These are exciting times for all World of Warcraft fans, with the announcement of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Legion. The expansion was just announced at Gamescom 2015 and since then Blizzard has released a raft of information which includes the key features and necessary lore to enable all fans can get up to speed before jumping into the action.
Legion will be set on The Broken Isles, which is a new and expansive continent comprising several small islands in the heart of Azeroth: The Broken Shore, Suramar, Stormhein, Highmountian, Val’sharan, and Azsuna. In Warcraft lore, before the Great Sundering, the region that would become the Broken Isles was a part of Ancient Kalimdor . It was here that the ancient forest of Val’sharah, home of Cenarius, was located, as well as the city of Suramar, hometown of Tyrande Whisperwind, Malfurion Stormrage, and Illidan Stormrage.
In this new expansion, the mutual enemy of the Horde and the Alliance, the Burning Legion, has returned. In order to combat the armies of the Legion invading Azeroth, both Alliance and Horde must secure mighty artifacts and join forces with a new hero class, the Demon Hunter – an elven outcast shunned for daring to wield the terrible powers of the Legion. The objective is to find the Pillars of Creation which are the secret to Azeroth’s salvation.
Apart from the setting and the familiar addition of new Dungeons and Raid, World of Warcraft Legion will also be bringing plenty of additional content into the gameplay. The new features are summarised below:
New continent: The Broken Isles
New class: Demon Hunter (Tank and DPS available)
Artifacts: customizable weapons that grow in power as you do
Class-specific Order Halls and followers
All New Dungeons and Raids
New World Bosses
Level cap raised to 110
Re-vamped PvP progression system
Improved transmogrification system
Improved social features
Character Boost — immediately raise one character to level 100
You can sign up now to opt in for Beta testing later this year. All you have to do is log in to your Battle.net account, go to Beta Profile Settings and check the Warcraft option, making sure you click Update Preferences to save your choice. You will then be eligible to be randomly selected for a Legion beta invitation once the testing process begins.
I hope you are looking forward to seeing what Legion has to offer as much as I am. For more information on the latest expansion and more details about the new Demon Hunter class, new artifacts and expansion lore you can visit Blizzards dedicated Legion site at www.battle.net/wow/en/legion.
If you’ve never been to Gamescom you are missing out, with the latest in the hardware and software sector it’s one of the years most prominent events. At Gamescom you can immerse yourself in the multi-faceted world of gaming and technology, have fun and experience all the latest game premiers. If you can’t be there, here are a few of the highlights that you might want to check out, as we get more information be sure that we’ll bring it to you here at The Gamers Blog. Here are a few of the announcements so far that I’m particularly excited about.
Firaxis prepare to upgrade XCOM with their Enemy Within expansion
Enemy Within will be available on PC and Mac, while Xbox 360 and PS3 will get the “Commander Edition” that includes a copy of Enemy Unknown and the Slingshot and Elite Soldier content packs. Set in the confines of Enemy Unknown, it’s the same game just with more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4KdSli869U
Diablo 3 unleashes new terrors, in the new expansion, Reaper of Souls
Named after its new lord of darkness, Maltheal, the fallen angel of wisdom who has now become the angel of death. The expansion will add new zones to fight through, a new class called the Crusader and raise the level cap to 70 for all of Diablo 3′s current classes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb7QJwQ58T0
Crytek’s new CryEngine
Now just called ‘CryEngine’ features revolutionary PuddleTech. Crytek’s Carl Jones explains “We have revolutionised many parts of the engine: we have overhauled our entire lighting system, built movie quality character rendering and animation solutions, vastly improved the speed and effectiveness of our Sandbox editor, and even our rendering has changed with tessellation, pixel accurate displacement mapping and now physical based rendering; all of this while maintaining our first principal: that making games should be real-time, all the time.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF1zjDSqPoo
Last weekend saw the spectacle that is PAX East 2013 in Boston. If you were lucky enough to go we hope you had a fantastic time, if like me you watched from afar, perhaps not as far as the UK though, I thought I’d do a quick update on the MMO side of things at this years event. Blizzard Entertainment promised us something new would be announced and they didn’t disappoint, there was plenty of speculation before hand about them perhaps revealing more information about Titan or some new content relating to Diablo III, but instead they gave us Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft which is billed to be a new digital card game where players build card decks based around one of nine WoW character classes. With all the excitement it definitely warranted a bigger piece on the blog and you can find the full story about Hearthstone here: http://www.thegamersblog.com/hearthstone-heroes-of-warcraft/. If you were at PAX East you would have been able to try out the game now and reports coming back are positive from gamers – although they don’t see anything particularly groundbreaking it’s perfect for your ‘off-wow time’. For the rest of us the beta should be coming soon – there is currently no set date at present.
On the MMO expansions side a few interesting ones were announced: CCP Games announced EVE Online’s next expansion, Odyssey, due for release on June 4th 2013; and Cryptic announced the first expansion for Star Trek Online, Legacy of Romulus, due for release on May 21st, this gives players the ability to play as a Romulan and captain a Warbird-class vessel. On the flip side ArenaNet confirmed that we won’t be getting an expansion for Guild Wars 2 anytime soon, the game’s developers are focusing instead on more immediate content releases to make the game as good as it can be.
We recently also had a piece on the blog about Runescape and Jagex announced Runescape 3 at PAX East 2013 which improves on the last 12 years of the original game’s development. You can check out why you might want to play Runescape in our MMORPG Update piece titled ‘Discovering Runescape’: http://www.thegamersblog.com/mmorpg-update-discovering-runescape/. The release takes advantage of a new game engine and will run faster and look better, although you will still be able to use the old Java client if you want.
Newcomer to my world of MMOs was F2P MMO City of Steam from Mechanist Games, described as an “industrial age fantasy in a fallen world” the game mixes fantasy with industrialism. Good reports are coming out from the PAX East weekend about this game and it will be going into beta sometime soon, the developers tell us that they are hoping to launch sometime in the next few months.
Blizzard were also showcasing their Diablo III’s console edition and hinted that it might not stop at just the PlayStation 3 and 4. Check out the trailer shown to gamers at the Blizzard booth here:
There was of course tons more information available over the weekend and if you are interested in what else happened or other PAX events a good starting point is the website here at: http://east.paxsite.com/.
The third installment in the Bioshock series is a first person shooter set in 1912. Players assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt on a rescue mission to save a young woman named Elizabeth. During their escape, Booker and Elizabeth form a powerful bond – together they fight their way through a storyline packed with twists and turns.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Release: 26th March 2013
Defiance is a science-fiction MMO shooter from Trion Worlds. Players are enlisted as Ark Hunters to travel to the San Francisco Bay Area in search of advanced alien technology after a massive world-wide event led to the the fall of plant and animal species and the rise to new species. Futhermore, several alien species came to Earth which led to war, further devastating the planet.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Release: 2nd April 2013
This is a third-person action-adventure game, developed by Digital Extremes and co-published by Namco Bandai Games and Paramount Pictures. Players can assume either the role of Captain Kirk or Spock, the two characters are intended to show different gameplay techniques, with Kirk being the more typical shooter while Spock has stealth techniques – but each are armed with weapons to reflect their gameplay style.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Release: 26th April 2013
A racing video game developed by Codemasters, Grid 2 is the sequel to Race Driver: Grid. It includes real world locations such as Abu Dhabi, Paris and US states to name a few and lets you choose cars spanning four decades. Check out the trailer below, there are some seriously sexy rides going on.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 Release: 31st May 2013
About a year ago I did an article about adventure gaming and its decline in popularity in the gaming industry and how we at TGB would love to see them make a comeback. There is another aspect of adventure gaming that we never talked about and that is exploration.
There are many varying degrees of exploration… it could be something as simple as seeing something you haven’t seen before to opening a locked chest, exploring an hidden room, traversing an abandoned castle or even exploring a cave. To discover something that you’ve never seen before brings a level of excitement that is hard to explain.
Many games of varying degrees of exploration because you inherently see something that you haven’t seen or done something you haven’t prior but very few games ever really focus on it. There are a few that come to mind such as Myst *and all its sequels*, Syberia, The Elder Scrolls series, and last but not least Minecraft which will be the showcase of this article.
I’ll admit that I’m a few years late to the Minecraft scene as I really hadn’t given it much thought because quite frankly I thought it looked kind of stupid. I decided to pick it up one day on the Xbox 360 as there were several ads for it.
Minecraft is one of the simplest games I’ve ever played yet it just goes to show that a game doesn’t have to be full of explosions, screaming, swearing, and bullets to be captivating. Minecraft isn’t just captivating its addictive… very addictive. Yes it’s like building Legos without the hefty price and yes the graphics look like they came out of an early 90’s doom game but the game is still captivating, addicting and immersive. In addition to being able to build whatever you want, sculpt the landscape to your will and mining there is a very large landscape to discover and explore, there are mountains, tree’s, animals, plants and caves… some small and some that inspire awe, even in 8bit texture.
Half of Minecraft, at least in my experience, has been spent exploring different areas of the map, exploring caves, and traversing the landscapes. Every game that you play is different because it is randomly generated so each experience will be new. If you play the PC version you can even download texture packs to make it look even better.
I wonder what Christopher Columbus must have felt like when he first saw the Americas? When he first set foot on the land was he awestruck. Just exploring caves in Minecraft can make me take a step back.
At first I thought, perhaps it’s just me, so then I asked one of my friends to try out the game with me and he refused on the same reservations that I had. I finally got frustrated and bought the game for him and after about an hour he said “I can’t believe how fun this game is. It shouldn’t be this fun. “ Which was the same thing I thought.
I know that when it comes to adventure & explorative gaming that I and now him as well are an minority. But I would sure love to see games like Myst, Syberia and Minecraft make a comeback. Thoughts?
Christmas is coming and if you’re anything like me some of that time that I get off work is going to be spent totally submerged in gaming – I’m already looking forward to it. What I’m also looking forward to are the titles that are coming up in 2013, these are the ones that we’ve seen at events like E3 and Gamescom this year. I’m particularly interested in seeing The Elder Scrolls Online when it comes out next year, The Elder Scrolls goes from single-player to MMO, I have a feeling it’s going to be good.
Dead Space 3
Developed by Visceral Games this title is the highly anticipated sequel to Dead Space 2, a survival horror third-person shooter, Dead Space 3 sees Isaac Clarke pitted against the Necromorphs in a struggle to end the scourge forever. You will also be able to fight in co-op mode now or run solo, which is even easier with the drop in drop out functionality, so you can team up with a partner at any checkpoint in the game.
They’re back! Developed by Gearbox Software this first-person shooter is cross-platform and is set after the events of the film Aliens 3. The game employs drop-in/drop-out co-op for up to 4 players online or 2 players locally. If the recent prequel in the Aliens series has peaked your interest this will be one not to miss next year.
In this, the third installment of the Crysis series, take on the aliens in New York City’s Nanodrome where you become the hunter. Crysis 3 will be utilising the CryEngine 3 game engine giving you stunning graphics and an amazing gameplay experience.
Carmageddon is back, this time more gory than ever! This game was covered a lot over the course of this year and if there’s a more exciting vehicle combat game waiting in the wings I’d like to know about it. This game is the fourth in the series following Carmageddon, Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now and Carmageddon: TDR 2000.
If real-time strategy games are your thing, why not try this WW2 sequel coming next year. You are in command of the Soviet Red Army, your goal to free Russia from the Nazi threat of 1941 on the Eastern Front. The game runs on the Essence 3.0 game engine, which the publisher THQ claims will bring “new technological advancements” to the game.
Capcom’s cyberpunk release for 2013. Interesting concept here, the game uses ‘memory remixing’ which is entering and rearranging a target’s memories to manipulate them. By doing this you can then change the target’s memory of the outcome of any event. You play Nilin whose memories have been erased and the aim is to retrieve those memories and find out why.
One of my favourites for next year, The Elder Scrolls is going MMORPG! The game will be set on the fictional continent of Tamriel a millennium before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and it will have a storyline that is not connected to any of the previous games. After a lengthy development period it will be great to see what this game brings to the MMO market.
Today saw the close of Destination Star Trek London (DSTL), there was something for every fan with all five captains in attendance: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula. The new Star Trek game which is due for release in early 2013, showcased at both E3 and Gamescom, was also at DSTL where they again showed the 3D trailer – complete with some pretty cool Nvidia battery powered 3D glasses. Although it was the same trailer as seen at Gamescom, this time Namco Bandai Games who were presenting it had added a developer commentary which was a bonus for the fans and helped to explain some of the gameplay and dynamics which included the modified phaser used by Kirk which is a custom weapon for that character.
We’ll have more information about this game on the blog as it becomes available as being a big fan it’s a game that’s going to be close to my heart. In the meantime check out these game trailers here, second one thrown in to show the main game antagonists, the Gorn.
Last week marked the 4th Gamescom to be held in Cologne, Germany, the world’s biggest trade fair and event highlight for interactive entertainment attracting more than 275,000 visitors. If you’ve been following the news coming out of the convention this year and want to be part of the action, the next Gamescom will be held from the 21st to the 25th August 2013. But before we start thinking ahead lets look back at just some of the highlights from last week.
Announcements and Reveals
The opening cinematic for Mists of Pandaria was presented at Gamescom setting the scene for the expansion release on 25th September 2012.
Russian League of Legends team Moscow 5 defeated SK Gaming winning a best of three series 2-0. This win means that they pick up $30,000 in prize money and will be guaranteed a place in the League of Legends World Championships alongside Raidcall who have also qualified.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified gameplay was revealed during Sony’s press event, as was Black Ops 2’s multiplayer gameplay during the week.
Hitman: Absolution revealed a new online challenge mode called ‘Contracts’ which enables the player to set targets to be assassinated for themselves and their friends.
Sony revealed a number of titles during its press conference including: Rain (a PSN exclusive), Tearaway (PS Vita) and Puppeteer (Sony Japan).
EA revealed that upcoming Command & Conquer Generals 2 has become the new Frostbite 2 engine-powered Command & Conquer, new and F2P.
Revengeance is the first brand new entry in the Metal Gear series since Metal Gear Solid: Peacwalker was released for the PSP in 2010.
Capcom were up first on gamescom press conference duty and unveiled details and a trailer of cyberpunk action game ‘Remember Me’.
Capcom unveiled more details of the first person alien shooter that will run on the Unreal Engine 3, Lost Planet 3.
EA revealed Crysis 3’s multiplayer hunter mode.
Sony announced its ‘Cross-Buy’ platform that means if you purchase the PS3 version of a game you will get the Vita version for free.
Sony announced that its PlayStation Mobile platform is landing on more devices including the Wikipad 3D.
Games we want to play now
You control Nilin, an amnesiac ‘memory hunter’, through the streets of Neo-Paris in the year 2084. Nilin’s former employer, Memoryeyes, erases her memories to neutralize her, she must discover why and how to restore them.
Assassins Creed III
Set in Colonial America, the Assassin-Templar has become involved in the American Revolution. You are Connor Kenway, drawn into the fight against tyranny when your home is attacked by colonists.
The fifth in the Hitman game series, 47 is betrayed by those he once trusted and now hunted by the police, he finds himself at the center of a dark conspiracy and must embark on a personal journey through a corrupt and twisted world, in his search for the truth.
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
The game is the direct sequel to Medal of Honor. Players will continue to control Tier 1 Operators through various scenarios, including rescuing hostages in Abu Sayyaf’s stronghold in the Philippines, and assaulting Al-Shabaab’s Pirate Town on the Somali Coast.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2
The protagonist of Black Ops, Alex Mason returns as the protagonist in the Cold War section, where he will be fighting in proxy wars for the United States in the Cold War. Known locations for this section of the game include multiple sites in Central America, Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and Angola.
Gamescom was seriously huge, I have only covered a tiny fraction here. If you were following let us know your highlights and what you want to play right now.
It’s almost upon us, Gamescom begins on Wednesday 15th August for trade visitors and Thursday 16th August for all us regular folk. I’m eagerly getting ready to fly out to Cologne and will be spending a couple of days soaking up the atmosphere and checking out what new and exciting games and entertainment Gamescom has to offer. This year there are a massive 600 exhibitors in attendance, up 8% on 2011. According to Gamescom “More than 300 world, European and German premieres from every segment of the games world we be available to be played for the every first time in Cologne”, and with PC, console, online, browser and mobile games on show, there will be something for every gamer. Follow me on Twitter @cat792k to keep up-to-date on what’s happening at Gamescom on Thursday and Friday and don’t forget to look out for the post-show debrief, I just hope I remember everything!