p> Enter the Skaven. Although they play a similar role to L4D’s zeds&mdash;crowds of lesser enemies meant to slow your progress and make you feel tough&mdash;Fatshark is embracing their decades of Warhammer lore and personality. “They are relentless, swarmlike, and power-hungry. They are a backstabbing, scheming, really nasty group of characters,” says Magnuson. “Also, there are so many of them, which makes them the perfect enemy for a co-op game. We feel like it’s really important that you’re up against impossible odds at all times so you really need to cooperate.”</p><blockquote> The ragdoll is expressive, generous, and funny, just as it should be. </blockquote><p> The Skaven are anything but the Level 1 rats that decades of RPG heroes have dulled their swords on. The basic ones carry long knives and spears and spawn in packs of seven or eight in the current pre-alpha build. They have little variations in their clothing and fur. I watch a two-handed warhammer parry two Skaven thrusts, then knock one of the grunts on his back before stamping its pointy little head into mist. The corpse flops against the cobblestone&mdash;the ragdoll is expressive, generous, and funny, just as it should be. Dismemberment is still being implemented, but I grin when Fatshark mentions that tails will eventually be among the choppable appendages.</p><p> Every point of detail counts on these basic enemies. They’re the bread and butter of Vermintide, and the fun of clobbering them can’t erode too much over the hundreds of hours many players will invest. Vermintide’s pawns need to to be as polished as its rodent knights and bishops.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BCUhlVqYQXKJ.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u4C5QyFVu6yP.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fatshark Press Screenshot 011 2015-01-20" class=""><figcaption>Vermintide’s lobby system is a tavern level that players can mill about in while they wait.</figcaption></figure><h3>Rat royalty</h3><p> A handful of “Elite Skaven” comprise that higher tier, and Fatshark’s demo brings us steel-to-whiskers with several of them. Like Left 4 Dead’s family of special infected, these enemies each bring a single, deadly ability to the battle. The Ratling Gunner lugs around a massive rotary gun, chasing one player relentlessly before spinning up its cannon and unleashing a hail of bullets. Life is cheap to the Skaven, though, so the gunner won’t hesitate to mow through his kin to get to you. That can be used to your advantage, Fatshark claims&mdash;depending on the level layout, you may be able to trick the gunner into cutting down groups of lesser Skaven.</p><p> The Packmaster, on paper, is less intimidating. Mechanically, he’s the rodent cousin of Left 4 Dead 2’s Jockey. He carries a long yoke that works a bit like one of the hooked canes vaudevillians used to yoink boring acts off stage, but again, the lay of the level changes his effectiveness. At one point I watched players ascend higher into the city by stepping into an elevator cage one at a time. When a hero outside the elevator got pulled away by a Packmaster, the elevated teammate could only watch from behind bars as his friend was noosed, then pulled backward through the level.</p><p> There’s also the Rat Ogre, the unignorable mighty mouse in Vermintide's screenshots. Like the Tank in L4D, you have to tackle him together. “The best tactic will be to have one player draw its attention, using blocks and dodges to avoid taking damage. While that player will not be able to deal any significant damage to the creature, the rest of the team will be able to focus the Rat Ogre down while it is distracted,” Magnuson says.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GT3Ki0-iRaOQ.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SWBmoLnQlrz7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fatshark Press Screenshot 003 2015-01-20" class=""><figcaption>Despite the fantasy setting, ballistics and melee seem like they'll play equal roles.</figcaption></figure><p> Together, Fatshark says it wants players “to feel like you’re the Fellowship of the Ring going through Moria. There’s a lot of these easy enemies who make you feel really empowered, and suddenly something shows up that’s too powerful for you. They are heroes, but there are threats out there that are greater than you, says Martin Wahlund, one of Fatshark’s co-founders.</p><p> The biggest of those threats that Fatshark revealed is the Stormvermin Patrol, a sort of Skaven Navy Seals. “You don’t want to mess with these guys,” Magnuson says. “You’ll be hearing them coming, so they’re easy to avoid, and that’s actually what you should do. If you attack these guys, chances are really good that they’re gonna kill you.” Fatshark wants to put players in situations where someone may need to sacrifice themselves in order for everyone else to hide and survive. I like that there’s an enemy that you shouldn’t (but can) fight&mdash;running and hiding will hopefully break up Vermintide’s steady action.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zYggxSCETtK3.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/u8ksPohzQaMi.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Lead Team_001" class=""> <figcaption>Pied Pipers:&nbsp;Anders De Geer, Mårten Stormdal, and Martin Wahlund pose with Warhammer figures painted by the Fatshark team.</figcaption></figure><h3>The exterminators</h3><p> Fatshark likes Left 4 Dead’s template, but I’m happy to learn that its symmetrical characters aren't being borrowed. Vermintide’s five playable heroes are mechanically unique, although they aren’t classes per se. Above all, Fatshark wants to avoid slotting players into archetypal fantasy roles. “There’s no healers or tanks,” Magnuson says, but each hero will have a roster of weapons to pick from to tune their fighting style. You may equip a sword and shield, allowing you to push or stun Skaven and block more, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be the designated damage-absorber of the team.</p><p> A progression system unlocks these new weapons over time. And interestingly, you’ll be able to increase your chances of earning better weapons by completing difficult optional tasks during a mission, like by killing a special Skaven. Likewise, one end-of-level finale forces you to gather sacks from a large area and load them into a cart before completing the level. Recover more than the minimum amount, though, and you’ll earn an extra loot die to roll at the end of the match.</p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Sienna Feugonasus</h5> <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/abCRcrxCSZWA.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xTpFCFI7T2_v.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Concept_Bright Wizard" style="background-color: initial;"> </p> </div><p> Of the five heroes, Fatshark revealed two: Sienna Feugonasus, a Bright Wizard, and Victor Saltzpyre, the Witch Hunter, who can carry a rapier and dual pistols. The Witch Hunter is built for agile, precision combat, for eliminating specific enemies with a lunge attack or pistol burst. Sienna is wilder. “She’s a crazy old lady who’s obsessed with area-of-effect fire damage,” says Liam O’Neill. “Rather than having a typical mana or ammunition system, she has an overheating system. When you use fire magic, if you use too much in a short amount of time, you’ll start setting yourself ablaze.” Play too aggressively, O’Neill says, and you’ll immolate&nbsp;yourself to death.</p><p> Fatshark’s expression of Warhammer’s world has a good chance of being an interesting character in and of itself. Every piece of stone and wood is slightly askew, as if hurriedly constructed. An underground tunnel level is a lovely mess of random pipes and construction, curved walls and labyrinthine holes that’s more beaver dam than symmetrical sewer. The tunnels terminate at a raised shrine that the Skaven have erected, connected by a thin bridge. Here, as a finale event, you have to set explosives at the shrine (without being nudged off the tiny ledge by Skaven), then escape back through the tunnels Indiana Jones-style as everything behind you falls apart.</p><p> Vermintide has the makings of a memorable co-op game. Left 4 Dead is a great north star to follow, and on Fatshark’s side is its experience with multiplayer melee systems (<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/war-of-the-roses/">War of the Roses</a>/<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/war-of-the-vikings-review/">Vikings</a>), and the freedom it’s gaining from self-publishing the game. Most encouraging of all, though, is its unquestionably genuine love of its source material. “Warhammer runs through our DNA. It’s part of our bloodstream. The core guys here at Fatshark are true Warhammer fans,” Magnuson tells me. Mårten Stormdal, producer on the project, is a 15-year veteran player (and roleplayer) who owns hundreds of models. Anders De Geer, Fatshark director, sold Stormdal his first army, a Vampire Counts set. “It’s the game we’ve always wanted to make,” says Wahlund.</p> Closed-loop liquid cooler roundup: 8 coolers reviewedhttp://www.pcgamer.com/closed-loop-liquid-cooler-roundup-8-coolers-reviewed/Find the ideal watery companion for your CPU.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 04:17:36 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/closed-loop-liquid-cooler-roundup-8-coolers-reviewed/AntecCooler MasterCorsairHardwareThermaltakeWatercoolingZalman <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LU_rBvzpTna4.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zulGIREvz3to.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.zalman reserator3" style="background-color: initial;"></p><p> From supercomputers to servers to gaming PCs, water-cooling has come so far it’s changed from being a dangerous, unfamiliar technology to something you can now drop into your home PC in about half an hour.</p><p> We’ve picked a selection of the latest watery chip-chillers to help you decide which is the best one to clamp onto your gaming PC’s processor. But first, if you're not familiar with water cooling, here's what you need to know.</p><p>Want to jump straight to the tests?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/closed-loop-liquid-cooler-roundup-8-coolers-reviewed/#page-2">Jump to page two.</a></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">Terms to know</h5> <p> <strong>Closed-loop:</strong> The factory assembled closed-loop cooler means that it’s sealed before it comes to you and requires little maintenance to keep running. It also however mean you can’t add in secondary loops at a later date, cooling your graphics card, for example. </p> <p> <strong>Active air-cooling:</strong> This simply means a CPU cooler with a spinning fan pushing air across an attached heatsinks to aid cooling. Passive air-cooling just uses a heatsink on its own without a fan, relying on chassis airflow alone. </p> <p> <strong>Radiator:</strong> The water-block attached to the CPU transfers heat into the coolant which is then pumped into the radiator. Here that heat is drawn out of the liquid and dispersed through the thin fins attached to it, allowing the chilled coolant to be looped back around to the CPU’s water-block again. </p> </div><p> <strong>Why would I take the risk of sticking liquid inside my PC?</strong></p><p> There are inherent risks to putting a water-cooling array inside your computer, but those generally come from the open-loop, bespoke setups you have to put together, seal and fill yourself. The closed-loop coolers we’re looking at here have all been factory-sealed and, barring catastrophic design/manufacturing flaws, shouldn’t drip anything into your rig.</p><p> But is water cooling worth it? Well,&nbsp;water is a better thermal conductor than the air traditional fans use to shift heat away from their heatsinks. That means you don’t get such a buildup of heat around your sensitive CPU and the heart of your PC wont get quite so stressed.</p><p> <strong>So a water-cooler will keep my processor cooler than an active air-cooler?</strong></p><p> Sometimes, but not always. The purpose of liquid-cooling your processor is not always about getting it running colder, although that can happen. An expensive, high-end air-cooler may be just as capable as a closed-loop water-cooler at maintaining a cool operational temperature for your CPU. What a liquid-chiller <em>can</em> do, though, is bring the CPU back down from its peak temperature far more quickly than an air cooler can.</p><p> That means you can get an overclocked chip down from a peak of 70°C back to its 36°C idle temperature in less than ten seconds rather than ten minutes. When you’re talking about overclocked CPUs especially, that can seriously extend the working life of your expensive components.</p><p> <strong>Are water-coolers only beneficial if I'm overclocking?</strong></p><p> That’s not the only reason people like to have liquid-chillers in their machines, but it is one of the best reasons. Another is in the rise of the small form-factor PC. With today’s small form-factor hardware you can build a micro machine to perform as well as a giant rig. But when space is at a premium things get toasty and you can’t fit the chunky air-cooler you need to keep a high-end processor both cool <em>and</em> quiet. A closed loop liquid-cooler can squeeze more easily into a small chassis and still deliver the performance you need.</p><p> There’s also the fact that having a massive chunk of heatsink strapped to your vertically mounted motherboard can put a lot of strain onto the attachments. And if you move your machine around a lot&mdash;to friend’s or LAN parties&mdash;air-coolers can come loose and cause all kinds of destructive chaos as they bounce around inside your PC.</p><p> <strong>Are they quieter than air-coolers?</strong></p><p> Because water-coolers still use active air-cooling to draw the heat out of the liquid once it gets to the reservoir they’re not silent. But air-coolers need their fans to spin a lot quicker than the fans attached to a water-cooler’s radiator in order to keep to the same temperature. As they’re spinning slower that also means they get to be a bit quieter too. The pump can gurgle, however.</p><p> <strong>Are there <em>any</em> downsides to liquid-coolers?</strong></p><p> The obvious one is price. They’re generally a lot more expensive than a high-spec air-cooler, though prices have become far more reasonable for the smaller, 120mm closed-loop units. A less tangible problem is the fact active air-coolers don’t just cool down the CPU itself. The airflow they generate in a PC helps cool other components as a consequence. That means you need to ensure your case still has decent airflow if you opt for a liquid-chiller in order to keep your motherboard a little aerated too.</p><h2>How we tested</h2><p> <strong>Peak performance:</strong> I’ve used an Asus Z97 / Core i7 4770K testing rig as the base PC for this grouptest. This older CPU can get a bit toasty under peak load so is a good test for any cooler.</p><p> <strong>Overclocked performance:</strong> One of the reasons we water-cool CPUs is to allow for more stable, long-lasting overclocks, so I’ve tested each cooler with the processor clocked at 4.5GHz to stretch them.</p><p> <strong>Peak-to-idle performance:</strong> This is generally where differences in design really come to the fore. Idle temperatures are interesting, peak temperatures are important, but how quickly a CPU moves from its peak temperature back to its idle is absolutely key.</p><p> <strong>Fitting:</strong> Finally ease-of-fitting is an important characteristic. Hopefully you’ll only have to fit a cooler once, but you still want it to be as easy and hassle free as possible.</p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/closed-loop-liquid-cooler-roundup-8-coolers-reviewed/#page-2">On the next page: 240mm and 360mm radiators reviewed.</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FkORjZ4bRKu3.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lpYhH_5uRYZA.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.nepton240 m"></p><h2>Cooler Master&nbsp;Nepton 240M</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">SPECS</h5><p>Radiator size: 240mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 27mm</p><p>Fans: 2x 120mm PWM</p><p>Motherboard connections: 2x 4-pin</p></div><p>When you’re talking about cooling you might as well go to the masters, right? I mean, it’s not just a clever name; they’ve been in the cooling business since Methuselah was in short pants. This month's test turned out to be&nbsp;a close run&nbsp;between Thermaltake’s massive 360mm cooling radiator and this new Cooler Master design. It’s been a very tight fight.</p><p> The new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PG8QHKI/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">$115 Cooler Master&nbsp;Nepton 240M</a> (£78)&nbsp;takes the win thanks to the almighty combination of smart design, fiddle-free fitting and some excellent cooling performance. Not to mention the fact those chunky fans are practically silent, even when running my processor at 4.5GHz.</p><p> Having spent a month unpacking, screwing together and fitting all these water-coolers, it was a blessed relief to finally come to the Nepton. Connecting it is a cinch. Both the 120mm version and this larger cooler have the same setup, and it’s really well-designed. Their older Seidon sibling was my previous favourite liquid-chiller. It sat on my test rig churning through benchmarks for years before a colleague, who shall remain nameless, somehow yanked the wires out of it. Sad face. The Neptons share the same DNA with the old Seidons, but have refined the fitting process even more.</p><p> Like Corsair’s coolers, the Neptons use a bolted-on motherboard bracket. That’s really helpful when you’re attaching the cooler to an existing system; it means you should be able to fit the cooler with the motherboard still in the PC case, as there’s a big enough cut out behind the motherboard to screw in the mounting bracket. Then you can screw the Nepton in place without needing three hands. A loose-fit mounting bracket is either an exercise in solo juggling frustration or a two-person job.</p><p> The Neptons also use thumbscrews to fit the fans to the radiator&mdash;which itself has vibration-dampening rubber mounts&mdash;so attaching the twin spinners&nbsp;is much simpler. You can tell a regular system-builder designed this setup because it doesn’t force you into any strange contortions to get it in place.</p><p> So, it’s a joy to fit, but how does it perform? Well, it’s not the absolute best in terms of straight cooling performance&mdash;Zalman’s freaky-looking Reserator 3 Max Dual takes those honours&mdash;but it’s not far off that peak performance. Where it really shows its chip-chilling skills is in the time it takes to return a processor, overclocked or not, to its idle temperature. If you can get under ten seconds at stock speeds you’ve nailed it, and at 8 seconds the Nepton 240M&nbsp;is&nbsp;impressively quick.</p><p>Overclocked it only takes 15 seconds. Thermaltake’s Water 3.0 needs an awkwardly-long, 360mm radiator to get to that sort of timing.</p><p> That’s why, for me, Cooler Master beats Thermaltake here&mdash;their 240mm radiator cools well and is far more likely to fit in your chassis than the 360mm behemoth. It’s also a pretty svelte radiator, yet another tick for its many boxes. And considering the performance is so close, and the price a lot lower, it’s a win for the masters of cooling. If you’re looking for a closed-loop liquid chip chiller, the best we've tested so far is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PG8QHKI/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">the Nepton 240M</a>.</p><p> <strong>Score:</strong> 91%</p><p><strong>Verdict:</strong>&nbsp;A quality, easily-fitted cooler, that’s got great performance to boot.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TDSFtEXaSlGH.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hKPKDnRpQde-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.thermaltake water3ultimate"></p><h2>Thermaltake&nbsp;Water 3.0 Ultimate</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">SPECS</h5><p>Radiator size: 360mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 27mm</p><p>Fans: 3x 120mm PWM</p><p>Motherboard connections: 2x 4-pin</p></div><p> It all started with 120mm water-coolers to match the 120mm fans on our normal air coolers. Then we moved on to double-length, 240mm coolers because we managed to find space in our high-spec chassis to fit them. Where do you go from there? Well, why not three fans?</p><p> ‘I likes em big,’ admitted one Benny Hill fan in the Thermaltake skunkworks, and so was born&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MPIDYTO/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">the $140&nbsp;Water 3.0&nbsp;Ultimate</a> (£113). The 360mm radiator is quite astounding to behold and means you’re going to have to get serious with the tape measure to make sure it’ll fit inside your current chassis. You’re likely to have to wave goodbye to your 5.25-inch optical drive as the Water 3.0 Ultimate is going to want that space for itself.</p><p> But, if you’ve got the space, Thermaltake’s big boy will deliver the chip-chilling goods. It’s the best-performing cooling array I’ve tested this month, neck-and-neck with&nbsp;the ever-so-slightly cooler Zalman in the peak temperature measurements. But it’s so close as to be almost meaningless in the final reckoning.</p><p> The real key to this cooler, and the thing that justifies that monstrous cooling radiator, is the peak-to-idle timings of the Water 3.0 Ultimate. Whether your CPU is overclocked or resting on its stock-clocked laurels it will return your processor to its thumb-twiddling temps as close to instantaneously as you’re going to get right now. It took just four seconds at stock speeds and only thirteen seconds after cooking the chip at 4.5GHz.</p><p> It’s also well-designed, with a slightly improved backplate over the other Water 3.0 cooler we'll get to later. Those fans are remarkably quiet too, even when the chip is being thrashed. As I said, it was close to being the winner. Sadly, because of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MPIDYTO/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">the Water 3.0's</a> awkward size and expense, it just slips into second place.</p><p><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;89%</p><p>Verdict:&nbsp;Fantastic-performing cooler, but too big for many chassis and a little pricey too.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LU_rBvzpTna4.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zulGIREvz3to.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.zalman reserator3"></p><h2>Zalman&nbsp;Reserator 3 Max Dual</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Specs</h5><p>Radiator size: 240mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 73mm</p><p>Fans: 2x 120mm PWM attached</p><p>Motherboard&nbsp;connections:&nbsp;1x 3-pin, 1x 4-pin</p></div><p> Zalman is a name that’s been synonymous with PC cooling for as long as I can remember and most especially water-cooling. My first experience with a water-cooled PC was an old external radiator called the Reserator. It dwarfed any PC chassis plumbed into it; looking like something ripped directly out of the Death Star before it became fully operational. It was all rather impractical for home use, looked absolutely bonkers but was very good at what it did.</p><p> Rather like its current-day namesake. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118147&amp;cm_re=zalman_reserator_3_dual_max-_-35-118-147-_-Product">$140&nbsp;Reserator 3 Max Dual</a> (£99)&nbsp;looks as different from the other coolers in this test as the original did to any other cooler on the market at the time. There is no radiator as we know it. The tubes carrying the heated coolant from the CPU contact plate flow directly into an intricate swirl of aluminium heatpipes, encircled by hundreds of fins drawing out the heat before the chilled liquid flows back to the processor.</p><p> I was hoping the fact the fans are attached would make it a quick job to fit, but putting together the mounting bracket for the motherboard took an age and a million tiny screws. The bracket is another loose-fit one too, which took a certain amount of juggling to attach even on an open test bench. Don’t get me started on the bizarre contraption you’re expected to build to actually get it attached to your PC case. It just seems needlessly complicated&nbsp;compared to the rest of the crowd.</p><p> But Zalman are long-time cooling experts and they certainly know what they’re doing, because the Reserator 3 posts the lowest temperatures of all the models here, even compared with the mammoth Thermaltake. What it can’t do, however, is shift the heat away quite as quickly. The peak-to-idle times of the Reserator 3 certainly aren’t bad, but either side of thirty seconds for both stock and overclocked performance isn’t class-leading. It’s also mighty expensive too, which, along with the awkward case-fitting, means&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118147&amp;cm_re=zalman_reserator_3_dual_max-_-35-118-147-_-Product">the Reserator 3</a> slides back down the pecking order despite its impressive cooling performance.</p><p><strong>Score:</strong> 87%</p><p><strong>Verdict:</strong>&nbsp;Serious cooling performance, but a little slow on the peak-to-idle and awkward to connect to your case.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/e6VhkmZOTPq8.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_BS8YKSOseYC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.corsir h100i"></p><h2> Corsair&nbsp;H100i</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Specs</h5><p>Radiator size: 240mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 27mm</p><p>Fans: 2x 120mm PWM</p><p>Motherboard connections: 1x 3-pin, 1x 4-pin, 1x USB</p></div><p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181032&amp;cm_re=corsair_h100i-_-35-181-032-_-Product">Corsair’s $100&nbsp;H100i</a> (£84)&nbsp;is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s been around seemingly forever, but manages to keep up with the young'uns even today. It’s a testament to Corsair’s powers of design that they’ve barely had to change its setup since the original H100. Subsequently there have been H105 and H110 updates, but I’m still a big fan of the solid motherboard bracket and bless them for letting it be bolted onto the board itself.</p><p> I also really like the two magnetic brackets that slips over the top of the pump, making the universal fitting so much easier than most. All the coolers in the test are compatible with either AMD or Intel PCs, but it’s a more elegant solution. It’s these little design touches that separate the Corsair coolers from a lot of the other, more off-the-shelf setups.</p><p> The H100i also incorporates the Corsair Link technology. Corsair make so many PC components they’ve created components that can communicate with each other. If you’ve got a Corsair case and Corsair cooler you can plug your case fans into the pump and, via the USB cable attached to it, control them all using the Link software. It’s smart, but you could lose many days trying to perfect your setup, especially with all the fan curves and profiles you can create.</p><p> Unfortunately the stock performance isn’t amazing. All the coolers in this test work very well indeed, but the H100i isn’t able to top the charts when it comes to either peak cooling performance of the peak-to-idle timings. Surprisingly though it’s actually quicker when there’s a bigger delta between the peak and idle temperatures, dropping the temperature in just 21&nbsp;seconds when overclocked. That’s good, but still puts it in third place on that score.</p><p> Considering there’s not a lot of difference between <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181032&amp;cm_re=corsair_h100i-_-35-181-032-_-Product">the H100i</a> and the superior Cooler Master Nepton 240M, that’s where I’d be putting my own money. They’ve both got solid mounting designs, but the slightly better cooling performance of the Nepton seals it for me.</p><p> <strong>Score:</strong> 84%</p><p><strong>Verdict:</strong>&nbsp;Still a quality cooler, with smart control software, but isn’t quite top of the class in performance.</p><table><tbody><tr><td><strong>Cooler</strong></td><td><strong>100% CPU turbo&nbsp;(3.9 GHz)</strong></td><td><strong>100% CPU turbo (4.5GHz OC)</strong></td><td><strong>Peak-to-idle time (OC)</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Cooler Master Nepton 240M</td><td>53°C</td><td>62°C</td><td>15 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate</td><td>50°C</td><td>60°C</td><td>13 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Zalman Reserator 3 Max Dual</td><td>50°C</td><td>59°C</td><td>32 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Corsair H100i</td><td>54°C</td><td>66°C</td><td>21 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Antec Kuhler H20 950</td><td>57°C</td><td>69°C</td><td>84 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Cooler Master Nepton 120XL</td><td>55°C</td><td>66°C</td><td>172 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro</td><td>50°C</td><td>61°C</td><td>46 seconds</td></tr></tbody></table><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/closed-loop-liquid-cooler-roundup-8-coolers-reviewed/#page-3">On the next page: smaller 120mm closed-loop liquid coolers.</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jIrOFzTiS9iJ.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zRwMwUZaJKTM.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.antec kuhler 950" style="width: 534.65625px;"></p><h2>Antec Kuhler H20 950</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Specs</h5><p>Radiator size: 120mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 49mm</p><p>Fans: 1x 120 PWM attached, 1x 120mm PWM</p><p>Motherboard connections: 1x 3-pin, 1x USB</p></div><p>Antec really do keep on trying with their Kuhler H20 range of liquid chip-chillers, but they sometimes miss the mark. There are actually no <em style="background-color: initial;">bad</em> coolers in this test and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F2WTLIS/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">$76&nbsp;Kuhler H20 950</a> (£56)&nbsp;does perform pretty well, but in straight cooling terms it’s probably the weakest of the lot.</p><p>I’m not particularly enamoured with the design of the Kuhler’s mounting mechanism either. The fact that one of the fans is permanently attached to the radiator, housing the actual pump, makes things slightly easier, but not by much. The big problem I had is that, while the universal bracket attached to the CPU contact plate makes it easy to switch between AMD and Intel motherboards, the four arms you screw onto the loose-fit backing plate shift positions at the slightest touch.</p><p>When you’re holding the backing plate on with one hand and trying to attach the CPU contact plate with the other you will discover the very essence&nbsp;of frustration. It doesn’t help that&nbsp;the bolts you screw the cooler into regularly shoot off the motherboard backing plate with little contact. That means you really need to remove the whole board from your chassis to stand any chance of fitting it on your own. That makes the process much smoother, but it's an extra step.</p><p>The Kuhler H20 950 is very, very quiet, even with the second push-me-pull-you fan attached to the fat 120mm radiator. Though unfortunately it doesn’t really cool that well at stock settings. In fact, it runs the hottest of all these coolers. Not dramatically, but it’s still bottom of the class. It does well in the peak-to-idle performance, especially at stock CPU speeds. Hitting the idle temperature in just seven seconds is outstanding. Unfortunately with the chip overclocked the Kuhler danced around the idle temperature for almost a minute and a half before settling down again.</p><p>The software, controlled via the USB connection, should help there, allowing you to adjust fan profiles and such, but it glitched out continually during testing. With the last Kuhlers I tested from Antec I had similar problems.<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F2WTLIS/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">The Kuhler H20 950</a> though the cheapest cooler here, which does put its weaker performance into some perspective.</p><p><strong>Score:</strong> 81%</p><p><strong>Verdict:</strong>&nbsp;Bottom of the class in peak temperatures, but a very good price for a not-bad water-cooler.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/XPiGXiVjTgqT.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/9fZg-Deoafcc.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.nepton 120 xl" style="width: 534.65625px; background-color: initial;"></p><h2>Cooler Master Nepton 120XL</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Specs</h5><p>Radiator size: 120mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 38mm</p><p>Fans: 2x 120mm PWM</p><p>Motherboard connections: 2x 4-pin</p></div><p>If you want a lesson in the benefits of a 240mm radiator over a 120mm, you only have to look at the Nepton coolers in this test. With more surface area in the larger radiator, the same number of fans, running at the same speeds, are able to shift the heat out of the coolant liquid far quicker, returning your stressed CPU back to it’s idle temperatures much faster.</p><p>Cooler Master have tried to offset that by using a fatter radiator in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PHF1BG0/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">$90&nbsp;Nepton 120XL</a> (£69), and by&nbsp;arranging a pair of fans in a push-me-pull-you setup either side of it. While that means its peak temperature performance is pretty close to the impressive 240M, it is a little warmer. After around thirty seconds the CPU temperature was <em style="background-color: initial;">almost</em> back to idle, but remained a good few degrees off for a long while. In the grand scheme of things that’s not a huge issue, but highlights the extra performance of the longer rads.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PHF1BG0/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">120XL</a> shares the same excellent mounting setup as the other Nepton and is just as quiet in operation. I also like the flexibility in attaching it to your case, allowing you to mount the second fan outside the chassis, pinning the radiator in place through the standard 120mm chassis fan mount. If there’s limited space in your case, that’s a great help. If you’ve got space for the longer radiator however, the slight extra expense of the 240M is worth it.</p><p><strong>Score:</strong>&nbsp;75%</p><p>Verdict: The same great mounting setup as the Nepton 240M, but without the cooling power of the 240mm design.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2vXM_waMQL2I.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bokIIJPj-_yq.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="PCG274.tech super.thermaltake 3pro" style="width: 534.65625px;"></p><h2>Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro</h2><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">Specs</h5><p>Radiator size: 120mm</p><p>Radiator thickness: 49mm</p><p>Fans: 2x 120mm PWM</p><p>Motherboard connections: 2x 4-pin</p></div><p>This smaller Thermaltake cooler&nbsp;comes with a rather chubby radiator. It may not be as long as its Ultimate brethren, but it’s almost twice as fat. And, in terms of actual cooling performance, that seems to help it get mighty close to the top coolers in this test. It’s actually one of the overall coolest of the lot and was pretty darned quick in its peak-to-idle performance too.</p><p>That all sounds rather positive, so why is it bringing up the rear in this month’s grouptest? Well, one of the reasons we opt for water-cooling is because it can lead to a quieter machine; the slower-spinning fans are meant to be quieter than an active air-cooler’s.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DZL8670/?tag=pcgedit-20&amp;ascsubtag=liquidcoolers">The $85&nbsp;Water 3.0 Pro</a> (£85) gets pretty loud and blowy once you start cranking up the CPU load, regardless of whether the chip’s overclocked or not.</p><p>That would almost be forgivable had the pitch of the fans been slightly lower. There is a definite whiney quality about them which puts me in mind of a straining toy helicopter. So while the cooling performance is good it does come at a high, aural price. I’d much rather have my CPU running a couple of degrees hotter if I could keep the noise down. The Water 3.0 Pro then would force me into the murky world of BIOS-based fan-tweaks, somewhere I don’t want to be.</p><p><strong>Score:</strong> 72%</p><p>Verdict: Very cool for a 120mm cooler, but louder than most of the other alternatives in this test.</p><table><tbody><tr><td><strong>Cooler</strong></td><td><strong>100% CPU turbo (3.9 GHz)</strong></td><td><strong>100% CPU turbo (4.5GHz OC)</strong></td><td><strong>Peak-to-idle time (OC)</strong></td></tr><tr><td>Cooler Master Nepton 240M</td><td>53°C</td><td>62°C</td><td>15 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate</td><td>50°C</td><td>60°C</td><td>13 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Zalman Reserator 3 Max Dual</td><td>50°C</td><td>59°C</td><td>32 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Corsair H100i</td><td>54°C</td><td>66°C</td><td>21 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Antec Kuhler H20 950</td><td>57°C</td><td>69°C</td><td>84 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Cooler Master Nepton 120XL</td><td>55°C</td><td>66°C</td><td>172 seconds</td></tr><tr><td>Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro</td><td>50°C</td><td>61°C</td><td>46 seconds</td></tr></tbody></table> Frozen Cortex reviewhttp://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-cortex-review/Frozen Cortex forces you to learn a lot, but it pays off in the end.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 01:04:29 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-cortex-review/Frozen CortexReviewsStrategy <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">need to know</h5> <p> <strong>What is it?</strong> Turn-based strategy football with robots. <br> <strong>Reviewed on:</strong>&nbsp;Windows 8, Core i5, 8GB RAM, GTX 970<br> <strong>Play it on:</strong> 1.2 GHz processor, 2GB RAM, GTX 550 or better <br> <strong>Copy protection</strong>: Steam, Server authentication <br> <strong>Price</strong>: $25 /&nbsp;£18 (Currently on sale, and buying one copy on Steam includes another for a friend.)&nbsp;<br> <strong>Release date</strong>: Out now <br> <strong>Publisher/Developer</strong>: Mode 7<br> <strong>Multiplayer</strong>: 1v1<br> <strong>Link</strong>:&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/237350/" target="_blank">Steam store page</a> </p> </div><p> After my first two hours with it, I was pretty sure I hated Frozen Cortex. Nothing seemed to work how I wanted it to, every play went badly wrong, and my AI opponent delighted in finding holes in my defense. If I weren’t obligated to push on, I probably would have stopped playing.</p><p> I am really glad I didn’t stop. After I climbed to the top of the learning curve, I looked down the mountain and realized that Frozen Cortex is one of the deepest strategic experiences on PC. I thought it was broken to begin with, and I was so, so wrong.</p><p> While the sport in Frozen Cortex is recognizable as a distant cousin of American football, it’s smaller, faster, and played by two teams of five murderous robots. The sport, known in the fiction as “Cortex,” plays out five seconds at a time. Coaches give five seconds’ worth of commands, then both teams execute at the same time. After five seconds or a major event (pass, interception, turnover, etc.), both coaches adapt, issue new orders, and go again.</p><p> The simultaneous-turn-based mechanic is unique in the turn-based strategy genre, and it worked great in 2011’s excellent Frozen Synapse. Where Synapse focused on the rules of close-quarters combat, Cortex abstracts tactical decisions by applying them to mankind’s original war simulator: sports.</p><p> Stepping away from war makes Cortex’s tactics feel more essential and distilled. There are no gadgets of war like flashbangs or rockets. Without toys that go bang, you’re left with raw geometry: angles and vectors and speed.</p><h2>Artificial intelligence</h2><p>Unfortunately, stepping away from war, which provides rulesets that are&nbsp;bit easier to intuit,&nbsp;also gave me one more thing to learn, contributing to my horrible first few games. The tutorial covers the rules of Cortex the sport and little else, so I had to feel my way through a lot. Worse, the singleplayer campaigns include sports game standards like tournament and season play, but the difficulty is locked on standard and each game affects the income you have available for the rest of the season. Instead of this high-difficulty pressure cooker, what I really needed was a playground and training wheels. </p><p>More than once I planned myself into a corner, maneuvering until I had a perfect run set up&mdash;only to be reminded at the last moment that ball carriers can’t run backward, or only three passes are allowed per turn. The AI, meanwhile, ruthlessly battered my rookie team like an exhibition match between a high school JV team and the Harlem Globetrotters. I lost my first match 27-0, and that score makes it sound like less of a rout than it was.</p><p>I finally found some one-off exhibition matches against easy AI (exasperatingly, they were filed under the “advanced” tab). Once I found my playground, Cortex changed for me. Here’s where I was going wrong and, ironically, where Cortex shows off its true genius. During turn planning, I have the ability to preview the coming five seconds. During this preview stage, players can throw, run, block, and tackle, but the opposing team stays still unless told what to do. This is the key: in order to plan effectively, I have to give my opponent simulated orders, then plan to defeat those plans. I have to play both sides of every turn. In order to figure out how best to lock down every angle, I have to also work to thwart myself.</p><p>Now, for those out there who always think three moves ahead this may not seem revelatory. But to me, it felt like religion. I am not a long-term strategic thinker, but Cortex pounded lessons into me until I started to adapt. Soon I was not only forcing turnovers, but knowing ahead of time what I would do once I got the ball.</p><p>Even though Cortex offers a lot of single-player options, the real fun is in the multiplayer arenas. Finding a match is fast, and finding more matches to play while your opponent agonizes over her turn is even easier. I eventually had six games running at once, hopping back and forth like the proverbial chess wunderkind in Central Park.</p><p>Additionally, the play-by-email system from Synapse is back. Enabling email notifications lets you log on, plot your turn, submit it, and go on with your day. When you get an email, it’s time to log back in and view the damage. I feel like this didn’t get a lot of attention the first time we saw it, but I really do appreciate it. Play by email is a great mode for gaming with busy friends or multitasking while, just as an example, writing a game review.</p><p>It took me time to engage with Cortex, but once I figured out how to crack the game open, it began to teach me and mold me into the tactical thinker I’ve always tried to be. Cortex is teaching me to be a three-moves-ahead type of person, and that’s a great feeling that I’ve never gotten from war games.</p> Oculus Rift demo is a meditative study of the sunhttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-demo-is-a-meditative-study-of-the-sun/Sunshine Observation Deck can be downloaded now, if you have a dev kit.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 01:03:05 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-demo-is-a-meditative-study-of-the-sun/NewsOculus RIFTvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/RYC3Z-AlQ0i7.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/16NqV-LY67Sx.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="14237339741096ddvp6fajor 1423735510772"></p><p>If you want to visit space&nbsp;in virtual reality,&nbsp;you could always risk a nervous breakdown with&nbsp;Alien Isolation. For those looking for a calmer, less fraught experience, Sunshine Observation Deck might do the trick. Created by Julian Butler and now available on&nbsp;<a href="https://share.oculus.com/app/sunshine-observation-deck">the official Oculus website</a>, the environment is&nbsp;based on the set of Danny Boyle's 2007 space film Sunshine.</p><div><p>"This is meant to be one of the more calm Oculus Rift experiences where you can spend some time relaxing and looking around," the description reads. "Take in the prominences while John Murphy's 'Adagio in D Minor' plays as you approach the viewing deck glass. View information on the monitors from the Solar Dynamics Observatory in the adjacent science lab."</p><p>See it in action below, and then download the demo <a href="https://share.oculus.com/app/sunshine-observation-deck">here</a>, provided you have a DK2 or later.</p></div><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LP3S-0hU2ZU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> CGA Games Screensaver pays homage to the four-color erahttp://www.pcgamer.com/cga-games-screensaver-pays-homage-to-the-four-color-era/The screensaver includes more than 1000 CGA-era games.Tue, 24 Feb 2015 01:00:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/cga-games-screensaver-pays-homage-to-the-four-color-era/Newsretro <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/cu3XXpnRTt6t.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/TaxUB4uf1jGT.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="CGA screensaver"></p><p>You don't hear much about screensavers these days, but over on the Adventure Game Studio forums a user named Arj0n has released one that might be worth a moment of your time, especially if you're a retro&nbsp;game fan. It's an homage to the four-color CGA era, containing more than 1000 DOS games and over 1200 CGA screens.</p><p>The stand-alone screensaver makes games selectable by genre, and will also optionally display information about each game&mdash;developer, publisher, year of release&mdash;above or below the screenshot. All screens display at 640x480, and if music is your thing there are 15 chiptune tracks that can play in the background while the images pass by.</p><p>It's a silly little thing, but fun, too, especially if you've been around long enough to point at the screen and yell, "Yes! I remember!" when the Temple of Apshai screen pops up. I noticed a couple of them that were out of place&mdash;Double Dribble, for instance, shows up in the RPG section&mdash;but as Arj0n wrote in a follow-up message, putting together the information for all of the games in this screensaver was a "huge task."</p><p>The results of his effort, I think, are very cool. And it may not be done yet: Arj0n released a 1.1 version of the package on Saturday, ensuring proper resizing and bit depth of all sprites, and reducing the size of the project in the process. <a href="http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=51772.msg636507916">Grab it here</a>.</p> Valve to show 'SteamVR hardware system' at GDC next weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/valve-to-show-steamvr-hardware-system-at-gdc-next-week/Also: latest Steam controller and living room devicesMon, 23 Feb 2015 23:21:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-to-show-steamvr-hardware-system-at-gdc-next-week/NewsSteamValvevirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Tny0lNAiQOey.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HyR14m9o8D8k.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Valve Head"></p><p>Valve has revealed it will demonstrate new virtual reality hardware at GDC next week.&nbsp;</p><p>While Steam's current SteamVR functionality&nbsp;merely provides support for Oculus Rift in the Steam client, the company is now&nbsp;promising "a previously-unannounced SteamVR hardware system" for demonstration next week, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/universe/">this announcement</a>. It's also taking bookings for hands-on time with the development kit.</p><p>Valve added support for Oculus to the Steam client early last year, but this is the first hint at actual virtual reality hardware from the company. The company is also seeking VR content creators – ironic since Oculus acquired&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-vr-hires-another-valve-virtual-reality-expert/">a couple of Valve's best VR specialists</a> last year.</p><p>Valve's Michael Abrash&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/valve-to-demo-vr-prototype-at-next-januarys-steam-dev-days-conference/">revealed in 2013</a> that the company had a working VR prototype for R&amp;D, without explicitly announcing any plans for an Oculus competitor. Beyond that, Valve's intentions in the virtual reality space have remained ambiguous: the company has added VR compatibility to several games in its back catalogue and, most notably, supported Oculus's headset in Steam.</p><p>Oh yeah, and a new refined Steam Controller will also be demonstrated, in addition to more news on Steam's forthcoming living room devices.&nbsp;</p> Oculus Rift VR input may be a while off yet, says Luckeyhttp://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-vr-input-may-be-a-while-off-yet-says-luckey/Certainly won't be demonstrated at GDC.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 22:30:11 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-vr-input-may-be-a-while-off-yet-says-luckey/NewsOculusOculus RIFTvirtual reality <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WXSp_rrYSSKy.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vTTFfUWNORQS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="VR headset Oculus Rift"></p><p>Oculus won't show any VR input solutions at GDC next week, founder&nbsp;Palmer Luckey has confirmed. Despite – or perhaps due to – the company's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-hires-the-brains-behind-vrs-most-promising-hand-tracking-tech/">recent acquisition</a> of hand tracking studio Nimble VR, Oculus would prefer to keep expectations in check.</p><p>Responding to a query on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/2ws0e3/sixense_stem_prototype_review/cotohsj?context=3">Oculus Subreddit</a> about a possible VR input demonstration at GDC, Luckey warned not to "get too hyped on the possibility".</p><p>"VR input is hard - in some ways, tracking hands well enough to maintain a sense of proprioceptive presence is even more technically challenging than getting perfect head tracking," he wrote.</p><p>"We will show something if and when we get it working well, but we have to avoid showing off prototypes that are not on a clear path to being shipped at the same or higher quality level. Throwing together very expensive or impossible to manufacture prototypes for internal R&amp;D is one thing, using them to publicly set expectations around the near future is another."</p><p>He continued: "Not naming anything specific here, but the history of technology is littered with the corpses of companies that overpromised and underdelivered by shipping real products with real limitations that were glossed over in promotional materials. Oculus can't afford to do that."</p><p>Despite what will no doubt be a substantial wait before Oculus demonstrate their input work, the company's recent acquisition of Nimble VR is promising. Using its experience with Kinect, the company has a working prototype offering a 110 degree field of view for capturing hand movements. You can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-hires-the-brains-behind-vrs-most-promising-hand-tracking-tech/">see it in action here</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>Cheers,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.shacknews.com/article/88273/oculus-creator-dashes-hopes-that-vr-input-will-showcase-at-gdc">Shacknews</a>.&nbsp;</p> Tom Clancy's The Division may be headed for alpha testinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/tom-clancys-the-division-may-be-headed-for-alpha-testing/Reddit users have come upon links suggesting that an alpha test is coming.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 21:39:31 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tom-clancys-the-division-may-be-headed-for-alpha-testing/MMONewsThe DivisionUbisoft <p>Reddit sleuths have dug up information indicating that Tom Clancy's <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division/?page=2">The Division</a> will undergo an alpha test that will be accessible to at least some members of the public.</p><p>As reported by <a href="http://www.vg247.com/2015/02/23/the-division-alpha-revealed-on-website-via-data-mining/">VG247</a>, intrepid Redditors discovered a section of <a href="http://tomclancy-thedivision.ubi.com/game/en-US/home/index.aspx">The Division website</a> relating to an <a href="http://i.gyazo.com/39413981fa44967bd497184ce19de0a6.png">alpha test</a>. No such thing has been announced, and the page is currently blank; dicking around with the site's code, however, <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/thedivision/comments/2wjuzw/html5_version_of_official_website_shows_alpha/corp5qa">adds an "alpha" link</a> to the menu bar at the top.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aaCkgeeoQ1aq.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jgwEQTeImC9b.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="The Division menu"></p><p>It's not concrete evidence of anything, but online games like The Division, a massively-multiplayer third-person shooter set in a post-pandemic world, are notoriously cantankerous at launch, and so extensive testing, including an alpha, would make sense. Of course, even if it does take place, there's no guarantee that it will be on the PC, or that you&mdash;or any of us&mdash;will be admitted behind the rope. </p><p>Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division sets players off as members of the Strategic Homeland Division, who are empowered to do whatever it takes to halt the outbreak of a devastating pandemic that threatens the end of civilization as we know it. "Whatever it takes" will presumably involve shooting a lot of people, but even if it doesn't get much beyond the gunplay, the promise of drop-in/drop-out PvP and co-op action in a persistent open world is awfully appealing. It was originally slated to come out in time for the 2014 holiday season but in May of last year was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tom-clancys-the-division-delayed-to-2015/">pushed back</a> to 2015. A solid release date hasn't been announced.</p><p>We've reached out to Ubisoft for clarification, and will update if and when we receive a reply. In the meantime, you can find out more about what's in store with our <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-e3-preview/">E3 2014 preview</a>.</p> This week’s PC gaming dealshttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/The best PC gaming deals of the week.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 21:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-pc-game-deals/DealsHardware <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PULBFWNXSiar.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1PBAHOzkjSLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="This week’s PC gaming deals" style="width: 668px;"></p><p>We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! We are partnered with the bargainmeisters at <a href="http://www.techbargains.com/">TechBargains</a> to bring you a weekly list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.</p><p>Some highlights this week: Newegg has a 5TB external Seagate&nbsp;hard drive for over half off.&nbsp;If you're looking for an MMO, Amazon is&nbsp;offering 50% off of Wildstar. Newegg has an awesome deal on the Acer G6 monitor, but it's only for today. Green Man Gaming is having a massive sale on TellTale games, and we have a code that lowers their prices even more. And finally, Steam has deals on great games like Banished and Xenonauts.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Sb1EiqSTRwCB.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xogsAmxSJHmE.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Hardware Deals" style="width: 668px;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Plantronics GameCom 780 Gaming Headset</strong> is still 50% off for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B1KJK22/?tag=pcgedit-20" target="_blank">$40 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The massive <strong>WD My Book 6TB external hard drive</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-0223_pcgmr_wdmybook6tb-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16822236732" target="_blank">$229.99 on Newegg</a> with the code <strong>EMCANNP26</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>Alternatively, the <strong>Seagate Expansion 5TB external hard drive</strong> <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/301380766274?&amp;customid=1223_pcgmr_segate5tb" target="_blank">$129.99 on Newegg’s ebay page</a> and comes with free shipping.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>If you are looking for a solid state drive instead, the <strong>Kingston 120GB internal SSD</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820721107" target="_blank">$53 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Fractal Design Define R4 ATX mid tower case</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352021" target="_blank">$90 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>ACER K242HL Bbid 24” 1080p monitor</strong> is down to <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009700" target="_blank">$130 on Newegg</a> with only $2 for shipping</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>For today only, the <strong>Acer G6 Series 27” 1080p monitor</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-0223_pcgmr_acerg627in-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16824009588" target="_blank">$169.99 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 RAM</strong> is <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-0223_pcgmr_mushkin16gbddr3-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16820226337" target="_blank">$109.99 on Newegg</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>The <strong>Raidmax Cobra 400W ATX power supply</strong> is only <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&amp;cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-0223_pcgmr_raidmaxcobra-_-NA-_-NA&amp;Item=N82E16817152052" target="_blank">$19.99 on Newegg</a> after a $15 rebate.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zH9aHn-LRL6I.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b_1wP4rcanyg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Game Deals" style="width: 668px; background-color: initial;"></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>You can get a pack of 50 classic <strong>Sega Genesis games</strong> for only <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B00AEV8HI2?tag=tb_pcgmr-20" target="_blank">$5.62 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong><strong>Wildstar</strong> is 50% off at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IYWV5HS/?tag=pcgedit-20" target="_blank">$20 on Amazon</a>.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;</strong>&nbsp;There’s a sale offering <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-7511556-11190024?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.greenmangaming.com%2Ftelltale-titles%2F&amp;sid=0223_pcgmr_telltalegames" target="_blank">75% Telltale games</a> going on at Green Man Gaming, and you can get an even larger discount with the code <strong>KPMN32-6VRM69-6INRND</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong style="background-color: initial;">&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>GamersGate is having its own sale on <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-227502-10785950?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gamersgate.com%2Fcampaign%2F196%2Fatlus-midweek&amp;sid=0223_pcgmr_atlasgame" target="_blank">Atlas Games</a>, including Zeno Clash 2 for $3.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>Popular city-builder <strong>Banished</strong> is a huge 70% off at <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/242920/" target="_blank">$6 on Steam</a>.<a href="https://www.humblebundle.com"></a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>&mdash;&nbsp;</strong>Our own Evan Lahti loves <strong>Xenonauts</strong>, so I would be remiss to not mention that it’s currently %50 off at <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/223830/" target="_blank">$12.50 on Steam</a>, but only until tomorrow.&nbsp;</p><p>For more tech deals, visit <a href="http://www.techbargains.com/" target="_blank">techbargains.com</a>.</p><p><em style="background-color: initial;">A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.</em></p> CS:GO: Dust2 positioning for dummieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-de_dust2-positioning-guide/Positioning is a part of Counter-Strike that many players don't lend the proportional amount of consideration to.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 20:58:14 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/csgo-de_dust2-positioning-guide/Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSTriggernometry <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k92f3Nv3Di8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p> Positioning is a part&nbsp;of Counter-Strike that many players don't lend the proportional amount of consideration to. Where you are in relation to your teammates and the enemy (and&nbsp;when you're there) has a huge impact on how a round plays out. Positioning is also a massive topic&mdash;more than a 10-minute video can cover every aspect of&mdash;but for this week's Triggernometry&nbsp;I've focused in on the CT side of&nbsp;that most&nbsp;ubiquitous of maps, de_dust2.</p> Nvidia faces false advertising lawsuit over GTX 970 specshttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-faces-false-advertising-lawsuit-over-gtx-970-specs/The GTX-970 isn't exactly as advertised.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 20:16:03 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-faces-false-advertising-lawsuit-over-gtx-970-specs/HardwareNewsNvidia <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/AWHFyCGsTniE.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OvSYYfIY96Lz.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970"></p><p>The GeForce GTX&nbsp;970 is billed, on the <a href="http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-970/specifications">Nvidia website</a> and elsewhere, as having 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. But this RAM is not available as one solid chunk: As we <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-nvidias-gtx-970-slows-down-using-more-than-35gb-vram/">explained last month</a>, that RAM is broken down into two separate segments, 3.5GB of GDDR5 and a separate 500MB that runs significantly slower. Testing has shown that for some games, this subdivision can&nbsp;result in performance issues; for Nvidia, it's also resulted in a class action lawsuit.</p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/256406451/Nvidia-lawsuit-over-GTX-970">The suit</a>, filed earlier this month, alleges that the 500MB segment of VRAM runs 80 percent slower than the 3.5GB of actual GDDR5, and that the card has fewer ROPs, or render output units,&nbsp;and less L2 cache than advertised (this is the biggest issue, as the data listed in the GTX 970 reviewer's guide incorrectly stated the ROPs and L2 cache numbers). Furthermore, Nvidia's Senior Vice-President of GPU Engineering Jonah Alben has acknowledged these shortcomings.</p><p>"Based on the above, Plaintiff and the Class were sold products that do not perform or possess the capabilities advertised and represented," the suit states. "As such, they should be provided appropriate relief, as all consumers who purchased a GTX 970 device have been injured by Defendants' wrongful conduct, as they did not receive the product they paid for in terms of possessing the characteristics set forth above."</p><p>That relief, as is the way with lawsuits, includes an injunction against Nvidia's false claims about the device, a "corrective advertising or full refund campaign," legal fees, and of course restitution and disgorgement of profits.</p><p>According to <a href="http://www.anandtech.com/show/8935/geforce-gtx-970-correcting-the-specs-exploring-memory-allocation">Anandtech</a>, Nvidia's technical marketing team wasn't aware of the device's specific limitations when it created the reviewer's guide, and the error managed to slip through various layers of oversight at Nvidia before making it out to the press and public. Again, the GTX 970 <em>does </em>have 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM, but the fewer ROPs (56, as opposed to 64) and smaller L2 cache (1792kb as opposed to&nbsp;2048kb) affect the way the card can access that last 500MB chunk of VRAM,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/why-nvidias-gtx-970-slows-down-using-more-than-35gb-vram/">as we explained in January</a>. Misstating those specs is what now has Nvidia in hot water.</p><p>As Anandtech points out in the article linked above, it would be "incredibly stupid" of Nvidia to intentionally publish misleading specs. "If not by this memory allocation issue then other factors would have ultimately brought these incorrect specifications to light," it wrote, "so NVIDIA would have never been able to keep [an intentional deception] under wraps for long."</p> Chris Roberts says Star Citizen is about to start coming togetherhttp://www.pcgamer.com/chris-roberts-says-star-citzen-is-about-to-start-coming-together/Star Citizen crowdfunding is now over $73 million.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:26:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/chris-roberts-says-star-citzen-is-about-to-start-coming-together/Chris RobertsNewsRoberts Space IndustriesStar Citizen <p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen/?page=2"></a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EEIOmKC2Tfye.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/b0h7oYIE1s0N.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Star Citizen FPS"></p><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen/?page=2">Star Citizen</a> is now creeping up on <a href="https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals">$74 million in crowdfunding</a>, which is a&nbsp;thoroughly ridiculous number&nbsp;and might lead people to question, quite reasonably, when that&nbsp;mountain range&nbsp;of money are going to add up to a&nbsp;game that resembles the one that Chris Roberts detailed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-kickstarter/">when this ride&nbsp;began</a>. The answer, according to the latest "<a href="https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/14520-Letter-From-The-Chairman">Letter From the Chairman</a>" update, is actually quite soon.</p><p>"Building our universe is already the most creatively satisfying thing I’ve ever done. But the coming months are going to be something else," Roberts wrote. "Without sharing internal target dates, I will tell you that we are entering into the tightest schedule we’ve ever had for public releases. In short order, you will see Arena Commander 1.1 (now with REC!), the FPS module and the so-called ‘social module,’ our first foray into the persistent universe."</p><p>Arena Commander hit version 1.0 in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizens-arena-commander-v10-released/">December 2014</a>, but Roberts said at the time that it was "a beginning, not an ending," and that development of the module would continue. The FPS module had been revealed prior to that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-fps-module-revealed-at-pax-australia/">at PAX Australia</a>, where developers said it, the social module, Arena Commander 2.0, the first chapter of single-player mode <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/star-citizen-raises-30-million-increases-funding-for-squadron-42-single-player-campaign/">Squadron 42</a>, and the persistent universe would all see the light of day in 2015, "in that order."</p><p>"We’ve talked a lot about how Star Citizen will come together from disparate pieces over the past year, and we are now entering into when that happens. I can’t express how excited I am," Roberts continued. "Will there be unforeseen issues, bugs to squash and things to balance? Yes! &hellip;but I know that I have an amazing development team AND the best community ever assembled behind me. Stay tuned: it’s going to be big!"</p><p>Roberts also revealed that the Star Citizen FPS module will be publicly playable for the first at PAX East, which begins on 6 March.</p> League of Legends e-sports controversy sparked over Twitch streamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-e-sports-controversy-sparked-over-twitch-stream/The legality of the "Spectate Faker" Twitch stream prompts comments from Riot president.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:13:12 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/league-of-legends-e-sports-controversy-sparked-over-twitch-stream/League of LegendsMOBANews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vdAzTRJfTaCX.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bj87fy_hBtqS.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Spectate Faker"></p><p> 'Spectate Faker' is a Twitch stream that uses <a href="http://na.op.gg/" target="_blank">OP.GG</a> to broadcast the matches&nbsp;of League of Legends&nbsp;pro player&nbsp;Lee "Faker" Sang-Hyeok. It's a simple enough concept, and yet the stream has sparked controversy&mdash;with Riot's president, Marc Merrill,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/2woxph/im_the_admin_of_spectatefaker_after_reading/cotgdum" target="_blank">saying</a> it "reeks of harassment and bullying.".</p><p> The source of the problem is an exclusivity deal between Faker and streaming service&nbsp; <a href="http://www.azubu.tv/Faker" target="_blank">Azubu</a>&mdash;one of a number of exclusive deals the site has with Korean e-sports pros.</p><p> Azubu went so far as to send&nbsp;a DMCA notice to the Twitch stream's owner, "StarLordLucian". New problem: Azubu doesn't&nbsp;own the content being streamed by Spectate Faker. While they have exclusive rights to broadcast Faker's streams, Spectate Faker isn't a direct re-stream of that perspective&mdash;rather, it's the view from a sanctioned third-party client. That&nbsp;footage is owned by Riot.</p><p> Here's where things get a bit complicated. Riot's own terms of service claim the following:</p><p> <em>"We’ll start with our golden rule – you can use League of Legends IP as the basis for a fan project that you’re giving away for free or that’s only generating ad revenue ...&nbsp;as long as you comply with the guidelines outlined below for using our IP. As a matter of fact, as long as you comply with our Guidelines, we think it’s great if you create awesome, free and original content for League of Legends fans."</em></p><p> "StarLordLucian" claims that his stream follows those guidelines. He describes Azubu's DMCA takedown request as "illegal," and claims the only ones with the the ability to end the stream are Riot themselves. To verify this,&nbsp; <a href="http://www.dailydot.com/esports/dmca-faker-azubu-twitch-riot/" target="_blank">the Daily Dot</a> spoke&nbsp;to an actual real life lawyer, Bryce Blum, who largely agreed with SLL's statement. Blum's conclusion: "That content isn’t Faker’s to license&mdash;it’s Riot’s."</p><p> So far, Riot hasn't issued a takedown request. But let's go back to Marc Merrill's statement. The Riot head took to Reddit to explain his thoughts on the issue:</p><p> <em>"</em><em>If you can't see how this potentially harms Faker and/or anyone else in this situation, then that is more reinforcement that we need to take the appropriate action to protect players from this type of unique situation.</em></p><p> <em>"As to the comments about our API, of course we want 3rd party devs to do cool things with spectator. But when people utilize one of its components to harm / harass an individual, then we need to potentially re-evaluate our rules."</em></p><p> As for "StarLordLucien's" position, he has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/leagueoflegends/comments/2wtetm/spectatefaker_admin_here_heres_my_final_decision/" target="_blank">posted on Reddit</a> numerous times, most recently with the following:</p><p> <em>"I know some people will disagree with this and bring up ethics, but I think this whole issue is about a lot more than Faker. It's about Riot not enforcing their own legal terms of service. It's about a co-owner of Riot Games being completely out of touch with esports and the spectator mode. It's about a company (Azubu) issuing a false DMCA claim for content they didn't even own. These are issues that will affect the future of the game and the spectator mode. All of this needs to be debated for the future of League of Legends and esports.</em></p><p> <em>"Right know nothing my stream does is illegal or against the League of Legends terms of service. Riot can always change their terms. And Riot can DMCA my stream at anytime, as they have the power to put any League related IP or Project to an end.</em></p><p> <em>"If Riot does DMCA my stream that will be the end of it, I won't counter them or try to make a new stream. But I won't be listening to anyone else from Riot or on Reddit lecture to me about morals anymore. To those people I say, I'm doing this stream because I can legally and it's allowed by League of Legends' legal terms."</em></p><p> Finally, and most recently, Faker's team,&nbsp;SK Telecom T1, have released their own statement through&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SKsports.T1/posts/1618205308413628" target="_blank">their Facebook page</a>:</p><p> <em>"First of all, SKT and other pro eSports teams have started streaming business last year to help ensure stable environment for players to play professionally. Not only has the streaming deal expressly helped with players' with their professional activities, it also has been a good medium through which a pro gamer's value is recognized.</em></p><p> <em>"Unfortunately, some of the fans have been re-broadcasting Faker's (and other SKT T1 players') games through the spectator mode, and this has negatively affected players' streaming business. Faker, a member of the SKT T1, also expressed discomfort over the current situation where his summoner name and videos of his games are being broadcasted with no consent.</em></p><p> <em>"SKT T1 team and its players truly appreciate the fans' fantastic support and interest. However, we would like to politely request the re-broadcasting of our players' games without our consent to be stopped."</em></p><p> Thanks,&nbsp; <a href="http://www.pcgamesn.com/league-of-legends/how-one-streamer-managed-to-get-in-a-fight-with-azubu-twitch-riot-games-marc-merrill-and-most-of-the-internet" target="_blank">PCGamesN</a>. </p> How devs are battling bad behaviour onlinehttp://www.pcgamer.com/how-devs-are-battling-bad-behaviour-online/Forging positive communities is hard, as CCP, Hi-Rez and Riot can attest.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:42:59 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/how-devs-are-battling-bad-behaviour-online/CCPEVE OnlineHi-RezLeague of LegendsRiotSmite <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/I3hCjgNCTwir.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aeqCHEYK4b37.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eve Online"></p><p> <i style="background-color: initial;">By Joe Skrebels.</i></p><p> It’s a sign that things have got out of hand when you start offering people rewards for staying within the law. Riot Games’ recent decision to give exclusive League of Legends character skins to those who hadn’t been banned in the previous 12 months has the air of a dystopian future where good people get sent to prison because it’s the safest place going.</p><p> MOBAs have long been the world’s greatest source for creative takes on being told to kill yourself&mdash;the intense need for teamwork, huge time commitment and highly specific tactics becoming the crucible in which anonymous internet dicks are forged. But with the meteoric rise in popularity of online games as a spectator sport, companies are forced more and more to consider how to keep their chatlogs as clean as their bugfix lists.</p><p> “Curbing bad behaviour is a constant battle for many game developers,” says Hi-Rez Studios’ Austin Gallman. “A lot of research has gone into finding the best ways to do this. I don’t feel that anyone has really&nbsp;found the perfect solution yet, but having a punishment/reward system certainly helps.”</p><p> It seems that the traditional system of temporary and permanent bans simply isn’t effective enough in a world where games have the populations of countries, and where players&mdash;so often spun into a frenzy of competitive ire&mdash;have the mouths not just of potties, but of entire sewage reservoirs.</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-gyyI28rQ2yf.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2Go4vsQjCbF2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Smite"></p><p> For a company like Hi-Rez, the problems become clear when you look at its games slate. With even automated ban systems requiring a human support response, and players from across the world working their way onto the naughty list, multilingual teams need to be assembled, growing as the games do. That’s not to mention the different kinds of bad behaviour that different games engender.</p><p> “MOBAs are typically more team-oriented,” Gallman explains, “so we’ve seen a bit more in the way of poor behaviour with Smite than we did with our shooter titles. Cheating, however, is a different story entirely. Attempts at cheating were much more&nbsp;common in our shooters.” Working on online games for so long has helped Hi-Rez cultivate a good sense, and an efficient system, for punishing infractions, but the tide now seems to be turning towards a more holistic approach.</p><p> “Obviously, it is near impossible to eliminate bad behaviour in games entirely,” Gallman adds, “but cultivating a fun gaming environment is always step one. We also think it is important to model positive behaviour via Twitch.TV streaming of the game, game-oriented video content, and other community oriented activities.”</p><blockquote> Riot’s Pavlovian “be good, get nice things” approach is the kind of positive-reinforcement ethos that the industry seems to be pushing. </blockquote><p> Simply teaching people that good behaviour is the norm, and creating role models for younger players, could be the way forward for an industry plagued by literal problem children&mdash;and including Riot’s Pavlovian “be good, get nice things” approach is the kind of positive-reinforcement ethos that the industry seems to be pushing for as of late.</p><p> But it’s by no means the only way&mdash;at least not if you ask CCP. The EVE Online developer’s famously laissez-faire attitude to its bewilderingly enormous universe extends to its punishment policies, too. In a joint statement, Sigurður Ævarsson and Davíð Einarsson, men with the privilege of having the job titles of senior and lead game master respectively, explain: “Many actions lie outside what we consider to be fair play, especially with regards to socially unacceptable behaviour, but EVE Online remains unique in the sense that we have an extremely relaxed ruleset that governs the way the game is played. Many actions that would be a bannable offence in other MMOs are often considered fair game in EVE.”</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/dyZNz3vGRT6U.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zQXcfaRcYBiL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Eve 2"></p><p> Theft, corporate espionage, piracy&mdash;this is the stuff of EVE legend, and the kind of high-level assholery that would have you out of most online games at the push of a Del key. In the cutthroat world of Icelandic&nbsp;space warfare, however, it’s par for the course. Accepted wisdom would have it that lugging around a cargo bay filled with real cash is just begging to have it stolen by either other players or the cruel pull of the void.</p><p> This doesn’t mean that anything and everything goes&mdash;CCP’s ban protocols&nbsp;are regularly updated and robustly enforced, and, as they put it, “our players are extremely creative, and often find ways to breach our policies in ways that we could never imagine” (see the above boxout for more on that). The key to EVE’s relatively sedate community is acceptance of the fact that it’s not the developers who will cause you problems should you ever step out of line, it’s the other people playing the game.</p><p> Ævarsson and Einarsson again: “Promoting largescale warfare and violence in EVE Online is a large part of the game. Regardless of this, for the most part our community remains extremely close-knit, civil and friendly toward one another. This tends to be due to the fact that in EVE, reputation is everything, and can make or break your career in New Eden. With this in mind, our community tends to police itself. EVE players are free to use any in-game tools to wage war and aggress each other, and we recommend that they resolve their differences within the game environment.”</p><p> While the methods taken are wildly different, there’s a parity between Hi-Rez and CCP’s approaches, and one that marks the biggest swing in policing online gaming. Whether it’s by staying hands off or reminding players that playing nice is the way to have more fun, both companies are creating a status quo, boundaries that players can understand intuitively simply by participating in the community enough. To co-opt the words from some old book: give a man a ban and he’ll be salty for a day. Teach a man what will stop him getting banned and, with any luck, we’ll all avoid our grim prison-planet future.</p><p>[Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously placed CCP about&nbsp;2,200 km east of&nbsp;Reykjavík, Iceland.]</p> Darkest Dungeon dev warns of Windows app store scam copieshttp://www.pcgamer.com/darkest-dungeon-dev-warns-of-windows-app-store-scam-copies/Scam copies of the 2D roguelike are appearing on the Windows Game Toilet Store.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:30:23 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/darkest-dungeon-dev-warns-of-windows-app-store-scam-copies/Darkest DungeonNewsRPG <p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/y3sv3jmpTySg.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/SIrRAmROdpUW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ss Ac1f594bf8128e376ca95ff266d400d404b639bf.1920x1080"></p><p> It's a horrifying fact, but sometimes people use the Windows 8 app store. Doing so is like plunging your arm into a toilet full of month old sewage in the hope of pulling out a diamond. Sure, there's a chance you won't emerge with a handful of unprocessed waste, but why would you ever take the risk?</p><p> Unfortunately, and much like various mobile app stores, the site is a breeding ground for scam versions of games. For instance, Darkest Dungeon designer Tyler Sigman&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/tylersigman/status/569601312217632768" target="_blank">warned on Twitter</a> about an illegally sold version of the game.</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p> If anyone has a contact at Windows Game Store, please share. Somebody is scamming DD by selling it (illegally) on there. </p><p> &mdash; Red Hook Tyler (@tylersigman) <a href="https://twitter.com/tylersigman/status/569601312217632768">February 22, 2015</a> </p></blockquote><p> Sigman follows by saying that if a&nbsp;player's&nbsp;copy of the game didn't come from the&nbsp;Steam or Humble Store, "you got scammed". The Windows store listing, incidentally, is for a 2MB download. Probably not an actual game, then.</p><p>Darkest Dungeon is by no means the only game being illegally sold on the store. The same "developer" has listed a copy of Lego Batman 3 (also 2MB), and SCS's&nbsp;Tomáš Duda points out&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/tomasduda/status/569796226121633792" target="_blank">multiple fake versions</a> of Euro Truck Simulator 2.</p> Homeworld Remastered trailer explains how to Homeworldhttp://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-trailer-explains-how-to-homeworld/Also: see4K space battles.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 10:48:20 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/homeworld-remastered-trailer-explains-how-to-homeworld/GearboxHomeworld RemasteredNewsStrategy <p>Homeworld Remastered is out in a few days. If you missed the 15+ year old original&mdash;or if you want to see the improvements this new version will bring&mdash;Gearbox has released a new trailer. In it, a monotonous voice explains What, How&nbsp;and also sometimes&nbsp;Why.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MMWn4btduJE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If that's not enough video media for your Monday morning, another trailer skips the lecture in favour of space battles. 4K space battles, to be precise.</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vEQKUbrq32c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Homeworld Remastered is out on 25 February. It contains new, enhanced versions of Homeworld 1 and 2, as well as the original, "Classic" editions of both games.</p> Worlds Adrift gameplay video is alpha, but promisinghttp://www.pcgamer.com/worlds-adrift-gameplay-video-is-alpha-but-promising/More details released on promising open world exploration game.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:06:41 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/worlds-adrift-gameplay-video-is-alpha-but-promising/AdventureBossa StudiosMMONewsWorlds Adrift <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qFU_cZaGmeQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Bossa Studios seemed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/worlds-adrift-is-a-physics-based-multiplayer-game-from-the-i-am-bread-studio/">a bit noncommittal</a> when it announced&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/worlds-adrift/">Worlds Adrift</a> late last year, but as time passes and the community's&nbsp;enthusiasm grows, the project looks to be a focus for the I Am Bread studio. The gameplay video above – the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/new-worlds-adrift-developer-reveals-new-gameplay-footage/">second this month</a> – shows the open-ended multiplayer exploration game in action.&nbsp;</p><p>In the accompanying blogpost a studio spokesperson boasts that many of the project's initial hurdles have been cleared, but that&nbsp;there are many to come. "A&nbsp;lot of what we’re trying to do has never been done before, and all conventional wisdom tells us to turn back, so there’s a non-zero possibility some things just can’t be achieved.&nbsp;</p><p>"However, we’ve worked through most limitations we’ve come across so far, and we’re rather foolish people, so we’re confident we can knock down the rest&mdash;one at a time."</p><p>Meanwhile, Bossa has shed more light on what you'll actually be doing in Worlds Adrift when you're not&nbsp;leaping blindly from cliffs and, um, building gargantuan airships. Set in a persistent open world, the game has no explicit goals: there will be no quests, no NPCs, no levelling and no events. This means you can do whatever you damn well please, in the company of creatures that "eat, live and die" and trees with full growth cycles.&nbsp;Basically, you decide how you want to fit into the world.&nbsp;</p><p>The full blog post can be read&nbsp;<a href="http://www.worldsadrift.com/blog/swing-soar-explore/">over here</a>, and it's well worth doing so if you're eager to see the project completed.&nbsp;</p> Civilization: Beyond Earth update brings connectivity with Starshipshttp://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-update-brings-connectivity-with-starships/Will usher usher in more balancing tweaks and improvements.Mon, 23 Feb 2015 00:33:21 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth-update-brings-connectivity-with-starships/Civilization: Beyond EarthNewsStrategy <p><a href="http://www.civilization.com/en/news/2015-02-information-on-the-civilization-beyond-earth-winter-2015-update/"></a><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DjvUjQeTSlax.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0wx0sDuOZmF6.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sid Meyer's Civilization: Beyond Earth"></p><p>Firaxis will roll out a new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-beyond-earth/">Civilization: Beyond Earth</a> update soon, introducing&nbsp;connectivity with the studio's forthcoming&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sid-meiers-starships/">Sid Meier's Starships</a>. It makes sense as the games are set in the same universe, though few details on how the connectivity will work in practice have been provided. Once the patch has rolled out you'll be able to log-in to a my2K account from within Beyond Earth,&nbsp;granting you&nbsp;an exclusive Glacier planet map.</p><p>Sid Meier's Starships is a turn-based space strategy game set in the Beyond Earth universe, and is expected to release some time in the first half of 2015. You can see the game in action <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/watch-the-first-footage-of-sid-meiers-starships/">over here</a>.</p><p>Meanwhile, the new update will also usher in new game balance changes, with Wonders the main target for revision. "One of the most consistent pieces of feedback the team received was that certain Wonders were built only rarely, and players reported that some felt like marginal upgrades over other resource buildings," the patch notes read.&nbsp;"The Beyond Earth team took a general cost pass on all the Wonders in the game, and changed the effects of most of them."&nbsp;Changes to Wonders will have a knock-on effect for other aspects of the game.&nbsp;</p><p>Other major changes include a new city population requirement for trade routes, with routes unlocking with certain population milestones. The full patch notes <a href="http://www.civilization.com/en/news/2015-02-information-on-the-civilization-beyond-earth-winter-2015-update/">are here</a>, and they're lengthy, so kick back and put some Tangerine Dream on.</p> What should I consider when building a PC for the Oculus Rift?http://www.pcgamer.com/what-should-i-consider-when-building-a-pc-for-the-oculus-rift/What kind of specs will Oculus Rift gamesrequire?Sun, 22 Feb 2015 23:02:32 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/what-should-i-consider-when-building-a-pc-for-the-oculus-rift/Ask PC GamerHardwareOculus RIFTOculus VR <figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BkYLhUglRk22.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/MVeGeJkrlEmL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="oculusconnect-wescrescentbay-teaser" class=""><figcaption>Wes trying out the Crescent Bay demo last year.</figcaption></figure> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">ask pc gamer</h5> <p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/ask-pc-gamer/">Ask PC Gamer</a> is our weekly question and advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to <a href="mailto:letters@pcgamer.com">letters@pcgamer.com</a>. </p> </div><p> <strong>Building a new beefy PC soon. Do I need to calculate anything extra in if I plan to eventually get Oculus? &mdash;&nbsp;</strong><a href="https://twitter.com/SuperLobster06/status/567877249518669824">Rob</a></p><p> Hey, Rob! If your new PC is beefy like you say, you're probably on track for a good VR machine, but we really don't know for sure <em>just</em> how high-end of a machine we'll need.</p><p>For now, you want a rig that can run 1080p stereoscopic games at 70fps or higher, as the latest Oculus Rift dev kit delivers a resolution of 960x1080 in each eye. We expect the&nbsp;consumer version of the Rift to&nbsp;be higher-res, though we don't have the final specs. Don't necessarily break the bank with dual-GTX 970s just yet, but do build with potential upgrades in mind.</p><p>Back in 2013, Oculus VP of Product Development Nate Mitchell <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-developer-on-required-system-specs-potential-new-functionality/">talked a bit about this</a>.&nbsp;"You'll want a decent gaming rig," he said, "because you want to be running at 60 frames per second, with vsync, in stereo 3D, and that takes a decent graphics card. The Oculus SDK really adds negligible overhead. There's not really any more overhead for rendering for our device, or anything like that. The onus is really on game developers to optimize their engines to be running at 60 frames per second."</p><p>More recently,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-crescent-bay-interview-nate-mitchell-on-prototype-tech-and-vr-presence/">Mitchell told us</a> that their Crescent Bay&nbsp;demos were running on GTX 980s, and beyond 60 fps. "The demos are running at 90Hz," he said.&nbsp;"That really becomes the gating factor here. For that 90 frames per second, in UE4 where we're doing a lot of complex artwork and trying to render complex scenes, they're high end GPUs. They're high-end systems. i7s. You're going to need a high-end computer for that sort of experience."</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/081sZUKQTCGV.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/tERrNJd3ZNuN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="KiraVR_Windows_64 2015-02-22 13-30-02-88" class=""> <figcaption>Kira by&nbsp;Bully! Entertainment</figcaption></figure><p>I think that, if you're building a good PC now (let's say, a Core i5-4690K/Core i7-4790k, 8-16 GB RAM, and a GTX 970), you'll probably be OK. Oculus is tempering expectations by calling for super&nbsp;high-end machines, but there's also pressure on devs to build well-optimized VR games that don't require&nbsp;dual-980s (I imagine they want a larger audience than that). Some of the Rift games in development now&mdash;Eve: Valkyrie, for instance&mdash;have been in development for a year or more, running fine on older specs. Star Citizen may push your system, but it was always going to, wasn't it?</p><p>Additionally, I've noticed that super high-fidelity graphics aren't necessary to create&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/oculus-rift-crescent-bay-prototype-hands-on-experiencing-true-vr-presence-for-the-first-time/" target="_blank">the feeling of 'presence'</a> that makes VR so special. I'm betting there'll be plenty of VR experiences that don't look like Alien: Isolation, but are still great&nbsp;and don't require more than a new mid-range system. This is only somewhat speculative, as I've tried several Unity&nbsp;engine&nbsp;demos with a Core i5-3570 and GTX 480 with no problems. Of course, if you want the best&mdash;those&nbsp;UE4 games at 90Hz that Mitchell mentioned&mdash;you'll have to go as&nbsp;high-end as you can. We'll know for sure what you'll need&nbsp;when we're actually playing games on the consumer Rift.</p><p>To play it perfectly safe and keep from having to upgrade when the Rift releases, the only thing to do is wait.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.roadtovr.com/two-reasons-buy-new-gaming-rig-oculus-rift-cv-1-release-date-consumer-version/" target="_blank">According to Road to VR</a>, there are indications that hardware manufacturers are working on VR&nbsp; optimizations, but we can only speculate as to what they are and how important they'll be. I think that, as Mitchell said back in 2013, the onus is mostly&nbsp;on software designers to make their games run at 60 fps on as wide a hardware range as possible. But do be prepared for the possibility that some fantastic new Intel, Nvidia, and AMD tech may appear around the same time as the Rift consumer version.</p><p>The final consideration is your physical setup. You want lots of space to swivel and move, and you'll need the head-tracking camera mounted on your monitor or a stand, and Oculus recommends you sit 1.5 meters or 5 feet away for optimal performance. So, don't put your PC&nbsp;in a closet and you should be fine.</p> Creative roguelike Catacomb Kids hits Early Accesshttp://www.pcgamer.com/creative-roguelike-catacomb-kids-hits-early-access/All the other roguelites are just imitating, just imitating.Sun, 22 Feb 2015 17:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/creative-roguelike-catacomb-kids-hits-early-access/NewsRoguelike <iframe width="700" height="394" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LaHTgdFD4hU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>One of the best features of 'proper' roguelikes that few games ever bother to nick is their ridiculous scope for simulation and&nbsp;experimentation. Sure, it's easier to simulate drenching, burning, clever potion combinations and so on when it's simply&nbsp;a matter of rendering different ascii symbols and text, but it's still a shame to see so many modern&nbsp;'roguelites' focus on procedural generation and permadeath to the exclusion of all else that makes the classic roguelikes sing.</p><p>Spelunky is one of the few to get simulation and experimentation right, as is Vagante to an extent&mdash;and now&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ckgame.net/" target="_blank">Catacomb Kids</a> has come along to join the club. FourbitFriday's game&nbsp;goes beyond Spelunky's hard rules and consistency to offer an insanely simulated world that richly&nbsp;rewards player&nbsp;experimentation and creativity. It's in&nbsp;<a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/315840" target="_blank">Early Access</a> now (and a bit cheaper on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ckgame.net/humble.php" target="_blank">Humble Bundle</a>), and you've probably already watched the new trailer, above.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ijkQ7ExhQfiE.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/udM-3StBkjDw.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Catacomb Kids"></p><p>There's not a lot to the Early Access version at the moment&mdash;one environment, local co-op,&nbsp;a couple of mini-bosses&nbsp;and two character&nbsp;classes&mdash;but there's already scope for a great deal of experimentation. Create a poisoned pool of water, set fire to yourself and others, cook food,&nbsp;create steam, eat bodies and use blob parts to climb up sheer walls.&nbsp;You get the idea, and you'll get more if you peruse the Steam reviews. This creative approach to exploration and enemy engagement is supported by&nbsp;satisfying, Dark Soulsy melee&nbsp;combat, and an insanely high difficulty level&mdash;I've played for about 40 minutes, across nearly ten characters, and I haven't yet escaped from&nbsp;the first floor.</p><p>Catacomb Kids will be in Early Access "until it's complete", and the developers say there will be "a regular, continuous stream of updates with a new build at least once every month or so".</p><p>"The full version will have four primary environments, two major bosses, at least eight mini-bosses, dozens more skills and abilities, and a metric f-ton of secrets.&nbsp;The finished game will also include various game modes including The Gauntlet, Co-op Mode, and Infinite Mode."</p><p>There's a slightly glitchy tutorial and a&nbsp;two-player Versus mode in there at the moment, in addition the main rogueliking mode.</p> YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is a psychedelic indie Earthboundhttp://www.pcgamer.com/yikk-a-postmodern-rpg-is-a-psychadelic-indie-earthbound/AJRPG-style RPGstarring a guy with a handsome beard.Sun, 22 Feb 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/yikk-a-postmodern-rpg-is-a-psychadelic-indie-earthbound/JRPGNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/N14_YSEdTdSD.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vyA_49flMo_d.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="YIIK"></p><p>I love an RPG set in the real actual world most of us live in. There's something deeply comforting about the way they make modern life more magically real, transforming it into&nbsp;a place featuring experience points and monsters, where you never, ever&nbsp;have to go the dentist or&nbsp;fill out a tax return. RPGs set in the real world are still so rare that they tend to be called 'Earthbound-inspired', and to be fair they often are to a large extent.&nbsp;This description fits pretty well with&nbsp;<a href="https://ackkstudios.wordpress.com/project-y2k/" target="_blank">YIIK: A Postmodern RPG</a>, but I can also detect a bit of Persona in there, a bit of indie beard, and it's shaping up to be as strange as you might expect.</p><p>From the website, which hasn't been updated yet with the game's new moniker, YIIK is&nbsp;"a Japanese-style RPG developed by Americans. [...] The game contains action and platforming elements, as well as meticulously designed story-based dungeons. In addition to these story-based dungeons, [YIIK] will feature randomly generated dungeons called "The Mind Dungeon" that contain puzzles, story elements, and opportunities for the characters to level up beyond the standard leveling experience that is expected from battle".</p><p>Having more JRPG-style games on PC always feels like a Very Good Thing, particularly when they're this interesting, and they&nbsp;give rise to trailers as unusual as this one:</p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IKvDypy1Mrw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>I mean, what's going on there? I've no idea. But I'm intrigued to know more. YIIK, developed by Ackk Studios and published by Ysbryd Games,&nbsp;is coming to PC later this year.</p><p>[Note: one of the game's producers, Cassandra Khaw, is a PC Gamer contributor.]</p> Complex duels and elephant gifts in Crusader Kings 2 modhttp://www.pcgamer.com/complex-duels-and-elephant-gifts-in-crusader-kings-2-mod/Rebels and Warmongers mod provides moreoptions for education, gifts, debates, and stabbing.Sun, 22 Feb 2015 10:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/complex-duels-and-elephant-gifts-in-crusader-kings-2-mod/Crusader Kings 2Mod of the WeekParadox InteractiveStrategy <p>For a strategy game that excels at&nbsp;making things personal,&nbsp;there's one portion of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/crusader-kings-2/">Crusader Kings 2</a> that's always felt a little impersonal: combat. I typically feel a bit helpless while battles are raging, and even when there's a random event that puts a sword in my hand and an enemy right in front of me, it still doesn't really feel like I'm involved.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/goqhOiQpRDaB.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/pHxCsNrHGRjN.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crusader Kings 2"></p><p><a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=386231384">Hooni's Rebels and Warmongers</a> mod address that, among other things. When you find yourself in battle, as I did when I began a new game and immediately started a big pointless&nbsp;war,&nbsp;it opens up some new combat options. While battling with my neighbor to test the mod, I found myself face to face with a foe, and after deciding to take him on, I was given a choice of where to stab him. The head, for a chance at blinding him? His torso, to maim him? His limbs, to hobble him? You're also&nbsp;shown the chances&nbsp;of your attack succeeding. I naturally went for the head, but missed, and my enemy counter-attacked.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/xP-v6DiKS4SO.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/OdUHO_ffVzpn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crusader Kings 2"></p><p>The mod&nbsp;also&nbsp;expands the options of a few other common&nbsp;activities, like gift-giving.&nbsp;Look, money is always a fine gift, but it's a little impersonal. Why not give someone a rare jewel, or a camel, or a bunch of elephants? If you're strapped for cash, you can always give someone your gratitude, and I'm sure they'll accept it with the same excitement someone does when you've made a donation in their name to charity.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, I'd save up&nbsp;for the elephant. Even if they don't want an elephant, it's really tricky to re-gift. Elephants are pretty noticeable.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/nSBCCuVMTIin.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/2sMXjCXGeXcv.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crusader Kings 2d"></p><p>While we're talking about animals, you can breed horses with the mod&nbsp;as a little side activity. I'm afraid I didn't do very well when I attempted to breed&nbsp;aggressive horses. My goal was to flood my countryside with insane&nbsp;horses to distract my subjects from the war I'd started and was horribly losing, but they pretty much all died as foals. I'm not a particularly good king, if you hadn't noticed.</p><p>The education of children is expanded, giving you a little more control over the traits your child is learning, or at least giving you a few options that might steer them in the right direction.&nbsp;You can even engage in theological debates with other leaders. And why not? Just because the internet doesn't exist doesn't mean you can't yell in someone's face about religion.</p><p>You can read more about the features of&nbsp;Hooni's Rebels and Warmongers, and&nbsp;subscribe to it,&nbsp;<a href="http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=386231384">in the Steam Workshop</a>.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PYdDfZTGRmub.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/QVcmReGsQubL.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crusader Kings 2"></p> Face off: Should Dr. Boom be nerfed?http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off-should-dr-boom-be-nerfed/Tim and Tom debate whether or not the Hearthstone card Dr. Boom deserves a swing from the nerf bat.Sun, 22 Feb 2015 01:55:50 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/face-off-should-dr-boom-be-nerfed/Face OffHearthstone <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/sKgQrmMBRZ63.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/jPcz0jVQbbvO.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Best Hearthstone Legendaries Dr"></p> <div class="fancy-box"> <h5 class="title">face off</h5><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/LEKMAnVbSf64.jpg" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/HY3VaMLt8cLj.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tom_Marks-17362 copy" style="width: 180px;"> </p><p><strong>Tom Marks, Assistant Editor</strong></p><p>Tom Marks thinks that no one card should have all that power &nbsp;</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YB6hi_eHSN-O.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/k5GalZ1Xdvkg.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Tim Clark"></p> <p> <strong>Tim Clark, Global editor-in-chief</strong></p> <p>Tim Clark thinks Doc Boom should be allowed to keep shaking the room.</p> </div><p><em>In Face Off, PC Gamer writers go head to head over an issue affecting PC gaming. Today, Tim and Tom argue whether or not the insanely popular Hearthstone card Dr. Boom should be nerfed.</em></p><p><strong>Tom Marks: YES. If a card can be put every deck, something is wrong with it.</strong></p><p>Just to be clear, I am not a fan of the nerf bat being swung around all&nbsp;willy-nilly and am fully in favor of Blizzard balancing current&nbsp;cards by introducing new ones, but the good Doctor is a downright oppressive presence in the meta right now. It is in literally every deck, and what’s more, it <em>works</em> in every deck. Dr. Boom gives you a huge amount of board presence for a bafflingly low cost, but more importantly it’s a single card that is almost impossible to respond to without at least two of your own. It has single-handedly pushed Big Game Hunter into most decks, and BGH still leaves you with two Boom Bots to deal with. Even in a world where you are, for some reason, running Twisting Nether, the Boom Bot deathrattles hit you in the face for 2-8 damage. What other card demands that kind of attention on turn 7?</p><p><strong>Tim Clark: NO. People are being babies. As usual.</strong></p><p>Okay, I’m willing to make an early concession here (before delivering my own rapier-like counterthrust). Firstly, when high-level players are nick-naming your card Dr. Balanced and, erm, Dr. Cancer, then I suppose that indicates there might be an issue with its perception. But here’s the thing: High-level players are a lot like mid- and low-level players&mdash;aside from the being good at Hearthstone bit&mdash;insofar as they absolutely love to complain about cards. Here’s my prediction: even if Hearthstone lasts until the heat death of the universe, and Blizzard brings in a team of elite tightrope stilt-walkers to advise on balance, there will still be people complaining that whatever card is the ubiquitous pick du jour is OP and should be nerfed plz. You ask what card demands a response like Boom does. Well, for only one Mana more Rag has already done 8 damage to something before you even get a chance to respond. Admittedly BGH is less of a hard counter to Boom, but people are too obsessed with being able to answer every threat perfectly. Also, BGH only costs three mana. You’ll have another five to spend on sorting out those pesky IEDs. I actually think it’s to Boom’s credit that it promotes messy board states.</p><p><strong>Tom: </strong>Oh boy, this might not be the best way to kick off an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y">argument</a>, but I completely agree that people like to complain. There will always be an “OP” card that everyone hates and should be printed on paper solely so we can <em>actually burn it</em>. This is a fact for most online games. That fact, however, does not mean Dr. Boom isn’t <em>actually</em> overpowered. It’s one thing when the masses cry foul, but it’s another when&nbsp;(as you said)&nbsp;pro players are casually referring to the card as imbalanced. A card to encourage messy board states isn't&nbsp;inherently&nbsp;unhealthy, but you can drop Dr. Boom with nearly any board state and it is almost never a bad play&mdash;a luxury Ragnaros does not have. While everyone loves a good YOLO-Rag, the requirements for playing Ragnaros beneficially are usually more nuanced. The requirements for playing Dr. Boom beneficially are that it’s after turn 6.</p><p><strong>Tim: </strong>Well played, Tom. Very pithy. But you’ve fallen into my carefully-laid trap. The fact that Boom is good on almost any board is exactly what makes it such an important, but not necessarily overpowered, card. I submit to you, sir, that Hearthstone’s real balance problem is that it drastically lacks cards which can be played when you’re behind on board. As a Druid main, I lack effective board clear spells beyond Swipe and the risible 10-mana Poison Seeds/Starfall combo. So once I’m behind I pretty much know I’m cooked, barring Innervate shenanigans, and it’s an oppressive feeling. Boom gives players a way back into games that otherwise look lost, and I think that’s desperately needed. After all, how many of your favourite Hearthstone stories are about incredible comebacks? It’s not like just dropping Boom equals an&nbsp;insta-win, either. If you have two or three decent minions down, and I play the good doctor, you can still load up on more creatures and go face. You’re not obliged to trade. There are other cards which are pretty much always good to play too. Ancient of Lore and Fire Elemental, to name two, although they’re class specific. A more reasonable comparison would be with another neutral legendary: Sylvanas. She’s good when played while&nbsp;you're&nbsp;ahead, but even better when you’re behind. She’s an excellent card. It’s okay for there to be excellent cards.</p><p><strong>Tom:</strong> Yes, and we can plainly see how desperately unplayed Druid is because of its lack of “play from behind” cards... Oh wait, it’s been the most consistently successful class since the game’s release. Your unhealthy obsession with Druid’s lack of hard removal aside, I will admit that come-from-behind plays make Hearthstone less of a snowball game and much more exciting to watch, but Dr. Boom gives you that benefit in a single, 7-mana card. The other examples you gave can definitely turn a game in your favor, but they still don’t represent anywhere near as large of a board impact as Boom makes. Sylvanas is an excellent card, but she isn’t always good. If you play Boom while I have minions, my options are trade my board and probably another card to clear him (and the boom bots still deal damage) or ignore him and go face at which point you will get a minimum of 11 damage from one 7 mana card. Sylvanas is peaches and cream compared to dealing with that. It’s definitely good to have excellent cards, but there needs to be a time when those cards aren’t so excellent. </p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/PGY06G2JQJuN.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/WurH-F0GDRYa.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="GvG Hearthstone Boom Bot"></p><p><strong>Tim: </strong>I guess my point, as far as I still have one, is that I just don’t feel like Boom is having a deleterious effect on my enjoyment of Hearthstone. (I’m also hoping you’ll be dazzled by the word deleterious and let me win.) I mean, yes, there’s a case for saying Boom is, in a vaccum, the best value card in the game right now. But there will always be a best value card. You cannot have light without shade and all that jazz. But does it feel like it’s warping the majority of games I play in? No, not really. And that is probably due to its ubiquity. If the other guy plays Boom, oh well here comes mine too I guess. I just feel fine with it. And what I feel is what really matters here, as I think we’ve established now. But here’s another point: <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/times-up-for-leeroy-jenkins-as-blizzard-finally-nerf-him-and-starving-buzzard/">Leeroy</a> wasn’t nerfed because he was necessarily the most powerful card in the game. He was nerfed because the style of play he enabled&mdash;specifically the&nbsp;ludicrous combo finishes played from hand&mdash;was super enraging for your opponent. Likewise with <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstones-undertaker-nerfed-at-last/">Undertaker</a>. It was just joyless to face. I don’t think&nbsp;that’s the case with Boom quite yet. Boom is love. Boom is life. (Actually Boom is mainly death, but you see where I’m driving with this.)</p><p><strong>Tom:</strong> That’s a fair point, but a point spoken by someone who owns Dr. Boom. This was not the case for me until very recently, and I imagine it’s not the case for a large portion of players. Boom might not have a deleterious effect (did I use that right?) on the quality of each match, but it is affecting the deck building portion of Hearthstone. Currently, if you want to make a deck as good as it can be, you only have 29 cards to work with. Dr. Boom’s inclusion is necessitated or you risk being unable to go Boom for Boom with your opponent. Maybe I’m being a stick in the mud, but I find Dr. Boom’s concept is more fun on paper than when I see him in game, on either side of the board. He doesn’t need to be nerfed into oblivion, but his concept needs to be expressed better. </p><p><strong>Tim: </strong>Express the concept better? Dr Boom isn’t an obscure piece of early Hungarian existentialism. And anyway, he’s not in every deck. I don’t use him in my Zoo build. And there’s that Kolento ramp Druid which doesn’t run any creatures with more than 6 attack, and&hellip; I mean, alright, okay, he’s in almost every deck, yes, that’s true. But the real problem here is the lack of good neutral 7-drops. What are you meant to put in there on curve? Baron Geddon maybe, if you’re running a heavy control deck, I guess. Troggzor hasn’t really taken off. Ravenholdt bloody Assassin? I don’t think so. The danger is that the whining is going to lead to one of the most interesting cards in the game being hamstrung and turned into the new Illidan Stormrage. Not on my watch, Tom. Not on my watch.</p><p><strong>Tom: </strong>Brushing over the fact that deck’s with no minions over 6 attack exist <em>because</em> of BGH’s popularity, which is only the case <em>because</em> of Dr. Boom’s popularity&hellip; you are right about neutral 7 mana cards. It is a sad and desolate mana slot, which is ironic because it is home to some of the better class cards like Ancient of Lore and Archmage Antonidas. I believe a world exists where Dr. Boom is nerfed appropriately without changing his cost. It might be a hopeful world, but I have faith in Blizzard’s balance team. They’ve shown they can make card changes with a delicate touch in the past&hellip; except for Starving Buzzard. RIP in peace, my feathery prince.</p><p><strong>Tim:</strong> In this fanciful ‘balanced Dr Boom’ world Neptulon becomes king and we all end up playing midrange Shaman. I hope you’ll be happy with your new fish overlord, Tom. I really do.</p><p><strong>Tom:</strong> So, I won then?</p><p><strong>Tim: </strong>Yep.</p><p><em>For more analysis on Hearthstone cards, read&nbsp;our list of&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-the-20-best-legendary-cards/" target="_blank"><em>the best legendaries</em></a><em>.</em></p> The best videos of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-videos-of-the-week/In which we introduce"the alley-oop sniper kill."Sat, 21 Feb 2015 17:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-videos-of-the-week/ActionBesiegeCall of DutyCounter-Strike: Global OffensiveFPSGrand Theft Auto VSingle-playerTrials Fusion <p>It's that time of the week again, when we can finally stop pretending we know how to read, press play, and let the moving images entertain us the easy way.</p><p>I'm going to call this amazing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive move "the alley-oop sniper kill."</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/bWJ81vgZR3s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>If you liked that '90s-themed <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/strafe-has-been-funded-so-heres-another-vaguely-disturbing-trailer/">Strafe trailer</a>, you're going to love this '90s-themed League of Legends commercial.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VLHMeboN0G8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Someone created Call of Duty's Zombies mode inside of Trials Fusion. Mind-boggling.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hq93c0OMmPs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>(In an incredibly offensive Cuban accent) Say hello to this 8-bit rendition of Scarface.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/I8lla-50gy8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Mad respect to this Grand Theft Auto V player who never gave up on his dream of pulling off this stunt:</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_Xo1k9pS1rY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball looks like something I should play, based on the title alone, but the video also makes it look good.</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FUVUIAneLE4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/half-life-2-machinima-has-a-headcrab-problem/">ICYMI</a>, one Half Life 2 headcrab has had enough:</p><iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3LlAi8ygeMI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> The best free games of the weekhttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-66/Walk, hack, bleed, prod and glow with this week's roundup.Sat, 21 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-best-free-games-of-the-week-66/browser gamesFreeIndieThe Best Free Games of the Week <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/O2at4DMRRFOY.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aGZN3bWGIIgf.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="I Know This"></p><p>This week is brought to you by loveable&nbsp;Hollywood hackers, who leak code from every fingertip, who&nbsp;never, ever use a mouse, and who&nbsp;sometimes look a lot like Angelina Jolie. A hacker by the name of 'The girl from Jurassic Park' is indirectly responsible for one of&nbsp;this week's highlights, but if you can't fake-code to save your life, perhaps you'll enjoy crafting yourself a new body, taking a run in the woods, bleeding out or escaping from a creepy subway. Enjoy!</p><h3><a href="http://strangethink.itch.io/perfect-glowing-bodies" target="_blank">Perfect Glowing Bodies by Strangethink</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/NZTHWgs1THue.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/Vya7ZEqVCMeo.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Perfect Glowing Bodies"></p><p>Strangethink's latest Strangethinky thing&nbsp;is a program that will let you build a perfect new body. They all look a bit like space wizards or power rangers, but who among us would rather be a dangly fleshy meatbag given the choice? All that remains is for Strangethink to implement large-scale&nbsp;3D printing and/or consciousness uploading, and then&nbsp;we can all look like magic space power rangers for ever.</p><h3><a href="http://a-way-to-go.com/" target="_blank">Way to Go by Vincent Morisset, Philippe Lambert, Edouard Lanctot-Benoit, Caroline Robert</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GMAKRrPKTmWT.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/paZY13HY974Y.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Way To Go"></p><p>Take a walk on the wild side (you know, like that song...Spaceballs) with the splendid Way to Go, a game that uses loads of lovely&nbsp;video footage and music to plonk you right in one of the best places in the world: a wood. It's one of those 'experience' type games, as opposed to games where you glumly fill up XP bars or get better at manhandling digital wizards. Do you like free 'experience' type games? You'll almost certainly like this, then&mdash;er, unless you use Firefox or Internet Explorer, as&nbsp;Chrome is the only supported browser. (Via&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/02/16/way-to-go-free-walk/" target="_blank">RPS</a>)</p><h3><a href="http://theinstructionlimit.com/i-know-this-global-game-jam-2015" target="_blank">I Know This by Two's Complement</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wtronZXVQIeK.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vhfy5LNYPza2.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="I Know This2"></p><p>Jurassic Park had a really interesting mockup security program thing [Update: actually it's a&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fsn" target="_blank">real thing</a>], which used basic 3D modelling to display protected files and folders. It was a great way to visualise a lot of boring data&mdash;and now that program has been recreated as a game. With further inspiration from the ace&nbsp;<a href="http://hackertyper.net/" target="_blank">hackertyper.net</a>,&nbsp;along with Microsoft's asshole Office Assistant paperclip, I Know This is a fun way to feel like a coder without having any talent for coding whatsoever. Explore, type, and avoid the attention of security spotlights, while enjoying the interjections of an annoying pointy arrow.</p><h3><a href="http://ariellegrimes.itch.io/bleeding" target="_blank">Bleeding by Arielle Grimes</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/torauKOKS_Wb.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/vqXS2ie8xfoe.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Bleeding"></p><p>Bleeding out, after what I imagine must have been&nbsp;another death in some grey&nbsp;first-person shooter, you decide to use your last few seconds on Earth to apologise to everyone you've killed. Sorry! Sorry! Really sorry about that! Oops, that looks painful! My bad! Well, you get the idea. Because game, apologies equal points&mdash;and what do points make? Nothing, you're dead. Sorry!</p><h3><a href="http://evgiz.net/prototype/february/" target="_blank">Minor Steps by Evgiz</a></h3><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/YJ45-VScSTe9.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/o92q9RrcvMVW.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Minor Steps"></p><p>A small, robust puzzle game that's pretty much a top-down take on room escape. Prod rubbish piles, experiment,&nbsp;use items gruesomely on other things, all in a bid to escape from the predicament you're in. I find it interesting that this predicament isn't explained in any way&mdash;I was left wondering how on Earth your little character got into such a mess. (Via&nbsp;<a href="http://wip.warpdoor.com/2015/02/20/minor-steps-evgiz/" target="_blank">Warp Door</a>)</p> To The Moon's second free 'minisode' out nowhttp://www.pcgamer.com/to-the-moons-second-free-minisode-out-now/About 20 minutes long, like the previous one.Sat, 21 Feb 2015 15:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/to-the-moons-second-free-minisode-out-now/AdventureFreebird GamesNewsTo the Moon <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5fw22yOKRFqS.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_St9CFCTZe0r.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="To The Moon Minisode 2"></p><p>Developer Kan Gao released the first free *shudder* 'minisode' for To The Moon at around&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/to-the-moon-gets-free-holiday-minisode-will-soon-have-mac-and-linux-versions/" target="_blank">this time last year</a>, and now another has been released,&nbsp;<a href="http://freebirdgames.com/2015/02/18/sigmund-minisode-2-released/" target="_blank">completely free</a>. While it's the same sort of length as the first (around 20 minutes), Gao suggests that this one is "a&nbsp;tad more...important, plot-wise". Once again, you're stuck in a hospital playing&nbsp;as the two main scientist characters of To The Moon, as protestors do protesty things outside.</p><p>If you own To The Moon on Steam, you should find that the DLC has already been registered to your account. Otherwise, you can download it&nbsp;<a href="http://freebirdgames.com/2015/02/18/sigmund-minisode-2-released/" target="_blank">here</a>. You don't need to own TTM, but it will probably make more sense if you've played that first.</p><p>With Sigmund Minisode 2 out of the way, Gao will be resuming work on&nbsp;To The Moon's&nbsp;full-fledged sequel, Finding Paradise. Meanwhile, one of Freebird's pixel artists, Jordan, is still&nbsp;in hospital undergoing chemotherapy; if you'd like to help out with either kind words or donations,&nbsp;there are details of how you can do so&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/FreebirdGames/posts/1388215297860763" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> Sunset trailer shows lovely apartment, also warhttp://www.pcgamer.com/sunset-trailer-shows-lovely-apartment-also-war/Out this Spring; here's what it looks like.Sat, 21 Feb 2015 14:00:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/sunset-trailer-shows-lovely-apartment-also-war/AdventureNewsSunsetTale of Tales <iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5G67aS28B6I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p><a href="http://tale-of-tales.com/Sunset/" target="_blank">Sunset</a> is a first-person game where you play as the housekeeper&nbsp;of a bloody great penthouse apartment,&nbsp;in the fictional South American city of San Bavón. It's set in the 1970s, which might be why it looks so stylish, and&nbsp;Journey composer Austin Wintory is doing the music, which might be why it sounds so nice. Chris Livingston previewed it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/sunset-preview-a-war-seen-through-the-window/" target="_blank">a few days ago</a>, and if that whet your appetite for Tale of Tales'&nbsp;intriguing,&nbsp;combatless war game, I have a new trailer for you to watch.</p><p>Actually, it's at the top of this post, so you probably already watched it. Oh&nbsp;well. Still: Sunset's looking pretty good, isn't it? I particularly like the ginormous, '90s-FPS-size rooms of the luxury apartment you're sent to look after, which are going to be a right nightmare to clean.</p><p>Tale of Tales' previous credits include The Path and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/bientot-lete-tale-of-tales-latest-offers-a-virtual-seaside-anonymous-chess/" target="_blank">incredibly French</a>&nbsp;Bientôt l'été, so you probably know by now if this is the sort of thing you'll enjoy.</p> Frozen Contexthttp://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-context/"He readies the ball and he lets it go, lets it go, and now we've done that gag..."Sat, 21 Feb 2015 09:30:00 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/frozen-context/Critical Paths <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/DmG9HbE5Tzyh.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/4091dasZH2So.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Cortex3"></p><div class="fancy-box"><h5 class="title">critical paths</h5><p>Every week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.richardcobbett.com">Richard Cobbett</a> writes about the world of story and writing in games.</p></div><p>Frozen Cortex is the kind of game I find a bit intimidating. It's strategy, which is only my genre in fairly specific forms, and a robotic spin on American Football. Being British, I know really&nbsp;very little about the ins and outs of that subject's many&nbsp;complexities. Or for that matter,&nbsp;American Football.</p><p>I've only played a few rounds, so I'm not going to comment on the action of it too much. I can say that the Knockout mode is well named. I played it and got instantly knocked out. But what I do like, at least so far, and seems worth a look,&nbsp;is how Frozen Cortex sells its fictional sport. It slips in story in several ways, and all of them entirely to its advantage when it comes to making it feel legitimate, like something people are actually watching, and part of a wider world with more going on than robot games.</p><p>It's not unique in that, of course. Commentators are fairly common in this kind of game, and there's always some lore about how a particular fake-sport has managed to take the world by storm. One of my favourite examples was Super Monday Night Combat, a MOBA/FPS hybrid whose commentators made the game what it was. Others include (rolls dice) Blood Bowl, which offered its fake-sport in a fantasy flavour. The catch of most of them is that after a while you've heard everything they have to say, and there's little less funny than hearing the same joke a hundred times. Being stabbed in the eye with a fork, yes. Forced hot-sauce enemas.&nbsp;Very little else.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/5X4mjATsSRqR.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/kFDDcO_kCFJn.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Fatrich"></p><p>In Frozen Cortex, it helps that it's text based. That's probably more down to budget than anything else, and some roaring dialogue is always fun. Long-term though, it&nbsp;allows for it to be as passive as needed, yet still reinforce the basic effect of commenters chatting away from a distant booth. There's three of them, a conventional sports commentator type, an analyst, and a guy I think of as Mr. Pumpkinhead, with their lines split between quick references, random bursts,&nbsp;quick dialogues, and quiet reminders of mechanics like trying to sweep up bonus points before going for the touchdown. You also get the opposing team's coach chipping in at regular intervals with their own contributions, including straight-forward "That wasn't very good" type jeers and sighs, and&nbsp;the occasional bit of random nonsense like "My trousers are aflame with glorious triumph!" So, uh, yeah. The result is a diverting but not distracting flow of tips, reinforcements of each team's style and background, and&nbsp;outright gags like "This turn break is sponsored by the Grand Holy Church of the Incomparable Boz. You are weak, worthless and loved by Boz..."</p><p>A lot of the time, it's the smallest details that can make the most difference. Frozen Cortex is simultaneous turn-based strategy, and it's nice that the game acknowledges player speed - noting when you're ludicrously quick to plan your move, and the commentators tapping their toes in boredom while the opposing player figures out what to do. Between rounds, when it would have been so easy to just worry about the mechanics, you get little news stories popping up about corruption in the league, other coaches pulling crap like leaving lanes wide open for easy passes,&nbsp;and things that the commentators will bring up in their exchanges. I don't know how complex the story actually is,&nbsp;but there's a good hint that there's a fair amount going on behind the scenes. While the focus is on short seasons, the&nbsp;main single-player modes both make a point of saying that it continues between games rather than just pulling from a big sack of words. It'll take a good deal more play to figure that out. For now though, it's a pleasant extra layer to explore&nbsp;while learning the ropes of the core&nbsp;action.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/0Y4eoILmToy2.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zk6IHznWnbex.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Classydrink"></p><p>Cortex's predecessor, Frozen Synapse,&nbsp;also did a better job with its script than it tends to get credit for, its story and&nbsp;single-player campaign unsurprisingly being a relatively small part of its sell. When you're competing against someone, you don't really care what bullshit lore reason there is behind it - it's all about the tactics and satisfaction of a shotgun. This time though, the two sides fit together well. It makes absolute sense that a sport would have these elements, and just being able to buy into a larger fiction really does make a big difference. There's a reason that games like FIFA are always going to get more attention than just any random sports game - the players, the atmosphere, the prestige are all part of the fantasy. <em>Outright</em> fantasy sports meanwhile have to not only present a game worth playing, but a reason to get good. The illusion of spectators, and even relatively simple simulated interest, are surprisingly effective.</p><p>While I can't so far say that the AI has the same raw personality as the Alpha Centauri crew, or the depth of&nbsp;some GalCiv messages, it's been doing a lot to keep me company during my variably-protracted failures at climbing the leaderboards in single-player mode. And those <em>are</em> high watermarks for any game to hit...</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ywc8vfZuQ2S2.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/COGKh704ccJB.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Ai"></p><p>Uppity bloody AI opponents. But at least they're still friendlier than most Dota players.</p> PC Gamer Show: Board games for PC gamershttp://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-board-games-for-pc-gamers/Evan and Wes talk about some of their favorite board games, including Risk: Legacy, XCOM: The Board Game, and more.Sat, 21 Feb 2015 01:07:15 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show-board-games-for-pc-gamers/board gamePC Gamer ShowStrategyxcom: the board game <iframe width="500" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/J59oWDUTOAU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><p>This week's PC Gamer Show is a boardgamestravaganza! We like board games, which is why we recently published&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/best-board-games/">our list of the best board games for PC gamers</a>.&nbsp;On the show, we pick out and talk about some of our favorites, including Risk: Legacy, XCOM: The Board Game, and the X-Wing Miniatures Game.</p><p>And, as usual, we answer your questions about PC gaming. Is DDR4 RAM worth the money? Should you try out the Windows 10 Preview? What RPGs are we excited about in 2015?</p><p><em><a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/pc-gamer-show/">The PC Gamer Show</a></em><em> appears every Friday. Hit us with PC gaming questions in the comments, and we might answer them in next week's episode! Or tweet </em><a href="http://twitter.com/pcgamer">@pcgamer</a><em> with a question using the hashtag #AskPCGamer.</em></p> Microtransactions may be coming to Diablo 3 in non-American regionshttp://www.pcgamer.com/microtransactions-may-be-coming-to-diablo-3-in-non-american-regions/In-game purchases aren't coming to the Americas "anytime soon."Fri, 20 Feb 2015 23:52:19 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/microtransactions-may-be-coming-to-diablo-3-in-non-american-regions/ActionBlizzardDiablo 3MicrotransactionsNews <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KIZyOycLToyI.jpg" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/FF-NGyD7Pp4-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Diablo 3"></p><p>[<strong>Update:</strong> A Blizzard rep sent the following statement in response to our inquiries. "There are a lot of different factors that go into decisions like this, including various regional or local market considerations. We know that some of these features would be ones that players in several regions might enjoy, but we don't currently have plans to support these in North America, and we don't have any other region-specific details to share at this time."]</p><p>Original story:</p><p>The <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/diablo-3/">Diablo 3</a> 2.2.0 patch that's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/latest-diablo-3-patch-adds-new-legendary-armor-sets-gear-and-more/" target="_blank">soon to hit the Public Test Realm</a> will add new Legendary armor sets, a new kind of Adventure Mode bounty, new Goblins to chase around, and a bunch of other good stuff. But some parts of the world will see other additions, including a new in-game currency, timed experience boosts, and new cosmetic items.</p><p>"Some new features may start to show up in data mined information for patch 2.2.0 that will not apply to all regions," Blizzard revealed on <a href="http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/16410220920?page=1#1">Battle.net</a>. It cited five specifically that won't apply to the Americas:</p><ul> <li>A new currency called "Platinum"</li><li>Timed experience boosts</li><li>New cosmetic items including wings, non-combat pets, and character portraits</li><li>References to stash space and character slot expansions</li><li>A new UI element that references the above information </li></ul><p>The obvious implication is that microtransactions are coming to the game, something Blizzard confirmed in the conclusion of the post. "We recognize that many players have expressed an interest in microtransactions being added to Diablo III," it says. "While we may explore this model in some regions, we have no immediate plans to implement such purchases anytime soon for the Americas region."</p><p>That final statement is a hedge on all sides: When someone says they have no immediate plans to do something anytime soon, what they're really saying is that sooner or later, it's probably&nbsp;going to happen. What makes the prospect particularly interesting is that it's coming so late in the day&mdash;Diablo 3 has been around for almost three years&mdash;and also, of course, Blizzard's well-documented past troubles with the controversial Auction House, which was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/diablo-3s-auction-house-is-now-closed-for-business/">shut down</a> in March of last year.</p><p>We've reached out to Blizzard for more information, and will update if and when we receive a reply. In the meantime, what do you think: Are swanky duds and paid experience boosts a step in the right direction, or is it more likely to put you off playing altogether?</p> The week's highs and lows in PC gaminghttp://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_Feb20/Each week PC Gamer’s young knives gather in an alley and decide who to shank with cold, hard opinion.Fri, 20 Feb 2015 23:30:42 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/the-weeks-highs-and-lows-in-pc-gaming_Feb20/highs and lows <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/EnIzc7deRmSl.png" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bGQgy9ygQ8Ux.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Doom selfie cropped"></p><p><strong> THE HIGHS</strong></p><p> <strong>Tom Senior: Doom selfies</strong><br>"Imagine if the Doom guy had a selfie stick!" is an instantly amusing idea, but ordinarily you'd enjoy the observation and move on with your life. This week one modder said "NO", realising that the only thing funnier than imagining the Doom guy taking selfies on demon-infested Mars is to put a command in the game<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/take-selfies-in-doom-thanks-to-the-instadoom-mod/">that actually does that</a>. “Oh, and imagine it had a bunch of instagram filters too lol!” FEATURE IMPLEMENTED. Make a famously brown game even browner with instagram's artistically weathered sepia overlays. Linguica has gone the extra mile bringing this joke to life. Well played.</p><p> <strong>Samuel Roberts: Bundle is Humble</strong><br>Following on from the ace Star Wars Humble Bundle, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/square-enix-returns-with-a-new-humble-bundle/">this Square Enix one</a> is so absurdly generous that paying over the average bags you Thief, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, SupCom 2 and Hitman Absolution. Oh, and Murdered Soul Suspect, which <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/murdered-soul-suspect-review/">I remember Chris comparing</a> to the pilot of a terrible supernatural cop show last year and almost nothing else about it. Chances are, you’ve bought most of these games&mdash;I’ve grabbed Thief from this bundle, but I get as much pleasure from giving keys away in these bundles as I do taking them myself. Being the person to introduce someone to Deus Ex: Human Revolution means they owe me a life debt in return. It’s a titanic gesture that must be repaid in full, or else.&nbsp;</p><p> <img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/lO1RFWz0Qcyw.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/KMV_2JxyNCfC.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Orion Trail Slide"></p><p> <strong>Chris Livingston: Pixel Nation</strong><br>As someone who used to love to draw, but completely and utterly sucked at it, I have a natural admiration for (and envy of) artists of all kinds. This goes double for people who excel at creating and animating pixel art. How someone can take a handful of teeny tiny colored cubes and shape them into something instantly recognizable, I have no idea. Even more amazing is the animation that breathes life, character, and humor into these itty bitty works of art.</p><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/orion-trail-warp-weasels-psychic-yetis-and-space-farts/">I played the prototype of Orion Trail this week</a>, and I recommend you check it out. You can play it for free right in your browser, and along with lots of amusing sci-fi jokes you can enjoy some top-notch animated pixel art. Make sure you win at least once: the crew does an adorable little dance at the end. There are more enjoyable examples of Evan Brown's pixel art <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/schellgames/orion-trail">on Orion Trail's Kickstarter page</a>.</p><p> <strong>Phil Savage: Distraction by Headcrab</strong><br>Today, PC Gamer's UK arm played Rock, Paper, Shotgun at Dota 2 for an upcoming magazine feature. By complete coincidence, I am in need of cheering up right now.</p><p> This is the thing that cheered me up this week:</p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3LlAi8ygeMI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""> </iframe><p> <strong>Tyler Wilde: Early Access can be pretty alright</strong><br>The second video in <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/30-incredible-machines-built-by-the-besiege-community/">Andy’s Besiege machine compilation</a>. That’s my high, by far. Thank you, Andy. And you know what? For <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stomping-lands-dinosaur-modeler-gives-up-moves-to-a-new-game/">all the problems</a> Steam’s Early Access section has brought about, you can’t say nothing good has come out of it. That video has come out of it. I think the trend of releasing unfinished games has been a net positive, because for every Stomping Land, there are five Early Access games worth playing&mdash;let’s say, Ratz Instagib, Darkest Dungeon, Space Engineers, Kerbal Space Program, and SpeedRunners. And one more time for effect: for every Godus, there’s Nuclear Throne, The Long Dark, Wasteland 2, Broforce, and Sunless Sea.</p><p> Problems happen when games are sold unfinished, but A) they also happen when ‘finished’ games are sold, B) when is a game ever ‘finished’ these days anyway? and C) is that the fault of Early Access as an entire concept, or the fault of specific individuals?</p><p><strong> Wes Fenlon: USB Type-C for me<br></strong>Reversible USB. IT'S ALMOST HERE. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/asrocks-new-motherboards-feature-usb-31-and-type-c-connectors/">ASRock is preparing to ship the very first motherboards with the new USB Type-C connector</a>, which you can plug in rightside-up or upside-down. Such distinctions are meaningless in our new Type-C world order. As an added bonus, ASRock's new boards will have USB 3.1 ports, which offer a big speed boost over 3.0 and can carry more power. It's still going to be awhile before we have USB devices to take advantage of 3.1 and the Type-C plug. But the time is near. All hail the reversible USB.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/yS1TUFGBSnuU.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/bLwK8WTpupfQ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Crusader kinds game of thrones cropped"></p><p><strong>THE LOWS</strong></p><p><strong>Tom Senior: Paradox of Thrones</strong><br>It's a typical problem, when license holders who normally operate in other mediums wade into the gaming world in search of a studio to turn their hot thing into interactive entertainment. The results can be devastating, as fans of<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq8V4TK_3FI">House</a> and<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3uJdsWcYYw">Grey's Anatomy</a> will know. HBO have been unusually savvy in approaching Telltale to try and make a choice-driven adventure game out of Westeros (having seemingly learned from the deeply mediocre<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/game-of-thrones-rpg-review/">Game of Thrones RPG</a>), but there's an open goal right there, and it's Paradox. The amazing<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/playing-the-game-of-thrones/">Game of Thrones mod</a> proves that the Song of Ice and Fire series meshes beautifully with the Paradox real-time-with-pause grand strategy format. Paradox<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/paradox-ceo-says-game-of-thrones-is-one-license-i-would-consider/">are understandably wary</a> about the control they might be required to cede to HBO, but everyone knows that world and that studio could make beautiful things together.</p><p><strong>Wes Fenlon: Bad move, Lenovo</strong><br>The entire tech industry was in a justified rage on Thursday over the news that <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lenovo-notebooks-face-massive-web-security-flawheres-how-to-fix-it/">Lenovo has been pre-installing adware software on its laptops for months</a>. The adware, called Superfish, would already be nasty and disappointing if it was just adware. But the way it works potentially leaves Lenovo computers vulnerable to attack, as web security experts proved with just a little dig. It compromises the security of Https connections without users realizing it. Lenovo says it stopped shipping computers with Superfish pre-installed in January, but that still leaves thousands and thousands of computers out in the wild infected. At least Superfish is relatively easy to get rid of. <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/lenovo-notebooks-face-massive-web-security-flawheres-how-to-fix-it/">Here's how.</a></p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/iYHC2iKlQgaU.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/M8RzhugN8PPZ.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Dinosaur Model Slide"></p><p><strong>Chris Livingston: Stomping Lame</strong><br>Dinosaurs are cool. People who can make dinosaurs are cool. Why would you squander both of these cool things at the same time? <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/the-stomping-lands-dinosaur-modeler-gives-up-moves-to-a-new-game/">As we reported on Monday</a>, multiplayer dinosaur survival game The Stomping Land took another ankle-snapping step toward extinction. Dino modeler Vlad Konstantinov decided to leave the project after developer Alex Fundora stopped communicating with him. Konstantinov also says he's owed money. It feels like every week there's more bad crowdfunding news, and it feels like that because every week there's more bad crowdfunding news. It also feels like every other week, the weekly bad crowdfunding news is about The Stomping Land. Boo!</p><p>On the plus side, Konstantinov has signed on to another dinosaur game, <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/299860">Beasts of Prey</a>. Life finds a way.</p><p><strong>Phil Savage: Dead by Dota</strong><br>Today, PC Gamer's UK arm played Rock, Paper, Shotgun at Dota 2 for an upcoming magazine feature.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/c8Fj2BkKSTqN.jpg" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/IqImQhs367ry.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Sad UK Dota cropped"></p><p><strong>Samuel Roberts: Dota? No-ta</strong><br>I echo Phil’s grief at being beaten by RPS. I threw as much ice at them as I could as Lich. Now I am cold on the INSIDE.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Tyler Wilde: The internet is weird</strong><br>This week in e-sports drama, a Hearthstone player was accused of misrepresenting her identity. She <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tempo-storm-and-magicamy-part-ways-following-investigation/">split with her team</a>, though at this point, we haven’t seen any proof of wrongdoing. Without getting into the details&mdash;because they include personal information and allegations we can’t verify&mdash;it’s all just generally weird and sad. I’m concerned by how swiftly someone’s life can be upended by fiery accusations and internet sleuthing, and also overwhelmed by this strange virtual world, where it seems plausible enough that people are inventions that we feel we have to investigate it.&nbsp;</p><p>I don’t know what the case is here, but either way, it’s frightening that our identities have become a series of logs&mdash;user accounts, IP addresses, everything we’ve ever favorited on Twitter&mdash;and now we’re struggling to align that data with something that seems less and less real: an actual human being. At the risk of sounding like an aging cyberpunk novel: are we prepared for the day when our physical identities stop mattering?</p> Nvidia to re-enable overclocking on GTX 900M GPUshttp://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-to-re-enable-overclocking-on-gtx-900m-gpus/Next month's driver update will let you kick your laptop graphics into overdrive.Fri, 20 Feb 2015 22:24:18 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-to-re-enable-overclocking-on-gtx-900m-gpus/graphics cardHardwareNewsNvidia <p><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/GdNUZUUVQka5.jpg" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/BL9_FvUPh_K7.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Nvidia980mgpu"></p><p>Good news, everyone! Or, at least: good news, overclockers!&nbsp;Nvidia has changed its mind on allowing users to overclock their mobile GPUs.</p><p>As you may remember, Nvidia recently made the decision to <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/latest-nvidia-gtx-900m-drivers-remove-overclocking-support/">remove overclocking</a> from the GTX 900M series of graphics cards. Apparently the "feature" was actually an unintentional "bug," so Nvidia disabled the ability citing the&nbsp;potential for hardware failure or damage. Of course, people were not happy about this and took to the company's forums to voice their outrage.</p><p>It seems those cries have been heard, as Nvidia&nbsp;<a href="https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/805791/geforce-drivers/gtx-900m-overclocking-with-347-09-347-25/post/4466443/#4466443">announced</a> that it will re-enable overclocking on GTX 900M cards in next month's driver release. A forum post from an Nvidia employee states:</p><p><em>"As you know, we are constantly tuning and optimizing the performance of your GeForce PC.</em></p><p><em>We obsess over every possible optimization so that you can enjoy a perfectly stable machine that balances game, thermal, power, and acoustic performance.</em></p><p><em>Still, many of you enjoy pushing the system even further with overclocking.</em></p><p><em>Our recent driver update disabled overclocking on some GTX notebooks. We heard from many of you that you would like this feature enabled again. So, we will again be enabling overclocking in our upcoming driver release next month for those affected notebooks."</em></p><p> And if next month isn't soon enough, you can re-enable overclocking right now by reverting to driver version <a href="http://www.geforce.com/drivers/results/79893">344.75</a>.</p> Twitch announces TwitchCon, coming this fallhttp://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-announces-twitchcon-coming-this-fall/Twitch is throwing a party!Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:36:04 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-announces-twitchcon-coming-this-fall/NewsTwitch <p>The big news which was being teased by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitch.tv/">Twitch</a> this week&nbsp;has finally been revealed [and you'll have to do your own drumroll, I'm afraid, blame budget cuts]: It's the first-ever TwitchCon, and it's&nbsp;coming this September.</p><p>Revealed today on <a href="http://www.twitch.tv/twitch">Twitch Weekly</a>, TwitchCon will take place over September 25 and 26 at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco. No other information has been revealed at this point, but there's a website at <a href="http://www.twitchcon.com/">TwitchCon.com</a>, where you can sign up for updates or exhibitor info, and you can also follow along on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/twitchconsf">@TwitchConSF</a>. </p><p>“Twitch broadcasters have the most passionate fans, so we want to create an amazing experience where they can come together in person,” Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said in a statement. “TwitchCon will be an opportunity for the entire community&mdash;broadcasters, game developers, viewers, and us&mdash;to play and learn together.”</p><p>The streaming site Twitch was originally founded in 2011, and was <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/twitch-now-rumored-to-be-in-acquisition-deal-with-amazon-not-google/">acquired by Amazon</a> in 2014 for nearly $1 billion&mdash;and yes, that's <em>billion</em>. No Kappa.</p> 100,000 new beta keys being released for Dirty Bomb weekend stress testhttp://www.pcgamer.com/100000-new-beta-keys-being-released-for-dirty-bomb-weekend-stress-test/The first test is underway now, while the second will take place in March.Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:32:54 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/100000-new-beta-keys-being-released-for-dirty-bomb-weekend-stress-test/Dirty BombFPSNewsNexon <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3_dzJ4mFWG4?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/dirty-bomb/">Dirty Bomb</a>, the competitive online shooter formerly known as Extraction, and originally known as, uh, Dirty Bomb&mdash;read all about it <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/splash-damages-extraction-now-called-dirty-bomb-again/">here</a>&mdash;is sending out more than 100,000 new beta keys as it ramps up for <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/333930/announcements/detail/123058354101868427">two stress tests</a>, one over this weekend and another coming in early March.</p><p> The game has undergone some significant changes since the last time around, as detailed in this <a href="http://forums.dirtybomb.nexon.net/discussion/975/closed-beta-update-v43239-20th-feb-2015">forum post</a>. Mercs can now earn credits by completing matches, levelling up, and doing optional Daily Missions, which are also new to the game. Up to three Daily Missions will be assigned each day in addition to standard mission goals; progress carries over from day to day, with new mission slots opening as existing missions are completed.&nbsp;The addition of credits means that Mercs will no longer unlock based on level, but may now be recruited in any order. Rotating free access to all Mercs will also be offered, so players can try before they buy.</p><p> Because it's a beta, there may be some wonkiness; for one thing, the developers will be switching back and forth between matchmaking and the server browser through the testing period, so if one doesn't work, you'll have to switch to the other. The first stress test is actually underway now and runs until 9 am PST on February 23, while the second begins at 9 am PST on March 6 and ends at 9 am PST on March 9. Players who take part will receive a limited edition case containing an Obsidian Loadout Card once Dirty Bomb goes live. To get in on the action, sign up for the closed beta at the <a href="http://dirtybomb.nexon.net/">Dirty Bomb website</a>.</p> Offworld Trading Company preview: a cutthroat RTS with no combathttp://www.pcgamer.com/offworld-trading-company-preview-a-cutthroat-rts-with-no-combat/Hands-on with real-time economic violence.Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:23:24 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/offworld-trading-company-preview-a-cutthroat-rts-with-no-combat/Mohawk GamesOffworld Trading CompanyRTSStardock <p>I'm not really sure what I expected from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.offworldgame.com/">Offworld Trading Company</a>, the Early Access&nbsp;combat-free economic RTS from&nbsp;Soren Johnson, designer of Civilization IV, now of Mohawk Games.&nbsp;With no tanks or military units, surely it would be a&nbsp;leisurely&nbsp;excursion into&nbsp;spreadsheets and calculations? Certainly, being&nbsp;an Early Access game, and one not due to release until next year,&nbsp;it would be an incomplete and buggy experience full of gaps to be filled later?&nbsp;I'm happy to say the&nbsp;game is frantic, exciting, and&nbsp;surprising. And, with a couple minor exceptions, it feels pretty much done.</p><p>In Offworld Trading Company, Mars is open for business and players compete to build a successful corporate colony.&nbsp;Scan the red planet for resources like carbon, iron, water, and silicon. Decide which type of colony will thrive&nbsp;given the randomized conditions: for instance,&nbsp;a robot colony doesn't need water or food and&nbsp;scientific colonies develop technology and patents faster. Build factories to transform resources into steel and glass, generate oxygen, food, fuel, and power, sell your surplus goods on the open market and buy whatever you're lacking. Compete with other companies for resources, sabotage each other's efforts, and earn enough cash&nbsp;to win,&nbsp;not by destroying other&nbsp;colonies with military units,&nbsp;but by purchasing enough of their stock to completely buy them out.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/-qVbU5duQGKg.png" src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/fRdZBRuhBwR-.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Offworld Trading Company" class=""><figcaption>Underground nukes can sideline a healthy operation.</figcaption></figure><p>The resource market rises and falls based&nbsp;on the actions of the players. If you need cash you can sell your resources, but sell too much too fast&nbsp;and the&nbsp;market saturates, sharply&nbsp;dropping the asking&nbsp;price, meaning that even if you're sitting on a&nbsp;massive load of goods&nbsp;you can't just unload them all at once for hefty&nbsp;profits. There are ways to game the market, though. The hacking array is an&nbsp;amazingly fun building, letting you fabricate a surplus or shortage of a particular resource to either drive&nbsp;the price up or&nbsp;nosedive it for a cheap buy. You can also launch your goods into space with rockets&nbsp;and sell them outside the local market.</p><p>While most of the violence is of the economic variety,&nbsp;there are a few&nbsp;attacks that can be purchased intermittently on the black market. Dynamite and EMP blasts can&nbsp;disable your competitors' structures, and underground nukes can be used to contaminate&nbsp;a resource&nbsp;to prevent others from harvesting it. You can&nbsp;bribe your opponents' workers to go on strike, and bid on the services of pirate fleets to attack supply lines and hijack goods. You can also&nbsp;pay&nbsp;a defensive squad to protect your most important structures from these kinds of&nbsp;attacks.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/mx3Qgx4yQQGu.png" src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/hN9cLpCiQCxV.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Offworld Trading Company" class=""><figcaption>Auctions of services or resource&nbsp;claims can plunge you into debt. Or win you the game.</figcaption></figure><p>The first thing that really struck me about OTC&nbsp;was the speed of the game. I was surprised by how fast-paced it is, even playing on normal speed, and how abruptly matches can end. More than once I was carefully building and managing my company, thinking I was doing just fine, when I&nbsp;suddenly received alarming notifications that my stock was being gobbled up&nbsp;by other players. Before I could even react, I'd been bought out and my match was over. It's happened plenty of times the other way, too. Someone's stock price dips just when I've made some profitable moves, and suddenly I'm flush with enough cash to buy out my opponent completely. Matches can turn on a dime and end in hurry.</p><p>At first, I was disappointed in how quickly matches could&nbsp;come to a close. Part of the enjoyment of building a booming business on Mars, surely, is sitting back and watching it run it for a good long while, right? There's precious&nbsp;little&nbsp;time to bask in the&nbsp;robust economic machine you've built, however,&nbsp;and it can be a bit jarring when a match ends, even when you win. It's like stumbling into a&nbsp;checkmate in chess while almost all the pieces are still on the board and you're still in the midst of your&nbsp;plotting and planning.</p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/zrG8XC8tReuP.png" src="http://36646d87786feafc0611-0338bbbce19fc98919c6293def4c5554.r0.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/1S4HOpSuwE7P.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Offworld Trading Company" class=""><figcaption>You lose. Here's $3 billion.</figcaption></figure><p>The more I play OTC, though, the more I've come to really appreciate the short rounds and the sudden game-ending moves. There are plenty of strategy games in which a single match can fill an entire evening, or even several evenings. OTC, in skirmish or multiplayer mode, feels more like a strategy rougelike. A randomized world, a short, frantic match,&nbsp;an abrupt and shocking end, a dive back in to start from scratch. You can play through two or even&nbsp;three matches in a single hour, and still experience an entire evening's worth of drama, heartbreak, and victory.&nbsp;Ultimately,&nbsp;it's a great and refreshing design&nbsp;choice. And, if you do want a more drawn out experience, there's an enjoyable&nbsp;single-player campaign mode.</p><p>OTC could use some polish. Notifications appear in the right-hand corner of the screen&nbsp;and are both oversized and yet difficult to read. The voices that read these notifications aloud are annoying and inconsistent.&nbsp;Tooltips, as you hover over a resource or menu item, feel slow to respond, problematic in a game where you're often scrambling to keep ahead of your opponents. There are sample&nbsp;levels to learn the ropes&nbsp;but not a proper tutorial.</p><p>For a game on Early Access, though, Offworld Trading Company has&nbsp;arrived in a state that feels far more complete than pretty much&nbsp;any other Early Access game I've played. Since Mohawk doesn't plan to fully&nbsp;release the game until 2016, they've given themselves plenty of time to tighten up a game that already feels pretty damn&nbsp;solid.</p><p><img data-fullimage-src="http://ec0c5a7f741a6f3bff65-dd07187202f57fa404a8f047da2bcff5.r85.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/_dNrFNn6Ti2P.png" src="http://e5c351ecddc2f880ef72-57d6ff1fc59ab172ec418789d348b0c1.r69.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/wAjSv4FaVVmr.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="Offworld Trading Company" class=""></p> Warmachine: Tactics demo arrives on Steamhttp://www.pcgamer.com/warmachine-tactics-demo-arrives-on-steam/There's also some new DLC.Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:29:55 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/warmachine-tactics-demo-arrives-on-steam/NewsStrategyWarmachine: Tactics <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/p9QKZ8fZhc8?vq=small&amp;autoplay=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="343" width="610"></iframe><p> A couple of years ago we pointed your attention towards the <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/tabletop-game-warmachine-to-storm-onto-pc-in-an-already-successful-kickstarter-campaign/">Kickstarter for Warmachine: Tactics</a>, a game of "steam-powered robots and elite warriors in raging battles dominated by magic and mechanika." Developer Privateer Press Interactive asked for $550,000 to convert the Warmachine tabletop game into a turn-based tactical PC game, and ended up with nearly triple that amount. We haven't said much (anything, really) about it since then, but if you're curious how it's all worked out, a free demo is now kicking around on <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/253510">Steam</a>.</p><p> The demo offers three of the 20 levels available in the&nbsp;single-player game, as well as the skirmish mode and access to multiplayer matches, including against owners of the full game, but with limited squad-building options. Customizable loadouts for four of the game's six main factions are included, each with a unique visual and play style.</p><p> For those who already own Warmachine: Tactics and are digging it appropriately, the <a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/338525/">Retribution of Scyrah DLC</a> was also released today. The expansion adds an entirely new faction to the game that includes eight new units: Dawnlord Vyros, Hydra, Manticore, Gorgon, Dawnguard Invictor, Dawnguard Sentinel, House Shyeel Battle Mage, and Mage Hunter Infiltrator. A bug-fix update to the game was released alongside the new DLC, but the <a href="http://steamcommunity.com/games/253510/announcements/detail/225515161579850479">announcement</a> acknowledges that a rather large number of "known issues" remain unresolved.</p> Tempo Storm and MagicAmy part ways following investigationhttp://www.pcgamer.com/tempo-storm-and-magicamy-part-ways-following-investigation/But confusion remains as to why.Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:25:39 +0000http://www.pcgamer.com/tempo-storm-and-magicamy-part-ways-following-investigation/BlizzardCard GameHearthstoneNews <p><figure><img data-fullimage-src="http://4d663a369f9f03c3c61e-870e77779efd63f7bd6c2ee08d8cfae6.r2.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/ptVEI-LWQf6D.jpg" src="http://0cb8dd5d2dc142d08f0f-eb3b436d25971e5860b39e72b0600342.r94.cf1.rackcdn.com/images/aVA0AR7wPP4h.878x0.Z-Z96KYq.jpg" alt="MagicAmy playing Hyped in week 6 of ESL’s Legendary Series " class=""><figcaption>MagicAmy playing Hyped in week 6 of ESL’s Legendary Series </figcaption></figure></p><p>Tempo Storm has parted ways with its South Korean player Hyerim ‘MagicAmy’ Lee, following what’s described on the team’s website as “a full blown investigation, gathering a large amount of evidence from dozens of sources including former employers, ex-teammates, fellow players, and personal friends.” The statement regarding her departure is <a href="https://tempostorm.com/articles/tempostorm-parts-ways-with-hyerim-magicamy-lee">here</a>.&nbsp;The investigation was triggered by claims <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-team-investigating-accusation-over-players-identity/">earlier this week</a>, made first by disgraced former teammate Eric ‘Specialist’ Lee, and then by two pros on Team Dignitas, which questioned the identity of MagicAmy. Those claims were followed by separate accusations, one made by another high level player, the other by the founder of <a href="http://prismata.net/">Prismata</a>, calling her character into question.</p><p>I’m not going to link to the specifics of those here, because they’re hearsay and, as Tempo Storm’s statement notes, private matters between her and the affected parties which have precious little to do with her ability as a Hearthstone player. Indeed, the most notable thing about the statement is that Tempo Storm’s sleuths appear to have found no concrete evidence of wrongdoing, and yet both parties have felt it best to sever ties. Quite why isn’t entirely clear, presumably beyond the overall unpleasantness of the process, but the section dealing with MagicAmy’s status as a top level player feels worth reproducing in full:</p><p><em>"Hyerim’s performance and accomplishments as a player have been called into question due to the possibility of account boosting and win trading. Tarei was identified as a possible accomplice under suspicious circumstantial evidence, such as when she posted a picture showing an account named <a href="https://twitter.com/TempoMagicamy/status/559910219002966018">LoveMagicAmy as rank #1</a>, indirectly implying it was her achievement. Later it was confirmed by Tarei that he used his own account and then renamed it to LoveMagicAmy. This brought up the question whether she was taking credit for other’s ranks, or if she was getting assistance to reach high legend. We looked into this issue as far as we could, but were not able to produce proof that someone else was responsible for <a href="https://tempostorm.com/articles/tempostorm-adds-hyerim-magicamy-lee-to-roster">any of her high legend rank finishes</a>. The only people who truly know the answer are Blizzard and the involved individuals."</em></p><p><em>"On a side note, win trading is an unlikely scenario considering how aggressively Blizzard banned notable win-traders, including Specialist, the spark of the entire controversy. They even <a href="https://twitter.com/thegwalls/status/529769743729713155">accidentally falsely accused players</a>. It feels safe to assume Blizzard would have caught such an action between Tarei/Hyerim or anyone else if this were the case."</em></p><p><em>"This finding also relates to the alleged botting allegations, because we could not figure out exactly how her account remained untouched throughout the ban waves despite its high profile and activity. Again, whether she is clear of these allegations or not is an issue that we cannot determine, It would require action to be taken on Blizzard’s end to determine the matter."</em></p><p>There’s more speculation and assumption in there than I feel comfortable with from a statement that’s billed as the final word on the matter. But I suppose that’s the nature of things given that whatever investigation has occurred has been conducted across continents and carried out by detectives who are, by definition, amateurs. (My understanding from talking to Tempo Storm is that the investigation was handled by the Team’s founder <a href="https://twitter.com/temporeynad">Andrey ‘Reynad’ Yanyuk</a> and VP of Operations <a href="https://twitter.com/frodan">Dan ‘Frodan’ Chou</a>.) As for why the split has occurred, this paragraph appears to be the telling one:</p><p><em>“Upon learning the entire story, Tempo Storm offered to fully support MagicAmy in an attempt to clear her name by addressing the public immediately by having her compete in an offline tournament. Hyerim, however, has decided to take a leave of absence from Hearthstone and answer these issues on her own.”</em></p><p>The statement also includes a single quote from MagicAmy:</p><p><em>“I want to thank Tempo Storm, Reynad, and Frodan for giving me the opportunity to join the team and allowing me to explain myself among the chaos. I am happy that I was given a chance to prove myself to the people that I cared for. Tempo Storm has been supportive of me since the beginning and I am glad we can end on good terms.”</em></p><p>Inevitably, there will be those (looking at you here,<a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone"> r/hearthstone</a>), who assume the worst based on her decision not to appear at a LAN event. But equally it’s perfectly&nbsp;reasonable to imagine that she may simply not relish the thought of having to provide proof of concept for her own existence and ability in a high-pressured live environment. Ultimately, and despite over 1,000 words of explanation, we’re left little the wiser in terms of what has actually occurred here, beyond the certain knowledge that the mess will be a setback for women competing in top-flight e-sports. The mantle for writing MagicAmy’s popular <a href="https://tempostorm.com/articles/the-meta-snapshot-6-magicamys-gvg-ladder-tier-list">‘meta snapshot’</a> articles will now pass to Tempo Storm’s <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/hearthstone-help-learn-to-play-giants-mage-with-hyped/">Hyped</a>, who I expect will do an equally excellent job.</p>