Hearthstone‘s upcoming Saviors of Uldum expansion is introducing a lot of interesting new cards that are sure to shake up the meta-game. But during its final card reveal livestream, Blizzard introduced one of the coolest and (according to its engineers) most complicated cards yet: the Legendary Zephrys the Great.
Zephrys is a 2-Mana 3/2 Legendary minion that grants you a wish for “the perfect card.” Under the hood, that means the game is examining all the public factors in your game, and offering you three options for cards that might help. If you happen to need to clear the board, he might offer you some area-of-effect spells. If your board is already solid, maybe he’ll offer you a buff.
It’s a simple concept, but it was apparently extremely hard to implement. Game Designer Chadd Nervig said on Twitter that “the amount of effort that went into bringing you this one individual card absolutely dwarfs all other cards.” He also pointed out that Zephrys is even smart enough to hand you lethal damage to finish a match before you necessarily realize why it’s offering a particular card.
My favorite card that we’ve ever made. The amount of effort that went into bringing you this one individual card absolutely dwarfs all other cards.
My favorite thing is when you play him, and are like “
? That’s weird, why would it… OH WAIT THAT’S LETHAL!” pic.twitter.com/7BuD6WPlTp
— ✨🐉 (@Celestalon) July 31, 2019
In follow-up tweets, Nervig explained that Zephrys only looks at all the public info in a game–like how many cards are in your hand, minions on the board, and Mana crystals–but not private info like what you or your opponents’ cards are. Also, for obvious game balance reasons, Zephrys won’t ever offer you a way to replay him, like a bounce-back effect. It also comes with a limitation in that your deck can’t have any duplicates. This is commonly known in Hearthstone as a “singleton” or “Reno” deck.
As a Legendary card, Zephrys will be difficult to pull from random packs and expensive to craft. But as a value-generator that’s smarter than the average card, it’s probably a smart pick to be among your first crafted cards for Uldum.
For more cards from Hearthstone’s Saviors of Uldum expansion, including our own reveal of the powerful puzzle Mogu Cultist, check out our full gallery of all the cards coming in the expansion. Saviors of Uldum launches on August 6.
Ubisoft looks to be targeting its Chinese market, as the publisher announced a new Rabbids game featuring Chinese themes is on its way to Nintendo Switch. The game, possibly titled Crazy Rabbid: Adventure Party, will be shown at ChinaJoy this weekend.
Industry analyst Daniel Ahmad tweeted that the game is a four-player “Rabbids meets Journey to the West” experience developed by Ubisoft Chengdu. It has a Mario Party quality to it, with various mini games where you cooperate with and play against your friends. Check out the reveal trailer below.
New Rabbids Party game coming to Nintendo Switch.
Will be shown at ChinaJoy this week.
Rabbids meets Journey to the West. 4 Players. Developed by Ubisoft Chengdu. pic.twitter.com/E9AAV1g3N5
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) July 31, 2019
A post on the official Chinese Ubisoft page says “the world[s] of [the] game [are] inspired by ‘The Journey to the West,’ a traditional Chinese literature.” Journey to the West, normally attributed to Chinese novelist and poet Wu Cheng’en, was published in the 16th century and serves as an extended look at the travels of Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who explored the Western Regions of Central Asian and India.
While the post is in Chinese and translator services aren’t always accurate, Crazy Rabbid is looking to test “your ability to react, remember, endurance, and accuracy.” ChinaJoy, the largest gaming and digital entertainment conference in China, runs from Friday, August 2 to Monday, August 5. We’ll learn more about Crazy Rabbid: Adventure Party then, though there’s no confirmation whether the game will release in other regions.
Crazy Rabbids wouldn’t be the first exclusive Rabbids game for Nintendo Switch. In August 2017, Ubisoft released Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, a turn-based, tactical RPG similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, for the console-handheld hybrid. In our review of the game, we said, “Coupled with the annoyingly infectious allure of Rabbids, and the always delightful, colorful world of the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is an implausibly engrossing formula that is positively challenging and endlessly charming.”
Between the arrival of Shiny Rayquaza and the long-awaited debut of Team Rocket, this summer has certainly been busy for Pokemon Go, and now the game’s next Community Day is just around the corner. Niantic is hosting its next monthly event this Saturday, August 3, which means players around the world will soon have another opportunity to catch a rare Pokemon and add a special event-exclusive move to their repertoire.
Traditionally, each Community Day only runs for three hours, but the specific details of the events–such as what Pokemon will appear more often in the wild and what other bonuses will be available–tend to vary month by month. To help you prepare for this month’s event, we’ve rounded up all of the most important details about August’s Community Day below, from its start times to its featured Pokemon and everything else you need to know.
What Is August’s Featured Pokemon?
Every Community Day revolves around one “featured Pokemon,” which serves as the sort of star of the event. Not only will this monster spawn in the wild much more often than it normally does during the Community Day hours, you’ll also have your first opportunity to find and catch a Shiny version of it. This month, the featured Pokemon will be Ralts, a Psychic/Fairy Pokemon originally introduced in Ruby and Sapphire.
Throughout the Community Day, Ralts will appear in the wild much more frequently than usual, making this a good opportunity to catch as many as you can and stock up on Ralts Candy, which you’ll need to power up its CP and evolve it. On top of that, you’ll have your first chance to catch a Shiny Ralts during the Community Day hours. Shiny Pokemon are a rare sight in Pokemon Go, however, so you’ll want to stay out as long as you can to ensure you encounter one before the event ends.
- Pokemon Go Guide: How To Catch And Purify Team Rocket’s Shadow Pokemon
- Pokemon Go: Shiny Rayquaza Appearing In Raids This Week
What Is August’s Community Day Move?
In addition to appearing in greater numbers than normal, each featured Pokemon is capable of learning a special event-exclusive move that it otherwise couldn’t normally use in Pokemon Go. To obtain this move, you typically need to evolve the featured Pokemon into its final form by the end of the event. Ralts is unique in that it has two possible final evolutions, Gardevoir or Gallade, but regardless of which one you choose, it will learn the Psychic attack Synchronoise if you’re able to evolve it up to an hour after the Community Day ends.
Any Gardevoir or Gallade you obtain during August’s Community Day will learn Synchronoise, even if you originally captured their pre-evolved forms before the event. However, they’ll only learn the special attack if they’re evolved during the aforementioned time frame. Evolution is a costly process in Pokemon Go, so you’ll need to capture as many Ralts as you can during the event to amass enough Candy.
What Time Does August’s Community Day Start?
Community Days typically run from 3-6 PM local time, but much like last month’s event, August’s Community Day will take place from 4-7 PM local time instead. According to developer Niantic, the hours were pushed back slightly to make the event more enjoyable during the hot summer months. This is only a temporary change, however; Niantic says the schedule will return to its normal times once summer is over.
What Other Bonuses Are There?
Along with increased Pokemon spawns, Niantic offers a few other bonuses during each Community Day as another incentive to participate in the event. As usual, any Lure Modules you use will last three hours during the Community Day, rather than their usual 30-minute duration. On top of that, Incubators will be four times as effective as normal; that means Pokemon Eggs will hatch at a quarter of the distance they normally require. You can read more about August’s Community Day on the official Pokemon website.
When you start up Sky: Children of the Light, numerous messages shoot across the screen as it loads. Messages informing you of server connections, the reception of in-game currencies, and the like are commonplace for games with an online focus, but there’s one short message that feels uniquely descriptive to thatgamecompany’s fourth title: “Finding new friends.” It’s just a simple notification that you’re being connected to other players in this intimately connected universe, but it’s also a strong message of what Sky is really about. Although it mimics many gameplay elements from Journey, it’s Sky’s evolution of those ideas that makes it a fascinating multiplayer experiment with deeply meditative qualities.
Playing Sky is incredibly similar to Journey. You control a robed figure, recognizable as a small child, and navigate a series of small environments connected only by the constellations in the stars they share above. Sky keeps things simple by tasking you with navigating its environments and holding down a single button to soar into the air and take flight. Flight is central to Sky’s otherwise simple mechanics, letting you execute gorgeous maneuvers through the clouds or delicately glide between the remains of mysterious ruins. Expressive yet subtle animations make each movement in the air feel delightful, even though you’re doing little more than controlling your direction. Swooping down into the clouds only to tilt upwards at the last minute is rewarded with a cute pirouette, for example, letting the wind engulf your robe and accurately shape it in the wind.
Flight isn’t free in Sky. Flying draws light from your robe, which limits how much aerial freedom you have. Light is collected from any light source you come across, and it’s your job to spread it around in turn. You ferry around light with candles, using them to spread fire to unlit lanterns and shrines. You can also use light to burn away corrupted vegetation or scare dangerous wildlife that will attack you in the dark. Glowing, faceless children are scattered around each new area you explore, bestowing you with wings that help you upgrade the amount of light you can store at a time, in turn letting you fly longer. You can lose wings when you’re carrying no light and take damage from enemies or environmental hazards, though you can easily pick them up again. Sky doesn’t feel punishing at any point, but it does use these gentle nudges to remind you of how great it feels to have a bounty of flight at your fingertips and what it might feel like to lose it again.
Collecting light is beneficial to getting around, which in turn lets you discover lost spirits that govern the central progression in Sky. Each area has a star constellation that you slowly complete by saving lost spirits and returning them to the skies above. Most of these are simple exploration puzzles. By diligently poking around, you find blue outlines of long-forgotten beings, each creating a breadcrumb trail to follow that tells a short story of the spirit it’s leading to. These are moments frozen in time, telling vague stories that can come across as anything from humorous to tragic. It’s cheerful to see a skit of two clumsy beings attempting to move objects far bigger than them from one room to another, and equally sober to witness another in anguish, mourning a painful loss. Sky’s story is intentionally vague so that you fill in the blanks, interpreting what purpose light serves in its world and why its sacrifice is meaningful.
Sky is entirely playable alone, and you’re not required to find any fixed number of its spirits to finish it. But it’s also a game with a big emphasis on sharing your experience with strangers. You aren’t a unique figure in its world, and certainly not the only one carrying light to its eventual end. Instead, your journey is consistently filled with other players, each on their own adventure that you can choose to partake in for just a moment or two. You can contribute in small ways. A passing player might hold out their candle for you to light, letting you replenish their light in turn if you choose to. To befriend another player, you need to share a candle with them, permanently linking you two and adding them to your friends list (which is suitably represented by a growing constellation). You never see these players’ names; instead, you name them based on your interactions with them. It feels like meeting someone new for the first time, but not immediately being able to speak to them. You can use taps to let out audio pings that help gather other players around you, but you’re also able to take a seat on a bench, wait for another player to sit next to you, and engage in a more direct, text-based conversation if you choose.
The most interesting way to interact with other players is with emotes, which are unlocked with each new spirit that you free. You can use these emotes to express yourself to other players, with anything from a simple wave or a point in a direction to more intimate displays of friendly affection, like hugs. There are also separate emotes and actions you can unlock by increasing your friendship with other players. By rewarding each other with consumable candles, you’ll unlock unique abilities (which can also only be used between you two) that can change the way you navigate through each area. My personal favorite was the ability to form long chains of players by holding hands, with one player guiding the group to new places while using everyone’s collective light to fuel the flight. This also helps new players see areas they might not yet possess the ability to reach, granting Sky a cooperative nature that’s remarkably easy to engage with.
This simplicity helps some of Sky’s more demanding puzzles, where cooperation between multiple players–anything between a single pair to a full group of eight–is required. Some doors, for example, require two players to light urns at the same time to open. Other more demanding challenges task up to eight players to gather around an octagon and light old runes in a specific order. Although these challenges are rarely hard to decipher, and finding enough players to participate with was never an issue in my time with the game, simply trying to get everyone to alight in more group-focused tasks was slightly frustrating. Since none of these puzzles are required to continue through Sky, they’re easy to overlook.
Sky weaves its focus on forming friendships into its microtransaction model, too, which changes the rules of what you’ve come to expect from these systems in a big way. Hearts are used to purchase cosmetic items, but you can’t buy them outright. Instead, you can purchase candles (which you can also get in-game) which can then be packaged and sent to a friend as a heart. This is the only way to earn hearts, meaning you’ll need to depend on the gracious gifts of friends you’ve made in Sky to kit yourself out in some fancy new clothing. There are also options to purchase seasonal passes that unlock more straightforward daily quests and a few pieces of exclusive clothing, but for the most part you’ll be focused on forming new bonds with strangers and exchanging gifts with them frequently if you’re invested in standing out from everyone else visually.
Your first flights through a temple in the sky or the hurried dash you need to make between awnings of large mushrooms in a rain-soaked forest are delightful.
This means that you’ll likely be playing Sky well after the credits have rolled on your initial playthrough, which can take anywhere between four to six hours. You can collect any outstanding spirits you likely missed, especially since some aren’t even accessible without having played later areas in the game. You also need to reacquire your wings for flight again, due to story reasons you learn about during the finale. All of this means that you’ll be revisiting many areas you’ve already soared through at least once before, which can remove some of the splendor you experienced the first time around. This is especially true when you’re breaking from their intended flow to poke around the environment in search of small crevices you missed the first time. This feels like it goes against the natural harmony of Sky’s intended path, signposted with simple nudges that point you in the right direction. When you’re solely focusing on completion, Sky just isn’t as compelling.
Yet, there’s a meditative quality to return visits when you’re simply looking for a brief escape. Your first flights through a temple in the sky or the hurried dash you need to make between awnings of large mushrooms in a rain-soaked forest are delightful the first time around. Their mixtures of stunningly detailed environments and suitable stirring music are impactful, and less so when you’re running around in circles trying to see if there was a small crevice you forgot to explore.
Sky is both different to everything thatgamecompany has made before but also a smart evolution of what makes its games special. It’s simple to play while feeling incredible at the same time, making the act of flight exciting every time your feet leave the ground. It also features a fascinating spin on in-game purchases, locking its most alluring rewards behind the action of making friends and making a positive enough impression on them. That means you have to play a lot of Sky to eventually work towards what you want, which saps some life out of the gorgeous vignettes you’re free to explore. But it’s no less memorable for the ideas it presents or calming in the way it gives you the freedom to pursue them, making it another journey worth seeing through.
Meet the MCU’s newest aliens
The Eternals may be over a year away, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely in the dark. An explosive Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con gave us a wealth of new information about the MCU’s mysterious new team–including a confirmed cast list, release date, and some vague rumblings of a plot. During the presentation, Marvel Studio’s boss Kevin Feige promised it would be going “full Jack Kirby,” a nod to not only one of the chief engineers of superhero comics dating back to the 1940s, but the Eternals sole creator who functioned as writer, artist, and editor on their original run of stories back in the 70s.
This won’t be the first time Marvel has tapped into the Kirby aesthetic for one of their films with Thor: Ragnarok leaning into his distinctive style and sensibility in brand new ways. So, if Ragnarok was only partly committed to the Kirby bit, we can’t wait to see what happens when director Chloe Zhao decides to play for keeps.
We’ve rounded up every piece of news from the panel and beyond. Let’s break it down.
The cast is stacked
The rumors about the Eternals cast have been swirling for months now, but thankfully the panel at Comic-Con provided official confirmation of the roster.
Angelina Jolie as Thena
Richard Madden as Ikaris
Kumail Nanijani as Kingo
Salma Hayek as Ajak
Bryan Tyree Henry as Phastos
Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
Lia McHugh as Sprite
It’s phase 4’s second movie
In addition to the official cast, we also got the release date: November 6, 2020. Just six months after Phase 4’s first movie, Black Widow.
Their origin story has been changed
During the Comic-Con panel, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and star Richard Madden gave us a few story details. The Eternals are “a group of immortals who have been on earth for 35000 years, but we haven’t met them before,” Feige explained. Madden continued, “The Enternals are immortal aliens, sent to earth by the Celestials to protect the earth from the deviants.”
This means that the Eternals original origin story–a creation myth that weaves them into the fabric of human evolution from the dawn of man–has been updated. They’re no longer an evolutionary offshoot of humans, but an alien species who have been sent to Earth.
The Celestials are already around
While we can’t be completely sure if the MCU’s take on Celestials actually created the Eternals like their comic book counterparts, or if they simply control them, we can be sure that they’re already lurking around the MCU. In Avengers: Endgame, Nebula namechecks Vormir as the “center of Celestial space,” and we’ve seen various effigies of them in movies like Thor: Ragnarok used as set dressing.
Three of the characters have been majorly updated
Three of the main characters have been completely overhauled from their comic book origins. Makkari, Ajak, and Sprite have been gender-swapped and will be played by women. We also learned during the Comic-Con presentation that Makkari will be the MCU’s first deaf hero.
Phastos is joining the ranks of the MCU’s geniuses
On the flip side, Bryan Tyree Henry’s Phastos seems to be following the comics very closely. In the Hall H panel, Henry confirmed that his character would be a genius–and that he’s excited to join those esteemed ranks. “I feel like the geniuses at Marvel are the ones with the biggest hearts,” Henry explained, “and I feel that about Phastos.”
The Deviants (and the Celestials) are the villains, probably
At the moment, only the Eternals themselves have been officially cast, but the Deviants have been confirmed to appear in the film–most likely as antagonists. However, it’s just as likely that the Celestials themselves will act as villains at one point or another. In the original comics, the Celestials represented a constant threat as they returned to Earth to purge their creations. That’s certainly one way to up the ante after Thanos.
The Xbox Store is constantly offering new deals on a weekly basis, but this week’s round of game discounts will be exciting for any fighting game aficionados. In celebration of Evo 2019, the annual fighting game tournaments held August 2-4 in Las Vegas, the Xbox Store is offering huge discounts on some of the event’s biggest games, like Dragon Ball FighterZ and SoulCalibur VI. The following deals are available through Monday, August 5.
If you’ve yet to pick up Dragon Ball FighterZ, the anime-inspired fighting game is only $15 USD (was $60), with its FighterZ edition on sale for $38 (was $95) and its Ultimate Edition marked down to $44 (was $110). The Dragon Ball FighterZ Fighter Pass is also discounted to $19.24 from $35. Tekken 7 is also majorly discounted right now, with its standard edition selling for $20 (was $50), its Rematch edition selling for $40 (was $80), and its Ultimate edition selling for just $50 (was $100). Alternatively, you can also pick up Tekken 7’s season passes separately, as both passes are also on sale.
You can also grab SoulCalibur VI for super cheap–the standard edition is marked down to $19.79 (was $60), while the Deluxe edition is now $36 (was $90). Other highlights from the Evo sale include the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up bundle for only $10 (was $20), Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite – Deluxe Edition for $19.79 (was $60), and the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection for $20 (was $40).
If you’ve already got all the fighting games you need, it’s worth checking out all the DLC marked down as part of the sale, too. There are a ton of discounted characters, costumes, music packs, and more, so now’s a good time to grab various upgrades for any titles you own.
Best Xbox One game deals | 7/29 – 8/5
- Capcom Beat ‘Em Up bundle — $10 / £8
- Dragon Ball FighterZ — $15 / £12.49
- Dragon Ball FighterZ Fighter Pass — $19.24 / £16.49
- Dragon Ball FigherZ – FighterZ Edition — $38 / £30
- Dragon Ball FighterZ – Ultimate Edition — $44 / £41
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite — $13.19 / £10.88
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – Deluxe Edition — $19.79 / £16.49
- Mortal Kombat 11 – Kombat Pack — $34 / £27.87
- Mortal Kombat 11 – Premium Edition — $85 / £68
- Samurai Shodown — $51 / £42.49
- Samurai Shodown – Deluxe Edition — $68 / £56.94
- SoulCalibur VI — $19.79 / £16.49
- SoulCalibur VI – Deluxe Edition — $36 / £30
- Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection — $20 / £17.49
- Tekken 7 — $20 / £16.49
- Tekken 7 – Rematch Edition — $40 / £32.49
- Tekken 7 Season Pass — $15 / £12
- Tekken 7 Season Pass 2 — $22.49 / £18.74
- Tekken 7 – Ultimate Edition — $50 / £40
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 — $10 / £8