Play of the Fortnight: Overwatch Arcade Changes We’d Like to See

The Overwatch Arcade is a great way to earn loot boxes, especially during seasonal events. However, the Arcade has been getting a little stagnant lately. It doesn’t feel like Blizzard gives it much attention, and outside events we don’t see any new game modes rotating in.

In this Play of the Fortnight, we’ll talk about a few changes we’d like to see in the Overwatch Arcade.

Overwatch Arcade Changes We'd Like to See

New Overwatch Arcade Game Modes

The obvious first change would be adding in some new game modes to the mix. Right now, we see occasional brawls with Mystery Heroes, Mayhem, Deathmatch, and 3v3 and 1v1 matches. These are fine, but there is a certain lack of variety. Blizzard could stand to give the Overwatch Arcade a little love.

Let’s explore a few game modes that might be good additions to the Arcade.

1. Overwatch Volleyball

Overwatch Arcade Changes We'd Like to See - Overwatch Volleyball

We mentioned this one briefly in our recent article on the Summer Games. Team Fortress 2 had a custom game mode based around the Pyro, where opposing teams could bounce a ball across a net using the repel function of one of the flamethrower weapons. This could definitely be done by Pharah, and would be a really fun and different style of event game mode for the Summer Games.

2. New Permanent PvE Game Mode

The PvE game modes are always really popular. We’ve had some based around waves of enemies (Junkenstein’s Revenge, for example) and others where you’ve had to move through a level (the Retribution event being the most recent). It’d be great to have new takes on these existing PvE modes, but also a new one. Perhaps a PvE adventure style game mode? Ultimately, it’d be great if Blizzard added a PvE game mode of some description more permanently to the Arcade roster.

3. Boss Mode

We saw this already with the Yeti Hunt during the last Winter Wonderland event. We’d love to see another version of this game mode with a different “boss” type player each time. The mechanics could be similar with slight differences depending on the abilities of the boss and the hunter players. There could also be an alternative with the boss being an NPC rather than a player. This might even fit in with the PvE adventure mode we mentioned above.

4. Large Scale Battle Mode

A game mode with larger teams, sort of similar to a Battlefield style game mode. We already have the conquest map type with capturing points. It’d be interesting to test this one with larger teams and maybe even slightly expanded default maps.

5. Battle Royale Mode

Overwatch Arcade Changes We'd Like to See - Overwatch Battle Royale

Okay, this one we’re kidding about. Battle Royale games may be all the rage at the moment, but this style doesn’t really fit with Overwatch, particularly because heroes all start with ability sets and weapons. Having them pick items up wouldn’t make much sense. However, a last-man standing elimination style match could be fun instead. Players would select their heroes, and then in a deathmatch style game they’d work to eliminate the other players until they were the last one standing.

Changes to How Loot Boxes Are Earned

At the moment, loot boxes are earned up to a maximum of three per week. Every three wins in a game mode, you get a loot box. There are additional loot boxes for game modes you’ve never completed before, so once you get your first ever win, you get a loot box. This is great, but some of the rotating brawls are less popular than others. This could also be the case if Blizzard starts adding new game modes to the Overwatch Arcade.

How do they combat that? One way might be to add a guaranteed loot box for winning a game mode that is less popular, or double rewards. Alternatively, maybe an in-game credit reward for completing a match in that game mode. It could be a small bonus, but credits are great for unlocking skins, so adding an incentive to play the game mode through to the end would be an interesting way of getting involvement from players.

Of course, there’s the risk of people trying to AFK in the game mode to get the reward. Blizzard would either need to have AFK players kicked as usual, or make it so rewards were only for winning as they already do.

Keep Limited Options Available

A lot of players have expressed the desire for Blizzard to keep all brawls and game modes available at all times. This would likely add too much variety, meaning queue times would be much longer and the less popular game modes would never get played. While this could be combated with the incentives we mentioned above, the limited rotating pool makes sense.

The big problem is that there’s so few game modes available, and Blizzard hasn’t been adding any new ones. Even with events, they’ve been rehashing existing game modes rather than creating new variations. With that, the Overwatch Arcade is quickly becoming stale.

We think the rotating pool of game modes should remain, but new and exciting game modes should be added.

A Step in the Right Direction

Overwatch Arcade Changes We'd Like to See - D.Va Nano Cola Challenge

One good thing that Blizzard has done recently is adding the D.Va Nano Cola Challenge. This challenge allows players to unlock sprays and even a skin through in-game wins. The best part is that Overwatch Arcade wins are counted. After three wins, players get two exclusive sprays, then an icon after six. After nine wins, players can unlock the exclusive Nano Cola skin for D.Va as well. There are other rewards that can be unlocked by watching streamers with drops turned on throughout the event (which ends on September 10th).

This kind of event is really simple, but gives players a reason to play. Coupled with some additional new mini games, it could be a really fun, semi-regular event for players to take part in. This would be especially helpful to the Arcade if only Arcade wins would count.

For more information on D.Va’s Nano Cola Challenge, check out the blog post here.

Closing Thoughts

The Overwatch Arcade is a great, lighthearted feature that many players enjoy. However, it has gone a little neglected recently. We’d love to see new flavors added to the game modes, as well as some minor tweaks to make it more rewarding to take part.

In particular, we’d love to see a permanent PvE game mode. Even just one of the event PvE modes, rotating which one was available at any one time, would be fun. They’re some of the most loved game modes because they’re fun, relaxing, and casual while still having a challenge with each increasing difficulty level.

What would you like to see Blizzard change about the Overwatch Arcade? Let us know in the comments below!

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TERA Outlines PC Server Merges

Nobody panic, but TERA PC server merges are on the way. If you’ve followed the MMORPG closely enough, you already knew about this previously, but now we have some more specifics to share with you thanks to an email we’ve received.

tera pc server merges

Merges will be taking place on Tuesday, September 16th. There will be a total of three servers for the MMO after that point; Mount Tyrannas and Fey Forest servers will merge into the new PvP server, Ascension Valley and Tempest Reach will merge into the new PvE server, and Celestial Hills will remain as a PvE RP server. Fans will get a chance to help the devs name these new servers through voting, which will be detailed at a later time.

If you’ve got a preference for what type of server you’d like your characters to land on, free character transfers between server types will be opened between September 4th and 17th. Beyond that, players won’t have to do anything else ahead of the merge – all characters, guilds and friend lists will be transferred over.

There will be a limit on how many characters can be put into one server, however En Masse will be handing out additional character slot coupons for those with characters on multiple servers. Players can expect those coupons between September 11th and 17th.

More information and an FAQ can be found on this website.

Our Thoughts

Sounds like a generally painless affair, all things considered, and the free transfers and character slot coupon offers are very generous indeed. Here’s hoping these merges do indeed bring more players together as they’re intended to.

Source: press release

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Remastered Update Fuels an Uptick in Black Desert Online Player Numbers

Guess people like to see pretty things. After the release of the Remastered update last week which revamped the sandbox MMO’s visuals and sound, Black Desert Online player numbers saw something of a surge upwards, both in terms of returning players and new players.

black desert online player numbers

According to a press release from Kakao Games and Pearl Abyss, the Remastered update helped to bring a week-over-week increase of 103.6% in returning players and 24.2% increase in new players. The numbers were gathered from both NA and EU regions.

“We are ecstatic after seeing that our hard work on Black Desert Remastered has been so positively perceived by the community at large,” remarked Pearl Abyss executive producer Jae Hee Kim. “The heart-warming reactions have definitely been a morale booster. We want to thank our players all over the world for playing our game.”

As one would probably expect, the devs of BDO aren’t resting on their laurels as the team continues to work on localizing the Drieghan update, which was brought to the Korean version of the MMO in March. According to patch notes from that version, the update will bring a new region, new Awakening weapon, and a new gathering mini-game among other updates, though those features may change as they make their way westward.

Our Thoughts

A burst of new people to look at the shiny new graphics isn’t a terribly surprising development, all things considered. The trick, of course, is keeping those newly returned and acquired players around for longer than that. Here’s hoping that those who have come to the game are enjoying themselves.

Sources: press release, Inven Global

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Pokemon GO Being Leveraged for Local Community Events

We already know that Pokemon GO gets people up and walking about, but what if that gameplay hook were used to help local events and communities? That’s the idea behind the Niantic/Knight Fellows Program, a combined effort of PoGo developer Niantic and the Knight Foundation to get people involved in their local community.

niantic/knight fellows program

The Niantic/Knight Fellows Program hopes that using AR games like Pokemon GO in a variety of Knight Foundation-hosted events will get people exploring local cultural locations and become more involved with one another. The program currently has five members on board: Ming-Chun Lee from Charlotte, North Carolina; Roger Riddle from Akron, Ohio; Joey Allen from Macon, Georgia; Christopher Foreman from Philadelphia; and Collin Fraum from Palm Beach, Florida.

The program has already had some success in Akron, with Pokemon GO Lures already used in local events like music and art festivals and walking events. According to Niantic, the program helped draw in 1,000 players and encouraged them to explore Akron’s neighborhoods.

The program is set to run for approximately six months and will include a variety of similar local events, like a walking event in Macon, Georgia on October 7th and an event in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 30th.

Our Thoughts

We’d love to see a program like this expand significantly because Pokemon GO’s feature set definitely favors those who manage to find one another nowadays. Meeting more players to trade and add to friend lists while enjoying local events and neighborhoods sounds like an overall win-win situation to us.

Source: PocketGamer via LinkedIn

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No Man’s Sky Releases its First Community Event

The NEXT update of No Man’s Sky has arguably done a lot of good for the spacefaring survival sandbox’s community, and now that community will be able to get a little more busy. The first No Man’s Sky community event has gone live, introducing the first iteration of the NEXT update’s promise of regular content for players to enjoy.

no man's sky community event

To take part in this new event, players will have to have completed their first Space Anomaly mission and speak with Specialist Polo to get started. The task seems simple enough on paper: head to a corner of space, excavate strange objects and bring them back.

Doing so will reward a currency known as Quicksilver, which players can trade in for a variety of cosmetic items including base decals, unique base decorations, a new emote and a character customization item.

This is the first of planned weekly events for No Man’s Sky, with future events offering even more unique rewards such as additional base parts, emotes, customizations and exocraft. All told, over 50 new items are planned to be added. Methods of earning Quicksilver and event functionality will also expand in future updates.

For the time being, full details can be found on the No Man’s Sky website.

Our Thoughts

While that might not seem like a particularly taxing event in the grander MMO or multiplayer scheme of things, the No Man’s Sky community does seem to enjoy sharing their more laid back and chill experiences, so this seems to be right up their alley. That said, we’re looking forward to seeing these weekly events expand in scope and depth.

Source: official site

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Star Citizen Backpedals on CitizenCon Livestream Paywall Decision

Star Citizen‘s decision to lock the CitizenCon 2018 livestream behind a digital pass has been met with the fire and fury that only an internet mob seems capable of producing, and so Chris Roberts and CIG have decided to reel back their decision to lock the event’s keynote and closing presentation behind a digital ticket.

citizencon 2018 livestream

Chris Roberts made a rare personal appearance on the game’s official forums, both announcing the reversed decision and explaining why it was made in the first place. According to him, the choice to require a digital pass wasn’t marketing’s idea; it was his.

So what’s the deal? It ultimately comes down to money, according to Roberts.

“I felt if we were bothering to put these panels on with all our top developers we should record all of it for the community to see. And if we were recording all of it then couldn’t we also stream it all for the community members that were interested? And since we constantly get criticized for our home-brew approach to videography and streaming, let’s bring in a specialist company that can handle multiple simultaneous stages, cameras and streams.”

This line of thinking, combined with the additional costs of holding this new larger CitizenCon, meant that a way to be “fiscally responsible” had to be devised, and since subscriber revenue already covers the cost of community content and events, the digital pass idea was born.

That said, the outcry has been heard, and the opening keynote and closing will be available for all Star Citizen accounts. “What we didn’t anticipate is how dearly some of you value watching the main CitizenCon presentation live,” Roberts admitted.

Our Thoughts

…um….duh, guys.

Source: official forums

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Bless Unleashed Releases its First Trailer

Bless Unleashed is no doubt a thing. Its own thing, if you’ll recall the recent FAQ. But all we’ve had were words and pictures. Until now, anyway, as a new Bless Unleashed trailer provides the first look of the console MMORPG in action.

bless unleashed trailer

The trailer provides some in-game footage and sets the scene of the game, challenging players to face off against dragons and gods. Much of the setting and classes should feel familiar to PC players of Bless Online, though without a UI there’s not much to confirm what’s similar and what’s different between the two games.

The blurb in the video description makes similar promises to the game’s first announcement, with “rewarding combo-driven gameplay mechanics and persistent progression [that] book-end an experience handcrafted for online play.” A persistent open world where players will need to watch out for mythical creatures and other players is also offered, as integrated PvP will be a factor.

There’s still no hard release date for Bless Unleashed beyond its initial arrival to Xbox One in 2019, but you can take a look at where things stand with the game for now in the video below.

Our Thoughts

So far, so similar regarding Unleashed and Online. Not to say that this trailer looks bad, by any means – it does look like a lovely game. We’re still just waiting on some further details on what will truly differentiate the console game from the PC game.

Source: press release

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For Honor Schedules a Free Open Test for Marching Fire Expansion

A sizeable expansion is coming to For Honor in a few weeks’ time, which means that Ubisoft is keen to spool up the hype. With that in mind, a Marching Fire open test on PC will let anyone – even those who don’t actually own the game – check out what’s new in advance of the October 16th update.

marching fire open test

The so-called “test” will go live to PC players on September 6th and run until September 10th. During that time, nearly the entire game will be available to all. That means the full 22 hero roster including the new Wu Lin faction, playable in either 1v1 Duel mode or the upcoming 4v4 Breach mode. The test will also feature several quality-of-life updates such as a refreshed UI, team voice chat, new perks and a responsive dialogue system.

In case you’re not familiar, Breach pits two teams against one another on either an attacking or defending side of a castle siege. The objective: break down the castle doors and kill the keep’s commander or prevent as much from happening, depending on which side of the mode you’re on. Naturally.

If any of the gameplay you experience during this “test” strikes as intriguing to you, players can purchase a Marching Fire edition of the battler, which includes the base game and the Marching Fire expansion. If you already own the base game, then you just have to pick up Marching Fire itself, which grants you access to the Wu Lin roster and the PvE Arcade Mode immediately. If none of this buying Marching Fire stuff strikes your fancy, you’ll still get Breach mode and the other QoL updates.

Pre-load of this test/demo starts on September 4th on either Steam or the Uplay launcher. Details are here.

Our Thoughts

If the remarks sprinkled through the story weren’t a clue, we’re pretty sure that this test is more of a sales demo than anything else. Regardless, we’re still not going to look the gift horse of a free game for a weekend in the mouth and hope that this new expansion of For Honor is a lot of fun.

Source: official site

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Combat Helicopters are Coming to War Thunder

The sound of rotors whipping the air and Ride of the Valkyries in the background can mean one of two things: you’re watching a scene from Apocalypse Now, or War Thunder combat helicopters are coming. Actually, it means the latter, because writing a gaming news story about Apocalypse Now would be weird.

war thunder combat helicopters

Update 1.81 – AKA The Valkyries – will be the patch that deploys these new weapons of war to the vehicular combat MMO, with a number of whirlybirds available in a separate research tree accessible once you’ve reached Rank V of a corresponding nation’s tank or aircraft.

Several helicopters of ranks V and VI will be available for US and Soviet sides and will be playable in all difficulty modes of combined arms battles. Helicopters carry a wide variety of weapons including unguided missiles, rotary cannons and guided anti-tank missiles. Of course, they also bring a new form of maneuverability to the battlefield, excelling in ground strike operations while also having a bit of vulnerability if they remain too stationary. Future updates are also planned that could bring helicopter-only battles.

Those who are looking forward to piloting these new machines can do so during closed beta testing that becomes available with The Valkyries update. Players either have to complete specific in-game tasks to join in, or they can purchase helicopter packs from the game store. More details can be found on the War Thunder website, while a video of the update is below.

Our Thoughts

Either these will be a versatile and unique new weapon in the battlefields of War Thunder, or they’ll be an absolute nightmare to control and will result in players watching choppers spin themselves into the dirt. In either case, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Source: press release

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Kung Fu Tea Joins In on the Guild Wars 2 Anniversary Celebration

Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Guild Wars 2? Does it happen to be bubble tea? No? Well, a Kung Fu Tea promotion tied to Guild Wars 2’s sixth anniversary might just change your mind.

kung fu tea promotion

Starting in September and running through the entire month, Kung Fu Tea customers who link their Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook accounts through the Kung Fu Tea mobile app can claim unique in-game codes to download a dragon-themed character outfit. The stores themselves will also be getting into the anniversary spirit with the Elder Dragon Dreamy Delight, a Guild Wars 2-themed take on the Cocoa Cream Wow beverage.

In addition, a contest is running that lets customers enter to win a Deluxe Collection of Guild Wars 2, which packs in Heart of Thorns, Path of Fire, an extra character slot and a max-level boost. All that’s required to enter is to take a picture of the new GW2 drink with the hashtag #GW2xKFT and you’re in.

Our Thoughts

Huh. That’s not a cross-promotion we expected to see coming. But then again, in a world where Domino’s Pizza and Final Fantasy XIV crossed streams, we suppose that pretty much anything is possible at this point. And now we’re kind of thirsty for some of that bubble tea…

Source: press release

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