NRG Esports is closing their latest round of funding and celebrities see money in the growing e-sports industry. Jennifer Lopez, Marshawn Lynch, and Michael Strahan join earlier investors Shaquille O’Neal, Twitter CEO Anthony Noto, and Alex Rodriguez. Check out how excited Shaq and J.Lo are about Overwatch in the video. Do they know about Roadhog’s hook combo? What are their opinions on the Tracer derriere controversy? Does Jennifer Lopez main Hanzo?
The latest developer update from Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan is all about Overwatch’s toxic community. Despite adding a crucial feature to the console version of the game that gives players a way to report bad behavior, Blizzard is fighting a growing tide of cheaters, griefers, and generally terrible people in their game. The problem is bad enough that Kaplan admits that the team is spending a “tremendous” amount of resources chasing bad actors instead of working on adding content to the game. Blizzard is working on solutions, and warns that it will be an ongoing process that will require the community’s cooperation.
Online toxicity is a problem for any online game, especially if the game is competitive and popular. Overwatch easily qualifies as a magnet for unpleasantness and adds a few more wrinkles by leaning hard into its community’s fascination with the character lore. Take the normally aggressive and immature online multiplayer behavior and amp it up a few notches with a dose of social media politicizing, and the results can be breathtaking. But now you know why it takes Blizzard so long to release new heroes and maps.
This is Orisa. She’s the newest character added to Overwatch. Her appearance as a four-legged mech makes it easy to remember that she’s a tank-class character. Armed with a main weapon that deals large amounts of constant damage while slowing her movement, Orisa is the classic heavy. Being an Overwatch combatant means she also comes with an extensive backstory. She’s a Nigerian-made security robot that’s been adopted and reprogrammed by an eleven-year-old girl named Efi Oladele. Overwatch’s numerous porn fans are probably chomping at the bit to use Orisa in their creations. Good luck making that robo-centaur sexy.
Orisa should be live in Overwatch today, although Blizzard is keeping her off the Competitive Play roster while they work out her balance.
Blizzard has just confirmed the first LGBTQ character in Overwatch. It’s Tracer! That’s right, everyone’s favorite lightning rod for sexual controversy has a girlfriend according to Reflections, the latest installment of the official online comic. Tracer’s partner, Emily, doesn’t seem to be affiliated with the team in any way other than her relationship with Tracer, but her lore role may expand in further stories. At BlizzCon 2015, developers had mentioned that the Overwatch cast would feature sexually diverse backgrounds. That sound you hear is countless Overwatch fan artists gearing up for mischief.
There’s no word yet on Roadhog’s sexuality, but we can all hold out hope that the Roadhog and Junkrat stories are true.
The Overwatch Winter Wonderland seasonal event is now live. Special loot boxes with Christmas-themed cosmetic skins and items will be available to earn (or buy) until January 2nd. There’s also a special instagib 6v6 mode called Mei’s Snowball Offensive that replaces the ice queen’s weapon with a single shot snowball gun. If the popularity of previous Overwatch skins are any indicator, we should see a brisk uptick in Overwatch porn with the new outfits.
Meet Ana Amari, the next Overwatch hero. She’s a sniper. She’s also a healer. She can kill enemies from long-range as well as heal teammates waaaaay over there. She’s either going to be your best buddy or your worst nightmare, depending on which way her sniper rifle treats you. Be nice to Ana. She’s voiced by Emmy award-winning actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.
No one likes losing, but sometimes you need to experience loss to learn. Overwatch players don’t like to learn. Or, if they do, they want to learn without loss.
Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan posted a long forum message explaining the ins and outs of Overwatch matchmaking. There’s a little math, some wizardry, and luck involved. The main concern for the developers was that matchmaking should result in the best experience possible for everyone. Buried in the post is an example of how Overwatch players abused the “Avoid This Player” system to make things easier for themselves at the expense of others.
One of the best Widowmaker players in the world complained to us about long queue times. We looked into it and found that hundreds of other players had avoided him (he’s a nice guy – they avoided him because they did not want to play against him, not because of misbehavior). The end result was that it took him an extremely long time to find a match. The worst part was, by the time he finally got a match, he had been waiting so long that the system had “opened up” to lower skill players. Now one of the best Widowmaker players was facing off against players at a lower skill level. As a result, we’ve disabled the Avoid system (the UI will go away in an upcoming patch). The system was designed with the best intent. But the results were pretty disastrous.
In another example of how Overwatch players are big crybabies, a teenage girl in Korea, using the handle Geguri, was completely destroying her opponents by using Zarya to dominate matches. Her performance was so good that she was widely accused of cheating. Blizzard determined she wasn’t a cheat, but Geguri was still being accused of using hacks that Blizzard wasn’t able to detect. It took a live demonstration of her skills at the Nexus Cup to shut her harassers up. Babies!
If you’re like the majority of gamers today, you’re either playing Overwatch, waiting to leave work or school to play Overwatch, or watching streams of Overwatch. Let’s say you’re in that tiny minority of gamers not doing any of those three things. Instead, you’re waiting in a queue to start an Overwatch match. What to do? Stare at the character screen? Heck no! You can spend more money on Overwatch. Cosmetic loot boxes are now available for purchase! 50 loot boxes for $39.99 sounds like the best deal. That’s like 80 cents per box!
These three games want to dominate the first-person shooter market and they’re coming for your dollars. All three games had beta access periods over the weekend and bouncing between them has taught me one thing: May is going to be rough for shooter fans. There’s only so many hours in the day, and Doom, Overwatch, and Battleborn all want your attention. If you want a mix of old-school arena multiplayer mixed with newer Call of Duty sensibilities, then Doom from id Software and Bethesda will have you covered starting on May 13th. If you want Blizzard’s take on Team Fortress 2 before it went hat crazy, Overwatch will give you all the hero class shooting you can handle on May 24th. If you’re craving a mix of Borderlands with a beefy helping of MOBA gameplay, Gearbox’s Battleborn gets an early jump out of the gate on May 3rd. Basically, May is going to be crowded with grinding for levels while shooting at other players.
Buried in that release calendar is poor Homefront: The Revolution. On the 17th of May, Dambuster Studios’ open-world co-op sequel to Homefront squeezes out between these three juggernauts. While the other three games are focused on cartoon story setups, Homefront: The Revolution tries to hit the gritty with North Korea’s future-tech military occupying the United States. The player works to free Philadelphia from the oppressors through the judicious use of guns, a motocross bike, and exploding RC cars. Strike that. It’s just as much of a cartoon as the others.
BlizzCon 2014 has kicked off and besides the tidbits about the next StarCraft expansion, planned DLC additions to Hearthstone, and another shout-out for the in-production Warcraft movie from Legendary Pictures, Blizzard unveiled their upcoming game with a totally new setting. It’s Overwatch, a team-based multiplayer shooter. Going by the announcement video and the scant information available, it’s got Pixar-like character designs and lots of fast movement. The release is apparently “nearer than you think” and the beta begins in 2015.
If any of Overwatch sounds familiar, it’s because much of it appears to be reworked content from the previously cancelled Titan MMO.