Quality may not always happily skip hand-in-hand with sales (See: Psychonauts, and then go buy it, please), but when it does, we wear unnaturally large smiles, ecstatic that there's justice in this cold, depressing world. You can imagine, then, that our pearly whites are on the verge of breaking free from our unhinged jaws thanks to Mythic's announcement that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has lured 750,000 players into its overtly war-packed world.
"Thanks to our players, the war between the Realms continues to escalate at an incredible pace," said Mythic co-founder and general manager Mark Jacobs.
And he's not just spouting nonsense from his PR-approved book of hyperbole either; Warhammer's 750k sprint has topped those of both World of Warcraft and Age of Conan, who reached similar numbers within three months and two months, respectively.
But don't start ordering Waaaagh Kool-Aid as a refreshment for WoW's funeral just yet. It should be noted that boxed copies of Warhammer Online came with a free one month voucher, cancelling out the game's subscription fee for a limited time. With the game's money vacuum soon to be fully operational, will players stick around for another month?
We sure hope so. Warhammer seems genuinely different from other MMOs, and it'd be a shame to see it sink. Also, gaming just wouldn't be fun anymore if we couldn't constantly tell our friends "It's 'hammer time," before darting off for a play session.
StarCraft 2 will likely be so great, many players will want to buy it twice. Unfortunately, however, after today's BlizzCon announcement, they'll be doing Blizzard (and themselves) a huge disservice by only making two StarCraft treks. Simply put, they'll be missing 1/3 of the spacefaring RTS' universe-spanning plot, because Blizzard has announced that StarCraft 2's campaign will clear the launch pad on three separate occasions.
Predictably, each release will focus on one of StarCraft's trifecta of races. Terrans: Wings of Liberty will be first out the gate, presumably with the national sport that is the game's multiplayer mode. Zerg: Heart of the Swarm and Protoss: Legacy of the Void, then, will be pseudo-expansion packs.
Don't get the wrong idea, though. Blizzard executive VP of game design Rob Pardo explained that the Zerg and Protoss titles will "be like expansion packs," but that they'll bombard players with content. "We want them to feel like standalone products," he said.
In order to accomplish this, each campaign will break off from the rest of the pack with its own feature set. The Zerg's flesh-crawling installment will include RPG elements, while the Protoss are going the diplomatic route. Terrans, on the other hand, seem to be getting the short end of the stick with only a Protoss mini-campaign to their name, but we'll see.
Pardo also noted that Blizzard sliced and diced StarCraft 2's campaign not for fat stacks of cash (WoW would get jealous, after all), but in order to avoid delaying the game or cutting corners on quality.
As for how long in between installments we'll be hanging from cliffs, Blizzard wouldn't say. However, knowing Blizzard, we're guessing the games will be less of a Zerg-rush and more of a Zerg-Half-Life 2 Episode Three.
You’d never credit your headset after winning a Team Fortress 2 match, nor would you ever brag about your soundcard after just acing a round in Call of Duty 4, but any gaming veteran knows that having a sweet set of cans is a must for even the casual gamer’s setup. This is especially true today with the vast majority of professional gamers using headsets instead speaker systems.
Unfortunately, deciding which audio hardware is right for you can become aggravating very quickly with USB headsets, 5.1 headphones, onboard mixing, analog inputs, and incompatible interfaces confusing the market. With this roundup, we’re going to scrutinize six gaming headset options, and examine the largely unspoken differences between analog and USB audio technology.
“Beginning November 18th players across North America and Europe will journey with the dwarves deep into Middle-earth to reclaim the ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm from the minions of Saruman,” said Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online.
And no, this isn't a loquacious announcement that LOTRO has slipped to November 18th, 2009 -- but that'd make far more sense than what Turbine is actually doing.
For the uninitiated (aka, those who don't read article titles), WoW: Wrath of the Lich King -- possibly the most-anticipated MMO expansion ever and one of the few 2008 PC releases that can challenge Spore to a bout of sales-fisticuffs and match the game blow-for-blow -- is crashing down the gates (and probably its own servers) on November 13th. Add to that the fact that LOTRO is basically WoW plus little big-footed people and minus about 9 million players, and you have a painstakingly composed financial suicide note ready to go.
Find out why Turbine chose to face the Lich King's wrath head-on after the break.
Economy got you down? No longer able to make those day-long trips to your local computer store of choice for all the latest and greatest software tools? Tired of paying top-dollar for programs that don't quite have the functionality you want? Well put away that wallet. We spent the past week showing you the best (and cheapest) software we've been able to find across different themes: graphics design, system optimization, games, and office/productivity, and have compiled our picks into this comprehensive list.
The era of quad-core mobile gaming draws closer as Asus gears up to release its G71 gaming notebook. Quad-core processors in notebooks are nothing new, but the G71 will use a true mobile quad-core CPU, specifically the Intel QX9300.
The 17-inch notebook uses a GeForce 9700M GT videocard with 512MB of GDDR3 RAM to push gaming pixels on the display's 1920x1200 resolution. Users can configure up to 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, and on the non-volatile storage front, up to two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB. In other words, it will be a long time before you have to decide between installing a new game or storing porn.
Other features include a 2MP webcam, secondary keyboard display so you can keep an eye on your MSN Messenger IMs while gaming, optional Blu-ray drive, HDMI, eSATA, and everything else you'd expect to find on a modern high-end laptop.
Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, but did we mention it comes with a quad-core processor?
EndWar, a voice-controlled RTS hoping to finally end the war against finger-straining controller-based console RTSes, may soon be expanding its supply lines into PC territory. Even better, the news comes from a source PC gamers can't help but respect: former Total War dev Michael de Plater.
“Yeah,” he said, when asked if a PC version of EndWar is in the cards. “There’s no reason not to.”
"Console RTS. Crap. Next." Right? Wrong. de Plater, currently creative director on EndWar, continued:
“The stuff I worked on previously was Total War, which are PC games. In many ways, gameplay-wise, it’s a modern warfare, Tom Clancy version of Total War.”
We're not completely sold, but de Plater's words certainly put a damper on our parade of cynicism. Besides, we can't wait to talk a big game while simultaneously attempting to back it up -- and type up articles for your enjoyment, all at the same time. It'll be a nice excuse for our awfulabysmal unique RTS skills.
We don't get excited about much these days. When all we could muster over Deus Ex 3 deets was a guarded "Neat," it began to dawn on us that we might be suffering from chronic peace of mind, and that made us kind of upset, but not really. Fortunately, the kings of inapproPriate capitaLization have alerted various media outlets that they plan to trot out their highly anticipated collaborative effort on October 21. It's been all but confirmed that the LucasArts-BioWare tango has birthed a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic MMO. And we're totally stoked.
The invitation, stamped with both LucasArts and BioWare's respective logos, boasts that "The wait is over," and gives members of the press a come-hither look with promises of "the official unveiling of the game that's been rumored about for years."
Gamasutra notes that the public may not see the game until a few days after the unveiling, thanks to embargos. Even so, we're marking down the minutes until BioWare and LucasArts yank the curtain off their latest (final?) group project. We'll make sure to give you a heads-up when it happens, assuming our keyboard doesn't malfunction while it's floating in a puddle of our drool.
At this month’s Professional Developer Conference Microsoft will be handing out the software development kit for their Surface tabletop computer. In an announcement made on the PDC’s site, Robert Levy sates that attendees will be able to “learn how you can become a part of the expanding partner ecosystem for Microsoft Surface and leverage your existing investments in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) and Visual Studio to build engaging end user applications. Attendees will receive access to the Microsoft Surface SDK.”
This announcement comes as a sigh of relief to developers, who have been promised the SDK for some time now. The only known companies with access to the SDK are AT&T and Starwood hotels, whose projects are unknown. Microsoft has also been stating that the multitouch interface will be part of Windows 7, but is yet to detail how.
Let’s just hope that Chris Taylor and his boys get started on their version of Supreme Commander for the Surface ASAP!
Series originator Warren Spector may be out and about not making Deus Ex 3, but if we had a copy of UK mag PC Zone, and if we didn't know that Warren Spector wasn't slaving away on Deus Ex 3, we'd be hard-pressed to think that he wasn't. tl;dr: The game sounds pretty cool.
According to CVG's copy of PC Zone, Eidos Montreal is developing Deus Ex 3 as a prequel to the rest of the series. Set in 2027, the game follows "average joe" Adam Jensen, a security officer doling out his particular brand of uniformed justice at a lab specializing in biomechanical augmentations -- aka, nanotech's predecessor. Fortuitously, however, Jensen's life takes a turn for the interesting when a team of "black ops commandos" storms his company's base of operations, snatches a security plan penned by Jensen himself, and uses the plan to guard a fortress kill people.
From then on, the security officer with a penchant for doomsday plans embarks on an action-packed mission full of Deus Ex's trademark fusion of RPG and FPS gameplay conventions -- with a twist. In Deus Ex 3, your stats won't directly affect your gunplay. Instead, stats will manifest themselves through "a vast array of fully upgradeable and customisable weapons," as well as weapon upgrades and character augmentations. So yes, the game is still very much an RPG.
Fortunately, the game, even in its early state, has been given a big thumbs up from Warren Spector, with members of the original Deus Ex team in consultative roles on the project.
And for lapsed fans, distraught by Deus Ex: The Invisible War's, well, everything, you'll be happy to hear that Eidos Montreal has scooped up multiple earfuls of fan complaints, sifted through them, and modified its game accordingly. For example, ammo types will return to Deus Ex's M&M style menagerie of flavors and colors, as opposed to The Invisible War's newcomer-friendly universal ammo.
Oh, the game also brings with it the controversial addition of an auto-regen health system -- ala Call of Duty -- and a cover system that takes a few pointers from Gears of War, but we'd probably post a separate news article if that wasn't the case.
Now let's just hope the game makes it out soon. Otherwise, it might end up looking a tad Jetsons by the time it hits shelves.