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Steam down for Christmas - "hacked" by Phantom Squad during Winter Sale season

Friday, 23 December 2016

Digital gaming distribution platform Steam (aka Steam games by Valve) suddenly became inaccessible around 12:00 EST at 23.12.2016. The whole Steam network seemed to be down, including the service client itself, the store, and community websites. (Edit: 14:40 EST, whole Steam systems seem to be working alright for now, the attacks does indeed seem to be over and done with. Whether it's the last one or not, is uncertain.)

This happened, sadly for all enthusiastic gamers, right in the middle of Steam's recently begun Winter Sale season, whereas many of the users were just in the middle of bargaining for great deal of discount games, with shopping cart full of goodies ready to go. Some of those, certainly as Christmas gifts for friends. Steam Winter Sale is always much awaited event by gamers worldwide.

Steam's status website at Down Detector service (http://downdetector.com/status/steam) as for one, including many other websites such as Reddit's gaming sub-forums, quickly filled with swarms of enraged gamers' messages demanding an answer, why Steam wasn't working.

The answer was given rather quickly, though, not by Steam themselves, but by a hacker group called "Phantom Squad" on their Twitter page (@PhantomNations), claiming the responsibility of "hacking" Steam by DDoS attack (Distributed Denial Of Service), preventing Steam's services functioning completely. The attack is still on as we speak, with no knowledge when it will end, or when Steam will come back up online.

(Note: DDoS attack, basically works as this: "flooding the targeted machine or resource with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and prevent some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled")



But, why? A call for an attention? Money?

Many disappointed gamers are probably wishing Steam to extend their Winter Sale period due being unable to use the initial offers because of the DDoS attack by Phantom Squad; that is, at least, if the attack manages to keep the servers and services of Steam down for long period of time.

Phantom Squad has stricken gaming networks before, during a holiday season. December 2014, Phantom Squad claimed responsibility for taking out Xbox Live's network. It's also believed that the group has made a short attack(s) previously towards Steam, but nothing this major.

This comes all bad news to gamers using Steam, and other gaming networks might not be safe, either. The successful attack raises concerns about Steam's ability to keep it's service and servers protected of hacking and flooding attacks - and most of all, it's paying customers. If they cannot counter the attack shortly, it will be an embarrassing moment to be remembered. I, personally, would wish that hackers such as these would turn their hacking skills into something more useful, though. My finger points towards the East, but I'd rather not go deeper into the politics on this matter.








-www.thegamersdungeon.com




Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition's expansion Siege Of Dragonspear out soon - goes on live stream!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Baldur's Gate, one of the most loved cRPGs (computer role-playing game) of all times was released in 1998 (a few could compete against it even today, one of them that perhaps overcomes the game is it's successor: Baldur's Gate II). It was the flagship of newly born BioWare, who later on went to create Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, for instance.

It was a few years ago, when Beamdog acquired rights to make Enhanced Editions for the both: Baldur's Gate the first, and Baldur's Gate II. Enhanced Edition featured a new porting of the game being more friendly to the modern gaming systems, with some bug fixes, added new content, and minor improvements - true to the original games. They weren't changed much, at all. They listened their fans about the issues and suggestions, and did their best to please the gamers. The reception of Enhanced Editions was mostly positive.




"Siege of Dragonspear" is the first real attempt by Beamdog to step into the "broader seas", as it's an actual expansion to the Baldur's Gate's (the original) Enhanced Edition; the version of the original Baldur's Gate which the team released just a few years back. The expansion actually started as a small project with a hour or two of gameplay content, but expanded massively later on, when Beamdog fully focused on it after releasing Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, and decided to make something bigger out of it. So, how long does it take to finish Siege of Dragonspear? As explained on the Twitch live stream video below, the creators (Beamdog) promise over 25 hours of gameplay content for the expansion. Siege of Dragonspear won't be compatible with the original Baldur's Gate old version - you need the Enhanced Edition to run it.

According to the Twitter tweet on 15th Dec 2015 by Trent Oster, founder of the Beamdog company, the game should be out quite soon (early 2016 where it was pushed from the original 2015 planned release):

"We are Content Complete on Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. From here on we find, fix and finish. The game will say when it is done"

A bit earlier Oster tweeted that the content is already complete. The game is held back due final testing phase.

Beamdog has just recently released a live stream on Twitch, which for the time being can be currently watched at below. About one hour of gameplay material of Siege of Dragonspear for cRPG fanatics and Baldur's Gate fans to watch and enjoy!




A few points by Beamdog about what Siege of Dragonspear has to add for Baldur's Gate: Expanded Edition:


  • Expand Your Story: Continue your adventure in Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition after completing Siege of Dragonspear
  • The Crusade Rises: A sharp and subtle adventure that pits you against an enigmatic new foe
  • Explore the Sword Coast: Venture through vibrant new regions of the Sword Coast, with an area greater than Tales of the Sword Coast and Throne of Bhaal put together!
  • Gather Your Party: The original cast returns to kick butt for goodness—along with Neera, Rasaad, Dorn, and four new additions!
  • Double the Items: Over 100 new items—almost double the number than in all other enhanced editions combined
  • Extra Class: First new player class in over fifteen years: the spirit-calling shaman!
  • Venture Forth With A Friend: Cross-platform multiplayer on all supported platforms
  • Story Mode: A difficulty setting to allow players to experience all of the story with none of the Game Over screens
  • Legacy of Bhaal Mode: A difficulty setting offering tactical challenges only the most skilled of players can hope to defeat

Find out more at http://www.siegeofdragonspear.com/

-www.thegamersdungeon.com




System Shock 3 announced by Otherside Entertainment - gaming platform unknown

Monday, 25 January 2016

A long-awaited sequel for System Shock game franchise, System Shock 3, has been announced by Otherside Entertainment; a newly found game development company found in 2014 by Paul Neurath. The company has since been working with their debut title "Underworld Ascendant", a spiritual successor for classic Ultima Underworld series. System Shock 3 will be the company's second title, running the development cycle after Underworld Ascension's development is at the point, when they can spare some of their team to start working with the new System Shock game.

The founder of Otherside Entertainment, Paul Neurath, was one of the original founding members of Looking Glass Studios, who originally created Ultima Underworld, Thief, and System Shock series from the scratch, which makes the upcoming System Shock 3 so interesting title (as well as the Underworld Ascendant on it's own right).



There's only a small teaser website by Otherside Entertainment yet made for System Shock 3, with a small audio clip spoken by "Shodan", the original artificial intelligence and antagonist from the previous System Shock games. If you want to subscribe for the SS3-news, you are also asked your preferred gaming platform; a poll, which most likely will affect to the final solution of which gaming platforms the game will be made in the future. At the moment, this, as well as the more accurate information and game plot are yet unknown. So is the release date, but we can assume that the game won't come out within the next two years, if it's anything like it's predecessor was: complex and expansive sci-fi action RPG with stealth-like elements, combined with character progression - further backed up with the fact, that Otherside Entertainment is busy with their upcoming title Underworld Ascendant at the moment.

Stay tuned!

Link to the official teaser website of System Shock 3
Buy System Shock 2 as a download from Good Old Games (GOG)
Buy System Shock: Enhanced Edition from Good Old Games (GOG)


(System Shock 2 - an absolute classic and still a great game by nowadays standards!)


-www.thegamersdungeon.com