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Blizzard Announces Overwatch One Year Anniversary Celebration!

It is hard to imagine, but Overwatch is still less than a year old. That all changes next week though. Blizzard has announced that they will be celebrating their new baby’s first birthday with a massive anniversary celebration that will run from May 23rd through June 12th.

The event will kick off on May 23rd with the digital release of the Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition. It will launch simultaneously on PS4, Xbox One, and PC and will include the following:

  • 10 Bonus Loot Boxes
  • Blackwatch Reyes and Strike-Commander Morrison skins
  • Tracer in Heroes of the Storm
  • Baby Winston Pet in World of Warcraft
  • Mercy’s Wings in Diablo III
  • In-game portraits of Tracer, Reaper, Pharah, Winston, Bastion, and Soldier: 76 in StarCraft II
  • A Hearthstone card back

They haven’t made any official announcements yet, but generally celebrations in online games like this include special events and skins. I expect we will hear all about that shortly.

Blizzard also announced that May 26th – May 29th (Memorial Day Weekend in the States) will be a free weekend to give people a chance to try out the experience. Any progression earned by a player will carry over into the full game should they choose to buy it after the weekend is over.

 

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Overwatch-Characters

Overwatch is celebrating its second anniversary as I write this. It has been wildly successful since the day it came out and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. It boasts 27 diverse characters (each with their own dedicated fan community), 40 million players worldwide, and an eSports league that includes teams owned by the likes of Bob Kraft. That is, clearly, not enough, though. Overwatch is going to be expanding into the world of toys.

Hasbro is in the Mix

Hasbro and Activision Blizzard announced a partnership today that lists Hasbro as the master toy licensee for the Overwatch franchise. They will be creating a wide range of toys, board games, and other products using Overwatch characters. The announcement press release wasn’t very heavy on details, but we do know a few things.

The official Overwatch Twitter account tweeted out a message that Overwatch themed NERF Rivals guns will be coming sometime next year. The tweet, embedded below, doesn’t show us ANYTHING about the guns that they are making, but I think some of them are pretty obvious. I assume that we will see Soldier 76’s assault rifle, Tracer’s paired pistols, and Reaper’s shotgun pistols. There are 27 characters that each have distinct weapons, so I am sure we’ll see some interesting choices. The only real restriction I can think of is that the Rivals line shoots ping-pong ball like ammunition so that does limit the kinds of weapons they can use. Hanzo’s bow, for example, doesn’t fit into that mold.

Hasbro does more than just NERF though. They are also really good at action figures.

Overwatch LEGO

Activision Blizzard has announced that they have entered a partnership with LEGO to release a variety of building sets at several different prices. They haven’t made any official announcements about what those sets will be (unfortunately), but the fact that they are happening at all is exciting enough for me and my kids. I suspect that the minifigures will be a big part of the draw for these sets. I know they won’t, but I hope that there will be some sort of box set that I can buy that will include them all.

It looks like Overwatch is going to keep expanding all over the place. It’s already a pillar of the video game space and it will soon be in our toy boxes. When will they get around to making it a movie?

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Fair Play Alliance

Toxicity is a huge problem in online gaming today. Stepping into an online match of Call of Duty or DOTA 2 is as likely to expose you to some of the worst language that you’ve ever head as it is to find cool new friends to play with. This has caused huge swaths of the gaming populace to either avoid online play altogether or take drastic steps to hide from the bad actors in the community.

A new group has formed that includes major players in the online gaming space like Blizzard, Riot, Xbox, and Twitch. This group, called the Fair Play Alliance, has formed to combine their resources and experiences to help establish standards of behavior and to help squash negative behavior.

They held the first Fair Play Alliance Summit this week at GDC (The Game Developer’s Conference). It was an all day summit held at the conference where GDC attendees could learn how developers can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment in their games.

Mission Statement

The Fair Play Alliance is a coalition of gaming professionals and companies committed to developing quality games. We provide an open forum for the games industry to collaborate on research and best practices that encourage fair play and healthy communities in online gaming. We envision a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, and where players can express themselves through play.

Membership

Over 30 gaming companies represented, including:

  • Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
  • CCPGames
  • Corillian
  • Discord Inc.
  • Epic Games, Inc.
  • Flaregames
  • Huuuge Games
  • Intel Corporation
  • Kabam
  • Kefir
  • Ker-Chunk Games
  • Mixer
  • Owlchemy Labs
  • Playrix
  • Radial Games
  • Riot Games
  • Roblox Corporation
  • Rovio Entertainment Corp.
  • Space Ape Games
  • Spirit AI, Ltd.
  • Supercell
  • Two Hat
  • Twitch
  • Unity Technologies
  • Xbox

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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A New Hearthstone Expansion Has Been Announced: The Witchwood!

Blizzard announced a new expansion for its hit digital card game, Hearthstone, today. The Witchwood will launch in April and will include dozens of new cards and new single player monster hunts!

 

All About Being Scary

 

Whispers of the Old Gods focused on creatures from beyond reality. Knights of the Frozen Throne heavily referenced the corrupting influence of the Lich King and the creatures of Northrend. The Witchwood is a horror and mystery themed set that revolves around haunting spirits and shapeshifting Worgren (werewolves).

Shapeshifting

Shapeshifting cards swap qualities while they are in your hand. The initial preview card simply swaps attack and health, but other designs are very possible. I would expect to see at least one legendary that does something SUPER whacky.

Echo

 

Echo is a keyword that allows a spell or creature to be cast multiple times during the same turn that that it is cast. This type of mechanic has been used in other card games before and Blizzard has printed a card already that was close enough. Unstable Mutation is a card that cost one mana and could be repeated. It feels like it was a test to see how it worked. The preview card is a mediocre taunt creature, but I am certain that echo cards are going to have a significant effect on the decks people build once The Witchwood releases.

Rush

Rush is a keyboard that is very similar to Charge. Creatures with Rush can attack the turn they come into play, but they can only attack other creatures. That is a subtle difference, but it is once that will likely result in some very aggressively costed creatures.

New Legends

The preview cards for the Witchwood include two legendary Worgren that will fundamentally change the game once the set is released. They both allow players to start the game with an enchanted hero power if they are included in a deck with only odd or even costed cards. These cards are incredibly powerful and will create entire new deck archetypes for players to use.

Pre-orders are live!

You can pre-purchase cards for the expansion starting today. $49.99 will net you a total of seventy packs of cards.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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WoW_Battle_for_Azeroth_Art

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that Battle for Azeroth, the newest expansion for the hit MMO World of Warcraft, will launch this summer. Further, Blizzard went on to explain that the expansion to the hit MMO will be available for pre-purchase on the World of Warcraft website.

Battle for Azeroth will bring an entirely new dimension to the battle between the Horde and the Alliance. The expansion will include a new continent to explore for each faction as well as brand-new game play features including allied races for each faction, new randomized island expansions,  and large-scale encounters called Warfronts.

One of the key features among those listed above is the inclusion of Allied Races. These are factions that existed as part of the game previously, but were limited to NPC roles. You’ve been able to do battle with Dark Iron Dwarves in the past.  In fact, they were the main enemies in some areas in the game. In the new expansion, however, they are able to join the Alliance and help them fight against their enemies. The same is true of the Zandalari trolls and their ability to join the Horde.

Players who choose to level up new characters and the expansion will be able to take advantage of newly revamped zones that will take them from level 1 to 100. Questing experience has been changed entirely. This new experience is built upon the popular feature that was introduced on the Broken Isles in the most recent expansion Legion. Zones across Azeroth, Outland, and Draenor  will now scale to a wide range of character levels. This makes it so that players can enjoy the quests stories and other content that they find there at their own pace.

The days of having to leave a quest line half finished because it’s no longer providing you experience are now over. You will be able to continue to earn all the experience that you need while completing quests that you are interested in. This is an interesting and exciting new addition to people that are interested in playing World of Warcraft as a role-playing game instead of racing through the original parts of the game just to see their way to the end as quickly as possible.

Standard and Deluxe Digital Edition

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is available for pre-purchase digitally in a Standard Edition that costs $49.99 and a Digital Deluxe Edition the cost $69.99 in addition to the expansion the Digital Deluxe Edition also includes a cache of in-game bonuses that allow you to proudly proclaim it your allegiance to the Horde or the Alliance in a variety of Blizzard games. These digital goods include the following:

  • World of Warcraft – “Charge into battle astride the Seabraid Stallion (Alliance) and Gilded Ravasaur (Horde) mounts, and explore new frontiers with Tottle, the baby Tortollan pet, at your side.”
  • Hearthstone – “After a rough day on the front, rest up at the tavern and play a few hands of Hearthstone with your hot new Azeroth Is Burning card back.”
  • StarCraft II –  “Make your mark on distant worlds with Horde- and Alliance-themed sprays.”
  • Heroes of the Storm – “Roar onto the Battlegrounds of the Nexus riding your Primal Flamesaber, a fiery new mount with three variants.”
  • Overwatch – “Champion your faction on the battlefields of tomorrow with Horde and Alliance voice lines for Torbjörn and emotes for Tracer; sprays featuring Anduin, Sylvanas, Jaina, and Varok Saurfang; and player icons representing Kul Tiras and Zandalar.”

Complete Feature List

The full list of features in the expansion is as follows:

  • Explore Two Fabled Kingdoms – “As a champion of the Horde, travel to the empire of Zandalar to persuade the trolls to lend their naval might. As a defender of the Alliance, venture to the seafaring kingdom of Kul Tiras, home of Jaina Proudmoore, and rally its inhabitants to fight for your cause.”
  • Recruit Allied Races – “Take a new form for your adventures as several new playable Allied Races, each with unique racial abilities. Earn the favor of the Highmountain tauren, Void elves, Dark Iron dwarves, and others to create a new character of that race and add their strength to your faction.”
  • Plunder the Islands of the Great Sea – “Set out on Island Expeditions and conquer an ever-changing array of enemies, environments, and objectives. Battle in groups of three as you race against cunning rival intruders—or enemy players—to collect each island’s resources and fuel the war effort.”
  • Charge Into a Warfront –  “Fight on the battlefields of a large-scale, 20-player cooperative Warfront to claim a key strategic location. Capture resources to build your faction’s forces, lead the charge as your troops lay siege to objectives, and fight the enemy commander to claim victory in this new PvE mode inspired by classic Warcraft real-time strategy-game battles.”
  • Infuse Your Armor With Titanic Might – “Seek out Azerite, an invaluable new resource that has emerged in the Burning Legion’s wake. Imbue the Heart of Azeroth—a legendary neck piece entrusted to each hero by Magni Bronzebeard—with Azerite to customize your armor with new powers and traits.”
  • Battle to Level 120 – “Trace the corruption of the Blood God to the Underrot, unearth the secrets of a lost titan vault, escape from the Drust Realm of the Dead, and more as you quest through 10 new levels—then continue to grow in power through new World Quests, raids, dungeons, and more.”

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Gaming With The Moms Episode 107: Dad Jokes in Overwatch

Host:
Nicole Tanner

Co-hosts:
Dr. Regina McMenomy
Stephen Duetzmann

It’s summer time. And although we lost Regina to the beach, we’ve soldiered on. Summer time means one thing to Blizzard – crazy Overwatch skins. In other news, Valve is working on a card game, the Nintendo World Championships are back, No Man’s Sky is getting an update with a story. Microsoft is offering game development classes in their store, and Minecon is going digital. And Stephen lets Nicole have a short Game of Thrones geek out.

For questions and feedback, send at email to gamingwiththemoms@gmail.com or tweet @gamingwithmoms best oral steroid for cutting

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Hearthstone: Knights of the Frozen Throne Has Released!

Developer: Blizzard

Platform: PC/Mobile/Tablet

Release Date: 8/10/17

Teaser Trailer:

Website

What is Hearthstone?

Hearthstone is one the first and most popular digital collectible card games. It was created as a spin-off of the popular Warcraft and World of Warcraft game series but has since taken on a life of its own. Hearthstone has set the tone for game design in online games the same way Magic the Gathering has influenced all other physical collectable card games.

Hearthstone is primarily a player against player game, where each player takes turns as they slowly collect mana crystals to play cards in their hand. These cards represent iconic Warcraft monsters, spells, items, and events that can be used to reduce the health of your opponent from 30 to 0. The art style and design is meant to bring out a very casual and relaxed feel. The vary name “Hearthstone” refers to the World of Warcraft item that let you return to the safety of an inn.

Where Magic: the Gathering distinguishes their cards using color to represent various themes and mechanics. Hearthstone cards are primarily divided into groups based on iconic Warcraft heroes and their classes. Players build a deck by selecting a hero and using cards based on that heroes’ class as well as a collection of neutral cards. Each hero also has a unique “hero power” that can be used once a turn to support their style of play. It is this combination of hero based deck building and the steady build up of resources to play cards that makes Hearthstone a lot easier of a game to play than Magic: the Gathering for some family gamers.

What also sets apart Hearthstone and other digital card games from their physical brethren is their free-to-play model of game expansion. Playing games as various heroes initially unlocks cards from that class and completing quests, tasks that require specific actions during a game, reward you with coins that can be used to purchase more packs of cards. While you can use money to purchase additional packs, daily quests and a weekly casual event known as a “Tavern Brawl” provide a steady stream of resources. There is also process for taking extra cards and turning them into a flexible resource for crafting specific cards. There is something satisfying to someone who has played for years with paper card games, to be able to turn a pile of extra cards into that elusive card.

What is Knights of the Frozen Throne?

Knights of the Frozen Throne is the 5th large expansion for Hearthstone. With this expansion comes cards that feature iconic characters and themes from World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Arthas the Lich King and his lieutenants of the Icecrown Citadel are available as creatures to summon along with legions of monsters and spells inspired by the treacherous Northrend.

 

Why is the Awesome?

A single player story mode featuring The Lich King himself will be available for all players. The challenge is a series of matches versus computer opponents with special hero cards and decks based on iconic villains of the Icecrown Citadel. Players who conquer this gauntlet of challenges are rewarded with a free legendary card that is a card type unique to this set…

Death Knight Hero Cards

This set features a new set of legendary cards that represent the nine iconic heroes falling under the sway of the Lich King. These cards have an immediate effect when they are played and replace each character’s hero power with an evil, and significantly more powerful, effect. Personally I am excited for the corrupted

Priest hero: Shadow Reaper Anduin

Rarity adjustments geared towards newer players

While announced several weeks ago, this set marks the starting of new features that are geared towards newer players. A legendary card is guaranteed to be opened in the first ten packs of any set purchased, and duplicate legends will never be opened. If a player would open a legendary that a player already has, the game replaces it with a different legendary that the player does not own. These changes were made in response to player feedback on the frustration of opening duplicate legends or very few epic or legendary cards at all.

Lifesteal, a familiar mechanic comes to Hearthstone

Players of Magic: The Gathering and other card games will know this by names like Lifelink and Drain. Cards with Lifesteal heal your hero for as much damage as they deal. This ability is put on creatures and spells, and some death knight hero cards give lifestealing weapons or hero powers. While life gain by itself is not a strong ability, pairing it with a creature or a removal spell can never be a bad thing.

 

Divine Shield and Deathrattle

Two mechanics that are at the core of Hearthstone are getting a large infusion of cards from this set.

Divine Shield is an ability on a minion that prevents all damage from the first time it is attacked or hit by a spell. Not only are there a lot of divine shield minions that have been added, but several paladin cards benefit from divine shield minions going into the fray.

 

 

Deathrattle is an ability that happens when that minion dies, and Knights of the Frozen throne has a lot of creatures that care about when they die. New to the theme are creatures that care when they die and punish opponents who aggressively destroy your creatures.

 

Why should you pick up this game?

Hearthstone, and its recent expansion Knights of the Frozen throne, is a game that is easy to learn and play for computers, tablets and mobile devices. It offers one of the best free to play experiences around and its short games are perfect for gaming opportunities when time is short or physical space is limited. With it being an online only game, it is important to note that chat and social interactions are opt in, which is important for younger family gamers.

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Gaming With the Moms Episode 97: That Tingle Outfit

Host:

Nicole Tanner (@NicoleTanner)

Cohosts:

Dr. Regina McMenomy (@DocLizz)

Stephen Duetzmann (@EFGaming)

Nintendo has revealed the details of the first DLC for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. It’s called the Master Trials and it will include lots of new content like a hard mode and a tingle outfit. Blizzard has announced that Hearthstone has hit 70 million players and they’re giving out free stuff to celebrate. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch is the fastest selling Mario Kart game in history, having sold about 500,000 on launch day alone. You can find some fan designed Nintendo shirts on Uniqlo, and there have been some price drops on PlayStation VR. Finally, the Division is free to play this weekend, so log on and see if you like it.

You can email questions and feedback to gamingwiththemoms@gmail.com or tweet @gamingwithmoms.

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Gaming With the Moms Episode 95: Are You Trying to GTA This Thing?

We get started off with some non-gaming news about Game of Thrones and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is apparently singular according to the director. We don’t believe him.

Speaking of Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront II has been announced. Unlike the previous game, this one is going to include a single-player campaign and the star of that game mode might surprise you.

It looks like Nintendo is getting ready to make a SNES Classic Edition. We talk about how that might relate to the discontinuation of the NES Classic. Blizzard surprised everybody by making StarCraft completely free months before it was supposed to be. And GTA 5 is being used to help train driverless cars.

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Gaming With the Moms Episode 93: Flying Cars with Monster Truck Wheels

The Switch is facing some problems. Turns out if yours breaks, you’re likely to lose any save data for games. Lesson: try not to break your Switch. Final Fantasy XV’s DLC is getting interesting by taking some of the key characters in a different direction. In other news that is not really news. Destiny 2 has been announced. Blizzard is also launching a high-end collectible store. Tetris can help with PTSD and finally there’s going to be a My Little Pony tabletop role-playing game. No, seriously.

 

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