2K Unveils ‘Rise and Fall’ Expansion for Civilization 6

If you are a fan of city-building and nation-fighting, then you are likely intimately familiar with the game Civilization 6. One of the most prolific real-time strategy games of all time, Civ 6 has continually fed its fans with updates and new DLC. Now, it looks like the team at 2K games are giving fans even more of what they want with an expansion pack that unlocks a massive amount of new content. The expansion pack is known as ‘Rise and Fall’ and it showcases more features than AI Gandhi could shake a nuclear bomb at.

Civilization 6 launched last year to critical and commercial acclaim and since then there has been a slew of updates hitting the title. Now, fans are getting locked in for the biggest update yet. 2K released a quote and a trailer showcasing what the ‘Rise and Fall’ expansion is to offer fans saying, “Rise triumphantly from the Dark Age and your next Golden Age will be even stronger — A Heroic age.” Of course, the slightly cheesy writing isn’t what brings people to Civilization, instead, it is the depth of tactics and strategy that the title offers.

With the ‘Rise and Fall’ expansion, fans will have access to an all-new loyalty system that turns your micro-management up another notch. Cities now can show individual loyalty levels to you and that means you have to pay more attention than ever to local politics, harvesting yields and more. Of course, that isn’t the only update. The ‘Rise and Fall’ expansion also brings to life nine unique and new leaders, eight new civilizations, a bevy of new units and wonders as well as all new buildings and districts.

For RTS-degenerates who have fallen in love with Sid Meier’s work, the Civ 6 ‘Rise and Fall’ expansion could be the greatest expansion the genre has offered in recent years. With other companies struggling to balance launch-content and expansion-content, it is nice to see 2K Games get it right.

Destiny 2 Continues to Struggle With Fans

If there is a gaming development company with built-in respect from the fanbase, it is Bungie. Bungie is the dev team behind the historic ‘Halo’ franchise and their work with Master Chief has become iconic and almost untouchable. Still, that hasn’t stopped Bungie from absolutely testing the patience of fans playing their new title, ‘Destiny 2’. The original Destiny game was released for consoles almost three years ago. It featured an amazing FPS system that was integrated with an almost RPG-like progression system. While the game certainly had its troubles and a fair share of detractors, fans still got in line for Destiny 2. Now, almost three years later, it seems like fans are at the limits of their patience. The reason? Bungie is bungling the core experience of the game: earning exp.

It was revealed almost a week ago that Bungie was rigging the player XP system. This came to light during the ‘Clarion Call’ event which supposedly gave bonus experience points to people playing the game during the specific time frame. Players were immediately wary of how slow their EXP bars seemed to fill and further analysis by a team of Reddit sleuths revealed that Bungie was, in fact, throttling EXP rates while still convincing players that they were actually earning their experience points. The response was immediate and the backlash was severe, with many fans of the title immediately calling out Bungie for being distrustful and exploiting their time.

Bungie didn’t even deny what they were doing, admitting to throttling the EXP almost immediately. To ‘calm fans down’ Bungie reset the EXP system back to normal before changing how much experience you needed to level up, doubling from 80K EXP to 160K EXP. Needless to say, fans were not especially happy. Still, Bungie is moving forward with their free trial and fans are probably going to keep playing. The free trial launches on November 28th and it remains to be seen how many players will actually be turned off by Bungie’s lack of transparency.

World of Warcraft Brings Back the Fun With New Races

World of Warcraft revolutionized the MMO genre when it released back in 2001. Now, 16 years later, the franchise is still going strong and fans are getting hyped up for the next expansion: Battle for Azeroth. Blizzard has been busy getting World of Warcraft fans ready for more content with both the Classic announcement and the Battle for Azeroth expansion. We think that 2017 and 2018 could be incredible years for the longest-running active MMO on the planet and it has a lot to do with how credible the new playable races are.

Playable race expansions are as part of World of Warcraft as quests are for the rest of the genre. With Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard will be releasing six completely new races: Lightforged Draenei, Dark Iron Dwarves, Void Elves for the Alliance and Nightborne Elves, Zandalari Trolls and Highmountain Tauren for the Horde. While WoW fans have some trouble getting into new race releasees, it appears that we have more than just some newly skinned races coming into the game.

While the resemblances between the new races and old races in the game are strong, particularly between the elf classes, there is something special about this expansion. The biggest thing about the new races is that they are more than just a graphical update, they are setting the stage for the lore going into the future. WoW used to have a problem with races becoming quickly outdated and left by the wayside, but that isn’t the case. Blizzard has already gone on the record as stating that these races will be heavily involved in future storylines and that should get fans more than a little bit excited.

In any event, we also appreciate the fact that the new characters have a ton of customization available to them. WoW has always been known for its unique take on the fantasy aesthetic and that will continue here. It looks like there will be complete character customization options for the new races, including tattoos, fur, antlers and different hairstyles.

Hearthstone to Receive Renewed Attention from Blizzard

‘Hearthstone’ has turned into Blizzard’s calling card, pun completely intended, over the past several years and for good reason. The mobile/PC based cardgame has essentially given Blizzard an inside track into a world apart from their work on ‘World of Warcraft’. For fans that felt like the game was getting stale, the few that are out there complaining, they should worry no longer. It was recently announced that Blizzard is turning full tilt toward 2018 filled with expansion releases for the title.

Ben Thompson is the lead artist for Hearthstone and he went on the record with Metabomb in order to talk about what is to come in the series. Thompson said, “At this point, we feel it’s best to continue to add mission content to the actual release set for several reasons.” Thompson goes on to hint that three will be three major new expansions for the game coming up and each of them will be “full sets of cards with new missions in each.” While this is good news, there is some minor bad news to release — Adventures won’t be making a return to the franchise.

The reason that Adventures is getting sidelined, despite it upsetting some fans, is that the game-type fundamentally made the title imbalanced. Blizzard is paying close attention to how hard it is for newcomers to get into the game and be active, especially when there is already such a learning curve. Adventures essentially made that learning curve a little bit too difficult for Blizzard to be comfortable with. Thompson finished by saying, “For that reason, putting together three full releases with mission content is a big part of how we see the game going forwards.”

Peter Whalen, Senior Adviser for Hearthstone, was also present in the interview. Whalen made sure to focus on how important it was to continue bringing a diverse and interesting metagame to the new releases. With Whalen and Thompson both on the record , comfortable with the direction of the game, Hearthstone players should be too.

Achieving the Best from Your Desktop through Advanced Graphic Cards

While a high-end gaming laptop comes at a high price, you can build a powerful desktop at a lower cost. Well, getting the best involves quite some research. First, find the best processors in the market along with their compatible motherboards. As at the moment, the best processor is the Intel eight-generation core processors. From AMD, you can get the Ryzen 7/5/3 and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.

The next step is finding the best graphics card. NVidia and AMD are the best for gaming. They also rely on third parties to manufacture add-in graphics. The best approach to find the best is by focusing on the graphics foundation. NVidias produces GeForce GTX 10 Series cards while AMD sets a reference point for other manufacturers to design and modify. The strategy, therefore, is to determine your needs and balance with the available cash.

The Graphics card include;

The Titan XP and AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64 are the principal and latest designs in the market. AMD comes on top when gauged in the performance-per-dollar index. However, it comes with a higher power requirement.

Depending on price range ($500-$700), we have the GTX 1080 along with GTX 1070. The GTX 1080 Ti graphics card hit the market in Feb 2017. To get different speeds and cooling options purchase from third-party companies.

For $400-$500, we have the GTX 1070 card and the AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56. The AMD design requires a broader memory bandwidth and more power. They can render UHD resolutions. While playing games at QHD settings, GTX 1070 is less stressed as compared to its counterparts.

The $150-$400 brackets for FHD and QHD Gaming

This section is crowded, with NVidia offering two GTX 1060 designs. They come in 6GB and 3GB memories. On the other hand, the 6GB model has 1280 cores while the smaller one comes with a lower core count. AMD produces Radeon RX 400 for this bracket. This bracket targets the mainstream desktop at affordable prices.

The $80-$150 E-Sports Gaming Bracket

This bracket is the budget territory. It focuses on eSports players and meets the high frame rates requirements. However, the resolution quality is not as high as the high-end and priced brackets.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 Releases New Footage

With everything that happened at Disney’s D23 Expo recently, especially surrounding both Marvel and Star Wars movie announcements, it was easy to miss some of their video game news. One of the most impressive things they showed was new footage from the single player version of the upcoming “Star Wars: Battlefront II”, due out in November of 2017, just a month before the much awaited “Last Jedi” hits the theaters. The video is not only impressive in its graphical beauty and immersion, but it also gives us a much bigger picture of where the story takes us.

In this new story, you are a soldier in the Empire, a member of the Imperial special forces to be exact. Your first mission is to help the Imperial legion stationed on Endor, and in one of the cut scenes, you see the second Death Star explode far overhead. With the Emperor dead and the Empire crumbling, the story then follows your hero as she copes with the ensuing chaos and the failure of her superiors.

One thing that may bode well for the story quality of this single player is the fact that your character’s father is an admiral, and in the video Disney shows that there is a strong relationship with your immediate superior officer. The producers claim the entire point of their story line was to show humanity within the mostly faceless and fearsome Galactic Empire. Each of the characters have backstories, histories, and reasons for their loyalty that should succeed in the single player story line.

They also made it clear that this story plugs completely into the Star Wars universe as part of the new Disney canon. A momentary shot of a post “Return of the Jedi” Luke Skywalker confronting your character seems to promise that in a very enticing way.

Bioware Sees Management Shift Post Andromeda

An announcement was made on July 18 that the General Manager of video game developer Bioware, Aaryn Flynn, will be stepping down to pursue other career options. According to the report, he will be replaced by former “Mass Effect” project manager Casey Hudson, who left Bioware two years ago to work on an unnamed project at Microsoft that has yet to see the light of day.

Many in the industry are speculating about what is going on behind the scenes with this management shift. The harsh judgment by fans and critics of “Mass Effect: Andromeda”, the company’s most recent release, may be one of the sparks that lit this fire. Hudson had a large role in the first three “Mass Effect” volumes, and while the first two received almost exclusively praise, the third edition was criticized for its “tacked on” ending. Hudson himself took some blame for that at the time, and many fans forgave him once some more explanatory DLC came out, as well as an extended end sequence.

The problems with “Andromeda” seem to run deeper. While some have praised its action sequences and game play, initial reviews were extremely bothered by the weirdness of some of the facial animations. For many others, the thin characters, weak plot, and contrived romances, once the pride of Bioware releases, were the greater problem with Andromeda.

Also, Bioware has been trying to make its games more “open world”, which often makes tight story lines much more difficult to maintain, taking away from the heart of most Bioware titles. Their attempt at “open world” seems to have failed as well, with many fans complaining of repetitive, pointless quests and vast, empty spaces.

We will find out soon if this has any effect on the cancellation of “Andromeda” DLC. Likely not, as all of Bioware’s focus right now seems to be on their next project, “Anthem”.

VR Gaming Lands Hot Marvel Property

Virtual reality gaming is the future of video games but people just don’t realize it quite yet. Virtual reality gaming aims to bring about THE final note in immersive gaming as it will allow people to literally enter the games in every way that matters. The Oculus Rift has been the leading console for virtual reality gamers but that hasn’t been quite enough to really bust them to the next level of social acceptance and popularity. One of the big problems with VR gaming is a lack of popular, big name properties. This problem is looking like it will be solved as Marvel recently announced an Oculus-exclusive title.

Marvel is, of course, one of the largest entertainment companies in the world right now. Marvel is dominating the box office thanks to their partnership with Disney and they’ve got millions of fans following their every move. Bringing that kind of following to a fledgling enterprise like the Oculus Rift can literally be a game changing decision. Virtual reality gaming consoles have long lacked a go-to game to show casual players that it is a serious platform. Having Marvel come on board could change the entire genre.

Marvel’s Oculus-only title will be called ‘Marvel Powers united VR’. The game was displayed at the Disney D23 event this past week. Marvel Powers United VR lets players step into the cape and costume of their favorite Marvel characters to fight off waves of bad guys in a 3D, virtual reality environment. Right now there are 12 primary characters announced including The Hulk, Captain Marvel, and Rocket Raccoon. The game is being developed by the team at Sanzaru Games (Ripcoil, VR Sports Challenge). The Oculus needs a true game changer in order to keep up the frenetic and fast moving world of gaming and this could be it.

LoL Power Rankings

Competitive League of Legends is at the pinnacle of eSports. In ESPN’s latest edition of their power rankings, the standings turned as Samsung Galaxy took the number 1 spot. They overtook SK Telecom T1, the widely regarded best team in the world. SKT recently took a tumble with losses to multiple teams in the LCK, and analysts are questioning whether this is a permanent of temporary slump. Meanwhile, the top teams from the NALCS and EULCS round out the top 20. Unicorns of Love, Fnatic, and G2 are the top teams from Europe. TSM, Immortals, and Counter Logic Gaming are among North America’s top teams. Following a recent NA win at Rift Rivals, experts are project the NALCS to be top contenders for the world championships in a few months. The world championships will be a fantastic event held in the Bird’s Nest in China. For now, the power ranking are all we have to go by. Many questions remain, such as whether middle of the pack teams such as Cloud 9 can surge to the top. At the same time, G2 and SKT are looking vulnerable at the top. In the coming months, fans will witness the rise and fall of these rankings, which will largely determine seeding at worlds. While seeding is not the end of the world, it plays a massive factor as to who gets out of the group stages. League of Legends is a game of numbers, and statistics do not lie. The teams at the top of these power rankings have continuously displayed their dominance on the rift and through practice scrims. It is up to them to take this momentum and bring home regional championships.

Avoiding Identity Theft in eSports

Identity theft is becoming increasingly prevalent in online gaming. In League of Legends, a new wave of scams has hit users who unknowingly try to purchase free RP with a credit card. This method of payment has not been authorized by Riot Games, and it is not a valid purchase by any means. Even though the user is logged in to his or her account, the site is not safe from fraud. People will pose as Riot employees and try to extract important information. As players, it is crucial that you refuse to disclose your username and password. After the incident, make sure to report them via the report system. With enough attention, their accounts will be closed and the company can eradicate these imposters.

The support team of Riot Games is working around the clock to address this problem. Most of the frauds use pre level 30 accounts to send messages and trade champions. Therefore, Riot is targeting these low level accounts in the near future. A two step authentication process could help them determine which ones are fake and which ones are real. Because false positives are tragic for desktop games, they need to make sure that their system has no flaws. Champions, runes, and masteries all cost valuable RP that gamers purchase with credit and debit cards. While some MOBAs can get away with little security, LoL does not have this liberty. It is constantly under fire from the North American and East Asian communities. Tracking these hackers must be done on a region by region basis.