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.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 175: Virtual heartbreakers

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin get a little bit crazy and weird as they date MMO NPCs, throw themselves into the middle of studio fights, take a ride on the delay/launch whiplash train, and more!

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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E3 2018: A second look at Trion’s Defiance 2050 reboot

GDC 2018 back in March was good to Defiance 2050, at least in terms of making people aware of the goals of the game. It doesn’t necessarily mean people like what they’ve seen or heard, but Social Influencer and Community Manager Scott “Mobi” Jasper and Community Specialist Coby West feel that particular reveal has done the best for the game.

At this year’s E3 followup, there wasn’t any huge new reveal, aside from the launch date itself – just more tweaks. There certainly seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the overall MMO sphere and the 2050 fandom the devs are used to, with the devs somewhat understandably being more connected to their fans. After all, those are people who are willing to pay to play, and especially for a free to play game, that’s what you need. I got my hands on the game for the second time this year, and while it’s a solid play experience, I worry that, created in a vacuum, its potential for growth beyond the original Defiance experience is limited.

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World of Warcraft tackles addon toxicity, previews how you’re going to lose your artifact weapon

A small, seemingly insignificant addition to Battle for Azeroth might have a positive effect on World of Warcraft’s modding community. Blizzard is adding a function that will allow reports on offensive behavior to be sent from within addons themselves, which finally allows the mod community a way to police its previously lawless empire.

The “SendAddonMessageLogged” function won’t be automatically instituted into every addon; mod creators have to enable and integrate it themselves. However, once it is functional, this tool can help players report toxic behavior that is taking place in mods right to Blizzard’s CS department.

In other news, with artifact weapons heading out the door with the upcoming expansion, the question of the hour is how Blizzard will handle the removal of these legendary items. Players on the public test realm got a look at the artifact retirement questline that will come with next month’s Patch 8.0, and if you’re totally fine being spoiled, you can peek at what it will entail over at Icy Veins.

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Global Chat: The best of both worlds

If you have ever played more than one MMORPG, the thought has probably crossed your mind that you would love to see your favorite features from all of them put together. It hurts when one game has great housing and another has some of the best group content that you have experienced. Why can’t you just create the best of both worlds?

Zeriah spent some time wishing for exactly this as she drew up a list of features from both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV that she’d love to see merged together.

“If I could take a bit from each game and combine it into one, I think I’d be in heaven,” she said. “FFXIV has some of the most amazing outfits I have ever seen in a game and while it has transmog system but I feel it would be made truly amazing by the addition of the armor journal WoW has brought in.”

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Starcraft Remastered shows off new ramps and plans for group matchmaking

Starcraft Remastered really didn’t have to do anything else after release. That’s not to say that no one would have wanted more, but it was already an update of a classic game onto modern hardware. But the team has still been active, and the latest much-delayed developer update is here looking back at the 20th anniversary celebration of the original game and the last few patches. More importantly, it’s looking to the future, and the future is ramps.

Yes, ramps. Mapmakers have managed to hack together ramps with northern facings and with extra width, but they’ve never looked very good (because they’re being hacked together in an engine that doesn’t really support it). No longer; the game’s next update will feature a new mapping system to allow for better ramp art along with its new ladder ranking system. The video also promises that group matchmaking is coming soon now that solo matchmaking is working as intended. Check out the video just below.

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Diablo III starts Season 14 and the Great Treasure Goblin Hunt

The Season of Greed is upon us, and the only way to satiate it is to dive into Diablo III. Season 14 started this past week, bringing the debut of seasonal content, which is really just an ongoing in-game event.

This time around, it’s more treasure goblins: “For the duration of Season 14, all treasure goblin spawns will be doubled. This means that each time you encounter a treasure goblin in the wild, they’ll be accompanied by an exact duplicate of themselves for two times the loot, chaos, and fun!”

As with past seasons, this one features new cosmetic rewards, the boots and pants of the Conqueror set, journey rewards, and conquests. Season 14 will run through September 16th, although the non-seasonal leaderboard will persist past that.

Source: Diablo III

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO’s music brings back all the feels?

One of the reasons that I love and listen to MMO music so much — other than it rocks, obviously — is that it has this incredible power to trigger nostalgia and latent memories of time spent in-game.

It’s amazing: I might have been away from a game for years or haven’t even thought about it since it went offline ages ago, but the second I hear the main theme or an iconic track, it is like I never left. Occasionally I marinate in City of Heroes’ score or the vanilla World of Warcraft soundtrack just to be transported back to around 2004.

Which MMO soundtrack brings back all the feels for you? Is there a particular theme that makes you close your eyes and gives you goosebumps as you are transported back in time?

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World of Warcraft Classic is still under development, will begin with patch 1.12

If it seems like World of Warcraft Classic would be an easy project, you may not have spent as much time thinking about it as the developers. Heck, according to the latest development watercooler, it took some time for the team to decide what classic World of Warcraft should even be. The decision ultimately settled on patch 1.12, the last patch before the launch of The Burning Crusade, but that didn’t mean just loading it up and going.

It turns out that the classic code not only doesn’t like to play nice with modern video cards and anti-cheating software (because it’s more than a decade old) but has a lot of really inefficient ways of storing spell and ability data. So the developers have to also go through, piece by piece, to store everything in better formats and improve the experience across the board. Check out the full article to see the work going into making the classic experience work.

Source: Official Site; thanks to Cotic for the tip!

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World of Warcraft Q&A explains why you’re not getting your Mark of the Wild back

Remember when everyone was very excited about how World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth was bringing back class buffs like Mark of the Wild? Yeah, that’s not happening any more, but the latest community Q&A with Ion Hazzikostas explains why. As he puts it, class buffs were an experiment and they want to make sure that every class brings utility to a group, but there doesn’t need to be a separate buff for each class and Druids already have plenty of utility. So long, Mark of the Wild, we were all excited to see you again.

Hazzikostas also explains that there are no plans to change the current spec-limited nature of artifacts (although special transmog cases are being added for artifacts players might otherwise not frequently be able to transmog), no more major spec changes from the current test realm for 8.0, and no plans to remove old pathfinder achievements for flight. You can watch the entire Q&A just below or read the summary on Wowhead.

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The Game Archaeologist: The tangled legal history of Interplay’s canceled Fallout Online

With the recent revelation that Bethesda’s Fallout 76 is going to be an online multiplayer survival game, players who have been hoping for a Fallout MMO finally have something to anticipate. Sure, it’s not a proper MMORPG, but it’s all we could ask for in this day and age, right?

Actually, Fallout 76 isn’t the first time that the Fallout series was heading for online shenanigans, nor is it the closest concept to a pure MMO. Years ago, an attempt was made by the original creators of the Fallout series to bring an online game to the community, but this effort was stymied by Bethesda and a mess of legal issues.

For those who look back at the Interplay era of Fallout with deep fondness, the thought of the canceled Fallout Online project is a sore wound that continues to cause pain whenever prodded. Which is, I guess, what I’ll be doing today as we look at what Fallout Online was going to be — and why it never came to be.

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E3 2018: Hands-on with Bethsoft’s Elder Scrolls: Blades (yes, in portrait mode)

Out of all the announcements Bethesda had at its pre-E3 presser, The Elder Scrolls: Blades was the last title I thought we’d be offered. Oh, we had asked about others, but they sadly weren’t being shown, nor did they have anyone around to answer questions. Beyond the basics, Blades was the same.

Which was a shame, since there was excitement about the title in the MOP newsroom, especially once we heard it would include some sort of multiplayer. Scaling from PC VR down to mobile is a vast tech difference and gameplay experience. And being able to potentially play in portrait mode? All jokes aside, that’s actually some promising stuff!

However, of those awesome selling points, I only experienced portrait-style ESO mobile goodness during my demo.

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Fractured rallies fans for Kickstarter with a gameplay teaser

With hopefully all of the elements in place for a successful campaign, the team behind intriguing sandbox MMORPG Fractured said that it’s ready to take the blossoming title to Kickstarter on June 25th. This is only a slight delay from the team’s original intent to seek crowdfunding in early June.

To get fans hyped, Dynamight Studios has put together three short gameplay videos to demonstrate the game. The first of these was posted this week, with two to come in the days ahead.

The video below takes players on a tour through a nasty-looking swamp with all sorts of oversized mushrooms, tentacles, enemies, and even man-made structures. The vantage point, you might note, is very similar to that of Diablo III.

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E3 2018: Blizzard discusses keeping storytelling going in World of Warcraft

There are a lot of elements to weave together to tell stories in World of Warcraft. You can argue over whether or not the team doing so is actually very good at that task, but the point is that it is quite a task, and the panel for the team at this year’s E3 was all about the challenges of weaving together the game’s story and keeping things consistent. That alone is a challenge when you’re telling a story across games, novels, and various other formats for an extended period of time.

The team is promising to try new things during the lead-up to Battle for Azeroth, along with more major lore characters waving farewell. And there’s a discussion of the challenges in doing just that, along with keeping things consistent and building on long-term stories. If you’d like to look more closely behind the scenes, watch the panel just below; it’s only about half an hour long.

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