Items tagged with Blizzard

In the last few weeks, Activision-Blizzard leaders have been criticized for the handling, and in some cases enabling, of sexual harassment in the workplace following a California lawsuit. Furthermore, the game development company employees have likened the employee culture to a frat house with a strong “bro culture,” amidst other appalling revelations. Now, these issues have culminated in Blizzard president J. Allen Brack resigning and numerous brand image concerns. This morning, employees of Blizzard Entertainment were notified that J. Allen Brack would be “stepping down as the leader of the studio.” In a post on Blizzard’s website, it is noted that Brack will be... Read more...
Last year's Overwatch League was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that temporarily pumped the brakes on some interesting AI projects, as well. At the time, Blizzard and IBM were set to announce that Big Blue was about to become the cloud, AI, and machine learning analytics partner for the game's official e-sports platform. Blizzard and IBM hope that this partnership will lead to figuring out new ways to evaluate performance, fix balance issues, and much more. Now that Overwatch League is back on for 2021, the partnership is starting to bear fruit. IBM has developed an AI-powered ranking system that will not only separate the wheat from the chaff, but hopefully also bring the best of... Read more...
Though we may be on an upswing, the COVID-19 pandemic will have rippling effects across many industries in the coming months, and even years. One such effect is the loss of in-person events and shifts en masse to online interactions. It appears that Activision-Blizzard, however, sees this as the way forward rather than a stop-gap measure. As such, the company has laid off an estimated 190 employees, with 50 of them charged with handling live eSports events. While those employees get their severance, CEO Bobby Kotick is set to receive a $200 million payout. A company spokesperson explained the layoffs yesterday, stating, "Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally... Read more...
Back in September, the World of Warcraft team asked players what they would want as their next mount. The options players had to choose from were pretty varied, including a spider-like Nerubian Swarmer and a Soaring Spelltome -- an actual book that players would be able to fly around the world with as a mount, should that option have won the survey poll. Regardless, the winning option would be given to everyone who had the WoW Shadowlands expansion active on their account when the update hit sometime in the first quarter of this year. Over 162,000 players voted in the poll on Blizzard's WoW forums. When the dust had settled, players selected the Wandering Ancient, a giant tree creature that... Read more...
Blizzconline (BlizzCon) has been going on for the past two days, and it has brought plenty of announcements for all of Blizzard’s IPs. Amongst these updates, a new character class was announced for the unreleased Diablo IV: Rogue. This class returns from the original Diablo and has several nifty skills shown off in the trailer and other character images. Rogue Introduction Trailer The Rogue trailer is an incredibly gorgeous and cinematic four-minute clip that introduces Rogue in a church ‘confessing sins’ and turning in collected ears. She explains that she was a thief and a murderer while the video shows fast-paced bow and dagger fight sequences. Take a look at the video up... Read more...
Just over 14 years ago, the first expansion to World of Warcraft released, and sold millions of copies in short order (almost 2.4 million on the very first day). Now it appears to be getting another release. For a brief time, assets pertaining to World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic appeared on Blizzard's website, including what appears to be a partial PR announcement. Those files have been removed, though not before the key info made its way to Reddit, ahead of a reveal that is likely to take place during this year's BlizzCon event (which runs from Friday, February 19 to Saturday, February 20). So, what exactly does this leak tell us about WoW: Burning Crusade Classic? For one, it's planned... Read more...
On same level, we all have wounded souls, in one way or another. Only most of us do not get a cinematic trailer that revolves around these injuries. Not so for Uther the Lightbringer, who is featured in Activision-Blizzard's new World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Afterlives: Bastion cinematic trailer, which lasts nearly seven minutes long. And even if you are not a fan of WoW, you may still find it gripping. Shadowlands is an upcoming expansion pack for WoW, and it will thrust players into the realm of the dead. The eight expansion pack in the long running MMORPG will also introduce the game's first level reduction—the level cap is being reduced to 60, and players who are at the current level... Read more...
The development team at Blizzard working on Diablo IV has offered up its latest quarterly update on the game. The team says that they are excited to share some of the progress that has been made on the game and notes that they have fully transitioned to working from home. While working from home has impacted the development cycle, they have been able to keep the momentum going on the development. The most recent milestone the team reached was focusing on blocking in all the elements in a region known as the Dry Steppes complete with campaign content, open-world elements, itemization, a PvP sub-zone, dungeons, and a cinematic for the completion of the narrative for the region. The goal was to... Read more...
Most gamers would likely agree that massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) are no fun when cheaters abound. Thankfully, Blizzard recently took steps to keep cheaters in check by banning over 74,000 World of Warcraft accounts. The “banwave” involved accounts based in the Americas, Oceania, and Europe. The vast majority of the accounts were using various tools to farm resources or kill enemies more quickly than the typical player. “Botting” can greatly impact a legitimate player’s experience as well as a company’s bottom line. Many of these accounts that take advantage of exploits are sold on the black market once they reach a certain power level. Botting... Read more...
Activision-Blizzard is keeping itself busy developing a bunch of games, one of which might be a remake of Diablo II, the classic hack-and-slash RPG that came out nearly two decades ago. It is said Blizzard is calling it Diablo II Resurrected. According to the report, Blizzard is aiming to launch Diablo II Ressurected sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. While nothing has been announced, French news site Actugaming seems to think it is happening for sure, saying "sources close" to Blizzard mentioned the project several times. The sources told the site that Vicarious Visions is making the game (Activision acquired the studio four years ago, which went on to create Destiny 2 in 2017). Not... Read more...
Perhaps in a parallel universe, StarCraft: Ghost (not to be confused with StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty) released as originally planned, and spawned a series of sequels over the past decade and a half. In this universe, however, StarCraft: Ghost became vaporware, and then outright cancelled. Gone but not forgotten, screenshots and gameplay footage of StarCraft Ghost have emerged. Originally, StarCraft: Ghost was to be developed by Nihilistic Software and published by Blizzard for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. After two years in development, Nihilistic Software handed the reins over to Singin' Ape Studios. Not long after, Blizzard acquired the development studio and cancelled the release... Read more...
Blizzard has begun granting refunds to gamers who purchased WarCraft 3: Reforged because the game has been unpopular, and many buyers are upset with the quality of the game. Some gamers are so unhappy that there have been calls for lawsuits against Blizzard. To fend off any potential legal battles, Blizzard has begun giving any gamer who doesn't like the game a refund without going through the normal process of determining what was wrong with the game. Typically, if you have purchase and played a game, there is no refund process. However, the reason so many gamers are unhappy is a significant difference in what Blizzard promised the game would be and what was delivered to players. Reports from... Read more...
At long last, Blizzard finally announced a "supercharged sequel" to Overwatch during BlizzCon 2019 (along with Diablo IV, in case you missed the news). Overwatch 2, the next installment of the developer's hugely popular first person hero shooter, will build upon the original's game foundation of player versus player (PvP) competition, but will also include a new 6v6 PvP mode, along with "a tone of PvE content." "With Overwatch 2, we’re building the cooperative, narrative-driven game experience that players have been asking for since the original—and that we’ve wanted to make for a long time," said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. "We’re looking forward... Read more...
Earlier today, a leak pertaining to Diablo IV hinted that the game would feature an even darker and grittier tone with a few winks and nods to Diablo 2. Well, Blizzard today at BlizzCon 2019 officially announced Diablo IV, which it confirms will have "dark, visceral gameplay" that will appease longtime fans. If you recall, the last installment in the franchise, Diablo III, landed on store shelves way back in 2012. Seven years later, Diablo IV lurches forward with a new adventure complete with fresh adversaries and plenty of treasure to track down. "True to the franchise’s roots, Diablo IV will deliver visceral combat, gruesome and varied monsters, an epic hunt for legendary loot,... Read more...
It has been an interesting week for Blizzard Activision, to say the least. The developer-slash-publisher found itself in the midst of a viral hellstorm after deciding to issue a one-year suspension to professional Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, in apparent reaction to him voicing support for Hong Kong protestors during an official tournament livestream. According to Blizzard, however, its relationship with China had nothing to do with the penalty. In addition to the one-year suspension, Blizzard also initially decided Blitzchung was not eligible for the $10,000 tournament prize he had won. What sparked all this was Blitzchung saying, "LIberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,"... Read more...
Activision Blizzard (just Blizzard from here on out) finds itself mired in controversy after suspending Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, a professional esports player, for one year and forcing him to forfeit a $10,000 prize he had one in the Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Grandmasters Tournament. His suspendable offense was voicing support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, during a livestream. "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," Blitzchung said while donning a gas mask and goggles. Playing remotely from Hong Kong, the 21-year old esports player had just won $10,000 and was being interviewed after the match when he made the comment. Blizzard stripped him of his Grandmaster prize earnings,... Read more...
There has been a rumor that Overwatch would be heading to the Switch, and during the recent Nintendo Direct broadcast, it was confirmed to be true. Overwatch Legendary Edition is in fact bound for the Switch, arriving on the hybrid game console on October 15 in North America. Eager fans can preorder the game now. "Become the vibrant, powerful heroes of Overwatch! Line up the perfect shot using Nintendo Switch’s built-in gyroscopic motion controls, or engage the opposing team with the analog control sticks," Nintendo says. Switch players will be able to hop in and have access to 31 heroes on 28 maps. But it is the motion controls that could potentially set the Overwatch experience on the... Read more...
It was 15 years ago when World of Warcraft first stormed the scene, and rather than look back fondly at the game's early days, developer Blizzard went and released a World of Warcraft Classic. It has proven to be quite the popular decision. Gamers have flocked to the classic MMORPG, and in short order, are already hitting the level cap at 60. What makes this feat remarkable is how quickly the players have risen. WoW Classic just launched last Tuesday, and now less than a week later, hundreds of players have reached level 60. The first to do it was Jokerd, a 22-year-old streamer from Malta. He created a gnome mage and ranked up to level 60 in just 3 days, 20 hours, and 40 minutes, in front of... Read more...
There is reason to believe Blizzard Entertainment may be prepping a port of Overwatch over to the Nintendo Switch, and soon. Otherwise, the recent discovery of a short-lived listing on Amazon for an Overwatched-themed case for the Switch makes little sense, especially if, as the listing claimed, it's a licensed product. Nothing has been confirmed, but according to the listing (which has since been yanked offline), the case sports the following features... Sturdy outer shell with rubberized handle and durable dual zipper pulls Molded interior fits Console in handheld mode, and features felt lining plus zippered mesh storage Built-in padded screen-protector flap includes storage for nine game cards... Read more...
It has been 23 years since the original Diablo game released to Windows PCs, followed by launches on the Mac and PlayStation console a couple of years later. Fans of the franchise are hoping that Blizzard will announce a Diablo 4 (as opposed to Diablo Immortal for mobile devices). In the meantime, if you're itching for old school hack-and-slash action, the first Diablo game is playable in a web browser, for free (sort of). So here is the deal—Rivsoft uploaded a port of the original Diablo game to the web. According to the description, it is "based on source code reconstructed by GalaXyHaxZ and the divilution team." To play the full game, you need to drag a file into the browser (DIABDAT.MPQ).... Read more...
Google's DeepMind division has had considerable success competing against and crushing human competitors in Starcraft II. The DeepMind AlphaStar artificial intelligence (AI) trounced Grzegorz "MaNa" Komincz of Team Liquid back in January 5-0 in a professional match on a competitive ladder. However, in that matchup, MaNa knew that he was going up against AI ahead of time, so there were no surprises. Google will now enter its AlphaStar into a Starcraft II European competitive ladder in the near future where it will essentially be going undercover to battle against human opponents.  "For scientific test purposes, DeepMind will be benchmarking AlphaStar’s performance by... Read more...
Blizzard has been cranking out incredibly popular games for years, and one of those fan-favorite titles is StarCraft, which has traditionally been a strategy game. StarCraft has been used to show that AI can dominate human gamers, while StarCraft: Remastered brought the original gameplay with updated graphics to fans back in 2017. Blizzard was working on a StarCraft FPS title, but reports are going around that the game has been canceled. Word of the StarCraft FPS comes from three people who claim to be familiar with the situation reports Kotaku. The sources claimed that Blizzard staff were told that the new StarCraft game had been canceled after two years of development to allow Blizzard... Read more...
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