Tag Archives: Blizzard

Overwatch Free Weekend from 22nd to 25th September

Blizzard have announced that from September 22nd–25th, there will be an Overwatch Free Weekend on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One!

For this free weekend, Overwatch’s full roster of 25 heroes and 16 maps are available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn Loot Boxes, and unlock a variety of different customization options.

If you decide to purchase Overwatch after the free weekend, you’ll get to keep any progress that you made during the weekend—just be sure to use the same Blizzard, Sony Entertainment, or Xbox Live account that you played on.

Lucioball Returns to Overwatch in Summer Games 2017!

Summer Games is returning to Overwatch for Season 2, on Tuesday August 8th, and will bring with it Competitive Lucioball!  Blizzard Entertainment has also announced that this year’s version of the Summer Games event will include new skins and updates to Lucioball as well as the return of cosmetics that were released in 2016.

The updates to Lucioball include the addition of a new stadium, Sydney, alongside the returning Rio. The developer is also changing some of the rules of the Rocket League-ish game. Blizzard has removed the ability to “boop” enemies with Lucio’s Soundwave attack and has changed the way his ultimate ability works. It no longer pulls the ball toward the player, Blizzard said, and instead increases Lucio’s speed and the speed of his “boop.”

According to Blizzard, the new cosmetic items will be available for the following prices;

  • Legendary Skins will cost 3,000 credits
  • Epic Skins will cost 750 credits
  • Rare tier will cost 225 credits
  • Common tier will cost 75 credits

And the 2016 cosmetic items will be;

  • Legendary Skins will cost 1,000 credits
  • Epic Skins will cost 250 credits
  • Rare tier will cost 75 credits

Overwatch hits 25 million players

The official Overwatch Twitter account has announced that the hugely popular class-based online shooter has hit the milestone 25 million players.

Huge congratulations to Blizzard.

Competitive Play mode coming to Overwatch

Blizzard Entertainment has annouced that Overwatch is getting a new game mode: Competitive Play. It’s available right now on PC, and will be arriving soon on the Xbox One.

Competitive Play is designed for those who truly want to put their skills to the test, and offers a more serious experience than Quick Play or Weekly Brawl! modes and because it’s for the serious gamers and to ensure that every player has a solid understanding of the game, the new mode, heroes and maps wont be unlocked until you reach level 25.

Before you start your competitive career, every new player will have to complete 10 placement matches in order to obtain their initial skill rating. This rating will be a number between 1 and 100, with higher values indicating a greater skill level. Skill ratings will be visible at the beginning of every match and as you compete, your rating will increase or decrease with each win or loss based on a number of factors, including your own performance and the skill of the other players.

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Like other Competitive Play setups you will compete in four seasons, each lasting two and a half months. During that time, you can increase your skill rating and battle up the ranks before the stats are reset at the end of the season. This is followed by a two-week offseason, after which a new season will commence, beginning with a new set of placement matches.

In addition to the thrill of victory, players can earn new rewards that are only available through Competitive Play. At the end of a season, anyone who has completed the 10 placement matches will receive a special spray and player icon, with a new set of designs being released every season. On top of that as you win matches, you’ll earn Competitive Points. These points are based on your performance, and you’ll also receive a number of points at the end of each season. These Competitive Points can be exchanged for cosmetic Golden Weapons for your heroes.

Because of the more serious nature of the game mode, strict penalties will be in place to catch people leaving the game early or even stepping away from their console during the match, so ensure you make that all important toilet break. Players that continually suffer penalties due to inactive play or game infringements will see the Competitive Play mode locked for an increasing amount of time and could eventually be banned from the current season.

For more information on the new Competitve Play mode, check out the official site and while you are at it why dont you check out what we thought of the game in our review.

Overwatch review

When Blizzard announced in 2014 that there were bringing a new game out, speculation was rife. Would it be another Diablo type, perhaps some card based creation but then again all these have been done, it would need to be something special. Perhaps they were going to bring World of Warcraft (WoW), now having been a fan of this game for many (too many, I have to admit) years this would be really awesome but again no, what came was Overwatch.

So where do we start, Blizzard has poured all its talent from both its gaming and graphical expertise to bring us what I have to say is one of the most stunning FPS I have seen in a while. Now don’t get me wrong we’re not going for realism here etc but if we are looking at cartoon effect games then this has to be one of the leaders in its category. Overwatch is a 6 v 6 objective-based shooter where you are either tasked to attack, defend or escort set objectives for a set time limit, through a specified route or until your points counter reaches 100. No different to some of the existing games on the market I hear you cry but what does make this game stand out above the rest is its characters.

The characters in Overwatch are the heart and soul of this game and because of this you are presented with all 21 straight from the beginning and this is where the fun starts. Like previous games from Blizzard the main characters are broken down into 4 main classes, Tank, Offence, Support and Defence. Each one has its own attack, primary and secondary skills and then a special ability which when activated can deliver untold amounts of death and destruction on the opposition. Now I could go on and on about who does what and which skills they have but I think this is part of the beauty of this game and therefore I will let you discover this for yourself. These skills and abilities though differ from character to character and makes the choosing and mastering of these heroes a challenge in itself. However even though all the characters may have their strengths they also come with weaknesses which can be exposed and exploited by others. The variation or choice caters for all types of players, so if you prefer to play Healer in a game then there is Mercy, where as if you want the fun of a fast assault then you have Tracer but whatever your role and whatever your tactic there is always someone for you but also someone who can counter you. The trick is learning which ones.

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As said before the playable characters in this game are the life and soul and this is easily seen as you enter the main menu. When the screen appears you are presented with one of the main characters showing the fine detail and textures that blizzard have spent many months perfecting. From here you have access to the Hero Gallery where you learn and customise your heroes to your liking. You can change their appearance and clothing, Hero finishing team pose, winning cut scene animations and these are to name just a few. This ability to tweak and shape your character really brings the game to life in such a way that they feel personal to you. These however are not readily available to you from the start and each item can be unlocked via coins that you earn or unlockables that you can get via loot crates during the game.

Once you have a feel of the characters and which one appeals to your play style you can select play from the main menu, this presents you with a choice of quick play, Vs AI, Custom Match or the Weekly Brawl. All self explanatory but whatever you choose you will soon be thrown into a match with randoms, unless you have set up a team with friends before the game. The character choice screen presents itself to you showing all your team and who is playing what character. Blizzard has offered some help here as on the right hand side a useful prompt tells you in you have too many or too few of one character. Just from this choice screen you will be able to tell if your team is going to work together well. This game focuses around teamwork and seeing players rapidly changing selections if they have doubled up to cover missing classes is a good sign even though having six Tracer’s has led to some really funny and great games. The game then kicks off and you find yourself jumping, flying or bashing your way through the map until you either win or lose. It doesn’t end there though. Once the smoke and dust settles  you are presented with the winning team posing for the camera and the player of the match cut scene, showing them killing in all their glory. You then have the option to vote for your best player of the match, a nice little touch that also brings extra XP to the player getting the most votes. No sooner have you finished all that you are plunged back into character selection for the next round until you decide to quit.

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As you play the game your earn XP for winning or completing objectives, kills and various other little gems that you will uncover. Every time you reach the required amount of XP you level up, and get presented with a loot crate. This loot crate contains game customisations for you in the form of profile tags, characters skins, voices, graffiti images, Heroic poses etc. This allows you to customise your characters as mentioned above to give them that unique look and feel, allowing you to stand out in the crowd.

The maps feel fresh and clean and even though there isn’t many to play and can be learned quickly, they still bring challenges for both the skilled and creative player. On the defending team the key is to learn the choke points within  the maps. You can then co-ordinate your attacks to force the opposition down these where your teammate Bastion, in his sentry mode, is waiting to mow them down. On the flip side when faced with attacking using skilled characters like Pharah or Genji to navigate across high sections of the maps and get in behind the opposition allows you to create distractions, buying time for your teammates to break through.

Gibraltar

Once you have learned the maps, game modes and picked a few favourite characters the fun really begins. The more you play the more you learn how to use your Hero and the environment to the best of your ability. You will discover routes around maps only accessible to some characters and sequences of ability and specials that bring advantage to you and disadvantage to the opposition. You will also find that if one tactic is not working in a game and you can’t break through, another can be deployed by switching characters during the game. This can bring an edge to your team and confusion to your competitors, but to do this you need teamwork. At present there is a lot of people playing this game and not a lot of talking and to make this game really work, Blizzard, just like its other games, wants you to communicate and play as a team. Even though I’ve had some great games playing with randoms, the most enjoyable time is when I’m teamed up with friends in coordinating attacks and our Hero selections.

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There may be no single player mode available, and the tutorial is done and dusted in 5 minutes flat but the game modes and characters are intuitive, fairly easy to play but not to master. For Blizzard’s attempt at a FPS I have to say they have done amazing well and with the potential scope for new maps and Heroes on the horizon I have to take my hat off to them on a creative, simple, but really in-depth character driven shooter. It’s simple, but so much fun and even though the maps are limited every game feels so different to the last, I have to say, this is one of my favourite games of the year and will always have a place on my Xbox.

Thanks to Indigo Pearl & Xbox for supporting TiX

Blizzard confirm Overwatch release date

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Following on from what appeared to be a slip of the release, Blizzard have now officially announced the release date for their multiplayer shooter, Overwatch.

Also announced is the opportunity to play the game extra early, during an open beta on the 3rd and 4th of May for you and a friend but only if one of you pre-orders the game here. You’ll need to have pre-purchased by the 29th of April to get this opportunity, however.

The all-access open beta will then run from the 5th to the 9th of May for all platforms, prior to the title’s full release on the 24th of May.

Overwatch is a first person shooter that will see you join the ranks of a force of legendary soldiers in a clash on the battlefields of a near-future Earth. Pick one of a diverse cast of 21 heroes, each with their own arsenal of weaponry and abilities as you employ teamwork to complete objectives and gain victory.

Overwatch: Origins Edition confirmed for Xbox One

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Blizzard have been around a little while. They should know where the gaming Gods look favourably, with such titles behind them as the Warcraft, Diablo, Hearthstone and Starcraft series. Blizzard aren’t short of experience. They announced at Blizzcon 2014, a team-based PC shooter by the name of Overwatch and all was well in the world.

Until now.

Long deprived of Blizzard’s wares, the console market, from my point of view, has had the hump with their lack of wargaming from arguably the market-leader in the field. This should be coming to an end around summer next year. Overwatch: Origins Edition has been confirmed for an Xbox One release, “on or before the 21st of June 2016”.

A GAME listing here in the UK, captured by Overpwn, revealed the following information about the title:

  • 21 Heroes
  • 5 Skins
  • Blackwatch Reyes (Reaper)
  • Strike-Commander Morrison (Soldier: 76)
  • Overgrown Bastion
  • Security Chief Pharah
  • Slipstream Tracer

There’s no news yet on how much Overwatch: Origins Edition will cost you lucky, lucky people, nor if it will be free to play, like it’s PC counterpart.

The picture at the top of this post was spotted on a Blizzard splash page, before some spoilsport whipped it away. With BlizzCon 2015 happening this weekend, we’re sure to get some further information come through, and we’ll endeavour to bring it to you.

Still unsure? Have a look at one of the original gameplay trailers, below, to give you an idea of what this is all about.

Overwatch: Origins Edition should be hitting the Xbox One in Spring/Summer 2016.

Xbox to appear at the PC Gaming Show

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It was revealed yesterday that Microsoft has joined the upcoming “AMD Presents The PC Gaming Show Powered by PC Gamer” event as both a sponsor and participant. Taking place in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at the Belasco Theater, the show will feature appearances and announcements from some of the biggest names in the PC gaming industry. Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer and several game developers will share the latest details about gaming on Windows 10 as well as showcase several upcoming games.

For us, the PC Gaming Show is the ideal place to speak directly to PC gamers, and it’s a great time to talk about Windows 10 – the best operating system we’ve ever created for gamers on PCs. With Windows 10, we’re bringing the best of Xbox with the best of Windows gaming, including Xbox Live and the new Xbox app, Game DVR for nearly every game, and DirectX 12 for better gaming graphics and performance.

said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft.

Windows is a vital element of the PC gaming experience for so many of us, and I’m excited to see what Microsoft has in store, The PC Gaming Show is a celebration of every aspect of the platform, so I’m delighted Xbox has decided to play such a key part in it.

said Tim Clark, Global Editor-in-Chief, PC Gamer.

Presented by AMD, organized by PC Gamer, and streamed live in partnership with Twitch, the show will bring the PC gaming community together under one roof for announcements and presentations from both major companies and rising independent developers. Hosted by Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott, participants of the show include Dean Hall (DayZ), Blizzard, Bohemia Interactive, Tripwire Interactive, Fullbright, Cliff Bleszinski (Boss Key Productions), Devolver Digital, Nexon, Creative Assembly, Square Enix, CCP Games, Paradox Interactive, and many more.

Diablo III Patch Now Available

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So nearly two weeks after it’s release on the PS3, we Xbox 360 owners and players are finally getting Patch 1.0.2. The update fixes numerous crash-related bugs and gameplay issues, and makes further balance changes.

Here’s the official patch change log from Blizzard:

Crash Fixes

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when quitting the game during a cutscene.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when interacting with the stash while another player attempts to join your game.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur after connection failures caused by NAT/
  • Firewall settings.
  • Fixed multiple crashes that could occur as a result of memory corruption.
  • Fixed crash when casting Hex with the Painful Transformation rune on a Fetish Shaman in Acts III and IV.
  • Removed unnecessary “Clear Skill” option that could appear on the Passive Skill screen and would crash the game when selected.

Gameplay Fixes

  • Enabling Elective Mode no longer causes “New Slot” notification stars to appear for the original slot as opposed to the slot the skill is assigned to.
  • Hardcore characters in the process of taking fatal damage while exiting the Scorched Chapel will no longer be permanently killed.
  • Followers can no longer permanently lose all items after migrating from one game host to another.
  • The following four item sets will no longer repeatedly and permanently add core stat bonuses each time the player logs out of the game: Blackthorne’s Armor, Endless Path, Zunimassa’s Whispers, and Guardian’s Contingency. (This fix will also retroactively correct inflated core stat bonuses on heroes affected by this bug prior to our hotfix going live.)
  • Equipping a quiver with a two-handed bow will no longer cause Quick Compare to incorrectly reflect a loss in damage.
  • Square gems should now only drop in Hell difficulty, which is also where the required items to combine them drop.
  • The Paragon experience bar for Player 2 and Player 4 now displays correctly instead of being visually clipped at the ends.
  • Fixed a bug that caused a player’s experience bar to not display in multiplayer games if a another character with a Paragon levels had entered the game first.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the inventory to not display unidentified Legendary items.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the inventory to display equipped items twice if you exited the gem socketing sub-screen with the Select/Back button.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the controller to become stuck vibrating indefinitely.
  • Made changes to address corruptions of saved game data.

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Diablo III Review

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Diablo III is the third in a series of iconic PC cooperative dungeon crawler RPG’s. The franchise is well known and respected in PC gaming circles, it ranks up there with other RPG’s and dungeon crawlers like Neverwinter Nights and Baldur’s Gate.  It is quite literally one of the industry’s most popular franchises, a battle between Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell, and now finally it is here on Xbox 360.

I’ve been waiting a long time for this day – the chance to finally get my Blizzard fix whilst relaxing on the sofa with the comfort of an Xbox 360 controller in my hand. When I first read those port rumours a couple of years back and even saw the Blizzard recruitment posts looking a Console Producer, it still felt too good to be true. But the much anticipated game is finally here and I am ecstatic to report that it handles superbly albeit outside of its usual confines.

Like its predecessors, this iteration is a diabolically (like what I did there?) hellish, cooperative dungeon crawler that isn’t afraid to ratchet up its toughness from time to time. Diablo III, while featured completely in 3D with a 3D environment, follows closely in Diablo II’s track by using the classic isometric view, fast gameplay, and randomized content for high replayability. Some changes have been made in order to make the game more welcoming to new players, to ramp up the difficulty more smoothly, and to create a deep and engaging combat system. The Diablo III developers took inspiration from previous games in the series, as well as World of Warcraft. This latest behemoth offers a bevy of different degrees of challenge in the form of Normal, Nightmare, Hell & Inferno difficulties.

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Each difficulty level repeats the same content (with a few minor changes), while scaling up all the skills, items, monsters, experience rewards, gold drops, and everything else to maintain a challenge appropriate to the character level. The fourth difficulty level, Inferno, is a new feature in Diablo III, adding a much more challenging end game experience to the Hell difficulty that was the upper limit in Diablo II. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, then you’ll surely end up enjoying the twenty-odd hour game during your first run through, and multiple run through’s afterwards.

As with all titles similar, players are given the opportunity to pick and name their character, choose its gender and class from several different archetypes, some of which will be familiar to role-playing fanatics. First up is the typical hulking muscle ripped Barbarian, a close combat specialist. Next is the speedy monk with strong Eastern martial arts influences, then the nature-wielding, necromancy practicing and alchemy expert Witch Doctor. The final two classes are the ranged Demon Hunter who specializes in crossbows and trap laying and finally the expected Wizard, pure spell caster who focuses the arcane and elemental energies and transforms them into destructive offensive spells.

Being someone who daily wishes they had spells and magical powers at their disposal, I picked the Wizard and stuck with him from start through to completion. I’ve yet to load up the next difficulty, but don’t worry, I will. I aim to finish this game on all FOUR difficulties.

The thing about Diablo games, and especially III, is that they are action-packed right from the get go. Diablo III ups the ante on most if not all of its peers. It doesn’t matter where you happen to be standing, the likelihood is there are enemies in extremely close proximity to you and your party. Enemies are monstrous in their design and range from the grotesque to demonic, mutated and downright vile. This is a game about good trying to overcome evil and these enemies are everything you’ve had nightmares about from childhood to adult life. Because of the sheer number of them make sure you are always fully stocked on health potions. Playing Solo (offline or without a local 2nd, 3rd and 4th player) you’ll probably die quite a bit, especially near the beginning. During the early quests I was continually swarmed by hordes of foes who killed me with relative ease – the bastards!

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In terms of the story line, unless you’ve played the prior two titles, it will intrigue you but won’t come across as the best or most unique script every written. For those of you familiar with Diablo lore, you’ll enjoy what is on offer as new and interesting details are revealed. The basic premise is an old man and his niece discover an ancient text, a text that speaks about an upcoming demonic invasion. As happens in all these scenarios, just as the two learn the meaning of the texts, all Hell (quite literally) breaks loose and hordes of demons break through into the realm of the living. By doing so the demons have broken a truce, choosing to invade the land of Sanctuary and take it for their own. Now demons are bad enough but someone else has come to town to play, the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo the Prime Evil. There is additional detail to the story to be found in diaries and journals scattered around the game world. These aren’t essential reading but do add further depth to those wishing to dig deeper into the story and lore.

If you hadn’t have heard about Diablo prior to this game, one of the biggest achievements for Blizzard has to be the fact that whilst playing Diablo III you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been designed for console from the outset. For a PC to console port, this is shining example of what taking extra time and care can achieve. They have haven’t released a console title since The Lost Vikings in 1997 (SNES, Saturn & PS1), yet there is no rust to be found here. Everything has been well thought out from the way abilities are mapped to controller face and shoulder buttons, and the ease at which players can escape combat through rolls. If you prefer joysticks and buttons over clicking a mouse and tapping keys, then you’ll feel right at home here, and won’t have any issues adjusting to what is a thoroughly impressive and fully acceptable input system. I can say that after being both a dedicated PC MMO player with multiple keyboard binds and macros as well as being a console fanatic.

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Graphically you have to remember that Diablo III was originally designed for PC and Mac. Therefore when run on the highest settings, the game will always look better on those platforms than a console. That said, the Xbox 360 is far from slacking in this department. The visual design is captivation and more than pleasing to the eye. You’ll understandably encounter some minor screen tearing, and a tiny bit of slowdown here and there, but they’re more hiccups than problems and don’t detract from the overall experience in the slightest. The frame rate fluctuates during big battles on screen where there were tons and tons of hideous monstrosities on the screen. There is a slight big of lag during online multiplayer and occasionally your comrades can become stuck in a building wall when they jump across the screen.

If like me you have been waiting this title ever since the announcement it was definitely going ahead for console, then don’t delay, get out there and buy it. It’s a fantastic port and is one of the finest dungeon crawlers I have played in a long, long time. It is action packed, it’s a loot lover’s dream and single player is rewarding and fun whist there is great online and/or local cooperative action. If you’ve never played a Diablo title before and are looking for something new to try with friends, then again this should most definitely be on your radar. From me to you Blizzard, job well done.

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