Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.
Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.
I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)
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The latest Overwatch PTR 126.96.36.199.49009 build introduced either buffs or nerfs to all Support Heroes (except Zenyatta). Geoff Goodman explains the logistics of these changes.
In the next patch we’re reviewing the current state of support heroes and are making some changes to nearly all of them to keep them competitive with each other. I’ll start by just listing the changes below:
Now that all the changes are listed, I’ll go through each hero and talk a bit about the goals of these changes and our current views on each support hero in general.
Ana has a very strong and unique toolbox, with the potential to dish out more healing than any other hero in the game. That said, she has a couple disadvantages that can be difficult to overcome, such the potential to miss your targets, not having any mobility options, and having a more difficult time keeping herself healed up. Her ultimate can be very powerful but often feels like it can be difficult to use effectively unless it is used in combination with other allied ultimates such as Genji’s Dragonblade. This new change allows Ana to use her ultimate as a clutch save on a dying teammate, or even use it in combination with her Biotic Grenade for a huge instant heal on even the biggest of tank health pools.
Shield Bash is Brigitte’s strongest ability, and its short cooldown makes it very difficult to play around. We’d like to keep her Shield Bash and subsequent melee combos powerful and effective, while just allowing a little more counter-play against it. We’ve talked about possibly reducing her defense somewhere, such as reducing her barrier health. However, her tank-hybrid nature is a core part of her kit and we want to make sure she maintains that feeling of being a difficult target to take down. Overall Brigitte’s win rate is still the highest of any support, despite dishing out the lowest amount of raw healing per second. This speaks volumes to how powerful her kit can be outside of her direct healing numbers.
Lucio’s Crossfade aura can be an invaluable addition for any team, but it can sometimes be difficult to keep your whole team boosted. We’re increasing the radius of Lucio’s Crossfade aura to allow more flexibility in how he moves while still maintaining his powerful support songs to help out his team. His ultimate is also being increased to help counter large spikes of damage. For example, Junkrat’s ultimate can deal a maximum of 600 damage, which Sound Barrier can now potentially negate completely. It is worth noting that even though the initial shield he provides is larger, it still takes the same amount of time to destroy itself.
Mercy is intended to be able to consistently pump out more healing than any other healer over the course of a match. While this is currently true, the difference in healing is so significant that it makes it very difficult for other healers to compete with her for a spot on a team. Reducing her healing output will close this gap a little, but she will still maintain her status as the go-to pick for raw healing power. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she is still a strong pick.
Moira is a strong hero that doesn’t need a ton of changes. The resource change her is mostly to help her out in the situations where you’re just not able to get close enough the enemy to drain them for resources. Now if you’re team is sparring with the enemy team at super long ranges, you’ll have a bit more resources to work with to keep your team topped off.
We aren’t making any changes to Zen right now, as we feel he is in a pretty good spot. He is doing his job well as a hybrid damage/healer and being able to provide discord orb for your team will always be welcome.
These changes are coming to the PTR very soon. We’re always looking at our stats, gathering feedback and playing the game to make sure we keep all the heroes viable. We will have time to watch and iterate on these changes throughout this PTR cycle, so please play and give feedback!
Some time during beta, the Hanamura map had a poster of D.va at the Arcade Room several months before the hero was announced. The Dorado map had a mysterious Sombra mentioned in the newspapers found on the ground, long before the hero was announced. Wrecking Ball has been a poster in Junkertown all along for several months since its launch (September 20, 2017).
This is the poster in Junkertown. It is in this location where Hammond landed after taking a ride on a life pod attached to Winston’s rocket. Wrecking Ball became the champion of Junkertown’s arena — and it has been right there in the poster all along.
Be very sharp next time Blizzard releases a new map. You never know what clues about the next hero might pop somewhere in the map.
Blizzard Entertainment dropped two teasers for the upcoming Hero 28… and it is not what you were expecting: Hammond. However, there is a monkey in the posters seen on the wall, which might hint Hammond created Hero 28.
Hammond is supposed to be a chimpanzee with high-intellect, because he underwent same experiment protocols as Winston. In the case of Hammond, he seems to be an engineer like Torbjorn. Did Hammond also create the hamster? Is Hammond the hamster?
Well, technically, Hammond has never been referenced to be a chimpanzee. All we have read or seen in the Lunar Colony is that they had Apes, Chimpanzees, and Orangutans.
Symmetra has been reworked completely visually and mechanically. The Overwatch Team decided to remove the “Defense” type and merged previous Defense heroes into “Damage.” Symmetra is no longer Support. Now she is in the Damage category.
Photon Projector: Left-button works like before with new graphics and sounds. Short-range beam weapon with increasing damage. Damaging Barriers does not consume ammunition. However, the right-button has some interesting changes. Hold to charge, release to fire explosive orb. What’s cool about it? Before, you could shoot one orb per sec. Now you can spam 3 orbs per sec with barely no delay.
Sentry Turret: Deploy a small turret that damages and slows enemies. Gone are the days when you had to walk close to a wall and place your turrets. You can stand still, and aim your cursor anywhere you want and shoot the turret as a missile. The turret then attaches itself where you aimed. Better yet, the turret activates while in transit to attack whatever is within its trajectory. You can now have 3 turrets (instead of 6).
The latest Overwatch PTR patch 188.8.131.52 introduced a Symmetra rework, and balance changes for Doomfist, and Orisa. Multiple bug fixes for several heroes, and map updates.
The Horizon Lunar Colony has been heavily edited with known access points closed, and new access points added, including a new stairs to access the catwalk above the Point A, and shield pads placed at the catwalk to take cover behind.
Most intriguing? Specimen 8’s room is now open for exploration, and this might be a big smiley-face hint that Specimen 8 (aka Hammond) is coming to Overwatch as a new Hero. Hammond is a chimpanzee. You can read more about him here (that was the May 2017 article where the Horizon Lunar Colony was first introduced in the PTR.
To see how the Specimen 8’s Room looked like in Live servers go here.
The tickets to attend the Overwatch League Grand Finals have sold out at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Impressive. That’s almost the amount of tickets to fill up BlizzCon at the Anaheim Convention Center. The event will be held there through July 27-28. You can watch the Grand Finals at Twitch.tv/OverwatchLeague
Fans purchased more than 20,000 tickets to the esports championship in Brooklyn, New York. The largest esports event ever slated at Barclays Center sold out within two weeks of its public on-sale date.
IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun. 1, 2018– Tickets to the first-ever Overwatch League Grand Finals have sold out. The competition to determine the champions of the world’s first major global, city-based esports league will be held over July 27–28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. More than 20,000 tickets were snapped up following the public on-sale date on Friday, May 18, marking the largest esports event ever slated at Barclays Center.
Activision Blizzard sent out a press release to annouonce its presence at the Licensing Expo 2018, and to reveal its new partners. Blizzard Entertainment has licensed Overwatch to Hasbro, NERF Blasters, Lego Group, and UNIQLO (apparel).
In addition, something new is that Scholastic not only does the World of Warcraft: The Traveler series, but they have landed the Overwatch license as well. That one in particular will be on fans’ radar.
AS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 22, 2018– Set for ongoing growth with a slate of world-class entertainment properties, Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group (ABCPG) arrives at Licensing Expo 2018 with an all-star roster of licensing and retail partners. Through gameplay, film and television content, esports events and consumer products, Activision and Blizzard Entertainment are creating depth, breadth and longevity of engagement around their franchises and across platforms. A year into the group’s formation, ABCPG is successfully delivering against the company’s franchises, including Blizzard’s Overwatch® and Activision’s Call of Duty®, among others.
The merchandising program for Overwatch is significantly expanding. Hasbro has been awarded the master toy license for the franchise with plans for a wide range of play experiences including a NERF product line, games and more. Additionally, LEGO® Group has plans for multiple Overwatch building sets across various price points. Further, Overwatch is just one of many Blizzard Entertainment properties featured in the recently announced exclusive apparel line from UNIQLO as part of its Spring/Summer 2018 collection that launched globally on May 18.
Esports has emerged as a significant opportunity that engages millions of players and spectators worldwide. Activision Blizzard is at the forefront of competitive gaming with the Call of Duty World League, MLG Network and the Overwatch League™, the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams. A robust apparel line is at the center of the merchandising program, designed to appeal to a massive global audience of gamers. ABCPG is currently seeking best-in-class partners across all product categories to explore burgeoning licensing and merchandising prospects targeting a new era of fans.
“Since debuting at last year’s Licensing Expo, we’ve begun to successfully realize our vision of offering more value and more opportunities for our global licensing and retail partners by leveraging the blockbuster franchises that Activision and Blizzard have created and expanded over many years of dedicated development,” said Tim Kilpin, CEO and president, Activision Blizzard Consumer Products Group. “For our hundreds of millions of players around the world, we’re working hard to build lasting global franchises that they can connect with across game platforms and through esports and vibrant transmedia story content. We are well positioned to continue playing a leading role in shaping the future of entertainment.”
Located in Booth #U202, additional highlights of Activision Blizzard’s slate coming to Licensing Expo 2018 include:
With a player base of 40 million¹, Overwatch’s wide appeal continues to drive a robust merchandising program supported by new and returning partners including: Hasbro (Master Toy); NERF (Blasters); LEGOGroup (Construction); UNIQLO (Apparel); Bioworld International (Bags, Accessories); Spirit Halloween (Costumes); Disguise (Costumes); Brown Trout (Calendars); Insight Editions (Stationery, Cookbook); Trends (Posters, Sticker Packs); Just Toys (Sticker Books); Good Smile Company (Figures); Razer (PC Peripherals); J!nx (Apparel, Accessories); Dark Horse (Artbook); Funko (Apparel, Bags, Home Accessories, Figures); and Scholastic (Books).
WORLD OF WARCRAFT
More than 100 million passionate players have enjoyed the ever-evolving online adventure of Blizzard’s seminal massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft¹. Partners include: Brown Trout (Calendars); Del Rey (Novels); Panini International (Novels); AST (Novels); Jeu Media (Publishing); Ju Ju Be (Bags and Accessories); J!nx (Apparel, Accessories); Insight Editions (Cookbook); Funko (Figures); and Dark Horse (Publishing).
Blizzard recently launched the 12th content release for Hearthstone, its internationally acclaimed free-to-play digital card game that continues to engage and delight a massive global audience across PC and mobile platforms. Licensees include: Insight Editions (Pop-up Book); Displate (Fine Art); Panini International (Art Book); and Huginn & Muninn (Art Book).
Blizzard Entertainment released a sneak peek into a new Deathmatch map named Petra, expected to arrive around the 2nd Anniversary of Overwatch (May 22 – June 11).
A group of archaeologists have begun an excavation and preservation project among the ruins of Petra, a new Deathmatch map that puts all heroes on their own, facing off against one another until one hero scores enough eliminations to win the match. Take in Petra’s majestic views, from high vistas to twisting passageways and deep caverns. Travel along deadly cliffs, but be careful to not fall off! A dilapidated bridge stretches across the map, and the ground underneath it can crumble away to reveal a lethal pit. Hopping on a green jump pad will boost you up to Petra’s higher levels and unlock new strategic possibilities for you…
The latest Overwatch PTR introduced the new Escort map: Rialto — located in Venice, Italy. It absolutely shows a portion of the Retribution event map, but you get access to some rooms that weren’t accessible in the event.
Play a part in history in Overwatch Archives, a seasonal event that brings back last year’s Uprising mission and introduces a new PvE co-op mission, Retribution. More than 160 Archives Loot Box items will be available to unlock during the event, including items from last year’s Overwatch Uprising event along with 8 new Legendary skins.
The all-new Retribution mission gives players a chance to return to the past and experience a critical Blackwatch operation that ultimately led to the fall of Overwatch. Taking place in Venice prior to the events of Uprising, Retribution casts players as Blackwatch members McCree, Moira, Genji, and Reyes (before he became Reaper) in pursuit a high-ranking member of the Talon organization.
In Story Mode, players must fight the forces of Talon in the streets of Venice as the four agents of Blackwatch, teaming up and relying on their distinct abilities to battle their way to an extraction point. In All Heroes Mode, players can bring the hero of their choice into the mission, engaging in dynamic encounters with foes that spawn in different locations each playthrough. Can you master the highest level of difficultly?