The Witcher 3: All Monsters Ranked The Witcher 3 is one of the most diverse games when it comes to open-world wildlife. Playing the game, you will meet various types of monsters and animals. Both categories can be very dangerous, so you’d better know what they look like to run away in time. The roster of monsters includes several types of ghouls, vampires, werewolves, and many others. While these creatures don’t usually walk around for no reason, common animals may come on your way at any moment. These include wolves, rabid dogs, and huge hungry bears. Let’s take a closer look at each of them. 7. Wild Dog Unfortunately, there’s no way to tame dogs in this game, except for a couple of side quests. These animals are rather massive and fast, so clearing your way may take a while. If you meet a single one, it’s not a problem at all. However, they usually hold close to the pack of 4-8 other dogs. If the pack notices you, the best solution will be to saddle Roach and retire from the place. On the other hand, you can kill dogs with Geralt’s steel sword. The fastest way to deal with several animals is to shoot the Aard spell and eliminate them one by one. If you’ve already unlocked Igni, you can ignite the entire pack and wait a few seconds until it burns. There’s also a Beast Oil potion for the sword that boosts damage dramatically. Don’t forget to collect loot from dead animals. They always include raw meat and tallow that is a common ingredient for potions. 6. Wolf Wolves are nearly as common as dogs, but they are much more organized species. You can meet them in any climate zone of the Continent. Ordinary brown wolves live on low grounds, such as forests and swamps, while the white ones usually live closer to snowy areas. Wolves are also allies with werewolves, which means that you can get into real trouble if you meet such a gang. Some beasts can also summon wolves for additional attack power. All fighting methods that work for dogs are effective against wolves too. However, we recommend you to combine the Beast Oil with spells for better results. Wolves can deal a lot of damage, so a shield spell will work well too. When the work is done, loot corpses for tallow, meat, and liver. 5. Wild Boar These mighty animals were added to the game with the Hearts of Stone DLC. It’s nearly impossible to meet them near the road as they hide in dense forests of Redania’s Velen, Novigrad, Toussaint, and Gustfields. For the majority of the time, boars graze alone, but sometimes they get together, turning into a big hazard. Wild boars run even faster than wolves and recharge attacks in seconds. Combine the Beast Oil for the steel witcher sword and signs Igni of Yrden. Boar’s skin is very thick, so you have to hit it multiple times to kill the beast. The corpses of boars always carry raw meat, pelt, and sharp tusks. 4. Bear Bears are quite rare and usually live in dense forests, but if you meet one, be very careful. The most common locations for bears are the places of power. Don’t underestimate the power of their large paws and try to keep the distance. Geralt can’t fend off bear’s hits, so it’s better to stick to the good old hit-and-run strategy. It will help you to avoid knock-offs and save Geralt’s health bar full. Bears are weak to Bear Oil, fire, and the Quen sign. Low-level Aard is inactive against them because of the beast’s high mass. Most commonly, bears carry hide, fat, and meat. If you get an order to kill a legendary bear, it will give you a valuable item or open access to a treasure chest. 3. Panther These large black cats are deadly hunters that live around Toussaint. However, it’s impossible to meet them if you don’t have the Blood and Wine expansion pack. Panthers are featured as enemies in several quests that you can find in Toussaint. Killing a panther requires you to have Beast Oil because signs are useless against these agile creatures. They also have a unique attack type. It starts with a retreat to fool you, and then a powerful surprise attack from the other side. Try to hit the animal as many times as possible when it comes close and roll away from its attacks to save HP and get an effective position on the side. You can loot dead panthers for raw meat, fur scrap, and high-quality leather. It can be used for crafting new accessories, bags, and better armor, so ask for blueprints in the nearest store. 2. Three Little Pigs Three Little Pigs is another threat of the Blood and Wine DLC. Together with the Beast of Beauclair, they form the most dangerous coalition in the entire Blood and Wine DLC. It’s impossible to meet them in various locations like dogs and wolves, as they’re featured as bosses in two of the major quests. Three Little Pigs live in the Fablesprehe, which is a magical illusion that hides their beast essences. These formerly cute characters have turned into disgusting monsters that remind wild boars. The effective combat style is also similar to fighting boars. Nevertheless, you have to be ready to parry their powerful attacks that may take off a lot of HP. Take along a Beast Oil and another set of potions to boost the power of signs. 1. The Beast of Beauclair The Beast of Beauclair is a monster that transformed from a serial killer Dettlaff van der Eretein. The cursed murdered became a tough boss creature with several strong long arms and sharp bony claws. It’s perhaps the toughest enemy in the entire game, and you can unlock it in the Blood and Wine DLC. Unlike other beasts on the list, it’s sustainable to the Beast Oil. To deal more damage to it, you have to find or craft a vampire old potion or find the rare black blood. Although the beast has no analogs in the game, it relates to the family of Higher Vampires that usually look like human beings. The Beast of Beauclair is the fiercest vampire entity. Ready to Fight Now that you know the traits of these beasts, you can fight them with minimal loss of health and resources. Have you already met some of the stronger beasts in the game? How did you kill them? Join the discussion in the comments and invite your friends!
WhatsApp Dropping Old Phone Support By The End of 2019 This December, WhatsApp, the most popular messenger in the world, will lose some part of its popularity. The service will stop working on millions of devices all over the world; luckily, you probably have brought it to your attic long ago even if you still own one. The matter is that these devices got both old and obsolete, so WhatsApp cannot grant they will support all the updates and new features the service is to introduce. The Time is Now It’s been announced that on December 31, 2019, WhatsApp will drop support of entire generations of devices. The excluded ones will include (pun unintended) all the Windows Mobile or Windows Phone devices, even those manufactured in 2015 (like Lumia 650, only released in early 2016). The genocide will also affect old iPhones that didn’t get iOS 7 (that is, iPhone 3GS and earlier), and Android devices with 2.3.7 or earlier version. These phones, though, will be cut off on February 1, 2020. If you decide to upgrade, you’ll benefit from the updated WhatsApp as well. For example, the developers are now working to introduce the native dark mode on both iOS and Android versions. Automatic switching will activate the dark mode as your battery runs low. Other new features (like documents support or a built-in YouTube video player) are added constantly. Drop the Tail So, if you had your reasons (material or sentimental) to remain with these antique devices until 2020, WhatsApp isn’t one anymore. When the support is stopped, any moment you won’t be able to communicate with apps installed on them. The app will remain on the phone (or tablet), but won’t be able to connect to servers. That also means that it won’t let its owner create a new account or verify an old one. The moment the app is actually scheduled to disconnect is not specified, but it can come at any time. This way, WhatsApp leaves no choice but upgrade for the owners of these dinosaurs. It’s a special sort of showing off when you flash your old iPhone 3G (before it was mainstream!), but it’s no more compatible with modern messaging. The company operated by Facebook explains that it doesn’t develop for the obsolete OS, so further functioning is not granted since the announcement. The Ones Left Behind It’s not the first tail of devices dropped by WhatsApp. The history looks like a cemetery of platforms and operating systems. In June 2017, it dropped support for Symbian S60 (most famous on Nokia smartphones). In December 2017 it left Blackberry OS and BlackBerry 10. The last day of 2018 became the last day of support for S40 (most famous on Nokia feature phones). On December 31, 2019, Windows Phone will join this list. If you own an old iPhone, well, at least you can think it’s an iPod and use it for listening to the music (to save battery of your actual phone). On Windows Phone, it’s even more of a problem to find it a decent use case. It’s easier on Android, due to tons of unofficial apps and patches that turn your phone to anything, from a stand watch to a remote control device. But WhatsApp is not among them. Do you still have an old phone not capable of running WhatsApp anymore? What do you use it for (if you do)? Was it WhatsApp that motivated you to upgrade to your current phone? Tell us what you think about it.
PlayStation 5: The 11 Games We Want to See in 2020 and Beyond One of the reasons PS4 became so successful was, of course, its terrific roster of games, both exclusive and non-exclusive, but constantly great. Many of them became successful franchises; but others remained just concepts, with some fragments leaking from time to time. Finally, there are some that would have been already released… if not for one factor. The lifecycle of PS4 is inevitably coming to an end; the next king is already named, so developers will do their best to provide reasons to switch to the newest console by Sony. The specs are already announced. It won’t be wrong to assume that the developers knew them even earlier. What matters for us is 8K support, an SSD drive, and a new AMD Ryzen CPU that will empower the device to run the heaviest games. But it’s the games we play, not specs. So, here are the games for Sony PlayStation 5 we have reasons (or at least hopes) to expect soon after the console hits the stores. Some of them have been confirmed with chances; others are just our guessing, assuming that the only reason they aren’t here yet is the new platform to come. Anyway, it would be great to see and play them. Batman Arkham (The Next Title) Though the franchise has been paused for some time, the new console may be the push to revive it. Rocksteady Games may take it as a signal that the fans have been missing the truest Batman for five years, and now the new platform can make the game great again. This perfectly rhymes with rumors of the new, so far untitled Batman Arkham installment that has been in production since 2015. Given that the actual developer, WB Montreal, indirectly confirmed this new game with a tweet recently, it’s probable to appear after PS5. Horizon Zero Dawn (The Next Title) We have been missing this game for some three years (four by the moment PS5 is here), and its world has a lot of detail left off-scene. The perfect illustration for it was The Frozen Wilds – an astonishing DLC, but just a DLC. As far as we know, Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is already in production, being voiced and designed right now. The release is not scheduled or officially confirmed yet. The dystopian world where robots have thrown mankind back in development, and humans have to re-evolve, has a great lot to explore. Ratchet & Clank Hit the PS5 It’s one of the franchises that have accompanied PlayStation since 2002, and its fans are curious to see what this platformer may look like on PS5. The reboot of 2016 wasn’t as successful as it was promising, but probably the story of an extra-terrestrial and a robot will breathe again when planted into new ground? Anyway, Sony needs some exclusive as soon as the console is released; it seems too early for the new Marvel’s Spider-Man (though we expect him back too), and Ratchet & Clank seems the perfect famous title to commemorate the premiere. Bully 2 The boarding school version of GTA, made by the same developer Rockstar Games, was underrated when released (probably it’s hard not to be shadowed by GTA if you are not RDR). But later the game caught up with its deserved fame and attracted millions of fans. Its sequel may be a great return for Rockstar Games. In addition, as VGC reports, the sequel has been in development for years, though never released or even hinted at. Probably the new platform will be a reason to release Bully 2 – as a new Rockstar game and as a warmup before the long-expected GTA VI. Ghost of Tsushima It’s a rare listed title that we may witness even before the release of PlayStation 5. The game is a samurai action set in 1274 when the Mongol army tried to invade Japan. A lonely samurai opposes the hordes of the invaders, making use of his perfect knowledge of the terrain. This game has been rumored to hit the stores in summer 2020, and if it happens, it will be playable on PS4, and thus on PS5, due to versatile compatibility. But it’s the native PS5 version we are so eager to see. God of War 2 After the reboot, the famous franchise looks even more brutal and more epic. The first rebooted God of War became an instant hit, and a real reboot rather than a remaster. Where will Kratos go after visiting Scandinavian mythology? Will we fight Shiva, genies, or Quetzalcoatl? Santa Monica, the developer of the reboot, doesn’t answer yet. But it would be a scandal to neglect the perspective of the franchise amplified by the new platform. Something Souls-like Action games are now more demanding, and passing them through is harder than before, due to the new trend set by Dark Souls. Games following this trend are now known as “Souls-like”, and a new title like that is inevitable on PS5. A game like this will certainly appear for PS5; it’s questionable whether it will be the actual sequel (or at least a remake) of the original Dark Souls franchise, or something by another developer, under another name. We just want it with all our souls. A New Gran Turismo Title While Xbox has Forza Horizon, PlayStation’s analogue is Gran Turismo, its top-tier racing franchise that remains here since 1997, through all the PS generations. Of course, it’s a question of time before a new installment burns rubber on PS5. But we’d like to see Polyphony Digital release it as soon as possible, so we see the new level of racing on PS5. Given that there are few good rivals to this franchise in racing (effectively, none), and acknowledging the importance of video and audio quality, we can’t wait to see and hear the tires roll and the motors roar. Syphon Filter Reboot Spy action? Well, Hideo Kojima is out with Death Stranding, but there is Syphon Filter, a franchise by Sony Bend Studio that’s often compared to Metal Gear Solid. If the studio doesn’t focus on Days Gone (we won’t argue with its sequel too), it will probably concentrate on reviving Syphon Filter, one of the best spy thrillers for PlayStation. The most complained about was the issue with a long time required to load. But probably with SSD this issue will be gone. Grand Theft Auto VI While the previous installment has had its glory days for longer than probably any other game in history, it looks more and more obsolete, and fans have explored it all through. So the next installment (probably, well after Bully 2) will be what PS5 is made for. The new visuals and upgraded performance will lead to creating larger cities, more cars, faster speeds, and more gold. And, of course, the soundtracks will impress much more with the new PS5 audio. A New Title by Bluepoint Gaming Well, this is the most uncertain game on our list. We don’t know what title will be the first by Bluepoint for PS5. Probably it will be some classic title revived for the new platform, like the developer did lately. There is even a roster of candidates, including Metal Gear Solid, Demon’s Souls, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Probably there will be more. Reviving old games is anyway more fun than the same thing Hollywood does to old movies; so we expect Bluepoint Gaming to do some decent work and make old titles great again. More? What game or franchise would you want to play as soon as you grab the new PlayStation? Probably you have something to add to what we say. Drop a comment down here: the world needs your thoughts!
Meet Gris On PS4 This Week Great news for all PlayStation 4 users: Gris, one of the most beautiful video games in the world, is coming to PS4. Looking for more details, such as the release date, full package of features, price, and so on? After reading this blog post, you will know everything. The Details of the PS4 Release Date: 26 November 2019 What’s new: more advanced graphics, sounds Price: digital version — $23, physical version — $30. Initially, Gris was launched by Devolver Digital for macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Switch in December 2018. It was designed by Spanish indie developer Nomada Studio. Hence, it seems that the PS4 release is a little bit late to the party, but this launch comes with plenty of exciting improvements. The developers tried to take all the advantages of the PlayStation 4 Pro model and 4K displays, therefore they created more advanced visuals as well as sounds. Note that the gameplay and its features remained the same as on all other platforms. All users can download Gris starting from 28 November on PlayStation Store. The price varies depending on the version you choose: digital or physical. As expected, the first one is a little bit cheaper, and you will get it immediately after paying. In contrast, you’ll need to wait a little bit for the physical version of the game to arrive. But this version includes a trio of exclusive and reversible art cards. Gris: A Game With a Plethora of Award Nominations Since Gris’ release, more than 300 000 copies were sold. Moreover, the game is an owner of plenty of accolades, including: 46th Annie Awards 2019: Character Animation in a Video Game; National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards 2019: Art Direction, Contemporary; Game Developers Choice Awards 2019: Best Visual Art; Italian Video Game Awards 2019: Best Indie Game; 2019 Webby Awards: Best Visual Design; Games for Change 2019 Awards 2019: Best Gameplay. Besides these awards, there are even more nominations. The gameplay is pretty unusual. The developers tried to show all the negative emotions the modern people face, such as a feeling of loneliness, anxiety, and emotional instability. Gris is a little girl who is experiencing all these feelings. As the game progresses, she will become emotionally stronger and grow. You will find excellent and magical graphics, as well as bewitching music. Immerse Yourself In The Magical World Have you ever played Gris before? Share your impressions in the comment box below. Also, it is very curious to read the feedback about the game’s version for PS4.
20 Tips to Save Battery Life in iOS 11 The 11th version of iOS is considered one of the least successful in history. Most of its users have upgraded to iOS 12 as soon as it became available. But there is one thing that the update didn’t improve, and it’s the battery life. So, let’s assume you’re still on iOS 11 just for that. If it’s right, then you probably want your iPhone to stay alive as long as it can after charging. So we collected the best tips that will help you improve your battery life and save your worries about the nearest socket when the battery indicator turns red. So, here are the 20 (in fact, more) tips for saving your iPhone battery life with iOS 11. To save your time, we warn you that almost every tip starts with opening your Settings. So this is the workspace to operate within, and it should be opened by default if you want to practice these tips immediately. Manage Battery Usage If you go to Battery section and scroll down, you’ll see a surprising lot of data on the apps you use (and your battery through them). This section may help you to optimize your app usage – that is, consciously control time you spend with this or that app. Manage Cellular If you go to Cellular section, you may get surprised when you see how much data is consumed by your apps; and that means energy as well. To prevent this drainage, you can just disable cellular data usage for certain apps. Another thing to do is disable Wi-Fi Assist; if you do, you prevent your iPhone from switching to cellular data when Wi-Fi quality is poor. Location Services One of the most vicious battery drainers is GPS (okay, location services). Turning them off completely isn’t such a good idea, but you can just restrict them. So, go to Privacy/Location Services and see a long list of the apps you have on your iPhone. There are three options for each app: Never (use location services), Only while using and Always. Set up each app separately, according to your needs. As for us, Only while using is the best option in most cases. Take some time to explore System Services; there are some you can turn off, depending on your use manner. Let Your Siri Go Do you realize that your iPhone is listening to you 24/7? Even if you’re sure it’s not sending your records out, it still makes you uneasy. All it does it for is Hey Siri, the phrase that activates the voice assistant. But do you really need it? And when you do, isn’t it easier to press and hold the power button? To turn this off, go to “Siri and Search” and deactivate “Listen to “Hey Siri” option. The “Press Home for Siri” option gets even more useful, so you better leave it on. Really Turn Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth When you tap the icons of wireless connections in Control Center, you don’t actually turn the modules off (did you know that?) In fact, you just terminate all the current connections and leave the device in constant search of new ones. To really turn them off, go to Settings, select “Wi-Fi” and turn it off manually. Then do the same to Bluetooth. By the way, to turn them back on, you can just open Control Center and tap the icons. Control Flashlight Brightness Did you know that a force touch on the flashlight icon in the Control Center lets you adjust its brightness? Come on, try, select the most comfortable level and save some power. Drop the Airdrop It’s great to share photos or links to other iDevices with just a simple tap. But do you need this feature 24/7? If not, go to General, select “AirDrop” and put it to “Receiving Off”. It will also grant you won’t suddenly receive an unwanted pic. Background App Refresh Any app you have installed sometimes updates (unless it’s abandoned). To control this process, go to iTunes & App Stores, then find in “Automatic Downloads” option “App Updates” and deactivate it. There is always a “Mobile Data” section; deactivate “Automatic Downloads” too. Widgets, Not Fidgets One of the best iOS innovations is the Widgets screen. But, just like its Android analogs, iOS widgets consume power to fetch data. So, leave only the widgets you really need. To remove the rest, scroll the widgets screen down to the bottom and tap “Edit”. Off with Handoff Handoff is a great element cementing the Apple ecosystem, so you can start reading a page in Safari, composing a letter, or editing a document on your Mac and go on with your iPhone (and vice versa). If you don’t have a Mac, or don’t need these features, just go to General, then to AirPlay & Handoff and deactivate Handoff. No Rest for the Mail? The Mail app usually receives new mail by pushes; that is, it is constantly connecting the mail server. If you prefer to check it manually, go to Passwords & Accounts and then tap “Fetch New Data”. By default, it’s set to “Push”. But if you disable push, you’ll only have your apps check new info once in a while – say, hourly or semi-hourly. Update Your Update Settings Automatic updates are terrible for battery life. You can disable them, though, in iTunes and App Store section. Just disable “App Updates” in section “Automatic downloads”. Then you’ll be able to update apps manually in the App Store. Shine Off, You Crazy iPhone If your display is brighter than you actually need, it increases energy consumption. To avoid this, go to Display & Brightness and enable Auto-Brightness (Display Accommodation). You’ll still be able to adjust it manually if necessary. Notifications Notifications should be only left to the apps you really need to alert you when something happens. To select these, go to Notifications and, app by app, disable notifications for those you don’t want them from. Help Apple? Sorry, Next Time Of course, Apple wants us to help to improve its AI and big data algorithms. But you have paid for this iPhone, and, as this assistance is voluntary, it’s your right to refuse. To do so, go to Privacy and scroll down to Analytics, open it and turn off everything. Auto-Lock If you leave your phone with an active screen for too long, it will inevitably drain the battery. Unless you set Auto-Lock. To do so, go to Display & Brightness and tap “Auto-Lock”. Then select the comfortable time for your screen to go off; a minute or two would be good. Raise to Wake: Leave or Take? It’s great when you have your iPhone turn on at raising it. But it keeps its motion sensors constantly awake and consuming energy. To avoid that, go to Display & Brightness/Raise to Wake and disable this feature. Reduce Motion It’s a useful feature that is too often forgotten. Go to Accessibility section and then select “Motion”. If you enable “Reduce Motion”, your interface will be not as dynamic, but it will reduce its appetites as well. So your battery will last longer. Low Power Mode and Others In case you forgot while reading all the previous tips, we remind you that there is a Low Power Mode in your iPhone (and in your iPad as well). It’s a versatile solution that helps you keep connected even when your iPhone is nearly dead. But we assume you know this trick, so we put it in the end. Have a Battery Saving Trick Up Your Sleeve? And what tricks and tips do you know and practice to increase the battery life of your iPhone? Tell us in a comment if you have something to add.
Your Own Personal Stickers. How to Make Your Memoji in iOS 13 Probably you have seen somebody send you an emoji resembling themselves to an incredible degree. Probably they used an iPhone with a new feature called Memoji (though it could be an iPad as well). Do you want your digitized alter ego expressing various emotions to send them out? Here we go. Memoji is the new way of creating customized emoji (or rather stickers) based on your own real appearance. Not that the feature is new: it was introduced in 2017 under the name of Animoju, and renamed into Memoji in 2018. It makes your conversations more personal than using plain emoji from default sets. Now it’s even richer. Along with generating avatars automatically, you can adjust skin color, select makeup style, add accessories (including piercing), hairstyle, headwear, and even customize your teeth by adding a gap or a prosthetic one. Accessories include glasses, hats, earrings, AirPods (of course!) and other things you can wear on your head. What It Takes to Create a Memoji If you are a happy owner of iPhone 11 (in any version), you already have it all. They come with iOS 13 preinstalled, so the app is already up to date. But if you’re still on an older model, that’s alright too: on iPhone 6 or newer, Memoji is your best friend. As well it goes to iPads of the fifth generation or newer. To enable the latest version of Memoji, you should check whether you have updated your device to iOS 13. If you haven’t, do it now and then continue. On the other hand, if you are on iOS 13, you can ignore minor updates and still have this feature. How to Get Started To create your Memoji set from scratch, do the following: Open Messages app. Tap the button to compose a new message. Tap the icon with three faces under the text field to start. Tap “+” button. Make a selfie as a template for the future Memoji set. Customize your skin color, hairstyle, brows, eyes, nose, mouth, and so on, till you’re satisfied. Return to any category to adjust it by finding it in tabs. Save the result. If you have changed your appearance later (say, now you have a face piercing or a different hair color), you can edit your emoji without reprocessing your selfie. Still, there’s nothing to it if you do want to repeat the entire procedure. Is Memoji Only for Apple Apps? Though original support of Memoji is better in native apps by Apple (like FaceTime, iMessage, Notes, Mail, and others), you can also use them in third-party apps. Sending Memoji works perfectly in WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and most analogs. You must acknowledge, though, that the avatar expressing your emotion is sent out as a regular image, so it can require a bit more data to transfer. The receiver can handle it as any other image file – say, create memes with your recognizable face. But you can never exclude this possibility with any image. How Do I Access Memoji? It doesn’t take a special menu or app. Just start composing a message in any app you use for that. When your virtual keyboard is active, select emoji mode in the left lower corner (where you switch languages). Your Memoji are on the left. Tap the three-dot button to see the entire list of them. Any Alternatives? Alas, Android or Windows Phone devices don’t have Memoji features (though some offer their own analogs, their quality isn’t half as good). There are third-party apps (like Bitmoji by Snapchat), and they are much better, but they still don’t catch up. But if you know anything better, feel free to drop a comment with the name. And if you want to share some tricks to make your Memoji better, do so.
WhatsApp Released an Update That Lets You Block Unwanted Group Invitations As great as WhatsApp is for multiuser chats, there has always been one feature useful for chat administrators and intolerable for the rest. The one who created the chat could add other users without their consent. This vulnerability was heavily abused by spammers and people not sensible enough to appreciate your privacy. Now it’s here no more. The update available for both iOS and Android lets you select who can invite you to group chats. How to Control Group Invitation Policy If this feature matters to you, and you do want to block unwanted invitations, do the following: Launch your WhatsApp; Go to Settings and then to “Account” menu; Tap “Privacy”; Select “Groups” section; Under “Who can add me to groups” select “My Contacts”. If you’re suffering from someone particular inviting you to unwanted chats, but don’t want to block them completely, you better opt for “My Contacts Except…” and select the annoying contacts, blocking them from inviting you to group dialogs. Still, they have a chance to invite you to their groups via a personal invitation, but you are free to accept or decline it within three days. If you don’t make up your mind, the invitation is declined automatically. How to Get This Update It must be available worldwide starting today. Last month it was rolled out in India only, but it could have made it to the news and cause some misunderstanding. Now it’s no more a problem: the update is available for everyone. You can install it manually… or find out that you already have it if you have enabled automatic updates. Why It’s So Important Some might think that unwanted chats are just annoying, but not really harmful. The situation can change, though, when it comes to money. There are at least two innovations that require security enhancements in the nearest future. The first of them is WhatsApp Pay, a payment system ready to launch in some countries (first of all India that receives most updates ahead of the others). The second is Libra, a cryptocurrency by Facebook that has made so much ado. Both innovations, though, are delayed. When WhatsApp becomes your wallet, security will matter like never before. Group chats may be a fraud tool, too, so another control option comes just in time. What’s Up with You? Do you use WhatsApp? Would you trust it with your money? And how often have you been invited to chats you didn’t want to join? Tell us your story.
Top 10 Game Releases (November 2019) We saw dozens of great video games in October 2019, including creative Concrete Genie, an amazing noir detective story in Disco Elysium, controversial but great Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and inspired by Oriental mythology Indivisible. But there are even more to anticipate in November, even though some of the games below are already out, and some are to be released yet. Probably some of these are solid Game of the Year candidates. November was chosen for releases by Game Freak, Ubisoft, Hideo Kojima, and other developers, as a time near the Christmas fever, for the word of mouth to do its job by the time. So, the month is rich in long anticipated releases, as well as dark horses we know little about. The games below are the top ten we consider the worthiest of all the list. Just Dance 2020 (11-05) Nintendo Switch, Wii, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Google Stadia If you want more than just dancing in real life, then Just Dance 2020 will enhance your dancing experience. Put your dancing shoes on and turn on your console (even if it’s an antique Wii). Ubisoft makes an update of Just Dance with new moves and new music; just like sports, it’s a real goldmine, as people always want it fresh. The game is disco-styled, bright and colorful, bringing you true club vibes. Along with your console, you’ll need a smart device with a camera to track your moves (or maybe you still own a Kinect). Planet Zoo (11-05) Microsoft Windows Zoo Tycoon goes planetary! Not only it means that your park grows bigger; it also lets your animals behave like they do in a natural environment, and that will deliver more fun. As a zookeeper, you will have to provide them with everything they need and do the same for visitors. It’s a strategic game that will take some brain activity, but it’s also environmentally conscious, and it’s the trend now. Sniper: Ghost Warrior – Contracts (11-22) PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows Not that Sniper series has been a huge success, but the developers learn from their mistakes and do their best to improve the gameplay. Now it’s updated with a contracts system that makes mission-based gameplay more logical. This, along with technical improvements, may make Contracts a better game worth your attention. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (11-14) Platform: Microsoft Windows The second installment became the best in Age of Empires series and arguably in the entire RTS genre. The game embraces a long period in human history from Fall of Rome to the early Renaissance, and offers you campaigns led by famous kings and generals, from Barbarossa and Saladin to Indian or Indochinese rajas and African chiefs. The game itself remains popular for twenty years, and it survived four major updates and a remaster. The definitive edition will be remastered again, plus it will receive four new civilizations and a campaign named “The Last Khans”. Shenmue III (11-19) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 While Age of Empires II just gets new expansion packs, another game of about the same age – Shenmue – returns with a real sequel. The fans were devoted enough to kickstart the development with their investments. It’s the long-awaited conclusion of the story told throughout the series, but, as the developers promise, it leaves a place to step on. So, if it’s as great as we expect, it’s clear how to make Shenmue IV. Need For Speed Heat (11-08) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Here comes another anniversary; Need for Speed turns 25 in 2019, and this time it makes a new hit with Heat. The game has been anticipated for long, and it won’t disappoint if you’re in for speed, glamor, and dynamics. Now the game features daytime races, quite legal but offering fewer rewards, and night ones, with police after you and illegal money in the end. The game is partly inspired by GTA series, and the hybrid is promising. The truest fans may install a mobile companion app to fiddle with your cars in a virtual garage. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (11-08) Nintendo Switch These two Nintendo characters aren’t meeting for the first time; they were here since 2007, and for Olympic Games 2020 they are both back. The series will be a major upgrade for the idea. This time the mini games are combined with a story mode that joins them all. The characters themselves are of nostalgic value as well, and this game insolently exploits that feel with an optional 2D mode. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (08-15) Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows Star Wars fans have a lot to spend their time at until The Rise of Skywalker hits the theaters. There are two major releases in November, filling the gaps; while Mandalorian TV series tells the story of events after Return of the Jedi, Jedi: Fallen Order tells you what was happening in the galaxy far, far away between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. It’s a story of a Jedi who survived Order 66 and is now joining the fight against the rising Empire. If you can’t help thinking of Rogue One, it’s for a reason. Some characters, including the rebellious Saw Gerrera, will appear here too. As for the visuals, they are as original as can be, cutscenes sometimes making an impression of some unreleased movie scenes. Death Stranding (11-08) PlayStation 4 While most of us love Hideo Kojima for Metal Gear Solid series, Death Stranding will bring you much more of Kojima, as it’s the debut game by his independent studio. It features a postapocalyptic view of the country divided by dangerous deserts, with separated cities, time going mad in timefalls, and people struggling to survive in this suddenly strange land. It’s also greatly cinematic, featuring movie and TV stars like Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead) and Mads Mikkelsen. This may be the greatest release of the month, as well as of the year. Pokémon Sword and Shield (11-15) Nintendo Switch Any new Pokémon game is an inevitable hit. Even a controversial decision to feature just a part of the entire Pokédex didn’t make the fans chill; everyone is still waiting. The first videos demonstrate probably the best visuals in the entire franchise. In addition, the players will meet the new forms of Pokémon (Dynamax and Gigantamax), new lands to explore, and new cooperative modes to try. There will also be a new element named Poké Jobs, requiring your Pokémon to assist you in construction or other jobs to gain bonuses. The overall impression is that the game will be as innovative as Pokémon Go in 2016. Tell Us If Your Top 10 Differs Have we missed anything? If you believe there are games that should have been there instead, write the names in the comments. Or share your impressions if you have already played some of these.
Microsoft Xbox Bundles Returns with New Project Scarlett Xbox It’s about a year before the new Xbox Project Scarlett arrives, but the most impatient (or the most caring) can start purchasing older versions now, via Xbox All Access bundles. As the new generation comes closer, Microsoft revives the tradition of All Access bundles that we have seen once to help selling the current ones. The idea of Xbox All Access is about splitting the price of the device into monthly payments. It also includes Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass, paid services that go cheaper when bundled. The price will be distributed into 24 months. It’s clear that Microsoft wants to smoothen the gap in sales, rolling out this offer right before the Black Friday. In addition, it’s a reason for those lingering as they await Project Scarlett: this deal implies an easy upgrade. X Marks the Box What Microsoft offers now is a console (Xbox One X, S, or S All-Digital Edition), Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, or Xbox Live Gold, starting with $19.99/month. Along with various console versions, you can select the subscription that fits you best. For example, the key option of Game Pass is access to various games for PC and the console. Live Gold offers you multiplayer. The cheapest option will split into 24 months the price of Xbox One S All-Digital (with no Blu-ray drive) and add Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for these 24 months. There is an option of an early upgrade in 18 months. If you are ready to pay $22.99 monthly, you can get the regular version of Xbox One S, equipped with an optical drive. And increasing the payment to $30.00/month will get you an Xbox One X. The latter has a benefit of upgrading to Xbox Project Scarlett in 12 months, if you take a special offer before December 31, 2019. What NeXt? 2020 will be the year of Xbox Project Scarlett, the 9Gen console that will just swipe away the previous generations. The offer by Microsoft implies that you can get it much cheaper by just trading in your current console with the same retailer that provided your Xbox All Access. The offer requires no additional payments if you have opted for Xbox One X. If you decide on Xbox One S (in any version), it will mean some extra fee. Still, it’s an attractive offer. It’s cheaper than buying a console for its actual price and getting your subscription separately, ($743.76 instead of $758.76 if you select One X and $479.76 instead of $608.76 for One S All-digital), plus it makes an upgrade available as soon as Project Scarlett is finally out. Split payment is also an advantage. When it comes to a bundle offer as it is, it’s available in the US (via Amazon), UK (via Game and Smyths Toys), and Australia (via Telstra). Australian buyers, though, won’t have an option of Project Scarlett upgrade. Sad but true. Will You Join the Xbox Side? What do you think of this offer? Would you rather buy PlayStation 4 or Switch instead? Or none of these, until Gen9 arrives? Share your thoughts in a comment.
Yes, Your Grace Expected Release Announced Yes, your Grace is a beautiful pixel art game, and its Kickstarter campaign started in late 2014. After years of silence, it reappears, and it’s changed. With the recent release of its trailer, a beta version of the game is scheduled in November this year with a full release expected in 2020. It will be available for PC first, and later for Xbox One and Switch. Its developer Brave at Night just released a slew of updates highlighting No More Robots will be the part of the game as a publisher. Its Scope has Changed Originally kickstarted for merely £7000, people bought the interesting pitch by the game’s creator Rafał Bryks. But he missed his deadline and slowly the money ran out. Bryks had to get a job, and the project languished. Due to contractual reasons, he could not explain the situation to his backers, and the briefings dried up in 2016. He only broke his silence this summer with an apology post offering refunds to those who wanted it. To his surprise, very few people asked for that. Bryks was able to build a demo, and he pitched it to No More Robots, and finally, Yes, Your Grace re-emerges now. It is a kingdom management game where you will play the role of a medieval king and father of a royal family. The latest trailer shows some of the things the king will do when the kingdom is under attack. Initially, it was pitched as a sprawling game with a huge world and RPG systems, and players would spend many hours playing it. It has changed to a 6-8 hours story with an ending that depends on your choices as a king. Launching Early 2020 If you think playing the King Eryk in the kingdom of Davern is more work than play, check out the latest heavy-metal infused promo showing why players are gonna have lots of fun. The fight with enemies is entwined with lighthearted scenes and cute discussions. As a king, you would definitely need to listen to the cries of your citizens, but the game also boasts a compelling and quirky narrative.
Tiktok Censored Content that Displeases Beijing The Chinese-owned TikTok, which is now one of the most downloaded short-form video apps has purportedly censored videos related to Hong Kong’s independence. Another issue is the ownership, TikTok’s parent firm ByteDance is Beijing headquartered, and faced accusations of compliance with the Chinese Government, same happened to WeChat (Tencent) and Huawei. The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, shared some documents revealing that TikTok’s policy guidelines instruct its moderators to censor topics involving pro- LGBT content and Hong Kong protests. TikTok is Under Fire In a recent speech at Georgetown University, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg attacked TikTok while defending his company’s light regulation of speech and political ads. He asserted that social media has unlocked transformative channels of speech that should be kept open. Considering regional censorship as worldwide censorship at a platform level, few US senators have written a letter to the acting Director of National Intelligence citing the national security threat posed by TikTok and various Chinese owned platforms operative in the country. Over 80 million users in America have download TikTok and no one really knows how the content related to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong is moderated. The Guardian reported that TikTok’s censorship policy is very generic and broad; but implemented that in a manner that it permits the prohibition of various controversial issues. For instance, TikTok had banned “Demonization or misrepresentation of local or other nations’ historical accounts”, the same was used to delete content related to Tiananmen Square Massacre. Similarly, “Separatism” has been labeled as a highly provocative topic and used to interdict content on Tibet and Taiwan. The newspaper also highlighted that the Chinese-owned social media darling strictly treats and bans religious posts. Posts related to past issues were categorized in the less severe group. The Guardian revealed that content related to around 20 political leaders was banned, and Xi Jinping was excluded from that list. ByteDance Denied Allegations In a recent response, the company clarified its US-based team leads the content moderation policies, and no foreign government can influence it. ByteDance also claimed that it did not remove any video on Hong Kong’s protests or restricted such content, and its old guidelines are outdated as these were not developed to reference specific issues and are not used anymore. The current policy is rather localized with region specific moderation.
Deleting Pre-installed Android Apps Without Rooting If you are an Android user, you would have noticed that not all pre-installed software is of any use to you. You might have tried removing these third party apps to free up the phone storage and improve performance, yet some of them remained. These are called Bloatware—apps you don’t need, want to remove, but can’t. This is true for Google apps: if you don’t like Google Play Music, sorry, you can’t delete it off your phone. Don’t worry, let us help you with our tips to remove, hide, or at least disable pre-installed apps. Method 1: Use Android Settings Android offers various settings to help you customize your phone. You can easily uninstall third party bloatware with these settings. Step 1: From your Android phone, go to Settings; Step 2: Tap Applications, then click Application Manager; Step 3: Now find the app you want to delete and simply tap on it; Step 4: If you see the Uninstall button, tap on it to delete the app. You may see a Force Stop button instead of the uninstall option: this simply means that this app can’t be deleted, but only deactivated. Select Force Stop and then tap Disable to make it dormant. Using the Uninstall option, you can remove various stock apps one by one. These applications will not show up in the app list and won’t be recognized as installed ones. If the app was not uninstalled fully, try the next method. Method 2: Use Debloater Think of Debloater as a free Windows software blocking app that accesses your Android device’s filesystem. It can immobilize apps on your phone and lets you unblock these again. Step 1: To use this technique, you need to allow the developer option, which will be activated from the Settings. Simply tap About Phone, then Build Number. Keep tapping the Build Number for about 7 to 10 times to permit the developer option; Step 2: Once activated, you can see it in the Settings. Tap it, scroll down to find USB Debugging, and enable it; Step 3: Now search the Debloater tool online from your Windows desktop or laptop, download and install it. We have already highlighted its usefulness in deleting the system apps which could not be uninstalled otherwise. Now connect your Android phone with the PC using the USB cable. Once the system finds the Android device, the Debloater will display a warning message; Step 4: On the top left side, select Read Phone Packages. This will prompt it to read all installed apps on your Android device; Step 5: You will be able to see the entire list of apps on your smartphone identified as blocked and unblocked; Step 6: Choose the app(s) you want to be deleted from your smartphone. Once selected, click the Apply option. The chosen app(s) will be removed. It also offers the undo/ deselect option too. We hope you will find it easy to delete the unwanted apps and free your phone. Method 3: Use Android Debug Bridge Android Debug Bridge or ADB is a command-line utility integrated with Android SDK. It can control your smartphones via USB connected to a computer, run shell commands, copy files, install/uninstall applications and more. Step 1: From the Play Store, search and install App Selector on your phone; Step 2: Install ADB on your computer; Step 3: Find and tap App Inspection on your phone; Step 4: Select and click the app you want to delete, note its path; Step 5: Connect your device to your PC, and click “Transfer Files” way; Step 6: Open Command Prompt and enter adb devices. Just type it as it is; Step 7: Once you enter, adb shell to go in to shell mode; Step 8: After you enter the mode, type pm uninstall -k --user 0 (type as it is); It is important to replace the name of the package with the app path we asked you to note in step 4. Hopefully, you will see a success message on the command prompt indicating the app is removed. A Word of Warning We would like to highlight that some apps are necessary for your Android phone to run properly and can’t be installed or deactivated. Depending on the device manufacturer, some cellular phones have few bloatware, and their system apps can be easily deactivated. There are brands that release devices full of third-party apps that can’t be disabled or deleted. We recommend reading the methods explained above carefully to get rid of an unwanted app without rooting your phone. Don’t leave them to slow down your device and waste computing power, remove or at least disable such apps.