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Starcraft News! Some news on the Heart of the Swarm Ladder, the Map Marketplace, The NASL, Linda ‘Pikachu’ Liao, Athene & More!

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Shase vs ActionJesuz - Best of 5

An  amazingly epic series of games between Top 200 South African protoss player Shase and 6 pooling Dreamhack legend ActionJesuz. The games really are worth a watch and the series was nailbiting stuff till the very end. Big thanks to SiEGEStarcraft for being a great co-commentator, as usual! Also, thanks to the guys over at PolarfluKe for organizing this showmatch and MyGaming.co.za for showing their support, too! 😀

You can find the games listed below and, if you continue reading below that, you will find the lot of them embedded. Enjoy!

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The Games:

Shoutcasters:

Sponsorts / Organizers:

Keep reading to see al the videos embedded! 😀

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Lord of his Pack

The Lord of his Pack – Genn Greymane

The next in the Leaders of the Horde and the Alliance sets of epic short stories has been revealed and this one, well it’s not really short at all, but it is epic. The second story, “Lord of His Pack” gazes into the mind of Genn Greymane, the strong-willed king of Gilneas. When his nation falls to the Forsaken, Genn and his fellow citizens set out across the perilous seas to find sanctuary with their night elf allies. It soon becomes apparent that the recent Cataclysm has not only ravaged the lands of Azeroth, but its oceans as well.In the midst of a great tempest threatening to tear the struggling fleet apart, the events that led to the loss of Genn’s kingdom haunt him mercilessly. To weather both storms, Genn must come to terms with his past choices and face their results in his present. I have read most of it myself and I have to say that this one is, more so than the first one of Garosh, a must read. I have also heard that the one and only TotalBiscuit is looking to do an Audio Book style cover of this book, yes please. So if you’re not one for reading I guess you could just wait for that instead. See the full thing below!

Lord of his Pack – World of Warcraft Community Site

Cataclysm Hotfixes – January 20

It seems like the hotfixes and hotfixing is far from over, even more Patch 4.0.3 hotfixes have been deployed! I found the following to be notable: The Lifebound Alchemist Stone can no longer be disenchanted. Yes indeed, no more abusing that little bug for those crystals! Guild experience daily resets should no longer sometimes fail to occur and mages and druids have both had a few of their spells costs reduced. But, that’s not the end of it. These patch notes were last updated on the 20th of January, so yes, Blizzard is still working hard at improving our gameplay experience, good stuff! There are obviously tons of others, as usual, so if you want to read the full list of changes, fixes and additions you’d best check the link below, enjoy!

Cataclysm Hotfixes – Updated January 20 – World of Warcraft Community Site

Patch 4.0.6

PTR 4.0.6 Notes – Updated Jan. 19

Patch 4.0.6, that is currently being tested on the PTR, is most definitely starting to show some polish. There were a few pretty big changes made recently, though. Resto druids can now once again escape from root effects aswell as snares, poor ferals. For hunters, casting Trap Launcher, Distracting Shot, and Scare Beast now cancel Auto Shot when cast. This is to make it easier to crowd control creatures with Auto Shot while moving enabled. Mind Blast damage has been significantly increased. It should be roughly 50% greater than Mind Spike. In the most recent updates on the PTR there were a few changes to heroic Deadmines’s Foe Reaper and Vanessa Van Cleef and Warriors got a bit of loving, too, in the form of a Mortal Strike cost reduction. Yes, 5 rage less! So, need I even say it? Yeah, I think I will. There were many, many other changes, and well, you can see them all below!

Public Test Realm Patch 4.0.6 Notes – Updated Jan. 19 – World of Warcraft Community Site

There were, as there always seem to be, a few discussions about the new changes and additions on the PTR. Most of the ranting was about the class changes this time around, so, if you’re interested in that, check it out below too, courtesy of Wowhead and MMO-Champion.

News Roundup: Blizzard Posts on PTR Class Changes – Wowhead

PTR 4.0.6 Notes Update (Jan 19th), Blue Posts – MMO-Champion

Cataclysm Mouse & Keyboard

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Peripherals Now Available

Blizzard have reminded us that we can prepare ourselves for the Cataclysm with the new line of World of Warcraft gaming gear from SteelSeries. This new gear, that was actually revealed a little while back, includes quite a cool looking Steelseries MMO Gaming Mouse, a shift gaming keyboard and 3 different mousepads, all Cataclysm themed, of course. So if you’re keen for some new gear, and this stuff is not just pretty, it’s built for gaming too, as all Steelseries wares are, then you’d best head on over to the Steelseries site to check it out.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Peripherals Now Available – World of Warcraft Community Site

Steelseries Cataclysm Collection – Steelseries

Bashiok Talks Skill

Bashiok recently had a little talk about the definition of skill in World of Warcraft. Ah yes, this old gem. The whole thing was actually just a player whining that guilds that are able to spend more time in the game generally do better and they don’t actually have, or need to have more skill. Well, I won’t even bother commenting on that one as I find the whole argument silly.  Bashiok did reply though and you can find his words of wisdom, which were more than enough to shut the player up, below.

Bashiok Talks Skill – Official World of Warcraft Forums

Hacked

Help, I’ve been hacked!

Sometimes in life bad things happen to good people, and the same is true in World of Warcraft. Even the most prepared can fall victim to account theft—but have you truly done all you can to make sure it doesn’t happen to you? Do you know what to do should someone else actually gain access to your account? Well, Blizzard is here for you in your time of need, or in preparation for it, at least. They have a nice post up covering all the possible ways of protecting out most precious of accounts. With the integration of all the Blizzard games into battle.net and multiple games on single accounts, I would think security is more important than ever. So yes, a little reminder every now and then is never a bad thing, check that out below!

 Help, I’ve been hacked! – World of Warcraft Community Site

Guild Reputation Cap Woes

There was a pretty heated discussion going on on the official forums about the whole guild reputation cap thing. So, as you all probably know by now,  guild reputation can be earned by completing a dungeon, killing a boss, turning in quests, all manner of things. This guild reputation is required for some of the rewards that are unlocked via guild leveling. The current weekly guild reputation cap is 3500 and well, to many, many players that play this game for far too many hours a week, that isn’t enough. Do you, as an angry World of Warcraft player, need more of a basis for an argument? I think not. So if you want to hear Blizzards, or at least Bashiok’s take, on why the cap is there and why they plan on leaving it there, read the full interactions below. Thanks Wowhead!

Blizzard on Guild Reputation: Is the cap acceptable? – Wowhead

Jesse Thinks! – DC Universe vs Rift vs WoW

Jesse Cox from over at the OMFGcata has finally answered our questions about DC Universe Online, Rift and World of Warcraft and which of those three we should be playing. He even touches on a little Star Wars and Guild Wars 2, for good measure. So if you are in turmoil, don’t quite know which MMO to spend your hard-earned cash on, well, the voice of Jesse Cox has you covered. Personally, I find what he has to say about the games 100% right and I fully agree. Check that out above!

Jesse Thinks! – DC Universe vs Rift vs WoW – YouTube

Horde Bathroom

World of Warcraft Bathroom – For the Horde!

Okay so this is something I really had to talk about, World of Warcraft, Horde specifically, themed bathroom. This was designed and put together by a World of Warcraft playing couple, Paul and Gloria did all of the work themselves, transforming a normal bathroom into one fit for the Warchief himself. The one picture I posted here definitely doesn’t do this masterpiece justice, I suggest you check the entire gallery of pictures out below, enjoy!

Duo Builds World of Warcraft Bathroom For the Horde – The Escapist

Horde Bathroom Gallery – Photobucket

Gamer Food – Starcraft & World of Warcraft Snacks

A new company called Gamer Food has announced its presence and is now selling health bars with names that are inspired by StarCraft and World of Warcraft. The Protoss Delight, the Rage Bar, the Mana Bar and many others, yeaah. The makers of these new products claim these health bars are all natural, organic and hand-made to give gamers a quick pick-me-up in between their gaming sessions. The only thing that bothered me was that they seemed ridiculously overpriced, but anyway.If you’re keen for some healthy gaming or just want to read more about them, check the post out below. (There are even some pictures!)

Gamer Food launches with StarCraft and World of Warcraft inspired products – BigDownload

Wow Smalls

World of Warcraft Smalls:

Lady Sinestra 25 Heroic World First Kill by Paragon – MMO-Champion

Cho’gall Heroic World 2nd Kill by Paragon – MMO-Champion

Marrowgar Solo-kill by Raegwyn – YouTube

The Dungeon Finder and Required iLvl Woes – Wowhead

Fan Art Updates – World of Warcraft Community Site

TankSpot’s Guide to Maloriak – YouTube

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Starcraft 2 Free Name Change

Free Name Change Now Available

It’s finally here! For all those silly people that entered their Starcraft II nickname in a drunken stupor or fit of rage, there is now a solution! The free name change Blizzard has been advertising for so long is here at last. You can now log in to your Battle.net account, go to Account Management and choose Starcraft II. On your game license screen a “Character Name Change” button will now be visible. After clicking that you will simply be able to log in to Battle.net and choose your new nickname! Enjoy guys! 😀

Free Name Change Now Available – Starcraft II Official Site

All StarCraft II accounts have been granted one free name change. If you’d like to change your character name, log in to Account Management and choose your StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty game license. On your game license screen a “Character Name Change” button at the bottom will initiate the request. After confirming that you’d like to change your character name, simply log in to StarCraft II and you’ll be prompted to select a new one. Please be sure to use this name change wisely.
Blizzard Entertainment

Evolution Chamber Calculator / Starcraft AI

Over on Teamliquid forums a genius called Lomilar has been talking about a program he coded called EvolutionChamber. It uses genetic algorithms to find powerful or effective build orders. EvolutionChamber’s already come up with one ludicrous build order, which I have linked for you below, so you can check that out.

10 extractor-trick to 11
11 overlord
11 spawning pool
15 extractor
16 queen (stop drones here)
18 overlord
18 roach warren
17 overlord (yes, two)
spawn-larva on queen when she pops
roach x7
win

This will apparently get you a 7 roach rush in less time than anybody thought possible. Test it and see for yourselves! You can also watch an interesting video that I’ll link below with a short tutorial explaining it all in detail.

Algorithms Discover Build Order From Hell – Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Build order in action – YouTube

In semi related news you can also read an interesting article over at Gizmodo wherein they talk about how Computers may well soon, without cheating, be able to beat some of the top Starcraft II players in the world. Bold claims indeed. You can read more about that below!

Can a Machine Beat a Human at StarCraft? – Gizmodo

Top 200 EU Starcraft 2

Top 200 Updates

The Top 200 lists of players have been updated once more, this happens all the time but never fails to entertain! SelecT once again has the top spot on the US ladders while Chronas holds the top spot on EU. Find the full US and EU lists below!

US Top 200 List – Starcraft II Official Site

EU Top 200 List – Starcraft II Official Site

Galaxy Editor Questions And Answers Updated

Blizzard recently updated their Galaxy Editor Questions and Answers post with quite a few new pieces of information. So if you are interested in improving your mapping skills or learning how to master every last bit of the Editor then you’ll probably want to check those out. You can even submit your own questions and Blizzard may well add them, plus their answers to the next batch. You can find all of that below.

Are you an avid creator of custom StarCraft II maps? If so, you’ve probably run into some trouble along the way while creating your own scenarios in the Koprulu sector. Even for a veteran like you, the StarCraft II editor can seem overwhelming at times but it’s also a powerful tool to channel your creativity into something the whole community can enjoy.

Interested in developing your skills even further? Good! We recently updated our Questions and Answers post with the latest batch of responses from our developers. Learn more about some common map creation and editing challenges in StarCraft II, and how to master the editor to create content the way you want it to be. Check out the answers in our forum thread and if you have questions yourself, please let us know here.
Blizzard Entertainment

StarCraft II editor: answering your questions – Starcraft II Official Site

Starcraft 2 Tournament news

MLG Dallas Preview

The Major League Gaming StarCraft 2 National Championships are set to begin on Friday, November 5th. They will be running all weekend until the evening of Sunday, November 7th. This will be Major League Gaming’s third and final event for 2010 and it is set to be a big one. $17,500 will be split among the top eight players, but this time the field of competition will be doubled, from the 64 of Raleigh and DC to 128 in Dallas. That’s pretty crazy. There are some big names set to compete like the MLG DC winner IdrA and fellow GSL entrant TLO. Other names include HuK, SelecT, Kiwikaki, actually, no, there are just too many. You can read the full list in the post below and also find the full schedule of the weekend. Enjoy!

[MLG] Dallas Preview – TeamLiquid

Returning champions in MLG Dallas weekend – GosuGamers

First Five Dreamhack Invites

DreamHack has announced their first batch of invitations for the DreamHack SteelSeries Starcraft II LAN-Tournament. White-Ra, DIMAGA, MorroW, TheLittleOne and NonY will be heading off to Sweden to battle it out for the prize purse of 180,000 Swedish Crona. Ten more invitations will be handed out to players registering.  Nine will be based on the upcoming DreamHack On Tour qualifiers and the last eight through a BOYC-qualifier on site. The LAN is set to happen at the end of November and is definitely one to watch. Find out more below!

Dreamhack LAN – Dreamhack.se

Cyborg SC2 Inside Cup

Results for this coming soon! (The cup was set to take place tonight)

Cyborg SC2Inside Cup – SC2Inside

Liquid’Tyler vs. IdrA Gosucoaching.com Showmatch

The Protoss playing Tyler managed to take IdrA down with a neat score of 4-1 in this best of 7 series! You can find the VODs of the games below.

Game VODs – IccupTV

Liquid’Tyler vs. IdrA – TeamLiquid

FXopen $1000 First Place Open Tournament!

FXOpen is hosting a $1000 first place Starcraft II Open Tournament. FXOpen is one of the largest retail foreign exchange brokers in the world with a strong interest in eSports and Starcraft II so this is the first of many events to come! The tourney is set to happen from the 27th to the 28th of November and, as the name implies, is open to everyone. So you are interested in that one, which you definitely should be, you can read more about it below!

FXopen $1000 First place open tournament! – TeamLiquid

Kas Wins Competo Cup #12

The Terran playing Kas has managed to win the 12th Competo Cup. He faced off against DieStar in the finals and managed to take it with a score of 3 to 1.

Competo Cup #12 Brackets – Competo

fenix Wins Craft Cup Lite #10

Fenix has managed to win the 10th Craft Cup Lite this past week. He faced off against Kas in the finals and took him down with a close 2 to 1.

Craft Cup Hall of Fame

Replay Packs

ZOTAC StarCraft II Cup #29 Replaypack

StarCraft II Go4SC2 Cup #51 Replaypack

StarCraft II CraftCup #16 Replaypack

StarCraft II Viking Cup #17 Replaypack

GSL 2

Global Starcraft II League

The Global Starcraft II League is moving into its semi-finals. The end is in sight! I watched The Emporer himself, BoxeR, take on the Genius Terran NaDa in an epic best of 5 yesterday and all I can say is wow. Those two are just too amazing to try describe. BoxeR took the series with a score of 3 to 1 in the end and I really gotta say, well deserved. If you can, in any way, get access to the VODs of those games you had better do yourself that huge favour watch them.

Anyway, moving on. In the semi-finals we are going to be seeing the following games:

November the 4th, 2010 – Day 2

  • BoxeR vs St_HopeTorture

November the 5th, 2010 – Day 2

  • SlayerS_BoxeR vs NesTea

Things are definitely heating up now! Sadly there are no Protoss in the Top 4. We are sitting on 3 Terran and one Zerg. I guess that is not such a terrible thing, though. So be sure to tune in and catch those games if you can, they are definitely going to be amazing! You can find a few links below to a bit of information regarding these last few play days of the GSL2.

[GSL] Ro8 Day 2 – TeamLiquid

GOMTV StarCraft 2 Open Semi Finals: Who Plays Who – GosuGamers

GOMTV StarCraft 2 Open Quarter Finals – Day 2 – Battle Report – GosuGamers

BoxeR

You can also read a quick interview with the legend SlayerS_BoxeR that was conducted after his games with NaDa. Needless to say BoxeR is incredibly happy to make it as far as he has in the tournament and he mentions that he is definitely not doing it for the money, it is all for the fans. You can also read about BoxeR apparently ‘personal sponsorship’. The company backing him up is only known as “I”, and they will be sponsoring BoxeR for 200 million won, should negotiations go well.

KeSPA has officially announced that they retired BoxeR from progamer status. He is now ranked as an “Amateur” again. As a result, BoxeR will not be able to participate in any KeSPA-sponsored pro-games for the next 3 years, and will not be able to re-acquire progamer status for a year. That should however not hinder his GSL or Starcraft II games in any way.

BoxeR to get a personal sponsorship – TeamLiquid

Grubby Interview

Big name Orc playing Warcraft III legend Grubby was recently interviewed by SK Gaming. In the interview he talks about his participation in the World Cyber Games, the World eSports Masters and his future that may or may not involve playing Starcraft II. You can read the full thing over at SK Gaming!

Grubby talks WCG, WEM and SC2 – SK Gaming

Local Starcraft II News

Funny enough there is quite a lot happening locally this week and I am here to cover it all, no problem!

Telkom Do Gaming Starcraft II League

The Telkom Do Gaming Starcraft II League, yes, a lot of us have been waiting for more information about it and here we finally have it! Although it may still be a ways off it’s always good to be prepared. Read all the whens and wheres below and do sign up if you are local, the more the merrier!

Do Gaming Starcraft 2 League Next Year – Telkom Do Gaming

Telkom Do Gaming will be running a Starcraft 2 League in 2011, and to kick-start the league it is including Starcraft 2 in its Online Championships which will take place in January 2011.

Registrations for the Telkom Do Gaming Starcraft 2 Online Championships will open on 1 December. The Starcraft 2 Championships will act as a precursor for the Do Gaming Starcraft 2 League in 2011, as mentioned in a previous story, and a prize purse of over R40 000 is going towards the Online Championships.

Details on which maps will be used and such will be released at a later stage, but for now Starcraft 2 players are urged to keep that 1 December date in mind so they can register early and avoid disappointment.

Keep an eye out on the Do Gaming League page as well.

Mixed Chicks Starcraft II Month

So the guys, no wait. I am too used to saying that already. So the girls from the Mixed Chicks Clan are dedicating an entire month to Starcraft II. I guess that’s fitting considering that it is one of the greatest games ever made and no doubt the biggest RTS release of 2010. What is the Starcraft II month all about? Well it’s pretty much just promotion of this amazing Blizzard game. Spreading the word locally, getting more people involved, in their case preferrably more girl people. So if you are a girl and looking for a South African Starcraft II Clan, you’d better check the links below. The rest of you can, and should, check too. Who doesn’t want to read all about girls playing Starcraft II?

Starcraft II Month – Mixed Chicks Clan Website

Welcome to StarCraft II month… what is StarCraft II you ask? Well, below will include a little summary of the game to perhaps entice some of you gamers out there into buying what’s rated as one of the biggest games ever to hit our tiny little planet called Earth this decade.

Overmind over matter

PolarfluKe: Overmind Over Matter

PolarfluKe: Overmind Over Matter is steadily building up to be one of the best PolarfluKe tournaments yet. One big attraction for this months event is that there is already a R1000 prize pool up for grabs and, apparently, there are more prizes still to come! Nice! 😀

PolarfluKe: Overmind Over Matter – PolarfluKe

PolarfluKe have also revealed a list of their current competitors, their races, locations and character codes. So if you want to scope out the competition or just get your stalk on you’d better head on over to the PolarfluKe website right now.

CurrentCompetitorsNov2

As of today there are about 75 entries and the Protoss out there are vastly out numbering the rest. There are a few days to go till this weekend though so who knows, it may well equal out.

Polarfluke

MyGaming Starcraft II League

MyGaming is proud to announce their very first community driven Starcraft II league. It is set to start on the 10th of January, 2011 and will play out in a round-robin format. You can find the full rules and details of the event in the post over at MyGaming aswell as register for the tournament already. There are no prizes for this league as of yet but the guys from MyGaming do urge all of the players planning on taking part to check their forums out and meet and greet the players they are set to be battling it out against. Read more about all of that below!

We are proud to announce our community driven StarCraft II league, which will kick off early next year. 

The league will start on 10 January 2011 and will play out in a round-robin format. Players will be awarded one point per win and everyone will play one another three times. Two consecutive wins against a player does not automatically grant a third win, and all three games must be played.  

MyGaming StarCraft II league announced – MyGaming

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Starcraft Pulse

Episode 17!  Tournament news is definitely my bane right now. It just seems so hard to find all the winners / runners up of all the various cups and events. Other than that I am really, really appreciative of all the new subs! Enjoy!

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