WoW 8.1 Adds Multithreading Optimization

There’s certainly a lot to the Tides of Darkness update in World of Warcraft‘s PTR, but one feature has perhaps slipped under most people’s radars: the fact that there’s new multithreading optimizations for those with higher end machines.

tides of darkness update

The optimizations were discovered by an addon author, who unearthed several command lines for these new options. According to tests run by the folks at Wowhead, enabling some of these features saw a significant rise in FPS, with an average of 76 FPS – an increase of 25% versus current DirectX 12 settings and 23% versus current DirectX 11 settings.

There are a couple of things to note about these features. First, they are restricted to DirectX 12-capable machines, meaning you have to have Windows 10 and the right CPU and GPU. Additionally, these features do require a bit of fiddling with a config file of the PTR installation. Finally, as the term multithreading indicates, these optimizations are more geared toward players whose machines are seeing performance restrictions thanks to their CPU.

If none of those caveats deter you in any way, you can get instructions and see test benchmarks for yourself here.

Our Thoughts

Personally speaking, I’m not sure that 60+ FPS and 70+ FPS are going to look that different, but I’m also one of those souls who can’t afford to keep his machine on the absolute bleeding edge of PC gaming tech. For those who care about that, however, this will likely be welcome information indeed.

Source: Wowhead

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Torbjorn Gets Retooled in Overwatch

Torbjorn, as a machinist and builder, is likely always looking to improve his kit so a Torbjorn rework is pretty much not an unexpected development. Overwatch has tapped Torbjorn as the next hero to be rejiggered and tested on the shooter’s PTR.

torbjorn rework

As with other character reworks, Torbjorn’s abilities have either been tweaked or entirely changed. Of particular note is the fact that his turrets are deployable and no longer have levels to worry about. Additionally, a shot from Torb’s Rivet Gun will set the turret to attack the tagged target. The tradeoff is that the turret now has slightly less health and its deployment has some cooldown changes.

In addition, Torb’s Armor Pack ability has been replaced with a self-buff called Overload and his Rivet Gun’s primary and secondary fire has seen several changes. Another significant change is to Molten Core, which now empowers his robotic arm with the ability to fire 10 globs of molten slag that create damaging pools on the ground. These pools deal high damage to regular enemies and significantly more damage to enemies with armor.

The adjusted Torb has made his way onto the PTR, along with a number of changes to Pharah, Soldier 76, Brigitte, McCree, Mei and Orisa. There’s also a developer update video from Jeff Kaplan discussing all of these changes as well as confirming the return of Halloween, which you can see below if you somehow missed it before.

Our Thoughts

We’re not sure these adjustments will make Torbjorn rise in the tier list, but they certainly can’t hurt. The adjustment to his Ultimate will definitely make things significantly more interesting in particular. We’re looking forward to seeing how people take to these changes.

Sources: official forums, YouTube

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Brightwing, Kerrigan and Garden of Terror Updates Arrive to HotS PTR

Things are changing once more in Heroes of the Storm as the Blizzard MOBA readies a number of adjustments. Specifically, Brightwing and Kerrigan updates are on the docket along with updates to the Garden of Terror battleground.

brightwing and kerrigan updates

Kerrigan’s updates seek to improve the character’s lethality and improve her kit, such as her Q ability Ravage now having less range but two charges and getting some potent new talents. Changes to Brightwing are looking to improve her playmaking potential, with her Soothing Mist now having an on-demand debuff cleanse with the press of the D key and improvements to her Phase Shift ability.

As for Garden of Terror, the devs are hoping their reworks will remove a number of frustrations associated with the battleground. The map now has mechanics similar to the Cursed Hollow map, where teams must fight to claim a total of three seeds to spawn three Plant Terrors that will push towards the winning team’s lanes until they’re taken out or destroy the target’s Core.

Finally, the Fall of King’s Crest event that we reported on yesterday has gotten its details page posted online. You can take in all of that information at this link.

All of these updates are wrapped up into a single patch now live on the MOBA’s PTR. Patch notes are found here, or if you missed the spotlight videos for these updates earlier in the month, you can look at the Kerrigan video here, the Brightwing video here, and the Garden of Terror video here.

Our Thoughts

All in all these updates sound positive to us, and while Garden of Terror isn’t exactly rocking the boat with its rework mechanics-wise, it probably will still end up being a net positive for players of the MOBA.

Source: press release

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Overwatch Debuts Korean Map and D.Va Animated Short

Overwatch has decided to focus down on South Korea for its most recent content. Two premieres were made at this year’s Gamescom event: a new D.Va animated short and a new Control map based on the game’s version of the South Korean city of Busan. animated short

In Busan, players will fight to hold three Control points spread across three different locales from Overwatch’s fiction: the ancient temple and garden grounds of Sanctuary; a Downtown area complete with PC bang, karaoke bar and what looks like a bullet train obstacle to consider; and the home of the MEKA Squad itself, MEKA Base.

The new Busan map is live on the PTR now, along tweaks like sensitivity options for Ana’s Biotic Rifle and Widowmaker’s Widow’s Kiss rifle while they’re scoped, an adjustment that sees Brigitte’s Shield Bash knock down and get knocked down by other charging targets, and a variety of updates to Reinhardt’s Earthshatter.

As for the D.Va animated short, it’s called Shooting Star. It follows one of pilot Hana Song’s earlier capers in what looks like the first instance of her MEKA using self-destruct as well as how she got her facial bandage.

A look at both a trailer for Busan and the D.Va animation can be found in our collection of Gamescom trailers, or you can watch the D.Va short in the embed below.

Our Thoughts

Man, if only the in-game MEKA could activate its scramble jets for as long as it does in that animation, eh? On topic, both the animated short and the new Busan map are awesome to see and we’re looking forward to getting our hands all over the new PTR build.

Sources: YouTube, official forums

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PUBG Update 12 Heads To PTR, Is The Biggest Update Yet

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has been around for a fair while now and despite being overtaken in popularity by Fortnite, is still one of the biggest games out there, yet there are still many things the community clamors for. PUBG update 12 hopes to remedy many of those in what is perhaps the biggest update to the battle royale title to date.

The biggest things to come from PUBG update 12 include map selection, a massive rebalance to all of the game’s weapons (see at the end of the post for details), a new Designated Marksman Rifle in the high-damage SLR, the removal of level 3 helmets from everywhere but care packages, a new muscle car exclusive to Miramar, a bunch of new weapon attachments and changes to the Miramar map, and a whole host of bug fixes. For more in-depth details on exactly what you can expect from this massive update, head on over to Steam.

Basically, update 12 is all geared around balance, particularly weapon balance with assault rifles receiving both damage nerfs and recoil buffs, and sub-machine guns and shotguns both receiving damage increases. This is all being tested on the PTR right now to make sure they get everything right and it will be up there for longer than usual, apparently not heading to live servers “until it’s ready.” So if this is something you want to have a say on, jump onto the test server and offer your feedback.

And here’s the list of the weapon damage changes:


Our Thoughts

These are huge changes to loot across the board! With nerfs and buffs to certain weapon types and other loot becoming harder to find, PUBG update 12 looks to really shake up how the game plays. Whatever your feelings, you have to applaud their bravery making such drastic changes. But what are your thoughts on this update? Excited? Is it too much? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Steam Update


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Rialto Map and the New-Look Hanzo Land on Overwatch PTR

I’ll be honest, I’m almost certain most players of Overwatch already watch the developments that land on the FPS’ PTR with the fervent devotion of a palace guard, but if you’re somehow not up-to-date this report is for you. A new Overwatch PTR build arrived a couple of days ago, bringing the Overwatch Retribution map to regular rotation and Hanzo’s all-new button with it, among other changes.

new overwatch ptr build

Yep, the Rialto map set in Venice, Italy is now part of the game proper, with 100% more daylight and none of the Talon agents. Rialto enters Overwatch as an Escort map, with the description on the patch notes focusing less on what the map offers from a tactical standpoint and more detailing the sights that nobody will pay attention to because FPS gaming is happening.

On the hero side, Hanzo’s replacement for Scatter Arrow has been implemented; it’s called Storm Arrows, which allows Hanzo to fire up to six shots that deal reduced damage but are always fired at full draw. Hanzo has also gotten a new vertical double-jump, tweaks to Sonic Arrow, and an overall projectile speed increase.

The PTR build has also made adjustments to other characters, specifically reducing the hitbox of Genji’s Deflect ability, tweaking Junkrat’s RIP Tire and Frag Launcher, tweaking Lucio’s Wall Ride, and reducing the damage of Tracer. All of the information can be read right here.

Our Thoughts

It’s not terribly surprising that Rialto is already in the game proper outside of the Archives event, but it did seem to happen rather quickly. We’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing reaction to both this new Escort map and all of the new hero changes.

Source: official site

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Deckard Cain Hits the Heroes of the Storm PTR

If you were intrigued by the initial reveal or our own experience at PAX East, then the arrival of Deckard Cain to PTR is right up your potion-lobbing, book-wielding alley.

deckard cain to ptr

From now until April 23rd, players can try out the new Support hero for themselves and see if his playstyle is to their liking. The new PTR build has also made a few minor adjustments to the Draft Mode UI, visual effects for Gul’dan’s abilities, and a number of tweaks to several heroes.

As for the full contents of the next HotS patch, a recent post on the MOBA’s site has offered a closer look at several new visual treats coming to the game, including the various skins several heroes will be getting, a new Road Chariot mount, and a collection of new portraits and sprays from the popular YouTube channel Carbot Animations.

Deckard’s arrival to the Nexus is set for the week of April 24th.

Our Thoughts

Now you’ll get to see what our own fuss was all about. We still believe that Deckard’s general playstyle of hiding behind everyone and helping nearby allies is one of the best entry points to Heroes of the Storm. Here’s hoping that this new Support hero strikes a chord with new and veteran players alike.

Sources: official site 1, 2

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Sombra Adjustments Accidentally Arrive to Overwatch

If you’re a Sombra main, you maybe noticed things with the character felt a little bit different once the Year of the Dog update hit. It’s not in your head, but a series of Sombra adjustments that were originally meant to arrive to the PTR.

sombra adjustments

Responding to a player thread in the forums about the discovery, principal designer Geoff Goodman confirmed that some of the new-look Sombra changes accidentally worked their way into the latest update and will be removed soon.

So just what’s different about Sombra? Goodman offered a full lineup of adjustments the team are considering:

  • Ult charge will no longer be gained from health pack healing
  • Weapon spread is decreased by 10%
  • Hacking speed is increased to 0.65 seconds
  • Hacking will disable a number of new abilities; namely Pharah’s hover jets, Genji’s double jump and wall climb, Hanzo’s wall climb, Lucio’s currently running Crossfade song, and Mercy’s Angelic Descent.

According to Goodman, the idea is to take some power out of her Ultimate and provide a greater sense of power from her regular kit. The changes to Sombra are expected to arrive to the PTR sometime Soon™ and are, of course, not final.

Our Thoughts

We don’t really see too much Sombra out there, so it will definitely be interesting to see if these changes will see her become more useful overall than just someone who’s picked to hack health packs and then swapped out for someone else.

Source: official forums

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Heroes of the Storm Brings 2018 Changes to PTR

The devs behind Heroes of the Storm are granting players the opportunity to look into the future. Unfortunately, there will be no DeLoreans involved in the trip. You’ll simply have to hop into the MOBA’s PTR to take a look at (and test) what Heroes of the Storm 2018 changes will look like.

heroes of the storm 2018 changes

The updates that will be available on the new PTR build include the increased camera height angle; updated Stealth visuals; updates to Regeneration Globes and Towers; and updates to Battleground Objective timers in order to better refine the early game.

The build will feature changes to Minions and Mercenaries including changes to Mercenary respawn timers, Siege Giants, Hellbat Camps, Knight Camps, and Sapper Camps. There will also be a version of the performance-based matchmaking system up for testing, but that will be applied next week.

On the subject of the PTR’s timing, this round of testing will run for three weeks, starting now and ending on Monday, December 11th. If you’re interested to see what will be different come 2018, you can take a look at the PTR patch notes.

Our Thoughts

We are most curious to learn how players take to these changes, particularly those that affect the early stages of a match. If you’ve had any amount of time in the HotS PTR recently, feel free to share your input below.

Source: press release

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Moira and Blizzardworld Could Come to Overwatch PTR This Week

When will Moira and Blizzardworld be playable? It’s the question on many minds after Blizzcon 2017’s reveals for Overwatch. Turns out that fans won’t have to wait very long for some PTR time at least if early word holds any truth.

moira and blizzardworld

An interview with Jeff Kaplan on VentureBeat offered early word that the Blizzardworld map could arrive to Overwatch sometime this week. “The amount of love that the team poured into this — every little detail… I can’t wait for it to go up on the PTR next week,” reads the Nov. 3rd interview.

In a response to an Overwatch subreddit post referencing the interview, lead software engineer Bill Warnecke expressed his hope to also have Moira arrive to PTR this week, though he was a little less specific. “We can’t wait to get a build with Moira on to the PTR. We’ll do our best to make it happen as quickly as possible this week,” reads the response.

Our Thoughts

Obviously, there are a lot of Overwatch fans who are looking forward to trying out the new Blizzardworld map as well as to see if Moira truly is “OP AF” as Kaplan had stated in the Blizzcon opening ceremony. Should either piece of content arrive to PTR, we’ll be sure to report on it ASAP.

Source: Overwatch subreddit

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