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Overwatch’s Festive Winter Event Comes With Free Loot Boxes

Posted on December 13, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Overwatch’s heroes are walking in a winter wonderland with the recently released festive update to the game for PS4, Xbox One and Windows PC. This limited time event not only offers holiday themed maps, a brand new seasonal event and a set of Winter Wonderland loot boxes that can provide those sweet skins we all crave, or the Overwatch equivalent of coal with a duplicate spray.


For the seasonal brawl Overwatch’s Mei is getting into the spirit by hosting Mei’s Snowball Offensive on Echopoint: Antartica.  This mode pits teams of 6 against each other using the single  elimination ruleset, Mei’s blaster has also been modified to allow only one shot at a time – so you won’t be spamming icicles of death. Players still have access to Mei’s ice wall, healing and ultimate as per usual. Like the other elimination modes Snowball Offensive is a best of 5 competition.

Players will find a free loot box wrapped under the title screen for their enjoyment upon first booting up the Overwatch update. Free boxes are also available in the Arcade for player’s Mei’s Snowball Offensive and Winter Mystery – a festive reskin of the Mystery Heroes brawls. As always free loot boxes can be earned by either getting 3 wins in the Arcade (capping out at free boxes per week) or by progressing through the level-up system for 20,000 experience points.

There are some wonderful things to be found in the latest loot boxes: Elf Tracer, Santa Tjorborne, Nutcracker Zenyatta and Icicle Pharah being my favorites so far.

Here is a small sampling of what you can find in this latest update:

owxmas2 owxmas3 owxmas4 owxmas5


Overwatch’s ‘Junkenstein Revenge’ Fills A Much Needed Gap

Posted on October 13, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Blizzard released the first major Overwatch update since August’s summer games and not only does Junkenstein’s Revenge bring some pretty epic Halloween collectables to the game but it also shows that the game could use more story-driven PVE content, something the initial release of the game completely lacked. After putting in two complete evenings into the mode and securing several of the new loot boxes, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on Blizzard’s take on the popular horde mode.

What Is Junkenstein’s Revenge

This Halloween themed brawl takes inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and classic horror movies in order to transport a team of four players to a modified version of the Eichenwald castle. Team selection is limited to only four characters – McCree, Soldier 76, Hanzo and Anna – and the team has a simple objective: defend the castle gate from waves of monstrosities and zombified omnics.


Each round of Junkenstein’s revenge only lasts about six to eight minutes but the adrenaline rush from defeating waves of helpless zombie omnics and the more powerful named foes is relentless and a lot more action focused than any other mode to be found within the game. While PVP games surely have their fare share of action packed skirmishes and close calls when it comes to defending points these are paced along with sprints to the objects after a respawn. The waves for this short Halloween brawl don’t really give the players much breathing room and this provides a fantastic arcade shooter experience against dozens of enemies that simply isn’t found within the base game.

Topping off this fantastic new experience is an excellent use of stylistic art choices, clever visual flair and a dynamic narration system that I didn’t know I needed in my life. Each Overwatch character featured in Junkenstein’s Revenge is cleverly remodeled / renamed after some sort of Halloween trope. Mercy is the absolutely jaw dropping Witch, Roadhog is Junkenstein’s Monster and of course Junkrat is the titular mad scientist… oh and all of these outfits are unlockable via the new Halloween loot boxes. Probably the coolest addition to this Brawl is the dynamic narration read by none other than Reinhardt. As the players destroy waves of enemies or slay the named monsters Reinhardt’s narration will change accordingly such as “the gunslingers bullet finally found its mark as he knocked down The Reaper”. Not only does it add some narrative context to an otherwise chaotic free for all but it gives the world of this brief experience a lot of character as well.


The Cool Loot

Like the Summer Games event there is a whole stash of in-game skins, sprays, voice-lines and portraits for players to unlock. Like the loot from the last event these are only available through limited time loot boxes but unlike August’s Olympic fair the legendary skins can be purchased with in-game coins. You won’t necessarily need to pull out your credit card to get that Witch Mercy skin but it will costs you more than a regular legendary – 3x in fact, the most expensive items are priced at 3,000 in-game credits. Price prohibitive? Absolutely but its better than simply locking the item behind the grind/paywall of RNG boxes. 

Here are some of my favorite unlocks revealed thus far:

The Reaper Forms In The Darkness 


An Anna-Latern?


Witch Mercy, Probably My Most Wanted Skin:


Undead Pharah Has A Cool Glow:


Junkrat Gets His PHD… IN EXPLOSIVES:


[Images via this IMGUR gallery, make sure to check it out for more awesome unlocks from the Halloween event!]



Huge Leak Reveals Overwatch Halloween Event & Sombra

Posted on October 8, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Multiple leaks may have confirmed a number of new additions coming very soon to the world of Overwatch including a new limited time event, a new set of loot boxes and our first look at the illusive Sombra. It is important to note that none of this has been confirmed by Blizzard and all of this information comes from multiple sources, so make sure you firmly plant all of this in the rumor column until it is officially confirmed.



The leak involving our would be hacker / assassin comes from reddit user je_te_vois who posted an internal screenshot that not only gives us our first look at Sombra’s in-game design but also details about her background.

Sadly this portion of the leak is short on details about she might play in-game. Here’s a list of what we do know:

  • She is one of the most renown hackers in the world of Overwatch.
  • She suffered a great loss as a child “costing her everything”.
  • Sombra worked as a freelance hacker before going underground due to something (the image is cut off).
  • She was later recruited by the terrorist organization Talon (which explains one of Reaper’s voice lines).

In terms of her design she sports a small SMG machine gun, a purple and white leather coat with a large collar. Her aesthetic is completed with a glorious side-cut, here just take a look for yourself:

Upcoming Comic


A brand new tie-in comic revealing a bit more about the Overwatch universe may drop as early as this Tuesday and the cover art for the comic tells us a lot more than just little tidbits of backstory. Titled “Junkenstein” this comic appears to be one of the centerpieces of the game’s upcoming Halloween event. Inspired by classic monster movies (for its title) and other Halloween tropes we see new outfits for both Junkrat and Mercy.

Also rumored to be coming to Overwatch (via Neogaf) but with a lot less information to back it up is a PVE horde mode where players will battle against Omnic A.Is on a special version of the Echenwald castle – sadly we have no images or further details on this possible new mode but if it is true, this would add a much needed PVE focus to a game that has been soley PVP focused since its release.


Lastly what would a brand new event be without more loot boxes? Given the comic cover it is safe to say that there will be new Halloween inspired legendaries available. These loot boxes appeared briefly on the Xbox Live Marketplace so there is a high chance that they are legit.

What do you think of all of this? Quite a bit to chew through but if legit then Overwatch is about to get one heck of an expansion come this Tueaday.

We will update this story if anything becomes official.


The Road to the Emerald Nightmare

Posted on September 24, 2016 by Kaylan Heineman

The Road to the Emerald Nightmare: Questing, Leveling, and Gearing Before Legion’s First Raid

A great deal has happened since Blizzard Entertainment launched the 6th expansion to their perennial hit MMO, World of Warcraft titled Legion, on August 30, 2016. As someone who began her journey through Azeroth back in the ancient days of 2004, this has been a reawakening and revitalization of the online game’s content and gameplay and frankly I have not had this much fun in this game since Wrath of the Lich King sat on my desk in 2010. EVERYTHING has changed in this game in some manner or another, breathing new life into virtually every facet of the experience with the introduction of artifact weapons, a refined leveling experience, overhauls of basic game mechanics, a fantastic difficulty curve within its instances, the debut of their second hero class, the Demon Hunter, and many more appealing features (not to mention the best soundtrack since Lich King). Better yet, very little of it is a step backward as often happens with veteran MMO’s like WoW.

The first raid instance of the expansion is now live and I’m actively participating in the raid with my guild on Stormrage-US (Shout out to my “The Force” family!) as we try to be the first raid group on the server to conquer it, and it has been a heck of a journey thus far. I noticed a fair bit about what it is like to get my gear to the point where I won’t be a blue smear at the feet of Xavius and most of it is excellent, with a couple notable exceptions.

Image result for Emerald Nightmare raid

Screenshot courtesy of WoWHead.com

First off, leveling is a wonderfully engaging and enjoyable experience and not once did it feel like a burden, unlike previous expansions. Playing on a tradition started back in 2010, you are able to effectively choose where you start but unlike previous expansions, the entirety of the Broken Isles (with the exception of Suramar) is actually scaled to your level and item level as to avoid time-honored traditions like accidentally strolling through a zone 20 levels ahead of you and making many unfortunate treks back to your corpse as a direct result. Because of the tuning (which syncs with the lowest level member of your party), you have a greater degree of freedom in choosing your journey to level 110. What this means is that the narrative takes a surprisingly different turn as pieces of the greater plot weave together in a different pattern. This alone made it worth it for me to level my two alternative characters (“adults”) without groaning at the repetition—this is absolutely revolutionary for WoW as it encourages creating all the different classes and playing something you are not entirely familiar with.

In this vein, Blizzard managed to introduce a clever and effective means of bringing new players (or veterans trying a new class) up to speed without expecting 100 levels of suffering—you now get an option to make a “Class Trial” to which you are put in possession of a character at level 100 (the starting level for new content) and are thrust into a simple yet effective tutorial which teaches the basic dynamics of the class and specialization without sounding like a generic tutorial with no point—to sweeten the deal, you are given the opportunity to actually try out some of the new content with your freshly leveled character before committing to a class for the actual 100 levels. Sorry, folks, the grind is a pain, but with the new designs of everything from the landscape to the character models, it is a bit less tedious. I learned a thing or two about tanking from the tutorial when I gave it a try such as new approaches to my skill rotation, which skill works best for which situation and refreshed me on the basics—something that deeply surprised me and transferred to my existing tank character with better performance. That said, it would be nice to reward testers of new classes some kind of boost that does not cost 50 USD to purchase.

Image result for class trial pic world of warcraft

Screenshot courtesy of WoWHead.com


Once you hit 110, however, prepare to die a LOT. Suramar as it stands right now is extremely hostile to fresh 110’s who did not have the privilege of gearing up a bit prior to entering it. There is a quirk in the mobs in that area that live up to their nickname—you may aggro one enemy but rest assured all of his or her friends and relatives will back them up in the blink of an eye. It certainly informs you that you may have leveled, but you need to level up your skills in playing your class to survive.  The game progression in Suramar is unique in that it is full of gatekeeping via reputation requirements and the general difficulty of the enemies—all of which serve to slow down the game to ensure that people like me are spared the burnout that comes with maxing things out and playing the waiting game for new content.  Sometimes it feels as if there is too much to do, in fact, which is wildly different for me—I was honestly expecting to be twiddling my thumbs and gearing out of boredom. I was VERY pleasantly surprised to realize I was enjoying the endgame content thoroughly and enthusiastically.

This happens entirely too often in Suramar...

This happens entirely too often in Suramar…

One of the reasons the leveling and endgame content so engaging is the story is the finest Blizzard has written and performed to date. I often jokingly say this expansion was co-written by George R.R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) because of the incredible amount of tragedy that befalls the main characters (and the player) and the heart-wrenching performances augmented by the hands-down BEST score of World of Warcraft. The two elements merge into the emotional equivalent of an episode of Supernatural merged with a season finale of Game of Thrones—in fact, any time the game switches into a cut scene, do yourselves a favor and keep a box of tissues handy. The emotional investment I made in the game is on par with a Final Fantasy title to the point where I frequently cheered, laughed, cried and screamed in rage—something that never happened before in any of the thousands of games I have played over my career. Bravo, Blizzard, you made a grown woman cry like a teenager.

The soundtrack is something I often remark on but its role in the game’s atmosphere is undeniable and powerful. Whether it is a race to save an ally, mourning over an NPC’s death, or simply riding through the countryside on your mount of choice, the soundtrack will set the mood perfectly. Without these songs, WoW wouldn’t be, well, WoW—Legion is no different. Many songs have fallen flat over the years or have just gotten stale (I’m looking at you, Ironforge…) but I have a feeling the Legion soundtrack will be among the timeless classics in-game.  My current favorite song in the score has to be “Anduin”—it is a medley of thrilling rallying cries and funerary dirges with this distinct attitude of facing impossible odds, much as “Arthas, My Son” has become a fan favorite owing to its dirge-like, haunting melody that bursts into a relentless symphonic onslaught much as the Scourge was relentless and struck without warning.



The Demon Hunter is one of the most fun classes to play and fully deserves an article of its own—I plan to do a detailed analysis of the Demon Hunter in a separate article however I must speak on a few points. Currently, both specs (Havoc and Vengeance) are predictably overpowered—the tank spec virtually eliminates the need for a healer as the self-heals are ridiculous. PVPers now dread the presence of warglaives on the opposing side as the damage output is heads and shoulders above most others. That said, the feeling of invincibility is quite thrilling—being able to solo elite mobs with little more than paying attention to your rotation is fun but the luster fades after a bit. I would like to see Havoc Demon Hunters, in particular, to get nerfed as their damage output and tactical skills like stuns and interrupts makes for a less than pleasant PVP experience and unfortunately attracts a lot of people in it for the power trip, rendering dungeon instances of any measurable difficulty a crap shoot. Sometimes the DH knows what the -bleep- they’re doing, and sometimes they do the infamous noob faux-pas of standing in the fire without realizing they’re doing it at all. Mind you, this applies to many classes that are not quite so “idiot proof” but it is most glaringly obvious when someone who is in the highest gear category doesn’t know adds from aggro on a fight and proceeds to blame everyone else.


On that note, one thing has made life better for all of us thanks to Blizzard. They instituted a new silencing policy wherein if someone gets above a certain number of complaints on the grounds of harassment, language, inappropriate content or spam, they silence that character for a day. As an advocate in the LGBT+ community, this reminds me of the practice of “zucking” or falsely reporting with the intent to trigger an automatic ban. I foresee much of this occurring on the more politically charged servers, but it is at the moment doing its job and the 4chan-level trolls have been muzzled. Now if we could do the same with the Thunderfury and Harambe jokes, I’ll be a happy girl.

The endgame content is split up into several categories, most of the content being in major questlines such as your class hall (I’ll get to that in a moment) and the general campaign but a new spin on daily quests called “world quests” where you have the means to do certain tasks ranging from picking more of a herb to downing a world boss which are surprisingly fun and addictive. The added bonus is that on a daily structure (provided you unlock world quests by attaining friendly status with the primary factions within the Broken Isles) you can get an emissary chest and an artifact boosting consumable. Now, this may not seem like much, but I have had several guild members obtain legendary items from these chests. The rep boost is also very, very enjoyable and useful as the rep rewards ARE WORTH SOMETHING FOR ONCE!wowscrnshot_092316_153046

Blizzard clearly put a great deal of thought and work into the latest addition to player characters—Artifact weapons. These weapons are often grounded considerably in the existing lore, such as Tirion Fordring’s legendary sword, Ashbringer or my favorite, Thrall’s own Doomhammer. What sets these weapons apart aside from looking INCREDIBLE is that they grow with you, using artifact power as a new leveling currency of sorts, with increasing minimum levels as you upgrade your weapon. As of right now, I do not have any of my artifact weapons fully upgraded but I have seen the devastation wrought by these fabled arms. In order to acquire an artifact weapon, you must first complete the Broken Shore scenario at level 100, then proceed on a breadcrumb quest chain opening up a sanctuary specifically for your class in some fantastical place, ranging from Valhalla (or as they call it, Halls of Valor) to the very heart of Northrend courtesy of the new Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon. The chain will surprise you as it puts YOU in the driver seat of the quest.


For the first time, I felt like a protagonist in-game with a lot of the tailored random lines spoken at me in major cities like Dalaran or Stormwind (or Orgrimmar/Undercity for you Horde folks) and something that made me extremely excited. Blizzard has been hounded for over a decade about revisiting old zones and instances to make them fresh. As a shaman, I am associated with the legendary Earthen Ring (the shamanic faction that has been around as long as the game has) and get the profound pleasure of not only revisiting Vashj’ir (which I originally detested but on the second pass began to grow on me), but Firelands, Deepholm and even the oft-neglected Throne of the Four Winds raid with the mission to bring about a union of the Elemental Lords in order to defend Azeroth to the best of their abilities. I will not go into detail in this article, but I could go on and on about how lovingly crafted the quests turn out to be. You are no longer a nameless hero or champion—you ARE the last hope of Azeroth and your actions dictate so much. It is refreshing to authentically feel a narrative in a game like this and Blizzard hits the mark.


Many asked me to sum up my opinion of Legion thus far. I am ecstatic to announce that Blizzard has finally gotten it right. After 3 successive “failures” as far as striking a chord with the 12 million subscribers, World of Warcraft has made a triumphant return to top form. With so much available to enjoy in just the first few weeks, Blizzard has finally hit that sweet spot in reviving their storied franchise. What a farewell gift from Chris Metzen—his finest performances and work.


Blizzard to Drop Battle.net Branding

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Tamsin Heineman

Today a news post on the World of Warcraft home page details their plans to discontinue the Battle.Net branding.

Blizzard plans to phase out the use of Battle.Net in favor of the Blizzard moniker. Instead of “Battle.Net Voice” for example, it would be “Blizzard Voice” after the change.

They detail that the underlying technology and systems are not changing and they have no plans to discontinue any services.

When we created Battle.net, the idea of including a tailored online-gaming service together with your game was more of a novel concept, so we put a lot of focus on explaining what the service was and how it worked, including giving it a distinct name. Over time, though, we’ve seen that there’s been occasional confusion and inefficiencies related to having two separate identities under which everything falls—Blizzard and Battle.net. Given that built-in multiplayer support is a well-understood concept and more of a normal expectation these days, there isn’t as much of a need to maintain a separate identity for what is essentially our networking technology.

One can certainly understand wanting to consolidate their brand name and ease confusion for potential and current customers.
You can check out the news post here.


WoW: Legion Matches Previous Launch Day Record With 3.3 Million Sales

Posted on September 8, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Blizzard Entertainment announced that the recently released World of Warcraft: Legion expansion has matched the record of 3.3 million sales on launch day.  The developer / publisher also noted that these figures match the records set by previous expansions although they also related that the week one concurrency numbers for WoW: Legion matches the fervor of the game at its height with 2010’s World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. 

With upcoming content patches, raids and story content WoW: Legion will continue to deliver content for quite some time. Here is what Blizzard’s CEO had to say:

“We worked hard to make this the best World of Warcraftexpansion yet, and we look forward to providing players with even more content as Legion’s epic story unfolds in the months ahead.”

World of Warcraft: Legion tells the tale of Guldan returning to the world of Azeroth with the forces of the Burning Legion. Long time villain Illidan also returns with his illidari in a new heroic class quest chain that take players back as far back as World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusasde.

Congratulations on the successful launch and here’s hoping the new content lives up to fan’s expectations.


World of Warcraft: Legion Pre-Launch Patch Impressions Part II

Posted on August 26, 2016 by Tamsin Heineman

So a couple weeks ago I published a story outlining all to be had at the time for the Legion Pre-Launch content. Since then I’ve found a few things I’ve missed, a few things I’ve learned, and what to do with it.

Previously I talked about the scenarios involved. Well, after doing some research I’ve found there are quite a few easter eggs in game items you can pick up before doing the fist quest. So if you have an alt that hasn’t done the scenario for broken shore yet, hold off until you find a hidden vendor sitting in Stormwind Harbor. All you have to do is have the quest for the broken shore, but don’t actually do it yet. Before boarding the boat for the quest outside the dock there is an NPC named Lenny “Fingers” McCoy(Horde side is Fo’Rum the Postmaker by the Draonsh’ar Blockade and Ravika by Bladefury’s docks). This NPC is a vendor that sells a few items including a Lucky Shirt which is the only in game way to obtain the “Fine Cloth Shirt” transmog appearance. (The Horde vendor has hard to get items from patch 5.3 that were since removed from the game, so if you play Horde be sure to grab them).

Taken from screenshots @wowhead.com

Taken from screenshots @wowhead.com

The final hidden item to be found is during the 6th stage of the Broken Shore quest line for the alliance(but can also be picked up during stage 7). There is a coffin looking thing where you can find a “Charred Locket” during the scenario. If you don’t grab it now, it’s gone forever on that toon. When you’re done take the locket to Eastvale Logging Camp in Elwynn forest. There will be an NPC named Alaina Heartsong that will want the locket(at 85,67). Leave and return to the house immediately and you can find the reward item upstairs named “Alaina’s Bonnet”. The Horde cannot loot this, but if you unlock it on alliance side you can transmog it as a Hordie.

Taken from screenshots @wowhead.com

Taken from screenshots @wowhead.com

Another cool item that you can obtain is dropped from the Doomsayers around your main cities that once outed with either a Demon Hunter’s Spectral Sight or an item called “Cursed Vision of Sargeras” that drops in Black Temple, turn into a “Dread Infiltrator”.


Taken from screenshots @wowhead.com

There are usually LFG groups looking for it that are active right now, so get playing to find it. The item it drops is a neat “Toy” for your collection called a “Pocket Fel Spreader”, but it actually doesn’t do any damage. It applies a fel texture to the ground and objects in its radius and just plain looks really cool instead.

The other half of this is players that end up hearing “Dark Whispers” will eventually gain an action bar which can transform them into a dreadlord to cause all kinds of trouble for other surrounding players by turning them hostile ala mind control. If the players don’t want to do it at the time can just click off the buff. As a Dreadlord you have the abilities to CC a group with a “Hysteria” debuff, vanish to avoid combat, and disguise yourself as a normal player as you’re spreading chaos.

One last note on items which relates to the previous article, is on the Fel Bat Pup. Once bought with Nethershards and learned you can re-crate for later sale, so I suggest buying a few and saving them to sell later for a profit. Just learn the pet, open your log and right click and select “Put in Cage”. Note that you only need to do this if you’ve already right clicked and “learned” that pet and you want to get rid of the extras.

Screenshot taken by Kaylan Heineman, Broken Joysticks

Screenshot taken by Kaylan Heineman, Broken Joysticks

The final thing I want to revisit and discuss is invasions. With a little clever use of  the LFG interface, you can level a character from 1 to 100 in well under a day of constant playing. Once you are in Stage 1 of the invasion at Dun Morogh specifically in Kharanos(though it works elsewhere if people join), make or join an LFG group under custom with Dun in the title (either your own, or a hosted one) including killing the commander. Once it rolls over to stage 3, leave the group and join another by just typing “Dun” in the search bar (or if you’re reset back to stage 1, host your own with Dun in the title for others to find). These stages offer the maximum XP with minimal deaths, as the third stage bosses can be kind of brutal and can easily ruin your nice streak of XP gain. Just keep redoing stages 1 and 2 of the invasion until you are at the desired level. You can do this on toons of any level to boot so if you want to switch mains and level a toon quickly before the expansion this is the time to do it.

Screenshot taken by Kaylan Heineman, Broken Joysticks

Screenshot taken by Kaylan Heineman, Broken Joysticks

I won’t go into the last quests and scenarios until my third part as there’s been little content thus far (but good content nonetheless), which is coming up hopefully right before or right at the date of the launch of Legion. Don’t quote me on that.

I hope you can take what I shared and maximise your fun before the expansion officially launches on August 30th.


Overwatch World Cup Finals To Take Place At BlizzCon 2016

Posted on August 7, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Overwatch’s first competitive season is set to wrap up in a couple of weeks but with the announcement of the Overwatch World Cup, the first sanctioned world-wide competitive scene for the shooter, interest in competitive Overwatch is only likely to grow. Successful candidates for the World Cup will be able to earn their way to a place on the big stage at BlizzCon 2016 and Blizzard has outlined the entire process.

Players who have shown the ability to climb to the top echelon of the Season 1 competitive ladder will be invited alongside well known community members and professional gamers to be included in the voting process to represent their respective countries in one of 4 worldwide regions.  Only licensed owners of Overwatch will be able to vote for their country’s representative and each account is only able to vote for a player within the country that their BNet account is registered.

Starting September teams from each region will begin to participate in best of three, single-elimination preliminary rounds to qualify for a spot in the Blizzcon finale.  Each region has a pre-set amount of qualifying spots for the Blizzcon round Robin tournament. They are as follows:

  • Americas Region: Foud Spots
  • European Region: Six Spots
  • Asia Pacific Region: Sux Spots

Blizzard says that due to “variety of factors, including server locations, regional infrastructure and connectivity, and other geographical considerations” several countries will automatically have their team entered into the final 16.


Automatically qualifying countries include:

  • Canada
  • The United States
  • China
  • South Korea
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

How do you feel about Blizzard’s take on competitive Overwatch? I feel like it is a little unfair that 7 of the 16 slots are automatically given to countries due to “infrastructure” reasons. In reality that means that the remaining countries in the Americas Region (among others) all have to compete for the one remaining spot rather than being able to set their sights on one of the four slots.



Here Are The Summer Games Loot Box Exclusive Overwatch Skins

Posted on August 2, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

With the Rio Olympic Games beginning this Friday Blizzard is getting into the competitive spirit with their newest Overwatch update. An entire limited edition collection of Olympic-themed skins, sprays, voice lines and other goodies have been added to Overwatch’s loot boxes just in time for the international sporting competition.

All told there are over 100 different collectible items that are available through the Summer Games Loot boxes. Each box is guaranteed to contain at least one item from the new limited time set. These items are available via in-game loot boxes earned for leveling up through the regular progression system or by purchasing them for real cash. The Summer Games items will only be available August 22nd.

Everyone who logs into Overwatch from now until the 22nd receives a free loot box from the main menu!

Here is a detailed look at several of the exclusive Overwatch Summer Games skins:

Lucio – Striker

2016-08-02 (15)

Mcree – American

2016-08-02 (8)

Genji – Nihon

2016-08-02 (6)

Tracer – Sprinter

2016-08-02 (12)

Tracer – Track and Field

2016-08-02 (11)


2016-08-02 (9)


2016-08-02 (10)


2016-08-02 (13)


2016-08-02 (14)


2016-08-02 (5)



New Overwatch Hero Revealed: ‘Ana Gameplay Trailer’

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Has all this excitement about a new Overwatch hero kept you in suspense?  If you were expecting ‘Sombra’, well you have a few seconds to be sad before it is revealed that Ana, Overwatch’s new medical sniper may in fact be Pharah’s mother!  Several hints are dropped during the trailer including the fact that it takes place on Temple of Anubis and also that Pharah is featured prominently in the trailer’s cast of supporting heroes.

In terms of abilities, Ana seems to be able to cast a damage reduction cool-down on friendly targets, she is also able to heal targets with a scoped snipe heal and it is possible that her ultimate is able to anesthetize enemy targets from long range.

No word yet on when we will get to play Ana, but as with all things Blizzard, I’m sure it will be a surprise. What do you think of Overwatch’s first post-launch addition? Let us know in the comments section!


Blizzard Teases new Healer Character

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

If you like me find yourself spending most nights playing Overwatch, you probably already know about Sombra. Sombra is featured in a ton of the media for Overwatch. Shes in many of the levels. And there have been several hints to her identity from in game voice lines, pictures, and behind the scenes stuff.


Well now we know shes probably coming this month to an Overwatch team near you.

and that will probably be her gun. In case you dont want to read the text (it is kinda small) here it is

“While Torbjörn has, as ever, put forth a very clever design for his latest weapon, I would like to remind everyone that my intention when agreeing to the development of different biotic delivery mechanisms was to save the lives of Overwatch agents and others in need of medical aid. With this latest proposal, it is clear to me that we are on the slippery slope to modifications that will inevitably result in a weaponized version of this technology: something that I have been completely opposed to from the beginning.”

So what’s a Sombra anyways?

We don’t know a whole lot about this new character, but what we do know is this

  • She’s Pharah’s mother
  • She’s an Overwatch founder
  • She’s going to be a long range healer
  • Her gun might be dual mode with a heal and a damage ability

Neogaff has a long thread that puts together all of the evidence that Sombra is going to be the new character revealed later this month. Its pretty good reading but Neogaff is known to jump to conclusions on things that they dont really know about. So take it with a LARGE grain of salt.

Jeff Kaplan muddied the waters even more and made Neogaff seem smart when last week he told Eurogamer  “We have put a lot of hints, all over the game and out of the game, so I would say it’s about time that people are concerned with who Sombra is.”

So it sure seems like Sombra is going to be the next member of Overwatch, but we will have to wait a little bit to find out.


Blizzard Teases New ‘Heroes of the Storm’ Content’ With New ‘In Development’ Trailer

Posted on July 1, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Developers at Blizzard Entertainment aren’t wasting any time creating new content that will surely fill the nexus for the coming weeks or months. In the latest ‘in-development’ trailer we get a brand new look at two new heroes currently being finalized – Gul’dan and Auriel. New additions to the roster aside, Blizzard also showed off a number of new skins for existing heroes like Johanna and Mi-Ling as well as what will surely be at least two legendary skins.

New Heroes

Gul’dan, is of course, the former Orc shaman who hails from Draenor and was the founder of The Horde in Warcraft lore. He has appeared in several Warcraft games including Warcraft I, Warcraft II – he died during the events of the second game. He was an antagonist in the WoW expansion Warlords of Draenor and will be featured front & center in the upcoming Legion expansion.


Auriel is the heart of the five member Angiris Council in Diablo lore. She was present during the judgment of Inarius at Silver City during the events of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Not much is known about abilities within the nexus, perhaps she will provide commentary to fellow angel Tyrael.


New Skins

The crusader Johanna gets enlisted with a cross-franchise skin, taking up the threads of the Spellbreaker unit from the Blood Elves of Warcraft III. Li-ming takes some time off from the nexus to enjoy some volleyball with this legendary skin complete with Volleyball outfit and the ability to spam an impressive number of balls during her ulti. Arthas might be trading in his usual cold icey aesthetic for something a little more cuddly with his pandarian inspired Mystic Kingdoms outfit as well.




New Mounts

Several new mounts are also in development for upcoming patches including a re-release / color variant of the Cyberwolf mount, which to be honest is my absolute favorite even if it aesthetically clashes with almost everything else in the game. For those who prefer a more traditional four-legged companions, two new steeds are coming – the Crimson Hare and Demonic HellSteed!




No release date for any of this content has been announced and, of course, we won’t have prices for any of these new additions until they are released. I know for sure I’ll be picking up the Obsidian Cyber Wolf on day one, maybe even Striker Li-Ming. How about you, fellow nexus dweller?


Purfect Team: Overwatch Kitties

Posted on June 2, 2016 by Renee Gittins

A friend recently shared with me some Overwatch art from the talented artist 솔져앓이 릴루. As the internet absolutely loves Overwatch right now, and has always loved cats, I thought that I just had to share these cute kitty heroes!

Below is cat fan art for 18 of the 21 heroes in Overwatch, only the three non-human heroes have been excluded (Bastion, Winston and Zenyatta).

A little skill with Photoshop or Gimp can turn these images into your very own team composition. I’ve shared my own above!

Symmetra looking stoic and regal, while Mei sits next to her; cute, fluffy and joyful!



Reaper and McCree about to start a cat-fight. I wonder what Reaper’s kitty voice would sound like?


Junkrat looking as hyped-up and unstable as ever, while his colossal bodyguard, Roadhog, rests behind him.


A perky and muscled Zarya chatting to a less-than-pleased looking Pharah.



Two of the fastest cats around, Lucio and Tracer, share a paw-bump.



Even kitty Mercy still has her wings and she towers over her old Overwatch comrade, Torbjorn.



Reinhardt and Soldier 76 rock their scars on white fur together.



The two moodiest kitties, the snipers, Hanzo and Widowmaker, glare at everyone else.



And, finally, D.va playfully bats at Genji, whose cybernetics transferred quite well to his cat form.



Hope you enjoy these feline heroes. Share your own team composition kitties below!


Overwatch – A Refreshingly Stylish Shooter | Review

Posted on June 2, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

In-universe, when the world needed the heroes of Overwatch they were nowhere to be found but thankfully they’ve come to our consoles & PCs at just the right time to save us from the onslaught of generic grey/brown FPS games. This is not only Blizzard Entertainment’s first original intellectual property in 17 years but also the company’s first foray into team based First Person shooters. Can the folks at Blizzard capture the objective and prove that they can still innovate or is Overwatch a causality of its own hype?

It is almost impossible to talk about Overwatch without acknowledging what little we do know about the project that preceded it – Titan, we do know for sure that it eventually became the team based shooter we know today after a lengthy development period stretching all the way back to at least 2007 and included at least one full project reboot. Blizzard has publically said that Overwatch is not only their first new franchise but also a redemption story for Jeff Kaplan and his team – who up until the game’s November 2014 unveiling had lived in the shadow of the other Blizzard development teams. Like the heroes that comprise Overwatch the development team behind this game experience a great loss before being able to climb their way back to the top.


At it’s most basic Overwatch is a 6 Vs 6 team based shooter where co-operation and communication between teammates to absolutely vital to victory. Blizzard has taken hints from one of their other games, Heroes of the Storm, by eliminating the focus on kills (called eliminations in Overwatch) or the ratio between a player’s kills / deaths. Instead, teams must focus on the objective at hand – whether that is defending / attacking a given point on the map or escorting / stopping a moving objective called “the payload”. Player’s won’t find a traditional scoreboard upon death either, everything revolves the completion or failure of an objective and this gives players a sense of comradery even when playing with randoms.

Heroes are a core component of the Overwarch experience and the game does as much as it can, without locking you out of selecting certain broad categories of Hero, to ensure that your team is as balanced as possible. Each hero has a hand full of abilities which give them a unique play-style and toolkit but if you were to boil them down to the essentials you’ve got: Attack, Defense, Tank & Support. A successful team must be able to adapt their play-style and change heroes fluidly in order to successfully counter-strategies from the opposing team. A failure in maintaining a good team composition can make the difference between success & failure.


Overwatch’s gallery of heroes sports a roster of 21 colorful and eccentric individuals. Rather than list all of them here are just a few of the heroes that I’ve enjoyed in the week since the game’s release:

Bastion – Categorized as a defense hero this robot is able to transform into a powerful stationary turret at the press of a button. A well placed Bastion is able to rip through an entire team minus a tank in just a few seconds flat. The downside to bastion is that it takes several seconds for Bastion to switch modes, so a well-placed Tracer can be an effective counter to our robotic friend. Bastion’s ultimate allows players to transform into a mobile tank delivering a near insta-kill concussive blast.

Pharah– This armor-clad security chief is a no-nonsense combatant. Welding a medium damage rocket launcher & thruster pack, former Quake III players will be right at home with Pharah. Her primary attack launches a rocket straight forward while her secondary move allows her to jet into the air for a couple of seconds before floating down. Perhaps her most devastating attack is her Ultimate which sees her rocket into the sky and unleash a barrage of missiles at a given target area.  If you’re looking for that old school arena FPS feel you can’t go wrong with Pharah.

D.VA – A professional Starcraft player who joined up with the Korean special forces during the story events leading up to the present. How did South Korea defend itself from the oncoming Omnic hordes? By allowing professional E-Sports players to pilot mecha, of course! D.VA has one of the highest health pools in the game and to offset this advantage her base damage is a lot lower than other tanks. She has a “defensive matrix” that allows her to negate all incoming projectiles in a frontal cone for a few seconds which is a great option when you are cornered waiting for teammates to help out.  Her ultimate is perhaps my favorite in the game – she sacrifices her Mecha, bailing out and overloading its engines causing a miniature nuclear explosion killing all enemies within line of sight. The destruction of her mecha isn’t the end of the game for D.VA either, she continues on foot with a smaller pool of health and a powerful pistol!


With little single player content, save for a versus A.I mode that is more of a training tutorial to get your feet wet with new heroes before heading off into the competitive mode no discussion of Overwatch can be complete without talking about the game’s community. For the most part it was smooth sailing in regards to fellow players but every so often one or two players would decide that they didn’t need to play the recommended roles – a sniper on an attack phase is totally a legit strategy and there is no way 6 tracers (who has a very small health pool) could go wrong /s. Overwatch is certainly one of those games where it is better to play with a full party of friends than just going it alone in the matchmaking queue. Also, given that this is an FPS – be prepared for “salty” players to hurl slurs at you and ignore objectives to play Overwatch like a team deathmatch simulator. Sadly, like most popular online games there is an element to the community that is outright toxic and they can sometimes ruin the fun vibe that Overwatch works so hard to create.

How did someone not realize that maybe this particular skin isn't the best idea?

How did someone not realize that maybe this particular skin isn’t the best idea?

Once you’ve mastered your favorite heroes and memorized all of the maps what is left to keep you coming back? Overwatch offers players experience after the match based upon a number of factors – damage dealt, healing done, number of eliminations, whether or not they were part of the winning team etc. Upon leveling up players receive a “loot box” which contains up to 4 collectible unlocks for their heroes – wheether that is a new skin, voice line or spray. These loot boxes are a great way to keep players engaged with the game long after they’ve seen everything there is to do, content wise. For some reason, Blizzard has decided to allow players to purchase loot boxes for .99 each, which would make sense if Overwatch was a free to play or budget title but the console version is a $74,99 CDN release. Also, some of the additional outfits are cool but hopefully Blizzard veers away from the cultural appropriation with the next infusion of unlockable content – one of Pharah’s unlockable costumes is literally a stereotypical North American aboriginal person complete with headdress. Not only does this make zero sense in the context of the character – she is of Egyptian origin – but a company as large as blizzard should be culturally aware enough to realize than an entire culture’s way of dress is not a costume for characters to throw on and murder each other in.

In the end, Overwatch is an entertaining and bright shooter than brings the popular “hero” mechanics from the MOBA genre successfully into the FPS space. With its focus on objective game types it does its best to ensure that every game is a fun experience, even if the community can sometimes hamper these efforts. At the heart of the game is its’ great cast of character, with 21 options available at launch players are sure to find a few heroes who resonate with them but even new players shouldn’t be afraid to step outside of their comfort zone and check out that one hero that they have 0 minutes of play time with. A lack of gameplay mode variety and some troubling unlockable costumes certainly take Overwatch down a peg but if you’re looking for that unique brand of Blizzard fun, Overwatch has your back.



These Awesome Overwatch Moments Will Leave You In Awe

Posted on May 26, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Overwatch has only been out three days but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a shortage of awesome moments, partially thanks to the closed beta that was everywhere for several months, and partially thanks to the fact that Overwatch is the only thing the internet can talk about right now.

The moments I’ve selected below range from the jaw dropping (the reaper kill-streak) to the dark and twisted (scroll down to the last one).

If you have your own GIF of an awesome play make sure to share it in the comments.

Reaper Kills Everyone


Torbjorn Takes Out Two Tanks All By Himself


Genji Can Apparently Block A Tracer Ulti

Its High Noon For This Entire Team


Tracer’s Bomb Rampage

Sometimes All You Need Is A Tank


Why Not Hang Around For Awhile And Chill?



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