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World of Warcraft PvP Gear: A radical rethink, explained

In a new blog post, World of Warcraft senior game designer Brian Holinka outlines a series of changes Blizzard is implementing in PvP gear for its next expansion pack, Legion. …


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Giant Overwatch Action Figures Appear Across The World

Giant Overwatch action figures have popped up around the world as Blizzard gears up for the shooter's release in a few days.

Three huge figures, including Tracer in Hollywood, Genji in Paris, and Pharah in Busan, began to appear after Overwatch's official twitter tweeted a cryptic message about "agents activating."

Each stands around 15 feet tall and is showcased in action-figure styled packaging. Stats for each character is written on the back of the oversized packages, as well as a "try me" button on the side that lights up the figure. For Tracer in particular, you can watch Hollywood Boulevard's EarthCam to view it in real time.

You can check out photos of the oversized characters below.

Overwatch's open beta earlier this month drew over 9.7 million players. For more, you can watch Blizzard's newest animated short about the series, delving into Hanzo and Genji's tragic backstory. Overwatch hits May 24 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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NASCAR Takes On The World In Forza 6 Expansion

Last week a rumor popped up that Microsoft's Forza Motorsport 6 was planning a NASCAR expansion. Now the publisher and developer Turn 10 Studios have officially announced the product, which is available today for $ 20 on Xbox One.

The NASCAR Expansion contains its own world tour of races that pit stock cars against other cars in the game. Play as real-life drivers like Kurt Busch or Jimmie Johnson as they take on Formula E cars or WEC prototypes on road courses around the world. The expansion also features Homestead-Miami Speedway and utilizes the voices of Busch, Johnson, and Chase Elliot for a segment called "Voices of Motorsport" that talks about NASCAR and stock cars.

The expansion contains 24 different paint schemes covering 16 drivers. Click on the source link below to check out the expansions' full list of paint schemes and drivers.

Finally, NASCAR-themed hoppers surface online play variations.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

[Source: Turn 10 Studios]

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Blizzard Giving Away World Of Warcraft If You See The Movie

If you’re planning on seeing Warcraft when it hits theaters on June 10, you can come home and visit Azeroth for free. Blizzard and Regal Cinemas have announced a deal that will give moviegoers a free copy of the long-running MMO.

In order to get your free copy, you’ll need to redeem your ticket receipt at Regal, United Artists, or Edwards theaters. The codes can be redeemed through the end of the year.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or jumping in for the first time through this offer, you can nab some free cosmetic gear based on the movie. In order to get it, simply log in between May 25 and August 1.

For more on the Warcraft movie, check out our interview with director Duncan Jones.

Update: Blizzard has clarified that the free copy will include all expansions through Warlords of Draenor and 30 days of game time.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

ESL forms World Esports Association to professionalize and regulate eSports

“WESA will introduce elements of player representation, standardised regulations, and revenue shares for teams.” …


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Motiga’s Gigantic Will Survive Thanks To Publishing Deal With Perfect World

Things haven’t been looking great for independent developer Motiga. The studio has been long working on a MOBA called Gigantic, but with a delay out 2015 and significant layoffs, the game’s release became a question mark.

Today, Perfect World Entertainment has announced that it has agreed to publish the game. This effectively secures the title’s eventual release, a company representative told us.

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“The partnership with Motiga will ensure that Gigantic launches as originally anticipated,” we were told. “We’ll continue to work with them to make sure that the launch comes to fruition.”

As for release timing, Gigantic’s closed beta is now over. No news has yet been divulged about when we can expect the open beta period to begin.

When Gigantic does become available, it will have Windows 10 and Xbox One cross play. It's also coming to other Windows versions (in case you've decided not to upgrade). You can read more about the game in our past coverage.

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The challenge of developing for community: A World of Warcraft dev explains

A new post by Blizzard developer Ion Hazzikostas does a great job of explaining exactly what it means to cater to a huge, diverse audience of players with a game like World of Warcraft. …


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Four Reasons World War I Works For Battlefield, And Two Reasons It Doesn’t

This story was originally published March 5.

Over the weekend, a retailer may have accidentally leaked the setting for Battlefield 5. It could have been a typo or a joke gone awry, and was promptly removed from the site after people started buzzing. Still, the thoughts of a World War I Battlefield game is rattling around our brains. Would a game set in a war known for trench warfare, years-long stalemates, and poor military tactics that led to ridiculously large casualties really work within the Battlefield paradigm? The more we read about the war, the more we think there is a way DICE could make it work for its venerable multiplayer shooter series. 

Contrary to prevailing sentiment, World War I wasn't just all chemical warfare from entrenched positions. Over the course of the four years of conflict involving six continents, the Great War featured large-scale naval battles, romanticized aerial dogfights, tank battles involving hundreds of armored vehicles, and aggressive technological innovation – plenty of fodder for DICE to make an interesting multiplayer shooter. 

Here are a few reasons why World War I could work for Battlefield, and a few reasons why it it wouldn't, for good measure. 

WHY IT WOULD WORK

WWI Is Largely Unexplored In Video Games
Two generations ago, everyone complained about the overabundance of World War II based shooters. Last gen became an arms race to make modern military shooters. Now we're seeing a glut of science-fiction focused FPS games, with franchises like Titanfall, Star Wars Battlefront, all three Call of Duty varieties, and Evolve joining the Dooms and Halos of the world with futuristic weaponry. By taking Battlefield to World War I, DICE will have a huge point of differentiation working in its favor. 

The Great War also takes second billing to World War II in modern entertainment, so setting a game during this time period also affords DICE an opportunity to teach people about a huge part of history they are likely unfamiliar with. While the majority of people think mainly of the battles of mainland Europe, in reality the war extended its reach far across the globe, with skirmishes in Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, China, and the coasts of both North and South America. That affords DICE a wealth of varied options when designing maps.

Battlefield's Trademark Land, Air, and Sea Battles Translate Well
When you see pictures of World War I, they are often from the perspective of trenches, where defensive battles between the Central Powers and Allies resulted in heavy casualties thanks to strong defensive strategies and limited offensive options that could break the stalemates. But while infantry combat may have been a major part of the war, we also saw large-scale naval conflicts, the rise of air supremacy, and the birth of the tank. 

Yes, many of the standing armies heavily used horses, camels, and other beasts of burden in a military capacity, but as the war dragged on the technology aggressively ramped up. By the end of the war, modern military staples like tanks, planes, anti-air vehicles, armored cars with machine-gun turrets, aircraft carriers, submarines, and battleships all saw extensive action. These elements already translate perfectly into the battlefield.

DICE could also have fun with some of the weird technology that was used during the war, like observation balloons, acoustic locators, and fake horse carcasses snipers used as camouflage.

Aviation Could Be Great Fun, And More Balanced
By the time the war started in 1914, aircraft were already being used militarily, primarily for reconnaissance and close air support. To counter air supremacy, World War I saw the introduction of anti-aircraft guns and fighter aircraft. Aces became the biggest celebrities of the war, with pilots like Eddie Rickenbacker and Manfred von Richthofen (a.k.a. the Red Baron) gaining popularity for their exploits.

Air supremacy has always been a major component of Battlefield, so this rich history is just waiting to be tapped by the series. The aircraft of the time weren't as dominant as modern birds of war (a problem you see DICE continually wrestle with in modern Battlefield installments), which could help keep the air game in better competitive balance with the ground operations. 

Weapons Fit The Battlefield Class System
World War I didn't have an abundance of automatic rifles and machine guns, but that doesn't mean DICE has to completely rework its class system. Enough options exist in most weapon categories to preserve the Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon division of labor should the studio go that route. 

With more than 20 different standing armies participating in the war, the Assault and Recon classes would have an abundance of options to choose from for bolt-action rifles. Some will be familiar to those who have played World War II games, such as the M1903 Springfield, M1891 Mosin-Nagant, and Pattern 1914 Enfield. Machine guns were largely stationary for the early years of World War I, but light machine guns like the BAR, Lewis Gun, and MP 18 were introduced toward the end of the conflict.

The Engineer class poses more of a problem, but solutions do exist. Infantry proved largely ineffective against armored fighting vehicles in World War I, so military engineers started to develop armor-piercing bullets, "reverse bullets" that had increased propelling charge over standard issue bullets, and eventually anti-tank rifles like the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr. You could also arm the engineer class with mortars to fight off the tank advancements.

WHY IT MAY NOT WORK

Progression System Could Prove Problematic
The amount of weaponry used in World War I is staggering, but scopes and attachments for standard issues were a rarity, meaning DICE would need to get clever in developing an unlock system for progression. As a silver lining, the stripped-down nature of combat could force DICE to spend more time on competitive balance, even if it comes at the cost of continually getting new gadgets to play with. The crazy gas masks of the time give the studio some interesting cosmetic options to explore.

Are Players Looking For Slower Paced Combat?
One reality DICE simply won't be able to work around is the fact that the pacing of combat in World War I is significantly slower than you'll find in both modern and sci-fi shooters. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect trench warfare and mustard gas to play a dominant role in multiplayer maps – enough large-scale battles that resulted in serious progress for one side or the other occurred that DICE can give us a good variety of battles. But even taking this into account, there's no denying that the tanks are slower, planes are clumsier, and infantry guns fire at a slower rate in World War I. How the market reacts to this different pace would go a long way to making or breaking Battlefield 5.

We still don't know if the World War I setting is real, or if this listing was just a snafu or playful misdirection. But if DICE does go with World War I for Battlefield 5, we think it would be an interesting and entertaining challenge.

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Six Games Inducted Into World Video Game Hall Of Fame

The second class of World Video Game Hall of Fame inductees has been announced. The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, has whittled down the list of fifteen nominees to six new entrants.

The new inductees include:

  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • The Oregon Trail
  • The Sims
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Space Invaders

These six bring the total number of inductees to twelve. They join the following games in the inaugural class:

  • Doom
  • Pac-Man
  • Pong
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Tetris
  • World of Warcraft 

You can learn more about the World Video Game Hall of Fame on the Strong National Museum of Play. (Disclosure: Game Informer editor-in-chief Andy McNamara was a member of the selection committee.)

[Source: World Video Game Hall of Fame]

 

Our Take
Congratulations to the winners. I’m pleased that there is a balance of genres as well as games appropriate for younger audiences and mature gamers. It sends a compelling message that the medium is diverse, with experiences that are designed for a wide range of individuals.

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Linden Lab opens up VR world Project Sansar to outside creators

The company that opened up user generated 3D space with Second Life, and has a plan to do it once again — but this time, in virtual reality. …


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