After a bit of a delay, Warcraft 3: Reforged has at last being let loose, remastering the pinnacle of Blizzard’s real-time strategy series. It’s been nearly two decades since the original first graced our doorsteps, but few RTS games since have been able to claim such enduring popularity. With none of the campaigns made available before launch, however, you’re going to have to wait for my full review; in the meantime, I’ve spent some time snacking on the multiplayer and will hopefully be able to tide you over with my early impressions.
For the uninitiated, Warcraft 3 features the familiar RTS formula of resource gathering, base building and clashing armies, but with two Warcraft games already behind it in 2002, Blizzard decided to throw in more ingredients—most important among them, heroes. Each faction has a few, all with unique spells and abilities. By getting into PvE encounters at monster camps and spending gold at the shop—which you’ll need to build first—these heroes can then be decked out with powerful gear and earn XP. If they’re killed, you can just recruit them again.
With heroes taking up so much of the focus, Blizzard reduced the number of units you can directly control at once down to 12—a total that has not been changed for Reforged—so you’re micromanaging small-ish squads rather flinging big blobs at the enemy. You can recruit a lot more than 12 units, of course, but supply and food caps mean you’re not going to be fielding massive armies. The heroes make you feel powerful, but the smaller number of units make mistakes more costly and the consequences more immediate. You can lose everything in just a few clicks. On the flip side, it doesn’t take long to rebuild your army, though the enemy could be in your base by then. All of this remains true in the new version.
Warcraft 3: Reforged isn’t quite as straightforward a remaster as Starcraft Remastered, but it’s not a remake, either. Despite the new art, map changes and UI tweaks, this is still classic Warcraft 3 through and through. Indeed, Blizzard has even scaled back the planned scope of the changes, which originally included retconned lore and new cutscenes. This has split the community. Some favour the more conservative remaster treatment, while others hope for more new stuff given the absence of a modern Warcraft. I’m one of those a bit disappointed that it’s so restrained.
Going from the original to the new version, the visual transformation of units and buildings is absolutely noticeable, but if it’s been years since you last clapped eyes on it and still have your rose-tinted goggles on, it may look a lot more like you remember it. The aesthetic is more in line with World of Warcraft, so you should feel right at home if you’ve spent years questing in Azeroth. There are big shoulders abound! The unit models are considerably more detailed and varied, benefiting greatly from the growth of Blizzard’s character design chops, though that comes at the cost of a bit of clarity. They’re visually distinct from each other, but in the heat of battle it can be hard to make sense of the scrum. There’s just a bit of sensory overload. Despite this, I just can’t go back to the old models after seeing their flashier counterparts.
I’m less enchanted by the maps themselves. I have no complaints about the design, but visually the upgrade seems rather slight. While the art is new, Blizzard may have erred too much on the side of caution, maintaining so much of the original’s look that at times the only obvious difference is higher resolution textures and much better lighting. It looks less like a stylistic choice and more, well, dated.
It’s strange returning after so many years away. Warcraft 3’s multiplayer scene has continued, but I’ve been absent for a long time. Like StarCraft, it’s all about speedy clicks, practised build orders and relentless momentum, and I’m definitely out of practice. The addition of hero units and other RPG elements, Warcraft 3’s hook, also complicates things. Sometimes it can trick you into thinking this is a leisurely game where you take your squad of monsters and soldiers on a rollicking adventure around the map until you’re confident enough to bring the battle to your enemy’s base. In reality, however, it’s fast-paced arms race.
These days, I much prefer a laid-back comp-stomp, but Reforged is now dragging me back to the days of caring about being good—browsing videos, jotting down build orders, trying to figure out how to get X upgrade on Y unit faster. This is easier said than done when you’re fighting players who aren’t lapsed (or just crap), but there’s still something exhilarating about trying to crack the formula. Thankfully, what worked in the original still works here. While Blizzard has released several balance patches throughout the beta, and will undoubtedly keep doing so, the Alliance, Horde, Scourge and Night Elf factions seem to be much as they have always been.
This is excellent news, as Warcraft 3 boasts some cracking faction design and a roster full of exotic units that almost always have something to offer besides being cannon fodder. The distinct factions means there a lot to learn—again, in my case—and even within a single faction there are so many directions you can go in, so many upgrade paths, so many heroes and hero combinations to build your army around, that it can be tricky to retain it all. Hence the aforementioned note-taking.
I’m an orc man myself. What can I say? I like musky, muscular brutes in my strategy. The Horde’s got some meaty bruisers in its ranks, but the last build I fiddled with ditched most of the burly boys and their penchant for melee in favour of a more ranged build full of trolls. It doesn’t play to the faction’s advertised strengths, but that’s part of the fun: experimenting, finding new things to like about a faction, and then getting steamrolled because you really should have tested it more against the AI first. Oh well! Lesson learned.
During the beta, getting into a game wasn’t always guaranteed, and micro stuttering has been a persistent problem for a lot of players. It’s not clear what has been fixed now that it’s hit 1.0. The latest patch notes only show what’s been added, not what bugs have been squashed. There is, however, a list of known issues. I played some games after launch last night and didn’t notice as much stuttering, but it was unbearable when I tried playing on a larger map this morning.
There have been a few other hiccups, too. It took me several attempts to get custom games working, though once they kicked off I didn’t encounter any more trouble. The ability to load custom saves has also been disabled, though it will apparently be added in a future update. Other players have reported matchmaking issues, an inability to create games, and problems with logging in. Blizzard said that it was investigating some of these issues last night.
I’m about to start my misadventures in the campaigns, which is really where my heart lies, but I’m a little more ambivalent than I was when Warcraft 3: Reforged was just an exciting prospect. I’m still waiting for that lightning bolt, that moment when I realise this is why Warcraft 3 was plucked from the past and brought to 2020—beyond the fact that Warcraft 3 is still a great RTS, something that’s sorely been lacking lately. But maybe that’s enough? Good thing I’ve still got a few days to come up with an answer.
Corning redefines tough with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 – PR Newswire
The newest Gorilla Glass better survives drops on rougher surfaces, like concrete
MUMBAI, India, Dec. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) today unveiled its newest glass innovation, Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus® 2. Corning continues to push the boundaries of glass by expanding its Corning® Gorilla® Glass portfolio. With a new glass composition, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 delivers improved drop performance on rough surfaces like concrete, the world’s most abundantly engineered material, while preserving the scratch resistance of Gorilla Glass Victus.
“Smartphones are the center of our digital lives, and the requirement for exceptional scratch and drop resistance has only increased with our growing reliance on clear, damage-free displays,” said David Velasquez, vice president and general manager, Gorilla Glass. “Surfaces matter, and rough surfaces like concrete are everywhere.”
Corning’s extensive research has shown that 84% of consumers across three of the largest smartphone markets – China, India, and the United States – cite durability as the number one purchasing consideration behind brand itself.
“We challenged our scientists not only to create a glass composition that was durable enough to better survive drops from waist height onto rougher surfaces than asphalt, but to improve cover-glass performance for larger and heavier devices,” said Velasquez. “With more sophisticated and varied designs, today’s smartphones are nearly 15% heavier, and screen sizes are up to 10% larger, than they were four years ago – increasing both the stress on the cover glass and the probability of damage. Gorilla Glass Victus 2 redefines tough for consumers and OEMs.”
In lab tests, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 survived drops of up to one meter on a surface replicating concrete. Competitive aluminosilicate glasses from other manufacturers typically failed when dropped from half a meter or less. In addition, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 continued to survive drops up to two meters on a surface replicating asphalt and maintained scratch resistance up to four times better than competitive aluminosilicate.
For more than a decade, Gorilla Glass has helped revolutionize communication and transform the mobile consumer electronics industry. With nearly half a billion global consumers yet to transition to smartphones, Gorilla Glass will continue to solve tough consumer challenges and meet the needs of current and future smartphone users.
Gorilla Glass Victus 2 is currently being evaluated by multiple customers and is expected to reach the market within the next few months.
Gorilla Glass has been designed into more than 8 billion devices by more than 45 major brands. Throughout the company’s Mobile Consumer Electronics (MCE) market access platform, Corning continues its legacy of innovation with its market-leading cover glasses as well as glass and optics for semiconductor products that enhance performance, deliver new connectivity features, enable new designs, and support immersive user experiences with augmented reality and 3D sensing.
About Corning Incorporated
Corning (www.corning.com) is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science, with a 170-year track record of life-changing inventions. Corning applies its unparalleled expertise in glass science, ceramic science, and optical physics along with its deep manufacturing and engineering capabilities to develop category-defining products that transform industries and enhance people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in RD&E, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and deep, trust-based relationships with customers who are global leaders in their industries. Corning’s capabilities are versatile and synergistic, which allows the company to evolve to meet changing market needs, while also helping its customers capture new opportunities in dynamic industries. Today, Corning’s markets include optical communications, mobile consumer electronics, display, automotive, solar, semiconductors, and life sciences.
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SOURCE Corning Incorporated
Overwatch 2: Sojourn the Main Target of Nerfs in Season 2 Update – IGN
Blizzard Entertainment has revealed what we can expect from Season 2 of Overwatch 2, including balancing updates, limited-time events, skins, and more ahead of its December 6 launch date.
Alongside the introduction of the new Omnic revolutionary tank hero Ramattra and the winding Shambali Monastery Escort map, Season 2 is also bringing some important balancing changes, according to Blizzard Entertainment’s official blog post.
Most significantly, Blizzard Entertainment has moved to nerf the damage hero Sojourn, who according to a blog post on the company’s website has been dominating the high-skill competitive scene in recent weeks, while “remaining a challenge for players without the same mechanical skills”.
Overwatch 2: All 35 Heroes at Launch
To address the issue, the developers announced that they would be “focussing on the lethality of her Rail Gun at distance for Season 2”. This has been done to encourage players of all skills to use Sojurn’s mobility and her power slide to “close the distance for more devastating right-clicks”.
Doomfist — another tank — will also receive significant balancing tweaks to better reflect “his role as the team’s front line”. Ana, Bastion, Junker Queen, Kiriko, Mercy, and Symmetra will also be tweaked when the new season goes live on December 6, though Blizzard Entertainment has yet to reveal exactly how.
Next month’s launch will also bring a new map pool to Overwatch 2. Rialto and Blizzard World will be entering rotation alongside the new map Shambali Monastery. Oasis and Nepal will also be appearing “at different times of day”, while Hollywood and Watchpoint: Gibraltar will be rotated out.
Blizzard revealed details for the Greek mythology themed Season 2 Battle Pass. Progression rewards for the premium pass will include a Poseidon skin for Ramattra and a Hades costume for Pharah. The “pinnacle reward” for the pass is a Mythic Zeus skin for Junker Queen, which comes with “new customizations, weapon models, voice lines, and special effects”.
Season 2 is also set to bring three special events to the game. Winter Wonderland will run from December 13 – January 4, while the Lunar New Year event will start on January 17 and end on February 1.
Special skins will be up for grabs during each event, including “Epic Ice Queen Brigitte, Legendary Winged Victory Mercy, and Legendary Kkachi Echo.”
Sandwiched between these seasonal celebrations is the Battle for Olympus event, which will be around for a limited time from January 5 – 19. During this period players will be able to earn skins as they engage in a new game mode which will see certain heroes “imbued with awesome god-like powers”.
Finally, Season 2 will feature catch up challenges that will allow players to unlock heroes, including Kiriko from Season 1. To stay up to date and find out how to get the most out of your hero, be sure to check out more of IGN’s coverage of Overwatch 2.
Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video gaming news for IGN. He has over eight years experience of covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and absolutely no time for your shenanigans. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer
Xiaomi 13 Pro camera detailed with a 1-inch main sensor, floating telephoto lens
The Xiaomi 13 series is arriving tomorrow, and today the company revealed some key features of the camera on the Pro member. According to the released teasers, the main shooter will have a 50 MP 1” Sony IMX989 sensor, while the telephoto camera will have 75mm equivalent, which is 3x magnification.
Xiaomi revealed how the new “floating” telephoto lens would work in a 20-second video – it is moving the elements closer to achieve infinite focus and take pictures of far objects; when it needs to take close-ups (up to 10 cm), the elements are moving away. The camera is developed with know-how from Leica, which once again is having its branding on the back of the phone.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro also appeared in a leaked hands-on video, revealing the camera design and some specs like MIUI 14 on top of Android 13, 8/128 GB memory variant and a Qualcomm chipset with 3.19 GHz CPU, which is unsurprisingly the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
We also got some punchy camera samples, but since they were posted on social media, they have been heavily compressed.
Camera samples at 3x zoom
Camera samples from up close
Camera samples of main 50 MP shooter
The Xiaomi 13 series is bringing LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage for extra snappy performance. We expect a Xiaomi 13 and a Xiaomi 13 Pro at the December 1 event, as well as announcements of a Xiaomi Watch S2 wearable and the MIUI 14 interface.
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