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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Recently, I was contacted by Insight Editions to inform that the Overwatch: The Official Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel is now available for pre-order. The book is slated to ship on October 1, 2019.
The book is still undergoing internal editing, but Insight Editions was able to provide a few samples. These are not final. The official cover will be revealed at a later time.
I’ll have the opportunity to interview the author at some point, so feel free to leave questions in the comments below or direct message me @blizzplanetcom via Twitter to submit your question.
Lead writer Michael Chu wrote the newest short story Overwatch: Bastet. The story picks up where the “Old Soldiers” digital comics ended. In the previous story, Reaper wounded Soldier: 76, but couldn’t finish him. Ana wrestled Reaper onto the ground, and he retreated turning into shadowy-mists.
Happy New Year! Within 2 hours after the end of Season 13, Blizzard Entertainment launched Season 14. You can now queue in Competitive Mode to start your 10 Placement Matches to work your way up the ranks.
The Game Awards 2018 declared Overwatch as winner of the Best eSports Game award: “For the game that has delivered the best overall eSports experience to players (inclusive of tournaments, community support and content updates), irrespective of genre or platform.”
Overwatch was alongside: CSGO, DOTA 2, Fortnite, and League of Legends. Fornite was the biggest winner tonight sweeping several awards, but Overwatch dominated as the Best eSport game. The award was announced at 52:06 in the video.
Congrats to the Overwatch team.
Some time ago, Overwatch was chosen Best Game of the Year; and as in tradition, Jeff Kaplan stepped in onstage to give the Best Game of the Year Award to the developers of God of War (at 03:38:28).
In the Overwatch PTR 1.30, the Rout 66 map has a peculiar change that resembles the change made to Numbani a few months before Orisa and Doomfist were announced.
In Numbani, the Payload used to have the Doomfist gauntlet encased in a crystal tube. Later, the payload had a broken crystal with no gauntlet.
In Route 66, the payload used to have a strange egg-shaped capsule since the map was launched up until Patch 1.29.
In PTR 1.30, that capsule is missing its front, and the capsule is wide open. Whatever was inside has been stolen.
Numbani has two heroes: Orisa and Doomfist. Thus, it’s logical to consider that besides McCree, there will be a new hero hailing from Route 66 as well. The fact that this payload item has been stolen, might indicate that a new Hero will be announced at BlizzCon. That, and the fact the PTR patch went up recently and so close to BlizzCon.
In order to understand what is going on, let’s take a look back at the Overwatch Visual Source Book:
“McCree has already made a name for himself as a member of the notorious Deadlock Gang, which trafficked in illicit weapons and military hardware throughout the American Southwest, when he and his associates were busted in an Overwatch sting operation. With his expert marksmanship and resourcefulness, he was given the choice between rotting in a maximum-security lockup or joining Blackwatch, Overwatch’s covert ops division. He chose the latter.”
McCree is from Santa Fe, New Mexico (according to the book). The new hero might be local as well. Possibly, a member of the Deadlock Gang. McCree had the opportunity to evade being in prison possibly for life by serving Blackwatch, but other members of the Deadlock Gang might not have been as lucky. Maybe one of them has a bone to pick with the traitor, with some extra push from Reaper.
As for the Payload item, if you take a close look at the blueprints on the table, at the Panorama Diner, you will notice that the Payload is a military-grade prototype.
There are blueprints of the train rail as well, which suggests that the Deadlock Gang studied the vulnerabilities of the bridge, and detonated a bomb that destroyed the bridge, and caused the military train to derail and crash near the Panorama Diner.
We can’t discard the possibility that the new Hero isn’t a human, but an Omnic or other type of artificial intelligence.
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Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch team added a Mike Morhaime homage to the Blizzard World map in the PTR 1.30.0. The Heroes of the Storm building now has a room with a portrait of Mike Morhaime (artwork style), the walls have a chart of all the 20 years of service and each year shows icons of the games that Mike Morhaime worked on.
Blizzard Entertainment deployed the Overwatch PTR 1.29 to introduce testing of Torbjorn’s ability rework. This patch also includes a few balance adjustments to McCree, Pharah, Brigitte, Mei, Orisa, and Soldier: 76; as well as some bug fixes.
The most drastic change is that Torb will no longer craft Shield Packs and collecting Scrap is gone too. His Molten Core now creates pools of molten slag that damages enemies. Deals additional damage to armor.
Instead of crafting Shield Packs for teammates, this ability has been replaced with Overload — which makes Torbjorn to gain additional armor, improved attack, movement and reload speed. My video below shows these changes in a solo map.
Overwatch PTR Patch Notes – September 21, 2018
A new Overwatch patch is currently in development and now available for testing. To share your feedback or report and issue, please post in the PTR Feedback or PTR Bug Report forums.
Please note that the below patch notes only include changes currently available for testing on the PTR. While many of these changes will also be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in a future patch, the PTR is PC-only and therefore will only reflect changes coming specifically to that platform.
Colorblind Options Updates
Customize how team colors are displayed in your UI (e.g. nameplates, HUD, health bars) and hero outlines with a set of nine different colorblind-friendly colors to choose from. You choose to colorize enemy and friendly UI separately as well. These options can be found under Options > Video > Color Blind Options. All changes made will be saved and ready for you to see in the next match you play!
Updated visuals for all shields and barriers to increase readability
Shield health reduced from 600 to 500
Developer Comments: The health of Brigitte’s barrier was extremely difficult for most heroes to deal with even as she was able to close the distance with her targets. This change still provides Brigitte with substantial survivability but should also be more rewarding for opponents who pressure her.
Cooldown reduced from 8 to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Previously, the cooldown of McCree’s Combat Roll felt too restrictive, which sometimes prohibited players from using it. The new, faster cooldown should allow for more flexibility when choosing between using it for mobility or an instant reload.
Cooldown reduced from 12 to 9 seconds
Attack speed increased
Lowered recovery between shots from 0.9 to 0.75
Damage redistributed between explosion and impact
Explosion damage reduced from 80 to 65
Impact damage increased from 40 to 55
Explosion knockback reduced by 20%
Self-knockback range increased by 25%
Developer Comments: We wanted to increase how responsive Pharah’s Rocket Launcher felt. Having almost a full second of recovery between shots made it feel sluggish. To balance out the improved recovery time, we shifted some of the damage from the rocket’s explosion to the direct impact damage. The overall damage potential is now increased when landing direct hits and decreased slightly when only dealing explosive damage. We reduced the amount of knockback each explosion causes, as they made it very difficult to aim at Pharah while rockets came in at a faster pace. The Concussive Blast cooldown reduction should allow the ability to sync up more closely with the Jump Jet cooldown when used for mobility.
Updated visual effects for all abilities
Maximum spread reduced from 1.5 to 1.2
Developer Comments: Orisa spends a significant amount of time firing her Fusion Driver from a relatively stationary location and the weapon’s spread value caused it to feel too random when leading targets at a distance, taking into account the projectiles’ travel time. We’ve tightened the spread slightly, which should leave her close- and mid-range damage potential largely unchanged, while making it feel better to try to hit targets at longer ranges.
Heavy Pulse Rifle
Number of shots until max spread increased from 6 to 9
Developer Comments: Soldier: 76’s damage output was a bit low but not too far off from where we feel it should be. Making it take a few more shots to reach max spread smooths out the weapon spread curve and should help his damage be more consistent.
Reduced the size of Torbjörn’s head hit volume by 10%
Projectile speed increased from 60 to 70 per second
Reload time reduced from 2.2 to 2 seconds
Turret targets enemy hit by primary fire
Recovery lowered from 0.8 to 0.6 seconds
Damage per shot lowered from 150 to 125
Reload time reduced from 2.2 to 2 seconds
Spread randomization readjusted
Radius increased to align with Quick Melee
Now a thrown projectile
Automatically builds over three seconds
No longer has different levels
Same damage output as previous level 2 turret
Maximum health reduced from 300 to 250
Now incurs a 5 second cooldown when deployed
Now incurs a 10 second cooldown when destroyed in combat
No longer able to deploy a new turret if it’s in combat
While the turret is firing
If the turret has taken damage within three seconds
Now able to destroy turret using the Interact input
Now will complete self-building once deployed, even if Torbjörn is eliminated
New Ability: Overload
Replaces Armor Pack
Lasts for 5 seconds (12 second cooldown)
Temporarily grants 150 armor
Increases attack, movement, and reload speed by 30%
New Ultimate: Molten Core
Switches weapon from Rivet Gun to his claw arm
Lasts 6 seconds
Fire up to 10 molten globules that create damage pools where they land for 10 seconds
Bounces off walls and ceilings until coming into contact with the ground
Base damage is 130
Damage increases from 130 to 190 against enemies who have armor
Heroes who can grant armor to their allies: Brigitte
Developer Comments: Torbjörn was initially designed to be a specialized hero, intended to be a strong defensive option due to his armor-generating capabilities and ability to control areas with his turret. However, the scrap collecting and Armor Pack mechanics have proven to cause problematic gameplay issues through their feast or famine nature. In order to make the hero more flexible in a wide variety of situations, we’ve removed the scrap system, made the turret much easier to deploy, replaced the Armor Pack ability with Overload—a powerful self-buff—and transformed Molten Core into a powerful new area denial ultimate ability.
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.