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- The War of Thorns is a set of faction specific story quest lines that showcase the events leading up to the Burning of Teldrassil.
- Sylvanas believes the key to the Horde’s survival is making sure that they gain as much Azerite as possible and keep it from the Alliance.
- She wants to occupy Darnassus so they can’t use it as a hub to transport Azerite. The Night Elf army is currently in Silithus and so she wants to use this time to strike before they return.
- If you are Alliance you will first be sent to Astranaar to defend it from Horde assassins. If you are Horde you are sent there to assassinate guards with the blood elf rogue Lorash.
- The Horde is held back from advancing into Darkshore as Malfurion calls upon the wisps to create a wall.
- Sylvanas theorizes that the wisps can be distracted by causing chaos in the forest. This allows the Horde to push through the barrier.
- Sylvanas also has Saurfang take some troops and scale the mountains of Felwood to attack from the North.
- Both factions fight for control at strategic points involving dealing with crazed furbolgs and fighting each other.
- The Alliance and Horde then fight for control of the Azerite near the shoreline.
- Sylvanas confronts Malfurion but he blinds her and flees There is then a stalemate at Wildbend River between the Darnassian forces and Horde army.
- Both factions unlock the world quests in Darkshore after completing the quest chain up to this point. These world quests provide catch up gear, order hall resources, and gold.
- The Alliance heads to Darnassus to rally what little troops they have.
- The Horde reunites with Saurfang in Lor’danel after the wisp wall is taken out.
- The Horde takes out Alliance troops and Saurfang wants to spare as many civilians as possible.
- Finally, both factions’ player characters approach Malfurion who is confronting Sylvanas directly. It looks like he has the upper hand until Saurfang strikes a blow from behind. The orc realizes what he did was not honorable, but Sylvanas tries to convince him otherwise. She leaves him to kill Malfurion and heads to Darnassus.
- Tyrande flies in to rescue her husband and Saurfang says he doesn’t deserve to kill him as he struck without honor. She aims her bow at him, saying she will kill him if he tries to stop her from saving Malfurion, to which he tells her to take him and get far away from Darnassus.
- She does so and leaves the Alliance character to go make sure the occupation of the city is tolerable. Meanwhile, Horde characters head back to the conquered Lor’danel.
- There is a missing cutscene before Darnassus is in flames and the tree is burning. Horde characters talk to Sylvanas on the Darkshore coast who says she didn’t anticipate this, but it will cause the Alliance to retaliate.
- Meanwhile, Alliance players head to Darnassus to help Mia Greymane, Genn’s wife, with the evacuation. Greymane comes through a Stormwind Portal to convince his wife to leave with as many as possible.
- In the end, Alliance players return to Stormwind and Anduin confirms that peace can never be achieved with Sylvanas as warchief.
- Alliance players are rewarded with the Smoldering Reins of the Teldrassil Hippogryph while the Horde receives the War-Torn Reins of the Undercity Plaguebat.
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- Lots of adoring fans
- Easy to leave
- Seems more like a party
- Having to tiptoe around Satan’s jealousy
- If you don’t like heavy metal or The Charlie Daniels Band, you’re really out of luck
- Environmentally sustainable
- Ages well
- Your armor seems like it’d get really sweaty
- Seriously, where is that blue keycard?
- Lots of variety
- Never a dull moment
- Two of the three choices are real bummers
- Better than spending time in a womb, I guess
- Good if you like large cloven hoofs
- Dark, cold, presumably smelly
- You really thought this Binding of Isaac run would be done 20 minutes ago and you have to use the bathroom
- Sweet grinds, lips, and slaps
- Demons seem chill
- Entry requires the defacement of historically important sites
- Every L has been replaced with ㄥfor some reason
- Can cater to your every sin
- Colorful neighbors
- Basically like the Jared Leto-Joker version of hell
- God of War is a better game, sorry
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Square Enix has announced that the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood/Monster Hunter: World crossover starts on August 7 as part of Stormblood's Patch 4.36 update.
The crossover brings in Rathalos, King of the Skies, as well as special game mechanics as an homage to Monster Hunter: World.
This special event also includes a new armor set, minions, mount, and furnishings.
For more on the crossover, including how it came to pass, check out Kim's conversation with Monster Hunter: World producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida. And go here for another look at the Final Fantasy XIV content that's coming to Monster Hunter: World.
Duncan Jones teased his next project on twitter with a small trailer that heavily implies he's working on Rogue Trooper. The Hollywood director even goes as far as shaving a blue mohawk into his hair, one of the elements of the comic book series.
Originally an '80s comic series published in 2000 AD, Rogue Trooper follows a futuristic, genetically manufactured super-soldier by the name of Rogue, who is seeking revenge for his fallen comrades at the hands of their general. His fellow soldiers have been downloaded into his gear and accompany him on his quest for vengeance.
Duncan Jones' teaser mentions 2000 A.D., the year Rogue Trooper takes place and even the universe it resides in. Jones leaves nothing to the imagination.
Rogue Trooper recently appeared on current generation consoles in the form of Rogue Trooper: Redux, a remake of Rebellion's game from 2006. The game met middling reviews, in its original form and the remake. Duncan Jones wrote and directed the Warcraft movie in 2016 and also directed Moon, Source Code and Mute, so hopefully he's a good fit for Rogue Trooper.
Spoilers ahead! The War of Thorns is the quest chain that leads up to the Burning of Burning of Teldrassil. This content may be broken up into multiple weeks.
Burning of Teldrassil Aftermath Updates
After the events of the Burning of Teldrassil, Darkshore has received a new sky box and a red tint with ash in the sky. Gilnean and Darnassian refuges are now found on the dock of Stormwind Harbor that previously had the ship which sailed to Darnassus. There is now a portal to Darkshore here and a boat to Boralus has taken the spot.
Metal Gear Film Director Teases Movie Info Coming Soon And Shares Fan Art To Celebrate The Series' Anniversary
The details surrounding the upcoming Metal Gear film (we still don't know if it deserves the 'Solid' suffix yet) are vague, but as far as we know, it is truly happening and Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is attached to make it. We also know that Vogt-Roberts is a big fan of Metal Gear and takes every opportunity he can to make sure everyone knows.
The most recent example comes from a recent (and ongoing) series of tweets from Vogt-Roberts. On Friday, he pointed out that Metal Gear released 31 years ago and to celebrate the occasion, he is sharing some of his favorite fan art. He also partnered with actor Paul Eiding, who played Colonel Campbell in the series, to create a codec-style conversation detailing exactly what Vogt-Roberts is doing with his twitter fan art twitter thread. Through the voice of Eiding's Campbell, Vogt-Roberts also makes it clear, "We must stress that this is, quote 'fan art,' and is not meant to represent what is or is not in the forthcoming film." But hey – if this is the kind of art Vogt-Roberts associates with Metal Gear, then it's a pretty safe bet to assume he will try to emulate some of it for his film.
You can check out the full tweet thread here, or below.
️Follow and retweet this thread to celebrate the 31st anniversary of @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN's METAL GEAR with 31 pieces of never before seen nano-machine-infused-artwork.— Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) July 13, 2018
Tune in every day for new updates. Some surprises along the way...
Join me with hastag #METALGEAR31st pic.twitter.com/t6vtydKmiE
DAY 1 of #METALGEAR31st— Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) July 13, 2018
There’s many beautiful+insane+iconic images to come...but I want to start with this piece by Nick Foreman.
The bond we formed via mechs reinforced that we should be loud w/ our love of this franchise as we may find friends & collaborators in the process. pic.twitter.com/5Zj4vRsu5T
DAY 2 of #METALGEAR31st— Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) July 14, 2018
The impeccable @eddiedelrio_art helped me bring the “Gas Mask Samurai” to life in KONG.
Cyborg Ninja & the Gekkos are two of the most iconic Hideo Kojima + Yoji Shinkawa designs. I wanted to see their potential in the same frame. Wish I could say more... pic.twitter.com/8OCkWH1zvY
DAY 3 of #METALGEAR31st@BenMauro993 created this for me and I have a good feeling he’s a dude I’ll be working with for the rest of my career.— Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) July 15, 2018
One aspect of Metal Gear that’s important for me to translate onscreen is the blending of horror imagery with stylized magical realism. pic.twitter.com/HEJCRSCKyK
If you're interested in Metal Gear and its voice-acting, be sure to check out this in-depth feature covering every element of how Metal Gear Solid's voice cast came together, and what went into creating the iconic narrative.
InXile Entertainment’s The Bard’s Tale IV wears its heart on its sleeve: Starting a new game throws you into a full-motion video cutscene of four actual human people – two of them equipped with obviously fake elf ears – sitting in front of what looks like the interior of a hand-painted inn. Three of the actors listen intently as the fourth plays a small harp, introducing them to the story of the game you’re about to play. The whole thing is drenched in a warm sepia tone, and at the cutscene’s close, the actors tense up as if they’re turning back into a still image. It’s weird and awkward, but charming.
Given the series’ old-school roots, it makes sense that The Bard’s Tale IV feels deeply nostalgic. It reminds me of the old computer games I used to play on the chunky Windows PC in my family’s basement work room. Its presentation may be sub-par, but below the surface lies an interesting battle system and intriguing world.
Here are four things I learned from playing the game’s first two and a half hours.
1. The World Is Interesting, Even If You’re New To The Series
Before you reach the main menu (and before the glorious FMV “elves”), a cutscene provides you with a primer on The Bard’s Tale’s world: Some gigantic plant-Cthulu gods called the Famhair turned apes into humans, who went to war with the elves and dwarves. The plant-Cthulus were eventually defeated and sealed away by a song, sung by a human woman cursed to sing it for eternity.
I’m not sure how the humans continued to exist peacefully with the rest of the races despite being constructed by evil gods, but hopefully that gets explained in the lore somewhere else in the game. As someone who’s never played a Bard’s Tale game before, I appreciated how the game opened with a story that established some interesting tension for the world and introduced the power of song. It made me hope I was about to participate in something similarly epic.
Once you’re in-game, the story you’re greeted with is different. A group of religious zealots called the Fatherites has been executing non-humans and magic users, which puts the multicultural, magic-using adventurers guild you’re a part of on the chopping block. The guild is attacked, and you’re forced to flee underground to the ruins of the old guild.
You soon begin to find out that a mysterious group has been sending agents disguised as members of the non-human races to harass humans in order to incite more persecution from the Fatherites. The Bard’s Tale IV left me legitimately interested to find out more about how the in-game story and the opening cutscene are connected.
2. There’s A Potentially Deep Combat System
The Bard’s Tale IV’s combat takes place in on a four-by-four grid. Your party has access to the eight spaces directly in front of you, and your enemies occupy the eight opposing spaces. Your positioning determines whether or not you can reach enemies with your attacks, and whether the enemies can reach you. There are directional attacks that do damage to all enemies within a certain column, as well as attacks that push or pull enemies within their grid. This means you can set up interesting combos like throwing caltrops onto the field in front of enemies with your rogue, then pulling them closer with your fighter’s taunt, ensuring that they take damage as they move over the spikes.
Positioning your party also affects the outcome of the battle. It’s probably a bad idea to put your rogue and your magic-user in front, so you have the ability to move your fighter or your bard to the front lines between battles. Even the best-laid plans can go awry, though. If your enemies get the drop on you, your party’s positioning will flip, putting your squishiest members in harm’s way.
3. There Are Some Cool Exploration Elements
I had fun with the game’s systems. As you gain party members, you gain access to Songs of Exploration, spells that can be used to open secret doors and solve puzzles. In the opening hours, it was obvious which song I was supposed to use. For example, an ability called “Hidey-Bide” reveals hidden item caches, and “Jarnel’s Eyes” reveals hidden corruption in the environment, such as shadowy figures disguised as villagers, as well as a large area of the map. These abilities made me feel a little more connected to the fantasy of being a bard.
Locked doors around the world sometimes require short puzzles where you move gears around to create a working mechanism. These puzzles are a simple addition that could usually be completed by just moving the gears back and forth until I found the solution, but they were more interesting than traditional “find the key” doors (though I found some of those, too).
4. The Presentation Is ... Mixed
The Bard’s Tale IV’s voice acting isn’t half bad, but everything else is sub-par. There are several types of cutscenes: the hand-drawn/painted cinematic that introduced the world’s lore, the FMV intro, and in-game animated scenes where characters walk around and talk to each other.
Most bizarrely, the game’s major scenes are constructed with flat, blurry images of the character models, cut out and plastered in front of pre-rendered backgrounds. These images don’t move (no lip-synching) apart from being warped and stretched slowly to create the illusion of life. If you need help picturing this, imagine the Hearthstone cinematic trailers, but made with flattened 3D assets ... and also bad.
The game’s in-game visuals aren’t the best, either. Lighting is okay, textures are muddy, and character models are chunky and lack variety.
It also wasn’t as funny as I expected given the series’ reputation as one that attempts to make players laugh with all kinds of drunken debauchery. There were a couple eye-roll inducing jokes, like a pocket-picking skill for the rogue called “cavity search,” but I generally didn’t hear or read much that seemed like it was trying to make me laugh. Oh, except for when your enemies turn around and wave their asses at you. That happens sometimes. Yeah...
The Bard’s Tale IV’s opening hours felt a little rough around the edges, but there were enough interesting ideas to leave me curious about the final game. We’ll see if InXile Entertainment will take full advantage of The Bard's Tale IV's potential when the game releases on PC on September 18.
One thing's for sure: I'm looking forward to more of the fake-elf-eared guy. Let’s get more campy FMV in video games, please.
In the summer, we do things that cool us off. That’s just conventional wisdom. We jump in lakes and lay in front of fans and eat gazpacho. Suggest hot chocolate in July and people scoff. But what if we’ve been going about it all wrong? What if the solution is leaning in to the heat, diving into even hotter activities to show the summer we’re not scared? What if doubling down on heat is the ultimate life hack?
Welcome to hell – at least, the video game version. Games are all about escaping to impossible places, like the beautiful mountains of Skyrim, or the creepy caves of Brinstar, or in a surprising amount of cases, the bowels of Hell itself.
Just like video game designers, I understand the appeal of hell. Sure it’s a life of extremes, but at least there’s no faffing around with the banality of everyday life. There’s probably less, “Oh it’s Tuesday again, do I have rice or quinoa tonight?” in hell. Plus, it’s a dry heat.
Let’s beat summer at its own game here. Whether you want to murder your way through hell or skate over it, gaming has got you covered.
Guitar Hero 3
No one could forget Guitar Hero 3’s iconic story. You know there’s that part where, uhh, you film a music video? And you go to prison at some point I think.
Anyway, ultimately you sign a deal with the devil, and go play some sweet shows down in his sweet venue in hell. There are big spikes on all the amps, and demon dancers, and some dude swinging a big hammer around in the background. It’s all quite middle-school-sketchbook, which matches pretty well with the rest of Guitar Hero’s aesthetics.
The best part of this version of hell is that Satan is a jealous little goat. Not content to simply let you party in his digs for the rest of eternity, he eventually comes down and challenges you to a guitar battle; “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band, naturally. Once you win, your motorcycle sprouts wings and you fly right back out of hell (presumably to a sponsorship with an energy-drink company or something).
Doom isn’t the first time hell appeared in games, but it does feel like some sort of baseline for the medium. Heavy metal, demons, chainsaws; all the hits are here. Throughout the series, hell has varied quite a bit though. From the long, skull-filled hallways of the first game to the unsettling ethereality of the third, right up to the unrepentant gore of 2016’s release, Doom has never steered away from hell’s abstract horror.
There’s never a dull moment in Doom’s hell. Whether you’re finding keycards, punching cyberdemons, or tricking different factions into fighting each other, Doom provides a wealth of variety in its day-to-day Hell activity.
Even better, hell provides a source of renewable energy! Who would have guessed that the solution to our climate problems could be solved instantly, simply by surrendering our bodies and souls to the demons below?
God of War, God of War 2, God of War 3
Before anything else, Hades is an interior designer. That’s the only lesson I can take from the original God of War trilogy, in which Kratos goes to a completely different Hell three separate times. Hades just can’t decide on his aesthetic!
So let’s run through our options:
Spiky Hell (God of War): It’s very pink. That’s my main takeaway. It also has rotating blades and platforming challenges that are incredibly hellish. Structurally, it doesn’t make a ton of sense; why would Hades suspend a bunch of vertebrae to run across? But really, the main takeaway here is pink.
Limb-y Hell (God of War 2): ARMS. That’s pretty much it.
Underworld (God of War 3): Now this is a hell. Big, ugly architecture, brambled vines you can use to burn people alive, and multiple cerberuses (cerberi?). If I was Hades, I would definitely choose to live here. Also, this version of Hell is notable because it’s the only time you actually meet the god himself. Kratos doesn’t have great people skills, so you end up repeatedly smashing him against his own ceiling. But oh, what a lavishly designed ceiling it is.
So, to sum everything up,
The Binding of Isaac
“Sheol” is a Greek version of a Hebrew word that translates very roughly into some sort of underworld – the old testament wasn’t particularly clear on the details of hell. However, making abstract concepts grossly literal is one of The Binding of Isaac’s fortes. So, after descending through several layers of basements, caves, and wombs (yup), Isaac can enter Sheol. And then he can kill Satan.
Sheol is dark, big, and confusing. Odds are, you’ll stumble around in the shadows for quite a while before finding the boss room. Once there, you’ll fight three different incarnations of the devil: a lil’ guy, a big guy, and some giant feet.
Tony Hawk’s Underground 2
For a game that calls itself “underground,” you sure do a lot of skating in parks, cities, and other ground-level locations here. What ever happened to truth in advertising, Tony???
Thankfully, there’s at least one place that’s truly underground. That’s right: it’s hell. After defacing some sort of ancient temple with cool skater graffiti, Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 flashes “Burn in hƐㄥㄥ!!” on the screen, and opens up a whole new fiery area. In this area there’s ... well there’s a lot of concrete and half pipes and stuff. It is a skating game.
But there are also demons that give you gnarly missions like “ㄥip Trick on toppa da two brokin ribs to nok em ovva.” To be honest, I have no idea what that means. But it’s probably because I haven’t lived the skater lifestyle. Meet me at the local Vans store, I have a lot of catching up to do.
Like the best kinds of dip, hell has many layers in Dante’s Inferno. Although some of the levels are more questionable than others – does “fraud” really deserve the same spotlight as “violence”? – you’ve gotta admire the title’s comprehensive catalogue of all things hell.
Perhaps most infamous for the giant Cleopatra-like manifestation of lust that shoots enemies out of her nipples (yup), Dante’s Inferno spares no expense in showing off all the ways that hell can make things weird. There’s plenty of variety here, but it all seems outright unpleasant. It’s hard to imagine finding a little corner of this hell to settle down in.
The Worst Version Of Hell
Play Agony, the recent game we gave awarded a 3.5 out of 10.