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FIFA 15 removing trade offers from Ultimate Team mode

Electronic Arts announced that it has disabled a key feature in FIFA 15's Ultimate Team mode in an attempt to crack down on the harmful trade of in-game currency.

In recent FIFA series games, players could exchange in-game items, coins, and players with friends using the Trade Offers feature. Finding that coin sellers often used the service to shuttle ill-gotten currency between accounts, EA removed the feature from this year's game. The coin-selling market is tied to account hacking and phishing, and functions in previous FIFA games could be exploited to cheat players out of cash by artificially inflating auction bids.

EA's Ultimate Team revisions supplement recent changes to its cheating policy, which gives coin buyers three strikes before they're permanently booted from FIFA online play. Sellers are dealt harsher penalties, and risk being banned from all EA-published games for coin selling and farming.

[Image: Electronic Arts]

Halo: Reach free, Valiant Hearts discounted for Xbox Gold members

Welcome to the back half of September, which means Xbox Live Gold members can now grab Halo: Reach gratis from the service. Regularly priced at $25, the Halo prequel covers the events of the planet Reach's evacuation before it was overwhelmed by The Covenant. It's not an uplifting tale.

Following that heavy theme, the emotional Valiant Hearts is also discounted for the week on Xbox One and Xbox 360 for gold members.

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Destiny review: Loot Loops

Ask people what Destiny is and you'll get plenty of different answers. It's an MMO. Or a cooperative shooter. An action-filled space opera. If you believe the marketing, it's an aggressively bold interactive experience that's never been attempted before. If you ask me, it's a dungeon crawler. Full stop.

If you peel away its well-oiled shooting mechanics, look past its social ambitions and set aside the grandiose affectations of its universe, you will find Destiny's loot-driven heart, pulsing with a familiar rhythm. Meet friends in town, visit a dungeon, slay monsters, gain loot and level up, regroup in town, repeat.

In many ways, Destiny makes this old rhythm feel vibrant and fresh, though not without missing a few beats.

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PSA: Destiny's Vault of Glass open for raiding

Once I had Destiny and it was a gas, soon turned out had a Vault of Glass. 80s flashbacks aside, the Vault of Glass raid is live in Bungie's shooter as of this morning, meaning teams of six players can take on what the studio says is "the most elaborate mission" it's ever created.

Bungie recommends you're level 26 or more before taking on the Venusian Vault; "while you may be able to access the raid before you reach Level 26, such acts would be very foolish," says the dev. You'll need to have a team of friends as raids don't support matchmaking, and Bungie warns it's unlikely you'll complete the mission in one go, so be prepared to progress in portions. While you can enter the vault at any time, if you do take a break during the raid your party has a one week limit to resume the mission, and you have to follow the same team leader back into the vault.

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Disney Infinity's Toy Box 2.0 offered as standalone download

When Disney formally unveiled Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes in April, the publisher announced that the power discs and base from the first game would be compatible with the one slated to arrive next week. Instead of buying a starter pack for Disney Infinity 2.0 with a new base, returning players will have the option to download the new game's Toy Box mode separately starting on November 4.

The Toy Box mode has improved since the first game, offering options for procedurally generated content and themed templates.

Priced at $19.99, the standalone Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0 game will be available for PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U players. The developer opted for a November release date to time the digital launch with its physical 2.0 Edition Play Sets as well as the game's Disney Originals series. North American players that download Toy Box 2.0 will receive both the Stitch's Tropical Rescue and Brave Forest Siege game discs for free, with details on the limited-time offer on the way from Disney Interactive as November approaches. Disney Infinity 2.0 launches September 23 for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U.

Far Cry 4 trailer weaponizes the mighty elephant

Image This is either a new trailer for Far Cry 4, or it's the entry for "elephants" found in the actual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.... Continue Reading

PSA: Today's Destiny update causes interruptions

Destiny is getting an update today, meaning players may see the above alert in their games. This warning popped up for us on PSN while our ship was in orbit. Bungie.net offers the following message: "Pardon our dust! Destiny is being updated. You will be returned to the title screen to install a title update and will be able to continue playing afterwards."

With the game running in the background, we also received a message to exit Destiny and apply the update, and for more information to search "cat" on Bungie.net. The cat error means there's an update ready to roll.

See our ongoing review of Destiny's online functions in the State of Service series.

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Xbox chief: Minecraft will continue on PlayStation, mobile


When word spread last week that Microsoft was considering a purchase of Mojang and its gaming titan Minecraft, fans were concerned about the game's future. Would Minecraft become an Xbox exclusive? Would it be locked to Windows Phones going forward? In a video discussing the acquisition, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that Microsoft would continue to help develop Minecraft on all the platforms that made it a $2.5 billion brand in the first place.

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Chivalry: Medieval Warfare dashing onto consoles

The knightly carnage of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is coming to PS3 and Xbox 360 later this year, with Activision on publishing duties. Torn Banner's melee-heavy multiplayer game is set for the consoles' digital storefronts, but prices and release dates are yet to be announced.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare passed two million units sold in July 2014, which isn't bad for a game that started life as a Half-Life 2 total conversion mod. Back in 2007, Age of Chivalry thrust pikes, clubs and bows into the hands of its Middle Ages warriors, and its first-person, close-combat multiplayer proved a hit. Realizing it was onto a winner, Torn Banner Studios followed it up with the Unreal Engine-based Chivalry: Medieval Warfare which, following a successful $86,000 Kickstarter campaign, made its debut on Steam in 2012.

The two consoles may not be the only platforms welcoming the game in the near future, with Torn Banner seemingly teasing Mac and Linux ports "soon." That or penguin paladin DLC. Also, head below the break for a rather brutal new trailer.

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Why did Microsoft pay $2.5 billion for Minecraft creator Mojang?

Microsoft confirmed its $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang today, with Microsofts's Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer noting that the acquisition "adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms."

It's a big chunk of change to spend on an independent studio founded in 2010, but its juggernaut product has since sold over 15 million units and spawned a merchandising empire. Minecraft earned a reported $326 million in revenue last year, continuing its year-on-year trend of increased profitability.

Creator Markus Persson expressed a desire to move away from Minecraft earlier this year following a notable shift in indie development culture, however. "The current indie scene is as new for the people making games as it is for the audience," Joystiq editor Jess Conditt wrote. "Indie developers don't have trained PR teams to guide them through the drama; many don't know that the press and public will take their tweets seriously; some of them aren't even sure what an embargo is. They receive death threats and then react like candid humans when the audience expects them to behave like detached professionals."

"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately," Persson said in reference to the Microsoft purchase.

Here's a quick rundown of the events that led up to today's deal.

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NBA 2K15 wonders "What if?" in MyTeam trailer

2K Sports recently offered a new trailer and details for NBA 2K15's MyTeam mode. Similar to EA Sports' various Ultimate Team modes, MyTeam has players building a squad of basketballers from across the sport's history, improving their team gradually over time.

One of the ways they'll be able to build their team this year is through a real-time auction house, seen in a few of the game's screens provided by 2K. Players will also have a challenge mode to put their team through its paces in several "What if?" fantasy scenarios. 2K Sports plans to add both multiplayer and weekly challenges to MyTeam throughout the year as well as user-created content. NBA 2K15 will launch October 7 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
[Image: 2K Sports]

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Rumor: Microsoft testing browser-connected Xbox games

In the future, you may not need a big black box with Xbox branding to play Xbox games, according to tech news blog Neowin; the site reports that Microsoft is currently testing the ability for users of an as-of-yet-unannounced service to play Xbox games via their web browser. If details are accurate, the service will function similar to OnLive, the cloud-based platform that renders games via its own hardware before streaming them to users at home.

According to an unnamed source, Xbox 360 titles and the 360 dashboard will both run in-browser, with games outputting at about 60 frames per second. Neowin reports that Xbox One games are also in the works, but cautions that - like many tech research projects - the service may never make it into the public's hands.

Joystiq has reached out to Microsoft for comment. In the meantime, we'll keep an eye on this rumor and let you know if anything changes.
[Image: Xbox One Dashboard/Microsoft]

'Modder' tweaks Destiny to feature infinite ammo

Whether you want to call it a mod, a hack, an exploit or a cheat, the fact remains that the players seen in the videos below the break have found a way to slay moon wizards in Bungie's recently-launched open-universe shooter Destiny with the aid of unending bullets.

Before you get too riled up, know that this stunt does not seem to be very widespread. The comments following each of the below videos lack any sort of information on how to accomplish the feat, and most responses left by the people behind these clips are too busy justifying infinite ammo as anything other than cheating to explain how they made things work. "Since I modified the amount of ammo I have in my clip, it's a mod," wrote impressively self-assured YouTube user 0neThatsExiled in lieu of any word on how the game was "modified."

Happily, since existing examples do not explain how to duplicate this tweak, it's unlikely that you'll encounter the issue within Destiny before the quality assurance team at Bungie has time to obliterate this unintended gameplay issue. Hopefully these self-described modders are enjoying their brief moment of online infamy.
[Image: Activision]

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Destiny State of Service: Day Three

This is State of Service, an ongoing review of the online service of a recently launched game.

Friday, September 12 | T-minus 27 days until final verdict
Current State of Service:
Good
Summary: Destiny continues to enjoy a clean launch, with glitches hitting a small number of players.

Destiny is holding up well across PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in its first week online, with the most prominent server issue being the Boar error on PS3. Bungie offers a workaround for the bug: Install Destiny, create a new PSN account designating the same region as the game, and then launch it and sign into your original PSN account. If that doesn't work, try deleting and reinstalling Destiny. Inelegant, but effective, apparently.

The Joystiq staff hasn't encountered any connection issues since launch, though Feature Content Director Xav de Matos has received a PS4 UI error noting he's lost connection to the server. Oddly, he hasn't dropped connection to the game itself, even when the notification appears in the middle of matches. Destiny's first weekend events kick off today, and Bungie promises that public events will appear more frequently in the game "very soon."

If you encounter any connection problems while playing Destiny, let us know in the comments, or on the Joystiq Twitter or Facebook accounts. Use the hashtag "#sos" and specify your platform, please.

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Rumor: Here's what a Kinect-powered Gears of War looked like

A Kinect-controlled RTS spinoff in Microsoft's Gears of War franchise made it to the prototyping stage on the Xbox 360 before it was quietly canceled, a newly released gameplay video at VGLeaks suggests.

The video demonstrates motion-controlled gameplay presented from an overhead perspective. Players use gesture controls to target enemies as they guide a four-person team through destroyed urban environments, making use of environmental cover throughout.

Given that Kinect 1.0's gesture recognition and response was sporadic even under the best conditions, an action-focused RTS seems like a poor fit for the peripheral. Apparently Microsoft and developer Epic Games agreed, as Gears of War: Tactics was never officially announced. The game's current development status is unknown.

[Image: Microsoft / Epic Games / VGLeaks]

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