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2020 Ford Explorer Will Start at $33,860

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 21:15

When Ford officially revealed the 2020 Explorer at the Detroit auto show this year, it had some big news. For the first time since the 2011 model year, the Explorer would be built on a rear-wheel-drive platform. It also added a hybrid version and replaced the Sport with the ST. At least on paper, it looked like great news, but we had to wonder how much the new Explorer would actually cost. Thanks to an email from Ford, now we know.

If you want the base Explorer, it will now run you $33,860 including destination, an increase of $400 compared to the 2019 model. That’s not a lot considering the new base engine makes 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque instead of the old V-6’s 290 hp and 255 lb-ft. You also get a 10-speed transmission instead of a six-speed automatic, which should mean better acceleration and fuel economy.

Upgrade to the Explorer XLT, though, and it comes with a much bigger price increase. Its $37,750 starting price is $2,275 more expensive than before. You do, however, get a number of features the previous XLT didn’t offer, such as power-adjustable front seats, captain’s chairs in the second row, and a total of four USB ports (two more than the base Explorer).

The next step up is the Explorer Limited. For $49,225, $5,365 more than the 2019 model, you get a number of extra features such as wireless charging, a surround-view camera system, and rain-sensing wipers. You can also add the hybrid powertrain for an extra $3,555, which comes with a 3.3-liter hybrid engine and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

The fanciest Explorer in the lineup, the Platinum, rings up at $59,345. That’s $4,085 more expensive than it was in 2019, but you also get a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that makes 365 hp and several more features. 

Finally, for the sportiest driving experience, Ford now offers the Explorer ST. Its $55,835 price tag is $8,115 more expensive than the 2019 Explorer Sport it replaces. But for your money, you get the Platinum’s engine tuned to make 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. There’s also a quad exhaust, 21-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and more.

The Explorer’s base price is higher than the 2019 Dodge Durango ($31,690) and 2019 Chevrolet Traverse ($31,125), but is somewhat in line with other competitors like the 2019 Honda Pilot ($32,445), 2019 Mazda CX-9 ($33,325), and 2019 Subaru Ascent ($32,970).

Source: Ford

The post 2020 Ford Explorer Will Start at $33,860 appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Entrepreneur: How to Start a Small Business Online

Business Now Mag - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 20:35
Seven tried and true steps for attracting visitors to your small business' site -- and getting them to buy.
Categories: Business

Spied! Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz S-Class Caught with Massive Touchscreen

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 20:25

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is still the best full-size luxury sedan, but considering it has been on sale since the 2014 model year, it’s time for a redesign. From what we’ve heard, it will go on sale next year as a 2020 model, potentially with an SAE Level 3 driver-assistance system. Now, thanks to our spy photographer’s latest shots, we also know it will come with a massive touchscreen.

We actually got our first glimpse at the 2020 S-Class’ cabin last summer. But while we could clearly see the digital gauge cluster, the center console remained completely covered. And even though there was no way to tell how large it would be, the cloth camouflage looked like it was hiding a Tesla-like vertical touchscreen. Now we know. It’s huge.

That said, it’s probably not quite as large as it appears at first glance. If you look closely, it looks like there’s a pretty thick bezel surrounding the screen itself, potentially cutting the total screen size by a couple inches. Underneath the screen, you can see a row of what appear to be capacitive-touch buttons, including a touch control area that likely replaces a volume knob.

The good news is, the lack of a volume knob probably won’t affect the driver much since the steering wheel appears to still use a scroll wheel to control volume. And while the layout of the steering wheel controls looks pretty similar to what we get on the current S-Class, it seems Mercedes has gotten rid of physical buttons for those controls. The German automaker also appears to have kept its column-mounted shift lever, although the stalks themselves are clearly all-new.

Considering how far from production this prototype looks, we’re pretty sure the production version won’t be revealed in Geneva next month. If we had to bet, we’d put our money on a Frankfurt Motor Show reveal this September.

Photo Source: CarPix

The post Spied! Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz S-Class Caught with Massive Touchscreen appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

How to Make Homemade Pasta Sauce: 14 Classic Sauces

Fine Dining Lovers News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 20:00
Norma, alfredo, cacio e pepe ... just a few classic Italian sauces that you can learn how to make with this simple food infographic.
Categories: Restaurants

3 Reasons AI Is Way Overhyped

Forbes News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:15
Decades ago the first startup I worked with was based on AI. Its failure makes me skeptical of the current wave of AI hype. Will AI be different this time?
Categories: Business

Yo-kai Watch 3 Review - Tokyo To Texas

Gamespot News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:02

If you had to explain Yo-kai Watch in a nutshell to someone who's never heard of or played it, you might boil it down to "Pokemon but with Japanese ghosts" or "Baby's first Shin Megami Tensei." Anything grim or distressing about a kid who can talk to ghosts goes by the wayside when the ghosts are comical entities like a missing left sock or a possessed police car. In this third expansive and quirky outing for the Yo-kai Watch series, our hero Nate has to take on a quest far more daunting than anything he’s faced so far: moving to America.

Specifically, Nate's family ends up moving to BBQ, an over-the-top caricature of Texas, for his dad's job, and finds that the U.S. has supernatural problems all its own that he and his best yokai buddies, a cat named Jibanyan and an uber-effete ghost butler named Whisper, have to handle. Meanwhile, back in Nate's hometown of Springdale (which is located in Japan), a bubbly ball of nerdy energy named Hailey-Anne is enticed into buying a Yo-kai Watch of her own, which ties her to Usapyon, a ghost astronaut rabbit. Stuck with each other, they form a detective agency.

That's really over-the-top as far as a game aimed squarely at a younger audience goes, and that's largely a result of how it's been localized. Yo-kai Watch 3 was originally two games in Japan, with Nate and Hailey-Anne's stories comprising a game each. The version released in the West has combined the two, allowing players to switch to the other campaign at will, before the two stories converge in the later hours. It's a daring choice that allows you a ton of control over how you experience the sprawling narrative, but it also highlights just how much the narrative didn't need to sprawl to begin with. The first major plot points of both stories--Nate meeting a boy in BBQ who can see yokai as well, and Hailey-Anne starting the detective agency--are a good five or six hours in. Having both stories in the same package is a positive, but having to manually thread together two stories that could already stand to be a little more concise is less so.

On the plus side, that does give you ample reason to slow down and really take in your surroundings, which is really one of the greater joys in this game. Despite the aesthetic, the interpretations of Japan and Texas are surprisingly intricate places full of people worth speaking to and places to wander off to. As the game went on, one of my favorite things to do in it was to ride the trains in Springdale, missing stops just to look around. In addition, Nate's story has the compelling element of him trying to get accustomed to American culture, and on occasion, work you do in one of the towns--unlocking an app, or asking someone for a favor--affects the story in the other. But by and large, much of the first half of the game has both Nate and Hailey-Anne doing random fetch quests or being distracted with the game's numerous side missions, which are fun but wholly tangential from the main game. That creates a major problem with pacing early on.

Yo-kai Watch has always been an accessible series, and this third entry is no different. The cycle of gameplay usually boils down to Nate finding a possessed human doing something unusual, using the watch to reveal the yokai controlling them, and getting into a simple showdown with it. After these battles, there's a strong chance it joins your menagerie of friendly yokai who can be used to fight other yokai--of which there are a whopping 600-plus. There are very few of what seasoned RPG veterans might consider a dungeon, and when there are, as long as you've found at least six yokai you like, you can blow through nearly all of them in mere minutes, with no real pressing need to collect more except for the sheer joy of collecting them.

Combat does ostensibly have some measure of depth compared to the series' predecessors, with the addition of a 3x3 grid system that allows you to move yokai around to dodge attacks and pick up special items. There's also plenty of information about each yokai which you can put to good use, such as elemental weaknesses and their preferred food. That's all alongside familiar mechanics like quirky mini-games used to heal yokai that have been afflicted with status effects or to charge up ultimate (or more accurately, Soultimate) attacks. But with the exception of the occasional boss fight and the rather welcome difficulty spike of the final third of the game, it's rare that you actually have to utilize any of these mechanics. So much of the game's combat is a passive experience, but neglecting to have a full grasp of it when the game finally expects you to be proactive in battle will eventually get you in serious trouble.

These are the things that make Yo-kai Watch excellent as an introductory RPG for beginners. For everyone else, however, the game has to endear itself in between major plot points on sheer charm which, thankfully, it's more than capable of delivering. On the Hailey-Anne side, what comes off as grating over-enthusiasm at the start settles down over time to become unflappable optimism and curiosity. The girl fears absolutely nothing, even when giant demons start showing up that send her running through the streets. Her alliance with Usapyon evolves from one of convenience to a genuinely sweet elementary school partnership over time, especially as the details of Usapyon's origins become clearer.

Having both stories in the same package is a positive, but having to manually thread together two stories that could already stand to be a little more concise is less so.

As mentioned, Nate's side has an even more intriguing angle. For some reason, the localization obscures the fact that Nate's hometown of Springdale is in Japan, but the touchstones of a kid dealing with severe culture shock are still here. Even when American culture is as hilariously exaggerated as it is, there's something subtly poignant about an ostensibly Japanese kid exploring an all-American city for the first time. And as his circle of friends expands to include Buck, a wild-haired kid with a deep southern drawl, so too does his experience with American yokai and all the loud and proud aspects of such.

It's still a game aimed at a young crowd, though, and the game's poignancy is undercut a bit by wild reactions, non-sequitur humor, and impromptu j-pop musicals. Most of the scarier aspects of the game dealing with the existence and management of the afterlife have been softened to the absolute extreme. The game was only ever going to get so serious, and the winking nods to more adult fare like The Godfather, Fist of the North Star, The X-Files, and Twin Peaks are indeed just that: playful winks. It's less the competitive Growlithe-eat-Growlithe world of Pokemon than a cheerful, wacky playground where Pokemon-like creatures happen to live.

There's not much to Yo-kai Watch 3, but there’s still a lot of charm to be found. The towns of Springdale and BBQ are both bright, pleasant places to be; the people in it are even more so. Visiting the world of Yo-kai Watch for the third time is a fun time, even though you’ll end up staying a lot longer than perhaps necessary.

Categories: Games

11 years later, Arcimoto opens order books for EV trike

Auto Blog News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 19:00

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The Evergreen Edition flagship will list for $19,900.

Continue reading 11 years later, Arcimoto opens order books for EV trike

11 years later, Arcimoto opens order books for EV trike originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Feb 2019 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Cars

Metro Primed

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 18:45
Publisher: Deep Silver Developer: 4A Games Release: February 15, 2019 Rating: Mature Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Metro Exodus is finally coming out after a fairly significant delay and it seems like things worked out quite well according to our review. Players can finally journey back into the cold world of Metro and figure out how to survive in the post-apocalypse and today's launch trailer helps reinforce those themes.

Check out the launch trailer below.

Click here to watch embedded media

The trailer shows off the various oppressive environments you'll be journeying through in the game, along with the kind of enemies that will try to kill you in them. 

Metro Exodus is available today on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Categories: Games

Ford, VW reportedly near agreement on self-driving partnership

Auto Blog News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 18:45

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Any investment could value Ford-backed Argo AI at $4 billion.

Continue reading Ford, VW reportedly near agreement on self-driving partnership

Ford, VW reportedly near agreement on self-driving partnership originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Feb 2019 13:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Cars

Entrepreneur: This Week in Weed: High End Hemp!

Business Now Mag - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 18:43
Barney's is Bud and Bougie, California claps back, and an industry Giant "stubs its pinky toe"
Categories: Business

Everything You Need To Know About The World Of Anthem

Game Informer News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 18:41

Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: BioWare Release: February 22, 2019 Rating: Rating Pending Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Anthem is breaking the mold of what we expect from BioWare. With its focus on cooperative multiplayer, flight-based movement, and long-term player investment, it’s safe to say that that the game stands apart from projects like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Nonetheless, the studio’s penchant for world-building and deep lore remain in full effect; Anthem is a rich treasure trove of fiction ahead of its launch. Independent of any storytelling that might happen in the actual game, there’s a lot to get excited about in the universe that BioWare has crafted around Anthem.

In advance of the game’s full release, we spoke with Anthem’s lead writers, Cathleen Rootsaert and Jay Watamaniuk. They explained the history of the Anthem world, the nature of the Anthem of Creation, the big threats facing the player characters, and more.

Read the full interview below.

Game Informer: The game is called Anthem. What is the Anthem of Creation, and how does it affect the game world as it exists as players will find it at the beginning of the game?

Cathleen Rootsaert: The anthem of creation exists in this world. It was what built this world. That's basically it. But it is not a benevolent force. It is a churning, chaotic, often destructive force, because the world is unfinished, and the Anthem of Creation was left behind to continually create, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Not with any sort of intention, but just this force that is churning and creating the world of Anthem. The Shapers tried to contain the Anthem and to bend it to their will, and have it create the world in the image that they had in their mind. We don't know why they left it, but they left it unfinished. And so the Anthem of Creation, the giant machines, tech, and relics are constantly at odds with each other, creating chaos.

So the Shapers weren't necessarily the creators of the Anthem, they were the ones who were utilizing it for their own ends?

CR: We don't know.

Jay Watamaniuk: Yeah that's a bit of a chicken and egg. We're not sure what the connection is between the two, or who used what. The people who live in the world of Anthem have no answer for that question.

Do the people of the world have confidence that the Shapers were actual beings that lived in the world at some point in the past?

JW: There's a variety of ideas behind what people call the Shapers. All the people living today in the world of Anthem have the wreckage of these massive machines, these relics, these constructs that are strewn about the place. So, there are several ideas: were they beings that lived on this world? Were they ever here? What were they? Were the Shapers the machines themselves? There's a bunch of different opinions, a bunch of different hypotheses on that, but nobody's certain about what they are. That whole category is referred to as the Shapers.

CR: We tried not to create one religion, you know what I mean? So, it really mirrors Earth today.

To put that another way, it sounds like you're suggesting there's different people who have different opinions about what and who the Shapers were, and those sometimes take on spiritual or religious significance for people, but nobody really factually knows the truth. Is that right?

CR: That's right. And I would say, it's going to be religious for some people and purely scientific for others. The faction that we have called the Arcanists, they study the Shapers, but they're not, they don't worship them as gods or anything, it's more scientific for them.

JW: Yeah, they don't try to figure out the relationship of the Shapers and the Anthem through a religious lens; it's purely scientific.

Well, the dovetails well with the next question I have. Who are the Arcanists. Is that a designation like a scientist? Or is that an order of people who have gathered together of like mind? And what is their primary interest?

JW: As Cathleen mentioned, they are a group. You go and you want to become an Arcanist, versus it being a title. It's something you would need to pursue, like a career or a calling. They are the ones that are trying to establish: ‘what are the fundamental rules of this world?’ This world that keeps changing due to the conflict between the Anthem and the Shaper constructs. So they're trying to lay down the rules. Essentially, they are the scientists. They are the ones you go to for these bigger questions, but they are also the innovators of the world. The creation of technology sits with Arcanists. Now we've got offshoots, we've got engineers and specialists and things like that, but Arcanists are definitely identified as those that are trying to pursue scientific truth.

What are the Scars? From early glimpses, it seems like the Scars have a pretty strange experience of life, and I wonder if you could describe a little bit about who and what they are.

JW: That is a fine phrase that we will steal and give you no credit for. So yes, you are absolutely correct. They are strange beings, a strange race. Now some of the stuff is shrouded in a bit of mystery, I won't be getting into today, but I want to carefully make sure that they are not considered animals or anything like that. They have a society. They just have hive minds. There's more than a nod to an insect colony in how they go about things. How they act. Things like that. It's more akin to locusts. They’re scavengers. They're very well known to be scavengers. They'll strip down Striders or anything they come upon and use it to build their own nests and hives. Their origins are shrouded in mystery, but they are almost like a plague that needs to be contained. And they're extremely difficult to contain. So they're part of this constant threat, against Fort Tarsis, against anyone within Bastion, which is the territory that the game takes place in.

What is the distinction then between Scars and Escari?

JW: The Escari are actually a higher form of Scars. The Escari are Scar. They have just developed into something far more powerful. You get enough Scars together, one of them will sort of evolve into something stronger.

And is there a quality about the Scars and this higher form of Escari where they're copying other life forms? Is that the idea?

JW: Yes, they're running around, and they look like people, but I can assure you they are not. They are more mimics than anything.

For lack of a better term, what are the other "alien threats" in the world, if we think about the Scar as being this sort of strange race/entity, are there other creatures that are roaming around out there in the world that aren't exactly like humans?

CR: Yes, so at the beginning, the very first mission of the game when you go into the Heart of Rage, it is a cataclysm. And the cataclysm is something that is one of the most chaotic events that we come across in the world. And it is Shapers and the Anthem pushing against each other. There are two different kinds of threats that can come from a cataclysm. We have Elementals and Chimera. An elemental is something like the Titan that you fight at the end of the first mission. They are actually born out of the chaos of the cataclysm. So they are a monster born from this conflict with the Anthem of Creation. The Anthem has created these elementals. And then we have something called Chimera. And Chimera are the animals of the world who are essentially changed by cataclysms and by Shaper events. Those are two more of the threats in this world. And then there's the grabbit. I would not cuddle a grabbit.

What's a grabbit?

CR: Well a grabbit looks really, kind of gentle and huge, and they sort of hop around. But if you get close and have a really close look at the teeth on a grabbit, those are extremely sharp: that's a mouthful of sharp razors. And so I wouldn't trust them. A lot of the fauna in the world of Anthem are actually super deadly, for example we have one with an electric charge that will basically tentpole your javelin right out of the sky. So, some of the animals look innocuous, but they'll kill you. That's the thing. This world will kill you.

JW: I imagine the sub-heading of this article to be: Never trust a grabbit.

Let's switch gears a bit and talk about the history of this world, as players will encounter it. Who was Helena Tarsis and why is she remembered so clearly by the people of this world?

CR: So Helena Tarsis was the first leader with the creation of the javelins who founded something called the Legion of Dawn. At that time, years and years ago, people were oppressed by another race called the Urgoth. And so Helena Tarsis with her Legion of Dawn rose up against the Urgoth and defeated them and drove them from Bastion. So, she was instrumental in our people being freed from slavery, because we were slaves to the Urgoth.

Is there anything we know about the Urgoth?

CR: Just that they are bad news.

JW: This was centuries and centuries ago. So it was sort of this great, oppressive race that were completely shattered and defeated by General Tarsis. It's part of our history.

CR: And they're also very much people of myth. Throughout the world you'll find Urgoth statues. There's a relief of the myth of Helena Tarsis defeating the Urgoth. Very much like the Knights of the Round Table, her story has been mythologized. She inspired those sorts of stories.

Are there other individual figures that you feel are really important in the history of this fictional world?

CR: Well, I'll just let Jay jump in here after this, but the thing about the Legion of Dawn was after the death of Helena Tarsis, the Legion of Dawn split into three factions. The three factions that we experience in our game, so the Freelancers, the Sentinels, and the Dominion. They each claim Helena Tarsis and the Legion of Dawn as their origin story, but they had a falling out and now they are there completely separate factions.

What is the distinction between those three groups?

JW: The fundamental reason for the split is because is that they had different ways of interpreting what General Tarsis did with her life her  and acts that she is known for. The Sentinels are the ones that established Fort Tarsis and this gigantic wall. Now the Sentinels believe that this is our island of civilization in this in this sea of monsters and chaos. We will defend this. We are the shields against the chaos of the world versus humanity, and that is where law and order are. So that's sort of the foundation of the beliefs of Sentinels. "If one of them stands, the wall remains" is something that they say.

Versus Freelancers. Freelancers are beholden to no one, they have no real organization. Freelancers will go out beyond the wall and deal with problems out there. The problems are diverse, they're either taking care of someone, rescuing someone, helping people, silencing shaper relics when they when they're out of control. There's a variety of tasks. And so, between those two groups there's a bit of friction because they differ in how they want to protect humanity. They both have that goal, but they accomplish it in different ways.

And we have the Dominion which is a different set of beliefs. They are the ones that pursued this oppressive race that held humanity down because they wanted to destroy them, and they have a far more aggressive approach to what they do. And so they have become an expansionist empire, and they have gone north and then not much was heard from them. In our game, the threat of the Dominion is very, very real. And while the world is out to kill you, as we mentioned before, the most recent thing out to kill you is that the Dominion are coming. So, there’s a stark difference between the Dominion and the other two groups that that came from the tradition of General Tarsis.

And the players will be controlling Freelancers?

JW: That's correct. We figured it would be more interesting for the player if you could fly up beyond the wall and check out what's there versus standing on the wall.

Fair enough. That would be very different kind of a game. A lot slower paced.

JW: Quite different, yes. More of an RTS.

Is it fair to say the Sentinels and the Freelancers are allied? Just maybe not always in complete agreement?

JW: They're absolutely allies. When it comes down to it they just differ so wildly in how they go about their jobs their vocation that there's friction there. And there's always been friction there and a little bit of mistrust. You essentially have the person that stays in the fort and then you've got this weird sort of other guy that flies over the wall and deals with these very strange problems, so there's an element of "I don't quite understand what you do. I don't trust what you do." But in the end they're both working towards the same goal. They're both here to protect humanity.

What is the location called Freemark, and what happened to it?

CR: Freemark is another great city in the region of Bastion. There's Antium. Fort Tarsis is kind of like the stop on the trade route we have, like a smaller sort of place between the two large cities. And Freemark was a was another one of these great cities, and it had a very highly respected and highly-populated Freelancer enclave in it as well. It was actually built to protect a shaper relic called the Cenotaph. The Dominion believed that they had a way, using the Cenotaph, to control the Anthem of Creation. And so they busted their way into Freemark, they messed with the Cenotaph and they caused the cataclysm that became the Heart of Rage which is at the center of our story. Because now the Freelancers want to go back in.The city of Freemark was destroyed, the people died, and it was it was a horrific event, and so the Freelancers goal is to shut down the Heart of Rage because if these cataclysms keep going they just continue to destroy everything around them. They eat the land and they suck everything into their terrible force.

And is there a known way of how to stop these cataclysms?

CR: One of the specializations of the Freelancers is that they deal with Shaper constructs and and part of their goal is to stop the cataclysms before they start. And so they have some special knowledge, but it's also very much that they're flying by the seat of their pants. It's not like "oh, ok. Green wire, red wire and shut it down. Like every situation is different, because every once in a while they'll come across a Shaper construct or a relic that they've never seen before, so it's a very specialized and dangerous knowledge. We liken them to kind of like fire-jumpers. You know how they're jumping in to put out sort of oil well fires right?

You mention that the threat of the Dominion is a big part of where the story begins, and that there's this cataclysm that's ongoing that the Freelancers and the Sentinels are concerned about. What else is happening in the current events of this world?

CR: At the beginning of the game we see that the Freelancers are going in to the Heart of Rage and they're going to shut it down. And if you've played you know that it's a failure. Because of that failure, the game actually starts two years after that point, and the Freelancers are now really diminished. People don't trust them. A lot of Freelancers lost their lives trying to shut down the Heart of Rage, so a lot of what you're doing over the course of the game is to is to rebuild the reputation of the Freelancers.

Is there a leadership structure to the Freelancers? Is there somebody you're taking orders from?

JW: Unlike the Sentinels which have this sort of very clear hierarchy, Freelancers don't. They do have a system of respect and they have honorific type titles. We've got Grandmaster-type character role, but not because those people are in charge. It is simply they have experience or they have earned a reputation and thus perhaps have more sway. We've got a character in a fort, Yarrow, he is a retired Freelancer, but he deals with a lot of Freelancer business. Simply because he has earned that through his experience, and he knows a lot about what is going on. So, while he is not in charge, Freelancers do look up to him as a source of, maybe not authority, but certainly advice. So, yeah. No actual structure to the Freelancer group.

Who and what are cyphers?

CR: Cyphers are altered humans. They are altered by exposure to the element ember. In our world, long-distance communication has always been difficult. And so cyphers only start, these altered beings, only started appearing about 100 years ago?

JW: Yeah, they are recent innovation let's say.

CR: Yeah. And so, Cyphers, much like Arcanists, they pursue their calling. They go to a place called a Satomi, which is a sort of like a school for cyphers, and they learn to enhance their skills. Once they study they say that a cypher is always a little broken. So, in becoming a cypher they have had give up or have lost a certain part of who they were before. And they sit in amplifier chairs, because they are linked to Freelancers through something called a link in their Javelin suits. They can process information at incredible speed, so they sit in the amplifier chair and they help Freelancers through their mission and they help them if they come across something like a new Shaper construct they've never seen, for example. The cyphers are there to support the Freelancers.

Do the cyphers have some particular insight into the Anthem?

CR: Yes. The cyphers are tuned to the Anthem like no one else in the world. They can actually hear it. Freelancers cannot hear it, Sentinels can't, Dominion can't, but a cypher can hear it, and so for example in the first mission Faye is very much fighting against the Anthem almost driving her crazy, right? It's because she can hear it and when you meet up with Owen, Owen is very jealous of the fact that Faye has heard it. It’s very addictive, and part of Faye's whole journey is that she wants to get back go back to the Heart of Rage because she wants to hear the Anthem finish. She wants to hear the end of the song, at least metaphorically. She is very much driven. It’s almost like catnip, like a "got to get more" sort of thing. So it's dangerous and seductive.

We've talked about places like Fort Tarsis and Bastion and I wonder if you could just give me a quick summary of the geography of the game world’s geography.

JW: Sure, basically Cathleen mentioned that Fort Tarsis sits in the middle of an area or region called Bastion. And we have a very large city, the largest city, Antium, down to the south, which we don't see in this particular game so far; we don't actually go to visit Antium. Now, Fort Tarsis was kind of a waypoint between Antium and Freemark, which was to the north. Fort Tarsis acts more or less as a frontier between the two because civilization is set up in islands, these fortified cities in the midst of the wilderness –  the jungle, the chaos – all that kind of stuff makes it difficult to establish civilization. So, Fort Tarsis was a very critical and necessary step when traveling from Antium to Freemark. And Bastion is the region that actually extends beyond the border of what we've established in the game so far.

CR: We can also say that Stralheim is where the dominion are. We know that it’s like a northern region. We don't go there, but it's probably on the same continent. Bastion is one of the regions and Stralheim is one of the regions. But, beyond that, it's all kind of like, “here-be-dragons.”

Is there a name for the actual world?

JW: That's an excellent question. We'll stop there.

The last subject I want to address are these suits that the players in interacting with. What are Javelins? What makes them special? Why is it more than just a suit of armor?

JW: There's a couple foundational components to that. The first one, in the lore of the world itself, humanity was throwing off its shackles once upon a time due to two things: General Tarsis, of course, but it was really the development of the first javelin suits that allowed us to stand against the Urgoth. So, there's that. The idea that humanity is not built very well to survive in this world without special weapons and special protection. And so, with the invention and innovation of javelin suits, it allows us to not only stand up to our oppressors but to build civilization from scratch. Because once we were on our own and we were free to do what we wanted we were able to build civilization, sort of carve it out of the chaos using javelin suits. Now, in the modern day there's been refinements and changes and all that. But everyone who goes outside the walls has to be afforded some kind of protection. You've seen the giant walkers, the striders: heavily armored, slow moving; that's the kind of thing that is needed to travel any kind of long distance. So, the javelin suits are these very specialized things. They're hand-crafted, they're carefully maintained because they are the link to basic survival within the world of Anthem. There is no survival in this world without javelins.

So what are the signets and crowns as they relate to javelins?

JW: You can think of it like a metaphor of a car key and putting it into the ignition; there's a special connection between pilots and the javelin. It's also true of someone like an operator, someone who operates a strider, a special connection between that person and this piece of machinery. It's not just a suit that has servos and is articulated, and all that kind of stuff. There's a much deeper connection between a person and a machine that occurs between the action of the signet and the crown of that machine itself. Without getting too into crazy detail, it’s good to think of it as a car key going into an ignition; it's what starts you up, it's what connects you to that machine, to that javelin.

Beyond what we’ve spoken about, what else are you excited about for players to encounter in the world of Anthem?

CR: Well, I think that I would just mention that you can wander around Fort Tarsis and really get a sense of what the world is like from the people who live there. There are people that you can talk to, there are merchants, there are other cyphers, there's a bar, of course, (where everybody kicks back), there's a freelancer enclave and people with stories. And the stories of these people that live in Fort Tarsis intertwine with each other. So, you can meet an old woman and discover the story of her child, who was a freelancer. There's a gossip who sticks around the fort and there's somebody named Prospero who's there to sell you awesomeness for your suit. These people all have lives and that's really where a lot of that richness from the lore comes from. You know, if you're going to go out and play with your friends, if you're friends say: “Well, let's meet at 8 o'clock then we'll go out and we'll fly some missions,” I would hope that people would say: “You know what, I'm going to show up a half hour early and I'm going to check out Fort Tarsis; I'm going to walk around and I'm going to talk to some of the people there because I think that there's a lot of fun conversations.” And you get to know your crew. Your crew is also there, like any other BioWare game, that's where you'll find Owen, Faye, Haluk, Tassyn. You can talk to them and learn a little bit more about them and get to know them better.

JW: I think to add on to that abut the detail of Fort Tarsis, which is set up a bit like it's set up like a small town, one of the great bits that I discovered as we moved along in development is slapping on the suit and not having an endpoint, not having a marker out in the world. The artists have done such a beautiful job crafting this world. We've done our best to try to fill up with things to discover. And so, you don't need to feel pressured to be on a directed mission. Get out there, and find out what can be discovered. I mean, it's a game about exploration and it's a big, giant world and you have this excellent way to explore that. Don't miss the beauty of it. That's my advice.


Anthem is available today for PC players with EA’s Origin Access Premier and as a 10-hour trial on Xbox One, and is available on all platforms (PS4, Xbox One, and PC) on February 22.

Categories: Games

Amazon Confirms Huge Investment in EV Maker Rivian

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 18:30

One day after Amazon saved itself untold millions—or more likely billions—of dollars by cancelling its secondary headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, the online retail giant confirmed it was the leading contributor to a $700 million round of investment in 10-year-old electric truck start-up Rivian.

“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said in a prepared statement. “RJ [Scaringe, Rivian CEO] has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.”

In a few years, Rivian-based EV trucks could be quietly picking up and delivering Amazon packages at the secondary Amazon headquarters still being planned for Crystal City, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Although the Rivian R1T unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November is a pickup truck, the skateboard-style electric-vehicle architecture underneath easily could accommodate a cube-van “top hat” to make it a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter–style delivery vehicle. A Rivian sport-utility vehicle called the R1S was also unveiled. Rivian says it will offer battery capacities that will allow for ranges of up to 400 miles on a single charge.

No word yet from General Motors, which on Wednesday Reuters reported would also invest in Rivian along with Amazon. The deal with GM and Amazon would make Plymouth, Michigan–based Rivian worth $1 to $2 billion, according to the Reuters report.

“We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future,” was all GM would say in a prepared response to the Reuters report.

The post Amazon Confirms Huge Investment in EV Maker Rivian appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Entrepreneur: 3 Strategies for Charging What You're Worth Without Selling Your Soul

Business Now Mag - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 18:30
Jessica Abo gets advice on how to charge what your worth.
Categories: Business