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PC

Mount & Blade 2 is incredibly janky — and I don’t care

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is a hot mess of a game, but I still love it dearly. Much like its predecessor, it’s wildly ambitious — what if you had the agency of a Dragon Age character, but in world of political plotting, medieval battles, and castle sieges? — yet hopelessly janky. When I introduced myself to a marauding empress, she gave me a florid introduction, then told me that this was placeholder text for a famous player, and should be removed. Oops.

The game is early access enough that the main quest isn’t finished. At a certain point, a “conspiracy” meter begins to fill, and there’s no real way to stop it. The world is plunged into war, and the player eventually loses critical agency.

However, literally none of this matters to me, because I have my own, important mission: I gotta get back at my ex-boyfriend by marrying a hotter, more prestigious lord. There’s just one problem I’ve encountered. No one will marry me, and frankly? I think that’s very rude.

Getting paid (but not laid)

My character started as the daughter of a village guard, but is now a prestigious mercenary captain with a renowned army. I pledged myself to the Western Empire, under the command of a man who believes that a monarch must experience war in order to effectively rule. The belief seemed like a noble enough mission statement.

Mount & Blade 2 is an immensely complex strategy game, much like the Civilization or Crusader Kings franchises, where players have to worry about their alliances, map placements, territories, and upgrades. It’s also a character-based RPG, where players have to interact with their allies and enemies, and make choices. It’s impossible to do both of these genres a full amount of justice, and Mount & Blade tends to lean towards the former over the latter … but I still become invested in my hero’s story. My first character had a specific goal in mind, and the game allowed me to pursue that. With a home and a lord, my next step became acquiring a husband.

Image: TaleWorlds

In Bannerlord, marriage is an important tool to build relationships, sire heirs, and build a political legacy. It’s also something that a player can achieve in two or three conversations. First, you approach a lord (or lady, if you have the right mod installed) and say something along the lines of “M’lord, I notice you haven’t taken a wife!” Then, you have to pass several conversation checks spread across two instances. If the dice fail you, or you pick the wrong approach to woo a lord, then he will decline you and you’ll have to start again with another prospect.

I don’t know what happened, but no one in the Western Empire wanted to marry me. It all culminated with one lord, Nemos, saying that he couldn’t get with me because his family wouldn’t approve. Absolutely devastating. No one wants to hear how a guy would rather make his mom happy than take a chance by marrying you and pledging his sword to your cause.

Wading into the dating game is particularly tricky thanks to sometimes unreadable UI elements that cause me to fail conversations. Other times, characters will stare at me with dead eyes, or they’ll begin to drift to the side. Even my protagonist would sometimes show up with a googly eye.

Making matters worse, enemies were closing in on the Western Empire from all sides, capturing or killing any potential lords I could meet and smooch. At this point, I had met a cute Southern Empress. My dating pool was dwindling and I was suddenly enamored with a powerful lady who could step on me with her plate armor boots … I may have committed some light treason so I could switch sides.

Image: TaleWorlds

A woman scorned

Things were much better in the Southern Empire. The kingdom was thriving, especially since it had taken a massive bite out of another faction to the East. After I helped the Empress Rhagaea take a city up north, she was benevolent enough to let me rule it. My job satisfaction was through the roof!

But it’s still important to take time for personal matters. At one point while leading my troops across the continent, I ran into a certain somebody from my past: Nemos. He was leading a much smaller war band, one that wasn’t a threat to me at all. I still went ahead and crushed them under my heel, and took Nemos as my prisoner. Then, I took him up to my new city, and put him in my dungeon.

It was extremely satisfying, and although that run came to a messy end later when Rhagaea ended up starting several wars that ended the Southern Kingdom, I was pleased. My character had experienced a whole arc, from humble middle class nobody to vengeful lord. And more importantly, I had sated an extremely petty grudge. There were hiccups along the way — placeholder text, error messages in the game’s combat log, not to mention an unfinished main quest. But these things didn’t stop me from enjoying the game, and I still got sweet, sweet revenge.

Bannerlord is a dense and often flawed game, but there’s nothing like it when it comes to providing both realistic medieval combat and the ability to pettily kidnap and imprison jerk nobles who prefer their moms over me.

Alienware Aurora R8

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eSports

Valorant’s mechanics & gunplay most resemble classic CS

Fans have been debating for a while which game Riot Games’ Valorant is most similar to, but now that the Valorant showcase on Twitch has finally allowed fans to witness and enjoy unfiltered gameplay, the opinions are starting to solidify. A large number of professionals, such as Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar, expressed the game is more similar to Counter-Strike 1.6 than Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) or Overwatch. In particular, summit stated on stream that the game is similar to CS1.6 in regards to movement and shooting.

Twitch

  • 1.6summit1g играет в Counter-Strike: Global Offensive4 просмотра0

    CS-inspired gunplay and mechanics

    The gunplay draws significant inspiration from Counter-Strike, as each weapon has a unique spray pattern. Furthermore, recoil stabilization, such as crouching, is also a prominent mechanic in the game. Crosshairs placement matters too because of players clearing and holding angles the same way players would in CS.

    Unlike CS titles, most Valorant weapons feature “aiming down sight” (ADS). In games like Call of Duty, ADS is an integral part of the game. However, ADSing may present a disadvantage in Valorant as players are granted a more straightforward spray pattern but suffer a decreased damage output.

    Summit stated Valorant‘s movement was reminiscent of that in CS. He says players experience a massive movement decrease when taking damage. While taking damage does affect the player’s speed in CSGO, it’s less severe than in its predecessor. Furthermore, both run boosting and boosting aren’t possible in the game. Any players slide off the back of their teammate if they attempt to raise on top.

    During his stream, summit confirmed Valorant developers had implemented air strafing into the game. Despite this, it’s unclear whether players experience an increased movement speed due to air strafing. Additionally, there’s slight disagreement concerning whether or not Riot’s game has counter-strafing. Summit shared he felt the game does have counter-strafing to stop the movement immediately, but ex-professional CSGO player Eric “fl0m” Flom says Valorant does not have counter-strafing. If this is true, that would mean there’s no movement acceleration or deceleration like in CS games. According to a source from a private Valorant Discord, there is a maximum of 10% movement speed increase when “bhopping.”

    Valorant is no Overwatch

    The weekend’s Valorant event has clearly shown the game’s gameplay and mechanics have taken significant influence from legendary CS titles. The only significant similarity between Overwatch and Valorant at this point is that both games have abilities.

    When asked whether he thought Valorant would hurt CS, summit stated on stream, “I don’t know if it’ll hurt it. It’ll take some people.” While Riot developers have taken apparent influence from Valve’s FPS, CS‘s pure gunplay and perfectly designed mechanics are something unique to the franchise. Currently, Valorant‘s design is more similar to CS, but we’ll have to wait and see how the game develops over its lifetime.

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    News

    Dungeons & Dragons Eberron Epic Released For Non-Event Play

    Those Dungeons & Dragons players who love the steampunk-ish world of Eberron are in for a treat. Adventurers League, the official organization for standardized D&D play, is releasing an Eberron Epic for purchase. This is the first time an Epic has been made available to the public.

    A relative few Dungeons & Dragons players have experienced an Epic. While most campaign books and one-shot adventures are sold in game stores or through online vendors, Epics must be given by Adventurers League admins. To earn that favor, one must prove they’re holding an eligible convention or charity event.

    Epics are one-of-a-kind events. These unique adventures see several tables of players all working toward a common goal. It’s sort of like the D&D equivalent of an MMO raid. But each table is experiencing the quest from a different perspective, and what one party does affects another. Imagine one table setting off a natural disaster only for the table next to them to be caught in the resulting storm.

    Yet for all the risk, Epics give great rewards. This ties back to their usual restriction of being only for big events. Aside from the thrill of participating in a massive D&D game, attendees will usually get a unique magic item or character option at the end of an Epic. Again, it’s like the limited-time quest drops in MMOs. It’s all meant to entice people to make the trip to a local convention or charity game day.

    Circumstances have changed, however, with calls for self-isolation stopping D&D groups from meeting. Other games have adjusted in various ways, either by ceasing certain player restrictions or changing their core gameplay entirely. D&D‘s answer appears to be this – making exclusive content available to the public. Sadly, this will be a one time deal. The AL post confirms that future Epics will keep their event-only policy. Still, Eberron fans should be happy, and we might be seeing the rise of online D&D Epics.

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    PC

    Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord Patch Notes: New Update Fixes Rival Gangs Bug

    Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is now out in early access. And like many games that initially launch this way, it’s got a few bugs and issues to be ironed out–which developer TaleWorlds Entertainment has already begun to tackle with a day two update.

    The patch notes for the update showcase that this entire hotfix is geared towards bug fixes, including quite a few that address game crashes. Of note, the update takes care of several problems surrounding the Rival Gang quest, which has been causing issues for Bannerlord players since the game released in early access.

    With this update, you should no longer have to worry about the bug that was causing Bannerlord to crash when attempting to do the quest or–if you managed to accept it–complete the quest. However, in the patch notes, TaleWorlds does warn that if you’ve already managed to complete Rival Gangs, “there is a chance your save is already broken.” The developer is already working to address any future problems that a broken save might create.

    Other quests that have now been fixed include Army of Poachers, Bounty Hunters, and Lord Needs Garrison Troops. For a full list of the issues addressed by the update, check out the patch notes below.

    Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord March 31 Update Patch Notes

    • Fixed a rare crash when opening the multiplayer team selection screen.
    • Fixed a crash caused by timeout for the Army of Poachers quest.
    • Fixed a crash that occurred when failing Army of Poachers quest without fighting.
    • Fixed a crash caused by the Gang Leader Needs Weapons daily issue creation.
    • Fixed a crash caused by the Bounty Hunters quest success and fail consequences.
    • Fixed a rare crash that occurs when talking to common area thugs.
    • Fixed a crash that occurred when talking with village notables to get a quest.
    • Fixed a rare conversation freeze when following an NPC to find a quest hero.
    • Fixed a crash that occurred after clearing the Rival Gang quest.
    • Corrected the weapons of some ranged units.
    • Some troops that were using noble tier weapons received more appropriate equipment.
    • Some weapon parts’ crafting material costs were fixed.
    • Some minor equipment changes for Aserai, Battania, and Khuzait troops.
    • Fixed a crash that occurred when helping an allied party that is besieging a settlement.
    • Fixed a crash that occurred when helping an allied party that is getting attacked while besieging enemy settlement.
    • A rare crash caused by AI clans joining kingdoms as mercenaries has been fixed.
    • Fixed a problem that locked the player in a conversation after asking a villager to take you to a character.
    • Fixed a crash with the quest Lord Needs Garrison Troops that occurred for some Vlandian castles.
    • Fixed a rare crash that occurred when talking to people (townsmen, townswomen, child, infant) in towns and villages.
    • Fixed a crash that occurred when running out of stamina while crafting charcoal.
    • Fixed a crash caused by the Rival Gang quest. If this quest was done before, there is a chance your save is already broken. Future errors are fixed.
    • Unintended consequences for clans that leave their kingdoms have been removed.
    • Players will now be able to make peace with minor faction lords through barter, saving them from a soft-lock to join kingdoms.
    • Siege tactic default weapons have changed.
    • Capped daily workshop income at 200.
    • Clan tier maximum party size bonus formula has changed.
    • Fixed some of the crashes after launching and on scene entry.
    • Fixed the infinite loading issue with some scenes.
    • Fixed a crash when switching options to low or very low.
    • Fixed an issue with the crash uploader.

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    News

    Stock Up With Target & Amazon’s Buy-2-Get-1-Free Video And Board Game Sales

    For everyone who needs some entertainment during the quarantine, games are a pretty safe bet — and both Target and Amazon have got your back right now. The former is running a buy-2-get-1-free video game offer, while the latter included tabletop games into the offer as well.

    For Amazon, this is the third time since the beginning of this year that they’ve run a promo like this. However, in previous iterations, they included books, DVDs, and Blu-rays, which is not the case this time around — but you can still enjoy a number of titles, including the new DOOM Eternal, board games like Risk and Catan, as well as starter and essential sets for Dungeons & Dragons. 

    Amazon lists the offer as “buy three get one free,” but this is misleading. When you add three items to your cart, on checkout, you will be required to only pay for two of them (the cheapest one is free). The offer is limited, but there is no explanation for how long it will last.

    Target’s deal is similar, but only includes video games, including titles for consoles like PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. If you still haven’t picked up your copy of Death Stranding, you can do so at your local store, or you can get a taste of the Olympics (now postponed until 2021) with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020. 

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    Categories
    PC

    Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord Releases Today, A Day Early

    Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is launching on Steam Early Access today, March 30, a day earlier than expected. The sequel, developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment, has been eight years in the making. [Update: The game is out now on Steam, and as noted below, there is a limited-time 10% discount that knocks its price down to $45.]

    On top of releasing a day early, Mount & Blade II will also be available for 10% off during the first two weeks of sale. Anyone who owns a previous title in the series will be eligible for an additional 10% off in select digital stores, too. The reason for this? The coronavirus, of course. “It might seem like a pretty ideal time to release a game (after all, everyone is at home right!?),” the studio said in a blog post. “But we know that the current situation has placed a lot of people in a difficult position when it comes to balancing their finances and risking their health,” so it decided to introduce some discounts.

    TaleWorlds has recently been working on the game remotely, but that hasn’t slowed down development. “We have tried to make the best of a bad situation and thankfully, with the help of our IT team, have been able to continue work on the project from home. This has come with its own challenges of course, but we are still very grateful and lucky to work in an industry where it is possible to work remotely, which we know isn’t the case for many of you.”

    As for what’s included in the Early Access release, there are Custom Battle and Campaign modes available in single player. The Campaign is a new addition for the series, introducing a more structured approach to the traditional Mount & Blade experience. It blends a storyline and key events with the more familiar sandbox gameplay, giving you clear goals and objectives to complete on the path to victory. You can always opt to ignore the campaign missions, though, and plot your own rise to power instead.

    Character creation is still a key aspect as you build a backstory and venture out onto the continent of Calradia, hiring companions, raising warbands and armies, conquering towns and castles, progressing your character’s skills and equipment, and plenty more. In terms of multiplayer, there are four different game modes to play: Skirmish, Captain, Team Deathmatch, and Siege. TeamWorlds says it will continue to introduce new features, game modes, and other additional content to multiplayer throughout Mount & Blade II’s time in Early Access.

    While there’s a lot of content to get stuck into right away, there will still be bugs and glitches, balancing issues, missing features, and placeholder content. If you want to see everything the game has to offer, TaleWorld’s suggests holding off on buying it until the full release. If you want an early taste and the opportunity to provide feedback, however, you can hop straight into Mount & Blade II’s battlefields next week.

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    Nintendo

    New Pokemon Sword & Shield DLC Details Revealed

    Nintendo capped off its surprise Nintendo Direct Mini with some new information about Pokemon Sword and Shield. In particular, the company revealed more details about the games’ first upcoming expansion, Isle of Armor, which is currently slated to arrive this June.

    Isle of Armor is set on the eponymous island, which lies off the coast of the Galar region. The isle is home to a Pokemon dojo where aspiring trainers learn under the tutelage of Mustard, the longest-reigning Pokemon Champion in Galar’s history and Leon’s former mentor.

    When you arrive at the dojo, you’re gifted the Legendary Pokemon Kubfu from Mustard himself. As part of your training, you will eventually be able to challenge the Towers of Two Fists–the Tower of Darkness and the Tower of Waters. You can only challenge one of the towers, however, and the one you choose will influence how Kubfu evolves.

    If you challenge the Tower of Darkness, Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu Single Strike Style, a Fighting/Dark Pokemon; if you complete the Tower of Waters, Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu Rapid Strike Style, and its typing will be Fighting/Water.

    https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/bKD_nASppNk

    Additionally, the evolved form of your starter Pokemon in Sword and Shield–Rillaboom, Cinderace, or Inteleon–will be able to gain a Gigantamax form through the Isle of Armor. Each of these will have a special Gigantamax move. Rillaboom is able to use G-Max Drum Solo; Cinderace can unleash G-Max Fireball; and Inteleon fires off G-Max Hydro Snipe. Each of these attacks is stronger than typical Dynamax moves and ignores the opponent Pokemon’s abilities.

    The Isle of Armor expansion also introduces new outfits, hairstyles, and customization options for your League Card. If you purchase the Expansion Pass before August 31, you’ll also get another free bonus: clothing items for your trainer based on Leon’s cap and tights.

    The Isle of Armor is slated to launch by the end of June. However, Nintendo noted that any release dates announced during the presentation could be subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

    In other Pokemon news, a new Max Raid event has begun in Sword and Shield. Pokemon Sword players are more likely to encounter Gigantamax versions of Copperajah and Duraludon in Max Raids, while Shield players are more likely to find Gigantamax Charizard and Garbodor.

    Pokemon Sword And Shield News & Guides

    • Sword & Shield's New Mythical Pokemon, Zarude, Revealed
    • Pokemon Home FAQ: Price, Release Date, Compatible Games, And More
    • Pokemon Sword & Shield DLC: All The Confirmed Returning Pokemon So Far

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    News

    Pokémon Sword & Shield: How To Find & Evolve Minccino Into Cinccino

    Looking to catch a Minccino in Pokémon Sword & Shield? Well, look no further because you probably already caught it while reading this sentence. These things are absolutely everywhere, especially when it comes to the Wild Area.

    Find The Little Gremlin

    Yes, that’s right, Minccino being the dressed up rat that it is, you’re not going to have trouble finding it all over the Galar Region. The sole place that you’re going to find it outside of the Wild Area is Route 5, where you’ll have a 15% chance to encounter it in a non-overworld battle.

    The Wild Area encounters for Minccino literally take up an entire book. You can find it in Rolling Fields during normal weather and while snowing as a non-overworld encounter, with higher odds in Sword than Shield, 35% to 5%, though those odds are the same in snow. You can find it at Giant’s Cap (overworld) and East Lake Axwell (non-overworld) during virtually every type of weather at varying odds. It can be fought in Max Raid Battles at East Lake Axewell and Rolling Fields.

    Its evolution, Cinccino, can be fought in Max Raid Battles at the same place, and can be found in Giant’s Cap during normal, heavy fog, and overcast weather. You might want to go for this encounter due to Minccino’s slightly annoying evolution method.

    Evolution And Battle

    In order to evolve Minccino into Cinccino, you’ll need a Shiny Stone. This can be found on Route 8 by Doctor Joanna or near a rock formation in Lake of Outrage, though you’ll need to have the water bike for the latter. The earliest you’ll be able to find is on Route 8, so going with a Cinccino encounter over Minccino might be your best bet, but it’s really up to you.

    While Cinccino doesn’t have any Gigantamax form after it evolves, it is still certainly a worthy member of your team. It’s got some great speed to make use of, and moves like Tail Slap and Rock Blast will benefit you.

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    News

    Pokémon Sword & Shield: How To Find & Evolve Shelmet Into Accelgor

    Shelmet is one of those odd Pokémon that depends on another Pokémon to reach its full potential. It has a special bond with Karrablast, and by special bond we mean Karrablast eats Shelmet. Seriously. Per the Pokédex: “It spits a liquid from its mouth to melt through Shelmet’s shell. Karrablast doesn’t eat the shell— it eats only the contents.” What’s odd, though, is that Shelmet also relies on Karrablast to evolve. Talk about a complicated relationship.

    Where To Find Shelmet In Sword & Shield

    Shelmet is one of the lucky 400 Pokémon to actually make it into Sword & Shield. Trainers hoping to add one to their collection should be on the lookout for rainy weather. As a Bug-type, Shelmet is much more likely to spawn in the rain. In fact, it will only appear in certain areas while it’s raining. Shelmet is even more picky in that it spawns more frequently in Pokémon Shield.

    Shelmet evolves into Accelgor when it’s traded for a Karrablast. The trade will trigger both Shelmet and Karrablast to evolve right away. That’s also where many will notice the weird situation Shelmet’s unique evolution puts its Trainer in. Because now the Trainer has an Accelgor that belongs to someone else. So what to do? Many Pokémon players will organize Shelmet for Karrablast trades with the agreement that both parties trade them back after the evolution. The best place to find such a trade would be with a friend, or a dedicated Pokémon trade community.

    Alternatively, one could seek out Accelgor through Max Raid Battles. It will sometimes show up in raid dens in the Bridge Field, Dappled Grove, Rolling Fields, and South Lake Miloch areas. Only Shield players can do this, however.

    What Accelgor Does In Battle

    Aceelgor is really fast… and that’s about it. As a Bug-type Pokémon, it’s cursed with paper-thin defenses. In older games, its only viable contribution to a team was to set Spikes down at the beginning of a battle. This doesn’t change in Sword/Shield. No Gigantamax form or special new moves for Accelgor. The idea with a Spikes build is that Accelgor’s Speed allows it to get at least two layers of Spikes down before it gets KO’d, ensuring good damage to every enemy Pokémon that arrives in battle from then on. Not exactly the most glorious of battle styles, but it’s a living.

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    Categories
    Nintendo

    Pokemon Sword & Shield: Gigantamax Gengar, Machamp, And Snorlax Leaving Tomorrow

    Pokemon Sword and Shield’s latest Max Raid events are coming to an end very soon. The events are scheduled to wrap up this Wednesday, March 25, at 4:59 PM PT / 7:59 PM ET, making this your last chance to catch some rare Gigantamax and version-exclusive Pokemon.

    There are two concurrent Max Raid events going on now, the first of which features Gigantamax Snorlax, Machamp, and Gengar. All three of those Pokemon are currently appearing in Max Raid dens in both games. Since Gigantamax Pokemon are normally incredibly hard to find, this is a good chance to catch to catch them before their spawn rates return to normal.

    On top of that, developer Game Freak recently kicked off a second Max Raid event that makes a handful of version-exclusive Pokemon available in the opposite game. Galarian Corsola, Ponyta, Oranguru, and female Indeedee are appearing in Max Raids in Pokemon Sword, while Galarian Farfetch’d, Darumaka, Passimian, and male Indeedee are appearing in Shield. This event likewise ends on March 25.

    Time is also running out to claim some freebies in Sword and Shield. Until the end of the month, you can download 20 free Battle Points and a free Bottle Cap–good for Hyper Training one of your Pokemon’s stats–via Mystery Gift. You can also claim three free TR94s, which can teach a Pokemon the Ground-type attack High Horsepower. You can see all the free gifts available now for Pokemon Sword and Shield here.

    In other Pokemon news, Nintendo recently released an update for Sword and Shield that “fixed several issues,” including one that would cause the game to crash if you received a hacked Pokemon through Surprise Trade. Sword and Shield have two big expansions on the way this year: Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. The first arrives this June, while the second will follow sometime in fall.

    Pokemon Sword And Shield News & Guides

    • Sword & Shield's New Mythical Pokemon, Zarude, Revealed
    • Pokemon Home FAQ: Price, Release Date, Compatible Games, And More
    • Pokemon Sword & Shield DLC: All The Confirmed Returning Pokemon So Far

    Source: Read Full Article