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MLG has announced their next Call of Duty World League event, MLG Orlando. The event will take place from August 5th through August 7th at The Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Studios Orlando.

The event will feature all 12 of the North America Call of Duty World League Pro Division and allow 96 other amateur teams to compete for their share of the $100,000 prize pool.


We are excited to announce that Major League Gaming (MLG), in collaboration with the Call of Duty® World League, Presented by PlayStation®4, will be hosting the Call of Duty® MLG Orlando Open. Held at The Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Studios Orlando on August 5-7, the event will feature up to 96 amateur teams and 12 North American CWL teams competing head-to-head in Call of Duty®: Black Ops III on PlayStation®4 for a $100,000 Prize Pool and more than 2,500 CWL Pro Points. As part of the Call of Duty MLG Orlando Open, players can earn CWL Pro Points as a chance to qualify for the highly-anticipated Call of Duty Championship, Presented by PlayStation®4, which will take place later this year.

The format of this event will be the same as MLG Anaheim. The 96 amateur teams will compete in a Double Elimination Open Bracket. The final four teams will advance to Pool Play, where the 12 CWL Pro Division teams will be separated into four different pools based upon CWL Pro ranking. From there, each team will play one match against another team in their pool. The final pool play standing will determine the team’s placing in a Double Elimination Championship Bracket.

SOURCE: MLG

The post MLG announces MLG Orlando Open CWL event, takes place August 5-7 appeared first on Charlie INTEL.



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An image of what appears to be concept art showing Thieves’ Landing in Red Dead Redemption has surfaced. But there seems to be more to it than meets the eye.

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This is according to a thread in the Red Dead Redemption subreddit which posted the image. It was pulled from an ex-Rockstar employee’s webpage which features previous work.

The image, along with another piece of concept art – listed as RDR2 – are dated August 17, 2015.

A couple of things to keep in mind: first – this could be a fake, not likely but possible; secondly – it could actually be scrapped content from Red Dead Redemption.

As for the latter, reddit user KDotMatrix has put forth an interesting theory regarding the image.

“Note the chromatic aberration on the poles and other objects in the image, a small point of contention in GTA 5. Chromatic aberration has become increasingly prevalent in modern triple-A games as of late. Here’s a screenshot that shows the effect in the PC version of GTA 5. This was also present on the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game.

“Chromatic aberration wasn’t present in [Red Dead Redemption], as it was running on an older version of the RAGE engine. Therefore, this most likely isn’t concept art from that time period.”

He goes on to state that in Red Dead Redemption, there wasn’t a house similar to this located in Thieves’ Landing, and since we haven’t played the game in ages, we can’t remember so we are taking his word for it.

Some suggest the concept art could be from an HD version of Red Dead Redemption, but that’s just speculation.

So, with all that in mind, keep this filed as a rumor just like the supposed leaked map from earlier in the year. Plus, we have no idea whether the next game in the Red Dead series will be a sequel to the 2010 hit or a new entry entirely.

During Take-Two’s most recent call to investors, CEO Strauss Zelnick reiterated that Rockstar was “hard at work on future projects” to be revealed soon.

Soon could be E3 2016 or next year. T2’s use of “soon” is similar to Blizzard’s definition of the word, although not nearly as comical.

Take-Two has also said it will have a “big presence” at E3 2016 later this month where it will be pushing Mafia 3 as well as 2K Sports games and Battleborn.

Neither Rockstar North nor Rockstar San Diego were mentioned, but if the developer is ready to announce new game at E3, the Microsoft and Sony press conferences worth keeping your eyes on.

E3 2016 takes place June 14-16 so, be sure to check out our E3 2016 hub for all the news, videos, screenshots, interviews and much more, live and direct for this year’s show.



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Thursday, 2 June 2016 12:16 GMT By Sherif Saed

A very dedicated Overwatch player has reached level 100 after playing 13 hours a day for a week.

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Overwatch does not have a level cap. But, reaching level 100 in the game just a week from launch is still an impressive feat.

That’s exactly what player FenderOverwatch has done, who also livestreamed most of it on his Twitch channel. He reached level 100 on Tuesday, May 31, after more than 92 hours.

It took him around 13 hours of play a day since the game came out to reach that point. During around 30 hours of which were achieved while playing offensive hero Pharah, his most used character.

He also now has a cool border around his portrait in game, which you get after reaching level 100. Take a look at a summary of his stats in the image below, or visit his MasterOverwatch profile for the rest of the details.

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is very close, take a look at its early moments.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is officially out June 7, but if you’re an EA or Origin Access member, you can start playing a trial right now.

The trial lasts for six hours, unlike the usual ten, and your progress will carry over to the full game if you buy it.

If you’re still on the fence, Alex‘s video above should give you a decent look at how the game starts, and the first few things you’ll be doing with Faith.

The video doesn’t feature commentary, so you can judge the content yourself. Footage is captured from Xbox One and includes the prologue cutscene.



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Turns out, console players are excited about mods, too.

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Bethesda officially released console mod support for Fallout 4 yesterday with the the launch of mods on Xbox One.

A first in the company’s history, and a first for consoles in general, mods have proven very, very popular. Bethesda revealed that the launch on Xbox One generated 50 times more traffic than the initial PC mod launch.

“It’s a new world and just the beginning,” the company said on Twitter, reiterating that work continues to bring the same experience to PlayStation 4 users.


PlayStation 4 mods should be here by the end of June.



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It’s not really Resident Evil, but is it any good?

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“To say Umbrella Corps is a weird little game feels a bit of an understatement, and it’s fairly obvious why that’s the game’s name: the Resident Evil brand isn’t in the title, merely in the content.”

In this line of work it’s pretty rare to shuffle into a company’s office for a hands-on and know little about what you’re going to see. Umbrella Corps, a Resident Evil spin-off, was one such rare occasion for me. I knew it was a multiplayer shooter spin-off and not much else – so going in to play it at a hands-on event wasn’t dissimilar to what a Resi fan might experience if they pick this low-price digital title up on strength of brand alone.

To say Umbrella Corps is a weird little game feels a bit of an understatement, and it’s fairly obvious to me why that’s the game’s name: the Resident Evil brand isn’t in the title, merely in the content. That’s likely to avoid fans getting furious that the game doesn’t really resemble the series at all. Players take on the role of gasmask-clad mercenaries who evoke classic Resi character Hunk, battle their way through iconic Resi locations and pick up herbs for health restoration – but the similarities are mostly superficial.

The inspiration for Umbrella Corps, I’m told, comes from the fact that a lot of the Resident Evil development team play airsoft. That’s the paintball-style game that uses high-powered BB guns which closely try to match the abilities and spec of their real counterparts. I had an airsoft sniper rifle once; it was a hell of a toy.

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In the world of video games that translates to this: what if Resident Evil and the sensibilities of a Japanese action game had a love child with Counter Strike? The result is Umbrella Corps, basically.

The single-player component of the game, The Experiment, sees you as a sole mercenary trying to survive missions of increasing difficulty while harvesting ‘DNA samples’ from the corpses of the zombies you down.

The maps are small but dense-feeling, the kind you can run across in 30 seconds with multiple routes and verticality for flavour. They’re focused in a way modern shooter maps often aren’t, and to me are reminiscent of older console shooters in particular, like some of Goldeneye’s dinky maps.

There’s some lovely fanservice in them, too. The Umbrella Lab and Tricell HQ are evocative of the series at large, but then the remaining four maps are actually quite specific: there’s Racoon City and the Police Station, both from Resi 2, The Village from Resi 4, Kijuju 12 from Resi 5 and weirdly the Antarctic base from Code Veronica. They’re lovingly created little tributes.

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The levels are nice, but here’s the rub: The Experiment is really pretty crap. I spent the first half an hour of my hands-on playing it and at the end of that time was convinced Umbrella Corps was a bit of a disaster. There’s a clunky cover-taking mechanic that doesn’t seem to make sense since the zombies don’t shoot at you, and on harder levels zombies can mob you incredibly quickly. You die in about 5 seconds if they do mob you, ammo is weirdly scarce for a shooter, and generally it just feels like a weird, not-as-good version of Resident Evil Mercenaries.

With that disappointment registered, we’re booted into some multiplayer sessions by a Capcom rep. This is where it all starts to make sense, and where the comparisons to Counter Strike – or any game without a single-player component – finally start to make sense.

It’s true that there’s a greater clunkiness to the action than other games, particularly Western-made shooters. I think that comes from a developer unfamiliarity with a more frenetic pace, to be honest, but Umbrella Corps still feels pretty good moment to moment.

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All of the game modes are only 3 minutes long, with two teams of three battling to be the first to win three of those rounds. It’s simple and snappy, and an urgency is introduced very quickly indeed – when you reach the last minute, enemy positions are constantly revealed to you on the map.

Within that there’s nine different game types. Many of these are familiar shooter concepts renamed to fit the Resi universe – there’s versions of VIP assassination, Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag, and Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed. All work just fine, though the names and descriptions can be a little initially obtuse. Kill Confirmed is called Collar War, for instance, and a few people were initially convinced its objective involved killing zombie dogs and collecting their collars – which actually would make sense.

Levels are constantly populated with zombies as well as players, and two modes actually involve you trying to kill either all or certain types of zombie to harvest their DNA while trying to prevent the enemy team from doing the same. The first to a certain amount of DNA wins. The zombies are dumb but remain a threat – if somebody damages you a lot but fails to kill you, a zombie could shamble up behind you and deal the killing blow since this game has no regenerating health, just herbs scattered around the map that you walk over to consume.

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“It’s priced and named like a spin-off, but it’ll still get dumped on by fans, as this game is the antithesis of the Resident Evil formula, be that the original plodding survival horror or the tense action of Resident Evil 4 onwards.”

Better still, the modes that focus on zombies make for a distraction. I had a few great kills where I hid under a gurney in the Umbrella labs and waited for careless enemies to step out into the open to take out a nearby crowd of zombies. Before they could add to their team’s score, I’d gun them down. The zombie-target makes for a nice little tactical twist. It feels like a neat idea.

Outside of battle there’s some standard-issue customization stuff with a variety of weapons you can use plus patches and different armor sets for your character. I gave my guy a bright pink helmet and a disgusting lime green gasmask, which probably made me a brighter target but it looked dumb, so I’m on board with all that.

As I said about the combat, much of Umbrella Corps in multiplayer feels like a neat idea. There’s clunky controls (the cover mechanic is seriously messy), some very dodgy spawn points (sorry to the people on the oppossing team who spawned right in front of me and were gunned down immediately) and a camera that’s claustrophobically close to your character’s shoulder. That last one feels like a deliberate design decision, but even if it was, it’s the wrong one.

With all that said… I still had fun with my time with the multiplayer. It’d be easy to dismiss it in hand thanks to its issues, but there’s a definite tension to things and there’s a satisfying speed and snappiness to the whole affair, from the ‘constantly bumping into enemies’ nature of the smaller maps to how the game objectives are so simple that a well-coordinated team can scoop a win in under a minute.

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Even taking into account that The Experiment is pretty rubbish, on balance I left more interested in Umbrella Corps than when I entered. I’m actually looking forward to playing more multiplayer when it releases – it’s the kind of game where if I can convince a couple of mates to pick it up, I reckon we’ll have great fun stomping people online, even with the spawn-killing. Also worth considering is that this isn’t a full-price game, but rather is $40/£25, a much more reasonable proposition.

In this regard I feel a little bad for Umbrella Corps; it’s clearly a passion project developed on the side, and not intended at all to be a main Resi game. It’s priced and named like a spin-off, but it’ll still get dumped on by fans, as this game is the antithesis of the Resident Evil formula, be that the original plodding survival horror or the tense action of Resident Evil 4 onwards. I’m not quite sure if it falls into the camp of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ just yet, but I’m fairly convinced this might end up being one of my top guilty pleasures of the year in spite of its issues.

Umbrella Corps is out for PC and PS4 June 23.



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Overwatch guide: 9 tricks and tips you need to know

Ready to earn that Play of the Game? Once you’ve mastered the basics of Overwatch (such as “work as a team” and “you can’t all be Genji”) it’s time to step it up with some advanced tips, tricks and tactics that will soon have you feeding your opponents their own faces. Sautéed, with a nice cream sauce.

If you’re reading this, we assume you don’t need to be told to balance your team composition, play your role and work towards each mode’s objectives. If you’re only just starting, check out our beginner’s guide to Overwatch.

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Use the kill feed

It doesn’t mean too much in casual play, but if you’re wanting to play seriously, it’s essential to know what’s happening out of your sight – especially if your teammates aren’t using their mics to let you know.

Knowing that a tank or support character is down makes all the difference to the timing of a rush, and seeing a flanker wink out of the picture means you’re safe break out of formation – at least for a little while. Don’t under-estimate this handy tool. Make sure it’s switched on, and keep flicking your eyes over it.

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Switch on friendly health bars

Why do you need to know how much health your teammates have if you’re not a healer? Uhh, I don’t know, maybe so you can identify threats before you’re getting shot. Overwatch really favours communication and teamwork, but if you’re matching with strangers who don’t feel like chatting, situational awareness is your very best friend.

Seeing a health bar take a dip could mean a split second warning on an upcoming attack, and that in turn can make all the difference. You could save your buddies life – and your own – and put an enemy out of action.

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Adjust settings for individual characters

All the characters in Overwatch play differently, and sometimes what works for one doesn’t work for another. Maybe you want the jump button somewhere more easily accessible while aiming for a highly mobile character. Maybe you want an ability in a different slot, because it just makes more sense.

The good news is, you can adjust most control and gameplay settings universally or for individual heroes, on both PC and console. Just look for the drop down menu in the upper right corner of the settings screen; it’s highlighted by default when you first enter this tab on consoles. Click to browse the full roster. Handy, yeah?

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Try auto climb walls

Keen on mobility? By toggling this option the Genji, Hanzo and Junkrat fans among you will have access to an alternate control method for traversal across walls. Forget holding in the jump key; free up that finger for something else once you’re on the wall, and tap it again to exit when you’re ready.

Opinions will always be divided on whether toggle or hold is better for this kind of move, and it’s really worthwhile practicing with both before you make up your mind, as it can be tricky to nail your wall jumps.

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Customise your reticles

Don’t like the default aiming graphic? Good news: there’s a wide variety of options to choose from if you dig into the menus.

While being able to customise the reticle to your liking is always nice, Overwatch is especially generous in that it allows you pick a custom graphic for every single character. For characters with really precise projectiles you’ll want something small and sharp, where something larger will give you a better idea of where exactly more spread attacks will land.

Or, you know: just the one that makes you feel coolest.

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Abilities: hold or toggle?

There are several characters with twin abilities you’ll want to switch between on the fly – Mercy and Lucio are the most obvious examples. By rummaging around in the settings menu, you can choose between the default toggle system, or a hold-to-fire-alternate mode.

What this means is that you can be merrily firing away with your ability and then switch seamlessly over to the alternate-fire mode simply by pressing in another key simultaneously. Let go again to return to normal. This is an especially smooth way to play Mercy, buffing your chosen partner until they start to take a hit or two.

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Fiddle with your scope settings

If you’re a Widowmaker fan, you’ll want to dig into this one: up your sniping game by customising your scoping experience.

Adjusting zoom sensitivity can make a huge difference depending on whether you like more precise control or the flexibility to rapidly switch between extremes of depth of field. You can also switch between a toggle or hold for zoom.

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Pick off lightweight foes first

Shoot anybody who gets in your crosshairs, of course, but if you run around a corner smack bang into a tank and second class of character, you’re very unlikely to get the tank down unless you have an ultimate ready or someone else has already had a go. It’s better never to let this happen, but iff you must go for the kill in this uncomfortable situation, shoot the weakest character first so that you at least knock someone down.

Pick your targets. The tank is there specifically to soak up damage and protect the others; if you can safely ignore it for a moment, taking down the harder-hitting assault characetrs or nearby support will make dropping the tank much easier and possibly leave you with dominance of the map.

it This PSA brought to you by the three twits offed by Mercy in between bursts of her healing ray while they attempted to smash Roadhog. That’s just embarrassing.

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Learn every character

Okay, yes, you’ll eventually want to have just a couple of heroes and practice with them until you’re really good – but you really need to know what every hero is capable of to succeed, and that means playing as everyone a few times until you can recognise their ultimate triggers and other audio and visual cues.

Next-level play anticipates the opposing team’s movements. Which paths will they use? What abilities are they likely to fling at you? Are they likely to have a nasty ultimate cued up at this stage in the map? You can’t make these kinds of judgment calls without a solid knowledge of each hero. Put the time in. Study up.



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Game of Thrones stars talk Japanese toilets and destroy an impressive prop, because Overwatch.

Overwatch secured a terrifically timed slot on Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer segment last night.

While Overwatch is the biggest thing in games right now, out in the world of people who don’t consider a control pad an essential life accessory, Game of Thrones is the cultural phenomenon of the moment. So – naturally – Team Coco is joined by Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), neither of whom seem any more clued-in than O’Brien to this particular style of game.

(As an aside, both have worked around games; Dinklage infamously provided the original voice of Destiny’s Ghost, and Headey has been in a couple of games: Risen, Dishonored and of course Telltale’s Game of Thrones. She also plays Luna Freya in the upcoming Final Fantasy 15: Kingsglaive movie.)

I’m not sure the segment does much to show off Overwatch’s strengths and attractions, but it certainly puts it in front of a lot of eyes. That’s probably all it needs to do.

Just getting started? See our Overwatch guide for best starting heroes, beginner’s tips. When your fingertips start to bleed, come argue over our Overwatch characters tier list.



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As part of EA's "Road To Battlefield 1" campaign, the company is giving away DLC for its newest Battlefield games, and now, it looks like the next offering has been revealed. Reddit user Trentandmike spotted a listing that showsBattlefield 4's Final Stand expansion will be free starting on Wednesday, May 18 (via DualShockers).

The listing was for Xbox One, but EA said when announcing the free DLC campaign that content would be offered across Xbox One, PlayStation 4,Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

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Final Stand includes four maps (Operation Whiteout, Hammerhead, Hangar 21, and Giants of Karelia), all of which take place in wintry environments. There are also near-future weapons and gadgets such as a DS-3 DECOY gun attachment that emits false blips on enemies' mini-maps and the XD-1 Accipiter, a remote-controlled, LMG-equipped drone.

The content, which came out at the end of 2014, normally sells for $15 on its own. It's also included in the $50 Battlefield 4 Premium pass.

Battlefield 4's Dragon's Teeth expansion was free May 3-10, while Battlefield Hardline's Robbery expansion was also free during that week. We'll bring you more details on the forthcoming Final Stand freebie offer, and whatever else gets announced, as new information becomes available.

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/ba...-be-free-re/1100-6439832/?ftag=GSS-05-10aaa0b
Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima says the NX is a “new way of playing games.”

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The Nintendo NX is launching in March 2017 with assurances of a solid software launch line-up, and rumours that the company is abandoning optical discs for cartridges.

The mystery of exactly what we can expect from the new console has deepened even more with the translation of an interview with Nintendo president, Tatsumi Kimishima.

In an interview with The Asahi Shimbun, translated by NeoGAF user GSR, during which the possibility of another foray into film was discussed, Kimishima answered a number of questions about the upcoming NX.

“It’s something very new. The hardware, the software lineup, all of it is something I’d like to play for the first time myself,” he began.

When asked about the impact the new console would have on Wii U sales, Kimishima replied, “When the NX is released, the Wii U business will slow…However, the NX is neither the successor to the Wii U nor to the 3DS.

“It’s a new way of playing games, which I think will have a larger impact that the Wii U, but I don’t feel it’s a pure replacement for the Wii U.”

This echoes the late Satoru Iwata who stressed that at Nintendo “we’re always thinking about how we want to surprise players as well as our desire to change each person’s video gaming life.”

“In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a gaming platform gradually changed,” he said. “If you only expand upon existing hardware, it’s dull.”

What could Nintendo have in store? Just how revolutionary will this new console be? I guess we’ll find out in 10 months.

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Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly has two new projects in the works, but it will be a while before the studio is ready to discuss either.

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Speaking in an interview with GamePressure (thanks, Blue), CEO Sebastian Wojciechowski said one is a triple-A shooter and the other is a smaller project which will be revealed later this year.

“We’ve been working on [the shooter] since the beginning of the year. Before that, we were polishing the concept,” he said, adding that we won’t hear anything about the title until sometime in 2017.

Despite being in the early stages, Wojciechowski said the game already has a publisher which is “a testament” to the studio’s “vast experience.” He wouldn’t divulge which company will publish the title or release platforms.

Wojciechowski also wouldn’t talk details on the smaller title in the works, or when in 2016 the game will be revealed.

So, while there is vitally zero information either game in the works, the fact that People Can Fly has something in store for fans is hopefully enough for now.

People Can Fly was at one time known as Epic Games Poland when the Gear of War developer acquired the studio in 2012. In 2015 the studio once again became an independent game developer.

The team said at the time it had Unreal Engine-powered projects underway and would continue development support on Epic Games’ Fortnite.

Other than Bulletstorm, previous games from the company include Gears of War: Judgement, the Painkiller titles and the PC port for Gears of War.



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Blizzard’s noob friendly, esports-hungry shooter is a masterclass in the manufacture of pure joy.

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“The compulsion to keep on playing owes so much to a constant feedback loop that rewards every XP milestone, celebrates performance through dramatic kill-cams and showcases the best plays in the game.”

To stand tall in 2016 is one thing, but to tower above the competition, that’s phenomenal. The Overwatch public beta recently pulled in 9.7 million players, more than double that of Destiny, a third healthier than The Division and nosing ahead of Star Wars Battlefront. It’s like somebody flipped a switch; suddenly everybody loves Overwatch. How’d this happen?

A strategy FPS from the makers of World of Warcraft and Hearthstone was always going to turn heads, and the marketing reach within those colossal and thriving communities will be huge – a major plus in the Overwatch arsenal. And, hey, 9.7 million people played the Beta, but those 9.7 million people now get to decide whether they love it, hate it or wait and see.

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Cutting to the chase, based on conversations we’re having among friends and colleagues, Overwatch just feels like the Next Big Thing. “Because Blizzard” maybe, but our time spent with the game so far deserves more of an explanation than just that. And so here, in our opinion, is where Overwatch is succeeding where others (yes, Battleborn) not so much.

First of all, the user experience (UX) of Overwatch is like walking on rose petals, the journey from menu to game is so slick. No doubt it will be further refined before launch, but even in the beta there was no hanging around, it was easy to browse, inspect and select characters, and matches fired up fast. Game mode selection will surely alter navigation in the full game, but as an indication of how we’ll scoot around menus the beta was extremely promising. It meant that everybody could get straight to the business of experimenting on the battlefield.

With 21 heroes divided between Offense, Defence, Tank and Support classes the choice may be overwhelming. To overcome this psychological obstacle, which yells ‘too much, too soon’ at normal people, Overwatch allows you to swap characters at every respawn. Since you’re dying quick and often during early games, freedom to yank another guy from the roster and see how they go points to the considerate – make that common sense – design of Overwatch.

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You might wonder why we didn’t start on character design, visual effects and so on, but the user experience aspect of so many games is too often overlooked. Blizzard knows that this concept is completely new to millions of players, meaning that every second of on-screen time must make it easy to grasp. Heck, the beta even had a game mode that randomised character selection so that everybody was thinking fast on their feet. The only thing we were locked into were the game modes: Assault, Escort and Control – familiar, objective based encounters in which success was built on team balance and combined effort.

“Overwatch harkens back to the days of the Dreamcast, when it was important to grab and hold the attention, not only with colour and noise but a clear-cut gameplay message that was hard to resist.”

Now we can talk about character design. The roster is very clearly divided among the four classes, making it easy off the bat to understand ballpark where you’re headed. Another UX consideration here is that on-screen prompts advise you if the current team set up is weak in certain areas, although it doesn’t force/prevent character selection in any way. If you like, you can go ahead and try to win using only Tanks, or specialise in snipers. We don’t need to sit through a tutorial, we’re learning it all on the fly, which works out happier for everyone. But… character design! They’re so damned colourful, cool and cute so the likelihood is that you’ll choose mainly by appearance to begin with, adapting to class attributes while playing. These attributes are clearly communicated by movement style and special-moves available, Overwatch feels similar to Street Fighter in this regard in that basic understanding is gained so fast, appealing to your taste or not. After settling on a handful that feel right, only a small investment of time is needed to realise how rock-paper-scissor attributes benefit your team.

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While there are spooky characters among the cast, such as Reaper and Widowmaker, the general mood in Overwatch is bright and go-getting across the board. Tracer is the epitome of this, but it’s evident in the cockiness of D.Va and the practiced hardiness of Torbjorn. For folks who are too young to remember, this harkens back to the days of Dreamcast with such glorious experiences as Namco’s Soulcalibur and Capcom’s Power Stone. Their origins were the arcades/game centres in which it was important to grab and hold the attention, not only with colour and noise but a clear-cut gameplay message that was hard to resist. Even while spectating Overwatch, we can appreciate the purpose and effectiveness of each character: Roadhog’s chain, that pulls opponents towards him; Mercy’s healing and support powers, and Genji’s ninja style swiftness building toward all out katana carnage. Yes, we’ll take that.

Locations, presented as brightly-lit theatrical stage sets, are characterful too and distinct from one another so that they are soon committed to memory. They pander to the heroes’ capabilities, in particular those whose agility, allowing them to traverse maps in exciting ways – whether Pharah’s aerial assault, Hanzo’s clambering or Widowmaker’s grappling hook. Simply observing is entertaining and educational, making Overwatch ideal for esports too.

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For players, the compulsion to keep on playing owes so much to a constant feedback loop that rewards every XP milestone with dazzling loot. It also celebrates performance through dramatic kill-cams and end-game stats that showcase the best plays in the game, plus an opportunity to vote on star players’ tours of duty. When your name is up there in lights it’s intoxicating; you feel duty bound to keep on playing in the hope of keeping the spotlight. As for those left out, again you’re watching and learning, admiring the show.

Every game wants to be what Overwatch has apparently achieved in a short space of time: easy to pick up, hard to put down; simple to learn, much harder to master. This is why the thirst for Overwatch is real. How compelling Overwatch remains over time; how much scope there is for teams to push its potential to support legit League of Legends and Hearthstone-like tournaments for years to come, of course we cannot tell. But as debuts go, holy heck.



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Friday, 13 May 2016 09:15 GMT By Sherif Saed

Facebook Live broadcasts is one of the ways Activision is bringing eSports to the masses.

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Activision Blizzard’s eSports division has announced some of the new content and distribution partnerships the network has entered into.

Next month’s MLG Anaheim Open will be the start of a “deeper collaboration” with Facebook, which means MLG.tv broadcasts will be streamed live through Facebook. A two-day Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 tournament will kick things off on June 10.

Activision also debuted MLG’s Enhanced Viewing Experience at the 2016 IAB Digital Content NewFronts. This service provides HD streams with built-in match sats and updated leaderboards.

This is all part of Activision’s plans to bring eSports to more people, as evident by its MLG purchase earlier this year.



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World of Warcraft and StarCraft can’t compete with Blizzard’s shiny new shooter.

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The Overwatch beta attracted 9.7 million participants across PC, PS4 and Xbox One, Activision Blizzard has announced.

That’s a huge number; compare it with Destiny’s 4.6 million (PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One) and The Division’s 6.4 million (PC, PS4 and Xbox One), both of which were record-setters of their time. It’s not a totally fair comparison as each of the three tests ran for different durations across their platforms, but still.

As you may expect, this multi-platform test has smashed Blizzard’s internal records, too. With huge properties under its belt, the publisher must be pretty chuffed to have out-performed itself.

Testers managed to put in over 4.9 billion minutes over the course of 37 million matches. That’s a whopping 3.3 million days, or over 9,000 years. On average, each player spent about 8.4 hours with the beta – which is about the same value as some people get from a full release. Bloody hell.

“We’re thrilled that such an incredible number of players from around the globe got a chance to check out Overwatch during the Open Beta,” Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said.

“Our mission was to make sure as many console and PC gamers as possible could experience the full game ahead of its launch – the response was overwhelming, and we hope that everyone had a blast.”

Overwatch launches May 24 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.



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