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Blizzard adds a Diablo III senior designer, lays off audio director, and ends XP and Vista support

From zombies to demons, game designer Harrison G. Pink is no stranger to bizarre apocalypses. Pink formerly worked on Telltale Games’ hit Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands titles, but nowadays he has a new address: Blizzard Entertainment.

Pink announced on Twitter this week that he was snapped up by the studio to work on Diablo III as a senior game designer. The action-MMO could certainly use a shot of new blood as it dealt with a shaky Patch 2.6 rollout and questions about the game’s future in the studio’s portfolio.

Meanwhile, Gamasutra reports that Blizzard’s in-house senior audio director has been let go by the studio after 12 years of service, apparently in favor of freelance contractors. Russell Brower explains that “as the company has grown, the topography of the Sound team has adjusted accordingly, and the last couple of years have been no exception. With the success of a ‘sound de-centralization’ initiative, my current position of overall Sr. Audio Director/Composer is no longer relevant and is being eliminated.”

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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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The Daily Grind: What was your favorite part of BlizzCon?

BlizzCon 2016 was really hit-and-miss from my perspective. On the one hand, there was some really great stuff in there, like the discussion of World of Warcraft‘s next patch. On the other hand, there was some astonishingly weak stuff as well, like how badly the Diablo anniversary panel felt like a flub; it landed with a remarkably weak impact. And then there were parts like the Legion design retrospective that seemed to be saying decent stuff in the worst possible way, or the final release of Sombra for Overwatch that was presented in a really cool way… after being far, far too drawn out.

However, it’s not just about what I thought; we want to know what your feelings were. What was your favorite part of BlizzCon? Do you feel like the convention lived up to your expectations without a major announcement, or did it feel superfluous without one? Did your favorite game get the highlights you wanted? What worked and what didn’t? Did you enjoy our liveblogs? And perhaps most importantly, did you buy a shirt? It’s a cool shirt.

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Not So Massively: StarCraft II Legacy of the Void sold 1M copies in three days (November 16 2015)

Online gaming and e-sports are getting bigger by the day, and there are literally hundreds of popular online games out there that don’t really fit into the MMO category. Join me each week for Not So Massively, where I gather together the top stories from the biggest MOBAs, competitive card games, first person shooters, and other popular online games in one place.

It’s been a week of solid development for online gaming, with Hearthstone releasing its League of Explorers adventure and StarCraft II launching its standalone Legacy of the Void expansion. We got development previews of Diablo III‘s next big patch, Heroes of the Storm‘s new battleground, Splatoon‘s new maps and items, and Path of Exile‘s Talisman league. League of Legends revealed its next champion and details of some huge buffs on the way for six champions, SMITE revealed its next character, and Star Citizen just has a few issues left before Alpha 2.0 can be released. We also heard the latest from Dota 2, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, The Division, Elite: Dangerous, Grey Goo, and others.

If there’s a game or story you’d like to see covered in next week’s Not So Massively, please drop us a tip and let us know.

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Take part in a BlizzCon auction for charity starting November 4th

Do you have a deep need to grab some rare Blizzard memorabilia? Do you have a large amount of disposable income? Do you want to support a charity? Do you like piña coladas? The last one isn’t terribly relevant to the BlizzCon Charity Auction that kicks off on November 4th, but the first three are super relevant because that’s what it’s all about: Blizzard memorabilia auctioned off with all proceeds going to charity.

The auctions will run from November 4th until November 13th and include original art from World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and StarCraft II along with a number of signed books, rare plushies, and limited edition laptops. Fans will need an eBay account to bid on the items up for sale; in fact, there’s a full listing of the auction items already available. So go ahead and get your hands on some rarities while supporting a children’s hospital. It’s enough to make you feel warm and fuzzy and get new stuff.

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BlizzCon 2015 is coming this November 6 and 7

Any uncertainty over whether Blizzard was going to throw a convention this year is now over, as the studio announced that BlizzCon 2015 will be arriving on November 6th and 7th.

The convention will be held once again at the Anaheim Convention Center and will cost $199 to attend. Additionally, the studio will be selling virtual tickets and invitations to a charity benefit dinner on November 5th. This will be the ninth BlizzCon since it began back in 2005.

The first wave of tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, April 15th, at 10:00 p.m. EDT. As Blizzard expects the tickets to sell out quickly, it has prepared a ticket purchase guide to smooth the process and make sure that fans know exactly what to do to grab one of these passes.

[Source: BlizzCon announcement, ticket purchase guide]

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