If you want to be the very best, you’ll need to stay on top of the Pokemon Go Field Research missions – constantly changing quests and activities that players can pick up and complete for bonuses and rewards. Here’s all the current missions for July 2021.
When we talk about research in Pokemon Go, there are two types to understand. Field Research tasks are quests picked up at random, with quests and rewards changing depending on the month, season, and current events. Completing these can lead to Research Breakthroughs which provide further unique rewards that also change over time. Special Research, meanwhile, are pre-set story-based strings of missions handed over by Professor Willow from time to time.
How Pokemon Go Field Research missions & their rewards work
Field Research missions are essentially little mini-quests given to you by the game when you spin Pokestops, and sometimes every now and then at random. Each PokeStop gets one specific field research mission assigned to it each day, and though you can complete a quest more than once per day you’ll only ever pick up the same mission from any given PokeStop. The rewards vary, depending on the quest, and are listed below.
You can complete as many or as few field research quests as you’d like, but you’ll want to aim to complete at least one mission per day in order to work towards your research breakthrough. Quests range across all aspects of Pokemon Go and in a sense exist to get players to experience all aspects of the game. Field research quests might ask you to battle in a raid, battle in a gym, hatch Pokemon eggs, catch certain Pokemon types or even spin Pokestops – and these are just a few examples.
Sometimes a task will reward you with the items, but other times you’ll be rewarded with a rare Pokemon encounter – field research tasks are the only way to encounter and catch Spinda, for instance. These encounters are also really useful since Pokemon encountered in this way can’t flee.
The quests and rewards on offer rotate in a monthly manner for the most part, meaning at the end of one month Niantic will retire quests and rewards and replace them with new ones. Here’s the current quests & rewards:
Pokemon Go Field Research List: July 2021 rewards and missions
As we previously explained, everything around the field research mission system is on rotation. Every month brings around a different set of events with different goals, and we’re going to keep this page up-to-date with whatever the current mission set is. Here’s the quests that you’ll find in your Field Research list during July 2021 – but remember these quests are given out at random, so which you see is entirely down to chance.
Field research missions have an element of the random to their rewards – so there’s a chance that you’ll get more basic rewards like Pokeballs, Stardust and other items. Every quest has a Pokemon encounter it has a chance of rewarding you with, however, and this is a list of those missions and encounters:
As you can see in the field mission screen inside Pokemon Go, there are a series of stamps adding up to seven stamps. You can only earn one stamp per day even if you complete multiple missions – so basically, this series of stamps is designed to last a week. When you reach the seventh stamped day you’ll unlock a Research Breakthrough, represented on the screen by the big wrapped-up parcel from Professor Willow.
Exactly what will be inside these packages varies from month to month alongside the other research bonuses and rewards including the potential for a Sinnoh or Unova Stone evolution item to drop. In addition to that, every month this ‘research breakthrough’ features a Pokemon encounter. You also have an unlimited amount of tries to catch them, as Pokemon encountered in this way can’t run away. So long as you have patience and Pokeballs, you can keep trying until they’re caught.
The July 2021 reward is an encounter with Rufflet. As well as the Pokemon encounter, each research breakthrough will net you Stardust, XP, and a random smattering of other items, including a chance at a Sinnoh Stone or Unova Stone evolution item. Since there is a shiny variant available, every research breakthrough for July has a chance to be a shiny Rufflet, too.
Past Research Breakthrough Rewards
For posterity’s sake, here are the past field research breakthrough rewards as featured in Pokemon Go – just so you know what you’ve missed.
2018 Research Breakthrough rewards in Pokemon Go:
April 2018: Moltres (fire-themed research)
May 2018: Zapdos (electric-themed research)
June 2018: Articuno (ice-themed research)
July 2018: Snorlax (Kanto research)
August 2018: Raikou (electric-themed research)
September 2018:Entei (fire-themed research)
October 2018: Suicune (water-themed research)
November 2018: Shedinja (bug-themed research)
December 2018: Best of 2018 (all previous Pokemon)
January & February 2019: Legendary Birds
March & April 2019: Raikou, Entei, Suicune, Lugia, Ho-oh, Regice, Registeel, Regirock
May & June 2019: Ho-oh, Lugia, Latias, Latios
July & August 2019: Kyogre, Groudon, Latias, Latios
September & October 2019: Flower Crown Eevee
November & December 2019: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Kyogre, Groudon
According to a new GamesBeat report, Hideo Kojima has signed a letter of intent with Microsoft, as a first step in an agreement that would see the legendary designer’s next project published by Xbox.
Neither Microsoft nor Kojima have publicly announced they’re talking to one another, of course, but this signing indicates that things are moving forward. The next step is for lawyers on both sides to negotiate the details, and work out the specifics.
The report also revealed that Kim Swift, veteran game designer who worked on Portal, Left 4 Dead and other projects, has joined Microsoft specifically to help Kojima bring his next idea to life. Swift was chosen for her expertise working on cloud games at Stadia. Kojima previously, of course, indicated that he’s interested in exploring the potential of the cloud with his next project.
It’s unclear whether the game will exist only in the cloud, but it looks like cloud computing/delivery will be a major component of it. It also doesn’t appear that a specific pitch for a game exists, yet, only a desire from the two parties to make use of each other’s expertise.
Finally, the report suggested that whatever deal gets made won’t preclude Kojima from working with other publishers – such as Sony – on separate projects.
BioWare won’t be part of this year’s EA Play Live.
BioWare has confirmed that we won’t be getting updates on Dragon Age or Mass Effect at EA Play Live later this month.
In an official Tweet, the studio said it’s “hard at work” on the two series, and pointed to last night’s reveal of more Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO content as the next thing coming from the team.
We’re hard at work creating the next @dragonage and @masseffect games and have some exciting stuff coming to @SWTOR this year. While we won’t be showing anything at EA Play Live, be sure to check out our SWTOR Livestream at 12PM PT today for info on what’s to come!
If you're after a massive WQHD ultrawide monitor with a good refresh rate, you're going to want some cash in your pocket. Or, you're going to want to make the most of this deal, which sees Alienware's brilliant AW3821DW gaming monitor reduced to AU$1,299—a huge AU$950 off its usual RRP of AU$2,249.
Alienware AW3821DW gaming monitor | AU$2,249 AU$1,299 This brilliant 38-inch WQHD monitor is a fairly new release, so this AU$950 saving is not to be ignored. Available via Dell’s official eBay store, you’ll need the discount code DELL20 to get this price. But be quick: reportedly there’s only 200 units available.
The Alienware AW2821DW boasts a 38-inch Nano IPS WQHD panel, and a refresh rate of 144Hz. It also has G-Sync Ultimate and a 1ms response time. It's a monitor you'd never feel uncomfortable spending AU$2,000 on, which makes this deal all the better. Our recent review is testament to that, attracting a 90 / 100 rating. "If size matters to you, and money is no object, this is too good an experience to pass up," our review says. "And it's also worth remembering… Dell often has great discounts."
And how right they are! This deal is available on eBay and you'll need the discount code DELL20 to get that price. According to OzBargain, there are only 200 units available at this price so you'll want to be quick.
The Australian PC Awards 2021 may technically be over, but you've still got until the end of Sunday (July 4) to enter its generous competition pool. Proceedings took place June 23-25, and you can watch each episode below. To enter the prize pool, you'll need to find the secret code word in each episode, and then click the relevant link below.
The APCAs celebrate the best PC hardware and components available in Australia, as voted by expert editors across TechRadar, T3, PC PowerPlay and TechLife.
Award categories in this episode: Peripherals & Components, Reseller, Excellence and Gold.
Episode #1 competition
If you watched Wednesday's episode and found the secret code word, you'll need to click this link and submit your entry for a chance to share in AU$4,935 in PC gear. Prizes from the first episode include:
Please note that this competition is open to Australian residents only. Entries close July 4, 2021.
Episode #2 competition
If you watched episode two and kept an eye out for the secret code word, click this link to head to the competition page where you'll submit your entry for a chance to share in AU$4,593 in PC gear! Last night's awesome prizes include:
Please note that this competition is open to Australian residents only. Entries close July 4, 2021.
Episode #3 competition
If you want to win some cool stuff, you'll need to watch tonight's episode and keep an eye out for the secret code word. Once you've got it, click this link to head to the competition page where you'll submit your entry for a chance to share in AU$5,796 in PC gear! Tonight's awesome prizes include:
Please note that this competition is open to Australian residents only. Entries close July 4, 2021.
Australian PC Awards deals
For the 2021 APCAs, the team has partnered up with this year's Awards sponsors to bring you a selection of special Aussie deals on some of the top PC hardware and software from Adata, Aftershock PC, Asus, Aten, Eset, MSI, Mwave, PC Case Gear, Razer and Western Digital including:
The 2021 Australian PC Awards kick off tonight, Wednesday June 23, at 7:30pm AEST. This evening's livestream is the first of three, with proceedings set to continue on Thursday and Friday evenings. Each night will bring new verdicts, prizes and shenanigans.
The APCAs celebrate the best PC hardware and components available in Australia, as voted by our expert editors across TechRadar, T3, PC PowerPlay and TechLife. If you're keen to follow along live, you can tune in here tonight, or visit this page on TechRadar, or watch on YouTube.
Why three nights? Because there are 26 categories, ranging best graphics card through to best reseller. It's a big event, and to celebrate it, the APCAs are giving away AU$15,254 worth of PC gear—a big chunk of it gaming centric.
Check out the prizes:
Aorus 15G YC laptop worth AU$3,499
Gigabyte Aero 15 XC laptop worth AU$3,099
Gigabyte Aero 17 KC laptop worth AU$2,999
Thermaltake Citadel Gaming System PC worth AU$2,399
AMD Ryzen 3600 CPU worth AU$289
AMD Radeon 6700XT graphics card worth AU$749
Corsair K70 TKL keyboard worth AU$299
Corsair Sabre Pro RGB mouse worth AU$99
Aten UC3022 CamLive Pro Dual HDMI to USB-C UVC Video Capture worth AU$679
First, paid DLC The Silence & the Fury beefs up the beastmen. They're a faction who have been in need of a rebalance for a while now, and legendary lord Taurox the Brass Bull will get several new units for his roster: doombull lords, wargor heroes, tuskgor chariots, and two monsters previously absent from the beastmen army list, the four-armed ghorgon and the jabberslythe. That's the winged Lewis Carroll nightmare beast from the trailer.
The other half of The Silence & the Fury is a lizardmen army led by Oxyotl the Unseen, whose new troops are skink oracle heroes, chameleon stalkers, and another two monster units, the spellcasting coatl and venom-spitting feral troglodon. Both armies get three extra regiments of renown as well, veteran versions of their new units.
As with Warhammer 2's previous DLC, each legendary lord gets a campaign with their own start position and some unique mechanics. Taurox earns momentum for acts of slaughter and razing cities, which can be spent to extend his rampages. Oxyotl can sneak through enemy territory, develop silent sanctums across the map, and "battle threats to the natural order of things". He also gets bonus XP for fighting his favored enemy, Chaos.
As usual there are freebies coming to Total War Access alongside this paid DLC, and Creative Assembly is calling it a "massive free update". The beastmen get a great bray shaman, and ogre mercenaries who will be recruitable by all existing armies. These mercs may be a preview of an ogre faction coming in Total War: Warhammer 3's DLC, but we'll have to wait and see on that. Apparently we'll only be able to hire a limited number of ogres and at a hefty price, with a risk of them eating anyone who doesn't pay their fee. There's also a legendary lord joining the dwarfs, which Creative Assembly says it'll reveal tomorrow.
The Silence & the Fury will be out on July 14, as will the free DLC. Meanwhile, Total War: Warhammer 3 is expected in late 2021.
The slow trickle of Dying Light 2 information continued today during episode 2 of the game's official reveal stream, Dying 2 Know. The stream focused mostly on the game's special zombie types in a new gameplay clip from what appears to be near the beginning of the game.
The gameplay clip follows the protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, and a freerunning friend as they sneak through a zombie-infested hospital to nab a few wristbands that will let them know if they're ever about to turn into zombies (a little ironic considering what they go through to get them, but they are basically zombie killing machines). During the stream, Techland said that Dying Light 2's stealth will be majorly improved compared to the first game. I thought the stealth was fine in the 2015 original, but it was pretty annoying to dodge zombies' vision cones at night.
In the new clip, we see what looks like more freeform rules for when a zombie will spot you. As long as Aiden keeps quiet and low, he can get pretty close without causing a stir. That said, this was a linear mission presented as a scripted sequence, so how these systems interact with a normal player still getting used to the game has yet to be seen.
We also got a good look at the zombie types, most of which will sound familiar to folks that have shot or sliced up zombies in other videogames:
Revenant, the one with spikes on its back
Demolisher, the one that throws rocks
Banshee, the agile one with a big claw hand
Howler, the one that can call for help
Volatile, the one that can pounce
I also spotted some sort of acid-spitting zombie, which officially checks off the last box and makes Dying Light 2 a certified zombie game. If you're catching up on Dying Light 2 news, Techland recently revealed that the game will finally release on December 7, 2021.
After three months of wandering around the Barrens looking for Mankrik's wife—and frequently being ambushed by angry Mankrik—the next Hearthstone set is almost upon us. For United in Stormwind, which was announced earlier today, we'll be switching sides to visit one of WoW's most iconic cities. The setting will shift from a bleak desert to a bustling hub where players explore professions, trade (with themselves), and find sturdy mounts to accompany them on their next questline. There might even be some cards here to help Priest win games quickly rather than generating infinite value and waiting for the heat death of the universe.
But that wasn't all that was revealed today. Battlegrounds improvements are coming, including the first round of cosmetics and the planned large-scale minion rework to all of the current tribes. It's one of the largest changes the mode has gone through since its initial release and the first wave of updates is starting with the 20.8 patch today. By this time next week, Ragnaros will be our bartender, selling us Amalgadons with a side order of insults.
Earlier this week, we spoke to senior game designer on the Initial Design team Liv Breeden, and associate game designer Cora Gergiou, about what's coming on August 3 when United in Stormwind launches.
PC Gamer: Let's start with the Tradeable cards. When I first read that Hearthstone was doing "tradeable cards", my brain lit up with the idea that players would be able to swap cards with each other. But that's not how they work—instead, we swap cards with our own deck. What was the idea there and the balance considerations with that mechanic?
Liv Breeden, senior game designer, Initial Design
Liv Breeden: I think one of the things is how we're going from the Barrens, which is this harsh wasteland where characters are just fighting to survive, and we're going to Stormwind—which is the complete opposite. It's an Alliance-based city, full of people and teeming with life. It's really common in World of Warcraft to buy and sell or trade with other people and we wanted to capture that fantasy so we created these cards you could trade away. We wanted to have players trade with themselves during the game so we could design more situational cards.
Heavy Plate's a really good example; sometimes you're a Warrior and you really don't need armor if you're in a control matchup or something like that. You can take cards from your hand that are Tradeable, drag them to your deck, and for 1 Mana get a different card. As far as balance goes, we started these at 0 Mana for the trade effect but that's… really good. We bumped the cost to 1 Mana so there's more weight to the decision. Players can decide if they want to spend the 1 Mana now or save the card in case they need the 8 Armor later.
How would you say it changes the feel of games to have access to this cycling effect?
Cora Georgiou: It definitely adds that little bit of extra consistency. If you're playing a deck with situational cards, you can afford to include them or tech pieces since if you're in a circumstance where they aren't super relevant you can just toss them back. And it gave us cool opportunities to make cards that interact with Tradeable cards or improve upon the mechanic as we go forward. It's nice extra reliability in deckbuilding.
LB: It's also comparable to [Druid's] Choose One keyword. Choose One cards are cool because they're versatile and this is a different way to do versatile without impeding upon what Druids do. It's a great way to expand that flexibility to other classes.
It feels like there's been an increasing willingness to print more card draw and let players see more of their decks each game across multiple classes. Is there a philosophical change here from when some classes were really constrained by a lack of draw?
LB: It's a mix of things. On one side of it, there was a point in time where we said "Priest doesn't draw cards as part of their class identity" and Priest just disappeared. Nobody wanted to play the class and it was hard to win with it since you weren't drawing at all. We're adding more of that back into different classes—card games are fun because you get to play the cards in your deck. It's cool that we can restrict resources so you have to play smarter, but it's not as cut and dried as we had it before.
Nobody wanting to play priest, or as I call it, the good old days. Are you at all worried about any player confusion from the mechanic's name and people wondering if Hearthstone is now a trading card game?
LB: It's something that we considered, but I think over time you just get used to it. We think players will realize quickly that it isn't about swapping Tradeable cards with each other—but we still wanted to have this fantasy of being in the city and having cards that are goods or services or shopkeeps.
Can you trade multiple times on a turn?
LB: As long as you have multiple Tradeable cards, yes.
Let's talk about the Questline cards as well. Just to confirm, they start in your hand like the old quests, they have three smaller parts with smaller rewards, and then the final step gets you the new Mercenary card in your hand?
LB: That's correct. You play them like normal quests but they're broken up into three parts—after you complete the first step, it transforms into the second step so you don't need to play it again and you just continue on the journey. Once you've completed all three steps you get a really powerful Legendary minion in your hand that provides big benefits. Some of them are long-term and some of them are one-offs but they're all definitely worth it.
The Warlock reward is a 5-Mana 7/7 with Battlecry: "For the rest of the game, damage you take on your turn damages your opponent instead." You're gonna end games pretty fast!
CG: Yup! We designed these questlines to be built around and they take the vast majority of the game to complete—so we wanted the final piece to be something that one way or another is likely to end the game. If you've played The Demon Seed, you've already taken quite a bit of damage on your own turn to advance it, and you need a lot of healing in your deck to make sure that you simply don't die when you play Blightborn Tamsin. It was important to us that these felt like really powerful pieces that you want to work for. For her, if you're playing a Warlock deck that's [life] tapping, playing Flame Imps, playing Raise Deads… you can certainly end the game with her pretty quickly.
LB: From the designer perspective, it's also really interesting since on old quests if you didn't complete them it's a completely lost resource. With these we can give you a little bit of power along the way to help you complete the Questline— and if not you at least get something out of it and it's less all or nothing. The gameplay is a little more variable that way.
Is there anything else you've learned about this kind of design with a built-in narrative and payoff?
Cora Georgiou, associate game designer
CG: Yeah, absolutely! One of the things is that it's really fun to complete quests. Naturally, if you're completing quests incrementally a little more often, you're getting that moment of excitement, of "oh I did the thing! Now I get paid out for the thing!", and that's naturally going to feel good if it happens more frequently. And of course, you get the big bonus similar to the power level of the previous quests. Like you mentioned, it's also a great opportunity for us to tell a story.
In The Demon Seed, we're telling the story of Tamsin raising the demon Anetheron and bringing him into Stormwind. We get those little bits of lore as we go, and we get to tell the story of our mercenaries—which is really what the whole year is about. It's great to combine narrative and gameplay into a mechanic like that.
LB: We actually started with the concept of Questlines ending with a passive effect so things like [Varden's] permanent Spell Damage +3 for the rest of the game, but there wasn't enough impact to them. You wanted to play those cards and feel like you did the thing, rather than just have the quest turn over and go "yup, we did it". Going from Uldum where quest completion made your hero power change… that's a cool moment, but there's something really special about the original quests where I played the [reward] card and now we're in the second half of the game. The stakes are different now.
Moving onto the mount spells, they bring to mind Spikeridged Steed and I guess Dragonmaw Sky Stalker also has a mount vibe. Why did you think that warranted a keyword and do you have any concern over the mechanic being a bit one-note?
CG: Yeah, they all operate the same way whereby you give a buff and a slight bonus to a minion. The mount that drops off has the exact same stats and same effect. Like you said, it's something that we haven't really done since Spikeridged Steed. If we did it more frequently and it was across every class, it could end up feeling samey, so for that reason we chose to go with fewer classes. The gameplay of Spikeridged Steed was really great and it's one of the most powerful cards in Arena—exploring that across different costs and classes was pretty cool and thematically appropriate.
LB: And there are a lot of spicy cards out there. One thing about World of Warcraft is that everyone remembers getting their mount. It's a big story moment for the mercenaries—this is their mount and this is what makes their mount special. We'll see Warlock and Paladin get their special mounts as well. If you look at Hunter as an example, Immune while attacking is super different from the Taunt from Spikeridged Steed or the Elekk mount.
We're able to diversify a little bit more now that people are familiar with it. We still have simple cards like Elekk that are obvious and people say "oh yeah I get it" right away, but then you look at Ramming Mount and say "this is where it gets interesting".
Can you tell us more about how Flightmaster Dungar works?
CG: Yes, so Flightmaster Dungar is the card that everyone is getting for free in the 20.8 patch that's going out on July 1st. This is really just trying to hard echo a flight master from WoW in Hearthstone. When you play him he'll pop up three different locations for you to choose—Westfall, Ironforge, or the Plaguelands. Depending on the flight path you choose, he'll go dormant for either one turn, three turns, or five turns and the effect of each is different. Again, just one of those really flexible pieces that I think could find use in a lot of different decks.
I like that the giveaway card in each set is kind of a head-scratcher where players can do some weird but cool stuff.
LB: Yeah, and what I like about Dungar is that it really benefits people who know their matchups. Do I need something now, do I want something in five turns… what is my game plan and how does it work against my opponent's class? It really benefits those sorts of players and it's cool!
Tell me a little bit about the philosophy behind the Profession Tools. Do they all interact with the cards in your hand and why was that design space interesting?
LB: So we tried Profession Tools a couple different ways and how we ended up with them is pretty awesome—it's simple enough to understand but still fulfills the fantasy. These are weapons that don't have an attack but have an effect that goes off. For example, Runed Mythril Rod is the enchanting tool. The idea is that you're 'rolling need' on everything and then breaking it all down so you can enchant your other gear. We wanted to get the fantasy of what it was like to do the professions without having to do something like shuffle in crafting materials to your deck or something like that. They're not all hand-based—there's one that's board-based, there's one that's cost-based, and there are other things out there as well.
Next page: The problem with Priest, improving Battlegrounds without breaking it, and who was to blame for Paladin's Sword of the Fallen.
Another card I really like the look of is Darkbishop Benedictus. It's one of those unusual Start of Game effects that you don't tend to do very often, and this one puts Priest into Shadowform from the get-go. Is that part of the desire to find an alternative direction for Priest that may be quicker to end games?
CG: I think that's definitely part of it. Anyone familiar with Priest in World of Warcraft knows that they are two sides of the coin with Shadow and Holy. With the introduction of spell schools in Forged in the Barrens, Priest was always going to have access to both types of spells. Holy Priest has been the way we've explored Priest in the past by nature of their base hero power. Shadow Priest was really something we wanted to dig deeper into.
Baku and Genn in the past… everyone's got their opinions on them, but I think there is inherent excitement for Start of Game effects. Legendaries that change the course of how an entire game will go are really cool and they're something that we've explored internally a bunch of times. In this case, the requirement is quite high—you can't play any Holy spells or any untyped spells in your deck. Everything has to be Shadow. It really says that you're committing to the Shadow Priest deck, but now you get to deal damage right off the bat.
How does that change your gameplay, what do the Shadow spells look like, and what do we have to make as designers to accompany Darkbishop Benedictus to make it a deck that not only our players want to play because it's exciting but also can play because it's a valid archetype? It's just really cool to have that completely different design space.
What have these decks been looking like in testing? Are they more tempo-based and board-centric?
LB: Well there's removal like Shadow Word: Death and there's some Lifesteal as well… I think if you look at Shadow spells in the past, it's going to feel kind of similar to those sorts of things but fleshing it out and giving them a little bit more to work with. And of course, going face a little bit more than we're used to doing with Priest.
Staying with Priest, I've seen commentary that there are a surprising number of players conceding on the spot rather than sit through a marathon game. How do you feel about where the class is sitting at the moment?
LB: It's interesting for sure. If we look back at Rez Priest, that deck is really fun… for the person playing it. It's important that we have decks that are for those sorts of players, but we want to make sure that the people playing against them aren't tearing their hair out. If we look at the previous year, there's the "generation priest" where you're creating a huge amount of spells. I think that's something we're moving away from and will probably tone down going forward—or at least putting a number on the upper limit of spells they're going to be able to generate over the course of a game. But Shadow Priest is super different—there are cards like Insight for Shadow, but generally they're pretty forward moving, looking to directly do stuff to the opponent, and that's the goal in this expansion for Priest.
There is actual empirical evidence that Wailing Caverns Control Priest is the strongest counter in Hearthstone’s history to your willingness to play the game. I’m talking about early concessions. Turn 1 -> bottom rights. Priest produces those like no other.June 23, 2021
CG: Priest decks have often dealt in extremes. You either have a ton of resurrection and healing or you deal a bunch of damage really quickly…
Or you're dead on turn 4.
CG: Yeah [laughs]. It can be somewhat difficult to find that sweet spot. We've found it in the past and we're maybe slightly over right now, but I think the gameplay at the core of Priest—and I'm gonna get called a sadist for this—is fun! I don't hate Priest!
I can hear a lot of Grandmasters taking to their keyboards.
CG: "This is why she doesn't cast any more!" Nah, we're gonna find that sweet spot for Priest.
Let's switch gears and flip to Battlegrounds. The mode is finally getting cosmetics. What will it take for BGs to actually come out of beta? What's the next step?
CG: Honestly there's a lot that we'd love to do with Battlegrounds. Cosmetics are just the tip of the iceberg for the art potential that we see and some of the ways that we think players would love to personalize their own games. For it to come out of beta… that's an internal conversation and something that we've been discussing what exactly constitutes taking the tag off. We feel that BGs currently is very enjoyable and something that our players really, really love. There's a lot that we would love to be able to do with it. We're looking at hiring people for the BGs team, we're doing these cosmetics, and we have plans to do more… It'll happen some day!
LB: Yeah, one of the challenges for Battlegrounds is that we found this core thing that's super fun and different every game, and there's so much randomness going on. We don't really want to mess with the core gameplay, and making it more similar to constructed Hearthstone feels wrong so we definitely don't want to do that—leaning into the cosmetics is really important. These are ways that people can interact with Battlegrounds if they're really big into the mode and can get packs that really let them show their own personality. It allows us to keep the core gameplay the same while being able to put more resources towards battlegrounds so we can keep doing these content drops.
There's also a big minion shakeup coming to BGs. Can you give us any clues about what direction you might go in?
LB: So we're changing up which minions are in the pool. You'll see gameplay styles change from minion types, you'll see heroes come and go — well, I don't know if they're going so much as being adjusted, but we'll have some that are coming back that may have new effects. The idea is "what would a Standard rotation look like for Battlegrounds?" and what are we going to do to change the way the game plays.
CG: We have a couple of heroes that haven't been in the game for quite some time now. I know everyone wants their Galakrond achievement that they may not have gotten before we took him out—he'll be coming back along with Trade Prince Gallywix and Maiev, who we'd recently taken out. We made some adjustments to her and I believe those are all coming in 20.8. We've got a bigger shakeup coming after 21.0 is released.
Is Tirion ever coming back?
CG: I've been asking that for so long!
I loved Tirion!
CG: When we put out the neutral Taunt package, I said "You know who would really love this? My buddy Tirion!" Conor Kou at the time said no… I'll keep trying, but right now, we have no plans.
Can you talk at all about how the resource split between BGs and core Hearthstone works? You mentioned you were hiring at the moment—can you give me a feel for what the Battlegrounds group looks like?
LB: We're a little under where we want to be at the moment. We want it to be about the same size as Initial and Final Design, so between 4 and 6 people.
And we have to mention that there's a new bartender in town.
CG: There are a couple of new bartenders in town! In the beach party bundle, we've got Ragnaros, Tiki Lord coming. It's important to note that the bartenders are fully voiced the same way Bob is. If he wants to take a couple days off, that's fine and Rag can come in and tell you that you're doing great, insects! He's probably not going quite so positive, actually. He'll be purchasable with the Beach Party bundle and then with the Shadowlands bundle we're going to have Ve'nari, who's a prominent character in Shadowlands. She'll also be purchasable on her own while Rag will only come with the bundle.
Ve'nari is the only member of a race called the Ve'nari. She's the one and only and is very unique, which is one of the reasons we had to get her up there as a bartender. She's a cool character.
LB: Yeah, she's like the arbiter for lost souls in the Shadowlands and she kind of sends them where they need to go.
I kind of want a bartender to be more harsh than Bob. "You suck, pick it up!"
CG: You might like Ragnaros, Tiki Lord, then. That's the tough love, hot-tempered bartender that you're looking for.
Cora, you're one of the newer members of the team. What's something you thought about how cards were made that ended up being completely untrue?
CG: I have an interesting story in that I genuinely didn't know how card design worked. Of course I had my ideas but coming into the team… I guess the whole process of everything and that the creative work and the balance work is separate even though there is still creative work within the balance work. It just wasn't a world that I had been exposed to. It's been a wild almost two years since I joined the team. How long it takes for a single card to go from inception to actually reaching our audience has been the biggest surprise.
LB: And Cora's gone from Final Design to Battlegrounds to Initial Design so I think she's probably seen most of the entire card design process. I'm really glad she's back on the Initial Design team—the cool team!
CG: They are cool! I like them very much.
I envision the teams snapping their fingers at each other like West Side Story.
LB: And then we pass off our card design ideas and they cut them all down. There's the tradeoff.
Can either of you give me an example of what you thought was a great card that you brought to the team and they said "no, that won't work at all"?
LB: So I came on in Knights of the Frozen Throne and one of the cards I had was this 10 Mana mage spell. The dream was to make it silly and fun—it filled the board with random minions on both sides. It sounds really cool, but in practice, your opponent gets initiative before you and it's just not good. I think we ended up shipping a similar version on Yogg where your minions gain Rush.
There's kind of a meme among some of the pro players where they like to blame BoarControl [once a Grandmaster pro, now also an associate designer on the Hearthstone team] whenever there's a card they think is broken. What can we actually blame him for legitimately?
CG: I mean, I made Sword of the Fallen…
Look, I made it as a 1/3 but I didn't think Final Design would ever keep it as a 1/3, so technically you can blame Boar for that. Though actually I don't think he was on the team yet…
The Paladin players were delighted with that card.
CG: I was delighted by it! Look, Secret Paladin hasn't been a thing for a very long time, it needed quite a good package of cards to become a thing… and it was a thing!
What's the sleeper class with this set?
LB: I really like Mage this set. Mage is super cool, Rogue's got some new decks that we haven't seen so I'd look out for those too.
CG: I think internally I've been playing a lot of Warrior when we're testing future sets and I've been including the Questline in that quite a bit. That's probably my favorite Questline of the bunch. It's very fun.
How's Demon Hunter looking? People were initially skeptical of the Deathrattle Demon Hunter that's ended up being pretty good. Have you tried anything new here?
LB: Yeah, it's tricky! We launched DH with two pretty good decks but we didn't really have a great stable of cards so when we wanted to build up a new archetype we had to give it a whole bunch of new stuff like when Deathrattle came around. Even Final Design was skeptical and said that Deathrattle DH wasn't a thing… but we needed to make it a thing. It's building from the ground up a lot unless you're leaning on one of the older designs—which isn't a bad thing, but I think we could do a better job of that going forward in the future.
The Animal Crossing: New Horizons clothing line features minimalist tees printed with Animal Crossing-related characters, logos, and more. It includes 22 designs for men, women, children, and babies. Customers can only buy one of each shirt — so no doubling up. Men’s and women’s tees cost $19.90, and children’s and babies’ cost $9.90. The collection also apparently includes accessories such as towels and tote bags.
All the UT patterns appear in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons in-game clothing shop for characters to wear too. There’s also a UNIQLO Island that players can visit with this Dream Address: DA-5439-8379-5190. The island recreates the inside of a real-life UNIQLO store, complete with rows of neatly “folded” clothing and merchandise.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons continues to stay relevant in gaming spaces with new updates throughout the year. Since its release in March 2020, it’s grown into one of the best-selling titles during the pandemic. This cozy island getaway game entertained families, offered comfort to players, and sometimes even made them anxious throughout an overall tragic time.
Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa confirmed that the game surpassed lifetime sale predictions in just the first two months after launch. At the time, it was the most successful launch of a Nintendo Switch game. It even won the Game of the Year award at the Tokyo Games Show. So it’s no wonder that this successful sim made it into a UNIQLO collection.
EA dropped a Battlefield 2042 gameplay trailer at E3, but otherwise skipped the big show, preferring to hold its reveals until EA Play Live later this month. We now know that two games won't be among those reveals: Dragon Age 4 and the new Mass Effect.
In a tweet today, BioWare said that it "won't be showing anything at EA Play Live" this year. The RPG studio points to today's Star Wars: The Old Republic livestream for the latest news it can share, and otherwise says that it's "hard at work" on the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect games.
We’re hard at work creating the next @dragonage and @masseffect games and have some exciting stuff coming to @SWTOR this year. While we won’t be showing anything at EA Play Live, be sure to check out our SWTOR Livestream at 12PM PT today for info on what’s to come!July 1, 2021
We've known about the next Dragon Age (which we've been calling Dragon Age 4 for simplicity's sake) for a while, but it's still likely two or more years away. All we've seen so far are teases and concept art which position fan-favorite mage Solas in a leading role.
The new Mass Effect, which was announced more recently, is in a similar place. We know that it's closely connected to the original trilogy—popular blue alien Liara appears in the teaser—and that series veterans are returning to work on it. It's in early development, though, and feels like something we might play around the time The Elder Scrolls 6 comes out.
Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that BioWare has its head down given that it has two presumably very large RPGs in development. After plucky Mass Effect: Andromeda failed to usher in a new era for the sci-fi RPG universe, and Anthem failed to break BioWare into the live service FPS scene, it feels like the studio may be on a 'back to the basics' course. Its most recent release is a remaster of the original Mass Effect trilogy, and its next two games are leading with already-beloved characters.
EA Play Live will be streamed on July 22. We'll find out about what mystery Battlefield 2042 mode DICE LA has been working on, and probably see a big gameplay demo for the newly 128-player shooter. EA's also got its sports games, and studios like Respawn and Motive to talk about.