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By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 04:46 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBlizzard sent out the following

 

At BlizzCon® 2017 earlier this month, Blizzard Entertainment unveiled a ton of updates coming to our games—and starting today, several of these are now live!

  • StarCraft® II is now free-to-play!
  • Heroes of the Storm® welcomes one of the Dragons of the Nexus: Alexstrasza!
  •   Go behind-the-scenes of “Honor and Glory,” the latest Overwatch® animated short.

 

StarCraft II Now Free-to-Play

As we announced at BlizzCon, StarCraft II is free-to-play starting today! Players around the world now have access to the best of what the ultimate real-time strategy game has to offer, including:

  • The full, award-winning Wings of Liberty™ campaign
  • Immediate access to all multiplayer units in Unranked Multiplayer and Custom game modes
  • Free access to the Ranked Multiplayer ladder by completing 10 “First Wins of the Day” in Unranked Multiplayer or Versus AI modes
  • All Co-op Commanders free up to level 5, including the brand new Terran commander combo Mira Han and Matt Horner, who also debut today.
  • Between November 8 and December 8, players who already have Wings of Liberty (as of October 31, 2017) can get a free digital copy of Heart of the Swarm™.

 

Dragons Enter the Nexus in Heroes of the Storm
November 14–December 12

 

The first ever Dragon aspect in the Nexus arrives today in Heroes of the Storm, along with the Dragons of the Nexus Quest, which rewards players with three new portraits!

 

Warcraft®’s Alexstrasza is the first to swoop into the Nexus. She’s a powerful support Hero who can transform into her massive dragon aspect form to rain fire down on her friends and foes alike.

 

Here are some of the rewards Heroes of the Storm players can acquire with the arrival of Alexstrasza and the Dragons of the Nexus event:

  • New Skins: Dark Queen Alexstrasza, Dragon Aspect Alexstrasza
  • Alexstrasza Emoji Packs
  • New Skin Variations for Cho’gall, Varian, Kharazim, Samuro, Kael’Thas, Medivh, Chromie
  • Dragons of the Nexus Quest: Play 5 games to earn the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza Portrait, 10 games to unlock the Dragonstrike Portrait, and achieve 90 takedowns in winning games to receive the Stained Glass Dragon Knight Portrait.

 

Overwatch: “Honor and Glory” Animated Short Director’s Commentary

 

Enjoy an insider’s look for our latest animated short, “Honor and Glory,” featuring director’s commentary by Ben Dai from Blizzard’s animation team.

 

Blizzard is firing on all cylinders right now. After an amazing BlizzCon, the company is going from strength to strength.

Will you be checking out their new content?

 

Source: Blizzard PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Nov, 2017 At 11:59 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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BlizzCon 2017 has just ended, but fans still want more from Blizzard Entertainment.

Hearthstone senior game designer Peter Whalen was asked at BlizzCon about the possibility of the game coming to Switch.

Whalen responded with:
‘I dunno, I don’t think anyone is working on it, but I wouldn’t rule it out either.’
‘Moving to tablets and phones was awesome. It made Hearthstone way more accessible for way, way more people, which is fantastic,’

 

 

Whelan then noted that ‘if there are other consoles or platforms that are good for us then that’s absolutely something we’d explore in time.’ While this doesn’t seem to say much, it is rather telling that Blizzard is using very specific wording when talking about the possibility of Hearthstone coming to Switch.

 

Would you want to play Hearthstone on Switch?

 

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Nov, 2017 At 09:57 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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BlizzCon 2017 has come and gone, and with it another great round of gaming excitement. BlizzCon is one of the best parts of the year for me, not just as a fan of Blizzard but as a fan of gaming in general. BlizzCon has always felt to me like nothing else in the industry. E3, for all its glitter, is a tradeshow and is always meant to be that. BlizzCon has always felt different than that.

Whether it is discussion of Blizzard’s games or just interacting with the fans, BlizzCon has always been a standout event. It isn’t so much for the reveals, and indeed Blizzard doesn’t always do major reveals but more discussions of their games and that is appreciated. BlizzCon is an event by a company for its fans and less of a big business production the way E3 is. There is a more casual atmosphere and a friendlier nature. It isn’t the perfect event and issues do happen but they are far more rare.

But the reason BlizzCon matters the most is that it serves as an example to the rest of the industry on how a company can interact with fans and the media. The only one that comes close is QuakeCon and even QuakeCon still feels somewhat more impersonal than BlizzCon. BlizzCon feels like a fan appreciation event at times, whereas QuakeCon, as much as I love it, still feels too corporate.  Just looking at BlizzCon shows how the fans are truly excited to be there in a way that is not done at other events. The sheer brilliance of BlizzCon cannot be denied and it sets an example that all other companies should follow. BlizzCon is an event that truly matters to the industry and should be treasured for what it is.

 

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 3 Nov, 2017 At 03:38 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBlizzard shared many new details at the BlizzCon 2017 Opening Ceremony. Here is a news roundup

StarCraft II

  • Free-to-play—Starting November 14, players will get free access to the acclaimed Wings of Liberty campaign, ranked ladder play, and all Co-Op Commanders up to level five.
  • Mira Han and Matt Horner—The newest Co-Op Commander is actually two commanders in one: command a devastating mixture of high-powered Dominion air units as Matt Horner and fast-moving ground units as Mira Han.

Heroes of the Storm

  • Hanzo and Alexstraza—Two new heroes, Dragons of the Nexus, will bring new and dramatically different styles of play to Heroes of the Storm later this year.
  • New changes, including Performance Based Matchmaking, Voice Chat, and the 2018 Gameplay Update, continue to refine the action and make Heroes even more fun and challenging than before.

Hearthstone

  • Kobolds & Catacombs—The next expansion, coming in December, will bring players down into the dungeons beneath Azeroth—and equip them with 135 wondrous new cards, including nine new class-specific Legendary Weapons.
    • Dungeon RunsKobolds & Catacombs also brings with it a brand-new single-player game mode featuring challenging, high-stakes subterranean journeys inspired by the classic fantasy dungeon crawl. Dungeon Runs are free for all players; no pre-built decks are required for entry.
    • Free Legendary Cards—To celebrate the new expansion, all players will receive a free legendary minion, Marin the Fox, on November 6, as well as a free random legendary weapon for logging in when Kobolds & CatacombsKobolds & Catacombs card packs will also be winnable in Arena mode or purchasable with in-game gold or real money.
    • Recruit—When a card with the new Recruit keyword is played, a random minion from your deck is summoned to fight alongside the rest of your party!
    • Pre-purchase—Starting today, eager treasure seekers can pre-purchase the new expansion card packs in a special 50-pack bundle for 49.99 USD on Battle.net and in Blizzard’s game shop, and receive the jewel-encrusted “For the Hoard!” card back for free. Starting November 6, this pre-purchase offer will also be available in-app for iOS and Android players for 49.99 USD, and will reflect local pricing in Canada for 69.99 CAD.

Overwatch
·         Blizzard World—An amusement park celebrating the worlds of Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft serves as the location for this new map.
·         Moira—A new hero, the life-draining geneticist named Moira, will soon be joining the fray.
·         “Honor and Glory”—In the latest in the acclaimed series of animated shorts, viewers journey into Reinhardt’s past as he wrestles with whether or not to answer Winston’s call to join the newly reforming Overwatch.

 

World of Warcraft
·         Battle for Azeroth™—In the next expansion, the war between the Horde and the Alliance reignites as players embark on a journey to recruit new allies, race to claim the world’s mightiest resources, and fight on several fronts to determine which faction will lead Azeroth into its uncertain future.
·         World of Warcraft Classic—In addition to a new expansion, Blizzard also announced early plans to develop a gameplay experience that recaptures players’ first journeys into the original World of Warcraft.
·         Shadow the Fox— A plushy version of the previously released in-game charity pet will be available for purchase starting later this month. Sales of the plush will benefit both American Red Cross Disaster Relief and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.

Blizzard went all out for Blizzcon and it is just starting. Stay tuned for more news.

 

Source: Blizzard PR

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 30 Oct, 2017 At 05:14 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Activision Blizzard sent out the following

 

Revealed today, Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris is the first expansion to the Destiny 2 universe releasing Dec. 5, 2017 for PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.
Destiny 2 – Expansion I: Curse of Osiris, takes place after the conclusion of the Destiny 2 campaign where you are dispatched to Mercury on a quest to find Osiris, the most powerful Warlock to have ever lived, to discover the answers humanity needs to fight back against the Vex.
Curse of Osiris adds a new chapter to the world of Destiny 2, expanding the universe by adding an all-new cinematic story with new and returning characters, a new destination to explore, Mercury and its Infinite Forest, a new social space to visit called the Lighthouse, new missions, new strikes, new raid content, new free roam activities, a world quest to complete, and more.
You can see the trailer below

Will you be getting the expansion?
Source: Activision Blizzard PR
By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Oct, 2017 At 04:25 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Blizzard has another milestone achieved with their latest hit game Overwatch.  Overwatch has now reached 35 million players and is still growing.

A statement was released by the company

We are excited to announce that Overwatch has reached 35 million players and counting!

What a bunch of misfits and freaks we got here-we love it!

Thanks for teaming up with us, heroes.

It is always good to see a new IP succeed so well. Keep on playing!

 

Source: Blizzard PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Aug, 2017 At 11:10 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Here is some incredible news.

 

StarCraft II will now be used as an AI Research Environment

 

 

Testing our agents in games that are not specifically designed for AI research, and where humans play well, is crucial to benchmark agent performance. That is why we, along with our partner Blizzard Entertainment, are excited to announce the release of SC2LE, a set of tools that we hope will accelerate AI research in the real-time strategy game StarCraft II. The SC2LE release includes:

  • A Machine Learning API developed by Blizzard that gives researchers and developers hooks into the game. This includes the release of tools for Linux for the first time.
  • An open source version of DeepMind’s toolset, PySC2, to allow researchers to easily use Blizzard’s feature-layer API with their agents.
  • A series of simple RL mini-games to allow researchers to test the performance of agents on specific tasks.
  • A joint paper that outlines the environment, and reports initial baseline results on the mini-games, supervised learning from replays, and the full 1v1 ladder game against the built-in AI.

………………………….

For example, while the objective of the game is to beat the opponent, the player must also carry out and balance a number of sub-goals, such as gathering resources or building structures. In addition, a game can take from a few minutes to one hour to complete, meaning actions taken early in the game may not pay-off for a long time. Finally, the map is only partially observed, meaning agents must use a combination of memory and planning to succeed

…….
Even StarCraft’s action space presents a challenge with a choice of more than 300 basic actions that can be taken. Contrast this with Atari games, which only have about 10 (e.g. up, down, left, right etc). On top of this, actions in StarCraft are hierarchical, can be modified and augmented, with many of them requiring a point on the screen. Even assuming a small screen size of 84×84 there are roughly 100 million possible actions available.

Gaming has come a long way and Blizzard has definitely been a part of that journey. For StarCraft II to be used like this, shows just how well developed and innovative the design was for the game. Hopefully the research that comes from this will be helpful to the scientific progress. Gaming is helping move society forward.
By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 Jul, 2017 At 11:07 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Blizzard Classic Games Team recently did a survey talking about Wacraft 3 and the plans for it’s future.

Some very interesting things were discussed including balance changes,

 

Adjusting balance is a delicate process. We’re believe gradual change is the correct approach, because the Warcraft III ecosystem has been unchanged for so many years. We think good balance starts with competitive map pools. We are crafting a diverse selection of maps to encourage various gameplay styles; there will be maps that result in fast, frenetic games and others that allow for deeper, macro oriented play. As the community helps us make refinements and becomes comfortable with the new pools, we will introduce balance changes with a focus on maximum optionality between races.

Before people get too worried though, they also added that they are aware that too many changes can ruin the game.

 

There are two types of crazy ideas. The first kind: larger control groups, different AI or pathing, and the like would fundamentally break gameplay – and tend to get shouted down by our hardcore players. The second: like convert World Editor from JASS to LUA or add a fifth race are amazing, but would lead to a new game. We have some big ideas that people will be excited about – and we’re excited too – but first we need to get the basics right, and earn the community’s trust to make larger decisions in the future.

Warcraft III’s future seems to be in good hands and the team knows not to mess with the formula too much but does want to improve things. Now if we could only get Warcraft 4.

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Jun, 2017 At 03:20 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Will we be making our way back to the world of Diablo II and Warcraft III in HD very soon?

A new job posting for a “UI/UX Visual Designer” role at Classic Games in Irvine, California has included an interesting part.

“Classic Games is looking for a renaissance designer to harmonize that which was, with that which will be. Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo await your machinations. If you have the desire to rise to that challenge, we’d love to hear from you.”

This is following a previous posting for Blizzard for a “Lead Software Engineer, Engine” role. This  one explicitly mentioned the following:

“Compelling stories. Intense multiplayer. Endless replayability. Qualities that made StarCraft, Warcraft III, and Diablo II the titans of their day. Evolving operating systems, hardware, and online services have made them more difficult to be experienced by their loyal followers or reaching a new generation.

“We’re restoring them to glory, and we need your engineering talents, your passion, and your ability to get tough jobs done.”

The posting’s  ‘Responsibilities’ heading also included a part about “implementing, maintaining, and own infrastructure for the Diablo franchise”

Will you make the journey back to hell?

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Jun, 2017 At 03:00 PM | Categorized As News, News, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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A rating has revealed that a new Diablo collection will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One.

Diablo III Eternal Collection has been rated for PS4 and Xbox One by the ESRB. This collection will seemingly have the base game, Reaper of Souls expansion and the Rise of The Necromancer DLC,

 

It would be nice if it turned out that there was more to this, than just content that is already available, and a dlc character class pack. Maybe there is some story content we do not know about?

Source