Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Pre-BlizzCon 2018, Starcraft Edition!


Starcraft news this week is BlizzCon. Aaalmost.

In KSL, the Grand Finals featured the legendary Flash vs his long time nemesis, Effort. In 2010, Effort defeated Flash in a special event and although others occasionally have done the same, Flash has gotten revenge on all of them, except Effort. 

Effort started the match up with a cannon rush perfectly timed to hit Flash before he had army units ready forcing one of the quickest tap outs in history.

Round 2, he did it again, sending Flash into Burning hatred land and from there on, Flash would rather have eaten his G key than use it. 

Flash scored a hit but Effort took the series and remains, the one itch Flash has yet to scratch. 

.

In the foreign community, everyone is travelling to Cali so other than some cool show matches, smaller tournaments, TESPA Collegiate week 3 and the return of MarineLord, not much happening. 

.

I did come across the High School eSports League but they dont do Starcraft, just shooters, OverWatch and Hearthstone. The League runs tournaments between schools and has cash prizes for kids so kind of awesome actually. A lot of Blizzard fans have kids so maybe if they talk to their schools and get them into the League, esports will be more quickly integrated into daily life.

 .

The Starcraft Community Summit will be today, with players and top community people invited to Irvine to talk about the state of the game, upcoming secret announcements and plans for the next year. 

We know that the Starcraft tournament season is fully funded for 2019, and that since announcing Starcraft is Free to play this Spring, viewership has jumped 30%-40% at the major tournaments. 

There has been nothing out of Deep Mind, the Starcraft AI project, but the Probots AI tournament that just ended featured bots that while very limited, showed definite learning going on, with SarsaBot, named for the programmer's favorite Game of Thrones character,  lost her first two matches but adapted and adapted again to the strategy dmytrbot was using and began to win. Dmytrbot changed up his strats to cope and although eventually losing to Lady Sansa, both showed what progress amateur programmers are capable of. Vods are on twitch.tv/ESChamp I think.

.

There will be a Show match at BlizzCon for Starcraft 1, featuring the current ASL champion Last and the previous KSL champion Rain to determine the Brood War Champion. 

The WCS Global Finals Round of 16 happened, and foreigner after foreigner was cut down, ShoWTime, Kelazhur, Nerchio, Lambo, Has and Neeb. 

SpeCial and Serral made it through, SpeCial taking out Classic in the must see match of the weekend. 

https://liquipedia.net/starcraft2/2018_WCS_Global_Finals

In the brackets, Blizzard didnt even try to hide that they want a Maru vs Serral finals, placing them at opposite ends of the bracket and with the 6 Koreans left, it's hard to say who has the worst bracket. 

Maru faces SoS first, his team mate, the trickster who has never lost a BlizzCon hes been to (twice now). Maru is tricky but SoS is Inception level, you're in the Matrix, there is no spoon territory and it should be a wild match up.

SpeCial vs Stats is rough for SpeCial. Stats is nicknamed the Shield of Aiur for his defense, and defeated Maru at GSL vs the World then in those finals went 4-3 with Serral. 

Stats would then face Maru in Round of 4 and there is a very strong opportunity for Stats to advance with 10 months of watching Maru proxy his way through the GSL. 

Rogue, last years Global Finals Champion, is only ranked 8th this year in standings but either could advance here. 

Which leaves Serral vs Dark, known as the Foreigner Killer for never having lost to one, anywhere, until last week, when ShoWTime, the German Wall, 2-0 him and he had to come back from the losers bracket. 

Recovered from his illness on Day 1, on Day 3 he slammed ShoWTime down 2-0. Considered the best Korean zerg, Dark is facing another Zerg in Serral where European zergs are common and rare in Korea, so it is Dark's worst match up. 

Of these 8 players, anyone could lose. Anyone could be the upset. 

Serral beat Maru at GSL vs the World, their only match, 1-0. 

A long year of Maru dominating, Serral crushing, is almost over. Koreans winning everything may be at an end.

.

The four Signature Series videos are out and you should watch them if you get a chance, for Maru, Serral, Rogue and SpeCial. 

They help give so much character to the players, and a storyline to follow even if Starcraft isnt your thing.  

gl and hf!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Show Notes, Blizzard News October 2018



Due to GamesCom and BlizzCon secrecy, and 
the Warcraft expansion, there has been very little 
to report lately that you can't find through Blizzard's 
own press releases. As always, if I do see anything, 
I'll continue updating here. 

See the Calendar Post 
for complete list of events, micro holidays, 
tournaments and in game events.





        GENERAL BLIZZARD NEWS        



Blizzard Publishing Powers Up

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/78253-blizzard-publishing-powers-up.html

This year, the company’s big books will hit shelves just before the November 2 return of BlizzCon, Blizzard’s 12th fan convention (held in Anaheim).

The audiobook series will launch with eight newly produced audio editions of novels from the publisher’s catalogue set in the gaming universes of Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft. Blizzard had already found success with free online audio dramas that tackled key moments in World of Warcraft’s in-game history. With audio alone, “The Tomb of Sargeras” and “A Thousand Years of War” dramas had over three million views on YouTube.

This month, Blizzard Publishing will also release three illustrated books: The Art of Hearthstone, a $45 hardcover that traces the development of Blizzard’s strategy card video game, which has 50 million players around the globe; Book of Adria: A Diablo Bestiary, a $30 hardcover survey of the various monsters players must confront in Blizzard’s Diablo franchise; and Cinematic Art of StarCraft, a $45 hardcover guide to the creation of animation sequences in StarCraft, the company’s science fiction game series.




      WORLD OF WARCRAFT      



As I have left World of Warcraft I will no longer provide the usual links to all of the standard WoWhead and MMOChampion content you can find everywhere, just any new articles I come across that might be interesting or out of the way.



BlizzCon 2018 November 2-3

You have until July 20 to edit the information on your tickets.  The Benefit Dinner will be Thursday, November 1 and tickets are $750.  Community Night is undergoing some changes, but there will still be a costume contest.

More info: https://t.co/BlDJnUpfsy       https://t.co/yVVSmudS8l








                 STARCRAFT                 



SUMMARY



TESPA Collegiate Starcraft Tournament Underway

https://compete.tespa.org/tournament/110

Tespa is a national network of collegiate gaming clubs that work together as a team of students, alumni, organizers, and entrepreneurs. Players will play in 2 weekly matches against similarly skilled opponents. United States or Canada schools only.  236 players currently registered including such future champions as JonSnow, PartinG, Cuddlebear, Astrea, TurkeyDano, Rhizer, Gemini19, and THERIDDLER.  Complete Leaderboards at https://compete.tespa.org/tournament/110/leaderboard

1st Place           $750 USD in Scholarships
2nd Place          $500 USD in Scholarships
3rd - 4th Place   Gaming Keyboard and Mouse ($150 ARV)
5th - 8th Place   $50 in Blizzard Battle.net Balance


KSL Season 2 is in the Round of 16 after some excessively long Qualifiers wherein Stork was taken out of contention and JaeDong gave up his automatic qualification and he and Flash will be focusing on the ASL instead this season. KSL Round of 16 begins Oct 18 through Nov 23. 


Afreeca StarLeague Season 6, Round of 16 finishes Oct. 4th with the living God Flash playing nemesis JaeDong. Flash lost and came back up through the Losers bracket to defeat JaeDong knocking him out of the tournament.


Starcraft AI Tournament Season Begins

The longest running Starcraft AI Tournament, SSCAIT, will begin in a few weeks and run through December or January. Kings of the North: Probot Season 2 has already gotten underway however while SC2AI.net, a Starcraft II AI Tournament will begin in October.



And Lastly

And lastly, the TotalBiscuit Commemorative Pack is in the store for a limited time. All proceeds go to his family towards hospital bills for his cancer treatment. There is also the Starcraft War Chest for a limited time, with sweet in game skins, a Heroes of the Storm Probius skin, and loot chests for OverWatch and Hearthstone.




Last and Rain ShowMatch, KSL vs ASL, at BlizzCon


https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/6522/ksl-champion-sunghyun-kim-and-asl-champion-yoonjong-jung-collide-at-blizzcon-2018



This Week in Kings of the North: Probots

This Week, EnderSword and xkawaiian hosted Season 2, Week 3 - Group A & B  on their Twitch channel.   

5minBot went full Lambo, fighting to hold onto the last spot on the ProBot  Tournament ladder. After losing a 22 minute battle with Spacemen5428 that escalated into roaches, lurkers and hydras vs marines, tanks, marauders and medivacs, on Para Site covered in creep and 9 zerg bases, 5minBot was never able to push through the zerg defense and was eventually overrun when the zerg moved out. 5minBot next fought #1 ranked ThreeWayLover and his proxy on BlueShift just outside of the natural, allowing 5minBot to take the 3rd instead and building up a good econ while ThreeWayLover exhausted itself, and 5minBot eventually pushed out with marines, medivacs and vipers at 13 minutes for the victory. 

Spacemen5428 lost to Ceebot in its second match, dropping down into a tiebreaker with 5minBot to end the night. Spacemen5428 proxied a hatch into 5minBot’s main and began spawning Queens. The hatchery blocked an SCV attempting to build a supply depot and as 5minBot continued droning up, supply blocked him with only 1 Reaper. Spacemen5428 advanced with MicroMachine, SeeBot and YoBot.


KotN: ProBots is a StarCraft II Tournament between custom made AIs, held by ESChamp with the support of SC2AI.net community. Help Grow the ProBots. Use Matcherino promo code: ProBots to contribute $1 to next season!




The Pylon Show Live at BlizzCon!

We are excited and proud to announce MO'FUGGIN @ThePylonShow will be featured at BLIZZCON  Saturday 11:30am with guests @day9tv and a special guest from SC:R dev team to discuss 25 years of SC , SC:R and more! https://blizzcon.com/en-us/schedule#sat-nov-3 



WCS SIGNATURE SERIES 2018 VIDEO


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoO7D4bvXDI&feature=youtu.be 

Maru : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNwnIbdwDt4

SpeCial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ACC4eKmbzFY

Serral: Coming Soon

Rogue: Coming Soon

Throughout 2018, we've witnessed truly incredible StarCraft II journeys. As we approach the conclusion of this epic year, let's pause and take a moment to appreciate the people, the stories, and the wonder behind those shining brightest on the world's biggest StarCraft stage.




Go Behind the Scenes During BlizzCon Opening Week

https://wcs.starcraft2.com/en-us/news/22538230/Go-Behind-the-Scenes-During-BlizzCon-Opening-Week/  

You’ll explore backstage and learn how Blizzard esports productions come together. Watch top StarCraft II players compete live for a portion of the WCS tournament. Take a photo with the WCS Global Finals’ original Gosu Trophy . Afterward, head across the street for a WCS Global Finals viewing experience at local eatery, Simmzy’s. Toronto’s well-known ESChamp PubCraft will be coming to Burbank to host a crowd of eager WCS supporters (BarCraft will be open to the public and will not require a tour ticket.)”



Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime stepping down after 27 years





More Balance Patch changes

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/starcraft-2/537610-balance-mod-update-sep-25-2018  





Chinese Researchers developed AI capable of defeating StarCraft II’s AI 

on the highest difficulty levels in full matches — making them the first to do so.
https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2018/09/20/tencent-created-ai-agents-that-can-beat-starcraft-2s-cheater-ai/



Tencent’s AI programs defeat Starcraft’s own AI

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612188/tencents-ai-programs-defeat-starcrafts-own-ai/
AI researchers at the Chinese tech giant Tencent have posted details of two programs capable of beating the “cheating” AI found in the popular video game Starcraft.
China’s AI push includes an extraordinary commitment from the government, which recently announced a sweeping vision for AI ascendancy. The plan calls for homegrown AI to match that developed in the West within three years, for China’s researchers to be making “major breakthroughs” by 2025, and for Chinese AI to be the envy of the world by 2030.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609038/chinas-ai-awakening/




The NetEase Esports X Tournament Guangzhou offline finals

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3956905

Last year, China began a push to become dominant in eSports, all eSports and the tournament prizes tend to be hefty. Although no foreign talent was mentioned in the article, it is common to see a few at these and so I am including this article.

"A dozen games including Blizzard games StarCraft II, Warcraft III, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.  In particular, China's top six professional Hearthstone gamers are invited to battle the best amateur gamers. For the first time, the NeXT Overwatch summer tournament has invited a South Korean team to take part in a Chinese offline match. Two well-known seasoned StarCraft gamers, Huang "Poisonous Milk" Xudong and the Chinese King of Zerg, Sun "F91" Yifeng, will be the StarCraft II commentators
NetEase Esports X Tournament. It is NetEase's first professional multi-franchise eSports tournament, consisting of online qualifiers and offline finals. This is a comprehensive eSports event that offers an experience where eSports enthusiasts can participate, watch, and immerse themselves in gaming culture.

Tournament link: http://next.163.com/ "




Dark Horse, Blizzard Reunite for StarCraft: Soldiers Comic Series

https://www.cbr.com/dark-horse-starcraft-soldiers/




SSCAIT 6

An AI BroodWar tournament on its 6th year.

Submission deadline is October 1st, 2018. Message McRave, aka Fawx#2874 , on the SSCAIT Discord channel.

https://www.twitch.tv/sscait

https://discord.gg/VkhVSnn

WillBot in action : https://clips.twitch.tv/DifferentThirstyOtterPeanutButterJellyTime




Kings of the North: ProBots Season 2   

eschamp.com 

StarCraft 2 AI tournament. KotN: ProBots is a StarCraft II Tournament between custom made AIs, held by ESChamp with the support of SC2AI.net community.
https://twitter.com/ESChamp/status/1042469930124304384



SC2AI Ladder Season 6 

Ladder will be frozen on 12th October. Games will be streamed 20th / 21st October and 27th / 28th October. The top 8 eligible bots will go forward to the Finals, streamed on 4th November.

Full rules and prizes at  https://sc2ai.net/Tournament.php

http://sc2ai.net/ 

https://twitter.com/Sc2Ai/status/1040491788774060034



AITT 

A for-fun Tiny Code AI tournament. AITT submissions are due November 1st.
Message McRave, aka Fawx#2874 , on the SSCAIT Discord channel.
https://discord.gg/VkhVSnn



Interview with London Spitfire Head Coach, Coach815, a former Starcraft Coach

https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/6328/interview-with-london-spitfire-head-coach-the-one-who-smiles-at-the-end-is-the-final-winner



The Pylon Show Episode 23, a Starcraft Podcast 

https://www.twitch.tv/incontroltv

With Artosis and iNcontroL every Wednesday! Also available on YouTube and as a podcast.

This week's guests, FearDragon and Zhugeliang!









             ESPORTS            



Ninja Might Very Well Be The Face of Gaming But He Is Not The Face Of Esports

https://www.vpesports.com/more-esports/ninja-might-very-well-be-the-face-of-gaming-but-he-is-not-the-face-of-esports



Korean Esports Network OGN Expands to North America

https://esportsobserver.com/korean-esports-network-ogn-expands-north-america-pubg-league/
OGN is one of the oldest esports event organizers, hosting live matches of the original StarCraft beginning in 2004. The company has organized professional leagues for StarCraft, StarCraft II, League of Legends, Overwatch, and operates a PUBG league in South Korea.



FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY PLANS TO BUILD THE LARGEST COLLEGIATE ESPORTS ARENA IN THE U.S

https://cstarleague.com/lol/news_articles/950
Full Sail University is located in Florida and includes Bachelors in several Game related fields


The NetEase Esports X Tournament Guangzhou offline finals

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3956905

Last year, China began a push to become dominant in eSports, all eSports and the tournament prizes tend to be hefty. Although no foreign talent was mentioned in the article, it is common to see a few at these and so I am including this article.

"A dozen games including Blizzard games StarCraft II, Warcraft III, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.  In particular, China's top six professional Hearthstone gamers are invited to battle the best amateur gamers. For the first time, the NeXT Overwatch summer tournament has invited a South Korean team to take part in a Chinese offline match. Two well-known seasoned StarCraft gamers, Huang "Poisonous Milk" Xudong and the Chinese King of Zerg, Sun Yifeng, will be the StarCraft II commentators. 
NetEase Esports X Tournament. It is NetEase's first professional multi-franchise eSports tournament, consisting of online qualifiers and offline finals. This is a comprehensive eSports event that offers an experience where eSports enthusiasts can participate, watch, and immerse themselves in gaming culture.

Tournament link: http://next.163.com/ "





                          DIABLO                      




    Diablo 4 is going to be completely open-world and could be an MMO 

    https://segmentnext.com/2018/10/12/next-diablo-4-ps5-open-world/



    Blizzard Won't Actually Be Adding Cross-Platform Play To Diablo III

    http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2018/10/it_turns_out_blizzard_wont_actually_be_adding_cross-platform_play_to_diablo_iii



    ‘Reign of Terror’ is not a thing

    https://www.slashgear.com/blizzard-clarifies-diablo-leak-says-reign-of-terror-is-not-a-thing-13549885/



    Blizzard Giving Away Custom 'Diablo' PS4 Pro

    https://comicbook.com/gaming/2018/10/11/blizzard-giving-away-custom-diablo-ps4-pro/




    Diablo Netflix series confirmed by accident

    http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2018/09/22/blizzards-diablo-franchise-is-getting-a-series-on-netflix/
    The would-be showrunner let the cat out of the bag.   Thanks to a now deleted Tweet sent out, we know that the rumors were accurate.  " I guess I can confirm I am indeed in final talks to write and show-run the new DIABLO animated series for Activision and Netflix. It’s very exciting and I hope to the High Heavens it all works out." — Andy Cosby (@andycosby) September 20, 2018





         HEROES OF THE STORM     





    HEROES OF THE DORM   https://heroesofthedorm.com/








                  HEARTHSTONE              




    The NetEase Esports X Tournament Guangzhou offline finals

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3956905

    Last year, China began a push to become dominant in eSports, all eSports and the tournament prizes tend to be hefty. Although no foreign talent was mentioned in the article, it is common to see a few at these and so I am including this article.

    "A dozen games including Blizzard games StarCraft II, Warcraft III, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.  In particular, China's top six professional Hearthstone gamers are invited to battle the best amateur gamers. For the first time, the NeXT Overwatch summer tournament has invited a South Korean team to take part in a Chinese offline match. Two well-known seasoned StarCraft gamers, Huang "Poisonous Milk" Xudong and the Chinese King of Zerg, Sun Yifeng, will be the StarCraft II commentators. 
    NetEase Esports X Tournament. It is NetEase's first professional multi-franchise eSports tournament, consisting of online qualifiers and offline finals. This is a comprehensive eSports event that offers an experience where eSports enthusiasts can participate, watch, and immerse themselves in gaming culture.

    Tournament link: http://next.163.com/ "








                    OVERWATCH                




    Interview with London Spitfire Head Coach, Coach815, a former Starcraft Coach

    https://www.invenglobal.com/articles/6328/interview-with-london-spitfire-head-coach-the-one-who-smiles-at-the-end-is-the-final-winner




    The NetEase Esports X Tournament Guangzhou offline finals

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3956905

    Last year, China began a push to become dominant in eSports, all eSports and the tournament prizes tend to be hefty. Although no foreign talent was mentioned in the article, it is common to see a few at these and so I am including this article.

    "A dozen games including Blizzard games StarCraft II, Warcraft III, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.  In particular, China's top six professional Hearthstone gamers are invited to battle the best amateur gamers. For the first time, the NeXT Overwatch summer tournament has invited a South Korean team to take part in a Chinese offline match. Two well-known seasoned StarCraft gamers, Huang "Poisonous Milk" Xudong and the Chinese King of Zerg, Sun Yifeng, will be the StarCraft II commentators. 
    NetEase Esports X Tournament. It is NetEase's first professional multi-franchise eSports tournament, consisting of online qualifiers and offline finals. This is a comprehensive eSports event that offers an experience where eSports enthusiasts can participate, watch, and immerse themselves in gaming culture.

    Tournament link: http://next.163.com/ "









                   WARCRAFT III               



    PTR Balance Changes Coming!

    MMorris  @Matt23Morris
    Replying to @YoanMerlo
    @YoanMerlo we love your passion for the game. And appreciate all that you have done for Warcraft III and the community. It's safe to say we are looking to make balance adjustments - We'll roll something out to the PTR this month. Again, we love and appreciate your passion.



    Daily and Weekly Tournaments here

    https://www.twitch.tv/back2warcraft




    The NetEase Esports X Tournament Guangzhou offline finals

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3956905

    Last year, China began a push to become dominant in eSports, all eSports and the tournament prizes tend to be hefty. Although no foreign talent was mentioned in the article, it is common to see a few at these and so I am including this article.

    "A dozen games including Blizzard games StarCraft II, Warcraft III, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.  In particular, China's top six professional Hearthstone gamers are invited to battle the best amateur gamers. For the first time, the NeXT Overwatch summer tournament has invited a South Korean team to take part in a Chinese offline match. Two well-known seasoned StarCraft gamers, Huang "Poisonous Milk" Xudong and the Chinese King of Zerg, Sun Yifeng, will be the StarCraft II commentators. 
    NetEase Esports X Tournament. It is NetEase's first professional multi-franchise eSports tournament, consisting of online qualifiers and offline finals. This is a comprehensive eSports event that offers an experience where eSports enthusiasts can participate, watch, and immerse themselves in gaming culture.

    Tournament link: http://next.163.com/ "











                   WARCRAFT CLASSIC               



    World of Warcraft Classic At-Home Demo

    https://blizzcon.com/en-us/event-info/tickets/virtual

    Get access to the BlizzCon 2018 World of Warcraft Classic demo. Normally only available on the show floor, the Virtual Ticket brings this content straight to your home during the event! Only a few starting zones will be available, and only until November 8th. There will be a Warcraft Classic panel at BlizzCon.



    More on Classic at BlizzCon

    https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/news/22551243/bring-home-the-blizzcon-wow-classic-demo-with-the-virtual-ticket

    There will also be a panel on Classic at BlizzCon, and only a few zones will be available to play. The Classic demo will include access to a couple of entry-level zones, with one for Horde and the other for Alliance. It's the original Azeroth and will remain playable until 10am PST on Nov. 8. That way anyone attending BlizzCon and playing it on the show floor also has time to travel home and play it some more.






      OTHER BLIZZARD RELATED STUFF  








    Sources for these news bits include:

    https://news.blizzard.com/en-us

    http://www.teamliquid.net/

    And others.



    .