CM Lylirra gave us a bit of advance notice about some impending activity on the Closed Beta, including a wipe on the career profile (which won’t impact anything else, thankfully) and an incoming beta patch. As of press, we know that the patch has got several skins for a bunch of heroes, a new map, and we’ve been informed that patch notes are incoming. So it’s going to be a busy night. Read the full post below.

All right, let’s set the record straight here. To get everything from the beta FAQ in one place, check this out: Closed Beta for Overwatch will run from now until some TBD time before May 3rd. And closed beta testers will get advance notice when the closed beta is going to come down. Early Access Beta Period will be May 3rd-4th, allowing everyone who has pre-purchased or pre-ordered the game before April 29th to log in and play. They’ll also get a code allowing a friend to get in as well. Closed Beta testers will NOT be included (unless they have pre-purchased/pre-ordered the game as well.) Open Beta picks up on May 5th and runs through May 9th. There will be no restrictions on who can get into the beta during this period: everyone can jump on and play, regardless of pre-order status or previous beta participation. At all points

UPDATE LITERALLY TWO MINUTES LATER: OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION Biggest part of this aside from the dates: pre-ordering gets you early access for you AND A FRIEND. Full post below. Go. Now. GO. UPDATE: 9AM 3/7/2016: Playstation’s Twitter feed just posted this. Still awaiting confirmation from Blizzard. The world needs heroes. Overwatch launches May 24 on PS4, with early access starting May 3: https://t.co/XOCHhnpRUR pic.twitter.com/2UYdVCIBCH — PlayStation (@PlayStation) March 7, 2016 ORIGINAL POST: A big banner ad over on IGN.com may have spilled the release date for Overwatch. Overwatch out on May 24, open beta early access on May 3 pic.twitter.com/Ixw1q20UJv — Wario64 (@Wario64) March 7, 2016 That date is May 24th, but the real kicker is this: apparently, pre-orders will get early access to an open beta that starts on May 3rd, effectively three weeks of additional play before the game’s broad release. Clicking on the ad went nowhere, which was odd,

 

State of the Beta: Pre-Beta Briefing

by Crow on

So today is Monday, the 9th of Fall (really the 26th of October) and tomorrow is when the Overwatch beta will begin in earnest. Maybe you’ve played the game at a demo station at a convention like BlizzCon or PAX or gamescom over the course of the last eleven months, or maybe you’ve just been watching the gameplay videos released by the dev team to showcase particular characters. You might also be here because of the beta stream event a few days ago, when a couple of prominent Twitch streamers joined the devs for a couple solid hours of gameplay to build steam for tomorrow’s beta. The bottom line is that there are some features about Overwatch that appear to be completely fresh in the version we’re going to see played here shortly, and we wanted to run some of them down for you so you know what’s going on.

 

Overwatch Beta Coming to EU 10/27

by Crow on

Blizzard has updated their blog on the upcoming beta to indicate that the EU region will be online as well when the beta begins next Tuesday. This is great news for EU players and an indication that Blizzard really wants to get this game in front of as many people as is feasible for testing purposes. Now the only trick is to win the lottery of beta invites… Read the update to the blog entry below or check out the full entry if you need to get hyped once again. UPDATE (October 23, 2015): We were able to complete setup and testing of our beta servers for Europe sooner than anticipated. As a result, we’re happy to report that we will be launching the Overwatch Closed Beta in both the Americas and Europe gameplay regions on October 27.

 

gamescom Livestream Panel w/ the Devs

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At gamescom 2015, Soe and Frodan kicked back at the press desk with Game Director Jeff Kaplan, as well as Senior Game Designer Michael Chu and Senior Game Producer Matthew Hawley to discuss Lúcio and the new maps. Lúcio He’s emblematic of the optimistic and energetic world of Overwatch. He’s the response to Tracer’s call of “the world could always use more heroes.” Heroes Some heroes start from the design side (Tracer started from wanting a hero who could blink across the map), some start with a piece of compelling concept art (Zenyatta came from a really neat piece of omnic concept art). New players probably start to understand how to play a single character after a single match. Players don’t seem to be gravitating towards particular characters when they start out, but instead they seem to be gravitating towards something inspiring about the character. Chu: We want the characters to be popping

Timed exceedingly well with this morning’s revelations at the media briefing at gamescom in Cologne, Germany, many users started reporting that the Overwatch icon has appeared in the Battle.net client. After the desktop client was introduced, the addition of a game’s icon often meant that your account had been flagged to participate in alpha and/or beta testing for that game. That happened with both Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and plenty of people today have come to the conclusion that it was happening again with Overwatch. However, when folks took to the WoW forums to talk about this (since Overwatch doesn’t currently have any discussion forums of its own), Support Forum Centaur Vrakthis had this to say in response: Reading between the blue lines a bit, it’s clear what’s going on: instead of Blizzard using the desktop client as a repository of what games you have, Blizzard is shifting to

 

Lucio And New Maps Revealed At gamescom

by Crow on

As teased last week, which we speculated on extensively, Blizzard has revealed a new hero named Lúcio at gamescom, as well as two new maps. Let’s get into it. First off, take a look at Lúcio and his ability preview. Gameplay Analysis The first thing to talk about with Lúcio is his mobility. Being able to run across walls makes him an interesting target to hit, and the video demonstrates that it’ll give him options for moving around the map that other characters might not have. Knocking back enemies with his secondary attack, plus being able to improve his own speed with Crossfade, means that he’ll be able to escape hot spots. The fact that Crossfade improves speed for nearby allies means that he’ll be a big asset on offense, especially combined with Crossfade’s healing option and his ultimate ability. It’s important to point out that the shields from Sound Barrier appear to be very

 

OVERHYPE: From Russia With Mechs

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A new teaser image from the Overwatch team resuscitates the hype train leading into gamescom on Thursday. Volskaya Industries CEO announces increased mech production after new attacks from Siberian omnium. pic.twitter.com/Cpu0HKAc80 — Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) August 4, 2015 So what can we extract from the image alone, since there isn’t actually an interview for us to analyze? Let’s get started: Right out the gate, this could almost certainly be a character reveal, except for the part where doing another Russian character after announcing Zarya seems like an odd choice. Granted, it wouldn’t be the strangest thing to have two Russian women in play, since it helps to overturn the Western bias that games have generally had throughout history, whether they’re developed in the West or not. The bottom line? Consider me dubious of the possibility that Katya is a new character. Second, there’s the bulk of the screenshot that showcases a

A new article has appeared on the Overwatch news feed, playing up the possibility that a new character is going to be revealed at gamescom next week. This article contains a couple of EDM music samples posted to music streaming site Soundcloud, which is interesting in and of it itself. In tandem with last week’s post of an image to imgur (which we totally missed; sorry everyone!) this shows that Blizzard seems to be interested in flexing some of the multimedia elements of the Internet itself as part of the approach of the transmedia storytelling that Overwatch seems poised to engage. Read the full article below, along with some speculation about who this new character might be afterwards. Lúcio, an acclaimed musical artist who’s built his career doing live shows, has already become something of a national icon in his home country of Brazil. Now he’s poised to win an international