All posts by Linaeum

Character Overview: Reaper

Character Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Overwatch Universe. This week, we’re going to be talking about Reaper, one of the franchise’s main villains.


Reaper is a murderous psychopath who is willing to kill anyone and everyone in order to get what he wants. However, the black-clad assassin wasn’t always this way. In fact, many years ago the man now known as Reaper used to be Gabriel Reyes, the original leader of Overwatch!

Back then, Overwatch had just been created, and Gabriel Reyes led the elite taskforce along with famous soldiers such as Jack Morrison and Ana Amari. Fighting in unison, these mighty warriors defeated many threats to the world, and it seemed that for the first time in a century, the world would be at peace. It was in the midst of this success, however, that the seeds of disaster were sown.

It all began when the United Nations appointed Jack Morrison to the position of Strike Commander, usurping Reyes’ role as the leader of Overwatch. Needless to say, Reyes was not happy about this. However, all he got for his trouble was a reassignment to Blackwatch, Overwatch’s covert ops division.

Angered by this perceived insult, Reyes decided that it was time to bring down the organization he had once led. Recruiting and training a whole host of unsavory characters, Reyes launched an attack on Overwatch headquarters.

To this day, no one knows what occurred during that fateful battle, other than the fact that it ended with a massive explosion that destroyed the entire facility and—supposedly—killed both Jack Morrison and Gabriel Reyes.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Reyes actually survived the explosion, but his body was terribly damaged. In an attempt to survive, the former leader of Overwatch turned to some of the shadier contacts he’d made during his time at Blackwatch. With their help Reyes survived, but he was no longer a normal man.

Adopting the name Reaper, Reyes has gone on a dark crusade to rid the world of all who wronged him, starting with the former agents of Overwatch. Getting help from Talon (a terrorist organization) Reaper raided Watchpoint: Gibraltar in an attempt to recover a complete list of all Overwatch agents’ locations. This mission failed spectacularly, however, thanks to the intervention of Winston, the sentient gorilla who had been Overwatch’s lead scientist.

Undeterred by this failure, Reaper has continued to commit acts of terror all over the globe in his search for retribution.  

Weapon and Abilities:

Reaper wields a pair of Hellfire Shotguns, which deal massive damage at close range. Each Shotgun holds 4 shells, so Reaper can fire a total of 8 shots before he has to reload. As would be expected, Reaper’s damage falls off a good deal after a short distance, so he can’t effectively engage enemies at long range.

Reaper’s Trait is The Reaping, which generates small healing globes whenever one of Reaper’s enemies die. These globes will heal Reaper for 50, providing the hero with a means for self-sustain in a large team-fight.

Reaper’s first ability is Wraith Form, which makes the hero invincible for 3 seconds and gives him a small boost in movement speed. During this time, Reaper can’t use any other abilities or fire his weapons, however Wraith Form is a perfect way to get up close to an enemy hero. Wraith Form also removes all negative status effects (such as Zenyatta’s Discord Orb), so it will often be the difference between life and death.

Shadow Step, Reaper’s third ability, allows Reaper to teleport across long distances. Reaper is highly vulnerable while casting this ability, so it shouldn’t be used in combat. However, it is perfect for getting up to places that Reaper normally wouldn’t be able to reach, which can lead to some very interesting surprise ultimates.

Speaking of ultimates, Reaper has Death Blossom, a powerful area-of-effect attack which deals massive damage to all nearby enemies over a period of 3 seconds. This ultimate can wipe entire teams in mere moments, making it one of the most potent in the entire game.


Reaper is a powerful offense hero, who deals massive damage using his Hellfire Shotguns. Using Shadow Step to bypass enemy chokepoints and lines of sight, Reaper can sneak up behind his opponents and clear them out at close range. If he gets in trouble, he can simply use his Wraith Form to get away.

Because of his high damage, Reaper is especially effective against tanks such as Reinhardt or Roadhog. He’s also quite good against Bastion and Torbjörn, as Reaper can Shadow Step or Wraith Form up to the entrenched defenses without taking damage.

Reaper synergizes very well with a healer like Zenyatta or Ana, who can heal the Offense hero from a distance. He’s also very good with Reinhardt and Zarya, since they can pull an enemy team together for Reaper’s Death Blossom. Finally, Reaper is good with Tracer and Genji, as they can all jump on enemy healers to tilt a fight in their favor.

On the other hand, Reaper is weak against heroes such as Soldier: 76, Widowmaker and Hanzo, since he has no way to deal with enemies at long range. He’s also very bad against Pharah, for obvious reasons.

Reaper is good on virtually any map, as there will always be ways for him to sneak up on enemies. He’s especially good on King of the Hill and Point Capture maps, as Death Blossom is great at clearing a point.

Finally, Reaper is one of the easier heroes to play, so he’s a great pick in virtually any situation.


Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Preview: The Grimy Goons

The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is fast approaching, and in the weeks prior to the launch Blizzard has been revealing all the new cards that are coming to the game. Each week attention will be focused on one of the three gangs—this week, that gang is the Grimy Goons.

Comprised of Paladins, Hunters and Warriors, the Grimy Goons are your typical Gangsters. They flaunt their power openly (unlike the other two gangs) and aren’t afraid to throw their weight around to maintain their idea of order.

In addition to the usual slew of basic cards, the Grimy Goons have a bunch of cards that share a brand new mechanic: the ‘holding’ mechanic, which buffs cards that are in your hand.grimestreet-smuggler

An example of a card that has this Mechanic is the tri-class Grimestreet Smuggler. A 3-mana 2/4, the Grimestreet Smuggler’s Battlecry gives a random minion in your hand +1/+1. This is a pretty powerful effect, as while you sacrifice some tempo by playing a 2/4 on turn 3, you gain those stats back on a future minion.

Now, while this mechanic is present throughout all the Grimy Goons, its impact and power varies depending on which class is being played.


In Hunter, the holding mechanic is focused around cards that are efficient plays for their mana. For example, they have the Trogg Beastrager, a 2-mana 3/2 (good stats for two mana) whose Battlecry gives a random Beast in your hand +1/+1. This effect isn’t as powerful as the Grimestreet Smuggler’s (because it’s limited tdispatch-kodoo a Beast), however its stats are better for the Mana Cost.

In addition, Hunter has the Dispatch Kodo, a 4-mana 2/4 with the Battlecry ‘Deal damage equal to this minion’s Attack’. At first, this just seems like an okay card—however, couple it with buffs from cards such as the Trogg Beastrager, and this minion becomes insane—dealing 3, 4 or even 5 damage when played.


Warriors utilize the holding mechanic in a similar way to Hunters, grimy-gadgeteerbut with one distinct change: they forego some tempo in exchange for more powerful buffs. For example, Warriors have the Grimy Gadgeteer, a 4-mana 4/3 that gives a random minion +2/+2 at the end of your turn. Obviously, this is a more powerful effect than the Trogg Beastrager’s, however, the Grimy Gadgeteer is a much weaker minion stat-wise.

In addition, Warriors also have the Grimestreet Pawnbroker, a 3-mana 3/3 whose Battlecry gives a random weapon in your hand +1/+1. This is a very powerful effect, and even though it’s attached to a minion with a weak body, its effect more than makes up for the small tempo loss.

Finally, Warriors have the Stolen Goods, a 2-mana Spell that gives a i-know-a-guyrandom Taunt minion in your hand +3/+3. Now, Warriors don’t usually run many Taunt Minions, however this card combos with I Know a Guy, a 1-mana Spell that lets you Discover a Taunt minion. This combination guarantees that you’ll always have a Taunt to buff, but you’ll be spending 3 mana to do nothing, so it’s a fairly weak play.

As far as minions that benefit from holding buffs, Warriors have the Alley Armorsmith, a 5-mana 2/7 with Taunt and an effect that says ‘Whenever this minion deals damage, gain that much Armor’. Now, at 2 Attack, this effect isn’t too powerful. However, if it gets buffed by the Grimy Gadgeteer or Stolen Goods, it’s actually a pretty powerful effect.


Paladins are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Hunters. Where Hunters have high-tempo cards with weaker grimestreet-outfittereffects, Paladins have low-tempo cards with very powerful effects. For example, Paladins have the Grimestreet Outfitter, a 2-mana 1/1 with a Battlecry that gives all the minions in your hand +1/+1. Needless to say, a 1/1 on turn two is terrible tempo-wise, but its effect is incredibly powerful.

The next minion Paladins have is the Grimestreet Enforcer. A 5-mana 4/4, this minion gives all the minions in your hand +1/+1 at the end of your turn. Once again, this is a very powerful effect—though it is countered by the fact that it is very low tempo.

Finally, Paladins have Smuggler’s Run, a 1-mana Spell that gives all the minions in your hand +1/+1. This is possibly even better than the other two cards. Since it only costs one mana, the loss of tempo you take by playing it can be counteracted with a single buffed card.

meanstreet-marshalFor the cards you’ll be buffing, Paladins have the Meanstreet Marshal, a 1-mana 1/2 that draws a card when it dies as long as it has at least 2 attack. Now, this minion actually has good stats for its mana cost, but if you play it on turn one, you’ll have trouble making use of its Deathrattle. However, this problem can be solved thanks to Small-Time Recruits, a 3-mana Spell that draws three 1-mana minions from your deck.

Small-Time Recruits allows you to fill your deck with weak 1-mana minions, pull them out on demand and then buff them with cards such as the Grimestreet Outfitter and Smuggler’s Run. Pull this off successfully, and you’ll have turns where you play 6 or 9-mana worth of stats for only 3 mana. Needless to say, that’s pretty insane.

Finally, the Paladin Class Legendary—a dwarf named Wickerflame Burnbristle—also benefits from this mechanic. Wickerflame wickerflame-burnbristleBurnbristle is a 3-mana 2/2 with Divine Shield and Taunt. In addition, whenever Wickerflame Burnbristle deals damage he restores that much health to your hero. Now, like the Alley Armorsmith, this is a bit underwhelming at first. However, when given a couple buffs, Wickerflame Burnbristle becomes an absolute monstrosity.

The Grimy Goons Legendary

don-hanchoBecause the Grimy Goons revolve around the holding mechanic, it only makes sense that their tri-class legendary would do the same. Enter Don Han’Cho, a 7-mana 5/6 that gives a random minion in your hand +5/+5. Now, a 5/6 is pretty bad for 7 mana, but when you consider the buff it gives, Don Han’Cho becomes a 7-mana 10/11, and that’s pretty good.

Overall, the holding mechanic is very, very strong, and it is likely to completely change the game as we know it today.

The Gurubashi Arena: Thrall vs. Uther – Part One

“Ladies and Gentletrolls—welcome once more to da Gurubashi arena! I be Dar’jin Longtusk, and I be excited ta bring ya anodder excitin’ match. Today, we be seein’ a battle widdout equal, as two mighty warriors go face ta face!”

The announcer troll pointed to the Arena’s sandy floor, where a human clad in golden armor and carrying a massive hammer was standing. “Today’s challenga be Uther, a Paladin of da Silver Hand,” the troll proclaimed, “Dis may be his first visit to our Arena, but even I’ve heard of his reputation as a strong and mighty champion of da Light.”

The crowd cheered as Uther held his hammer aloft and declared, “I fight with honor!”

 Waiting a moment for the noise to die down, the troll turned to the Arena’s entrance and announced, “And now, please welcome our reignin’ champion and leader of da Earthen Ring, Thrall!” Raucous cheers poured forth from every mouth as a tall, green-skinned orc stepped through the entranceway. The orc carried a giant stone hammer in one hand, while his other crackled with intense energy.

“For Doomhammer!” Thrall roared, raising the aforementioned weapon. “For the Frostwolves!” The cheers of the crowd grew even louder—if that were even possible—and they didn’t subside until nearly a minute after the orc had taken his place across the Arena from his human opponent.

“Two warriors enter, but only one leaves,” Dar’jin proclaimed, “Let da battle begin!” Immediately, a hush fell over the Arena, as everyone gave their full attention to the battle before them.tunnel-trogg

For several moments, the two combatants eyed each other warily, but then Thrall raised his arm and made a slight gesture. Immediately, one of the doors at the Arena’s edge opened, and a short, barrel-chested creature with a sharp stone hatchet came charging out onto the Arena floor. “Troggs rule!” the little humanoid (commonly known as a Tunnel Trogg) announced, skidding to a halt in front of its master. “Troggs rule!”

From the other side of the Arena, Uther narrowed his eyes, observing this first threat with concern. “It appears dat our challenga don’ know what ta do,” the troll announcer helpfully commented. “Da Tunnel Trogg be too much for him.”

Indeed, this appeared to be the case, as Uther stared at the lone Trogg in apparent indecision. Several moments passed, but then the paladin’s eyes brightened as he got an idea. Reaching into the coin purse at his waist, Uther withdrew a single gold coin and tossed it over to the tunnel on his side of the Arena. Instantly, the wooden door was pushed open, and a blood elf clad in bright red robes strode out and yelled, “The End is Coming!”doomsayer

“Well, dis be a bold play,” Dar’jin stated, watching the proceedings with interest. “It appears dat Uther be putting his fate in de hands of da Doomsayer. Now, Thrall has ta make a decision: kill da Doomsayer, or let him go off. This be a tough choice, and…”

The announcer’s statement turned out to be incorrect, for even before he had finished speaking, Thrall barked an order and the Tunnel Trogg charged at the human paladin. Raising his hammer, Uther blocked the blow, but the sheer force of the charging Trogg knocked him back several steps.

Regaining his balance, the paladin slammed the Trogg with his hammer, knocking the creature away. Hissing, the ugly humanoid prepared to attack again, but before he could, the Doomsayer yelled, “I knew it!” An expression of horror crossed the Trogg’s face for a split second before both he and the Doomsayer were engulfed in giant burst of flame.

“Well, da end has come for dat Trogg,” the troll announcer proclaimed. “Now, it be up ta Uther ta decide which of his allies he’ll summon next.” Unlike Thrall, the human paladin was taking his time in making a decision, and nearly a minute and a half passed before Uther’s gates opened again, and a lightly armored Silver Hand Recruit charged out.silver-hand-recruit

“Reporting for duty,” the young paladin saluted before taking his place in front of his commander. Nodding gratefully at the Silver Hand Recruit’s quick response, Uther looked back at Thrall, ready for whatever his opponent was planning.

Once again, Thrall was not long in making up his mind, and raising the mighty Doomhammer, he barked yet another order. Immediately, the doors on his side of the Arena opened—and a blubbery Tuskarr Totemic stepped out. “Did you bring some fish?” he asked his commander curiously. Thrall shook his head, and the Tuskarr let out a sigh.

“So, we have a Tuskarr Totemic,” Dar’jin Longtusk proclaimed, “Now, we jus’ need ta see what he will summon.” Down on the Arena floor, the Tuskarr raised his hand, and a second later a massive ‘thud’ resounded throughout the entire structure as a massive creature appeared. “By da loa,” the announcer gasped, “Dat be a Totem Golem!”tuskarr-totemic

Raising his hands, Thrall let out a cheer at this incredible luck—but then, a gigantic foam mace dropped from the heavens and crushed the Totem Golem into splinters. “Whoa!” the troll gasped again. “Thrall’s amazing luck has been foiled by da power of da Nerf Hammer! The Tuskarr Totemic is trying ta repair his creation, but it looks like da best he can come up with is a Wrath of Air Totem. How embarrassing.”

Laughter rippled through the Arena at this turn of fortune, and with a smile Uther summoned his next ally. The gates opened, and with a loud “Mrglglrglglgl”, a Murloc Warleader marched out onto the battlefield and took its place beside the Silver Hand Recruit.murloc-warleader

Waiting until the Warleader was settled, the Silver Hand Recruit yelled, “To Battle!” and charged across the field right at Thrall’s Wrath of Air Totem. With a loud ‘clonk’, the young paladin slammed his battle-hammer into the Totem, causing cracks to appear all over its wooden surface.

Satisfied for the moment, the Silver Hand recruit returned to his allies as Thrall pondered what he’d do in response. Several seconds passed, then a scowl crossed the orc’s face, and facing the doors he let out a primal yell. Immediately, a cloud of darkness began issuing from the tunnel, and a second later, a massive monster stepped out, murmuring “Nflamewreathed-facelesseed a light?” as it came.

“Oh, no!” Dar’jin exclaimed, “Dat be da Flamewreathed Faceless, da most powerful Arena fighta in recent years. Dis guy alone be why Thrall is so powerful—so unless Uther can find a way ta deal with it, dis match be over right now.”


To be continued…

Hero Overview: Raynor

Hero Overview is a series that introduces readers to the Heroes of the Storm. This time, we’re going to be talking about Raynor, the auto-attacking assassin from the StarCraft Universe.

Role: Ranged Assassin

Universe: StarCraft


James Raynor used to be a simple marshal on the planet of Mar Sara, but after an attack by the fearsome Zerg, Raynor joined the Sons of Korhal—a revolutionary group led by the enigmatic Arcturus Mengsk—and everything changed.

Recognizing Raynor’s natural aptitude for command, Mengsk chose the former marshal to lead a recently formed brigade. Mengsk’s trust was not mislaid, as Raynor proceeded to lead his squad successfully in battle after battle against the tyrannical Terran Confederacy.

A couple weeks later, on the way to an important mission, Raynor met Mengsk’s second-in-command, a Terran Ghost (super-soldiers possessing psionic powers) named Sarah Kerrigan. This first meeting was cold at best, however, over time the pair grew closer and closer, eventually falling in love.

Unfortunately, this romance was not to be. During an attack on Tarsonis—the capital of the Terran Confederacy—Mengsk unleashed an army of Zerg upon the helpless populace of the planet. Near the end of the battle, Kerrigan was trapped on the doomed planet and, to Raynor’s horror, Mengsk gave the orders to abandon the Ghost to her fate.

Raynor attempted to rescue his love, but it was to no avail—Kerrigan had already been taken by the Zerg. Disgusted by Mengsk’s betrayal, Raynor and his soldiers left the Sons of Korhal and formed their own group, Raynor’s Raiders.

Since then, Raynor and his Raiders have gone on numerous adventures across the Koprulu sector, battling the Zerg, Protoss and Mengsk’s Terran Dominion. Now, this stalwart warrior has come to the Nexus to defend the weak and destroy his foes.



Raynor’s trait is Advanced Optics, which increases his auto-attack range by 20%, and his sight range by 10%. This allows Raynor to deal damage at a greater distance than nearly anyone else, so he can stay relatively safe during heated fights.

Raynor’s first basic ability is raynor-abilitiesPenetrating Round, which deals heavy damage and knocks away all enemies it hits. This attack is good at keeping melee focused heroes pushed back as he pours hot lead into them with his auto-attacks.

Raynor’s second basic ability is Inspire, which increases his attack speed by 25% for 8 seconds. Nearby allies—including minions and mercenaries—gain half of this bonus. Inspire is one of Raynor’s most important abilities, because virtually all his damage is dealt through auto-attacks.

Raynor’s third and final basic ability is Adrenaline Rush, a passive ability that automatically heals him for a substantial amount of his health whenever he drops below 30% health. Thanks to Adrenaline Rush, Raynor can absorb much more damage than other Ranged Assassins, making him surprisingly hard to kill in team fights.

Raynor’s first ultimate is Hyperion, which summons a massive Battlecruiser to strafe your enemies. Firing energy bolts at 4 targets every second for 12 seconds, the Hyperion is able to do severe damage to an enemy team. In addition, the Hyperion also has a massive Yamato Cannon that deals over 1000 damage to structures every couple seconds.

Raynor’s second ultimate is Raynor’s Raiders, which summons a pair of cloaked Banshees (little fighter ships) that attack a targeted enemy for 22 seconds. This ability is great for chasing down enemy heroes with low health, so it should never be underestimated.



Raynor is a powerful Ranged Assassin who deals damage through his auto-attacks. Using the extra range provided by his trait, Raynor hovers on the edge of battle, dealing heavy damage to any targets who get into range. If a tank or melee assassin tries to jump Raynor and take him out of the fight, Raynor uses Penetrating Round to shove his attacker back.

Raynor is also a very effective laning hero, as he can use Inspire to increase the power of his minions and mercenaries. Penetrating Round is also very effective at dealing damage to enemy minion waves, and Raynor’s high-powered auto-attacks allow the Terran Commander to easily clear out enemies.

Raynor will often pick talents such as Seasoned Marksman (which increases attack damage and eventually attack speed) and Giant Killer (which deals bonus damage based on the target’s health pool). Executioner (bonus damage to stunned and slowed targets) and Nexus Frenzy (extra attack speed and range) are also great talents to choose, as they add even more power to Raynor’s auto-attacks.

Thanks to his powerful sustained damage and increased range, Raynor is very strong against Warriors such as Stitches or Diablo. He’s also quite good against Melee Assassins such as Greymane or the Butcher, thanks to his knockback (Penetrating Round) and his heal (Adrenaline Rush).

Unfortunately, even with Adrenaline Rush, Raynor doesn’t have a huge amount of health. As a result, the hero is very vulnerable to burst assassins such as Jaina, Kael’thas and Li-Ming. There aren’t too many of these characters in the game, however, so Raynor will often be just fine.

Overall, Raynor is a very powerful hero. His damage potential is one of the highest in the entire game, and best of all, he’s a very easy hero to learn. So if you’re new to the game, I highly recommend checking him out—you won’t be disappointed.

BlizzCon 2016 Highlights

BlizzCon—the largest source of news and reveals for Blizzard Games—opened its doors yesterday, and in the opening ceremony alone, a whole host of new content was announced for every one of their games. This information was only expanded upon in later interviews, and by the end of the day, Blizzard fans were left with a lot to look forward to in the months to come.


As many suspected would happen, a new Hearthstone expansion was announced at BlizzCon. Entitled Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, this expansion focuses around the titular Goblin city and the crime that fills its bustling streets.

This expansion will be a full 100+ card content update, and it also features a lot of exciting new concepts. For example, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan has a new multi-class card system, where certain cards can be played by three different classes and have a unique effect on each. This expansion also features a brand new Legendary minion that lets you create a custom spell through a series of Discover effects.

So far, only a few cards have been revealed, but the full set will be shown over the next couple weeks before it releases in early December.

Heroes of the Storm

After last year’s surprise release of Cho’gall, everyone was wondering how the Heroes team could possibly top their success. Fortunately for us, however, they did just that by announcing two new heroes, Varian Wrynn and Ragnaros.

The High King of the Alliance, Varian Wrynn is a powerful warrior who can perform three main roles—tank, sustained damage or burst damage—depending on which ultimate he chooses. This makes him the first Warrior/Assassin in the game, and he’ll likely take the Nexus by storm (pun intended) when he arrives in a couple weeks.

Even more exciting than Varian Wrynn, however, is the announcement of Ragnaros the Firelord. A massive Elemental Lord from the Warcraft universe, Ragnaros is a Melee Assassin who uses his massive hammer (called Sulfuras) to strike down the mortal insects who dare to oppose him.

Ragnaros has two ways to kill enemies. In his Hero Form (which is what he starts the game in), he can move around like a normal Hero, killing minions and heroes if they get too close. If he is attacked near one of his forts (or near the destroyed foundation of an enemy fort), however, Ragnaros can use his trait—Molten Core—to take over the fort and turn into a giant-sized version of himself.

In Molten Core form, Ragnaros gets a whole new set of abilities, which allow him to easily defeat an entire enemy team. In addition, while he is in this form the structure beneath him cannot be damaged, so Molten Core can buy time for your team to respawn and make an amazing comeback.

Overall, Ragnaros sounds like an amazing Hero, so when he arrives in the Nexus in early December, I will definitely be trying him out.


The Overwatch announcements during the Opening Ceremony started out simply enough, but then Sombra hacked into the proceedings, and everything turned upside down. (Wow, who saw that coming…)

Fortunately, Sombra looks like an incredibly fun hero, as she has a kit that focuses entirely around disabling your enemies’ capabilities before your team attacks. Using her hacking skills, Sombra can hack turrets (turning them off), health packs (preventing them from being used by enemies), and even hack enemy heroes to stop from using their abilities.

Sombra is the game’s first stealth hero, however her damage output is surprisingly low, so she won’t be able to sneak up behind squishy enemies and take them out in a couple shots. Instead, Sombra can lurk near hacked health packs, killing any low-health enemies who fall back for healing.

In addition to Sombra, a new map was announced. Called Oasis, it is a beautiful city in the Arabian desert that represents the pinnacle of modern science. Like Ilios, Nepal and Lijiang Tower, Oasis will be a control-style map, featuring 3 points that teams will vie over. (This map also contains the game’s first jump-pad, which is sure to generate a lot of highlights.)

The weekly brawl system is also being completely revamped. Instead of a weekly brawl, there will be a new Arcade section, where you can choose to play a variety of games with special rulesets. This change will bring several new game modes (including 1v1 and a 3v3 elimination modes), and a small new map to play them on.

Finally, Quick Play is going to receive a one-hero limit similar to what Competitive Mode received a couple months ago. For players who still want to stack heroes, a new, hero-stacking game mode is being added to the Arcade.


StarCraft didn’t receive as many announcements this year, however there were still two points that are worth noting. First, Alexei Stukov—the infested Terran Admiral—is coming to the StarCraft co-op mode as a new commander. Secondly, Blizzard announced that they are going to release the StarCraft AI program to the public to aid in furthering studies into Artificial Intelligence.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft didn’t get any major announcements during the opening ceremony—however, in a panel a couple hours later, some very big changes were revealed.

First, it was announced that World of Warcraft would start getting mini-patches, which would add more content to the game without necessarily moving forward the main storyline. The first of these mini-patches will be 7.1.5, which will add Mists of Pandaria Timewalking Dungeons, new holidays, some class balance changes and the return of the Brawler’s Guild.

Next, Patch 7.2—The Tomb of Sargeras—was announced, and with its arrival a whole bunch of exciting new content will come to the World of Warcraft. First, the Broken Shore area will become a new questing hub, as the forces of all the united Class Halls marshal their forces and march on the Tomb of Sargeras.

In addition, 7.2 will feature the return of the Legion invasions from the pre-launch event—this time, however, the Burning Legion will be invading the Broken Isles, and you’ll need to stop them before your new allies are destroyed. To help deal with these new invasions, 7.2 will add flying to the game, along with Epic Class Flying Mounts that will be awarded at the end of the new questing experience.

Of course, no major patch would be complete without a raid of some kind, and in this case 7.2 will add the titular Tomb of Sargeras raid into the game. In this raid, players will use the Pillars of Creation to seal the Legion’s path into the world of Azeroth, while battling powerful foes such as Naga, Undead and even Kil’jaeden himself!

For those ardent PvP players, Patch 7.2 will add new PvP ‘Brawls’. Similar to the Brawls from Hearthstone and Overwatch, this new game mode will be the classic PvP you know and love, but with a couple changes to make things interesting.

Finally, at the very end of the presentation, World of Warcraft Game Director Ion Hazzikostas made an exciting announcement: Patch 7.2 would not be the end of Legion—in 7.3, players will go to Argus.


I don’t normally cover Diablo news—however, the announcement made at BlizzCon was too exciting to not talk about. To honor the 20th anniversary of Diablo, the original Diablo game is going to be added into Diablo 3 as a whole new set of zones.

These new zones will play like they did back in the old days, with pixelated graphics, limited movement and old music. You will get to use your current characters, however, so you won’t have to learn a new playstyle.

In addition, it was announced that Diablo will get a new Necromancer class. Based on the old Diablo 2 Necromancer that fans of the game loved, this character will harness all the fan-favorite abilities as he fights to defend the world of Sanctuary.


So, what do you all think of these exciting announcements? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

The Towers of Doom: Chapter 1 – A Chance Meeting

“Look at this place!” the Grave Keeper exclaimed, spreading his arms for emphasis. “The dark towers—the haunting smoke—why, it even has a large underground tunnel that allows you to move around unseen. What do you think, McReedy?”

“I don’t know, boss,” the diminutive peasant replied, scratching his head. “It actually looks a bit spooky to me, and I’m not quite sure about the location.”

“Nonsense!” the Grave Keeper declared firmly. “This is prime real estate, unlike those dreadful Mines.” The cloaked figure shuddered at the mention of his former home. “No, this is where we’re going to live.”

“But, Sir…” McReedy protested.

“Now, I think I’ll have my Grave Golems build a statue of me here,” the Grave Keeper mused, ignoring his servant, “And then I’ll scatter some bones on the ground other there, to give the place a homey look…”

“But, Sir…” the peasant tried again.

“And of course, we’ll want to clear away those trees so we can get a couple lanes going. After all, nothing spruces a place up like a few good lanes.”


“And then we could build a fort or two, and…”


“What is it, McReedy?” the Grave Keeper asked, turning to his assistant in frustration. “Why do you keep interrupting me?”

“Because, sir, you’re forgetting a very important detail,” McReedy replied, cowering before his master’s indignation. “This is Raven Court.”

“So?” the cloaked figure asked, unsure what this information had to do with anything. “The Mines were in Raven Court, too, and that wasn’t a problem.”

“Well, yes,” McReedy admitted. “But the Mines were near the border, and—to be completely honest—they weren’t that interesting. This place, however, could be considered desirable, so that means…”

“It means that it’s already been claimed,” a new voice broke in. “By me.” Turning in surprise, the Grave Keeper and his servant beheld a mysterious stranger clad in a cloak of black feathers.

“The Raven Lord,” the Grave Keeper snarled, his voice seething with rage. “What are you doing here? Don’t you have a Hollow to attend to?”

“I could ask you the same thing, Grave Keeper,” the Raven Lord replied, his voice calm but threatening. “What, did you get tired of your Mines? Oh, wait, I forgot—they don’t even exist anymore.”

The Grave Keeper grimaced, remembering the terrible storm that had torn through the Nexus and ripped the Mines—his Mines—out of the world and hurled them into oblivion. The Grave Keeper and McReedy had survived the storm, but now they were homeless (which is why they were looking at real estate in the first place).

“I may have lost my Mines,” the Grave Keeper growled, “But this place—these Towers of Doom—will belong to me!”

“Please, don’t make me laugh,” the Raven Lord replied with a dark smile. “This is part of Raven Court. Naturally, it belongs to me. Now please, get out of here—I need this area cleared so my men can begin setting up my fortifications.”

“Sir,” McReedy whispered, tugging on his cloaked master’s sleeve. “We should go. I’m sure there are plenty of other places we could…”

“No!” the Grave Keeper exclaimed, pulling his arm free from the peasant’s grasp. “The Raven Lord has already cheated me out of so much—I will not let him take this from me as well!”

Reaching into his cloak, the Grave Keeper withdrew an intimidating black scythe and held it at the ready. “Now, Raven Lord, I’ll give you one chance to leave my new home, or else I’ll kill you!”

“So much bluster,” the Raven Lord chuckled, withdrawing a massive broadsword from beneath his feathery cape. “Let’s see if you can back it up.”

Roaring, the Grave Keeper leapt at his foe, swinging the scythe in a wide arc. Raising his sword, the Raven Lord easily deflected the wild slash before lunging forward with a devastating strike of his own.

Caught off balance, the Grave Keeper failed to dodge in time, and the sword sliced through his cloak and into the dark figure’s side. Crying out in pain, the Grave Keeper swung his scythe again, and again, the Raven Lord deflected the blow.

“Please,” the feathery-cloaked swordsman laughed, shoving the Grave Keeper’s weapon to the side, “You know I’m the best duelist in the entirety of Raven Court. Do you honestly think you can beat me in a fight like this?”

“No,” the Grave Keeper hissed, spitting out a gob of black ichor, “I’m just keeping you distracted.”

“What…” the Raven Lord began, but then he was interrupted as a fist the size of a small house slammed into the back of his head. With a pained grunt, the Raven Lord crashed to the ground, stunned by the powerful blow.

“Good work, Graves,” the shadowy Grave Keeper said, looking up at the monster of wood and bone that had defeated the Raven Lord. “I knew I could count on your help. Now, all we have to do is dispose of this body, and everything will be just fine.”

Turning, the Grave Keeper began to walk off…but he was stopped by the sound of a massive explosion, followed shortly afterward by a cry of pain. Spinning back around, the cloaked man’s jaw dropped in horror, as he witnessed the shattered pieces of his once-powerful Grave Golem.

“That was quite clever, actually,” the Raven Lord chuckled, rising to his feet. “Distracting me long enough for your pet to get in a blow or two. Still, you really should have finished the job yourself—after all, Grave Golems are quite susceptible to a well-timed curse.”

“You…you…monster!” the Grave Keeper roared. “I’ll kill you!” Raising his scythe once more, the shadowy warrior swung his scythe at the Raven Lord in an effort to decapitate his opponent. Startled, the feather-clad nobleman nearly failed to block the devastating strike, only bringing his sword up at the last possible second.

For several moments, the two combatants struggled with each other, pushing with all their might in an attempt to break the deadlock. “Back down, fool,” the Raven Lord hissed through clenched teeth, “And I might still let you live.”

“No chance,” the Grave Keeper shot back, “In fact, I think you’re the one who needs to surrender!” Shoving the Raven Lord back with a mighty push, the Grave Keeper raised his weapon in preparation for a devastating smash. Before he could finish the attack, however, a new voice broke in.

“Everyone, stop!” the wheezing voice proclaimed, “Please, before someone gets hurt!” Confused by this interruption, the combatants turned to see McReedy standing there, hands outstretched in supplication.

“What is it, McReedy?” the Grave Keeper asked, angered by the interruption, “I’m in the process of slaying this cretin!”

“Um, Sir,” the peasant replied, “You should probably look down.” Confused, the Grave Keeper did as the peasant was saying—and saw with surprise that the Raven Lord’s blade was pointed right at his exposed chest. “See, Sir,” McReedy continued upon witnessing his master’s shock. “If you continued fighting, you both would have died.”

“So?” the Grave Keeper asked, “I’d rather die than give up my land to a haughty wretch like the Raven Lord.”

“And I,” the Raven Lord added, “Would prefer to pass from this mortal coil before witnessing these pristine lands under the tyrannical hand of the Grave Keeper.”

“Oh, I’m sure you would,” McReedy replied, looking between the two Nexus Lords. “But this suicide pact of yours would leave me unemployed, and I have children to feed, so that just won’t do.”

“Then what should we do?” the Grave Keeper asked, still holding his weapon at the ready in case the Raven Lord got any ideas. “Because we’re not just going to give up on this land without a fight.”

“Of course,” McReedy replied. “However, why do you two need to be the ones fighting?”

“Because we’re the only ones who care!” the Raven Lord interjected. “And I can assure you, there’s no one stupid enough to risk his life in an absolutely meaningless…” The Nexus Lord’s voice trailed off, as he suddenly realized what the peasant was getting at.

“McReedy, you mean…” the Grave Keeper added, catching on as well.

“Yes,” McReedy confirmed with a nod, “We need the Heroes of the Storm.”