Blizzcon 2014 Summary

It is (has been?) official - I've joined the cult of Blizzard. Much as I like to think I was already a full-fledged member, I had never participated in the craziness known as Blizzcon either in person or virtually. This year, however I got my first virtual ticket and literally spent two days glued to my computer screen squeeing like a teenager at a Bieber concert. And because of the generosity of a lovely friend of mine I’m now playing Diablo III, which means every single Blizzard game aside from WoW has sucked me into its blissful maw. Except for ESO (because Elder Scrolls) I’m not really a MMORPGer fan. But you never know, I may get suckered into the free trial and then it will all be over.

There are so many things to be excited about coming out of Blizzcon, and the news about what’s happened is long been broken. Really all I have to add is my feelings about the whole thing. I’m shall start with the obvious choice - their newly-unveiled IP, Overwatch. Be still my heart. Over-effing-watch! Completely worth all the Twitter hype and I didn't even get to play the game.

The first thing I thought when the cinematic trailer started was that Blizzard was getting into movies. That’s how high-quality it was. And honestly I would watch the hell out of an Overwatch movie. Blizzard has this way of sucking me into genres I’d never really considered myself a fan of. I played MTG briefly but wasn’t captivated with collectible card games until Hearthstone came along. Never was really a fan of dungeon crawlers but I’m enjoying the hell out of Diablo III. And now with Overwatch I may for the first time in my life get into an FPS game. I’m not good at shooters, and I’m not entirely sure why. But like when I discovered Starcraft, I want so badly to be good at this game I will throw myself at it until one of us breaks. The graphics are gorgeous, sure. But the character design is where it really shines. And from the gameplay trailer it doesn’t look like its just going to be a progression of chest-high walls which I can appreciate. Hell, the whole thing looks inspired. And I want to play as a gorilla with glasses. I don’t really know anything about shooters except for a smattering of Team Fortress 2, but it seems like Overwatch is going to have enough content to please a number of different playstyles.

Of course the big news for me this year was going to be Legacy of the Void. As one of the mighty Protoss, this is a very important expansion. I’m excited about the campaign, it’s true, but what I’m really jazzed about is the changes to multiplayer. I mean, I just finished the Heart of the Swarm campaign and its been out for how long? I know, I’m a bad fan. Although I did finish it up in true nerd fashion - 4 straight hours until 5am, eyes feeling sandpaper-coated jawbreakers. The final scenes kind of broke my heart a little bit (Why, Blizz? Why won’t you let them BE TOGETHER?!) but overall it was a fun time. Zerg is something I really wish I could learn, but every time I try it ends up a disaster. For some reason, the Protoss mechanics just click with me. Getting through the campaign was an exercise in exuberant frustration. Like, I could tell I was doing horribly but it was so fun! Jumping Zerglings!

One thing though, what is up with only 1 new Protoss unit for Legacy of the Void?! I feel like we’ve gotten the shaft a little bit. Ok, fine, our new unit IS a giant deathball that turns into an invulnerable fuck-you machine. That bit is pretty cool. Overall the new units are pretty impressive. Especially the Herc. What a happy little guy he is! Seriously, that Herc walk. Boing boing boing. It is the best. After watching some of the LoTV showmatches I’m not quite sure whether I feel like Terran got the best part of the deal because that’s actually true or because the team playing Terran used the changes and new units more than other teams. Speaking of showmatches, they introduced the new Archon Mode. I was so excited for this mode that I couldn’t really speak coherently, so its probably a good thing that I was watching in my room alone. I’m not entirely sure how the specifics of two players controlling the same team work - you definitely have to have communication or it will be completely borked. I’m thinking trying to play this mode with a random person you aren’t in a Skype call with would be misery. But working together to produce super-human macro/micro results sounds incredibly fun.

As someone who rage-quit Brood War to my eternal shame, I have nothing to really say about the Lurker. Its a new unit, it looks cool. But all the kerfuffle over the Lurker being back kind of went over my head. Like I said, eternal shame.

I have to say a little part of me enjoyed the LoTV showmatches better than the actual SC2 tournament. Not that I didn’t enjoy the tournament, as evidenced by my insane Twitter ranting about the superiority of Life. Its funny, there are other players I enjoy watching more than Life but I was really caught up in the moment there. It was the Imp of the Perverse. Anyways, good on you, kid. You deserve it.

And then there were the Heroes of the Storm matches, not all of which I have watched. The ones I have seen though were incredibly one sided. I felt for the losing team - having myself many times played games where we felt on the back foot the whole time. I’d never watched Heroes before and let me say it was incredibly entertaining. As if I need more eSports to be obsessed with. OF COURSE I DO. And there was really sophisticated teamwork going on that I would love to learn from.

I haven’t watched much of the Hearthstone stuff, but I plan to since I access to the VODs for a while. This is really just my initial impressions, I might post more in-depth stuff once I pore over the videos for several hours.

Look! Buttons!

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