PAX East 2015 Overwatch Hands-On Preview

Our New York City Hearthstone Fireside co-organizer, Mithalas, came along with us to PAX East 2015 to play Overwatch. Mithalas is pretty good with FPS video games, and after I saw him obliterate an enemy team, I asked him to write up something about his Overwatch hands-on gameplay experience:

PAX East 2015 Overwatch Hands-On Preview
From left to right: Mithalas, Lyndsi (Blizzard PR Associate) and Medievaldragon

Mithalas: The annual PAX East convention occurred last weekend, and Blizzard’s main booth in the expo hall featured Overwatch (and only Overwatch). I was lucky enough to get to play it twice – on Friday and Sunday – and had a lot of fun during my brief time with the game.

PAX East 2015 Overwatch First Impressions

Overwatch is a very straightforward game in terms of controls. I played as McCree the gunslinger. Pressing SHIFT made him speed up in the direction aimed for a couple of seconds, and he reloaded automatically — good to get out of the way when enemies engage you in combat. Pressing E would throw Flashbang — a small flash grenade at close range that stagger enemies in a small radius.

Peacekeeper made me crack in laughter when McCree went machinegun-style. It’s so awesome. I managed to kill Tracer and even Winston with it.

The Ultimate ability Deadeye is deployed pressing Q. There was a circle icon in the bottom center that replenished over time and that’s when you hit Q to unleash the ability that kills many targets in one shot. I don’t recommend using this in the open. McCree will certainly die to Widowmaker or other long-range enemies.

Jesse McCree is definitely going to be among my main characters to play once Overwatch beta starts. Gives me the Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly-film vibe.

PAX East 2015 Overwatch First Impressions

I personally couldn’t accomplish much because I am not used to playing with the AWSD keys. I kept absently pressing the arrow keys as I always do in World of Warcraft and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch to no avail. Felt like a deer in the middle of the road blinded by the flash, then died horribly. Joke’s on me.

Gameplay seemed very fast paced, not like in Half-Life 2: Deathmatch where sometimes there are periods of time you aren’t doing anything (I blame the long convoluted maps with tunnels going everywhere). Here the map is small with different entrances/exits which give you the strategical advantage of going around enemy forces to take them out from behind.

High ground doorways offer another way to hit your enemies when they can’t see you initially. Tracer, McCree and Widowmaker can benefit a lot with these strategic points in the map packing a lot of damage to unsuspecting enemies that get outright flanked and taken out.

When you die in Overwatch, you see a few-seconds replay from the point of view of the enemy who killed you. May be cancelled with ESC.

The map I played in the objective was to destroy the payload transport. Something that isn’t accomplished easily with the enemy hitting you from all sides.

I can’t wait to play Overwatch again. Check out video clips of McCree’s abilities in action here.

PAX East 2015 Blizzard Panel Video

I took video of the Blizzard Entertainment panel held at PAX East 2015 where announces flew left and right with two new Overwatch heroes: Zarya and McCree, Overwatch beta slated for Fall 2015, the new Hearthstone: Blackrock Mountain Adventure pre-orders start on March 19th.

The developers plan to launch one wing per week for a total of 5 wings focused on Blackwing’s forces and Ragnaros’ forces. The adventure will introduce 31 new cards. There are plans for a launch on iPhone and Android in few weeks from now. These are currently in Alpha. Both iPhone and Android players will have different UI than the Tablet and the PC, but will still play against Tablet and PC players under the same server infrastructure.

In addition, Heroes of the Storm beta testers will soon be able to play as Sylvanas Windrunner, and the Tomb of the Spider Queen battleground is on its way for testing. Watch our Blizzard panel video (transcript coming next week).

PAX East 2015 Day One – Blizzard Photos Round 1

PAX East has been very exciting so far with so many updates of Blizzard’s latest games. Overwatch beta is slated to begin on Fall 2015, so make sure to update your beta opt-in located in your Battle.net account page.

These are just a handful of photos I have taken during the morning. I managed to reach the press room and got WiFi. I’ll upload more later.

You will see below the line (no, the Horde) of fans trying to get into the Blizzard panel room. Many many more were not able to even join the line once the PAX staff declared the line was at full capacity. Lot of passion, sweat and blood. Sad some of you weren’t able to make it to the line. Make sure to watch the VOD, and I was also able to record the panel. Hoping to upload it as soon as I am able. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

PAX East 2015 Day One – Blizzard Photos Round 1

 

Pre-PAX East 2015 Overwatch Teasers

The Overwatch Team has posted a couple teasers aimed at hyping whatever plans there are to announce at PAX East on Friday, March 6 at 10:30am. Wankyu and I will be there at the panel, so make sure to check back for any updates. We’ll also share our first impressions playing the game, and will gather questions from the community after the panel to approach the developers with your questions.

The latest teaser says: “The scent of gunsmoke mingled with the aroma of gyóza following yesterday’s thwarted ramen shop robbery attempt. And while the mainstream media focused on the anachronistic fashion sense of the stranger who saved the day, I want to know whether he’s the self-appointed sheriff of the corner store, too. We’re told we live in an era of peace, but crime is running rampant, and the authorities don’t seem to care. If folks like him want to protect us, maybe we should just let–“.

Other than that, Blizzard doesn’t give any more hints on what this new hero presumed to be announced at PAX East is about. The only hint is “anachronistic fashion sense” which points toward a vigilante wearing cloths that aren’t unique or conforming with the current era in the Overwatch universe. Could it be a cowboy vigilante?

Something wrong is going on in a post-Overwatch era where peace is supposed to reign. The description “We’re told we live in an era of peace, but crime is running rampant, and the authorities don’t seem to care” points to some mysterious corruption from within plaguing the government(s).

Pre-PAX East 2015 Overwatch Teasers

Pre-PAX East 2015 Overwatch Teasers

The previous teaser said: “[EXCLUSIVE] What caused one weightlifting world champ hopeful to give up fame and glory? Find out in our March issue!“.

pax-east-2015-overwatch-teaser-1

Seems like Blizzard plans to unveil at least two new heroes in the Overwatch roster.

PAX East 2015 – Submit Questions for Developer Interviews

Wankyu and I will be at PAX East. We wish to gather questions from the community concerning Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone.

Watch the PAX East livestream on March 6th to witness the Blizzard panel (livestream embed is at the bottom of this page). Make sure to submit more questions during and after the panel too. Send your questions through the form below or via email at medievaldragon@blizzplanet.com

Note: We will message again via Twitter and Facebook to gather questions after the Blizzard panel when you might have even more questions. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.