Dragon Age Inquisition: ‘Vivienne Was a Truly Great Character to Build’

Vivienne

BioWare has announced that a new Inquisitor follower will be revealed every month and March will be exclusively dedicated to Vivienne, a human mage and possible companion in Inquisition. Senior Artist Rion Swanson unveiled the development process for this character and stated that “it was a truly great character to build.” Swanson strengthened the fact that it is a significant product that meets the high-quality standards of the studio. Despite the multiple reviews and back-and-forth processes, Vivienne ended up being a refined, detailed and complex character, as Swanson concluded:

In the end, I think we achieved quite a dramatic look for this strong new character. The combination of sleek and powerful shapes with the ornate gold and fine fabrics gives Vivienne a pretty unique appearance. Watching her move through the world with flowing fabric and using her awesome mage abilities is a real nice counterbalance to some of the other heavily armored characters in your party. Enjoy!

Dragon Age Inquisition Vivienne
BioWare’s development process of Vivienne’s appearance, clothes and ornament.

The Madame de Fer or the Lady of Iron, as Vivienne is known, will be the official enchanter of the Imperial court in Inquisition and she won’t let anything stand in the way of her goals, even if it means going against her fellow mages. As BioWare stated: “Vivienne fights to restore order in a world gone mad…so long as that leaves her among those left standing, once all is said and done.”

Tom Clancy’s The Division: ‘Snowdrop Engine Gives Total Freedom’

Tom Clancy’s The Division is currently under development and Ubisoft has been unveiling multiple details about the programing engine, Snowdrop. According to Ubisoft, this engine has been “built from the ground up to create truly next-gen AAA games.” Very little is known about this upcoming third-person tactical shooter game, however it’s known that it will have a hybrid system made of role-playing and action features. Next-gen offers unparalleled possibilities and freedom seems to be the main key towards creativity, as Ubisoft stated today:

@TheDivisionGame: The Snowdrop engine gives content creators a total freedom to experiment, prototype and unleash their creativity.

Tom Clancy's The DivisionFurthermore, Rodrigo Cortes, Brand Art Director at Massive Entertainment, has stated that Snowdrop is designed to “do things better, not bigger.” To achieve a higher level of game development, in a period of great competitive edge between new AAA games, Ubisoft decided to rely on freedom rather than brute force, as Cortes explained:

Triple-A game development projects are growing in scope exponentially, so we wanted to be smart and not rely on brute force. We needed an engine that would support how we work in the studio, promote creativity, and allow the freedom to experiment and prototype.

League of Legends: Team Builder is Not Coming to Ranked for Now

Team Builder

Riot Games has officially launched Team Builder, a new team set-up queue for normal games, which will exclude the ranked ladders for the time being. After a long beta testing period, it is now available in all servers and is here to stay according to Riot Games. This system allows players to create their own team setup or queue for one using a specific champion, role and position.

Check the trailer below and let us know what you think about it:

This new queue system is merely casual and it’s not coming to the competitive grounds for now. Riot Games doesn’t want to dictate any restrictions to the development of competitive matches and as so, this system will be only live for normal queues. The company explained that  might be implemented in the future but possibly with a different format, since the pick order and ban mechanics are crucial in the ranked system:

Because Team Builder is a brand new way to handle champion select, we started with basic elements such as choosing the champion, position and role you intend to play in a given match. We know that the ban and pick order mechanics of the draft process are critical to the competitive nature of ranked mode, and we’re not quite sure yet how these would fit into Team Builder.

Team Builder seems to be ideal for training purposes, since players can easily pick a specific role or champion. However, there are a few concept lines that could be useful for the competitive level – who wouldn’t appreciate a permanent balanced team in ranked?

Dragon Age Inquisition: Three Companions Left to Be Unveiled

Dragon Age

Two more Inquisition companions have been revealed, which means there’s possibly three more to be officially announced. The fourth Dragon Age Inquisition companion spotted in a video last week has been officially identified by BioWare. After an image leak from the German PC magazine GameStar, Bioware’s lead writer David Gaider explained that the supposed Solace is in fact, Solas, a male elf mage companion in Inquisition:

Just FYI, however, it’s Solas. Not Solace. Not sure where they got that. And, since this seems to be a persistent notion: Solas is not the “Dorian” from the survey. He was never that character. As to who Solas is… well, I suppose you’ll all have to wait and see.

tumblr_n2t4luuV581sq2dy2o1_500
A screenshot of Solas, an elf mage.
tumblr_ms59fsXHwF1rrrleuo1_1280
A concept art of Iron Bull, a qunari warrior.

It’s also assumed that a concept art created last year by lead concept artist Matt Rhodes corresponds to the fifth Inquisition companion. His name is Iron Bull and he’s a qunari male warrior.Judging by his giant sword, he’ll probably be an aggressive warrior like Fenris in Dragon Age 2 and Oghren in Dragon Age Origins.

With five companions brought from the shadows (Varric, Cassandra, Vivenne, Solas and Iron Bull) there’s possibly only one companion left to be unveiled.This of course, if BioWare follows the logic used in the previous two games, which included eight companions per game and a balanced class distribution among characters:

Dragon Age Origins: Alistair (Warrior-Templar); Leliana (Rogue-Bard); Mabari War Hound (War Pet); Morrigan (Mage-Shapeshifter); Oghren (Warrior-Fighter); Sten (Warrior-Fighter); Zevran (Rogue-Assassin); Wynne (Mage-Healer).

Dragon Age II: Anders (Mage-Healer); Aveline (Warrior-Defensive); Bethany Hawke (Mage-Offensive); Carver Hawke (Warrior-Fighter); Fenris (Warrior-Fighter); Isabela (Rogue-Assassin); Merril (Mage-Offensive); Varric (Rogue-Archer).

Dragon Age Inquisition: Cassandra (Warrior-Defensive); Iron Bull (Warrior-Fighter); Solas (Mage-?); Varric (Rogue-Archer); Vivienne (Mage-Offensive).

Following this trend, one of the remaining companions is certainly a female rogue, since we already got three males, two females and only one rogue-archer. The other two companions could fit in any class and specialization role.

Xbox One In 26 New Regions By September

Xbox One

Microsoft has revealed via their website that the Xbox One will be entering the markets of 26 new regions in September. This should help Microsoft compete with Sony considering the rocky start they had this generation. Eight of these countries were supposed to be in the original XOne launch window, but had to be removed for reasons unknown.

If you had hopes of playing Titanfall on an Xbox One but resided in one of the following countries, prepare yourself for the immense satisfaction of piloting Titans.

Argentina
Belgium
Chile
Colombia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
Greece
Hungary
India
Israel
Japan
Korea
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Slovakia
South Africa
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
UAE

SimCity Now Officially Offers An Offline Mode

SimCity

With the release of the cleverly titled Update 10, SimCity is now officially an offline single player game… finally.

When the game released last year, it came under heavy fire by critics and the internet alike for its lackluster servers and curiously absent offline mode. It was an entire week before people could play the game, and even after it was still a buggy mess. When confronted about the problem, EA said that an offline mode was ‘impossible’ and that it could simply not be done. Fast forward to this very day, and it is done. EA at work, folks.

simcity

The full details can be found on their brand new FAQ, which does require an internet connection to view. The following are the most noteworthy excerpts.

Q: How do I play SimCity offline?
A: The new Single-Player Mode allows you to play SimCity anytime, anywhere, without the need of an active Internet connection.

Q: How do I download the Single-Player Mode for SimCity?
A: The Single-Player Mode will be included as part of Update 10 at no additional cost. This will be available to all current and future players on PC and Mac starting March 18, 2014.

Q: Will I still require an Internet connection to play?
A: An Internet connection is required to download Update 10 when it becomes available on March 18, 2014. You will not require an active Internet connection to play SimCity offline in the Single-Player Mode.

Q: Can I still play the game Online?
A: Yes, the Online game and all of its features are still intact. This includes Multiplayer, SimCity World and Online Save Games.

Q: Do I need an Origin Account to play?
A: Yes, you use Origin to download and launch SimCity. Once you’ve installed Update 10, you can put Origin into offline mode when you are playing Single-Player Mode.

Watch Dogs: Chicago Will Be Access Free and NPC Profiling Events Will Be Endless

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs creative director, Jonathan Morin, unveiled another set of features regarding map access and open world missions. Apparently, Chicago will be totally free of access and players won’t need to unlock any districts in order to explore them. However, as Morin explained, certain zones might need monitoring at times.

@Design_Cave: Hello! Do we need to unlock districts in the game before entering them, just like GTA? 🙂
@Jonathan Morin: No, Chicago is free of access like a normal city. But you need to work to monitor it all…

A huge feature coming to Watch Dogs is the NPC profiling system, which will allow Aiden Pearce to accurately predict certain events like murders and outrages. To generate random profiling events, players just have to walk around and monitor people that pass by. This system will be mainly continuous, since the generic types of profiling will always be running. However, specific events will be limited and restricted, as Morin stated:

@Hurricane4343: People under impression that npc profiling leading to event is not endless? will npc events always happen in free roam?
@Jonathan Morin: Certain types are endless (Potential Crimes & Various Online Stuff) while others aren’t. So the short answer is YES.

Watch Dogs Minimum System Requirements Revealed

Watch Dogs

With Watch Dogs for PC getting closer and closer to its release date, I am sure you are extremely curious to know if your rig is powerful enough to run the little beast. We are here to share with you the minimum system requirements for WDogs which have been released already and are pretty surprising.

So here are the Watch Dogs minimum system requirements for the PC version, obvisouly:

– IntelCore 2 Quad Q8400 2.66Ghz or AMDPhenom II X4 940 3.0Ghz
– 6GB RAM
– 1024 VRAM DirectX 11 Shader 5.0 SCard: DirectX9
– 25 GB

Pretty decent, we’d say even though there are still many people still running on 4GB of RAM. Certainly a time to change that! Except for that small detail, the minimum system requirements are certainly accessible to most gamers so we’ll surely be able to play this game. It remains to be seen if it’s indeed a downgraded version (visually) or the one that we’ve all been expecting.

Until the game launches, you can check it out in our Watch Dogs graphics comparison article. And don’t forget to tell us what do you think about the minimum system reqs!

Upset Fans Start Petitions to Fix Dark Souls II

Dark Souls

The launch of Dark Souls II has been overwhelmingly positive for From Software and Namco Bandai. The game has received staggeringly positive critical reception and the community has embraced it with open arms – for the most part.

Fans of the series have been starting petitions to get some of the more controversial aspects of the game fixed.

The first petition asks Namco Bandai to fix Soul Memory. For those who are unaware, Soul Memory is an aspect of the game designed to better pair you up with people of your skill level. The problem is that it’s so stingy that it’s now making invasions and cooperative play sparse and overly difficult, effectively sabotaging the community they wanted to pull in with Dark Souls II‘s new accessibility.

Finite respawning, also in the petition, is a new system in place to help people who are stuck at a certain area progress. In the original Dark Souls, you would have to kill the enemies to progress, but if you died, you’d start over and have to kill them all again. This repetition was frowned upon by many, but embraced by monster farmers. The problem is now that farmers have more trouble gathering precious loot, and some argue that it’s making the game too easy.

Dark-Souls-II

The second petition asks Namco Bandai to fix the timed cooperation. In Dark Souls, when you summoned a player into your world, they could help you progress through the level or take on a boss. This was not a timed endeavour and, as long as you both lived, could continue playing together. In DS II, there is a time limit to how long summons last, making exploration a thing of the past while engaging in jolly cooperation.

I have sunk over fifty hours into Dark Souls II thus far, and I tend to agree that these aspects need to be fixed.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Last Beta Starts in a Few Hours

Beta

Bethesda and Zenimax are running The Elder Scrolls Online final beta test this weekend. The event will last two days, from today, March 14th starting at 12pm EDT until Sunday, March 16th 11:59pm EDT. This final stage is nothing less than a stress test. With the release date approaching, ESO’s servers must be totally functional and ready for massive numbers of players. According to Bethesda, this will most likely be the last test before the official release:

Join us in our final scale test event this weekend—more invites are on their way! We’re sending out invites for our final ESO scale test. We need your help to push our systems, so check your email and join us. If you’ve been invited to previous beta events, you’ll be able to participate this weekend, too. This may be your last chance to help us test!

If you took part in previous beta events, then you can freely join this one. If you didn’t have the chance to try ESO yet, then you can get a free key from media sites like Rapt.com. Unlike the other beta events, players don’t need to follow any non-disclosure agreement (NDA) this time. But posting freely without restrictions is not the only reward from Bethesda. This weekend’s participants will unlock a monkey vanity pet for PC/Mac that will be available at launch.