A good share — if not most — of the folks playing Final Fantasy XIV are there because of previous ties to the FF franchise. And that fact is not lost on Square Enix. In fact, the studio just released a new video today showing the heroine of another Final Fantasy game joining the realm of Eorzea. While the title character of Lightning Returns: FFXIII, Lightning also appears and fights alongside players during one of A Realm Reborn’s Full Active Time Events (FATE), the successful completion of which will net the player gear and weaponry modeled after those found in FFXIII.On the flip side of this cross-promotion, Lightning Returns players can acquire new Miqo’te costumes as well as weapons and shields themed from the city-states of FFXIV: ARR. Clues for getting the costumes are hidden within the world of Nova Chrysalia and the weapons and shields are obtained by clearing side quests.Check out the new outfit, weapons, and shields for FFXIII in the gallery below and watch Lightning join the FFXIV FATE in the trailer after the cut.[Source: Square Enix press release] Gallery: FFXIII meets FFXIV | 13 Photos 13 +9
Brilliant Smallfish is a great way to work on both your fishing skill and your cooking skill. While Brilliant Smallfish is obtainable in just about any low-level body of water in Azeroth (for the convenience of not even having to leave your nearest capital city!), I admit that despite living in a coastal region, I got mine from the supermarket. And it’s not actually Brilliant Smallfish, it’s lingcod.This is a simple fish dish that is a little spicy and definitely tasty. It requires use of both the stove top and the oven, so it’s perfect for those of us who live in parts of the world that are starting to cool off. Southern Hemisphere and warm-climate inhabiting WoW brothers and sisters, my apologies. Ingredients:2 tbsp ground cumin2 tbsp ground coriander (cilantro) seeds1-1.5 tbsp sea salt or kosher salt (NOT table salt)1 tsp pepper2 cloves garlic2 cups parsley2-3 tbsp olive oil1.5 lbs (~700 grams) white fish of some sortEquipment:Oven-proof pan (cast iron or steel works here — do not use anything non-stick or with any plastic parts)Food processor, blender, or mortar and pestleThe reason you want to use kosher salt or sea salt and not table salt is because the crystals in table salt are really too small to be useful in this recipe. The objective is for the paste to make a nice crust on the fish when cooked, and the larger crystals of sea or kosher salt will make for a better crunch. If you must use table salt, then make sure to use less of it — probably about 1 teaspoon instead of 1.5 tablespoons. Because table salt crystals are smaller, it can pack more densely, and thus 1 tablespoon of table salt is actually more salt than 1 tablespoon of sea salt.A note on the fish: you can use any type of white fish that you like here, but I do recommend something that has relatively thin fillets, such as tilapia or sole. My supermarket was having a most excellent sale on lingcod, so I went with that, but it turned out that the fillet was thicker than would be ideal for this recipe, and it hindered the outcome somewhat. Learn from my mistakes!Preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C). Take your cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and olive oil and put them in the food processor (or whatever chopping/grinding equipment you have) and grind them all into a paste. If you include the parsley stalks, like I did, the paste will have stringy bits in it, but if you use mostly leaves, it should be pretty smooth. Rinse your fish under cold water, then pat it dry, and smear the paste all over one side.Heat your ovenproof pan over high heat, and oil it with another two tablespoons or so of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the fish, paste-side down. The idea is to quickly blacken the paste so it forms a nice, crunchy crust. How long you need to cook it will depend on the thickness of the fillet. If you’ve got a nice thin fish, like the tilapia I mentioned earlier, cook it for no longer than one minute, then flip it and cook the other side for about a minute, and then put it in the oven for five minutes. If you’ve got a thick fish fillet like my lingcod, you’ll probably need 2-3 minutes on each side and closer to ten minutes in the oven.Once it’s ready, you’ll have a nice, aromatic, slightly spicy crust on one side of your yummy fish fillet. This recipe’s good for four to six servings, or three to four if you feel like a lot of fish. Serve it with a lemon wedge, veggies, some rice or mashed potarrots (potatos + carrots, which is why there’s an orange tinge to the mash in the photo up top), and some white wine (I picked a pinot gris). Bon appetit!
Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn players that begin their quest on the PS3 will be able to play the PS4 version’s beta for free, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan announced today. The beta for the PS4 version of A Realm Reborn will launch alongside the console in Japan on February 22.Update: A Square Enix Europe press release confirms players will be able to carry over character data when transitioning from PS3 to PS4. The date noted in the press release is also February 22, indicating the PS4 beta will likely begin globally on that day. Show full PR textFINAL FANTASY XIV PLAYSTATION® 4 BETA ANNOUNCEDFINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn Coming to PlayStation® 4LONDON (9th September, 2013) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of SQUARE ENIX® interactive entertainment products, today announced that the opening of beta tests on the PlayStation® 4 version of FINAL FANTASY® XIV: A Realm Reborn from Saturday the 22nd of February 2014 and a free service that will allow players to switch from playing the game on the PlayStation® 3 to the PlayStation® 4Square Enix Co.,Ltd (Based in Shinjuku ward Tokyo, CEO: Yusuke Matsuda,) today announced the date for the start of beta tests on the PlayStation® 4 (PS4) version of FINAL FANTASY® XIV: A Realm Reborn (FFXIV: ARR).Beta testing will commence on the PS4 version of FFXIV: ARR, on Saturday the 22nd of February 2014.The FFXIV: ARR game service is now live on Windows PC and the PlayStation® 3 (PS3), and a PS4 version is currently in development. Essential work to increase the number of servers and strengthen the service environment, with the aim of alleviating the crowding on existing servers is also in progress.Furthermore, those who are currently playing the PS3 version of FFXIV: ARR will not have to re-buy the game on PS4 and will be able to transition to playing on PS4 at no additional cost. They will even be able to carry over their character data and continue playing on the new platform.Further information on the PS4 beta tests and the PS4 version transition service will be released soon and we hope everyone will have a great experience with FFXIV: ARR.Related LinksThe Lodestone: http://eu.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/Official Website: http://www.finalfantasyxiv.comOfficial Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FinalFantasyXIVOfficial Twitter: @FF_XIV_ENOfficial YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FINALFANTASYXIVAbout FINAL FANTASYSince the release of FINAL FANTASY in 1987, this unique RPG series continues to showcase the spectacular visuals, highly imaginative worlds and rich stories leading the industry and earning the highest accolades from users around the world. Titles of the series have so far achieved a cumulative shipment of over 100 million units worldwide.About Square Enix Ltd.Square Enix Ltd., a part of the Square Enix Europe business unit, develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content in Europe and other PAL territories as part of the Square Enix Group. Square Enix Ltd. also has a global network of leading development studios such as IO Interactive™, Crystal Dynamics® and Eidos Montréal. The Square Enix Group boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property including: FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 100 million units worldwide, DRAGON QUEST® which has sold over 62 million units worldwide and TOMB RAIDER® which has sold over 35 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix Ltd. is a London-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.More information on Square Enix Ltd. can be found at http://www.square-enix.com/eu/en/.
Galaxy Gear smartwatch lacks, you know, whatever the Korean is for je ne sais quoi. As reported by the Korea Times, the unnamed official said:”We’ve acknowledged that our Gear lacks something special. With more investment for user interface and user experience, Samsung devices will be better in terms of customer satisfaction.”We’re not sure if the source of the quote is Samsung’s VP of strategic marketing, Lee Don-joo, but this exec is quoted in the same Korea Times article as saying that the watch is “definitely receiving a warm response” and that improvements would stem from software tweaks and the hiring of new UI experts, rather than from the development of a whole new device. He described the Gear as part of Samsung’s drive to create new categories of “wow product” and, in virtually the same gasp, he also reiterated that Samsung would launch some sort of heavily curved — or perhaps even partially bendable — smartphone in Korea next month. Correction: We originally attributed the “something special” quote to Lee Don-joo, but in fact it was another Samsung insider speaking to a Korea Times journalist off-the-record. We’ve contacted Samsung for its side of the story.
Last week Qualcomm’s Chief Marketing Officer Anand Chandrasekher caused a bit of a stir when he called Apple’s new 64-bit A7 processor a “marketing gimmick” in an interview with IDG news service. Specifically, his words were:”I know there’s a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7. I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There’s zero benefit a consumer gets from that. Predominantly … you need it for memory addressability beyond 4GB [the iPhone 5s only has 1 GB of RAM]. That’s it. You don’t really need it for performance, and the kinds of applications that 64-bit get used in mostly are large, server-class applications.”Chandrasekher’s comments, who previously ran Intel’s mobile platforms group, were quite shocking in that not only are they highly debatable, but that Qualcomm has a long history with Apple and supplies the modems used in the company’s iPhones and iPads. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, that’s why Qualcomm issued this statement to Macworld yesterday:”The comments made by Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm CMO, about 64-bit computing were inaccurate. The mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices.”Qualcomm did not provide further comment to Macworld and Apple has yet to issue any comments on the matter.
Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O’Neill links all the things, all the time.Patch week with a new raid tier? It’s loot list time.You know the drill. Just like last time, I’m going to visit the loot for each boss, perhaps saying a word or two, just so you know what’s there when you spend a coin on a bonus roll. The usual loot advice is the same: go for the bigger items when using your bonus roll. If you’re raiding Flex or LFR as additions to progression raiding, I’d suggest coin-rolling on tier and trinkets in the lesser modes so you at least have a flavor of the item. Lower item level tier can be swapped out for the sake of keeping a set bonus intact and trinket procs tend to be powerful even at the lowest item levels. Otherwise, it’s the same old fill what slots you need filled.Remember, both Flex and LFR wings open over the course of the next month, while all normal modes are available from the start and heroic modes are open next week. Wing 1: Vale of Eternal SorrowsImmerseus: Unfortunately, everyone will want the Amplification trinket. Fortunately, it drops off the very first boss, so if you’re a progression raider, chill out because you’ll be killing him a lot and seeing loot drop. Here’s to hoping the drop rate isn’t completely bad. If you’re working on the last part of the legendary cloak questline, chances are you won’t want the Cloak of Misguided Power, but in case you’re bringing an alt warlock through, there it is. Finally, there’s a lookalike mage tier helm with mage-y stats.The Fallen Protectors: The first ring we can use, critty and hitty as it is, drops off this trio of former Golden Lotus pandaren. Continuing with the mage lookalikes in the first wing, we have some robes with a chunk of haste, but you can get your warlock lookalike on with these masterful shoulders. Finally, hit-n-haste boots are left for us to grab up.Norushen: Norushen is actually friendly in this encounter; you’ll be looting the corpse of the Amalgam of Corruption instead. There’s a good combo of hit and mastery on both the first amulet and first bracers to drop, as well as some good non-tier shoulders that unfortunately look like mage tier. Otherwise, we’re stuck with some critty gloves.Sha of Pride: Sha has the cool staff with the huge eyeball on it, but surprisingly the first available tier piece will be our chest piece. Maybe it’s because our tier chest is crit and mastery, because although we’ll like more mastery this tier, crit’s still not a favorite of warlocks. There’s also a sha pet that drops, so roll your dice well in raid! Wing 2: Gates of RetributionGalakras: This fiery proto-drake has crit bracers, but the rest of the loot is pretty good for warlocks. The ‘lock-a-like helm has a grand chunk of haste, and if you need even more you can pick up the ring. The sandals bring yet even more haste but also some mastery instead of hit.Iron Juggernaut: The mastery belt belongs with a mage tier look, and while we don’t often see leggings beneath our robes, the haste and mastery combo is pretty nice for an off-tier piece. If you miss the old orb-in-claw look from Cataclysm PvP gear, it’s back for an off-hand off this chunk of Horde engineering.Kor’kron Dark Shaman: Yes, there is an amulet of haste and hit on this boss. There are also some alliteratively named boots after one of the major voidzones in this fight. But we all know the competition’s greatest on that Multistrike trinket those Dark Shaman have for us.General Nazgrim: Our gloves are the second tier piece to drop for us. While the shoulders pack some great haste, you can pick them up to fit the rest of the mage lookalike gear if you feel the urge to look truly terrible. If you don’t want to spend a coin on those, consider going for the Horde-like sword. As an Alliance player myself, I’m not advocating trying out a Horde look, but consider how often you get a chance to transmog to Muramasa as a warlock? Yeah, exactly.Wing 3: The UnderholdMalkorok: Poor Malkorok only has two things to offer. While he does have a trinket, it’s the Cleave trinket, which is only useful on some fights instead of all. But if you like the tier 16 warlock look, you can grab the critty belt he also drops.Spoils of Pandaria: I’m not sure who Avool is but he left some pretty sweet haste/mastery bracers on the Spoils of Pandaria. Oddly enough, the robes referring to insects aren’t off the Klaxxi boss. But the smoky-cloud wand of glowy things certainly looks like it came off a Pandaria-named boss.Thok the Bloodthirsty: This T-Rex is a lootasaur whose corpse you’ll want to pilfer. There’s a haste and mastery ring on the loot table, but the socket bonus is spirit, so I doubt the personal loot system will pop this item up for warlocks. You can try for it in regular raid, however. Our tier helm token drops here as well as a blood-dripping orb off-hand. But you know this bloodthirsty dinosaur just dreams to be a pretty pretty princess T-warlox when you find our tier’s lookalike robes and lookalike gloves on his corpse.Wing 4: DownfallSiegecrafter Blackfuse: This engineering clusterfel of a fight has your tier shoulders of crit and haste as well as some mage lookalike gloves. I know it’s not a reference, because we already have items for much more awesome WoW Insider writers than me, but I can’t unsee a certain name within this staff’s name. I know what megalithic means, but..megantho-?Paragons of the Klaxxi: It figures that the insect lords have the tier legs — after all, they have plenty of legs to go around if you need some. The third ring choice is here along with yet another option of wristguards. Finally, the dagger is faintly glowing green on the bottom, but at least it’s not bright orange that doesn’t match anything.Garrosh Hellscream: I find it odd that we get a BoA off-hand, but no matching BoA main-hand, just a BoA two-hand, but c’est la vie. The haste/mastery off-tier helm is here, but I think I’ll want the gooey, purple, eyeball book for transmog at the very least. Unfortunately, you’ll have to kill Garrosh at some point to get the Wushoolay’s 2.0 trinket, which is shaping up to be very good if not BiS for warlocks.Next week we’ll look at catch-up loot from the Timeless Isle and what Ordos has in store for legendary cloak-wearers. Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We’ll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.
iOS 7 release day, folks, and while we’ve told you about plenty of apps that have been updated to fit Apple’s new aesthetic, we’ve got another for you. This time, it’s Facebook, and instead of just giving its iOS app a fresh coat of paint, the team in Menlo Park has also delivered a new way to navigate its iPhone app. The upgrade brings an ever-present tabbed bar at the bottom of the screen that lets users seamlessly switch between News Feed, Requests, Messages, Notifications and More — meaning as you slide your finger along that bar, the screens quickly switch from one to the other.And, each of those tabs saves your state, so if you’ve scrolled down a ways in your feed, then do some messaging and come back, you won’t have to roll through all the content you’ve already viewed. This function also transforms the More screen into a personally customizeable tab, as the app remembers whatever option you last chose. While this new option is a departure from the left-side nav users have grown accustomed to, the changes are very much made with you in mind. Developers went through 100 variants of the app tested by between 5-10 million users — who wanted less friction in the UI — and that feedback informed the redesign. Keep in mind, however, that iPad owners won’t be getting this new nav (Facebook found that the existing UI was better suited to the larger screen).As for the iOS 7 paint job? Highlights include wireframe icons and a translucent nav bar at the top of the screen that allows underlying content to bleed through, along with a general flattening of the app’s appearance. However, users will only see this new look if they have upgraded to iOS 7. Folks sticking with iOS 5 and 6 will still get the new tabbed nav functionality, but the aesthetics will remain in line with the rest of their device’s appearance. Wanna give the new Facebook a try? You know what to do.
Halo wireless charging technology to the first-ever Formula E electric vehicle race next year. But before y’all get too excited, only the safety cars will be equipped with Halo for the first season, which goes from September 2014 to June 2015 in London, Rome, Berlin, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles and many more places.As with these safety cars plus trial vehicles from London taxi firm Addison Lee, the current-gen Halo requires electric vehicles to stay still on large charging pads, which isn’t ideal for racing cars. That said, Qualcomm CMO Anand Chandrasekher told us that his folks are already looking into bringing dynamic charging to racing cars starting in the second season. In other words, these battery-powered vehicles will eventually be able to recharge while still running on the race track! Another interesting aspect of Formula E is that unlike the traditional Formula 1, the former’s lower noise pollution allows its vehicles to run through the heart of cities. But not all fun is lost, as the cars will instead have a high-pitched jet engine sound, so old-school racing fans may still approve.Chandrasekher, who’s a self-confessed auto nut, added that Qualcomm has signed up to be both a founding partner as well as a technology partner for Formula E, in order to promote sustainability. This means the company will be providing support to the race’s wireless data backend for the vehicle monitoring network, as well as letting the audience follow the race on their mobile devices in real time. Naturally, Qualcomm will also be sponsoring a team, hence the above teaser photo of a Formula E car from long-time buddy Drayson Racing, who broke the EV land speed record back in June.As for Halo’s commercial availability, Chandrasekher said his company is currently still in discussion with suppliers to car manufacturers, but it won’t be too long before these Halo-powered vehicles start to show up with a price tag.”There are a few [suppliers] that are already building with our technology, so within the next few years, hopefully we’ll see some of this in market,” said the exec over the phone. “If you’re looking for something that’s not commercial but in production, the Drayson Racing cars are in production using our technology.”Exciting times for the automotive industry, but let’s hope that the Stig approves as well.Show full PR textQualcomm Becomes Founding Technology Partner of FIA Formula-E Championship– Qualcomm Halo Technology to Help Reduce Environmental Impact in Automotive Racing –BERLIN – Sept. 9, 2013 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced a multi-year agreement with Formula E Holdings (FEH) to become an Official Founding Technology Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship, the new international championship featuring racing cars powered exclusively by electric energy. The agreement will allow Qualcomm and FEH to showcase mobile and Electronic Vehicle technologies globally through an exhilarating sport and demonstrate how current and future generations all over the world can benefit from wireless, sustainable technology on- and-off the track.As a leader in the mobile space, Qualcomm will advise FEH in their quest to incorporate new and more sustainable technologies into the racing series. As a start, Qualcomm Halo™ Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology will be adapted to be fitted into the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship safety cars so they can be wirelessly charged. The wireless charging system will be made available to the race cars from season two. Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad and a charging pad on the electric vehicle. Drivers simply park over the base pad and charging commences automatically. As part of its advisory role, Qualcomm will evaluate the connectivity and mobile technology of each of the ten venue cities around the world, providing solutions to help enhance the spectator experience around the circuit such as live streaming to fans, video gaming and social media.”Our collaboration with the FIA Formula E Championship is not just a great opportunity to showcase Qualcomm technologies, such as our Halo WEVC system, but to evaluate and improve wireless connectivity and EV technology across the globe, especially in the host cities,” said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Qualcomm. “We hope this arrangement will leverage mobile technology to enhance the fan experience and impact the global movement toward more sustainable living.””The FIA Formula-E Championship is going to become a showcase for electric vehicle technology,” said Alejandro Agag, chief executive officer of Championship Promoter Formula E Holdings. “As the global leader in mobile technology, Qualcomm’s involvement will not only help us develop new advances in EV tech, but also to provide our fans and the world’s EV community with the best race viewing experience possible. New technologies in connectivity, wireless and mobile fit perfectly with a Championship open to new technology, not only for the cars but for everything around the venue.”For more information, please visit http://www.fiaformulae.com/About Qualcomm IncorporatedQualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm’s licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm’s engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website , OnQ blog , Twitter and Facebook pages.About FIA Formula E ChampionshipFormula E is a brand new FIA championship featuring Formula cars powered exclusively by electric energy. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. Commencing in September 2014, the Championship will compete in the heart of 10 of the world’s leading cities – including London, Beijing and Los Angeles – racing around their iconic landmarks. For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fan. Operating as an ‘open championship’, the series gives car manufacturers and constructors the opportunity to showcase their electrical energy innovations in a racing environment, designing cars to the technical specifications set out by the FIA. www.fiaformulae.com .
14nm silicon built for laptops, CEO Brian Krzanich announced a brand new SoC series named Quark. It’s the smallest SoC the company has ever built, with processor cores one-fifth the size of Atom’s, and is built upon an open architecture meant so spur its use. Early on in his keynote, Krzanich said that Intel plans to “lead in every segment of computing,” and Quark is positioned to put Intel in wearables — and, in fact, he even showed off a prototype smartwatch platform Intel constructed to help drive wearable development. And, Intel President Renee James pointed out that Quark’s designed for use in integrated systems, so we’ll be seeing Quark in healthcare and municipal use cases, too. Unfortunately, no details about the new SoC’s capabilities or specs are yet available, but we can give you some shots of Intel’s wearable wristband prototype in our gallery below. Gallery: Intel wearable | 4 Photos 4 +1
Escapism and daydreams are, in my opinion, wonderful and part of what fuels our creativity and excitement. I mean, most of us probably engage in some form of escapism just by the act of playing MMOs. These are settings that make us heroes, gives us clearly defined objectives with assured rewards, and continually dole out progression and backpats. Am I the only one who purrs when the game says, “Well done, chap?”But there’s always that next level of escapism where the mind starts to fantasize about leaping through the monitor and living in these vivid, exciting worlds. Consider the amount of homework or responsibilities or job tasks you have on your plate, and then consider dropping it all to spend your life as an adventurer in Azeroth, Norrath, Tyria, or Eorzea. Wow, that would be such a relief, wouldn’t it?Nay, say I — it would be a nightmare from which you would be unable to escape. You would most likely star as an ironic mishap victim in a Twilight Zone episode. Today we’re going to look at 10 consequences of trading the real world for a virtual one. 1. You will live in constant fear and pain.As we pack our things to jump through the monitor and into these virtual worlds, let’s have a crystal-clear understanding of what these worlds consist of: small habitated outposts surrounded by scads of brutal wilderness, hostile wildlife, hostile natives, and hostile bandits. You would either be huddled up in a city in fear of ever leaving, or you’d leave only to be attacked over and over again. Even with all the mutant healing powers at your command, you’ll still feel agonizing pain at being bitten, gored, sliced, stabbed, immolated, poisoned, electrified, crushed, battered, and drowned. You’d effectively live in a prison where the world outside of the towns consists of guards who want to pummel you into staying in your cell for good.2. You’ll either be a soldier or in service of one.There’s certainly not a lot of creative leeway when it comes to making a living. You will either grab a sword and become a soldier-for-hire, or you’ll work your fingers to the bone supporting the soldier-for-hire industry. Teachers? Politicians? Writers? Insurance claim adjusters? Scientists? They’re in the extreme minority if they exist at all, so you’ll consign yourself to eternal warfare or making cheese wheels to feed the troops.3. Time will stand still.Time is a harsh mistress in the real world, no doubt, but it does come with a very unappreciated benefit: things progress and change. Your actions today will have consequences, your work can pay off, and your relationships will develop. This is not the MMO world. Like the movie Groundhog Day, the only thing that will progress there will be your knowledge and immediate wealth, because the rest of the world will be stuck in a moment in time with the day before being the same as the day after. The bandit threat will never be eliminated and that inn with the busted roof will never get fixed.4. Death will not be a release, but a reset button.Like mutant healing, having practical immortality sounds like a great thing until it’s shoehorned into a busted, antagonistic world. First of all, you’ll never have the opportunity or choice to die; you’ll be forced to live forever. Long after you get tired of the locales and weary of the pain from uppity goblin stabbings, you’ll still be there. It’ll be like an eternal retirement home where you’ll bide your time because you’ll be detached from the outside world. And even when you are killed — which will happen, many times, even if you try to avoid it — all you’ll get is some more pain and a big ol’ reset button that sets you up for more. Have you started screaming yet? It helps drown out the futility of your situation.5. You’d have idiotic conversations piped into your ears 24/7.So we’ve managed to make the transition into the game world itself, but that won’t stop people from playing it, will it? And when people play, people talk with godly abilities to transmit their message across cities, regions, and even worlds. You’ll, of course, have to listen to it all, all of the political inanity and “yo momma” jokes and incoherent rage, because you won’t have any ability left to mute, ignore, or escape the voices. They’ll be everywhere, trickling into your ears — and they’ll never stop.6. You probably would not have plumbing, air conditioning, or deodorant (if you’re in a fantasy world).Except for the statistically fewer contemporary and science-fiction virtual worlds, chances are you’ll be heading to a fantasy world. This is not good. Since fantasy is loosely based on pre-industrial society, you’re going to have to give up a number of conveniences that you take for granted every day. So start getting used to the fact that you’ll be pooping in a bucket, sweating like a pig, smelling like a howler monkey, and eating quickly rotting food that never had the benefit of a fridge.7. There would be no regulation for magic users.These virtual worlds are filled with wall-to-wall adventurers who have one thing in common: They all have access to things that can kill you and nobody legislates that. What terrifies me the most when I think about it is the prevalence of magic in these games. From the outside of the monitor, they’re good for DPS numbers and pretty special effects. From inside the monitor, they’re unchecked power that can do unspeakable things to people that the magician does not like. Would you want to live in a world where a disgruntled garbage hauler, a manic mother, or a depressed teenager could call down a meteor on your city block, set your house on fire with a thought, or summon demons to do their bidding?As an aside, I am now old enough to completely sympathize with the government in X-Men that wants to register and regulate mutants. C’mon, they have a bit of a point there.8. No one would remember you.In MMOs, you’d encounter exactly two types of people: NPCs who would have simple conversations with you and forget you the moment you left, and players who would only be around for a short time before disappearing forever. So you would be unable to form long-lasting relationships with anyone unless some other soul got trapped in this pocket hell alongside of you. And what if they’re a jerk? Good thing you know a spell to turn them inside-out, I guess.9. All laws and rules would be established by an unseen entity that could change them at any moment.The seat of power in MMOs is not in the figurehead of the king or baron, but in the developers’ studio. The studio represents an absolute monarchy that you would never be able to petition or influence. The studio would set all of the rules and laws with god-like authority and control, and you’d be subject to any abrupt changes that a patch or update would bring. Of course, being in the world and unable to access a computer, you’d never know that such change was coming until it did.10. Your world will end. Within years. And it will be brutally sudden.Considering that you would be in constant fear, in constant harm, and unable to escape, this last fact would be a mercy blow on your existence. Still, considering you traded up to 70 years of your real world life for this virtual world, only getting back a handful of years would be a poor exchange. No MMO goes on forever, and when they’re shut down, it’s often without warning. Imagine living in a world where the end could come at any moment and will most certainly come within a decade or so. When it happens, you will leave no legacy, parent no children, and be completely erased from history.That’s the world you wanted to escape to.Next time on Perfect Ten: Justin talks about flowers and rainbows for 1200 words!Justin “Syp” Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you’d like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.
Recently, the family-friendly segment of the MMO industry suffered a bit of a blow with the news of Disney’s decision to shut down Pirates of the Caribbean Online and Toontown. These were both titles that had been around for years, and both had loyal fanbases. Toontown in particular has been around for about a decade and won several awards through the years. So when the sunsettings were announced, it raised questions about whether kid-friendly games are as successful as publishers might have hoped.In fact, these aren’t the only relatively well-known kids’ titles to be shut down over the past year. And while it might be premature to signal the death knell for kid MMOs, it’s a good time to do an assessment on what’s working and what might be hampering success. In this week’s MMO Family, it’s time to do a little state of the (kid-friendly) industry. At first glance, news of the impending closing of POTCO and ToonTown might create mild unease, but there are actually several other titles that have shut down recently or will soon. Pixie Hollow will also suffer from the Disney shutdowns. Meanwhile, Cartoon Network shut down the FusionFall servers a few weeks ago, ending a five-year run. Other titles, like World of Cars and LEGO Universe, came and went even though both were based on popular franchises. While MMO shutdowns are now an accepted part of life, many of these titles represented the vanguard of the kid-friendly genre, so their closings raise the question of whether the kid-friendly boom might be experiencing a bit of a bubble.The human elementOne problem with kid MMOs is that it’s practically impossible to make an MMO that’s completely kid-friendly. When you get down to it, the only thing that really separates an adult MMO from one that’s more family friendly is the theme and subject. In order to have a true virtual world, you need social interaction, and that interaction comes with risk, as we saw with Habbo. But studios who choose to remove that risk with things like chat filters and pre-set messages and emotes also remove the one thing that makes an MMO stand out from other types of video games. The effort to make a safe game actually results in a game that’s not very compelling.Playing pretendYou would think that MMOs are a perfect fit for kids because kids love to play pretend and use their imaginations, and MMOs are designed around roleplaying an avatar in a virtual world. But many kid-friendly MMOs lock players into rigid paths that prevent that. Instead of wandering around in any direction they want and creating their own adventures, kids are corralled into pre-set content that actually prevents them from feeling immersed in the world. Overly complicated UIs, invisible zone barriers, and tracked content all get in the way of actually feeling as if you’re seeing that world through the eyes of your character. Bland content with pretty colorsOne of the more refreshing quotes from SOE Live came when EQ Franchise Director Dave Georgeson said, “Enough is enough. Enough of the same game already; it’s time to get some new ideas into the genre.” The same could be said of kid-friendly MMOs, which tend to come with the same familiar features. Once you’ve collected outfits, farmed your crops, selected your pets, and put your table, lamp, and bed in your isometric-angled room, there’s little desire to do it again somewhere else. Many kid-friendly MMOs are also just prettied-up versions of grown-up MMOs with linear progression, and many kids don’t enjoy grinding levels and doing errand quests (nor should they!). The problem is that adults are making the MMOs that they are used to playing with some kid-friendly paint on top.If you can’t make the world, let the kids do itWe might be at a crossroads with kid-friendly MMOs. We’re seeing that there’s mixed success with current kid-friendly virtual worlds, and some of the reasons it’s struggling are hard to fix. But instead of making the game and hoping for the best, why not build the tools to let kids (and adults) make their own games, as Roblox and Minecraft have both successfully done? Thousands, if not millions, of young gamers have essentially become budding game developers thanks to those two titles, and they’re building games and worlds that rival what game studios have been able to create.Why would anyone want to do delivery quests or farming in an MMO when they can play laser tag, throw dodge balls, play hide and seek, run parkour courses, fly to the moon, survive the Titanic, explore Hogwarts, run through a Wipeout course, or live on a five-star island? That’s just a tiny sampling of what players in these two titles have created and played, and that doesn’t include the many amazing outfits (in Roblox) and character skins (in Minecraft) that players have designed on their own. These kids are thinking like game designers, and the best of them are learning the finer points of making a fun game, like zone layout, challenge level, and the pace of the content. As a result, they’re taking away much more from their gaming sessions than they would if they were being led by the nose in a “safe” but uninspiring MMO that’s supposed to be tailor-made for them.It’s not just child’s playThe kid-friendly genre might be suffering from some growing pains, but if it is struggling a bit, it’s not alone. You could easily replace “kid-friendly” with “adult” and draw similar conclusions about the MMO industry as a whole. We’re seeing some studios renew their efforts to design better (and more fun) MMOs for adults, and perhaps we need to see more of that from the kid-friendly genre as well. The recent wave of kid-friendly closures doesn’t mean the end is near, but it’s a good opportunity for the industry to take stock and think differently.The MMO Family column is devoted to common issues with families and gaming. Every other week, Karen looks at current trends and ways to balance family life and play. She also shares her impressions of MMO titles to highlight which ones are child-friendly and which ones offer great gaming experiences for young and old alike. You are welcome to send feedback or Wonka Bars to email@example.com.
PlayStation Vita game Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation is coming to Xbox 360, PS3 and PC as Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD. The download-only release will not only benefit from updated graphics, but new missions and other enhancements as well.An extensive Q&A from Ubisoft, available past the break, sums the improvements made to Liberation HD, touching on the new tutorial system, new combat (protagonist Aveline can dual-wield weapons now), polished free-running and improved facial animations and cutscenes. In addition to this, each mission has been “reworked” to provide better “pacing and challenge” for players. “And one more thing; we have worked heavily to improve the frame rate. The game will be smooth,” says producer Momchil Valentinov Gindyanov.AI and crowd behavior will also behave like Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD’s console brethren. “Using the AnvilNext engine and existing Assassin’s Creed technology has really allowed us to push the crowd and AI behaviour,” Gindyanov writes. “Liberation features all the crowd behaviour you’ve come to expect from an Assassin’s Creed game, tailored to our own specific locations, so you can expect to see all sorts of activities unique to New Orleans, including Mardi Gras!”Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD is due on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC from developer Ubisoft Sofia. Neither timetable nor price has been announced. Gallery: Assassin’s Creed: Liberation HD | 3 Photos 3 +1 Show full PR textAssassin’s Creed Liberation HDGlobal Q&A – AnnouncementAnswered by: Momchil Valentinov Gindyanov, ProducerAugust 2013INFO• GAME TITLE: Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD• PLATFORMS: PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360• AGE RATING: Pending• RELEASE DATE: TBD• What does Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD brings to table versus its predecessor? How does it improve upon its predecessor in terms of gameplay?When we set out to do Liberation HD, our objective was simple – improve upon what worked and adapt the gameplay and missions to be the most fun and enjoyable they could be. As a result, each mission has been reworked in order to improve their pacing and the challenge they pose for the player. Based on the feedback from our fans and our internal review of Liberation, mission paths, objectives and enemy encounters have all been edited to improve flow and the gameplay experience. Additionally, each scripted scene has been updated. Finally, a new set of tutorials has been implemented throughout the main path in order to introduce and educate players on combat and navigation mechanics.We also polished the world layouts and every free-running path. Thus ensuring navigation is more enjoyable throughout our multiple game areas; namely New Orleans, the Louisiana Bayou and Chichen Itza. Controls also have been adapted to consoles and PC as to be closer to what you would expect of Assassin’s Creed and as to be more natural for consoles and PC gamers.We also have new missions specific to Aveline’s Personas. Three news side missions’ chains have been created and each is a set of five (5) missions for a particular Persona, focusing on their specific strength and features set. That’s a total of 15 missions delving deeper into Aveline’s story.• Beyond graphics and gameplay, what is Liberation improving upon from its predecessor in terms of narrative and storytelling?Purely in terms of story, we are introducing in Liberation HD new story panels inserted between certain missions in order to focus players on the important bits of the story. This ensures smoother storytelling and story progression but also provides additional insights/details of the interesting world of 18th century New Orleans.In term of storytelling, we heavily focused on improving the character’s performance to provide a richer cinematic experience. Every cinematic and their animation has been reworked and upgraded. In other words, the team implemented high resolution characters, high definition skeletons (the animation rigs used when creating cutscenes) and improved facial animations (and their rigs). The result is enhanced cutscenes with smoother camera work that improve the storytelling and believability of characters.• One of the most interesting characters, so to speak, of Liberation was its world – 18th Century New Orleans. How are you bringing this City, alongside the Bayou and Chichen Itza, to the current generation of home console and the PC?We knew of lot of the appeal of Liberation was its setting, 18th century New Orleans is a location rarely visited in videogames which we were really glad to explore. Knowing the game would be enjoyed on HDTVs and PC monitors, we spent a lot of time reworking the city ingredients and our environment in high resolution. That means textures, geometry and material are HD-ready, thus ensuring a level of detail impossible before.Another major graphical we improved in Liberation HD is lighting. The mood and atmosphere lighting brings is very important to ensure our world comes to life. We have implemented dynamic change in the time of day, something we couldn’t do before. Additionally, the game’s lighting model is completely new with a mix of Linear Lighting technique and HDR, enabling us to create more detail and dynamic scenes.Still, even if the world is in HD and has amazing lighting, it wouldn’t feel like realistic if it wasn’t populated. The crowd life in Liberation HD has been fully reworked by our team here in Sofia. The crowd density, its variety and reactions have been improved in all areas of the game. Ensuring the world feels immersive and true to the Assassin’s Creed tradition. Additionally, animal life has been introduced in New Orleans and intensified in less human populated areas, such as the Bayou or Chichen Itza. Expect to see a broader range of animals, friendly and predatory.• Purely from a technical standpoint, what are you doing in Liberation HD? Are there new technologies implemented?Purely in technical terms, we tried to take advantage of the AnvilNext engine and introduce a host of new technologies and techniques to Liberation. They include high resolution characters and environments for highly detailed world/characters. On the cinematic side, improved animation and facial rigs ensure enhanced performances by the characters. Visually, the team has implemented Linear Lighting and HDR rendering and introduced changing time of day for Liberation. The sum of which ensures a true Liberation HD experience on current consoles and PC.And one more thing; we have worked heavily to improve the frame rate. The game will be smooth.• The VITA, from a hardware standpoint, relies heavily on touch-pad input and Liberation leveraged this in its gameplay. The PS3, Xbox 360 and PC are still analog on that regards. What are you doing to translate this experience?Quite simply, we redesigned the user interface to certify a seamless UI implementation both in term of game feedback and user input. In other words, it means we have completely redone the visual interface to make sure it will be used and understood efficiently by the player. Additionally, we have improved the control to ensure it feels natural on consoles and PC.• For the audiophile amongst us, has the audio seen the same amount of attention?Sound and music has been re-mastered, so if audio is your thing you will definitively appreciate the improvements made for Liberation HD. Additionally, even if its small detail we know it is an important one, but all SFX have been remade by our audio team.• Who is developing Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD?Ubisoft Sofia has developed many challenging projects since the studio opened, most of these requiring new platforms and technology to be mastered, and in every case it’s the team that has been key to delivering the final product. Our teams are built by some of the best developers in the industry, who rise to every challenge and push themselves to deliver the best results.AC Liberation HD was created by the same team that worked on the original title. Having gathered a lot of experience creating the game for the Vita the team was able to quickly identify all improvements needed to bring Liberation to the big screen. Additionally all fan and critic comments were thoroughly reviewed and incorporated in the plans for updating the game experience.• Assassin’s Creed games are well known to involve world-wide studios. Who leads the development of Liberation?Ubisoft Sofia is the lead studio and developer of the game. The Montreal studio strongly coordinates and supports Sofia on brand oversight and scripting, and shares technologies (such as the AnvilNext engine) as well as technical and artistic knowledge.• Can you give us a glimpse at the scale of Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD?The scope of Liberation is similar in length to previous Assassin’s Creed console games, with between 15 hours of play for experienced gamers to 20 hours for typical players. Liberation has also been scaled for “short burst” game session. This is reflected in the mission design and checkpoints to ensure maximal enjoyment.• What is the story of Liberation? Where does it take place?Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD features a completely new story and assassin for the franchise.Liberation is set in New Orleans between 1765 and 1780, in the period between the end of the French and Indian War, up to the middle of the American Revolution. The game tells the story of Aveline; a female Assassin of mixed French and African heritage. Brought up in a world of privilege and contrasts, Aveline becomes a strong willed woman and an avid opponent of slavery.Recruited to the Assassins by an escaped slave called Agate, Aveline joins the struggle against the Templars as they try to take control of New Orleans following France’s handover of the city to Spain. Striking hard and fast, she is instrumental in the Louisiana Rebellion that forces the Spanish and Templars out of the city for nearly two years before they return in force.With British colonies to the north moving closer towards the event of the American Revolution, Aveline is forced to reconsider her values as she strives against the Templars and slavery as the world she knows is gradually dragged yet into another war.• What are the forces at play? What is the Templar’s involvement in the story?Liberation continues the ongoing war between the Assassins and Templars. Following the French handover of New Orleans to the Spanish in 1763, the city finds itself under increasing pressure due to growing resentment from the French population of their new Spanish rulers, and from an insidious attempt by the Templars to seize control of the city.Within New Orleans however a small group of Assassins stands as the only thing between the Templars and their domination of the region, as the fires of revolution undermine the stability of the New World.• 18th century Louisiana is a very different context than the American Colonies on the East Coast. What makes this period pivotal in history?The story begins two years after the end of the French and Indian War of 1754 to 1763. This war affected the whole Eastern seaboard of North America: France ceded Canada to the British, and also ceded Louisiana to Spain, including New Orleans. Britain was heavily in debt as a result of the war, and attempted to further tax its own colonies to the north, which already resented the existing taxes they had to pay, including a tax for soldiers to defend the colonies against a threat from France that no longer existed. This set the scene for the events that lead to the American Revolution, one of the most pivotal periods in history.For New Orleans itself, the handover of the colony to Spain caused discontentment in the population, many of whom had fled Canada after it was handed to the British. The city rebelled against its new masters in 1768, although the rebellion was short lived.Even with its new rulers, New Orleans continued as a port for smuggling goods to the colonies to avoid the punitive British taxes. During the American Revolution, New Orleans was one of the major ports for running supplies to the colonies from France and Spain, especially when Great Britain blockaded Boston and other ports. For many people, Spain’s ability to hold New Orleans and their defeat of Britain in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1779-83 was a major contributor to the eventual colonial victory in the Revolutionary War.New Orleans and its surrounding areas were also famous for its slave trade and its system of plaçage, whereby wealthy French and Spanish men entered into an arrangement with a woman of African, Indian or Creole descent. This was a form of temporary marriage that lasted until a “more acceptable” wife could be found. This system allowed for some women, or placées, and their children, to gain their freedom, wealth and positions of power within society.It’s also worth remembering that although New Orleans during this period is the setting and backdrop for our game, the game itself is still about the ongoing conflict between the Assassins and Templars. New Orleans however had a culture and tradition that makes it unique for this period and the perfect setting for Liberation and the story of Aveline.• Why did you focus in on this particular time period and timeframe?For Liberation we have created a story that runs parallel to the story and events in Assassin’s Creed III, using a setting and theme that we believe to be unique – that of a New World colony that was not one of the thirteen colonies in the battle for Independence, but one that was “outside looking in”. New Orleans was critical as a means of smuggling aid to the colonies from Spain and France, but itself underwent substantial upheaval during the years prior to and during the American Revolution, and it is these tumultuous years that the player will experience.• Slavery was an important part of the society at that time. How are you treating this topic in Liberation?The slave trade was one of the main economic activities in New Orleans during the 18th century, and we will be addressing the subject in Liberation with the respect it deserves. Slavery is at the core of the game and Aveline’s motivation.• Can you introduce us to the new protagonist, Aveline? What is her back story?Aveline is an assassin of mixed heritage. She is the daughter of a wealthy French merchant and his African placée bride (Plaçage was a form of temporary marriage that was widely accepted in Louisiana at this time). Aveline is raised with privilege and love, even after her mother disappears and her father marries her step-mother. As Aveline grows she develops into a strong willed young woman and starts to take notice of the contrasts around her – wealth and poverty, freedom and slavery, and while torn between the different values she inherited from her parents, she forms her own set of values, including a vehement anti-slavery stance. It is at this time that she is recruited to the Assassins by Agate, an escaped slave who teaches Aveline to focus the strengths and skills required as an Assassin.In creating Aveline we wanted a new character with clear values and the will to fight for them, even if they do not always align with those of her parents or Agate. She is driven by her perception of what is right and what is wrong. She is very much an insider – a model citizen and the privileged daughter of a successful businessman, who uses her skills to fight against the injustices she sees around her every day in New Orleans, but as events begin to overtake the New World, Aveline finds herself caught more and more in the struggle between the Assassins and Templars for supremacy.• A female protagonist is rare in video games. Can you share hindsight on your creative process? Why a female assassin instead of a male one?From our very first discussions on the game we identified the possibility for a female assassin. New Orleans during the 18th Century was culturally a very diverse city and while it shared many of the aspects of other colonies that we view negatively today, it did also present unique opportunities, and several women with similar backgrounds to Aveline acquired considerable wealth, power and respect.Using these women as role models, we found in Aveline a strong, empowered young woman who has the opportunity, confidence and will power to be ruthless in achieving her goals – perfect for an Assassin! With all this behind her, Aveline is the equal of any male assassin.There have been female assassins around since the very beginning, with some appearing as part of the Brotherhood in both Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed Revelations.• What are her skills? How is this reflected in navigation, combat and stealth?We wanted Aveline’s skills and abilities to reflect her heritage and location, and for these to expand as she experiences the diverse culture around her in New Orleans, travels to new locations, and as she develops further as an assassin.Throughout the game Aveline is able to collect different tools and weapons and these then become part of her identity. Each tool or weapon also bring new opportunities in the areas of navigation, combat and stealth, which can be used anywhere in the game for very different play experiences. As Aveline grows, so do her abilities.• Specifically about Combat, what is Aveline’s style – what is unique about her combat abilities?Aveline’s combat style is a mix of flair and precision, mixed with moments of outright brutality! As an assassin, Aveline is of course no stranger to melee combat, and she is able to execute killing moves with a range of weapons including her hidden blades and when necessary her bare hands. Aveline uses a pistol for ranged combat, and as the game progresses she also gains access to the silent and deadly blowpipe.For Liberation, we have implemented the new combat system. This allows Aveline to wield two weapons at the same time, and is based around player skill and timing. We have also created our own enemy archetypes and missions to ensure that combat presents both a challenge and an opportunity for players, where striking at the right moment will clear your path of opponents much faster.• What are the different weapons Aveline will be using on her missions?New Orleans was very much a melting pot of the Old and New World at this time, with people from different cultures arriving from every direction. Combined with Aveline’s mixed heritage and privileged upbringing, this gave us a wealth of modern and traditional weapons to draw upon for our new Assassin.Primary amongst the traditional weapons is the blowpipe. The blowpipe allows Aveline to eliminate targets silently from a distance, a great advantage at a time when muskets were noisy and slow to reload. Another weapon is the sugarcane machete. With this in her hand, Aveline converts an agricultural tool into a brutal weapon with which she harvests victims!On top of these, Aveline has of course her hidden blades, plus the full range of weapons available to soldiers and the other combatants of the period, including pistols, muskets, grenades, swords and knives.There are also more weapons yet to be revealed, but that’s for another day!• Are you playing an Assassin reliving the memories of his ancestor?Liberation is different from main Assassin Creed games in that it is an Abstergo product where the player is playing in the Animus, rather than playing an Assassin through the Animus.The game has been released as a propaganda tool by Abstergo, who want players to experience a gray area of the Assassin/Templar conflict as an Assassin rather than a Templar.• Assassin’s Creed wouldn’t be the same open-world experience without Crowd interactions and AI. What are you doing to push the experience to the next level?Using the AnvilNext engine and existing Assassin’s Creed technology has really allowed us to push the crowd and AI behaviour. Liberation features all the crowd behaviour you’ve come to expect from an Assassin’s Creed game, tailored to our own specific locations, so you can expect to see all sorts of activities unique to New Orleans, including Mardi Gras!• America at that time was still vastly unexplored; will this immense land be explored in Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD?We will be taking the player to several unexplored regions in Liberation. Of these, the Louisiana Bayou is the most prominent region, which not only brings a new terrain but also a new navigation experience to the franchise.The Bayou is a swamp area, where dry ground is rare and the trees might not be only the fastest way of travelling from one place to another, but also the safest! Within this region, the player will encounter smugglers and other outcasts from New Orleans, living in their own settlements and following their own rules.Liberation will also take players across the Gulf into Mexico, but I can’t go into more detail on these at the moment.• An unexplored land promises animals, are they included in the game? Will there be additional gameplay tied to this?The Louisiana Bayou is home to a myriad of animals, many of these posing a real threat to human life. The largest and most dangerous animals are the alligators. These wait on the banks of the swamp or cruise the waters looking for prey, and will attack people whenever they can. Avoid them if you want to survive!• What key new features and content does Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD brings to the Assassin’s Creed universe?Aveline is the first Assassin with such clearly different character types – Assassin, Lady and Servant. Each character has their own advantages and disadvantages when playing missions, and each generates a different reaction from the city life around Aveline. All three personas bring depth to her character and game play choice to the player. The persona system also introduced changing rooms – booths placed around the city to facilitate Aveline’s change in disguise.
using less than 5 GB on iCloud now, you can skip this article entirely. Thanks to Jim for the notion to make this clear.I’ve long suffered Apple’s attempts at cloud services. While iTools hardly counts, my accounts (and usernames) do go back that far, and along the way I’ve made aliases (remember .mac?), and obtained a confusing .mac/MobileMe login split personality, ultimately ignoring an @icloud account name. When iCloud debuted, loyal buffoons like me were “gifted” a 20 GB storage plan on top of the paltry 5 GB given for free to all iCloud users.Tomorrow that freebie expires, and if you’re using more than 5 GB here’s what Apple says will happen:If the storage you’re using in iCloud exceeds the total storage available, iCloud Backup, Documents in the Cloud, and iCloud Mail will temporarily stop working.To avoid that, I went into Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup to change my storage plan. If you’re already on the additional 20 GB plan, you’ll want to downgrade if you are using less than 15 GB of storage in iCloud, and if you don’t expect to use more than that in a year.Apple has a big, shiny button to stay on the current plan. Another big, shiny button allows you to buy a whopping 50 GB for a crazy US$100 a year. But if you look below those two buttons with icons, there’s a text-only option that says Downgrade Options. That’s where you’ll find the 10 GB additional storage plan, which is a downgrade, but one I’m happy with as I’m only using 8 GB of storage in iCloud.That said, if you have more than one iOS device, it’s not terribly easy to stick to the free plan. I use iCloud backups, and those take up a lot of room. Between my iPhone 5 and iPad 3, I’m just a bit over. When you add documents, I’m up to 8 GB. I could pare it down, but $20 a year to Apple is likely worth it to have the freedom and flexibility of an iCloud backup plus the convenience of document availability in supported apps. Here are some more tips on paring down your iCloud storage.Here’s what the screen looks like on the Mac, and you can see Downgrade Options tucked away in the corner there, waiting for normal folks to completely miss it and buy too much storage.Luckily if you do accidentally buy more storage than you need, Apple gives you 15 days to get a refund (45 after a yearly payment).
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.I don’t play League of Legends. I’m not good at it and, in general, I have no interest in the MOBA genre. But the music video they released for their newest champion? Holy crap. So cool.Jackson Stephens asked:What do you think about the idea that the expansion will be announced at Blizzcon and released for Christmas? Releasing by Christmas is pretty ambitious. I have serious doubts. While I can see the expansion coming relatively quickly after BlizzCon, it would take much longer than Christmas. Blizzard games almost always get a lengthy beta and there most certainly is not a beta in progress right now.KennethLidbetter asked:Apologies up front if this has been asked already in the last few Queues. My question being how often is Arcane Brilliance column going to be written? Was super stoked that it was back, a week passed then a few more days now…and no column:( Help I need my maginess musings!At the moment, we’re running the column bi-weekly. If everything works out and Stacey is interested, we can step that up, but we like to start out playing it safe. The other returning columns were supposed to start out bi-weekly as well, but their authors got a little excited.taliesin asked:I just got a Hearthstone beta invite (yay). I have a PC and a laptop, both with WoW installed. I want to get the beta done only on my laptop. Can I do that or once I attach the game key to my account both computers will be affected? Thanks.If you only want to install it on your laptop, that’s fine. You don’t have to install it on your PC and it won’t do so automatically. If you choose to put it on your PC as well later, you can whenever you’d like!A person with a naughty name asked:Why are they not going to wipe out all our cards after beta?It likely just doesn’t make any sense to do it in a game where you can purchase cards for real money. People who have purchased cards for real money wouldn’t be set back by a wipe. If they wipe, people who haven’t yet spent money can choose to do so on day one to get a bunch of cards. The only people who would be punished by a wipe are those who have chosen not to spend money in the beta (or won’t choose to spend money when the game goes into open beta) and will lose all of the progress they made. The effects of a wipe in a game like this are lopsided, so it’s best to just avoid it.BaronOfTheLake asked:Do you think we will ever have pets that will evolve/grow/change/digivolve into new forms? Even if we only get it from the new creatures that inhabit whatever new land we voyage to next?I think it’s possible we’ll see something along those lines. Pet breeding is a common feature in games that do this kind of monster battle thing, especially Pokemon. If I remember right, Cory Stockton even mentioned the possibility way back when Mists of Pandaria was still new. What form that will take, I have no idea. I doubt every single pet in the game is going to develop the ability to evolve into its final form, but there will surely be some mechanic that lets you play around with them a little bit. Maybe breeding two rares together will give you an epic or something.Y’all are about to ask:Alex, wtf! Why have your Queues been late and/or missing this week!?I’m really sorry about that. It’s been a rough, rough week. I need a nap. Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer ’em!
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z will now chop, slice and dice on PC. Publisher Tecmo Koei announced this morning that the spin-off will be available on Steam, alongside the announced Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, in early 2014. Yaiba, which we haven’t heard much of since Gamescom, is an action-packed bout of ninjas vs. zombies created between Spark Unlimited (Lost Planet 3), Team Ninja and Keiji Inafune’s Comcept, which also has its hands full with the successful Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter. Show full PR textTECMO KOEI AMERICA ANNOUNCES STEAM RELEASE FOR YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN ZBURLINGAME, Calif. – OCTOBER 8, 2013 – TECMO KOEI America announced today that YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z will see a release on Steam® (PC). Launching day and date in North America alongside the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft versions, the Steam® release will be available via digital download in early 2014.”YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z is an impressive project led by the expertise of Team NINJA’s Yosuke Hayashi and comcept’s Keiji Inafune, with the goal of creating a thrilling new experience for fans,” said Amos Ip, SVP and General Manager of TECMO KOEI America. “We are extremely pleased to offer YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z on PC through Steam, giving us the ability to reach as many gamers as possible with their action-packed creation.”In YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z, players battle fierce zombies as YAIBA, a cyborg ninja who will do anything to get revenge and stay alive. Cleaved in two, he is brought back to life with cyber-technology. Brandishing his ninja sword and the mecha weapons in his cyborg arm, he slaughters zombies with brutal, over-the-top abandon.Step into a stylized living comic book where stunning graphics depict a world gone mad. Hordes of undead can only be stopped by YAIBA’s willingness to use any means necessary to get the job done. Will he kill by turning his cyborg arm into a razor chainsaw for slicing up undead-or just rip off an opponent’s arms to use as zombie nunchucks? Both possibilities fill YAIBA’s heart with twisted laughter-and the desire to kill more and more zombies!YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z comes from the two teams behind the most famous ninja and zombie videogame creations as Team NINJA and legendary producer Keiji Inafune team up to create a new experience. The world of the ninja meets undead warriors, cybernetic weapons, comic books, in an entirely new IP that draws from the NINJA GAIDEN franchise with a host of bold, new features including an original storyline and style of gameplay.Always intense, never boring, YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z is violent, creative, and daringly different. Sharpen your sword, fire up your cyborg arm, and prepare to GET SOME!YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Steam® (PC) in early 2014. This title has not yet been rated by the ESRB.For access to the YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z press kit visit: https://app.box.com/s/y2ei06lxtqbahyebxxe1More information about YAIBA: NINJA GAIDEN Z can be found at www.YaibaNGZ.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YaibaNinjaGaidenZ and Twitter https://twitter.com/YaibaNGZ.For more news about Team NINJA, visit http://teamninja-studio.com, and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/teamninjastudio and follow us on Twitter @TeamNINJAStudio.About TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP:TECMO KOEI AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. On April 1, 2009, TECMO KOEI HOLDINGS CO., LTD was established as a result of the TECMO, LTD. and KOEI Co., Ltd. merger.Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.”PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.###