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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void beta is now live, start your Protoss crusade now

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StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void beta is now live, start your Protoss crusade now

Blizzard have announced that the beta for StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is now live, and some lucky players already have access. 

The beta opens up the multiplayer of Legacy of the Void, along with all the new units and abilities that the full game will provide, as well as new gameplay changes. If you’re signed up to beta test Blizzard games, now may be your chance to see where the future of StarCraft II is. 

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Team Liquid recruits Heroes of the Storm team founded by StarCraft's legendary Durán brothers

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Team Liquid recruits Heroes of the Storm team founded by StarCraft's legendary Durán brothers

In their day, the brothers Pedro "LucifroN" Moreno Durán and Juan "VortiX" Moreno Durán were two of the most dominant StarCraft players in Europe. There was a time when it seemed like they were getting strong placements in just about every major tournament. Now, after fading out of the StarCraft scene, the brothers have just signed with Team Liquid.

Only this time, they’re playing Heroes of the Storm.

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NetEase and Blizzard launch new StarCraft 2 league, Gold Series Pro League, to replace WCS Challenger

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NetEase and Blizzard launch new StarCraft 2 league, Gold Series Pro League, to replace WCS Challenger

For a dead game, StarCraft 2 leagues sure are multiplying in Asia. Chinese internet conglomerate NetEase just announced that they will be operating their own WCS-style tournament, the Gold Series Pro League (GPL) later this year as a part of the WCS system. This will give Chinese players a high-profile domestic tournament of their own that will seed into WCS.

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The Score sports website releases the first eSports mobile app

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The Score sports website releases the first eSports mobile app

One of the things I’ve always complained about in eSports was that keeping track of them is basically a nightmare. You’re either into the scene enough that you hang out on all the forums and wikis and figure out what events are happening and where you can watch them, or you’re missing a ton of important stuff.

Enter Canadian sports website The Score, a mobile-focused sports website. They just released a mobile eSports app that will provide eSports news, track scores, and even live event coverage.

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More allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting activity in pro StarCraft

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More allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting activity in pro StarCraft

A couple weeks ago, betting site Pinnacle Sports voided all bets on a Proleague match based on what they deemed suspicious betting patterns that made them think some bettors had some foreknowledge of the match’s results. Now, over this past weekend, Axiom eSports manager Olivia Wong vented on Twitter that match-fixing has become endemic in the Korean StarCraft 2 scene.

She implicated several tournaments in her comments, and suggested that some pro players were even working with bettors to fix match-results.

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Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

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Accusations of StarCraft match-fixing against progamer San from betting site Pinnacle

A sports betting site has thrown some serious match-fixing allegations at Korean progamer Kang "San" Cho Won in the wake of his defeat in Proleague early on Tuesday. Claiming that “the bet placement pattern clearly indicates that the match was not played on a fair basis," Pinnacle Sports voided all bets.

It’s an ugly accusation for a Korean StarCraft community that is finally on the rebound, and an unwanted reminder of the darkest chapter in the sport’s history.

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Team Liquid and the former Curse eSports organization announce merger; Liquid coming to League of Legends

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Team Liquid and the former Curse eSports organization announce merger; Liquid coming to League of Legends

One of the oldest and most respected eSports organizations in the world, Team Liquid, have just announced a merger with the eSports organization that used to play under the Team Curse banner.

Team Liquid owner (now a co-owner, I suppose) Victor “Liquid`Nazgul" Goossens released a statement explaining that, “What we're doing is no ordinary partnership. It's not Team Liquid becoming the new title sponsors of an LCS team. This is the full-blown merging of two organizations under the Team Liquid banner."

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The 21 best strategy games on PC

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The 21 best strategy games on PC

Update 22/12/2014: We couldn't see out 2014 without adding Infested Planet to the list.

Update 26/11/2014: We say goodbye to Company of Heroes, and hello to Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault.

Update 01/09/2014: It’s been over a year since our lovely chum Joe put together this list, so we’ve decided to take a second look, make some changes and expand it from 15 to 20. And where before we listed a few series, we’ve now plucked out the best of the bunch.

Here are the 15 best strategy games that I think you should all play right now.

Every game has strategy, and as a genre “strategy" can mean a lot of different things. Turn-based, or real-time? “Grand" strategy, or tactics? A great strategy game isn’t necessarily one with good graphics, or a wide unit variety, but it’ll have excellent core mechanics, and ultimately it’ll make you think. 

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The 2015 WCS StarCraft 2 season begins, but is it too much of a good thing?

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The 2015 WCS StarCraft 2 season begins, but is it too much of a good thing?

Following eSports sometimes feels like going to Hell’s Ironic Punishment Division, where you’re force-fed your favorite things until you go mad. “You like eSports, Homer? Have all the eSports in the world!" This weekend, with three major StarCraft tournaments concluding on the same day, is one of those times.

But eSports scheduling clashes are nothing new. What’s surprising this time around is that these tournaments all have championship implications for 2015. Less than a month after StarCraft crowned its world champion, the 2015 campaign has already begun.

I’m not sure I like it.

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Why pro StarCraft 2 has rejected the classic maps

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Why pro StarCraft 2 has rejected the classic maps

If you tune into any StarCraft tournament this month or next, you’ll note that everyone is playing on the same map pool we’ve had since midsummer. In fact, just last week, the DreamHack Open Twitter account reassured viewers that DreamHack winter would be decided using the Season 3 WCS map pool.

What’s striking about all this is that every single tournament organizer has rejected Blizzard’s Season 4 ladder map pool, which was compiled via fan vote from a list of StarCraft 2’s oldest and best-known competitive maps. While fans might wax nostalgic about the days of Daybreak and Ohana, the pro scene seems to be saying that the past is best left to memory.

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David Kim and the impossible balancing act of StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void

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David Kim and the impossible balancing act of StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void

Blizzard designer David Kim is “the balance guy" for StarCraft 2. His name is at once a curse and an incantation, the Godot of StarCraft. If something is broken — and something always is — it is Kim’s fault. But Kim will fix it. Kim will make it worse.

It’s easy to parody Kim. His role is one of inherent conservatism. He’s constantly dealing with the physics of avalanches. His goal is to try and ensure that each race can beat every other race roughly 50% of the time, all other things being equal. But then he must also look at how those games are being won and lost, and ask whether StarCraft remains an entertaining and rewarding game to play and watch.

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Radical changes for WCS StarCraft in 2015 — the full rundown

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Radical changes for WCS StarCraft in 2015 — the full rundown

Speaking of StarCraft’s Global Finals, Blizzard have just announced some fairly comprehensive changes to the way the WCS is going to work in 2015. Gone are WCS Europe and America and in their place is a single league for non-Korean players. Meanwhile, Korea is rolling out a brand new individual league alongside the storied GSL.

But as with any and every change to competitive StarCraft, the real question is whether these changes reflect a dying game and community, or the dawn of an exciting new era for the venerable RTS? The answer, of course, is yes.

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WCS StarCraft 2 Global Finals round of 16 starting now

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WCS StarCraft 2 Global Finals round of 16 starting now

StarCraft’s 2014 WCS series is in its closing stages, and the Global Finals are kicking off right now as the sixteen top-ranked players in the world compete for a $100,000 grand prize. Today’s round of 16 is just getting under way, and features some absolutely fantastic matchups. Those who survive today’s best-of-five matches will move on to the quarterfinals at BlizzCon next weekend.

It’s a very long day of StarCraft, however, and not everyone will want to buckle in for 12 hours of play. So here are the must-see matches of the round of 16.

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Prepare for BlizzCon 2014 by joining a Hearthstone or StarCraft II fantasy league

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Prepare for BlizzCon 2014 by joining a Hearthstone or StarCraft II fantasy league

BlizzCon 2014 is close, kicking off on November 7th, and to celebrate the big fan event, Blizzard and ESL have teamed up to create the BlizzCon ESL Fantasy League for StarCraft II and Hearthstone. 

While Hearthstone and StarCraft pros will be duking it out at BlizzCon, you can relax at home, on the sofa, and set up your own fantasy team. If you make the right picks, you might end up winning some prizes, too. You won’t be showered in gold, but you will be able to win a plushie. The latter hurts less when it lands on you.

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Buy a BlizzCon 2014 virtual ticket for loot in WoW, Diablo III, StarCraft II and Hearthstone

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Buy a BlizzCon 2014 virtual ticket for loot in WoW, Diablo III, StarCraft II and Hearthstone

Between the StarCraft WCS, Hearthstone world finals and inevitable announcements of the opening ceremony, some would say that watching the BlizzCon stream is its own reward. But Blizzard wouldn’t be among that number: they’re determined to bribe you with trinkets and treats for every one of their five undying PC games.

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Last chance to make the finals: Red Bull Battle Grounds Detroit has begun

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Last chance to make the finals: Red Bull Battle Grounds Detroit has begun

Red Bull Battle Grounds Detroit kicks off today after last month’s event in Atlanta. Once again, 128 StarCraft II players will send their forces against each other in hopes of making it to the final in Washington DC this September. 

Seven players have already secured their slots from the previous Battle Grounds, including last month’s Atlanta winner, Choi “Bomber" Ji Sung. You can watch this weekend’s fights below.

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A StarCraft classic for a new Proleague era

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A StarCraft classic for a new Proleague era

On Saturday night in Korea, the StarCraft Proleague season came to an end with an all-time classic matchup. Not between individual players, but between two of the biggest names in Korean eSports: SK Telecom and KT Rolster. It was yet another duel between the McLaren and Ferrari of Korean eSports, a battle between the two teams with the proudest histories and most famous stars.

It was the kind of battle that Proleague fans live for, and an ideal ending to what’s turned out to be a terrific season. What’s most remarkable about this finale, however, is that it happened at all. Because just over a year ago, it was an open question as to whether Proleague actually had a future.

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Blizzard restore the StarCraft II widow mine to former glory in balance test

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Blizzard restore the StarCraft II widow mine to former glory in balance test

Blizzard have just last night published a new version of StarCraft II’s balance test map to the great PC strategy game's Custom Games list. Catchily titled ‘(2)OvergrowthLE (2.1.3 Balance v1.1)’, it’s seen tentative changes to one unit that’s made its mark on the competitive game since Heart of the Swarm - the Terran widow mine.

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Spend the weekend watching Red Bull Battle Grounds Atlanta right here

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Spend the weekend watching Red Bull Battle Grounds Atlanta right here

Red Bull Battle Grounds is in Atlanta for the weekend, seeing competitors duke it out over three days in StarCraft 2. The victor gets a spot in the Battle Grounds Grand Finals in Washington DC this September. 

A whopping 128 players will be whittled down to one across the three day event. It’s a diverse bunch of players, too, as it was an open registration format, welcoming old pros and new competitors alike. Take a gander below to watch the stream, and come back each day for more StarCraft 2 battles. 

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