Tag Archives: Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard is Ending Support for Windows XP and Windows Vista



Blizzard Entertainment announced on a World of Warcraft Forum post that they will be ending support for two operating systems. Those systems are Windows XP and Windows Vista. If you are still using one of those operating systems, you are going to need to upgrade if you want to keep playing Blizzard’s games.

The Forum post was posted by Community Manager Ornyx said:

Starting later this year, we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions.

Community Manager Ornyx points out that when Blizzard ends support for Windows XP and Windows Vista, their games will not run on them anymore. Players who are still using either one of those older operating systems should upgrade to a newer version.

Blizzard is going to roll out this change on a staggered schedule, which should give players who are currently using Windows Vista or Windows XP time to upgrade their OS. Additional notices about this change will be posted as Blizzard gets closer to making that change for each of their games.

Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows XP on April 14, 2009 (with extended support ended on April 8, 2014). Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows Vista Service Pack 2, on April 10, 2012. Extended support for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 will end on April 11, 2017.


Play Heroes of the Storm and Get a World of Warcraft Mount



Blizzard Entertainment announced that the Primal Flamesaber Mount is now available. It is a mount that can only be used in World of Warcraft. In order to get this new mount, a player must play Heroes of the Storm (another one of Blizzard’s games).

Mounts are very useful in World of Warcraft because they can help your character get from one place to another very quickly. It is possible for players to earn several mounts just by playing World of Warcraft. Other mounts can be purchased from the Blizzard Store. Once in a while, Blizzard offers a World of Warcraft mount that players cannot get unless they play a different Blizzard game.

Such is the case with the Primal Flamesaber mount.  To get this mount, players need to leave Azeroth and venture into the Nexus. Play 15 Heroes of the Storm matches with a friend from your Battle.net friends list between now and March 13, 2017. Both you, and your friend, have to play Heroes that originated in World of Warcraft.

In addition, players who complete that goal will also get a Judgment Charger mount, and a 10-day Stimpack, that they can use in Heroes of the Storm.

This offer is great for players who already play both of those Blizzard games and who have at least one friend on their Battle.net friends list who plays Heroes of the Storm.

This is not the first time that Blizzard has offered a special mount to World of Warcraft players who spend some time playing one of Blizzard’s other games. In 2014, players who won three games in Hearthstone earned themselves a Hearthsteed to use in World of Warcraft.


The WoW Token Can Now be Exchanged for Battle.net Balance



Blizzard Entertainment created the WoW Token in 2015. In my opinion, the purpose was to give players a safe and secure way to buy in-game gold directly from Blizzard (and not from a disreputable gold seller). Today, Blizzard Entertainment expanded the potential uses for a WoW Token. Players can now exchange a WoW Token for Battle.net Balance.

Previously, the WoW Token had two purposes. A player who wanted to buy in-game gold could log in to World of Warcraft and spend real world currency on a WoW Token. After buying one, that player would put the WoW Token onto the World of Warcraft in-game Auction House. The player would get a quote that confirmed how much gold they would receive whenever their WoW Token sold.

Another player, who wanted to buy game-time, but did not have the real world currency to spend on it, could use their in-game gold to buy a WoW Token from the World of Warcraft in-game Auction House. That player would spend their in-game gold and use the WoW Token to pay for a month of game-time.

Today, Blizzard Entertainment has added a new option. World of Warcraft players who want to add to their Battle.net account can visit the World of Warcraft in-game Auction House, buy a WoW Token, and choose to redeem it for Battle.net Balance. In short, this gives players a new way to add to their Battle.net Balance without having to use real world currency.

The cool thing is that a player can spend the money in their Battle.net Balance on World of Warcraft Pets and Mounts. Or, they can spend it on items from other Blizzard Entertainment games like Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm. This gives more options to World of Warcraft players who also play other Blizzard Entertainment games.


Blizzard Announced Overwatch League



overwatch-league-logoBlizzard Entertainment has announced the creation of Overwatch League. It is a professional sports league for Blizzard’s popular Overwatch game. The inaugural season will begin in 2017.

Overwatch League is a world-class sports ecosystem for professional Overwatch competition. Combining Blizzard’s esports pedigree with the best practices of major professional sports, the Overwatch League will focus on long-term stability for teams as well as opportunities for players to establish the types of professional careers associated with traditional sports.

At the start of the 2017 season, Blizzard will host a combine, where eligible players who have previously distinguished themselves in competition will be invited to try out for teams. Players at the combine will be evaluated across a range of tests, giving teams the opportunity to sign those who best round out their rosters. Anyone picked up by a team during the signing period will be guaranteed a contract that includes a baseline minimum salary and benefits package.


Blizzard Launches WoW Legion Companion App



World of Warcraft Legion Companion AppBlizzard Entertainment has launched the WoW Legion Companion App. It is for players of World of Warcraft who have the recently released Legion expansion. The app can be downloaded for free from either the App Store or Google Play.

The WoW Legion Companion App can be used by players to keep track of their progress in game. It is not a substitution for the World of Warcraft game (or the Legion expansion). In other words, the app lets you do certain in-game things through your mobile device, but you still need to use your computer to play WoW.

Players can use the app to:

Track World Quests – View your active world quests and emissary bounties from the app. You can check on rewards and figure out which quests to do once you’re in-game.

Mission Control – See which missions are available to you in your Class Order Hall and get them started through the app. You can complete missions, collect rewards, manage your followers, upgrade their gear, and recruit troops for future missions.

Order Hall Progress – Conduct research and track the status of your Order Hall tech tree to maintain the momentum of your in-game progression.

The app requires players to have an active World of Warcraft subscription, the World of Warcraft Legion expansion, and at least one character that is at the appropriate level. Some things do not unlock until after your character reaches certain levels.

In November of 2015, Blizzard Entertainment acquired King Digital Entertainment. Since then, there has been much speculation that the result would be an app that connected to at least one of Blizzard’s games. The WoW Legion Companion app appears to be that result.


High Bandwidth Support is Coming to Overwatch



Overwatch logoBlizzard Entertainment is in the process of rolling out a high bandwidth server option to Overwatch. It was something that was part of the Overwatch beta. At the time, Blizzard said that they would investigate adding the high bandwidth option to other game modes if it performed well and players responded positively to it.

Keep in mind that this is being rolled out and may take a few weeks for it to appear on all regions. Right now, they are rolling out the high bandwidth option globally to PC. (Overwatch is not compatible with Mac). Blizzard is exploring how they can bring the high bandwidth option to console.

In the official post about this upcoming change, Community Manager Lylirra explains more about what the high bandwidth option means.

So what does that mean? In Overwatch, our high bandwidth option adjusts the game’s client update rate (the frequency at which your client gets updates from the game server) from 21 updates per second to 63 updates per second. This reduces the amount of time between when you complete an action and when your client hears back about the result, which in turn will help make the game feel more responsive.

In addition, Blizzard is adding in “tech that will automatically and adaptively scale down your update rate if we find your connection can’t keep up.” They are looking to add an option that will allow players to self-limit their update rate in a future patch. The reason for that is because Blizzard recognizes that “not all internet connections are equal”.


Blizzard DDoS Possibly Linked to Second Overwatch Ban Wave



Blizzard Entertainment logoYesterday, Blizzard Entertainment enacted a second ban wave of players who were cheating in Overwatch. Many banned players complained online and some of their comments suggested they were seeking some kind of revenge on Blizzard. Not long after that, Blizzard experienced a DDoS attack. This doesn’t prove that the situations are connected – but it certainly looks suspicious.

In May, a warning was posted on the Overwatch Forums that stated: “If a player is found to be cheating – or using hacks, bots, or third-party software that provides any sort of unfair advantage – that player will be permanently banned from the game. Full stop.” In June, Blizzard banned players who were cheating in Overwatch. One would think this should have been enough of a clue that Blizzard is serious about banning cheaters.

Despite a very obvious example of what would happen to cheaters, some players decided to cheat in Overwatch anyway. This caused Blizzard to enact a second banwave. Kotaku reported:

This time around, Blizzard sniffed out players who use “triggerbots”, which shoot for players when their crosshairs appear over a target, and “aimbots,” which aid in accuracy.

A Reddit user compiled a series of screenshots of complaining comments that were posted by people who were cheating and got banned. Many of the comments are overly dramatic, and some are NSFW.

Included in the Kotaku article are a few comments that imply that some banned players want to take revenge upon Blizzard via a DDoS attack. There’s no way to know whether those comments came from people who actually know how to do that, but it definitely looks suspicious.

Yesterday and today, @BlizzardCS (the verified Twitter account for Blizzard Entertainment North America Customer Support) posted a series of tweets stating that they were experiencing a DDoS attack. It affected players ability to log in to all of Blizzard’s games and also impacted their websites.

Shortly before I posted this blog, @BlizzardCS tweeted:


Player Threatened Blizzard Entertainment with AK-47 Over Silence Penalty



Heroes of the Storm logoIn September of 2015, Blizzard Entertainment added a silence penalty to Heroes of the Storm. (Blizzard will soon be adding a silence penalty to World of Warcraft as well.) Players who earn a silence penalty lose the ability to chat with most other players. It is understandable that being silenced will irritate players who were being abusive in game. Even so, that doesn’t excuse the guy who decided to threaten Blizzard Entertainment with an AK-47.

According to the Department of Justice (Eastern District of California) website, a 28-year-old man named Stephen Cebula has been charged with “making threats to injure employees of the video-game company Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.” The post also says:

According to court documents, between July 2, 2016, and July 3, 2016, Cebula transmitted messages over the internet to Blizzard Entertainment, in which he stated that he “may or may not pay [Blizzard] a visit with an AK47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools,” and “might be inclined to ’cause a disturbance’ at [Blizzard’s] headquarters in California with an AK47 and a few other ‘opportunistic tools’..”. Cebula was arrested on July 12, 2016, and is in custody. He is scheduled to be arraigned July 26, 2016.

If he is convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Department of Justice website says: “The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in one threat, court records showed that Stephen Cebula wrote “Careful Blizzard… I live in California and your headquarters is here in California… You keep silencing me in Heroes of the Storm and I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK-47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools.” Blizzard’s headquarters is in Irvine, California.

Players that earn a silence penalty in Heroes of the Storm receive it because they have been posting abusive chat, posting spam, cheating or botting, or doing things in game intentionally to anger the players on their team (like walking away from the keyboard). If you someday find that you earned a silence penalty, it’s ok to feel upset about it. Just be very careful about how you choose to express your irritation online.


Blizzard is Adding a Silence Penalty to World of Warcraft



Blizzard Entertainment logoBlizzard Entertainment is adding a new silence penalty to World of Warcraft. It is designed to enable players to report those who cannot play nice with others. This new silence penalty for World of Warcraft has some similarities to the one Blizzard added to Heroes of the Storm in 2015.

The silence penalty will be implemented with the pre-expansion patch for Legion (World of Warcraft’s newest expansion that will be released on August 30, 2016.) The pre-expansion patch will appear sometime before that date.

The silence penalty will enable players to report other players who are engaging in spam, abusive chat, or other inappropriate chat behaviors. An investigation will be done.

Reported players who, after an investigation, were found to be engaging in bad behavior or chat will receive an account-wide silence penalty. That means they can’t switch from their character that got silenced to an alt in the hopes of being able to get around the penalty.

Silenced Players are Unable to:

*Talk in Instance Chat (Raid, Party, and Battlegrounds)

*Talk in global channels that are autojoined (such as General or Trade)

* Create Calendar Invites/Events

* Send in-game mail

* Send Party invitations

* Send War Game invitations

* Send invitations to Duel

* Update a Premade Group Listing

* Create a New List for a Premade Group

Silenced Players are Able to:

* Whisper to friends (both World of Warcraft and Battle.net friends)

* Reply to Whispers from non-friends

* Party/Raid Chat (with Invited Players)

* Create Parties and Raids

* Talk in Global Channels that have a moderator

* Share Quests

* Sign up for a pre-made group

The first time a player is silenced, their chat will be restricted for 24 hours. The silence penalty restriction will double for each silence penalty received after the first and there is no maximum.


Blizzard Sues Company that Made Overwatch Cheat Bot



Blizzard Entertainment logoBlizzard Entertainment, creator of the popular Overwatch game, has banned players who were cheating. Recently, Blizzard sued a company that made a cheat bot called “Watchover Tyrant” for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court Central District of California on July 1, 2016. The case is called Blizzard Entertainment v. Bossland GMBH. Blizzard is suing the bot maker for trafficking in circumvention devices, inducement to infringe copyright, contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, intentional interference with contractual relations, and unfair competition.

Blizzard states that the Bossland Hacks “have caused, and are continuing to cause, massive and irreparable harm to Blizzard.” It also states: “The Bossland Hacks destroy the integrity of the Blizzard Games, thereby alienating and frustrating legitimate players and diverting revenue from Blizzard to Defendants.”

In the lawsuit, Blizzard Entertainment states that Bossland GmbH is a German company that has created several Buddy Bot software programs that, when installed on a user’s computer, enable that player to automate his or her play of Blizzard’s games. Blizzard included a list of all the Buddy Bots, which Blizzard game each bot is being used in, and a description of the harm this causes to not only Blizzard, but also to Blizzard’s players (who aren’t cheating).

A section of the lawsuit is about the Overwatch cheat (called Watchover Tyrant) and the unfair advantage it gives players. Blizzard notes that Bossland GmbH is making money from selling its bots to players. Blizzard states that this Overwatch cheat was released just days after the release of Overwatch, and says that Bossland GmbH is “attempting to destroy or irreparably harm that game before it even has had a chance to fully flourish.”

In other words, the lawsuit is primarily about the Watchover Tyrant cheat bot. But it is also about all the other cheat bots that connect to other Blizzard games that Bossland GmbH sells.

One of the things Blizzard is asking the court for is to require Bossland GmbH “to shut down the Bossland Hacks and any colorable copies thereof, hosted at any domain, address, location, or ISP”. Blizzard also wants the court to grant them “actual or statutory damage for copyright infringement and willful infringement.”