Paragon's new map Monolith coming December 6th

I talked a great deal about Paragon after the launch event I attended earlier this year. A MOBA for a generation of gamers who maybe aren't so keep on the top down look of LoL or DOTA 2.

I liked it, and still do in many ways, but have cooled on the game as other things released and have taken interest and time away from Epic's game.

There are a number of reasons the game has tapered off for many - most of which have been recognised by Epic on their developer blog - but one of which is the way that players engage in battle with one another. The manually activated travel mode caused real issues; but the map (now to be called Legacy) had a number of issues that lead to a number of key issues.

Credit, then, should be given to Epic who are addressing that concern by releasing a brand new map, called Monolith, to be the default battlefield going forward.

You can read about all of the changes and the theorycraft behind them here - and it'll be available to play on Tuesday December 6th.

Dishnored 2: Launch trailer

Yeah, well, I said I wasn't going to write any more about Dishonored trailers and such but this one is really good.

The game is out tomorrow (in the hands of reviewers imminently) and there's one final trailer to maybe push you into a purchase.

I know you shouldn't pre-order, I know you shouldn't buy blindly on hype (thanks Overwatch...) but Dishonored and it's DLC were maybe in my top 5 of last generation.

If you haven't played the original or the DLC then you have a few hours to fix your horrendous mistake. If you have, well, enjoy the final trailer for Dishonored 2:

The Division 1.5

Ubisoft's record breaking New York City apocalypse-em-up The Division fell on hard times after launch. Numerous bugs and hackers were prevalent, dampening much of the enjoyment players had.

The team have been working hard, though, to rectify issues, add content and address player concerns  in the intervening months. And here we are, the world outside has changed massively since The Division launched, and now version 1.5 is here. 

1.5 brings some of the game's biggest changes yet, accompanying the game's upcoming survival expansion. That's exactly what it sounds like; hunger, heat and thirst are all factors in this new roguelike style mode.

In this mode there's a blizzard bearing down on NYC and players will have to battle to the centre of Manhattan to get some drugs to support the cause. 24 players will be scattered around the map, stripped of gear, with only one goal; make it to the centre before death.

It's a great twist on the formula and, in many ways, is a realisation of what many felt The Division could be; a dangerous, frightening foray into a New York City in turmoil where the conditions are just as deadly as the gangs that roam the streets.

The patch doesn't have a fixed release date, nor the paid Survival expansion, but there's videos online of people experiencing it in the public test realm.

You can read a great breakdown of the whole thing, and the streams, on Kotaku.

thatgamecompany's next game

Journey is FOUR years old. Let that sink in for a second.

It feels like only yesterday we were speeding down the gorgeous dunes of Journey's world; chirping as we soared through its gorgeous skies. Four years on and very little has come close to the magic of what many consider to be thatgamecompany's masterpiece.

After Journey was published things fell silent; people left the team, the three game deal with Sony was up and many people wondered what the future might hold.

Well now we have this: thatnextgame. 

Not only that, but three striking pieces of artwork to go alongside them:

We don't know much about the game yet, other than it'll be a multiplatform and multiplayer game and that Vincent Diamante will be composing the score.

The rest is anyone's guess.

Iron Harvest announced

My sensibilities are changing. I'm reading more science fiction, I'm starting to like ugly, lumbering, Steampunky robots crashing through an alternate 1920's reality.

Wait.

Iron Harvest, a real time strategy game from KING Art Games and the artist Jakub Rozalski, has been announced and tickles my fancy on premise alone. Here's the skinny:

After World War I farmers found a plethora of unexploded ordnance, barbed wire, weapons, shrapnel and bullets while ploughing their fields. They called it the Iron Harvest.”
 

Interested? The screenshots and artwork might just push you over the edge:

There's pedigree here as well; KING Art Games developed The Dwarves (which I played at EGX earlier in the year) and The Book of Unwritten Tales, so this isn't an unknown foray or the case of fresh studio making something extremely ambitious.

The bad news? You'll have to wait until 2018 to get your mitts on it.

You can keep up to date with Iron Harvest on the game's website, here.

Gloria Victis's new animations

The past week or so I realised that I do something rather odd. I have loads of games on PC (who doesn't) but I keep everything updated. I'll load up Origin and update games I haven't played in months just in case, crack open Uplay and update to the latest version of The Division on the off chance my friends might pick it up again.

Elite Dangerous? Updated. Battlefield 4? You got it. One thing I haven't kept updated, though, is Gloria Victis. I picked it up at the front end of the year before it hit Early Access and enjoyed a bit of time with it, but it, like so many other games, tailed off for me as work ramped up.

For those who don't know the game; Gloria Victis is a low fantasy MMO that is driven heavily by players influencing the systems of the game. I won't ramble too much (the Early Access trailer is above giving you a much more thorough idea) but the game continues to grow and change at a steady pace.

The latest update showcases a huge reworking to the game's animation system. If you watched the above trailer and thought "what a load of jank!" then hold your horses and watch the below:

Much more smooth, right?

To add a dollop more of good things to the update the character creation tool has received an overhaul as well to allow for a much more robust and personal avatar. Also players will now be able to create female characters.

The final note on this update (which is already a hefty one) is the release of Halloween-themed global events, some minor tweaks to several other bits and pieces and an "ever evolving" promise on the game.

 

The game does, thankfully, have a weekly update blog on its Steam community page - allowing you to keep track of changes as and when they happen.

You can pick up Gloria Victis on Steam right here.

Titanfall 2 will not have a season pass

As if the glowing reviews for Respawn's Titanfall 2 weren't enough to make me consider throwing some cash their way, the announcement that the game will be season pass-less might have tipped me over the edge.

I've probably bought less than 5 in my life (Battlefield 4, Destiny... other stuff?) but it's a constant put off, especially in multiplayer games that you play with your friends who have more disposable income than you do.

So Respawn's announcement that Titanfall 2 will not support that practice is an extremely exciting one:

This means no splitting up the community and it all starts with the legendary Angel City map, remastered from the original Titanfall. This means once you’ve purchased Titanfall 2, your investment includes a full single player campaign, the full multiplayer maps and modes, and long-term support with no hidden costs. You can pre-order the game to play 3 days early, but it will never cost you extra.

Having seen the way great content gets locked away behind a paywall (and what it can do to player numbers) this is a great move for everyone involved.

You can pre-order (or buy, depending on when you see this) Titanfall 2 here.

January 10th 2017: Night in the Woods

There's not much to say beyond the title - but I don't believe in sneaking content behind the title to make you click places!

Night in the Woods - one of the most anticipated indie games in recent years - finally has a release date. 

On January 10th you'll be able to get your tiny paws all over this incredible looking game that has set imaginations alight over the past 18 months or so.

You can add the game to your wishlist right here on Steam.

 

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood announced

Final Fantasy XIV remains, to this day, the MMO most likely to tempt me back. I played, and was consumed by, Final Fantasy XI before moving to World of Warcraft. Then it was Guild Wars with its focus on tight, technical team fighting that sucked me in for a few thousand more hours. Since Guild Wars? Well we've all dabbled; resubscribed to WoW and FFXI only to find the magic not quite there, bought Guild Wars 2 to find everything so unique about the first was done away with to appeal more broadly. 

Then it was Final Fantasy XIV. No, not the rubbish 1.0 version which, yes, I played - I'm talking about from 2.0 onward. Beautiful, fun and with just enough grind to keep people going (before horrific end game time sinks) I spent a bunch of time with friends playing through the game's stories and dungeons before trailing off back into Rocket League and DOTA 2.

Then Heavensward game - new areas, new classes - you know, the general MMO expansion lark. It wasn't enough to tempt me quite back, though I still watch the patch note videos to see what I'm missing. However the past couple of days a new expansion has been announced: Stormblood.

Yes it's CGI and yes it doesn't show much - but also a load of information has been dropped alongside it, handily compiled by folks from reddit - I've bolded a couple that I find most exciting:

  • Stormblood will explore Ala Mihgo
  • Main focus is to regain control of Ala Mihgo from the Garlean Empire
  • 20 years have passed since Garleans have had control
  • Main atagonist to be Zenos Yae Galvus, XIIth Legion Legatus and de facto ruler of Ala Mihgo
  • Woman depicted in trailer to potentially be revealed in future 3.X patch
  • Warrior of Light's main job in 4.0 is Monk (akin to DRG for 3.0)
  • Area shown in teaser trailer is Rhalgr's Reach, the HQ of Ala Migho's main resistance.
  • Multiple new jobs to be discussed at future date
  • Yoshi-P wore a t-shirt of Marvel's Scarlet Witch, said that was the only hint he'd give at this time [Red Mage]
  • New Level Cap: 70 (for all classes)
  • More actions for each job to go with new cap
  • Revamped battle system to go with new actions
  • Additional Skill System to be overhauled, with skills shared by roles instead of jobs, and can choose from shared role ability options
  • Reassessment of unused/ineffective actions
  • Example used is Dragoon's Blood of the Dragon buff, where in 4.0 an icon/gauge showing how much time is left will be better visible on screen so players aren't just staring at the current icon
  • New Areas to be introduced, comparable in size to Heavensward areas
  • Stormblood will be a full standalone game's worth of content
  • New Primals to be introduced, including known names and all-new original-to-FF14 ones.
  • New Dungeons to be introduced with new battle and dungeon concepts to be introduced
  • High-End Raids to also be added, with possibility of different story depending on difficulty, with normal on odd patches, savage on even
  • New Alliance Raids to be added. Big news, but will wait until Tokyo Fan Fest, but will be, "very, very Final Fantasy"
  • Expanded form of Exploration to be introduced: The Forbidden Land of Eureka (they really like FF3!), something different from Diadem and will expand its own entire area, unique to Stormblood. There might even be Notorious Monsters that only appear once every 72 hours.
  • Eureka may also be used for next set of high-end weapons, akin to Relic/Anima, rather than upgrades in "normal areas."
  • New Gear and Recipes, including winners of Fan's Gear Design Contest
  • Item Inventory Exansion (this got the biggest cheers so far), looking to increase "as much as humanly possible." There is uncertainty in how this will be implemented due to the server needs, and it will be addressed in a future Live Letter
  • A 4th Residential Area to be added. Where? "Sorry, can't tell ya."
  • In-game footage of new areas shown
  • Screenshots now being shown of new areas
  • Indications are that Ala Mihgo is crossed via a wall in The Black Shroud, which will be shown in Patch 3.5. Yoshi joked that Dragoon Jump won't work to scale the wall, but that The Warrior of Light has a lot of practice falling off of things.
  • Ala Mihgo will not be just deserts and wasteland. Forests are also part of it.
  • All areas of 4.0 will be accessible by flying mounts, but there was an indication that it will again by quest-based like in 3.0. At groans from the audience, Yoshi said it will be easier than Moogle Quests.
  • That's all the information for now from this keynote. More information will be released in other Fan Fests elsewhere, Live Letters, and so forth. "This is just the start." Yoshi teases he wants to say more everytime the audience cheers, but then he'd be dead and Stormblood wouldn't come out.
  • Two final announcements:
  • 1) Changes to Windows version Minimum Specs requirements. Current minimum specs are geared towards components you can't even buy anymore. So, for the best gaming experience possible, they've decided to raise their minimum specs. "If possible, maybe upgrade to 64-bit OS" but they will still support 32-bit. They just suggest 64-bit will be best gaming experience.
  • 2) End of PlayStation 3 support. This got the second biggest cheers. They've been examining numbers and have seen a large migration of PS3 to PS4 so they have decided it is the right time to end PS3 support. To show appreciation to their PS3 fans that helped them get to where they are now, there will be a special FREE PS3 to PS4 upgrade campaign.

Quite a hefty list of stuff, but plenty to chew on. We'll no doubt see more of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood in the coming weeks.

Tyranny - "Fatebinder" - Release date trailer

You wait for announcements about games then two come along at once. Bus metaphors aside - this is an announcement that many had been looking forward to, though none expected the date to be quite so soon.

Tyranny, the next game from Obsidian, is scheduled to release on November 10th. It seems like only a few short weeks ago that the game was debuted, but the new trailer shows a product, and a concept, that looks incredible.

I was mixed on Pillars of Eternity - RTwP (real time with pause) has never really been my method of choice for combat, and oftentimes I felt the game was over-written, but I was excited that in this day and age there was a developer brave enough to make a game like it.

Tyranny takes the Pillars concept (an unlikely band of rag-tag heroes saving the world and inverts it; giving us, instead, a tyrant into whose hands the fate of thousands is thrust.

You can watch the trailer in this post and the details of various versions and pre-order bits is all below in the images.

You can pre-order Tyranny right here, right now.