StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Why Blizzard invited the world's best StarCraft: Brood War players to Blizzcon 2011

Rich McCormick at

Jaedong, Fantasy, Bisu, and Jangbi are some of the world's premier StarCraft: Brood War players. This year, these four StarCrafting superstars were invited to Blizzcon.

But why were they there? Sites like Teamliquid swirled with rumours prior to the event: they were there to perform show matches, playing 1998's Brood War on the big screen to foreign fans. They were there to test out the next StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm. They were there to mark their transition from professional Brood War – still the majority esports share in Korean viewing schedules – to StarCraft II. But Blizzcon came and went, and the four players were absent from headlines outside of citizen-papparazzi snaps and videos. Why were they there, flown out to Anaheim from their Korean home? The answer is simpler than you might expect. Read on to find out why.

StarCraft 2 tournaments will move over to Heart of the Swarm "when the community decides".

Rich McCormick at

Just when you think you've finally got your head around defending a 1/1/1 push and locked down your warp prism/immortal micro, Blizzard are adding a set of new units to StarCraft II's multiplayer armies. But what happens to SC2 tournaments like MLG and the GSL who've built their empires around Wings of Liberty's multiplayer? Will they be forced to move over to Heart of the Swarm half way through their season?

StarCraft 2: new Zerg, Terran and Protoss units spotted at Blizzcon

Tom Senior at

The show hasn't even started yet, but someone on Reddit has been busy taking snaps of the cardboard cut-outs at Blizzcon 2011. They reveal two new units for StarCraft 2. The first is a new flyer, The Viper. It's described as a "flying unit with support abilities. It can grant detection to units, create a cloud to hinder ranged attacks and abilities, and quickly pull units to safety (friendly) or their doom (enemy)."

The second Zerg unit is called the Swarm Host. "This Zerg host can gradually spawn endless waves of attackers while burrowed to overwhelm your enemy." Eek.

Another two images show three new Protoss units, including the Protoss Replicator, which can copy enemy units and their abilities. The Tempest is a devastating new capital ship and the Oracle can see what enemy buildings are constructing, and distrupt the enemy mineral line.

Three new Terran units are also shown. The Warhound is "a versatile factory unit." The Battle Hellion is, as many guessed, a Hellion that can transform into a more durable walking bot. Finally, there's the Shredder that can "deploy a whirlwind of death around it." See the images and descriptions of all these units below. Exciting news for StarCraft fans, but which of the new units is more OP?

PC cleans up at the Golden Joystick Awards

Owen Hill at

Whoa. When did PC gaming become so damn... award-winning?

PC has cleaned up at the Golden Joystick awards with a wealth of exclusives. And the non PC exclusive games that took an award? We get to play most of those too, only more anti aliased, and in a better resolution.

The best bit? Gamers voted for these. Real-life gamers with strong opinons. A record-breaking 2.06 million of them in fact. Well done PC gaming community - you rose to the challenge and pwned.

Click through for the full results. Don't agree with some of the winners? It's time for a furious debate. See you in the comments.

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Zerg unit teased

Tom Senior at

As promised, Blizzard have released another silhouette for a new StarCraft 2 unit to be added with Heart of the Swarm. The last one was some sort of OP Terran shape. This time it's a Zerg unit, but WHAT IS IT?

Facebook commenters are torn. "infested stalker," says one. "It's obviously a flyer," says another. "Its kind a like extra-armored evolved roach. Whatever that is," says another. We turned to resident StarCraft 2 nerd, Rich for DEFINITIVE ANSWERS.

"A weird Ultralisk or a Lurker," he said. See the full image below and decide for yourself.

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm multiplayer unit teased

Owen Hill at

Blizzard have started teasing Heart of the Swarm's new multiplayer units. That's one of them up there! Click through to see his legs and for the first snippets of info.

Intel Extreme Masters New York: world's best CS 1.6, LoL and StarCraft 2 players to fight for $93k

Tom Senior at

The best Counter-Strike 1.6, StarCraft 2 and League of Legends players will clash in New York next month, hoping to win a share of the enormous $93,000 prize pot up for grabs at the Intel Extreme Masters Global Challenge event. It all kicks off on Thursday October 13 and runs through until the finals on Sunday October 16. The best teams will also win the chance to participate in the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship in Hanover, Germany next year.

MLG Raleigh event draws record viewing figures

Tom Senior at

It looks as though e-sports spectators are on the rise. The MLG Raleigh tournament that took place the weekend before last is the most watched MLG event to date. At its highest point, 138,000 people were watching the MLG Raleigh live streams. According to info MLG sent over, viewers tuned in from 173 countries and three million hours were "consumed" over the course of the competition.

Raleigh is the fourth competition in a six-part city-hopping tour and MLG will be live-streaming their events in Orlando and Providence, too. If you missed the StarCraft 2 and League of Legends tournaments that took place in the last event, MLG Raleigh 2011tournament matches are now free to watch on demand. Check out some of the best e-sports players in the world doing their best work, and be inspired/slightly crushed by the ludicrous ability on display.

Tonight: Microsoft vs. Zynga in the StarCraft 2 After Hours Gaming League finals

Evan Lahti at

Can Bing's Banelings best Farmville's Ghosts? Tonight, Microsoft and Zynga are going to settle their differences in StarCraft 2. The tech competitors face each other in the final of the After Hours Gaming League, a for-charity tournament between top tech companies in Silicon Valley. Starting at 6 PM PST, tonight's final is the culmination of a month-some of round robin action between Yelp, Amazon, and others.

StarCraft 2's self-professed "funsmith" Day[9] will be doing the commentary, streamed here and embedded after the jump. To the winner: $5000 for the charity of their choice and immeasurable bragging rights.

I'm running out the door now to attend the tournament. For on-site updates, follow me at @elahti as I make the trip from PC Gamer to Facebook HQ, where the finals are being hosted.

StarCraft 2 Starter Edition offers free maps and missions to new players

Tom Senior at

The StarCraft 2 demo is dead! It has been reborn as the bigger and better StarCraft 2 Starter Edition, which includes four single player missions, two challenge maps and four skirmish maps that will let you play as Terrans against AI opponents. That's a great big slobbering shank of free StarCraft 2 for new players.

The starter edition has no time limit, the missions and maps can be replayed as often as you like. All you need to get your chunk of free StarCraft 2 is an internet connection and a login. You can set up an account and download the starter edition from now.

In a Q&A on the StarCraft 2 blog Blizzard say they plan to rotate the available skirmish maps, and will make a limited selection of custom maps available to Starter Edition players, including the Blizzard-made StarJeweled mod. You'll even be able to play the custom maps with friends. Read on for the full list of features currently included.

Watch it live: MLG Anaheim StarCraft 2 tournament kicks off tonight

Tom Senior at

In about eight hours time, MLG Anaheim will bring the world's best StarCraft 2 players together to compete in front of a global audience. The first match, Naniwa vs. Huk, is set to kick off at 5:30 PM PDT / 1:30 AM GMT. You can find the full schedule on the MLG site, and watch matches live, for free, on MLG TV. Gold and Silver subscribers will be able to watch HD streams of every match.

If you're new to e-sports and want an introductory taste of the StarCraft 2 competitive scene, we rounded up videos of ten of our favourite matches. For more on pro-gaming, Rich recently wrote about why he loves watching StarCraft 2.

Starcraft Universe trailer shows boss battles and Ultralisk mobs

Tom Hatfield at

Starcraft Universe, formerly known as World of Starcraft, impressed us with its pre-alpha footage before. Now it's back with an even more impressive video, spotted by ChaosSmurf on twitter. The last we heard of the mod, the creators were involved in a minor legal scuffle with Activision and Blizzard over the mod's name. That's all resolved now, so the team has been able to get back to creating some impressive new levels, including what looks like a set piece in which players defend a flying platform from Zerg attack. The mod is created entirely using the free editing tools bundled with StarCraft 2. Find out more on the StarCraft Universe ModDB homepage.

Blizzcon 2011 to host GSL finals in October

Tom Senior at

The final of one of the biggest StarCraft 2 tournaments in the world will be held outside of Korea for the first time this year. The GSL final will take place in front of a live audience at Blizzcon 2011 in Anaheim. Anyone with a account will be able to log in to for free and watch the best StarCraft 2 players in the world do battle live this October.

Starcraft 2 region linking incoming. Quicker matchmaking, wider audiences, more friends

Owen Hill at

As reported on Blues News, Blizzard are planning on combining some of Starcraft 2's region-specific servers. It'll result in an improved player experience no matter where you're playing from.

PC Gamer UK Podcast 57 – Sean "Day[9]" Plott interview

Owen Hill at

Day[9] is one of the most charismatic, knowledgeable, and downright likable shoutcasters on the Starcraft II scene. Rich MCC loves him a little bit more than most. That's why we sent our staff writer to meet Day[9] earlier in the week, armed with a recording studio and pair of microphones.

He returned with bumper, Starcraft II-themed edition of the PC Gamer UK podcast where the pair talk about future expansions, what it's like to live a life laced with Starcraft II, and the current state of e-sports.

Download the MP3, subscribe, or find our other podcasts here. For more Day[9] check out his YouTube channel. For more Rich, click here.

MLG Columbus StarCraft 2 - championship day livestream

Evan Lahti at

The final rounds of Major League Gaming's StarCraft 2 Columbus tournament are underway and streaming live. The high-quality video stream is also free. Pop some corn and tune in to watch the surviving players duel for the championship.

Curious about esports? Watch the StarCraft 2 TSL tournament for free

Tom Senior at

If you've ever been tempted to check out StarCraft 2 as a spectator sport, you should definitely watch the recent Team Liquid Starleague tournament. The whole competition is available to watch now for free on the TSL site. It's got it all, incredibly talented players, tense match-ups, and expert narration from some of the best shoutcasters in the world.

The TSL has become another regular fixture in our StarCraft 2 calendar, alongside the GSL and Day[9]'s regular casts. It's fair to say many of us have become completely hooked on watching StarCraft 2 (find out how Tom got hooked here). We think you might like it, too, so we gathered together ten of the best StarCraft 2 matches to help get you started.

Diablo 3 beta in Q3; Blizzard hoping to launch full game in 2011 but "will not compromise on quality"

Tim Edwards at

Mike Morheime has clarified what's going on with the launch date.Blizzard games are like buses: you wait for ages, and then two turn up at once. In their ongoing investor call, Activision-Blizzard hinted that Diablo 3 might be ready for 2011, but that they wouldn't rush the game out to hit a deadline."

Mike said that 'the game does not have a launch date. We're working very hard to try and release it this year, but we will not compromise on quality.' He also confirmed that the Diablo 3 beta will hit in the third quarter of 2011. Squee!

During Activision's financial predictions, they carefully noted that the predictions were based around 'not expecting a Blizzard game in 2011'. But the company pointed out that if their prediction were to come true, 'we'd expect two Blizzard titles in 2012.

If we had our betting hats on, that would put the Diablo 3 release date as early 2012, with a new World of Warcraft expansion hitting late 2012, and Heart of the Swarm landing in 2013.

The weekend playlist

Tom Senior at

The weekend is here. Which means it's time to throw off the shackles of tedium and devote our time and energy to our pixelated passions. Here's what we're going to be playing over the weekend. Do let us know what you'll be up-to in the comments.

Blizzcon ticket sale dates and pricing announced

Tom Senior at

Blizzcon is happening on October 21 and 22 at the Anaheim Convention Centre in California. The two day event will celebrate all things Blizzard, with plenty of costume competitions, game announcements and tournaments taking place across the weekend. Blizzard have announced ticket sale dates and the pricing scheme. Read on for details.