Category Archives: Gaming

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.


Activision Blizzard Announced Sale of Overwatch League Teams



Activision Blizzard has announced the sale of the first Overwatch League teams for major global cities to seven entrepreneurs and leaders from traditional sports and esports. The Overwatch League is the first major global esports league with city-based teams.

The new team owners include:

  • Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
  • Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.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)

Overwatch is a video game created by Blizzard Entertainment. Among Blizzard’s stable of twenty #1 games over the past two decades, Overwatch is the fastest to reach more than 30 million players. Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and a fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences.

The Overwatch League, slated to begin later this year, is a unique opportunity for owners and players. As the first major esports league to feature a city-based structure, the league will drive the development of local fan bases.

For the first season of the league, regular-season matches will be played at an esports arena in the Los Angeles area, as teams develop their local venues for formal home and away play in future seasons. Matches will be played each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A full schedule and information about ticket sales will be announced closer to launch.

The league will create value for team owners through advertising, ticketing and broadcast rights revenues, with teams receiving an equal share of all league-wide net revenues. Teams will also keep all local revenues generated through their home territory and venue up to a set amount each year, unprecedented in esports; above the set amount, a percentage is sent to the league’s shared revenue pool.

In addition, teams will have a license to operate and monetize up to five amateur events in their home territory each year, and to benefit from the sale of league-affiliated fan items in Overwatch, with 50% of the revenues going into the net shared revenue pool for all teams.


Pikachu is Wearing Ash’s Hat in Pokémon GO



Niantic is officially celebrating the one year birthday of Pokémon Go. According to Niantic, players caught over 125 billion Pokémon since the game was launched.

While many players are focusing on the Raid Battles, or the upcoming Pokémon events that will take place in several countries as the year goes on, Niantic quietly added something else to the one year anniversary celebration.

Starting on July 6, 2017, and continuing through July 24, 2017, players have the opportunity to catch a Pikachu that is wearing a familiar hat. During that timeframe, Pikachu discovered in the wild will be wearing Ash’s famous hat from the Pokémon animated series. In addition, players will be able to stock up for Raid Battles with the special limited-time Anniversary Box, which will include Incubators, Max Revives, Ultra Balls, and Raid Passes at a discount in the in-game shop.

The newly added Raid Battle feature is live. Niantic put together a detailed set of instructions about Raid Battles for those who have questions about how to do that. At the top of that article, there is a link to known issues that some players are experiencing with Gyms and Raid Battles.


Raid Battles are Coming to Pokémon GO



Niantic announced that they will be temporarily disabling all Gyms in order to enable an update that will add Raid Battles to Pokémon GO. The Raid Battle feature will be rolled out slowly over the next few weeks. It will start as a beta that will only be visible to a subset of players. Later, Niantic will enable more players to participate in Raid Battles at Gyms around the world.

All around the world, you’ll soon be able to participate in the new Raid Battle feature at Gyms. A Raid Battle is a cooperative gameplay experience that encourages you to work with other Trainers to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss. Before a Raid Battle begins, a large Egg will appear atop the Gym. When the countdown above the Egg reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed.

Players will need a Raid Pass before they can battle the Raid Boss. Players can get one free Raid Pass per day by visiting a Gym. You can only hold one Raid Pass at a time. It will be possible to buy Premium Raid Passes form the in-game shop.

A Raid Battle can include yourself and up to 20 other Trainers who work together to defeat the Raid Boss. If you successfully defeat the Raid Boss within the five-minute time limit, you’ll have a chance to catch an extra powerful Pokémon of your own.

There will be Gym Badges that players can earn by interacting with the many Gyms around the world. The Gym Badges reflect your contribution to a Gym’s success. Players can level up their Badges by giving Berries to the Pokémon in the Gym. The Berries help increase a Pokémon’s motivation (and help it stay in the Gym for a longer period of time.)

Players can also level their Gym Badges by spinning the Gym’s Photo Disc. This means that players can get items from Gyms the same way they currently get items from PokéStops.


Samsung Introduced First HDR QLED Gaming Monitors



Samsung Electronics introduced the future of gaming with their new CHG90 and CHG70 curved monitors, which feature the powerful High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture enhancement technology typically reserved for televisions. When combined with the CHG90’s ultra-wide design and the CHG70’s quantum dot composition, this HDR integration produces a realistic, detailed picture that showcases games exactly as developers intended, and dramatically improves gameplay with crisper colors and sharper contrast.

The QLED quantum dot technology delivers a new metal core and supports both approximately 125 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and 95 percent of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI-P3) motion picture standard to deliver an exceptionally wide color range.

Samsung’s CHG90 sets the new visual standard for gaming displays by projecting a 32:9 aspect ratio and 3,840×1,080 double full HD (DFHD) resolution across a 49-inch screen. The CHG90 literally extends the playing field for gamers, with its broad design surpassing industry standards while simultaneously representing the widest monitor in the company’s gaming portfolio. The monitor delivers stunning 1,800R curvature and an ultra-wide 178-degree viewing angle, maintaining content visibility from any location within a given space.

Available in 27- and 31.5-inch variations, the CHG70 integrates HDR and quantum dot technologies, with a 144Hz refresh rate further helping to bring out the best in gaming content. This combination offers gamers a viewing arena that is brighter (600nit peak brightness), clearer (2,560×1,440 WQHD resolution) and more luminous, and which brings the slightest visual nuances to the forefront in extremely light or dark environments.

The CHG90 and CHG70 arrive as the first Samsung gaming monitors to feature AMD’s new Radeon FreeSync 2 technology. This frontline functionality eliminates the stuttering and tearing that often disrupt gameplay to drive seamless frame transitions. Likewise, Radeon FreeSync 2 supports a wide color gamut to showcase HDR content with twice the perceivable brightness and color than that offered by the sRGB standards.

In a strategic partnership with EA studio DICE and Ghost Games, the CHG90 and CHG70 have undergone rigorous turning to ensure optimal HDR picture quality. Additionally, both monitors recently received HDR compatibility validation with Nvidia’s graphics cards, ensuring they can clearly showcase a wider range of HDR-based gaming titles and PC devices.


Play Some of EA’s Games for Free – for a Limited Time



Electronic Arts (EA) is offering video game players the ability to play some of EA’s games, for free, between now and June 18, 2017. They are doing this in response to the support for Play to Give, which focuses on the importance of inclusion (and raises money for charities). EA explains it this way:

All of you – our many millions of players out there – showed your support. You came out to play, as more than 5.7 million active players participated in the Play to Give in-game challenges from June 2-4. We were moved by your tremendous show of support.

As a thank you, we’re ensuring all of you can play some of our best EA games – for free* – today through June 18 as we celebrate play.

There are some limitations to be aware of. The asterisk in the above quote points towards EA Access, which is a subscription program that costs $4.99/month or $29.99/year. If you already have a subscription, you are eligible for the free-to-play offer.

This means for a limited time, free access to EA Vault titles on Xbox One for Xbox Live Gold members*, free access to Origin Access on PC**, and, on PlayStation 4, free game trials of Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17, TitanFall 2, EA SPORTS UFC 2, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 are available June 10-June 18.*** In addition, PlayStation 4 players who already own Star Wars Battlefront can also play all premium maps and heroes through June 18.

Here are the limitations:

Xbox One players who are Xbox Live Gold members can play EA Access Vault titles for free.

PC players who have Origin Access accounts can play EA Access Vault titles for free. Origin Access comes with a free 7-day trial period. EA says “Credit card will be charged if subscription is not cancelled before promotion is over.”

PlayStation 4 players who have an EA account can play free game trials of the games listed above. They need to have a PlayStation Plus account to access multiplayer features Plants v Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (limited to 10 hours of play time), Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17 (Journey mode limited to 2 hours), Titanfall 2 (limited to Gauntlet and the Beacon single-player content plus multiplayer features) and EA Sports UFC 2 (limited to 5 hours).


Pokémon GO Celebrates First Anniversary



Pokémon GO has announced several fun events that players can participate in. One is a limited-time event focused on specific types of Pokémon. The rest are events that will take place at specific locations around the world.

The Solstice Event will begin on June 13, 2017. It is an in-game event that features both Fire-type Pokémon and Ice-type Pokémon. Players who participate will get “huge XP bonuses” for throwing Poké Balls accurately. Lucky Eggs will be discounted in the in-game shop.

Pokémon GO is also hosting some real-world events. A Pokémon GO Fest will take place in Chicago, Illinois, on July 22, 2017. It is the real-world event for players in North America. Those who want to know when tickets for this event will go on sale can enter their email onto the Pokémon GO Fest website. More information about the fest will be released on that website on June 19, 2017.

Players in Europe can look forward to Pokémon GO celebrations hosted across the continent in June through September of 2017. The events are a partnership between Pokémon GO and Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers. Pokémon GO intends to release more information about these events “soon.”

In Japan, the Pokémon Company is organizing a “Pikachu Outbreak”. It will take place in Yokohama, Japan, in August of 2017, where they are “exploring a unique Pokémon GO experience.”


The Sims Mobile App is Coming Soon!



EA has announced that The Sims Mobile is coming soon. It will be available on the Google Play Store and the App Store eventually.  As of the time I am writing this blog, The Sims Mobile is only available in Brazil.

If you want to be among the first to know when The Sims Mobile will be released, you can give EA your email address, birthdate, and let EA know the country you live in. This will result in EA sending you email with news about this game (and potentially other games as well).

In The Sims Mobile, players can create unique Sims with distinct appearances, hairstyle, outfits, and accessories. You can choose their personality traits and life goals. Players can personalize a Sims home layout and can decorate it. The app allows players to host and attend parties with other Sims.

Shape your Sims’ families over multiple generations. When your Sims accomplish their career goals and retire, you’ll be rewarded with Heirlooms that unlock hobbies and careers for future generations, allowing new Sims to tell deeper stories.

The Sims Mobile has dialogue options. Players get to choose from three options and direct what their Sim will say to another Sim. It appears that the three options are very different from each other, which will give players something to think about before making their selection.