PlayStation Announces New Partnership With Discord!

Discord and PlayStation (R) Logos DVS does not own the rights to these images.

Yesterday PlayStation made a brief announcement on their blog, here, about their new partnership with the Gamer-focused chatting service Discord. This news coming in hot after talks broke down from a recent development with Microsoft/ Xbox, who were looking to acquire Discord for 10 billion dollars. Not much is known as to why they decided to turn down the offer in favor of a partnership but, it looks like Sony/ PlayStation will be taking the lead on this one. 

In their blog, Playstation also announced we could see the fruits of this partnership as early as next year. Integrating, Discord into their existing chat feature on console and mobile. Seemingly from the blog post, PlayStation is more in line with Discord’s vision of community first, but little has been said about what this could mean for either company moving forward. 

Becoming a minority investment stakeholder in Discord’s series H round leaves both giants open to explore how to develop their partnership while leaving the companies to grow individually. There are many expectations for both companies to wow their audience with how this partnership formed. 

Discord has been around for quite a while, est. 2015, and has been steadily growing in the gaming industry and got a profound hike in usability during the Covid-19 Pandemic. While not the most user-friendly chatting software to use, it was integral in bringing family and friends together to enjoy everything from reunions to game nights. Used all over by podcasters and streamers in the gaming industry, it is no wonder we have seen Discord popping up a lot in the news lately. 

Playstation has a much longer history in the gaming industry with its creator/investor Sony. Est. 1994, PlayStation has been a major player in the gaming industry ever since. While they have acquired many companies to increase their standing, taking the role of partner this time seems to have worked in their favor. 

Stay tuned to DVSGaming for more news, reviews, and updates to come!

Jeff Kaplan Leaves Blizzard Entertainment

Jeff Kaplan, the game director of Overwatch, has parted ways with Blizzard Entertainment after 19 years with the company. Kaplan started out as a game designer on World of Warcraft in 2002, developing quests for the iconic MMORPG. He was credited as a game director for World of Warcraft before leading Project Titan from 2009 to 2014. Elements of Project Titan eventually made their way into Overwatch, where Kaplan served as game director until today.

Kaplan oversaw the iconic game’s development, which won numerous Game of the Year awards and resurrected the team-based shooter genre. Overwatch‘s popularity also spawned an esports league called the Overwatch League, which is currently in its fourth season. He announced his departure in a letter on Blizzard’s website. You can read the full text of the letter below.

Greetings, Overwatch Community,

I am leaving Blizzard Entertainment after 19 amazing years.

It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience. I want to express my deep appreciation to everyone at Blizzard who supported our games, our game teams and our players. But I want to say a special thanks to the wonderful game developers that shared in the journey of creation with me.

Never accept the world as it appears to be. Always dare to see it for what it could be. I hope you do the same.

GG,
Jeffrey Kaplan

Development on Overwatch and Overwatch 2 will continue with assistant game developer Aaron Keller as the new game director. “Jeff’s been a great leader, mentor, and friend, and he knows how much we’re going to miss him,” Keller wrote in a letter to the community. “I’ve been lucky to work alongside him and the rest of the Overwatch team for many years in building something that continues to inspire people all around the world, and I’m honored to carry the torch forward.”

Fry’s Electronics: An Obituary (1985-2021)

Like a certain iconic electronic music duo that also disbanded this week, Fry’s Electronics is no more. For me, that is a big deal. Fry’s Electronics was one of the biggest electronics stores that I frequented growing up. There were TVs, computers, video games, mobile phones, appliances, tools, toys, books, software, hardware, and in some locations, restaurants. At one point, one could spend hours in Fry’s looking at the massive selection of products they had to offer. Before you headed to the checkout line, there was also a huge selection of snacks for your gaming sessions, including organic sour gummy worms and some extremely rare snacks that I still can only find online (looking at you, Mauna Loa Kona Coffee Glazed Macadamia Nuts).

When Fry’s chose to close up shop on February 24, 2021, this put an end to an electronics retailer that offered far more than just products—they offered services such as PC building, audio installation, the list goes on and on. The very first parts that would end up in my PC came from Fry’s Electronics. It was also an excellent place to find the latest video games. Even the tiniest electronic parts could be found at Fry’s, like those little transistors that go in some circuit board for some project. Another thing that caught customers’ eyes were the thematic stores. The location in Palo Alto, California was Wild West-themed, while the location in Sacramento was Gold Rush-themed. One of my favorites, the original Sunnyvale location, detailed the history of Silicon Valley, while the Las Vegas location (where I live now) was Las Vegas Strip-themed (obviously).

While there is no doubt that Fry’s has had a reputation among customers as being empty shells of their former selves in more ways than one even before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an institution that has fostered my interest in consumer electronics that led me to build my first PC a decade ago. From the early 2000s to the mid-2010s, I frequented Fry’s at least once a month (if not more frequently) with my family and friends. While the writing was on the wall in the late 2010s, it took a global pandemic to put the final nail in the coffin of Fry’s Electronics.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/14841739_web1_frys.jpg?crop=1

On their website, Fry’s said: “After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics, Inc. (“Fry’s” or “Company”), has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Company will implement the shut down through an orderly wind down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the Company, its creditors, and other stakeholders. The Company ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on February 24, 2021. It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.”

It’s been a great run, and may all their employees land on their feet and find something new as soon as possible.

Mega Modz PlayStation 4 controller review: perks make all the difference

When it comes to owning a controller, people usually like the default options provided by first-party companies, mainly because they’re both dependable and affordable. But there are also companies out there that offer modified third-party models, featuring modifications to improve performance in a number of other areas, such as remappable buttons and even additional buttons for extra functionality.

This is where Mega Modz comes in. It’s a company that provides modified controllers for some additional cost but makes up for it with extra built-in features. For instance, the PlayStation 4 controller they sent us for review includes two rear buttons, so that you can save your thumbs the wear and tear on the face buttons – or maybe even as additional triggers, in case you want to give your fingers a break. But is the extra cost worth it…?

Building your own controller

The first step to making your own controller is setting up your design on the Mega Modz page. The company already offers a number of pre-made ones, including the outer space-themed one we chose to review. From there, you can add extra custom parts, including colored D-pad and face buttons, along with other features. The control sticks can’t be changed completely in color, but the insides can match up with whatever design you wish, to add that extra flourish for a few dollars more.

Yes, we got funky with our design.

From there, you can decide which mods you want to be put into the controller. These include trigger locks for more refined handling of fire and aim buttons with first-person shooters; or the aforementioned remappable buttons, in case you want to put a certain move somewhere than originally intended. You can also ask for the additional buttons to be installed, right alongside the grips on the rear of the controller. They’re actually handier than you might think, especially if you want to give those worn down trigger fingers a break.

Some functions are easier to put onto the PS4 controller than the Xbox One, if only because of Microsoft’s somewhat stern build designs for its devices. Still, the features available here are pretty nice, no matter which console you want to go for. Hopefully, we’ll see the team expand into Switch Pro Controller territory fairly soon, as we know a few fans that would love those.

Handles like a charm

For the most part, Mega Modz’ take on the custom controller handles just as nicely as the routine PlayStation 4 pad. The analog sticks had no trouble when it came to making our character perform their actions on-screen; and the buttons, even with the changed-out color design, were just as smooth as the previous ones. The only real difference with the parts is that the D-pad is slightly “mushier” than the regular edition, though it still performs reasonably well.

As far as the mods go, they’re up to par. The rapid-fire mod should be ideal for those that want to get some additional firepower going within their games (if it’s not already an option available by default); and the rear buttons work admirably, though there are times that the button fell off a couple of times during some rough-and-tumble sessions. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to re-apply and get back into the game.

As for the build itself, it’s solid, with the designed shell holding together on the controller very nicely. And with the different designs available, you should have no trouble finding something your speed.

The rear buttons are small but very effective.

Regarding cost, the Mega Modz PS4 controller can set you back somewhere around $150 or so, depending on the model and the mods you choose to install into it. That may be somewhat steep for some, but Mega Modz backs their controllers with top-notch performance and service, so you’ll have no trouble staying on top of your game.

We haven’t had a chance to see the Xbox One model in action just yet. However, judging by what others say, the new analog sticks put onto the Xbox One Elite pads are somewhat strong. We’ll have to see what’s offered down the road.

Mega Modz is a mega improvement

While there are other controllers on the market to choose from, Mega Modz’ PS4 pad is a good choice for those looking to get the most out of their games. The addition of mods is rather cool, particularly when it comes to the rear buttons; and a good portion of the build is strong and sturdy, backed by customer service as needed. Plus, the designs are really cool, as you can see on the company’s main page.

If you’ve got a few extra bucks set aside and want a controller that really gives you your money’s worth, this is a Mega choice for your peripheral collection.

RATING: 8/10

A tad high on price, but Mega Modz includes enough features in its controllers to make it worthwhile.

Simple Tips and Tricks for Newest Overwatch Hero Echo

How to Play as Echo

Echo is currently live on Overwatch servers, and you’ll be hard-pressed to play a quick-play match without her flying around the skies on one team or the other. Because she’s so new to the game, most people have not figured out the best way to play her; we’re all just experimenting and learning at our own pace. After a little bit of research – and a lot of in-game practice – I’ve found a couple tips and tricks to playing Overwatch‘s newest hero.

Tip 1: Play With a Mercy

Tip one has less to do with the Echo player and more the heroes that make up the rest of her team. If you’re lucky enough to be queueing with a group, this tip should be easy enough. You’re going to want a Mercy on your team. Now, I’m not claiming that other supports don’t have the capabilities to keep Echo in tip-top shape, they most certainly do, but pairing Mercy with Echo can make for a deadly duo.

Echo can launch herself in the air and glide as she falls – a combination of Pharah and Mercy’s flight abilities. Because of this, Echo is reminiscent of the Pharmercy combo many players despise. It’s hard to focus an airborne Echo with a Mercy in her pocket, and killing a Mercy protected by an Echo can be just as challenging. That’s why the combination works so well.

Tip 2: Understand the Beam

At first, I thought Echo’s beam felt pretty weak. It hardly does any damage and doesn’t feel like a viable attack option. The beam ability does 50 damage per second for 2.5 seconds, which isn’t that bad, but it most likely won’t help you secure a kill. On the other hand, if the enemy is under 50% health, the beam does 200 damage per second. That means if your tracking is perfection, you could do a total of 500 damage in one use of the ability. On top of everything, this ability also works on shields. Once a barrier starts showing cracks, which only happens once it’s under half health, using Echo’s beam can shred through the shield’s remaining health.

Tip 3: Practice Duplicate

Echo”s ultimate, Duplicate, allows her to copy an enemy player and turn herself into them, abilities included. Does your team need more healing output for the last push? Now you have a third support. Need more damage? Echo copied the enemy reaper, and now their team’s tanks don’t stand a chance. Her ultimate depends heavily on timing, as most do, and you need to know when the best time to invest is, or when you should back out.

Echo’s Ultimate Duplicate Courtesy of Destructoid

The best way to use this ability is to get up in the sky. When you have a bird’s eye view, it’s much easier to pick and choose your Duplicate target. One of the best heroes to duplicate right now is Reinhardt. This choice gives your team an extra shield, not that the copy is going to use it, as well as a target to tank more damage if necessary. One of the best things about this Reinhardt duplicate is that the Echo can charge in without worrying about death. If she loses all her health, she reverts back to her original form and can fly right on out of the fight. If you manage to build up the copy’s ultimate, which you probably will, your hammer down can change the whole flow of the battle.

Be careful though, if the target you’re intending to copy is close to death, you might miss out on the window to Duplicate them.

Tip 4: Know When Echo isn’t Working

Echo is similar to Pharah, and we see a lot of the same counters between both characters. A good Widomaker, Ashe, or McCree can take Echo out of the sky before she has time to do anything, and a competent Sombra can keep her on the ground indefinitely. If the enemy team suddenly switches to hard counter your Echo, it may be time to switch it up. Of course, don’t expect anybody to give up Echo at this point in the game. A new hero will be all the rage for a few weeks, but once the hype dies down, common sense should rear it’s head again.

Michael Chu Leaves Blizzard

Lead Overwatch Writer Searches for New Opportunities

After 20 years at Blizzard, Overwatch lead writer Michael Chu is leaving the company to pursue other adventures. Chu is a significant contributor to the ongoing Overwatch lore and story outside of the game. He’s written many of the hero’s origin stories and flushed out the universe in which the game takes place both through comics and short fiction. Two of Chu’s pieces, “Bastet” and “Reflections” were celebrated throughout the community for revealing Soldier:76 and Tracer as LGBTQ+ heroes. Chu also worked on Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, and the in-development Overwatch 2.

On Chu’s website, he stated that: “Overwatch has been a life-changing experience. I have always felt that games and the stories they tell have the unique ability to bring people closer together and that the empathy you feel from stepping into someone else’s shoes, even virtually, can bridge the gap between miles, cultures, and nations.”

Whoever takes Chu’s place has big shoes to fill. Overwatch 2, which will feature a story-driven campaign, will rely heavily on the writing done by his replacement. While Overwatch lore has always been a hot topic for discussion, I’m hoping that Overwatch 2 will teach us more about the characters and the world they inhabit than ever before. While lore exists in the game, many players don’t seem to know much about the world, nor do they care. Hopefully, a game based around the story aspect will entice players new and old to learn about the characters that make up this world. It’s one of my few expectations for the new game.

Here’s Blizzard’s statement on Michael Chu’s departure: “Michael’s contributions to the games and stories of the Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch universes have been a source of inspiration, and we will always be thankful for the time he spent at Blizzard. We wish him the best for the future.”

New Overwatch Hero Echo Could be Game Changing

The Newest Hero

When Blizzard announced Overwatch 2 at Blizzcon, it left many fans wondering what it meant for the original game. Would we still see consistent updates? Or would Overwatch be put on the backburner during the development of the sequel? Only time would tell.

Luckily, it turns out that the developers still have a couple of surprises for their fans and players alike. On March 18, @PlayOverwatch tweeted the reveal of the new hero Echo. Her origin story revolves around Dr. Liao, a Singaporean scientist who worked to create and eventually fight the omnics. Liao was an expert in artificial intelligence, an employee of the Omnica Corporation, and the sixth founder of Overwatch. When she was killed in an attack on the Overwatch facility, Echo, Liao’s creation, adapted to Liao’s personality and goals. Dr. Liao built Echo to fulfill her dream of helping the world; she is an echo of her legacy.

Echo was initially introduced back in the 2018 “Reunion” short for Ashe and McCree and later took a more significant role in the Overwatch 2 teaser trailer. It turns out her origins go back before the 2018 video and before Overwatch itself. Echo was formerly an asset from Blizzard’s MMO Titan, which was canceled in 2013. Her appearance has changed since then – she’s much more humanoid and sleek – but her concept has stayed relatively the same.

Echo’s Abilities

It turns our Echo is Overwatch’s newest DPS hero and not a support character like many players assumed. Her abilities are energy-based and seem to be quite strong so far. Her primary, Tri-shot, lets her shoot a triangular burst from her hand. She also has a sticky bomb ability that explodes after a few seconds, and a Focusing Beam that deals high amounts of damage for a limited time. Not to mention, she can fly and glide in a way similar to Mercy and Pharah.

Echo’s most substantial ability is her ultimate Duplicate. It allows her to copy any enemy team hero – minus another Echo – and use their abilities as her own for a short period. This technique means she can fill any role, tank, support, or DPS, and use their ultimate to her advantage.

Echo’s Abilities Courtesy of @RevertMercySays on Twitter

According to Jeff Kaplan, Echo is most likely the last new hero we’ll see until Overwatch 2. If you want to try her out for yourself, she’s currently live on PTR servers.

Hockey Takes a Penalty

Hockey is temporarily off the table.

Here in Canada, we take a few things very seriously, that includes but is not limited to; Hockey and Coffee. And as you’ve all may or may not heard, but both of these Canadian staples are being rocked by C-19 Virus that has erupted across the globe. The National Hockey League (NHL) has officially released a statement regarding their LIVE games and the attendees who were planning on visiting.  

The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, on the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“Without question, this is an unprecedented period of difficulty for the sports world. The health and safety of all participants in sport, including players, coaches, staff, officials, fans, family, volunteers and the general public, is of the utmost importance to Hockey Canada. 

After much consultation with the Hockey Canada membership, our chief medical officer and public health officials, the Hockey Canada Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including our national championships, until further notice, effective Friday, March 13, 2020. 

We recognize the tremendous effort that has been put forth all year by individuals across the country as they participate in Canada’s game. Although it is difficult to process the hockey season ending abruptly, we feel this is the best course of action in order to do our part in keeping our country safe.”

COVID-19 has caused cancellations far beyond hockey.

So as you can guess, Canada is currently in an upwind about our National Sports being canceled outright for the year due to this outbreak. Hockey fans across Canada have announced their distaste as they exclaim their selfish reasonings as to why the season should continue. Hockey is not the only sport taking this safety stance against the C-19 Virus. Rugby, Curling, the CFL, and minor leagues are also canceling outright. Schools across Canada are canceling their own sports as well, in which schools are remaining open.

In the midst of all of this mayhem, there is one thing to be said that is true. No matter the situation, Canadians will always want their coffee. In all of the stores closing and preventions in place, Tim Hortons is also taking their own preventative actions as they close their dining rooms across Canada. Only allowing drive-thrus to remain open during this time.  

So as you leave to grab your morning coffee, before whatever important matter you have to leave your home for… Wash your hands, take some Lysol wipes with you and wipe down your most used surfaces including your debit card and wallet/purse. Be safe, from all of us here at DVS Gaming. 

Diablo and Overwatch Rumored to get Animated TV Adaptations

Overwatch Animated Shorts

Since Overwatch’s launch, Blizzard has released some stunning animations to show players the character lore and to explain essential events in the world’s history. We’ve seen a deathly dual between Hanzo and Genji, the reunion between McCree and Ashe, the loss of Mei’s team, and many other heart-wrenching scenarios revolving around the heroes and villains of the game.

After watching these animated shorts, it’s no surprise that an animated show based on Overwatch’s lore may be in the works. While nothing is confirmed yet, some leaked information may prove that both Overwatch and Diablo may be on more than just our computer screens in the future.

McCree from Overwatch animated “Reunion” Courtesy of GameSpot

The Reveal

According to the LinkedIn profile of Nick van Dyk, the co-president of Activision Blizzard Studios, he states that he worked on both a Diablo and an Overwatch series. It seems that Diablo will get an adaptation “rendered in anime style,” which is in pre-production and will release globally through Netflix. Based on this rudimentary description, I imagine it will be artistically comparable to Castlevania’s adaptation currently on Netflix.

Further down, van Dyk also lists that he “developed and sold an animated series based on Blizzard’s Overwatch franchise.” There is no confirmation about this project, and it’s not yet clear who bought the series, but it does suggest potential in a future animated show.

Even if this information is accurate, it does not mean we’ll ever see these shows. The Overwatch series has only been bought, not greenlit, and the Diablo show can only be said to have been in pre-production at some point. If we do see some new animated series of the two, they will join the ranks of video game turned show along with games like Castlevania and The Witcher. Both show a lot of potential.

Blizzard has not yet made an official announcement surrounding either project.

Overwatch Mardi Gras Event Leaked on Twitch

Overwatch Events

Like many games, Overwatch is no exception when it comes to creating in-game events to celebrate real-world holidays. Virtual commemorations for Halloween, Christmas, and New Years reward players with new cosmetics and decorated maps on top of game modes that are only playable for the duration of the event. These celebrations tend to entice both old and new players into picking up the game, so it’s no surprise that Blizzard has made them yearly occurrences.

Recently, players have seen an increase in stand-alone challenges, where they can obtain a new skin and sprays through winning a certain number of games. We saw these types of events for the Nano Cola D.Va skin and the Brick Bastion skin. These challenges are also becoming more popular for the more significant holiday events, where players can earn exclusive skins each week an event takes place by merely winning their matches.

Mardi Gras Challenge

Thanks to a recent leak on Twitch, it appears that Overwatch will have a stand-alone event to celebrate Mardi Gras. Twitter user La Nimi claimed that her friend received both a four-hour and six-hour Ashe Mardi Gras bundle presumably for watching specific Twitch streamers. La Nimi also provided video proof of the drop in their Twitch inventory.

Naeri, a well-known Overwatch leaker on Twitter, also tweeted some higher resolution images of the drop. This information, combined with the latest Overwatch background update, proves a pretty convincing case for the Mardi Gras challenge.

While the in-game loot content is still unknown, fans are speculating that we’ll see cosmetics for several characters. The images suggest new sprays of Zenyatta and McCree, and the bundle name indicates that Ashe may be the focus of this event. Maybe we’ll see a new themed legendary skin for Ashe and her counterpart BOB.

We’re not yet sure when this event will take place, but most fans are expecting it to begin on February 25, the day of the Mardi Gras celebration. If that’s the case, make sure to log in to Overwatch and win some games to earn some fresh new cosmetics.