Official-looking render of Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge leaks out
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 5:45 am
Samsung's already had its big launch event ruined by those pesky leakers and now, even its official partners are piling on. A Reddit user by the name of iamdenden, apparently a Sprint employee, has posted an image of both the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy...

UK motorists can contest speeding tickets online from March
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 5:58 am
In a bid to free up the time that police and prosecutors spend dealing with low level traffic offenses like speeding, the government has decided it's time to utilise the internet. The Ministry of Justice announced today that it will allow UK motorist...

Omate's smartwatch is the first to be assembled in Africa
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 6:39 am
When Omate announced its $99 Racer last month, little did we know that this rugged, near-circular smartwatch will be heading to Africa -- Congo, Ivory Coast and Cameroon to begin with -- this coming June. According to today's announcement, this is al...

Happy net neutrality day! Here are some llamas and a dress
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 7:13 am
Where were you the day the internet was freed from ISP tyranny? Apparently, you were either watching two llamas on the lam or tweeting that a clearly black and blue dress was actually gold and white. When two escaped camelids sent a Phoenix sheriff's...

Microsoft made an Android keyboard especially for Excel
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 8:02 am
Because we do spreadsheets on the move. Because we simply need numpad. Because we didn't buy a Surface. Microsoft has launched a new keyboard on Android, expressly made for Excel, with the main keyboard being truncated to make space for an unassuming...

Google's augmented reality game 'Ingress' comes to Android Wear
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 9:00 am
Remember Ingress, the Google-developed project that entices you to get outside with the promise of some light gaming? On top of iOS and Android, it'll soon work on Android Wear, meaning you can join in the fun with your smartwatch rather than just yo...

Swiss watchmakers are teaming up to fight Apple and Google
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 9:29 am
Swiss watch companies are finally waking up to the potential of smartwatches, with the launch of models from three different companies. Mondaine, Alpina and Frederique Constant have revealed their take on the smartwatch today, and they're all very si...

Too Long; Didn't Play: Apotheon
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 6:20 am

Sponsored by: Sony PS+

Time Played: An hour...ish? (I'm playing on a PS4, and if there's a way to measure time spent on a game, I haven't found it)

The Histories Review

Thou still unexplored world of enemies
Thou step-child of Metroidvania
Sylvan game-designer, who canst thus express
A bloody tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What digital legend haunt about thy shape
of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Dion or the halls of Agora
What men or gods are these? What NPCs loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to understand the combat mechanic?
What shields and swords and pikes that break so easily?

(What? I read things other than game reviews and trashy young-adult fiction, you know)

read more

Two down, Ten to Go
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 6:49 am
I took some time yesterday to run through the raid zones required for Raiding with Leashes III – and managed to get 2 out of the 12 new pets. I was hoping for better odds, but RNG has never been a friend of mine in any game that I play, so it didn’t really come … Continue reading Two down, Ten to Go

WoW "final" status
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 5:39 am
My World of Warcraft subscription runs out this weekend, so I thought I should give a final status. "Final" as in "final for this episode of me playing WoW". It is possible that I will resubscribe at some point in time, but judging on past form that might well take until the next expansion.

Overall I liked Warlords of Draenor. I know some people disagree with me calling the garrison "player housing", but in my opinion this is one of the best player housing systems that I have seen in a MMORPG. I'm not much of a decorator, so not being able to place the furniture where I want isn't of any concern to me; I much prefer gameplay functionality and world integration, and I think WoD did that very well. I don't think perfect player housing is possible, due to conflicting demands, so I consider the garrison to be a very well balanced compromise.

I'm ending the expansion with two characters at level 100, and two at level 96, thus short of my initial goal of three characters at 100. The reason I decided to cancel instead of playing another month and getting there is that ultimately I wasn't all that happy with the warlock I created and paid €50 to boost to level 90. He was a lot better than the priest in terms of power, in fact he might be my most powerful character overall. But I found him somewhat boring to play, as most of the time I was just spamming very slow spells with long casting times. I pull with Soul Fire, cast an instant Corruption, and then most mobs are dead before I even manage to pull off a second Soul Fire. The whole "I turn into a demon and become more powerful" thing is nice in theory, but in practice I only ever used it on boss mobs. Between my demon and the imps that spawn automatically I feel I already have too many pets before I even got to the point where I could hire a bodyguard. I'm not a big fan of pet classes, even if they are powerful.

On the positive side the Alliance warlock gave me the opportunity to play through all the Shadowmoon Valley quests, which I couldn't do on my Horde characters. On the negative side, once I came to Gorgrond I discovered that half of the quests, including the grand finale, were just carbon copies of Horde quests and I didn't experience anything new. That didn't motivate me to keep playing to 100.

What was exceptional about these two months of World of Warcraft was that I only visited one single dungeon (on normal, for a quest for an epic ring). I basically opted out of PvE or PvP group content, being disillusioned about playing with others. Of course if I don't want to group, I'm excluding myself from tons of content, which explains how I can "finish" Warlords of Draenor in two months. I fully recognize that there are a bunch of other possible activities where I could grind this reputation or that currency to advance my character further. But why should I? Why gear up for a content that I have no interest in? So in the end beyond experiencing the story of the expansion through quests I ran out of goals to pursue. Time to put the game aside again.
Tobold's Blog

Rashomon and Gamergate
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 4:02 am
So the TV series Law & Order SVU did an episode based loosely on last year's Gamergate affair. That of course caused the conflict to flare up again, until even the grandfather of MMO blogging Lum the Mad chimed in. But what I found far more interesting is that both sides in the Gamergate conflict are unhappy about the Law & Order SVU episode, both not liking the way they are depicted on TV. So lots of people are saying bad things about that episode, about it being stupid, not realistic, bad writing, whatever. I think they are missing the point here.

I very much recommend watching the film Rashomon if you haven't done so before. It teaches us that there is no such thing as absolute reality. Different people experience the same events in different ways, and in consequence their memory and perception of these same events differ. Even if you wanted to make a documentary instead of a TV show, you would be unable to retell the story of Gamergate in a way where everybody agrees with the facts. You could even say that not agreeing on the facts is one of the core features of Gamergate.

The people actually involved on both sides of the Gamergate story are few in numbers. Even if you count everybody ever using that hashtag or a related one on Twitter, you end up with just a few thousand people. But the story hit many major newspapers and national TV. Which means that millions of people who were not involved in Gamergate ended up with some perception of those events. The TV episode of Law & Order SVU is based on that *perception* the outside world already had before the episode was shown. Of course then it propagates that perception, but it barely changes it. If both sides on the conflict look bad on TV, it is because that is how both sides already were perceived before.

TV is not the most subtle of media. But that is because it is a mass market media, and the perception of the public of events tends to be not very subtle. There is no simple causality of "TV is stupid and makes people stupid", but a far more complicated story of sometimes very intelligent people deliberately dumbing down the narrative because they think that is all their audience can handle. Is the Law & Order SVU episode a simplified narrative with some artistic interpretation instead of a documentary? It sure is! Is it "stupid" or "unrealistic"? No, not really. Given the same public sources a different team of writers for a different TV show might well have produced something very similar. In Rashomon terms it is the woodcutter's version of the story, the one where neither one of the participants comes out looking very good, the version of the story from the person who doesn't have skin in the game, the independent observer. It is likely to be the version that will be shared by most people, and the one that is going to be remembered.
Tobold's Blog

Episode 207, "Team blue and black"
Posted by World of Warcast: A World of Warcraft Podcast [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 27 February 2015, 12:44 am
We talk about all the changes that came with patch 6.1

Media Link

Patch Rundown 5.4

Originally Posted by Riot (View Original Source)

The Early Bird Gets the Funding
Posted by Articles [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 6:36 pm

I hear people say fairly often, “I never buy Early Access games, I prefer to spend my money on finished products.” Disregarding for the moment that I’ve played very few games I’d consider truly “finished products” at launch lately, I actually don’t really have much objection to this argument. It makes sense to me, and I think it’s a good line of demarcation to draw in the sand if you’re looking to be careful and thoughtful about your gaming purchases.

But what I don’t understand as much are the corners of open hostility to Early Access. From my point of view, I’d argue that not only is Early Access not a net negative for the gaming industry, for developers on otherwise challenging budgets and for a burgeoning business of homebrew game-development, but that, rather, it is a net positive.

I think Early Access games may be the best thing to happen in the industry in years, and I would argue that predicated on three key ideas. First: early access gaming leads to the creation of games that might not otherwise have existed. Second: Early Access gaming provides and option to and subverts outdated publishing models of game creation. And, most importantly, third: Early Access leads to better games at release.

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Unofficial PBE Patch Notes for 2/26/2015
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 4:54 pm


Headhunter Akali


Get exclusive Black-Purple Color Crystals for being a Subscriber!
Posted by Article | Star Wars: The Old Republic [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 9:13 am
As part of the Choose Your Path promotion, we’re giving away exclusive Black-Purple Color Crystals – coming March 31st!

Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 7:25 am

Posted in OurDDOSyndicated

Sometimes it is really random

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Still Quizzing Still Up
Posted by A Green Mushroom [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 10:00 am

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having a crazy week of work.  I had a bunch of projects land at the same time, which is always a blessing for money but a curse for my sanity and sleep schedule.  I've been working 16 hour days basically the entire week.

It doesn't leave much room for gaming.  But I do need to take the occasional break to clear my head.  Usually a break is catching up on twitter for a few minutes or listening to part of a podcast while I'm eating a fast meal.

But 10-15 minute gaming breaks can be super refreshing mentally.  So, I've been playing a lot of Quiz Up!  I might dig into some other iPhone games I have waiting on my phone already, but for the moment Quiz Up is keeping me sane.  It's really easy to do short sessions and it takes my full attention.

It's amazing how much better I can work after a quick gaming break.  Clearing my mind with breaks every few hours let's me keep being super productive and last through these long days.

I'm hoping that I can get back to a more normal schedule later this week.  At least by this weekend hopefully.

Saying some nice things about Crowfall
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 5:36 am
To stop the death threats I should write some nice things about Crowfall. :) Just kidding, there are actually nice things to say about Crowfall and as I only talked about the Kickstarter I feel that my generally negative attitude towards Kickstarter may look as if I hated Crowfall, which is not the case.

First of all I totally agree with Rohan that it is totally okay for Crowfall to be a PvP-centric game. We don't have enough decent PvP games, especially in the fantasy genre. Even for somebody like me who won't play a PvP game it would be interesting to know whether the lack of success of fantasy PvP games is due to there being no demand, or there not being any decent game on offer.

Second, I totally dig the Crowfall business model. I am not a big fan of the straight WoW-like subscription model, because that model sells you "equal opportunity of access for equal money". As in reality two people with equal opportunity of access will have two very different degrees of consumption, the straight subscription model penalizes players for playing less if either their real world commitments or their interests result in them not playing many hours per day. There is a good reason why there are so few restaurants with all you can eat buffets, the customers who just want a regular meal resent paying for the gluttons. In spite of $15 not being a huge drain on my finances, I cancelled my WoW subscription when I started to play less, because it always makes me feel uncomfortable to waste money.

The Crowfall business model is much better. You can buy the game once and play forever (I assume that is only valid for the core game, and any expansions will again have to be paid for). With that single payment comes just a single character passive skill training. Passive skill training means gaining skill while offline, which obviously is a huge advantage. So if you want to play more different characters, you either need to buy the game several times, or you need to get a "VIP subscription", which gives you three passive skill training slots. In either case, a casual player who has enough with just one character will pay less for Crowfall than a very engaged player who feels he needs several characters.

The semantics of that business model are somewhat tricky. On the one hand the devs can claim that theirs is not a Free2Play game with a Pay2Win / Pay4Power item shop. On the other hand an account with three passive skill training slots is rather obviously more powerful than one with only one, so you *do* pay for power. But as that power comes in the form of having more options, and being able to play more different characters without the disadvantage of having no passive training, the power of any individual character is not affected by this. That is extremely important for a PvP game. Crowfall does not allow you to boost the power of a single character by using money. It does allow you to use money to get more trained characters and larger kingdoms, things that are desirable (and thus will presumably sell) but not an unfair advantage in PvP. I find that very well balanced. It is even a slight improvement over the EVE model, where you need to pay several subscriptions for several characters in offline training.

I put an alert on the Crowfall Kickstarter to check in a month how it went. Given the current result it appears almost certain that the $800k goal will be reached, but that isn't really the number I am interested in. I am interested in the number of backers, currently just under seven thousand, in order to get an idea of what the potential market size for a PvP MMORPG is. (Don't quote EVE numbers to me, which are highly misleading: They count accounts instead of players, and count the 80+% of PvE EVE players together with the PvP players.) Dividing the money given by the number of backers also gives the highly interesting information that the average backer gave around $100, which is very interesting regarding the financing of niche games. Ultimately a niche game will need to get more money from the players than a mass market game due to economies of scale, and it is interesting to see whether that is possible.
Tobold's Blog

Raiding with leashes III?
Posted by [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 5:16 am
It looks like I’ll be spending a bit of time in Black Temple, Hyjal Summit, and the Sunwell in order to collect a new round of pets. Right now I’m up to 507 unique pets, and rank #255 for Area 52. Of course now I have 12 more to go out and try to collect. … Continue reading Raiding with leashes III?

League of Legends - Patch 5.4 in Under 1 minute
Posted by News [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 2:00 am

League of Legends - Patch 5.4 in Under 1 minute

Vigilante justice
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 2:31 am
Last week an 11-year old kid accepted an offer of help from a stranger on the internet, giving him access to his game of Destiny via the PS4 Share Play feature. The stranger promptly deleted the kid's characters and exotic weapons. So far, so "just another day on the internet". The video of the event went viral. And the internet reacted in the usual way by taking up the torches and the pitchforks and harassing the person who owned the account which the stranger had used to ruin the kid's game of Destiny. Then of course it turned out that the stranger wasn't the account owner. Account sharing between friends and family is rather common, and the account owner had let somebody else play on his account.

Apart from being a double lesson in why account sharing in any way is a really bad idea, I think the story also is a lesson on the dangers of vigilante justice. In another story this week it turned out that one person who had posted bizarre death threat videos in the name of Gamergate was in fact a comedian with an extremely bad sense of humor who thought it would be funny to make an extreme parody of Gamergate. Now it is him who is getting the death threats.

The underlying problem is that apparently many people feel that the internet is a lawless space, and decide to take up justice in their own hands. Apart from that sometimes going wrong and ending up hurting the wrong person, the so-called "justice" is often far more criminal than the offense of person harassed. The person taking offense is more likely to end up in jail than the offender. The law is quite clear on that: If you put both the person who deletes a kid's Destiny character and the person who in response for that offence sent out death threats in front of a judge, the judge will find that only the death threat is a criminal offense.

Computer games are very much part of the internet, and it is probably because of this that the hate culture is so strong among gamers. Being called names and suffering ad hominem attacks for the "offense" of having an opinion about a game is considered normal. You are less likely to receive hate mail for having an opinion or making a decision that negatively affects the life of real people at work than you are for writing on a game blog. And that more and more becomes a death spiral, with reasonable and polite people quitting the discussion and leaving the field to the trolls and the haters. I don't think that this is good for gaming in the long term.
Tobold's Blog

Lum the Mad Pokes Head Up, Sees His Shadow, Chews Out Mark Kern
Posted by Zen Of Design [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 February 2015, 1:30 am
Scott has some kind words for Mark Kern. My previous coverage of Mark Kern’s bizarre attempts to try to blame #gamergate on the gaming press despite all logic or evidence otherwise:  Here, here and here.

Twitchy Tuesdays w/CMorrigu! 2/24/15
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 February 2015, 6:01 pm

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

CMorrigu streams DDO every Tuesday starting at 5:00 PM Eastern (-5 GMT) on! Thanks for watching.

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Weekly Wednesday Lunchtime Livestream – Wheloon Questing on Cannith! Pt. 2
Posted by DDOcast - A DDO Podcast! [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 25 February 2015, 4:29 pm

Posted in DDO News ReFeedSyndicated

Cordovan and crew learn a Lesson in Deception and find Friends in Low Places! From Cannith. Join us every Wednesday starting at Noon Eastern (-5 GMT) on! -- Watch live at

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