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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

GSL Banner

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

Read Full Post »

Patch 1.2.1

Patch 1.2.1 Now Available on PTR

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty patch 1.2.1 is currently in development and now available for testing on the PTR. This minor patch contains several bug fixes as well as a sneak preview of new ladder maps. So as usual, by participating in the PTR, you’ll be among the first to test out these latest changes and help Blizzard ensure that when the patch is released its of the highest possible quality. This is, sadly, only available to the US players amongst you and as I just said, the biggest thing is probably just that you can test the new maps out. Might well be worth it, though. So if you’re interested, check the Patch 1.2.1 notes out below or hop onto that PTR now. Enjoy!

Patch 1.2.1 Now Available on PTR – Starcraft II Community Site

New Ladder Maps

As an extra, if you want to check the new 1v1 or 2v2 maps out and can’t get onto the PTR, AskJoshy has a nice video up reviewing the lot of them! You can find that video embedded above or linked below!

NEW 1v1 Maps! – StarCraft 2 Public Test Realm! – YouTube

NEW 2v2 Maps! – StarCraft 2 Public Test Realm! – YouTube

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

TotalBiscuit to cast Fnatic’s PLAY Open – GosuGamers

Nerchio wins InsideNation National Challenger Cup #2 – GosuGamers

TeamSpeak TL SC2 Open #12 – 5 Feb – TeamLiquid

Kas Wins Champions Trophy EU – SK Gaming

SeleCT Wins Champions Trophy US – SK Gaming

Adel Wins Spirit-LAN, ToD 2nd! – MyM

SjoW Wins Go4SC2 Cup #77 – MyM

elfittaja Wins ZOTAC Cup #41 – MyM

DIMAGA Wins Go4SC2 Monthly Finals – MyM

Recent Craft Cup Winners – CraftCup

Assembly Winter Groups Released – MyM

New ESL / Sennheiser Cup Announced (5000 Euro Prize Pool) – ESL

Brood War – Bacchus OSL Champion Decided – SK Gaming

IMMvp

GSL January Code-S Grand Final – IMMvp Wins!

The first season of the new and improved GSL Sponsorship League’s Code-S has been completed and we have our winner. IMMvp faced off against MarineKingPrime in an epic best of 7 series, that, well… didn’t really last as long as some would have liked. Mvp managed to destroy MarineKing with a score of 4 to 0 to claim his first place and the prize of over $40,000. This makes Mvp the first terran GSL Champion and, well, he fully deserves that number 1 spot. Below you can find the final standings of the event along with a full recounting of the finals. Enjoy!

GSL Jan 2011 Code S champion crowned – SK Gaming

GOMTV GSL January Grand Final – Report – GosuGamers

GSL Jan 2011 final standings:

  • 1st  Jong-Hyun ‘mvp’ Jung (T) – $44,480
  • 2nd  Jung-Hoon ‘MarineKing’ Lee (T) – $17,790
  • 3rd-4th  Jae-Duck ‘NesTea’ Lim (Z) – $4,450
  • 3rd-4th  Jonathan ‘Jinro’ Walsh (T) – $4,450
  • 5th-8th  Gregory ‘IdrA’ Fields (Z) – $2,670
  • 5th-8th  Hyung-Sup ‘choya’ Lee (P) – $2,670
  • 5th-8th  Ki-Soo ‘Trickster’ Seo (P) – $2,670
  • 5th-8th  Yoon-Yeol ‘NaDa’ Lee (T) – $2,670

GSL Up / Down Matches

The Up-And-Down matches to determine the next seasons Code-A and Code-S players have also been completed. The players knocked down into Code-A were the following:

 Seong Hun ‘Polt‘ Choi
 Man Hyuk ‘jookToJung‘ Jo
 Seo-Yong ‘Rain‘ Park
 Han Eul ‘Maka‘ Kwak
 Dong-Nyung ‘Leenock‘ Lee
 Gyeong Su ‘LegalMind‘ Kim

The following six will replace them and will get the chance to prove themselves in Code S:

 June ‘Lyn‘ Park
 Seung-Chul ‘sC‘ Kim
 Hyun Wo ‘Byun‘ Byun
 Jung Hoon ‘TOP‘ Kim
 Myung-Duk ‘BanBans‘ Seo
 Sung-Jun ‘July‘ Park

Lastly, Artosis recently revealed the four foreign seedings making it into the Code-A for the next season of the GSL. HuK, HayprO, Ret and mOOn-GLaDe have all been invited to participate. That is pretty exciting and I absolutely can’t wait for the next season to kick off! Read more about all those moves below.  

Season V Code S settled – SK Gaming

HuK, Ret, HayprO, mOOn-GLaDe to GOMTV GSL Code A – GosuGamers

GSL Extras

There are, as usual, a bunch of little GSL related extras you can check out, too. SK Gaming has a pretty in-depth article up called The State of the GSL, Artosis has an incredibly long video up of his visit to the Code-A qualifiers (Including a bunch of interesting interviews) and you can even read about the apparent new maps that are set to be used upcoming seasons of the GSL and ESL events, too.

The State of the GSL – SK Gaming

[Official] GSTL map pool change – TeamLiquid

ESL gets new maps – GosuGamers

ESL and GSL add new maps – MyM

[V] Interviews from the GSL Code A qualifiers! – TeamLiquid

New ESL / Sennheiser Cup – 5000 Euro Prize Pool

ESL has added yet another cup series to their already long list of events. This €100 Euro weekly cup titled the ‘Sennheiser StarCraft 2 Cup’ is set to carry on for 16 weeks with each winner qualifying for an offline play-off that will happen at the GamesCom expo in Koln, Germany, on May 28. These cups are happening on the EU servers and they sound like a lot of fun. As I alway say, everyone had better take part. Read the full details below.

Sennheiser Starcraft II Cup – ESL

FXOpen Invitational Series #1 – $1500

The guys and girls from over at FXOpen are proud to announce their first 64-player invitational tournament in their latest series of invitational events. This new format sees yet another increase in the prizepool, with $1500 cash up for grabs. There are a ton of great players that have been invited and, well, they even managed to sign Artosis to do the English casting for the event! It all sounds quite exciting and I can’t wait for the event to kick off on the 19th of February.

[FXO] FXOpen Invitational Series #1 – $1500 – TeamLiquid

Top 200 Starcraft 2

Top 200

The top 200 lists have been updated, yes, again. This time, though, there’s something different about them, the EU one in particular. One of our very own South African players has managed to creep up in there at the 183rd position. Yes, you guessed it, its Shase and he is doing us all proud! You can check that out on the EU top 200 list and leave him a grats in the comments, I’ll be sure to pass it on! Below you can also find the US, Korean and South East Asian lists, enjoy! 

EU Top 200 – Starcraft II Community Site

US Top 200 – Starcraft II Community Site

KR Top 200 – Starcraft II Community Site

SEA Top 200 – Starcraft II Community Site

Community News

Community Smalls:

Day[9] voted as best ‘Community Effort of the Year’ 2010 – GosuGamers

Demuslim with broken hand after “skirmish” – TeamLiquid

StarCraft Premium Series 1 Action Figure Set Pre-Orders – BlizzPlanet

Sjow applies for foreigner house in Korea – SK Gaming

Junwi – President Of Starcraft II Players Association

Incredible Miracle zerg player Junwi has been voted the first ever president of the StarCraft II Players Association and is expected to hold the office till the end of 2011. Junwi apparently received 26 out of a possible 84 votes to win his position. After being appointed he had the following to say:

“Thank you to all the players who voted for me, I will try my best to become a president that every single player will respect and enjoy.”

Junwi will lead the association in establishing an emphasis on the importance of education for professional players, as many GSL players are still in high school, or only recently graduated. He will also lead his team, Incredible Miracle, in the running of a blood drive for the Brood War pro Violet, who was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia last week. Now that sounds like a whole bunch of good things that Junwi is set to do this year and everyone had better wish him the best of luck. Read more about this story below, courtesy of SK Gaming.

Junwi voted SC2 players association president – SK Gaming

Grubby Interview

Fragster recently spoke to Grubby about his big move of switching to Starcraft II. In the interview they cover his current success in Warcraft III, whether that will translate into wins in Starcraft II or not, and how Grubby is enjoying Starcraft II right now. It really is a good read, especially for all those Warcraft III players that changed to Starcraft II recently themselves. Check the entire thing, titled ‘I am the underdog’, out below, enjoy!

“I’m the underdog” – Fragster

BoxeR’s Wings Episode 1

The guys from over at TL Subs have posted the first episode of ‘BoxeR’s Wings’, a documentary that follows the life of Lim Yo Hwan, BoxeR, as he makes his comeback to professional gaming in StarCraft II. It really is a close up look at what makes BoxeR tick, his fears, hopes and dreams for the future. A great watch and I urge all of you to check it out. Big thanks to dinki and his team for doing the subs!

[TL Subs] BoxeR’s Wings Episode 1 – TeamLiquid

Liquid Weekly #26

The latest TeamLiquid weekly is here and well, it’s a good one! This week we are treated with a lengthy TLO interview done by Sebastian from PolygonreVue that includes some Bloodline champions related talk and footage that’s probably worth checking out, an interview with LiquidTyler and a nice replay pack for all those zerg players out there from HayprO. All that and more, check it out below! 

The Liquid Weekly #26 – TeamLiquid

Tour Of The GOMtv Foreigner House

Artosis is at it again, this time he takes us on a tour of the newly rented apartment for a potential 8 foreign players from outside of South Korea. The apartment has everything, from bunk-beds, great looking bathrooms with electric toilet seats, a ready-to-use kitchen and a capacity of eight practice computers. The place looks great and what makes the video even better is that John the Translator is the one giving the tour of it! Artosis also conducts a short interview at the end with John wherein he mentions a few interesting pieces of information, most notable of which is that GOMtv will be picking the players that get to stay in the apartment based on their past accomplishments and current ladder ranking. So, head on over to ArtosisTV on YouTube to check that out. 

GSL Foreigner House Tour – YouTube

P1020495

Starcraft II Sculptures

The guy that brought us the amazing Husky Infested Marine Sculpture, and many others, is back and in business! Well, sort of. The Notbusch Modeling website is back online and showing off some amazing new sculptures. I suggest you all give it a look and let me know what you think. I gotta say, the detail in some of these is pretty freaking amazing. Check that out below and wish the creator luck with getting a licence to sell these from Blizzard. Enjoy!

Sc2 Sculptures are back – TeamLiquid

IMBALANCED! – EP 01 – Introduction

Big names Artosis and IdrA bring us a new show, a show about imbalance! In this first episode they just introduce the show, talk a little about what it is and what they plan to do with it and then start talking about the protoss Colossus. Is the Colossus imbalanced? I think you’ll just have to watch the episode for the answer to that one!

IMBALANCED! – EP 01 – Introduction – YouTube

IdrA vs IMMvp

In one last little bit of IdrA related news, as I know you all love it so much, below you can find an amazingly epic ladder game from IdrA’s livestream between himself and IMMvp. The game clocks in at around 40 minutes and, well, it has pretty much everything you’d ever want from a ZvT. No, no spoilers. Check it out!

IdrA vs Mvp – Justin.tv

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I didn’t have access to my camera this week so I had to use this method again. I hope everything is satisfactory! (I did make a few mistakes, but overall it was fine!) Keep checking back here for World of Warcraft and Diablo News right after this weekend! The Starcraft News should be over enough to keep you sated till then, though. Enjoy!

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World of Starcraft

The World of Starcraft Story

The World of Starcraft Mod for Starcraft II has been the talk of the town recently and has most definitely become increasingly interesting over the past week. The mod’s creator, Ryan Winzer, has since the previous drama about the mod being removed from YouTube due to copyright claims, had quite a good streak of luck. He may or may not had received a job offer, or at least mention of one, from Riot Games and the big guys themselves, Blizzard Entertainment, directly responded to the whole thing. They pretty much apologized and said they just wanted the whole thing resolved and didn’t mean it badly, in any way, it was just all about the name. So Mr. Winzer was then offered the chance of meeting with the StarCraft development team at their headquarters in California. Blizzard will apparently be paying for his travel and his stay there, they just have to work out the dates.

That truly is a lot of drama for one week of a college students life, and truly a dream come true for anyone looking to go into game development. So if you want to read all about this, and more,  you can check the post out below from Kotaku. It includes all the information of the entire thing and a pretty lengthy interview with the modder himself. Enjoy!

StarCraft Modder’s Tense Week Gets A Storybook Conclusion – Kotaku

Ladder Map Changes

Blizzard made a couple of interesting announcements recently concerning the official ladder map pool. One good piece of news is that Shakuras Plateau is back and better than ever! Well, it’s exactly the same, minus the bugs, so I guess that is actually a little better.  A few of the other maps have been re-published too, to  to address an issue with foliage that would die and become visible through fog of war when a player spawned as zerg. Lastly, it seems like Jungle Basin is set to be removed from the map pool for balance evaluation. It will apparently remain unavailable for ranked play until further notice. This announcement came after the addition of a gold mineral expansion on Jungle Basin. So, if you want to read the full announcement, you can do so below!

(Sticky) Ladder Map Updates – Official Starcraft II Forums

We recently completed the following updates to the ladder pool:

• Blistering Sands, Lost Temple, Steppes of War, and Xel’Naga Caverns have been re-published to address an issue with foliage that would die and become visible through fog of war when a player spawned as zerg.

• Shakuras Plateau has been re-published and added back into the ladder rotation. The newly published map resolves a separate issue that caused 2×2 buildings placed near some destructible rocks to become both invisible and un-selectable.

• Jungle Basin will be removed from the ladder pool in the coming weeks for balance evaluation. It will remain unavailable for ranked play until further notice.
Blizzard Entertainment

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

sLDeathAngel Wins CraftCup LITE #32 – Craft Cup

GSL News – IMMvp vs MarineKingPrime Finals!

The GSL Code-S semi-finals have been completed and we have our finalists! Just this morning MarineKingPrime faced off against Jinro and took him down with a rather impressive 3 to 1. IMMvp also faced off against former GSL Champ NesTea and defeated him with the same score of 3 to 1. That does indeed mean that we will be seeing a terran vs. terran finals between Mvp and MarineKing, be sure to tune in to that this coming Saturday.

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

oGsTOP Takes Code-A!

The Code-A finals, on the other hand, have already been played and oGsTOP has been crowned the winner! He faced off against and narrowly beat ZeNEXByun in the finals with a score of 4 to 3. You can read all about the happenings in Code-A below, if you so wish.

GSL Tour Season 1 – 1/21, Code A Finals – MyM

Extras

As a few extras there was also a little bit of drama concerning soundproofing. These issues were brought to GOMtv’s attention during the games between Jinro and IdrA. IdrA 6 pooled the terran player on Jungle Basin and Jinro caught wind of it because of the noise the commentators were making. (Not that it changed the outcome of the game in any way) There was an official  announcement about this, which you can find below, and it seems like they are sorting out any issues there may be with their setup, good to hear! Lastly, you can also read some quick interviews with all the winners from the Round of 8 below, enjoy!

GSL soundproof issue – Official comment – TeamLiquid

[Interviews] Jan. GSL Code S Ro8 Winners – TeamLiquid 

Intel Extreme Masters – European Championship

IEM is currently running and we already have our final four players. Tarson, SjoW, White-RA and DeMusliM. The finals are set to happen sometime today so keep checking back here for those results. Untill then, though, enjoy all the following extras courtesy of MyM.

IEM: White-Ra, Tarson, DeMusliM, and SjoW Advance – GosuGamers

IEM VIDEO: DeMusliM under the loop – MyM

IEM VIDEO: Mouz.Naama interview – MyM

IEM VIDEO: Interview with RotterdaM – MyM

IEM VIDEO: Interview eSuba.PredY! – MyM

IEM VIDEO: MYM.ClouD interview – MyM

CrunCher Wins TS TL Open #10

The TeamSpeak TeamLiquid Open #10 has been completed with CrunCher as the victor. He walks away with $100 and a qualification for the TSL3. In second place was Fenix and third TLO, both scoring themselves quite a few qualifier points for the TSL3 aswell. Below you can find the results, VODs and a full recap of the event, obviously courtesy of the guys over at TeamLiquid.

[VODs] TeamSpeak TL SC2 Open #10 – TeamLiquid

[TSL] Qualifier #3 Recap – TeamLiquid

Community News

Community Smalls:

iNfeRnaL Joins Team GosuGamers – GosuGamers

Naniwa Joins Dignitas – TeamLiquid

IdrA GosuTrolling Interview – GosuTrolling

Berkeley Overmind Wins The 2010 StarCraft AI Competition – ars technica

White-Ra “Chances I go to Korea are 50/50 – TeamLiquid

d.Apollo Interview – PolarfluKe

GosuGamers – Best Non-Korean Of 2010

Out of the 10 nominees, Jonathan “Jinro” Walsh was voted, by the GosuGamers readers, as the best non-Korean of 2010. It seems like winning the MLG Dallas and being the first foreigner in many years to reach the semi final in a Korean progaming league was more than enough to get him that first place. So if you want to see the Jinro Highlight Video and read more about TeamLiquids wonderboy and his achievements, with a quick interview to boot, you know where to look!

Jinro voted as ‘best non-Korean of 2010’ – GosuGamers

Fear of the Grack & More

Ah yes, another beautifully performed song by TotalBiscuit. This song is a Iron Maiden parody that was originally written by AlexanderS on the Teamliquid forums and, well, TotalBiscuit definitely does it justice. So in honor of the almighty Grackens victory over the lesser nerds in the GSL, brought to you by, as I mentioned, AlexanderS and TotalBiscuit, here’s Fear of the Grack! There’s even an .mp3 download link if you want this for keepsies.

Fear of the Grack – TeamLiquid

Below I’ve also linked a few other IdrA funnies including Grack To The Future, Captain Grack Sparrow and Grack Hawk Down.

Grack To The Future – reddit

Grack Hawk Down – reddit

Captain Grack Sparrow – reddit

IdrA Interview

In even more IdrA related news… Artosis recently cornered IdrA for a quick interview about varios topics quite a few people were keen to hear about. This wa done soon after his loss to Jinro and Artosis asks about the game that some feel IdrA quit prematurely, the rest of the GSL and even asked about his predictions for the next season. Watch the video above, enjoy!

IdrA on why he left so fast vs Jinro and more! – TeamLiquid

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Here we go, time for some Starcraft and Diablo news. I will be doing the World of Warcraft news at the end of the week again so stay tuned for that, too! Otherwise enjoy this weeks abundance of Diablo III news, it surely is a treat!

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Holiday Contests

Holiday Dessert and Card Contest Winners Revealed

The 2010 holiday dessert and card contest winners have been revealed! Blizzard have invited us to take a look at the delicious, comical, and sentimental work of our community peers. There really are some amazing pieces of work in the desert contest, and some that do indeed look quite delectable. With the holiday card contest the entrants also got quite creative and all the winning entries are definitely worth checking out. There are too many to even begin to list here, so, do yourselves the favour of checking it out below, if only as a reminder of how great the holidays were with Blizzard by our side and in our life, awww. Enjoy! 😀

Blizzard Holiday Desert Contest 2010 – Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Holiday Card Contest 2010 – Blizzard Entertainment

World of Starcraft? Why Not!

The amazingly versatile and powerful map editing tools that came with StarCraft II have been used to create many things, but none have gone as far as to try to turn StarCraft II into an MMO. Untill now, that is. The video embedded below is of the pre-alpha version of World of Starcraft in action. Yes, this map, or mod, as it may well be called, is still incredibly early in development, but it does show a lot of promise and it is clear that the guys making this have gone to an extreme amount of effort. There’s a lot of information to be found about the mod on the World of Starcraft forums, including the team’s ideas for new class abilities, development progress and other much more, check it out! (And no, this is by no means official, just fans having fun!)

World of Starcraft Forums – World of Starcraft

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

GoOdy Wins Go4SC2 #73 – MyM

Elfi Wins Zotac-Cup #39 – MyM

Elfi Wins Competo Cup #24 – Competo

Underdark Wins Craft Cup Lite #31 – CraftCup

White-Ra Wins Take’s HomeStory Cup – MyM

Naniwa Wins TS TL Open #9Qualifies For TSL3 – TeamLiquid

GSL News – Round of 8

The GSL is entering a quite exciting stage now, the round of 8 is underway and, well, things are getting just a little crazy. In the first play day of the round of 8 Former GSL Champion, NesTea, and clanmate Mvp both took their opponents, choyafOu and Tester, down with an impressive 3 to 0. The next play day is actually happening on Wednesday, yes, that soon. IdrA vs Jinro and MarineKing vs NaDa, definitely not to be missed! You can read all about the passed and upcoming days in the GSL below along with all the Code-A action. Enjoy! (I will add the results for the second day of the Code-S round of 8 as soon as they are available)

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

[GSL] Code S Ro8: Day 1 – TeamLiquid

[GSL] : Jan Code A Ro8 – TeamLiquid

There is also, as you can well expect, a lot of hype for the IdrA vs Jinro games, read all about that, courtesy of SK Gaming, below! 😀

Monster Movie: Jinro vs. Idra – SK Gaming

IEM European Championship: Kiev

Twelve top-tier European StarCraft II players will be attending the Intel Extreme Masters European Championship Finals event in Kiev, Ukraine this weekend. These fierce warriors have already fought their way through the preliminary group stage, rising to the top of their groups with their superior strategies and prowess – now, can they make it to the World Championship, that is the question! With a $18,000 in prize pool, and the chance to advance to the World Championship which takes place in the coming months, there really is a lot to play for this coming weekend. I won’t even bother mentioning any of the big name European players that are competing because, well, they are all there.

In addition to all of this Blizzard will have dedicated computers set up with StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm for you to play, so be sure to join them there. Lastly, it seems like TheLittleOne from Team Liqiud is set to be helping out with the shoutcasting on the weekend, too. It all sounds really great so be sure to hop onto the stream or check back here soon for more information!

IEM European Championship: Kiev – Starcraft II Community Site

TeamSpeak TL SC2 Open #10

The next in the series of TeamSpeak TeamLiquid Opens has been announced and, well the registrations are open! This one is set to start on the 22nd of January and is once again taking place on the North American servers. 100$ prize, qualification for the TSL3, djWHEAT casting it all, what’s not to like? You can find the full details of the even below, check it out!

TeamSpeak TL SC2 Open #10 – TeamLiquid

Community News

Community Smalls:

MyM Recruits Mondragon, SaSe & XlorD – MyM

ESFI interviews mOOnGLaDe – ESFI World

Complexity Picks Up Suggy – Complexity Gaming

Catz Interview – Complexity Gaming

ClouD Pre-IEM Interview – MyM

Liquid Weekly #24

The next Liquid Weekly has been released, this one dubbed ‘Jinroll Imminent’ Fitting? Who knows. This week, as most before it, they have a look at the GSL and their golden boy’s progress in it. They also check a few of the other big tournaments out that have been happening and treat us to an interview Mathew Peterson of TLAF, Liquid’s main sponsor. Yes, there’s some amazing fan art too. You can check that all out below, enjoy!

The Liquid Weekly #24 – TeamLiquid

Dear Day[9]

Yet another Starcraft II and Day[9] inspired song has popped up on the TeamLiquid forums. This time, instead of rap, we have an acoustic country tune. It is actually surprisingly good and well, if you have a spare moment or two you should probably give it a listen. See it above, enjoy!

Win A Trip To Korea With TL & The TSL3

I previously mentioned that TeamLiquid and their TSL3 were planning on raffling of 2 tickets to South Korea to do all manner of things, tour the oGs / Liquid House, visit the GSL, OSL and ProLeagues and spend 5 nights in Seoul. It really does sound like a dream come true for any avid Starcraft fan. So, the details for this most anticipated of tournaments are now live and everyone living outside the US is being encouraged to enter! See  the steps you need to follow to enter below and good luck!

Win a trip to Korea – TSL3 Raffle – TeamLiquid

1. Sign up for a PokerStrategy.com Account using the TL Referral Link.

2. Pass the 20-question poker quiz.

3. Request and receive the $50 offer.

4. Watch TSL Finals in April for the Raffle Drawing.

eSports Update – CES 2011

The guys over at PC World have a nice article up covering some of the pro-gaming related stuff that happened at CES2011. Yes, this is the PCWorld eSports Update! Read up on their CES 2011 impressions, a quick Q&A with Jonathan “Jinro” Walsh from Team Liquid, and catch their first thoughts on Patch 1.2 while they catch up on a few weeks’ worth of GSL games. Sure, it’s not the most in-depth of information but hey, there’s a bit of Day[9] in there too, so be sure to check that out below!eSports Update: Q&A with Jinro, Patch 1.2, CES 2011 – PC World

Artosis Tutorial Cast

The ever busy and always knowledgeable Artosis has released the first in what is no doubt a series of tutorial, or instructional, Starcraft II casts. This first ‘Expert Tutorial’ covers how to stop a one basing terran all-in, as protoss. The video is long and, well, informative! It definitely does what he set out to do and I can’t wait to see more from the man himself. Check it out above and let me know what you think, enjoy!

Expert Tutorial – stopping 1 base Terrans in PvT – YouTube

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