Heroes of the Storm BlizzCon 2017 Interview With Claudio Gentilini

Blizzard Entertainment announced big things for Heroes of the Storm during BlizzCon 2017. These include two new heroes, skill-based MMR ratings, modifications to laning and stealth, improvements to mercenary camps, increased camera view, and voice chat. In order to dive a little deeper, I had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming content with Claudio Gentilini.

Heroes of the Storm BlizzCon 2017 Interview


Can you start off by introducing yourself and role with Heroes of the Storm?

My name is Claudio Gentilini, I’m a game producer for the Heroes team. I work primarily with the hero designers and the live design team that does the rework updates and balance. I’ve worked for Blizzard for 10 years, I just got my shield this year.  I was the fifth person that ever started working on it when it was a tiny mod map called Blizzard Dota. So, I’ve been around the block with Heroes.


This was already a big year with the Heroes of the Storm 2.0 update. Can you highlight the major changes planned for the MOBA?

We’ve got the double dragons of the Nexus with Alexstrasza and Hanzo. Heroes 2.0 came out earlier this year, it was a really big moment. We got to redo the progression system, uncap hero levels, add loot chests, and give the cool rewards to players that they’ve been asking for, but now we really want to put a focus on the in-game content. With that, we were able to do an update to the stealth mechanics, put more emphasis on the laning phase with changes to towers, regen globes and mercenaries, and even make updates to the matchmaker.


What is the release schedule expected to be for Hanzo and Alexstrasza?

Our longest PTR ever is coming up. We have a 3-week PTR. So Alextrasza will go to PTR and I believe she releases the following week. Hanzo will come on PTR at some point in there and come out in December. The rest of the gameplay updates come out in the December release so we can get information and feedback from the community about what we’re moving forward with.


Hanamura is one of the more interesting map designs in Heroes of the Storm, but it hasn’t been terribly well-received by the community. Are there any plans for an update?

I don’t have any details on what we’re trying specifically. We are definitely looking at it. There is so much effort and art and design that went into that map. It’s not going to die. It’s definitely going to come back. I don’t have any sort of ETA because we’re not going to release it until we’re happy with it. Maybe we’ll PTR that when the time comes, but we’re working on it.

Hanamura Overwatch Top MMO News: March 23, 2016


How happy are you with the Heroes 2.0 systems and are you planning any changes next year?

I know that there are some community concerns about it and we’re listening to those concerns. We’re interested in making changes, but I don’t know what the directors are talking about in terms of that. We’re happy with what it did and Heroes 2.0 was our biggest moment; it was bigger than our launch was. It’s done really really great things for our game. We have to be happy with that aspect of it and now that it’s live and we’re getting community feedback on it. Just with everything Heroes, we’re listening and will make changes.


The upcoming Target Info Panel will allow players to see important information about heroes on the battlefield. Why is this being implemented more than 2 years after launch?

We really wanted to get to it earlier. It’s something that we even had a debug tool that kind of functioned in that way. It could just never get jazzed up to the level where we were ready to release it and spend the time with debugs. The UI team is working on it and is dedicated to making it as pretty and fluid and functional as it can be. We’ve been testing it internally for a couple of weeks. I don’t think it’s coming on PTR with this next set of changes, so it’ll probably be a little bit before we release it. As with everything Blizzard, we have a list of a million things and so maybe it wasn’t as high on the list as Heroes 2.0.


Are you expecting the changes to things like stealth mechanics and map timers to have a drastic effect on the competitive meta?

I probably wouldn’t quantify it as drastic. With the changes to stealth, unlimited tower ammunition, regen globes switching to a neutral state after several seconds, I think that those will have different changes. We wanted to make more strategic moments around laning combat. We’re a hero brawler, we love that 5v5 all-mid and then spread out to your lanes, but we’re not huge fans of ‘blow up a lane, move to a different lane, blow up to a different lane, move back.’ You’re just trying to bleed out ammunition from your opponent until the towers don’t do anything anymore and then you push them down.

Overall, it’s not very aggressive gameplay. It’s pretty passive, so we want to introduce more aggression and strategic aspects to laning. So now you should push with your wave because you only have a few moments where you can actually deal tower damage. We had a big event where we brought in lots of HGC players from all the regions, community folks, casters, and we got feedback from everyone. Now going to PTR, I’m sure we’re going to end up changing more things once we get feedback from them, but we’ve already run it past a ton of people and made adjustments based on that.


The changes to tower ammunition will likely have a major effect on the balance of certain heroes focused on pushing. Is this something you’re anticipating?

I think that we’re expecting that. I’m sure that our balance team has changes planned for stuff like that. We may have to increase health of summons so that they stick around longer and give you the ability to push more. Internally, we haven’t really seen any ill effects to game time. As you adjust to having to increase your aggression in the lane where you’re trying to push, rather than playing passively, we’ve found those times kind of just even out. Game times should stay the same. We’re not interested in increasing game times by doing this. We’re just interested in elongating that earlier laning phase.

Heroes of the Storm BlizzCon 2017 Interview


Are you worried about toxic behavior with the addition of voice chat and will there be news forms of rewards for positive behavior or punishment for abuse?

We don’t have any plans right now. I know that positive reinforcement systems are on the list somewhere, but I don’t know where they’re prioritized against the numerous other things that we’re working on. We’re aware of the concerns that players have about that. We do have individual player sliders for volume and we do have the report system in-game now that we’re trying to make improvements to. We’re even sending emails to players that make those reports saying that ‘an action was taken against someone you reported,’ so that we can create that feedback loop that people have been desiring. I know we want to do more with that.


Are there systems in place to prevent players from gaming the new MMR system by only focusing on their stats and not on team play?

That’s not really a concern that we have. We have so many metrics and each hero is individually measured. It’s not just Assassins like ‘Oh, your Illidan damage didn’t compared to this Kerrigan’s damage so your rating went down.’ We don’t look at it that way. We look at it like this is just Kerrigan. So CC time, damage, time spent dead, maybe shields gained. I can’t even tell you how many metrics we measure for that stuff.

If we’re doing it right and players are trying to game the stats that they know are increasing their rating then they should be performing how you want them to perform as a team. If I’m spending more time CCing enemy heroes, I’m probably doing something right for my team. If there’s just one guy and I’m just casting my stun on him continuously, that’s not a common occurrence. Sure that might boost your time CCing, but it’s not like that’s 30 percent of your adjustment. It might be like 5 percent or 3 percent and so when we measure you against all of these things those together will determine your performance-based rating.

If you lose you’re not going up, it doesn’t matter how well you play. If you play really well and hit a number of these stats that we’re looking at, you’re going to not lose as many points as you would have.


We’re quickly approaching 75 heroes, which is quite a bit more than the game launched with. Are you planning on capping them at a certain amount or slowing down the release timeline?

Heroes of the Storm is all about heroes; they’re the bread and butter of this game. We love pulling from this list of 300+ heroes that grows every single day and translating them into the Nexus. We’re not stopping. That’s the thing the team is super passionate about creating.

Heroes of the Storm BlizzCon 2017 Interview


What are the changes coming to mercenaries and are there going to be changes to heroes with the Mercenary Lord talent?

The changes we’ve made with mercenaries are super cool. Gone are the days of taking knights and just letting them push by themselves. First of all, because infinite tower ammunition means knights die faster and you’re not bleeding ammunition out. We give you spell armor when you’re inside this aura that the mage has, so you really need to focus that guy down. With everybody blocking around it and trying to protect it, it makes pushing with those things a more strategic moment. The Hellbats reduce armor now of buildings, minions and heroes. That’s going to be a big change, so don’t stand in the fire.

I don’t know that we have any planned changes (to Mercenary Lord). Often times, those aren’t the most picked talents anyways but we kind of like what they can do. If they start over performing, we’ll find out pretty quickly and adjust them.


I appreciate you taking the time to discuss the upcoming changes to Heroes of the Storm with us. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We’re just super excited about voice chat and the in-game updates with all of the stuff we’ve talked about.

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World of Warcraft’s Newest Expansion: Battle for Azeroth

The opening ceremony for BlizzCon 2017 revealed the seventh expansion pack for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. As players predicted, Battle for Azeroth will take place on the high seas. Though what wasn’t predicted was the major focus on the conflict that started it all: Horde versus Alliance. Battle for Azeroth will offer two new continents, a level cap of 120, 6 new allied races to unlock, 10 new dungeons, island expeditions, real-time strategy inspired Warfronts, and so much more. This expansion has much to offer, so let’s dive right into everything that we know about Battle for Azeroth.

Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth: Horde versus Alliance

Battle of Azeroth starts off with a raging conflict between the two factions for a reason that is not fully known yet. With the defeat of the Legion and the immediate threat to Azeroth now gone, the Horde and Alliance are turning on one another and seeking new allies for help. With Alliance controlling the Eastern Kingdoms and Horde controlling Kalimdor, both factions are in search of a new powerful navy. Players will head out on the high seas with the Alliance going to Kul Tiras and Horde to Zandalar in hopes to make new alliances and bolstering their ranks.

The level cap will increase to 120. Each faction will have their own leveling zones away from one another with Horde venturing to Zandalar and Alliance to Kul Tiras. Each continent has three zones that have dynamic level-scaling identical to Legion, so you choose where to level. Once you reach level 120, the opposing faction’s zone becomes available to you.


Horde venture to Zandalar, once homeland of an ancient troll empire that has fallen into disarray after the events of the Cataclysm.

  • Zuldazar is the capital city of the Zandalari and the only safe refuge the Zandalari trolls have in this region. This will be the capital of the Horde in this expansion as they try and stop the uprising that’s happening within Zuldazar.
  • Nazmir is a festering swampland to the north that is filled with savage blood trolls that players will defeat by enlisting the aid of some powerful Loa. For those that don’t know, Loa are gods to the trolls. Nazmir is also home to a Titan facility, which might hold the key to destroy all life on Azeroth.
  • Vol’dun is a foreboding desert, home to the Zandalari exiled criminals, a race called the vulpera, and snake men called the sethrak.


Alliance will venture to Kul Tiras, the home of a familiar name: Proudmoore. Alliance players will have to help the four houses that rule Kul Tiras in order to win their allegiance in the coming war. Kul Tiras is also broken into three main regions.

  • Tiragarde Sound holds the capital of Kul Tiras which will serve as the capital for the Alliance. Tiragarde is led by Katherine Proudmoore, Jaina’s mother. Players will have to help Kul Tiras defend against pirates.
  • Drustvar is a forested mountainous region that’s located in the south west part of Kul Tiras ruled by House Waycrest. Drustvar supplies arms to Kul Tiras. Players will find that the land is cursed, and will have to figure out the mystery of the missing Waycrests.
  • Stormsong Valley is lush green and beautiful and ruled by House Stormsong. The people of this region are devoted to the sea with a radical religious fervor. They are led by a group of sea priests that supply boats for the Kul Tiran navy.

There was also mention about the Heroes of Azeroth like Anduin, Jaina, Sylvanas, and Thrall. Hopefully we will get more story arcs behind these major characters similar to Illidan. A major story everyone is excited to hear more about is the story of Vol’jin.

Battle for Azeroth

Allied Races

Battle for Azeroth introduces new playable races. Instead of just buying the expansion and getting these races, players will have to go on separate quests to unlock their story and figure out why these races are joining our factions. The races we will be receiving include Lightforged dranei, Void elves, and Dark Iron dwarves for the Alliance and Nightborne, Highmountain tauren, and Zandalari trolls for the Horde. Once unlocked players will be able to make these races that start at level 20. Each race will also get brand new racial abilities.

You will be able to pay to change your race, or pay for a boost like usual so you don’t have to start from scratch. Though, players who decide to level from scratch will receive Heritage Armor upon reaching level 110. This armor will be tailored to each race’s aesthetic and isn’t restricted to any armor type. This means even if you’re a dwarf priest you can still be decked out in the Dark Iron Dwarf’s Heritage plate armor.

Battle for Azeroth

Island Expeditions

Island Expeditions will be a 3-player scenario that are role agnostic. This means that it doesn’t matter if you want to bring 3 tanks, 3 healers, or whatever, the scenario will support that. These scenarios are meant to take around 15-20 minutes and because they are role agnostic the que times for them should be fairly short. The major goal is to obtain all the Azerite, which is used to level our new artifact.

Each island you encounter can change dramatically between playthroughs. A few different examples that were given were finding a neutral troll tribe you can befriend in one playthrough, and in the next you might find the island is cursed and full of demons, or undead. Other island features will include different creatures, capture points, chests and Azerite nodes, questgivers, consumables and shrines, different start locations, caves, ships, and so much more. You will also face off against the enemy faction that you will compete against in order to secure the Azerite. The AI you will go up against is interesting. They aren’t your typical NPC that will just attack you and that’s it, they can sabotage your strategy is so many different ways. Blizzard said this AI will be unpredictable and will always act differently, so you will never have one set strategy to fall back on.

There are four different difficulties to choose from. Normal, Heroic, Mythic, and even PvP. These Island Expeditions are something to really look forward to and we can’t wait to try them out.

Heart of Azeroth

We finally have our answer to what the follow up to our Artifact system will be. With our Artifact weapons being retired, it’s time to take a look at what our new Artifact grind is going to be. Magni will contact the heroes of Azeroth and entrust them with an ancient Titan Artifact called the Heart of Azeroth. The Heart of Azeroth will be our neck piece for the entirety of the expansion, so expect no more neck pieces to drop.

Azerite will be your new resource very similar to our current Artifact power. It feeds your necklace and will unlock properties in the armor you’ll be finding in your adventures on the high seas. The stronger your neck piece gets, the more powerful bonuses you unlock in your armor. This will be the main focus in our characters progression throughout Battle for Azeroth. This system looks and sound a bit complex, but trust me when I say it’s a lot simpler than it appears.

You will gain Azerite similar to how we currently gain Artifact power. Any current content players do will reward Azerite, the difference it has from AP is that it automatically powers our neck piece rather than it cluttering our bags. Each armor piece will have four rings containing several different powers that you pick between to unlock. Good news is when you replace that piece of gear you don’t have to start over in unlocking each ring. Blizzard has also stated that equipment you find from more challenging content will also have more powerful abilities to choose from. Equipment’s power is also related, so the abilities will not randomize each time. Meaning if you gain a mythic helmet off a raid boss then next week you collect the same helmet except titanforged then it will have the same exact abilities as your previous helmet.

Battle for Azeroth


Warfronts are another new and exciting addition that will be introduced in Battle for Azeroth. It will be a massive 20 player cooperative instance with Alliance vs. Horde. Warfronts are directly inspired by Warcraft 3 which is pretty dang cool. Warfronts will only be available to players once they reach level 120.

First plan of action when joining Warfronts is to establish your base. For Alliance you will start with a Town Hall, for Horde you’ll build a Great Hall. Next, you will need to decide if you want to start gathering resources or taking territories. Resources are very important in Warfronts; you will have to collect lumber and iron which will allow you to build buildings. However, territories are also very important. Taking territories will unlock new buildings and new research.

Each player that gathers resources gathers it for themselves and they will put into buildings they want to prioritize first. Communication is key when it comes to building. You could have everyone putting resources into different buildings and you’ll never get anything finished. Once your building is built, it’s time to start recruiting your troops that will fight on the frontline. The building tech tree was shown to be the original tech tree of Warcraft 3, though we aren’t 100% sure if it will stay that way.

Something to remember that this is not a PvP mode, and you’ll be up against AI armies commanded by specific an enemy commander who has their own strategies and army composition. There will be different enemy commanders each time you do a Warfront and randomized events that might pop up.

Social Features

New changes will be coming to the social features of WoW. Battle.net voice is being integrated into World of Warcraft, which is the same voice that Overwatch currently uses. This will allow players to instantly chat in game rather than logging onto different apps like Vent or Discord. When you join a premade group, you will get a pop up that will ask if you want to join the voice chat. If you select yes then you’re simply put right into it.

The next big integration is WoW communities. These will be character specific groups that will also be cross server, and the best part is you will be able to be in multiple communities at the same time. These offer roster of members, simple role management, they have the quick join ability just like the premade group finder, and voice chat integration.

Battle for Azeroth

PvP Updates

You can’t have Horde versus Alliance and keep how PvP is in its current state. A major change is how Blizzard is scrapping the idea of how PvP and PvE servers work. Many changes are coming to world PvP. There are many players who play on PvP servers maybe because of their guild, or friends are on that server, but don’t necessarily want to do any world PvP and vice versa for those that play on a PvE server but wouldn’t mind taking some part in world PvP. Players now will have the individual choice to opt into PvP from major cities. This works differently than our current toggle. The new version will make it so that no matter where you go, if you have PvP turned off you will not be able to attack or be attacked by other players until you toggle PvP back on in a major city. There are expected to be bonuses for players who toggle on PvP mode.

New Arenas and Battlegrounds will also be added. The new Arenas are Tiragarde and Zuldazar, and the new Battleground is Seething Shore. In the Seething Shore Battleground, Horde and Alliance descend upon Silithus to fight over Azerite bubbling to the surface. Seething Shore will have dynamic control point gameplay. An example given was to think of Arathi Basin with multiple possible flag locations, but you never knew exactly where the control point is going to spawn.

Battle for Azeroth


Of course, with any expansion comes brand new dungeons. Each faction will have separate level-up dungeons with four in Kul Tiras and four in Zandalar. All dungeons will be available to both sides at 120. It was announced that there will be Mythic Keystone updates as well. As someone who runs Mythic Keystones regularly, I am excited that they are keeping them and even wanting to improve on them. Blizzard mentioned improving the UI, so that it is easier to form and find Mythic Keystone groups. We were shown a few dungeons I will list below.

  • Tol Dagor
  • Waycrest Manor
  • Shrine of the Storm
  • Siege of Boralus
  • Temple of Sethraliss
  • The Underrot
  • King’s Rest
  • Kezan

Let’s talk about some of the raid information we were given. The raid we were shown was Uldir, Halls of Control. It is a Titan quarantine facility located in Nazmir. It was once a Titan laboratory where they tried to understand the nature of their ancient enemy, the Old Gods, which didn’t go so well. It will have 8 different bosses to face off against. Now the second raid was a little spoiled with its last boss, Queen Azshara, which is beyond exciting. Sadly, that’s all we got on raids, and we hope to see more soon.

Battle for Azeroth

Personally, I am beyond excited for this expansion and I can’t wait to see what other information we will receive in the up and coming months. Let us know if you’re excited or you might possibly pass on this expansion in the comments below. The last bit of news is that Legion’s Legendary system is going away… good riddance!

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Blizzcon 2017: Heroes of the Storm Reveals Hanzo, Alexstrasza, and Dragons of the Nexus

Heroes of the Storm kicked off the opening ceremony announcements at this year’s Blizzcon, and while its reveals might not have the gravity of update 2.0, the Dragons of the Nexus updates for the popular MOBA certainly have lots to offer, such as two new heroes, a new event, and a host of updates due for 2018.

dragons of the nexus

The first piece of these updates are the so-called “double dragons” added to the game’s roster; Hanzo and Alexstrasza.

Alexstrasza is a Support hero with an expected combination of healing and fireball-flinging abilities, including a Heroic that sees her transform into a dragon to bombard the area. Hanzo, meanwhile, is an Assassin character with his familiar kit of abilities from Overwatch, including his Dragonstrike Heroic ability.

The titular Dragons of the Nexus event will feature login rewards for players between November 14th and December 12th to receive unique portraits, as well as a lineup of four different achievements in the Dragons of the Nexus quest.

Finally, 2018 is looking to start off strong in the Nexus with new updates to Heroes of the Storm, including an increased field of view, adjustments to make Stealthed heroes easier to spot, plans to refine the early game such as the removal of Ammunition and the addition of True Sight to Forts, and matchmaking that takes individual performance into account instead of win/loss. All of these changes are set to start arriving for an extended testing session on the PTR starting on November 20th.

You can take a look at everything in the works for Heroes of the Storm here and watch the cinematic reveal of Alexstrasza and Hanzo below.

Our Thoughts

While more roster additions are certainly interesting to be sure, we’re most curious to know how the 2018 updates will shift things for Heroes of the Storm. Are you looking forward to any of the proposed adjustments, the new heroes, or both? Give us your impressions below in the comments.

Source: official site

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Blizzcon 2017: Hearthstone Announces Kobolds and Catacombs Expansion

Hearthstone’s Year of the Mammoth is closing out with a bang as the opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2017 offered up word of the online CCG’s next expansion: Kobolds and Catacombs. And, as always, the new set continues the game’s penchant for lighthearted fun as well as intriguing cards and mechanics.

kobolds and catacombs

Kobolds and Catacombs, as one would figure from the expansion’s name, is something of a love letter to the vibe of a classic fantasy dungeon delve. One of the expansion’s biggest features is the Dungeon Run, a free, repeatable, single-player mode that grants you a deck of ten cards and challenges you to beat eight boss encounters from a pool of 48. Succeed in each fight, and you’ll get to “level up” and add three class-specific cards to your deck. Fail, and you lose it all and start from the beginning in true rogue-like fashion.

The new expansion is also introducing the new “Recruit” keyword to the game which pulls a random minion card from your deck, new Legendary weapons for each of the game’s nine classes, and a total of 135 new cards to the game.

More information about Kobolds and Catacombs can be found on the Hearthstone site. You can also pre-order the expansion here as well as take in the official reveal trailer below.

Our Thoughts

We really like the idea (and the challenge) of a “Hearthstone rogue-like” and as always wonder aloud what sort of changes this upcoming expansion will mean for the greater Hearthstone meta. Are you intrigued by what Kobolds and Catacombs is offering?

Source: official site

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Blizzcon 2017: Overwatch Unveils a New Map and Support Hero

This year’s Overwatch Blizzcon reveals were perhaps some of the most surprising of the show as the event’s opening ceremony featured a couple of short but significant reveals: a brand new hybrid map and an all-new support hero to the roster.

overwatch blizzcon reveals

Director Jeff Kaplan first opened up the game’s presentation with a new map: Blizzardworld, a hybrid Assault/Payload map fashioned as a literal Blizzard-centric themepark with callbacks to a broad variety of the company’s games including StarCraft, The Lost Vikings, and Warcraft. The new map is playable on the Blizzcon show floor now, is due to arrive to PTR “very soon”, and is set to go live early next year.

The next reveal on the stage was an all-new Support character: Moira, a healer who apparently has a history with both Reyes’ Blackwatch group and Talon. Moira utilizes blasts that can harm foes and heal allies, a Fade ability that lets her teleport a short distance, and an Ultimate blast that heals allies or damages foes through barriers. Release information on Moira was not available during the presentation, though her reveal video has her Coming Soon™.

Finally, the presentation ended with Reinhardt’s voice actor Darin De Paul unveiling a new animated short featuring the character and his battle at Eichenwalde. You can watch that short, “Honor and Glory”, below.

Our Thoughts

We were hoping for a new hero, but we also weren’t expecting one so soon! Arguably, Overwatch is running short on the Support side of things so we’re definitely intrigued by Moira’s arrival. We’re also looking forward to checking out all of the references in the new Blizzardworld map!

Sources: Twitch, official site

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Blizzcon 2017: World of Warcraft Reveals New Expansion and Classic Server

The opening ceremony of Blizzcon 2017 was full of reveals, but easily one of the most anticipated was the World of Warcraft expansion reveal and the game did not disappoint. Not only was a brand new WoW expansion unveiled, but plans to have a vanilla Warcraft server were also revealed.

world of warcraft expansion reveal

J. Allen Brack took to the stage to first talk about…ice cream. Which, of course, led itself to talking about the flavor vanilla. World of Warcraft Classic was described by Brack as “a larger endeavor than you might imagine” but also promised to have the classic WoW launch experience without all of the classic WoW launch problems. Dates on when this classic server would go live were not revealed, but it appears to be a long way off as Brack said “it’s gonna take some time” in his presentation.

Naturally, things for World of Warcraft had to move forward from there, which leads right back to the new World of Warcraft expansion: Battle for Azeroth. As its name implies, this expansion will see hostilities between the Horde and the Alliance renewed as both sides appear to be at each other’s throats once more.

Battle for Azeroth will feature a new continent for each faction: Kul Tiras and Zandalar. Players will also see a level cap raise of 120, new dungeons and raids, new uncharted islands for players to explore, the addition of four new Allied Races, and a 20-player co-op PvP mode known as Warfronts.

Release information on World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth was not available, but players can opt-in for the expansion’s beta as well as find out more details on the Battle for Azeroth website. The opening cinematic for the expansion can also be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Wow! Or perhaps more appropriately, WoW! The reveals from Warcraft at this year’s Blizzcon absolutely blew away all expectations. While we certainly were ready (more or less) for a new expansion reveal, we were most definitely not expecting a Classic server announcement! Just…wow!

Sources: Twitch, official site

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Play of the Fortnight: Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 Announcements Speculation & Wishlist

Blizzcon 2017 is fast approaching, and with it the potential for big announcements and exciting changes to our favorite games. What potential Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 announcements could we expect? What could be discussed in the “What’s Next” portion of Blizzcon? And what on earth is the “Giant Lootbox” Blizzard is going to open?

In this Play of the Fortnight, let’s do some speculation, as well as discuss some wishlist feature changes that we’d love to see come to Overwatch.

Blizzcon 2017 Schedule

Blizzard has already announced their Blizzcon 2017 schedule. They’ve separated the events into Mythic, Legendary, Epic, and Heroic, with Mythic being the main events for each game. There’s also an esports section on the schedule for each of their games.

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 - Blizzcon Schedule

Outside of esports events, we can see that the Overwatch presentations kick off on the main stage on November 3rd at 2:45pm PT, with “What’s Next”. There’s also a making-of for the Junkertown animation on the Legendary stage at 4:15pm PT, followed immediately by the giant lootbox opening on the Epic stage at 5:15pm PT. On Saturday, November 4th, the Overwatch team kicks off with the Overwatch Archives at 10:00am PT on the Mythic stage. This is where they’ll go through the past year of content. There’ll be a discussion panel on the Legendary stage at 2:30pm PT featuring some of the cast of Overwatch, and what goes into creating great voices. On the Epic stage, there’s a streamer showdown with a “battle of wits” at 4:30pm PT, followed by a return to the Mythic stage for a look inside the Overwatch League at 5:30pm PT.

You can read the Blizzcon 2017 schedule in full on the Blizzcon website.

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 Announcements – What’s Next?

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 - New Hero Announcement

The Overwatch team will be discussing what’s next for Overwatch at Blizzcon 2017. It’s the first Overwatch presentation at Blizzcon, and will probably be the most exciting for Overwatch players. There are a few theories about what we could see in this announcement. Last year, at Blizzcon 2016, Blizzard announced the Overwatch League and finally confirmed the long-awaited hero, Sombra.

They also announced the Necromancer for Diablo III, and the expansion that accompanied it, along with a Hearthstone expansion, and a new Heroes of the Storm brawl, plus two playable HotS heroes. These announcements could also give some indication as to what we can expect for Overwatch this year.

We could see a new hero announcement or some details on the hero release schedule for the next year. It’d also be great to see some new game modes or maps coming. Junkertown was just released, but the community has proven they love having new maps to explore.

Overwatch Blizzcon New Hero

The logical choice for an announcement seems to be a new playable hero. However, last year Sombra’s announcement was following a massive and dragged out ARG. It was something we knew about for a long time and were just about getting tired of hearing about when they finally spilled the beans. This year, we’ve seen no real lead up to a hero announcement.

That said, there are a few options for what we could see. Heroes Never Die, for example, discusses some potential new heroes. They’re all sourced from existing Overwatch content, such as comics and artwork. Writer Cass Marshall talks about Liao, from the original Overwatch founders; Hammond, another test subject along with Winston; Brigitte, who features in the Dragon Slayer and Reflections comics; The Queen of Junkertown, from the Junkertown map announcement and in-game poster; and a few others. You can read more about these heroes on Heroes Never Die.

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 - Queen of Junkertown

The Queen of Junkertown is perhaps the most popular amongst the community, already inspiring a lot of fanart. She would also make a great, varied character, with a much rougher look than the other women we’ve seen so far. We feel like we’d have been teased more about the Queen if she was going to be announced at Blizzcon, but maybe we’ll get more of a teaser instead of a full announcement. We just hope Blizzard doesn’t go down the long-winded ARG route again!

Upcoming Overwatch Maps and Game Modes

Another potential announcement will be a brand new map. We’ve had a few over the past year, and the community loves a new map. We’ve had a new map in each of the four main types – Assault, Escort, Hybrid, and Control. It’s most likely time to have a new map in the Hybrid category, as Eichenwalde was added after Gamescom 2016.

Based on the announcements from Blizzcon 2016 for other Blizzard games, it’d be interesting to see a new Overwatch brawl or game mode. The Arcade gives them a lot of freedom for mini-games and brawls, so it’d be great to see it get some more love outside of events.

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 Wishlist

There’s, of course, a bunch of other changes that the community would love to see. Here are a few of the features that make our Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 wishlist:

An Overwatch Clan Management System

It’d be great to have a way to actually create and manage clans or groups within Overwatch. Blizzard has always created immensely social games, with guilds and teams being core to that. Overwatch currently only has a fairly basic friends list, operating out of the Blizzard launcher friends list. We’d love to see a proper, robust clan management system, perhaps with in-game tags.

An Honor System to Combat Toxicity

As we mentioned in a previous Play of the Fortnight on fixing toxicity in Overwatch, positive reinforcement may be the way forward. A system to encourage good behavior and reward players who stick with it would be a great addition to the game.

A New Healer

We talked about the potential for a new hero already, but one thing the community is hoping for specifically is a new healer. There hasn’t been one for a while, and it feels like the meta could use a little shaking up with a new healer hero.

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 - Permanent PvE Game Mode

A Permanent PvE Game Mode

We’ve loved the PvE game modes that have been added during the events this past year. Up until now, they’ve been exclusive to seasonal events. It’d be great if they were added to the Arcade permanently or, even better, if there was a brand new PvE mode with a lot of new content and a meaty campaign track to complete.

In-Game Quest System

Something we brought up before in a previous Play of the Fortnight (5 Ideas for New Overwatch Features) is an in-game quest system similar to Heroes of the Storm. This could be used to great effect in training players on new heroes or roles. At the very least, it might encourage a bit of variety in Quick Play, gently encouraging players to try a healer for three games or to play a specific tank.

What About the Giant Loot Box?

Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 - Giant Loot Box

That leaves one major question. What’s in the (loot) box? Blizzard has announced through the Blizzcon 2017 schedule that they’ll be opening an Overwatch loot box live on stage. There’s been speculation amongst the community that a new hero could be inside, but this seems unlikely as it doesn’t take place on the main stage. Others think that it could contain a special guest of some sort, but we’re not sure who that might be.

It’s possible they’ll use this to announce four new things, perhaps merchandise or new in-game content like skins or drops of some sort. It’d be great if they had four pieces of content to announce, much like the content of a real loot box in-game.

Of course, it could just be Jeff Kaplan hiding in the box. Unlikely, but wouldn’t it be delightful?

Closing Thoughts

There’s plenty of things to look out for in potential Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 announcements. We have a few things we’d love to see, and there’s a lot that we can expect. However, if you’re not at Blizzcon yourself, keep in mind that the content is not free to watch. You will have to pay a fee ($39.99 for the US), and in return, you’ll receive access to the live stream plus video-on-demand for two weeks following the event. You’ll also get some in-game goodies, including an exclusive Winston skin.

If this isn’t your cup of tea though, we’re sure the community will be buzzing about the announcements anyway! And we’ll definitely have more to talk about when we catch up next Play of the Fortnight.

What Overwatch announcements are you hoping for this Blizzcon? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Play of the Fortnight: Overwatch Blizzcon 2017 Announcements Speculation & Wishlist appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Here is the 2017 BlizzCon Schedule

Fans of Blizzard’s stable of games have been eager to know the BlizzCon schedule for this year and now we all finally have it, so those in Anaheim, CA can plan accordingly. Or, if you’re like me and can’t make it there physically, you can just prepare for livestream details at least.

blizzcon schedule

October 26th through the 30th will feature a variety of esports events, including the HGC group stage matches, the StarCraft II Global Finals, and the group stages of the WoW Arena Championship. Starting on Friday, November 3rd, it’s the Opening Ceremony at 11am PDT.

Shortly after that, the main event for many begins as reveals for what’s next will be made. World of Warcraft will kick things off at 12:30pm PDT with what is anticipated to be the MMORPG’s next expansion announcement, followed by Hearthstone reveals at 1:45pm PDT, Overwatch at 2:45pm PDT, and Heroes of the Storm at 5pm PDT. In-between the Overwatch and HotS reveals, World of Warcraft will have a gameplay and systems deep dive at 4pm PDT.

Naturally, there will be continuing events through that weekend, including more esports events, game-specific panels, and lots more. The complete schedule can be found on the BlizzCon website.

Our Thoughts

We’ve got less than a month to wait and needless to say anticipation is running pretty high. What kind of reveals are you looking forward to the most? Where do you think Warcraft is headed next? Anything you want to see from Overwatch? Join in the rampant fan speculation below!

Source: official site

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Diablo Will Not Have Any Reveals at BlizzCon 2017

During BlizzCon, you can expect a lot of things, chief among them being announcements and reveals from the Blizzard games catalog. However, one game will be notably absent from the curtain-pulling: Diablo, as it was revealed that new Diablo announcements will not be a part of the show.

diablo announcements

In a post on the official Blizzard forums, one of Diablo’s community managers has confirmed that, while Diablo 3 will certainly have a presence on the show floor, it will not be part of anything on the show stage. “There will be a time for that at some point in the future, but that time is not now,” confirms the post.

In spite of the lack of announcements, there will still be lots of Diablo for fans of the game, including panels for attendees and Virtual Ticket holders as well as the expected digital reward for fans.

“Patch 2.6.1 is on the horizon. Looking beyond that, we’re hard at work on the future of Diablo and exploring what’s next for the franchise,” closes the post. “Please be patient. Our passion for Sanctuary burns as bright as the High Heavens and as hot as the Burning Hells.”

Our Thoughts

While it might be a bit of a letdown for Diablo fans, we’re still pretty darn happy with the Necromancer and we’re certainly looking forward to what Patch 2.6.1 is bringing. Until then, we’ll just have to make due with all of the other Blizzard games getting reveals at this year’s BlizzCon. Woe is us.

Source: Blizzard forums

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Blizzard Prepares for BlizzCon 2017 with a Special Livestream

It looks like Blizzard has begun spinning up the Hype Drive in the lead-up to BlizzCon. A special BlizzCon livestream is set to premiere tomorrow with several reveals while the 2017 BlizzCon Schwag Bag has made its way into players’ hands.

blizzcon livestream

The announced livestream will be hosted by Michele Morrow, Malik Forté, and Alex Albrecht. The stream will let players into the Blizzard Vault for a first-ever tour of the collection of artifacts, original art, and game code kept within. The stream will also detail changes being made to the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket and make initial reveals of in-game goodies that players will be getting. The livestream will broadcast on Wednesday, September 13th at 12pm PDT.

Speaking of goodies, the BlizzCon Goodie Bag has made its way into the hands of fans and media with yet another bundle of Blizzard trinkets. This year’s selection of schwag includes a BlizzCon backpack, an Overwatch backpack hanger figure, a Cute but Deadly Series 3 Overwatch figure, an Overwatch Series 4 pin, and a selection of six badges that can be attached to the backpack.

As for goodies that can be earned perhaps a bit sooner, the in-game store has had a new pet hotfixed into the game: Shadow the fennec fox, who changes from Shadow-aspected to Light-aspected randomly. This pet is not yet available in-game or on the shop website as of this writing, but the timing of the pet’s arrival seems to suggest that sales of the pet will be used to fund relief efforts for the recent hurricanes that struck the Florida and Gulf Coast regions of the US.

Our Thoughts

We’ve still got a couple of months to go, but that’s clearly not going to stop Blizzard from setting the pot to boil. Obviously, we’re looking forward to hearing and seeing more and will definitely report in once the curtain has been pulled back.

Source: MMO Champion

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