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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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Ban rush: how Blizzard tackle cheats in StarCraft II

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Ban rush: how Blizzard tackle cheats in StarCraft II

Blizzard aren’t really interested in catching StarCraft II cheats - not really. Ultimately, they’d rather deter them, stop them from even trying - so that nobody has to have their match ruined before the banhammer comes down.

Consider this post, then, the Blizzard equivalent of a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ sticker - and learn something about the anti-cheat measures in one of the best PC strategy games in the process.

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StarCraft II launcher to be absorbed by Battle.net desktop app in the next few weeks

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StarCraft II launcher to be absorbed by Battle.net desktop app in the next few weeks

Like a hiveminded horde or undying demon in one of its videogames, Battle.net wants only to consume everything. Once StarCraft II’s various launchers have been subsumed by the Blizzard desktop app, every one of the company’s games will be collected in one place for the first time.

StarCraft II players can upgrade now - or be forced to adjust once a mandatory update arrives in the coming weeks.

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Back to terra with a thump: Blizzard sue "insidious and harmful" StarCraft 2 cheat devs

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Back to terra with a thump: Blizzard sue "insidious and harmful" StarCraft 2 cheat devs

Blizzard make a point of fortifying all of their games on battle.net, keeping them online even when they don’t necessarily need to be. That seems to make life tricky for would-be hackers, who for the most part are kept at bay by the developer’s server walls.

It turns out they’re the lucky ones. The hackers that do slip through, who manage to sell software that throws the competitive founding of games like StarCraft 2 into disarray - they’re the ones Blizzard take to court.

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Blizzard's sorting out your friends list in the latest Starcraft 2 patch

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Blizzard's sorting out your friends list in the latest Starcraft 2 patch

Awww yiss: "New chat tabs should no longer appear when continuing a conversation with a player who has logged in and out of multiple games."

Not every Starcraft 2 patch can be thrilling, but if your friends list was looking a little scrappy last week, this week's 2.1.2 update will see to it that your buddies will arrange themselves appropriately from now on. It's a bug fix special!

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There's no rush: Blizzard test tentative Zerg balance tweaks for StarCraft II

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There's no rush: Blizzard test tentative Zerg balance tweaks for StarCraft II

Oversized insects were heard joyously clattering their mandibles together last night, as Hydralisks had their anti-air capabilities upgraded. As the other bugs partied, however, the organic turrets remained inconsolable at their stations. The Spore Crawlers had no legs to dance with, for one thing, and had lost a portion of their own power to boot.

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"It's not easy being queen": StarCraft 2's Kerrigan trailered for Heroes of the Storm

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"It's not easy being queen": StarCraft 2's Kerrigan trailered for Heroes of the Storm

Kerrigan is the perfect candidate for the game formerly known as Blizzard All-Stars. A major presence in all four StarCraft releases to date and subject of numerous tie-in novels, she’s as much coated in lore as she is spindly insect bits. 

Consequently her every word is now fan service - a fact Blizzard seem to have begun to recognise. Hence the very silly introductory reference here to that other great Ker - Kermit the Frog.

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Pull up a chair by the hearth: Battle.net desktop app now supports chat with friends

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Pull up a chair by the hearth: Battle.net desktop app now supports chat with friends

Hearthstone with Friends has been a slightly complicated process since launch - more often than not involving an external meet-up via Skype, followed by an exchanging of numerical game IDs from a main menu determined not to minimise under any circumstances.

That’s to change - and in WoW, and Diablo, and StarCraft - with the introduction of direct chat to the battle.net desktop app.

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Lone Star Clash 3 wafts $35,000 prize pool for StarCraft 2 and League of Legends invitationals

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Lone Star Clash 3 wafts $35,000 prize pool for StarCraft 2 and League of Legends invitationals

Lone Star Clash is a deeply Texan gaming event - one which crowns its winners with cowboy hats and fills its quiet moments with chicken wing eating contests.

Started up in 2011 by a group of Austin students, the Clash has since become known for its decidedly non-amateur production values and prize pool. This summer, it promises a piece of $35,000 for top players in League of Legends and StarCraft 2 - including first invitee Choi 'Polt' Hun.

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UNPRECEDENTED APRIL NEWS BLOWOUT: Blizzard Outcasts, Arma 3 Karts and World of Tanks: Crayfish announced

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UNPRECEDENTED APRIL NEWS BLOWOUT: Blizzard Outcasts, Arma 3 Karts and World of Tanks: Crayfish announced

What a relief! To begin a Bank Holiday Monday and be met not by a wave of snoozy out-of-office emails, but an unexpected plethora of games announcements - it's unheard of. Suspicious, almost. During what scientists predict will be a 24 hour coincidence spike, developers from around the world have chosen today to launch shock new games or declare company u-turns. I’m extraordinarily grateful.

There are really too many happenings to separate out into individual news posts, so I’ve dutifully collected them all here.

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DDOS attacks disrupt European servers for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone

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DDOS attacks disrupt European servers for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone

Somebody told me yesterday that April Fools' Day is for people with no sense of humour; that its jokes leave only the teller laughing, and are therefore the opposite of comedy. I’m still not convinced, but a morning of DDOS batterings certainly makes the argument persuasive.

A series of attacks against certain European online services have triggered a wave of disconnections and latency issues across Blizzard’s four pillars of connected PC gaming - Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone.

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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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Let’s check the replay: GOM eXP are releasing three years of eSports for free

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Let’s check the replay: GOM eXP are releasing three years of eSports for free

Do you remember exactly where you were during the WCS finals of 2011? Or perhaps that blindingly great match during the GSTL in 2012? Now you can relive those moments thanks to GOM eXP’s YouTube channel, which is now home to every season of eSports they’ve covered for the last three years. And whatsmore, you won’t have to pay a penny. 

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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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