Official Site: Overwatch
Studio: Blizzard Entertainment
Launch Date: May 24, 2016
Genre: Team-Based OFPS
Business Model: B2P
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Analyst Michael Pachter’s Overwatch League skepticism and other business tidbits

Everyone’s favorite gaming industry analyst Michael Pachter announced that his firm Wedbush is “skeptical that the Overwatch League will achieve much success,” noting that Blizzard’s multiplayer online shooter is “difficult to watch,” too expensive to buy, and unapproachable compared to other games. It gets worse: He also argues that “investors are overly optimistic” given the huge expense for running teams in a league like this one, the fact that Amazon got to Twitch first, and the likelihood that Blizzard will eventually collide with antitrust law (and the lack of relevant international law).

“The major sports leagues in the US are allowed to ‘collude’ with one another to some extent in order to limit player salaries; it is not clear that OWL will be subject to such an exemption, suggesting to us that a determined owner with a large pocketbook may be able to capture the world’s best players by guaranteeing large salaries.”

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Overwatch’s Doomfist was born from a mere name

“From the very moment we announced Overwatch, Doomfist was part of the story,” Game Director Jeff Kaplain said in a new hero preview video. “It immediately raised questions in everybody’s mind: Who is this Doomfist guy?”

The team revealed that the whole character and concept came simply from a villain name thrown out at the beginning of the game’s development. From this simple origin came a feared foe whose super-charged fist was the stuff of legends and was destined to be a part of the game.

And while some fans might be upset that Terry Crews wasn’t actually voicing the villain, as was rumored, apparently Crews himself is fine with the decision. “I realized that I don’t wanna be the guy that hijacks a game, you know?” he said in an interview.

Doomfist is currently in testing, and you can get your behind-the-scenes fix of the character’s development and playstyle below!

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG is the worst for duos?

As I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind the past week or two, my husband has been watching me from the depths of his Overwatch games, toying with picking up a Morrowind copy for himself to join me. The thing is, we both know that the game experience in ESO is sometimes hindered by the addition of more people, as the throngs of people plunging past me into my sneaky missions demonstrate on the daily.

It reminded me of something blogger Syncaine wrote earlier this year about ESO: “It’s very obvious a huge chunk of the game is aimed to be played solo, and not only do you not benefit from bringing someone else, in many cases you are punished or annoyed.”

I can think of a lot of MMOs that are great for duoing, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought about the absolute worst MMO for bringing a friend along for basic leveling and questing, and for all its petty annoyances, I suspect ESO isn’t that far down the list. Which MMORPG would you argue is the worst for duos?

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Massively Overthinking: Consumer protections in the MMORPG industry

Veteran Massively OP reader Miol says he’s exhausted by a recent string of stories in which MMO companies screw gamers over, one after another: ARK Survival Evolved, Albion Online, Skyforge, and now Black Desert all figure into his list, just from the last week.

“I want to ask what more can gamers do to protect themselves and everyone else as consumers than speak up? It feels exhausting to always stay vigilant and feel upset all the time, since games, as an everchanging medium, give devs so many opportunities to screw us over with every single patch or update. And the worst immediate consequence seems many times a meek apology for what they’ve done, only for them to try out something different that maybe could go over unnoticed.

“You guys have reported about this UK watchdog group ASA, who investigated No Man’s Sky, but even they dismissed the tons of complaints about false advertising. Steam did declare some changes to advertising on their platform, but I still don’t see them taken place. If even those big negative stories don’t have that much of an impact, what hope is there for all the smaller communities, spread thin globally? There was a recent wave of gamers imploring each other to not pre-order, but that ebbed away fast enough, when the next shiny pre-order advantages over other players were presented. But even so, this still can’t protect you from what may happen after the launch!

“As said by Bree many times: Merely quitting won’t help either, as the studio will never know why most of the times. But also sending feedback for nine whole days didn’t help Skyforge players to make its devs to scramble! So what else could we do? Or should we just take rotating shifts to call them out?”

We’ll take the first shift right here in Overthinking.

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NetEase and Kabam join Blizzard’s star-studded global Overwatch League

The ESPN report earlier this week suggesting that Blizzard has several agreements from big-name sports-affiliated venture capitalists to host Overwatch League teams across the US and East Asia has now been confirmed and embellished by Blizzard itself, with the addition of NetEase, Kabam, and Misfits Gaming. Here’s the whole list:

Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
NetEase (Shanghai)
Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul)

We’ve previously reported on the structure of the League and its $20M ante.

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Major sports VC companies invest in Overwatch League, Blizzard addresses meta balance

If you thought Blizzard’s ask for its Overwatch League was absurdly high for your typical pro e-sports team sponsors, rest assured that they weren’t the target market. Blizzard is after far bigger fish, and it’s getting them too.

ESPN reports that Blizzard now has half a dozen agreements from big-name venture capitalists to host teams in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Shanghai, and Seoul. The US spots are reportedly going for $20 million a pop (as planned) to luminaries including New England Patriots parent company Kraft Sports Group, New York Mets operational organization Sterling Equities, Sacramento Kings co-owner-launched NRG Esports, and Memphis Grizzlies co-owner-funded Immortals. You see the pattern here, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan has posted a really long letter to Overwatch players on the official forums addressing community feedback, balance, and why regular players should stop judging the game based on the pro player meta.

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The MOP Up: SMITE sees a Divine Light (July 9, 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 we have stories and videos from Pokemon GoSplatoon 2Blade and SoulDragon’s Dogma OnlineClosers OnlineOverwatchVindictusMu OnlineWurm OnlineAstellia OnlineDofus PetsHellionSMITEStarCraftAionFinal Fantasy XI, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: MMO ragequitting

Ragequitting. Most of us have probably done it once or twice from groups or single-player games or even MMO sessions in our time. My husband ragequit (disgustquit?) an Overwatch match the other night where his own teammates were spewing toxic slurs in voice chat, leading to a rating hit for him rather than the people poisoning the game (another problem for another column).

But what about ragequitting an MMORPG altogether? A game where you have time and money and friends and loot and achievements, sometimes years’ worth? Have you ever up and just walked out on an MMORPG? If so, what prompted it, and did you ever regret it or change your mind? I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Overthinking roundtable!

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Doomfist punches his way onto Overwatch’s test servers

It makes sense that if you’re expanding your popular team-based shooter, you’ll want to introduce a character who punches really, really hard. Actually, it doesn’t make that much sense, but Overwatch is a game with giant intelligent apes and techno-angels, so everyone just rolls with this sort of thing.

Indeed, Doomfist has been officially confirmed as the next playable hero for Overwatch after a string of teases and rumors. The character looks to be a fast-moving, heavyweight figher: “Doomfist’s cybernetics make him a highly-mobile, powerful frontline fighter. In addition to dealing ranged damage with his hand cannon, Doomfist can slam the ground, knock enemies into the air and off balance, or charge into the fray with his rocket punch.”

You can try him out on the test server right now, but you might want to prepare yourself for Doomfist’s punch of awesomeness by watching his introduction video first!

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Overwatch teases Doomfist, lays out ambitious plans for e-sports league

Try not to act too surprised when Overwatch eventually announces Doomfist, as the studio isn’t exactly being subtle in its leadup to the team shooter’s next playable character. To wit, Overwatch posted a fake news report concerning an attack on the Talon organization by Mr. Fist. It turns out his ultimate goal was to secure his namesake’s weapon.

Apart from Doomfist, Blizzard is putting a lot of effort in getting its upcoming Overwatch League off of the ground, which it calls the “most ambitious effort” in e-sports history. A GamesIndustry report covers the multiple approaches that the studio is taking for this effort, including securing advertisers, grooming local fan bases, and attracting serious teams.

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Global Chat: Want to see a Magic trick?

So what does the blogging community think of the first IP-related new MMORPG to be announced in years in Magic: The Gathering? It’s a little more confused than enthusiastic, to tell the truth.

“To me, this announcement is somewhat similar to announcing that they are making an MMORPG out of Poker. Um …. okay?” said Endgame Viable.

“I suspect there are other sets that are more popular or more likely to be chosen as the main basis for the game,” writes Gaming SF, “if Cryptic’s more recent releases for the Neverwinter game are anything to go by then this new MMORPG is likely to feature content that ties into upcoming MtG cardsets to cross-promote both the cards and the game among fans.”

Let’s move on for the moment and look at dueling expansions, Kickstarter issues, and adventuring underwater!

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Warframe posts drop rates for all its loot, hoping to ‘start a trend’

Warframe’s Digital Extremes is joining the very small list of online game developers being transparent about just what’s in their lockboxes, lootboxes, gambleboxes, lootcrates, or whatever you want to call them. In fact, the data dump it’s produced actually covers all loot drops rates in the game, something researchers have been calling for.

Warframe is free! Which means our drop system is designed to maintain a balance,” DE writes. “Our free players can earn the game’s content, and our paying players who support us with purchases usually get first dibs on the content by using Platinum (which can be traded to free players)! As far as we can tell… we are the first developers to post something quite like this – correct us if we’re wrong! Let’s hope it works out for us and we may start a trend.”

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Overwatch reveals design mysteries, sends out League surveys, and struggles with e-sports

A world as intricate and fanatically followed as Overwatch is bound to spark a question or two about its mysteries and secrets. In a new Ars Technica video, the dev team tackled over 11 minutes of community queries about lore, game design, double-jumping, and which hero took the longest to make (that would be Genji).

Moving over to the competitive side of things, the Overwatch League commissioner announced that the studio is sending out a survey to some of the top teams and players to help with the preparations of the launch of the league this year. The recipients of this survey come from a “scouting report” of potential (but not assured) candidates for league participation.

This survey may come as a hopeful sign to players and professional teams that are seriously concerned about what they perceive as a stagnated and decimated e-sports scene around the game.

Learn about all of the “unsolved mysteries” of Overwatch after the break!

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