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Dragon Age: Inquisition gets special recognition from GLAAD

GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) has given a special recognition award to Dragon Age: Inquisition. The 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which has a laundry list of award categories, including comics, singled out the BioWare RPG from the video game pack.

David Gaider, lead writer for the Dragon Age series at BioWare has spoken in the past about the "hump of assumptions" involved in creating and including lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters in video games. Inquisition featured the first "fully gay" characters in the series. Straight and bisexual characters have been a BioWare standard for over a decade.

Bioware parent company, Electronic Arts, has also repeated received a 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. The publisher earned the achievement again in 2015.
[Image: C. Felichidá]

On my iPad: Helix

This is On my iPad, a quick look at an iOS game we think you'll enjoy.

We can't seem to put down Michael Brough's Helix. Here's a brief video explaining why the retro-inspired avoidance game is special to us. The challenging, "hectic piece of momentary action" is available on iPhone and iPad for $2.99.
[Image: Michael Brough]

On track with the first three hours of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

There's an immediate intimacy to my first three or so hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and no, I don't mean the bare buttocks I see in one of the opening cut scenes. The third entry in CD Projekt's fantasy RPG series may offer a new open world that's umpteen times bigger than previous entries. Yet, following a story-driven tutorial, I end up losing myself to the very first landmark, the peasant village of White Orchard.

It's a small riverside muddle of hovels, taverns and fields, its warm hues belying the deeper, darker stories within. There's the impulse to call my horse and gallop towards the horizon, but I find the village's multitude of side quests as welcoming as they are distracting, and certainly meaty enough to steer me away from temptation.

Eventually I drag myself to the main quest and my first wild hunt of The Witcher 3, as I track and take on a huge, bloodthirsty griffin. But before all that, let's return to those buttocks...

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The Elder Scrolls Online answers player questions on its buy-to-play model

It's fine.  I'm fine.  We're fine.  Everything is fine.
Even if you were among the many players predicting a business model shift for The Elder Scrolls Online, a change in business models can be kind of disturbing. Suddenly the game doesn't behave according to all of the same rules you've been familiar with since launch. To help alleviate that confusion, the ESO dev team hosted a quick question-and-answer session with players over the weekend to help answer some of the major questions about the change, the next major patch, and balance issues moving forward in the game.

To start with, if you've still got time cards for the game on your desk, fret not; you can still use them after the model transition to add the equivalent amount of subscription time to your account. You might want to use them ahead of time, though, since there are plans to add in a special veteran reward for players who stayed subscribed during the game's entire subscription lifespan. DLC prices are not finalized, but they are intended to be around the normal DLC price points for other games. Take a look through the whole of the answers for more details on balancing and issues like controller support.

'00001' Anniversary Edition PS4 sells for $128K in charity auction

The first-off-the-line Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4 went for ¥15.135 million in an online charity auction last night, which converts to a stunning $128,000. Sony Japan's auction ended this weekend with the huge bid on the special grey console, which is unit "00001" of 12,300.

"We appreciate all who participated in the auction and are surprised at the highest bid price, which was higher than our expectations," a Sony representative told the Wall Street Journal, perhaps with an agape mouth and a lack of blinking.

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MMO Week in Review: Expansion or riot

GW2
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

You gotta love a week with tons of huge MMO news! Guild Wars 2 avoided a riot by announcing its first expansion, The Elder Scrolls Online revealed it's going buy-to-play ahead of its June console launch, and Star Citizen declared that its persistent MMO portion will roll out to testers this year. Meanwhile, PAX South has wrapped up; here's a look at what we've published so far:
PAX South 2015: O'Brien and Johanson on Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns
PAX South 2015: Garriott and Long talk Shroud of the Avatar
PAX South 2015: Camelot Unchained's proactive community management
PAX South 2015: Hangin' with Frontier, playin' Elite on the Oculus Rift
PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year
PAX South 2015: Notes from a Star Citizen town hall
PAX South 2015: Slaying giants in Motiga's Gigantic
PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be
PAX South 2015: The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns experience
Read on for the rest of this week's top MMO stories.

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Lady Hammerlock joins Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's playable lineup

Lady Hammerlock, sister to researcher Sir Hammerlock and heir to the family's fortune, will add a bit of class to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's playable lineup on January 27. Aurelia is included in The Pre-Sequel's season pass, but a related press release notes that fans who prefer to pick up DLC a la carte can also don her fashionable demeanor for $9.99.

Lady Hammerlock's progression branch into Huntress, Cold Money and Contractual Aristocracy skill trees. Huntress focuses on sniping, offering a skill that dishes out critical hit bonuses for each consecutive shot on a target. Cold Money is all about ice damage, as made evident by one of its abilities implementing Cryo damage with any equipped weapon. Contractual Aristrocracy is all about status, as suggested by one of its unlockables reaping Lady Hammerlock bonuses from kills made by her peasant teammates.

When firefights call for desperate measures, Lady Hammerlock's Cold As Ice action skill spawns a Frost Diadem Shard that chases down and latches onto targets, dealing constant damage until they finally keel over so that the shard can move onto its next target.

If you sat out The Pre-Sequel in hopes of a current-gen port but still want to freeze things to death as Lady Hammerlock, don't fret – Borderlands Handsome Collection will include all season pass DLC when it arrives on March 24.
[Image: Gearbox]

Homeworld Remastered Collection coming February 25


Homeworld Remastered Collection, a compilation that includes Gearbox's modern take on Relic Software's strategy game series, will make contact with Steam on February 25. As announced during Gearbox's presentation at PAX South 2015, the bundle includes original and updated versions of Homeworld 1 & 2, with Gearbox's recreations featuring new voice recordings and a remastered score. Homeworld Remastered Collection will provide commanders with space fleets for $34.99 at launch, though a 15 percent discount ($29.74) is available to those who preorder.

The bundle also grants access to Homeworld Remastered's Steam multiplayer beta, a mode that serves as a joined multiplayer mode for both games. Races, maps, game modes and features from both games will be ready for battle once the multiplayer beta launches.
[Image: Gearbox]

Check-in, Knock-out: More fun than jumping on hotel beds



Checking into a hotel can be stressful. Even if your overnight establishment of choice doesn't lose or otherwise muck up your reservation, what if you don't have a reservation in the first place and there's no vacancy? And then, there are the hotels that force you to do battle with your fellow room-seekers, tossing exploding luggage and tearing the room apart in an effort to make them fall to their death.

What, you've never had that happen? Clearly you haven't played Check-in, Knock-out. But you should.

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Adventures of Pip is modern cute plus classic challenge

I'm calling it now: the Kickstarted Adventures of Pip from developer TicToc Games is going to win cutest game of 2015. I don't care that we're not even to the end of January; Pip is so cute that I want him in a kids' TV show. He's so heart-meltingly precious that I want plush figures and a breakfast cereal themed after him.

Pip is so gawl-darned lovable and sweet that it makes me deeply, deeply angry.

The game's charming aesthetic masks a sinister beast. For despite the playful bounce of our square-shaped hero and the bright colors that surround him, this is a world looking to commit straight-up pixelated murder.

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First-person puzzler Magnetic: Cage Closed is like Portal, cubed

Guru Games isn't afraid of having their recently-announced game, Magnetic: Cage Closed compared to Portal. In fact, that's where it started: a school project designed as an homage to both Valve's famous, meme-producing first-person puzzler and lesser-known horror/suspense film, Cube.

Magnetic takes place in an alternate history version of the 1960s, where inmates sentenced to death can be sold for scientific testing. Such is your fate, as you are a prisoner charged with testing the D27 Magnetic Propulsion Device – or, in simpler terms, a magnet gun.

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For the '90s Arcade Gamer Soul: Gunsport

Wandering the halls of PAX South, a pattern begins to emerge: the 8-bit style resurgence has well and truly ended. While '80s nostalgia still rumbles throughout the booths of small developers, '90s style is what's playing on the screens. For newer players exhausted of blocky pixels in every other cult hit of the past five years, the chunky, dense neon of this 16/32-bit inspired games will be as welcome and vibrant as they were to players 25 years ago. To players of that era, games like Gunsport feel like home.

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Seen@PAX South: PAX Plays Pokemon

[You are now watching PAX South Plays Pokemon - Input your commands below]
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PAX South 2015: Guild Wars 2's Heart of Thorns is an expansion

GW2
ArenaNet has just announced that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is indeed an expansion.

Speaking from a packed main theater at PAX South 2015, ANet President Mike O'Brien formally confirmed the rumored expansion, saying it will take players "deep into the heart of the Maguuma jungle" and will avoid traditional expansion powercreep and gear treadmills by not raising the level cap. The expansion will introduce new group challenges, new profession specializations, and an account-based "masteries" system for character progression through the new territories.

Game Director Colin Johanson told cheering fans that new legendary weapons and precursors are inbound, as are epic quests that help players acquire their precursors. The expansion will include one new class, the Revenant, which is a heavy armor class that channels the spirits of the mists and famous characters from Guild Wars lore. Each existing class will receive new mechanics and weapons that "fundamentally" change how they play; for example, Rangers can become druids and Necromancers will be able to use greatswords. WvW will also finally get some love, and there will be a new GvG game mode called Stronghold, which of course means... guild halls!

The official site is live now, and the brand-new trailer is now below the cut. Massively's Larry Everett and Mike Foster are live at the event; we'll have more from San Antonio later this afternoon. Fans can follow the festivities on Twitch.

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PSN Indie game flash sale: Resogun, Brothers, Shadow Warrior

A lineup of more than 60 indie games and various movies are on sale right now on the PlayStation Network as part of a new Flash Sale, the PlayStation Blog has revealed.

From now until Monday, January 26 at 9:00am, titles like the PS4 original downloadable indie title Resogun, Joystiq favorite Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and the modern revival of Shadow Warrior and more are available for up to 80% off. The sale features games across the PS4, PS3 and Vita libraries.

A handful of movies are also discounted as part of the deal, including Snowpiercer and The Raid 2.
[Image: Sony]

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: Best of 2014

Latest episode: Friday, January 9th, 2015


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