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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During the BlizzCon 2018 All-Access Kickoff Livestream Show, Michael Chu revealed the new Legendary Skin for those who pre-order the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket. The massive tease of something Diablo being announced at BlizzCon continues to flow in the air. This time Sombra is getting a Diablo III Demon Hunter skin. You can obtain this skin today.
For the first time ever at New York Comic Con, there will be a NYCC 2018 Blizzard Entertainment booth (#522) through October 4-7 (as seen in this NYCC page). I do have to point out that the map shows booth 522 is taken by Direct TV. The Mobile App also shows the same result. There is definitely a mistake. Last time the Mobile App was updated was April 2018. I reached out to Blizzard Entertainment to learn more. Follow on Twitter @Blizzplanetcom for updates.
Blizzard Entertainment has announced that Overwatch League has added 6 new teams to its roster for the 2019 Season. The 6 teams include: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.
All six teams will join the Overwatch League for the start of the 2019 season
IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sep. 7, 2018– The Overwatch League™ is expanding again. Last month, franchises representing Atlanta and Guangzhou joined the Overwatch League, and now six more new teams—Chengdu, Hangzhou, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C.—will compete for the 2019 Overwatch League championship. With a roster of 20 total teams—nine of them outside of the United States—the Overwatch League has further strengthened its position as the premier global city-based esports league.
The ownership groups for the new franchises are:
Aquilini Group—A diversified family business that owns the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena, and manages a global conglomerate portfolio will operate the team in Vancouver, Canada
Bilibili—A leading online entertainment company for young people in China, covering a wide array of genres and media formats including: videos, live broadcasting, and mobile games will operate the team in Hangzhou, China
DM Esports—A global company focused on esports entertainment and investments will operate the team in Paris, France
HUYA Inc.—A leading game livestreaming platform in China will operate the team in Chengdu, China
OverActive Media—An integrated company delivering esports and video game entertainment to the Canadian market will operate the team in Toronto, Canada
Washington Esports Ventures—A sports organization founded by Mark Ein, owner of the Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis, to build and promote esports enterprises will operate the team in Washington, D.C.
“The Overwatch League’s inaugural season was a great success,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “This past season alone, fans spent 160 million hours watching the leading Overwatch players in the world compete. We are thrilled to add eight new outstanding team owners from Europe, China, and North America to our Overwatch League ownership group. We now have 20 of the very best owners in professional sports.”
“We just capped an amazing inaugural Overwatch League season, crowning our first-ever Grand Finals champion in front of a sold-out crowd of dedicated and passionate fans,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “Now, as we look forward to the 2019 season and beyond, we’re adding eight new teams that will help us grow our league in important regions around the globe. We know that the difference between a good league and a great league is its owners, and we set a high bar for our first season with the caliber of ownership groups. Every one of these expansion franchises cleared that bar and will make our league even better.”
“Esports has seen extraordinary success and continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in the world,” said Francesco Aquilini, managing director of the Aquilini Group. “The Overwatch League has visionary leadership, strong franchises, and connects with millions of players globally. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to expand into esports and we can’t wait to launch the team in Vancouver, which will also represent fans across the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle and Portland.”
“We’re very excited to compete in the upcoming season of the Overwatch League with a team in Hangzhou,” said Mr. Rui Chen, chairman of the board and CEO of Bilibili. “Esports is one of the most popular livestreaming content types on Bilibili, attracting and engaging millions of users on our platforms. We’re excited to combine the great growth potential of esports with the blockbuster power and quality of Overwatch. We look forward to delivering highly competitive and entertaining gameplay to the China Overwatch fan group, CNOW, in the years to come.”
“I’m thrilled to join the Overwatch League with a franchise in one of the world’s most iconic cities,” said Drew McCourt, owner and founder of DM Esports. “As a global investor in traditional sports, watching the growth of esports and the Overwatch League in particular has been remarkable. I’m excited to bring a team to Paris and to help grow the league throughout France.”
“We’re delighted to establish a deep partnership with the Overwatch League,” said Henry Sha, CFO of HUYA Inc. “We’re excited by the growth potential of esports, and we’re looking forward to leveraging our gaming expertise and capabilities. As a leader in China’s game livestreaming industry, we think we can help grow the popularity of the Overwatch League by providing unique resources and a large viewer base. We believe our team in Chengdu will demonstrate HUYA’s focus on the global esports industry and will further expand esports awareness and participation of Chinese gaming enthusiasts.”
“We look forward to growing the reach and influence of the Toronto franchise and the Overwatch League in Canada, and around the world,” said Chris Overholt, president and CEO of OverActive Media. “We’ll achieve this with the help and passionate support of our fans, who are already declaring their allegiance for our team. Our owners are fiercely committed to building a team of professionals and an organization that we know will quickly be considered a best-in-class sports and entertainment company.”
“We’re thrilled to bring an Overwatch League team to the Washington, D.C. community,” said Mark Ein, owner of Washington Esports Ventures. “There’s a rich tradition of sports and deep fan engagement in our region, and I believe in the power of those connections to inspire and bring communities together, and to serve as an impactful platform to give back. We think city-based global esports is the perfect model to grow esports and ideal for engaging new and younger audiences.”
Further details about official team names, marks, and rosters will be announced soon by each franchise in conjunction with the Overwatch League. Information about the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.
About the Overwatch League™
The Overwatch League™ is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch® was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—Nasdaq: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. The latest addition to Blizzard’s stable of twenty-two #1 games, Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. To learn more about the Overwatch League, visit www.overwatchleague.com.
About Aquilini Group
The Aquilini Group is a diversified family business founded more than 50 years ago by Mr. Luigi Aquilini. The Group is now run by his three sons Francesco, Roberto, and Paolo Aquilini. The Vancouver-based organization owns the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks, Rogers Arena, and manages a global conglomerate portfolio that includes commercial, industrial, and residential construction and developments as well as properties, food and beverage, hospitality and entertainment enterprises, diverse agribusiness operations, and sustainable aquaculture and renewable energy ventures. In the community, the Aquilini Group launched the Canucks Autism Network and supports the Canucks for Kids Fund, the Boys Club Network, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Since the Aquilini family became owners in 2004, the Canucks for Kids Fund has raised more than $45 million to provide vital resources and life-saving care to families across British Columbia.
Bilibili represents the iconic brand of online entertainment with a mission to enrich the everyday life of young generations in China. Bilibili is a full-spectrum online entertainment world covering a wide array of genres and media formats, including videos, live broadcasting, and mobile games. Bilibili provides an immersive entertainment experience and high-quality content that caters to the evolving and diversified interests of its users and communities, and has built its platform based on the strong emotional connections of Bilibili’s users to its content and communities. For more information, please visit: http://ir.bilibili.com.
About DM Esports
DM Esports is a global company focused on esports entertainment and investments. Drew McCourt, owner and founder of DM Esports, is also the president of McCourt Global—where he’s responsible for strategy, investments, and management of the firm’s real estate assets and venture portfolio.
About HUYA Inc.
HUYA Inc. is a leading game livestreaming platform in China with a large and active game livestreaming community. The Company cooperates with esports event organizers, as well as major game developers and publishers, and has developed esports livestreaming as one of the most popular content genres on its platform. The Company has created an engaged, interactive, and immersive community for game enthusiasts of China’s young generation. Building on its success in game livestreaming, Huya has also extended its content to other entertainment content genres. Huya’s open platform also functions as a marketplace for broadcasters and talent agencies to congregate and closely collaborate with the Company.
About OverActive Media
OverActive Media began operations in November 2017 with a mandate to build an integrated company delivering esports and video-game entertainment to the Canadian market for the first time. The company combines team ownership with audience engagement to better connect with current fans and to introduce the exciting world of esports competition to new fans in Canada and around the world. To learn more about the team please follow @TorontoOWL on Twitter.
About Washington Esports Ventures
Washington Esports Ventures was founded to purchase an Overwatch League franchise and to develop other esports teams that will represent a thriving region that includes Baltimore, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and the entirety of Maryland and Virginia. The Company is led by Mark Ein, a Washington-area businessman, civic leader, philanthropist, sports team owner, and native Washingtonian. Mark and his ownership group believe in the power of sports as a platform to inspire people and bring communities together. The Company’s esports assets, including the Overwatch League franchise, will be part of Mr. Ein’s existing sports platform that owns the Washington Kastles, one the most successful teams in the 45-year history of World Team Tennis. Under Mr. Ein’s guidance the Kastles have been embraced by the capital region since its founding in 2008. Joining Mr. Ein as investors and board members are lead financial partner Artist Capital Management, a New York-based growth equity firm, and Dyson Dryden, Mr. Ein’s business partner and Baltimore native. Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, is an anchor supporter of the franchise. The Overwatch League team name, additional investors, and corporate sponsors will be announced soon.
Watch our GamesCom 2018 Overwatch panel video where Blizzard Entertainment revealed the new Animated Short: “Shooting Star” featuring D.va, and the new control map reveal: Busan. Thanks and props to correspondent @Handclaw for recording it in a last-minute notice. I informed him there were no livestreams, and though he didn’t bring his tripod, he held the camera by hand and came through.
Game director Jeff Kaplan unveiled the new Overwatch map Busan at the South Korea Overwatch Fan Festival. The Busan map is located in South Korea. It is now on PTR. These are images from the livestream.
With the arrival of the Overwatch 2018 All-Star Weekend tournament, the new Pacific Genji and Atlantic Tracer division skins are available for 200 League Tokens ($9.99 each). Available only through August 17-27, 2018. Watch my video below.
Blizzard Entertainment has revealed the Overwatch League Grand Finals viewership data summing up broadcast via Twitch, MLG, ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, Disney XD, the ESPN network, and Panda TV. If you missed the Fusion vs London Spitfire Grand Finals, watch the VOD.
Collect all 6 Kellogg’s Overwatch Posters! Today, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said the following during the Activision Blizzard 2018 Q2 financial results conference call’s Q&A:
Morhaime: In addition to our partnerships with sponsors on the eSports side, we have also announced some new consumer products partners for the game. We have LEGO, Nerf, UNIQLO and Kellogg’s, and we think those partnerships will help us bring Overwatch to fans and new audiences throughout the world. So very excited about the future of Overwatch.
Blizzard Entertainment issued a press release to announce the addition of two new teams joining the Overwatch League: Atlanta (USA) and Guangzhou (China).
New franchise owners include Cox Enterprises in Atlanta and Nenking Group in Guangzhou. Both teams will join the Overwatch League for the start of the 2019 season
IRVINE, Calif.—Aug. 2, 2018—The Overwatch League™ has its first champion in the London Spitfire, but new competition is on the way for the 2019 season. Today two more teams, Atlanta and Guangzhou, joined the world’s first major global city-based esports league. The ownership groups operating those franchises are:
Atlanta, Georgia—Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media, and automotive services company, which has partnered with Province, Inc. to form Atlanta Esports Ventures.
Guangzhou, China—Nenking Group, a financial and entertainment conglomerate, and owner of the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.
“After thrilling fans with an amazing Grand Finals at the Barclays Center, we’re excited to follow that up by expanding the Overwatch League next season,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “We’re pleased to add the Atlanta and Guangzhou teams to the ownership group, and we look forward to bringing the league to even more fans across both regions in 2019.”
“We know Atlanta and Guangzhou have deeply engaged fan communities and we can’t wait to unveil their teams,” said Nate Nanzer, commissioner of the Overwatch League. “As the league continues to grow, we’re looking forward to seeing more talented pros in action as more roster spots open up.”
“The esports phenomenon is only getting bigger and the Overwatch League is at the center of the excitement,” said Dallas Clement, chief financial officer of Cox Enterprises. “Atlanta has some of the most passionate fans in the world—and now, we get to bring this energy to the Overwatch League. We are thrilled to help lead the evolution of esports by building a team in our hometown.”
“The popularity of Overwatch and esports in general has created a diverse fanbase that we in Atlanta are excited to engage,” said Paul Hamilton, president and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures, a partnership between Cox Enterprises and Province, Inc. “With the creativity of Blizzard Entertainment and the determination of Atlanta Esports Ventures, we are poised to create the preeminent esports team in the heart of the Southeast.”
“We are so excited to bring an Overwatch League team to Guangzhou,” said Zhong Naixiong, chairman of the Nenking Group. “The Nenking Group and the Long Lions have deep roots in this region, and we can’t wait to represent our city on the world stage and make our fans proud.”
Further details about official names, marks, and rosters for Atlanta and Guangzhou will be announced soon by each team in conjunction with the Overwatch League. Information about other new Overwatch League teams and the 2019 season schedule will be released at a later date.
The 2017–2018 Overwatch League season concludes with the All-Star Weekend on August 25–26 at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in Burbank, California. On Saturday, teams from the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions will compete in a series of custom skill matches, and on Sunday, the All-Star squads will go head-to-head in the official All-Star Game Powered by Intel®.
Twitch Prime members can now redeem two Wrecking Ball loot boxes for free. Come back to redeem one Golden Loot Box on September, then again on October. Sweet. Click on the Wrecking Ball banner at the following page.
The content of each loot box is random, and do not include seasonal event loot. You can claim this free loot box until September 3, 2018, and boxes can be opened the latest by December 31. Below you can see two loot boxes I opened from this Wrecking Ball offer.
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Move out of the way! Wrecking Ball has crash landed upon Overwatch Live along with changes to Bastion, McCree, Mei, Soldier: 76, Widowmaker, Hanzo and Sombra. In addition, Assault Maps timer has been reduced from 5 minutes down to 4 minutes per control point.
Wrecking Ball’s tinkering capabilities and iron-clad mech make him a formidable tank hero, capable of bowling through the front line of the opposition and causing mayhem in the back line. His primary weapon, Quad Cannons, are two sets of twin machine guns that shred enemies caught in their crosshairs. No team is too much for Wrecking Ball to engage against with his Adaptive Shield, which generates more health based on the number of enemies nearby. This shield makes him incredibly difficult to kill when he bulldozes into the fray and, once he starts to get low on health, also provides him the endurance to escape. The Roll ability allows Wrecking Ball to withdraw the mech’s robotic limbs, transforming it into a ball with increased movement speed. No obstacle can stand in Wrecking Ball’s way when he uses Grappling Claw, a short-range ability that grips the environment, letting him swing across terrain gaps or around corners to smash enemies. Grappling Claw also allows Wrecking Ball to reach top speed and ram into foes, dealing destructive damage and knocking them back. While airborne, the mech’s Piledriver ability causes Wrecking Ball to slam down from the air and knock his enemies off their feet.
When Wrecking Ball is at his strongest, he can use Minefield which flings mines onto the ground that deal a considerable amount of damage to enemies unfortunate enough to trigger them.
As with all new heroes, please note that Wrecking Ball's release in Competitive Play will be delayed by two weeks.
Developer Comments: The goal of these changes is to slightly reduce the impact of damage falloff on mid-range weapons. While assessing falloff mechanics across the board, weapons intended primarily for close-range combat benefited too greatly from lowering their falloff restrictions. We also normalized a couple of outliers in that Mei had a long-range travel time projectile with falloff applied and Widowmaker's automatic fire did not have any.
Several heroes have received major changes to their damage falloff:
Configuration: Sentry and Configuration: Recon - Minimum damage at max range increased from 30% to 50%.
Peacekeeper - Minimum damage at max range increased from 30% to 50%
Endothermic Blaster - Removed all damage falloff from her secondary fire projectile
Heavy Pulse Rifle - Minimum damage at max range increased from 30% to 50%
Widow's Kiss - Now has damage falloff applied on her automatic primary fire (50% at max range)
Developer Comments Hanzo’s new kit has proven to be a bit too powerful, especially his new Storm Arrows ability. We’re lowering the frequency that he can have this ability available to make it more reasonable to play around.
Duration reduced from 6 to 5 seconds
Cooldown increased from 8 to 10 seconds
Developer Comments These changes allow Sombra to more easily play as an infiltrator and scout for her team, as well as give her time to pick and choose when to reveal herself to ambush her enemies.
Developer Comments: In a previous patch we added a system to adjust the respawn rate of defenders in situations where attackers have a prolonged advantage in fights on final objectives. We’re just making this system a bit more aggressive to further reduce the duration of the long, drawn out fights that can occur when the defender spawns are so close to the action.
When final objectives on non-control maps are contested for extended amounts of time and attackers have an advantage in numbers, the respawn time for defenders now increases even faster
Developer Comments: We have reduced the overall game time for Assault maps in Quickplay and Arcade Modes. Players now have four minutes to capture each point instead of the current five minutes per point. In some games, Point A would be captured rather quickly resulting in what could be lengthy battle over Point B. Point B is typically more defendable than Point A and, in some games, defenders were able to hold for the entire duration of remaining time which could potentially be 8 minutes or more. We felt that in these instances the overall time was simply too long for either team, with attackers unable to take the point and defenders having to hold. The reduction in time is now consistent with the Competitive Play times which provides an ample amount of time for both attackers and defenders, but hopefully removes the occasional game where it feels like you are playing against the timer and not the other team.
Objective time reduced from 5 minutes to 4 minutes per control point in Quick Play and Arcade modes
Blizzard Entertainment developer Geoff Goodman discussed mostly details about the newest hero Wrecking Ball (aka Hammond), but there were a few goodies mentioned about upcoming content changes.
For example, there are plans for a Torbjorn 2.0 rework. Torbjorn will no longer place the base turret on the ground and hammer it for a few seconds to upgrade the turret to level 2. In the rework version, he will just throw it on the ground fully functional (approximately 5 yards away from him) as a level 2 turret. The idea is to make Torbjorn more viable as an offense hero. Currently he is too much defense focused. Sometimes you have to stand near the turret to keep it alive, and less offense attack using his hand-gun. With the rework, he can focus more on shooting, and less on hammering the turret.
Torbjorn will no longer have his Molten Core Ultimate. The developers tweaked different versions of Molten Core in internal builds where it would only buff the turret. Then another version where it only buffed Torbjorn (not the turret). The developers weren’t satisfied with the changes, so they decided to scrap Molten Core altogether.
At the moment, it is unknown what the new Ultimate will be.
UPDATE (10pm EST): There is a Geoff Goodman interview with VG247 that goes into what I posted in this article.
**I made two corrections. 1) The new turret is deployed already as a level 2 turret (I originally said it self-upgrades to level 2 after deployment). 2) Some people were touchy-feely when I said it is coming to PTR very soon. That’s usually the case when Blizzard announces something at a convention (usually 1 week, up to two months from announcement).
Quote from the VG247 interview: “There’s no word yet on when the Torbjörn rework will release, as the team hasn’t even started working on the art for his new abilities yet – they’re fully focused on locking down the design. One thing is for sure, though – Torbjörn is going to be a different beast once Blizzard is done with him.”
Blizzard announced new Wrecking Ball merchandise coming from FUNKO, and Tokidoki, as well as a new Wrecking Ball T-shirt and Cute But Deadly figurine.