Blizzard has been subject of an exceptional amount of controversy over previous weeks since their ban of Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung following a call for the liberation of Hong Kong during a Hearthstone tournament. Since then, Blizzard has been the subject of criticism from the media, gamers, its own employees and even prominent politicians.
Now, the public outcry against Blizzard will hit very close to home. Fighting for the Future will be launching a massive protest on the opening day of Blizzard’s biggest event of the year, BlizzCon, under the Gamers for Freedom banner.
It’s been three months since Overwatch was released. Most reviews of the game dropped within a week of release which was before the game’s competitive mode was added to the game in June and even one balance change or patch was made. While I put in a lot of time into Overwatch in its early days, I felt that the game needed some time to breathe to see how enjoyable the game would be once the competitive mode was added, players had more experience, more weekly brawls were shown off and Blizzard added some additional content.
There was certainly a chance that the early buzz for Overwatch could have given way to numerous issues and complaints once the mass audience got a hold of it. Fortunately, Overwatch has largely lived up to the hype.
When you look at characters that would have interesting stories that continue on from StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, I wouldn’t have considered Nova among them. The likes of Zagara or Alarak who played bit parts in the various SC2 expansions could have interesting stories following the Into The Void missions based on LOTV and the epilogue. However, Blizzard got off on the right foot with the first mission pack of Nova Covert Ops. The second mission pack is a bit of a miss, though.
Just ahead of tomorrow’s release of Overwatch, Blizzard compiled some of the key statistics from their recent open beta. Just when I was going to suggest that Blizzard burned out the hype for Overwatch by keeping the beta limited to a very small group of influencers over a very long period of time, it turns out that people were very excited to get a piece of Blizzard’s upcoming first person shooter. In fact, almost 10 million people got a taste of Overwatch during the open beta.
In the run up to its much-anticipated release next week, Blizzard ran the final big beta test for their upcoming first-person shooter franchise Overwatch. While some features, like competitive play, weren’t in the beta, this is the best chance that everyone is going to have to try the game out before Blizzard sticks it hand out looking for $60 for the game. Fortunately for Blizzard, they put a very strong foot forward by basically letting players have a go at a near-complete version of the game.
While the story of StarCraft II ended with Legacy of the Void and the Into the Void epilogue, Blizzard hasn’t ended the stories it wants to tell in the StarCraft universe. The first return to the Koprulu sector takes place several years after the conclusion of Legacy of the Void. One of the long-lost Blizzard projects was StarCraft: Ghost which was supposed to introduce Nova as the player character. The game was eventually scrapped and Nova was introduced in Wings of Liberty and a StarCraft: Ghost novel.
Many years after Ghost’s cancellation, Nova finally gets her long-awaited solo project. It’s not a shooter but it’s a real-time strategy game in the same way that we’ve come to know from StarCraft II but with an episodic twist.
One of the top stars in professional StarCraft has been arrested under suspicion for match-fixing. Life, who was the 2014 StarCraft World Champion, was formally arrested over the weekend by the Changwon District Prosecutor’s Office and certainly turned the StarCraft world on its head.
When a gaming company gets into the MOBA space, they will inevitably try to grow an eSports community around it. The perception from the developers has always seemed to be that there needs to be a competitive to get interest from gamers. After all, League of Legends is massive and its World Championship has viewership that many sports leagues would be envious of.
While Blizzard has been trying to grow a competitive scene for their MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, since the game was in invitation-only beta, they are making their biggest eSports push ever for Heroes of the Storm in 2016. They announced their Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Circuit which will feature a cumulative prize pool of over $4 million for the year.
Just one month ago, Blizzard was causing concern at BlizzCon when they announced that they hadn’t finalized what the business plan would be for Overwatch with only seven months to go until release. Prior to BlizzCon, the only thing that was officially announced was that the game would be available for purchase at either $40 or $60 for the Origins Edition.
In a community update video, game director Jeff Kaplan talked about what Blizzard’s plan was for future hero additions to Overwatch. In the best piece of news to come out about the game, Kaplan announced that new heroes would be patched into the game for free.
Last weekend, Blizzard let a bunch of people into the Overwatch closed beta for a stress test on their servers. With the game’s launch no more than seven months in the future, it might be a little early to tell what Overwatch will be like when the game is released to the public. However, a lot of big names in the gaming world have been sinking a lot of time into the latest IP out of the house that Warcraft built.
Since I’ve probably spent far too much on StarCraft and Heroes, I was able to get into the three-day Overwatch stress test. I may not be much of an FPS gamer but I certainly didn’t feel too out of place in the game.