Final Fantasy XIV Is So Popular Right Now That It Ran Out of Digital Codes

World of Warcraft has been the big boss in the MMORPG market since it was released back in 2004.  There’s no denying that.  We’ve seen plenty of games releases over the years try and achieve even a fraction of what made it so special, but most fall to the wayside.  World of Warcraft really hasn’t had any serious competition, but it seems like the times are a changin’.  Final Fantasy XIV is a force to be reckoned with these days, and recently the surge of new players caused Square Enix to stop all digital sales of the game entirely for a short period of time.

Many who tried to purchase a digital copy of FFXIV in the past week were met with a “Waitlist” button instead of a “Purchase” button.

Yup, this is actually happening. Would-be sprouts, please be patient – this is pretty unprecedented. Server congestion is temporary. from ffxiv

There are a certain amount of servers that run the game, so it’s safe to assume the influx of players trying to get in caused Square to halt everything and increase server capacity.  In the picture below you can see that pretty much every server wasn’t even accepting new players.

FFXIV NA servers have almost completely run out of space for new characters from ffxiv

The next FFXIV expansion ‘Endwalker’ doesn’t release until this November, so why the popularity now?  For context, there was a massive gap between the latest World of Warcraft expansion ‘Shadowlands’ and the next update for it.  Shadowlands released on November 23rd, 2020 and the new content update just came out on June 29th, 2021.  Having to wait 7 months for new content in an online service game is a very long time.  Usually, you see more frequent updates to keep the player base engaged, but with the pandemic requiring everyone to work from home, it hasn’t been easy.

With tons of positive press and the next expansion ‘Endwalker’ releasing on November 19th, 2021, the World of Warcraft community has felt disappointed with the game and big streamers have been making the jump over to FFXIV.  A popular World of Warcraft streamer “Asmongold” has recently been streaming FFXIV and he’s seeing upwards of 100k concurrent viewers each time.  On his first day streaming FFXIV he had 0ver 200k concurrent viewers.  Even on Steam, the game saw an increase of 61k concurrent people playing.  Players (myself included) who have been playing FFXIV for years have known it’s something special, but now everyone’s hopping on the hype train.

FFXIV sales have continued so if you’re interested in seeing what the fuss is all about, I highly encourage you to give it a go.  There is a free trial up to level 60 (the current level cap is 80).  If you do decide to give it a go, just a heads up, the game is very story-heavy compared to World of Warcraft.  There’s a lot of character development and world-building at first, but things get way more interesting later on and the journey is definitely worth it.

Ubisoft Reportedly Developing a New Splinter Cell Game

It’s crazy to think that there hasn’t been a new Splinter Cell title since 2013’s Blacklist.  Considered one of Ubisoft‘s flagship series, our favorite black ops agent Sam Fisher has since fallen to the wayside in favor of other Tom Clancy properties such as The Division and Ghost Recon.  It felt like we’d never see a new Splinter Cell, but if this latest rumor is anything to consider, it looks like we won’t have to wait long to sneak back into the shadows.

As reported by VGC, development sources have told them that a new Splinter Cell has been put into production as a means of winning back frustrated fans.  Those looking for an actual Splinter Cell game have been unfortunately met with poorly received mobile and VR titles for the past decade.  VGC’s sources also mentioned that this new title is apparently in an early phase of production, but there’s a small chance it could be announced next year.

Unfortunately, that’s where the report ends.  It’s pretty barebones but hey, at least it’s something!  Fans have been itching for a proper Splinter Cell game for quite some time now.  It looks like their wish could finally be granted.

Splinter Cell was and still is a pretty awesome stealth video game series, but it typically gets overshadowed by Metal Gear Solid.  Both feature gravel-voiced heroes going on secret spy missions, but that’s pretty much where the comparisons end.  Splinter Cell doesn’t have hours upon hours of spoken dialogue, and later iterations opted for much more action-oriented combat.  It could even be argued that Fisher handles better than Snake, with all his cool spy moves.

Personally, my favorite part about the Splinter Cell games was the multiplayer.  As long as that makes a return, I’ll be happy.  Spies vs Mercs was a blast and required some real coordination amongst teammates.  The 2v2 mode was pretty much perfected in 2005’s Chaos Theory, with each team having a variety of gadgets at their disposal.  The Spies played in third-person and could sneak through vents and get the drop on their opponents in order to complete objectives, while Mercs were played in first-person and packed some real firepower in order to guard said objectives.  If they could bring back the co-op mode from 2010’s Conviction too, that’d be cool.  Of course, as with any of these rumors, I’m getting ahead of myself here.  I guess I’ll just have to calm down until something actually gets announced.

Studio Wouldn’t Allow Robin Williams To Be in Harry Potter

Robin Williams has been in a lot of great movies, from sophisticated fare like Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar, and Dead Poets Society to fun flicks like Mrs. Doubtfire to Aladdin. Turns out there was one group of movies he wanted to be a part of but wasn’t able to: the Harry Potter adaptations.

Christopher Columbus, the director of the first two Potter films (as well as Home Alone, and the Williams’ starring Bicentennial Man), recently confirmed to Total Film the actor was hoping to play werewolf and Potter ally Remus Lupin. This rumor had been floating around for a while, but there was a very specific reason Robin couldn’t do it: despite his talent for mimicry and impersonations, Williams just wasn’t British enough!

The studio had a rule for the Potter movies that no non-English actors would be cast.

It was out of Columbus’s hands, but he still had to break the news. “I had a conversation with Robin Williams, who wanted to play Lupin,” he said. “It was very difficult for me to say ‘It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do.’”

In 2001, during an interview with the New York Post, Williams admitted his disappointment. As usual, he lightened the mood with a joke.

There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors. Maybe one day. Say if [Harry] goes to Yale and becomes president.”

It’s too bad that Williams took his own life a few years back, for many reasons. Now we can add “won’t get to play Dumbledore in the Harry Potter remakes” to the list.

Think about it: he would have made an AMAZING Dumbledore.

Guy Fieri Announces That He Is the Final Super Smash Bros. DLC Character

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate might have thought they just revealed their final character, but they would be wrong.

On Twitter, “The Mayor of Flavor Town” himself revealed in a shocking twist that he will be the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character, not Sora from Kingdom HeartsCheck out his sweet intro below.

I know this is just a joke, but I don’t want it to be.  I seriously want this to happen.  Could you imagine just annihilating opponents and knocking them off-screen while Fieri’s character says things like “Holy moly, Stromboli!“?  I could see his dash move being him jumping into his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible and cruising across the battlefield and running Pikachu over.  THAT is the Smash Bros. game I want to play.

Celebrities and video games.  Man, it gets me every time.  If it’s not Fieri, it’s Brendan Fraser ignoring a fan while he plays Nintendo Switch.  Maybe Fraser plays Smash Bros.  I say we get him and Fieri into The Dad Gaming – Super Smash Bros Ultimate Facebook group.  If Fieri’s so confident with his skills that he wants his own character in the game, well, that’s a guy I’d want on my team.  While we’re at it, we should also invite the dentist that offers free cleanings if you can beat him at Smash Bros. too.  He seems like a solid choice as well.

It’s the Year 2021 and Doom Is Now Playable on Twitter

At this point, we’ve seen Doom played on everything from pregnancy tests to a calculator powered by 200 potatoes.  Is it any surprise that it’s now playable on a social media platform?

Over on Twitter, someone has created a Tweet2Doom bot account, which now means you can attempt to complete the original Doom on Twitter by using various commands in Twitter replies to this specific account.

Now, it’s not exactly like you’re literally playing the game.  Think of it like a turn-based RPG or a strategy game.  Gameplay essentially boils down to you using a combination of letters and numbers to input commands to the game and then figuring out the number of frames that you’d like the action you’ve just input to be performed for.  After you’ve input your desired commands, it plays back a video in-game of what you’re doing.  It’s kind of like when Twitch played Dark Souls and Pokemon.  At first, it might sound impossible to actually accomplish anything (and it usually starts with you constantly running into walls), but there are playthroughs where people are literally getting through levels and fighting off demons.  It’s pretty spectacular.

If you’re interested in giving it a shot yourself, there’s a full set of rules on how to play pinned on Tweet2Doom’s Twitter account.  There are even speedruns currently happening as we speak if you really want to get crazy.  Seriously, I’m not joking.  You read that correctly.  There are actual speedruns for the Twitter version of Doom.  The human race is a wild bunch.

Any guesses as to what Doom will show up on next?  A Fisher-Price tablet powered by dirty diapers?  Maybe instead of a calculator powered by 200 potatoes, a potato powered by 200 calculators?  It sounds crazy, but at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Indiana Jones 5 and MCU Movies Delayed Until 2023

It’s starting to seem like the universe doesn’t want another Indiana Jones movie.

Indy 5, which was delayed by the pandemic and was then delayed after star Harrison Ford got hurt on set, much like he did during the Force Awakens shoot – it’s almost like he’s too old for this shit! – and now those production delays have forced the release of the movie to get pushed back another year, to 2023.

The movie, which is being directed by James Mangold (Logan) and co-stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelson, is purported to have a time-travel element – and some recent photos from the set showing old-fashioned ships and what look like Roman soldiers – seem to bear that theory out. As does the fact that the franchise is pretty iconic and valuable, and the studio may be seeking a way to extend it beyond its star’s ability to continue swashbuckling.

Perhaps the time travel element will bring a younger Indy on board, or an alternate Indy. We’ll see, just not for a few more years.

We’ll also have to wait a bit longer for some of the highly anticipated MCU movies. Stick with me here: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness got pushed from March to May, taking Thor: Love and Thunder’s spot and pushing the Norse god’s fourth flick to July, which forces Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to move to November, when The Marvels, the Captain Marvel sequel was meant to premiere. Now that will hit theaters in February 2023 and will bump the next Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to late July 2023.

The multiverse works in mysterious ways.

The good news is all of those movies are still happening. The bad news is, that includes Indiana Jones 5.

Netflix’s “Ozark” Ready To Start Finishing the Series With a Bang

It’s the beginning of the end for Netflix’s Ozark, as the Jason Bateman-starring family drama has an official premiere date for its fourth and final season. Netflix announced this week the addicting thriller will debut Part 1 on January 21st. The fourth season will be broken into two parts of seven episodes each.

We got more than a date, though, as we also got the first teaser trailer for the critically-acclaimed show.

“Money is, at its essence, that measure of a man’s choices,” says Marty in the beginning of the teaser. The Byrde family has a lot on the line as they expand their footprint in the Ozarks, and have made more than a few enemies along the way.

As Bateman’s wife in the show, Wendy Byrde (played by the excellent Laura Linney) says later in the trailer: “Sometimes, if you don’t move forward, you die.”

And now, Ozark is doing both! It is moving forward with the first part of season 4, but we know some major resolution is on the horizon, as it will be tidily wrapped up in 14 more episodes.

There’s always a ton of pressure for a beloved show to stick the landing right. Sometimes, it all plays out as well as it can (Breaking Bad). Other times, it completely undercuts everything the show has been building to for years and leaves fans feeling betrayed (cough *Game of Thrones season 8*). And then there are some that are so ambiguous it leaves fans confused for decades (*The Sopranos*).

The teaser trailer is pretty great, and Bateman has said previously to the media that the supersized season will bring supersized problems for the Byrde family. He also said he’s excited to “end with a bang” so you can be sure season 4 won’t be about a harmonious end to the family’s involvement with a Mexican drug cartel.

Michael J. Fox Will Receive Honorary AARP Award for Parkinson’s Advocacy

In the midst of enjoying his massive Back to the Future success, Michael J. Fox’s world was turned upside-down. At just 29 years old, in 1991, the talented actor was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease. For nearly a decade, Fox kept his condition under wraps. He coped privately, figuring out what his life would look like under his new and difficult circumstances.

In 1998, Fox spoke publicly for the first time about Parkinson’s. Rather than focusing on his own life, however, Fox chose to turn his attention to Parkinson’s as a whole. In 2000, he founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, dedicating his time and energy to both advocacy and his ultimate goal: finding a cure for Parkinson’s.

In a virtual ceremony on December 15, Michael J. Fox will receive an honorary AARP Purpose Prize award for his extensive work in Parkinson’s advocacy and research.

“AARP is honored to celebrate these extraordinary older adults, who have dedicated their lives to serving others in creative and innovative ways,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said on AARP’s website. “During these trying times in our country and globally, we are inspired to see people use their life experiences to build a better future for us all.”

Fox undoubtedly goes above and beyond to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation raised over $700 million for Parkinson’s research so far, and with every passing year, the foundation continues to grow. AARP wants to honor Fox’s commitment to the cause, and in addition to the award itself, they will contribute $50,000 to his foundation.

“The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s single, urgent goal is to eliminate Parkinson’s disease,” the foundation’s website states. “Even in the face of tremendous challenges, our promise to push Parkinson’s research forward remains steadfast. We’re problem-solvers and we’re optimistic.”

Grateful Dead T-Shirt Auctioned by Sotheby’s Fetches $17k

Last week, a painting by notorious guerilla street artist Bansky was auctioned off for a record-breaking amount. The amount was noteworthy for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that the painting was half-shredded! But it isn’t the only half-shredded piece of art that’s worth something.

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of vintage t-shirts, and by vintage, I mean “older than my kids and also my marriage.” Most of mine are band and/or concert-related, and until today, I thought their only value was sentimental. And then I learned that a vintage Grateful Dead t-shirt was auctioned off for thousands of dollars!

$17,460 was the high bid according to Defunkd a resource for authentic vintage t-shirts. But after factoring in Sotheby’s fees and uncle Sam’s cut, the final price tag was actually $19,315.80.

The shirt’s value is not merely due to the design and its excellent condition after 60 years, or the fact that it was designed by a Hells Angel, but is also due to the fact that it comes from the collection of Dan Healy, an audio engineer with a working relationship with the legendary jam band. It may also be the first Grateful Dead t-shirt ever made, or so says Bo Bushnell, the man who bought it and a collector of 1960s motorcycle club artifacts.

“It was the first t-shirt that the Dead released,” Bo Bushnell told Defunkd after he won the auction.

Grateful Dead t-shirt
(Credit: Sotheby’s)

The auction site described the shirt:

“Designed by the Hells Angel, Merry Prankster, and graphic artist Allan “Gut” Terk, a key figure in California counterculture in the 1960s. Friends with Ken Kesey, he was the painter of the Pranksters’ “Further” bus in 1964 and designed the Acid Test Graduation posters. By 1967, through his work for the Dead, he was acclaimed in the Bay Area music scene for his t-shirt and poster art.”

Obviously, there are some special circumstances surrounding this shirt, and not many bands have as devoted a fan base as the Dead, so I wouldn’t expect any of your beloved band shirts to fetch quite as much on the auction market.

But I’m gonna go look through my collection just in case…

Netflix Creates Chadwick Boseman Memorial Scholarship at Howard University

Before Chadwick Boseman was T’Challa, before he earned the professional success that most actors only dream of, Boseman was a student at Howard University. Boseman initially planned on pursuing directing, but his program required students to take acting classes as well. Under the guidance of Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad, Boseman thrived.

The talented student soon set his sights on acting, and in a quiet act of generosity, Denzel Washington paid for Boseman’s acting course at Oxford – a program he otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. In memory of the late actor, Netflix is establishing a $5.4 million scholarship to allow other students a similar opportunity.

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will fund four years of tuition at Howard University for recipients. This year, four students (one in each class year) will receive the memorial scholarship. Starting next year and continuing annually, one incoming freshman will be awarded the life-changing scholarship.

“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University said in a statement shared by CNN.

“This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling, and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students,” Dr. Frederick continues. “I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick’s wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward-Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift.”

Students who receive The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will display qualities that are important both inside and outside of the classroom. The school explains that while leadership and passion are important, so are things like respect and empathy. Boseman, filled with passion and drive, had his trajectory shaped by the generosity of a stranger. Now, even posthumously, he’s doing the same for others.