So we got coerced into covering Blizzcon by getting a virtual ticket. The virtual ticket to Blizzcon includes access to exclusive live streams as well as ingame items for each game Blizzard has made. Card backs for Hearthstone, mounts or pets for World of Warcraft, and skins for Overwatch heroes. The ticket also gives a discount for a goodie bag, but I didn’t went for that – I looked at it at least twice, but what it offered wasn’t simply interesting enough for me to plunge.
We won’t be covering everything from the convention, and since Overwatch is nearly the only game from Blizzard that I play, the focus in this article will be on Overwatch. However, there was a lot of really interesting announcements, even just in the opening ceremony that opened the convention. This was available for everyone, and I can recommend finding it online and watch it if you haven’t seen it – if you’re a fan of even one of their games.
As always, a new fantastic Overwatch short from Blizzard – “Reunion”
I must admit – when it was go time, I decided against watching the opening ceremony live as I caught up in playing Red Dead Redemption 2 – however, a friend wrote me and talked to me about it, and he mentioned Jeff [Kaplan; red] was on stage. I couldn’t resist, so I took a peek, at least to listen and he talked Overwatch. For that I had to wait and see. I wasn’t disappointed. One of their amazing short films started to roll.
Not since I was 5 on a christmas eve have I felt this excited. I kid you not. The short is starring Jesse McCree (one of the original 21 heroes) in the lead role and now I just find him adorable and I just want to hug him. It also shows why the Route 66 map is such a mess.
The short also introduced us to a new hero – we knew a new hero was coming. It is not unseen a new hero emerges through a short movie – Brigitte was introduced to us via the Reinhardt short (“Honor and Glory”). There was just so many cool new characters in this new short and I wanted them all to join the rooster of playable heroes; Ashe, her Big Omnic Butler (B.O.B. for short), the triplets working with her, or the cool omnic sniper. While Jeff was presenting the short and the new hero, it sounded like he wanted them all too, mentioning the different characters such as Ashe, McCrees old friend from the Deadlock Gang, B.O.B., her butler in crime or maybe even the triplets.
As it turns out, we will get Ashe – with B.O.B. as her ult ability. I am so excited, really truly. This was above and beyond – I expected a new hero, but I did not speculate on who it would be or what abilities we would get. But as I watched the short, I got more and more excited. I guess the reveal that BOB would be her ultimate ability was the climax. It seems like Ashe will be a McCree/Ana/Zarya hybrid with dynemite – not to mention an Ultimate which is unlike any other we’ve seen so far in the game. Ashe sports a rifle which does have a scope, but will not zoom as much as the other scopes we’ve seen in the game – and does seems like she will be a new counter towards shields with her dynamite.
A follow up about Ashe and her gameplay style since it’s been a few weeks since Blizzcon. I’ve been playing her on the Public Test Region and enjoyed her, but I’ve never been good at aiming or reacting, so playing with and against 6 Ashes on each team did give me the opportunity to try her out, but since Ashe is a small, slim character, she is hard to hit for me.
She arrived on the live servers a few weeks after Blizzcon and it has been a blast to try her out in games where not two of the same character can be on the same team. It just makes it more balanced and doesn’t require to have super fast and accurate aim since you can use the opposing teams tanks to charge up your ult for getting through those choke points.
Other news during the ceremony
There will be 6 new LEGO Overwatch kits released in 2019, some of these can be combined with each other, but of course you can place whichever hero you want to whichever place you prefer. I am hoping to be able to review these for you guys, possibly with assembly videos.
- Tracer and Widowmaker with the kart and a checkpoint disc from Gibraltar
- A Gibraltar map kit that includes the rocket and 4 minifigs: Mercy, Winston. Pharah and Reaper
- Hanzo and Genji set with the capture point B from Hanamura. This set has a third minifigure, the henchman from the short movie.
- A Dorado set, which includes Soldier 76, MCCree and Reaper. This one includes the truck that you have to push all the way through town. The truck does NOT hover once assembled, but you can place one of the minifigs to drive it. Can we do this in-game too, pls? Maybe that will make the truck go faster…
- There’s also a set with D.va and Reinhardt, where the minifigures can ride each mech.
- The new, bigger and maybe also, improved, Bastion build can switch between recon and sentry mode once built.
Small notes for other news from the opening ceremony:
- Warcraft III is getting a remaster
- There’s a new Diablo game coming, but it is only on mobile
- Hearthstone is getting another expansion, and the theme is trolls
- WOW Classic got a lot of stagetime, beta is open to all virtual ticket holders now, and will release summer 2019. Current WOW subscribers will get it included in their subscription.
- Heroes of the Storm is getting a new hero: Orphea.
It’s game time!
The opening ceremony was followed by the Overwatch World Cup playoffs blasting off. Matches were best of 5 (final gold medal match was best of 7), and unlike in the group stage, the teams did not play all rounds.
I have to make a shout out to the casters – I really feel I’ve gotten to know most of the casters in the Overwatch pro scene and I’ve found a fair few favourites, but in general, they are all really entertaining. Some favourites are ZP, Jake, Puckett, Goldenboy and Soe. Reinforce joined them after Swedens knockout in the group stages, as full time Overwatch League caster, and he joined the casters at the table to cover the playoffs.
Before the Australia vs South Korea match, the casters made a friendly jab at Reinforce by showing a few clips from the group stage with Reinforce being killed during the matches in Thailand.
All the matches was really interesting to watch, but I think the matches I was most excited for was the matches with United Kingdom fighting – my mother was after all born in the UK. And since Denmark was beaten out of the finals by Sweden I could not root for my own country this year – I have high hopes for next year!
I won’t spoil any matches or how they ended, as they are worth a watch – at least some of them, probably depending on who you are rooting for. All players made some outstanding plays, however there were a few who did stick out, like Mangachu on team Canada doing some amazing Pharah plays, Surefour doing some sneaky Sombra plays and quite a few high intensity Zarya plays. Bani and Boombox both did some some fabelous boops as Lucio, Fusions just charged into the top level Overwatch play and surprising everyone with his Reinhardt and we saw some really interesting Widowmaker plays as well, even a few close up Widowmaker vs Widowmaker fights.
I can recommend watching this highlights video: