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Blizzard Umbrella

This is a podcast about all things Blizzard Entertainment. We cover all of there games on a weekly basis. We talk World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo, and Starcraft 2. Each week Dusty and Ryan talk about their weeks in the Blizzard Universe, the recent news, and a topic related to the Blizzard gaming sphere. If you are into blizzard games this is the show for you!
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Mar 22, 2017

Blizzard Umbrella #6 : How much do you like a good story?! Does it drive gameplay?

Intro:

This week Blizzard Umbrella is back for the sixth recording of the Dusty and Ryan duo.  You can find the show on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.  You can also find us on Twitter @BlizzUmbrella and e-mail us at BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com.  The website is now up and running and you can find it at www.theblizzardumbrella.com. This week the show discusses how important story is to the success and popularity of each of Blizzard’s games.

Website:

Ryan has worked very hard and very quickly to get the website up and running.  There has been a lot of caffeine involved and blood shot eyes but it has all been worth it and very fun.  Go check it out at www.theblizzardumbrella.com and give some feedback!

What We’re Up to:

This past week both Ryan and Dusty have been very busy.  Ryan spent most of the first half of last week working on the website and the show.  The second half of the week Ryan was off in Chicago enjoying some family and friends time.  What little game time he had he spent boosting his competitive Overwatch rank on the climb to Gold and beyond.  His guild managed to get Gul’Dan down to 8% and have his demise in their sight.  To top it all off Ryan jumped on Mass Effect Andromeda as it went live!

Dusty finds himself starting to get a little tired of doing world quests in WoW.  It’s not quite to the point where he wants to stop playing but he is finding himself not logging on every day while he waits for 7.2.  Dusty also tried out Probius on the PTR and enjoyed him quite a bit.  Not much Diablo this week but lots of Hearthstone in anticipation of the new expansion!  Other than that Dusty is picking up his copy of Mass Effect and can’t wait to play.

Blizzcon dates are announced for Nov 3rd and 4th and Ryan is going to try and get tickets to take the podcast along with him.

How much do you like a good story?! Does it drive gameplay:

Blizzard does a great job with creating a story.  All of its’ games are story driven and each of these stories are some of the best around.  Obviously. a story can make a game more fun or less enjoyable but how much do these stories drive the success of Blizzard’s games?  Dusty talks about how if it weren’t for the story, he probably wouldn’t play much World of Warcraft.  While this isn’t the case for Ryan it certainly does hold some validity.  When you look at this large spectrum of players who all play these games for their own reasons, this begs the question, if it weren’t for the story of each of these games how much would people play them.  Games like Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Starcraft all have the ability to circumvent story and jump right into multiplayer.  With this in mind, does the story of these games still provide motivation in some capacity for players to play.  Ryan feels like story absolutely drives gameplay.  Story causes players whether they get into it or not, to enjoy killing villains like Gul’Dan and Xavius.  It also is extremely motivating to play heroes who have been killed off like Varian when they are introduced into games like Heroes of the Storm.  Another driving force behind story motivated game play can be attested to Blizzard’s ability to create story outside of the games.  Dusty feels like some of the best out of game story has come out of Team 5 with their Hearthstone content.  Dusty talks about the Overwatch shorts and Ryan talks the WoW movie and memorabilia.  Story even makes Ryan want to play Starcraft when he doesn’t enjoy RTS games.  Does age change any of this for players?  Do the older players like story more, typically speaking? Is there enough nostalgia there for the older players to really register more with story?  Or, is age not a factor?  What do you guys think?

News

World of Warcraft:
-There will be a quest to unlock the new artifact traits
-In order to get the new challenge artifact appearances (which are inspired by quests for weapons such as Anathema and Benediction) you must have unlocked the new traits, be 110, and the mage tower needs to be up
-You can repeat these quests after/if you fail.  It will cost to do it again after the initial free attempt
-New artifact knowledge levels up to 40

Diablo:
- Season 10 drops very soon
- Necromancer early reveals

Hearthstone:
- Journey to Un’Goro is on its way pretty quick and card reveals will continue
- Dusty really likes the Sunkeeper Tarim legendary Paladin card, Volcano, and also the Priest card, Tortallan Shellraiser

Heroes of the Storm:
-Probius is still on the PTR
-A few minor tweaks to other heroes

Overwatch:
- Lucio has a range reduction on his song and his ultimate
- His healing gets a buff
- Wall speed is increased and a speed boost after jumping off a wall is given to Lucio’s kit
- Orissa hits quickplay on live and will join the competitive play pool in a week

Where to find us:

Come check us out on our new website! - www.theblizzardumbrella.com

E-mail: BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com E-mail any questions or topics you’d like Dusty and Ryan to cover in up-coming episodes.

Twitter : @BlizzUmbrella

Reddit : BlizzardUmbrella

Btags : Dusty – Btag: Techguru77#1984
                            Twitter: @Dmporter17
                            YouTube: TechnologyGuru
             Ryan – Btag: Mcirish#1609
                          Twitter: @McirishGaming
                          Twitch: McirishGaming


Closing:

Thanks as always for listening to the show!  Come find us and say hello.  We love hearing feedback and always are ready to answer any questions you guys have!  Thanks again and we will talk to you next week!

Necromancer

http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/gaming/781212/Diablo-3-Necromancer-Season-10-PS4-Blizzard-Xbox-One

http://www.pcgamer.com/diablo-3-showcases-elusive-necromancer-class-ahead-of-ptr-debut/

Mar 14, 2017

Blizzard Umbrella #8 : Care to roll the dice bones?! RNG week.

Intro:

This week Blizzard Umbrella is back for the fifth recording of the Dusty and Ryan duo.  You can find the show on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.  You can also find us on Twitter @BlizzUmbrella and e-mail us at BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com.  The website is now up and running and you can find it at www.theblizzardumbrella.com. This week the show discusses all the rng across Blizzard’s games and how it effects both the players and the game play.

Website:

Ryan has worked very hard and very quickly to get the website up and running.  There was a lot of caffeine involved and blood shot eyes in the end but it was all well worth it and very much enjoyed.  Go check it out at www.theblizzardumbrella.com and give some feedback!

What We’re Up to:

This past week Dusty has been very busy outside of gaming.  The little gaming he was able to get in was spent leveling and working on his Demon Hunter.  Who doesn’t love double jump and glide?  A few quick play games in Overwatch and some Zul’jin and Varian action for the master skins in Heroes of the Storm rounded out his Blizzard gaming. Other than that it was just some Zelda action on the Switch for Dusty.

Ryan’s guild this week killed heroic Elisande and is now working on Guldan who stands in their way to Mythic.  With only doing his emissaries and a few mythic plusses Ryan grabs two more legendaries, one for his priest and one for his monk.  Besides raiding Ryan has been working on getting his Overwatch rank up to gold and helping some buddies finish off their For Azeroth games in Heroes of the Storm. 

Ryan and Dusty touch on the importance of communication in competitive game play and playing a proper team composition.

Rolling the Bones and all RNG across Blizzard Games:

Blizzard is notorious for relying heavily on RNG across their games.  It might be a way to monetize a game or to change up game play.  When it comes to World of Warcraft, RNG is all over the place.  You can find it with critical strike rating, titanforging, legendaries, or even class mechanics.  Class mechanics like Outlaw Rogue with their Roll the Bones.  Things like critical strike work well with the game.  When you take titanforging, legendaries, and class mechanics, RNG often doesn’t work well. Blizzard early on said Outlaw Rogues with their RNG wasn’t working well and they were going to look at changing that dps system.   Since then, they have reversed their stance and said that they like the design of the system and are going to leave it as is.  Titanforging and legendaries on top of the AP grind have caused for a lot of top end guilds and raiders to burn out and step away from end game hardcore raiding, or the game altogether.  All this because of RNG.  While this doesn’t always work in favor of the very small group of top end players when looking at the overall player base it does provide an easy stepping stone for the casual players.  That elicits the question, when does RNG become bad and when is it good?  Clearly the legendary system is broken and needs some serious adjustment, but how much adjustment?  Are they moving in the right direction with their changes to that system and are these changes coming a day late and a dollar short? On top of RNG inside of WoW you can find RNG in games like Hearthstone and Overwatch with their loot boxes and card packs.  Dusty mentions that it takes quite a bit of money to purchase enough boxes or card packs on average to obtain all the cosmetic or cards respectively.  Is this design a good one?  Could Blizzard not adopt more of a Heroes of the Storm system across their other games?  Remove the RNG and make each item cost more or less depending on rarity and just monetize more cosmetics?  All things considered, the guys agree that RNG shouldn’t make or break a game but should simply add some flavor to it. 

News

World of Warcraft:
- Legendary changes are still coming
- New dungeon Cathedral of Eternal Night
- Random secondary relic traits are no long in the pipeline
- Additions to class campaign, new champions, and order hall upgrades
- Demon Assaults
- Pet Battle Dungeon – You only need one level 25 battle pet
- PvP brawls are just around the corner
- Demon invasions on the Broken Isles
- New world quests
- Upper and Lower Karazhan and Suramar dungeons added to the random heroic list
- Upper and Lower Karazhan, and Cathedral of Eternal Night added to the mythic plus list
- TAB TARGETING IS GETTING FIXED!

Diablo:
- Season 10 starts next week and Season 9 ends this week

Hearthstone:
- Card pack prices get raised in Europe

Overwatch:
- Look to see Orissa go live before this month’s end

Heroes of the Storm:
-Probius is soon the make his debut

Where to find us:

Come check us out on our new website! --  www.TheBlizzardUmbrella.com

E-mail: BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com E-mail any questions or topics you’d like Dusty and Ryan to cover in up-coming episodes.

Twitter : @BlizzUmbrella

Reddit : BlizzardUmbrella

Btags : Dusty – Btag: Techguru77#1984
                            Twitter: @Dmporter17
                            YouTube: TechnologyGuru
             Ryan – Btag: Mcirish#1609
                          Twitter: @McirishGaming
                          Twitch: McirishGaming


Closing:

Thanks as always for listening to the show!  Come find us and say hello.  We love hearing feedback and always are ready to answer any questions you guys have!  Thanks again and we will talk to you next week!

Mar 9, 2017

Intro:

This week Blizzard Umbrella is back for the fourth recording of the Dusty and Ryan duo.  You can find the show on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.  You can also find us on Twitter @BlizzUmbrella and e-mail us at BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com.  This week the show discusses the PTR and whether we like it or not.

Oops:

Prior to this show there has been an oops.  You have all been told the wrong Twitter username to find the guys at.  The correct username if you want to find them is @BlizzUmbrella.  OOPS!

What We’re Up to:

This past week Ryan’s guild killed a few more bosses and is now 8/10 Heroic Nighthold.  Look out Gul’dan!  Ryan has been taking a break from all the WoWs outside of raiding to play a lot of Overwatch competitive play.  On top of that, Ryan has also been enjoying playing some Orissa on the Overwatch PTR.

Dusty has been pretty busy but has managed to get some gaming in.  This last week Dusty grabs the pet before the Diablo season ends.  In WoW Dusty finishes off pathfinder part 1 and the ending of the Suramar questline really catches Dusty’s eye. Pathfinder part 2 can’t come soon enough!  To top it all off, Dusty plays around with some funky deck combinations in hearthstone while waiting for Un’Goro to drop. 

Outside of Blizzard games Dusty has been playing Zelda on his new Nintendo Switch. 

To PTR or Not to PTR:

Outside of Hearthstone, all of Blizzard’s game have a PTR.  The PTR or Public Test Realm is an alternate version of each respective game that has future content on it.  Players can come try out this content and allow Blizzard to gain some feedback or find bugs prior to live launch.  When it comes to the, PTR Ryan and Dusty both agree that the PTR for WoW isn’t something that they want to utilize due to it potentially ruining the magic of each WoW encounter.  Games like Overwatch and HOTS are more gameplay oriented so the PTR isn’t such a big deal to Dusty and Ryan.  Hearthstone doesn’t use a PTR and the guys feel that it’s due to gameplay speed and simplicity.  Diablo and Starcraft both have a PTR and respectively they serve a particular purpose.  When it comes to WoW, the PVE scene at the top level is very competitive.  These guilds and players put in a lot of time and effort to try and be the World 1st.  In order to best prepare to achieve this objective they will spend a lot of time on the PTR putting together the strategies for their boss kills.  Does this ruin some of the prestigiousness of end game raiding?  This begs to question what is a good balance from a PTR perspective of what is enough for Blizzard to put on there for testing and what to hold back so as to keep things fresh and exciting?  In short, both Ryan and Dusty feel that the PTR is great for some games, not so great for other games, and pointless altogether for games like Hearthstone.

News

- In Overwatch, Orissa hits the PTR and already sees some nerfs, Ana and Bastion see some nerfs, Winston’s bubble CD gets changed, and Zarya sees a change to her bubble as well
- Probius makes the HOTS roster
- Hearthstone awaits the new expansion and new ladder changes go live
- WoW AP and Rep items gained prior to 7.2 are pointless to hold on to and the way the new artifact traits work is released
- The current Diablo season is ending soon, the new one is not far behind it, and when can you look to see the Necromancer

Closing

Another week is in the books as the duo of Dusty and Ryan chat all things Blizzard. Keep looking to see them bring more information and talks to you and they will talk to you next week.

Where to find us:

E-mail: BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com E-mail any questions or topics you’d like Dusty and Ryan to cover in up-coming episodes.

Twitter : @BlizzUmbrella

Reddit : BlizzardUmbrella

Btags : Dusty – Btag: Techguru77#1984
                            Twitter: @Dmporter17
                            YouTube: TechnologyGuru
             Ryan – Btag: Mcirish#1609
                          Twitter: @McirishGaming
                          Twitch: McirishGaming


Probious Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPxjfQaxZhI
Ben Brode raps Un’Goro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEmnpRSgqQk
Alternate rap video sped up 1.5x (This one is a lot more fun to listen to): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDIUkCJ2nSk

There are a lot more versions out there the public has gotten a hold of and they are all great.  Check them out on YouTube!  Good on you Ben!

Mar 1, 2017

006: All the games to play!? Game Overload!

Intro:

This week Blizzard Umbrella is back for the third recording of the Dusty and Ryan duo.  You can now find the show on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.  This week the show discusses the plethora of games Blizzard has available to the community.  What does this in terms of how players spend their time or the focus of Blizzard as they continue to develop these games?

What We’re Up to:

Ryan’s guild makes some heroic progress in Nighthold!  Much to his dismay Ryan also took the time to do the archaeology weekly for the moose mount.  On top of doing the his typical WoW thing Ryan also finished of the HotS Warcraft event, played some competitive Overwatch, and has been continuing to dust off his Hearthstone skills, can you say one shot?!

Dusty and Ryan played some HotS together which caused Dusty to realize how much he appreciates being able to play and communicate with people as he plays games instead of playing solo.

Dusty plays lots Zul’Jin and goes on a win streak.  On top of playing lots of Heroes dusty jumps into LFR and does the second wing of Nighthold for the first time.  Dusty also hits rank 10 in Hearthstone and looks forward to getting his chest!

Both Dusty and Ryan come from a different perspective when it comes to raiding and briefly discuss how they feel about Nighthold with that in mind.

LFR can be a cesspool!

A Diverse Game Selection:

Blizzard over the years has branched out to a point where they have game options in almost all of the big genres out there.  With multiple games of different types available both players and Blizzard are presented with a dilemma of where does their time and focus go.  Blizzard obviously has multiple development teams to cover their bases but the players only have so much time in a given week.  With that in mind, the questions stands, what does this mean from Blizzards end and from the players end?  Does Blizzard design games and events with the intent to get people to play all the games?  Do the players reach a point where there is so much to do that they start to miss out due to lack of adequate gaming time?  Does this dilemma cause these games to grow more towards a casual player scene or does the hardcore gamer not get neglected?  How many players still play non Blizzard games now?  Dusty and Ryan give their two cents.

News

- Farming legendary items will be possible in 7.2 and getting a legendary for an offspec will be easier
- Hearthstone has the Journey to Un’Goro expansion coming soon
- HotS sees lots of heroes changes on the PTR
- Overwatch’s new competitive season is on the doorstep

Closing

Another week is in the books as the duo of Dusty and Ryan chat all things Blizzard. Keep looking to see them bring more information and talks to you and they will talk to you next week.

Where to find us:

E-mail: BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com E-mail any questions or topics you’d like Dusty and Ryan to cover in up-coming episodes.

Twitter : @BlizzardUmbrella

Reddit : BlizzardUmbrella

Btags : Dusty – Techguru77#1984
             Ryan – Mcirish#1609

 

Feb 22, 2017

Blizzard Umbrella #2 : Can you hear me?! Talk To Us Blizzard

Intro:

Blizzard Umbrella is back for its second episode of the newly rebooted podcast!
We are now live on iTunes and soon to be on both Google Play and Stitcher.
Our twitter account is now live, @BlizzardUmbrella.
You can also find us on reddit via the username BlizzardUmbrella!

What We’re Up to:

Taking a break from just playing WoW, Ryan has been getting back into some of the other games.  New to hearthstone?  Don’t worry, so is Ryan.  On top of trying not to be a noob at Hearthstone Ryan has been working on the Heroes of the Storm event for the WoW mount and placed Gold in competitive Overwatch. 

Dusty and Ryan briefly discuss their love for Solider 76 and how Ryan was able to place higher in the ranks than someone who did better than he did. 

Is the competitive placement process a good one?  Ryan and Dusty weigh in. 

In game this week Dusty gets his first legendary on his mage alt and gets some gear on his hunter through LFR.  Did you say legendary, because Dusty’s frost mage did.  A pretty orange belt now sits on his mage’s waist!  Dusty can’t get enough of Lucio in HotS.

LFR drops set pieces again.  The talk ventures into the question of whether this good or not.

Blizzard Communication:

There has been lots of chatter lately about Blizzard’s communication to the players.  With supposed plans to get better at acknowledging the players’ questions and needs what does this mean?  Is Blizzards communication lacking?  Does it still need improvement or is it fine right where it is at?  That being said, is Blizzard well within their rights or their ethical obligation to the players, to keep them in the dark or waiting at times?

News

-Legendary drops have being seeing some love behind the scenes in World of Warcraft
-Lucio in HotS is seeing some good action
-Season 10 for Diablo is on the PTR and extra special legendary items are in the news
-Spirit Claws and Small Time Buccaneer cards see some change in Hearthstone and Year of the Mammoth brings a new content release schedule

Closing

Another week is in the books as the duo of Dusty and Ryan chat all things Blizzard. Keep looking to see them bring more information and talks to you and they will talk to you next week.

Where to find us:

E-mail: BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com E-mail any questions or topics you’d like Dusty and Ryan to cover in up-coming episodes.

Twitter : @BlizzardUmbrella

Reddit : BlizzardUmbrella

Additional Links:
Legendary Changes for WoW?
http://blizzardwatch.com/2017/02/17/legendary-item-drop-rates-clarified-wow-devs/
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20753149009?page=1#1
http://blizzardwatch.com/2017/02/21/get-legendary-needed/

Feb 16, 2017

Blizzard Umbrella #1 : Battle Tokens!

Intro:

Dusty is joined by his new Co-Host, Ryan, as the show makes it return to the podcast and gaming community. 

What We’re Up to:

Dusty has been playing lots of Hearthstone while dabbling in some WoW, Overwatch, and HotS, and Ryan has been concentrating on Nighthold progression with his raid team.  The talks swings to Nighthold raiding and its comparison to EN and Tov.  How are set bonuses right now and legendary items?  What classes are we playing currently and Dusty touches on how he likes to spend his time on Hearthstone.

Battle Tokens:

Dusty and Ryan discuss the implications of the new Battle.Net balance from Battle Tokens. Under the old system tokens only gave game time and gold but the new system offers so much more.  The $15 balance can be used in all of Blizzard’s games.  What does this mean for Blizzard, the players, and WoW’s in game economy?  Will this pull money out of an over saturated WoW economy?  Will players actually use these services and is the $5 Blizzard keeps a good or bad thing?  All of this discussed.

Blizzards Multi Genre Game Collection

Ryan briefly mentions and asks Dusty what his thoughts are on Blizzards ability to get players to play outside their wheel house.  A topic for another podcast?!

Nighthold and Suramar

Dusty and Ryan briefly discuss whether they like Suramar and how awesome Nighthold is.

7.2 Inc

Pathfinder part 2 is on its way and the quality of life is something to be desired!

News

-Hearthstones new expansion leaked!
-Lucio is coming to HotS
-HotS new event brings a new mount to WoW!

Closing

Both Dusty and Ryan are super excited to have the opportunity to do this podcast and fan the flames of their inner blizzard fanboy desires.  Join them in the following weeks to come as they bring up more topics that have to do with everything Blizzard!

Where to find us:

E-mail: BlizzardUmbrella@gmail.com E-mail any questions or topics you’d like Dusty and Ryan to cover in up-coming episodes.

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