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    Octopath Travel remains one of the most exciting RPGs of 2018.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    The developers of the hit 3DS JRPG Bravely Default are teaming up once more to create a new JRPG for the Nintendo Switch called Octopath Traveler.

    First off, that...unique name is a reference to the game's eight main characters and eight explorable worlds. For the moment, though, it is being referred to as a working title. Given that Nintendo showcased the game via a four-minute trailer, however, we're guessing that this game is fairly far along in development. 

    In terms of narrative and certain gameplay conventions, Octopath Traveler is very much a classic Square Enix-style JRPG. There are colorful characters, grand evils, and turn-based combat as far as the eye can see. This is a game with nostalgia in its heart. 

    That said, it wouldn't be fair to call this project a throwback. For instance, Octopath Traveler will allow players to utilize characters special abilities outside of combat. This means that your warrior will be able to challenge most NPCs to a duel which may allow him to complete sidequests or access previously inaccessible areas. A dancer hero, meanwhile, can allure friendly and enemy characters. That last example is particularly hilarious as it means you'll be able to lead certain foes to cleverly placed traps and avoid combat altogether.

    Elsewhere, Octopath Traveler's visuals benefit from a style the developers are referring to as "HD 2D." The benefits of this new approach are immediately apparent. Octopath Traveler brilliantly maintains the basic visual style of classic JRPGs but greatly benefits from a noticeable increase in environmental details and lighting effects. It's a stunning visual design approach that we already want to see more of. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Octopath Traveler Release Date

    Octopath Traveler is coming on July 13. It will arrive exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

    Octopath Traveler Trailer

    Here's the first trailer for Octopath Traveler:

    And here's almost an hour of gameplay:


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    GTFO combines Aliens and Payday in what looks to be a thrilling co-op shooter experience.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    The designer of Payday and Payday 2, Ulf Anderson, has started a new studio called 10 Chambers Collective. His first project will retain Payday's four-player co-op gameplay but will add an element of horror that only exists in Payday when someone screws up the vault drill. 

    GTFO is described as a "terrifying 4 player co-op game for hardcore FPS players." It sees a team of four scavengers explore various locales in an effort to extract valuable artifacts. Standing in their way are some truly horrifying monstrosities that seem to be quite keen on eating human beings when they get the chance to do so. 

    We're not sure what's behind the miniature resurrection of four-player co-op shooters, but this one does feature a few elements that have us undeniably intrigued. Not the least among them is that awesome synth soundtrack that played over the game's debut trailer. 

    However, it's really the design of the game's monsters that deserves the most attention. This isn't the usual army of zombies but a series of utterly bizarre creatures. Actually, it feels like there might be a hint of Starship Troopers in the design of the enemies and the style of action. 

    Here's everything else you need to know about GTFO:

    GTFO Release Date

    GTFO is set to release on PC sometime in 2018. 

    GTFO Trailer

    Here is the debut trailer for GTFO:

    The trailer showcases a few gameplay hints that suggest this will be a rather deep action experience. For instance, it appears that players can set-up basic defenses when things go wrong and access a kind of x-ray scouting device that provides a brief glimpse at what lies ahead.

    Also of note is the way that GTFO incorporates story into the missions. Your crew of scavengers clearly know each other well and seem to make quite a few references to prior events and the current situation via in-game dialog. 


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    Skull and Bones wants to be the best pirate experience on the digital high seas.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Were you one of many gamers who played Assassin's Creed: Black Flag's ship sections and thought, "Why doesn't Ubisoft just turn this into a game?" Well, it appears that Ubisoft heard that very valid question. 

    Skull and Bones can't exactly be described as a continuation of Black Flag. While the two share many pirate aspects (we'll never tire of hearing our crew sing a shanty) Skull and Bones seems to place a far greater emphasis on multiplayer gameplay, but it's still not clear what the extent of the game's single-player offerings is. 

    The game will allow you to assemble an online crew and participate in 5 v 5 battles with rival pirates in ship-to-ship combat sections. While sinking the enemy is certainly a plus, the true goal here seems to be to collect as much sweet, sweet loot as you can while also vanquishing your foes. It's not entirely clear at this time whether or not you and other players will be able to assume multiple roles on the ship or how that system of role management will work, but it does appear that much of the action will take place on the open waters. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Skull and Bones Release Date

    Skull and Bones is expected to release sometime in the fall of 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 

    Skull and Bones Trailer

    Here is the first trailer for Skull and Bones:

    And here's a gameplay trailer:

    This interview video posted by Ubisoft also hints at the game's RPG mechanics and the way that you'll be able to upgrade your ship and crew as you gain gold and infamy. 


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    Darksiders 3 continues one of the most underrated action franchises in gaming.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Darksiders 3  will cast players into the role of a mage named Fury who uses a whip and magical abilities to fight various forms of evil. Fury is a member of the franchise's Four Horsemen and is described as "unpredictable and enigmatic." The first two Darksiders games featured two other members of the mythical Four Horsemen (War and Death), so this character description does seem to fit the design of the series. 

    The sequel is an "open-ended, living, free-form game" that will require players to use Fury's skills in order to defeat the seven deadly sins. The product description and various screenshots also make note of the game's retention of the franchise's signature art style. 

    The history of the Darksiders franchise has always been fascinating from a development perspective. It was originally conceived by THQ as a hack-and-slash action/adventure title with gothic horror elements. The second game expanded upon many of the elements the first title established but mostly served to give players more of the same. 

    Both Darksiders games received a good deal of acclaim from those who played them but were always seen as fundamentally flawed experiences that exhibited more potential than they realized. When THQ shut down, Darksiders was still seen as one of their most valuable former properties. That's hardly a surprise given just how much the franchise's fans love these games. 

    With the franchise now in the hands of THQ Nordic, it will be interesting to see if they are able to fully realize the potential of the game's formula. 

    Here's everything else we know about Darksiders 3:

    Darksiders 3 Release Date

    Darksiders 3 is being developed by Gunfire Games and will be released for PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One. The game will arrive sometime in 2018.

    Darksiders 3 Trailer

    Darksiders 3 is officially coming! Here's the first trailer for the game:


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    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth looks to rekindle the magic of the most successful MMO ever.

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 4, 2018

    The next World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, takes the game back to its roots a bit by focusing on the battle between the Horde and the Alliance. Each side will be able to explore three new zones. The Horde will have access to the islands of Zandalar while the Alliance will be able to traverse the island of Kul Tiras. These new areas will reportedly contain "allied races" which players will be able to recruit and eventually play as. 

    Perhaps the most exciting addition this expansion brings to the table is the inclusion of a new islands system that adds an almost rogue-like element to the game. Basically, players will be able to build parties of three and explore these island areas. The catch here is that these areas change slightly every time that you visit them. You'll also be able to access new areas called Waterfronts that support 20 player fights over locations that are reportedly of strategic importance to both the Horde and the Alliance. 

    Battle for Azeroth also includes a new legendary neck piece called the Heart of Azeroth. This neck piece will allow players to unlock new abilities that are directly tied to their armor. This system sounds very similar to the one that Blizzard implemented in Legion that allowed players to build upon existing weapons via in-game artifacts. Finally, Battle for Azeroth will raise the current level cap to 120 and will include a feature that allows players to buy a boost up to level 110 should they wish to do so. We can't wait to see who hits the new cap first. 

    Here's everything else we know about the expansion:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Preview

    We recently had the chance to play Battle for Azeroth's Island Expedition mode. Find out what we think of the expansion here!

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Release Date

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth arrives on Aug. 14. 

    Anyone who pre-orders Battle for Azeroth will be able to access the Allied Races, a tweaked version of existing races within World of Warcraft. Following a bit of a grind with these new variants, you'll be able to properly start a new character at level 20. 

    Pre-ordering Battle for Azeroth ($50) will also allow you to access a level 110 boost so you can enjoy all of Legion's late game content. Those that opt for the Deluxe Edition ($70) of the expansion will also be able to access some free goodies in other Blizzard games like Overwatch

    The full list of pre-order incentives can be found here

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Trailer

    Check the new trailer for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth below!

    Here is the debut cinematic trailer for Battle for Azeroth:

    While that trailer lives up to Blizzard's legacy of creating cinematics worthy of the big screen, it, unfortunately, doesn't tell us much about the game itself. Fortunately, Blizzard has released another preview for the expansion that elaborates on its features a bit more:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth PvP

    The World of Warcraft team hopes to emphasize the game's player vs. player elements once more by changing the way that PvP works. 

    Game director Ion Hazzikostas told Kotaku that the team plans on turning every one of the game's servers into PvP servers. However, everyone will need to opt-in to PvP combat if they wish to participate in battle. The catch is that players will only be able to turn PvP on or off inside of major cities. Out in the wild, you'll live with the decision you've made. 

    “Doing this gives us a foundation upon which to build,” said Hazzikostas. “I think in the past when we talked about ideas for PVP content in the world, we often ran into the question of ‘Well, what does this mean for people on PVE servers?’ Are there just millions of people who don’t get to experience this content at all, even if they want to?”

    Hazzikostas also admitted that the WoW team has fallen behind somewhat in terms of expanding the game's PvP battles. While he admits you can't make those battles perfectly balanced, he states that the team is hoping to implement some kind of level-scaling system that might help battles feel a little fairer. 

    Hazzikostas previously noted that Battle for Azeroth will incorporate elements of the Warcraft RTS games. Specifically, the expansion's Waterfront battles will play out like a WoW take on the classic strategy titles. 

    “In searching for inspiration for how that might unfold, classic RTS roots felt like the perfect place to turn,” said Hazzikostas. He later explained that your first job will be to get your team's base fully-functional which will require you to gather resources such as "lumber or gold" to upgrade town halls. You'll also need to clear supply lines of foes in order to allow "peons to do their thing."

    The next phase of battle requires teams of players to decide how existing resources will be spent on the battles ahead. This includes the building of certain weapons and other combat resources. Finally, you will actually do battles against other teams with the resources you have accumulated. 

    We're curious if the resource gathering elements will grow tedious over time and how deep the base building is, but this certainly sounds like a significant addition to the game that wonderfully touches upon Warcraft's oft-forgotten RTS roots. 


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    Super Smash Bros. looks to continue the series' streak of hit games.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Since its N64 debut, the Super Smash Bros. series has been one of Nintendo's most beloved properties. What began as a simple amusement that pitted some of Nintendo's best characters against each other in a brawler fighting game has become an institution. Everyone from casual Nintendo console owners to hardcore fighting fans has fond memories of waging war across Smash Bros. many levels. 

    Now, Smash Bros. is preparing to make its debut on the Nintendo Switch. Following the success of Super Smash Bros. Wii U - a game that grew to include one of the most incredible rosters in fighting game history - expectations are high for the next entry in the long-running franchise. If Nintendo's history with highly-anticipated Switch titles is any indication, though, then we fully expect this will be a special title that will boast a truly impressive collection of playable characters. 

    Here is everything we know about Super Smash Bros. for Switch:

    Super Smash Bros. Switch News

    Nintendo has confirmed that Super Smash Bros. for Switch will be playable on the E3 show floor. While we can guarantee that the lines for the game will be daunting, those in attendance will be among the first to actually play the highly-anticipated title. 

    As for what those attendees can expect, recent evidence suggests that the Smash Bros. for Switch will be an entirely new game and not a port of the Wii U version. 

    For instance, a recent tweet from series creator Masahiro Sakurai states that he has been "working on this game in silence day after day." It's highly doubtful that Sakurai would personally be putting so much effort into a port of Smash Bros. Wii U, which has led many to believe that his work has been going towards a new title. 

    The biggest piece of evidence, though, was snuck into the reveal of Smash Bros. for Switch. The end of that footage credits Hal Laboratory as the game's developer. However, Bandai Namco created Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. Even if Hal were responsible for just porting the previous game, Bandai Namco would have likely been credited in some way for their creation if this was indeed a port. 

    All things considered, it looks like we are getting a proper new Smash Bros. game in 2018. 

    Super Smash Bros. Switch Release Date

    Super Smash Bros. for Switch is being released in 2018. It's currently believed that the title will be released sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018. 

    Super Smash Bros. Switch Trailer

    During the latest Nintendo Direct, Nintendo seemed to tease the first Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Switch. 


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    Valve's DOTA 2 card game wants to be the new king of digital CCGs.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 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. It will be fascinating to see what that creative team comes up with. 

    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. 

    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. 

    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

    Here's the teaser trailer that formally introduced Artifact to the world. 


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    Fun isn't the word that springs to mind when Thanos is trying to wipe out half of all life in Avengers: Infinity War, but...

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    May 5, 2018

    When it came time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to build towards the top villain threat at the end of the first Avengers, it was a no-brainer. Marvel has like three potential villains for that role and since Dr. Doom and Galactus are Fantastic Four characters and off-limits (at least for now), that leaves Thanos by default. And hey, it has worked out great so far as the whole Infinity Stones subplot has helped connect the many Marvel movies while killing time for Infinity War.

    The Mad Titan has a great reputation as the be-all/end-all final boss of the Marvel Universe. He’s succeeded at obtaining great power and even total omnipotence all for messed up reasons like wanting to bone the Grim Reaper and wanting to slaughter all of his bastard children. He shrugs off hits from the Hulk, Silver Surfer, and even Black Bolt’s vocal cords. Thanos is serious business.

    Sometimes, though, Thanos has his off days. Those head-scratching times when you remember how weird comics can be. Here are some fun examples. You can watch the video or read the article!

    THE THANOSCOPTER

    Spidey Super Stories is an artifact that will never stop being funny. A Spider-Man comic for the kiddiest of kids, it featured some of the most dumbed down dialogue and adventuring you’d ever see in a superhero story. This late-70s tale came at a time when Thanos had only been around for a few years. Like his mainstream counterparts, Thanos was indeed out to gain power from the Cosmic Cube.

    Unlike his mainstream counterparts, he did it in part from a generic helicopter that had his name sprawled across it. Coming off as more of a Wet Bandit than the cosmic bringer of doom, Thanos chased after the Cat (who had yet to become Hellcat in Marvel lore, which is probably for the better here), who for whatever reason carried the Cosmic Cube.

    Somehow the Cube got in the hands of a skateboarding kid and Thanos snatched it from him. His defeat came when he attacked the Cat and Spider-Man with an earthquake, which made him drop the Cosmic Cube, leaving the skateboarder to get it and defeat Thanos with grass. Thanos was then arrested by the police.

    The same issue had people losing their minds over Impossible Man being an alien, but Thanos? Some purple dork getting booked after fumbling omnipotence.

    GAMORA’S CHRISTMAS

    So we know the whole deal with Thanos and Gamora. She’s his adopted daughter and super-assassin who ultimately betrayed him. Jim Starlin and Ron Lim, the very creative team behind Infinity Gauntlet, did a short story for Marvel Holiday Special 1992. Their tale of Thanos was a good one, going into his attempt to give Gamora a pleasant upbringing to go with her assassin training. For some crazy reason, Thanos decided to celebrate Christmas with her.

    Again, there’s some genuine heart in the tale of Gamora sacrificing her doll to save Thanos from a would-be assassin, but the whole “tossing in an Earth holiday” to make the story on-brand for the one-shot is just so strange.

    Oh, and then they went and watched dolphins for a while. If it’s good for Lobo, I guess it’s good for Thanos.

    DARKSEID ON THE PAYROLL

    The book Secret Defenders was your usual superhero team-up book where the team-ups changed up by the story. One of the stories was actually a villain team-up where Thanos was the benefactor. His team ended up being made of Rhino, Titanium Man, Nitro, Super-Skrull, and Geatar and they went and fought alien robot monks or whatever.

    Whenever you get a story like this with a bunch of random characters being selected to do a mission, one of the clichés you're likely to see is either a scattered pile of dossier pictures or a bunch of faces on monitors. Thanos went with the latter and had plenty of villains he was considering but didn’t choose. Guys like Juggernaut, Venom, Ultron, Annihilus...and Darkseid.

    Yeah, for some reason he had Darkseid on one of his monitors, like he was a coin flip away from asking the ultimate evil of the DC Universe to run errands for him. Sure, Marvel and DC were on friendlier terms back then and all, but this was even before Marvel vs. DC where the two fought it out and later merged into becoming Thanoseid. Thanos simply had Darkseid on speed dial.

    THE THANOSI

    Sometimes when a certain writer is so in love with a certain character, they go a little wacky trying to explain their off days. Like for instance, John Byrne wasn’t happy that X-Men villain Arcade once lit a match on Dr. Doom, so he went out of his way to explain that it was a Doombot and not the real deal. Since Starlin is Thanos’ creator and can’t go five hours without writing a story about how awesome he is, he’s just as guilty.

    In the miniseries Infinity Abyss, it was revealed that there was an army of Thanos hybrid clones out there being jerks and trying to end the universe. They all came off as Thanos trying to cosplay as other Marvel heroes like Iron Man, Gladiator, and Dr. Strange. There was even a failed Thanos Wolverine clone mixed in there, who got to make the cover of one issue.

    It was revealed that Thanos had been cloning himself for years because the real Thanos is no punk and if he ever seemed like a punk, it was because the real Thanos wasn’t there. Like the time Ka-Zar got the best of him. Or that time Thor beat him into purple paste. No way, Jose. Thanos has the alibi of being too cool for that shit!

    The storyline came to a climax when Thanos and a handful of heroes had to fight the especially ridiculous Thanos-Galactus. Yeah, Galactus has DNA, apparently.

    SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THANOS! ...MAYBE!

    Squirrel Girl made her debut taking out Dr. Doom by overwhelming him with an army of squirrels. That eventually led to a trend of Squirrel Girl being this paradox of a character in the Marvel Universe. She was Koko B. Ware, only she was somehow pinning Andre the Giant. Once she started a resurgence as a member of the Great Lakes Avengers/Great Lakes X-Men, she returned to inexplicably taking out villains well above her pay grade.

    In the pages of the GLX-Mas Special, after making short work of MODOK, Squirrel Girl was confronted with Thanos as a mid-issue cliffhanger. Many pages later, we got to see Squirrel Girl standing victorious over the Mad Titan while Uatu the Watcher looked on to verify that yes, indeed, this was the real deal Thanos and not some kind of lame copy or whatever.

    Then Dan Slott, the guy who wrote that very scene, retconned it shortly after in the pages of She-Hulk where he outright claimed it to be a clone that would fool even the likes of cosmic beings. Why? Regardless, in Squirrel Girl’s solo series years later, she and Galactus shared a laugh over the fact that she totally handed the real, actual Thanos his ass, no backsies.

    CUBE TO THE BALLS

    Back in Annihilation, Thanos had the most metal death ever when Drax impaled him with his fist from behind and showed Thanos his own heart. It fucking rocked. Then in the original ongoing for the modern-day Guardians of the Galaxy, the series ended with Thanos’ resurrection. He was mindless and overly strong, much like the Hulk, except he was also totally naked because not wearing pants is how resurrection works most of the time.

    When Star-Lord decided to wrap things up, he did it by getting his attention with a cracked, yet shiny, Cosmic Cube. Thanos slowly advanced with a flicker of recognition in his eyes. Star-Lord let loose with a blast capable of knocking out Thanos and that’s all well and good, but...

    Um, okay, so you know how mainstream comics can’t show naughty bits and always have to find ways to obscure nudity? Well, I don’t know how intentional it is, but Star-Lord took out Thanos with a Cosmic Cube blast to the dick.

    Not cool, Quill. He needs that for...hm. Actually, I don’t think Death has genitals either. Never mind!

    EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HERO

    In the pages of Avengers World, mutant heroes Cannonball and Sunspot were sent on a mission to go into the future and meet up with the offspring Avengers from that crappy animated film that nobody remembers anymore because Marvel decided to start making good movies afterwards. It’s been about 20-25 years since Cannonball and Sunspot’s time and the world had become a very different place. As they traveled through Danvers City, it became apparent that Earth had become a more popular spot for aliens to hang out.

    The two took a stop at a bar and tried to fit in by discussing how tough they were. They namedropped Thanos as one of their big enemies and that in turn started a bar fight. Somehow, Thanos had gone on to become the greatest Avenger to ever live. Apparently you can come back from wiping out half of the universe.

    As Cannonball put it, “That is a face-turn I did not see coming.”

    SANTA THANOS

    Man, what is it with Thanos and Christmas?!

    Marvel’s YouTube series What The--?! featured a holiday episode back in 2014 where Thanos had a master plan to steal all the Terrigen Crystals from the Inhumans. Unfortunately, their security was a bit too scary so he had a backup plan: become Santa Claus. After all, breaking into houses is one of Santa’s superpowers!

    Thanos beat up Santa and stole his costume. He then got stuck having to listen to superheroes tell him what they wanted for Christmas before he had a chance to sneak off. Having to put up with Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Thor, and Captain America was bad enough, but then Hulk showed up and the whole plan went to Hell while Thanos' skull went into the floor.

    PATTON OSWALT’S STAR WARS EPISODE VII

    This one isn’t an official Marvel thing, but it’s mainstream enough for me to include.

    The TV show Parks and Recreations had a long running gag about how backwards and prejudiced the town’s original traditions were. Main character Leslie Knope wanted to make some changes and citizen Garth Blundin (Patton Oswalt) was completely against it. In a funny scene, he did a very nerdy filibuster about how he wanted Star Wars Episode VII to work out.

    Luckily, an eight-minute version hit YouTube shortly after its airing and it was a doozy. While Garth’s ideas for Star Wars itself were a little creative, like Leia leaving Han for Lando and Chewbacca being turned into a cyborg spider, it went into overdrive when he namedropped Thanos. Due to the Infinity Stones, Thanos would not only turn the movie into Star Warsvs. Avengers, but he’d also bring the X-Men in. He had control over time and space and could do that.

    One great touch was that when he first mentioned Thanos, someone yelled, “Oh, come on!” That voice could have possibly belonged to Chris Pratt, who was only months away from filming Guardians of the Galaxy.

    THE LOSS TO ARSENAL

    Thanos has appeared on multiple animated series. He antagonized the Silver Surfer while lusting for “Lady Chaos.” He opposed the Guardians of the Galaxy while donning the Carnage symbiote. In Super Hero Squad, he even got full control of the Infinity Gauntlet, only to lose to another overpowered maguffin.

    And you know what? At least there was honor in that loss. Getting beat by the Infinity Sword is way better than what happened on the Avengers Assemble cartoon. For half a season, Thanos gathered the six Infinity Stones and when he completed the collection, he made short work of the Avengers.

    Then Iron Man revealed his rebuilt robot bodyguard Arsenal. Arsenal’s main ability was absorbing energy, so when Thanos blasted lasers at him, the robot took it head-on and advanced. Thanos had power over time, space, reality, and so on. There were so many ways to destroy that robot, including wishing it to not exist anymore.

    So what did Thanos do in this situation? He shot MORE lasers! And it ended with him getting the Gauntlet pulled off. Thanos got beat up and then Arsenal transformed into Ultron and why did they cancel Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for this again?

    THE SATSUI NO HADO GAUNTLET

    The story for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infiniteis bananas. In it, Marvel and Capcom each have their own universe, which means that Final Fight, Street Fighter, Strider, Monster Hunter, Mega Man X, Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, and Resident Evilall happened in the same era. Looking into that further means that Dr. Wily is a long-dead historical figure who presumably died before Zangief was born.

    Anyway, the worlds got merged together by a hybrid of Ultron and Sigma, all because Death wanted to sneak off and get it on with Jedah from Darkstalkers. Long story. Throughout the game, Thanos was treated as a wild card forced onto the side of good. With the story revolving around the Infinity Stones, he was obviously going to make a go for them. That’s his thing.

    Instead, Thanos became aware of Death’s activities and chose to focus on the violent darkness living inside Ryu. Thanos created a new gauntlet that absorbed all of Ryu’s killing intent, and then walked off to do his own thing.

    After the credits, Thanos returned to threaten Death, as Ryu’s Satsui No Hado powers were capable of hurting her. To prove it, the game ended with Thanos performing a Hadoken.

    Hopefully they’re saving that move for Avengers 4.

    Gavin Jasper wonders why Thanos never used the Infinity Gauntlet to give himself hair. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    Ever felt like smashing your controller against your television screen? If so, then you've probably played one of these games...

    Feature Luke McKinney
    May 7, 2018

    In the past few years, there has been a growing concern that video games have become less challenging. Sure, things like hour-long tutorials and a lighter approach to in-game consequences haven't helped recent generations.

    This absolutely signifies a shift, or rather an expansion, in the demographic of gamers, from a smaller, niche group of hardcore fans to more casual players. People looking for more casual experiences probably won't spend too many hours trying to survive one of the games on this list. Many big game companies have lowered the difficulty of their games in order to cater to as many fans as possible, those that maybe are more interested in storytelling than a hardcore challenge. 

    But for the fans who enjoy tough challenges, levels so brutal they might make you cry in frustration, there are still plenty of options to choose from. XCOM 2, for example, is about humanity being utterly dominated by a technologically superior force, which also describes the game's effect on our productivity. Some games are hard like a diamond: beautiful, fascinating, and consuming weeks of our lives to earn glittering success. Which is why we're mining our past for more fantastically hard favorites.

    Here is our list of the most brutally difficult games ever:

    Dark Souls series

    2011 | From Software | XBO, PS4, X360, PS4, PC

    Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, everybody has a favorite, and they're all right. It's not that one game is better, it's just that you never forget your first love. Dark Souls is rock hard, but the rock is marble: beautiful, crafted into a masterpiece by the hammer that chips away the weak and unwanted. The game is a synthesis of skill by both developer and player. The player slowly learns how to advance in a nightmare of death, and in doing so feels the joy of gaining earning skill instead of merely unlocking it.

    But the real skill belongs to the developers. Too difficult and it would feel frustrating. Too easy and it wouldn't be rewarding. These games are truly artistic in their difficulty. Compare this to the days of Castlevania and Mega Man: if you lose, you lose everything, forced to repeat hours of play for one more crack at a monster. In Dark Souls, even the smallest bit of success still permanently advances your abilities, your equipment, and your range. Each death is only a little chip, sculpting you into the perfect warrior.

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl

    2007 | GSC Game World | PC

    With the thousands of first-person shooters in the world, it's rare for something to have a truly unique angle, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R. managed most original. There's weird radiation, there's a lawless zone where all must fend for themselves, so far so cliche, but in this otherwise unoriginal world, you're not the chosen one! You're not an elite operative! All the crazy radiation means everyone else is busy, not standing around sucking their thumbs waiting for you. You're just one more gun-wielder trying to make their way in the world. Even the developers don't (seem) to care about your progress, as they dump you in the middle of a busy world without so much as a helpful NPC to set you on your way.

    Which means every victory is all yours. You're the one who works out what to do or makes a decision or ambushes those guys. Even if you read FAQs, it feels more like teamwork than cheating. You can adventure into the heart of the anomaly if you like, but that really is up to you.

    Devil May Cry

    2001 | Capcom | PS2

    Devil May Cry. A name possibly intended to make gamers feel better about their own tears. A game which forced players to fling themselves to death against impossible odds before even offering an easy mode. This game worked out how to make something called a "GIANT LAVA SPIDER" even worse than the name suggests.

    But like all the cruelest torturers, the game made its victims want to work through the pain, because no matter how brutal the flames, no matter how rapid the bludgeon, no matter how screen-filling the savage attacks, there was always a way around the challenges. Players always died with one last glimpse of what they should have done flickering in their fading virtual eyes. So instead of shattering their controllers, they guaranteed that they'd make it the next time, just one more time. What do you mean it's Monday? I just started playing. Tell work I'm sick.

    Ninja Gaiden Black

    2004 | Team Ninja | Xbox

    Some hardcore players complained that Ninja Gaiden was too easy. Ninja Gaiden Black is what happens when you challenge people who can build a universe of infinite ninja. This wasn't so much a game as a voluntary flensing of the pretense most players had of gaming mastery. And in the truest way of the ninja, the more difficult the challenge the more satisfying it was for those who rose to defeat it. If game skills were transferable, any players who passed this test would have been able to beat everything else they played on the first attempt, upside down, blindfolded, while assassinating a feudal lord with their controller cable.

    Contra

    1987 | Konami | Arcade

    Contra! Woo! Right now, you're either asking, "What?" or your fingers just finished flexing the Konami code. This was a game so hard that multiplying our lives by ten didn't feel like cheating, but was taken as a basic survival mechanic. Bill and Lance were the world's most violently single-minded Time Lords.

    This was the standard of difficulty back when we didn't know better. When being slaughtered seventy billion times on the third level just meant you were getting value for money. And when you could finally dance through the incoming fire like a bullet ballet to shoot out an alien heart, you felt like you'd really achieved something. It's not like any of us wanted to learn a second language or musical instrument in the same amount of time, anyway.

    F-Zero GX

    2003 | Amusement Vision | GC

    F-Zero GX wasn't a game, it was a feeling, an instant of pure velocity that has never been replicated. We can only assume Nintendo hired neurologists to wire the exact edge of human reaction time into their hyperfast hovermotors, tuning it one perfect sliver of speed below impossible, so that we could bridge that gap with our own breathless piloting skills.

    The game would slam you into an explosion faster than you could blink, and it would always be your own fault. You always knew you could do better. First place in this felt better than anything else in the world, because the only activity more adrenalizing, more endorphin-releasing, and more enjoyable than a good game of F-Zero is probably illegal.

    Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels

    1986 | Nintendo | NES

    The original Super Mario Bros. went from Level 1-1 to 8-4. The sequel started at 93-one million and skipped a lot of steps from there. Lost Levels was designed by people who took everyone enjoying one of the most popular games of all time as some kind of personal failure. Your first attempt at The Lost Levels is: press start. Die. Realize that yes, it's going happen a lot.

    This was a sequel to the original in the sense that university is a sequel to high school: you mastered everything that went before and assumed you were prepared to work on nothing else but getting through the next few levels for the next four years. If you arrived expecting to just have fun, you were in serious trouble. If modern games made sequels like this, their sales would be exponential decay curves, but anyone who beat the fifth entry in anything would actually be the Last Starfighter for real.

    Berzerk

    1980 | Stern Electronics | Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200

    The true home of difficulty is the arcade, where the machines were literally paid to kill you as quickly and entertainingly as possible. They had to get another quarter out of your pocket, but just saying "YOU DIED" as soon as you started would be more of an artistic essay on capitalism than a game. Which is why they needed you to believe you had a chance. And few games tested that belief like Berzerk.

    Berzerk put players into an electrified instant-death maze full of bullet-firing robots to be chased by the indestructible "Evil Otto," and was still so fun we kept going back.

    NetHack

    1987 | The NetHack DevTeam | PC

    There are now so many indie rogue-like games that anyone designing a game in this genre might as well be programming a steam engine. NetHack was grandchild of the original Rogue, and remains one of the most challenging and time-consuming games ever designed.

    If the Matrix ever happens, and the machines enslave us all in a virtual reality city, they'll still have to keep it running for at least a decade before it consumes more gamer lifespans than the quest for the Amulet of Yendor. But both enforce the basic rule that if you die, that's it, game over.

    SpaceChem

    2011 | Zachtronics Industries | PC

    SpaceChem looks like a chemistry lesson and an electronics textbook had a child and raised it to take revenge on all video gaming distractions from pure study. But it's smarter fun than Professor X enjoying every game of chess in the world simultaneously. The chemical-combining game is so addictive you can be playing it even when your computer is switched off, your brain churning chemical paths and combinations to crack the next level.

    It's the wonderful opposite to the old nightmare difficulty of Discworld-style games, those point-and-click journeys into madness where no sane mind could ever have guessed the right item combination. In SpaceChem, every step makes perfect sense. And getting them all in the right order feels like decrypting enlightenment.

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown

    2012 | Firaxis Games | X360, PS3, PC

    XCOM is every kind of hard: brutal turn-based conflict, resource management, fractious funders who can't fight their way out of a conference room but will happily destroy your budget (and the entire planet). And just when you're getting everything under control, it springs appallingly powerful new enemy types. Usually just after you move a soldier one step too far on the final turn.

    Best of all, it's now canon that XCOM was too difficult even for XCOM. They failed, which is why the sequel sees us resisting aliens who've already invaded and dominated our planet. And we'll enjoy every second of it. No matter how many times we have to restart and replay it.


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    In a recently uncovered article, Gunpei Yokoi tells the true story of why he left Nintendo.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 7, 2018

    Gunpei Yokoi, designer of the original Game Boy, somewhat mysteriously left Nintendo in 1996. At the time, the popular theory was that his departure was related to the failure of the Virtual Boy. However, a recently surfaced interview that Yokoi gave before his death reveals that was not the case. 

    “The day before I retired [from Nintendo], The Nikkei did a big feature on me,” said Yokoi in an article published in the Japanese magazine, Bungeishunju. "In reality, I did not resign to ‘take responsibility for the Virtual Boy’s failure.'"

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    So why did Yokoi leave the company after he helped create some of their most iconic products? It seems that his decision was a simple matter of wanting to move to the next stage of his career. 

    “Since before that, I was thinking that when I turned 55, I wanted to become independent," said Yokoi. "To put it another way, I came up with a lifetime of ideas and continued making playthings. To continue tweaking Nintendo’s corporate philosophy of ‘niche-type playthings’—that’s the only reason I resigned.”

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    Yokoi cites his age at another point in the article by stating that "at the 55-year-old juncture" he wanted to be able to focus more on his own ideas and to give them the attention they needed to become something tangible. 

    In the past, Yokoi complimented Nintendo on the way that they didn't chase the latest technological trends and instead focused on getting the most out of existing technology in a way that kept their products consumer-friendly. His decision to not immediately add color functionality to the Game Boy is sometimes cited as the reason the device was able to retain its incredible battery life and market popularity. 

    Sadly, Yokoi's exact vision of the future of gaming remains somewhat foggy. He tragically passed away in 1997 after being fatally injured in a car crash. Before then, though, he helped design Bandai's WonderSwan handheld device; a flawed but fascinating piece of hardware. 


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    Battlerite becomes the latest game to join the battle royale trend.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 7, 2018

    Battlerite, the online brawler that found new life following its transition to free-to-play, will soon become the next game to receive a battle royale mode. 

    Developer Stunlock Studios have shared the first details of an upcoming update that will add a pseudo-battle royale mode to the popular MOBA/brawler. How will such a mode work in a game that was clearly not designed to support such a concept? According to the developers, it won't. Instead, they're looking to simply take some inspirations from the battle royale genre as well as other classic games to expand upon what Battlerite already offers. 

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    "We want to give players the excitement of a Diablo-esque exploration experience combined with the character variation of a MOBA and the thrill of a survival game," said Stunlock marketing director, Johan Ilves. "That said, I think anyone who’s looking for a fresh and different take on the Battle Royale genre will have a blast."

    On the Battleritesubreddit, the developers expanded on how the mode will work. Each match will begin with 20 players on a map (comprised of solo players or teams of two). The map itself is about 30 times larger than Battlerite's current arenas. Every area will be filled with various items that offer various benefits. You'll still choose your champion as normal and you'll still play each map from the same overhead perspective, but this mode will require players to utilize different kinds of strategies in order to account for the larger number of opponents in the area. That said, the developers estimate that each match will only take about 10 minutes. 

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    It's an interesting take on the battle royale concept that retains the basic Battlerite gameplay (teams of two battle to be the last player standing) but features enough new concepts to warrant the "Battle Royale" tag. 

    We've previously seen the Diablo-esque Path of Exile get quite a bit of mileage out of a battle royale mode - which was added to the game as an April Fools joke - so it's not too much of a stretch to see how Battlerite's version of that idea might work. We'll know more when the mode launches this summer. 


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    Following the success of Breath of the Wild, Nintendo seems to be hard at work on the next Zelda game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 7, 2018

    A new job posting reveals that Nintendo is looking for a level designer for the Legend of Zelda franchise. This update comes from Twitter user @bk2128, who spotted the job listing on Nintendo's Japanese website.

    According to the translation, this job listing asks for a designer to "create events/dungeons/fields/enemies from design to actual implementation." What's especially interesting, though, is that the listing references the need for someone with experience "on console games" and who can communicate in Japanese. 

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    While it would be difficult to find anyone who thought that Nintendo wouldn't make a new Zelda game, the timing of this hiring is interesting. The fact that Nintendo is asking for a designer with console experience could indicate that the Big N is working on a new Zelda game for the Switch rather than the 3DS. At this time, it feels like the plan is for Nintendo to release another Zelda title for the Switch rather than to wait for a next-gen device. While such a move isn't unheard of, it's not always a guarantee that a Nintendo console gets two major Zelda games during its lifespan. 

    While you can't completely discount the possibility that this listing references a Zelda game on a platform other than the Switch - assuming that Nintendo refers to the 3DS as a console - it feels likely that the company is jumping at the opportunity to capitalize on the success of Breath of the Wild.

    So far as that goes, the listing doesn't really give any indication that Nintendo is necessarily sticking with Breath of the Wild's open-world design for this upcoming game. "Events/dungeons/fields/enemies" is a pretty generic ask in terms of the types of things found in just about every Zelda title. As for why the company seeking a new level designer at all, it's likely just a simple matter of the company wanting to expand the Zelda team ahead of this upcoming release. 

    Would Nintendo ever return to the classic style of Zelda game now that Breath of the Wild has re-written the formula? It's possible, but for the moment, we're going to assume you can expect another open-world Zelda game from the studio. 


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    TL;DR we're going back to discuss. But here's why...

    News Mike Cecchini
    May 7, 2018

    Right around this time last year, we abandoned what had long been the Den of Geek standard commenting system, Disqus, for Facebook. The hope was that making this change would make for a smoother, faster, more integrated Den of Geek experience. We expected comments from Facebook posts to automatically reflect on the articles and vice versa. We weren't thrilled with how the Disqus module appeared to be slowing our page load times down, especially on mobile. There had been an uptick in spam posts that were a cause for concern.

    But after nearly a year, it's pretty clear that our Facebook commenting module was buggy, and thus comments were rarely reflected between posts and the site. Differences in page load time were negligible. Spammers gonna spam, regardless of platform. And to be perfectly honest, I feel like we lost some of our most passionate and engaged readers, many of whom I enjoyed interacting with myself on Den of Geek stories. I admit that we might have traded one set of problems for another.

    The recent concerns with Facebook and its handling of user data and privacy issues opened our eyes. Facebook is an inescapable necessity of the digital publishing world, and it's certainly a useful tool. But forcing Den of Geek readers to engage with Facebook in order to engage with our articles, especially in light of recent events, was the wrong move. 

    With all this in mind, we've decided to switch back to Disqus for on site commenting. They have addressed many of our concerns over the last year. Commenting should once again be a fairly smooth process, technical issues have been ironed out, and you'll be able to have more direct interactions with the Den of Geek team on a regular basis. The change will be rolled out in the next day or two.

    No commenting platform is perfect, nor will it please everyone, but the Den of Geek community was originally built on Disqus, and I certainly can't argue with the continued success our UK counterparts see with it on a daily basis. I know that some of you might be annoyed after we made one major community change only to pivot once again a year later. I hope you'll stick around. And if you've been quiet since the Facebook days, well, I hope to be the first to welcome you back on behalf of the entire Den of Geek team. 

    For clarity's sake, here are our community guidelines. 

    COMMENT POLICY

    • We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Comments that appear to be spam, toxic, or harmful are subject to the whims of our moderators.

    DEN OF GEEK RULES

    1. Don't be a jerk. Disagree all you want, but don't make personal attacks on fellow readers or our writers.

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    3. Don't feed the damn trolls.

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    5. Don't post NSFW content.

    6. Put some thought/effort into your feedback. The edgy days of posting “meh” on the internet are over.

    UNIVERSAL DISQUS RULES

    • Targeted harassment or encouraging others to do so
      Hate speech and other forms of targeted and systematic harassment of people have no place on Disqus, nor do we tolerate communities dedicated to fostering harassing behavior.

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      Examples include 1) comments posted in large quantities to promote a product or service, 2) the exact same comment posted repeatedly to disrupt a thread. 3) following users multiple times

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      You may not impersonate others in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others.

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      This covers active threats of harm directed towards a specific person or defined group of individuals. Contact local authorities if you feel a crime has been committed or is imminent.

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      Examples of protected information: credit card number, home/work address, phone number, email address, social security number. 

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    Thanks for reading, and I hope to talk to you soon.


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    Thanos is coming to Fortnite for a limited time in the biggest Avengers: Infinity War crossover yet!

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    May 8, 2018

    Epic Games just pulled the ultimate Victory Royale: Fortnite is crossing over with Avengers: Infinity War, the most popular film on the planet right now, as Thanos comes to the game for a limited time. He will drop into the game's Battle Royale mode on Tuesday, May 8, according to EW.

    Each battle royale match will mostly proceed as usual. 100 players will drop on the map and duke it out until there's only one competitor left standing. The only difference now is that players will have the chance to wield the Infinity Gauntlet from the movie.

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    The gauntlet generates on the map in the special "Infinity Gauntlet Limited Time Mashup" match type. The player who finds the artifact will immediately transform into Thanos and have the power of the six Infinity Stones at his or her disposal. Basically, you won't want to run into Thanos during your sessions.

    It turns out that the crossover came about because Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo are major Fortnite fans.

    "Over the past few months, while we were editing Infinity War, we’d take breaks to hop on and get in a few games," Joe Russo told EW. "And then we started thinking, how cool would it be to have some kind of AvengersFortnite mashup? So we stalked Donald [Mustard, worldwide creative director of Epic Games]."

    The story could almost sound made up if it weren't for the fact that Fortnite is arguably the most popular video game in the world, bringing together casual mobile games, hardcore shooter fans, and even Drake for countless rounds of battle royale action. In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before the biggest movie and game in the world came together for the biggest crossover event in history. (Time to get that meme started again!)

    We'll keep you updated as we learn more about Fortnite's Avengers crossover!


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    The Switch's online subscription service will include NES games, cloud saves and lots more, Nintendo has announced...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    May 8, 2018

    Online multiplayer hasn't always been the best aspect of Nintendo's consoles, but with the Switch, there have been signs that things might change for the better. And, about 18 months on from its original release, the Nintendo Switch's online service is finally due to launch in September.

    Like the equivalent services on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Switch's online service has a cost attached: $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 for a year.

    The more intriguing option is what Nintendo calls its Twelve Month Family Membership, which, for $34.99, allows up to eight Nintendo accounts to use the subscription service - even on different consoles. We'll be interested to hear what the restrictions are on this; do users have to prove they're all members of the same family, or could a bunch of friends - and maybe Big Steve who lives down the road - all club together and basically get a year's subscription for less than $5? At present, Nintendo's wording ("all members of the group will have access to Nintendo Switch Online") implies that we will.

    So anyway, what do we get for our monthly investment? First, a bunch of games, some more scintillating than others. At launch, you'll get access to the NES hits Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend Of Zelda, Mario Bros, Soccer, Super Mario Bros, and TennisIt's the usual roster of suspects, really, though the addition of things like voice chat and online multiplayer are nice to have, and Nintendo says it'll be adding more games to the selection after launch - we're hoping for a few, more unusual titles for the NES and other retro systems. 

    The more important features, though, are the cloud saves, which means we'll be able to save our games online for access anywhere. Further details are currently thin on the ground, though Nintendo says it'll be explaining more ahead of Switch Online's launch in September. We'll keep you posted as we hear more.


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    Hard work, patience, and all the other things you won't need to succeed in Overwatch if you pick one of these heroes.

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    May 8, 2018

    Overwatch can be an intimidating game. Blizzard’s incredibly popular online multiplayer shooter is a strange mix of rapid FPS action and team-based MOBA strategies. It’s a game that not only requires you to master your chosen hero but figure out how to execute perfect team strategies with a group of randomly matched teammates just trying to find the emote button. It’s enough to make you want to stay away from the game entirely.

    But don't worry! There are several Overwatch characters that are designed to cater to new players. Better yet, a few of these characters are good enough to stick with once you really begin to learn how the game works. 

    We’d be lying if we told you that you’re going to master the complicated world of Overwatch right away, but there’s no reason that you can’t start your journey right by choosing one of these beginner-friendly heroes.

    Attack

    Soldier 76


    Have you ever played a first-person shooter? Any will do. You have? Good. Then you pretty much already know how to play Soldier 76.

    Soldier 76 is designed to function largely like your average hero in a first-person shooter. He has a machine gun with a decent amount of ammo, access to a handy little rocket launcher, and the ability to heal himself by resting in a deployable circle of healing. He’s also able to sprint at will.

    While Soldier 76 will feel familiar to anyone who has ever played a shooter, those who take the time to learn the subtleties of his skill set will actually discover he’s one of the most versatile attack heroes in the game. From rocket jumps to the general reach of his weapon, Soldier 76 is like the Swiss army knife of Overwatch heroes.

    Granted, you will need to be able to aim reasonably well when playing Soldier 76, but he’s still a very easy character to understand and perform well with.

    Defense

    Torbjorn


    To be entirely honest, you’re probably better off taking the time to learn a slightly more complicated character than spending your time locking in that Torbjorn pick. However, there’s no denying that he’s one of the easiest characters to learn in Overwatch.

    Torb’s main job in Overwatch is to build and maintain a turret. You just hit the build turret button, find a good spot for it, hit the turret with your wrench to repair and upgrade it, and then upgrade it further by triggering your ultimate ability when the time comes.

    A good Torb will also do things like look for headshots with his surprisingly effective main weapon, keep his allies well-armored, and find that perfect turret position that forces the enemy to devote way too many resources to destroying it. However, Torb is primarily the “build a turret" character.

    You probably won’t make it too far into Overwatch with Torb’s limited skillset, but if you just want to hop in, have some fun, and contribute something useful to your team, then he’s a pretty good pick.

    Bastion


    Bastion has the Torb problem in that he is incredibly easy to learn, but doesn’t leave you much room to really master him. The good news is that even an amateur Bastion player can be devastating.

    Bastion is just a turret that can get up and walk around, but really only has to do so to escape or move to a better position. Otherwise, you just need to stay in place and rain down bullets on those who would dare enter your general vicinity.

    What makes Bastion so good is bad opponents. A good team can coordinate and ensure that Bastion never gets going. A bad team will get frustrated that Bastion is destroying them and blame each other for all the deaths.

    Given that you’ll probably encounter much more of the latter when you first start playing Overwatch, it’s entirely possible to carry a team to victory by playing Bastion. That’s especially true if you can convince a tank to cover you with his/her shield and minimize the potential damage you might take.

    Junkrat


    For the longest time, Junkrat was a niche hero who never really found a home in competitive Overwatch. Now, Junkrat is considered to be one of the most effective damage dealers in the game. 

    The good news for new Overwatch players is that he’s also one of the easiest damage dealing characters to learn. Junkrat’s effectiveness starts with the power of his grenade launcher. Even if you can’t aim in first-person shooters to save your digital life, you’ll probably be able to sneak in a couple of kills just by tossing grenades at a grouped-up team of opponents.

    That’s not to say that Junkrat is a brain-dead character. There’s a big difference between a great Junkrat player and a bad one. It’s just that Junkrat’s grenade launcher is a very effective form of crowd control that just rains down damage on teams. That makes it much easier to sneak in the occasional "accidental" kill. 

    Add to that Junkrat’s dual concussion mines - useful for getting airborne and for dislodging enemies from the high ground - and Junkrat’s incredibly easy to use Rip Tire ultimate, and you’ve got a character that is fun to play, easy to play, and genuinely effective.

    Tanks

    Orisa


    For the longest time, Reinhardt was Overwatch’s best tank option for new players. While that might still technically be true for those looking for a big body with a lot of health and a simple skill set, it’s worth the extra time to learn Orisa.

    Much like Reinhardt, Orisa’s main skill is her ability to lay down a shield. Unlike Reinhardt, Orisa’s shield is a projectile that can be deployed anywhere. The trade-off is that her shield isn’t as strong as Reinhardt’s, but it recharges so fast that there’s effectively little difference.

    Orisa is also able to deal damage from a distance - unlike Reinhardt - and can use her “Halt!” ability to knock enemies out of position. Her supercharger ultimate is also an effective way to drastically increase your team’s damage output without having to do much more than press a button.

    Mastering the use of Orisa’s shield takes time, but her pretty low skill floor ensures that you’ll always feel like you’re contributing.

    Support

    Mercy


    Not long ago, Mercy was the scourge of Overwatch’s competitive scene. Her ability to quickly resurrect multiple heroes made her an invaluable asset. After all, what’s more useful than a character that can undo death itself?

    Since then, Mercy has suffered a series of nerfs that drastically impact her effectiveness. Mercy’s resurrection ability is now slower, more dangerous to use, and generally less useful than it's ever been. Combine that with the fact that Mercy’s skillset is almost entirely different than it was when Overwatch launched and...well, the point is that Mercy isn’t quite as new player friendly as she once was.

    However, she’s still probably the go-to character for those looking to quickly learn an Overwatch hero. Mercy’s primary fire - a healing beam of light - is still the most effective single target healing ability in the game, which means you can get a lot of mileage out of Mercy just by staying close to a tank and keeping them alive through almost anything.

    Even Mercy’s most complicated abilities aren’t really that hard to master. Once you learn to bounce between targets with Mercy’s Guardian Angel ability - which lets you fly to friendly characters with the press of a button - and occasionally throw in some damage boosting beams, you’ll be well on your way to being the most effective healer on your team.

    Moira


    Not long ago, recommending a good healer to new players was as simple as saying “Mercy.” That’s before Moira entered the game.

    Moira is a tad tougher to play than Mercy due to the slight complication of managing her array of skills. That’s especially true of figuring out when to throw out her healing orbs vs. her damage orbs. It will take you a little time to get the hang of choosing which you want to use without staring at the screen.

    Get past that hurdle, though, and the battlefield is yours. Moira’s ability to burst heal a hero is second only to Mercy, and she’s able to heal multiple heroes at once as long as they are within range of her healing spray.

    What really makes Moira special, though, is her damage dealing capabilities. Her primary attack is a beam of energy that doesn’t require you to really aim at your target, while her damage orbs are dead useful for forcing attackers to get out of position. She’s also able to “fade” out of existence, which is dead useful if an opponent decides to try to take you down.


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    We're counting down the greatest moments in the history of World of Warcraft!

    The Lists Jason M. Gallagher
    May 8, 2018

    If you're one of the many people that once called WoW home and have since moved on to other games or adventures in life, there's no denying that World of Warcraft holds a special place in the hearts of many. The game has provided its players with not just memorable moments in-game, but has at times also transcended the games industry and spilled out into our popular culture.

    With the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, set to launch in a few months, we thought this would be the perfect time to take a trip back into the game's storied history. Here are our top 25 World of Warcraft moments, in-game and IRL, of the last 10+ years.

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    The Blood Plague

    Ebola ain't got nothing on Corrupted Blood. One of the very first World of Warcraft moments to get the game significant press in the mainstream media, this virtual plague began on September 13, 2005 and lasted for about a week. Players discovered an exploit that allowed them to take a debuff that was dished out by Hakkar The Soulflayer, the end boss of the Zul'Gurub raid instance, and use it to infect unsuspecting players in the game's major cities.

    The "disease" was highly contagious and rapidly jumped from player to player, quickly killing hundreds of low level characters that came into contact with it. Blizzard had to code in a quarantine of sorts and the player base reacted by changing the way they played the game, including staying out of the major cities in order to avoid infection. The pandemic and ensuing reaction caught the attention of scientists, who used the incident as a case study on how human beings might react in the case of a bio-terrorist attack or accidental deadly outbreak.

    Did Someone Say Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker?

    Molten Core was vanilla WoW's first major raid instance, and a sword called Thunderfury was one of the game's first seriously coveted pieces of loot. As a "legendary" item, Thunderfury was more powerful than even the "epic" gear that dropped off of most raid bosses. Befitting its status, obtaining Thunderfury was no simple task.

    Players had to obtain two different low percentage drops off two different Molten Core bosses, and that was just the beginning. Thunderfury's long quest line would serve as a blueprint for how Blizzard would handle "legendary" items for many years to come. The sword has continued to be popular in the years since Molten Core, most likely because of how easy it is to solo the raid instance now and attempt to get the needed drops.

    Thunderfury is also responsible for a meme that still pops up in one of the game's main chat channels even today. A player will ask, "Did someone say Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker?" at which point multiple players will start linking the item in trade chat, which of course then dissolves into people linking every other legendary added to the game since, greatly annoying all the normal people trying to use the channel for its intended purpose. (Some might argue that this IS trade's intended purpose, but I digress.)

    Leeroy Jenkins

    Leeroy is arguably the most famous WoW character of all-time, which is funny, considering that the viral Internet video that created him was completely staged.

    The video was released by guild "PALS FOR LIFE" in 2005. In it, "Leeroy" and his guildmates are about to pull a difficult room in the Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon. The group goes over an in-depth analysis of the upcoming battle, calculating their odds of survival. Sadly for the group, Leeroy walked away from the keyboard and never heard the plan. Upon returning to his computer, he simply screams his name and runs into battle, tossing the group's careful preparation out the window and ultimately leading to their deaths.

    Jenkins quotes of "LEEEROOOY!" and "At least I have chicken" are still widely quoted by the player base today. Blizzard has honored the character's place in WoW's history several times, including making Leeroy a playable card in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

    The Onyxia Wipe Audio

    "Odd groups got left, even groups got right."

    So starts one of the most epic recordings of a raid in WoW's history. What makes this recording so special is that unlike Leeroy, it really happened.

    In early 2006, someone recorded the Ventrilo audio of Wipe Club guild leader Dives during the encounter in Onyxia's lair. Most players thought it was funny enough just because of Dives foreign accent, but things took a turn when someone didn't follow the leader's precise instructions.

    Dives' screaming of phrases like "Many whelps! Handle it!" and "50 DKP Minus!" quickly found their way into the lexicon of every WoW player.

    South Park WoW Episode

    You know you've made it when Matt Stone and Trey Parker come after you.

    This 2006 episode saw Stan, Kyle, and the rest of the boys adventuring in Azeroth, only to be foiled by an evil character who kept killing them off. South Park had Blizzard's full cooperation, including in-game graphics for the episode, even though Stone and Parker used "Make Love, Not Warcraft" as an opportunity to make fun of gamer stereotypes.

    "Whoever this person is, he has played World of Warcraft nearly every hour, of every day, for the past year and a half. Gentlemen, we are dealing with someone here who has absolutely no life."

    Azeroth is saved after the boys use the Sword of a Thousand Truths, (arguably a rip-off of famous WoWswords like Thunderfury) to vanquish their attacker.

    Illegal Danish (and Other WoW Machinima)

    As World of Warcraft grew in popularity, more and more players wanted to try and make their own creative mark on the game and its community. One of the first original movies featuring in-game graphics to really take off was called Illegal Danish Super Snacks. The machinima film by Myndflame won multiple awards in a contest held by Blizzard and Xfire.

    Illegal Danish features many memorable quotes (ARCANITE REAPER.... HOOOOOO!) that players started using in-game. The success of Illegal Danish and other early works led to an explosion of WoW machinima films on sites like WarcraftMovies. Not every film is a priceless work of art, but a great deal of them can probably claim influence from this early classic.

    Southshore vs. Tarren Mill

    When World of Warcraft first launched, the game didn't have any of the PvP battlegrounds or arenas that we have today. If you wanted to kill players of the opposite faction, you simply had to go out into the world and hunt them down.

    One of the earliest zones to see Alliance vs. Horde bloodshed was Hillsbrad Foothills. The map located north of Ironforge featured an Alliance town, Southshore, and a Horde town, Tarren Mill, in close proximity to each other. Players from both sides formed up at their respective town and then attempted to push forward and take over the opposing side. The fights quickly got out of control with hundreds of players from all across the server all descending on Hillsbrad to try and lead their faction to victory.

    What is truly remarkable about SS vs. TM is that there were no real rewards to win, other than the satisfaction of destroying the other side. The battle, and World PvP in general, is often brought up by WoW veterans as something that they miss the most in the game's current landscape.

    Blizzard will be giving players a taste of what this epic battle to the death used to be like during its special 10 year anniversary event in-game. Players will be able to go to an instanced version of Southshore vs. Tarren Mill and fight in a 40 v. 40 battle.

    High Warlord/Grand Marshal

    Once Blizzard finally implemented an actual PvP system, things intensified in a different way. PvP had a tiered gearing system, and the better you were at PvP, the better tiers you had access to. But in order to reach the highest possible ranking of High Warlord for the Horde or Grand Marshal for the Alliance, players had to be absolutely dedicated. If you took even one week off, you could plummet back down the ladder and have to climb all over again.

    In order to hit the top ranks, some gamers played for 16 to 20 hours every day. Some even shared accounts (against Blizzard's terms of service) and took turns playing the same character to try and increase the chances of getting the best gear. Blizzard would eventually do away with this system so that players would no longer have to kill themselves to get gear, but the system is still remembered fondly by some. Hitting Grand Marshal or High Warlord was a sign that you were truly hardcore.

    Alterac Valley Lasting All Day

    Speaking of hardcore, how about Alterac Valley in its first couple of iterations? Whereas other battleground maps focused on smaller scale 10 v. 10 or 15 v. 15 battles, Alterac Valley was the first, and for a long time, the only 40 v. 40 map. AV was also a bit different in that it contained PvE objectives that needed to be accomplished in order to win the PvP battle. As such, AV was immensely popular with the player base.

    What made the battle truly epic in the beginning was that one match could literally go on seemingly forever. If one side started to win the fight, the opposing side could "turtle" at one of several bottlenecks along the map and delay or even push back the aggressors. Add in NPCs that could be summoned into the battle to fight for you, and the overall feel of the match could change at any given moment. It wasn't uncommon for the typical Alterac Valley to last for several hours. The most epic battles would literally take up much of your day. Blizzard eventually implemented a system that gave all battlegrounds a finite amount of time to complete, but classic AV will always be remembered by those who were there.

    AQ Event

    Ahn'Qiraj was vanilla WoW's third major tier of end game content, and Blizzard wanted to do something special to celebrate its release. When AQ was first patched into the game, the gates to its 40 and 20 man raids were closed. In order to "open the gates" and get access to the next tier of content, the entire server had to participate in collecting various items for the "AQ War Effort." Once players collected enough items, a limited, one-time only event took place out in the desert near the raid entrance. Players had to do battle with some of the huge monsters they would be fighting inside the raids out in the open world. It sounds like a fun idea, but in practice, it was a real headache. Having every single player on the server show up to fight in the same spot caused some significant lag issues, which is why players have never really gotten another event quite like this one since.

    The Most Amazing Raid That Nobody Saw

    At the tail end of vanilla WoW, Blizzard released a new 40 man raid called Naxxramas. It was by far the most difficult content available in the game, with players needing gear from Blackwing Lair and Ahn'Qiraj to even have a chance of survival. Those who got to play it still say that it was one of the most tightly tuned but epic experiences Blizzard has ever created.

    That said, Blizzard learned an important lesson from Naxx that had a significant impact on future development of the game. The developer didn't see the point to spending so many hours of development time for a raid that so few players would ever get to see because of its difficulty. You could argue the failure of many players to ever get to Naxx is one of the reasons Blizzard began to take steps to make its raid content more accessible to a larger group of players.

    Blizzard has gotten plenty of mileage out of Naxx since those early days, reusing it as the entry-level raid for Wrath of the Lich King and even using an adaption of it as Hearthstone's first PvE adventure.

    I Can Fly, I Can Fly!

    When Blizzard released The Burning Crusade, WoW's first expansion in 2007, one of the biggest new features was the ability to gain a flying mount at the new level cap of 70. Adding flight is arguably one of the biggest changes to WoW's gameplay over its 10 year history. Every zone had to be designed with the idea of players being able to take to the skies at max level.

    Flying provided a great thrill and sense of progression for many players, but some also hold it responsible for hurting other aspects of the game. With players now able to mount up and take off in seconds to avoid danger, that classic World PvP made famous in the Southshore and Tarren Mill days started to die off. It could also be said that the world felt a little less alive in some spots, with everyone hovering up in the air by themselves all the time instead of traveling the world by foot alongside other players.

    Blizzard may be attempting to fix some of these issues in Draenor. Players will not be able to fly at all in the new zones, and while the ability might be patched in at some point in the expansion, Blizzard has remained non-committal. It sounds like we might be getting an experience that harkens back to the days of classic WoW.

    The Horde Can Now Bubblehearth

    In vanilla, each faction had a class that was exclusive to them. Only the Alliance had the Paladin class, and only the Horde had Shamans. While this was fun from a lore perspective, it created some problems with game balance. The raid designers had to test every encounter twice, to make sure that each faction could beat it without access to the other faction's special class.

    When Blizzard announced that the Horde would be getting Paladins and the Alliance would be getting Shamans in The Burning Crusade, it was a huge bombshell for the player base and a source of heated debate in some corners. In the end though, both factions have seemed to accept the new roles over time.

    We continue our list of the top 25 best moments in World of Warcraft's long 10-year history! Love this? Make sure to check out all of our BlizzCon 2014 coverage!

    Karazhan Attunement and Beyond

    Upon hitting level 70 in The Burning Crusade, players had to go through a complex series of requirements in order to unlock the expansion's first major raid, Karazhan. It involved running multiple dungeons in a specific order to acquire special items, and the later dungeons were not easy to complete. Still, the long attunement quest was well-received by much of the player base. Even the most difficult 5 man dungeon can be taken down eventually with enough persistence.

    Blizzard continued its attunement requirements for later raids in The Burning Crusade, but with mixed results. Eventually, the developer had to nerf or drop several requirements for getting into the more advanced tier 5 and tier 6 raids, because too many players could simply not progress.

    This shift from hardcore attunement requirements to eventually letting everyone in would be a precursor of things to come. Blizzard realized that players enjoyed the epic feeling of finishing an attunement, but also that if you made it too much work, your more casual players simply wouldn't bother and your subscription numbers would start to drop. That's a lesson that some other MMOs (*cough* Wildstar *cough*) still haven't learned.

    The Rise of Nyhm (and Other WoW Music Stars)

    The Burning Crusade era saw an increase in community contributions in line with the increase to the game's player base. One area where this was quite obvious was in the realm of machinima made popular by the likes of Illegal Danish Super Snacks back in vanilla.

    During BC, one area of machinima that really took off was music videos. In particular, one player made a bit of a name for himself and inspired many copycats in the process.

    "Nyhm" of Madcow Studios took popular modern songs and rewrote the lyrics to be about World of Warcraft. His rapper meets WoW videos such as "Hard Like Heroic" and "Ni Hao" brought in millions of views on YouTube and created a new focus for the machinima category.

    Ahab Wheathoof/Ezra Chatteron Make A Wish Foundation

    One of the saddest but coolest WoW stories ever is the tale of Erza Chatteron and Make-A-Wish. Ezra was a young boy who was dying of cancer. He told the Make-A-Wish Foundation that he wanted to visit the developers of his favorite video game before he died.

    Blizzard rolled out the red carpet for Ezra and let him be a developer for a day. Ezra was allowed to create his own unique quest, which was added to the game. Ezra's creation of "Ahab Wheathoof" remains in the game near Thunder Bluff today.

    Ezra was also given some of the best loot in the game, and was the first person in the world to obtain the Ashes of Al'ar, then the game's most coveted flying mount in The Burning Crusade. Ezra passed away in 2008, but his story touched millions of WoW gamers around the world. Blizzard has created numerous other tributes to real life people in Azeroth, including a tribute in the upcoming expansion to comedian Robin Williams.

    Achievements

    One of the biggest changes to the game with the pre-patch for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion was addition of achievements. Just like on Xbox Live, players were now able to earn vanity points for accomplishing certain tasks in game. For a while after release, many players became absolutely obsessed with earning points. You could earn points for things like completing a raid or dungeon, but there were also more fun goals to accomplish, like pulling off a Leeroy Jenkins impersonation in order to get a special title. Achievements have provided WoW gamers with additional dozens if not hundreds of hours of content to go after once they bore of traditional gameplay.

    Don't Push This Button (Heroic Modes In Raids)

    We've mentioned several times on this list about events that caused Blizzard to start leaning towards making its content more accessible for all players. Options for raid sizes moving from 40 down to 25 down to just 10 had a big impact on this, but with the release of Ulduar in Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard would stumble on a formula that is largely still intact today.

    Blizzard began designing not just multiple raid sizes but also multiple raid difficulties. This allowed the developer to provide a truly elite level experience for the best players in the world, while leaving the regular mode much more accessible to the average player. Ulduar's raid had special mechanics that had to be triggered in order to activate the hard mode. Blizzard would eventually move to a toggle system instead, but many long-time players look back at Mimiron's big red button (Do Not Push!) as the start of what the game has turned into today.

    Dungeon Finder

    For WoW's entire history up until late in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, players had to physically meet up at the entrance portal to the dungeon they were going to run. In the early days, it could take an hour or more just to find the right group of players for a particular dungeon and then get to where you needed to go.

    That all changed with the release of the Dungeon Finder in Lich King. With the click of a button, World of Warcraft now offered matchmaking for its most popular content. The game would grab one tank, one healer, and three damage dealers, none of whom likely knew each other, and throw them into a 5 man group. This was a tremendous quality of life improvement for the game, and it's probably the one feature many players would not be able to do without today. (Evidence: Any MMO that releases without dungeon matchmaking today has already shot itself in the foot. Like Star Wars: The Old Republic, at launch)

    The Cataclysm

    When Deathwing erupted back into Azeroth at the start of WoW's Cataclysm expansion, he reshaped the entire world. Blizzard used the Cata expansion as an excuse to make the biggest amount of overall changes to the game's world since vanilla. Deathwing "destroyed" many vanilla zones, allowing Blizzard developers to rewrite new quests using the technology and knowledge they had obtained since 2004.

    Some long-time players thought the changes were a little bittersweet, as many popular old quests simply no longer existed. But overall, the changes were seen as an improvement to the world at large.

    Introduction of Transmog

    And all of a sudden, everyone was playing dress-up. Blizzard had noticed a long time before the Cataclysm expansion that many players were holding on to their old pieces of gear that they most enjoyed wearing for roleplay purposes or simply just out of nostalgia. So they came up with a system where players could transmogrify their current raiding gear to look like their favorite gear of old.

    The new system provided a great excuse for players to run old raids, and plenty of legacy content started seeing considerable action again for the first time in ages. Transmog provided Blizzard with a great way to tap into Warcraft's old content and give players a reason to run it again, and again, and again.

    Looking For Raid

    Blizzard's Dungeon Finder tool was so popular that they then tried to do the same thing in the next expansion for raiding. It has had admittedly more mixed results. While helping you find 24 other people to go raiding with instantly is great in concept, it provides some unique challenges.

    Raids are typically the game's hardest content, and asking 25 people who don't know each other to work together at the drop of the hat was never really going to work. So the "Raid Finder" is intentionally tuned to be a cake walk. It allows players to make it through the entire raid in just a few hours, allowing just about everyone to see the game's content.

    The dynamics of throwing 25 random people together sometimes don't turn out that well. People intentionally troll each other and fight and argue simply because there are no real consequences. You don't know these 24 other people, and you'll likely never see most of them again.

    Blizzard seems to be trying to fix this by adding "flexible" raiding, and essentially a new difficulty level between LFR and harder raids, in Draenor where you can still progress through the content at a rapid clip but will need to invite people that you actually know.

    Introduction of Cross-Realm Servers

    Blizzard has been able to avoid many of the negative things that happen to other aging online games due to its continued popularity. But its Connected Realms feature shows that even the behemoth that is WoW can suffer from low server population.

    World of Warcraft once had more than 12 million players at its peak at the start of Cataclysm, and it had countless servers to handle all of those players. But as the player base has decreased in size, some of those servers have become ghost towns.

    The Connected Realms feature has served to rejuvenate some life back into previously dead servers. It's not quite the same as having players that you know personally on your own server, but it at least makes it feel a bit more like an MMO again for some.

    WoW does Pokemon (Battle Pets)

    World of Warcraft players have collected in-game pets for the entirety of the game's run. But with Mists of Pandaria's release, all of those pets suddenly could be put to use in an exciting new way. Blizzard came up with a fun battle system in which player's pets could do battle with each other. It has a very Pokemon feel to it, with players going out into the world to capture new pets and training them over time.

    Great. As if WoW and Pokemon aren't both addicting enough by themselves... Now we can Pokemon while we WoW, or is it WoW while we Pokemon? Either way, the addiction is never ending.

    The Level 90 Neutral Panda

    Just when you think you've seen everything, along comes a panda with a serious addiction to mining and herbing.

    For Mists of Pandaria, players could level a new race called the Pandaren in a starting zone called the Wandering Isle. At the conclusion of the opening quests, your Panda would have to pick whether he wanted to fight for the Horde or the Alliance.

    One player, however, decided that he didn't want to be forced into making that choice. By continuing to mine ore and pick up herbs on the Isle, he was able to level all the way to Mists level cap of 90 without ever picking a faction.

    He can't ever leave the Isle unless he makes a decision, of course, but that's not the point. It just goes to show you that 10 years after the release of World of Warcraft, players are still finding creative ways to entertain themselves in Azeroth that even Blizzard didn't see coming.

    What are your favorite World of Warcraft moments? Tell us in the comments!

    This article was originally published on November 6, 2014.


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    Nintendo says the beloved classic games service isn't coming to the Nintendo Switch.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 8, 2018

    Nintendo has confirmed that Virtual Console is not coming to Nintendo Switch. 

    In an e-mail to Kotaku, a Nintendo spokesperson revealed, “There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems." While that may sound like a contradiction to Nintendo's previous statements that it was exploring ways to bring such a service to the Nintendo Switch, the spokesperson goes on to elaborate on what that the Switch's lack of virtual console means. 

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    "There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch, such as through Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo eShop or as packaged collections," said Nintendo. "Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online will provide a fun new way to experience classic NES games that will be different from the Virtual Console service, thanks to enhancements such as added online play, voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online app and the various play modes of Nintendo Switch."

    While more information is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn, it doesn't sound like Nintendo is going to deny Switch owners the ability to play and purchase classic games on the device, but rather the company will be releasing them in different formats. Nintendo specifically cites the Nintendo Switch Online service's feature that provides online versions of classic NES games - which we knew about - but the company also mentions the "Nintendo eShop" and "packaged collections." 

    Those last two are a bit more interesting. Could this just be a simple matter of Nintendo dropping the Virtual Console name in favor of releasing certain classic titles on the eShop as regular downloads? It's possible, but if that is the plan, then it's odd that the company didn't just simply say so from the start. As for packaged collections of titles, it would make sense that Nintendo might explore combining games in a franchise - or games related to a console - and sell them for retail prices. 

    In any case, it seems that the era of Virtual Console is over. We now have to wait and see how - or if - you'll be able to download the classic games you want via your Nintendo Switch. 


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    Now that the unofficial Half-Life 3 plot has been revealed, fans want to make a game out of it.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 8, 2018

    Marc Laidlaw, a former Valve writer who contributed to the Half-Life series, recently released an unofficial plot synopsis for his version of Half-Life 3's story (or Half-Life 2: Episode 3). While some were satisfied just knowing what the next chapter of Half-Life might have looked like, a group of fans has decided that a coded text breakdown of the sequel's plot wasn't good enough.

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    As such, they've been working to turn Laidlaw's overview of his version of Half-Life 3's plot into a fully-fledged game that they're temporarily calling Project Borealis. This project is being worked on by a rather large team - 70+ - of international modders who are currently using the Unreal Engine as the basis for the game's visuals (which you can check out in the footage above). 

    It's not entirely clear why the team isn't using Half-Life's source engine for their project, but that may simply be a matter of preference. Regardless, the work the team has showcased thus far reveals that they clearly have the talent to develop characters, weapons, and worlds that feel like they belong in the Half-Life universe. While there aren't many of those assets to gawk at given how much work there is left to do on the project, the Project Borealis blog still gives you an idea of what the team is trying to achieve and how they will do it. 

    So will this project ever actually see the light of day? As much as we hate to be pessimistic about ambitious projects such as these, the fact remains that we rarely ever see a final version of these "unofficial sequels" as the years of development time that they take usually wear down even the most talented and driven of content creators. There's also the lingering legal liability that hangs over the use of Half-Life properties and assets. 

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    That doesn't mean that we wouldn't love to see a version of the project be completed at some point. After all, this is probably the only way that we'll ever experience a playable version of Laidlaw's idea for the next Half-Life game. Actually, this might be the only way we get to experience another Half-Life game at all. 

    Here's hoping the team overcomes the many hurdles that await them as they try to complete their ambitious goals. 


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    Rainbow Six Siege's Operation Para Bellum will take operatives on a trip to Italy.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 8, 2018

    Ubisoft has released additional official information about Rainbow Six Siege's next season of content. 

    Year Three, Season Two of Rainbow Six Siege is highlighted by a new operation called Operation Para Bellum ("Prepare for War"). Aside from a new piece of art that shows two soldiers trudging through a field of wheat in what appears to be rural Italy, Ubisoft is refraining from releasing too much information specifically related to the upcoming operation. However, some fans have noticed that the two soldiers in the picture resemble the leaked upcoming operatives, Maestro and Alibi. It also seems that the Italian vineyard they are heading towards will likely be the game's next competitive map. The developers have previously stated that Siege's next map will be the game's most "competitive" to date. 

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    Operation Para Bellum will also introduce a new "intel gadget," map alterations to Clubhouse designed to improve it slightly, a Pick and Ban setting for custom modes that should help add an extra layer of strategy to those games by allowing teams to ban operative selections, a new defusing animation, and an array of technical improvements. There's no confirmation of what the intel gadget Ubisoft refers to is, but the popular theory is that it's a bulletproof camera that's been floating around the game's test servers. While that camera isn't nearly as versatile as some of the other cameras in the game, it cannot be damaged by bullets and is capable of relaying images through smoke. 

    Ubisoft will also make some minor changes to Echo's drone. Echo will now be able to send out two drones at once and will be able to use them to scan targets. The hope is that this alteration will make Echo a bit more flexible without directly "buffing" him.

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    Those waiting for the full details of Siege's next season won't have to wait until E3 as Ubisoft is planning to reveal much more about Operation Para Bellum at the Pro League Finals in Atlantic City. The finals run from May 19-20, but there's no official word on when the announcement will be made during the competition. If you're interested, you can follow that competition live via this Twitch channel

    Rainbow Six Siege's comeback story remains one of the most remarkable ones in recent gaming history. Following an uneventful launch, Siege has gone on to become one of the most exciting competitive shooters on the market.


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