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If you’re anything like everyone else in the world, you’ve probably put at least 347,867 hours into Skyrim. Now you’re pressed up against the level cap, face like a grape about to burst against its impenetrable ice. Yours is the hardest life. But soon, you’ll never have to stop leveling ever again. In short, legendary levels will “effectively remove the overall level cap.” Also incoming: a new legendary difficulty mode to match. But how will it all work? Well, wouldn’t you like to know. And you can, but only if you’re capable of braving the notoriously merciless difficulty of the unforgiving realm beyond the break.

(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Skyrim sketched: a collection of Adam Adamowicz’s concept art">The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim concept art 13 2







For all its overabundance of sweet rolls and murderous dragons, Skyrim is absolutely beautiful. Mods enhance the windswept plains and craggy mountain peaks of the Nord homeland into a truly spectacular vision, but it all arose from the RPG's original, bleak, Scandinavian-style landscape.



Among the artists responsible for illustrating the first fledgling looks during development was Adam Adamowicz, a concept artist best known for his numerous Fallout 3 designs. Adamowicz is no longer with us—he passed away due to lung cancer complications last February—but his exceptional skill lives on through the piles of environment and character concepts he created for Skyrim. Beyond marveling at the amount of Adamowicz's ideas that appear in the final game, it's worthwhile to appreciate these illustrations as standalone works of art.



Click through for more of Adamowicz's masterful work.









































































































































































































































































PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Skyrim’s 1.9 update now in beta – brings “legendary” features">Skyrim 610x347







Bethesda are planning to release Skyrim's upcoming 1.9 update at the end of the month. The end of the month?! That's slightly under a month away! Fortunately, given that patience has never been among a Dragonborn's required skillset, you can test out the patch's beta version right now. With it you'll gain access to a new Legendary difficulty level, as well as Legendary Skills - a system that removes the level cap by using what sounds like a CoD-style Prestige system.



"Skills of 100 can be made Legendary," Bethesda explain on their blog. "This will reset the skill to 15, return its Perks and allow the skill to affect leveling again. This effectively removes the overall level cap."



A screenshot of the new system hints at how it will work. Plus side: the character is now at a previously unreachable Level 106. Downside: they've completely forgotten how to do Smithing twice. Presumably that playthrough's economy has nosedived in response to all the hastily crafted steel daggers that must be flooding the market.







To access the beta, you'll need to right-click Skyrim's entry in your Steam library, pop into the properties menu, skip over to the Beta tab and opt-in from the drop-down box.



You'll also gain access to this giant list of bug fixes:





General memory and stability improvements

Fixed issue with quest scripts that were not shutting down properly

Companions will equip better weapons and armor if given to them

Fixed rare issue where player is unable to learn the Clear Skies shout during “The Throat of the World”

Fixed rare instance where Alduin would become invincible during “Alduin’s Bane”

Fixed a rare issue where player could become stuck in Night Mother’s coffin during “Death Incarnate”

Fixed rare issue where protected companions could be killed from poison damage

Fixed rare issue with certain ash piles left from resurrected NPCs not clearing properly

Fixed rare issue with NPCs and creatures respawning improperly after player fast travels

Fixed rare crash when entering Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary

Fixed rare crash when entering a player owned home

Random dragon attacks will no longer occur during “Battle for Whiterun”

Fixed a rare crash when attempting to save your game during “Waking Nightmare”

Fixed issue where “Glory of the Undead” would not start properly if player is in combat with Eorlund Gray-Mane

The white phial is no longer consumed if given to a follower

If player marries Aela, the “Totem of Hircine” quest will be available

Unused briar hearts can be dropped after finishing “The White Phial”

Fixed issue with paying off a crime against the Companions that prevented player from getting Companions quests properly

Thieves Guild caches are now properly enabled in the appropriate cities

The Dragon Infusion perk now works properly when taking Esbern’s Potion

Cragslane Cave properly resets if player receives a radiant quest to clear it out

Fixed rare issue with bounty quest objectives not properly clearing after completion

Gallus’ Encoded Journal is no longer a quest item after completing the Thieves Guild

In “No Stone Unturned” Vex will now accept Unusual Gems if you’ve collected them all before starting the quest

Vekel the Man now gives rewards for completing “Toying with The Dead”

Fixed rare issue with being unable to turn in stolen items in “The Litany of Larceny”

Fixed issue with followers becoming over-encumbered after being repeatedly rehired

Fixed rare issue with visiting Kynesgrove on horseback not progressing “A Blade in the Dark” properly

Fixed issue with receiving a duplicate radiant quest from a Jarl

Fixed conflict with clearing Driftshade Sanctuary before starting “Trouble in Skyrim”

Fixed issue with using shouts while in jail and having guards unlock the jail cell

Fixed rare issue with quest NPCs not properly moving to quest locations

Fixed issue with NPCs not selling master level spells

Fixed rare issue where player gets control locked outside the Thalmor Embassy at the start of “Diplomatic Immunity”

Fixed rare issue with disappearing containers after upgrades in player owned house

Fixed issue with being erroneously attacked while as a werewolf during “Ill Met By Moonlight”

The Ebony Blade is now only improved by two handed perks

Locked door to Proudspire Manor can now be unlocked by proper key

Fixed issue with merchants not receiving the proper additional gold with the Investor perk

Fixed a rare issue where the player would be unable to learn a word after leaving for several days during “The Way of The Voice”

The Nord Hero Bow can now be improved

The Purity perk no longer requires the Experimenter perk

Fixed rare instance where Lovers Comfort would not be applied properly

If you approach Frostmere Crypt from the north, “The Pale Lady” will start properly

Fixed rare issue where player could be prevented from speaking with Atub to start “The Cursed Tribe”

Fixed rare issue where a dragon could appear in the Mind of a Madman realm and kill the player

Fixed instance where player could get stuck in Japhet’s Folly

Fixed rare instances where Arngeir would not teach Worldwind Sprint

Fixed issue with “Ill Met By Moonlight” if Sinding dies before the quest starts

Gharol can now properly train up to level 75

Fixed conflict with visiting The Karthspire before starting “Alduin’s Wall”

Reduced the instance of random dragon attacks after fast traveling post main quest

Recruited Blades now have appropriate dialogue while at Sky Haven Temple

Fixed rare issue where an incorrect dungeon could appear as a location during “Totems of Hircine”

Fixed rare instance in “Fetch me that Book” where books found before getting the quest would not be properly recognized

Fixed rare issue with traveling to Thalmor Embassy with companions during “Diplomatic Immunity”

Fixed issues with Matching Set perk not working properly with certain pieces of armor

Fixed issues with Custom Fit perk not working properly with certain pieces of armor

Fixed issue with NPC dying in a bear trap blocking progress in “Time of My Need”

Fixed rare issue with swinging door becoming stuck and blocking an entrance in Volunruud

Imperial Light Armor can now be crafted

Fixed issue with “Vald’s Debt” where Vald was not leveled properly

Fixed issue with Vilkas not giving proper greeting after completing “Battle for Whiterun”

Fixed issue with respawning actors that were raised by using the Ritual Stone power

Fixed issue with the Ancient Knowledge perk not calculating properly

The Palace of Kings now has patrolling guards on upper floors

Reduce percentage chance of getting a werewolf loading screen while player is a werewolf

Pantea’s flute is no longer a quest item after completing “Pantea’s Flute”

Placing an unread Oghma Infinium on a bookshelf in the player’s house no longer allows the book to be reused again

Adjusted dialogue priority to improve chances of hearing more combat dialogue from certain NPC enemies

Fixed issue with falling damage on high difficulty levels

Fixed bad collision on certain clutter objects

Fixed rare instance of couriers who would appear only dressed in a hat

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Skyrim becomes the latest game to receive a VR hack – this time with a treadmill">Skyrim VR







Today's jaw-dropping VR hack comes not from the Oculus Rift, but the Virtuix Omni - a sort of half baby walker, half Moonwalk simulator. Between the device, the glasses and the Kinect sensor, we see some amazingly responsive (as prototypes go) tracking of Skyrim being played. Just think, a No Fast Travel playthrough could end up an effective exercise regime.



This is the second video showing the device running in Skyrim. You can see the first here. Just beware: the head-tracking sensitivity hasn't been tuned for this one. Watching the pronounced head-bob can double as a simulated motion-sickness experience.



According to the device's about page: "The Omni is the first locomotion device that is affordable for household consumers, fits in a living room, and above all, enables the user to walk freely and naturally in virtual environments." Virtuix is currently prepping a Kickstarter to ensure its launch.



(via Reddit)
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Oblivionauts mod recasts Skyrim onto user-created maps with dynamic campaigns">Oblivionauts







At first glance, Oblivionauts seems somewhat convoluted. It's neither a total conversion like Enderal nor a straightforward supplement of extra gear. The mod adopts more non-linearity than Skyrim in its dungeons but instead of starting with a blank slate, you pick a pre-built class for your character. After reading more of creator Far Realms' outline, I think it's one of the most ambitious projects I've seen from a mod team.



Here's how it works: instead of having you wander an expansive landscape and stumble upon new areas and quests, Oblivionauts slots you into a "hub" base serving both as your home and as a launching point for smaller, insulated mini-campaigns. After choosing your equipment and class, you're whisked away to a custom map selected from a list and progress through its challenges until reaching the end, where you're brought back home to choose another journey.



The exciting bonus to all this is that Far Realms intends to continually expand the mod's available maps through contributions from the entire Skyrim modding community. It's a wink and a nod to Neverwinter Nights' module system, and the group says any combination of custom parameters are possible—more races, a replacement of the class system, and other setups.



Experiencing these quests outside of the setting of Skyrim or as the Dovahkin means Oblivionauts could very well produce a ton of wacky stories without trespassing upon the vanilla game. Far Realms explains that your character—a crimson-faced Dremora—never actually sets foot on Skyrim, and starting a new game with Oblivionauts activated sends you directly to your base.



Far Realms is targeting an early summer release for the mod, but it's looking for extra modeling and code-crunching help to speed up the process. Have a look at Oblivionauts on Mod DB for more info.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn review">PCG251.rev_dlc_skyrim.g8







Let’s get this out of the way: you’re going to find the dragon riding in Dragonborn disappointing. You can’t steer the beast or land wherever you want, and while you can direct your dragon to attack enemies, you probably know by now that dragons aren’t that good at killing things, and you might as well dismount and do it yourself. So, that sucks, but luckily there are other rewards that make Dragonborn worth your time and money.



"While Apocrypha looks impressive – as if HR Giger took a flamethrower to a bookshop – it isn’t much fun to be in."

This Skyrim expansion takes place on the frostbitten island of Solstheim in Morrowind, where a series of mysterious shrines and brainwashed acolytes hint at the reawakening of the original Dragonborn, Miraak, who is unhappy to find an off-brand imposter running around slurping up dragon souls. Before a fairly typical boss fight with Miraak you’ll have to repeatedly visit a plane of Oblivion called Apocrypha, and while it looks impressive – as if HR Giger took a flamethrower to a bookshop – it isn’t much fun to be in, featuring repetitive fights with the same two demons and lengthy searches for switches that open gates.







But it’s not as if main quests have ever been the best part of The Elder Scrolls. It’s all about the side quests, and Solstheim is home to an abundance of NPCs who mill around hoping someone will come along and solve their problems for them. Invest in a mining operation that unearths far more than precious stones, solve puzzles to unlock the tomb of an ancient dragon priest, foil an assassination to acquire a new subterranean home, and complete loads of other quests and missions – some trivial, some extensive.



It’s all about the side quests, and Solstheim is home to an abundance - some trivial, some extensive."

There are also new followers to recruit, such as a clanky, sputtering Dwarven robot. Finally. At least one quest is reserved for higher level characters: there’s a treasure map leading to enchanted armour and a gaggle of ghost pirates, but it’s restricted to players over level 36.



Fans of Morrowind will be pleased to see some familiar creatures, like the Netch, who hover benignly unless provoked, and the Riekling, fierce little goblins who ride boars into battle (also available as followers, provided you help a particular tribe with their pesky Nord problem).







While Solstheim isn’t massive, there are plenty of ruins and caves to explore, as well as some charming overworld locations, like a town where the homes are built inside giant mushrooms. I reckon there’s about 25 hours of content, with new spells and shouts, new weapons and armour to find and craft, and some fantastic new abilities (I can now summon a ghostly drum that feeds me stamina, and my attacks and shouts no longer hurt my followers).



Dragonborn also seems highly stable: I haven’t experienced a single crash or glitch. Apart from the so-so main questline and the repetitive labyrinths of Apocrypha, the hours I’ve spent questing in Solstheim have been well worth it.



Expect to pay: $20/£14

Release: Out now

Developer: Bethesda Game Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Multiplayer: No

Link: www.bit.ly/pcg-drag



Kotaku





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Sit back and watch two decades of video game graphics flash before your eyes. YouTube user drloser333 has uploaded a video from French site NoFrag that unfurls the graphics of more than a dozen first-person shooters, from 1992's Wolfenstein 3 to 2011's Battlefield 3.



Did the FPS get better-looking? They have at least become way more realistic, But maybe you're more of a fan of older, more abstract styles?



Graphic evolution of First Person Shooters: 1992-2012 [YouTube, uploaded by drloser333; more details (in French) at NoFrag.com]


PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to QuakeCon 2013 announced for August">Rage QC







Things guaranteed to happen each year: incrementally improved new versions of popular products, at least one earnestly predicted end of the world scenario, and QuakeCon, id Software's mega-LAN party/PC gaming celebration. This year the BYOC event will be held August 1st - 4th at its regular stomping ground, the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.



Don't fancy lugging your rig across the country/world? Not to worry, Bethesda will also be showing off some of their upcoming titles for the first time in public. Chances are that means Elder Scrolls Online, but I've also got my fingers crossed for a possible Prey 2 revival.



As with previous years, attendance is free. The hotel is also offering a deal on rooms, details of which are available at the QuakeCon site.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Watch this: Skyrim with RealVision ENB V1.3, tweaks, and max settings looks insane">Skyrim_modded







Using our Skyrim modding guide, you can get the home of the Nords looking pretty stunning. This video from SkyrimTuner, however, pushes the envelope just about to the limit. Using the RealVision ENB V1.3 Climates of Tamriel mod, paired with Ultra settings and some .ini tweaks, you can see the sweeping forests and soaring peaks as they should be truly appreciated—and only really can be on the PC.



As a word of warning, it unfortunately also features one of the most egregious instances of the Chainmail Bikini Principle I have ever seen. Start it at around the 3 minute mark if you're afraid your eyes might roll so hard that they sever your optic nerve.



According to the video description, this is running on an overclocked i5 with a GTX 680. Certainly in the high enthusiast range, but not quite in astronomical territory.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dishonored story DLC hinted at by PS3 Trophies">Dishonored







Dishonored's roof-flitting ride to revenge already landed our Singleplayer Shooter of 2012 award, but there may be more to the saga in an upcoming DLC pack hinted at by a new batch of PS3 Trophies.



The Trophies list accomplishments for a new mission entitled "The Other Side of the Coin," including High and Low Chaos completions suggesting a story-oriented add-on. A few new locations also appear, sticking with Dunwall's theme of industrialized aristocracy with mention of a Rothwild Slaughterhouse and the estate of Thalia Timish.



Here's the full Trophy list:





Just Business - You got the information needed from the Rothwild Slaughterhouse

Missing Pieces - You obtained Delilah Copperspoon's identity from Thalia Timish

Well Connected - You purchased all of the Favors in The Other Side of the Coin

No Regrets - You completed The Other Side of the Coin in High Chaos

Redemptive Path - You completed The Other Side of the Coin in Low Chaos

Whisper Ways - You completed The Other Side of the Coin without alerting anyone

Cleaner Hands - You completed The Other Side of the Coin without killing anyone

Rats and Ashes - You caused a death using an arc mine and a rat

Message from the Empress - You performed a drop assassination from atop the Empress statue

Stone Cold Heart - You spoke with the statue of Delilah in Timsh's estate





If the Trophies suggest what we think they do, I'd like to see a deeper exploration of some of Corvo's more dramatic encounters within Dunwall, such as with the stone-faced assassin leader Daud, who received the same blessing of shadowy powers from the mysterious Outsider. The Outsider himself is perhaps Dishonored's greatest enigma to mold future stories around, but they don't have to involve Dunwall—I'd kill (not really, I'm a Low Chaos kind of guy) for a visit to other locations in the Empire of Isles beyond Gristol, particularly Corvo's home-island of Serkonos.
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