overwatch

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

Blizzard announces Overwatch Contenders e-sports ‘development league’

Blizzard has just announced “Overwatch Contenders,” what it’s calling a “development league for aspiring Overwatch League professionals.”

“Over the first year of organized Overwatch competition, we’ve seen an incredible exhibition of skill at Overwatch APEX in South Korea, the Overwatch Pacific Championship in the Asia-Pacific region, and the Overwatch Premier Series in China. It’s time to bring that level of competition to the West. If you and your team have what it takes to compete with the best in the West, Overwatch Contenders is your chance to shine. To find the top teams on the North American and European servers, Season Zero of Overwatch Contenders will be an open signup, online-only qualifier to determine the top eight teams in each of those two regions. Each of these tournaments will have a prize pool of USD $50,000.”

Registration in North America and Europe has opened today and will run through early June with playoffs in early July. An open division will follow in 2018 to “offer emerging teams a path to Overwatch Contenders seasons in each region.”

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The MOP Up: Neverwinter’s green beetle fiasco (May 21, 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 TERARendTree of SaviorDragon NestNeverwinterArmored WarfareEVE OnlineOverwatchARKWakfuDestiny, and Pokemon Go, all waiting for you after the break!

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Overwatch looks forward to anniversary skin and more diverse story focus over the next year

To the surprise of basically no one, Overwatch has succeeded through its first year, and it should also come as no surprise that Blizzard is celebrating with new skins. After all, new skins get added to this game on the regular. It’s all about skins. Have some skins. A leaked Facebook video shows off new skins for Soldier:76, Zarya, Bastion, and Pharah. No details on what the anniversary event will offer for other characters, but it can be assumed that more is coming.

Of course, the second year also means that players can expect more storytelling around the game (not in the game, unfortunately), with director Jeff Kaplan stating that he’d like to tell more stories about characters like Symmetra and Pharah who haven’t been in the spotlight yet. He’d also love to do some adventures for Roadhog and Junkrat, whom he sees as being perfect comedy relief for the more serious underlying story. Of course, telling stories about more characters will also push Blizzard up against the boundaries of claiming the game’s diversity isn’t political, so take from that what you will.

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Massively Overthinking: Being Uncle Owen in MMORPGs

Ever since the tone-deaf SOE proclamation that nobody wanted to play Uncle Owen in an MMORPG, contrary me has consciously fought that very stupid idea. A whole lot of people wanted to play Uncle Owen, then and now, there and elsewhere. Star Wars Galaxies was a game half full of Uncle Owens. I spent a lot of time literally becoming a moisture farmer as my own form of rebellion. And yet, as I realized while debating with my husband a few weeks ago, the person I really wanted to be was freakin’ Lando. And most MMORPGs don’t allow that either — it’s Luke or GTFO.

Such is the argument made by a recent PC Gamer article, which in its own precious mainstream way argues that “MMOs need to let you be an average Joe” to get out of the clear “creative slump” they’re in.

“With their scale and permanence, MMOs give us the chance to be citizens in a make-believe world we create with the help of our fellow players. When it’s left up to us what kind of role we want to fill in that world, everybody’s immersion benefits from being surrounded by all types of characters with vastly different stories.”

For this week’s Overthinking, I asked the staff to chime in on the concept of Uncle Owen in MMORPGs. Do you play this way? Do you wish you could? And is it the way forward?

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Overwatch celebrates first birthday with free-play weekend and GOTY edition

Overwatch is turning one year this month, so bust out your hipster camera and baby confections for a cake smash! Just kidding. Actually Blizzard is kicking off a huge promotion next week starting with a free play period over Memorial Day weekend and ending with the conclusion of season 4:

“In addition to Overwatch Anniversary, we will be holding another free-weekend from May 26th-29th. For this free weekend, we’re making Overwatch’s full roster of heroes and maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the latest Weekly Brawl. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options. If players decide to purchase a copy of Overwatch after the free-weekend they will get to keep any progress made during the weekend.”

Wanna buy it after that? Maybe hold out for the GOTY edition, which launches the same day as the promo event for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. In it, you’ll find 10 loot boxes, plus Overwatch skins, Tracer in Heroes of the Storm, Baby Winston in World of Warcraft, Mercy’s Wings in Diablo III, new portraits in StarCraft II, and a special card in Hearthstone. ALL the cross-promotions. The new anniversary trailer’s down below.

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Overwatch’s D.Va lands in Heroes of the Storm

D.Va fans now have a choice of two games to get their cute girl-in-a-mech fix. The Overwatch fan favorite made her way over to Heroes of the Storm yesterday, becoming the fifth import from the team shooter to Blizzard’s MOBA.

The playstyle of this character is split into two modes. When D.Va is in her mech, she can bully her way across the battlefield with boosters and punishing attacks. If her mech gets destroyed (by the enemy or herself), she switches into pilot mode to savage foes while building up a meter to call down a replacement mech.

Interestingly enough, foes only get half-experience for killing either D.Va or her mech, suggesting that these two parts make up one complete hero.

Check out D.Va in action after the break!

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Overwatch launches several pricey art books this October

It’s apparently not official yet as Blizzard hasn’t sent out a press blurby, but Overwatch is getting a pair of massive art books this coming October 24th.

According to the entries on Amazon, the $49.99 hardcover is the “essential companion” to the game, with intros and dev behind-the-scenes info from Blizz, plus “never-before-seen artwork.”

The real meat’s in the $100 deluxe limited edition book, which “comes packaged in a beautiful clamshell box with magnetic closure and includes an acetate slipcover featuring the game’s most popular hero, Tracer.” Expect “two portfolios containing a total of three prints chosen by the Overwatch team” too.

And for comic lovers, the Dark Horse Overwatch comic anthology is due out on October 10th.

I have a guildie who buys art books for video games the way Justin buys MMO soundtracks, if ya know what I mean. Do you guys splurge on art books for games?

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The MOP Up: Life is Feudal’s building sim (May 14, 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 MapleStoryHeroes of the StormIngressWurm OnlineDCUOHellionLife is FeudalSkyforgeOverwatchH1Z1Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!

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Overwatch League allegedly has a $20 million price tag to enter

Remember how Blizzard started to focus MLG in on Overwatch as an e-sports venue at the same time well-known teams started fleeing the scene? What was all that about? It seems it might be as simple as money; according to teams looking to take part in Blizzard’s heavily hyped Overwatch League, teams need to buy in to the tune of $20 million. That’s without any promises of profit sharing until 2021 and with no real certainty about the long-term. In other words, it’s just not a good investment for the teams.

Blizzard’s official response is that certain parties may be spreading misinformation about the fees and contract terms to aid in negotiatons, and the studio remains committed to supporting the game as an e-sports platform. Of course, it’s going to prove rather impossible to make any headway in that field if no one actually wants to get in on the competitive scene in the first place, so we’ll see if those professional teams were a blip on the radar or bespoke a larger trend.

Source: ESPN, Kotaku

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Massively Overthinking: Is the MMO genre facing an identity crisis?

MMORPG blogger and MOP commenter Isarii (@ethanmacfie) recently published an excellent video positing that the MMO industry is facing a “massive identity crisis.”

“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”

The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

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Overwatch players rack up 145.5M Uprising matches

Now that Overwatch has wrapped up its two-month Uprising campaign, how did it fare? Quite well, as probably anyone could have told you. The lore-heavy event racked up over 145.5 million matches before all was said and done, so it’s safe to assume that the studio is thinking about doing something similar in the future.

This number comes courtesy of a post-mortem infographic about Uprising. The infographic revealed that Null Sector trounced Overwatch in victories (78M to 67M), players looted over 815.5M loot boxes, and the highest score for any one game was an impressive 27,511 points.

Check it out for yourself after the break!

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Blizzard focuses MLG on Overwatch as e-sports teams flee the game

Remember back when Blizzard bought Major League Gaming? This week, the studio announced it’s putting MLG to use as the conduit for its Overwatch e-sports ambitions.

“The new division, which will retain the MLG name, will build on Blizzard’s nearly 20-year history as a leader in esports and leverage MLG’s extensive experience with live events and content distribution,” says the studio. “It will also operate the MLG-branded media network, which will broadcast both Blizzard and Activision esports content as well as other premium gaming programming.”

That’s good timing, since as Kotaku reported, over the last week no less than four pro e-sports organizations have cut loose their Overwatch teams.

The current season of Overwatch competitive play ends this month; Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan has said season five will begin around June 1st and that the video reel utility and spectator mode are still on the way. “Expect more details early this summer,” he wrote.

Source: Blizzard, Kotaku

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Heroes of the Storm starts testing Overwatch’s D.Va

At this point, Heroes of the Storm really should stop pretending and just rename itself Heroes of Overwatch.

Blizzard’s underperforming MOBA is certainly capitalizing hard on the roaring success of Overwatch these days. Shortly after introducing Genji to the game as a playable hero, HOTS has started to test D.Va as the game’s fifth import from Overwatch.

D.Va is the popular South Korean character who drives a mech and fights cosmic threats in her spare time. In keeping with her theme, Heroes of the Storm allows D.Va to fight as both a mech and as a pilot if the mech is destroyed (by enemies or by D.Va herself). There are abilities specific to one mode, such as bunny-hopping the mech or firing a big shot as the pilot.

Heroes of the Storm is currently running a promotion for players to earn a police officer skin for D.Va in Overwatch.

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