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StarCraft

StarCraft II mod photo
StarCraft II mod

Not even StarCraft II is safe from Rocket League


Aqua League mod
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
I wasn't kidding when I said that funny goal gif convinced me to download Rocket League. Psyonix's driving/soccer game is brilliantly designed, and now I'm obsessed with it like the rest of you. My infatuation even extends to...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

StarCraft II adds confetti explosions for its fifth birthday


Workers beware
Jul 27
// Jordan Devore
StarCraft II is five years old today. Hooray? Many of us are probably more concerned with how the standalone expansion Legacy of the Void is shaping up. I was about to move onto my next browser tab, but something caught my ey...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

This Heroes of the Storm Zeratul play is insanely clutch


This is why you take Void Prison
Jul 21
// Chris Carter
Zeratul is frequently banned at high-level play in Heroes of the Storm tournaments, and now you can see why, with this video shared by JJ TheMighty. The top Heroic ability (ultimate) pick is Void Prison, because of...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

Here's what you're getting with the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void prologue


Three missions, par for the course
Jul 16
// Chris Carter
There's some confusion floating around regarding StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void's prologue section, so let me clear it up a bit for you. It's called Whispers of Oblivion, and it consists of three missions, which ...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void details cross-game pre-order bonuses


For Hearthstone, Diablo III, and Heroes
Jul 15
// Chris Carter
[Update 2: Said details can be found here, and check out the debut trailer below for the prologue. A retail Collector’s Edition is confirmed, and Heart of the Swarm is now a standalone game as of today.] [Update:&n...
Starcraft II photo
The first hit is free
Blizzard took the penultimate spot in the PC gaming show at E3 tonight. Executive Producer Chris Sigaty and Game Director Dustin Browder started off talking about Heroes of the Storm, but eventually got to some juicy informa...

Review: Heroes of the Storm

Jun 02 // Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm (Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentMSRP: Free-to-playRelease Date: June 2, 2015 Fundamentally, Heroes is still very much a MOBA experience. It's a five-on-five, top-down, click-heavy affair with various roles such as support, tanks, and DPS, and there's a variety of different characters to choose from. To help break down the barrier to entry, Blizzard has made a number of concessions that set it apart from its competition. Perhaps the biggest difference with Heroes of the Storm is that there are no longer items of any kind, and that's something I'm really, really happy about. While I definitely appreciate the "me-too" nature of adding items to every new MOBA, as it did initially stem from the original DOTA (and by proxy, Warcraft III's shops), learning new item-meta in addition to every map and every nuance for each character can be taxing. I'll often spend hours upon hours theorycrafting builds when returning to specific MOBAs just to figure out the best course of action, which can get tiring if you have to do it for every game. Potions have been replaced by healing wells, found at every fort checkpoint -- making it even easier to get back into the action without any boring moments. Now, there's still plenty of theorycrafting to be had with Heroes of the Storm as characters do get the ability to choose between different abilities after hitting certain level milestones, but you don't need to worry about that one extra crucial layer that can make or break a match. But without items, newer players will be able to pick up any hero and play. Builds are initially limited as you start to level-up within the game's ranking system, offering only a few paths for heroes you've never played as before. It only takes a few games until everything is available though, and at player level 25 (a few days of heavy sessions), every skill will be unlocked automatically. In short, it'll be very easy to come back to Heroes months down the line and learn new playstyles. [embed]292749:58760:0[/embed] The open-ended build system is also great for another reason. Even if you don't build the perfect group composition for any given team, all hope isn't lost at hero selection. For instance, you can spec your support or tank characters into a more damage-centric role over the course of the game. Healers can spec entirely for damage if there's multiple support members on the team, and warriors can go a more tanky route if there's no one to soak up damage. It's far more forgiving than most MOBAs, where you can get yelled at for picking a hero that doesn't fit the current meta, much less your group. Shared experience is the other huge mechanic that Heroes of the Storm is pushing. Basically, it allows everyone on the team to be on the same exact level as one another at all times. For example, you won't have one master player who knows exactly how to lane amassing all of the XP on your team. Instead, the worst player is just as strong as the best one. I dig this system for multiple reasons. For one, it doesn't discourage players from attempting to mount a comeback. While another team can still theoretically outlevel their opponents as a collective, everyone can now feel like they're contributing without having fingers pointed at them. The cast itself is also a huge draw, mostly because it calls upon the rich lore already established in the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft universes. There's not much backstory in terms of the world itself (unlike Riot Games, which does a fantastic job of keeping its lore interesting and fresh), but each hero has a ton of personality to make up for it. Old familiar characters like Thrall or Raynor have a lot of the same icons and skills from their respective games, as well as updated designs and sound effects. It's a joy to play as Nova and hear the classic StarCraft Ghost phrases, running up against the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo. It sounds hyperbolic, but I really do like playing as everyone (the only hero I straight-up don't like is Tychus), and there's more than enough variation to keep everyone entertained. Abathur, for instance, is a character that doesn't directly fight on the battlefield, but instead hitches a ride on other heroes (as well as towers and creeps) to do battle in the form of a sentient spirit of sorts. The Lost Vikings are a lot like Meepo from DOTA, in the sense that they're actually three different units that can be controlled independently, all in different lanes if you can handle it. There are plenty of more traditional platstyles available, as well as more unique choices like Zagara, who summons minions from StarCraft and can create creep (that barren-esque Zerg terrain) to buff herself. Other characters like Ghost and Zeratul can go stealth to pick off enemies. Sylvanas can disable towers or creeps by attacking them. Uther can heal for a short time after his death. You've seen some of these mechanics before in the genre, but the way each style plays out is unique to Heroes. If you're bored of playing the same exact five-on-five, three-lane map over and over in every game, Heroes can offer some respite. There's tons of maps to learn (seven in all at launch, with another Diablo-themed map in development), all of which have objectives built into them. These mini-quests range from collecting coins to pay a ghost pirate to blow away an enemy base, or defending a circle that shoots lasers at opposing forts. While a lot of folks likely won't enjoy the fact that a team can come back and win because of these events, they're actually just a more streamlined and flashy way of handling the Dragon and Baron Nashor objectives in, say, League of Legends. They're also designed to expedite matches -- an average Heroes game is usually 20 minutes, which is a stark contrast to 45-60 minute matches elsewhere. It's a great philosophy, as one of the common genre complaints is the fact that games take forever. The less Blizzard copies the status quo, the better. Heroes of the Storm also provides a more relaxed environment in general. There's far less pressure in unranked matches (as there should be), and there's even an option to turn off allied chat, thus avoiding taunts from angry players -- instead, you can rely on the fairly extensive pinging system on the mini-map to communicate. "All" chat is also entirely disabled, so you won't hear enemy trash-talking either. There's a few bad apples here and there, but in my experience, this is by and large the most welcoming MOBA community. This should help alleviate a lot of the concerns people have in regards to starting up the genre. For those of you who are more competitive, there is a ranked option called Hero League. There's no bans currently, but you can solo or group queue for it, and hero selection is done by a "draft" style format, where players switch off selecting characters. From what I've played of ranked, the community is just as understanding and helpful, and in every lobby I've been in, players have suggested picks for inexperienced folk and adjusted their picks to help the team. At the highest player rank there's also a team Hero League option for all five players to enter. Currently, the ranked system needs a bit more work in terms of the infrastructure behind it. Blizzard has noted that it is building a system in line with Hearthstone's ladder rankings, but top-tier players will require a lot more to keep playing. In terms of monetizaton, Heroes is roughly on par with League (which is fine by me), but with a slightly lower earn-rate for in-game currency. Yes, it's awesome that Dota 2 has all of its heroes unlocked from the start, and I wish we could have that strategy implemented in every MOBA. But the reality is, Blizzard has created enough avenues to earn gold, and the free-to-play rotation every week will still allow you to play every role and get the full Heroes experience. To earn gold, you can complete daily quests, which will net you around one character per month (depending on the price). By playing frequently, you'll earn gold inherently through completed matches, and by leveling up heroes, you'll earn a nice gold bonus at specific ranks. It's not really hard to do any of these tasks -- they merely require you to play heroes from specific franchises, roles, or play the hero itself a certain amount. There's also a few bundles, including a $20 physical boxed set at launch, that provide a large number of characters. A handful of heroes are also very cheap, to the point where you can buy a few after only a day or so of play. Ever since the beta, I've always had a reserved take on Heroes' economy. In short, it's a bit too conservative in terms of rewards, and Blizzard doesn't put out nearly enough sales (the weekly is usually just a middling one character). That could change over time, but for now, I would like to see a higher earn-rate overall. The good news is that all real-money purchases are just that -- real-money, with dollars and cents. You don't need to wade through and calculate "Riot Points" to figure out how much something costs. Skins are only available for purchase with real cash, which doesn't really bother me as they are a completely optional affair. Plus, when you see how much work goes into making a skin, the prices feel justified, especially when they're on sale. Heroes of the Storm has unfairly been branded as a "just a casual game" due to the removal of many tried and true MOBA mechanics. With over 100 hours of play under my belt, I can say with authority that those claims are untrue. Heroes has a ton of depth, it's very well balanced (though not perfect), and nearly every cast member is a blast to play. It achieves almost everything it sets out to accomplish, so I really hope it catches on with the non-believers and continues to grow. [This review is based on a retail build of the free-to-play game, but Blizzard provided us with 60,000 gold to spend in the shop. A $20 retail starter pack was purchased by the reviewer. I am currently player level 40, the maximum.]
Heroes of the Storm photo
My new go-to MOBA
When people hear the term "MOBA" they usually groan. I tend to respond with, "Tell me more." I grew up with RTS games since I could grasp a mouse and keyboard, and my first MOBA was the original DOTA back in 2005. Over t...

Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Tychus' cigar isn't in Heroes of the Storm


I need someone to hold me... please...
May 25
// Joe Parlock
STOP THE PRESS. We have received word of possibly the most important, most groundbreaking, lifetouching and soul-rending story this website has ever seen. Your life will never, ever be the same after reading it, so please do...

Weekend Deals: Witcher 3, Blizzard & WB Games titles on tap

May 23 // Dealzon
Top Deals Spintires (Steam) — $7.20  (list price $30) <- In Russia, mud plays in you Project Cars (Steam) — $33.99  (list price $50) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DRM-Free) — $39  <- use code DEALZO-N35OFF-WITCHE Humble Store Encore Sale <- over 300 titles to throw your $$$ at Bundle Star May Sale <- just added, better SoM value here Blizzard Games (US Only) StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm — $9.99  (list price $20) Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty — $9.99  (list price $20) Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls — $19.99  (list price $40) WoW: Warlords of Draenor (PC DVD) — $29.99  <- raise your hand if you still play WoW WB Games Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Steam) — $20  (list price $50) Gauntlet (Steam) — $6.40  (list price $20) The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) Mortal Kombat Komplete (Steam) — $4  (list price $20) Bastion (Steam) — $3  (list price $15) <- muy excelente Recent Releases 05/21: Xbox One White Special Edition Halo Bundle — $349  (list price $399) 05/19: Farming Simulator 15 + $10 Gift Card (PS4, XOne) — $49.99   05/14: Galactic Civilizations III (Steam) — $40  (list price $50) 05/14: Not A Hero (Steam) — $9.09  (list price $13) <- not to be confused with the excellent Japanese manga 05/12: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years (Steam) — $12.80  (list price $16) 05/08: Euro Truck Simulator 2: Scandinavia (Steam) — $14.40  (list price $18) 04/30: Solarix (Steam) — $12.99  (list price $20) 04/30: Block N Load (Steam) — $8.40  (list price $15) 04/28: Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown (Steam) — $24.79  (list price $40) PC Game Deals Battlefield: Hardline (Origin) — $30  (list price $60) Need for Speed Rivals: Complete(Origin) — $19.99  (list price $40) Prototype Franchise Pack (Steam) — $16.83  (list price $60) World of Diving (Steam) — $13.29  (list price $20) Life is Strange: Complete Season (Steam) — $12.48  (list price $20) I am Bread (Steam) — $9.74  (list price $13) <- play as a bread. duh. Rugby 15 (Steam) — $7.98  (list price $40) Command and Conquer The Ultimate (Origin) — $4.99  (list price $20) Console Deals Wii U + Super Mario 3D World + Nintendo Land — $274.99 Evolve (PS4, Steam) — $39.99  (list price $60) Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate (Nintendo 3DS) — $29.99  (list price $40) Xbox Live Gold 3 Month + $10 Xbox Gift Card — $24.99  (list price $25) Turtle Beach CoD: Adv. Warfare Headset (PS4) — $19.99  (list price $80) Power A Mini Series Wired Controller (Xbox One) — $19.99  (list price $40) LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS Vita, 3DS) — $7.99  (list price $20) Laptop Deals 17.3" MAINGEAR Pulse, i7-4700HQ, GTX 870M, 16GB — $1,799  (list $2,399) 17.3" Alienware, i7-4710HQ, GTX 980M, 16GB — $1,699  (list $1,999) 15.6" Alienware, i7-4710HQ, 4K Touch, GTX 970M, 16GB — $1,599 <- actually decent specs 17.3" Lenovo Y70 i7-4710HQ, GTX 860M, 16GB — $949  (list $1,500) 14" Lenovo Y40-80, i7-5500U, Radeon R9 M275, 8GB — $629  (list $1,150) HDTV Deals 55" Vizio 4K Smart TV — $899.99  (list $1,000) 65" Sharp 1080p Smart TV + Wireless Speakers — $799.99  (list $1,000) 49" LG 4K Smart TV — $649.99  (list $1,600) - perfect for seeing Geralt's hair down sampled to 900p Game deals from Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers help support Destructoid.
Weekend deals photo
All digital products must go
Got nada in plans for this Memorial Day weekend? For $7, you can enjoy getting stuck in mud while trucking around in Russia via Spintires. Currently historic lowest price that we've spotted. Rare discounts on Blizzard titles ...

Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm is now in open beta, will launch next month


On June 2
May 20
// Chris Carter
Heroes of the Storm has been in alpha and closed beta sessions for a while, but it's prepping for a full launch next month. For now, you can enter the open beta on Mac or PC with a simple signup on the game's websi...

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void seeks to conclude the trilogy with an exciting finale

Mar 18 // Alessandro Fillari
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (Mac, PC [previewed])Developer: Blizzard EntertainmentPublisher: Blizzard EntertainmentRelease date: TBA 2015 "Not only is this the conclusion of the StarCraft II trilogy, but also the conclusion to the StarCraft story," said lead game producer Tim Morten. "It really ties together the storylines we've had over the years, and this particular installation will focus on the Protoss." With the previous campaigns focusing on the exploits of the Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan of the Terran and Zerg factions, Legacy of the Void shifts the point of view to the Protoss and its leader Artanis. With the looming threat of the fallen one, Amon, the Protoss and the other factions must ready for battle as the malevolent being seeks to corrupt the galaxy with its powers. As the conclusion to the StarCraft II trilogy, everything has come to this moment, and the upcoming battles will decide the fate of the entire universe. Much like the previous installments, Legacy of the Void is a standalone release that won't require the other entries to play. Though players who've invested time in everything that is StarCraft II thus far will surely have a greater experience, Legacy is a title the developers at Blizzard hope will be accessible for newcomers as well. Though rest assured, Legacy of the Void has every intention of maintaining the high-level play and nuance the series is known for. However, the developers wish to offer newcomers a way to ease into the experience rather than take the trial-by-fire approach. With the new expansion, there's a larger focus on team and cooperative play this time around. Debuting in the expansion are two new gameplay modes called Archon and Allied Commander. For the former, two players will work together to build a base and defend it against enemies. This is essentially co-op mode for the standard competitive mode. While it's exciting for high-level play -- there's twice the efficiency and output -- the developers also hope it'll prove to be an effective learning tool for new players. With an experienced player working as a helping hand alongside a newcomer, they'll be able to learn the ropes much faster. In Allied Commander, players will be able to control the various heroes of the StarCraft universe including Jim Raynor to Sarah Kerrigan. The mode, which lets you take them on a unique campaign as they level up and boost their forces, seems to pull in the best parts of the story mode with the hectic action found in multiplayer battles. Of course, with the new expansion Blizzard has added a whole slew of tweaks and additions. Given such a sizable time between releases, the team was able to gather a lot of player data and make necessary changes. For instance, each faction has new units and upgrades to existing stats and attributes. As the community manages to push the game to its limits, the developers have to try and experiment with new upgrades and tweaks to gameplay. The in-game economy has been altered to encourage expansion and movement, for example, which will yield greater rewards for your base. Moreover, attack damage and range have been tweaked a bit to allow players to use existing and new units in different ways. And speaking of the new units, the folks at Blizzard went all out with upgrades for the factions. The Terran now have access to the Cyclone tank, which can link up with other like units to deal bonus damage. The Zerg has a long-range unit called the Ravager that can deal poisonous area-of-effect damage and disable Protoss shields. And finally, the Protoss can now call forth the Adept, which focuses on close-range combat. The unique thing about the Adept is its shade ability, as it allows the unit to summon a player-controlled ghost of itself to move around the battlefield. After a set amount of time, the Adept will teleport to the position that the shade was in previously. There's impressive potential for these units, and it'll be interesting to see how players experiment with new strategies. Admittedly, I'm a novice when it comes to StarCraft, but I've been an admirer of the series for a long time. I've found a lot to like with this brief taste of the expansion, which will have some of the biggest additions the series has seen in a long time. The changes I've mentioned only scratch the surface for what's been added, such as movable Siege Tanks, new abilities for the existing units, and tweaks to movement and attack damage to name a few. With the upcoming beta, Blizzard hopes to test the waters with these new changes in order to get player feedback on what they would like to see happen in the expansion. Obviously, the series owes much to its fanbase, so it's great as always to see the developers open up with invites to the beta on March 31 to give them a deep and thorough look. Although the official release date is still unknown at this point, it'll be exciting to see how the game evolves from here.
StarCraft II finale photo
Invites for beta on March 31
Where were you when that debut trailer for StarCraft II popped up online? It made its announcement all the way back in 2007 at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in South Korea. Much has changed since then. With the release ...

Warcraft in StarCraft photo
Warcraft in StarCraft

Oh my god, yes! Modders are remaking Warcraft III


Thanks for the warm fuzzies
Mar 11
// Jordan Devore
"Off I go then!" "Yes, m'lord!" "Job's done!" These soundbites send my mind back to all of those magical summers spent obsessively playing Warcraft III as a teenager. The creators of Warcraft: Armies of Azeroth, a remake of ...
Warcraft in StarCraft photo
Warcraft in StarCraft

These pointy Warcraft III models sure bring me back


New (old) assets now usable in the StarCraft II map editor
Feb 03
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard is giving custom-game creators access to thousands of Warcraft III assets for use in the StarCraft II Arcade, including character and structure models, music, sound effects, and user interfaces for each race. What wi...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

Finally, some StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void info


Sign up for the beta now
Nov 10
// Chris Carter
Last weekend at BlizzCon 2014, we finally got some more information on StarCraft II's second quasi-expansion -- the Protoss flavored Legacy of the Void. It will finish the saga started in the core game, and involves all of th...
Battlegrounds Day 2 photo
Battlegrounds Day 2

The final four duke it out today at Red Bull Battlegrounds


I hope you like Terran
Sep 21
// Patrick Hancock
Yesterday was some of the most intense StarCraft II play that I have ever seen. First of all, if you missed it, you should watch the recording on Red Bull's site. Secondly, the rest of this post does contain spoiler...
Red Bull StarCraft II photo
Red Bull StarCraft II

The Red Bull Battlegrounds StarCraft II grand finals are live!


Some of the biggest names in SC2 are competing
Sep 20
// Patrick Hancock
Man, it feels pretty good to talk about StarCraft II esports again. I've been way more focused on Dota 2 recently and it's nice to go back to what helped get me into the scene. Anyway, the grand finals for the Red B...
Blizzard photo
Blizzard

This exclusive SDCC loot from Blizzard is cute all the way


Primal Kerrigan, will you be mine?
Jun 30
// Brittany Vincent
San Diego Comic-Con is about to descend upon us once again, and with it are a bevy of adorable figures, plushes, and other bric-a-brac from Blizzard and its cavalcade of properties. Up for grabs exclusively at SDCC are varied...
BlizzCon photo
BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2014 dates announced, tickets on sale soon


Panels, game demos, tournaments, and more
Apr 22
// Jordan Devore
BlizzCon will be back this year at roughly the same time, Blizzard has announced. This eighth show is set for the Anaheim Convention Center from Friday, November 7 to November 8, 2014. Tickets aren't on sale yet, but they wil...
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Ender's Game on Blu-Ray Tournament on Twitch


StarCraft II tourney sponsored by Lionsgate
Feb 03
// Dale North
The Ender's Game on Blu-Ray Tournament is the first tournament on Twitch and MLG to be sponsored by a major movie studio. In this case, it's Lionsgate, who are helping foot the bill for the more than $20,000 in prize mon...
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eSports player owed thousands after team CEO disappears


CE-Oh no
Jan 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Simon Boudreault is the 23-year-old CEO of the Quantic Gaming eSports team, and he owes a lot of people some money The Daily Dot reports. For starters, pro StarCraft II player Ko Hyun has been owed $23,000 in salary and prize...
StarCraft photo
StarCraft

StarCraft II patch 2.1 is all about clans


Icons, decals, and event planning
Dec 20
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard has detailed the upcoming StarCraft II patch 2.1 that targets clan players. An in-game solution for scheduling events for groups and clans now exists, allowing club officers or owners to mark a date, title the event,...
StarCraft II photo
StarCraft II

StarCraft 2 player gets a US visa for being an 'Athlete'


It looks like pro-gamers are athletes
Dec 12
// Joshua Derocher
Kim "viOLlet" Dong Hwan has become the first professional StarCraft 2 player to get a visa to come to the United States and compete as an athlete. Kim was cleared for a P-1A visa, which is the type of visa given to internatio...
MMO deals photo
MMO deals

Get Guild Wars 2 for $30 or World of Warcraft for $5


MMO sales for the holidays!
Nov 27
// Joshua Derocher
If you have been looking to get into World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2, here is your chance to get them for cheap. Battle.net just launched its black friday sales, with World of Warcraft for $4.99 and Mists of Pandaria for $9...

TotalBiscuit and Day[9] discuss StarCraft II and eSports

Nov 23 // Patrick Hancock
I believe that it's always important to begin interviews with a really tough question. One to get the interviewees on their toes and keep them there, to let them know that I'm not playing around here. So naturally, I asked them which competitor has the best nickname. TotalBiscuit acknowledged the toughness of the question before answering with Choi Ji Sung's nickname of "Bomber." "Honestly, I think it really encapsulates his play style…and also his unfortunate tendency to sometimes 'bomb' out of tournaments in the most dramatic fashion possible. It’s got to be him." Day[9] chimes in, mentioning that "the better you are, the cooler your nickname sounds," while also mentioning that "Snute," the nickname of the Swedish Zerg player Jens Aasgaard, will never be a fierce name. He's right, it's tough to imagine someone cowering in fear because someone named Snute is coming at them. "I’m a big fan of the one word, catchy names, like 'NaDa' is a dope name. That's so good." Lee Yoon Yeol, or NaDa, no longer plays the game, but when he did, he was an amazing Terran player from South Korea.  It's tough to explain to someone exactly why I like watching StarCraft II most of the time. I don't want to go into detail about any specifics, because it's going to lose whoever I'm talking to. I'm glad I asked TotalBiscuit to sum up the appeal of StarCraft though, because his answer was relatable and near-perfect.  StarCraft II is like "chess on 10 boards in real time." Exactly. The strategy of chess, the complexity of chess on 10 boards at once, all happening quickly in real time. Thanks, TB! I'm going to use this from now on for sure.  Then, we talked JaeDong. For those out there who don't know who Lee "JaeDong" Jae Dong is, he's a Zerg player from South Korea who seems to always crumble in finals and get second place. It's become his "thing." He is by no means a bad player, in fact, Day[9] calls his improvements "just terrifying," but when it comes down to the big stage, he always falls short.  "It's only a matter of time," says TotalBiscuit,  "...it's getting kind of ridiculous that he keeps hitting second place. He clearly has the talent." Day[9] agrees that he's bound to take first. "I think JaeDong will soon enough be the guy who is winning or be the final boss at every tournament." He also brings up INnoVation, a Terran player from South Korea, as he was the first and best to start using the Bio/Mine strategy as Terran in Heart of the Swarm. As players grew, they began to also use Bio/Mine, "and now INnoVation is just another Terran who does Bio/Mine." Day[9] recognizes that JaeDong's issue isn't with build orders though, and instead just an issue of strength. "He’s overpoweringly good, and I truly think soon enough he will be the final boss of StarCraft II." The final boss...I like that, and totally agree. If someone is going to try to win a tournament with JaeDong in it, they're going to have to finish off the final boss first, which will likely be JaeDong himself. [embed]266229:51550:0[/embed] Something I noticed while looking at the contestants for the Red Bull Battlegrounds was the amount of players in each race. Four Zerg, three Protoss, and only one Terran. I asked if the Zerg and Protoss players were just hot right now, or if there is some bigger, more overarching issue with the Terran race. Well, they were both quick to point out that the sample size is way too small to say there's any issue with any of the races. Thanks guys for making me looks STUPID. Gosh. Day[9] does mention that he has seen Terrans struggle a little bit statistically, but that this is just a sign of a healthy balance. Terrans were once on top, and now they're on the bottom. "There has to be fluctuation for it to be an interesting and healthy game." There's a bit of debate throughout various competitive games as to the frequency of patches. Some believe that if something gets patched in that seems unbalanced, it is up to the metagame to evolve around that issue. Others, however, think that a steady flow of frequent balance patches are more important, in order to always keep things fair and equal. I directed this issue towards the two casters to get their input and see which they prefer. TotalBiscuit mentioned that it largely depends on the game; Dota 2 and League of Legends get patches all the time to add in marketable goodies. StarCraft II, however, has less frequent patches simply due to the nature of the game. "I’m in favor of less patching," TotalBiscuit says, "allowing the metagame to stabilize and for players to try to find solutions. But I'm also in favor of more frequently rotating map pools in tournaments, because a lot of this balance stuff is effected by the maps in play right now, not whether a unit is too strong or a statistic needs to be fiddled with." Balance is an incredibly delicate issue, which is something Day[9] is incredibly aware of. "I’m ok with patching happening semi-frequently, to address the extra styles and just make the game fresh and new and interesting. But I think that trying to patch aggressively to balance, is dumb." He knows it is important to stay open to a large variety of styles in a game like StarCraft II -- if Blizzard buffs a specific unit, players are going to start thinking of new and inventive ways to start integrating that unit into their strategies. Photo Credit: © Cameron Baird / Red Bull Content Pool Naturally, I wanted to know what they both thought of the new hotness, Blizzard's own HearthStone. More specifically, I wanted to know if they thought it could bring new life to the CCG world in the streaming universe. Day[9] thinks HearthStone is "pure fun," and way more suitable for streaming than, say, Magic the Gathering, which Day[9] claims is "probably the best card game of all time," but doesn't stream well due to the lack of visibility of everything at once. TotalBiscuit also compares HearthStone to MtG, saying that HearthStone is "easier to access" and "more of a visual experience." He's also quick to bring up that at this past BlizzCon, the stream brought in 100,000 concurrent viewers, and that's for a game that doesn't even have a proper observer mode! I also wanted to talk about the eSports scene in general. I brought up the amount of vitriol surrounded the scene, which is pretty evident in many of the posts I put up here on Destructoid. It's not uncommon to still see a "lol esports" post or tons of hatred when the worth "athlete" or "sport" is thrown around. "It’s just semantics. It’s stupid, it doesn’t matter," Day[9] says. "'Is it a sport? 'Because sports are big' -- it doesn’t matter. We’re huge, we’re trumping sports in many ways -- particularly player base. The number of people that play football -- it's nada. Or like 'should we be on TV.' Who watches TV? Objectively, it just doesn’t matter. The people who play deserve immense respect because what they do is hard." As for TotalBiscuit? "I think it’s mostly semantics... I don’t think we need to be called sports to be accepted; you can call it a sports and it doesn’t mean people are going to accept videogames as a competitive activity. A lot of people’s opinions of gaming are still rooted in the past or are very narrow." He also has a very interesting take on the term "athlete," one that I've never  thought of before but is incredibly important: "In terms of athletes, we unfortunately need it for legal reasons, for immigrations issues. Which I have experienced firsthand myself, and continue experience as the owner of a team. They should be called athletes if only to allow them to travel to compete -- and this should extend to all games, and even other things like competitive card gaming, or even Scrabble…which I think you can travel under a visa for as an Athlete. If Scrabble counts, then I’m pretty sure StarCraft II should." TotalBiscuit also has an idea of where eSports will be in ten years. Naturally, the scene will be bigger and better. "The games may change but production values will rise hopefully prize pools rise." One thing that won't change is the way we watch eSports. "If we were to look at television and think about putting eSports on, we would be looking backwards." The eSports scene has always had on-demand video, an idea that TB says is all people want right now with regular television, showing eSports ahead of the curve. Finally, I asked them what people should do if they've never watched competitive StarCraft before but want to tune in to Red Bull Battlegrounds: "Well, we thankfully have a really good casting team, that is more than capable of explaining the game on a very basic level," said TotalBiscuit. "Not to blow my own trumpet, but I’m pretty good at play by play; so I think people will understand the excitement by watching it. "The way that StarCraft II flows, on the screen is very similar to a traditional field sport. So if the other guy is in the opponent’s end zone, you know something is going horribly wrong. And I think that you can pick up the terminology and the nomenclature easily. And I think it’s easy to be swept up by the excitement when you hear the crowd  and when the commentators are on their feet and the players are executing something that is so obviously technical and obviously rapid and strategic, you can’t help but be excited by it." As for Day[9], he said he "would tell them -- definitely keep the volume up, so you can hear the commentators. Because in a sport there’s a lot of physical understanding that you bring to the table; if you see me slam dunk a basketball, you know that it’s difficult, because you’ve jumped before and know how high the hoop is. In eSports -- you don’t get that physical understanding. That’s our job, to tell the story, give the information and give the story and clarify. "And definitely watch with a friend, or go to TeamLiquid or go to Day9.tv chat and ask questions. That’s the biggest advice I’d give -- watch it with a friend and reach out to the community, because they love talking about StarCraft." TeamLiquid is certainly an amazing place to start if you want to get into eSports. It's where I learned to stay on top of tournaments being played and slowly started to learn the players playing. Go in, create an account, and start asking questions!
TB and Day[9] interview photo
Shedding light on why we need the term 'athlete'
When someone gives you the opportunity to interview two people who you have looked up to as idols, there is no thinking to be done, only a garbled "HECKYES" to be shot out of your mouth hole. There are four amazing casters th...

Red Bull Battlgrounds NYC photo
Red Bull Battlgrounds NYC

Red Bull Battlegrounds is under way


Huge StarCraft II tournament all weekend!
Nov 23
// Patrick Hancock
As if MLG Columbus wasn't already enough tournament for one weekend to hold, StarCraft II fans can rest easy knowing that the Red Bull Battlegrounds in NYC are taking place starting now! Eight competitors will be duking...
WCS 2014 photo
WCS 2014

StarCraft II World Championship Series plans out 2014


2013 WCS just ended, and already looking ahead
Nov 20
// Patrick Hancock
The World Championship Series, one of the biggest yearly StarCraft II tournaments around, just had its finals at Blizzcon earlier this month, and already Blizzard is looking ahead to 2014 with new plans. They've gone ahe...
BlizzCon photo
BlizzCon

BlizzCon's 2013 Cosplay is in as fine a form as ever


A year later, a year better
Nov 12
// Abel Girmay
With the end of another major convention, comes the obligatory cosplay showcase video. In true fan form, the costumes continue to amaze. Cosplay stars Jessica Nigiri, Monika Lee, and Vanessa Vancleef also make an appearance....
WCS finals photo
WCS finals

WCS finals at Blizzcon begin today


Winner moves to Red Bull Battlegrounds
Nov 08
// Patrick Hancock
There is currently one open spot in the red Bull Battlegrounds StarCraft II tournament taking place later this month. After this weekend, that spot will be filled. The World Championship Series (WCS) finals take place at Bli...
Red Bull Qualifiers photo
Red Bull Qualifiers

Three more qualify for Red Bull Battlegrounds in NYC


Scarlett, HyuN, and PartinG win out this weekend
Nov 04
// Patrick Hancock
Three more players have pulled out victories and managed to qualify for the Red Bull Battlegrounds event later this month in NYC. Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn (Zerg), Won "PartinG" Lee Sak (Protoss), and Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun (Zerg)...
Red Bull SC2 tourney photo
Red Bull SC2 tourney

Tune into the Red Bull Battlegrounds Qualifiers right now


Winner advances to the main event on November 23
Nov 03
// Patrick Hancock
The Red Bull Battlegrounds will be taking place on November 23-24, but today we will get to see another player added to the roster of competitors. Four players will compete for a single spot into the main event, paid transpo...

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