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Esports

2 days ago

US Congress members ‘concerned’ over Blizzard’s Blitzchung ban

Blizzard’s dropped ball over Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai voicing his support for protesters in Hong Kong continues to roll downhill at alarming speed. Now joining the players, casters, and Blizzard employees making their discontent heard are members of the United States Congress from across the political spectrum. Incredible job, Blizzard.

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6 days ago

Riot Games warn League Of Legends pros away from political issues

Riot Games have said "we want to keep our broadcasts focused on the game, the sport, and the players" in a public statement preemptively warning against political protests in their tournaments. The League Of Legends 2019 World Championship is currently underway and Riot doubtless want to avoid 'doing a Blizzard'. You know, like how after a Hearthstone player voiced support for Hong Kong's pro-autonomy protests…

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1 week ago

Blizzard’s statement on Blitzchung’s ban digs them deeper [Updated]

Update: Blitzchung has responded with a statement of his own. Details below. Blizzard Entertainment have, after several days of silence, released a statement about this week’s chaos. It all began when they, by their admission, “reacted too quickly” to pro Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai saying “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!” during a post-match interview. It has escalated since then, with casters…

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2 weeks ago

Veteran Hearthstone commentator quits Grandmasters over ban

A veteran Hearthstone player and commentator is pulling away from Blizzard after they banned pro player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for voicing support of Hong Kong's pro-autonomy protests in a post-match interview. Brian Kibler has commentated several official Blizzard tournaments but now he's pulling out of casting this year's Hearthstone Grandmasters finals at BlizzCon. "I will not be a smiling face on camera that tacitly…

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LoL’s new World Championship song is nice but no Warriors

A big League Of Legends tradition is to drop a new song for each year's World Championship, a battle anthem evoking the drama and dangers of clicking on wizards. A big Rock, Paper, Shotgun tradition was for Pip to squint at the new video and say "yeah, but it's not as good as the Imagine Dragons one, is it?" It is in tribute to my…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Turn page

Know It OWL: End chapter

With a few minutes on the countdown until the Overwatch League grand finals, I realised I had a problem: I didn’t know who I was supporting. Neither San Francisco Shock nor Vancouver Titans are my team, but usually in any matchup there’s a narrative I like more, players I’m fond of, some quirk or another that’ll push me in one direction. But Shock and Titans…

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Overwatch matches to flood with Bastions attempting chandelier jumps

I'm not a sports-watcher. Generally, looking at people play games just leaves me with the wriggly, uncomfortable sensation that my time could be better spent playing a game myself. Every now and then, though, I see a clip of a pro pulling off something wild and get a glimpse of what I'm missing. Like Bastion yeeting himself up to a chandelier and raining fiery canon…

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1 month ago

Feature: Two teams remain

Know It OWL: Dawn of the final day

I had a different opening paragraph for this article until I went looking for a header image. Now I've deleted it, and instead I'm going to talk about why I'm in love with this picture of Park "Saebyeolbe" Jongryeol. This is my 22nd and penultimate entry in this column, and choosing a lead photo is always one of my favourite parts, because there are also…

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Feature: Leagues ahead

CCS Women’s League hopes to fix Rainbow 6 Siege’s lack of female pros

Esports has experienced staggering growth over the past few years, cementing itself as a billion-dollar industry as of 2019. But this rapid increase in popularity and earnings has left some players behind. The Cyberathlete Championship Series (CCS) is attempting to address the imbalance with its recently announced Women’s League for Rainbow Six Siege. Women have been a part of R6 esports for some time, with…

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2 months ago

Feature: The beginning of the 2019 season was 6 decades ago

Know It OWL: into the playoffs

The regular season of the Overwatch League is over, wrapping up with a local event in – well, in Los Angeles, where it usually is, but in a different bit of the city. Just a few weeks of playoffs to go until we crown a victor. Then we’ll get to thinking about next season, when teams will be shipped all over the globe for similar…

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Feature: The Battle Royale of Battle Royales

Games like Fortnite – the best battle royale games you can play right now

Fortnite: Battle Royale, I think it's fair to say, is the standout title of the decade-old battle royale game genre. Not since Minecraft have we seen a game enter the mainstream in this way - but that doesn't mean Fortnite is the only battle royale out there that's worth playing. We'll go over just a few of the very best battle royale games like Fortnite…

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Feature: Embrace not knowing what on earth is happening

Know It OWL: Giving in to the clownery

With just a couple of weeks left in the Overwatch League, the simulation is falling apart. Sure, things have been unpredictable throughout, but I’m currently staring at the stage four standings and it says Washington Justice are first. First! They’ve won five games in a row after just two in the whole of the rest of the season. It’s almost as though making giant structural…

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Feature: Diddly-dum, diddly-doo, widdly-diddly-dum-dum

Hearthstone: Uldum quests ranked by fun

After each new Hearthstone expansion lands, there’s a golden period where mediocre players like me get to play with all the big, fun, silly new cards. It never lasts forever: before long, the good decks become known, and we must all netdeck away under the ghastly lash of The Meta, or fade away into the Elysian fields of PvE. But for a short while at…

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3 months ago

Evo 2019’s best storyline is a wholesome Dragon Ball FighterZ rivalry

Dragon Ball FighterZ is not supposed to be the main event at fighting game tournament Evo. But at any event like this, it’s the best stories that rise to the surface. In the fighting game community of late, those stories often involve Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, and, when it comes to DBFZ, his rival Goichi "GO1" Kishida. This year, it was GO1 who triumphed – but…

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Competitive Farming Simulator trundles onto screens today

The thrill of corn beneath your fingers. The drama of a well-executed tractor turn. The hush that falls over the crowd as players begin to reap their harvests. That’s right, Farming Simulator League, the competitive digital agriculture we’ve all been waiting for, has finally kicked off. Teams of three compete to prove themselves the very best efarmers around, growing, harvesting, and depositing hay to gather…

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Feature:

Competitive Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds’ eye-trackers creep me out

All my regular esports tournaments are on cooldown at the moment, so I’ve had my head peeked around the corner of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds for a bit. It’s good! I like getting into a new scene and deciding which team to support. I like how it gradually builds across the course of a match from something I’m not really watching in the background to the engrossing…

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Feature: There's not much more of a Breakthrough than this

Know It OWL: Dragons at the peak

I’ve said two things here multiple times. Firstly, this season of the Overwatch League is one of upsets and unpredictability. Secondly, I love and cherish Shanghai Dragons. But I still wasn’t ready for the Dragons to face a playoff gauntlet of the big three teams, New York Excelsior, Vancouver Titans, and San Francisco Shock, and beat them one after one to become stage champions. In…

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Your next Starcraft II opponent might be a robot in disguise

Google's DeepMind AI division will likely end up making the next generation of military killbots, but before then, at least they'll provide new challenges for the esports crowd. In January, their "AlphaStar" StarCraft II agent trounced a crew of pro players ten to one. To make sure it wasn't a fluke, they've unleashed AlphaStar on the European public. According to this official blog post, AlphaStar…

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