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  1. Merry Christmas to all DoG Members and a Happy New Year From all us here in Upper Leadership

  2. Please list any suggestions you have on items you would like to have available in our store or ideas for great designs.
  3. Welcome to Disciples of Gaming! We are a mature minded community that is not only dedicated to the advancement of clan activity, but also the betterment of the online gaming experience for every gamer. Respect and professionalism is the foundation for every member in Disciples of Gaming and we hope this to be evident in how we interact with each other and people outside of the organization. A standard of excellence and distinct leadership among the abrasive behavior of an internet sub-culture is what we believe in. dis•ci•ple    [dih-sahy-puhl] noun, verb, dis•ci•pled, dis•ci•pling. noun 1.Religion (of gaming). One of the 2000+ philosophical followers of online gaming. The systematic pursuit of community themed entertainment Any other professed follower of Gaming in his/her lifetime. 2. A member of Disciples of Gaming. 3. A person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower: a disciple of DoG Leadership. Community? Although the distinction may seem subtle, Disciples of Gaming identifies itself as a gaming “community” rather than a clan. As a “community” we are less concerned with producing skilled players and maintaining impressive winning streaks, and more focused on cultivating relationships, activity, leadership, and excitement. Although we have a rather large member base, our community is not concerned with being big for the sake of being big (or boasting for that matter). Retention of our membership stems from the enjoyment of other active friendly people to game with, and little to no pressure to perform or produce for a spot in the community. This may seem strange to many outsiders, but we simply are dedicated to giving our members the best, lasting online experience possible. All this being said, Disciples of Gaming is not for everybody. There are many other great clans/communities to get involved with that may better cater to your personal goals or desires from that institution. There will be no discrimination made among potential membership in so far as the individual agrees to abide by the community guidelines. What to do in DoG? Disciples of Gaming breaks down into several sub-communities (which would then be called clans or branches) that function separately from each other. Each branch is lead by a commander that ensures the foundational principals of DoG are being upheld in the body of the community. Branches develop and organize game nights, practices, meetings, leadership classes, and many other events that are available for their members to interact with. Members are not confined to game only with their branch, but this system helps us to organize and place each person within a group to interact with. There are also various other programs to be involved with outside of one’s branch that still fall under the community umbrella. We have teams/groups for video production, graphic design, podcasting, active military members, female gamer, CoD Elite, minecraft forging, and Halo forging. We are always excited to see members express interest in furthering the community in all these areas and greatly appreciate the dedication of their talents. Currently, we have established on two main platforms; Xbox 360 and PC. But we our now soley focused on Xbox One. Our branches are organized in four different games; Halo: Reach(Xbox), Call of Duty Black Ops(Xbox), Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3(Xbox), and Blacklight: Retribution(PC). As new games are released that we are currently established in, our branches transfer over. When that new game releases, we continue to cater to members that may not have the newest game and keep a branch (or branches) in the older game. We are always looking to expand our boundaries across games and platforms, but only do so methodically to ensure success in the expansion. Obviously, members are not limited to one game or platform, we encourage playing other games and have dozens of groups in other games. If you are interested in joining or have any questions, please contact one of our members. You may also email us at membership@disciplesofgaming.com. Our Majors can also assist in potential branch placement. Head Disciple: DoG Ny Stone HD Head Colonel: DoG LE0NIDAS SD Lieutenant Colonels: DoG Hiccups SD DoG Cryo SD Majors: DoG Hehner DL DoG Zxmbie DL nazelnutz DL Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning constant and never-ending improvement. This is our mantra. We strive to be the best online gaming community, and will always strive to improve. We are dedicated to giving our members, and gamers in general, the best online gaming experience! © Disciples of Gaming, 2007 - 2016 Warning: Any unauthorized copying and distribution of the Disciples of Gaming Code of Conduct constitutes copyright infringement under Section 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act and International Treaties. Legal and equitable remedies may be pursued by Disciples of Gaming as a result of such infringements.
  4. Call of Duty Elite is an interesting subject as it's the first service of its kind. Whether it succeeds or fails -- and there have been predictions it'll do both -- is, unfortunately, no indication of whether a comparable service would follow suit as no game has the sort of user base that Call of Duty does. Regardless, while the service is still not at 100 percent, it managed amass four million registrations after only six days, one quarter of which are paying for premium memberships. That's a full one million people who shelled out extra to gain access to Elite's premium perks which include access to all downloadable map packs, Elite TV access, extra storage space for replay videos, daily tournaments where real-life prizes can be won, and more. It comes at a cost of $49.99 per year, although the $100 Hardened Edition of Modern Warfare 3 included a year's worth of access for free. Free members, on the other hand, are restricted to stat tracking, loading customization from outside the game, custom leaderboards, clans, and several other features that are of course also available to paying members. GameStop said last week it was responsible for selling 600,000 Elite subscriptions, a figure that might extend beyond the six-day window Activision referred to today (and may include sales of the Hardened Edition). In any event, it's still a huge amount of additional revenue Activision suddenly has coming in without Elite being available on PC -- and there haven't even been any map packs released for non-premium members to spend money on yet. Elite's launch wasn't especially smooth from a stability standpoint. Users had trouble registering, logging in, and accessing various aspects of the service, problems attributed to demand that exceeded "even [beachhead's] most optimistic expectations." It's been bad enough that the sign-up date to receive Founder status was extended until the end of the month, with everyone who signs up in November getting a free month of Elite. It's been said that things will be fully resumed by December 1; the Elite status page still describes service as being "intermittent." In a separate announcement, Activision corrected a figure it shared last week. It was stated at the time that there were 3.3 million users playing on Live at the same time at one point. That should have instead been 1.4 million -- the 3.3 million number entails the number of people who played Modern Warfare 3 on launch day, November 8, but they weren't all online at the same time. Source: 1Up.com
  5. After months of waiting, Microsoft has finally provided a release date for the upcoming Xbox 360 fall dashboard update: it'll be out on December 6. The free download adds a wide variety of features, including those we first heard about during E3 in June. The redesigned look of the dashboard lets Kinect owners navigate it with either gestures or voice control -- the latter is also one way of using the new search functionality that will allow you to find content on the Xbox Live Marketplace, Zune Marketplace, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. As this is a Microsoft product, search is powered by Bing. Cloud storage for Xbox Live profiles and save games is also being added. The benefit of this is you don't need to worry about any issues with your hard drive costing you that precious Skyrim save. It'll also allow you to recover your Gamertag without going through the very long process that currently entails. Beacons are a new way of broadcasting what you want to play to your friends over Live and on Facebook. This lets you see when other friends start playing something you want to play even if you're busy with something else. Beacons were among the features added to Xbox.com in the update that went earlier this month. There are other new aspects of the dashboard update as well, including enhanced family settings for those with children. Starting on December 6, once the update has gone live, we'll begin to see new entertainment content show up on Live as well. Microsoft announced plans last month to bring content from HBO, Syfy, BBC, Crackle, and more to Live, but we apparently won't see all of it become available at once. Instead, apps for these different providers will progressively be released in the coming months -- hopefully the UFC app will be up quickly as we had been told it could be used to order the UFC 140 pay-per-view taking place on December 10. A beta test of the dashboard update has been ongoing for several weeks now, enabling users to access to many of the new, non-entertainment features the update will bring. The official, full release was rumored to be coming on November 15 and then November 25, either of which seemed possible as these big updates have come during November in the past. The extra wait seems like it should be worth it, although it would be nice if we could get some additional details about what entertainment providers are coming when. Source: 1Up.com
  6. What would be truly surprising to hear one of these days is that a new Call of Duty game won't be coming out the following year. That won't be the case this year as -- to almost literally no one's surprise -- Activision is planning to have a new Call of Duty out in 2012. While everyone's attention is currently directed towards Modern Warfare 3 with it having launched today, development on the next entry in the series is no doubt well underway. Its existence was confirmed during an investors conference call today as CEO Bobby Kotick stated both it and two Blizzard games will be out next year. With the pattern we've seen in the past, 2012's Call of Duty is likely to be in development at Treyarch. The Black Ops developer has alternated Call of Duty entries with Infinity Ward for years now, having developed Call of Duty 3 in 2006, World at War in 2008, and Black Ops in 2010. In 2009 it also released a Wii version of Infinity Ward title Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare known as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex. This year it handled the Wii version of Modern Warfare 3. There had been plans for Sledgehammer Games to develop an action/adventure Call of Duty game (in the framework of an FPS, naturally), although with its efforts having recently been spent supporting Infinity Ward on Modern Warfare 3, it's now less likely to ever come to fruition. Call of Duty 3 and World at War were each set in World War II, while Black Ops jumped ahead to the Cold War. What time period do you think the next game could cover? Will it finally be set in space, or is the moon setting for a Black Ops Zombies map as far as that will go for now? Source: 1Up.com
  7. Max Payne 3 will at long last be out next year, and coming with it is a Special Edition that devoted fans of the series can drop some extra cash on. The biggest component of it is a TriForce-created, 10-inch statue of Max Payne with his pistols drawn. Joining that are a pair of art prints showing Max's vices -- pills and bullets, namely. You also get a bullet keychain, the soundtrack for the game, and some in-game content in the form of two DLC packs. The first of the two is the Classic Multiplayer Character Pack, which consists of eight playable characters (including the likes of Mona Sax and Vladimir Lem). There's also the Disorderly Conduct Multiplayer Weapons Pack, which grants access to several weapons: the Molotov roostertail, G9 grenade launcher, and Hammerhead auto shotgun. Both of these packs, according to today's announcement, can't be found anywhere else. This all comes at a cost, although in the age of frequent $150 collector's editions, it's somewhat more palatable -- this special edition will run you $99.99 on all platforms. The catch is this sounds like it'll actually be a limited edition -- the image above notes it's only available "while supplies last," as well as the fact that you'll have to pre-order by January 15 to be guaranteed one. With the game not due out until March that may be sooner than some hoped to be shelling out any money for it, but the talk of it being limited should be enough to encourage diehard fans to take the plunge right away. Source: 1Up.com
  8. Even though rumors it would happen had been circulating for quite some time, last month's announcement that Mass Effect 3 includes multiplayer came as a shock to many -- and an unpleasant one at that for diehard single-player fans. According to Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson, multiplayer hasn't been added because of some Electronic Arts mandate; the idea has always been around and the right opportunity finally presented itself. Speaking about the genesis of multiplayer, Hudson pointed out that games are increasingly becoming more social- and online-centric, but BioWare has "been trying to find a way ever since Mass Effect 1 to integrate some kind of multiplayer." There was an outpouring of negativity from single-player purists when the multiplayer announcement was made. Some of the most common complaints are that its inclusion will compromise the quality of the single-player campaign and those who want to only play single-player are having multiplayer forced upon them. While multiplayer can affect the outcome of the single-player story, it's a purely optional feature. Those who wish to go about fighting the Reapers and saving the galaxy on their own are more than welcome to -- they won't be locked out of the most ideal ending possible just because they don't want to team up with other players online. Hudson said before it debuted as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2007, there was some consideration given to making the entirety of Mass Effect a cooperative experience. When it became clear it would compromise the ability to create the sort of single-player BioWare is known for, the idea was dropped. "In those early days we were trying to figure out what kind of a game it was going to be, and were thinking of ways that maybe the whole story experience might revolve around a co-op [structure]," Hudson explained. "That, instead of there being just one Commander Shepard, he's in fact kind of lots of different heroes that can jump in, meet each other and interact. And by embarking upon that route we realized there was just a lot of things we simply couldn't do, or had to compromise when ensuring the solo experience was as great as we wanted it to be, so we dropped that idea and proceeded to perfect single-player, to make it really solid." The idea returned when it came time to make Mass Effect 2 and, again, didn't pan out. "Then, with ME2 we revisited the idea, deliberating whether you could perhaps take control of one of the other characters for a while, but -- again -- there were a lot of factors that would have compromised the single-player story." Now with Mass Effect 3 being centered around a massive intergalactic war, the opportunity to implement multiplayer actually makes sense within the context of the story. "So Shepard is still the hero, making the big decisions, deciding what's going to happen with the universe and building alliances, but now there's armies all over the place, fighting to just hang onto different locations," Hudson said. "That provided us with a different idea; now in multiplayer you can play as that crew of special forces, journeying around and helping Shepard with the war effort." Hudson went on to note he would personally like to see a Mass Effect MMO, a subject he had previously broached by stating, "A lot of people say that they want to see [a Mass Effect] MMO, I think that kind of makes sense for this universe." It seems appropriate to point out that he also talked about how "multiplayer is something we want to do more of in the future as a company" at the time, months before multiplayer was confirmed in Mass Effect 3. Without completely shooting down the possibility -- he said "anything's possible" and that BioWare would see what fans want -- Hudson referred to the addition of typical player-versus-player multiplayer modes (deathmatch, CTF, etc.) through DLC as "the most trivial, tacked on thing that we could do" because they would fail to continue building the world of Mass Effect. It seems as if BioWare is trying its best to fit multiplayer into the game in such a way that it doesn't feel tacked-on. There has been a great deal of criticism leveled at formerly single-player series adding multiplayer when there was not a great deal of clamoring for it. Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford discussed this very topic earlier in the year year, naming Dead Space 2 as a prime example. "Let's forget about what the actual promise of a game is and whether it's suited to a narrative or competitive experience," Pitchford said. "Take that off the table for a minute and just think about the concept-free feature list: campaign, co-op, how many players? How many guns? How long is the campaign? "When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture. And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer. You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can't be forced. That's the problem." Hudson's comments seem to fit the criteria Pitchford spoke about. Whether the Galaxy at War multiplayer mode actually turns out to be a fun and worthwhile addition, however, is a different matter entirely. Source: 1Up.com
  9. Admin

    Metal Gear Solid 5 Details Soon

    It has been nearly three and a half years since Metal Gear Solid 4 was released. There has been surprisingly little talk about a sequel given how much time has passed and since then the only real MGS releases we've seen have been Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and last week's Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Later this month, series creator Hideo Kojima will discuss the subject many fans have been waiting to hear about: Metal Gear Solid 5. Official PlayStation Magazine U.K. has teased an issue it has coming at the end of the month. Inside is an interview with Kojima where he is said to open up on the future of the MGS series including "the latest Rising and Metal Gear Solid 5 details." It's impossible to say just how much he'll divulge; whatever the case may be, it isn't the first time the subject will have come up. Speaking with 1UP after the release of MGS4 in 2008, Kojima said he was interested in working on something new rather than the next MGS. MGS5 could then be delegated to his young staff which he noted he had "really high expectations" for. "I have three concepts for MGS5 already," he admitted. "What would be ideal for me with MGS5, though, is that we don't do those. If the team picks one of those concepts, I have to get involved again, which I don't want to do. "There are already so many good ideas from the staff, so if we select one of those, that would be really good. At that point I could really rely on them and take the step back to be the producer, which is the ideal situation, I think." Also in 2008, Kojima Productions assistant producer Ryan Payton said MGS5 could take the form of a prequel. "I'm happy we could wrap up Snake's story in MGS4," Payton stated, "because it gets to the point where if we continue on with Metal Gear Solid 5 with more Solid Snake adventures, we'll get to the point where the game has absolutely no basis in reality. I do like the idea that this character has had four or five big missions and then that's when it ended, rather than have 20 missions where there's no chance in hell a secret agent could ever survive. He's had four or five really big missions, and that seems a little more realistic to me." As for the details OPM promised regarding Rising, we do know the game will be showing up at this year's Spike TV Video Game Awards in December. Meanwhile messages on Twitter have indicated producer Shigenobu Matsuyama has been replaced by Yuji Korekado. Kojima Productions producer Kenichiro Imaizumi tweeted this week that Matsuyama has moved to a different division. This statement came after Kojima referred to Korekado as the game's main producer, a role previously occupied by Matsuyama. As it's been some time since we last heard from Rising, which was first announced at E3 2009, it's possible it could be a good deal different from what we've seen previously. Between the OPM details and the VGAs being set for December 10, it won't be much longer before we're able to see for ourselves. Source: 1Up.com
  10. The launch of Call of Duty Elite has not gone as smoothly as anyone hoped. Unfortunate as that might be for both Activision and the fans who paid for access, that doesn't mean sales have not been strong thus far, as evidenced by numbers GameStop shared today. "In the case of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, we worked closely with Activision, Sony and Microsoft to pre-order and deliver nearly 600,000 instances of the Modern Warfare Elite DLC to date," said GameStop president Tony Bartel during a conference call today, Gamasutra reports. "This places the launch of Elite as one of our top 10 launches of the year so far." Considering that 600,000 may not include Hardened Editions sold by GameStop (the $100 version of the game includes a free year of Elite) and definitely doesn't include those sold elsewhere or through either PSN or Xbox Live, that's already a great deal of money Activision is bringing in. Elite is both a free and subscription-based service launched alongside Modern Warfare 3 last week. Free users are able to track their stats and compare them with friends, create custom leaderboards, analyze heat maps and weapon performance, join groups, create clans, and more. Subscribers who pay $49.99 per year get access to all of the game's downloadable map packs, extra storage for replay videos, access to daily tournaments (where they can win real-world prizes), Elite TV, and more. As noted above, Elite hasn't been off to the hottest of starts. While improvements have been made over the past week, players have had trouble logging in, registering, and using many aspects of the service. To make up for the issues, the deadline for receiving Founder status was extended until the end of the month. Those who sign up this month will also get a free month added onto the 12 months they paid for. In addition to the sales success Elite has enjoyed so far, Modern Warfare 3 continues to break sales records. After selling 6.5 million units and generating $400 million on its first day in the United States and United Kingdom, Activision announced today it's set even more records. This includes a new five-day worldwide sell-through record of over $775 million, topping the $650 million Black Ops did over the same stretch last year and Modern Warfare 2's $550 million the year before that. "With $775 million of sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in its first five days, Call of Duty has become the first entertainment property in history to set five-day launch records for three consecutive years across all forms of entertainment," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. "Life-to-date retail sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded $6 billion worldwide, which makes Call of Duty one of the most valuable entertainment properties in the world." Activision also shared a pair of new Xbox Live records the game has set. More than 7 million multiplayer hours were played by the end of November 8, the game the day launched -- an increase of 19 percent over Black Ops' 5.9 million hours. 3.3 million people played the game on its first day, up from Black Ops' 2.6 million. That 3.3 million was also good enough to set a concurrent players record on Xbox Live. Source: 1Up.com
  11. Despite a tweet sent out suggesting otherwise, Call of Duty Elite is still coming to PC -- we just don't know when. The service's first week has hardly been what Activision, Beachhead, and all the rest involved with its creation could have been hoping for. Overwhelming demand resulted in a variety of issues as users found themselves unable to register, log in, or access some of the Founder perks they paid for. To make up for the mess, paying members (including anyone who signs up by the end of the month) will get an additional month of access to Elite on top of the year they paid $49.99 for. Those members are exclusively console players right now, however, as Elite has yet to be made available on PC. Due to issues with working on an open platform, the PC version of Elite was delayed until sometime after the game's launch. Today it began to look as if PC gamers might not have a chance to ever try it out. "We are working towards a universal Elite experience but we cannot guarantee if or when a version will be available for the PC," read a tweet sent out earlier today by the Call of Duty Elite account.That suddenly opened the possibility of a PC launch never happening. Since then, some clarification was posted on Twitter stating, "We misspoke. Our goal has always been to provide a free PC offering for ELITE. Stay tuned for an update as timing is still being determined." Meanwhile, the existing Elite experience is still far from ideal. The mobile versions remain on hold and the console apps have been deliberately limited while Beachhead gets the service's basic functionality in working order. Progress is being made, as an update on the Elite status page (where the service continues to be labeled as "intermittent") indicates at least one problem (regarding age restrictions) has been resolved. Founders -- anyone who signs up for the premium service by the end of the month -- now have a way to check on their bonuses by looking for a green skull icon next to their gamer ID on the Elite website. The title, emblem, and double XP promised to them should all be available now. "For those of you who have logged into ELITE, we've improved the stability for both the console app and website and while neither is yet working at 100%, you should be seeing the results of that work," reads today's update. "We are also still working very hard to increase the number of users who can access the service simultaneously, and over the next few days, we will be working to increase the functionality of groups and clans in the Connect section. We've made good progress, but we realize there's still hard work to be done so that every player can access Call of Duty ELITE whenever they want." The mobile versions of Elite will remain on hold for the time being. A tweet explains, "We plan to release the iOS/Android apps when we're confident the service will be able to handle the extra traffic. Stay tuned." Source: 1Up.com
  12. Platform: Xbox 360 Release Date: November 30, 2011 Assassin's Creed Revelations presents the most immersive experience available in the series to date and the culmination of Ezio's adventure. In Assassin's Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altair, on a journey of discovery and revelations. It is a perilous path - one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region. In addition to Ezio's award-winning story, the acclaimed online multiplayer experience from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood returns, refined and expanded, with more modes, more maps and more characters that allow players to test their assassin skills against others from around the world.
  13. Platform: Xbox 360 Release Date: December 31, 2011 Created by the award-winning team behind Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter® and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter® 2, the game will feature cutting-edge technology, prototype high-tech weaponry, and state-of-the-art single-player and multiplayer modes. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will go beyond the core Ghost Recon franchise and deliver a fresh gameplay experience, with an unparalleled level of quality that will excite long-time fans and newcomers alike.
  14. In a culture where so many games offer single player campaigns lasting paltry sums of hours, taking on a game like Skyrim is at once a breath of fresh air and an almost-paralyzingly-huge venture. There is so much to do here that you can spend a whole evening in the game and end up finishing one quest and starting 13 other ancillary ones just by virtue of speaking with people and traveling from place to place on foot. No, I am not exaggerating; this actually happened to me. And I loved every minute of it. So if you are willing to stick with me for a while (as this is likely my longest review I’ve written to date), I would love to tell you some stories, share some experiences, and hopefully convince those of you on the fence that this game is worthy of being on your shelf for a long time. I will not go too deeply into the story to avoid spoilers, but I want to frame the conversation a bit, and in order to do that I do need to explain a few salient points. Skyrim is, of course, set in the universe of The Elder Scrolls, but is not a direct-storyline sequel to Oblivion (however I think it still justifies making comparisons between the two, given that it’s the same developer creating a new story in an established universe). It is set a couple of hundred years after the events of Oblivion, and involves a civil war of sorts in the Nord people, native to Skyrim. The two factions of the conflict are the rebels (called the Stormcloaks) who want Skyrim to secede from the Empire and govern itself independently, and those Imperial-loyal Nords who wish for Skyrim to remain under the Empire’s control. This conflict began when the leader of the Stormcloaks assassinated the King of Skyrim. The beginning of the game puts the player in control of a nameless criminal in the back of a cart with other criminals who are all accused of being collaborators with the Stormcloaks, on their way to execution. I will not spoil what happens next, but suffice it to say the game starts off with a very high-intensity scenario. The noble Redguard hero. Once you find yourself in control of things and in the world proper, you will likely do what I and many others will be tempted to do - go find the highest mountain, climb up it, and look around to see the world that Bethesda has created here. I gave in to the temptation myself, and found myself many hours and side-quests into the game before I had to force myself to start the main quest story-line missions for the purposes of the review. As I am sure you have surmised if you have looked at screenshots or videos, this is a very beautiful game. The draw distance is superb. As Todd Howard has said before in interviews, if you see a mountain or location in the distance, you can get there, and you won’t experience any loading whatsoever in walking from point A to point B (unless you are trying to enter a building or cave, of course). It’s stunning. Now, a world this huge isn’t possible with a couple of foibles along the way, so I want to point those out so you can adequately temper your expectations when you boot this game up for the first time. I installed the game to my hard drive to help with the loading/caching of textures and such, but even with that there is texture pop-in to be found occasionally. It’s hardly something worth taking points off for, but it is there. One odd thing that I have found in working through the landscape is that some textures are very well detailed, while others seem to look a bit blurry. You will notice this if you come face-to-face with a cow at a farm outside a town in the game. You walk right up to the cow and it’s kind of a blurry mess. Again, with a game this huge and without pausing every so often to load things, I am more than happy to accept a blurry texture here and there for the greater good of a seamless world that, as I said before, is as beautiful as this. Welcome to Riften - clutch that coin purse tightly. The landscapes that make up Skyrim and its towns are incredibly varied. No town feels the same as any other, and you can tell what area of the world you are in just by the look of it, if you’re familiar with the map in general. I’m not just talking about having a “snowy land” and “not-snowy land” either. There are sweeping plains, rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, lush forests with roaring (or babbling) rivers running throughout, rocky crag-filled vistas, port-side villages... Then even within each of those areas, the architecture of the different towns’ buildings varies as well, so one snow-swept town to the north will not look the same as the other one just slightly to the west. The effort that has gone into making sure nothing looks copied/pasted is very evident here. This is even true in the various dungeons all around Skyrim - there is a large amount of diversity in your surroundings even underground. Whether you’re walking through a Nord hall of the dead, a ruined Dwemer maze, or a snow-filled cave full of bandits, you have a vastly different experience almost every time you venture into a dungeon. Factions play a huge role in the universe of The Elder Scrolls, and Skyrim is no exception. You have the ability to join either the Imperial Legion (the aforementioned sect of Imperial-loyal Nords), or the Stormcloaks (the rebellious faction), or both, which I chose to do initially. You also have the ability to join other more minor factions such as the Mages or Thieves Guild, or the Dark Brotherhood. There are more, but again - for the sake of spoilers - I do not want to list them all out for you here. The storylines for these minor factions are much more complex and involved than when they were in Oblivion. When I was in Riften, getting to know the Thieves Guild and joining their ranks, initially I was repulsed by the storyline and how they had a firm grip on the people of Riften. It was a story of desolation and the giving-up of all hope. And yet as I progressed, the writing of this narrative so pulled at my heart that the arc became one of my favorites that I have encountered thus far. In this way the writing of the storylines is vastly improved over Oblivion. Joining the Thieves Guild in that game simply consisted of a bunch of larceny-based missions thinly veiled in a banal narrative that really did nothing for me. Every mission was “go here, steal something, come back. Here’s your reward.” This is definitely not the case in Skyrim. And don’t get me started on the way you get initiated into the Dark Brotherhood... Again, kudos to the writing team for Skyrim - your efforts have been showcased clearly, with great positive effect. Activated Guardian Stone How you choose to navigate Skyrim is largely up to you. Of course, fast-travel is still an option, but thankfully it’s still only made available to you once you have already discovered the location yourself once. So how do you get to that marker all the way across the map for your next quest then? Well you’ve got three main options - walk there, ride a horse there, or take a wagon there. Wagons are parked at the main cities in each part of the map, and offer you a ride to any of the other main hubs in the world for a pittance. The only catch is when you jump in the cart, it starts off, and then loads the area that you indicated - it’s basically like fast-travel, in that you’re “teleported” to the new area without having discovered any of the caves, outposts, farms and other small places of interest along the way. I prefer traveling with either my own legs or the legs of my horse, as I get to enjoy the amazing scenery along the way and also discover areas that I might not have ever seen otherwise. By doing this I came into an encounter rather early on with a giant and his pet woolly mammoths. I will not spoil anything for you by describing the happenings in great detail, so I will sum it up in this way: It didn’t end well for me, and that bad ending came very, very quickly. At this point I still have yet to down a giant, but that is not for lack of trying. They are not impossible to beat though; I just have not had the time to really focus on that. It’s on my list though, that’s for sure. The way you pick your character and the way you level up as you go has changed for the better, in my opinion. Gone are the needs to pick major skills and things of that nature. You pick your race, customize your appearance and you are good to go. Your race choice will determine some special attributes though, so it’s not like every time you start you are the same person as everyone else. From there, you have a myriad of skills accessible from your menu, where you can track your progress in specific areas. A welcome feature from my perspective is the fact that you don’t have to divvy up points in skills as you go. Typically speaking, using those skills is the way to improve them, however you can also receive training for them from characters that you meet throughout your time in Skyrim. One example of using a skill and improving it is with lock-picking. You don’t just make progress in the lock-picking skill by successfully opening chests and doors; even failed attempts garner some advancement. This makes complete sense to me, as it is through failure as well as success that we can learn how to improve our techniques. You learn from your mistakes. Oh look, a dragon. I think he wants a hug! As you increase in progression through the individual skills, you will as a result gain a level, allowing two important things to happen. First off, you decide what you want the level to raise - your health, magicka or stamina. Each level gives you the ability to increase one of those attributes by ten points. If you want to make your character able to carry many items at the same time, I would recommend you spend the first few levels increasing stamina, as that is what gives you greater carrying capacity. Secondly you are given the ability to select a perk relevant to any of your skills, as long as that skill has a high enough level to unlock the perk. This is really where you are able to hone your character’s skill-set. By hitting B to open the menu, and hitting up on the left stick, you will be taken to a constellation map, with each skill having its own constellation that you can progress through, unlocking perks as you go. I was very impressed by this system, but initially I made a mistake as I started to develop my character. I was spreading my points across so many skills that I realized if I kept doing that I’d be a jack of all trades but a master of none. Basically, everything would have low-level perks unlocked and that’s it. So my recommendation to you is to really spend some time taking a look at those perk constellations, pick out a handful of the ones you absolutely can’t live without, and work on upgrading those first. You don’t have to use the perk every time you level up, so you can stock-pile them until the skill advances to the point that you can unlock what you want to unlock. This is beneficial since you can immediately gain the advancement in health, stamina or magicka without having to wait on the one perk you really want to unlock. One specific skill I want to point out is the Smithing skill, since it is newcomer in Skyrim. Gone are your needs to repair your weapons and armor with little repair hammers. Your weapons no longer degrade in that way, which I found very beneficial, but you do have the ability to refine existing weapons and armor, or even create them from scratch! This all takes place at some different smithing areas - the grinding wheel, furnace, leather tanning station and hammer table. Refining the armor will increase its defensive abilities slightly, and doing the same to your weaponry will yield increases in attack statistics. You use various metal ingots that you find throughout your travels in order to do these upgrades. When you create your own weapons and armor, the menu will tell you which ingredients you need for each inventory item. For instance, to create a banded iron shield, you need some leather, leather strips and iron ingot. First, to create the leather you take a pelt from an animal that you killed and stretch it up on the leather tanning station to create pieces of raw leather. Then you take a couple of those pieces of raw leather and cut them into leather strips at the same location. Finally you head to the furnace, melt down the iron ingot and combine it with the leather and leather strips to give you the resulting banded shield. It’s a system that works incredibly well, and one that I used a lot, and will continue to do so as I increase my smithing skills, which enable me to create finer pieces of work. Is there where I get to make a "Come at me, bro!" joke? Oh, no? Ok then, carry on... The inventory screen is very well laid-out and makes accessing all of your essential (and non-essential) inventory a snap. By hitting the B button you bring up a menu, giving you the option of pushing to the left to look at your spells, pushing right to view your weapons and items, and pushing up to look at your skill constellations. Every item, weapon, armor, and ingredient can be rotated and zoomed to take a look at a detailed model of the item in question. You can also set anything up as a “favorite,” which means that you can hit the up arrow on the control pad to bring up a quick-reference list of your favorites for easy equipping. Earlier I mentioned lock-picking, and I want to spend a moment discussing that here. The lock-picking in Skyrim has taken a page from Fallout 3’s book: gone are the individual tumblers that need to be engaged before the lock will open for you. Now you insert the lockpick in the slot, rotate it left or right with the left stick, listening for audio cues to let you know that the tumblers have been fixed in place. Then you rotate the lock itself with the right stick, hoping that you have the right position in place and risking the breaking of the lockpick if not. I vastly prefer this method - it worked well in Fallout with the bobby pins, and it works well in this environment as well. The combat mechanics in the game are great. You are given many ways to accomplish the destruction of your foes as you see fit. You can have a shield in one hand and a one-handed weapon (sword, mace, axe) in the other, or dual wield two one-handed weapons. You could choose to utilize a two-handed weapon like a greatsword or war hammer. You can even put magic in one hand and a one-handed weapon in the other. I was rather happy to see that you can also put a torch in one hand while still carrying a one-handed weapon in the other. One note for those of you who want to run around with dual Orcish Swords though: if you have a configuration like this (including magic in one hand and a weapon in the other), you forfeit your ability to block. So you will need to take a defensive stance as you enter combat in these instances. Hmm. I think you've made him angry. As a whole, the combat itself feels a bit more visceral in Skyrim as opposed to its predecessors. Powerful strikes, which are executed by holding the trigger of the weapon you want to swing, will stagger an unblocked opponent. Direct hits to a vital area will result in a bit of bleeding out, causing extra damage to the foe. Occasionally you also are rewarded with a finishing move animation which is a nice break from the action, pulled back into the third-person to see your hero driving his or her implement of death into the gut of the victim. All in all there is a greater feeling of impact in the combat. You still will sometimes feel as though your sword stroke should have caused your enemy to stagger back, but it is not so much that you are removed from the experience as a result. However, combat isn’t simply about just suiting up with your biggest sword and heavy armor and running into a catacomb like Leeroy Jenkins, slashing at everything in sight. There are plenty of tools at your disposal to enable a stealth-focused style of play. From light armor that makes less noise when skulking through the shadows to potions of extended visibility to poison-enchanted daggers, you can make a huge impact without making a huge sound. I personally tend to play in more of a Vlad the Impaler style than an assassin of the dark, but I was able to experience some of that methodology and I was impressed with what I saw. Finally, working away from any bladed or blunt weaponry we come to magic. Spells are learned by buying or finding spell tomes, which are books that teach you their abilities. The magic spells are equipped in much the same way as weaponry. I was impressed to learn that I was able to dual-wield spells as well, even including the same spell. Putting the flame spell in each hand and pulling both triggers resulted in a satisfying flame-throwing maelstrom that was a force to be reckoned with. In addition to your standard spells, you also have Shouts. Shouts are an ability that you unlock when two things happen. First you must learn the word by finding it in old inscriptions at various places throughout the world, and then you must kill a dragon and absorb its soul in order to unlock the power of the Shout. There are a few other ways to unlock a shout that you have learned, but I don’t want to spoil to storyline behind those differing methods. Some of the first Shouts you will learn include what I can only think of describing as a “force-push,” knocking your enemies back (and off a cliff if you find yourself in such an advantageous position), and also a quick sprinting ability that enables you to traverse a short distance in a very small amount of time. These Shouts are unique additions to the lore of The Elder Scrolls series, and they are not equipped in a hand like other weapons and spells. You select whatever Shout you want as your currently-active one, and then you use it by hitting the right bumper. See what I mean about the stunning environments? Combat with dragons is a completely different beast in and of itself (no pun intended), since you will likely favor your ranged weapons of arrows and magic in order to inflict damage upon the winged behemoths. In my first experience fighting a dragon, I can only use one adjective, which is unfortunately so over-used these days that it’s almost lost its meaning: EPIC. There is no other encounter in the game that feels like a dragon fight does. I was afraid for my character’s well-being, while also being in awe of the events unfolding before me. I was praying that the dragon would focus on one or more of the NPCs aiding me in this fight, so I could zero in with my arrows. When one found its mark on the hide of the beast, and it turned its attention to me, rushing into the air with a mighty movement of its huge wings, my heart almost skipped a beat to see it making a direct intercept course towards my location. I quickly jumped into my inventory and equipped a sword and shield. The dragon landed right in front of me and spat forth a fire column directly at me. I raised my shield, marveling at the way the fire licked at my shield, curling up around the edges. I had two choices - run towards the hellacious monster swinging my sword, or retreat for a tactical advantage and break out the bow and arrows once again... By the time the fight was finished and the dragon was slain I finally realized that I was gripping the controller just a bit tighter than when I’d begun, and my pulse was racing. It was an amazing experience. The player and NPC/enemy animations have improved over what was offered in Oblivion, but there is still something of a bit of stiffness or rigidity in the movements. Perhaps this is inevitable given the engine that the game is running on, but it is there nonetheless. Just like some of my other nit-picks described above, however, in the grand scheme of things these are terribly minor and not enough to really ding game in any real tangible way. Besides, one place that these animations really shine is in the 3rd-person perspective. The running and strafing animations look solid, and finally we have a jump animation that isn’t just “raise legs at the knee and push the player model into the air.” While I would hesitate to say that they got it to the level of Gears of War, it is definitely more playable than previous installments of this franchise. Man, I just want to go there and lay down. There is so much more to this game than what I have written on this page and the ones preceding it but I am of the opinion that not one review will be able to cover all of it in one fell swoop; and in a similar vein you likely will not experience all of the game in one play-through. So let me close things out by saying this: It pained me to sit down and write this review, knowing that it meant any time I spent doing so was time not spent playing the game. If you liked Oblivion, you should love Skyrim. I can say this with almost-absolute certainty. What Bethesda did right here, they did exceptionally so. Where there was the occasional miss, it was nothing more than a fleeting quirk or slight distraction that never served to really pull me out of the engaging experiences I found myself in. Skyrim is an immensely fun game to play, and in my opinion that is the premier criteria on which a game should be judged. This is easily one of the best RPGs to come out in this generation of consoles. You must own this game. Source: Teamxbox.com
  15. Four years ago, Activision created the world’s largest video game franchise with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Yes, there had been Call of Duty games before that and yes, they had done respectably. But Modern Warfare turned those games into a mega franchise of ever-increasing popularity with the polished scripting, cinematic set pieces, and unmatched intensity of its single-player campaign and a tight, competitive multiplayer mode. Love it or hate it, Modern Warfare turned the series into a juggernaut. With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, co-developers Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games jump back into the formula they created, bringing us another polished experience that one expects out of the Modern Warfare brand. The single player campaign picks off immediately after Modern Warfare 2, throwing Captain Price and his disavowed unit back into the action as they must stop the global war that Russian ultra-nationalist Vladimir Makarov put into action with the first Modern Warfare game. Like its predecessors, Modern Warfare 3’s campaign is all about its set pieces and scripting. As you jump back and forth between two squads of soldiers and visit various locales around the world, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer’s tight scripting will guide you to where they want you to go, and show you what you want to see. The gameplay is simple in that it points you at an enemy, and you alternate between taking cover and firing until the enemy is dead, and then repeating the process. But for its simplicity, the gameplay also feels responsive and tight, and the developers know how to keep players on their toes, making it a joy to play. The level of excitement never wears off through any portion of the campaign as you’re thrust into dangerous situations, pushing through hostile warzones, or encountering the game’s cinematic set pieces. While perhaps none of the situations you encounter are quite as memorable as the nuclear explosion from Modern Warfare 1 or the No Russian sequence from Modern Warfare 2, this game constantly throws enough at you that you’ll never find the action lacking. From holding off enemy helicopters over the New York skyline to watching a spectacular plane hijacking and crash sequence from the first person, Modern Warfare 3 gives an exciting spectacle that keeps the player engaged throughout the 7 hour campaign. Scenes like a battle at the feet of the Eiffel Tower provides great set pieces. Unfortunately, after multiple titles following the same formula, aspects of Modern Warfare 3 have begun to show their age. Levels may start to seem like they’re dredging through previous experiences, sending you on yet another mission through a village or once again putting the player in the sky as they rain down destruction with the power of a AC-130. To their credit, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer do a great job distracting the player from the “been here, done this” problem of repeated corridor gameplay with its usage of cinematic set pieces and a constant flow of enemies, but Modern Warfare 3 begins to show that even throwing an near endless wave of enemies at the player can no longer fully mask the fact that the gameplay hasn’t changed in over 4 years. The game’s narrative also becomes a bit muddled as it jumps around three different games and hinges on plot points and devices that require a suspension of disbelief and don’t hold up to heavy scrutiny. Likewise, the game also attempts to throw some emotional moments at the player, but with every character having the flat, unremarkable personality of being a military man dedicated to getting the job done under any circumstances, some of the emotional moments just don’t have the impact that was intended Making its return from Modern Warfare 2 is the Special Ops mode, which acts as the game’s cooperative mode, although it is certainly possible to play alone in addition to either the splitscreen or online coop. This section is divided into two different portions, Survival Mode and the Spec Ops missions, and share a levelling and experience system between the two that unlocks additional missions as you progress. The Survival Mode is akin to the Horde mode made popular in Gears of War. You’re placed on one of the game’s 16 multiplayer maps either by yourself or with a buddy, and tasked with surviving against an endless wave of enemies. While the difficulty of the enemies varies on the tier of maps – you may be fighting against standard soldiers, chemical attacks, choppers or Juggernauts – the enemies also grow in number, strength and power throughout each wave, presenting a constant challenge. Each kill you make presents you with both cash that can be used to purchase new weapons, ammo or abilities from the game’s store and with experience used to level up in the cooperative section to unlock additional maps for cooperative play and new weapons and items in the store. The mode itself isn’t an innovation but instead takes the horde-style gameplay and coats it with its own level of polish to create an exhilarating experience that has plenty to offer players. The other coop mode is the return of the Spec Ops missions, which place you in a total of 16 different scenarios. While most of these missions are composed using single-player assets, their connection to the campaign itself is often tangible at best, offering more of a stand-alone experience. Players can engage in tasks such as infiltrating a nuclear submarine to prevent a meltdown, hijacking the Russian president’s jet, or using a Juggernaut suit to disarm explosives under the cover of drone strikes and sniper fire. Like the campaign, these missions are well polished and focus on making sure you’re always kept busy and the level progression helps ensure that the coop never feels like an add-on but a full experience in its own right. Of course, the real draw for many gamers won’t be the single-player or cooperative modes, but the multiplayer. With the success of the multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, the developers have opted not to overhaul the game, but improve the experience, polishing the core gameplay that focuses on fast, close quarter infantry warfare. Modern Warfare includes 16 brand new multiplayer maps that have a strong focus on the frantic gameplay that the series has been built upon. Where the changes really come in are through the new modes and systems that have been implemented into the game. The first and most noticeable change is the tweaking of the Killstreak system, which gave the players the ability to use rewards of increasing strength as they garnered consecutive kills without dying. In MW3, this system has been reworked into a Strike Package system which works on the same basic principle, but offers deeper customization to tailor to your playing style. There are three different packages, Assault, Support and Specialist, and each offers at least 12 different abilities that can be unlocked through achieving the associated kill count, with players being able to select 3 for usage on the field. The Assault Package works much like the Killstreak in Modern Warfare, rewarding those able to kill without dying with a variety of attack oriented packages, such as AC130 attacks, attack helicopters, and calling down Juggernauts. The Support package offers a different take by tracking your kills regardless of whether or not you die, making it easier to access your various Strike Package points. The contents of this package are designed to help your teammates instead of calling down destructive rewards and offers abilities such as an EMP strike, SAM turrets to fire at enemy aircraft summoned by Strike Packages, or advanced UAVs. The third and final package, Specialist, rewards your kills in the form of Perks that can be tailored to boost your abilities and strengths, giving your soldier a physical edge on the battlefield. The concept behind Killstreaks and Strike Packages is the same, but the added customization and rewards for players who aren’t capable of racking up 10 kills without dying make Strike Packages a far superior experience that helps keep the gameplay fresh. The competitive gameplay is as frantic as ever. The game’s multiplayer modes have also had some noticeable changes to help differentiate them from its predecessors. While all the basic gameplay modes have returned, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer have thrown two new modes into the mix -- Team Defender and Kill Confirmed. Team Defender hands out points by tasking players with the job of capturing a flag and staying alive for as long as possible while holding it. The Kill Confirmed mode follows the basic Deathmatch rule in that you’re simply tasked with shooting down the enemy players. However, the catch is that downed players drop a dog tag, and players are not awarded for kills unless they grab these dog tags. Tags of downed players can also be picked up by their own team in an effort to deny kills to their enemies, giving the mode a bit of a cooperative element not usually seen in the Call of Duty games, as players going for a dog tag may need additional cover from their allies, while teams can opt to use the tags as their own fallen members as methods of luring their enemies into an ambush. Neither mode revolutionizes the game, but both offer a pleasant change from the standard gameplay modes that should make them an attractive choice for gamers looking for a change of pace. The final big addition to the series is the inclusion of leveling for nearly every aspect of the game. Call of Duty players are used to leveling for their overall performances, but Modern Warfare 3 goes further and includes progression for nearly everything under the sun. Each weapon has its own levels, and usage of the weapon awards weapon-specific experience points used to level it up and unlock additional attachments and skins. Weapon Proficiencies, which act as Perks for guns, can also be unlocked and added to your character. Combined with challenges, Perks, and an increase in Prestige levels, Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer has a huge amount of customization and replayability. Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t contain much in the way of innovation or freedom, and it isn’t perfect. You’re still playing through the game with the invisible hand of Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games to push you along, and the gameplay hasn’t changed much from the past two iterations of the series. To its credit is the fact that it doesn't need to. The recent Call of Duty games were built upon creating a polished cinematic experience full of unforgettable set pieces, and Modern Warfare 3 delivers this. The multiplayer is the strongest it has ever been, and the coop mode has been expanded from an addition to a full-fledged mode. Modern Warfare 3 won’t blow away anyone looking for anything new, but it will deliver enough thrills and quality to keep players engaged and coming back for more. Source: Teamxbox.com
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