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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Diablo III Female Witch Doctor Visuals Revealed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment recently updated the official Diablo III website with new character information. The update offers seven screenshots, two examples of concept art, and an in-game 3D model for the female witch doctor class. Diablo III will return players to the action RPG franchise where they once again must choose a character and face off against the forces of darkness.

The culture of the umbaru of the lower Teganze is fascinating and perplexing to those hailing from more civilized walks of life. For instance, the Tribe of the Five Hills frequently engages in tribal warfare with both the Clan of the Seven Stones and the Tribe of the Clouded Valley, but these are matters of ritual and not of conquest. I had heard tales that these wars are waged in order that the victors may replenish their supply of raw materials for the human sacrifices that their civilization revolves around, and when I timidly asked my hosts more about this topic, I must admit their laughter made me fear for my safety. However, through stumbled attempts at communication of such complex topics as what constitutes heroism and honor in their society, I gathered that only those taken in battle are considered worthy of the ritual sacrifice, much to my relief.

Upon further discussions with my hosts, I discovered that these tribes define themselves by their belief in the Mbwiru Eikura, which roughly translates to "The Unformed Land" (this is an imprecise translation, as this concept is completely foreign to our culture and language). This belief holds that the true, sacred reality is veiled behind the physical one we normally experience. Their vitally important public ceremonies are centered upon sacrifices to the life force that flows from their gods, who inhabit the Unformed Land, into this lesser physical realm.

The witch doctors are finely attuned to this Unformed Land and are able to train their minds to perceive this reality through a combination of rituals and the use of selected roots and herbs found in the jungles. They call the state in which they interact with this other world the Ghost Trance.
Check out the new information at the link below.

Diablo III Witch Doctor Class
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
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Dragon Age: Origins For Mac Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 12 comments

VGBlogger has posted a new review of the Mac version of Dragon Age: Origins. Bioware's latest fantasy role playing epic challenges players to take on the role of a Grey Warden and defend the land of Fereldin from the monstrous Darkspawn.

From the review:

In terms of stability, I have found absolutely no difference - I have more than 250 hours playing across both the Mac and PC versions without a single crash. Performance is also very well done for the Mac version - I simply installed and the game chose the highest settings for me and I have never had to worry about anything since. I have heard about some memory leaks, but even across multi-hour sessions I never had an issue on either Mac or PC. So in terms of being a dreaded ‘Cider-ized’ port, Dragon Age works very well.

There were concerns about the Mac version from the moment of release, because the nicely-done DLC purchase and DLC system used for the PC version simply didn’t work for the Mac version. For example, on the PC if you bought the standard version you could buy extra content such as the Warden’s Keep (normally included as part of the Deluxe Digital version) through an in-game vendor. On the Mac version if you didn’t buy the Deluxe Digital version you can never get the Warden’s Keep. Ever. Period.

Furthermore, the ‘content editor’ is unavailable for the Mac version. To an extent that is fine, as Bioware has never made their toolkits Mac-compatible. But since the tools are updated with the patches, it means that any externally created content will need the patch version of the toolkit … and since the 1.02 patch came out soon after the PC release, that means nearly all third-party content will need at least patch 1.02. So the Mac is therefore inherently excluded from external content.
Read the full review at the page linked below.

VGBlogger: Dragon Age Origins Mac Review
Dragon Age: Origins

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EVE Gate Public Testing Begins
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

CCP Games has published a new developer blog offering information about its sci-fi MMO, EVE Online. The article provides a status update on EVE Gate, the social networking additions planned for inclusion with the release of the next expansion, Tyrannis.

On March 23, we will announce access to a public stress test version of EVE Gate which will be connected to Singularity for all of you to log into and look around. What is critical for everyone to understand is that the intent of this test is to stress the underlying hardware and key architectural components. This will allow us to identify and address bottlenecks and weaknesses well before launch and to make sure we have adequate hardware in place for all the pounding you folks will put on it once you are all browsing EVE Gate routinely from work (when your boss isn't looking). We will be watching your comments closely for feedback as well as closely logging and monitoring the behavior of the software and hardware under load. You can help us out greatly just by logging in, browsing around and trying the application out.

It needs to be emphasized that while it gives you an early glimpse at EVE Gate, the primary purpose of this test is a technical one. The features included in the test are still heavily in development and we wanted to get an early version up and available for you to beat up the hardware well in advance. There will be elements that are not yet done or which are presented as a simplified version for testing purposes. To make this clear the application will be labeled the "EVE Gate Alpha Stress Test"; it will be pretty hard to miss. I am not going to go into depth here on the features that will be included; we have an additional Dev Blog that will be presented soon which will focus on the web based functionality which will come with EVE Gate at launch (calendar, mail, contacts, profiles, broadcast logs, etc).
Visit the site to learn more.

EVE Online: EVE Gate Update
CCP Games
EVE Online

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The Origins Of Plants vs. Zombies
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Ars Technica has posted a new article about the origins of PopCap Games' Plants vs. Zombies. As revealed in the article, the game began as a sequel to Insaniquarium before ending up as a casual tower defense title.

What many gamers don't realize is that Plants vs. Zombies started out as a sequel to Insaniquarium, a strategy game that involves growing an aquarium's population while simultaneously protecting the fishes from an alien invasion. PopCap recently shared some original concept sketches for with us, and the evolution from sequel to fully original title is fascinating.

According to the game's creator, George Fan, the development team wanted to create a game that was pretty different from Insaniquarium. "We knew we wanted to significantly change up the gameplay for the sequel," he said, "and [we were] leaning toward it to being more defense-oriented than the first Insaniquarium. During that time I was also playing a lot of tower defense games in Warcraft III, and realized that they had this innate appeal that made me think of fond childhood memories like building forts out of sofa cushions and watching Swiss Family Robinson. I really wanted to capture that appeal, and once I realized that plants and zombies made a much better theme for this game than fish and aliens, I shifted from creating a sequel into creating a whole new game."
Check out the full article, which includes some early concept art, at the link below.

Ars Technica: PvZ Origins
PopCap Games
Plants vs. Zombies
Buy Plants vs. Zombies

Mac Games News for Monday, March 22, 2010

Going Rogue Website Features Calvin Scott, Ghouls6:00 AM
Heileen 2: The Hands Of Fate Voiced Version Available6:00 AM
Max & The Magic Marker Reviewed6:00 AM
StarCraft II Matchmaking: Death To Smurfing6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, March 22, 2010 on one page

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