PC Gamer
A lot of information came out at last week's FanFest convention about EVE Online and it's console shooter cousin, DUST 514. We sat down with EVE Online's lead game designer, Kristoffer Touborg, to get the backstory on how these design choices were made and why they won't stop EVE players from griefing the "dustbunnies" playing DUST 514.

Marriage is exciting and EVE Online is the best hangover game

Touborg: EVE Online is a big social game. I think trying to reinvent the wheel is sometimes a little bit crazy, but I really love to take mundane things—once you've put them into a game environment, for some reason, they become fun. Like hauling minerals across EVE: it's viciously boring, but people still spend eight hours a day doing something and then they go haul minerals in EVE.

I met a truck driver who did this. He drove a truck in real life, and when he got home he drove a space truck. There's so many real things that we think of as mundane, but they become great game features. One thing that we'll never put in, probably, but I love the idea, is marriage. Not because of the whole love and kissing thing, but because EVE is so much about trust. If you could marry two characters, they'd have shared inventory and shared bank accounts and all that stuff. There's all these dynamics that come out of sharing. Something as mundane as having shared credit cards, in EVE, becomes a feature. It doesn't have to be like the biggest dragon you could ever find. Just take something from real life that might be slightly boring and put it in a different environment, and just watch what happens.

PCG: So what's appealing about mining for hours? Is it the fact that they could be ambushed at any time, or do they genuinely just like the boring?

KT: Part of it, I think, is that people like boring. Or, well, maybe low effort, maybe low risk stuff. I used to do some of the really boring stuff just because you know that at the end of the road there's some reward. Trading, for example, is relatively low risk, but you make the money and it feels good. Seeing your bank account go up.

I think that not every game was meant to be Counter-Strike. Not everything has to be twitch action-based, super-intense, in-the-zone, adrenaline rush 24/7. Everybody complains about mining, but I think it's the finest hangover feature you could ever do. I'd just switch the miner on, I'd watch sports on Sunday and be hungover and eat pizza. I think that's great. Not everything has to be super wild.

Merging DUST and EVE into a single game
KT: The other thing is, and this makes me kind of sad because I like the idea of the entire universe—the parallel I usually draw is the old western movies, where you'd have the cowboy walking down the street, and none of the houses were actually real. They were just painted boards held up, had just constructed these fake towns. I always hate that in MMOs: if there's a mountain and you can't climb it.

That's the entirety of EVE that I love. But we're kind of going away from that, with Dust for example. On the other hand, I think that what I really want might not be the best solution either. I think the idea of having an IP where you can make a game and then tie it into a main game is probably a better solution than what I really want, because I'd love to have the entire thing where you can land wherever you want on any planet and get outside, maybe dig a hole or build a house... That would be my ideal. But on the other hand, that might not actually be a good idea.

PC: Was having everything inside of one game ever seriously considered?

KT: Yeah. That was the direction that we took up until about four months ago. EVE just keeps expanding, bigger and bigger, more and more. But now, of course, we have the Dust approach, which is basically, make a game and tie it into EVE. Which I think, functionally, makes much more sense. I think that's much more clever.

When companies branch out, I think betting on big-name IPs for the sake of their name has backfired horribly for a lot of companies. If you look at some of the MMOs that have come out with big titles, like they bought some movie IP or something, they've just really done poorly, because at the end of the day they just painted a game differently. I think the idea of leveraging your IP into a single game, I think that's much more attractive.

I've become, at age 29, a massive tabletop gamer. For some reason, painting little miniatures was completely unappealing to me when I was 14, but this year I've, like... "This is so awesome!" And Games Workshop have, in my opinion, the most amazing game universe, but they've gone for this approach of... There's the books, there's the game, and all these different parts of the web, where everything ties into this center point in effect.

If we're talking about innovative business and stuff like that, I think that if Dust goes well and we can pull this off, this is what a lot of companies will start doing. It works, I think it's a cool approach. Being able to just cut something off that's not working is awesome. I like this approach. As I said, I have this romantic picture of being able to influence anything anywhere, but on the other hand, it might be a really dumb approach in practical terms.

EVE players planning to haze DUST players
PCG: I talked with a several EVE players at Fanfest who're planning to grief Dust players. Will you stop that when that starts happening?

KT: No, not really... That's just EVE. People can f*** with each other. That's what they've been doing now for nine years.

PCG: That's the funny thing about it. They're not planning this because they're upset that Dust is coming out or hate it, it's just... "Welcome to the club. This is what we do."

KT: I'm not too worried about it. That's just EVE. Just them playing EVE.

Limited scope = limited fun, at first
PCG: So at the start, the integration of EVE and Dust is going to be pretty limited, geographically, within the galaxy. Do you think it's going to be interesting for EVE corps before it goes to null-sec space?

KT: Um...maybe not. But maybe that's alright. Maybe this is where people get used to it. People come in and see that they're not going to turn the world upside down. But they will be useful, and getting people to use it might be good. The relationship between EVE and Dust won't be built in a day. Going about it slowly, I think, is the right approach. Start in faction warfare, having the faction warfare people say, "Hey, these guys are really useful to us," and letting that spread out might be really good. It's not going to start with a bang, but that's probably also a good idea, really.
PC Gamer
THQ announced today that it has laid-off 118 full-time staff at its highly-regarded Relic Entertainment and Vigil Games studios. Vigil was the hardest hit, with 79 of the layoffs, as its Warhammer MMO makes an abrupt transition into what a THQ press release now calls "an immersive single player and online multiplayer experience with robust digital content, and engaging community features." Dark Millennium Online is now just Dark Millennium.

It's further evidence of THQ's dire financial situation in the wake of a disastrous 2011. Indeed, back in early February, Giant Bomb's Patrick Klepek noted that THQ admitted "Dark Millennium Online is a game where THQ has to be 'realistic about resources' and is seeking a partner to work on the game with."

Today's statement from THQ strongly suggests that no partner or additional funding was available, and that forced the publisher to re-purpose Dark Millennium as a single-player game.

"Based on changing market dynamics and the additional investment required to complete the game as an MMO," said CEO Brian Farrell, "we believe the right direction for us is to shift the title from an MMO to a premium experience with single and multiplayer gameplay.”

This might not be as drastic a change for Dark Millenium as it sounds. THQ has not been very public with its plans for Dark Millenium, but last year THQ made an interesting admission that Dark Millennium stood in the way of a sequel to Relic's own Warhammer 40K shooter, Space Marine. If there was a great deal of overlap between those games, it might well be that Dark Millennium ultimately makes more sense as an action game than an RPG.

Still, what is most worrisome about today's announcement is that THQ is now making deep cuts at its flagship studios as they handle one of the publisher's most important licenses. The press release emphasizes that Vigil is continuing work on Darksiders II and Relic is continuing to "focus its development expertise on THQ’s franchises including Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War." It is not clear how the layoffs, and the financial straits that forced them, will affect development on those other projects.
PC Gamer
Yesterday we learned more about the main character and world of our Assassin's Creed III in part one of our interview with creative director Alex Hutchinson, senior producer Francois Pelland, and associate producer Jean-Francois Boivin. Story and lore are great, but now we're ready for the really good stuff in part 2: Weapons, mechanics, and the possibility of choking out a bear.

Gadgets and get-ups

PCG: Can you talk at all about the sort of gadgets we're going to get in this one?

Alex Hutchinson: All of our stuff is real-world... We didn't want to have any sort of invented objects. You have pistols and muskets. They're single-shot, so they're lethal, but one use -almost like you use them and throw them away. All of his weapons are new, and they're all dual-wield, so it'll be tomahawk and knife, or hidden blade and knife–-that sort of thing. And then we have a lot of stuff related to animals, like snares and traps or bait.

PCG: How will animals play into the overall experience? You said you've got traps, but what's the benefit of trapping an animal?

AH: There are different ways that you can get an animal. The example we've been using all day is, if you shoot a bear with buckshot, you don't get a very nice bearskin rug. So we encourage people to get in close and use the different mechanics to essentially assassinate them. George Washington won't be asking you for bearskins, but there are other things you can get involved in-–side quests, or other tasks that need those as objectives.

PCG: Can you make your own gear?

AH: We toyed with the idea for a while, but we decided in the end, no, we wanted him to be iconic. We were imagining a Rambo-type scenario. But no. Connor adjusts his stuff when he gets it, but he doesn't make it.

PCG: So there's an upgrade system?

AH: I mean, if you think about it, armor is sort of nonexistent in this period. People don't wear armor. There's a lot of style things you can do in terms of clothes, and there's new weapons you can buy, but not really any sort of linear upgrades.

PCG: So how do we advance the health bar this time around?

AH: You're not. We're toying with regenerating health in this one. It's the idea that we wanted fights to be more dangerous, so your health doesn't regenerate while you're in a fight. You have to actually lose your pursuers. We wanted to get away from health potions, you know what I mean? The notion doesn't really work. So we went with this idea where you have a regenerating health. So no incremental health increases.

PCG: How does the two-handed combat affect the dynamics of battle? You know, aside from letting you hit things twice instead of once.

AH: The goal is to make it more responsive. The controls don't change inside and outside a fight, so stays free run, even when you're in a fight. There's no need to lock on to anybody anymore, no targeting. You can fluidly move between people. So our goal was to integrate tools and target-switching, in and out of a fight, seamlessly.

PCG: The fights we saw were almost over in the blink of an eye. Connor ran in and, seconds later, Paul Revere was shouting “Nah, nevermind, guys. The British are leaving. I feel kind of bad for them now.” There was less circling and counterattacking. The rhythm of it was more like “get in, get out, bathe in the blood of your enemies.” How will the big, open environment affect that?

AH: You saw some of them, which were the mobile high spots. If there's tall grass, and you walk slowly through it, you'll crouch down automatically and take cover. So you can use the terrain to your advantage. Also, you're pretty much invisible as long as you're up above people in the trees.

It's a really different feeling, I think. If you're climbing a building, you don't see anything until you reach the top, and then you sort of get the reveal of looking past the building. With the trees, you can always see. Only part of the screen is obscured, so you have a lot of peripheral awareness. And it's non-linear. We like the idea, always, that you could be taking one path through the trees while enemies below are following a road.

In between assassinations

PCG: What variety of non-story activities do we have this time around?

AH: We're not talking about a lot of it, but we can discuss clubs. So, it's history, right? You're replaying history. You can't change history, so it's hard to have choices or big consequences. You can't shoot George Washington and stop the war. It doesn't work. But what we can do is make a world where, if you do certain things, it feels like the world is feeding back into it.

For example, if you walk around and start shooting a lot of deer, then someone might come up to you and say, "Hey, you're a really good shot with that pistol! You should join the hunting club." They give you an invitation to a point on the map you couldn't get to before, and when you go in there, they say, "Hey, welcome to the hunting club! We have this competition running. Go capture the biggest elk." It's this notion that you like hunting on your own, so you did it, and so the game says, "Sure, have more hunting. Here are a bunch of hunting challenges and hunting rewards connected to that."

PCG: So you're going to close off portions of the map?

AH: We're trying to do that as little as possible. We're lucky on some of this-–like Boston. It only had one land bridge at the time, so it's a nice island almost. We don't want to rig the map so much. We have a lot of locations, so we're kind of saying, once you get Boston, you've got Boston. Once you've got New York, you've got New York. There will be a few exceptions to that rule--just for structural reasons--but as much as possible, you get to roam freely.

PCG: Will we be able to train and call in other assassins to do our red, white, and blue dirtywork?

AH: There is a mechanic where you get buddies, but no, . We think that was the guts of Brotherhood, so we don't want to retread anything.

Francois Pelland: The game will feel very different, for sure.

PCG: One of the main criticisms leveled against Revelations was that it felt bloated from a feature standpoint, and that detracted from the core experience, which is assassinating people. Are you moving away from having all of that fluff?

AH: Obviously, I think you get a bit of bloat as you go from sequel-to-sequel with the same trilogy and the same characters. It's very hard to justify why Ezio might lose a device between games, so you're always adding. You get this crazy growth. But with a new hero and a new period and a new setting, we're able to strip away a lot of things that aren't necessary and refocus the game.

FP: That are unnecessary, or just not relevant to the period.

PCG: Are you worried about reactions to that?

AH: Yeah, I'm certain someone will . I'm not too worried, because I don't think it's going to feel small. And I think it's going to feel big enough. There's so much stuff.

FP: We're definitely adding more than we're taking away.

Jean-Francois Boivin: The amount of stuff that's been added is just huge. This is going to be a concern, but I don't think it's a big one.

Wild in the streets

PCG: There was the bit where you used a "chasebreaker” (leaping into a building to lose your pursuers). How many buildings will have interiors like that? Will most buildings at least have a little interior space to explore?

AH: We have more interiors than we've ever had before. There's lots of pubs like the Green Dragon in Boston. There are things like that. There's a lot of set-pieces inside. In terms of that specific mechanic, like a chasebreaker, we have to negotiate all these things with the engineers, obviously, as far as how many we can have. They're all over the city, but they're more like shortcuts. Imagine something like GTA. You're going along, you see the window, and you can cut through. It's not in every building, though.

PCG: There cities in previous AC games were all very tall,established cities. Boston and New York, though, aren't as built-out in genral,and especially vertically. How does that change the way that you're designing the game?

AH: It feels like that, but really, in actual fact, it's not that much different from the earlier games. If you think of all the cities in AC, they're about two stories tall. And most of the buildings in Assassin's Creed III--especially in the downtown areas of these cities--they're about two stories as well. Obviously the shape of them is different.

FP: The coliseum in Rome is quite high, but besides that, we have about the same amount of stories.

AH: The big problem has been the roof shapes-–the idea of these angled roofs and how it affects your perception of distance and which direction you're going. That's been more of a pain, to be honest, than the height.

PCG: You emphasized weather mechanics in your presentation, the big example being snow slowing people down, so they're easier to assassinate. Will weather do anything beyond that? Will there be any survival mechanics?

AH: You're still the assassin, so you should be powerful and comfortable in the environment. It's more about how it will affect other characters. Other characters will be struggling to survive, but the assassin is always powerful in the scene. The other things are just the aesthetics of winter: the tone, the idea that some animals will be hibernating, some will not be. There's availability of things. Some parts of the world may be accessible, while others aren't.

PCG: OK, this one's for me. When you encountered the bear in the demo, you whipped out the hidden blade. But in theory, if I wanted to, could I fistfight a bear? Could I just throw down my weapons and punch it a bunch?

AH: Not really. You could potentially choke out a bear.

PCG: But is it built such that if I threw a punch at a bear, the punch would land and the bear would in some way react to being hit by me?

AH: I haven't tried that. Some of this is relatively new. Ideally, no. It all becomes a little farcical. But if enough people think we should do it, then who knows?
PC Gamer
call of duty black ops thumb
Treyarch and Activision are yet to officially announce anything about the next Call of Duty. We can expect all that to be revealed around E3 time, but there's already plenty of evidence about suggesting that this year's CoD will be Black Ops 2. A big list of features and changes attributed to the upcoming sequel has been plonked on the Black Ops forums, and since removed, and then reuploaded to some different forums, and then removed again.

MP1st noticed pulled the info from a cached copy of one of those forum posts. The list contains lots of precise details about returning game modes, ditched game modes, ditched gadgets (like the RC XD), balance changes and word of a November release date.

If true, these details suggest that we're not going to see a major engine upgrade from the new CoD, the info reads more like a patch list than a list of sequel features, but it's all just rumour for now. Here's the full list.

Leaked Black Ops 2 Multiplayer Information

This year, Call of Duty will return with it's ninth installment with Black Ops 2. As expected it will be following Treyarch's previous game Black Ops. It's release date is set for the 6th of November.

Game Modes

Escort, a new game mode similar to Search and Destroy however a live player must be escorted to one of three areas (or two depending on the map) without being killed. The match will have rounds, consisting of one life only.
Drop Zone and Kill Confirmed will return
Team Defender and Infected will not return


Will follow from Modern Warfare 3’s system
Larger emphasis on objectives
A bomb plant is worth 2 points
A neutral flag is worth 1, however an enemy flag is worth 2
A flag assist capture is worth 1, a capture is worth 2
The Specialist Pointstreak has be modified
2 kills now gets you 1 perk
The 4th kill gets you 2 more perks
The 6th kill gets you 3 more perks
The 8th Kill gets you 4 more perks
You do not get every perk when you reach 8 kills
Perks only become “Pro” when you have them Pro
RC XD will not return

Heat vision

Is a new Pointstreak reward
When you get the required points, you can activate this Pointstreak and your player pulls out a scope and attaches it to your weapon.
This scopes main advantage is it’s ability to detect enemies through most walls.
Note, the scope can only be attached to primaries not including shotguns

Item Packages

Requires 5 points
Fall along side care packages and air drop traps.
Features a list of package items only
Including ammo, mini gun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, and body armor


There will be 15 prestiges
There will be 50 ranks
Every two prestiges there is a 5 rank increase
The final prestige has 90 levels


ELITE is being fully incorporated into Black Ops 2
Combat record has been modified and re-named as ELITE Stats
There will be a specific lobby for clan matches (new way of leveling clans)
Clan Tournaments can now be implemented


No MOAB or Nuke
No last stand
No death streaks
No flame thrower attachment

Map Design

Map design and size will be following Black Ops not Modern Warfare 3

Sniper Rifles

Improved sniper rifle usage.
No aim assist for any sniper rifle.
Less sway


No longer just perk 1 chooses the players appearance
Appearance is a combination of all perks and type of Pointstreak being used.


Larger emphasis on hardcore than ever before
No grenade launchers
Only vehicle guided rocket launchers permitted
Respawn timings decreased (for most modes)
1 bullet in the foot will no longer kill a person, a head or chest shot is usually required.
A person will now bleed out if severely injured.

Perk System 2.0

The Perk Pro system has been upgraded
There is now 2 options a perk can advance to.
Both require different challenges to unlock
Once the desired Pro version is unlocked, the player can select that as their “Perk Pro”.
Once selected, the only way to choose the other option is by entering prestige mode.
For example Perk slot 1 has the perk called Speed
Speed – Reduces the time taken to aim down the sight

Pro I – Swaps weapons faster
Pro II – Throws equipment faster

Combat Training

Will be returning with vast improvements.
Difficulty is no longer based on how long the bots take to start shooting.
Bots now have an advance AI system
Similar to the behavior seen in the MW3 Spec Ops survival

PC Gamer
Guild Wars 2 Fire Imp
We're pretty excited about Guild Wars 2, and as these things go there have been few clouds on the horizon in terms of the amount of cash players will be expected to hand over. Even the announcement of in-game microtransactions has been handled with a degree of sensitivity.

Some players, however, have raised concerns about the pricing of the game's recently-announced collector's edition. It costs $149.99 in the US and €149.99/£129.99 in Europe - the problem being that $149.99, at the time of writing, is closer to £95/€115. We asked publisher NCSoft for comment on the price discrepancy.

"Currency fluctuations, distribution costs, taxes and market conditions in addition to the cost of goods are all contributing factors when setting pricing. These vary dramatically between NA and EU and our pricing is competitive and adjusted accordingly."

If the collector's editions are manufactured in the US then it's likely that shipping its various books and figurines contribute to the extra cost - but it's still a large difference, and something European players will have to consider carefully before committing to.

Guild Wars 2 Collectors Edition comes with a making-of book, 10" figurine, soundtrack and art prints as well as bonus in-game items, beta access and a three-day head start when the game is finally released. It'll be available to pre-purchase from the 10th of April.
PC Gamer
Indie Buskers
The Indie Buskers are Sophie Houlden (SWIFT*STITCH), Rat King Entertainment (Pitman), Sos Sosowski (Congress Chainsaw Massacre), Pekka Kujansuu (Tiny Hawk) and Ido Yehieli (Cardinal Quest). They've come up with a new kind of indie bundle that merges pay-what-you-want with the increasingly popular two-day game jam format.

Submit game ideas through their website and on the weekend of the 14th-15th of April they'll turn the best five concepts into real games. The development process will be livestreamed and they'll furnish you with all the progress bars and early builds you can handle. It's free to submit ideas and watch their progress, and a bundle of all five games will be available on a pay-what-you-want (as long as you pay something) basis.

It's a cool idea, and a smart way of supporting indie that also gives players a chance to get involved in the development process. It's unlikely that at any point a man covered in shiny paint will traumatise children by standing very still and pretending to be a statue, and as such the concept has claimed an early lead over real life.
PC Gamer

There aren't a great many free to play racers out there. If Need For Speed World's reliance on single-use power-ups puts you off, and Trackmania's spiralling tracks feel a little too mad, you might want to try Auto Club Revolution. It's just entered open beta, which means you can sign up for an account, download the tracks and start racing for free.

As you race you can unlock new cars and tuning options, and there's a fairly decent car customisation suite that will let you decorate your ride with decals and new paint schemes. It's made by Eutechnyx. who developed last year's official Nascar game and, before that, Ferrari challenge, so don't expect any giant blue shells or homing rockets in this one. You can sign up and start playing on the Auto Club Revolution site.
PC Gamer

Tim, Graham, Tom and Chris convene to chat about the PC gaming matters that have been tickling their brains recently, and beards. Topics include roguelikes, Guild Wars 2, The Darkness 2, Assassin's Creed and the Steam Charts. We also take some of your questions from Twitter and talk about Mass Effect 3 in less than twenty, spoiler free words.

Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our older podcasts here.
PC Gamer
World of Darkness thumbnail 2
World of Darkness is an upcoming MMO from CCP, creators of emergent, player-driven, space opera, EVE Online. And it's going to be something truly special. Players will exist on a single server where politics are more important than crafting. A place where powerful players can kill off their enemies, forever. We've already talked about that side of things, and now we're going to share more secrets.

Every World of Darkness player will begin their experience in human form. How long will you survive in a server packed with bloodsuckers? That's yet to be seen.

It could result in something outstanding. Imagine hiding out for weeks with a gang of close friends. Then, one night, the immortals track you down and and are thirsting for your blood?

You'll probably need extreme strength of numbers to survive any length of time. Remember, in a world of vampires, guns are weaksauce and blood is the currency. Creative director, Raynir Hardason shared some exclusive details with us at last week's fanfest.

PC Gamer: Are we all vampires? Can I just play as a human and not turn?

Reynir Hardarson: Yes.

PC Gamer: Will I be able to compete though? Will I be as powerful as the vamps?

Reynir Hardarson: No. Not as a non-immortal. Part of the transformation is that immediately you become a lot more powerful in different ways...

PC Gamer: So it's a decision that players can make? “I’m don't want to roll with those guys?”

Reynir Hardarson: Yes. The game begins when you die.

"It's biased towards close range combat. World of Darkness is not a shooter; you will be able to use guns but they're mostly used for defence," explains Reynir. "Guns are not effective against vampires, they can take bullets easily. Secondly it's much more powerful using your own abilities. Guns are toys. It's a fashion item, a fashion accessory." We'll have more on World of Darkness soon.

PC Gamer
In these days of equal opportunity and well enforced rights of access laws, it seems almost unforgivable that one group of gamers is still unconsciously discriminated against. But then, it wasn't until I'd worked with a particularly militant south-paw dep ed that even liberal'ole me came to realise just how few of our toys take left-handedness into account. This realisation grew stronger every time a right-handed mouse was thrown in my direction.

You've been able to get left-handed guitars, left-handed golf clubs, left-handed hammers and even left-handed pencils on almost every high street since 1968, but only Razer makes mice suited to the one in ten people for whom ergonomics is a backward science. And they only released their first DeathAdder lefty two years ago. Which is great for FPS player, but what about MMOers? Won't somebody think of them?

What's this? Apparently Razer is thinking of them, just not quite enough to put a left-handed version of its multi-button Naga into actual production. But it's on the cards. Maybe. According to Razerite Min-Liang Tan, so far the company's invested a fair bit of cash by switching the buttons around on a DeathAdder, and they lose more on every sale, so they're a bit reluctant to release more.

Considering the number of times I've been asked about left-handed mice in the past, that's either surprising or just goes to show how ungrateful some people are. Frankly, I'd curse you all with RSI as punishment. But not Razer, who still believe there's a cause here worth fighting for her.

But they do need a bit of persuading. In order to start manufacturing left-handed Nagas, they're going to need a bit of commitment first. If they can get 10,000 'Likes' on this Facebook page, Tan says, they'll start the injectors and get moulding – and hang the possible financial consequences.

So are you left-handed? Do you want a big multi-button MMO mouse? Would you like to see Razer lose lots more money (potentially)? There's just over 1,500 'Likes' to go to hit their target. Go click here.