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So. Overwatch.

It kind of snuck up on me, not going to lie. I remember seeing a few bits and blurbs about it a while back, and getting pretty excited by the sheer variety of the characters (an article about Zarya’s addition to the game really pulled me in). The last new video game I bought for myself (not as a gift for someone else) was Minecraft last summer. Every other game I’ve purchased within recent memory was a used Wii game or a “new” game for my NES or Super Nintendo. My playthroughs of the Arkham Asylum games and Injustice were facilitated by my local library rather than dropping money I didn’t have on a game I didn’t need. But there was something about Overwatch that just called to me. Maybe it was the comparisons to things like Team Fortress 2. Maybe it was the promise of something so drastically different coming from the folks at Blizzard.

So yeah, I’ve been playing a lot. Not so much as some of my friends, but I waited almost two weeks after it came out to start. It arrived as a belated birthday gift, and I’ve been loving it. There’s not a lot of change from one gametype to another. You’re attempting to capture or defend a series of points on the map or escorting/defending a moving payload or capturing/defending a point and then escorting/defending a payload. It’s fairly straightforward, but with each player on either side being able to choose from any one of 21 unique heroes, it’s never the same match twice.

A lot of the joy is in that variety. You can change heroes any time you choose, so long as you’re willing to return to a spawn point (you can also switch at respawn), and so you’re never lacking a character who can counter an enemy’s strengths or offset an ally’s weaknesses. Because of this, it’s really in your benefit to learn to play as many of the different heroes as possible, or at least one for each category (offense, defense, tanks, and supports).

Lucio’s great fun for me. Speed, healing, and a knockback effect let him excel at holding a point when you’re near ledges. Being able to self-heal puts him at the top of the support list for me, even though he lacks Mercy’s oomph as a healer. He’s agile, and in the right hands can harass an enemy team just as well as Tracer. His speed boost can be used from the beginning of the round to get your entire team to the objective sooner, too.

Hanzo. You’ve got to love a sniper with a bow and the ability to climb over a lot of the obstacles in his way. His mobility is second really only to Genji. His ultimate is devestating to anyone who can’t get out of the way. I know that he’s a defensive character, but he’s mobile enough to be valuable to attacking teams as well, depending on the map, especially since his sonic arrow provides enemy recon faster than Widowmaker’s ultimate (albeit for a shorter time and over a smaller area).

Pharah is my go-to offense hero. I’m learning Tracer, and Soldier 76 is ridiculously straightforward for anyone who has ever played an FPS, but Pharah’s range and power maker her one of my favorites. On an open map, she can rain down rockets on an enemy team, with her hover ability rendering her very difficult for most heroes to accurately hit. She can also make good use of her rocket launcher from the ground, saving her jump jet for an emergency escape.

I’ve never been big into MMOs, and so my experience with tanking is rather lacking. Still, Winston makes for a great introductory character to the role. He lacks range with his weapon, but it auto-hits anything in range. Combine that with his leaping, and you can catch a lot of squishier heroes off guard. He can easily be used to clear of room of Symmetra’s turrets by combining his cannon and shield.

And then there’s Junkrat. Stupid fun. I love TF2’s Demoman, and Junkrat takes all of the grendade launcher goodness and adds a pseudo-stun with his steel trap. If I’m on defense, and there’s not already a Junkrat on the team, he’s a sure pick at some point in the match.

So, yeah. I’m learning more of the heroes, because everyone has a place somewhere in the game. Finding which hereos work best together is a lot of fun, and Blizzard is already talking about DLC heroes, maps, and gametypes in the future.

Now I’m going to try to get some actual story writing done. Until then!

My friends and I are nearing the end of our latest Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and so we’re turning our thoughts to the future of our gaming sessions. Since it’s been a while since the last time I ran a game, I decided that I would take it upon myself to serve as the Dungeon Master for our follow-up game (we take turns so that nobody gets completely burned out by running a campaign every week).

Now I’ve been a fan of pirates for a long time.

In case you hadn't guessed...

In case you hadn’t guessed…

And the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the One Piece manga and anime have served to inspire further ideas. So when it came time to come up with something new for our D&D group, there was really only one logical decision. Pirate campaign it is!

We tried to do one of these before, and it was fun, but the group got too big and unstable. This is going to be an invitation-only thing, because with what I have planned, there’s going to be enough going on with all of the NPCs I’ll be running. Right now, it’s in the development and research phase. I’ve attempted to learn from the mistakes of our last attempt, and so I’m putting as much forethought into it as I can.

Influences: As I’ve mentioned, the two big influences are going to be the Pirates of the Caribbean series and One Piece, with maybe a scattering of Terry and the Pirates and Treasure Island (and as much real history as can possibly be crammed down my players’ throats).

Setting: The primary setting is going to be Faerûn, though I’m open to expanding out from there (namely because I love Warforged, so there will be at least some connection to Eberron), probably via Planescape (because I’ve already toyed with the idea of setting at least one session in the city of Sigil). Most of the shipboard action will take place on the Trackless Sea, and it gives me a lot of room to add some details of my own.

Rules: We’ll be running a hybrid rules system, utilizing our favorite aspects from Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 and 3.5 rules and Paizo’s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. We’re accustomed to a certain level of character power, so I’m having everyone roll a gestalt character as per Unearthed Arcana.

Additional House Rules: All characters get max HP at each level. Spellcasters DC’s for spells are determined by their remaining highest spell slot/prepared spell (this way a 20th level wizard’s fireball spell is far harder to dodge than an 8th level wizard’s). We tend to waive racial requirements for prestige classes as well.

So yeah. I’m going to be spending a lot of free time building NPC pirates and related characters for a while. Goal is to go some time in January. In the meantime, I’m open to any suggestions.