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Monday, February 16, 2009

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World Of Warcraft 2009 Arena Tournament Begins Wednesday
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that its 2009 Arena Tournament for the popular World of Warcraft MMO will begin on February 17th. Participants players and teams will compete for the chance to reach the world championship and win over $200,000 in prizes. Others potential rewards for entering include an Armored Murloc in-game pet, and the title of Vanquisher.

We're pleased to announce that the 2009 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is nearly here. Starting next week (February 17, 2009), players will be able to sign up to compete in this year’s exciting competition. The tournament will feature an online qualifier played on our special tournament realms. Top teams will proceed to their respective regional finals and compete for a chance to reach the global world championship – with cash prizes totaling over $200,000.

These realms have been outfitted with level 80 character templates and the latest epic gear from Wrath of the Lich King. As an added bonus, we have included exclusive rewards that players can earn by participating in the tournament, including an Armored Murloc in-game pet. Top teams will also contend for a chance to achieve the "Vanquisher" title for their live characters.

If you would like to demonstrate your arena prowess, or simply want a chance to earn the exclusive loot, please check back next week for more details and register!
Head over to the links below for more information.

WoW: 2009 Arena Tournament Information
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
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Depths Of Peril Beta Patch Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Soldak Entertainment has released beta patch 1.014 for the Mac version of the action RPG, Depths of Peril. The update includes a variety of changes and bug fixes.

In the game players take the role of a faction leader engaged in defending the barbarian city of Jorvik. Along the way players venture forth to complete quests and fight monsters while at the same time preparing to defeat rival factions in the race to rule the city.

Here are a few of the changes in the latest beta patch:

• decreased lightningExplosion spawn count
• fixed Close not localized on character screen
• added OS X 10.3.9 OpenAL installer requirement to requirements & troubleshooting sections of manual
• fixed mouse on 2nd monitor in dual monitor setup
• updated copyright
• skills ready icons no longer flash at beginning
• thief can no longer steal from kidnapped, petrified, or dead vendors
• if selected resolution & 800x600 fails, now tries desktop resolution (Win only)
• now Crystals is localized in trade screen
• treaty highlight text in trade screen is now localized
• fixed a ton of typos, bad punctuation, and worded badly sentences (that was a joke :)
• fixed a menu problem when deleting a character
• added newsletter button
Click over to the link below for more information.

Depths Of Peril Beta Patch
Soldak Entertainment
Depths of Peril
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Diablo III: Identifying Items, Boss Abuse, Item Affixes
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Diablo III Community Manager Bashiok has offered a few more tidbits of information about Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming action RPG sequel. Topics covered this time include item identification, boss monsters and checkpoints, and limitations on item affixes.

Identifying items:
The identify system has gone through quite a few internal iterations already, and I think we'll probably see quite a few more. It's an interesting system in a lot of ways because first off it's something everyone remembers from the previous games, so if it wasn't there you'd probably wonder where it went. In a different light you could literally remove it entirely and probably not impact gameplay itself very much at all. It's also open ended enough where you could blow the system out and do something new and cool with it. Ultimately (and I know it's a broken record at this point) we'll do what is best for the game and what adds to the best game experience possible.

Bosses and loot (and checkpoints):
It's possible the checkpoint system may affect boss encounters. If it turns out that checkpoints make kamikaze runs a viable technique to down a boss, there will probably have to be some measures to keep it in check.
I've also seen some alarmist concerns with it being used as a way to grief others, or take advantage of this system or that. They're certainly valid questions and concerns, but I suppose it's the conclusions that are being jumped to and the certainty in which they're held that's off-putting.

Item affixes:
You raise a valid point but I'll propose some of my own thoughts on why I think limiting random attributes can be a bad idea.
First of all you'd probably end up limiting the item pool by ensuring that only optimal items are dropped. It may not sound amazingly cool but we do want some amount of non-optimal items dropping and circulating. This helps build out a drop-pool so that you can drop a lot of items. Which is one of the things that makes Diablo awesome, seeing items thrown out all over the place. Sure you might pass over some of them, but there's that "oooh! aaah!" feeling when you see a ton of loot flung out of a monster or chest. It wouldn't be the same game without it.
In addition, even when the game launches we're probably not going to have an idea of everything that can be accomplished with what we're providing. We want a lot of variety in how characters can be built, and in that variety there's going to be a lot of unknowns. I doubt that until it's actually on the shelves and in everyone's hands for a while we won't know all of what can be done. It's a scary thought for us, but also really exciting, and by building items completely how we "think" they should be, we'd be removing a lot of that ability for you to try out crazy things and maybe find the new hotness build for a class.
Visit the Gamebanshee site below to read more.

GameBanshee: Bashiok Diablo III Comments
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
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The Sims 3 Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Destructoid has posted a new review of The Sims 3, the upcoming continuation of the successful Sims franchise. The game will add new twists to the popular life sim formula with customizable personalities, goal oriented gameplay, movie creation and editing, and an online community. Destructoid's article details some of the game's new features and provides a collection of screenshots.

I was given a demo of The Sims 3 by Grant Rodiek, an Associate Producer on the game. He told me that while The Sims 2 was certainly a great game, the main problem with it was that the Sims themselves were too needy. They needed constant monitoring, or they’d soil themselves -- the game became more about keeping the Sims alive, as opposed to watching them live their lives. So the aim with The Sims 3 was to move up Maslow’s hierarchy -- to “move past peeing,” as Grant put it.

To that end, two of the previous game’s eight needs have been excised; comfort and environment have been replaced by “moodlets,” which are special events that will have a temporary effect on the Sims’ behavior. You can allow the world to just take care of itself -- Sims will eat and excrete on their own. Instead of needs, The Sims 3 focuses on two major areas: personality and customization. Five “traits” will determine the personality of a particular Sim (toddlers: 2, children: 3, teens: 4, young adults: 5), and there are over eighty of them to choose from. Some of them are pretty standard (Charismatic, Vegetarian), but many of them are whimsical and make for fun (often comical) game scenarios.

Customization of your Sims is also more robust than ever in The Sims 3. The Create-A-Sim interface can output an endless variety of Sims, thanks to improvements like being able to select shoes separately from pants, and fitness bars to build wiry or obese Sims. You won’t just be limited to four hair colors anymore -- now you can edit the colors (going as deep as using hexadecimal or RGB values) of the body of the hair, the roots, and the tips; highlights are also an option. And the face editor now has Top Spin 3-style face points to nail your likeness perfectly.

That’s not all, though; the build and buy modes have gotten an overhaul as well. The square tiles that make up the grid in build mode are now one-fourth the size that they used to be, allowing for more precise placement. And at long last, the game has the built-in ability to rotate objects freely (360°), and they can even be placed between two tiles! Half-tile placement is obviously something that will completely change the complexion of the game -- perfect symmetry is now possible when placing a TV set in front of a two-seat couch.

Last but not least, neighborhoods are now completely seamless, and the same time applies to the entire town. No longer will you have to suffer through a loading screen when switching lots; it’s all one open world that’s free for you to observe at the macro and micro levels (and everything in between). This is easily the most significant change when it comes to viewing your Sims, and it was accomplished even as the game’s visuals were improved.
To read the full preview follow the link provided below.

Electronic Arts
The Sims 3
Destructoid: Sims 3 Preview
Buy The Sims 3

Mac Games News for Friday, February 13, 2009

Apple Games Features iPod Crystal Defenders6:00 AM
Mensa Game Licensing Deal Announced6:00 AM
Multiwinia For Mac Nearing Release6:00 AM
StarCraft II Beta To Arrive "In The Coming Months"6:00 AM
WoW Lead Producer Moves To Blizzard's Unnamed MMO6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, February 13, 2009 on one page

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