Overwatch tank Orisa was close having teleportation as her ultimate

After some questionable experimentation with Moira’s kit as of late, Blizzard have come under fire from some fans. There are concerns about how the developer is mis-judging the state of the game and not understanding what players want. And if recent news about Orisa is anything to by, this might be true.

In a recent Reddit Q&A lead hero designer Geoff Goodman responded to some interesting questions. One of which was inquiring about how many unused hero concepts Blizzard have lying around. Whilst also explaining the general process his team goes through in designing a hero, it’s his comments on Orisa that have caught the attention of many.

Orisa was almost even scarier

Bastion ultimate

It turns out that Orisa’s first concept featured a teleportation ultimate ability. When used it would allow her to teleport anywhere on the map in a drop pod of sorts. Coupled with her halt ability this could have made for some crazy flank plays in the right hands.

To be fair to Blizzard, this was in the very early stages of her development. Goodman himself even goes on to say that his team “didn’t have a character yet,” but was rather just trying out ideas. Also, it’s not exactly worth getting up in arms over. Blizzard try wild ideas all of the time and many don’t see the light of day.

Case in point, Bastion’s original ultimate was a remote mine that, when detonated, would spray explosive in all directions. Given Overwatch’s shift toward mobility and away from builders, this wouldn’t have aged well.

Thankfully, neither Bastion nor Orisa received either of these wild changes. Overwatch may have its problems but at least Blizzard usually knows where to draw the line. That is as long as a certain Swedish knight isn’t involved. But that’s a topic for another day.

Overwatch Season 18: The Heroes You Should Be Playing

Overwatch Season 18

There are only 10 days left of Overwatch Season 18 Competitive Play. In other words, time is running out for you to make that last push for SR. From getting out of Bronze to reaching Top 500, everyone has their own goals. It’s no secret that playing specific heroes can benefit your rank depending on the meta. So here are the top tier heroes you should be playing right now in Overwatch Season 18. Let’s get to know them.

Orisa In Overwatch Season 18

OrisaDespite numerous nerfs since role queue’s introduction, Orisa is still the best tank in Overwatch Season 18. The basis of her strength comes down to a few things. Firstly, she can do so much whilst still providing a shield for her team. In contrast, Reinhardt is limited to either dealing damage or protecting his team. Orisa’s biggest advantage in that match up is that she can simultaneously provide a shield and apply pressure with her primary fire.

In times gone by, Orisa’s largest weakness was how easy she was to push. However, in Season 18 that is no longer the case. Of course, both her cooldowns help out to an extent. Fortify provides her an unmatched level of sustain and Halt can pull pesky opponents out of the way. The real crux is how strong her barrier is.

Orisa’s barrier has 900 HP and can be redeployed every ten seconds. Interestingly, it used to be as little as eight seconds before the nerfs. On paper, you’d think this means that 90 damage per second is enough to break her shield. However, it isn’t that simple. Overwatch’s best tank can use fortify to stall for a few seconds after her shield breaks. Equally, she can pre-deploy shield by throwing it into the air to cut down her cooldown timer significantly.

Finally, the main reason you should be playing Orisa in ranked. Her chemistry with both Sigma and Roadhog is unmatched. The classic pulled pork combination can punish out of position opponents at will. Orisa pulls a ledge, Roadhog hooks into it and your team has an easy pick. Equally strong, Season 18 introduced Sigma. Even if it wasn’t Blizzard’s intention, Sigma is Orisa’s best off-tank partner.

Sigma One of Overwatch Season 18 Heroe

Sigma Overwatch Season 18.It’s clear that Blizzard designed Sigma to function as the main tank in a team. Unfortunately, role queue only dictates that a team plays two tanks, two DPS and two supports. It does not ensure teams have to play a main and an off tank. Previously, this wasn’t a concern. The chemistry between a main and off-tank outweighed any potential two main tanks could get together.

That all changed with the introduction of Sigma. Much like Orisa, Sigma is a tank that can do a lot of things whilst shielding his team. Also, Sigma is kitted out with several cooldowns that make him difficult to push. Actually, I’ll further and say Sigma is unpushable.

Sigma has a 1500 HP deployable barrier. Before the previous patch, this barrier could be moved around without any restrictions too. Mercifully, Blizzard added a one-second cooldown between separate shield deployments. On top of that, both his abilities help to punish any over-zealous opponents who are pushing their luck.

Accretion is a hard stun that knocks heroes to the ground. The further away you hit someone, the longer they are stunned. This can be particularly fun if you manage to snipe a Pharah out of the sky. Meanwhile, his Kinetic Grasp functions as a sort of make-shift D.Va Defense Matrix. Whilst shorter in range, Grasp eats up any incoming damage and converts it into temporary shields. You’d be amazed at how much survivability these abilities provide.

Perhaps Sigma’s largest selling point is his carry potential. Unlike any other tank, Sigma can mechanically carry. He doesn’t rely on communication to pop off like Reinhardt, Winston or Orisa. Season 18 has introduced us to a main tank with a very reliable one-shot combo. Just shoot, Accretion, Melee for a brutal 230 damage.

Doomfist

Doomfist for Overwatch Season 18Doomfist’s introduction to Overwatch Season 18 can be considered one of Blizzard’s biggest mistakes. It’s arguable but I believe he kickstarted the crowd control craze and the shift away from Overwatch’s core FPS values. Throughout his various seasons, Doomfist has been everything from a must pick to a throw pick. However, it’s now in Season 18 that he is at his all-time strongest.

The Double Shield meta has caused a major headache for all ranged hitscan heroes. Popular FPS-centric characters like Widowmaker, Soldier 76 and McCree struggle to function with so many shields around. Unlike all those, Doomfist is not deterred by barriers. In fact, the presence of so many barriers has made him extremely strong.

Big Akande’s punches pass through all shields. Similarly, his uppercut can send enemies flying into the air, shielded or not. This isn’t his only advantage though. Doomfist has the second-best mobility in the game. A skilled Doom player can fly over rooftops, one-shot combo the backline and punch out back to safety. No number of barriers is going to stop that.

To be fair, on his own Doomfist is actually surprisingly easy to counter. All forms of mobility make his life far more difficult and hard stuns like McCree’s flashbang can punish mistakes. However, if the enemy team chooses to play McCree whilst you’re running the Season 18 Double Shield special, they’ve probably already lost. Outside of Reaper and maybe Sombra, Doomfist’s worse matchups are too difficult to play in this meta. If you learn his rollouts and combos there’s little that can stop you from getting value.

Reaper

ReaperTheoretically, you would think shield break could work in this meta. However, as I’ve touched upon already, these two tanks rarely have a pushable opportunity. That means that when you finally get through you need to deal as much damage as possible in as little time. And thus, Reaper finds himself in the meta for the first time since Beyblade.

It’s simple. There is no other character this good at dealing close range burst damage. Couple that with his incredible 40% life-steal providing him insane levels of sustain and you’re left with a deadly DPS. Why bother breaking shields when you can just walk right through them? In fact, why even bother dealing with shields at all? Many of the pros just teleport behind the enemy team and get to work on their backline.

However, there is a catch. In some games, people may not play the meta at all. This is especially common in ranks below masters. Reaper might be excellent against most tank combinations, but he struggles against a lot of DPS. If you’re playing Havana and the other team is running Widowmaker and Hanzo, don’t play Reaper. Seriously, his hardest counter is double sniper, not stuns. You can play smart and bait out stuns. However, there’s very little counter play to two snipers aiming at your head.

Lucio

LucioLucio is the kind of hero that most players won’t complain about. He’s not overly oppressive and if boops you off the map it was probably a positioning mistake. His crowd control is strong but doesn’t remove much control from the recipient. However, make no mistake, Season 18 Lucio is surprisingly overtuned.

Think about it this way. In the simplest sense, heroes are broken down into four areas. Mobility, damage, healing and utility. Obviously, Lucio has the best mobility in Overwatch. Some of his rollouts are incredible. Equally, he is one of only two characters to have a dedicated defensive ultimate. Considering the other belongs to the almost unplayable Zenyatta, that’s another plus one for Lucio.

His healing isn’t spectacular, but a skilled Lucio player can do more than you’d think. Some well-timed amps can provide some clutch burst healing to keep up both tanks and squishies alike. It’s difficult to question his utility too. Outside of his ultimate, his primary utility is his Speed Aura. When activated, this provides himself and all nearby allies with a 25% movement buff. If speed is amplified, this increases to 60%.

The value of speed cannot be understated. Especially in the Season 18 meta. Giving a Reaper or your main tanks speed to push into the enemy team is very powerful. It can be the difference between taking advantage of a mistake or missing out on the opportunity.

You would think then that Lucio’s weakness would be his effective damage. In the wrong hands, this is true. However, a skilled Lucio can dominate even the best DPS players. Don’t believe me? Check out a FunnyAstro stream when you get the chance. It’s crazy how consistently he wins even the most uphill of duels.

Moira

MoiraIt’s strange to me that heroes like Moira can even become meta in the first place. By design, she is supposed to be the simple, low mechanics, main healer. That’s not to say she doesn’t still have a lot to manage but the general consensus is she’s far easier to play than Ana, Mercy or Baptiste. Regardless of her difficulty, there’s no doubting her current strength in the Season 18 meta.

You know with Moira regardless of composition you’re getting two valuable things. One, a lot of healing. Two, a lot of damage. Top that off with her decent ultimate and she’s got a lot going for her. Previously, her biggest problem was her lack of utility. However, in Season 18 this doesn’t matter near as much. The fact she can heal efficiently even with barriers placed everywhere is more than enough. Not to mention that her Fade ability is great against both Reaper and Doomfist.

Moira also has great carry potential for those looking to play an aggressive support style. Combining her damage orb into Coalescence with some decent tracking can wipe out any squishy on the game. If you’re feeling really confident, it can even take out both halves of a Pharmercy.

So which of the heroes are you be in Overwatch Season 18? Please leave your comment in the comments box below.

Playing Video Games Actually Have A Lot Of Benefits

Benefits of Playing Video Games

Video games may be thriving in recent weeks (or years) as a “booming” new industry, but that wasn’t always the case. Back then, people believed that video games were addicting sources of entertainment. That these video games were pointless and that they, uhm…rot your brain. Well, experts believe the contrary. A lot of researches had been conducted in order to prove otherwise and the scientists and researchers actually found a lot of benefits in playing video games. Here are the top benefits that video games might give you along with a few sample of games that might help you in that specific area.

Multitasking

Not Easy.
Yeah…the gist is, you will be controlling all of those at the SAME TIME. Easy, right? Nope.

Games: http://multitaskgames.com/

Try this: you’re watching the episodes of Game of Thrones because the new season is approaching really fast, while watching your kid, while writing this article, while doing another thing. Oh, look! You forgot your dinner on the stove. Handling this kind of scenario might be brain-wrecking for most people because they can’t handle multitasking. Well, worry not, my dear. Researchers found out that playing video games actually helps with doing (or at least paying attention to) multiple things at once.

But, it is important to note that this might be because the participants of the research were doing the same thing for thousands of times during the whole duration of the experiment which might be the reason why they were so good at it. It may be wonderful, fascinating even, to be able to do multiple things at once, but still you’ll be more efficient if you try to focus on just one task at a time.

Improved Attention

I know you've played something similar to this, right? Right?
I know you’ve played something similar to this, right? Right?

Games: Quake, Doom, Call of Duty, Overwatch, basically any action-packed games

Walking on a busy road, looking for a friend in a crowd or, following a ball during a game requires great effort and, sometimes, intense concentration; and these certain scenarios might be between life or death…ok, that may be taking it too far, nonetheless, it is a critical survival skill. In order to fully understand the relation between video games and Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), researchers from California designed, implemented, and evaluated TrackFX, a game that can be used by children as young as 30 months old.

The game is basically just like a hide-and-seek game where a ladybug and a spider are covered with leaves and were moved around. Then, after a few seconds, the movements stop and the player can then choose which leaf hides the ladybug. This way, the ladybug acts as the target and the spiders act as distractions. The results of the experiment were astonishing, the children still perform well despite the levels becoming more difficult.

Decision Making

Prof. Daphne Bavelier's test video game
Look at those dots! Oh, oh, oh!

Games: Tell-tale games, simulation games, and well…action games

One might look at gamers as if they are just ‘playing’ a game and not much is happening in their heads, but this is not the case. Each and every bit of a gaming session involves a lot of small and big decisions to be made; and some requires a reaction in a snap of a finger. This was further discussed by a team of researchers from New York. Oh and get this, the gender of a person doesn’t really matter.

What they did is that they assigned 14 people (half men, half women who haven’t played video games) to play two action games for no more than two hours a day up to a total of 50 hours. Then a second set of four men and seven women joined in but they played a Sims-like game where they direct the lives of the characters. Both of the groups improved greatly with the test game the researchers prepared but, action gamers responded faster. I can hear you cheering from here.

Do you think video games?

That’s all I got for now. There are still a lot of benefits that video games may offer us, but just like what my momma used to say, “Too much of everything is not good”. How about you? What are the benefits that video games have to offer us? And, have you experienced the benefits of games first-hand? Comment them down below and let’s have a chat.

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.

Blizzard Finally Speaks About The Downfall of Titan

Blizzard

Blizzard

With Overwatch on the horizon, Blizzard has partnered up with GameSpot to produce a three-part video series that takes a wonderful and critical look at the game and all that surrounds it. While it is a fascinating look at the development process, the most interesting part is that after all of these years, Blizzard has finally opened up about the downfall of Titan.

Titan, for those of you who don’t know, was Blizzard’s colossal and exceptionally ambitious follow-up to World Of WarCraft. A game that, while promising, eventually failed to hit the mark at every turn and somehow mutated into what we now call Overwatch. 

Hearing Blizzard talk about how Titan was a personal failure and how it broke the spirits of one of the best developers in the industry is an honest and refreshing look at how high the stakes are for a company as big as it.

So without further adieu, grab a nice cold drink and check out the series below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooWpfIazPRE

Best Laptops to Play Overwatch

Blizzard is just about to launch their latest game to the world and most likely everybody will want to play it. And even though most people would say that the best way to enjoy Overwatch – just like any other big game out there – is by playing it on a desktop computer, if you prefer being as mobile as possible and play it on a laptop, then go for it and do it! It’s possible and it doesn’t necessary have to cost you a fortune (unless you have one to spend, which is even better in terms of game quality) because the system requirements of the game are really, really low.

And in order to make things easier for you, we have a list of the best laptops to play Overwatch on, starting from the cheapest we could find to more expensive gaming laptops that will give you the best in terms of visual quality and FPS. But the good news is, as I said, that you can play Overwatch on a laptop without spending a fortune, so let’s check out the best laptops for Overwatch below (based on the minimum system requirements released by Blizzard):

Acer Aspire 15.6″

best laptops for overwatch 01

Our budget entry is also a really solid product and I was actually amazed to see a laptop this good available for such a low price. It’s not huge at 15.6″ but it is powered by the great Intel Core i5-5200U processor and comes with 8GB of RAM memory as well, which are well above the minimum requirements and just about the same as the recommended ones. The graphics card tops them all, though, being the NVIDIA GeForce 940M with 2GB of RAM. Plus, you get Full HD from this laptop (1920 x 1080 resolution) and 1 TB of HDD space for your games. A great, great product at a very good price. The only downside of this laptop for Overwatch (but which would surely handle other more demanding games as well) is that it has no optical drive, so if you must use CDs and DVDs, stay away from it. Otherwise, grab this gem!

Click here to buy and find out more about the Acer Aspire 15.6″ laptop.

Acer Aspire E5-573G-59C3

best laptops for overwatch 02

This model is just a bit more expensive than the previous one and it would go under the “win some, lose some” rule. It basically has the same specs as the previous model, which makes it a good laptop for playing games (Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics card and 1 TB HDD). It also has a slot for an optical drive and comes with an extra 8GB SSD. The only downside here is that it’s not full HD, the maximum supported resolution being 1366 x 768 pixels. So my suggestion would be, for this price range, to get this one if you really need the optical drive or the first recommended one otherwise.

Click here to check out & buy the E5-573G-59C3 laptop.

Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK

best laptops for overwatch 03

It’s time to go a generation higher in terms of processors, and also work a bit on that graphics card. The Dell Inspirion has a 6th generation Intel Core i7 – at the moment, one of the best processors you can get when buying a laptop, as well as am NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M card with 4GB GDDR5. The laptop itself runs on 8 GB of RAM, has a 1 TB HDD and 8 GB SDD and runs at full HD resolution. The only downside? Yes, you’ve probably seen it coming: it has no optical drive, but it is way better than the first one we’ve recommended, so if you have a couple hundred extra dollars, this one would be the better choice in my opinion: great for Overwatch, as well as other current generation games.

Click here for buying options and more details.

Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY

best laptops for overwatch 04

We’re growing fast here, with this model being even better than the previous recommended laptop. We’re already talking about great specs here that everybody will love and the price is still good. The i7559-7512GRY model runs on an i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor, just like the previous model, as well as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card. But it has a lot of other goodies in store, like 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1 TB HDD + 128 GB SSD Storage and UHD resolution supported (3840 x 2160 pixels). That’s really something that can make your games look amazing (as well as everything else). This one comes without an optical drive as well but I would personally take it and consider it the best option on the list, without going to crazy price-wise.

Click here to check out the i7559-7512GRY laptop on Amazon.

Prostar MSI GT80S Titan

best laptops for overwatch 05

Probably most of us can only drool looking at this one, but I think it’s only fair to have it on the list for those who really want to invest in a state of art gaming laptop that will not only handle Overwatch like a pro, but also other current generation games – and do it in style. The price is prohibitive, that’s true, but the specs are jaw dropping. We’re talking about a huge gaming laptop here (18.4″ of pure joy), powered by an Intel Core i7-6820HK 2.7 Ghz processor. It has a whooping 64GB DDR4 and TWO 256GB Micron M.2 MSATA M600 Series SSDs and a regular 1 TB HDD. The graphics card is also just as impressive: the Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 8GB GDDR5. Full HD resolution, a Matte-type screen and the Blu-Ray Writer/Reader round things up for this amazing gaming laptop. This beast is really expensive, but if funds are not your problem, just go for it and you’ll enjoy gaming on a laptop with specs better than those of many desktop PCs out there.

Click here for buying options and more details.

So there you have it: five different laptops that will be great for playing Overwatch, listed from the cheapest to the most expensive. Choose the one that fits your budget and enjoy!

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.

Bastion_Overwatch

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…

overwatch-team

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.

OverwatchMEKA

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.

RoadhogAndJunkrat

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.

OverwatchMountain

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.

Overwatch Beta Returns with Progression System, King-of-the-Hill Mode

The closed beta for Overwatch has returned for select players (I know, I didn’t get in either) and it brings some major changes.  First, there is the addition of a progression system that rewards players as they play.  As you play with any hero, you’ll earn experience towards your account-wide level.  Leveling up will earn you a Loot Box containing four items of varying rarity.  Items you can receive from these boxes include player icons, alternate colors and skins for specific heroes, emotes, sprays, voice lines, victory poses, and highlight intros.  Receiving a duplicate of an item you already own will instead award you credits to unlock items of your choosing.  Loot Boxes won’t require the purchase of keys to open them like in many free-to-play games, but the boxes themselves will be available to purchase once the game is fully released.  The progression system is still a work-in-progress and may be changed before release.

There were also several updates made to diversify gameplay, chief among them being a new game mode.  Control, Overwatch‘s take on the classic King-of-the-Hill mode, will have teams fight to hold a randomly selected area of the map for three different rounds.  Two new maps have been released for Control, Lijiang Tower and Zenyatta’s monastery in Nepal.  There is also the addition of bots to play against and Private Games being changed to Custom Games.  In a Custom Game, players will be able to add their own rules to games, such as altering map rotation, banning specific heroes, and switching team balancing on and off to name a few.

You can read up more information on the new progression system here and the patch notes here.  What are your thoughts on the changes made to Overwatch?  What do you think still needs to be added?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.