PC Gamer

Paradox's CEO, Fredrik Wester, has just finished delivering the opening press conference of the Paradox Convention 2013. Announcements included new expansions, a new game, and something involving the thunderous thespian Brian Blessed. Read on for a complete run down of the convention's revelations.

War of the Roses gets Brian Blessed DLC

Gordon's alive! This announcement is bizarre, yet somehow appropriate. A bit like Blessed himself.

In February, War of the Roses will be getting a DLC pack that will feature the vocal talents of the sonorous Brian Blessed. No details yet on Blessed's role, but you can bet it will involve many decibels. The game will also be holding a free trial.

The Showdown Effect blasts into beta

Pre-orders for the cliché-filled 2.5D multiplayer action game will begin today. Everyone who pre-orders will get instant access to the beta.

The pre-order page isn't live yet, but it should be available at some point in the next few hours. Here's the website, and here's a trailer:

Pagans invade Crusader Kings II

Some long awaited news for the feudal feuding strategy, as playable pagans will finally be made available. The Old Gods expansion will focus on Vikings and Pagans, and add landless adventurer characters.

The chance to bother the Scandinavians as a Norse warrior has been at the top of the community's wishlist since the game's release. The Old Gods will also set Crusader Kings 2's starting date back to 867 AD.

Victoria II: The African campaign

Also to be expanded is colonial grand strategy title Victoria II. The Heart of Darkness add-on will focus on Africa, as you "compete with other colonial powers and experience international crises which require Great Power mediation if the world is to avoid war." It will also feature new naval combat.

Ship gets real

The conference also announced a brand new game, Leviathan Warships, complete with the excellent tagline: "Ship just got real."

It's a strategic action game, in which players build and customise their own fleet of warships to pit against three other players. The game will support multiplatform cross-play, with PC, Mac, iOS and Android versions planned.
PC Gamer
War of the Roses Gallowglass Mercenary

Paradox is taking full advantage of its permanent content team for the multiplayer medieval mosher War of the Roses. An update released yesterday furnishes the armories of the Lancaster and York ranks with a free helm and chestpiece combo modeled after the Scottish Gallowglass mercernaries.

"Covered in mail and ready to cut down Englishmen for cold hard coin, the Scottish Gallowglass mercenaries brought brute force and fighting spirit to the battlefields like none could. Now is your chance to become one of them," reads the update announcement. It's almost as if you inhabit the soul of a claymore-swinging Highlander sealed within the scuffed chainmail and steel.

The patch notes also mention a revamp of how much protection each type of armor affords for wearers. Cloth armor now negates 10 percent damage, leather 20 percent, mail 30 percent, and plate 60 percent. Maces ignore armor entirely but deal less damage, and axes dispense the harshest punishment at the cost of speed.

Overall, the tweaks seem balanced enough, but as any feudal knight knows, the best measure of merit lies in taking up arms and experiencing the changes yourself. For those who've done so already, do you think these changes are needed? Let's hear it in the comments!
Product Release - Valve
Two new Armor Sets for War of the Roses are now available on Steam!

The House of Lancaster Armor Set and the The House of York Armor Set allow you to paint your armor in the colors of your preferred House and conquer your foes!

PC Gamer
Steam Holiday Sale

Valve kicked off its epic Steam Holiday Sale today, offering heavy discounts, flash sales, and catalog clearances lasting until January 5. And before we start drifting dangerously into wallet-pun territory, know you'll be able vote for a select game every 12 hours to go on sale.

Here's a sampling of the sales and flash deals (if you can call a 15-hour timespan a "flash") available for purchase right now:

60% off Natural Selection 2 ($10/£6)
50% off War of the Roses ($15/£9)
50% off Borderlands 2 ($30/£18.50)

The current nominees for the Community's Choice sale are Limbo, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Braid. The winner gets 75 percent taken off its price. And if, by some small chance, a specific game deal you're seeking isn't there, Valve can notify you when it shows up if you add the title to your wishlist. Wonderful.

Ready to get shopping? Deep breath, and go.
PC Gamer
war of the roses

In the spirit of the season, we've teamed up with non-profit gaming clan service Gamersplatoon.net to give away a bunch of copies of War of the Roses: Digital Deluxe Edition. The game just got a very festive patch and the deluxe edition comes with the House of Lancaster DLC and an assortment of cuirasses and helms to keep your snug in these wintry times. Five copies are up for grabs each and every day between now and Christmas.

All you have to do is register a new account on Gamersplatoon.net, and credit "PC Gamer" as the referrer. Like so:

Gamersplatoon will then draw five names from their gleaming silver helm each day and issue copies of the game to the lucky winners.

Easy. Plus, Gamersplatoon is worth checking out, anyway: said to be the largest non-profit gaming organization in the world, they have a community comprised of more than 240 PC gaming clans from 18 different countries. Membership is free and gets you access to all kinds of good stuff: free game servers, clan sponsorship, free game keys for new PC games and early access to alphas and betas (they were the first community to receive access to the War Z alpha). They also have the largest TeamSpeak channel with well over 200 concurrent users at any given hour.

Here's GamersPlatoon's own explanation of its service, in consumable bullet-point form:

Dedicated channels in our Teamspeak server. You may have private channels as well as public. We will migrate all of your ranks and tags into our server if you wish. Although we promote socialising with other communities, we respect your independence and privacy. We give you the opportunity to administrate your Teamspeak channels to include having passwords on your channels, without forcing you to interact with the community.

Upon request, leaders will be given admin rights to servers located in their region.

You can take part in our events, tournaments and competitions without charge and stand a chance of winning cash rewards and other prizes.

You can earn GPP which you can invest in your own GamersPlatoon bank account at 2% weekly interest rate, convert into hard cash, or even use to purchase games along with other promotional items attire from the GP Market.

Dedicated forums on our website. You may have as many moderators as you like with the option to have private forums. This feature is not only directed towards communities that do not have their own forums but is also a major benefit for communities that are looking for growth and advertisement.

You will be able to access pool of clan-less members who are looking to join a clan. This is a major benefit for clans that are looking for growth.

You will be protected. We only allow clans/communities to recruit members from GamersPlatoon that are not already part of a clan/community under the GamersPlatoon umbrella. This is our responsibility and aim to grow your clan/community. However, if there is a mutual agreement between both parties that a player/s can be recruited from either side, then you may do so.

We are always headhunting for talent in GamersPlatoon whether it be Server Admins, Teamspeak Officers or Senior Management positions. All the staff at GamersPlatoon Organization receive monthly pay checks in the form of GP Points as a reward for their efforts in the community. Simply apply in our forums or on Teamspeak and our staff will assist you.

PC Gamer
War of the Roses Winter thumb

Winter was coming. Now it's here. Like a particularly bothersome unwanted guest, it's turned up at your doorstep and is busy driving up your heating bills and loudly wondering why you aren't wearing that lovely jumper that your nan got you last year. To mark the occasion, Paradox will be releasing the aptly titled "Winter Has Arrived" update for War of the Roses, their 15th Century team-based battler.

The free content pack will add new weapons, new armour and two seasonally snow-covered battlefields: Wakefield and Towton.

Winter Has Arrived will be available from tomorrow. Additionally the Paradox team will be livestreaming a full demonstration of the patch on December 20 from 7pm (GMT) over at their Twitch channel.
PC Gamer

We reported recently that Paradox has created a permanent team to produce ongoing content for War of the Roses. We're just now getting some info on what that's going to look like. Before the end of the year we can expect seven new weapons, new armor options including Knights Hospitaller plate, and even some new maps and game modes.

The new hardware coming in the first content update is themed around the Knights Hospitaller, one of the most famous chivalric orders in history, and includes:

Milanese Knights Hospitaller crafted heavy armor
One new helmet and four new visors
Seven new weapons: gothic mace, rondel dagger, halberd, Hospitaller poleaxe, horn spanned crossbow, new arming sword, and an Italian side sword

Later in the year, we can expect two snowy maps, and a game mode called Pitched Battle. Of the latter, we are told nothing except that players will "learn to value their lives." Joining the current team deathmatch and capture point-based melees, it almost sounds like it might be a Counter-Strike-esque, "You die, you're dead for the round" kind of thing. We'll be keeping our eyes and our swords sharp for more info on this advancing content.
PC Gamer

I have an armed badger on my head. He’s a mocking crest that I added to my helmet to stand out in battle, so that the last thing opponents would see when they died was a wobbling, poleaxe-wielding melinae of doom. I call him my badger of dishonour.

War of the Roses, Fatshark’s third-person multiplayer knight lark, is a funny, well-crafted, limited little game where you fight for the right to make your knight look as imposing, or as ridiculous, as you can.

You begin as a footman for the houses York or Lancaster, fighting conquest or team deathmatch versions of the battles that split the Plantagenets. They’re fought in fields and villages, with swords, axes and longstaffs. It’s mostly melee, with bows for those who can’t do without crosshairs.

The sword-wielding, shield-toting everyman of the war, the footman, introduces you to a game of slow, tactical battles in the mud. Sword blows are primed for power and angled according to a pre-strike mouse swing. They can be blocked with a shield, or parried with a blade and countered if you’re swift enough.

The action sits somewhere between the loose lunges of Skyrim and the deft deliverance of Dark Messiah: slightly spammy, but with moments of lovingly captured brutality and emergent silliness. When I was defeated in one fight, as the enemy stood over me to perform his execution he was killed. I was revived and given the honour of executing him instead, which I took. Then I took an arrow in the knee (really) and hit the ground again.

Each hit brings XP and gold (executions and revivals drop huge amounts). It’s generous: you’ll easily have enough to unlock other roles and plenty of perks and armour within a day’s play. Even though the predefined knights are well-balanced, the custom knight is something to aim for.

Building your own means tweaking everything. A tweaked crossbowman doesn’t just carry a bow. He has a steel-spanned, push-levered crossbow fitted with armour-piercing arrows. A sword can be made of different steels and grinds, and you can add one of three fighting styles. While the weapons are balanced with negatives (slower, weaker), selecting from the pile of perks could speed up your reload, add more arrows, or let you see enemy and friendly health.

Some concerns did rust up my armour: there’s no minimap, which meant some wandering to find the fights during team deathmatch, and it can be tough figuring out how much life you have left in you. There is no singleplayer, just bot-based training skirmishes. And with such easily bought perks, you’ll see everything War of the Roses has to offer in the first day – by day two, you’re no longer in unlock heaven, and the battlegrounds will already feel familiar. But it’s a nice change of pace to our current gun culture.

PC Gamer

Apparently, the just released medieval face-stabbing simulator War of the Roses is doing pretty well, as Paradox Interactive has formed a permanent team to develop future content for the franchise. “The game’s reception from players has exceeded expectations and we are truly grateful for the continued support from the community," Executive Producer Gordon Van Dyke said in a press release. "We’ll continue to improve the game and add substantial content for all players.”

War of the Roses already offers lots of customization with weapons and perks, but there is plenty of room for expansion. Armor, in particular, could use some more fleshing out. There aren't that many options, and the ones that are available don't include all of the sub-options that you get with weapons. More maps and mounted/ranged combat options would also be nice.

In the meantime, if you're having trouble enjoying the existing content on account of repeatedly being killed or maimed, check out our seven tips to make you a beast on the battlefield.
PC Gamer

I don't want to brag, but... okay, I do want to brag. I'm good at War of the Roses. This came as a shock seeing how mediocre I usually am at shooters and deathmatch-type games in general. For those of you who might not be very proficient at simulated medieval maiming, I've compiled some tips to help you lead your chosen house to glory.

Which had better be York. York is the correct answer.

1. The starter classes suck
There really isn't any way around this, but it's true. Especially the footman, which is your only option when you first start the game. He comes equipped stock with a sword that can't really do pig droppings to anyone in plate armor unless you can manage to jab them in the eyes, which takes a lot of practice. Until you unlock the Foot Knight (and subsequently, the ability to make a custom class), go for weaker targets like bowmen. Trying your hand against those clanking behemoths on the front lines is only going to frustrate you.

2. Make archers hate you
While you're moving in to slice up some ranged foes with your weaksauce starter sword, you may notice that they have a tendency to fill you with arrows. This is a good time to learn how to make them curse your very name, which will come in handy even when you do unlock better equipment down the line. First, never run out across a big, open field - especially one with buildings overlooking it. Always try to make sure you're not in the same open "lane" for more than a couple seconds, using buildings, walls, and tress to cover your advance. Remember that you can press Ctrl to crouch behind low objects.

When you do have to cross open ground, or you're closing in for the kill, run in an unpredictable zig-zag pattern to throw off the enemy's aim. Once you get in close enough, the fight is practically over. The sword most archers and crossbowmen carry is somehow even worse than the one you have.

3. Perk up
Once you unlock a custom class (which are really the core of the game), you should buy up your perks before anything else. I recommend Shield Breaker and Break Block, as it can be pretty hard to kill shield-bearers without them.

4. Axes are really good, but also really hard to use
My weapon of choice, once unlocked, is the two-handed Galloglaigh Axe. It has enough power, especially once you upgrade it with the right fighting style and components, to make most armor a joke. Which is good, as heavy plate is pretty dominant on most servers right now. The only problem is that power requires you to be extra precise, as only hitting with the head of the axe does damage. If you're pressed right up against someone, you'll just whack them with the haft.

In Single Player training, you can usually find some bots that are standing still. Try out some different swing heights and standing distances to find the "sweet spot" for maximum killosity.

5. Armor is overrated
A lot of people are wearing plate right now, and that's fine. It'll protect you from most one-handed weapons, but a skilled player with the right two-hander, or basically any moderately skilled archer, can punch right through it. So I say, leave it at home. Wear the least encumbering gear you've unlocked, and zip around killing people with little to no regard for your own safety. Yes, this will make you more vulnerable to otherwise laughable things like the archer default sword, but if they can kill you with that glorified butter knife faster that you can cut them completely in half with your giant axe, you're doing something wrong that has nothing to do with the armor you're wearing.

If you don't believe me, ask someone from the beta press events about the annoying guy in the peasant robes. They'll know which one you mean.

6. Heal your teammates... and yourself
It is highly dishonorable to walk right over a comrade in arms who is bleeding out when it only takes you about four seconds to get them back into the fight. They might save your life a few seconds from now. Also, if you have any damage on you whatsoever and there are no enemies nearby, duck somewhere out of archer-sight and patch yourself up. Even if you've only taken a small amount of damage, that could be the difference.

7. Be bold, be chaotic, fear nothing
One who goes into battle hoping to live will surely die, while one who goes into battle expecting to die will emerge victorious. Pretty sure Sun Tzu said that. Or it could have been Zero from Borderlands. I'm not entirely sure. A lot of the frantic melee combat in War of the Roses is about psyching your opponents out. You want them to be afraid of you, and be under the impression that you don't give a baron's chamberpot about them. Move around a lot, take swings even when your timing isn't perfect, and don't seem overly defensive. When you can, flank from unexpected angles.

Now get out there and kill something!


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