World of Warcraft to reclaim old character names

Phil Savage at

One of the biggest issues with any long running MMO is choosing a name for your character. It's guaranteed that any clever, lore-appropriate sequence of letters has been long bagsied by an early adopter. And so comes the desperation. "Lord Perrigrin Fluffyface"? Taken. "Armpit Switchblade"? Taken. "Crispin McBurns"? Taken. "XxX_BongMeister420_XxX"? Taken. "Jeff Goldblum"? Taken. Finally out of ideas, you plant your face on the keyboard and roll it back and forth. Nope. Taken.

What to do? If you're a World of Warcraft player despairing at the lack of possibilities, the answer is simply to wait. With the upcoming patch 6.0.2, Blizzard will reclaim the names of any player who hasn't logged into the game since 13 November, 2008.


Borderlands patch adds Steamworks support, reinstates multiplayer after Gamespy's shutdown

Phil Savage at

The Great Steamworks Migration continues. This time, it's Borderlands. The shoot-'n-loot FPS's co-op multiplayer has been unavailable since Gamespy's demise. Now it's back, thanks to the introduction of the Steamworks multiplayer infrastructure.


Receiver available for free from Humble until 6PM BST

Phil Savage at

The free game klaxon is sounding. Should you answer its call within the next seven hours, you'll get a free copy of Wolfire's Receiver. It's a procedurally generated cyberpunk gun sim—modelling a weapon's every available interaction. It's good, and you can get it for nothing from the Humble Store.


Left 4 Dead 2 patch grants Australians access to uncensored version

Shaun Prescott at

When Valve resubmitted Left 4 Dead 2 for classification in Australia earlier this month, many wondered whether the company had plans to re-release the game. Well, anything is possible, but in the meantime if you own the censored version of Left 4 Dead 2 a free patch is now available on Steam which will grant you access to all the gratuitous violence you've been deprived of.


Far Cry 4 video proves you should not mess with elephants

Shaun Prescott at

It's been one of the major talking points concerning Far Cry 4: not only can you ride elephants, but you can use them to kill things. The nature doco voiceover guy in this trailer claims the humble elephant has "the destructive power of a true war machine," which is not the way I imagine elephants would like to be seen. But you know, who cares what elephants think.


Due Process hands-on: kicking down doors in low-fi Rainbow Six

Evan Lahti at

The last thing I played at PAX earlier this month was Due Process, a tactical FPS in development by Seattle-based Giant Enemy Crab. Though it's very much in a primordial state (pre-alpha, by the dev team's description), Due Process ended up as one of my highlights from the show simply because it's exciting to see an indie team explore a genre that's typically reserved for big studios.


Saints Row creative director Steve Jaros leaves Volition for Valve

Shaun Prescott at

Volition creative director Steve Jaros has announced he will leave the studio after ten years. Jaros wrote the first three Saints Row games and lead development on the series’ most recent installment, Saints Row 4. “The past 10 years at Volition have been life changing,” Jaros Tweeted. “I've gotten to work with amazing people and made friends that will last a life time.”


Rockstar cites need for "extra polish" for Grand Theft Auto 5 PC delay

Shaun Prescott at

While it's nice to have Grand Theft Auto 5 confirmed for PC, and nicer still to have a release date confirmed, it does kinda sting that PC owners will have to wait until January 27 to terrorise Los Santos. The game will arrive two months after it releases for PS4 and Xbox One, but now Rockstar has commented on the delay.


Astro A38 bluetooth headset impressions

Cory Banks at

Astro makes some of my favorite gaming headsets. They’re comfortable for long play sessions, their boom microphones sound clear when I’m calling out new objectives, and they sound pretty damn good—balanced enough for serious music listening but dynamic enough to catch every bullet snap in a Battlefield 4 match. So I was excited to try the company’s newest model, the Astro A38 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headset. Astro bills it as an all-in-one gaming headset that can be used on your desktop PC, a gaming laptop, or even your smartphone. After two weeks of use, I think it’s a great set of cans, but I’m not sure it belongs at your gaming rig.


Hearthstone hits 20 million players in just six months

Andy Chalk at

Just six months after Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft went into full release on the PC, Blizzard has announced that the free-to-play collectible card has racked up 20 million players.


Doom made to run on Canon printer to demonstrate wireless security flaw

Andy Chalk at

Sometimes, the only way to attract attention to dire warnings about weaknesses in a particular system is to exploit them in a way that can't be ignored. That's what drove Michael Jordon of Context Information Security to make Doom run on a Canon Pixma printer; not because it's cool (although it clearly is) but to demonstrate the inherent insecurities in Canon's wireless printers.


Divinity: Original Sin update adds two new companions and a "big coat of polish"

Andy Chalk at

Divinity: Original Sin is a hit, having already sold more than 500,000 units, and while that obviously doesn't put it in the league of Call of Duty it's quite an achievement for an unapologetically old-school, PC-exclusive isometric RPG from Belgium. Even so, the work isn't done yet: The latest update to the game adds makes significant changes to the dialog system and adds two brand-new companion characters.

Microsoft buys Mojang – PC Gamer reacts

PC Gamer at

The rumors are true: Microsoft is buying Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. And as we discovered this morning, Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson is leaving the company. As you can imagine, the PC Gamer team has some strong feelings about the acquisition, and the impact of Minecraft.


Piranha Games speaks out on Transverse crowdfunding and the future of Mechwarrior Online

Andy Chalk at

Some people like Mechwarrior Online, and some people really, really don't. Numerous MWO forum threads are filled with complaints about the incomplete state of the game, and the announcement of Transverse, the new sci-fi MMO project from developer Piranha Games, was met with a deluge of fresh anger. That upset was driven in no small part by the multi-million-dollar, in-house crowdfunding campaign; yet according to Piranha Games co-founder Bryan Ekman, crowdfunding is one of the most effective ways an independent studio can build both a loyal following and a market for its games.


Twitch chat bot plagues Steam users with wallet-emptying malware

Andy Chalk at

If you've recently been invited to take part in a raffle for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive items while chatting in Twitch, the good people at F-Secure have a bit of advice: Don't do it.


Elite: Dangerous release price revealed

Phil Savage at

We still don't know when Elite: Dangerous will be released, but we now know how much it will cost. The sprawling space sim—currently available in beta for £50/$75—will, for its release version, set players back a slightly more reasonable £40, €50 or $60. The announcement came as part of Frontier's latest newsletter, which also outlined the "Mercenary Edition" pre-order bonuses.


Notch statement on leaving Mojang: "I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."

Phil Savage at

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson is leaving Mojang, the studio he co-founded, following its acquisition by Microsoft for $2.5 billion. In a statement made to his blog, he explains why.


Mojang confirm sale to Microsoft for $2.5 billion, Notch and other founders to leave

Phil Savage at

After a week of rumours, Minecraft maker Mojang has today confirmed they're being bought by Microsoft. The studio has also announced that founders Markus "Notch" Persson, Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser are to leave. Blimey!


KeeperRL is a Dungeon Keeper inspired building sim and roguelike

Phil Savage at

There is a copy of Dwarf Fortress on my desktop. In many ways, it's the PC gaming equivalent of having Tolstoy on the bookshelf. The hope is people will see it, be quietly impressed by my ASCII management aptitude, and, most crucially, won't ask any questions that would betray the fact I haven't played it. "One day," I tell myself, "one day." Until then, there are games like KeeperRL—which offer sprawling base management without the overwhelming complexity. As the name suggests, it's more in the vein of Dungeon Keeper... albeit also a roguelike.


Skywind trailer shows Morrowind's Bitter Coast get a Skyrim makeover

Phil Savage at

Hey, even swamplands can be pretty. Kind of. Here's the latest trailer for Skywind, the Skyrim total conversion that aims to port Morrowind—in its entirety—into Bethesda's newer game. This time, we're being shown the Bitter Coast—home of swamps, smugglers and slaughterfish.