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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

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Two Worlds II: Motion Capture, Player Workshops, Interview
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

A new Two Worlds II newsletter is now available for download. The newsletter features an interview with Mirek Dymek about factions in the game, information on player built workshops, a discussion of the game's motion capture technology, and a description and pictures of the savannah environment. Two Worlds II will send players to the unexplored land of Eastern Antaloor and will feature detailed graphics, an active combat system, and a complex storyline.

AP:Can you tell us more about the factions, Mirek?
Mirek: There will be five different main factions in the game. Three are official and easily found - but the other two operate in the underground and the player will have to infiltrate it to find them. Players can freely decide the faction they want to belong to - but each group has its own individual quest and reputation system. In the Single Player mode, the player can become the head of a particular faction.

AP: Just how big will the world really be?
Mirek: Technically, the new part of Antaloor has an area of around 60 km2 - but size isn't our main priority, we want to fill every area with realistic life. We want the player to come across a new and interesting location every few minutes - a location that has its own story to tell. We don't think much of automatically-generated content.

AP: How can we expect the NPCs to behave?
Mirek:The towns in Antaloor are inhabited by many individual NPCs, each of whom goes about his or her own daily routine and behaves accordingly. This means that they make a decisive contribution to the social gameplay components. For example, the player can give beggars money to get information, or he can cause uproar in a busy market and try to rob the market stalls in the confusion - but behavior like this will be punished if they discover the culprit.

AP: Will anyone be able to accompany the player on his adventures?
Mirek:Yes, we've included this feature too, in response to players' requests. A hero can now hire mercenaries to accompany him. And if he has the relevant skills, he can also create creatures that will support him on quests for a time.
Read more at the link listed below.

Two Worlds II Newsletter
Two Worlds II
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Diablo III Monk Class Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

IGN and Kotaku have posted a new preview of time spent with a demo version of Diablo III, Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming return to the popular action RPG franchise. The preview details some of the capabilities of the newly revealed martial arts focused Monk class.

From IGN

all of the Monk's abilities are governed by how quickly the player clicks the mouse in succession on a target. You have half a second to click on the same target again and start your combo. Each attack has three separate levels, each one with impressive effects imparted on the third level. The first attack is Crippling Wave, a debuffing attack that allows you to decrease the speed of your target on the first blow for a limited amount of time, reduce the damage your enemies cause for a limited amount of time on the second strike and finally refreshes these strikes and extends the effects on the third blow. Another attack that can be wielded by the Monk is the Seven Sided Strike, which allows the Monk to teleport between enemies and land up to nine strikes (when fully upgraded) on enemies. However, the most iconic attack of the Monk is the Exploding Palm attack, which allows players to inflict significant damage on the first and second strikes. The third attack of this character imparts a bleeding state on the target, causing it to lose health consistently, and if the enemy dies within this state, it explodes, causing damage on nearby enemies. What's awesome about the Monk is that these three attacks can be assigned to the left, right and Tab buttons, allowing for quick swapping of moves in the midst of battle, creating unique attack chains. For example, players can start with a Seven Sided Strike, switch to a Crippling Wave and finish with an Exploding Palm strike.

To further aid the Monk, players can select and boost the Force Without Thought skill, a passive counterattack ability that allows players to dodge incoming strikes and return a blow with thirty percent force (capping at fifty percent). Players can also cast Inner Sanctuary, an ability that erects a magical barrier that enemies can't pass through, and Impenetrable Defense, a temporary shield that reflects projectiles and allows you to dodge incoming melee attacks. There are also a couple of abilities and skills that can double as attacks against enemies. The first is Radiant Visage, a power that calls down holy light to blind enemies for three to five seconds and reduces their chance to hit, giving you free strikes before they know what hit them. This can be coupled with Way of the One Hundred Fists, a dashing move that imparts multiple hits that eventually culminates in an area of effect strike. The cool element about One Hundred Fists is that you can trigger it and immediately switch to another attack, with the hits on an enemy counting as your clicks. For example, I could hit one hundred strikes and then switch over to Exploding Palm, instantly placing a bleed state on an enemy.
From Kotaku:
As I progressed through the desert, strong enemies began to appear, including members of the demonic Fallen, who took more than a few mouse clicks to dispatch. The Monk's damage was fine against these larger creatures, but the differences between the Monk and the more powerful Barbarian became readily apparent the first time I took a heavy hit. The Monk isn't all that good at going toe-to-toe with enemies. The best tactic seemed to be to jump in, hit the enemy with a quick barrage of strikes, and then move before you get hit.

This became even more clear once I started running into large groups of enemies. Running in, feet and staff swinging wildly, did not work. I was quaffing healing potions like they were going out of style, and I actually managed to die. The key to large groups is the Monk's Seven-Sided Strike ability. A semi-ranged attack, the Seven-Sided Strike has you tearing through groups of enemies in a flashing display of holy power, leaving song dead, and some weakened. Combine it with the explosive effect of the Palm, and you've got a very effective way of taking out large groups without dying in the process.
Head over to the links below to read the full previews.

IGN: Diablo III Monk Preview
Kotaku: Diablo III Monk Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
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WoW Cataclysm Goblins Examined
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameSpot has published a new hands-on preview article featuring the Goblins, an upcoming new player race for World of Warcraft's next expansion, Cataclysm. The expansion 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.

Azeroth's goblins have traditionally been neutral by nature -- Horde or Alliance, they'll work with anyone as long as there's coin to be earned. The playable goblins introduced in the Cataclysm are part of the Bilgewater Cartel, hailing from the isle of Kezan. These playable goblins have slightly different character models from the goblins you're used to: they look somewhat more physically capable, though they still bear the exaggerated features and comical look of their neutral brethren.

Currently, goblins have too many racial abilities and bonuses, so it's only a matter of time before some of their cooler attributes are taken away. Still, what's currently in there fits in nicely with their distinctive flavor. Some of their racials are related to their economic background, while the others are advantages due to the technological power of their "Goblin All-in-1-der-Belt":

ē Time is Money: Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
ē Pack Hobgoblin: Call bank servant for 1 minute. 30 minute cooldown.
ē Best Deals Anywhere: Always get best gold discount regardless of faction.
ē Better Living Through Chemistry: Alchemy skill increased by 15.
ē Rocket Barrage: Launch belt rockets, dealing fire damage. 2 minute cooldown, 30 yard range.
ē Rocket Jump: Jump forward, instant on a 2 minute cooldown. Like a reverse of the Hunter's Disengage
Follow the link below for the full article.

GameSpy: WoW Goblins Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm

Todd Hollenshead Discusses All Things id
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Videogaming247 has published a new interview with id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead about the company's current and future projects. The Q&A touches on a variety of topics including the upcoming RAGE racing shooter, Quake Live's planned premium content, and the company's recent purchase by Zenimax.

Back to Rage - will there be any sort of demo or open beta before the game releases?
Todd: Hollenshead: I doubt there will be an open beta.
The demo question is hard to answer, because I donít know what the development cycle will be like. We donít have anything against demos or tests; we typically do that Ė probably Ė to a greater extent than almost anybody else in the industry, so my guess would be that we will have something, but thatís far from set in stone. I mean, there could be different things on different platforms. There could be something thatís more along the lines of a PC demo or maybe a Mac demo that comes out from a test perspective. But really, at this point, thatís speculation.

Speaking of Quake Live, John Carmack announced that the gameís next big upgrade will be the addition of a premium subscription option. In general, do you think thereís a future for games that are purely ad-supported and free-to-play, or do you think subscription models and/or microtransactions are required?
Todd: Hollenshead: I think the jury is out on that, to be honest. In my opinion, Quake Live is a litmus test, because itís a quality game; I love it Ė I know the perception of it in public is that itís an excellent game. We donít like the idea of putting in microtransactions that impact gameplay balance. Because that is antithetical to what Quake Live is about, which is that itís a [skill-based] game. We donít like to have an ďIím willing to spend the most money, therefore I winĒ kind of thing thatíll get me the best weapon and thatíll get me an advantage thatís unfair. We want the Quake 3 kind of thing where itís the player with the most skill that wins the match.
Really though, since we first started talking about the game, but especially recently, [pertaining to] the premium level of services that weíre talking about, the subscription isnít really a subscription to get aspects of the core game that you wouldnít otherwise get for free. Itís more to get things that are service or feature-oriented. The specific thing is server rental and being able to start playing whatever map you want to and kick whoever you want to off the server or whatever. But those things arenít gonna count for leaderboards or stats or things like that. Thatís just like planned server rentals or tournament server rentals Ė those sorts of things.
And, because of the way we have the infrastructure set up, those sorts of things can be dynamically brought up and taken offline. Itís actually more efficient for us to do that in the way we have Quake Live running than it is for people to go to the server rental farms and pay $20 a month Ė or I heard that some of them are as much as $30 or $50 per month depending on where you are. So we think we can do that far more cost effectively, and actually add a higher level of service because itís completely dynamic. Itís an incremental cost for us that weíve got to charge for, but we think we can deliver value there that exceeds what people are required to pay.
Visit the page below for more.

VG247: Todd Hollenshead Interview
id Software
Rage: Campaign Edition
Buy Rage: Campaign Edition

Mac Games News for Monday, August 24, 2009

BurgerTime Deluxe Released For Mac6:00 AM
Diablo III: Monk Class Unveiled6:00 AM
SC II: Helfer As Kerrigan, LAN Possibility, Fan Mod Sales6:00 AM
World Of Warcraft: Cataclysm Trailer Available6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, August 24, 2009 on one page

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