Blizzcon 2017 Thoughts

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World of Warcraft Classic — I’m really surprised they announced this since all the Vanilla WoW kids seemed to have given up a while ago. Once Legion came out most WoW players on the bandwagon stopped caring about Nostalrius since all they wanted was content and the guys who were on the bandwagon just for the hell of it weren’t going to play to begin with. The small fringe groups of Vanilla WoW fans stopped playing WoW altogether or moved onto another private server. Even the ones pushing for Vanilla WoW servers in my group of friends stopped talking about it well over a year ago and they were never really into WoW to begin with. Blizzard didn’t really talk much about this and based on what they said I’m sure it is a fair bit off. Just to be clear I’m all for this I just prefer new content. Everyone looks back at these expansions with rose tinted glasses but every single expansion had its shares of pros and cons. I’ll for sure give it a try when it comes out.

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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth — I was a little sceptical and still am about this. Anyone who’s been following BlizzCon for a while can tell you the whole “Bringing the War Back to Warcraft” line is a bit cursed. The last time we heard it we got Cataclysm which had its ups but also had a lot of downs and Warlords of Draenor which mostly had downs but some ups. I blame Blizzard for WoD. Not WoDs fault it didn’t have any content and garrisons were a bad idea for the same reasons they didn’t end up putting player housing in Vanilla way back. I’m just saying I’m sceptical of Battle for Azeroth. A really good opening cinematic that got my heart pumping isn’t enough for me to be satisfied. All the following coverage just kind of looked ok to me. Legion has been awesome and I think we will look back at it as one of the best expansions. Compared to that this looks lukewarm so far. That being said I am really liking what they are doing with the amulets which are pretty much replacing our artifact weapons. I still think artifact weapons are far more interesting but I understand the reasoning for cutting down 2 to 4 weapons into one amulet. Even though you lose a lot of epic flavour with it. Little quality of life improvements like this are nice, just the overall epic scale doesn’t seem to be there.

P.S. Only 3 new sub-races per faction? Still no Red Orcs?…sloppy Blizz, sloppy…Upright orcs though, so thanks for that.

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Diablo — ?

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Starcraft 2 — If you’re a consistent fan of the RTS genre or Just Starcraft in general then there seemed to be some good updates to the game. Blizzard is adding in the expected quality of life improvements and it seems to be more accessible to new players. It also looks like they are making the base game free to play which is pretty cool. None of this will get me playing but I can see returning players and new players going back to the game over this.

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Hearthstone — I personally quit Hearthstone a few months back to focus on Magic The Gathering and their upcoming Online CCG. Nothing against Hearthstone, just my TCG/CCG interests are taken up by Magic The Gathering.  I told myself Knights of The Frozen Throne will be my last Hearthstone expansions for the foreseeable future and with Kobolds and Catacombs…that statement hasn’t changed. Lol, that being said I will come back to Hearthstone to play the new single player “Dungeon Run” content. It is this contained adventure where you don’t even have to build a deck till you enter. You don’t have to worry about buying anything and you just have a good time playing. Pick a class, get some cards and build your deck as you play through the Dungeon Run. I see it a lot like you’re a new player in World of Warcraft and you are entering your first dungeon. You always find new solid upgrades as you go through. Great addition to Hearthstone to keep players like me coming back. What do I think of the new Kobolds and Catacombs expansion? My feelings are /shrug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ couldn’t care less.

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Overwatch — Man what a surprise from my least favourite Blizzard game. I mean it still is my least favourite Blizzard game even though Blizzard seems to want you to hate Diablo the most. But damn does it look good. I don’t like Overwatch from a fundamental gameplay level. I find it remedial compared to almost every other shooter on the market. Which is exactly why it’s popular. You can be trash and still be useful and improve quickly simply by paying attention a little more. I mean I get why people like it. Everything from Blizzcon 2017 makes me get it even more. I mean how cool were some of those maps and the Reinhardt cinematic? I don’t even like the game but that cinematic got me thinking of getting a Reinhardt tattoo. The new hero Moira is a really interesting take on a healer. Her style and gameplay look really fun. She comes off as a more skill capped healer when compared to others like Lucio and Mercy. Cant go AFK and get MVP on Moira. The new Blizzard World map looks amazing. They said that in the world of Overwatch that Blizzard exists but in that universe they naturally have nothing to do with Overwatch itself. So Blizzard World is an Overwatch map but is themed after the other Blizzard games. Might be hard to follow but it’s a great addition regardless. Not bad Overwatch, not bad. Might just have to pop in the disk again sometime.

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Heroes of the Storm — Another surprising turn of events. I have been kind of done with Heroes of the Storm for a few months now but Blizzcon won me back. A whole bunch of new interesting hero’s like Honzo and Alexstrasza, reworks and quality of life improvements. Fine Blizzard fine. It seems I haven’t paid you enough through this game so I’ll give you some more over the coming months. The single thing that got me the most interested was their new ranking system. Its a new take on their current MMR system but instead of wins and loses counting for a large part of your MMR they seem to be focusing more on you and the hero you pick. If you play a difficult hero and play that hero well and also win you will jump up higher in your MMR. Same goes for if you play an easier hero and don’t perform well and lose, you will go down further in MMR. So winning and losing still matters but you can still move up in MMR as long as you are performing the best you can. They also showed how this leads to much fewer matches you need to play to get placed where you belong. This isn’t the exact numbers but it was something like 240 matches down to 190 matches with the new ranked system. They also said that number should go down further after its officially implemented in December.

Blizzcon 2017 MVP — Overwatch followed closely in 2nd by Heroes of the Storm.

Blizzcon 2017 Loser — Diablo (I mean really. Surprised?)

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Overwatch : The Game I Hate To Love

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Let me start off by saying I don’t like Overwatch.

At least I didn’t at first when I tried it during beta and early release. I felt it was lacking in content, game types, maps, and substance. On top of all that I feel it cost too much for what is offered. A few well made cinematic’s don’t hide the fact that all the maps in the game are basically hallways designed to force high combat situations. You can call it the Call of Duty effect. Forced encounters with high combat interactions in short to medium bursts over a short match time. New/bad players don’t ever feel useless or bad thus making them have less chance of getting frustrated and quitting the game. Also allowing good players to still do well but still get caught here and there due to just bad luck and counter picking. This is in a nutshell what kept Call of Duty on top of the shooter market for so long while games like Battlefield and Halo have taken secondary niche markets.

I find the popularity of Overwatch to be surprising since gamers are constantly asking for more difficult games but the most popular games on the market are usually for much more casual audiences. Regardless of the philosophy of gaming, is Overwatch fun? As of writing this review and basing it on only the game itself I find it to be an amazingly fun toy. Yes, you have read right. If Battlefield 1 was tactical training with high-pressure BB guns and Halo 5 was paintball than Overwatch would be a bunch of kids in the park with nerf guns. Does that mean it’s not fun? Hell no. It’s a blast. I’m just saying don’t take it so seriously. I have friends on PC talking about team builds, strategy and going up and down in ranks but still doing poorly. On the other hand, I have friends in the top 500 who have prestiged multiple times telling me it’s not that big a deal.

Overwatch has become my “main game” now. When I want to play something seriously or just mess around for a bit, Overwatch is where I go. It plays to a lot of different play styles due to the multiple hero setups and the quick action packed matches. If I don’t feel like focusing and just want to hang out with friends I’ll play something like Mercy or Lucio, maybe Bastion and just sit in a corner and crack jokes. If I really feel like playing I’ll play Reinhardt, Tracer or Soldier. Regardless of how well I’m doing and how I’m feeling at the time, I feel I just like joking around and yelling on mic with friends.

Who you play with will make a big difference. I’m not talking about winning, I’m talking about enjoying. A big part of the reason I didn’t enjoy Overwatch at first is due to the friends I was playing with. They were very try hard and took a very casual game too seriously. They would go on about team composition and timing certain abilities but still consistently lost or had trouble moving up in rank. Having played far more complex and competitive shooters through the years I noticed our losses were more due to bad fundamental skills rather than game knowledge. A lack of communication, not knowing when to push off the advantage, not knowing when to back off the disadvantages and simple things like don’t just funnel in one at a time when their whole teams up. Even when it comes to team composition, just because a composition is strong in the meta doesn’t mean it’s always going to work or be used to its full potential based on who’s playing what. Play around the person, not the hero.

I felt the game was too casual for my taste to play alone and I was only ever getting frustrated playing with friends. I’m not saying I’m the next MLG champ at Overwatch but I know my fundamental with shooters. Regardless of how simple the game and what the meta might be the fundamentals are the most important thing in any shooting game. This is made even more clear when another group of my friends bought me Overwatch as a joke on PS4 for Christmas. All of them that didn’t have PS4s at this point got PS4s for Christmas and Overwatch was the game they decided on over Call of Duty, Battlefield and Titanfall simply because they knew I didn’t like it. A bunch of them already had Overwatch and have now prestiged multiple times. But I and the new PS4 owners went in fresh. They insisted that I would enjoy the game more with them. They were right.

Not only do I have a great time playing with them but I’ve met other friends through playing as well. On top of that, we’re winning more. Why is this? Because they have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of shooting games. We barely have to say when to push and when to back since they are aware of what’s going on. In the moment’s someone does say anything everyone reacts on reflex to what’s said and act accordingly. Sure we still lose our share of games but it’s pretty good for pissing in the wind with half your team drunk off the minds or eating while playing.

Now, this isn’t a PS4 vs Xbox One vs PC thing. This is a don’t take a fun toy too seriously thing. Overwatch is a blast but a lot of people need to accept it’s a very simple casual game at its foundation. Unless you really believe you will be the next MLG pro just have fun and enjoy the game. This kind of extends to all games actually. Overall I really like Overwatch now. I still don’t agree with a lot of what it offers and I do think it cost too much for what they are offering. But if that means we don’t have to pay for future DLC then I’ll live with it. As a game, it’s fun regardless of play style and drunkness. If you have been on the fence regardless of what platform you are on I recommend Overwatch. Even more so if you have chill friends to play with. I won’t be giving Overwatch a rating out of 5 as I would normally do since if I were to break the game down as I do with other games it would end up having a pretty low rating. I feel that would be a bit counter-productive to Overwatch’s overall philosophy. So instead I’ll give it 2 thumbs up and a glass of rum and coke.

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