The next batch of cross-over operators was just announced for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Warzone, and it includes none other than Diablo IV’s Succubi queen Lilith and fallen archangel Inarius. Plus a bunch of other horror stars like Spawn and Evil Dead’s Ash Williams. No doubt it will be another bloodbath.
This Modern Warfare 3 Gameplay Feature Spices Up A Weak Campaign
Activision revealed the season 6 operators on Thursday alongside teases for other horror-themed content, including the return of The Haunting event in October. The seasonal update goes live on September 27 and will even include a Doom-themed bundle complete with a chainsaw. Al Simmons will be one of the new operators alongside a host of Spawn-related skins, including a couple for the superhero himself as well as Creepy Clown and Violator.
Lilith, Diablo IV’s main antagonist, and Inarius, the hooded asshole, will be separate purchases added to the shop, joined by Skeletor (He-Man), Ash Williams (Evil Dead 2), and Alucard (Hellsing). I can’t wait to see how they play in the Call of Duty sandbox alongside rapper Nicki Minaj, NBA star Kevin Durant, and the Burger King guy. The upcoming event should make the time go a little faster until Modern Warfare 3drops on November 10.
For those who might not be aware, Call of Duty has been going fullblown Fortnite for quite a while now, mixing things up with wild cross-overs from across the pop culture landscape. In July it was characters from Amazon Prime superhero dramedy, The Boys, with Temp V abilities like Homelander’s red eye lasers torching every player in sight.
Some have bemoaned the silliness of it all for undermining the “very-serious” war shooter. Others enjoy the changing party costumes, if not always the seasonal grinds and prices that come with them. The weapons at least, like the Doom bundle, will carry over into Modern Warfare 3.
Buy Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Diablo IV’s Season of Blood goes live October 17, and it’s aiming to inject some life back into the loot RPG with blood-sucking foes and quality-of-life fixes. The game’s developers promise players will level up 40 percent more quickly than last season, potentially paving the way for more fun and less grinding.
Diablo IV’s Strongholds Are A Great Way To Level Up This Season
During yesterday’s live stream, Blizzard revealed season two revolves around fighting off blood-thirsty hordes and using their health-stealing abilities against them. Players will gain access to 22 new Vampiric Powers that can be activated using new Pact Armor, acquired throughout the season. Currencies called Standalone Pacts and Cleansing Acids will let you rework the armor you find to make sure it aligns with the Vampiric Powers you’re using. It’s a whole new kind of buildcrafting economy infused with spooky vibes right in time for Halloween.
Buy Diablo IV:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
But the real promise of Season of Blood lies in how it aims to reduce player burnout, making it easier to hit level 100, and have fun ripping through nightmare dungeons and new end game bosses as a super-powered leech. Players will get more XP, and Nightmare dungeons will be more streamlined. Here’s a preview of the relevant changes:
Experience and Monster Levelling
Decreased the time spent to reach level 100, making the journey about 40% faster. The experience gained from killing monsters at level 50+ has been significantly increased and rises steadily as you level.
Prevent Monsters from being less powerful as character level increases by making Monsters in World Tier III and IV match the current player level at a minimum after Levels 55 and 75 respectively. This increases the overall experience of levelling, making it much smoother.
Incenses now grant a bonus to Experience and persist after death.
Increased the potency of Experience bonuses (Elixir, Season Blessings) by making them multiplicative with the World Tier bonus.
Expedited the demon slaying process as Nightmare Sigils now teleports you directly into the Nightmare Dungeon.
Avoided some players not getting Nightmare Sigils from Dungeons that have no final boss, Nightmare Sigils are now rewarded upon completing a Nightmare Dungeon instead of final boss defeat.
Objectives have been removed from some Dungeons, only defeating the boss is needed to defeat the Nightmare Dungeon.
Multiple Nightmare Dungeon Afflictions have been updated.
Massively reduced backtracking by placing all Dungeon objectives on the critical path of a dungeon, making them much harder to miss by taking a wrong turn.
Many dungeon layouts have been redesigned.
Improved the overall readability of Traps by enhancing their overall visual effects and reducing their crowd control.
Endcaps have been added to ensure Dungeon layouts don’t feel too linear.
Paragon Glyph experience has been increased.
It all sounds great, and will hopefully prevent more players from stalling out in the back-half of the race-to-100 grind. But the rewards for getting there are also getting more interesting. Season of Blood will add five new endgame bosses to Sanctuary, with the chance to drop specific pieces of Unique and Uber Unique loot. They are: Grigoire, The Galvanic Saint, Echo of Varshan, the Beast in the Ice, Dark Master, and Echo of Duriel. Each boss will have a specific way to summon them, and carry a unique cosmetic. Other endgame activities are improving as well, with cooldowns for Legion Events and World Bosses getting reduced, and the rewards for Helltide chests increasing. Even Dungeon Events are getting more monster density.
I’ve only touched on some of the new content and changes coming in season two (the rest is outlined over on Blizzard’s website), but it paints a clear picture of a live-service action-RPG that seems to be moving in a more rewarding and less tedious direction. Shortly after Diablo IV’s release, the developer said it wanted players to feel empowered to take a break and later dip back into the game at the start of a new season, without feeling like they had fallen behind. As someone who fell off of Season of Malignant early on, that’s definitely the feeling I’m getting with Season of Blood. Hopefully the new improvements coming make it easier to hang on for the full ride this time.
Castlevania: Nocturne, the sequel to Netflix’s surprise-hit Castlevania anime, premiered on the streamer last week to rave reviews from critics and fans alike. So it’s probably not startling to hear that the vampire-killing series has been renewed for a second season, but that won’t stop me from pumping my fist in the air anyway.
A Saucy Romance Game Where You Play As Dracula
News of Castlevania: Nocturne’s renewal came in the form of an official trailer announcement by Netflix on Friday. Castlevania: Nocturne follows Richter Belmont, a descendant of Trevor Belmont and Sypha Belnades, as he and his fellow plucky young allies battle against a “vampire messiah” plotting to enslave humanity and plunge the world into darkness. Be warned: The season two trailer, which is predominantly storyboards and concept art, contains spoilers for the final episode of Castlevania: Nocturne season one.
Consider yourself warned! Here’s the trailer:
“Thanks to all of the Castlevania fans old and new for the amazing response and support,” showrunners Clive Bradley and Kevin Kolde said in a press release. “We are excited to be able to bring you more Castlevania: Nocturne and the next chapter in the rise of Richter Belmont.”
Castlevania: Nocturne season two doesn’t have a release date but its directors, Samuel and Adam Deets, teased fans saying the wait “won’t be quite so long this time.”
Read More:Castlevania: Nocturne Raises The Bar For Video Game Adaptations To New Heights
In our review of Castlevania: Nocturne, we said the show’s first season laid the groundwork for a series that has the potential to eclipse the greatness of its predecessor while raising the bar for video game adaptations in the process. Hopefully, the show’s second season will continue that legacy.
Now, if you want to talk a bit about those spoilers…
For those who don’t care about spoilers, the above trailer shows that, yes, Alucard is back, and he’s teaming up with Richter, Maria Renard, and Annette to defeat the vampire messiah, Erzsebet Báthory, who’s still very much a threat at the end of the first season.
The season two trailer also gives us some quick shots of Edouard, Mizrak, and Abbot Emmanuel, confirming that they survived the cataclysmic events of the final episode. One particular storyboard from the trailer reveals a scene of Maria and Alucard sitting next to each other. While innocuous on the surface, folks who’ve played the Castlevania games know that Maria eventually falls in love with the ashen vampire. And honestly, who can blame her?
Perhaps we’ll get to see that one-sided crush play out in Castlevania: Nocturne season two alongside Richter and Annette’s budding romance.
Halo Infinite’s fifth season, “Reckoning,” arrives on October 17, 2023. With two new maps, a returning multiplayer mode from Halo 4, a new variant of the Bandit rifle, and more, it’s shaping up to be an excellent season for 343’s shooter.
Take A Tour Through Halo Infinite’s Newest Arena Maps
Buy Halo Infinite:Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop
Halo Infinite’s new Arena maps: Forbidden and Prism
While Halo multiplayer is capable of delivering many different experiences, the core 4v4 experience of “Arena” is essential. Halo Infinite shipped with solid maps on launch, and has seen some wonderful new additions, but I’d suggest that these new maps are a step above what we’ve seen added to the game before.
“Forbidden” is a symmetrical map that 343 Industries multiplayer level designer Cliff Schuldt said was designed “specifically for Capture the Flag.” It features a well-known Forerunner ruins art style that’s very reminiscent of Halo 2’s “Sanctuary” and has a dash of “Warlock” as well.
As a symmetrical map, it’s a natural fit for competitive play, and I found it to be quite fun in game modes besides CTF as well. But it’s the visual design that I especially appreciate. With varied amounts of overgrown vegetation covering its structures and a looming Halo ring visible from the very center,it has that distinct Halo vibe that other competitive maps in the game like Aquarius or Streets are somewhat lacking.
There are a lot of neat opportunities for some fancy movement across Forbidden. In particular, I loved the “rat holes,” as Halo Infinite’s multiplayer level designer Cliff Schuldt called them. These are chutes on either side of the map that you can slide into to drop down to the lower level, making for great flag getaways or quick repositioning.
The varied levels, tight corridors, ramps, and opportunities to snipe down some wonderfully positioned sight lines gives me some very serious “Lockout” vibes, a classic map from Halo 2 on which I used to absolutely terrorize my friends.
“Prism” offers a very different flavor from Forbidden and features a welcome injection of Covenant purple that feels like it’s been missing from Halo for far, far too long. While structurally it’s very different from something like “Midship” (it reminded me quite a bit of Halo 4’s “Abandon”), the presence of enormous glowing purple crystals (from which Needler ammo is mined according to the lore) really sells that old-school Covenant vibe. It features varied levels of elevation that have a natural-feeling topography as opposed to the more angular “Forbidden.” In my time with “Prism,” I found that the map naturally lends itself to tight pockets of action, particularly in the new game mode: Extraction.
“Prism” also features some environmental hazards in the form of crystal clusters that, when shot, release dangerous shards that can damage you or your opponent. It gives the map a bit of interactivity, and well-placed shots and grenades around these crystals ought to make for some interesting plays. I didn’t find them overly punishing, but they provided enough damage to either be used strategically or, potentially, to catch you by surprise if you’re not prepared.
“Prism” also features the Pinpoint Needler as a power weapon. If you’ve played Infinite’s campaign, you’ll remember it as the reward for taking out one of the High Value Targets. It’s a far more lethal variant of the Needler, feels perfectly at home on a Needler-themed map, and helps shake things up a bit from the usual “go get the rockets/sniper” pattern of most maps and power weapons.
Speaking of weapons, Season 5 also includes a new addition to the arsenal by way of the Bandit Evo, which manages to avoid stepping on the Battle Rifle’s place in the game while still offering some excellent range.
The Bandit Evo might be better than the DMR ever was
The semi-automatic DMR rifle made its debut in Halo: Reach and was arguably the final evolution of the one-shot-at-a-time precision of the overpowered M6D in Halo: Combat Evolved. It worked well enough in Reach, but when it joined the Battle Rifle in Halo 4 (along with the now-retired Light Rifle), it sort of felt like there were three guns competing to do the same thing.
Enter the Bandit Evo with season five of Halo Infinite. On paper it’s rather simple: It’s a Bandit (a semi-automatic medium-range DMR) with a reflex scope as opposed to the ACOG-style featured in Reach, 4, and 5.
With just a reflex scope, the Bandit gets the range it deserves, while not stepping on the Battle Rifle’s domain. In my experience it finds a nice middle position between the Sidekick and the Battle Rifle. I predict this weapon will work out very well in Big Team Battle, but its shorter range means that it presents some great utility for standard 4v4 action. To me it feels like a more appropriate version of Halo CE’s pistol.
The return of Halo 4’s Extraction, match XP in custom games, cross-core customization, and yes, AI in Forge
History doesn’t always look too kindly on Halo 4, which is a bit of a shame as it had some great ideas. Extraction, a multiplayer mode where players need to deploy and defend extraction devices in key areas, is one such example. Once you plant an extraction device, the countdown toward scoring a point begins. Fail to defend the area, and the opposing team can take it from you. It’s a straightforward mode, but one that can lead to a lot of interesting outcomes as both sides battle for control of the area.
Season five will also include some other much-needed additions such as cross-core armor coatings and helmets (these were previously locked to specific armor sets), and match XP from custom games, so you can make progress in the battle pass by playing in games other than what’s found in the matchmaking playlists. This is particularly interesting as season five also sees the long-awaited inclusion of campaign AI in Forge, opening the door to all kinds of interesting PvE and PvPvE experiences on Halo Infinite’s maps.
Forge AI, however, is a topic for another day. We’ll dive into that a bit more closer to release.
Halo Infinite Season Five: Reckoning will be available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Windows on October 17, 2023.
Diablo IV’s vampire-infested new Season of Blood goes live on October 17. In addition to new quests and gear, season 2 also promises a big overhaul of how XP and damage are calculated. The math can get pretty complicated. Even Blizzard’s own trailer got it wrong, which the studio ended up pulling after it was roundly mocked online.
Diablo IV – Bear Bender Build
“Check out some of the best quality-of-life changes coming with Season of Blood,” read the description of a nearly two-minute video posted on Diablo IV’s social media channel on October 13. As first spotted by PCGamesN, it was quickly taken down after fans noticed a bunch of errors in the footage. However, it has since been immortalized in a reaction video by Diablo YouTuber and streamer Raxxanterax. “I’m trying to build some hype for your new season, but you’re making it real hard.”
One section mixes up the “before” and “after” comparisons of a rework that will streamline Nightmare Dungeons and increase enemy density within them, and another touts overhauled mounts without really showing what’s changing. But the main section of the video that drew the ire of fans was a part breaking down how the math calculating XP earned and damage dealt will change starting in Season of Blood.
A before and after slide shows a switch from “1,000 x 40% = 1,040 XP” to “(1,000 x 1.2 = 1,200) 1.2 = 1,400 XP.” Unfortunately, neither is mathematically correct. What it’s intended to show is that rather than XP percentage bonuses being purely additive they will be multiplied, providing additional gains. It was hardly the biggest of blunders, but combined with everything else it became easy fodder for internet dunks.
When Season of Blood goes live it will fundamentally change how stats like damage and resistance are calculated as well. The patch notes are 10,000 words long. If everything goes off without a hitch it could be the second wind Diablo IV needs right now. Then again, with so many changes going into effect simultaneously, I’m sure more than a few bugs will be discovered after season 2 begins.
Update 10/17/2023 2:36 p.m. ET: Blizzard announced that the official start of the season has been delayed by a few hours due to some complicaitons with the build. Today is also Diablo IV’s debute on Steam.