Is there a Blizzard franchise you want to carry around in your pocket? Obviously, you can already play Hearthstone on your phone, but perhaps you’d like to play a version of Overwatch where you’re tracking down and shooting Omnics in the real world, or perhaps a version of Diablo allowing cross-client progression. Whatever the case may be, we don’t know that another mobile title is on the way, but considering the company is hiring for a new mobile software engineer, it seems likely.
While it’s unlikely to be a completely new title, there have been rumblings for a while that either Overwatch or StarCraft would lend themselves to mobile offerings. That could mean it’s one of those two, or it could be another crossover property like Heroes of the Storm. Or even a mobile port of the original StarCraft (stranger things have happened). It’s all speculative at the moment, but if you enjoy playing on your phone, it’s all positive speculation.
Tomorrow, we’re getting the end of the Heavensward
story quests in Final Fantasy XIV
, which means I need to start looking at Heavensward
as a whole. For now, however, we can look forward to Stormblood
and ask ourselves what we’re not going to be using any longer as healers. And this wrapped up just
before the final story patch, so I feel rather satisfied about how that timing worked out.
I’d say “all according to plan” if I remembered actually planning it this way.
As with previous installments, I’d advise you to take a look back through past articles in this series; the first one has tanks and the general philosophy, while the second column tackles melee damage and the third tackles ranged damage of all flavors. Today, we’re finishing things off with healers. That’s kind of a tangled mess with every option other than White Mage, but we’ll plot a course.
If you don’t remember the whole story about Global Agenda, you could be forgiven for pushing it out of your mind; it’s a bit of a sad one. The first game out of Hi-Rez Studios was not a massive success compared to the studio’s later titles, and with more profitable releases from the studio, the game’s support dropped and it was quietly removed from Steam. The game is still playable right now for people who download it directly, but it’s not there for Steam players to find. Even players who already downloaded it found it gone… until this weekend.
We’ve had some reports (confirmed by our staff) that the game is indeed showing up in Steam libraries once again, although as of this writing it’s not showing up on the main store page. (Searching for it uncovers a demo page that does not actually load.) This could all just be a matter of database maintenance for Steam, or it could be a subtle hint that something is on the horizon. There’s nothing to do but speculate; the last update on the game’s status was that the servers are going to be kept online for the forseeable future, but the studio does need to make plans for a shutdown and has no intention of selling the servers to another company or the fans.
Boy, this is a time I am glad to be wrong. I was outright worried that Blizzard was going to hold patch 7.2 for a much longer span of time, but no, it’s hitting World of Warcraft on March 28th. That’s good! It’s still squarely aimed at trying to kneecap something else going on that same day, arguably, but at least it isn’t being held for months. I’m going to count that as a good thing.
In fact, there’s something very good baked into the announcement, something that’s easy to miss. Of course, there’s also something very bad baked in as well, or at least the hint of something bad, a thought I’ve stated before in passing but I haven’t really elaborated on before. So today I want to examine both sides of this. Why this patch date makes me very happy and very worried at the same time. (Mostly the former, if you’re wondering, but the latter is relevant.)
Well, folks, by all reasonable estimation we’re going to have the final story patch of Heavensward
next week. Why? Because there’s no more March for it to exist in after that. So it seems like a reasonable prediction, and it also gives me just
enough time to finish up with these Final Fantasy XIV
skill predictions before I want to move on to reviewing the expansion in hindsight anyhow. So everybody wins, if I double up today.
The first installment is all about tanks, while the second installment is all about melee DPS. As always, the usual disclaimer applies that this is all speculation, not absolute fact; I don’t have a clearer picture than you do about how abilities are actually being arranged. If you think I’m wrong? I might very well be wrong! All I can do is justify what I say and make my case. Let’s move on.
On October 24th, World of Warcraft launched patch 7.1, which contained a lot of not-quite-ready-for-launch Legion features and a bit of content. Since then, the game hasn’t really launched any content. Sure, patch 7.1.5 launched in early January, but that just added the Brawler’s Guild back to the game for content (which, admittedly, has a lot of new boss fights). We’re looking at a content gap that’s starting to spread out a fair bit already, and patch 7.2 is coming out… well, eventually?
Of course, MOP’s Bree and I are in pretty close agreement about when it’s coming out: June. Because that’s when a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion and The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind both launch, so they’re going to want to try to kneecap both of those launches.
At least from this side of the fence, that’s a pretty dumb plan. It’s the same plan that was in place for patch 6.2 of Warlords of Draenor, which wound up with lots of complaints about the delays, and it doesn’t seem to have really crippled the launch it wanted to “intercept” there, either. Still, it’s the sort of plan that Blizzard has used in the patch, and with two big competing releases in the same month it seems almost absurd to think it wouldn’t be tried. So what do you think, dear readers? What do you think the odds are of WoW holding its next patch until June? And how much grousing do you expect if people are waiting that long for more content?
I had really hoped for something a touch more substantial about Stormblood
from this weekend’s event
, but we got what we got. Thus we are still, to some extent, in the dark about ability revisions in Final Fantasy XIV,
which does mean I get to speculate about stuff that’s being removed or changed a bit longer, since last week I managed to get through the tanks and nothing else.
Look, the jobs in the game are rather extensive. And numerous.
If you didn’t catch last week’s column, I go over the general philosophy behind what abilities seem most likely to be turned into traits or outright removed right there, so that should be relevant. Worth noting before we go too far into it, of course, is that on pretty much every single job I’m trying to list more stuff than what will likely be changed. If you think that I’ve got an awful lot of candidates for removal in place, you’re right! That’s literally the point because some of them will no doubt remain unchanged.
Well, it wasn’t the news I was hoping for, but I’ll still take it! This week we learned about Funcom’s plan to relaunch the conspiracy-laden Secret World in late March. This March. That means this month. I’d have really liked to hear more about season two, which we know has already been written; the story is really the core of TSW, and I admit to a certain level of impatience to finally experience more of it. Knowing that seasons two and three are both written makes it that much harder to wait. But upon consideration, perhaps the idea of revitalizing the core game just before adding additional story is a wise move. Nab new players and bring back those who left before and you’ve got a bigger player base to enjoy new content — not to mention more reason to make more! Hopefully the news about the new content and next season will follow quickly on the heels of the relaunch.
So what exactly is happening with this relaunch? That’s the big question! The answers aren’t forthcoming yet; there is no official word, and we learned there won’t be until at least after PAX. (You better believe I tried!) That leaves only the bullet points offered in the quarterly financial report to go on. However, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of ideas floating around about what specifically each could mean. So let’s do a bit of speculating.
Fellow fans of Final Fantasy XIV
, I’m not going to lie to you: The next few months in the game will be rough
. Not because we’ll lack for things to do, of course, but because we’re all going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. We all know what’s coming, and we’ve even got more stuff to learn about, like the details of the system revision and the exact story transition. But there are a bit more than 100 days left until Stormblood
releases, and we’re all
going to be staring with rapt attention until it actually happens.
That having been said, we are going to have more stuff to do over the next few months. Depending on when in the day you read this, the game might be down for maintenance right now with one of those patches along the way. So let’s talk about the road to June 20th, what we know is coming, what we can reasonably expect, and what we don’t yet know about but might help fill the gap.
So at the risk of being dinged for spoiling the current World of Warcraft expansion, let me say this: Azeroth is not going to be destroyed or completely overtaken by the Burning Legion. That’s a given. The threat certainly feels real, and I hope more than anything that when our victory comes it feels like a natural outgrowth of the story rather than an arbitrary “well, the story says you win right now so the Burning Legion just got dumb,” but it’s pretty much a given that we’re going to win out in the end. The basic premise of the game doesn’t work otherwise.
The question, of course, is where we go next.
A lot of people have been speculating whether Legion is meant to be the final expansion for the game for precisely that reason, and while I think that’s obviously wrong on the face of it (it’d be silly to turn down that money, after all), the point stands that from a narrative perspective, this is it. This is the big confrontation that has been built up since Warcraft III, and if you have no doubt that there will be a next expansion, it still raises the question of “where does it go?”
Let’s explore the possibilities.
The next Overwatch hero is a quadraped Omnic named Anchora, and she appears to be a tank. This isn’t a new announcement, though; it’s from a leak that’s months old. The question is whether or not it’s accurate, and at the time of the leak, it certainly didn’t seem accurate. Then again, at the time of the leak we also didn’t have an interview with a robotics prodigy talking about her next project, so that certainly changes the evaluation.
The leak successfully forecasted the Lunar New Year event and the accompanying Mei skin, as well as going into more detail on Mei’s origin story. It is, of course, a leak rather than an official announcement, so it could prove to be completely incorrect. But if the next hero really is scuttling around on all fours, perhaps we shouldn’t be all that surprised after all.
The speculation about Overwatch’s next hero is going to keep running for a while, but there are some signs that we may have more going on than we thought. For starters, fans were told that the next hero may very well not be what you think, and a new piece of fiction offers further hints about what’s coming next. It’s an interview with a child robotics prodigy, an 11-year-old girl who has received an (in-universe) grant to further her research on robotics and AI.
Efi Oladele seems like a pretty typical young girl with an interest in robots, and she’s also located right in Numbani… which you may remember from other speculation as being the current home of the eponymous Doomfist, which appears to have been stolen. So we’ve got Terry Crews going to Blizzard’s headquarters, a missing Doomfist, and a robotic prodigy. Care to assemble the pieces, fans?
It finally happened, folks; we’re done with the fan festivals until next year. (Yes, I fully expect to hear about the next set when we’re getting about halfway through 2018. This is not an unpredictable development team.) We know the big elements of what Final Fantasy XIV
will be seeing with its next expansion. So I find myself sitting here and asking, more or less for my own edification, how was my aim
I made my guesses about what we were going to see, after all. I did them publicly, so everyone could read them. And I think I did pretty well overall. You can read my predictions before the Las Vegas festival and this past weekend’s Frankfurt festival; I didn’t have a specific prediction for Tokyo, although the aftermath gave me the chance for some speculation.
So how did I do? And how cool was what we actually saw? Let’s go over it.