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    One of the Wii U's most underrated titles is getting a second chance.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 8, 2018

    Beloved Wii U title Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is getting a Nintendo Switch remake.

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    Based on the information given during the most recent Nintendo Direct stream, it seems that this will be a fairly straight port of the Wii U version of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker with a few graphical adjustments and some new levels based on Super Mario Odyssey's New Donk City. This version will also feature a light multiplayer mode that will allow one player to navigate and another to throw items at enemies. Of course, we can't rule out the possibility that this version of the game will ultimately feature some content that just wasn't shown off during this particular stream. 

    3DS fans will also be getting a version of Captain Toad: Treasure Trackerto call their own, but that version of the game looks more like an original title than a port of the Wii U game. While some of the levels may have been carried over from that game, we imagine the 3DS team will have had to reimagine them enough for the 3DS to make it worth considering them entirely new maps. 

    In any case, both versions of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker will be available starting on July 13th. 

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    Not familiar with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker? Well, that's because the game was left to die a retail death on the fledgling Wii U. However, the game's low sales had nothing to do with the quality of the title itself. Treasure Tracker began its life as a level concept for Super Mario 3D World that would have required players to twist and turn levels in order to solve puzzles. The problem is that the team realized that having such levels in a game with a character that could jump complicated the design process considerably. 

    So, they created Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and ended up with one of the most enjoyable and clever puzzle games in years. It's a must play for those who never had the chance to experience it. 

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    Some say Luigi isn't afraid of ghosts because he has nothing to live for.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 8, 2018

    Classic GameCube title Luigi's Mansion is being remade for the Nintendo 3DS.

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    Nintendo hasn't released too many details about this remake, but it seems like it will include all the content from the GameCube title alongside new content like a Boss Rush mode. You'll also be able to utilize an in-game map that will work with the 3DS touchscreen. If this game includes any additional significant new content, Nintendo isn't quite ready to reveal what that content may be at this time. 

    One thing we do know is that the 3DS is more than capable of handling Luigi's Mansion from a technical standpoint. The 3DS has already played host to the official sequel to Luigi's Mansion (Dark Moon) and that game was praise for both its performance and the way that its gameplay replicated the experience of the GameCube original while adding a few twists to the experience. 

    Unfortunately, there's no word on Luigi Mansion for 3DS' release date at this time. However, it should be available sometime later this year. 

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    We'd be lying if we said we weren't at least a little disappointed that we're not getting a new Luigi's Mansion game for the Nintendo Switch. As great as the 3DS Luigi Mansion games might be, it does feel a little strange that Nintendo hasn't bothered to revisit the Luigi's Mansion concept via a console release since the original game debuted alongside the GameCube in 2001. While it's far from their biggest franchise, the series has enough of a fanbase to justify a more substantial sequel. 

    Still, Luigi's Mansion remains a fun little puzzler in the guise of a haunted house action/adventure game. We highly recommend that you keep an eye on this 3DS remake if you've never played the original Luigi's Mansionor just want to take another trip through its haunted halls. 

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    It’s obscure and probably not for everyone, but 1990’s Bio-Ship Paladin has a bold design that modern games could easily learn from...

    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Mar 9, 2018

    The far-reaching tendrils of the internet mean that nothing’s truly forgotten these days: from half-forgotten sitcoms canceled after an episode or two to early silent films, you’re sure to find information on just about anything if you can fire the right search term at Google. So while Bio-Ship Paladin, a side-scrolling shooting game released in 1990, isn’t completely unknown - it even has its own Wikipedia entry - it’s certainly obscure compared to a lot of other games from the period.

    Part of the problem is that Bio-Ship Paladin - also known in Japan as Space Battleship Gomora - was released at a time when the shoot-em-up genre was already at saturation point. In both arcades and on the Sega Genesis, the only home platform it was ported to, there were dozens of other games that involved flying through exotic environments and blowing stuff up. Within a year, the whole gaming community would be turned upside down by the phenomenon that was Street Fighter II: The World Warrior. By the time Bio-Ship Paladin arrived on the Sega Genesis in 1991, it probably already looked like a relic.

    Besides, Bio-Ship Paladin doesn’t exactly do much to endear itself to newcomers. Sure, its graphics and sound are pretty cool, particularly in arcades, but it moves along at a snail’s pace, while the player’s ship is huge and horribly vulnerable to attack. It’s worth remembering that, 28 years ago, most games of this kind were supposed to be easy to grasp within a few seconds’ play - the shooting genre, in particular, was where you were supposed to find quick, gratifying fixes.

    Bio-Ship Paladin, by contrast, has a strange control system that isn’t quite like any other game that came before or since, and a combat style that only makes sense after a bit of thought and experimentation. It’s little surprise, then, that neither of the game’s versions exactly caught fire. The arcade machine came and went, while the Sega Genesis version (which we’re largely discussing here) was only released in Japan. The company behind it, UPL Corporation, went belly-up about a year later.

    First, the obvious stuff: the plot involves some kind of alien invasion on a far-off planet, and you control a spacecraft charged with shooting down all of the aggressors. In the tradition of Gradiusand the Thunder Force series, you fly from left to right, avoiding enemy fire and shooting back. Holding down the fire button will unleash a charge shot, as seen in R-Type. The big twist, however, is that pressing a second button will switch between control of your ship and an aiming reticle, which you can then freely move around the screen and use to fire more precise shots at invaders. 

    At the time, some critics dismissed this odd mechanic as little more than a gimmick. Even more recently, in YouTube videos and internet posts, it seems that a number of people who’ve attempted to play Bio-Ship Paladin have quickly walked away in disgust. The game opens with a barrage of enemies, your ship’s too slow, and anyway, what’s the point of using the Missile Command-style shooting mechanic when you can just blast at things like you can in any other side-scroller? After all, your ship’s vulnerable as soon as you switch over to the moving-cursor mode.

    But far from a gimmick, grasping the vagaries of the control system is vital to understanding how Bio-Ship Paladinreally works. The game’s actually much harder if you try to play it like Gradius or Thunder Force. For the most part, it seems that its creators prefer you to leave the ship to fly along by itself as you waste everything with pin-point blasts from the aiming reticle. If you’re fast enough, those barrages of enemies can be dealt with far more quickly this way, rather than with blasts from the ship’s standard cannons. All but the biggest and most powerful bullets from bosses can also be destroyed by your reticle fire.

    Once this is understood, what at first looks like a slow and impenetrable game suddenly springs to life. The reason your ship’s so slow is because it’s essentially an object that you’re escorting through the game and protecting from incoming attacks - it’s one of the cities from Missile Command, except more mobile and deadly. The game’s measured scrolling means that, once you get to grips with everything, it becomes second nature to move the ship into a safe part of the screen, then switch back to the aiming mode and blow stuff up. The ship’s main guns are then relegated to use in tight corners, like level two’s more claustrophobic network of pipes and dangerous outcroppings. Even here, it makes sense to keep switching back and forth between modes, because the aiming reticle can shoot at things that are out of the ship’s line of sight, meaning you can clear a safe path and then flick back to moving the ship through the swathe you’ve created. 

    The power-up system also seems a little counter-intuitive until you realize what the designers are up to behind the scenes. Collecting spheres with an L on them will increase your ship’s energy bar, meaning you can take more hits before dying, but it will also make your ship increase in size. In short, it’s a simple risk-reward dilemma: is it better to have a large ship that is more armored but is also a larger target, or a smaller ship that can only be struck three or four times? There are other additions, too, including speed-up icons and little spheres that both shoot out bolts of energy at 45-degree angles and serve as temporary shields.

    None of this is to say that Bio-Ship Paladin is some lost classic. Its graphics are quite decent in a sci-fi '90s way, but they aren’t as stunning as, say, the Thunder Forceseries, which likely had a bigger budget to work with. The main ship is a boxy looking thing that has all the grace and charisma of an abandoned fridge. Nor is its music as relentlessly catchy as the accompaniments that graced its flashier competitors from companies like Konami and Toaplan.

    What the game does have going for it, though, is a clear desire to try something different. At a point when most arcade-action games were content to change only small nuances within a standard template, Bio-Ship Paladin attempted to mix things up. Its shooting requires a modicum of strategy and consideration. Even its boss battles are as much about careful positioning and picking out unmarked targets on huge tank-like craft bristling with guns. Certainly, completing the game requires more than just fast reflexes and memorization, though they’re also an important part of the mix: understanding exactly when to deploy the reticle and when to move your ship around are the key. 

    Looking back at Bio-Ship Paladin today, we can’t help wonder why other developers haven’t taken inspiration from it. Back then, one of the things going against the game was the sheer weight of competition and the hectic pace of arcades. Today, it’s easier to imagine players sitting down and really trying to get to grips with how Bio-Ship Paladin works, rather than just move on to the next louder, flashier blaster. There’s certainly room here for refinement, both visually and in the nuances of the controls - it really isn’t necessary for the player’s ship to be quite that slow to move around, for example.

    Even if nobody does think of a way of updating Bio-Ship Paladin for a modern audience, there’s still plenty to learn from its innovative spirit. How, for example, could the first-person shooter genre be shaken up with a bold reworking of its mechanics? This old game from 1990 shows how a fairly staid type of game can be turned on its head with the addition of a couple of strange ideas. Admittedly, not many people fell in love with Bio-Ship Paladin, by the looks of things, but that’s at least in part because of the game’s timing and presentation - released by a bigger company, and a bit earlier, it may have been more of a cult hit.

    Today, Bio-Ship Paladin’s little more than a curio, admired largely in collector’s circles due to its scarcity. Trying to find a copy for the Sega GenesisMega Drive these days is neither cheap nor easy. But Bio-Ship Paladin deserves to be remembered as something more than a pricey relic. Beneath its gray, stern facade lies a challenging, surprisingly absorbing shooter that dares to tinker with the basic assumptions of its genre.

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    Destiny 2 is getting a few much-needed updates in the coming weeks. Here's a list of upcoming updates and patches!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Bungie has announced a series of updates designed to address some ongoing issues with the Destiny 2 experience. The full announcement is a sizeable roadmap that outlines Bungie's update plans for the foreseeable future.

    Here's a clearer picture of what that roadmap looks like:

    The overarching theme of the announcement is "accessibility." Bungie plans to cut back on the influence of the game's Bright Engrams system in favor of a model that allows players to directly purchase what they're looking for via "activity awards." These activity awards will entice players to complete certain actions that yield appropriate benefits. 

    Furthermore, Bungie is looking to tweak XP rates in response to the controversial limiter systems players discovered in the game's code. They haven't revealed how they will do that, but it seems they are prepared to make some rather substantial changes. The studio also outlined their plans to ensure that vanilla Destiny 2 players aren't completely locked out by their decision to not purchase post-release content. 

    All of these changes have begun to roll out and will continue through the coming months.

    In March, Bungie is going to change the way that the Crucible works. Said changes include Crucible system rewards, expanded private matches options, weekly playlists, and a 6 vs. 6 Iron Banner mode. 

    Other planned updates designed to improve the general quality of the Destiny 2 experience include PC Tower chat options, a rework of the Mod system designed to reduce redundancies, playlist redundancy reductions, expanded vault space, changes designed to expand the offerings of raids, weapon balances, and much more. 

    Destiny 2 Nightfall Update

    Bungie has shared some more details about the long-digesting changes to Destiny 2's Nightfall mode.

    The arguable highlight change noted in the recent blog post is the addition of a new team-based scoring mechanic. Bungie hopes this will help cut down on instances of people feeling like their kill was "stolen" and generally help promote teamwork. Scoring will also now be mostly based on kills with orb generation serving as a secondary scoring mechanic. Bungie is also open to the idea of re-instituting scoring based on who acquired which special medals. 

    Scoring will also soon be affected by time. After 15 minutes, scoring is reduced by 50%. At 18 minutes, you'll stop scoring new points. Bungie hopes this will help cut down on some particularly cheap strategies that removed a lot of the fun from Nightfall. You'll also be able to use challenge cards to assign yourself a handicap, but doing so can reward you with a points multiplier. 

    The general message of these proposed changes is that Bungie is open to monitoring the state of Nightfall and implementing - or removing - changes based on what is needed. 

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    There's still no word on whether MTV will play music on television once more.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Gabe Newell recently climbed out of the Valve money pit that some say give him Ra's al Ghul-like immortality to announce that Valve will once again make video games. 

    That news came during a presentation at Valve's offices devoted to the company's upcoming CCG game, Artifact. While Artifact wasn't the Valve video game announcement that some fans were hoping for when it was first revealed, Newell stated that it is only a taste of what is to come.

    "Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us," said Newell. "So that's sort of good news. Hooray! Valve's going to start shipping games again."

    That's the good news. The potentially deflating news is that you might not be too excited about the games that Valve plans to work on. Along with Artifact, the company has previously revealed that they're working on three new VR projects. If none of those titles sound like they float your boat, you might find comfort in the fact that Newell stated during a Reddit AMA that Valve is working on at least one proper single-player game. 

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    Unfortunately, Valve isn't saying more about the games they are working on. In fact, we're not even entirely sure if the games Newell mentioned during the meeting are the same ones that he previously referenced. What we can tell you is that Gabe Newell is very interested in developing games and hardware so that Valve can have total creative control over the process of making new titles. To clarify what he means by that, Newell made an interesting confession.

    "We've always been a little bit jealous of companies like Nintendo," said Newell. "When Miyamoto is sitting down and thinking about the next version of Zelda or Mario, he's thinking what is the controller going to look like, what sort of graphics and other capabilities. He can introduce new capabilities like motion input because he controls both of those things. And he can make the hardware look as good as possible because he's designing the software at the same time that's really going to take advantage of it. So that is something we've been jealous of, and that's something that you'll see us taking advantage of subsequently."

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    As for Artifact, reports from the recent presentation reveal that it has incredible production values, will not be a free-to-play (or, according to Newell, pay-to-win), features some unique mechanics not seen in any other card game, and has been secretly designed by Magic the Gathering creator, Richard Garfield. Valve also emphasize that it's not a Dota 2 card game and that the Dota 2 elements are there as a "convenience."

    No word on Artifact's release date, but it should be out by the end of 2018 and may debut on mobile ion 2019. 

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    This mobile version will reportedly resemble the PC/console games and will support cross play.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Epic's Fortnite: Battle Royale is coming to mobile devices. 

    According to the studio, this mobile version of the game will make relatively few compromises in terms of translating the existing version of Battle Royale to mobile platforms. In fact, they say that Fortnite mobile is "the same 100-player game you know from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac. Same gameplay, same map, same content, same weekly updates.”

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    How is that possible? It's not entirely clear, but we have seen some PUBG mobile games - and PUBG mobile knock-offs - manage to translate that game's basic visuals and gameplay with relative ease. Given that Fortnite has a much more mobile friendly look and play-style, it's actually not that hard to imagine how such a mobile port might work. 

    That's not the impressive part, though. Epic also states that their partnership with Sony will allow them to enable cross-play between PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS, and maybe even Android devices. It's going to be fascinating to see whether or not mobile platform players are able to keep up with console and PC players at the game, but the fact that such cooperation exists could help swell Fortnite: Battle Royale's already daunting player count. 

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    Epic plans on slowly introducing the game to iOS devices starting on Monday, March 12th. As for Android owners, it sounds like they'll have to wait at least a few months before a version of Fortnite is available on their devices. 

    We expected that Battle Royale games would be everywhere following the success of PUBG, but it's been somewhat surprising to see just how popular the genre has been on mobile devices. Many users in China have already jumped on that platform for their Battle Royale fix, and it's starting to look like gamers in the West will be treated to quite a few mobile options as well. 

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    Netflix's Castlevania is returning for a second season. Here's everything you need to know about the series...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Those who have already learned to love Netflix's Castlevania will be thrilled to learn that the streaming service has greenlit the show's second season. 

    Showrunner Adi Shankar had previously hinted that the show's second season was a done deal in a now-deleted Facebook post, but Netflix officially confirmed the show's renewal in a brief statement that included the very welcome news that Castlevania's second season will be eight episodes long. While that's hardly the length of a network program - or even an HBO show - it's a nice upgrade from the first season's meager four episode offering. 

    In case you haven't yet read our review of the show, we thought quite highly of Castlevania's first season and look forward to seeing what the show's incredibly talented team can do when they have a full-length season to work with. 

    Here's everything else we know about the show:

    Castlevania Season 2 Release Date

    A Summer 2018 release date for Castlevania's second season was confirmed on Twitter by writer Warren Ellis in late 2017...

    Castlevania Season 2 Cast and Crew

    All the principle participants of the show's first season appear to be onboard for Castlevania season two, which means that showrunner Adi Shankar, writer Warren Ellis, and voice actors Graham McTavish, Richard Armitage, James Callis, and Alejandra Reynoso will all reprise their respective voice roles. 

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    Creator Aaron McGruder talks about his desire to revive the series in an entirely new form.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Aaron McGruder, the creator of The Boondocks, has taken to Facebook to talk about the possibility of the series returning as a video game. 

    "A few months ago I started playing with the idea of video games - something I always wanted to do but never made the time for," said McGruder in a surprising post regarding the future of The Boondocks. "It’s a medium that feels right for our violently turbulent times, and right for The Boondocks. I have no idea what the App Store will let us get away with. It’s uncharted territory, and good to do something completely new with the characters. It won’t be for every fan of the show or the comic strip, but it’s equally as sincere, and still a bizarre political satire that is largely about race and inappropriate for children."

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    McGruder made it clear that this is not an official announcement of the show returning, and he didn't specify what kind of game he is working on. Instead, he just wants to share the "labor of love" that he and his team are engaged in and to let fans know that there is more information about the future of The Boondocks - and this potential gaming project - "coming soon."

    McGruder also stated that "easy satire seemed self-evident" following the events of the United States presidential election and that he now feels like we're all trapped inside of a cartoon. As such, that seems to have made it somewhat challenging to advance a cartoon parody of our world such as what The Boondocks once was.

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    For those unfamiliar, The Boondocks began as a comic strip that told the story of a grandfather and his two grandsons who move from Chicago to the Maryland suburbs. The strip covered a variety of real-life issues as well as the conflict of cultures that arise when a black family who grew up in the city try to learn the ways of the suburbs. It was praised for its intelligent writing, clever takes on many social topics, and for its diverse cast of creative characters. 

    However, it wasn't until The Boondocks was turned into a television show on Cartoon Network that the series became a bonafide cultural phenomenon. The clever writing of the comics remained, but the show benefited from a fascinating anime and manga-inspired animation style that lent it an immediately appealing look. The show ran for four seasons, but McGruder was not involved in the creative process of show's fourth and final season. 

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    Everything we know about Days Gone, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Adam McDonnell
    Mar 9, 2018

    It's always great to see new franchises debut on the big stage of E3, and that's especially true when the game looks as good as Days Gone. The game comes from Syphon Filter developer Sony Bend.

    The action-adventure game takes place in the Pacific Northwest and tells the story of a bounty hunter named Deacon St. John, who must survive on a planet that's been wiped of humanity after a global disaster brings about the end of the world as we know it. Now millions have been transformed into "Freakers," zombie-like creatures that would like nothing more than to feed on Deacon's corpse. As the bounty hunter, you'll have to fight massive hordes of Freakers in order to survive.

    Here's everything else we know:

    Days Gone Release Date

    Days Gone has been delayed to 2019. The game was originally set to launch in 2018. It will arrive exclusively on the PlayStation 4.

    Days Gone Trailer

    The latest trailer for Days Gone expands upon our first look at the game by diving a bit deeper into the narrative that at the heart of this particular apocalypse. While Days Gone was initially compared to The Last of Us, this latest trailer actually suggests the game is spiritually closer to the Uncharted franchise. In any case, we're incredibly excited to see more of its blend of action, horror, survival, and story. 

    Check out the reveal trailer below:

    This game definitely seems to have a The Last of Us post-apocalyptic vibe to it. The world showcased in the demo appears to be as beautiful as it is chaotic, while the main character's narration suggests that there will be a strong emphasis on the story of why it is that people choose to keep surviving in this cruel land. 

    You can watch the E3 2016 gameplay demo here:

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    Watch out for that blue shell on 2nd Street and Ave. A...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Nintendo and Google have teamed up to celebrate National Mario Day (which is actually March 10th) with a special Google Maps tribute to Mario Kart

    From now until March 17th, you'll be able to replace the standard Google Maps navigation arrow with 3D image of Mario driving his kart around the streets of the world. You will need to update your app in order to access this feature, but doing so should trigger a prompt that requests permission to replace the standard tracker with Mario. From there, you'll just need to click on the yellow "?" block that appears in order to enjoy the temporary mode. 

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    Given that Google teased this feature by showing those trademark bananas on a city street, there's some debate regarding whether or not this navigation icon switch is the full extent of the features this update provides. Users are currently digging into the new mode trying to see if they can spot any additional Easter Eggs. We can only hope there isn't some hidden blue shell waiting to knock you off your navigational path. 

    Oh, and if you're wondering what March 10th has to do with Mario day...well, it's because of MAR10.

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    This is a fun little feature that seems to be especially relevant given that Nintendo has recently revealed their intentions to release a Mario Kart game for mobile devices. There aren't many details available for Mario Kart Tour at the moment, but this feature does open up some fascinating possibilities regarding how GPS can be utilized to allow mobile Mario Kart players to race on real-world streets or utilize some other kind of AR features. Granted, that's all speculative, but most Nintendo mobile games do change the formula of the original titles somewhat to accommodate mobile features. 

    Meanwhile, we imagine that Android fans are just happy to see this collaboration as it might mean they won't have to wait for months to get a copy of Mario Kart Tour on their devices. The only thing we can say for sure is that Mario Kart Tour should be released sometime between April 2018 and March 2019 according to fiscal projections. 

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    Valve is preparing to release what might be the deepest digital CCG on the market.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 9, 2018

    Few people expected Valve's next game to be a collectible card title based on the Dota 2 universe, but that's exactly what we have in Artifact

    Before you roll your eyes, though, you might want to use them to take a closer look at this game. Artifact isn't like any other CCG out there. Actually, it's kind of like a version of Dota 2 that you play with cards instead of with heroes and teammates. Artifact's implementation of Dota 2staples like lanes of battle, heroes, and in-game markets is made all the more fascinating by the fact that the title also boasts some traditional - albeit hardcore - CCG elements. Of course, that last part shouldn't be a surprise given that the game was at least partially designed by Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield

    Here's everything that we know about Artifact

    Artifact Release Date

    Valve plans on releasing Artifact for Steam sometime before the end of 2018. They're also planning to release a version of the game for mobile devices sometime in 2019. 

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    Artifact News

    PC Gamer has released a full breakdown of how Valve's Artifactcard game will work. It's a lot of information to take in, but here's what you need to know:

    Artifact has you build a deck of 40 cards that contains five heroes. The base game will include 280+ cards and 44 heroes. You can't have more than three of any type of non-hero card in your deck. 

    Gameplay sees you essentially play across three different boards designed to strategically resemble Dota 2's lanes. Each lane has its own mana pool, heroes, and a tower. Lose that tower, and a much stronger Ancient appears. If you manage to either kill an Ancient or if your opponent loses two towers, you win the game. 

    Complicating all of this is the presence of creeps in all lanes that heroes must battle as well as some truly in-depth mechanics that require you to manage the resources of all lanes using the same deck of cards. Fortunately, your resources are bolstered by the ability to earn gold whenever you destroy an opponent's cards and use that gold to buy items from the store that your heroes can equip. Heroes can never be permanently killed, but they can be taken out of action for a round. 

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    Valve seems to be aware that this multi-lane style of CCG play creates a lot of complications, but they are embracing those complications. It seems like Artifact is mostly going to appeal to veteran CCG players or those that are willing to learn an entirely different style of game. Hearthstone this is not. 

    Speaking of Hearthstone, Valve is already planning on separating Artifact from that game by reducing the amount of randomness in matches and by allowing players to trade cards via Steam's marketplace. That last one is a huge deal as it could drastically impact both gameplay and the costs of Artifact in the long run. Indeed, Valve has stated they do not want Artifact to be a pay-to-win experience. 

    It all sounds fascinating, and Artifact might end up being extremely appealing to those who demand more complexity from CCG titles. 

    Artifact Trailer

    In a dramatic turn of events, Valve announced at The International 2017 - a Dota 2 competition held in Seattle - that they are developing a new game. 

    The stunned awe those in attendance felt was soon replaced with a mix of emotions when it was revealed that the game in question is a collectible card game based on the Dota 2 universe called Artifact

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    We open up the first draft to George Romero's unproduced Resident Evil movie and consider what could have been...

    Feature David Crow
    Mar 12, 2018

    It begins as so many of its ilk do: faceless, corporate overlords observing the demise of their employees. Like a butcher watching a slaughterhouse go to work, they’re dispassionate as viral antibodies give way to viral zombies, which even further give way to copious amounts of gratuitous, viral-infected gore. This kind of opening could potentially describe any of the Resident Evil films directed and/or written by Paul W.S. Anderson. But it is also the start of a different type of Resident Evil film. George A. Romero’s Resident Evil film, to be exact… The zombie movie that wasn’t.

    Yep, back when Anderson was still “the Mortal Kombat guy” in Hollywood, as opposed to the nominally more respected “Resident Evil guy,” and Milla Jovovich was leading Luc Besson’s ill-fated Joan of Arc movie, the director of Night of the Living Dead was poised to write and direct the first Resident Evil movie. And it would have been decidedly closer to the video game franchise than any film featuring Jovovich’s Alice lost in Anderson’s preposterous Wonderland. So what happened, and why did the master who inspired all modern zombie movies get replaced with the writer/director of Event Horizon? Join us as we revisit this missed opportunity.

    Sony Pictures and Capcom tapping Romero for Resident Evil was an obvious no-brainer from the beginning. As the writer/director of the “Dead Trilogy”—Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Day of the Dead (1985)—Romero was the grandfather to the zombie subgenre which has broken into the mainstream in the 21st century with massive hits like The Walking Dead on TV and World War Z at the summer box office.

    But back in 1998, zombie movies were still on the fringe, even if they were beginning to become synonymous with A-list video game titles, including most notably Capcom’s Resident Evil. Titled Biohazard in Japan, the video game was revolutionary in its popularization of “survival horror”—where the goal is simply to survive a horde of enemies as opposed to defeating them. And while it added a very ‘90s-flavored suspicion of government/corporate conspiracies, as well as science fiction rationalizations for the biblical nightmare of the dead rising from their graves, it was still deeply entrenched in Romero’s vision of zombies as mindless beasties who have a craving for brains that they just can’t quit.

    Additionally, in lieu of the Resident Evil 2 game dropping into Japanese stores in 1998, Capcom hired the undead auteur to direct a live-action TV commercial that showcased the game’s concept: A rookie cop and a young civilian woman are trapped in the Raccoon City Police Department with hell’s army at the gates. In many ways, the below 30-second TV spot, even with its intentionally campy colors and overly young actors, remains the closest that Resident Evil purists have ever come to a faithful adaptation of their games.

    So in 1999, Sony officially greenlit Romero’s take on the material, suggesting he’d be filming his first major Hollywood studio effort in almost 20 years. This, of course, never came to pass. Luckily, Romero’s fundamental interpretation of the game franchise remains available for any interested fan or journalist (like ourselves) via his first draft of the screenplay, which is dated Oct. 7, 1998. Admittedly, we have only read this first draft, which could have changed considerably before Romero was officially bounced off the project sometime in 2000. Nevertheless, it offers a singularly different big screen take on Resident Evil… one that doesn’t feature a woman in a short skirt karate kicking a zombie dog in the face.

    For research, Romero had required his secretary to play through the entire first 1996 game multiple times, videotaping her progress so he could understand how the Capcom title emulated and diverged from his own zombie films. Consequently, Romero’s Resident Evil script includes all of the major characters from that game, including Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, and Brad Vickers. It even includes a highly revised take on Ada Wong from Resident Evil 2, and story elements from both that game and the then-forthcoming Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

    Thus right off the bat, the script accomplishes a small task of simply including game characters in substantial roles and recreating major plot points, a ground-level bar that Anderson’s 2002 Resident Evil film completely failed to clear, and its sequels barely did better when they often reduced gamer favorites to token sidekick roles while Jovovich got to do all the fun stuff.

    Still, if this script had been filmed in an alternate universe, I suspect there would still be plenty of hand-wringing on the internet, not least of which would be due to curious changes like moving Raccoon City and the fateful Arklay Mansion from Colorado to Pennsylvania (Romero’s home state), and changing protagonist Chris Redfield from a leader of the special police division S.T.A.R.S. to an outsider and farmer who is half-Mohawk. Yet, that latter change is one of the few concessions to Romero’s better instincts as a storyteller.

    Indeed, Romero's tastes are overall generally muted in the tone of the screenplay. Whereas his original zombie movies are often worshipped to hyperbolic levels due to their savvy and confrontational politics, there is little to no social commentary in the Resident Evil script. Rather, this is obviously meant to be a big, expensive piece of escapism that while clearly planted in the filmmaker’s gruesome horror roots, still embraces a surprising amount of action movie influence. In fact, it is every bit as informed by the plot of James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) as the final Anderson movie is: Both have special forces going into underground labs on a simple mission that goes very wrong. By relying on a straightforward survivalist story as its only momentum, Romero attempted to make something far lighter and more commercial than anything in his existing oeuvre.

    The choice of turning Chris Redfield into part-Native American would never be accepted in 2017 with its depiction of the hero as a noble soul of bucolic tranquility; he’s so in-tuned with nature that he’s even introduced as sneaking out at night to watch eagles make their annual nocturnal pilgrimage to the nearby woods. Still, by not making Chris one of the team, he is as much an outsider of S.T.A.R.S. as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley was with the space marines in Aliens or, admittedly, Jovovich’s Alice was with the Umbrella stooges in the actual first RE movie.

    But, unlike what came after him, Romero further exploits this aspect to create several dynamic tensions between his characters that are not present in the games, nor later films. In Romero’s screenplay, Chris is the local boyfriend to Jill Valentine. Her first scene is him sneaking back into their shared bed to offer some rather banal dialogue about potential marital bliss. Tension quickly bubbles, however, because Chris is oblivious to the fact that Jill is really a S.T.A.R.S. agent, which instead of being an elite SWAT force like in the games, are now an even more elite military operation that does covert wet work.

    Jill’s responsibility is to maintain security of the Arklay Mansion, so when the T-virus inevitably gets out and starts turning the mansion’s Umbrella Corporation staff into the living dead, the beret goes on and her allegiances shift. In fact, the film’s melodrama is driven by two dynamics: The first is that Jill is really a secret badass, which is an affront to Chris’ anti-authoritarian sensibilities—think a reversal of True Lies—and that she has more loyalty to her commanding officer Albert Wesker. The three of them form an odd kind love triangle, even though there is no romance between Jill and Wesker, just militaristic devotion.

    That is also where Romero’s one bit of cynicism occurs since the writer really hammers down on the militarism of Wesker in the film’s other bemusing stab at drama—Wesker’s relationship with Barry. In the script, Barry is an old Army vet and described in such a fashion as one imagines Romero had Michael Clarke Duncan in mind. He and Wesker are childhood friends, and served together in Grenada and the Gulf War, where Wesker apparently saved Barry’s life. So there is a legitimate friendship that is tested with soapy pathos when Wesker is inevitably revealed to be a mole for the Umbrella Corporation, the evil multinational that's responsible for all this carnage.

    Wesker is the best character in the piece, developed to be a hardass but still a generically affable American action hero who tries to save the lives of his men several times. As in the original game, he turns out to be a traitor (which is still telegraphed due to his wearing douchey sunglasses at night), but not because he is a secret mad scientist out to test zombies on his S.T.A.R.S. compatriots. Instead, he’s just a corrupt government man who’s sold his soul to get rich. After he and his team are attacked by zombie dogs (like in the game) and seek shelter in the mansion, he lies that there is a cure for Umbrella’s T-virus at the bottom of the mansion in a secret laboratory. In reality, it's just data on Umbrella’s Tyrant program.

    Consequently, there are a few moments of dramatic tension when Jill must decide whether to help Wesker, and share in her C.O.’s new fortune, or stay loyal to the pure-hearted Chris, who has broken into the mansion and wound up as part of the team trying to survive. Barry also must choose whether to let his old friend get away with helping cover up the tracks of the company whose carelessness caused this zombie outbreak. They ultimately make the right choices, and Wesker winds up killing Barry before being both skewered and decapitated by the Tyrant monster’s giant claws during a particularly brutal failed escape by the villain in the film’s third act.

    To be clear, this is not to say the script has high-stakes drama. These are simply the few elements where Romero attempts to tell a story. Still, even as they derive from conventional plotting and archetypal shorthand (it's “Aliens meets True Lies meets Day of the Dead”), the approach is more effective than the meager attempt by Anderson to ape The Matrix’s action and the amnesiac “who am I” trope that was so popular in the late ‘90s with films like Dark City, Fight Club, and Memento.

    The rest of Romero’s Resident Evil plays out like the best hits of the games. Elements from later games include the S.T.A.R.S. investigation beginning with the evacuation of Raccoon City, which was the backdrop of the second two playable installments. The script also rather awkwardly ends on the heroes not only blowing up the mansion, but all of Raccoon City, which would become the finale of Resident Evil 3 in 1999, when Capcom enjoyed some schadenfreude by depicting the horrors of nuclear devastation in an American backdrop (in the script, it’s countless explosives placed underneath the mansion and city by Umbrella with the U.S. government’s consent).

    Between this beginning and end, it is the aforementioned characters plus a lot of generic, monstrously written red shirts who are waiting around to die. These include a blatant rip-off of the Vasquez character from Aliens named Rosie Rodriguez here. But since the Anderson film also ripped that character off with Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), perhaps Sony just really liked her? There are also other characters given no more description than “regular G.I. Joe types.”

    The entire cast enjoys questionable dialogue too. For instance, upon finding the mutilated corpses of their dead comrades, the bit players act not in anger, horror, or confusion, but with winsome gems like this: “You ever eat roadkill, Sullivan?” / “Aiken… a guy with a brain your size would be better off dead.”

    I also was fond of groaning at Jill saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in team, Chris.” His response? “There’s no ‘I’ in dead either.”

    Ultimately, Romero’s film never came to fruition. By 2000, he was gone from the project, and years later, Capcom producer Yoshiki Okamoto claimed to Electronic Gaming Monthly that “his script wasn’t good, so Romero was fired.”

    While I’d hardly disagree that on the whole that the script was anything special, this statement is suspicious, especially given the level of mediocrity that drifted far further afield from the games in future Resident Evil movies. Hence, I suspect Romero was closer to the truth in his statements from 2000. During an interview with DGA Magazine, Romero said, “I don’t think they were into the spirit of the video game and wanted to make it more of a war movie; something heavier than I thought it should be. So I think they just never liked my script.”

    The draft I read of George A. Romero’s Resident Evil clearly needed revision. The dialogue should’ve been mostly jettisoned from the first scene, and the film often bit off more than it could chew. It also disappointingly underuses the mansion, although not as much as Paul W.S. Anderson did. However, it is better structured than any of the Anderson RE screenplays (particularly the meandering sequels), and remains firmly set in horror.

    It might be intense survivalist action in the Cameron mold, but it does so with maximum grisliness. Anderson’s script was also influenced by the Cameron film, but focused on kung-fu wire effects and only had one non-zombie threat in its first meagerly budgeted effort, the Licker from Resident Evil 2. By contrast, Romero’s script had all the monsters from the first game: zombies, the Tyrant, the reptilian ‘Hunters,’ zombie dogs, zombie sharks, zombie plants, and even a giant zombie snake.

    The truth is that its approach was both less action-friendly and also far more expensive than what Anderson pitched. In its current form, Romero’s Resident Evil read like a $100-plus million movie. The cult director never worked with a budget that high, and the first actual RE movie had a $33 million allowance in total. Also, instead of slick Wachowski-inspired action scenes, Romero wrote about Chris Redfield cutting open a giant snake to find a half-digested friend having his face melted by stomach acids, and a plant that’s touch would cause another human being’s skin to “turn the color of parchment” as his blood was slowly sucked out.

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    It is easy to imagine a scenario where a script that expensive, and so unlike the kind of genre fare popular at the turn of the millennium, was simply dropped for something far more generic and cheap. That is not to say elements couldn’t have been reduced—I imagine if Romero directed the film, zombie sharks would be out, the destruction of Raccoon City would be scrapped, and he’d have to choose between the giant plant or the giant snake—but it really wasn’t written like a B-actioner, even if the characters spoke with such cadences.

    Then again, Romero never did work with a budget of that scale. The above television commercial for Resident Evil 2 suggests he intrinsically understood the visual affectation fans enjoyed, but he always filmed from conservative resources. And his actual next zombie movie, Land of the Dead (2005), while rich in anti-Bush symbolism, was no more coherent and probably less exciting than at least Anderson’s first Resident Evil film. I’d even concede Anderson did a few things better than Romero’s screenplay, such as his own take on a laser booby trap, and the Licker showdown in the actual film being more satisfying than the one with the Tyrant in this script.

    Finally, even if she isn’t in the games, making Alice the feminine lead of an action film instead of Chris Redfield was a positive thing to put out in the world… especially for those of us who always preferred Jill Valentine to Chris, anyway.

    Hence, could Romero have really made S.T.A.R.S. and their berets work onscreen or look as nifty as Michelle Rodriguez dripping blood on zombies? Obviously, we’ll never know, but Sony/Screen Gems have now made six films out of the Anderson template. So for those most concerned, the poison chosen went viral in the exact right way.

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    A scrolling arcade brawler featuring Judge Dredd? It almost happened in the mid-90s, but was never officially released...

    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Mar 12, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Violent law enforcer Judge Dredd arrived at the dawn of the videogame era. First appearing in the second issue of British comic 2000AD in 1977, he was far from your typical sci-fi hero. A walking judge, jury and executioner in a despotic future society, Dredd emerged fully-formed from the imaginations of writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra. Dredd’s stories were full of action, sly political satire and grim humour - and readers couldn’t get enough of him.

    The character seemed like the perfect fodder for a videogame, yet it took a surprisingly long time for such a thing to appear; a company called Beam Software released a Dredd game for the ZX Spectrum, which was a side-scrolling action game that didn’t manage to capture much of the comic’s gritty bite. That same year, another British company had plans to release a Dredd game of their own, but they went bust before it could be released. Things looked up for Dredd fans when Virgin published a new Judge Dredd game in 1990, but this too received middling reviews (“Ho hum", wrote Your Sinclair critic, David Wilson).

    Another Dredd game wouldn’t appear for another five years, when Probe Software released a tie-in platformer to go with the Judge Dredd movie made that same year. Fast-moving and violent, the Judge Dredd console game didn’t contain much of the comic’s satirical humour, but it was at least more faithful to the spirit of the character than the film was. 

    What most Dredd fans wouldn’t have known back in the 1990s is that US company Midway - then famous for its controversial Mortal Kombat games - was working on a Dredd game of its own. At the time, Midway’s games were immediately recognisable thanks to their digitised graphics, which used live-action footage of actors and scale models to give 2D game characters a more realistic edge. It was a technique used to memorable effect in Eugene Jarvis’ anti-drugs shooter Narc and the aforementioned Mortal Kombat, and Midway’s Judge Dredd looked very much like a combination of those two games.

    In essence, Judge Dredd was a scrolling brawler akin to arcade hits from rival companies, like Capcom's Final Fight or Tecmo's Double Dragon. Through the early 90s, Konami had enjoyed considerable success with its own range of fighting games based on familiar film, comic book and TV properties - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, and X-Men: Children Of The Atom were all broadly the same game, but the multiplayer co-op action and colourful graphics kept the profits rolling in. 

    Judge Dredd was greatly inspired by Konami’s Turtlesgame in particular; indeed,Judge Dredd co-programmer Jake Simpson recalls that Midway had a Turtlesarcade cabinet in the office at the time his game was being put together. Midway acquired the rights to the Judge Dredd name earlier in the 1990s when it was announced that it was soon to become a Hollywood film; with the law enforcer surely about to enjoy an explosion of interest, it seemed like a good time to start planning a game based on his bloody exploits.

    What resulted, then, was a fairly typical-sounding beat-em-up, albeit with Midway’s digitised twist. It saw Dredd battle across Mega City One, largely using his fists and feet to maintain law and order. Foes included rank-and-file thugs carrying bats or throwing trash cans, giant sewer rats, and a tall, topless man wearing a bowler hat. 

    What was impressive about Judge Dredd was the quality of its background graphics - for the first time in a game, Mega City One actually looked like a proper futuristic city - tall, exotic buildings loomed in the background, flying vehicles raced overhead, and humorous advertisements and notices provided a clear nod back to the comic - one sign even references the recurring character, Otto Sump. 

    Midway’s Judge Dredd game was finished to the point where a sum total of four prototype cabinets were produced and sent out for testing in Chicago, according to this interview with Gaming Hell. Unfortunately, it seems that the audience response to Judge Dredd wasn’t positive; a test report (also published at Gaming Hell) suggests that scrolling fighting games were falling out of favour at a time when one-on-one, competitive brawlers like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat were all the rage - suddenly, three-player co-op games like Judge Dredd just weren’t fashionable anymore.

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    Another complaint was Dredd’s tendency to punch and kick all the time. Shouldn’t he be using his gun a bit more often? These and other faults flagged by testers could have possibly been fixed, but the decision was ultimately made to scrap Judge Dredd entirely. Attempts were made in 1994 to revive the project, with a further internal document from Midway arguing that the 18 months worth of work already put into the game could still be salvaged. 

    For some reason, this never happened; neither did another, even later suggestion to rework the game’s assets and turn it into a rail shooter akin to Midway’s earlier licensed hit, Terminator 2.

    “In retrospect we should have finished this,” programmer Jake Simpson admits. “Midway paid for the license and we should have completed it. We probably could have in a month. I remember the meeting where we all sat there and looked at each other and just shrugged and said ‘What were we thinking?’. We were young and stupid. Enough said."

    The Judge Dredd game was never officially released, but there’s at least a sliver of good news to emerge from the story: its code was dumped on the web a few years ago, and can now be played via MAME.

    Simpson describes his team’s work on Judge Dreddas “a labor of love." At least this way we get to see the hard work that went into the Dredd game that never was.

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    Don't miss a moment of the action from competitive gaming's most exciting tournaments.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    If you've ever casually played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you know what an unforgiving game it can be. One stray bullet, one perfect flank, or one teammate who doesn't quite seem to understand that they're not playing Quake III, and a match can completely fall apart. CS:GO is infamously considered to be one of the most skill intensive competitive games out there. 

    That's what makes it one of the world's best esports competitions. 

    It's not enough to be one of the most mechanically gifted CS:GO players in the world. It should be considering how difficult it is to consistently pull off some of the game's trickiest shots, but it isn't. No, professional CS:GO players must also know how to work as part of an expertly trained team while somehow anticipating the few mistakes that the opposing team of expert players is going to make. There are times when it feels like CS:GO matches come down to the inevitability of one side beating the other. 

    That's what makes it so easy to become a fan of professional CS:GOmatches. They distill competitive gaming to its purest form and usually end up being some of the absolute greatest encounters that you will ever see in all of gaming. From circus sniper shots to one vs. five situations that end with the one triumphantly defying the odds, your average CS:GO tournament features the kind of excitement that sports announcers love to claim "couldn't be scripted any better."

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    We're not talking about the average CS:GO tournaments, though. We're here to share the biggest CS:GO tournaments of the year and help ensure that you don't miss a moment of what happens when the top players and teams in the world collide. We promise you that these competitive clashes will ensure that you'll never look at the long-running shooter the same way again.

    So kick back and enjoy the action by checking out all the action from the next CS:GO tournament - the WESG 2018 World Finals - via the stream below:

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    The world's richest eSports competition has begun. Here's your guide to the action.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    Dota 2 has long been one of competitive gaming's most fascinating scenes. In some ways, its success in the realm of competitive gaming felt like the game's birthright. As the successor to the popular Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients, Dota 2 launched with a fanbase eager to get in on the competitive action. In order to satiate their desires, Valve invited some of the best Defense of the Ancients teams in the world to compete in a 2011 Dota 2 tournament that offered a $1 million prize pool. 

    From there, the Dota 2 competitive scene has only continued to grow. What began as an invite-only tournament has blossomed into a competitive season that demands the best from some truly talented teams across the world. They're competing for glory, honor, and the right to be called the best, but they're also competing for a silly amount of money. Dota 2's 2017 International tournament boasted a prize pool of $24,687,919 - the largest of its kind in eSports history. 

    Look beyond the cash prizes and the sold-out stadiums of fans that the game's biggest matches attract and you'll find that Dota 2 is ultimately a great MOBA that demands perfect teamwork, a flawless strategy, and incredible individual play. There's a reason this game was launched with a legacy of top-tier competitive gaming to live up to. 

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    Here's what you need to know about Dota 2's 2018 competitive scene:

    Dota 2 International 8 Format

    The major change to Dota 2's 2018 competitive season is Valve's decision to abandon the single-tournament format in favor of several tournaments throughout the year that will award competitive points. Those points will then be used to determine who is invited to the championship tournament, The International 8. 

    The way this works is quite simple. Throughout the course of the 2017-2018 competitive season, there will be 16 Minors tournaments and 10 Majors tournaments. Minors will award 300 competitive points across the top four teams. Majors will reward an astounding 1,500 points across the same size of winners. First place teams get 50% of the points, second place gets 30%, and third and fourth place walk away with 10%. Tournaments that differentiate between third and fourth place will see the third-place team get 15% and the fourth place team gets 5%.

    The eight teams invited to The International 8 will be determined by which teams have the most points among their top three players. Other teams can then make it to the big tournament via regional qualifier competitions. 

    Dota 2 International 8 Prize Pool

    Considering that Dota 2's International prize pool is determined by community contributions and official donations from Valve and other organizers, we don't currently know just how rich this year's prize will be. However, The International's final prize pool has only grown since 2014. That mean's this year's total earnings could very well exceed $25 million. 

    Dota 2 International 8 Live Stream

    You can watch the most important matches of the Dota 2 competitive season by checking out our live stream post.

    Dota 2 International 8 Tournament Schedule

    Here are the remaining tournaments for the 2017-2018 competitive season:

    Minors Tournaments

    GESC E-Series - Jakarta: March 16-18

    DreamLeague Season 9: March 20-25

    StarLadder: April 11-15

    Perfect World: April 17-24

    GESC E-Series: Bangkok: May 11-13

    Majors Tournaments

    The Bucharest Major: March 8-11

    Dota 2 Asia Championships: March 30-April 7

    EPICENTER: April 27-May 7

    Mars Media; name TBD: May 14-20

    ESL; name TBD: May 25-27

    PGL; name TBD: June 4-10

    Dota 2 International 8 Standings

    1 - 7197 
    2 Team Liquid - 4635 
    3 Team Secret - 4260 
    4 Newbee - 2175 
    5 Vici Gaming - 2160 
    6 VGJ.Thunder - 1395 
    7 Natus Vincere - 1109 
    8 Mineski - 900 

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    One of the world's largest eSports tournaments has begun. Here's what you need to know:

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    There's nothing quite like League of Legends eSports scene. The fact that League is one of the most popular games on the planet is never more evident than when you're watching the best players in the world utilize a combination of perfect teamwork and inhuman individual skills in front of a rowdy audience. This MOBA has become a bonafide phenomenon with a professional competition that attracts millions of viewers. 

    Now, League's 2018 competitive season has begun.

    What begins as a world's worth of top teams vying for the top spots of the Spring and Summer Split seasons will soon transition into the tense tournament known as the League of Legends World Championship. League's Championship finals are famous for being some of the most unpredictable and compelling series of games in the world. It's a spectacle you do not want to miss. 

    Whether you've been following LoL since the beginning or you're looking to understand why this game has captured the world's imagination, we're here to keep you updated on the comings and goings of the 2018 competitive season. 

    Here's a guide to League of LegendseSports in 2018:

    League of Legends eSports Live Stream

    You can watch every League of Legends eSports match across every region by checking out our live stream!

    League of Legends World Championship Format

    It's a long road to the League of Legends World Championship, but here's a rough breakdown of how you get there. 

    The first thing you need to know is that there are actually several competitive LoL leagues spread throughout the world. However, the biggest leagues are the NA LCS, EU LCS, League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), League of Legends Pro League (LPL, China), and League of LegendsMaster Series (LMS, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau). These leagues are complemented by several smaller organizations in other regions. 

    Each competitive season is divided into the Spring and Summer splits. Teams from major regions are competing for championship points throughout the season in order to improve their standings and perhaps earn a playoff berth. However, the best way for teams to earn a World Championship playoff berth is to win the Summer split playoffs. Regardless of what region a team plays in, that will automatically secure its spot. Teams from larger regions can also make it to the World Championship playoffs via their play in regional qualifiers or by having the most championship points at the end of Summer playoffs. 

    The format of the World Championship and preceding playoffs may change slightly every year, but in 2017, 24 teams across all regions made it to the League of LegendsWorld Championship. They competed in a Round Robin series that eventually ended with the Main Event (Championship matches). The team that wins that final series of best of one matches is named the League of Legends World Champion.

    League of Legends World Championship Prize Pool

    The exact prize pool for the League of Legends 2018 World Championship has not yet been determined. However, the 2017 World Championship featured a prize pool of $4,946,969.00. It's believed that this year's Championship will feature a similarly high prize pool. 

    League of Legends Permanent Spring Split 2018 Format 

    The current Spring Split season will be contested under a best of one format. This is a change from recent years, which featured a best of three format. This year will also see the NA LCS abandon Friday games in favor of games that only take place on Saturday and Sunday. 

    League of Legends Spring Split 2018 Schedule

    Want to know the match schedule for a specific region of League of Legends eSports? You can find each schedule at the links below:

    NA LCS Spring Split 2018 Schedule

    EU LCS Spring Split Schedule 

    LCK Spring Split Schedule

    LPL Spring Split Schedule

    LMS Spring Split Schedule

    League of Legends Spring Split Standings

    NA LCS

    1 Echo Fox 11W-5L
    1 Cloud9 11W-5L
    3 Clutch Gaming 10W-6L
    3 100 Thieves 10W-6L
    5 TSM 9W-7L
    5 Team Liquid 9W-7L
    7 Counter Logic Gaming 7W-9L
    8 FlyQuest 5W-11L
    9 OpTic Gaming 4W-12L
    9 Golden Guardians 4W-12L

    EU LCS

    1 Fnatic 12W-4L
    2 Splyce 10W-6L
    3 G2 Esports 9W-7L
    3 Team Vitality 9W-7L
    5 Giants 7W-9L
    5 FC Schalke 04 7W-9L
    5 Misfits Gaming 7W-9L
    5 ROCCAT 7W-9L
    9 H2K 6W-10L
    9 Unicorns of Love 6W-10L


    1 KING-ZONE DragonX 12W-2L
    2 Afreeca Freecs 10W-4L
    2 kt Rolster 10W-4L
    4 KSV 8W-6L
    5 ROX Tigers 7W-7L
    6 Jin Air GreenWings 6W-8L
    6 SK telecom T1 6W-8L
    8 MVP 5W-9L
    9 bbq OLIVERS 4W-10L



    1 Snake Esports 9W-2L
    2 Edward Gaming 7W-4L
    3 Team WE 7W-5L
    4 Bilibili Gaming 6W-5L
    5 FunPlus Phoenix 5W-8L
    6 Oh My God 2W-8L
    7 Vici Gaming 1W-11L


    1 Invictus Gaming 11W-1L
    2 Rogue Warriors 9W-2L
    3 Royal Never Give Up 7W-4L
    4 Suning Gaming 6W-6L
    5 JD Gaming 5W-6L
    6 LGD Gaming 3W-8L
    7 Topsports Gaming 2W-10L


    1 Flash Wolves 8W-1L
    2 G-Rex 7W-2L
    3 J Team 6W-4L
    4 MAD Team 4W-6L
    4 ahq e-Sports Club 4W-5L
    4 Machi Esports 4W-5L
    7 Team Afro 3W-7L
    8 Hong Kong Attitude 2W-8L

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    They say CSGO is the world's most exciting eSport. Here's what you need to know about the game's growing competitive scene.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    Those that love Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's competitive scene say that it might just be the perfect eSport. It's not hard to see why. 

    There are no respawns in CSGO. There are no health packs, special abilities, meta-dependent hero choices, or minions to kill. A CSGO match consists of two teams trying to use precision coordination and expert aim to either disarm/plant a bomb or simply wipe out the opposing squad. Victory in CSGO is rewarded to those teams and players who exemplify an uncommon mastery of some of the purest gaming mechanics in all of eSports. 

    It's an easy game to follow, an incredibly difficult game to master, and a hard game not to love once you begin watching it played at the highest levels. 

    Fortunately, CSGO's competitive scene is thriving. Recent tournaments have proven that the overall pool of talent who compete in the largest CSGO tournaments has never been deeper. Top teams and players from across the world are finding new ways to shock viewers with their expert play. Victory demands a level of perfection and peak performance that typically results in some of the most amazing matches you'll ever witness. 

    Here's your guide to the exciting world of competitive CSGO

    CSGO eSports Schedule

    Here's the list of the largest CSGO tournaments set for the current competitive season. In addition to these events are a host of smaller tournaments spread throughout the year. 

    March 12-18: WESG 2018 World Finals
    March 28-April 1: Copenhagen Games 2018
    May 14-20: ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals
    May 19-21: DreamHack Open Tours 2018
    June 16-18: DreamHack Open Summer 2018
    July 3-8 ESL: One Cologne 2018
    July 12-14: DreamHack Open Valencia 2018
    Aug 29-Sept: 2 DreamHack Masters Stockholm
    Sept 18-Nov 22: ESL Pro League Season 8 NA/EU
    Nov 16-18: DreamHack Open Atlanta
    Nov 30-Dec 2: DreamHack Open Winter 2018
    Dec 10-16: ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals

    CSGO eSports Results

    Here are the results from some recent major tournaments:

    ESL Pro League Season 6 - Finals

    Winner: SK Gaming

    Runner-Up: FaZe Clan

    Esports Championship Series Season 4 - Finals

    Winner: FaZe Clan

    Runner-Up: Mousesports

    ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018

    Winner: Cloud9

    Runner-Up: FaZe Clan

    StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4

    Winner: mouz

    Runner-Up: Na`Vi

    Intel Extreme Masters XII - World Championship

    Winner:  Fnatic

    Runner-Up:  FaZe

    Full results from all known global tournaments can be found here.

    CSGO eSports Format

    CSGO's competitive format has the strange distinction of being fairly simple and sometimes frustratingly complicated.

    In lieu of a formal league, many of CSGO's largest competitions are divided into individual tournaments. These tournaments are typically broken down into Majors and Minors. The big difference between the two is that Majors offer larger ($100,000 plus, typically) prize pools. However, many tournaments employ an open format that allows major and minor teams to compete on roughly the same playing field. Of course, the largest teams may receive formal invites from the tournament's organizers. 

    However, there are a few Majors throughout the year that are endorsed by Valve. These tournaments often offer $1,000,000+ prize pools and typically feature only the top teams in the world as determined by Valve and the tournament's organizers. Said teams typically consist of previous Majors and Minors competitors/winners as well as teams that qualify through online and offline play. 

    So basically, it's all about the Majors and especially the Valve-endorsed Majors tournaments. However, Minors are a great way for pros to earn extra money and for smaller teams to boost their reputation. 

    CSGO eSports Prize Pool

    Prize pools can vary pretty wildly in CSGO as there isn't much of a formal league play structure. Smaller events may offer $25,000 dan a little reputation. Majors, though, can offer anywhere between $100,000 and $1,000,000 depending on their size and affiliation. 

    CSGO eSports Top Teams

    Because CSGO works off a tournament by tournament format, there isn't really an officially recognized "ranking" of the top teams. However, some of the generally recognized best teams in the world at the moment include:

    - Cloud9

    - Astralis

    - FaZe

    - Fnatic

    - Gambit 

    - SK Gaming

    - Virtus.Pro

    Again, though, part of the fun of CSGO tournaments is the very real possibility that any team can win any event at any time. 

    StarLadder & i-League StarSeries Season 4

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    Catch up on everything that's going on with the first season of Overwatch League! Here are the results...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    The Overwatch League starts on January 10, 2018. From there, matches between the league's 12 teams are expected to occur four times a week, Wednesday through Saturday. This inaugural season will divide teams into two divisions.

    Overwatch's playoff season will run from July 11 to July 28. It's not clear what the playoff structure will be, but it will likely adopt a best of five formats for the initial games before moving to a possible best of seven for the Championship.

    Overwatch League Stage One Playoff Results

    The London Spitfire won the Overwatch League stage one playoffs after defeating the Houston Outlaws 3-1 and the New York Excelsior 3-2. They took home $100,000 for their win while New York snagged $25,000 for their second-place finish. 

    Overwatch League Stage Two Schedule

    The full Overwatch League stage two schedule can be found here. Play begins on February 21st. Like stage one, it will conclude with a three-team playoff that rewards prize money, but will not affect the league standings. 

    Overwatch League Overall Standings

    1 New York Excelsior: 14-2

    2 Seoul Dynasty: 13-3

    3 London Spitfire: 11-5

    4 Los Angeles Valiant: 11-5

    5 Houston Outlaws: 10-6

    6 Philadelphia Fusion: 9-7

    7 Boston Uprising: 8-8

    8 Los Angeles Gladiators: 8-8 

    9 San Francisco Shock: 5-11

    10 Dallas Fuel: 5-11

    11 Florida Mayhem: 2-14

    12 Shanghai Dragons: 0-16

    A full breakdown of map win scores and overall map differential can be found here

    Overwatch League Stage Two Changes

    Overwatch League stage two will feature the recent changes Mercy and Junkrat. While the Junkrat nerfs should have a minimal impact, the changes to Mercy figure to completely alter the way that professional Overwatch teams approach strategy. It could drastically shake-up the standings. 

    Overwatch League Teams

    The Atlantic Division includes the Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Philadelphia Fusion.

    The Pacific Division includes the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, and Shanghai Dragons. 

    Overwatch League Format

    The current plan is for each team to play 20 division matches per season and 20 non-division matches. The highest-ranked team in each division at the end of the season will receive an automatic playoff berth and a first-round playoff bye.

    The remaining four playoff teams will be determined by who has the best overall record. That's in contrast to leagues like the NBA and NFL that require a certain amount of representatives from each division. 

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    In order to ensure that teams remain competitive, the OverwatchLeague will also feature mini-tournaments throughout the season featuring the best performing teams from the past five weeks. This way, teams with overall bad records can still theoretically win five-week bonuses. 

    Overwatch League Prize Money

    The winners of the Overwatch League will earn a $1,000,000 team bonus and the Overwatch League championship trophy. The runner-ups will receive $400,000, third and fourth place teams will take home $100,000, and fifth and sixth place squads will walk away with $50,000. 

    There are also bonuses for regular season records which tops out with a $300,000 bonus to the team with the best overall record. All told, $3 million in bonuses will be awarded throughout the year. On top of that, players will receive a salary and benefits. 

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    Hearthstone pays homage to the world of horror in this exciting expansion.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    The next Hearthstone expansion is a horror-themed add-on called The Witchwood

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    That excellent trailer certainly sets the stage, but its the other information Blizzard has revealed about the expansion which has us truly excited. First off, pre-ordering The Witchwood for $49.99 will award you with 70 packs. This is up from the usual 50 packs players previously got for that pre-order price (which was slightly below the standard rate for individual card packs). This move will no doubt please players who have stated that the typical pre-order incentive doesn't yield enough of the new card collection. Even those who don't pre-order will receive three free card packs and a random class Legendary card just by logging in. 

    Speaking of the cards, Blizzard has shared six of the cardsThe Witchwood will introduce to Hearthstone, and two of them utilize entirely new mechanics: Echo and Rush. Rush allows a card to attack the turn it is played - or summoned from hand/deck - but unlock charge, Rush cards can only attack other minions on the turn they are played. Echo cards, meanwhile, can be played multiple times in a single turn. As long as you have the mana to keep putting them on the board, you can do so to your heart's content. 

    Fans of Hearthstone's single-player modes can also look forward to a new adventure called Monster Hunt. This mode lets players choose between one of four heroes exclusively designed for this single-player adventure and embark upon a trip into the Witchwood. Along the way, they'll encounter a series of eight "ever more challenging encounters" that all lead up to a showdown with an unidentified final boss. Fortunately, every victory will award you with new gear that should make progressing deeper into the woods just a bit easier. 

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    Considering that the release of this expansion will also herald the beginning of a new set rotation - which you can read more about here - there's a very good chance that The Witchwood is going to drastically shake-up the Hearthstone meta through the introduction of many new strategies and deck types. 

    At present, there is no release date available for The Witchwood. However, additional card reveals will begin on March 26th and will likely continue until just before the expansion's release date. 

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    Epic hangovers, murder mysteries, dungeon masters, and Lovecraftian villages. These are the best quests in Elder Scrolls history.

    The Lists Matthew Byrd
    Mar 12, 2018

    Many of best RPG quests in gaming belong to the Elder Scrolls series. Yes, we love Fallout, Knights of the Old Republic, The Witcher, and lots other entries in the genre, but there is something special about the quests in the Elder Scrolls games.

    Long ago, Bethesda's creative team decided that it was time to abandon the tried and true nature of "go here, get this, bring it back" RPG quests in favor of open-world opportunities that offer something a little bit...different. Since then, each Elder Scrolls game has featured at least one assignment that is so fully-realized and inventive that you'd almost swear the entire game was made just to feature this one storyline. That is until you run into the next great quest and discover that it is even better. 

    But what are the greatest quests of them all? Which are the assignments that made us drop the infinite pleasures of an open-world RPG in order to focus on one impossibly compelling story?

    The best quests in Elder Scrolls history have to be more than epic, more than clever, and more than memorable. They have to feature some indescribable quality of excellence that solely justifies the dozens of hours you've poured into this universe. 

    With due respect to Arena and Daggerfall, these are the best quests in Elders Scrolls history.  

    25. The Purification - Oblivion

    Lucien Lachance, Speaker for the Dark Brotherhood, has a favor to ask. It seems that the highest ranking members of the Brotherhood suspect that someone in the order is a spy. Because you were recruited after they became aware of this, they do not suspect you. Indeed, they trust you to eliminate all of your fellow assassins and remove any possibility for the spy to succeed.

    Honestly, this entire list could be populated by Dark Brotherhood missions from Oblivion. This one stands out, though, not just because it makes you eliminate the people you’ve been working for and with up to this point, but because it offers characters of various builds so many ways to kill the Brotherhood members.

    Go in fists swinging, use poisoned apples, summon dark creatures, kill everyone one by one - this quest captures the variety that makes the best Brotherhood assignments so special and represents a shocking turning point for this incredible storyline.

    24. Remove the Heads of the Thieves Guild/Kill the Master Thief - Morrowind

    The quests in Morrowind aren't the best the Elder Scrolls series has to offer, but this classic RPG does have some hidden gems. Few, though, are quite as fascinating as when the head of the Fighter’s Guild asks you to kill the heads of the Thieves Guild.

    What makes this quest so memorable is that it’s entirely possible that you are a member of the Thieves Guild when you receive this assignment. It’s so rare that we see Elder Scrolls games actually portray the guilds as being in direct conflict, even when it makes sense to do so. Such conflicts make the world of the games much richer and force players to make dramatic decisions that help define who their characters are. 

    This quest - and the various ways it can be approached based on your allegiances and preferences - should absolutely be explored again in some form in a future Elder Scrolls game.

    23. Ushnar's Terror - Shivering Isles

    Ushnar gro-Shadborgob is an Orc with a problem. He’s absolutely terrified of cats, and there’s a Khajiit beggar named Bhisha who won’t stop following him. Ushnar requests that you do whatever it takes to make Bhisha go away. As for Bhisha...well, it turns out Bhisha just really likes the dogs that Ushnar keeps around him to scare cats away.

    Shivering Isles is infamous for harboring some of the most creative quests in Elder Scrolls history, and this seemingly simple side mission is a perfect example of why that is the case. You can easily “solve” this problem by killing the beggar, but take the time to examine this bizarre scenario, and you’ll find that there are quite a few creative ways to help either man - or neither man - achieve his desired end.

    The best Elder Scrolls side quests intrigue you with their premise and surprise you with their payoff. In that sense, this is about as good as minor side quests get.

    22. Innocence Lost - Skyrim

    A very young boy is attempting to use the Dark Ritual to get the Dark Brotherhood to kill someone for him. What initially seems to be a childish misunderstanding of the nature of the ritual turns out to be something far more troubling.

    Innocence Lost is a simple quest so far as its step-by-step requirements are concerned, but the brilliance of this one has to do with the subtle moral implications of your actions. Once you begin investigating the supposedly abusive head of an orphanage and decide how you will address the issues this mission presents, you might start questioning just what the role of the Dark Brotherhood is in this world. 

    Are you a righteous bringer of death, or are you merely a murderer who occasionally stumbles upon a target that may be something worse?

    21. Sheogorath’s Shrine - Oblivion

    Offer a spool of yarn, a piece of lettuce, and a soul gem to the statue of Sheogorath, the Prince of Madness, and he’ll ask you to convince a small town that an apocalyptic prophecy is coming to fruition. Why? Because it would be a good bit of fun, that’s why.

    Sheogorath has long been one of the best parts of the Elder Scrolls mythology, and this quest cemented his status as the source of the franchise’s most amusing assignments. From cooking a piece of rare cheese to attract a swarm of rats to taking care of the local sheep population, this quest turns you into the accidental bringer of the end times.

    Just be sure to stick around for the fiery finale.

    20. An Unexpected Voyage - Oblivion

    The Bloated Float Inn is a ship-turned hotel located in the Imperial Waterfront District. It’s an amusing but seemingly unimportant piece of the game’s largest city. However, if you decide to stay a night aboard the ship, you’ll wake up to find that the Inn has been hijacked by pirates.

    That completely unexpected setup is great enough, but this mission's surprising depth makes it truly infamous. Choose to just slaughter your captors, and you’ll miss out on a fascinating side-story involving who these pirates are and why they’ve chosen to take a hotel out to sea.

    This is the one mission that will ensure you’ll never trust sleeping in an Elder Scrolls inn again.

    19. Diplomatic Immunity - Skyrim

    After learning that the Thalmor might be responsible for bringing dragons back to the world of Skyrim, you’re tasked with infiltrating the home of the Thalmor ambassador in order to find any incriminating evidence. Such a task would normally be impossible, but luckily for you, the ambassador is hosting a large party that might distract him long enough for you to slip in unnoticed…

    While this mission is great for its use of stealth alone, its highlight is a glorious section that requires you to convince a party guest to cause a distraction. Based on your character, your allegiances, and moves you made in the game thus far, it’s entirely possible to convince almost any guest to cause the distraction. However, others will be locked to players who don’t meet certain requirements.

    The whole quest is well-done, but that distraction section is a downright brilliant example of problem-solving via role-playing.

    18. Final Resting - Shivering Isles

    Hirrus Clutumnus is an incredibly annoying NPS who wanders the Crucible section of New Sheoth. Choose to confront him, and he will confess that he wishes to die. However, he wants the circumstances of his death to come as a surprise.

    This is by far the best example of dark humor in the Elder Scrolls series. The various ways you can fulfill Clutumnus’ request are fantastic, but the real star of this show is Clutumnus’ various quips about how much he wishes to die. It’s well-worth keeping him alive for awhile just to hear him lament how the various events of Shivering Isles' main quest haven’t led to his death.

    Oh, and the epitaph on Clutumnus’ eventual tombstone reads: “Hirrus Clutumnus never felt like he fit in anywhere. He fits in a coffin quite nicely, now."

    17. Blood on the Ice - Skyrim

    The town of Windhelm lives in fear of a serial killer who has thus far managed to evade capture. Following the discovery of the killer’s latest victim, the townspeople beg you to discover who among them has committed these heinous crimes.

    While it’s easy to laughingly refer to this investigation as an attempt at a CSI: Tamriel spin-off, this actually turns out to be one of Skyrim’s most involved side quests. Identifying the killer will require much more than just the completion of a series of pre-assigned steps. Indeed, it’s entirely possible for players to blame the wrong suspect.

    The worst part is that this quest has ways of making you realize the extent of your errors...

    16. A Brush with Death - Oblivion

    A painter in Cheydinhal has gone missing, and the painter’s wife is utterly confused as to where he could have gone. She says he has no vices, no secret lover, and spends all of his time locked up in his room with his paintings. A look at his paintings reveals that one of them is strangely...inviting.

    A Brush with Death seems to have been designed as an excuse for Oblivion’s art team to craft a wonderfully trippy hand-painted world. So far as that goes, it’s impossible to not be impressed by the stunning beauty of this incredibly creative quest to literally rescue a painter from his obsession.

    Then again, some might forever hate this quest due to its inclusion of some of Oblivion’s toughest enemies: the painted trolls.

    15. The East Empire Company Colony - Bloodmoon

    This is a bit of a cheat considering that this “quest” is actually made up of several smaller tasks, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the full scope of this incredible adventure.

    In Morrowind’s Bloodmoon expansion, you’ll have the opportunity to help the East Empire Company build a colony around a lucrative mine. Doing so will require you to do such things as deal with corrupt suppliers, quell an elderly man who won’t stop fighting in bars, choose between the various political factions emerging in the colony, and eventually build a manor of your own.

    Unlike Fallout 4’s settlement building mode, which felt almost completely detached from the game’s RPG roots, the building of this colony requires you to complete a fascinating series of quests that eventually reward you with the ability to look upon your works.

    14. Order of the Virtuous Blood - Oblivion

    A citizen approaches you in the Imperial City and informs you that vampires roam the world of Cyrodill. Before you can screech, she mentions that there is a local vampire hunting guild that requests your services. A brief meeting with the guild may leave you wondering if these are Cyrodill’s best and brightest. In fact, you might start to question whether their targets are really vampires at all.

    This quest lovingly touches upon the long history of great vampire stories while spinning a compelling little mystery involving the nature and intentions of these vampire hunters. This mission slowly makes you question whether you should really be taking your assigned objectives at face value.

    This is also the quest which alerts many Oblivion players to the fact they too can become a vampire.

    13. Ill Met By Moonlight - Skyrim

    Falkreath may be known as the location of the largest graveyard in Skyrim, but a recent death has shaken the town's hardened residents to their core. A laborer named Sinding has ripped a little girl limb from limb, and the grieving father wants to know why. In trying to find the answer to that question, you’ll also soon discover that nothing about this murder is quite as it seems.

    Ill Met By Moonlight requires Skyrim players to do a lot of navigation with their moral compass rather than solely relying on objective markers. While the mission ultimately comes down to a single choice, deciding what the “right” choice is - if there is one at all - proves to be incredibly difficult.

    This quest also rewards players with one of two unique items that can drastically impact how you play the game.

    12. To Kill an Empire - Skyrim

    Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood missions don't quite compare to the creative assassinations featured in Oblivion. The latter game's questline is just one of the best Bethesda has ever crafted. However, there are a few Dark Brotherhood quests in Skyrim that deserve to stand alongside those featured in the game's predecessor. 

    This is arguably the greatest of those missions. To Kill an Empire - and the quest that precedes it - requires you to infiltrate the Emperor’s castle by posing as his cook. Once there, you get to participate in a downright hilarious poisoning sequence that sees the world’s most oblivious kitchen helper find a way to justify the addition of the strangest ingredients.

    As fun as it is to discover the various ways you can kill the emperor, the best part of this mission comes when a last-minute twist completely changes the nature of your Dark Brotherhood tasks.

    11. Where Spirits Have Lease - Oblivion

    It’s possible to buy several homes in Oblivion, but they tend to be rather expensive for what you get. That’s why most players will jump at the opportunity to buy the stately Benirus Manor for only 5000 gold. Not long after you laugh yourself to sleep in your new home over the deal you got, you wake up to find that you’re surrounded by hostile ghosts. It appears you may have been swindled.

    The resulting attempt to cleanse your home of these vengeful spirits requires you to perform a complex exorcism that sheds light on why this house is so very haunted in the first place. You might think you just have to bust a few household ghosts, but it turns out the haunted history of Benirus Manor is far too complex to be resolved via some blows from an ax. 

    This is a truly great ghost story in the middle of Oblivion that is as fun as it is frightening.

    10. The Silent Pilgrimage - Morrowind

    Two high-ranking members of the Temple Canton in Vivec want you to prove your wisdom and patience by making a pilgrimage to the Sanctus Shrine. However, they first make you take a vow of silence. If you talk to anyone during your pilgrimage - including asking for fast travel, bartering with shopkeepers, or asking for directions - you will fail.

    While it’s possible to ruin the spirit of this quest via a variety of in-game exploitations, those who embark upon the Silent Pilgrimage as it was meant to be played will find that it represents the purest form of Elder Scrolls quest design brilliance. By denying you the ability to rely on the help of others to find your way to the shrine - which is an essential part of navigating through Morrowind - Bethesda forces gamers to utilize an entirely different set of skills to complete an otherwise simple task. 

    It’s just as satisfying to find the shrine without uttering a word as it is to take down a dragon or Daedric lord.

    9. A Shadow over Hackdirt - Oblivion

    A young Argonian named Dar-Ma has gone missing. The last time anyone saw her, she was making a delivery to the small town of Hackdirt. A trip to Hackdirt reveals a town in its dying days populated by oddly hostile residents. The few people who will talk to you may leave you wondering if Dar-Ma even came through here at all.

    Even though this quest follows the same basic structure as the H.P. Lovecraft novella it pays tribute to - The Shadow over Innsmouth - it features enough twists and turns to ensure that even those familiar with the famous horror novella won’t be able to quite predict what’s coming next.

    Pound for pound, this might just be the best horror quest in Elder Scrolls history.

    8. The Forsworn Conspiracy - Skyrim

    A woman is brutally attacked while wandering the streets of Markarth. It soon becomes clear that a faction known as the Forsworn are the culprits. Nobody seems especially bothered by this incident, but a mysterious man at the scene believes there may be much more to this than meets the eye.

    The Elder Scrollsdoes investigation quests extremely well, but what makes this particular investigation so fascinating is the way that it forces you into a real Chinatownsituation involving a seemingly simple incident that proves to be just the loose thread in a much grander conspiracy. 

    The simple attack that begins this quest triggers a series of events that will forever change the landscape of Markarth and perhaps even Skyrim.

    7. Corprus Cure - Morrowind

    Many Elder Scrolls games allow the player to contract a terrible disease that is incredibly difficult to cure, but none of the quests for those cures are as memorable as what happens after you contract Corprus in Morrowind.

    Corprus is an incredibly deadly, seemingly incurable disease that all Morrowind players will contract during the main quest. After your diagnosis, you soon hear about an ancient wizard who may actually have found a way to cure the dreaded disease. Unfortunately, getting to him is not easy. Even if you do make it, the task he assigns you may be too great to complete.

    Corprus Cure is arguably most notable for being the only quest in Elder Scrolls that allows players to interact with a living Dwemer. However, it’s actually the quality of the quest's dungeons, mini-puzzles, and the implications the end result of your escapades have on the main game that make this quest one for the ages.

    6. Paranoia - Oblivion

    A man named Glarthir corners you on the streets of Skingrad and asks you to meet him at midnight. Do so, and you will learn that Glarthir believes he is the subject of a massive conspiracy. He begs you to investigate his list of conspirators. While Glarthir sounds crazy - and the town’s guards certainly believe he is - you’ll soon discover that the craziest person here might be yourself.

    Paranoia is an incredible social experiment hidden within the code of Oblivion. This quest actually rewards those players who choose to exploit Glarthir’s beliefs with additional gold while hiding the full implication of their actions. However, it also requires players to decide how far they’re willing to push this matter in order to get the biggest prize available.

    Sadly, even those who try to make the right decision might find they’ve done something horrible in the process...

    5. Ghosts of Vitharn - Shivering Isles

    The residents of New Sheoth are fascinated with a haunted settlement named Vitharn. A trip to Vitharn reveals that an invasion caused the deaths of many of the settlement’s residents. Sheogorath has cursed their spirits to exist in eternal torment over their inability to defend the town. Vitharn’s count begs you to find a way to correct the mistakes which bind these spirits to this world.

    This quest could easily have been a game unto itself. The complexity of the tasks and the many ways in which you can resolve them lead to a fascinating series of puzzles bolstered by the deeply personal stories of the fallen.

    Ghosts of Vitharn is one of the definitive examples of how great writing separates good RPGs from the truly special ones.

    4. Baiting the Trap - Shivering Isles

    A dungeon overlord by the name of Kiliban Nyrandil, who has an unnatural fondness for cackling madly, is disturbed to see three adventurers enter his abode. Nyrandil asks you to please help him determine the fate of these adventurers by serving as the dungeon master for their trip through various chambers.

    This quest is a love letter to the Dungeons and Dragons era of role-playing that brilliantly utilizes Elder Scrolls mechanics. While your choices in each chamber are admittedly limited, watching the consequences of your decision to either physically or mentally intimidate the adventurers leads to a series of classic dungeon experiences spiced with some dark twists.

    Whatever your choices, you’ll never forget this excellent piece of creative cruelty. This is the type of mission that you’ll quick save just to play time and time again.

    3. A Night to Remember - Skyrim

    A man named Sam challenges you to a drinking contest at a local pub. He declares you the winner after a few drinks but wishes to continue the fun at a “place where the wine flows like water.” Shortly after, you black out and wake up in a temple surrounded by mysterious mementos of your drunken adventures. What happened, and where is Sam?

    This thinly-veiled tribute to The Hangover is ironically Skyrim’s most memorable quest. You can practically hear the developers laughing as the details of your wine-fueled exploits become horribly clear in the light of a new day. While largely comedic, this quests twists really are among the game’s best. By the time you find out what happened to Sam, we guarantee that you’ll be grinning ear to ear.

    2. The Ultimate Heist - Oblivion

    For your final mission as a member of the Thieves Guild, the mysterious Gray Fox assigns you a task that sounds impossible. He asks you to sneak into the Imperial Palace and steal one of the Elder Scrolls.

    This quest is the culmination of a series of great Thieves Guild missions that saw you collect a seemingly unrelated series of mystical items. Each of those items will be used during this lengthy and incredibly difficult heist that requires you to summon all of your stealth skills if you’re going to have a chance of making it into the most highly guarded room in Tamriel.

    Not only is this quest an almost unbearable tease of what would happen if the Elder Scrolls team made a Thief game, it ends with arguably the most satisfying pay-off a guild questline has ever received.

    1. Whodunit? - Oblivion

    The Dark Brotherhood tasks you with visiting the prestigious Summitmist Manor in Skingrad. Upon arriving, an associate posing as a doorman will inform you that five guests of the Brotherhood are attending a party inside. One of the guests is a murderer...and the murderer is you. If you manage to kill everyone in the mansion without being observed or suspected, you’ll receive one of the best skill bonuses in the game.

    You won’t need that incentive, though. The open-ended structure of this mission makes it impossibly fun to experiment with the various ways you can kill each guest without being identified as a murderer. You can pick them off one-by-one slasher style, you can sabotage their surroundings, or you can learn about their relationships with the other guests and actually get them to do the dirty work for you by playing off their hate and fears. Just be careful to ensure the guests that discover what’s going on don’t start to suspect you.

    While it’s impossible not to love the old-school murder mystery set-up - the weather will automatically become dark and stormy when you begin the quest - it’s the sheer amount of options available to you that makes this the undisputed king of Elder Scrolls quests. This is role-playing at its finest.

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