Destiny 2: Maybe

Tyler F.M. Edwards over at Superior Realities wasn’t impressed by the Destiny 2 PC beta:

It proved to be a deeply disappointing experience. Not because of anything wrong with the game, but because the beta offered such a small sliver of it as to be entirely pointless.

Having also played the beta I can see where he’s coming from. For someone who never played the console original, there was no tutorial or explanation of what was going on, you are more or less just thrown in and told ‘go’. And there was only really the intro run and a single PvE mission to try out (unless you like PVP).

In fairness to Bungie it was meant to be a beta, not a free ‘check this out’ weekend, or an introduction to the game. However unfortunately for Bungie that’s exactly how a lot of PC players treated it, especially those that always wanted to play Destiny but never owned a console. For those players, it was a bit of a mystery how everything worked, but like any shooter it’s pretty quick to pick up the basics. And I assume the full release will offer a much better paced introduction to the concepts.

I had played Destiny, on PS4, and admired how the game looked and felt, but as usual found a controller hopeless for FPS shooters. So I was super pleased to hear D2 would come out on PC. It seemed to play pretty much exactly the same as the original, though apparently there have been (controversial) changes to loadouts and how you can equip certain weapons. It’s a fast paced, in your face gun shooter, with hordes of faceless aliens and the occasional boss.

After playing the intro I didn’t feel particularly compelled to keep going, but I queued up for The Inverted Spire, the only ‘Strike’ (aka dungeon) available, and I’m glad I did. It was a great showcase of what I assume is D2’s best content (other than raids), a three player fight against the environment and some nasty bosses. It was surprisingly lengthy, and surprisingly challenging in parts. My pug was silent but helpful, rezzing when you were down and even sticking around to retry the boss when we wiped.

It often looks spectacular, particularly some of the set pieces. Massive – really massive – mining equipment grinding a pit into the ground was a highlight, as was coming up against the final boss who drops you through floors and takes a lot of shooting and agility to take down.

My main disappointment is not being able to convince any of my gaming friends to even try the beta. As usual, the social/schedule boss is the hardest to defeat. It seems like the kind of game that would be excellent for a three person team to challenge, particularly if the dungeon quality is maintained throughout. Bungie are spending a lot of time emphasising that D2 missions and raids should require planning before attempting, so a good team and good comms seems like being essential.

So it’s a solid ‘maybe’ – with three like minded players I can imagine it being a compelling challenge, but as a solo player it probably doesn’t offer enough gameplay variation.

(Images borrowed from the Internet, as I forgot to screenshot before it was all over)

Dishonored 2: Mechanical marvels

Dishonored 2 follows in the esteemed footsteps of the first game – both great, involving, story based FPSs. As with the first installment, it wastes no time putting you straight into the game, only this time you have a choice between Corvo (protagonist of the first game) and Emily, the (now) Empress. The choice seems to make a fairly substantial difference to how the game plays out, or at least the reactions to your presence, so it’s not simply window dressing to allow a male or female lead.

You’re introduced to your powers in short order, and spend the game tweaking them via runes and bone charms that are hidden throughout the world. It’s designed to allow you to craft how you want to play: run and gun, hide and sneak, or some combination of both. As in the first game, the vertical movement allowed by your powers opens up the game to great creative ways to progress through levels. There were several levels where I barely touched the ground, instead bampfing around ledges, rooftops and sentry poles with the patrolling guards none the wiser.

The real strength of D2 comes in the level design. Two in particular – the Clockwork Mansion and Aramis Stilton’s Mansion – are stunning pieces of work. The first is, as the label says, made of Clockwork, and you have to learn its mechanical secrets to get through the puzzles and guards. And the the second opens up an entire new time based system that is ingenious and brain stretching to decipher, but the rewards are great when you do.

It’s worth mentioning and applauding how the game treats women: no differently to men. The developers don’t make a fuss about it or single women out, it’s just entirely normal that there are an equal number of female guards and NPCs as there are men. Similarly with the heroes and villains, people are just people rather than being defined by their sex. It’s refreshing and shows how (relatively) easy it is to accomplish balance in a genre that often suffers the reverse.

Entirely worth playing, especially if you play the first one, um, first, as some of the background and echoes of the past come through very strongly in the sequel. Added bonus: if you start now, there’s just enough time to play through before the next expansion – Death of the Outsider – which is due soon.

GW2: Guardian Rangering

Having decided on a Ranger, I suddenly decided I’d better give a Guardian a proper go instead of basing my decision on a single weapon experience (the starter club no less). Leveling the Ranger, I’d seen the Greatsword wielding Guardian’s and decided that looked too fun not to try. Reading too that Rangers with Bears (aka Bearbows – groan) are somewhat mocked made me want to check my decision before going too far.

Sorry, but I like Bears.

And indeed it is way more fun once you have a weapon that suits your playstyle – in my case relentless melee for a melee class. I merrily leveled through Wayfarer Hills again, this time swinging bright arcs of destruction and jumping about with great dexterity. It was markedly harder – though ‘hard’ isn’t quite the right word for the starter zones – than playing a Ranged class. Several times I got overwhelmed by the combat dynamics and on-screen tells, enough to need reviving once. So I can imagine that at higher levels melee would indeed makes things significantly more difficult.

Definitely a great sword

I enjoyed the Guardian, but didn’t enjoy it as much as the Ranger, who felt much more flowing and perpetually moving – the old trick of siccing your pet onto a mob while you quickly mine a node before returning attention to the fight never gets old. And being able to initiate from range speeds things up dramatically, as does moving toward your next target as you fling arrows at the current.

The other thing that swung me back was noticing how many Ranger’s were running around also wielding Greatswords1. It’s taken me this long to realise that you really can have completely different ways of playing a single class based on your kit. It’s quite an innovation when compared to Warcraft, and makes the class choice easier as you don’t feel like you’re missing out. The dramatic changes weapon choice makes means it’s all but impossible for newbie like me to work out what class someone is – which I think is a compliment to the game design.

Yes, it’s a Bear. Kind of.

So back I went to a Ranger, and I leveled a third time2, with a Bear, Longbow, and Greatsword. As in Warcraft, there’s something about starter zones that really work. I also finally dug out a straightforward video by LordWafflez on stats and talents and builds to use for fun Ranger leveling, which helps immensely with the feeling of being inundated with sometimes baffling options. Plus the tips on weapons swapping – I thought that was just for when an enemy got in your face and you were forced to switch to melee, so understanding it could be used proactively was an eye opener.

I’m guessing this is a Thief.

I played through the first Personal Storyline, and it was quite interesting. Some of the plot points resolved very abruptly, and the voice acting was a bit gung ho for my head canon version of me, but the Jotun storyline was effective. I felt sorry for the big oafs.

Friend or foe?

All of which means I’m finally, for the first time since buying GW2 back when it launched, ready to try a second zone. As a Ranger. Definitely a Ranger…

All Bears all the time

(And wow is this is a screenshot worthy game)


  1. And of course I realised later the reverse is also true – ranged Guardians] 
  2. Slightly embarassingly, I didn’t like my name choice and hair for the original character, so ‘had’ to start over. Ahem. 

GW2: This time for sure?

My experiment with TSWL has come to a shuddering halt. While the stories and quests were on the whole quite strong, the relentless dark and gloomy environment in Kingsmouth eventually got to me (especially as it seemed that would be default atmosphere for the entire game).

The combat being so lightweight bugged me, as did all the extra hammer blows I’d throw for no good reason after a mob was downed. I tried Polaris with my friend, which was kind of fun but also weird. Being used to Warcraft dungeons, an empty instance with only a few mobs felt a bit half baked. We got stuck on one boss fight that was quite fun, but after zoning out I didn’t feel compelled to gear up and go back.

Different strokes for different folks though: that same friend is completely addicted and absorbed, the world building being right up his alley. It’s also his first MMO, so he’s probably gone for good – the first one gets hooks in deep.


Next I toyed with Warcraft again, going as far as making a solo guild on my old realm of Nagrand and reuniting all my higher level toons (all still level 100). This involved a few realm transfers, name changes, inventory shuffling, and bank reorganisation.

After all of which I couldn’t get motivated enough to head to Dalaran and start questing. I know better now than to question why Warcraft has this effect, so I logged off and searched for the next thing.


Luckily, the MMO air has been full of excitement about the impending GW2 expansion, Path of Fire. And GW2 has always been a game I’ve wanted to sink into, but never succeeded in getting past level ~10. A new expansion, hype, enthusiasm: if not now, when?

So I patched, researched professions, and decided to give a Guardian a go. First attempt was as a Charr, and much as I like the non human races in MMOs, their movement and hunched over stature just doesn’t work for me. Especially given how glorious some of the late armour models are, I feared the Charr would be a bit like the Tauren where the models don’t quite make the most of the epic design.

Next I tried an Asura, with similar problems, though this time it was more to do with their mechanical infatuation. I’ve always disliked the incursion of machinery and industry into a fantasy world – the Goblin race in Warcraft being a prime example. Their environmental destruction with smoke bellowing engines is hard to forgive, and the introduction of motorised vehicles is an abomination.

So, as usual in GW2, I fell back on the Norn. Don’t like the Elves, and humans are, well, human. So are the Norn I guess, but at least there’s something slightly different about them.


I tried a Guardian in the starter area, but was quickly put off by the fact that the 2nd and 3rd weapon skills aren’t weapons skills at all, but rather area-of-effect protective spells. It’s a bit dull having only one weapon animation and waiting while you place two zoned effects. I’d previously enjoyed the Warrior’s gung ho attitude, but also felt a bit like they didn’t offer anything special.

So I settled on a Ranger. My Warcraft main is/was a Hunter, so I’m comfortable with the style, and was quickly sold on the Rapid Fire skill – great animation and sound, and much more satisfying than a circle on the ground. Plus the option of a pet makes solo exploring more companionable.

One way to hide the unavoidable lipstick

(Of course as soon as I saw my first Charr and Asura I questioned my choice. Same when seeing the Warriors charging in with their insanely huge swords, or Guardians with that great armour and buffing everyone with glee).

I’ve finished up Wayfarer Hills, levelling to 16 on the way. One odd thing I’ve found is you rarely get gear upgrades. I was rocking my starter bow for a long time, and even now half my gear is white quality and ~10 levels lower than I am. I’ve purchased a few pieces from Karma vendors, but suspect that I’ll need to start crafting to make sure I’m staying up to speed. It was taking quite a while for on-level mobs to drop, which was strange after the OP combat of TSWL and Warcraft.

I can’t join in the big debate about difficulty quite yet, as it seems the starter zone is as non-threatening as possible. The only fight that gave pause was an Elite boss that game at the end of a zone. The dynamic quest text suggested this was a group fight, and so it turned out to be. Two of us were attempting it, but it seemed we needed at least a couple more. The NPCs with us kept going down, and there was a new shield health bar on the boss that seemed to need some kind of interrupt to reduce. I found Jeromai’s description of trying to ‘solve’ mechanics in the PoF demo fascinating, but trying to work it out on the fly I couldn’t see any skill I had that might help. We eventually had to abandon when after 20 minutes or so the mob wiped everyone but me, and promptly healed up to full again. Still, the fight didn’t seem unbalanced, more just a little over our heads (I came back later and a group of four managed to take it down with few problems).

I think my bear would look good in that Charr armour

It was also interesting to find that despite GW2’s reputation of ‘play how you want’, I felt more or less led along a fairly predictable path. Follow the Hearts, seek out the Viewpoints and Points of Interest, find the Hero Challenges and Waypoints. It didn’t feel that different to a traditional quest hub style of game. Maybe that changes after the starter zones?

I also found it impossible to resist trying to get 100% zone completion. I read Bhagpuss’s warning that completionist gameplayers may suffer in GW2, but I found that collecting all the exploration goals was a good way of enjoying the zone. It really is a beautiful game to behold, and I was amazed by some of the underground architecture in particular, places I suspect 90% of the player base never ventures as they are slightly off the beaten track. So too the heights, though the Vista seeking means they are probably more commonly enjoyed.

Next up seems to be starting the Living Story, which people seem to rate pretty lowly. But who can resist a sparkling green map marker for long? Certainly not a (semi) completionist like me.

Secret World Legends: Massively single player

Having read a lot about The Secret World, I managed to miss out playing it completely by adding it to my Steam queue about 1 day before it was withdrawn for the rebirth as Legends.

So I’ve come to the ‘new’ game completely blind, and untainted by expectation (other than the much lauded storyline) or experience. Which helps a lot when it comes to enjoying it without having to rue/farewell the good/bad old days.

I’ve levelled up to 10, and the most striking thing about it so far is how it plays like a single player game. While there have been other players, occasionally, for the most part it feels like a solo RPG. Mysteries, quests, power-ups, and a lot of (excellent) NPC dialogue. But not a lot of interaction with other players, nor seemingly any compelling reason to group up.

Admittedly that feeling of solo play started to change in Kingsmouth, but mainly due to world chat suddenly exploding into action. There’s too much chat to really pay attention, especially because the bulk of it is comparison talk – what’s better, what’s worse – but at least it proved there are other players out there. It does sound like group content is approaching – teams for ‘Polaris’ keep being advertised, so that’s promising.

And I think at level 10 something flashed past on the screen about PVP? The UI leaves something to be desired – often I was being awarded something or other but couldn’t see it behind the quest completion or inventory UI. I also have no clue what I’m doing with skill upgrades or talent builds – so far I’ve ignored them and it hasn’t mattered at all.

The combat is also pretty average, as advertised. I chose to roll Demolisher, liking the idea of a hammer-smashing sword-slashing tank, but there is zero ‘feel’ to the melee combat. It has no weight whatsoever, the hits don’t connect with any heft, and it seems that just mashing right and left mouse will do the job. Even with the world bosses, the only minor challenge has been to dodge the action telegraphs. The airiness, more than the clumsiness, of the combat is disappointing, even with low expectations.

As for the story, it’s certainly far more involved than Warcraft or GW2, approaching SWtoR in terms of craft and depth. SWtoR still wins hands down for the feeling of heroism, that you matter and your character is shaping epic events, but TSWL is proving to be a refreshing change to the fantasy and sci-fi tropes. Wry humour and well written NPCs, and an omnipresent tone of everything in the world being slightly – but not totally – off kilter.

A friend is also playing, and it’s his first ever MMO. Which is kind of unfortunate as it’s hardly that thus far, but we’re going to team up and see what eventuates. More zombies, I’m guessing.

Warcraft: Back to Basics

After a fairly long break, the Warcraft itch returned recently. I haven’t played at all for months, having been dabbling around in Uncharted I (fun, quick, entertaining), play-by-email Civ VI (thanks to the genius behind Play Your Damn Turn), and Overwatch (still, though a lot less). It become obvious the MMO urge was back when I started patching GW2, SWtoR, and even LotRO recently (without really playing any of them). I eventually admitted to myself that Warcraft was what I was really hankering for.

In some ways this seemed kind of regressive, as Jeromai at Why I Game recently pondered – why do we continually return to the comfort of what we know when there is so much new to play out there? But then I think that comfort is part of the point – having invested enough time to really deeply understand a game, especially an MMO, makes playing it that much more satisfying. The best answer is to balance your ‘main’ game with others, though sometimes an MMO makes that difficult, particularly if you’re raiding.

If it was going to be Warcraft, I figured I wanted to start again (yet again). That seems to be a common pattern – come back and level 3 or 4 Tauren through Mulgore. I must have done that zone 100s of times. I love the feeling of openness, the rolling plains, Tallstriders, and wandering Kodo (never to be killed). I also love low level levelling, it’s so satisfying seeing new skills arrive that radically change your play style, as your character takes shape. Bhagpuss wrote it best in a lovely treatise on the joy of low level play:

There really is nothing to match the satisfaction, the involvement, yes, the immersion. Stepping out in rags with a rusty sword or a knobbled stick, making your way in a hard, harsh world, being useful, helpful and always, of course, violent. Learning a craft, finding a path, seeing your rags turn to riches or at least to leathers.

Taming pets, earning mounts, flourishing your first cloak. Seeing your reputation rise. Watching the world open up around you. Making space to stash the treasures you find. Paying the rent on your first home and laying down the pelt of that great bear you slew, in front of a roaring fire you made all on your own.

As has been extensively discussed, one problem with low level play is that you quickly outzone the content, especially when decked out in heirloom gear. The ‘vanilla’ discussion is as lively as ever, but still seems unlikely to ever really happen (though the advent of Starcraft Remastered might be a glimmer of hope for the olde skool WoW fans).

So I decided to create my own vanilla, by creating a new account and playing the free level 1-20 Starter Edition. No heirlooms, no money, no bags, no speed running.

And it was fun! The level progression is slower, though surprisingly not by much. Blizzard did to a revamp of low level quest pacing back in mid 2016, and it seems to work if you’re not over geared. I was right around the correct level for everything I was doing in Mulgore, even having to go and pick a few random herbs at one point to get high enough level to tame Mazzranache (though gosh the guilt at leaving little Hazzranache, Razzranache, Jazzranache, and Spazzranache orphaned is pretty bad).

The Mazzranache family

There was still no challenge, everything dropping like flies (albeit with a few more hits than normal), but it was more fun having to watch every copper and celebrate every 6 slot bag drop (tip: kill the rares – except the sacred Kodo Arra’chea of course). Having no resources also made professions more interesting, and starting fishing from scratch was entertaining in a sadistic kind of way.

As usual I got to Thunder Bluff, and promptly found the idea of going any further kind of overwhelming. It’s a long path ahead, and some of the levelling zones have worn out their welcome. At this point I usually abandon my best intentions of zone and quest levelling and just dive into dungeons as a Tank, getting to Outland in no time by chain dungeoning. But this time that seemed wrong, these toons are not speed levellers1, they should stay the course, or just make a home in the Tauren capital and go no further.

So I’ve settled my well rounded level 15s in Thunder Bluff, and stopped again. The next decision is whether to resubscribe and get some toons to level 110 – mainly my Hunter and Rogue (the Rogue being my very first WoW character, still going). I’m sorely tempted, but then The Secret World Legends is intriguing, Dishonored 2 sits in the queue, and finishing Geralt’s journey in Witcher 3 is also a possibility.

But I think getting at least someone at 110 is a good plan, and after all, more than one game at a time should be possible – or twelve, if you’re Syp!


  1. Plus I’d have to make a financial commitment to get these characters past 20. 

Overwatch Uprising: it’s over 9 thousand!

Thanks to a handy infographic published by Blizzard, we know that the two week PvE Uprising brawl in Overwatch racked up 145 million games during its stay. That’s a big number. Let’s break down the numbers.

The big picture
First of all we learn that the bad guys won more often than the goodies. That came as a surprise I think, but the reason is revealed a bit further down. Meanwhile:

PC non-master race?
That’s an even bigger number. I almost feel sorry for the robots. But not for the confounded Bastion tanks in the last room – reason one for the Omnic’s racking up 11 million more victories. Next:

The truth is revealed
And there’s reason two. Legendary mode had a staggeringly low win-rate of 0.6%. This is the most interesting graphic of the whole thing, revealing that Blizzard aren’t afraid to completely stomp even their best players. The 50% drop off from Normal to Hard is also worth noting – it was a much more difficult ramp up than say the Normal/Heroic switch in Warcraft. After one success in Hard mode my random group of strangers stuck together to try Expert and we were completely annihilated, so I now understand why players screamed with triumph when they beat Legendary. Like winning ye olde Stranglethorn Fishing comp, but harder. And finally:

Extrapolating
If my shaky maths is right, that’s over two billion minutes played. 2,415,405,127 to be precise1. 40 million hours. 1.5 million days. My brain is hurting.

Fair to say Uprising was a success then. Time to go look at some nature. After just one more game.


  1. Actually not precise at all, but close enough. 

Not so creative Ashes

The new MMO hotness – at least until the next Kickstarter – is Ashes of Creation, which has surpassed $1.5m in funding from hungry fans. That’s a lot of faith in an unseen digital product, especially when compared to something like the Weta Workshop Heavy Hitters Kickstarter which raised $935k for a very impressive looking boardgame.

The Kickstarter is pretty standard, offering beta access and various levels of shiny limited pixels for getting on board. Nothing terribly compelling, though two people have taken up the $10k ‘Avatar of the Phoenix’ pledge, so I guess a launch party in Vegas works for them. I’m not that interested in beta play, something I discovered once receiving the Crowfall beta invite. I dutifully installed, logged on, made a mighty minotaur, found an entirely empty world, and logged out again. Haven’t been back, but I like the idea being able to once things get a bit more interesting.

Having become intrigued by AoC based on their node hype videos, it was surprising to find that the Kickstarter actually made me less inclined to support the game. Which I’m sure wasn’t the intended effect.

The main problem is the incredibly boring race options. Bhagpuss sums it up perfectly:

There’s quite a lot of new information (or at least new to me) on the game itself. It details the eight races and the eight class archetypes for a start.

Boy, do they look bland.

When I heard they were starting with eight races I was hoping for the chance to play something other than the usual: human, human with pointy ears, ugly human or short human. Ashes of Creation gives you Human, Elf, Orc and Dwarf. So much for that, then.

Also, splitting your four races in two does not give you eight races. Just sayin’.

Precisely. Like SWtoR before it, AoC has taken a fantasy world that could be populated with literally any kind of creature, and given us a choice of four humans. So dull! Our only hope for something different comes from the just revealed $2.5m stretch goal, which teases of a mysterious ‘beast like’ Underrealm race.

Some kind of…shadow monster? With a tail??

Less worrying, but still kind of blah, are the character classes, which fit every archetype like a glove, with little imagination. They even go so far as to name the tank class a…’Tank’. I only wish they had gone the whole hog and called the healer ‘Heals’. I’m kind of hoping they are reverting to some kind of vanilla MMO basics in order to reinvent the whole paradigm. The pedigree of the team would support that admittedly hopeful hypothesis.

Speaking of the team, it’s a little concerning to see the 13 person team includes all of one woman, and she is (of course) the Community Manager. Which is a vitally important role, but it reeks of the (still sadly true) corporate cliche of the only woman on the management team being from HR.

Despite all that, I happily jumped on board at the second lowest tier. Friends asked what was the point of Kickstarting (and Syp asked himself the same question, and that’s a valid question given the sub model. For me it’s worth backing these things just for the gentle entertainment of seeing progress and updates and vaguely participating in the entire process of making a game. Once the inevitable mid-development malaise sets in, I’ll just be skimming – or more like ignoring (hi, Crowfall) – the email spam.

But then will come that magical day when we can logon to a brand new world and see what wonders and mysteries it reveals. Worth $40, easy.

Uprising: Overwatch PVE

In a not-quite-surprising but also quite-suprising move, the Overwatch team has introduced a PVE mode called ‘Uprising’ for the latest limited time patch. It’s not-surprising because they’ve done it before (with ‘Junkenstein’s Revenge’), but what is surprising is how they’ve suddenly made an Overwatch PVE game – dare we say an Overwatch MMO1 – seem possible.

Reinhardt and Torb were grizzled from birth.

Uprising is basically an MMO dungeon, rendered in the high-pace high-colour Overwatch universe. If you’ve ever played an MMO you’ll instantly be at home: there’s mini-bosses, routes, timers, tactics, and hard-modes. It even introduces and demands the (accursed?) trinity – tank/healer/DPS – to the game. It’s a nice change of pace to the more chaotic PVP play and has been extremely well received.

Funnily enough it also introduces some of the same problems MMO dungeons have. The first time I played it was several days after launch, and by then it seemed like most players already knew exactly what routes to take, what shortcuts, where the trash would spawn, and when to burn cooldowns. So coming in cold was instantly difficult as the expectation was go-go-go, the bane of MMO dungeon running if you prefer a more measured approach.

Being Blizzard they were obviously expecting this, and have countered it a little by making four difficulty modes similar to the Normal/Heroic/Mythic steps in Warcraft et al, including a final ‘Legendary’ mode that has even hardcore players struggling. Even the first step up from Easy to Hard mode makes it clear that the go-go-go approach won’t work for long, and that a little caution and communication is required.

Purple people eaters.

Which is all very smart stuff if you’re preparing/training/testing your player base to see how a PVE game might work. Jeff Kaplan has hinted at more games in recent interviews, including this quote buried in an article about Overwatch character diversity on Polygon:

We think of Overwatch as being beyond the 6v6 shooter. We think of it as a universe we hope to build many games in some day.

Of course he would say that, and it’s also fairly flimsy ‘evidence’2, but there is obviously the possibility that Titan will raise phoenix-like from the incredible success of Overwatch. Which would make for an amazing story in itself given that title’s fraught history. In Reinhardt’s words, bring it on.


  1. Did someone mention Titan? 
  2. Half Life 3 confirmed. 

Overwatch positivity

In between tackling bigger games I’m still dabbling in Overwatch, and have recently stumbled upon some good resources for learning more about playing better.

First, and maybe surprisingly given it’s rep, there’s a pretty good Reddit group called Overwatch University. The name says it all, but one of the nice things seems to be the encouragement of positive feedback to even simple questions.

The second, and best, is a YouTube channel run by Skyline. This is a great resource full of educational stuff about heroes, maps, strategies, etc. Skyline is an extremely good communicator and teacher, but most of all he’s also pushing the positivity barrow. When he’s analysing VODs submitted by players, he takes a good humoured and encouraging line on everything he talks about, no matter how un-optimal some of the submissions are. It’s super refreshing – his ‘highlighted’ video is basically a recommendation that ‘having fun’ is the best way to get better. Wise words for any game.

Finally there was a good spontaneous Reddit AMA from Overwatch boss Jeff Kaplan, who has emerged as the Ghostcrawler of the OW team. He’s very open, communicates often, and the AMA is a good example of why the game maintains popularity despite nerfs, buffs, and loot box controversy. Plus, you learn excellent facts like:

The first hero we implemented was Tracer. We did not have any animations or gun models. So she shot laser beams from her eyes.

LASER BEAM EYE TRACER. YES!