blizzard entertainment

Major gaming studio, responsible for World of Warcraft and the Warcraft franchise, Diablo III and the Diablo franchise, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.

Hearthstone alters its e-sports plan for 2018 while continuing to get more expensive

People who enjoy playing or watching competitive Hearthstone will probably be excited about the recently announced changes to the game’s competitive play circuit. The game is significantly upping the prizes for playing in official competitive events as well as instituting a point-based “Masters” program to keep solid players in the tournament circuit. If you’ve been around the competitive card game block before, the structure is more than a little reminiscent of some other card game that seems to have done all right for itself over the years. And it means more matches and more incentive for players to take part, which is all good.

Of course, if you’re not into the competitive scene but still really enjoy playing it, you may be feeling a bit more of a pinch for the game; the title is still free-to-play, but it’s also getting more expensive year-over-year as the title moves away from single-player adventures toward more card sets. Of course, that’s also the price of getting every card rather than just the cards you want… but then, you can’t really control which cards you get from randomized packs, can you? But you can choose which cards you craft as you open more packs. So it balances in several directions.

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Titan Quest lives on in current-gen consoles

To be completely honest with you, I never really thought that we would be reporting in 2017 about a Diablo clone that released in 2006, but here we are. Perhaps it’s Titan Quest’s willingness to adapt to new platforms that has kept this ARPG alive and kicking over the past decade or so.

The next stage of adaptation is coming soon, as Titan Quest announced that it is coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2018, with a Nintendo Switch version in the works for an unspecified future release. The console edition will contain the base game and Immortal Throne expansion.

Console players can check out this mythology-steeped title either online or off, with the online version sporting a two- to six-player coop mode. Titan Quest will be released in both Standard ($30) and Collector’s Editions ($120), with the latter containing a Greek war helmet replica and (drumroll) a notepad. Hm. Probably should have ended with the helmet thing.

Titan Quest recently released a Ragnarok expansion on Steam and was ported over to mobile last year.

Source: Press release

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Tamriel Infinium: Our 2017 report card for Elder Scrolls Online

All in all, 2017 has been a fabulous year for the Elder Scrolls Online, and although I have been light on talking about the game recently, I have jumped in regularly to explore Vvardenfell and Clockwork City. This year ESO saw its first expansion and dare I say its greatest addition to the game: Morrowind. But that shouldn’t diminish the other great stories in the Horns of the Reach and Clockwork City DLCs. Also, ESO introduced one of the best player housing systems I’ve ever seen with Homestead earlier this year. I really don’t know how ESO is going to top 2017.

Let’s pull apart the accomplishments of ESO this year into my standard for grading MMORPGs: The Bartle Taxonomy. MMORPGs are wonderful because of the breadth of different activities that players can participate in. They draw together many different kinds of players, and Bartle’s Taxonomy breaks these players into four different categories: Socializers, Achievers, Killers, and Explorers.

Most people will be a blend of two or more of these categories. I’m going to measure the merits of the game based each category individually using a scale you’ll often find in American schools: A, B, C, D, and F.

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Black Desert’s Mystic is fully playable today, just watch out for the yeti

Did ya roll your Mystic last week to get all your free loot in the MMO we just named most underrated of 2017? If not, then you should boot up Black Desert today as you can actually play her, not just play character customization. The game’s seeing the benefit of the client optimization Pearl Abyss has been talking up too.

“With the release of the long-awaited Mystic, please enjoy leveling this dazzling class while stacking up on cool rewards. Meanwhile, the abominable Yeti, Piku, has been sighted near Alejandro Farm. When the blizzard hits, that’s when you know Piku has appeared. Make sure to have a special Frosted Matchlock to take this monster down. In addition, a notable announcement we want to make is that our game client has tremendously reduced in size where its 27 GB now!”

Don’t forget that Kakao is running specific level-up events right now to make catching up with the new toon a bit easier and more rewarding. Massively OP will be streaming some Mystic gameplay tonight, so check back on OPTV at 8 p.m. EST this evening!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 148: Vampires, kobolds, and pirates

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree sort out the pile of expansions and updates that developers are scrambling to get out of the door before the holiday break. From vampires to kobolds, there’s something for everyone this month, and it only looks to get nuttier with the new year!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Leaderboard: Which MMO gameplay type encourages the worst player behavior?

One of the common tropes held by MMORPG players is that PvP, particularly free-for-all environments prone to ganks, generates the worst type of behavior. But while it may be more common for PvP, I have also witnessed absolutely wretched behavior from all types of players, including psychological abuse from roleplayers, to say nothing of plane-jumping, ninja-looting, and greed from PvE gamers. The problem in my mind isn’t PvP as much as it is conflict and competition, which is something most game types engender. I bet you’ve seen the same.

Making that point is a story from PCGamesN this morning, which reports on a World of Warcraft player who’s apparently been DDOSing teammates to ensure himself a raid spot in the well-known raiding guild Limit. Limit has since booted the player.

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SuperData says the e-sports industry grew to $1.5B this year alone

SuperData has a new report out this week that suggests e-sports haters will not be getting what they want for Christmas.

“The esports market has finally hit the mainstream,” the gaming analysis firm declares, echoing the argument it made in October. “Once only large in core Asian markets like Korea, esports have expanded worldwide and are now top of mind of every publisher, platform, and brand. As recognition of the importance of esports grows, the data and insights needed for strategizing become vital.”

The report estimates that the e-sports industry is on track to grow by almost a billion dollars per year by 2022, driven in part by a huge increase in investment and advertising revenue. It also recognizes the big four games: League of Legends, with its huge viewerbase; Dota 2, with its mega prize pools; Overwatch, which is laying the foundation with city-based teams; and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which has drawn over 200M monthly viewers in just half a year during early access.

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World of Warcraft’s Celestalon moves over to Hearthstone team

He’s giving a sad goodbye to World of Warcraft but a happy hello to Hearthstone, as Game Designer Chadd “Celestalon” Nervig has switched teams over at Blizzard.

Nervig announced the move on Twitter late last week: “Classes, systems, spreadsheets, the occasional obscure questline… These have been the primary focus of my life for years now. I cannot thank the WoW community enough, for your passion, your friendship, the laughs, the excitement, for being able to do something I love. It has been an honor. But the time has come for me to adventure elsewhere within Azeroth, and tackle a different challenge… Cards! I’ll see you soon, Hearthstone fans!”

Speaking of Hearthstone, have you seen this truly hilarious Kobolds and Catacombs live action trailer? It may just sweep the Oscars next spring, but you can watch it now after the jump.

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Overwatch’s Tracer spotted in Ready Player One trailer

The official trailer is now out for Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, and Overwatch fans may be pleasantly surprised to see a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Tracer herself.

The sci-fi movie, based on the hit book of the same name, takes place in the future where gamers battle it out in “The Oasis” to find an Easter egg that will allow them to take control of this virtual reality realm and $500 billion. As gamers can collect and use avatars from all realms of pop culture, including movies, games, comics, and TV shows, the end result is a film full of Chun Lis, Iron Giants, Battletoads, and (apparently) Tracers.

Interestingly enough, in the book the author specifically mentions World of Warcraft as being one of the “planets” that players can visit in The Oasis.

There are a lot of video game, pop culture, and ’80s references to be spotted in the trailer — if you have a quick eye. Check it out below!

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The MOP Up: Heroes of the Storm mains Hanzo (December 10, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Crossout, Ultima Online, Monster Hunter World, HellionEverQuest II, WakfuRuneScapeStar Wars: The Old RepublicElsword OnlineRagnarok ZeroLord of the Rings OnlineDreadnought, Sword Art Online Integral Factor, and Heroes of the Storm, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: Boy band cover art

It’s one thing to strike a pose and get a good-looking selfie in there, it’s another to coordinate a whole group of twitchy gamers and get them to take a group photo without someone jumping or facing the wrong way or forgetting to emote.

Vincent Clark has mastered this group pose in the formation of his new Final Fantasy XIV boy band album called “Ears over Eorzea.” We anticipate great things from this mostly shirtless crew of well-manicured rebels, as long as they don’t fall into that hot tub and drown.

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LOTRO Legendarium: Fixing Lord of the Rings Online’s grouping problem

One of the quirks — and frustrations — of MMORPGs is that there never seems to be one game that truly has it all. Even some of my favorites are missing what I consider key features or design elements that are present elsewhere, and it’s maddening to think about how much better the game could be with those features transplanted.

For Lord of the Rings Online, I have to say that my biggest frustration with the game design is that dungeons might as well be non-existent. Oh, they’re in the game (and raids and skirmishes too), but LOTRO has never cultivated a dungeon-running community of the sort that you see in contemporary MMOs.

In other games, I enjoy changing up the routine by grouping up with others for a run through detailed setpieces as we battle our way to the final boss. I enjoy the rewards that those runs bring and learn a lot more about how to play my character. This has almost never been the case for me and LOTRO, and it’s not for a lack of trying. This MMO has a grouping problem that undercuts participation and interest in the dungeon scene, making such runs an anomaly instead of part of the mainstream. I have some observations from my point of view and some thoughts about how it could be fixed.

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WoW Factor: Reconsidering the next few months of World of Warcraft

There’s a lot of information coming out about patch 7.3.5 at this point. Not everything, of course, and a lot of it is based more on datamining than actual stuff that has been announced. But it seems fair to say that World of Warcraft’s immediate future for the next lengthy expansion gap is on the test servers right now, and some of it is obvious while some pieces are… less so. And, if I might be so bold, it even gives us a pretty clear picture of the next few months right out of the gate.

Right now the live game is, obviously, focused on Antorus. That’s the focus for the actual gameplay, and the slow trickle of wings into the group finder are the big thing to do and look forward to until the whole of the content is available by January. For that matter, I think that part of the goal of the next month or so is to give people all the reason in the world to run and explore Antorus and see the story for themselves if they’re interested in having a personal stake in what happens next.

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