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D&D Beyond: How DMs Can Share Paid Content

D&D Beyond is a great resource for both DMs and players, either as a supplement for in-person games or an amazing tool to facilitate online play. However, only the basic rules of D&D are available for free on D&D Beyond. Other sourcebooks, even some parts of the Player’s Handbook that aren’t part of the basic rules, have to be purchased through D&D Beyond. This can be frustrating for players who bought physical sourcebooks or who share books and other resources with the rest of their D&D group. Luckily, D&D Beyond has a method to let players share sourcebooks with each other.

To use this method, at least one person in a campaign must have a Master Tier subscription to D&D Beyond. This person can be the Dungeon Master, but they don’t have to be – any player can contribute the subscription, then enable sharing in that campaign. Once campaign sharing is enabled, any player can access any sourcebooks that anyone in the campaign has bought through D&D Beyond.

This doesn’t only extend to the campaign that has sharing enabled. All players who are in a campaign with sharing enabled can use any sourcebook bought by anyone in that campaign in any other campaign. A player who plays with another person who has shared Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica with them can then use the book to DM a separate Ravnica campaign without having to buy it.

This has led to players creating special content sharing campaigns just to share resources. As long as one person has a Master Tier subscription, all players in the campaign get access to any books anyone in the campaign owns. This means that up to thirteen people (twelve players and a DM) can share resources between them for use in their own campaigns. Even better, D&D Beyond endorses this behavior. It might not be the normal use, but it’s one of the benefits that comes with a Master Tier subscription.

Players that have a Master Tier subscription might want to try to find players who are interested in sharing, since they get the benefit of sharing with players who have books they don’t. Sharing benefits everyone, since more sharing means more people playing D&D.

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Reviews

Tabletop RPG gamemasters can learn a lot from Pixar’s Onward

Pixar’s new movie Onward, which debuted on Disney Plus on April 3 after an interrupted theatrical run, features something gamers don’t often see in mainstream tentpole media: role-playing games portrayed as a positive, even crucial hobby. Unlike Stranger Things, which foregrounds characters actually playing Dungeons & Dragons, or the various D&D films and shows set in a D&D-inspired world, Onward is a hybrid, where fantasy gaming exists in a world that’s essentially an RPG setting. Magic has largely been forgotten in Onward’s world, but when elf brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) have to make a crucial spell work, Barley’s gaming manual gives them insight into actual historical spells, and his RPG obsessions tell him what components they need, and how to acquire them.

Onward eventually turns into a classic D&D quest, complete with a dungeon, a dragon, and a series of episodic adventures on the way to a final goal. But the story’s lessons aren’t just for the characters. Onward has a lot of potentially valuable insights for tabletop GMs running Dungeons & Dragons, or virtually any gaming system. Here’s what game masters could stand to learn from Onward.

[Ed. note: spoilers ahead for Pixar’s Onward.]

Image: Disney/Pixar

Give your setting specificity and history

The little background details are a big part of Onward. So much of the audience’s attention is on Ian and Barley that it can be easy to overlook how intricately designed the locations around them are. As they race along the highway on their quest, the camera lingers briefly on the skyline, and the buildings shaped like castles. Those towers and battlements are then reflected in the iconography of the highway signs. It’s similar to the ways America’s highway system relies on sign motifs like shields; those are carryovers from the classical architecture used in official government buildings. The same highway scenes contrast that iconography with the inside of Barley’s van, Guenivere, which is festooned with medieval shapes.

These similar, repeated forms mean different things in different contexts, but they all contribute to the sense that this world has its own entirely unique history. In a similar way, GMs should take the time to layer in that kind of history with the settings they create for their players. Players don’t have to go crawling through a generic dungeon — when was it built? Who designed it? What sorts of shapes and symbols would have been important enough for them to carve into stone?

Reading through your average campaign book, there’s lots of flavor text that your players will likely never see. Use that as fuel to create a vision for the world that you’re creating at the table, and get in the habit of using themes and motifs in different ways to signal each era of that world’s history.

Image: Disney/Pixar

Why Onward’s creative team dropped the movie’s original villain

Alternate who’s steering the story

Players complain about railroading GMs, who’ve laid out a story in advance and aren’t interested in player deviation from that path. GMs complain about pushy players, who derail a perfectly good story to focus on seemingly trivial things. The best campaigns, though, leave some room for what everyone’s excited about. In Onward, Barley stands in for the GM role, laying out facts about the world and trying to dictate the path the story should take, what kind of encounters it should have, and exactly what Ian should be learning along the way. But Ian has a different perspective, and keeps pulling toward paths Barley didn’t predict or doesn’t like.

In the end, the story works better when they try both routes. Barley gets to shape an overall story that makes sense. He touches on the tropes he’s excited to explore, like danger and adventure. The story he wants to experience has a logical sense of build and expansion. Sometimes Ian goes along with his plans, and gets a bigger variety of experience than he expected. But when Ian also gets to dictate some of their path, he feels more invested and more heard by his brother. And when he makes a bad choice, like getting on the freeway, the story takes him on exciting, unexpected adventures instead of having Barley shut the idea down entirely.

Also, Ian gets to see how badly his idea works out, which moves him to appreciate Barley’s planned path forward. If a GM did that punitively — “Fine, we’ll do it your way, and it’ll suck for you” — it could lead to hurt feelings and a bad game experience for everyone. Instead, letting Ian direct the story for a while leads to some extra action and useful new lessons, without actually shutting down the option to explore the more dangerous road Barley wanted to travel.

Image: Disney/Pixar

Ground stories in the characters’ emotions, and make them urgent

Onward plays out as a series of mini-quests — find the Manticore, rescue the map, cross a chasm, evade pursuers, and so on. But none of them would have any particular impact without the driving force behind the story: Ian’s desperate need to complete a spell that will let him meet his dead father. All of the story’s emotional impact is locked up within that need, which simultaneously sets the story up for a powerful cathartic ending, and lets writer-director Dan Scanlon and his team get away with any nonsense they want to throw in along the way, from a miniature sprite motorcycle gang to an encounter with a gelatinous cube. There’s certainly room in tabletop RPGs for stream-of-consciousness storytelling, and series of random encounters that don’t fit a bigger theme. But players are a lot more likely to tolerate whatever interaction the GM is in the mood for if they also feel like they’re pursuing goals they authentically care about.

And Onward operates on a deadline — Ian and Barley only have 24 hours to finish summoning up their father before the spell he left them permanently elapses. That lends a tremendous intensity to the otherwise scattered chases, fights, puzzles, and social encounters. For GMs, listening to what players really care about and want to pursue is helpful for crafting story hooks the characters will jump on without hesitation. Building a story around the urgent need to pursue those goals now will keep them invested and focused.

Image: Disney/Pixar

Always have a clear next goal ahead for the players

If a GM has gone to the trouble of crafting a detailed setting and an interesting world, it’s often worth letting players have enough downtime to explore it. That might mean letting the characters spend a session hanging out with some particularly interesting NPCs, or do something mundane and head-clearing, like shopping for a new outfit or visiting a local festival. But any downtime is less enjoyable when the players are only holding off on the next steps because they can’t figure out how to pursue their goals. An awful lot of RPGs bog down because the GM is expecting the players to know exactly what to do next — what rumors or hook to follow to get to the next adventure. And if the players feel aimless or lost instead, they’re going to lose their sense of connection to the game.

That doesn’t mean not giving players any choice about how to move forward. (See the section on railroading, above.) It just means that if they’re supposed to find an artifact, solve a murder, or travel to a specific place, and they’re obviously having trouble figuring out why that matters, or whether it’s possible, they’re likely to get restless. Even GMs running pure sandbox games, whether every story is dictated by player choice, still need to throw out enough clear options that players don’t feel like they’re up against a wall.

Onward has plenty of moments where Ian and Barley lose the thread — they expect the Manticore to give them a map, but she destroys it; they make it to Raven’s Point and don’t immediately find the gem they’re looking for. But those frustrations are always brief, and they feel like resolutions for mini-arcs rather than points where the story slams to a stop. When they take some downtime for a dance party with their magic half-a-dad, it’s because they’re ready for a break, not because they have no idea where to go next. It’s generally a great idea for GMs to have some patience with players who want to take some time out of the story to express themselves and explore their own idea of fun. Having a next goal doesn’t mean glaring at the players until they take the next expected step.

Image: Disney/Pixar

Foreshadow what’s coming

Onward seeds hints of what’s coming up because stories are more satisfying if there’s payoff — for instance, the way the dragon mascot is foregrounded early in the film. Nothing about the early shots of that school mural suggests the characters will eventually wind up fighting an animated rubble-dragon, but the audience gets the image early on, and the camera lingers on it long enough to suggest that it means something. When it comes back around later in the story, the specific form of the payoff is unexpected — but it still feels like a payoff rather than an out-of-the-blue surprise. Dropping clues throughout a game — rumors from NPCs, glimpses of things that will turn out to be more significant than they seem, a peek into an old story or history that seems to be repeating — can make a game world feel more consistent and real, and give the players a sense that they’re operating in a larger world that isn’t being made up as you go along.

Mix up tones and encounter styles

Some RPGs have this dynamic built into them, with a potential for action sequences or battles, but also with rules for social struggles, puzzle encounters, or skills challenges that take the emphasis off fighting. Other systems are simpler, and assume players are only going to engage in one kind of combat. But even in games where the rules don’t directly support it, giving players a sense of variety will keep them alert and invested. Bringing a serious or frightening moment into a mostly humorous game gives players a reason to need their usual humor more than ever. Lightening the tension of a grim game with a momentarily silly situation feels more natural, given how people tend to joke about even the most horrible subjects, and it resets the tension so it can build to bigger heights. In Onward, the story moves from reckless, silly chases to the life-threatening chasm crossing to a heartwarming moment of family connection, and all those pieces inform each other and help develop the characters and the world.

Look for unexpected ways to give players what they want

Onward’s most unexpected plot beat comes in the way Ian gets what he’s wanted all along — but not in the form he was expecting. And the twist in the story winds up being a more satisfying payoff than if he spent the whole story asking for one thing, then got exactly that. Unpredictability is a great boon for any kind of story, and not being able to see the ending coming always makes that ending more exciting.

If your players think they want one simple thing, like defeating an adversary or getting a big payoff for a risky mission, think about ways to complicate the story so they get less than what they want, and have to chase their goals in new ways. Or better yet, give them more than what they want, and use that to complicate the story. Onward is ultimately about finding something satisfying in an unexpected place. It’s a terrific feeling when a GM can pull that off for players who don’t see it coming. And in the end, running an RPG is about collaborating with other people to tell a great story — one the players wouldn’t have thought to tell on their own. The payoff should be more than they imagined it could be.

Disney Plus

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Reviews

Mortal Kombat 11 Can Teach Smash Fans A Lesson About DLC

Fighting games are funny when it comes to DLC. Whereas shooters and other genres tend to have bundles, fighting game DLC generally entails the release of one fighter at a specific moment, with a spotlight shone on who that fighter is. Case-in-point Mortal Kombat 11 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Both have featured similarly amazing guest fighters, though fan reactions to these characters are vastly different between the two camps. Frankly, the Smash community could learn something from the Mortal Kombat 11 fanbase.

Mortal Kombat 11 has had a pretty nice selection of fighter DLC so far. Its guest fighters, so far, have included Terminator‘s T-800, Joker, and Spawn, with the likelihood of Ash Williams from Evil Dead showing up. Spaced between them have been returning fighters like Shang Tsung, Sindel, and Nightwolf. And through it all, the Mortal Kombat 11 player base has accepted every fighter with open arms. The guest stars are celebrated, but so are the returning series regulars.

RELATED: ARMS In Smash Actually Gives Hope For Waluigi & Rayman

Yet, this enthusiasm has not been followed by the community behind Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Ultimate‘s DLC bizarrely began with the Piranha Plant, followed shortly thereafter by the much-anticipated Joker from Persona 5. From there, we received a narrow variety of characters, including Dragon Quest‘s The Hero, the highly anticipated Banjo & Kazooie, Fatal Fury‘s Terry Bogard, and Fire Emblem‘s Byleth.

Most recently, it was announced that a fighter from ARMS would be joining the battle. This move received a mixed reaction from fans, though most have been underwhelmed. Add that to the rage inspired by the Byleth reveal, and there’s a pattern emerging.

This is a shame because Nintendo fans seem to have forgotten that Smash Bros. is first and foremost a Nintendo-made celebration of Nintendo. Players already have the luxury of getting to choose from every character that’s ever been featured in the Smash series. We should be gracious to see more Nintendo characters get a chance to shine in the game, much like how Mortal Kombat 11 fans have been more excited than unwelcoming of the returning fighters to Mortal Kombat 11. We can still hold out hope for out-of-left-field picks like Dante or Sora, but when Nintendo throws in one from its properties, there should be more acceptance.

Mortal Kombat 11 players know that every fighter can’t be a Terminator, and it’s time Nintendo fans remembered this too.

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Reviews

You Can Play Half-Life: Alyx Without A VR Headset – Here’s How

Want to know how to play the VR-exclusive Half-Life: Alyx without a VR headset? You’re in luck – someone out there has already figured out how.

This comes just one week after the official release of Alyx, which requires a VR headset (either the Steam Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Windows Mixed Reality) in order to play. Well, that’s what Valve originally intended, anyway. Knowing gamers, however, it was inevitable that a way around this would be cobbled together (one of the Valve devs literally said so himself), but it does seem like record timing in this case.

Unreal Academy – a YouTuber who creates Unreal Engine 4 tutorials as well as other videos about game-related fixes and the like – has demonstrated a way to make Alyx playable using a mouse and keyboard. He released an initial tutorial on 27th March, but since then released an updated one on 29th March, showing more progress towards making this modded version of the original as streamlined as possible.

As demonstrated in these videos, it seems all you have to do is know the right set of debug commands to enter into the game’s console (which he provides in the descriptions of said videos). Doing so enables the player to control Alyx using their mouse and keyboard, meaning movement via WASD, picking things up with the E key, and firing weapons using the mouse. The HUD from Half-Life 2 can also be enabled, allowing for weapon selection and an indication of Alyx’s health.

There are limitations still, however. For example, Alyx’s signature Gravity Gloves aren’t functional (although the Gravity Gun can be equipped and used). Also, at this early stage, the debug mode does seem very stiff, feeling very obviously like a suboptimal version of a masterpiece. The original game was optimized to be experienced in VR – down to the last minute detail – and although Valve acknowledges the inevitability of a mouse and keyboard mod, they’re also convinced that such a mod will only emphasize why they made the ambitious choice to stick to VR in the first place.

Still, it’s certainly not a wasted endeavor. Many fans of the franchise may not be able to get their hands on a VR headset – due to finances, being prone to debilitating cybersickness, or any other reason. For these people, this could be the answer. And despite the current unpolished state of this mod, dedicated fans like the guy behind Unreal Academy are already working tirelessly at bringing such people an experience that is as faithful to the original as possible.

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News

You Can Play DOOM Eternal With A 360 Motion Controller (Here’s How)

There’s a way to play DOOM Eternal using a 360 degree motion controller so you can make the experience that much cooler.

The answer lies with the so-called Arkade Motion Blaster, which is a motion controller “designed by shooter fans for shooter fans.” The former shooter fans in question are the folks at Arkade, who have designed the Motion Blaster to look like and be handled like a gun, so that you can play shooter games in a point-and-shoot manner more faithful to the in-game actions. The closest comparison we can make is a light gun, as seen in stuff like Time Crisis and House of the Dead.

All you have to do is clip your smartphone (any iOS or Android) into the Motion Blaster and pair the two together using your phone. Then you simply connect with your PC, say, via Steam Link or Nvidia’s GeForce Now, select the game you want to play, and voila! You will presumably need a good, stable internet connection, though.

There’s also an Arkade App which you can use to tweak settings, find new content, and livestream gameplay to YouTube or Twitch, but that’s entirely optional, and the device will work fine without it.

The light gun adjacent peripheral has been shown to work perfectly well with the recently-released DOOM: Eternal – watch the video here, wherein a member from the Arkade team plays a segment from the game using a pretty standard $30 smartphone. The Blaster is apparently also compatible with a whole host of other AAA titles like Call Of Duty, Apex Legends, Halo, Rainbow Six, Counter Strike, PUBG, Fortnite, and Overwatch. 

As with anything in life there are still naysayers, as seen in the comment section of the above video. A lot of people seem doubtful that the Motion Blaster will add much to the experience of a shooter such as DOOM, and may even hinder it because of its fast-paced nature and the precision it demands.

Indeed, Arkade bit the bullet (so to speak) in their response to one such comment, saying that although the Blaster might not be quite as precise as a mouse and keyboard, it’s still “10x more fun” and with some practice can certainly outperform a gamepad.

If you want a closer look at the sleek design of the Arkade Motion Blaster, check out this video. And if you’re interested in getting one of these snazzy light guns for yourself, you can pre-order one on Indiegogo (there’s also an option to order a fancy Pewdiepie edition,) and as a bonus there is free global shipping for a limited time too.

Source: N4G

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PC

Cross-Play: Games You Can Play With Friends Over PS4, Xbox One, Switch, And PC

For many, the deciding factor when buying a game is whether they can play it with their friends. There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had when diving into a thriving online community, where you can jump into matches against opponents or go on fun quests with allies, and more games have begun to place a larger focus on making online play engaging and fun to invest time in. However, a common hindrance to enjoying these online-centric games can be boiled down to whether or not you’re playing on the right platform. Whether it’s low player populations, or if your friends are all on a different system, these things can put a divide between periods of frustration and having a good time.

In recent years, cross-play has become more common with online games, allowing people to play with or against others on different platforms. The inclusion of cross-platform play has not only given fading games a second chance, but it’s also unified online communities, removing the barriers placed by platform ecosystems. Microsoft has been leading the way with cross-play for Windows 10 and Xbox One, while Sony has steadily loosened up its attitudes on cross-play due to the success of games like Fortnite and PUBG.

So with that, we’ve compiled a list of the most interesting and exciting games that offer cross-play between platforms. Games with crossplay can be a great way to keep up with friends on different platforms and stay social during our present times, even while you’re engaging in fast-paced fights or having some ridiculous fun in an open world. In addition to cross-play trailblazers games like Rocket League and Hearthstone, we’ve also included more recent picks such as Borderlands 3, which brought together player bases from Steam and the Epic Games Store. For more on new games that will have cross-play, along with next-gen updates for PS5 and Xbox Series X, be sure to check back with GameSpot.

Rocket League: Cross-play on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

When it comes to fun and accessible online matches, Rocket League is in a class of its own. But as it turns out, Psyonix’s online sports game was one of the early innovators of cross-play. At launch, Rocket League allowed for crossplay between PC and PS4, but eventually it expanded that ecosystem to include players from the Xbox and Nintendo Switch versions of the game. This online soccer game with vehicles has been a constant joy over the years, all due to regular updates, along with a passionate community of players. Even five years after its debut, Rocket League is still hitting a constant stride, and with a thriving community, it’s safe to say that it will keep going for the foreseeable future.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare / COD: Warzone: Cross-play on PC, PS4, and Xbox One

While Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a return to the series’ roots focusing on the more grounded type of infantry combat, it also introduced several game-changing elements that would be a first for the series. The most significant innovation, by far, was the inclusion of cross-play. For the first time in the Call of Duty series, Modern Warfare 2019 brought players on PC, PS4, and Xbox One together, making it the largest COD community for a single game to date. In addition to seasonal events, the newest game mode, Warzone, brings battle royale back to Call of Duty. Available as a free update for MW, or as a standalone free-to-play game, Warzone brings the most expansive map to COD, where you and some friends can face off against over 100 players in a match.

Gears 5: Cross-play on PC and Xbox One

The latest entry in the Gears of War franchise was an ambitious return for the series. Along with expanding the scope of the world of Sera, it also did justice to protagonist Kait Diaz, and how she fits into the larger plot focusing on the war between the humans and the swarm. Much like previous games, Gears 5 leans heavily on its thrilling campaign that can be played cooperatively, along with robust multiplayer modes that play to the strengths of Gears 5’s tight pop-and-shoot mechanics. Continuing from Gears of War 4, Gears 5 allows players on PC and Xbox One to play the campaign and multiplayer together. It was one of the rare AAA games to allow for cross-play at launch, and given its success, it likely won’t be the last.

Fortnite: Cross-play on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Epic Games’ online survival game and creation-tool, Fortnite, went from a stalled experiment to an overnight phenomenon following the debut of its battle royale mode. Fortnite quickly became the game to copy during its unprecedented rise to prominence, and that included its approach to cross-play. Initially, Fortnite only had cross-play for Xbox One and PC, but with the debut of Fortnite mobile, those using iPhone or Android could join in with console players–though by default it will pair them with other mobile users. Fortnite now allows for cross-play between PC, PS4, and Xbox One as well, letting you take part in the scavenge, shoot, and build gameplay loop of its fast-paced battle royale game. Though for console players, you can select to avoid PC players for concerns of advantage with mouse and keyboard controls.

Street Fighter V: Cross-play on PC and PS4

Capcom’s Street Fighter V has come a long way since its 2015 release. The recent Champion Edition, which increased the roster size to 40 and gave existing fighters new special moves, is Street Fighter V at its best. Some of the most exciting moments from Capcom’s fighting game comes from the many battles you can take part in online, and with cross-play, PC and PS4 players can duke it out to see who has the best skills.

Borderlands 3: Cross-play on PC (Steam and Epic Games Store)

As of the more recent cross-play games, Borderlands 3 on PC allows folks who own the game on the Epic Game Store and to play with the new influx of users from the recent Steam release. Leveraging Gearbox Software’s Shift account service, you can not only play with others across different clients but also bring cloud saves across both. Since the release, the online PC community has increased greatly, offering more players to partner up with and collect loot.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds: Cross-play on PS4 and Xbox One

Arguably the pioneer of the battle royale phenomenon as we know it, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds–otherwise known as PUBG–has seen many changes over the years as it has evolved alongside competitors like Fortnite and Apex Legends. Compared to those battle royale games, PUBG focuses more on realism, and the creeping feeling of anxiety as more players converge once the dreaded circle begins to shrink. Initially only available on PC, it later found its way to Xbox One and then PS4. Currently, PUBG only allows for cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One players. Developer PUBG Corporation has stated that there are no plans to include cross-play with the PC version at this time.

Killer Instinct: Cross-play on PC and Xbox One

Microsoft’s Killer Instinct reboot has proven itself to be a fun and gorgeous fighting game to sink some time in since its debut in 2013. Originally released on Xbox One, it eventually found its way to PC, allowing for cross-play multiplayer matches between the different platforms–which increased the player base size in a big way. Compared to other fighting games like Street Fighter V or Tekken 7, Killer Instinct is a bit more of an accessible fighter. Yet, it possesses a surprisingly high skill-ceiling that shows off how involved and in-depth each fighter’s skill set is. What’s even more amusing is that Killer Instinct also features a solid number of guest characters from franchises like Battletoads, Gears of War, and Halo, giving the roster even more variety that goes beyond its ’90s-inspired roots.

Ark: Survival Evolved: Cross-play on PC and Xbox One

Ark: Survival Evolved takes a somewhat different approach to the conceit of open-world scavenging gameplay. While you do have to contend with scraping together materials to craft items and face off against hostile players who want what you have, Ark also throws dinosaurs into the mix. While you can take your chances solo, Arc really shines in co-op, allowing you and other players to team up to take out enemies with custom firearms and your tamed dinosaurs. It’s a strange mix of elements, but Ark does a solid job of playing to the strengths of each as you slowly build up resources to survive in the world.

State of Decay 2: Cross-play on PC and Xbox One

Surviving in the zombie apocalypse isn’t easy. With minimal resources and a ravenous horde of undead continually nipping at your heels, you’ll need as much help as you can get to see another day. State of Decay 2 features full co-op play, allowing you to invite up to three other players into your game, who can help you fortify your base and outfit each survivor with the best items they can get. With cross-platform play between PC and console players, it won’t be hard finding another player to join you in your goal to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Deep Rock Galactic: Cross-play on PC and Xbox One

Exploring extraterrestrial worlds can be dangerous alone, so it’s best to bring some friends with you on the trip. In Deep Rock Galactic, you play as space dwarves tasked with mining materials or procuring rare artifacts. Each world you visit is procedurally-generated, which possesses hidden dangers and surprises waiting to be uncovered. With cross-play on PC and Xbox One, you can join friends to unearth the hidden wonders or threats on distant worlds, while trying to make it back to your ship safely.

Hearthstone: Cross-play on PC and Mobile

Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone offers surprisingly sophisticated, yet still accessible card-based tactical gameplay to invest yourself in. Set in the Warcraft universe, Hearthstone leverages its expansive lore to show off the unseen locales and stories of the world–all through the lens of a card-battle game. In addition to the plethora of events and quests to take part in during solo-play, some of which occasionally introduce limited time co-op events, you can also face off against others online in competitive battles. Since launch, Hearthstone players on any platform have been able to enjoy cross-platform functionality, allowing everyone to play with one another.

Dauntless: Cross-play on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Dauntless is a free-to-play online action game that leans heavily into the Monster Hunter formula of slaying enemies and using their materials to craft new gear. Like Monster Hunter, getting into Dauntless can be somewhat overwhelming, but once you find your groove with your chosen archetype after taking on a few missions, you’ll be taking down beasts in no time. Diving further into Dauntless will also open access to the game’s more elaborate missions and events, yielding new gear and upgrades for your character. At first, Dauntless only supported cross-platform play with PC and Xbox One, but after a big push from the community, it expanded to PS4’s ecosystem and eventually to Nintendo Switch.

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News

Naomi Campbell Can Never Be Too Careful

The 49-year-old supermodel, Naomi Campbell, revealed what her COVID-19 protection looks like. Her equipment consists of a white hazmat suit, goggles, blue rubber gloves, and a Burberry cape.

Some may think that Naomi is exaggerating, but she always makes sure that everything around her is clean and sterile, even before the Coronavirus outbreak.

The successful supermodel shared her flight routine during this new virus rapid and easy spread, on her YouTube channel.

In the video, Naomi had to fly from Los Angeles to New York just before the lockdown came into power, and she generously shared with her fans he preparation process for high protection.

Naomi confessed that she felt a little anxiety about possibly being exposed to COVID-19.

“I’m not going to lie to you and say I’m not nervous about taking this flight because I am,” she admits.

Campbell explained that she is a perfectionist when it comes to using things that many other people use and that she has been cleaning her seats on airplanes deeply for the last 15 years.

She is certainly not taking any chances to catch the Coronavirus and joked about her ensemble, calling it “a little dramatic.”

“I look kind of nice. I feel comfortable like this. I’ll put these gloves on in the car and then my lovely Burberry cape. This is it, this is my precaution,” Naomi clarified.

Just before going on her flight, the supermodel boosted her immune system with two shots of vitamin C to get the extra protection.


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Nintendo

Amazon Prime Members Can Claim 5 Free Games In March 2020

As part of Twitch Prime, the streaming service offers free games to Twitch and Amazon Prime Members every month, and March 2020 is no exception. In case you aren’t familiar with the program, if you link your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime membership or sign up for Twitch Prime, you get five free games–usually smaller indies–and in-game loot for popular online multiplayer games. It’s one of the lesser-known perks of Amazon Prime, but you shouldn’t overlook it.

This month subscribers can snag Furi, a stellar action shoot-em-up featuring a series of increasingly challenging boss fights. The science-fiction aesthetic coupled with the stylish color palette makes for a captivating atmosphere, and the gameplay is fast and fun. You can also grab Epistory – Typing Chronicles, a gorgeous action-adventure set in a world made of origami; Whispers of a Machine, a 2019 point-and-click adventure starring an augmented special agent; Bomber Crew, a World War II strategy game; and Mugsters, a physics-based puzzler filled with aliens.

Along with the free games, you can claim new in-game loot for Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and FIFA 20. Fans of FIFA 20’s Ultimate Team mode can grab the Twitch Prime Player Pack, which includes an 81+ overall item and four rare gold player items. Destiny 2’s latest batch of in-game loot is live now and includes new Exotics, including the Praxic Finery Sparrow, Sails of Osiris ship, and Poultry Petting emote.

Twitch Prime subscribers can also grab an exclusive Doom Eternal skin that makes the Doom Slayer look like a pink unicorn.

You can start claiming free games and loot from Twitch Prime by linking your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime account. If you’re not a current Amazon Prime subscriber, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial before taking the plunge on the $119 per year membership.

Twitch Prime free games for March 2020

Available now

  • Furi
  • Epistory Typing Chronicles
  • Whispers of a Machine
  • Mugsters
  • Bomber Crew

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Nintendo

Animal Crossing can be a competitive game, if you want it to be

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is an idyllic life simulator. I spend my mornings — before work, in case my boss is listening — with a routine: plucking fruit from trees, extracting ore from rocks, and digging up fossils for my ol’ pal Blathers. After work, I meet my friends to sell my fruit and check out their stores, inspecting what goods they’ve got that I can pick up for my own island.

It’s not a competitive game. It’s designed to be like a vacation, an escape from life as we know it — something that’s especially helpful right now.

But as with anything, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is what you make it. For some, that means the game now has horror elements. For others, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now an esport. People have been inventing new ways to play, using anything available in the game to pit player against player. And there certainly is a lot to use. You’ve got nets, fishing poles, axes (!), and shovels, not to mention the countless items designed to decorate the islands.

One popular method is using nets to bop other players and score a point. Players have even created “maps” for these net bopping tournaments to go down. Bonus points for players who choose to commentate over these matches, like YouTube creator Jacob “AlphaRad” Rabon. Now this is Animal Crossing: New Horizons esports.

You can also use nets to play tag, as shown by Twitter user CorporateCutei. From the video, it looks like a variation on tag — typically, it should be one person with a net (the one that’s it) chasing around everyone else. But here, it seems like everyone is chasing around the person with the shovel, and the first one to nab them wins.

Another fun game? Musical stumps. One player, using an instrument, plays a tune while other players circle stumps. When the music ends, players rush to the stumps to sit. Anyone without a seat is out. After reach round, remove a stump until there’s one player left standing. Er, sitting.

Another, more subtle, way to compete with your friends is to steal their fish. Once a friend has plopped down their line, do yours next to it. Clearly, whoever nabs the fish wins. Twitter user KumaTeddi posted a clip of this on Twitter — and the original fisher must have been very bitter. KumaTeddi stole the fish and caught a super rare one: the Coelacanth.

If being a sneaky fish stealer isn’t your idea of a fun game, you can always hold a regular fishing tournament in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Whoever catches the most (or most impressive) fish before their rod breaks, wins.

You can really make anything a game, as evidenced by Twitter user ac_elveira’s clip of two players battling for the clothing shop’s dressing room. Right in front of the red curtains, two players are jockeying for the next turn — and it’s tan hat that prevails, despite white hat’s optimal positioning.

It reminds me of the fun game I like to play when visiting busy islands. As soon as I feel like everyone’s going to leave, I rush to the airport first. No one wants to be the last player off the island — waiting for everyone else to leave and enduring all those airplane cutscenes is absolutely infuriating.

Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch consoles are often sold out, but you can still pick up the handheld-only Switch Lite, which is perfect for portable gaming.

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News

Trainers Can Now Take On Pokémon Go's Paid Genesect Research Challenge

Niantic has made changes to Pokémon Go to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic – including numerous ways to keep people from gathering in one location – and the latest paid challenge reflects this. I’m beginning my quest and I’m having no problem working through the goals from my home.

If players purchase the $7.99 ticket for the Special Research Task “A Drive to Investigate,” they’ll have between now and March 23 at 10 p.m. local time to finish it. Unlike previous tasks, this one is streamlined to feats you can handle from home, including catching element-based Pokémon, playing with your buddy, and battling other trainers (which you can do through the Battle league). To catch the elemental Pokémon, I recommend using incense to create more spawns. A huge supply of incense can be purchased in the store right now for just one gold, and they each last for an hour (opposed to the usual 30 minutes).

You’ll only need to complete four of the five tasks to reach the Genesect encounter, although the fifth task gives you 10 extra Genesect candies. Good luck with the quest, trainers, and have fun!

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