Category Archives: Gaming

World of Warcraft Welcome Back Weekend



Blizzard Entertainment is doing a World of Warcraft Welcome Back Weekend. Players who have inactive accounts can play World of Warcraft for free for a limited time. It’s a nice way to get players back into the game before the new Battle for Azeroth expansion arrives in August.

Battle for Azeroth is approaching fast, and everyone is needed back on the front lines. This weekend, we’re upgrading all inactive World of Warcraft accounts to grant returning players full access to the game and all of their characters – without a subscription – through June 24.

In the blog post, there is an asterisk next to the word “game”. Players are responsible for any online connection fees. Game access will be granted at the last expansion the player purchased, or the Warlords of Draenor expansion, whichever is greater.

This is interesting, because Warlords of Draenor is not the newest expansion. The most recent one is Legion, which will not be provided for players who have inactive accounts and who play for free this weekend.

This might be problematic for players whose old friends and guildmates stayed active and who finished the Warlords of Draenor content quite a while ago. They could still play together, but would have to do it in what some would consider old content.

In addition, Blizzard Entertainment is offering 25% off select game services. This includes:

  • Appearance Change
  • Character Transfer
  • Faction Change
  • Name Change
  • Race Change
  • Character Transfer / Faction Change Combo

The offer does not include a discount on Guild Services, WoW Token, Character Boost, pets, mounts, or transmog items.


Discord has Added the Games Tab



Discord is used by a whole lot of people who enjoy playing video games. Pop into Discord, and you might see the name of the video game that a friend of yours is playing at that moment. Discord has added a new feature that lets you see what games all your friends are playing. It is called the Games tab.

The Games tab is your new home. It’s warm, cozy, and has all your Discord happenings in one place.

The Games tab will show you:

  • News about games you play
  • Launcher for games you play
  • What your friends are playing right now
  • What your friends recently played
  • Your friends’ Spotify listening parties, Twitch streams, and Xbox status

The Quick Launcher feature allows you quickly launch any game that has recently been played on your PC. The Quick Launcher feature does not appear in the Games tab if you are playing on a Mac (like me). It also is not designed to quickly launch console games.

The Now Playing feature will give you a quick view of what your friends are currently playing. Discord will automatically add anyone on your friends list who you chat with. Discord will also add users who you have talked to in voice chat recently, along with others from servers you chat on. You can also add friends.

Depending on the game being played you’ll get a quick view into who is taking part. If they are a member of one of your servers and in a voice channel, you’ll be able to quick jump over to the server so you can join in the conversation. If the game being played supports direct invites through Rich Presence, you can even join into the game right from that screen.

The Games tab will show you news about your favorite games, including the latest updates, patch notes, and clips.

If you are a Discord user who is located in the European Union, Discord will not automatically populate the Games tab for you. Instead, you will be asked via a pop up if you would like to add these features.

Discord users located anywhere else will automatically have these features enabled. The Discord blog post shows how to opt-out of them if you want to.


Pokémon GO will Include Trading and Gifting



Pokémon GO will be adding three features that I think will make many players very happy. The new features are: Friends, Trading, and Gifting. The Trading feature seemed to be in the video that was released when Pokémon GO first launched. Soon, players will actually get to make trades with their friends.

We’re excited to share brand-new ways to interact with your friends on Pokémon GO! The Friends feature will start rolling out to Trainers later this week, allowing you to connect with your real-life friends and keep track of their adventures in Pokémon GO. You’ll be able to send them items, earn bonuses – and even trade Pokémon!

The way to add someone as a friend in-game is to ask them to share their Trainer Code with you. Enter that Trainer Code and then send the person a friend request. If they hit “accept”, they will appear on your Friend List.

Spin a Photo Disc at a Pokéstop or Gym and you have a chance of receiving a special Gift. You cannot open the gift yourself, though. Instead, you must sent that Gift to a friend who is on your Friend List. He or she will be able to open it.

The Gift comes with a postcard showing where you picked it up. It will contain helpful items. Some Gifts might contain an Egg that, when hatched, will contain an Alolan form of a Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region.

Trading can happen between two players who are on each other’s Friends List and who each are Trainer Level 10 or higher. You can trade a Pokémon you caught for a Pokémon your friend caught. Completing a trade earns you a bonus Candy for the Pokémon you traded away. That bonus can increase if the Pokémon you traded were caught in locations far apart from each other.

Trades are powered by Stardust. Build your Friendship Level with the friend you want to trade with, and you can complete the trade with much less Stardust.


Nintendo Announced Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3



Nintendo announced a new Super Smash Bros. game with new fighters, stages, and more at E3 2018. It will be released on December 7, 2018.

Legendary game worlds and fighters collide in the ultimate showdown – a new entry in the Super Smash Bros. series for the Nintendo Switch system! New fighters, like Inkling from the Splatoon series and Ridley from the Metroid series, make their Super Smash Bros. series debut alongside every Super Smash Bros. fighter in the series…EVER! Faster combat, new items, new attacks, new defensive options, and more will keep the battle raging whether you’re at home or on the go.


Features include:

  • A new game in the Super Smash Bros. series
  • New fighters, new stages, and every fighter ever featured in the series…EVER!
  • Inkling from the Splatoon series joins the roster
  • Ridley from the Metroid series also joins the fight
  • Returning fighters include Wolf, Ice Climbers, Pokémon Trainer and more
  • Elevate the Super Smash Bros. experience to new heights with faster combat, new attacks, new items, and new defensive positions
  • Hold a 4-player-free-for-all, or kick it up to 8-player battles. (Additional accessories may be required for multiplayer mode. Game, system, amiibo and some accessories sold separately.)
  • All current Super Smash Bros. series amiibo figures are supported.

The retail edition of Super Smash Bros.Ultimate can be preordered now. Players in the United States can purchase it from GameStop, Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart or Target. Each one has priced it at $59.99. Canadian players can preorder the game from Walmart for $79.96. The digital edition of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is “coming soon”.


Blizzard Steps Up Abusive Chat Penalties in Heroes of the Storm



Blizzard Entertainment, creator of Heroes of the Storm, announced they will be rolling out improvements to their reporting system for abusive chat. They will be changing the way they penalize repeat offenders by increasing the severity of the actions they take against their accounts.

Currently, players in Heroes of the Storm who are regularly reported for abusive chat incur a silence penalty that restricts them from chatting in-game and prevents them from playing Hero League for the penalty’s duration. Additional offenses result in increasingly longer silence penalty durations.

Blizzard feels that, in some cases, “silence penalties alone aren’t enough for repeat offenders to see the error in their ways and correct their behavior.”

As a result, we’re going to greatly reduce the number of silence penalties we apply to repeat offenders’ accounts. Instead, a player who returns to abusive behavior after their initial silences expire will begin incurring account suspensions. These suspensions will quickly ramp-up in duration and prevent them from playing Heroes of the Storm entirely. Players who prove they are incapable of – or unwilling to – improve their behavior after being warned, silenced, and suspended enough times will be permanently banned from the game.

In addition, Blizzard has already started implementing machine learning technology that further enhances their ability to validate and empower accurate player reports. They believe it has proven successful so far, and they plan to continue leveling-up and expanding their report validation process going forward.


Sonderlund Responds to Backlash Against Women in Battlefield V



Electronic Arts (EA) unveiled a Battlefield V trailer that included some women soldiers, and a cover for the game that features a woman soldier. It wasn’t long before some disgruntled men took to Twitter to complain that women shouldn’t be in Battlefield V. EA Chief Creative Officer Patrick Soderlund has responded to the backlash.

Gamasutra interviewed Patrick Soderlund, who said that the inclusion of women in Battlefield V was “something that the development team pushed.”

“Battlefield V is a lot about the unseen, the untold, the unplayed,” he continued. “The common perception is that there were no women in World War II. There were a ton of women who both fought in World War II and partook in the war.”

Those who expressed complaints about the inclusion of women in Battlefield V claimed that EA was sacrificing historical accuracy and realism. That claim is easily debunked with a quick Google search.

The USO website has plenty of information about the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserves (USMCWR), the Coast Guard’s SPARs, and the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). According to the USO, 20,000 women served in the Marine Corp during WWII.

The Gamasuta interview also included this quote from Patrick Soderlund: “There are people who are uneducated – they don’t understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen, this is a game. And today, gaming is gender-diverse, like it hasn’t been before. There are a lot of female people who want to play, and male players who want to play as a badass [woman].”

In addition, Patrick Soderlund said: “And we don’t take any flak. We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or. It’s just not ok.”

Battlefield V will be available on October 19, 2018. It will be released on PS4, Xbox One and PC.


Battle for Azeroth Expansion to Launch Worldwide Simultaneously



Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, announced in April that the newest expansion would go live on August 14, 2018. They recently announced that it would launch worldwide simultaneously.

The decision to have a global launch of the Battle for Azeroth expansion could work really well, and allow all players to engage in the new content right away. Or it could turn out to be a glitchy, laggy disaster. Players will just have to wait and see how it goes.

For the first time in World of Warcraft, the next expansion – Battle for Azeroth – will launch in the Americas, Europe, Taiwan, Korea, and Australia/New Zealand at the same time. Wherever you live and whatever faction you fight for, you can be part of one globally united front as the battle for Azeroth begins.

Blizzard Entertainment has a map on the page where the announcement was made that shows what time World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will go live around the world. The same information is also presented in a list. There is also a countdown that shows you that days, hours, minutes, and seconds left before the global release will happen.

Battle for Azeroth will launch:

Americas – August 13, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. PDT. The reason it is being launched slightly ahead of August 14 (in local time) is to align with the other regions.

Europe – August 14, 2018 at 12:00 a.m. CEST

Taiwan – August 14, 2018, at 6:00 a.m. CST

Korea – August 14, 2018, at 7:00 a.m. KST

Australia / New Zealand – August 14, 2018, at 8:00 a.m. AEST

UTC – August 13, 2018, at 10:00 p.m. UTC


Bethesda Announced DOOM Eternal at E3



Bethesda announced DOOM Eternal at the 2018 Bethesda E3 Showcase. It is the sequel to the award-winning and best selling DOOM (2016). DOOM Eternal was developed by id Software.

DOOM Eternal will deliver the ultimate combination of speed and power, along with the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat.

As the DOOM Slayer, you’ll return to take your vengeance against the forces of Hell. Set to an all-new pulse-pounding soundtrack composed by Mick Gordon, you’ll fight across dimensions as you slay new and classic demons with powerful new weapons and abilities.

An official E3 Teaser video has been released. The worldwide unveiling of DOOM Eternal gameplay will happen at QuakeCon 2018 in Dallas, Texas, on August 10. Bethesda says the reveal will be live for attendees and livestreamed for everyone.


Activision is Terminating the GHTV Service



Activision announced that it is in the process of terminating the GHTV mode within Guitar Hero Live. As of December 1, 2018, GHTV will no longer be available to play. On that date, Activision will terminate the service for GHTV and servers will be shut down.

Console versions of the GH Live mode will continue to operate as usual.

Some changes have already been made. As of June 1, 2018, iOS versions of the Guitar Hero Live game for mobile is no longer available for download via the app store. Players who currently own the app and have it installed on their device can continue to play the GH Live mode on their installed device (through November 30, 2018). Activision points out that if you update your iOS software, the app may no longer be supported.

Also as of June 1, 2018, all GHTV in-game purchases will be turned off. Activision says players can continue to use their Hero Cash and items on hand until the GHTV sunset date of December 1, 2018.

Activision states that players can still enjoy GHTV and all content in the game mode, including Premium Shows, through November 30, 2018.


Steam Store will Contain “Something That You Hate”



Valve posted a blog titled “Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?” The short answer appears to be: everyone. Steam has decided to opt-out of making decisions about whether or not a specific game should be removed from the Steam Store – except for things they “decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.”

In the blog post, Valve says: “The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content.” Instead, Valve says it’s about “whether or not the Store contains games with an entire range of controversial topics.” Those topics include: politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on.”

So what does this mean? It means that the Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don’t think should exist. Unless you don’t have any opinions, that’s guaranteed to happen. But you’re also going to see something on the Store that you believe should be there, and some other people will hate it and want it not to exist.

Valve has provided reasons why they made this decision. They point out that Valve is not a small company, and that it isn’t homogeneous. The people at Valve don’t all agree on what deserves to be in the Store. Valve says that what is considered acceptable varies around the world, both socially and legally.

In short, Valve has decided that the way to solve this dilemma is to …do almost nothing at all. Valve feels it should not be deciding what belongs on the Steam Store. They feel they shouldn’t be choosing for players what content they can or cannot buy. Valve also doesn’t feel it should be choosing what kind of content a game developer is allowed to create.

Valve has concluded that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, “except for things we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.” At the same time, they want players to understand that the games Valve allows on the Steam Store “will not be a reflection of Valve’s values”.

In addition, Valve is going to provide players with tools that will allow them to override Valve’s game recommendation algorithms and hide games containing topics that the player is not interested in. The options will also allow parents to control what kinds of games their kids see.