Blizzard just released Diablo Immortal, a new spin-off set between the events of Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. Or as you more likely know it, the “Do you guys not have phones?” game. Its announcement flopped but fans were more hopeful when Blizzard revealed a PC port was coming. However, given its state, the developer may as well of not bothered.
Despite being free-to-play Immortal has one of the most predatory business models ever seen. It’s so ridiculous that a YouTuber called Bellular News figured out that it would cost around $110,000 to max one character.
This crazy price tag is a result of how Legendary Gems work in Immortal. Free players are hard-capped up to a certain level. Once this level is reached you are forced to use Legendary Gems to progress further. Unless you are willing to spend big time the only way to get these gems is by getting very lucky.
And when I say very lucky, I mean astronomically lucky. Diablo Immortal is designed in a way that players are supposed to tire out from the grind and resort to their wallets. But on the off chance that you feel up to the grind, what exactly would it take?
According to Bellular News, roughly ten years of playtime. Not ten hours, days, or even months. Years. That’s not playing the game each day for ten years either. That’s ten years of actual play time meaning 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Blizzard strikes out again
Be it the ongoing sexual assault allegations, lazy remakes, or nuking of entire esports Blizzard is making a lot of unpopular decisions as of late. The choice to now follow that up with an anti-consumer mobile game is certainly bold if nothing else. The beloved publisher people used to love is long gone and in its place is one of the industry’s worst culprits.
For some time, there have been rumors of a Warcraft mobile game being in the works. It got leaked a few years back but any details beyond its existence have been unknown. That is until now. On the official Hearthstone Twitter account, an announcement was posted that it will be revealed very soon.
Unfortunately, not much else was revealed. The Tweet features a picture of a cog with a blue lightning bolt inside of it. As far as we know that could be essential to the game’s story or a random image that was chosen because it looked nice. Blizzard is making a very conscious effort to not give anything away.
If you’re interested in seeing what Warcraft mobile is about then you’ll want to check out the reveal stream. It is taking place on Blizzard’s website on May 3 at 10 am Pacific Time. That’s 1 pm Eastern Time, 6 pm British Standard Time, and 2 am Japan Standard Time.
As for what we’ll see in the reveal I can only speculate. I’d imagine it will either be a gameplay showcase of sorts or a cinematic trailer to hype up its release. Blizzard is well known for its spectacular cinematics with Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch all benefiting from them over the years.
Blizzard’s redemption arc
As a company, Blizzard Entertainment has made a lot of unpopular decisions in recent years. Be it the Hong Kong scandal of 2019 or the sexual assault allegations of 2021, it hasn’t been popular as of late. Even on the games front, it released Warcraft III: Reforged which was panned by critics for being a lazy remaster released solely to milk fans.
But with Overwatch 2’s popularity, the porting of Diablo Immortal to PC, and now Warcraft mobile things are looking up. It still has a lot of work to do if it wants the trust of its fans back but with Bobby Kotick on his way out once Microsoft takes over a comeback looks possible.
The Overwatch 2 beta gets underway on April 26 and will feature one of the game’s new heroes, Sojourn. But developer Blizzard Entertainment isn’t making fans wait to see her abilities. A new gameplay trailer dropped showing off what Sojourn can do and it’s got people very excited.
Sojourn’s primary weapon is an electrically charged automatic rifle. Named the Railgun it has two firing modes. One is a fast fire rate comparable to Soldier: 76 whilst the other is a high impact shot suitable for delivering finishing blows. Despite being a projectile weapon the rounds it fires travel very quickly. This makes the Railgun a strong medium to long-range weapon.
Furthermore, she is an exceptionally mobile hero. Sojourn’s Power Slide ability allows her to quickly slide to gain horizontal speed and then leap into a high jump once the slide is finished to gain vertical speed. This lethal combination makes Sojourn one of the most mobile heroes in Overwatch 2.
Her tactical ability is Disruptor Shot. When used this ability fires an energy shot that slows down any enemies within its range. Also, damage will be dealt to anyone who cannot get away from it fast enough. It looks as though Disruptor Shot will pair well with other abilities and ultimates.
As you’d expect from any badass fictional railgun, her primary weapon can also fire a huge beam of energy. Her ultimate ability Overclock charges up when used and then unleashes a piercing beam that deals massive damage.
The Overwatch 2 PvP beta begins in just under two weeks but not everything will get an invite. If you’re interested then be sure to sign up as soon as possible. This can be done over on the official Overwatch website. Beta participants are selected based on a variety of factors including Battle.net region, when you signed up, and your computer hardware specifications.
Blizzard has begun teasing new events in the lead-up to Overwatch 2. Amongst these are the Remix Events for Overwatch which will be exciting for many players. These Remix Events will allow players to earn old skins from past events in preparation for Overwatch 2.
Each Remix Event will offer various challenges that can be completed. Completing a specific challenge will reward a specific skin. Each challenge will only last a week so if there’s a particular skin you want be sure not to complete the challenge in time. These skins are time-limited so once they are gone you might not be able to earn them again in the future.
The Remix Event for Overwatch will replace all traditional seasonal events. That means that there will be no Archives, standard Anniversary, or Summer Games this year. Although given how stale these events had gotten over the last few years, I don’t think too many players will mind. After all, this is a great opportunity to land some fan-favorite skins that will transfer over to the sequel.
This event will be delivered in three separate parts. This is being done to enable the developers to balance resources between this event and the development of the upcoming PvP beta for Overwatch 2. Blizzard states in its latest blog post that it will be delivering more details regarding the event in the coming months.
Overwatch is back!
People online like to exaggerate that a game is dead whenever its player base declines slightly. However, in the case of Overwatch, those claims may have been fair. Blizzard’s neglect of its iconic hero shooter had led to all-time low player counts as gamers moved on to other titles.
Seeing the sequel get closer to launch and the Remix Event spark life back into Overwatch is incredible. There was a point where it started to seem unlikely the franchise would ever recover. Let’s hope that this signals the start of better days and Overwatch can become great again.
The new season of the Overwatch League kicks off in just two months. The hero shooter’s pro league is one of the most popular esports in the world but it has had some struggles. The latest problem that The Overwatch League is facing is its lack of sponsors greatly limiting the revenue that it can generate.
Following the sexual assault allegations against Blizzard, last year all of the league’s sponsors withdrew their support. Six months later and it appears as though these companies have not changed their stance. Considering that these supporters previously included huge backers like Coca-Cola, State Farm, and TeamSpeak, this is a real problem.
For these companies, there is a risk involved with re-signing with the Overwatch League. If another controversy was to surface or Blizzard fails to address the concerns raised by many, they would have to withdraw again. That is not a good look from either a PR perspective or a financial one.
However, the head of the Overwatch League Sean Miller has stated that there are ongoing negotiations with potential sponsors. Miller claims “Our plans for the season have been in the works for some time now, and we look to amplify those plans, obviously, with any potential partner.”
The fifth season of the Overwatch League will go ahead even if it cannot secure sponsors. The opening games are to be played on May 5 with New York Excelsior and the Los Angeles Gladiators up first. From May 5 to May 9 eighteen games will be played in total.
Season five will be played on Overwatch 2, the long-awaited sequel to Blizzard’s popular 2016 hero shooter. The pro teams are already practicing on an early access build that players will get the chance to try out once the PvP beta releases in April.
828 days. That’s how long it has been since Blizzard first unveiled Overwatch 2. For whatever reason, it has been in development for longer than expected and fans have been growing increasingly agitated. But finally, we have a sign that a playable version of the Overwatch 2 beta looks to be on the way.
Some eagle-eyed gamers recently noticed a significant update to Blizzard’s game launcher, Battle.net. In the patch notes for the Overwatch section, two new developer versions of Overwatch were added to the client. Titled “Overwatch 2.00.70.93195,” and “Demo 2,” both additions seem to hint at the long-awaited sequel making its debut.
For context, that long string of numbers is more relevant than it might look. When Blizzard releases Warcraft expansions they are usually first submitted in a format not too dissimilar to this. Assuming that it’s standard Blizzard procedure then this being the addition of an Overwatch 2 beta isn’t that farfetched.
The only negative to this is that there is one other possible outcome. A while back Blizzard confirmed that Overwatch League pro teams would have access to the sequel before the public. If this is still true then this upload could be a client designed specifically for esports. This doesn’t mean a public release isn’t planned but it might not be as close as fans are hoping.
The fate of Overwatch
Right now, Overwatch is not in a good spot. After years of neglect, the once hit hero shooter has fallen into mediocrity. It is performing particularly badly on streaming websites where it only peaks at around 15,000 viewers. For comparison, League of Legends regularly pulls in over 200,000 viewers on Twitch.
An Overwatch 2 beta may be necessary just to make people care about this franchise once again. The potential is still there with its iconic characters and art style but a player base devoid of passion is difficult to recover from. Hopefully, a sequel can reignite the hopes of fans and Overwatch isn’t left out to dry.
Blizzard revealed in September that it has plans to rename Jesse McCree. The gunslinging Overwatch hero was originally named after Diablo’s senior-level designer. However, following the allegations against the Blizzard employee the name has since been tarnished. To protect the heroic status of Overwatch’s McCree Blizzard wants to change his name.
However, it wasn’t expected that this move would happen anytime soon. The consensus is that this be implemented for Overwatch 2’s launch. But following a recent discovery found by Reddit user DoctorDeadeye, the change may be coming sooner than expected. Potentially even in the next few months.
The post shows that Blizzard has removed a large quantity of McCree-related voice lines. Presumably, in preparation for a name change, most voice lines refencing the name McCree is no longer in Overwatch. This includes voice lines said by McCree himself but also interactions between him and other characters like Ashe.
Interestingly, not all voice lines referencing McCree’s name are gone. For example, when Echo copies McCree using her ultimate some of her voice lines referencing his name remain. These were likely kept as they are vital gameplay features that provide players with information. These may be replaced in the future once McCree is officially renamed.
Furthermore, there is one specific voice line where Torbjorn asks about McCree’s robotic arm that hasn’t been removed. The topic of McCree’s arm was also raised in the Echo reveal trailer, Reunion. Blizzard may have plans to explain what led to this in the near future.
As for what’s McCree’s name will be changed to, we don’t know. One early suggestion includes Joel McCloud, a nod to cowboy’s original concept name. Sources suggesting this are not concrete though and we likely won’t know what his new name will be until Blizzard announce it. Regardless, expect to hear more about this topic sooner rather than later.
Overwatch 2 is going to bring a ton of changes to just about every character in the game. Blizzard is using the release of the highly anticipated sequel as a chance to try out new things. Amongst these announced changes is that Mei will be receiving a big DPS buff in Overwatch 2.
Currently, Mei’s primary attack is an Endothermic Blast that freezes enemies over time. This freeze effect is being removed in an attempt to reduce the amount of crowd control in Overwatch 2. However, to compensate Blizzard is increasing the attack’s base damage from 55 to 90 damage per second. That is a huge buff that means it will only take 2.2 seconds to kill a regular 200 health hero.
The new Mei
Mei has always been a controversial hero due to her large quantity of crowd control. Crowd control refers to abilities that stun, freeze or block other players from moving or using abilities. To make Overwatch 2 less frustrating this aspect of Mei is being removed and replaced with superior damage output.
Despite this change Mei will still maintain some crowd control with her attack. Instead of freezing enemies the Endothermic Blaster will now only slow them down. It’s a nice middle ground where Mei doesn’t lose her identity without feeling unfair to play against.
Of course, Mei isn’t the only reworked character that Blizzard has shown off recently. Both Sombra and Bastion received reworks to better fit in with Overwatch 2’s vision. In the sequel Sombra’s hacks don’t last as long but she can deal extra damage to hacked targets. Also, she’ll be able to hack targets whilst invisible.
As for Bastion, our robot friend can now move around in turret form. This extra mobility makes him more self-sustaining. Furthermore, he has a new ultimate where he can fire off three artillery shells at any position on the map.
Overwatch isn’t receiving too many updates currently with Blizzard focused on its sequel. However, it has continued to release the annual events. The next event for Overwatch is the Anniversary Event, celebrating five years since the hero shooter first launched.
Ahead of its launch Blizzard has been unveiling various skins that will be coming with the event. The tweets started with Baptiste’s ‘Funky’ skin, a throwback to 80’s Disco culture. After this Moira’s ‘Venus’ plant skin was revealed. Finally, Sombra’s ‘Black Cat’ skin is the last we know as of writing this. If previous events are anything to go by, a further four skins should be announced before the event goes live.
What’s in the Anniversary Event?
Outside of skins, the Overwatch Anniversary Event usually features the return of old game modes. This includes the Archives story missions, holiday specific modes like Lucio Ball, and a one-off competitive game mode. In 2018, Blizzard released competitive 6v6 Elimination as a temporary mode whilst the event was live.
Throughout the event you can expect various game modes to rotate in and out. Newer players should watch out for these as playing certain modes for the first-time rewards free loot boxes. They are usually quick to play through and are a great way of unlocking skins and cosmetics.
Unfortunately, outside of the new skins, no new content should be expected for this event. Blizzard is focused on the development of Overwatch 2. The side effect of that is that the original has not received any substantial new content since the release of Echo in April 2020.
Although this Anniversary Event won’t change that, a recent announcement does at least reassure us that Overwatch 2 is coming. A full showcase of its multiplayer PvP gameplay is planned for May 20. Be sure to tune into the official Overwatch Youtube or Twitch accounts for further details.
In a breaking announcement posted earlier today, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan is leaving Blizzard. The veteran developer has been responsible for the development of Blizzard’s hero shooter ever since it was first pitched in 2013. Before that, he had worked on World of Warcraft and the canceled Titan.
In the announcement, Kaplan does not provide a specific reason as to why he is stepping down. Simply, he calls his time at Blizzard “an honor,” and thanks to everyone for supporting him. With Kaplan leaving current assistant game director Aaron Keller will be taking his role. Before joining Blizzard, Keller was best known for his contributions to Realm Royale.
End of an era, Jeff Kaplan
It’s no secret that Jeff Kaplan is widely considered one of the industry’s most talented individuals. He has had years of success at Blizzard with almost everything he worked out turning out a success. However, it’s his creation of Overwatch that most know him for. The hero shooter has gone on to become one of Blizzard’s premier brands.
Overwatch isn’t just a video game franchise. Jeff Kaplan came up with an idea and Blizzard expanded it into so much more. We now have Overwatch novels, comic books, and several cinematic shorts.
Kaplan stepping down may have some fans concerned about the fate of Overwatch 2. The long-awaited sequel was first announced at Blizzcon 2019 with further details being revealed at Blizzcon 2021. However, according to Keller, you don’t need to be worried.
In his own statement, Keller reassures fans that Overwatch 2 is “continuing at a good pace.” Equally, fans can expect “more frequent updates,” on Overwatch 2 going forward. It will be interesting to see how Blizzard proceeds without Jeff Kaplan. He has been a key figure in designing some of its flagship franchises. It’s never easy to lose such a talent but I’m sure everyone involved at Blizzard is ever thankful for Kaplan’s contributions.