blizzcon 2017

Michele Morrow calls out BlizzCon gender pay inequality

Michele Morrow, one of the most recognizable faces in gaming thanks to her long career as a show host and actress and World of Warcraft player, has seemingly accused BlizzCon organizers of gender discrimination when it comes to BlizzCon hosting pay. Morrow has hosted Blizzard’s outrageously popular annual convention since 2014, last year with Geoff Keighley Alex Albrecht and Malik Forte. As she began on Twitter,

“Glad the #GoldenGlobes are calling out discrimination. I’d like to point out gender & POC pay disparity happens in gaming, too. This has happened to me. Has it happened to you?”

She followed up her statements by referring to her treatment by BlizzCon organizers specifically, suggesting that she didn’t know ahead of BlizzCon 2017 that she had been paid less than her male co-hosts.

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What are the odds that Blizzard is making a Diablo MMORPG?

Over at MMORPG.com, one of the writers has formulated an intriguing theory that Blizzard is actually in the process of creating a Diablo MMORPG which will be announced next year.

The hypothesis mostly is based on a few factors from last month’s BlizzCon, including the lack of a Diablo presence at all and the seemingly rushed announcement of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. The author argues that Blizzard originally wanted to announce the Diablo MMO, but since it wasn’t quite ready, it hurried the announcement of Battle for Azeroth before it intended to share that with the community.

When you throw in other elements such as Blizzard leeching WoW members for other projects and hiring devs with “massively multiplayer” experience, it’s enough to make you pause and go “hm.”

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WoW Factor: Reconsidering the next few months of World of Warcraft

There’s a lot of information coming out about patch 7.3.5 at this point. Not everything, of course, and a lot of it is based more on datamining than actual stuff that has been announced. But it seems fair to say that World of Warcraft’s immediate future for the next lengthy expansion gap is on the test servers right now, and some of it is obvious while some pieces are… less so. And, if I might be so bold, it even gives us a pretty clear picture of the next few months right out of the gate.

Right now the live game is, obviously, focused on Antorus. That’s the focus for the actual gameplay, and the slow trickle of wings into the group finder are the big thing to do and look forward to until the whole of the content is available by January. For that matter, I think that part of the goal of the next month or so is to give people all the reason in the world to run and explore Antorus and see the story for themselves if they’re interested in having a personal stake in what happens next.

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Hearthstone: Kobolds and Catacombs is live today with free card packs

Today, Hearthstone players across the world will, indeed, take candle.

Blizzard’s popular card game launched its newest expansion today, Kobolds and Catacombs. First revealed at this past November’s BlizzCon, the expansion adds 135 new cards, the recruit keyword, spellstone and unidentified items card types, and the intriguing dungeon run. This single-player experience offers adventurers choices as they progress through a dungeon to the final conclusion.

It’s a good time to log back into the game, too, since Blizzard is giving all players three free expansion card packs and a random legendary weapon card to promote the update. We’ve got the new Hearthstone animated short for you after the break as well as a rundown of the top five most underrated and overrated Kobolds and Catacombs cards.

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Perfect Ten: The biggest MMO stories of 2017

One thing you can say for the MMO industry: It never ceases to surprise all of us. No matter what predictions we may make at the beginning of a year, by December we will all be proven fools who lack vision and foresight.

Although 2017 isn’t quite over yet, we here at Massively Overpowered wanted to count down the biggest news stories that crossed over into our neck of the woods so far this year. We witnessed controversies and delights, shockers and sadness. We saw launches and shutdowns, expansions and bugs.

So before we move into 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was and remember the biggest stories that dominated headlines.

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MassivelyOP’s 2017 gift guide for the Blizzard fanatic

With the new expansion, official vanilla servers, and all of the other news from BlizzCon this year, it’s a great time to be a World of Warcraft fan. But Blizzard has other games too!

This year, our sales team has once again put together a couple of gift guides pertinent to our MMO readers. Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links and may grant a small commission to us, which is very much appreciated. Read to see some of the fun stuff you can get for the Blizzard-lover in your life!

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The Daily Grind: Are you thinking of WoW Classic as a totally new MMO?

Early on in all the WoW Classic hoopla, I’d been thinking of World of Warcraft legacy servers as the sort of gimmick servers that a lot of older games put up. Ultima Online, EverQuest, RuneScape – their hardcore servers, progression servers, old-school servers are sort of sideshows, literally, to the “real” game in the center ring.

But the day the Classic WoW subreddit went up and I watched the playerbase neatly conduct its semi-orderly self-partition, my thinking changed, such that I don’t really think it’s just a gimmick anymore. WoW Classic is going to be a whole new game. I’m not even sure Blizzard realizes it yet, given how weird and slapdash the BlizzCon announcement was, but if WoW Classic releases in the next couple of years, it’ll easily be one of the largest and most successful “new” AAA MMORPGs to come out in quite a while. It’ll be up there with AIR and New World. That’s a sobering thought – but maybe not all that surprising.

Are you thinking of WoW Classic as a totally new MMO? How will you be approaching it?

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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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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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Massively Overthinking: The best and worst of BlizzCon 2017

Last weekend, even Massively OP was obsessing over BlizzCon, and we thought it would be fun to poll the writers, including those who watched from the sideliness rather than diving into the liveblogging, on their assessments of the event, particularly as they pertain to the MMORPG industry. What were the highlights and lowpoints? Where do we stand on World of Warcraft’s new expansion and classic servers? Let’s dig in!

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The Daily Grind: What’s the funniest MMORPG?

During last weekend’s BlizzCon opening ceremonies, nothing got me like Hearthstone’s expansion presentation, and it’s not the first time Blizzard’s card game has done so. Maybe it’s the kind of thing you need to be an old-school WoW Alliance player to really get, but “you no take candle” as a serious theme had me rolling. Dumb inside joke? Executed to perfection? Check and check!

That said, I don’t play Hearthstone; I love everything about it but the card game aspect. I’m an MMO player, what can I say, and Hearthstone isn’t one. So where would I go if I wanted some of Hearthstone’s dorky but lovable humor here in our own home genre? What’s the funniest MMORPG?

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Global Chat: World of Warcraft BlizzCon reactions

Whether you play it now or not, chances are that your paths have crossed with World of Warcraft in the past. This is true of pretty much every MMO blogger I know, and as such, all of them have emerged over the weekend to offer their thoughts on BlizzCon’s classic server and Battle for Azeroth announcements. So what do they have to say?

On World of Warcraft Classic:

“Meanwhile, a lot of what Blizz said about WoW Classic was set in the future tense.  It sounds like they had a small group do some research and found a viable path forward.  Everything else, however, seemed to couched in ‘we will,’ ‘we’re going to,’ and ‘we want to.'” (The Ancient Gaming Noob)

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World of Warcraft Classic starts hiring for its team

It may be a ways away, but World of Warcraft Classic is on the road to becoming a reality. Blizzard posted at least two job openings for project team members as part of the effort to create the legacy version of the game.

While not revealing any specifics about the older version of the MMO, Blizzard’s listing is still a thrill to read: “Travel back in time to a World of Warcraft before the Mists of Pandaria parted, and before Deathwing broke the world. When Blackrock Mountain, the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and the floating citadel of Naxxramas were the most difficult challenges in Azeroth. The World of Warcraft team is working on bringing that world back to our players with Classic WoW, and we need engineers to help us bring the past into the present.”

Blizzard told fans at BlizzCon that WoW Classic would be a massive effort and that the studio was committed to making it happen and keeping it running as long as the main MMO operates.

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