'Sea of Thieves' update adds a swashbuckling adventure on April 30th


Rare/Microsoft

Rare has shed new light on just what stories you’ll see in Sea of Thieves‘ anniversary update, and the first one might just scratch the itch if you think the core game is a bit threadbare. A new trailer for the first “Tall Tales” story, “Shores of Gold,” suggests that you’ll experience a fleshed-out story complete with cutscenes, elaborate sequences and puzzles. You’re tasked with tracking down the Shroudbreaker, the key to visiting a mysterious island — and of course, you’ll face dangers ranging from creepy skeletal warriors to booby-trapped chambers.

“Shores of Gold” will join a range of other major changes when the update arrives on April 30th, including a competitive Arena mode, fishing, harpoons and more complicated ship damage. It’s hard to say if the addition of full-fledged story segments will rejuvenate the game after its rough first year. However, it definitely shows that Rare is committed to the game for the long haul — and it certainly adds some variety if you want to do more than sail the seas finding one buried treasure after another.

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'Anthem' update adds a dungeon crawl, but delays Cataclysm


BioWare/EA

BioWare has added a string of content to keep Anthem fresh, although there are some omissions that could rankle early fans of the shared-world shooter. The newly available 1.1.0 update adds a new Stronghold (aka dungeon), Sunken Cell, that gives you a new place to explore once you’ve finished the main story. It also eliminates some of the drudgery in the game. You can access the Forge (the crafting station) anywhere in the world, start new missions without returning to home base and access contracts without having to pick them up one by one. You can spend more time actually fighting, to put it another way.

However, it may be what’s missing that matters the most. BioWare has acknowledged that it won’t deliver everything it hoped to add in its Act 1 roadmap, including the Cataclysm event many players were expecting. You now won’t hear more about the major story event until sometime in May. You’ll also have to forego guilds, the mastery system, the second phase of Legendary Missions, weekly Stronghold challenges, leaderboards and some new freeplay events.

The company is quick to acknowledge why it’s pushing features back: it was “talking about things too early.” Some features have missed original targets due to bugs, feedback or “complications,” and BioWare now wants to talk about new features closer to their completion. It also wants to obtain more of that feedback by launching a “Player Feedback Environment” (read: test server) for PC players willing to experiment with new additions. Much like Bungie, BioWare is aware that it needs to adapt and provide a more reliable roadmap for new features — even if that means postponing some features.

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These gaming laptops pack the latest Intel and NVIDIA hardware

If you prefer your PC gaming in portable form, you’re enjoying an embarrassment of riches right now. Intel has unveiled gaming-friendly 9th-generation Core laptop processors, while NVIDIA has unveiled GTX 16-series mobile GPUs that promise solid performance without giant budgets (or giant coolers). That also means a lot of PC makers introducing systems, though, and that’s a lot to wade through if you’re in the market. Don’t worry — we’ve rounded up some of the bigger introductions to help you keep track of what’s new.

Acer

Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer is embracing the new hardware with gusto. Its Predator Helios 300, Nitro 7, Nitro 5 and Aspire 7 laptops will use up to the 2.6GHz Core i7-9750H for their primary ‘brains,’ and either a GTX 1650 Max-Q or GTX 1660 Ti depending on the model. We didn’t have specific pricing as we wrote this, but Acer’s gaming machines are usually aimed at the cost-conscious — these may be on your short list if you’re interested in getting the most performance for your money.

ASUS

ASUS Zephyrus S

ASUS tends to be ambitious with its gaming laptops, and that’s certainly the case here. It introduced a trio of Zephyrus models that make use of the new Intel and NVIDIA gear to varying degrees. The high-end Zephyrus S and Zephyrus M both use the Core i7-9750H, up to 32GB of RAM and options for extra-speedy 144Hz or 240Hz 1080p displays. These high-end systems use already-available RTX 2060 or 2070 graphics, but that also means you’re getting upper-tier performance for your games. Both systems are due sometime in the second quarter of 2019.

The most interesting entrant is the brand new mid-range laptop, the Zephyrus G. It’s actually using an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, but that’s mated to the new GTX 1660 Ti. That, in turn, leads to a portable gaming rig that’s relatively affordable — you’ll pay $1,199 for a config with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive, and there are plans for cheaper models. It’s available now.

Dell and Alienware

Alienware m15 laptop (2019)

Dell has a cavalcade of gaming laptops using the updated Intel and NVIDIA hardware. For the mainstream, the biggest upgrades are to the G5 and G7. The systems are available with the GTX 1650 Max-Q and GTX 1660 Ti today, and will be available in souped-up versions with RTX graphics and 9th-gen Core chips in June. They’ll also have a few luxuries sometimes reserved for high-end gaming portables, including the choice of a 240Hz 1080p LCD or a 4K OLED panel.

You can expect a similar treatment with the Alienware m15 and m17, which have options for either GTX 16-series chip now and will have 9th-gen Core and RTX variants in June. Fans of the XPS line, meanwhile, will be happy to hear that an updated XPS 15 will come in June with the GTX 1650 instead of today’s 1050.

Lenovo

Lenovo gaming laptop

Lenovo is going all-out with its IdeaPad laptop updates, including a few ‘budget’ machines. They all have 9th-gen Core CPU options (up to the i7 series), but what you get after that varies. The L340 may be the most intriguing simply because it’s the most accessible — it starts at $870 for a 15-inch mode ($920 for 17 inches) with GTX 1650 graphics.

After that, you’ll have to open your bank account a little wider. The 15-inch Y7000 sports either GTX 1660 Ti or RTX 2060 graphics, a 144Hz display and red lighting with a starting price of $1,200 when it ships in late May. The 15-inch Y540 will come with up to a GTX 1660 Ti in late May for $1,210, while a 17-incher will appear in late June for $1,270. And if you’re willing to splurge, the Y740 will come in 15- and 17-inch guises with the GTX 1660 Ti or the beefy RTX 2080 Max-Q. They too appear in late May starting at $1,610 for 15 inches and $1,670 for 17 inches.

MSI

MSI 2019 laptops

MSI is upgrading its full suite of gaming laptops with the Intel and NVIDIA parts. The GE, FE, FL, GP, GS and GT lines come with GTX 16 or GTX 20 graphics depending on the trim level. You’ll want a GE63 Raiders, GE75, GS Stealth or GT Titan if you crave an RTX 2080, while the rest can scale up to an RTX 2060 or a GTX 1660 Ti. A 17-inch P65 Creator laptop for pros also uses the new Intel chips along with up to RTX 2070 graphics.

The company hasn’t detailed availability for these systems, although that’s likely to vary by the country.

Razer

Razer Blade 15 (2019)

Razer doesn’t have a huge variety of new hardware, but it’s making up for that with panache. The Razer Blade 15 Basic, Blade 15 Advanced and Blade Pro 17 all make use of 9th-gen Core chips (up to the 2.6GHz Core i7-9750H), with a range of graphics and display choices depending on how much power you crave. The Blade 15 Basic ships with ‘just’ an RTX 2060, a 1080p 144Hz LCD, a 65Wh battery and a trio of USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, while splurging on its Advanced counterpart nets you a system with up to RTX 2080 Max-Q visuals, a 4K OLED screen and USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. The two 15-inchers start at $1,999 and $2,399 respectively.

The giant Blade Pro 17, meanwhile, is available for $2,499 with RTX 2060 graphics and scales up to $3,199 if you want the RTX 2080 Max-Q. It comes loaded with 16GB of RAM, NVMe solid-state drives and a quartet of USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (three with Type-A connectors, one Type C). This and the Blade 15 models should be available in North America on April 24th.

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Acer updates select laptops with the latest from Intel and NVIDIA


Acer

This morning, Intel debuted its 9th-generation mobile core processor, the i9-9980HK, and revealed a slew of other 9th-gen chips. In the hours following, a wave of gaming laptop makers announced that they’re adding the new chips and the latest NVIDIA graphic cards to their machines. Now, you can add Acer to the list of companies offering laptops with the latest internals.

Acer’s Predator Helios 300, Nitro 7, Nitro 5 and Aspire 7 notebooks — announced earlier this month — will ship with NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 1660Ti or 1650 GPU. They’ll be powered by up to the newest 9th-gen Intel Core i7-9750H processors. According to NVIDIA, the new GPUs offer up to 50 percent more gaming performance than last-generation GTX 1060 laptops and up to four times the performance of GTX 960M. And the Intel Core i7-9750H processors will reach up to 4.5 GHz.

Acer’s announcement is similar to those made today by ASUS, Lenovo, Dell, Razer and MSI. All of the companies are hoping their supercharged laptops will appeal to gamers and content creators alike.

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MSI is also upgrading its gaming laptops with Intel's new CPUs


MSI

MSI is joining a slew of other hardware makers in refreshing its gaming laptops with 9th-gen Core CPUs. It says these processors will allow its machines to deliver up to 45 percent better performance than previous versions.

The company’s full suite of gaming laptops (including the GT, GS, GE, GP, GL and GF series) also got a graphics boost. They’re equipped with GeForce RTX 20 series and GTX 16 series GPUs, which will provide the systems with up to 50 percent better performance than older machines, MSI claims. The GT Titan and GS Stealth, along with the GE75 and GE63 Raiders, are compatible with up to RTX 2080. Other machines can include up to RTX 2060 or GTX 1660 Ti.

There are some other updates across the lineup. The GP75 Leopard, GL73 and GL63 all now come with per-key RGB lighting keyboards. The GF Thin, meanwhile, is thinner and lighter, down to 1.86 kg and 21.7 mm thickness for the 15-inch GF63, and 2.2 kg and 23 mm on the GF75.

Additionally, MSI announced a 17-inch version of its P65 Creator laptop for creatives, which also gets the CPU boost. Like its 15-inch sibling, the P75 Creative has GPU options up to RTX 2070 though it has one more SSD Combo slot. MSI didn’t reveal pricing or availability for its refreshed laptops.

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