Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2017 - 02:38 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, titan xp, teleport, starcraft 2, raja koduri, radeon, qualcomm, podcast, nvidia, Intel, centriq, amplifi, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #475 - 11/09/17
Join us for discussion on Intel with AMD graphics, Raja's move to Intel, and more!
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Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous
Program length: 1:29:42
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
1:13:40 Allyn: Relatively cheap Samsung 82” (!!!) 4K TV
1:17:45 Jeremy: What exactly is a "technology certificate license" Logitech?
1:23:45 Josh: 1800X for $399!!!!!
1:24:50 Ken: The Void Wallet
Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2017 - 07:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: blizzard, starcraft 2, pc gaming
Over the last few years, Blizzard has been progressively opening up StarCraft II for non-paying customers. These initiatives ranged from allowing whole parties to share the highest expansion level of any one member, unlocking Terran for unranked games, opening up mods to the Starter edition, and so forth.
Starting on November 14th, after a handful of months of the original StarCraft going free-to-play, Blizzard will allow free access to multiplayer (including the ranked ladder), a handful of co-op commanders, and the Wings of Liberty campaign. If you already own Wings of Liberty, then you will get Heart of the Swarm for free (if you claim it between November 8th and December 8th).
If you already own both, then… well, life as usual for you.
In terms of making money, Blizzard is hoping to sell the remaining two-or-three campaigns, Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops, as well as the other up-sells, like announcers, co-op commanders, and so forth. If you’re in it for the vanilla (or Arcade) multiplayer, though, then you can jump in on November 14th without paying a dime.
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2015 - 07:32 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2, starcraft, pc gaming, esports
I'm not really seeing anyone pick up this news in English outside of StarCraft II forums, so I'm not sure whether this news will be fresh, or completely irrelevant to anyone's interests. Either way, GOM eXP was one of the leading broadcasters of StarCraft tournaments in South Korea. They operated GSL, which was one of the three Blizzard-endorsed leagues for StarCraft II.
Image Credit: Wolf Shröder via Twitter
They have just shut down, but their GSL tournament will not.
afreecaTV, a video streaming service, has bought out the tournament. For viewers, this means that high quality, 1080p streams will be available for free. Previously, GOM was a bit strict about forcing Twitch subscriptions for anything other than Low quality. The quality was bad enough that you often couldn't even read the on-screen text, such as how many units or resources each player has.
Beyond hosting the 2016 GSL tournament, they will also have a couple of StarCraft II show matches and even a StarCraft: Brood War league. I wonder how the original StarCraft holds up for viewers after we have gotten used to the sequel's updated graphics. Hmm.
Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2015 - 04:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2, pc gaming, legacy of the void, blizzard
It has been more than five years since Wings of Liberty was released, which itself was a long-awaited continuation of the StarCraft story. The first game and its expansion had their narrative cut into six episodes, three each, that were released all at once. The three episodes of StarCraft II, on the other hand, were decoupled into the original game and two follow-ups. The third and final one, which focuses on the Protoss, will arrive on November 10th, 2015.
Representatives from Blizzard have said, multiple times, that Legacy of the Void will wrap up the story arc for the main characters. The story may continue, but we should get a solid conclusion. The release date announcement came with a cinematic trailer, above, showing the Protoss holding off against the Zerg. There doesn't seem to be much story in it at first glance, but Blizzard is quite subtle about meanings. Some questions, like who exactly they are fighting and why, might be addressed in the story.
So that's what it looks like to them...
This announcement aligned with the finals of WCS Season 3, which is the last season before Blizzcon. Apart from the two sister tournaments in South Korea, GSL and SSL, there is just one Blizzard-counted tournament remaining, which is DreamHack Open in Stockholm, Sweden. WCS Season 3 was won by Lilbow, a Protoss player from France, which propels him from 18th place to
at most 8th Update Sept 13th @ 8:40pm ET (Part of the points were already accounted for apparently): 13th, minus a few positions once everyone's points are accounted for. Since the top 16 make it to the year's global finals at Blizzcon, this is enough buffer room to guarantee a spot at the tournament.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 4, 2013 - 03:44 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 - 03:49 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 - 05:20 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 - 02:58 PM | 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 - 04:16 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.