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Our friends from WoW Insider now cover Blizzard’s games on Blizzard Watch.

MMO Week in Review: Wild West Online’s delay and PvP switcharoo (December 10, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

We weren’t surprised at all to find out this week that Wild West Online wasn’t actually going to make its planned Steam early access launch this year and will instead delay into 2018. But most of us were surprised to hear that one of the reasons is that the game is basically giving up on its free-for-all PvP system, which is probably for the best as the bounty system as it stood was ineffective. Instead, the developers will be implementing a faction-based PvP system, sans corpse looting, in an attempt to reduce griefing and teamkilling. It might rope in more MMORPG players, but we’re doubting the early adopters are too happy.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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Check out World of Warcraft’s allied races jokes and flirts, plus guilds topple Antorus bosses

Back in the day, the only way we’d learn about the many jokes and flirt lines for races in World of Warcraft was by actually playing those races… and then spamming /silly and /flirt until we were pretty sure we’d heard all of them. Luckily, the first four allied races have already had their lines mined out by the intrepid crew over at Wowhead, so you can enjoy all eight sets of jokes and flirtations right now.

Some of the flirts, to the surprise of absolutely no one, are a bit on the racy side. Of course, depending on your personal fascinations, the female void elf promise to turn into an eyeball or sprout tentacles might also be on the racy side. And yes, the Nightborne reference illusions and what you are or are not hiding.

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Overwatch League begins as Philadelphia Fusion pulls out

It’s a less-than-ideal way for Blizzard’s long-awaited esports league to begin.

The Overwatch League preseason began this week, although not with all of the expected players. Philadelphia Fusion had to withdraw from the league at the last minute due to “logistics issues,” leaving Blizzard scrambling to rearrange the schedule around this hole. Blizzard Watch theorizes that it Philadelphia’s problems may be related to visa issues or a player suspension. In any case, the studio said that it expects the team will be back to compete in the regular season.

To draw in the larger Overwatch community into the excitement, Blizzard teased the addition of league uniforms next year as in-game skins. The studio also hired painters to create large murals for the game in cities lately, which you can see below.

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MMO Week in Review: Mourning Marvel Heroes (December 3, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Where do we start with a week like last week? Was it the way Marvel Heroes disappeared without a sound from its owners? Guild Wars 2’s pricey new mount and new living story season? Raph Koster and Mark Jacobs weighing on on the business of the genre? Or Star Citizen’s new way of making money by selling off space plots?

I say all of those and more. It’s not gonna be a quiet December, folks. Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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World of Warcraft’s spoilery raid cinematic sets the scene for Battle for Azeroth

Beware, gentle reader, for World of Warcraft story spoilers lurk after the break!

With the rollout of the Antorus raid over the next few weeks, World of Warcraft fans are finally being treated to the conclusion of the main Legion storyline. The Antorus cinematic, which is shown following a successful raid run, is loaded with powerful story elements that sets the scene for next year’s Battle for Azeroth expansion.

We won’t spoil it for you if you want to experience it in-game, but if you’re not a raider or you’re not patient, the full three-minute cinematic lurks below. One thing is for certain: It’s giving fans a lot to talk and speculate about for the upcoming expansion pack!

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MMO Week in Review: The war on lockboxes is just beginning (November 26, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

If you’re sick of lockboxes… well, I’m sorry because the gripes MMO players have had for half a decade have finally reached the mainstream thanks to EA’s overreach, leading multiple countries’ gambling commissions and politicians to take up the cause and analysts to lament that they would’ve gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for the press.

Meanwhile, in spite of a letter from Gazillion’s CEO to laid-off employees stating that the plug would be pulled on Marvel Heroes Friday, the game appears to still be up. Wouldn’t count on that lasting long, though…

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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MMO Week in Review: Disney reins in wayward Star Wars, Marvel video games (November 19, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Disney’s image-preservation machine was in high gear this week over two of its most high-profile IPs and the clownshoes video game companies picked to print money with them. First, the Mouse House shredded its Marvel-based partnership with Gazillion, leading to the sunset of the once-popular MMOARPG Marvel Heroes (planned for early next year). And then there’s the whole Star Wars Battlefront 2 fiasco, where EA has temporarily been stymied in its attempt to suck every last dollar from our wallets, at least until The Last Jedi has broken records.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth sets a world record for its diorama

Turns out that World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is already setting records well before it releases. How? Well, it had a very nice diorama at BlizzCon. A very nice, very big diorama, one that featured a huge number of attendee characters individually printed in 3-D and arranged on the sprawling battleground between the Horde and the Alliance. And said “very big diorama” apparently qualified as the largest video game diorama ever at 1,300 square feet. That is a lot of individual characters in a single diorama.

No, your characters were not in the mix if you were not at BlizzCon. We’re sorry.

Meanwhile, StarCraft II has gone more or less completely free-to-play, and the team behind it has decided to take the opportunity to rather thoroughly troll the people behind Star Wars: Battlefront II’s notably less-than-free business model. This segues nicely into the game’s newest commercial, which couldn’t possibly have been made just to joke about that… but is still pretty funny all the same.

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Traditional ‘tier’ sets are not planned for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

If you’ve never played World of Warcraft, you may be unfamiliar with the concept if not the visuals of tier sets. Tiered armor is the ultimate class-specific reward from each given raid level, so the upcoming Antorus raid awards Tier 21 armor for those lucky enough to get the necessary drops. Wearing several pieces of tier armor also awards set bonuses. But it looks like the time has passed on all of that, as a recent interview stated that tier sets are not planned to return at all in Battle for Azeroth.

Designer Ion Hazzikostas explains that tier pieces tend to “lock down” certain gear slots and feel like more of a hindrance than anything, so the team is experimenting with different ways to award gear and appearances. How that will work remains to be seen, but the suggestion of no more tier sets alone is a major departure from how World of Warcraft has always structured its endgame raids. We’ll hopefully learn more about these changes as the expansion gets closer to testing and release.

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StarCraft 2 unlocks free-to-play options, but it’s not completely free

First announced at BlizzCon earlier this month, StarCraft 2 is now free-to-play for anyone who would like to engage in Blizzard’s hit real-time strategy title.

This is free* with an asterisk, however; only the Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, all of its multiplayer content, and co-op commanders are included in this statement. The other three single-player campaigns have to be purchased separately**, although this comes with a double-asterisk to indicate that those who previously purchased Wings of Liberty can get Heart of the Swarm for free through December 8th.

Some players have noted that this isn’t technically the first time that StarCraft 2 offered a free-to-play option. The StarCraft 2 Arcade, which includes a fan-made MMO mod of the game, has cost nothing to use for quite some time now.

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The Daily Grind: Where do you stand on WoW’s proposed new PvP system?

Buried in the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth reveals earlier this month was the huge PvP news that eventually, PvP servers, like the dying one I’ve been stuck on for half of forever, will be quietly converted into PvE servers. Instead of being constantly subjected to lowbie ganking while out questing in the world, PvP server players will join PvE players in taking part in what is akin to the Star Wars Galaxies-esque TEF system, only stricter. As you leave a major city, you’ll flag PvE or PvP, and that’s that. Flag for PvP and you’ll get a chance at things like extra rewards and faster reputation. The details are still up in the air, but as Blizzard Watch’s Ted Atchley points out, the rewards will have to be pretty sweet to entice most players to paint a target on their backs.

I’m not all that sad; PvP on PvP servers was basically pointless ganking for jack-all rewards, but there was just no way to convince a dozen friends to pay to move their entire stables elsewhere, so we soldiered on and put up with the random ganks on our leveling alts. I can still see taking the risk of being ganked if the rewards are huge, and the move will allow Blizzard to continue condensing its server groups too.

Where do you stand on WoW’s proposed new PvP system?

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth will have no personal boats, no big class overhauls, and no lockboxes

It’s hard to imagine that anyone is going to be upset about the idea of no lockboxes in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Sure, Blizzard makes use of them in several other games, but at this point there are no plans to bring them into Azeroth, according to a new interview. (Whether or not that will change in the future remains to be seen.) Of course, the same interview that confirms that also confirms that we will not be getting our own personal boats, so it’s sort of good news, bad news.

Other interviews have indicated that the team wants to bring forward Mission Table-style content, so that doesn’t mean we won’t have anything similar; it just means it won’t be a boat.

Last but not least, there’s another “no” on the list that will either make you happy or sad depending on how you feel about the Legion mechanics for classes. While every class and spec will be adjusted and altered moving into the next expansion, there will be no major overhauls on par with the Legion shift, certainly nothing like the large-scale rework of Survival Hunters. Exactly how things will be balanced remains to be seen, but this is good news if you like your current spec’s playstyle. If you don’t… well, it’ll be adjusted, not wildly changed.

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MMO Week in Review: Guild Wars 2 dev admits to mount lockbox ‘missteps’ (November 12, 2017)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

This week, Guild Wars 2 players, primed by the last few months of anti-lockbox sentiment in the gaming community, rioted over the addition of pseudo-lockboxes containing random mount skins in the cash shop. ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien has since provided a statement acknowledging that the timing and context were poorly chosen and that the multitude of new random skins unduly exacerbated the perception that ArenaNet was headed down an ugly path. That said, he also points out the upsides: that the mounts are cheap, progressive, and diverse. So will Anet change them? Yes and no.

“Microtransactions can be polarizing, and we’ve received both positive and negative feedback on the license. We won’t change the existing license in a way that would invalidate the investment players have made, but I want to confirm to you that our next planned mount skin releases will focus on individual sales like the Reforged Warhound and bundles like the Spooky Mounts Pack. We will not add any skins to the currently available Adoption License, thus not pushing down the odds of acquiring any one skin in that set.”

Thanks to our tipster Miol and the artist of the image header too, qears2gnomes/knight-mj! Now read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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