Overwatch Review: Heroes Never Die

overwatch-beta-headerIt’s been three months since Overwatch was released. Most reviews of the game dropped within a week of release which was before the game’s competitive mode was added to the game in June and even one balance change or patch was made. While I put in a lot of time into Overwatch in its early days, I felt that the game needed some time to breathe to see how enjoyable the game would be once the competitive mode was added, players had more experience, more weekly brawls were shown off and Blizzard added some additional content.

There was certainly a chance that the early buzz for Overwatch could have given way to numerous issues and complaints once the mass audience got a hold of it. Fortunately, Overwatch has largely lived up to the hype.

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StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops – Mission Pack 2 Impressions: Remember

starcraft-2-nova-covert-ops-bannerWhen you look at characters that would have interesting stories that continue on from StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, I wouldn’t have considered Nova among them. The likes of Zagara or Alarak who played bit parts in the various SC2 expansions could have interesting stories following the Into The Void missions based on LOTV and the epilogue. However, Blizzard got off on the right foot with the first mission pack of Nova Covert Ops. The second mission pack is a bit of a miss, though.

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StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops – Mission Pack 1 Impressions: Sniped

starcraft-2-nova-covert-ops-bannerWhile the story of StarCraft II ended with Legacy of the Void and the Into the Void epilogue, Blizzard hasn’t ended the stories it wants to tell in the StarCraft universe. The first return to the Koprulu sector takes place several years after the conclusion of Legacy of the Void. One of the long-lost Blizzard projects was StarCraft: Ghost which was supposed to introduce Nova as the player character. The game was eventually scrapped and Nova was introduced in Wings of Liberty and a StarCraft: Ghost novel.

Many years after Ghost’s cancellation, Nova finally gets her long-awaited solo project. It’s not a shooter but it’s a real-time strategy game in the same way that we’ve come to know from StarCraft II but with an episodic twist.

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Overwatch Open Beta Impressions: For the Watch

overwatch-beta-headerIn the run up to its much-anticipated release next week, Blizzard ran the final big beta test for their upcoming first-person shooter franchise Overwatch. While some features, like competitive play, weren’t in the beta, this is the best chance that everyone is going to have to try the game out before Blizzard sticks it hand out looking for $60 for the game. Fortunately for Blizzard, they put a very strong foot forward by basically letting players have a go at a near-complete version of the game.

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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Single-Player Review: Homeward Bound

starcraft-2-legacy-of-the-void-headerAfter five years, the story of StarCraft II comes to a conclusion in its second expansion. In the great tradition of the franchise that first launched in 1998, StarCraft II played out in three parts, each focusing on one of StarCraft’s three races. The third and final part of SC2, Legacy of the Void, not only focuses on the Protoss as they try to take back their homeworld but also includes an epilogue to wrap up the series’ story.

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A New Players’ Guide to Heroes of the Storm

heroes-of-the-storm-bannerSo while I should be spending a lot more time writing, I’ve spent way too much time playing Heroes of the Storm. According to Raptr, I’ve put in some 50 hours since closed beta started and have played near 400 games logged on my in-game profile. Suffice to say, I’ve seen a lot in my time playing HOTS.

Now, I’m not a very good gamer. HOTSlogs says that I’m a gold level player which allegedly means that I’m in the upper half of gamers. However, I have learned a bunch of things that new players should be mindful of before they get too far into the latest entry into the MOBA genre.

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Heroes of the Storm Closed Beta Impressions: Enter the Storm

heroes-of-the-storm-beta-headerApart from free-to-play mobile tower defence games, I’m not sure there’s a more crowded genre in gaming than MOBA. At the top of the pile, you have League of Legends and Dota 2. Smite is probably the #3 MOBA though Heroes of Newerth would probably give it a run for its money. You’ve also got the like of Strife and Infinite Crisis too. There are probably plenty of other that I can throw in there but I don’t want a 1,000 word intro.

The problem is that while each game has its little intricacies, they all feel fairly similar at the end of the day. You play one member of a five-player team on a three-lane map with towers that you must power through in order to destroy the central structure of the enemy base.

Heroes of the Storm doesn’t completely revolutionize the basics of a MOBA. It’s still a five-on-five match to destroy the enemy team’s core. However, Blizzard has taken the standard Point A to Point B approach to MOBAs and turned it on its head. What results is the most unique MOBA on the market right now.

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Heroes of the Storm: Early Access by Any Other Name

blizzard-heroes-of-the-storm-logoHave you heard of H1Z1? It’s the latest MMO from the artists formerly known as Sony Online Entertianment (now called Daybreak Games). While SOE’s MMOs are all free-to-play, H1Z1 has launched as an Early Access title on Steam for $20. That price gets you immediate access to the game along with a few other perks. By all accounts, it’s quite obvious that it’s in the alpha stages of development.

The problem most people are having is that it’s a triple-A company that have gone the early access route. SOE has a few popular MMOs on offer already and with their financial backing from Sony and now Columbus Nova, it’s not like they should need the funding from Early Access sales to complete and polish the game.

But H1Z1 is the popular example of Early Access gone wrong. They aren’t the only example out there right now. Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I launched Battle.net and saw Heroes of the Storm waiting for me to click. The problem was that it wasn’t there to download. HOTS got a spot on my Battle.net launcher so I could spend $40 on the Founder’s Pack which includes immediate access to the game along with a few other perks.

So how is SOE and H1Z1 getting blasted for releasing an alpha of their game as early access while Blizzard is getting a pass for Heroes of the Storm?

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World of Warcraft Celebrates 10 Years and 100 Million Players

This fall, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft will have been around for ten years. Just ahead of its tenth anniversary, Blizzard announced that the flagship of the MMO genre reached the 100 million account milestone. Those 100 million players have created over 500 million characters in the world of Azeroth. Sure, WoW might not have as many players now as it did at its peak but it’s still the biggest game in MMOs.

For more about the last ten years of WoW, we have a handy infographic for you.

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sOs Crowned 2013 StarCraft 2 World Champion

sOs-wcs-global-final-2013The beauty of sports is that anyone can win on any given weekend. That saying also extends to eSports. At this weekend’s StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals at BlizzCon, Korean Protoss sOs came in as the underdog 12th seed and beat four higher ranked players en route to winning the 2013 StarCraft World Championship.
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