Posts Tagged ‘Blizzard Entertainment’

Spawn Point: how to get into real-time strategy

spawn-pont-company-of-heroes

Hello. This is Spawn Point, a new not-quite-regular feature in which we take a genre, series or other facet of gaming culture, and try to convince you to give it a shot. It might be those hero shooters you’ve always wanted to get into, or that terrifying space game played by thousands of jerks. We’ll briefly explain the thing, followed by some ways for you to breach it.

First up, it’s… the real-time strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch’s Junkertown map up in time for free weekend

Junkertown, not to be confused with Junckertown, a village in Luxembourg populated entirely by clones of the EU politician Jean-Claude Juncker

Blizzard’s Overwatch [official site], aka The Shooter You Dumped So You Could Play Destiny 2 But Who You Still Text When You Are Drunk Thus Revealing Your True Feelings, is now sporting its new Junkertown map. It’s the dusty map they announced with an animated short about the grenade launching Australian hero Junkrat. It looks neat. But more importantly, some massive changes to angelic healer Mercy and Dew-glugging gremlin Dva have also been crammed into this update. All this has been on the testing server for a while but today the rest of us plebs can enjoy. In fact, I’m going to go and take a look at it now.
Read the rest of this entry »

5 things to try in the next Overwatch free weekend

This character is called Doom Man

Overwatch [official site], aka The Shooter You Tell Your Mates You Don’t Fancy Even Though You Really Do, is having another free weekend. It isn’t this weekend, sadly, but starting on Friday September 22. That’s enough time to get you boys and girls in fighting shape. If you haven’t played the colourful hero shooter yet, here’s some important things you definitely must do once you’re on the battlefield.
Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzard annoyed flies in a real ghost town to get sounds for Junkertown

Forget it, Winston. It's Junkertown

Overwatch [official site] aka the Shooter You Glance At Furtively, is getting its new Junkertown map next week and Blizzard have been showing it off some more in a trailer. You get some snippets of lore and backstory but it’s far more interesting to see the studio’s sound team, who visited a real ghost town to collect the creaking of a dilapidated cattle gate and the grinding noise from a rusty old crank, among other sound effects. Such as flies landing on the microphone. Watch below.
Read the rest of this entry »

Three key basic Hearthstone cards rejigged, Hex gets more… HEXPENSIVE!

Hearthstone

Now, I could have just dropped the mic/keyboard after that amazing title pun, but apparently news posts need “words”.

Hearthstone [official site] is rebalancing some of its most common/easily obtainable/neutral cards as part of an upcoming update. It’s partly about rebalancing the game and particular playstyles, but there’s also an element of wanting to keep those cards in check specifically so decks don’t end up with too many spaces taken up with basic cards. Allow me, a Hearthstone expert (HEXpert) to walk you through… Read the rest of this entry »

Kill ’em all! Overwatch launches deathmatch modes

If your denim vest is covered in patches such as “Teamplay? No way!” and “My other jacket is #1, you ruddy scrubs” and lots of skulls and crosshairs, good news: Overwatch [official site] now has deathmatch. Two new eight-player modes cast aside objectives and let players focus simply on murdering each other for points. Along with free-for-all deathmatch, Blizzard’s multiplayer FPS now has 4v4 team deathmatch.

Now that deathmatch has graduated from the public test servers to full release, it’s time for something new to be put through its paces. New map Junkertown is now in testing, if you fancy a go early. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch’s Junk Queen is ‘just a voice for now’ says Blizzard

junkqueen1

It’s been a busy Gamescom for Overwatch [official site] news. The angelic doctor Mercy will be seeing huge changes to her healing powers, a new Mei themed short was released, and significant alterations to notorious Dorito consumer D.va are planned as well. But we’re also soon being treated to a new map, Junkertown, set in a Mad Max style Australian wasteland. I sauntered over to the Blizzard encampment in Cologne to watch the developers talk about it and got the chance to briefly ask about an intriguing possibility: Are they making the Junk Queen of the new short animation a playable character? The short answer: not really. The more hopeful answer: never say “never”.
Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch’s Mercy becoming pretty much a completely new hero

Mercy Overwatch

The Mercy we knew is no more. The latest changes to Overwatch‘s [official site] Swiss medic being tested on the public test servers transform her into a completely new hero, and I’m bloody excited. Gone is her powerful Resurrect ultimate ability, which revived any dead foe within a 15 metre radius, and it’s replaced by a 20-second long skill that buffs every one of her other abilities.  Reviving isn’t totally gone, mind. It’s now one of her regular skills and has a 30-second cooldown, but instead of reviving up to five players it can only pick up one teammate, and only if they’re in a five metre radius.

The new ultimate, called Valkyrie, make her something of a wrecking ball. Her healing and damage boost beams have longer reach and will chain together on multiple teammates. She can fly anywhere she wants on the map. Her Guardian Angel ability, which sees you swoop to nearby teammates, has greater range. Her gun hits harder. And her revamped resurrect ability will automatically recharge when you pop Valkyrie, and then it will be on a ten-second cooldown.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mei-day: Overwatch climatologist gets animated short

Overwatch - Mei

Overwatch’s latest animated short focuses on climatologist, Mei, fleshing out a bit of her backstory. The backstory then gives her the trauma necessary (???) to kickstart her homebrew ice weaponry design. Seriously. It’s all powered by misery and strife in Overwatch [official site], isn’t it? Except for that rambunctious nonsense about Junkrat which was to introduce a new map. I do like Mei’s character design and look, though, and I’m also really impressed with the woolly and fluffy textures Blizzard can do nowadays. Read the rest of this entry »

Kel’Thuzad prepares chilly entry to Heroes of the Storm

Kel'Thuzad

A cartoon tells me that “Kel’thuzad, Archlich of Naxxramas” has found his way into Heroes of the Storm [official site]. The cartoon also revealed to me that I would have been far more into a He-Man/She-Ra style cartoon featuring these characters than I am into Heroes of the Storm. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch getting TF2-y in new map Junkertown

Blizzard today announced that they are making Team Fortress 2. Wait. Hang on. That they’re… making a TF2 map for Overwatch [official site]? That they’re dropping the pretence that Overwatch isn’t as much of a goof-o-rama as TF2? Some combination of the above. Overwatch is off to Australia in its next map, Junkertown, Blizzard have announced. It’s the gang-run town of scrap which Junkrat and Roadhog were exiled from, and it looks like a lark. The map is still to come but you can, right now, enjoy the fun animated short with Roadhog and Junkrat going over their plan to double-cross the Queen of Junkertown. Watch: Read the rest of this entry »

Tweak-o! StarCraft II big balance changes incoming

I had thought Blizzard were about done with big StarCraft II balance changes, or at least had decided which units should be in the game, but nope! This week they announced a load of changes for all factions in multiplayer, redesigning some units and outright removing one. Blizzard explain, “This time around our general focus is to address underused units and abilities while also trying to reduce sudden game ending moments.” The changes are now live for public testing but won’t launch properly until after the current season ends in November. They’ve got a lot to test and think about. Read the rest of this entry »

Destiny 2 shows off 4K shootbangs ahead of PC beta

destbeta

A new trailer for Destiny 2’s [official site] PC beta has arrived and like so much of the marketing, it’s nodding at all your PC’s most powerful components in a suggestive fashion: “With that kind of equipment, I can go full 4K with an uncapped framerate.” Even though the game itself is coming to PC later than console, as is the beta which arrives August 29th, it plans to use the extra time to really preen itself. Pre-order and you can join the beta a day early, but it’ll open up worldwide on the 29th, through the recently rebranded Blizzard.Battle/NothingButNet.

Speaking of BattleNet, Bungie recently reiterated that there are no plans to release Destiny 2 anywhere else on PC. “We’re with Blizzard”, says Bungie community manager DeeJ.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzard Battle.net: A screenplay by Pip

Blizzard Battle.net

FADE IN:

INT. BLIZZARD’S BOARDROOM – LUNCH, SEPTEMBER 2016
People in suits are playing with executive desk toys. One is batting a Newton’s Cradle with her paw while another bobs her head in time with the motions of a drinking bird. Suddenly CRADLE EXEC sits up.

CRADLE EXEC:
We could…… rebrand…. something?

All activity ceases and there is a moment of silence before excited whispering sets in. Read the rest of this entry »

Party like it’s 1998! StarCraft: Remastered out today

We’ve trapped in two main cycles of revamps, revivals, remakes, and rethings. One is giving us revivals and remakes of games from 20 years ago, while the other goes revamping games released during the previous generation of consoles. StarCraft: Remastered [official site] is from the former camp, a remake of Blizzard’s wonderful sci-fi real-time strategy game from 1998, now fancied up with new art and better support for modern systems and all that. And it’s out today.

If you had expected it to be out by now, hold on. Blizzard say that “our deployment is taking longer than initially expected” so the launch is due around 9pm (1pm PDT). Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzard are still updating Warcraft III after 15 years

warcraft iii

Warcraft III [official site] may have launched 15 years ago but that doesn’t mean Blizzard is done perfecting it. The developers have launched a new patch for the RTS’s multiplayer onto test servers so players can try out tweaked maps and new map pools before they make it into the full game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne now out

The latest Hearthstone [official site] expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, is now live. After hitting America yesterday, it launched in Europe in the wee hours today. Across 135 new cards and new singleplayer missions, the expansion sends players into Icecrown Citadel to duff up the Lich King. We don’t play republicans or anything – if anything this regicide is to shore up other monarchies. Congratulations, heroes. Your actions will help secure several kingdoms ruled by petty, squabbling monarchs who’ll continue trying to wipe each other out. You’re like, uh, them fellas in Games of Throne. The one you liked who died. That one. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch adding deathmatch to Arcade lineup

Deathmatch is finally coming to Overwatch [official site] as a side mode. For players who simply want to run around shooting people, paying no heed to any objectives, free-for-all and team deathmatch modes are being added to the Arcade lineup of rotating game modes. Oh sure, do it now, Overwatch has only suffered a year of those jerks ignoring the objective. Some existing maps have been modified for deathmatch, and Blizzard have purpose-made a new deathmatch map set in Widowmaker’s family estate in France. Deathmatch isn’t properly live yet but is on the public test servers so you can have a go today. Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzard and Google betray humanity with StarCraft 2 tools to train artificial intelligences

When the robots come for us, bad sci-fi has taught me, it’ll be teenage whizzes who save the world. In light of that, I believe that Blizzard and Google’s DeepMind Lab are taking the audacious and treasonous step of pre-emptively toadying to our future robot overlords. They’ve teamed up to release a machine learning API and toolkit to use StarCraft II [official site] as a testbed for artificial intelligences. In short, they’re trying to teach robots how to outthink and outmaneuver twitchy teenagers in war.

Congratulations, you’ve sold the human race out for… what? Smarter surveillance tools? Better self-driving cars? When those spy drones hunt us and your car transforms into a bipedal robot with you still inside, you won’t find it so exciting. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch Summer Games event returns with new skins

Last summer, the whole gang in Overwatch [official site] got swept up by Olympics excitement, celebrating by wearing sporting apparel and playing football. Without the pageantry of the Olympics to unite everyone this year, Blizzard’s summer event now celebrates the two camps of people outside in the scorching sun: those who are seriously into sports, and those who just want to hang out and have a barbecue. Yup, the 2017 Overwatch Summer Games are here, bringing back Lúcioball with a new ranked competitive mode, and adding more outfits for Overwatchers to just chill. Read the rest of this entry »