Electronic Arts Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Electronic Arts RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network An Updated Beginner's Guide to Planetary Conquest in The Old Republic https://www.gameskinny.com/3137q/an-updated-beginners-guide-to-planetary-conquest-in-the-old-republic https://www.gameskinny.com/3137q/an-updated-beginners-guide-to-planetary-conquest-in-the-old-republic Wed, 21 Mar 2018 11:23:28 -0400 Anthony Merklinger

On Tuesday, March 20, BioWare introduced game update 5.8: Command Authority for Star Wars: The Old Republic and brought massive changes to its Planetary Conquest system that was first introduced with 2.9: Galactic Strongholds in 2014. Among a new interface design, players can enjoy increased challenges, opportunities, and rewards for their participation.

New interface for SWTOR 5.8 patch

Getting Started

Planetary Conquest is an in-game event that allows guilds to compete for control over sectors, or planets, by acquiring points through objective completion. The event resets weekly on Tuesday afternoon. Players can participate by opening their Mission Log (hotkey “L”), selecting the Conquest tab from the menu, and completing the objectives on the left. While some can be performed individually, others require group settings. Objectives have been rebalanced to yield points appropriate to their respective difficulty and now offer credits, experience, and Command Experience upon completion.

There are 13 unique Planetary Conquest events with 19 conquerable planets. Prior to 5.8, cycles operated on a fixed schedule, which gave players and guilds the opportunity to strategize and take proactive measures to build significant points at the start of the event; however, Command Authority has made the Planetary Conquest schedule obsolete, and cycles are now chosen at random (unless one coincides with another recurring in-game event, such as Relics of the Gree or Rakghoul Resurgence).

Meeting Personal Goals

Planetary Conquest’s new interface design separates personal contribution from guild invasions. To be eligible for the personal rewards, players must accumulate enough points to meet the event’s designated goal, which is usually 20,000. While the planetary bonuses for objectives have been removed, update 5.8 introduces daily objectives to supplement the one-time and repeatable tasks. One-time objective completion is now indicated by a “complete” or “incomplete" status, whereas the lemniscate that accompanied repeatable missions has been replaced with a variant of the universal recycling symbol. For additional clarity, players can filter objectives by points, name, repeatable eligibility, and percent complete.

Note: War Supplies: Invasion Force, which previously served as the “toxic waste” of Planetary Conquest, can be combined into ten stacks and donated to the guild for conquest points. Crafting War Supplies now requires additional materials.

a well-decorated stronghold in SWTOR

Applying a Stronghold Bonus

A well-received change with Command Authority is how stronghold bonuses affect player scores. Prior to update 5.8, a player could achieve a 150% stronghold bonus by unlocking several strongholds and filling their rooms with decorations. Strongholds retained a 100% decoration completion that could be satisfied by filling out the maximum allotment of decoration hooks, which contributed a 25% stronghold bonus toward the overall 150%. Players took advantage of this feature by purchasing cheap decorations, such as Basic Metal Chairs and Basic Junker’s Lights, from the decoration merchants; however, update 5.8 has removed decoration hook requirements and instead bases a player’s stronghold bonus on the number of strongholds and rooms unlocked. The Coruscant Apartment, Kaas City Apartment, and Umbaran Mobile Base are the cheapest and easiest to fully unlock (granting a 75% stronghold bonus).

A 150% stronghold bonus makes achieving personal conquest goals relatively easy. For instance, completing an operation through Group Finder, prior to 5.8, would typically yield 3,000 points. With the bonus applied, a player could earn 7,500 points for completing the same objective. Stronghold bonuses are now reflected in the Conquest interface.

Conquest interface in Star Wars The Old Republic

Guild Invasions

A new panel has been introduced to reflect a guild’s progress in Planetary Conquest called “guild invasions.” Update 5.8 categorized conquerable planets into three planetary invasion targets, each with unique reward yields: planets with the highest invasion target require the most participation points and offer the strongest rewards, whereas planets with the weakest invasion target offer the smallest rewards.

Guild leaders or officers with invasion privileges can commit a guild’s flagship to a planet, which will lock the guild into that planet’s leaderboard for the duration of the event; however, guild rewards are no longer tied to placing on the leaderboards’ top ten. Instead, guilds that meet their point goal, which corresponds to the sum of the guild’s members’ scores, will be eligible for receiving the invaded planet’s yield. Guilds that take first place still acquire the achievement: “Conqueror of...,” which can be found under Strongholds in a player’s legacy (hotkey “Y”).

More new features introduced with Command Authority are the top five guild member participation panel, where guild members can see who their highest contributors are, and the Current Conquerors panel, which shows planets that have been last conquered by an invading guild.

the current conquerors panel

Rewards

Players who complete their personal conquest goal will receive the following rewards:

  • Gathering Lockbox (Universal): “Contains [three] material gathering decorations for your stronghold, which can be harvested for crafting materials.”
  • 25k Credit Certificate
  • 2x Superior Resource Matrix
  • 10x Scrap: Assorted Droid Parts
  • 15x Scrap: Scavenged Scrap

Guilds that meet their planetary invasion target will receive the following rewards:

Small Yield:
  • Gathering Lockbox (Universal)
  • 50k Credit Certificate
  • 2x Superior Resource Matrix
  • 10x Scrap: Jawa Junk
  • 1x Command, Engineering, or Logistical Encryption
Medium Yield:
  • Gathering Lockbox (Universal)
  • 2x 50k Credit Certificate
  • 3x Superior Resource Matrix
  • 15x Scrap: Jawa Junk
  • 1x Command, Engineering, or Logistical Encryption
Large Yield:
  • 2x Gathering Lockbox (Universal)
  • 3x 50k Credit Certificate
  • 4x Superior Resource Matrix
  • 20x Scrap: Jawa Junk
  • 1x Command, Engineering, or Logistical Encryption

lots of items available from a vendor in SWTOR

Note: When a player meets their planetary conquest goal, a new vendor will appear in the Strongholds and Crew Skills section of the Republic and Imperial Fleets. Players can exchange five War Supplies: Invasion Force and 100,000 credits for new stronghold decorations. Additionally, players can purchase the new Commander’s Compendium for three Dark Projects and 4.5 million credits -- an item that instantly brings a companion’s influence level to 50 (with the exception of temporary companions).

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Following these strategies can help you and your guild obtain more favorable and substantial results in Planetary Conquest with the SWTOR 5.8 update. Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more on Star Wars: The Old Republic!

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All You Need to Know About The Sims Mobile Hot Tub Dreams Event https://www.gameskinny.com/yz4o0/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-sims-mobile-hot-tub-dreams-event https://www.gameskinny.com/yz4o0/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-sims-mobile-hot-tub-dreams-event Mon, 19 Mar 2018 11:28:58 -0400 Will Phillips

The Sims Mobile didn’t take any time to jump headfirst into its first-ever event! For this week only, The Sims Mobile is hosting the Hot Tub Dreams Event! This event will have players earning *sigh* ducky bucks in order to unlock a variety of furniture and swimsuits.

Three Sims hanging out in the Sims mobile hot tub event

How to Earn Ducky Bucks

There are 3 ways to earn ducky bucks.

The first way is through your regular to-do list. Just complete the tasks as usual, and you will be rewarded with an additional 10 ducky bucks on top of the rewards that completing tasks on the list already gives.

Second, there are 9 quests which have you doing a variety of tasks pertaining to the event, such as trying on and showing off swimsuits as well as planning hot tub parties with your friends. 

A quest dialog box indicating part 8 of 9 in the hot tub dreams sims mobile event

The final way to earn ducky bucks is through completing two events. Both events take place in Market Square. All you need to do is press this icon, then play it out like a normal event. 

a pink ducky indicating an event in sims mobile

One of the events is called Haute Tub Couture Fashion and can be found inside the fashion building. 

 a Sim about to start the haute tub couture fashion event

The other event is titled Spa-Side Snacks and can be started inside the Restaurant.

 Sims preparing to begin the Spa-Side Snacks event in Sims Mobile Hot Tub Dreams

Both of these events can be completed again after waiting six hours, which of course is skippable if you're willing to pay some SimCash. They award 18 ducky bucks each. Like with regular career events, occasionally you'll have the option to watch an ad for additional rewards. Doing this will grant you two more ducky bucks.

Side note: This will be a great time to use your cupcakes to refill your stamina in order to complete the events as fast as possible. The faster you get done with the event, the sooner you can start it again. Given that there's a limited time to get these items, there is no better time to use your cupcakes!

What to Spend Your Ducky Bucks On

Once you've collected at least 50 ducky bucks, you can purchase Hot Tub Goodie Bags. You can find where to purchase them by clicking on the rubber ducky in the top-right corner of your screen.

A rubber ducky indicating ducky bucks

A goody bag is essentially a loot box that can give you one of these 15 items per bag. 

Items available from the Sims Mobile goodie bags

 There are three levels of rarity: Common, Uncommon, and Rare.

 Item rarity levels in The Sims Mobile

Overall this event doesn’t seem too bad. One of my gripes with this event is  that they they put resources that we can already get through other means as rewards. I don't want to spend 50 hard-earned ducky bucks only to get any of these ....

More items available in goodie bags during the sims mobile hot tub event

My only other gripe is that you can buy the gift bags with real money. I don’t think this is a huge offense, I’m just foreseeing myself on the final day of this event, vulnerable and hot tubless, shelling out hard-earned money in a desperate attempt for status in an online mobile game.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Patch Adds New Vehicles, Map Updates, and Other Improvements https://www.gameskinny.com/hq78f/star-wars-battlefront-2-patch-adds-new-vehicles-map-updates-and-other-improvements https://www.gameskinny.com/hq78f/star-wars-battlefront-2-patch-adds-new-vehicles-map-updates-and-other-improvements Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:54:03 -0500 pithyalyse

Star Wars: Battlefront II’s first patch of the new year released last week, bringing with it an additional mode for one of the game’s newest map as well as an added hero vehicle among minor tweaks and updates.

Players can now battle it out in the game’s Blast mode, a 10v10 deathmatch to the first 100 kills, within the mines of Crait. DICE added the planet in December as part of Battlefront’s The Last Jedi Season event, coordinated with the theatrical release of The Last Jedi, during which Luke Skywalker stares down the First Order on Crait’s salt-strewn planes.  

And in Starfighter Assault, Iden Versio's TIE/In fighter has joined the fray. The modified TIE fighter features abilities that break missile locks (Afterburner), shoot laser barrages, and fire multiple torpedoes that track locked targets (Dual Proton Torpedoes).

Another ability, Inferno Leader, harkens back to Versio’s days as the commander of the Imperial Special Forces unit Inferno Squad. It alerts all allied players to enemy locations within a radius for the ability’s duration. These enemies also take increased damage during this time.     

Further details can be found in the patch notes, but other notable updates include:

  • Finn received nerfs to his EL-16 (from 65 to 45) and Deadeye shot (from 40 t0 30), but his cooldown time was similarly decreased.
  • Two trip mines can now be deployed at the same time, and they’ll stick around longer after the player’s death.
  • Boba Fett’s Rocket Barrage damage fell from 90 to 78 per rocket, as did its radius of impact.

Knowing EA, this is likely only the first of many patches to come in 2018, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for all your Star Wars Battlefront II news.

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The Sims 4 Gets a Release Date for PS4 and Xbox One https://www.gameskinny.com/e3ica/the-sims-4-gets-a-release-date-for-ps4-and-xbox-one https://www.gameskinny.com/e3ica/the-sims-4-gets-a-release-date-for-ps4-and-xbox-one Tue, 08 Aug 2017 09:30:57 -0400 adelgirl

Back in 2016, it was originally announced that The Sims 4 for PS4 and Xbox One would be come out sometime in late 2016 or early 2017. But after some delay, it has been officially announced that the game will actually release later in 2017, on November 17th.

There will be two editions of the game for each system -- the Standard Edition and the Deluxe Party Edition. Both editions will come with The Sims 4 base game, and if the game is pre-ordered both editions will also come with The Sims 4  "Perfect Patio Stuff".

The Deluxe Party Edition will also come with an extra pre-order bonus that grants 3 days of early access to the game. This edition will also come with lots of extra digital content, including "Life of the Party", "Up All Night", and "Awesome Animal Hats". Each of these content packs will include items that are not available in the base game.

The Sims is now available for pre-order on both consoles for the standard price of $59.99. You can pick it up on EA's official website or through most other video game retailers. 

Will you be picking up this Sims game for your console of choice? Let us know down in the comments!

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7 Mistakes EA is Making with Madden 18's Longshot Story Mode https://www.gameskinny.com/1p0cv/7-mistakes-ea-is-making-with-madden-18s-longshot-story-mode https://www.gameskinny.com/1p0cv/7-mistakes-ea-is-making-with-madden-18s-longshot-story-mode Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:04:06 -0400 Craig Snyder

During the recent EA Play and E3, a lot of information was dropped on Madden 18 -- and much of that revolved around their new story mode, Longshot. Longshot sounds like the Madden equivalent of the NBA 2K series' MyCareer mode, and it's already getting a lot of mixed feedback from dedicated Madden fans.

As a big Madden player myself, I took away more negatives than positives from the trailer and reveal information. Madden, and sports games in general, are shifting further and further away from rich and fluid gameplay to cater more towards visuals. Is that what us sports fans play for? I personally don't, I think EA is making a mistake with Longshot.

It's advertised as "a movie you can play."

If I want a movie, I watch a movie. If I want an engaging gameplay experience, I play a video game. The sports genre of video games is similar to first-person shooters in the way that the core elements of it are always going to be the same, and it provides infinite replayability.

As consoles get more beefy, we're able to push out visuals so realistic that developers really want to push their limits and show off that processing power with cinematics. You can do that without creating an entire story mode where the gameplay comes secondary. There are dozens of great football movies out there. I play Madden to play a football game -- and if I wanted a great sports movie then I'd go rewatch Remember the Titans.

You never play a single NFL game.

Devin Wade, the main protagonist, never gets into a single NFL game in this campaign mode. You play through high school, Pop Warner, and college football...but never the NFL.

It's almost like an appetizer. But isn't Madden 18 an NFL game?

Even worse, some of the games you do play at these levels of non-professional football are segmented or cut short. It sounds like these are going to play out as brief pauses between cinematics and decision prompts. That doesn't sound like much fun to me.

The storyline is boring, predictable, and cliché.

Devin is a former NFL prospect who gave up on his football dream long ago but has rediscovered it. He goes through conflicts with his friends and family. Devin is an African American, so they weave in how it'll be tough for him to make the NFL (as he's a quarterback, and only five of 32 NFL teams are starting a black quarterback). He's got a lot of emotional baggage, etc.

It's literally the exact same storyline as I remember from NBA 2K17's MyCareer mode. Nothing is new or interesting here. You can predict what's going to come next. There's a set path with a few forks in the road. It's not a fresh experience for people who've played other campaign modes or watched basically any sports movie ever.

There's no replayabilty.

I touched on this a little earlier in the article, but you don't get to create your own character in this game mode. Once you play through it a single time, you're done. There are decisions that the player can make along the way, but it's going to change such a small fraction of what happens in the story that it's not worth investing the hours to play through it again just to see what happens.

I'm not even the type to watch the same movie twice, so maybe my opinion is a bit biased. But EA seems to have invested a lot of time into something that's going to provide the end user only a few hours of enjoyment at best.

Other sports games are doing story modes better.

FIFA 17's The Journey story mode was praised by fans of the game. Developers at EA are claiming that Longshot is similar the The Journey, just more cinematic. That being said, anyone who's played The Journey knows exactly what to expect. FIFA did it first, so why isn't Madden innovating?

MLB 17's Road to the Show game mode also did it much better than what EA has presented to us. It really focuses in on developing your character and controlling the progression of your career. It does come with cinematics and narration, but doesn't play like a movie. You might create a shortstop, and by the end of this campaign mode you'll be playing an entirely different position. It's almost like a sports RPG. I wish Madden had gone in this direction.

More focus on a story mode means less focus on their core gameplay.

I'm all for this Longshot mode if it was the cherry on top, being that I'm not forced to play it, but I really hope that EA has fixed and improved upon their gaffs from Madden '17.

Can we play the Pro Bowl now? Is there league expansion? Can we import draft classes? Do we have a draft board? Is it easier to put backups in? There are so many things that Madden could be improving on for this year's game, but I feel like Longshot is the focal point based on how they've pitched it. I care about the NFL gameplay experience.

EA has already stated the "door is open" for a sequel in Madden '19.

Please no.

"[For it to continue in future years] we have to have success, and the fans have to say they want it. Imagine this is the pilot. If the fans love it, I would love nothing more than to continue these characters. That being said, it was written in a way that this feels like a complete journey, like how Rocky 1 could have been a one-and-done movie. But I do believe Devin and Colt have more stories in them, and I’ve been working on that just in case. You never know."

Let's never compare a Madden campaign mode to the Rocky series again. It's up to us as players to give EA the proper feedback about this game mode. Maybe it'll be playable and a few hours of fun, but we've got to keep them on track with bettering the true Madden experience.

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How do you feel about the direction that the Madden series is going with their new story mode? Do you think it's going to take away from the gameplay experience we all know and love? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

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BioWare Should Be Ashamed Mass Effect: Andromeda Still Needs Such Big Patches https://www.gameskinny.com/i0vgu/bioware-should-be-ashamed-mass-effect-andromeda-still-needs-such-big-patches https://www.gameskinny.com/i0vgu/bioware-should-be-ashamed-mass-effect-andromeda-still-needs-such-big-patches Mon, 29 May 2017 17:00:02 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

There’s no way to mince words here: Mass Effect: Andromeda is one of the biggest failures, if not THE biggest failure, to have dropped in 2017, which is especially disappointing in contrast to the other stellar games that this year has hosted so far.

Some of us began to see the writing on the wall in the months that led up to the title’s March release, but the ill-fated sequel’s flaws go a lot deeper. BioWare and Electronic Arts were fully aware that this endeavor was a disaster in the making early the game's development cycle, and they stayed the path anyway.

The question that we all deserve the answer to is: Why sully one of the most influential series with a subpar product just so you can make a quick buck? Oh wait, yeah — yeah that’s probably it, isn’t it?

The space opera series isn’t just a fan-favorite, it’s a beloved game property that's celebrated by millions of players, and the powers that be simply saw an opportunity to make even more money off of the name, despite the quality of the product that they ended up shipping.

The performance issues are one thing (and not a small one, mind you) but the design of the game itself is one that just feels so regressive to BioWare’s work in previous entries. It has no business being in a new entry that’s been released after the likes of ME 2 and ME 3.

To some respect, I could see where the team did everything that they could to distance the new game from the original trilogy, but a lot of the refinement is lost in favor of forcing a lazy touch of innovation into the title — kind of like that imitation crab that you see in the sushi rolls at the supermarket.

This shit looks like a third-rate Groucho Marx
routine, and this is only one of many

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a Mess All Around

OK, let's just jump in and start with UI, which is more cumbersome than the weapon wheel from the original ever was. Why? Because gameplay is often stunted by the unintuitive loops of access you’ll need to navigate, even when simply equipping any specific firearm you're reaching for. The contextual sensitivity for navigation is a needless chore as it'll often require pin-point precision to interact with anything. The act is so touchy that it'll often force the player to repeatedly reposition themselves in a futile attempt to even get the damn sequence going.

Since we're on the topic of navigating menus and button prompt navigation, the world of Andromeda itself is also a nightmare, as there are no mini-maps to speak of that will conveniently guide you through it. No, it would seem that BioWare thought it would be wise to bury those helpful waypoints and guides instead under a few layers of screen in the pause menu.  The shooting is a bust too, as the player will find themselves struggling with the dynamic cover system actually working to your advantage, often miscommunicating most of your serpentine

The shooting is a bust too, as the player will find themselves struggling with the dynamic cover system actually working to their advantage, often miscommunicating most of your serpentine jukes with a flying hug to the nearest walled surface. It's like players magnetically pulling into it.

And don’t get me started on the switching between your secondary arms…

Animation and Story: A Horror Story in the Making

Of course, the more infamous issues plaguing the game come in the form of shoddy animation and crappy story. The mannequin-like movements of each character's mouth, while spewing out indolent dialogue, is more than bad enough to distract you from noticing how bad the writing is, and that’s just the icing on the crap cake. While previous antagonists were never all that in-depth, they were magnitudes more interesting than the Kett could ever hope to be.

In an attempt to make the new enemy this strange, mysterious new threat with its own clandestine agenda, the sense of mystique is instead lost on them being boring as shit. The lackluster opposition isn’t the biggest problem though. Instead, it’s the uneven pacing and tone that will make you completely disengage. Nothing here is consistent, and it ultimately boils back down to the lousy animation.

It’s easy to assume that a narrative heavy game like Mass Effect would get motion-captured animation, but that simply wasn’t the case as the project was coded by hand. And man, were these hands idle.

As surmised by the former head animator of the Mass Effect trilogy, Johnathan Cooper, he theorizes that a lot of the animations were sequenced to repeat on a set of algorithms that would dictate when the frames would recycle -- and when they won’t or shouldn't. 

Rushed Patches Won't Fix These Issues

These, and many of the other issues, are things that rushed patchwork won’t be able to fix. While a lot of attention has been heaped onto tweaking the mechanics, the campaign suffered from a plethora of buggy missions that ranged from janky to downright broken, rendering them either inoperable or even inaccessible during the course of the story.

Certain Architect missions weren’t just buggy, they were incomplete, like the infamous Architect on Elaaden quest or the mission in Voeld that involves rescuing a team of missing scientists. This oversight, and so many of the other bugs, is a testament to how half-cocked this rushed mess of a game is.

A lot of these issues were among the grocery list of problems that Update 1.06 addressed, mind you, but they were problems that are simply too egregious to have completely bypassed the playtesting stage. These are problems that people like you and I paid over $60 to uncover — instead of it being the other way around.

That’s not OK — Mass Effect: Andromeda exemplifies everything that a sequel shouldn’t be, especially as the precursor to the next-generation trilogy that we were all sold on. Between Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Andromeda, it’s starting to seem like Electronic Arts is mostly focused on their bottom line, more than the reputation of the critically-acclaimed franchises that they’re milking new releases out of.

Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 are some exceptions to the trend, but even EA should realize that shooters and sports titles will only carry them so far; why waste the opportunities that they have with the larger-than-life properties that they have under their belt like Mass Effect?

We can only hope that Andromeda stands as a lesson for everyone involved, because it’s a situation where we all lose, whether you’re a gamer or a company figure — no one comes away from a debacle like this clean. EA and BioWare have a lot of shit to eat after this one, and I don’t even feel the least bit sorry for them.

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Destiny 2 Reveal Trailer Shares Release Date https://www.gameskinny.com/ndwsw/destiny-2-reveal-trailer-shares-release-date https://www.gameskinny.com/ndwsw/destiny-2-reveal-trailer-shares-release-date Thu, 30 Mar 2017 15:41:32 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

A couple days ago we were treated to a teaser trailer for Destiny 2. Today we were given a full a reveal trailer that officially told us the release date: September 8th. Pre-ordering now will guarantee access to the early beta, although we don't have any details on when this will start.

The trailer itself does not actually depict any gameplay. Instead it depicts 2 guardians -- one of whom is Robot Nathan Fillion from the teaser trailer -- at different locations giving rallying battle speeches. It opens with the first guardian, who looks like he could was pulled out of the ranks of Diablo's angels, uttering the lines:

"Times may be dark, but we are Earth's greatest hope. Look around you, a gathering of Earth's guardians new and old."

This is quickly countered by Robot Nathan Fillion giving his own ragtag group a rallying speech.

"Okay. Listen up. You're a bunch of dirty misfits. But you are all that's left, so you will have to do."

It would appear that the Tower and surrounding city has not only been attacked, but successfully destroyed -- along with all of your stuff. This confirms what we already knew: items will not be carrying over into Destiny 2. It's a worthy reason to avenge all those lost!

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Why Mass Effect Andromeda's UI is Bad https://www.gameskinny.com/uf1nf/why-mass-effect-andromedas-ui-is-bad https://www.gameskinny.com/uf1nf/why-mass-effect-andromedas-ui-is-bad Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:00:01 -0400 ThatGamersAsylum

It was 3:30 in the morning when I finally pulled myself away from Mass Effect Andromeda. This was after telling myself, "Just one more mission," for the past hour and some change.

I was starving and knew that I couldn’t fall asleep with hunger pangs, so I groggily pieced together a sandwich. In these moments between putting the game down and finally going to bed, I was given time to pull back and see the bigger picture.

Sure, I had seen small issues with the game throughout the day: enemies floating in the air, quest stations improperly activating missions, characters interacting with things that they clearly weren’t quite close enough to touch, audio cues getting cut off...

But I had to step back and ask myself,”What is the common thread?” And the answer came to me almost immediately: polish.

Mass Effect Andromeda, Kett, Ryder

Don't worry! He's TOTALLY supposed to float.

After having played for only one day, I was dubious to write about things that might change. For instance, maybe my teammates have just made bad first impressions. Maybe Liam isn’t a snot nosed military dude-bro that I will hate forever. Maybe I have just been statistically unlucky and my glitchy experience with the game is not representative of the overall quality of the game.

If I was going to claim the game to be unpolished after one day, then I wanted something more concrete than floating characters!

It would have been all too easy to grab the low hanging fruit that is Sara "No H" Ryder’s facial expressions, run cycle, or well, you get the point. But I have one better than that: the horrid UI. And I can prove that it is bad by using Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.

Even The Pathfinder Can't Beat Bad UI

Everything relating to power loadouts is a mess. In Mass Effect Andromeda, you can no longer use abilities from the radial menu. This means the three skills you have hot-keyed are what you are stuck with at any given time. In place of this, the game allows you to save up to four loadouts, which you can switch between at any time.

A loadout not only includes three skills, but it also includes a profile, which is a specialization that infers bonuses to you based upon your allocation of skill points across skill trees. However, the existence of loadouts is poorly explained to the player. In fact, the only reason I knew about loadouts was because I’d both read a tip list and watched a trailer showing off loadouts in the weeks leading up to launch.

Instead of being in plain view, it is tucked down at the bottom of the screen on both the Skill and Profile menus. This is where it tells you to press the touchpad to open Favorites.

This breaks the heuristic “Recognition Rather than Recall” by ensuring that you always have to remember a series of hard-to-see steps rather than just hitting the giant “Favorites” option on the pause menu. Just to be clear: You cannot access the favorites menu via the main pause menu; it is tucked away within sub-menus. This is the inverse of the “Aesthetic & Minimalist Design." When reducing the number of readily available options you never want to make it such that you are removing an option that people would want to use often.

Mass Effect Andromeda, UI, pause menu

No "Favorites" in sight.

If making it difficult to find loadouts wasn’t bad enough for you, then making the loadouts cumbersome to customize should hopefully convince you.

There is no way to go to the favorites menu and directly set up your loadouts. Instead, you must go to the skill screen, equip three skills, go to the Profile screen, choose your specialization, then go to the favorites screen and save your current loadout. This doesn’t specifically break the definition of “Flexibility and Efficiency of Use," but it certainly breaks the spirit of the rule.

It is also easy to accidentally overwrite previous loadouts forcing you to repeat the process. This breaks “Error Prevention” and “User Control & Freedom” as it neither displays a dialogue to stop you from accidentally overwriting a set of abilities nor does it support redo/undo.

Even swapping loadouts in combat is hidden. Opening the radial menu reveals all of your currently equipped weapons/consumables. Then you have to press square on this menu to swap to the favorites menu, thus allowing you to swap your loadout.

Mass Effect Andromeda

The camera loves to cut your face off.

That's Not It...

This is just one of the many confusing UI decisions in the game, but the crafting system is similarly painful to use. Also, don’t believe that only the UI breaks these heuristics. The whole UX (User experience) is harmed by this.

For instance, the game breaks the “Consistency and Standards” it set by making you get into the Nomad with triangle, but get out of it with circle. Holding triangle sends you back to your ship. Having to press both L1 and R1 at the same time breaks “Error Prevention” in half!

The horrid UI in some cases makes actual targeted design decisions feel clunky in other places. For instance, you can only swap weapons and teammates at predefined waypoints. It works well in conjunction with other mechanics, such as the life support systems, to make the game feel more like you’re ruggedly surviving on a new, largely uncharted planet. But in the presence of the horrible way the favorites menu is handled it just looks like another clunky use of UI.

Mass Effect Andromeda, bed, teddy bear

Obligatory Plants vs Zombies reference for the win!

It's Not ALL Bad

Being able to go to the Favorites menu from the Skills or Profile Menu is a good thing. It supports “Flexibility and Ease of Use” by providing experienced users with a shortcut.

That was never the problem, though. The problem was that this is the only way to reach that menu and that once you reach it you have to copy your current loadout. Moreover, removing abilities from the radial menu can be seen as proper use of "Aesthetic and Minimalist Design" or possibly a misuse of "Flexibility and Efficiency of Use."

---

I think a lot of us who were anticipating Mass Effect Andromeda are left in this Twilight Zone where we feel like the game needed this extra time to be polished and yet we were left high and dry with no Mass Effect games for five years. It feels as if they had plenty of time to make a much more polished game, especially considering that BioWare has produced more polished games in shorter time frames.

For some practical advice on actually wrangling this unwieldy UI, check out my favorites menu guide

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Everything We Know About Mass Effect: Andromeda https://www.gameskinny.com/dsjnb/everything-we-know-about-mass-effect-andromeda https://www.gameskinny.com/dsjnb/everything-we-know-about-mass-effect-andromeda Sat, 14 Jan 2017 08:09:44 -0500 Sergey_3847

BioWare is doing a great job at concealing as many details about the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda as it can. And while that made sense at first because of all the hype, now the release of the game is just a couple of months away and we still don't quite know what to expect.

The latest rumors mention that BioWare will start the real marketing for Andromeda in about a month from now. So it’s a good time to summarize everything that we already know about one of the most anticipated games of 2017.

World & Story

The first important thing to mention is that Andromeda has none of the characters from the previous Mass Effect games, as it takes place 600 years after the events of the original trilogy.  This time you will be dealing with either a male or female protagonist of your choice -- Sara and Ryder, respectively.

Andromeda also introduces an open world that can be freely explored and mined for resources. It even managed to introduce microtransactions into the mix, which made some people upset. However, the developers say that this system will not prevent players from enjoying the gameplay.

Side quests will be a huge part of this open world. Aaryn Flynn, the vice president of BioWare, has assured everybody that each quest will be meaningful and exciting. The whole package of innovations is spiced up by a relationships system that will utilize the Heart, Head, Professional, and Casual choices to influence your interactions with other characters.

The recent gameplay reveal at CES 2017 added a few more technical facts that you should be interested to know, as well.

Tempest: In and Out

Tempest is the new space ship in Andromeda that takes the place of the SSV Normandy from the previous Mass Effect games.

The first thing you will notice is the size of the Tempest -- it’s twice as small as the Normandy. This is connected with the purpose of the ship. Tempest is an exploration ship and not a military boat. This is also expressed in the exterior design, which is much sleeker than Normandy.

In Mass Effect: Andromeda you can freely assign whatever skills you want to your characters and let them evolve more naturally.

The interior is less unusual, and actually looks very similar to the one in Normandy. You have your typical bridge, the lab, living areas, etc. Now you won’t need to use an elevator anymore, so you can quickly move between the ship’s sections without any delays. In the garage you will see the Nomad -- a scout-transport similar to Mako.

Each member of the team will have their own place on the ship. You can go and talk to any of them at any time. The bridge is always open for you to choose the point of your next destination. And if you get tired, you can just sit and stare outside the ship’s windows into the moving space beyond.

Soldier and Engineer Profiles

Players will be given a chance to switch between different profiles during missions. Currently, two of the profiles have been revealed with the corresponding stats -- Soldier and Engineer. Other profiles are Adept, Sentinel, Vanguard, Infiltrator, Explorer.

  • Soldiers are designed to kill and destroy, which makes them the most powerful profile in the game.
    • Ryder’s mind and body will be optimized to work more efficiently with all sorts of weapons and armor.
  • Engineers specialize in offensive and defensive tech powers.
    • It allows Ryder to control a small drone that accompanies him anywhere he goes through an implant in his body.
    • Drone also has an ability to produce an EMP-losion.

Active and Passive Skills

Skills are completely redesigned in the new game, and they are not attached to each of the characters like in the previous trilogy. In Mass Effect: Andromeda you can freely assign whatever skills you want to your characters and let them evolve more naturally. Currently, 7 active and passive skills have been revealed:

  • Overload -- a type of EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) that works great against synthetic enemies.
    • If you hold the button longer, then it will eliminate several enemies at once.
  • Auxiliary Systems -- an attachment on your suit that increases all of your passive techs, such as duration and force.
  • Offensive Tech -- similar to Auxiliary Systems, but this one focuses on the power damage ability.
  • Team Support -- this skill generates a special kinetic barrier that encapsulates your teammates and increases all of their defensive abilities.
  • Invasion -- this is one of the most peculiar techs that initiates a sort of a virus that affects enemy defense systems and weakens them.
  • Remnant IV -- an assistant drone is sent outwards to attack enemies. It has an ability to repair and cloak itself when necessary.
  • Flamethrower -- emits a surge of fire and burns unprotected enemies.

Single and Multiplayer are Merged

The multiplayer mode in Mass Effect: Andromeda is officially titled “Strike Team”. It is designed in a way that allows the players to switch between the single and co-op modes within the same game. This means that you don’t have to log out of the single campaign in order to launch the co-op from the main menu -- you can do it right away during the gameplay.

Such an approach allows players to play their missions more fluidly and join their friends whenever they like, or leave whenever they have to without causing any inconveniences to their teammates.

Also, the multiplayer will expand the main story and add more points to the Helios plot. However, the developers promise that players who choose to play only the single campaign won’t miss anything important.

No Season Pass or Steam Download

Mass Effect: Andromeda will have no Season Pass, which could mean that this time DLCs will be bigger and their release schedule will be expanded over 1.5-2 years. So we all can expect some cool additional stories coming after the release of the game.

The next part is not too exciting. Since the publisher for Andromeda is Electronic Arts, they want to focus entirely on the Origin distribution platform for all PC owners. Thus a Steam download will not be available this time around. It’s a truly upsetting thing for PC players, as Origin will never be as user-friendly as Steam.

On the other hand, all console owners of Xbox One can buy an Early Access version of the game through EA Access.

Pre-Order Now

Mass Effect: Andromeda will be released on March 21, 2017 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Currently, the game is available for pre-order at the official website. There are four editions available for pre-purchase:

Standard Edition ($59.99)
  • Deep Space Explorer Armor
    • A unique armor set to help you explore the farthest reaches of the Andromeda Galaxy.
  • Nomad Skin
    • A unique skin for the Nomad vehicle as you explore new worlds.
  • Multiplayer Booster Pack
    • Jump-start your multiplayer co-op experience with a booster pack. Includes 5x of 50% XP Boosters (Receive instantly, limit 1 per match).
Deluxe Edition ($69.99)
  • Multiple additional armor and outfit sets
  • An elite weapons set
  • New vehicle skin for the Nomad
  • Multiplayer Booster
  • Deluxe Launch Packs
  • ME:A’s digital soundtrack
  • Pet space-monkey
Super Deluxe Edition ($99.99)
  • Extra gear
  • Additional benefits of the Deluxe Edition
  • More Multiplayer Booster Packs
  • Premium Pack coming your way every week, for 20 weeks.
Nomad ND1 Model Collector's Edition Game Bundle ($160-170)
  • Standard or Deluxe Edition
  • Highly Detailed Diecast Nomad ND1 100
    • A sturdy diecast metal body and a fully detailed interior.
  • Illuminated Control Panel
    • Features doors that open and close to reveal an illuminated control panel.
  • Pop-Up Drone

More information about Mass Effect: Andromeda will be released next month, including details on system requirements for PC users and multiplayer mode, so stay tuned.

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Mass Effect Andromeda Releases Brand-New Cinematic Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/k3xmm/mass-effect-andromeda-releases-brand-new-cinematic-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/k3xmm/mass-effect-andromeda-releases-brand-new-cinematic-trailer Mon, 07 Nov 2016 23:28:57 -0500 Nam T. Bui

A new trailer of Bioware's latest action RPG, Mass Effect: Andromeda, was released yesterday's morning. Although there's no new gameplay footage, the trailer gives us a brief glimpse of what we can expect in the game's journey in the Andromeda galaxy.

The video itself is made by using DICE's Frostbite 3 Engine, and is representing the actual in-game experience. Alongside with the trailer, EA started a new tie-in website called "Andromeda Initiative." It promotes the recruitment for exploration of the Andromeda galaxy in the game's universe. The website also connects the events of Mass Effect: Andromeda with previous games in the series.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is the fourth entry into Bioware's Mass Effect series. Set 600 years after the events in the original trilogy, players will take control of a Pathfinder, an agent tasked with discovering new planets in the Andromeda galaxy for human colonization. While maintaining the aspects of third-person action RPG, Mass Effect: Andromeda will feature an open-world environment for the first time in the series.

Players will be able to pilot the customizable Mako -- a now six-wheeled buggy-type vehicle -- to explore the new planets. Similar to the previous entries, the game features a dialogue tree, choices, romantic relationships with companions, and cooperative multiplayer.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is set to have an early 2017 release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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5 FPS Games That Would Make Amazing VR Experiences https://www.gameskinny.com/7cfpu/5-fps-games-that-would-make-amazing-vr-experiences https://www.gameskinny.com/7cfpu/5-fps-games-that-would-make-amazing-vr-experiences Mon, 31 Oct 2016 05:54:47 -0400 Caio Sampaio

The idea of designing alternative realities started in 1935, in a short story written by Stanley G. Weinbaum. At the time, most people regarded this concept as the mere imagining of a writer, but some did not. Scientists started to turn this idea into reality, but progress remained stagnant for many decades, due to the lack of computational power to render virtual worlds.

Nowadays; however, we live in an era in which the technology required to use Virtual Reality (VR) already exists and the video game industry is starting to use it in full force. As gamers wait anxiously to see which upcoming release will feature VR, we invite you to look back, at five first person Shooters that would be ideal candidates for implementing this technology.

It is important; however, to first establish a few concepts behind experiences in this medium.

How to know a game can make the most out of VR

Video games consist of allowing the player to interact with an audio and visual product, in order to create an experience. The conjunction of the audio and visual elements evokes the mood of the game -- the feeling it sends to its audience.

Virtual Reality aims to enhance the visual portion of the player’s journey by creating a more immersive experience, which emphasizes the “feel”, or the tone, the game has.

While developers can use VR in any game, this technology will be better used if implemented in productions that can deliver a clear mood to its players, The game world must be rich enough that it's augmented by VR, thus allowing the game to create a more engaging experience.

Productions that do not evoke a particular feeling in the audience will not be able to use VR to its fullest. But there are other aspects that a game designer must have in mind, in order to craft a narrative for Virtual Reality.

VR is all about immersing the audience in another world and letting players feel as the protagonists of the story. Having said that, a game that suits the prerequisites for a compelling VR experience must not have cutscenes -- because they take control away from players, break the pacing of the narrative and also break the immersion thereof, thus defeating the purpose of VR.

Another important element to be aware of is having a silent protagonist. As previously stated, in order to create a more immersive experience, players must be in control at all times. If players listen the protagonist speaking in a voice that is not theirs, this may break the immersion of the game.

Instead of allowing the protagonist to drop a line of dialogue, designers should create the experience in a way that the actions of the player will do the talking for them. The player is not meant to merely control the protagonist. The player is supposed to BE the protagonist -- and VR drives that home.

So these are the three basic criteria to determine whether a first person shooter can use VR to its fullest: the game must evoke a feeling in their players, keep cutscenes at a minimum and have a silent protagonist.

So now, with that in mind, let's look at five games that meet these standards and could easily deliver amazing VR experiences.

1. Half-Life 2

In 2004, the video game community was able to become Gordon Freeman and fight the Combine forces one more time, with the objective of escaping from City 17. Throughout the experience, developers emphasized the tone of the game, loneliness, by making players feel alone in the vast universe of Half-Life 2 -- and they used a simple technique as the key device to accomplish this.

In a video game, what matters is what seems real, not what actually is real. With this said, in the majority of the maps in this game, players see constructions that they cannot enter, whether near or far into the horizon, as seen in the image above.

The objective is to communicate the size of the universe and make it seem larger than it actually is. Developers accomplished the feeling of solitude by making the protagonist feel small in comparison to their surroundings.

The implementation of VR can improve the experience by emphasizing this tone. No matter where players look, there will be nothing but a vast area, with no one there.

VR can also deliver a more compelling experience when players are in close quarters, facing the zombie-like enemies of this game, which can make for memorable jump scares.

2. BioShock

Released in 2007, the first title of the franchise introduced players to the underwater dystopia of Rapture -- and most importantly, to the story behind it. As players traveled through the streets, they met the enemies of the game, known as Splicers, which were mutated individuals whose lives took a wrong turn.

Featuring deformed faces and tumors on their bodies, they meet one criteria to become characters in a horror story: the uncanny.

The "uncanny" states that we, as human beings, tend to rely on patterns when reasoning. For instance, we have the belief that people are humanoid figures, with two arms and two legs. This inner logic is our comfort zone, but once something challenges our belief, it creates discomfort on us. This is the uncanny and also the reason why horror games and films often feature monsters that have similarities with humans. They discomfort the audience.

In BioShock, developers used this principle when crafting the enemies of the game, considering that they are human, but have features that are not usually seen in people -- thus challenging the notions of how humans are supposed to look like and making the audience feel uncomfortable.

The developers used this principle not only to design Splicers, but also to craft the entire game. Nothing in the city of Rapture is 100% equal to what we know in real life. This may be unsettling and even intimidating at first, but after players get used to it, the uncanny creates curiosity and the need to explore. As Atlas said in the beginning of the game:

“Whatever you thought you knew about right and wrong, well, that doesn’t count for much down in Rapture”

Virtual Reality can add to the experience by allowing players to get a closer look at the world of BioShock and its citizens, in order to enhance the uncanny element for the players and add to their curiosity.

3. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

In 2007, the Call of Duty franchise left World War II behind, as it shifted its attention to contemporary conflicts. Critics and players praised the title and many other games tried to replicate the same success -- but they failed, ultimately because they did not mimic one element of Modern Warfare that was crucial for it to thrive.

In Call of Duty 4, players perform the same activity during the 10 hours story mode. Shoot, cover, run and repeat the cycle. Explained this way, the experience does not seem compelling, but the developers ensured players would not get bored by making each shootout occur under a different circumstance, thus changing the tone of the production.

In certain scenes, players would feel empowered after using a machine gun to defeat dozens of enemies -- and in others, intimidated after falling for an ambush, for instance. The game uses a variety of tones, in order to make the activity of defeating enemies seem different each time, as the scenario and the setting are altered.

Considering that the constant shift in the tone of the game was a key element for its success, the immersion virtual reality provides to players has the potential to emphasize the various feelings the game transmits, making it more compelling.

4. Fallout: New Vegas

Released on October 19th, 2010 by Obsidian Entertainment and Bethesda Sotfworks, the fourth installment of the Fallout franchise allowed players to explore the wastelands around what once was the pulsing city of Las Vegas, now known as New Vegas.

The game starts with players in a small town far away from their destination, but the shining city of New Vegas stands out in the horizon. The main goal is using it as a visual clue to guide players, but developers used this technique several times throughout the game, for another purpose.

As players explored the wasteland, they would often see buildings from a distance. Considering that each town offers a story regarding what happened in that location, players felt motivated to continue playing, in order to reach the small town they had just seen from a distance and explore it.

This adds to the mood of the game, which is hinged on curiosity and the desire to explore more. Added to the dazzling visuals the vast wasteland produces, implementing Virtual Reality in this game would improve the experience as a whole.

5. F.E.A.R.

Watch your every step, for it may be the last. This is the premise behind this game, released in 2005 by Monolith Productions. This mix of a first person shooter and a horror movie that puts players in the shoes of the commander of the F.E.A.R. unit -- an elite team trained to deal with supernatural enemies.

Using elements from Japanese horror films, F.E.A.R. relies on a combination of suspense and jump scares, in order to keep players on the edge of their seats. Due to the close quarters nature of this game, its maps rely mostly on a sequence of corridors and corners -- and one of the most compelling elements from this production is the difficulty for players to anticipate the scares.

Combining these two factors, the result is an experience in which players never know what to expect behind each door and around each corner, thus making it an ideal candidate to receive VR support, as it would add to the feeling of suspense and make the bones of players cringe even harder.

Conclusion

While, unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and design the games we love specifically for Virtual Reality, it is important to think of which elements would make them a compelling experience for VR. These lessons learned from the games of the past will help developers to craft the productions of tomorrow.

Let us know which games you would like to see in VR in the comments section.

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Latest Newzoo Report Shows Significant Revenue Growth in the Games Industry...Especially for Tencent https://www.gameskinny.com/powo7/latest-newzoo-report-shows-significant-revenue-growth-in-the-games-industryespecially-for-tencent https://www.gameskinny.com/powo7/latest-newzoo-report-shows-significant-revenue-growth-in-the-games-industryespecially-for-tencent Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:09:01 -0400 Tristan Martin-Woodhouse

Game industry analysts Newzoo have released their Global Games Market Report for the first half of 2016, and with it comes good news for investors.

According to the firm, game revenues are up 22% from last year, mostly thanks to mobile games. In fact, mobile games dominated the market, accounting for almost half of the top 10 companies' revenue. 

Chinese gaming giant Tencent placed squarely at the front of the pack, thanks to its majority stake in League of Legends developer Riot Games, as well as various minority stakes in studios like Epic Games and Robot Entertainment, plus investments in mobile games overseas. 

That lead is only expected to solidify after Tencent's $8.6 billion acquisition of Clash of Clans developer Supercell earlier this year. The company is expected to make that investment back -- and then some -- by the end of the year, with over $13 billion in revenue from games alone. 

To give a sense of just how dominating Tencent has been, Newzoo pointed out that the company's profits from the first half of this year alone dwarf the profits that both Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard have ever made in a full year. 

Mobile games didn't completely run the show, however. Sony came in as runner-up thanks to strong sales on the PlayStation Network and a growing base of PlayStation Plus subscribers. The console manufacturer also placed in the list of fastest growing revenue, increasing its profits almost 50% from last year.

A surprisingly high earner for the year was Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami. Konami made an abrupt and controversial exit from AAA development earlier this year, following their choice to fire long-time game director Hideo Kojima.

The company's bet seems to have paid off however, netting them the number one spot on the fastest growing companies list -- thanks to a renewed focus on mobile and casino gaming. 

Another surprising addition to the list was Ubisoft, which cracked the Top 25 earners for the first time ever this year. This was mostly thanks to the huge success of its loot-based third-person shooter Tom Clancy's The Division, which drove the company's revenues up almost 200% this year. 

Warner Bros., on the other hand, dropped from the Top 10 due to a lack of AAA releases this year compared to heavy-hitters like Mortal Kombat X and Batman: Arkham Knight in 2015.

The full ranking of the Top 25 public companies can be found on Newzoo's website.

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Everything You Need to Know about the Titan Mechs of Titanfall 2 https://www.gameskinny.com/rb5ix/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-titan-mechs-of-titanfall-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/rb5ix/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-titan-mechs-of-titanfall-2 Fri, 28 Oct 2016 05:08:08 -0400 Caio Sampaio

Since I was a child, I had the dream of climbing onboard a robot to crush invading forces. Little did I know I would indeed have this opportunity one day. When Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts (EA) released Titanfall on March 11th, 2014, I was able to live my childhood reverie.

The community of the game crowded the servers at day one, but dwindled significantly over time.  One of the biggest reasons for this exodus was the fact that the game only featured three different Titans, with little diversity between them -- making it difficult for players to find a style that suited their play.

Developers attempted to fix this issue in Titanfall 2 and one of the measures they took was adding more mechs for players to choose from when the game comes out this Friday, October 28th. Now, as the release of the second installment of the franchise draws near, we look at its Titans and how each one will influence your gameplay experience.

Northstar

The sniper of the group. Equipped with a Plasma Railgun, this mech suits the style of those who wish to play strategically, eliminating enemies with a single well-placed shot. Unlike snipers in FPS games like Battlefield, the fast paced nature of the Titanfall franchise does not allow players to stay in a single location for a long time, meaning the players must stay on the run as often as possible.

Locomotion is facilitated, as Northstar gives players the ability to take off vertically and hover through the air -- which combined with theater traps and cluster missiles, can mean death from above to your enemies. 

Featuring attacks that deliver strong bursts of damage, but have a slow rate of fire, this mech is ideal for players who want the challenge of playing strategically, planning movements and attacks, whilst having no room for error. By the time players have the chance to deliver a second shot, they will probably be dead.

Ronin

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That is the premise behind this Titan. Equipped with a shotgun, this close-quarters gladiator is the opposite of Northstar. It delivers deadly attacks when near foes, but it fails to be a menace at a distance due to the lack of precision and range of its gun. 

This mech relies on a sword as a secondary weapon, which players can use for melee attacks and for blocking incoming fire from opponents. Another feature of this item is the "arc wave" attack, which allows players to swipe their swords on the ground -- creating an electrostatic discharge that damages and slows those around the mech.

Scorch

Burn your enemies down with the Titan that unleashes hell in the battlefield. Equipped with a thermite launcher, this mech fires thermal projectiles that set everything in its vicinity on fire, causing damage to several enemies at once. The burning ashes, however, do not stop at the barrel of its rifle.

This heavy-hitter also features a thermal firewall that acts as a shield, protecting the player and inflicting damage on nearby enemies. As a special attack, players can create a firewall and send it towards the opposing team.

While all of this may sound like mayhem, this mech also features the possibility of a strategic approach. Players can deploy flammable gas canisters that will be exploded by the slightest spark. Ideal for creating traps.

Legion

Leeroy Jenkins was an avatar created on World of Warcraft, and he was immortalized once his user ran into a cave full of high-level monsters, while yelling the name of his character. He killed himself and his team in the process. Using Legion as your Titan, you will have the chance of performing a similar stunt -- but with a happier ending.

Wielding a powerful minigun, with the option of switching between close range and long range precision rounds, this mech is ideal for players who do not wish to think much about creating a strategy. You can plan your moves as you go and pull a "Leeroy Jenkins" on the battlefield, because your weapon automatically locks on any enemy within range.

The special attack of this mech comes in two forms. For the short-range mode, firing the minigun knocks back nearby enemies. While in long-range mode, the bullet causes damage to the Titans in its path, leaving a trace of destruction behind. 

Ion

After burning your enemies to ashes, it is time to summon a thundering storm in battle. Using an energy rifle, players can use this mech's special ability to cut through anything and anyone who stands in their path. Those who attempt to follow it may fall victim of its laser-triggered explosive mines, which players can deploy in the map.

As a defensive mechanism, this mech uses the power of electricity to create a vortex shield, which can absorb incoming bullets and send them back to the enemies.

Tone

Last but not least comes the Titan that combines a tank and a mech. Players can blast through their enemies with the 40mm cannon that features explosive rounds and partial lock-on, while using a sonar to detect enemies nearby. There will be nowhere to hide.

Its special attack consists of shooting fully locked-on missiles. Its shield allows players to resist damage and shoot through the particle wall in front of them.

Three Deadly Combinations

In a game with six different classes, each one has its own strengths and weaknesses -- but they all are complementary to each other. Working together and combining forces will be the decisive element that determines which team will thrive and which one will fall in the battlefield.

Collaborate with a friend as you travel through the maps of Titanfall 2 and become the ultimate dynamic duo. As Saren said in Mass Effect: "the strengths of both, the weakness of neither."

Here are three Titan combinations you'll want to try with a friend when you start playing.

1. Northstar and Scorch

Despite delivering long-ranged deadly shots, the rifle Northstar wields takes few moments before another projectile is ready to go. If players miss the shot, these instants between one attack and the other can culminate in the death of the player.

This is the opportunity for Scorch to shine, as it can use its medium-ranged attacks and its ability to damage several foes at once, thus serving as a back up to defend Northstar.

The same principle holds true if reversed. Northstar can protect Scorch by eliminating other enemies wielding long-ranged guns.

2. Ion and Ronin

With its shotgun, Ronin is almost unstoppable when facing one enemy at a time in a close quarters situation. But due to the delay between each shot, it may be a sitting duck against several foes.

This is where Legion comes into play. Using its shield, this Titan can cover Ronin and send bullets back at the enemies, thus reducing the number of opponents Ronin may have to focus on at a single time.

3. Legion and Tone

Tone features a shield players can shoot through. But most importantly, it is equipped with a sonar that lets players detect nearby enemies. If Tone and Legion charge towards conflict, with the former marching in front of the latter, Tone will know where enemies are and will choose the best course of action, as Legion follows.

With the strategic guidance of Tone marching in front, as Legion uses the force of its minigun to blast the enemies, this duo is a force to be reckoned with.

What does the future hold?

The Titanfall developers certainly faced many challenges when designing this game -- and one them was ensuring it provides a balanced gameplay experience to its players. There cannot be a dominant strategy for users to pick. Analyzing each Titan shows that they are complementary to each other, and this is a good indication that the game is balanced -- at least moreso than the original.

The design of the Titans, however, is not the only factor that dictates whether the game is balanced or not, as level design also plays a crucial role. It is important to craft a map in which there is room for each mech to use its skills efficiently, rather that be long, medium or short-ranged attacks. A prime example is the Noshar Canal level featured in Battlefield 3.

There is a section of the map dedicated to each style the players may prefer, as seen in the picture above. For close quarters action, they can venture themselves through the containers, while others may run through the center of the image, in order to engage in a medium-ranged combat. Players who prefer to snipe can climb on the crane or move to the railroad. This type of "one size fits all" approach is what the team behind Titanfall 2 should aim for, in order to ensure that every class in the game will be able to shine.

The "Angel City" level featured in the first game of the franchise has been confirmed for the sequel. And considering how it allowed players to follow different modus operandi, this bodes well for the future of this production.

If developers at EA and Respawn Entertainment manage to deliver a balanced experience, through the classes of the Titans and the level design, Titanfall 2 will be a must-play for every player who enjoys first person shooters.

Whether the game will live up to the expectations, remains to be seen, but we will find out today when it becomes available for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Battlefield 1 Review: New Game of Old War https://www.gameskinny.com/ijaml/battlefield-1-review-new-game-of-old-war https://www.gameskinny.com/ijaml/battlefield-1-review-new-game-of-old-war Fri, 21 Oct 2016 04:17:38 -0400 Sergey_3847

Battlefield has earned the status of one of the best franchises in the industry for a reason. DICE has a load of experience with developing some of the finest shooters in the world, and this time they offer a surprisingly cool concept for the Battlefield game that takes place during WWI.

This is the second time that DICE has changed the background of the series (the first time it was Battlefield: Hardline, when they moved from the modern warfare to cops fighting criminals). They have tried almost every other war of the 20th century, so it’s no wonder that Swedish developers decided to look at the very first big war of the last hundred years.

Now, let's look at what was so special about the period of 1914-1918.

World War I – the first of its kind

Battlefield 1 Review

WWI was the very first war in the history of human kind that involved heavy machinery, such as tanks, and aviation. This was also the first war that introduced bombs with poisonous gasses. And in general, WWI was the first one that encompassed an entire globe and had the highest lethal rate ever up to that point.

DICE definitely had a lot of experience with creating realistic representations of different wars, and this time they once again managed to capture another era in grand fashion. Their goal was simply to attract young people’s attention to this historical event that had a massive impact on the entire world during those times.

Battlefield 1 is a true successor of the Battlefield series and one of the best games of the year.

Just think about it, young players that are unfamiliar with the events of WWI will automatically go online and read more about the context of their favorite multiplayer maps in Battlefield 1. The amount of detail that DICE included in the game is staggering, and players can experience all of the weaponry and gear of WWI in all its glory.

The developers even included the exclusive Kolibri pistol – the smallest gun in the world that actually existed in the beginning of the 20th century. However, the amount of weapons in Battlefield 1 is still much smaller than in the previous installments, which is completely understandable – WWI didn’t have too many weapons either.

All weapons in Battlefield 1 behave exactly as they would back in the days. They are clunky, slow and deal less damage than any of their modern counterparts. On top of that, Battlefield 1 has introduced horse riding, so you can even try galloping through a couple of maps as a true cavalier.

Story mode is short but sweet

Battlefield 1 Review

Single campaign mode has never been the main focus of the Battlefield series, at least in the last few installments. It has always been there to provide fans with some Hollywood-esque spectacle and show the finesse of the masterful cutscenes that are usually quite long.

This time the whole single campaign lasts for about 5-6 hours and tells five stories in five different locations. For example, the first chapter is dedicated to a heroic crew of the Mark V tank, the second one covers the story of a young and inexperienced soldier during the Battle at Gallipoli, another one shows the friendship of the two aircraft pilots, and so on.

But probably the biggest one is the story of Lawrence of Arabia that takes place during the Middle Eastern campaign. If you want to learn more about this grand character, then check out David Lean’s movie of the same name.

Every chapter in the game is like a short movie that documents various events of WWI. One of the most amusing parts of the single campaign is the journey of a War Pigeon that players can control during the flight. You can watch this particular part of gameplay in this video.

Multiplayer is as good as ever

Battlefield 1 Review

Multiplayer is definitely the best executed part of the game, as basically, it has always been with the Battlefield series. The new Operations mode designed for 64 players is an amazing addition to an already well-established roster of other multiplayer modes, such as Domination, Team Deathmatch, etc.

Every match-up is followed by the detailed narrative that explains the reasons and objectives of the conflict. The new mode usually always ends up with an epic battle of 32 vs. 32 players, where everything explodes -- and to be honest, it all looks like a Michael Bay movie.

All this will probably be spiced up with even more new content that will arrive with the next few expansions. But for now, this is more than enough, if you want to spend many hours fighting for the freedom of your country in the role of a Medic, Assault, Scout or other class of soldiers.

Conclusion

Battlefield 1 is a true successor of the Battlefield series and one of the best games of the year. Bringing the experience of a hundred year old war is not an easy task, but DICE made it work. However, the game is not perfect and will not receive the highest possible score due to some bad enemy AI and less than stellar design on some of the maps.

On the other hand, Battlefield 1 has given us all an opportunity to dive into one of the most brutal wars in the history of humanity -- and this is something you don’t try every day.

If you want to get a gritty, fantastic look at the first World War, then you can pick up Battlefield 1 for $59.99 at most major retailers.

Note: This review was written with a copy provided by the publisher.

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Battlefield 1 Scout Class Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/mqbni/battlefield-1-scout-class-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/mqbni/battlefield-1-scout-class-guide Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:27:41 -0400 Sergey_3847

If you enjoyed playing the Recon class in the previous installments of the Battlefield series, then you will most likely have as much fun with the Scout class in Battlefield 1. It is also known as the Sniper class because sniping will play a huge role in your gameplay.

In this guide you will learn how to effectively take down enemies in the long distances and call out enemy positions for your teammates.

Sniper rifle is your main tool

Battlefield 1 Scout Class Guide

Sniper rifle is probably the most powerful weapon in the game, as it usually only takes one precise shot to kill an enemy soldier. The optics will help you keep as much distance as possible from the enemy lines, which is important since Scouts don’t have too many good tools to protect themselves in the close combat, except of a couple of pistols.

Your main objective should always be enemy snipers and machine gun operators, and then when you’ve dealt with all of them, you can switch to enemies riding horses and vehicles. These moving targets can be difficult to take down at first, so you will need to practice this part a lot.

You should also maintain a one-shot kill instead of firing a series of successive shots, as in this way your position will be much harder to uncover for the enemy snipers. So, take this into consideration and better spend more time aiming rather than shooting.

Other useful gadgets and gear

Battlefield 1 Scout Class Guide

Sometimes you can’t see other snipers hiding between the buildings or other object, and for this reason you have access to a Spot Flare – a flare gun that can help you identify the locations of the enemies in the hard-to-see areas.

Enemy vehicles can create a lot of problems for your team, so you can utilize your K-Bullets – a type of armor piercing bullets that can be used in your Mauser sniper rifle. They are extremely effective and can be compared to explosives when it comes to dealing with heavy machinery like tanks.

But don’t worry, you will still have some bombs in your inventory, if you suddenly are out of the K-Bullets. The Tripwire Bombs come in three different packages for different purposes: Gas, High Explosive and Incendiary.

Other Battlefield 1 class guides:

Come back soon for more Battlefield 1 guides at GameSkinny!

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Battlefield 1 Support Class Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/bh1p0/battlefield-1-support-class-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/bh1p0/battlefield-1-support-class-guide Wed, 19 Oct 2016 07:01:19 -0400 Sergey_3847

Battlefield 1 has finally managed to create a solid Support class for players who want to help their teammates move forward without any obstacles. This class is just as important as an Assault one, and it requires a thoughtful approach.

This quick guide will introduce you to the main tactics that can be successfully used by the Support players in Battlefield 1.

Support weapons and gadgets

You will have access to some very useful LMGs (light machine guns) that are perfect for clearing out enemy lines in the long range. This means that your role requires you to purge any obstacle that stands on the path of your teammates.

That is why Support class should be mostly used in the open areas and constantly showering enemies with their bullets. There is also a slight similarity with the Medic class here, but instead of healing and reviving your teammates, the Support class provides them with Ammo Crates and Ammo Packs.

Support players will be especially useful in the Rush mode, when you are given a task to protect a certain point from the enemy attacks. This is where you can use your Mortar – a heavy deployable explosives launcher.

If you need to get rid of an enemy vehicle without too much fuss, then use a Limpet Charge, which is a small explosive that can be attached to a vehicle or any other object. It will detonate as soon as the timer goes off.

Communication is the key

In order to be effective, all Support players should communicate using a headset with microphone. In this way you can keep in check with all the positions of your teammates on the map and keep track of their movements and actions.

The lack of communication between players may quickly turn into a catastrophe for your team, as you need to react to their requests as quickly as possible. One of the biggest downsides of not knowing your partners’ situations is inability to provide them with ammo in time, and thus leaving your teammates completely vulnerable.

This is what you need to know about the Support class, and also check out the other class guides below:

Come back soon for more Battlefield 1 guides at GameSkinny!

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Battlefield 1 Assault Class Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/su0jx/battlefield-1-assault-class-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/su0jx/battlefield-1-assault-class-guide Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:32:21 -0400 Sergey_3847

Battlefield 1 introduces eight different classes of soldiers, and this quick guide is dedicated to an Assault class. If you like close combat and blowing up enemy tanks and vehicles, then you will be more than happy to play as Assault.

Let’s look into this class’ weapons and gadgets that you can use to dominate multiplayer maps in Battlefield 1.

Assault weapons and gadgets

Battlefield 1 screenshot

As usual, the primary weapons of an Assault class are SMGs (sub-machine guns) that do wonders in close combat, but are not too effective for long ranges. So, if you want to benefit from this type of weapon, then stick to the towns and avoid open areas.

Your best spots are trenches, as this is where you can sit and wait for the enemies running by or even tanks rolling over you. Also, this is a great opportunity for using your Anti-Tank Grenades to take them down.

The tanks in Battlefield 1 represent the models used in WWI, which means they are not as heavy as modern tanks and are more agile. This greatly complicates your role as an Assault and you have to work through the towns really fast.

Assault team work

Battlefield 1 screenshot

The most effective way to play online is to team up with several other Assault players. In this way you will be able to quickly take down any tank. This is necessary because it will be difficult for you to destroy an entire tank alone, as you will need to throw at least 3-4 grenades for a 100% result.

If you happen to play solo, then consider Anti-Tank Mines for a better strategy of taking the tanks down. Just set them up on high-traffic waypoints and wait for the enemy vehicles to ride over them.

Another alternative is the Rocket Launcher. It takes a bit of time to set up, but if you see the enemies approaching from the distance, then you can take your time and prepare the tripod for a devastating blow.

The last thing to remember is that you also have access to Dynamite that can be used for blowing up various obstacles on your way, so that you don’t have to use your other more valuable types of explosives.

Other Battlefield 1 Class Guides:

Come back soon for more Battlefield 1 guides at GameSkinny!

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Battlefield 1 Medic Class Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/dbb79/battlefield-1-medic-class-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/dbb79/battlefield-1-medic-class-guide Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:29:51 -0400 Sergey_3847

If you’ve had experience with Battlefield 4 and Battlefield: Hardline, then you will notice that the Medic class in Battlefield 1 plays a slightly different role than in previous titles. Before, the medic has always been present in the frontline of the battle -- but this time the tactics have changed.

This quick guide will introduce you to the peculiarities of the Medic class in Battlefield 1, so you have a clear idea of what to expect.

Using your weapons and gadgets

Battlefield 1 screenshot

Medics in Battlefield 1 need to stay behind the frontline and assist those who are in trouble.

Your primary weapons are semi-automatic rifles, such as Cei-Rigotti and Mauser, which are perfect for a midrange combat, but don’t work too well in short or long range.

So, there is no point for you to go all into the heart of the battle. On the contrary, you should stay behind and use your Bandages to heal up and Syringes to revive your teammates. Fortunately, the developers have now added the ability for them to call you up if they get low on health.

However, be careful with the Syringes on your teammates, as there is a danger of overdose. Alternatively, you can do this on the enemies and kill them right away.

As you see, the role of Medic in Battlefield 1 is limited due to the absence of some other powerful types of weapons, as it was the case in Battlefield 4.

Using additional equipment

Battlefield 1 screenshot

Medics also have access to the Rifle Grenades that can be attached to one of your rifles and shot as a missile. This can be used for destroying some obstacles on the way using the High Explosive types, or dealing with huge crowds of enemies with the help of Frags or Smokes.

Another thing that Medics can accomplish is repairing vehicles. But first, in order to do this you need to get inside the vehicle. Apart from that, Medics should always be on the tips of their toes, as it is important to know how to avoid damage and provide help for others.

This is all that there is to medic class, and just keep in mind that killing enemies isn’t your priority, so don’t put yourself into an unnecessary danger. You will be more valuable, if you stay alive.

Other Battlefield 1 class guides:

Come back soon for more Battlefield 1 guides at GameSkinny!

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The New Technologies of Titanfall 2 https://www.gameskinny.com/nfmyd/the-new-technologies-of-titanfall-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/nfmyd/the-new-technologies-of-titanfall-2 Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:00:01 -0400 Sergey_3847

Titanfall 2 is scheduled release on October 28, 2016. Before the official launch, the developers have shared lots of new details about their upcoming game, including all the new technologies that have been developed to make Titanfall 2 a much better experience than the first one.

These innovations will not only influence the overall quality of the gameplay, but also the performance and the network security. Here are the ten most important new techs that have been included in Titanfall 2:

PBR Texture Rendering System
  • The PBR system of texture rendering uses a new type of lighting that reflects much better from the surface of objects. It utilizes improved and more accurate maps for metallic and other rough types of physical surfaces.
  • PBR also allows the developers to archive all textures in a much more efficient way, so it takes less time for your PC or console to render them.
TSAA Anti-Aliasing System
  • This particular anti-aliasing system has been developed specifically for transparent surfaces, with the final picture looking far smoother.
  • It can work together with other anti-aliasing effects, thus leaving enough processor capacity for the rest of the operations, which improves the overall performance significantly.

Dynamic HD Texturing
  • This is another cool tech for increasing performance. Usually, it takes a number of steps for any rendering system to process HD textures, so Respawn developed a new dynamic system that can take care of all high-quality textures on the fly.
  • It utilizes an invisible pixel buffer to render textures without any delay, thus avoiding the old format of front and back buffers.
4K Ultra Quality Support
  • If your PC can handle it, then you will be able to play on 3840x2160 (4K) screen resolution at 60 FPS.
  • There will be no FPS lock in the game, and the developers promise that if you turn off Vertical Sync, you will be able to achieve 144 FPS (the current maximum).

New Environment Destructibility System
  • The latest procedural destructibility system works in real-time and re-uses the same textures over again in order to save time and capacity for generating the new objects.
  • This technology will make everything crumble right under your feet, and will not put too much hard processing work on your PC or console.
Intelligent Audio System
  • Now, whenever you move to another location or type of environment, the sound will change accordingly.
  • The intelligent sound mixing technology will give you a much clearer sense of your target’s location, even if you suddenly find yourself amidst the chaos of a battle.
New Network Code
  • Apart from a complete hardware upgrade of servers, Respawn rewrote an entire network code from scratch.
  • The new matchmaking system works much better now and the time of search for the opponents is reduced significantly.
  • Also, now you will be able to create your own personal servers for private matchmaking and the like.

Reliable Anti-Cheat System
  • The new anti-cheat system – FairFight – analyzes the statistics of the player and reveals all the cheating mechanisms on the server.
  • FairFight cross-checks all revealed facts of cheating, and then if they have been proved, the system marks the player with the consequential choices of punishment measures.
  • This anti-cheat system works directly on the game’s servers and utilizes an API, so even if there are some networking issues, FairFight will keep functioning without any errors.
Upgraded Controller Configurations
  • Now, in Titanfall 2 you can completely reconfigure your PC keyboard the way you like it without any limitations.
  • The same applies to all other controllers, like gamepad and mouse – all buttons are now fully reconfigurable.
Spectator Mode
  • The last innovation of Titanfall 2 is the new viewing mode that allows you to join any of your friends’ private matches in the role of a spectator.

It is still unknown if there will be a support of direct streaming and recording, but if we learn anything before the release of the game, we will let you know.

Come back soon for more details on Titanfall 2 at GameSkinny!

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The Sims go urban once more in The Sims 4: City Living https://www.gameskinny.com/imhop/the-sims-go-urban-once-more-in-the-sims-4-city-living https://www.gameskinny.com/imhop/the-sims-go-urban-once-more-in-the-sims-4-city-living Tue, 13 Sep 2016 12:52:16 -0400 David Fisher

The Sims 4 has been met with mixed reviews upon its release, but has made quite a few attempts to please fans since then with its expansion packs. So far these have mostly been in the form of "Stuff" packs, but also two expansion packs that have let Sims go to clubs and take on interesting careers. This time, much like Late Night and Nightlife before it, Sims will be returning to the urbs once more in The Sims 4: City Living.

Coming out on PC and Mac on November 1st, 2016, The Sims 4: City Living will allow players to bring their Sims back to the cities for a more immersive citylife than ever before. The new world of San Myshuno will be the center of The Sims 4: City Living. Major gameplay differences will include a bustling city atmosphere, the inconveniences of apartment life including noisy neighbors and bothersome landlords, as well as exotic new destinations that have more real world culture than previous entries.

City Living will bring in more cultural influences such as Chinese-style festivals, cultural garments, and more.

The main challenge of City Life for players will be bringing their Sims up from a small starter apartment to a luxurious penthouse style suite in one of the four new neighborhoods. There are three new metropolitan-themed careers for Sims to pursue, the only currently announced one being the Politician career tree. Sims will also have several new joints to hang out at such as Karaoke bars, street festivals, basketball courts, and more.

The Sims 4: City Living will be available on November 1st, 2016. If you'd like to pre-order it you can find it at the official Sims website. It will require the base game in order to play, so remember to purchase that first if you intend on pre-ordering City Living. If you'd like to learn more about the game, you can find more information by following @TheSims on Twitter.

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