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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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.
The latest Overwatch PTR 188.8.131.52.49009 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.