Earlier this month, Red Dead Online received a big update which added new career paths to follow, new items to collect and new challenges to complete. One career players could choose was the life of a bounty hunter and to support this path, Rockstar has been releasing some wonderful bounty hunter missions. It’s the sort of content RDO needs.
When the big update first hit players who got their bounty hunter license could find randomly generated bounty targets in various towns. These missions were fairly simple but fun. They usually involved the player and their posse riding into a camp, killing some folks and taking the target.
But the Legendary Bounties are more cinematic and are instead handcrafted by Rockstar designers and as a result, feel bigger and more interesting.
A trailer featuring The Wolf Man and other Legendary targets.
The lastest Legendary Bounty target is called The Wolf Man and he’s hiding in in the snowy mountains located in the northern region of the map. Unlike the other bounty targets, The Wolf Man doesn’t have human bandits or gang members protecting him. Instead, the Wolf Man has a large pack of dangerous, fast and vicious wolves.
Hunting him down feels different from any of the already existing randomly generated bounties. Rockstar even added a large blizzard to the mission. So players are forced to deal with bitter cold, lots of snow, deadly wolves and dangerous frozen lakes.
Once my brother and I found The Wolf Man, things got hectic fast. He sent some of his trusted wolves at us and soon we were surrounded. Using shotguns we fought them off. I tackled the target and tried to tie him up, which is hard to do when you are being attacked by wolves. My brother covered me, mostly, and after tying up the target we threw him on our horse. But he began to howl and soon more wolves were chasing us through the snow.
Eventually, we got him to a nearby prisoner wagon, where police took the wild man off our hands and paid us for the trouble. Admittedly the pay wasn’t great, making about $30-40 after turning in The Wolf Man. But we got a good chunk of XP and the mission can be played multiple times on harder difficulties, earning more cash and XP.
Even if the pay isn’t as high as I would like, the actual mission and experience of hunting a legendary target is a blast. The game spawns you and your posse in an special instance, so other players can’t interfere. So it feels like a proper Red Dead mission, complete with a nicely made intro and new dialogue.
I hope future Legendary Bounties are as creative and different as The Wolf Man. I also hope the other careers, Trader and Collector, get similar Legendary events. This is the kind of content I want in RDO. I want to feel like I’m living out in the Wild West, hunting bad guys, trading goods, finding treasure, outrunning the law. And these new missions help players live out their bounty hunty fantasies and are a great addition to RDO.
Borderlands 3 is fun, but it’s had some problems since launch. It takes an absolute lifetime to boot up and occasionally hangs during simple actions like opening the menu. This morning, developer Gearbox pushed out a hot fix that deals with the most pressing issue of all: the incessant screaming of an endgame boss.
WARNING: There are story spoilers from this moment forward.
My Borderlands 3 adventure is only a few hours long, but my short time with the game has readied me for an eventual showdown with twin antagonists Tyreen and Troy Calypso. Without going into too many details, these siblings kick off the main storyline by being absolute dicks. I can only assume they get worse in future chapters, making any opportunity to fire a few shots in their direction a welcome reprieve from their influencer-based quips.
Enemies can be incredibly talkative in Borderlands 3, especially when they take damage. This dialogue ranges anywhere from basic “Oh wow, bullets hurt!” grunts to full-on wailing when they take continuous damage from elements like fire, electricity, and acid. Troy apparently leans towards the latter, so much so that his screams have been a topic of discussion, with players offering both positive and negative opinions on the matter.
“Humanoid bosses screaming from elemental effects is absolutely hilarious,” one Reddit thread says, going on to name Troy and another boss, Aurelia, as two characters with drastic reactions to damage.
“Status effect screams seriously need deleting on bosses,” another complains. “Take for example the seemingly epic fight with Troy, or Aurelia, or the Zero like fight with Katagawa and the Two Traunt Brothers as they throw insults at you and half way through shit talking you the screams overlap the insults so you don’t get to hear what they are saying half the time.”
Today’s hot fix addresses numerous aspects of Borderlands 3, including a reduction in drop rates from certain farmable enemies and nerfs for Torgue shotguns, which became popular due to their ability to output massive damage in the right situations. At the very bottom, the changelog notes that it also “removed pain sounds from Troy for his boss fight,” making it easier to hear his snide remarks as he flies around the boss arena.
Reactions to this particular change have been generally positive, even from folks who didn’t find Troy’s screams to be that big of a deal before the update. One player has petitioned the developers to “please bring back the Troy paingasms,” but the most upvoted response was a simple, “No,” from another Reddit user. For the most part, folks were expecting these changes, though there is some grumbling that performance issues weren’t prioritized over limiting loot farming and some specific sound effects. In any case, Troy now has a chance to talk shit that he didn’t have before.
The world of Grand Theft Auto Online is filled with crime, action, and destruction. Often players are given jobs that involve robbing banks, assassinating enemies, stealing cars or blowing up drug dens. But in the latest GTA Online update, players have a decidedly more mundane task: Collect 100 action figures for a toy collector.
To start this quest, simply log into the GTA Online and wait for a text from a man who owns a local comic book store. Someone stole all his action figures and he needs you to collect them and bring them all back. If you are wondering how a comic store owner got hold of the phone number of a huge criminal, he’s a friend of Lester, who provides jobs for players. Los Santos really is a small world after all.
For each figure you find, you’ll earn $1000 and 1000 RP points. After you find all of them, you will earn another $50k and a new outfit.
The new outfit is based on the in-universe superhero, Impotent Rage. The new outfit also comes with a new hair cut. Wearing both of these new cosmetics lets players pull off a solid Impotent Rage cosplay. Now, does anyone actually want to play GTA Online while looking like Impotent Rage? Maybe a few? Some fans are having fun with the new outfit.
Personally, I would have been happier with more money or suit made out of the 100 action figures.
If you want to go searching for action figures in GTA Online, you can use various maps and videos that players have put together showing where to find each collectible and the most efficient order to collect them in. Get your car or helicopter or jetpack ready and go collect some toys.
The universe of No Man’s Sky is huge. Like genuinely huge. Billions upon billions upon billions of planets, galaxies, and solar systems. And the latest update to the game added a ton of new features to this already massive galactic sandbox, including VR support. But the most exciting feature might just be the ability to stop traveling, take a seat in a chair and dangle your feet.
Last week, players first found out about this new sitting ability and quickly got excited. Sure a new galactic map and improved multiplayer features were fine, but after years of waiting, all those chairs dotting the galaxy could finally be sat on. It was a little thing, but something that not a small amount of players were happy to see added into the game. As one player pointed out on Reddit, “I couldn’t believe we could make chairs but not sit in them..lol.” (However, players have discovered that user made chairs still can’t be sat on. Maybe in a future update?)
However, it wasn’t just players who would be allowed to take a load off and sit down on a chair. Now NPC aliens would also be able to relax and take a seat. Even better, the short alien species, the Gek, actually swing their tiny legs and feet around while sitting on the chairs. Though one player did point out how odd it is that on a Gek space station the chairs would be so tall. A valid point. Those Gek really need to make some smaller seats.
And one player has had enough with all these damn chairs and chair related posts. They are sick of chairs. They want something different and arguably better added to the game. The ability to sit on stools.
A massive storm rages overhead. Spend too much time in it and you’ll die. Enemies stalk a handful of ancient ruins scattered around a rocky beach. Take too long trying to kill them and the mission comes to an end, booting you back to the overworld map. At nearly every turn, Anthem’s new limited-time, score-based mode seems hostile to the prospect that someone might actually be interested in having some fun with it.
Cataclysm arrived yesterday, with little fanfare from BioWare. After spending several hours with it, I’m not surprised. The update adds a new activity called Echoes of Reality. It sets players loose in a large new environment punctuated by a handful of small arena fights and obtuse puzzles, then tops it all off with a boss fight that feels like it was Frankensteined together out of the already-existing ones.
It might be an otherwise nice seasonal addition in an alternate universe where Anthem is rolling along steadily with a lively player community in love with its underlying structure and progression system. But that is not the universe we live in, and instead of feeling like an impressive new milestone on the road to redemption, Cataclysm is a stark reminder of how hollow the whole Anthem experience still feels.
There are three new story missions that lead into Echoes of Reality, all of which revolve around capturing an evil scientist, Dr. Harken. He appears to have defected from the ranks of the game’s heavily militarized Dominion faction in order to assist you with trying to prevent certain disaster at the hands of a new Dominion leader, Vara Brom, who is intent on awakening Shaper relics to reassert the faction’s might.
A short cutscene plays midway through these missions to lay this all out. Why not at the beginning? I have no idea. Most of the dialogue surrounding it doesn’t feel worth the constant trips back to Fort Tarsis, the game’s hub, that are required to progress the story. That’s another way of saying it feels like the main game all over again, complete with another Strider mission that anyone who’s completed the main game will have already done a dozen times before.
Nothing about Echoes of Reality feels particularly new, either, except for the area where it takes place. This consists of a large mountain ridge overlooking a tropical bay, one ripe for exploring in the game’s jet-pack propelled exosuits. But there’s hardly any time to. A 15-minute countdown timer requires strict adherence to the tasks at hand. And even if you do set out to take a longer look at what BioWare has spent the last few months creating, most of it is obscured by a torrential downpour and the encroaching red glow of sensors warning that the storm’s about to blow up your suit.
Echoes of Reality currently features three objectives prior to the boss fight. The first consists of fighting Dominion in a small arena and then activating half a dozen glowing pillars to bring down the shield around a crystal that needs to be destroyed. The second has you fight Dominion in a slightly bigger arena while trying to collect echoes to bring down another shield around another crystal that needs to be destroyed. The hitch is that the echoes are themselves shielded, requiring one group of players to stand on pressure-plates while another grabs them. I don’t know what the oldest puzzle in the role-playing game book is, but that one’s got to be in the first few faded pages.
As an additional wrinkle, the echoes need to be taken into an underwater cavern where they power a device to unlock a fifth echo, without which the crystal’s shield won’t come down. In my own experience and based on a number of threads in the Anthem subreddit, this has caused no small amount of players a lot of frustration as they try to bring echoes into the cavern to get the fifth one while their teammates keep taking them back out to plug them into the devices protecting the crystal. It’s a simple second step that any single player would be able to figure out within a few minutes, but which becomes unintuitive and annoying when trying to corral a bunch of strangers into working together as the timer continues ticking down.
The third objective takes place in a slightly smaller arena inside a cave. There you once again fight Dominion, this time while collecting pieces of an artifact that have broken off. The pieces need to be carried, but walls of light are constantly traveling back and forth through the cave. If they hit you, the piece you’re carrying goes back to where you found it. It’s straightforward enough to feel like busywork while requiring just enough patience to be anxiety-inducing thanks to the timer.
Once that’s complete, it’s time to set off for Vara Brom. She sits at the northern edge of the map in, you guessed it, another arena, the biggest of the four. She’s giant, slow-moving, and seemingly not very dangerous save for a set of fire attacks. One of them turns the floor to lava. The other, which shoots out into the air, requiring you to take cover, will almost instantly kill you. Unless you’re paying close attention, it’s hard to know which she’s using, but unless you’re playing on the highest difficulty, it probably won’t matter. Echoes of Reality can be so hard to navigate the first few times through there was one occasion on which Vara was already half-dead by the time I caught up to my teammates, and why would I want them to wait when there’s only a minute or two left on the timer anyway?
There’s nothing narratively interesting or cinematically impressive about Echoes of Reality. It doesn’t try to tell a story, dig deeper into the game’s lore, or build up to a big, dramatic fight. Instead it feels like being yelled at by a drill sergeant and then forced to start over from scratch when the mistakes begin to pile up. Echoes of Reality is meant to be completed as quickly as possible, while obtaining as high a score as you can, usually by hitting mini-objectives along the way and putting in extra work to trigger the appearance of special mini-bosses. These additional puzzles and fights aren’t meant to be interesting. Instead, they’re meant to be completed so many times it practically becomes muscle memory. Doing so boosts efficiency, which in turn boosts your score, which in turn boosts your rewards.
In addition to treasure chests filled with new rare gear, Echoes of Reality dishes out two new currencies called major and minor crystals as progressive rewards for higher scores. They can in turn be spent at a new vendor on cosmetics, none of which seem particularly dazzling but which are a godsend for players who have been disappointed with the number and variety of goods on display at the regular cosmetic shop. These new currencies can also be spent on special new chests that have random pieces of gear inside. This week the chests feature melee weapons, which are new to this update. Different gear will be featured in subsequent weeks.
This system provides a perfectly adequate new economy for players to partake in on their quest to make further customize and improve their Javelins, but it doesn’t change the fact that Anthem feels like a car that can only drive downhill because no one ever stuck an engine in it. For anyone not in it for the collect-a-thon, there’s little to get excited about in the Cataclysm update. Anthem is still so beautiful to behold that I wish I could explore Echoes of Reality in in my own way on my own time, in all its different permutations. Instead it feels like playing an arcade game designed not to be fun but to convince you there’s a world in which it’s worth trying to collect the 10,000 tickets needed to buy the most expensive prize in the window.
After a rough launch, BioWare announced a series of updates that would be coming to Anthem in March, April, and May as part of the game’s ongoing live service. That never came to pass as a bunch of features, including a guild system and a limited-time event called Cataclysm, were delayed. In June, BioWare invited players on PC to demo Cataclysm on test servers, but console players spent most of the early part of the summer with nothing new to do. Now the wait is finally over.
The event itself revolves around a series of new story missions and a new time trial-based activity, complete with a new seasonal currency players will need to earn in order to collect new gear. The activity doesn’t have a level requirement, so new and old players will be able to try it out with the difficulty adjusted accordingly. There’s also a new guild system, bolstered by a mobile app, which will let players matchmake and pool their weekly experience points in order to earn currency for the game’s cosmetic store more efficiently. The game’s luck stat, which previously affected the likelihood of rare loot dropping, is officially gone, and Legendary Contract missions will now guarantee a Stronghold-level chest upon completion. There’s also a new, melee-specific gear slot for players to customize the stats associated with their melee attack.
While players have been desperate for any bit of new content in the game, Cataclysm’s score-based dungeon runs weren’t necessarily what people had in mind. The game’s loot system, whose problems have been detailed at length, also remains largely the same as it was at launch, and armor customization is still largely hampered by the lack of options in the game’s cosmetic shop. It remains to be seen if the update is enough to help right the Anthem ship or if it’s too little, too late.
At QuakeCon 2019, Bethesda announced some new content coming to Fallout 76 later this year, including a new map for the Nuclear Winter mode and new raids. They also released a new updated roadmap for summer 2019.
Nuclear Winter, Fallout 76‘s 52-player battle royale mode, is getting a new map. It is based on the area of Fallout 76 called Morgantown and it will include more verticality and will be set in a more urban environment. The current map is more rural, filled with trees and barren hills. The new map is coming in September alongside some quality of life improvements for the mode.
Bethesda’s Fallout 76 panel.
Coming sooner is a new Vault raid. Set in Vault 94, the new raid will feature three missions that will rotate weekly and will support 4 player groups. Completing these missions will reward players with new armor and social rewards. Bethesda also confirmed they are working on another raid, but didn’t give any specific details on that raid.
Beyond these two bigger pieces of new, Bethesda shared a bit more information about the upcoming Wastelanders update. This is the update that will add NPCs into Fallout 76. It was confirmed at the panel today that players will talk to these NPCs using dialogue trees that are, according to Bethesda, more like Fallout 3 than Fallout 4. Bethesda is planning on releasing the Wastelanders update in November of this year.
Bethesda also teased private servers coming to the game “sooner than you think.” What does that mean? I have no idea. I didn’t expect them anytime soon, so that really doesn’t mean anything to me. But who knows, maybe next month private servers will be supported in Fallout 76? But probably not.
Over the weekend, BioWare’s loot shooter Anthem received a new set of Challenges called “The Oncoming Storm.” They appear to be a precursor to the game’s upcoming Cataclysm event, which will introduce a new limited-time mode, but players have already run into some difficulty trying to complete the Challenges due to bugs and crashes.
“The Oncoming Storm” consists of three parts, all of which take place in the game’s freeplay mode. The first revolves around destroying a new set of crystals that have started appearing around the world. The second requires you to complete three separate “Crystal World Events,” activities that randomly pop up and reward you with a crystal once finished. And to complete the third, you just need to kill crystallized enemies, which are effectively Scar fighters with crystals on their backs. Getting all of this done rewards you with Coin, one of Anthem’s standard in-game currencies that can be spent on armor and materials, as well as some new decals specific to the activity to customize your Javelin with.
The Challenges are nothing to write home about, and they’re not a reason to jump back into the game by any stretch, but they at least give people who have continued playing something new to do beyond running the same Stronghold mission on loop and complaining about the loot drops at the end.
When BioWare first showed off how parts of Cataclysm would work in late May, the studio said that the event would be preceded by a two-week build-up period in which the world would slowly change and small things would be added. “The Oncoming Storm” Challenge descriptions briefly went live in the game early last week. More recently, a storm has appeared off in the distance on the northern part of the map. While the Cataclysm mission itself has been live on a public test server for PC players to try out for weeks now, the full event, including new story missions, now seems likely to come to the full game in early August. Back when Anthem first came out, the Cataclysm was scheduled to arrive some time in May.
Sea of Thieves, Rare’s chill pirate hangout game, has been on the upswing lately. After an expansive (and excellent) Anniversary Update that brought story quests and cooking to its cartoony high seas in May, Sea of Thieves is upping the ante yet again with monthly updates. Log into the game now on Xbox One or PC and you’ll be greeted by the very first one, the Black Powder Stashes.
Like the name suggests, the update brings quests that send players off in search of gunpowder barrels. As you complete voyages and score the extremely expensive booty, you’ll be able to earn new titles and exclusive cosmetics for your ship.
As far as updates go, it seems a little light—the most interesting thing here is the way gunpowder adds some more tension to the Sea of Thieves loop. Ferrying loot back and forth becomes a lot more intense when that loot can blow up your entire ship with one lucky shot from a foe.
The prospect of monthly updates, however, is exciting. While it lacked variety in much of its first year, Sea of Thieveshas only gotten better with time, and its developers remain vocal about their plan to continue that momentum. Giving players a reason to log in and see something new on their voyages every month is an excellent move. It brings Sea of Thieves closer in line with other live service games like Destiny 2, with one important distinction: You can’t play sea shanties in Destiny 2.
This week marks eight months since Fallout 76 released as a buggy mess. Since then, Bethesda’s online survival game has improved a lot. But while it has had a lot of good days, the arrival of patch number 11 yesterday was not one of them. Instead, it’s renewed players’ calls for Bethesda to try updates out on a public test server before dropping them into the main game.
One of the biggest issues is related to Power Armor. “We’ve made behind-the-scenes improvements to the Power Armor system to help address lots of bugs,” Bethesda wrote in the game’s patch notes. “As a result, you may notice your Power Armor pieces have moved into your inventory or Stash.” However, some players have reported that the pieces have gone missing altogether. It’s not clear how many people were ultimately affected, but players with multiple sets of the rare and expensive armor appear to have been hit the hardest.
“I’ve lost an entire set of T-60 fully modded PA,” wrote one player on Reddit. “Furious as I spent ages getting the caps to buy plans (I’m not that market savvy so I never have too many caps as I have limited time to play). I know I’m never getting my PA back but its so demotivating to go and do it again.”
Others have had the opposite issue, with existing sets of armor inexplicably duplicating. “I logged in and spent 10 [minutes] putting all my frames back together,” wrote another player. “Then I put them back in my stash where they disassembled and I ended up with 812 pounds in my stash while I was still over encumbered with duplicates. Had to put everything back together a second time.”
The update has also made some controversial changes to how players earn Atoms, the game’s premium currency. Players used to be able to collect them by completing basic Challenges early in the game. In an effort to make the early game less harsh, Bethesda replaced those Atoms with useful items like Stimpaks and Disease Cures. But it didn’t add those Atoms back in elsewhere, effectively decreasing the amount players can initially earn just by playing the game.
This change comes alongside the addition of a new item called a Scrap Kit, which can only be purchased with 50 Atoms, the equivalent of 50 cents. This item automatically scraps a player’s junk and deposits it in their Stash. While not a game changer, the Scrap Kit is certainly a more convenient time saver than doing all of those things manually. It also means players who have one can adventure out into the Wasteland without worrying about dying and leaving all of the scrap they’ve collected behind when they respawn. What’s annoying players is that they have to pay for the privilege. Similar to Repair Kits, which Bethesda added to the game in the spring, this effort to monetize around the edges of gameplay while the game still has plenty of bugs has left a bad taste in many players’ mouths.
At a time when Fallout 76 has generally been on the upswing thanks to new content and clever new mechanics like player-owned vending machines, the latest update has proven to be a frustrating flat tire on the road to redemption. Anthem, another online game whose trajectory has had a lot in common with Fallout 76’s, added a public test server at the end of May. Since then, BioWare has spent weeks working with PC players to get its next big update right. It feels like Fallout 76 is long overdue for the same treatment.