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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

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