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

SuperData examines the lootbox controversy’s effect on EA and the gaming industry

How big a deal with the lootbox controversy that finally hit the mainstream last year? Pretty big, SuperData argues. In a new blog post, the analytics firm argues that “the loot box controversy hampered Star Wars Battlefront II out of the gate” as shown by the game’s monthly active users compared to its predecessor’s, and that the resulting dumpster fire has caused publishers to rethink lootboxes and self-regulate or at least modulate their greed – an effect we’ve already seen in the MMO industry too.

“At the upcoming E3, we’re likely to see presenters announce ‘no loot boxes’ or that paid content is ‘cosmetic only’ in order to get on the good side of creators and hardcore gamers,” SuperData predicts. “Loot boxes won’t disappear anytime soon given their success in games like Overwatch (over $600M of loot boxes sold through February 2018). In the short term, though, ‘No loot boxes’ will be the game industry’s own ‘gluten free water’ — and we’re likely to even see this slogan used to market titles where loot boxes would not make sense such as adventure games.”

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Overwatch’s Archives event is live

It’s time to move along the story of Overwatch in the game itself, which apparently means playing events that took place many years ago. “Forward” is a relative concept. “Blackwatch,” however, is a rather firm concept referring to the strike team formed by Reyes, Genji, McCree, and Moira raiding a Talon facility in the new Retribution mission. You can play with the set grouping of characters or take part in the “All Heroes” mode, which is pretty clearly non-canonical but does allow you to send D. Va against terrorists when she should be, like, four.

You can also take part in the classic Kings Row Uprising event once more and pick up all the associated lockbox skins from that event, as well as several new skins, emotes, and intros. Check out the trailer just below for a slice of the flavor, or just patch up and hop into the game so that you can accomplish your goals before the event goes away on April 30th.

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The war on toxicity: Overwatch League and Rainbow Six Siege crack down

Are studios starting to wake up and take action against particularly odious instances of gaming toxicity in their products? Blizzard, at least, is working to police its precious Overwatch League, which certainly does not need more controversy or bad publicity in its first season.

The studio levied a three-game suspension, a $2,000 fine, and revoked the streaming privileges of Philadelphia Fusion’s Josh “Eqo” Corona after Corona made a racist face on one of his streams. Blizzard is reported to have tight control over the League’s players with its code of conduct, in which it wrote that no player or team could bring the League or studio into “disrepute” with their actions. (This is not the first fine the League has issued.)

Speaking of disrepute, the League’s Boston Uprising went ahead and suspended Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez due to allegations that he, an adult, was pursuing a sexual relationship with a minor.

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The MOP Up: Paladins’ newest hero will punch your head off (April 8, 2018)

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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Elder Scrolls LegendsFortnitePath of ExileWorld of WarshipsPaladinsArmored WarfareNeverwinterGuild Wars 2OverwatchElder Scrolls OnlineWorld of TanksShot Online, and EVE Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Overwatch examines ‘defining moment’ with Retribution event

It was one of the “defining moments” in Overwatch’s history, and now Blizzard is going to take fans back to the past with its new Retribution event.

From April 10th through the 30th, players can fight against Talon in a new PvE game mode as Blackwatch. The mode will feature four heroes (McCree, Reaper, Moira, and Genji), new skins, and a new map called Venice Rialto.

The previous Uprising mission will also be dragged out for this month’s event, and PvP players will get to duke it out on the Venice map as well (can’t let a good map go to waste!). Check out the announcement and trailer for Overwatch Retribution after the break.

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Overwatch devs consider harnessing machine learning to fight toxicity

According to a new Blizzard interview on Kotaku this week, Overwatch toxicity has a new enemy: AI. Jeff Kaplan says that Blizzard has “been experimenting with machine learning” in order to teach its “games what toxic language is.”

As Kotaku points out, Blizz has already touted its successes in the war on toxicity, having claimed back in January that it had boosted reporting by a fifth and reduced chat abuse by almost that much. But its next move is to teach its AI to detect abuse before it’s ever reported. That’s the real trick, of course, since teaching AI context – the genuine and abusive versions of “GG,” for example – is much harder than it sounds.

Furthermore, Kaplan tells the publication, Blizzard is eyeing a horizon where it’s focusing as much on the “positive version of reporting” as the negative.

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Overwatch downplays battle royale potential, introduces Overwatch Archives events

Is Overwatch getting a battle royale mode? Probably not. Blizzard Game Director Jeff Kaplan told Kotaku that the team has actually seriously considered wedging a battle royale effort into the game, both because gamers constantly request it and because Blizz devs themselves play PUBG. But technical and design and balance hurdles stand in the way.

“First and foremost, Overwatch is a game about heroes, and part of what makes the core loop work in a battle royale game is the search, the looting, and the fairness that everybody’s sort of equal,” he explains. “Overwatch wasn’t designed to be a 1v1. Every hero’s not balanced against every other hero. […] Building those systems and getting that many players – I think battle royale for Overwatch starts to get into new game territory.”

What is coming to the game? The return of last year’s Uprising Brawl modes as part of a much bigger Overwatch Archives event, which explores PvE stories of favorite toons. Your friend Jeff from the Overwatch team explains it all in the latest dev update below.

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The MOP Up: Crossout brings out the big raids (April 1, 2018)

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!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Atlantica OnlineWar of Rights, Dungeon Fighter OnlinePokemon GoCrossoutBattleriteEverQuestARK ParkReign of GuildsOrbus VR, Avabel Online, and Overwatch, all waiting for you after the break!

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Overwatch is bringing back the Kings Row Uprising event with new hints of story

Last year, players were treated to a hefty event in Overwatch with the Kings Row Uprising. It was a PvE mode, it featured hints about the events back when the organization was still in existence, and it featured lots of skins. In short, it was everything people wanted. So it’s no huge shock that it’s coming back around again… and the tweet indicating as much contains hints that this year will offer even more.

Watching the tweeted video reveals a few flashes of “Classified” replacing “Confidential,” hinting that we’ll see more of what’s going on besides the story we already know. That could mean more antics with Blackwatch, more looks at the forces behind the uprising, or just a general fleshing out of the story. We won’t know the details until later, of course, so mark your calendar for the event’s promised return on April 10th.

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SuperData’s February 2018 revenue summary shows Fortnite’s dominance

Fortnite isn’t just a hit for Epic: It’s a hit for the whole industry. That’s according to SuperData’s latest report, which ranks PC, console, and mobile games according to their global revenues in the month of February.

Fortnite Battle Royale’s dominance in the Free-to-play Console segment drives the segment’s 359% year-over-year growth,” says the analytics firm. “Epic’s Battle Royale title showed no signs of losing steam. Fortnite earned more additional content revenue on console than any game other than Call of Duty: WWII and now has more monthly active users than Grand Theft Auto V.”

Pay-to-play MMOs shrank again this month, continuing the trend identified in previous months. On the PC side, Crossfire and Fantasy Westward Journey Online II switched places, and Hearthstone rejoined the list to bump off Overwatch, but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same list as last week, with World of Warcraft hanging in there at #7.

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GDC 2018: Ready Player One Now, billion person gaming, and mitigating abuse

It’s no surprise that Ready Player One was constantly being referenced at GDC 2018, especially in VR, AR, and MMO panels. It’s not just because of the movie’s release but because the tech involved is seeing a surge of interest. That doesn’t mean we’re on the cusp, in my opinion, but it may be a thing we should start talking about.

And talking about it we did. As Bill Roper of Improbable and SpatialOS recently told me, “The next generation of online games isn’t going to behave like current-generation MMOs. […] We don’t know what a billion-person game might look like, but it’s likely to include a wide variety of playstyles, to reflect the diversity of its playerbase.” Even if you’re a cynic and don’t think SpatialOS will play any part of this future, Roper’s very much on the mark: Billion-person gaming isn’t going to be like our current MMOs.

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The Daily Grind: How do you deal with your anger in MMORPGs?

Earlier this month, Overwatch made headlines when a player posted up a behavioral therapy chart his wife – who happens to be a therapist – made him fill out after he complained about his game losses. The idea is that you write down your “negative thoughts” about the game experience, then reflect on that to see how your temporary emotion has distorted your opinions, then craft a positive frame instead. It’s funny – but also pretty useful, and even Overwatch Redditors were asking for a blank sheet so they could try it themselves.

That brings us to today’s Daily Grind: How do you deal with your anger in an MMO? Do you complain to guildies, log out, bang your desk, go work out to burn off some steam? Are you handling it as well as the Overwatch Redditor and trying to learn from what went wrong? What do you do, exactly, when your teammates turn out to be “hot garbage”?

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Overwatch is finally letting you block toxic jerks from your matches

There’s very little more infuriating about reporting someone for being toxic, putting him on your mute list, and then finding that same jerk in your very next match. Blizzard’s very likely going to let you fix that in Overwatch, according to the game’s latest test notes and dev vlog from your friend Jeff from the Overwatch team.

“Players can choose to ‘Avoid as Teammate’ with a dropdown menu in the Career Profile,” Blizzard writes. “The addition of the ‘Avoid as Teammate’ option gives players the ability to craft their online gameplay experience. Up to two players can be selected with this feature. If you use the ‘Avoid as Teammate’ option on a player, the matchmaker will no longer place you on a team with the avoided player for one week. To learn more about this feature, click here.”

It does mean than queue times at the top of the ladder in small regions off-hours may increase, hence the limitation to two per week. The report menu is also getting an update, with clearer terminology.

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