Checkpoint #11: Diablo in the Details

Fortnite season X drops with mechs, 100 million PS4s are in the wild, World of Warcraft Classic looks huge, and much more

Welcome back to Checkpoint!

The Modern Warfare beta is around the corner with crossplay, Hitman 3 is in the works, Riot confirmed it’s building a fighting game, Read Dead Online’s new class system, No Man’s Sky is coming to VR, and the Fortnite World Cup just made a bunch of teens 💸 rich 💸. 

Let's get into it.

Diablo in the Details

PC gaming and cross-platform titles

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare beta begins in September, and crossplay will be part of the test — PC, PS4, and Xbox One players will be able to battle each other. Infinity Ward has essentially rethought Call of Duty multiplayer from the ground up, but there’s a bit of nostalgia in there: killstreaks are back.

Heroes of the Storm is getting a new hero — Qhira, a Nexus original — and a ranked queue system. Some of the game’s lead designers told Destructoid that there are more major characters in the pipeline and said that, despite cutbacks last year, the game isn’t winding down.

It sometimes feels like Blizzard built World of Warcraft Classic just to prove that there was no demand for it — now they’re stunned not just by how many people played the beta, but by how much of it they played. The team will also be rolling out Classic’s patches in six stages, instead of the originally planned four.

And you can now play the original Diablo in your browser, for free.

An update to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has added a brand new map, Breach, that takes place in a tech startup’s office. The patch brings back Seaside, which was removed a few years ago, and has updated parts of Vertigo.

Hitman 2 does Siberia in this week’s new Sniper Assassin map, while IO Interactive has revealed that it’s planning a third title in the Hitman reboot series (and a brand new IP).

If you didn’t enjoy any of the games you’ve played on Steam in the past, you can now tell Steam Labs to ignore them when making recommendations. Valve has also released an update on the great Team Fortress 2 hat market crash of 2019, detailing plans to reduce its economic impact.

Fortnite’s season X has arrived and it is making waves by bringing mech combat to the game. Learn more about the patch’s changes and the battle pass.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne might be the first and final expansion for the game, but you can expect continuous updates and free DLC drops for a good while after it releases. But if you’re playing on PC, you won’t be able to get your hands on Iceborne until January 2020.

Finally, Riot Games has confirmed that it is, indeed, working on a fighting game.

Collect Your Wits

Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch news

As of the end of last quarter, PlayStation 4 has sold 100 million units worldwide — it’s the fastest console to have shipped this many units.

Read Dead Online is getting a class-like Roles system, including the Collector, Trader, and Bounty Hunter at launch, with potential for more down the line. 

A new Super Lucky’s Tale game hits the Switch on November 8. There is also a new Rabbids title on the way, and The Outer Worlds and Lego Jurassic World are coming to the diminutive console. Switch Online subscribers can even play Mario Tennis Aces for free next week. But don’t expect your favorite EA titles to cross this particular Rubicon any time soon.

Dragon Quest’s Hero fighter has arrived in Super Mario Smash Bros. Ultimate during this week’s version 4.0 update. You’ll need to drop US$5.99 to unlock the fighter pack.

Not ready to spring for a bunch of new games? That’s fine — you can join the people still discovering quirky glitches and easter eggs in Breath of the Wild. This week: a glitch that allows you to ride the aquatic Prince Sidon.

Automatic Cyberpilot

VR, AR, streaming, and other emerging tech

No Man’s Sky is getting a major update, named Beyond, on August 14. It’ll add MMO features to make the game more social, and support for VR, which has tempted me to finally purchase this game.

Reviews for Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot are in and suggest that the game has a lot of potential, but doesn’t currently make the most of it.

Respawn, developer of Apex Legends and Titanfallwill reveal its own AAA combat VR game at Oculus Connect in September.

Go and Get It

Mobile gaming news

Pokémon Go has now been downloaded more than a billion times. The game turned three a few weeks ago. Even accounting for re-downloads and new devices, this suggests that a significant percentage of the global population has at least tried the game. Go will also get its first official PVP tournament in August.

Google is reportedly testing a subscription service called Google Play Pass, echoing the upcoming Apple Arcade that will make hundreds of mobile games available to users for a flat monthly fee.

To the excitement of iPhone owners everywhere, Monument Valley 3 is now in development.

Method to the Madness

eSports, records, and races

Some lucky youngsters became quite wealthy last weekend. 16-year-old Fortnite player Bugha has taken home a massive US$3 million after dominating the Solo Finals of the Fortnite World Cup. A 15-year-old from the United Kingdom will split another £1.8 million with his duos partner after coming in second.

The Duos winners were Nyhrox and Aqua, splitting US$3 million before promptly breaking upThe Fortnite World Cup Finals peaked at 2.3 million concurrent viewers. If there’s anyone left in your life who is still treating esports like a joke, whack ‘em upside the gullet with that.

Method is still the top dog in the World of Warcraft Mythic raiding world, after taking out World First Mythic Queen Azshara in the Eternal Palace raid last weekend.

A pro Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player, CaptainZack, has admitted to fixing matches in the middle of a controversy around a different issue.

Free Fallin’

Free releases and deals you should know about

Plenty of great free grabs out there right now, between the weekly Epic Games releases and the monthly Xbox and PlayStation freebies: 

  • Epic Games: Grab Alan Wake and For Honor for free until August 9.

  • Xbox Games with Gold

    • Xbox One: Gears of War 4 (Aug 1 - 31), Forza Motorsport 6 (Aug 16 - Sep 15)

    • Xbox 360: Torchlight (Aug 1 - 15), Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Aug 16 - 31)

  • PlayStation PlusSniper Elite 4Wipeout Omega Collection (throughout August)

And here are the games coming to Xbox Game Pass in August:

  • August 1Ashes CricketPandemicDownwell

  • August 8The Jackbox Party Pack 2Space Hulk: Tactics

  • August 14: Slay the Spire

Mix and Match

Gaming culture, industry, and miscellanea

Ninja shook up the streaming world this week: he left Twitch to stream exclusively on Mixer, presumably for a lot of cash. Ninja’s first Mixer stream beat his average Twitch viewer count, and it looks like this move will end up being a big deal for both parties.

A tax avoidance watchdog has gone after Rockstar North for minimizing its corporate taxes in the UK down to zero.

Children’s gaming juggernaut Roblox has finally pulled off a feat that we probably all saw coming: it hit 100 million monthly players and beat Minecraft as the top dog on that particular block.

We got a full cast reveal for the upcoming Halo TV series, which includes Natascha McElhone (Californication) as Cortana, and a release window — early 2021.

That’s it for this edition.

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- Flob

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