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A Storm Is Coming with Overwatch’s New Event, Storm Rising

Storm Rising, Next Overwatch Event Spans from April 16 through May 6

Storm Rising, the next Overwatch event has been confirmed by Blizzard. Speculation only started a few days ago, and details are already beginning to surface. Bits of information about the new Havana map, cosmetic items, and the identity of a new character is now available. Additionally, a new PvE story-mission event that will challenge Overwatch heroes to take down Maximilien, the accountant for Talon has been previewed.

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Overwatch Storm Rising is the latest Archives seasonal event and it takes place 6 years in the past. The four-player PvE mission takes place at the same time and allows players to choose between either Tracer, Genji, Winston or Mercy as they fight their way through a gauntlet in order to overthrow Omnic Maximilien. As a storm quickly approaches Cuba, Maximilien’s hideout location, the four heroes attempt to track down the villain before the bad weather creates an opening for him to escape once again.

Welcome to Havana and Storm Rising PvE Event

The short preview Overwatch’s Twitter released on April 9th is only 14 seconds but it offers up a look at not only the new map, Havana, but the Storm Rising PvE event as well.

Reports suggest that Storm Rising won’t be the only PvE event coming to the new update. The two campaign missions from previous updates are expected to make a return, too.

Say Hello to Sojourn

The official Overwatch Twitter posted an audio log from the new character Sojourn on April 8th. With little to no background beyond the audio log, many questions still remain about what this hero will bring to the Overwatch meta. Find the full audio log Overwatch posted on Twitter, below.

Cosmetic Junkies Celebrate

No Overwatch update is complete without new cosmetics. More than 160 new cosmetics are going to be available throughout the duration of the event. Storm Rising stretches from April 16-May 6 and teasers are expected to drop over the next few days leading up to its release. Also, those that missed past event cosmetic items will get a second chance at those cosmetics that got away.  

Storm Rising is less than a week away but there are so many questions still left unanswered. As the world approaches the release of Storm Rising, keep checking back on GigamaxGames.com to see what other news breaks. Join the Gigamax Games crew on YouTube and Twitch next week as the crew jumps on and streams the new event, live!

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Could Blizzard Be Teasing Overwatch’s Next Event

[Update] Overwatch Storm Rising has been announced. A detailed look at the new event can be found, here.

It hasn't been long since Blizzard rolled out their latest Overwatch hero, Baptiste, and now it appears their gearing up for a new event. Fans have recently discovered a teaser that could point to the theme, a news article from Havana, Cuba.

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Overwatch Event Time!

The article, penned by the fictional author, Marise Solis, details the story of Don Rumbotico and his rum business. Although, this company has gotten so large that its original purpose has been long forgotten. It looks like Havana has gained a few private investors that are buying land and filling the territory with armed guards. This could indicate a new map for players to explore in the near future.

Further indicating that Havana, Cuba will be the game's next location, the flight indicator in Numbani Airport lists the capital city as a destination.

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Blizzard released a second fictional article indicating that Florida and Bahamas are preparing for a category 3 storm known as, Hurricane Fernand. The hurricane is originating in the north and passing conveniently through Havana. Every civilian has been evacuated so the area is just waiting to be torn apart in a fight between good and evil.

We'll be sure to have an update when Blizzard finally pulls back the curtain so be sure to check back here at GigamaxGames.com!

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Blizzard Cuts Back Heroes of the Storm Development

Things are not looking good for Blizzard's MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, a title that blended together all of the company's games like Overwatch, Diablo, Starcraft, and World of Warcraft. The president of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, and chief development officer, Ray Gresko, announced today that developers are being pulled from the game and being transferred to different projects within the company. 

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In a press release that was made public today, Brack and Gresko said that it was a difficult decision to make and it will ultimately impact the future of the game. 

“Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of,” Blizzard said. “We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past.” 

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This Isn't the End for Heroes of the Storm

The company assured they will continue development of the title, supporting the game with new characters and events, but the time between these updates will increase. According to the two executives, this is to set up Heroes of the Storm for long-term sustainability. 

Unfortunately, this news also means that Blizzard had to cancel both of their planned eSports events for Heroes of the Storm. The pro-level tournament, Heroes Global Championship, and the collegiate level contest, Heroes of the Dorm will get the axe. 

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Tough Call for Blizzard

“[A]fter looking at all of our priorities and options in light of the change with the game, the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm will not return in 2019,” the press release read. “This was another very difficult decision for us to make. The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.” 

It is a shame that this is the beginning of the end for a game that many enjoyed so much. Blizzard is making a responsible move by reallocating employees internally rather than laying people off. The MOBA space has plenty of competition in today's market and it looks like Heroes of the Storm couldn't keep up with games like League of Legends and DOTA. We here at Gigamax will keep a close eye on these deveopments, so be sure to check back here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest details. 

Source: news.blizzard.com/en-us/blizzard/22833558/heroes-of-the-storm-news

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The Overwatch League Revolutionizing eSports

The Overwatch League Revolutionizing eSports

The first Overwatch League championships are over and London Spitfire took home the trophy and the $1 million prize. Gigamax Games was lucky enough to be in attendance for both days of this incredible eSports event. Overwatch by itself has not only revolutionized the "Games as a Service" business model but Blizzard Entertainment and the Overwatch League completely transformed eSports in a massive way.

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London Spitfire - Overwatch League Champions

eSports isn’t a new concept. The company, Major League Gaming (MLG) was founded in 2002 but was recently purchased by Activision Blizzard in 2016. Gamers have always had a competitive streak in them since High Scores first made an appearance in arcade games. However, the world has had an extremely difficult time taking competitive gaming seriously.

eSports Credibility Rises 

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London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion Take The Stage

The Overwatch League just broke the mold and helped completely transform the way the public views competitive gaming. With the minimum league salary set at $50,000, selling out the Barclays Center in New York City two nights in a row, and broadcasting live on ESPN, Disney and ABC family networks gave the concept of eSports an incredible amount of credibility. Furthermore, it shows that these competitions can resemble a professional organization and sporting league. What’s even more astonishing is that all of this notoriety is surrounding a single game, Overwatch. 

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This is not to say that other organizations haven't hosted impressive, international eSports tournaments. In 2013, MLG hosted the Winter Championships and offered up a hundred and seventy thousand dollars in prizes. More recently, Epic Games unveiled the Summer Skirmish series. This 8-week series is offering gamers a chance to compete for a total of $8,000,000 in prize money. Yet, the Overwatch League is unmatched in creating an eSports environment that rivals conventional sporting events.

A Year of Hype

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Jeffrey Kaplan, VP of Blizzard Entertainment and Game director of Overwatch

Kicking off in January of 2018, The Overwatch League closely resembled other professional sporting leagues. The MLB, NBA, NFL all develop throughout an entire year. They gradually build the hype until the end of a season when the two best teams meet in an epic showdown. This is exactly what The Overwatch League achieved, and was incredibly successful in doing so. For nearly seven months, fans tuned in to watch the matches and developed their favorite teams and players until The Overwatch League finals came along and the true winner was crowned.

The Video Game Community Is Spectacular 

When the Gigamax Games crew pulled up to the Barclays Center, it at first felt like attending any other concert or sporting event. A massive amount of people all working their way into a gigantic building to watch talented people perform for the crowds' entertainment. What stood out was the people. Instead of rowdy sports fans or enthusiastic concertgoers, this group felt familiar.

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The Overwatch League Community

All these gamers ended up grouping up together as if guided by an invisible force. The gaming community can be incredibly friendly when the toxicity of anonymity is removed from the equation. Everyone felt like a family. No matter if they were rooting for the London Spitfires or Philadelphia Fusion, the entire crowd was rooting for the sport to succeed. The Overwatch League was the event that brought not only like-minded gamers together but forced the public to take note of this massive eSports movement that’s taking place.

As fans get ready for a Season 2 of The Overwatch League, more teams are expected to enter the competition. The massive success of its inaugural season and other countries and U.S. states interest in starting their own teams is not only a great sign for The Overwatch League but for eSports as a whole. There's no telling what the future will hold.

Be sure to stay up to date with the entire video game industry, eSports included right here on Gigamax Games.com.

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Cosplay at Overwatch League Finals Barclays Center NY

The last battles of the Overwatch League Finals have been fought. Its outcome sparked both cheers and tears, filling the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. London Spitfire's took home the trophy for the first, in what will hopefully be a long history of championship rounds.

Cosplay at Overwatch League Finals Barclays Center NY

While there was plenty of hype surrounding the competitive superstars and their superb skills, the other side of Overwatch's fandom made a strong appearance at the finals. The spectacular cosplay highlighted the awe and dedication that has made the series so famous. These cosplayers spend countless hours putting together costumes to show their love for the colorful cast of characters the game has to offer.

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Image Source: https://bit.ly/2Ajlweq

Cosplay Spotted at Overwatch League Finals

Gigamax Games was lucky enough to attend the final matches of the Overwatch League. Besides the impressive scale of this massive video game tournament, the cosplay stood out.

The arena was packed full of dedicated fans and you didn't have to go far to find someone dressed up in a very accurate representation of their favorite hero. One of the many amazing Cosplays we saw was a Widowmaker donning an outfit that replicated the character's Black Lily skin. It is immediately evident that a ton of commitment was put in to accurately portray the purple villain. With body paint, an elegant dress, high heels, and even the signature sniper/automatic rifle this Cosplay was a perfect example of one fans love for Overwatch.

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One Shot, One Kill

Other Cosplayers made full suits of armor for their costumes, dedicating time and effort to make sure every piece matched up to its virtual counterpart. Another fantastic cosplay we saw roaming the halls of the Overwatch League Finals was a Brigitte dressed in the colors of the New York Excelsior's. Of course, cosplaying comes with its fair share of struggles, mainly being surrounded by people who want a picture with the character and to learn about the hard work that went into making the costume. But this only goes to show how integral Cosplayers are to the Overwatch League experience and getting fellow fans excited for the festivities.

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Rally To Me!

An insanely detailed portrayal of Junkrat made an appearance. This would make any fan stop and double take to make sure the fictional Australian criminal wasn't there. Blizzard certainly showed these fans love on the final day of the event, pulling some of the best Cosplayers there during one of the intermissions between matches.

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BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

What's Next?

With the Overwatch League Finals come and gone, we already can't wait to see what Blizzard has planned for next year's grand event. More importantly, we are hyped to see what Cosplayers put together for their costumes, hopefully, we'll finally see an Orisa!

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Wrecking Ball Revealed as Overwatch’s Next Hero

Wrecking Ball Revealed as Overwatch's Next Hero

Not long after Blizzard teased Hero 28 for Overwatch on Twitter, the company revealed that the next character would be an adorable chubby cheeked hamster named Hammond (AKA Wrecking Ball). Along with the big reveal, Blizzard announced that he is available on the Public Test Realm for any PC Overwatch gamers. Those interested in this lovable rodents fascinating backstory should definitely check out his origin video below.

As Blizzard showed off in the teaser trailer leading up to the reveal, Wrecking Ball has the ability to transform himself into a ball and roll around the battlefield to increase movement speed. While in ball form, he can launch a grappling hook that tethers him to surfaces and allows the player to swing around the battlefield and inflict damage much like a real wrecking ball. Outside of wrecking ball form, he pilots a spider-like mech that has Quad Cannons that are able to tear through the competition.

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"Insert Miley Cyrus Quote Here"

Wrecking Ball's next ability is Adaptive Shields. This provides bonus protection for each enemy in the vicinity of the hero when Adaptive Shields is activated. Another ability, Piledriver, allows the hamster to slam into the ground from a good distance up in the air and injure as well as launch other players that are in his blast zone. Finally, his ultimate Minefield lays out a generous field of explosives that explode when an enemy walks near them. Along with the video, Blizzard detailed Wrecking Ball's story on their website.

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AWWWWW! He think's he's D.Va!

As mentioned above, players that own a copy of Overwatch on the PC can jump on Blizzard's Battle.net service and test the hero out right now. A new update has been released on the PTR which fans can get to by clicking the dropdown menu in the Overwatch tab of  Battle.net and selecting Public Test Realm. Currently, there's no word on how long the updates will remain on the test server but if it's anything like the other major character additions, it will be 3-4 weeks.

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Brigitte Shield Charges to Overwatch on March 20th

Brigitte Shield Charges to Overwatch on March 20th

The 27th Overwatch hero, Brigitte is heading to all platforms including PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 20th. Blizzard announced this exciting news today (3/15/18) on Twitter along with an announcement post on their blog. Players that own a PC and want to try her right now, she is currently available on the Public Test Realm.

Blizzard is calling the new hero an "engineer with peerless armor constructing abilities," and she definitely shows her prowess when deployed on the battlefield. Her primary weapon is known as the Rocket Flail, which extends when used and can hit multiple heroes at the same time.

Along with Brigitte's flail, she also gets a deployable Barrier Shield, which like Reinhardt can protect allies immediately behind her. She also has the ability to throw Repair Packs to heal teammates, while her passive ability, Inspire, heals all nearby allies when she deals DPS.

Blizzard Picks Up The Pace

Brigitte was officially announced by Blizzard only a couple of weeks ago and right beforehand they revealed a lore database that will host content revealing the backstory of many of their popular heroes. To start Blizzard gave some more insight into how Torbjörn lost his arm in a tear jerking letter to his wife. With the new heroes imminent arrival, we'll be sure to show her off in action the day she becomes available to the public, so don't forget to check out our Stream Page so you know exactly when you'll have a chance to see this exciting new hero!

Brigitte Abilities

  • Rocket Flail – Brigitte's melee weapon has an extended range, enabling her to strike multiple enemies with a single swing.
  • Repair Pack – Brigitte throws a Repair Pack that can heal an ally. Any healing over that ally's maximum health provides them with armor instead.
  • Whip Shot – Brigitte throws her flail a long distance, dealing damage and knocking an enemy away from her.
  • Barrier Shield – Brigitte deploys a frontal energy barrier to absorb a limited amount of damage.
  • Shield Bash – Once her Barrier Shield is deployed, she can dash forward to stun an enemy.
  • Inspire – When she hits enemies with her flail, she also heals nearby allies over time.
  • Rally – She moves faster and provides all nearby allies with armor that lasts until it's removed by damage.
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Blizzard Adding Lore Database to Overwatch

Blizzard Adding Lore Database to Overwatch

Blizzard is hyping up fans with more than one new teaser this week. After their cryptic tweet detailing what everyone believes to be a new hero, the company is shifting its focus toward a new lore database that will offer insight into the stories behind the worlds favorite heroes. Blizzard "released" a letter Torbjörn wrote to his wife after suffering injuries on the battlefield and this is just the beginning.

The official Overwatch Twitter account revealed the information of a rather unsuccessful mission called "White Dome." Unfortunately, the operation didn't go as planned and an ambush led to Reinhart having to jump in and save Torbjörn after losing his arm.

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The Lost Arm and Lore

Blizzard later updated the story to include the letter that Torbjörn wrote to his wife, Ingrid, from the hospital after the failed mission. In the letter, he assures that all is well and even jokes about the situation that led to him receiving that neat and versatile claw arm.

"I know that by now you have gotten news of my injuries in our latest mission. While the descriptions may sound terrible, the doctors are quite sure I'll make a full recovery. Even Angela came to visit me! On the matter of my arm, I promise to make it my first priority to construct a suitable prosthesis that will make everyone forget that it was ever gone. If only Angela's dreams of tissue regeneration were a reality! I told her she should be working harder!" (http://bit.ly/2HK4CWa)

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The letter also includes a bunch of other details on the builders family and personal life. To see it in its entirety, the full lore entry is available on the Overwatch blog. Be warned, a tissue box may be needed while reading!

Currently, the "Story Update" that Blizzard released is part of a larger ongoing archive that gives players "secret clearance" to various art, videos, and stories. The company hasn't dedicated a section to the storytelling device as of now. However, with the fascinating tales behind the Heroes coming out rapidly it is expected they'll have a place soon for gamers to view them.

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Microtransactions Pay Off Big For Activision Blizzard

Microtransactions Pay Off Big For Activision Blizzard

Microtransactions are a huge source of revenue for the video game publisher Activision Blizzard. The company announced today in an earnings report that revenue from "in-game net bookings," which contains DLC sales, loot boxes, and in-app purchases on mobile games, reached $4 billion in 2017. The fourth quarter alone secured the company $1 billion for additional content sold.

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Around $2 billion of Activision Blizzard's revenue in 2017 came from in-game net booking's in their mobile subsidiary, King, which owns and operates Candy Crush. The other $2 billion came from Activision Blizzard's console and PC efforts, along with the rest of their mobile ventures like Hearthstone. These two revenue streams were pointed out by Daniel Ahmad, an industry analyst, on Twitter.

More Games, More Money

Call of Duty: WWII offers microtransactions that give players their own in-game currency, Call of Duty Points. These points can then be used to purchase in-game items like loot boxes that net players cosmetics for their avatars. Additionally, Activision recently launched the first paid DLC pack, Resistance, which is being sold at $14.99 USD. In Overwatch, players spend their money on loot boxes that offer a variety of different skins and other cosmetic items. World of Warcraft also offers a vast in-game economy allowing players to spend real-world money on mounts, pets, and a host of other items.

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The Trend Continues

Microtransactions are a growing trend throughout the gaming industry with many companies jumping on the bandwagon. EA recently suffered serious backlash with their title Star Wars Battlefront II, which players believed contained a very hostile microtransaction system.

Not every modern game contains a microtransaction system. However, it is becoming a major profit earner and difficult to ignore for many businesses in the industry. Especially when Activision Blizzard was able to put up numbers like the $4 billion in revenue earned. Hopefully, gamers can continue to fight toxic systems like the one EA tried to put in place and show developers what a proper loot box structure should look like.

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Overwatch Skins Update Arrives Soon See What’s Coming

New Overwatch Skins are Around the Corner

Tomorrow marks the launch of Blizzard's latest update to their wildly popular hero based shooter, Overwatch and it includes a ton of new looks for some of the most popular characters. Overwatch skins are some of the most sought-after collectibles in gaming, mainly because of their unique nature that not only looks nice but adds more depth to the heroes. Altogether there are 16 new skins for fans to collect and they can all be acquired through the Cosmetic Loot Boxes.

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McCree, Reaper, Junk Rat, Symetra, Orisa, Mei, Pharah, Hanzo, and Lucio are all getting new costumes that are not part of a larger set but still look incredible. Blizzard has yet to reveal the name of the new unique looks, although they typically they're pretty creative.

Meanwhile, Roadhog, Zarya, Torbjorn, Reinhardt, Mercy, and Doomfist are all receiving new skins based on other Blizzard IP's. The games that the updated skins are referencing include Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Starcraft. Fans of these series will all be delighted to see the hard work that went into detailing all of these skins that fit the characters perfectly.

New Skins Preview

Also included in the update is the latest addition to Overwatch's arenas, Blizzard World. This Disney World like theme park is the newest area where players can test their skills. Blizzard World is home to tons of homages to the game developer's greatest masterpieces and fans are sure to love all the references.

We're very excited to try our hand at rolling the newest skins tomorrow (1/23/18)! We'll be checking out the Overwatch skins update during the Gigamax PowerHour on Tuesday so if you're interested in seeing what the new update has to offer come stop by or check back after it drops for the video which will be located below.

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