Overwatch 2 – A Sequel to Reactivation

Despite leaks throughout all of last week, to the extent of Jeff Kaplan’s painful referencing during the opening of the panel last week, Overwatch 2 is indeed a very real thing. At Blizzcon 2019 we finally managed to get a look at the reclusive pseudo-sequel to Blizzard-Activision’s online team FPS. It’s presentation to the public, while informative, was quite a bit of sudden information and then speculative questions on its content. The very nature of the game seems to contradict the idea of a sequel, but nevertheless it is indeed very real.

Built on the bones of Overwatch the sequel launched at Blizzcon to a powerful trailer and incredible fanfare. Featuring an attack on Paris, France by the terrorist group Null Sector, a recently reactivated Overwatch leaps into action to defend the populace. Led by Winston, only Mei and Tracer seemed to have answered the call to aid. Battling the re-surging Omnic terrorists, they are joined at the last minute by a slew of heroes including Genji Himura, Mercy, Reinhardt and Brigitte. Working with newly reactivated robotic flier Echo, the team reunited and put down the Omnic threat, ready to face the encroaching forces.

Despite being a major story point that the entire Overwatch community has been waiting for years on, what does this trailer really do for it’s sequel? Game Director Jeff Kaplan used it, as well as the follow-up feature trailer to explain the main draw of Overwatch 2 in it’s fully integrated PvE mode. Absent from its predecessor, the sequel will feature a heavily story-focused campaign. This main mode, compromised of co-operative narrative driven missions, will see Overwatch heroes of past and future teaming up to combat the Null Sector. Kaplan continued onward from that point, discussing how they would, “uncover the motives behind the robotic armies’ attacks and come face-to-face with rising new threats around the globe,” indicating of potential content beyond the organization.


Incorporating RPG elements into gameplay progression, item pickups will be littered throughout both Story and Hero mode missions. These additions can slightly modify a particular hero’s playstyle, though the three on display were minimal to say the least. These included a HP generator, a corrosive grenade and a barrier shield similar to Winston’s. Sadly, these do not carry over between missions.

What does carry between games are rewards earned through Hero Mission content. These events, designed to be highly replayable, are separate from the main story mode. Performing well will net players experience they can use to level up individual heroes, unlocking customization and techniques that modify their standard abilities. In the gameplay trailer a Tracer develops a technique that chains her Pulse Bomb explosion across several enemies. While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it’s likely that these modifiers will be exclusive to the game’s PvE portion and barred from PvP gameplay.

Speaking of, Kaplan demoed several new aspects to the core PvP gameplay of the Overwatch franchise that will emerge in the sequel. This included both a new Canadian hero in the mysterious Sojourn, as well as a map featuring Toronto, one of the country’s major urban centers (no shots of the CN Tower yet). The team also debuted a new standard game mode in ‘Push’, a mobile point control map. Both teams fight for control over a central Robot, “who really likes to Push!” in a tug of war style matchup. Whoever can push their barrier furthest into enemy territory wins. This mode will come as a standard map and will enter standard rotations.


What comes as more of a confusing point than a clarification one is Overwatch 2’s relationship with it’s predecessor. Despite the original’s not crossing the console gap (let alone the gambling gap), Overwatch 2 will carry progress from the original game into its sequel. Furthermore, people playing in either game’s PvP modes will be able to play with each other and will share queues together. Heroes and maps made available to either will be available for the other. “No one gets left behind,” cried Kaplan on stage to a mixture of confused applause, decreeing that everything except PvE content and some new customization options will be available to ANY owner of the franchise.

Here is where we reach the crux of the problem with Overwatch 2. Despite promises of charging full price for the game, despite calling it a sequel, despite painting this donkey like a horse, the game is very much little more than an over glorified expansion pack. While in an interview with Kotaku, Kaplan confessed that the team wants to, “Do what’s right by the players,” it’s hard to see what makes Overwatch 2 stand out from its previous counterpart. It’s hard to do right by the players in charging full price for what’s little more than an expansion pack or an addon to the main game. If everything is accessible from the new to the old, in heroes maps and events, then what is the point in upgrading to it?


Whereas Blizzard’s MMO titan, World of Warcraft, can realistically judge a full-priced expansion every two years it’s hard to see what sets Overwatch 2 into this category. While Warcraft can argue that it realistically generates enough new non-recurring content over two years to offset the cost, what we’ve seen at Blizzcon of Overwatch 2 says the opposite. Instead it seems the team is focusing more on repeatable content in the form of Hero missions, using it to set the pace for the Story missions much like Anthem did earlier this year. If so, then Overwatch 2 has far more to prove in itself than just whether it’s worth the cost of entry; we need to ask if it’s overall worth the time in comparison to the original’s clear focus on PvP.

That, sadly, will take time to find the answer to. The days are still apparently early in the sequel’s development cycle. With a promised media blackout in effect by Kaplan, there isn’t much we’ll be hearing about the new entry in the franchise for quite some time.

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Vermintide 2 – Winds of Magic is Now Live

Vermintide 2 – Winds of Magic is the latest update to the award-winning, multimillion-selling game Warhammer Vermintide 2 and it is out now.

Winds of Magic is the first expansion to Vermintide 2 to bring in a new enemy faction, Beastmen. Along with Beastmen, you’ll find a raised level cap, new weapons for all heroes, leaderboards, a new level, and a new game mode.

“Warning heroes – the Beastmen have arrived, and they bring malice with them. Pick up the new weapons, and help me put a stop to this invasion of ruthless enemies.” says Bardin Goreksson, self-proclaimed leader of the Ubersreik Five group of heroes.

You can find Winds of Magic on Steam right now. But, if you’re on the fence about the expansion check out the badass trailer below.


This is of course not the Versus that was revealed at E3 this year. It is still early days for that and beta signups are still open. Versus is being developed by a separate team within Fat Shark so that it doesn’t slow down the development of the game in any way. When we hear more about that we’ll be sure to run through the streets screaming in glee.

For now, though we get to enjoy Winds of Magic. Fatshark CEO Martin Wahlund had this message for fans and beta testers. “Release day is the most exciting day in game development, and here we are today. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Winds of Magic is available now, ready for heroes to excel. Winds of Magic would not have been possible without the feedback from our beta tests, and we want to thank all beta players who helped us deliver the best version of Winds of Magic.”

 

Source: Press Release

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Another World of Warcraft Expansion Possibly Leaked

It looks like yet another future World of Warcraft expansion has possibly been leaked. We say possibly of course because right now nothing is confirmed. And we say again because this is the second rumored WoW expansion leak to happen in less than a week! Before we go any further please be aware that by reading beyond this point you might be exposed to future spoilers for World of Warcraft, continue at your own risk.

World Of Warcraft: Battle For Azeroth Expansion Giveaway

The first expansion, which was leaked last week was Age of Darkness. This expansion will allegedly see the old god N’zoth unleash a darkness that covers Azeroth. The expansion is rumored to have the Tinker class, a level squish with a new cap at 60, a new max-level progression system called Conquest, and a few improvements and reworks on systems already in the game. The supposed release window for this expansion is the end of 2020. There is however a lot of debate over whether this rumored leak can be believed. For one, the original leak as posted on 4chan has been deleted. Others have called it a laughably bad attempt at trolling the community. Right now there doesn’t seem to be much or any evidence to support the claims this rumor alleges. So for now, take this with a heaping pile of salt.

The second expansion, supposedly leaked is Shadowlands and, unlike the first, it is actually a little bit more believable. Once again, the leak came from 4chan, for anyone familiar with leaks and rumors this won’t be surprising at all. It is rumored to have two continents, Dragon Isles and Shadowlands. In fact, this is what makes the whole rumor so believable, there’s also a zone map that looks quite official. After a Youtuber made a video about the rumored Shadowlands leak he was supposedly contacted by people who had worked at Blizzard who supposedly confirmed the leak was real, including the image which supposedly came from an internal dev show and tell session. What do people think of this one? Well, it seems somewhat mixed. Plenty of people who think it’s the real deal, others who say they’ll wait and see. There are even some people who believe it is real and that Blizzard “leaked” it themselves to test the water. Whatever the case may be, we’re going to have to wait until Blizzcon to find out if there was any truth to be had.

 

Source: Reddit, ENUK

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends Alliance War Exclusive Card Reveal

We’re just a few days away from the release of The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Alliance War, the upcoming expansion to the successful Elder Scrolls card game based on the endless war of the alliances as seen in Elder Scrolls Online. Bethesda has reached out to us with an exclusive opportunity to reveal a card from the Alliance War expansion pack. Alliance War is going to have more than 100 new cards when it releases on April 15th. It is available on PC, iOS, and Android.

So, without any further delay here is a short message from Community Manager for The Elder Scrolls: Legends Christian Van Hoose to explain the Daedric Titan card.

Daedric Titan is a powerful five-cost creature that can hold its own against both Aggro decks and Control decks. Usually, a four-health creature for five magicka would be a bit problematic, as commonly-played removal actions like Lightning Bolt would be able to easily dispatch of it – not the case with Daedric Titan! As long as you have another creature in each lane, the Titan can’t be targeted by your opponent’s actions, so your opponent is going to have to deal with it the hard way: with their creatures. If you can keep it protected, they’ll have to clear out your other creatures before being able to target it. Additionally, the Drain keyword will allow you to gain valuable health against aggressive decks, so even your Aggro opponents will have to find a way to deal with the Titan.

 

We would like to thank Christian Van Hoose and everyone working on The Elder Scrolls: Legends for giving us the opportunity to reveal this badass looking card. If you haven’t played The Elder Scrolls: Legends yet what are you waiting for? The base game is entirely free to play. If you preorder Alliance War ($49.99) you will receive 50 card packs, an Alliance War Legendary card, plus the exclusive Warmonger title and premium card back which will be available once the expansion goes live.

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Skyforge New Horizons Expansion Launches Today

Today is the day Skyforge New Horizons, the free expansion, for the game releases. For the first time ever in Skyforge an expansion will take players to an entirely new planet, Terra. Terra is a world of ruined, overgrown cities with lush jungles and lifeless wastelands. Here players will encounter dangerous wildlife and an all-new race.

The expansion begins when scouting drones intercept messages in an unknown language. Later the drones capture strange-looking ships with advanced technology. Looking at the world it would appear that some sort of advanced warfare is taking place there as air pollution levels in some areas exceed safe limits many times over.

When players arrive on Terra they will find that the world is shaped by their actions and a new mechanic called Programs will help change the world around them. By upgrading programs researchers back on the home planet can do more research in particular areas and change how it appears. Doing this will unlock story chapters, special missions, and amazing rewards waiting to be uncovered.

To get the servers ready for New Horizons the game will be taken offline today for four hours, from 4 AM PST to 8 AM. If you’re looking for something to do while the servers are down you might be interested in giving the patch notes a look. They’re quite light on the details of the expansion, but they do offer some updates for specific classes as well as the Battle Royale mode.

Today is only the release of New Horizons on PC, it will be available for Playstation 4 tomorrow, on April 10th, and on Xbox One on April 11th. The expansion is free, however, there is a collector’s edition available for €/$ 24.99. The collector’s edition includes 14 days of premium subscription, 500,000 credits, and the Universe Conqueror Halo and Armor, along with a few other useful items.

 

Source: Press Release

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Path of Exile Synthesis Revealed

Things have never been better for Path of Exile. December’s Betrayal launch was their biggest in the 6 years the game has been live. In 3.5.0 they recorded more than 180,000 concurrent users at peak. Compare this to 2.3.0 when they had a peak of over 40,000. With this kind of a boost, it shouldn’t come as a surprise at all that more content is coming to Path of Exile, this time in the form of Path of Exile Synthesis.

So what can you expect to find in Synthesis? Well to begin with there is the Synthesis Challenge League. In these league players will create new characters and play under a completely new set of rules. The word synthesis, in this case, refers to the fabrication of two things, in particular, world area and items. In the league, the idea is to find the best items and clear the high content first. The developers have warned that this expansion does have a slight bias towards existing players, but, new players will still find it accessible as well.

Path of Exile Synthesis

Players will meet a new NPC who introduces himself as Cavas (the Latin word for Hollow). He’s a spirit who has forgotten all of his memories. But, it is clear that he played an important role in Wraeclast’s history so players will pledge to help him return his memories. Players will encounter memory fragments as they play and have to stabilize them to restore Cavas’ identity. This is a moderately story heavy league, something the developers were keen to return to after players enjoyed it so much in Betrayal.

In the Synthesis league, every world area has a portal that leads to a memory. As you get close Cavas will approach you and open the portal for you to enter. Once inside you’re taken to an area that is full of monsters and rapidly decaying. While in there your goal is to tag 2-4 memory stabilizers before the area decays completely. If you’re successful at stabilizing the memory you’ll be given a memory fragment for later use. The number of connection points on the fragment represents how many stabilizers there were in the level.

At a certain point in the gameplay, Cavas will lead you to the Memory Nexus, an area that is floating in the sea of his memories. There he shows you that you can view nearby memories on the memory map as well as place memory fragments there. The fragments need to be placed on the board carefully to create a path so the memories can be reached in a single run. Some care is needed when placing memory fragments as they can only connect at connection points. Once you’ve placed a memory it only has a certain number of runs before it too decays. Memories that have decayed completely can be replaced with similar pieces later. Memory fragments also have mods on them that are applied to monsters in the area. While generally, they won’t make an area too difficult, there are some that will give you pause as they make things considerably more challenging. For highly experienced players there is also the global mod system which will stack together the longer your chains of memories get.

In addition to the reward memories, there will also be some advanced rewards in the form of Fractured and Synthesized Items. Fractured items can only be found within memories that are damaged due to decay. While Fractured Items themselves do have some downsides, like some of their properties being stuck in place it is still important to collect them for use in Synthesized Items.

To create a Synthesized Item you must travel to the Memory Nexus and interact with the Synthesiser. To use it you must insert 3 Fractured Items of the same class, for instance, 3 fractured rings. These are consumed to create a Synthesized Item with random implicit mods.

Path of Exile Synthesis

Two new character archetypes are also going to be introduced, Chaos Spellcaster and Holy Spellcaster. The Chaos Spellcaster is a promoted archetype that uses a variety of new and existing Chaos damage spells. One new skill is Soulrend which fires a slow-moving homing projectile that causes Chaos damage over time on things near it. While most Chaos spells require the use of multiple spells in combinations Soulrend is as the developers call it a “one-stop Chaos shop” and fills the hole of being a good introductory Chaos damage skill.

The second new archetype is the Holy Spellcaster, an archetype that..you guessed it, uses Holy spells. Mechanically speaking the skills are a mixture of elemental and physical damage. This is the first time Holy spells make an appearance in the game. The new skill the developers highlighted for Holy Spellcaster is Divine Ire, a channeling skill that damages nearby enemies as it charges up. The more enemies that are nearby the faster it charges, so getting right in the thick of things is encouraged. Once it’s charged a very large Holy blast is released in the direction you’re targeting. This skill can be a bit challenging to use as it does require being close to enemies to properly use. But, once you’ve mastered it you’ll find yourself having a blast. (Pun intended.)

Path of Exile Synthesis

Path of Exile Synthesis will introduce 16 new unique items to the game that will have interesting effects and change how people play Path of Exile. One such item is the Eternity Shroud. When the player is hit the Eternity Shroud will trigger the Glimpse of Eternity skill, a new skill that was created just for the Eternity Shroud. Glimpse of Eternity will create a time dilation bubble around you that will slow down the action speed of enemies making it much safer for you to be surrounded by them. Of course, there is always the risk of the time dilation bubble dropping before you manage to kill them all. But, that is just a risk you’ll have to take.

Path of Exile Synthesis

Path of Exile Synthesis is launching on PC on March 8th, Xbox One on March 11th, and PS4 sometime in Mid-March. Just like in 2018 the development team is planning on following a 13-week release schedule which means you can expect content March (Synthesis), June, September, and December. Plus this year will be the first-ever ExileCon in Auckland, New Zealand which is being held in November. There players will be able to experience the 3.9 expansion as well as next year’s mega-expansion 4.0.

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Sneak Peek at Eternal: Defiance Cards

We’ve teamed up with Dire Wolf Digital to reveal 4 of all new Eternal: Defiance cards from their exciting CCG’s newest expansion which drops this week. Below are just 4 of the 278 new cards that are being introduced to the game. Plus, after the cards there’s more on the new Pledge system which is also being introduced in the expansion.

As you can see, most notably on Syl there is the new mechanic called Pledge. Quite simply Pledge cards can be played as a sigil during a player’s first turn. This gives them unique flexibility based on the amount of power vs non-power cards in-hand. If you’re interested in learning even more about how this new system works Dire Wolf has made a blog post about it and given real, in-game examples of how it will work.

Eternal has had a very busy month so far. They’ve already launched on Steam and Xbox One. They also launched their esports program with a $5,000 cash tournament that will ultimately lead to a $100,000 World Championship.

If you haven’t already checked out Eternal you can do so on Steam, iOS, Android, and Xbox One. It is a free to play turn based strategy card game that boasts unlimited choices and infinite possibilities.

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Revelation Online MOBA Game Mode Released

In a time when every other studio is looking at how to either get on the Battle Royale bandwagon or the Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality bandwagon My.com, the makers of Revelation Online have decided to go back a couple of trends with a Revelation Online MOBA game mode.

The game mode is a competitive 5v5 mode in which players can pick from a variety of iconic NPC heroes from Revelation Online. It has the tradition 3 lane setup that MOBA veterans will all be very familiar with. Destroying the enemy team’s crystal is the ultimate goal of the game, though of course getting rewards is pretty sweet too.

These days you don’t see many new MOBAs being released. During their height of popularity, you couldn’t go a day without a new one being announced. Sadly, most MOBAs didn’t live very long before they were shut down due to low population. EA’s Dawngate was perhaps one of the most famous to shut down during that time. Since the end of the boom though you don’t see MOBAs mentioned all that often anymore. So seeing that Revelation Online has a MOBA mode now was certainly a surprise. Was it something they had started planning back when the genre was at the height of its popularity? Maybe they’re hoping to grab people who are unsatisfied with the current MOBA options. Or maybe the devs just thought it would be a fun addition to the game. Whichever the case may be we’re now seeing the fruits of their labor and what a surprise it is.

The MOBA game mode was released as part of Revelation Online’s Mythical Conflict expansion which focuses entirely on this new mode and is now live. If you’re interested in seeing the new mode in action check out the trailer below.

 

Source: Press Release

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FFXIV Prepares for Blue Mage and Shadowbringers with 4.5

The Final Fantasy Fan Festival provided a whole lot of things for Final Fantasy XIV players to get excited about, and a lot of that excitement is coming early with FFXIV patch 4.5, which will not only introduce a new Job ahead of time but will also lay the groundwork for the upcoming Shadowbringers expansion.

ffxiv patch 4.5

According to details revealed during the Live Letter held at the Fan Festival, Blue Mage will be a “limited” class restricted to a cap of level 50 and unable to enter normal content queues. However, it will also have a variety of entirely unique and extremely powerful skills for a distinct solo experience. Blue Mages will even get their own queue known as The Masked Carnivale, which provides additional challenges once their Blue Mage is at level 50. Players can still form groups themselves if they so wish, however.

In addition to the Blue Mage’s arrival, patch 4.5 will bring on another series of Main Scenario Quests; further Hildibrand adventures, wrap up the Four Lords content; add the third chapter in the Return to Ivalice raids; and introduce other content and quality-of-life features like the ability to travel between servers on the same data center via Aetheryte.

Patch 4.5 will be released in two parts, with part 1 due in January of 2019. As for the Shadowbringers expansion, that comes in Summer of 2019, bringing more new Jobs, a new race and a whole lot more. A teaser site for Shadowbringers is currently online, while a video showcasing the Blue Mage in action is below.

Our Thoughts

Now THIS is how you host an event for the fans (cough cough). Final Fantasy XIV’s upcoming content is definitely exciting, and we’ve still got another two Fan Festivals in Paris and Japan coming down the line, so we expect the Shadowbringers reveals to get even more impressive.

Source: press release

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Otherland MMO Rebranded to Otherland: Next with New Expansion

Otherland, the MMO based on the famous Tad Williams book series is being rebranded as Otherland: Next. This rebranding is coming with the previously announced Fire Isle expansion which will introduce 90 new quests, legendary quests, a UI overhaul and much more.

Players will also get an exclusive sneak peek at the first third of Tad William’s upcoming novella “The Deathless Prince and the Peach Maiden” by completing a special quest. This special quest will be introduced to the game sometime after the launch of the expansion. The first 10 players to complete the quest will be eligible to play a role in Tad Williams’ next Otherland novella. Players are advised that if they want to take part in this exclusive competition they should follow the Otherland Facebook page where more information, including the starting date, will be announced.

The Fire Isle expansion will introduce the 5Isle region which is based on Chinese mythology. Players will meet up with SweetieCheng who they have previously encountered as they explore their way through a war-torn region that is engulfed in a terrible civil war. The expansion also introduces a social class that works like a secondary game mode. Players who chose the social class will skip the tutorial and head straight into Lambda Mall where they can interact, change their appearance, and enjoy the social hub. If players want to explore the rest of what the game has to offer they can unlock their character for a normal experience or create a brand new character.

Otherland: Next also focuses on improving server and connection performance by switching the system from UDP to TCP. The overhauled UI system will be introduced shortly after the expansion launches. Otherland: Next and Fire Isle are in fact available now so load up Otherland and jump right in to check it all out.

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