Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Sale continues today with huge savings throughout the store! Check back often to take advantage of our eight-hour Flash Sales. You can even help select what goes on sale with our Community's Choice Voting Sales.

In addition to Flash and Vote sales, more than a hundred games and apps will be featured as Daily Deals throughout the sale, with new deals popping up every 24 hours.

Today's Daily Deals include:

Participating in the 2013 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn customers exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect, trade, and craft 10 Holiday Snow Globe Cards that can only be earned during the sale. Every craft of a Holiday Sale badge will also generate a random item drop from 10 participating Free-To-Play games, featuring exclusive in-game items from Warframe, Path of Exile, Team Fortress 2, DOTA 2 and more. These items are both tradable and marketable.

Learn more about this year's Steam Holiday Sale features HERE.

The Steam Holiday Sale will run until 10AM PST, January 2nd. Complete information on Daily Deals, Flash Sales, Community Choice Voting and more can be found HERE.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

What... what on Earth?

[Droning train whistle sounds]

What’s that?

[The sound of an engine chugging, whirring as though fueled by the souls of a thousand blood-puking damned]

No. No, no, no, no, no, no. This can’t be happening. This cannot> be happening. Quick, stay behind me, and whatever you do, DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY INTO ITS–

(more…)

PC Gamer
Skywind


Skyrim is a beautifully vast and sweeping game. Also vast: the possibility of its modding potential. The nomadic fans of Morrowind are crossing those rolling plains of creation, as part of their quest to settle within the safety and shelter of this newer game's engine. Their journey started just over a year ago, and now - while still far from the home stretch - they've made great progress. They've even released a trailer showing just how far they've come.



Skywind is currently on version 0.91, and, according to its makers, still very much in alpha. "You can move around the world, interact with a few things, but the full content of questing, gameplay and many other various elements are not part of the game yet," they write. "These Alpha releases are more for getting people interested, inspired and up-to-date with development so they can help with the project."

Nevertheless, it's a fantastically ambitious project that appears to be progressing nicely. You can download Skywind from the Morroblivion website, stopping only briefly to appreciate how great the word "Morroblivion" is. To play it, you'll need both Skyrim and Morrowind (along with the Tribunal and Bloodmoon expansions) installed on your computer.

Thanks, RPS.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Skywind is a mod that brings Morrowind into the Skyrim engine. It’s like someone at Bethesda took the Morrowind and Skyrim design documents and riffle shuffled them as a party trick, and then forgot to unshuffle them. Somehow–probably through a montage–those files ended up with modders. A less tired Craig would probably recount that montage, but that show-off wasn’t up late playing Starbound and eating takeaway, so you just get facts and trailers. The last time I reported on Skywind, it was just an empty world. You could run around, but you could not do anything, but more recent updates have begun the task of integrating people, monsters, and quests. Which means it might be worth installing. There’s a wee video to demonstrate some of that work. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Tom Cruise!According to international law, I am not allowed to post the video I made playing of myself playing this Skyrim Mod, which changes the fighting music into Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. Now, I’ll admit there hundreds of reasons and at least three court orders that should prevent me from going anywhere near recording equipment, but I am sad that one of them is “A man in his pants enjoying a game and wants you to share it with the world.” It seems like my happiness, and the happiness others would get from it, should override petty rules and regulations, particularly when it involves Skyrim and the Top Gun soundtrack. (more…)

Nov 27, 2013
Announcement - Valve
The Steam Sale is here! For the next six days, take advantage of huge saving on thousands of PC, Mac and Linux titles. Check back often to take advantage of our eight-hour Flash Sales.

Today's Daily Deals include:


Add games to your Steam Wishlist and be notified when a game from your Wishlist goes on sale, or shop for games using the Steam Mobile App, available for iOS and Android.

Be sure to check Steam every day to see new featured deals.

PC Gamer
Skyrim Unbound

Isn't starting a new character in an RPG the best? Sure, it's great being a high-level badass with an arsenal of weapons and spells and enough loot to choke a dragon. But there's something about starting over from scratch, when every rusty dagger is a priceless treasure and every minor monster is a genuine threat. Let's all start a new character in Skyrim, and let's all use the Skyrim Unbound mod. It makes starting over an adventure in itself.
Skyrim Unbound is designed to give you a fresh start to the game. You've played through the original Helgen opener enough, right? You've been the Dragonborn plenty of times. You've slain so many dragons you need to build an extra room on your house just to store their bones. This time, let's skip all that. You can save the world later. For now, let's just get busy living in it.


There are tons of places to start your game. Or you can let the mod pick one for you.
When you start a new game, you'll see the Skyrim title card, and then a notification to visit the mod configuration menu. There, you can select the options you want to start your game with. You can pick a specific starting point, the place in the world your new character will appear, or just specify the type of area you’d like to start in (city, town, wilderness, inn, even a jail cell). Don't care where you start, or want to be surprised? Leave it on random, and the game will decide.
There are several types of characters to choose from: you can be a hunter/explorer, a warrior, a mage, a merchant/traveler, a thief/assassin, and even a beggar. The type of character you pick will determine the type of gear and clothing you begin with. A hunter will have a bow, a mage will have a staff and a couple spells, a warrior will have a starter set of armor and a nice big melee weapon, a merchant will have a fat purse of gold. A beggar, naturally, will have just some ragged clothing and a few coins. None of this modifies your actual stats, just your starting gear, and you'll still get to customize your character's race, gender, and appearance before you begin playing.


I picked a thief/assassin. And that is definitely the vibe I am getting.
As far as dragons themselves go, you’ve got a number of options. You can turn them off completely, allowing yourself to pretend they have not yet awoken. You can activate just the scripted dragon encounters (which take place at word walls and burial grounds) so you'll still have a few dragons to slay. Or, you can turn on the random encounters as well, so they'll appear in the game as they usually do.
You can turn dragon soul absorption off, allowing you to fight and kill dragons without absorbing their souls, as if you were a run-of-the-mill adventurer instead of the fabled Dragonborn. Best of all, you can always adjust your dragon options later, meaning you won’t be married to any particular dragon-related setup. If you do want to become the Dragonborn at some point in your game, just enable the dragons, absorb a dragon soul, and then visit those old guys on the top of the mountain. That’ll kick off the main Skyrim quest. And, until then, no one will accuse you of being the Dragonborn.

If you don't want to choose a character class or starting spot, the mod is happy to do it for you. Just launch the game with everything set on random, and see what happens. Once I spawned as a warrior at a campsite. A couple hunters were staring at me as if I just stepped out of the gloom to warm my hands at their fire. Another time, I appeared as a thief inside a fort filled with bandits, as if I'd just snuck in to loot the place. Another character of mine appeared at a tavern, as if he were just another weary traveler looking for a drink before going on his way. It's fun, and it lends itself to role-playing and building a little story for your new character. Who are they? What are they doing here? And, where are they going next?


Normally I'd pick the lock, but this time I'm just a lowly merchant. I know: I'll sleep my way out!
One time I got a merchant character who started in a jail cell. Perhaps he'd been doing some shady dealings. Maybe he was more of a con man, a thief in merchant's clothing. Boom. I've already got a story for him. Another time, I appeared as as an assassin in the town of Rorikstead. I could only assume I was there to murder one of the residents. Boom. Story. Another time, I spawned near a Forsworn settlement near Morthal, and they immediately attacked. Now my character is committed to wiping out the Forsworn. Whoops, no, he's dead. But if he hadn't died, he'd totally have a story!


No need to create a back-story for this fellow. The Forsworn saw to that.
Skyrim Unbound is a great way to kick off a new adventure. (I only wish I'd had it back when I wrote The Elder Strolls.) Leave the Dragonborn stuff aside for the moment, roll up a new character, and see where they land. It won't be long before you've created a new story and are living a new life.


Who is that mysterious Argonian at the bar? Somebody? Nobody? I guess it could be anybody.
Installation: Two choices here. You can subscribe to it through the Steam Workshop. When you start a new game, you'll be presented with a series of prompts on the type of character you want, where you'd like to be placed in the world, and so on.
To get the most out of this mod, however, you’ll also want to subscribe to SkyUI, which means also installing and launching the game with the Skyrim Script Extender (long-ish video on how to install and launch the game with SKSE here). This will allow you to configure the mod through the menu screen and change your dragon-related options later in the game. This is how I used the mod for this column, and I definitely recommend using it alongside SkyUI and SKSE.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Move over, giant lizard pig monster. You're cluttering up all the pretty.

H… h… h… hey there, Lichdom. Gee, you sure are pretty. Why, you’re basically what Skyrim would’ve been if Bethesda wasn’t still using a 1000-year-old engine. You maybe want to get coffee some– [trips over an inconveniently placed chair, falls out the door, stumbles into a patch of cacti, trips over a hillside, rolls into an errant band of wild boars, loses terribly on an episode of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, crawls broken and defeated back to Lichdom's location] time?

(more…)

PC Gamer
udhead

Necromancy has a bad rap in Skyrim, which is a little weird. With the mountains of corpses the Dragonborn leaves in his wake, you’d think bringing a few of them back from the dead wouldn’t be such a big deal. Undeath, created by modder Antioch08, tasks you with snuffing out a teeming cabal of  necromancers... but it also gives you the option of continuing their evil work, learning their dark secrets, and performing a ritual to transform yourself into a powerful Lich capable of commanding an army of the undead. Which path did I choose? Here's a hint. That image above? That's me.
(A couple notes up front: your character needs to be level thirty or above to play this mod, and it uses assets from the official Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC, so you’ll need both of those. You're also going to need your enchanting skill maxed out, and you should have almost 300 Magicka to really enjoy the fruits of this mod.)


Slaughtering a bunch of innocents? But... that's MY trademark move.
The mod begins with a request to investigate a missing (dead) convoy of Vigilants of Stendarr (those goodie-goodies who stroll around in robes looking for evil-doers). After searching bodies at the scene of the ambush, I discover one of the attackers was kind enough to carry his orders with him, nicely written down on paper, just as you'd expect from a super-secret cabal determined to hide their existence from the world at large. This clue leads me to a secluded tower, where one particular necromancer has left a few journals detailing his plans to unlock a dark ritual that will allow him to become a powerful Lich. He’s also sent some followers on several missions across Skyrim to collect important objects he’ll need to complete the ritual.


Since they already dug him up... couldn't hurt to open the coffin for a little peek. Right?
After tracking down one of these groups, who are digging up a dead priest with the intent on cutting out his heart, the mod gives me a choice. I can rebury the priest and go on with my mission to extinguish this evil plot, which seems like the sensible thing to do. OR. I can, y'know, finish digging up the priest and cut out his heart and stick it in my pocket, thus completing the necromancers mission, only without the necromancers, because I just killed them.
I take the heart. Why not? The hard work is already done, and the guy is already dead, and I've been meaning to dabble in necromancy anyway.


A human skull in the pot, throw in a couple mushrooms... baby, you've got a stew goin'!
After tracking down and killing another group of acolytes, I find that they were brewing a weird potion up top of a hill. They’ve done most of the work already, and the recipe is nearby as well. Again, I'm given the option to dump their cauldron on the ground, putting an end to this evil business! But, I hate to see a meal go to waste, and most of the ingredients are close by... what the heck! Soup's on!


The commute is a bitch, but the necromancers must pay very little rent out here.
Eventually, I've killed all the necromancer dweebs and completed their tasks for them, because they're all to busy being killed by me to do it themselves. Now that I've got all their leader's precious belongings, it only stands to reckon that I hunt him down and kill him too, thus ending his evil plot. And beginning mine.


Did I come at a bad time?
I find the leader deep underground in a massive network of ruins and tunnels, and mow my way through his remaining assistants and skeletons before hacking him to death. If I were interested in putting an end to his plans, I guess the mod would be over right then and there. However, I’m not looking to just kill a bunch of hooded weirdoes for the fun of it. Imma be a Lich!
Becoming a Lich is not exactly easy, however. The head necromancer is dead, but I need to figure out exactly what he was doing before I can continue his work. I read his notes and scour the massive dungeon, eventually locating some hidden items and placing them in the right spots. Then, after finding a massive Black Book, I'm whisked away to the weird library dimension of Apocrypha.


This is not a toilet.
I won’t go into details, but the library dimension kind of sucks (it kind of sucked in the Dragonborn DLC as well). You have to run around with a torch (the darkness physically hurts you) getting attacked by the same monster over and over and looking for switches to open gates so you can collect a bunch of items to place in the right spots. This takes roughly forever, but eventually, I've completed the quest and I'm whisked back to the real world.


Starting to think necromancy might be a little evil or something.
Once I’m back in Tamriel, there's more work to be done before I can Lich-out all over everyone. I require a few more items and a secluded spot to perform the forbidden ritual. As it happens, a shadowy merchant called The Broker has been watching me hack my way to the top of the necromancy ladder, and sends me a note, via courier, inviting me to check out her ghoulish shop, where I can purchase most of what I need, including the deed to a nice underground lair where I can transform with some privacy.
More work follows, of the gathering kind, then the crafting kind, then the enchanting kind, and finally, after closely following the intricate instructions, I glug an evil potion of my own making and drop stone dead on the floor. Whoops! Missed a step.


A side-effect of becoming undead is becoming dead.
I reread everything, try again, and this time it pays off. I'm a Lich!


Houston, we have Lich-Off.
Returning to the surface in human form, I step into Solitude, ready to unleash my powerful evil upon the city. I transform into a Lich, hovering above the ground, bathed in eldritch magic. All will tremble at my hideous shade! All will die at my bony hand! All will be raised as my willing zombie servants! And then a courier walks up and tells me he's got a delivery for me.


Dude. DUDE. C'mon. Tryin' to be an evil skeleton ghost monster and you're FUCKING RUINING IT.
Well. Not quite the dramatic display of unspeakable evil I spent the last four or five hours unlocking. Still, after the courier wanders off, completely nonplussed at delivering a telegram to a TERRIFYING HOVERING LICH, I'm free to (somewhat sheepishly) cast spells, terrorize the locals, blast them with magic, and raise those who have fallen to fight for me.
Except for the damn Apocrypha level, this mod is pretty great (and quite challenging). There's also apparently a ton of extra content I didn't even get to. It's also the most reading-intensive mod I've played, and knowing what to do and how to do it is dependent on the careful reading of journals and books. Pick up all the new books and journals you find! Read them! Take them with you! It's the only way you'll become a Lich like me.
Installation: Download the mod here. I used the Nexus Mod Manager to install it, and you should too, because while there's a manual download, I don't see any manual installation instructions anywhere. This mod also doesn't really hold your hand except in the early quests, so if you get stuck, read the FAQ contained on this page.
PC Gamer
Elder Scrolls Online flame atronach


A new post on the Elder Scrolls Online blog offers a look at the creation of everyone’s favorite flaming daedra, the flame atronach. The ESO dev team has been focusing on lots of flickering flame effects and suitably creepy demonic sound effects to bring the creatures to life.



“Sound effects are critical for any creature—especially for one with so many kinds of movements and attacks,” the post reads. “Most of us are familiar with the kinds of sounds fire can make, but how do we create believable audio for a creature of animate, magical flame? Our Sound Designers get a good look at creatures and their animations before they get to work to get an idea of the kinds of sounds they’ll need to create. For the flame atronach, they imagined how its various attacks would sound right away. Utilizing huge sound libraries, they found sounds for swinging torches, campfires, and even an actual geyser.”

The video shows off a lot of details in a short time. There’s enchanted weapons, dual-wielding, a first-person perspective and dodging attacks with combat rolls. There’s also the inevitable death that comes when you charge face-first into a group of flame atronachs. And with a fire damage weapon? Come on, guy, it’s like you’re not even trying.



Elder Scrolls Online is shaping up quickly, aiming for an early 2014 launch. Check out Chris's impression from his hands-on time back in May.
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