Countdown to ArmA 3

ArmA 3 Release Countdown
ArmA 3 Release Countdown

ArmA 3, the newest installment of the popular military simulator is set to be released on September 12. You can get your copy via digital download or as a physical box in retail locations worldwide.

At release, players are going to have plenty to do with the included 12 single-player showcases, 3 faction showcases, 9 multi-player scenarios and 10 firing drills. Modders and community content creators will have access to a new island Altis, a vast terrain of over 270 km and the currently available island of Stratis, at about 20 km. Bohemia Interactive has also announced an official campaign to be added after release via a free DLC.

You can get more details about ArmA 3 and its release at the sneak preview livestream scheduled for August 10 at 5 pm UTC.

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SWTOR 2.3 Titans of Industry Patch Now Live

SWTOR 2.3 Titans of Industry Patch
SWTOR 2.3 Titans of Industry Patch

Patch 2.3 is now live for Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Titans of Industry patch, as named by BioWare, will allow players to explore a new level 55 Daily mission area along with two associated level 55 Flashpoints. Here are some highlights.

  • CZ-198, a new Level 55 Daily mission area, is now available!  CZ-198 is a small, private moon where Czerka Corporation’s most secret and dangerous data, research and technology is stored. The facility has recently entered an emergency security lockdown, and both the Empire and the Republic have descended on the moon in order to seize control.
  • New Level 55 Flashpoint: Czerka Corporate Labs! Infiltrate Czerka’s corporate headquarters on CZ-198 and take down Rasmus Blys, the Czerka scientist responsible for developing the company’s most dangerous weaponry.
  • New Level 55 Flashpoint: Czerka Core Meltdown! Race against time to stop the imminent meltdown of the CZ-198 research facility and battle against the terrifying security system known as “The Vigilant!”
  • Both new Flashpoints will feature the all-new role-neutral Story Mode, where the Group Finder will match the first four players of any role for fast queue times! Level 55 Hard Mode is also available for the new Flashpoints.
  • Tauntaun Creature Mounts! Head to Hoth, where players will find the Tauntaun Trainer and Tauntaun Handlers in Aurek and Dorn Bases.
  • New Companion Character! Treek can now be obtained as an additional Companion Character via the Cartel Market or Legacy Vendors in the new Cartel Bazaar hangar of the Fleet! Cost is 2,100 Cartel Coins or 1,000,000 Credits.
  • New Event: Bounty Contract Week! Each month, players can undertake contracts and pursue dangerous criminals throughout the galaxy! Adventures begin on Republic and Imperial Fleets with a mission given by mysterious Bounty Hunters who are toting a “friend” encased in Carbonite. The first Bounty Contract Week begins on August 14th.
  • The Cartel Bazaar is a new hangar on the Republic and Imperial Fleets with an Appearance Designer kiosk, a Galactic Trade Network kiosk, and a cantina. The Cartel Market Reputation Vendors have closed their shops in the Crew Skills area and have moved to the Cartel Bazaar.
  • PvP, Alderaan Civil War. This Warzone has been updated, and now capturing the side turrets (Objective Control Points) will not spawn a speeder that takes your team directly to that turret.

Head over to the official site for the full patch notes.

Get Ready For FFXIV A Realm Reborn With The Character Creator and Benchmark

Character Creation
Character Creation

If you are anything like me, then the process of creating a character for any MMO is time spent lavishing on every little detail. To make sure I’ve seen all the options available, at least twice, before deciding on the perfect hair and make-up combo for my virtual creation. I can spend hours creating a character if the character creation tool is detailed enough. All the while the desire to actually start playing the game is ever-present, like a tiny voice screaming “JUST GET IN THE GAME!!!”.

Well Final Fantasy XIV has the solution. As of today you can download the character creator from the official FFXIV ARR site. Now you can spent as much time as you like, creating your perfect avatar for your adventures in Eorzea. But what will happen at launch? Not to worry, the creator will save your character so when A Realm Reborn is launched, you’ll be ready to go. And the best part is that the character creator is also a benchmark tool. You will be able to see if your current PC has the power to handle ARR or if its time to run out and pick up that upgrade before launch.

SWTOR PvP Counter-Rant 2013

Huttball
Huttball

Recently Larry Everett ranted in his weekly Hyperspace Beacon column about the current state of SWTOR PvP. After reading the column, I immediately wanted to write a response. However after some thought, I decided that I should at least wait until he had the chance to give his solutions to the problems. And after reading his newest column in which he details his solutions, I feel even more compelled to respond.

First and foremost, PvP in Star Wars: The Old Republic is not broken. To state that PvP in SWTOR is broken, especially given the platform that Larry enjoys, is at best disingenuous and at worst dishonest. There are without a doubt some, if not many, aspects of SWTOR PvP that can be done better, however it doesn’t change the fact that tens of thousands of players continue to enjoy PvP in SWTOR on a daily basis.

Larry states that PvP was “one of the most balanced and fun parts  of the game in December of 2011”, and that “changes to the system have caused this part of the game to become less and less fun over time”. He even goes on to say that “the team at BioWare needs to stop working on PvP” and that the team “is focused on the wrong aspects of the game”. Larry’s opinion seems revolve around a few issues, the first being the lack of open-world PvP. Second is the issue of the stun/resolve system. The third issue seems to be an unbalance, not between the different classes, but between PvE and PvP. And lastly the issue of griefers and hackers.

If PvP was balanced in December of 2011, it was only because the game had just launched. And while level 10-49 PvP was lots of fun, it ended the moment you hit level 50. If you were not able to get to 50 in those first few months, then PvP at max level was soul crushing. The gear difference between a new level 50 and a valor rank 60 Battlemaster meant that the moment you get hit, you were dead, period. Since then BioWare has made PvP more, and more accessible and for the first time, in max level PvP skill can overcome the gear difference.

On the subject of open-world PvP, it does not currently belong in The Old Republic. Open-world PvP means open conflict and fighting on a massive scale. The current storyline in SWTOR is that there is a uneasy peace treaty between the Republic and the Sith, which means no open fighting. All the stories on the different planets focus on planetary level conflicts and no real direct fighting between the two sides. This is why instanced PvP warzones fits perfectly into the story as of right now. Small, localized incursions by both sides. If the peace treaty is broken, then open-world PvP needs to be in game.

Novare Coast
Novare Coast

PvP at its core is about skill and knowledge. The higher your skill and the more you know, the better the player you are. The stun/resolve issue is at its heart about the player’s skill to protect himself. The system is very simple. In almost every instance, once you get stunned twice, your resolve is filled and you are immune to stuns until your resolve is empty again. This simply means, don’t use your stun break ability the first time you get stunned. It really is that simple. And that is where the skill and knowledge comes in. The majority of the complains about the stun/resolve system comes from players that feel they should do well in PvP just because. But the harsh reality of PvP is that you have to study and learn. You need to learn the builds players are using for each class so that you can counter effectively. You need to learn the map of each warzone, where to attack from and where is best to defend. You need to learn the systems of the game.

Larry feels that since “the PvP system BioWare built is still gear-based” then the reward for winning is better gear and therefore easier PvP matches. While on the PvE side, the “true reward is more difficult content”. A fact that Larry seems to have over-looked is that in PvP, the difficulty of the match depends on the players. Even if I had the best PvP gear in the game, it means nothing if I come up against an equally geared, better skilled player on the other side. And just how long will that difficult content in PvE stay difficult? It is widely know that PvE gear has the highest ratings in the game, so once you have the best gear and know how to take down every boss, is the content really still difficult? Are the bosses going to adapt new tactics?

Every MMO has hackers and griefers. There really isn’t much anyone can do about it, especially on PvP servers. There is actually a system in place that anyone can use to not be bother by hackers and griefers the majority of the time. Just put them on your ignore list. Once someone is on your ignore list, they will be excluded from your PvP and PvE queues. So for about 80% of the time you’ll never deal with those people. And seriously, hacker and griefers are some of the saddest players in any MMO, so why even spare a second thought for them.

Do you agree with Larry? Are you more along my lines of thought? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Leave a comment and let me know how you feel about SWTOR PvP.

Activision Blizzard, Now a Small Independent Developer

Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard

Well, maybe not small, but Activision Blizzard is now an independent developer after announcing it will break from Vivendi in a deal worth an estimated $8.2 billion. The deal, as reported by the New York Times, has Activision Blizzard buying about 429 million shares and other assets from Vivendi for around $5.83 billion in cash. Current CEO Robert A. Kotick, who bought Activision more than two decades ago, and co-chairman Brian Kelly will remain at the helm of the new independent company. The two current executives along with other investors is also reported to be buying an estimated 172 million shares from Vivendi for around $2.34 billion.

As to what kind of impact this deal will have on the millions of gamers currently playing titles like CoD Black Ops 2, World of Warcraft or Starcraft 2, only time can reveal. Kotick will most likely continue to run the company as he always has, after all he did lead Activision from an almost bankrupt company to the giant game developer it is today. Activision Blizzard is expected to announce an estimated net revenue of around $1.05 billion for the second quarter of 2013.

As a gamer, I can only hope the new found independence will allow Activision Blizzard to become an innovator and start producing content that is new and maybe even risky. While all of the Call of Duty titles are fun to play, they essentially contain the same gameplay elements just dressed differently. As of now the gaming community can only wait and see as to how Activision Blizzard will grow in the years to come.

Eternal Crusade Announces Phase Two

Eternal Crusade, the recently announced 3rd person action MMO set in the Warhammer 40K universe from Behaviour Interactive and the Games Workshop has just hit phase two. So what does reaching phase two mean to all the rabid 40K fans out there? The Emperor provides.

Phase two reveals two important aspects of Eternal Crusade. The faction choices and available chapters of the Space Marines at launch.

Initial race choices in Eternal Crusade
Playable factions at launch

Players will be able to wage war in the 41th millennium as:

  • Space Marines, Gene-seed enhanced super soldiers of the Imperium of Man.
  • Eldar, mysterious beings with awesome psychic powers.
  • Orks, the green horde out to destroy everything in its path.
  • Chaos Space Marines, Space Marines fallen to the corruption of the Warp.

Each faction will provide a completely different play experience, these differences range from combat style to starting areas as well as the UI.

Space Marine Chapters
Space Marine Chapters at launch

Players who select the Space Marines will able to select from:

  • Legion XIII, the Ultramarines.
  • Legion I, the Dark Angels.
  • Legion IX, the Blood Angels.
  • Legion VI, the Space Wolves.

The Gene-seed for each chapter of the Adeptus Astartes is unique and will confer upon their members unique bonuses and abilities. While members of each chapter rise from different beginnings, many will come together to defend the Emperor against the enemies of the Imperium.