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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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.
The latest Overwatch PTR 220.127.116.11.49009 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 18.104.22.168 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).