MMO Culture has an interesting translated bit from the NetEase conference call last week that homes in on Diablo Immortal, the game that was everyone’s punchline for a few weeks back before games industry layoffs stole the narrative. When asked by anaylists about the mobile MMORPG’s launch, the Chinese company said the game is fully prepared from NetEase’s side with no launch date issues on NetEase’s end – that it aims to announce a launch date simultaneously with Blizzard.
That was MMO Culture’s translation of the original Mandarin answer, anyway. The English translation as posted by NetEase itself has a bit more to it than the NetEase executives actually appear to have said on the call.
“Diablo Immortal, we are the co-developer on that game together with Blizzard. As to the exact launch timetable, I would encourage markets (?) to direct the question directly to Activision Blizzard as from a co-developer’s perspective, the game development is pretty much ready. Of course, there is always be space for us to optimize and enhance, but it is not any concern that the development side will cause any potential delay.”
Huh. It’s sort of the same thing, but it’s also sort of like one of those things where you didn’t even suspect there was a delay until they volunteered that there wasn’t a delay. Then again, if Blizzard really is holding up the train, it’d be no surprise, given that earlier this month it suffered gargantuan layoffs.
In other Blizzard news, Heroes of the Storm developers have finally posted up a schedule for planned AMAs, the first of which is set for next Wednesday and is expected to focus on balance and matchmaking. “Additionally, we have seen the concerns about the impact some recent changes have had on the state of the Heroes AI,” Community Manager Dylan Bates writes. “Our goal was to make some improvements, but as with many things in game development, things don’t necessarily go as planned. We apologize for the trouble and are working on hotfixes to repair the AI while keeping as many of our original improvements as possible. We are going to continue iterating on ways to improve AI, but we’ll provide updates when we have more information to share.”
Over in Hearthstone, Blizzard announced the Year of the Dragon, with ranked ladder improvements, promises for balance updates, new ranks, revamped solo play, and finally, the removal of two cards people are apparently sick of: Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane.
“Baku and Genn are powerful cards that have promoted new strategies since their introduction in the metagame. Those strategies have been more prevalent than we’d intended in Standard, and we felt that they might end up overshadowing what we’re going to introduce in the Year of the Dragon. In order for set rotation to breathe new life into Standard and maintain overall health of the ladder, we are rotating Baku and Genn into the Hall of Fame a year earlier than normal.”
Finally, some Overwatch players are reportedly harassing the voice actress behind Brigitte, one of the heroes currently maligned by some players who hate the GOATS meta (basically all tanks and healers), which obviously she has literally nothing to do with. This is why we can’t have nice things.