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Even esports had a montage: watch the Katowice 2014 highlights

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Even esports had a montage: watch the Katowice 2014 highlights

Katowice, Poland played host to one of the biggest esports events to date, recently. Intel Extreme Masters World Championship finals featured both Starcraft II and League of Legends, while the EMS One finals pit Counter Strike: Global Offensive players against each other for a prize of $250,000. It was won by Virtus Pro, who walked away with $100,000 of the sizable prize pool. 

If you missed the live streams, you can catch up with the highlight reel ESL has put together. Take a gander below. 

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Heroes of the Storm: "a triumph"

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Heroes of the Storm: "a triumph"

Blizzard call Heroes of the Storm a hero brawler. Others call it a MOBA. We call it a triumph. It is Blizzard’s version of what Dota and League of Legends do so well: a compulsive mix of strategy gaming, timing, 5v5 teamplay and ridiculous shoulderpads. Even now, in it’s early alpha stage, it feels a complete blast. 

Here’s why.

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Starcraft 2 senior game designer not comfortable with making big changes

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Starcraft 2 senior game designer not comfortable with making big changes

Starcraft 2’s senior game designers David Kim just finished up a Reddit AMA on Heart of the Swarm balance. 

He managed to answer a lot of questions, and covered a lot of ground. But for anyone hoping that the team will start making bigger updates or big changes when the new expansions drops will be disappointed. 

The point reiterated the most during the AMA was that Blizzard’s Starcraft 2 team are unlikely to ever change their minds about the effectiveness of large changes. And Kim seems quite risk averse, unwilling to make a change unless it’s “completely awesome."

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NASL bids farewell to Starcraft 2, Blizzard, and the WCS

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NASL bids farewell to Starcraft 2, Blizzard, and the WCS

The North American Star League have announced they’re parting ways with Blizzard and will no longer support competitive Starcraft 2 and the World Championship Series.

“Alas, fate has scouted our fast expand, and our time broadcasting StarCraft has come to an end," the team write. “To all of our partners, sponsors, friends, and especially our fans, thank you."

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Hard times for Protoss in latest StarCraft 2 balance patch

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Hard times for Protoss in latest StarCraft 2 balance patch

Blizzard’s latest balance patch for StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm attempts to address the disparity between Protoss and Terran, which has become one of the biggest issues in the game.

In keeping with Blizzard’s cautious approach to balance, they’ve made some significant tweaks that will hopefully address the major problems without radically overhauling the way the factions play. Still, there’s no getting around it: Protoss are hit hard with this patch.

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How Gfinity are trying to level-up UK eSports

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How Gfinity are trying to level-up UK eSports

The UK is not generally known as a major eSports hub, but the young Gfinity eSports company are hoping to change that with an ambitious set of eSports events in 2014 and regular broadcasting to go with it. While Gfinity have mostly worked with Call of Duty in the past, they’re now getting into the broader eSports market with Dota 2, Counter-Strike, FIFA, and StarCraft 2.

We talked with Gfinity’s COO Paul Kent about who Gfinity are, why they’re trying to make the UK an eSports hub, and how they’re going to succeed.

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Hive Keeper is Dungeon Keeper by way of Starcraft. It’s free, too

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Hive Keeper is Dungeon Keeper by way of Starcraft. It’s free, too

You may be feeling a little burned by EA’s recent Dungeon Keeper mobile release. It’s the first new game in the franchise for 15 years and by all accounts it’s a soulless, microtransaction-filled grind. Boo to you, EA. Boo to you.

Happily, in the complete opposite end of the marketing spectrum, Andrea Mauro has made a Dungeon Keeper clone with Starcraft 2’s modding tools. He’s released it through the Arcade so anyone can play it, whether they own Starcraft 2 or not.

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End of an e-ra: World Cyber Games halt tournaments and events after 14 years in eSports

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End of an e-ra: World Cyber Games halt tournaments and events after 14 years in eSports

This year, World Cyber Games Inc. won’t be running any tournaments and events, including the World Cyber Games finals in Kunshan - for the first time in 14 years.

This is no Glastonbury-style break to let the sticky convention hall floors recover and the Counter-Strike pros graze for a few months, sadly. Rather, it’s the moment we “say goodbye to the WCG".

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IdrA leaves the game he hates: No more Starcraft II streaming from Greg Fields

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IdrA leaves the game he hates: No more Starcraft II streaming from Greg Fields

Greg "IdrA" Fields today revealed his intention to stop streaming Starcraft II and go back to school. "Over the last 6 months or so streaming revenue has been nearly nonexistent, in part because of awful ad rates and in part because of continually declining viewership," writes Fields. "Casting sc2 tournaments pays very poorly, when considered a significant part of a full time job. A couple thousand dollars for a weekend of talking about a game seems nice, but when it happens maybe once a month it is not a good way to live."

Although he might get involved in e-sports again, for the time being he's taking a break. "I'll be going back to school. I have no plans to stream dota, or any other game right now, as I get very few viewers for it and I feel dumb inviting people to watch me be bad at something."

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Starcraft II tournament being sponsored by Ender's Game on Blu-Ray, of all things

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Starcraft II tournament being sponsored by Ender's Game on Blu-Ray, of all things

Lionsgate and OddLot Entertainment are sponsoring an upcoming Starcraft II tournament to plug the Blu-Ray and DVD release of sci-fi romp Ender's Game. It's a first, a movie studio sponsoring an e-sports event, and it's a little bit peculiar. 

The tournament, awkwardly titled "The Ender's Game on Blu-Ray Tournament", will be broadcast on Twitch and MLG.TV between February 5th and 22nd with 32 participants and $20,000 in prize money up for grabs. You can vote for the final 4 of 16 competing in the MLG leg of the tournament between February 3rd and 5th.

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Everybody stream: Blizzard award the best of Twitch in 2013

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Everybody stream: Blizzard award the best of Twitch in 2013

It was Hearthstone’s closed beta last year that cemented Blizzard’s place at the throne of Twitchdom. Oh, sure - StarCraft II and its fascinating metagame had been there for the streaming site’s founding, and the eminently watchable Diablo III a year later. But only when a digital collectable card game immediately began hoovering up featured slots on Twitch’s front page did it become clear that Blizzard’s future would be on film.

That’s a fact Blizzard have recognised themselves in their inaugural Stream Awards - a chance to shower fame and cash on the most dedicated and entertaining public players of their games.

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It's a Starcraft II custom map free-for-all

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It's a Starcraft II custom map free-for-all

Starcraft II's big 2.1 update is a rather significant, almost free-to-play, deal. It went live today, and along with it the ability for owners of the free Starcraft II Starter Edition to play as any of the three races.

But that's not the big deal, nope. The update gives access to all of the custom maps and modes for free, as well. That's a bloody great big slice of content. Anyone, absolutely anyone, can play on the custom maps.  

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As progaming team Quantic implode, a new installment of a sadly common eSports story

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As progaming team Quantic implode, a new installment of a sadly common eSports story

Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun is a tremendous professional StarCraft 2 player who enjoyed an incredibly successful 2013, during which he won DreamHack Valencia, finished second at MLG’s spring championship, and racked up a slew of semifinals appearances in other major tournaments. He should be be at the top of the world right now, except that he may never see a dime of the $23,000 he earned in prize money and salary. Now, with his Quantic team unraveling and his CEO gone missing, one of the best Zerg players in StarCraft may be depending on the kindness of strangers to continue his career.

What’s surprising about this story is that it’s happening to a major player in StarCraft 2. But when it comes to the basic storyline — an absent manager, vanished prize money, financial defeat from the jaws of progaming victory — Hyun’s story is a depressingly familiar one in the world of eSports.

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Blizzard parental controls now prevent in-game purchases by default

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Blizzard parental controls now prevent in-game purchases by default

Parents tired of children spending all their money have made a successful assault on Blizzard’s server room. The skirmish is said to have been been short but violent, with many a system’s administrator left dead or dying. The parents had one aim, to prevent their children from making in-game purchases by default.

Blizzard have capitulated to the attackers demands and have now restricted purchases on children’s accounts as standard.

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StarCraft II 2014 Ladder Season 1 offers an updated map pool and a change of identity

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StarCraft II 2014 Ladder Season 1 offers an updated map pool and a change of identity

Find yourself spoilt for choice in New Year’s resolutions? Sometimes it can be easier to start again in a new town with a new handle. As of today, you’ll be able to change your StarCraft II character name for free, shedding your old reputation like you won’t last year’s weight.

12:01am PST this afternoon brings more than that, though: an updated map pool featuring five new competitive battlegrounds. Which, of course, means five old favourites must be taken away.

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Shakeups in StarCraft as star players Bomber and MC leave their respective teams

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Shakeups in StarCraft as star players Bomber and MC leave their respective teams

In a pair of ambiguous announcements, Choi “Bomber" Ji Sung announced that he was departing the StarTale StarCraft 2 team while SK Gaming revealed that they were parting ways with their sole StarCraft 2 star, Jang “MC" Min Chul. Neither player’s plans are entirely clear yet, and it’s just the kind of news that will have people guessing about their own intentions and the overall health of StarCraft 2 eSports.

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Pages

Starcraft

2013 in review: eSports' growing pain and growing gains

Starcraft

2014 WCS changes - How Blizzard are improving professional StarCraft 2

Starcraft

One game of StarCraft: Jaedong and Dear at Blizzcon, and the meaning of competitive StarCraft

World of Warcraft

Blizzcon 2013: Think of how you got started, sitting in your little room