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The debate has raged, on Battle.net and around the counter at comic book stores, since '98: Terran, Zerg, or Protoss? But finally, in the eyes of two researchers in Edinburgh, a conclusion has been reached. Science has spoken. And the winner is...
The problem with putting out a set of jaw-dropping CGI trailers for your game is the follow-up. It’s tough to make an action game look as good as a whole load of pre-canned people doing set animations; it’s nigh-on impossible to make an MMO look even half as exciting.
Sword of the Stars II was released last year in such a shockingly unfinished state that the developers issued a public apology. Thirteen months later, and this ambitious 4X space game has been allowed to boldly go for a second time. Sadly, while the bugs are (mostly) fixed, the game remains deeply frustrating.
Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, Star Trek Month continues, as we warp ahead in time to visit The Next Generation for A Final Unity, Generations, and the Q who put the Q in Q. It's difficult to tell where The Next Generation begins and ends, in terms of PC games. Last week we looked at Judgment Rites, based on the original series, which came out in 1993. The Next Generation however had been running since 1987, and ended in 1994. The idiocy that was Star Trek: Voyager then kicked off in 1995. In short, there wasn't much time for Star Trek games to embrace The Next Generation specifically, and most of the games that came out bridged a couple of different eras. Luckily, I give precisely zero eighths of a damn about this, and even less about precisely where in-game stardates place individual games or if they mention the likes of the Vidiians. If they're set post-TOS in the Alpha/Beta quadrants and don't involve Deep Space Nine or the Ship of Fools, they count. Rules set, let's dig into the games of The Next Generation - the good, the bad, and the make it so-so.
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was designed to be a competitive sport, so it's only fair that it nicks some of sport's idioms. The most important of these is cribbed from football: it's a game of two halves. The front half: a 20-odd mission campaign with a steadily evolving spread of controllable units spurred on by an earnest, overwrought story of revenge. Dig through that, learn the game's many long and greasy ropes, and you'll find the back half: a competitive strategy game so finely balanced and so tactically varied that people are able to play it as their job. No matter your experience with Heart of the Swarm's predecessor, Wings of Liberty - first of Blizzard's planned three StarCraft IIs - it's the campaign you should start with. Not simply because it does an appreciable job of teaching new players the basic mechanics for one of the game's three races - the Zerg, the swarmy stars of this StarCraft show - but also because it's incredibly well put together in its own right.
Star Trek Online is one year old. To celebrate, Cryptic Studios have put out a trailer highlighting the many changes and additions made to the game since launch. There's also a sale on, with 20% off lifetime subscriptions and microtransaction items. Read on for details and a video.
When we last left psychic-sniper/assassin-turned-Zerg-empress Sarah Kerrigan at the end of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, she had been restored to her human self by the efforts of good ol' Jimmy Raynor. Well, sort of. She still has those tentacle things instead of hair, and apparently retains the loyalty of at least some portion of the ravening Zerg swarm. I got to join the conflicted Kerrigan aboard her organic Zerg flagship recently and see a handful of new missions in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, from about the middle of the campaign.
Back in March, I got to play The Old Republic as the Bounty Hunter and Imperial Agent classes, for around 17 hours total. I played mostly as the Bounty Hunter, and these were my impressions. Josh spent more time with the Imperial Agent, and his preview is here. This preview previously appeared in issue 226 of PC Gamer in the UK. Imagine a version of the Star Wars universe where you can become almost any kind of character, explore dozens of worlds, even acquire your own spaceship and recruit a crew. Now try not to imagine Star Wars: Galaxies – the first awkward take on that vision, which drove itself into the ground trying to attract new players with endless unsuccessful redesigns. The Old Republic won’t have that problem: it’s a BioWare game, and BioWare already have an audience. Mass Effect is becoming this generation’s Star Wars. Everyone already knows they love its story-driven structure, the way it builds a cast of interesting companion characters, and the freedom it offers to play an asshole or a saint. The Old Republic has all of that, and it actually is Star Wars – albeit 3,500 years before the films.
Blizzard announced their ambitious plans for the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series yesterday. The scheme involves pulling the world's biggest StarCraft 2 tournaments and leagues into an overarching structure where players are given a global ranking, and compete against each other to be crowned super-mega-planetary-ultra champion. It's an exciting plan - aiming to unify the myriad StarCraft 2 leagues and pull them into a central storyline easy to follow for fans and enticing to new viewers - but it's also a bit confusing. I had the chance to speak to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime and Executive VP of Global Publishing, Itzik Ben-Bassat to answer a few questions. Click on for WCS 2013 clarifications, and the Blizzard boss's projections for the eSporting future.
We already have a pretty good idea of what the big 1.2 update for Star Wars: The Old Republic will contain. Bioware have already dropped details of Legacy races and dual spec support, updated crafting and companion dances, white lightsaber crystals and more. Now Bioware have confirmed that it'll definitely be here in April, and have revealed a little bit more about the new Flashpoint, Operation and Warzone that'll be added when it arrives.
It feels like we've been waiting forever for the Legacy system improvements contained in patch 1.2 for Star Wars: The Old Republic, but The wait is almost up. TOR will finally get the tangled, dysfunctional family trees that a Star Wars game deserves when the update goes live tomorrow. The patch will let us weave TOR alts into grand space soap operas. Your Sith warrior can secretly be your Jedi Knight's brother, who can be a secret family friend of your Imperial Agent, who once had a cup of tea with your Republic smuggler, and so on. As fascinating as it'll be to slot everyone into a tangled family tree, the new legacy rewards are the real draw here. We'll finally be able to use all that legacy experience amassed since launch day on new race options, convenience items, new powers and more.
BioWare Austin General Manager Matt Bromberg recently spoke with AusGamers about Star Wars: The Old Republic's free-to-play option and future content updates. When asked about projected timeframes for implementing new Warzones, Flashpoints, and Operations in the lightsaber-buckling MMO, Bromberg expected updates rolling out "every six weeks."
The tireless chaps at TORhead have been pulling clues out of the Star Wars: The Old Republic files, and have found evidence of many of the features Bioware are planning to add over the course of the coming year. Their round-up contains features that we could see in patches 1.2 through to 1.5. As a wise talking cabbage once said. "If spoilers you wish to avoid, click "Read and Comment" you must not."
Blizzard have revealed some of the major changes they're making to the classic defence of the ancients format for Blizzard DOTA. They've mentioned mounts, major changes to the vital last-hit system, spectacular capturable boss monsters, and the steps they're taking to try and make Blizzard DOTA's battles faster and more friendly. They also confirmed that Blizzard DOTA will be added to the free StarCraft 2 Starter Edition.
An announcement on the TOR site mentions that Star Wars: The Old Republic has gone live across 38 countries spread throughout Europe and the Middle East. Citizens of Albania, Croatia, Turkey, the Ukraine, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kuwait and many more will get to don the dark robes of the Sith and lightsaber the Republic to death with impunity, or roll a Republic character and experience a serious lightsabering to the face on the other side. Sadly, TOR's new European and Middle Eastern players will have just missed out on the recent Rakghoul Plague event that gave infected players the opportunity to explode for prizes, like exclusive lightsaber crystals and Rakghoul pets. A patch a couple of days ago ended the plague, and made a few balance changes to the Jedi Knight, Smuggler, Imperial Agent and Trooper. Here are the notes.
All hands on desk! PCG plays the best Star Trek game you've never heard of: Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator
This feature originally ran in PC Gamer UK issue 232. Check out our Video Blog about the photoshoot for behind the scenes footage.Artemis isn’t an official Star Trek game, but it is the Star Trek game you’ve always dreamed of. It’s a bridge simulator, in which multiple players take on the roles of starship crew. There are six slots in a bridge crew: a captain, a helmsman, a weapons master, an engineer, a science officer and comms. The captain hosts a server. Everyone else logs into the server to play their role. Everyone but the captain gets their own screen and their own jobs. To succeed, crew members must communicate and work together. Science officers need to provide bearings and scan readings to helmsmen and weapons officers. Engineers need to divert power between the warp drive and weapons. Everyone needs to listen to the captain’s orders. Artemis is an exciting new take on asymmetric cooperative multiplayer. Whisper it, but it’s basically liveaction roleplaying with viewscreens. Without pausing to read any instructions or forum posts, the PC Gamer team flung itself into a randomly generated mission. What could possibly go... oh.
We’ve been spoilt for amazing PC games this year, but it’s only going to get better in 2012. We've already brought you previews of Planetside 2, Mass Effect 3, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Guild Wars 2, Dishonored, Hitman Absolution, Diablo 3 and Bioshock Infinite, but now we've compiled a list of every game out this year, for your reading pleasure. By the end of this feature, you should have an idea of just how incredible 2012 is going to be. Check inside. The games of tomorrow are waiting for you.
What's an Airland, and how does one battle there? Those must be among the primary thoughts of the forlorn warcopter flywalking on the skyfield above. Airland Battle is certainly more memorable than the first game's handle, Wargame: European Escalation - an excellent and oft-overlooked RTS (here's our Wargame: European Escalation review). Wargame recreates expansive modern military conflicts with great detail, which Eugen Systems seem extremely keen to show off judging from the super-zoomed screenshots below. In-game you can pull out and manipulate your forces across great swathes of terrain.
Now that Stardock has sold its digital distribution business to GameStop, it was only a matter of time before we saw games like the stellar space war strategy Sins of a Solar Empire pop up on Steam, where it'll find a whole new universe of customers who might never even have heard of Impulse. According to a Stardock press release, Sins is the first of several Stardock games that will be making their way to Steam in the near future, though the specific list of games has yet to be confirmed or denied by Stardock PR.
A report from a meeting between retailer Gamestop and financial research firm Baird suggests that Battlefield 3 will not be coming to Steam. According to Develop, the key quote from the report comes directly from Gamestop executives, who said that "the upcoming EA title Battlefield 3 will be sold as a download through GameStop, but not through Steam." EA recently briefly published a list of retailers for Battlefield 3, from which Steam was conspicuously absent. Other digital download sites like Gamersgate, Direct2Drive and EA's own Origin were on the list, however, and an unnamed Gamestop executive tells Develop that Battlefield 3 will be coming to digital retailers other than Gamestop. It looks as though it's just Steam who are being frozen out.