Rolling out starting today to Insider preview members and coming soon to Xbox One owners everywhere, Microsoft’s new Xbox text filters give users the ability to tailor the level of offensive content they’re exposed to through private messages and, eventually, in profiles, clubs, and their activity feed. Don’t worry, “none” is an option.
Detailed in a post on the Xbox Wire website, the new “Message Safety” settings feature four levels of protection against offensive content. There’s “Unfiltered”, which just lets the profanity slide on through. “Medium” allows in some more common profanity while filtering harsher words or terms associated with bullying. “Friendly” is the lowest setting and the default for child accounts, automatically hiding profanity and offensive terms. “Mature” only hides terms and phrases Microsoft has determined are “almost always harmful” to those on the receiving end. When a message with offensive content per the user’s selected filtration level comes through, it is is automatically hidden.
Users can further tailor settings by applying one level of filtration to friends and another to strangers. Upon initial rollout, the filters will only apply to private messages, but Microsoft plans on implementing them across all methods of Xbox messaging, including Looking for Group (LFG) and Clubs. Some 21 languages will be supported at launch, with more added over time. The filters will work over PC and mobile Xbox apps as well as on the console.
Honey is sticky. You probably already knew that. But did you know that if you smear a bunch of honey on a wall you can run on that wall because the honey is sticky enough to hold your weight? Well, at least that’s how it works in Minecraft. In the latest update for the game, Mojang has added sticky honey blocks and players are using these new blocks to pull off some sweet parkour moves.
It’s only been a few days since they were added to the game and yet the Minecraft subreddit is filled with players showcasing their sweet (literally) wall running moves. With a bit of practice, you can even run around a corner.
Using wall tiles, players have also created ways to hide the honey blocks. This could allow players to create parkour or puzzle maps that rely on wall-running, but without having walls made up of obvious looking honey blocks everywhere.
Back in January, a Minecraft update accidentally added a bug that allowed players to wall run. It was a fairly popular glitch and some players even wanted it left in the game. It was removed, but maybe the wall running ability of the new honey block was inspired by that incident?
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.
Apex Legends got a big update today, called “Voidwalker” due to its focus on resident goth character Wraith. It adds updated challenges, limited edition items, changes to the map, and a limited-time mode featuring powerful weapons and minimal armor.
Much like the previous Apex Legends event, which let players play solo, the biggest draw of Voidwalker is the addition of its new mode, “Armed and Dangerous.” Armed and Dangerous restricts weapon types to snipers and shotguns only, and it also reduces the strength and availability of armor and helmets. I immediately had flashbacks to the hours of Shotty Snipers I played in Halo 2, but Apex Legends’ spin on the old formula is even more stressful due to the reduction in defensive gear.
Armed and Dangerous essentially turns every player into a glass cannon, capable of blowing enemies away with just a few pulls of the trigger yet highly vulnerable to the same treatment. The core Apex Legends gameplay loop—loot, ambush, repeat—remains, but it’s accentuated by the increased stakes. High-powered, gold-rarity weapons feature in the mode as regular loot, making encounters tense because you never know when someone might pick you off from across the map with the terrifying Kraber sniper or come around the corner holding the uber-powerful Mastiff shotgun.
I still haven’t found out what’s on the other end of this new portal other than intense and immediate pain
Apex Legends’ previous event themed a part of the map after character Octane, and Voidwalker does the same with Wraith. The small cluster of buildings north of Hydro Dam, now known as Singh Labs, features a huge portal shooting into the sky that fires combatants into the laboratories of Amer Singh, the scientist introduced in the new Voidwalker cinematic who presumably played a part in imbuing Wrath with her teleportation powers. It’s a popular place for players to drop at the beginning of a match both because it’s new and features high-level loot, which in turn makes the interior a bloodbath, especially if a Caustic or Wattson manage to get there first and drop traps.
The event also comes with a number of quality of life changes, including the ability to enable auto-sprint and tweak aim sensitivity settings for every individual scope. Furthermore, SMG type weapons can no longer equip long-range scopes like the 3x HCOG and 2x-4x variable ACOG, eliminating the nuisance of having to manually remove these powerful modifications upon accidentally equipping them to close- and mid-range weapons.
Voidwalker’s Armed and Dangerous mode might not feel as vital as the oft-requested yet sadly time-limited solo mode introduced in the last event, but it does make for a neat, quick diversion from the norm. It’s nice to have a pared down version of the game to run through without having to window shop and weapon swap as much as in regular play, but this convenience comes with a hefty dose of stress that won’t necessarily be missed when it leaves later this month.
Sometimes space ninjas want to take a break from shooting and killing. Instead, they want to create sweet music. The latest Warframe update gives players that ability, adding a fully playable guitar-like instrument into the game.
These new instruments are called Shawzin and they were added in the latest update that just hit PC this weekend. They appeared previously in the game as background items, but are now fully playable via an emote ability. Once purchased and equipped, players can start jamming almost anywhere in the game. Other players can hear your songs, or if you aren’t very good, they can be annoyed by your attempts to play music.
The in-game controls for the instrument are more impressive than you might think, even allowing players to change scales or activate a metronome.
One crafty player has actually created a real-life guitar-shaped controller they can use to play the Shawzin in-game.
Players can also record songs and share song codes, which lets other players actually play though the custom song complete with Guitar Hero-like notes and scoring. So yes, this is basically becoming Guitar Hero in space.
Warframe has quietly become one of the most popular online games on the planet, thanks in large part to how often the game is updated with new features, modes, weapons, suits, and missions. The community is also active, often happily welcoming new features or items. Like filling their entire ships with robot vacuum cleaners after one was added into the game earlier this year.
Currently, the update and the sweet new guitar are only available on the PC version of the game.
In gaming parlance, the phrase “raid” implies some grand story, an epic boss fight, and the promise of great rewards at the end. Bethesda has called Fallout 76’s latest addition to the game a raid, but it lacks those things. Instead, it takes the base game’s worst quests and repackages them the most grindy, punishing ways possible.
Fallout 76’s raid consists of three missions that rotate weekly. The first one, Dead in the Water, came out last week. It revolves around continuously fighting giant enemy crabs called Mirelurks while trying to repair vault pipes and retrieve key cards to open new doors. There are distinct sections in-between where players can catch their breath, and the mission has a final boss that guarantees a three-star legendary item. Dead in the Water won’t be winning any prizes of its own at the annual Raid Awards, but as far as Fallout 76 content goes, it’s fine. The latest, called Meltdown, simply isn’t fun.
Meltdown ditches anything that made Dead in the Water at all appealing, trading its hectic, light puzzle solving for rote fetch quests. This time players have been tasked with shutting down a nuclear event that’s been triggered in the vault’s reactor. Doing so requires, once again, collecting key cards, but this time a bunch more. The vault is undergoing five levels of lockdown. Reducing that by one level requires retrieving 10 key cards randomly placed throughout each section of the vault, meaning there are 50 in all.
This rendition of 52 pickup is supplemented by section-specific tasks like repairing mainframe cores or retrieving plant samples in the greenhouse section to unlock rooms housing additional key cards. Enemies occasionally attack, but overall there are fewer mobs to deal with, leaving your team to face the drudgery mostly undistracted. And rather than a boss fight at the end, once you finally make it into the reactor room, you simply fight waves of ghouls.
What might seem boring on paper is made even more soul-crushing by the shortcomings of the Fallout 76 interface. Picking something up requires lining up your reticle just right until an option to grab it appears. Crating mainframe cores requires getting out of your power armor and subjecting yourself to the radiation before you can continue. Bugs and lag are still present, meaning it’s not uncommon to walk into a newly opened section of the vault and have things momentary hiccup while the game works itself out, or for mission objectives to not always immediately update. If you’re especially unlucky, the game’s server might crash, booting you out and killing any progress you made.
These things are less of an issue in sections of the game where you can explore at your own pace. On the standard and expert difficulties, though, the raid missions are timed, and because they are separated from the rest of the game, you can’t leave and come back if you’re short on supplies. In games like Destiny 2 or The Division 2 where healing and inventory management are more streamlined, finishing raids is more a matter of patience, perseverance, and teamwork. In Fallout 76, raids feel more like exercises in brute forcing your way through mobs and puzzles by chugging stimpacks and RadAways and unloading as much ammunition as you have into anything that moves.
The Burrows, Fallout 76‘s first new mission added after the game launched, was roundly criticized at the time for being too short and not being challenging enough, but it still felt like a dungeon with a beginning, middle, and end stitched together by interesting lore. So far, the game’s raid missions are more like glorified versions of the game’s public events, timed quests where you respond to button prompts and shoot stuff, only without matchmaking or rewards that suit the work they demand.
In this week’s Inside the Vault blog post, Bethesda said it’s looking to address many of these complaints. The studio is “currently evaluating our Vault Mission rewards” and “investigating reports from the community about experiencing reduced performance and more frequent disconnects,” as well as “narrowing in on a fix for a bug that can cause the game controls to become unresponsive after you exit Power Armor.” There’s also still one more raid mission for players to try out next week. Hopefully it doesn’t include more key cards.
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.