We sit down with Blizzard to talk about the Alliance, Horde, and Island Expeditions
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Interview
Retribution, the new PvE co-op mission now live in Overwatch finally delivers on the promise of fun story-based content.
Overwatch Retribution Delivers Fun PvE Story Content
Where we talk about lessons learned, the early experiments, and the evolution of PvE Overwatch.
Talking Overwatch Retribution with Game Director Jeff Kaplan

PC | PlayStation 4 | Xbox One
Genre: Action
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment Official Site: http://eu.battle.net/overwat...
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Wednesday, 11 April 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:27pm 11/04/18 | 0 Comments
Recently we had the chance to sit down with Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan to talk about the new Retribution co-op mission. The latest, and definitely most successful, attempt by the team to bring co-op story content to the game. We talk about the lessons learned along the way, the early experiments, and the evolution of PvE Overwatch.

Mechanically Retribution is the evolution of PvE content within Overwatch. A team-based shooter designed for PvP, where it has gone on to become a household name across the globe. Thanks to its now with over 35 million players, an annual World Cup that attracts talent from across the globe, and a high profile esports league – fittingly called Overwatch League. The road to creating a co-op mode though, that could stand alongside the core competitive side of Overwatch was a long process. And one that began well before the arrival of Retribution and last year’s Uprising event.

“Halloween Terror 2016 was the first time. That's when we did the whole PvE experiment with Junkenstein’s Revenge,” Jeff tells me. “Before that, we had done some work on playing against AI, which we thought was cool. We knew it wasn't great. We knew it wasn't a compelling experience. Sure, we can teach bots to play the game, but it was never going to be as fun as playing against real people. It really was Halloween Terror, that first year, where we said, ‘Why don't we try something a little bit different. Let's see if we can create this fun new mode’.”

Click Here to Read Our Interview with Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:11pm 11/04/18 | 0 Comments
Retribution, the new PvE co-op mission live now in Overwatch finally delivers on the promise of fun story-based content. At a preview event last week at Blizzard HQ we were lucky enough to go hands-on with the new mission and speak with some of the talented people behind the scenes.

“There's just a lot of what we would probably call heavy handedness in Uprising,” Matthew Hawley, Lead Game Producer on Overwatch tells me. “We've tried to be a little bit subtler with Retribution. I think by its nature, Retribution's a little bit more run and gun so you have player interaction as the action. Which has helped us to better tell the story rather than maybe some of the more heavy-handed moments in Uprising.”

Not that it was designed to be the Overwatch equivalent of a campaign mode. The nature of it being a limited-time event meant that it was fine to play through a few times but wasn’t something that you immediately missed.

Little did we know though that whilst we were all experiencing Uprising for the first time, Blizzard were hard at work on a new bit of story content – Retribution. A new co-op mission that would take all the lessons learnt from Uprising, and offer a faster, leaner, and more exciting co-op experience. After the initial tests with the horde-like Junkenstein’s Revenge from the first Overwatch Halloween Terror event, to the experiment in objective-based co-op mission design that was Uprising, it seems like that old saying is true. In that third time’s the charm.

Click Here to Read Our Full Overwatch Retribution Preview
Friday, 6 April 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 09:24am 06/04/18 | 0 Comments
Last year with the release of Uprising we all got our first taste of story-based co-op Overwatch content. That being a PvE mission where players took on the role of specific Overwatch heroes in a historical battle that took place in London. And now with the introduction of Overwatch Archives, the second historical mission is set to drop next week. And it looks, well, awesome.

Taking place in a new location, Rialto (Venice, Italy) players will get to relive a critical Blackwatch mission as McCree, Moira, Genji, and Reyes take on Talon forces. And that's Reyes as in before he became Reaper.

Now, as it looks like the above trailer was created using in-engine assets this is definitely the most cinematic Overwatch has looked in a while. And it looks great, especially with what look like Talon forces that haven't been seen in-game before. If the new Overwatch Archives event means more co-op missions like Uprising and now Retribution, fans looking for more Overwatch story will be in for a treat.

Also, Retribution will see the addition of over 160 new cosmetic items - including what we assume will be some cool new skins. We'll have more on Retribution next week when the event goes live from 11 April – 1 May AEST/NZST on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:25pm 28/03/18 | 0 Comments
And will once again see countries go head to head this November at Blizzcon. But before that, the players and eligible countries need to be sorted out. So, from From today through the end of Competitive Season 9 (29 April AEST), Blizzard will be tracking the skill rating of each country's top 150 players. With the top 20 countries at the end moving on to compete in the 2018 Overwatch World Cup.

Progress can be tracked here, and as of writing Australia is sitting in 15th place. The four top countries chosen to host Overwath World Cup events - South Korea, United States, Thailand, and France - automatically go through.

Australia made it through to the top eight last year, so here's hoping we can go further in 2018.
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:09pm 21/03/18 | 0 Comments
The daughter of everyone's favourite master of the portable turret, Torbjörn Lindholm, is the newest hero to join the Overwatch ranks. Whereas her father is more of a weapons designer Brigitte went the imposing armour and defensive route. From her portable plasma shield to her flail, one might be surprised to learn that she's a new Support character.

But then one look at her abilities, which includes being able to throw out healing repair packs and then Rally her team with an Ultimate buff of armour and faster movement, you begin to see her appeal. In that she bucks the usual kinda-squishy Support trend in favour of well, a formidable presence.

For more info head to Brigitte's official character page, or fire up Overwatch and start flailing. Literally.
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:49pm 01/03/18 | 0 Comments
Well, turns out that I was wrong. All that teasing was in fact about hero numero 27 joining the Overwatch ranks - daughter Torbjörn Lindholm, Brigitte. Who also happens to be a mechanical engineer specialising in armour and defense. Click through for a breakdown of her skills and abilities.

Okay so Brigitte, as a new Support Hero, can throw Repair Packs down to heal teammates. Plus, her Flail weapon also has the ability to heal when damaging foes. Throw in a personal Barrier Shield (think mini-Reinhardt) and an ultimate that gives allies long-lasting armour Brigitte sound like quite the addition to the Overwatch lineup.

Her abilities in full:
Rocket Flail – Brigitte’s melee weapon has an extended range, enabling her to strike multiple enemies with a single swing.
Repair Pack – Brigitte throws a Repair Pack that can heal an ally. Any healing over that ally’s maximum health provides them with armour instead.
Whip Shot – Brigitte throws her flail a long distance, dealing damage and knocking an enemy away from her.
Barrier Shield – Brigitte deploys a frontal energy barrier to absorb a limited amount of damage.
Shield Bash – Once her Barrier Shield is deployed, Brigitte can dash forward to stun an enemy.
Inspire – When Brigitte hits enemies with her flail, she also heals nearby allies over time.
Rally – Brigitte moves faster and provides all nearby allies with armour that lasts until it’s removed by damage.

Brigitte is also now live on the PTR, giving everyone a chance to check her out before going live in the near future.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:24pm 20/02/18 | 0 Comments
And New Zealand. And sure we could have put that in the headline too, but hey we put the A in ANZ. For those that need a reminder Overwatch Contenders is a semi-professional league that will showcase the best local talent, where they'll go up against each other and possibly make it to the Big Leagues. As in the Overwatch League.

The first of three Overwatch Contenders seasons planned for this year, with a total local prize pool of $150,000 USD per year, kicks off March 12 at 2:00pm AEDT/4:00pm NZDT.

This is all part of the path to pro for Overwatch that begins with the Open Division that is, yeah, open to all. The ANZ region has eight teams confirmed so far: Legacy, Kings GC, Your Name Here, cmonBruh, ViewSonic.DarkSided, Masterminds GC, Kanga Esports, and Alter Ego.

For more info, including schedules and updates head to the Overwatch Contenders site.
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 02:10pm 13/02/18 | 0 Comments
It must surprise Blizzard that there are people out there still not playing Overwatch. But, to their tenacious credit, they won't let these stragglers live Overwatchless forever, inviting them in for free this coming weekend to play with the full roster across a number of game modes.

The free weekend will take place across PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Here's the official line:
Attention, recruits! If you haven't already had the opportunity to suit up and save the world as one of the heroes of Overwatch, now's your chance!

During this free weekend, we're making Overwatch's full roster of 26 heroes and 17 maps available for play in a variety of modes, including Quick Play, Custom Games, and the Arcade. Players will also have the ability to level up, earn loot boxes, and unlock a variety of different customisation options.

If players decide to purchase Overwatch after test driving the game, they’ll get to keep any progress made during the weekend—as long as they use the same Blizzard, Xbox Live, or Sony Entertainment account that they played on.

To learn more, please visit: https://playoverwatch.com/en-us/blog/21508380
Interestingly, outside of a few BlizzCon's ago, when the game was first revealed, this editor hasn't since jumped into the full release proper. I guess this weekend gives me no excuse now.

Are you also an Overwatch no-show? If so, what's stopped you jumping in?
Thursday, 8 February 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:36pm 08/02/18 | 0 Comments
The new Ayutthaya map, which takes place in Thailand, has been built from the ground-up for Capture the Flag. With Blizzard also refining the mode by introducing sudden death by moving both flags closer to the center when a match is tied up in the closing moments. A new four-week competitive season has also begun with new skins and other cosmetics introduced to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan goes over the changes in the latest Developer Update video below.

The Overwatch Year of the Dog Lunar Event is on now.
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:13pm 06/02/18 | 1 Comments
On Sunday February 11 to be exact. Well, to be more exact from 12:00pm AEDT. The Stage Finals, and this will be the first for the Overwatch League, will see the top three standing teams go head-to-head for their share in a $125,000 USD bonus. Plus, the title of Stage 1 winner.

Stage Finals take the form of a seeded playoff where the second- and third-place teams face each other first, the winner of which will take on the top-seeded team in the title match. All matches will be best-of-five, and the higher seed will be the home team for each match. Per the Overwatch League Official Rules, title match results will not count toward overall season playoff seeding or tiebreaker scenarios.

Watch live video from OverwatchLeague on www.twitch.tv

Times: Sunday, 11 February AEDT/NZDT. Semi-finals (2nd place team vs. 3rd place team): 12:00pm AEDT/2:00pm NZDT; semi-finals winner faces 1st ranked team at approximately 2:00pm AEDT/4:00pm NZDT.

Stream embedded above.

Monday, 29 January 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:58pm 29/01/18 | 0 Comments
Scott "Custa" Kennedy is currently the sole Australian player in the Overwatch League, as part of the Dallas Fuel lineup. Which, naturally has seen local support for the team rise considerably. The Overwatch League, which saw huge audience numbers for its first week of competition is now in full swing. And as part of its focus on talent, Blizzard has posted a profile on our local Overwatch star.

His journey to the Overwatch League is a fascinating one, having started in 2015 when the game was still in beta. Having set aside studies, he traveled to North America with the goal of becoming an Overwatch pro.

“It was really tough to explain to everyone else that this is what I wanted to do,” Custa said. “I honestly didn’t tell a lot of people other than my close family and friends. I literally just lied and said, 'I’m gonna go work in Canada and do something different,' right? But I was really sure of myself. I knew I could do it if I really put the time into it. [Going pro] was the thing that I wanted to do the most, but obviously moving across the world and being like ‘I’m gonna do esports!’ is not a reliable life strategy.”

From there his journey led him to join a few different pro team, travel to countries like Korea, and eventually land a spot on the Dallas Fuel roster. For Custa though, he's excited to see that the new Overwatch competitive road-map that now features an Open Division and separate Contenders league, could lead to more Aussies joining the League.
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:23pm 24/01/18 | 0 Comments
The latest map addition to Overwatch is perhaps the most anticipated yet, especially for Blizzard fans. Because it, well takes place in a theme park with rides and attractions from Diablo, StarCraft, Hearthstone, Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm. The update is now live, and in addition to the new map and changes to the game, a bunch of new and impressive skins have also been added.

Totalling up to over 100 new cosmetic items when you factor in sprays and emotes and so forth. The new skins are as follows:

    Legendary Skins:
  • Blackhand Doomfist
  • Black Cat D.Va
  • Kabuki Hanzo
  • Asp Pharah
  • Capoeira Lúcio
  • Ecopoint: Antarctica Mei
  • Immortal Orisa
  • Crusader Reinhardt
  • Butcher Roadhog
  • Magni Torbjörn
  • Nova Widowmaker
  • Barbarian Zarya

    Epic Skins:
  • Caution Junkrat
  • Royal McCree
  • Hellfire Reaper
  • Peacock Symmetra
  • Carbon Fiber Zenyatta

Nova Widowmaker. A character I rarely if ever play, but the StarCraft nod is a very cool addition. Here's a rapid-fire trailer that showcases the new skins, which are not seasonal or timed but will be available in regular Loot Boxes and the Hero Gallery moving forward.

For more on the creation of Blizzard World be sure to check our recent interview with the team.

Thursday, 11 January 2018
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 03:21pm 11/01/18 | 0 Comments
As per yesterday's streaming partnership news for the Overwatch League with Twitch comes the official kick-off of the first season with 12 teams representing major cities in Asia, Europe, and North America. Already off to a good start, viewer numbers for today's matches have so far been sitting around the 300,000 mark.

And with all games taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, it's definitely one of the most impressive esports presentations we've seen for regular season play.

You can check out the action, which is streaming live right now, below.

Watch live video from OverwatchLeague on www.twitch.tv

Viewers can also tune in MLG.com and the MLG app (on iOS and Android), OverwatchLeague.com, and the Overwatch League companion app (for iOS and Android). Blizzard fans will also have easy access to the Overwatch League’s web presence via a new Overwatch League tab in the Blizzard Battle.net Desktop App.

The first season of the Overwatch League will run from today until June, with playoffs and finals happening the following month in July. Matches will bep layed each Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday AEDT - so be sure to check out the official site for full schedule info.
Friday, 8 December 2017
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:22pm 08/12/17 | 0 Comments
Starting next week on Wednesday, December 13 on all platforms. In addition to the return of snowball fights and new Brawl called Mei’s Yeti Hunt, which a group of Meis against a runaway Winston who needs to be stopped before he gets his super. Plus, new seasonal skins and cosmetic items.

Although we don't have footage, we've got the next best thing. Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan talking about the event.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:19pm 28/11/17 | 0 Comments
With the Overwatch League set to kick off its inaugural season one of the big questions has been, 'what does that mean for the current state of competitive Overwatch?' Well, in addition to name changes, a restructuring that makes sense with the ultimate goal for teams and players being a path to the professional Overwatch League.

It's not complicated, but the below video does a good job of breaking it down.

Okay, so here goes my attempt. Overwatch Contenders will be the new home of regional seasonal play, where our own Overwatch Pacific Championship will become Contenders Pacific. And sometime after that a specific Australian (Australia and New Zealand) Contenders league.

At a minimum, the top six teams from existing tournaments will be invited to join their region’s Contenders for 2018. The new Contenders regions, Australia and South America, will hold open qualifier tournaments to determine entry. Contenders will not be region-locked, although online matches will be played on each region’s server. As with the Overwatch League, it’s important for us to have the best players in the world competing at every level of competition.

The hierarchy of how it all work is straight-forward. The in-game Overwatch Open Division will continue, broken into the same regions as Contenders. There the pathway will be open for players and teams to compete both locally, regionally, and then hopefully one day make it to the Overwatch League.

Australian region Overwatch teams in the Open Division will be invited to compete in Contenders Trials in February.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 12:37pm 22/11/17 | 0 Comments
Where Joab chats to Overwatch's Principal Game Designer Geoff Goodman and Lead Character Artist Renaud Galand about the new map, BlizzardWorld. The happiest place on earth, or whatever version of earth we find in Overwatch. Great insights into its creation so be sure to check it out.

Fan service at its best.

AusGamers: Were people eager to work on the map as fans of Blizzard?

Renaud Galand: Absolutely. I think that, that actually shows in and of itself because we have a lot of artists who actually worked on the map who worked on StarCraft, worked on World of Warcraft, worked on Diablo and they were super-excited to be able to work on that map.

Geoff: It's also cool, like, Blizz... Blizz is a big company but everyone knows each other so we're all "let's get art the director from Hearthstone over here and he can come over and check it out", everyone was sort of helping us out, "This isn't quite right," or "what do you think about this?" So it's kind of just this whole fun process the whole time, like there's little Easter Eggs everywhere.

Renaud: Oh my god, so many! So many. I don't think we have a map that's had that many Easter eggs.

Click Here to Read Our Full BlizzardWorld Interview!
Friday, 17 November 2017
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 11:45am 17/11/17 | 0 Comments
That's right Overwatch is free-to-play this weekend starting tomorrow until Tuesday November 21 across PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Which is good timing because new hero Moira has just joined the ranks. Announced at BlizzCon, Moira is a shadowy scientist that used biotic abilities to dispense both healing and damage.

Here's a breakdown of her abilities.

Biotic Grasp
Using her left hand, Moira expends biotic energy to heal allies in front of her. Her right hand fires a long-range beam weapon that saps enemies’ health, healing Moira and replenishing her biotic energy.

Biotic Orb
Moira launches a rebounding biotic sphere; she can choose between a regeneration effect that heals the allies it passes through, or a decay effect that deals damage to enemies.

Moira quickly teleports a short distance.

Coalescence (Ultimate)
Moira channels a long-range beam that both heals allies and bypasses barriers to damage her enemies.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 02:39pm 14/11/17 | 0 Comments
Speaking with Windows Central, a representative of Blizzard noted that the studio has been impressed with the new Xbox One X console, and it plans to utilise all that extra power in an upcoming Overwatch update. Dialblo III, which runs at a silky smooth 60fps in 4K already on the console, points to something special coming to Overwatch fans on Xbox.

The statement notes that the "Overwatch team is excited with great possibilities Xbox One X opens. The team is currently exploring how the game experience can be enhanced on this platform to leverage the console's incredible hardware, and is working on implementing 4K resolution in the game on Xbox One X". Also going on to say that work will need to be done on the UI to support the new resolution and we will be getting full details on the upcoming update at a later date.
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Post by Joaby @ 06:30pm 08/11/17 | 0 Comments
At BlizzCon this weekend just past, Blizzard and the Overwatch team revealed the game's newest map. A theme park called "BlizzardWorld" -- a hybrid map that starts with players attacking out of a Hearthstone Inn before gradually touring all of Blizzard's games.

Well, all of them except for one.

"Blizzard exists in Overwatch, Blizzard games exist in Overwatch," Geoff Goodman, Principal Game Designer at Team 4, explained to us in an interview at the event. "Overwatch doesn't exist in Overwatch, that's maybe a little too meta."

Lead Character Artist Renaud Galand quickly interjected, however.

"I think we do have one tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny Easter egg, Renaud said. "One little, like, Overwatch touch in the map. I'll let you play it and discover it. It's one little character hiding somewhere."

Renaud could be talking about the Heroes Arcade — where Soldier: 76, D.Va and Sombra all have high scores — but the way he worded his hint makes me think it might be something different. Something meta.

Stay tuned to AusGamers for the full details in our forthcoming interview with Geoff Goodman and Renaud Galand, where we talk in detail about BlizzardWorld, Moira, and how the team is making Overwatch easier to watch.

Check out the video below for a closer look at "BlizzardWorld".

Sunday, 5 November 2017
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 04:17pm 05/11/17 | 0 Comments
Overwatch’s presence at BlizzCon this year, outside of the awesome spectacle that was the Overwatch World Cup, was a tad predictable. In that just about anyone could have guessed “new map, new hero, new animated short”. But, that’s not to say that what we got wasn’t impressive. The new map, called Blizzard World that celebrates the worlds of Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft within the Overwatch universe is just, well, awesome.

Check it out.

It’s a shame then that we have to wait until 2018 to play it.

As for the new hero, Blizzard is bringing Moira - a Talon geneticist - a healer and damage dealer that Overwatch Jeff Kaplan jokingly described as “OPAF”. And it’s not hard to see why as in the debut spotlight trailer, Moira looks incredible. Like an evil Zenyatta crossed with Mercy and a dash of Tracer.

And finally, because it’s been a while since we got our last Overwatch Animated Short comes a new entry that dives into the history of everyone’s favourite plasma-shield bearing German – Reinhardt. Another stellar effort from Blizzard’s animation team, and this time one that focus quite heavily on action. Which is great because as a Reinhardt main, getting to see the rocket charge and shield defence utilised in such a dramatic way is like a dream come true.

Do we have enough of these animated shorts to warrant a cinema run yet?