Look up in the sky! Is it a bird-form druid? An engineer in a flying machine? No, it’s a wild Josh Myers, returned from summer adventures and bursting with knowledge about DPS shaman in his weekly Totem Talk. This week will focus on enhancement shaman for brevity, but I haven’t forgotten my elemental brethren. Next week, you’ll have all my attention to yourselves.Hello again, Totem Talk! I apologize for my disappearing act the last few months, but I started a new job as a summer camp director six weeks before camp began, which requires a phenomenal time investment during the summer. Also, my boyfriend got diagnosed with MS and my mom with uterine cancer, so my life has turned into a frost giant’s stress ball. And, because I’m a masochist, I decided to start personal training, because I didn’t have enough stresses on my schedule or my body.But I’m back! Summer is winding down, and with its slumber comes a slightly less hectic work schedule for me, which should mean more time playing and writing about WoW. This is convenient, seeing as patch 5.0.4 releases this Tuesday, and I’ve left my league of adoring fans, frenemies, and people bored enough to read my articles without any enhancement or elemental guidance for far too long.A lot of the changes coming in patch 5.0.4 are the very generic ones that we’ve covered in the past, such as the total overhaul of the talent/glyph systems for every class in the game. For those overarching game changes, you’ll want to check out the most recent patch notes we’ve posted, as well as Anne’s 5.0.4 primer. This post will deal more with the actual nitty-gritty of what’s changing for enhancement specifically. This post is aimed toward maximizing your level 85 shaman during the month in between 5.0.4 and Mist of Pandaria’s actual release, so that you can spend that month learning how to play before release. Enhancement, enhancedEnhancement hasn’t changed much on the beta. When I first started playing it a few months ago, this depressed me; I’m the sort of player who likes grand sweeping changes and constantly needing to relearn how to play. That’s not the best class design, though. Blizzard has kept the core of the class the same but made a number of quality-of-life changes that will enhance the overall playing experience.A lot of these changes revolve around Searing Flames, the bane of a Cataclysm enhancement shaman’s DPS. First off, they’ve retooled Searing Totem’s AI, making it less likely to randomly spit fireballs at mobs you aren’t attacking. Second, Searing Flames will now stack on the shaman rather than the mob being hit by Searing Totem, which significantly reduces DPS ramp-up time during target swaps. Lastly, they’ve added the ability to stack Searing Flames to your Fire Elemental Totem, which will make it a viable DPS cooldown for enhancement. (And as a quality-of-life change, the cooldown of FET has been reduced to five minutes for 5.0.4, which means you’ll have it up every boss attempt.)Next, we’ve got changes to our totem mechanics. All of our buffs are becoming passive and always active; these are Burning Wrath, Unleashed Rage, and Grace of Air. There will be no passive buff totems. Totems have been changed to all be abilities you use for a reason. You’ll need to get used to using Healing Tide Totem or Healing Stream Totem when you need healing or Stone Bulwark Totem/Earthgrab Totem when you’re trying to survive or escape the enemy. I’m personally ecstatic about this change, but I know many shaman don’t share my opinion on it.Finally, there are a few nice PvP quality-of-life changes to be aware of. Spirit Walk will be decoupled from Feral Spirit and is a potent sprint/snare break on a 2-minute CD that you can use at any time. Greater Healing Wave is being removed from our arsenal, but Glyph of Healing Storm combined with Echo of the Elements and Healing Surge mean our self-healing will be much more powerful than it is on live. We’ll also have better survivability options available in our first tier of talents, and Frozen Power is having its minimum range requirement removed. These are all nice things!Glyphing to winAnother big 5.0.4 change is the removal of Prime Glyphs and a new focus on making glyphs more choice-based. Despite this, every enhancement shaman in 5.0.4 should be using Glyph of Flame Shock, as it allows more Earth Shocks to be cast in between Flame Shock refreshes, which is a slight DPS increase. This will change your priority slightly; you’ll cast Flame Shock only every other Unleash Elements cast. Other useful glyphs that should always be useful for PvE will be Healing Storm (a dead DPSer does no DPS!) and Feral Spirit (see previous). Glyph of Spirit Walk will also be worthwhile to use and especially great on fights with target switches.Situationally, Glyph of Chain Lightning would be worthwhile on fights with add phases with five or more mobs. Fire Elemental Totem’s glyph would be great on fights that need high burst in a short window of time, such as Spine of Deathwing. Glyph of Ghost Wolf and Glyph of Shamanistic Rage could both be useful depending on fight mechanics.Hit rating, expertise rating, and math (a few of my favorite things)One of the first things you’re going to have to deal with when you log in is that your gear will be totally messed up. On live, I have just about 1,742 hit rating (17% spell hit) and 541 expertise (6.5% dodge removed). In 5.0.4, expertise will give spell hit as well, and you only need a combined 15%, but bosses’ chances to dodge have been increased to 7.5%, and bosses’ chance to be missed by melee special attacks is the same value. Together, they’ll equal the 15% spell hit you need.Meanwhile, expertise has shifted from needing 120 rating per 1% to needing only 103 for the same amount. Hit rating needs the same 103 rating per 1% chance to hit, regardless of spells or melee attacks. (Hit rating previously needed 121 hit for 1% melee hit and 103 hit rating for 1% spell hit.)To make this less confusing, here it is stripped down: You will need a total of just under 1,540 hit/expertise rating to spell hit cap at level 85. Next, 770 of that will be expertise and 770 will be hit rating. If you’re hit/expertise-capped now on live, you will suddenly find yourself with 744 excess points to be spent on secondary stats that actually increase damage rather than just allowing you to hit the boss. When I transferred Elamism over to the PTR, I reforged and removed hit from every item that had it on it and still ended up 200 points over the hit cap.And the icing on the cake is this: Most classes in Cataclysm only needed 1,742 rating to cap their ability to hit a boss. Casters needed 1,742 to spell hit-cap, and melee types such as arms warriors who only needed 8% hit and 6.5% dodge reduction needed a combined 1,742 hit/expertise. Unholy death knights didn’t even need to expertise cap; they only needed 961 hit rating. We needed to invest a whopping 2,284 secondary stat points into not missing on our attacks before we could even care about damage dealing secondaries.In MoP, the system is designed so that every class needs the same 1,540 (1,537, technically) to cap, which means no one will have the unfair advantage of being able to devote 1,323 more points to damaging stats than we could.So what about our damaging stats?And this is a good thing — because for once, we have three secondary stats that aren’t totally awful. Mastery is still good but not the clear winner it has been since its introduction. Instead, our good friend haste rating — our best stat in Wrath of the Lich King and worst in Cataclysm — will be top dog for stats at level 85 in 5.0.4. There are a number of reasons for this that I won’t get into in this article because it’s too long already, but the recent buff to Flurry and its large uptime in best-in-slot gear is a big culprit. Never fear, though; mastery will get better as you level up to 90, though it won’t necessarily be as good as haste.Having good Flurry uptime combines with the fact that our spells will crit for 100% more damage (rather than the 50% they did in Cataclysm) to make critical hit rating not terrible anymore. It’s still not amazing and is our reforge fodder, but it’s not awful. It’s actually only slightly worse than mastery at level 85 — but it gets outpaced by mastery and haste on the way to 90. Having three worthwhile stats is a positive to me. Unfortunately, this means that stats are no longer as easy as “hit to cap, expertise to cap, stack mastery.” We’re likely returning to the old days of simming every upgrade to make sure it is one.The wrap-upAnd there’s a real positive for people who don’t like relearning how to play: you’ll be happy to know that our priority has been left mostly unchanged. For those playing along at home, this is it:Searing Totem if not down or about to expireMaelstrom Weapon 5 Lightning BoltStormstrikeLava LashFlame Shock if Unleash Flame is present (Note: you will never cast a non-buffed Flame Shock if you do it right.)Unleash ElementsEarth ShockFeral Spirits if everything is on cooldownThere’s more that I haven’t covered for the sake of brevity. Talent choices will be largely personal preference; the only exception to this are the tier 4 talents. Echo of the Elements is the clear winner there, but Elemental Mastery might have its day once we get Ascendance.A lot of this is subject to change once level 90 talents become available, but for now it’s a worthwhile crash course in enhancement at level 85 in the Mists of Pandaria pre-patch.Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We’ve got enhancement-specific advice on 4 ways to increase your DPS, the ups and downs of enhancement in Dragon Soul, and gearing up for Raid Finder raids.
Along with your first day at school, and (for the boys at least) growing your first peach fuzz mustache, many of you might also never forget your first Sound Blaster soundcard. In the present day (unless you’re blessed with youth) only the Sound Blaster can be enjoyed again, and today Creative introduces its new Z-series. The latest PCI-Express cards use the firm’s Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor and come in three variants: the Sound Blaster ZxR, the Zx and the Z. As you might have guessed, the more letters, the higher up the food chain it is. The flagship ZxR ($249.99) boasts a 127dB SNR, sockets for swappable Op-Amps, 80mW into 600 ohm headphone pre-amp, plus RCA / optical connectivity (via additional daughter board) and an external “ACM” control module for less fiddling around the back of your machine. You can save yourself $100 with the Zx model, if you don’t want the ZxR’s “DBpro” daughter board, and the Z edition saves a further $50 at the expense of the external controller. Want to dive into the full specifications? Plug in to the PR after the break. Show full PR text SINGAPORE – 15 August 2012 – Creative Technology Ltd today announced its new ultra high-performance Z-Series of Sound Blaster® PCI-Express sound cards Elevating the standards of technology and performance for the future of gaming and entertainment on the PC. Creative will preview the new Sound Blaster ZxR, Sound Blaster Zx and Sound Blaster Z at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 15-19 August 2012. “The audio landscape for gaming and entertainment on the PC has changed. As content creation and consumption evolves with the interactivity of the Internet, our vision is to enable the best listening experiences for music, video and games, and to transcend the basic concept of sound quality as a specification with enabling technologies that allow users to completely customise their PC audio,” said Low Long Chye, Director of Product Marketing for Audio. “For audio playback, we use studio-grade components to deliver outstanding fidelity, and then greatly enhance the listening experience by implementing our SBX Pro Studio™ suite of audio technologies. This enables complete customisation of audio playback, uniquely catered to suit individual tastes. Our mixture of outstanding components and proprietary technologies also enables us to provide the highest quality recording experience for audio creation, which today expands beyond just music recording to include user interaction and creation with YouTube, eSports, and more.” “We also recognise how voice communications in massively multiplayer online (MMO) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are so crucial to winning, and how clear communications in VoIP applications such as Skype are so important to having meaningful conversations. This is where our CrystalVoice™ technologies enable users to experience the best possible sound quality – the level of quality that is exclusively available with Sound Blaster. To complete the overall communication experience, all our sound cards comes standard with a high-quality dual microphone array,” added Low Long Chye. Each New Sound Card Offers a Complete Audio System To dynamically power compelling audio playback, the new sound cards leverage the Creative Sound Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor, which is designed to work in perfect harmony with Creative’s SBX Pro Studio technology and high-quality components to deliver a complete audio platform. Sound Core3D also works seamlessly with CrystalVoice communications technologies and the high-quality beam-forming microphone array included with each of the new sound cards to deliver Acoustic Echo Cancellation, Voice Focus and Noise Reduction for clear online voice communications. This complete system for voice communications also enables gamers to use speakers and the high-quality microphone array to achieve a better overall experience. Sound Blaster ZxR – The World’s Best Sounding Sound Card (SRP US$249.99) This flagship Sound Blaster ZxR is designed to provide the best gaming and entertainment audio performance in any sound cards. It also delivers the ultimate audio playback and creation solution for the PC. Studio-grade components, which include external digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that deliver 127dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), sockets for swappable Op-Amps, a high-end 80mW into 600 ohm headphone amplifier, and 192kHz pass through, are used to deliver phenomenal audio quality. The Sound Blaster ZxR has multiple connections including a proprietary connector to the DBpro, a daughter board that offers optical output for outstanding playback; and professional-grade 123dB analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with RCA Aux-in and optical input for outstanding recording quality. Furthermore, a convenient external ACM (Audio Control Module) provides a built-in dual-microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections. Designed to complement the Sound Blaster ZxR, the ACM adds convenience, extra connectivity and control, plus it enhances the look of any desktop. In addition to the impressive hardware capabilities, the proprietary SB Speaker-Calibration feature, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live, all these three ensure an ultra-realistic cinematic audio playback and gaming experience. From the hardcore gamer fragging an opponent on a first person shooter to a die-hard MOBA or MMO player engaging with thousands of players online, gamers can get a competitive advantage from excellent audio quality and positional accuracy. In many of today’s most popular games, if gamers are not communicating, they are not winning. For voice communications, Creative’s CrystalVoice technologies enable crystal-clear communications amongst gamers and their teammates. Creative’s audio engineers designed the SBX Pro Studio suite of audio playback technologies so gamers can improve their audio experience and calibrate their game audio so they can hear the subtle nuances that gives a competitive edge. Immersive surround sound, the ability to clearly understand teammates and enhancements of specific sounds in a gaming environment are just a few elements of SBX Pro Studio that enhance gaming audio. SBX Pro Studio Features: SBX Crystalizer™ – Enhances sound for games, music and movies by restoring low and high end frequency curves lost to compression SBX Surround™ – Delivers a 360 degree surround sound experience so gamers can hear sounds clearly from the front, back, above and below SBX Smart Volume™ – Address the problem of abrupt volume level changes in music, movies and games by intelligently applying gain and attenuation to deliver consistent volume levels; includes Night Mode™ to reduce the impact of explosions and bursts of sound so as not to disturb others after hours SBX Dialog Plus™ – Enhances voices in games and movies for clearer dialog, allowing the listener to hear the dialog over the rest of sound track and over ambient noise SBX Bass™ – Fills in the missing low frequency tones and give the extra impact for a better entertainment experience Designed to deliver crystal clear vocal fidelity in multiplayer games, online chats and video conferencing, CrystalVoice technologies also enhance voice communications for VoIP solutions such as Skype. CrystalVoice Features: Acoustic Echo Cancellation – Eliminates echoes and enables whoever is speaking to listen to the other party clearly Noise Reduction – Enables the person speaking to be heard clearly over background noise by constantly monitoring the environment and eliminating unwanted noise that interferes with the conversation Smart Volume – Automatically adjusts the loudness of a voice to maintain a consistent volume level. This makes it convenient for the speaker to converse normally, regardless of whether the speaker is close to or far away from the microphone Voice Focus – Beam-forming creates a zone and suppresses noise outside it to enable whoever is speaking to be heard with amazing clarity. Multiple microphones are used to focus, enhance voice, and eliminate sounds outside the zone VoiceFX™ – Enables alteration of voice with a variety of effects, which can be used to enhance the tone of a voice, create interesting accents, or enable someone to sound like a completely different person Sound Blaster Zx – High-Performance Gaming and Entertainment Audio (SRP US$149.99) The Sound Blaster Zx incorporates all the hardware and software features of the Sound Blaster ZxR except for the DBpro daughter board. Clad in brilliant red EMI shielding and featuring glowing LED lighting, the Sound Blaster Zx is the bad boy of the bunch, with an attention-grabbing design that ideally complements any power gaming rig. The Sound Blaster Zx leverages Sound Core3D processing with external DACs that deliver 120dB SNR. Other features include support for 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out, a 600 ohm headphone amplifier, gold-plated I/O connectivity, and SB Speaker-Calibration, which calibrates speakers to take advantage of room acoustics, resulting in an optimised audio performance. The Sound Blaster Zx also includes the convenient external ACM (Audio Control Module) with a built-in dual microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections. To enhance digital entertainment capabilities, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live encoding are included. The product also includes high-quality optical and stereo cables. Sound Blaster Z – High-Performance Gaming and Entertainment Audio (SRP US$99.99) The Sound Blaster Z incorporates all the hardware and software features of the Sound Blaster Zx except for the ACM. Instead, an external high quality dual-microphone array comes standard with this card. An ideal all-around gaming and entertainment solution, the Sound Blaster Z comes with 120dB SNR and supports 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out. It also features glowing LED lighting, a 600 ohm headphone amplifier, an EMI-free analog input and output path, SB Speaker- Calibration and gold-plated I/O connections for pristine audio quality.
Trine 2’s upcoming expansion, “Goblin Menace,” will be available to PC and Mac users who purchased the game through Steam on Thursday, September 6 for $7.99/€6.99. Steam customers who purchased the Collector’s Edition, however, should already have access to beta versions of the expansion’s first two levels, though the beta will end once the final product is available.App Store and Linux versions on Trine 2 will receive Goblin Menace at a later date, while the game’s Wii U port will ship with the new content included. The DLC is accompanied by a two-gig update to the game itself, which ensures that both expanded and non-expanded copies of the game behave properly in multiplayer.Smaller gameplay updates are also being implemented, such as arrows that show a player’s location while in multiplayer, in addition to other miscellaneous adjustments and fixes. Frozenbyte encourages all Collector’s Edition kids to contribute their feedback to the game’s Steam forum. Show full PR text Frozenbyte announces Trine 2: Goblin Menace for September 6th Beta version of the expansion available until launch to Collector’s Edition owners on Steam Helsinki, Finland – 30 August 2012 – Finnish game developer Frozenbyte has announced September 6th as the release date for its upcoming game Trine 2: Goblin Menace on Steam (PC/Mac). Trine 2: Goblin Menace is an expansion to the award-winning action adventure game Trine 2, featuring an all-new campaign spanning six unique levels and new skills that are also playable in the original game. In preparation for the Goblin Menace expansion, Trine 2 on Steam has been updated with a major 2 GB patch to make sure the game and the new expansion work together in multiplayer. Some of this work is still ongoing and will bring many long-requested features to all Trine 2 players, including an arrow indicator of other players location in multiplayer, lots of minor gameplay changes and additions and technical fixes. Moreover, current Trine 2: Collector’s Edition owners on Steam get immediate access to a beta version of Goblin Menace, featuring the first two levels. Once the Goblin Menace expansion is available for purchase on September 6th, the beta will end. “We wanted to give our loyal fans something extra and also get some early feedback before the official launch. The Goblin Menace is compatible with the original Trine 2 in multiplayer, and this is one of the areas we want to focus on during the beta test. We’ve been working on the Goblin Menace for almost a year and are very proud of it. We can’t wait for all the feedback!” said Lauri Hyvärinen, CEO of Frozenbyte. Beta feedback can be directed at the Trine 2 forums on Steam where Frozenbyte will be taking notes and commenting on the feedback. Link: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=644 Trine 2: Goblin Menace will cost $7.99/6.99 EUR, with a small launch discount for early buyers on Steam. The expansion is first released for PC and Mac, and will then soon be released on the Mac App Store, and on Linux. Trine 2: Goblin Menace will also be included in Trine 2: Director’s Cut for Nintendo’s Wii U™ system. The Director’s Cut also includes a number of enhancements to the original game and Wii U exclusive features. More information, including pricing and release date, will be announced later.
Account-wide pets are here with patch 5.0.4, so It came from the Blog is having a pet collecting party to fill up our pet journals. Any pets you collect with us will show up on your other characters, so there’s no reason not to join us.When: Friday, Aug. 31 at 11 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. PDT, 9 p.m. realm time).Where: The courtyard of the Ruins of Lordaeron on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H).Who: Any level Horde character, but you will be happier with a mount and some cash.How: Ask any member of It came from the Blog for an invite, if you are not already in our family of guilds.Some gold will be provided for those who are low on funds, as usual. We’ll be shopping around the world (of Warcraft) and perhaps doing some questing and farming, time permitting.So come pet collecting with us this Friday, even if you’ve never joined us for anything before. Yay, account-wide pets! Yay, parties! Boo, party poopers.Hope to see you there!Please join us on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H) in It came from the Blog. All guild ranks can invite, so /whisper Tizzi or any online member. You are all welcome as long as you play by our simple rules — basically, don’t be a funsucker! Visit the guild FAQ for more details.
SNK is hosting a month-long half-off sale on a handful of Neo Geo games for PS3 and PSP. PSN games drop to $4.50 apiece and PSP games are $3.50; the Neo Geo Station Bundle Pack of 10 games for PS3 runs $40.The SNK sale includes Metal Slug and Metal Slug 2, Fatal Fury, Shock Troopers and The King of Fighters ’94 – ’96. Check out the complete list under the big blue button below. Show full PR text SNK PLAYMORE Announces Massive Sale on NEOGEO Station Titles Celebrate Summer With 50% off Select PSN and PSP Titles Los Angeles, CA – August 28, 2012 – SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION today announced an End of Summer Sale on NEOGEO titles for download on both PS3 and PSP via the PlayStation®Store. The sale will run from August 28 to September 25, 2012. Just because the school year has started doesn’t mean that the summer fun should end. SNK PLAYMORE is offering select NEOGEO Station titles on PS3 and PSP for half the original price. Pass those long afterschool afternoons by equipping your Rocket Launcher and blasting through waves of enemy forces in METAL SLUG, or take to the streets and accept all challengers who dare oppose you in THE KING OF FIGHTERS. NEOGEO Station titles on the PS3 will be marked down from $8.99 to $4.49 each, PSP titles will be marked down from $6.99 to $3.49 each, or you can grab the NEOGEO Station 10-game Bundle Pack (available on the PS3) for just $39.99! The complete list of games for SNK PLAYMORE’s NEOGEO Station End of Summer sale, available on both PS3 and PSP: ALPHA MISSION II ART OF FIGHTING BASEBALL STARS 2 BASEBALL STARS PROFESSIONAL FATAL FURY LEAGUE BOWLING MAGICIAN LORD METAL SLUG METAL SLUG 2 SAMURAI SHODOWN SHOCK TROOPERS SUPER SIDEKICKS THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’94 THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’95 THE KING OF FIGHTERS ’96 WORLD HEROES
Sony Online Entertainment’s PlanetSide 2 is still in the process of development and beta testing, but the team brought the game to PAX for its North American tradeshow debut. If you really want to know what it’s like, you can always sign up for the beta yourself. Otherwise, you can skip below this cut to hear about our hands-on time with the game on the show floor. This was my first time getting my hands on the game, despite its ongoing beta. It’s not necessarily the type of game I ordinarily gravitate toward, so I was a wee bit surprised to find myself liking it as much as I did.I’m a big fan of this idea of hugely large-scale PvP. The persistent world and ongoing ebb and flow of battle are what really pull me in and put the close-quarters combat and maneuvering within a larger and more interesting framework. Drop points and the simplicity of joining the action make it easy to feel engaged.Because of the nature of the demo-beast, I didn’t do a lot of interacting within my squad. We were all working to take and defend the same control point, but it’s not as if we were communicating to execute flawlessly coordinated maneuvers. That lack of inter-personal connection did affect my experience (I like playing games with people) but didn’t ruin it and certainly seems as if it wouldn’t be a problem in normal gameplay.Squad member or no, I certainly found it easy to find some allies and a fight in PS2. It doesn’t feel as if the game’s ever really going to let you feel totally lost: If you can find other people, you’ll be able to figure out whassup.There’s always something to be doing in PS2. Feel up to taking on a support role? Run around as a Combat Medic. Looking for ways to be useful right after taking over a control point? Switch over to being an Engineer and repair turrets. Things too quiet where you are? Spin up a vehicle and get yourself somewhere else.I began playing as a Combat Medic because I’m a fan of actively cooperative play. The medic role is also a dandy way to get acquainted with the flow of things, as it lends itself a bit more to following and watching than charging forward, guns a-blazin’. The Engineer is also fairly supportive, with options to fix up standing machinery like anti-aircraft turrets and heal the heavy Max suit fighters. While I spent a little time dabbling with the agile Light Assault loadout, I stuck mostly to the Combat Medic and Engineer.Being a Combat Medic doesn’t mean, of course, just running around and heal-gunning folks. The medic is still well-armed and fully lethal, totally prepared to serve up some sweet, sweet heals and then turn around and mete out some tasty death.There wasn’t time or reason to fiddle with customization, although most of the loadouts are meant to be fairly customizable and flexible. Instead, I was able to get a feel for Combat Medic and Engineer combat and playstyle and use all the interactive objects possible, from big planes and big tanks to smaller personal vehicles and standing gun towers.I’m not a big fan of turret-manning. I prefer mobility and flexibility, and I found that turrets didn’t quite jibe with that preference, so I found myself quickly leaving the big guns and running around to seek out trouble. I felt as if I was looking for a good compromise between being able to move at all and wanting to be a turret; fortunately, the Max seems to have the option to meet those needs. Trouble’s not hard to find! Even when one area is fairly quiet, hopping around to find skirmishes isn’t all that time-consuming — and it gave me time to hone my piloting skills.My one real complaint about flying is that I didn’t have a lot of time to get used to it. Being used to pressing E for turning while moving, I had a horrible, horrible temptation to hit E while flying to turn my vehicle, which would be a less than ideal action as it would’ve had me exiting the airship at whatever altitude we’d reached. I didn’t see any real aerial combat, as I basically just used flying to get from my spawn point on the map to a more interesting fight.Our fights took place in and around one capture-point facility. We were ultimately successful, so I got to go through the experience of coming upon a control point, working to capture it, repairing and setting defenses, and defending the point against the onslaught. Despite my general lack of coordination with my squad, I was able to follow along with the flow of fighting, which the game facilitates by making friendlies exceptionally visible. I got shot to death by a friendly once (although his buddy was kind enough to revive me), gave as good as I got with the enemy, made good use of my heal gun, and generally enjoyed getting into the battle.The game is still very much in a growth process. Map balancing is currently of real concern; the team must realize the importance of ensuring that diverse areas of a map are about equally passable so that terrain isn’t lending an unnatural advantage to one side consistently. Balance will be further cemented as more items and abilities are implemented. Since certain parts of the game and some weaponry have yet to be implemented, it’s hard to see whether or not other mechanics are out of balance. The ongoing beta test, then, is slowly taking form and becoming more like what the “real” game will be. Slowly, the bits are coming together.As a side note, SOE wins my vote hands-down for best booth cosplay. Three folks were strapped into incredibly impressive game-type armor. They were super badass and probably hugely uncomfortable but ultimately neato. My hat off to everyone involved in that effort — I was told that PS2’s “booth babes” were totally worth seeking out and my gosh were they ever.Massively’s on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 31st – September 2nd, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2012. Whether you’re dying to know more about WildStar, PlanetSide 2, RIFT: Storm Legion, or any MMO in between, you can bet we’ll have it covered!
Game Designer Watcher, gadabout eye of wealth and taste, announced that the Scholomance and Gate of the Setting Sun challenge modes are now available for testing. He also provided some more details about how challenge modes are going to work. Watcher – Challenge Mode TestingYes, just those two dungeons for now.A few relevant testing notes:You must have completed the Heroic version of the dungeon once in order to attempt the challenge mode.Item level will be normalized to 463.There is no queue system for challenge modes; groups must be formed manually and you must zone in from the outside world.While the challenge is active, the group leader may Reset the dungeon at any time via a drop-down accessible by right-clicking your unit frame.sourceHe then clarified in two additional posts that item level on live will only be normalized down to 463, and not up to 463 from a lower ilevel. Also, challenge modes grant no loot at all, only valor points for completion, and using the challenge mode reset feature does not count against the dungeon reset lockout limit currently in place. So if you’re planning on spending a lot of time running challenge modes, these are all details of interest to you.It’s open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft’s next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!
A California jury has found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple’s patents, resulting in damages totaling more than $1.05 billion to be awarded to Apple. The verdict is broken down as follows:Update: Samsung was found guilty of willfully infringing on Apple’s patent relating to scrollback, one for multitouch gestures, one for zooming, a design patent and a patent related to icons. The Wall Street Journal reports in its liveblog that the jury also found Samsung guilty of inducing its subsidiaries to infringe on Apple’s patents.The jury said that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s patent for tablet design. It did uphold Apple’s validity for all its patents, and Samsung’s validity for all its patents.The jury has ordered that Samsung pay more than $1.05 billion in damages for the infringement. It said that Apple did not violate any of Samsung’s patents and will not pay any damages to Samsung.The verdict reading is on-going. The jury reached it around 2:35 Pacific Time.The verdict comes hours after a South Korean court found that Apple and Samsung had infringed on each other’s patents in that country. In addition to ordering monetary damages be paid, the court banned sales of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the first two generations of iPads, along with various Samsung products.
We almost called this episode of the Engadget Podcast Mr. Biggs And The OnDead, but our boss said she’d take away our tickets to IFA if we did that, so we’ll go with the traditional numeric structure. Just know that we tried. Hey, at least it’s Friday, right? Hosts: Tim Stevens, Brian Heater Guest: John Biggs Producer: Trent Wolbe Music: Orbital – Never 03:11 – OnLive hits reset after being dragged down by expensive servers, confirms service will continue 05:00 – OnLive reportedly shutting down, new company forming in its wake (update: OnLive says ‘of course not’) 07:00 – Source: OnLive undergoing buyout in wake of dire financials, laying off ‘at least 50 percent’ of staff 09:20 – HTC to lose its $40 million investment from OnLive’s financial restructuring 22:00 – Amazon throwing press conference September 6th 34:25 – Samsung teases Galaxy Note II, ‘a small and light thing’ (video) 39:40 – Archos announces 101 XS tablet with built-in keyboard dock, arriving in November for $400 42:45 – All-weather motorcycle helmet heats and cools your face, protects grey matter (video) 46:13 – How 3D printing changed the face of ‘ParaNorman’ Hear the podcast Subscribe to the podcast [iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (enhanced AAC). [RSS MP3] Add the Engadget Podcast feed (in MP3) to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically. [RSS AAC] Add the Engadget Podcast feed (in enhanced AAC) to your RSS aggregator. [Zune] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in the Zune Marketplace. Download the podcast LISTEN (MP3) LISTEN (AAC) Contact the podcast Send your questions to @tim_stevens. Leave us a voicemail: (423) 438-3005 (GADGET-3005) E-mail us: podcast at engadget dot com ee
send us a tip with “Insert Coin” as the subject line. Just a simple light switch, you say? Look closer. Think Automatic’s Luminode dimmer switch hides both a processor and a mesh network connection that lets every switch in the home coordinate with each other. A multi-tap system makes it possible to link multiple lights together without extra wiring or complex programming, but that’s just the start: it’s possible to create “scenes” of predefined lighting levels and, with a USB adapter, hook up to home automation systems (including Think Automatic’s own) that can learn usage habits, track energy consumption or simply let us control the array with our smartphones. The platform uses raw XML to communicate and already talks to GE, Insteon and Stargate hardware — all without requiring a huge grid of buttons or displays. Development of the Luminode is very nearly done after six-plus years of work in Seattle. The hardware is fundamentally ready and just needs the Kickstarter project to finish its FCC and UL testing along with the obligatory mass production. The hope is to start delivering switches in January as well as integrate more closely with non-lighting elements in the future. Pledge levels are dictated almost exclusively by volume: $130 is what it takes to get a basic two-switch kit, $260 will add the USB adapter along with an extra switch, and successive levels scale all the way up to a 50-switch, $3,000 kit for large homes. Think Automatic has a relatively low $35,000 threshold to meet its Kickstarter funding, but it only has 13 days left to go. If you like the idea of advanced lighting that doesn’t require an advanced appreciation of the user manual to understand, now’s a good time to click the source link and make it happen. Previous project update: The Stabil-i iPhone camera case still has some distance to go, at $18,753 raised for its $80,000 target. There’s more than three weeks left for pledges, however, so those who use their iPhones as semi-professional video cameras still have every opportunity to make the case a reality.