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Today, we talked about Blizzcon 2016 with our infinite co-host Mike Duetzmann and Dan Beshers.

Overwatch:

Overwatch E sports League

New Arcade mode(s)

Character Reveal: Sombra

Things that Sombra can/can’t hack

Hearthstone:

Mean Streets of Gagetzhan to be released in early December

World of Warcraft:

Tomb of Sargeras 7.2 Patch announced

Heroes of the Storm:

Varian/Ragnaros Announced as New Characters. Blackheart’s Revenge announced as New Map

Other Blizzcon 2016 news:

Starcraft News
Diablo 3 Round up

You can find any of the games that we talk about here on amazon.com. Please use our links so that your purchases support our staff:

Overwatch

WoW

Starcraft

Diablo 3

 

You can reach out to us via our community page at www.EFGgaming.com/community. You can also reach out to our twitter: @EFGgaming, and our new email address: EFGpodcast@engagedfamilygaming.com.

Finally, please subscribe to our youtube channel. Follow us on facebook and support us on Patreon, and as always thanks for listening to Engaged: A Family Gaming Podcast.

And Remember: Get Your Family Game On!

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Overwatch is an upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter created by Blizzard Entertainment.  The game is scheduled to be released on May 24, 2016.  It will be available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.  Blizzard has announced that they will be supporting the game post launch with additional characters as DLC at no additional cost.

Overwatch is designed to play as a squad with two opposing teams of six players each. Players choose one of several hero characters, each with their own unique abilities and role classes. The characters’ roles are iconic to this type of game. They are either offense characters, defense characters, support characters, or tank characters. Players also have the ability to change characters each time they die so it is very easy to experiment with different characters and strategies.

Overwatch can be played in any one of three game modes:

  • Point Capture: The attacking team has to capture two specific points on the map, while the defending team must stop them.
  • Escort: The attacking team must escort a vehicle to a certain delivery point before time runs out, while the defending team must stop them. The path is fixed.
  • Control: Each team tries to capture and maintain a control point until their capture percentage reaches 100%.

The premise of the game is set in the near-future Earth, years after the end of an A.I. robot uprising. At the end of this ‘Omnic Crisis’ an international task force called ‘Overwatch’ is formed by the United Nations to protect humanity, ending the Crisis.  After the Crisis, Overwatch remained in place as a organization to keep order. Eventually the inevitable rumors of corruption started and the members of Overwatch were reviled. Their organization was destroyed and some suspected it was by people who are wary of their power and caused chaos to stop their influence.

Blizzard Entertainment co-founder Michael Morhaime stated that Overwatch is intended to “create an awesome FPS experience that’s more accessible to a much wider audience while delivering the action and depth that shooter fans love.”  In keeping with this idea of reaching a broader audience, the game is animated in a Saturday morning cartoon style and was given a Teen rating from the ESRB.  The hero characters include males, females, and non-human characters such as robots and even a gorilla.  Unlike the costumes in some of Blizzard’s other iconic games, the female characters are well covered with very little skin exposed.  They are, however, wearing cat suits, but this is no different than your typical comic book based cartoon character.

In March 2016, Blizzard announced that that they will be releasing comics and animated shorts based on the Overwatch universe in 2016. It includes 6 digital comics, an animated short series, and a graphic novel called Overwatch: First Strike, which focuses on the story of several in-game characters.

The first animated short was released last week featuring the gorilla character named Winston. (You can watch it at the bottom of the article.)  It was really intriguing and entertaining to watch and my older boys were very excited about the game. Considering the game is a first person shooter, the violence level was not all that bad.  It certainly was not anything like the typical military style shooter that we are familiar with. It was more reminiscent of a Star Wars movie or an Avengers movie.  While not as tame as Splatoon, so far it seems like something I would allow my 8 and 10 year old to play.  There may be some blood, but I didn’t notice that in any trailer or preview that I’ve seen so far.

Overall, this is a game that my family is highly anticipating.  If the quality of the animated short is any indication of the game to come, and they keep up at this level, we will definitely own Overwatch. We will be keeping an eye on the violence level and update it if we see anything that becomes a concern.

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Skylanders have become a huge success in recent years. Kids everywhere are asking their parents, Santa, or anyone else who might listen to help them get in on the action. The toys themselves are everywhere and it might not be very clear what games they can work with.

But, fear not! We have a quick and easy guide to figuring out how to tell if you’ve got the right Skylander for your child’s game.

If the character is out of the package, it might seem impossible to tell which version of the game it will work with, and it turns out that Activision thought of that.

All you have to do is turn the figure over and look at the color of the translucent base and that will tell you what game it came from. Just to make it easier we set up this chart to help you figure out which games it can be used in! BaseColor Also at the bottom of the base, you’ll find the symbol for the element. So, if your kids are asking for a Trap Team Earth character, you just need to look for a red base and the symbol on the chart below!

Element

Now, each game after Spyro’s adventure has a special type of character who is able to unlock mini-levels to gain magical hats. In Giants, the characters are obvious by their sheer size in comparison to the others. Swap Force brings in larger characters, that disconnect with magnets at the waist. They have an additional type that unlocks areas, that you’ll see below.

SwapForce

In Trap Team, the special characters are also larger than the common Skylanders and have a translucent weapon or headwear.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to understand what Skylanders you are getting! For more detailed information on Trap Team Skylanders, check our our article here!

*Note – we will continue to update this article as more different Skylanders are released so feel free to bookmark this and check back whenever you need to!

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Dear Kaos Trap,

You elude me.  I follow sites and refresh Amazon daily, hoping to encounter your translucent black countenance, and yet you continue to mock me. I can almost hear your odd cadence as you call me “Sky-loser” while I enter yet another Target, disappointed at the empty space meant for you.

I swim through endless piles of water traps and live through the disappointment of a growing inventory of life traps. I do all of this in the vain hope that I’ll encounter you one day. All to no avail. My daughter begs me to find you, to keep looking, and my hopes are constantly crushed as I find your limited inventory (2 per box of traps) with your price skyrocketing faster than a prisoner escaping Cloud Cracker Prison.

You mock me relentlessly, and haunt my dreams with a cruelness that Dreamcatcher could never fathom. Someday I will find you, and with $5.99 you will belong to me. Then with a squeal of joy you will be mine, er, OURS forever.

Always,

Tuff Luck Mom

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Skylanders has been using the same formula for four games now: Eight elements, a handful of figures for each element, and a new gimmick in each game. They have not deviated from that formula in several years. That is all changing on December 21st because, for the first time ever, Activision will be releasing new elements into the wild!

The new element expansions will be released in separate packs that will release this Sunday at Toys R Us. The Light and Dark expansions will each come with a new figure ( Knight Light and Knight Mare respectively), a new trap for capturing enemies, and a new level themed after the appropriate element. They will retail for $29.99.

I view this as a really good sign for Skylanders in general. They burst onto the seen several years ago and established the standard for excellence in Toys-to-Life games, but Other companies have seen the gold mines and are moving in to compete. The fact that Activision is seeing more opportunities to expand their current games is a great move!

These expansions are launching just in time for Christmas and clever parents might even be able to sneak these under the tree (or into a stocking) without their children even knowing these new elements were released. That is some Christmas magic!

What do you think? Are you buying these figures? Sound off in the comments!

 

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Skylanders Trap Team is almost upon us. This means a whole new wave of toys to collect, merchandise to sort through, and bad puns to endure while we shop for figures. (Here’s looking at you Tree Rex.) It has only been 4 years, but it is hard to imagine a time before Activision and Toys for Bob changed the video game landscape. But, Activision isn’t ready to rest on their success so far. They want even more families playing Skylanders (and thus buying the toys). They have even gone so far as to develop a tablet edition that will work with the millions of iPads (and other assorted tablets) on the market. Put simply, they want that starter pack in every home that they can get it into.

To that end, Activision has been working with Beenox, a developer who has made a name for themselves developing Spider Man titles, to quietly release a version of Skylanders each year for the Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS does not have nearly the hardware power of the consoles on the market so Beenox hasn’t been able to just port the entire game over. Instead, they have developed unique game experiences with their own stories. In essence, the 3DS model has been “more Skylanders.”

The 3DS version ofSkylanders Trap Team features the villainous Dream Sheep and thirteen other exclusive villains. The plot details are sparse, but I am assuming that Dream Sheep will be trying to do something along the lines of what the Boogeyman did in The Rise of the Guardians.

Many parents look at the 3DS starter pack and assume that it will be a pain to lug around along with all of their children’s figures around only to have them get lost or broken. The 3DS version of Trap Team solves this by allowing players to preload multiple figures into their game at home and use them while on the road! This is a great feature that should help more than a few concerned parents take a plunge on the handheld version to help supplement the console edition. (It would make a great Christmas gift for those people who buy the console version day one!)

The Skylanders Trap Team 3DS Starter Pack will retail for $64.99.

Note: Skylanders was listed on the Toys”R”Us Hot Toy list for 2014! Check out all the other video games on the list!

Check out all of our other Skylanders’ Reviews!

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It’s that time of year again folks. The holiday season is almost upon us and with it comes the new release of Skylanders. This time around it is going to be called Skylanders Trap team and includes with it the ability for players to capture certain enemies and use them like they do their (massive) collection of figures.

Toys for Bob is at the helm for development again this year (they are the company that was responsible for the first game in the series) and they are going out of their way to try and innovate on the Skylanders formula this time around. The ability to capture bad guys is interesting and might turn out to be a lot of fun. The real question is going to be how difficult it will be to locate and capture them; we’ll find that out once the game comes out on October 5th.

Activision sent out a press release this week announcing an all new game play mode called the “Kaos Doom Challenge.” It didn’t give a lot of details, but the new mode will task players with using their collected Skylanders figures, as well as the enemies they have captured in Trap Team, to help defend themselves from one hundred different waves of Kaos’s minions. It appears that this will be a tower defense style game where the minions will walk a set path and players will be setting up towers, walls, and other defenses to help slow their advance and defeat them before they reach a certain point.

Skylanders Trap Team Kaos Doom Challenge

Skylanders Trap Team Kaos Doom Challenge – Fist Bump

We obviously don’t know how well this mode will be executed, but it is very exciting to see that they are experimenting with new game play modes as opposed to just churning out more figures and leaving the game experience the same year after year.

I don’t normally include the text from press releases in my articles, but this one was well written and presented in the voice of Kaos, the villain in the series. It is worth posting here just so everyone can get a good laugh out of it!

Attention, foolish human fools! Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), is officially announcing an all new diabolical gameplay mode in honor of me, Emperor Kaos, the most infamously evil villain in all of Skylands! In my glorious “Kaos Doom Challenge,” sniveling Portal Masters like you can feebly battle through increasingly difficult waves of my personal minions using your ridiculous army of Skylanders.

And since you obviously won’t stand a chance, I, Kaos, will graciously allow you to build defensive towers and battle my fearsome allies using any of your Skylanders from your entire collection. However, when you bumbling Portal Masters utterly fail to progress past my hordes of evil underlings, the “Mystery Box of Doom” will be opened – which will then incomprehensibly spit out gigantic villains that will completely destroy you! And because I am both benevolent and merciful, I will even let you fools use any of your pitiful Trapped Villains to fight them.

And, should any of you so-called “journalists” need an official quote from me – BEHOLD! “A recent evil study of a thousand trolls revealed that nine out of ten agree that I am the most powerful and impressive evil doer to have ever conquered Skylands. Naturally, I had every tenth one banished to my ‘Kaos Doom Challenge’ to test the effectiveness of my 100 waves of ultimate evil doom – and they were never heard from again. So let’s just say EVERYONE agrees – I am the most powerful and impressive evil doer ever.”

 

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Skylanders+Trap+Team_Mini_Trigger+Snappy

Activision is really going crazy with the news recently! They have already announced a tablet version of their upcoming game Skylanders Trap Team. This time around we have an announcement for a new line of figures.

Activision’s One of Swords PR account has announced the Skylanders Minis line. Players who have been around the block with Skylanders will recognize some of these characters as mini-figs that have been included as promotional items through a partnership with Frito-Lay. In previous iterations these figures were simply mascots that would follow you around. That is all changing now. These mini-figs are full blown characters with their own upgrade paths and levels.

There are sixteen different characters that are available in the line and they will be available in packs of two for $13.99. (Yay! Who needs a savings account right?)

The list of playable minis is as follows:

Water: Gill Runt, Thumpling

Earth: Terrabite, Bop 

Fire: Small Fry, Weeruptor

Life:Whisper Elf, Barkley 

Tech: Trigger Snappy, Drobit 

Magic: Mini-Jini, Spry 

Air: Pet-Vac, Breeze 

Undead: Eye-Small, Hijinx

skylandersminis

Are you excited about this new line? Sound off in the comments.

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Activision has made a major step in bringing its Skylanders franchise to the masses. They have made billions of dollars so far, but all of their games have been limited to the console market. I had never looked at this as a “limitation,” but apparently they disagreed. As a result Skylanders will be coming to tablets this fall.

The “why” is simple to explain. Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing said in the press release that they “always want to be wherever gamers want to play.” This is a pretty straightforward answer. The tablet market is HUGE. Go ahead and think on this. When was the last time you went somewhere and didn’t see someone using one? Probably a long time. How many families do you know that don’t have one in the house? Probably not many. The reality is that the tablet market is a massive and companies that CAN take advantage of it should do so.

The Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack is going to release on the same day as the traditional console versions. It will include a Bluetooth Traptanium Portal; a Bluetooth controller; a built-in tablet stand; two Skylanders characters; two Traps and a display tray.

The most interesting feature of this package is the Bluetooth controller. Players have been struggling to find a controller that works with their tablets for years and it has not gone very well so far. If Activision likes it enough to package it with one of their premier franchises, then this has to be at least “’alright.” A lot of people will be looking at the performance of this new controller as the game is released. What do you think? Do you know anyone who will be picking this up?

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As a 12 year old in rural East Tennessee (which is only slightly more rural than urban East Tennessee), there was one mall that my family went to, and one toy store in that mall, KB Toys. I’m sure there was a plethora of amazing diversions there, but the only area I cared about was the revolving shelf just inside the entrance that held my own video game nirvana; the discount computer games. It’s here that I met (and subsequently fell in love with) King’s Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory (noticing a theme?), Red Baron, The Incredible Machine, and numerous other titles published by Sierra On-Line.

That’s the nostalgia blanket I was wearing when Activision released it’s teaser last week on Sierra.com that an announcement was coming for the nearly forgotten brand. We have since learned that Activision is reviving the label as an Indie game publisher. I will begin operations by publishing Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions this holiday season and a new King’s Quest that is due out in 2015.

Wait just a second. I have to calm down before I can write more…

… Almost there…

Okay. I’m ready.

Activision is a corporate behemoth, and it’s a smart move to revive a brand with an existing fan base to take risks on smaller projects. Sierra’s mission will be “to find and work with talented indie developers working on their own amazing projects, or passionate about working on great Sierra IP” according to Bob Loya, Sr. Director of External Development at Activision Blizzard.

So far those talented developers include Lucid Games (a team with developers that worked on the original Geometry Wars) and the quirky team The Odd Gentleman (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom). Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions will bring full 3D action and cooperative gameplay to the franchise, alongside 50 levels of new single-player content and 10 battle modes. The new King’s Quest (just breathe, Brandon…) will follow the adventures of King Graham and Gwendolyn, his granddaughter.

Now I think it’s time to break out King’s Quest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 to get me through to next year. (Yes, I know there was a King’s Quest 8, but I choose to pretend things stopped at 7). If you’re interested, check out the Sierra bundles on GOG.com, or the incredibly great remixed versions at AGDInteractive.com.

What do you think of Sierra’s revival? Let us know in the comments.

 

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