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In this episode we take a look at the some contest winners, more Facebook Like updates, some Treasure Seeker information, more art controversy, PvE & PvP Balance, Weapon Types & More!

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In this episode we take a look at the sacrifices that were made during the development of StarCraft II, for eSports, some Heart of the Swarm release date news, NASL, GSL & TSL Updates, PonyCraft II, some Day[9] stand-up comedy, art updates & More!

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One Million Bites

1 Million Strong On Facebook

Over one million people have “liked” the English StarCraft Facebook page! Yea, that is quite a lot and that number is steadily catching up to the Warcraft Facebook page, currently sitting on around 1.2 Million. Blizzard have had the pleasure of sharing thousands of news stories, images, and movies with a thriving Facebook community, but they tell us that they’re not done yet! To celebrate this milestone, StarCraft II Senior Art Director Samwise Didier whipped up the image seen on your screens right now!

So, to thank us for making the community as great as it is, they’ve released a new desktop wallpaper image depicting the Hyperion’s daring escape as featured in the Zero Hour mission cinematic. You can capture it for yourself in Blizzard’s wallpaper gallery, where you can find other inspiring StarCraft themed wallpapers as well.

If you aren’t already following the Blizzard games on Facebook, be sure to visit the official Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Blizzard pages for constant updates and much more! 😀

One Million Swarm Facebook! – Official

The Sacrifices StarCraft II Made In The Name of eSports

During yet another GDC Interview, which I definitely won’t complain about, Lead StarCraft II Designer Dustin Browder said that many sacrifices were made during the design and creation of StarCraft II… In the name of eSports. Apparently, when the StarCraft II team began its work on the game, it looked at its competition, namely Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Gas Powered’s Games’ Supreme Commander. Dawn of War featured four playable races to StarCraft’s three. Supreme Commander drowned the player with playable units, with more than 150 at a player’s disposal. StarCraft II would stick with the three races featured in its prequel, Zerg, Protoss and Terran – and a total of 45 units. Browder said that the reason it had less ‘perceived content’ than its competitors was because StarCraft II needed to be a sport, watchable and entertaining enough that people would want to tune in and watch other people play it competitively.

Browder said that trying to design StarCraft II’s multiplayer side was “insanely hard” and “like inventing Basketball 2” and back in 2005, both he and Blizzard Entertainment believed that “maybe, if they really hoofed it, they could ship it in 2008.” Needless to say, that didn’t happen!

So to make StarCraft II watchable and easily understood by all, it needed to be visually clear. “This is why the artists hate me,” Browder Said while showing concept art of the 300 ton Ultralisk, with a tiny Protoss Zealot to illustrate scale. He then showed the in-game Ultralisk, tiny and unimposing. Browder explained that having an Ultralisk to scale would never work. Players could hide 20 Zerglings behind a beast that size, sowing visual confusion. It really is a lot to think about and I don’t envy the designers, or artists any of it.

He finished it all off by saying that a key component in keeping StarCraft’s eSport qualities intact is skill through micromanagement and macromanagement, flanking and terrain tactics, skills other real-time strategy games tried to scrub out.

Do you think Blizzard succeeded? Do you like the visual simplicity of StarCraft II and Blizzards philosophy of ‘keep it simple but make it hard to master’, or would you prefer those sun obscuring motherships, base crushing ultralisks and titanic thors filling up your screen? Do you care about the fact that some of the units aren’t even in the multiplayer, or doesn’t that matter to you at all? Personally I am more than happy with how StarCraft II came out. I enjoyed the singleplayer immensely and, well, I think you all know that I absolutely love the multiplayer and all it entails, too.

One last GDC extra is that the Reaper is currently not where Blizzard wants it and will be addressed in Heart of the Swarm. A quote from Browder: “The Reaper not in a happy place. It was a bit of a mis-step for us. The players showed us what it was capable of and we nerfed it into obscurity. This will be addressed in Heart of the Swarm.”

That sure sounds good! Read all about everything Blizzard and all their employees had to say at the GDC about StarCraft II below.

Dustin Browder Talks eSports and HotS at GDC 2011 – GosuGamers

GDC 2011: Developing StarCraft II Like Inventing ‘Basketball 2’ – Gamasutra

Heart of the Swarm – 6 Months To A Year Away

If there is one thing the StarCraft players of the world know, and know well, it’s patience. Yes, we have been patiently Blizzard to give out more information regarding StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the first expansion planned for the game. At GDC 2011, during a panel on the future of the strategy genre, yes, the very same one I was quoting mere minutes ago, Blizzard’s Dustin Browder gave a little more info on when Heart of the Swarm might be coming out. He stated that he expects Heart of the Swarm to be released in the “next six months to a year.” That would suggest that the game could in fact be out by the end of 2011, but it is quite unlikely. Either way, any talk about Heart of the Swarm is welcomed. Funny, though, that Blizzard seem to have quite a lot planned for the next 6 months to a year, here’s hoping nothing goes wrong!

Read more about all of this below, courtesy of BigDownload.

GDC 2011: StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm due out in “next six months to a year” – BigDownload

Blizzard Playing StarCraft II At NASDAQ

In my previous posts and Pulse episodes I spoke about Blizzards 20 year anniversary and all the special stuff they released for it, including that cool Retrospective video. One thing I did not mention, however, was that the Blizzard cofounders Frank Pearce and Mike Morhaime spent some time playing a game of StarCraft II at the NASDAQ Marketsite at Times Square. Pearce and Morhaime were joined by fellow cofounder Allen Adham and Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tipl to preside over the NASDAQ closing bell on their most special of days. So, if that is  not a big enough treat for our friends at Blizzard, they also got to play trailers for StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm in Times Square. Exciting stuff and definitely worth if their 20 years in the business!

Original StarCraft Reborn

A few dedicated and pretty enthusiastic StarCraft community members made a mod for StarCraft II of the original StarCraft campaign. There are, obviously, benefits in having the campaign remade in StarCraft II. Vastly improved graphics, higher resolutions and all the features of the new StarCraft II Galaxy Editor. Some changes to this campaign, which the creators see as improvements, include the addition of medics, which will definitely spice things up a little. They also added and changed a few skills, upped the difficulty a little and apparently also put a few easter eggs in there for us to find, too!

They let everyone know that they did not skip anything at all, including the original tutorial, soundtrack, voice acting, dialogue and text. Pretty crazy and, well, how can you not want to check this out?! If you are new to the StarCraft scene and want to experience the amazing story of the first game without having to endure it’s now archaic look, this one is for you. You can find a link to Starcraft: Episode I – Rebel Yell’s official page below, along with a download link!

Starcraft: Episode I – Rebel Yell – SC2Mapster

Starcraft: Episode I – Rebel Yell – Download – SC2Mapster

Korean Map Pool Changes

LSPrime and JackyPrime have apparently been working with Blizzard for about a month already to add Crevasse, Tal’Darim Altar, Terminus RE to ladder map pool on the Korean servers. And now, it seems like things got a little more official, with the map changes announced on the Korean Community Forums.  The blue post linked below includes Blizzard’s thoughts on ladder map pool, but, the poster on TeamLiquid sharing this information deemed most of it ‘not worth translating’, and only gave us what we actually want to see. Here’s the short translation:

We’re going to maintain the number of ladder maps to 9 with 3 macro-oriented, 3 aggressive and 3 intermediate maps, so that a player can thumb down based on the player’s preference. GSL maps(soon) are macro-oriented.

That all sounds quite good and I really hope they think of adding these maps to the EU and North American ladders, too. Read more below!

GSL Maps on Ladder SOON™ – TeamLiquid

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

Tt eSports StarCraft 2 Cup – GosuGamers

Team Dignitas Gamer Search – Team Dignitas

oGs, GosuGamers and more invited to second FXOpen – GosuGamers

DeMusliM still not fit; dropped from EPS – ESFI World

NASL Application Videos

The North American StarLeague. Yes, it may yet be a while off but the hype and excitement continues to grow. Why, you ask? Well the most recent influx of entertainment has come in the form of all the new application videos that have been sent in from players of all shapes and sizes. Firstly, the guys from the NASL said that only ‘Teams & Players that were NOT contacted must submit a public application with all the required information.’ So yes, these are the guys that weren’t picked but want in. Some names you might know that have applied are the following:  qxc, SjoW, SelecT, Catz, PainUser, Grubby and, wait for it… Artosis and even Brother Mack, yes, they can’t possibly not accept The Brother Mack. Yeah, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. So, you can watch all the video applications these guys, and more, sent in over the past few days. Some of them are extremely entertaining and it’s great to see why some of these players feel they should be in the NASL.

I have no doubt there will be more NASL news and / or announcements soon, but, untill then, check these out and enjoy!

NASL application VODS – TeamLiquid

IEM StarCraft II World Champion Is Crowned!

The Intel Extreme Masters that took place at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, is over and we have a champion! Twelve competitors entered the fray, fighting for the title of IEM StarCraft II World Champion and a share of $30,000 in prize money. The unforgiving early rounds eventually reduced that number to two: Jung Woo ‘Ace’ Seo and Jaeho ‘Moon’ Jang reached the Grand Final on Saturday.

Moon showed some unusual tactics during the first two matches of the final, but as the clash continued we were treated to a beautiful display of late-game prowess from both players. Ace eventually overcame his foe to win the series 3 to 2 and take home the title of IEM StarCraft II World Champion, plus, how can we forget the $13,000 first prize money?! Moon earned second place and with it $6,500, while Squirtle was able to take down mOOn-GLaDe and win $4,000 for third place.

If you want to catch up on all the action you may have missed you can find all the VODs and replays of the event over at the ESL site, check a photo gallery of the event on the official StarCraft Facebook Page or just see the full brackets and results on various other sites. As an extra you can even check an interview out with TLO from the event where he says that being a commentator isn’t all that bad and he would actually consider doing it professionally. All of that and more can be found below!

The IEM StarCraft II World Champion is crowned! – Official

VIDEO: IEM: TLO talks commentator job and the future – GosuGamers

Ace crushes through IEM World Championship – SK Gaming

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GSL Updates

Here we go, GSL updates! The GSL Code-S has entered and completed its semi finals, yes, that far already. The two victors of those matches? Well, that part is obvious, too. July and MC both made it through to the finals and are set to face off against each other in the most epic of ZvP’s. If you are as keen as me to find out who our next champion will be, be ready on March the 19th and check the links below for all the other results and drama from the past few days!

The GSL Code-A has already crowned its champion. The finals happened on the 11th of March between Losira and SuperNova. This ZvT ended with the Zerg, Losira, taking the series with a score of 4 to 3.

The GSL Up/Down matches are set to happen on the 14th and 15th of March with quite a few big names competing. The likes of FruitDealer, MVP, NesTea and many others are under a lot of pressure to do well. So, if you want to read all about what’s going on with in the closing stages of the 5th season of the GSL, check it out below.

[GSL] Code S Semifinals – TeamLiquid

[GSL] Code A finals – TeamLiquid

Up/Down Match Groups GSL S5 – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code S Ro8 Day – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code S Ro8 Day 2 – TeamLiquid

GSL Extras

As a few GSL related extras, you can read about when the next seasons’ qualification is set to start, all about how Kelly Milkies is apparently heading back so Singapore after only one season at GOMtv, about the new Code-A caster DoA, an interview with John about the new Code-A casters, how you can now also find all the GSL VODs (In full HS and for free) on YouTube at the new GOMtv channel, a video of the best Tastosis quotes from the past 2 weeks, featuring an extra dose of high gives and even how mOOnglade can’t wait to get back to Korea. A lot of interesting read, watch, and enjoy!

[R&S] GOM Code S/Code A March 2011 – TeamLiquid

KellyMILKIES to return to Singapore – ESFI World

GOMtv On YouTube – YouTube

New Code-A Caster – ESFI World

GOMtv: Q&A with John in Regards to Code A Casters – GosuGamers

mOOnGLaDe can’t wait to return to Korea – ESFI World

GSL May Code A Preliminaries – GOMtv

Tastosis Highlights (ft. Kelly) – GSL March – Week 2 – YouTube

GSL World Championship

Just a day or two ago GOMtv announced the 2011 GSL World Championship, an international StarCraft II tournament that will include players from Europe, America and Korea. It is set to take place from March 28th to April 9th, the event will begin with online preliminaries featuring 4-8 players from three regions of the world (Europe, America and Asia), of which only five will make it to the tournament itself. Two Europeans, two American and one Asian representative will be selected. The prize purse is set to be a whopping $50,000.

The offline tournament will consist of a 16 player single-elimination bracket and the series will begin in best of 3 format, then move into best of five until the grand finals, which will be best of 7. In addition to the solo event the guys from GOMtv also have a GSL TeamLeague planned, too, which will be detailed in full soon.

Players currently qualified, as of March 7th, are NesTea, MVP, MarineKing, NaDa , mOOnGLaDe, Jinro and Morrow. You can also find the list of preliminary participants that GOMtv announced from each region below.

GSL World Championship details revealed – ESFI World

[GOM] 2011 GSL World Championship – TeamLiquid

Top 200 Starcraft 2

Top 200 Lists

The Top 200 lists have been updated again and, as usual, you can find the North American, European, Korean and South East Asian lists below!

StarCraft II: Top 200 – EU – Official

StarCraft II: Top 200 – US – Official

StarCraft II: Top 200 – KR – Official

StarCraft II: Top 200 – SEA – Official

TSL3 Updates

The brackets for the upcoming  TSL3 have been set up, we have our pairings and, to make it all even sweeter, we have a start date for this most anticipated of StarCraft Leagues, March the 19th. The first day of the Ro32 will feature four highly enticing match-ups, which are as follows:

BoxeR vs NightEnd
 Tyler vs  Strelok
SEn vs  Fenix
Thorzain vs FruitDealer

With games like those coming up, and yes, this is only the round of 32… who wouldn’t be excited? So it begins, do not forget to tune in on March 19th at 20:00 CET to catch the first batch of TSL 3 games. Check the links below for all the TSL details you could ever want! As an extra, the maps and casters for the TSL3 have been revealed too, but I will leave that as a mystery and force you to check the links below if you want to know.

[TSL] Casters and Maps – TeamLiquid

[TSL] RO32 Day 1 – Get Ready! – TeamLiquid

[TSL] Bracket released! – TeamLiquid

StarCraft II At WCG 2011

Just a few days ago I mentioned that the Blizzard games might well be excluded from the WCG 2011 finals, but now, I have some good news!  World Cyber Games has released an official list of nine games that will be featured at the upcoming event in Korea and Blizzard’s masterpiece StarCraft II, quite fortunately, included. Other games to be played include WarCraft III, World of WarCraft Cataclysm and Counterstrike 1.6, to name a few. So, all those Blizzard fans out there that just happen to be WCG fans, rest easy tonight, all is well. Read more below!

StarCraft 2 finds its way to WCG 2011 – SK Gaming

Community News

Community Smalls:

More info on next StarCraft II hardcover novel revealed – BigDownload

PonyCraft II

I… Um…PonyCraft II? Yes, let  that sink in just a little bit before we continue. Firstly, the amount of My Little Pony that the creator of this would have had to watch to  create something as amazing and, um, accurate, as this, is just off the hook. That is some REAL dedication. Now, this is probably one of the best, and by far weirdest, strangest, oddest crossovers ever. You have to watch the entire thing, I can’t possibly hype it up enough. If this video doesn’t spread all over the internet, well, then there truly is no justice in the world. Check it out and enjoy!

PonyCraft 2 – YouTube

2011-03-02-winner

Art Updates

Time for a few StarCraft related art updates, the best kind of updates! The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with new artwork from our community peers, four new, pretty well done, pieces from the StarCraft universe. Along with these we have also been treated with the latest batch of winning comics from Blizzard’s ongoing comic contest. There are two StarCraft related pieces and one WarCraft pieces. I have to say I did chuckle at the poor SCV’s playing with the mule!

Check all those new images out below, enjoy!

New StarCraft Fan Art – Official

Comic Contest Winners – Official

Liquid Weekly #30

The next Liquid weekly is up, number 30, is up and ready for our viewing! You can read about HuK and his progress, which has sadly halted, in the GSL Code-A, Ret moving back to Europe and some more TSL goodness. Check it out over at TeamLiquid, or the links below, and enjoy the best of the Liquid community!

The Liquid Weekly #30 – TeamLiquid

Day[9] Stand -up Routine

Day[9] doing stand-up comedy? Yes, it’s true and thoroughly entertaining. If you want to see one of the funniest videos of Day[9] ever, then you’ve come to the right place. In this routine, or maybe we should call it a rant, Sean Plott goes on about the eHarmony web dating scene and this gem was recorded back in 2008. Check it out right here on YouTube, you won’t regret it!

Sean Plott – eHarmony Rant – YouTube

As a few Day[9] extras you can also find a few VODs of him commentating with the super talented Zoe, aswell as a recorded piece of one of his pre-shows where he was overly obsessed with the word penis and lastly a video of Day[9], Khaldor and a bottle of beer. Yes, that is all you’re getting. Check them out below!

Pre-Daily#266 Penis – YouTube

Day[9] and Soe – reddit

Day[9], Khaldor and a bottle of beer… – YouTube

GG Vision

The next few GGVision Episodes are out and man, is there a lot of good stuff to be seen! Everything from GSL talk to IEM news and reviews to quite a few super interesting live-shows. All that, coupled with the ever entertaining Sebastian, what’s not to like? Check the ESFI World and PolygonreVue channels out below to see it all!

ESFI World – YouTube

PolygonreVue – YouTube

Athene Carries On

Ah Athene, it seems like you are most definitely back, and here to stay. So, troller extraordinaire, Athene, has struck again, twice. Firstly by setting up a new YouTube channel to no doubt double his already no doubt impressive income, in this channel he is going to be providing gaming and poker tips to the masses. Secondly, by offering up a thousand dollars to any StarCraft player able to take 4 insane PC’s out, 4v1. It seems like after this feat was achieved by an incredibly keen player, said player did contact Athene and is apparently set to receive the money. So, if you want to see the drama generator that is Athene in action, or just want some poker tips, you can find the links to both his channels below!

AtheneWins Channel –  YouTube

Chiren80 Channel – YouTube

Athene challenge was the real deal – reddit

Local (South African) News

On the South African StarCraft II front you can read about how Stripe took enjoy down in the PolarfluKe: MMMarch finals and watch those VODs below. The guys and girls from over at eGamer.co.za have a great ‘guide’ up covering our little StarCraft community. The article features a couple of quick interviews with a few big name local players and gives everyone reading a few pointers on where to find the most, or best action. Worth checking out!

PolarfluKe: MMMArch Finals VODs – mitarn

Gamer’s Guide To The Local StarCraft 2 Community – eGamer

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In this episode we take a look at everything that’s coming (and not coming) in Patch 4.1, Patch 4.2 and Firelands, Hotfixes, Art Updates & More!

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More On Project Titan

Gamasutra recently had a little chat with the Blizzard COO, Paul Sams about a topic that is seemingly coming up everywhere these days, the rumored Project Titan. In the interview he pretty much just hypes Titan up even more by saying quite a few pretty interesting things. He expects Titan to be an industry force over the next two decades and, what I find most shocking, they are apparently already playing it. Let me read you some quotes from the interview:

 “I believe its the most ambitious thing we’ve ever attempted, and I feel like we have set our company up to succeed on that. We have some of our most talented and most experienced developers on that team. Many of the people that built World of Warcraft are full-time on that other team. The thing that we hope will happen is that it will not stop World of Warcraft but we believe it will eclipse it.”

And the next, even more interesting quote:

“We’re playing it already. It is a total ball to play. We think that the reach of that product is greater than anything that we’ve done before.”

I mean, no matter how you take this, it’s still exciting. Lets just think for a moment about what Blizzard has done, created and thought up. Now, is something is as mind-blowing as this to them, as hype worthy as this, then don’t you think it would in fact have to be something incredibly, inexplicably impressive? It’s a lot to think about! I am actually just caught up on the fact that they are actually playing it already, and here we are waiting for Heart of the Swarm and Diablo III. If you wish to read the entire interview over at Gamasutra you can find it in the links below.

Interview: Blizzard COO Sams Says ‘Many Years In Front’ Of WoW – Gamasutra

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In this episode we take a look at Blizzard & Diablo III News — Is Diablo 3 Is Technically Complete? The ditched Ranger Class Concepts, Skill Trees & Tiers, Lots of Art Updates & More!

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Patch 1.3.0

StarCraft II: Wings of Libery – Patch 1.3.0

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty patch 1.3.0 is currently in development and available for testing on the PTR. Blizzard tells us that the early test-version of the patch contains notable improvements to the Join Custom Game interface, a preview of the new Grandmaster League, several balance adjustments, bug fixes, and more. Now, those are the official highlights, but us, as StarCraft II players, see different things as highlights. In what has got to be my favourite addition, Blizzard have added a customizable observer and replay UI to the game. These new ‘overlays’ as they have come to be called, do everything from show player names and colors, track supply and unit counts to even keeping an eye on both players’ resources and their collection rates. It really is something that is going to make my life as a shoutcaster a lot easier and definitely going to improve things for players opting to spectate games instead of play them.

But now, on to the dreaded balance changes. In the general changes, players can no longer hide units by setting them in a close proximity patrol. (Like that silly Viking flower!) Of the three races, most players seem to think that protoss was hit the hardest with the removal of the Khaydarin Amulet upgrade. (+25 starting energy) Others would say terran were the most damaged in this patch, with a bunker build time increase of 5 seconds and stim pack research time increase of 30 seconds, too. I would probably have to agree with them there. Lastly, the zerg changes, which are exclusively to Infestors. Their health was increased from 90 to 110 and their Fungal Growth ability now fires a missile instead of bein instant cast. The stun duration has also been decreased from 8 seconds to 4 seconds. That does mean that there was a double in damage per second.

Other than all of those changes there were just the normal bug fixes and editor improvements, which you can read all about below!

Patch 1.3 in development – StarCraft II Community Site

Patch 1.3.0 Extras

As a few extras related to Patch 1.3.0 you can also see the new observer mode in action, courtesy TheGunRun. I have to say I can’t wait to use it. I wasn’t even aware of all the cool, and useful, options that you could enable or of the fact that you can entirely hide the bottom bar of the UI, thereby increasing your viewing pleasure by multitudes. I just hope they set it up that we can hide everything except the minimap, that would be perfect. Check that video out, you won’t regret it and you won’t be able to contain your excitement! If you are interested you can also check the new and most definitely improved league icons out below, courtesy of the TeamLiquid forums. These are the same icons that were shown during BlizzCon 2010, but, it’s great to see them finally implemented. Read about, and check out, all those extras below!

New Observer Mode Features (Patch 1.3.0) – YouTube

New League Icons (Patch 1.3) – TeamLiquid

Ladder Map Pool Changes

To improve overall map balance and keep StarCraft II ladder play fresh and engaging, Blizzard recently made several changes to the ladder map pool. Below you can find a list that comprises of all the maps currently available, separated by bracket. You will be able to see the maps that were removed, the new maps that were added and the ones that stayed exactly where they were. If you are the kind of person that prefers not to read too much, you can in fact see all the aforementioned information in video form, too. There was a lot of information given with these changes, additions and removals and I suggest you watch the video for that extra bit of insight. While some may not like them, I find that the new maps are a lot of fun and definitely worth additions to the ladder map pool!

Patch 1.3 Map Changes – StarCraft II Community Site

Ladder Map Changes – StarCraft II Community Site

New Ladder Maps – YouTube

Masters Icon

Masters League For Teams

In some more official news, Blizzard are happy to share that they’ve been working to implement an oft-requested feature in secret; laboring over small brass pins and cogs in the humid bioluminescent mines deep beneath the Blizzard campus top-soil to bring you Master League for teams! So if you didn’t realise, Blizzard have deployed a hotfix to implement Master League for arranged and random 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 teams. For a refresher on what the Master League is, how it functions, and what it takes to get into it, refer back to their previous post about the Master League, which you can find in the links below. They also just give us a quick reminder that the Grandmaster League is coming very, very soon for 1v1 and everyone had better start preparing for that!

Master League for 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 – StarCraft II Community Site

Top 200 Starcraft 2

Top 200 Lists

The Top 200 lists have been updated and, as usual, you can find the links to the North American, European, South East Asian and Korean Lists below. Check those out and see if your favourite players are still at the top! 😀

EU Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

US Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

SEA Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

KR Top 200 – StarCraft II Community Site

Speculation About BlizzCon 2011

BlizzPlanet has a really interesting, if slightly far fetched article up concerning all the rumors and speculation about this years BlizzCon event. In past years, Blizzard has rented the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate this massive convention, this year, though, strange things are happening and needless to say, people have noticed them! Firstly, I have to say, I don’t even know how these guys figure this stuff out, find it or manage to make sense if it all, it really is some crazy spy-movie-detective-investigating stuff.

Here we go, according to the Anaheim Convention Center, Blizzard has acquired the entire facility for this years event. Why is that strange? Well, for all their previous events, yes, every single one, they only rented Halls A, B, C, D, & The Meeting Rooms. This year, though, those are joined by Hall E and the Arena. So, BlizzPlanet asks this question: What if Blizzard are planning on announcing, or revealing a new game? I guess it really could make sense that they would need more space, especially if they wanted to dedicate an entire one of those halls to it, which, let’s face it, is the least they can do! Could it be for their Next-Gen MMO? Heart of the Swarm? Perhaps WarCraft IV? Who knows, but these conspiracy theories are always a good read and there is still a lot of time for the rumors to spread and the plot to thicken. Check the full thing out below!

New Blizzard Game At BlizzCon 2011? – BlizzPlanet

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

E-stars Seoul pulls out Blizzard games – TeamLiquid

Blizzard’s IP rights war against Korean broadcast companies has claimed yet another victim. E-Stars Seoul, in a show of solidarity with KeSPA, is removing Blizzard games from its tournament in August.

[TSL] Qualifier #8 Recap – TeamLiquid

[Q&A] Official NASL Thread – TeamLiquid

[NASL] Deadlines and Process – TeamLiquid

[TSL] Bracket Show! – TeamLiquid

Blizzard Excluded From WCG 2011?

In our second last piece of big tournament news, apparently, according to Thisisgame.com, due to the legal happenings regarding Blizzard’s IP rights, BroodWar, WarCraft 3 and even StarCraft 2 might be excluded from the World Cyber Games 2011 grand finals. This is not final and there is still no official statement by the World Cyber Games but one is probably soon to be issued. I won’t go into any more detail about it here, but I just thought you guys would want to know. Read more about it below!

Blizzard Excluded From WCG 2011? – SK Gaming

 FXOpen eSports Announcements

After the success of FXOpen’s past events and the establishment of the FXOpen Invitational Series, they are proud to make the following announcements: FXOpen e-Sports has begun programming for an e-Sports TV platform, their tournament Ladder is now released, they are setting a new, weekly, KOTH series up, they are planning a new invitational titled ‘Destination Korea’, the first prize of which will be a ticket to South Korea and it seems like a talk show, team house and website are all coming soon, too. There was more than just that, yes, I know, how is that even possible? But wow, all I can say is this is some really great news. FXOpen are really trying their hardest to help eSports grow and, well, I have to say they are most definitely succeeding. if you want to read all about those FXOpen eSports Announcements you will just have to check the post linked below.

[FXO] FXOpen e-Sports Announcements – TeamLiquid

GSL Banner

GSL Updates

Time for a few GSL updates! The Code-S and Code-A have both moved into their respective rounds of 16 and both are steadily progressing and both have their fair share of entertaining and saddening upsets.

First up, the Code-A. The first play-day of the Round of 16 has already been completed with HuK, Losira, Virus and  Leenock winning their games and moving on to the round of 8.

Players that made it to the Code-S Round of 16 include July and MC, both of which have already won their games in said round, NaDa, Lyn and Jinro also made it to the round of 16, but, sadly, Jinro was knocked out by HongUnPrime.  There are a few others that I obviously didn’t mention here, but hey, I will leave some of it for you to read.

Players that were knocked out of the Code-S, or rather down to the up/down matches thus far are the following – IdrA, by forfeit, Zenio, BoxeR, Genius, MarineKing and, even three of our former champions MVP, FruitDealer and NesTea. That is quite crazy and it is really weird to see big name players like that being knocked out this early.

As usual you can read all about the going-ons at the GSL, the results and all the drama that ensued in the links below and do remember to keep checking back here for more!

[R&S] GOM Code S/Code A March 2011 – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code A Ro16 Day 1 – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code S Ro16 Day 1 – TeamLiquid 

GSL Extras

What would GSL news be without a few extras? In todays extras we have the Code-S Nominations, dubbed in English, for all us foreigners that want to enjoy every possible bit of GSL goodness, a HuK, Ret, Jinro and Moonglade Foreigner Special, courtesy of TeamLiquid and lastly, a pretty interesting post about the map stats on the GSL March, thus far at least. Check all of that out in the links below!

GOMtv.net Releases Code S Nominations Dubbed in English – TeamLiquid

[GSL] Liquid`HuK Code A Ro16 Foreigner Special – TeamLiquid

[GSL] Jinro, Moonglade, Ret Foreigner Specials – TeamLiquid

[GSL March] The map statistics thus far – TeamLiquid

MLG – MLG Dallas

In a few small MLG related updates, the MLG Dallas event, set to take place from April the 1st to the 3rd have put their passes on sale for the event. So, if you were keen to attend the event you’d better head on over to their site and get yours booked and payed right now. (The StarCraft 2 Schedule has not yet been released, though.) Next up they have also released the maps they are using for the event, 7 maps will make up the map pool for the 2011 StarCraft II pro circuit. Four standard maps are included, but they have been slightly revised for use in the MLG competitions. Shattered Temple will replace Lost Temple, and the two other maps are ICCup Testbug and one of the GSL’s new maps, Crossfire SE. You can check the links below for the complete list of included maps, players and everything else MLG related.

MLG Dallas 2011-Passes on sale tonight at 7 PM ET – TeamLiquid

MLG announces StarCraft 2 map pool – ESFI World

MLG 2011 : North America be ready! – GosuGamers

IEM

IEM World Championship Updates

The group stage of the Intel Extreme Masters just kicked off, a day or two ago, at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany in hall 23, for those that were wondering. Twelve players started fighting tooth and nail for the title of StarCraft II World Champion and $30,000 in prize money.

Our hosts for this amazing event, Kevin ‘RotterdaM’ van der Kooi, Dario ‘TheLittleOne’ Wünsch and Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott have been treating us exceptionally well and keeping us more than entertained during, and between, the matches. If you want to watch the rest of the action you can check the schedule in order to attend the matches or follow the live streaming on ESL TV.

 With the first couple of play-days already completed, the number of players still in contention has significantly decreased, but with that, the quality of the games has also significantly increased. First up I have to mention that there are absolutely no European or US players left in the tournament. The top 4 players, and the only ones left, are ACE, mOOnGlaDe, Moon and Squirtle. Big name such as IdrA, Socke, Fenix, qxc, SjoW and MorroW were knocked out by those top 4 and, well, that just makes the fact that they are there even more impressive.

The next few games are set to happen tomorrow and should not be missed. Check the links below for all the information you could ever need! 😀

IEM Season 5 World Championship at CeBIT kicks off! – Blizzard Entertainment

IEM Season 5 World Championship – Group stage is over! – Blizzard Entertainment

[IEM] Semifinals – TeamLiquid 

[IEM] Day 3 – TeamLiquid

[IEM] Day 2 – TeamLiquid

ESL Season 5 Schedule – ESL

IEM Extras

As a few extras from the IEM you can check a bunch of interesting interviews out with the players and casters from the event courtesy of ESFI World and MyM. There are also various sites that have a ton of the replays from the event up already, worth checking out too!

Moon discusses IEM results, WarCraft 3 vs. StarCraft 2 – ESFI World

Audio: IdrA predicts himself vs. Ace in grand final – ESFI World

Day 1’s big group A winner Ace interviewed – ESFI World

mOOnGLaDe: “not entirely confident vs. MorroW” – ESFI World

Socke: “Stamina wise, I was doing ok [in the tiebreaker]” – ESFI World

IEM: Video-Interview with Fenix – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with qxc – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with Tarson – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with IdrA – MyM

IEM: Video-Interview with Socke – MyM

The Gathering Map Pool & Dreamhack Prize Pool

In two more slightly smaller tournament announcements, we see the The Gathering include the iCCup Testbug and iCCup Pawn Re maps which were made popular in the ESL Go4SC2 tournaments. These, and the five original Blizzard maps are what the players at the offline tournament will be battling on. Next up, after DreamHack’s earlier announcement of their Summer event, the organizers released detailed information regarding their StarCraft II tournament. The tournament will feature 800,000 SEK (about $125,000) and is also supported by sponsors SteelSeries and Eizo. Read more about both those smalls below, courtesy of GosuGamers and ESFI World.

DreamHack’s 2011 SC2 tour features $125,000 – ESFI World

Pawn Re, Testbug in The Gathering map pool – GosuGamers

Community News

Community Smalls:

Poll: My Other Car Is A – StarCraft II Community Site

The Academy: Meet the Underdog – StarCraft II Community Site

Poll: Who will win the IEM World Championship in Hannover? – StarCraft II Community Site

The Academy: It’s all about having fun – StarCraft II Community Site

MVP Launch Detected – StarCraft II Community Site

Custom Map Spotlight – StarCraft II Community Site

Destiny Joins ROOT Gaming – TeamLiquid

March KR roster changes – TeamLiquid 

Naama Leaves Mousesports For Virus – GosuGamers

Artosis parts ways with MeetYourMakers – GosuGamers

LucifroN Leaves Fnatic.MSI and Joins Spanish Team, APSC2 – GosuGamers

Satiini: “The GSL maps seem to be really great” – Competo

DieStar: “ToD will be legendary!” – Competo

Grubby interview from Assembly – SK Gaming

Artosis Departs From MyM – SK Gaming

Blizzard Careers At GDC 2011 San Francisco – BlizzPlanet

11 Minute mOOnGLaDe Video Interview – rakakaworld

John posts a response to Huk’s troll allegations – reddit

Zerg and Terran talking about balance in StarCraft 2 – YouTube

Tasteless, Artosis & Day[9] At WCG USA 2005

Some footage recently surfaced of some of the big names in today’s StarCraft II scene from back before they were in fact big names, while they were growing up, learning to be a better gamer, one step at a time. The footage is from the USA World Cyber Games 2005 where some names you may well know, Tasteless, Artosis and Day[9], participated. The video is full of arrogance, drama, heartache, bitter sweetness and even a few good laughs to boot. Yes, this was in fact the WCG that Day[9] won. It really is amazing seeing these guys and how they were back then, which is, strikingly similar to how they are today. But anyway, check the video out and big thanks to BNice for digging this up and finally uploading it to YouTube.

WCG 2005 Footage – Artosis, Day9 and Tasteless – TeamLiquid

Cellabrella?

I absolutely had to feature this video because it may well, quite possibly be, the most brilliant thing ever. You all know Cella, formerly of clan Werra, now in clan SlayerS. And you all probably know he loves his wine, cheese and, well, singing! So here is his latest piece of work, while on air with ROOTdestiny he performs his own version of Rihanna’s Umbrella, not to be missed!

Cella singing ‘Rihanna – Umbrella’ – Starcraft 2 – YouTube

What’s This? StarCraft II Edition

Yet another StarCraft II themed song, The Nightmare Before Christmas’ – What’s This, StarCraft Edition. This was created by the guys from over at AKAmazingness and, well, what can I say, it’s pretty funny. It was apparently requested by Day[9] during one of his dailies and, being the keen fans that they are, they decided to whip it up. You can find the music video and .mp3 of the song in the links below.

What’s This? StarCraft 2 Edition – The Nightmare Before Christmas! – YouTube

Bronze League Hero

Did I just talk about a Starcraft II theme song? Oh, well, here’s another one and this one has slightly higher production value it seems. The song is titled Bronze League Hero and is amazingly well performed. It is apparently a cover of a song I’ve personally never heard before. The artist claims that this is the next Banelings and, well, it is pretty good, that much is sure, but I don’t know if it as good as Kurts and Huskies Banelings. What do you think? Listen to it and let me know! 

Bronze League Hero – 3OH!3 Parody – YouTube

The Liquid Weekly #29

The next Liquid Weekly is out, #29. This weekly has a look at Jinro and HuK, the driver and conductor of the Liquid Pain Train, some more TSL related stuff, which includes mini-interviews with all the Liquid players and you can even pick up some TLO, HuK and Haypro ladder replay packs. Check all of that and more out below, obviously courtesy of TeamLiquid!

Liquid Weekly #29 – TeamLiquid

Artosis Tours The Prime.WE Team House

Artosis has put up the next of his seemingly endless series of pro-team-house tours. This time around we get a look, a pretty detailed look, at the Prime.WE team house and even a couple of interviews with the players residing there. So if you want to take a look at where and how a Korean Pro Team practices and lives, what they have to say about the GSL, their team house and everything else, check the series of videos in the links below or just head on over to ArtosisTV for the lot of it.

Prime.WE Team house tour and interviews! – TeamLiquid

ss1259

Fan Art Updates

In some art updates, the official StarCraft II Fan art section has been updated with a few pretty impressive pieces, and quite funny pieces. If you’re interested, need a new wallpaper or just love everything StarCraft related, you’d better check these out. My personal favourite can be seen on your screen right now!

New StarCraft Fan Art – Blizzard Entertainment

Art Extas

In a few extra, if slightly smaller, art updates, we get a look at a cute StarCraft II themed birthday cake and a fan-made, zerg and IdrA themed wallpaper. Find the full size versions of both of those in the links below!

StarCraft II Birthday Cake – Imgur

IdrA / Zerg Wallpaper – Imgur

TotalBiscuit Audio Interview By Reddit

The guys over at reddit have a pretty lengthy and indeed quite informative interview up with none other than TotalBiscuit himself. TotalBiscuit talks about, well, everything. From StarCraft II eSports and his involvement in it, the current state of the game, the NASL and Jinro vs IdrA showmatch, his own gaming background and lastly, some talk about his future projects and what we can expect from the one and only CynicalBrit in the coming months. It really is a great listen well worth checking out. You can even download the whole thing in .mp3 format to make it a little easier to listen to!

TotalBiscuit Audio Interview by Reddit – TeamLiquid

Why Does Brother Mack Pray For StarCraft II?

Brother Mack is back and this time he is answering a question that is apparently often asked: Why does he pray for StarCraft? Pretty entertaining, he talks about a few of the reasons he chose to pray for the game and its community. In usual Brother Mack style it does go a little off track at one point… but I think I’ll leave that for you to discover. Check the video out above!

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