Blizzard Wins the Overwatch Copyright Lawsuit in China

Blizzard wins the Overwatch copyright lawsuit in China, surprising everyone in the MMOGames office. China doesn’t exactly have the best history when it comes to copyright lawsuits and western game companies. This time though NetEase was also involved and they are the publishers of Overwatch in China.

Overwatch BCRF Charity Event - Pink Mercy

The lawsuit was against publisher 4399 Network who they originally sued in 2017 over their MOBA Heroes of Warfare. However, the article from Shanghai publication Shine states that the majority of NetEase and Blizzard’s compensation was for Clash of Fighters, which is quite likely the same game. In all 4 million yuan ($569,000) was awarded. 500,000 of that 4 million yuan was for Gunplay Battlefield, a game that has been offline since 2017. In fact, that is why a lesser amount was agreed upon.

Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture for a moment. Blizzard and NetEase’s win doesn’t signal a shift in copyright enforcement in China when foreign creators are involved. What this shows is how important it is to have a local publisher when operating in China. That is most likely why this lawsuit was successful when so many in the past haven’t been.

 

Source: Shine via Games Industry

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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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Breaking up with Blizzard? Here are 36 Games to Replace your Library

Blizzard means something different to everyone. For some it could mean a war between orcs and humans carried out from a bird’s eye view, and for others it could be an intergalactic battle between the humans and the Zerg. Still for other players it might be the magical adventures of sword and sorcery curated by the World of Warcraft team. Maybe you recently got into Blizzard games and found them appealing, or maybe they’ve been a constant for the entirety of your life.

I remember my first foray into one of Blizzard’s universes; it was a CDROM version of Starcraft that I purchased at Best Buy and installed on a junk PowerMac that I dug out of the wreckage of an abandoned school. No, I’m not joking, my childhood was weird. Those were some great memories but I have to admit, things have soured over the years. Apart from subpar expansions to World of Warcraft, Blizzard has rocked the political stage and alienated many players by banning player Blitzchung from Hearthstone and revoking thousands of dollars in prize money over his pro-Hong Kong statements.

Where there are some who fall on the other side of the issue, many agree that this is a threat to free speech and a condemnation of Hong Kong’s people by Blizzard. Whether or not Blizzard meant it that way, it chose money over people, and chose to quash free speech. I’m not sure if an apology will even dig them out of the hole they’ve dug themselves but that does leave an interesting question: where are players going to go if they leave Blizzard and Battle.net behind? How are they going to get their hack and slash fix? What world will they move on to after Azeroth? Here’s some great news: we’re not living in 1996 anymore; we have access to a massive library of games, many of which are just as good or even better than the digital buffet that Blizzard has served up over the years. In this article we take a look at some of the options and explore just where you might go on your next digital adventure.

Diablo

1996 was a decent year for video gaming, especially given everyone’s favorite Hack N’ Slash, Diablo hit PC’s, Macs, and eventually the Playstation. It featured a beautiful dungeon crawling experience that allowed you to play through many of the same elements that you’d encounter in D&D without forcing you to move along at a crawl in order to gain the most miniscule amount of experience. Quite frankly, it’s a great game to come home to after work. The years were pretty good to Diablo; while the first installment featured only a multi-level dungeon and town, the second included more of an overworld, with the third finally bringing us an expansive world to explore and multiple dungeons combined with an epic storyline. Most importantly, like all Blizzard games, it features multiplayer whether you want to travel through the dungeons with a friend or go head to head in multiplayer. Diablo is a great series, but if you’re looking to ditch Blizzard for good, there are some decent alternatives out there that will scratch the itch.

Fate

For a game released by Wild Tangent in 2005, it certainly has picked up some steam. With three sequels and randomly generated dungeons, Fate is much closer to the original Diablo concept than some of the others on this list. There are some off-putting elements, the first being that the game is a bit cartoony. If you can get past that however, you have a great Diablo clone that allows you to descend infinite floors, at least until you get bored of it. Fate differs from Diablo in a few ways, the most important being that you now have a pet that will fight alongside you, and will carry items back to town for sale.

 

 

Multiplayer: No
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/246840/FATE/

Torchlight

This game is very similar to Fate, though the first multi-level dungeon in the game is not randomly generated. There is a campaign with a decent but highly predictable storyline and only 30’ish main dungeon floors. Once you beat the game you will be able to unlock a randomly generated dungeon, giving you the ability to play and replay as much as you like. Just as with Fate, Torchlight features a pet system with the same functionality. i.e., sending the pet back to town for item sales, and fish that will transform it into different types of monsters. Torchlight II changes it up to create a game more dependent upon the overworld and plays more like an isometric World of Warcraft with the quests visible on the right pane rather than in a Quest Journal that you need to pull up every single time. The interface for Torchlight 2 is more streamlined and will remind you a bit more of Diablo III rather than the previous installments in Blizzard’s series. In addition to having a more expansive world, Torchlight II improves on the inventory systems by giving you more slots and storing consumables in a different tab.

 

Multiplayer: Torchlight 2, LAN, Internet
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/41500/Torchlight/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/200710/Torchlight_II/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight_ii

Titan Quest

If the open world Hack and Slash model calls to you, then Titan Quest is probably what you’re looking for. Released in 2006 it’s a little older, but it does feature a vast world that is based upon Greek mythology. While it is old, it has been re-released as Titan Quest Anniversary on Steam with new expansions currently being released. For mobile users, a mere $7.99 can get you a version for your tablet, phone, or even your Chromebook.

Mutiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/475150/Titan_Quest_Anniversary_Edition/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/titan_quest_anniversary_edition
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dotemu.titanquest&hl=en_US

Sacred

The original Sacred is a 2D open world Hack and Slash RPG with brings it closer to Diablo III, but really makes it a hybrid of Diablo and Diablo III. It takes place in the world of Ancaria and features multiple questlines. The start of the game will depend on the character class you choose, for example the Gladiator begins in an arena and is forced to fight for his freedom while other classes may simply start in town. Like Diablo, Sacred features hordes of monsters and tons of abilities to help you explore Ancaria in the most violent way possible. Sacred 2 continues the tradition and Sacred 3 takes it into an unexpected nosedive from which the franchise will never recover.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/12320/Sacred_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/225640/Sacred_2_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/247950/Sacred_3/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_2_gold

Grim Dawn

Like Diablo III, Grim Dawn is a dark fantasy Hack and Slash game with fast paced action and a crafting system much like in the original DOTA mod. The story takes place in the world of Cairn where humanity is on the brink of extinction and the story itself is much more involved than Torchlight. It is often compared to Titan Quest but it improves on it in many ways with better physics and even a dismemberment system, allowing you to specify just how you want your enemies to die. Grim Dawn does feature factions, meaning you’ll have far more to worry about than hacking through thousands of monsters, though that’s always going to be a defining part of these games.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/219990/Grim_Dawn/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/grim_dawn

 

Path of Exile

Released around the same time as Diablo III in 2013, Path of Exile strives to recreate the general awesomeness of hack and slash games while rejecting some of the poorer decisions made by the Diablo III developers. A full featured online game, it is completely free and allows you to team up with your friends to discover the secrets of Wraeclast. The story for the game is intriguing in that you are an exile sent to live out your days on the continent of Wraeclast where the entirety of the game takes place. The game spans three platforms, PC, XBOX One, and Playstation 4, making it a great experience no matter which side of the console war you come down on.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/238960/Path_of_Exile/

 

Kingsroad

Okay, admittedly it’s odd to include a browser game on here, but why not? Kingsroad was released in 2013 and it’s very much a Diablo style game. I played it on Facebook initially but these days it plays on an external site and it can even be downloaded for mobile. Most importantly, it includes multiplayer and even a clan system, making for a more dynamic experience than most browser games. If you have an itch to scratch and need a low spec multiplayer experience, Kingsroad is the way to go.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Play It:
Browser: https://www.rumblegames.com/kingsroad
Mobile: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rumbleentertainment.kingsroad&hl=en_US

Starcraft

Real Time Strategy games were nothing new in 1998, but with Starcraft Blizzard really managed to redefine the genre. The game was released for PC, Mac, and even Nintendo 64, making it one of the only console RTS games available. Alongside Command and Conquer 64, it really was a giant in its day. Unlike C&C however, Starcraft was still a 2D game. On the surface it appears to be extremely simple, but it is complex enough to have lasted through several decades and has been used as the foundation for countless video game tournaments. As one of the most popular games in South Korea and the world over, it is no surprise that it received a sequel that easily rode upon the success of the original. But, even if you have enjoyed the game over the years, where do you go next?

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

Released in 2004 and based on the Games Workshop tabletop universe, this game featured multiple expansions and in the beginning, Starcraft itself was slated to be a Warhammer game anyway. Set in a dark future, you can choose from multiple factions including the technologically advanced Eldar, the deeply religious space marines, the forces of Chaos, or even the near-invincible orcs. All the entries in this franchise feature the unit building that you came to love in Starcraft, but it also features a morale system and a terrain system that can completely change the outcome of a match if they are not properly taken advantage of. Dawn of War and its expansions mirror Starcraft in many ways, but Dawn of War II tends to take the path of a MOBA with limited building construction options and a focus on smaller squad incursions.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/4570/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/15620/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/285190/Warhammer_40000_Dawn_of_War_III/

 

Supreme Commander

This is considered the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation and TA: Kingdoms, featuring a larger scale battlefield and the ability to deploy thousands of units. The combat is faster, the strategy more complex, and the multiplayer amazing. It throws out the resource rules of other real time strategy games by limiting you to two: Power and Mass. Mass is extracted from the ground while power is generated from a number of different sources. Typical power plants serve as a good start but you will move on to geothermal plants and other options that will serve to help you expand your base. The centers around the ‘Commander’ who serves as a mobile base, capable of creating basic structures. From there you will create more advanced structures and units, eventually moving forward to attack your opponent. The nature of the resource system forces you to keep a careful balance between Power and Mass, forcing you to think ahead and carefully consider the placement of each building. It’s a thinking person’s game but deeply rewarding.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9350/Supreme_Commander/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40100/Supreme_Commander_2/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9420/Supreme_Commander_Forged_Alliance/

Planetary Annihilation

If this game looks similar to Supreme Commander and TA, you aren’t imagining things. It was designed by some of the same team members who worked on both and it completely expands the gameplay presented by Supreme Commander. Rather than focusing on a single battlefield, the game allows you to develop multiple plants and engage in interplanetary warfare. You can even destroy the celestial bodies that your enemies inhabit if you don’t want to fight them on the ground. It’s a far more advanced version of Supreme Commander and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/386070/Planetary_Annihilation_TITANS/

 

Act of Aggression

Real Time Strategy games have grown more and more complex over the years and one of the reasons players loved Starcraft 2 was its ability to be fresh while staying true to its roots. Granted, games like RUSE and Wargame are fun, but sometimes it’s good to return to the source. Act of Aggression is considered to be the spiritual successor to Act of War and combines classic RTS gameplay with modern graphics and multiplayer functionality. If you’re pining for the good old days but want a veritable feast for the senses, you have to pick up Act of Aggression.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/318020/Act_of_Aggression__Reboot_Edition/?l=latam&t=1441522800

Command and Conquer

The original C&C was released in 1995, long before Westwood Studios made complete fools of themselves and were subjected to an EA takeover. The first installment, later to be known as C&C Gold was a monumental success following Dune and Dune 2. It featured simplistic gameplay that was revolutionary for the time and found itself leaping onto several consoles. Most notably, it was ported to the Nintendo 64 where it became the very first 3D iteration of Command and Conquer, even preceding Generals itself. There have been multiple sequels spanning three different universes, but today you may want to check out either C&C 3 or C&C 4. In my opinion, 3 is one of the better options if you want to relive the glory days and get as close to Starcraft as possible. C&C 4 features a mobile base and works okay if you just pretend it’s not a C&C game.

Multiplayer: LAN

Buy It:

Origin: https://www.origin.com/usa/en-us/store/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-the-ultimate-collection

Company of Heroes

If you like your RTS to have a World War II theme, then this might just be right up your alley. The game runs on the same engine as Dawn of War and uses many of the same resource gathering techniques. Fuel, for example, can be harvested from what would otherwise be requisition points. Thanks to the physics of the DOW engine, you can expect to see an extremely gritty representation of World War II combat including advanced vehicle destruction, terrain usage, and much more. Company of Heroes 2 is a bit different in its base construction but still fun if you want to check it out.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/228200/Company_of_Heroes/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/231430/

Halo Wars

First released in 2009, Halo Wars has finally made the long journey from the XBOX 360 in the form of Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Halo Wars serves as a prequel to the original FPS series and allows you to duke it out with the covenant from a bird’s eye view. The base building is tight, but the ground combat is a lot of fun and kind of has the Starcraft vibe you might be looking for. If you want to take it even further then you might have a look at Halo Wars 2 which is available on the Microsoft Store right now.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/459220/Halo_Wars_Definitive_Edition/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-definitive-edition/9nblggh52xvl
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-2-standard-edition/c42kcjclx6mx

8 Bit Armies/8-Bit Hordes

Following the success of Star Wars: Empire at War and the absolute flop of Universe at War, Petroglyph, formed from the ashes of Westwood Studios released 8-Bit Armies which has a sort of ‘Lego’ feel to it. It’s a very basic RTS but it has one very important thing going for it: it brings back the feel of the classic Command and Conquer without the burden of a story. This game exists for skirmish and multiplayer, and if you want, you can also purchase 8-Bit Hordes to add a bit of sorcery to your military RTS. If you want to be spoon fed a raw RTS experience that will awaken the nostalgia centers of your brain, then here you are.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/427250/8Bit_Armies/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/497850/8Bit_Hordes/

Warcraft

in 1994 Blizzard threw its hat into the RTS arena bringing us a game that would define many lives over the years. Eventually, the franchise morphed into the 3D: Reign of Chaos, and of course the famous World of Warcraft, but that’s another story. What’s important here is that you find something to give you that Warcraft fix. We have five great games here that will whet the appetite and give you that medieval experience.

Age of Empires

The original Age of Empires came out in 1997 alongside many other amazing RTS games and it was quickly followed by Age of Empires 2 which improved on it in every way possible. Tech upgrades in Age of Empires 1, 2, and 3 are dependent upon you progressing through ‘ages’. To simplify this, in AOE 2 you start in the Dark Ages, progress to the Feudal Age, and eventually the Imperial Age. Each age brings new technologies and new building designs which can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. While Age of Empires III does feature great online connectivity, AOE 1 and 2 have recently been remastered on the Microsoft Store and Steam. If you want to go back in time at optimal resolution, now would be the time.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1017900/Age_of_Empires_Definitive_Edition/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/221380/Age_of_Empires_II_2013/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-definitive-edition/9njwtjsvgvlj
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-ii-definitive-edition/9njdd0jgpp2q

Stronghold

Firefly Studios brought us Stronghold in 1997 and along with its sequels, it brings us far more than an RTS. The game gives you the classic birds eye view of combat, but there are also many castle building elements. If you have ever wanted to design your own kingdom, this definitely gives you the chance but there are many other resources that you will need to manage. The building of troops for example requires blacksmithing and leatherworking. Fletching is also required if you want to build archers. Stronghold Crusader 2 takes the burden off of you to an extent by allowing you to recruit mercenaries rather than making you harvest the raw materials yourself. Each of these games features a robust single player campaign, among which Stronghold 2 was my favorite.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40950/Stronghold_HD/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/901735/The_Stronghold_Collection/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/47400/Stronghold_3_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/232890/Stronghold_Crusader_2/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader_2

Empire Earth

From 2001 to 2007 the Empire Earth franchise has provided us sufficient carnage and empire building in the medieval era. It is similar to many medieval RTS games of the era but it has two hooks:

-Advancement from the Dark Ages to the Nanotech Age
-Space Battles

Another thing I absolutely love about Empire Earth is the use of Priests which are similar to the monks from Age of Empires. The difference between them is that priests are always extremists of a sort and capable of literally bringing down plagues or volcanos upon the enemy. As you progress through the ages the priest takes on different forms, eventually becoming a homeless fanatic wearing a cardboard sign stating: ‘The End is Near’. Empire Earth is a unique take on a tried and true genre and one you want in your library.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_gold_edition
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_2_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_3

Spellforce

The first entry to the Spellforce series came in 2003 and the latest in 2017. Under the guidance of JoWood and THQ Nordic, Spellforce has brought us an experience more like Warcraft 3 than anything else. The game centers around heroes that you directly control, though you can use WSAD and zoom all the way to ground level if you wish. Once you finish character centric quests you return to a birds eye view and the game turns into a standard RTS. The direct control element makes it unique and you can continue to take control of those characters during the RTS portions. There is nothing quite like being able to explore the town you build on foot, and it’s something you would never find in Warcraft.

Multiplayer: Yes

Buy It:

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39540/SpellForce__Platinum_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39550/SpellForce_2__Anniversary_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/311290/SpellForce_3/

Overwatch

For FPS players the world over, Overwatch has been the center of attention for several years and with good reason. Like a few other games in the genre it breaks the typical shooter mold by introducing classes, each of which have their own unique purpose on the battlefield. The thirty characters in the roster all featured their own backstories, some of which have drawn controversy over the years. Overwatch set itself apart from other shooters by requiring teamwork and forging friendships. Competitive and casual gamers alike have been enjoying the game, but now that many are stepping away from Blizzard, there are still a few other class based shooters to turn to.

Paladins

Paladins is a free to play team-based shooter from 2018 that brings some serious magic to the table. Overall, the game is skill based but your characters can be augmented with cards and other upgrades that change the way they traverse the battlefield and perform. If I had to describe it, I would call it a steampunk fantasy game. The game can be downloaded for free via Steam or Discord as well as other platforms including the PS3, Switch, and XBOX One. With frequent updates, it’s going to keep you interested for years. Plus, as a free game, it requires zero commitment on your part.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://www.paladins.com/play-for-free

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress started out in 1996 as a mods for Quake, but in 1999 it was released as a standalone product titled ‘Team Fortress Classic’. Finally, Team Fortress 2 was released and while it was once a buy to play game, it is now entirely free and brings a lot to the table. Like Overwatch it features several character classes including a sniper, the Heavy, Medic, and Spy. The game appears simple on the surface but each character brings different abilities that will hinder the enemy in varying ways. Getting to know the functions of each class will be vital to procuring victory for your team, but don’t expect to be an expert right out of the gate. The game is available via Steam, as would be expected from Valve.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/440/Team_Fortress_2/

Dirty Bomb

You may remember this game as ‘Extraction’. Renamed to ‘Dirty Bomb’, this game is a free to play multiplayer shooter set against the backdrop of London following a radiological attack. Of all the shooters I mention, this is the most modern looking and probably one of the prettiest. It has more of a modern vibe and 23 different classes to choose from once you unlock them. No matter which you have unlocked, they will fall into a specific category which will include: Objective Specialist, Fire Support, Medic, Assault, or Recon.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/333930/Dirty_Bomb/

 

Heroes of the Storm

Everyone like HoTS because it took the best characters and settings from the Blizzard game franchise and turned them into an online arena. If you’re not too overly attached to Blizzard at this point however, then you probably won’t mind playing with some other heroes. There are three great MOBAS listed here that you can use to easily replace your HoTS addiction, starting with the tried and true League of Legends.

League of Legends

This 2009 game wasn’t the first MOBA by far; it followed Demigod and DOTA but somehow launched the genre to even greater heights. League of Legends has long stood beside DOTA and DOTA 2 as a competitive title for tournaments and more. If features a slew of heroes including many free ones, which allows free players to fully enjoy the game. If you have the extra cash to burn you can invest in different heroes and skins, making it a more customized experience. The game itself has been considered toxic, especially as far as chat is concerned, but players above a certain level are allowed to participate in a tribunal which gives it some self-policing.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://signup.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/a2/signup/redownload?page_referrer=index

Smite

This is a bit of a different take on the MOBA franchise in that it is not presented in an isometric view. Instead, 2014’s ‘Smite’ brings you the action from a third person perspective while allowing oyu to select among a roster of 106 characters. Each character will belong to one of the fourteen pantheons including: Arthurian, Celtic, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan, Norse, Polynesian, Roman, Slavic, Voodoo, and Yoruba. While the goal of the game is certainly to eliminate the enemy team, you will need to traverse the ‘jungle’ in between which is teeming with computer controlled monsters. Cyclops and Furies will make their play on you and keep you from progressing if you do not work as a team. Killing these monsters brings a substantial reward in the form of buffs that can be picked up by the player and used against the opposing team. The third person perspective of the game changes it as a MOBA entirely as fighting from ground level is an entirely different situation. Try something different; you might just like it.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://www.smitegame.com/download/

 

Hearthstone

Competitive online card games have always been a thing. This trend even started offline with the likes of Pokemon and Magic the Gathering. In the online world, one of the original collectable trading card games happened to be Legends of Norrath which was an intrinsic part of both Everquest and Everquest 2. Hearthstone was much the same, originally titled ‘Heroes of Warcraft’. Today it is both a highly popular CCG and an enemy of democracy, so where do you turn when you want to get competitive online?

Elder Scrolls Legends

If you like The Elder Scrolls then you’re in luck: Legends is a competitive card game set entirely in-universe. You have the opportunity to build a deck comprised of allies from all over the continent and you will get to embark on extensive campaign, all teeming with lore. You do, of course, get to take on other players which makes it even more fun. As a multiplatform game it can be enjoyed on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Macintosh operating systems.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/364470/The_Elder_Scrolls_Legends/
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bethsoft.theelderscrollslegends&hl=en_US
Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/the-elder-scrolls-legends-ccg/id1084019358

Magic the Gathering: Arena

Do you remember Magic the Gathering from your days in elementary school? You may have been one of those kids who had a massive portfolio of cards that you played with at recess. Then again, you might have been one of those kids all ticked off that your parents wouldn’t let you buy a deck. Don’t worry: you can play now. Arena is probably the third online iteration of the game and while it’s not available on mobile as of yet, you can play it on Mac OS and Windows.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://magic.wizards.com/en/mtgarena

Shadowverse

If you want to jump into some new territory and play it on your mobile, then why not give Shadowverse a try? This is an anime themed CCG published by Gygames, and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular in Japan. In 2017 the game made its way to the United States and we’ve seen it released on multiple platforms including Windows PC. If you played the developer’s previous game, Rage of Bahamut then you might recognize some of the assets but that doesn’t take away from the fun in the least. As someone looking to split with Blizzard, a fresh start is always welcome, and Shadowverse may be a game unconnected to any franchises you currently know.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/453480/Shadowverse_CCG/
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cygames.Shadowverse&hl=en_US
iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shadowverse-ccg/id1091512762

 

World of Warcraft

We’re finally approaching the elephant in the room; the one that nearly everyone has at least dabbled in during the course of their lives. WoW has had an insurmountable impact on the gaming world, insomuch that even if you aren’t a gamer, you’ve heard of it. Celebrities and mortals alike have entered the world of Azeroth and fought against the Murlocks, cleared out the infested gold mines, and walked through the Dark Portal. The memories that have been forged in the town of Goldshire and the Horde lands beyond can never be replaced whether they are fresh in your mind from the last few years, or an intrinsic part of your childhood, but if it’s time to leave, then you have a few places you can land. There are plenty of MMORPG’s out there but we’ve handpicked a few that you might want to look at.

Final Fantasy XIV

Many who flee from the world of Azeroth often find themselves on the shores of Eozrea and it’s not a bad alternative if you can handle an MMO on rails. The game itself is amazing but one of the problems I’ve always had with it is that the content is locked behind story. In WoW you can travel wherever you please as long as you can handle the mobs, but in FFXIV you need to finish the main quest to progress through the world. That’s a little irritating for those who want to run around in a pseudo sandbox but it doesn’t take away from what the game is meant to be. It’s designed to be an engaging story with the ability to bring your friends along, and that’s exactly what it is. Though it’s from 2010 the game is beautiful, plays well, has multiple expansions, and dungeons that are second to none. To top all that off, it’s cross platform. Now, the problem with the cross platform play is that everything is platform specific, so if you purchase the game or an expansion on one platform you have to buy it on another. This also applies to the Steam and PC versions – if you buy an expansion as a standalone, not on Steam, then you cannot use the key on steam. Try not to make mistakes with purchases, but do enjoy the game!

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39210/
Home Page: https://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 takes us pretty far away from the original and into a world where the Charr have overtaken Ascalon and the majority of humans live in Divinity’s reach and the outlying settlements. The world is expansive and there are many beautiful environments to traverse as you progress through the main storyline. One of the most interesting features is the exclusion of a traditional quest system; the only thing even roughly similar to it is the personal story that carries you through a winding campaign, first culminating in the death of the elder dragon, Zhaitan, and then moving into a jungle based expansion. The game is action heavy and features an extensive crafting system that will satisfy every player looking to take a break from the combat. The game is more action heavy than WoW and it is driven by world events that include boss monsters and NPC driven gathering quests that will keep you busy for some time. With new content coming out regularly, it’s unlikely that the game will wind down anytime soon.

Guild Wars 2 - Ley line anomalies

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://welcome.guildwars2.com/en/play-for-free

Rift

In 2011 Rift was created to compete with World of Warcraft and while it fell flat on many fronts there is still quite a bit to like about it. Particularly, if you are a WoW player looking for a similar experience then Rift is extremely alike in controls and combat. The class system is also a little more complicated and gives you far more to play with than WoW ever did, so get ready to create a custom character. My biggest complaint about Rift is that the world itself isn’t very convincing; many of the major cities are simply buildings or platforms with NPC’s standing around offering services; it is in no way as immersive as WoW, so keep that in mind going in. As a free game today, much of it seems to be locked behind a paywall unless you want to pay the monthly fee, but it kind of looks like a used car lot if you don’t want to fork any money over.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get it:
Glyph: https://www.trionworlds.com/rift/en/

Elder Scrolls Online

Set a thousand years before the Elder Scrolls universe as we know it, TESO shows us a Tamriel where Vivec City is still under construction and one where we can finally see the entire continent in all its glory. Do you want to cross the border from Morrowind into Vvardenfell? Actually, do you want to see mainland Morrowind for the first time? Activision finally made it possible and the game is worth checking out. The housing options are superb and some of the storylines are extremely deep. If you aren’t familiar with the TES style of storytelling then you might be in for a bit of a shock as you realize just how much darker this MMO is from WoW, Guild Wars 2, or pretty much any other out there. Still, it’s well worth the price of entry and there is plenty of more content to come.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Home Page: https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/freeplay

Archeage

This 2014 title from Trion brings with it many of the elements that made up classic MMORPGs including the action bar system but it also turns the entire thing into a sandbox. The premise of archeage is to create a world where every single person matters, with their contributions to the world being more than significant. A blacksmith for example could forge the swords used by the largest guilds in the game to defeat the latest raid boss, but you could also become a real estate mogul if you’re into that sort of thing. The game came out a while ago but if you want to start fresh then you might want to have a look at Archeage unchained, the new Buy to Play version of the game that forces everyone to start fresh and removes the pay wall that had previously inhibited many players. Starting at just $25, Archage Unchained is a great gateway into the remastered version of the game, especially as a new player. Still, if you want to try it out for free, you can always try the F2P version before you make a commitment.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://www.trionworlds.com/archeage/en/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1147660/ArcheAge_Unchained/

Aion

Admittedly, this one is a bit older but it’s still active and it’s still very fun. A very standard, action bar based MMO, this one adds flight mechanics and beautiful graphics. In addition to that there are massive raids that go far beyond the 25 players events we saw in WoW. The game is free to play now, giving you good enough reason to jump in and give it a try. As I said, it’s a bit older but if you’re looking for some mid-2000’s nostalgia to remedy the hole WoW left in your heart then you might as well give it a try.

Aion

Multipayer: Yes
Get It: https://www.aiononline.com/

For many of us, Blizzard has been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember whether we fought the Zerg under the guidance of Jim Raynor, or descended deep into the dungeons below New Tristram to defeat evil itself. Then there are those who lost many years of their lives building a new one in the lands of Azeroth. If you have decided that it’s time to move on, then the memories will always be there, but you will find that there are greener pastures elsewhere. If you still feel the need to play, however, I would go so far as to say that enjoying their older titles won’t net Blizzard any revenue. You’ve already paied for Diablo and Starcraft, and even Warcraft, so continuing to have a blast with them really isn’t going to hurt anyone. At the end of the day it’s your decision, but I hope that this list has given you some ideas and can help you to continue to get your fix whether you are ready to move on, or want to linger a little while longer in the worlds that defined your childhood and your early gaming career. Perhaps it’s time to make some new memories and explore a new generation of games.

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WoW Wednesday: Your Guide to Blizzcon 2019

The best weekend of the year now dawns upon us! Blizzcon 2019 has finally arrived and with it comes a smattering of panels, showings, demos our loot this year begins with a wide spread of content from World of Warcraft cosmetic armor to unique Overwatch skins. This week we’ll be giving you the best tips and directions to make the most out of your Warcraft experience at Blizzcon this year!

Like last year, virtual ticket holders already have a wide host of content prior to the launch of the convention on Friday, including content released last year. Starting on October 31st we’ll have the beginnings of the Overwatch World Cup to begin parsing through, lasting over 12 hours! This will be where the online preliminaries begin for the fabled e-sports tournament and will feature competitors from all about the world.

Blizzcon opens up live on Friday, November 1st, with the Opening Ceremony being streamed from all available stages at 2 PM EST! This will feature planned action from all of this year’s competitions as well as several previews of what’s to come that day on each stage. Immediately afterwards the major world tournaments will begin in Halls A, B, C, and the main Arena. Viewers can grab access to the continuation of the OWCs in Hall A, as well as the lower brackets for the Mythic Dungeon Invitational in Hall C. The Hearthstone Global Finals begin in Hall B, while the Starcraft 2 Global Finals begin with the Quarterfinal in the Arena. These events will continue throughout the weekend until the final brackets of the Overwatch World Cup on Sunday morning.

Some of the leaked “exclusive prints” from the Blizzard Website, featuring “Warcraft: Shadowlands.”

On the Mythic Stage in Hall D, where major announcements were hosted last year, are a set of secret panels. Featuring 4 panels over the course of the Friday, there’s enough for each of Blizzard’s main development games, with side-panels for Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone being hosted later in the day. With rumours of a potential new World of Warcraft expansion, featuring Bolvar Fordragon the Lich King, as well as the potential leaks of an Overwatch and Diablo sequel this will be the stage to watch all day Friday.

The first major Warcraft panel begins at 3:30 PM EDT. Quarter Century of Warcraft Audio hallmarks the anniversary of the titular game and brings the Sound Team to the stage to discuss developments throughout the series’ life cycle. Discussing not just sound effect development, but composition and scoring of tracks, the team will discuss this avidly and openly in the North Hall.

Starting up on the North Hall on the Epic Stage, players will get to enjoy a Heroes of the Storm update at 6:15 PM, one that is sorely needed after the fallout from the close of the Heroes e-sports scene this year. Blizzard Animation: The Art of Setting the Scene will follow at 7:15 PM, featuring members of the Story and Franchise Development team and how they created the Overwatch cutscenes that have earned the company critical acclaim. Hearthstone will have its own update at 8:15 PM after the Mythic Stage closes for the Cosplay Exhibition. Here, it’s been teased that the company will launch a new Expansion for the collectible card game, with advertisements across the internet pointing towards the date specifically.

Beginning Saturday at 12:30 pm, the 2019 Hearthstone Global Finals will take off in Hall B, beginning with the quarter finals decider’s matchups. The tournament will run throughout the day up until the finals at 6 PM on the stage. The World of Warcraft Arena World Championships will launch alongside it, beginning with their lower quarterfinals and ramping up to the Grand Final beginning at 9:45 PM.

The rest of the day is largely filled with a foray of very interesting developer driven panels largely centering around Diablo and Warcraft. At 1 PM begins the Voices of Azeroth: A Hero’s Journey, involving several voices behind the heroes of Azeroth. Joined by members of the developer team, they’ll discuss vital narrative moments over the years and how they were created.

Running simultaneously alongside the panel is the Watchpoint Season Preview for the 2020 Overwatch League, as well as the Artists at Work series for Diablo. This particular panel will focus about environment design, bringing the world of Sanctuary to life! An additional Art of Diablo panel will go on later during the day at 7:15 PM, featuring other members of the team.

At 2:15 PM Blizzard will begin their Update panel for World of Warcraft. Here is where, undoubtedly, we’ll see two certain things. With the announcement of a new expansion coming the day before attendees will more-than-likely be hearing details about Patch 8.3, ‘Visions of Ny’Alotha.’ Projections have 8.3 launching in early to mid-January of 2020, with a potential expansion launch perhaps a year and a half later.


In a surprising move, there are quite a multitude of Blizzard life panels throughout the weekend, featuring discussions about working on campus at Anaheim. Beginning at 6:15 PM, Artists at Work: World of Warcraft will run alongside the Warcraft 3: Reforged panel, discussing the process of art development from demonstrations and prototypes to a final finished product. The development team also takes the stage to discuss their personal stories during World of Warcraft: Developer’s Tales at 7:15 PM. New to the convention this year is CodeCraft: Exploring Blizzard Engineering. This panel, kicking off at 8:15 PM, features members of the company’s engineering team on how games and systems are coded for consumption.

On top of additional update panels and The Writers Room: Building the Worlds of Blizzard, the convention as always is set to go out with a bang. Beginning with some remarks at 9:45, every stage will come to life with the always titanic Closing Ceremonies. Featuring leagues of performers taking to the stage, this year the entertainment has been kept tightly under wraps. Even on their website, nothing has yet been announced to close out the company showcase.

Blizzard Entertainment opens its doors to the world in Anaheim this weekend, from November 1st to the 2nd.

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Blizzcon Protest Now Being Organized

On Friday, after 5 when most news writers, including MMOGames had packed up and gone home for the day Blizzard made a statement that backpeddled their heavy handed ban of professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung. Now a Blizzcon protest is being organized by the non-profit organization Fight for the Future and the Protest Blizzcon subreddit. Yes, there’s now a subreddit.

The Protest Blizzcon subreddit has a GoFundMe campaign running at the moment with the plan of getting hundreds of Hong Kong flags for protesters at Blizzcon. They’ve already raised $3,285 though they were only asking for $3,000. The campaign is still running so there is still time to donate if you’re interested.

“This is not going away,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, “Blizzard, and other companies who are engaging in censorship on behalf of an authoritarian government, are not going to get away with it. They have no idea what kind of Internet shitstorm they’ve unleashed. We’re going to make an example out of them to make sure that all companies know that throwing human rights and free expression under the bus to make some extra money will not be tolerated.”

Dayton Young, Product Director at Fight for the Future, added, “Gamers deserve to know which companies are willing to engage in censorship on behalf of authoritarian regimes and which companies will defend basic freedom of expression. Blizzard has engaged in blatant censorship and should immediately reverse its decision to ban Ng Wai Chung, restore his tournament winnings, and repair its relationships with the livestream casters. No gamers should be punished for expressing their views on politics and human rights. And no game company should ever ban or penalize players for advocating for their own political freedom. We call on all game developers and publishers to make a public commitment to support the rights of their customers, employees, and fans to freely express their beliefs in America, in Hong Kong, in China, and around the globe.”

In case you missed it, on Friday Blizzard made a statement saying that Blitzchung would be receiving his tournament prizes and that his ban, along with the ban on the two casters has been reduced to six months. They also said that Blizzard’s decision to punish them had nothing to do with their business in China. But, Blizzard fans and gamers were unconvinced by this statement, especially as a social media post from Blizzard on Weibo was translated and it vows to protect the national dignity of China was being shared on Reddit, Twitter, and other English focused social media sites.

 

It’s unclear right now how many people will be attending the Blizzcon Protest but we will continue to follow the news as it comes.

 

Source: Fight for the Future, Protest Blizzcon Subreddit

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BlizzCon 2019 Virtual Ticket is Available Now

Can you believe that BlizzCon 2019 is just a month away? It’s amazing how quickly this year is passing us by. The important news now is that the BlizzCon 2019 virtual ticket is available now. As is always the case the virtual ticket comes with a collection of commemorative goodies for WoW, Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm, and Diablo III. What are this year’s extras you might be asking, well here’s the full list straight from Blizzard themselves.

World of Warcraft: Ride the tides of war with a pair of murloc-ified faction leaders: Finduin (for Alliance heroes) and Gillvanas (for the Horde). Plus, bundle up for your next trip to the icy mountains with the whimsical Wendigo Woolies transmog outfit. Available in-game starting today!

Overwatch: Commemorate 25 years of Azeroth as you fight for future Earth with a pair of Warcraft-themed legendary Overwatch skins. Prepare to seek vengeance as Illidan Genji, and call upon the (hard-) light of Elune as Tyrande Symmetra. In-game before BlizzCon!

Hearthstone: Celebrate the excitement of BlizzCon the next time you sit down for a duel with the BlizzCon 2019 Card Back. Then prepare to claim a mysterious Golden Legendary card, to be revealed at BlizzCon. In-game after BlizzCon!*

Heroes of the Storm: Make your mark in the Nexus with a commemorative BlizzCon spray and portrait, and ride into battle on the Celestial Deepcrawler mount. It may not look dangerous, but those claws can give you a nasty pinch . . . or wipe out all life on your planet. Available in-game starting today!

StarCraft II: Equip a trio of Brood War®–era unit skins and portraits the next time you go into battle. Scout for a zerg ambush aboard the Classic Battlecruiser, hunt your prey with the sinewy Classic Ultralisk, and honor Tassadar’s sacrifice with the Classic Carrier.  Available in-game starting today!

…And more to come: More BlizzCon bonuses are in the works, including a pair of commemorative wings for Diablo III players (PC/Mac version only)*—stay tuned for more details on this year’s legendary haul.

Along with all of that you of course get access to the various presentations that will take place at Blizzcon this year. “This year’s BlizzCon is shaping up to be our best yet, and we want to make sure everyone in the Blizzard community can experience it together, whether they’re joining us in person, from home, or hanging out in-game,” said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re looking forward to delivering an epic experience for those watching our free broadcasts—which we’ll have more of than ever before—and for everyone tuning in for all of the extras provided with the Virtual Ticket.”

The virtual ticket costs $49.99 and can be purchased at blizzcon.com.

 

Source: Press Release

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Blizzard is Skipping Gamescom 2019

It is time once again to add to the list of “WTF is Blizzard thinking?” list that we’ve been collecting this year. This time it’s the news that Blizzard is skipping Gamescom 2019. Now, there might be a lot of people, especially those in North America who aren’t familiar with Gamescom and why Blizzard’s absence is so noteworthy. Gamescom has 370,000 visitors with 1037 exhibitors making it by far the largest gaming event in the world. In comparison, E3, which is often thought to be the biggest and most important had just 69,000 attendees in 2018.

Gamescom has, in the past, been a very important location for Blizzard themselves. It is where they’ve debuted some of Overwatch’s most beloved animated shorts and World of Warcraft expansions. They’ve also often giving players the first chance to play new content for games before they’re released.

But, with nothing big and new to show off this year it clearly isn’t worth the cost for Blizzard to attend. We can only imagine how much it costs for Blizzard to go to Gamescom. In the public area, they take up nearly if not actually half an entire hall. In the business area, the Activision-Blizzard area is half of one floor of a hall. They send a huge team of developers from California and let me tell you, the cost of hotels in Cologne during Gamescom is insane. So, on the surface, it may seem totally insane for Blizzard not to be attending…it actually makes a lot of sense.

Plus, Gamescom is in August and with such a big dry spell like Blizzard is having this year it makes sense for them to save what they do have for Blizzcon in early November. Blizzcon, in case you were curious, had more than 40,000 attendees in 2018.

So while this might be the right thing for Blizzard to do those of us who are Gamescom regulars are most certainly going to feel their absence.

 

Source: PCGamer

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Play of the Fortnight: The Precarious Future of Overwatch

We’re coming up on the two year anniversary of Overwatch’s launch. No one can deny that its first year was a massive success: the esports scene flourished, Blizzard added new content on a consistent schedule, and we saw people flock to the game even if they had never played shooters before.

However, as we come to the end of the second year, the future of Overwatch seems a little less certain. Updates have slowed, new content is sparse, and we’re wondering where the game is going.

No new Overwatch events

Future of Overwatch - Events

Overwatch events have always been a highlight for players. Whether you play the game the rest of the time or only come back for the event-specific content, there’s always something to do when an event rolls around. However, we haven’t seen a new event in a long time. In fact, Blizzard seems to have happily settled into a schedule with no intentions of doing anything new.

There is something to be said for knowing what to expect. Each year, many players including myself look forward to the Halloween Terror event. Unfortunately, it does feel like the events have got a bit repetitive. While Blizzard adds new skins to each event, and sometimes revamps the game mode or map a little (such as in the Archives or Summer Games examples), it’s getting all too familiar.

With their approach of bringing out an event every few months, on a fairly regular cadence, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough scope to weave any additional events in, either.

Lack of original content

Aside from events, we haven’t actually had anything new in a long time. The hero release schedule has elongated, new maps are infrequent, and even the regular patches seem to be spaced out a lot more than they were before. It feels a bit like Overwatch is in limbo: there’s still fun to be had, but the lack of a clear future is only going to hurt the game in the long run.

Even balance patches have suffered. In the Polygon article “Overwatch feels outdated in the era of Fortnite”, they talk about the meta and how Brigitte went practically unchecked for almost a year (article by Cass Marshall). Multiple balance patches happened, yes, but it took Blizzard a long time to get her to a more reasonable place.

At the beginning, Overwatch felt like a shiny new experience, with new and fun updates coming thick and fast, along with frequent tweaks to heroes and their abilities.. The events were something to look forward to, the story was constantly evolving, and the hero-based FPS gameplay was fresh. Where did they go wrong?

Trying to please too many people

Future of Overwatch - Esports

One of my theories is that Blizzard has spread themselves too thin. The major appeal of Overwatch was that it was a welcoming game for even a casual player. People who don’t normally play FPS games but are fans of Blizzard’s storytelling and world crafting were interested in the game and didn’t feel excluded. The colorful characters, the lore, the fun and not-too-serious gameplay were all major draws.

And then eports happened. Something that, when done well, usually serves to strengthen a game’s place in the gaming world seems to have done nothing more than weaken the one thing that brought so many players to Overwatch in the first place.

Try to please everyone, and you often end up pleasing no one. I worry that this is what is happening in Overwatch at the moment. This raises an interesting question: does every game have to be an esport? And how do you balance a competitive scene with a large but now ever-shrinking casual playerbase?

We need a PvE game mode

Future of Overwatch - PvE Game Mode

I’ve said it before, and this is definitely the hill I am willing to die on: Blizzard needs to bring in a PvE game mode. Junkenstein’s Revenge remains one of the most popular event game modes to date, and it seems strange that they haven’t added a permanent PvE mode already. Another suggestion players have made is a campaign mode, where players could explore the backstory of different heroes.

Ultimately, Blizzard needs to start doing something different. While I’ve talked before about a Battle Royale mode, maybe they need to do more to highlight their strengths rather than succumbing to the current flavour of the month genre. A PvE game mode would do this wonderfully, and would cater more directly to their more casual playerbase, perhaps even drawing some who’ve already left back.

Closing Thoughts

Overwatch isn’t dead, but it has certainly seen a decline in popularity lately. A large part of this impression is due to the fact that we aren’t seeing the game evolve any more. Is Blizzard trying too hard to please too many different types of players?

Blizzard faces a huge challenge in balancing its game for regular players, casual players, and its competitive and esports scenes. Whether or not this will be possible in the long run remains to be seen, but it’s definitely going to be difficult and they’re likely going to continue losing people along the way.

Will Blizzard strike a balance that works for the majority of the community? We’ll see what happens as we enter Overwatch’s third year shortly.

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2019 BAFTA Game Awards Nominees Announced

The 2019 BAFTA Game Awards are just a few weeks away so of course, it’s time to look at the nominees for the various categories. If you aren’t familiar with the BAFTA Game Awards they are basically the Oscars for games from the UK. BAFTA also gives out awards for film and television, though those are at different award shows. The President of BAFTA is Prince William, the future King. So yes, this is an incredibly big award show, the most prestigious in the industry. To be nominated the game has to have been made in part in the UK. The games also have to be nominated, a process which many studios either don’t know about or don’t care to go through. As a result, you’ll often see the same studios nominated year after year. So, with all of that in mind, here are the nominees.

 

Elite: Dangerous Beyond Chapter 4 - Mining Changes

 

Artistic Achievement

Detroit: Become Human
Gris
God Of War
Marvel’s Spider-man
Red Dead Redemption 2
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Audio Achievement

Battlefield V
Detroit: Become Human
God Of War
Marvel’s Spider-man
Red Dead Redemption 2
Tetris Effect

 

Best Game

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Celeste
God Of War
Red Dead Redemption 2
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

British Game

11-11: Memories Retold
Forza Horizon 4
Red Dead Redemption 2
The Room: Old Sins
Overcooked 2
Two Point Hospital

 

Debut Game

Beat Saber
Cultist Simulator
Donut County
Florence
Gris
Yoku’s Island Express

 

Evolving Game

Destiny 2: Forsaken
Elite Dangerous: Beyond
Fortnite
Overwatch
Sea Of Thieves
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

 

Family

Lego Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles
Nintendo Labo
Overcooked 2
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! And Let’s Go, Eevee!
Super Mario Party
Yoku’s Island Express

 

Game Beyond Entertainment

11-11: Memories Retold
Celeste
Florence
Life Is Strange 2
My Child Lebensborn
Nintendo Labo

 

Game Design

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Celeste
God Of War
Into The Breach
Minit
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Game Innovation

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Celeste
Cultist Simulator
Moss
Nintendo Labo
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Mobile Game

Alto’s Odyssey
Brawl Stars
Donut County
Florence
Reigns: Game Of Thrones
The Room

 

Multiplayer

A Way Out
Battlefield V
Overcooked 2
Sea Of Thieves
Super Mario Party
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

 

Music

Celeste
Far Cry 5
Florence
God Of War
Gris
Tetris Effect

 

Narrative

Florence
Frostpunk
God Of War
Marvel’s Spider-man
Red Dead Redemption 2
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Original Property

Dead Cells
Florence
Into The Breach
Moss
Return Of The Obra Dinn
Subnautica

 

Performer

Christopher Judge As Kratos In God Of War
Danielle Bisutti As Freya In God Of War
Jeremy Davies As The Stranger In God Of War
Melissanthi Mahut As Kassandra Of Sparta In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Roger Clark As Arthur Morgan In Red Dead Redemption 2
Sunny Suljic As Atreus In God Of War

 

Ee Mobile Game Of The Year (Voted For By The Public)

Brawl Stars
Clash Royale
Fortnite
Old School Runescape
Pokémon Go
Roblox

 

 

Be sure to check out the BAFTA awards show broadcast online live on April 4th to find out who the winners are.

 

Source: BAFTA Official Site

The post 2019 BAFTA Game Awards Nominees Announced appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Play of the Fortnight: 5 Tips for Overwatch Solo Queue

Playing as a team is incredibly important in Overwatch, especially ranked. However, sometimes solo queueing is unavoidable. Solo queue is a daunting experience for many players. What can you do to make your experience as positive as possible? In this Play of the Fortnight, we go through five tips for solo queueing in Overwatch. We’ve included general tips as well as some hero choice advice, so go forth and have a great time in solo queue!

Overwatch Solo Queue

1. Use voice chat for callouts

A lot of players avoid voice chat, especially in solo queue, because they’re shy or worried about toxicity. However, voice chat is key for receiving callouts, and can be useful if you get a player on your team who takes on a leadership role. You don’t have to use your microphone, even just being in voice chat and able to hear callouts makes a huge difference.

If you do feel confident enough to make callouts, voice chat is the easiest and quickest way to do so. Keep the information to a minimum, point out where enemies are and maybe even whether or not you’re pushing or falling back.

That’s not to say that toxicity isn’t an issue. Angry players can be even more difficult to deal with when they have direct and instant access to you through voice. We’ve talked about it before, and voice chat can definitely make a bad situation worse. That leads us into our next tip.

2. Don’t be afraid to use the mute button

In fact, to go further than “don’t be afraid to use the mute button:” use it liberally! There’s nothing worse than trying your best only to have your entire game thrown off by one overly mouthy, frustrated teammate. If your teammate is distracting you and not providing useful information whilst yelling about how Reaper just flanked them, use that mute button.

In fact, encourage your teammates to do the same. I’ve muted people in the past and had my teammates continue to engage with them and it defeats the purpose. The best thing you can do is ask your teammates to ignore or mute the offending person and focus on the game. You can pull it back, but it’s all the more difficult if everyone is focused on the tilted player instead of the game.

Overwatch Solo Queue

3. Pick heroes that allow you to carry

While you can absolutely pick whoever you want, there are certain heroes who will be more useful in a solo queue situation. Zarya, for example, is incredibly strong. Her shields allow you to protect teammates who are out of position whilst simultaneously charging up your own damage. She inflicts a lot of damage for a tank, and can shield herself to get out of harm’s way. On top of that, her ultimate can be an absolute game changer if you’re wise about when you use it. While I wouldn’t advise picking her as a solo tank, she can be fantastic for solo queueing and excellent when supporting another tank.

Moira is a great support to pick as well. She can deal out a lot of damage, has plenty of flexibility, and has an escape that gets her out of the way if her team don’t back her up. Zenyatta is another big game changer, as an accurate player will be devastating, and his utility is also extremely useful.

If you want to be a damage dealer, pick a flanker and practice with them. This one is a bit riskier as it can be easy to get shut down, but if you get good with a flanker you can ruin the enemy team’s day. It’s also worth noting that if the enemy team has someone in the backlines that needs taken out, if you’re playing the flanker you won’t have to rely on teammates you don’t know to do it. If you need something done well, do it yourself!

4. Focus on your own performance

While it may be frustrating when your team are underperforming, you cannot control that. The only performance you have any direct influence over is your own. For that reason, we recommend focusing on your own abilities. There’s always room for improvement, so after each match think about what you could have done better. Was there a mistake you made that you could try not to make in the future?

Obsessing over what your teammates did wrong is not only unhelpful to you, but can make you more frustrated which can directly influence your performance.

Overwatch Solo Queue

5. Finally, stay positive!

Never underestimate the power of staying positive in the face of an anger-inducing match. By this, we don’t mean don’t let a bad game affect you at all. Frankly, that seems impossible. However, if you have had a few losses in a row, take a break. Walk away from your PC or console, get a drink, and take a deep breath before you get back into it.

Repeatedly throwing yourself at the mercy of teammates you have no control over can be a frustrating experience. The more frustrated you get, the more likely you are to perform poorly yourself. Going into your next match with a refreshed mindset can make a huge difference to your performance and the outcome of the match.

Closing Thoughts

Solo queue can be a fun experience, and while challenging, it can be all the more rewarding when you start to see yourself climb. Using voice chat, picking the right heroes, and focusing on your own performance while staying positive are all so important. We hope the tips we’ve suggested above help you have an excellent solo queue experience!

What are some of your favorite ways to have a good time in solo queue? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Play of the Fortnight: 5 Tips for Overwatch Solo Queue appeared first on MMOGames.com.