Call of Duty: MW3 Free Weekend Starts April 26

COD: MW3 Free Weekend Starts April 26

This weekend Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PC is free-to-play. The F2P offer includes multiplayer. The event starts at 1PM Eastern (10AM Pacific) on Thursday the 26th of April. You can begin pre-loading the game on Steam from here. You can purchase the game as a PC download for $40.19 from Gamestop or $35 from Amazon.

Preload now from Steam.

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Open Beta Review: Diablo 3

Open Beta Review: Diablo 3

The original Diablo and Diablo 2 are among the most popular and essential PC titles produced in the past 20 years. Blizzard released Diablo 2 in 2000 and it is still popular today as is Blizzard’s original Starcraft and Warcraft Series. Blizzard has enjoyed quite a perfect success with these titles. Even more so with World of Warcraft which peaked at about 12 million subscribers (now at around 9-10 million).

Needles to say we’re all pretty excited about Diablo 3. It’s been a long while since the release of Diablo 2 and lots of studios stepped up to hold us over. Titan’s Quest released in 2006 and Torchlight in 2009.

With such a perfect success rate you have to wonder when Blizzard will produce a less than savory title. D3 is the first Blizzard title that I don’t have high expectations for after participating in the beta. Be aware that D3 is still currently in beta and just recently opened up a short-term open beta. Any opinion or observation that I’ve made is based on beta alone and may or may not reflect the final product.

Diablo 3 Open Beta

Diablo 3 doesn’t overly impress or re-invent the wheel. I am a fan of the genre but I feel that it’s well past time to improve on it. Unfortunately D3 does not do so. That would be perfectly fine if not for the fact that Diablo 3 un-improves on the genre in some ways. On normal difficulty you will face roll your way through dungeons. It’s too easy. Or at least it is right now and in the first 13 levels.

The only major complaint I have is how strongly the game is tied to and requires Battle.net. You can not log-in to play without access to Battle.net. Much like an MMO it appears that if there is latency between your machine and Battle.net then all factors of your experience (including single player) will suffer. Hopefully Blizzard will decide to put in an offline mode but I don’t see that happening.

Areas are also not randomly generated which hurts re-play value. Torchlight had randomly generated dungeons and Torchlight 2 (releasing 1-2 months after D3) will have randomly generated outdoor areas. I want to enjoy Diablo 3 and I think it’s a decent game. I just think Blizzard held back for some reason.

You have to wonder why Blizzard decided not to offer anything new (other than the Auction House). I can only assume that they expect the tried and true recipe to continue to work and I expect that it will but I know that many of us are hoping to see something more than updated graphics.

People will still buy Diablo 3. Of course. It’s Blizzard and it’s Diablo 3. That’s all that matters. I expect it to receive pretty good reviews but it won’t be played anywhere near as long as the original two.

I will play it and I’ll most likely enjoy it. I just hope to see offline mode added eventually.

Pre-purchase Diablo 3 now.


Recently: Crysis 3 In 2013, EA Layoffs, Etc

Recently: Crysis 3 in 2013, EA Layoffs, Etc

Crysis 3 has been announced for 2013 for PC, 360 and PS3. Three pre-order packs have been announced such as the stalker pack, overkill pack and the predator pack. Preorders get access to a bow, nanosuit model, multiplayer experience bonuses, skins and dog tags.

Crysis 3 2013

Torchlight 2 will support LAN and Internet Co-op with up to six players. It is said to be well optimized to run on older hardware and the engine has been updated. According to this video the game will be a very reasonable $19.99. One of the greatest things about Torchlight was the random area generation. Torchlight 2 will also have randomly generated areas outdoor.

More prototype screenshots of 0x10c have been found online (rather than officially released). There’s nothing promising about these images whatsoever. Of course they are images of extremely early development. I’m not expecting much more than a very simplistic and featureless lego Eve Online with somewhat better graphics than Minecraft.

The Better Business Bureau has concluded that technically Bioware committed false advertising with Mass Effect 3. Some outlets such as Amazon actually took refunds for Mass Effect 3. Bioware used to be my absolute favorite game company. Sadly EA ruined them, but they seem to be getting the idea now.

0x10c

Supposedly EA is laying off 500 to 1000 employees due to the lackluster performance of Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’m not sure where this ridiculous claim originated. EA has denied this claim and personally I think it’s in the least very inaccurate. I don’t believe for a minute that EA employs anywhere near 500 people for BF3 and The Old Republic. EA has also recouped the cost of development for both by now.

Update: Not only were the reports of EA layoffs apparently bogus but EA reports that it will have its largest employee base yet by the end of 2012.

Links:
World of Warplanes Preview
TERA Online Closed Beta V – Races, Classes and Thoughts
Hands On: Fireball Beta
SWTOR: Tracking the Origins Quest – The Republic

Releases:
Tribes: Ascend
Aion: Free to Play
Crysis 3: Set for 2013 on PC, 360 and PS3

Video:
Torchlight 2 PAX Walkthrough
Star Wars The Old Republic: Operation Explosive Conflict
TERA Online Character Creation: Video 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
World of Tanks: One Year Anniversary
Diablo 3 Monk Spotlight


SWTOR: Free month, Tauntaun pet, Reactivation

SWTOR: Free month, Pet, Reactivation

As part of a 1.2 Legacy promotion Bioware is offering lots of nice freebies to past and active subscribers to The Old Republic. If your subscription is not currently active you can return return for free for one week on April 13th through the 19th to preview the update.

If you already have an activate subscription you will earn a Legacy Tauntaun Ram pet. Those with active subscriptions and level 50 characters will receive 30 days of game time for free.

Surely there are many players without 50s that have stuck around for a while. I have lots of friends who have never been interested in getting to end-game soon. Personally, I have about 8 high level characters, but no maxed level 50s. In essence if I had returned a few weeks ago and did not max out a character I would not be eligible. This is a great offer, but somewhat unfair for a large number of players. What do you think?

Links:
1.2 Update Patch Notes


PAX East 2012: Jessica Nigiri, Reviews, etc.

PAX East 2012: Jessica Nigiri, Reviews, etc.

PAX East 2012 kicked off on April 6th and ended on the 8th. I’ve compiled a bit of videos, photos, game trailers and other information released around the time of PE2012. Max Payne 3 has a solid release date of May 29. Torchlight 2 and Grand Theft Auto 5 are expecting June and October dates.

Barely clothed cosplayer and model for Warner Bros. Games Jessica Nigiri was asked to cover herself up. Later she was asked to change. A bit of controversy arose from this incident and here is what I assume is an official explanation. Here is an interview with Nigiri at PE12.

You can now pre-order Guild Wars 2!

Mojang has released a prototype screenshot of 0x10c.

Trailers:
Guns of Icarus Online: Trailer #2
Diablo 3 Barbarian Class Trailer

PAX East 2012:
Hawken: Destructoid Hands-on / Dev. Interview 1 / Dev. Interview 2 / Trailer
Borderlands 2: Interview 1 / Interview 2 / Interview 3 / Hands-on
Torchlight 2: Berserker Video / Preview

Release Dates:
GTA5: ETA October
Torchlight 2: ETA June
Max Payne 3: Releasing on May 29, 2012 in NA and June 1, 2012 internationally.

PAX East 2012 Photos:
Gameinformer: Day 1 / Day 2
Destructoid: Gallery
VGRevolution: Gallery
TheGameEffect: Gallery
Jessica Nigiri: Gallery
TORWars: Galactic Gallery of Awesome
DarthHater: Day Two and Three

PAX East 2012 show floor image source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/pax-east-2012?before=1334005306


World of Tanks: Unbalanced, Otherwise a Blast

World of Tanks: Unbalanced, Otherwise a Blast

There are game-breaking issues with World of Tanks: attributed mostly to the excessive balance issues. I’ve been playing since beta early last year though I only have around 1000 total battles since post-beta. In Wot you are forced to suffer through bad balance until you earn top tier tanks.

WoT is a fun game when your battles don’t suffer to outrageous match-ups. These battles match you with tanks that are so much more powerful than you that they can easily (and will) take 20 direct hits from your best gun to the one that it takes to kill you. It’s laughable and defies logic completely.

Battles in a T4 generally either result in being matched against T5, T6 or T7 tanks (and lower tiers). One T5 is the Soviet KV heavy tank which has a strong gun, high armor and medium hit points (560HP) but has a low rate of fire. The low rate of fire should compensate for its strength. It does not. Everything you shoot at the KV bounces off if you’re not in at least a T5 and one round from the KV can take out a T4 like its hull is made of paper.

One example is when playing the Hetzer (a tank destroyer) which often gets matched up against Tier 7s that have easily over a 1000 more hit points (the Hetzer has 270). The PzKpfw VI Tiger (Tier 7) has 1350 hit points. That alone makes you wonder what the hell is up Wargaming.net‘s creative ass.

I have replays of a Tier 3 Sturmpanzer II SPG (artillery) getting at least 6 direct hits on a KV (plus splash damage) and the KV survives but finally takes it on the 7th direct hit. The KV is only a T5. And you only get about 16 rounds (if I remember correctly) in the SII.

Then there is spotting and camouflage. Both need work. I won’t go in-depth but I still see tanks appear 20 feet away, directly in the line of sight out of nowhere. Their are also issues with tanks becoming invisible mid fire-fight while exchanging fire. These takes are able to continue firing unseen.

World of Tanks is enjoyable when matched against tanks that are at least somewhat equal in strength but that is rarely ever the case. You get matched against your own tier about every 1 in 5 matches. One excuse given by many fan boys of WoT when you mention the balance issues are that the tanks you can’t damage are heavies. But regardless; these tanks shouldn’t take over half your rack of shells to achieve a damaging hit.

There are some great things about WoT. Getting in a match is extremely quick (around 10 seconds) and matches are over fast. There are also some nice mods available. Check out the World of Tanks StartPack.


Recently: 0x10c, EA’s Poo Award, Aion F2P

Mojang's 0x10c, EA's Poo Award, Aion F2P

On April 11th Aion will be free-to-play and you can download the client now to get ready. We will be streaming Aion live at our Twitch.TV on the 11th. Vanguard will be going free-to-play this summer.

Those with an active subscription of Star Wars: The Old Republic are now able to invite 25 of their friends for a seven day trial. TOR offered up another free-to-play weekend for new players. That trial period ends at 5:00PM AEST April 9.

Mojang and Notch’s newly announced possibly-to-be online (with monthly charge) space travel game called 0x10c is slightly reminiscent of Eve Online. Their may be seamless space-to-planet transitions. Seamless transitions are relatively new to games but have been done before (Evochron Mercenary and Infinity Universe). That doesn’t mean they’re not awesome!

Check out Infinity Universe’s seamless transitions:

Minecraft 1.2.5 is officially released. Check here for the change log. Changes include: shift-click support for furnaces, fixes for chat crashes and changes to cat behavior.

Electronic Arts has received the 2012 Golden Poo award from Consumerist for being the Worst Company in America. Rightfully so! Well, I wouldn’t say the worst company ever but they have a bad reputation in gaming for valid reasons. Back in 2004 EA was sued by employees for unpaid overtime. Read Forbe’s Paul Tassi’s thoughts on the pre-win and Erik Kain’s post-win thoughts.

Secret World is now accepting pre-orders.

Trailers and Videos:
The Shotguns of Max Payne 3
Dungeons and Dragons: Neverwinter trailer
Destructoid: New Aliens Colonial Marines gameplay & Borderlands 2 Hands-On
Megaman X Fan Video
Far Cry 3: First in-game multiplayer footage
Borderlands 2 New Gameplay + PC Co-op Hands on Impressions
Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition New Elements
Starhawk: Ride, Drive and Fly

Articles:
Starcraft II World Championship Series details
Borderlands 2 Exclusive Hands-On: Returning to Pandora never looked so good