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By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Aug, 2017 At 10:50 AM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBethesda sent out the following

Today marks the release of the first DLC for The Elder Scrolls Online since the launch of the ESO: Morrowind Chapter in June. The Horns of the Reach DLC game pack introduces two new incredible dungeons – Falkreath Hold and Bloodroot Forge – in addition to a slew of new items.

 

Launching alongside Horns of the Reach are a host of improvements to the base game available to all players for free, as well as a new PvP Battlegrounds mode, Chaosball, and a new map, Arcane University.

 

The Horns of the Reach two-dungeon pack is now available on PC and Mac, free for all ESO Plus Members, or for purchase via the in-game Crown Store for 1,500 Crowns. Update 15 general improvements are available free for all players, while Battlegrounds additions are free for owners of ESO: Morrowind (Battlegrounds requires ESO: Morrowind). Both will also release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One adventurers on August 29.

Horns of the Reach DLC Game Pack

Bloodroot Forge and Falkreath Hold, two new challenging dungeons, pit four-player groups against the menacing hordes of the Dreadhorn Clan. Both dungeons contain unique item sets, monster masks, achievements, and collectibles. For more details on the lore, enemies, and rewards, please see the preview articles for Bloodroot Forge and Falkreath Hold on the ESO web site.

 

Horns of the Reach is also available in a special Collector’s Bundle, which offers a unique selection Horns of the Reach-themed items in addition to the DLC game pack, including the Karthwolf Charger mount, Karthwolf Shepherd pet, and five Crown Experience Scrolls. This exclusive bundle is available for a limited time in the Crown Store for 3,500 crowns.

 

Update 15 Details

Alongside Horns of the Reach, ZeniMax Online Studios has also released Update 15 for PC and Mac, delivering  a host of overall game improvements that are free for everyone, as well as major additions to ESO’s fast-moving new Battlegrounds PvP, which are free for all owners of ESO: Morrowind.

 

Battlegrounds additions include a new arena – Arcane University – set in the heart of Cyrodiil’s ruined university, as well as a new game mode, Chaosball, in which players must capture and protect a “ball” to earn points for their team. For more information, please see the ESO web site’s Battlegrounds preview.

 

Update 15’s general game updates — free for all players — includes fixes, balance changes, additions, and improvements that everybody can enjoy. For a complete list of changes and additions, please see the base game update preview on the ESO web site.

This is a pretty great update and dlc addition to The Elder Scrolls Online. Horns of The Reach looks to be a nice new part of Elder Scrolls Online, which is getting better and better every day. Will you check this out?

 

Source: PR Email

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I am a fan of The Elder Scrolls series as should be well evident from my articles by now. Instead of talking about a particular game today however, I wanted to do something else and discuss the various DLC expansions released for the main games. I will not be discussing Elder Scrolls Online at this time, but may do another list in the future. This list is purely my opinion, and I ranked the DLC based off of quality, what it did for the game, how well it was received, and how well it held up years later.

 

 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

 

 

Without further delay, let us start with Number 7.

 

7: Hearthfire 

Hearthfire is a great little DLC, but there is emphasis needed for the word little. It doesn’t have a huge amount of content like the other expansions, but what it does offer is some new followers, new houses and children to adopt. It isn’t the most exciting DLC but it does help the role playing experience and does allow a greater degree of immersion. There isn’t much to talk about. Its a nice way to build on the game but there isn’t much to it.

6: Knights of the Nine 

Knights of the Nine was the first major expansion for Oblivion and it was well received at the time. However, I honestly feel it hasn’t actually held up as well as the main game or what came later. To me, Knights of the Nine feels like an attempt to bring Morrowind’s narrative style to Oblivion in a way that just didn’t fit. The story was good, don’t get me wrong and the expansion did offer a neat experience, but it just has not held up as well as others. It is also rather short and doesn’t feel as well developed as the other expansions, bar Hearthfire.

5: Tribunal

I can hear the anger already. Tribunal serves as a direct sequel to the story of Morrowind, one of the most acclaimed games in the series, so how could I only put it at number 5? Well, to be honest, it isn’t very good. I rated this above Knights of the Nine because of the fact that the story is a continuation of the events of the main game and is very important for that reason. That being said, the expansion has a lot of issues, a story that feels ill plotted at times, and game mechanics that take you out of the immersion. It is an important DLC but not one that I particularly like.

4: Dawnguard

The top 4 DLC expansions are all amazing and I had a hard time choosing which to put in number 4 through 2, but I came to the conclusion that Dawnguard fits best in this spot. The vampire threat is a big departure from the main quest of Skyrim, but the story does actually build on the lore of the game and the series in general. It introduced amazing characters like Serana, explored the history of Skyrim and the Falmer, and showed us the truth about the soul gems. It had an atmosphere of adventure, tough enemies and great new abilities. Plus it overhauled the perk system and due to the choice you make early one, there are two ways to actually explore the DLC.

3: Bloodmoon

The 2nd expansion for Morrowind is far and away the better one.  This is the first time we are introduced to Solstheim and the Skaal people among other things. Bloodmoon introduced the Lycanthropy ability to the game and offered a unique area that felt large and yet different from the main game. it felt new and different and had a great charm to it. The quests were great, there was a lot to do in the expansion and it brought a lot of innovation. It does not get the attention that Tribunal gets, which is a shame because it is a far better expansion, as it is better developers, has a better story, and a much better sense of immersion with more choices for the player.  It has aged better than tribunal and is simpley a better experience.

 

2: Dragonborn

The third and final dlc expansion for Skyrim, Dragonborn is set once again on Solstheim, only 200 years have passed since Bloodmoon. You can now see how things have changd, while exploring a familiar setting for players of Morrowind. As with Bloodmoon, there is a lot to do in this expansion, but it goes beyond as we get an epic plot that discusses the nature of the Dragonborn more, awesome new abilities and shouts, great new weapons and armor and more. This isn’t even mentioning the excellent quests and characters that are in the dlc. Reviving Raven Rock gives a real sense of accomplishment, and honestly, this feels like proper semi sequel to Skyrim more than Tribunal felt like a continuation of Morrowind. This is a story that emphasizes how things have changed and how you are the one to help make things right.

 

1: Shivering Isles

There was no other choice for the number one spot. Shivering Isles  is the greatest DLC expansion for an Elder Scrolls game so far. If Cyrodil felt like too much of a typical European fantasy setting, then this solved that problem by making the setting a bizarre would where madness ruled. It made Sheogorath into a fan favourite character and gave him some amazing lines. There was so much to do, and so many ways to do them. There was a sense of whimsicalness as well as a tragic undertone building up throughout the story. The ending was amazing, with Jyggalag being freed from his curse and the cycle of the Greymarch broken, and then your character ascending to godhood as the new Sheogorath. Nothing has topped this yet, and I doubt anything will. Shivering Isles could have been a standalone game and it would still have been amazing. There is a reason the fans love this one the most, and time has been very kind to it, unlike some other expansions. It is simply a masterpiece of game design.

 

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the list. Let me know what you think of it, and some suggestions you think would make good lists.

 

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily the views of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Aug, 2017 At 05:50 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Funcom sent out the following

 

 

Only five days to go! On August 16th, Conan Exiles comes crushing onto the Xbox One platform as it finally enters Game Preview (the equivalent of Early Access on PC). Included on day one is also the brand new free expansion update The Frozen North which introduces tons of new content, features, and expands the game world by 70%. This release marks the start of the second phase of Conan Exiles’ Early Access phase.

 

Funcom today also revealed the price point for Conan Exiles on Xbox Game Preview: 34.99 USD. The game is currently available in 39 countries with pricing customized across various currencies. The price point will increase once Conan Exiles leaves Game Preview on Xbox One and Early Access on PC and launches in full in Q1 2018.

“We are thrilled to be opening up the gates of Conan Exiles to gamers on Xbox One,” says Funcom Head of Games, Lawrence Poe. “This version of Conan Exiles benefits from the six months of content updates, improvements, and enhancements done to the PC version during our first phase of Early Access. The launch of Xbox Game Preview paired with the release of The Frozen North expansion update marks the beginning of the second phase of Early Access for us, and the game is now bigger and better than ever. There is still work to do before full launch, but we are on track and very excited about what the future holds for Conan Exiles.”

Since launching into PC Early Access on January 31st 2017, the development team has been working tirelessly to introduce new content, improve mechanics, and eradicate bugs and exploits. The team has added siege weapons, a new dungeon, a dye system, new armor and weapons, new decorations, avatar defenses, new building pieces, and much more.

To dig deeper into the many additions and improvements made to Conan Exiles, players can visit www.conanexiles.com/updates for a full overview. They can also head over to www.conanexiles.com/thefrozennorth to read up on the upcoming free expansion update which will be available on both PC and Xbox One on August 16th.

You can see the Xbox gameplay below

 

Conan Exiles is a good game that has come into its own and this expansion looks absolutely amazing. We will definitely be covering this one more.

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Aug, 2017 At 05:05 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarTHQ Nordic sent out the following

 

The new trailer for Battle Chasers: Nightwar from Airship Syndicate and THQ Nordic is here! In this animated short by Powerhouse Animation (the studio behind the hit Castlevania series on Netflix), fans of the Battle Chasers franchise will witness the action-packed debut of an all-new hero: Alumon the Devil Hunter. Once a member of a sacred order of monster hunters, Alumon was banished from the order and now operates alone as bounty hunter, taking contracts and doing odd jobs for money, from exorcisms and assassinations if the job requires it (and sometimes even if it doesn’t).

Though Alumon possesses the traditional magic and light-based abilities of the Battle Priests of his order, he has taken his study of the dark arts further than most. Many of his spells and abilities call upon dark magic, often bringing harm to himself or others. Meddling with these dark powers has physically changed Alumon, so he is easily recognized by his frost white hair and serpent-like eyes. For that reason, Alumon usually wears a mask.

The new Battle Chasers: Nightwar video will also serve as the animated introduction for the game and was inspired by title sequences of TV classic series from the 1980s, like Thundercats, Silverhawks and Defenders of the Earth. “Battle Chasers, ho!“

You can see the video here

 

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an awesome looking game and keeps getting better looking with each reveal. Are you looking forward to this?

 

Source: PR Email

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The following was sent out

 

UK-based indie development duo Bae Team haverevealed they will bring Purrfect Date to Windows PC, Mac and iOS this winter with the publishing support of the award-winning Bossa Studios (Surgeon Simulator, I am Bread). Purrfect Date is a cross between a visual novel, dating sim and dark British comedy. You, a human, will get to date cats and uncover the secrets of the mysterious Cat Island.

Throughout the game’s seven chapters, you’ll adopt the roles of multiple freshly employed research assistants on an island almost entirely populated by cats. Choose your own adventure as you romance talking cats, balance your stats and carry out your research into the dark and questionable history of the island. Drawing inspiration from trailblazing games such as Undertale, Dream Daddy, Hatoful Boyfriend, and Pony Island, there’ll be lots of twists, turns and alternate playthroughs to keep you replaying.

Purrfect Date is the personal project of Bossa Studios’ content producer, Oliver Hindle, and his girlfriend, Ruby-Mae Roberts.

“Oliver and I were lazing around one day, itching to play a game, but nothing really grabbed our interest, so we started talking about what we’d do if we could make the ideal game for us. Cats, intrigue, dating sims, the TV show Lost… all of these things became the ingredients that went into making Purrfect Date. It’s an amalgamation of everything we love, and in essence, a love letter to each other (and cats),” said Ruby-Mae Roberts, Co-founder of Bae Team.

After finding success on Steam Greenlight, a true mark of quality and excellence, they entered into a publishing and co-development deal with Bossa Studios.

“We love to create games in ways that other developers, studios and publishers would shy away from. At Bossa, we embrace crazy ideas from the team, and when Oliver said he was working on a dating simulator about cats, we knew it was something we would support,” said Imre Jele, Co-founder of Bossa Studios.

The game can now be added to players’ wishlists on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/520600/Purrfect_Date.

For more information, follow the game on YouTube, Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram.

This is an interesting game. There is no doubt that many will be interested in this.

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Aug, 2017 At 11:24 PM | Categorized As News, News, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Sega has released the opening cinematic for Sonic Mania, which releases in a few days. You can see the cinematic here.

 

Here’s an early look at the opening animation for Sonic Mania, releasing August 15th!

Animated and Directed by Tyson Hesse, featuring custom music by Hyper Potions, this animation is our final gift to you before the game launches on Tuesday!

This is a beautiful opening and really shows how much love was put into this game.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Aug, 2017 At 11:51 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Few fighting games have made as much of an impact as Super Smash Bros. The party/platformer/fighting game obviously had the big draw of being a Nintendo crossover, but the combat has gained attention as well, due to its unique nature.

As with any big product, fans have their own ideas for how to do things, and in one such case, a spiritual sequel came to be in the form of Brawlout. Brawlout takes what works from the Smash Bros series, and gives its own unique spin on it. It is a well designed fighting game and while it doesn’t have the unique characters of Nintendo, the characters of Brawlout have their own charm to them. The developers could have gone the easy route and made the characters generic but instead they actually do feel like characters.

The combat mechanics are mostly similar to Smash Bros Melee but the game does take some hints from Brawl and other fighters. This is not a bad thing at all, and the game feels less like a clone, than a tribute. I was concerned I would find the fighting bland, like with many tribute games, but instead I really got into it and had a blast. The game ran smoothly and the fighting was quick and without fault. Playing against others was fun and made me appreciate all the work the developers did.

Brawlout is amazing more when you realize it is still being built on, as it is an early access game. It doesn’t feel incomplete, but rather it feels like the developers just happen to have more they want to do with it and that is fine. I am eager to see what comes next in the game.  Some have said this surpasses Smash as a fighter, but that isn’t a necessary comparison. It compliments Smash by making you realize how well done both games are. That is a rare feat and Angry Mob games did well with this. I recommend checking this out.

 

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A review key was provided for the game

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Aug, 2017 At 10:03 AM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda has released the official trailer for Dishonored: Death of The Outsider

 

 

See a new side of Karnaca as Death of the Outsider takes you through its gritty underbelly. Investigate mysterious cults, infiltrate underground fight clubs, and even pull off a bank heist as you search for a way to do the impossible: kill a god. Playing as a new assassin, you’ll have access to slew of powerful new supernatural abilities, weapons and gadgets, all of which are designed to help you cut a bloody swath through Karnaca and leave your mark on the history. Or perhaps you’ll choose to be merciful and use your skills to slip unnoticed through the world. In true Arkane fashion, the intricately designed levels allow for a wide array of playstyles, with branching paths and heavy choices that will greatly affect the outcome of your mission.

 

Death of the Outsider brings players back to the Empire of the Isles, with breathtaking visuals, intricately designed levels, and brutal combat systems that are a hallmark of the Dishonored series. With a new character comes a unique new set of supernatural abilities, deadly weapons and powerful gear, empowering players to become the ultimate assassin. And with developer Arkane Studios’ signature style, you can once again be as bloodthirsty – or as merciful – as you like. Check out Bethesda.net for even more details in our recently released video featuring insights from Creative Director, Harvey Smith.

Dishonored: Death of The Outsider is looking fantastic, and is shaping up to be a worthy addition to the Dishonored canon. Are you looking forward to the game?

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Aug, 2017 At 09:21 AM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda sent out the following

 

Return to the Wasteland on September 26 with Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition. With all the latest gameplay updates(including Survival mode), graphical enhancements, the ability to play Mods for free on PC and consoles, plus all official add-ons included, this is the ultimate way to experience the award-winning post-nuclear adventure from Bethesda Game Studios.

 

Winner of more than 200 “Best Of” awards – including the 2016 BAFTA and 2016 D.I.C.E. Game of the Year – Fallout 4 is the studio’s most ambitious game yet. As the sole survivor of Vault 111, players enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. In a fight for survival they are faced with rebuilding and determining the fate of the Wasteland.

 

Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition includes the fully updated original game along with all six add-ons: Nuka-World, Vault-Tec Workshop, Contraptions Workshop, Far Harbor, Wasteland Workshop and Automatron. Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition will be available on September 26 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

 

To celebrate the Game of the Year Edition, a limited quantity of Fallout 4 G.O.T.Y. Pip-Boy collector editions will be made exclusively available in North America at select retailers. The Pip-Boy Edition includes Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition and will retail for $99.99 USD, and will also release on September 26.

Source: PR Email

 

This is great news, and fans who have been waiting to get into the game now have a great opportunity to do so. Will you be checking this out?

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Aug, 2017 At 11:10 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Here is some incredible news.

 

StarCraft II will now be used as an AI Research Environment

 

 

Testing our agents in games that are not specifically designed for AI research, and where humans play well, is crucial to benchmark agent performance. That is why we, along with our partner Blizzard Entertainment, are excited to announce the release of SC2LE, a set of tools that we hope will accelerate AI research in the real-time strategy game StarCraft II. The SC2LE release includes:

  • A Machine Learning API developed by Blizzard that gives researchers and developers hooks into the game. This includes the release of tools for Linux for the first time.
  • An open source version of DeepMind’s toolset, PySC2, to allow researchers to easily use Blizzard’s feature-layer API with their agents.
  • A series of simple RL mini-games to allow researchers to test the performance of agents on specific tasks.
  • A joint paper that outlines the environment, and reports initial baseline results on the mini-games, supervised learning from replays, and the full 1v1 ladder game against the built-in AI.

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For example, while the objective of the game is to beat the opponent, the player must also carry out and balance a number of sub-goals, such as gathering resources or building structures. In addition, a game can take from a few minutes to one hour to complete, meaning actions taken early in the game may not pay-off for a long time. Finally, the map is only partially observed, meaning agents must use a combination of memory and planning to succeed

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Even StarCraft’s action space presents a challenge with a choice of more than 300 basic actions that can be taken. Contrast this with Atari games, which only have about 10 (e.g. up, down, left, right etc). On top of this, actions in StarCraft are hierarchical, can be modified and augmented, with many of them requiring a point on the screen. Even assuming a small screen size of 84×84 there are roughly 100 million possible actions available.

Gaming has come a long way and Blizzard has definitely been a part of that journey. For StarCraft II to be used like this, shows just how well developed and innovative the design was for the game. Hopefully the research that comes from this will be helpful to the scientific progress. Gaming is helping move society forward.