Arts & CultureVideo Games

Gaming Week In Review: ‘Minecraft’ update, ‘Overwatch’ Sombra patch is live, reddit creates ‘Battleborn’ day

Minecraft’s new Exploration update adds a host of new features to the esteemed crafting game, including llamas, woodland mansions and maps to special locations.

Minecraft built its legacy by taking a relatively simple premise and perpetually adding new and sometimes unexpected features. From ocelots and horses to NPC villages and abandoned fortresses, the developers of the game have been drip feeding new content to its fans for more than seven years. Even the purchase of the company, Mojang, by Microsoft has yet to put a dent in their trendsetting and untraditional development process.

Minecraft Patch 1.11 is here. The latest additions to the game include a host of new features meant to reignite the desire to explore the game’s randomly generated world.

First, there’s a new randomly-generated structure to explore, namely woodland mansions inhabited by outcast villagers (dubbed Illagers) and a newly named mini-boss, the Evoker. If you’re worried about finding this new locale, cartographer villagers from the game’s randomly-generated villages now sell maps to the new location as well as maps to the underwater temples added in a previous patch.

If your Minecraft endeavors tend to be more agriculturally focused, llamas have also been added to the game. They can be saddled with a rug, which will then have up to ten nearby llamas follow suit to form a caravan for all your mass-exodus-related needs.

The patch is currently live and you can read a full list of the new additions here.

Watch the trailer below:

Overwatch update brings new hero, Sombra, and some significant tweaks to the game’s progression system.

A little over a week after crashing Blizzcon 2016, Overwatch’s newest hero, Sombra, has been added to the game. She brings with her a host of major changes to both the available game modes and the game’s cosmetic-based progression system.

First, quickplay has been changed to a 6v6, one hero limit game mode. It functions more like a lighter version of the full game’s ranked competitive mode. To fill the gap, Blizzard has added a variety of ways to play in the new Arcade mode section. From here you can choose a variety of new ways to play, including 1v1 duels, 3v3 face-offs and even a new iteration of the former 6v6 no hero limit quickplay mode.

The 1v1 duel and 3v3 face-off modes award a cosmetic loot box for the first win of the day and players can earn up to three additional loot boxes for winning up to seven games in any arcade mode throughout the week.

Additionally, the game’s leveling system experience requirements have been greatly reduced, meaning players will level up significantly faster and likewise earn cosmetic loot boxes at a faster rate.

Watch the patch trailer below:

Battleborn players organize an event called “Battleborn Day” in order to draw attention to the underplayed title.

Battleborn is a game that entered the market at an unfortunate time. Being thematically and mechanically similar to Blizzard’s titanic hero-shooter Overwatch, Battleborn was mostly overlooked and seen as either a poor competitor or inferior clone of the powerhouse title. But the game has managed to maintain a relatively small yet genuinely committed community in the months since its release — so committed that they’ve gone above and beyond to put together their own social event to bring in new players.

“Battleborn Day,” dubbed so by members of the game’s official subreddit and adopted by the developers, was an event orchestrated by fans who felt the game needed a boost in players. Engineered to provide a friendly and welcoming environment to new players, the event encouraged veteran players to equip their legendary gear, coach newbies and otherwise take it easy for the day so as not to have new players be crushed immediately.

The event eventually grew in scope and popularity until the game’s developers took notice and subsequently decided to join in on the fun. To help celebrate and promote “Battleborn Day,” they made each of the game’s 29 heroes temporarily available to play, doubled all forms of player progression — such as experience and in-game currency — and introduced a 20 percent discount on all items in the game.

Battleborn Day” itself was successful overall, with players reporting queue times at an all time low due to the abundance of new players; however, we’ll have to wait and see if it will have any long-term effects on the game’s overall player base.

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Mathew Brock

Mathew Brock