Endweek News – Diablo patches, Updates and Release Dates and not really very much happening

It is unfortunate that I left at the most inopportune moment for a holiday… I left two weeks ago right in the middle of E3 and thus I missed out on most of what was going on AND I wasn’t able to post anything about it. I mean I also wasn’t here for last week’s news but that seems less important in comparison to learning about E3. However I am back now and I will once again dispense wisdom and knowledge to the masses every Sunday (or thereabouts) in the form of news of the world of video games! I might even summon the courage to look back a couple of weeks and sift through all the various updates and exciting things from E3 to give you our own highlights of this years expo… But that is just as possible to not happen, we will have to wait and see.

It’s an interesting point as well that with the massive frenzy of news that was E3 the video game world has quietened down a little bit recently as they try and take a few deep breaths to steady themselves. I can understand really, the build-up to E3 followed by the massive out-pouring of news… Well I’m surprised there’s really any news at all already! But let’s see what’s been going on shall we?

Diablo 3 – A patch, a completion and NO PLAY FOR YOU!

So, first things first, the world of Diablo 3 was hit by a content patch 1.0.3 a few days ago. You can check the full patch notes here at the Blizzard Diablo 3 page. It’s mostly small changes to the game and hot-fixes of bugs and the usual swathe of changes to all classes and mobs and abilities and yada yada yada. The patch also supposedly makes the game easier to complete, but I can’t say how true that is or whether it means Inferno is now easier or whether ALL difficulties are easier. The other interesting part of the patch is that thanks to it new players of Diablo 3 are supposedly going to be restricted from playing the full version of Diablo 3, if they buy online, for 72 hours.

Let me clarify that, essentially if you buy Diablo 3 from the online store you won’t have access to the full version of the game for 72 hours. You do get access to the starter edition of Diablo 3 which means you will only have access to the following:

  • Act I up to the Skeleton King is available
  • Level 13 cap
  • Matchmaking available only with other Starter Edition players
  • No Auction House access (Real Money or Gold)
  • Global Play is not available
  • Players attempting to connect to Diablo III Starter Edition in a region other than their Battle.net account’s home region will receive Error 12

 This is supposedly to combat “fraud” and “other malicious activities” and the wait will never be longer than 3 days and often a lot shorter, but I don’t really see how this works… I’m not saying it’s not a legitimate reason or response, I just don’t see how it would work… Oh well!

In other news the world has seen it’s first ever completion of Diablo 3 on Inferno difficulty recently! Just under a month after it’s release Barbarian Kripparrian with the aid of a Wizard called Krippi completed the first ever run-through of the hardest difficulty in Diablo 3. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the Barbarian is actually a hardcore mode character which means that had he died Kripparrian would have lost all his gear, stats and everything associated with that character… Unbelievable… Props to you! You Canadian crazy person!

You can check out the video of the two of them fighting the final boss here as well. Expect tension and drama!


Plans for Legend of Grimrock

Almost Human, developer of the old-school RPG Legends of Grimrock (a game we have yet to properly review, but which I believe will be coming!), have announced that they are working on a whole bunch of new content for the game and first up will be a level editor so you folks who have the game will be able to create your own dungeons to traipse around in.

The devs give more details in a recent blog post where they also confirm that the level editor is currently almost in alpha stage so it is coming along for those of you who are already excited. As well as this they are also working on a secret mystery project for Grimrock, but that’s all they said about that… After all it’s a secret mystery project!

About the level editor co-founder of the company, Petri Häkkinen, said the following:

“With the editor our goal was to make it easy to use but at the same time offer advanced features such as scripting for puzzles. The dungeon designer can now connect actuators such as buttons, pressure plates and levers to doors, pits and other types of entities without writing a single line of Lua script. Of course this form of scripting has limitations because the designer is ultimately limited to the building blocks provided by the editor. That’s why we still have Lua scripting support that can be used to implement more advanced puzzles.”



Portal 2 – Speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out

Now here is a truly interesting piece of news folks. Valve has recently offered teachers a free complimentary copy of Portal 2 on Steam (PC version) so that they can use the game in class to help teach students. The project is part of a “Steam for Schools” program which Valve is currently running which involves a stripped down and more basic version of Steam so that it can be used as an educational device. The scheme is currently in beta and only has Portal 2 and it’s level maker DLC available, interested teachers should sign up for the beta at the Teach with Portals website.

The idea is that by playing with Portals students will start to learn a bit about momentum, gravity, physics, mass and all that jazz the website also says:

“The games also put a premium on critical thinking, spatial reasoning, problem solving, iteration and collaboration skills, and encourage overall inquiry into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning.”

I am a little sceptical that Portal 2 is really the best way to go about teaching kids about this sort of thing, but honestly… Free Portal 2! In school! That’s the kind of education I would want my kid to have…

Mass Effect Extended Edition

Bioware have FINALLY announced a release date for the extended cut DLC for Mass Effect 3. The extended cut which was put into production due to the absolutely appalled reaction of the Mass Effect fan base over the ending to Mass Effect 3 will be a completely free batch of DLC and will include new “cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes”.

The DLC will be arriving on Xbox and PC this Tuesday (the 26th of June) and will be coming for PS3 on the 4th of July (I wonder if that was intended…). A brief FAQ on the Bioware website explains that to “To experience the Extended Cut, load a save game from before the attack on the Cerberus Base and play through to the end of the game”.

As well as that, the extended edition is all about making all the choices you made through the various Mass Effect games have an effect on the ending (like it should have in the first place) and Bioware have said that to experience every ending or possibility multiple play-throughs would be necessary. Well, whatever happens you can expect my thoughts on it at some point in the near future!

Assassin’s Creed 3 PC version delayed

It appears that Ubisoft is getting into the habit of making the same mistakes over and over again (see their firewalls made of paper and hope). After the most recent Assassin’s Creed games have seen the PC version delayed for various reasons, once again the PC version of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed 3 has been delayed. This time the delay is almost a whole month, from the 31st of October to the 23rd of November. I’m getting it on 360 though… Oh well!

Nuclear Union – A combination of Fallout and STALKER?

 “Every child knows the glorious story that lead to today. When the Capitalist Alliance lead by the Americans refused to allow our defensive screen in Cuba, in 1962, and then attacked us with nuclear weapons. However our Motherland and the Soviet Forces were better prepared than the dogs knew. We leveled them, and half the planet, to show our sickle is sharp and the hammer hits hard indeed!”

It’s 50 years after the Cuban Missile crisis and in this alternate world of Nuclear Union the crisis caused nuclear war and the whole world has destroyed itself, so it is now a post-nuclear apocalyptic wasteland. The game by Best Way will “features a third-person view camera. The player is unable to control the party members, but it is possible to do something about their behavior and to assign commands to them during the combat.” It will be using a party-based version of the engine used in STALKER and Men of War.

The developers went on to say: “The explorable world is constantly growing. The protagonist can move freely around any already-visited locations. The more the plot unfolds the more locations he will be able to visit. If we talk about the freedom in the game, it’s pretty large. There is a global goal, but it’s totally up to the player what steps they will take to achieve it. The freedom of the player’s actions will only be limited by their imagination.”

There is already a trailer which apparently uses only in engine footage, so you can scroll down to the videos section to check that out!

DayZ update

DayZ the absolutely crazy popular mod for ARMA 2 which both me and Tim have played a bit of has had a recent content patch which makes the game even more difficult for all would be survivors out there. The most noticeable change is that people no longer start off with the Makarov handgun in the game, you do get a flashlight instead, but honestly, what’s a little more light when compared with the ability to defend yourself?

As well as this the zombies can now hit harder and see further so you cane expect the bastards to be far more difficult to deal with, especially as you won’t have a weapon half the time. There’s now also the option of melee combat using a crowbar, knife or axe to take down the zombies, but really you probably would be stupid to try and go toe-to-toe with the bastards. One final other new point for the mod is that there is now five seconds of persistence after you log out of the game. This means that if you log out right in front of a zombie, it still has 5 seconds in which it can munch your face before you are truly safe… That would be unfortunate…

Student made Puzzle Games FTW

A while ago I played the student made puzzle game Void, a short 30 minute game with an absolutely fabulous game mechanic which I wish there was some more of. Well students worldwide seem to be getting in on the act as a team of five from the Game and Entertainment Technology at Temasek Polytechnic have spent 3-4 months working on a game in the final year of their Diploma. The game Vicinity: Warp Reality is another puzzle game with an interesting mechanic and is available for free download right now. I haven’t tried it yet myself (but intend to) so I can’t comment on how good the game really is but judging by the trailer (see the videos section) it does look pretty nifty and I’m looking forward to another short batch of awesomeness.

Honestly, indie developers and student games… How do they capture the imagination so well where some of the big corporation games just fail?

Heart of the Swarm “99% done”

Lead designer of Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, Dustin Browder, has recently said “We are 99% done, but that last 1%’s a bitch. There’s something in for everything – it’s whether we like it or not that’s an open question. It’s the tuning and polish that really takes us a long time, and that’s where we get into the unknowns.”

With no beta yet and no announcements of plans for a beta it seems reasonable to assume that this last “1%” of Heart of the Swarm will take some time to complete before it is released to the public. Heart of the Swarm is the expansion turned stand-alone game for Starcraft 2 which will follow up the Terran campaign of the first game with the Zerg Campaign, as well as introducing new units and new features for the RTS game. All that happens now is that we just have to wait and see what happens next folks.

Release Date City

Following the release of the PC version of Quantum Conundrum a few days ago developers Airtight Games announced that the XBL and PSN versions of the game would be coming out on the 11th of July. A price hasn’t been confirmed but the PC version does cost £9.99 (or the equivalent of it) if that’s any clue.

Developers, Robot Entertainment, have been working quickly on the sequel to their successful tower defence game Orcs Must Die which released in October last year. In fact they’ve been working so quickly that Orcs Must Die 2 is actually already pegged for a release on the 30th of July THIS year… Wow… If only Valve worked on Half Life 3 so quickly…

Videos and Trailers

I can’t even express how much awesome I have for you today. Not that the developers and publishers have been trying hard the last few weeks. Oh no. Most of these videos are actually already a couple of weeks old and come from E3 2012! However, I haven’t posted ANY of them yet, so you should definitely take some time to watch whatever interests you out of the following:

A trailer for Nuclear Union, followed by Vicinity: Warp Reality, followed by a trailer for Planetside 2.

Then we get onto the E3 stuff with gameplay videos and trailers for Cyrsis 3, the Last of Us, Dishonored, Assassin’s Creed 3, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear Rising, Hitman: Absolution and Halo 4…

Man… I’m still geeking out about it all! I can’t even describe anything to you lot… Just check out the awesome and you’ll end up as catatonic as I feel right now! Awesome overload…

Methinks that’s enough trailers and stuff now. Instead here’s some extra awesome for you from the chaps at Corridor Digital! Live Action Minecraft! Diamonds are Forever! Go! Watch!

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