WoW makes finding group easier

October 28, 2009

Blizzard drops details on the new dungeon and raid system for World of Warcraft, which brings with it cross-sever instancing, daily random dungeons, and special rewards for taking part in a pick-up group.

Pick-up groups, or PUGs, are the bane of many an MMO player’s existence. Rather than grouping with your guild or folks you know, you group up with random strangers who often turn out to be complete and utter tools, and probably think the same thing about you. PUGs are generally avoided whenever possible, but World of Warcraft’s new dungeon and raid system, due out in an upcoming patch, actually rewards players for grouping with random strangers. In fact, the more random additions to your group, the faster you gain rewards, including a Perky Pug non-combat pet.

In order to make PUGs even more attractive, the new system features smarter group matching, which means you should never end up with five shadow priests, which would completely break any instance you entered, along with cross-server instancing, which can pull players from any server in your Battlegroup to go dungeon hopping with you.

Another cool new feature that will seriously cut down on waiting for your PUG members to show up is Instance Teleporting. Much like the PVP battlegrounds in the game, when you join a dungeon using the new system, you will be automatically teleported to the dungeon entrance, where you can then sit AFK for 20 minutes while you get a sandwich.

The new tool will also allow players to select multiple dungeons to take on, or they can take their chances with a random dungeon, with NPC’s giving out quests and rewards to those that complete daily random dungeons, which will be taking the place of the current daily heroic dungeon system.

All of this, plus vote kicking, a looking for raid tool, group disenchanting, and a need before greed update are coming our way in the upcoming WoW content patch. It should go great lengths towards making an already easy game that much easier. Huzzah!

Make some cool quests and single player content and the new expansion may be worth getting into WoW again.

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New Updates to Xbox Live

October 18, 2009

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The next Xbox Live update will deliver Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm, but, wait, there’s more! According to an email from Microsoft, anyway. Get ready for news headlines and dedicated music stores in the Xbox Live dashboard.

Since Microsoft expressly said we’re not forbidden from discussing this, why not? U.S. Xbox Live users in the closed preview will see a “News and More” tab in the “Inside Xbox” channel, and it will deliver “a regularly-updated stream of content from MSNBC.com, MSN Autos, The New Yorker and Dilbert,

For rhythm and music gamers, the update will also set up dedicated music stores for Lips, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

But wait, there’s more! “Surprise! – Keep an eye out in the weeks after the preview launches…you never know what might pop up,” says the email.


Xbox Live Dashboard Update on August 11

July 21, 2009

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Tucked into a Comic-Con announcement from Microsoft is news that the Xbox 360’s next Xbox Live update is coming in 21 days.

The 360 dash will get an update on August 11.

In it, Microsoft confirmed today, will be the launch of the new Xbox Live Games On Demand service, which will launch with more than 30 games. Examples listed in Microsoft’s press release include Assassin’s Creed, BioShock, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Mass Effect, and Sonic The Hedgehog.

Also on the 11th will be the introduction of Netflix party support, allowing multiple people to watch Netflix movies together. The Avatar marketplace will launch, offering virtual knicknacks like an RC Warthog from Halo.

Matching the schedule Microsoft gave Kotaku after E3, Xbox 360 integrations with Twitter, Facebook and Last.FM as well as the ability to instantly stream movies in 1080p for users with fast enough connections will go live in the fall.

Microsoft plans to provide limited access to the next dashboard update to press and a lucky bunch of fans in the next couple of weeks.

Source: Kotaku.com


Xbox Live 2.0

November 20, 2008

So by now Xbox 360 fans have had a chance to download and play around with the new Xbox Live update. This is Microsoft’s first major firmware update for the system and totally redesigns the user interface into a more flashy and streamlined version. The new Xbox experience kicks off with a cool intro video and then you select an avatar. It took me a while to scroll through the choices before picking an avatar that looked like me but thats not much of a complaint as I’m sure the developers at Microsoft just couldn’t come up with someone quite as charming and sexy as myself.

Next you are taken to the welcome screen which is pretty much useless but you can make sure it doesn’t show up again. Then you’re taken to the main menu screen and can browse through the new menus. It will definitely take some time to get used to these changes but hopefully they will be for the better. I noticed when you start out the system you are taken to the main menu of xbox live instead of your game starting up immediately. Not really a fan of that. I dont like when you press the guide button on your controller that the new interface comes up in the middle of the screen. Before it would come up on the left and you could still see whats going on the screen so if youre watching a movie and need to check your messages or friends list the pop up wasnt intrusive. Now that it comes up in the middle of the screen you are blocked from seeing whats going on until you exit out of it which is a real annoyance. I havent dived into the Netflix thing yet but if for those of you that don’t have a netflix account the feature is no good to you, so only a collection of us will be able to use it. Other than that, it seems to be a nice new change that will surely grow on people as they get used to it.

– Also USA Today revealed the first details on the new Downloadable Content for Grand Theft Auto 4. It will feature Johnny Klebitz, a member of Liberty City’s biker gang The Lost as the main character instead of Niko Bellic. The episode, titled The Lost and Damned, requires players to have the full version of the Mature-rated GTA IV (ages 17 and older) and an Xbox Live membership to download.

“Johnny is a very different character than Niko, with a very different background,” says Dan Houser, vice president of creative development for Rockstar Games. “I can’t go into too much detail on the story, because we try not to give away too much plot before the game is released. But I can say that the story will show you a different side of Liberty City.”

Lost and Damned for Grand Theft Auto 4 will be released on February 17 and there is no price point set yet, but expect it to fall between $15-20.