To wrap up 2016, Jeff Kaplan published a new Developer Update video with a recap of all the content released throughout 2016, but also provided a roadmap or glimpse into what we should expect in the first quarter of 2017. Some of it is coming as early as January-February range, and while some of his glimpses into the future were vague, they were enough to figure out that some of this content might be revealed at PAX East on March 10-12.
Blizzard Entertainment recently revealed the first Overwatch LGBT hero, and it is none other than the Overwatch flagship hero: Tracer, which is seen in the latest Overwatch Comics: REFLECTIONS, being kissed by another woman.
Blizzard Entertainment released the 2016 Overwatch Winter Wonderland Event. If you loved Summer Games, and the Halloween event, then hop into the game to test drive the winter event from December 13 to January 2.
Overwatch was nominated for various categories in The Game Awards 2016, and won a good chunk of them, including:
Best Multiplayer Game
Best Esports Game
Best Game Direction
Game of the Year
You can watch at (2:21:47) when Jeff Kaplan picked the Best Game Direction award.
Jeff Kaplan: I am Jeff, one of the guys from the Overwatch team. On behalf of everybody on the Overwatch Team, it is an extremely big honor to be recognized by everyone who spoke of for this award. We thank you very much. The entire team was so passionate about creating a game about heroes, and when we started off we were really a small team, and we had this idea of larger than life people, people we wanted to inspire to be some day; and early on that was people like Tracer, and Winston, and Zarya, and these characters that were bright and hopeful; but as we got into the beta, the open beta and then launch, the real heroes turned out to be our community, our amazing players, our reddit is one of the most amazing reddits there is. We love our Twitch audience, keep them out for Harambe always, we love our Facebook, our Twitter, you guys are amazing to us. Each one of you, the pro Genjis, the support mains, the people not watching because they are placing in Season 3 right now, this is your award and we thank you on behalf of everyone at Blizzard. Thank you so much!
At the end of the event, Overwatch was pronounced GAME OF THE YEAR (02:50:15).
Ray Gresko: Thank you everyone who voted for our game. Overwatch has been created by an incredibly talented and passionate team, and I am so happy to see that this reward acknowledges all their efforts over the last few years. While we have been very happy with how the game has been received, we are also extremely proud that this game, and the world that we are building has a message, and it is a message about heroism, it is a message about diversity, it is a message about a great and positive and hopeful future; and these are all things that we really believe and everyone needs a little bit of it right now; and we are not done yet. We have got a lot further to go. On behalf of the Overwatch development team, and everyone at Blizzard that helped this game happen, thank you so much.
I’ve been a PC and console gamer for years. In this time, I’ve seen the popularity of first-person shooters come and go. Earlier this year Blizzard released Overwatch, and has it taken the gaming community over by storm. Let’s discuss some of the reasons that this is one of the greatest FPS games released in the last decade.
Multiple Characters To Choose From
Blizzard knocked this feature out of the park. With 22 characters to choose from, you’re sure to never get bored of one play style. Every character has their own unique set of moves and abilities, making certain heroes vital for specific roles. You can choose Reaper or Tracer, and flank around your enemies in order to aggravate them from behind. If you’re a sniper, Widowmaker or Hanzo are perfect for you. This game even features full support or healing heroes, like Lucio or Mercy. As a healer, you can viably play the game just taking care of your team members, keeping them alive for the round.
Easy to Learn, Hard to Master
Overwatch can be picked up by a complete novice, and learned relatively quickly. This isn’t a war simulator, it’s a fast-paced objective based FPS that promotes team effort. Although the skill ceiling is high, almost anyone can pick up a keyboard and mouse (or gaming controller) and learn the few buttons associated with being dangerous on a map. The beauty of this game lies in the mechanics of the objective-based rounds. You could have a large impact on your team winning a round, without ever firing a single shot. Borrowing from the well-known Team Fortress 2, maps and objectives require you to capture points, defend them, or defend/push a point. Although it is easy to learn, it can be very challenging when reaching the higher skill levels. Overwatch has a rising competitive scene, that’s been making waves in professional gaming.
We all know Blizzard from World of Warcraft or Hearthstone – they’re known for their quality-produced games, and the willingness to back their product for years. By playing Overwatch, you know that you’re going to be playing a fair, fun, bug-free FPS that’s going to be updated regularly. That’s huge, considering the fact that nowadays games can come and go overnight. Blizzard has already released a few free updates, which include two new characters, maps, and game modes. This game runs beautifully on any moderate gaming PC, as well as consoles. On a gaming PC, a 1080p resolution at 60 FPS is pretty easy to achieve.
Overwatch isn’t going to compare with Unreal Tournament or Quake in terms of speed, or ARMA for realism – but it does promote a fast play style with several characters in order to capture a point or reach an objective. This makes the game incredibly easy for someone to pick up, learn, and have some fun. If you love first-person shooters, multiplayer games and objective-based maps, make sure you get a copy of Overwatch today.
Ecopoint: Antarctica is potentially the location that most points toward a future Overwatch expansion in the game than any other map. More of that later in this article.
10 years ago, there was a rise on climatic changes affecting the world. These climatic changes were attributed to new technologies, increased consumption of resources, and even overpopulation of omnics. Unusual climatic disasters around the world, prompted Overwatch to establish several ecopoints at critical locations throughout the world in order to investigate the source. One of these was Ecopoint Antarctica.
According to the Overwatch Visual Sourcebook, Mei was assigned to the monitoring station to investigate the cause of drastic climatic changes in Antarctica.
Ecopoint: Antarctica Infrastructure
There are six core habitat modules in Ecopoint: Antarctica:
Battery (contains the battery and servers)
Climatology (monitoring station)
There are however 8 modules at the top of the mountain, which are not accessible by players, and a helicopter.
The 1v1 / 3v3 Arena map reveals the names of Mei’s colleagues. A malfunction in the cryonic system killed her hibernating crew. Their names are imprinted on the cryogenic pods:
A catastrophic polar storm damaged the solar array tower powering the Ecopoint: Antarctica station. More specific, one of the module tanks within the tower — as seen in the Ecopoint: Antarctica image below.
There are two cylindrical modules in the solar array tower. The one damaged has a sticker that identifies it as #2. The Battery station has the same sticker. That means, the solar array tower was no longer powering the battery station. Thus, eventually the battery couldn’t sustain to power most of the station’s electronics.
The Battery station says Battery power low. Solar array critical damage. Battery power: 7%. Alert: Storm Incoming. Temperature: -43C.
In the Crew Quarters, Mei kept track of the available resources, leaving a note on the refrigerator concerning the supplies remaining:
28 cups of noodles
10 liters of water
7 packets of tea
13 protein bars
The footnote of this note estimated there was enough nutrients for the team to last merely 4 days.
When food and resources started to dwindle, the crew decided it was best to enter their cryogenic chambers hoping that Overwatch would eventually find them. However, Overwatch was disbanded, their headquarters blown, and Jack Morrison was thought dead. All Ecopoints were shutdown, and thus no one came to their rescue for 10 years. Mei was the only survivor rescued.
Mei is now dedicated to power up the other abandoned Ecopoints in search of answers surrounding the climate phenomenon.
It might be a crew joke, but it might be possible that Blizzard is hinting at what is causing the climate changes around the globe. If that’s the case, then something tells me there might be an expansion taking us to that next step.
There is a map in the Climatology monitoring center showing the location of Ecopoint: Antarctica, a Relay Station with signal disrupted to the far east, and south of the relay station is a blinking yellow dot marking an anomaly detected. Looking at the climate monitor the storm is coming from the east.
The funny thing is that there is a written note, just inches away from the “anomaly detected” hologram. The note says: “What’s causing the anomaly? Global warming. Unexplained phenomenon. Aliens!!!”
We have a hero with supernatural abilities from beyond death: Reaper.
We have a talking gorilla with a PhD in physics: Winston.
We have a sentient Omnic with special spiritual views that differ with those of the Shambali: Zenyatta.
We have a mystical-powered ninja and samurai.
We have Talon pursuing control over ancient mythology ruins and artifacts in Ilios. Potential new hero.
How long before Mei’s efforts seeking answers surrounding the climatic anomaly uncovers an alien threat attempting to destroy humans from within?
If the note in Ecopoint: Antarctica is a hint of things to come, that rises a lot of questions. Will there ever be a single player campaign? We know that after the demise of Project Titan, Overwatch was rushed for release in flash time record since its announcement. There was no time for a single player experience. That doesn’t mean there can’t be one at a later point.
If there is an alien threat, that means new enemies. Maybe another faction other than Overwatch and the Talon. That also means, there might be sympathetic aliens as well that might become our allies against a galactic threat.
Let’s not forget there were already two hints at alien life out there: Hollywood and Route 66.
Jeff Kaplan addresses the Overwatch players with a new Developer Update video. This time explaining the new radical changes for Symmetra. Symmetra now creates a Photon Barrier which travels across the field in a straight line. It is similar to Reinhardt’s shield. This ability has a 10 second cooldown.
The second ability is the Shield Generator — the first time a hero has a choice between two Ultimate abilities. The Shield Generator deploys a generator that provides additional shields to allies in an area. It looks like the Teleporter, but a sphere instead of a portal. All you have to do is click the Ultimate button again to toggle between Teleporter or Shield Generator before deploying it.
This is a hefty change, and no doubt very welcomed by Symmetra players, and this will definitely increase the use of Sombra as a counter.
The Oni Genji skin is a promotional reward for playing 15 games in Heroes of the Storm. If you don’t have Heroes of the Storm, you can click the install button within the Blizzard Launcher. It is a free-download game.
When you launch the game, you will see two Special Events Quests for the Nexus Challenge. The one you are interested in is “Play 15 games in a party with a Friend.”
Now invite someone in your friend list within Heroes of the Storm, or type /join general
There you can ask LFM or LFG Nexus Challenge 15. Add someone to your friend list temporarily as an alternative. Play 15 games in Co-op vs. AI and attack the bottom lane. The game ends fairly within 3-5 minutes. It doesn’t take long before you reach 15 games to complete the Nexus Challenge.
Afterwards, you will see onscreen that you have completed 15 games with a Friend, and the Oni Genji skin reward is unlocked.
This Nexus Challenge promotional lasts from November 15 until January 4th. The video below shows you the Oni Genji skin in the Heres Gallery, as well as how it looks in Highlight Intro, Emotes, Victory Pose, Golden weapon, and a bit more.
The video lasts about 10 minutes, but watch what you need to and skip the rest if you wish.
Blizzard Entertainment is good at hinting, teasing, and subtly sneaking clues in the Overwatch universe. For instance, the first time we ever knew that Sombra existed wasn’t openly mentioned by Blizzard. It was actually hidden in the Ana Origin Story video (the white screen at 1:16) on Jul 12, 2016. All you saw was a white screen.