Return to Paradise with a New Tropico 4

The world is changing and Tropico is moving with the times – geographical powers rise and fall and the world market is dominated by new players with new demands and offers – and you, as El Presidente, face a whole new set of challenges. If you are to triumph over your naysayers you will need to gain as much support from your people as possible. Your decisions will shape the future of your nation, and more importantly, the size of your off-shore bank account.

Tropico 4 expands on the gameplay of the previous game with new political additions – including more superpowers to negotiate with, along with the ability to elect ministers into power to help get your more controversial policies passed. But remember to keep your friends close and your enemies closer as everyone has an agenda! Your political mettle will be thoroughly tested, as new natural disasters will have the populace clamoring for you and your cabinet to help them recover from some of the worst Mother Nature can dish out.

Tropico 4 also brings a new level of social interaction with the addition of Facebook and Twitter integration (Windows PC feature only). Post comments on Twitter direct from the game and have updates go out when you complete missions or unlock new achievements. You can even take screenshots of your burgeoning island and post your dream creation on your Tropico 4 Facebook page and compare your interactive Dictator Ranking on the online leaderboards.

EVERQUESTR II GAME UPDATE 58 ARCANUM REVEALED ADDS NEW ZONES, REWARDS AND RARE LOOT

Beginning October 12, EverQuest II players can login to find a new zone, tons of updates, in-game events with Game Update 58 Arcanum Revealed!

ARCANUM REVEALED LORE: Before his death, High Shaman Zraxth meddled in dark magics, spiritual and arcane.  The secrets he discovered and the planar forces that he tapped into should have been lost deep within his tower upon his death. Those attuned to spiritual forces are now having visions of a sinister power trying to force its way into Norrath, from somewhere hidden deep within the hallows of Guk. Now you must travel to the Ruins of Guk, and challenge what lurks inside the Unseen Arcanum.

GAME UPDATE 58 INCLUDES:  
 
• New Rare Dungeon Drops – Challenge the Unseen Arcanum for the chance to get the new Arcanum armor pieces or the Fetidspine Prowler mount. Collect all the pieces for a matching set!
• Seven Year Veteran Reward – Nestled in the mountains overlooking Loping Plains, this beautiful mansion was built for the guests of Mayong Mistmoore himself.  Now empty, it is available to those who sign a mysterious contract.
• Mount Appearance Window – Store mount whistles in a separate inventory and equip any of your mount stats with any of your mount appearances.
• Currency Window – Organize your inventory by placing all currency into the new interface.
• NPC Cast Bar – See the cast progress of enemies to interrupt or avoid attacks.
• Retain Master Spells – Keep master spells even after betraying from one class to another and back.
• Improve Display of Mitigation Score – View differences in armor mechanics to gauge their worth and effectiveness.
• PvP Token Consolidation – All PvP tokens are now consolidated into one type for easier reward claims.
• BattleGrounds PvP Fixes – Instantaneous combat mode addition and more.
• Click-to-Cure UI Element – Cure curses and damage instantly with the new UI tool.
• Warfields now cover more level ranges.
• New Battlegrounds weapons and accessories.
• Additions to The Hole, Vasty Deep and Erudin.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT® SUBSCRIBER BASE REACHES 12 MILLION WORLDWIDE

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the subscriber base for World of Warcraft®, its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), now exceeds 12 million players worldwide. This milestone was reached in the wake of the mainland Chinese launch of World of Warcraft’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King®, and also as global anticipation continues to mount for the December 7 release of the game’s third expansion, Cataclysm.

“The support and enthusiasm that gamers across the world continue to show for World of Warcraft reaffirms our belief that it offers one of the best entertainment values available today,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We are as committed as ever to taking the game to new heights, and we look forward to demonstrating that with Cataclysm in December.”

Since debuting in North America, Australia, and New Zealand on November 23, 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most popular subscription-based MMORPG around the world. It was the bestselling PC game of 2005 and 2006 worldwide, and finished behind only World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade®, the first expansion pack for the game, in 2007. For 2008, the World of Warcraft series represented three of the top five bestselling PC games, with Wrath of the Lich King finishing the year at #1, and in 2009, World of Warcraft titles claimed three of the top six spots.*

World of Warcraft is currently available in eight languages and is played in North America, Europe, mainland China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Chile, Argentina, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.

U.S. ARMY LAUNCHES AMERICA’S ARMY 3 PC ACTION GAME

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The U.S. Army today launched America’s Army 3, the only action game that delivers an authentic and entertaining Army experience by reflecting the training, technology, actions, and career advancement of a Soldier within an exciting, free game experience. Players can download the teen-rated game from Steam (www.americasarmy.com/steam), as well as from partners listed at the America’s Army website (www.americasarmy.com). As with previous versions of America‘s Army, AA3 will be constantly updated to include new features and missions and to highlight new technologies being incorporated in today’s Army.

In America‘s Army 3, Every Detail CountsTM and as a result, the game has more authentic military elements including training, technology, weapons, and audio than any other military game. Built on Unreal Engine 3, AA3 delivers stunningly realistic environments, lighting effects, animations, and team-based experiences so that America’s Army players can experience how Soldiers train, live, and advance in the Army. Players are bound by Rules of Engagement (ROE) and gain experience as they navigate challenges in team-based, multiplayer, force-on-force operations. In the game, a player’s actions and demonstrated Army values are integral to successful mission accomplishment and affect a player’s career progression.

The game is launching with five different environments, each with three different mission scenario options for a total of 15 different map/mission combinations. Initially, the core of the gameplay focuses on an Infantry Soldier (11B). Players first complete Basic Combat Training and then progress to Advanced Individual Training for a variety of specialized roles that the Infantry Soldier performs, such as Advanced Rifleman, Automatic Rifleman, Squad Designated Marksman, and Grenadier. This advanced training allows players to unlock new abilities and gear, customize their gear and equipment loads, increase their in-game skill level, and progress in their Army careers.

The America‘s Army 3 game offers a number of new features including:

  • New Scoring System – In this new Army values-based scoring system, a player’s “Honor” score is a combination of his/her scores from subcategories that represent the seven core Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The values are matched with certain game behaviors, and demonstrating these values contributes to successful gameplay and accomplishments. For example, personal courage can be demonstrated by accomplishing the mission objectives even if the player is the last teammate to remain in the game. Selfless service is demonstrated by aiding an injured Soldier even though it may put the player in harm’s way. Other players will be able to select teammates based on their Soldier profiles, which reflect how players have progressed in the game as well as their player roles/gameplay style preferences.
  • Detailed StatisticsAA3’s extremely detailed statistics give players immediate feedback at the end of rounds and matches in online play, in addition to summarizing player behaviors. Players can accrue a number of stats including marksmanship accuracy; time played; time played by class role; total score; rounds won, lost, and survived; objectives captured, and teammates treated as a combat lifesaver. Players can also monitor where their hits are landing on other players, as well as where they are taking hits. These statistics are used to drive a player achievement system through which players can earn a variety of awards including coins, ribbons, and medals.
  • Character Movements – In addition to basic movements such as running, sprinting, and crouching, the game supports tactical and combat movement types. A tactical movement is a more methodical, slower movement that reduces the noise associated with the player’s motion. The combat movement is louder but faster. Combat movements include the combat roll, a full roll either to the left or to the right in the prone position, the combat slide in which players can slide into a crouch position from a sprint, and the combat dive in which players dive face first into a prone position. These movements enable players to evade the enemy or better position themselves to incapacitate the enemy. When moving throughout the maps, players can vault (place a foot on the object and leap or climb over it) as well as mantle (place a hand down to get over larger objects than the vault would support).
  • Player Damage Model – The player damage system has a high level of detail that tracks a number of the player’s health metrics and divides the player’s body into distinct areas that can each be damaged separately. The type and location of a player’s injury will affect the player’s abilities. For example, injuries in the lower body, such as the legs, will slow the player down, while injuries in the upper body, such as the torso and arms, will hinder accuracy but not movement speed. When players are affected by injuries they can be revived in some cases by their teammates. All players will have Combat Life Saving (CLS) training as part of Basic Combat Training so they can assist and stabilize an injured or incapacitated teammate. However, players must make the right decisions about medical treatment in order to heal, and not hurt, the injured player.
  • Mission Planning – Squad and Fire Team leaders now have strategic choices to make before a mission. The Squad Leader will assign the fire teams to an objective, and the Fire Team leaders will in turn determine where on the map their fire team will spawn. The individual Soldiers will make decisions about whether they carry heavy, medium, or light ammunition loads. The flexibility of mission preplanning gives players a variety of customization options and greater replayability.
  • Authenticity of Weapons and Weapons Effects
    Players can customize their weapon configuration and load (gear) with attachable modifications as well as select the type and number of ammunition cartridges and grenades they’ll need to accomplish their mission. These choices affect gameplay, as heavy loads negatively affect speed and endurance while lighter loads negatively affect fire power. The game’s ballistics models are also highly detailed. Bullets in the game operate as they would in real life, requiring players to be aware of their surroundings. The game demonstrates a realistic interaction between bullets and materials, allowing penetration through wood and drywall and ricochets off metal and stone. Even the material that a bullet ricochets off will create different angles of bullet movement. In this reactive environment, players will have to quickly learn the difference between cover and concealment.
  • Lighting and Sound – The development team paid great attention to the realism of the lighting and sounds within the America‘s Army 3 game to make them part of tactical gameplay. Players can use high fidelity audio clues to assess a combat situation. For example, they can determine the proximity of the bullet to their location based on the sound it makes. If the bullet is in close proximity to the player, the player will hear an explosive sound from the sonic boom that the bullet makes as it whizzes by the player. If the bullet is farther away, the player will hear the muzzle shot and the cavitation sounds the bullet makes as it echoes in the distance. These sounds were recorded in a live-fire scenario by the developers with the help of Army Subject Matter Experts. Sound occlusion and reverberation are other game features that make the AA3 audio experience more realistic than any other military game.

The AA3 team used Illuminate Lab’s Beast Lighting Solution to enhance the visual quality of the game. Beast is a global illumination package that, coupled with America’s Army, allowed the developers to design more realistic lighting and shadowing within the game. The realistic environments in AA3 reproduce the natural effects that occur when lighting reflects and bounces off materials and characters in the virtual world, making camouflage very important for the Soldier in the game. AA3’s lighting also simulates realistic eye adjustments when a player moves from indoors (dark areas) to outside (lighter areas) and vice versa.

These sound and light effects work together in situations, such as when a player throws a grenade in a small enclosed area and players who are close to the grenade’s point of impact feel the effects of overpressure, which can cause ear ringing, dizziness, and pain. A flash bang can cause the player to experience temporary blindness and hearing loss. Together, the high fidelity sound and lighting contribute to the overall realism and authenticity of AA3.

Players can also enjoy America’s Army – The Graphic Novel, a free online graphic novel based on America‘s Army 3. The graphic novel, which can be easily viewed without download, is live on the America’s Army website (www.americasarmy.com/graphicnovel/). America’s Army – The Graphic Novel begins at the start of a conflict with a story arc from the perspective of a Soldier who is a member of a U.S. Army Long Range Surveillance (LRS) team, and will intertwine that Soldier’s story along with the stories of others Soldiers whose occupational specialties include Military Intelligence, Medic, UAV Operator, Infantryman, and Helicopter Pilot. Through the episodic releases of the graphic novel, viewers will discover the main Soldiers’ stories and accompany them on missions as they experience the Army’s technologies and equipment, Army Values, different MOSs and Army life.

DoTA – Warcraft III’s Fountain of Youth

by Anthony (Rice King) Rice

The average lifetime for games is roughly a year. For particularly good games with strong re-playability, multiplayer, and Evolution factor it may be longer; for games such as X-blades and Golden Axe: Beastrider, it may be a matter of days. It is very rare that a game lasts 7 years and is still increasing in gamer base. It is even rarer that the main gamer base of a game is simply playing one map, which is actually a Mod. Warcraft III Mods, specifically the Mod DoTA (Defence of the Ancients), have helped Warcraft III live for 7 years and will help it survive for years to come.

A composited map of the latest DoTA Map

A composite version of the latest DoTA Map

DoTA is a RPG/Strategy game where you have two sides that are vying for control over the land, the Sentinel and the Scourge. Each side can have a maximum of five players. There are three lanes that connect the bases (see above illustration), and periodically NPC’s (known as creeps) get sent down the lanes from each base to fight for their team. The point of the game is to push the creeps and enemy heroes back to their base and destroy their main building. You can only do this after destroying the towers in a lane all the way through to their main building.

Dota Load Screen

Dota Load Screen

One thing that makes DoTA so popular is its always increasing complexity. As of writing this, there are currently 93 Heroes, 54 Items, and 56 Recipes. Recipes basically need a combination of 2 or more items in order to concoct a better item. This makes it advanced and challenging enough to make it always fun. With so many different possible combinations of items there is always room to try new strategies with different heroes. Another great thing about this game is that the learning curve isn’t too steep. This is one of the main reasons why the user base is growing constantly. The controls are that of a normal strategy game, which is comfortable for many gamers. After only a few games, new players can get the gist of the main strategies and get the hang of how recipes work. Many WoW players say that the game is similar to BattleGrounds, the PvP areas in WoW. This is also another reason why DoTA is so popular; WoW players can take a break from leveling and try to duke it out in a more relaxed brawlfest. The complexity of gameplay, the challenge, the moderate learning curve, and the familiarity make DoTA a blast for many gamers.

Screenshot from DoTA

Screenshot from DoTA

Of all the games that came out in 2002, only one can stand above the rubble and claim victory for having the longest and best run. Warcraft III has DoTA to thank for its success in the latter years of its popularity. As long as there are developers creating new items and heroes, there will always be an interest in DoTA, and therefore the gamer base will ever increase.