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by Published on 2018-06-28 07:56 PM

New Hero First Look: Wrecking Ball
Blizzard has shared a preview of the new hero, Wrecking Ball.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
A resourceful tinkerer with remarkable mechanic skills, Wrecking Ball is rolling around the world seeking out his next challenge to overcome.

Name: Wrecking Ball
Real Name: Hammond
Age: 14
Occupation: Mech Pilot, Mechanic
Base of Operations: Horizon Lunar Colony (formerly), Junkertown (formerly)
Affiliation: None

Wrecking Ball's Story
"Do not anger the hamster."

In one of the many experiments carried out at Horizon Lunar Colony, animals were given genetic therapy to assess their adaptation to extended periods of habitation on the moon. As an unexpected side effect, several of them exhibited exceptional growth in physical size and brain function. While most of the test subjects were gorillas or other primates, there were some exceptions, including a hamster named Hammond.

Like the others, Hammond's intelligence grew, and he became more curious about the world around him. Much to the puzzlement and amusement of the scientists, Hammond would frequently escape into different parts of the moon base. Though they'd always find him and return him to his cell, they never figured out the true purpose behind his nightly escapades. What they didn't know was that Hammond was busy teaching himself the skills of a mechanic, which would soon come in handy.

The colony was eventually thrown into chaos when some of the gorillas rose up against the human scientists and took control. Not all of the animals participated, however, and one of the gorillas, Winston, was making a plan to escape to earth. Hammond sensed his opportunity. He built a makeshift capsule and secretly hitched it to Winston's craft as the gorilla blasted off. As the two entered earth's atmosphere, Hammond broke off and landed in a different location: the wasteland of the Australian Outback.

Hammond modified his escape pod to enter the lucrative mech battle arena of the Scrapyard. Working his way up the ranks, "Wrecking Ball" went from contender to champion, though the pilot's identity remained a mystery to all. Gathering his winnings, Hammond was able to upgrade his mech enough to survive the dangerous trek out of the Junker-controlled Outback.

Now free to travel and do as he pleases, Hammond is exploring the world and finding new adventures along the way.

Ability Overview

  • Quad Cannons - Automatic assault weapons.
  • Roll - Transform into a ball and increase maximum movement speed.
  • Grappling Claw - Launch a grappling claw to rapidly swing around the area. Enables high speed collisions to damage and knockback enemies.
  • Minefield - Deploy a massive field of proximity mines.
  • Adaptive Shield - Create temporary personal shields. Amount increases with more enemies nearby.
  • Piledriver - Slam into the ground below to damage and launch enemies upward.

Combat Mode Engaged
Wrecking Ball’s tinkering capabilities and iron-clad mech make him a formidable tank hero, capable of bowling through the front line of the opposition and causing mayhem in the back line. His primary weapon, Quad Cannons, are two sets of twin machine guns that shred enemies caught in their crosshairs. No team is too much for Wrecking Ball to engage against with his Adaptive Shield, which generates more health based on the number of enemies nearby. This shield makes him incredibly difficult to kill when he bulldozes into the fray and, once he starts to get low on health, also provides him the endurance to escape. The Roll ability allows Wrecking Ball to withdraw the mech’s robotic limbs, transforming it into a ball with increased movement speed. No obstacle can stand in Wrecking Ball’s way when he uses Grappling Claw, a short-range ability that grips the environment, letting him swing across terrain gaps or around corners to smash enemies. Grappling Claw also allows Wrecking Ball to reach top speed and ram into foes, dealing destructive damage and knocking them back. While airborne, the mech’s Piledriver ability causes Wrecking Ball to slam down from the air and knock his enemies off their feet.

When Wrecking Ball is at his strongest, he can use Minefield which flings mines onto the ground that deal a considerable amount of damage to enemies unfortunate enough to trigger them.

Rolling Out
As the sixth tank hero in the Overwatch lineup, Wrecking Ball provides disruption while also being an aggressive bruiser that bullies the enemy’s backline, eliminating vulnerable heroes that are left unguarded. He excels at disrupting enemies’ positioning with his Roll and Piledriver abilities while also posing a serious threat if he’s left alone to train his Quad Cannons on key targets.

Wrecking Ball can confidently start team fights at any time by rolling into the enemy team and popping Adaptive Shield, which makes him incrementally more difficult to eliminate for each enemy nearby. If a fight is no longer going in his favor, Wrecking Ball can easily escape from the fray by using Grappling Claw to quickly swing back to the safety of his team. Minefield can prevent enemies from reaching a preferred location or can be dropped on top of them to cause an explosive burst of damage on all foes in a single location. He can also get the drop on his foes by using the Grappling Claw to swing over his enemies, showering Minefield on top of them, and then finishing with Piledriver to pull them into the mines for an explosive burst of damage.

Wrecking Ball is available for testing right now on the Overwatch PTR!

If you’d like to help us hamster—hammer—Wrecking Ball into fighting shape, all you need to do is roll your way onto the PTR, then head to our official forums to report your findings. Click here for more info.
by Published on 2018-06-28 05:33 PM

Overwatch - New Hero: Hammond
A new Overwatch hero has been revealed!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
LFG Feature
It seems like good addition but I don’t see many ppl using it.
There are like only 20 groups on the Eu server (including the ones in progress) most of which aren’t even for comp mode.
I also had very hard time finishing my placement matches for 3vs3 elim mode since there were only 1-2 groups open.

e’re currently filling 140~ groups a minute.
Keep in mind, the system does not show all groups all the time. It won’t show groups that are full and now queued. It also won’t show you groups outside of your skill range or latency threshold.

It is a little awkward when one of the group members leaves. Trying to get that slot refilled is not intuitive when in the menu. If there were something like a “fill slot” button, that would make things even better.
We agree. We have a solution for this in an upcoming patch. (Source)

Upcoming Sombra Changes
Sure. These changes started by seeing how far we could push the duration of her Stealth and Translocator abilities. As we pushed them out, it allowed her to play more and more as an scout/infiltrator for your team and also allowed her more time to pick and choose when and where she popped out to ambush her enemies.

So now she has infinite duration on both Stealth and Translocator, but we had to solve a couple problems that were caused by these changes. For one, she needed to be able to destroy the translocator, or it would often be stuck in some place she didn’t want it to be. To that end, you can now destroy it by looking towards it and pressing the Interact key. Also, Stealth giving you 75% bonus movement speed forever was… a bit strong. This bonus has been lowered to 50%. In addition, she can no longer contest objectives while in Stealth, since she that would just be super frustrating with infinite duration.

These changes are really interesting for her as now she is in complete control over when she reveals herself, allow her to time her hacks better for her team, or go for a back line ambush during a critical moment in a team fight.

I guess that was more than a hint. (Source)

Torbjorn Rework
We don’t have details but it is one of the things that’s actively being worked on. We’ve tried dozens of new abilities and tweaks to the turrets and his gun so far. We have some interesting leads but nothing is solidified yet. I know you’re anxious to hear more details than that but he’s really in a state of flux right now and changing rapidly day to day. When things start to settle down, we’ll communicate more. (Source)
by Published on 2018-06-26 07:44 PM

New Patch - Looking for Group, Symmetra Rework, Buffs & Endorsements
A new Overwatch patch is now live!

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We’re super excited about this patch because we are adding some social features that we hope you guys really like!

First, our Endorsement system. Endorsements give you a way to acknowledge other players for having a positive impact on your gaming experience. We have ways to report people for poor conduct, but now, if you have teammates who coordinated well, a leader who gave great direction, or even someone who was just being positive you can now let them know how much you appreciated it with an endorsement!

Second is Looking for Group. A long-awaited feature that we’ve being dying to get in the game. Looking for group allows you to find like-minded players before you queue to make sure you have the kind of Overwatch experience you want! Things like specifying what game mode want to play, preferring voice chat, and knowing that a player wants to play a certain role before you go into battle together goes a long way toward solid hero compositions and team work. One small tip: Once you have created a LFG group you can browse the list and search for groups that meet your needs and invite them to join up! This is a more proactive approach to getting a group together faster.

We can’t wait for you guys to start using these systems!
Published on 2018-06-21 03:00 PM

Stage 4 is done, marking the end of regular season play and concluding with a week’s worth of crazy upsets. It was wings out for the Valiant, shields down for the Gladiators, and the New York Excelsior went from ever upward to slightly sideways. Throw out everything you think you know, because after four stages, 20 weeks, and over 200 games, these teams still managed to pull out some surprises at the end.

Week 5 Day 1

Match of the Day

Seoul Dynasty vs. Dallas Fuel

This match was a critical one to both teams but for very different reasons. The Seoul Dynasty’s painful latter stage performances still hadn’t put too much of a dent in their early season dominance. A win here would keep them in the running for a playoff berth. Their opponents had long been eliminated from the postseason, but with the rise of Brigitte and stellar performances from Taimou, Seagull, Mickie, and OGE, the Fuel were looking for their first ever stage playoff appearance. Both teams needed a win and both teams worked hard for that win. But Seoul, looking the strongest they have all stage, managed to beat the Fuel 3-1 — embarrassing C9* notwithstanding.

*C9: where your team wins the fight but loses the objective, usually achieved by stepping off the payload/control point in pursuit of your opponent.

Week 5 Day 2

Match of the Day

Houston Outlaws vs. Philadelphia Fusion

These two teams were putting it all on the line for this match. Both needed a win (a common theme for this week) and both needed other teams to lose later in the week. For Houston, a win against Philadelphia wouldn't quite lock in that coveted 6th place spot. They also needed to win again against the NYXL (doable since the NYXL were kinda phoning it in) and they needed Philadelphia to lose against London, and for Seoul to lose against the Gladiators (or somehow come up with a better map differential than Seoul). For Philadelphia it was easier. Win a map or have Seoul or Houston lose either of their matches.

But the first hurdle for both teams was winning this match.

Houston had a horrific C9 on Blizzard World that likely cost them the map. The error traumatized them so much that they won every single map thereafter thus winning the match — a first for the Outlaws, whose every previous engagement with the Fusion resulted in a loss.

Week 5 Day 3

Match of the Day

Los Angeles Valiant vs. Dallas Fuel

The Los Angeles Valiant were in the same position the Boston Uprising were in during Stage 3, pulling off the performances of their careers and fighting their way to a perfect stage. Looking at the matches this week against the San Francisco Shock and the Dallas Fuel, their legacy of being the second team to go 10-0 was all but assured. They wrapped up the game against the Shock with a neat 3-1 and when it was time to face Dallas, a team that has struggled hard for the first three stages and only recently found their footing, it seemed the boys in blue would likely put up a good fight but come out with a loss nonetheless. Except that didn't happen.

Dallas broke the Valiant. Mickie on Brigitte and Taimou on Widow set the Valiant supports in their crosshairs and tore them apart.

With no solid response to the stunning stopping power of Brigitte and Soon having a rough day on Widowmaker, the Valiant had no way to stop the fire from burning away their hopes for a perfect stage. And while this match didn’t secure Dallas’s spot in the stage finals, it was the critical match that finally allowed them to break into the top four teams, a first for a team that, like Seoul, fell short of so many expectations.

Week 5 Day 4

Match of the Day

Philadelphia Fusion vs. London Spitfire

Both these teams have secured their places in the postseason, but for the Fusion, a 4-0 triumph over the Spitfire would be enough to boot Dallas out of the 4th and last spot for the stage playoffs. For London, however, this match meant nothing. All London had to do was take a single map from the Fusion to dent Philadelphia’s map differential just enough to keep them out of the stage finals.

Though the Spitfire didn’t need to win this game, they tried very hard on behalf of Dallas fans everywhere. It might have something to do with Spitfire star Birdring creating his battle tag in honor of his hero Seagull. But try as they might, the Fusion beat them three maps in a row to secure the victory — but not the one they wanted. Not yet.

On the final map — Watchpoint: Gibraltar — after letting Philadelphia cruise through two-thirds of the map, London somehow summoned enough of a defense to keep Philadelphia from completing it entirely. Now all London had to do was push the payload a little further and Dallas would be secure in their stage playoff spot. London worked hard to push the payload within striking distance of a win. But with respawns in favor of Philadelphia and time running out for London, it came down to an overtime push that lasted a minute and twenty-two seconds. It was nearly a full minute and a half of solid team fighting where if any team stepped off the payload for a heartbeat the game would be over. Fortunately, after ultimate after ultimate was exhausted, London was able to keep Philadelphia away from the payload long enough to win.

Though the Spitfire lost the match, their friends in Dallas were very pleased.

The Stage 4 Finals

Los Angeles Gladiators vs Los Angeles Valiant

With the Valiant’s stunning loss to the Fuel, and the Gladiator’s stunning upset of the NYXL, the warriors in purple snatched the top seed and with it, the right to choose their opponent in the Stage 4 finals. When this rule was implemented back in Stage 3, then top seed Boston used it to pick who they thought would be their softest opponents: the Gladiators. They were right. The Uprising trounced the Gladiators and eased their way on into the Finals match and a guaranteed $25,000.

It stands to reason, then, that the Gladiators would follow suit. Before their last minute takeover of the top spot, the Gladiators were facing down a potential match against the NYXL. The Gladiators had an easy choice, the Dallas Fuel. Win against them, and you’re in the finals, guaranteed at least second place worth $25,000.

Against all wisdom, common and business sense, the Gladiators chose their cross town rivals the Valiant, not only for bragging rights, but for us, the fans. The Battle for LA is bar none the hypest matchup in the League. And even though the Valiant have beaten them in 3 out of 4 engagements and looked strong enough to beat them yet again, the Gladiators chose them as their opponents.

The Gladiators took an extreme gamble and lost, but their choice will go down as one of the highlights of the season, where a team truly lived up to the name bestowed upon them. The Gladiators tried, after numerous defeats, to come back with their shields but unfortunately ended up on them.

Dallas Fuel vs. New York Excelsior

The Fuel had one of the best Cinderella runs of the season. A team who had never won more than three games in a stage were now competing in the stage playoffs. I love that most about the League, every stage there’s a team that stuns everybody right into the finals. The Fuel upset Stage darlings the Valiant 3-1, and with NYXL not performing up to par, there was a real chance Dallas could eek out a win if they could catch their opponent off guard.

They didn’t at first. The NYXL cruised to an easy 2-0 lead, but after the half, the Fuel unleashed an uncontrolled burn, bringing the match down to the last point on the tiebreaker map.

Earlier in the season, the Fuel were one of those drama prone teams. Player controversy, coaching issues, even more player controversy (come back healthy and come back soon Effect!) dogged the team’s every step. That they were able to bring the Excelsior, the veritable kings of the League, to nigh annihilation, is worth celebrating.

Stage 4 Grand Finals

Los Angeles Valiant vs. New York Excelsior

At the start of the season, the Los Angeles Valiant were a solid team, albeit one that was still a work-in-progress. Mid season trades netted them Bunny and Custa, and Space turning 18 added yet another valuable player to the roster. The addition of Custa was critical. The former Dallas player transferred his leadership and shot-calling skills to the Valiant and they’ve been on the rise ever since.

This team was the first to beat the unbeatable Excelsior this stage. Now in the grand finals, people wondered if the Stage 2 and Stage 3 champions and the top team in the League by an insurmountable margin, would allow the Valiant to serve them a defeat again. Would the sandbags stay attached or would the Excelsior finally wake up?

For my money, the NYXL woke up. But they had been asleep for so long, taking losses from the Gladiators, the Uprising, and the Valiant, that it took them a little longer than they thought it would to shake the sleep off. Hubris was their downfall. And excellent timing.

The Valiant would full hold the Excelsior on this map; in fact full holds were the theme for this match.

Every map a team was full held, signifying either a laughably weak offense (that NYXL showing on Dorado was weird, Jjonak on Tracer??) or an impregnable defense (the Valiant held off the NYXL for six minutes on the second objective of Hanamura. New York didn’t allow Los Angeles to even get beyond the first one.)

New York needed a win on Blizzard World to tie up the score 2-2. Saebyeolbe looked like the player who would deliver it to them as he’s often the one who performs best when it’s crunch time. But every time Saebyeolbe was in a position to make something happen, the Valiant, either through excellent healing or excellent timing (or Saebyeolbe’s plain ole bad luck from stepping into a Junkrat trap), would shut him down. The Valiant prevented him from making the clutch plays that’s made him one of the premier players in the League.

All the Valiant needed was a single tick on the point, something they easily achieved with a Roadhog/Orisa/Junkrat composition. And just like that, the Valiant snapped the Excelsior winning streak, a well-earned end for one of the most consistent teams in the League.

Final Thoughts

What a ride! After six solid months of the best competitive Overwatch, the absolute pinnacle of the sport, the regular season is finally over.

Usually when things end there’s a bit of sadness and fondness for times gone by, when you close the book on the past and wonder what happens in the future.

Do you want to know what happens in the future? The finals, that's what.

Overwatch League regular season is over but the league's inaugural year is far from over. Starting July 11th, the race to the grand finals begins with the first playoff matches. And looking at the seedings, these matches are going to be the spiciest yet. See you in New York!

Ash, the first of her name, keeper of Zenyatta lore, protector of Hanzo mains and Mother of Shanghai Dragons, is a content writer for the Overwatch section of MMO-C and Gamepedia.

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