Heroes of the Storm Discounts Everything in Its Black Friday Sale

Next week marks the first Black Friday since the official release of Heroes of the Storm earlier this year, and Blizzard is not going to disappoint those hoping for a sale.

Beginning on November 24, every character, mount, and skin will be discounted by 50 percent. That’s a pretty substantial price cut, particularly in light of criticism that the game doesn’t reward players with a sufficient amount of in-game gold to unlock these things.

Additionally, a new 360-day Stimpack will be sold “at a deeply discounted price,” and a new Second Chance bundle is being introduced. This one consists of four mounts and two skins, some of which aren’t otherwise up for sale.

Here’s what’s included in the bundle:

  • Winter Veil Jaina Skin
  • Greatfather Winter Rehgar Skin
  • Reigndeer Mount
  • Nazeebra Mount
  • Lunar Tiger Mount
  • Magic Carpet Mount

No price for this or the new Stimpack was announced.

These offers will be available in all regions for two weeks, running from this coming Tuesday until December 8.

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Author: Chris Pereira

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The 'Oscar conversation' is only as white as The Hollywood Reporter wants it to be

Every Oscar season, The Hollywood Reporter, one of the most powerful trade magazines in entertainment, runs a series of roundtables featuring the stars poised to win it all at the Academy Awards. And, with some notable exceptions, those roundtables are almost always exclusively white. It’s a tradition as hallowed as the awards themselves, but it’s getting harder to get away with. 2015 brought with it one of the most robust ongoing conversations about race and gender in Hollywood, and even THR had to take a step back and explain itself after its most recent cover, whose talented, uniformly Caucasian ensemble included Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, and Helen Mirren. THR executive features editor Stephen Galloway got out in front of…

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Author: Kwame Opam

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PSA: You Might Be in the Overwatch Beta Right Now

The beta test weekend for Blizzard’s new game, Overwatch, is now live, and you might have access.

Earlier this week, Blizzard announced that it would add “a lot more players” in the Americas and Europe to the beta for this weekend. Based on that vague statement, it was unclear just how many people would actually get in. With the beta weekend now underway, there are a few ways of seeing if you can take part.

Blizzard says it sent emails to everyone who’s been allowed in for this weekend. But with the threat of such an email being a phishing scam (who hasn’t gotten a fake “your WoW account has been suspended” email or three?), there’s a better way to check. Just open up the Battle.net launcher (or download it, as this is how the game is installed) and check the Overwatch tab to see if you’re got an Install button. If you do, you’re in. You can also check the Game Accounts section of the Battle.net website to see if your account has been flagged.

The beta test weekend began today, November 20, at 9 AM PST and runs until Monday, November 23, at 9 AM. Players have access to all 21 characters in the game and a handful of maps. Blizzard describes this as a stress test, meaning there could be network issues that pop up.

Your participation in this beta weekend won’t have any impact on being allowed into future beta weekend events (or the closed beta proper). Any progress you make won’t transfer to the full game, which is due out next spring.

The minimum and recommended specs for the Overwatch beta follow below.

Minimum specs (targeting 30fps):

  • OS: Windows Vista/7/ 8/10 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom X3 865
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 460, ATI Radeon HD 4850, or Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • Memory: 768 MB VRAM, 4 GB System RAM
  • Storage: 7200 RPM with 5 GB available HD space

Recommended (targeting 60fps on Medium settings):

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom II X3 2.8 GHz
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or ATI Radeon HD 7950
  • Memory: 2 GB VRAM, 6 GB System RAM

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Author: Chris Pereira

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Zayn Malik never asked to be our token Muslim

Earlier today, The Huffington Post apologized for the following tweet, which paired a picture of former One Direction member Zayn Malik with a headline about ISIS. The apology was quick, and public, and didn’t attempt to hide the fact that a mistake had been made. For that they get some credit.

We apologize for the original image here. Zayn Malik is mentioned in the story, but is obviously not part of ISIS. pic.twitter.com/CzEaDwxs3y

— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) November 20, 2015

They did not apologize for picking a weird and unflattering picture of Zayn, which not only adds insult to injury but is also baffling in its near impossibility. But, anyway.

The mistake echoes ones made by many publications earlier this year…

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Author: Kaitlyn Tiffany

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is Already Breaking Ticket Sale Records

Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t even out yet and it’s already breaking records.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter today that ticket pre-sales have so far generated more than $50 million in North America alone. That’s more than double the previous record of $25 million, set by 2012’s Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.

THR‘s sources added that IMAX sales alone accounted for one third of all pre-sale ticketing revenue.

The $50 million figure is likely to balloon even further in the lead-up to The Force Awakens‘ release in December, as pre-sale tickets have not yet sold out. THR surveyed major online ticketing services and found there are still “plenty of seats” available for opening-weekend showings.

Pre-sales opened on October 19, timed with the release of a new trailer. Demand was so strong that some ticketing sites crashed.

WSJ reports that many in Hollywood are predicting The Force Awakens will topple Jurassic World‘s $209 million in first-weekend sales to have the biggest opening in film history. But even if it doesn’t beat that initial mark, The Force Awakens–which opens December 18–could enjoy a strong performance over its next two weeks. That’s because many adults will be off work and children out of school for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Avatar remains the top-performing movie of all time in terms of box office receipts with $2.79 billion. WSJ explains that The Force Awakens will need to perform well in China and Russia, regions where the Star Wars franchise is not as ingrained in pop culture, if it wants to topple that mark.

The Force Awakens is directed by JJ Abrams and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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Our holographic future: a Q&A with HoloLens head Scott Erickson

It’s been almost a year since we first learned about Microsoft’s HoloLens, the experimental augmented (actually, Microsoft prefers “mixed”) reality headset that can run Minecraftreconstruct Mars, and take Skype calls. It doesn’t do these things flawlessly, but after months of tight secrecy, we’re slowly getting a better look at what the technology is capable of. Applications are currently open for development kits, which will be shipping next year. And Microsoft is getting more comfortable with publicity — unlike my first experience with HoloLens, the team didn’t confiscate all my electronics when I tried out its new Volvo showroom yesterday.

After my demo, I got a few minutes with Scott Erickson, senior director of the HoloLens…

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Author: Adi Robertson

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