Blizzard Prepares for World of Warcraft’s Christmas Event!

The World of Azeroth is about to get a whole lot cheerier. The team at Blizzard are making preparations to launch the big Christmas event for their flagship MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Every year we see World of Warcraft do something incredibly fun for the season so it’s nice to see Blizzard keep up the tradition. Curious to see what’s in store for your holiday MMO gaming? Keep on reading.

The first update that players will notice when they log in during the new event is the Feast of Winter Veil. This event brings about some much-needed Christmas cheer in the way of decorations everywhere. Going through the major cities will allow you to see that Ole Saint Nicholas has made his way all over Azeroth. You can see massive snow globes in Ironforge, Dalaran, and Ogrimmar in particularly.

Of course, no Holiday event is complete without the Abominable Greench making his return. Players will kit up in order to defeat the big baddy of the Holiday season and they’ll win rewards along the way. Gamers will also be able to get their hands on a special item, the Finely Tailored Holiday Hat. This special hat can only be found during dungeons and raids in Legion.

Updates aren’t just kept for the Christmas season, however. Toward the end of the month, there will be special New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day festivities to be seen all around the map. Players will be able to go to the largest capital cities in order to watch firework shows in the game with other players. There are also a slew of other more technical updates coming to the title that should help keep players satisfied with one of the most successful games of all time.

Ultimately, World of Warcraft is all about immersion so it is nice to see that Blizzard has kept up on their efforts to keep their playerbase entertained, even after all of these years.

Microsoft Leak Suggests Xbox One May Get PC Gaming Controller

While the games often play almost the same, PC gamers and gamers using a console are very separate groups of consumers. A major reason for that the controllers fro the two platforms are very different. But one major difference may be going away, if a report by the PC gaming web site VG24/7 is accurate.

The site noticed a press release put out by Microsoft Poland, which claimed the company was set to release a keyboard and mouse for the Xbox. The press release was quickly deleted, but just the mention of a new Xbox peripheral has been enough to spark the imagination of both PC and console gamers. If it is released, the new keyboard and mouse would blur the lines between the gaming platforms and open up new possibilities for player interaction in the booming eGamer sports leagues.

While some Xbox gamers are excited about the possibility of using a PC gamer control set-up, not everyone is eager to give up the current iconic Xbox controller. In fact, the Xbox controller is beginning to be used in a number of non-gaming situations. For instance, the United States Navy is planning to add Xbox controllers to some controls, because they work much better and are more functional than the ones developed by the military.

Despite the leaked press release, it’s not clear if Microsoft has really decided to release a commercially sold keyboard and mouse for the Xbox. The company has declined to comment on the release and no further information has surfaced publicly about the product. But just the hint of a release has energized the Xbox gaming community and an online petition requesting the release of the product has already gathered 35,000 signatures.

Overwatch Has Christmas Flavored Goodies Available.

Video games and the holidays go together just as well as you would imagine. It’s always nice to see video game companies embrace the holiday spirit and Blizzard’s Overwatch was certainly not going to miss the party. We’ve already seen Blizzard focus on an entertaining Christmas themed release for World of Warcraft, now Overwatch gamers get to get in on the action. Blizzard will be returning last year’s Winter Wonderland event.

Fans worried about a retread of last year’s activities should exhale a sigh of relief. Overwatch’s new holiday event isn’t simply a retread of what happened last year. There are brand new skins available, only for a limited time, that is going to be insanely popular a few months from now — leaving gamers asking, “Hey, how do you get that?” While the new character skins are, of course, welcome there is more to enjoy. We’ve seen already that Blizzard has released a new holiday theme for the Black Forest as well as Hanamura and King’s Row.

Gamers who want to try out a holiday-themed event can take part in Mei’s Snowball Offensive Brawl. there is also a brand new event that hasn’t been seen by anyone, anywhere, ever: Mei’s Yeti Hunt. Blizzard has compared this event favorably with boss fights, saying that you’ll have five Meis taking on a single player. In this event, players will play as Mei as they hunt down a Winston player who is wearing a Yeti-themed skin. This Winston will travel around the map snagging his power-ups before blasting off into ‘Primal Rage Mode’. In this mode, the tables are turned and Winston gets to extract his vengeance by tracking down all of the Meis. Yeti Hunt isn’t a game mode that is meant to be taken seriously and more seen as a distraction from fierce competition. The new update will be available until January 1st.

Nexus Mod Developers to See Compensation

Those in the modding community have likely not forgotten the recent fiasco over paid mods from the Steam Workshop. Met with derision, paid mods were nothing short of a flop. In a similar vein, but likely handled in a much better way, Nexus has a different method in mind for compensating its many mod developers.

Any mod developer can tell you the massive number of hours that go into crafting a great game mod. Combined with all the recurring maintenance and bug fixes to follow the release of most any moderately-sized mod, a mod developer can dump massive amounts of personal time into their creations. When released, a mod developer expects to see no monetary return for their work, as mods online are free.

Nexus Mods is a website that serves as a major platform for users to download the work of these mod developers. An article from Polygon by Owen S. Good (https://www.polygon.com/2017/12/20/16803278/nexus-mods-donations-pay-modders) outlines how, early next year, Nexus plans to compensate their modders with a new donation system.

Nexus, starting with a few thousand from their own coffers, will begin a donation pool that its user can donate to. This donation pool will be used to distribute “points” to the modders of the community based off the number of unique downloads the mod developer receives. Mr. Good explains a unique download, in this case, means the same user can download a dozen of a developer’s mods, but it would still count for only a single unique download. With points, mod developers can use their earnings in the Nexus Mods storefront, convert those points into Amazon gift cards, or transfer compensation to a PayPal account.

While it does not sound like Nexus’ system will cause mod developers to quit their day jobs, it does sound like a realistic way the greater modding community can give back to the folks who have spent so much time creating great content.

Parsec Gaming Wants You Gaming in the Cloud

Playing PC games on your work laptop or mobile phone may not be a thing of the far-flung future. A group called Parsec recently released software aimed at hooking an outside device, such as a Raspberry Pi 3 or Chromebook, to the hardware of your at-home desktop or console. This means playing high-end games on a device not normally capable of playing them.

Those with no dedicated gaming desktop or console to serve as home-streaming hardware aren’t out of luck. Parsec has an offering of cloud gaming servers which one can rent by the hour. The caveat to using these cloud gaming servers is one needs a much more impressive internet connection than if one where to stream from an at-home device.

As an article on the subject from Techcrunch.com by Brian Heater (https://techcrunch.com/2017/12/19/is-the-time-finally-right-for-platform-agnostic-cloud-gaming/) points out, attempting to use hardware via cloud is not a new concept. Mr. Heater notes that in 2010 OnLive was a group that attempted the very same thing. As noted in the article, Parsec believes the difference between OnLive’s attempt and their own is in the timing. With customers getting more bandwidth and the general technological progression of the last few years, Parsec believes the time is ripe for their software.

Another outlier to Parsec that may give it a boost is a unique capability of their program. Through their software, Parsec can make local multiplayer games capable of online multiplayer. Technical jargon aside, Parsec can create an online multiplayer environment between connected devices on their software without forcing game developers to go through and completely rewrite their code.

Herein lies the hidden, and perhaps lasting, value of Parsec. A handful of indie games, such as Scrap Galaxy, have already partnered with Parsec to bring their multiplayer online. This, of course, spells wider use of Parsec outside of mere home-hardware streaming, which may be the edge they need to succeed where OnLive failed.

PC Gaming: Loot Boxes Poised to Change Gaming

Loot boxes are catching on across the gaming industry. These boxes add mystery to gaming. Prizes range from advancing game performance to catering to player preferences. Quick power ups enable players to compete at higher levels. Cosmetic items offer players the ability to customize their experience.

The mysteries loot boxes offer are its strength. In essence, they offer a highly adaptable tool for games to interact with their players. The rise in popularity is not surprising. Players want new experiences. The simplicity of opening a box enables programmers a very easy way to meet this need.

Experienced gamers expect loot boxes to change gaming on a fundamental level. The anticipation of opening a box to find a rare item can overcome a player with excitement. Not all items looted through boxes have real gaming value. For instance, cosmetics add to the experience or appeal. Sometimes cosmetic items add value as status symbols. More often they are meant to satisfy player preferences.

The benefits to operational costs can be seen right away. After all, complaints are not filed over PCs overheating due to opening boxes. The ability to adapt quickly is probably even more important. If a large percentage of players request a specific addition, a programmer can quickly introduce a solution. This even enables games to test market their player base. If players do not like a new item, it can be discontinued before becoming an established part of the game.

Loot boxes are a normal part of the experience for many gamers. At this point, the industry would be hard pressed to deny their customers the added mystery. Add to this an increased ability to adapt in a highly competitive and innovative market. It seems likely that loot boxes will soon become as an established part of gaming as leveling up an avatar.

Humble Store and Steam Give Games Away for Free

Do you want a free PC / desktop game? How about 2 of them? Steam and the Humble Store are competing for your attention with 2 free games.

At Humbe Store, they are giving out a free game called Company of Heroes. This game is brought to you by Relic and is a WWII strategy game that was created four years ago. This game is considered by some one of the best in the WWII genre. Some complain that the updated version did not expand on what they did in the first version. The highlight of the game is that you can sink your foes and killing them by shooting at the ice beneath them. You can get this game from the Humble Store on Saturday, December 16th between 10 am and 1 pm Eastern Standard Time. is

The other game, that is being distributed by Steam, is called Homefront. You play this game as a first-person shooter and is a set in a United States that has become occupied by North Korea. The remake of the Red Dawn movie had the same concept. Humble Store actually gave a free version of this game last week. The free offer from Steam expires on Friday, December 15th, between 10 am and 1 pm Eastern Standard Time.

These free offers are to new to Steamto and Humble Store, but it is not the first time that a shop or game maker has given away a game for free. In the first half of December, Ubisoft gave away a version of Assasin’s Creed called Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for a short time.

These free offers will continue to be made in the future as they are a good way to advertise the game to potential new customers.

Most Boring Video Game of All Time Comes to Steam

We are living in the unbridled age of technology. Video games are more elaborate, beautiful and effective than ever before. You can completely immerse yourself in any number of titles on any number of consoles. Along with this technological innovation, we have seen gamers turn to the dull with a bizarre fascination. Gamers having an affinity for bizarre titles is nothing new, look at Goat Simulator as an example, but the latest craze in gaming simply leaves us shrugging our shoulders. The latest bizarre craze that has gamers spending money is called Desert Bus VR. Desert Bus VR is exactly what the title implies with no surprises. Let’s dig into one of the most bizarre titles in the entire Steam library.

Desert Bus VR is an existential crisis that masquerades as a video game, all wrapped within an actual good cause — a charity called the Desert Bus for Hope. All of that is beside the fact, however, as what you do in the game is what is making headlines. In Desert Bus VR you get on board of a bus, in the desert, and drive from Arizona to Nevada. Well, we say drive but we don’t mean that. We mean that you are a passenger. On a bus. Driving from Arizona to Nevada. That is it. There is no real gameplay. There isn’t any goal. You are along for the ride. The sheer ludicrous concept was initially released through a mini-game pack from Penn & Teller (yes, the Vegas stars) and it has since been re-packaged and ‘updated’ for release in virtual reality.

The VR remake of Desert Bus gives you the chance to experience the long journey from Arizona to Nevada in the first person. A few of the ‘big updates’ include the ability to play a radio, honk the bus horn, and even ride on the bus with a few other friends in the multiplayer mode. Purchases of Desert Bus VR go toward the charity Child’s Play and thus far sales have raised more than $650,000 for the charitable cause.

Battlefront 2 Found to Have Cosmetic Customization Days After EA Claims it Does Not

PC Gamer reports on further dishonesty coming from Electronic Arts, as datamining has now revealed that Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has an unused cosmetic customization feature within the game’s files, a revelation that comes just days after the company’s CEO said that no such feature currently exists within the game.

In an interview given on November 28, EA CEO Blake Jorgensen specifically stated that Battlefront 2, at least at this point in time, did not have any form of cosmetic customization. As this was a feature in EA’s first Battlefront game in 2014, many fans had been justifiably confused and upset at its absence in the new installment.

Jorgensen gave the reasoning behind this change, saying that the company did not want to “violate canon”, citing an absurd example of a pink Darth Vader as justification. Though many were quick to point out the illogical reasoning behind this answer, given that the first game had this feature and that the Battlefront games themselves are essentially a “violation of canon” simply by existing, many were shocked to find out just a day later that this feature had been in the game’s files the entire time.

In a YouTube video posted by Redditor uninspired_zebra, the user showcases a cosmetic customization menu with numerous options contained within the PC version of the game. And, rather than simply wait to release the feature in the full game, EA’s statements on the matter seem to suggest that this form of customization was never meant to see the light of day at some point in the future.

Caught in what can only be described as a deliberate lie, this newest bit of controversy comes right on the heels of Battlefront 2’s massive loot box scandal, leading countries like Belgium to call for a ban on loot boxes in all games released in Europe and the stock value of multiple video game publishers to plummet, EA’s in particular losing the company over $3 billion in value.

The company had first taken flack upon the Battlefront 2’s beta release, with players finding the absurd costs necessary to play competitively with other players using the randomize loot boxes matched only by the time investment it would take to do so without spending extra money (approximately 40 hours to unlock characters like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker). With things only getting worse from there – and quickly – EA and the rest of the games industry has seen massive backlash over what many describe as simulated gambling aimed at children (in the form of the loot box) and dishonesty on the part of the company.

With this newest revelation managing to anger all but the most ardent of EA’s fans, it remains to be seen whether the company can find a way out of this latest PR nightmare.

‘Secret World’ Made Great Again by Team at Funcom

In 2012 there was this little MMORPG that hit the internet. Released by Funcom as the third MMO that they developed, ‘Secret World’ hit the shelves one summer out of nowhere. Fans clamored after the game thanks to the exhaustive story details, interesting quests, and excellent voice acting. However, Secret World would head the direction that so many ambitious MMO’s end up in this day and age: complacency. The title never pushed to a higher level and the game leveled out, never really reaching the heights of its inaugural months. Five years later, fans should be ready to jump back in as Funcom recently re-launched, re-branded, and re-invigorated the title.

Now known as Secret World Legends, Funcom is focusing on giving fans everything that they had hoped for in the initial release. The title is no longer purchase/subscription based and now operates on a free-to-play model like so many other titles. Shifting to free-to-play (FTP) means that the game will see a larger influx of users as the developers try to hone in on what made their title so special, so long ago. Rui Casais, the CEO at Funcom, said, “We always felt that The Secret World was undiscovered.” This line of thinking brought Casais and his team to really analyze what had gone wrong with ‘Secret World’. They saw sales declining, players leaving the game, and the title slowly dying. It was time for a re-invention. Their focus this time was to put the game in as many hands as possible.

In the original Secret World gamers had to play characters without levels or any sort of class system. it was a completely free and open concept that never latched on with gamers. So the developers at Funcom brought levels back as an easy way to get gamers comfortably back into the game. There are also extensive additions to the core gameplay as well as extended quests and new storylines for gamers to check out.