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Savillo is a contributing writer for GamesBeat. He was formerly a contributing editor for GamesBeat and a senior editor for Bitmob. He always follows VentureBeat’s ethics statement.

Location:Annapolis, Maryland

stories by Rob Savillo

Torchlight II is more than its loot chase

I sat with my hands resting on the keyboard and mouse, mulling over a selection of loot I'd accumulated from my hacking and slashing through the Ghosts of Plunder Cove. Did I want to equip the Hasty Maul, which has a "very slow attack speed" but also a "+7% attack speed"? Doesn't sound so "hasty." How about the Vampiric Lumber Sledge with the ability to steal 6 health on a hit? Or maybe the Paired Battle Axe with a "very fast attack speed" and a "+5% chance to execute"? Execute what? I'm not sure.

No one can hear you cramming for Endless Space

I enjoy learning new things — just as I imagine (and hope) most of the rest of us do, too. But, also as I believe the opinions of most others to be, I don’t particularly enjoy mundane tasks. I don't want to study text bubbles or cross reference data spreadsheets. Discovery should be intuitive, right? I think we can all get behind that. So, I want to like Endless Space. I do, honestly. But Endless Space feels like homework sometimes.

Dragon’s Dogma: Bad controls tarnish great combat

In the grassy fields of Gransys, my party of four treads the sunlit pastures looking out for claymore-wielding bandits and red-skinned goblins. I’m prowling for a fight, you see, because that’s what up-and-coming adventurer-heroes do. And after the spear-armed lizard men who reside deep in the sewer gave us a skewering, I’m itching to hone our battle skills in order to better hold our own next time.

The surprising A.I. of Men of War: Condemned Heroes

Gunfire, soldiers running for cover, commanding officers screaming orders, and explosions. Oh, the explosions that rock the battlefield and — more importantly — the point of view. That shaky-cam popularized by Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan and "perfected" to banality by Michael Bay that visually conveys the messy and tumultuous nature of conflict.

News Blips: Zynga’s money woes, Microsoft denies security breach, always-on DRM in the arcade, and changes to the Dark Souls CE

Zynga may be heading for financial trouble. According to Business Insider, social-gaming giant Zynga’s Q2 results indicate worrisome trends in revenue and active users. Analyst Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry asks what happened to the company’s profits and writes, "In short, revenue rose by about 15 percent sequentially…and costs rose by nearly 30 percent." He concludes that "costs rose faster than revenue, which is not good news." Secondly, he writes that "Zynga’s monthly active users have been flat for five quarters now," which means that "since 2010, the company’s revenue growth has come mostly from revenue operational efficiencies — i.e., wringing more cash out of existing users — and acquisitions rather than from growing its user base."

Torchlight 2 and Grim Dawn welcome the mod community as Diablo 3 locks them out

I once believed that Blizzard had my interests at heart. In retrospect, that was naïve. The shin-kicking that the company gave to Diablo aficionados early this month brought unwelcome clarity: The third installment will not support modding in any way, and the developer will "expressly prohibit" such activity in the terms of use "for a variety of gameplay and security reasons."

Storytelling through gameplay in Atom Zombie Smasher and Trapped Dead

Ben and Harry just can’t see eye to eye. Ever the resourceful hero, Ben wants to stay upstairs, where he can see out of the house’s boarded windows and doors. If things get ugly, he knows he can escape. Harry, a family man whose wife and wounded daughter wait below, believes this to be madness. “You’re insane! The cellar’s the safest place!” he cries. “The cellar’s a deathtrap,” retorts Ben.

Hawken: An upcoming mech-based, multiplayer shooter

The mech genre's been in a bit of a lull lately. Although we have From Software's Armored Core 5 and Double Fine's Trenched on the horizon, I haven't been really exicted to pilot a 50-ton war machine since From's 2008 Armored Core: For Answer. Still, that's in the third-person, fast-paced camp. I haven't stepped into the cockpit and really felt the weight of these bipedal monstrosities since FASA Studio's MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries back in 2002 (now available for free!).