Blizzard Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Blizzard RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Blizzard Restricts WoW Classic Loot Trading Of Soulbound Items To Raids Sat, 23 Mar 2019 14:14:47 -0400 QuintLyn

Since first revealing World of Warcraft Classic at last year's BlizzCon, Blizzard has made a few adjustments to some of its plans for the game. Recently, the company announced that while it woud add loot trading for Soulbound gear to WoW Classic, it would be limited to raids.

Loot trading was not a feature in Vanilla WoW. In fact, the functionality was added in Wrath of the Lich King to address to make things easier for both players and the game's support team. Before implementing loot trading, both parties were often require to jump through a series of hoops when the wrong member of a party accidentally ended up with loot intended for someone else.

Prior to the addition of loot trading, the only way to fix this issue would be for players to contact Blizzard support and ask them to transfer the item to the proper player or party.

The process was immediate. Hence the implementation of the system, which cut out the middle man and the wait. 

However, players voiced concerns with the system. Mostly, they were worried that players who plugged into a group of players who knew each other might end up shafted by the other members in their party who could conspire to keep them from getting loot.

The concern was primarily addressed for five-member parties. Raiders, on the other hand, accepted that it was the nature of large group play. So, to address the issue, Blizzard has decided that the trading of Soulbound loot can only occur in raids. Any Soulbound loot that drops in five-man content will remain untradeable.

That said, even the trading of Soulbound loot in raids has its limits. Those who end up with items they want to trade will only be able to do it for up to two hours after the item is obtained. After that, they're stuck with it.

World Of Warcraft Classic Dev Team Outlines Restructured Development Plan Mon, 11 Mar 2019 20:24:48 -0400 QuintLyn

When Blizzard first announced plans for the World of Warcraft Classic servers at Blizzcon 2017, the developer also provided a timeline of its early development plans. Since then, things have changed. 

Blizzard's original plan was to roll out version 1.12 and then roll through Scourge Invasion over four stages:

  1. MC, Onyxia, Dire Maul, Kazzak, Azuregos (March 2005)

  2. Blackwing Lair, BGs and PvP rewards, Zul' Gurub (July 2005)

  3. Ahn'Qiraj, Tier 0.5 Silithus content, Green Dragons (Jan. 2006)

  4. Naxxramas Raid, Scourge Invasion (June 2006)

The company's design philosophy behind the roll out can be seen in full in the graphic below. 

Over time, these original plans have been modified to include six stages, and a few things are being delayed.

To begin with, Blizzard has decided to wait on releasing Dire Maul to avoid the negative impact it could have on player progression. Blizzard has also decided to separate the releases of Blaickwing Lair and Zul'Gurub while moving the release of the Green Dragons up.

Some of the thinking behind these changes are based on player feedback, but they've also been made in an effort to make the Classic servers exude true, original World of Warcraft feel.

To achieve this, the team will be releasing patches in pairs. Each of the six release phases will concentrate on two or three big items, with each item designed to allow players to progress in the same way they would have in the early 2000s.

One of the things the development team noted was that when Maraudon was released it was just after the first player in the game hit Level 60. Dire Maul, on the other hand, contains loot that's too good to be released in conjunction with Maraudon or other Phase 1 content. 

In fact, a good portion of the shuffling the developers are doing is focused entirely on the game's loot table. This will also be accompanied by changes to the drop rate and locations of gear. Changes will continue to be made to the game's loot throughout the six phases.

Here is the new schedule: 

Phase 1 (Classic Launch)

  • Molten Core
  • Onyxia
  • Maraudon

Phase 2

  • Dire Maul
  • Azuregos
  • Kazzak

Phase 3

  • Blackwing Lair
  • Darkmoon Faire
  • Darkmoon deck drops begin

Phase 4

  • Zul’Gurub
  • Green Dragons

Phase 5

  • Ahn’Qiraj War Effort begins
  • Ahn’Qiraj raids open when the war effort dictates
  • Dungeon loot reconfiguration: Tier 0.5 Dungeon gear, Relics, drop rates and location changes

Phase 6

  • Naxxramas
  • Scourge Invasion

Of course, these plans are also tentative, so players can likely expect more changes in the future.

Interestingly, the developers haven't made any decisions regarding the PvP portion of the game. The mode's rewards are still being decided upon. 

Blizzard Has No Major New Releases Planned For This Year Wed, 13 Feb 2019 22:28:29 -0500 QuintLyn

Despite what many may have been hoping for, Blizzard has announced that it has no plans to release Diablo 4, or any other major new titles, this year. This news comes as part of a recent Activision Blizzard earnings call, during which the company noted seeing "record results" in 2018 while simultaneously laying off 8% of its staff.

As it turns out, some of these layoffs may be attributable to a projected decrease in financial performance for Blizzard, which is tied to the fact that the company has no major releases planned for 2019. That is, World of Warcraft won't be getting a new expansion, nor will fans of the Diablo franchise see anything new over the next ten months.

It should be noted that the lack of a WoW expansion this year isn't all that surprising. The game's last expansion, Battle for Azeroth, launched in August of last year, and there's typically a two year wait in between these types of releases.

However, the lack of anything in the Diablo franchise will likely be the most disappointing thing for Blizzard fans. Yes, Diablo Immortal is on its way, but, as has been made abundantly clear, that's not what many long time fans were hoping to be playing this year.

This is not to say that Blizzard isn't working on either of these things. The next World of Warcraft expansion is likely in the planning stages, if not actually being worked on, and Blizzard has had job listings for an unannounced Diablo project posted since they revealed Immortal. Indeed there's a chance that we'll hear something about these titles during BlizzCon in November.

This news also doesn't mean that there won't be anything at all coming out of Blizzard this year. As was pointed out during the call, World of Warcraft Classic will arrive this summer and Warcraft 3: Reforged will hit later in the year.  Technically, these releases are not entirely new content, but they are things that fans have been asking for over the years. Additionally, it's likely that we can expect smaller content releases for some of Blizzards other games as well.

More details on the Activision Blizzard earnings call can be found on Polygon.

Destiny's Split from Activision is an Example that the Industry Should Follow Tue, 22 Jan 2019 14:16:32 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

This past week, Bungie separated from their publishing partner Activision, and they took their sci-fi shooter franchise Destiny with them. Bungie, now having full creative control of the series they created, will operate independently with the intent of self-publishing their games.

Many people have been applauding Bungie on this decision to be free from their publisher, and I feel that this reaction, and indeed video game publishers as a whole, should be closely examined.

It's important to remember video game publishers are a very necessary thing in the industry, and they can help to promote and publish games that may not be able to reach their intended audience otherwise. But common practices from Activision, and other companies like it, are setting a worrying trend for larger studios and the industry as a whole. 

The Story of Bungie and Their Destiny

If you're just joining us now, here's a brief recap of Activision's history with Destiny and Bungie.

Destiny, as a series, has been characterized by mixed customer opinions and weird business decisions since the first game debuted back in 2014. For example, the original game had sections of its story, as well as backstory on important characters, sectioned off in multiple DLC expansions that were planned from launch.

Many fans of Bungie's previous work on the Halo franchise felt that the game's overall quality was somewhat lesser because of this. While others still came away from Destiny with very positive opinions, and there is certainly a large fan-base for it, these types of business decisions, which affected the game artistically, are still worth mentioning. 

These monetization-first business decisions only continued to escalate and snowball after Destiny 2 came out. Multiple expansions to the game were planned from day one, as was the case with the first game, which left some fans upset.

"Shader" items, which had previously allowed players to re-color pieces of their armor for free, suddenly became one-time use items that players had to buy with real money. This was on top of Destiny 2's loot boxes, "Bright Engrams," which also cost additional real money and horribly affected Destiny 2's loot economy.

It was like the Fable 3 Black Dye controversy on steroids.

Both Destiny and Destiny 2, whatever you think of their quality or value as games, were demonstrably limited in how creative and complete they could be due to a publisher who saw fit to make them tentpole titles before they had even released.

This led the public to respond negatively — unnecessarily so considering that the games would have sold just fine on Bungie's legacy alone, and it would have made plenty of money without any of the extra stuff on top.

What is the Purpose of a Publisher?

Bungie is not the only studio that Activision has been involved with for some time — let's talk about Blizzard.

I'd like to ask a very simple question about the relationship that Blizzard has with Activision, and it goes like this: Why does a company as successful as Blizzard need a publisher to help make and sell their games?

I'd like to disclose now that I have never worked in video game publishing, and probably never will, so you should take my opinion with a grain of salt because I am by no means an expert. However, I also think it's fair to say that, from an outsider's perspective, the idea of a company as enormous and popular as Blizzard needing outside help to sell their already popular games seems unnecessary.

They're the developer responsible for WarcraftStarcraftDiablo, and Overwatch. You'd think that they'd have built up enough good faith and brand recognition to set out on their own by this point.

The whole point of a publisher, from a practical standpoint, is to help a product reach a wider audience, and in the case of video games, to assist with funding when applicable. But it seems that so many games published by larger publishers, such as Activision, Take-Two Interactive, or EA, would have been just fine without the publisher's involvement, and, in multiple instances, they might have come out better.

All three of the companies listed above have been guilty multiple times of partaking in anti-consumer practices that would almost certainly have been avoided had their associated developers worked alone.

Take-Two added microtransactions to Grand Theft Auto Online straight from launch, and it even tried to legally censor the decade old modding community that Rockstar themselves had often celebrated in the past.

Activision practically popularized the modern loot box after including them in Overwatch, and they have become an industry-wide hot-button issue ever since. Notably, all three of these companies, and many more, have implemented loot boxes in both single and multiplayer games.

And the less said about EA as a company the better. They've been named the "Worst Company in America" twice for good reason.

Are Publishers a Bad Thing? No, but They Can Be. They Can Also Be a Good Thing.

The point of this article is not to demonize video game publishers, nor is it to imply that they are completely unnecessary entities. Instead it is to ask why the industry feels the need to rely so heavily on publishers when often it seems that developers don't need them, especially in the case of developers with an already established following like Bungie, Blizzard, and Rockstar.

If a high-profile developer like Rockstar is somehow in the position where they can have the single highest grossing media title of all time, Grand Theft Auto V, and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick still says that the company is "undermonetizing" their customers, that is just getting greedy.

When EA can claim that Star Wars Battlefront II, a mainstream console game based off of one of the highest grossing media franchises in the world, has sold "below expectations" after shipping over 7 million copies, that is blaming the audience for its own unrealistic ideas. This is especially true, as EA then went behind the public's back and reassured their shareholders that removing the supposedly essential extra money made by the game's controversial loot boxes would have "no material impact" on the game's financial earnings. 

It sure was nice of them to pin the blame on us and then turn around and say it didn't actually matter because they'd made the money already. Very classy.

The saddest thing about this is that there are plenty of smaller publishers who actively prioritize the promotion of quality games over making all the money possible. And they do so while still turning perfectly reasonable profits.

Sure, these companies don't make all the money in the entire world, but they still do well enough, and they put out fun and interesting games without creatively restricting developers, acting contemptuously to their audience, or financially strong-arming customers.

There are companies like Annapurna Interactive, representatives of the video game division of a larger company that mainly works with film, that help to elevate indie projects to give them exposure. This includes titles like What Remains of Edith FinchDonut County, and the recently successful Ashen, and Annapurna exists to give unique, narrative driven games a voice.

Limited Run Games makes a business out of providing limited physical releases to indie games with an established following in order to make collectors happy, and they also occasionally publish smaller games digitally.

Limited Run even went so far as to acquire the rights to a remaster the game Night Trap, a game that, while most people wouldn't call it good. has a very important place in gaming history due to its part in sparking the foundation of the ESRB.

Limited Run exists to preserve games and gaming history, and they are still successful.

On the slightly larger scale, you also have Devolver Digital, a company who has made a strong and growing business out of developing and publishing indie games.

An entity who remains popular in the corporate world, even with a self-mocking public image largely associated with gory violence and farcical comedy, Devolver Digital helped to publish Metal Wolf Chaos XD, a cult-classic Japanese game that would have never seen a release in the West if somebody hadn't made an effort to. 

Devolver has a big enough industry presence to now have a yearly E3 Press Conference, often viewed as a highlight of the show, which openly mocks the larger industry that it is a part of with boldfaced bravery. They'll gladly promote and sell violent action games, like Hotline Miami and Shadow Warrior, as well as thought-provoking puzzle games, like The Talos Principle, and even silly, sexual games, like Genital Jousting, that are hard to categorize.

They believe in both their monetary value as products and their artistic value as video games.   

Then on the micro-scale, you have people like Wolfgang Wozniak, also known as Wolfgame, a single person who handles the porting of indie games to different systems under his unified, if small, namesake. He is the person solely responsible for the PlayStation Vita port of VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, and frankly, I think he deserves a high-five.

He works incredibly hard to port other people's games to new systems in a way that helps both himself and the games that he ports. His effect may seem small, but he's, in practice, a successful publishing party of one for games that so many people might otherwise ignore.

The point I'm making here is that a publisher has every right to try and be a lucrative business, but they can be so much more than that. Video game publishers have the ability to promote, preserve, and protect video games if they do their jobs right, but for so many big name publishers, the numbers seem to be all that really matters at the end of the day.

Companies like EA, Warner Bros., and Take-Two opt to focus on only promoting and selling the largest, safest-bet franchises, such as BatmanStar Wars, and Grand Theft Auto, while simultaneously pleading poverty when their massive success wasn't as massive as they wanted. They limit the creativity of the developers themselves, and they point fingers at the public when they complain.

This only serves to make major publishers look like choosing beggars, and if achieving maximum profit as a publisher is ultimately detrimental to the customer, the artists, and the industry as a whole, then achieving maximum profit should not be viable. 

Wrapping Things Up

I completely understand that games are a business, and me expecting everything to always be done for the sake of art is naive and, more importantly, unrealistic. But at the same time, there has to be a happy middle-ground where major publishers like Activision, Take-Two, EA, and others can make a satisfactory profit without doing so at the expense of their developers' creativity, their consumers' good faith, and the overall quality of their products.

Publishers are often a necessary element of getting your game out there and helping your name and company grow. Working with a publisher should not be something to be afraid of, but as in the case of Bungie and so many others, if you are in a negative relationship with an exploitative publisher, then you should leave if you can. Especially if you don't need them in the first place.

It is also worth remembering that this sort of treatment of Bungie by a publisher, and a subsequent separation, has happened with the studio before. They famously split from Microsoft back in 2007, which was apparently also a rocky transition, and the studio's experience may be why they made sure to take Destiny with them when they left. 

It seems that Bungie had learned from previous experiences with shaky publishers to take what they could when the left. 

The general decorum of Bungie in their official news blog post about their separation from Activision was very professional and respectful, and I applaud them for staying so level-headed during this huge moment. That being said, I seriously doubt that they would want to go through with this separation at all if their relationship with Activision weren't rocky enough to justify it.

Supposedly, the studio actually cheered and celebrated with champagne when they heard the news that they were free, and if that's true, then frankly I applaud them (again).

Bungie's departure from Activision isn't just good news for them as a developer, or for fans of Destiny, but for the industry as a whole. It's a loud, firm, public statement against big name publishers tampering with the quality of video games, and it should be paid attention to, and learned from, by everyone who may affected by a negative publisher relationship.

I wish Bungie the best of luck in their independent efforts to continue creating and self-publishing the Destiny franchise, and I genuinely hope it goes well for them. Maybe it won't be as a big of a success as it was before, but it can still very well be a success, and no matter what happens, it will still be their Destiny.

What Blizzard's Recent Heroes Of The Storm Announcement Means For Everyone Else Mon, 17 Dec 2018 15:09:38 -0500 QuintLyn

Late last week, the gaming sector of the Twitterverse blew up with news from Blizzard regarding its MOBA Heroes of the Storm. The game, largely considered a "love letter" to all the games the company has created throughout its long history, would be going through some changes in development -- and in the esports arena.

These changes, announced in a recent blog post penned by Blizzard President J. Allen Brack and Chief Development Officer Ray Gresko, include pulling developers from Heroes of the Storm to work on other Blizzard projects while also cancelling both the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm.

While fans were obviously upset at the restructuring of the staff, what caught the most attention on Twitter was the cutback on esports. Immediately following the news, my feed was filled with fans, players, commentators, and casters bemoaning the change -- and in some cases, wondering what they were going to do now that the thing they'd built their careers around had been pulled out from under them.

The Players and the Teams

One player tweeted about how he'd given up his college career so he could dedicate the 8-plus hours a day needed to go pro. And he'd just recently been picked up.

Even the team that brought him on was shocked by the news.

Now, some teams may move on to other games. There are a lot of MOBAs out  there. However, not all MOBAs are created equal, and skill sused in one don't necessarily translate easily to another. 

First, not all MOBAs are as popular as another, meaning they don't have the fan base for real esports activities. Second, despite their basic structure being the same, players will need to spend time learning the ins and outs of the new game, as well as ranking up so that they can play in tournaments (ranking doesn't happen overnight after all). 

Third -- and this is a biggy -- a lot of the bigger organizations already have teams in all the most-played games. If you're team Cloud 9 in one game, you can't just move over to another game and continue to play as Cloud 9. That position is already taken. So, you either break up and find other teams to bring you on individually, or you form a new organization.

And it's not even as "easy" as I just made it sound.

The Personalities

And what about all those people involved in esports that aren't employed by the game development company and aren't part of a team? I'm talking announcers, casters, personalities. These people are part of the big esports machine. They're independent workers that developers or esports organizations hire to help make their games accessible and exciting to spectators.

What happens to them?

Well, Twitter over the last few days is any indication, they're scrambling to find new gigs with other organizations. But again, there's only so many of those positions to go around and as a general rule, each company kind of prefers that the personalities they bring on not only play their games, but have a following within their game community. 

This means that just like the players, a lot of these personalities are going to have to switch gears and learn about other games. They won't just learn the mechanics of the games either, but also familiarize themselves with the intricacies of a different community -- and their current followers may or may not come with them.

Luckily, some of these personalities have other things they can fall back on.

A few tweets I saw mentioned things like voice acting, general hosting, and -- the good ole standby -- streaming. One individual even opened up his Patreon again, something he said he really didn't want to do, but needed to for the time being.

But at least it and his supporters are there when he needs them. Not every individual has that.

So, What Does All This Mean?

At the moment, it means that a lot more people are currently looking for new jobs.

It also showcases the dangers of tying your career to one project made and controlled by someone else. Very few, if anyone, expected Blizzard to cancel those two tournaments. But it's obvious that despite how much players enjoyed them, and despite how many people made a living from them, they weren't meeting Blizzard's expectations in some way.

More importantly, I think, it's a warning to all of us who make our living based around other people's projects -- especially those who focus all of their energy on a single game. You're relying on a lot of people to keep a lot of things in place to keep that sustainable.

If one of the cogs falls out... well, we end up where we are now.

There Needs to be Some Fallback Plan

For players, this is definitely going to be more difficult. Most players spend 8-plus hours a day training for one game. Adding another to the mix "just in case" probably isn't going to work.

Instead, what needs to happen here revolves around better communication between the developers, organizations, and team members. Teams shouldn't bring new people on only to find out right after that their tournaments no longer exist.

For personalities and everyone else not holding a controller in their hands, it's still difficult, but building an audience outside of your primary game is the best way to go. Be versitle, introduce your fans to new things, and always be aware that you don't own the game your career is based on.

Unfortunately, the rug can be pulled out from under you at any moment should the developers decide things just aren't working right, or even if interest in the game dwindles.

That said, I know most people -- players, teams, casters, and streamers -- do this not only because they can make a living at it, but also because they actually love the games they're involved in. I understand how a lot of them are feeling right now. Most online gamers have felt something similar when a game they loved was taken from them for business reasons. It sucks. It sucks even more when you've based your living on it.

Amazing Builder Recreates Orgrimmar And Stormwind In Minecraft Wed, 31 Oct 2018 11:57:05 -0400 QuintLyn

It's not often that Blizzard assigns someone outside their own ranks a task. So,  when they do, you can be sure that person knows exactly what they're doing.

In this case we're talking about a Minecraft artist going by the name of Vale_Yard, who was commissioned to recreate the Horde and Alliance capitol cities from World of Warcraft in the popular block-building game.

After being commissioned -- and probably after getting permission from Blizzard -- Vale_Yard posted about the project on Reddit. There's a few things they didn't specify, like what exactly the project is for or how much they're getting paid, but they did answer questions from other Redditors you can see in the thread above. 

More recently, they posted timelapses of both builds. These are big builds so be prepared to set aside some time to watch.

Aside from what we don't know about the project, we do know it took months to do and that at present, Blizzard is considering eventually allowing public access to the map.

For those that are concerned with such things, Vale_Yard also confirms they're getting paid real money for their work and not just in subs or digital goodies. They also say there may be more video content coming later, but added that that's not a promise.

As for what the builds are actually for... That's anyone's guess. But considering BlizzCon is just a few short days away, it might be a good bet we'll find out then.

Former WoW PVP Dev Brian Holinka Returns As Lead Combat Designer Mon, 22 Oct 2018 15:04:07 -0400 QuintLyn

It seems structural changes are still under way at Blizzard. Earlier this month Blizzard president and co-founder Mike Morhaime announced he would be stepping down from his current role and taking on an advisory position. At the same time, it was announced that World of Warcraft executive producer J. Allen Brack would be taking his place.

A few weeks later, Blizzard announced that Heroes of the Storm game director Alan Dabiri would be transitioning to a currently unrevealed position within the company.

Today, we have even more news of Blizzard team members taking on new(ish) roles. Blizzard dev Brian Holinka is returning to work on World of Warcraft. I say "returning" because while Holinka never left Blizzard, he did leave behind his position as Lead PvP developer for the popular MMO last year to work on an unannounced project for the company.

This past weekend, Holinka revealed via Twitter that he's returning to World of Warcraft.

According to Holinka's LinkedIn page, he won't be picking up his old role of Lead PvP developer but will instead be WoW's new Lead Combat designer. What this transition means for the other project he was working on is anyone's guess. It will also be interesting to see if any of these changes affect BlizzCon, which is taking place in less than two weeks.

Blizzard Nixes Speculation On Diablo 3 Cossplay And Reign Of Terror Announcement Wed, 17 Oct 2018 10:47:01 -0400 QuintLyn

While we still don't know what Blizzard has planned for the Diablo announcements at BlizzCon, we may have a better idea of what those announcements won't be. Since players first took note of the fact that Diablo will be the first topic discussed on the main stage following the convention's opening ceremony, we've seen some serious speculation spurred by things like merchandise appearances and Blizzard representatives having a chat with the press.

In fact, GameSkinny recently covered both the rumor about Diablo 3 crossplay and the speculation on "Reign of Terror".  Unfortunately, it seems that neither of these things is what it appears to be.

Following the Business Insider article that attributed a comment indicating Diablo 3 crossplay would be happening at some point -- it was just a question of "when" -- Blizzard has informed press that cross-platform play is not in the works. 

The statement provided to DualShockers and Nintendo Life indicates that the company likes the idea, but has no plans for it at the moment.

While we love the idea of bringing our players together across platforms, we do not have any plans to implement cross-platform gameplay for Diablo at this time.

The good news here is that cross-play hasn't been completely ruled out. But, despite what the representative who spoke to Business Insider told them, it's still a question of "if" as well as "when". 

As for "Reign of Terror" being an accidental title leak, a Blizzard rep told GameSpot that's not the case. It seems "Reign of Terror" is just a title attached to the new products and nothing more. They even go so far as to explicitly state that the name doesn't directly reference any "content at the show". 

So, once again, we're left without any information on what, if anything, Blizzard will be announcing for the game at BlizzCon. Of course, they'd probably like to keep it that way.

Hearthstone: Boomsday Project Coming in August Wed, 11 Jul 2018 09:29:43 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Blizzard has finally announced details on the Boomsday Project, its upcoming expansion for Hearthstone. Dave Kosak from the Hearthstone team presented the expansion in a colorful and totally ridiculous announcement trailer -- featuring Dr. Boom -- which is available above for your viewing pleasure.

As is usually the case, the new expansion will introduce a set of 135 new cards and also build upon The Witchwood expansion. In addition, each class will receive something never seen before -- a Legendary spell.

Each class will also receive a Project card which grants a beneficial effect to both players when played; such cards have existed in Hearthstone before, but have been mostly limited to the Druid class.

A new Magnetic mechanic will be introduced which allows the merging of two Mech minions on board with this keyword, combining their stats and abilities in the process.

Lastly, the new set will include special Omega cards whose full potential will be triggered once a player has 10 mana crystals at their disposal.

During an undisclosed launch period, players who log in will receive three card packs and a random Class Legendary Minion (or a fancy hero card) from the new expansion completely free.

Full details are available on the official blog post, where you can also pre-purchase the expansion

Hearthstone's Boomsday Project launches August 7, with additional single player content in The Puzzle Lab coming August 21.


Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on the Boomsday Project, related guides, card reviews, and more.

Displate Reveals New Hearthstone Poster Collection Mon, 11 Jun 2018 14:38:40 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Do you love Hearthstone? Is your game room lacking that "special something"? Perhaps paper posters are getting on your nerves and not holding up to your standards?

Well then, you're in luck because Displate, the company behind the widely successful metal posters craze, has announced a partnership with Blizzard to create a new collection of Hearthstone-themed posters.

The first set of posters is available for purchase on Displate's official website. New additions to the collection will be announced soon.

Made of high-quality metal, these posters are easy to mount thanks to an integrated magnetic system. And although they're a bit on the pricey side, they last a very long time, so the investment is well worth it.

Shipping is available across the globe. Each poster currently costs $47.


Let us know if you're planning on picking one of these up and, as always, stay tuned right here on GameSkinny for all things Hearthstone.

Overwatch Class Guide Fri, 20 Apr 2018 14:22:58 -0400 TopFragging

Within Overwatch there are four classes (or roles): Offensive, Defensive, Tank and Support. Each class has a specific role or objective within the team, such as poking, healing, tanking, picking, etc.

The guide below offers an explanation of each class, the heroes that make them up, and the best way to optimize your playtime and potentially help you improve, whether it be to gain Elo, build game knowledge, or just generally improve your overall skill.

Note: This class guide is not a concrete tutorial on exactly which character to pick in a given round, as a defensive character is still a key member of the team even on the offensive phase, for instance.



Genji - McCree - Pharah - Reaper - Soldier 76 - Sombra - Tracer - Doomfist

These characters share certain goals, such as clearing an objective, securing kills, and being a general pain in the ass; however, they all have some defining characteristics which make them effective and enjoyable in their own right.

Offensive characters typically tend to be more “lone wolf” and therefore have kits that allow them to be quite self-sufficient and to escape danger quickly with their advanced mobility. They often aim to assassinate or pick off squishy enemies, whether they be healers or other offensive threats. If you're wanting to carry your team with a glass cannon, then the Offensive role is a good starting point.

Although they dish out high damage, be aware that they have low health pools and thus can be easily killed. For example, with her measly 150 HP, Tracer can be killed in one shot by a well-placed headshot or Hanzo scatter arrow. This makes abilities such as Reaper's Wraith Form, Solider 76’s Biotic Field, Tracer's Recall, Pharah’s Jump Jet, Genji’s Deflect, and Sombra's Translocator very useful at allowing these characters to escape sticky situations and keep that respawn screen at bay.

Keep an eye out for potential threats at all times, and do whatever it takes to stay alive. This may be easier said than done, as I have personally found the Offensive class and some of its characters to be typically hard to master.



Bastion - Hanzo - Junkrat - Mei - Torbjörn - Widowmaker

The defensive class has the highest overall damage output in the game. They excel, as suggested by the name, at protecting areas and objectives from the opposing team. This is done by setting up traps and other deployables, such as Torbjörn’s Turrets, Junkrat’s Steel Trap, and Widowmaker's Venom Mine. Simply waiting for the right time to strike and being well-positioned are key with these characters because, unlike the Offensive class, these characters possess little mobility but a slightly larger health pool.

The Defensive class is more efficient and better supported when playing from the back and staying behind your tanks rather than taking the fight straight to the enemy. However, do not be deterred: An experienced player can still dominate the attacking round with a Defensive hero, as they are functional and effective in more areas than people think.

This class best suits players who prefer to stick with the team and engage in team fights; however, you can still rack up kills and get that gold medal if you're well-positioned and thinking ahead.



D.Va - Orisa - Reinhardt - Roadhog - Winston - Zarya

The tank class is a key component to the team, and playing without one could make the game incredibly hard. I would suggest that you are able to confidently play at least one tank well as they are always welcomed within the team. The way that I see the Tank class is that it is split into two groups: Offensive and Defensive.

The Offensive tanks -- such as Roadhog, Zarya, and potentially D.Va -- are better at the attacking stage of the game. They boast high damage but offer little support to the team, they still excel in 1v1 situations even against Offensive heroes, and they can easily carry a game with the right team and good coordination.

The Defensive tanks, however -- such as Reinhardt, Winston, and Orisa -- are better at supporting their team. They offer higher-damage shields, and their kits consist of more crowd-control abilities that, if combined with other team members, can be devastating in a fight. They have the highest health pools, but without a sufficient healer, a player new to the Tank class may struggle (unless it's Roadhog because, well, he is a one-man apocalypse).

Lucio and Mercy


Ana - Lucio - Mercy - Symmetra - Zenyatta - Moira - Brigitte

Finally onto the most underrated and least favored yet most important class in the game. The Support class can be considered the backbone of any team; they primarily tend to focus on healing your team and keeping them in the fight.

Playing a Support is a tough gig. Trying to keep the whole team sustained and utilizing that game-changing Ultimate takes a smart approach, and mastering a Support hero will make you a necessary member of any team. Just be prepared not to be thanked and to always be told you're trash because that Tracer thinks it's your fault for not healing her when she goes 1v6.


Hopefully this guide to each of the four classes in Overwatch has been helpful. What are your thoughts on the roles, and do you have any suggestions or insights that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments, and stick with GameSkinny for all things Overwatch!

Hearthstone: The Witchwood Release Date Revealed Fri, 06 Apr 2018 13:45:04 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Blizzard finally announced the release date for The Witchwood expansion, and it is April 12 (mark it on your calendar). It will be Hearthstone's first expansion of 2018 and also the one to kick off The Year of the Raven. In addition to 135 collectible cards, it will introduce two new game mechanics -- Echo and Rush -- and a new single-player game mode called Monster Hunt, which, although information is scarce, is likely to be similar to the well-received Dungeon Run mode. If the guys and gals at Blizzard have learned and improved the rewards system, then Monster Hunt will be a blast to play, featuring four characters unique to this mode and an array of challenges to overcome. Lastly, a new alternate Druid hero, Lunara, will be attainable by winning 10 games in standard play mode, either ranked or casual.

Lunara, a new card in Hearthstone The Witchwood

And to top it off, anyone logging in before July 10 will receive three card packs and a random legendary class card, free of charge.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for all things Hearthstone-related because we will treat you to news, card reviews, and crafting guides once the expansion launches on April 12.

Hearthstone: Why Now Is a Great Time to Start Playing Thu, 15 Mar 2018 12:13:32 -0400 Edgar Wulf

With approximately a month left until the release of a new expansion and an exciting transition into the Year of the Raven, now would be an excellent time to join the Hearthstone community.

What the flock is the Year of the Raven? Well, each year has a particular theme. Currently, for instance, we're in the Year of the Mammoth, and within each year are three unique expansions released across, roughly, four-month intervals. At the end of each thematic year, several of the older expansions rotate out, meaning that the available card pool for standard play is at its lowest point, and decks would consist of three to four sets of cards at most. New players can greatly benefit from this transition since they don't have to purchase older expansions or worry about not having enough cards. This is as fresh of a start as it can get.

So you've downloaded the game; Hearthstone is free to play, might as well. Where do you begin? You have no idea what the differences are between the nine unique heroes, you barely have any cards to play with, and, to top it off, you have zero gold. You should probably start by completing the tutorials, which will net you some gold and additional cards, as well as teach you the basics of the game.

Your main income, at least initially, will come from daily quests. Each day you will receive a quest and, upon completion, it will reward you with a set amount of gold. There are several: 40, 50, 60, 80, and 100 gold quests, each with varying requirements. However, after the transition, 40 gold quests will reward 50 gold instead, and many of the requirements will be lowered. This is welcome news and demonstrates Blizzard's willingness to accommodate a fresh player base. For now, a 40 gold quest might require you to "Win an X amount of games with class Y." On the other hand, a 100 gold quest would often require you to win a larger amount of games but would not restrict your class choice. And by the way, the 80 gold quest is by far the best, as it only requires you to play (not necessarily win) against a friend. And you both earn the reward, regardless of who has the quest.

Lastly, you can re-roll any quest you have once per day, and you can have up to a maximum of three at any given time. So make sure you always have a slot free for a new quest by completing the older ones. But I've bored you enough with the details. You simply want to know how to earn more of that cash-money, right? I got you covered.

Typical daily quests in Hearthstone

Ever since I started playing over three years ago, I've diligently followed the same, simple method of completing my dailies. This won't be anything new to the game's veterans, but if you're a rookie in the world of Hearthstone, then you might want to consider the following. Say you're on a clean slate, and your first quest is a 40 gold one. You re-roll it, and you get another 40 gold quest. If that is the case, leave it. If it requires you to win with a certain class, simply play with another. You're looking for 60+ gold quests; you want to maximize profit. And if 20-40 additional gold doesn't sound like much, then trust me, it adds up. If all three of your quests end up being 40 gold (and this can definitely happen), then just complete one to free up a slot for a new one.  If you get a quest requiring you to play a deck you're not comfortable with, then play in casual mode. That way, any potential losses won't affect your rank in the current month.

Is that it?! Sounds like a lot of work for an insignificant reward. No, there is also the infamous Arena mode, and I strongly suggest that you take the time to learn it. With enough practice and persistence, you could pay for card packs and any new expansions by only using in-game currency.

Hero selection screen in Hearthstone

In Arena, upon paying a 150 gold entry fee (your first entry is free), you are presented with a choice of three out of the nine heroes, randomly. Once you pick your champion, you will enter the draft stage, during which you will be offered 30 consecutive sets of 3 random cards, but you can only pick 1 out of each set until you've built a deck of 30 cards. Afterwards, you will play against other players who've built their deck in a similar fashion, up to a maximum of either 12 wins or 3 losses. Once you inevitably reach one of those numbers, you will be presented with rewards based on the final amount of wins.

Rewards are randomized and can consist of a combination of gold, dust (from which you can craft new cards), card packs (a value of 100 gold), and cards, either regular or golden. By the way, always disenchant golden cards for dust; they don't offer any gameplay benefits and only differentiate themselves with animated card art. Here's the kicker: If you can consistently average seven wins, then you may continue to play Arena indefinitely. That amount will always reward you with at least 150 gold, which already covers the entry fee, and additional rewards, one of which is always a pack from the most recent expansion, leading to a grand total value of 250+ gold.

Don't get too excited, though. That level of consistency requires a substantial time investment and practice. Begin by watching some of the more proficient Hearthstone Arena players who regularly reach high win counts, like Grinning Goat, Kripparian, or Shadybunny. Follow their draft choices and the decisions they make during each match, and then, eventually, you will become a much better player. You can also download the Hearth Arena Companion App, which will support your draft by suggesting cards of high power level, or a significant amount of synergies. I found this app extremely valuable when I started out. In addition, you can refer to the Lightforge tier list brought to you by the jolly guys at Grinning Goat. Many players have gone infinite (7+ wins) thanks to their hard work and input. It took time, but I got there; so can you!

Dallas Fuel's Release of xQc Is a Powerful Reflection of the OWL's Integrity Wed, 14 Mar 2018 15:45:59 -0400 Andrew Krajewski

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. On March 11th, the Dallas Fuel announced via the Overwatch League website that they were releasing Felix "xQc"  Lengyel after he was suspended and fined for a second time this season. This latest suspension followed derogatory chat behavior during one of xQc's Overwatch Twitch streams.

This suspension would also mean that Felix would sit out more games than he has played at this point in the season. It is most likely for this reason that the Fuel had to let xQc go. As a core tank of the team, his absence is a significant one that ultimately costs the Dallas Fuel success. By releasing him, the Fuel have made it clear they won't tolerate these suspensions and are serious about winning in the OWL. If players are absent, then they can't win, and with their actions, the Fuel are indicating they would rather have a player they can count on than a star play who they can't count on.

It is a shame that such a skilled player like xQc has dropped the ball again, and while he may land somewhere else, he'll have to change his behavior if he wants to seriously be considered by other teams. Blizzard has demonstrated an effort to reduce toxicity in its games, and the OWL has shown it won't shy away from suspending its most popular players. The events that have transpired over the past several days are a strong indicator that the Overwatch League and the teams that comprise it are serious about creating a positive community to support the league.


What do you think about Dallas' decision to release xQc? Will he find another team, or is his time in the OWL over? Do you care about player behavior outside of the league? Let us know in the comments below!

How Brigitte Lindholm Will Shake Up Overwatch Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:25:37 -0400 Andrew Krajewski

She's smart, strong, caring, and determined to health. Brigitte Lindholm is the young blood coming to the aid of the Overwatch heroes, and her skill set is sure to change up the game in fun new ways. Let's take a quick look at who Brigitte is, what she does, and how the game might change with her addition.

Who Is Brigitte Lindholm?

Brigitte is the daughter of Torbjorn and a fantastic engineer. She is a fantastic engineer due to the tutelage of her father, and has used her knowledge to create armor to protect her friends. As the squire of Reinhardt, she became driven and wanted to fight for justice rather than just stand on the sidelines. It is these qualities that we see reflected in her abilities.

  • She has a short-range flail that she uses to strike enemies in her way (a la Reinhardt). Here's the kicker, though: When she does damage, she also heals allies, and if allies are at full health, she give them armor.
  • She can also throw down repair packs (like Torbjorn) that heal and increase armor.
  • Brigitte's next ability, whip shot, is a skill shot that can be used for crowd control and to boop enemies away from her.
  • Brigitte also deploys a small barrier shield in front of her to absorb damage. Once the shield breaks, she can dash forward. If she hits an enemy, she'll stun them. Sounds like a true Reinhardt apprentice to me.
  • Brigitte's ultimate is a speed and armor buff for any ally nearby -- not too fancy, but still pretty nice.

Brigitte Lindholm on a plain background

She's a Game Changer

Brigitte is an aggressive support who will be fighting on the front lines, reminiscent of Lucio. Like Lucio, Brigitte features a nice boop ability and looks to be fun to play. On the public test servers where people can try her out, she has already been nerfed before her official release. From initial impressions, Brigitte feels like her skills complement each other very well. While she is in the thick of fighting, the healing provided by her attacks, health packs, and ultimate seems perfect for her close range. It's especially nice that the healing comes in the form of armor that will raise the total HP of allies. This should allow Brigitte to stay in the fight longer before having to flee.

Brigitte's other skills are great for initiation. The whip shot is a great crowd control attack that can snowball into several kills for her team. The shield bash charge is also a fantastic ability, offering another crowd control opportunity with its stun, or allowing Brigitte a chance to escape if a situation gets too scary.

At lower skill levels of play, Brigitte offers people a support they may be more willing to play than other healers, like Mercy. She's designed to be in the middle of a fight, while other support heroes try to stay near the back lines of a fight. The fact that her attacks also heal may appeal to lower-skill players.

At higher levels of play, I imagine Brigitte will be seen in dive compositions, which thrive on fast initiations and aggressive play. She should also see play on control point maps like Nepal, Ilios, or Lijiang, especially with opportunities to boop opponents off the edge. Depending on how strong she is at her release, we might see her played in the flex role, as an off-tank, rather than a true first or second support. It will be exciting to see how the pros manage to utilize her in new strategies. We've already got some exciting new highlights of her being played at high levels (the clip below is by Geguri).

Brigitte is currently available to try out on Overwatch's Test Servers and is expected to be released once she gets balanced a bit more (we expect towards the end of March or beginning of April, following patterns of previously released heroes). What are your first impressions of Brigitte, and how do you want to see her utilized? Let us know in the comments below, and for all of your Overwatch coverage, be sure to stick around GameSkinny.

Hearthstone: Upcoming Changes in Patch 10.4 Thu, 08 Mar 2018 15:50:28 -0500 Edgar Wulf

In their most recent "Designer Insights," Blizzard announced some big changes coming to Hearthstone's Arena mode via upcoming patch 10.4 that would, in particular, affect drafting. Kris Zierhut, Lead Systems Designer for Hearthstone, began by briefly describing a typical draft pick in Arena. In his example, for a common rarity pick you would get a Fireball, an Ice Barrier, and a Wisp. Sound familiar? For those with Arena experience, and this is something Kris also emphasized, the pick is quite obvious -- Fireball -- with the remaining choices being quite underwhelming.

He then proceeded to describe a different situation, where the same Fireball would be up against a Leyline Manipulator of rare quality and a Primordial Drake of epic quality. Now, the decision is no longer as obvious and is strongly based on any potential synergies your deck might already have, though I would still argue that the Leyline Manipulator is no competition for the other two cards. Also, notice how each card is of a different rarity. Since the very beginnings of Arena, any specific draft pick would always contain three cards of the same rarity, either common, rare, epic, or legendary.

That is soon to change. Each pick will contain cards of a similar power level but varying rarities, with the exception of legendaries -- there will always be three, similarly powered legendary cards. As before, picks 1,10, 20, and 30 will offer cards of a rare or higher quality. Bonus rates for cards from new expansions will be temporarily disabled, and rates for many existing cards will be rebalanced. In addition, each class will receive one arena-exclusive card.

Though I was skeptical back when wild cards were removed from Arena, it ended up being a good kind of change. I also believe that these new changes will, even if not right away, make the drafting experience better and incentivize a more thorough decision.

As of yet, the release date of patch 10.4 is not known, though I am willing to bet it will launch alongside the new expansion and the transition into The Year of the Raven, which is likely sometime in April of 2018.


Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more information on Hearthstone and the upcoming expansion as it develops.


Blizzard Confirms New Overwatch Hero Brigitte Lindholm Thu, 01 Mar 2018 11:51:13 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

Hold onto your shields, a new hero comes to join the Overwatch ranks. Blizzard just recently announced Brigitte Lindholm, the youngest daughter of Torbjorn, and she's playable right now on the Overwatch PTR. With her shield and flail, she represents the game's seventh support hero as she assists Reinhardt on the front lines.

Brigitte's main attack is her Rocket Flail, which swings in front of her to hit multiple targets. Her first ability is called Whip Shot, which will shoot her flail forward and knock enemies back. Her passive is also activated from this, healing allies every time she hits. Brigitte can also create a Barrier Shield, which will absorb a limited amount of damage, and perform a Shield Bash to stun the first enemy hit. Much like her father, she can also drop Repair Packs to heal and armor allies.

Brigitte's ultimate is called Rally, which inspires allies around her, increasing their armor substantially and improving her own movement speed to get to the front lines.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Blizzard Overwatch Blog, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Overwatch news, tips, and more.



The Five Dumbest Overwatch Nerfs of All Time Wed, 31 Jan 2018 14:01:11 -0500 Anthony Merklinger


In the brief history of Overwatch, there is perhaps no greater nerf that lacked intellectual acuity than the patch introduced in the late Beta stages on April 5, 2016, affecting Symmetra. As a seemingly underwhelming support character, Symmetra uses a Photon Projector to cast light-bending abilities, which, in the Beta stage, primarily involved providing a shield boost for allies and creating teleporters. 


Indeed, Symmetra’s Teleporter is useful during defensive modes; however, the patch rendered her virtually useless, as the strength of her Photon Shield was reduced by 50%, displacing her as a viable hero. A later patch introduced on April 21, 2016, increased the healing output of Zenyatta’s Orb of Harmony ability by five per second, further incentivizing players to use other support characters in place of Symmetra.


According to patch notes, developers felt Symmetra's win rate was too high, but the nerf ultimately resulted in the character being eclipsed by her class counterparts. Luckily, Blizzard has made significant improvements to Symmetra worthy of the character's fascinating biography. 




Do you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments below which nerf was the most egregious in Overwatch's history. Be sure to check back with GameSkinny for more on your favorite Overwatch heroes!


As Overwatch heroes go, Junkrat is a lit fuse. His feverish obsession to cause chaos and destruction is apparent in his deadly arsenal, as players can utilize traps and explosives to defend strategic positions or make an offensive play. Indeed, his RIP-Tire ultimate, ominously announced with a "Fire in the hole!" bark, is as terrifying as McCree's "It's High Noon." But for all the zaniness Junkrat brings to the Overwatch roster, there's one aspect of the character that doesn't make sense.


Patch, released on March 21, 2017, introduced a nerf that removed the damage Junkrat sustained as a result of using his Frag Launcher in close combat. As continuity goes, Junkrat has a distinct advantage over his explosive counterparts, such as Pharah, who suffers significant damage from her Rocket Launcher when used at close range -- despite wearing a suit of armor that rivals Reinhardt's. 


The nerf may have opened Junkrat to new strategies, but it stressed the disparity in the Overwatch team's approach to balancing heroes. 


Characterized by a fierce desire to win at all costs, D.Va is a mobile tank with a shotgun arsenal. Her nimbleness and high defensive rating made her a formidable Overwatch opponent, but skilled players nevertheless possessed the means to remove her from the field.


Certainly, D.Va mains have long enjoyed the class' balanced kit of defense and offense, using a combination of armor and Fusion Cannons to harass enemy players during combat; however, Overwatch introduced new changes to D.Va's class with Patch 1.7, released on January 24, 2017, that sought to reduce her defensive performance:

  • Health increased to 400 from 200
  • \n
  • Armor decreased to 200 from 400
  • \n
  • Fusion Cannons damage output decreased from 3 to 2
  • \n
  • Number of bullets per shot has been increased from 8 to 11
  • \n

What's important to note is the difference between Overwatch's health and armor ratings. Armor blocks 5 HP of damage for every hit that deals 10 HP or more (with hits dealing less than 10 HP halved), making it particularly effective against heroes using rapid fire weapons. When D.Va is considered, reducing her armor rating by 200 decreases her viability as an aggressive tank.


D.Va excels at crash landing in the midst of enemy players and wreaking havoc, much like her tank counterpart Winston; however, D.Va's previous armor rating of 400 enabled her to withstand enemy attacks long enough for the cooldown on the MEKA's Boosters to expire so she could successfully evade combat.


While the nerf may have been well received by some, it failed to appropriately categorize D.Va as a defensive or offensive tank, striking a mediocre balance that borrowed from both paradigms, which ultimately left players wondering how to play her.


Ana's versatility as a support class made her a popular choice among Overwatch players, as her damage and healing abilities allowed her to adapt to game-making confrontations with ease. Ana mains enjoyed the character's buff and debuff-inspired kit to move freely without the support of team members, demonstrating the character's capability of being an effective hero.


A PTR patch released in March 2017 upended Ana's performance by heavily altering the impact of her Biotic Rifle and Biotic Grenade -- a change so drastic that Blizzard Entertainment reverted the PTR values by the next day.


The damage output of Ana's Biotic Rifle was effectively reduced from 80 to 60, and the Biotic Grenade's from 60 to 30; however, the character's most sobering nerf affected the Biotic Grenade's healing output, which saw a 50% reduction. 


"Upon testing, feedback, and talking about it... we decided to pull back on the nerfs a bit," wrote Geoff Goodman, a principal designer on the project. Ana's nerfs were restored to live values with the exception of the damage reduction to her Biotic Rifle, which begs the question: why does Egypt's best elite sniper use underperforming weapons? 


While the argument can be made the changes were reasonable, the nerf failed to incentivize players to use Ana as a balanced damage-healing hybrid. 




Best known for his signature Chain Hook, Roadhog is a hardy tank with a sizable health reserve. His ability to withstand significant damage and defeat lone, vulnerable heroes with a deadly grab-and-shoot combination (comparable to Reinhardt's Charge) allowed him to enjoy a more fluid, offensive playing style rather than relying on team support for enemy confrontations; however, changes to his damage output (introduced to the public test region on May 31, 2017) dynamically shifted his presence on the battlefield.


Roadhog's primary weapon, Scrap Gun, saw a 30% increase to its firing rate and a boost to the character's ammo clip from four to five. The trade-off: Roadhog's damage output was reduced by 33%, virtually crippling his famous one-shot kill combination. 


According to the patch notes, Blizzard Entertainment explained Roadhog was simply too powerful and sought to balance the character by alternating "fire burst damage potential while still keeping his DPS roughly the same." While the patch may have remodeled Roadhog as a traditional tank, it detracted from the character's threatening nature as a ruthless killer.


Developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch rose to universal fame as a premier first-person shooter with a larger-than-life ensemble. From a super intelligent, genetically modified gorilla to a time-jumping adventurer, the heroes of Overwatch are constantly changing in what proves to be a balancing act between form and function. 


With Overwatch League underway, and fresh changes to Mercy and Junkrat in patch, we examine five of the most head-scratching nerfs to Overwatch heroes across the game's three-year history. 

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Announced for September Release Tue, 30 Jan 2018 17:36:28 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

Gear up, Horde and Alliance: the latest expansion to World of Warcraft, Battle for Azeroth, has been announced for release on (or before) September 21. Although it was announced at BlizzCon in November, Blizzard Entertainment recently released some new details about the expansion.

On top of that, the preorder for Battle for Azeroth was also released, allowing players to prepurchase the normal and deluxe editions of the expansion through the player store.

With the preorder, players will receive two exclusive mounts. One is a steed for Alliance players based on the new zone of Kul Tiras, while the other is a Horde raptor from the zone of Zandalar. Players will also receive a new pet, a small turtle known as Tottle, as well as early access to the four new Allied races: Nightbourne, Highmountain Tauren, Void Elves, and Lightforged Draenei.

Finally, players will get a free 110 boost for any character and other in-game items for other Blizzard games.

In Battle for Azeroth, you will explore the new conflict between the Alliance and Horde in the wake of the Legion's defeat. The Alliance returns to Kul Tiras, the naval power behind the Alliance in the First and Second war. The Horde will seek out an ancient civilization, the Zandalari Trolls, for their naval that equals and possibly surpasses Kul Tiras. Level to 120 and explore new zones and raids in the next installment of World of Warcraft.

The base edition currently costs $49.99 and the deluxe is $69.99 in the in-game store. Grab your loot and prepare for war as Battle for Azeroth looms. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more World of Warcraft news.

Overwatch League Player Suspended for Homophobic Taunts Tue, 23 Jan 2018 10:51:25 -0500 pithyalyse

Less than a month into its premiere season, The Overwatch League is throwing a red card.

Felix “xQc” Lengyel of the Dallas Fuel received a four-match suspension and $2,000 fine on Friday for violating the League’s code of conduct. The night prior, Lengyel taunted another player with a homophobic slur on his personal Twitch channel.   

The stream followed the Fuel’s 4-0 loss to the Houston Outlaws. Lengyel took issue with one of their players, Austin “Muma” Wilmot, mimicking him after the victory, and said the openly gay player could “Suck a fat … ”

Well, you can fill in the blank (or hear it for yourself in the clip below).

The League took swift action, issuing a press release the next day.

“The Overwatch League takes standards of players behavior seriously, whether during league play or otherwise, and is committed to responding swiftly when violations occur,” it read.

Fuel later expressed support for the League’s decision via Twitter, adding that Lengyel would also sit out the remainder of Stage 1 -- which runs until February 10.

In the interim, the post continues, Fuel will provide him with additional coaching to ensure he “is reflective of the principles of the Dallas Fuel organization, his teammates, and the Overwatch League.”

Lengyel tweeted an apology to Wilmot on Friday, explaining that there was no “malicious intent” in his words. He spoke too fast without thinking, he said.  

This is not the first scandal to hit Overwatch League players. In November, the League slapped a 30-game suspension on the Philadelphia Fusion’s Su-min “Sado” Kim for account boosting profiteering -- a violation of Blizzard’s end user license agreement.