Trying to decide whether to take another walk down the aisle with Warhammer Online or try your luck with a different MMO of equal value, but just can’t bring yourself to end this excruciatingly long game of eeny-meeny-miny-moe? Well, if giving you gifts can be equated with love – and we don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be – then Mythic loves you more. Always remember that.
Why? The developer is now offering a Call to Arms re-enlistment program which – if you’ve gone astray from Warhammer’s flock – never gives you up and never lets you down with 10 free days of playtime, all the rested experience you accrued while you were pursuing other options, and “a unique quest chain with bonus reward items.” We don’t see any reason not to at least give it a shot.
So, you’ve caught, like, 30 tigers by their toes now. What’s it gonna be?
The apparent state of <insert WoW class that’s constantly nerfed and obviously in need of buffing here> may have led you to believe that Blizzard’s exceedingly affluent staff doesn’t want to hear from you. Well, given the nature of the mega-publisher’s current contest, it’s pretty obvious that you were wrong. See, Blizzard only wants to hear from one of you.
The contest, which is open to aspiring word jockeys all around the world – from London to the Bay – invites Blizzard’s biggest fans to prove their mettle not with sticks or stones, but with words, the most powerful force in the entire universe. In order to qualify, your piece must be 3,000-10,000 words long and – as expected – set in one of Blizzard’s three fictional worlds.
Should your modern classic catch the eyes of Blizzard’s finest Lorecrafters (note: not a real job title), you’ll be flown out to Blizzard’s offices in Irvine, California where – and this is just a pet theory of ours – you’ll be surreptitiously assassinated by the same people who judged you worthy of setting foot on Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft’s holy birthing grounds.
Why? Simple. According to the contest rules, upon arriving at Blizzard’s pad, you’ll be given a replica Frostmourne sword (to defend yourself, obviously – you know, honor and all that) and a sumptuous meal (presumably a last meal, but also a possible attempt to weigh you down during the inevitable conflict). But wait – you’re probably wondering why Blizzard would go through all of this trouble to help you, a simple fan, meet the real Diablo? Well, after little to no research, we’ve surmised that – like a paranoid dictator – Blizzard’s current writing staff is afraid of competition, and would like to hold onto the swankest gig on earth for as long as possible.
So yeah, don’t enter the contest. We’ll, uh, just go ahead and take the fall for you. Without other entrants, we’re sure to “win” – if you could even call it that – and then we’ll put a pointy, meticulously sculpted end to all of this nonsense once and for all. Wish us luck.
All servers are not created equal. Some leave you feeling all warm-and-squishy after each match, while others insult humanity as a whole nearly as often as they insult your mother. Valve understands this and – with an eagerness to please its fans that’s borderline depressing (Just imagine: you’ll probably never be as devoted to anything as Valve is to you) – has braved the numerical gorilla pen that is mathematics in order to bring you a solution.
"After kicking around some proposals, we came up with a simple system built around the theory that player time on a server is a useful metric for how happy the player is with that server. It's game rules agnostic, and we can measure it on our steam backend entirely from steam client data, so servers can't interfere with it,” said Valve’s Robin Walker.
The finished product, then, operates on a point system -- sending well-behaved servers out for some time in the yard and booting rabble-rousers straight to the chair.
“In short, servers that have lots of players joining & leaving rapidly will score badly. Servers that consistently have players join and stay on for long periods of time will score well,” Walker explained.
“Our first step in improving this part of the player experience has been to delist all the really bad servers. The master server will simply stop giving these to you when you fire up the serverbrowser.”
“After that, we're going to keep improving our ability to measure this kind of problem.”
We’ve always taken issue with the Internet’s highly malleable list of steps for rocking ultimate. "1) Do a thing, 2) Do another thing, 3) ???, and 4) Profit" are all well and good, but our generation’s best and brightest seem to have omitted the final step: Get sued by a tiny, opportunistic company over some patent that holds about as much water as a shattered snow globe.
Worlds.com, currently in the process of suing NCSoft -- while almost assuredly sliding its fingers down a bountiful mustache and readjusting its monocle -- has voiced its diabolical intentions: First NCSoft, then the World… of Warcraft. Then the world.
Worlds.com CEO Thom Kidrin said as much when he told Silicon Alley Insider that his company “absolutely” intends to send the gavel crashing down on games like WoW and Second Life if its suit against NCSoft succeeds.
Apparently, the conspicuously convenient patent arises from a collection of Starbright patents, which provide “an architecture for enabling thousands of simultaneous users in a 3D virtual space.” Worlds.com now owns said patents and decided they might – like an errant $20 bill in a recently washed pair of jeans – be useful.
So, where does mean old man Jenkins’ money-grubbing plot fall apart? Let our good friend and super sleuth Thomas McDonald explain it for you:
“This must be news to Steve Colley. Back in 1973, he and some other young programmers interning at NASA created MazeWar… Not only did you navigate a maze, but each player was represented by an avatar (an eyeball), people could shoot each other, and the whole thing was networked, complete with online chat!”
“But MazeWar wasn’t Colley’s work alone. Others had inspired him, and subsequent people built on his work, drawing on the potential of new technology to forge the entire gaming industry. No one person or company can claim ownership of these ideas.”
Big-name sequels charting well in their first month of sales? No way. Also clown-in-your-cake surprising is Fallout 3’s staying power (the game first launched in October!), for which we use the only portion of Left 4 Dead that didn’t also claw its way into the top 20 to give a hearty thumb-up.
Check out the full list:
World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard / $38 (Average)
The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $19 (Average)
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II / Relic / $49 (Average)
World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard / $37 (Average)
We’re not even sure what a “next-gen” is anymore (The next batch of consoles? Current PCs? What’s the Wii?), but whatever it is, it’s almost here, according to gaming’s own bells-and-whistles-slinging Xzibit-equivalent, Crytek.
This month’s GDC Expo, which runs from March 25-27, will see the unveiling of Crytek’s most ambitious project yet: CryEngine 3. The “all-in-one game development solution” promises to allow for development on most any machine – DX9, DX10, Xbox 360, PS3, etc. -- provided that said machine isn’t afraid of staring straight into the face of oblivion and watching it blink and contort its retched features at an infuriating 13 frames per second.
However, the engine certainly seems to be designed with “upcoming” systems in mind.
“Our complete game engine solution enables realtime development, ensures teams are able to maximise their own creativity, saves budget and creates greater gaming experiences. Also with our solution developers can start working on their next generation games today,” said Cevat Yerli, CEO & President of Crytek.
“CryEngine 3 is a revolutionary change from our previous PC-only engines – and we’re applying a similar revolution to the service we provide to developers using the software to create extraordinary games.”
The question, then, is whether or not Crytek’s newfound desire to join the cool kids club will lead its wandering gaze to spend less time hovering on the PC gamers who first gave it some love. However, knowing Crytek’s penchant for mind-blowing graphics – in addition to current-gen consoles’ somewhat surprising ability to remain graphically relevant at this stage in the game -- we doubt our concerns will matter too much in the long run.
When worlds collide, things tend to end badly. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning tried to send its ragtag, wax-on, wax-off-trained team of novices against WoW’s dojo, and it lost more than a few teeth. And now, Warhammer’s taking one giant leap right into a different world: its own.
Mythic recently announced (and presumably carried out) mergers between 43 servers on the first ever MMO competitor on The Biggest Loser. Characters and items stored on closed servers were apparently transferred to pre-existing, less corpsified servers.
If your old server’s now hosting TF2 matches for angels, note that all of your character’s items, friend lists, guild info, and ignore lists should have transferred to your new server, while items listed for auction, guild alliances, and in-game mail and attachments, unfortunately, will forever languish in the Internet’s lost-and-found box.
(On the bright side, though, we just discovered that "server merger" is really fun to say. Try it. Hey, don't judge us; we're bloggers -- not grief counselors.)
So, for those among you whose entire world was destroyed, how are the new digs looking?
Along with introducing a myriad of new notebooks to the public this year, Asus is looking to update their gaming notebook, the G71, at CeBIT as well.
The G71Gx, Asus’ update on an old favorite, has been upgraded to hold an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics card (the fastest available), an Intel Centrino 2 processor, up to 12GB of DDR2, and 1TB of storage.
There’s no word yet on pricing or availability for this new beastie, but we can expect that it will cost a pretty penny.
It's hard to find good freeware games that are original, but not overly wacky. A lot of the more unique titles can tend to be a little esoteric--they don't offer your traditional platform gaming or simulated RPG, instead opting for a crazy mix of minimalist design and weird gameplay. It sometimes works, but more often than not, these games fall to freeware's version of the bargain bin.
That's not the case today, however! We've scoured the Web to find some awesome free hits that represent a good mix of zany and traditional gameplay elements. In this roundup, you'll become a historian, play a card game, recreate your favorite Steam experiences in 2D, and shoot down enemy planes. It's a tall order, but we think that you're up for the task. Click the jump and check out the unique titles we're showcasing in this five-game freeware roundup!
Update: Looks like we (along with a few other websites) spent too much time losing ourselves in Hollenshead's beautiful blues and -- hearts full of hope -- skimmed over his real meaning entirely. Maybe if they'd stop making these alarm buttons so red and shiny, we'd be less tempted to press them so often.
“When it’s done,” you’re done. Go running back to Duke Nukem Forever. You knew what this was.
While speaking with GameTrailers TV at last month’s DICE Summit, id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead gave gamers the signal to look out over the horizon, because Rage is a comin’.
When asked whether his company’s latest monosyllabic murder simulator would blow its top in 2010, Hollenshead replied, “No, we'll be out this year."
Well, that’s good enough for us. Rage will be published by Electronic Arts and will probably aid F.E.A.R. 2 and Sadness in helping some website establish a “Best Game Ostensibly about a Vague, One-Word Emotion” award category for their best games of – take of whiff of that new release window smell – 2009. We can’t wait to hear more.