Blizzard Announces Big Changes for the 2018 ‘Hearthstone’ Esports Season

Depending on which areas of the Hearthstone-niverse you find yourself wandering in, chances are you’ve seen some pretty harsh criticisms of the way Blizzard has structured their Hearthstone [Free] esports over the years. Pro players often complained about the uncertainty of what it took to make it into different playoff events, rewards were really top-heavy, and a bunch of other super valid issues. When I’ve asked Blizzard about these things in the past, the answer is always some variation of, “Just wait to see what we announce for next year.” Well, that announcement was here, and once again Hearthstone esports has been drastically shifted around, seemingly for the better. There’s an entire visual guide to dig through, but here’s the highlights:

Aside from shifting the Hearthstone year into three distinct seasons, they’re also introducing the “Hearthstone Masters” program, which sounds like taking a stab at the way Wizards handles pro Magic players. Basically, you have a rolling total of the points you earn over the previous three seasons and there’s three tiers of point targets which at the bottom include invites to monthly online tournaments with cash prizes and at the top includes appearance fees, invites to seasonal playoffs, and more. The goal seems to be to reward consistent play, which is a great direction to move towards.

I think what will likely have the largest impact on the overall competitive scene is drastically shifting the playoffs prize structure. This year, the way it worked was that if you played in a playoffs event you needed to be in the top 8 to get any kind of meaningful prize payout. Everyone 9th place and beyond got $ 100, which hardly even covers the cost of getting to an event. Now, everyone who competes in a playoff event will get $ 1,000 and the prize tiers ramp up quickly with 16th place rewarding $ 2,500, and every place beyond that rewarding another $ 250 with 7th, 6th, and 5th rewarding $ 5,000, $ 5,500, and $ 6,000. (And everyone beyond that gets an invite to the championship.)

Additionally, individual teams will also get prize payments depending on where their team is, with 1st place getting $ 7,500 per player and 10th place getting $ 750, with rewards scaling in between. I love this change too, as it only further serves to rewards all the top players for participating instead of having huge prize pools for the top players and (effectively) door prizes for everyone else.

Of course, as a dude who just really enjoys watching competitive Hearthstone, what I think of these changes is sort of irrelevant. Now that they’ve been revealed, I’m super curious to follow what some of the more outspoken members of the Hearthstone pro player community think… Which means watching lots of Hearthstone streams. We’ll have those reactions in next Monday’s Hearthstone roundup, unless anything particularly bombastic happens before then in the esports structure reaction scene.


Amazing Katamari Damacy guide – beginner tips and tricks

Amazing Katamari Damacy brings the bizarro world of the original games to mobile and shifts them into an endless format that’s just as addictive as the PlayStation entries. Your goal is still to roll as much random stuff as you possibly can, though now you’ll face off against spikes and other traps.

While there’s a lot of familiar mechanics at play (the rolling and all of that), the game’s new endless nature adds some new obstacles into the mix that call for fresh strategy. Here are a few tips to get you rolling.

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Portal Knights guide – crafting tips and tricks

In Portal Knights, you’re only as strong as the items you have at your disposal. This sandbox adventure is all about crafting and building up the next big thing. Whether you’re an avid explorer or collector, crafting will likely play a large part in your Portal Knights experience.

While a lot of the fun in the game comes from experimenting and trying new things, there are a few strategies to help you get your crafting efforts off to the right start. Use these tips and you’ll have an enviable collection of weapons, armor, and whatnot before you know it.

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‘Hearthstone’ Deathstalker Rexxar to Include Kobolds & Catacombs Beasts After All

Hearthstone‘s [Free] Kobolds & Catacombs expansion appears to be a big success so far, but Hunter players immediately started complaining because Deathstalker Rexxar’s Hero Power, which makes cute little Zombeasts, didn’t include any of the new Beasts released in the latest expansion. Reddit decided to provide plenty of “feedback” to the developers about the state of Deathstalker Rexxar, and many talked about the need for the new Beasts to be added to the Hero Power. Blizzard listened to all the feedback and decided to reverse course. A post today by Community Manager Keganbe stated that the developers have agreed that a change to Deathstalker Rexxar’s Hero Power is warranted, so they’ll be updating it to include the new Beasts.

However, the developers also pointed out that this isn’t a simple change and will take time to implement. So, expect a smaller change before the permanent solution is implemented. And also keep in mind that some Beasts might still remain exempt from Deathstalker Rexxar’s Hero Power for various reasons. What do you think about this change? Happy?


Jam City Will Release ‘Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery’ in 2018 for iOS and Android

Jam City and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment have just announced a new official Harry Potter mobile game. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will see a release next year and it will be published under Portkey Games. This is a new label under Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment for gaming media related to the Harry Potter franchise. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will let you create your own avatar and experience life as a student at Hogwarts. Hogwarts Mystery will be a story driven RPG letting you partake in the usual fare for a Hogwarts student with magic classes and more.

Iconic professors from the Harry Potter franchise will reprise their roles in Hogwarts Mystery as well. Scheduled to release in 2018 on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery will be the first game under Warner Brothers’ new label and I’m curious to see how they build upon it. The official website is now live and you can check out it here. If you are interested in it, you can now pre-register on the same website. No details are available right now for what you get by pre-registering.