fifa15guide | Seven Overwatch League teams confirmed across US and Asian cities

fifa15guide | Seven Overwatch League teams confirmed across US and Asian cities

Blizzard has announced the first seven teams to take part in the Overwatch League [official site], the game’s official eSports league that’s due to launch later this year.

The teams will represent cities, almost like football teams, and will be owned by a mix of eSports guys and traditional sports business giants, including the head honcho at current NFL champions the New England Patriots. Yep, Overwatch is big business.

Here’s the full list:

  • Boston, USA, owned by Robert Kraft, chairman and chief executive of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots
  • New York City, USA, owned by Jeff Wilpon, co-founder and partner of Sterling.VC and chief operating officer of the New York Mets
  • Los Angeles, USA, owned Noah Whinston, chief executive of eSports organisation Immortals
  • Miami and Orlando, USA, owned by Ben Spoont, chief executive and co-founder of eSports organisation Misfits Gaming
  • San Francisco, USA, owned by Andy Miller, chairman and founder of NRG Esports
  • Shanghai, China, owned by NetEase
  • Seoul, South Korea, owned by Kevin Chou, co-founder of Kabam

It’s disappointing not to see any European teams in there yet, especially considering that Misfits Gaming (the Miami/Orlando team) are a Swedish outfit with a HQ in London. But this is just the first wave of teams, so expect more soon. There’s actually nine teams planned for Europe, including one in the UK.

I’m really excited for the Overwatch League. Partly because I just adore Overwatch, but partly because it brings something new to the eSports table. If your city has a team, it gives you a connection to that team: a reason to support them that is tangible, rather than you just happen to like the players on a particular squad (who tend to chop and change often). I could root for a London Overwatch team, I reckon, and go to see some of their matches.

Overwatch has struggled as an eSport so far, which is a shame given how watchable it is, so this should be the kick start it needs. What do you reckon?

fifa15guide – Doomfist punches into Overwatch proper next week

fifa15guide - Doomfist punches into Overwatch proper next week

After several weeks beating the bag on the Overwatch test servers, new character Doomfist is almost ready to start pounding faces properly. The villain will arrive next Thursday, July 27th, Blizzard announced this week. If you prefer not to tamper with test servers and unfinished bits, you might want to meet Doomfist in this here video:

He’s got robofists, yeah? Mechanical uppercuts, rocket-powered fists, knuckleguns, and beefy slams. Learn a little more about his abilities on the Overwatch site. Sadly, the gun barrels eat the space where he might have some swanky knuckle tats. If he weren’t so committed to naughty violence, he could show his team spirit with PUSH PYLD, stick it to The Man with HECK OWCH, or dare to dream with KISS TRCR.

For those into the lore, Blizzard have released a new comic starring Doomfist. Blizzard want you to notice that he is a calculating criminal mastermind with a plan he won’t tell even his allies. I myself noticed that Overwatch’s baddies have a great dressing-up box. Talon must have a lot of fun putting on little plays and performances at their evil clubhouse. I’m sure I’ve seen a cabaret performer resembling Widowmaker singing bawdy songs with her accordion at the Edinburgh Festival.

If you’ve been biffing about the test servers, what have you made of Doomfist? Blizzard have fiddled with him a bit since he first hit, as detailed this-a-way.

fifa15guide | Overwatch increasing punishments for naughtiness

fifa15guide | Overwatch increasing punishments for naughtiness

Asses, blaggards, bleeders, blighters, bounders, brutes, cads, cheats, fannies, jackasses, jagoffs, jeb ends, knaves, loudmouths, ne’er-do-wells, nobheads, nuisances, prats, pricks, rascals, radges, rats, reprobates, rogues, rotters, and scoundrels beware: Blizzard are increasing punishments in Overwatch [official site].

“Play nice; play fair” is one of their main rules, they say, and flipping flipfaces are spoiling things. So from now on, they’re increasing penalties for bad behaviour, and they’re planning to expand their disciplinary systems. One such planned change is issuing notifications for when people you’ve reported get punished. Internet justice!

Blizzard community manager Stephanie ‘Lylirra’ Johnson said in yesterday’s post:

“We believe that our in-game reporting and player penalty system is one of our most important features, and it’s something we want to invest in significantly over the next year. To this end, effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior. In Overwatch, that means anything from abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, match inactivity (being intentionally AFK), and griefing. If you see someone engaging in any of these types of behaviors, report them. Players in violation will be silenced, suspended, or even banned from the game as a result.”

That’s already started, and more’s to come.

“We know that making Overwatch a truly welcoming environment is an ongoing process, and this is only the first step. Over the next several months, we have plans to make additional improvements based on your feedback, including scaling competitive season bans, a notification system that will alert you when a player you’ve reported is actioned, and functionality that will allow us to more aggressively penalize players who attempt to abuse the in-game reporting tool.”

Don’t be jerks, gang.

fifa15guide | Doomfist now deep into Overwatch

fifa15guide | Doomfist now deep into Overwatch

Doomfist is now fully, properly, really inside Overwatch [official site]. For ages the character has teased Blizzard’s FPS, with hints and traces and teasers buzzing past, as if he were waving his robofist in our face while repeating “Is this bugging you? I’m not touching you. Is this bugging you?” Earlier this month, he upgraded to “I’m just holding my fist here and if you walk into it that’s your fault” status by arriving on the test servers. And yesterday, Doomfist finally slammed into our faces, splitting our lips, splintering our teeth, tickling our tongues, and keeping on down into our guts. The patch officially adding the villainous new character to Overwatch is now live, I mean.

Doomfist is the leader of Naughty Boys, the rabble who want to kiss the Goodie-Goodies but instead pull their hair and push them off the payload.

His abilities revolve around his robofists. He packs knuckleguns, can slam the ground to draw people in, uppercut to fling them up, rocket punch to knock people back (taking bonus damage if they hit a wall – a nice touch), and jump up then leap down as a human meteor. That’s a pretty great set of thematic abilities for someone named Doomfist. I am impressed. A wide range of moves sharing similar ideas and all powered by forms of punch.

The update adding Doomfist also boshed in the ability to directly export highlight video clips, as well as to manually capture your own highlights. It also tweaked balance, fixed bugs, and so on.

Read the patch notes for full details on everything.

fifa15guide – Lúcioball heads back to Overwatch, brings new and old summer skins

fifa15guide - Lúcioball heads back to Overwatch, brings new and old summer skins

The Overwatch [official site] Summer Games are returning to PC (and some other platforms WHATEVER we don’t speak of them) on 8 August. It’s a pretty meaningful date, what with it being the 141st anniversary of Thomas Edison’s mimeograph patent being received and the 1900th anniversary of the death of Trajan. What would Blitzball Blernsball Lúcioball be without mimeographs and mourning Trajan? Nowhere. That’s where.

That’s the relevant developer update video which uses hot terms like “iteration” and “pertinent information”.

TL;DW?

1. Lúcioball is coming back with the 2016 Rio stadium and a new Sydney arena to play in. Tweaks to the way it plays include that you can no longer “boop” people and Lucio’s ultimate works a bit differently, like he’s just got a surge of energy rather than becoming able to drop in some cheesy strats.

2. There will be a competitive Lúcioball mode (Copa Lúcioball) alongside regular kickabouts for three weeks. Playing ten games in that mode gets you a special spray. Placing in the top 500 players in a region gets you a really special spray.

2. Last year’s skins are returning so players have a chance to pick up what’s missing from their collection. You can also unlock them using in-game credits (thus heading off the brouhaha from last year where you couldn’t) with the older cosmetics costing fewer credits than the new batch. The reduced rate of duplication in loot boxes (brought in during Patch 1.13.0.2a) will apply here. There are also new skins and #content, like a legendary skin for Junkrat and something for Mercy.