When Blizzard Entertainment announced that Project Titan — its supposedly-ambitious massive multiplayer online game — had been cancelled, fans were left asking “what next?” Well, Overwatch is next; as the company’s first new IP in over 15 years, its announcement shortly after Project’s Titan’s cancellation left many thinking the two games might possibly be connected. Well, they are, but not in the way you are thinking.
During BlizzCon, Blizzard’s Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development Chris Metzen revealed that Overwatch shares a “spiritual continuity” with Project Titan, though the two games are “pretty different:”
“I’m not going to get into what [Titan] was going to be or what we wanted it to be. I can tell you what it was – in a way, it was frustrating. It was a big, giant idea; it was almost like six video games in one. It was the most ambitious game ever. It was fun to try to tackle it, and boy did we tackle it. We wrestled with it for a long time. And it sucked; we couldn’t figure it out. It makes you just [clenches his fist] – we couldn’t crack it. Imagine this amazing team just frustrated. ‘Why can’t we do this?’ It’s trying to fret a chord and write the song. ‘We can’t write the song, why can’t it just sound awesome?’ Can’t find the harmony, whatever.”
We are glad to see that Blizzard, unlike many video game developers desperate to make a quick buck, refrains from throwing large chunks of turd at gamers, but what is Project Titan’s connection with Overwatch?
“When we decided to go another way, like Jeff was saying, we’ve got this hook, ‘Why aren’t we doing that? We love that.’ And we decided to do it and, suddenly, ‘Boom!’ The music just exploded. And we started looking at [Overwatch] for what it was, and it unleashed this tidal wave of passion and certainty and distilled; clear ideas. And this world idea – it was just this monstrous thing of energy. I hope people look at Overwatch as a very clever game. But I’ll tell you – under the hood – we needed this; just as developers to feel that lightning coursing through it again.”
While this is not the ‘connection’ that most of you had in mind, know that it was the creative process of attempting to make Project Titan not suck so much turd that likely resulted in Overwatch coming into fruition.
We think Overwatch has the potential to take the eSports scene by storm.
Overwatch Has a Plot, But No Single-Player Campaign
BlizzCon 2014 was very special because of one big reason: Blizzard announced its first new IP in over 15 years — Overwatch! The team-based multiplayer shooter is a big departure from the games the company normally releases, but it’s fresh and — frankly — looks like crazy fun. Unfortunately, Blizzard’s renowned storytelling won’t be part of the gameplay experience… Overwatch does not have a single-player campaign.
While no one will be happy to hear that, Titanfall has shown that not every game needs single-player to be a hit. In fact, judging from what we saw in its announcement and gameplay trailers, Overwatch looks primed to make a big splash on the eSports scene.
In an interview with Kotaku, game director Jeff Kaplan explained why there is no single-player in Overwatch:
“I don’t think we would ever do a single-player campaign, because the way these characters work… they’re cool when you combine them together. Some don’t play well alone, either. Unless we built a campaign around supporting somebody else, a support character like Mercy probably wouldn’t do well.”
To compensate for the lack of single-player storytelling, Kaplan says each character in Overwatch has an interesting story that will be explored both in-game and from external sources. Given that this is Blizzard we are talking about, chatter between characters and quality cinematics will likely be used to flush out each fighter’s plot.
Another game that employs a similar strategy is League of Legends. The world and champions of Riot’s MOBA have a lot of back story and context, but you don’t learn much about any of that in-game.
Considering how successful League of Legends has been, we get the feeling Overwatch won’t be held back by its lack of single-player. Blizzard’s FPS is all about quality multiplayer action, which will take it a long way in eSports. Do you have a problem with that?
Firebat: The First Hearthstone World Champion, See His Decklist
Blizzcon 2014 was the staging ground for a number of big eSports tournaments, including the first Hearthstone World Championship. Sixteen players from all over the world competed in the tourney to win the $10,000 grand prize, but only one came out triumphant — James “Firebat” Kostesich!
While most professional players spend many hours each day mastering the game, the 18 year-old Kostesich likely didn’t have that luxury because of obligations with school and work. Nevertheless, he managed to take the Hearthstone scene by storm, surprising just about everyone.
Firebat is a very aggressive player, and built his decks accordingly, with his “Charge Face” Druid deck (shown below) being particularly lethal and feared throughout the tournament. Surprisingly, Druids are considered one of the weakest Hearthstone classes currently, yet he used them to dominate his opponents with relative ease.
Replicating Firebat’s Charge Face deck won’t come cheap. It contains no less than four Legendaries and several Epics, so building it is not something you will be able to do if you’ve just starting playing Hearthstone.
Assuming you don’t have any of the cards in the deck, Charge Face will fetch you 6,960 dust. But before you even think about copying Firebat, keep in mind that a good Hearthstone deck is only as good as its wielder. In other words, practice, practice, practice!
While Charge Face might be Firebat’s most fearsome deck, it’s not the only one in his arsenal. He has Warlock and Hunter decks, both of which feature only one Legendary card — Loatheb — which can be obtained for free by completing the Plague Quarther wing in Curse of Naxxramas.
By winning the first Hearthstone World Championship at Blizzcon 2014, James “Firebat” Kostesich has made history. What do you think about his winning deck?
Warcraft Movie: Here are the Actors, Actresses & Characters
The highly-anticipated Warcraft Movie is on its way for a March 2016 release. While the film is still in an early stage of development, Blizzard has revealed all the major actors / actresses and characters we will see on the big screen.
Directed by Duncan Jones, Warcraft is closely based on the fantasy video game series and portrays the origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs, with an emphasis on both the Alliance’s and the Horde’s sides of the conflict. You will see such well-known characters as Durotan, Lothar and others.
Jones, together with Bill Westenhofer (Visual Effects Supervisor), Chris Metzen (Co-Producer) and Rob Kazinsky (known for his roles in the True Blood series and Pacific Rim), used BlizzCon 2014 to let us in on the official character lineup. Make the jump to see who plays who in the upcoming Warcraft movie:
Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel): The leading figure of the Alliance and a protagonist in the movie, Lothar is as a war hero who sacrifices everything to keep the people of Azeroth safe.
King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper): King Llane is the leader of the Alliance city of Stormwind and a beacon of hope to its people in some rather dark and difficult times.
Medivh (Ben Foster): Known as ‘The Guardian,’ Medivh is solitary and mysterious protector wielding formidable powers.
Garona (Paula Patton): Garona — a strong-willed survivor caught between the Alliance and the Horde — is forced to choose a side to pledge her loyalty.
Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer): Khadgar is a gifted young mage who embarks on a journey to find the truth.
Lady Taria (Ruth Negga): Taria is the royal Queen of Stormwind, King Lane’s great love and his most trusted advisor. She is his voice of reason.
Durotan (Toby Kebbel): As the leader of the Horde and one of the main protagonists, Durotan is the noble Chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan. He is fighting to keep his people and family from extinction.
Orgrim (Rob Kazinsky): As Durotan’s right hand, Orgrim is a brave warrior destined to wield the mighty Doomhammer — a weapon of Orc legends.
Blackhand (Clancy Brown): Known as ‘The Destroyer’, Blackhand, is one of the most fearsome and skilled warchiefs of the orc race.
Gul’Dan (Daniel Wu): Gul’dan is a supreme orc commander driven by immense dark powers that even he can’t control.
What do you think about the cast for the Warcraft Movie?
Zerg Player Life Wins WCS 2014, Becomes New Global Champion
The Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm WCS 2014 World Championship Series concluded with Korean Zerg player Life becoming the new global champion. StarTale’s Life was in fact the only Zerg player to make it into the quarter-finals, but that didn’t stop him from being crowned the winner.
After defeating San with a clean 3-0 in the quarter-finals, Life went on to face TaeJa — arguably the best Terran player and one of the best Starcraft 2 players in the world — in the semi-finals, where the two played out one of the best series in recent memory. Needless to say, it was a bit surprising to see the Terran lose 2-3 against a player who barely had enough WCS points to qualify for the Global Finals.
Life acknowledged the impressive skill of TaeJa by stating “When I first got to the Round of 16, I thought Zest would be the toughest. But after facing TaeJa, I think he was the toughest. He doesn’t make mistakes, his micro game was awesome. TaeJa just played a strong game.”
In the grand final, Life faced off with MMA, another strong Terran player and one that managed to win the WCS Europe qualifier earlier in the year. In fact, the Terran player had a relatively easy time getting to the final after defeating StarDust, Bomber and Classic.
While MMA is undoubtedly a highly-skilled Starcraft 2 player, Life had no problem taking him down in a crushing 4-1 series, resulting in him triumphantly taking home the title of WCS 2014 Global Champion.
“TaeJa was easy to predict but he’s a really good player. MMA was a very comfortable opponent so that made it easy,” Life explained. “A Terran who goes to a triple base first and goes for the longer, safer matchup is tougher. A Terran who goes for the all-in attack first like MMA is easier.”
Life won WCS 2014 at the ripe age of 17, making him the youngest WCS World Champion ever. After the long and tedious journey to the top, one can only imagine he threw an epic party and followed it up with some much needed rest.
Life’s victory is a big win for both StarTale and Starcraft 2, and an even bigger win for Zerg players all over the world. What did you think about the competition?
Watch the Amazing Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void Cinematic Trailer
Read About the New Multiplayer Modes and Game Changes
Read About the New Terran Units and Changes
Read About the New Zerg Units and Changes
Watch the World of Warcraft Documentary “Looking For Group”
Blizzcon 2014 was arguably the best Blizzcon to date, largely because of all the new game announcements and reveals. As good as the usual cosplay contests, eSports competitions, and concert (Metallica) were, it was all about the games this time around.
Blizzard used Blizzcon 2014 to announce its first new IP — Overwatch — in over 15 years, and reveal the much-anticipated Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void cinematic trailer. It also announced the first full expansion pack for Hearthstone called Goblins vs Gnomes, as well as new heroes and battlegrounds for Heroes of the Storm.
Blizzcon 2014 marked the 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft and the 20th anniversary of the original Warcraft RTS. As a tribute, Blizzard released a new World of Warcraft documentary highlighting their journey from WoW’s initial development to its latest expansion, Warlords of Draenor.
Titled Looking For Group, the World of Warcraft documentary features all our favorite Blizzard devs who made WoW a reality. They share their thoughts and experiences while making the game, and revealed some never before seen concept art from the early days of World of Warcraft — you know, when technology was more limited than it is today.
The hour-long Looking For Group documentary was clearly made for fans of World of Warcraft and is worth watching if you’re a lover of the franchise. As a film, it’s well put together and a fun watch from beginning to end. Check it out below and share your impressions in the comments.
If you end up playing World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, let us know how you rate it. What do you think about the progress Blizzard has made over the years?
Hearthstone Goblins vs Gnomes Expansion Brings 120 New Cards
Blizzard has announced the first full-fledged expansion pack for Hearthstone and it’s all about the age-old rivalry between the cunning Goblins and tinkering Gnomes. Unlike Curse of Naxxramas, which was merely an “Adventure”, the new Goblins vs Gnomes expansion is really an “expansion” in the true sense of the word and comes with over 120 new cards that can be added to your collection.
Hearthstone players thinking they have mastered the metagame are in for a shock once Goblins vs Gnomes kicks into full gear. The new cards it introduces feature all sorts of crazy attributes and effects that bring a lot of randomness to the game.
Watch the comical announcement trailer:
The most ridiculous of the cards include the Explosive Sheep, a 1/1 minion that deals 2 damage to all other minions when it dies; Annoy-o-Tron, a 1/2 with Taunt and Divine Shield that will likely be used for trolling opponents; and the Madder Bomber, which has a Battlecry that deals 6 damage randomly split between all other characters.
Other noteworthy cards from the Goblins vs Gnomes roster are the Sneed’s Old Shredder (Deathrattle: Summon a random legendary minion) and the V-07-TR-0N (4/8, can attack four times a turn), arguably the most imbalanced card in Hearthstone.
In addition to the 120 explosive cards, Goblins vs Gnomes also comes with a new game board, a Spectator mode, and a new minion type — Mech.
You will be able to purchase Hearthstone: Goblins vs Gnomes cards from the in-game shop with either gold or real money — whichever you prefer — for the same price that you would purchase a regular Expert card pack.