Heroes of the Storm, made by Blizzard Entertainment, is now able to silence the accounts of players who use offensive language and harass their teammates. This is being implemented in addition to the weekly suspension and ban waves.
Community Manager Nate Valenta posted the following on a Heroes of the Storm Forum post on April 18, 2018:
Starting today, we’re implementing new technology that enhances our ability to validate the accuracy of reports. This will allow us to increase the rate that we issue account silences and ranked suspensions to players who are frequently and consistently reported for using offensive language. These actions are aimed at those who regularly use offensive language to harass, antagonize, and abuse one or more of their teammates. This type of behavior not only ruins the experience for those who are targeted, but also damages team morale, effectively degrading the fun for everyone in a match.
The post continues by making it clear that the weekly suspension and ban waves for non-participation and intentionally dying will continue. Players who have recently reported another player for going AFK (away from keyboard), refusing to participate, or intentionally dying should keep an eye on their email inbox associated with their account for updates regarding actions taken by Blizzard agains the player they reported.
Heroes of the Storm is a game that requires a team of players to battle against an opposing team of players. It makes absolutely no sense for a player to use offensive language to harass or antagonize teammates. It’s nice to see Blizzard doing something to curtail this type of behavior.
Blizzard Entertainment is now allowing players to send Blizzard Balance to their friends. This is a brand new change that will give players the option to send some of their own Blizzard Balance to a friend who also plays Blizzard’s games.
We’re expanding our gifting service by allowing you to send Blizzard Balance to your friends, offering you the benefits of retail gift cards in a new and easy-to-use digital format.
Blizzard Balance is an electronic balance players can use to purchase Blizzard Entertainment games and services. Funds added to Blizzard Balance are not refundable and cannot be converted into cash. Blizzard Balance can only be used to buy designated Blizzard Entertainment products and services.
You cannot use Blizzard Balance to make a purchase on the PlayStation Store or Xbox Marketplace. This is worth pointing out because some players are playing Overwatch and Diablo III on consoles.
To send a Blizzard Balance gift, the first thing you need to do is visit the Blizzard Shop. Select one of the suggested values – or enter a custom amount. Click the “Gift Balance” button and select the friend you want to send it to.
Blizzard will deliver your gift to your friend, along with a notification and personalized message. Your friend will then be able to claim the digital gift card balance onto their account. Players will also be notified on the Blizzard App when a friend has sent them Blizzard Balance – and can claim that gift through the app.
Blizzard Entertainment announced the dates for BlizzCon 2018. Those who want to attend can start making plans, booking hotel rooms, and hoping they will be able to purchase a ticket. BlizzCon is a huge convention that showcases Blizzard’s many games.
Team up with your friends and family and get ready for a journey to Southern California for BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard’s epic celebration of games and esports and the communities that bring them to life! Tickets to the main event, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 2 and 3, will go on sale May 9 and May 12, with tickets to a special pre-BlizzCon benefit dinner going on sale May 16.
Here are the dates you need to know:
BlizzCon Ticket Sale #1: Wednesday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. PDT
BlizzCon Ticket Sale #2: Saturday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. PDT
BlizzCon Benefit Dinner Ticket Sale: Wednesday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. PDT.
BlizzCon 2018 tickets will be available for $199 USD each (plus applicable taxes and fees) through the online ticketing service Universe. Tickets include two-day admission to the main event at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 2 and 3, and attendees will receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing a cache of loot based on their favorite video games.
This year’s BlizzCon will commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25-29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold.
The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments, along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games, will be crowned.
The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, which allows fans to watch many of the events that take place at BlizzCon 2018 online, is “coming soon”. It offers live-streaming coverage of the event and a variety of bonus content, including this year’s BlizzCon in-game items.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that the World of Warcraft Remote Auction House will be deactivated on April 18, 2018. Players that are currently using the app will have to do their Auction House related activities in-game, once again.
The WoW Remote Auction House will be deactivated on April 18, 2018. On that date, you will no longer be able to view Auction House listings or make Auction House transactions through the official WoW website or the WoW Armory app, and all links will be removed from our website. After April 18, you’ll still be able to use the WoW Armory app for all other purposes, including accessing your character profile, talent calculators, event calendars, and more.
In a post that was updated three months ago, Blizzard stated that the Remote Auction House allowed players to browse the Auction House in World of Warcraft. They could check the status of existing auctions, purchase items, and create their own auctions. A single World of Warcraft account could preform up to 200 Remote Auction House transactions per day (including bids, buyouts, and creating auctions).
Blizzard is aware that some World of Warcraft community sites make use of Blizzard’s API to access Auction House-related data. Blizzard is going to continue to support for that. In short, those community websites will still be able to provide players information about things like prices for a specific item in the Auction House. The app, however, will stop doing that as of April 18, 2018.
Hearthstone is celebrating their Year of the Raven by giving players the opportunity to earn free card packs. The Year of the Mammoth, which began on March 29, 2017, is coming to an end. The Year of the Raven will begin in mid-April when The Witchwood expansion arrives.
To celebrate the upcoming Year of the Raven, we’re throwing a New Year of the Raven party! Every time you complete a daily quest, you’ll also be awarded a card pack! These packs can be from Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne, Kobolds & Catacombs, or even The Witchwood! You can tear open The Witchwood card packs once the expansion goes live in April!
This event begins on March 26, at 11:59 pm PDT, and will last until April 9, 11:59 pm PDT. Players need to be aware that the rewards take effect after Midnight. The Hearthstone blog post asks players to please wait to complete their daily quests until after the clock strikes 12!
In addition, Hearthstone is offering players a way to obtain Lunara. She is a Druid Hero that can replace the Hero on the Druid deck that players started with. To get it, players have to win 10 games of Hearthstone in Standard Ranked or Casual mode after The Witchwood expansion has launched.
Two weeks after The Witchwood expansion is released, a single-player Monster Hunt event will begin. It is similar to the Dungeon Run from the Kobolds & Catacombs expansion. Players will defeat bosses and collect their bounties to build a deck that will keep them alive as they continue through the Monster Hunt.
Heroes of the Dorm is a competition where teams of college students play Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm video game in an attempt to win money for their college tuition. This is the fourth year of Tespa’s collegiate Heroes of the Storm league.
This year, Tespa is adding regional play. Each college will field their strongest Heroes team to battle to the top of their regional division for a chance to play in the National Championship tournament. This year, we’re also partnering with Raycom Sports on a weekly broadcast for matches in Heroes of the Dorm’s Atlantic Coast Region for one-for-a-kind sports network viewing experience.
To enter, you must be a legal resident of the United States or Canada, who is at the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence.
You must also be currently enrolled full-time (or will be enrolled full-time) in the 2018 Spring semester in an accredited graduate school, four-year college, four-year university or community college that is located in the United States or Canada. The school must have a physical campus location.
Registration for Heroes of the Dorm 2018 started on January 22, 2018, and will end on February 5, 2018. Make a team, or find an open spot on a roster at your school. Once your team has five eligible players, you are ready to battle!
Teams will be split up into Regions of 12-16 teams. Online matches begin February 7, 2018. Eventually, the top four teams will make it to the Heroic Four Event and be awarded a custom gaming rig brought to them by ASUS ROG. All five off the players on the team that becomes the championship team will earn tuition for their college careers.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that a major new brand-marketing partner has signed on to support the Overwatch league during its inaugural season: multinational automative manufacturer Toyota. This partnership marks the first time Toyota has partnered with an esports league.
The Overwatch League is further supported by sponsors HP and Intel, with players competing on cutting-edge gaming hardware including HP’s OMEN gaming PCs, powered by the latest Intel Core i7 processors.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Toyota to the Overwatch League,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment’s MLG division. “When we were building the league, our desire was to create a premium experience for players and fans, and partners like Toyota are helping us do just that.”
As part of the partnership, Toyota and the Overwatch League plan to develop an exclusive series called Access Granted that will present behind-the-scenes content to the community, centered around the unique journey of the esports athlete.
The series, produced by Blizzard Entertainment’s MLG division, will air featured clips in live matches that promote the series. The featured clips will include players driving Toyota vehicles to and from the competition at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, where all regular-season games of Overwatch League will take place.
“Toyota is excited to be a launch partner of the Overwatch League,” said Steven Curtis, Vice President, media & engagement marketing for Toyota Motor North America.” We love the passion of esports fans, and the goal of our partnership is to help take the Overwatch League and the fan experience to the next level.”
The Toyota C-HR will have on-site presence at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and media placements surrounding Overwatch League.
Blizzard Entertainment announced the new social features that are now available in the beta version of the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app. The one that is likely going to get the most attention is the ability to appear offline.
The Appear Offline feature allows you to set your status to show you as “offline” to your Battle friends while remaining connected to Battle.net. You can launch the app and game away without distraction. That being said, it’s not exactly a “cloak of invisibility”:
Appearing offline will show you as offline to everyone in your Blizzard friends list. Once you have joined a game, the experience of appearing offline might be slightly different depending on which game you are playing. In the case of World of Warcraft, your guildmates will see your character come online and enter WoW’s in-game chat channels, and anyone who has you as a character-level friend will see you online on their friends list. Everyone outside of the same game as you will not see you online or playing any games.
Based on that description, it looks like players won’t be able to use the Appear Offline feature to avoid dealing with guild drama. That feature also won’t help a player to avoid a guildmate who has made them uncomfortable or who has been harassing them.
Another new change allows a player to send a message to a friend who is offline (or appears to be offline). Players who are using the Appear Offline feature can send and receive messages in the app. Blizzard points out that this allows players to decide when they want to respond to those messages. This is a step in the right direction, but it would also enable a mean person to quietly harass someone.
In addition, the beta Battle.net desktop app has a new Social Tab for managing all your various social interactions. Blizzard Groups is a new way for you to connect with your friends and plan your next mission.
Players can create and join Groups based on their common interests. Each Group can have multiple text and voice chat channels, and Group administrators will have tools to manage memberships, invites, and more. To me, this sounds like Blizzard is competing with Skype, Discord, and other similar things people currently use to talk to their friends in-game.
Blizzard Entertainment is the creator of StarCraft II (and several other popular video games). They have teamed up with DeepMind, the world leader in artificial intelligence research and its application for positive impact. Together, the two will co-host the StarCraft II AI Workshop.
The workshop is an opportunity for AI researchers, academics, bot programmers, and industry professionals to get together, exchange ideas, and collaborate on all things AI, utilizing the recently-released StarCraft II Learning Environment and StarCraft II API as a development platform.
The event is described as BYOC, meaning that you need to bring your own computer. Attendees will be provided with power drops, dedicated wireless internet access, and a catered lunch. Engineers and researchers from Blizzard and DeepMind will meet with attendees and answer questions about SC2LE and SC2API.
Space is limited. Those who want to attend need to apply by filling out a questionnaire. A final group of attendees will be selected out of the applications. The workshop will take place November 3 and 4, 2017, at the Hilton Anaheim hotel. The workshop is not part of BlizzCon (which will be happening at the same time in the Anaheim Convention Center.)
The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket is available now in the Blizzard Shop in the Americans, Europe, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Pricing and availability varies by region. It is a good option for people who are unable to attend BlizzCon in person.
For starters, the Virtual Ticket unlocks live access to all the stages at BlizzCon 2017 – and in addition to the game updates, developer discussions, and community contests you’ve come to enjoy, you’ll also get access to events featuring community creators, voice actors, and more. Our new BlizzCon All Access channel will act as your guided tour through the event and around the show floor.
The BlizzCon 2017 Virtual Ticket includes:
Developer and Community Events
Costume and Talent Contests
Behind the Scenes & From the Floor
Pre-show Video Series (weekly videos)
Enhanced Esports Viewing
Goody Bag Discount – Get $10 USD off this year’s BlizzCon Goody Bag (Supplies are limited.)
In-Game Goodies – Unlock this year’s BlizzCon in-game items for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm.
Two in-game goodies are special mounts for World of Warcraft players. The Stormwind Skychaser is the mount for the Alliance, and the Orgrimmar Interceptor is the mount for the Horde. Those items are already available in-game for players who purchase the BlizzCon 2017 Virtual Ticket.