Posts Tagged ‘Blizzard Entertainment’

Overwatch dev spills the beans on matchmaking

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Peeling back the mysteries of matchmaking is a bold move. Leave them covered up, and they can be a safe source of general dissatisfaction where everyone’s free to moan about whatever’s happening to their season ranking. Throw back those covers, and everyone can specifically tell you why they think the system is dumb – and why it’s to blame for their crummy ranking. That and the fact that they only ever get matched with noobs, obviously.

Overwatch dev Scott Mercer correctly decided to ignore that subset of ‘complain no matter what-ers’, and has written a detailed forum post explaining exactly what factors into matchmaking. Read the rest of this entry »

StarCraft updates on Korea League and Remastered

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I’m perhaps too far behind to catch up on StarCraft. I played back in the day but 15 years of competitive epsorts later, I rarely understand what I’m seeing when I watch the Big Match. (For what it is worth, I’m suddenly finding Rainbow Six: Siege to be the most watchable esport competition. Lemme know if that’s how you’re feeling too.) But for the game that was basically the first major esport competition, we have a lot of good news today, including some updates on the remastered version and some league announcement information that’s pretty fascinating.

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World of Warcraft Classic is progressing/regressing nicely

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Blizzard has been working on launching World of Warcraft servers that just run a classic version of the game, back before all of the updates were added to the world… of Warcraft… over the years. It’s an ambitious choice because it’s not just about re-launching some early version of the game; it’s about perfecting and updating a very specific slice of the game so that it will run well on 2018 hardware and engage with players in the same way that the most updated version of the game does. Today, we’ve got an update from the developer on how the World of Warcraft Classic restoration / anti-expansion is going.

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Hearthstone’s Tavern Of Time brings unique time-bending cards

28 new cards have arrived in Hearthstone from parts–and times–unknown, passing through in the latest event. ‘Taverns Of Time‘ brings new cards to Arena drafts, which mess with time in interesting ways. You might play summon the recursive powers of the Infinite Murloc and Infinite Wolf, copy your opponent’s cards, boost forward through several turns, recover all-powerful old cards exiled to the Hall Of Fame, and even play accelerated turns with a time limit of 15 seconds. Curious! Started today, the event will run until July – but be careful you don’t run out of time. Read the rest of this entry »

“The minions of hell are growing stronger” – Blizzard’s mysterious new Diablo project

Spin that unsubstantiated rumour wheel! What’s it gonna be? Red 18 for Warcraft 4, black 29 for Starcraft 3, red 6 for WOW2, or how about black 7 for Unannounced Diablo Project? Blizzard, generally speaking, are damned good at controlling information until they want information to be known, which means we very rarely have any real clue what their next move will be.

Until yesterday, when they went right out there and told the world that they’re working on a new Diablo project.
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Overwatch plans to reward you for being nice, plus new Symmetra is on the PTR

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Competitive multiplayer games have two major problems. One is that they often struggle to survive, their servers becoming ghost towns just a few weeks or months after they release. The other is that when games do survive, those towns are often bustling with arseholes.

Overwatch is no exception, so I’m pleased to see that Blizzard have plans to roll out an endorsement system that encourages players to get along with each other. They’re also introducing a ‘looking for group’ feature that lets you specify what roles and attitudes you want from your teammates, and they’ve introduced everyone playing on the PTR servers to Symmetra’s fancy new abilities. Read the rest of this entry »

The Overwatch League must take burnout seriously

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The Shanghai Dragons are still yet to win an Overwatch League game.

In response to some fan’s concerns about this record, their manager, Yang Van, released a statement on the subject – but it ended up being less than reassuring. He explained that the Dragons “have the most intensive training scheme among all the teams… Our daily schedule starts at 10:30am as we leave for training facilities and return to our houses around 10:30 to 11:00pm, with a possible training extension to 12:00am; we train six days a week with one day off.”

To get the obvious out of the way: it’s not working. What’s worse, the overwork is likely hurting – just as it’s hurting other Overwatch League teams. Read the rest of this entry »

Clickuorice Allsorts: burnout in the Overwatch League

As Blizzard’s Overwatch League nears the end of its first season, Nicole Carpenter on Dot Esports takes a look at the “blurred line between work and play” and the stresses and strains it has placed upon players. With at least one team working 70-odd hour weeks, some players are experiencing mental and physical exhaustion, burning out before even the first season’s done. Blizzard are experimenting with running their digital sports league like a traditional sport, complete with ‘local’ teams to root for, but there’s still a lot to learn. A good read; do read.

Overwatch celebrates its 2nd anniversary with goodies

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Two years of terrible Hanzo mains. Two years of Mercy wondering why she even bothers. Two years of weirdly time-limited co-op events and two years of fan-art of everyone doing smooches on everyone else. Overwatch has been a wild ride so far, and there’s plenty yet to come, but for the time being Blizzard are celebrating with three weeks of dancing, returning events and cosmetic goodies, plus a new Deathmatch map.

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In the heat of the night: see Overwatch’s Petra

The news that Overwatch‘s birthday event will tomorrow add a new deathmatch map named ‘Petra’ might not have meant much to you, but if you don’t know the name you’ll surely recognise the landmark. Watch the new trailer below and you’ll be instantly struck by the realisation that: oh my god, Petra is that Jordanian valley city made world-famous in the late 80s by The Sisters Of Mercy’s Dominion video. And now Overwatch is off there! Very exciting. Time to wash (and iron!) your white linen suits in preparation for the festivities. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch will celebrate its birthday with a new map, mode and cosmetics

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Ahhh, my birthday party when I turned two was a corker. I got 50 new items, including 8 new legendary skins and 3 epic skins. There was dancing (emotes), everyone could turn up for free, and at the end we went to a new part of town and had a big old game of free-for-all competitive Deathmatch.

Wait, I’m getting mixed up. Those are actually some of the details for Overwatch‘s upcoming anniversary event, which’ll run from May 22nd to June 11th and include a free trial weekend from May 25th – 28th.

The beginning of my terrible twos was far more violent.

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Leaked video reveals details of Overwatch Anniversary Event

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My dude Junkrat is looking glamorous as ever, in a leaked video from the Brazilian Overwatch Twitter account. Keen eyes from the Overwatch Reddit saw what Overwatch Twitter was messing up on, and posted the video to Overwatch YouTube. Or something. Point being, we’ve got a look at what’s happening for the game’s second birthday celebration, despite Blizzard not being super keen on the whole leaking to-do, I’m sure.

And Junkrat? Junkrat’s a legit pirate now. We have to call him Captain Bigboy. That’s the law of the sea. Sea Law.

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Overwatch doctor Mercy goes pink for charity

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The makers of hero shooter Overwatch have released a pink skin for health-giving hero Mercy, with all money going to breast cancer charity, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. As costumes go, it’s as pink as pink gets, even bringing the colour to her wings. The pink ribbon, a symbol of the BCRF, is also emblazoned on her robes. There’s more charity goings-on, as Blizzard explain below. But it’s the healer herself who’s front and centre. She feel, she heal, but most importantly, she donate to this appeal. Read the rest of this entry »

Being a fan of esports’ pioneering women is complicated

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It’s two o’clock in the morning and I’m watching the Overwatch League stadium erupt for Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon.

As the camera pans down the line-up of her team, the Shanghai Dragons, it’s always her that gets the loudest cheer, and by a wide margin. Because she’s a fantastic off-tank and because she’s one of the new additions that have so greatly improved the (admittedly still winless) Dragons. But also, unavoidably, because she’s the first and only woman in the League. Read the rest of this entry »

Escort the payload through Venice in Overwatch’s Rialto

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Overwatch‘s recent Retribution event was by far the most successful of its forays into co-op gameplay, especially when you consider how lovely its new map looked. Set in the heart of future Venice, not even a constant hail of gunfire and Genji mains refusing to get on the sodding dropship could hamper the romantic moonlight moods. The event may be over, but the map remains. Now bathed in sunlight, players can now romantically bop each other as they escort the payload through the scenic streets of Rialto.

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Bridget Brigette Brigitte arrives in competitive Overwatch

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Got the spelling right in the end. Overwatch, aka the shooter you haven’t thought about for months but suddenly decided to text last night when you were drunk, has kicked off its tenth season of competitive play, this time with added Swedishness. Brigitte, the recently-added flail-wielding support squire, will be there. She’s been in the vanilla game for over a month but this is her first outing into the more cross-looking combat zone of competitive. However, the upcoming Italian map won’t join her. Not yet, anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch Symmetra rework will give her a barrier that’s “infinite in size”

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Life isn’t great for Overwatch‘s Symmetra at the moment. Her auto-aiming default attack and Do-It-Themselves turrets can make her a good pick for newer players, but conventional wisdom holds that she doesn’t have a place when things get competitive: she’s the only hero that’s never been picked in an Overwatch League game.

So, how do you solve a problem like Symmetra? According to lead designer Geoff Goodman, you attach rockets to her turrets and turn her teleporter ult into a normal ability that can transport Torbjorn turrets and D.VA ults. You also make her left-click beam attack much more powerful, and transform photon barrier into an ultimate that creates a wall which is “INFINITE in size” (my over-excited emphasis). None of these changes to Symmetra’s upcoming rework are set in stone, but they sound WILD.

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Looks like Blizzard is making a new shooter

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Back in 2016, Blizzard started hiring for a new first person game, by grabbing a couple of artists and moving Dustin Browder (the director of StarCraft 2) from his role on Heroes of the Storm to work as the director for the unannounced project. A new job post on Blizzard’s career site shines more light on what is probably not Overwatch 2. The listing says that Blizzard are “looking for a talented and experienced Senior or Principal Designer” to develop weapons and abilities “in action or first-person shooter games.” They also want a hire that has a passion for playing and creating PvP game experiences. So strap in for StarCraft: Galaxy Royale. Or not. But we can all speculate wildly. And we will!

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Hearthstone launches singleplayer Monster Hunts

The recent craze for hunting beasties may peak with Monster Hunter: World, but I do worry that once hunters have scoured the land of wurms, wights, barghests, boggarts, and boobries, they’ll turn on our beloved Horace, the Endless Bear. Should we be encouraging this? Hmm. The latest game to join in the hunt is Hearthstone, which last night launched its new Monster Hunt mode. It brings singleplayer missions sending four different hunters against a run of bosses, powering up their deck as they go. And yup, these are free to play. Read the rest of this entry »

Callooh! Callay! Hearthstone slaying the Shudderwock

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Shudderwock, my son!
The Battlecries that echo, the animations that drag!
Beware the combo deck, and shun
The frumious Lifedrinker!”
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