overwatch

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

Overwatch heads off to Blizzard World on January 23

Haven’t you ever wished that you could bring your favorite Overwatch characters on a grand tour of every Blizzard game? Because… well, you sort of can in the upcoming Blizzard World map when it launches on January 23rd, but you’ll mostly be dealing with actual map objectives. Sadly, there is no game mode where you can place an order for food at Snaxxramas, which should be a sign that Overwatch has failed us all in development.

You can also dress up your favorite Overwatch characters as other Blizzard characters, some of whom can fight alongside these same characters in other games. None of those skins includes a serpent eating its own tail, but we’re sure it’s just a matter of time. (Seriously, that isn’t a Nova costume for Widowmaker. That’s just Nova. It’s just straight-up Nova.)

The first week of the Overwatch League also apparently drew over 10 million viewers, which means that technically you could consider playing the game yourself to be like a touch football game in the backyard. Check out the skins and the old trailer for Blizzard World just below.

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Gamers argue Overwatch League has a representation problem

No matter what you’re seeing up on the screen in this inaugural season of the Overwatch League, chances are really good that the people controlling (and almost all of the casters, it seems) are guys. This is because the League’s teams are completely male, a situation that none of them can really seem to address when asked point-blank about it.

Case in point: Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon is widely seen as one of the best players in the competitive scene… and she has yet to be signed on to any of the competing teams, as Kotaku points out in its long piece this week (though apparently Geguri herself believes it’s not sexism keeping her off teams – thanks Loopy). You probably remember her from back in 2016 when gamers and pro players were harassing her and claiming she wasn’t real/was a cheater until she shut them down with a video of herself kicking ass.

When asked about why she (and other women) hasn’t been snapped up, in spite of her participation in other leagues, several teams hemmed and hawed over the fact. It would be funny to read all of these responses if it wasn’t so disheartening. Our favorite? Having to fuss with co-ed player housing.

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Massively Overthinking: What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play?

A comment on Reddit about the current size and viability of Kritika Online got me thinking about MMO playerbases in general lately. We all know that there’s a stigma attached to little games; the big games with big servers and millions of players feel safer, and nowadays people just assume a small MMO has one foot in the grave. But it isn’t always true. We could also rattle off some smaller MMOs that seem to be moving along just fine, with bills paid. Sure, they’d like to be bigger, but they’re holding steady and know how to work the playerbase they do have rather than constantly alienate their current customers in search of new customers. And some MMO gamers actually prefer those sorts of titles. After all, if the game has just a few thousand people, it’s much easier to get to know a large slice of them, plus have your voice heard by the developers and actually influence the gameworld.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to reflect on the smallest MMOs they have played, and then consider how big an MMO has to be in terms of playerbase that they’d consider playing it now. What’s the smallest MMO you’re willing to play, and why?

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Blizzard’s Battle.net app gets an upgrade

The next iteration for Blizzard’s launch application is here, and no, it doesn’t include yet another name change.

The changes mostly come in the form of quality-of-life improvements to the Battle.net application, such as being able to launch Blizzard games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch straight from the task bar or dock. Unnamed bug fixes are come part and parcel of this update.

Players who use the Blizzard app for its social features will be pleased to hear that groups are now easier for admins to handle. Also, both groups and chats now benefit from improvements and an “updated experience.”

Source: Icy Veins

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Overwatch’s Mercy is shown none by Blizzard, plus news on Overwatch League

Mercy just can’t catch a break.

The Overwatch healer is due for another round of brutal nerfs, the latest in a long, long line of downward adjustments to the character by Blizzard. This time, her resurrect has been changed from an instant cast and no longer gives a bonus charge, in addition to a nerf to the speed boost from her Guardian Angel ability.

Blizzard explained this latest Mercy nerf, saying, “Mercy’s recent Resurrect changes have helped in allowing enemies to have more counter play in dealing with her, but she was able to use Resurrect through Valkyrie enough to largely mitigate the impact of the previous changes. Additionally, we’re toning back the amount of mobility Valkyrie provides through Guardian Angel and reducing its duration to overall reduce the power of this ability.”

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Lockbox roundup: MMO studios on ‘elegant’ lockboxes, legal issues, and the ‘cosmetics only’ angle

You know the lockbox thing is reaching saturation when there are so many things to cover we have to resort to a roundup. Nevertheless, for those of you who want to stay on top of developments and arguments, here we go.

Polygon has an explainer piece up on Destiny 2’s Eververse fallout and why everyone is still rioting over the game’s monetization. Of note for this discussion is the publication’s note that if Destiny 2 is hell-bent on having lootboxes, it ought to adopt Overwatch’s lootboxes, as they’re relatively tame and haven’t produced a Reddit in full meltdown.

Gamasutra has a roundup of MMO developer quotes from studios that believe they’re doing lockboxes “elegantly,” including Trion (for Defiance), PWE (for Star Trek Online), Wargaming (for World of Warships). In this particularly case, that means either being easily accessible through in-game play (not just in the cash shop), making lockbox drops tradeable to other players, creating systems of accruing lockbox rewards, or offering a choice of lootbox type.

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Overwatch’s 2018 includes new heroes, maps, and better competitive play

Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan barely has recovered from his marathon chair-sitting session over the holidays, but the scruffy-looking nerfherder is back in front of the camera to talk about what’s coming to the team shooter in 2018.

In addition to the start of the Overwatch League and the introduction of league skins to the game, Kaplan confirmed the release of the Blizzard World map “very soon” with tons of Easter eggs for players to find. He also teased new heroes, with the next one being “very needed” and in internal testing.

Additional maps are in the works, he said, and the team will be focused on improving competitive play over the course of the year. Story buffs will be pleased to hear that Blizzard is hoping to further the lore of the game through animated comics and shorts. Finally, the “Year of the Dog” event, the anniversary, and the return of Uprising are on their way.

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Overwatch plants Jeff Kaplan in front of a fire for 10 hours and hands out free loot boxes

Overwatch made a bid for players’ attention this busy holiday weekend, and in some ways, it succeeded. For starters, Blizzard decided to gift all players with five free lootboxes (worth about $5 total). All you have to do to get yours is to log into the game by January 1st.

But that wasn’t what had everyone talking over Christmas. No, it was the fact that Game Director Jeff Kaplan decided to stream himself sitting in front of a fireplace for 10 hours doing… very, very little. That didn’t stop Twitch and Twitter from going nuts, as around 40,000 people tuned in to see this spectacle (which was probably inspired by similar Christmas fireplace stunts).

Of course, you don’t have to watch all 10 hours of His Royal Kaplancy. Someone took the trouble to compile all of the truly exciting moments of the stream, and someone else (that’s us) took the trouble to copy and paste that video here below!

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Heroes of the Storm gets into a snowball fight and teases Blaze while Overwatch breaks out the comics

Enjoying your yeti hunts in Overwatch this holiday season? You can get a little more of the “backstory” of this event, such as it is, by reading a new animated comic book starring Mei and Mr. Yeti. Even without any spoken words, it’s seven kinds of adorable.

Over at Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard has teased the launch of Blaze next year and instigated a snowball fight among players. With both fluffy and heavy snowballs, each fight is sure to end in a hilarious mess. And when players complete three snowball fights, they will be treated to a loot chest.

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Blizzard throws a holiday sale for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo III, and more

Have a few extra bucks that Santa and his corporate elves haven’t pried from your wallet this month? Blizzard would like to tempt you to pick up one of its titles that are on sale from now through the beginning of January.

World of Warcraft’s base game is just $10, Legion is down to $25, and many of the MMO’s cash shop items are marked down. You can get Overwatch for $20 or the Game of the Year edition for ten bucks more. StarCraft II’s campaign collection is $30, and StarCraft: Remastered is $10.

Over in happy Diablo land, the base game and expansion are going for $20, while its Rise of the Necromancer DLC is down to $10. Finally, Heroes of the Storm’s Foundation bundle is being offered for 2,000 gems.

Source: Press release

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Rumor: Blizzard’s next title involves vehicles and may be an Overwatch spinoff

There’s a title under development at Blizzard that’s been hiring for a while now, but no one actually knows what it is. So when a new job opening goes up looking for people familiar in working with vehicles, the assumption that the title has vehicles in it seems… well, rather natural. Another job listing is just looking for a software engineer, which doesn’t suggest much about the content of the game.

The current speculation is that the title is some sort of Overwatch spinoff, although nothing has been confirmed or stated about that; it just matches the first-person design requirements, some job listings have mentioned familiarity with character sheets in existing Blizzard properties, and there’s more than enough material to mine out for more games. But what does it actually entail? We won’t know until these positions are filled and something is actually announced, sadly.

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Overwatch deals with trolls and smurfs

The complex and often times toxic environment of Overwatch continues to make the popular team shooter a source of controversy and attention. Even Game Director Jeff Kaplan seems fed up with it, publicly calling out a troll on the forums and giving direct examples of the player’s abrasive behavior.

“Our community has made it clear to us that toxicity is one of the top issues that needs to be addressed in this game,” Kaplan said. “As a result, we’re getting stricter and that means people are going to get suspended and banned for poor behavior. You’ve fallen into that category.”

Meanwhile, players in Overwatch’s competitive scene are grappling with the ongoing issue of “smurfs” — that is, multiple accounts run by the same person who is attempting to grab several spots in the top 500. While smurfing isn’t forbidden by the studio, some feel that it is unfair since it blocks other players from getting into the top 500. How widespread and prevalent smurfing is at this point is not exactly known, but there are suspicions that it is fairly rampant.

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