Sunday, August 28, 2016

Overwatch's latest PTR patch notes (they changed everything)


(Straight from Blizzard's forums)

Competitive Play Season 2
We've made some big changes to Competitive Play in anticipation of the launch of Season 2 on September 6. The most noticeable change is the introduction of skill tiers, which we hope will better communicate players' relative skill levels. Competitive Play will put a greater emphasis on skill tiers over specific ratings, and as such, a player's tier will be more prominently displayed throughout the game. We've also switched the skill rating system to a 1-5000 scale to give players more detailed information about how each match affects their specific rating.
Sudden Death is also going away in Season 2. Instead, matches that are tied when the clock runs out end in a draw—though, it should be a rare occurrence. Because of this, we've made some changes to our game modes in Competitive Play to help reduce the chance that a draw will occur.
We've also made a few minor adjustments to leaver penalties, the top 500 system, and the competitive point system. Read on below to learn more!

New Assault/Escort Map: Eichenwalde
The forest has slowly begun overtaking the abandoned village of Eichenwalde, but the scars will never completely fade. During the Omnic Crisis, Eichenwalde was the site of a key battle. General Balderich von Adler took a handful of crusaders to the village in an effort to outflank the omnic army. Balderich's soldiers were able to break down the enemy forces, giving the German military an opportunity to push back, but the Crusaders didn't make it out of the battle. General Balderich finally collapsed in the castle's great hall.

New Legendary Skins
Balderich - The armor of General Balderich von Adler, Reinhardt's commanding officer during the Omnic Crisis.Greifhardt - After General Balderich collapsed in Eichenwalde's great hall, his armor slowly became overgrown by vegetation.

General
  • When activating the "Ultimate Status" communication, Symmetra now reports the number of charges left on her teleporter
  • When activating the "Needs healing" communication while targeting a teammate, Ana, Lúcio, Mercy, and Zenyatta will now tell allies to group up to receive healing. A marker will appear above the player's head, allowing teammates to locate the healer more quickly
  • Added Torbjörn as an AI-controlled hero in Practice vs. AI, Play vs. AI, and Custom Game modes
  • Sit and laugh emotes are now unlockable for all heroes
Competitive Play
  • Skill rating is now measured on a 1-5000 scale instead of the former 1-100 scale
  • Skill Rating Tiers
    • Players will now be assigned to a tier, depending on their skill rating
      • Bronze  - 1-1499
      • Silver - 1500-1999
      • Gold - 2000-2499
      • Platinum - 2500-2999
      • Diamond - 3000-3499
      • Master - 3500-3999
      • Grandmaster - 4000-5000
    • In Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond tiers, a player will not drop out of their tier even if their skill rating falls below the cutoff
    • In Master and Grandmaster tiers, a player whose skill rating falls below the tier's minimum will be moved to a lower tier
    • Players of drastically different skill ratings (more than 500) will no longer be able to group together in competitive matches
    • Players that have reached the Master and Grandmaster tiers must be within 500 Skill Rating of their groupmates
    • Players that are Diamond-tier and below must be within 1000 Skill Rating of their groupmates
  • Skill Rating Decay
    • Players in Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers that haven't participated in a competitive match for 7 days will lose skill rating
    • Players with a skill rating above 3000 (Diamond tier or higher) will lose 50 rating points every 24 hours, but their rating will not fall below 3000
    • Competing in a single match will halt skill rating decay
    • Players that haven't participated in a competitive match for 7 days will immediately drop out of the top 500
  • Map Changes
    • Several refinements have been made to the time bank system for Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries
    • The time bank system has been added to Dorado, Hollywood, King's Row, Numbani, Route 66, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar
    • Time granted for taking objectives on Dorado, Hanamura, Hollywood, King's Row, Numbani, Route 66, Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, and Watchpoint: Gibraltar has been reduced from 5 minutes to 4
  • Competitive Points
    • Existing competitive points saved from Season 1 will be multiplied by 10
    • After winning a competitive match, players will now receive 10 competitive points (instead of 1)
    • Players will now receive 3 competitive points for a draw
    • The cost of golden weapons has also been multipled by 10 from 300 to 3000
    • A soft cap is being placed on the number of competitive points that can be saved
      • Players with more than 6000 points at the start of season 2 will no longer accrue points by playing competitive matches
      • End-of-season rewards will still be granted to players at the soft cap
  • Instead of going into sudden death, tied competitive matches will now result in a draw (click here to learn more)
  • Players must now win at least 50 competitive matches to be eligible for a spot in the top 500
  • Players must now complete more matches to clear their penalty status for leaving a competitive match early
HERO BALANCE UPDATES
General
  • Ultimates that consume the ultimate meter when activated will now drain the meter more quickly (.25 second instead of 1 second)
  • Reverted a recent change to reduce size of heroes' projectiles
  • Most hero abilities will no longer interrupt quick melee attacks
  • Ultimate abilities will now interrupt quick melee attacks
 
Developer Comments: Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary. We’re also making quick melee more consistent when interacting with enemy abilities.
D.Va
  • Defense Matrix
    • After being activated, Defense Matrix will begin regenerating following a 1-second delay (formerly .5 seconds)
Developer Comments: Defense Matrix was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held. Now, the recovery delay matches the ability cooldown.
Hanzo
  • Hanzo will now experience a 30% decrease in speed while aiming (formerly 40%)
  • Maximum projectile speed has been increased by 30%
  • Arrow size has been reduced by 33%
Developer Comments: Hanzo has the potential to deal a lot of damage, but he can feel really inconsistent, even at a medium distance. By increasing the projectile speed, we’re extending his reliable range, making it easier to land shots without having to perfectly predict enemy movement. To compensate for the increased projectile speed, we’ve decreased the size of his arrows, meaning his shots now require a bit more accuracy.
Mei
  • Blizzard
    • The Blizzard projectile now pierces barriers
    • Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it’s much easier to utilize the full radius effectively.
McCree
  • Deadeye
    • Now drains over a .25-second period (instead of displaying a 50% reduction on the ultimate meter when activated and 0% when confirmed)
Developer Comments: If players managed to counter or avoid McCree's ultimate, it would often regenerate very quickly since only half of the ultimate charge was spent. Now, this ultimate works like every other ultimate that has a duration.
Mercy
  • Caduceus Staff
    • Healing Beam
    • Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
  • Resurrect
    • Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy's healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.
Genji
  • Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
  • Dash
    • No longer deals damage to traps like Widowmaker's Venom Mine or Junkrat's Steel Trap
    • No longer bypasses Junkrat's Steel Trap
  • Swift Strike
    • No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
  • Dragonblade
    • Duration of Genji's ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade's duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.
Lúcio
  • Amp It Up
    • The boosting of movement speed has been decreased by 30% (from a 100% increase to a 70% increase)
Developer Comments: Thanks to Lúcio's speed increase, he was almost a must pick in every lineup.
Roadhog
  • Chain Hook
    • If the hooked target isn't in Roadhog's line of sight when retracting the hook, they will be moved back to the position where they were originally hooked
Developer Comments: This change means that hooked targets will be less likely to slide along walls, potentially ending up in an odd place after they've been reeled in.
Soldier: 76
  • Heavy Pulse Rifle
    • Adjusted weapon spread curve
    • Increased spread recovery speed
Developer Comments: These changes will make burst-firing feel more reliable and increase his effectiveness at longer ranges.
Zenyatta
  • Orb of Discord
    • The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%
  • Orb of Destruction
    • Damage has been increased from 40 to 46
Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord's effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.
MAP BALANCE CHANGES
Watchpoint: Gibraltar
  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar’s first checkpoint has been removed
Developer Comments: The balance changes that were implemented in previous patches have eliminated the need for Watchpoint: Gibraltar to have an extra checkpoint.
USER INTERFACE UPDATES
General
  • A new "Allied Health Bars" option has been added (Options > Controls)
  • Contextual menus have been added on the hero selection screen, giving players the ability to report or group up with other players
  • Matchmaking UI is now purple in the Competitive Play queue
  • Made several minor adjustments to typography in the Spectator UI
BUG FIXES
General
  • Fixed a bug that allowed the kill participation metric to go above 100 percent
  • Fixed a bug in the Custom Game settings preventing the Ability Cooldown modifier from affecting Ana
  • Fixed a bug that caused heroes to die when first spawned in a custom game if Health and Damage modifiers were used simultaneously
  • Fixed a bug preventing the hero list in Custom Game settings from being organized alphabetically
  • The spectate option now becomes unavailable (the button will be greyed out) when all spectator slots have been filled in a Custom Game lobby
  • Fixed an issue causing in-game statistics to run off the edge of the screen in 16:10 aspect ratio
AI
  • Fixed a bug that caused Bastion to become stuck, continuously healing himself in the spawn area
Heroes
  • Appropriate sound effects now play when Ana shoots barriers, shields, and armor
  • D.Va no longer communicates her ultimate status for Self-Destruct while charging her Call Mech ultimate
  • Hanzo's “Spirit Dragon” unlockable voice line now correctly plays when using his Okami and Lone Wolf skins
  • Fixed various issues with Junkrat's emote and highlight animations
  • Fixed an issue causing Mei's Ice Wall to push herself to the side when cast at her feet
  • Fixed a bug preventing Mei's Ice Wall from being destroyed by a moving payload
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Mei's Ice Wall from appearing at the target location when cast
  • Fixed a bug allowing Reaper to reach unintended map locations using Shadow Step
  • Fixed a bug causing Reinhardt's shield to jitter when turning in third person
  • Fixed an issue that prevented Roadhog's chain from displaying correctly in some situations
  • Fixed several issues with Symmetra's emotes and highlight intros
  • The scarf on Tracer's Slipstream skin is no longer stiff in the Hurdle highlight intro
  • Fixed a bug preventing overtime from being triggered while Zenyatta is using Transcendence
  • The names of Tracer's Sprinter and Track and Field skins now display correctly
Maps
  • Fixed an issue preventing Genji and Hanzo from reliably climbing a specific crate on Watchpoint: Gibraltar

Well, gosh darn it Blizzard. What haven't you changed in your game? Basically everything in the game was changed. Most of the dominant and most pick heroes were all changed with the exception of Mei and Hanzo. Hanzo feels like he's going to be dominating during Season 2. As a support player its going to be tough not getting instantly headshot by those random Hanzo arrows that he's spamming and somehow I just randomly walk by and get hit. It sucks being on the receiving end of that but when the game first came out I played a lot of Hanzo on my stream (I don't stream often anymore) and those instant headshot kills are very fun and satisfying.

I also like how they buffed Mei's ultimate. I felt like she wasn't getting picked often enough especially for competitive. I played her a lot on competitive Season 1 and did great with her in my games but most of the time at my level I was the only one playing her.

The new German castle map Eichenwalde is a blast to play. It's a medium-sized map but all the twists and corners make it appear to seem bigger than it actually is. It's super fun to play on and sometimes I'll play ptr just to play on the map continuously over and over again. I like to play Mercy on that map the most because it seems like resurrections are super effective, allowing your teammates to get second chances in those tight corridors and wipe out the enemy team. 

The most important thing is the change to competitive. I'm not sure if this will totally fix all the problems that Season 1 had but its a definite step in the right direction. My competitive games on the ptr have been pretty good. I seem to get placed with people at or around my skill level and games are engaging and teamwork is brought to the forefront. Quick Play on the base game has gotten so bad to the point where I won't even play it anymore. It's such a joke now. Competitive (on the ptr as of now, b/c Season 1 is over on the base game), on the other hand still has my vote.

I'm looking forward to how Season 2 plays out. I'm going to get a golden gun skin for either Ana or Mercy. Possibly McCree? Not sure but I'm definitely gonna farm competitive point wins and get me that golden gun! I'm planning on making a return to streaming soon too. You can check out my stream at www.twitch.tv/megaman1597. I was always only streaming for myself so it doesn't make a difference to me if I don't have too many people watching. That'll do it for now. Keep reading and keep gaming! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Just Give Us Sombra Already


Blizzard has been giving us clues for the next Overwatch hero Sombra for quite a while now. At first it was just little hints and clues on maps and stuff but it expanded and turned into a great ARG (alternate reality games: the idea that devs could leave clues and hints about the game, its characters, and its history in and outside of the game through comics, articles, in-game easter eggs). I spent a lot of time in other posts writing about some of the main developments in the Sombra ARG. But right now a lot of people are sick of the whole thing.

The most recent clue came from a glitchy post on Overwatch's official forums that appeared to come from Sombra herself. It led players to a site that seemed to be counting down to an impending reveal. I just tried it right now and it leads you to a page that shows this with black background like some kind of computer coding program:

...Estableciendo conexión...
...Protocolo Sombra v1.9 iniciado...

...Transmitiendo información a ómnicos activos... 5%

...Terminando conexión... 


And then it never reveals anything. It's been stalled at 5% for a while and nobody can figure out what they need to do to get it moving. Right now people are working to figure out how the Sombra site works. But clearly all the hype and enthusiasm for this new character is on the decline. 

I felt like the Sombra ARG was super fun to read about. But now Blizzard has taken the hype too far-to the point of no return. I'm not excited for the reveal because we've been teased with all these clues and none of it has really led anywhere-yet. At the same time some random dudes could figure this out and might be able to tell us when Sombra's going to be revealed and/or anything about her. 

It's definitely a new way of giving players new content, that's for sure. All this ARG stuff and easter eggs in modern gaming is definitely fun. But at the same time you can't just give us all these clues, have nothing happen, and expect the players to still be hyped. I understand devs want to keep the players excited but they could've done it a lot better. Anyways, I hope Sombra is a stealth melee character. That would be awesome! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Auriel, the Arch Angel of Hope arrives to the Nexus


"Auriel, The Archangel of Hope, is a member of the Angiris Council. She first appears in The Veiled Prophet, where she votes in favor of saving Sanctuary and humanity. She resides in the Gardens of Hope in the High Heavens. When Sanctuary was discovered, she was its most ardent defender and opposed Imperius who wanted to destroy it. She wanted to uphold the inhabitants' right to life and wanted to see them grow and mature. She seems compassionate towards others and respects life."(Wiki)

Auriel arrived to the Nexus August 9 but all the Overwatch hype had my attention so I'm giving Heroes some love right now. Let's go over her abilities and ultimates. I won't go over the talents because I want to keep this post short and straight to the point. Take note that Auriel doesn't use mana whatsoever and instead uses energy gained from bestow hope (passive) and allies damage.

Bestow Hope (D)
Cooldown: 1.5 seconds
Passive: 40% of the damage you deal to Heroes and 8% dealt to non-Heroes is stored as energy. Bestow an allied Hero with Hope. While they remain near you, damage they deal causes you to gain energy. You can only have Bestow Hope to 1 ally at time. You can store up to 1107 (526 + 4% per level) energy.
 
This is her passive. You put this onto a hero near you and the damage they deal gives you energy that you can use to heal people with your W ability-Ray of Heaven. I find that putting this onto dps heroes is the best. But sometimes dps aren't near you so you have to put it onto tanks or other supports. This ability makes Auriel unique from all the other healers because basically the more damage she and her allies do the more healing will be done. No mana needed for this hero. 

Sacred Sweep (Q)
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Sweep the area with sacred power, dealing 176 (84 + 4% per level) damage to enemies and an additional 351 (167 + 4% per level) damage to enemies caught in the center.
 
This is her bread and butter attack. Although I'm level 6 with her now I still have a hard time getting each sacred sweep cast to hit enemies in the center for that bonus damage. You're going to be using this ability a lot to finish off enemies after you've used detainment strike to stun them into terrain or a wall. It's a great killing move as well as poking ability. 
 
Ray of Heaven (W)
Cooldown: 4 seconds
Consume your stored energy and heal allied Heroes in the area for the amount of energy consumed.
 
This is her only healing ability. The thing is that it has a 4 second cooldown so you have to choose and use it at the right moments. Its an aoe (area of effect) heal so you can heal multiple allies at once. Really great ability!
 
Detainment Strike (E)
Cooldown: 14 seconds
Deal 220 (104 + 4% per level) damage to the first enemy Hero hit and knock them back. If they collide with terrain, they are also stunned for 1.25 seconds and take an additional 220 (104 + 4% per level) damage.
 
This is part of her best combo. You use detainment strike on someone as they're running away and stun them into a wall or terrain, then you use sacred sweep, and your teammates pile on them to kill them. I've gotten countless kills doing this simple combo and it never fails as long as you're team is targeting what you're targeting. Not only is it good for getting frags (kills) but its also useful when you're trying to make a run for it. Just slap them away and run to safety. Always works unless they have a projectile with Chromie or something. 
 
Crystal Aegis (R)
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Place an allied Hero into Stasis for 2 seconds. Upon expiration, Crystal Aegis deals 592 (281 + 4% per level) damage to all nearby enemies.
 
Out of these two ultimates I see crystal aegis being used more so than resurrect from other players. It's a more offensive ultimate, gives your ally a chance to live, and it deals a bit of aoe damage to all nearby enemies. My only problem with it is that the aoe damage is very weak and usually when you use it on an ally they often die when they come out of it because the enemy team crowds around the crystal waiting in anticipation. I've used it a lot and I've come to the conclusion that I don't like it. Most of the time I go for resurrect. However, I will go crystal if there's another support and the team isn't dying often.
 
Resurrect (R)
Cooldown: 90 seconds
Channel on the spirit of a dead ally for 3 seconds, bringing them back to life with 50% of their maximum health at the location where they died.
 
This is my favorite ability of her and the main reason I bought her for the 16,000 gold. It only brings them back to life with half health and you have to be near their dead body to cast it. This ability will save your team a lot of time and get you a lot more pushes and chances to take objectives. Its basically saving time, one of the most important tools in a moba. I would say this is one of my favorite abilities in the game and a game changer. I do think that the cast range could be better so you didn't have to be so close to your teammates to cast it but other than that its a fantastic tool for your team. 
 
To conclude, what we have here is basically a dps healer than can rez allies and doesn't use mana. Her kit is simple and straight to the point-unlike Heroes' last two heroes Gul'Dan and Medivh who are much more complicated characters. Anyone can pick up Auriel and play her right out of the box. But only great support players will learn the intricacies of her kit (like always hitting people in the center) and maximizing their energy usage to get the most out of ray of heaven. I usually like the more complex characters in Heroes of the Storm but Auriel is just so damn fun. Although her abilities seem simple I think it takes a good player to use her well. A lot of Auriels I've seen in pubs play her more as a support character but I feel she's more of a dps support character-akin to Tyrande and Rehgar. 
 
Its good to see that Blizzard is still caring a lot about Heroes. They announced at Gamescom that they're going to be adding two new Starcraft themed maps as well as Alarak (from Starcraft 2) and Zarya (from Overwatch). This is just a sample of more fun to come. 
 
"Evil will triumph over those who give into despair. But despair cannot defeat the power of hope. Hope is the voice that will never be silent. Hope is the stream that fills the wells of courage. Hope is the light in the darkness. And in the darkness, I will be that light." 
-Auriel

Friday, August 19, 2016

Most Sweeping Update to Overwatch (on the ptr)


This is the most changes that has ever happened in Overwatch thus far. Take note that all these changes are only the ptr (public test region servers) and not the regular base game.

Mei
Blizzard
-The Blizzard projectile now pierces barriers
-Radius has been increased from 8 meters to 10 meters
Developer Comments: Mei has an interesting toolkit, but her ultimate often felt like it was too difficult to use effectively. Consequently, it felt weak compared to many other ultimate abilities. The freeze effect has been piercing barriers for some time now, but the projectile would still be blocked. Now, you can throw it down exactly where you want it, so it’s much easier to utilize the full radius effectively.
Mercy
Caduceus Staff
-Healing Beam
-Healing-per-second has been increased by 20%
Resurrect
-Resurrected allies will be able to maneuver after 2.25 seconds (reduced from 3 seconds)
Developer Comments: Resurrection now allows teammates to jump back into the fight more quickly, which should help Mercy survive after activating her ultimate. Mercy’s healing is also getting a boost to solidify her role as a strong, single-target healer.
Genji
Double jump no longer resets when wall climbing
Dash
-No longer deals damage to traps like Widowmaker’s Venom Mine or Junkrat’s Steel Trap
-No longer bypasses Junkrat’s Steel Trap
Swift Strike
-No longer interrupts quick melee attacks
Dragonblade
-Duration of Genji’s ultimate has been reduced from 8 seconds to 6 seconds
Developer Comments: Genji was a little too difficult to pin down, and these changes will balance his speed. Swift Strike no longer cancels the recovery time from a quick melee attack, so players will no longer be able to get a free melee attack before using Swift Strike. Lastly, Dragonblade’s duration was long enough that it often felt too difficult to reasonably counter.
Zenyatta
Orb of Discord
-The amount of damage amplified by a target with Orb of Discord has been decreased from 50% to 30%
Orb of Destruction
-Damage has been increased from 40 to 46
Developer Comments: Zenyatta is in a far better place since the last update, but the strength of Orb of Discord has turned him into an almost mandatory pick. These changes reduce Orb of Discord’s effectiveness, but his damage-dealing potential has been increased. The amount of damage that he delivers should feel largely unaffected by the change.
D.Va, Hanzo, McCree, Lucio, and Roadhog also received tweaks, albeit less massive ones.

  • There’s now an option for all characters to see allies’ health bars.
  • Blizzard says they “reverted a recent change to reduce size of heroes’ projectiles,” which might mean hitboxes are uncomfortably large again. Blizzard explained, “Altering the size of projectiles in flight had too many unintended side effects to keep in the game, at least in its current form. We will continue watching this and make additional changes if necessary.”
  • Watchpoint: Gibraltar’s first checkpoint has been removed. Guess it’s not necessary after some other balance passes.
  • Lucio goes less fast now. 
Okay so where to start! First of all Mercy is a must pick S-tier hero again with the strongest single target healing in the game. Ana still has higher healing but you have to never miss a shot for that work. I can probably pull it off though XD. I think that Mercy is so strong right now that she probably will get nerfed a bit before these changes hit the base game. I'm a huge Mercy fan because I love healing teams and resurrecting allies so this makes me very happy! This is the best thing Blizzard could've done for Mercy.

Next, the nerf to Zenyatta's discord orb makes me a little sad. But 'cmon it was too strong! The fact that it gave your entire team 50% increased damage to a target was just insane. Honestly I'm surprised Blizzard let Zenyatta stay that strong for that long. He was super strong in the Season one Lucio Zenyatta meta. Even though he got nerfed I still think he's a healing murder machine.

The nerf to Genji makes me sad. Although I can't play him too well I always love playing him in casual Quick Match (when I got tired of competitive). The fact that his double jump doesn't reset when he climbs up walls is just dumb. What I can understand is that his Dragonblade ultimate only lasts 6 seconds instead of 8. Now, you can counter Genji's ultimate with Zenyatta's invulnerable ultimate because they both last 6 seconds. Before Genji would have an extra 2 seconds to mess you up. So that's good. As a supports player I get tired of getting swiped to death by Genjis.

I'm also glad to see Mei get some love. The fact that her Blizzard ultimate now pierces through shields (Reinhardt's shield too) and has a bigger radius means that we might start to see more Mei's in competitive. I used to play her a lot in competitive when other people picked supports before me but honestly not too many people ever play Mei. I think she's super rare even at the highest levels of gameplay as well. Hopefully these buffs bring a resurgence of Mei players to the forefront.

Lastly, Lucio goes less fast. His speed boost was nerfed. However, I don't think this will change how often he gets picked. He's been a must pick for the entire first period of the game (Season one competitive). Mercy has a chance of replacing him but perhaps we can enter the old meta (at least from the pro scene) where we have teams with both Lucio and Mercy? That would be the perfect support team for me. I'd even be down for Ana Mercy comps too.

All these changes aren't final and are subject to change. The future of Overwatch looks bright with these changes. Blizzard is really taking the players' opinions and feedback to heart. I don't think all these sweeping changes will make it to the base game but I do hope that Mercy stays buff.

Keep reading, keep gaming.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Zarya and two new maps revealed for Heroes of the Storm


Good news everyone! Today at Gamescom Blizzard revealed that Zarya (from Overwatch) and Alarak (from Starcraft 2) are going to be added as heroes in Heroes of the Storm. But that's not all.

There's also going to be two Starcraft stages added as battle maps. Check out this rockin' cinematic scene about it here.

I'm excited about the Starcraft stages because I love Starcraft with a passion. I'm going to have to grind gold and make sure I have the 16,000 ready when Zarya and Alarak launch. I'll probably want to get Zarya first. I'm excited by the prospect of more Overwatch characters being added to the game. At this point the hero list will be limitless and unending. Looks to be in good form to keep the game going for years to come.

New Overwatch Map Revealed, Eichenwalde


Overwatch is about to get its first post-launch map. Its called Eichenwalde and its a castle village in Germany with a medieval vibe. Blizzard revealed the map at Gamescom in...wait for it....Germany! Good call Blizz!

It’s an Assault/Escort hybrid map, and it’s got an Omnic Crisis (read: robot apocalypse) related story attached:
“The site of one of the most famous battles during the Omnic Crisis, it was here that the leader of the Crusaders, Balderich von Alder, and a handful of his best soldiers made a last stand against an advancing automaton army. Outnumbered and outgunned, they were ultimately slain during the resulting combat. However, thanks to their valiant efforts, the German military was able to push back the omnic offensive and win the fight.”
The goal of the attacking team is to reclaim Balderich's remains-which seems a bit odd but funny especially considering that you'll be doing it over and over again. Why would heroes want his body anyway? Maybe there's some secret hidden technology in his Reinhardt-esque armor. Check out the map video here. This is gonna be tight yall! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

High bandwidth support for Overwatch coming right now


There's a new update on the way that's going to set Overwatch's default tick rate to 63Hz. Tick rate is the frequency at which the game updates and receives updates from the server. This has been a very troubling issue in the Overwatch community. The game's normal rate is 21Hz-that's 21 updates per second, which some people believe is too slow for a competitive shooter. In June, Blizzard added a high bandwidth option to custom games that enabled play at 60Hz instead, and it went over so well that they're now going to add it to all games in both Quick Play and Competitive modes.

The high bandwidth option in Overwatch increases the tick rate from 21Hz to 63Hz. Since there are players with potato internet there's tech that will automatically scale down your update rate if your connection can't keep up. Because high bandwidth servers will increase bandwidth consumption, they're working on an option to self-limit your update rate in a future patch. This is what Manager Liyrra explained on Battle.net.

This isn't going to change your life and even necessarily Overwatch. Most complaints about the tick rate are rooted in latency problems. What was referred to as lag when gamers were shooting each other over phone lines. For me it was more about pvping people in Diablo 2 with my elemental druid over phone lines. Ah, those were the days.

“I think players have latched onto server tick rate as being the reason that certain things happen. One of the things that players are upset about is that if they get shot, where they perceive they were behind a wall, that this is a problem with server tick rate,” he said. “Certainly there are contributions that could happen with both the server and the client update rates that could cause something like that to happen, but usually, in most cases, you're talking about latency.” (Jeff Kaplan, Lead Game Designer at Blizzard)

The increased rate will help the game feel more responsive. High bandwidth support is already being put out now but the process might take a while to be completed in all regions.