As the lead content designer on Diablo III, Kevin Martens has learned a lot over the past two years. He’s learned about disastrous online launches and failed real-money auction houses and what gamers really love about Diablo. He admits that the team made more than a few miscalculations leading up to the 2012 launch. Upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls, releasing on March 25, takes big steps to fix those miscalculations. I talked to Martens and senior level designer Laura Paolilli for their thoughts on the auction house, the internet connection requirement, and PvP, as well as the Loot 2.0 patch and Reaper of Souls’ new Adventure Mode.
In the year 40,000, our universe is ravaged by war. Bloody battles between humans and xenos rage on endlessly, entire planets are annihilated regularly, and Space Marines, more machine than human, know only death and war. Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 has just about the most epic, metal-album-cover fiction that ever existed, and it’s a great source material for video games.
Why it seemed like just yesterday that we were giving away access to this weekend's beta test for The Elder Scrolls Online, because it was. But earlier a portal to the plane of Oblivion opened, spaffed another thousand keys onto our laps and then disappeared, leaving only a faint hint of Draenor aftershave hanging in the air. It is our grave duty, then, to pass this sudden boon onto you with another beta key giveaway! Read on for details.
The ASRock M8 has just arrived in the office and it’s one of the best-looking mini-ITX boxes I’ve seen in a long time. It's a high-end barebone PC, which means you'll need to provide your own processor, graphics card, memory, cooler and storage, but it uses a PCIe riser board so you can lie your dual-slot graphics card in line with the motherboard.
Much of my time in Blackguards was spent waiting. I waited for my turn, as enemies slowly plodded around hex-grid maps. I waited for tactical diversity, yearning to unlock the more interesting attack options. Mostly, I waited for earnest fantasy stereotypes to finish performing their questionably accented dialogue and unlock the next fight.
Based on The Dark Eye pen-andpaper ruleset, Blackguards is a turnbased RPG so focused on combat that it’s more fantasy XCOM than fantasy Fallout. At the start the character you’ve created is convicted of murder. Escaping from prison, he or she must team up with a band of roguish misfits to figure out who – or what – was really responsible. Yet that mystery isn’t much more than a flimsy tool to link each battle.
Ether One is a game about being strapped into a virtual reality machine. It's also an Oculus Rift supporting psychological thriller, making it a game that can be played by being strapped into a virtual reality machine. This is a storytelling device known in the business as "being meta as all heck". Unlike the Oculus Rift, though, Ether One now has a release date. Its virtual virtual reality will be ready for activation on March 25th.
Telltale have released a trailer for the second episode of The Walking Dead: Season 2. It's called A House Divided, and will be a heart-warming tale of how, despite seemingly insurmountable differences, a group of people come together in a spirit of harmony and friendship. Oh wait, no, not that. The other thing. With the pettiness and regrets and monstrous retribution in a world where societal collapse leads to bitter, terrible survival.
Irrational may be "winding down", but they still have one final flourish before bowing out. Burial at Sea: Episode 2 is the final piece of Bioshock Infinite DLC, and will give players the chance to inhabit the tear-opening, coin-tossing Elizabeth.
As an example of how differently the game's new protagonist will play, Irrational have also announced a new mode for the game. 1998 mode, like BInfinite's 1999 mode before it, is a "classic" difficulty designed to recapture the spirit of late '90s challenge. Rather than 1999's System Shock 2, 1998 mode is referencing the original Thief: The Dark Project. It will require players to complete the episode through entirely non-lethal methods. It will also replace the entirety of the soundtrack with Will Smith's Just The Two of Us, and Aerosmith's I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing.
Okay, so it won't really do that last thing.
Resident Evil 4 is nine years old, and still the best action game I've ever played. It's still thrilling when I nail four Ganados with a single shotgun blast, still tense when I face down a relentless Iron Maiden before it impales me with deadly spikes. I'm on edge even when I know I'm safe, still creeped out by the foreboding pressure Resident Evil 4 constantly exerts through its thumping industrial soundtrack and grim environments.
It’s only appropriate that Payday 2, which is all about stealing as much money as possible, is by far Starebreeze’s best earning game. Today, a press release from the developer revealed that it made $6.1 million between October and December 2013, $5.3 million of which came from Payday 2.
Update: Thanks for watching, everyone! If you missed Cory's triumph and tragedy, we've embedded the video here.
Hearthstone is a fantastic digital card game, and Arena is its best mode—build a deck from a random draft of cards and see how many wins you can rack up against players with similarly randomized decks. The better you do, the bigger your reward.
If you need proof (or just want to heckle him) Cory will start a Hearthstone Arena run at 5pm PT (8pm ET) live on the PC Gamer Twitch channel. Watch him build his deck, take it into battle, and choose the wrong card every single time. It'll be fun!
World of Tanks is looking to up its game in the coming year, and we’ll be lucky enough to have front row seats: the Wargaming developers will be releasing a series of new developer diaries to catalog improvements to the game. Changes will include new graphics, new vehicle physics, and more destructible and challenging environments.
Almost a year after it was first announced, Turbine’s DC Comics-themed MOBA Infinite Crisis will begin its open beta on March 14. To celebrate the event, Turbine’s also adding three new Champions: Green Arrow, Aquaman, and Mecha Superman.
As our review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance pointed out, we welcome games and franchises previously known as console exclusives to the PC with open arms. Bring us more Metal Gear Solid, please, and have Platinum port Bayonetta while you’re at it. Just please, don’t ruin it over a stupid technical issue.
For example, many players reported that Revengeance’s framerate drops to an unplayable level when the resolution was set to 1920x1080. Luckily, one enterprising fan has created a fix for the issue.
Virtual reality, SteamOS, fiber broadband, 4K displays, holodecks (you know, maybe)—the next five years of PC gaming will radically transform our immortal hobby. What new experiences will the PC games of the near future provide? How will technology surprise us? This April at PAX East 2014, we'll look into that glowing future with the innovators and PC gaming stakeholders shaping it.
Bethesda and Zenimax Online Studios will be testing The Elder Scrolls Online this weekend. Would you like to wander the world of Tamriel before official release? We have 1400 beta keys to give away right now for Argonians quick enough to pluck one out of the e-hat below.
Update: this particulay giveaway is over! Thanks to all who entered.
Dateline: The Internet, 201X.
The bit jockeys jacked in through the transdimensional cyberdeck. The megacorps had locked down Sector 4, and now their only escape was a quantum mindfeed across an unregulated sub-Arc. Their last hope was a warning sent out to the past. An awareness drive through the most powerful force known to humanity: the indie game jam.
That's one of the possible origin stories for the Cyberpunk Game Jam, a ten day competition that celebrates the many neon creations of a seedy futuristic techo-society. Alternatively, a bunch of indie devs remembered that they really love the '80s.
Taiwanese PC chassis manufacturers, Lian Li, are preparing for the upcoming CeBIT trade show in Germany with the announcement of a collection of fresh case designs. As well as some pretty standard-looking aluminium PC cases, Lian Li have also shown off some pictures of this bizarre DK01. Is it a desk? Is it a PC? Whatever it is, it's supposedly “combining the symbiotic relationship of desks and computer cases,” according to Lian Li's press material. Let's take a closer look
RedLynx seem to understand the importance of a good soundtrack. The intro stings for Trials Evolution: Gold Edition were a perfect example. Dumb, brash and ridiculous, they nevertheless prepared players for the silliness involved in mastering the game's challenging 2D obstacle courses. The rousing rock of this trailer for the upcoming Trials Fusion also captures this spirit. I've watched the teaser multiple times now, and I am more than ready to wheelie, flip and crash my way through more motorcycle madness. Unfortunately, I've still got a few months to wait. As revealed by the trailer, Trials Fusion will be released for all formats on April 16th.