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As seen in WoW Insider, Blizzard Entertainment trademarked “Overwatch” at the US Patents and Trademark Office website and the date filed was April 1, 2014.
WoW Insider mentions something that other people incorrectly associate. The Dark Below, as reported by MMO-Champion, was never trademarked by Blizzard Entertainment in the US Patents and Trademark Office. Some say it was a hoax. Someone pretending to be Blizzard. We might never know actually what that was all about. The fact is it was never listed where it counts. On United States soil.
Overwatch, on the other hand, it is listed where it can’t be denied, confused with, nor considered a hoax. It is listed and factual. So what one must ask oneself is: What the heck is Overwatch?
Blizzard has filed a few trademarks over the past 4 years that are not necessarily a video game. For example, Cute But Deadly turned out to be a series of tiny figures which have been sold at the BlizzCon 2013 store (The set contained: Kerrigan, Diablo, and Arthas) and the SDCC exclusive Sylvanas.
Battletag raised eyebrows a few years ago too, and we know what it turned out to be. A Battle.net feature spanning across all Blizzard games. BattleChat, that’s another Battle.net feature we are now familiar with. These three trademarks — we know now what they are for.
To understand the meaning of Overwatch, you can go to any dictionary online. For the sake of picking one, let’s go with Wikipedia:
In modern warfare, overwatch is the state of one small unit or military vehicle supporting another unit, while they are executing fire and movement tactics. An overwatching, or supporting unit has taken a position where it can observe the terrain ahead, especially likely enemy positions. This allows it to provide effective covering fire for advancing friendly units. The term overwatch originates in U.S. military doctrine.
An ideal overwatch position provides cover for the unit, and unobstructed lines of fire. It may be on a height of ground or at the top of a ridge, where a vehicle may be able to adopt a hull-down position. If the overwatching unit is in a position to fire over advancing friendly units, great care must be taken not to let fire fall short. The friendly units should be within tracer burnout (the range at which tracer rounds are visible).
Overwatch can be performed by platoons during company fire and movement, by individual armoured fighting vehicles (especially tanks) or infantry sections, in platoon fire and movement, or even by fireteams or individual soldiers, in the final stages of an assault.
Overwatch tactics and firing at the short halt were especially important in armoured warfare before modern tank gun stabilizers were developed, since moving tanks were unlikely to hit any target. Even in modern tanks, however, it is much easier to spot enemies at a halt. — source: Wikipedia
By that description, one can assume this is either StarCraft related or at least a First-Person Shooter (FPS) based on a new IP.
It is an idea that could be a bit hard to wrap our mind around. I would expect an FPS game from Blizzard to be titled StarCraft: Ghost. Maybe StarCraft: Ghost: Overwatch as the first episode? Plausible.
A whole new IP? Can’t be ruled out. Maybe one that is not related to any of the three franchises: Diablo, Warcraft, Starcraft. However, a new IP doesn’t necessarily mean it is not based on one of those three. Hearthstone is considered a new IP but based on Warcraft. It is not an RTS. It is not an MMORPG. It’s an online multiplayer collectible card game.
PAX East 2014
Now that I reached the point of mentioning Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, I wanted to point out that even if it was filed on April 1 (April’s Fool) it may have been coincidence. I remind you that Blizzard Entertainment surprised everyone on PAX East 2013 when they announced Hearthstone out of the blue.
Well, PAX East 2014 begins this very Friday, April 11, 2014. Blizzard plans to showcase Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition (PS4) and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.
Can there be room to announce a new Blizzard game at PAX East 2014 with such a packed roster? Who knows. One thing to consider is that last year Blizzard Entertainment did issued a press invitation to fansites and gaming sites hinting at a new game to be announced at PAX East 2013.
The problem with Overwatch being a new game to be announced at PAX East 2014 is that Hearthstone’s press invitation went out on February 26th (without informing what the event was about or what game it would be about), and PAX East took place on March 22, 2013. Nigh a month after the teaser.
We are barely two days away from PAX East 2014, and we haven’t heard zippo about a brand-new Press Invitation nor about a New Game Announcement. So the chances for that to happen are slim, but can’t be ruled out either. The press is still going to have a massive presence at PAX East with all these Blizzard games to be showcased. The problem is that there is only one panel scheduled by Blizzard Entertainment, and that’s for the Heroes of the Storm. I am willing to give it a 1% chance probability, but I’m mostly skeptic for Overwatch to be announced at PAX East.
Overwatch. An April’s Fool trademark? A brand-new IP? A non-RTS StarCraft-related game? A First-Person Shooter? A Zombie Apocalypse game? Yea, yea — remember how the Diablo III TV spot aired during The Walking Dead TV series? Red Herring of something Zombie-themed coming our way?
So many possible scenarios one can speculate on about this Overwatch trademark. There is yet one more to consider. There is actually two Overwatch trademarks. This is the second one:
Now this one is the interesting one: “Entertainment services, namely, providing on-line computer games; providing computer games that may be accessed via a global computer network.”
Ok, now this points me toward something completely different. Could this be a Battle.net feature? This second Trademark description sounds more like the Battle.net Launcher. Or some sort of Steam environment where one can download and purchase video games through the app itself.
Yet, why name it Overwatch? (taking in mind the militaristic definition). We are only left pondering the many possible speculations. While it is still possible for it to be an April’s Fools, Blizzard Entertainment this year posted in the front page of each gaming website a big April’s Fools seal for each of the crazy news they dished out on April 1. Yet, none of them mentions Overwatch.
Are you completely sold on the idea that “Overwatch” was an April’s Fool? I don’t think so.
We go back to the drawing board. Overwatch. Militaristic term. We have a brand-new job openings for an Unannounced Game. Now — a few years back Blizzard Entertainment coined the term unannounced game in the Careers page for a couple of games. These were in reference to Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. Those were secret until they were announced. The Titan MMO was later coined Next-Gen MMO in the Blizzard Careers page. Since the only unannounced game we know of, Titan, is referred to as Next-Gen MMO — this new Unannounced Game is something else.
Overwatch does sound a lot like something akin to Half-Life 2, Call of Duty, or Halo.
To further dilute the term Unannounced Game and to filter it as a brand-new thing — the job listings specify this is a new team similar to the Hearthstone team. A small team created by Blizzard.
Here are some quotes and keep a close eye on the underlined words:
Lead 3D Modeler
The way the light glints just off the barrel of a Terran Marine’s rifle as he takes aim. The intricate, grinding dance of gears as a vault door opens to reveal the treasure within. When it comes to creating a living, breathing world, it always comes down to the details. As the lead 3D modeler for Blizzard’s next epic game, you will be the architect of these moments, bringing to life the next generation of truly kick ass weapons, equipment, and dynamic environmental props.
A lead 3D modeler must be able to be many things to many people. You must be an artist to the art director, collaborating closely to define the vision for weapons, props, and hard surface modeling. You must be a gamer to the engineers and game designers, eager to jam daily to ensure that those weapons play and feel as fantastic as they look. And of course, being a lead means being a leader, and you’ll be inspiring and guiding some of the most talented and passionate artists in the industry. — source: Blizzard Careers
Using the skills of both artist and designer to their fullest potential, a concept artist lives on the front line of development. You’ll work closely with level designers and environment artists to imagine new lands into existence; just as your knowledge of anatomy and expression will be pushed to new heights designing the heroes, villains, and the creatures between to inhabit this all-new world. source: Blizzard Careers
Lead 3D Character Artist
Kerrigan, Raynor, Tyrael, Diablo, Arthas, Thrall…these are just a few of the epic characters that inhabit our worlds. Each one is as iconic and unforgettable as the last, and each one was brought to life by the hand of a talented artist.
And now it’s your turn…
As lead character artist for Blizzard’s next amazing game, you will lead the team that brings future legends to life.
Your unique skills as lead character artist allow you to be an unstoppable combination of visionary artist, gamer, and leader. As an artist, you’ll collaborate closely with the art director to define the vision for both the characters and organic modeling. As a gamer, you’ll be inducted into a cabal of designers, engineers, and artists whose singular goal is to create truly epic hero moments in gaming. Lastly, you’ll draw on your veteran experience to guide a team of the most talented artists in the industry in creating a legion of characters to inhabit this new and exciting world. – source: Blizzard Careers
These job postings are kinda telling us a few hints here and there of what we might expect. The following job posting reveals this is a small team similar to Hearthstone’s team.
Blizzard’s newest game team is looking for someone to join its ranks as lead producer. With Hearthstone, Blizzard has revived its tradition of creating small and nimble game teams and we are following in those footsteps. As part of our team, you will join in the leadership of a small but mighty band of developers and exert your talents to help craft our processes, organization, goals and execution.
We can’t tell you exactly what the game is yet, but trust us, it’s awesome. — source: Blizzard Careers
Now the following job opening shows this will be a multiplayer and possibly have a Map Editor. However, one of these map editing examples are the Hammer and UnrealEd Map Editors. This is big folks. The Hammer is Valve’s Map Editor for Counter-Strike and Half-Life. The UnrealEd is the Unreal Engine Map Editor. A plethora of games made with that engine.
Is Overwatch a First-Person Shooter?
The team behind Blizzard’s next big hit is looking for a driven, passionate level designer with experience building compelling multi-player gameplay spaces. Are you motivated, enthusiastic, and geeked up by creating fun and interesting environments? Do you excel in creating exciting, replayable gameplay experiences within your levels?
You have extensive experience with industry standard level editors like StarEdit, Hammer, and UnrealEd – source: Blizzard Careers
Is your portfolio full of crazy explosions, blasts of energy, and a whole bunch of blood splatter? Do you believe that playing with fire is a good thing? If so, Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of the most epic games in the world, is seeking a VFX artist to help develop Blizzard’s next hit game!
Work alongside a team of the best artists, engineers and designers on the planet and enjoy the support of a company whose culture is centered on collaborative game development. We are gamers at heart at Blizzard – across all levels – and it shows in our craft.
The ideal candidate has extensive experience working with 3D packages, in-game FX systems to create a wide range of VFX (fire, smoke, magic, electricity, explosions, etc.) — source: Blizzard Careers
Back on December 10, 2013, while searching through Twitter I came across a tweet from Michael Booth who joined Blizzard Entertainment to join this mysterious new team. Michael Booth was formerly Turtle Rock Studios CEO and worked on Left4Dead. He shares credits as one of the four programmers of … Counter-Strike.
Alright, my skepticism is starting to dissolve a few notches. April 1 …. Overwatch trademark. April 11 … PAX East. Every time a trademark comes out within 2 weeks of a gaming event, something big happens. Only a few hours to find out if it is true or not.
Blizzard filed the trademark Warlords of Draenor on November 1, 2013. Warlords of Draenor was unveiled at BlizzCon 2013 a week later on November 8, 2013. Something to think about with PAX East coming up.
Jinx stealthed its way into the store and added two brand-new StarCraft II hats. The Terran hat says “Lock and Loaded” in the back a bit above the snap-back area, and inside the hat by each of the seams. There is a Terran Marine artwork printed on the frontal hat’s duck-beakamajig.
The Protoss hat says “My Life for Aiur” in the back and in the interior too. The front has the artwork of Zeratul. Follow the links to order them. Remember the Diablo III T-shirts are 20% off until March 31.
Blizzard Entertainment and the ESL launched a 23-second video teaser reminding eSports fans that the StarCraft II 2014 World Championship Series (WCS) Europe begins on February 18 at 6pm CET with the first Ro32 broadcast.
IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– TeSPA and Blizzard Entertainment have announced a partnership that will bring unprecedented support to college gaming groups throughout North America. For the first time, college gaming groups will be able to unlock funding and other tangible benefits as their communities grow through the Membership Milestone program.
As part of the partnership, Blizzard will back student groups in the TeSPA network by guaranteeing event funding, unique in-game rewards, and unrivaled promotion opportunities to active TeSPA chapters. This backing will help chapters strengthen their communities by providing vital resources needed to host local gaming competitions and viewing events.
“TeSPA has been a positive force in the eSports community built from the ground up by a small group of dedicated fans,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “By partnering with TeSPA we hope to give back to the players in a very new way to add fuel to an already thriving collegiate scene.”
The Membership Milestone program outlines structured benefits to student groups and provides critical materials needed to scale, including free access production equipment for events, a leadership and technical instruction manual, and customized banners for campus advertisement. The new program aims to establish the foundation of a vibrant eSports ecosystem that is supported from both the grassroots and professional level.
“Our goal is to empower passionate students to bring their eSports dreams to life,” said TeSPA co-founder Adam Rosen. “By doing this, we hope to cultivate thriving eSports communities while fostering the next generation of entrepreneurial business leaders in the gaming industry.” TeSPA aims to establish campus chapters across all of North America, and is specifically targeting 75 of the most influential campuses to seed student gaming programs in 2014.
Open recruitment for students looking to take advantage of TeSPA’s membership benefits has now begun. Students looking to join TeSPA with an existing group or to create a new group on their campus should apply at tespa.org/apply/.
The eSports Association (TeSPA) is a network of the top student talent in eSports and gaming. The TeSPA network is composed of Local Chapters which develop eSports communities on their campuses by hosting events such as competitive gaming tournaments and social viewing events. TeSPA aspires to cultivate communities capable of producing professional-caliber eSports experiences at every university and high school in North America. TeSPA’s founders, Adam Rosen, Tyler Rosen, and Chris Kelly, are members of Blizzard Entertainment’s eSports team.
About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes sixteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
Nakatoir posted the StarCraft II team wishes players to help test a small balance patch to be deployed sometime this week. Players will test the Protoss versus Terran, with changes to Time Warp, EMP and Ghosts now have energy upgrade built-in. There is also a small fix for Daedalus Point.
We’d like to make a small balance patch this week in order to help address PvT concerns, as well as implement a small fix for Daedalus point. Of the changes we’ve tested so far, we feel ready to make the Time Warp and EMP changes right now, but we’ll continue testing other changes as well in case we need to make further adjustments.
We’ll try our best to make these changes within a week:
Time Warp cost increased from 75 to 100
Ghosts start with the energy upgrade built in
Make the natural expansion ramp smaller on Daedalus Point.
Here are a few things we’d like to continue testing on a new balance test map:
We’d like to try out a sight range nerf to the Mothership Core, as commonly requested by the community. We also believe this could be a really solid direction if the Time Warp and EMP changes aren’t enough.
We’d still like to include a Hydralisk buff (but not as big as the current one we’re testing) of some sort for two reasons: To bring more Hydras into play in ZvZ as well as help Roach/Hydra to be more viable vs. Terran.
Late game PvZ in Europe is something we’d still like to look into testing/addressing. Looking at games in Korea, we’d still like to keep testing the Tempest change and not touch Swarm Hosts themselves if we can.
Please keep the discussions happening and constructive feedback is always welcome. Thank you. – source
Blizzard Entertainment recently launched a TV-Commercial-quality video titled “Blizzard Arcade — Snowflake”. In this video, Kevin “Cloaken” Johnson announces the StarCraft II Arcade is now FREE to play.
Simply ask your friends to download the free StarCraft II Starter Edition and play any Arcade game created by the community. The most important thing is the same tools used by the StarCraft II developers is now available to everyone. Let your imagination create any game you can imagine using the mapmaking tool.
The new Blizzard domain name BlizzardArcade.com will be launched soon, which hints at new changes to come to the Battle.net Arcade webpage. Arcade Highlights will be published every other Friday showcasing some of the best Arcade games. — source.
Blizzard posted 3 new videos concerning this new Blizzard Arcade campaign:
Blizzard Arcade — Snowflake
Blizzard Arcade — Now Completely Free!
Blizzard Arcade – StarCraft II Art Tools
You can download the Art Tools at the following webpage.
Community Manager Kaivax alerted Blizzard Entertainment planned a maintenance schedule to launch StarCraft II patch 2.1. Some regions will get the patch on different days, which might prevent players from accessing other region servers.
This patch introduces classic StarCraft music as an option to those who wish to switch their music. Kinda a nice feature for those with nostalgia for the old favorite tunes and riffs. New arcade games for free to play online.
Our plan is to release the patch in each region as quickly as we can over three days:
Tuesday, Jan 21 – Americas, Europe
Wednesday, Jan 22 – Korea and Taiwan, China
Thursday, Jan 23 – Southeast Asia and Oceania
Please note that the release day for Patch 2.1 in Southeast Asia and Oceania is taking place on Thursday rather than Monday (we’ve often released patches in this region on Mondays). This is a one-time adjustment for Patch 2.1. With future releases, we’ll return to patching this region on Mondays as before.
As always, the above dates are subject to change should an issue arise between now and then.
We’ve built the game so that it should install the new patch for you when you launch the game, based on the region you last connected to. When you try to connect to a region that is running a newer version of the game than what you are in, you will be asked whether you want to patch so that you can play on that region.
If you agree, the game will restart and install the new version. However, you will then be unable to play on any region that has not yet updated to the latest patch. If you update and then try to play on a region that is not yet updated, you’ll receive an error.
Our Customer Support department is here to help you on patch day. If you need help, please check out:
Blizzard Entertainment highlighted the StarCraft II Arcade game Chu Chu Madness with a round up video describing its features and an interview with the map creator.
The cool thing about StarCraft II Arcade is that you can invite a friend to play it. He doesn’t need to own StarCraft II. Simply ask your friend to download the StarCraft II Starter Edition for FREE. Have fun! GG
Remember that list of Blizzard-Employee-Exclusive items I posted a few months ago which hit eBay? Today, I was contacted by the same ex-Blizzard StarCraft II QA Thompson, who alerted me of the new eBay listing.
Now come the top items of his collection, folks. This new auction contains original StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty artwork signed by Blizzard artists: Glenn Rane, Brian Huang and Mr. Jack — and includes proof of authenticity.
The ex-developer informed me he approached a reputable eBay lister to put these pieces of artwork in auction. Wowblizzness has a 100% Positive Feedback with a 886 score.
Mr. Thompson Statement
During SC2 crunch, QA was expanded into the CS building. they moved the artwork from Blizzard HQ to decorate the Customer Service walls on the second floor where we worked. At the end of SC2, QA was moved back to main campus for Cataclysm and we had our private launch party. Part of the party was a raffle and auction. This consisted of some exclusive collectibles and the concept art that was raffled for appreciation of our 6 months of 12 hours a day 6 day a week work schedule. I won the Queen of Blades and Hydralisk art during the raffle. The Thor artwork was made specifically for SC2 QA it is not one-of-a-kind. There are about 70 of these Thor artwork that each person received. The other works are one-of-a-kind made to decorate Blizzard HQ.
The three pieces of original artwork consists of:
Brian Huang Signed Concept Art: HYDRALISK
At US $4,999.99 — this One-of-a-Kind is on a durable heavy duty canvas board medium attached to a black backing. Lighter weight overall. Visit Brian Huang’s website — which contains this and many other StarCraft II concept art pieces. This auction ends on Feb 12, 2014 (21:30:58 PST).
Thompson: Original Brian Huang StarCraft 2 Concept Art Hydralisk. ONE-OF-A-KIND Digital Print hung on wall in the room where StarCraft II was created. Included is picture of my employee plate and also the certificates that were given during the SC2 launch party I’m sure you can verify all this information if you know anyone who worked on SC2 before launch.
Mr. Jack Signed Print: THOR & VULTURE
The is auctioned for $1.999.99. It is not a One-of-A-Kind as there are about 70 copies — but considering the millions of fans out there, this is still a rare find. The auction ends Feb 12, 2014 (21:16:32 PST). More of Mr. Jack’s concept art can be found at his CGHub page.
Thompson: Mr. Jack (Luke Mancini) Limited print of a Thor and Vulture made for the StarCraft II QA team. ONLY 1-of-only-70 made!!! ORIGINAL SIGNATURE ON PRINT.
Queen of Blades
The One-of-A-Kind is 22″ tall by 17″ wide by 1/4″ thick. It is UV coated so it will not fade. This concept art became the front cover of the novel titled StarCraft: Queen of Blades by author Aaron Rosenberg. This auction ends on Feb 12, 2014 (21:05:26 PST).
Thompson: I have an ORIGINAL “MUSEUM QUALITY PIECE” PRINT up for sale. This work of art truly belongs in a museum. It was THE inspiration for this HUGE franchise. Hung over the heads of Blizzard employees as inspiration for the massive world they were creating!!!