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In a stirring example of “ask and you shall receive,” Blizzard Entertainment is launching World of Warcraft Classic on August 27 worldwide. It’s out a day earlier in the US, August 26, at 3 pm Pacific/6 pm Eastern.
The launch will be preceded by a “small-scale, focused closed beta test” to help stress test the servers. Active WoW subscribers can opt into the closed beta via Blizzard account management. The closed beta will run from May 15 through July. Players will have a greater chance to join during the three stress test periods that run throughout the summer.
- Stress Test 1: Wed May 22–Thurs May 23
- Stress Test 2: Wed Jun 19– Thurs Jun 20
- Stress Test 3: Thurs Jul 18– Fri July 19
Opting into the closed beta does not guarantee a spot. Participants will be chosen based on different factors, including how long they’ve subscribed to World of Warcraft, with Blizzard seeking “the right mix of players.”
WoW Classic is a uniquely retro version of the behemoth MMO that brings the gameplay, world, and progression back to the year 2006, just before the launch of the Burning Crusade expansion. Also referred to as Vanilla WoW, fan-created emulated servers of the classic MMO had been previously shut down by Blizzard. After claiming that it was impossible to do, Blizzard has now reversed course due to fan demand.
Wow Classic servers will use the 1.12 patch, and gradually roll out new content and features similarly to the original schedule over a decade ago. This includes the gradual roll out of the PvP and Battlegrounds systems.
Active subscribers will be able to claim their character name in WoW Classic beginning on August 13, when character creation becomes available. WoW Classic will be freely included in regular World of Warcraft subscriptions, which remains $15/month.
Wow Classic will launch on August 26 on PC (Blizzard Launcher). It’s rated T for Teen.
Digital PC game store GOG added a seminal classic of PC gaming to its library: 1996’s Diablo. For the first time you can now purchase Diablo outside of Blizzard (or retail), for $9.99. It does not include the 1997 Hellfire expansion, which was released by a different company.
Like many of GOG’s rereleases, Diablo has been closely preserved to its original release, with 20 FPS SVGA graphics. Up to four players can journey beneath Tristram together through direct IP connection or the older version of Blizzard’s Battle.net multiplayer lobby. Note that playing online requires opening up ports and your firewall as Diablo predates modern online safeguards.
A few tweaks and updates have been included to support modern PCs, including Win 10 support and proper upscaling for higher resolutions.
While not the first dungeon crawling loot fest, Diablo is often considered the grandfather of the entire genre. Play a warrior, rogue, or sorcerer and explore randomly generated dungeons, fight monsters, and nab loot. Diablo was a huge success that begat an entire genre of co-op hack ‘n slash games that persists to this day.
Diablo was the most requested game on GOG. To this day it’s often voted as one of the best and most influential games of all time. Though its gameplay hasn’t aged quite as well, with clunky controls and muddy graphics. Diabl0 2, released in 2000, was a massive improvement in every way, and is even more highly regarded. Diablo 2 is currently available via Blizzard’s store.
Diablo represents the first of several classic Blizzard games that will make their way onto GOG. The partnership is due to the fact that these games’ older infrastructure prevent them from being sold and played via Blizzard’s modern Battle.net digital storefront. Blizzard’s solution is to remake them, such as with 2017’s StarCraft Remastered and WarCraft 3 Reforged, coming later this year. The original Warcraft 1 and 2 will be coming to GOG as well.
Diablo is rated M for Mature.
If you’re staring down the barrel of a week-long holiday this Thanksgiving, Blizzard has at least one suggestion. Overwatch will be free to play beginning November 20 until November 26 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The Overwatch Free Trial includes access to four game modes, all 19 maps, and all 29 heroes, including the recently added gunslinger Ashe. New Accounts will be able to level up, earn loot boxes and gain new skins, sprays, poses and other rewards.
Since progress is tied to your account, any progress made during the free trial will carry over if you decided to purchase Overwatch after the free trial period has ended. Trophies and achievements are disabled during the free trial, however.
Note that playing Overwatch on consoles requires Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscriptions.
For players who link their Twitch and Blizzard accounts, you can earn special limited Ashe-themed sprays during the free trial period.
To access Overwatch on PC during the free trial you’ll need to download the Blizzard Battle.net app, create a Blizzard account, and install the game. For PlayStation and Xbox, simply search for Overwatch in their respective stores and download the Free Trial version.
Console players will be able to pre-load the Overwatch Free Trial now.
The Overwatch Free Trial begins Nov. 20 at 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern.