Gamescom 2016: ‘Overwatch’ Has Some Major Changes Inbound

Unfortunately I couldn’t go to Gamescom this year, but it is still definitely one I have been watching at home for all the Esports and the news. All the Overwatch content made me very excited, so make a cuppa and get comfortable!

Eichenwalde

(c) Blizzard Entertainment 2016 

Now if you’ve been playing Overwatch since launch like me, some of the maps are beginning to get a bit old. Especially Watchpoint: Gibraltar. I hate that map. So the time really feels right for Blizzard to give us a new battleground to play in.Eichenwalde is the first new map to be announced, and it looks beautiful. In true Overwatch style, the map is full of little details to make it less like a video game location and more a real place.

The bricks of the buildings look like you could touch them; the moss on the walls look fuzzy, with all the named buildings. And it really looks like a little abandoned town complete with a castle! I mean come on! A castle! Assistant Game Director Aaron Keller in his interview with Soe commented that the map is set in an abandoned town outside the Black Forest in Germany. With all the abandoned houses, it makes an insane amount of different routes to get to where you are going. So many nooks and crannies to hide in or on top of and to definitely box in the opponents.

The new map is not quite a payload and not quite a control point objective. In fact, it is both. You start by attacking the control point and once your team has it, you then defend the payload. The payload is a giant battering ram for the castle gates. When you have got the payload to the castle gates and captured the checkpoint there, the ram batters down the door to get into the castle.

The game finishes at the body/armour of someone who looks suspiciously like Reinhardt. It has been confirmed since the announcement that this guy at the end is Reinhardt’s old master, Balderich. To get a good look at the map, below is a video from popular streamer Unit Lost Gaming. He talks in depth as he plays on the map at Gamescom!

 

How cool right? I’m really looking forward to playing this map myself on console in September, but for those of you on PC, you can find it live now on the PTR. In the words of Tracer, “what are you waiting for”? Let me know your thoughts if you have PC PTR access or were at Gamescom and tried the map!

2: Competitive Changes!

This was not technically announced at Gamescom but just before, so lots of interviews made comments on it. And it is a major thing, which is why I have included it here. Everyone knows that the first season of competitive mode was a little bit of a sensitive issue. What with coin flips to decide who wins, supports not getting enough points and the loss of levels when you have a defeat. Blizzard has announced a brand new system for ranking. This seems to be based in a similar fashion to StarCraft II’s leagues.

You will be in a skill rating from 1-5000 and this number will be put in tier brackets of Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Grandmaster. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s director posted a video on YouTube explaining the changes, which you can find below.

Also, in even better news, you will not be able to drop tiers (unless in the top two – Master and Grandmaster), just skill rating. This is fantastic. This makes much more sense. And sudden death is no more! Check out the video below from the man himself to see more information.

3: New Animated Short!

Gamescon was given the world premiere of the new short for Bastion. Whether you love or hate the little robot (Omnic is the official phrase here), this short gave you big feels! And now that Origin’s skin for him makes sense, finally. Check out the short below!

4: Overwatch Esports

There were matches aplenty at Gamescom for the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown tournament. These are currently being re-streamed on Twitch repeatedly which you can find here.

Unfortunately there was no mention of Sombra, that fabled hero that has been teased through the game. But, to be honest, I’m sure most people are happier with a brand new map and the new changes to competitive. I do have a feeling that Blizzcon 2016 will have a tonne of new content for us to drool over though.

Were you at Gamescom? What do you think of the new content and upcoming changes? Is there anything (other than Sombra!) you wished had been announced? Let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to follow me here and all social media, the links are below!

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Overwatch: Taking the world one hero at a time

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The latest game to take the gaming world by storm is Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch.

I have said before that I am really not great at FPS games (especially with a controller!), but I can get some damage done! Overwatch is designed to be easy to just pick up and play. Blizzard has done this quite cleverly so that while great for the experienced FPS players, new or inexperienced players (like me, a total noob!) do not feel like they are at a complete disadvantage and can just join the gaming fun.

I tried the open Beta on PC and Xbox One, and unfortunately my computer really struggled and kept having weird graphic bugs. It just looked like an 8-bit game, so I brought the Origins edition of the game for Xbox One. With tinkering I am pretty sure I could’ve got it to work on PC, but after spending two hours with no joy and very limited time to try it out, I made the decision to try it on Xbox. This review is therefore based on my Xbox experience from launch to time of writing.

Now I have to say, visually the game looks amazing. Personally, I have not had to fiddle with any settings (though the colourblind option was a brilliant idea!), and I have hardly seen any tearing or graphics bugs. The game is absolutely beautiful. Each map and character (Hero) is simply marvellous with detail. You can tell the developers had passion designing each character and map, going to a lot of effort and this can be seen in each part graphically. There are nooks and crannies all over each map with little things that make it seem like the game is in a tangible reality. For example on the Greek Ilios map, I found a swimming pool complete with underwater lighting in one of the buildings. I then got so distracted I got attacked in the back haha!

Aesthetically, the developers have created a beautiful game. The HUD is clean and crisp, giving the maximum view and not getting in the way of the player at all. I do love a clear HUD. The characters, who each have their own background story (you can find these HERE), are all unique and offering multiple different playing styles. There are currently twenty-one heroes at this time (see additional edit below!), with Blizzard saying more are coming soon. Each character is from a variety of different national/ethnic background and one of my favourite things to hear is when they are on an opposing team and suddenly speak their native dialect. Mercy, for example, is of Swiss nationality and when on opposing team using her Ultimate, “Heroes never die!” turns from English into German (I think, my German is bad!). Whoever thought of that deserves a pat on the back.

Gameplay is fun, diverse and easy to pick up. Each hero having different abilities and uses means no game is ever the same. The game is meant to be played with friends, but you can play as a solo queuer. The best way to show this is in the below video where you can see some of my excerpts from games!

Can I just say, Blizzard have done a fantastic job again with the orchestrated soundtrack too. You can hear clearer in the video above but you can find the full soundtrack at all good online places and on youtube. It’s beautiful.

Not only is there Quick Match, but the other game modes include Competitive (I’d advise only doing the placement matches unless you have a full team, Season Two is bringing fixes to make Competitive better), Custom where you can set rules and pick different type of matches with a group of your friends (Widowmaker sniping only is hilarious!), and the Brawl. The Brawl mode changes every week, and currently Blizzard are doing a Rio Olympics salute with new seasonal collectable items (skins, player icons and sprays) in Loot Boxes and the brawl is a 3 v 3 Rocket League-type game using Lucio. It’s fantastic!

Now, Loot boxes. Each time you level up towards 100 (each 100 you then Prestige and begin again), you gain a free Loot Box. Inside there are 4 items that vary from currency for unlocking new skins, player icons, sprays (for painting on doors, floors, windows etc. in matches) emotes, different highlight graphics, voice lines, and currency. Duplicates also award currency which you use to save up for the skin you want for your favourite hero that just won’t drop out of Loot Boxes. This is how I got my Valkyrie skin for Mercy! You can use real money in order to get a bulk of Loot Boxes to unlock more things faster, but you do not have to. Parents, make sure you have to get your kids to ask permission first before they microtransaction as these boxes are addictive!

 

Epic Winston skin

Legendary Winston skin, so lucky!

 

Since starting this blog post, I commented on a couple of subreddits on popular website Reddit in order to find others to play with (some of whom you can see in the video, hi guys and gals!). I was starting to get a little lonely being solo and had a headset  so put my details on the various looking for groups places where Overwatch was the focus. And the difference is insane. Once I got over my headset anxiety, the guys and girls were all friendly and we just have a laugh when we do play together.

So even if you weren’t sure about forking out for the Origins edition, I highly recommend it. This game is still gaining traction and with all the updates (although slow for consoles but that is due to console rules and needing to process the updates) this game is probably going to be Blizzard’s shining star. I think this game is going to be fantastic as professional teams form and tournaments happen. I’m really looking forward to Blizzcon when I’m sure there will be epic games.

If you are on Xbox, feel free to send me an add and say you’re from the blog! I look forward to playing with you! Let me know your comments below (and also like the video on Youtube please!)

Edit: Since starting this blog post, a new support hero was released (free!). Ana is a support sniper with the ability to dot heal and snipe. She’s pretty awesome. So that brings the total to twenty-two heroes!

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Streamers of the Week

Welcome to this first post of Streamers of the Week!

This series will once a week contain my favourite streamers of the moment. I watch a lot on Twitch and have done for a while, and nothing is better than finding new streamers that are fun to watch and listen to, but perhaps have a small following!

First up is Spamfish.

Spamfish playing WoW on Twitch

Spamfish playing WoW on Twitch

A fellow Brit who I found via another streamer. A variety streamer who has returned to World of Warcraft (how I found him, watching WoW streams haha!). He hasn’t played WoW for a while and the game has changed a lot. Even since I first started, the game has massively changed and to be honest it’s a bit overwhelming! Anyway, Spamfish really is a variety streamer, has a nice soothing voice to listen to. (I say this because I’ve noped right out of streams with grating voices!) I really think he’s one to keep an eye on! You can find him here.

Next: Pixe1ina

Pixe1ina playing DarkSouls

Pixe1ina playing DarkSouls

A female streamer, part of the Types of Dudes team on Twitch, she also has a good singing voice! She streams a variety of different games and boosts her music soundtrack with singing. She is currently trying to also get partnered on Twitch. She is also one to watch, Check her out here.

Last but by no means least is : AnthonyAcc.

AnthonyAcc playing WoW

AnthonyAcc playing WoW

I’ve gone back to this guy’s stream several times in the evening. Because he’s awesome. A variety streamer that just loves what he does, he engages with the chat, says hi to people and his  stream is just a pleasure to watch. (I think it helps he sang to me too, maybe I’m biased!) Honestly you should really check him out. He is a proper entertainer. Go say hi and that Witchysparkle sent you  here.

I hope you do check these guys out and see for yourself what great people they are. Do you have any recommedations? Comment below or Tweet me!

World of Warcraft: Legion!

Blizzard Entertainment announced a brand new expansion! Streamed live from GamesCon (not Blizzcon!)

World of Warcraft: Legion!

World of Warcraft: Legion.

Oh my goodness. I watched the stream with Hubby & Miss (who eventually went to Peppa Pig on the PS4) and my Hubby screamed. Maybe I did too. Okay so I totally did.

At the first cinematic, the lead in from WoD, both of us cringed. Neither of us want to see another Orc expansion. Just no. It was a nice cinematic and I am proud to say it was me, not the Veteran of WoW, who spotted Illidan! I may be overly chuffed at that.

There was talking, then the announcement trailer. This is what we were all waiting for. Here is the run down with screenshots of the slides taken from MMO Champion as I was watching on Hubby’s PC (he has the speakers!)

New Hero Class –  The Demon Hunter! 

Demon Hunter!!

Demon Hunter!!

So excited for this! When the teaser on Twitter suggested that there may be a new class that was already in Heroes of the Storm, I suggested a link to Illidan but both myself and Hubby poo pooed it. We didn’t think it’d happen at all! And a hero class like the Death Knight means no levelling from 1! I hope it also means we can miss out on levelling in Draenor again..

New Continent – The Broken Isles

The Broken Isles

The Broken Isles

New continent pictures of zones looks amazing. So pretty and interesting! And the fact Dalaran is coming too? Yes please!!! Dalaran is amaze balls ! Please make it like the current Dalaran though where we could mix with each faction!

Artifact Weapons

Doomhammer ArtifactDoomhammer & Ashbringer!!

Doomhammer & Ashbringer!!

The new type of legendary/no more class talents while levelling sounds brilliant! This is totally taken from FFXIV and I don’t understand why people are complaining about this, I think this is brilliant, plus the ability to get different transmog from different things through the game/expansion.

Class Order Halls

A glimpse of a class hall

A glimpse of a class hall

The new and improved garrison. Not instanced. With a class storyline? This sounds great! I still need to read up more and keep an eye out about these though. Could we all get class mounts too? Don’t make it cost a raid tier though….

Adventure to Level 110
Ten levels not five is the way to go!

New Dungeons and Raids

With eight others too!

Hall of Valor! with eight other dungeons too

So Blizzard want to make Dungeons more of a thing! Brilliant! The list so far is nine dungeons! That is correct, nine! Some for levelling and some for after the story! And the two raids also look amazing! I say amazing too much… but they do! I’m really looking forward to the Emerald Nightmare!

New Honor System

I love the idea of prestige ranks. Everyone has the same advantage, PVP gear also no longer being something to carry in your bag! Wohoo!

Beta begins later this year.

Yahoo!

Just, so happy. If they include everything announced it will be the largest and fullest expansion to date. And Blizzard please read my previous post HERE so you do not make any further mistakes and make this one what you have so far promised. Do not let your players down Blizzard, your subscribers and threatening to break Blizzard. If this expansion does not succeed, Warcraft will be over.

My guess is that beta will be launched at Blizzcon in November with the release making WoD an 18 month expansion which would funnily enough coincide with the Warcraft movie in May next year!

I will do more posts on the expansion as time goes on and more information comes out.

What do you think? Tweet me or comment below! Did you watch the stream and are you on the hype train or sitting in a jar of salt?

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Why the Playstation 4 is Great for Us


Original stock photo from pexels.com



When the Playstation 4 came out, my Hubby showed a lot of control. It came out in the Autumn and he waited until January in the sales when there was an offer from a certain catalogue company. He was used to getting consoles when they came out, but he was now an adult with a family to make sure their needs are met.

To be honest, it sat there for 6 months not really doing much as he didn’t have a lot of games to play on it (there weren’t many out) and the price of new games really put him off. Then he switched it onto the main TV when we disposed of normal TV. Yes, we don’t watch TV. Set up Netflix and occasionally I would play a game that was free for PS+.

I really starting looking at the PS4 as a console when for Christmas last year he brought me FFXIV for it. I got it a few days early, before PSN got taken down (kids, don’t be jerks!). And I fell in love with it. I hadn’t got my new computer yet and I’d just had the old one finally give up on me so I was playing games on a now sluggish laptop (that reminds me, I still have to uninstall stuff on there!). It ran beautifully on the PS4, I could not believe how amazing it looked for a console running an MMO! I was expecting it to look awful. There was next to no lag when running ST and I just couldn’t believe how great it looked.

Hubby agreed and we started slowly (because damn those prices! Another post, another time!) building up a PS4 collection. InFamous Second Son and Watchdogs were two of them. We already had Knack, FIFA 2014, and Killzone free with the bundle Hubby brought. Of course, PS+ games helped build this up even more and we now have a really impressive library of games. Our most latest purchases include Driveclub and Batman: Arkham Knight. And of course Rocket League!

Occasionally during the day, I’ll pull up an armchair and load up Driveclub with some music going with Miss and her controller driving. Most of the time though I play the PS4 in the evenings. That way I can sit and play something like Watchdogs or InFamous that otherwise I’d miss the cutscenes of!

The PS4 is great for us. We can use Netflix (even if PSN is down hurrah!), put Spotify on for its vast library of children’s songs or popular songs for Mummy’s sanity! ; and of course play games, even remotely using the Vita! The other thing that is great is the integration of Twitch streaming. Hubby taught me about Twitch and those 3am feeds long ago would be made slightly better by Twitch streamers keeping my attention and awake rather that 3am TV! I have streamed on occasion, but I’m actually really shy! Seriously! I get self conscious about my voice. Anyway, being able to stream if I want to and watch other streamers play games on their PS4s is amazing. This is how I’ve found games I could be interested in getting- it’s great PR for games and their developers.

The one game that will test how I feel about the graphics and how it plays games will be The Last of Us. I was blown away on the PS3 version because of how it ran and how amazing it looked graphically. If the PS4 does not at least match it graphically (though to be fair Id be disappointed if it wasn’t better!) it would be a major let down. I don’t think I can describe how disappointed I would be. I’m going to get through some of my library of games first though!

I imagine as Miss gets older the use of the PS4 will change. I’ll even probably have to set her up a profile! But that’s the great thing about consoles, they grow and adapt with you.

How do you use your console other than for gaming? Tweet me or comment below, I would love to know.

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Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavenward

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavenward

With all the excitement of E3, I almost forgot about early access for FFXIV Heavensward expansion! Well that and the nasty cold flu virus thing Miss brought home. Due to the illness, I couldn’t progress as much as I would have liked but I am loving this expansion, though there are a few exceptions. I am taking time to write this so there are no spoilers!
So the story follows on from the end of 2.5. We are headed to Ishgard, and once through the gate, oh my goodness. Square Enix has created a beautiful city with tall buildings, kids throwing snowballs at you (they actually hit too!), absolutely amazing architecture and much more. There are plenty of aetherites to attune with so you can make your way round the city easily too. And it’s here the story begins.

Absolutely beautiful

Absolutely beautiful

The zones are beautifully designed, and we get to fly! It is just as well because you will find flying so much more useful than running from one end of the map to another for side quests (more on those later). They are huge. In fact I would say most of my time in the expansion is getting the aether currents (you need all these in an area so you can fly) and going from point A to B.

Flying!

Flying! Not the best pic, but no spoilers 😉

The Au Ra is a brand new race and they are so detailed. Hubby wants me to race change and I may after I’ve finished the story, but I’m very attached to my kitty (Miqo’te)! He’s race changed and the detail on the faces and scales is purely stunning. What I am finding is a huge amount of Au Ra characters! I’m sure as time goes on we’ll see variety again.
Currently I am level 59 and slowly running out of quests. How could that be happening? I hear you ask. Square Enix has made levelling ten more levels very difficult. Main Story quests give you the most experience but you’ll soon find the story locking out until the next level. In order to carry on, you need to hit those side quests (“go here and find this thing I left somewhere over the other side of the map!”). When you have flying in a zone, it makes it faster but often side quests are granting you aethers so off over the other side of the map with you for at least an hour! This makes levelling slow, and tedious. People did manage it within 24 hours but I’ve no idea how. A week on and I’m still not nearly close, Hubby who played more during day time than me finally hit sixty two days ago and he plays fast. It’ll be so easy to burn out trying to get to sixty, and I’m turning music on in the background and only turning it off for the story because otherwise I’m getting bored and unfocused. There is a chart made by a user on Reddit who has shown how steep this experience levelling curve is. It is ridiculous.

My Bard, she's awesome!

My Bard, she’s awesome!

My main class is a Bard, and at 50 I loved it! I was ranged, no cast times, I was helpful and yet could still kill things solo. Then Wanderers Minuet. Oh dear. Square Enix what did you do to my specialist! I feel like a Mage on World of Warcraft wet noodling all over the place! (Note: I can say this because my main is a Mage! See THIS post) Even now there is not enough Theorycraft (parsers are still not tracking DoTs and technically still against Terms of Service). I just feel broken. And with one of the new classes (Machinist) becoming essentially the new Bard, I really hope Square Enix has a think about how Bards have been screwed over. I don’t read Japanese but even on the Japanese forums fellow Bards are voicing their concerns so it’s not a “western” problem as some suggested. Note: I use the term “western” in no derogatory terms for players here in the west and those in Japan. I will have to explore more of end game to see how I feel about it.

I will be levelling another class as Bards are in a weird place right now. As to what I’m not sure. I do really want to try the new classes but there is so many of them! We’ll see.
If anyone is reading this and would like to be recruited in FfXIV for free stuff, please comment or tweet me! I’d be very happy to help you!

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E3 2015 – Hype Train choo choo!

E3 2015 Week hype!

E3 2015 Week hype!

So it’s here! The conferences are done, and wow what an expo! So many games, so much excitement I can barely contain myself.

Firstly if you want a full list of games at E3 this year, Aussieallroundgaming has made a great list for you which can be found here.

So Microsoft made Hubby want to buy one (especially now it’s cheaper), so that’s obviously a good sign. 

Sony. Oh my goodness, gracious me! Sony blew everyone away, then promptly did it again. Below are some games I had to mention, but you should really watch the replay of the Sony Conference on YouTube. There were so many and it was a proper games conference.

The Last Guardian

The Last Guardian

(c)VideoGamer.com

Now I had no idea why Hubby squealed and nearly fell off his chair (I’m not exaggerating!), but this looks amazing and definitely my type of game! The pup thing creature.. I want one to cuddle with!! Cannot wait for this!

Dreams

   (C)Media Molecule

Imagine if there was a way to explore safely anything you wanted. Perhaps a dinosaur wearing a top hat that happens to be a magician? Or a shark on land? What Media Molecule suggested was that anything you imagine can be made reality within Dreams. I absolutely adore this idea! I could use this to make Miss interactive stories together or anything! I really hope it is what it seems.

Horizon: Zero Dawn

  

(C)Guerilla Games

This was the one where my jaw hit the floor. It was gameplay, it was beautiful, and robot dinosaurs! Apparently this game by Guerilla Games is completely open world goodness and I can’t wait to hear more about it! Even now I watch the trailer just to see if I spot anything that I missed because it really is that breathtaking. Just, wow.

There were so many games that this blog post would be far too long if I went into detail. 

What were your favourites? Tweet or comment below as to what you thought!