Category Archives: Gaming

Battle.net outs Blizzard’s Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Release Date

While Starcraft II fans have been eagerly waiting for the announcement of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm’s Release date, Eurogamer managed to go one step ahead and grab a screenshot of Battle.net offering StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm up for presale.

Starcraft II

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be released on March 12, 2013 and you can proceed with pre-ordering either the Standard version or the Digital Deluxe edition right now. Battle.net mentions that grabbing the Digital Deluxe edition gets you the original expansion, Wings of Liberty, along with in-game items for World of Warcraft and Diablo III.

The bonus items include:

  • Three StarCraft II Swarm-themed Battle.net portraits
  • StarCraft II Zerg Ultralisk “Torrasque” skin
  • World of Warcraft Baneling Battle Pet
  • Diablo III “Blade Wings” item – Queen of Blades-styled wings for Diablo III heroes
  • Diablo III Zerg banner sigil

Purchasing the Digital Deluxe lets you use Diablo III and World of Warcraft  in-game items right away, while StarCraft II items will have to wait till the game gets released. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is available for purchase from Battle.net.

DisneyUTV’s Indiagames Giving Away Games for Free This Week

It’s the festive season of Diwali here in India, and to celebrate the season, DisneyUTV’s Indiagames is giving  some of their popular games for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad for free.

Every day, for the next few days, one game will be available for free. The game giveaway schedule is as below:

If you missed grabbing each of these games, the apps will on sale for $0.99 for a week starting from November 23rd to December 28th, 2012.

The other games which will be on sale are

So if you’ve never grabbed these games before, now would be an ideal time to get each of these games for free — or at the sale price of $0.99 from November 23rd to December 28th, 2012.

Preload Need For Speed Most Wanted on Downloads4u

Game4u’s digital downloads service, downloads4u was launched few days ago(read my thoughts on the service here). Close on the heels of the launch, Electronic Arts’ newest game in the Need For Speed franchise, the rebooted Need For Speed Most Wanted is available for preload on downloads4u.

Preloading allows you to download the game before the game’s released. Once released, you’ll get the activation code, allowing you to start playing the game immediately, without having to wait for the physical media to ship over.

I’m a huge proponent of digital downloads & preloading, and it’s good to see more vendors are jumping on to the digital distribution bandwagon. You can buy preload Need For Speed Most Wanted by heading over here and purchasing the game using your credit/debit cards or netbanking. The game’s scheduled for November 2nd release and is priced at Rs 1499. While you wait for the download to complete, here’s live action TV ad and a gameplay video of what you can expect from Need For Speed Most Wanted.

Steam’s Halloween Sale is On!

Halloween is here, and if pumpkin carvings and trick-or-treating wasn’t fun enough, Steam’s enticing you to go online and buy some spooky games.

In typical seasonal fashion, Steam’s Halloween Sale is here. The sale runs till the 1st of November, and has some well known horror games on sale.

Here’s a list of some of the games on sale

These are just a small list of some of the most popular games on sale — head over to Steam to checkout the full list of games on sale.

 

Game4u Launches Downloads4u, A Digital Download Service for PC and Mac Games in India

Game4u, Milestone’s retail unit for PC and video games have introduced a digital download service known as downloads4u. Reporting for MCV India, Sameer mentions that as of now, the games available for download are limited to EA’s titles and few other titles from smaller publishers.

Titled downloads4u, the service allows registered Game4u users to purchase games and download them, much like EA’s Origin or Valve’s Steam. The accepted mode of payments include Net Banking and Credit/Debit cards.

To test out how the service works, I decided to buy Need For Speed:Undercover — for lack  of other better titles I was interested in. The service works, but there are some niggles which detract from the experience.

For starters, there’s no landing page or a prominent link to the downloads4u service. Navigation to the games available on downloads4u is limited by a drop down menu at the sidebar which is pretty easy to ignore and dismiss.

downloads4u location

The search results are pretty poor and there’s no way to filter only the games available for digital download. Once the title is purchased, the interstitial page was a rather bland page with title set as “Insert title here”.

Download4u

The page offers you a direct link to a bootstrappable game executable — there’s no common downloads4u client available, so if you buy multiple games, your hard drive’s bound to be littered with bootstrapper for each game. Though the game downloader doesn’t have a pause/resume button on the UI, thankfully closing the app and then reopening it later does resume the download.

downloads4u client UI

I hope the downloads4u takes some time in improving these. Price wise, there’s no difference between the digital downloads and the retail unit. With Internet bandwidth at premium and ridiculous Fair Usage Plans(FUP) among Internet Service Providers in India, I’m not too sure if the service will take off. Perhaps a discounted approach at the games available might incite the users to try out the service.

Overall, I’m pretty happy that Game4u has started this service — digital distribution in India is still at a very nascent stage and with initiatives such as this and from EA’s Origin, I hope digital distribution becomes more commonplace.

EA’s Coupon Code Goof Up Results in Free Games Bonanza

Last night, Electronics Arts(EA) decided to be a little generous and offered few select people a coupon entitling them to $20 off, if they would complete a survey on Origin, EA’s digital distribution service. The coupon made it’s way across the Internet, went viral on Reddit and as a result, a lot of people were able to get the $20 off on few games which were retailing at $20, essentially giving them the game for free.

Origin Logo

Now the catch was that the coupon code was supposed to be one-time and applicable for one game — except EA forgot to put in the one-time check. Woops. Few enterprising souls discovered that they could use it multiple times. EA’s servers essentially didn’t bother to validate if the user had applied the code or not. Result: A lot of people got a lot of games for free. The list of games that could be purchased via the coupon code included

  • Battlefield 2 Complete Collection
  • Bulletstorm
  • Crysis and Crysis: Warhead
  • Dragon Age II
  • Dead Space 1 & 2
  • Mass Effect 1 & 2
  • Shank 1 & 2
  • The Saboteur

The exploit was patched nearly 18 hours after the coupon code was live, by means of making the coupon code as invalid. There were fears that people who made use of this exploit might face bans, but EA Community Manager rep confirmed that “they will honor all sales made with the coupon code.”

Game4u to Hold Midnight Launch for FIFA 13 Across India

FIFA 13, the latest game of EA Sports’  FIFA franchise is all set to launch in India on the 28th of September, 2012. In light of this, Game4u  is set to hold a midnight launch party at various cities across India. The launch is scheduled to happen on September 28th, 2012 with the launch party starting half hour early, at 11:30 pm on September 27th, 2012.

FIFA 13 Boxart

The first customer to purchase FIFA 13 will get a “First to Own” certificate from Game4u.

Here’s more details on the event:

Date: 27 September, 2012

Time: 11:30 PM onwards

Venue:

  • Game4u, Mega Mall, Oshiwara, Mumbai
  • Game4u, Infiniti Mall, Malad, Mumbai
  • Game4u, MGF Metropolis, Gurgaon
  • Game4u, VIVA Collage, Jalandhar
  • Game4u, MBD Neopolis, Ludhiana

Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC Now Available Across All Platforms

BioWare’s action RPG game, Mass Effect 3, just got its second paid DLC. The DLC, titled “Mass Effect 3 Leviathan” is available on Xbox LIVE for 800 MS Points and on the PSN and EA’s Origin service for $9.99.

Leviathan brings in two extra weapons, the AT-12 Raider shotgun and M-55 Argus assault rifle — though pre-order customers would have no extra weapons since these were already available as part of their pre-order bonus.

Mass Effect 3 Leviathan gives a glimpse of a creature powerful enough to destroy a Reapers.  Catch the description and the game trailer below.

Something lurks in the dark corners of space, something powerful enough to kill a Reaper. Shepard must discover the most closely guarded secret in the galaxy before the Reapers silence it forever.

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan expands upon the events of Mass Effect 3, with gripping and emotional storytelling, compelling new characters, and powerful weapons and upgrades. Discover more about the origins of the Reapers as you race across the galaxy to find the Leviathan. Travel to new systems, wield the AT-12 Raider Shotgun and M-55 Argus Assault Rifle, and unravel the dark history of the Reaper Race before it is too late.

Blizzard Rolling out Massive Patch for Diablo III, PvP Still Not in Sight

If you pay a casual trip to Blizzard’s Diablo III forums, you’ll find whole lot of people whining about lack of things to do once they’ve hit the level cap. In an attempt to address this and to encourage people to try out more diverse character builds, Blizzard is currently rolling out Patch 1.0.4 — quite probably the biggest patch yet in terms of adding new features and balancing various characters.

One of the biggest complaints has been the level cap — beyond 60, your character stops growing and for a RPG game, character growth is quite possibly one of the biggest motivators in keeping you hooked onto the game. To combat this, Blizzard has unveiled what they term as the “Paragon” system.

Diablo III Installer

With the Paragon system, players level up to 60. Post that

  • Any further experience earned killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
  • There are 100 Paragon levels
  • Every Paragon level results will reward the character with:
    • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
    • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find
  • A border will surround the character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote the Paragon progression. A new frame will be earned after every ten levels

Diablo III Paragon system

Besides the Paragon system, the patch brings in a lot more changes including:

  • Magic Find and Gold Find is now capped at 300%
  • Health of normal monsters is increased by approximately 5%-10% in Inferno. Health of Champions and Rares is reduced by 10-25%
  • The likelihood that normal monsters drop magic or rare items is increased by a factor of four
  • Minion monsters are no longer invulnerable
  • Legendary items are improved, both in terms of damage done and bonuses offerered as well as their ingame animations
  • Lot of changes for all characters — Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Demon Hunter and the Witch Doctor
  • Auction house improvements: Auctions can now be cancelled at any time, provided there are no active bids on them, allowed number of “Preferred Stats” per search is increased from 3 to 6.
  • Nephalem Valor now grants +15% Bonus Experience per stack, as well as +15% to Magic Find and Gold Find
  • Magic Find is no longer averaged among all players in a multiplayer game

You can review all the changes the patch brings in from the patch notes. Patch will be applied at approximately following times, across different server regions:

  • The Americas: 3:00 a.m. PDT to 1:00 p.m. PDT (8/21)
  • Europe: 8:00 p.m. PDT (8/21) to 6:00 a.m. PDT (8/22)
  • Asia: 11:00 a.m. PDT to 11:00 p.m. PDT (8/22)

Despite all these much welcome changes, the PvP system is yet to come, and is expected to arrive in Patch 1.1, whenever that gets released. We’ll keep you posted on other major patch changes as and when they occur. Drop a comment  if you think the patch changes will improve your Diablo III experience.

Diablo III Starter Edition Now Available to All

If you always wanted to check out Diablo III to see how the game looks and plays like, Blizzard has offered Diablo III Starter Edition. However, the Starter Edition could be checked out only with a Guest Pass – which was available to only those who had purchased the boxed pack in retail.

Diablo III Installer

That was until now. Starting from today, however, Blizzard has made available Starter Edition as downloadable by all. To download the Starter Edition, you’ll need to create a Battle.net account, or login to Battle.net if you already have an account. Once you’ve logged in,

  1. Click on the  Click the Play for Free link for Diablo III Starter Edition on the account summary page
  2. Enter the BattleTag of your choice, then click Create your BattleTag.
  3. Click Get Starter Edition.
  4. On the Diablo III License page, click Download Game Client for Windows or Mac.
  5. Once the game is fully installed, you may log in with your Battle.net email and password to access the Starter Edition

You’ll have to remember that the Starter edition comes with restrictions

  • Content wise, Act I up to the Skeleton King is available
  • Characters have a level cap of upto Level 13
  • Matchmaking available only with other Starter Edition players
  • No Auction House access (Real Money or Gold)
A word of advice: the Starter edition content may be small but probably is enough to get you hooked on to Diablo.