Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    Starz Sets John Wick Prequel The Continental as Three-Night Event Series

    After initially announcing it as a spinoff series to the Keanu Reeves-led John Wick films, The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Starz and Lionsgate Television are now redeveloping the long-awaited project The Continental as a three-part prequel that will center around a young version of Ian McShane’s Winston. Each installment of the event series is expected to be 90-minutes long and will premiere through the course of three consecutive nights. The outlet notes that the project will reportedly have an estimated budget of around $20 million.In addition, Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) has officially signed on to direct two episodes of The Continental event series, which are the first and third installment. Hughes will also be serving as an executive producer on the John Wick project.RELATED: Ian McShane to Reunite with Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4The Continental was first announced in 2017 by franchise creators Chad Stahelski and Derek Kolstad. The titular hotel was first introduced in the first installment of the John Wick films as a safe haven for assassins and has been a primary location in the film franchise.Set 40 years before the events of the films, the upcoming prequel spinoff center around a young man named Winston, who will one day grow up to be the character played by Ian McShane in the Wick movies. In the prequel set against the backdrop of 1970s New York, fans will find a young Winston as an up-and-coming hitman hotelier who, along with others, create a haven for unsavory types.RELATED: Lionsgate Confirms American Psycho TV Show, ‘Exploring’ Saw OptionsThe Continental will be executive produced by Kolstad, Stahelski, Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, and David Leitch, with Reeves still in negotiation to executive produce. The director for the second installment hasn’t been announced yet, but Stahelski was originally attached to direct the pilot.Production on the highly-anticipated fourth installment to the John Wick film is currently underway. John Wick: Chapter 4 will again see Keanu Reeves returning as the unstoppable hitman and is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 27, 2022.

    Starz Acquires Penn & Roberts-Led Gaslit Series, Minus Hammer & Edgerton

    Starz acquires Penn & Roberts-led Gaslit series, Minus Hammer & Edgerton Just over a year after the Watergate drama was first announced to be in development at Universal Content Productions, Starz has acquired the Sean Penn (Milk, Mystic River) and Julia Roberts (Homecoming)-starring anthology drama Gaslit. RELATED: Judy Greer Replacing Pamela Adlon in Showtime’s The First Lady The first season, based on Slate’s award-winning podcast “Slow Burn'”s first season and developed by showrunner Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot), is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal – from Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates, to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes, to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down. “I’m so happy to have the opportunity to share the heartbreaking, fascinating story of Martha Mitchell with the world,” Pickering said in a statement. “Martha was the first and loudest voice to speak out against the bumbling criminality of a crooked Presidential administration and she was one of the most complicated public martyrs of the era. To find anyone willing to tell her story is a dream. To be making it with Sam, Julia, Sean, Matt, UCP and Starz seems impossible. I’m over the moon.” The story will center on Martha Mitchell, played by Roberts. A big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell, played by Penn. Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel. As Attorney General, Mitchell is Nixon’s most trusted advisor and best friend. Temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the President. “In Gaslit, we not only have the opportunity to tell an incredible untold story in bringing Martha Mitchell’s historic role in Watergate to the forefront, but we are also incredibly lucky to have a dream cast including Julia and Sean and the best creative team and partners we could have asked for,” Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz, said in a statement. “We could not be more excited to bring this story to the global Starz audience and continue the network’s commitment to spotlighting premium stories that appeal to women while super serving our core audience.” In addition to Pickering and director Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic), the series will be executive produced by Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) under his overall deal with UCP and Chad Hamilton (Mr. Robot) under their Esmail Corp. production banner, Roberts via her Red Om Films label, Anonymous Content and Slate’s Gabriel Roth and Josh Levin. It marks a reunion between Esmail and Roberts after the two worked together on the Golden Globe-nominated first season of Amazon’s Homecoming. RELATED: Subject to Change: J.J. Abrams Original Story Ordered to Series at HBO Max Alongside Penn and Roberts, the series was originally set to co-star Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Joel Edgerton (The Gift, Boy Erased) as Nixon’s former White House Counsel attorney John Dean and former FBI agent and chief operative of Nixon’s White House Plumbers unit G. Gordon Liddy, though sources report that both roles are being recast. (Photo Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

    Outlander Season 6 Begins Production as New Photos & Video Are Released

    Outlander Season 6 begins production as new photos & video are released Outlander Season 6 has officially begun production on location in Scotland, a newly released video from the show’s social media channels revealed. You can check out the behind-the-scenes video below along with a couple of new photos from set! Now *this* is wonderful news. We’re officially in production on #Outlander Season 6! — Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) February 9, 2021 We’re [email protected]_STARZ Season 6 shooting!Feel very fortunate to be working right now, production are ensuring everyone is safe and protected. Now just need to deal with the snow… — Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) February 9, 2021 Season 6 ft boo @CesarDomboy, babies, drama, and all @Outlander_STARZ — Lauren Lyle (@LlaurenLyle) February 9, 2021 RELATED: New to Stream: Starz February 2021 Movie & TV Titles Announced Last we saw Claire and Jamie, Claire had just escaped a violent encounter with Lionel Brown and returned to Frasers’ Ridge. The threat of the Revolutionary War looms over the ridge and Claire and Jamie must choose what is best for their family. Outlander Season 6 sees a continuation of Claire and Jamie’s fight to protect those they love, as they navigate the trials and tribulations of life in colonial America. Establishing a home in the New World is by no means an easy task, particularly in the wild backcountry of North Carolina – and perhaps most significantly – during a period of dramatic political upheaval. The Frasers strive to maintain peace and flourish within a society which — as Claire knows all too well — is unwittingly marching towards Revolution. Against this backdrop, which heralds the birth of the new American nation, Claire and Jamie have built a home together at Fraser’s Ridge. They must now defend this home — established on land granted to them by the Crown — not only from external forces, but also from the increasing strife and conflict in the community within their care. Pick up your copy of the Outlander Season 5 Limited Collector’s Edition here! For the Frasers and their immediate family, “home” is more than simply a site in which they live, it is the place where they are laying the foundations for the rest of their lives. If Season 4 asked “What is home?” and Season 5 asked, “What are you willing to do to protect your home?” then Season 6 explores what happens when there is disharmony and division among the inhabitants of the home you’ve created: when you become an outsider, or an ‘outlander,’ so to speak, marginalized and rejected in your own home. The Outlander Season 5 cast includes Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Sophie Skelton (Brianna Randall), Richard Rankin (Roger Wakefield), Maria Doyle Kennedy, (Jocasta), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh), David Berry (Lord John Grey), César Domboy (Claudel “Fergus” Fraser), Lauren Lyle (Marsali MacKimmie Fraser), Colin McFarlane (Ulysses), and Caitlin O’Ryan (Lizzie Wemyss). RELATED: Spider-Man 3: Tom Holland Addresses Tobey & Andrew Rumors The Outlander television series, executive produced by Ronald D. Moore, Maril Davis, Matthew B. Roberts, Toni Graphia, Andy Harries, and Jim Kohlberg, is inspired by Gabaldon’s Outlander book series that has sold an estimated 30 million copies worldwide, with all the books having graced the New York Times best-sellers list. The series has become a worldwide success with audiences, spanning the genres of history, science fiction, romance, and adventure in one amazing tale. Outlander is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Left Bank Pictures, and Story Mining & Supply Co., in association with Sony Pictures Television. The series was recently renewed through its sixth and forthcoming season.

    New to Stream: Starz October 2020 Movie & TV Titles Announced

    New to Stream: Starz October 2020 Movie & TV Titles Announced Starz has unveiled its full calendar for the upcoming month of October, with National Hispanic Heritage Month continuing on the network through October 15 as the eight-episode conclusion of The Spanish Princess limited series, The Spanish Princess Part Two, premieres on Sunday, October 11. You can check out the full list of what’s coming and going next month on Starz and the Starz app below! RELATED: Catherine’s Fight Continues in The Spanish Princess Part 2 Trailer Coming to the Starz App in October 2020 AVAILABLE OCTOBER 1 Arizona Raiders (1965)Bachelor Party Vegas (2005)Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)Bite The Bullet (1975)Canadians, The (1961)Carrie (1976)Carrie (2002)Cattle Empire (1958)Christine (1983)Driven (2018)Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)Enough (2002)Everything Is Illuminated (2005)Fatal Attraction (1987)Free Man, The (2016)Harlem Nights (1989)Higher Learning (1995)I Am Bolt (2016)I.Q. (1994)In The Time Of The Butterflies (2001)Long Rope, The (1961)Miss Hokusai (2015)Mrs. Sundance (1974)My Life As A Zucchini (2017)Oregon Trail, The (1959)Phantom Boy (2016)Private Parts (1997)Rage: Carrie 2, The (1999)Ready To Rumble (2000)Reign Over Me (2007)Second Time Around, The (1961)Soapdish (1991)Soul Plane (2004)Spider-Man 3 (2007)Spy Kids (2001)Spy Kids 3: Game Over (2003)Stealth (2005)Stripes (1981)Stripped: Los Angeles (2020)Titanic (1997)Van Helsing (2004)Witness (1985) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 4 “Power Book II: Ghost” – Episode 105 AVAILABLE OCTOBER 9  Amour (2012)Bring It On (2000)Bring It On Again (2003)Bring It On: All Or Nothing (2006)Bring It On: Fight To The Finish (2009)Bring It On: In It To Win It (2007)Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)Death Valley Rangers (1943)Movie 43 (2013)Scary Movie 3 (2003)Vacancy (2007) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 11  “The Spanish Princess” – Part 2 Season Premiere (Episode 201) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 13  Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 14  Hotel Transylvania (2012) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 15  Men In Black 3 (2012)Raise Your Voice (2004) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 16  21 & Over (2013)Along Came Polly (2004)Bat*21 (1988)Beneath Us (2020)Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)Cellular (2004)Days Of Thunder (1990)Draw! (1984)Earth To Echo (2014)Emperor (2020)Flatliners (1990)Fog, The (2005)Lazarus Effect, The (2015)Light It Up (1999)Lone Gun, The (1954)Missing, The (2003)Mona Lisa Smile (2003)Riding In Cars With Boys (2001)Stand By Me (1986)Three To Tango (1999)Waitress (2007)Warren Miller’s Ticket To Ride (2013) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 18  “The Spanish Princess” Part 2 – Episode 202 AVAILABLE OCTOBER 20  Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)Here Comes The Boom (2012) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 23 Guard, The (2011)Professional, The (1994) AVAILABLE OCTOBER 25  “The Spanish Princess” Part 2 – Episode 203Company Men, The (2011) RELATED: Power Book II: Ghost Renewed for a Second Season at Starz Leaving the Starz App in October 2020 LEAVING OCTOBER 1  Dazed And Confused (1993) LEAVING OCTOBER 3  Colombiana (2011) LEAVING OCTOBER 10 Babies (2009) LEAVING OCTOBER 13  Moneyball (2011) LEAVING OCTOBER 14  Land Of The Dead (2005) LEAVING OCTOBER 15  Fighting (2009) LEAVING OCTOBER 16  O (2001) LEAVING OCTOBER 22  McFarland, USA (2014) LEAVING OCTOBER 26  Houseboat (1958) LEAVING OCTOBER 27  Submission (2017) LEAVING OCTOBER 29  Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The (2010) LEAVING OCTOBER 30  Small Soldiers (1998) LEAVING OCTOBER 30  Small Soldiers (1998) LEAVING OCTOBER 31  12 Rounds (2009)Always (1989)American Pie Presents: Band Camp (2005)American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007)American Pie Presents: The Book Of Love (2009)American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile (2006)Amor Urgente (2018)Arizona Whirlwind (1944)Army Of Darkness (1992)Best Of Times, The (1986)Brady Bunch Movie, The (1995)Breakfast Club, The (1985)Cinderella Man (2005)Como En El Cine (2015)Cry-Baby (1990)Desperate Trails (1939)Devil In A Blue Dress (1995)Duel At Silver Creek, The (1952)Exorcism Of Molly Hartley, The (2015)Five Heartbeats, The (1991)For Colored Girls (2010)G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1987)Game, The (1997)Gentlemen Broncos (2009)Ghost Town (1955)Great Missouri Raid, The (1950)Guru, The (2002)Half Baked (1998)Hallelujah Trail, The (1965)Hell Bent For Leather (1960)High Spirits (1988)Hot Fuzz (2007)I Come In Peace (1989)I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)Insignis (2016)Jingle All The Way 2 (2014)Koala Kid (2012)Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003)Losing Isaiah (1995)Masked Rider, The (1944)Masters Of The Universe (1987)Meet Joe Black (1998)Milk Money (1994)Mobile Homes (2017)My Little Pony Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow (2006)My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas (2005)My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade (2005)My Little Pony: Twinkle Wish Adventure 2009)Mystery Men (1999)Needful Things (1993)No Name On The Bullet (1959)Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)Nutty Professor, The (1996)One More Train To Rob (1971)Pleasantville (1998)Pound Of Flesh (2015)Real Men (1987)Rio Grande (1950)RoboCop (1987)RoboCop 2 (1990)RoboCop 3 (1992)Shape Of Things, The (2002)Sinbad: Where U Been? (2009)Son Of Roaring Dan (1940)Stagecoach (1966)Stagecoach Buckaroo (1941)Stagecoach To Dancers’ Rock (1962)Tango & Cash (1989)Thunderbirds (2004)Timecop (1994)Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising (2013)Tuxedo, The (2002)Unleashed (2005)Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2007)Whiteout (2009)Wood, The (1999)Wyatt Earp (1994)Dancing On The Edge – Episodes 101-106Dinofroz – Episodes 101-226Minimalitos – Episodes 101-426Night Train with Wyatt Cenac – Episodes 101-206Raggs – Episodes 101-140Robotia – Episodes 101-113Take My Wife – Episodes 101-208UCB Show, The – Episodes 101-208

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