Wil Wheaton, Linkin Park and some games you may have heard of light up Blizzard’s ninth ‘Con
As the sun sets on Blizzard’s ninth annual get together in Anaheim, California, a horde of players are heading home with smiles plastered on their faces.
BlizzCon 2015 is easily one of the most enjoyable conventions the Blizzard faithful has seen in ages; chock filled with announcements, games, swag and competitions, the ‘Con also offered some great performances.
Here’s the best of what was on offer:
Heroes of the Storm is about to become even more off-the-wall
Blizzard’s MOBA is a games that requires teamwork; lone wolves and noobs frequently cost experienced players matches if they don’t play ball and the latter aren’t squeamish about letting the former know how they feel about this.
Becoming a decent Heroes of the Storm player requires commitment but apparently, Blizzard didn’t think this was challenging enough, so they’ve added WOW’s two-headed ogre, Cho’Gall as a new Hero. The catch? He requires two players to control him in co-op.
One player pilots the brute and dishes melee attacks while the other controls its second head and hurls out ranged damage. But for Cho’Gall to be truly effective, both players need to be in constant communication and, in some instances, watch for certain attacks as it takes a combined effort to execute them.
Your headset in Heroes of the Storm is about to become a lot noisier and a lot more confusing.
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There’s a Hearthstone expansion out this week
The online battle-card game that boasts over 30 million players has seen several additions this year. Between the Black Rock Mountain adventure, The Grand Tournament expansion and three new heroes, Hearthstone players have been spoiled for choice. This Thursday, they’re about to receive even more content in the form of The League of Explorers.
The new adventure features new cards, new mechanics and a couple of new levels. They are all completely bonkers, though; the adventure takes the form of a temple exploration, the new cards offer insane buffs and some of the new minions look ridiculously overpowered.
Lord knows what eSports players are going to make of it, but we’re guessing that Hearthstone has some serious nerfing in its not-too-distant future.
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If you buy Overwatch you’ll get a ton of stuff
Thanks to a leak earlier in the week courtesy of US retailer Gamestop, Overwatch had one of its big reveals ganked before BlizzCon. By the time the developers took the stage at BlizzCon’s keynote, everyone in the audience knew that Blizzard’s FPS is landing on consoles and PCs next year in summer.
What they didn’t know was that the game would be receiving two special edition treatments.
The Origins Edition offers players some retro skins for Heroes in Overwatch, DLC for Diablo, a card-back in Hearthstone, a playable Hero in Heroes of the Storm (Tracer), a couple of portraits in Starcraft 2 and a unique pet for World of Warcraft.
The Collector’s Edition is the full fat experience; players who buy it get a bronze statue, the game’s soundtrack, a source book and all of the aforementioned DLC from the Origins Edition. That’s quite a bit of swag right there.
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The new Warcraft film doesn’t look half bad
Let’s face it: most movies based on videogames absolutely suck. This is usually because Hollywood simply licenses an IP and then the people responsible for creating it are usually shut out of the creative process. Given that World Of Warcraft is the lynchpin for Blizzard’s mammoth annual earnings, there was no chance of that happening when the movie industry approached the developer about turning WOW into a movie.
The trailer shown off at BlizzCon looked epic.
Warcraft tells the origin story of the conflict between the orcs and humans on Azeroth and is shot through with eye-popping action set pieces.
Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Timecode) and starring the likes of Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper and Tobey Kebbel, Warcraft may just be the first videogame-movie-tie-in that breaks the mould.
Who knows? It could do what Game of Thrones did for the books of George RR Martin…
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The new World of Warcraft expansion has a long term plan
… and Blizzard are certainly banking on this happening. This is why World Of Warcraft’s newest expansion, Legion, is aimed at both newbies and veterans alike.
Not only does it take a page out of the previous expansion’s playbook by offering players the option of boosting straight to the required level to play it, it’s a far more action-orientated affair.
The game kicks off with players invading a demon-held shattered land and has the atmosphere of joining a war in progress. There’s no dallying or grinding required – players can just jump right into the action.
Mind you, if dallying or grinding is your thing, Legion allows you to do just that. Veterans will be pleased to know the level boost is optional and they can take their time levelling up their characters for war as they have in the past. Who says you can’t please all of the people all of the time?
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Legacy of the Void is not the end of Starcraft 2
The third an final instalment of the most recent Starcraft trilogy hits the shops this week and many fans may be wondering if, once the end credits roll, if this is the last they may be seeing of SC2’s characters.
Blizzard put their fears to rest at BlizzCon, announcing that it plans to release a steady stream of DLC plot-based adventures for its RTS. The first of these, Nova Covert Ops, which centres on the Terran Ghost, Nova, is set for release next year in March.
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Wil Wheaton is the (BlizzCon) man
BlizzCon has seen a whole host of MCs in the past and, apart from stand-up comic and actor Jay Mohr, the Blizzard faithful haven’t taken to them all that well. The reason for this is that most of them don’t really have much in common with the BlizzCon attendees – they don’t play games, they don’t have a working knowledge of Blizzard lore – and so they can’t really relate.
This changed at BlizzCon 2015, when Blizzard engaged the services of Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher, if you’re in the dark) to MC the ‘Con’s talent show and Cosplay competition. Not only is Wheaton King Geek these days – starring in The Big Bang Theory and the WOW-based comedy, The Guild – he’s a self-avowed gamer and Horde player. Alongside a couple of decent stories and funny routines, Wheaton reminded players that online flaming is not cool and being nice to noobs and strangers online is. Here’s hoping his sentiments take hold.
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Linkin Park can awaken the angry teen in you
You may think you outgrew their music the moment Hybrid Theory came out – and you may be right – but that doesn’t change the fact that in concert, Linkin Park serve up harder than Andy Murray. Since this was a corporate gig, fans (yes, they have those) and onlookers alike were treated to a greatest hits package guaranteed to awaken the angry teen in all of them. As an added bonus, the crowd at BlizzCon didn’t even have to suffer through Elite Tauren Chieftan (Blizzard’s in-house band) before Linkin Park got on stage. Apparently between Overwatch, WOW: Legion and the Warcraft movie, they were just too busy to rehearse.