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Trion Worlds RIFT Gets Pay 2 Play Server, 5 Years After Move To Free To Play!

MMO Rift went free-to-play in 2011, opening its gates to more players but also ushering in loot boxes and a store packed with items you could buy with real money to make the game a lot easier. After a long think (and no doubt influenced by player pushback against microtransactions), developer Trion Worlds is going back to its roots by introducing a paid subscription model for a server free of loot boxes.



The Rift Prime server will launch in Spring. We don’t yet know how much it’ll cost to join, but we do know that the in-game store will be “significantly reduced, with more of the current store-based items obtained through gameplay or removed entirely”. Sounds good to me.


Not all of Rift’s content will be available on the Prime server from the start—instead, players will start afresh and Trion Worlds will drip-feed existing content as players progress, almost like a new MMO, albeit with everything introduced at a much faster pace. The developer promises this progression will come “to an end in spectacular fashion”, too.



A few facts from the blog:


Prime servers will progress through content at a more rapid pace than that of the original launch
“dynamically matching characters to their current zone’s level”
“dungeons dropping loot specific to your character’s true level”
profession caps available to a single character
participation awards that are unlocked across your account, even to characters on other servers


PvP will also be undergoing some changes in 2018 after the launch of the Prime server. This will include a new game mode and allowing servers to go “full PvP”.



For PvE, players can look forward to the revamp of a classic raid and the 7th anniversary will feature some new activities for players.


As more info comes out about the new sub services, we’ll be sure to keep you upto date!

For now, check out the latest trailer for the game and follow the link to check it out!


January 21st, 2018 by Lonesamurai
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, PC | No Comments »

WoW 7.3.5 and My Thoughts On The New level Scaling

Let me start out by restating the title of my post: I like the current levelling system. It’s very enjoyable, and it’s been much more engaging. I’m levelling with my friend – he’s a worgen rogue going assassination / subtlety and taking herbalism / alchemy. I’m a human warlock going destruction / affliction and taking tailoring / enchanting. We’ve levelled through Elwynn (yes we got his character out of the worgen zone to come to me), then through Westfall, Redridge, Duskwood, both Stranglethorns, then moved onward to Tanaris which is where we’re currently parked.



There’s a certain level of balance between difficulty that draws attention that has to be had. The more difficult, the more attentive you must be. However, there are quite a few flaws currently.


The previous leveling system was next to no difficulty, and therefore required almost no attention. The less people paid attention, the less fun and engaging it was in general. What Blizzard has done according to this guy is that levelling time has been negligible while significantly increasing the options and variety. I like this, though I can’t say I’ve kept such data of my own, so I can’t vouch for the truth in this, but I’m willing to trust it with faith because that’s science, and you can’t argue with science and numbers. 😛



The current levelling system is not perfect by any means, but it’s certainly been a step in the right direction. There are still a lot of things Blizzard need to smooth out on. Class abilities and when you obtain them is one thing I’ve noticed heavily. It’s understandable to not have your full abilities starting out, but a lot of mechanics feel broken for an extended period of time because some core rotation pieces aren’t available, and it just feels bad. My friend and I have been levelling a rogue and warlock respectively. His rogue in assassination spec seems to be heavily gimped by rupture not doing much damage and envenom being nonexistent so far (only eviscerate) until much higher level, although subtlety seems to do somewhat fine for the most part. My warlock seemingly has all their core rotation spells for both destruction and affliction (I haven’t tried Demo and my friend hasn’t tried pirate meme spec). Destruction’s chaos bolt will usually deal about 90-100+% of a normal mob’s HP, whereas affliction can usually get a good rotation off. The rest of Destruction’s rotation has felt slightly lackluster, but otherwise nice.


The health and difficulty as well is a bit of another topic. Many people are going to have different opinions on it. I personally was levelling with heirlooms and found the pacing to be pretty alright. Pulling 10 things did feel like a threat, and I’d rather not have to spend an inordinate amount of time to kill 1 single mob like in Classic. However, I do think that things should start getting more difficult as you level. For example, Argus feels like a pain. I would never want that on a level 1-60. I’d rather have that for 110 elite mobs. Argus feels quite frankly fine in difficulty, and I like it the way it is. However, I also want things to become more and more difficult the higher level you get, that way it isn’t the same fight, the same mob, the same difficulty the whole way through and then BAM Argus destroys your noob face because you didn’t have 900 ilvl to be able to handle things on your own. I’m not saying to make Argus easier by any means, I’m saying to progressively make the levelling harder in small increments with every level to prepare a player for the higher end content. That’s what levelling should be. It should be your time to train.



Also on the topic of health and difficulty, I felt that “bosses” at the end of quest chains, like for Stitches in Darkshire, and the Bloodsail in Stranglethorn, and Redridge’s dragon fight, all felt way too easy. They’re supposed to be bosses, and we’d kill them as if they’re an over-glorified regular old NPC. Those quest fights absolutely need to be much more engaging by increasing their damage slightly, increasing their health, and introducing more mechanics.


I personally feel there’s a wide range of potential to re-introduce class training without making it mandatory – such that it would be a proving grounds-esque area in a major city, and the class trainer shows you the tips and tricks to using an ability in combat. They would essentially be class quests, much like the monk ones in the Peak of Serenity, however they would never be mandatory to learn them. Rather, they train a player how to use them, and perhaps maybe gives that sort of XP buff that you get for completing them, as well, maybe factoring in how many alts you have at max level or above the level of the character completing the quest, something like that to make it faster – but not mandatory – to level if this is your billionth alt (like myself).



Another topic is professions. Levelling them has been a pain for my friend, with alchemy and herbalism. Tailoring and enchanting for my warlock have been actually pretty decent, but it doesn’t feel rewarding. The amount of cloth we gather seems to be sufficient (level 40s so far as of typing this comment), and enchanting materials aren’t completely obscure to obtain. I do feel that each “major town” should have profession trainers of all kinds and that there should be more ways to research new recipes by combining different materials together all willy nilly. Again, cooking massively suffers from this. You should be able to experiment cooking with any meat, and get a few recipes you’d otherwise get from a basic cooking trainer or something. Profession levelling and player levelling just don’t have the same sort of balance and it suffers greatly, but there are methods that can be done to fix that in my opinion – and considering we can learn instant 800 cap and use materials from the broken isles / draenor from level 1, I really don’t see an issue in this method either.


Professions also seem to be lacking in the department of providing worthwhile items if it’s a production profession. Gear will almost always be inferior, potions will do next to nothing, glyphs are kind of in their own niche of things I guess, cooking may or may not be useful but you rarely can level it to use it. Again, if gear worked in a sort of banding levelling system, where it perhaps scaled to your level or scaled for 10 levels according to the type (1-20 for copper gear maybe?) like heirlooms, I think it’d be quite a bit better off and feel more worthwhile to take to ensure you have appropriate gear. Blizzard somewhat made amends to this by adding more items to quest rewards across the world so that you wouldn’t have wrists from level 10, but that shouldn’t deter the value having a profession should have.



To note: I don’t count bugs like the flipping of heroic and normal dungeon values as part of this. People are accounting that into “everything wrong with this patch.” They’re bugs. They’re not the intended content of the game. This post also isn’t necessarily me saying the level scaling is completely negative – I just feel there are still quite a few things to shape up, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I want to give feedback to Blizzard to create a better game. In fact, I very much like this system currently. It’s great so far. I love it. My friend loves it. We comment and observe all the time about how things are either difficult or easy. These are just the things I’ve compiled into a list of what I think has been done right/wrong.



Uuna says hi!



January 20th, 2018 by Keyboardturner
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, PC | No Comments »

Nintendo Labo is Nintendo’s Quirky New Idea for Homemade Interactive Toys

Nintendo has a reputation for taking unusual gambles in pursuit of new gaming experiences. While these gambles don’t always pay off – the Virtual Boy was a failed attempt at VR headset gaming that was released before it was even ready; the Wii U was an example of disastrous marketing; the promised Wii Health Monitor never materialised; and how many of you have even SEEN the Nintendo 64DD, among others? – more often than not, Nintendo’s quirkiness proves to be a stroke of genius and puts the company back on the map for many years. The Wii introduced us to the benefits of motion-control gaming and captured a casual gaming audience other consoles had alienated; and the Switch is once again breaking sales records with its gimmick of a handheld console that is equally capable of being played at home as on the move. Indeed, such is the track record of Nintendo that there is a long-held belief by fans: “Nintendo is best when it’s at its quirkiest”. So when Nintendo announced a new Switch-enabled toy range, you could almost hear the sound of eyebrows raising across the globe.


A demonstrative picture of the Keyboard Toy-Con from the Nintendo Labo Variety Pack.

Revealed last night in an impromptu Nintendo Direct video, Nintendo’s latest product idea combines real-world props with Nintendo Switch technology to make interactive toys that also introduce young kids to the basic idea of coding. Dubbed “Nintendo Labo”, the lego-like concept revolves around stand-alone kits containing pre-cut cardboard pieces, rubber bands and other materials, along with Switch cartridges containing the Nintendo Labo software. By following instructions, children can use the pieces to make models of various toys such as a piano, handlebars for a motorbike, or even a house. Then, with the Switch software, the toys transform into interactive games – use the piano to play music through your TV! Peek inside your new house and become an interior decorator! Play a motorbike racing game!


All of these projects come as part of a $70 variety pack, which is already listed for pre-order on Nintendo’s website. A second $80 set includes an alternative set of projects, such as a wearable robot-simulating suit – potentially giving the toys (dubbed Toy-Cons by Nintendo) appeal to a wider age range. Nintendo’s clear intention, however, is for Labo to be a discovery tool for youngsters to learn and play, repurposing the Switch to augment a dynamic constructive experience.


It remains to be seen how well this will work. The cardboard nature of the toys makes them fragile and prone to both quick breakage or simply being ripped up by younger kids; although it also makes the kits cheap to produce and potentially opens the door for homebrew hacks – after all, it’s cheaper to download a cardboard design for a custom controller than 3D-print one. Nintendo have already pledged to offer cheap methods to replace components from their kits; and it’s not hard to imagine further sets in the future offering all new toys to keep kiddies interested. The question is, will kids buy into the idea of educational toys; and just how long will their attention span last?


Labo will launch first in the US on April 20th, followed by Europe a week later. As a promotional campaign for the new toys, the Nintendo UK Twitter announced today a four-day event in London scheduled for mid-February, and is looking for families to apply to take part:


January 18th, 2018 by CrimsonShade
Posted in Gaming, General, Nintendo | No Comments »

UK joins US in warning about #Kaspersky Antivirus and Russian software

Britain’s main cyber security agency on Friday warned British government agencies to avoid using anti-virus software from Russian companies, the latest in a series of moves targeting Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab.

The product box for Kaspersky Anti-Virus, as seen on Kaspersky's website.
Box art courtesy Kaspersky’s website


Who are Kaspersky?


Kaspersky Labs is a multinational corporation that provides cybersecurity services worldwide. The company does a lot of work in identifying threats to computers, the internet and governments that could damage computers or lead to information getting out that shouldn't be made public; and helps to find solutions. As well as internet security, password management and many other security tools, one of the products Kaspersky is most well-known for developing and selling is its own Antivirus product, Kaspersky Anti-Virus (and also Kaspersky Internet Security), which is used by governments and individuals alike to help protect computers from being compromised or damaged by malicious attacks.


Kaspersky Labs is headquartered in Moscow, Russia – a country known to have strict laws over control of data in and out of its borders. Russia lately has been in a lot of hot water with the United States over longstanding allegations that the country attempted to rig the 2016 Presidential Election and has too close ties to current president Donald Trump; and may be secretly attempting to influence America.



What's going on?


The United States have expressed concerns that Kaspersky have "close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and that its software could be used to enable Russian spying". In response, Kaspersky has offered to share source code showing how parts of their software works, in order to supposedly prove that Kaspersky does not hand any data over to Russia. This hasn't alleviated the US Government's concerns, however, and Kaspersky’s anti-virus software was banned from US government networks earlier this year.


Now, the UK has decided to follow suit.


In the United Kingdom, the government organisation responsible for computer security is the UK National Cyber Security Centre. On Friday, its director, Ciaran Martin, penned a letter to departmental permanent secretaries asking them to stop using Kaspersky software, saying that Russian-made software should "not be used in systems containing information that would harm national security if it was accessed by the Russian government."


The wording of the letter makes clear that the UK agrees with the US that there are significant concerns that Kaspersky software could be leaking data to Russian governments that would be dangerous if it got out. Martin added that his agency is "in talks with Kaspersky Lab to develop a system for reviewing its products for use in Britain."


”We are in discussions with Kaspersky Lab … about whether we can develop a framework that we and others can independently verify,” Martin said in the letter, which was publicly released.


What is Kaspersky's reaction?


Kaspersky Labs allege their organisation has become a scapegoat in the midst of the rising tensions between America and Russia; and say that it looked forward to working with the NCSC on the issue in a statement released following the NCSC announcement.


Should I be worried?


At this point in time, there is no real proof that Kaspersky DOES send data that passes through its systems on to the Russian government; or what that data entails. However, the fact the company does dealings with government, corporate and military organisations worldwide, and is itself based in Moscow, makes the possibility impossible to ignore.


The NCSC's statement only refers to matters of "national security", saying that Kaspersky software should only be avoided if the possibility of Russians getting ahold of it "poses a significant risk". For most at-home users, therefore, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you are a user of Kaspersky Antivirus, Internet Security or any of their other products; and you find the revelations discomforting or are concerned for your privacy, it may well be worth looking into alternative products just for your own peace of mind.


This article first appeared on Technically Motivated

December 2nd, 2017 by CrimsonShade
Posted in General, Technology | No Comments »

Wolfenstein: The New Colossus Review

Wolfenstein® II: The New Colossus™ is the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, Wolfenstein®: The New Order™ developed by the award-winning studio MachineGames.

An exhilarating adventure brought to life by the industry-leading id Tech® 6, Wolfenstein® II sends players to Nazi-controlled America on a mission to recruit the boldest resistance leaders left. Fight the Nazis in iconic American locations, equip an arsenal of badass guns, and unleash new abilities to blast your way through legions of Nazi soldiers in this definitive first-person shooter.

America, 1961. Your assassination of Nazi General Deathshead was a short-lived victory. Despite the setback, the Nazis maintain their stranglehold on the world. You are BJ Blazkowicz, aka “Terror-Billy,” member of the Resistance, scourge of the Nazi empire, and humanity’s last hope for liberty. Only you have the guts, guns, and gumption to return stateside, kill every Nazi in sight, and spark the second American Revolution.



It’s always an interesting conflict of events when a virtual product manages to resonate with current events. This was especially true in the advertising leading up to the release of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, in which plays of presidential tag-lines were used to full effect: the desire to “Make America Nazi Free Again” by being a part of the revolution. Of course, this territory is nothing new for the Wolfenstein series, which made its mark by letting you shoot Nazis and take down Mecha-Hitler from as early as 1981 – so one could argue it’s nothing new, but holding a mirror to real life whether on purpose or just by the nature of the theme of their game series certainly helped create Wolfenstein 2 hype.



The reboot of Wolfenstein that came around in 2014 is still one of my favourite titles to revisit. It is, at its core, a hard-going tale of a soldier’s desire for revenge in a world that is falling apart. The gameplay is smooth in its combat – if not a little dull – but it had some genuinely amazing sequences and an ending that, coupled with great soundtrack choices, made me pretty emotional. We were also treated to The Old Blood as a DLC excerpt that was good, if not a little clunky with the way it transitioned from chapter to chapter.


This made Wolfenstein 2 a release day purchase for me. The Special Edition, no less – and regardless of any opinion I have formed on Wolfenstein 2, I can happily say I own a BJ Blazkowicz action man now. But gimmicks aside, I was most excited for the game itself. You are immediately treated to a recap of the events of the first game (sans The Old Blood, as it was a prelude) before diving into the current one. Where The New Order treated us to a jumble of flashforwards and time-skips, the second title manages to give us not only time-skips forward, but flashbacks as well. You hit the shock factor almost straight away with an introduction to BJ’s abusive Texan father and his caring Polish mother.



While not wholly unexpected of a game that centres around kicking the daylights out of Nazis, Wolfenstein 2 is not afraid of the shock factor. We are immediately set up to hate BJ’s father for the racist epithet throwing, domestic abuser that he is. We learn that BJ has obviously taken on more of his mother’s sentiments about life, but that the harsh treatment by his father is what pushed him to be resilient. It is also what sent him off to the army, ironically starting off the chain of events through the games series. It seems like a strange inclusion at the start of the game, though there are few loaded guns in this game that don’t go off eventually; your father does, eventually, get what’s coming to him, and the setup makes it worth it.


This is something I find Wolfenstein 2 succeeds at greater than its predecessor with only few exceptions. It is fantastic at build up, and at surprising you. There are some strong twists in the story, and unlike The New Order, the plot moves at a greater pace, allowing it to feel like more of a rollercoaster and less of a log flume. It certainly lacks in some of the huge set piece boss fights of The New Order or, to compare it to its sister title, DOOM. But the spectacle is made up for in some equally impressive visual sequences. To not say too much of spoilers: this is a game that you get to control robots; fly into space; and fall from the sky. You also get to shoot Nazis while wheelchair bound, and – as someone with limited mobility – I found that bit particularly gratifying.



It does miss the mark in some parts. We get to know the characters that BJ works with more, and they seem to have become caricatures of themselves since The New Order. This isn’t necessarily bad, either, as it fits with the changing tone of the game. You find yourself in the midst of an underground rebellion that is finding its purpose and is driven on by loss early on in the story. It has gone from being a story about one man’s revenge to BJ becoming a figurehead of revolution. You want a cast of NPCs that you remember the personalities of. There are some great new additions to the cast, too.


From this is one of my greatest criticisms of the game: you need to play the first one. You might say that’s not a real criticism, but you may have noticed that I am greatly comparing the two titles to one another. It’s fairly necessary, in my eyes, because to understand why Frau Engel (the main villain of Wolfenstein 2) hates BJ quite so much, you need to see what happened in The New Order. To fathom why Anya, his partner, is so important, you need to see what happened to the pair of them in the first title to fathom the bond between them both. While the recap at the start of the game is efficient enough in laying out baseline events it doesn’t help grasp the emotional side of the storyline.



One of my other gripes is connected to this, and is in the form of the “Wyatt or Fergus” dilemma. In The New Order, you have to make a very crushing decision about one of your team-mates early on in the campaign. It shapes who you have around you for the rest of the game; devices you can learn; weapons you can use and even one of the boss fights. It is a decision that shapes the narrative. In Wolfenstein 2, you have to choose again through a flashback of Deathshead – a villain is criminally missing in references in the newer game otherwise – so there can be a chronological order to things. You are given back the gun relevant to whichever team-mate you choose, and that’s more or less it. There are some minor story points relating to either Fergus or Wyatt, but it feels like a missed opportunity.


All in all, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. It has faults, but they are compensated for by the flow of combat, an effective storyline and the additional content. There is more to do after the plot ends, as you begin to build your revolution on the back of your pains and your triumphs. And, being true to Wolfenstein as a series, there is a ton of stuff to collect, giving it appeal to any of you out there with a desire for completion. However, if you haven’t picked up the first title, or its DLC yet, I would put Wolfenstein 2 to one side until you get to do so.



This is a game that is best experienced when you know BJ as he has come to be now, along with his comrades at arms against the Nazi menace. It is best experienced knowing why you are fighting and what you’re fighting for. While the hype train was strong with its brilliant and topical viral advertising, Wolfenstein 2 has its story at its core. The New Order taught us about revenge; The New Colossus sings of revolution. It would be easy to get swept up on Nazi killing alone – and that is important within the game, obviously – but this is a title that needs to be known to really hit home.


Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus gets a facist bashing 4 out of 5



Wolfenstein® II: The New Colossus™ is available on teh following platforms –
PC Steam – http://store.steampowered.com/app/612880/Wolfenstein_II_The_New_Colossus/
Xbox One – https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/wolfenstein-II-new-colossus#purchase
Playstation 4 – https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/games/wolfenstein-ii-the-new-colossus-ps4/
Nintendo Switch – https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/wolfenstein-ii-the-new-colossus-switch

November 21st, 2017 by isnotavampire
Posted in Gaming, General, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

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