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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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Diablo II Patch 1.13 Goes Back Into Development
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The developers of Blizzard Entertainment's 1.13 patch for the company's popular action RPG Diablo II have put the update back into development after receiving feedback from recent testing. First announced in early 2009, the much delayed patch will now have a few more new changes and fixes available when it finally reaches release.

The legacy team met late last week to decide how to proceed on the 1.13 patch and the decision was made to go back into development to incorporate a few additional changes. While this patch has already seen its fair share of delays we still want to ensure we’re releasing a patch that hits some key community issues. I do want to stress though that while we did look at feedback and responses we’re obviously not going to be able to include everything requested. Our hope is to hit at least a decent portion of what we saw people discussing and correct some of the more severe issues while keeping additional development time as brief as possible.

We don’t have a current estimate for release, and because work is only just beginning on these new changes we won’t be announcing their details. We’ll be keeping everyone updated as to the progress of the patch though, and we hope to see this update on the PTR as soon as possible and then off quickly to a release and ladder reset.
Click over to the links below for more information.

IncGamers: Diablo II Patch 1.13 Update
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
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Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning Discussed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Warhammer Vault has posted a new interview with Andy Belford, Community Coordinator for Mythic Entertainment, about the fantasy themed MMO, Warhammer: Online. Belford discussed a variety of topics including patches, gameplay, classes, and gear.

Warhammer Online features Realm vs Realm combat and allows players to enter a grim fantasy world where the armies of Order (Dwarves, High Elves, and Empire) and Destruction (Greenskins, Dark Elves, and Chaos) collide to determine the fate of nations.

Dunes: "The 1.3 patch cycle has had a monumental effect on the game's gameplay. Between performance issues being addressed, mass changes to T4 and the Capital City changes and much do you feel the patch cycle has been going? Good? Could be better? Something you wish you could have done but didn't have the time?"
Andy: "Overall, we’re pleased with how the 1.3.x patch cycle has progressed. We’ve seen some great changes and addressed several long running issues, especially with performance and stability. We’ve added great features and made some much needed Combat and Careers adjustments. That’s not to say that it’s been without missteps, but the results of 1.3.x have been much more positive than negative."

Dunes: "When we can expect the new (graphically updated) sets?"
Andy: "We received a pretty varied response on the armor art changes. Some were positive, some negative. Based on that, we’ve decided that we want to make changing the art on the armor sets an option rather than automatic. Right now we’re working on figure out the best implementation of a system to give players the option."

Dunes: "How do you feel the endless free trial has gone so far? Have you seen a large return of players coming back to enjoy T1 and this offer?"
Andy: "The response to the WAR Endless Free Trial has been outstanding. Players, both new and returning are coming out and having a great time on the Festenplatz. We saw an uptick in new Endless Trial users in December and players are excited over the level of GM interaction in the new player guilds (kudos to our amazing Customer Service team for providing this great service to our New Player Guild members.)"

Dunes: "Will the level cap ever be raised?"
Andy: "That's certainly something we've discussed."
Read the full Q&A at the page listed below.

Warhammer Vault: Andy Belford Q&A
Mythic Entertainment
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning
Pre-Order Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning

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Machinarium Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameShark has posted a review of Machinarium. The point and click adventure game follows the adventures of a robot who must find a way to save his girlfriend and his city from a group of villains known as the Black Cap Brotherhood. GS gave the game a letter grade of A.

From the review:

Gameplay is pure point-and-click, with no frills. You can click and drag on your robot’s body to make him taller or shorter, and you interact with sensitive spots in the environment. Items and tools can be picked up, combined, and used once (and only once), though it’s nearly impossible to actually mess up. You’re given one hint per level in the form of a quickie thought bubble designed to get you started towards the solution – though playing through an arduous little shooter minigame yields a more complete tutorial.

The gameplay reaches a ridiculous difficulty level, making the eventual solutions incredibly rewarding. There were sections I spent an hour in until I figured out the proper sequence of events, and others where I gave up twice, only returning later with the perfect solution. It’s the sort of game that absolutely gets “into your head” and simply refuses to let go. In other words, this game is pure, chocolate-coated crack for hardcore puzzle fans.

Adding to the addictiveness and the charm is the phenomenal art style. The entire world is an intricate, hand-drawn robo-dystopia, with each screen representing a small chunk of handcrafted beauty. I found myself staring and spacing out in between puzzles, just taking in the whole bleak, cartoon-y world. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Revolution’s cyberpunk adventure Beneath a Steel Sky and the first thirty minutes of Wall–E, the former in gameplay and overall world, the latter in storytelling and tone.
Visit the page below to read the rest.

GameShark: Machinarium Review
Amanita Design
Buy Machinarium

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EVE Online Given 2009 Game Of The Year Award
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has chosen CCP Games' EVE Online as its 2009 Game of the Year. The decision was based on categories such as game growth, originality, overall contributions to the industry, and fun factor. cited EVE's Apocrypha and Dominion expansions as well as its release in retail stores as the main reasons for the award. Blizzard's World of Warcraft was the runner up this year.

While some may question giving the GotY award to a game that originally launched in 2003, 2009 was actually a banner year for not just the game, which saw significant changes and growth through two major expansions, Apocrypha in March and Dominion in December. These two expansions significantly changed the face of the game, bringing it more in line with what players expect from a modern MMO. Between the two, the game added: Wormholes, ship customization (tier 3), Epic Mission arcs, a new New Player experience, social networking, planetary upgrades, changes to the game's sovereignty systems and more.

2009 was also a year of rebirth for CCP's first MMO, seeing a partnership with publisher Atari for a re-release of the game in boxes on store shelves (it had previously been available only through download), which has led the game to not only reach new heights in terms of subscriber numbers (currently over 300,000 active subscribers), but in terms of peak concurrent user records broken as more and more players crowd onto the game's single server.

When you add all of this to the fact that CCP also announced plans to expand EVE Online's virtual universe beyond EVE and the PC in the form of MMO console shooter DUST 514, it isn't difficult to see how EVE Online stood above the crowd as our Game of the Year.
To read more about the award click over to the page below.

MMORPG.COM: EVE Online 2009 Game Of The Year
CCP Games
EVE Online

Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Depths Of Peril On Sale This Week6:00 AM
Emberwind Reviewed6:00 AM
The New York Times Enters The Dragon Age6:00 AM
VVVVVV Retro Platformer Released6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 12, 2010 on one page

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