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Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm's Cho'gall is freaking weird, but feels balanced


Rolling out today
Nov 17
// Chris Carter
Earlier this month, Blizzard announced a two-player hero in the form of Cho'gall for Heroes of the Storm. In essence, the primary player would control movement and their own set of abilities with Cho, and another would take care of Gall, who is attached to the former -- almost like a permanent Abathur hat. It makes for an interesting playstyle, but of course, it has its drawbacks.
Heroes Cho'Gall photo
Heroes Cho'Gall

Heroes of the Storm's two-player hero in action


Power couples only please
Nov 16
// Nic Rowen
Cho'Gall looks every bit as delightfully ridiculous as I was hoping he'd be since his announcement during BlizzCon. The two-headed Ogre is a giant of a hero with a massive health pool and an assortment of wild attacks and ski...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

One million players have 'warped in' StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void


Were you one of 'em?
Nov 16
// Vikki Blake
In just three days since launch, one million people have "warped in" in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. The news was confirmed via a tweet from the official StarCraft Twitter account. Still undecided? Check out our  t...

Review: StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Nov 12 // Chris Carter
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (PC)Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentMSRP: $39.99 (Standard), $59.99 (Digital Deluxe)Released: November 10, 2015 The rest of the story missions are on par with the initial set, as players delve deeper into the story of the Protoss and their attempt to reclaim their homeworld and save the galaxy. I was surprised, though, to see that the narrative not only seeks to wrap up the fate of Auir and the Protoss race, but the rest of the core cast as well. Call it cheesy, but Blizzard actually wraps up things nicely here, and doesn't leave fans wanting. Yes, there will be Ghost missions as DLC down the line, but the story of StarCraft truly feels complete, partially due to the assistance of a tri-mission epilogue. That's not to say that things are executed flawlessly, of course. There are still some odd storylines, weird choices from characters, and absolutely ridiculous phrases uttered throughout. But all told, things are far more focused. The camera is off the struggle of Raynor and Kerrigan's relationship, and more on the survival of the entire galaxy. I fully expect a lot of fans to dislike the finale for various reasons we'll be discussing for years on end once people have had a chance to finish it. Elements of customization also appear like never before in the series, with the power to change up your home ship (The Spear of Adun), and the heroes themselves. These are augmented by sidequests, which actively encourages players to reach out and do everything there is to do in each mission. While a few levels did tend to blend together (craft a base and army, and smash into another one), the story and carried progress keep things going, and I didn't find myself getting bored like I did with Wings of Liberty. [embed]319826:61049:0[/embed] Co-op allows you to select between six heroes (Raynor, Kerrigan, Artanis, Swann, Zagara, and Vorazun), all of whom carry over their experience to subsequent playthroughs. It's a lot like Heroes of the Storm in a way, where you can work your way toward new bonuses, level-ups, and upgrades over time with each character. Objectives include tasks like destroying vehicles or other units, and are rather menial in nature. It's important to note though that you don't play as these heroes -- they just provided bonuses and alter the style of your army. Also, leveling up allows you to access some of the more advanced units, like the Terran Battlecruiser. There's matchmaking support, and given the simplicity of the mode, it works well even with random players. Although I would have preferred a full-on mode with playable heroes, co-op really does the trick, and I wish it had been implemented sooner. I had a blast getting to know other players I was matched up with, trading strategies, and just talking about the game. It's a relaxed mode that will scratch that itch if you find yourself plummeting on the ladder, or failing in the new tournament system. So how is multiplayer? Relatively the same, with the addition of two new units per army. Actually, I should say the gameplay is the same, but the added bonus of all of these units seeks to change up the meta considerably. The return of the Lurkers for the Zerg is a standout unit, and memories of Brood War came rushing back within seconds. The Disruptor is probably the most unique unit in Void, as it shoots a ball of pure energy that can hit both friends and foes. While casting, it's immobile and vulnerable, so players will have to treat it as a priority target. The thing oozes Protoss inside and out. As for the other units, the Liberator is basically like an aerial Siege Tank, the Cyclone is an early-game harassment vehicle, the Adept not only looks badass but it also teleports around like a more mobile late-game Zealot option, and Ravagers are like mobile artillery, eating through force fields. As you can clearly see, all of them bring something new to the table and are welcome in their own right. The meta will no doubt drastically shift in the months to come, but as of now, I'm having the same amount of fun online as I always have. Archon Mode is another welcome addition, and while I can see people skipping out on it entirely, it will likely draw in a niche crowd. The gist is that two people will control one base, which can lead to some interesting playstyles, like one player micromanaging air units while the other hits foes from the ground. Where its potential really lies is a tool for teaching, so friends can walk newcomers through the basics of base building and combat. If you're invested in StarCraft II's story already, you likely won't be disappointed by Legacy of the Void's tale. If you haven't played any form of StarCraft II yet and are intrigued by the prospect of another RTS, this is probably the strongest the game has ever been. It's a perfect time to jump in. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
StarCraft II review photo
My life for Aiur
When I last left StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, I had completed most of the story. Having now played it all, I've walked away satisfied, not only from this expansion, but from the series as a whole. Decades after its inception, Blizzard is still at the top of its class in terms of cinematic storytelling, and the new game modes don't hurt the appeal of the overall package in the slightest.

Hearthstone's League of Explorers is probably my favorite adventure yet

Nov 12 // Chris Carter
Blizzard is trying something slightly different this time. Instead of the typical five-wing setup, there's only four, and it actually works out better for me personally. As a result, the price is dropped from $24.99 to $19.99, which is a bit more digestible. With one less wing, it's one less week to wait for each part to unlock. Plus it delivers more cards in the long run, with 45 in all, including some legendaries. The missions are a bit more inventive, too. The first quest involves a genie who grants you wishes each turn in the form of cards that you can spend for zero mana; these grant you random rewards, which are not bound to your current deck or class. The second fight is with an Anubis-like boss who holds an immunity staff, forcing players to attack it to gain its power -- and then defend it at all costs. But the third quest is by far my favorite, and probably the most original encounter yet. Framed around an escape from a crumbling temple, you have 10 turns to survive, essentially. What unfolds from there is a choose your own adventure of sorts, where you can pick from one of two buffs, or in some cases, two bad choices (take five damage now, or go for a 50% chance to take 10 damage, or none at all). It's really, really fun, and although I didn't have to make a specific deck to best it, I opted to replay it multiple times with different choices just to see how it played out. Class challenges are back too, with the Warrior and Warlock variety available as of today. They also reward you with cards.  [embed]320554:61090:0[/embed] League of Explorer's story remains tongue-in-cheek the entire time, and it looks like each wing will feature a different adventurer guiding you along the way. The first is led by Reno (third from the left in the above picture), who is a clear Indiana Jones reference, mixed with a bit of Kronk from Emperor's New Groove for good measure. Blizzard is also teasing an overarching storyline featuring the Staff of Origination, which you build piece by piece during each episode. Right now, only the first wing is open, with the others set to arrive over the course of the next three weeks. Once all of them are available, I'll provide a full review of the expansion.
Hearthstone DLC photo
45 new cards in all
Blizzard does a great job with its single-player expansions for Hearthstone. I dug Naxxramas despite the high price point, and I really enjoyed Blackrock. League of Explorers, by comparison, is a bit less straight-faced, aping films like Indiana Jones at every turn, and it's all the better for it.

Review in Progress: StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Nov 10 // Chris Carter
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (PC)Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentMSRP: $39.99 (Standard), $59.99 (Digital Deluxe)Release Date: November 10, 2015 For those who aren't aware, Legacy of the Void is a standalone release -- it does not require the first or second modules to function. Since it has a nifty "story so far" video built-in, you don't even need to play the previous two games to have a sense of what's going on, though you'll obviously benefit from having done so. If you haven't been following along at all, Void picks up with all three armies (Terran, Zerg, and Protoss) facing Amon, an evil xel'naga (read: powerful being) hell bent on destroying all life in the galaxy. There's a prologue built in with three missions in tow that set up this struggle, and for the most part, you're going to be controlling various factions of the Protoss army on Artanis' quest to unite the clans, and actually pose a threat to Amon. Blizzard pretty much has the formula down pat at this point when it comes to mission types. Every level I've played so far strikes a good balance between action and strategy, and the orchestral score sufficiently pumps you up even if all you're doing at the moment is building troops. Micro-managing one's army is a cinch with hotkeys, double-clicking to select groups, and pressing F2 to instantly command every unit -- but that's just it, you'll need to micro somewhat, especially on higher difficulties to succeed (Brutal has been greatly altered for the best to provide a real challenge). [embed]319814:61047:0[/embed] There isn't really a whole lot of room for nuance here with this black and white conflict, which is mostly a good thing as the story never really takes any turns down pointless avenues, nor does it set up new plotlines so much as it aims to close them. Instead, Void seeks to provide action-packed setpieces one after another, teeming with personality and dread, and a campaign that moves rather quickly. With all that said, having played through a good deal of the story, I think I'm comfortable stating that I enjoyed Swarm more overall, as it was more of a personal tale. It dialed back the stakes a bit to really dig deep into some characters who needed some love, and as a result, it felt very different. Void tries to balance the fate of the galaxy with Artanis' role in the narrative, and it mostly succeeds, but some personal touches get lost in the fold. The cinematics, as always, are top-notch. Without spoiling anything there's a few particularly tense moments with damn good choreography and actual consequences that span the StarCraft lore. Blizzard once again proves that it's the master of its craft here, and fans will no doubt be sharing a few "holy crap!" moments across various channels for the weeks to come. While there is some form of closure the story of StarCraft isn't completely done just yet though, as more DLC is coming down the line. I'm only early on into my time with StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, and I still need more time to finish the story, and test the game's co-op and multiplayer components before I provide a full review. Right now though, I'd probably recommend it if you're already invested and want to see how the story concludes. No, it probably won't surprise you, but it's worth playing.
StarCraft II review photo
My life for Aiur
Although I had played countless RTS games before it (Command & Conquer, rest in peace), StarCraft grabbed me like no other in 1998. Part of it was because a large group of my friends, even those who had no prior affinity ...

WoW: Legion photo
WoW: Legion

Here's the World of Warcraft: Legion opening cinematic, almost a year before release


Needs more Orcs
Nov 09
// Joe Parlock
World of Warcraft: Legion is still the better part of a year away. That hasn’t stopped Blizzard releasing its opening cinematic though, and dang does it look good. The trailer shows human and Forsaken airships des...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

Blizzard: No crossplay, Mac port for Overwatch


Pick your platform
Nov 07
// Kyle MacGregor
Blizzard's new first-person shooter Overwatch may be coming to consoles, but Mac OS users are being left out in the cold. According to game director Jeff Kaplan, unspecified technical hurdles with the Mac ecosystem are l...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

New characters announced for Heroes of the Storm, including a two-player hero


Haha wow
Nov 06
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm is known for trying some of the more unconventional types of playstyles, and that goes double for the upcoming character Cho'gall. As Warcraft fans know, this famous ogre has two heads, which will all...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

'League of Explorers' expansion unveiled for Hearthstone, launches next week!


Quick turnaround
Nov 06
// Chris Carter
Blizzard time is a lot like Valve time. When they announce a date, you can usually add six months to a year to it. But that isn't the case with the League of Explorers expansion for Hearthstone -- it'll launch next ...
Nova Covert Ops photo
Nova Covert Ops

StarCraft II story will continue with DLC missions


Nova Covert Ops launches next spring
Nov 06
// Kyle MacGregor
StarCraft II's story won't be ending with the upcoming Legacy of the Void expansion. Today in Anaheim, California, Blizzard revealed Nova Covert Ops, the first in a three-part series of "Mission Packs," which the studio plans...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

Blizzard's Overwatch isn't free-to-play


$40 on PC, $60 on consoles
Nov 06
// Jordan Devore
Even more Overwatch news out of BlizzCon. Following this morning's confirmation that the team-based shooter is headed to consoles, Blizzard has come out with pricing details. I would have pinned this as a free-to-play game in...
Warcraft film photo
Warcraft film

Orcs sure do look cool in the Warcraft movie


Humans, less so
Nov 06
// Jordan Devore
The first official trailer for Duncan Jones' Warcraft movie is out, and it looks all right! I think? It's hard to say based on just this small amount of footage for a film not releasing until June 2016.
Activision Blizzard TV photo
Activision Blizzard TV

Activision Blizzard forms studio for TV and film


Skylanders Academy is up first
Nov 06
// Jordan Devore
Before long, we're going to start to see television shows and even movies based on Activision Blizzard properties. The company is putting together a new "film and television studio devoted to creating original content" for it...
WoW photo
WoW

World of Warcraft: Legion will arrive 'on or before' September 2016


Info appears on Battle.net
Nov 06
// Chris Carter
Well, Blizzard is seemingly letting all of the beans spill out before any of its BlizzCon conferences take place this weekend! According to an image straight from Battle.net (which has been taken down), the World of Warcraft:...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

Overwatch's Tracer basically confirmed for Heroes of the Storm


Probably not until mid 2016
Nov 06
// Chris Carter
Multiple retailers seemed to have ruined Blizzard's surprise, and spilled the beans early for the console versions of Overwatch. But as Blizzard tends to do, buying the premium version of the game will net you bonuses for oth...
Blizzard photo
Blizzard

Blizzard's Overwatch confirmed for PS4, Xbox One


Origins Edition hits retail spring 2016
Nov 05
// Kyle MacGregor
GameStop already ruined the surprise, but now it appears things are officially official: Blizzard's new first-person shooter Overwatch is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One alongside PC. The good word comes from a list...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

Did GameStop just spoil Blizzard's big surprise?


Overwatch is seemingly coming to console
Nov 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Overwatch is headings to consoles, it seems. Despite only officially being announced for PC, GameStop began taking pre-orders for Blizzard's first-person shooter on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One today, according to various ...
Blizzard classics photo
Blizzard classics

Blizzard wants to restore StarCraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III


Bring it on!
Nov 04
// Jordan Devore
Based on a job listing, Blizzard plans to revisit some its past games. The company is searching for a senior software engineer to help bring StarCraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III up to date. "Evolving operating systems, hard...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Blizzard's done telling us how many subscribers World of Warcraft has


With good reason
Nov 03
// Brett Makedonski
Every three months, like clockwork, Blizzard has shared World of Warcraft subscription statistics as part of its quarterly report. The MMO is perfectly healthy, but the fanbase isn't at the fever pitch that it was at sev...
Warcraft photo
Warcraft

Latest Warcraft movie poster drops the giant shoulder armor


Out of sight, out of mind
Nov 02
// Jordan Devore
Fresh or rotten, I suspect I'll wind up watching Warcraft in a theater. We're many months out from the June 10, 2016 release of the film, but we're only a few days away from the "worldwide debut" of the first trailer. Until then, here's a new poster. It's better than the last two, wouldn't you agree?

First impressions for Blizzard's impressive inaugural FPS, Overwatch

Oct 27 // Chris Carter
First off, it must be said that Overwatch has one of the most comprehensive tutorials in any first-person shooter I've seen. Yes, it's mostly remedial, but newcomers and casual fans alike will be appreciative. It brings you through everything from basic movement to shooting, and even a rundown of the UI, which is basic to begin with. In fact, there's even an overlay on every ability that shows you the key you need to press to trigger it. At first glance, Overwatch looks like a basic shooting experience. Each class has their own type of weaponry ranging from rifles to dual pistols, and there's a melee attack. There is no ADS or iron-sight mechanic, but Overwatch does have controller support. Where the game starts to diverge from your typical formula is the class-based gameplay. The starting character (Soldier 76) has an ability called Biotic Field, which is basically an area-of-effect healing station you can throw on the ground, and a rocket power. Beyond that, there's one more power -- ultimates. This aforementioned class can use a Tactical Visor to home in on a selected target. There are also four different classifications for each character:offense, defense, tank, and support. When choosing a class at the start of a match, the game will inform you of your current team makeup, and suggest other possible choices if your team doesn't have enough firepower, for instance. This has the potential to make for a sticky wicket when it comes to the overall meta (expect lots of balancing), but for now it seems rather fair. It's also very easy to view the information chart for each class in the character select screen, and players can even switch heroes in the initial spawn area. My current favorite character, Reaper, exudes style. Instead of reloading, he throws his guns down on the ground. Instead of dashing, he goes into "wraith form" and becomes invincible for a few seconds (though this means his sprint is on cooldown). Finally, Reaper's ultimate allows for him to damage all nearby enemies. It's leaps and bounds different from playing Reinhardt, who is a slow melee character that can charge across the screen and deploy a frontal shield. [embed]317786:60888:0[/embed] In essence, there's a ton of different styles at play here. Soldier 76 operates like a "typical" shooter would play out, and Tracer (who can teleport), feels more like someone out of Team Fortress. Barring the suggested difficulty ratings of certain characters and team composition recommendations, there's a lot of leeway here in terms of how open the game is for people who don't typically like shooters. For reference, teams consist of six players each, and there are currently two game modes in tow (Payload and Point Capture). The latter is just as it sounds, with an attacking and defending team, while the the former is an escort mission on a fixed path.Although these are new characters (in other words, not based in an existing universe like Heroes of the Storm), I really started to recognize their faces and mannerisms a few hours in. I don't think everyone will catch on, but I wouldn't mind seeing most of them in other titles. Blizzard has already said that we may see them in Heroes if Overwatch is successful. Overwatch is not a "me-too" class-based shooter. Blizzard has put a ton of work into every facet of the experience, from the pinpoint fast-paced engine to the individual designs of each character. The cast is diverse, inside and out, and I'm really looking forward to diving into more as the beta progresses and the finished product hits. The beta starts today and will be rolling out in waves, but Overwatch currently does not have a launch window in sight.
Overwatch photo
I'm in
You could say I've been a long-time Blizzard fan. I was right there in 1992 with The Lost Vikings, the company's second game, all the way through the SNES era into Warcraft and Diablo. Over the years I've generally played eve...

HotS Halloween photo
HotS Halloween

Heroes of the Storm's new Halloween content is pricey


This picture is worth $53.04
Oct 23
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard is about to hold its Hallow's End event in Heroes of the Storm and that means a new mount and skin, a 50 percent XP boost in all regions, and the chance to unlock a Jack-O'-Lantern portrait. The new Headless Horseman...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

I'm not sold on Heroes of the Storm's Artanis yet


The game's first StarCraft Warrior
Oct 21
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm's Artanis isn't dropping officially until October 27, but those of you who pre-ordered Legacy of the Void can play him now, as part of an early access program. While Artanis might be a formidable foe within the confines of the StarCraft universe, I'm not sure I'll be using him to suit my Warrior needs.
Blizzard photo
Blizzard

Blizzard is going to completely overhaul Heroes of the Storm matchmaking


After a warranted rant from a top player
Oct 15
// Chris Carter
Yesterday, a rant from #1 rated Heroes of the Storm player Srey took reddit by...storm (ha). Essentially, he pleaded for a better matchmaking experience both on lower and higher levels of play. Right now, the system seemingly...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

You'll need luck to get into the Overwatch beta


Blizzard is starting small on Oct. 27
Oct 14
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard hasn't been shy about sharing footage of its team-based multiplayer shooter Overwatch, but I'm at a point where I'd rather just play the game now. I've seen and heard enough. An opportunity to go hands-on will thankf...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Legacy of the Void owners can get Artanis early in Heroes of the Storm


Or just stockpile your gold
Oct 06
// Jordan Devore
I haven't even seen the Medic yet! Before I know it, Artanis will be here too. He's headed to Heroes of the Storm as a melee warrior on October 27, 2015, but there's a way to get him early. Folks who pre-purchase StarCraft II...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm's Medic patch is live, with a host of other changes


Small additions
Oct 06
// Chris Carter
In addition to the all-new StarCraft-based Medic support character, the newest Heroes of the Storm patch brings in a few other quality of life additions. The UI is now re-tooled to provide more information to the player,...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

Blizzard unveils all new UI for StarCraft II


Available for everyone
Oct 05
// Chris Carter
The final part of the StarCraft II trilogy, Legacy of the Void, is set to drop next month on PC. But before then, all fans, regardless of whether or not they've purchased the new expansion, will be seeing a UI overhaul. The ...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone will finally be available in Japan soon


'Later this month'
Oct 05
// Chris Carter
The time has finally come for Hearthstone to hit Japan. Although the game wasn't previously that popular in the region (partially due to the fact that they had to play an international version), Blizzard will bring the g...

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