PC Gamer
Mass Effect 3 Omega Nyreen


Aria T'Loak is mad. Not only did Omega, her space station hive of scum and villainy in Mass Effect 3, get poached by Cerberus, her favorite couch was commandeered by some jarhead named Oleg Petrovsky. This will not stand. With the aid of the more-friendly jarhead Commander Shepard, a gaggle of displaced criminals, and yes, the gasp-worthy appearance of the female Turian mercenary Nyreen Kandros, Aria sharpens her biotic, er, energy balls and charges back into the station's seedy corridors to recapture what's rightfully hers. Unless that Shepard doorstop gets in the way with his/her fussy "morals" and "bullets."

Mass Effect 3's Omega DLC hits tomorrow for $15, or 1200 BioWare bucks.
PC Gamer
Steam concurrent users graph


Combating Thanksgiving food comas with the awe-inspiring power of the gaming binge, over 6 million gamers logged into Valve's digi-hub over the weekend after enduring the motions of spending "time" with "family." Undoubtedly spurred on by the Autumn Sale and its many wallet puns, the surge also rode the waves of numerous major releases such as PlanetSide 2, Assassin's Creed 3, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

The ballooned player count peaked around 11:00 a.m. PST Sunday with 6,045,912 users logged on, Kotaku noticed. Notice that's concurrent logins, not active game sessions—while games define the vanguard of Steam's excellence, the chart gathers numbers from simply having the program launched and running. That's where the always-handy Steam Graph service steps in with more numbers for your numbers.



Plugging in a few top releases into Steam Graph for the Thanksgiving weekend shows a fair spread across PC gaming's most popular genres. Dota 2's un-beta boasted a little over 170,000 simultaneous players on late Saturday, while soccer-sim Football Manager 2013's surprising strength topped at around 60,000. On Sunday night Black Ops 2 spiked at 51,000 soldiers, and PlanetSide 2's fight for Auraxia swelled to 30,000 Steam conscripts last night. Lastly, as many as 15,000 stone-faced killers were concurrently shoving sharp metal objects into various people in Assassin's Creed 3.

Conclusion? I'm really tired of turkey sandwiches, but Steam's powerful presence on the PC only increases with each passing year.
PC Gamer



Last week we recorded a pre-holiday episode, left for our traditional four day gaming/food binges, and have just now recovered enough to post it. Logan, Evan, Tyler, T.J., and Omri discuss what they'll be playing and why, agree to disagree, then violently re-disagree about which PlanetSide 2 faction is best, wonder if cannibalism is really so bad, and challenge the extreme praise for The Walking Dead—it's good, but has the hyperbole become excessive? Is it really the most emotional experience gaming has given us?

All that and more in... PC Gamer Podcast 338: The Gawking Dead

Have a question, comment, complaint, or observation? Leave a voicemail: 1-877-404-1337 ext. 724 or email the MP3 to pcgamerpodcast@gmail.com.

Subscribe to the podcast RSS feed.

Follow us on Twitter:
@logandecker (Logan Decker)
@ELahti (Evan Lahti)
@tyler_wilde (Tyler Wilde)
@omripetitte (Omri Petitte)
@AsaTJ (T.J. Hafer)
@belsaas (Erik Belsaas, podcast producer)
PC Gamer
THfrontpagecloseup2


"Who needs a big brain when you've got teeth like mine?"

That line, plucked from Tidehunter's stable of bassy, boastful voice-over, tells you everything you need to know about him. The disenchanted former champion of the Sunken Isles is big, green and—relative to certain other Heroes—straightforward enough to play with your brain turned off. He’s a mana-efficient, no-frills initiator and a loveable lug all-around.

You can blame his ultimate for this. Screen-wide, tentacle-driven stuns that last for a sweet 2.77 seconds have a way of making everyone —ally and enemy alike—stop in their tracks.

But let's take a step back and examine Tidehunter through a more technical lens. The melee, strength-focused hero is part Aquaman, part Hulk. He’s a team player, a Hero who shines brightest when he's with his posse. Almost everything in his armament reflects this. Gush? Slows, damages and reduces armor. Kraken Shell? It provides marginal damage reduction, sure, but it lets him shed unfortunate debuffs. Anchor Smash? Injures and adds insult to injury by reducing enemy damage output. Both from a traditional and a practical standpoint, Tidehunter is built for initiating combat and soaking damage.
Page 1 - Skills
Page 2 - Items, How To Play Tidehunter
Page 3 - Tidehunter Wallpapers
 
DIFFICULTY:
Spells: Easy
Farm: Easy
Positioning: Easy-Moderate
Overall: Beginner-friendly

SKILLS
Occasionally dismissed as a one-trick pony, Tidehunter is not without his intricacies. In the hands of a competent player, he’s is more than a simple bludgeon—he can be a work of art, and a percursor to bigger, badder things. And while that is excellent, this doesn't change the fact that a hammer to the face, regardless of whether it's being wielded by a novice or a veteran, is still a hammer to the face.
GUSH
Summons a gush of water to damage an enemy unit, reducing their movement speed and armor.
http://youtu.be/68728IYAiok

Gush is, quite literally, Tidehunter regurgitating bilgewater and stomach acids on an adversary. What else would cripple and eat through dense armor? Filtered Avian? Please.

With that taken into consideration, it’s an unexpectedly lovely ability. The armor reduction from Gush isn't really comparable to the havoc that Dazzle's Weave can wreck on the enemy team but for a skill that comes with a touch of damage and a 40% reduction in movement speed? It works. It really does.

Because it works in so many possible ways, it's easy to forget that Gush comes with an exorbitant price tag. Compared to the other skills in Tidehunter's arsenal, Gush is expensive, so much so that, in the earliest stages of a hypothetical match, it's the only thing you'll be able to cast before you have to chug down a mana potion.

Much like in real life, careful budgeting is essential here. Make the mistake of overestimating how much mana you have after that initial Gush and chances are you'll find yourself in the midst of your enemies with nothing but a sheepish grin to protect you.

Damage: Magical
Mana Cost: 120 / 120 / 120 / 120
Cooldown: 12 / 12 / 12 / 12
Damage: 110 / 160 / 210 / 260
Slow: 40% / 40% / 40% / 40%
Armor Reduction: 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

KRAKEN SHELL
Creates a thick armor shell that reduces physical damage and removes negative buffs when damage received reaches a critical threshold. Kraken Shell does not stack with items that provide Damage Block.
http://youtu.be/mbIfRCkRM6g

Of all of Tidehunter's abilities, Kraken Shell is probably the one with the least immediate value. But that doesn't mean it's irrelevant. Kraken Shell can be great. Regardless of whether we're talking about 28 or 2000 base damage mitigation at level X , any means of cushioning the impact of a hit is amazing and while it doesn't quite scale into late game, that early 15% reduction (on average, most heroes will be dealing roughly 150 to 175 damage per basic attack by the time you have Kraken Shell maxed) in incoming damage is still pretty darn sweet.

More importantly, however, much like the safety belt we so often take for granted, Kraken Shell will save your life. Take this story as an example.

A friend of mine and his team had cornered an enemy Tidehunter in the river near Roshan. Doom seemed inevitable for the unfortunate Leviathan. As Tidehunter's health dwindled away, the Mirana on his team made one last desperate attempt to save her comrade. She hit her ultimate. Tidehunter became invisible. Just as quickly, my friend's teammate responded with Dust of Appearance.

“Pro,” my pal thought approvingly. The fish would die.

For a split second, Tidehunter returned to view before, just as abruptly, he vanished from sight again.

Silence followed.

“You did get dusted, right?” A hesitant inquiry over all-chat.

“Yes.”

“... why can't I see—oh. Kraken Shell. Damn it.”

Ability: Passive
Damage Reduction: 7 / 14 / 21 / 28
Damage Threshold: 600 / 600 / 600 / 600

ANCHOR SMASH
Tidehunter swings his mighty anchor to damage nearby enemies and reduce their attack damage.
http://youtu.be/30uJcLr3ttA

While Tidehunter is normally picked for that outrageous ultimate of his, Anchor Smash is what puts him completely over-the-top. His third ability is what separates leviathans from bottom feeders, what anchors him as one of the best initiators ever.

Even after taking the maritime menace's shallow mana pool into account, Anchor Smash, with its low cost and near-negligible cooldown, is still delightfully spammable. Four seconds? 60 mana? It doesn't really get better than that.

But wait, it does: Enemies caught within Anchor Smash's generous radius of effect will receive a 40% reduction to their base damage for up to six seconds.
In a game so often dominated by hard-hitting, autoattack-loving carries like Anti-Mage and Drow Ranger, Anchor Smash is a godsend. At the cost of a measly 60 mana, it allows you to almost halve the damage output from any given hero. Sure, it does nothing against, say, Lina's ultimate, but it can certainly make Night Stalker less of a reason to wet your pants.

Damage: Physical
Mana Cost: 30 / 40 / 50 / 60
Cooldown: 7.0 / 6.0 / 5.0 / 4.0
Damage: 75 / 125 / 175 / 225
Damage Reduction: 40% / 40% / 40% / 40%
Duration: 6 / 6 / 6 / 6
Radius: 400 / 400 / 400 / 400

RAVAGE
Slams the ground, causing tentacles to erupt in all directions, damaging and stunning all nearby enemy units.
http://youtu.be/BZBsiD9wuWQ
In a perfect setting, you'd be equipped with every item that you need, be blessed with phenomenal, catlike reflexes and no lag whatsoever. The enemy will be bunched in a group. You'll blink in, a watermelon-patterned behemoth of death and destruction, and hit R for Ravage. Ecstatic screaming ensues. A disgruntled enemy will sullenly announce ”GG.” “Good game,” you'll think to yourself, as you let a smile unseen curve your lips as the team marches onwards to enemy's last bastion of defense. Yes, this is the sort of MOBA memory you’ll stow away as a future story for your grandchildren.

It doesn't always happen like that.

In fact, it usually doesn't. Generally speaking, it's more likely to go like this:

Your Naga Siren will decide it's high time to sing the song of her people. Why? Because she is the prophesied carry, because an ultimate that temporarily emasculates both teams (enemies will neither move nor take damage during Siren's performances) is apparently far more effective than a damaging, screen-wide stun. Because she damn-well wanted to.

"But I thought I was initiating!" She'll remark as your head sinks against the keyboard.

"..."

No one ever said it was easy being green. That said, Ravage still rocks. It's one of the reasons that Tidehunter sees so much play. Even at level 1, his ultimate boasts of an impressive 885 radius and a sizable 2.02 stun. As you might have guessed, it isn't too hard to hit your mark with Ravage – all it really takes is the ability to be within the same general vicinity as the enemy. Hit 'R' to win, idiot teammates notwithstanding.

Damage: MAGICAL
Mana Cost: 150 / 225 / 325
Cooldown: 150.0
Damage: 200 / 325 / 450
Radius: 825 / 925 / 1025
Duration: 2.02 / 2.32 / 2.77

Next page: Core Items, How To Play Tidehunter

TIDEHUNTER CORE ITEMS
(Buy these items or we can't be friends.)



Arcane Boots
For all of his stellar qualities, Tidehunter's almost painfully mana inefficient, a gas guzzler if there ever was one . Consequently, no other form of footwear better complements Tidehunter than a pair of Arcane Boots. To provide a bit of perspective on the matter, Arcane Boots will bolster Tidehunter's existing mana pool by an additional 250 points—that's more than enough for two extra Gushes. Once you throw in Arcane Boots' active ability—it feeds you and allies within a certain radius 135 mana—there's really no other reason to opt for different shoes.
Blink Dagger
Blink Dagger is Tidehunter's little black dress : simple, perfectly suited for every occasion and an absolutely essential part of his wardrobe. Though a somewhat costly investment—2150 gold isn’t exactly lunch money—it's one that is worth its weight in precious metals, primarily because it circumnavigates Tidehunter's biggest weakness: his lack of maneuverability. With a Blink Dagger, Tidehunter won't have to worry about his torpid turn rate or his minimal talent at crowd control. Instead, he'll be able to pretend to be a freakin' ninja albeit one that has more in common with sashimi than the folk who eat it.


HOW TO PLAY TIDEHUNTER
Early game is an interesting beast. Depending on who you talk to, the correct method for playing Tidehunter can differ drastically. For some, like a friend of mine who routinely engages in high-level games, Tidehunter's natural habitat is either the offlane or the aggressive trilane . In the former, his role is to harvest as much gold and experience as possible, to disrupt his opponent's attempts at creep-based agriculture and be as much of a pain as possible without compromising his safety. If he's part of a three-way, Tidehunter's role changes a bit. Here, he often finds himself instigating contact between neutral creeps and his own or aggressively spraying bodily fluids of some variety on the enemy.

For others, like Loveless and this errant League of Legends player on DOTAfire, Tidehunter can be more of a supportive character or an aggressor in a two-man show. It varies, really, especially in public games where nothing is really impossible.

Depending on the setup of the match, Tidehunter's skill build will change as well. Should Tidehunter be positioned in the solo offlane or in any other similar scenario, Anchor Smash will take priority over Gush. Inversely, if the Hero ends up responsible for catalyzing kills, Gush often gets maxed out first. Regardless of the situation, however, Kraken Shell is usually left for last. Though it offers increased damage reduction, its importance is far outweighed by the other skills in Tidehunter's repertoire. (Needless to say, Ravage is leveled at every possible opportunity.)

Once mid-game approaches, things become less ambiguous. Ultimately, Tidehunter was created for one purpose and one purpose only: to initiate fights and to mitigate all incoming damage, something that becomes all too easy after the introduction of a Blink Dagger. With the aforementioned accessory, Tidehunter will be able to catapult himself into the center of his unsuspecting enemies to cast Ravage before following up with an Anchor Smash and the usage of Gush on anyone attempting escape.

The rest of the game generally follows the pattern: Blink. Ravage. Anchor Smash. Gush. Rinse and repeat. What usually varies toward end game are the items that you purchase after that all-so-crucial Blink Dagger. If the other team is heavy on stuns or magic damage, it's not uncommon to see a Black King Bar or a Pipe of Insight fitted into Tidehunter's shopping list. Shiva's Guard, however, is frequently the tertiary purchase of choice, thanks Tidehunter's normal placement in any team fight. Should the game drag on long enough, a Refresher Orb can make an appearance as well. More eclectic picks such as Vladimir's Offering, Assault Cuirass and even Radiance have all been made to work—it's largely up to the individual. So long as you don't deviate from the core formula, Tidehunter can be a swimmingly easy Hero to captain.

Cassandra Khaw is a street dancer, an entry-level audiophile, a voracious reader and an itinerant freelance journo for places like Tech Hive, PC World, Indiegames Blog, PC Gamer and more. When not otherwise working at a weird hour, she can be found chasing down confederates in DOTA2 is a desperate attempt to keep them healed. Like every other hipster Asian out there, she started playing DotA about a decade ago and still misses Riki's original Ultimate.

Next page: Tidehunter wallpapers



The original Tidehunter art featured in this guide was illustrated by Lisa Cunha. Check out Lisa's portfolio.
Tidehunter wallpapers
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1920x1200
1920x1080
1600x900
3840x1080 (dual-monitor)
1024x1024 (iPad)
640x960 (iPhone)
PC Gamer
steamtrade


From December 12th, trading through the Steam inventory will be restricted to accounts that have had Steam Guard, Valve's account protection system, activated for 15 days.

Steam's trading service lets users exchange items from different games, as well allowing for the swapping and gifting of the games themselves. Mostly, of course, it's used to facilitate Team Fortress 2's strange hat-based economy.

So what's brought about the change of policy? For starters there was the recent allegation that Russian mobsters were using TF2 to launder money by purchasing keys in bulk, trading them for earbuds, then selling them at a slightly reduced price. Perhaps more tellingly, the change is being made just before Christmas, when Valve traditionally likes to perform weird experiments with sale achievements and tradable items. As this Reddit thread points out, last year crafty users were able to exploit the coal promotion to get more favourable trades.

Steam Guard is a free service that forces an additional email confirmation every time you log in from a new PC. Tying an extra layer of protection to virtual economies is becoming an increasingly common practice - Blizzard already require Battle.net Authenticator for Diablo III players looking to use the real money auction house. If you're a regular Steam trader who's yet to enable Steam Guard, you've until tomorrow to make the switch and ensure uninterrupted service.

In other trading news, TF2 recently doubled the size of its maximum backpack size to 2,000, provided players are prepared to spend the £47.43 it would take to purchase enough Backpack Expanders to reach the limit. That might seem overkill right now, but in the future, when all goods and services are purchased through a Bill's Hat bartering system, you'll be glad of the extension.

Thanks, PCGamesN
PC Gamer
snipergw2


You'll learn two things about Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 from this teaser trailer. The first, rather obviously, is that it includes sniping. The second is that it also has plenty of gratuitous armpit stabbings. That one's also kind of obvious, since it's now mandated by law that all gritty, "realistic" war games must include at least one instance of unnecessarily detailed knife crime.

Back to the sniping. The trailer shows that the game will include a thermal imaging camera, scientifically proven to be 21% cooler than sniping in the daylight, and a return of the "hold breath to slow time" mechanic that has featured in every sniper game ever made, but is disappointingly absent from real life.

There's also a follow-the-bullet kill-cam, albeit one that appears to be less gleefully horrific than Sniper Elite V2's. Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is due for release in January.
PC Gamer
teleglitch


If you've room in your life for another sci-fi roguelike, then you might want to give Teleglitch a look. It's a top-down real-time roguelike shooter that reminds me of Alien Breed, and those are some words that look very good together indeed.

As IndieGames note, it's been a year since a demo version of the game cropped up, and three years since development first started. Those three years of developers Johann Tael, Mihkel Tael and Edvin Aedma's lives have resulted in a shooty roguelike (a... shoguelike?) with crafting, "a sinister narrative filled with greedy military corporations", and 10 randomly generated levels that "radically change their structure every time you play". If that sounds like something you might enjoy, there's a demo here, which I can happily report offers a lot of twin-stick-style (as in, you move with WASD and aim with the mouse) shooty fun. The full game's available for $13 or £7.83. Teleglitchy video below.

PC Gamer
windows8a


GOG.com - the digital distributor formally known as Good Old Games (until they started releasing both bad and new games onto their service) - has announced that 90% of their catalogue is now compatible with Windows 8. A news post on their site reveals that they have tested and fixed 431 titles in an effort to fully support Microsoft's new OS.

For the most part these games should work as is, without the need to redownload the installer. As well as working on the most recent Windows, GOG have also said that because of the fixes, the amount of Windows 7 compatible games has also increased.

The announcement comes as a rare bit of good news in the continuing saga of developers and distributors voicing their opinions of Windows 8. Previously the CTO of Croteam, developer of Serious Sam 3, spoke out against the Windows Store, and Notch has called for Microsoft to "stop ruining the PC as an open platform." Valve have also been critical of the OS, spending the last few months seductively whispering "Linux" at anyone within earshot.

But GOG's decleration of support is unlikely to hold any ulterior motives. Their raison d'être is to get classic PC titles running on modern systems, which is exactly what's happening here. Still, if you've been holding off on Windows 8 for fear that it couldn't play Little Big Adventure 2, you no longer have reason to worry.
PC Gamer
Firefall preview


It's a shooter. It's an MMO. It's got jetpacks, armies of aliens to blast and a focused 5v5 player vs. player combat. Firefall defies quick description. The best way to get a sense for Red 5's MMOFPS is to jump in and start shooting yourself. We have 5,000 keys to this weekend's beta test session ready to distribute among soldiers willing to leap to planet Earth's defense. Read on to for a chance to take your place alongside the noble defenders of Copacabana.

For a chance to grab a key, follow the instructions on the other side of this link:

I am the very model of a jetpack Major-General, I shoot all aliens vegetable, animal, and mineral.

The first 5,000 entrants will receive a key via email when the competition closes on Thursday. Keys can be redeemed on the Firefall site to gain access.

For more on Firefall, check out our preview cover feature in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK.
PC Gamer
minecon-610x240


It may have been held in Disneyland Paris, but it seems that MineCon 2012 wasn't just a thinly veiled excuse for Mojang to spend a weekend on the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blaster. Minecraft's lead developer, Jens Bergensten, used the event to announce the upcoming 1.5 update. Titled The Redstone Update, it's part of a new plan to release more frequent patches that will each focus on a specific element in the game. First up is that magic red dust that clever people who aren't me can use to do amazing things.

Here comes the science bit: The Redstone Update will tweak the ore to give it a variable strength, adding a new capacitor block that will only produce an output once it's received a certain strength of input. Begensten used the example of a pressure plate that would only activate when it received a specific, player defined weight. Other improvements planned include a daylight detector, which could be used to create solar panels (similar to those seen in the popular Tekkit mod), and increased support for creating automated minecart systems.

Also detailed was the much delayed mod API. Developers will be able to create plugins that will be hosted on a central Mojang mod repository that players can browse and download. The API will allow modmakers to add and remove features from the game, but will protect the core Minecraft engine from tampering.

That Mojang have chosen to focus their next update on redstone, one of the favoured tools of custom mapmakers, is no big surprise - they've previously told us of their plans to put the future of Minecraft in the hands of their community. The Redstone Update is due for release in January. In the meantime, you can check out the brilliant things people can already create with the ore in our round-up of the best custom maps available for the game.

Thanks, Gamespot
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