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  • GAMES – Blizzcon 2016 Highlights

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    At 11am PST, Blizzcon opened with a bang, with announcements for some of their major games. Here are some of the highlights from the morning’s events.

    Overwatch

    Sombra

    After months of teasing and an ARG that spanned over 5 months, Blizzard finally revealed the latest hero being added to the game, Sombra.

    Sombra, is an offence class hero with stealth and hacker abilities. Sombra wields a machine pistol which is effective at short range.

    Sombra’s alternate fire is Hack.  Hack allows her to stop her opponents from using their abilities. It can also be used on the health packs found all over the maps, rendering them useless to her opponents. She can also Hack into a Torbjorn turret to incapacitate it for a few seconds.

    Sombra’s Thermoptic Camo allows her turn invisible, and move at an increased speed. However, engaging in combat, getting damaged, or using her skills will disable the camouflage.

    Sombra’s Translocator skill allows her to instantly move to the location she has placed her beacon.

    Sombra’s ultimate, EMP, allows her to Hack into opponents in the area of effect, while at the same time, disabling the barriers and shields the opponent might have. This includes the shields portion in heath pools in heroes like Zenyatta and Zarya.

    Sombra’s passive ability is Opportunist, where she can detect enemies through walls,  when they are at less than half health.

    Here’s a short introducing the Overwatch’s 23rd hero. Boop 😉

    Quick Play

    Quick Play will introduce a single hero limit, here like in the current Competitive mode, players will only be able to have one of each hero on each team, active during the match. For example, there will no longer be stacks of 6 Torbjorns building dwarf fortresses to defend a point.

    Arcade Mode and Brawls

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    Arcade Mode is a new playable mode where players can play one-on-one, three-on-three, or six-on-six formats. It will feature a “a variety of regularly rotating alternate game modes,” unique rule sets, one example is No Limits where there is no restriction to the number of heroes a team can select for a match. In Arcade Mode, players can earn a loot box by winning 3 games, for up to 3 loot boxes a week. This mode might also include past seasonal brawls like Lucioball and Junkenstien’s Revenge. A mode called All Brawls all also be added. Here, players will be able to select the brawl they want to play from a playlist of available brawls.

    Maps

    Eco Point Antarctica, the base where Mei was posted to prior to her long cryo-stasis state was announced, here players will be able to learn more about Overwatch’s cheery Ice Queen. Oasis, a mecca of science and technological advancements was also announced, the map will feature Overwatch’s first jump pads.

    Overwatch League

    OWL

    The Overwatch League, will be a professional gaming organization modeled after traditional sports organizations. Teams will be based around major cities, and will provide minimum salaries and benefits for their players. “The Overwatch League represents not only the pinnacle of Overwatch competition, but also a genuine career opportunity for the most skilled Overwatch players,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment during the announcement at the opening ceremony.

    The league will kick off next year with a combine, where players who have made a name for themselves will be invited to join teams.

    Sombra, the Arcade Mode, and Eco Point Antarctica, and the single hero limit in Quick Play come to the Public Test Realm (PTR) next week for Overwatch players on PC. Oasis is currently under development and is scheduled to make an appearance on the PTR in December.

    Starcraft 2

    New co-op missions and a new co-op commander are on the way to Starcraft 2. Alexei Stukov joins the ranks of the co-op commanders, bringing his Zerg army, the Infested Terrans to the co-op missions.

    Starcraft 2 will also lend a hand to Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers as the Blizzard announced plans to work with DeepMind to make StarCraft 2 available to the most advanced AI. The goal of the exercise is to test the limits of modern AI, by seeing if it can learn to play complex games that require quick thinking like StarCraft 2. By allowing AI machines to learn such games, we will be one step closer to seeing if AI can mirror human intelligence.

    Finally, the final set of Nova missions will be made available on November 22nd.

    Heroes of the Storm

    Blizzard announced two new characters coming to their MOBA. With Varian Wynn and Ragnaros joining the roster. Varian will be the game’s first multiclass hero, either picking up the role of a warrior, or an assassin. Ragnaros on the other hand, will be able to take control of a capture point, and turn himself in to a ‘raid boss’. A new map, Blackheart’s revenge was also announced.

    In addition to the new heroes and map, Blizzard announced the Nexus challenge where players can earn a new skin for Overwatch’s cyborg ninja, Genji. Dubbed “Oni Genji” the skin will be available to players once they’ve played 15 games in Heroes of the Storm. Players will also be able to get Zarya in Heroes when they hit this milestone.oni-genji

    Once players play 30 games with friends however, they will get four additional heroes, a mount and stimpacks.

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    Varian Wrynn will be available in the PTR next week, and Ragnaros will be making his debut in December.

    Hearthstone

    Hearthstone announced the latest expansion to the card game, the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The expansion will be out in early December and will add 132 cards to the current pool.

    The new expansion will add a new mechanic to the game with Tri-class cards, where the game’s 9 classes are divided into 3 factions, with the classes in each faction sharing the cards available to that faction. Here’s a quick explanation of the mechanic from the official website.

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    Diablo

    20 years since the players first explored Tristram, we will get a chance to return where it all began, when the original Diablo game will be remade entirely inside Diablo III in The Darkening of Tristram. This expansion will be available in the “20th anniversay” patch, and will include a 16-level cathedral, and the four bosses from the first game.

    Diablo II’s Necromancer will be returning to Diablo III in a Rise of the Necromancer Character pack which will be available to players in 2017. There is no word on the price of the pack, but it will come with two character slots and cosmetic items to be used in the game.

     

    Picture Credits: Polygon.


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