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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

THE LOWS 

Steven Messner: Waiting to set sail

Ever since it was first announced, I've been excited to try out Studio Wildcard's new pirate MMO called Atlas. Its blend of Ark: Survival Evolved and EVE Online but with sailing feels like the perfect one-two punch for an MMO nut like me. But Atlas has been delayed again and again since it was unveiled at the Game Awards, and it's getting a little annoying. Normally I always say delays are a good thing, but Atlas has been delayed twice in as many weeks with the latest delay happening in a pretty silly way. Their website had a countdown timer and it wasn't until 30 minutes after it had reached zero that the official account tweeted that players would have to wait two more days. On Twitch, multiple channels have been streaming since midnight just waiting for the damn game to launch—and we just learned it's been pushed back another day.

Atlas is probably a game that is coming together at the very last minute, which is fine since it's launching into Early Access and will undoubtedly be full of bugs that need fixing. But the fact that this delay has also pushed the release so close to Christmas has me feeling extremely sorry for the poor developers who are inevitably giving up on much-needed family time to crunch on a game that could've just as easily launched in the new year. Crunch has been one of the biggest controversies of the year, with the spotlight on Rockstar and other major studios forcing their employees to work themselves to death to finish games. So it's sad to think that, despite all of that backlash, developers are still being forced to put work first.

Jarred Walton: Battlefield 5 says I have "too many PCs"

I regularly test the latest games on a variety of computer hardware configurations for our performance analysis articles. I've been temporarily locked out of a game many times after trying to play it on too many different hardware configurations. For most Denuvo protected games, it happens after using more than five different CPUs in a 24 hour period, but Battlefield 5 takes it to a whole new level of irritation. It's not different CPUs or even GPUs, as far as I can tell, but also extends to testing different APIs. Or something.

All I know is that I got the error after testing on one PC, using two (three if you count Intel's HD 630 that refused to work) different graphics cards. That was on Thursday. Friday, I was able to test one more GPU before getting locked out again. EA, please fix your garbage DRM that's preventing legitimate users from playing your games. This is the fifth time I've been locked out of Battlefield 5, which makes it very hard to complete my performance testing.

Samuel Roberts: Outer Wilds

It feels like forever ago since I tried the dazzling alpha for Outer Wilds that won the IGF Grand Prize back in 2016, and I've been excited about trying the full version for a while. I always assumed it would slip out of 2018 and into next year, though, and this week that was confirmed

I'm not mad at all—the year is over and there's plenty to play, plus it sounds like we're going to hear a lot about the final game in February next year. I just can't wait to see how they've enhanced its little exploding solar system: the alpha let you take a ship out into space and discover strange creatures and little stories. My hope is the finished game will have a ton of extra stuff out there that I can find. 

Chris Livingston: 12345...7!

123456 is still the most commonly used password, for the (1234)5th damn year in a row. I definitely get it. Passwords suck. I have created so many and remember so few. There are times I don't even bother trying to guess and just go to the 'I'm a dumbass who forgot my password' page and then enter a new one only to discover the new one I'm entering was actually the current password, so not only did I remember it, I now can't use it and have to think up a new one that I'll later forget I remembered.

But, come on. Stop using 123456. Don't use 'password' either (that's #2 on the list). I'd give you some of mine to use as examples, but I can't remember any of them at the moment.

Wes Fenlon: I no longer believe in The Street

I loved Snow Crash almost as much as I loved Neuromancer. When I read both of those books, their sci-fi visions of cyberspace as a tangible place were so compelling, there was definitely some part of me that thought the internet, and online MMOs, would get to that place eventually. Second Life, but infinitely cooler and more immersive. I've realized, recently, that I no longer believe we'll ever really see that kind of awesome virtual world, but that even if we did, it would probably suck.

Chris's great tour through today's VR MMOs is a good indication of just how far we have to go, in both technology and hardware, to get anywhere close to sci-fi cyberspace. But I think even if the technology gets there, someday, living my life On Line in that environment would be far worse for me than being glued to social media is today. It wouldn't be a live-your-ultimate-fantasy utopia. It'd be a never-ending nightmare of information overload. I think that's one dream I'm going to let die.

James Davenport: Freezing temperatures

My PC keeps freezing when I leave it idle. I have no idea why and I don’t have the energy to figure it out right now. When I first built the sucker, everything was peachy. I’ve checked event viewer, but it hasn’t told me much. And I’m never around when it freezes, so I haven’t been able to see if anything in particular triggers it. Winter break is an opportune time for a health check, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to move from the couch once I enter blanket mode for the holiday. Bleh.