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.

Jukebox Heroes: Your favorite MMO themes, #18-13

Last week we were off to a great start as we listened to the first batch of player-voted favorite MMO themes. As I said then, the results of the voting, in which I asked players to nominate up to 10 of their favorite main themes from online games, were both predictable and surprising. Nostalgia and familiarity obviously play a strong role in many of these votes, but no one was asking for objectivity here!

Today we're going to continue our countdown to the top spot by looking at numbers 18 through 13 of your favorite MMO themes. I think there's a good mix here, perhaps with tunes that I would have placed a little higher, but overall it's gratifying to see each one of these make the list.

Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to it!

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Diablo III finally brings seasons to consoles

Remember how Blizzard told us that it just wasn't going to implement its Diablo III season campaigns for the game's console versions? A year later and it seems that either the studio had a change of heart or its technical wizards figured out how to make it happen because console seasons are about to kick off at the end of this month.

On March 31st, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will enjoy their very first seasonal journey in the game, offering players an opportunity to level up new characters to pursue special challenges. Players can either create a brand-new character from scratch for the season or choose to "rebirth" an existing character back to level 1 for the duration of the event.

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Three games you've never heard of: Lothgar Online, Little War Online, Age of Rivals

When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say "such-and-such a game exists" -- because just existing is what's new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I'm combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you've probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.

Lothgar Online

Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren't into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won't like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an "Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs," and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There's no cash shop either. Old school isn't always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
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Massively OP Podcast Episode 109: We are all Dragonborn

Roll for initiative! Bree and Justin are getting all kinds of nerdy with this week's show, in which they talk about Dragon-people, the return of a long-abandoned sci-fi game, a momentous anniversary, and the viability of sandbox MMOs.

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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World of Warcraft is going to make you work hard for your pretty artifact skin

Are you chasing those bright and pretty artifact weapon skins in World of Warcraft? Even if you have assembled the whole set and can lord it over the neighborhood, your collection isn't quite complete.

In Patch 7.2, World of Warcraft is introducing a special "challenge appearance" for artifacts that should prove to be one of the most difficult skins to attain. The requirements are pretty steep, as you have to have maxed out your current artifact, be level 110, complete the Patch 7.2 artifact trait quest, build up the mage's tower at your order base, and then succeed at a solo challenge.

This challenge encounter comes in seven different varieties, based on your class build, and will probably kick your butt if you have anything less than the "best gear" and don't know how to play your class well. To complicate matters, while your first attempt at the challenge is free, subsequent tries will cost a chunk of nethershards. Good luck!

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The Soapbox: What the Mass Effect Andromeda kerfuffle ought to teach us about games criticism

Today is the official release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which was preceded by the frankly baffling decision to allow people access to an early build of the game ahead of time. Or perhaps the final build without everything enabled? The point is that you could play a bit of it if you were willing to drop some money. That seems like a bad idea that we've been dealing with in online-game-land for a long time, but regardless, it gave people the opportunity to see some of this RPG ahead of time.

This, in turn, allowed the typical internet trolls to find any and all animation flubs and then happily declare that it was all the result of one woman working on the game and handling all of the animations. Which, you know, is a conclusion that would be helped significantly if the woman in question actually worked in that role on the game, which she did not.

Obviously, the game under discussion is not an MMO. But it is symptomatic of two all-too-common problems in gaming culture that are worth noting to people who do not have balls of spiders in place of a soul. So let's talk about those.

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Overwatch's Orisa is live today, Blizzard considers map editor

Tankbot Orisa is live in Overwatch today for those of you not too busy jacking into Andromeda. While she'll be accessible on all three platforms from the get-go, she won't be live in competitive play for a bit longer while players get used to her.

The PTR has also been testing victory condition tweaks and buffs for Lucio.

Enjoying the early March feature that let you tweak the settings on your game modes? Wouldn't a map editor be even better? That's something Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan says it's considering, but it's not in the immediate future:

"We are extremely open-minded about releasing a map editor for Overwatch someday. But because Overwatch was made with a brand new engine, this is not a small task or one which can happen any time soon. We have this on our long-term road map and believe heavily in user-made content. But there are many challenges ahead of us and it will be a very long road before our editor can be made available to the public."

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Grim Dawn reveals Necromancer class for this year's expansion

Guess who's getting a Necromancer class this year! If you said Diablo III, well, I can't tell you you're wrong because that's also happening. But I'm talking about Grim Dawn.

"Although they primarily engage in the weaving of magic, necromancers are aptly equipped to enter the fray in close quarters, or to weave their death magic into ranged weaponry. Do not for a moment think that a cornered necromancer is easy prey," Crate posted following a lore dump on the new class today.

Players should look forward to a number of masteries currently in development, including Drain Essence, Raise Skeletons, Necrotic Edge, plus skill that help you "shatter the souls of your enemies to conjure violent wraiths," "bolster your minions with necrotic powers, "fill the battlefield with disease and rot," and generate "cruel new ways to dispose of your pathetic enemies."

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The MOP Up: Kali awakens in Dragon Nest (March 19, 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!

This week we have stories and videos from Pokemon GoConan ExilesWarframeCrash ForceHeroes of the StormArmored WarfareElder Scrolls OnlineTERAAvabel OnlineOverwatchAionGlory RidgeDragon Nest, all waiting for you after the break!

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One Shots: The Candy Man

If you have a sweet tooth or diabetes, you may want to avoid the temptation that we're about to put in your path with today's headlining picture from the MOP community. It's... the Candy Man, as delicious as he is deadly.

"On the topic of sweets, this screenshot from Heroes of the Storm is one of my favorite things ever," writes Little Bugbear. "Sometime it's difficult in MOBAs to find a character and skin that fit you perfectly. For me Kandy King Muradian's pink beard and overwhelming decadence makes it the pinnacle of MOBA skins."

Amen to that. I just want a small nibble, is that so bad?

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The Daily Grind: Will World of Warcraft hold its 7.2 patch until June?

On October 24th, World of Warcraft launched patch 7.1, which contained a lot of not-quite-ready-for-launch Legion features and a bit of content. Since then, the game hasn't really launched any content. Sure, patch 7.1.5 launched in early January, but that just added the Brawler's Guild back to the game for content (which, admittedly, has a lot of new boss fights). We're looking at a content gap that's starting to spread out a fair bit already, and patch 7.2 is coming out... well, eventually?

Of course, MOP's Bree and I are in pretty close agreement about when it's coming out: June. Because that's when a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion and The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind both launch, so they're going to want to try to kneecap both of those launches.

At least from this side of the fence, that's a pretty dumb plan. It's the same plan that was in place for patch 6.2 of Warlords of Draenor, which wound up with lots of complaints about the delays, and it doesn't seem to have really crippled the launch it wanted to "intercept" there, either. Still, it's the sort of plan that Blizzard has used in the patch, and with two big competing releases in the same month it seems almost absurd to think it wouldn't be tried. So what do you think, dear readers? What do you think the odds are of WoW holding its next patch until June? And how much grousing do you expect if people are waiting that long for more content?

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League of Legends on LGBT representation and pro team mistreatment allegations

League of Legends will probably introduce non-straight characters eventually, a new interview on Polygon with Riot Games' Greg Street suggests. The publication asked Street questions about LGBT representation during GDC 2017, noting that Blizzard's Overwatch (particularly Tracer) has proven that it's a hot topic and something millions of gamers want to see. League of Legends currently has over 130 characters to Overwatch's 24, but Street says that Riot has to be careful what it adds lest one region or another blockade the game.

"We owe it to the players and, I think, to the world to do something like that. [...] What I don't want to do is be like, 'Okay, team, next character, whatever you do, has to be lesbian.' I don’t think we’ll end up with something good there.... From the beginning, it has to be the character's identity. I’m sure we'll do it at some point. I don’t know which character or when it will happen."

If and when it does happen, Street says, it'll likely be in "storytelling outside the game."

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