Watch someone open loot boxes on Twitch while you open loot boxes on Twitch

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Twitch is now offering loot boxes with temporary emotes as prizes. Every time you spend 250 Bits on a Cheer, you will unlock a Halloween crate with one of six zombie emotes that can be used through the rest of the year. Collect all six, and you’ll unlock a permanent Zombie Lord Kappa emote, but you’ll probably need to wade through more than six crates since repeats aren’t worth anything. It’s time-limited crate availability coupled to the variant chase mechanic. Imagine it. You could spend Bits on Cheers to get Twitch loot boxes while watching your favorite streamer spectate in Call of Duty: World War 2 viewing other people opening their in-game loot boxes. If infinite regress is real, the cosmic voyager might say “It’s loot boxes all the way down!”

Twitch’s Halloween Crates will be available until November 3rd.

Hitman’s next season of stuff is more season one, plus clown shoes

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There’s a Game of the Year edition of Hitman coming. IO Interactive’s announcement brings good news for late adopters and current players. The new edition comes with all of Season One’s content, plus new suits and weapons, a new Patient Zero campaign based around stopping a viral infection, and some new escalation contracts that ramp up the difficulty. The Game of the Year edition is launching on November 7th. If you already own the first season, there will be a $20 upgrade DLC available so you don’t miss out on the clown suit.

The big reveal for people that missed some of the time-limited content is that they’re repeating Season One’s Elusive Contracts. It’s part of the free update to the game for all owners that includes a redesigned user interface, lighting upgrades, and new social features for missions. The encore of the Elusive Contracts will also be time-limited and if you already failed one, you will not be permitted another try. Sorry. No do-overs allowed.

You’ll need to make some allowances when you see original Xbox games at 1080p

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A few original Xbox games will be available tomorrow for the Xbox One. Microsoft confirmed through IGN that thirteen old-school Xbox games, including Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, will be added to the backwards compatibility list on the newer console. As with the current Xbox 360 backwards compatible titles, you can either pop your old disc into your Xbox One and download an update to allow play, or you can purchase a new digital copy through the Xbox Store. You’ll soon be able to enjoy BloodRayne 2 or The King of Fighters Neowave on your gigantic TV in glorious 1080p.

In related news, the Xbox 360 backwards compatible games Halo 3, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Assassin’s Creed are getting Xbox One X enhancement updates on November 7th.

Why would anyone play as anything other than the Pyro in Team Fortress 2?

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The Pyro has a jetpack. If that information doesn’t make you shudder, that’s probably because you haven’t kept up with Team Fortress 2 in a while. Valve’s daily trickle of information for the Jungle Inferno update for the game revealed a revamp of the Pyro class which includes new weapons, balance changes, and even visual improvements to the Pyro’s flame effects. There’s even a crass new taunt for the Pyro that recreates the time-honored tradition of lighting farts on fire.

The Pyro is a master of the barbecue. The Pyro already has the best character video. The Pryo gave the game a pair of goggles that changes how everything appears to the player. The Pyro has a rocking body. The Pryo now jetpacks into the sky and rains hot flaming death on those below. The Pryo is objectively the best thing in Team Fortress 2 aside from the Sniper’s jar of urine.

Gremlins Inc founds a new colony

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The board for Gremlins Inc looks like a swirly looping mess of random spaces. Until you play the game and discover that it’s not. Clockwork Town is a very specific place with a specific layout with specific gameplay implication. It has a hard-to-reach Heaven, a Hell just a short jaunt off the beaten path, and a progression from the courthouse to the treasure vault to the bank to the office. The newly released prisoner will find himself approaching the casino, and he won’t get to the marketplace anytime soon. Like the board for any boardgame, it reveals patterns as you played it. It rewards you as you pay attention to it. It has geography.

Now it also has company. Continue reading →

Dawn of War 3 supplies its endless wars with an endless update

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Relic Entertainment has updated Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 to offer more classic real-time strategy features for players. The Endless Update comes with the usual balance changes and adjustments, three new multiplayer maps, and three new elite units. The free patch also adds some much-requested multiplayer custom match options that bring the game back to its RTS roots and away from the sequel’s reliance on hero management. Players can now toggle elites off, disable doctrines, and not allow global abilities in their matches. The new options don’t turn the game into a full throwback to earlier Dawn of War entries, but they do give players the ability to mostly ignore the most controversial changes to the formula – namely, the way elites work. We’ll see if the changes are enough to bring the community back to WAAAGH.

Dead by Daylight is adding a nightmare heavy-hitter to its roster

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Dead by Daylight, the other asymmetrical multiplayer horror game, is adding Freddy Krueger to its lineup of horror villains. While Friday the 13th: The Game has been content to putter along with different versions of Jason Vorhees, (Gunny sack Jason! Split hockey mask Jason! Zombie Jason! Jason gone wild!) Behaviour Digital has already nabbed Michael Myers and Leatherface to beef up its group of proprietary knockoff baddies like Generic Killer Farmer and Demonic Scary Old Lady. By adding Freddy Krueger, Dead by Daylight seems to going for a pure quantity pitch. Will players have to wait as long as the movie fans did for the crossover match?

If you don’t own this Russian van, your Tetris collection is incomplete

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The Russian-made GAZelle Next medium van has a hidden version of Tetris in its dashboard instrument console. Thanks to instructions translated by Jalaopnik, you can see the Easter Egg is tucked away in the software for the little digital screen jammed between the center dials. Turn some knobs, flip some switches, and rev the engine in the right order for the correct amounts, and you too can play a klunky tiny build of everyone’s favorite stacking game on your Russian utility vehicle.

Which Spintires modding team will be the first to add this game-within-a-game feature?

It’s a bad time to be a map traditionalist in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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There’s a new Dust 2 in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Valve has upgraded and overhauled the mainstay map of Counter-Strike players once again. Beyond a spiffy coat of paint, Valve has made changes to the map geometry to improve readability and smooth out any rough areas to refine movement. For example, bombsite B’s car prop has been moved slightly towards the center of the courtyard to provide more cover and open up the corner, a hole in the wall has been shifted and widened, and telephone poles have been done away with entirely.

Counter-Strike vets are discovering all sorts of changes, good and bad, in the new map. Some long-cherished grenade throwing spots have been negated with blockages. Sight lines have been adjusted. Some passageways have been tightened. It’s stuff that a newbie might not put much importance on, but to folks that literally make their living by playing the game, the differences can be extremely challenging.

People like the most boring characters in Dungeons & Dragons

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Thanks to the number-crunching wizards at FiveThirtyEight, we now have scientific proof that Dungeons & Dragons players are a mostly uncreative lot, preferring to stay as close to the mundane as possible. By partnering with D&D Beyond, FiveThirtyEight was able to look at the data of over 100,000 players and see what they liked. Surprise! They like the safe and familiar. The most popular character race and class combination is the dull human fighter. The old sword and board, hacking away like a lumberjack at a log pile. The next most popular character type is, of course, the elf ranger. Lots of Drizzt and Legolas out there.

Pity the poor Aasimar or Aarakocra as the least popular races. Presumably, they hold that dubious honor because no one even knows what they are.

Imagine going on a Destiny 2 strike with this player on Halloween night

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John Carpenter is a Destiny 2 fan. It doesn’t seem like that’s in a paid endorsement way either. The famous Halloween composer and director was asked by The Guardian what he was up to as the lead question of an interview. His answer? Destiny 2. A lot of it. Enough so that it’s become his life’s work.

I’ve heard of that. Isn’t it really hard and involves shooting aliens?

Oh, it is hard. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to learning how to play it. At my age why not? It keeps me out of trouble.

If Michael Myers had been addicted to Destiny 2, “The Night He Came Home” may have turned out a bit differently. Less killing and more farming for loot.

The good news for gamblers is that loot boxes aren’t gambling

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board says loot boxes are not gambling. An ESRB spokesperson told Kotaku that the organization classifies loot boxes, like the ones in Overwatch, Battlefront II, or Middle-earth: The Shadow of War, as they would blind card packs in collectible card games. While you may not get exactly what you wanted, you do get something for your money, unlike a real-world wager that can result in just a plain loss of money.

“Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have.”

The ESRB does have a Real Gambling descriptor that results in an automatic Adults Only rating for a game. “Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency.” They also have a Simulated Gambling descriptor that specifies that no real money is involved.

Calls for the ESRB to classify loot boxes as gambling have ramped up in recent days thanks to the proliferation of the business model in some high-profile games. Despite experts pointing out the addictive qualities of loot boxes, (some of those same experts were even hired by game companies to design loot boxes for maximum effectiveness) the ESRB says otherwise due to the technicality of most systems not allowing a zero payout. Get on it gamblers and addictive personalities! Loot crates are okay and they’re not opening without your help!

The guy that helped you last week in Ghost Recon Wildlands could be your nemesis

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Ubisoft is adding a free player versus player mode to Ghost Recon Wildlands. The new Ghost War mode features competitive 4v4 multiplayer matches with special classes on eight maps. Players choose from twelve classes like a drone-equipped Scout or a sneaky Assassin and use their Ghost Recon shooty skills to annihilate each other in virtual Bolivia. It’s no Battle Royale, but there should be plenty of headshots, explosions, and cursing.

There’s good news for Ghost Recon Wildlands’ cooperative players as well. The latest title update changes the game’s networking model to include relay servers to help connectivity.

Ghost War for Ghost Recon Wildlands is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Due to technical issues, the PC version will be updated on the 12th. Ubisoft is also promoting the game with a free demo weekend from the 12th to the 16th.

Wherefore art thou Shadow of War?

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War may have a sexy femme fatale Shelob, a lispy boss voiced by Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani, blinged out gangsta orcs, and loot crates galore, but it’s not all a bastardization of Tolkien’s books. The game has one thing that is 100% a reflection of the literary works. Poetry puzzles! In Shadow of War, you can find ancient texts that need to be translated, which amounts to multiple choice poetry Mad Libs. “In the land of Mordor where the BLANK lie…” Drums? Spiders? Shadows? Crates? Fill in enough blanks to complete the poem, and you’ll get a rare bit of in-game loot. If the developers had added elvish karaoke or hobbit dancing minigames, the adaptation would be perfect.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War launches on October 10th.

Offworld Trading Company gets totes adorbs

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Just because you’re a Serious Thinking Man Strategy Game About Supply and Demand doesn’t mean you can’t goof around. For all its hardcore cred, Offworld Trading Company has no compunction about using cute cartoony artwork for the factions in its superlative dynamic campaign mode (seriously, if you’re afraid of Offworld Trading Company because you took a creative writing class instead of Econ 101 in college, just click on Single Player Campaign already). But now it’s taking some of that charm and whimsy planetside, front and center, smack dab in the middle of the gameplay. Today’s Conspicuous Consumption DLC — I guess the name Mars Party Pack was already taken — lets you swap in new versions of some of the buildings.

Hacker Array: Enjoy a “Las Vegas” feel with a roulette wheel or embrace the retro style with an old radio tower.
Offworld Market: Send your goods offworld in a giant popsicle or a sleek retro rocket.
Optimization Center: Burst some bubbles with a bubble machine or conduct some electricity with a massive Tesla coil.
Patent Lab: Research patents inside a giant Rubik’s cube or a sci-fi robot head.
Pleasure Dome: Dance off inside a fun time disco ball or skip the dancing in a neon diner.

Sure, it’s $3 DLC. But you know you’ve spent more than that on League of Legends skins.