Path of Exile

Try to play Diablo 2 today and you'll probably realized how poorly some of its pieces have aged. Killing hordes of demons is still fun, but the cumbersome nightmare of managing inventory and lack of viable character builds means Diablo 2 isn't good for much more than a quick jaunt down memory lane. ARPGs have just become so much better since 2000. 

But what if you could take all the modern innovations of a game like Path of Exile and bring them to Diablo 2? Enter Path of Diablo, a server mod that makes Diablo 2 feel new again by fixing some of its most outdated designs and revamping the entire endgame—all while staying true to Diablo 2 in ways that total conversion mods like Median XL don't. "This Diablo 2 community server has one main goal: Increase build diversity and replayability with as little changes to the original experience as possible," reads the mod's website. 

Created by GreenDude, Path of Diablo is one of the most popular and active D2 custom servers. Right now there are 180 people logged in. The mod adds some awesome quality of life features to Diablo 2 like an expanded inventory and Path of Exile's loot filters. Using downloaded filters or by customizing your own, you can tailor exactly what loot appears on the ground and what doesn't. No more having to sift through a screen covered in trash loot looking for the precious rares or set items you need.

But the biggest improvements won't be felt until you level up and start building your character. Many Diablo 2 mods add new skills or even complete overhauls of the original classes, but Path of Diablo works to make existing skills much better, instead. Any long-time fan will tell you that Diablo 2 is littered with useless abilities, leaving you with few options for powerful character builds. Drawing inspiration from Path of Exiles' robust skill system, Path of Diablo introduces tons of tweaks to every class.

The community favorite is undoubtedly the Druid, who can now summon every type of minion at once. I'm not quite far enough on my Druid yet to be a bonafide zookeeper, but running around dungeons with an army of wolves and bears looks like a hell of a good time. Another really cool idea is melee splash jewels, which give any single-target melee attack a splash effect. This is a pretty esoteric feature from Path of Exile, but it does wonders for making melee builds as fun as their magic-using peers.

One other major addition is a complete reworking of Diablo 2's endgame to make it more varied like Path of Exile. Once players are level 80 and have beaten the game on Hell difficulty, they can find relics and use them at altars to enter new and incredibly difficult dungeons. "These dungeons offer an optional alternative end-game aimed for high level characters (90+) where they can farm difficult content for experience and loot," reads Path of Diablo's features list. Every relic has a tier and the higher it is the more dangerous and rewarding the dungeon. It's a cool system that should definitely ease the numbing pain of boss runs or cow farming.

I've been playing Path of Diablo all morning and having a blast. It's the perfect mix of classic Diablo 2 nostalgia with just the right injection of quality of life fixes and new features to feel interesting. Even better, the community is incredibly active. There's a subreddit, Discord, in-game global chat, and even a website for trading items with other players. New ladders happen every three to four months along with new patches that should keep things fresh.

If you're interested, you can watch the video below to learn how to get the mod up and running. It only took me about 10 minutes and it's a pretty effortless process—just remember to run the launcher as an administrator. If you're one of the many people don't care for Diablo 3—or even Path of Exile—and just want to relive the glory days, I can't think of a better option.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Pity Skyrim's humble courier. He's charged with tracking you down in an incredibly dangerous fantasy world to deliver notes, letters, and quest instructions. While as the Dragonborn you're definitely recognizable, finding you as you race around the map killing monsters and looting dungeons can't be easy for the young man (though he does at times appear to be quite psychic), and the truly tragic thing is that this poor fellow doesn't even have his own place to live and rest between his deliveries.

Thankfully, celebrated Skyrim modder Arthmoor has stepped in with an equal dose of mod skills and empathy, and the Provincial Courier Service mod is the result, giving our favorite letter-carrier a proper home and base of operations. In it you'll find a desk, a bed, a dining area, a kitchen, and other creature comforts the courier can enjoy when he's not running all over the world trying to stick a letter in your pants.

The mod also provides an optional home delivery service, which means the courier can just bring his missives to your house (or one of your houses, if you're doing quite well) instead of materializing in your immediate vicinity, which certainly sounds like an improvement from his perspective. And, now that you can track him down for a change, you can also swing by his shack during your travels and collect your mail from him there. Everybody wins.

Okay, it's not a palace, just a humble abode, but we can all agree the fellow deserves it. You'll find the courier's new digs on the road outside Whiterun, and you'll find the mod, and the instructions on how to install it, on its page at Nexus Mods.

H1Z1

H1Z1: King of the Kill's latest update introduces a bunch of tweaks, changes, and additions to Daybreak's battle royale shooter. Most notably for those who enjoy playing with friends, team scoring has arrived, which will display alongside individual performances at the end of the match. And, the matches will be ending in lots of new spots from now on: changes to the encircling cloud of death-gas means the final circle will end up in "thousands" of new spots, while other areas, like the edges of the map, have been removed as possible final showdown zones.

The developer video above highlights many of the changes the update brings. There are three new 'points of interest' to fill in a few more empty areas of the map, like a salvage yard and grocery store that served as a military HQ during the zombie invasion. A new skirmish mode has been added, which takes place at night and is restricted to the Pleasant Valley area only. And, Daybreak is working to cut down on cheaters, though details are vague: it simply says it's added "additional measures" in addition to its 24/7 cheat monitoring team. There's also a button for reporting cheaters when you see them.

The pickup truck has been buffed, taking 50 percent less damage from ramming non-destructible objects, and now capable of smashing through fences without taking any damage at all. It's also had its acceleration and top speed increased, all of which should make it a more desirable ride. Meanwhile, the Offroader will no longer lose power when climbing hills, whereas the police car's speed has been nerfed when driving up steep inclines.

Have a look below at the change list, which also includes improvements to the UI and inventory, player spawn locations, and certain loot drops such as laminated armor.

Team scoring

  • Match end screens have been completely reconfigured to show individual and team performances at the end of each game. These end screens will apply to all game modes, including Skirmish.
  • Duos and Fives will have the same tiers as Solos, with their own set of Top 10s and leaderboards.
  • Master Tier - A new tier has been added between Diamond and Royalty.
  • The highly elite Royalty 1 now has its own unique emblem.

Gas and match pacing

  • Spawn placement is now based on the location of the initial gas ring so that you’re not too far away from it.
  • Initial gas ring start and end progression has been randomized to provide thousands more possibilities than before.
  • Certain areas that are unfit for the Final Showdown, particularly on the edges of the map, are excluded from the system.
  • Text has been added to the HUD to indicate if you are in the safe zone or not.
  • The gas phases will now dynamically adjust their duration based on the number of players that remain.
  • Placement in consecutive phases are now much more random.

The Arena

  • New POI: Coy’s Car Salvage – Nestled up on a large hill just west of PV you will find a large salvage yard dedicated to the collection, dismantling, and shipping of unwanted vehicles.
  • New POI: Ponyvale Equestrian Estates – A rustic community for the most hardcore horse enthusiasts can be found on a large peninsula just west of Cranberry.
  • New POI: Emerald Hydra, Site 7 – This repurposed Romero’s grocery store east of Cranberry was taken over and fortified as a military HQ during the zombie outbreak.
  • Several smaller POIs and loot spots have been added to a number of areas.
  • Trees should look a lot more realistic from above, particularly when parachuting into The Arena. See if you can spot them!

New skirmish: Pleasant Valley Nightmare

  • Players spawn in the vicinity of Pleasant Valley, which is already surrounded by toxic gas.
  • The game begins in the middle of the night and will slowly transition into early morning.
  • The gas will close in faster than in traditional games.
  • There is now an end game score screen.

Game tuning and quality of life

  • Laminated Armors will no longer spawn within 250 meters of each other and make finding multiple armors more difficult and time consuming.
  • Laminated Armor bulk has been increased from 500 to 1000.
  • Laminated Armor can now be found in Airdrop Crates (doubled in Fives).
  • Pickup truck now suffers zero damage or slowdown from destructible objects
  • Pickup truck now suffers 50% less damage from non-destructible objects (trees, etc.)
  • Improved the acceleration and top speed of the pickup truck
  • Offroader turning radius is tighter and more responsive
  • Offroader no longer loses power on slopes steeper than 40 degrees, making it the best climber
  • Police cars will be slightly slower when climbing hills than before
  • Voice chat has been added to the lobby for teams.
  • Group invites received through steam will persist longer. If you accept an invite without the game open, it will launch the game and put you directly into the lobby.
  • There is now a panel that shows the players you recently grouped with.
  • Members of a lobby can now suggest invites to the group leader, who is now clearly identified.
  • When using “Find a Group,” there is now an option to stay with your group. Default “G” to opt-in during gameplay (will be shown in an HUD element on the left side of the screen).
  • Bombing runs will no longer occur when there are fewer than 20 players remaining.
  • Inventory and containers will no longer “auto-sort” when items are moved or removed. Instead, an empty slot will preserve the spot where the item was moved from so that all other items remain in the same location. This should help prevent shredding or dropping the wrong item.
  • Container UI will gray out when you’re unable to loot it (because someone else is looting it, or you’re using proximity to examine an Airdrop Crate).
  • Bandages, medkits, and procoagulent can now be inserted into either medical slot.
  • Adjusted the acceleration and deceleration rates for lateral speeds at low altitude for better control while parachuting
  • Report Player button has been re-added to the death screen UI
  • A new panel has been added to the main menu to make it easier to discover Events, Skirmishes, and anything else going on in the game. The images in the panels are links to the appropriate areas in the UI.
  • Slightly increased the duration of Kill Receipts
  • There is now a brief delay between the final kill and the victory screen so that you know who your last victim was.
  • Inventory “More Info” panel now has better (and visual) information to help new players.

Game diagnostics and infrastructure

  • A new diagnostics and network panel can be brought up using the "N" key. Using this while streaming will help us diagnose network and hit registration issues.
  • We’ve made some fairly significant server infrastructure improvements that should further reduce server downtime during updates. These enhancements will take effect after today’s game update.

Bug Fixes

  • Vehicles should always break through destructible objects
  • Vehicles should no longer temporarily disappear after dying and spectating a teammate
  • Vehicle skidding sound effect should no longer continue to play when the vehicle isn’t moving
  • Explosives should no longer do damage through doors
  • Objects that aren't completely protecting the player should no longer block explosive / AOE damage.
  • The kill feed should no longer disappear during gameplay
  • Team Spectate “Next” and “Previous” buttons should no longer occasionally go missing
  • Cleaned up the delay between hotwire and vehicle responsiveness
  • Vehicles no longer take damage from punches
  • Voice chat should no longer unexpectedly increase in volume as players spawn into parachutes
  • End screens will no longer display error strings after exiting a match
  • Death screen should no longer display a series of W’s as the player name
  • Character names will no longer be cut off after an underscore in voice chat
  • Fixed an issue causing the 3D scene in the main menu to be missing after a fresh install
  • Various fixes in text descriptions for items
LawBreakers

The LawBreakers open beta kicked off earlier today, meaning that anyone with a capable PC, an internet connection, and a bit of free time can take Cliff Bleszinski's new team-based, gravity-optional FPS for a spin. 

The beta will include a new map called Vertigo, "a high-altitude reconnaissance outpost with near suborbital elevation" set in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and a new CTF-style mode called Uplink. There's also a new Weapon Stickers customization feature in the beta, complete with a special "Beta participant" sticker that can be earned by finishing five matches. 

The beta is live now, so just pop over to Steam and click the button, and you'll be on your way. (Nvidia users should probably grab the latest Game Ready drivers, too.) Developer Boss Key Productions has also extended the duration of the beta test, so instead of ending on July 3 as was originally planned, it will be available until 9 am PT on July 5. 

LawBreakers is scheduled for full release on August 8, and will sell for $30. ("None of the $60 multiplayer-only game bullshit," as Bleszinski said during the PC Gaming Show at E3.) Find out more at lawbreakers.com

PC Gamer

It was big news earlier this week when Raphael Colantonio announced that he is leaving Arkane, the studio he founded in 1999. He'd shepherded it through a small but enviable range of games, from its cult-favorite debut Arx Fatalis to the big-budget hits Dishonored and Prey, and generally speaking that's not the kind of guy you want to see bail out. But as he said in an interview during the Gamelab conference (via GamesIndsustry), after nearly two solid decades he needed a break. 

"Leaving this is actually a hard, hard choice, but at the same time I've been doing this for 18 years. I feel like I've never ever sat down, for even a minute," Colantonio said. "It's been a non-stop run, and I do feel like I need to take a break and rest for a while, and spend time on more personal projects—play music, spend time with my son, anything that isn't work related and not pressure related." 

As he explained to GamesIndustry, that includes both the "negative pressure" of trying to keep a small indie studio afloat—I loved Arkane's early games, but they weren't exactly big hits—and the "positive pressure" of running a large studio and making games that live up to very high expectations. "I will always favor the pressure of making things than the pressure of not having oxygen," he said. "But that's been my life for the past 18 years; alternating between the pressure of lacking oxygen and the pressure of making impossible things."   

He also touched on how the game industry has changed over the past couple of decades, which he implied left him feeling disconnected from the work. On Arx, which was developed by a relatively tiny team, Colantonio is credited as the lead designer, game director, and one of the level designers and programmers, but working on Dishonored, "we became so big—and I'm not talking about 600 people team big, but it was big enough for us—there's a moment where, as an artist, you're not sure what you control and what you don't control any more."   

Colantonio emphasized that his departure from Arkane was entirely amicable—"I love Arkane, and I love Bethesda"—and he also left the door open to a return to the industry, saying, "Maybe that's a possibility." But not anytime soon, or to anything big: "Something small, where I don't have to worry about feeding 100 people." 

Fallout 4

Fallout Cascadia is an ambitious overhaul mod for Fallout 4 under development by a team of dozens of members of the modding community, including some veterans of the Skyrim expansion project, Beyond Skyrim. Designed as an entirely independent entry in the post-apocalyptic RPG series, Cascadia takes place "decades after previous Fallout games, in the year 2329" in the ruins of Seattle. It won't allow players to import their existing characters from Fallout 4, but there's a good reason for that: Cascadia will feature the series' classic skills system which was controversially removed for its fourth entry.

Mathias "Flenarn" Dejerud, Cascadia’s project lead, popped into the FalloutMods subreddit with the above screenshot showing off the UI for the system. Classic skills such as Medicine, Guns, and Speech appear along the righthand side of the screen while available character perks can be viewed and selected on the left. It’s an image reminiscent of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas and a welcome sight to those of us who felt the more streamlined system of Fallout 4, which tied all character perks entirely to their S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, was sorely lacking from a role-playing perspective.

The team went on to clarify that Cascadia will feature skill checks and that having a sufficient value in one or more skills may unlock "unique dialogue that opens up alternative options on some quests."

"We are taking great pains here at the team to ensure that the shortcomings of Fallout 4 are addressed with Fallout Cascadia," reads the projects official website. "Everything from the stunted dialogue system to the lack of S.P.E.C.I.A.L checks inside the game." The project’s team are referring, of course, to Fallout 4’s oft-maligned dialogue trees, which were minimal and restrictive by comparison to the other games in the series. In Fallout Cascadia, skills and stats will be integral not just to how you play the game but how you interact with its characters, too.

The team also intends to release a standalone mod that will integrate skills into "core Fallout 4" following the project’s release, although it remains to be seen what, if any, impact such a mod could have on existing dialogue. While I don’t expect that any mod could possibly fix all of the flaws I found in Fallout 4's character interactions, I know an expanded role-playing system would offer me ample motivation to roll a new character and dive back into the Commonwealth.

The team has not yet provided a release window for Fallout Cascadia, but we'll keep you posted.

Watch_Dogs® 2

Some gamers are reporting trouble getting Watch Dogs 2 to run after installing Nvidia's 384.76 WHQL drivers that were released yesterday. If that is a game you play, your best bet is to avoid the driver update for the time being, or roll back to a previous version if you've already installed them.

As far as driver releases go, Nvidia has had smoother roll outs. For one, Nvidia noted on its forum that a temporary server issue prevented its latest driver updates from appearing on its website. As we noted in our article yesterday, the only way to apply the update at the time was to go through Nvidia's GeForce Experience software.

The other issue is a lack of consistency in Nvidia's release notes. Nowhere in the release notes available online as a PDF does Nvidia mention the Watch Dogs 2 issue, though it is brought up as a potential issue on its web forum. It is one of two bugs that users might encounter.

Here is what Nvidia says on its GeForce forum:

  • Your PC may boot to a black screen if you have DuetDisplay installed on a PC running Windows 10 Creators Update. Please uninstall the software until the issue is addressed by the app developer.
  • Watch Dogs 2 may crash on launch with driver 384.76.

While the latest driver package introduces a couple of known issues, it also fixes several others, including the presence of stuttering in Prey on GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, and 1080 graphics cards.

The main reason to download the newest driver release from Nvidia is because it includes optimizations for the LawBreakers open beta and for Spider-Man: Homecoming Experience (VR). If you don't plan on playing either game and aren't affected by any of the issues it addresses, then you might as well wait for the next release.

The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt

Samuel, Tom and Phil take a break from compiling the PC Gamer Top 100 to talk about their personal selections for the PC Gamer Top 100. Our 100% accurate annual list of the best PC games is almost here again, and in this episode we reveal a sample of the games we voted for.

Will your favourite games grace the finished list? Will Dragon Age 2 be in 94th position for the second year running? Can anything unseat last year’s victor, The Witcher 3? Those questions will be answered on July 27, when the Top 100 is published in issue 308 of PC Gamer UK magazine.

Download: Episode 48: We have a history of very good decisions. You can also subscribe on iTunes or keep up with new releases using our RSS feed.    

Discussed: Videogames

This week: Samuel Roberts, Tom Senior, Phil Savage

The PC Gamer UK Podcast is a weekly podcast about PC gaming. Thoughts? Feedback? Requests? Tweet us @PCGamerPod, or email letters@pcgamer.com.

This week’s music is from Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto 5's 'Chiliad Mystery' is fascinating. Since the game's 2013 console launch and PC intro two years on, an intrepid section of players has dedicated its time to unearthing a conspiracy of sorts that's tied to a cryptic mural, UFOs and weird egg assets.

Last week, new information was datamined by these players—a community of self-proclaimed 'Gurus' that better mirrors subculture status than hobbyist enthusiasts—relevant to the crime sim's latest Gunrunning update, however they were then unsure of how to spawn their discoveries in-game. They've now worked that out, and have made contact with an alien race. 

Could this mark the end of the 'Chiliad Mystery' as we know it? Perhaps, but lead Guru Tadd suggests the latest revelation could be tied to GTA 5's single-player portion. 

"This has probably raised more questions than answers for the 'Chiliad Mystery' and has a lot of the long-time hunters asking WTF," Tadd tells me. "I can't comment on what Rockstar's plans are in general, but I can say that two things are obvious: One is that GTA Online is set (time-wise) before single player mode, so hopefully this means this is some kind of set up for something in single player. And two: like with the beast character in-game (bigfoot vs the beast peyote hunt)—he came to Online first and then to single player in a nice little easter egg hunt. 

"I am not classing this as the end or anything. More that this could possibly be the beginning of what we have wanted for so long. It has however ruffled some feathers (as we knew it would) regarding the Chiliad Mystery, by not being included from day one."

Onto the discovery itself. First, here's the footage as it happened, followed by a description thereafter.

Tadd explains the above by telling me the Gunrunning scripts he and his team uncovered last week pointed to a damaged spaceship that was quickly located in the newly added game files by Guru Gramz. Guru members Tom and Shishya then helped Tadd piece together the remainder of the mission's code, before discovering assets from Michael's main game Grass Roots mission were being reused—most interestingly, alien models and related sound effects.  

"So anyway we then went on to chase everything through the scripts and realised it was being handled like any other Gunrunning supply run mission," explains Tadd. "People then went mad online trying to get the Gunrunning missions completed in hopes of having this spawn in game but no one was having any success. Despite us having all the code and exactly where and what would happen in game, we still couldn't work out the trigger for it, besides knowing that it all hinged on a global variable (a value used globally across all scripts) being set to 20. 

"We searched for days in the code, only to be lead to complicated script events and what looked like an element of randomness. Eventually our good friend Dexyfex helped me trace it back to a tunable (something Rockstar can tune, i.e turn on or off or increase the chances of it occurring for someone)."

Despite this realisation, Tadd and his Gurus still struggled to initiate the mission spawn—and it was perfectly likely Rockstar was yet to turn it on at its end. 

Tadd continues: But then using the knowledge we had gained reading the scripts our very own Guru WetNips (he's our Black Ops member who is willing to do whatever it takes to get a result!) decided to use a tool made by Polivilas (a member of our discord) to force the global to 20. He did so and began a supply mission like any other and the waypoint it set was at our crash site. He then went that and what you see happen in the video is what he was greeted with: an alien egg supply run mission."  

The result is what you see in the above footage. Tadd notes that the above is of course forced, meaning it wasn't triggered in the way the game is supposed to trigger it. He suggests there could well be a lot more to it, and has many more questions now—"What research will be done using the alien egg as the supplies for it? Where and how does the undamaged ship (imp_prop_ship_01a) discovered in the import export update tie in? Does it have any impact on single player mode?". Nevertheless, this is a stellar achievement for the Gurus and the Chiliad Mystery community as a whole.

Is this mystery solved, then? A sizeable number of players on the Chiliad Mystery Reddit seem to think so and don't appear best pleased for it—"The truth is out there The truth is very bland and disappointing," so says one user. But for the Chiliad Mystery Gurus, this is but the start of another chapter and another mystery to dig into. 

In Tadd's words: "The Guru Team work silently, day and night, on our Discord, our YouTube channel, and our website to find anything we can for the community. Most of us have been hunting for a long time, myself since the release of the game. 

"We enjoy the hunt and at first my own motivation was to be 'the guy who found the jetpack', but in my time searching for it I've become the number one chiliad mystery hunter and now have the best and most dedicated team with me. We have hackers, gamers, Mythbusters and we fully intend to tackle more secrets in GTA 5, and perhaps even other games (we're looking at you, RDR2.)"

Watch_Dogs® 2

Watch Dogs introduced the awfully-named but rather fun PvP mode Showd0wn back in April, alongside multiplayer functionality for races. Furthering its friend-fusing trend, the latest update adds four player co-op—due this Tuesday, July 4. 

The 1.16 update is free-of-charge (it was originally planned as paid DLC), and lets players buddy up in groups of four to roam freely around its digital slant on San Francisco. In doing so, players can either fire through the game's host of multiplayer modes—the trailer below teases three modes in 'Hacking Invasion', 'Bounty Hunter' and 'Armored Truck'—or engage in general mischief as they see fit. 

Have a gander at the new update's trailer:

Despite the freedom offered in free-roam, quartets can't access the game's two player co-op missions, however they can invade other people's games. Which you totally will do, right?

Watch Dogs 2's latest update is due on July 4—full patch notes can be found this-a-way

...

Search news
Archive
2017
Oct   Sep   Aug   Jul   Jun   May  
Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2017   2016   2015   2014   2013  
2012   2011   2010   2009   2008  
2007   2006   2005   2004   2003  
2002