Notch Could be Working on a Minecraft Successor

Markus “Notch” Persson could be working on a successor to Minecraft, with him recently revealing a series of images and videos from a new project with a similarly eye-catching design.

Notch is most famous for developing Minecraft before he handed over its Microsoft, with him selling both the sandbox game and his studio Mojang for an estimated $2 billion. Since then, Notch has mostly stayed away from game development, though he recently uploaded a slew of screenshots and videos for his new project “Voxels_WebGL2.”

Notch has noted that the project is “definitely not a sequel to anything,” but if this project does become something more substantial then it will be the first proper game he’s released since Minecraft. The project is in the very early stages of development, with Notch adding that he’s “just having way, waaay too much fun seeing how far I can push this tomfoolery.”

image: http://cdn2-www.gamerevolution.com/assets/uploads/2018/01/Notch-Minecraft-Sequel-Successor-640×361.jpg

minecraft-2-successor-notchOn top of various screenshots of the project’s various structures and its sprawling, mountainous landscape, Notch also posted a video showing it in motion. Notch said that the core engine used by the game is called Core, while he’s writing the project in Javascript and “abusing WebGL 2.”

When a follower asked Notch what he’s making, the developer replied: “I have no idea. It’s a currently a voxel engine that runs in a web browser at 99fps with 60+km view distance with real time terrain generation. Oh, and all voxels are modifiable in runtime, although that will eat up the ram pretty fast. Just added real time reflections.”

image: http://cdn3-www.gamerevolution.com/assets/uploads/2018/01/Notch-Minecraft-3-2-640×361.jpg

Notch doesn’t appear to have bigger plans for the project right now, though he seems pretty pleased with the results thus far. Could this wind up being the Minecraft successor that his followers have been waiting for?

Notch Could be Working on a Minecraft Successor

These are the top five fire-type Pokémon to use in Ultra Sun and Moon

The seventh generation of Pokémon games introduced the world to powerful new Fire-type Pokémon.

In Ultra Sun and Moon, players have access to over 20 different Fire-type Pokémon exist in-game. Even with this limited amount the Fire-type Pokémon offered are some of the strongest players can find in Pokémon history.

Having a Fire-type Pokémon in your team became crucial in Sun and Moon because of certain strong Pokémon like Klefki, that could only be beaten by a strong Fire-type.

All Pokémon in this list are catchable in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon. Some stronger Fire-type Pokémon, however, can be transferred from another game in the Pokémon series to Pokémon Ultra and Moon through the Pokémon Bank if you want to use something different. Pokémon Bank is available on the Nintendo 3DS eshop for a small yearly rental charge.
Incineroar

Type: Fire/Dark

Players can only get Incineroar by choosing Litten as a starter Pokémon. It evolves from Torracat, the evolution of Torracat, at level 34.

Incineroar’s strengths come from it’s typing. By being a Fire/Dark type Pokémon, Incineroar can use a lot of effective moves like Knock Off, which knocks off an opponent Pokémon’s item. The move Fake Out, which causes the Pokémon to flinch, making it unable to use a move for that turn, is also important as it leaves the opposing Pokémon wide open for attack in Double Battles.

Incineroar’s typing also means that it can learn an abundance of moves that can deal with some of the game’s most popular Pokémon, such as Klefki and most of the Ultra Beast Pokémon.

Overall, Incineroar does a lot of damage. In Ultra Sun and Moon, Incineroar is able to learn the move Superpower, which is one of the strongest Fire-type moves in-game, making Incineroar vital for competitive players.
Volcarona

Type: Fire/Bug

Players can find a Larvesta in the Lush Jungle. It can then be evolved into a Volcarona from level 59.

Volcarona is a huge damage threat to any opposing team as it is arguably the best Fire-type Pokémon in-game. Due to its unique typing of Bug/Fire, a lot of the weaknesses that both types would have individually are nullified.

One of Volcarona’s biggest weaknesses have been Rock-type moves in the past. Competitive players started to put Pokémon in their teams specifically to deal with Volcarona by giving them moves like Rock Slide, which can do four times damage to Volcarona, killing it in an instant.

In order to get around this glaring weakness, players should give their Volcarona the item Choice Scarf during battles. The item increases Volcarona’s speed, allowing it to hit an opponent first in order to try and avoid a critical attack from an opposing player’s Pokémon.
Talonflame

Type: Fire/Flying

Players can find a Fletchling at Route 8 or Wela Volcano Park. It can then be evolved into a Talonflame from level 35.

Talonflame received a nerf in the Sun and Moon series and is weaker than it was in generation six. Even with the noticeable nerf, it is still one of the strongest Fire-type Pokémon available to find due to its blinding speed and its Flying-type move set.

Talonflame is used best in Ultra Sun and Moon when players attach a Flying Z-Crystal item to it. It can then use the Z-Move Brave Bird which can do a ton of damage to an opponent. It also has a lot of priority flying moves at it’s disposal that can hit an opponent fast and hard, giving players a huge advantage.
Blacephalon

Type: Fire/Ghost

Blacephalon is a Pokémon exclusive to Ultra Sun and Moon and was one of a handful of Pokémon to be added to the game. It is only available in Ultra Sun at Poni Grove after completing the main story, meaning Ultra Moon players will need to trade to get it themselves.

Blacephalon is a glass cannon for any player’s team. While the Pokémon can deal a lot of damage that could take out multiple Pokémon, it itself is so squishy that any type of powerful move could beat it in one blow.

The Pokémon should be used in your party as a last resort to take down a troublesome opponent that has been causing you grief. The Pokémon is set to rise in popularity in competitive when Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon becomes the staple competitive Pokémon game in 2018 and will be a solid addition to any party.
Arcanine

Type: Fire

Players can find a Growlithe on Route 2 and then evolve it into an Arcanine by using the item Fire Stone. It’s best to evolve a Growlithe at level 33-34 after it has learned a bunch of moves. An Arcanine cannot learn moves by leveling up like normal Pokémon.

Arcanine is best used when it knows the ability Intimidate, which lowers the attack stat of all opposing Pokémon greatly. It should be used against physical attackers to weaken them in battle.

It is one of few Fire-type Pokémon to have access to a large move pool, giving the player tons of options on how they want to build their Arcanine for battle. You can have it be a swift fighter that attacks first for tons of damage or assists your team through other means, allowing you to mix and match the Pokémon to fit any team composition.

Arcanine was best used in the Sun and Moon competitive scene due to a lack of good Fire-types in the game. While more Fire-type Pokémon have become readily available in Ultra Sun and Moon, it is still a good fighter to grace any party.

These are the top five fire-type Pokémon to use in Ultra Sun and Moon

Doki Doki Literature Club receives a ‘Just Monika’ mod

Warning: Major Doki Doki Literature Club spoilers feature below.

Ever since Team Salvato released its horror visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club, fans have been obsessing over the titular club’s president, Monika. And a new mod allows players to hang out with just Monika for the rest of their lives.

In one of Doki Doki’s most memorable scenes, Monika deletes every single character from the game in an attempt to enter into a relationship with whoever is playing Doki Doki. It’s a creepy scene, but because of Monika’s obsessiveness and sheer loneliness, she’s quickly won the hearts of many fans. And that’s where the mod “Monika After Story” comes in, turning dating Monika into a reality.
Image via Monika After Story

In “Monika After Story,” the game’s mod team has built a chatbot AI for Monika, which essentially allows her to understand the player’s responses and engage in discussions on things like video games and the meaning of life. Players can also listen to music together, challenge Monika to chess, and fantasize about going on dates. New content is regularly added into the mod, and the update’s 0.6.3 version even comes with special events for Christmas and New Year’s.

If you want to appreciate Monika in all her glory, go ahead and download the latest version here. “Monika After Story” requires Doki Doki Literature Club to play, but the game can be downloaded for free via Steam, itch.io, or the visual novel’s official website.

Doki Doki Literature Club receives a ‘Just Monika’ mod

Fortnite: Battle Royale is experiencing server issues that could progress into next week

If you’ve had troubles trying to access Fortnite: Battle Royale today, you’re not alone. Epic Games has confirmed there’s a widespread issue.

Earlier in the day, players had reported issues with logging in or even finding a massive queue to connect to the game’s servers. Now, Epic has provided detailed reasoning as to what’s been going on behind the scenes.

“We wanted to provide a bit more context for the most recent login issues and service instability,” an Epic Games representative said on its forums. “All of our cloud services are affected by updates required to mitigate the Meltdown vulnerability. We heavily rely on cloud services to run our back-end and we may experience further service issues due to ongoing updates.”

The Meltdown vulnerability came to light earlier in the week, and it’s some sort of backend issue with certain CPU’s. Many people have been affected, and Epic’s no different, as its cloud services have brought about the problem at hand.

“Unexpected issues may occur with our services over the next week as the cloud services we use are updated,” the forum post continued. “We are working with our cloud service providers to prevent further issues and will do everything we can to mitigate and resolve any issues that arise as quickly as possible. Thank you all for understanding.”

For now, it appears Fortnite’s servers will be something of a wait-and-see situation for the next few days. More information about the Meltdown issue can be found in an in-depth article on SpectreAttack.com.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is experiencing server issues that could progress into next week

The strangest esports moments of 2017

For many, 2017 may go down in history as the year where esports became firmly etched in the common consciousness. With several multi-million dollar investments from some of the world’s most notable brands, and the increasing popularity of esports competitions, the industry is now on a trajectory to finally convince the world at large that esports is a force to be reckoned with.

But that hasn’t stopped 2017 from being a strange year. Interpersonal drama remains a fixture of teams in the industry, as some of the strongest rosters in some games withered away after what can best be described as childish tantrums. Fans have taken several liberties at harming rival games through brigading, and some players have seen their careers hampered due to, well, just communicating with the opposite sex.

Our list of the strangest esports moments in 2017, however, starts with possibly the strangest event.
The embarrassing demise of Immortals
Photo via DreamHack

On July 23, the Brazilian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster of Immortals appeared to have finally made it into the upper echelon of the game’s competitive circuit. After they just barely lost out to Gambit Gaming in the PGL Kraków Major grand finals, it seemed like we’d entered a golden age of Brazilian CS:GO, where the legendary faces of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Marcelo “coldzera” David, and Epitácio “TACO” de Melo on SK Gaming would come to share the title of best Brazilian team.

A little less than two months later, those hopes were dashed.

After reaching the grand finals of DreamHack Denver, Immortals were punished for not showing up to the grand finals on time. Starting the match with a one-map forfeit, Danish squad North made short work of them in the remaining game, ending the series with a 2-0 finish.

The reason for Immortals’ tardiness appeared to be the toil of an extensive night of partying, as several of the players allegedly slept through their alarms after taking a nap. CLG in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta joked about the state of the Immortals players, something AWPer Vito “kNg” Giuseppe didn’t respond kindly to. Rather than seeing the comedic side of the situation, the Immortals player instead resorted to threaten FNS with direct violence. KNg refused to apologize for this indiscretion, and instead doubled down on his threat—and was reportedly seen searching the lobby of the player’s hotel for FNS. Whether or not violence was ultimately on his mind, a clear line had been crossed. And the Immortals organization knew it.

So kNg was temporarily suspended, and Immortals launched an internal investigation to get to the bottom of the situation. Happy ending, right? Nope. Instead of biding his time on the bench, kNg elected to compete in an online match, despite being suspended. According to a statement on his Facebook page, kNg entered the match following an invitation from Immortals’ Henrique “HEN1” Teles and Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles, in a seeming act of defiance against Immortals’ decision.

Immortals promptly dropped kNg after the match. But following his dismissal, both LUCAS1 and HEN1 requested to be removed from the organization, as they stood in solidarity with kNg.

With kNg gone, and LUCAS1 and HEN1 placed firmly on the bench, it was clear that the trio, seemingly intentionally, held Immortals’ legend spot on the Valve Major circuit hostage. A legend slot ensures that the majority of a team’s roster won’t have to qualify for an upcoming Valve Major and will automatically receive compensation in the form of sticker money.

Worst of all, the two remaining players on the roster, Lucas “steel” Lopes and Ricardo “boltz” Prass, were ultimately the only people, along with Immortals, who were punished. The trio proceeded to find a new home in 100 Thieves, steel joined ranks with Team Liquid, and boltz found himself returning to FalleN on SK Gaming.

Immortals, however, found its legend status at the Valve Major revoked, and despite its attempts at qualifying for the event with a makeshift roster, it fell far from making the cut. From reaching the grand finals of a Valve Major, to not even appearing at the next iteration is almost certainly a first, and the circumstances surrounding it make this situation even more absurd.
Lunatic Hai and the case of the fangirls
Screengrab via OGN Global/YouTube

Historically, South Korean pro gamers have been subject to the most spartan and restrictive of lifestyles. Stories from the glory days of Starcraft: Brood War often spoke of what amounted to forced seclusion from the outside world, as young men would slave away at their keyboards for hours on end, often for little-to-no return due to the fierce level of competition.

In 2017, things seem to have changed quite a bit—but not to a degree most western fans would be used to. This became most obvious when South Korean Overwatch sensation Lunatic-Hai benched two of its players after they had been found exchanging conversations and pictures with female fans.

According to the organization’s response, “both players have done something they should not be doing as esports professionals.” The organization also wrote that it had “taken steps to prevent recurrence,” in an effort to teach future players proper competitive and social values. The two players, Geum “dean” Dong-geun and Lee “Leetaejun” Tae-jun, were subsequently dismissed from the roster—despite apologizing profusely for their actions. Leetaejun even went as far as to write that he “knows he cannot be forgiven for all the trouble he caused for his fans and [Lunatic-Hai] members.”

Both players now no longer compete in Overwatch as a result of their interactions with the opposite sex. Dean decided to retire from esports altogether, while Leetaejun was welcomed back to Lunatic-Hai, and competes under its Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds roster.
Dota 2 got Diretide’d

The Dota 2 community isn’t a stranger to a good bit of classic internet outrage. Most famously, fans of Valve’s MOBA title entered into a fervent state of revolt in November 2013, after it turned out that cherished Halloween game-mode Diretide would not be an annual event as it was initially advertised.

Fans subsequently began bombarding the official Dota 2 page on Steam with poor reviews, and after a short while, cries of “give Diretide” spread across the internet. After a few days of this internet-based torch burning, the usually silent Valve went as far as to issue an apology to its community.

But in 2017, the Dota 2 community and Valve found itself under siege from another fanbase. On Aug. 25, the former main writer for Valve’s Half-Life franchise, Mark Ladilaw, posted what could be accurately described as a conclusion of the franchise’s penultimate game, Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Fans had spent the past decade eagerly awaiting the continuation of Half-Life’s dramatic storyline—but with Ladilaw’s loving and tender letter, titled “Epistle 3,” it became clear that this was the only conclusion fans would receive. One of gaming’s most celebrated franchises ended up being a blog post.

The fanbase, as a result, took its frustration out on Valve. Half-Life fans brigaded Dota 2’s user-rating on Steam, which artificially changed the game’s overall user-rating on the platform. Valve responded by implementing an entirely new way in which user reviews were counted, in order to counteract so called “review brigades.”

It’s fascinating how Valve has cultivated such passionate fanbases. But let’s always remember that there are far better things we could spend our time doing than waging pointless flame-fests on the internet.
Activision was granted a patent that could incentivize users towards using microtransactions

Despite gaming’s continued growth into a multi-billion industry, the proliferation of in-game microtransactions has become one of the most criticized developments within the space over the past few years.

But things took a dramatic shift after it was discovered that Activision, one of the overall largest game companies in the world, had been granted a patent for a system that could figuratively alter the gameplay experience of players based solely on whether or not they had recently spent money in one of its games. For the first time, that flame-decal you recently bought could actually make you a better player, as the system could hypothetically place you in a match with lower ranked opponents due to you spending money in the game.

The hypothetical uses of this system gives an entirely new meaning to the term “pay to win,” as cosmetic items in games tend to be just that—a cool new sheen to a weapon for those who want to customize their character or loadout, not anything that actually affects gameplay. Now the actual enjoyment that should be derived from one’s skill at the game could be affected if one doesn’t buy in-game items, and buyers’ sense of achievement could turn out to be hollow—as an algorithm placed you into an easier match, providing you with a loaded set of dice.

As Triple-A gaming studios proceed to include more purchasable in-game items, it now seems as if they are more comfortable with the notion of encouraging already-paying customers to part with even more of their income, no matter how dubious the means.
Waka Flocka Flame talks Dota 2

Known for its strange on-air production, which on occasion features mariachi bands and giant chickens, the LAN finals of the seventh season of DreamLeague saw the most unlikely of cameos.

Waka Flocka Flame, trap rapper extraordinaire, joined the on-air broadcast team after a performance at DreamHack Atlanta on July 12. The Atlanta native took part in a brief conversation among the panelists, in which he dropped a considerable number of gems. Discussing topics ranging between his love for Zelda, the lack of actual rapping in modern rap, and teaching the panelists the basics of his craft, his appearence was capped off with a failed fistbump.

This was a suitable end to what could only be described as the strangest few minutes in either of the panelists’ lives.
Russian League of Legends fan-favorite ends up being banned for whistle-blowing
Photo via Riot Games

For the majority of 2017, League of Legends developer Riot Games stayed out of any massive controversy. The events the company put on throughout the year all went off without a hitch, and following the conclusion of the 2017 League World Championship, it looked as if Riot would smoothly sail into 2018.

But then, in the middle of the offseason, Russian fan-favorite Kirill “Likkrit” Malofeyev told his stream audience about rampant mismanagement within the Russian-speaking League of Legends Continental League. During these few moments on his stream, the 22-year-old revealed that his previous team, Albus NoX Luna, failed to pay out his salary for an extended period of time, effectively scamming him.

Likkrit also talked about the overall state of League esports in the CIS region, claiming that the game “is practically dead here.” This turned out to be a tad too much for Riot Games’ Russian division, which quickly slapped the fan-favorite with a six-month competitive ban for “statements that offend the League of Legends gaming community in the CIS, discrediting the business reputation of the company Riot Games, and posing a threat to the image of League of Legends and the Continental League.”

The decision to place him under suspension for such a considerable amount of time reeks of pettiness, to say the least—especially because he was targeting one of the most powerful organizations in the region.

As a result of the ban, Likkrit chose to end his career as a professional player, although he claims he intended to retire anyway—but due to the ban, Riot simply made the decision for him.

Don’t shoot the messenger, as the old adage goes.

The strangest esports moments of 2017

AGDQ 2018 kicks off today

The world’s most beloved speedrunning marathon kicks off today (Jan. 7) at 11:30am ET on Twitch.

Games Done Quick (GDQ) is a speedrunning event that only happens twice per year. Thousands of viewers watch their favorite speedrunners destroy some of their beloved games and, in turn, donate millions of dollars to charity. The runners come from all corners of the globe, and it’s easily the world’s biggest speedrunning event.

This year, AGDQ will be benefiting the Prevent Cancer Foundation, an organization that helps to detect and prevent cancer before it spreads.

JHobz is kicking off the event this year with the popular speedgame Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy. The event will then continue for the next seven days without any stops as speedrunners attempt to complete 155 games as fast as possible.

Fans can also support AGDQ this year by buying merchandise from either Fangamer or TheYetee. A percentage of all sales will go towards the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Now that AGDQ is here, it’s time to rally the speedrunning community to help a great cause.

AGDQ 2018 kicks off today

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is coming to Xbox One with 4K support and new mode

The Astronauts’ narrative adventure The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is heading to Xbox One with support for Xbox One X. It’ll feature 4K support to bolster the game in the graphical department for Xbox One X players, but it’ll also include a new mode to play through.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter follows a paranormal investigator who receives a letter from a 12-year-old boy named Ethan Carter, whose disappearance he ends up investigating, which spirals into something even darker and more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

The new version of the game, which was originally released in 2014, will include Free Roam mode, which has been requested by fans looking for ways to explore further than what the game allows. This way you can take in all the sights of the world of Red Creek Valley without having to worry about progressing in the game or what the story will bring next. This way the previous limits imposed on players are removed to make things easier to experience.

The game is up for preorder right now on Xbox One, but it doesn’t launch fully until Jan. 19 with full 4K support. You can go ahead and play the game right now if you’re curious, however, as it’s available on both PC and PlayStation 4 right now.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is coming to Xbox One with 4K support and new mode

Capcom confirms new Monster Hunter World beta and post-launch content updates

Capcom held a livestream from Japan today with a new trailer and additional info about the upcoming Monster Hunter World divulged.

The game is currently scheduled for launch on Jan. 26, and it’s looking especially awesome. The new trailer shows off several of the Elder Dragons from the series, with some new additions and those included from earlier iterations of the series.

You can check out the flame king dragon Teostra with dangerous fires, steel dragon Kushala Daora with an entire body covered in metal plates, the rock-eating Dodogama, and several other dragons that can mess with your hunter if you’re not careful. All are extremely formidable opponents.

There’s also a final beta before release, which Monster Hunter fans on PlayStation 4 will be able to take part in from Jan. 19 to 22. It’ll feature a battle with Nergigante, an enormous and fearsome creature featured in the game’s marketing materials.

Capcom also discussed some additional details about Monster Hunter World’s post-launch content, confirming that there will indeed be major, free updates to the game as well as regular content injections. There’s a major title update planned for spring 2018, which will add the monster Deviljho as well.

If you’re looking to sink your teeth into life as a monster hunter, there isn’t much longer to wait. It looks like it’s certainly going to be worth holding tight for.

Capcom confirms new Monster Hunter World beta and post-launch content updates

The God of War series could leave Norse mythology behind in future installments.

God of War’s upcoming reboot is poised to explore themes grounded in Norse mythology, but that doesn’t mean future games will be rooted there, according to director Cory Barlog. In a new interview with Game Informer, Barlog stated that the team may end up actually exploring both the Egyptian era and the Mayan era, “and so on and so forth.”

It seems as though the God of War games may become somewhat cyclical in that it will eventually explore additional eras, following its original Greek exploration for the entirety of six whole games. It’s interesting to ponder what a Mayan God of War game might look like, or an Egyptian version.

“What became apparent to me was that we were watching this franchise wane a bit,” Sony Santa Monica Head of Studio Shannon Studstill said in the interview. “It was getting old. The storyline with Kratos being the hardcore badass – I think people were starting to say, ‘What’s next?’ I felt like, in order to reinvent, we really needed to turn a lot of things around.”

It was possible that the game we’re seeing in the near future could just have easily have been given an Egyptian setting, though as it turns out with Assassin’s Creed Origins taking the same route, perhaps it’s a good thing that the project went another way.

Whatever route the series takes in the future, it’ll be interesting to see a new direction for Kratos, especially if it means he’ll be growing and evolving as a character.

The God of War series could leave Norse mythology behind in future installments.

Minecraft welcomes new Norse Mythology DLC pack

Minecraft and Norse mythology may seem like two very different things, but the two are coming together with the new Norse Mythology Mash-Up Pack, a new DLC release that brings together some familiar pieces together with the blocky goodness of Minecraft.

The mash-up pack includes locations like Hel, the Great Hall, and Yggdrasil from throughout the annals of Norse mythology. You can even dress up as important figures from the stories themselves, like the very same ones you may remember reading about in one of your history classes (the parts you fell asleep during.)

For instance you can dress up as Thor and Odin, or even Heimdall and Sif. There are a few creatures up for grabs as well to complete the package. Enemies get several interesting skins as well, transforming familiar baddies into antagonists based in Norse mythology.

There are plenty of large, fanciful environments found in the expansion as well that really look as though they could transport you, even temporarily, to a faraway place and time. You can see it all in action in the official trailer, and you can download the DLC pack right now across all Minecraft platforms.

If you like reskinning Minecraft with lots of different looks, be on the lookout for a new Festive Mash-Up DLC pack, which is releasing later this week just in time for the holidays. It will transform your favorite world with candy canes, Santa hats, reindeer, and more!

Minecraft welcomes new Norse Mythology DLC pack

Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Episode 5 Review

Nearly six months ago, the first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two released. Jesse’s story carried on from the first season as he/she met new friends, went on exciting new adventures and came face to face with strong, fearless enemies. It was all about to come to a head in this final episode, so just how would Jesse and friends defeat the Admin once and for all?

How exactly do you defeat the Admin?How exactly do you defeat the Admin?

We left Jesse and friends at the end of the last episode as they’d managed to make their way back to Beacontown. After sneaking into the town through some tunnels, we then get a real look at what has happened to Beacontown and see what it had been turned into by the Admin posing as Jesse. Even in block form, the town still manages to look run down and almost abandoned, a shell of what it used to be like. This is reflected in the especially dullen look of this episode, with the darkened skies, colours and streets.

Once inside Beacontown, your aim is to get to the primary terminal to enter the word of passage. In order to get there, you are given a number of different choices along the way that may help or hinder you depending on what you pick. The game offers you lots of chances to make decisions that, whilst they may not affect the ultimate outcome of the episode, will determine how the other characters in the game react to you. This gives you the choice of whether you can trust old and new friends with what you decide to do.

Aside from these smaller choices scattered about the episode, you also have some big decisions to make when it gets to the end of the episode too. No matter what you’ve done earlier in the episode or the season, these choices stand alone and can be made however you see fit. The ultimate last decision you make will decide how the episode ends, and either choice rounds things off nicely while still leaving the story open for potentially more episodes, as the first season ended up having.

No-one ever said it was going to be easyNo-one ever said it was going to be easy

This episode is another that is quite short compared to other episodes in the season, but it still ends up being largely focused on conversation. For the rest of the time, you have the expected bit of wandering about, combined with a bit of crafting and also a little bit of puzzle solving. A puzzle towards the end of the episode might cause you a little bit of a problem as you aren’t really given much help, but this offers a nice change from the conversation filling the rest of the episode.

With this being the finale, you’d be expecting some kind of boss fight to occur and you’d be right. The boss fight does not disappoint for the large part, taking place across a number of different locations with the boss having a handful of different forms as well. It’s an impressive boss fight and while the game does tease you for a little while that there may not be any fight at all, it is an enjoyable one that only has one outcome.

Another thing that this episode does well is to tie up some of the loose ends from previous episodes. Old friends that have made appearances in other episodes reappear and allow their stories to tie up, and people that you may have lost or left behind along the way also have their stories finished off. This is a nice touch and the episode perfectly brings everything together, which makes it feel like the ideal finale it is aiming to be.

Finally, the six achievements of the episode will unlock with natural progression through the story, offering the expected 200 gamerscore upon completion.

Summary

“Episode 5 – Above and Beyond” is an appropriate end to another good Telltale season. The episode does a brilliant job of bringing everything together and tying up a number of loose ends across the season. The episode is scattered with important choices and either choice at the end offers closure for the gamer. Aside from the episode feeling a little short, there’s not a lot wrong here. It may not be non-stop action, or blow you completely away, but it is a solid end to an enjoyable season.

Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Episode 5 Review

You can now take a stroll around Roman Exeter on Minecraft

People can step back in time and experience what it would have been like to live in Roman Exeter thanks to virtual reality and the video game Minecraft.

The city’s rich history – and the treasures at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery – are now part of the hugely popular and addictive Minecraft game.

You will be able to experience Roman Exeter on Minecraft
You will be able to experience Roman Exeter on Minecraft

A new map shows what Exeter’s Roman fortress could have looked like and is available to download for free while playing Minecraft. This joins another map, also inspired by RAMM’s collections , designed to represent 18th-century Exeter when the city walls still stood.

Minecraft is like a form of virtual Lego and has fans of all ages. Players build towns or cities together in virtual groups and complete buildings by selecting blocks with different textures and uses. They can also download existing buildings, or whole conurbations and change them and add to them.

This map is produced as part of the A Place in Time Project, a partnership between the universities of Exeter and Reading, Exeter City Council and Cotswold Archaeology. The Minecraft maps include recent discoveries and new interpretations of archaeological evidence found in the 1970s and 80s.

The Roman map shows the barracks and military buildings of the Roman settlement in what is now Exeter, and includes links to Roman objects excavated in Exeter. Players can use these to find out more about the objects in the game.

The Roman map shows the barracks and military buildings of the Roman settlement in what is now Exeter
The Roman map shows the barracks and military buildings of the Roman settlement in what is now Exeter

RAMM worked with digital producer Adam Clarke AKA Wizard Keen and blockworks to produce the maps. The first is based on the Hedgeland model, which was constructed between 1817 and 1824 by Caleb Hedgeland and is one of the earliest surviving models of any town in Britain. The model is the only surviving record of many of the city’s buildings and streets. It is on permanent display in RAMM’s Making History gallery.

Sofia Romualdo, a researcher at the University of Exeter, who is working on the project, said: “The beauty of these new maps is they allow people to explore real places in different ways that are fun and educational.”

 

You can now take a stroll around Roman Exeter on Minecraft

COLUMN: Minecraft mom

‘Mom, you are crouching again!”

“I can’t help it!” I said. “I can’t figure out how to stand up straight.”

Sure enough, my character was tramping across the green block landscape slumped forward like a sulky teen who just broke up with her boyfriend.

We got an Xbox for Christmas, the goal, of course, being to insinuate ourselves into the lives of our children so that even their virtual reality is not safe from their parents’ antics.

“Just get in the house and stop wandering off!” advised my 10-year-old, who was teaching me how to play Minecraft. By “teaching,” I mean yelling at me continually as I stabbed at buttons.

But I didn’t go inside the house he had built for us. I was feeling rather full of myself, having just slaughtered a pig with a few swipes of my bare, block hands, earning my household pork chops. I was now off to chop down trees for an addition.

There was only one problem.

“I can’t figure out how to put this pork chop down,” I lamented.

My boy was too busy killing a spider with glowing red eyes to help me, so I just went with it.

I chopped down that tree with a pork chop. Who knew the other white meat could be so versatile?

“I got us more wood for the house!” I announced.

I only got a grunt. It was starting to get dark in our virtual world, and my son was killing another spider.

I moved across the screen, getting stuck in holes, stuck under tree branches, falling off cliffs.

The first-person vantage point of the game, like all modern offerings, messes with me. I grew up on a steady diet of old-school Nintendo, not this herky, jerky Blair Witch Project-meets-Luigi madness. Still, I wasn’t ready to give up. I wanted to make my boy proud, and that’s when I saw the llama. Eager to get the sort of accolades earned by my pig slaughter, I chased down the llama, and by “chased” I mean I stumbled and crouched across the screen until the llama was eventually cornered by some square blocks of earth. Then I began mowing down the animal with my pork chop.

The llama, however, was not going down without a fight. It kicked me and made angry llama noises. But I kept at it and eventually I killed that llama.

“I killed a llama!” I chirped. “What do I get for killing a llama?!”

“Ummm, you get nothing,” said my kid, giving me a look that said, “what kind of sicko kills a llama?”

“OK, now we have standards?” I said. “That’s the line we don’t cross? Llamas? It is not like it was a unicorn or something.”

I sulked back to the house to call it a night.

I jumped into bed and pushed a button, destroying the bed in one swipe.

“What did you do?” he yelled.

“I don’t know … I just pushed a button. I was trying to … ” I said, looking down at the controller that had, no lie, 11 buttons! Plus two joysticks and an up-down-side-to-side tossed in for good measure. “I am sorry … I …”

I stopped talking and walked to the corner with my pork chop.

“I am just going to crouch over here till morning.”

COLUMN: Minecraft mom

The internal economics of a popular Minecraft server are an object lesson in everything great and terrible about markets

Alice Maz was part of a small group of players who came to have near-total mastery over the internal economy of a popular Minecraft; Maz describes how her early fascination with the mechanics of complex multiplayer games carried over into an interest in economics and games, and that let her become a virtuoso player, and brilliant thinker, about games and economics.

Maz’s long, fascinating essay about her business ventures in Minecraft are a potted lesson in economics, one that shows where financial engineering actually does something useful (providing liquidity, matching supply and demand) and the places where it becomes nothing more than a predatory drag on the “real economy” of people making amazing things in Minecraft.

Back when I was working on For the Win, my YA novel about gold farming, I read pretty much every book and academic paper on the subject of games and economics, and Maz’s essay is among the best pieces of writing on the subject I’ve encountered. It’s especially interesting because all the economic activities are aimed at dominating a server, but Maz never talks about whether, how, or if any of the in-game wealth can be converted to cash money, giving the whole thing a kind of abstract clarity that is sometimes obfuscated in the literature on in-game economics.

Diamonds being not the most valuable but certainly the most valued item in the game, both for their utility and their price stability, the server was littered with buy chests for them. These were mostly of the fling and a prayer sort, offering prices low enough that anyone selling to them was a noob or a fool. But not so low that I couldn’t sell them Charlotte’s. I bought from her all I could afford, bankrupted every single person who had a buy chest at any price, then went back for more. Buy chests in the market shops, scattered on the roadsides, nestled in secluded towns no one remembered the names of, I hit them all. If you were buying diamonds at the bottom of the ocean, I would find you and take all of your money.

At the same time, I dropped my sell price in the market to 16M and did pretty good business for a few weeks. I had the advantage of one of the two best plots there were, the other belonging to Emma. (This I’d gotten via inside knowledge that Zel’s to-be partner was shuttering his store and gifting the plot to a friend. I offered to swap my plot as the gift, help with the deconstruction process, and advise on pricing in the Emporium in exchange, thus getting the prized location without it ever going up for sale.) QuickShop provided a console command to show the closest shop selling an item, and these two plots, though behind hedge walls and not immediately visible, were the closest as the crow flies to the market’s warp-in point. So anyone using the command–and this was most people, traipsing through the market looking for deals being a rare activity mostly limited to speculators–got directed to me or Emma for anything either of us sold.

This all made me a lot of money. I drove a portion of profits into bolstering my diamond and beacon reserves, bought basically any building material I thought I’d ever need in bulk, and still watched my marble balance grow. Up til the diamond bonanza, I’d been making money on a dozen different side hustles. A bit here, a bit there, doing better than most, but regardless the day-in day-out of working the market took up the majority of my time on the game. That made me rich; this is what made me wealthy.

But soon 16M became 14M, and 14M became 12M. A few people started to notice Charlotte’s store, and she restocked faster than I, or anyone, could recoup enough to buy out. Mostly though, it was clear to everyone the price of diamond was falling, even if they had no idea why. I diversified into selling enchanted diamond equipment of all types, priced just so that I could break even on the enchant and move the component diamonds at the same price I sold them for raw. A few of the buy chest people I’d tanked tried recovering some of their money by putting up at a loss the diamonds I’d sold them, but they still couldn’t move product faster than a trickle. Eventually even Charlotte had to cut her prices to keep selling. It was bad.

The internal economics of a popular Minecraft server are an object lesson in everything great and terrible about markets

This chart shows how much Destiny 2’s playerbase has dropped off since launch

A post by a Reddit user has revealed some new information about Destiny 2’s playerbase and how much it has dropped off since the game launched in September.

The user, named “stevetheimpact,” used Bungie’s application programming interface from its web site to find when players last logged into the game. The chart below shows a steady decline in players since launch, with it recently reaching an all-time low at the end of 2017.
Image via u/stevetheimpact – Full size

According to stevetheimpact, the total player count dropped from around 1.3 million at launch to just over 321,000 at the end of year, which is a drop of 75.37 percent.

The percentages were even higher on each individual platform, too. PlayStation 4 player count dropped from 712,431 to 158,523 for a drop of 77.74 percent, Xbox One dropped from 594,987 to 127,428 for a total of 78.58 percent, and the PC player count dropped from 194,607 at launch on Oct. 24 to 35,892 at the end of the year, which is a drop of a whopping 81.55 percent.

The chart comes with warnings, though, as stevetheimpact says they were not able to account for players returning for the Curse of Osiris DLC in December, but the final endpoint shows the correct player dropoff regardless.

While this information is not official or entirely accurate, the Bungie API does not lie when it comes to data. In 2018, fans of the series will be looking for reasons to boot the game back up again.

This chart shows how much Destiny 2’s playerbase has dropped off since launch

Steam’s top 10 games for 2017 were all released before 2017, except for one

It turns out Steam’s 2017 releases may not be as addicting as one might hope. A new report from GitHyp reveals that Steam’s top 10 most-played games for the year were all released before 2017 even began. That is, except for one title: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

GitHyp regularly tracks Steam’s most-played games, calculating how many players hop online per day, when playercount peaks, and how many players are currently online, among other values. And according to GitHyp’s statistics, PUBG ranks in first place with over three million players. No other games from 2017 can be found on the top 10 list, and it’s not until 12th place that another game from this year emerges—Divinity: Original Sin 2.

Listed below are the top 10 games for 2017, along with the approximate playercount tallied for each.

  1. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ~3 million players
  2. Dota 2 ~1 million players
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ~800,000 players
  4. Payday 2 ~250,000 players
  5. Grand Theft Auto V ~170,000 players
  6. H1Z1 ~150,000 players
  7. Warframe ~120,000 players
  8. ARK: Survival Evolved ~1000,000 players
  9. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege ~100,000 players
  10. Path of Exile ~100,000 players

Last year was great for gaming overall, and as the second Steam Awards reveals, games like Cuphead and Sonic Mania certainly proved PC gaming has plenty of great hits to look forward to during even a slower year. But as far as Steam games go, sometimes great titles from the past few years are just hard to beat.

Steam’s top 10 games for 2017 were all released before 2017, except for one

The Switch is now officially the fastest-selling console in U.S. history

In an announcement that likely surprises exactly no one, Nintendo confirmed that the Switch is now the fastest-selling console in U.S. history, thanks to data compiled via internal sales info.

The console has officially beaten out the original Wii’s sales numbers from when it launched in the US as well, leading to a ridiculously successful launch and what will remain a bustling part of the console’s life cycle.

Since the console’s launch back on March 3, 2017, it’s managed to amass over 4.8 million units sold in the 10 months since its debut. Those are impressive numbers, and it’s not just localized to Nintendo consoles. Those are the best numbers, period, for all video game consoles in the U.S. The old record holder was the Wii, with four million units sold during the same amount of time.

With titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey out on store shelves, it’s clear Nintendo is going to be able to keep up the momentum with solid games and system-sellers that get people to pull the trigger on the Switch in general. Those games themselves managed to accrue some impressive review scores and sales numbers as well, meaning the Switch is and will likely remain a powerhouse in terms of moving units and making mountains of cash.

If you still don’t have a Switch, it might be time to admit that it probably does live up to the hype. If you’re a big first-party Nintendo fan and enjoy ports, it’s an interesting system that’s definitely worth picking up.

The Switch is now officially the fastest-selling console in U.S. history

Star Wars: Battlefront II gets a multiplayer update more than decade after launch

The original Star Wars: Battlefront II launched back in 2005, over 12 years ago. It’s just gotten a new patch for PC users, if you can believe that. The new Star Wars Battlefront II may have just hit physical and digital store shelves near the end of 2017, but there’s still love out there for the original game, too.

The patch is a pretty small one, but it proves there’s still a loyal fanbase surrounding the original sequel. According to Disney, it’s a mass of bug fixes, which resolve issues with Steam username displays, ping calculations, and the game’s lobby and matchmaking. There’s admittedly not a lot to it, but it’s enough to let fans know their concerns are still being heard, and this beloved title is still being supported.

In fact, this is a revitalization for the game, when it got a new update to add multiplayer support in October 2017, with cross-play for Steam and GOG buyers added in as well. It was likely added in not only as a response to the fervor for the game since the new Battlefront II released, but to curry fan favor after EA dropped the ball on the fan experience with all things related to loot crates when the new title launched.

It’s always pretty heartwarming in some way to see older games still receiving support. And given how in many ways the original Star Wars: Battlefront II is superior to the new game (though they both have their high and low points) it’s refreshing that you still have options in terms of which game you’re going to spend time with your friends in.

Star Wars: Battlefront II gets a multiplayer update more than decade after launch

How to find a village in Minecraft

Minecraft features several expansive lands for you to explore, depending on what kind of terrain is generated when you start a new game. Depending on what biome that spawns when you start playing, you can find special areas known as villages, which are small clusters of homes that villagers call home.

Villagers are more than just interesting NPCs, though. They’re integral for trading items with, and they add a unique dimension to Minecraft that lends a certain “human” element to the game. Suddenly, Hanging out with villagers, watching them interact with each other, and reaping the benefits of their homes and communities are a unique part of Minecraft as a whole. If you’re interested in scouting out villages in Minecraft, here are some simple ways to find them.
How to Find Villages on Foot

It’s pretty simple to find villages as long as you have a certain “biome” that you’re playing in. You can head out to search for them on foot just like you’d be exploring normally, or fly around in Creative Mode to search for villages in a much simpler, more expedient manner.

If you choose to search the game on foot, you should first start with a special seed in-game that will start you out closer to a village at the very beginning. Seeds are simply codes that you can enter before generating a Minecraft world that you have control over. If you use the same seed twice, you’ll generate the same kind of world twice, so if you find one that you enjoy using, you can stick with it and will always see the same world generated with the same code.

You can find different seeds all over the internet, so find one that you’re interested in using, and you can spawn a new world where you’re potentially near the villages this way. Make sure you tick the “Large Biomes” option when you make your new world, which should allow for additional space for villages to appear. While ticking options, also make sure “Generate Structures” is selected, or otherwise you just won’t see any villages or buildings whatsoever. This is an important part of the process, so double-check your options before generating a world.

When you’ve arrived in the world, take a look around the savannah, taiga, desert, and plains areas in your new world. These are some of the only places you’ll be able to find villages in the game, since they’re flat, grassy, and easy for the villages to appear in. But just because you find these areas, that doesn’t mean you’ll find a village. They will spawn completely at random, so it all comes down to luck when you’re trying to seek one out. It may take some practice and patience, but eventually you’ll happen upon one of the villages when you least expect it. You’ll know it when you see the small little buildings and taller, tan humanoid creatures milling about. Congratulations on your new discovery!
How to Find Villages in Creative Mode

If you want to find villages in Minecraft without having to run around and do all the dirty work, you can always opt to play in Creative Mode instead, where you can fly around the world rather than explore it on foot. You can jump straight up into the air and look around the world you’ve created in tandem with the suggestions in the “explore on foot” part of this guide.

This way, you can look around at your leisure, empowered to roam the skies and look down on the world below you for any latent villages that may be hidden. Creative Mode obviously doesn’t have all of the same features as Survival Mode, but it does make it exponentially easier to seek out villages when you get a bird’s eye view of all of the areas below you. It won’t matter much if you find villages, however, if you don’t need to trade or interact with the villagers, so this option is really more suitable for exploring and seeing what’s out there instead of actually using their trading skills.

How to find a village in Minecraft

Minecraft: How to Play Splitscreen Multiplayer on PC

How to Play Splitscreen Multiplayer in Minecraft on PC

One of the biggest appeals of the console versions of Minecraft is that you can play splitscreen multiplayer, inviting a buddy along for you blocky adventure. While the PC version doesn’t have built in splitscreen, it is possible to play splitscreen multiplayer, in a way. There’s one mod in particular that fans have been using for years, and it’s fairly simple to get.

The mod in question is the Joypad Mod, which allows you to assign a controller to the game while playing on PC. The mod has support up to version 1.13, but the splitscreen feature only works correctly up to version 1.12. That means you’ll need to change your game’s version to an earlier one when you want to play splitscreen, and will only be able to play worlds assigned to that version. If you don’t know how to change versions, there’s a handy walkthrough from Mojang on that.

Now with that out of the way you just need the mod itself, which can be found in various places like MC-Mod. Here’s a rundown of how to install the mod.

  1. Make sure you have already installed Minecraft Forge.
  2. Open Minecraft launcher then select Forge profile.
  3. Find your .minecraft application folder:
    On Windows, open Run from the start menu, type %appdata%\.minecraft\ and click Run. On Mac, open Finder, hold down ALT and click Go then Library in the top menu bar. Open the folder Application Support and look for minecraft.
  4. Place Joypad Mod into your Mods folder. If you don’t have one, create it now.
  5. That was all, enjoy!

The site also gives you a basic walkthrough on how to set up splitscreen. Basically what you need to do is run two different instances of Minecraft on your PC, then assign the controller to one instance and the keyboard and mouse to the other. After that, adjust the two windows however you want on your screen, having each take up half of the screen, and voila, you have yourself splitscreen multiplayer.

If you need further guidance there are some handy video tutorials that you can use for installing Forge and the Joypad mod.

Minecraft: How to Play Splitscreen Multiplayer on PC