MMO Metaverse News Round Up | Friday 17 September 2016

Its been a busy week at Blizzard and for trailer designers everywhere. Lots of new content coming your way.

Heroes of the Storm

Season Two of ranked play kicked off on Monday and will run until w/c 12 December 2016.

Changes for Season Two

  • Grand Master League is only 200 players (down from 500). It wasn't really working out to be elite enough.
  • Promotion/demotion match wins or losses will now only adjust your ranking points by the same amount as usual. Kicking you in the teeth with a 250 point loss was a bit harsh.
  • Even better, on a promotion match any points you had stored up because they went over the cap for the division you are in will be applied. This means if you win, you get those points as well and if you lose, they count against a points loss.
  • You'll have 10 initial placement matches to get your first ranking, but this will be a bit more flexible so you will move up or down quickly in your first few matches.

Rewards for Season Two

  • Snazzy looking portraits. The only really special one is the diamond, which I would assume means getting Diamond ranking.
  • Some gold. Not a huge amount.
  • Elemental Lion Mount (you need minimum Platinum in Hero League or Bronze in Team League). Thats right, you get rewarded just for showing up in Team League. Suggesting there are a lack of teams. The requirements to do Ranked Team play are quite high (to enable drafting) so this isn't a massive surprise.

In addition to this, there is a free Hero if you log in after Wednesday. You can choose between Anub'arak (warrior), Thrall (assassin) and Tyrande (support). If you have them all, you can choose between Nazeebo (specialist), Sonya (warrior) and Uther (support). And if you have all of them? You get 4,000 gold, which is what each of these cost.

If you do get that 4,000 gold you could spend it on the new hero, Alarak. Or as I like to call him Absolutely-Not-The-Sith-Emperor. His abilities include telekinesis and the ability to shoot lightning at his enemies. And his trait? Sadism.

Not enough Heroes for you? Theres more. The new Machines of War patch dropped this week as well. Key features include:

  • In game quests - a daily quests awarding stim packs and an event quest rewarding a unique portrait.
  • A new battleground: Braxis Holdout: Hold the beacons to generate an army of Zerg. When the army is full, it will rush down the lanes against your enemies.
  • Another new battleground will be coming: Warhead Junction. You'll have to gather Warheads and use them to nuke enemy fortifications.
  • Machines of War Bundle - this includes some StarCraft themed skins, their associated heroes and new mounts. If you are interested in Queen of Ghosts and the Ghosts Speeder check out the detailed post about them as they are only temporarily in this bundle.
  • Another new Hero will be coming - Zarya from Overwatch.


Blizzard must be exceptionally busy this week, because there are more updates from their games. Hearthstone added the Welcome Bundle - a cheap set of 10 Classic Card packs plus a random Legendary card from one of the classes. This is a nice deal for new players and even existing players who want to boost their deck.

Then there is a new priest hero - Tyrande. She and her associated card back will be acquired via a 'special promotion'. I would guess this will be linked to BlizzCon or Legion (in which she plays a big part). Probably BlizzCon.

World of Warcraft

Legion continues to move towards the release of raids and Mythic + dungeons next week. Blizzard released a primer for Mythic + which is a completely new type of gameplay (unless of course you've played Greater Rifts in Diablo III or, their inspiration, Fractals in Guild Wars 2). In summary:

  • Get a Mythic Keystone by completing a Mythic dungeon each week. You only get one. It doesn't matter which dungeon you run, but the stone will only be for a dungeon you can access.
  • Your first stone will be for Mythic Level 2. You need a premade team to enter the dungeon of which one player needs the Keystone. You put it in the font just inside the door and a timer starts. Its a generous timer - nothing like Challenge Mode ones.
  • At the end of the Mythic dungeon (if you complete it) you get some extra loot in a chest.
  • If you beat the timer, your Keystone is upgraded to Level 3 and attuned randomly to a Mythic again. Repeat.
  • If you fail the timer, your Keystone becomes 'depleted'. You can run Level 2 of the same dungeon again and again until you beat the timer to upgrade it. You only get loot the first time.
  • At level 4, 7 and 10, modifiers are added to provide an additional challenge. This could be trash that enrages, or doesn't pay attention to taunt.
  • Drops start at 845 and go up with Keystone level. The theoretical maxmimum with Warforged/Titanforged is 895.
  • You get a bonus chest in your class hall with an ilevel that reflects the highest level you got to in the previous week.

Sounds complicated? It is a bit, but Blizzard are masters of making the complex seem easy, so I wouldn't worry too much. This is designed to bring real progression to 5-man content. It serves that purpose in both of the games mentioned above.

Blizzard Overall

There are a couple of pieces of news coming out of Blizzard that relate to more than one game. The first is the announcement of the BlizzCon ticket in-game goodies. These come with both the real ticket and the virtual ticket.

In World of Warcraft you can choose between Legionnaire or Knight-Captain Murky as a pet

In Overwatch you get this rather nice Bastion skin. Take a closer look and you will realise the bird is now Pepe!

In Diablo 3 you get a pet.

In Hearthstone you get the Welcome Inn card back.

Heroes players get this cool mount.

And finally StarCraft 2 players will get ... an unlockable piece of content to be revealed at BlizzCon.

Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood
By Paul Cornell, Mat Broome

You can buy the Virtual Ticket now.

If that is not enough virtual goodies, there are also goodies packed into Warcraft: The Movie. People who buy it will get the Medivh mage skin in Hearthstone, the Gul'dan Hero in Heroes of the Storm and a free copy of World of Warcraft with 30 days of game time for new players. The movie will be released through late September and October, depending where you are. There is also a graphic novel prequel, telling the story of Llane, Lothar and Medivh (the link is an associate link).

Want to change your BattleTag? Maybe you want to remove your name, or use something else that you wish you had used before. You can. You get one free change (which you may not have known about) but, after that, you can now pay for further changes. At £8.00 its not cheap though, but if you made a major mistake you now regret, you might want to pay it.

The final piece of news is that Chris Metzen will be leaving Blizzard. Hes not going elsewhere, hes retiring (at the grand age of 42) to spend more time with his family. Metzen has been a vital creative force within Blizzard and is responsible for much of the Warcraft lore, amongst other things. His enthusiasm is always apparent and he exemplifies the fan turned developer better than anyone. His influence at Blizzard will undoubtably be missed.

Guild Wars 2

Its not all about Blizzard this week. ArenaNet confirmed the information posted last week about the new Living World episode. Rising Flames is full of fire and will include Ember Bay and the Mursaat. We also will be seeing the Elder Dragon Primordius. My guess is, as last time, the Living Story will lead into an expansion in which we get to face said dragon.

Ember Bay has fire, lava, pirates and the alternative Mount Rushmore (skulls in mountains weeping lava). Theres a leyline rollercoaster and your new mastery is essentially you being fired out of a lava cannon. Theres also Karka! This is great news for anyone making Bolt (and probably other legendaries too). Theres also an insane jumping puzzle, Chalice of Tears, which is designed to be hard.

Elder Scrolls Online

Apparently its a week for trailers. ESO has one for Update 12: Return to Craglorn:

Its a gameplay/scenery video. Craglorn is already in the game as a max level, group only area, but this update takes players there with a new storyline. It also adjusts the zone so that solo players can access it and, with One Tamriel, players of different levels. Still no mention of anything other than One Tamriel and the revamped Craglorn.

Final Fantasy XIV

More trailers! This time for patch 2.4 Soul Surrender:

SquareEnix does a good trailer. In addition to the dungeons mentioned last week, you will see (in this video or the patch page)

  • New main scenario and side quests
  • Alexander: The Creator - a new raid
  • Apartments - this is personal housing. Its long been a request and will be a nice addition.
  • Aquariums - where you can display fish you've caught
  • Duels (why is everyone obsessed with these?)
  • A spectator mode in PvP (not in the trailer, but in the producer's letter)
  • New season of The Feast
  • New Kildegard quests
  • Adventure Squadrons - a simulation mini game where you assemble and train a squad. This will likely be expanded upon so you can take them out to do things - maybe a solo dungeon option? The letter mentions dungeons as somewhere you might take them.
  • New content for Palace of the Dead
  • Containment Bay - new content will be added to this.
  • Wondrous Tails - something to do with squirrels

Star Citizen

We finish the round up with Star Citizen. The Aegis Vanguard won Combat Ship of the Year and the next vote is for Bomber of the Year between the Aegis Retaliator and the Anvil Gladiator. There is also a preview of image stabilization gameplay video. This is very weclome as I find the bouncing up and down when I walk makes me feel ill. Movement still looks real, its just less bouncy.

The rest of the news is a set of videos giving you some insight into the game development process: