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The Call of Duty in me has been dying for many years now, however I’m still looking forward to Black Ops 3. Gaming in general has died down a lot, though with all the new exciting releases coming up over the next bunch of months that should see a slight change.

I don’t have many expectations for it, but I do at least hope it’s a lot better and more fun than Advanced Warfare (not that it was horrible). There a lot of other games I look forward to play a lot more than this title though, especially The Division.

This is a big month for Xbox One as we launch some of the features you’ve asked for most including better multitasking while gaming, more ways to stay connected with friends, new options for accessing your media, and more. Over the past couple months, we’ve been rolling out some great new features to Xbox One through our system updates, and we have been thrilled with the positive feedback we’ve received from all of you. Keep it coming! There’s more new features rolling out to Xbox Live members in our preview program starting today, and over the next week or so, in two major themes.

New Snap and Friends functions

  • Snap Updates – We’ve updated the Snap Center to include quick access to many of the things our fans wanted faster access to when playing a game – Friends, Messages, Game DVR, clock, and battery indicator – as well as making it easier to close and open new snap apps when playing a game. A double tap of the Xbox button on your controller will bring up a menu that allows you to open a new app in snap mode, close the current snapped app, or switch focus between your game and your running snapped app. Additionally, two apps have been optimized for Snap mode:
    • Friends Snap App – Access your friends list without leaving the game. Quickly check your friends list to see who’s online right now and take actions like send message, invite or join.
      Messages Snap App – You’ll be able to open, read and respond to messages in Snap mode, and messages will now be displayed in a threaded conversation view.
    • Achievements App – Updated to enable sharing of achievements you’ve unlocked with captions, see a list of friends who have unlocked specific achievements, and an updated achievements Snap landing page that that shows Achievements on recently played games, when a user is not actively playing a game.
  • Friends section – The new Friends section enables you to see at a glance what’s going on with your friends. You can stay up-to-date with their current activities, the most popular games your friends are playing, and a Gamerscore leaderboard to see who has improved their Gamerscore over the last 30 days. The new Friends section has been available for select preview members for a few weeks and now we’re bringing it to everyone in the program, with plans to roll out this feature for all Xbox One owners with the October system update.
  • New SmartGlass features – You can now see a list of your top games in your profile. You can also see a list of your friend’s most popular games in the Friend’s section of SmartGlass.

Improvements for TV and video

  • Media Player DLNA and MKV support – Members of the preview program who have also downloaded the latest version of the Media Player app will now have support for DLNA streaming. With this update, you will be able to easily access and play music, watch photo slideshows or movies stored on home media servers and devices that support the DLNA server protocols. Additionally, you will now be able to playback MKV files stored on a USB device or a device on your home network that supports DLNA streaming.
  • Live TV Trending – Within the next week, you will be able to see what Live TV is trending based on your country and OneGuide settings. A new tab will be available in OneGuide that displays the top 10 most watched TV shows, with the list filtered down to the shows that are currently available to you based on your OneGuide settings. You will be able to tune to a specific show by pressing the A button. The Live TV Trending list will be updated approximately every minute, so you can easily discover shows that are popular with other viewers. This feature will initially be made available to preview users in the U.S., Canada and the UK.
  • Xbox One Digital TV Tuner – Previously announced in August, this new accessory will be available for purchase in UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain on October 21. This USB-attached TV Tuner will enable users to watch TV on Xbox One, and pause Live TV for up to 30 minutes. There are a limited number of preview participants in this program due to hardware requirements needed for testing.
  • Stream TV to SmartGlass – If you have an Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, you will be able to stream TV across your home network to your smartphone or tablet using the Xbox SmartGlass app. You can also pause, play, rewind and change channels, without interrupting gameplay.
    • Live TV MiniGuide – For markets where OneGuide is available, a new MiniGuide on the bottom of the screen will display details about the TV content that is currently playing. You can quickly change channels, see what’s on other channels, and tune to the previous channel or other recent channels.
    • OneGuide in 12 new countries – Live TV listings and schedules will be made available to preview members on Xbox One and SmartGlass for Belgium, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia in the next few days.
    • Internet TV Apps – Apps with live TV channels can now include their TV listings within OneGuide. In addition, other Xbox TV features such as channel changing using speech and Miniguide will work with these apps. These features are enabled automatically the first time you sign into a supported app. The first app to support this feature in preview will be Zattoo, a TV provider available in several European markets. We will be sharing more details soon with members of the public preview.
    • Universal Remote Control in SmartGlass – If you are in one of those 12 countries, you will also be able use your mobile device to control your Xbox, TV, and/or Cable/Satellite box.

Other user requested features

  • Updated Devices & Accessories page – To access the new page, go inside Settings, where you can Find, Assign, and Update Xbox One accessories. You can now more easily “assign” accessories to specific users, such as assigning a headset to a specific gamer.
  • Firmware updates – You can update the firmware for an individual device. And, you can also more easily find (or identify) a controller by making it vibrate.
  • Hide Games & Apps on your console – You can now hide items in the “Ready to install” list under My Games & Apps. This is a per-console setting and items will reappear in the list if they are installed again from the Xbox Store. To access the shortcut to temporarily show “hidden” items, press X while holding down both triggers and it will show all hidden items until you exit My Games & Apps.

These new features and updates are rolling out to all Xbox One preview program members starting today. We are looking forward to bringing Xbox One to new markets this month, and can’t wait to hear from fans in those markets who get to pick up and play Xbox One for the first time. Plus, these new features will be available in all of our new markets for Xbox One owners who join the preview program.

Only 5 more days till Grand Theft Auto V comes out and the wait will be over! I think this one is really going to revive the series and bring back how awesome they use to be especially since Saint’s Row titles are hard to compare to the GTA series and have been prety much a disappointment like the latest.

Also the map was leaked today on Reddit/NeoGAF, if you were unaware the map is bigger than Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas, and Grand Theft Auto IV combined. You can view the map by clicking read more.

Ubisoft promised that we would get to see the first Assassin’s Creed III gameplay footage if they received enough “Likes” on their Facebook page, and now since they have, here is the footage! It is fucking great too.

There is a lot to take in here, one of the first things you may likely notice in the trailer is that Assassin’s Creed III looks different from its predecessors thanks to a new and improved engine, which Ubisoft is calling “AnvilNext.”

Said engine allows for some very impressive animations, which you’ll see for yourself in the Assassin’s Creed III trailer. The protagonist, Connor, can be seen dashing fluidly into a window, over a table, and out another window. For me, this is probably the best part in the trailer.

We also get to see a few of the kill moves Connor will be using to dispatch his enemies in Assassin’s Creed III, and it looks to be as brutal as ever–which is a good thing, I’d say. Not a whole lot of actual combat is shown, however, so we’ll have to sit tight for that.

So I read a rumor that Bethesda and ZeniMax Media are getting ready to reveal on a long-rumored Elder Scrolls MMO, possibly as soon as May.

According to a report from Tom’s Guide, “inside sources” claim that the Elder Scrolls MMO, apparently titled Elder Scrolls Online, will take place “a full millennium” before the events of Skyrim, putting it in or around the “Second Era” in Elder Scrolls lore.

The report goes on to say that Elder Scrolls Online will have three playable factions, each represented by the insignia of a lion, a dragon, and some sort of a bird of prey. Specifics on possibly races involved with the three factions weren’t shared.

The site adds that Elder Scrolls Online will likely be shown alongside Doom 4, and the two games will likely be on the show floor at this year’s E3. Subsequent showings are said to take place around this year’s QuakeCon, which takes place after E3 in August.

Tom’s Guide points out:

The fact that ZeniMax and Bethesda are working on an MMO is hardly a secret, as related job postings have been on ZeniMax’s website for quite some time now. What remained unknown until now was the universe in which this MMO would take place. While some were certainly hoping for a Fallout MMO of some sort – a game that ZeniMax and Bethesda control the publishing rights for – that is not to be the case.

I think this game would be really cool, I am still playing my first MMO called Rift and would love for an MMO like Skyrim to be released. It would be really cool if it were like Fallout but that will not happen due to licensing issues that will probably never get sorted out. I would also love if there were to ever be a Call of Duty MMO, that would be badass.

Trion is currently shutting down shards, or in their words, turning them into Trial Shards. Are these bad times for Rift?

I have been playing the game since March last year (2011), just a few weeks after it came out. It is my first MMORPG to play and I actually quite enjoy it most of the time. My personal problem with the game is the lack of Rogue developers and willingness for Trion developers to listen at all it seems. Then there is the lack of PVP. But that all of this is a different story for an entirely different topic and also not a “QQ.”

I do wonder how many active subscribers Trion currently has though now for Rift.

I have played on a total of 4 shards, the longest being Faemist from March 2011 till November 2011. I then transferred to Freeholme (with Guild) because Faemist started to die in September/October. Then in December Freeholme died as well as the guild I was in, because of SWTOR which not a lot of people seem to like. I have it and I never play it, do not have the time to but also do not enjoy it too much as I did Rift.

I ended up transferring to Deepstrike this month, January, to a more active shard. I would have had to have transferred anyways because Freeholme is shutting down now, as in the list below. The 4th shard that I have played on only for a week and a day is Wolfsbane, the most active PVE shard (and overall shard).

Here is the list of shards shutting down, and that are turning into Trial Shards and where they are being recommended (not forced) to transfer to:

PVP Shards

  • Sunrest (PVP-RP) is being suggested to transfer to Deepstrike.
  • Freeholme is being suggested to transfer to Deepstrike.
  • Dayblind is being suggested to transfer to Deepstrike.
  • Faemist is being suggested to transfer to Briarcliff.

PVE Shards

  • Belmont is being suggested to transfer to Millrush.
  • Galena is being suggested to transfer to Millrush.
  • Galena is being suggested to transfer to Millrush.
  • Atrophinius is being suggested to transfer to Greenscale.
  • Crucia is being suggested to transfer to Greenscale.
  • Alsbeth is being suggested to transfer to Shatterbone.

PVE-RP Shards

  • Estrael is being suggested to transfer to Faeblight.
  • Shadefallen is being suggested to transfer to Faeblight.

A total of 12 shards are shutting down of the 35 that Rift has including the 8 Europe shards. These shards are being converted on January 18th, 2012. I personally think that Trion should have never had a total of 32 shards to begin with. I could definitely see they needed it when the game came out, as I remember watching a few people stream the game on streaming sites and they would be waiting in queue to join their shard.

Another sign that could show the game dying slowly is that they just put up a new deal this week:

For a limited time, get an extra month of RIFT game time when you upgrade to a multi-month subscription plan.

They really seem to be begging for subscribers to come back that they will even give you an extra month.

So today I learned that Trion; the developers of the mmorpg game called RIFT, is donating $1 to Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play charity for every RIFT digital upgrade purchased between December 9th through 11th.

Now the digital upgrade; which there are just only 2 of them, costs $10 each and don’t actually offer much of an “upgrade” to your gameplay no matter which digital upgrade you go with. Which is why Trion fails at donating for this charity event especially with their advertisement of “‘Tis the Season for Giving” and just wants users to give them more money for really nothing yet alone a measly dollar to the Child’s Play charity when it would never hurt them to give more. These 2 upgrades detailed below do not effect ones RIFT playing over another without it in anyway if they would have decided to give more than just $1.

Collector’s Edition only offers an Ancient Tartagon mount (you can buy the same similar different coller, a collector’s satchel that offers a backpack of 24 slots and a Bogling wastrel companion which to be honest, majority of the gamers rarely ever use companions and they are only just for show.

Ashes of History Edition only offers a Spindrel mount (spider mount) which you rarely ever see anyone using anymore other than the first week it was released, a personal banker that has a cooldown of 2 hours (really?) and is only useful every now and again when you’re not at the Sanctum or Meridian such as in a raid, dungeon or event, and lastly a faction tabard which is just another useless chest wardrobe of many already that you rarely see people using too.

You’re telling me that Trion can’t at least give $5 of the $10 spent from a customer to give to the Child’s Play charity? What a joke, and they say it is the season for giving, sigh. You might as well donate straight to Child’s Play yourself if you want to donate.

Source: ‘Tis the Season for Giving – Child’s Play Digital Upgrade Weekend | RIFT Digital Upgrades

BioWare has finally announced that December 20th, 2011 Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released.

Here are the monthly subscription fees, each copy comes with 1 free month:

  • 1 Month Subscription: $14.99 (£8.99/€12.99)
  • 3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
  • 6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94)

Are you excited for SW:TOR? I have been for a few months now, though lately I have heard bad things about it from those that have been part of the beta, so I hope it turns out to be great on the final build and so further after for each patch. Especially the PVP aspect of the game, not that I dislike PVE at all.

Source: Launch Date for STAR WARS: The Old Republic Announced

So today is the day where I no longer use the Razer Onza yet alone any other future Razer product.

I preordered the Onza the minute it was made available for preorder back in January 2011. I had been waiting to play with it for over a year since it was announced. It was finally shipped to me just over 2 months ago. I loved it at first, but will not even bother to love it anymore. Read on as to why.

I was actually told to contact Min-Liang Tan on Twitter via email, the CEO of Razer, week ago about my issues with the Onza. I was actually going to email a lot of what I said below in an email to them, but decided not to. Why? Because I do not feel as if these issues have been fixed, not only does my brother’s controller and girlfriends have the same issues but people online around forums and other comments elsewhere have reported the same issues as mine or similar. Plus I would be without the controller for who knows how long aside from using the main Xbox 360 controller.

Now that that has been said, I will get to the main reasons why I am disappointed with the Razer Onza, Razer and just overall think the product is terrible to purchase.

  • 1st issue (big issue/main problem): The left joystick will always stop you from running in games. To be more specific, games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, where when the left joystick is clicked, this allows you to run. It is always a damn problem, usually a hit or miss each time you use it, for me, it has frequent use. I have tried disconnecting and reconnecting the controller to regain control of the left joystick but that does not work. The only time it starts to work right for a short while it when I have shut down the Xbox 360 and turned it back on.
  • 2nd issue (big issue/main problem): The right joystick (very rarely the left joystick) will sometimes physically get stuck in a position. The position it nearly always gets stuck in is towards the right and slightly downwards, think of it getting stuck around the 0 degree angle towards 320 degree. It actually gets stuck, it does not move back into position if I let go over the joystick.
    This does not happen on a constant basis but I can almost always get it to happen and it will normally happen about 6 times (guessing) over a course of around a 5 hour gaming session.
    • What happens in-game with this above, 2nd, issue?
      I use the controller for all games, but its main purpose is for each Call of Duty title online/multiplayer, right now it is Black Ops. When the right joystick gets stuck, it causes me to spin in the game until I physically remove the joystick from being stuck at that position.
  • 3rd issue (minor problem): The X button feels like it has begun to act like it has worn out when it is touched/pressed. It feels different when “touched/pressed” versus the other Y, B, A buttons that feel perfectly when pressed/touched. I hope this makes sense.
    It has not rendered the X button inoperable though, it still works just fine and the response time just does not feel the same anymore over the last 31 days of usage when pressed.
  • 4th issue (minor problem): After the first week of using the controller, the sticker on the back containing the serial number among other information has started to peel off. I have tried to stop this process from happening but with no luck. I definitely try to avoid touching that area but I do have big hands and I cannot just constantly think about making sure I am not touching it and have to play the game. How I use the controller is how I hold the controller too, so I cannot just easily change how I hold it, it should never start to peal off within the first week anyways.
  • I would personally suggest to avoid purchasing the Onza controller. I also do not see them fixing the above issues anytime soon, and even if they did, I am sure people like myself and others who have had these problems are screwed anyways.

    So with that said, what issues have you had with your Onza controller? Do you still use it? Please comment!