AMD's rumored 16-core Ryzen CPU may run at 3.1GHz to 3.6GHz

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Rumors surfaced earlier this week of a 16-core/32-thread Ryzen processor headed to the enthusiast consumer space. At the time, it was reported the chip would run at 2.4GHz to 2.8GHz, though there's a new rumor pointing at much faster clockspeeds.

According to TechPowerUp, there are reports of engineering samples having a 3.1GHz base clockspeed and a 3.6GHz boost frequency. Assuming that's true, the unreleased/unannounced part becomes much more interesting, rather than standing out as the only Ryzen chip to run slower than 3GHz.

When you're dealing with this many cores and threads, clockspeeds often take a backseat in favor of workloads that are heavily threaded. However, if this chip is AMD's answer to Intel's Haswell-E and Broadwell-E parts, it might be difficult to pitch an alternative CPU with base and turbo clocks in the 2GHz range. It's now looking like that won't be a concern.

The 16-core chip in question is said to be a cut-down version of Naples, which is a beefed up version of Ryzen for the server market. It's said the upcoming part will feature a new socket and X399 chipset featuring quad-channel memory support. It would be AMD's answer to Intel's X99 platform, and in a similar fashion it would borrow elements from the workstation/server platform.

While nothing is official, if AMD is creating a new platform it's hard to imagine there being just one processor for it. And if that's the case, it's not inconceivable that AMD would release 12-core or, going in the other direction, CPUs with more than 16 cores.

If the rumors prove true, expect 64 PCIe Gen3 lanes off the CPU as well. That opens the doors to some very interesting workstation builds, which is arguably the best place for this sort of system. It could definitely eat into Intel's workstation market.

Dark Souls 3 The Ringed City DLC drops boss-storming launch trailer

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Dark Souls 3 is soon going to launch its second and final portion of DLC—named The Ringed City. Due this coming Tuesday, March 28, our imminent journey into Lothric's new Dreg Heap area is also thought to be the series' curtain call, and its launch trailer suggests we'll do well to come out the other end undead.

With fire-breathing demons, soul spear-wielding monstrosities, and a crystal-spewing dragon, besting the "mangled remnants from every age and every land" ain't going to be easy.

Besides some pretty terrifying boss encounters, you'll also spot some of the weaponry which surfaced via a Bandai Namco livestream last week, as well as some of the areas you'll be traversing within the Dreg Heap.

So close to release, I'm cautious to speculate from that snippet alone as I was completely off the mark with my predictions prior to the last add-on. Still, will this one wrap up the loose ends left by the base game and its subsequent Ashes of Ariandel DLC? Will we learn the purpose and motives of the mysterious painter who resides in the Ariandel Cathedral? And will we ever solve the mystery of the big dumb crabs infesting Lothric?

I can't say. But I guess we'll know either way in a few days' time.

WoW account services are getting more expensive in the UK and EU

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On the back of Hearthstone card pack prices going up, Blizzard announced today that World of Warcraft's account services will become more expensive in Europe and the UK on April 5. In what is likely a reaction to post-Brexit exchange rates that have gutted the value of the pound and with the euro still so low, both UK and EU players will see a roughly 25 percent increase in the price of server transfers, race changes, character boosts, and more. Fortunately, subscription fees will, for now, remain unchanged.

"We carefully review the prices of our games and services in all currencies on a regular basis, and we occasionally need to make changes based on regional market conditions," Blizzard wrote on in a statement that echoed what they said about Hearthstone prince hikes two weeks ago.

WoWHead has a complete table that shows the new prices compared to their current cost in euros, but some of the highlights include:

  • Character transfers going from €20 to €25/£19
  • Name changes going from €8 to €10/£9
  • Race changes going from €20 to €25/£19
  • Faction changes going from €20 to €25/£19
  • Character boosts going from €50 to €60/£49

 What's interesting is how some services are becoming cheaper and others more expensive than compared to their cost in US dollars based on today's exchange rate.

  • Character transfers (and other similarly priced services) are $25, which equates to €23.19/£19.97 
  • Name changes are $10, which equates to €9.28/£7.99 
  • Character boosts are $60 which equates to €55.66/47.92 

 What this means is that, dollar for dollar, Europeans are paying more for some account services than their American peers and slightly less for others—the biggest difference being character boosts costing Europeans over €4 more than the equivalent American pricing.

This, understandably, has many European players upset. Threads on both the subreddit and forums are quickly filling up with angry comments. While many can understand that inflation needs to be accounted for, the real issue is that Warcraft's account services are widely regarded as too expensive to begin with. Jacking up the price is only salting an already tender wound.

"I understand that [Blizzard] is a company and they got to make their money somehow, but transfers are something that absolutely shouldn't become more expensive than it already is. Transfers should be free in the first place, given how many dead realms are out there." writes deronscf on Reddit.

Part of the issue is that these account services are largely automated. It's not like you're paying to ship an item back to a store for an exchange. You're merely paying for a computer start a process like redesigning your character's appearance.

Players are also quick to point out that services in other MMOs are much, much cheaper. For example, Final Fantasy XIV—easily Warcraft's biggest competitor—only charges €14/£12 for a character transfer to a new server. That's €10/£7 cheaper than World of Warcraft's new prices.

"I love WoW but I'm really soured by this artificial 'Blizzard tax' we've got, and now they have the gall to increase the prices," writes 8-Brit. It's obvious that in a genre that is largely free-to-play, World of Warcraft's monthly subscription, costly expansions, and expensive services is alienating to many.

Cook, Serve, Delicious! meals for your clients

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Cook, Serve, Delicious is a hardcore cooking sim that recreates the daily tasks of a busy restaurant through keyboard command prompts. You will have the opportunity to take over the restaurant, starting off with a few thousand dollars, 20 different foods to serve up on the menu, a variety of restaurant equipment, and a virtual email account. At the start of each day, a customer will walk in and ask for what they want from the menu you set up. Each order is different, and you must follow their specific requests to avoid them leaving your restaurant unhappy.

After accepting their orders by hitting the corresponding number, you begin the process of preparing meals. If the customer requests a burger with three patties, ketchup, and lettuce, you will start by tapping M, M, M, and Enter to cook three patties on the grill. Once the patties are fully cooked you will be notified, and will have to prepare the burger by hitting M, M, M again in addition to K for ketchup and L for lettuce. Once your burger is finished, hit Enter and serve your customer.

Be careful not to keep your customers waiting for their food for too long, otherwise they’ll grow impatient and leave dissatisfied. You can keep track of your customers by their corresponding numbers. If you haven’t attended to a customer, the bar by their number will gradually recede. The best tip to handling a horde of customers is to take a look at their orders and tackle the ones that need to be cooked first, like hamburgers before a salad. That way, when the patties are sizzling on the grill, you have time quickly serve up a salad or fill up a beverage.

In addition to serving food, you will also be required to complete the restaurant’s daily tasks, including cleaning the restrooms, taking out the garbage, and washing the dishes. You will also be greeted by two rush hours during each open restaurant day, where a large swarm of customers flock to your restaurant. Each rush hour, topped with the increased difficulty of serving your customers, will put your fingers to the test as they fly over the keyboard inputting commands. This is where the game gets tricky, as you will have to gradually remember the prompts for each food item, as you won’t have enough time later on in the game to carefully read through each order.

Cook, Serve, Delicious is colorful and packed with addictive gameplay. Although the game boasts an extraordinary amount of repetition, it avoids feeling tedious and boring. The game’s price point at $10 on Steam is pretty fair for the hours you will put into the game, and even after you defeat the game’s base campaign, there are other in-game activities to keep you coming back for more. These activities include weekly challenges, Iron Chef challenges, and a hardcore campaign mode with brutal difficulty. Cook, Serve, Delicious is a worthy addition to your Steam library, especially when you want to take a little break from competitive gaming.

Name: Cook, Serve, Delicious!
Developer: Vertigo Gaming Inc.
Publisher: Vertigo Gaming Inc.
Released: October 8, 2013
MSRP: $9.99

The Sims 4 Bowling Night Stuff arrives March 29

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The Sims 4's next pack, called 'Bowling Night Stuff,' will arrive on March 29, according to a post on the game's official site. You'll be able to build a custom bowling alley for your Sims to visit, and add new furniture, decorations, and neon lights. You can even throw in a bar so your Sims can get nice and loaded because, let's face it, drinking helps take your mind off the fact that you're wearing rented shoes a thousand pairs of feet have occupied before. There's a trailer for Bowling Night Stuff above.

There a few different ways to create your bowling alley, including adding bowling lanes to your house:

"And while the Mansion Baron Sims out there may choose to add a set of private lanes to their home, your average Sim wants a local bowling alley where they can meet. The Oasis Springs Dust Bowl comes ready to be placed into your world, or you can convert any Bar, Nightclub, or Lounge into a fully functioning alley."

Your Sims will even be able to develop their bowling abilities:

"Kids and adults alike will be able to develop their Bowling skill, all while using the bowling lane with up to four other Sims. This five level skill will reward them every step of the way, as they gain access to additional bowling balls, successful trick shots, and more."

The pack also contains new duds like "rockabilly-inspired tops and bottoms" and bowling league shirts. Bowling Night Stuff will cost $9.99, and naturally requires that you already own The Sims 4. Have a look at a few screenshots below.

CoD: Modern Warfare Remastered gets four classic maps

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, aka the game you can only play if you buy some other game, is getting a big expansion soon. Well, it's getting a big expansion right now if you happen to be playing on a PS4, but since you're probably playing it on PC (if at all) then you'll have to settle for "soon".

As far as map packs go it's a generous one: it ushers in four classic maps, completely remastered and re-textured, including Broadcast (must include a broadcast studio), Chinatown (must be set in Chinatown), Creek (must have a creek in it) and Killhouse (must be a house where you kill things).

The expansion also features "10 rare supply drops". No idea how much this will cost as they're not talking PC yet, but there's a taste of what's coming in the trailer.

Persia comes to Civilization 6

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It seems a little odd to me that the Persians weren't in Civilization 6 right from the start, but better late than never, and today 2K announced that the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, with Cyrus the Great at its head, will be added to the game in an upcoming Civilization and Scenario pack.

The Persian unique unit is the famed Immortal, a replacement for the Swordsman unit, which boasts a ranged attack and strong defense in combat, while its unique improvement, the Pairidaeza—Persian Gardens—provides culture, gold, and appeal, with bonuses for adjacent tiles. I won't even try to spell its unique ability, but it gives Persia a free trade route, and bonuses to internal trade routes, when Political Philosophy is unlocked.

As for Cyrus, he brings the Fall of Babylon ability to the table, which provides bonus movement to Persian units following the declaration of a surprise war. He also suffers reduced diplomatic penalties for declaring surprise wars, a handy trait if you're the sort of ruler who gets along well with others but really can't be trusted.

2K said Persia "can be very successful with sneak attacks," but it also used an image of Tomyris of Scythia when talking about Cyrus' military acumen, and she, you may recall, reportedly cut the man's head off and dunked it in a bucket of blood when he messed with her. Kind of mixed signals on that point, then. On the other hand, Persia can also be grown into a wealthy and powerful nation through the more peaceful application of Wonders and the Pairidaeza, so maybe that's a better way to go.

A release date hasn't been announced, but 2K said Persia will be one of two nations included in an upcoming Civilization and Scenario Pack. Based on previous releases, you can expect it to set you back $5, and it will be free if you own the Civ 6 Digital Deluxe edition.

UT 99's Facing Worlds comes to CS:GO

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Unreal Tournament's Facing Worlds is easily one of the best multiplayer maps in the history of multiplayer maps—with its towering end-to-end monolith bases, arched thoroughfares, and gorgeous space-faring backdrop.

An unnamed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive modder feels the same, it seems, having brought the 17-year old map to Valve's perennial war-torn shooter (with modder Jeisen having cleaned it up and filed it on Steam Workshop).

As published by YouTube person Mr Error, here's a gander at Facing Worlds in all its reworked CS:GO-inspired glory:

While I'm unsure if Facing Worlds would work quite as well in Counter-Strike, hearing that theme tune, marvelling at far-off planet Earth, and watching the player scoot around vantage points by way of teleportation really takes me back.

Jeisen's Facing Worlds (UT 99) Final can be subscribed to over here.

Battlefield 1 easter egg revealed

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A new Battlefield 1 Easter egg, this one introduced as part of the recent They Shall Not Pass expansion, treats players to the sort of sight you wouldn't normally expect from a First World War battlefield: The floating house from the Disney animated film Up.

It's not an exact match—instead of being raised by thousands of normal-sized balloons, this one is borne aloft by three giant ones bearing the colors of the French Tricolore—but it's the obvious pop culture reference, and so that's what we're going with. More importantly, it's also a whole lot easier to pull off than the wickedly complex Morse code puzzle.

As YouTube guy Jackfrags explains, you first have to find three hidden bottles of wine on the Verdun Heights map, and shoot them all. It's a terrible waste of fine French wine, but war is hell, as they say. After that, find (and, naturally, shoot) three rooftop weather vanes with roosters on them.

Having done that, turn your eyes to the south and soon you'll notice three giant balloons climbing into the sky, carrying a house up with them. The contraption floats across the sky for awhile before sinking beneath the horizon to the east. The full significance of the Easter egg isn't known—as Jackfrags says, it could be simply that one of the designers is a fan of the film—but it's a cute little thing, and nicely balances challenge with accessibility. And as Kotaku points out, it's also a handy distraction: Dazzle 'em with reminiscences of a classic Disney tale of love, loss and dreams, and then put two in their heads while they're not paying attention.

Jackfrags' full video explainer is below.

Witcher 3 devs had no clue how to make games

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Today, CD Projekt Red's flare for storytelling and world creation is almost unrivalled, however the Polish outfit started out as "passionate gamers" who "had no clue how to make games".

That's according to the developer's co-founder Marcin Iwiński who, while chatting to Glixel, explains how he and high school pal Michał Kiciński went from selling imported CD ROM games in Poland to starting up a company and eventually falling into games development.

"I started the company with a friend from high school, Michał Kiciński," says Iwiński. "We started as game distributors, but in all honesty, we weren't very good at distribution. We were very good at games, at picking games and being the first to localize them for Poland. Initially, the big part of our motivation to start the company was that we would have access to new titles."

"It sounds super silly, but we were gods. We were the lords who were deciding what was being distributed in Poland and what was not. So we were getting access to all this stuff. I found one of the first ads that we placed in a Polish gaming mag, and our hours were from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And I scratched my head and thought, 'What were we doing?' Of course! We were closing early to play games."

Iwiński then explains that he and Kiciński "learned from the other side" as far as videogame development is concerned and that securing the rights to distribute Warcraft 2 sparked the idea to make games.

"One of the first things we saw at [The Consumer Electronics Show] was Warcraft 2. It was in a corner. Michał was very into strategy games and so he said, 'We gotta have it.' So I started talking to them. I still remember, the first agreement, we imported 300 units from their Irish warehouse. And that's how we started representing Blizzard until we sold off our distribution business two or three years ago."

"We started localizing the 'box and docs,' and then localizing the full games. So we learned from the other side. We had the dream of making our own games. But we had no clue how to make games. It was more like passionate gamers who knew how to run a gamer-friendly publishing business starting to develop games, without any knowledge of how to develop games whatsoever. And that was Witcher 1."

Crypt of the NecroDancer will make your fingers dance

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Crypt of the NecroDancer is a rhythm-based roguelike that demands coordination and perseverance. You control a hero in a grid-based dungeon, advancing in the fog of war step by step as you explore the randomly-generated set of chambers. As you dive deeper you gather gear, spells and consumables to help you survive your fight with monsters who act according to predictable patterns. However, if you die, you will lose everything and you are forced to start over from the beginning.

Unlike in a traditional game of this genre where your greatest asset is the time you afford to think and plan your next movement, in Crypt of the Necrodancer your thinking time is reduced to the space between two beats on the soundtrack. Moving to the rhythm of the music builds up your multiplier and turns the ground into a dancefloor, boosting the gold you earn from every kill. That means you have to keep moving in order to be able to afford the best gear there is. However, if you do not coordinate your moves and you wander around thoughtlessly, you will soon die. What was once a meditative, considered experience becomes now a finger dance.

Each enemy has a different pattern that you'll have to learn, from slimes that bounce back and forth along set routes to shield-wielding skeletons that need to be tackled from the side in order to be defeated. In order to progress further in your adventure and dig deeper into the chambers you need to memorise each pattern and practice enough so countering enemies becomes second nature. This process, however, is slightly dependant on your gear. Different weapons have different attack patterns and your options will be expanded by magic rings, spells and the abillity to dig through walls.

Although in most rhythm games the pattern you have to follow is right in front of you, on the screen, here, the pattern is something you have to feel while listening to the music. The sense that your understanding of the mechanics improves despite repeated failure is one of the most pleasing feelings a game can offer, and the devs made the most of it.

The game is divided between four main worlds, each one subdivided into individual levels. After beating the mini-dungeons of each main world you'll have to fight a clever designed boss in order to advance to the next world. To make progress more reasonable, you can take the worlds one by one, if you'd prefer not to be reset to the beginning every time you die. In the main mode you can also rescue NPCs that sell permanent upgrades and unlock different items that can be found inside chests or in the shop.

As you play, you unlock new characters which fundamentally change the way you'll be playing the game. Dove, for example, can't attack, but unlike other characters, she doesn't have to defeat mini-bosses in order to advance to the next level, having all the exits opened. Bard doesn't need to move to the beat at all and Eli turns NecroDancer into Bomberman with a beat, due to his inability to use regular weapons, but being able to plant and kick infinite bombs.

The game is full of pleasing little touches, from the simple animations for each creature that syncs up with the beat, to the way the shopkeeper sings along to the soundtrack made by Danny Baranowsky, the same guy who composed the soundtracks for Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac. Did I mention that you can use your own music while playing ? The game gives you the option to use custom music, so you can play while moving to the rhythm of your favorite song.

Combine everything said earlier with local co-op, Workshop support, different difficulty options and daily challenges and you have a rhythm-based roguelike with a remarkable long-term potential.

Name: Crypt of the NecroDancer
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Publisher: Brace Yourself Games, Klei Entertainment
Released: April 23, 2015
MSRP: $14.99

Mass Effect: Andromeda - no improvements on launch day

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Over the past week, people started complaining about the surprisingly lifeless facial animations of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The dissapointment is getting even bigger now that the devs announced that there will be no animation improvements on launch day. Ian Frazier, lead designer, said on Twitter that the day one patch is already included in the Origin Access early trial.

He added that there will be further patches, but what those will affect is still under consideration. He also said that BioWare is looking into improving the character creator, which received lots of criticism from fans. One of the areas that is under investigation is skin tone and the addition of more in a future update.

Mass Effect: Andromeda will be released for PC on March 21st.

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