In a nod to socialism, Offworld Trading Company will offer its multiplayer for free

, | News

Offworld Trading Company’s multiplayer is going to be free – that’s completely free – for everyone. Stardock and Mohawk Games have announced that they are releasing a free multiplayer client for their cutthroat martian capitalism game on February 28th. That’s a damn good price for some of the most unique and hectic real-time strategy multiplayer ever made.

There’s a Market Corrections DLC arriving the same day that will add three new single-player story campaigns centered on the challenges faced by three different corporate heads. The DLC will also feature twelve new skirmish and multiplayer maps based on martian locations. Market Corrections will cost $3.99.

Soon Guild Wars 2 will be cats all the way down

, | Games

You might think Guild Wars 2 is all about crazy creatures like talking bipedal polar bears (kodan), talking gorillas (grawl), talking moles (dredge), talking birdmen (tengu), talking frogs (hyleks), talking plant people who totally aren’t elves (sylvari), totes adorbs cooing penguin/seal hybrids (quaggan), and World of Warcraft gnomes (asura). But the thing about most of those races is that you can’t be them. But you know what you can be? A cat. And you know how Guild Wars has a hundred or so miniature pets, including cats? That means your cat can have a cat.

But Guild Wars 2 has decided it’s time to go deeper. Next Tuesday, on February 26th, you can get a cat as a mount. So now your cat with a pet cat can ride a cat. It’s a cat singularity, which is one of about three hundred reasons that Guild Wars 2 was designated the Greatest MMO of All Time by the International MMO Designation Committee, which is comprised of me and my cat.

Qt3 Boardgames Podcast: boardgaming holiday

, | Games podcasts

Some people enjoy tropical paradises when they take a vacation. But for their vacation, Tom Chick, Tony Carnevale, and Bruce Geryk enjoy War of the Ring, Fort Sumpter, The Estates, Imperius, Discworld, Time of Crisis, SpaceCorp, New Angeles, and Chronicle. Hassan and Mike, who didn’t get to go on vacation, will be back next episode.


Valve is as puzzled as you are about why they sell movies on Steam

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Valve is getting out of the movie business. In the latest Steam announcement, Valve explains that they are removing the “Video” category in the Steam store, and disabling the non-gaming entries for purchase. Gaming-related videos will be moved to the pages for the specific games they feature, or will be available via search and recommendations. Customers that have films in their account libraries will still be able to access their purchases going forward.

The first non-gaming video offered on Steam was Motivational Growth, a 104-minute science fiction comedy from Devolver Digital Films. It was released on Valve’s service in March 2015.

Heroes of Newerth’s final tower falls

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Frostburn Studios has announced the final major content patch for Heroes of Newerth. The 4.7.3 update, scheduled for the 26th of this month, will mark the last hurrah for the almost ten-year-old MOBA. The developers say any future updates will be minor ones, with just balance changes and bug fixes.

“Tributes to certain staff members have been put into some item flavour tooltips to thank them for all their hard work throughout the game!”

Once considered the most formidable competitor to League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth was unable to maintain its status in the tournament scene, and over the years the player base has dwindled. While there is a core of dedicated players, this announcement will likely mark the end of days for many.

Costume Quest’s newest outfit turns it into a cartoon series

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Where’s Costume Quest 3? It’s been five years since Costume Quest 2 popped out of Double Fine Productions and fans have been wanting a return to the imaginative world of Halloween costume fantasy and candy collecting ever since. Frederator Studios, the animation producers behind Adventure Time and Fairly OddParents, are serving up their first Amazon Prime series with Costume Quest, beginning on March 8th. It is based on the games.

It may not be Costume Quest 3, but the cartoon has an Uber-Lincoln, and nougat gives monsters power. Not a bad turn for the franchise that started as a Double Fine internal game-jam idea.

The wallet threat level for PlanetSide Arena pre-orders just got greener

, | News

Daybreak Game Company is delaying PlanetSide Arena again. The mega-multiplayer shooter that will offer 500-player team deathmatch and battle royale modes was originally supposed to launch on January 29th for PC, but that was delayed just before that date to March. Now, the launch is shifting to sometime in summer to coincide with the PlayStation 4 release. As part of the announcement, Daybreak is generously refunding all Steam pre-orders.

“We believe that delivering the most polished version of PlanetSide Arena that meets these expectations, on both platforms, outweighs any other consideration.”

While there’s no mention of the competition, it’s got to be hard to watch something like Apex Legends come out in your target market and immediately jump to 25 million players within a week of its surprise free-to-play launch. It was going to be hard enough to go against PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Black Ops 4, and Fortnite, and now you have to contend with this beast? Time to give everything another look!

You will never complete Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

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I like you a lot Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. I even picked you as my 2018 Game of the Year in a large field of really good games. You kept me engaged for fifty-ish hours schlepping across ancient Greece with Kassandra’s wit and strength, so you’d think I’d enjoy more of that. It seems churlish of me to complain about getting generous post-release content, but a firehose of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink will still result in a drowning.

New game plus and a level cap increase from 70 to 99 is coming in the February update. You’re trying to kill me, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Beat Saber has increased the known limits of human endeavor

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SteamVR, the virtual reality control system from Valve for Steam, has been beta updated thanks to data gleaned from Beat Saber players. According to Valve, they coded “sanity checks” into their tracking system based on what they thought was the upper limit of physical motion. Exceeding those checks caused errors as the system interpreted that data as tracking mistakes.

“It turns out that a properly motivated human using a light enough controller could go faster (3600 degrees/sec!) than we thought.”

Beat Saber players were turning their hands from palms up to palms down, and vice versa, in 50 milliseconds. Add that to the same pile as “the four-minute mile will never be broken.”

The unexpected nuance of White Tribe and its racist rump-colonial regime

, | Game reviews

If you spend enough time playing wargames, you eventually start paying attention to the questions designers are trying to answer. Some seem to have no answer at all.  The “WW2 European Theater in an evening” problem has been out there for decades. Hitler’s Reich is the most recent one to strike out looking with a bewildered glance at the umpire. Sometimes answers come from unexpected directions, when talented designers change the question entirely so that the solution becomes obvious. Skies Above the Reich took what seemed to be an insoluble problem of solo daylight bombing over Germany, inverted the perspective, and wrapped it up in an impossibly neat package, like Fermat’s Last Theorem.

And sometimes the whole problem space shifts, and you don’t notice until the seismic disturbance knocks you over.

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Is this app a viral ad for a new Vampire: The Masquerade game?

, | News

Tender, a new app that supposedly matches you with potential “soulmates” via blood, seems to be linked to Vampire: The Masquerade. The site is in “beta” but there’s a short personality quiz and it appears more will be added. The web app is owned by Paradox Interactive and you can even register with your current Paradox account.

The advertisement is featured in an entry on Trust No More, (which may be part of this alternate-reality “advergame”) and ties to “secret” memos from Jobe Preston, the (most likely) fictional CEO of Tender. TNM also has some codes and images to decipher.

Paradox Interactive purchased White Wolf Publishing, the owners of the Vampire license, in 2015.

God Eater 3 may not look like much, but that trailer music is fire!

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I have no idea what’s going on in the trailer for Bandai Namco’s God Eater 3. I didn’t play the first or second game, and none of this looks like anything I’d want to spend time learning, but that J-rock anthem is dope. There are monsters? A lingerie-and-monocle wearing librarian? A teen wearing manacles? I don’t know what the Ash Aragami are, and I suspect the ideas in my head are better than anything I’d see in the game, but check out those sick riffs.

God Eater 3 is available now on PlayStation 4 and Steam.

In Worbital, no one can hear you giggle. Unless you’re playing with voice chat.

, | Game reviews

I spend a lot of time moping around, mourning the death of traditional RTSs after everyone else has gone off to play some dumb MOBA.  I can’t even muster the energy to rail against MOBAs, because I’m too busy being dejected that Starcraft online would just be a string of humiliating defeats. I’m a lot fun at parties. At least it keeps me busy. Mourning the death of traditional RTSs is a full time job.

But sometimes I get a vacation.  Sometimes something like Infested Planet, Tooth and Tail, or Offworld Trading Company comes along and brings me a little joy.  Today is one such day.

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