TwitchCon, Brooklyn Beatdown, No Man’s Sky and Hearthstone
Lit Screens: we too want to go to TwitchCon
Welcome everyone! This is the first installment of Lit Screens, a new column we’re running on WeBreakTech where I’ll briefly summarize some of the more noteworthy things that have happened or are happening soon in gaming this past week. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
TwitchCon 2016 – September 30th to October 2nd
This is Twitch’s second year running their
conference meme-fest and they’ve moved out of the Moscone in San Francisco over to the San Diego Convention Center. This should prove to be a better fit for the event as the Moscone is split between a few different buildings.
After seeing 20,000 people for their first event it’s fair to say they’re managing their growing pains well with a change of venue. I personally haven’t been, but it’s high on my list of gaming conferences to check out at least once in my life.
Attendees get to meet some of their favorite streamers, check out new hardware, games and merch, as well as the ever-entertaining stage shows, panels and competitive exhibitions. The H1Z1 King of the Hill Invitational is back with the grand finale being played out on Sunday over at twitch.tv/twitch.
After the massive success of Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting” marathon stream that last year, there’s even a Bob Ross Paint-a-long event taking place. The itinerary for TwitchCon is jam-packed, so head over to http://www.twitchcon.com/schedule/ to see the full schedule.
Between all of the activities and events happening at TwitchCon, if you’re remotely interested in streaming, the personalities involved, esports, charity gaming, Twitch or even internet culture in and of itself, there’s something you’ll want to see at TwitchCon.
ESL One NY and Brooklyn Beatdown – Oct 1st to 2nd
ESL One NY sports both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and also marks ESL’s first major Street Fighter V event, taking place at Barclays Center in – you guessed it – Brooklyn, NY. The SF:V event is a 256-player tournament with a stellar $75,000 prize pool, and the CS:GO tournament has eight teams of 5 competing for their share of $250,000 USD – when ESL gets in the ring, they don’t mess around.
ESL One NY also debuts the SLIVER.tv LiveVRCast technology, which lets viewers watch the tournament in full virtual reality and puts them smack in the middle of the action. It’s easily one of the most novel ideas in specating esports I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m definitely looking forward to trying it out (even though all I’ve got is Google Cardboard)
If you’ve got access to VR anything, be sure to check this event out!
No Man’s Sky investigated over misleading advertising claims
After the whirlwind of bad press, upset customers and a massive failure to live up to the hype, this comes as no surprise to many. Sean Murray and the No Man’s Sky team published trailers and suggested in interviews and reddit AMAs that there would be far more features and content in the game than was actually delivered.
If the UK’s ASA finds them in contempt, they’ve only got the power to remove their advertisements in the UK – however, it will set a precedent and many more investigations will likely follow.
Both Valve and Hello Games have been silent about how things have progressed thus far, which makes sense when you consider Hello Games is a small indie studio (and Sean Murray, who tweets from @NoMansSky actual) without much in the way of PR combined with Valve’s laissez-faire approach to problems until shit really hits the fan.
After all of this, there’s still a lesson to be learned here: Don’t pre-order games, wait for thorough reviews to evaluate how the game stacks up against what was promised. It’s a lesson many people have learned the hard way over the years, and many more who still bought the game despite avoiding pre-orders were left with a foul taste in their mouth.
Between the catastrophic amount of bad press No Man’s Sky has received and the consequences that have ensued, I for one hope this serves as a message to all game developers, studios and publishers out there.
Promising the perfect game and failing to deliver, instead of being transparent and realistic, might be a decent way to make a quick buck, however, it’s no way to ensure you’ll have any returning customers. Even if your game sucks, so long as you admit it, I’m much more likely to stick around while you sort things out.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft receives some highly-requested balance changes
On a slightly more positive note, Blizzard has announced some long-requested changes to key cards in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for update 6.1.3.
The changes address Shaman and the huge RNG swings directly, putting some of the biggest offenders under the microscope. Tuskarr Totemic previously would generate a random Totem card on top of its 3/2 body, which in rare and random circumstances could mean you’d get a 3/2 and a 3/4, or get to draw extra cards at a point in the game where most classes simply can’t deal with it without committing excessive resources (if they have them at all).
Now, Tuskarr Totemic simply generates a random basic totem, meaning no more Totem Golems or Mana Tide Totems giving the Shaman the chance to randomly run away with the game. Personally, I’d have liked if you could have chosen the basic totem you’d get from Tuskarr Totemic so you can at least get the best one for the situation, but this is a fine compromise.
Next up is the highly controversial Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End. Yogg is probably the most polarizing card in all of Hearthstone and one of the most polarizing cards I have seen in card games overall. When you play Yogg-Saron it casts a random spell for each other spell you’ve casted that game (note: there are a LOT of different spells you can roll).
If a player has cast a high number of spells, it can truly become a roller coaster of emotions – especially in high-level competitive play where completely random outcomes can decide your fate in the tournament. There’s no telling if the spells you’ll roll will benefit you in that situation or work against you, and the most you could do to stack the odds in your favor was to increase the number of spells you’ve casted before deploying Yogg-Saron.
As you can see from the player reactions above, it can be a pretty brutal way to lose out a tournament. What’s more is playing against Yogg-Saron for many people isn’t a pleasurable experience. You simply sit back and watch the RNG potentially blow the game out. Many players feel it removes the opportunity for their skill to shine, and many players just want to watch the board burn and have a few laughs.
Blizzard has decided to change Yogg-Saron such that if it kills itself while casting random spells (for example it casts a Fireball on itself or rolls a Twisting Nether to delete the board), it will no longer continue casting the remainder of its spells. Blizzard’s hope here is that this will mean that the players who just want to have a few laughs and enjoy the RNG can still have their fun, but makes Yogg-Saron unreliable enough to be seen at the highest levels of competitive play.
Lastly, they’ve changed a handful of classic cards to future-proof the game. Classic cards are “evergreen” meaning there’s no constructed format where they can’t be used. Having this basic set of cards severely impacts the design space for new cards, so tweaking some of the staple picks is necessary.
Rockbiter Weapon, Charge, Abusive Sergeant, Execute and Call of the Wild (which is not a classic card but has been problematic nonetheless) all had their effectiveness tweaked slightly, and for what seems like the first time Blizzard has done so without making any of the cards completely unplayable. Overall, these changes are very welcome and should do a great deal to improve the balance of Hearthstone.
That’s all for this week! Join us next week as we keep out fingers to the pulse of the video games industry on Lit Screeens.
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