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Alex Ziebart

Milwaukee, WI - http://www.alexziebart.com/

When not writing for WoW.com or his personal projects, Alex is most often found playing WoW Alliance-side on the Cenarion Circle server.

Overwatch hands-on gameplay impressions

It's almost standard for us to say a Blizzard title feels ready for launch immediately after its debut. The company rarely shows off a title prematurely, waiting until the game feels good before they even publicly announce the project. Overwatch feels much the same. If it launched today, it would be received as a fun, solid game, if small in scope.

The UI feels complete, a simplistic approach that works well for this sort of game. All necessary information is provided in a clean, slick HUD that draws no attention to itself. In my (admittedly brief) play session, the gunplay and ability usage felt intuitive, taking me only a few moments to get a feel for the controls. The only hitch came from my lack of map knowledge, something that can't be gleaned in its entirety in just a few frenetic matches. However, the playable maps were small -- surprisingly small, even -- and it's unlikely hundreds of hours of play will be necessary to understand every hiding spot and back alley of the game.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon Overwatch Origins liveblog

The Overwatch Origins panel will begin at 11:30 a.m. Pacific. The BlizzCon schedule provides the following description:
Supercharged heroes, astonishing super-science, and super-secret syndicates with mysterious agendas -- witness the origin story of Blizzard's first all-new game universe in over 15 years, and explore the vision behind the world and gameplay of Overwatch.
We'll be liveblogging the whole panel right here. Updates will be in reverse-chronological order, with newest updates at the top of the page. If you only want the latest update, you can stay near the top. If you missed the beginning of the panel, scroll to the bottom.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2014 day 1 recap

The first day of BlizzCon is behind us. Blizzard's new IP Overwatch has stolen the headlines, but it isn't all that happened today. Below is all of WoW Insider's day one coverage. Make sure you didn't miss anything delicious! WoW Insider's coverage will continue on day 2, opening with a liveblog of the Overwatch Origins panel and hands-on reports of Overwatch and other titles. Hope to see you there!

Filed under: BlizzCon

Hearthstone: Goblins vs. Gnomes cards and mechanics

Hearthstone announcing its expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, is no surprise. The fact that it releases in one month is a surprise. At BlizzCon this afternoon, Hearthstone Game Director Eric Dodds discussed some of the expansion's new gameplay developments in their Fireside Chat. You can see all of the newly revealed cards in our gallery embedded at the end of this post or follow along to learn about the new Mech minions, Piloted Mechs, Spare Parts, and new class cards.


Mechs

Goblins vs. Gnomes introduces a new minion type: Mechs. Not only are many of the new minions Mechs, but a number of old minions will be placed in this new category, too. The Harvest Golem was offered as an example along with the Alarm-o-Bot and Mechanical Dragonlings. There are enough new Mechs included in the expansion that you could, if you wanted to, build a full Mech Deck.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Hearthstone Insider

BlizzCon Overwatch Unveiled liveblog

We finally know what's over in Hall A: Overwatch Unveiled, a panel detailing Blizzard's new team-based shooter franchise. We'll be liveblogging it right here.

Updates will be in reverse-chronological order, with newest updates at the top of the page. If you only want the latest update, you can stay near the top. If you missed the beginning of the panel, scroll to the bottom.

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Filed under: News items, BlizzCon

BlizzCon Opening Ceremony liveblog

The opening ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific and we will be liveblogging it right here. Currently, something is concealed in Hall C, typical of game or expansion announcements. In the past, once the announcement has been made, the black curtains are removed. No doubt, today's opening ceremony will contain something exciting.

Updates will be in reverse-chronological order, with newest updates at the top of the page. If you only want the latest update, you can stay near the top. If you missed the beginning of the panel, scroll to the bottom.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Blizzard teases Hearthstone announcement at BlizzCon

Select Hearthstone fansites and general gaming outlets have received curious mail from Blizzard Entertainment over the course of the last week. BlizzPro, Polygon, TouchArcade, and Hearthstone streamer Noxious have each shared a postcard which presents a blueprint of an in-game gadget and the following text: Making plans for BlizzCon -- I hope you like my invention!

These postcards, combined with recent teasers on the Hearthstone website and November's goblin-themed card back, it seems likely BlizzCon will present an expansion themed around the mechanical side of the Warcraft universe and the long-standing goblin/gnome engineering rivalry. Some Hearthstone fans have even been attempting to read between the lines on Blizzard's on-site teasers, speculating on the addition of new game modes, new creature types, and possible new hero abilities. Given BlizzCon begins in less than 24 hours, it might be best to wait and see.

Filed under: BlizzCon, Hearthstone Insider

Road to BlizzCon Day 2: Fruitcake and Fallout

I couldn't even begin to explain why, but I'm fairly certain my comrade-in-arms Anne Stickney insisted on making our BlizzCon road trip an annual event exclusively so she could get a glimpse of a 104-year-old fruitcake. Our itinerary went through numerous iterations leading up to the start of our journey. The fruitcake was struck from the list countless times, but she managed to worm it back in there every single time. At some point, a guy accepts his fate and travels cross-country to see an old, crusty fruitcake. What can you do?

I'll let it slide, though. Day 2 of our road trip also included Goodsprings, Nevada, which I insisted on visiting from the beginning. Anyone who has played Fallout: New Vegas will recognize the location: it's the game's first Vegas locale. And, as it turns out, this supposedly-haunted town and its Pioneer Saloon may be recognizable to even those who have never touched a video game. It's been a standby location throughout modern pop culture, its Hollywood breakthrough predating Fallout by many years.

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Filed under: Humor, BlizzCon

The Queue: We're having an adventure

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

We seem to be rather light on questions lately. That's no surprise, given where we stand now: days away from BlizzCon and not much further from the official release of Warlords of Draenor. In a lot of ways, we've exhausted what there is to be said until those events hit us square in the face. Admittedly, I am not too upset about this fact -- because today's Queue is being written from a hotel room in Barstow, California. The town is a madhouse and the wifi is terrible. Please bear with me; we're in the middle of adventure.

@OriginalMrGoat asked:

Any bets as to what fills the Blizcon void?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Road to Blizzcon Day 1: Diners and dynamite

Much like we did last year, my comrade Anne Stickney and I have turned the annual pilgrimage to BlizzCon into a week-long drive from the mountains of Colorado down to Anaheim, California. Unfortunately for me, my stretch of the journey begins in an airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I say unfortunately because a carnival of mechanical errors involving a leaky lavatory resulted in losing a full day of adventure. If you're interested in seeing those events play out, we've compiled a Storify log of my tweets during the experience. Be warned: it's full of colorful language and, at its conclusion, a NSFW geological formation, the sort of childish humor that can purge the weary soul.

The meat of the adventure, however, is the great American road trip. The roadsides of America are full of such utter wacky nonsense that if you have the opportunity to partake and pass on the chance, you're doing yourself a disservice. Follow along on this first leg of our journey as we explore Arches National Park, stumble across a busted van, and delve into the depths of a great big hole in a great big rock. The last two are far more interesting than they sound, I assure you.

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Filed under: Humor, BlizzCon