Hong Kong (Update)

After press time last week, the president of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, released a letter about the situation where Blizzard suspended a pro player for a political statement regarding Hong Kong, and the two casters on-air at the time.

Regarding Last Weekend’s Hearthstone Grandmasters Tournament

Here are the highlights of what J. Allen Brack said:

  • Believes Blizzard is still committed to its core values of: “Think Globally;” “Lead Responsibly;” and “Every Voice Matters”
  • Strongly encourages players to voice their opinions, but not in a manner that uses Blizzard tournaments as a platform, which is against Blizzard rules.
  • Casters should elevate the watchability of tournaments and keep the experience focused on the tournament and players.
  • blitzchung’s views were not a factor in the decision to suspend him for one year and revoke his earnings, and relationships with China were not a factor.
  • Admits that Blizzard reacted too quickly and blitzchung played fair during the tournament, so he gets his winnings reinstated.
  • blitzchung’s suspension has been reduced to 6 months, and the casters are no longer disallowed to cast Blizzard events, but have also been suspended for 6 months.

Aftermath

Many people were still not happy, journalists were quick to point out that releasing a statement on a Friday evening may have been intended to keep the statement out of the news cycle, and others questioned the authenticity of the letter. All that in mind, furor has calmed down since last week, but plenty are still unhappy with the company and have kept their games uninstalled or subscriptions canceled.

The American University players who called out the hypocrisy of blitzchung being suspended for sharing a political message, but them receiving no suspension for sharing their own political statements on a tournament broadcast, have now been suspended for 6 months as well.

Overwatch on Nintendo Switch

torbPotG.jpg

This week the Switch version of Overwatch was released. While those who have played other versions aren’t keen on the lowered framerate and lowered graphic settings needed to get the game to run, it does play and at least in the first few days it has a decently-sized community.

New with the Switch version are gyro controls that allow you to control your crosshair more accurately by moving either the Switch itself if playing in handheld mode, or the controllers if playing while it’s docked.

I’ve been playing it on-and-off this past week, having only ever played the PC version before. In all honesty, it’s not bad at all. It’s taken some work to get used to playing a first-person shooter on a controller, but the gyro aiming works great and has definitely helped make it easier.

Will you replace playing on the PC? Probably not unless you have to for any reason, but it’s still Overwatch and it’s “just fine.”

We’ve updated Overbuff to work with Switch profiles, but remember to set them to Public in the Social Settings, as profiles are Private by default.

Halloween Terror 2019

junkrat.jpg I totally cheated and got PotG with Torb in Junkenstein’s Revenge.

This year’s Halloween event launched this week, along with a large list of balance changes.

New This Year

While there’s nothing new for players to do with the event this year, Blizzard has made 9 items locked behind three, weekly challenges again as they’ve done with other, recent events. Players can receive items for their first 3, 6, and 9 wins during each of the three weeks.

  • Week 1: Inferno Junkrat spray, player icon, and skin.
  • Week 2: Vampire Baptiste spray, player icon, and skin.
  • Week 3: Demon Hunter Sombra spray, player icon, and skin.

The Demon Hunter Sombra skin is the BlizzCon skin from 2018.

Patch Notes

The full patch notes may be found here, but here’s the summary:

The Arcade has expanded to 7 cards to allow for more game modes.

  • Baptiste - Immortality Field health reduced.
  • Doomfist - Time to fully charge Rocket Punch increased.
  • Doomfist - Shields granted after dealing damage reduced.
  • D.Va - Defense Matrix recharges faster and sooner.
  • Lucio - Normal speed boost increased, as was how much it is increased when Amp it Up is used.
  • Lucio - Wall Ride speed boost reduced.
  • Mercy - Extra healing beams from Valkyrie ultimate now ignore barriers.
  • Moira - Self-healing from Biotic Grasp reduced.
  • Orisa - Barrier cooldown is 1 second longer.
  • Roadhog - Weapon has 1 more ammo.
  • Sigma - Kinetic Grasp no longer stops Roadhog’s Hook or Brigitte’s Whip Shot.
  • Sigma - Time enemies spent in the air when hit by ultimate Gravitic Flux reduced.
  • Sigma - Barrier recharges slower, gained a 1 second cooldown when recalled, cast time removed.
  • Sombra - Translocator cooldown increased, but timer now begins immediately upon casting it.
  • Symmetra - Barrier ultimate health and duration reduced.
  • Symmetra - Turret damage reduced.
  • Tracer - Range of her guns’ damage falloff increased.
  • Winston - Barrier lasts longer and has more health.

Miscellaneous

Jeff Kaplan posted to Reddit that the sights for Ashe’s new Warlock skin were getting a new graphic, as the one that went live is very bright and distracting. No date was given as to when the update to her gun would go live.

Pictured: Live version is on the left, future version is on the right.

asheSights.png

Rosterpocalypse

Our Overwatch roster spreadsheet that post-season shows staffing and player changes has been further updated.

Rosterpocalypse 2019 Tracker