Blizzard hosted the 10th annual Blizzcon this past weekend (4-6 November) and naturally Overwatch, the company's wildly successful first person shooter, took centre stage. Some of the news to come from the show was expected, some not, and there was one announcement that was well overdue.
Here's everything that was announced at the show, starting with the long-awaited new hero to join the game's ranks: Sombra. Teased for months ahead of the show, Sombra was finally unveiled as an offense character with hacking, teleportation and cloaking abilities.
These abilities were highlighted in a new short film called Infiltration, which also starred existing Overwatch characters Reaper and Widowmaker.
Sombra's first ability allows her to sprint while invisible to enemy players, her second sees her throw a projectile she can then teleport too. Her third ability allows her to hack other players to disable their own abilities.
Sombra's ultimate is an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) that disables the abilities and active shields of players within its vicinity. Her base weapon is a fully-automatic machine pistol for short to mid-range combat. You can see her in action here.
The other big news from Blizzcon is that Activision Blizzard are setting up an official professional eSports league for Overwatch – something CEO Bobby Kotick let slip in late October. The league will see teams representing cities from around the world that consist of players Activision Blizzard will insist are offered the stability of a contract.
Try-outs, in the form of a "combine", will take place early next year before the first season of the Overwatch League begins. This will allow talented players to stand out ahead of a signing period where teams are finalised. The subsequent season of play (in front of live audiences of course) will be followed by playoffs and finals.
Everything was explained in this video, embedded below. Given Blizzard's eSports expertise with Starcraft 2, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, this will be an eSport to keep an eye on.
Blizzard announced that the Weekly Brawl will be replaced, or rather, folded into, a new Arcade Mode that will house old brawl modes, special rulesets (no switching characters for example) and new 3v3 and 1v1 modes.
Two new maps were also announced as well. Ecopoint: Antarctica is a small arena map set in a scientific outpost, Oasis is a Control map set in a "shining jewel of prosperity surrounded by a lifeless desert," according to a press release.
Quickplay, like Competitive Play, will soon also have a one-hero limit – meaning players will only be able to play as an entire team of Winstons in Arcade Mode.
Sombra, Arcade Mode and the Ecopoint map will be available to play on PC through the Public Test Region (PTR) this week. Console players will have to wait.