Category Archives: Gaming

Activision Launched a Call of Duty: WWII Alexa Skill



Activision has launched the Call of Duty: WWII Alexa Skill. It is currently available in Beta, and will function as an additional ally for Call of Duty: WWII players.

The Call of Duty: WWII Alexa Skill features an array of support options, including personalized player recommendations, updates on in-game achievements and the ability to stay connected with and compare your play with friends.

Did you just play a match of Call of Duty: WWII and want to know how you did as well as how to improve your chances next time? Ask Alexa how to improve your skills, and you’ll get a personalized recommendation ready for your next match. Want to know if your friends are online and playing Call of Duty: WWII? Just ask Alexa. The skill supports Call of Duty: WWII and is available free of charge, through the Alexa companion app.

The Call of Duty: WWII Alexa Skill employs AI and machine learning to create personalized recommendations, including specific loadouts, play styles, maps, modes, perks and divisions for each player. Using cluster analysis, the machine learnng model analyzes more than 20 factors, including accuracy, movement, engagement distance, K/D, shots, score per minute, time played, and relationships to other players to make personalized recommendations for each player.

The Skill then employs natural language generation to create personalized responses to 2,500 questions about the game and an individual’s performance. Using a soldier-like voice, the Skill can deliver 250,000 distinct responses that incorporate real-time statistics, status and recommendations from the game.

There are 15 categories of features in the Call of Duty Alexa Skill for Call of Duty: WWII, including:

  • Personalized recommendations to improve your skills
  • Match summaries, and highlights of your recent gameplay
  • Social features, including whether friends are currently playing, and comparing your stats and achievements to theirs.
  • Contract and order status, both during and after a match, so that you see how close you are to completing the contract and earning a reward
  • Latest in-game news, including events and game updates
  • Game and feature descriptions

Steam Spy is Shutting Down



Steam Spy announced that it will be shutting down. This decision comes as a result of Steam’s new Profile Privacy Settings. The result is that Steam Spy will no longer be able to obtain the information it needs to keep going.

Ars Techinca reported that Steam Spy was a sales-estimate service, born from an Ars data project. The service launched in 2015, nearly a year to the day that Ars senior gaming editor Kyle Orland published his extensive, data-sampling “Steam Gauge” feature. That feature measured game ownership and playtime estimates based on the huge sampling size afforded by Steam’s default privacy settings.

Valve recently updated Steam’s Profile Privacy Settings. The update expanded upon user’s Profile Privacy Settings page, and is intended to give user’s more control over the privacy of their Steam account.

You can now select who can view your profile’s “game details”, which includes the list of games you have purchased or whitelisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as “in-game” and the title of the game you are playing.

Additionally, regardless of which setting you choose for your profile’s game details, you now have the option to keep your total game playtime private.

The Steam Spy Twitter account (which is run by Sergey Galyonkin) posted a tweet in response to Steam’s Profile Privacy Settings update. The tweet said “Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default. Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won’t be able to operate anymore.”

A follow up tweet provide some clarification. “To reiterate – it’s not because of the new privacy settings. It’s because Steam just made everyone’s gaming library hidden by default (this wasn’t in their blog post).”


Phoenix Labs Announced Date of Dauntless Beta



Phoenix Labs has announced the date of the Dauntless Open Beta. Phoenix Labs thanked everyone who had joined the Closed Beta and shared their feedback.

We’re dedicated to expanding the world of Dauntless with your continued feedback and inspiration. Open Beta is an exciting milestone, but we’re still far from done. We will continue to create the game that Slayers will be proud to call their own for years to come. You can stay up to date with what’s coming to Dauntless at the Dauntless Road Map.

Phoenix Labs said that the Open Beta signals a foundational level of stability and permanence. They will be looking to players to provide hands-on feedback with the new improvements and systems that are coming to the game.

In order to fully Beta test the changes that Phoenix Labs is making to progression, island exploration, and other systems, they will be performing two full-server wipes in the coming months. The first one will happen on May 2, coinciding with the release of a major update to progression and Evergame content. The second full-server wipe will take place on May 22, in preparation for the Open Beta.

Phoenix Labs will be announcing a reward structure for current Beta testers. “Depending on your progress in the current and future stages of the Closed Beta, you will receive special cosmetic items as a reward for your support.” More details about that will be coming soon.


Blizzard Announced Dates for BlizzCon 2018



Blizzard Entertainment announced the dates for BlizzCon 2018. Those who want to attend can start making plans, booking hotel rooms, and hoping they will be able to purchase a ticket. BlizzCon is a huge convention that showcases Blizzard’s many games.

Team up with your friends and family and get ready for a journey to Southern California for BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard’s epic celebration of games and esports and the communities that bring them to life! Tickets to the main event, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 2 and 3, will go on sale May 9 and May 12, with tickets to a special pre-BlizzCon benefit dinner going on sale May 16.

Here are the dates you need to know:

  • BlizzCon Ticket Sale #1: Wednesday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. PDT
  • BlizzCon Ticket Sale #2: Saturday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. PDT
  • BlizzCon Benefit Dinner Ticket Sale: Wednesday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. PDT.

BlizzCon 2018 tickets will be available for $199 USD each (plus applicable taxes and fees) through the online ticketing service Universe. Tickets include two-day admission to the main event at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 2 and 3, and attendees will receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing a cache of loot based on their favorite video games.

This year’s BlizzCon will commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25-29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold.

The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments, along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games, will be crowned.

The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, which allows fans to watch many of the events that take place at BlizzCon 2018 online, is “coming soon”. It offers live-streaming coverage of the event and a variety of bonus content, including this year’s BlizzCon in-game items.


World of Warcraft is Deactivating the Remote Auction House App



Blizzard Entertainment announced that the World of Warcraft Remote Auction House will be deactivated on April 18, 2018. Players that are currently using the app will have to do their Auction House related activities in-game, once again.

The WoW Remote Auction House will be deactivated on April 18, 2018. On that date, you will no longer be able to view Auction House listings or make Auction House transactions through the official WoW website or the WoW Armory app, and all links will be removed from our website. After April 18, you’ll still be able to use the WoW Armory app for all other purposes, including accessing your character profile, talent calculators, event calendars, and more.

In a post that was updated three months ago, Blizzard stated that the Remote Auction House allowed players to browse the Auction House in World of Warcraft. They could check the status of existing auctions, purchase items, and create their own auctions. A single World of Warcraft account could preform up to 200 Remote Auction House transactions per day (including bids, buyouts, and creating auctions).

Blizzard is aware that some World of Warcraft community sites make use of Blizzard’s API to access Auction House-related data. Blizzard is going to continue to support for that. In short, those community websites will still be able to provide players information about things like prices for a specific item in the Auction House. The app, however, will stop doing that as of April 18, 2018.


Pokémon GO Added Quests



Pokémon GO has added quests to the game. The quests are based around a storyline that involves Professor Willow. Players are asked to help him find out if a series of mysterious happenings occurring all over the world are connected to the Mythical Pokémon Mew.

There are two different types of research you can contribute to: Field Research and Special Research. Gather Field Research tasks by spinning nearby PokéStops, which will give you objectives that include discovering and catching certain Pokémon or engaging with battles, among other things. Special Research may be requested by Professor Willow himself, and will take you on a journey to make important discoveries!

Pokémon GO isn’t calling these new research tasks “quests”, but that’s exactly what they are! Completing the quests gives you rewards, including “a variety of useful items and even encounters with certain Pokémon.” The tasks have different levels of difficulty. The more challenging a Research task is, the greater the reward.

Players can earn one Stamp per day by completing at least one Field Research task. When a player has obtained seven stamps, they can achieve a Research Breakthrough to receive even greater rewards. The new quests could freshen up the game and give players more to do.


Hearthstone’s Year of the Raven Celebration



Hearthstone is celebrating their Year of the Raven by giving players the opportunity to earn free card packs. The Year of the Mammoth, which began on March 29, 2017, is coming to an end. The Year of the Raven will begin in mid-April when The Witchwood expansion arrives.

To celebrate the upcoming Year of the Raven, we’re throwing a New Year of the Raven party! Every time you complete a daily quest, you’ll also be awarded a card pack! These packs can be from Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, Kobolds & Catacombs, or even The Witchwood! You can tear open The Witchwood card packs once the expansion goes live in April!

This event begins on March 26, at 11:59 pm PDT, and will last until April 9, 11:59 pm PDT. Players need to be aware that the rewards take effect after Midnight. The Hearthstone blog post asks players to please wait to complete their daily quests until after the clock strikes 12!

In addition, Hearthstone is offering players a way to obtain Lunara. She is a Druid Hero that can replace the Hero on the Druid deck that players started with. To get it, players have to win 10 games of Hearthstone in Standard Ranked or Casual mode after The Witchwood expansion has launched.

Two weeks after The Witchwood expansion is released, a single-player Monster Hunt event will begin. It is similar to the Dungeon Run from the Kobolds & Catacombs expansion. Players will defeat bosses and collect their bounties to build a deck that will keep them alive as they continue through the Monster Hunt.


Pokémon GO Eggstravaganza Returns!



The Pokémon GO Eggstravaganza has returned! It begins on March 22, at 1:00 p.m. PDT, and will end on April 2. If you missed out on last year’s Eggstravaganza event, now is your chance to participate.

This year, an even greater variety of Pokémon will be found in 2 km Eggs, and only those Eggs will be available from PokéStops throughout the event! This means that Pokémon that normally hatch from 5 km or 10 km Eggs, such as Wynaut or Raults, will be found in 2 km Eggs until the event ends on April 2 at 1:00 p.m. PDT. There will also be an increased hatch rate of certain Pokémon, such as Pichu and Togepi.

Players who participate in the Eggstravaganza will receive bonus Candy for every Egg hatched during the event. Double Stardust will also be available throughout the event. The Pokémon GO in-game shop has special boxes which include Super Incubators and Star Pieces.

The emphasis in this year’s event is the same as last year. The overall goal is to hatch as many Eggs as possible before the event ends. The difference is that last year’s event offered players double XP (experience points), but this year’s Eggstravaganza doesn’t.


Amazon GameOn Enables Cross-Platform Competitive Game Play



Amazon has launched Amazon GameOn. It is a set of flexible APIs built on AWS cloud infrastructure that works on any operating system. It was created to be an easy tool for game developers to use to drive engagement between their games and the people who play them.

GameOn is a set of flexible APIs built on AWS cloud infrastructure and works on any operating system, giving you the ability to scale quickly, while allowing you to invest more time in what you do best – designing great games. With GameOn you have an easy tool to bring more players in on the action – allowing them to compete for real world prizes fulfilled by Amazon or other in-game rewards. Drive engagement and increase monetization of your games by adding leaderboards, leagues, and multi-round competitions to your games, or strengthen your fanbase by allowing players and streamers to create their own user-generated competitions.

Features include:

  • Real-world and in-game prizes: Reward your players with in-game and real-world prizes fulfilled by Amazon.
  • Flexible competition creation: Create new or recurring leaderboards, leagues, and multi-round tournaments.
  • User-generated competitions: Allow players to create and manage their own leaderboards and competitions
  • Easy management with the GameOn console: Manage competitions with ease and access reporting on player behavior.
  • Keep competition fun and fair: Define entry requirements such as geographic location, device type, player skill level, and more.
  • Engage fans at events: Create competitions at events like gaming conventions, music festivals and meetups.

To celebrate the launch of Amazon GameOn, Amazon is offering free use of the GameOn APIs until May 1, 2018, to all developers.


Epic Games Released $12 Million of Paragon Content for Free



Epic Games has released $12,000,000 worth of content from Paragon, Epic’s high-end action MOBA, for free to all Unreal Engine 4 developers. These assets, built at a cost of over $12,000,000, encompass 20 triple-A characters and over 1,500 environment components from Paragon.

The content is now available free of charge in the Unreal Engine Marketplace, where developers may download Paragon packs to use in their UE4 projects. It includes 20 AAA quality characters, with their respective skins, animations, VFX and dialogue, along with over 1,500 environments from Paragon.

Available Paragon assets include:

Characters: 20 Paragon Hero characters will initially be available including all skins for distinct character variants. The release also includes base meshes, thousands of textures, VFX and animation cycles, and dialogue with hundreds of sound cues. The character Shinbi comes with an animation Blueprint which can be tailored to specific needs.

Environments: The Paragon release includes over 15,000 environment assets created for the Agora and Monolith maps, including a sample map for developers to use and customize as desired.

More to Come: Epic will release millions of dollars worth of additional Paragon asset packs beyond the $12 million offering through spring and summer of 2018.