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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

Mists of Pandaria: Battlegrounds preview

The Mists of Pandaria previews didn't show us nearly as much PvP content as what we saw of PvE content. We didn't see any of the new world PvP mechanics or anything related to the Arena, but we did see previews of two new Battlegrounds, the Temple of Power and the Silvershard Mine.

World of Warcraft's initial Battleground offerings were based around classic competitive game modes: capture the flag, conquest and domination modes from first-person shooters, and so forth. Mists of Pandaria's Battlegrounds are built upon the same concept, borrowing beloved concepts from other games while stepping up to embrace the competitive innovations of more recent titles. The mechanics are a bit more complicated than simply capturing a flag, but they're no less beloved by the gamers who see them in action.

Temple of Power

Much as Warsong Gulch is set on the border of Ashenvale Forest and Arathi Basin takes place in the Arathi Highlands, the Temple of Power is set in the new zone called the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The temple contains an artifact that could turn the tide of war should it fall into the hands of one faction or the other, so the Horde and the Alliance have taken to the battlefield to claim it.

The artifact sits in the center of the map. Whoever claims the artifact must hold onto it as long as possible -- a difficult task, since not only is the opposing team trying to kill you and recover the artifact for themselves, but the artifact also causes a constantly increasing amount of damage over time to its bearer. The longer you hold it, the more dangerous holding it becomes. Once the bearer of the artifact dies, it falls to the floor and another player of either faction may pick it up.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

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