WoW Arena Pass 2011 Registration Now Open

Prepare to bask in the thrill of tournament battle.
The distinct scent of glorious online combat is in the air now that registration is open for the 2011 WoW Arena Pass. Structured around eight weeks of arena-only battles on special Arena Pass realms dedicated to gladiatorial warfare, this annual tournament lets you craft and customize a new level 85 character and engage top combatants in 3×3 arena battles to your heart’s content. Aside from winning serious bragging rights for claiming top slots in the championship, participants can earn the title “Vanquisher” and unlock an exclusive Armored Murloc companion pet.

Registration costs a one-time payment of $20.00, and you must have a WoW account that has been upgraded through the Cataclysm expansion. The first four weeks of the event are dedicated to practice, and scores are reset at the start of the final four weeks. Playing 50 or more matches with the same character on the same team during the qualifying round earns you the Armored Murlock, while ranking within the top 1,000 teams earns you the “Vanquisher” title.

A finely detailed rundown of all the nitty-gritty can be found over at the WoW Arena Pass page.

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Miyamoto Not Interested in More 3DS Remakes … Except Link to the Past, Maybe

More original titles on the way for the 3DS.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, famed game designer Shigeru Miyamoto says Nintendo is not interested in any more 3D remakes for the 3DS. “We would like to create more new titles. For example, this year we are making Super Mario 3D, but it’s not really a remake of [the Wii’s Super Mario] Galaxy.”

The 3DS will see several 3D makeovers of old games this summer, including remakes of Nintendo 64 games The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64. Additionally, downloadable versions of NES title will be getting the 3D treatment on the 3DS beginning with Excitebike, which will be available free to Japanese 3DS owners as part of a system update this month.

Miyamoto qualified his statement about potential 3D remakes, adding “The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past could be one. I think it would be good to see that world with a layered 3D effect.” A Link to the Past, which originally appeared on Super Nintendo but has also been released on the Game Boy Advance, would be the first 16-bit title to appear on the 3DS with altered graphics.
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Rage – The Shrouded Gameplay Trailer

Invading a clan bunker in id Software’s sequel.

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Ubisoft Announces Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Publisher confirms fourth installment of franchise coming this November.

After a handful of telling teases, Ubisoft came right out and said it today: the next Assassin’s Creed game is Revelations, it will be the culmination of Ezio’s adventure, and it will be set in Constantinople.

Promising the most immersive experience in the series to date, Ubisoft said Revelations will feature a new “revolutionary” gameplay mechanic thats allows players to manipulate the construct of Desmond’s memories and the Animus to decipher the mysteries of his past and gain insight into the future.

“Delivering the final chapter of the Ezio trilogy is an important milestone in the Assassin’s Creed franchise for us and for our fans,” said Alexandre Amancio, Creative Director at Ubisoft Montreal. “Assassin’s Creed Revelations includes lots of new features and some significant surprises. We can’t wait to show our fans what we have in store at E3 this year.”

The storyline of Revelations, as summarized by Ubisoft:

In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altair, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path — one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.

In addition to Ezio’s single-player adventure, Ubisoft confirmed Revelations will include the assassination-fest multiplayer mode from Brotherhood. This time around, the multiplayer will include more modes, maps, and characters for gamers to get stabby with.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations is being developed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PCs. The game is scheduled for launch in November.

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Anonymous Denies Involvement in PSN Data Theft

Hacker group’s spokesman says professional criminal group, Anon enemy likely behind attack.
It wasn’t us. That’s the word from hacker activist group Anonymous after being called out by Sony in a letter to U.S. Congress over the PSN security breach that led to the largest theft of consumer data in history.

In an interview with SCmagazineUS.com, “somtimes-spokesman for Anonymous” Barrett Brown said his group had nothing to do with the cyber attack, regardless of the evidence Sony claims to possess.

“Anonymous has no record in engaging in credit card theft and resell, and if we did, the FBI would’ve already come down on us,” Brown told SCMagazineUS.

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing in Washington, D.C. yesterday(scheduled before the PSN attack) entitled The Threat of Data Theft to American Consumers. The Committee asked Sony to attend the hearing and respond to a series of questions about the PSN fiasco. Sony did not attend, but responded with a letter from PlayStation boss Kaz Hirai in which it intimated Anonymous was behind the attack.

“Sony has been the victim of a very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyber attack,” Hirai wrote. “We discovered that the intruders had planted a file on one of our Sony Online Entertainment servers named ‘Anonymous’ with the words ‘We are Legion.'”

Said Brown: “They could’ve just as easily left documents saying, ‘Congress. We investigate steroid use in baseball.’ Any clever thief of that sort would be inclined to leave a document laying blame to someone else. We’re all mystified by this. Everyone just assumes — knows — it’s some criminal group. But it wasn’t us.”

Brown said he believes a professional criminal outfit is likely behind the attack — which has left PSN down for 15 days and counting and led Sony to also shut down SOE this week — and used Anonymous’ very public feud with Sony to shift suspicion away from it.

UPDATE: Anonymous has issued a full statement, further detailing its denial of involvement in the PSN security breach. The full statement reads:

Last month, an unknown party managed to break into Sony’s servers and acquired millions of customer records including credit card numbers. Insomuch as that this incident occurred in the midst of Anonymous’ OpSony, by which participants engaged in several of our standard information war procedures against the corporation and its executives, Sony and other parties have come to blame Anonymous for the heist. Today, in a letter directed to members of Congress involved in an inquiry into the situation, Sony claimed to have discovered a file on its servers, presumably left by the thieves in question, entitled “Anonymous” and containing a fragment of our slogan, “We are Legion.” In response, we would like to raise the following points:

1. Anonymous has never been known to have engaged in credit card theft.

2. Many of our corporate and governmental adversaries, on the other hand, have been known to have lied to the public about Anonymous and about their own activities. HBGary, for instance, was caught lying a number of times to the press, to the public, and to Anonymous itself (in this phone call, for instance, ( http://tinyurl.com/68pbdj8) CEO Aaron Barr makes a number of untrue statements regarding the intent of his “research,” claiming for instance that he never tried to sell the information to the FBI when e-mails acquired soon showed that he had been set to do just that; executive Karen Burke was also caught lying to Bloomberg about having not seen an incriminating e-mail that she had in fact replied to just a few days before). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce lied about not having seen the criminal proposal created by them for Team Themis; Palantir lied about not having any idea what their employees were up to; Berico publicly denounced a plan that they had actively engaged in creating; etc. There is no corporation in existence will choose the truth when lies are more convenient.

3. To the contrary, Anonymous is an ironically transparent movement that allows reporters in to our operating channels to observe us at work and which has been extraordinarily candid with the press when commenting on our own activities, which is why reporters prefer to talk to us for truthful accounts of the situation rather than go to our degenerate enemies to be lied to.

4. Whoever broke into Sony’s servers to steal the credit card info and left a document blaming Anonymous clearly wanted Anonymous to be blamed for the most significant digital theft in history. No one who is actually associated with our movement would do something that would prompt a massive law enforcement response. On the other hand, a group of standard online thieves would have every reason to frame Anonymous in order to put law enforcement off the track. The framing of others for crimes has been a common practice throughout history.

5. It should be remembered that several federal contractors such as HBGary and Palantir have been caught planning a variety of unethical and potentially criminal conspiracies by which to discredit the enemies of their clients. This is not a theory – this is a fact that has been reported at great length by dozens of journalists with major publications. Insomuch as that our enemies have either engaged in or planned to engage in false flag efforts, it should not be surprising that many of the journalists who have covered us, who know who we are and what motivates us – and who have alternatively seen the monstrous behavior of those large and “respectable” firms that are all too happy to throw aside common decency at the behest of such clients as Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – also have their suspicions that some capable party performed this operation as a means by which to do great damage to Anonymous in the public eye. Those who consider such a prospect to be somehow unlikely are advised to read about what was proposed by Team Themis in their efforts to destroy Wikileaks, and should otherwise take a few minutes to learn about COINTELPRO and other admitted practices by the U.S. intelligence community. The fact is that Anonymous has brought a great deal of discomfort to powerful entities such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Palantir, and much of the federal government; the Justice Department in particular is likely unhappy that our efforts revealed that it was they themselves who recommended the now-discredited “law firm” Hunton & Williams to Bank of America in order that the latter might better be able to fight back against Wikileaks. All of this is now public record, and anyone who finds it laughable that those or other entities may have again engaged in tactics that they are known to have engaged in in the past is not qualified to comment on the situation.

Anonymous will continue its work in support of transparency and individual liberty; our adversaries will continue their work in support of secrecy and control. The FBI will continue to investigate us for crimes of civil disobediance while continuing to ignore the crimes planned by major corporations with which they are in league.

We do not forget, even if others fail to remember. We not forgive, even if others forgive our enemies for those things for which we are attacked. We are legion, and will remain so no matter how many of our participants are raided by armed agents of a broken system.

We are Anonymous.

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Epic Games Announces Gears of War 3 Never Fight Alone Multiplayer Beta Program

Earn tokens by doing all things Gears on Xbox Live, give them to friends on May 8.
If you’ve been playing the lone wolf in the ongoing Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta, now is the time to invite a friend. Epic Games launched its Never Fight Alone program today, enabling beta testers to earn extra beta keys by completing a number of tasks, including simply playing the game.

Starting today, anyone that has played at least one multiplayer round in the ongoing Gears of War 3 beta will have a chance to receive a buddy token. The token can then be shared with a friend on Xbox Live, giving them access to the beta.

In the U.S., beta testers can earn up to five tokens by completing any or all of the following tasks by Wednesday, May 4:
— Purchase any Gears of War content from Xbox Live Marketplace (including a Gears of War game add-on, a Gears of War Games on Demand title, or a Gears of War Avatar item)

— Play 20 or more hours of the Gears of War 3 beta (any time already spent in the beta will count toward this challenge)

— Add a 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscription to your existing account (purchased from retail or online)

— Play more than 100 hours of any Gears of War title, lifetime to date

Epic Games noted that while every beta participant worldwide has the chance to unlock a buddy token, only U.S. residents will have the ability to earn more than one.

Epic and Xbox Live are keeping track of all token earning, and everyone that acquires digital coinage will be emailed their additional beta keys on May 8, kicking off the official Never Fight Alone period.

Gears of War 3 is an Xbox 360 exclusive. The game is set to ship on September 20.

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Sony Shuts Down SOE

Investigation into security breach uncovers “issue” that warrants shutdown.

As Sony prepares to flip the switch on PlayStation Network this week, the folks at Sony Online Entertainment have shut their gaming portal, Station.com, down. Members attempting to log-on this morning are being greeted by a message that indicates all is not well on SOE.

What about SOE? It was a common question from customers after Sony pulled the plug on PSN on April 20 in the wake of its much publicized security breach. SOE’s servers were also attacked, the Japanese tech giant later confirmed, but it did not feel the need to shut the doors to the home of EverQuest as it investigated the breach. That changed this morning.

In a brief message on SOE.com, Sony states:

We have had to take the SOE service down temporarily. In the course of our investigation into the intrusion into our systems we have discovered an issue that warrants enough concern for us to take the service down effective immediately. We will provide an update later today (Monday).

No further details were provided. We’ll let you know as soon as we learn more.

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