Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.
Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.
I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)
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Activision Blizzard has decided to open a new eSports division appointing former ESPN & NFL CEO Steve Bornstein as its Chairman, as well as MLG co-founder/president Mike Sepso as Senior VP.
This strategic move coincides with a recent annoncement that Activision Blizzard plans to host an Investor’s Day straight from the BlizzCon showfloor on November 6th.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) today announced a new division that will build on the Company’s competitive gaming leadership by creating all-new ways to deliver the best-in-class fan experience across games, platforms and geographies, furthering the development of its world-leading esports ecosystem. Former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network Steve Bornstein will serve as the division’s Chairman and Mike Sepso, who was most recently a co-founder and president of Major League Gaming (MLG), will serve as its Senior Vice President.
“Celebrating our players and their unique skill, dedication and commitment is the essence of our esports initiatives,” said Bobby Kotick , Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard . “Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing have been leaders in the development of esports. With that leadership, our strong franchises, our deep history and experience in esports, and now two additional industry leaders, we intend to further enhance our efforts and make certain this remains an important growth driver for Activision Blizzard.”
Kotick added, “There are no better leaders for this new initiative than Steve and Mike. Steve has unparalleled experience in creating a sports network powerhouse and his groundbreaking leadership at ESPN and the NFL Network shaped how the whole world experiences sports. Mike’s entrepreneurial vision helped make ‘esports’ a household word and he is uniquely positioned to take the experience to the next level.”
“Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours,” said Steve Bornstein , Chairman of the new division and former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network. “I believe esports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in esports.”
“As a member of the esports community for over 12 years, I couldn’t be more excited for the future of the sport. I am confident that the company’s industry-leading content will capture the many opportunities we have to entertain and celebrate our players,” said Mike Sepso, Senior Vice President for Activision Blizzard . “Activision Blizzard is uniquely positioned to give millions of fans around the world what they want, and I’m excited to help support this community in a way that honors its history.”
Activision Blizzard has a rich history in esports:
Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft® was the early pioneer in large-scale mainstream, televised esports, since the 1990s.
Blizzard Entertainment has many of the world’s biggest and most beloved esports competitions. This year’s BlizzCon® event will take place November 6-7 in Anaheim, Calif. and will feature the global finals for StarCraft® II, World of Warcraft®, Heroes of the Storm™ and Hearthstone®. Players have been competing for more than $4 million in prizes across Road to BlizzCon tournaments.
Earlier this year, Blizzard Entertainment launched Heroes of the Dorm™, the first collegiate esports event to be televised on ESPN2. More than 6,000 collegiate players, representing 460-plus schools, competed in the tournament with the winning team from UC Berkeley securing the grand prize of fully-paid tuition for each of its members.
Activision Publishing hosts the annual Call of Duty Championship. Call of Duty® is the top console esports franchise in the world.
On September 24, 2015 , Activision Publishing announced the creation of the Call of Duty® World League , which provides a $3 million prize pool to professional and amateur players.
Since its launch, Destiny has become the most watched console game on Twitch.
Blizzard Entertainment posted today the first of five Legacy of the Void short stories that expand the StarCraft universe’s lore. Ascension (by Robert Brooks) delves into the Chain of Ascension of the Tal’darim tribe. Read all of the new short stories here.
The Tal’Darim Protoss serve Amon, operating in a clearly defined hierarchy known as the Chain of Ascension, where all are compelled to obey those who stand above them.
Alarak, being the Fourth Ascendant, is one of the most powerful among the Tal’Darim. Eager to serve Amon and further his own power, Alarak is presented with a choice that will change his future, and that of his people, forever.
“Amon cannot die,” Alarak said. You heretical lunatic, he didn’t add. But then a new thought occurred to him. This is a test. It had to be. Nuroka did not seem insane. No. His eyes had not the touch. He was simply testing Alarak’s loyalty to Amon in a dramatic way. Alarak clung to that thought. “It would be easier to destroy every star in the galaxy,” he said. “Amon gives us life. He shares with us the Breath of Creation. What would the Tal’darim be without His guidance?”
Learn the story behind StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void starting with “Ascension”, a grim yet revealing tale about the lives and pursuits of the Tal’Darim Protoss. We hope you enjoy it, as well as the additional stories arriving in the coming weeks.
New York Times Bestselling Author James Waugh will be signing copies of the new Insight Editions book: StarCraft Field Manual. Pre-order now!
The signing event is scheduled to happen on Saturday, October 10th from 1:00pm to 2:00pm at Booth # 1765.
Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft saga has captivated millions of players worldwide since its release in 1998. A genre-defying military strategy and sci-fi adventure, StarCraft has enthralled gamers with its immersive gameplay and thrilling storyline chronicling the battle between the scrappy terrans, the mystifying protoss, and the terrifying zerg Swarm.
The StarCraft II: Field Manual draws on more than a decade’s worth of lore to create an all-encompassing collector’s item for fans. Presented as an official Dominion Marine Corps–issued combat handbook that has been misplaced by its owner, the book pairs stunning original illustrations and propaganda posters with an engaging narrative that showcases the vital statistics, origins, and history of each unit, vehicle, and building. From an analysis of zerg infestation to the Dominion’s tactical recommendations for what to do upon encountering a colossus (Run!), the StarCraft II: Field Manual covers everything a grunt in the embattled Koprulu sector needs to know.
Red Bull will livestream the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Grand Finals tournament on September 19th from Washington D.C. The competitive 2v2 Archon Mode tournament will be cast by TotalBiscuit, ToD, Gretorp and ViBE.
Blizzard Entertainment unveiled the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void opening cinematic featuring the reclamation of Aiur. This is by far the most realistic cinematic showing protoss zealots, templars, and even an archon fighting waves of zerg.
Legacy of the Void will be officially launched on November 10, 2015. Pre-order now here
to get guaranteed access to beta, plus FREE shipping.
You’ll also get immediate access to the three-mission Prologue: “Whispers of Oblivion“, the multiplayer beta, automated tournaments, Archon mode, and more! Remember, purchasing Legacy of the Void unlocks the playable Artanis Warrior Hero in Heroes of the Storm.
Blizzard Entertainment trademarked the word Compete within the past six days as an internet-based system to organize and promote eSport tournaments, create brackets and more.
On paper this sounds like an in-game Battlefy or Challonge feature to support StarCraft II, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm eSports. This is just speculation on my end. Recently, I posted Blizzard is announcing a new StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void feature at TwitchCon.
Providing an online non-downloadable Internet-based system application featuring technology enabling users to organize and promote e-sports tournaments, to create and customize tournament brackets and ladders, track tournament progress, maintain related statistics, and post results
TwitchCon 2015 has announced its roster of playable games at the event including the presence of Blizzard Entertainment with a playable version of StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void at the computer stations.
It’s quite intriguing the mention of a content reveal at this event for Legacy of the Void. We already know about the Automated tournaments, Archon Mode, and Allied Commanders features, but this “content reveal” seems to indicate something Blizzard hasn’t yet announced.
TwitchCon 2015 will take place on September 25-26 at the Moscone West, San Francisco. Tickets may be purchased here.
TwitchCon Attendees can get hands-on with the latest games and products from dozens of exhibitors at TwitchCon 2015. Here’s some of the brands you can expect to see:
Blizzard will have a playable version of Legacy of the Void, the final chapter of StarCraft II, along with the reveal of new content.
800 Howard St (at the corner of Fourth St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
During the PCGamer’s PC Gaming Show held at E3 2015, Day9 interviewed Chris Sigaty and Dustin Browder to talk about the new expansion StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.
The developers revealed there will be three prologue missions: Whispers of Oblivion. Something nobody expected, taking fans by sheer surprise. It’s the return of the classic StarCraft campaigns?
Below you can watch the E3 2015 PC Gaming Show video, our transcript, and at the bottom of this page: what Blizzard provided us as press at E3 to show you, including screenshots, concept art and a video.
This is a transcript of the video shown below:
Day9: Since I have you both here, I want to talk about a game that seems that it would actually get the end to the storyline that began like seventeen years ago. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, oh my God.
Sigaty: It’s super exciting, we are so excited about it and honestly very humbling to be a part of it because these stories around Jim Raynor, around Zeratul, Artanis, Kerrigan; these have been going on since the original StarCraft and then here with StarCraft II we are sort of finishing those in this epic conclusion and it’s coming soon. So we are very, very excited about it.
Day9: What is it like to you guys personally to see the end of the storyline so close?
Sigaty: It’s humbling, it’s somewhat emotional honestly to have worked on it so long and see it come to this and it’s certainly not the end, we have a lot in store for StarCraft II; but the story around these heroes, these characters is happening with Legacy of the Void so very excited to share.
Day9: We also have a special video piece so that you can know where the story ended at the end of Heart of the Swarm. Let’s take a look at the Whispers of Oblivion.
Day9: What does it mean to have prologue missions and when the hell can I play them?
Sigaty: Whispers of Oblivion is connecting, it’s really the story of Zeratul who we haven’t seen other than in cutscenes in Heart of the Swarm and it connects the end of Heart of the Swarm to the beginning of Legacy of the Void and it’s a three mission series that connects those things, Zeratul is focused on finding the final clues to the Zel’Naga prophecy and he puts those things together; you get a chance to play it.
Browder: You know we left Heart of the Swarm, we’ve got the Terrans trying to put together their destroyed civilization from the end of that game; at the same time we’ve got Kerrigan the queen goddess of the Zerg who has sworn to destroy this dark creature called Amon who is making these monstrous hybrid creatures by combining Protoss and Zerg DNA with forbidden and foul technologies and she’s off in deep space trying to destroy this creature and this is the opportunity for the Protoss.
Now to finally re-take their home world to finally retake Aiur they lost so many years ago back in the original StarCraft game; and we’ve got Zeratul running around at the same time trying to put these prophecies back together.
These thee missions will give you a chance to sort of catch up a little bit and understand more about this prophecy. All of these missions will be free to all players regardless of whether you’ve bought or purchased StarCraft at all so it’s free to the world; but if you want early access you need to pre-purchase Legacy of the Void and we’ll have a lot more details about that coming in the next month.
Day9: I know so many people are huge fans of the single player of Legacy of the Void;but how do you balance working on that versus the multiplayer component with such a huge eSport scene?
Browder: It’s a real complicated process of having two teams and we have one group of guys whose sole focus is on the eSports experience, the multiplayer experience and making sure players can get into and understand that experience.
We’ve got a whole other group of guys whose whole job is to make sure that we’ve got this amazing campaign experience. We’ve also got other guys working on arcade systems to make sure that we’ve got the best mod tools out that we can possibly provide our players.
The real challenge, of course, is trying to keep everybody connected; but everybody is so focused on making their part of the game a great amazing experience, just making sure they sort of sync up is the big challenge.
Day9: I’m excited for the final end of the story. I’m excited for the new units at the final release, gentlemen. Thank you so much for coming out.
Chris Sigaty and Dustin Browder from Blizzard Entertainment. Thanks so much for coming out.
Press: Whispers of Oblivion Screenshots
Press: Cinematic Screenshots
Legacy of the Void Prologue – Whispers of Oblivion Trailer
A bit of a joke in the title (name given to the annual message from the president of the United States).
In this aptly named Community Feedback Update, David Kim (senior game designer) addressed players to inform the latest tasks the StarCraft II team is working on as beta testing continues.
As we mentioned before, we’d like to provide our thoughts on areas that we’ve looked into this week based on community suggestions. Before we get into the details, we’d like to point out while we try our best to hit majority of the big topics, it’ll be impossible to cover every single topic every time. The goal here is to discuss big issues with you guys, and continue doing so over time. With this first post, we’re covering a few more topics than we might typically cover in a normal update. However, we think this is a good way to kick off these updates.
We’d like to also make it as clear as possible that game design is not about implementing every idea that the majority thinks is correct, it’s about finding the key ideas that will be best for the game. So we’ll do our best to keep an open mind on topics and even if we’re currently thinking that we won’t try something out, we’ll keep it as part of our regular discussions if those issues keep being brought up by the community. Please also try your best to do this as well, and remember it’s not about how many people say something, and it’s not about bandwagoning onto the loudest idea. It’s about trying to look at issues from every angle possible to make sure it is in fact what’s best for our game. Just as an example, internally in design meetings we try our best to detach ourselves from every idea. Even if I’ve suggested something, I try my best to analyze how it might be bad. This way, I can focus on the specific idea and if it’s the correct move for the game, rather than pushing for the idea just because I thought of something I think is awesome.
Here are our thoughts on many of the bigger community discussions this past week:
Flying unit separation radius
We agree that when you are controlling larger numbers of air units, it’s difficult to do the moving shot micro.
This requires a code fix, and we’re currently exploring and testing something that we can add to the beta soon.
Making all damage points to zero for air units
One of the reasons we don’t have a default damage point of zero is so that the timing of micro has to be mastered by players. Just making it zero will mean microing is just much easier, which is probably not the direction we want to go.
We generally don’t make extreme changes that alter so many things at once, due to the side effects these changes can cause. Changing every single air unit’s damage point is not something we’d like to explore, but we’d be open to specific air unit damage point changes if the change makes sense.
With a damage point of zero, a unit that is facing its target can immediately move away after being issued the attack order. With the default damage point, the player must instead time their movement to happen after the attack is performed. An example of where this is pushed even further is the Hellion, which has a higher than normal damage point. The unique timing required for this unit requires additional mastery, which makes it more impressive when pros are able to be so effective with them. Since the suggested goal of the change is to have more interesting micro, in this specific case, we wonder if what we currently have is more interesting micro than the proposed changes.
Siege Tank /Immortal turret tracking
This sounds like a very minor change that probably won’t have a huge impact. However, because many players believe this will be of great help, so we’ll test it fairly quickly internally, then put the change in also in the beta. So you can expect this change to go into the beta soon.
Community resourcing model suggestion
We also watched show matches, tried games ourselves, and we agree with the majority of you guys that it’s too similar to Heart of the Swarm. But we wanted to comment again on this because it’s still a topic discussed by some.
Just to reiterate once more, we’re not looking to make minor tweaks in this area. We’re looking for a big change that will make sure that players will spread out their expansions at a much faster rate than they do in Heart of the Swarm.
Currently, the resourcing model that we’re testing in the beta is doing a very good job of this.
Ranked play in the beta
We hear your feedback and agree that it’ll be good to enable ranked play.
We may not be able to do this right away as we’ll need to introduce this with a client patch and can’t use the same method we use for the balance update which is done through publishing.
Due to the feedback we’ve seen on this topic, we’ve currently scheduled to enable ranked play in the beta with the next client patch.
Disruptor being too all-or-nothing
We agree with you guys here. The optimal case looks too strong, and when you miss with a hit it seems like the Disruptor is killed too easily at such a high cost investment.
We’ve been trying various things in this area for a while now, but this is where we’re at right now:
Much lower radius (this is the biggest change + Disruptors look too underpowered right now in our testing)
Faster speed when activated
Less delay before firing
Overall, it looks like we have a decent solve for the case of a single hit ending games often.
We believe the next step in this area is to test out changes that would allow players to more easily save and reuse the Disruptors. This way, we can solve the issue where a miss creates a high chance of the game being over.
We’d also like to comment on some topics that we found interesting this week. Again, please keep in mind just because we don’t mention something here, it doesn’t mean we haven’t read it. While it’s impossible to read every single post that comes up every day, we do try our best and can tell you that we read a big majority of the things you guys bring up.
Adept micro tips video was very cool.
It was a very good example of relaying more info on something new, so that players in the beta can better test new units.
It would definitely be more cool to see more tips on new units videos, because we believe faster we have the majority of beta testers ramped up with new units, the more high quality beta testing we will have going forward.
There was a post asking if players want battles to last much longer. Our thoughts are that the current pace feels really good, and we were happy to see that most players didn’t want battles to last longer in StarCraft II.