Valorant Closed Beta Starts Next Week

Riot Games has announced the start date of the upcoming closed beta for Valorant, the studio’s recently revealed tactical hero shooter. Select players will be able to test out the FPS ahead of its planned summer launch beginning April 7.

To register for the closed beta, you must connect your Riot account to your Twitch account, then watch highlighted Valorant streams for the chance to receive closed beta access. While your progress will not carry over into launch, any Valorant Points – the currency used to buy skins and other store items – you purchase will be given back to you at launch with a 20 percent bonus. Riot is currently planning on keeping the closed beta as short as possible, but may reevaluate if it hears unexpected feedback from participants.

The closed beta will initially be limited to the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, and Turkey, but could expand to additional regions depending on how the current COVID-19 pandemic progresses. “Our plan was to bring the Valorant Closed Beta to as many players around the world as quickly as possible, but the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted those plans, compromising a wider global rollout,” executive producer Anna Donlon said in a statement. “For now, we have to focus on the regions where we feel most ready, with more regions following in the months to come.”

For more on Valorant, check out our deep dive on the game here.

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Smash Bros. Ultimate's Newest DLC Fighter Is From Arms

Nintendo dropped a surprise Nintendo Direct Mini this week, although there was certainly nothing “mini” about it, as the presentation ran for nearly 30 minutes and revealed a ton of new details on games coming to Switch in the next few months. Among other things, we got our first info on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s next DLC fighter.

The next character coming to the mascot fighter is from Arms, Nintendo’s colorful 2017 fighting game. Nintendo didn’t yet reveal the identity of the fighter, but this will be the first DLC character to arrive as part of the Fighters Pass Vol. 2, which covers six additional characters and costs $30 USD.

Just as in Arms, the next DLC fighter will have extendable arms, although Nintendo joked that it would have to “extend” its development time because of this. The fighter is slated to be announced and released sometime this June, although Nintendo noted at the start of the presentation that release dates could be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch the Nintendo Direct segment above.

Following the reveal, Nintendo announced that it is offering a free trial of Arms for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. The free trial kicks off today, March 26, at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET and runs through April 6. During that time, Switch Online members will be able to sample the full game at no charge.

There were a ton of other announcements during the Nintendo Direct Mini. We learned that BioShock, Borderlands, and XCOM are all coming to Switch. Nintendo also detailed Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ first seasonal event, which sees Zipper T. Bunny arrive and hide eggs all around your island.

Nintendo Switch News & Announcements

  • Watch The Surprise Nintendo Direct Mini For March 2020
  • Nintendo Switch Is Sold Out Everywhere, Drastically Increasing Prices
  • Where To Buy A Nintendo Switch Right Now
  • The Best Nintendo Switch Games Of All Time
  • Best Nintendo Switch Games Under $20

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Audie From Animal Crossing: New Horizons Explained, And Why Fans Love Her

If you were wondering why everybody seems to love Audie in Animal Crossing, here’s why.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the biggest game to hit the Switch since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and it’s selling fast enough to perhaps eventually out-pace even Nintendo’s famous brawler. The ongoing coronavirus crisis probably has something to do with that as everyone is ordered to stay indoors and try to wait out the pandemic, and what better way to do that than with cute animal people?

Some of you might have noticed a particularly peppy red wolf named Audie that has captured the attention of the Animal Crossing community. That’s because she’s more than just a villager–she’s actually a reference to Audrey, the Animal Crossing-playing Grandma.

Audrey (who goes by Audie in Animal Crossing) came to fame last year after a YouTube video showcased her village in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. She’d managed to achieve 3,580 hours in New Leaf after getting the game in 2015 and had created an expansive village.

Nintendo seemed to have caught wind of Audrey’s accomplishment and created a special villager just for her.

Audie the red wolf was first discovered in Nintendo World Report’s review video of New Horizons, with excited Animal Crossing fans posting screenshots on Reddit.

The initial video showcasing Audie’s New Leaf village was posted by her grandson, Paul Hubans. He’s currently caught in the COVID-19 lockdown with symptoms that could be due to the virus, so he’s putting plans to visit his grandmother on hold while he self-quarantines in a lakehouse in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Audrey received her brand new Nintendo Switch and a copy of New Horizons a few days before anyone else. She’s got a head start on her island and plenty of time to kill, so we expect to see this 88-year-old grandma do some incredible things in the next few years.

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Pokemon Sword & Shield: New DLC Details Revealed

Nintendo capped off its surprise Nintendo Direct Mini with some new information about Pokemon Sword and Shield. In particular, the company revealed more details about the games’ first upcoming expansion, Isle of Armor, which is currently slated to arrive this June.

Isle of Armor is set on the eponymous island, which lies off the coast of the Galar region. The isle is home to a Pokemon dojo where aspiring trainers learn under the tutelage of Mustard, the longest-reigning Pokemon Champion in Galar’s history and Leon’s former mentor.

When you arrive at the dojo, you’re gifted the Legendary Pokemon Kubfu from Mustard himself. As part of your training, you will eventually be able to challenge the Towers of Two Fists–the Tower of Darkness and the Tower of Waters. You can only challenge one of the towers, however, and the one you choose will influence how Kubfu evolves.

If you challenge the Tower of Darkness, Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu Single Strike Style, a Fighting/Dark Pokemon; if you complete the Tower of Waters, Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu Rapid Strike Style, and its typing will be Fighting/Water.

Additionally, the evolved form of your starter Pokemon in Sword and Shield–Rillaboom, Cinderace, or Inteleon–will be able to gain a Gigantamax form through the Isle of Armor. Each of these will have a special Gigantamax move. Rillaboom is able to use G-Max Drum Solo; Cinderace can unleash G-Max Fireball; and Inteleon fires off G-Max Hydro Snipe. Each of these attacks is stronger than typical Dynamax moves and ignores the opponent Pokemon’s abilities.

The Isle of Armor expansion also introduces new outfits, hairstyles, and customization options for your League Card. If you purchase the Expansion Pass before August 31, you’ll also get another free bonus: clothing items for your trainer based on Leon’s cap and tights.

The Isle of Armor is slated to launch by the end of June. However, Nintendo noted that any release dates announced during the presentation could be subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In other Pokemon news, a new Max Raid event has begun in Sword and Shield. Pokemon Sword players are more likely to encounter Gigantamax versions of Copperajah and Duraludon in Max Raids, while Shield players are more likely to find Gigantamax Charizard and Garbodor.

Pokemon Sword And Shield News & Guides

  • Sword & Shield's New Mythical Pokemon, Zarude, Revealed
  • Pokemon Home FAQ: Price, Release Date, Compatible Games, And More
  • Pokemon Sword & Shield DLC: All The Confirmed Returning Pokemon So Far

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Lirik proves you don't need bullets or a vehicle to get a kill in Call of Duty: Warzone

He’s an improviser.

Lirik is no stranger to being clipped like crazy on Twitch. But usually, it’s from when he does something silly or funny. Today, he showed off his gameplay prowess in a big way.

During today’s Twitch Rivals Warzone Streamer Showdown, Lirik was hunting kills and wins as he parachuted off of a skyscraper to land on a rooftop above another player.

Lirik fired an RPG at the enemy, and then emptied 26 bullets from an M13 to break their armor, but quickly found out that he was completely out of ammo after recently returning from the Gulag.

Luckily, Lirik had a grenade, and that was all he needed. As he realized he was completely out of ammo, he did not panic. He instead put on his chef’s hat and cooked a grenade, patiently, and bounced it at the feet of the enemy, destroying him and sending him to the Gulag.

Oftentimes Lirik is looked at as a variety streamer, but he definitely has a ton of skills in FPS games as well. He’s played Counter-Strike for years and has been enjoying his time in Warzone thus far.

Lirik and many other top streamers are playing in Call of Duty: Warzone in Twitch Rivals today, so be sure to check out the streams.

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The Division 2: Warlords of New York Expansion Is Out A Day Early

After stemming the tides of evil in the nation’s capital, Ubisoft is transporting players back to New York a day early in The Division 2’s newest DLC expansion.

Originally scheduled to come out March 3, Warlords of New York is available now for fans who pre-purchased the expansion. The DLC allows agents to traverse new districts in New York City, expand their character’s skills, obtain new loot, and climb to a new level cap of 40.

In celebration of the surprise launch, Leo Vader, Andrew Reiner, and I will be taking in the sights and blasting baddies in the boroughs of the Big Apple. 

We went live earlier, but you can catch up on the whole show by watching the archive above. Enjoying our streams? You can subscribe on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Twitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live in the future! Thanks for watching!

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