Overwatch: First Strike Comic Cancelled

Blizzard’s hit first-person shooter, Overwatch, has garnered plenty of praise for its world-building despite lacking a single-player campaign that fully explores said world.  As such, many fans have been eagerly anticipating the release of Overwatch: First Strike, a graphic novel published by Dark Horse Comics that would have explored the origins of the original Overwatch strike team and the beginning of the game’s universe.  It turns out that fans will have to wait a lot longer to see how it all began as the First Strike comic has officially been cancelled.

Michael Chu, the lead writer for the game, recently announced on the official Overwatch forums that graphic novel was cancelled just before the digital version of it was scheduled to release.  Chu stated that the reason for the comic’s cancellation comes down to it being planned out during the early days of the game’s development and that the plans for the game’s story has changed since then.  Essentially, it comes down to wanting to keep the narrative consistent and avoid potential plotholes that the now outdated graphic novel could create.  Blizzard still plans to release free animations and comic shorts as they have in the past to further explore the world of Overwatch, including the origins of Reaper, Soldier:76, Ana, Torbjörn, and Reinhardt as the First Strike novel would have.

If you’re curious about the lore of Overwatch, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide with all the information you need to know.  What are your thoughts on the cancellation of First Strike?  Do you regret the loss of this storyline?  Did Blizzard make the right call on this?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Overwatch’s First Post-Release Hero Revealed

A founding member of the original Overwatch strike team and mother to Fareeha “Pharah” Amari, Ana Amari has been revealed as the first new hero to be added to Blizzard’s hit first-person shooter Overwatch following its release.  Once the top sniper in the Egyptian military, Ana was believed dead after an encounter with Talon operative Widowmaker.  Despite losing her right eye in the fight, she is prepared to step back into active duty at 60 years young.

Ana is a support sniper whose rifle can heal teammates or deal poison damage to enemies depending on who her shots land on.  She’s also armed with a sleep dart that can knock a single opponent unconscious, but any damage dealt to them will immediately wake them.  It can certainly be useful in conjunction with a high-damage ally to assassinate enemies, but it can also be handy for cancelling certain ultimate abilities, such as McCree’s and Reaper’s.  Next is a biotic grenade that supplements healing for teammates and completely blocks healing for enemies.  Finally, her ultimate ability is Nano Boost which temporarily buffs the attack, defense, and movement speed of a single ally.  You can see all of her abilities in action in the official gameplay reveal trailer.

Ana is available play now in the newly-launched, PC-only Public Test Region, which is the beta-testing segment, and is planned to be added to the full game very soon.  The PTR is also experimenting with various balance changes, such as making self-healing abilities charge ultimates and adjusting the ultimate charging rate for all heroes that will apply to.  The new patch will also buff D.Va, Zenyatta, and McCree.  You can read the full patch notes here.

OverwatchFounders

The new story trailer (featured above) also hints at two more early members of the strike team on the far left and right that could potentially join the playable cast in the future.  We have no solid leads on who either of these characters might be, but it’s possible that they are Liao and Sombra whom have been hinted at multiple times in the past.  Given that Blizzard has gone out of their way to include these characters in the group shot, it’s a safe bet that they have some plans for these characters.

What are your thoughts on Ana’s inclusion to the roster?  What types of heroes do you still want to see added to Overwatch?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Legacy of Kain Shooter Nosgoth Closes Next Month

Nosgoth, the competitive first-person shooter set in the Legacy of Kain universe and developed by Rocket League creators Psyonix, will be shutting its servers down by the end of May.  Community Manager Oghamsmith announced on the Square Enix forums that the game would come to an end on May 31st without ever exiting its beta period.  The game will be available to play as normal until that date, but will cease to exist afterward.  Players will no longer be able to make in-game purchases and any purchases made from March 1st this year onward will automatically be refunded.

Nosgoth offered a unique, asymmetric style of play with one team playing as humans and the other as vampires, each with their own distinct arsenals and abilities at their disposal.  It garnered mostly positive reviews on Steam, but has also been a source of controversy.  Many fans of the Legacy of Kain series were immediately turned off by seeing a traditionally action-adventure series that had been on hiatus since 2003 being reworked into a competitive FPS.  Similar events had previously happened with the Shadowrun, Syndicate, and X-COM  franchises and the practice was already fatigued.  The official statement from Square Enix blames the closure on a lack of audience growth to support the title, but users in the forum have mostly pointed the finger towards a lack of developer response to community concerns and a mismanagement of finances on extravagant prize pools for tournaments.

What are your thoughts on Nosgoth shutting down?  Are you sad to see it go?  What are your thoughts on the Legacy of Kain series as a whole?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Open Beta and Release Dates Announced for Overwatch

Overwatch has been a notoriously hard game to get into with mainly select journalists, Youtubers, and Twitch streamers receiving access to the closed beta.  Many have nicknamed the upcoming FPS ‘Onlywatch’ with how exclusive entry to the beta has been and how many are left as spectators to those who get to play.  Even those who have gotten access to the closed beta have had their grief with the sparse amount of invites as they’re regularly left playing with the same small circles of people rather than experiencing the full variety of the game.  Come this May, the world of Overwatch is going to become a lot more active as Blizzard has announced the dates for the game’s open beta and release.  Open beta is set for May 5th through the 9th and the game will release in full on May 24th.

The open beta will be available to all interested players, both on consoles and PC, and will have all heroes and maps, including the King-of-the-Hill-styled Control maps, available to play with.  There will also be an early access period for the beta exclusively for those who preorder the game.  Along with the Noire skin for Widowmaker, preordering any version of Overwatch before April 29th will allow you to start playing in the open beta on May 3rd.  Even if you have played in the closed beta, you will need to preorder in order to join the early access beta.  Just be warned that, with the lack of stress-testing that Overwatch has had, the open beta will likely have server issues early on.

After Overwatch releases, all new heroes and maps will be added for free.  If your curious about the world and lore of Overwatch, you can read up everything you need to know here.  Are you planning to take part in the open beta?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Exploring the World of Overwatch

Being a Blizzard game, there is no shortage of lore in the upcoming first-person shooter Overwatch.  While there are no plans to include a campaign in the game, every character and map is dripping with detail.  The developers have built a vividly realized world for players to stage their battles in, which they plan to explore further with a series of digital comics and animated shorts that will be released for free in the future.  Until then, this guide will take you through everything there is to know about the world of Overwatch and its vibrant inhabitants.

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Omnic Crisis

The largest inciting incident in the history of Overwatch was the robot uprising known as the Omnic Crisis.  Highly intelligent machines called omnics rebelled against their creators, resulting in a massive war.  It was a global crisis with every nation having to stand against the robot rebels in their own ways.  Dreadful warmachines like the Siege Automaton E54, or “Bastion” unit (pictured above), wrought destruction across the world.  Fortunately, the crisis is already long over by the time Overwatch takes place and humanity has already won the war against the machines thanks in large part to the efforts of one team…

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Overwatch

The next thing you need to know about Overwatch is, well, Overwatch.  The organization that the game is named after was formed in response to the Omnic Crisis and involved talented soldiers from around the world.  Not every country participated in the Overwatch program, such as Russia deciding to focus on defending its own, but several nations from around the world contributed to the organization.  Among Overwatch’s founding members were Gabriel Reyes, Jack Morrison, Reinhardt Wilhelm, Torbjörn Lindholm, and Ana Amari, with Lena ‘Tracer’ Oxton, Winston, Angela ‘Mercy’ Ziegler, Mei-Ling Zhou, Genji Shimada, and Jesse McCree joining over the years. Ana’s daughter, Fareeha ‘Pharah’ Amari, was well on her way to following in her mother’s footsteps, but before she could officially join came the point where things fell apart.

For as optimistic as many of its agents were, Overwatch was far from ideal and there were plenty of shadows looming over the organization’s history.  McCree, for example, was originally a member of the Deadlock Gang and only joined Overwatch after he was arrested and offered a deal if he worked for their covert division, Blackwatch.  Worse yet, Reyes and Morrison were subjected to super-soldier experiments that left their minds warped.  As a result, Reyes became the ruthless mercenary Reaper and Morrison became the vigilante Agent 76.

After 20 years of service, Overwatch was disbanded by higher command.  The closure was abrupt and many mysteries still surround what events took place behind the scenes.  Overwatch’s members all went their seperate ways after its disbanding, but several of the organization’s frontline agents still want answers on why Overwatch was shut down.

It should be noted that, while the characters Zenyatta, Lùcio, and Bastion are featured in the above group shot, none of them were ever officially affiliated with Overwatch.

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MEKA

Each nation had its own way of responding to the Omnic Crisis.  Both South Korea and Russia decided to fight metal with metal, each developing their own lines of piloted mech suits independently from the Overwatch program.  Initially, South Korea’s MEKA program, short for Mobile Exo-force of the Korean Army, used remote-controlled drones to battle the rebel omnics, but this proved inefficient when one particularly powerful omnic appeared.

A giant omnic capable of adapting itself after every battle emerged from the sea and posed a constant threat to to the Korean coastline.  MEKA would beat back the monstrous machine, but never manage to finish it off.  Eventually, the omnic found a way to disrupt the long-range controls of the drones and a more direct approach was required.  It was at this point that the drones were converted into piloted mech suits, but finding suitable pilots to handle the complex controls and keep up with the omnic’s adaptive intellect was difficult.

In a bizarre twist, the South Korean government turned to their professional gamers to command these mechs.  Their ability to quickly strategize made them the perfect pilots to combat the towering omnic.  Their most famous agent is Hana “D.Va” Song, who had earned recognition early on as the youngest Starcraft XI world champion (yes, that is actually canon).  Her work with MEKA has garnered a special amount of notoriety as she actually streams her battles online for her adoring fans to watch.

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Australian Liberation Front

One of the most devastating effects of the Omnic Crisis was the destruction that occurred in Australia.  After the war, the world governments offered control of the continent of Australia to the surviving omnics in the hopes of establishing peace.  Obviously, the Australian citizens weren’t happy with the deal as many were displaced by the influence of omnics.  One of those displaced citizens was Mako “Roadhog” Rutledge and he and many others were not going to take it lightly.  The Australian Liberation Front was formed in response in the hopes of taking back their land by any means necessary, ultimately leading to an attack on an omnic manufaction site called an omnium.  The conflict caused a massive explosion that turned Australia into a twisted, irradiated wasteland.  Those who had the misfortune of being raised in this twisted landscape, such as Jamison “Junkrat” Fawkes, had their minds and bodies warped by their unforgiving environment and were forged into some of the fiercest scavengers and mercenaries in the world.

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The Shambali

The Omnics weren’t completely wiped out by the end of the Omnic Crisis.  Many survived and some even sought new meanings in their lives.  The most important Omnic figure post-crisis is Monyatta, the founder of a religious movement called the Shambali.  Inspired by Buddhism, the Shambali formed their own monastery in the Himalayas to meditate on the meaning of artificial life.  They were mostly isolated from the rest of the world, only communicating on occasion to deliver speeches of peace, but one of their members, Zenyatta, felt that the only way to heal the wounds left by the war was to travel out into the world and interact directly.  Zenyatta now wanders the land alone and offers aid to any he feels needs it.

Numbani

Numbani

With the Omnic Crisis over, man and machine have taken steps towards peaceful coexistence.  The greatest beacon of this is Numbani, a city built in the Nigerian savanna where humans and omnics live together as equals.  While Numbani has prospered, it remains the only city of its kind at the time.  The war may be over, but there is still a lingering atmosphere of resentment against omnics for the destruction they once caused.  As a result, Numbani is often the target of anti-omnic terrorist attacks.  One infamous figure in particular has a complex history with the city…

Doomfist

Doomfist

Discussing Doomfist is a little complicated as he is actually a legacy hero.  Much like how Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne are all Batman’s trusty sidekick named Robin in their own right, Doomfist is a name passed down across three different people.  They’re tied together by their use of a powerful gauntlet that was used as the focus in the debut trailer.  Numbani has an exhibit dedicated to Doomfist’s legacy, labeling the three of them as “savior”, “scourge”, and “successor” in order.

Little is known about the first Doomfist, but the reverence that Numbani shows for him suggests that he was a champion for omnic rights.  The second Doomfist is a known criminal who regularly threatens Numbani.  He was defeated in a battle with Winston, but there’s always a chance that he’ll be back.  With the third, we know absolutely nothing and the position may not have even been filled yet.  With the alternate costumes in the game, it’s possible we’ll see all three appear as playable variants of the same character in the future.

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Horizon Lunar Colony

Robots aren’t the only things that decided to rise against humanity.  A research station know as the Horizon Lunar Colony was established on the moon and used gorillas as test subjects.  The experiments rapidly mutated the gorillas to the point that they achieved a level of intelligence to match humans.  One young gorilla took a particular interest in human science.  He was raised by a scientist named Dr. Harold Winston and his eyes shined with the potential that knowledge and research offered.  However, the rest of the gorillas weren’t exactly fond of having their genes tampered with and revolted.  The gorillas successfully took control of the entire colony and forced humanity to abandon its lunar research.  The one young gorilla was able to construct his own rocket and make his way to Earth.  He gave himself the name Winston in honor of his mentor and became one of the top scientific minds within Overwatch.

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Shimada Clan

Organized crime is no less an issue in the era of Overwatch as it is today, and the Shimada Clan is a prime example.  Originally formed in the feudal age as an organization of ninjas, the Shimada Clan is now a powerful yakuza gang.  The leader’s two sons, Hanzo and Genji, had great expectations placed on them to carry the clan’s future.  The elder Hanzo sought to prove himself an ideal heir with his diligent approach and cold demeanor, but Genji lavished himself with his family’s wealth and influence.  His flamboyant attitude was deemed unacceptable and Hanzo was order to bring his brother inline.  Eventually, their arguments led them into a heated duel of blades.  Hanzo had won, but he had left his brother near death with serious wounds, even thinking he had killed him on the spot.  Wracked with guilt, Hanzo swore off the sword and stepped away from the Shimada Clan in order to rethink his life.

Little did Hanzo know at the time that Genji was still alive and it was thanks to Overwatch agents that had been tracing their actions.  They found him clutching to life and Mercy was able to bring him back from the brink by using cybernetic prosthetics.  Genji was reborn as a cyborg and was offered a chance to join Overwatch and help bring his clan to justice.  Vindictive, Genji agreed and even personally led the raid that left the Shimada in shambles while Hanzo was away.  Now it remains to be seen whether the two brothers will be able to come to terms or if their battle to the death shall start anew.

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Talon

The Shimada Clan may have been disbanded, but the terrorist organization Talon still poses a major threat.  Talon is the definition of ruthless and nothing serves as a greater example of their cruelty then the origins of their top assassin, Widowmaker.  Once, she was Amélie Lacroix, wife to Overwatch agent Gérard Lacroix. Gérard had been a thorn in Talon’s side for years and decided to hit him where it hurt most.  Amélie was abducted by Talon, but Overwatch was able to rescue her.

Unfortunately, they did not suspect what Talon had done to her in the time she was held hostage.  Talon had subjected her to neural torture in order to break her will and transform her into a sleeper agent.  Two weeks after being brought home, she assassinated her own husband and returned to Talon.  They only experimented on her further, slowing her heart rate to rob her of any remaining humanity.  Her blue skin tone is a direct result of the extreme measures Talon took to warp her into their ideal killer.  Amélie Lacroix is long dead and a soulless monster is all that remains in her place.

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Vishkar Corporation

The Vishkar Corporation is the most polarizing organization in the world of Overwatch.  Following the Omnic Crisis, Vishkar rose as a herald of reconstruction.  The company specializes in hard-light technology to swiftly rebuild cities.  Their home country of India was made especially prosperous through their efforts, with the new city of Utopaea being founded entirely by Vishkar.  They are also responsible for the rags-to-riches story of Satya “Symmetra” Vaswani in particular.  Once it was discovered that she was a prodigy with Vishkar’s hard-light architecture, she was plucked from a life of poverty and molded into one of the company’s top representatives.

However, while Symmetra was enjoying Vishkar at its most ambivalent, Lúcio Correia dos Santos saw them at their most totalitarian in Brazil.  Rio de Janeiro had suffered serious damage from the Omnic Crisis as well, and Vishkar promised to change the city for the better.  While buildings were repaired, Vishkar had installed itself as an unofficial government and enacted strict policies over the citizens.  Lúcio, a local DJ raised in the favelas, sparked an uprising against Vishkar and stole their sonic technology to be reworked into a tool of resistance.  His music speaking out against the injustices of Vishkar has made him a worldwide celebrity, including a great deal of popularity in Numbani.

With that, it’s time to wrap up this excursion into the world of Overwatch.  We could delve into the origins of Tracer, Zarya, or a few other characters we didn’t get a chance to bring up, but this should be enough to give you a wide picture of the world that this excited title is set in.  If you have anything that you feel was left out, please be sure to let us know in the comments below.

New Maps and Characters for Overwatch Will Be Free

Jeff Kaplan, the director of Blizzard’s upcoming FPS Overwatch, released a video on the official Overwatch Youtube channel addressing several community concerns and detailing their plans for addressing these issues.  First and foremost was the matter of new maps and playable characters being added to the game over time.  This has been the greatest concern players have had over Overwatch as the game relies heavily on changing characters mid-game and locking off certain characters with paywalls would create a serious balancing problem.  Fortunately, Blizzard has decided that they will release all new characters and maps in free updates rather than use any type of DLC model.  It’s certainly a bold move, but hopefully it will prove the smart choice for the game in the long run.  Kaplan also mentions that some of the upcoming characters they have in the works already have Easter eggs hidden in some of the maps.

Kaplan also discussed various minor updates in the works for the game.  These include the options to turn the in-game music and kill-cam off.  They are also working on improving the HUD to provide more information on which players are dead and improvements to the results screen.  The end-game cards will be rebalanced to better highlight the best players in a round and there will be improvements to the “on-fire” system.  In Overwatch, on-fire refers to a player having a strong streak and the developers plan to adapt the system to better highlight the biggest threats on a team.

You can check out the full video discussing these topics here.  What are your thoughts on these developments for Overwatch?  What lingering concerns do you still have with the game?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

 

Series of Comics and Animated Shorts Announced for Overwatch

During the Overwatch lore panel held at Blizzcon today, Jeff Chamberlain, the director of the reveal trailer shown off at last year’s Blizzcon, took the stage to announce a series of animated shorts exploring the story of Overwatch and its various characters.  One example was the origins of the gentlegorilla scientist Winston and how he was raised by the human scientist Dr. Harold Winston that he named himself after, which had several in-progress shots shown off at the panel.   Each short is planned to be its own self-contained story that can be enjoyed on its own rather than an ongoing storyline that demands each short be viewed in a specific order to understand everything that’s happening.  They also mentioned that they have plans to create a line of comic shorts that would be released online for free to further expound on the characters and lore.  The comics are currently planned for internal development rather than seeking out a known publisher.

Several other interesting details were revealed during the panel, such as confirming that the Morrison and Reyes skins that Soldier:76 and Reaper will be getting in the Origins Edition are their true identities.  Gabriel Reyes was actually the original leader of Overwatch, but preferred to work alone and regularly argued with Morrison on his methods.  They also confirmed that at least one of playable characters is homosexual, but they didn’t reveal who as they want the characterization to come across naturally rather than force it.  Perhaps the most amusing news is the discussion of Blizzard existing as a game developer in Overwatch‘s future.  D.Va is a Starcraft 6 player herself and there are several arcade cabinets of Blizzard games on some of the in-game maps, such as Lost Vikings 6 and Fighters of the Storm.  The best part is that, when asked about the possibility of a Blizzcon map, writer Chris Metzen stated that he had drawn up sketches of a map called Blizzneyland, although it seems unlikely that it will ever come into the game.  If you want to catch up on everything discussed in the panel, you can check out Reddit’s live commentary here.  What are your thoughts on the world of Overwatch?  Are you looking forward to the shorts and comics that Blizzard will be releasing?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Sneak-Peek of Blizzcon’s Overwatch Announcements

Blizzcon is this weekend and Blizzard’s first foray into the first-person shooter genre, Overwatch, definitely looks like it’s going to be headlining the show.  With the game currently in closed beta and building a lot of excitement, there’s bound to be plenty of new announcements throughout the convention.  In fact, Blizzard couldn’t help but send out some early teasers on what we can expect to see in Overwatch‘s future.  Whether or not all of this will be ready to play by Blizzcon or simply demonstrated in detail is unknown, but odds are that we won’t have to wait much longer to see a lot more of what the developers have up their sleeves.  Until then, let’s comb through all of the teasers that we have already and see what we can discover.

OverwatchSciFiPoster

The first teaser is easily the most confusing as it depicts a movie poster from the world of Overwatch with no obvious indications as to what it’s actually hinting at.  The most prominent features are the aliens, but it seems unlikely that one of them will be appearing as a playable character.  There’s no mention of extraterrestrial life within the game’s current lore, and the use of the mere existence of aliens as sci-fi shock indicates that first contact has not been made.  My guess is that this poster is meant to tease a Hollywood-like map where players will fight across various film sets, such as the one featured in the poster.  Alternatively, it could be a hint at the moonbase Winston was raised in being a map, but this seems like a roundabout way of hinting at it.

The text on the poster shouldn’t be overlooked as the imagery may be misdirection for the real hint.  Starting from the top, Goldshire Pictures is an obvious reference to World of Warcraft as Goldshire is one of the villages within the Alliance.  Looking towards the bottom, we have another shout-out to WoW with the bit about Kilrogg-Vision.  Kilrogg Deadeye is an orc shaman who had an important role in the recent Warlords of Draenor expansion and is most famous for sacrificing one of his eyes in a tribal ritual.

Next, we have the names of the cast with the leading actors being Jack Stirling and Madeline O’Neal.  Interestingly, a man named Jack Sterling has been a recruiter working for Blizzard for the last 21 years, so this may just be another Easter egg.  However, I couldn’t find anything that could tie to Madeline O’Neal or the other listed actors, Maisie Jones, Ayisha Ekwensi, and Thespion 2.0.  When sharing the image on social media, Blizzard put attention on the director, producer, and screenwriter of the film, HAL-fred Glitchbot, whose name is an obvious allusion to the villain of 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It’s possible that one of these, most likely Madeline, will be a playable character.  An actor/actress could make for an interesting infiltrator with an emphasis on disguises, or HAL-fred could appear as a master of special effects.  Of course, this poster may just be a background decoration for the game that won’t actually amount to anything, but that seems like a weird thing to tweet out just before Blizzcon.

DvaPoster

The next tease is much more straight-forward as confirmation of a new playable character.  Hana “D.Va” Song is a young woman from South Korea and she is, I kid you not, a professional Starcraft II player.  It’s common for companies to make references to their other games, but this has to be the first time that a player of one game is used as a character class in another.  What’s next, is Tekken 7 going to have the record-holder for Pac-Man as a fighter?  Blizzard even put up a fake player profile for D.Va on the Starcraft II website that explains her backstory.  She became the #1 ranked player in the world at the age of 16 and remained undefeated for the next three years.  Recently, she stepped away from pro-gaming in favor of defended her home country from the various crises plaguing the world, similar to Zarya with body-building and Lúcio with music.  No information on her playstyle has been released, but a poster of her that can be found in the game suggests that she will pilot a mech suit and possibly act as a tank.  Also, given that her area of expertise is strategy games, it’s a safe bet that she’ll have drones at her command to capture an RTS playstyle.

OverwatchMountain

Finally, we have a tease for both a new character and a new map.  The tease comes in the form of journal entries from the perspective of Mei-Ling Zhou.  Mei is a renowned climatologist and a colleague of Winston, making her an affiliate of the Overwatch organization.  She has a very adorkable personality and is equipped with an endothermic diffuser, which is basically a freeze ray, of her own invention.  It sounds like the diffuser is designed only to stun rather than deal damage, but it can also create pathways of ice.  For the new map, all signs point to the Himalayas as Mei states she is doing research in the mountains of Asia and begins her final entry with a traditional Hindu greeting.  The one image included in the journals offers a small peek at the new map.

There are also a few more subtle suggestions within the journal entries.  For one, Mei mentions a companion of hers named 雪球, which translates to ‘Snowball’, and states that he/she/it isn’t much for conversation.  There’s no further mention of Snowball, so whether it’s a pet, another playable character, or even a literal snowball is anyone’s guess at this point.  Mei also mentions an old-fashioned film called Six-Gun Killer starring Olivia Rai, which is another actress not listed on the They Came From Beyond the Moon poster.  Either Blizzard really likes dreaming up fake movies and actors (which is certainly possible) or there has to be more to these movie references.

There’s bound to be plenty of news on Overwatch throughout Blizzcon this weekend.  Which of these teases do you most want to see more on?  What other surprises could Blizzard have up their sleeves?  We still haven’t seen any hints of the robot ninja, hazmat worker, or other unannounced characters that were spotted in early promotional art.  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Two Mad Men Enter Overwatch

If there’s one thing that Blizzard’s upcoming team-based, first-person shooter Overwatch is missing, it’s more villainous characters for its playable roster.  Of the 16 previously revealed playable characters, only two are unambiguously bad guys and having two teams of heroes regularly going at each other just seems off.  That imbalance has become a little more even with the two newest additions to the roster: Mako “Roadhog” Rutledge and Jamison “Junkrat” Fawkes.  Both hail from Australia which, in the world of Overwatch, has been transformed into an appropriately Mad-Maxian wasteland following a robot uprising known as the Omnic Crisis.  Roadhog and Junkrat are two men who have been hardened by the harsh landscape of their homeland and driven mad by radiation exposure.  The duo is responsible for a public spree of chaos and destruction as Junkrat hunts for a mysterious treasure while Roadhog simply wants his cut.

Roadhog is a shotgun-wielding tank who can fire off short-range bursts or a ball of shrapnel that bursts on impact.  When opponents are too far for him to blast, he can pull them in with his chain hook that comes complete with inevitable Mortal Kombat quote.  He also has the ability to heal himself with a gas tank and keep himself on the front line.  His Ultimate Ability is Whole Hog, which converts his shotgun into a Gatling gun to output massive damage for a short time.

Junkrat is a demolitions expert whose primary weapon is his Frag Launcher that can lob and ricochet grenades that explode on contact with an enemy.  He can also set traps with his manually-triggered concussive mine, which he can use on himself to propel through the air, or a bear trap that damages and immobilizes the first person to step into it.  Even in death, Junkrat is dangerous as he drops several live grenades in his final moment, forcing opponents to keep back for just a moment more or going down with him if they get careless.  His Ultimate Ability is Rip-Tire, which gives the player manual control over a large bomb fashioned out of a truck tire that can climb walls and explodes either when manually triggered or makes contact with the enemy.  It’s an excellent tool for breaking up enemy encampments, but it leaves Junkrat completely immobile and vulnerable while in use, so finding a safe place to use it from is key.

Overwatch is scheduled to enter public beta later this year.  You can learn more about RoadhogJunkrat, and the rest of the cast at the official Overwatch website.  Are you interested in trying out either of these anarchistic combatants?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Tip of the Hats Raises Over $125,000 for Charity in One Day

Tip of the Hats, the annual charity stream run by the community of popular first-person shooter Team Fortress 2, is already off to a great start with well over $125,000 raised for the One Step Camp charity.  Since its founding in 2013 by Sean “seanbud” Stradley, Tip of the Hats gathers several notable TF2 players every year for a full weekend of streaming various events and raffles all to raise money for One Step Camp, a non-profit charity organization that raises money to send children with cancer to camp.  Events for the stream include 6v6 competitive matches, 1-on-1 duels, surf and jump maps, and chances to play the game on-stream alongside popular Youtubers like Star_, Jerma985, and tagg.

Even before broadcasting had started this year, donators had already sent the campaign a cumulative $30,000.  In the first eight hours of the broadcast, Tip of the Hats had broken its personal record of $108,000 set last year.  At the time of writing, this year’s campaign has raised exactly $129,664 and there are still 24 hours left to go.  If you want to help contribute to the Tip of the Hats campaign, you can check out their stream at tipofthehats.org or on their Twitch channel where they’ll be streaming all throughout Sunday, September 20th.  They accept either cash donations or in-game items for Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that they can then raffle off.  Donating at least $20 over the course of the campaign will get you an exclusive TF2 cosmetic item, the Jaunty Pin.