Blizzcon and esports and SOMBRA… OH MY! Blizzard’s 10th annual convention is just finishing up and boy did they drop the beat in regards to some legendary news!

As some of you MEI or may not know, Blizzard, creator of StarCraft, Diablo, HearthStone, Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, and now, Overwatch, are wrapping up their 10th BlizzCon in Anaheim, California while also celebrating 25 years of phenomenal gaming!

Whether or not you actually play any of Blizzard’s games is moot, because millions of others do.  Their ability to adapt, storywrite, and create mechanics suitable for both the casual gamer and the pros is something a lot of companies struggle with, so, this gnome tips his hat to the entire Blizzard team!

BlizzCon: Overwatch World Cup

First in news is the Overwatch World Cup.  Seriously. A-Mei-zing! (yes, that’s 2 Mei puns in 1 article but can you blame me? #twomeisonepun).  I had the pleasure of not adulting for the last two days and got to witness some of the best and most entertaining Overwatch players duke it out on the main stage for a chance to win big for their country and undeniably epic bragging rights.  (You can learn more on which teams were played here).

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Photo Credit: Blizzard

The semifinals was as exhausting as it was exhilarating to watch.  Excellent performances by Spain, the USA, Finland, and Thailand, but the trophy went to the most dominating team.  The final match between Russia and South Korea made it seem like SK was playing in ez mode! The gold was won in a 4-0 sweep over Russia with Miro winning the #TmobileMVP award for his skillful play on Winston.  What a ride for everyone involved!  Next year’s Overwatch World Cup promises to be bigger and better!

BlizzCon: Overwatch League, the future of professional gaming

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about how to Legitimize eSports.  Blizzard comes out swinging with their announcement of an official Overwatch  League owned by Blizzard that would feature teams based on various cities around the world.  On their website, Blizzard states,

overwatch-league-blizzard-blizzcon-esportsThe Overwatch League is on a mission to celebrate fans and afford them opportunities to become champions through a professional esports ecosystem that embraces passion and rewards excellence.

This. Is. HAPPENING!  A developer-owned tournament league has, in the past, been successful, but it never rewards the players that influence the amount of viewers the event can have (which is why pro-leagues like PEA and WESA are forced into establishing themselves in order to protect its players and offer them compensation for their work).  Blizzard is promising that all players are eligible to try out for the teams.  Not only that, being part of an Overwatch League franchise team, “includes the peace of mind that comes with guaranteed contracts.”  That is a game-changing statement by one of the largest gaming developers of all time.

Guaranteed contracts means players will follow a career path similar to athletes in professional sports such as the MLB (#gocubs). Players will, basically, be treated as employees of the eSports effort complete with pay and benefits!  More information will be released over the next few months, but I know I’ll be following this very closely and so should you!

This is a tremendously bold investment and powerful statement Blizzard is making regarding professional gaming and with their prodigious wall of radiant achievements in the past, some law and order may finally be coming to the wild west that is eSports.

BlizzCon: OMFGYESSOMBRAISFINALLYHERELEETHAXYO

How do you intro this? You don’t.  You just yell OMFGSOMBRA! Blizzard’s 23rd character, Sombra, finally joins the roster and will be available on the PTR soon!  Toying with the always-vocal and super-talented Overwatch community, Blizzard spent the past few months teasing fans about a new pro-hax character.  Encoded images, hacked message boards, and tons of little hints scattered throughout the game, Blizzard teased that Sombra would be joining us and finally she is here!

sombra-overwatch-abilities-blizzardSombra will be an offensive class, making here the 7th member to join the DPS team.  Her abilities range from an EMP ultimate blast that nullifies shields, weapons, and ults, along with the ability to teleport and camouflage herself in game.  Her attitude is also a killer attack! Jk jk, but it does add a certain charm to her that already has fans shipping Sombra and D.Va as gaming buddies.

We’ll likely be seeing Sombra join the general public shortly, along with 2 new maps and a new Arcade Mode mentioned by Blizzard during the convention.

Get to know Sombra a little more with two new videos released by Blizzard; her origins story and the brand new animated short featured Talon members Reaper and Widowmaker!

Are you looking forward to adding Sombra to your team? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!