Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 4, 2013 - 12:44 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WCS, starcraft 2, HoTS
A little eye-rest before another barrage of Computex news...
Blizzard took over the canon StarCraft II tournament scene as of last year. The goal was to create a unified ranking system between every tournament and help participants deal with scheduling, a problem in recent years. Throughout the entire year, Blizzard is hosting the 2013 StarCraft II World Championship Series. They seem to like breaking rankings into seasons and the 2013 series, alone, will incorporate three of them leading to the year's grand finals in November.
One year per series; three seasons and a grand finals per year; three regional tournaments and a finale per season. This season's finals will take place this weekend, June 8th and 9th, in South Korea.
Tournaments in Europe, Korea, and North America chose the 16 competitors for the 2013 Season 1 Finals this weekend in Korea. The top five competitors in each tournament (top six for Korea) earned their invite. In all: 3 Protoss, 5 Terrans, and 8 Zerg will be participating. I guess their hearts are only half of the swarm.
If the regional matches were any indication, the seasonal finals should be a very entertaining bridge between Computex coverage and E3 2013. Players are getting much better at the game mechanics while still being able to surprise their opponents and even the audience with unusual strategies. Players exploit windows of weakness in their opponents with a moment of strength; the entertainment mostly comes from seeing each player attempt to delay or lengthen those windows all while hiding their own weak periods into times where the opponent is unable to reasonably exploit it.
What are your opinions of "eSports"? Good concept, bad name?
Good effort goes a long way
The wait has been long and anxious for Heart of the Swarm, the expansion to 2010's StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. Blizzard originally hinted at a very rapid release schedule which did not exactly come to fruition. The nearly three years of development time for Heart of the Swarm is longer than a single studio spends on a full Call of Duty title; although, one could make a very credible argument that a Blizzard expansion requires more effort to create than said complete Call of Duty title.
But as Duke Nukem Forever demonstrated, a long time in development does not guarantee a fully baked product coming out the other end.
Blizzard games have always been highly entertaining albeit without deep artistic substance; their games are not first on the list for a university literature syllabus. But, there is a lot of room in life for engaging entertainment. In terms of the PC, Blizzard has always been one of the leading developers for the platform; they know how to deliver an exceptional PC experience if they choose to.
Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2013 - 12:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2, Heart of the Swarm
It will be almost three years after the release of Wings of Liberty for Starcraft 2 to receive its first expansion pack. Sure, it received a number of free boosters with maps, and there's enough good third-party content that I rarely find myself playing the base game anymore – but this adds to the story.
And now we can see a little more of what they have planned for this story – outside of the leaked ending of course. Trollolol.
I must say: this is one of my favorite pre-rendered cutscenes from Blizzard from a technical standpoint. The video really adds mechanical feel and a sense of scale to the siege tanks and the vikings. From a story side of things: somewhere between typical and stereotypical. Still, I will not spoil it for those who have not pushed the big play button above. I think it is worth your time.
Heart of the Swarm will arrive for Windows and Mac on March 12th, 2013.
Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2012 - 02:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2, Heart of the Swarm
There was a loud uproar when Blizzard said that they would be splitting each of the three parts of the story behind Starcraft 2 into three installments. Sure each part would be as long as the sum of the original game. Sure the original game had Brood War. Fans saw it as a cash grab, a way to charge 60-bucks three times.
Image by Blizzard Entertainment
Heart of the Swarm is an expansion pack which will be priced as an expansion pack would. The standard edition will retail for $39.99 and is not hindered in any meaningful way. The Digital Deluxe edition will be priced at $59.99 and include only cutesy perks such as a Baneling pet for World of Warcraft or unique portraits for your character profile. The retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition includes the digital deluxe edition bonuses as well as novelties such as an art book, a mouse pad, a soundtrack, and a behind-the-scenes DVD and Blu-ray set.
Basically unless you want nerd-perks, the expansion is just $40.
The expansion pack will be released on March 12th, 2013.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | November 21, 2012 - 11:58 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2
Starcraft is one of those franchises which fit the spectator game mold. The action can start as early as two minutes in and either player could buckle and break at any moment. Spectators anticipate how chosen tactics will interact before the players are privy to all the required information and appreciate the skill of the execution as it happens.
Enough tournaments are held throughout the year that many upper-tier players need to choose where they will participate. The South Korean GSL and American MLG are two of the most popular tournament organizations but when developer-publisher Blizzard hosts an international tournament with $250,000 USD of prizes it instantly proves its worth.
The 2012 Battle.net World Championship wrapped up from Shanghai, China over the last weekend. Competitors from 14 countries on five continents clashed until we were left with South Korea taking Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
There was not too much Terran love present this year with just four of the 32 finalists needing to construct additional supply depots. Quarterfinals saw an even split between Protoss and Zerg which eventually paired down to a Protoss versus Protoss finale.
The Gold Medalist PartinG received a PartinG gift, heh heh, of $100,000. This prize makes him the second-highest earning Protoss competitor behind Korean MC of team oGs.
Blizzard has already booked next year’s tournament to coincide with BlizzCon 2013 which will return after its 2012 hiatus.
Subject: General Tech | April 6, 2012 - 01:16 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2, blizzard
Blizzard announces the Starcraft II World Championship Series. Tournaments will be held by qualifier region, country, continent, and world-wide. Winning a stage qualifies you for the next stage leading to a single global winner.
There are an astonishing number of tournaments for Starcraft II compared to almost any other strategy game. The game was made famous by its promotion of both the macrogame of economy and production as well as the microgame of control and positioning. Also, each of the three races balances each other by being entirely different, rather than in spite of it.
Due to the many different play styles as well as the imbalance of information between players and spectators, Starcraft has become a very entertaining spectator sport.
At the end of the tournament they should pummel the winners with water guns.
Yes, water guns. Blizzard would never Nerf a Terran.
At the end of the tournament, an officially Blizzard-recognized champion of Starcraft will be crowned. Currently a few handfuls of players are crowned the winner of some tournament only to be overthrown at some other tournament sponsored by some other company. While the unofficial tournaments such as MLG and GSL will obviously still continue to flourish, Blizzard seems to want to control an official result that they recognize.
It is still unclear whether the event will be recurring and at what frequency. Though, chances are, not even Blizzard knows at this point.
Participating countries are listed in their blog posting. Surprisingly, Japan is not present alongside China and South Korea. Official dates have yet to be announced except that the tournament itself is expected to run this year.
Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2011 - 11:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zelda, starcraft 2, starcraft, mod
So you may be aware by now that PC gamers often like to mess with their game and customize it as they desire. Sometimes you even see the magical situation where one game gets grafted into another like a turducken you can play with. You do not play with your food, do you? Regardless of your eating habits it is perfectly reasonable to play with a videogame in your videogame and could be reasonable in the near future to play some Zelda in your Starcraft.
Technically a turducken would be a Portal Gun inside Link to the Past inside Starcraft…
The mod appears to have made quite a bit of progress judging by three of their released videos. According to what I can tell: multiplayer is being worked upon, soldiers are related to zerglings by death, and chickens are no longer the most deadly beings of the land. Unfortunately, being that Link and the soldiers are the only units with attacks right now (so it would seem) it suffers from classic Starcraft 2 issues: Terran imba.
What do you think?
Subject: Shows and Expos | September 29, 2011 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: starcraft 2, nvidia, geforce.com
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—September 15, 2011—Calling all StarCraft II fans! NVIDIA is bringing together the e-sports community to watch the GeForce StarCraft II professional championship matches with live premier streaming video and BarCraft events scheduled for Thursday, September 29th from 6pm to 9pm PDT.
The GeForce StarCraft 2 Pro/Am tournament is the first of its kind on GeForce.com where over 9300 players will have competed over 12 weeks to win more than $22,000 in cash and prizes. The live premier streaming video event will feature world-renowned StarCraft II shoutcasters, Husky and Day of The Game Station, commentating the final three professional matches to crown the champion.
“The GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament has been a great success for us and we deeply appreciate the support of the StarCraft II players, spectators, and our sponsor ASUS,” said Drew Henry, general manager of the GeForce business unit at NVIDIA. “We’ve had over 70 professional and over 9300 amateur players compete and over seven million spectator views of the Husky and Day shoutcasts to date. We applaud the StarCraft community for gathering around the GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament and making it one of the largest tournaments to date.”
NVIDIA is providing three exciting ways for StarCraft fans to enjoy the championship videos all on the same time and date:
· A live premier video will be streamed on GeForce.com as well as on www.Twitch.tv.
· For gamers in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, a live BarCraft event will be held at the Mad Dog in the Fog bar at 530 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.
· A virtual BarCraft event featuring the Xmobb technology will be hosted on GeForce.com. Xmobb enables fans to gather in a 3D theater and view their favorite videos together, while interacting via text chat and other fun features.
Stay tuned to GeForce.com for up to date information on the GSPA tournament and its September 29th finale.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 7, 2011 - 01:06 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2, bumpday
This week the second season of Starcraft 2 came to a close immortalizing whatever rank you happened to be just prior to the lock. This is the second league freeze that Starcraft 2 underwent since it was launched last July. Starcraft 2 was a very anticipated launch for Blizzard due to the twelve year gap between it and its predecessor, Starcraft. Our forums were just one of many places where rabid fans frothed over Starcraft and I believe we deserve to nostalgia over it.
The calendar says 7/7/2011… … Bumpedaday??
Back in early 2001, just over ten years ago, ccrazy1263 created a very energetic forum thread questioning the coming of a new Starcraft. Blizzard would not even announce the existence of a new Starcraft until over 6 years later. One thing that comes with Starcraft is that players will constantly tell you their strategies, good or bad, and there were a few instances of that in this thread. In closing, the best advice to be had from this thread is short and sweet: Don’t play Hunter or Lost Temple against Hacker. They’ll kill your expansion.
Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2011 - 04:01 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2
Multiplayer RTSes are quite a different beast from most other forms of videogames and one of the most popular is Starcraft. Its success makes it subject to dozens of tournaments per year, a UC Berkley School of Business course, a USAF team-building and crisis management training activity, and being an all-around good selling game. Starcraft 2’s multiplayer mode has distinct seasons, your rank immortalized at the end of a season and new maps injected giving maximum time to be accustomed to before the next rank freeze. The current Starcraft 2 season, Season 2, will come to a close on Tuesday morning at 8AM EST to prepare for the launch of Season 3 on the morning of Tuesday the 19th of July.
But Kerrigan only has wings in Zerg form.
(Image from Blizzard)
The third season will bring four new maps to the one-on-one map pool with the 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 getting two new maps each. The one-on-one map pool refresh contains one long-game focused map, one quick-rush focused map, and two neutral-length maps. Blizzard is focusing on destructible debris in most of their maps as a method of directing early and late-game flow similar to Season 2 rather than the somewhat rare usage in the initial release. If you are looking to poke into that next league you would be advised to play your heart out in the next couple of days as this season is about to end. Don’t fear the Reaper!
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