Category Archives: Gaming

Blizzard Entertainment Released StarCraft: Remastered



Blizzard Entertainment has released StarCraft: Remastered.  It is described as “Blizzard Entertainment’s lovingly crafted upgrade of the real-time strategy classic and its legendary expansion “Brood War”. Blizzard announced StarCraft: Remastered in March, saying the game would be out “later this summer.” You can purchase StarCraft: Remastered for $14.99 USD.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential strategy games of all time, StarCraft and Brood War tell the story of the first interstellar war between three distinctive factions: the Earth-born terrans, psi-powered protoss, and hive minded zerg. StarCraft: Remastered lets players reexperience the saga of iconic characters like Jim Raynor, High Templar Tassadar, and Kerrigan, through upgraded 4K visuals, enhanced audio and music, and new illustrated story interludes.

StarCraft: Remastered provides players with an arsenal of new updates and features including:

  • Full graphical upgrade of the original StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War expansion
  • Widescreen UHD support for up to 4K resolution
  • Matchmaking and leaderboards
  • Player profiles that track individual statistics
  • Cloud saving for campaign progress, hotkeys, and replays
  • Improved high fidelity music and sound
  • Ability to switch between Remastered and the original StarCraft with the click of a button

StarCraft: Remastered is available now for Windows and Mac PCs. It is available in English, Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, French, German, European Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and simplified and traditional Chinese.


Overwatch League Adds Two New Teams



The Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league. Overwatch was created by Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision-Blizzard). Previously, The Overwatch League announced the first seven teams.   Now, they have announced two additional teams.

The two newly announced teams include:

  • Jack Etienne, founder of esports organization Cloud9 (London)
  • Stan and Josh Kroenke, owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (Los Angeles)

The original announcement of team owners included:

  • Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
  • Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterming.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
  • Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
  • Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
  • Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
  • NetEase (Shanghai)
  • Kevin Chou, Co-Founder of Kabam (Seoul)

The Overwatch League now includes teams from Asia, Europe, and North American – including two teams for Los Angeles. The official player signing window started on August 1, 2017, and will end on October 30, 2017. All Overwatch League teams will be able to sign players to contracts during that timeframe, including teams that join the League during the signing window.


Twitch Collaborates with Blizzard Entertainment



Twitch announced that they are collaborating with Blizzard Entertainment again to bring players a Legendary Loot Chest for Heroes of the Storm. This is not the first time the two companies have collaborated in this way.

In June, the offer was a Golden Loot Box for Overwatch for current and new Twitch Prime members.  That offer is valid through August 20, 2017.  In addition, there is another offer for Overwatch players who have Twitch Prime.

From August 10th – September 10th, Twitch Prime members will receive five Loot Boxes* for Overwatch.  Then, in October, Twitch Prime members will receive five more Loot Boxes containing skins, emotes, highlight intros, and other in-game items to customize your heroes.

The asterisk leads to: Offer valid only in regions where Twitch Prime is available.  Must own Overwatch to redeem. Loot Box does not include any seasonal event items.  Content of Loot Box is random.  Each Blizzard account may only redeem one code per promotional item.

At the time, Twitch stated that similar promotions would be coming in the months ahead for Heroes of the Storm players and for Hearthstone players. The Heroes of the Storm offer is valid right now.  From August 17 to October 10, anyone who links their Amazon Prime account to their Twitch account will receive one Legendary Loot Chest that contains at least one Legendary item for Heroes of the Storm.

Players who are not currently a Twitch Prime member can sign up for a free Twitch Prime trial.  Those who get Twitch Prime also get the benefits that come from Amazon Prime, including streaming movies and TV shows to ad-free viewing of your favorite Twitch streamers.


Discord Started Testing Video Chat and Screen Share



Discord announced that it has started testing its video chat and screen sharing with 5% of desktop users that had registered before August 9, 2017. They were doing a test run that rolled out over the day.  It is unclear how long the test run will continue.

Discord is a voice chat service. It explained that it needs a test run on video chat and screen sharing before it can release these features to everyone for two reasons.

One reason is because, compared to voice data, “video data is a behemoth” and transmitting it takes way more bandwidth. Discord is doing this beta test to see how their servers handle the increase in bandwidth. They said they could launch it for everyone, but that it would “most likely nuke our own servers and then nobody gets to use it.”

The other reason they needed a test run was because there are likely bugs, crashes, and other issues that Discord was unable to catch themselves. This should be obvious to anyone who has used and/or tested a beta version of something.

Those who got into the test run were able to start video calls with anybody – including people who were not in the test run. Discord warned that there was a possibility that they would have to suddenly turn off video calls during the test.

Discord made it clear that they are at least a month out from considering a full launch of the video chat and screen share features. Those who want to know more about how those features work can check out a brief tutorial that Discord added to their post about the test run.


Niantic Reveals Details About the Pikachu Outbreak



Niantic has announced more details about the Pikachu Outbreak event. It started on August 9, 2017, and will continue through August 15, 2017. The Pikachu Outbreak will take place in Yokohama, Japan.

The event started yesterday with a boat-full of Pikachu and a 17-meter long airship that has Pikachu artwork on it. A Pikachu’s Walk event will happen “from time to time”. It involves 20 Pikachu taking a leisurely walk.

There will be a Pikachu Carnival Parade on August 14, 2017. It is a one-time, standing-only, event that will include more than 100 Pikachu. People who want to watch are encouraged to wear something yellow or their own Pikachu-related items.

During the Pikachu Outbreak, Trainers will be able to explore two special Kanto and Johto-themed parks. At Red Brick Park, Trainers will more frequently encounter Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region in the Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue video games. Meanwhile, Trainers in Cup Noodle Museum Park will be more likely to find Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region in the Pokémon Silver and Pokémon Gold video games.

In addition, Trainers will have the opportunity to encounter some Pokémon that are rarely encountered in Japan, including Mr. Mime. Spinning the Photo Disc at the PokéStops found at each park may award Trainers with special 2km Eggs with the potential to hatch a greater variety of Pokémon than usual.

On the last day of the Pikachu Outbreak, there will be a “Water Carnival” Super Soaking Splash Show, which includes water cannons and uses up to two tons of water. Pikachu and various performers will be there. Spectators may get completely soaked (depending on the viewing spot). Spectators are recommended to safeguard their mobile phones and other electronic devices from being exposed to water.


Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Free Weekend with Xbox Live Gold



All Xbox Live Gold members can enjoy Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – The Ultimate Evil Edition for free as part of Xbox Live Gold Free Play Days. In order to take advantage of this offer, you must be an Xbox Live Gold member.

It’s being called a “Free Weekend”, but the offer actually lasts a total of 5 days. It started on Thursday, July 27, 2017, and will continue through Monday, July 31, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One markets will get a special opportunity to fight back against the hordes of evil. During this time you can also purchase Diablo III: Eternal Collection, the latest version of Diablo III that includes the new Necromancer class and all content from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition, from the Xbox Store at 35% off to continue playing after Xbox Live Gold’s Free Play Days concludes.

If you give the game a try, and later decide to come back to it, your saved progress and earned achievements will remain. In other words, you won’t lose the progress you made.

The Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition contains both Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion set, together in one volume. You can choose to play as a Crusader, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Monk or Wizard. You can download Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition by clicking on the Gold Member area on the home dashboard or downloading directly from the Xbox Store.


Legendary Pokémon GO Bonus Unlocked at Pokémon GO Fest



The Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago is over. Players at the event, and around the world, worked together and have successfully unlocked in-game bonuses for the entire Pokémon GO community.

As a result, the following rewards will last through Monday, July 24, at 5:00 PM PDT:

  • Double Stardust
  • Double Candy
  • Double XP
  • Increased Pokémon encounters
  • Reduced hatching distance
  • Reduced buddy distance

There are three teams in Pokémon GO: Instinct, Mystic, and Valor. The number of Pokémon that each team caught during the Fest was tallied up. The winner was Team Mystic. As a result, the first Legendary Pokémon to “enter the real world” is Lugia. Articuno, another Legendary Pokémon, will join Lugia in Raid Battles.

If you want to obtain a Lugia, or an Articuno, you need to do some Raid Battles. Look for Legendary Pokémon Eggs appearing at Gyms near you. I haven’t personally tried to do this yet, but it appears to be a difficult thing to do. Kotaku reported that some Pokémon GO players are having trouble trying to catch these two newly released Legendary Pokémon.

Niantic says that it will release more Legendary Pokémon “soon”. They will release Zapdos and Moltres, which are Pokémon that relate to Team Instinct and Team Valor.


Blizzard Celebrates Necromancer’s First Season with a Giveaway



Blizzard Entertainment has created a giveaway as a way of celebrating the Necromancer’s first Season. Someone will win everything they need to start from scratch with the brand new Necromancer class – and more!

When Diablo III first launched, it came with 5 different classes (each of which could be played as male or female characters). Those classes were: Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard. Later, the first (and potentially only) expansion to Diablo III was released. The Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion added one more class, the Crusader.

Blizzard introduced the Necromancer class into the game in a way they haven’t done before. If you want to play this new class, you have to purchase the Rise of the Necromancer Pack. It comes with two additional character slots (that you can fill with two brand new Necromancers), and other assorted cosmetic items.  The Rise of the Necromancer pack costs $14.99 on the Blizzard Store.

Those who play Diablo III know that the game includes Seasons, where you can start a brand new character (or rebirth an existing one) and race to reach the top of the leaderboard. Season 11 just started, and it is the first Season after the Necromancer was added to the game.

Blizzard has a “Season of the Necromancer Giveaway” going on now.  To enter, all you need to do is enter your name and Battle.net email on the giveaway’s website. You also must check a box stating that you have read the Official Rules & Regulations.

A total of 5 randomly selected qualified entrants will win:
1 Necromancer T-shirt
1 Diablo III Battle Chest
1 Rise of the Necromancer Pack game code
1 Diablo III Book of Cain Sketchbook
1 Signed copy of the Reaper of Souls Collector’s Edition

The deadline for entering this giveaway is July 26, 2017 at 11:59 PM PST.


StarCraft War Chest Supports StarCraft II eSports



Blizzard is starting a limited-time offer that is designed to generate interest in StarCraft – and to financially support StarCraft II eSports. StarCraft War Chest has three phases that will unlock on separate dates.

Phase I unlocks on July 19, 2017. Phase II unlocks on August 16, 2017. Phase III unlocks on September 23, 2017. Starting on October 4, 2017, there will be a Double XP bonus. The purpose of the extra XP is to help players to complete their War Chest. That same date is the purchase deadline for StarCraft War Chests. The War Chest offer closes on November 4, 2017.

War Chest: BlizzCon 2017 introduces more than 70 new items (spread across three phases), including sprays, emoticons, exclusive portraits, and StarCraft II’s first army-wide skins, all for a steeply discounted price.

On July 19, players can choose to purchase a War Chest for an individual StarCraft race (Protoss, Terran, or Zerg) for $9.99. Or, players can buy the entire collection for $24.99. The first War Chest you purchase unlocks some loot for other Blizzard Games: A Tal’darim pet for Diablo III, a Heroes of the Storm Loot Chest, and a free Hearthstone card pack.

Each War Chest begins with a single unit skin and an exclusive portrait. Additional skins are divided into three phases, and each can be unlocked by playing Multiplayer or Co-op matches during or after the corresponding phase, until by the end of the challenge you have a full set.

Progress is applied retroactively to newly purchased War Chests. If you have unlocked 5 rewards from the Zerg War Chest, and you purchase a Protoss War Chest, you will immediately unlock 5 Protoss rewards. Progress is shared across War Chests, so if you purchase more than one, you can work on them all simultaneously.

Blizzard states that 25% of all War Chest purchases go directly to StarCraft II eSports. The first $200K will be added to the $500K BlizzCon 2017 prize pool, with any surplus contributing to StarCraft II event production.


Pokémon GO Fest – Play Worldwide Together



Niantic released some additional information about the Pokémon GO Fest that will take place in Chicago, Illinois. It turns out that Pokémon GO Trainers everywhere can participate in a global challenge with Trainers who are at the Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago. You can help them unlock special rewards worldwide.

The Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago will take place starting at 10:00 AM and ending at 7:00 PM CDT on July 22, 2017. There will be three Challenge Windows: 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM, 12:00 AM to 12:30 PM, and 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM.

During the Challenge Windows, Trainers in Grant Park will attempt to unlock perks for Pokémon GO players around the world by catching certain types of Pokémon. Each Pokémon-type will be tied to a different perk, so Trainers at the park will need to carefully choose which Pokémon they catch.

  • Fire-type: Candy Bonus
  • Water-type: XP Bonus
  • Grass-type: Stardust Bonus
  • Electric-type: Reduces the distance players must walk to hatch an egg
  • Rock-type: Buddy Distance Bonus
  • Normal-type: Encounter Rate Bonus

Meanwhile, Trainers outside of Chicago will attempt to catch as many Pokémon as possible during the Challenge Windows to extend the duration of the bonuses unlocked by those attending the event. If Trainers around the world catch enough Pokémon, a mystery challenge will be unveiled in Grant Park that, once completed, will unlock an extra-special bonus across the globe.

In other words, Pokémon GO players who are not able to attend the Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago can still participate from wherever they are. Your efforts can help unlock special rewards.