Tag Archives: Blizzard Entertainment

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.”


Blizzard and Facebook Team Up to Empower Streamers



Blizzard Entertainment logoBlizzard announced that it is working together with Facebook to give gamers new ways to connect and share their gaming experiences, and to bring more high-demand content to Facebook’s global platform.

The collaboration between the two companies will begin later this month with the integration of Facebook Login in Blizzard’s PC games. (The console games are unaffected by this collaboration). The integration of the Facebook login will enable players to sign up for and log into Blizzard’s games – including World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo III, StarCraft II and Overwatch – using their Facebook accounts.

What do these two companies get from this collaboration? Blizzard gets a way to add new social functionality in their games. Facebook gets a means to highlight its platform for sharing, viewing, and discussing AAA game content.

Blizzard is in the process of incorporating Facebook’s Live API in order to create its own “Go Live” streaming functionality for its games. When that functionality is implemented, players will for the first time be able to livestream their Blizzard-gaming sessions directly through their Facebook timelines. The player’s Facebook friends will be able to subscribe and be notified when the player’s new streams are available.


Overwatch Beta Launches Today!



OverwatchOverwatch is the newest video game created by Blizzard Entertainment. The game has not yet been released, but the beta launches today, October 27, 2015. It will launch in both the Americas and Europe gameplay regions at the same time.

Overwatch is a highly anticipated team-based shooter game. Those of you who attended Blizzcon 2014 had the opportunity to play it at the conference. There has been a lot of hype about the game, and many of the people I follow on social media are excited about it.

The first phase of the beta that is being launched today is a Closed Beta. It is invite-only. The number of players invited into this beta test will be extremely limited.

The goal for the Closed Beta is “100% gameplay feedback”. Blizzard wants players to discuss and dissect every hero, map, ability, and other aspects of the game.

From time to time, Blizzard will open up the beta test for Beta Test Weekends. The main goal of the Beta Test Weekends will be a stress test. They will “open up the floodgates and call on an army to overwhelm” their hardware. These stress tests will be hardware and tech-focused, and will include a restricted number of heroes, maps, and gameplay modes. Feedback, of course, will be welcome.

Want to get into the beta? Be aware that the Overwatch beta will be Windows-only. If you are like me, and use a Mac, you are out of luck. You also have to have the Battle.Net desktop app installed on your computer. Make sure to log into your Battle.net account and opt-in to the Overwatch beta.

The Overwatch beta will include something new – Battle.Net Voice Chat. The goal seems to be to enable players who got into the beta to test out the Voice Chat. If it works out well, perhaps players will use it instead of Mumble or TeamSpeak while they play Blizzard’s games.


Blizzard Adds Silence Penalty to Heroes of the Storm



Heroes of the Storm logoThose who cannot play nice with others in Heroes of the Storm are about to receive some consequences for their bad actions (and words). Blizzard is introducing a Silence Penalty in the release of their next patch. It will limit the ability of a player who has been reported multiple times to interact with other players.

Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. In short, each player becomes part of a five player team. That team fights against an opposing five player team. The goal is to destroy the other team’s Core (which is a physical structure that is located in their base) before the other team is able to destroy your Core.

Blizzard announced that they are about to add things to Heroes of the Storm in their next major patch that give players new reporting options and a brand new consequence “for those who consistently try to put a damper on everyone’s fun”.

Report Categories and Guidelines for Use:

* Abusive Chat – defined as “insults, cruelty, or ongoing harassment directed at one or more players”, hate speech, and real life threats

* Intentionally feeding – defined as “player intentionally and repeatedly gets their hero killed in order to anger allies of feed XP to the enemy team

* AFK/Non-Participation – AFK means “away from keyboard”. You can now report a player who is idle or inactive for an extended period of time during a game. You can also report a player who is present but has given up or refused to take part in the game.

* Cheating/Botting/Hacking – defined as “suspicious behavior which indicates the player may be using third-party software or hack programs to gain an advantage during a game

* Inappropriate Name – defined as “character names or BattleTag that are offensive, insulting, bypass the mature languge filter, or are otherwise considered objectionable”

* Spam – excessively repeating the same phrase, or pure nonsense, or repeated advertising for third party websites.

Starting in the next patch, any player who is reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will, after investigation, receive a silence penalty. An icon will appear on their player portrait to let everyone else know that they have been silenced.

Silenced Players Cannot:
* Use Allied Chat in-game
* Chat in Hero League Draft Lobbies
* Chat in General Chat channels
* Chat in custom chat channels
* Send Whispers to non-friends