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    Loot Box Bill Officially Introduced To U.S. Senate

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    overwatch-loot-box.jpg

    Two weeks ago, U.S. senator Josh Hawley of Missouri announced an intention to bring legislation against video game loot boxes being allowed in games for minors. The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act, or PCAGA, has been formally filed today and the text of the bill has been made available to the public for the first time, answering some questions but leaving a lot of wiggle room for many others.

    You can find the full text of the bill here and a FAQ for it here. As it has not been formally read on the floor, it does not yet have a senate bill name, but it does have support from Republicans like Hawley as well as Democrats such as Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn). The bill does set out to do what Hawley described a few weeks ago, in that it establishes fines for any video game containing loot boxes or pay-to-win mechanics and even defines what those things look like.

    From the bill's text:

    (8) LOOT BOX.—The term ‘‘loot box’’ means an add-on transaction to an interactive digital entertainment product that—
    (A) in a randomized or partially randomized fashion—
    (i) unlocks a feature of the product;
    or
    (ii) adds to or enhances the entertainment value of the product; or
    (B) allows the user to make 1 or more additional add-on transactions—
    (i) that the user could not have made without making the first add-on transaction; and
    (ii) the content of which is unknown to the user until after the user has made the first add-on transaction.

    That makes logical sense for how loot boxes work. Pay-to-win starts getting a little broad, however.

    (7) PAY-TO-WIN MICROTRANSACTION.—
    (A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘pay-to-win microtransaction’’ means an add-on transaction to a
    [sic] interactive digital entertainment product that—
    (i) with respect to an interactive digital entertainment product that, from the perspective of a reasonable user of the product, is a game offering a scoring system, a set of goals to achieve, a set of rewards, or a sense of interactive progression through the product’s content including but not limited to narrative progression—
    (I) eases a user’s progression through content otherwise available within the game without the purchase of such transaction;
    (II) assists a user in accomplishing an achievement within the game that can otherwise be accomplished without the purchase of such transaction;
    (III) assists a user in receiving an award associated with the game that is otherwise available in association with the game without the purchase of such transaction; or
    (IV) permits a user to continue to access content of the game that had previously been accessible to the user but has been made inaccessible after the expiration of a timer or a number of gameplay attempts; or
    (ii) with respect to an interactive digital entertainment product that, from the perspective of a reasonable user of the product, is a game featuring competition with other users, provides a user with a competitive advantage with respect to the game’s competitive aspects over users who do not make such a transaction. 

    In essence, this part of the bill is extremely broad, and seems to paint multiple grievances with a wide brush. Starting from the bottom, banning microtransactions that provide competitive advantages in multiplayer games absolutely makes sense. The part about anything that makes narrative games easier being purchasable is rather strange, however. In this instance, DLC that includes weapons stronger than the base game (as a hypothetical example, let's say Bloodborne's Old Hunters DLC) could be caught in the same net as a mobile game that gives you stronger weapons for a transactional fee.

    Perhaps the most concerning part, however, is the part of the bill that defines what makes a game aimed at minors.

    (5) MINOR-ORIENTED GAME.—The term‘‘minor-oriented video game’’ means an interactive digital entertainment product for which the target audience is individuals under the age of 18, as may be demonstrated by—
    (A) the subject matter of the product; 
    (B) the visual content of the product;
    (C) the music or audio content of the product;
    (D) the use of animated characters or activities that appeal to individuals under the age of 18;
    (E) the age of the characters or models in the product; (F) the presence in the product of—
    (i) celebrities who are under the age of 18; or
    (ii) celebrities who appeal to individuals under the age of 18;
    (G) the language used in the product;
    (H) the content of materials used to advertise the product and the platforms on which such materials appear;
    (I) the content of any advertising materials that appear in the product;
    (J) other reliable empirical evidence relating to—
    (i) the composition of the audience of the product; or 
    (ii) the audience of the product, as in tended by the publisher or distributor of the product; or
    (K) other evidence demonstrating that the product is targeted at individuals under the age of 18.

    Despite all the caveats and walls, this is absolutely not well-defined. The text of the bill defines any game that targets minors as anything all-ages, anything with celebrities that are themselves under the age of 18 or appeal to people under the age of 18, any game with cartoon characters, or ill-defined music, visuals, or subject criteria. What it doesn't use as a definition for games sold to minors is any reference to the industry-regulated Entertainment Ratings Software Board, or ESRB.

    The big problem here is that the definition of "games sold to minors" is at the heart of this bill. It is outwardly stating that loot boxes can not be in video games sold to minors, but this definition is so open to interpretation that most games can be included in this if someone squints hard enough. Which might be the point, an elimination of loot boxes and pay-to-win mechanics as a whole, but I am unsure that getting there through blurry and ill-defined passages actually accomplishes much good in the end.

    While the bill has been filed, the Senate must approve a unanimous request to bring it to the floor or pass a motion to proceed. From there, the bill can be edited, amendments added, and the overall text discussed among the entire U.S. Senate.

    View the full article


    Grand Prize Winner Of Pokemon T-Shirt Contest Disqualified

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    avatar.jpeg

    This Monday, the Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo revealed the winners of their annual T-Shirt design competition, with 2019's theme being Pokémon. The winner, Li Wen Pei with his totem Magikarp and Gyrados design, would see his design in-game as a wearable T-shirt within the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Shield. However, following news that Li had previously made the design for phone cases before the contest, his design has been disqualified.

    The contest's rules state that submitted designs must be made specifically for the contest, which Li's design unfortunately breaches.

    Furthermore, no other contestants will receive the grand prize or see their designs in-game. The second prize is still second, third is still third, and so on.

    [Source: Uniqlo via Serebii]

    View the full article


    Jessica Jones Season Three Gets June Release Date

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    season-2-jessica-jones.jpg

    Netflix's Marvel era is coming to an end, and Jessica Jones will be its last hurrah. After the cancellation of Luke Cage, Daredevil, and The Punisher, Netflix has confirmed in a YouTube promo that Jessica Jones' third and final season will be coming in the first half of June. 

    While very few details have been shared about what is to come, Rachel Taylor (Trish Walker), Eka Darville (Malcolm Ducasse), and Carrie Anne-Moss (Jeri Hogarth) will be returning alongside Krysten Ritter as the titular super-powered private eye. It's safe to expect a trailer to drop sometime in the coming days. 

    Netflix has been cancelling its Marvel shows in anticipation of Disney's new streaming service, Disney+, taking over Marvel TV production. Disney has already confirmed shows about Loki, Scarlet Witch and Vision, and Hawkeye. More shows in the Marvel universe are planned for the next few years.

    [Source: GameSpot]

    View the full article


    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey Releases For PC This Summer, Consoles This Winter

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,
    anc_screenshot_reboot_expedition_041119.png

    Panache Digital Games' Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, a game that tasks you with playing as a clan of apes through several generations, is releasing this summer for PC and in the winter for consoles.

    This is the first title from Panache. The project is headed by Patrice Désilets, who is best known as the creative director of Assassin's Creed titles up until Brotherhood. Ancestors is about survival, as you travel through Africa in both its forestry and savannas. You use your instincts and skills to ward off predators and learn new ways to stay alive.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Ancestors releases for PC via the Epic Games store on August 27. As for consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), it arrives in December. You can read our preview from earlier this year by heading here.

    View the full article


    Patch 8.2 PTR - Conflict and Strife PvP Talent Essence

    Curse
    By Curse,
    Patch 8.2 PTR - Conflict and Strife PvP Talent Essence
    The latest PTR update added a new essence, Conflict and Strife, to the repertoire of options currently in the patch. However, this one is a little more interesting as its major slot allows a specific predetermined talent from your spec's PvP talent pool to be used in PvE content at all times. Here is a list of what each class and spec gets from this trait.

    conflictandstrife.jpg

    Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
    • ideathknights.gif Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Blood
      • Frost
        • Chill Streak - Deals up to 6% of the target's total health in Frost damage and reduces their movement speed by 70% for 4 sec. Chill Streak bounces up to 9 times between closest targets within 6 yards.
      • Unholy
        • Necrotic Strike - A vicious strike that deals [ 30% of Attack Power ] Plague damage, and converts 1 Festering Wounds into a Necrotic Wound, absorbing up to 7% of the target's maximum health in healing received.
    • idemonhunters.gif Demon Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Vengeance
      • Havoc
        • Demonic Origins - The cooldown of Metamorphosis is reduced by 2 min, but now lasts 15 sec.
    • idruids.gif Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Balance
        • Moonkin Aura - Starsurge grants 4% spell critical strike chance to 8 allies within 40 yards for 18 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
      • Feral
        • Leader of the Pack - While in Cat Form, you increase the melee and ranged critical chance of raid members within 40 yards by 5%. Leader of the Pack also causes affected targets to heal themselves for 4% of their maximum health when they critically hit with a melee or ranged attack. The healing effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.
      • Guardian
        • Sharpened Claws - Maul increases the damage done by your Swipe and Thrash by 25% for 6 sec.
      • Restoration
        • Overgrowth - Instantly applies Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, and Regrowth's heal over time effect to the target.
    • ihunters.gif Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Beast Mastery
        • Survival Tactics - Feign Death removes all harmful magical effects, and reduces damage taken by 99% for 1.5 sec.
      • Marksmanship
        • Survival Tactics - Feign Death removes all harmful magical effects, and reduces damage taken by 99% for 1.5 sec.
      • Survival
        • Survival Tactics - Feign Death removes all harmful magical effects, and reduces damage taken by 99% for 1.5 sec.
    • images.gif Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Arcane
        • Arcane Empowerment - Clearcasting can now stack 2 additional times, and increases the damage of Arcane Missiles by 5% per stack. Clearcasting no longer reduces the mana cost of Arcane Explosion.
      • Fire
        • Flamecannon - After standing still in combat for 2 sec, your maximum health increases by 3%, damage done increases by 3%, and range of your Fire spells increase by 3 yards. This effect stacks up to 5 times and lasts for 5 sec.
      • Frost
        • Concentrated Coolness - Frozen Orb's damage is increased by 10% and is now castable at a location with a 40 yard range but no longer moves.
    • imonks.gif Monk (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Brewmaster
        • Hot Trub - Purifying Brew deals 30% of your purified staggered damage to all enemies within 10 yards.
      • Mistweaver
        • Way of the Crane - Increases your Physical damage by 25%, you remove and become immune to all snare and root effects and you heal up to 3 nearest allies for 150% of all damage done. Lasts 15 sec.
      • Windwalker
        • Reverse Harm - Heals a friendly target for 8% of their maximum health, and causes 100% of the amount healed to instantly be dealt to the nearest enemy as Nature damage within 5 yards. Generates 2 Chi.
    • ipaladins.gif Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Holy
        • Divine Favor - Your next Holy Light or Flash of Light is increased by 100%, costs no mana and is unable to be interrupted.
      • Protection
        • Steed of Glory - Your Divine Steed lasts for an additional 2 sec. While active you become immune to movement impairing effects, and you knock back enemies that you move through.
      • Retribution
        • Unbound Freedom - Blessing of Freedom also increases movement speed by 30%.
    • ipriests.gif Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Discipline
        • Premonition - Heals nearby targets within 20 yards for [ 75% of Spell Power ], and applies Atonement to yourself. Deals [ PS * BC1 ] Shadow damage to yourself for each Atonement you have active, and increases their duration by [ 5 + 0.1% of Spell Power ] sec.
      • Holy
        • Rapid Mending - Prayer of Mending is now instant cast, and its jump range is increased by 10 yards.
      • Shadow
    • irogues.gif Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Assassination
        • Smoke Bomb - Creates a cloud of thick smoke in an 8 yard radius around the Rogue for 5 sec. Enemies are unable to target into or out of the smoke cloud.
      • Outlaw
        • Smoke Bomb - Creates a cloud of thick smoke in an 8 yard radius around the Rogue for 5 sec. Enemies are unable to target into or out of the smoke cloud.
      • Subtlety
        • Smoke Bomb - Creates a cloud of thick smoke in an 8 yard radius around the Rogue for 5 sec. Enemies are unable to target into or out of the smoke cloud.
    • ishamans.gif Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Elemental
        • Lightning Lasso - Grips the target in lightning, stunning the target and dealing O2% of the target's maximum health in Nature damage over 5 sec. Can move while channeling.
      • Enhancement
        • Ride the Lightning - If there are more than 2 enemies within 8 yards when you cast Stormstrike, you also cast a Chain Lightning on the target, dealing [ 50% of Spell Power ] Nature damage. Otherwise, you conjure bolts of lightning to up to 2 furthest enemies within 40 yards dealing [ 50% of Spell Power ] Nature damage.
      • Restoration
        • Ancestral Gift - You become immune to Silence and Interrupt effects for 5 sec after using Spiritwalker's Grace.
    • iwarlocks.gif Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Affliction
        • Endless Affliction - Your Unstable Affliction deals the same damage as normal, but its duration is increased by 6 sec.
      • Demonology
        • Nether Ward - Surrounds the caster with a shield that lasts 3 sec, reflecting all harmful spells cast on you.
      • Destruction
        • Demon Armor - Protects the caster, increasing maximum health by 10% and increases armor by 150%.
    • iwarriors.gif Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
      • Arms
        • Sharpen Blade - When activated, your next Mortal Strike will deal 15% increased damage and reduce healing taken by 50% for 6 sec.
      • Fury
        • Battle Trance - You go into a trance causing you to regenerate 3% of your health and generate 5 Rage every 3 sec for 18 sec after using Raging Blow twice in a row on a target. Using Raging Blow on a new target will cancel this effect.
      • Protection

    View the full article


    Patch 8.2 - Gnome and Tauren Mount Size Update

    Curse
    By Curse,
    wowmini.png Azshara Raid Testing, Patch 8.2 PTR - Build 30495

    Gnome and Tauren Mount Size Update
    Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
    With today’s PTR update, you might notice mount size changes for gnome and tauren player characters. For a very long time, we’ve had issues that stem from gnomes and tauren riding on mounts that appear larger than intended. We’re adjusting their sizing down on normal* mounts.
    This allows us to correct many art and animation bugs with these specific races when mounted, and they look better. Gnomes and tauren now look more like they should, gnomes can actually reach their reins, and tauren can fit through more doorways when mounted.

    Here’s an example of how a gnome character looks when mounted-

    Before the change-

    gtmount01.jpg

    And after the change-

    gtmount02.jpg

    This new tech also means that it’s now possible for us to address issues where some mounts are too small on some races. We’re looking to find examples along those lines, so please keep your feedback coming.
    Thank you!
    *There are a few mounts that are not considered "normal"-sized to begin with. For example, Hyena mounts are considered "small", and we’re not sizing tauren differently on small mounts at this time.

    (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

    View the full article


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