E3 2018: Microsoft and Bethesda Conference Roundup

With E3 2018 officially kicked off that means we finally will get all the game developer conferences that come along with it. This E3 is no different with the same exact developers all taking stage, but of course, on different days. Yesterday, we had two developers take stage with Microsoft having their presser in the afternoon and Bethesda tackling the prime time spot. So, in this article we will take a quick rundown of everything you may have missed and go over all the exciting announcements of E3 2018 so far!

BETHESDA

Bethesda showed no mercy last night as they announced numerous titles, sequels and even a brand new IP. Every single year I always ask myself as to why Bethesda even bothers having a presser every year at E3. Of course, they have huge properties under the belt and even some very talented developers to boot. But it just always felt like Bethesda could just go to Microsoft’s, Sony’s or even Nintendo’s presser to announce all the titles that they usually would. But last night really proved me wrong, as I feel the extended looks on some titles really packed the extra punch.

Fallout 76

Fallout 76

To start off, Rage 2 looks extremely impressive with its stunning and vibrant visuals, extremely fast gameplay and intense vehicular combat. I was a pretty big fan of the first Rage back in 2010, but never did I find myself begging for a sequel. But of course, we can expect Rage 2 to be of the usual great quality from Avalanche Studios and iD software. 

Rage 2

Rage 2

While I am not one to speak of Elder Scrolls Online, it is awesome to see Bethesda continue to support this title. I was a HUGE fan of DOOM (2016) so seeing the announcement of Doom: Eternal has me absolutely juiced for what is to come. Also, the DLC for Prey also looked extremely impressive and the fact of it being available right as they announced it was the perfect way to deliver the announcement. Finally, the Wolfenstein co-op game titled Wolfenstein Youngblood, seems very intriguing and will no doubt be one of the most anticipated titles for next year. 

Then of course, we get to Fallout 76. Is it a single player game? Is it an online survival MMO? Well, turns out it is sort of a mixture of both. Fallout 76 will be very similar to past Fallouts in a gameplay sense. It will take place in West Virginia and will be the earliest Fallout game in the timeline. But, this time, you will not be surviving the post-apocalyptic wasteland by yourself as this will be the first “online only” Fallout title. You will be able to gather up to four friends and roam all of West Virginia as you your team will fight mutated beasts, raid bases and play the main story. But do not worry, as Bethesda did make it clear that Fallout 76 can be totally played by yourself. While this might be striking for a diehard Fallout fan, I truly believe this is a breath of fresh air for the franchise after the mixed reception from 2016’s Fallout 4. Fallout 76 will be relasing on Xbox One, PC, and PS4 on November 14th, so we do not have to wait much longer to see what Bethesda will truly have in store for this Fallout spinoff.  

Fallout 76

Fallout 76

Finally Bethesda, left with a mic drop with confirming that Elder Scrolls IV is indeed in development. While they did assure the game is still ways out, it is great for us fans to rest easy that our next adventure in the Elder Scrolls universe will be soon awaiting us. This was not the only big reveal that Bethesda had at the tail end of the conference as they went on to announce their brand new IP, Starfield. While we do not do much about it, we were told that it is a “next-gen” title. So, this probably means this is a 2020 title and will be a launch title for the next gen systems, but of course, only time will tell. 

Elder Scrolls IV Logo

Elder Scrolls IV Logo

MICROSOFT

Microsoft had its best E3 showing in years yesterday with the showing of some cool upcoming exclusives, the announcement of multiple acquisitions and the hinting of their next brand new Xbox system. 

There is so much to unfold from Microsoft’s presser, but I will start off with what honestly impressed me the most, Halo: Infinite. While we did not get any gameplay, we did see an absolutely stunningly rendered trailer which gave us a sense that Halo will be going back to its roots. There was not a lot of alien life shown, there were human soldiers and we saw a more classic look on Master Chief. It was also unveiled that Infinite is indeed Halo 6, but to what the game will entail is still a mystery. Early rumors point to Infinite being similar in vein to the likes of Far Cry. But, unfortunately this will be a game that we will most likely not hear much about until next years E3.

Halo: Infinite

Halo: Infinite

On the topic of exclusives, Microsoft once again relied heavily on past brands such as the announcement of this years Forza Horizon 4, Crackdown 3 and next years Gears 5Horizon 4 looks visually stunning as all the Forza games have never failed to do and will no doubt be a delight as it comes out this Fall. Crackdown 3 also finally looks like a finished game, albeit a lot of fun as it will be dropping in February of 2019. But the true eye popper was the reveal of Gears 5. Gears 5 will change up the main protagonist this time around and seems to be more of a lone survivor type of deal. With the mixed to good reception of Gears of War 4 it is nice to see a bit of a shakeup for the franchise on the single player front. But where everyone’s eyes are at is at Gears’ popular multiplayer and while none was shown there will no doubt be more info down the line. While Gears 5 is not due till 2019, the game looked mightily impressive from what we have seen and I am very excited for what is to come next.

Gears 5

Gears 5

One of the pluses of Microsoft’s outing was the vast presence of third parties. Titles like The Division 2, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Devil May Cry 5, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 were the absolute standouts. With how Xbox has fared this generation, it is good news that they are still managing to get third parties on their side. This probably indicates a new sense of leadership over at Xbox and these developers might believe Xbox has the best footing moving forward. Or, of course, Microsoft chugged out a lot of change to get these games on their stage first, but still it was impressive nonetheless. 

Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts III

But the biggest news to drop out of the conference was Microsoft Studios’ announcement of acquiring not one, not two but FIVE gaming studios, with one of them being a newly brought together team, called The Initiative. The other studios to be grabbed up were Undead Labs (State of Decay Franchise), Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few) and Ninja Theory (Hellblade). With many critics always calling out Microsoft for their lack of first party support, it seems Microsoft has been listening and is acting fast. But this definitely seems like a long term announcement and this will no doubt be something that will help them in the beginning of next gen.

This leads into the final point that Microsoft made and that is that the next Xbox is in fact in the works. This has to mean that at E3 2019 we will be getting our first look at the next Xbox. Maybe with a 2020 release to follow. I believe this is a great strategy for Microsoft to tackle. It is beyond clear they have lost the fight this generation and they are aware of it as well. But they believe in the future and they believe with the right games and developers behind it, they can relive their glory days.  

- Paul

 

 

**OUTDATED** The Current and Unfortunate State of Overwatch

Now, this is not another post to jump on the current Overwatch hate bandwagon nor am I going to exclaim about how "Overwatch is dying!". I am just as big of an Overwatch fan as anyone else and I want to see the game strive and grow for years to come. But nobody can hide the fact that as of late there has been certain aspects bringing down the game as a whole and something that is lowering the morale of the community.

Overwatch Art

Overwatch Art

Overwatch is one of my favorite, if not my favorite game currently. So I feel it is important that I make my voice be heard in this weird time that we are in. So right now I am going delve into these "certain aspects" and elaborate on the issues themselves along with giving some constructive criticism as to how I fully believe we can fix the game and bring it back to it's glory days.  


Communication With Developers

 

When it comes to fixing a broken or too weak of a hero, it seems to take ages for Blizzard (The Developers of Overwatch) to finally get on top of it. While it is understandable that the process takes a while, the lack of communication at times from the devs to the players is quite frustrating. A huge example of this is the recent patch to one of the beloved heroes, Roadhog. 

Roadhog, about a month ago simply had the ability to kill other heroes with one shot . While this does sound ridiculous, it was not an easy task to pull off and if you got one shot killed by Roadhog, you deserved it. But the Director of OW, Jeff Kaplan came out and said that he does not believe in one shot abilities. So, they simply fixed Roadhog to make him weaker so it is now near impossible to pull off his one shot trick anymore. Players were infuriated. 

Now, when they announced the Roadhog fix they made him playable on the test servers otherwise known as the PTR, so people could go try out the new Roadhog before he got put into the real game itself. After messing around with the new updated version players were still unhappy and made their voice loud and clear. But what did Jeff and the devs do about it? Absolutely nothing, they did not even respond to one bit of critisism. 

Roadhog

Roadhog

So after a few days with the new Hog on the test servers, they put the updated version of him onto the real servers and ever since then he has been nearly unplayable and he is now one less hero the community can pick. This in a way makes the game a little less enjoyable and this is just one of the many examples of this happening within OW in the past.

It can be a bit frustrating. It seems they are always focused on what they believe is right and now what the community wants.
— Murphy Caraballo

So how could this be fixed? I believe a little bit more feedback from Jeff and his team when there is a community complaint would be vital. If a hero is put on the TEST serves, wouldn't it make sense to respond to the critical feedback so it does not make it's way onto the actual game itself? I am not trying to sound too whiny, but it is just such a simple fix that could seriously help out in the long run.


Competitive Play

 

The main problem with Competitive is that the ranking system at times can be a little bit ridiculous. Everyone's main gripe with Competitive as of late is how your rank is solely based on how YOU play and not your teams overall performance. 

Lets say that you are playing Soldier: 76 in a Competitve game. Your team can utterly destroy and claim victory, but if you do not preform up to par compared to other Solider: 76 players, your rank will barley even climb up. It does not make much sense in a game like Overwatch where teamwork is the main aspect of the game. This ranking system is just a bit flawed and honestly causes some frustration from the community who believe the game should simply be based on your teams performance rather than yours.

I do believe it is flawed. On top of that, your placement matches are a complete waste of time as it just ranks you lower than where you ended last season no matter how good you do. It makes it even more frustrating that there are plenty of throwers and trolls in CP to make the experience even less enjoyable.
— Overwatch fan Trevor Davenport

Now you might be not be able to tell, but I am not a game developer and I am never going to be. So, making a solution to this is something that is more on the difficult side to think of. But the one solution that goes around the community a lot could be plausible. Simply, if you win you gain 25 SR and if you lose you get detracted 25 SR. That simple. But of course it seems too easy and would definitely need more to it than just that. 

So here is to hoping Jeff and the Team are listening to us on this one cause this is a problem that can not be fixed without them.


Toxicity

 

Finally, the biggest issue with Overwatch, toxicity. To get real for a bit, toxicity is something that is absolutely unavoidable throughout life. Whether it is a toxic friend, a toxic relative, a toxic loved one or simply a toxic player on Overwatch. Toxicity runs throughout a lot of people in the world and they can be the worst.

So what defines the "toxic" people of Overwatch? They simply join Competitive matches to make you and your teams entire Overwatch match a living hell. They will sit in a corner on the map and absolutely contribute nothing to the team just so they can see your team fail. They will put on their mics just to bully or harass you and your teammates. Or even worse, they will join a CP game and right as the match starts, they will leave the game. Leaving you and your team to a 6v5 disadvantage resulting in you guys losing and your SR dropping to bottomless pits of hell.

What’s Overwatch?
— Lee Angerstein

Like I said, toxicity in anything in life is unavoidable. But with Overwatch, it is super common. In this current Competitve season, toxicity has reached a new high and it is almost making CP completely unplayable. 

Our lord and savior Torbjörn

Our lord and savior Torbjörn

The toxicity has gotten worse this season and it has honestly lost me a couple of games recently.
— Karl Protil

The Toxic/throwers will never be able to all leave at once nor is there a complete solution to it all. The best you can do, is to simply ignore them. Trolls feed off of reactions and ruining your experience. If you simply do not do anything, they will get bored and move on to soething else.

On the other hand, Jeff Kaplan has come out recently and has discussed that a new punishing system for leavers and throwers is in the works over at Blizzard. What this could be is absolutely beyond me. Maybe they will add a new system where in CP you must be on or near the objective for a certain amount of time and if you are not, you will be kicked. This would then solve the issue of trolls joining in games and not even touching the objective once. But like all my ideas, it is a bit too complicated. 

But we will have to see what they have in store and of course I complained about them in the first section, but I do have to give them props for finally tackling this situation. Even if it took way longer than it should have.


Closing Thoughts

 

No matter the issues, Overwatch has grown such a large fan base that its life is guaranteed to last at least through the next few years. But for the true veterans of the franchise, these past few months have not been the easiest. 

But the best that we can do as a community is speak out and let our voices be heard. If our frustrations with the devs can be made clear, they will most definitely change their attitude.

Overwatch Art

Overwatch Art

I have been gaming since the age of 3 and never has a game gotten me hooked like Overwatch. It is a game I can sit down and play with my friends every night and as frustrating as it can be, it never gets old. So to see this game go down a bad route, is something I can never let happen. But with as large and loud as the Overwatch community is, I honestly have no worries that these problems will never be solved. 

But in the meantime, you can catch me on competitive racking up wins like there is no tomorrow all due to one simple trick. What is that trick you ask?

Attack Torbjörn.

Attack Torbjörn ALWAYS wins.

-Paul