Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Treyarch is going into the next Call of Duty fully knowing they have a tough act to follow. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 stands as the most-played multiplayer game of the last console generation and remains one of the most beloved entries in the series, even withstanding competition from subsequent additions to the franchise. So what's the plan to make Black Ops 3 stand out from its predecessors? The strategy comes down to a simple phrase: Guns up!

"'Guns up' is our philosophy," explained game director Dan Bunting. "It's one that'll always allow you to have persistent weapon control through all movement."

Movement mechanics like vaulting and sliding are nothing particularly new to the Call of Duty series, but Treyarch is refining these ideas in some sharp new ways. First and foremost, Black Ops 3 will allow players to control their weapons at all times. Players can aim and fire across all phases of movement, including in mid-mantle and mid-slide. Black Ops players will have a limited thrust meter that will serve multiple purposes. Thrust can be used for a makeshift double jump or to boost in any other direction. It can also be used for a power slide, replacing Treyarch's old 'dive to prone' maneuver. Thrust is limited and can be recharged, but the initial burst will allow players to reach new areas quickly, especially when combined with unlimited sprint (now a standard and no longer a perk) and auto-mantle.

New movements are also being added. Black Ops 3 will introduce wall runs, which are activated by hitting the jump button upon hitting any wall. Wall runs can be chained to run across multiple surfaces and boost up to higher areas, though players can also change their mind and reverse direction upon hitting a new wall. Just as with mantling and sliding, anyone that's in mid-wall run can aim down and fire upon foes seamlessly. Those looking to take their fight from the skies to the seas will also find a new swimming mechanic. All players will get a limited time to swim underwater, in which characters will retain full use of their weapons and equipment. Swimming can be combined with thrust jump to quickly launch out of the water and surprise enemies with a burst of rifle fire.

"The way we've designed it, wall runs are designed as paths," Bunting added during a roundtable interview. "There's definitely walls that are adjacent to regular ground paths, but the way that they've been designed, they're always high-visibility and very distinct. [...] Each wall run opportunity is designed as a path."

Weapon customization will go further with the new Gunsmith system. Players can build and personalize their guns with five attachments (along with one optic), more than what was available in Black Ops 2. Attachments will include high caliber barrels, extended clips, fast mags, grips, rapid fire, and more, all with variants. Paint jobs with custom emblems, decals, colors, and other visual pieces will also be available. These custom weapons will fit in alongside the Pick 10 feature.

Yes, Pick 10 returns from Black Ops 2. This may be something of a disappointment to Advanced Warfare players that have grown accustomed to Sledgehammer's Pick 13 system. Game director Dan Bunting addressed this change, noting that Pick 10's former Black Ops 2 incarnation works better for Treyarch than Advanced Warfare's system of instituting Scorestreaks into a Pick 13.

"We felt like Pick 10 was a very balanced system and spent a lot of hours iterating on that system," he said. "For our game, it just wasn't right to mix Scorestreaks into it, because Scorestreaks are a different system than the moment-to-moment decisions of selecting weapons and equipment. What happens with equipment, you always get them, they're always at your disposal and it defines how you engage with competitors at a moment-to-moment level. In terms of the power band, Scorestreaks can range from something you've never seen in a match to something you might get at the end of the match that's super powerful and just that wide range of power band didn't fit in the Create-A-Class for this game."

One major new feature for Black Ops 3 will add new pre-made soldiers from the Call of Duty world, called Specialists. Specialists are elite Black Ops soldiers that have a gameplay mechanic unique only to them, adding something of a class element to the game. Players will be able to select either a unique weapon or an ability from the lobby, with that decision final for the duration of the match. Players cannot switch back and forth between weapon/ability or Specialists in-between deaths. The weapons/ability can be activated through a meter on the bottom-right of the screen. This meter gradually fills up through a charged time mechanic. These weapons/abilities are meant to appeal to more novice players that are intimidated by the Scorestreak idea. The meter will not reset upon death, but the Specialists will lose their weapon or ability if they are killed while they are activated.

Black Ops 3 will include nine Specialists, with four revealed, thus far. They include:

  • Ruin - A military soldier that volunteered for cybernetic limb replacement, who often rushes into situations head-first. His weapon is the Gravity Spikes, a one-time use weapon that can clear out crowds, making it an ideal choice for Domination. His alternate ability is Overdrive, which speeds up his movement to ridiculous proportions, making it a good fit for modes like Capture the Flag.
  • Seraph - This dangerous assassin is a part of Singapore's 54I crime syndicate. Her weapon is the Annihilator, a handgun that uses penetration rounds that often kill in a single hit. Her ability is Combat Focus, which triggers a bonus multiplier that will go towards Scorestreaks.
  • Outrider - A sharpshooting archer raised in the streets of Favela, she eventually found herself applying her skills as a part of the Brazilian Special Forces. Her weapon is the Sparrow, a compound bow that gets long range and has explosive rounds, which not only takes out foes in one hit, but also blows up the corpse. Her ability is Vision Pulse, which will ping the surrounding area and tag all enemy locations, making it an invaluable skill for team-based games.
  • Reaper - A deadly robot created by the Coalescence Corportation. He was meant to serve the military, but the Experimental War Robot was scrapped when Reaper came out far too dangerous. His weapon is the Scythe, a high rapid-fire minigun. His Glitch ability allows him to teleport to a previous position, allowing him to get the drop on foes.

The Specialists were interesting to play with during my brief hands-on with the Black Ops 3 multiplayer, as I noticed that select characters worked better in certain situations than others. For example, Ruin was good for crowd control, while Reaper was better for clearing out tight corridors. With their invaluable weapons and abilities, Black Ops 3's multiplayer has become something of a pseudo class-based game, with individual Specialists also able to level up. The balance implications of Specialists will make the eSports side of Black Ops 3 something to keep an eye on. Treyarch will look to discuss their eSports strategy at this year's GamesCom later this summer.

Map design felt like it favored movement, with high areas that can be reached with either a quick thrust boost or through some well-utilized wall runs. These are the current maps, with more to be revealed later:

  • Combine - A facility located in the remote Egyptian Sahara. While the facility has tight spaces within its walls, there's also a massive space in the middle of the map, near a fallen vehicle. This is where most firefights will take place, though sneakier players can also slider underneath the vehicle and hide before picking off any incoming targets.
  • Hunted - A hunting lodge along Ethiopia. This map is known for its narrow bridge, but it also has a waterfall that leads towards a cave area. Look for plenty of firefights to break out underwater, as well as on the map's two bridges.
  • Stronghold - A Swiss chateau along the snowy mountaintops. It's an asymmetrical map filled with exposed area for snipers, as well as tight quarters for close-quarters combat.

Treyarch still has more to reveal on multiplayer, regarding Scorestreaks, Pick 10 perks, and more, which will be revealed later. The studio is very proud of their multiplayer, to the point that they will make Black Ops 3 playable at E3, the first CoD game to be playable at the event in several years. With balance concerns also looming, Treyarch is also looking to kick off a multiplayer beta, another rarity for the Call of Duty series. Those that pre-order Black Ops 3 will also receive access to the game's multiplayer beta.

There's also one more aspect of multiplayer that Treyarch mentioned, but didn't go into detail about. Zombies will make their return to Black Ops, with studio head Mark Lamia noting that this game mode will stand out on its own as an entirely different experience from the campaign or multiplayer. More information on Zombies is expected in the coming months.

Look for far more on Black Ops 3's multiplayer to be revealed over the coming months. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is set to release on Friday, November 6 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The Call of Duty series hasn't had the most sterling reputation among PC players. However, Treyarch is affirming their commitment to the PC player base, with studio head Mark Lamia noting that Call of Duty: Black Ops III's PC version is being built from the ground-up and will not be a port of any console version. To show how serious Treyarch is, the studio has already revealed the game's minimum PC specs, well over six months prior to the game's release.

Minimum requirements

  • Windows 7 64-Bit edition, Windows 8 64-Bit edition, Windows 8.1 64-Bit edition
  • Intel Core i3-530 @ 2.93 Ghz or AMD Phenom II X4 810 @ 2.60 GHz or better
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 @ 1GB or ATI Radeon HD 6970 @ 1GB or better
  • 6GB RAM or more
  • DirectX 11
  • DirectX compatible sound card

"We're making a game and it's working on all the different platforms," Lamia said during a roundtable interview. "On the PC, there are very specific technical things that go on, because people have different configurations. And there are things that the PC is capable of doing that consoles may not be able to do, like 4K. There's also a wide range of PCs. So [we're] investing in that experience up front and running it all parallel. CoD does not equal 'console-only development.' It is, especially in the case of Black Ops III, from the ground-up, a true next-generation game."

To follow up on this, Treyarch had the Ramses Station demonstration shown earlier in the day running on a PC, where it ran in full 4K display. Though this resolution will be supported, the studio notes that moderate PC setups will also be fully supported. In addition to PC-specific optimizations, Treyarch is teasing collaborations with hardware companies for Black Ops III. More details on these partnerships are expected to be revealed soon.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

While Infinity Ward helped define Call of Duty as we know it through the Modern Warfare series, Treyarch crafted its own story within the series. Call of Duty: Black Ops debuted five years ago, with Black Ops II hitting two years later. Treyarch's story followed the tale of Alex Mason (and later, his son, David) and fellow covert operative Black Ops soldiers working to stop a Nicaraguan drug lord named Raul Menendez, who quickly rose to become a powerful arms dealer and charismatic figure. Though Menendez's cyberattack was stopped, the villain's legacy is cemented in Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

"The seeds of Black Ops III were sown with the drone strikes of Black Ops II, set in 2025," explained campaign director and senior executive producer Jason Blundell. "The world was helpless to defend itself when Raul Menendez hijacked the U.S. drones to pursue his own ends. After this pivotal moment in world history, as is the way of things, the politicians and military technologists of the day pushed for a solution to not allow this situation to ever reoccur. This led to the creation of an umbrella air defense system that would nullify any air assaults in the future. And with this action that's disabled first-world countries' air superiority, a renewed interest and focus has changed back to 'boots on the ground' might. As we've seen today in the headlines, military technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate, an almost disturbing rate. This continues in our Black Ops universe exponentially."

In addition to advancing military technology, the world is in the midst of climate change and finding resources increasingly scarce, leading to new alliances. The campaign will center around two factions: the Winslow Accord and the Common Defense Pact (CDP). Both sides are upgrading their soldiers with robotic advancements and bio-augmentation, particularly through Direct Neural Interface (DNI) that connects advanced tech into a soldier's brain and spinal column. In particular, these augmentations will allow the Black Ops soldier to better work in the shadows and sets the stage for the game's story.

To this point Black Ops III will not put players in the role of one of the Masons. Rather, players will take control of a prototype cybernetically-enhanced Black Ops soldier investigating the disappearance of half of their group. They must go behind enemy lines to find them, as the largest leak in military history completely dismantles all covert operations around the globe. The lack of a specific protagonist allows this campaign to be the first to allow for fully customizable male or female characters, with full progression systems, perks, loadouts, and outfits. This will also open the door to allow Black Ops III's campaign to be the first in the series to feature four-player online co-op, as well as two-player couch co-op.

The four-player mode was demonstrated (on an Xbox One) with a reveal of one of the campaign's levels, Ramses Station. Following cutscenes and dialogue, the player was joined by three friends. To allow for four-players, Treyarch is severely de-emphasizing the traditional "on-rails" portions of the campaign by focusing more on larger environments and open areas. Teams will be able to exercise additional tactics to take on enemy soldiers and robots. DNI enhancements will offer up a greater analysis of the battlefield, with players able to use T-Mode (Tactical Mode) to survey threat levels for themselves and any co-op partners. Cyber Core abilities will allow for a variety of custom skills, such as Remote Hijack that has players take control of nearby drones. Cyber Rigs let players equip passive abilities, like ones that add advanced movement or bolstered defense. Over 40 different upgradable abilities are available, with players able to update their characters at safe houses placed in-between levels. However, the players won't be the only ones getting new tools.

Black Ops III is also set to receive a whole new graphics engine and animation system, which is allowing Treyarch to introduce an overhauled AI system. This will add 20 different enemy archetypes with their own weapon variations. They will move in formation and coordinate with one another. Robot enemies will also take advantage of their non-humanity and will exercise greater risk, virtually sacrificing themselves for the sake of the player's destruction.

Blundell also sees the emergent AI and larger environments as an opportunity to add additional replayability, with multiple playthroughs potentially allowing them to find things they hadn't seen previously. He also noted that Cyber Cores and Cyber Rigs are level-agnostic, meaning they can be taken back to previous campaign stages and used to play them out in different ways.

Introducing co-op may mean a few sacrifices on the narrative end. The branching storylines of Black Ops II are going by the wayside, since Treyarch is placing a greater emphasis on playing cooperatively with friends and replaying past levels with new abilities and (most likely) a new perspective. Blundell is promising a "multi-layered story," though, one that will further build on the world that the Black Ops series has created.

While Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia wouldn't confirm that this story would close the book on the Black Ops series, Black Ops III is shaping up to be another intriguing installment of one of Call of Duty's most interesting worlds. Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set to release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on Friday, November 6.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

With April coming to an end, this is one of your last chances to pick up the freebies from Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. On top of that, both Microsoft and Sony are offering Call of Duty deals. Xbox owners can pick up Call of Duty: Ghosts, while PlayStation owners will get the newer hotness of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Check out the full list of deals below.

Here's our selection of this weekend's console deals:

Xbox One

The following games are a part of Xbox One Games with Gold/Deals with Gold. An Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to receive these discounts.

PlayStation 4

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo Wii U

Xbox 360

The following games are a part of Xbox 360 Games with Gold/Deals with Gold. An Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to receive these discounts.

PlayStation 3

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Nintendo 3DS

PlayStation Vita

The following deals are available only to PlayStation Plus members.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

April is ending in a big way, with a number of big-time sales. Steam is offering up a full library of roguelikes, while also offering up a free weekend of Skyrim, for anyone looking to play this clasic (and possibly look at some paid mods along the way). Meanwhile, more spring sales are starting up. UPlay and GamersGate are wrapping up their spring sales, while GameStop is just kicking theirs off. And Bundle Stars is offering up some notable deals, including one bundle that features the very best of the indie sector. Check out the full list of deals below.

Here's our selection of this weekend's PC deals:

Amazon

Bundle Stars

Pay $3.99 for Monaco: What's Your Is Mine, SpeedRunners, SteamWorld Dig, Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, Divekick, Kingdom Rush, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, and The Fall. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $2.49 for Postal 2, Capsized, Circuits, Dustforce DX, The Inner World: Soundtrack Edition, Defend Your Life, The Maker's Eden: Soundtrack Edition, Neocolonialism, Anoxemia, and Roommates - Deluxe Edition. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $29.99 for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its DLC packs.

Or pay $3.49 for Trainz Trouble, Trainz Simulator 12 and its DLC packs, Trainz: Classic Carbon City, Trainz: Murchison 2, Trainz: Settle & Carlisle, and Train Town. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $7.99 for Euro Truck Simulator 2 and its DLC packs. These activate on Steam.

Or pay $1.99 for Mystery Masters: Psycho Train Deluxe Edition, Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, House of 1,000 Doors: Family Secrets, House of 1,000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster CE, Nearwood - Collector's Edition, Brink of Consciousness: Dorian Gray Syndrome CE, Brink of Consciousness: The Lonely Hearts Murders, and Space Legends: At the Edge of the Universe. These activate on Steam.

Direct2Drive

  • Saints Row: Gat out of Hell [Steam] - $14.99 (25% off)
  • Metro Redux [Steam] - $24.99 (50% off)
  • Dead Island Franchise Pack [Steam] - $7.49 (75% off)
  • Other games in Direct2Drive's Deep Silver sale, including other Saints Row games and Risen games, can be found here.

GamersGate

  • GamersGate is in the middle of their big Spring Sale. Look for daily deals on games like The Walking Dead: Season 2, The Wolf Among Us, Assassin's Creed Unity, and more. For today's sales, be sure to check out GamersGate.

GameStop

Get Games

GOG.com

Green Man Gaming

Use the code SAVE23-PAYDAY-WEEKND to get 23% off your purchase. Some exclusions apply.

Humble Bundle

Pay what you want for Dragon Age: Origins, Peggle, Dead Space 2, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault War Chest, and Command & Conquer Generals (w/Zero Hour expansion). Pay more than the average $4.95 to get Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, Dragon Age II, Bejeweled 3, Mass Effect 2, SimCity 2000 Special Edition, Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, and Ultima VII: The Complete Edition. All games work on Origin, but Steam keys for Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space 2, Bejeweled 3, and Mass Effect 2 are available with a $1 minimum.

Or pay what you want for Primal Carnage, God Mode, and Boid [Steam Early Access]. Pay more than the average $4.56 to get Chariot, Blade Symphony, and GoD Factory: Windmen. Pay $10 to also get Homebrew - Vehicle Sandbox [Steam Early Access]. All games work on Steam and Steam keys are available with a $1 minimum.

Origin

UPlay

Steam

As well as regular discounts, Steam has a couple of additional weekend deals.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's Blackrock Mountain adventure continues, and this week has you heading straight for Lord Nefarius himself. You can collect all of the new cards by finishing the Normal and Class challenges, but to really secure your bragging rights, you need to finish each boss on Heroic. The Heroic bosses get ratcheted up with outrageous difficulty spikes and unbalanced hero powers.

Fortunately for you, we've rigorously tested our decks and found how to take them all down. With a heavy dose of strategy and a little luck, you can earn the Heroic card back for beating every Heroic boss in Blackrock Mountain.

This wing pits you against Razorgore the Untamed, Vaelastrasz the Corrupt, Chromaggus, and Lord Victor Nefarius. As always, these strategies are formulated for their Heroic incarnations, but you should be able to handle the Normal bosses with the same strategies.

Razorgore the Untamed

Normal: 0 Mana - (Automatic) Give all Corrupted Eggs +1 Health, then summon oneHeroic: 0 Mana - (Automatic) Give all Corrupted Eggs +1 Health, then summon one

For a Heroic boss, Razorgore is actually fairly simple. His hero power makes for constant threats, since each Corrupted Egg will hatch into a huge 7/7 minion once it reaches 5 Health. He starts with one on the board already at three health, so you need to get your own minions out quickly to deal with them. Fortunately, the eggs themselves are weak, and even doing a single point of damage to them will stall their hatching for another turn. 

Your best bet is Warlock, running a fairly standard Zoo-style deck. Razorgore doesn't actually have many threats of his own, so as long as you keep his eggs from hatching the match as a whole is smooth sailing. Flame Imp is a good early-drop that can do heavy damage to an egg, and then you can keep rolling out more cheap minions until you have control of the board. Hellfire is perfect if somehow things get out of hand, and Imp-losion provides an easy way to deal with one egg while spawning some Imps for the next turn.

Once you've handled his eggs, it's just a matter of continuing to knock out the new ones as they spawn and using the rest of your minions to hit his face. 

Recommended Class: WarlockRecommended Cards: Flame Imp, Hellfire, Imp-losion

Vaelastrasz the Corrupt

Normal: (Passive) Each player draws 2 cards.Heroic: (Passive) Each player draws 3 cards. Gain a Mana Crystal.

Vaelastrasz is essentially playing what Hearthstone veterans call a "Mill Deck," which has two goals: overload your hand so that you burn cards due to overdraw, and speed you towards running out of cards so that you suffer from Fatigue damage. His Hero Power feeds into this, but he also tends to equip spells like Naturalize to speed the process along by forcing you to draw cards. On Normal his power is symmetrical, but on Heroic he's also constantly gaining Mana on you, giving him access to bigger minions much quicker than you. He also uses cards like Clockwork Giant to take advantage of the cards he forced you to draw. 

To defeat him, we recommend the natural enemy of the Mill deck: the so-called "Face Hunter." Since you can't count on minions sticking around, fill your hand with ones that can either do damage immediately, or that leave behind other minions when they die. This strategy also lends itself to cheap minions like Haunted Creeper, so you'll be able to unload more of your hand to avoid burning cards. As long as you keep hitting his face and doing damage with your weapons and Hero Power, you'll pull through. Chances are he will still burn some of your cards, but as long as you have plenty of burst damage it won't matter. 

Near the end of the match, he'll probably start to gain the advantage and have plenty of big minions out. Don't panic. The Face Hunter strategy tends to walk the razor's edge when it comes to securing lethal, so that just means it's working as intended. Once he starts to overwhelm you, that's when it's time to break out the Unleash the Hounds and Kill Command combo to finish him off.

Recommended Class: HunterRecommended Cards: Wolfrider, Unleash the Hounds, Kill Command

Chromaggus

Normal: At the end of your turn, add a Brood Affliction card to your opponent's handHeroic: At the end of your turn, add a Brood Affliction card to your opponent's hand

Chromaggus may be the toughest boss of this set. His Brood Affliction power forces cards into your hand, with special effects that either benefit him or hurt you. You need to get rid of them, but he constantly plays minions that get buffs when you cast spells, as the Brood Afflictions are. On Heroic Mode, each Brood Affliction card costs 3 mana, so you won't be able to shed them until your third turn at the earliest, at which point you won't be able to play anything else. In short: he's a real jerk.

You'll be hurting quite a bit, so your best bet is the Priest. Not only can his Hero Power and cards like Light of the Naaru provide some much-needed healing, the Priest also has invaluable cheap ways to deal with Chromaggus' minions, like Shadow Word: Pain and Silence. Your minions are a little on the weaker side as Priest, but they can be buffed with Inner Fire. Lightwell is a particularly good choice for this, since you can raise its health stats a bit and then make it a damage-dealing, self-healing powerhouse. If you can survive to the mid-game and establish board control, it will be much easier to deal with his Brood Affliction cards and swing momentum in your favor.

Note that he always initially plays his Brood Afflictions in the same order, after which they're randomized. The order is GreenRedBlueBronze, then Black. The effects, and how much you should prioritize getting rid of them, are as follows:

  • Green (Restores 6 Health to opponent) - Lowest-priority. At first any damage you'll be doing will be to his Armor, so this won't actually have any effect at all. Get rid of it once you start chipping away at his life, but by then you should be able to offload any as they come.
  • Red (Take 3 damage at start of turn) - Mid-priority. Three points of damage is nothing to sneeze at, but you'll probably just have to deal with it at first while you gain board advantage and offload more dangerous Brood Afflictions.
  • Blue (Chromaggus' spells cost 3 less) - High-priority. This makes some of his damaging spells dangerously cheap, and others absolutely free. Get rid of it as soon as possible.
  • Bronze (Chromaggus' minions cost 3 less) - Highest-priority. If you leave this in your hand for even a single turn, the board will get flooded and you'll be overwhelmed.
  • Black (Whenever Chromaggus draws a card, he gets a second copy of it) - Low priority. Dealing with two identical threats isn't much harder than dealing with one, and there are other, much more serious risks to deal with first.

Recommended Class: PriestRecommended Cards: Deathlord, Shadow Word: Pain, Lightwell, Inner Fire

Lord Victor Nefarius / Nefarian

Normal: 1 Mana - (Automatic) Put a random spell from your opponent's class into your handHeroic: 1 Mana - (Automatic) Put a random spell from your opponent's class into your hand

Victor Nefarius is the mastermind of the entire story, so it only makes sense that he's one difficult boss. His very first turn, he'll reveal his true form as the dragon Nefarian, and begin using his hero power to use your own class' spell powers against you. To make matters worse, Nefarian starts with a full 10 Mana and plenty of Armor, giving him a huge Mana advantage almost from the very start. In Normal Mode, Ragnaros the Firelord comes to exact his revenge, by helping you take down Nefarian. In Heroic, however, you only get one randomized minion from Ragnaros, and the rest is up to you.

So how does one overcome this massive threat? We recommend the Paladin, for two reasons. First, with its combination of buffs and board clearing mechanics, the Paladin is ideal for board control. You'll be at a serious disadvantage due to the mana disparity, so this fight requires that you control the board until you reach 10 mana so that you're on even footing.

The second reason, inversely, is that the Paladin's spells won't be as helpful to Nefarian as some other classes. Since they're so centered on board control, and Nefarian doesn't have as much need for it, it's the best set of spells to benefit you without doing all that much good for him. He may give you a headache with an occasional Humility or Blessing of Kings, but in general randomized Paladin spells are less dangerous than those of classes like Druid or Mage.

Mulligan aggressively for Wild Pyromancer and Equality. As long as you have those two cards when you hit turn four, you can turn the tide of battle with a massive board wipe, ideally after he's played many of his minions. From there it's just a matter of dealing with threats as they come, using your own decent-sized minions or debuffing effects like the Battlecry from Aldor Peacekeeper. Once you reach 10 Mana, you'll be on even ground, and his advantage will be long gone. Consider packing a few healing spells, or healing effect minions like Guardian of Kings or Antique Healbot, just in case he chips away at you.

Finally, keep in mind that he has access to all of your class spells, not just the ones you have in your deck. For that reason, tread lightly. If he has a secret and two minions, plan around the buff provided by Avenge. If he only has a minion on the board, make sure that buffing it with a Blessing of Might or Blessing of Kings wouldn't put you into lethal range. If you're close to dead and he has a secret on the board, hit him with your weakest minion just in case it's Eye for an Eye. Familiarize with the spells of your chosen class so you won't be surprised.

Recommended Class: PaladinRecommended Cards: Wild Pyromancer, Equality, Consecration, Aldor Peacekeeper

Shacknews - Steven Wong

The Call of Duty: Black Ops series is well known for its intense multiplayer modes that puts players' skills to the test in a variety of waves. Whether it's making it through with a single bullet, surviving the zombie apocalypse, or getting All the Guns, Black Ops has you covered. As we look forward to Sunday's official reveal of Black Ops 3, let's take the weekend to enjoy some of the best multiplayer modes the series has introduced to the Call of Duty universe.


Zombie Mode

What started as a fun add-on for World at War has grown into a sort of parallel game to Black Ops, complete with its own story and custom game modes. On the surface, the mode is pretty straightforward. Four players come together to assume the roles of various characters, and must fight to survive against ever more difficult waves of zombies. But there's a whole host of features that further support the gameplay, which requires players to work together and figure out how to better survive and set up defensive positions. Just goes to show that practically any game can be made even better by adding zombies.


One in the Chamber

Sometimes simplicity is best. Everyone gets a pistol with one bullet in it and runs around with hardly any health. Players are given three lives to lose, and getting hit once will kill you, so you have to make your shot count. Killing another player earns you a another bullet. Otherwise, you're be forced to run around with a knife. Of all the PvP modes found in Black Ops 2, this is arguably one of the most intense modes to originate from the Black Ops series.


Gun Game (aka All the Guns)

If you're looking for a bit of craziness, in addition to showing off your weapon mastery, then Gun Game is where it's at. Originally introduced in the first Black Ops, Gun Game starts everyone off with the same pistol, which magically transforms into a new weapon each time you kill someone. The first player to kill opponents using all twenty weapons wins the match. However, being killed with a knife will set you back to your previous gun, and killing yourself (usually by accident using explosives) will drop you back to the previous tier. So, the mode becomes a lot more than shooting each other. Players have to use some knife work to deny opponents from advancing.

The mode was originally introduced as an April Fool's Day joke, but the mode proved to be so popular that it was kept on and included in subsequent Call of Duty games like Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops 2, Ghosts, and Advanced Warfare.


Sticks and Stones

Time for the ultimate game of survivor with Sticks and Stones. In this Black Ops exclusive mode, each player enters the level with a Crossbow, Ballistic Knife, and a Combat Axe. Other than that, not a single luxury, although the Crossbow is fitted with an explosive tip, and some maps have cars that can be driven and blown up. Each weapon earns a set number of points when it is used to kill opponents, and scores are tallied up when the match timer runs out. But the trick is, killing an opponent with a Combat Axe resets that enemy's score to zero (bankrupting). Furthermore, killing yourself with a Crossbow explosion humiliatingly bankrupts your own score. Players with the top three scores when the time is up win the match.


Hardpoint

Black Ops 2 is the first game to include the Hardpoint multiplayer mode. In some ways, it's a lot like Call of Duty's traditional Headquarters mode, in that teams rush to take and defend a fixed position on the map in order to score points. However, players are allowed to respawn, even when their team is the one defending the hardpoint. If players from both teams are at the hardpoint, then it is considered "contested," and neither team will get points until the enemy is removed from the area.

But what really makes this mode interesting is that the Hardpoint will periodically move to another spot on the map during the course of the match. This rush to various locations, working to take positions while denying the other team points, makes Hardpoint one frantic team based modes available.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Mortal Kombat X is the tenth installation in Netherrealms popular violent fighting game series. This time they’re taking blood and gore to a whole new level with new Brutalities, Fatalities, and even Quitalities. If you want to be the best, and show off your skill you’ll need to get your mind ready for some memorization. Or you could just bookmark this page, and come back to it whenever you need to. Either way you decide to do things, this guide will show you the requirements and button combinations for every brutality in MKX. Before you can use them, however, you’ll need to unlock them, which you can easily accomplish by checking out our complete guide to every unlock in the Krypt.

Without wasting any more time, let’s dive right in.

Cassie Cage

Between the Eyes - Back, Forward, Square/X

50 percent health, all Variations, jump Distance, last hit must be Single Shot

Hat’s Off - Down, Forward, Square/X

No Round Loss, last hit must be Kick Abuse, all Variations, hold Up before 3rd Kick Abuse

Pop Goes - Back, Down, Circle/B

Hollywood variation, land 4 Nut Krackers during the match, last hit must be Nut Kracker.

Beat Down - Back, Forward, Circle/B

Brawler Variation, last hit must be 3-hit Kombo ending in Takedown

Half Day - Down, Down, Square/X + Block

Spec Ops Variation, perform 5 American Ways, jump Distance, last hit must be Target Paint

D’ Vorah

Migraine - Down, Back, Circle/B

All Varitaions, 50 percent health left, last hit must be Ovipositor Charge, hold F during Last hit

Fly Swatter - Down, Throw, Circle/B

All Variations, perform 4-hit Kombo ending with backwards air throw, last hit must be throw

Incubate - Throw

Brood Mother variation, perform 3 Krawler attacks, last hit must be throw

Bug Zapper - Down, Back, Square/X + Block

Swarm Queen variation, stun opponent with Bug Bomb, full Screen distance, last hit must be Infestation

Acid Burn - Down, Forward, Square/X + Block

Venomous variation, perform all nine hits of Bug Spray, last hit must be Bug Spray

Ermac

Nether Force - Down, Back, Circle +Block/B + Block

All variations, perform 10 special attacks, last hit must be Air Force Port

We Win - Down, Back, Square/X + Block

All variations, perform 5-hit Kombos ending with Force Lift, last hit must be Force Lift

Gluttony - Down, Back, Square/X +Block

Mystic variation, less than 40% health, last hit must be Tele-hold

Soul eater - Back, Forward, Square/X

Master of Souls variation, perform 10-hit Kombo, 3 active souls and perform Soul Ball, last hit must be Soul Release

Controller Chaos - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y

Spectral variation, in-flight with Soul Accession, last hit must be Soul Charge

Erron Black

Tunnel Vision - Throw

All variations, last hit must be throw, hold F during last hit

Serenity - Down, Back, Forward, Triangle/Y

All variations, use punch key 15 times during last hit, last hit must be Sand Trap

Quick Draw - Down, Back, Forward, Triangle/Y

Gunslinger variation, perform 10 backwards dashes during match, sweep distance, last hit must be Spin Shot

Sword in the Stone - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y

Outlaw variations, press Up, Down, Up, during final hit, last hit must be Tarkatan Infection

Swing Low - Down, Back, Triangle/Y

Marksman variation, 2 full bars of Super during last hit, last hit must be Swing Shot

Ferra/Tor

Trample - Back, Forward, Circle/B

All variations, run 3 times during match, last hit must be Tuck ‘n’ Charge, first hit of Charge must miss, hold Forward during final hit

Play Thing - Forward, Triangle/Y

All variations, perform 2-hit Kombo with Kaber, last hit must be Kaber Toss

Stabby Stab - Down, X/A, Forward, Square/X + Block

Ruthless variation, buffed from Pain + Gain, last hit must be Grab ‘n’ Stab

Twisted - Down, Back, Forward, Square/X + Block

Vicious variation, must use three stage interactions, last hit must come from Deep Stab, must press any attack button five times during last hit

Steam Roller - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y

Lackey variation, must connect 3 Boulder Rolls during match, last hit must come from two Boulder Rolls

Step on Down - Back, Circle/B, Triangle/Y + Circle/B

Lackey variation, Must have less than 33% health left, last hit must be from Step Aside combo

Jacqui Briggs

Mind Blown - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y +R2/RT

Must press Forward three times during final attack, last hit must be Bionic Blast

Gun Show - Back, Forward, Circle/B

Must hold Circle/B during final attack, final attack must be Gauntlet Flurry

Shrapnel - Down, Back, Triangle/Y

Shotgun variation, must use three stage interactions during match, last hit must be from Low Blow or Low Blast

Heavy Artillery - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y + Block

Full Auto variation, must land three Up-Rockets during the match, last hit must be from Hand-Cannon

Aftershock - Down, Down, Circle/B + Block

High Tech variation, Gauntlet Spark or Gauntlet Ignite must be active, last hit must be Air Ground Smash or Air Ground Tremor

Jax

Sledge Hammer - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y + Down

Opponent must be ducking during last hit, last hit must be from Dash Punch or Dash Fist.

Gotcha Down - Down, Back, Square/X

Last hit must be Gotcha Grab, must hold forward during Gotcha Grab

Rocket Roll - Down, Back, Triangle/Y + Up + Block

Heavy Weapon variation, Opponent must be in the air, last hit must be from Law Blast

Ground Breaking - Down, Down, Circle/B + Block

Pumped Up variation, must connect three Ground Pounds during match, must hold Circle/B during Ground Shake, last hit must be Ground Shake

Ragdoll - Down, Back, Forward, Square/X + Block

Wrestler variation, must perform entire combo (Down,back, Forward,Square/X+block,Triangle/Y, Circle/B,Circle/B, Square/X+Triangle/Y,Circle/B)

Johnny Cage

Eye Popping - Back, Down, Circle/B

Must connect 4x Nut Punches during match, last hit must be from a Nut Punch or Nut Kracker

Blood Spurt - Triangle/Y, Square/X, Circle/B

Player / Opponent must be facing camera, last hit must be Take Two combo

Wow Out - Back, Square/X, Triangle/Y, Square/X

Fisticuffs variation, opponent must be blocking last hit, last hit must be Speed Bag combo

Fall Guy - Back, Forward, Circle/B

Stunt Double variation, must have Mimic active at Last hit, must hold forward during Last hit, last hit must be from Shadow Kick

Bring it On - Down, Back, Circle/B

A-List variation, must have less than 5% health and have Red Shadow active, Rising Kick must be charged, last hit must be from Rising Kick

Kano

Ballin’ - Forward, Back, X/A, R2/RT

Opponent must be blocking and die from chip damage, last hit must come from an Air Ball attack

Terminate - Throw

Must land three throws during match, must hold up during final throw attack, last hit must be a throw

Just the Tip - Down, Back, Square + Block

Cutthroat variation, must go 5 seconds without taking damage in the final round, last hit must be from Body Slice

Glaring Light - Down, Back, X/A +Block

Cybernetic variation – Must perform a five hit combo that ends in Power Laser

Wham Bam - Down, Forward, Back, Circle/B

Commando variation, must press down three times during last hit, last hit must be from Power Slam or Power Bomb

Pop Off - Down, Forward, Square/X

Commando variation, Must press Triangle/Y 15 times during last hit, last hit must be from choke attack

Kenshi

Used Up - Throw

Must win first round with a throw attack, last hit must be from a throw attack

Brutal Kick - Triangle/Y, Triangle/Y, Circle/B

Must go 5 seconds without taking damage in final round, last hit must be from Concentration combo

Leg Up - Back, Forward, X/A

Balance variation, must get first hit, last hit must be from Tele-Flurry

Demon Slice - Down, Back, Square/X

Possessed variation, must hold up during last hit, last hit must be from Sickle Lift or Sickle Strike

Instant Karma - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y + Block

Kenjutsu variation, must land 5 Tele-pushes during fight, must be a jump distance away, last hit must be from Tele-Push or Tele-Blast

Kitana

Off the Top - Back, Forward, X/A

Must hold forward during last hit, last hit must be from Throat Slice or Throat Slash

Bigger Fan - Down, Back, Triangle/Y + Block

Must connect three rising fans during match, last hit must be from rising blades

Back That Up - Down, Back, X/A

Royal Storm variation, must perform one reflected move during the match with Bounce Back, last hit must be from Air Square Boost/ Wave

Lost Girl - Down, Back, X/A

Assassin variation, Sharpen must be active, last hit must be from Assassin Strike or Assassin Impale

All is On - Down, Forward, Square/X

Mournful variation, last hit must be from Glaive Throw, must guide glaive to opponent head by holding up after throw 

Kotal Khan

Kotally Awesome - Down, Forward, Circle/B

Sweep distance, last hit must be from Sun Beam or God Ray

Stick Around - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y

Must hit opponent five times with Sunstones during match, full screen distance away, last hit must be from Sunstone

Offering - Forward, Back, Down, Circle/B

Must use Sacrifice with Blood Offering to end round, last hit must come from Blood Offering

Totem This - Down, Triangle/Y

Blood God variation, must summon each Totem once, Crystal Totem must be active during last hit, last hit must be two-fisted uppercut, must be 30 seconds or less left on timer

Sawed Off - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y

War God variation, last hit must come from three hit combo that ends in Saw Blade

Dry Rub - Down, Back, Triangle/Y + Block

Sun God variation, must have level 3 Sun/ Moon God choke, last hit must be from Sun/Moon God choke

Kung Jin

A Little Heart - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y

Must go seven seconds without taking damage in the final round, must be jump distance away, last hit must be from straight arrow

Round About - Down, Back, Circle/B

Must perform three Cartwheel Drops, last hit must be from Cartwheel Smash

Where’d You Go? - Throw

Must perform three stage interactions, last hit must be from a throw attack

Bullseye - Down, Back, Triangle/Y

Ancestral variation, Must use every quiver-type at least once, sweep distance away, last hit must be from Air-Down Arrow

Burnt Out - Down, Back, Square/X

Bojutsu variation, opponent must be in the air during last hit, last hit must be from Bo Flame attack

Decapitator - Back, Forward, Square/X

Shaolin variation, Guide Chakram to opponents head, guide Chakram to opponents shins, last hit must be from Chakram Throw

Kung Lao

Open Wide - Throw

Must press Square or Triangle 15 times during final throw, last hit must come from throw attack

Klassic Toss - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y

Must be jump distance away, guide hat to opponents waist or neck after throwing it, final attack must come from Hat Toss

Spin Cycle - Down, Back, Square + Block

Tempest variation, must be less than 40 seconds remaining in round, last hit must come from Cyclone

Grind Away - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y + Block

Buzz Saw variation, must be jump distance away, last hit must come from Upward Buzz Saw

Z Hat - Down, Down, Triangle/Y

Hat Trick variation, must set a Hat Trap, last hit must come from a Hat Call Back/Heavy Call Back

Liu Kang

Hot Head - Back, Forward, Square/X

Must use three stage variations during the match, last hit must come from air fireball, last hit must strike the head of your opponent

Dragon’s Den - Down, Back, Triangle/Y + Block

Must connect three Dragon’s Roar attacks during fight, last hit must be from Dragon’s Wrath

Kounter Top - Down, Back, X/A + Block

Flame Fist variation, must hold down on final attack, last hit must be from Enhanced Dragon Parry

Tread Lightly - Forward, Back, Down, Circle/B + Block

Dragon’s Fire variation, Must get first hit, last hit must be from enhanced Bicycle Kick or enhanced Bicycle Flurry

Hot Mess - Back, Forward, Square + Block

Dualist variation, must perform 10 Solar Flare attacks, last hit must be from Solar Blast

Mileena

High Roller - Back, Down, Circle/B

Must connect five Ball Roll attacks, last hit must be from Ball Roll attack, must hold down during final attack

Tele-Splat - Down, Down, X/A

Final attack must be either Tele-Kick or Tele-Drop, must hold up during final attack

Impaler - Back, Triangle/Y, Square/X

Piercing variation, must press Square/Triangle five times during final attack, final attack must be Sadistic Ways combo

Fun Ride - Back, Triangle/Y, Triangle/Y

Ethereal variation, must perform 10 Fadeaways

Early Lunch - Back, Square/X, Triangle/Y

Ravenous variation, Must hold down Triangle during final attack, final attack must be from Quick Taste combo

Quan Chi

Kurb Stomp - Down, Back, Circle/B +R2/RT

Must press down three times before last head slam, final attack must be from Sky Crush

Skull Transplant - Down, Back, Triangle/Y

Must be jump distance away, must hold triangle during final attack, final attack must be from Skull attack

Touch of Death - Down, Back, Square/X

Sorcerer variation, opponent must be in final Hex Spell circle, opponent must be blocking during final attack, and final attack must come from Ground Burst

Blood Shower - Throw

Warlock variation, must win first round with a throw attack, final attack must come from a throw attack, must hold Down during final attack

Puggles’ wrath - Down, Forward, X/A

Summoner variation, must be jump distance away, opponent must have at least 10% health left, final attack must be Demon Grab, must press X more than Circle during final attack

Raiden

Super Shocker - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y

Final attack must come from Electrocute, must press Triangle three times during the final attack

Dark Force - Back, Square/X, Square/X, Square/X + X/A

Must press Forward Back Forward during electric shocks of Power Discharge, final attack must be Power Discharge

Overload - Back, Square/X, Square/X, Triangle/Y, Triangle/Y

Thunder God variation, Must perform a combo that does 30% damage or more, final attack must be Lightning Strike combo

Inside You - Back, Forward, X/A + Block, Block

Displacer variation, must perform ten teleports, Last hit must be from Enhanced Electric or Thunder Fly attack

Power Outage - Down, Forward, Circle/B

Master of Storms variation, must land a ten-hit combo, final attack must be from Static or Full Trap

Reptile

Acid Wash - Down, Forward, Square/X

Must do 30% damage+ with Acid Spit, final attack must come from Acid Spit attack

Heart Attack - Back, Square/X

Must connect five tongue slaps during a fight, Last hit must be from a Tongue Slap attack

Puke - Forward, Triangle/Y, Square/X + X/A

Deceptive variation, must land three acid puddles, final attack must be from Slithering Slam combo

Knee Kapper - Back, Forward, Circle/B + Block

Nimble variation, must have Basilisk or Basilisk Runner active, final attack must come from Slippery Slide

Bo Dash - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y + Block

Noxious variation, must have poison gas active during final attack, final attack must be Reptilian Smash

Scorpion

Get Over Here - Back, Forward, Square/X + R2/RT

Must have 50%+ health, final attack must come from enhanced double spear

Shirai Ryu Fire - Down, Back, X/A + Block

Final attack must come from air Flameport attack

Just a Scratch - Forward, Triangle/Y

Ninjutsu variation, must connect three Downfalls, final attack must be from Doom Blade

Nether Hole - Down, Back, Square/X

Hellfire variation, must have Aura active, must be full screen distance away, final attack must be from Fire or Hell Ball

Little Devil - Down, Back, Circle/B

Inferno variation, must connect Minion Charge Minion Dash and Minion Grab, final attack must be from Minion Grab hold

Shinnok

Gory hole - Back, Forward, Square/X

Hold X/Square during Last hit, last hit must be Amulet Strike

Skull Bash - Throw

Win first round with throw, last hit must be throw

Face Off - Down, Back, Square/X

Imposter variation, jump distance, lose one round, last hit must be Mimicry

Have a Nice Day - Forward, Triangle/Y, Triangle/Y, Square/X + A/X

Bone Shaper variation, 1 bar of Super at end of match, last hit must be Deity Kombo

Hands Down - Down, Back, Square/X

Necromancer variation, sweep distance, hold Down on Last hit, last hit must be Judgment Fist

Sonya Blade

Thigh Master - Back, Forward, Circle/B

Must have less than 50% health remaining, must perform a five-hit combo that ends in Leg Grab or Slam, final attack must be from Leg Grab/Slam

Boot to Head - Forward, X/A

Must have 50%+ health, final attack must be from Wrap Around

Garro-That - Down, Back, Square/X + Block

Covert Ops variation, must connect a 10-hit combo, final attack must be Garrote Punish

Time Bomb - Square/X, Square/X + Block

Demolitions variation, must land first attack, final attack must come from Boomer combo

Kamikaze - Down, Down, Square/X + Block

Special Forces variation – opponent must be blocking final attack, final attack must be Drone Kamikaze

Sub-Zero

Snow Ball - Down, Forward, Triangle/Y +R2/RT

Must be 40+ seconds left in round, must be full screen distance away, opponent must be frozen and final attack must be Ice Blast

Frozen Dinner - Down, Triangle/Y

Opponent must be frozen, final attack must be Rising Fist or Up-Sword

Pick Your Brain - Forward, Circle/B, Triangle/Y, Square/X + X/A

Cryomancer variation, must perform a six-hit combo that ends in Cold-Blooded, final attack must be from Cold-Blooded combo

Ice Cubed - Back, Forward, Circle/B

Unbreakable variation, Frozen Aura must be on, final attack must be Icy Slide

Splitting Image - Down, Back, Square/X

Grandmaster variation, final attack must be from exploding Ice Clone or Ice Statue

Takeda

Armless - Throw

Must press either Square/X or X/A four times during final attack, final attack must be from a throw attack

Kool Whip - Triangle/Y, Square/X, Triangle/Y

Final attack must come from Quick Learner or Low Swipe combo

Whip it Out - Down, Back, X/A + Block

Shirai Ryu variation, must have 50% or more health, final attack must come from Shirai Ryu phase

Two-sided - Back, Forward, Triangle/Y + Block

Lasher variation, must press down three times during final attack, final attack must be from a Whip Flurry attack

Force Slice - Down, Back, Square/X

Ronin variation, must perform Blade Drop and keep blade on ground during final attack, final attack must be Blade Call

If you're still on the fence about it, then check out our full review to see why we think Mortal Kombat X is a great addition to the fighting game franchise.

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

A city submerged beneath the waves. A pair of siblings laying in the bottom of a boat as it rocks to and fro on the surface of the sea. This is the opening scene for the new announcement trailer for Submerged, and so far, there really isn’t much to see. From what we’ve gathered, though, the game follows the story of siblings Miku and Taku, as they arrive in a strange new city. Taku is sick, and Miku will need to carry him to shelter, and then scour the ruins of old buildings to find medicine and supplies to help keep him alive. There are currently no details about release date, or supported platforms, so be sure to keep an eye out on the front page for more details as we have them. 

Shacknews - Josh Hawkins

Smash Bros director Masahiro Sakurai compared currently downloadable content plans to scamming customers, saying instead that the goal should be about "making the players happy." 

In an interview with the Japanese magazine Famitsu (translated by Source Gaming) Sakurai touched on various points concerning DLC, outside of Nintendo and Super Smash Bros.

“These days the 'DLC Scam' has become quite the epidemic,” Sakurai said. “Charging customers extra money to complete what was essentially an unfinished game.”

This argument of course, isn’t a direct attack against post-release content. It does, however, stand hard against the practice of taking content from the original game and locking it behind DLC paywalls. As the article goes on Sakurai even states that it is “the easiest way to make money." That hasn’t changed how things work behind closed doors at the Smash Bros developer’s office, though, as Sakurai made it clear that “the DLC we are releasing for [Smash] is authentic, developed only after we finished working on the main game.”

DLC has become more scrutinized in recent years, as triple-A games sometimes seem cut into parts for DLC before release. It has also become a growing trend for games everywhere to announce DLC before the main game even launches. Nintendo has been more cautious in its approach towards DLC, but Sakurai is definitely taking a stand for a more consumer-friendly approach on the whole.

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