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.

Gamescom 2017: Overwatch’s Mei-centric Rise and Shine animated short

Blizzard brought the goods to Gamescom this year, with trailers and announcements for almost every game in its stable, including — and perhaps especially — Overwatch. The team just revealed the game’s latest animated short, Rise and Shine, for viewers, and Mei fans will join me in cheering as this one’s all about her. Unfortunately for Mei, her story’s a sad one, but worth a watch even if you don’t play.

“In Rise and Shine, Mei wakes up years after being cryogenically frozen to find that Overwatch has been disbanded, the world is very different than the one she knows, and that she is the last surviving scientist at Ecopoint: Antarctica.”

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Gamescom 2017: World of Warcraft’s 7.3 Shadows of Argus lands next week

Update: Patch notes are live now too! We’ve included them below.

Here we go, World of Warcraft fans: Blizzard just announced during Gamescom that patch 7.3, dubbed Shadows of Argus, is rolling out to your toaster ovens on August 29th.

Lore cinematic when? Now. “Watch as Azeroth’s massed forces arrive on the Legion’s homeworld in the prologue to Patch 7.3 Shadows of Argus. The last battle for Argus begins…”

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Gamescom 2017: Hearthstone’s Hearth and Home animated short

As part of its Gamescom presentation today, Blizzard has just revealed a new “musical animated short” for card battler Hearthstone. It centers on the backstory Harth Stonebrew’s tavern, and it’s Blizzard, so it’s cute all on its own.

“The Tavern is a warm and welcoming place full of laughter, camaraderie, and good-natured competition, and home to a charming cast of characters assembled from every corner of Azeroth. This includes vibrant and (mostly) friendly folks such as Malto, the kindly old mage; and Sarge, the Tavern’s resident mouse. The personalities in this ethereal inn draw inspiration from the many types of Hearthstone players who enjoy Hearthstone in real life. Whether they’re seasoned pros or just getting into the game like the young protagonist Ava, there’s a place in the Tavern for everyone.”

Expect more shorts and comics coming, Blizz says. We just want to see more singing gobbos. Enjoy!

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Perfect Ten: MMO experiments in transmedia synergy

We’re not going to argue that MMORPGs are the dominant form of media entertainment these days, but they do have endurance and a devoted following among gamers. And whenever a crowd of players have been paying into a game for a long time, it will attract the attention and interest of marketers who start wondering what else they could do to siphon off a few more bucks.

Enter “transmedia synergy,” a stupidly awesome term that represents links between two or more forms of media that are connected through the same IP. The thinking here is that fans of one of these forms of entertainment will cross over into the related media and vice-versa, growing an audience together.

Today we’re going to look at 10 experiments in transmedia synergy, for better or for worse, that have attempted to cross over from MMORPG to something else entirely. To make things more challenging, we’re not going to include novels, since we’ve already done that.

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Overwatch retools competitive mode, apologizes to Aussie fans

Overwatch is gearing up to tinker with competitive play once again, according to a new dev video from Blizzard game director Jeff Kaplan. He explains that the biggest change in season six will be that it’s shorter: two months, not three months. A one-month season, he says, feels too short, but three months has turned out to a bit of a drag, with engagement being much higher earlier on, hence a two-month test to see how it goes.

Concurrently, competitive points will be rescaled to the new season length, skill rating decay at the lower tiers of play is under review (five games per week down from seven, and decay reduced from 50 to 25), and higher-tier matches should see better skill ratings, stronger balance, and longer queue times to make that happen.

Meanwhile, Blizzard has apologized to Aussie fans who accused it of “cultural insensitivity” for some goofups in the Junkertown map — specifically, the use of American slang where Aussie slang would more properly be used (take-out instead of take-away) and a voiceover line (“they thought they could take our land“) that observers suggest is oblivious to Australia’s historical and modern relationship with indigenous people and their territory.

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Global Chat: World of Warcraft’s wild frontier

How is World of Warcraft like the wild west of American history and legend? Something about Barrens chat might come to mind, but blog Coffee Cakes and Crits has another view on the connection between the two.

“One of the ‘codes’ of the Old West was that you did not have to tell where you came from or why you were in the West,” he writes. “This code is exactly the same in the World of Warcraft. You don’t have to say what you do for a living or your military background or level of education. You don’t even have to claim a gender. It is what you do in the game that matters and you can go as far as you dare to try and, hopefully, try again. This is a very good thing.”

Continuing on with our tour of the MMO blogosphere this week, we’ll see a gut reaction to  the Secret World TV series announcement, impressions from the Path of Fire preview weekend, and more!

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Blizzard profiles World of Warcraft e-sports notables in new video series

Blizzard is not going to stop trying to make World of Warcraft e-sports a thing, gang, so we may as well have some fun with it, yeah? In fact, this week Blizzard released the first episode of its new e-sports program for the game, Gladiator’s Summit. Hosts Elliott “Venruki” Venczel and Jackson “Bajheera” Bliton trade formal ties for bushy beards to profile some of the teams and individual players aiming for fortune and glory at Gamescom on the road to BlizzCon.

Bonus, the YouTube comments immediately devolve into complaining about the game’s classes, PvP, and… actually no it’s pretty much just classes and PvP. Enjoy!

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 132: Filth TV

On this week’s show, Justin and MJ speculate about the weirdness of a Secret World TV show, get ready for World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3, celebrate Ultima Online’s 20th birthday, 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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Black Desert shows off 4K console version at Gamescom

It might have gotten buried in this massive list, but Black Desert is one of the MMOs that’s slated to receive enhanced treatment by the new Xbox One X. While the console is coming out this fall, Black Desert won’t be available on it until early next year on the platform.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait until then to see how this game performs on the souped-up console. This week at Gamescom, PearlAbyss is showing off Black Desert on the Xbox One X featuring crisp and attractive “true 4K” graphics. Seeing as how the visuals is one of the most-remarked-upon features of the MMO, it seems like a smart move to wow potential players with a huge dose of eye candy.

“We are very excited to reveal the first playable Xbox One X version of Black Desert at Gamescom,” said PearlAbyss CEO Jung Kyungin, “and we are looking forward in welcoming the first adventurers to our console version, which will be playable in crisp, true 4K resolution.”

Black Desert has sold over 1.5 million copies in the North American and European markets to date.

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Drink in 20 glorious minutes of Blizzard Gamescom previews

While it’s no BlizzCon, Gamescom has become an increasingly important platform for Blizzard to share exciting news about its roster of games. And we’re guessing that since you’re sitting at home instead of strutting about in Germany, you aren’t going to be getting this information first-hand.

No matter; the studio put up a helpful 20-minute preview of its Gamescom news and offerings. This includes a look a Kel’Thuzad coming to Heroes of the Storm, excitement over Patch 7.3 in World of Warcraft, hype over the Junkertown map in Overwatch, and a new head-to-head mode for Hearthstone called Fireside Brawl.

It doesn’t look like there will be any show-stopping surprises, but it’s still good to see Blizzard out in full force for this show. Check it out after the break!

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Overwatch goes all apocalyptic with its new Junkertown map

It’s time to lock and load and do what video gamers do best: escort! Today, Blizzard announced a brand-new map for Overwatch called Junkertown that takes place in a Mad Max-style city.

“Junkertown is an escort map located in the harsh and unforgiving Australian Outback,” the studio explained. “Constructed from the remains of a destroyed omnium, it’s now the home to a band of lawless scavengers known as the Junkers, led by their cutthroat Queen. When they aren’t pillaging the omnium’s skeleton for anything of value, the Junkers blow off steam in the Scrapyard — a massive gladiatorial arena whose combatants fight for glory, riches… and to survive.”

Get your first look at the map after the break, and while you’re hanging out there, why not also check out “The Plan” animated short starring Junkrat and Road Hog? It’s well worth your time.

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Wild Buster is a new MMO made by Mad Libs, apparently

If you can’t create anything new, just slap together a lot of other things until you get something that sounds and feels vaguely fresh. Hey, we’re not knocking that approach; there have been a lot of wonderful games made that way.

So that’s why we’re trying to keep an open mind about Wild Buster, a newly announced title that incorporates mechanics and style from MMORPGs, MOBAs, action RPGs, and what looks to be a thinly veiled adoration of StarCraft. Developed by Nuri Works and published by Insel Games (Guardians of Ember), Wild Buster allows gamers to choose a specific hero to fight through waves of enemy mobs and enemy players, depending on one’s preference.

The game’s already been out for a while in Korea, but now Insel is working on bringing it to the west at an unspecified date. Early access for Wild Buster will begin next month, and fans should expect an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign this week to help with the localization and gameplay adjustments.

Check out the teaser trailer after the break!

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Destiny 2 to include text chat, promises to treat PC players like ‘first-class citizens’

We are one week away from Destiny 2’s open beta test on the PC, and computer players might be growing both excited and anxious about getting their hands on this franchise for the first time.

Bungie seems to be going to great lengths to reassure the PC audience that they will not be an afterthought, nor will their version of the game be inferior (it will be the opposite, in fact). ““We wanted to treat PC gamers like first-class citizens since the first day of development,” Bungie CM Deej said. “It’s built from the ground up to be amazing on state-of-the-art hardware. It should feel native on the PC.”

Speaking at an early Gamescom press event, Nvidia announced some additional features for Destiny 2, such as text chat, graphics that scale up to 4K, SLI support, and HDR lighting. The open beta will run from August 28th through the 31st and will be exclusively accessed through Blizzard’s Battle.net. Nvidia said that it will release a game-ready driver on August 24th, so make sure you grab that if you’re planning to try out the OBT.

Source: VG247, PCGamesN

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