Blizzcon 2018 Review

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Diablo Immortal

I usually start these reviews with World of Warcraft but its hard to do that this time around with the spectacle we got this year with Diablo Immortal. There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about how Blizzard has lost touch as a company with the fans of their games but this year was the first time I agree to a point. That was just not a good idea or a good way to announce this game. Not to this crowd. I was amazed it got through to that point and no one at any point of the presentation asked if it was a good idea to go about it like this. Me watching from home and the audience in attendance where stunned that this is what they were going to close the opening ceremony on. Even the presenter could tell on stage that it did not go over well from the dead eye expressions looking back at him.

A truly legendary moment in Blizzard history. Even as we speak the backlash of the announcement of a mobile Diablo game with still no real word on a Diablo 4 is going strong. All this being said the nerds rioting on the internet now will play Diablo Immortal first chance they get. Personally speaking I don’t mind it. I can’t say I’m a huge Diablo fan. I like the lore and the style of the game but I cant say II’m and avid fan. Diablo for sure isn’t my World of Warcraft. I just play the story and enjoy hardcore mode and coop. So Diablo Immortal is something I am looking forward too. But to the fans of Diablo this was the equivalent of a kick to the balls and spit on your face. I cant even imagine how upset I would be if something similar would happen to World of Warcraft. Just the thought gives me a sinking feeling in my chest.

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World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth

Naturally there wasn’t too much to be said about WoW this year. We are in the middle of an expansion so there was just talk about the new content and some zones. Some balancing and mounts coming to time walking. Probably the most exciting thing for me being the Zandalari Trolls coming out with the next big content patch. Its also cool they can be Paladins. I mainly want to make a Zandalari Druid because their Druid forms looks amazing. Kulturen Humans also seem to be really cool. Also big surprise their mounts a horse. Alliance really gets the short end of the stick with this stuff. There wasn’t much else said here overall. We seem to be going down the roadmap smoothly.

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World of Warcraft Classic

I said it before and i’ll say it again I don’t think Classic is the answer. Make the current game more old school don’t remake an “old” version of the game. As a Virtual Ticket holder I get to try the game out and it is not Classic it is straight up old. People really need to take the nostalgia glasses off and smell the roses here. I would be surprised if this game does well in this day and age. Most of the people who asked for this game were the annoying private server trash or people who barely played the game in the first place and stopped playing years ago. Like you are literally pirating a mediocre version of the game and complaining and demanding things from Blizzard. Crazy thing is it worked. Thats like going to the guy who pirated all the Marvel movies and being like what do you want to see in the next Marvel movie?

The other annoying crowd thats been asking for Classic is all the people who stopped playing altogether way back when. Why are we listening to these people too? People who are playing World of Warcraft want World of Warcraft to be better. We don’t want to go back to a time when choices mattered. We want Blizzard to make choices matter again in World of Warcraft right now. I don’t know people, I’ll keep an eye on this. Form what I played there were for sure things I missed and would like to see worked into the current game and there was a lot more I’m glad is long gone.

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Warcraft 3: Reforged

Easily the biggest well received announcement of the convention Warcraft 3: Reforged. I cant say I’m the biggest original Warcraft fan but this does look like a cool game. I wish we got Warcraft 4 instead but it really looks like they are testing the field with this to see if the fans will take the bait. If it works they will probably jump on announcing Warcraft 4 the year following the release of Reforged or the year after that. Overall very cool and long asked for.

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Overwatch

Very lackluster compared to last year. Just a new hero announcement really. Ashe does look cool and the fans of Overwatch do seem to be happy with this. But Overwatch fans are like loyal dogs. Whatever their master Blizzard gives them they will eat it up and say thank you. If Overwatch Immortal where to happen you would see these guys going on about how it’s a revolutionary idea and mobile is the future and such. The funny thing is Overwatch would translate well to mobile. The gameplay is simple enough and it already has loot boxes. Something for Blizzard to think about. Overall I don’t care here and the fans seem happy.

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Starcraft 2

If Diablo didn’t exist I would say Starcraft 2 is the game Blizzard hates the most lol. There wasn’t much to talk about here. They announced a new commander and mostly tuning changes. As someone who’s not a Starcraft player it was as lackluster as the Overwatch coverage maybe even more. From what I saw of the tournament though it was fairly interesting. I cant say if the fans were happy or indifferent here. Wouldn’t say they seemed to be upset in anyway which is a good sign. But if Blizzard is looking to piss them off I recommend Starcraft Immortal.

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Hearthstone: Rastakhan’s Rumble

This was extremely weird. I don’t now what the Hearthstone player demographic is but all the coverage of this game this year felt like it was made for a kindergarten class. Like the same kids who are into Fortnite would have loved this coverage. I couldn’t watch it with the sound on and even found myself looking away due to how cringey it was. It was like they thought I was an idiot and but they were the dumb ones. I really don’t know. Im kind of worried and cant say I’m excited or care for Rastakhan’s Rumble. Before it seemed light hearted and chill like hanging out in a cabin and talking about Hearthstone and now its like Twitch TVs most annoying cringe streamers present Rastakhan’s Rumble. I can see why most of the people I know who were really into Hearthstone are jumping off into Yugioh and Magic The Gathering.

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Heroes of the Storm

We got a really cool new hero Orphea announced. Our first Nexus Heroes of the Storm exclusive hero. I really like her look and play style. Looking forward to play her in the future. Other than that they mostly talked about balancing and tuning and for the most part I like the direction they are going with the game. The idea of making mercenary camps a bigger deal is something I’m interested in. I can see it leading to more in jungle fights over camps. Overall similar to Overwatch here I just care about this and don’t care about Overwatch.

Closing Thoughts

Overall it was a legendary Blizzcon and a very mediocre one at the same time. Im just happy to have been apart of it all as it happened. I wonder how things will turn out in the long run. I think most of these games will have their ups and downs and people will accept Diablo Immortal eventually. I mean even back when Hearthstone got announced as a World of Warcraft fan at the time I was openly disappointed in the game. But really enjoyed it for the following years. I mean not anymore but it was good during the time Blizzard still had ideas for the game. I would say Diablo Immortal will probably go through a similar process in the future.

P.S. Im posting this as the closing ceramony is happening and I never herd of this band (Train) but damn they rock. Im going to downlod all their albums.

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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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