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Posts tagged “Blizzard Entertainment”

Overwatch begins testing its game-changing Role Queue system

The age of casually flitting between roles mid-match in Overwatch is over, as Blizzard just dropped a game-changing patch on their competitive team shooter's public test servers. Applying to Quick and Competitive match modes (as well as the esports league, which is a shakeup), players will now have to commit to a role - Tank, DPS or Support - before their match and queue for…

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Feature: There's not much more of a Breakthrough than this

Know It OWL: Dragons at the peak

I’ve said two things here multiple times. Firstly, this season of the Overwatch League is one of upsets and unpredictability. Secondly, I love and cherish Shanghai Dragons. But I still wasn’t ready for the Dragons to face a playoff gauntlet of the big three teams, New York Excelsior, Vancouver Titans, and San Francisco Shock, and beat them one after one to become stage champions. In…

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Overwatch to start ending matches when it detects cheats

Rather than have players suffer through matches where cheaters are cheating up the place, saving bans for future punishment, Overwatch should soon shut down games mid-round as soon as it detects skulduggery. That's a solution Blizzard are currently toying with on the test servers, director Jeff Kaplan explained last week, and it sounds great. When faced with cheaters, I have always found some catharsis in…

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Your next Starcraft II opponent might be a robot in disguise

Google's DeepMind AI division will likely end up making the next generation of military killbots, but before then, at least they'll provide new challenges for the esports crowd. In January, their "AlphaStar" StarCraft II agent trounced a crew of pro players ten to one. To make sure it wasn't a fluke, they've unleashed AlphaStar on the European public. According to this official blog post, AlphaStar…

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Feature: I don't know what peach thing is about and at this point I'm too afraid to ask

Know It OWL: Atlanta adventures

The Overwatch League’s season three has hurtled towards its playoffs, locking in all of the places for next week. Although Shanghai Dragons didn’t have to make it quite so close, did they? My poor heart could barely take it. And now they’ll be facing New York Excelsior in the quarterfinals, a team that heard people (me) say that they were squarely in third place behind…

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StarCraft fan-remake mod Mass Recall for StarCraft 2 is finally complete

After some delays, StarCraft: Mass Recall is complete and ready to play. It's a StarCraft 2 mod remake of the original StarCraft's campaign, expansion, demo and more. Better still, it's compatible with the free SC2 Starter Edition, effectively making it a free game. When I last covered this and other SC2 mods, only the first three campaigns were available, with the remaining missions needing work to…

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Hearthstone: Saviors Of Uldum makes me wish World Of Warcraft was as silly

Has it really been three months since the last Hearthstone expansion? It feels like it was days ago. The next expansion for Blizzard's popular CCG will be Saviours Of Uldum, due on August 6th, and it looks like they're doubling down on the Saturday morning cartoon antics of Rise Of Shadows. They're unearthing the League Of Explorers from the now-defunct adventure and making them the…

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Feature: This is a complicated way of saying I have no idea what's going on

Know It OWL: The only thing more fake than the meta is the power rankings

Stage three of the Overwatch League didn’t seem like it would be especially exciting. The Goats meta remained untouched by major balance patches in the break. Teams had mostly established themselves at the top and bottom of the rankings, though there was plenty of jostling in the middle. Even in the first couple of weeks, things seemed to be progressing as expected, but for a…

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Overwatch League’s first MVP skin is pretty, lucky

Last season, Bang “Jjonak” Sunghyeon was crowned the Overwatch League’s “most valuable player” (MVP). The Zenyatta player is now being honoured in-game with a skin for his signature hero, which players will be able to buy for a limited time starting next week for 200 tokens (about $10, or you could earn them by watching 33 hours of live OWL broadcasts.) It’s expensive, but it…

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Feature: Second half, second chances

Know It OWL: Overwatch League kicks off stage 3 in style

Happy Overwatch League stage three, and happy Pride. Both were celebrated in fine form at the arena this week, and while Blizzard could stand to improve how they handle both in many ways, aw, it was nice to see all the excited fan signs and rainbows everywhere. Alongside the festivities, teams were clearly looking ahead as we're now into the final half of the League.…

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Rumour: Blizzard cancelled a StarCraft FPS “like Battlefield”

A team at Blizzard had been working on a first-person shooter set in the world of their StarCraft real-time strategy games, the rumour mill says, but it's recently been cancelled. One secret source told Kotaku that the game was a bit "like Battlefield in the StarCraft universe" though we may never see or know much more about it. Cancelling unannounced games is fairly standard for…

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Feature: Over and over

Has Overwatch been improved by its updates?

“I came in like a wrecking ball,” sang Miley Cyrus. “Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung.” She was, of course, talking about Overwatch’s playable hamster, Hammond, referred to as “Wrecking Ball” in Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter thanks to his control of a spherical, grappling-hook-equipped mech.

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Feature: The times, they are a changin'

Know It OWL: Mid-season musings

The Overwatch League is on a break at the moment. A lull in the action, though, is often the best time to look back at what's changed, and forward at what might. This is especially true considering the departure of League Commissioner Nate Nanzer to Epic Games, raising questions about what that could mean for both Overwatch and Fortnite. When I interviewed Nanzer last year,…

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Overwatch’s new replay system is a powerful tool for photography, bragging

Overwatch added its long-awaited replay feature this week, allowing players to go back through their last ten games in order to see what went right, what went wrong, and how they might improve. Alternatively, it's a nice way to get a look at the hard work of the environment and asset artists that usually gets overlooked in the whirlwind of battle. And it's a very…

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World Of Warcraft’s infamous pandemic is causing tense moments in Hearthstone esports

World Of Warcraft’s “Corrupted Blood incident” swept through the game over a decade ago. A debuff inflicted by an end boss, Hakkar The Soulflayer, wasn’t supposed to leave the raid area, but was accidentally carried by pets throughout Azeroth, causing a pandemic and ensuing panic that emptied out towns, killed low-level characters, and was eventually studied by epidemiologists to see how people might react to…

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Re-re-watch: Overwatch finally adding replays

For Overwatch players who wish to revisit former glories or learn from past mistakes, Blizzard are finally adding the much-requested feature of replays. As you'd expect from the feature that's been common in multiplayer shooters for oh so many years, it will let players view past matches from different perspectives at different speeds and all that. Me, I'm hoping I'll get to finally take some…

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Overwatch celebrates three years with old brawls, new looks and a free trial

Overwatch has now been kicking around the multiplayer shooter scene for three years, although it feels like longer, thanks to the game's constant barrage of seasonal updates and events. Blizzard are kicking off their anniversary celebrations with a trial week, so anyone still on the fence can try the game free here, and newcomers will get to try all of the notable event modes of…

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Dota 2’s paid “avoid player” option is part of a pattern of developers sidelining anti-abuse features

Dota 2's International 2019 Battle Pass has plenty of issues. As Matt wrote earlier this month, alongside a waterfall of cosmetics and a special mode, the pass will unlock an in-game assistant that seems to give owners an advantage over those who haven’t forked over at least £7.50/$10. But (as reported by The Verge) the pass is paywalling another key feature – the ability to…

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World Of Warcraft Classic’s “not bug” list is delightful

World Of Warcraft Classic will be throwing players back to the halcyon days of 2004 come August, reverting the MMO back to its original state. But it seems that some have been looking back through rose-coloured glasses, or at least gotten so used to the 15 years of quality of life improvements that they’re confused by some of the game’s original details. As such, Blizzard…

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Steal a city in the first free episode of The Dalaran Heist Hearthstone adventure

My days by the Hearthstone are mostly long behind me, but every now and then I get lured back by something shiny. That's happened with The Dalaran Heist, a Solo Adventure released yesterday as part of the Rise Of Shadows expansion. It's about beating up gnomes and beleaguered zombie bureaucrats in an attempt to steal the floating city of Dalaran, and the first chunk is…

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