Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Valve's three-day Dota-rama The International kicked off this morning, bringing 16 professional Dota 2 teams together to slug it out over a novelty over-sized cheque for $1 million. The game has come a long way since it was introduced to the world, and picked up oodles of new fans, so come on gang, let's watch some Dota!

Valve is streaming the matches online through Twitch.tv and own3d.tv, but the best way to follow the games is through the free Dota 2 spectator client. If you have Steam installed, you can download the client to watch the matches in-game, letting you play around with the camera, examine skills and item descriptions for as long as you like, and switch commentary streams. And there are no nasty video compression artifacts, of course.

The winning team will score a whopping $1 million, with $250k going to second place, $150k for third, all the way down to $25k for seventh and eighth. A lot is at stake, basically, so we should see some splendid Dota this weekend.

Matches begin at 9:30am PDT until Sunday. Check the schedule for more.

You can show your support for the teams by buying pennants, which gives Valve and the team some money, and gets you a small chance to win an exclusive in-game courier.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

NCsoft's long-running hero-themed MMO, City of Heroes, will be closing later this year as part of a "realignment of company focus and publishing support." Development on the title will cease immediately, and all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued right now. The MMO will be shut down before the end of the year, although a more detailed timeline has yet to be prepared.

In addition to shutting down the game, developer Paragon Studios will also be closed. The studio began working on the game in 2007, after NCsoft picked up the rights from original developer Crytpic Studios. In a message from the dev's community manager Andy Belford, he asks "potential studios" to hire affected employees. "You won't regret it," he notes.

"Thank you. Thank you for your years of support. You've been with us every step of the way, sharing in our challenges, encouraging us to make City of Heroes better, more than everyone else thought it could be," he added.

City of Heroes launched in 2004.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Guild Wars 2 dev ArenaNet had vowed that a pleasant gaming experience for it players was paramount over game sales. And, the company is making good on its word. To stabilize the game's growing population, digital sales of the game have been temporarily suspended.

In a post on the game's official Facebook page, ArenaNet said that the game had reached a level where so many players were trying to play at the same time that it was causing a problem with player enjoyment. The dev has said it is expanding its "infrastructure" to ease the load on its servers. Digital sales on the site will return once the player explosion is under control again.

You can circumvent this temporary sales restriction by going to one of ArenaNet's retail partners. Do note that some digital versions happen to be sold out as well.

Shacknews - Jeff Mattas

In this week's game-packed episode of Weekend Confirmed, Garnett Lee, Jeff Cannata, and Jeff Mattas are joined by regular guest Christian Spicer, and special guest Phillipe Bosher of Buried in the Credits. The crew discusses whether or not Guild Wars 2 brings a breath of fresh air to the MMO space, and a host of other games get some love as well. Forza Horizon, The Walking Dead, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, and Thirty Flights of Loving are just some of the games on tap for critical dissection. And of course, things get wrapped up with a healthy dose of Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 128: 08/31/2012

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 128 directly.

Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 00:00:31 â€" 00:29:31

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:30:05 â€" 01:00:39

    Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 01:01:28 â€" 01:33:57

    Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:34:51 â€" 02:08:44

Jeff Cannata can also be seen on The Totally Rad Show. They've gone daily so there's a new segment to watch every day of the week!

You can also catch up with Phillipe Bosher on his site, Buried in the Credits.

Follow the Weekend Confirmed crew on Twitter, too!

Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @jeffcannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Christian Spicer @spicer

Phillipe Bosher @pabosher

Remember to join the Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page and add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter @delriomusic.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Sacred 3 has been on the fringes of our consciousness since Deep Silver took over the franchise in August 2009. We would get bits and pieces here and there, but more details on the upcoming action RPG being developed by Keen Games have finally been revealed.

There will again be a variety of classes to choose from, but it appears they will be different than those set out in Sacred 2: Fallen Angel. The only two announced classes are a Safiri Warrior and an Ancarian Lancer. The ultimate goal of the players will be to defeat the ruler of the oppressive Ashen Empire, Zane Ashen, and keep him from obtaining a powerful artifact known as the Heart of Ancaria. Some of the environments are making a return, including Castle Braverock.

The game, which will allow four-player co-op, is planned for release on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC sometime in 2013.

Sacred Citadel, a side scrolling action brawler designed as a prologue to the Sacred 3 story, will also be coming in 2013 to XBLA, PSN and Steam and developed by Southend Interactive.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The announcement of Dead Island Riptide at E3 was unusually terse, merely saying that such a game was being made for PC and consoles. How mysterious! Publisher Deep Silver has since realized it might need to show something of the game, and today released the FPS-RPG sequel's first screenshots and along with a few details. The five shots show our zombie-slaying heroes returning to pootle around in boats, mostly.

A new, yet-unrevealed playable character will join the gang after their supposed escape at the end of Dead Island goes a bit pear-shaped. A tropical storm hits to flood the island of Palanai so you'll be hopping in boats to get around. Expect dynamic weather, new zombie mutations, and unspecified "new communications features" for co-op.

The sequel also adds new "hub defense" missions, where you get to place traps, fences and turrets in an attempt to keep your flesh on your bones.

Dead Island Riptide is scheduled for release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2013. Hit the official site for more information. Developer Techland is also working on a "dark fantasy FPP hack'n'slash" codenamed Project Hell, which originally began life as a Dead Island experiment.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS will have Xbox Live functionality built right into it. Now, we finally get a look at the first set of games that will give us glorious Gamerscore, including Angry Birds, BlazBlue, Toy Soldiers Cold War, Skulls of Shogun and Pinball FX 2. Some titles will launch the same day as the new OS on October 26.

The Major Nelson blog has the full list, which includes 29 titles from Microsoft and 11 titles from third-parties. In addition to achievements, many of these Xbox Live games will offer leaderboards and multiplayer modes. More titles will be released closer to the holidays.

Play XBLA has a detailed list of the first-party titles.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

The grand unveiling of Splinter Cell Blacklist at E3 involved an awful lot of man-shooting for a game supposedly in a stealth series, but fear not, Sam can be sneaky too. A new trailer plays through the section showcased before, only this time Sam doesn't fill every naughty man he can find with knives and bullets.

Yes, Sam can knock people out and hide their bodies, close doors to cover his tracks, and ferret out alternate routes through the level which don't involve machineguns and airstrikes. Non-lethal animations haven't been added yet so he does straight-up shank one dude to demonstrate moving his corpse but don't worry, kids--in the finished game, he'll only be sleeping.

Splinter Cell Blacklist is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in spring 2013. This being an Ubisoft game, the PC edition will inevitably be delayed by a month or so without explanation.

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

Borderlands 2, then. That's Borderlands with a 2 on the end, right? If you're a bit hazy on what exactly the sequel adds, you'll want to check out a new seven-minute trailer which employs an eccentric moustachioed gentleman by the name of Sir Hammerlock to explain it all. I think he's an actor, really.

The video is clearly made with the PC edition and its garish PhysX effects, so sorry consoleers, it won't look like that for you. Nor you on PC without beefy Nvidia graphics cards.

Borderlands 2 is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 18, published by 2K Games. Four $10 DLC mini-campaigns are confirmed, which you can get for $30 if you pony up $30 for a DLC Season Pass.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Some PS3 players were not happy when it was announced that Xbox 360 would get the Hearthfire DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before they got their version of Dawnguard. Now Bethesda has admitted that the problems it is having with the PS3 version of the vampire lord DLC may not be fixable.

In a post on the official Dawnguard forums, Bethesda admitted that the huge amount of resources needed for such a large add-on as Dawnguard has made the "issue" one that is difficult to solve, despite numerous attempts. The post didn't elaborate on what the exact problems were, but it concluded: "This is not a problem we’re positive we can solve, but we are working together with Sony to try to bring you this content. We wish we had a more definitive answer right now. We understand the frustration when the same content is not available on all platforms. When we have an update, we will certainly let you know."

It is likely that Dawnguard is suffering from the same issues that plagued the PS3 version of Skyrim after it launched. Bethesda has said that the development of Hearthfire has not further delayed Dawnguard on PS3.

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