blizzard

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.

World of Warcraft monkeys around with trinket stats

When players next log into World of Warcraft, they may find a pleasant surprise waiting for them: a beefed-up trinket. Oh, and the release of Mythic Nighthold, but that was hardly a surprise.

Blizzard is improving the performance of some of the newer trinkets after determining that they were somewhat underpowered. "We’ve found that our tuning on trinkets which relied on a direct damage or healing effect (as opposed to their raw stats) have come up a bit short this expansion," the studio said. "Overall, this should make the trinkets in Nighthold more competitive with other trinkets available elsewhere in the expansion."

The studio also admitted that a bug resulted in recent PvP Season 1 rewards being distributed to some Alliance players based on Horde ladders. Blizzard will be correcting this error by giving affected characters the same or better reward after today's maintenance.

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Overwatch's Year of the Rooster update is expected today

The downside of Blizzard's Overwatch teases is that they tell dataminers right where to look and leakers right when to strike. So it goes with the online shooter's Year of the Rooster content, which according to the apparent Spanish-language trailer leak will begin today and end on February 13th, with at the very least Chinese New Year avatar skins, emotes, loot boxes, and the themey Lijiang Tower map.

Meanwhile, if Torbjorn and Symmetra gave been annoying you, take heart.

"We've been watching them closely," Game Director Jeff Kaplan told fans over the weekend. "Up until recently they were performing in lockstep with PC. Recently they've begun to diverge a little bit so we're taking a look at them now and we'll consider adjusting them."

Kaplan also says that Blizz is working on better bindings and callouts for teammates and promises reporting features on console, though there's no ETA yet.

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The Daily Grind: Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?

Protests in the real world dominated this past weekend's news, and while I surfed around for an in-game equivalent to cover, I couldn't find much of one (though I found people selling themed accessories in Second Life!). That said, protests in MMORPGs aren't unheard of, and I mean actual protests, not memorials and vigils. World of Warcraft players will remember multiple protests throughout that game's history, mostly against the design of the game, but sometimes against Blizzard's policies. How about the Million Gnome March, for example, which caused game outages and threats from the studio claiming protests were "griefing"? Or the 2006 protests against Blizzard's stance on LGBT guilds -- which the studio reversed? How about the multiple Occupy SAB protests in Guild Wars 2, which ArenaNet allowed to transpire without much fuss?

I've never been to an in-game protest that I recall [Edit: I'm wrong. I have! See comments!], but I did stage my own one-woman protest in Star Wars Galaxies, where following the pronouncement that "no one wanted to play Uncle Owen" because moisture farmers were boring, I promptly rolled a character whose primary role was moisture farming on her permanently installed moisture farm. I made a lot of credits and had a lot of fun selling water on that character, right up until the day the servers were sunsetted. Silly? Maybe, but it gave me some life to prove that the suits were full of shit and didn't really understand the first thing about their own playerbase.

Have you ever participated in a protest in an MMORPG?

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EVE Evolved: Making stories with friends in EVE Online

It's one of the more peculiar laws of the universe that when enough EVE Online players meet in the real world, they absolutely must swap stories. You can see it in action at meetups and events like EVE Fanfest and EVE Vegas, where players take a trip down memory lane with corpmates over a beer and regale whole groups of strangers with tales of wars, clever schemes, and treachery. It's like some tribal instinct takes over and we feel the need to pass on our virtual history or bask in glory days gone by like a couple of Klingons in a Ferengi bar.

We're all familiar with the biggest and most impactful stories that go down in the sandbox of New Eden because they tend to hit the gaming media like a brick in the face. When the largest war in gaming history goes down or hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of ships goes up in smoke, you're bound to hear about it. What you don't hear about is the hundreds of compelling little stories that take place every day within EVE, most of which are left untold. Several interesting stories are shared each day on the EVE subreddit and official forums, a few make their way into works of cinematography, and some have been immortalised in song or shoehorned into propaganda posters. These little stories are the everyday reality of what can happen in EVE, and part of the reason so many of us are hooked on the game.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I suggest that the true draw of EVE is in its capacity for making stories with friends, and share a few of my own little histories from days gone by.

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The MOP Up: No Man's Sky gets shielded (January 22, 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, No Man's Sky made the jump to the Nvidia Shield, giving players a new way to experience this space sim. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from NeverwinterTrove, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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World of Warcraft posts initial patch notes for patch 7.2 testing

The initial build of World of Warcraft patch 7.2 is up for testing now, but be fairly warned: It's not all of the patch. It's not even necessarily a majority of the patch; as confirmed by community manager Lore, the main focus right now is stability and testing the new Demon Invasions, which means that players can expect to see many further iterations before the patch goes live. There's an entire chunk of stuff coming with the Broken Shore, after all.

You can peruse the patch notes for this first build now just the same; they include some nice additions like a "Sets" tab for transmog collections, higher item scaling for World Quests, and more options for gaining reputation from Emissaries past Exalted. You can also take a look at some of the new models already in the patch, including new class mounts of various hues and a long-overdue new model for Trade Prince Gallywix.

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EverQuest senior game designer Josh Augustine moves over to World of Warcraft

Former PC Games editor and EverQuest senior game designer Josh Augustine announced yesterday that he's made a move to a position on a different MMORPG: World of Warcraft.

"I'm overjoyed to announce that I'm joining the World of Warcraft quest design team at Blizzard," Augustine wrote on Twitter. "One of my life goals and a huge honor!"

Augustine previously worked on several of SOE and Daybreak's titles during his tenure at the studio, including the original EverQuest, the ill-fated EverQuest Next, and Landmark.

Source: Twitter

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Quantic Foundry's findings on WoW, SWTOR, and gender

Quantic Foundry, the gaming analytics consulting firm we've been following since late 2015 thanks to its Gamer Motivation Model, has a new blog post out this week that purports to break down participation rate in various gaming genres, including MMOs, by gender.

Parsed from 270,000 self-submitted surveys gamers have submitted to date -- 18.5% of which are from women -- Quantic's data appear to reinforce some of the basic stereotypes in gaming: two-thirds of match 3 gamers are women, almost all tactical shooter fans are dudebros, women play more high-fantasy MMOs than sci-fi MMOs, that sort of thing. But there are some interesting surprises. For example, a smaller percentage of World of Warcraft players are women than the genre numbers on the whole.

"23% of World of Warcraft gamers are women. This is substantially lower than the group average (36%). A lot of game researchers (Nic and I included) focused on studying WoW as an exemplar of online gaming, but it looks like WoW was not only an outlier in terms of market success, but also in terms of its demographics relative to other games in the genre."

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South Korea is airing a World of Warcraft cooking show

Remember that World of Warcraft cookbook? It's heading to the next level. South Korean television will soon feature an entire cooking show based on World of Warcraft, which we may presume means that it's inspired in part by the game rather than the idea that people cook food and then attack one another with swords.

It also presumably means that you're basing it off of the cooking done by players rather than Nomi, unless the show is all about winding up with a great deal of charred, inedible food.

Choi Hyun-seok, a well-known chef and fan of WoW, will be hosting the show. Participants will cook dishes inspired by and based upon the show as well as talking about experiences within the game, providing a combination of influences that will hopefully prove entertaining to Korean viewers. We can only hope that the show will provide us with an edible real-life version of Delicious Cave Mold at some point.

Source: Kotaku

 

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World of Warcraft turns its attention to Patch 7.2

Now that the excitement over the launch of Patch 7.1.5 and Nighthold has died down somewhat, World of Warcraft's team is gearing up for testing on the next big content update for the fantasy MMO.

"We'll be bringing down the 7.1.5 PTR realms and discussion forums today in preparation for the Patch 7.2 PTR. Details to come!" the team posted to Twitter.

Patch 7.2 promises to be a huge addition to the Legion expansion cycle, containing a new zone (Broken Shore), a new rep grind, the continuation of class hall campaigns, class-specific mounts, zone invasions, a base-building system, flying, and the Cathedral of the Eternal Night dungeon.

This weekend marks the debut of WoW's first post-7.1.5 micro-holiday, Call of the Scarab.

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Mark Kern's Em-8ER posts a new THMPR modeling video

Em-8ER, the Mark Kern-led "massive planetary wargame" shooter formerly known as (and still pronounced like) Ember, has a new video out today showing off the THMPR -- don't look at me like that -- model in Unreal Engine.

"The model you see here is being rendered in real-time in the Unreal Engine. We use a texturing/material technique called PBR or Physically Based Rendering to make materials like metal look much more realistic," the team writes in the blog post. "Now that the THMPR is modeling, we’ll need to animate it and build a background scene."

Kern is a decidedly controversial (his word) figure to MMORPG genre veterans thanks to his involvement with Firefall and the vanilla World of Warcraft community, among other internet movements. He has previously discussed his plans for this shooter, including "serial Kickstarting" and a Firefall-esque foundation that doesn't "drift over to 'WoW with guns' again." Studio Crixa has thus far raised $23,000 in the first of its planned miniature crowdfunding campaigns, exceeding its goal.

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Blizzard defeats Bossland bot-maker in German supreme court ruling

Score one for Blizzard: The gaming giant managed a win in its long struggle against German bot-maker and plague-on-honest-gaming Bossland GmbH.

The German Federal Court of Justice this week overturned earlier lower court rulings to determine that Bossland's HonorBuddy bot program for World of Warcraft is in fact in violation of anti-competition laws.

You'll recall that Bossland creates, distributes, and sells bots for Blizzard's games, which Blizz has ardently argued violates its copyrights and costs it exorbitant amounts of money to fight in-game and out. In May of 2015, Bossland convinced a German court to deny Blizzard's request for an injunction against it, which prompted Blizzard to sue Bossland's American contractor in a California federal court. That suit was ultimately dismissed, but when said American contractor cooperated with the authorities, Bossland absurdly accused Blizzard of copyright infringement for its acquisition of the Heroes of the Storm StormBuddy bot's source code. Let that sink in for a minute.

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Overwatch heralds the Year of the Rooster event

In a pair of short teasers, Blizzard announced its next in-game event for Overwatch: Year of the Rooster.

This Chinese New Year-themed event is kicking off next week on January 24th. "Good luck and great fortune await!" Blizzard said. The teasers showed two Chinese-themed skins for Mei and D.Va, with Mei holding red-and-gold cards that might be hinting at random "fortune" rewards.

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