PC Gamer

Join us live at PAX Prime in Seattle today for the PC Gamer Megapanel, featuring a discussion on "The Incredible, Uncertain Future of Storytelling" with the super-creative minds of Jake Solomon (XCOM: Enemy Unknown), Dean "Rocket" Hall (DayZ), Greg Kasavin (Bastion), Sean Vanaman (The Walking Dead), and Markus "Notch" Persson (Minecraft).

The panel starts at 2:30 pm PDT (4:30 CDT, 5:30 EDT, 9:30 GMT) - if you're at PAX, come see it at the Kraken Theater, but if not: don't worry! You can watch it all live on the official PAX livestream above.
PC Gamer
Planetside 2 thumbnail

Planetside 2 beta players have been working hard to obliterate each other for the past few weeks. According to stats that SOE sent over, the average beta tester puts in two hours of active service a day. More than eight billion points of damage have been dealt out courtesy of 194.6 million shots on target. Basically, it's hell out there. Which is perfect. We need our troops sharp and ready for action when Planetside 2 finally goes live.

Geta sense for the ferocity of the fighting so far from the following list of large, large numbers.

8.5 billion points of damage done to players
5.8 billion points of damage done to vehicles
535 million shots fired
194.6 million shots hit
6.3 million player deaths
2.3 million rockets launched
571 thousand grenades thrown
Empire allegiance breakdown:
Terran Republic: 34.67%
New Conglomerate: 32.96%
Vanu Sovereignty: 32.37%

If you're not in the beta yet, sate your war lust with the latest Planetside 2 trailer, and Tyler's Planetside 2 preview.
PC Gamer
Battlefield 3 Alborz Mountains

DICE are promising to push the Frostbite 2 engine further than ever with September's DLC pack, Armoured Kill. The maps added by the update will be some of the biggest Battlefield battlefields we've ever seen, and it looks as though could turn out to be the prettiest, too. A post on the Battlefield blog from senior environment artist Andrew Hamilton goes over some of the improvements DICE artists are bringing to the new maps, including "higher resolution terrain and vegetation textures, more detail in organic objects such as tree trunks and higher density of objects scattering the landscape."

According to Hamilton, we'll be able to see sand sparkling when lying prone on Bandar desert, the transition between snow and earth has been carefully tweaked and reflection masks allow the team to render realistic ice sheets. See a few of those effects in the screenshots and video of the Alborz Mountains map below. It almost looks too nice to blow up. Almost.

PC Gamer
DayZ Dog

DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has been showing IGN his plans to bring dogs to DayZ. They'll act as faithful companions that can track down animals and, eventually, will defend you from zombie attacks. The German Shepherd can be given orders, but the extent to which he'll follow them depends on how experienced he is. A young dog will wander around trying to find you after 30 seconds if he's not well trained.

Of course, owning a dog brings with it the possibility of losing your chum to the zombie hordes. That's a harrowing thought. I love dogs, even virtual ones that sit so still it looks as though they've died and been replaced by a stiff taxidermy replica. Their addition to DayZ will surely make the entire experience that much more fraught. See an early build of the dog update in action in this very video.

The DayZ Arma 2 mod is being updated alongside development of the standalone version of DayZ announced earlier in the month. Evan had a chat with Dean Hall recently about the future of DayZ, we can look forward to much more than dogs.

PC Gamer
Skulls of the Shogun

Skulls of the Shogun is a dedicated historical strategy game designed to respectfully represent that time hundreds of years ago when the skeletal armies of Japan rose up and tried to steal each others' skulls. If you've played Advance Wars on a handheld you'll already have a feel for the rules of the thing. It's turn based, but movement isn't locked to some arbitrary grid, and the skulls you claim make your units more powerful. If one of your heroes falls, the enemy claims all of the skulls that warrior has collected, allowing for sudden, devastating reversals of fortune.

Skulls supports asynchronous multiplayer, so you can drop in and take your turn whenever you have a minute. It also has cross platform support that'll let us take on opponents playing on Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7. It does seem to be designed solely for Windows 8, however. If that's no barrier for you, you might want to check out the latest trailer, which has burst forth from PAX' fertile earth.

Skulls of the Shogun is due out late October. Check out our Skulls of the Shogun preview for more.

PC Gamer
Torchlight 2

"The official Release Date for Torchlight II is Thursday, September 20th, 2012" writes studio head Travis Baldree on the Runic forums, kindling a flame of hope in the souls of disgruntled Diablo 3 players.

"Will it let me hit monsters ... offline?" they ask, cautiously. Why yes it will. "Will there be mods?" Yup, seems likely. "Will item drops be meaningful, giving me powerful new toys to play with regularly?" Well, I can only hope, but the videos Tom took when he spent some time with Torchlight 2 looked very promising. Each class has access to some delightfully destructive abilities, and that signature sense of impact from Torchlight 1 has translated into the sequel's big, outdoor zones nicely as you can see for yourself in our Torchlight 2 class guide videos below.

Torchlight 2 is available to pre-order now on Steam at the budget price of £15 / $20. Find out more on the official Torchlight 2 site.

PC Gamer
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3

Content Collection 3 isn't out on PC yet, but Activision are already teasing the fourth "final assault" map pack. It's due to arrive on Xbox on September 6, which pegs it for somewhere around October 6 on PC. It'll add five new maps: Boardwalk, Off-shore, Decommission, Parish and Gulch.

Men are murdered to a backing of clamorous gun-song in the new trailer showing off each map in turn. The noise acts like a mental battering ram, breaking down the superficial differences between each map and laying bare the very bones of what Call of Duty is, a grain of truth best expressed by a looping gif of a man running around the corner and shooting another man in the head for 100 points forever. HEADSHOT. Hopefully Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 can mix things up a bit when it arrives in November.

PC Gamer
Guild Wars 2 - Banhammer bear is ANGRY

Arenanet have permanently banned 3,000 players from Guild Wars 2 for taking advantage of an exploit that allowed them to craft high level weapons at "one thousandth of their normal price." An emergency patch has closed the loophole and players that "significantly" exploited it have been thrown out of the game. 72 hour suspensions were dished out to lesser offenders.

Lead producer Chris Whiteside posted on Reddit with further explanation. "Today we banned a number of players for exploiting Guild Wars 2. We take our community and the integrity of the game very seriously, and want to be clear that intentionally exploiting the game is unacceptable. The players we banned were certainly intentionally and repeatedly exploiting a bug in the game. We intended to send a very clear message that exploiting the game in this way will not be tolerated, and we believe this message now has been well understood."

He goes on to say that Arenanet are "just this once" offering to convert perma-bans to 72 hour suspensions. The exploit involved buying abnormally cheap items from a karma vendor and then fusing them to make high level items at the mystic forge. En-masse exploitation of the loophole threatened to flood the market with powerful items and destabilise Guild Wars 2's economy.

"Let me assure you: All the people we banned were fully aware of it being an exploit," said Arenanet on Twitter. "If you bought a few weapons - you were not banned. If you massively exploited it - you were."

Popular Youtuber, Kripparian was among those banned. You might recognise him as a member of the first team in the world to beat Inferno Diablo on hardcore mode. He was live streaming the exploit on Twitch TV and issued a 72 hour suspension in the middle of the broadcast. Arenanet confirm that this was later turned into a permanent ban.

Kripp posted a video response to the ban on Youtube. Skip to 7:30 to see the moment that the suspension landed.

Most of us are playing quite a bit of Guild Wars 2 at the moment, but none of us as much as Chris. Take a look at his ongoing appraisal in our Guild Wars 2 review in progress. For inside info and exclusive videos, check out the series of articles contained within Guild Wars 2 week.
Aug 31, 2012
PC Gamer

Just when you thought it was safe to keep your head down and ignore the patent infringement controversy that engulfs the tablet and smartphone milleu, it's time to blow the dust off of your copy of Black's: the industry vogue for legal action is moving into the heady world of water cooling.

Chiller constructor Asetek has been awarded several patents on a design for a “integrated liquid loop cooling” - those funky all in one water coolers – which dates back to 2003... and it's taking rival CoolIT to court over its similar designs.

According to a press release issued this morning, Asetek is working with an undisclosed third party to licence its newly patented technology to other manufacturers. Just about all of the existing all-in-one liquid coolers I know of are rebadged Asetek or CoolIT products, making its choice of litigative target unsurprising.

It's unlikely that the amounts involved in this case are going to be huge – all-in-one water coolers are a niche of a niche as far as sales are concerned – and what's interesting is that the patents seem pretty specific to desktop PCs, so it's unlikely they'd be applicable to the more lucrative server market.

While talk of patents these days is almost guaranteed to have heads smashing into desks in the Gamer office, it would be lazy to write off Asetek's claims as more trolling. CoolIT's Domino ALC was the first all-in-one to get noticed on UK shores, but that was in 2008 – a full three years after the first patent was filed.

It is worth noting, however, that the word “innovation” pops up no less than six times in the short 323 word release, evoking a certain other ongoing case in which the jury reported back last week.

(Via TomsHardware and VRZone)
PC Gamer
Natural Selection 2 Exosuit

A common rule of thumb for shooters: dual miniguns never get old. And they definitely look good when slapped onto a hulking mechanical walker, spun into an air-sucking blur, and put to work converting nasty alien critters into gooey green cheese. That's my impression of the Exosuit in Natural Selection 2's latest trailer, which shows the walking robot dispatching creatures large and small with curtains of lead.

Currently in beta, Natural Selection 2 still has no firm release date, though developer Unknown Worlds states that the Exosuit's entrance marks the last major content addition required before fully launching.

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