Nick Diamon

How have we all not made fun of the Stadia launch trailer?

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Less than stellar launch reviews aside, Stadia, Google’s game-streaming boondoggle has at least brought us this amazing ad. It may now be my favorite example of “How do you do, fellow kids?” It’s so gamer marketing tryhard that it circles almost all the way back around to nerd cool. Almost.

Counter-Strike needed a little character, so now it has almost two-dozen

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Rainbow Six Siege has them. Overwatch has them. Apex Legends has them. Now, Counter-Strike, the competitive shooter with maybe the least detailed lore or personality, has characters. Honest-to-gosh characters with unique looks, voice lines, and ‘tude. These Master Agents come with the latest update to the hoary shooter, and the inject a little chutzpah into the proceedings once you unlock them through whatever operation coin upgrading shenanigans are afoot. There’s Two Times, Buckshot, Commander Ricksaw, Osiris, Agent Ava, Maximus, Blackwolf, and other appropriately hooh-rah sounding nicknames. Imagine how envious everyone will be when they’re using plain old T’s or CT’s and you’ve got some guy called “The Doctor” sporting a faux-hawk.

You can get a better Grid by not owning it

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Grid, (just stylized as “GRID” and not “GRID Reboot” or “GRID 4”) launched on PC and consoles last month from Codemasters. It’s supposedly a “return to roots” for the franchise. It certainly looks like a fine racer that virtual gearheads should like. It’s also coming to Google’s Stadia streaming service, and when it does, the game will have something there you can’t get on any other platform.

The Google Stadia version of Grid will have a 40-car racing mode. According to Codemasters’ Mark Green, this exclusive mode “just isn’t possible” without the tech giant’s streaming technology. Speaking to WCCFTech, Green also says controller lag isn’t an issue – a prediction that many commenters have had for streaming tech.

“I mean racing games are particularly sensitive to controller lag and yet I can’t feel any when playing on Stadia, the experience is fantastic.”

While Grid will not be part of Google Stadia’s launch lineup, it will be available later this year.

Once you’ve slogged through Wolfenstein: Youngblood, go find the new widgets!

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Bethesda Softworks has launched a major update for Wolfenstein: Youngblood. The 1.0.7 update adds new endgame content sure to please the teen twin Nazi-stompers.

Once you’ve finished the main campaign, the new “Da’at Yichud Artifacts” mission will open up to give players a treasure-hunt going back through Nazi-occupied Paris. Twenty treasure maps will lead hunters on a backtrack journey for bits and bobs that give finders money, XP, and ability points. You’ll need those new points, because the update adds a new ability for each character tree. If you need new ways to high-five or flip the bird to your cooperative or A.I. sister, there’s new pep signals, too!

We Happy Few falls down in its final expansion

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We All Fall Down, the last bit of announced DLC for We Happy Few, will launch on November 19th. In this story expansion, players will take on the role of Victoria Byng, last seen in the main campaign as a side character. This DLC slims the game down to stealthily avoiding guards by swinging over environments and striking from the shadows. It also cuts out the survival mechanics to concentrate on action and story. Come see the last gasp of Wellington Wells.

Get banned from Red Dead Online, and you might make some money

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Rockstar is offering a $10,000 bounty to anyone that can prove they were banned from Red Dead Redemption 2’s online mode in error. The catch is that you have to prove to Rockstar that the ban came as a result of a “false positive” and you were innocent of whatever charge caused your ban. Go here to register for the studio’s bounty program, and get to it. Just don’t cry if your ban sticks and you get nothing.

A warning for cowpokes looking for an easy payday: Rockstar has been offering a similar bounty for years in Grand Theft Auto Online, and they haven’t paid out yet. Plenty of other hacks have been reported, and the participants have gotten relatively small ($100 to $1,000) rewards for helping out, but the ban jackpot remains safe.

If you want to feel sad about Mass Effect, check out what’s new in Anthem

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November 7th, remembered as “N7 Day” for the Mass Effect franchise, hasn’t really been a thing since Mass Effect Andromeda crashed and burned in 2017. This year, Electronic Arts and BioWare are celebrating N7 Day by offering cosmetic goodies for sale in Anthem. For about $8 each, you can get skins for your Javelin suit that look like better characters from the other game.

There are Asari Storm, Quarian Interceptor, Turian Ranger, and Krogan Colossus skins for sale that correspond to the different Javelin types. You can also buy an emote that mimics the “Shepard Shuffle” dance. I’m Commander Shepard and this is my favorite store in the game!

World of Warcraft’s world finally includes other people

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Buried in the avalanche of BlizzCon announcements like Diablo IV, a tepid non-apology, and Overwatch 2, Blizzard unveiled another expansion for World of Warcraft. But wait! World of Warcraft: Shadowlands doesn’t just revamp the game’s whole leveling system and present some new lore. It also add a dash of sorely needed color to the game. As in people of.

It may have taken 15 years to get here, but Shadowlands will feature more diverse options in the human side of the character creator. Up until now, the options for humans included Caucasian faces and tanned Caucasian faces. You couldn’t really make a human avatar that reflected many of the world’s diverse racial characteristics outside of different colored hair, and a slightly browner skin tone. Shadowlands changes that. When asked by Eurogamer why it took so long to offer these options, Blizzard said they wanted “to get it right” and not just slap black skin onto Caucasian faces. Fair enough, but 15 years? Hey, we’ll get more options for trolls and orcs, too!

Everyone’s favorite Korean cook started in City of Heroes

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Emily Kim is a wildy popular chef on YouTube. She goes by the online handle “Maangchi” and has built a devoted global fan base by cooking Korean dishes, wearing amusing clothing, and generally acting like all the good stereotypes of a Korean mother. She’s published two cookbooks and turned herself into a brand worth millions by showing people how to make kimchi and babimbap.

“My job was usually Attacker. I just always wanted to be wielding my sword and hammer.”

What most people don’t know is that “Maangchi” was also the name of Emily’s avatar in City of Heroes. It means “hammer” in Korean. Before she blew up the world of YouTube cooking, she spent her nights trouncing MMO bad guys as a sexy superheroine. Her son saw all the late night gaming and told her to try her hand at YouTube for a creative outlet.

Emily Kim doesn’t play City of Heroes any longer. She’s too busy with her foodie empire, and City of Heroes officially closed down in 2012. Has she seen the unofficial servers that recently popped up? Maangchi could be the hero Paragon City needs!

Is it a war crime to dislike Call of Duty Modern Warfare?

, | Game reviews

There is a long stretch of six-lane blacktop going from Kuwait City to Basra, officially known as Highway 80. To most of the world, it’s the Highway of Death, and it’s the home of the most enduring images of Operation Desert Storm. You’ve probably seen them. Hundreds of burnt vehicles littering a desolate road. Mangled metal and smoking rubber for miles. The aftermath of Mad Max. Multiple Mad Maxes. There are pages of scholarly debate on the subject of the Highway of Death. I won’t bore you with the details, but the summary is that on February 26th, 1991, Coalition forces, led by the U.S. military, targeted the retreating Iraqi army just north of Al Jahra. Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers were bombed, shot, or roasted along the road during the 10-hour assault. One pilot later said the battle was “like shooting fish in a barrel.”

In Call of Duty Modern Warfare, the Highway of Death has moved to the fictional country of Urzikstan, and it’s the villainous Russians that did the deed instead of us. That may be the most telling bit of how this Call of Duty treats war.

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Take a chance on this League of Legends spoof

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Har har. Those crazy esport kids and their gaming. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, or jungling in a one-lane. Chance the Rapper plays Lazlo Holmes, the befuddled basketball correspondent sent to cover a League of Legends tournament, and he doesn’t understand gaming! It’s mostly the type of humor you’d expect from the outside looking in on esports, especially for the general audience of Saturday Night Live. These “athletes” just sit there! People pay to watch them do this? These kids and their dang games! I’ll at least give them credit for not trotting out another Fortnite skit.

You can at least keep your Xbox One controllers for the next console

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Microsoft has confirmed that all Xbox One controllers will be forward compatible with the next Xbox console. The tweet from James Shields, the Xbox Product Marketing Manager, is short and sweet. Adding on to a discussion regarding the Xbox Elite Controller’s viability with the upcoming console, (codenamed “Scarlett”) Shields dropped in to clarify that the future can include all Xbox One controllers.

“Yep – all Xbox One controllers!”

That’s good news for any Xbox gamers that want to keep their favorite controller going into the next generation.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s modern duty is calling off loot boxes

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Activision has announced an end to random loot boxes in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It’s all about the Battle Pass now. According to the official blog post, there will be premium and free Battle Pass tracks and an in-game store in which you can directly buy whatever cosmetic bits you want, but random Kinder Egg style rewards are out. The team vows that any balance impacting items, like new weapons or attachments, will be available for free by playing the game.

If that’s not shocking enough, the team has committed to releasing all post-launch maps and modes to all platforms simultaneously! It’s almost as if someone working on Call of Duty was paying attention to the rest of the industry.

Fortnite Chapter 2 isn’t just an update. It’s a revelation.

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For a couple of days, Fortnite was unavailable to players. If you had logged in, you’d have just seen a black hole with no option to play. Of course, everyone assumed something big was coming, but when compared to Fortnite’s previous events, yesterday’s Chapter 2 release is quite literally a game-changer in a lot of ways.

The update’s features are numerous and the mechanical, as well as qualitative, differences from the previous version of Fortnite exert influence over almost every facet of the gameplay. There’s a completely new map in which bodies of water aren’t just obstacles. Thanks to the addition of speedy watercraft, lakes and rivers are actually highways to other parts of the map. Weapon tables have been reorganized and streamlined to make arsenals less finicky and obtuse. The XP system has been overhauled to provide easier progression with medals and challenges. The game’s community is still trying to figure out what it all means for their meta discussion.

Oh, but I did say “almost” everything is different. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that the 14-year old with lightning-quick construction menu mastery will still beat you. Sorry. It is still, at its core, Fortnite.