This week's 2.1 update for Starcraft 2 doesn't rebalance any of the game's units, suggesting that - at least for now - Blizzard are pretty confident that everything in the game is OP. Instead, then, they get to focus on improving other key experiences: like music and tiny hovering clan pictures. They're also making a big push into another of the game's core components: mucking about. As such, the Starcraft Arcade is now available to anyone who downloads the free Starter Edition of the game.
It was supposed to be a short break. I told myself Civilization V wouldn't suck me in when I began playing on the big screen. The game will be too tedious. The text will be too small. I was wrong.
I've spent the past couple days going through every game I thought would be interesting to play, and Civilization V on a couch, staring at a big screen TV is among most engaging, relaxing gaming experiences I've ever had with a game.
I've been working PC Gamer's news mine for almost a year now. In all that time, I haven't once used the words "Blizzard" and "sale" in the same article. Well okay, I used them once to describe something Blizzard were selling, but never in the sense of temporarily cheaper products. That all changes today, when those words get to meet in their very own sentence: Blizzard is holding a Black Friday sale. As a result of this rarest of events, the prices of World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 have been dramatically slashed worldwide.
Blizzcon may be over, but you can still enjoy the show vicariously, through this gallery of photos. See towering statues of the heroes and villains of Blizzard's sprawling lore, triumphant champions enjoying their ultimate victories, and thousands of fans, soaking up the news and culture surrounding World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
If you were hoping to go Blizzcon 2013, well, you're a bit late. The annual event, which kicks off on November 8th, sold out within seconds of its tickets going on sale. For those missing out, though, Blizzard have announced a "virtual ticket", letting you enjoy the sights and sounds of their mammoth convention, without having to endure the smells. Purchase of the pass grants access to two exclusive HD streams, covering both days of the show.
Is crafting silly hats for Team Fortress 2 just not artistically challenging enough? It's time to move on, my friend, and reach for the stars—of StarCraft 2, that is, thanks to Blizzard's newly released Art Tools.
StarCraft Universe, the fan-made MMO under development using the StarCraft II engine, is now on Kickstarter with Blizzard's blessing. The team, Upheaval Arts, is asking for $80,000 to fund the free-to-play project, with stretch goals that can add playable zerg, new PvP content, and an extension of the original storyline being developed.
eSports fans and followers of the professional StarCraft 2 circuit will be disappointed to hear that Major League Gaming has parted ways with Blizzard and won’t be hosting future World Championship Series tournaments.
We used the only viable fuel source with the world's only time machine to visit E3 2014, and bring back the gaming news of the future for you, our loyal readers. The haters will say we could have done something more beneficial for humanity with this singular opportunity, but we usually just ban people like that. What new boxes will you be able to plug into your TV? Will everyone own a Rift? Do your emotional scars from Game of Thrones Season 3 ever heal? We have the 100 percent accurate, non-speculative answers to all this and more.
We're coming up on the biggest weekend for StarCraft II eSports in 2013 so far, with both the Korean and American WCS Season 1 finals concluding the first round of Blizzard's new, worldwide tournament format. The Korean finals between INnoVation and Soulkey will have already started by the time you read this, but you should be able to check out the WCS archives shortly after the broadcast. The American finals, beginning with the Round of 8, will run throughout the weekend.
A potential bank holiday scenario: You're halfway through a long weekend buried face-deep in a monitor, blasting through some games. Then, all of a sudden, your body kicks you out of the digitally enhanced stupor, complaining of aching fingers and a distended bladder. Look, you're getting older. There's no shame in that. Luckily, with the WCS Europe Season One finals, due to take place this weekend, Blizzard can help you extend that gaming marathon through the vicarious thrill of watching professionals at work.
Is there life after you get on an internet forum and insult a bunch of your fans? Things weren't looking great for notorious eSports personality Greg "IdrA" Fields after doing just that last week; the well-known pro StarCraft player was promptly removed from his team, Evil Geniuses. Over the weekend he did a YouTube interview with gaming show Real Talk, where he revealed that he probably wasn't going to try and find a home elsewhere—he's looking into commentating instead.
StarCraft II pro Ilyes "Stephano" Satouri announced on a livestream today that he intends to retire from professional gaming this August, returning to school with his over $200,000 in winnings. The French Zerg player is arguably the most successful non-Korean in the history of the game (indisputably, based on winnings alone). His most recent major victory was at the 2012 Blizzard WCS European finals, since which he has been showing less impressive performance.
The first major event of Dreamhack's 2013 season is up and running from Stockholm, Sweden. 96 top StarCraft II players have gathered to compete for $27,000 in prizes and up to 750 WCS points. Two group stages have already concluded, but there are plenty more matches to catch leading up to and including the overall finals on the 27th.
With the qualifiers now finished, the 32 players competing in the first season of the European leg of Starcraft 2's World Championship Series have been announced. The pros have been split into eight groups, with each group battling on a different night over the next three weeks. The first group - featuring SaSe, ForGG, sLivko and Bunny - kick things off tonight, from 6pm CEST/5pm BST.
Blizzard's annual fan convention, Blizzcon, is November 8 and 9 this year. As you might expect for a gathering focused on such monoliths of PC gaming as Starcraft and Warcraft, tickets tend to go pretty fast, so if you're looking to join in the scramble, you should know that tickets go on sale next Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m. Pacific. A second batch will become available Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. Pacific. The cost this year is $175 per person.
A decade and a half ago, I strolled into a Kmart with a plastic pencil case full of saved-up change to buy a game called StarCraft. At the time, no one could have expected it to become the dominant competitive RTS for 15 years. Its sequel, which just received a first expansion earlier this year, is growing in popularity with over $1.6 million in prizes available for competitive play for the 2013 season.
Last week, we got a look at the format for the 2013 StarCraft II World Championship Series in the North America region. Today, Blizzard released a detailed explanation of the global prize pools and point system for the new face of top-level competition. If you like eSports, looking at large sums of money, and purple-tinted infographics, this might be the most personally relevant thing you read today.
With the announcement of the new, unified World Championship Series for StarCraft II, the structure of competitive play is going through a lot of changes. Here in North America, Blizzard is partnering up with Major League Gaming to crown a continental champion using a format similar to South Korea's GSL. It can be a little confusing at first glance, so we've broken it down into a simple, straightforward explanation.
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm was designed to be a competitive sport, so it's only fair that it nicks some of sport's idioms. The most important of these is cribbed from football: it's a game of two halves.
The front half: a 20-odd mission campaign with a steadily evolving spread of controllable units spurred on by an earnest, overwrought story of revenge. Dig through that, learn the game's many long and greasy ropes, and you'll find the back half: a competitive strategy game so finely balanced and so tactically varied that people are able to play it as their job.
No matter your experience with Heart of the Swarm's predecessor, Wings of Liberty - first of Blizzard's planned three StarCraft IIs - it's the campaign you should start with. Not simply because it does an appreciable job of teaching new players the basic mechanics for one of the game's three races - the Zerg, the swarmy stars of this StarCraft show - but also because it's incredibly well put together in its own right.