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Blizzard

Overwatch's new beta build is good news for the game's future

Feb 12 // Chris Carter
Loot boxes are all the rage now. Even though they technically existed in select games before it, Mass Effect 3 truly popularized them. Now, even Call of Duty is using the system, and so is Blizzard. What makes them work in Overwatch though is the simplicity of it. They hit you with the nostalgic blue, purple, and orange rarity system and a flashy delivery, granting you icons, emotes, skins, voiceovers, and other cosmetic bonuses. Items you already own will grant you credits instead, and come launch, boxes will be sold piecemeal. The key is that you get as much, if not more XP for simply playing the game rather than winning or losing, encouraging people to enjoy themselves rather than stress about the outcome. If this is how Overwatch is going to operate I'm fine with it, because buying the full game will net you every character and all of the content anyway. As for the game, it still feels pretty incredible (read more about the mechanics here). It's a lot more juiced up than one of its common comparisons, Team Fortress 2, and some characters are even on the Unreal plane of movement. It's a glorious return to the flashy arena shooters of old, and I trust Blizzard to keep it running as long as possible. The 6v6 matchups also strike a good balance, as the maps are tuned to the point where you're almost always fighting. There also don't seem to be many lame "leaving mission area" limitations or invisible walls in stages, if at all. It's just...fun. Every game I feel like I'm doing something, and I'm constantly discovering new strategies for characters that I've already played before. The quick movement is really what excites me the most, as there aren't enough fast-paced shooters to offset the methodical ADS titles that dominate the market.
Overwatch photo
Really looking forward to this
Overwatch is shaping up. I really enjoyed my time with it back in October, but as of this newest closed beta build, it's clear that the team knows what they're doing. This week, they added in one simple upgrade that made a lot of people happy -- player progression. Now just by playing you'll earn new rewards, separate from any sort of character-centric requirements. It's a great change.

World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

You might get World of Warcraft for free when you go to see the movie


May include everything but Legion
Feb 10
// Joe Parlock
Everybody knows cinema tickets are expensive as all hell. You spend upwards of £20 to sit in a room with a load of noisy, obnoxious arseholes and ultimately get a worse experience than if you just watched it in your und...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

The Overwatch beta is back and it brought loot


Progression system and new mode added
Feb 09
// Jordan Devore
The closed beta for Blizzard's multiplayer shooter Overwatch returns today in the Americas and Europe, and it has upgrades: a new progression system for cosmetic rewards, a capture-point mode called Control with a pair of map...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Blizzard thanks fans for supporting it for 25 years


Happy birthday, Blizzard!
Feb 09
// Vikki Blake
To celebrate its upcoming birthday, Blizzard has released a video as a thank you to all the fans who have supported the developer over the last 25 years.   "Here’s to 25 years of creating some of the most epic memo...

Overwatch photo
Overwatch

The Overwatch beta is back on February 9


That didn't take too long
Feb 03
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard is bringing back the Overwatch closed beta on February 9 in the Americas and Europe, and February 16 in Asia. If you had access to it before the hiatus, you'll still be good to go. The newly refreshed beta will sport...
Broken  photo
Broken

Ex-Blizzard devs develop new episodic horror game, Broken


Another post-apocalyptic zombie world!
Feb 03
// Vikki Blake
Ex-Blizzard developers have banded together to produce new episodic horror game, Broken. Said to be inspired by games like The Walking Dead, The Last of Us and Half-Life, the new studio - Kollide Entertainment - wants to...
Hearthstone photo
'Too daunting'
In case you haven't heard, Blizzard is changing up Hearthstone big time later this year with a major update. There are a few good things coming -- 18 custom deck slots for one, promised balance changes for select cards, ...

Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm enlists Li-Ming tomorrow


Buffs for Rehgar
Feb 01
// Jordan Devore
It seems Chris and I have begun taking turns covering Heroes of the Storm. He last shared impressions of Li-Ming, and now I'm back to tell you she's launching earlier than expected. After a short stint on the public test real...

Li-Ming is a powerhouse in Heroes of the Storm, but not overly so

Jan 27 // Chris Carter
[embed]337067:62020:0[/embed] I took her for a spin in PTR this week, and I have to say I'm impressed. Her magic missile ability is really fun to aim, as it alters its skillshot path depending on the amount of heroes present. It allows for a unique kill potential that a lot of players won't be expecting when she's fresh on the roster. Her Arcane Orb is also really fun to use, especially on objective-heavy maps like Cursed Hollow. Throwing a few of those bad boys in will definitely disrupt things more than most characters, and if you score a kill, Li-Ming's passive refreshes your cooldowns. A five second cooldown on teleport also makes her quite the mobile character, especially on maps with lots of twists and turns to phase through. She's fun to play if you're quick with your fingers, as she can both chase and escape (or dodge) damage on a near constant basis. Think of her first Heroic as a modified Diablo Lightning Breath, as she remains stationary for an angled beam attack. It's damage on top of damage, and it works with her passive. But where Li-Ming falters is utility and crowd control. Unlike Kael'thas who has a killer stun, zoning Phoenix Heroic, and a similar kit, Li-Ming is pure damage. Her teleport is self-serving, as is her passive. Her second Heroic can be used as a minor zoning power of sorts with a forgiving 20-second cooldown, but it just isn't enough, and takes insane coordination to really set up a kill like a stun can. As a result, I think Li-Ming is in a good spot balance-wise. Sure she seems overpowered at first glance, but I can already think of a few counters, and she just hit the PTR. Since their debut, Artanis and Morales (the latter especially) have climbed in winrate, as Blizzard tends to favor newer creations first when it comes to balancing. As such, Li-Ming seems like a safe bet to buy when she arrives in early February -- at the very least, she'll be a competent pick. There's also a few big changes coming, as Nova and Rehgar have been completely reworked (nerfs and buffs respectively), and a ton of new stuff is on the way.
Heroes of the Storm photo
Up now on PTR
The last two characters in Heroes of the Storm have ended up with rather disappointing when it comes to rankings. After two weeks, Greymane is the fourth worst hero in terms of win-rate, and Lunara is the fifth worst. That's ...

Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Li-Ming seems deadly in Heroes of the Storm


She's playable now on the PTR
Jan 26
// Jordan Devore
Before Xul the Necromancer makes it to Heroes of the Storm in the coming weeks, we're getting another character from the Diablo series, Li-Ming the Wizard. Ahead of her wide release (which is set for February 9, accordin...
Warcraft photo
Warcraft

Warcraft movie's first TV spot has a poorly animated baby


But it looks fine overall
Jan 25
// Chris Carter
There's been lots of talk about Duncan Jones' (son of David Bowie) Warcraft film, and it seems like the CG-heavy look is pretty polarizing. I get the whole Polar Express uncanny valley vibe, but I trust Jones to gen...
News roundup photo
Also included: Kirby's penis
Another week, another wave of gaming news that’s almost impossible to keep up with! Last week we had dog poo, this week we have Jonathan Blow’s wee. I kind of hope that bodily waste doesn’t become a running ...

Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

That's Arthas as a man-bat in Heroes of the Storm


These are the new cosmetic items
Jan 22
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard has a video previewing the next batch of heroes, skins, and mounts coming soon to Heroes of the Storm and oh my god did Arthas just turn into a bat because he's a vampire? He did. He totally did. And that blue Lt. Mo...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Diablo's Necromancer is headed to Heroes of the Storm


He'll be joined by the Wizard
Jan 21
// Jordan Devore
Someone's been hitting the gym since his Diablo II days! The fan favorite Necromancer (Xul) and Diablo III's Wizard (Li-Ming) are coming to Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard revealed today. There isn't an official breakdown of th...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

The Overwatch beta will return with a new mode and more maps


Expected to reappear in mid-February
Jan 21
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard took its closed beta for Overwatch offline in December to pore over player feedback, tighten the balance, and continue working on new features. It will return a little later than some were expecting -- January is now...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm's 2016 tournaments start soon


Here's the spring schedule
Jan 18
// Jordan Devore
This year, we'll have quite a few opportunities to watch top Heroes of the Storm players compete. Blizzard has some $4 million in prizes to give out during its Global Championship Circuit. The competition is split up into thr...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

This week's Hearthstone tavern brawl brings back co-op


Mechazod
Jan 15
// Chris Carter
Fun times! Blizzard has brought back a Hearthstone Tavern Brawl event from November that features two players battling one AI opponent -- Mechazod. It's a hastily crafted form of co-op, in that the UI is basically the same an...
Activision movies photo
Activision movies

Ex-Tarantino producer joins Activision Blizzard movie studio


The Hateful Skylanders
Jan 13
// Steven Hansen
Seeking new money-making avenues, Activision Blizzard announced it would start its own "film and television studio devoted to creating original content" for its series like Call of Duty, StarCraft, and Diablo. Activision Bliz...

Diablo III's new zones are a great reason to get back into the game

Jan 13 // Chris Carter
[embed]333973:61847:0[/embed] The biggest addition is definitely Greyhollow Island, a brand new map that can only be accessed directly from adventure mode, by way of the top right-hand corner of Act V. It's one of the most robust add-ons in some time for Diablo III, sporting expanded enemy types (including my personal favorite, the Naga-like Abyssal Protectors) as well as quests, and its own lore, partially told through diary voiceovers. After a few scant minutes it's clear that Blizzard didn't half ass this update, and it reminds me of some of the best parts of Diablo II's Act III. In addition, two existing areas have been expanded. This includes the Eternal Woods (located in the Ruins of Sescheron in Act III), and the Royal Quarters in Leoric's Manner in Act I. The latter is a bit disappointing as it essentially boils down to a small, familiar map filled with skeletons, but Eternal Woods is a pretty massive addition, filled with fun enemies and quests. It's such a small thing, to be able to go through these extensions, but each subsequent playthrough will reap the benefits. A ton of other updates have arrived along with patch 2.4, including enhanced class armor sets, "set dungeons" (trials of sorts that are accessible after earning sets), a complete overhaul of the Season system (as well as the ability to bring over characters to new Seasons), more stash space, and a lot more. It's a perfect time to dive back into the game.
Diablo III photo
Patch 2.4
I still can't believe that Blizzard is updating Diablo III as often as they are, nearly four years later. I always enjoyed the game quite a bit, but it wasn't until they eliminated their Auction House and added Loot 2.0 ...

I'm undecided when it comes to Heroes of the Storm's Greymane

Jan 12 // Chris Carter
[embed]333706:61834:0[/embed] His main gimmick is that as a human he operates as a ranged combatant, and in Worgen form, as a melee fighter. Every single one of his abilities is modified towards each style, like his Q, which throws a cocktail or swipes in a cone at enemies for human and wolf respectively. His W is a generic stat buff of sorts that grants you attack power, and E leaps backward as a Worgen, or forward as a human, altering your state. His Heroics are familiar territory, with a Worgen-centric "Go for the Throat" (that's, you guessed it, an aggressive lunge), or "Marked for the Kill," which is a lot like Tyrande's coveted mark ability to allow increased damage on targets. None of this feels particularly new, especially in comparison to some of the more interesting champions (ha) that have dropped in the past several months. Note that you can't actually shift between forms at will with a convenient passive -- rather, you're restricted to using your E. If you're a human, that means that you need a specific target to leap onto within the range of your circular ability. He also isn't all that exciting after you've grasped his basic moveset, as his entire strategy essentially boils down to damage. Now that's not inherently a bad thing as he is an assassin after all, but he seems to have no real synergy with a group, which is a problem in this stun-based teamfighting meta. Because of these reasons and more, he feels a bit limited and one-dimensional. My favorite thing about him has to be his E though, as it can also be used as in pursuit of foes, and when combined with his burst damage potential and cocktail toss, it's very easy to chase down stragglers and then retreat back into the night. Even with that nice bit of mobility though I'm likely going to fall back to other characters.
Heroes of the Storm photo
15,000 gold or $9.99
Greymane has hit Heroes of the Storm today, entering the arena as the only Worgen character -- the werewolf-like race of Warcraft fame. After an afternoon of giving him a shot though, I'm not super jazzed about fitting him into my normal rotation.

New HotS character photo
New HotS character

Heroes of the Storm gets the shapeshifting Greymane tomorrow


Lord of the Worgen
Jan 11
// Jordan Devore
I've fallen a little behind in Heroes of the Storm since Lunara's debut, but I'll want to get back to playing regularly soon. Blizzard is adding Greymane tomorrow! He's a ranged human assassin capable of transforming into a powerful melee-centric beast mid-fight. Take a look:
Diablo III photo
Diablo III

New patch for Diablo III brings loads of new content


Expect it to drop before January 15
Jan 11
// Vikki Blake
Still playing Diablo III? Yay! Brace yourself for a huge patch and an influx of brand new content. Patch 2.4 - which brings a new zone, Greyhollow Island, with entirely new enemies, as well as new dungeons, challenges, and an...
WoW neighborhood photo
WoW neighborhood

Want to live in the World of Warcraft? Move to Canada


City design by Ben Wyatt
Jan 02
// Nic Rowen
So, this is silly. A suburb in Ottawa was designed with a little inspiration from Azeroth, borrowing a bunch of street names from cities and locations from World of Warcraft. If you've ever had a burning desire to live on Sil...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

This World of Warcraft Dark Portal frame is badass


Only 500 sets sold
Dec 30
// Chris Carter
I'm generally not a fan of expensive photo frames, but this one has me making an exception. It's a replica of the Dark Portal from Warcraft, which, as any Warcraft player (RTS or MMO) knows, is a huge part of the lore. S...
World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is getting a more Call of Duty-like PVP system


Honor levels and Prestige!
Dec 21
// Chris Carter
Blizzard is changing things up for World of Warcraft's PVP mode once the Legion expansion hits, and it sounds like the system is going to get closer to the Vanilla era. For starters, currencies for buying gear will be er...
Overwatch photo
Overwatch

Here, have another pretty Overwatch cinematic


Short but sweet
Dec 18
// Jordan Devore
I'm not in the Overwatch beta, but that's not about to stop me from marveling at this latest Blizzard cinematic. It's made up of character vignettes that hint at a much wider world, one I really want to see more of in and outside of the game itself. I'm so on board with these designs.

Heroes of the Storm's Lunara sure is fun

Dec 17 // Chris Carter
[embed]327377:61557:0[/embed] She also has a straight-forward set of moves. Her Q is a slightly delayed explosion, her W can be detonated after hitting an enemy with an auto-attack for an extra slow, and her E calls out a Wisp, which can be controlled for scouting. Her kit is fast and furious, and you'll be doing lots of constant clicking with slow cooldowns and poison, damage over time auto-attacks. Positioning is everything with Lunara, because while she can do a ton of damage overall, she's very squishy, and only has one proper escape outside of her raw speed. When it comes to Heroics, I favor her second choice (Leaping Strike), which is a two-charge attack that causes her to leap in the air over her opponent (rendering her unstoppable) for a quick damage spike. This is an escape of sorts, but it can also put you in harm's way if you leap incorrectly (watch the above video at 3:38 for an example). Her other Heroic is a tad less interesting, as it merely damages enemies in a straight line, and doesn't mesh with her mobile playstyle. As for her abilities, I tend to take a few specific ones every time, which increases her utility a bit. At the first level mark I pick up the skill that grants you vision for enemies during the auto-attack poison duration, which, when coupled with her Wisp, helps out your team quite a bit (especially if you're playing cloaked heroes). Speaking of the Wisp, I always take the skill that makes it cost zero mana and grants it a shorter cooldown period. That way, I can constantly use it to scout out camps or objectives -- it took me a bit, but I got in the habit of using it every time it was up, and micro-managing it around the board using the mini-map. It's really hard to tell if a character is balanced when it hasn't even been out a week yet, but Lunara is very fun to play, and my favorite new character since Kharazim. It's important to note though that she works better with planned out team compositions, as she has almost no wave-clearing ability or utility. She is a pure single-target damage dealer. And really, that suits my playstyle just fine.
Heroes of the Storm photo
15,000 gold or $9.99 ($4.99 with sale)
Lunara arrived in Heroes of the Storm this week, and I boosted her up to level 5 in one night alone -- she's that fun to play. As an assassin she's capable of tons of damage (I'm usually top Hero Damage in unranked play)...

Nominees for Destructoid's Best Mobile Game of 2015

Dec 11 // Darren Nakamura
Best Mobile Game of 2015 Alphabear Downwell Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Lara Croft GO Steven Universe: Attack the Light! [Incomplete products like Steam Early Access titles, and episodic titles that are not fair to assess as stand alone experiences, without a full episode count, were not eligible for this year's awards. The cutoff for entry into Destructoid's 2015's Game of the Year awards is December 4, 2015.]  
Best Mobile Game photo
Great gaming on the go
Mobile gaming often gets a bad rap among the hardcore crowd, but looking at 2015 it seems like the platform is really coming into its own. These aren't your Candy Crush or Flappy Bird clones; these are some legitimately great...

Review: Hearthstone: League of Explorers

Dec 10 // Chris Carter
Hearthstone: League of Explorers (Android, iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentReleased: November 12, 2015 to December 10, 2015 MSRP: $19.99 for all four wings The basic setup has been pared down a bit, and I'm mostly fine with it. Instead of focusing on five wings, League has four, strewn about over the course of four weeks (skipping an additional week for the Thanksgiving holiday). It's maddening sometimes to have to wait to access another wing that you paid for, but that's mostly because Hearthstone constantly leaves me wanting more. This expansion really delivers with its single-player scenarios, topping any other fight before it. That's primarily due to the "choose your own adventure" sections, where players will have to deal with an event rather than face a specific enemy. You'll be able to play the odds by taking a high-risk, high-reward option or play it safe, and in the end, strategy usually wills out. Other fights involve mechanics like a staff that makes you invulnerable, and a boss that persistently fills your side with useless minions that explode over time. From a lore perspective, there's a decent amount of references here for fans, from a duel with Lady Naz'jar in the ruined city, to a showdown with Archaedas in Uldaman. I never thought Blizzard would one day make a card game and base it on the rich Warcraft world that it's spent decades developing, but I'm glad it did. As for the other bits, Heroic (hard) versions are still in, and although Hero challenges are a little too easy and straightforward this time around, each one rewards you with one card, so they're still worth playing. [embed]324539:61475:0[/embed] The new cards are also rather disruptive, in a good way. The main characters (pictured above) drastically alter some decks, and a few even allow for completely new deck themes. My personal favorite is Sir Finley Mrrgglton (love that name), a 1-mana 1/3 card that allows players to swap their hero power. It's such a tiny thing, but the ability to use hero powers interchangeably can alter the course of a match. I've also been using the Summing Stone in a few of my decks, which summons a random minion based on the cost of any spell used while it's active. Other cards like Tomb Spiders and Jeweled Scarabs "discover" new minions. Like the themes before it, the types of cards in League are cohesive, and fun to use. Murloc decks in general also got a huge buff, with "Anyfin can Happen" (a 10-mana card that summons seven dead Murlocs), and the Tinyfin (a 0-cost 1/1 card that essentially buffs other Murlocs). Hearthstone: League of Explorers is probably my favorite expansion yet for the game. I feel like Blizzard iterates for every release, and I hope this isn't the end of the adventures to come, as I vastly prefer them to card-only expansions. Maybe next time we'll see even crazier mechanics, like the co-op fight that was only used once in a Tavern Brawl. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Hearthstone review photo
Cheerio
Blizzard is doing a great job of keeping Hearthstone players invested. In addition to the typical daily quest, weekly Tavern Brawl, and Arena schemes invented to reward people with new decks on a constant basis, it has a...

Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

Hearthstone's 'Winter Veil' event is now underway


Discounts and a card back
Dec 10
// Chris Carter
Blizzard has kicked off the Winter Veil event in Hearthstone, which basically amounts to a few tidbits of fanfare, and a sale. The gist is that through January 6, you'll be able to pick up 50 classic packs for $50, at $1 a pa...

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