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Posts tagged “esports”

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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Feature: I don't know what peach thing is about and at this point I'm too afraid to ask

Know It OWL: Atlanta adventures

The Overwatch League’s season three has hurtled towards its playoffs, locking in all of the places for next week. Although Shanghai Dragons didn’t have to make it quite so close, did they? My poor heart could barely take it. And now they’ll be facing New York Excelsior in the quarterfinals, a team that heard people (me) say that they were squarely in third place behind…

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Feature: This is a complicated way of saying I have no idea what's going on

Know It OWL: The only thing more fake than the meta is the power rankings

Stage three of the Overwatch League didn’t seem like it would be especially exciting. The Goats meta remained untouched by major balance patches in the break. Teams had mostly established themselves at the top and bottom of the rankings, though there was plenty of jostling in the middle. Even in the first couple of weeks, things seemed to be progressing as expected, but for a…

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Overwatch League’s first MVP skin is pretty, lucky

Last season, Bang “Jjonak” Sunghyeon was crowned the Overwatch League’s “most valuable player” (MVP). The Zenyatta player is now being honoured in-game with a skin for his signature hero, which players will be able to buy for a limited time starting next week for 200 tokens (about $10, or you could earn them by watching 33 hours of live OWL broadcasts.) It’s expensive, but it…

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Feature: Second half, second chances

Know It OWL: Overwatch League kicks off stage 3 in style

Happy Overwatch League stage three, and happy Pride. Both were celebrated in fine form at the arena this week, and while Blizzard could stand to improve how they handle both in many ways, aw, it was nice to see all the excited fan signs and rainbows everywhere. Alongside the festivities, teams were clearly looking ahead as we're now into the final half of the League.…

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You can lose to a tractor rush in Farming Simulator’s esports mode

Not only does Farming Simulator 19's new esports mode have a pick & ban phase so teams can block rival farmers from driving their favourite tractors, it's possible to lose a match to a tractor rush. I couldn't imagine how developers Giants Software would turn their sedate till 'em up into a competitive game but they really have. The 3v3 mode has teams compete to…

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Feature: The times, they are a changin'

Know It OWL: Mid-season musings

The Overwatch League is on a break at the moment. A lull in the action, though, is often the best time to look back at what's changed, and forward at what might. This is especially true considering the departure of League Commissioner Nate Nanzer to Epic Games, raising questions about what that could mean for both Overwatch and Fortnite. When I interviewed Nanzer last year,…

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World Of Warcraft’s infamous pandemic is causing tense moments in Hearthstone esports

World Of Warcraft’s “Corrupted Blood incident” swept through the game over a decade ago. A debuff inflicted by an end boss, Hakkar The Soulflayer, wasn’t supposed to leave the raid area, but was accidentally carried by pets throughout Azeroth, causing a pandemic and ensuing panic that emptied out towns, killed low-level characters, and was eventually studied by epidemiologists to see how people might react to…

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Feature: You could say their dominance came as a... Shock

Know It OWL: San Francisco Shock Special Edition

The thing about writing a column about the Overwatch League is that you have to be selective. There are 20 teams playing 16 games per week, so you necessarily have to pick out certain stories to follow and let others fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, that means that I have barely mentioned the team who just became our stage two champions, San Francisco Shock. Oops.…

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How one deaf Overwatch fan is trying to make the game more accessible

If you’re tuning into the Overwatch League’s stage two playoffs this weekend, you might see a video featuring 14-year-old Danik Soudakoff. Soudakoff is an attendee of some of the games in the Burbank arena, a fan of the Los Angeles Valiant, and deaf. When attending games, he gets an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to keep him informed, and he’s been a part of creating…

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FaZe defeated at Call Of Duty World League by apparent glitch

Fan favourite Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4 esports team FaZe Clan’s World League run was halted last night as they took a 2-3 loss to Luminosity Gaming. But there's rumblings that they wuz robbed, after both teams completed their win-conditions near simultaneously. Though FaZe appeared to capture their control point a half-second before being eliminated by Luminosity, the game ruled in favour of the…

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Feature: OWL on the road

Know It OWL: Crowd pleasers

This week of the Overwatch League saw teams travelling to Dallas for what was advertised as “The First Home Game” (apparently the two separate teams that represent Los Angeles don’t count). Four thousand fans packed into the Texas arena, cheering for Dallas Fuel and splitting in two (if somewhat unevenly) when it came to the showdown against Houston Outlaws. It was a dry run, in…

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Fortnite World Cup punished over 1000 accounts in the first week alone

Epic have yoinked prizes from hundreds of Fortnite players in the first week of their World Cup open qualifiers, for reasons ranging from fraudulently entering in multiple regions to full-on cheating. They punished over one thousand players in all over the first week's competition, most of them temporary bans. That's a whole lot of cheaters for a single stage of a single competition, though in…

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Feature: Let's talk about Justice

Know It OWL: The ups and downs of the Overwatch League fandom

We talk a lot here about the people who make the Overwatch League go around: players, staff, casters, analysts, production crews, photographers, and so on. It’s sometimes easy to forget, though, that any sport is also propped up by its fans, for better and for worse. This week, that fact was brought to the forefront by one retirement, one hometown clash, and a lot of…

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Know It OWL: Overwatch League stage two stirs things up

Welcome back to the Overwatch League! After a week off, it’s a new stage, a new patch, and just as much chaos. What’s the meta? I have no idea but “bunker comp” seems to be popular so let’s break that down first before turning our attention to how teams are dealing with this strange new world. Unsurprisingly, it’s the already chaotic Chengdu Hunters who seem…

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Feature: Overwatch League puppy bowl when?

Know It OWL: Stage one small talk with the teams

This week there weren’t any Overwatch League games, as the players took a well-deserved rest. But with stage one done and dusted and last week being all about the playoffs, we’ve been doing an awful lot of talking about pure results. That’s fine and all, but it’s hardly the only thing to care about in the League (otherwise we’d all just be Titans fans). So…

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Feature: A farewell (?) to Goats

Know It OWL: Stage one showdowns

The Overwatch League stage one playoff finals will “probably be the Vancouver Titans and New York Excelsior, but this stage has been so topsy-turvy that I’m willing to eat my words,” said I, last week. So here I am, munching, because it was yet another week of upsets culminating in an incredible showdown between San Francisco Shock and, well, still Vancouver Titans. Apparently no amount…

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Feature: Once a Dragon, always a Dragon

Know It OWL: Playoff places and some long-awaited Justice

Without the Shanghai Dragons playing this week, I thought it might finally be the week I didn’t cry at the Overwatch League. But I forgot that there was an ex-Dragon, still yet to win, continuing his losing streak on struggling expansion team Washington Justice. And thanks to Chon “Ado” Gihyeon, despite it being the final week before playoffs, it once again became one in which…

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Feature: There's always next stage, Valiant

Know It OWL: big stories, small moments

We're just a few matches away from the end of the Overwatch League’s first stage, and we're finally beginning to see which teams will make playoffs and which are truly struggling. But in between the high-level stories are the smaller moments, many of which took place outside the game itself: a kindly text from a player's mum, a motivational speech by Symmetra's voice actress Anjali…

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