Do you remember that bit in Call of Duty? You know the one I mean. You were a guy—a war guy—and you ran around a corner to find another war guy running in the opposite direction. Yes! This was your moment. Your raised your RDS and sprayed hot 5.56mm NATO into his exposed back, earning you a hundred points, a kill, and a little shot of dopamine. Then, disaster! Another war guy ran around the corner behind you; the screen turned red; you died. Do you remember that bit? You must do, because it happened to everybody, everywhere, every day for the last seven years.
Free To Play
If being an exile was a career path, you'd have to assume that Forsaken Master was one of its top job roles. Certainly higher than outcast, pariah or Shia LeBeouf. Alas, no, the Path of Exile is instead a game, and Forsaken Master is its new mini-expansion. It adds new stuff, reworks old stuff and brings some more three-month Challenge Leagues to the free-to-play ARPG.
An awful lot of game studios and publishers these days seem to view free-to-play as the holy grail, but finding the sweet spot between giving the store away and taking unfair advantage of your players is a tricky business. League of Legends is one of the few games that really seems to have nailed it, and yet Ubisoft Blue Byte's Teut Weidemann says it's not a game that other publishers should emulate.
It's easy to forget that Counter-Strike Online is a thing, given that Valve don't typically license out their games to other developers and publishers, but the free-to-play spin-off has been going for about six years now, under South Korean developers and publishers Nexon. Following the release of Counter-Strike Online 2 a couple of years ago, Nexon has announced another entry in the series and, naturally, it's themed around zombies. Free-to-play multiplayer FPS Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies will be heading to Steam this Summer/Autumn.
Hot...well, lukewarm on the heels of Path of Exile's Sacrifice of the Vaal "mini-expansion" back in March, Grinding Gear Games has announced another one. It's named Forsaken Masters, and it's not about your MA in Media Studies but rather a bunch of legendary trainers/quest-givers who, too, have been exiled to PoE's monster-filled rock. The details are here, but basically: seven new skill trainers, the inclusion of hideouts, upgradeable crafting benches, more.
Former id Software designer John Romero says the PC is once again dominating the videogame industry, not because of any inherent technological superiority over consoles but because of the rise of the free-to-play payment model and ultra-cheap Steam sales.
Bandai Namco's free-to-play brawler Rise of Incarnates will enter its beta phase soon, and while there's no specific date for when that will happen sign-ups are now open.
Hearthstone gets its claws into you. Blizzard’s masterstroke is the way the game rewards you for a win—the shower of fireworks that springs from the screen every time you land a killing blow on the enemy hero.
The moment you start craving more of that experience, Hearthstone’s got you—as it got us. Tim is almost entirely lost to it, spending his early hours researching deck compositions. Chris played played 50 hours when he reviewed the game, before bowing out mumbling something about mages. Andy booted it up for the first time when asked to prepare for this tournament, hated it, and then saw the fireworks—and now he’s been sucked in, too.
The inaugural PC Gamer Hearthstone tournament gathers up all of that emotional and psychological investment, and pours it into a crucible of hot, middling competition. We can’t claim to be the best players in the world, but everybody here wants to win: and everybody who gets knocked out is doomed to spend at least 20 minutes sulking in a corner.
It is not unreasonable to want pets in violent third-person shooter video games. The team at Digital Extremes doesn't think so, as the new (and rather major) Warframe update includes pets, as well as other substantial additions. These include a better opening tutorial and user interface, a whole new Warframe class, new modes and quests galore.
Cliff Bleszinski is returning to the videogame business with BlueStreak, a free-to-play sci-fi arena shooter for the PC.
PlanetSide 2 is two years old in November, and has changed a lot. In constant contact with the community, SOE have reformed the economy, restructured Auraxis' vast planetary bases, redesigned the UI, and even added entire continents, like the long-awaited Hossin swampland. PlanetSide has a proud legacy, but PS2 has evolved into something unique—a free-to-play game that supports multiplayer warfare on a startling scale. If you haven't played since launch, it's time for another visit.
Bandai Namco's free-to-play - sorry *vomits* free-to-drift - racing game Ridge Racer Driftopia's year-long beta will come to an end in around 60 days. Normally that would be the time when a game graduates from beta to, er, 'the one after beta', otherwise known as 'released'. That's not happening here: Namco Bandai Namco (delete as applicable) have announced that they're to take the project offline instead. By August 15th, Driftopia's servers will be shut down, while its Steam Early Access page will presumably be Old Yellered in the back of the head. Given the staggering number of negative reviews on that linked page, I shan't think people are going to miss it.
Back in April, SOE launched an All Access subscription service designed to unify membership across SOE's free-to-play games—including Planetside 2, DC Universe Online and Everquest 2, as well as the upcoming Everquest Next, Landmark and H1Z1. In Europe, though, it's a less attractive offer. SOE's EU portfolio is more fragmented, as their existing games are managed and distributed by ProSiebenSat.1 Games.
That soon won't be the case. SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 have today announced that, going forward, all ProSiebenSat.1 accounts for SOE games must be migrated to Sony's service. For EU players of Planetside 2, DC Universe Online and Everquest 2, existing accounts must be transferred from July 1st in order to keep playing. In addition, SOE have removed their region lock, so new accounts can be created directly on their system.
It seems that all of this year's new games are being announced just slightly before E3, and while that might make for a disappointing show, it definitely makes for an exciting Wednesday afternoon. Battlecry is the newest of the new announcements, and is a free-to-play action game that looks like a cross between Team Fortress 2 and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. It's set in a world designed by Half-Life 2's Viktor Antonov, in which gunpowder is banned and Cossacks and Royal Marines are at war.
Remember that free-to-play, London-set multiplayer shooter that Blink/Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory developers Splash Damage have been making for the past few years? What was it called...Dirty Bomb or something? No, Extraction, that's it, it's definitely called Extraction now. Well it's just been re/unnamed to Dirty Bomb - for real this time, they pinkie-swore and everything. Whatever it's called, ExDirty Bombtraction is still somehow in beta, and be signed up for over here.
How many underground music scenes from yesteryear have their very own point-and-click adventure game? Not bloody many! But now No Wave does. Created by Dorian SRed and Trevor Reveur, the cleverly titled 'No Wave' was developed in 48 hours at Game Dev Party in France.
For those of us who like to feel scared when shooting at things, F.E.A.R. Online will enter closed beta on May 26. The free-to-play shooter is in development by Korean studio Inplay Interactive, and several have already had the opportunity to try the game in its alpha stage. Based on feedback from that period, the studio has added new maps, overhauled the crafting system to allow for "one-of-a-kind weapons", fixed a bunch of bugs and added a new scenario.
Now that private matchmaking has been firmly bolted in place, MechWarrior Online's first official competitive event is set to launch Sunday. It's been dubbed Tournament Series: First Engagement and will to pit 12-man teams against each other across a variety of maps and game modes leading to the finals on May 30.
The splattery, explodey free-to-play multiplayer brawler, Magicka: Wizard Wars, lets you combine elemental orbs into devastating spells on the fly. Throw fireballs, create mines, summon a grim reaper and otherwise do terrible things to your friends. It's heading into open beta in just over two weeks. But why not take up your robe and staff right away? We've got 3000 keys to give away, each granting early access to the open beta. To enter, follow these instructions.