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Age of Wonders 3 Blends Fantasy and Sid Meier’s Civilization

You'd think it would have been easier to create a classic fantasy variation on Civilization. Substitute spell research for technology, Elves for Russians, and the same things that make Civ work should work in another world, right? Well, it hasn't quite been that easy. Several games have made the attempt, starting with 1994's Master of Magic, still considered the high point of the genre. Don't forget the ambitious failures, like Elemental: War of Magic, and solid, if not quite stunning games like Elemental's sequel, Fallen Enchantress. Fitting firmly in the latter category of those was the Age of Wonders series, three fantasy strategy games released from 1999-2003 which were solid enough to build a house on but rarely extraordinary. A decade later, Age of Wonders III is attempting to resurrect the franchise. (It's the fourth game in the group, but can take the suffix of “III” since the previous title was simply “Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.”) This installment seems to be entirely aligned with its predecessors, offering a dependable combination of tactics and strategy.

Titanfall PC Beta Test Widened to All Who Registered

Respawn Entertainment is widening the Titanfall multiplayer beta test for PC to all PC gamers who registered for the beta prior to 4pm PST, February 15. The news was revealed via Respawn's official Twitter account.

“Over the next couple hours we'll be getting all the PC people who signed up access through the My Games Library in Origin,” reads a post.

The developer also apologised to those having hassles getting in at present, conceding the data servers are currently “slammed.” Respawn also pointed out the beta may not appear in users' Origin games library until “closer to midnight PST.”

Gfinity Recruiting Newcomers for DOTA 2, CS: GO & StarCraft II Leagues

How good are you at DOTA 2? CS: GO? Maybe StarCraft II?

eSports company Gfinity has expanded its roster of games, and is currently recruiting. As well as attracting established pros, it's looking to blood new talent, with plans to give away $25,500 between now and the end of March.

If you want to register a team, head over to www.gfinity.net to sign up. Registration closes on February 17th.

Details for specific games can be found below.

Pro League

  • $7500 prize pot between x6 teams

Open tournaments (newcomers)

Titanfall Now Officially in Open Beta

It appears that the previously announced, carefully planned waves of Titanfall beta invites have now been abandoned, as the game is now open to all players on Xbox One - even if you don't have a beta code.

Respawn Entertainment's Vince Zampella said on Twitter that one of the company's coders, Jon Shiring, wanted to "break" the game by letting players stress-test it en masse.

The news was soon officially announced by Xbox's Director of Programming Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, on his blog. He offers these instructions for getting yourself in:

The Elder Scrolls Online’s Grouping Problem

I was ready to die. Not one but two dwarven spiders blocked my way in the dark tunnel, and I knew that running would just allow them to spit their poison at my back. It was all up to me now, and thus I resolved to at least give them a good thwacking with my two-handed mace before I fell. I swung; my vision blurred red as they each hit me at once. I swung again, knocking one dead but barely scratching the other. I prepared for the last blow … and in a flash of lightning, it crumpled over in a pile of amber rust. Two players—the first I'd seen in hours—had run up behind me and saved my bacon, and the experience demonstrated what potential lies in Elder Scrolls Online's core concept of "Skyrim with other people."

Assassin’s Creed is Getting a Board Game

Ubisoft has announced that its partnered with Cryptozoic Entertainment to bring out an Assassin's Creed-themed tabletop game.

Assassin's Creed: Arena is designed for players 15 years and over, and is described as "a strategic game of cat-and-mouse that pits 2-4 players against each other in a race for kills."

"It's very high-risk, high-reward and has a lot of rules," says Ubisoft communications associate Anne Lewis. Acknowledging that its rules might be a bit overwhelming for Assassin's Creed fans who are new to tabletop gaming, she has written up a quick guide on the Ubisoft blog.

SteamWorld Dig Coming To PlayStation 4 and Vita

Swedish developer Image & Form Games announced the release of SteamWorld Dig for the PlayStation 4 and Vita this year.

SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt came out for the PC and Nintendo 3DS last August to great accolades. It's the first time the two-dimensional mining platform adventure is hitting a next-gen system.

Gamers assume the role of Rusty, a robot-esque mining steamboat, as he navigates an old mining town in need. Rusty's job is to dig for minerals and gems that he can sell and use to upgrade his equipment as he battles an increasingly difficult swarm of opponents.

Cinematic Care Packages for Call of Duty: Ghosts

The first DLC pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts – Onslaught (out now on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but hitting PC, PS3 and PS4 on Feb 27) – packs a bunch of new cool new inclusions, but one of our favourites would have to be the inclusion of Halloween's relentless killer, Michael Myers, on the eerie map Fog.

Not to be confused with How I Married an Axe Murderer's Mike Myers.

This randomised ability (a re-skinned take on the Maniac Juggernaut care package) is a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek inclusion, and got us thinking of other iconic characters from cinema history we'd like to see turn up in other Ghosts multiplayer maps and how they'd complement the action. Come with us as reinvent Call of Duty… or at least give it a tweak.

Captain Price Coming to Call of Duty: Ghosts?

Infinity Ward is teasing that Modern Warfare star Captain Price is set to make an appear in Call of Duty: Ghosts before too long.

A tweet from the developer bearing the words "Price is Coming" has led to a flurry of speculation that the former-COD star is set to resurface in future DLC for the latest entry in Activision's shooter franchise.

Price is Coming #CODGhosts pic.twitter.com/2fQzScCVnV

— Infinity Ward (@InfinityWard) February 12, 2014

EA Shutting Down Browser MMO Lord of Ultima

After four years, browser-based MMO Lord of Ultima will be closing for good on May 12, at approximately 7am UTC.

The sad news comes via the Lord of Ultima forum, where community manager Ophidian says, "It pains us to inform you that the final days of Caledonia are drawing near... It is always hard when we are met with such choices and the decision to retire older games is never an easy one."