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No Man’s Sky patch 1.23 improves frame-rate on PS4 Pro, adds option to lock or unlock the frame-rate

22 Mar

No Man’s Sky continues to get improvements, and this time the additions benefit the PS4 version.

The recent No Man’s Sky patch, dubbed the Path Finder update, brought PS4 Pro and 4K support, but it wasn’t without its issues.

Which is why the new patch, version 1.23, is good news to players on Sony’s console. First of all, the patch improved the frame-rate on PS4 Pro when running in 4K mode. Players of the PS4 version, even on the base console, can now also lock or unlock the frame-rate.

Digital Foundry spent some time with the new patch and concluded that up to 5fps have been added to the 4K mode on PS4 Pro, making the frame-rate much more consistent at 30fps when locked. For HDTV owners, the 1080p mode produces “flawless” 60fps.

As far as unlocking the frame-rate on the base model, the site found that some sections of the game actually ran at 60fps. On planet surface, performance drops to 30fps at the lowest point, but generally manages 30-50fps. In this case, the report recommends capping the frame-rate rather than suffering the drops.

Patch 1.23 also came out on PC, bringing some general fixes for many of the bugs introduced recently.

Here’s what’s included in the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire next weekend

16 Mar

If you plan to participate in the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire next week, here’s a look at what you’ll be playing.

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As previously reported, the client is now available to download on Switch and it will go live on March 24.

Once live, participants can partake in Splatoon 2’s 4v4 Turf War mode which includes four different weapons. Turf War is a carry over from the original game, so if you played the first Splatoon, you will be familiar with the mode. The goal is to splat ink on as much territory as possible, while strategically submerging yourself in your team’s colors and blasting your enemies.

There will be two maps available. One is called Musselforge Fitness which is a workout facility located in a large warehouse, containing a bouldering gym, swimming pool, treadmills and more. It’s the image you see above.

splatoon_2_reef

The other map is Reef which is close to Inkopolis Square. Located a few blocks away, this is a hangout area when it’s not being used for Turf War.

Splatoon 2 will release this summer on Switch.

The Global Testfire runs March 24-26.

Go download the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire client so you’re ready to ink it up next weekend

15 Mar

Splatoon 2 will be Switch’s first big multiplayer title. Get ready.

splatoon_2_global_testfire

Splatoon 2 is throwing a test party, and everybody with a Switch is invited.

Although the free demo session doesn’t kick off till next weekend – check the Splatoon 2 demo opening times for more information on that – you can download the client now.

Just log onto the Switch eShop and look for Splatoon 2 Global Testfire. It’s available on both the Japanese and North American storefronts now, but if your region hasn’t posted the client yet maybe try tomorrow.

Splatoon 2 Global Testfire will be open over six short play sessions, so you’ll want to mark your calendar and set an alarm or two to make sure don’t miss out.

Splatoon 2 introduces new weapons and maps, and as part of an apparent eSports push, also supports LAN play and private spectator mode.

The first Splatoon was one of the absolute treasures of the Wii U era and while it’s something of a shame to see it replaced so quickly it’s great to see the unusual shooter get another chance at winning the large audience it deserves.

If you weren’t onboard last time, don’t let the colourful graphics fools you. Splatoon has the distinction of being one of the few shooters that’s both satisfying to play on a tactical level while also being family-friendly enough to fire up in front of (or even with) your offspring.

Japanese Pokémon Sun and Moon players get Ash’s iconic hat for Pikachu to wear in-game

14 Mar

Pikachu’s sense for fashion extends to wearing his trainer’s hats.

pikachu in ash hat

Japanese Pokémon Sun and Moon players are in for a treat with an upcoming promotion; more hats for Pikachu to wear.

The little critter will get to don one of the six iconic Ash Ketchum hats, as well as learning new Z-Move, 10,000,000 Volt Thunderbolt.

The promotion is to celebrate the premiere of the series’ I Choose You film, which hits theaters on July 15 in Japan. Beginning in April, each ticket purchased will come with a code to redeem for a hat-wearing Pikachu and the Pikashumium Z-Crystal, that unlocks the Z-Move.

According to Polygon, the codes are single use and the hat Pickachu ends up wearing depends on when players redeem them.

There’s no word on a Western release date for the film, which is a re-telling of the series’ first episodes, or whether the same promotion will take place alongside it.

Although I imagine that demand for a Sun and Moon Pikachu in a hat would be overwhelming, so fingers crossed.

No Man’s Sky update lets you take your fancy new Path Finder vehicles anywhere – full patch notes

13 Mar

No Man’s Sky got a great new update last week, and Hello Games has already made it even better.

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No Man’s Sky continues its evolution from refund fodder to something you might want to revisit with another quick patch.

This patch comes hot on the heels of the No Man’s Sky Path Finder update, which made a huge number of excellent changes and additions.

One of those additions was ground vehicles, which are good fun, but in their initial form, they could only be spawned on your home planet. That made them kind of useless for exploring beyond that, and since that’s kind of the point of No Man’s Sky, players were understandably annoyed by it.

Luckily, Hello Games heard and quickly acted on the feedback, and now we have No Man’s Sky patch 1.22, the most significant change of which is the ability to spawn your ground vehicles anywhere you like. Nice.

Here are the full patch notes for No Man’s Sky 1.22:

  • Exocraft Geobays can now be crafted on any planet – this means vehicles can be summoned anywhere (whereas previously, vehicles could only be summoned on your home planet).
  • HUD markers have been added to allow you to easily navigate back to an Exocraft Geobay
  • Fixed a bug that caused vehicle weapons and mining lasers not to drain charge
  • Fixed an issue which could cause the Starship cockpit to vanish when exiting
  • Fixed some freighter door texture issues
  • Fixed a rare crash when scanning from a vehicle
  • Fixed a rare crash when feeding creatures
  • Fixed an issue which caused weapons to miss-fire when using Plasma Launcher
  • During warp the quick menu now hides properly as intended

No Man’s Sky Path Finder update too enormous and rad to detail in a headline

9 Mar

No Man’s Sky has a stack of new content and some fantastic new features. You may believe again.

No Man’s Sky copped a lot of flack at release for not being whatever the heck we’d imagined it to be, based on slim clues and some pretty misleading comments from Hello Games.

It seems clear now that whatever Hello Games was aiming for with No Man’s Sky it wasn’t even partway there at release, because first the Foundation update and now this new Path Finder one have made tremendously good changes which expand the game considerably.

The Path Finder update is out today on PC and PS4 and adds a stack of stuff to No Man’s Sky. I strongly encourage you to check out the video above and visit the No Man’s Sky website for all the details, because there’s a heck of a lot to unpack, but let’s go over some features below.

  • Exocraft

    Yes, No Man’s Sky now has buggies, or ground vehicles – but it turns out there’s three of them, suitable for different purposes. Unlock exocraft as part of the base building mission chain, and then customise them at will. Zipping across the landscape and carrying huge amounts of resources looks a lot less frustrating now, and the exocraft can even scan huge areas for points of interest. Additionally, you can build race tracks for exocraft.

  • Bases are shared online

    No Man’s Sky is finally starting to live up to multiplayer promises, as you can now find and visit other player’s bases. You can leave little messages for your visitors (guiding them to your race track, perhaps). Steam Workshop integration means PC players can more easily share their work with others.

  • New difficulty options

    A brand new Permadeath mode has been added to No Man’s Sky, which adds a one life limit to Survival mode. Survival mode itself has been made tougher, as damaged ships will now crash land on planets. New trophies have been added to these modes to celebrate those who make it to the centre. Normal difficulty has been adjusted, too.

  • Graphics update, PS4 Pro support and Photo Mode

    For those attracted to No man’s Sky by the lure of beautiful worlds: good news. A bunch of new high-resolution textures have been added, as well as better lighting and ambient occlusion. HDR mode has been enabled, and PS4 Pro support means those with the newer hardware will enjoy even better graphics than the rest of us. A new Photo Mode will make it easier to capture this beauty, allowing you to alter the time of day and weather, unlock the camera and use filters, too. You can see a great collection of Photo Mode images on Dead End Thrills.

  • Specialisation and changes to ships

    Hello Games has diversified No Man’s Sky’s arsenal of ships and weapons to favour a particular specialisation. This allows you to specialise for your preferred role, but you can also purchase multiple ships to store in a freighter, allowing you to switch between roles with ease. Ships will also be rated C, B, A or S, in ascending order of quality, and when you buy a new ship you can trade in your old one to save a few credits. There are several new weapon types available too.

  • New traders

    Look for new traders at space stations, who deal in a new currency called Nanite Clusters. New blueprints have been added and trader blueprint stock will be refreshed periodically, making repeat visits worthwhile. You’ll need high standing with a race to purchase the best blueprints. Additionally, a new trader will turn up at your bases to sell you building constructs.

  • New base building content

    Hello Games has more than doubled No Man’s Sky’s base-building customisation options. There are 40 new parts, a range of new colours and materials, as well as new decals and furniture finishes.

On top of all that, No Man’s Sky now has a better Discovery Menu to guide you through the game, a stack of new music, and loads of quality of life improvements.

no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_1 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_2 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_3 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_4 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_5 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_6 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_7 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_8 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_9 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_10 no_mans_sky_pathfinder_update_11

It really is an enormous update which should significantly change how No Man’s Sky is played, so do check out the other resources for all the details.

No Man’s Sky “Path Finder” update is nicely timed for Mass Effect Andromeda hype

7 Mar

No Man’s Sky is getting a little content update next week with a suspiciously familiar name.

no_mans_sky

No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games has announced a new update will be dropping soon.

The announcement went up on Steam so we’re not sure on PS4 timing, but the patch will hit the PC version of No Man’s Sky sometime next week.

Hello Games promised detailed patch notes when the update arrives, but did say the update is called Path Finder and includes a new vehicle for ground exploration in No Man’s Sky.

The name “Path Finder”, the buggy and the fact that it’s coming out so close to Mass Effect Andromeda’s release date – which itself has a strong emphasis on exploration this time aorund – feels a little too neat to be a coincidence, doesn’t it?

Of course, we’ve known for ages that Hello Games was planning to bring a buggy to No Man’s Sky, but it would be nice to think it’s a little nod to another team working on similar themes. After all, we’re all here because we love space, right? Sharing hype between games is good for everyone.

Anyway, keep an eye out for No Man’s Sky Path Finder updates next week.

Pokemon Go’s big update is rolling out now, so you can get your hands on over 80 new Gen 2 ‘mon

17 Feb

Pokemon Go developer Niantic produces a heck of a lasso and ropes you right back in.

pokemon_go_gen_2

A Pokemon Go update is rolling out now on Android (0.57.2) and iOS (1.27.2), so check Google Play and the App Store to see if your region is ready to rock the new content, which includes more than 80 new Pokemon.

This is the big Pokemon Go update Niantic revealed earlier this week, and represents the first major expansion of catchable Pokemon since the app launched in July 2016.

The new Pokemon are Generation 2 beasties, first found in the Johto region. Some of them come in gender variations, so be sure to grab them all.

There are some other cool changes to Pokemon Go in this update, including increased rewards when catching evolved Pokemon and new night mode map and music.

Here are the full patch notes for the Pokemon Go Gen 2 update:

  • Over 80 additional Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region can be caught.
  • Gender-specific variations of select Pokémon can be caught.
  • Added new encounter mechanics.
  • Added Poké Ball and Berry selection carousels to the encounter screen.
  • Added two new Berries.
  • Added new avatar outfit and accessory options.
  • Added new night-mode map and encounter music.
  • Added bonus Candies for catching Evolved Pokémon.
  • Implemented Apple Watch connection stability improvement.
  • Various bug fixes.
  • Minor text fixes.

FIFA 18 featured prominently in Japanese Switch ad, but it may look different when released

15 Feb

Another Nintendo Switch video out of Japan has provided the first look at FIFA 18 running on the console.

It’s worth noting that EA said what’s shown in the Switch video isn’t representative of the final FIFA 18 release.

Still worth a watch, though (thanks, Nintendo Everything).

Back in February, the firm’s Peter Moore said the Switch version will be custom built for the system, and similar to the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions.

An exact release date hasn’t been provided for FIFA 18, but it’s out at some point in September.

Meanwhile, you can grab a Nintendo Switch on March 3.

Pokemon Sun and Moon missing Mega Stones distribution starts later this month with Mawilite and Beedrillite

15 Feb

Nintendo has revealed how it will distribute the missing Mega Stones which Pokemon can hold in Pokemon Sun and Moon.

pokemon_mawile

According to information posted on Serebii (thanks, Nintendo Everything), these missing Mega Stones for Pokemon Sun and Moon will be handed out as presents to those participating in Online Competitions.

These include the 2017 International Challenge February competition, which will distribute Mega Stones for Mawilite and Beedrillite. Serebii notes a “limited amount of players” will receive the code ahead of a one to two months wait period before other Sun and Moon players are handed the Mega Stones code.

Another way players will receive codes for the stones is through various events and online postings. These will not have a wait period attached. The distribution of these codes will vary depending on the Mega Stone, and players can expect the same method of distribution for the codes through summer.

Mega Stones able to be used by a specific number of Pokemon during battle, and when held, it turns them into mega powered-up versions. Once the stone is removed, they revert back to normal.

The mechanic was first introduced in Pokemon X and Y and was also made available in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Pokemon Sun and Moon’s fourth Global Mission will take place at the Battle Tree

14 Feb

The fourth Global Mission for Pokemon Sun and Moon will kick off in a couple of weeks, and some preliminary information on it has popped up online.

pokemon_sun_moon_pikachu_z_move

According to Serebii (thanks, Siliconera), Pokemon Sun and Moon players will be tasked with earning as many Battle Points as possible at the Battle Tree.

The next Global Mission will start on February 28 and end March 17. Currently, the target score is unknown as Nintendo hasn’t updated the Global Link page as of press time.

Sun and Moon players failed the first and second missions but the third time was a charm

Players were tasked with trading as many Pokemon at the GTS as possible with the goal set at 1 million. Players traded a total of 4,107,702 within the time allotted.

Hopefully, the fourth mission will end in success as well.

The Nintendo Switch may not have any pack-in games, but at least you’ll get to play a free Splatoon 2 demo

13 Feb

The Nintendo Switch early adopters will have one more thing to look forward to that’s completely free.

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Unlike both of Nintendo’s previous consoles, there’s no SKU of the Switch that comes with a free game, otherwise known as a pack-in.

Which means, you’ll have to either buy one of the few launch games, or enjoy this free treat from Nintendo instead.

Nintendo announced today that come March, Splatoon 2 will host a global testfire event spanning three days. Six sessions have been announced for the three-day period, available worldwide.

Four different weapons will be accessible to those in the test, including the new Splat Dualies and remixed versions of the Splat Roller and Splat Charger. The first event kicks off Friday, March 24. Find the full schedule below:

Friday, March 24

  • 8pm – 9pm CET

Saturday, March 25

  • 4am – 5am CET
  • 12pm – 1pm CET
  • 8pm – 9pm CET

Sunday, March 26

  • 5am – 6am CEST
  • 1pm – 2pm CEST

Recently, new Splatoon 2 features such as a private spectator mode, LAN support, and more were revealed.

Nintendo Switch is out starting March 3, but Splatoon 2 doesn’t not currently have a release date beyond “summer.”

Splatoon 2 features Private Battle Spectator View and LAN Play, new map detailed

11 Feb

Here’s quite a bit of Splatoon 2 news for you, along with a new video released by Nintendo.

The video is in Japanese (thanks, Nintendo Everything), but it still gives you an idea of what to expect from the new Private Battle Spectator View announced for Splatoon 2.

This new feature allows up to two non-players to spectate a Private Battle and act as camera operators in order capture all the action. This is in addition to the eight players who fight in the Private Battle.

Speaking of eight player battles, as previously reported, Splatoon 2 will allow up to eight Nintendo Switch systems to connect via local wireless to play Private Battles. But, there is a new feature included with the game called LAN Play.

It will enable players to connect eight docked systems using a wired LAN setup to create local Private Battle tournaments without an Internet connection. Plus, with the Private Battle Spectator View feature, two additional Switch systems can also be hooked up to take advantage of the feature.

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Along with the aforementioned features, the development team also provided information on Splatoon 2’s new stage: Musselforge Fitness. It’s a workout facility located in a large warehouse, containing a bouldering gym, swimming pool, treadmills and more.

Finally, the studio also provided a look at the Slosher, which has had some cosmetic adjustments made to bring the class in-line with other legacy weapons.

Hit up the links to the Splatoon tumblr for more information.

Splatoon 2 is slated for a summer release on Nintendo Switch.

Minecraft: New snapshot gives us a glimpse of incoming changes in update 1.12

9 Feb

Minecraft snapshot 17W06A updates the colour palette, adds new blocks and Creative Mode features.

minecraft 1.12 snapshot

Minecraft‘s update 1.12 now has its first snapshot.

If you want to try out snapshots, it’s always wise to backup your worlds, or better yet, make a new one to try out the new features in.

Once you’ve done that, create a new profile called snapshots, tick the “enable experimental development snapshots” box, and save. To switch back to the regular version, choose it from the dropdown at the bottom left corner of the launcher.

Snapshot 17W06A introduces new blocks and some new Creative Mode features. It’ll also update the base colour palette of Minecraft.

There are more snapshots to come over the next few months, but for now, here are the changes in 17W06A:

  • Save toolbars in Creative Mode with Ctrl+Slotkey and load them with Shift+Slotkey
  • Added colored Concrete blocks
  • Added colored Concrete Powder blocks
  • Added colored Glazed Terracotta blocks
  • Updated the base color palette of Minecraft (affects things such as Banners and Sheep)
  • Updated textures for Wool blocks

Syberia 3 gets an April release date

8 Feb

Syberia 3 has a confirmed release date. Again.

Syberia 3 has been in the making since 2012, after originally being announced in 2009 and shelved shortly afterwards.

After confirming a December 1, 2016 release date the Vice President of Microïds, Elliot Grassiano, broke the news that the title would be delayed until Q1 2017.

Well here we are in Q1 2017 and the release date has finally been announced. Syberia 3 will release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on April 25 in North America and April 20 in Europe.

Microïds gave us a brand new trailer to have a gander at as well, and it all looks very exciting.

Have you been eagerly awaiting the next installment for the last decade, or will Syberia 3 be your first foray into the world of Kate Walker?

Hearthstone: Lost Secrets of Un’Goro could be the next expansion coming later this year

6 Feb

Voice actress’ resume leaks Lost Secrets of Un’Goro as Hearthstone’s next DLC.

hearthstone_gadgetzan-8

The name of Hearthstone‘s next expansion may well have leaked if a source on Reddit is to be believed.

Lost Secrets of Un’Goro was spotted on the resume of voice actress Lani Minella whose work also lists credits for Hearthstone and the Whispers of the Old Gods expansion.

The Un’Goro Crater is an isolated area home to exotic plants and creatures, which are a few of the tidbits I picked up after rooting around the World of Warcraft wikia.

The character voices cited on Minella’s CV include Golakka Crawler, Pteradactyl, Anklesaur, Hydra, and Brontosaurus.

hearthstone lost secrets of un goro leak

The dinosaur and mythical creature names are in keeping with a Journey to the Centre of the Earth-type land that is still populated with prehistoric beasts, although they’re a little bland for WoW. Perhaps they’ll be tweaked a little before release.

We’re due an Adventure and an expansion this year, so Lost Secrets of Un’Goro could be the name of either. We’ll have to wait and see if Blizzard comments on the leak.

What are your thoughts? Chime in below.

Why are new Overwatch heroes so slow to arrive?

6 Feb

With heroes arriving near quarterly, why is Overwatch slow to deliver when its competitors aren’t?

Overwatch_Sombra

Overwatch is a unique team based shooter. Unlike others in the genre it’s largely pure, in the sense that it doesn’t rely on itemisation, customised loadouts or active items to add depth to the gameplay. Nor does it provide in-game progression that improves the strength of your particular character or hero as you play a match. The vintage Team Fortress 2 uses both a class system and itemisation in the form of unique, gameplay altering weaponry. Overwatch does away with all this. Instead, it utilises a hero selection system to undertake the heavy lifting of tactical variables. The expectation being that players should and are regularly encouraged to rotate heroes – on the fly – to outsmart their opponents. It’s a live version of rock, paper, scissors where some heroes intentionally hard counter others.

“Ana’s impact was undeniable and these moments of balance disruption are healthy for the game. Unfortunately for Overwatch, they’re also few and far between; the arrival of Sombra came four months after.”

With 23 heroes in total and two of those having arrived post-launch, all perform fairly unique roles. Understanding each heroes purpose, their strengths and limitations is often key to success. Stubbornly remaining on Widowmaker, despite playing on a small map with no clear sightlines, would, as one example, be doing the game and your team a great disservice. Interpreting the ebb and flow of combat, which heroes shine where, a maps stages and its game modes are what determine its meta.

It’s through the introduction of a new hero or balance tweaks on Blizzard’s part that then disrupts the status quo. The arrival of Ana shook up the meta enormously as her kit brought an incredibly strong ultimate ability in Nano Boost, which bolstered damage, movement speed and reduced the damage her team received. Its impact was undeniable and instantly spawned a meme; in the right hands she was unquestionably first pick, first ban material. While subsequent patches have addressed her strength, these moments of balance disruption are healthy for the game. Unfortunately for Overwatch, they’re also few and far between; the arrival of Sombra came four months after Ana.

overwatch_doomfist

My question then, despite the nuances existing in Overwatch’s core gameplay, is whether or not the game and its meta is stagnating as a result of such lengthy gaps between hero delivery and importantly, why does such delivery take so long?

If I can turn my attention to MOBAs for just a second, they typically release a new hero every 4 weeks. The Morrigan was just released in SMITE, hot on the heels of Nike. Heroes of the Storm released 16 new heroes across 12 months last year, while Paragon continues to deliver on a 3 week schedule; Aurora having arrived last week.

Although these games are played from a top-down or third person perspective, the quality in their heroes (or gods) is undeniable and for the most part, they mirror the design principles of Overwatch with limited action sets comprising of a handful of skills and an Ultimate ability. Even Paladins, the controversial competitor to Overwatch, continues to deliver apace having recently released the brilliantly designed Torvald, not long after Tyra the Untamed.

All of these companies aren’t just releasing heroes timely but they’re also consistently delivering balance patches that have lasting impacts on the playability of their titles. If we look at Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm studio, the recent arrival of Ragnaros saw near immediate remedies to his kit on the strength of it being “overtuned”, while Samuro – albeit delicately handled due to the quiet Christmas period – was still brought into line within seven days. In contrast, Ana’s Nano Boost (and Biotic Grenade to some extent) were only addressed four months after her release; even now she remains first pick material.

Overwatch_Ana

Upon Sombra’s release she was the polar opposite, arriving with a relatively weak kit and alongside a variety of other heroes is resigned to spend her days outside of the competitive environment. Recent tournaments saw her drafted less than 2% of the time, while Ana was sat at draft rate greater than 85%. Unsurprisingly the staple of Lucio, Reinhardt, Winston, Roadhog, D.Va, Zarya and Tracer still make up the majority of placements: little has changed since launch in that regard.

Why, then, are the heroes and the balance of Overwatch handled with kid gloves and what is preventing Blizzard delivering heroes to time frames all their competitors – and their own studios – seem to be capable of? I think the answer is two fold and partially linked to its fanbase and its financial model.

The limited roster of Overwatch combined with the exceptional marketing Blizzard has undertaken of its heroes has personalised them more than any other multiplayer title I’ve ever played. Where a hero in a MOBA is typically a set of abilities and little else, Overwatch has personality: it is its heroes. Many players across PC and console will have few cares for the wider balance of the game and play X, Y or Z hero simply for that personality, play style or both. Any tinkering around the edges that Blizzard undertakes will leave them largely indifferent unless the impact is extensive. At the same time, there will be those – like me – who are fiercely protective of their favorites and keep a close eye on how they’re adjusted.

This leaves Blizzard in a difficult position as the game is both commercially casual (for want of a better term) and competitive, and while it has yet to reach the lofty heights of League of Legends or DOTA2, there is a varied player base here that Blizzard will want to appease. Balancing purely towards the highest level play, which most MOBAs aim for, is likely to ruffle many a feather. I know how annoyed I was when Zenyatta saw some adjustments to his kit early on in his life and for a time, they lost my activity.

overwatch_year_of_the_rooster (25)

“To release a new hero sporadically, many months apart, likely results in a clambering from new and old players, especially if it coincides with a viral marketing campaign. It’s a level of anticipation and press coverage a predictable release schedule simply cannot buy.”

My second thought on the matter is the financial model Blizzard has chosen for Overwatch. As a Buy to Play title with microtransactions linked solely to loot boxes, they’re squarely at odds (see what I did there?) with the MOBA genre. Where a Free to Play title offering purchasable skins and monthly heroes proves eye-wateringly lucrative (League of Legends earned $1.6 billion in revenue for 2015). Overwatch isn’t necessarily capable of recreating this. I must stress there’s no doubt Blizzard has earned a frightening amount of revenue since the launch of Overwatch, having amassed 25 million players across all platforms. However, such growth is unsustainable in the long term to the point where reliance on loot boxes alone risks an eventual loss of player retention. The seasonal supply of skins cannot possibly meet the inevitable player demand (or consumption).

This is where, I believe, the protracted release schedule of heroes comes in. Should Blizzard release a new Hero every month I’m not entirely convinced this would yield tangible results; those already playing would simply lap up the content, grateful of the “free stuff”. To release a new hero sporadically though, many months apart, likely results in a clambering from new and old players, especially if it coincides with a viral marketing campaign. The Sombra ARG, which was at times exhausting and equally frustrating, had the internet abuzz for months. It’s a level of anticipation and press coverage a predictable release schedule simply cannot buy.

That, as far as Blizzard are concerned, is worthwhile. For the rest of us however, the anticipation surrounding a new hero release is an agonising wait and one that at times, sees the game and its balance stagnate. I’d settle for a new Hero every two months as the middle ground, wouldn’t you?

Someone’s made a whole new Pokemon game inside Minecraft – without any third-party mods

6 Feb

Pokemon fans and Minecraft modders pull off an incredible feat.

There are loads of good Minecraft mods out there, and plenty of them are Pokemon-themed, but few are as ambitious as this one.

Pokemon Cobalt & Amethyst is a single-player Minecraft map build over 2.5 years by a modding team called Phoenix Projects. It presents a fully playable Pokemon adventure in the style of the core series – except you can freely explore the 3D world.

Recreating Pokemon in Minecraft is impressive enough, but this one was done from scratch – no external mods were used in pulling it together. It’s vanilla Minecraft, tweaked and repurposed for Poke-ventures.

Cobalt & Amethyst is set in an all-new region with 136 unique Pokemon rendered in beautifully blocky forms. The story concerns the machinations of an antagonist bent on releasing “a Legendary darkness”, and the player will have to contend with Team Tempest as they seek to prevent this calamity. Series mainstays like the rival character and a helpful professor also play an important role.

Visit Phoenix Projects to download the map and access a walkthrough, in case the change to Minecraft controls interferes with your well-honed Pokemon instincts. The video above has some important information on getting it running, too. Just as a disclaimer, we haven’t tried this for ourselves and cannot verify the contents of the package, so think well before downloading.

I’m not sure what the legalities are on Minecraft mods, but it’s probable Nintendo will have something to say about Pokemon Cobalt & Amethyst – so if you are interested in trying this, do it before the takedowns strike.

Madden 17 predicts another Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots

1 Feb

Madden NFL has predicted the New England Patriots will win Super Bowl 51, beating the Atlanta Falcons by three points.

Every year, EA Sports runs a simulation to predict who will win the Super Bowl with the latest iteration of Madden NFL.

Using Madden 17, the LI Game Simulation predicted the New England Patriots would defeat the Atlanta Falcons 27-24 in Super Bowl 51.

In 2015, the simulation not only accurately predicted the winner, but the the final score as well, which was a first.

If Madden 17 is correct and the Patriots win on Sunday, the franchise will be 11/12.

That’s better than most animals such as chickens and mules, and getting rather close to Paul the Octopus’ record.

We’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out if Madden NFL 17 was spot on or not.

Super Bowl 51 kicks off February 5, at 6:30 pm on FOX and is being held at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Personally, we’ll be watching Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet instead, occasionally checking in, hoping Madden 17 is wrong and the Falcons win.

Pokemon Go becomes the fastest app to reach $1B in global revenue, up $500M in a single month

1 Feb

Pokemon Go cannot be stopped. Apparently it cannot even be slowed.

pokemon_meowth_money

Pokemon Go has crossed off another major milestone by totting up $1 billion in gross global revenue.

That’s according to SensorTower, which also reports that Pokemon Go has set a record for being the app the reach $1 billion in the shortest amount of time – just short of seven months since its July 2016 release. To give you some context, Clash Royale is yet to reach $1 billion, although after ten months on the market it’s pretty close to it.

Image: GeneralGibby on DeviantArt

The last time we got an update, Pokemon Go topped $950 million in revenue. That data was for launch to the end of December 2016, so Pokemon Go has generated about $50 million in one month – and a month without a major seasonal event.

The report notes that Pokemon Go revenue topped out at $18 million in launch month, but income may be as high as $2.5 million a day, especially during events and around updates. We can probably expect some pretty sharp spikes in revenue if Pokemon Go introduces Generation 2 Pokemon, something we’ve all been expecting for a while now.

Dang, Pokemon Go: leave some money for the rest of us. You can only Scrooge McDuck around in it for so long before you get bored, right?