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Monday, August 24, 2009

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Diablo III: Monk Class Unveiled
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has unveiled another class for the much anticipated return to its action RPG franchise in the upcoming Diablo III. The Monk class, inspired by Asian martial arts and the myths, movies, and arcade games surrounding them, features a combination of rapid fire melee attacks and abilities for dealing with groups of enemies at once.

From Gamasutra:

Speaking on a wide-ranging Diablo III panel during BlizzCon 2009 in Anaheim, California, lead designer Jay Wilson explained, "We love fighting games on the Diablo III team, and we really wanted a character that felt like a fighting game character.

"We wanted to do combo moves, a lot of martial arts," he added.

Also speaking on the panel was technical game designer Wyatt Cheng. "The aesthetic goal was [to] feel like a brawler, like a fighting game," Cheng said.

Also clearly a driving influence on the game is the Shaolin kung-fu monk tradition, or at least how it's portrayed in Asian cinema -- the Monk's three skill stages are called Way of the Hundred Fists, Crippling Pain, and Exploding Pain.

But still, "We'd seen the Asian kung-fu monk before," added lead world designer Leonard Boyarsky (also a veteran of Fallout and Fallout 2). "They're killing machines, but at the same time they're very holy men. It was really fun walking up to our artists and [giving them that description], and watching them go crazy."

On the art side, said "explosion dude" Julian Love, "We talked about the 2D fighter feel -- how could art get that across on screen?" The team went with a style that actually renders the Monk model as a flat black 2D silhouette sharply illuminated by bright, luminescent light.
From GameSpot:
In this demo, the monk already has a couple of skills unlocked, as well as a few others that unlock after you level once. There’s also a nice mixture of active abilities. Of those, the two that seem to be most useful for the monk at this point are the exploding palm and the seven-sided strike. The exploding palm, which can be used in concert with the monk’s default attack (so it doesn’t drain mana), is almost like a touch-of-death skill--whenever the monk lands a third successive strike on a single enemy, a heart icon appears over the enemy’s head. This means that the enemy has only a few seconds (depending on how strong he is) before he explodes in a cloud of blood and takes a few surrounding creatures out with him. The seven-sided strike is more like a ranged attack for the monk. It lets him zip into a gang of enemies and perform several quick strikes before reverting back to his normal state. As you can imagine, this attack is especially useful for engaging groups of enemies, but it's also interesting that you can almost use it in tandem with the exploding palm. Just zip into a group of enemies to get to the strongest one and use the exploding palm. Then zip back out and let that enemy explode.

Another useful active skill for the monk is radiant visage, which blinds enemies in a certain radius, allowing you to move in quickly and take them out before they can attack. But perhaps our most favorite skill is the impenetrable defense. This is the skill that lets the monk reflect projectile attacks back at enemies for a few seconds. It's incredibly useful when you're surrounded by enemies casting any variety of spells in your general direction. And thankfully, it doesn't seem like you always need to be facing in the direction of the projectile to use it. In terms of other skills, there's also inner sanctuary, way of a hundred fists, and force without thought. Inner sanctuary is pretty straightforward. It creates a small ring around the monk that enemies can't cross, so it's especially useful when you're surrounded by a large group of enemies that would otherwise be difficult to fight through. Way of a hundred fists is a fast series of strikes, while force without thought is a counterattack skill.
Visit the sites below to read more about Blizzard's latest Diablo III class.

Diablo III Monk
Gamasutra: D3 Monks Inspired By Console Brawlers
GameSpot: Hands-On Monk Preview D3
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

BurgerTime Deluxe Released For Mac
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Namco has announced the release of BurgerTime Deluxe for Mac. The game is a remake of the 1980's original arcade title which challenges players to navigate a series of ladders and platforms to make burger ingredients fall onto plates below. BurgerTime Deluxe features over 60 levels and several minigames.

Let the culinary capers commence as Namco proudly serves up BurgerTime Deluxe for Mac! Enjoy a full course in the extensive Story Mode, or just sit down for a light snack in Quick Mode. Join Chefs Peter Pepper and Sally Salt as they help their uncle thwart the dastardly Vinnie Vinegar. Scale the platforms and assemble the burgers to clear the levels, then speed through the exciting minigames. Avoid Vinnie’s henchmen, Mr. Hotdog, Mr. Egg, and the other baddies as they look to make short order of you! Daze baddies with your handy pepper shaker and use special items to freeze, cook, or salt them to your tastes. Earn big points by squishing your edible adversaries with falling ingredients or dropping a piece out from under them! Who says you shouldn’t play with your food?

• Enjoy a full course in Story Mode or just a snack in Quick Mode!
• Play your way through over 60 levels and minigames!
• Thwart Vinnie Vinegar in the all new story mode.
• Join the food fight with powerups like french fries and hot sauce!
Head over to the links below for more information.

Buy BurgerTime Deluxe
Namco Games

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World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm Trailer Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Blizzard Entertainment has released an official trailer for Cataclysm, the upcoming expansion for its popular MMO, World of Warcraft. Cataclysm will allow players to adventure as two new playable races, achieve new levels of power, take on challenging quests and dungeons in all-new zones, and experience dramatic changes to familiar aspects of the game in the wake of a world-shattering disaster.

In Cataclysm, players will witness the face of Azeroth being altered forever, as the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing awakens from his subterranean slumber and erupts onto the surface, leaving ruin and destruction in his wake. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

Building on the foundation established in World of Warcraft and its first two expansions, Cataclysm will add a variety of new content and offer players the opportunity to rediscover Azeroth and experience the game from a whole new perspective. New features coming with the game’s third expansion include:

• Two New Playable Races: Adventure as the cursed worgen with the Alliance or the resourceful goblins with the Horde.
• Increased Level Cap: Advance to level 85 and earn new abilities, tap into new talents, and progress through the path system, a new way for players to customize characters.
• Classic Zones Remade: Quest to level 60 as you never have before. Familiar zones across the original continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been reforged by the cataclysm and updated with new quests and content.
• Flying Mounts in Azeroth: Explore Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms from a whole new perspective.
• Guild Advancement: Progress as a guild to earn guild levels and guild achievements.
• New High-Level Content: Explore newly opened parts of the world, including Uldum, Grim Batol, and the great sunken city of Vashj'ir beneath the sea, and enjoy even more high-level raid content than in previous expansions.
• New PvP Zone & Rated Battlegrounds: Take on PvP objectives and daily quests on Tol Barad Island, a new Wintergrasp-like zone, and wage war in all-new rated Battlegrounds.
• Archaeology: Master a new secondary profession to unearth valuable artifacts and earn unique rewards.
• New Race and Class Combinations: Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.

Check out the Gametrailers link below to view the video.

Gametrailers: WoW Cataclysm Trailer
Blizzard Entertainment
World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm

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SC II: Helfer As Kerrigan, LAN Possibility, Fan Mod Sales
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 9 comments

Blizzard Entertainment's Blizzcon event has revealed new information about the upcoming StarCraft II. During a panel discussion of the game's lore Blizzard reps revealed that Tricia Helfer, known to sci-fi fans as Battlestar Galactica's Number Six, will be the new voice of Sarah Kerrigan. In an interview with Eurogamer Rob Pardo revealed that the new Battle.net service may allow map makers to sell their work. In several other interviews online StarCraft II developers confirmed that they are considering some form of LAN play for gamers with internet connection difficulties.

From Gamasutra:

Although StarCraft II will not feature pure offline LAN play -- a cause of significant outcry from the sizable StarCraft community -- it is likely to feature a mode that allows players to play through a local area network after authenticating online through Battle.net.

Such a mode would allow for the minimal level of latency that comes with a direct LAN connection, while also maintaining Blizzard's stated aim of making StarCraft II an always-connected experience.

"That's certainly something we're discussing," said lead designer Dustin Browder, after being asked by Gamasutra about the inclusion of the feature.

Battle.net lead Greg Canessa, a former lead on Xbox Live, also spoke up on the matter in another BlizzCon interview. "Maintaining a connection with Battle.net, I don't know if it's once or periodically, but then also having a peer-to-peer connection between players to facilitate a very low-ping, high-bandwidth connection... those are the things that we're working on," he told consumer site Shacknews.

Separately: "We really wanted to have a very integrated experience for our players," Blizzard lead designer Browder told Gamasutra of the decision to push constant Battle.net connectivity. "A lot of games these days require an internet connection to play."

He added: "We really wanted to bring all these players together and keep them in the same pool, and make everything work, so your achievements work, your friends list works, everything just works correctly, as opposed to having two separated ways to play."

Blizzard did confirm this weekend that it is possible to play StarCraft II's single-player mode offline, but players will only be able to use a "guest account," not their persistent accounts, to do so. A similar method was used in 2000's Diablo II, which requires online-enabled characters to only play the game when connected to Battle.net.
From Eurogamer:
As part of Blizzard's ambitious plans for the new version of the Battle.net online platform to launch alongside StarCraft II, the company's design chief Rob Pardo revealed plans to allow the mod community to sell content on a StarCraft II Marketplace after launch.

The Marketplace would be a forum for publishing and downloading both free and Premium maps. "A portion of the revenue" from Premium maps would go to the creator.

Pardo envisaged that this would eventually lead to much more highly-evolved mod content from creators with a budget, drawing a comaprison with the Day of the Defeat mod for Counter-Strike. He hoped to see creators able to create more of their own assets than they did with examples like Warcraft III's famous Defence of the Ancients, and to see StarCraft II attract the best amateur game designers away from other platforms like Steam.

The Marketplace would add greater longevity to StarCraft II and help bridge the gaps between official Blizzard content, he said. There would still be plenty of free content, similar to the iPhone app store, and very popular Marketplace maps might have matchmaking or achievements added to them by Blizzard.
Head over to the sites listed below to read more about the latest developments.

Worthplaying: Tricia Helfer As Kerrigan
Gamasutra: SC II Internet Authenticated LAN
Eurogamer: SC II To Allow Paid For Mods
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Mac Games News for Friday, August 21, 2009

World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm Announced6:41 PM
Apple Games Features Quake Live6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Westward II6:00 AM
Solving Puzzles In The Sims 3 World Adventures6:00 AM
The Witch Doctor Battles Evil In Diablo III6:00 AM
World Of Warcraft: The Magazine Announced6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, August 21, 2009 on one page

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