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You don't kill your way to victory in a gruelling round of on luck alone. Anyone who's survived a hundred-man deathmatch and come out on top will tell you that having a solid strategy is the key. Some players (like me) avoid conflict as much as necessary as the bloodbath transpires. Some players rush high-value loot areas to secure the best gear. And then there are those that intentionally flip one of Battlegrounds' disused cars so they can turtle inside it.
Earlier this week YouTuber and his partner stumbled into a pretty killer tactic to survive the chaos of the first 20 minutes. En route to a bunker, they accidentally flipped their sedan and landed upside down. Now, most people would do the logical thing and get out of the car, use a bandage to recover the health they lost from flipping over, and continue on foot. But not these two geniuses.
For about 20 minutes, they sat upside down in the car and waited. At one point, Sir Lance scores an amazing kill despite being upside down with his view obstructed by the long grass—one of the most badass things I've seen in Battlegrounds so far. Eventually Sir Lance and his pal are forced to abandon the vehicle as the deadly electric field, which effectively narrows the size of the map, closes in. At that point they're in such good shape from avoiding combat that they don't have much trouble winning the round.
Being a sitting duck might sound stupid, but it works beautifully. As yesterday, Battlegrounds plays like a streamlined, hyperconcentrated Arma. And like Arma, there's no 'command' for flipping an overturned vehicle. And, mercifully, flipped cars also don't explode like they do in most videogames including the other popular battle royale game, H1Z1: King of the Kill.
All this means most players have learned to view overturned vehicles as useless, abandoned objects in the environment. Who could possibly anticipate that someone would be sitting inside of one just waiting? Why would they?
Those two small kinks in the established formula of how we expect vehicles to work in videogames is what makes Sir Lance's tactic so effective. And players have already started exploiting it to hilarious effect. Twitch streamer and three friends piled into a tipped over jeep and waited patiently to ambush players strolling by. With four against one, the element of surprise doesn't matter nearly as much, but that doesn't mean it's not hilarious.
Sadly, I don't think sneaky sedaning is going to fool people for very much longer. With more examples hitting the Battlegrounds subreddit daily, players are beginning to regard any flipped vehicles with an appropriate amount of caution.
That said, it's not like Battlegrounds' cars will go back to only being useful for something as boring as driving. No, no, no. See, the only thing more ingenious than sitting in a car for 20 minutes like a middle-aged parent waiting for their kids to finish school is using that same car for physics-defying feats of strategic prowess. Consider this clip posted to Twitter:
Okay, so not everything in Battlegrounds is realistic, but I'm willing to bend the rules a bit if it means more of these ridiculous stunts.
In an expansion called The Ringed City, it makes sense that rings would be the best loot hidden about. Normally, you need to play New Game Plus to get +3 rings in Dark Souls 3, but in latest DLC, they’re hidden all over the place. If you’re looking to earn a boatload more souls or increase your equip load, don’t miss out. You’re just a ring or two away from never fat-rolling in Smough’s armor ever again.
You’ll find this ring early on in The Dreg Heap. Right where you meet the first angelic butterfly, a walkway runs around a building just before a cathedral where you’ll battle two knights. Feel free to make a suicide run around the walkway while the angelic butterfly is still alive, but eliminating the butterfly by attacking its root just beyond the cathedral is much easier. This ring increases your physical damage absorption, and in a game where you take plenty of physical damage, that sounds like a pretty good deal.
When you enter the swamp area in The Dreg Heap for the first time, you’ll find the Ring of Favor on a tree root directly across the way. This ring increases your max HP, max stamina, and max equip load. I never take it off.
This ring is located near one of the longest and most arduous stretches of the game, just near Shira’s door (she’s the one that asks you to defeat that bigass purple dragon). Head across the bridge where all the lightning wielding enemies are and through the passage beyond. Defeat the Ringed Knight and head all the way to the back. The Seeker of the Spurned should invade. Kill them and they’ll drop the Wolf Ring +3, which gives a +9 to your poise stat—good for PvP. I wasn’t recording when I found it, but this YouTube demonstration from Massive Trigger will show you the way.
This awesome equip load buff is hiding near the Ringed City Streets bonfire. To the left of the main stairs first leading into the swampy streets, you’ll find a ladder. Climb up, head right, and into the tower. Dark Spirit Ledo will spawn, so take them out first for some good loot, then as you drop down on the ledges outside the door you first entered the tower from, Havel’s Ring will be waiting. BeardBear’s video will show you the way.
From The Dreg Heap bonfire, head down, down, down, until just beyond the small cathedral where two knights are praying. From the only way out, take a right and head up. A ton of murk knights will spawn, so you’re better off running past them. In the final room, slash at the left wall to reveal a hidden passage and continue running. At the top room, take a left and knock the ladder down for easy access in the future. Chances are you’re about to get bombed by five murk knights’ humanity attacks. Just beyond them is a walkway leading outside. Head to the end and drop down to the balcony below to grab the ring. It increases the amount of souls gained from defeating enemies. Time to power level.
From the same ladder you used to get to Havel’s Ring, head up the stairs and for left instead of right. You’ll have to fight two Ringed Knights, but I just kite them off the ledge toward the Havel Ring tower to get them out of the way. Head across the bridge, but be wary of some cursed minions. They build that junk up fast. Once the way is safe, head to the end of the path and into the lone room at the end. The ring is inside. In this clip, Lapp is there as I already grabbed the ring. Equipping it increases the chance for enemies to drop items.
Find this ring just down the stairs from the Shared Grave bonfire. You likely passed it earlier, but one of the annexes in the massive circular building has a chest sitting inside. It looks a bit newer than anything around it. Maybe you should kill this chest, just in case. The Ring of the Evil Eye is waiting inside. It gives you small bits of health back for damage done to enemies.
From the Ringed City Inner Wall bonfire, head down the elevator beyond the locked door. It’s a shortcut you’ll need to unlock just beyond the Shared Grave bonfire. As you head down, get ready to roll into a doorway halfway through your descent.
The Fate of the Furious, the eighth film in The Fast and the Furious series, will be out next month. Also coming next month is new Rocket League DLC featuring Dom Toretto's "Ice Charger" as a premium Battle-Car. The package will also include exclusive Wheels and six unique Decals: Clean Cut, Crazy Sandwich, Flames, Rakugaki, Rally, and CCCXL.
Given the proximity to the first of April, I should clarify that this is not (as far as I can tell) an April Fool thing. The press release includes two paragraphs about the DLC followed by seven about the film, Dodge and SRT brands ("the ultimate performance halo"), and Universal, and the trailer, brief as it is, hits all the appropriate promotional notes. And it's not as though Psyonix hasn't done this before: Previous car-related licensed DLC has included Hot Wheels, Batman, and Back to the Future.
The Rocket League: Fate of the Furious DLC will be available on Steam on April 4 and sell for $2. And in case you're wondering what exactly an "Ice Charger" is, Motor Trend describes it as a "heavily-modified vintage Dodge Charger," although the specifics of its upgrades aren't yet known. You can see the real thing being backed out of a trailer for the Dub Show 2016 in the video below, or catch a glimpse of it in movie-land in the Fate of the Furious trailer further down—the relevant bit starts at around 2:50.
The 2017 Hearthstone Winter Championship concluded in the Bahamas this week, with ShtanUdachi defeating Fr0zen to take home the winner's slice of the $250,000 prize pool. Meanwhile, the League of Legends LCS is heating up as we near the final stages of the tournament. There’s plenty to watch from the Dota 2 Asia Championships to the Overwatch: PIT Championship. We even have the Rocket League Championship Series to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.
League of Legends: 2017 EU LCS Spring Split
The Giants had another tough week and they desperately tried to climb up from the bottom rankings, but G2 and Fnatic crushed their hopes of making it to this year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, Roccat managed to surprise everyone with their 2-0 victory over Misfits, which has given the team a chance to rival Fnatic for third place. Vitality on the other hand continued to prove that they are one of the most inconsistent teams in the EU LCS. They played extremely passive against Splyce, which resulted in two games with a lot of one-sided action. Vitality looked like a completely different team when they played their second series against H2k. Game one went in H2K’s favour, but Vitality’s managed to come back in game two by creating pressure around the map. However, a Baron throw saw H2K steal away game three and they broke open Vitality’s Nexus after a very close performance. This week’s schedule and stream can be found over on .
League of Legends: 2017 NA LCS Spring Split
Cloud9’s series against Dignitas was a close one, but a clutch teamfight and major plays from Jensen’s Orianna gave C9 the power they need to dominate Dignitas. Phoenix1 were next on C9’s hit list and they proved critics wrong when they beat P1 2-0, which landed them with a place in this year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, Dignitas managed grab their playoff spot by eliminating Immortals, and they’ll be looking to secure another decisive win against Phoenix1.
Meanwhile, Team Liquid tried to avoid relegation in week nine by picking up two victories against TSM and FlyQuest. Team Liquid’s managed to beat TSM after DoubleLift’s Ezreal obliterated TSM’s bot-lane and carried his team to victory. However, FlyQuest’s Hai managed to stop them dead in their tracks with his Talon plays, and he secured a playoffs spot for FlyQuest and a promotion tournament spot for Team Liquid. The summer promotion starts today and the full schedule and stream can be found over on .
Dota 2: Asia Championships
The Dota 2 Asia Championships group stage finished with Empire and OG taking the helm for the western teams entering the upper bracket, while Newbee and Invictus Gaming are the two Chinese representatives. The main event will feature a double elimination bracket, and the winners of each group will battle it out for a chance to land a place at the lan finals. OG and Newbee are kicking things off in the upper bracket today at 18:00 PDT / 03:00 CEST, while LGD.Forever Young will tackle iG Vitality in the lower bracket tomorrow at 02:00 PDT / 11:00 CEST. The full weekend schedule and stream can be found by heading over to the .
Overwatch: APEX Season 2
Lunatic-Hai faced Meta Athena on Tuesday during a tense semifinal match which saw the previous runner-up’s take Athena down for their third chance to win a major championship. Lunatic-Hai obliterated Athena on both Nepal and Eichenwalde, and they continuously punished their over-aggressive plays with decisive payload pushes. Lunatic-Hai will now face RunAway in the APEX finals on April 8th, but the APEX action doesn’t stop there as Meta Athena will take on LW Blue to contest the bronze title. The match begins today at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST and you can catch all the action over on .
Overwatch: PIT Championship
The best Overwatch teams from Europe and North America have been busy fighting it out for their chance to claim the PIT title and their share of a $15,000 prize pool. Ninja’s in Pyjamas and Misfits are currently at the top of the European bracket, but this could soon change. SNG Ninjas and Movistar Riders are kicking this weekend’s action off today at 09:00 PDT / 18:00 CEST, while the North American branch will see Rise take on LG Evil later at 16:00 PDT / 01:00 CEST. Both the European and North American , while the stream can be found over on .
Rocket League: Championship Series
Week three of the Rocket League Championship: Series is underway this weekend when NRG take on Denial Esports this Saturday at 12:00 PDT / 21:00 CEST. So far Selfless look to be the team to beat as they recently qualified for the playoffs with four wins. If Selfless can beat Atelier and G2 Esports this weekend, they can easily hang on to the top spot in North America. Meanwhile, European team Pocket Aces now sit at the top of the leaderboard after beating both Penta and Cow Nose in week two. The previous European leaders The Leftovers will be looking for a decisive win when they tackle Penta this Sunday. Make sure you check out out the full schedule and stream over on the official
Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City is a much bigger expansion than Ashes of Ariandel, and it has a few surprises up its billowing sleeves that you might struggle to find. One of those is a hidden boss who'd be better off staying hidden, if you ask me. My pride as a Dark Souls expert is gone at this point. It’s definitely one of the harder fights in the game.
To get there, you’ll need to be a good chunk of the way through the DLC, so turn back if you’re worried about spoilers.
From the Shared Grave bonfire, head across the bridge and take care of the ‘problem’ if you haven’t already. Head upstairs and look right to find the Ringed City Wall elevator shortcut. Halfway through, you’ll need to jump into a doorway that passes by. I recommend heading all the way up to unlock the door to the Ringed City Wall bonfire first. If you die, and you definitely will, it’s going to be home base for all your attempts.
Once you disembark in the elevator shaft, go left and head down the stairs. You’ll enter a circular room lined with statues. Swing at the statue immediately to the right of the glowing loot to reveal a hidden path. Continue down the stairs and head down the ladder. Things are about to go down (ha ha—but really, you need to go down some more).
Pick up the items and summon help if you’re feeling nervy. From here, you’ll just need to drop down into the deep, dark hole at the far back of the room. The rest is all you. Best of luck, Ashen One.
Arma has quietly become a very influential game.
Bohemia Interactive's military sim series has been around for 15 years (including its early life as Operation Flashpoint), but its best ideas are only now being borrowed by some of today's most popular multiplayer games: Ark: Survival Evolved, H1Z1: King of the Kill, Rust, or even low-key open-world co-op romp Ghost Recon Wildlands. Directly and indirectly, these massive-scale shooters build on Arma's legacy of fidelity, big maps, and its make-your-own-fun mentality.
Add PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds to that list. Born from the Arma mod (which became the basis for H1Z1: King of the Kill), Battlegrounds is the latest mutation of the emerging subgenre of the same name. Despite that relatively long period of gestation, Battlegrounds' launch last week wasn't without the expected Early Access bruises. Developer Bluehole seems to be on top of it, issuing its first yesterday, but the reward system . Server performance has struggled here and there. And even on lower settings, my framerate plunges when I look at the biggest cities on the map.
Still, Battlegrounds is the best game of its kind available, thanks in large part to its considerable Arma DNA.
If Arma's tea, Battlegrounds is espresso. Its format compresses the time and space you're accustomed to in sandbox FPSes, dropping you into a 64 km² map (much smaller than Arma 3's 270 km²) that perpetually shrinks in diameter. King of the Kill players know how this system works: a 'safe zone' is marked on the map a few minutes into the match, and all players have to scramble to get inside. Anyone caught outside takes damage over time. Every few minutes, a smaller zone within the previous zone appears, forcing anyone left alive closer together. A match takes 20 minutes at most.
Some core Arma mechanics are purposefully shrunk down, too. Your compass is a fixed part of the UI, not something you have to find, equip, then 'pull out' by hitting a key. Body positioning matters, but you don't have nine different infantry stances to fiddle with. Each gun shoots a different caliber of ammo, but it's an easy system to grasp.
In short: Battlegrounds isn't a simulation, but it retains plenty of Arma's spirit. Using your eyes to spot and track enemies is an essential skill, for example. When you see someone running across a field, there's this 'I know something you don't know' sensation—I can totally shoot this guy, he doesn't see me, you'll think. But like Arma and DayZ, it's usually not a matter of putting them under your crosshairs and jabbing the left mouse button. You want to wait until they're out in the open, when they're checking their inventory, when they're preoccupied and aloof. In these moments, I love the way Battlegrounds asks me to think critically and examine an enemy's body language, check which towns are nearby, or guess based on the state of the ever-changing safe zone what that enemy might do next.
Like Arma, too, you should play it with friends. Scrounging for loot is more satisfying when you're filling in each other's equipment gaps ("Anyone got any 7.62mm?") and announcing big finds over voice chat. Moments of leadership emerge: deciding when to jump out of the plane at the start, deciding which group of buildings to raid next, figuring out the right time to ditch a vehicle. Someone's got to make those calls, and I like that Battlegrounds makes me feel the disappointment when they go wrong alongside .
Other than the performance imperfections and untenable gunshot sounds, I'm only curious, and slightly concerned, about how quickly Battlegrounds might age. Although it's a prettier, grittier, and more deliberate game than King of the Kill, those who've already put a ton of time into battle royale might eventually feel like Battlegrounds is a better-fitting set of pants. The Early Access offering is shallow: a map, essentially one mode, and the mildly satisfying lure of awaiting you in the loot system. It'll be interesting to see if the devs can keep pace with the game's burgeoning community.
Overall, Battlegrounds' approach to simplifying simulation-style systems and mechanics is successful. Many of my gaming friends who bounced off of Arma because they perceived it as too unwieldy are diving in, and those who haven't yet have been asking me enthusiastically about whether they should. I'm glad to have a short-form gateway game to sell them on the fun of FPS fidelity.
The first boss in The Ringed City, the final DLC for Dark Souls 3, feels like it was designed to be a co-op battle. You face off against two giant flying demons, the Demon in Pain and the Demon from Below, and after taking those two out, one morphs into The Demon Prince for a final, prolonged showdown. But if you’re a stubborn Souls player and must finish everything on your own (and I understand), here’s what to keep in mind when taking on the final demons.
The first phase is all about spatial awareness. One demon is always aggressive and glowing orange, coming at you with a few swiping and leaping attacks that are all telegraphed well ahead of time. Dodge-roll like you were born to. Just keep in mind that the other demon is hanging back and puking up toxic clouds this whole time and chances are, if you’re not paying enough attention, his toxic puke attacks will intersect with where you’re dodge-rolling. Their toxic attacks are also telegraphed with animations and sound and well ahead of time. Mostly, they’re meant to be a distraction from the aggressive demon coming your way. If you don’t trust yourself to keep track of that jerk in the back, equip some toxic-resist rings and bring plenty of Blooming Purple Moss Clumps, just in case.
From here, it’s a test of skill. By now, you should have your invincibility frame window for dodge-rolling down, so observe the aggressive demon’s fairly simple move set—he swipes and charges—and respond appropriately. Take a swing or two between attacks, back off, and observe again. As always, getting overzealous in Dark Souls will be the reason most folks die. With enough consecutive hits to the face, you can stun the big bats and go in for a critical hit that does a ton of damage and knocks them over for more.
At some point, the aggressive demon will exhaust their power, their orange glow will fade, and they’ll start puking toxic fumes too. When this happens, the other demon will light up shortly after, becoming orange and angry while their bro takes a breather. Swapping places doesn’t do much to change up the fight other than to encourage you to focus on whatever health bar has been depleted the most so far. If you think you can keep track of the aggressive demon while finishing off the toxic demon, go for it, but I’d just stick to whatever rhythm you’re most comfortable in. This fight can go on for a long, long time, as you’ll soon find out.
Oh cool! A new life bar appears once you take out the two demons, a battle which is already as difficult as any from the main game. Now you need to kill The Demon Prince, who doesn’t behave very princely. This bigger, more fiery bat likes to fly and leap all around the arena, which makes him hard to keep up with. Even when he's vulnerable after a move for a hit or two, the prince is probably on the other side of the cavern. Distance shouldn’t be too much of an issue, so long as you learn to read the prince’s attacks to predict their position.
Meteor shower - When you get close, sometimes the prince looks up and wails, summoning a few molten boulders fall from the sky. They fall slowly and if you know they’re coming, just back off and strafe, but don’t run away. The prince will rest, giving you a short window to attack.
Divebomb - When the prince flies up, he’ll wind up and dive down, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. Dodge out of the way and sprint to where the prince lands. He rests for a second or two, leaving him open to attack.
Fire spheres - The prince will cup his hands and summon two balls of fire that spit smaller fireballs at you. He prince likes to leap backwards after summoning the balls, which pushes out a gust of air that can knock you on your bottom. Give chase, but don’t stand still and avoid approaching directly. Zig-zag, dodge roll a bit, and make your way to the prince, who will likely take a few swipes at you, leaving him open for a few hits of your own.
This GIF demonstrates what not to do.
Fireballs - If the prince cups one hand and summons a single fireball, he's about to hop into the air and toss it your way. Advice: don’t get hit. The sphere doesn’t move super fast, so don’t jump the gun on that dodge roll too soon.
The greatest challenge in this long fight is patience. The Demon Prince’s inflated health bar and inability to stand still means each attempt can take upwards of 10 minutes as you dip and dodge around every fire attack, chipping away all the while.
There's always something else to try:
You can summon the NPC Lapp on the ledge right before dropping into the arena.
You can also summon NPC Slave Knight Gael at the bonfire right before the arena.
Upgrade those weapons. Enemies in The Ringed City are Titanite pinatas.
Just summon some co-op friends. Praise the sun. What else is it there for?
CD Projekt's summary of its 2016 financial results reveals, in case there was any question, that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and the entire Witcher trilogy, have been a huge success. Total sales of The Witcher 3 over the year-and-a-half following its release exceeded $250 million, and the trilogy as a whole has now sold more than 25 million copies.
That sales figure isn't broken down by title, but according to Wikipedia the first game had moved about two million copies across its original and Enhanced Editions by 2010—that's PC only, by the way, making it an even more impressive accomplishment—and CD Projekt announced in late 2013 that it and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings had collectively sold six million units. The Witcher 3 sold that much all by itself in just six weeks following its May 2015 release, and in March 2016 the studio said the series had surpassed 20 million combined unit sales—and that was before the release of the trilogy-ending Witcher 3: Blood and Wine DLC.
In fact, the summary states that even though CD Projekt sunk "unprecedented" amounts of money into its ongoing projects in 2016—Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent, and the Witcher 3 expansion Blood and Wine—it was still able to put up a "positive cash flow" of $52 million for the year.
"For years we have consistently prioritized quality and focused on a limited range of products. The persistently strong sales of the entire The Witcher series vindicate our approach and contribute to long-term appeal of our releases," CD Projekt president Adam Kiciński said. "This year we will continue to expand The Witcher brand—it is, after all, the year of Gwent. We’re in the process of organizing the game’s first major tournament, with a $100,000 prize pool. Another crucial round of beta tests will commence in spring, with the retail release to follow in the second half of 2017."
I did not have the nerve to reach out to original Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski for comment, but I do honestly feel badly for him.
Prior to its release this week, Dark Souls 3's second and final offering of DLC—The Ringed City—was thought to be the action role-player series' curtain call. From Software president Hidetaka Miyazaki has now all but confirmed this in an upcoming interview with Japanese publication Famitsu.
Translated by Twitter user Black Kite (via wccftech), Miyazaki tells Famitsu that the Dark Souls series is completely finished as of The Ringed City add-on "at least for now". Miyazaki also says he and From Software "don't have any future plans for it" looking ahead.
While this underscores the fact The Ringed City is the end of the line for the series, Miyazaki does concede he hasn't implemented everything he'd hope to and while not perfect believes the series is "blessed".
Looking to the future, Miyazaki says he's working on a "number of games that should be interesting", however isn't concerned if they mirror the Souls games or not.
So what's next, then? Might we see Bloodborne on PC, or perhaps From Software returning to the Armored Core series? Your guess is as as good as mine—share it in the comments below.
We Happy Few, the adventure survival game "set in a drug-fuelled, retro-futuristic city" has just received a new update in the form of Maidenholm. It's a big one too: not only does it introduce a new island, but it also "represents the biggest change to the meta gameplay" of We Happy Few since it launched, according to a new devblog.
The biggest factor to that change is the introduction of new playstyles, which function like difficulty settings but on a more complicated scale. The Birdwatcher playstyle has no hunger or thirst meters, NPCs are easier to kill and "aren't as bloodthirsty" and there are more resources. Meanwhile, the Downer playstyle has hunger and thirst at "normal levels" while Vigilante basically ups the ante in every way possible. More thorough explanations are over on the blog.
Other changes include more varied regions (hamlets, forests, meadows will break up the urban sprawl), and a tonne of additions and fixes too numerous to list here. It's worth checking out the trailer below if you're interested.
The update follows the Clockwork update from last December, which added to a game which, when it first launched onto Early Access, still needed a fair bit of work. If you're playing it, let me know how it's progressing in the comments!