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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Back in 2016, Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the 2016 Olympic Summer Games with a popular map for Overwatch named Lucioball. Surprisingly, in 2017 Lucioball made a return with a tweaked ruleset to celebrate the anniversary.
I say surprisingly because there was no actual Summer games celebrated in 2017. You see, the Summer Games is celebrated every 4 years. The next official Olympic Summer Games will take place on 2020 at Tokyo.
However, there is also an Olympic Winter Games — and that one runs also every 4 years, but on a different schedule. The Winter version doesn’t run the same year as the Summer one simultaneously.
For example, the last Winter games was held at Sochi (Russia) in 2014. This year, the Olympic Winter Games will take place at Pyeongchang (South Korea) through February 9-25.
Overwatch originally launched on May 24, 2016 — so there was obviously no Winter 2014 event. But there was a Summer 2016 event in Overwatch. So the question is… Will there be a 2018 Olympic Winter Games event in Overwatch?
Let’s add another couple of questions to that: Will it be celebrated each year, like Lucioball? What type of map might Blizzard make themed around Olympic Winter Games?
Well, that is pretty difficult to accomplish in Overwatch. See, the Olympic Winter Games is very limited in scope of games played (limited to those playable on snow or ice), and there are no heroes in Overwatch that sorta mimic those gameplay mechanics. Check out Wikipedia for the various types of games which include:
Short Track Speed Skating
Technically, Lucio can skate. On walls, but you never know what type of map Blizzard might come up with where several players can skate toward a goal. Or some kind of capture the flag where skating is the main mechanic.
Unrelated to “Winter Games”* — This topic also makes me wonder if we might see Heroes in the future that use sports or gymnastic-inspired gameplay mechanics that could later be used in the Overwatch Summer Games — like a hero on a skateboard. Skateboarding is part of the 2020 Olympic Summer Games (Tokyo).
Or maybe, another Hero that is a mix between Hanzo/Genji climbing, Winton’s leaping, and Doomfist’s acrobatics moving all over the place with a shorter cooldown.
One thing that could work out is giving Mei a modifier key (i.e. using the CTRL button) where Mei could shoot a slippery path instead of building a wall. Say you press the CTRL button while clicking the button you usually use to build a wall. You place the cursor at the destination desired (like Reaper’s teleportation). If the destination is high ground — the path creates a sort of ramp or bridge of ice. Any enemy standing on the path, could slip and fall, but Mei can slide across the path like Iceman.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ability is not already in development. Mei actually has a Highlight Intro option where you can see her robotic companion creating a path of ice for her to slide on. Interestingly enough, it is also named: Skating Around.
*Edited to highlight some sports that are not part of Winter Games for clarification. Thanks @RetPallyJil
The latest Overwatch PTR patch 1.19.1 (build 0.42391) introduced the Hanzo “Casual” skin for 3000 gold. This skin features the casual clothing Hanzo wore during the Overwatch comics: “Reflections.”
Weapon accuracy is no longer increased or decreased when shooting at Genji’s Deflect or abilities that block projectiles (e.g. Winston’s Barrier Projector or Mei’s Ice Wall)
The Casual Hanzo skin has been updated to more accurately reflect his appearance in the Reflections comic
Fixed a bug that caused weapon accuracy statistics to incorrectly calculate and display as a negative percentage in-game (e.g. players’ career profiles, the match status screen, and the end of match summary)
Fixed an issue with spawn room doors preventing players from leaving or entering the spawn area on Control maps
During an interview with GameReactor held at Fun & Serious in Bilbao, Spain, game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed that the Overwatch team and the Story and Franchise Development team have discussed other media opportunities to expand the Overwatch universe, and that discussion includes the potential for an Overwatch featured film or an episodic series.
The new Overwatch map Blizzard World is now on the PTR. Though it looks huge, you don’t have access to the entire amusement park. It is comparable with Hollywood and Junkertown.
The attack team starts at the Hearthstone Tavern, and when the gate opens you are in front of the Valley of Heroes in Stormwind. There are two possible access points to go inside. The frontal gate can be accessed from either of both stairways, or from the side stairway by the Ancient Curios building. Regardless of which of these three stairs you go through, there is only one big door (chokepoint).
Announcer: Welcome to the Overwatch: What’s Next panel.
Michael: Hello. How is everybody doing? Alright, Did everyone check out the Opening ceremony? All of the new stuff we are going to be talking about today. Obviously, we have a new hero: Moira. Yeah. We have got a new map: Blizzard World. That will be fun to talk about. Maybe a couple surprises. So we have got lots of talk about. So let’s start off. Get right into it. I am Michael Chu. I am the lead writer on Overwatch.
The PAX public relations team reached out to inform that PAX East tickets are now on sale. Unlike previous years, this is the first PAX East to last 4-days. The Penny Arcade’s Boston Show Returns through April 5-8.
For the naysayers who won’t bother because Blizzard Entertainment might not go, I will show you real quick why there are more chances fo Blizzard coming than not.
It is unknown if the Diablo team has something new to show at PAX East, but in past years, the Hearthstone and Overwatch team have been at PAX East (Boston) — those links take you to my 2015 PAX East coverage articles.
In 2014, Blizzard announced Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Ultimate Evil Edition (PS4), Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas, Heroes of the Storm (Brightwing, Lili Stormstout, Zagara and Murky), and we had an interview with the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor developers Kris Zierhut & Steve Burke — check out our PAX East 2014 page.
I’ll do my best to attend the 2018 PAX East convention for any new projects Blizzard Entertainment might announce or showcase. Make sure to support me by becoming a Patreon member. Remember I am disabled, and do what I do for fun and for the community. Your support is appreciated. Get your PAX East tickets before they are sold out.
BOSTON – Nov. 9, 2017 – Tickets for PAX East 2018, taking place April 5-8 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), are now on sale. This marks the first year PAX East will grow from three to four days.
Single day badges are available for purchase via the official PAX East registration page for $53 USD. Exclusive PAX East 2018 merchandise, including a blanket ($40), socks ($25), and a dice set ($40) are on sale exclusively through the online store. These items can be added onto PAX East badge orders and will be shipped out prior to the expo.
PAX East has become the premier east coast event for gamers since its debut in 2010. The annual expo quickly sells out, drawing tens of thousands for a celebration of gaming culture with reveals from the biggest publishers, hands-on demos with the most hotly anticipated titles, panels with industry icons, eSports tournaments with world-class players, concerts with game inspired music and much more.
“While my biggest joy is helping bring millions of gamers together at PAX, my biggest disappointment is not being able to share the experience with more people,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder, Penny Arcade. “With PAX East’s expansion to four days, we expect even more people will be able to join us for our best show yet at PAX East 2018.”
Active journalists and content creators interested in attending PAX East so they can produce coverage will be able to apply in January when media registration opens.
The PAX series of shows (West, East, South, Unplugged and Australia), produced by ReedPOP in conjunction with Penny Arcade, comprise some of the world’s largest gaming festivals, with each event entertaining tens of thousands of guests. PAX events connect leading video game and tabletop developers directly to passionate audiences, providing a space where gaming culture is celebrated through demos, panels, tournaments, concerts and free-play sessions.
Junkertown is located in the harsh and unforgiving Australian Outback. Constructed from the remains of a destroyed omnium, it's now the home to a band of lawless scavengers known as the Junkers, led by their cutthroat Queen. When they aren’t pillaging the omnium's skeleton for anything of value, the Junkers blow off steam in the Scrapyard—a massive gladiatorial arena whose combatants fight for glory, riches... and to survive.
[XB1] Players whose Xbox Live reputation has been downgraded to "Avoid Me" will remain in the same matchmaking pool as other Overwatch players. Howevers, they will no longer be able to use the in-game voice communication
Players will no longer see the Assemble Your Team screen at the beginning of a game
Players who purposefully kill themselves will no longer respawn as a new hero. However, their Ultimate ability will reset and anything that’s been placed (i.e. Torbjörn’s turret) will despawn
Players will no longer be respawned as the same hero
These changes also apply to any custom games where the “Respawn as Random Hero” option has been enabled.
User Interface Updates
The skull icons that indicate where teammates were killed throughout the map have been replaced with hero portrait icons
Third person camera view will now frame the action automatically when spectating or waiting to respawn
D.Va fires a barrage of small rockets that detonate on impact, dealing damage in a limited radius around each explosion. These can be fired while D.Va is using any other ability or firing her Fusion Cannons
Defense Matrix's resource meter will now deplete twice as quickly
Energy regeneration per second has been increased to 12.5% (formerly 10%)
Fusion Cannons can now be fired while flying
Developer Comments:D.Va’s Defense Matrix uptime has proven to be too strong, but simply reducing it without making other changes would make her too weak (and far less interesting to play). Instead, we’re adding a new ability and giving her the ability to fire while flying. These changes give D.Va new options while maintaining Defense Matrix’s ability to shut down big enemy attacks.
Ability now targets a single player, instead of every player within a radius
Radius reduced to 5 meters
Ability cooldown is 30 seconds
Mercy is no longer granted invulnerability while Resurrect is active
Valkyrie (New Ultimate Ability)
Valkyrie unleashes the full power of Mercy’s Valkyrie suit, enhancing her weapons and abilities for 20 seconds
Caduceus Staff: Mercy's healing and damage boosts beams now affect all allies near the targeted teammate, and the staff's effective range has been extended
Caduceus Blaster: Now has infinite ammo and increased projectile speed
Guardian Angel: Increased range and movement speed
Resurrect: Cooldown is instantly reset when Valkyrie is activated and reduced to 10s after the initial cast
Hover: Mercy gains the ability to fly freely, at increased movement speed
Regeneration (Passive): No longer interrupted when Mercy takes damage
Developer Comments:While resurrecting downed allies is a core part of Mercy’s gameplay, the way her Ultimate functioned was causing a number of problems. It was frustrating to play against, and it incentivized Mercy players to hide away from important battles, instead of taking part in them. This version turns Resurrect into a single target ability. It’s still an important part of Mercy’s kit, but plays much better for both Mercy players and her enemies. Valkyrie, her new Ultimate, gives her the opportunity for big game-making plays and opens a number of new options for her.
Holding primary fire while your shield is active now allows you to rotate the camera
Developer Comments:This change gives Reinhardt more situational awareness while using his shield, allowing him to keep an eye on the battlefield while still protecting his team.
A new “Movement Relative to Camera During Barrier Free Look” option can be found under Settings > Controls. Simply select “Reinhardt” from the dropdown menu. This allows players to change the way Reinhardt moves when Barrier Shield is active and players are controlling the third-person camera movement
Fixed a bug that caused Custom Reticles to appear transparent and ignore opacity settings when their thickness was set to 1
Fixed a bug that caused Control matches to be played in a best-of-five format when creating a custom game using the Competitive preset
Fixed a bug that prevented players from requesting a highlight while viewing a killcam after being killed
Fixed a bug that prevented voice lines from playing after players received five votes on a commendation card at the end of a match
Fixed an issue that prevented players from automatically joining Match Chat, even when the option was enabled
Fixed a bug that prevented players from receiving the Perfect Round indicator after an Elimination game if they received a temporary health boost from an ability (e.g. Lúcio’s Sound Barrier)
Fixed a bug that caused the “Aim Ease In” setting to affect controller input too aggressively when the thumbstick was deflected diagonally
Fixed an issue that prevented the entire Team Deathmatch description from being displayed in the info section
Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the incorrect announcer VO to play in highlights captured during Deathmatch games
Fixed a bug that allowed Junkrat to destroy his own Steel Traps with Concussion Mines
Fixed a bug that occasionally caused the heroes’ “sigh” voice line to play when respawning
Fixed a bug that interrupted the animation on Ana’s eye during the Beach Ball emote with her Captain Amari skin equipped
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist from being knocked back when his Rocket Punch ability was being used
Fixed a bug that allowed Doomfist’s Rocket Punch to hit players through the taxi on King’s Row
Fixed a bug that caused a pair of pink fuzzy dice to mysteriously float onto the screen when viewing D.Va’s weapon in the Hero Gallery if her Cruiser skin was equipped
Fixed an issue that caused the golden tint of Junkrat’s weapon to appear dull when his Firework skin was equipped
Fixed a bug that gave Junkrat’s RIP-Tire a speed boost when players wall jumped on ledges
Fixed a bug that occasionally caused Mei’s Ice Wall to launch players into the air
Fixed a bug that caused Mei’s Ultimate to appear friendly (it failed to change from blue to red) after being reflected by Genji
Fixed a bug that prevented Roadhog’s Chain Hook icon from being displayed in the kill feed when it caused an environmental kill
Fixed a bug that caused Symmetra’s Photon Barrier to indicate a 10-second cooldown when the red “cannot use” icon was active
Using D.Va's melee attack no longer cancels Micro Missile barrage
D.Va's Micro Missiles are now interrupted by stuns, knockbacks, and other crowd-control effects
Mercy’s Resurrect is no longer blocked by Steel Trap or Graviton Surge
Mercy is no longer able to use Valkyrie to escape Graviton Surge and Steel Traps
Fixed a bug on Ecopoint: Antarctica that could cause a crate to block your view of heroes during the winning team lineup
Fixed a bug that allowed Reaper to reach unintended locations on Castillo
Fixed a bug that allowed some heroes to reach unintended locations on Horizon Lunar Colony
Fixed a bug that prevented reflections from appearing on weapons while standing in certain areas on Ilios
Fixed a bug that caused jump pads to bounce players higher than intended on Oasis
Fixed a lighting issue that caused some items on the last point of Route 66 to take on a pinkish hue when players used low video settings
Fixed an issue that caused reflections to appear overly dark while players were standing in areas of the Cave Inn on Route 66
Fixed an issue that caused excessive camera zoom and flashing lights when players loaded into the tutorial map
Fixed a bug that prevented plated railings from being properly destroyed by weapons fire on Volskaya Industries
Fixed a bug that allowed players to reach unintended locations on Watchpoint: Gibraltar
Removed the “Healing Prevented” statistic from Ana’s career profile page
Fixed a bug that caused Doomfist’s Rocket Punch UI to occasionally remain visible when respawning
Fixed a bug that prevented Doomfist’s Seismic Slam from accurately targeting moving objects, causing Doomfist to land in unintended locations
Following up on our recent GamesCom 2017 Blizzard booth photo gallery, the statues creator FXDeco has posted over 100 photos in Facebook giving us a closer look at the features and the making of each statue:
Blizzard Entertainment has acquired a permanent cutting-edge entertainment venue to hold future live competition including the Overwatch League, the Hearthstone Championship Tour, and other eSport events.
IRVINE, Calif.—September 7, 2017—World-class esports have a new home in the entertainment capital of the world. Blizzard Entertainment today unveiled Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, a cutting-edge live-event destination for pro players, esports fans, and everyone else who loves premier competition. Situated in the legendary Burbank Studios, once home to groundbreaking television shows, the studio at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles has been custom-tailored to support an exciting live-event experience for local attendees and broadcast audiences around the world. When the Arena opens for business on October 7, top competitors from across Blizzard esports will be the newest stars to shine on one of the most celebrated stages in television history.
“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honored to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.”
With multiple sound stages, control rooms, and practice facilities, Blizzard Arena Los Angeles was built to support a full slate of competitive events year-round. In addition, the Burbank, California arena will house a Blizzard retail store that rotates stock for event attendees based on the competitions taking place at the time.
Blizzard Arena Los Angeles will open its doors to the public for the first time on the weekend of October 7–8 with the Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs taking center stage. The culmination of a summer of formidable European and North American competition, the Overwatch Contenders Playoffs will crown the top Contenders teams in each region.
Beginning October 13, the Hearthstone® Championship Tour’s Summer Championship will bring top-notch Hearthstone pros to the Arena for a full weekend of competition, with $250,000 on the line. The global tournament will conclude the third act of the HCT and set the table for the Hearthstone World Championship, taking place in early 2018.
The early battles of both the Heroes of the Storm® Global Championship (HGC) Finals and World of Warcraft® Arena Championship will be held at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles in late October, with top Heroes of the Storm and WoW® Arena players looking to fight their way onto the championship stages at BlizzCon®, Blizzard’s annual community celebration in Anaheim, California, taking place November 3–4.
Then, later this year, some of the top Overwatch® players in the world will take their first steps toward stardom at the Arena when the Overwatch League opens a new era in professional esports. With the players leading the way, the city-based franchises of the Overwatch League have their sights set on establishing a new standard for esports excellence.
Blizzard Entertainment deployed Patch 1.14 introducing the new Free-for-All Deathmatch Chateau Guillard map and the Team Deathmatch.
The patch also adds hero changes: Junkrat can hold now two concussion mines; Orisa’s attack speed and shield size increased; Roadhog can now heal while moving, and damage taken while using take a breather was reduced by 50%; and Widowmaker’s hook cooldown was reduced, and her venom mines reveal the target (Only to her).
On the Competitive Play scene, seasons will now last only 2 months (instead of 3) which translastes into less Competitive Points at the end of the season. However, Competitive Points per win have increased to 15. Draws have increased to 5. Control Maps will now be Best 2-of-3 (instead of Best 3-of-5).
The latest Overwatch PTR 1.15 (39427) patch has introduced the new escort map announced at GamesCom 2017. Junkertown is available for testing today August 29 (evening).
Junkertown has three areas: the external town outside the Junkertown where the payload starts, the outdoor town within the walls of Junkertown, and the payload destination in the scrapyard arena (indoor).