Written by Matt Thrower
Fifteen years ago I thought myself the god of Unreal Tournament: an untouchable colossus of speed and firepower tearing through every difficulty level with consummate ease. So naturally, as soon as I got broadband I tried out for a high ranking clan. They wiped the floor with me, blowing my avatar asunder with the same insouciance I had playing against the bots and laughing as they fell before me.
It was the beginning of a long and illustrious career of being Very Bad Indeed at online games. Yet here I remain, regularly clocking hours on Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty, and DayZ and regularly left propping up the leaderboards.
I’m hardly alone. Public servers commonly have their fair share of deadbeats alongside the clan members and twitch kiddies who rule the maps. The gaming demographic increasingly includes middle-aged people with kids and mortgages who want to kick back in the evening and have some fun, but don’t have the free time to practice. And, predictably, the more experienced players slaughter them, time and time again. Why do we keep coming back for more pain?
Written by Matt Thrower
After months of meticulous gestation, Blizzard's new desktop launcher is finally available to the general public in the form of an open beta. The new launcher congregates the StarCraft II, Diablo III, and World of Warcraft game launchers into a single hub, allowing players to download, patch or launch those games from one client.
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.
As the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series works its way towards the Season 2 finals, a new subscription option has become available for the most enthusiastic supporters among us. What's being called the "premium subscription" gets you the top viewing resolutions through Twitch as well as a group of unique emoticons to supplement your fierce commentary in chat, according to a press release.
Ah, it’s that time of year again. The birds are chirping, the squirrels are frolicking, and the best StarCraft II, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and League of Legends players are warming up their clicking fingers for the 2013 MLG Spring Championship.
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.
What’s that sound? Why, it’s the tap-tap-tapping of contestants duking it out in the Starcraft II World Championship Series! After months of blood, sweat and qualifying rounds, we finally get to see the top players go head-to-head with all of Heart of the Swarm's new units and strategies in the season one finals.
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.
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.
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.
We're fast approaching the launch of Blizzard's unified Starcraft 2 eSports league, the 2013 World Championship Series. The WCS Korea is already underway, and within the next few weeks, both WCS Europe and WCS America will be providing free streamed Heart of the Swarm matches for viewers worldwide. Today they've announced the kick-off dates for each part of the upcoming season, and revealed the adjusted selection process being used to pick the inaugural competitors.
IPL, IGN's in-house eSports league, has been in limbo since restructuring earlier this year, when IGN expressed that it would no longer be operating the organization. Rumors of potential buyers abounded, but today, Blizzard Entertainment announced that it has locked in a deal for "technology and assets" from IPL to support "online content initiatives." A number of former IPL employees will be joining Blizzard's eSports team, while some others will be forming a new team "creating high-quality web and mobile content in support of Blizzard games."
Blizzard announced their ambitious plans for the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series yesterday. The scheme involves pulling the world's biggest StarCraft 2 tournaments and leagues into an overarching structure where players are given a global ranking, and compete against each other to be crowned super-mega-planetary-ultra champion. It's an exciting plan - aiming to unify the myriad StarCraft 2 leagues and pull them into a central storyline easy to follow for fans and enticing to new viewers - but it's also a bit confusing. I had the chance to speak to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime and Executive VP of Global Publishing, Itzik Ben-Bassat to answer a few questions. Click on for WCS 2013 clarifications, and the Blizzard boss's projections for the eSporting future.
Blizzard have announced an ambitious new format for Starcraft II's World Championship Series eSports event. This year, players will compete in unified leagues - divided into three regions - across three seasons. The aim is to cut down on the game's traditionally divided leagues and tournaments, providing fans with a focal championship with which to settle arguments over which race is massively OP. And to enjoy the game, I guess.
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.