League of Legends taking Worlds 2017 to China

Worlds 2017

League of Legends’ [official site] developer, Riot, has announced the 2017 season’s main event locations – the Mid-Season Invitational will be setting up shop in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro while the World Championship will be spending a month moving around China to top off the season. There are also some structural changes which are interesting if you follow the professional LoL scene like me so read on for a bit more. Everyone else can go make a cup of tea and I’ll catch up with you later. Read the rest of this entry »

League of Legends: Pro draft to get 10 champ bans

Hello! So here’s a bit of League of Legends [official site] news which might not sound big at first, especially if you don’t play or don’t watch the pro scene BUT it is a big thing and I will try to explain a little about why. The news is that League of Legends is finally expanding the ban bit of the pick and ban phase you get before competitive matches. Instead of three opportunities to remove a champion from the selection process teams will now get five. Ten bans overall – three each at the start of the phase and then a further two each after some of the champions have been picked. Here’s why I’m excited: Read the rest of this entry »

Smite Season 4 brings new pantheon, new map

The Morrigan

Along with all the new game announcements/closed beta phases and whatnot, Hi-Rez’s god-themed MOBA, Smite [official site] is getting its annual overhaul. The Season 4 changes include a Celtic-focused event to mark the first character from that pantheon (The Morrigan), an Egyptian-themed Clash map, item updates, changes to ranked play, integrated voice chat, multi-queueing and the addition of Rituals to name just a few.

Here’s a rundown of the main points.

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Dota 2 Boston Major: Highlights and must-see matches

Boston Major

Another multimillion-dollar Dota 2 Major tournament has come to a close this weekend as top teams from all over the world battled for the Boston Major‘s Eaglesong trophy and a share of the $3m prize pool. Would OG be able to defend their title with a remixed lineup or would some feisty newcomers be able to snaffle it away? In case you’re still avoiding spoilers all of this will be revealed after the jump, as well as the must-watch matches so you can condense your viewing into a single action-packed evening! Read the rest of this entry »

How to watch Dota 2

Dota 2 [official site] begins its next season of multi-million dollar Major tournaments in earnest on December 3, with the Boston Major set to take over the lavish Wang Theatre. While only a relatively small number of viewers will be able to fit inside to see the ridiculously monied spell-storms up close, potentially millions more will be watching via stream – including you, if you so desire.

Indeed, watching top-tier Dota can be even more entertaining, and significantly less aggravating, than playing it yourself. Yet surely you’d need at least a decent amount of hands-on experience with the game to derive any understanding, let alone enjoyment, from spectating others?

Fret not. It is a remarkably complex (and ever-changing) game, but it’s also surprising easy to pick up the basics when it’s just ten heroes duking it out, while a team of casters and analysts spell the action out over mic. Better yet, read this guide – a primer on both the essentials and the intricacies of a game of Dota 2, beamed through the prism of pro match viewership like Tinker’s Aghs Q! Read the rest of this entry »

Blizzcon Gets First Overwatch World Cup Winners With Clean Sweep Grand Finals

Overwatch World Cup

This weekend saw the finals of the Overwatch [official site] World Cup at Blizzcon. I told you about that one on Friday, if memory serves? Ah yes! Good good. It was essentially an exhibition match with a title at stake. I’ve been catching up with the action this morning over my porridge and I have to say, the final itself was pretty lopsided. I won’t put named team spoilers above the cut, but I will say it wasn’t a great match in terms of edge-of-seat excitement or anything. Anyhoodle: the main spoilery bit is next, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch World Cup Finals: When And Where?

Overwatch

This weekend the worlds finest Overwatch [official site] esportsthletes* will be descending on Anaheim to participate in the Overwatch World Cup as part of Blizzcon. So that’ll be nice. Particularly if you’re into watching Overwatch. Watching over Overwatch. But who watches the watchers of Overwatch? ANYWAY! Read the rest of this entry »

League Of Legends Worlds 2016: And The Winners Are…

LA's Staples Center

After five weeks of League of Legends’ World Championships ping-ponging across the United States from venue to venue and gradually shedding teams the final contenders, SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy, went head-to-head at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the deciding best-of-five. I appreciate a bunch of you might be waiting to watch the rebroadcast or be saving up the VODs to watch over a leisurely Sunday so I’ll keep the spoilers until after the jump. Read on to find out how Season 6 ended…

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League Of Legends World Championships: SKT Meet Samsung Galaxy In Grand Finals

Summoner's CupLeague of Legends’ World Championships tournament is about to reach its 2016 conclusion with the Grand Finals in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The finalists comprise two of the LCK’s top teams (that’s the Korean domestic league, in case you’re new to professional LoL), SK Telecom T1 and Samsung Galaxy. They will be playing for over $2m* as well as the “best in the world” title, and the stupidenormous Summoner’s Cup trophy.

So what do you need to know about the two sets of participants?

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Worlds Semifinals Bring The Best Series Of Competitive League Of Legends I’ve Ever Seen

Miss Fortune (I am still so not convinced of the practicality of this outfit.)

This weekend saw reigning champions, SK Telecom T1, take on Korean League’s domestic champions ROX Tigers in a spectacular best-of-five which immediately earned a place as one of the greatest matches of any League of Legends World Championships to date. It’s definitely the best I’ve seen, and it occupied my thoughts for most of the following day. I even found myself pondering bits of it during the rather less compelling showdown between H2K and Samsung Galaxy the following evening.

Read on for the weekend’s Worlds 2016 news, but here be spoilers:

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League Of Legends World Championships 2016:
The Weekend’s Semifinals

Summoner's Cup

Here’s a quick and dirty guide to this week’s League of Legends World Championships semifinals match-ups if you’ve not been following the story so far! The TL;DR if even a quick and dirty guide is too much reading is that there will be at least one Korean team in the finals no matter how the weekend matches play out and Europe’s path towards the Summoner’s cup is shooting up several difficulty levels. Here’s a little more:

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League Of Legends Pre-Season Dates And Info

League of Legends Pre-Season

League of Legends’ [official site] 2016 season will be coming to an end on November 7 (so, the week after the World Championships finals). Perhaps slightly confusingly the 2017 season will be beginning about a month later on 6 December 2016. I wonder if we’re just going to start a month earlier every year from now on and the LoL calendar will start to feel like how you buy a magazine in June and it proudly tells you you’ve bought the October issue. Anyway! That means a pre-season period of about a month in which Riot will be making a host of big season-defining changes.

Let’s take a look at what’s been announced so far, piece by piece as I don’t think we’ve done that yet:

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KeSPA Announces Closure Of StarCraft Proleague

StarCraft 2

The Korea e-Sports Association, KeSPA, has announced it will be discontinuing the world’s longest-running esports league, the StarCraft ProLeague as of 18 October. Its closure comes after 14 seasons of competitive play across the Brood War and SC2 iterations of the franchise.

You can read the statement in full after the jump but I wanted to say that the golden years of competitive StarCraft were a bit before my time in PC Gaming and esports proper so what I know, I know from research and watching older VODs. With that in mind I’d really love to hear your experiences watching both ProLeague and with StarCraft in general – who you followed and why, standout moments, tiny heartbreaks – that sort of thing. Just leave a comment :) Read the rest of this entry »

League Of Legends World Championships 2016:
Who’s In The Semifinals?

Smeb - ROX Tigers

The semi-finalists for League of Legends’ 2016 World Championships have been determined thanks to a long weekend of Chicago-based MOBA-ing for the quarterfinals. But did the wildcards make it through? Are Europe and North America still in with a shot at the title? Did anyone manage to elbow SKT aside on their way to the Summoner’s Cup? I’ll let you know who got through after the jump so, y’know, spoilers ahead!

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What You Need To Know For The League Of Legends World Championships 2016

League of Legends’ [official site] tentpole/flagship event, the World Championships, is ramping up the pressure as we reach the knockout stage. There’s a $1m top prize and a ridiculously enormous cup at stake but what if you’ve not been keeping up with the story so far? That’s where this primer comes in! Here’s what you need to know if you’re only just dipping your toes into the pro gaming waters…

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Dota 2: The Boston Major, Plus Fall Battle Pass Arrives

Boston Major

Dota 2‘s [official site] schedule for the latter part of 2016 will see pro players focusing in on the next Major tournament, which will take place in Boston in early December. Meanwhile, everyone else (and maybe the pros too) can take a peek at the latest battle pass if they fancy seasonal loot/cosmetics/competitive mini-tournaments.

I’m grouping these announcements together because there’s an autumnal map reskin as one of the rewards of this season’s battle pass and I associate Boston with that gorgeous, over-the-top changing of the leaves you get in the New England fall season.

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Dota 2 Patch Brings Tiny Adjustments, Meta Thoughts

A non-major but still interesting Dota 2 [official site] patch has dropped. 6.88e is all about tweaks, as you’d expect from a patch with a letter on the end of it, rather than one which heralds a whole jump forward in numbering. The reason it’s interesting is more that it gives me a chance to talk about a thought related to patches and living games like Dota 2.

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Overwatch Open Winners Will Nab $100,000 This Week

One of the biggest tournaments so far of Overwatch [official site] is happening this week, with a total prize pool of $300,000. We told you about it a couple of months ago but, silly you, you’ve forgotten. The Overwatch Open has already seen one day of North American regionals, kicking off yesterday, with the second day of games happening right now. But Europe and the grand final itself is yet to come. Here’s the schedule and details of how to watch it.

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League Of Legends: Meddler On The Timing Of THAT Laneswap Patch

League Of Legends‘ [official site] Lead Gameplay Designer, Andrei Meddler van Roon, was in Birmingham over the weekend as the UK’s huge LAN event, Insomnia, was also playing host to League Fest – a dedicated League Of Legends event. I couldn’t get up there but I managed to get a bit of time with Meddler on the phone and, after recommending the Sea Life Centre, we got to discussing the recent patch kerfuffle, the rhythm of game tweaks, favourite game additions and more:

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League Of Legends: The Importance Of Laneswap Patch And Revenue Drama

Catching up on what I missed while I was out of town means I’m currently picking through the fallout from an interview with Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh about how a major change to a part of the early game involving swapping lanes wrought by a League Of Legends [official site] patch affect affects professional players. Regi owns one of the most well-known teams on the LoL scene – Team SoloMid – and called the current situation “absolutely fucking ridiculous”.

I’m going to run through the drama because it feels important to the shape of the current LCS (League of Legends Championship Series) system and also acts as a decent way of explaining some of the problems/concerns around how competitive gaming works in general:

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