Diablo II Being Remade as a Mod for Starcraft II

Diablo III has its good and bad sides, but it definitely doesn’t enjoy the same popularity as its predecessor, Diablo II, which was released by Blizzard Entertainment back in 2000 for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. Diablo II had a unique mysterious vibe, outstanding music and a frightening story that earned it the “Computer Game of the Year”, “Computer Role Playing Game of the Year”, and “Game of the Year” awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences in 2001. Now, so many years after it was released officially, a YouTube user named “egodbout2” has unveiled a fantastic project that aims to recreate this wonderful RPG in StarCraft II.

That’s right, Diablo II will be released as a free game mod for StarCraft II, and it will be named The Curse of Tristram. The project will actually consist of a series of custom maps that will be published through Battle.net Arcade this summer, and since both Diablo II and Starcraft II are Blizzard titles, it’s probably safe to assume that Blizzard won’t issue a C&D letter for the developers. I can’t wait for this project to be released so I can replay one of my all-time favorite classic RPGs. Below you will find a short trailer for The Curst of Tristram, which looks quite impressive so far.

Twelve Arrested Over Starcraft II Match-Fixing

Twelve people have been arrested following the revelation of match-fixing an illegal betting in Blizzard’s sci-fi real-time strategy Starcraft II, with lifetime bans issued to all offenders, reports Team Liquid. The Changwon Regional Prosecutor’s Office has revealed that PRIME head coach Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik) and programmers YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon) and BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-Hyuk) are the most high-profile figures to have been arrested over the allegations. Brokers and financial backers behind the scenes have also been arrested.

PRIME Head Coach Gerrard is thought to have been the middle-man, co-ordinating the match fixing with brokers and fellow players, with a total of 57,000,000 KRW (Korean won) changing hands via Gerrard.

Following an investigation by Korean authorities, five matches were found to have been fixed – four played by YoDa, and one by BBoongBBoong – all taking place between January and June this year.

List of fixed matches, based on information from the official investigation

YoDa:
2015 Proleague
• 06-09 match against HerO

2015 Season 1 GSL
• 02-13 – Code S Ro16 vs Life OR TY (Gerrard named as middleman)

2015 Season 2 GSL:
• 04-01 – Code A Ro48 vs DRG
• 05-13 – Code S Ro32 vs Bbyong (Gerrard named as middleman)

BBoongBBoong:
2015 Proleague:
• 01-20 match against Flash (Gerrard named as middleman)

After the arrests, KeSPA released the following statement:

Hello, this is director Cho Man Soo of the Korean e-Sports Association. 

The association opened a disciplinary hearing today. We plan to ban Gerrard (Prime head coach) and YoDa for life and permanently suspend their licenses.

Since 2010, the association has worked alongside the rest of the industry to fight against the illegal betting that has continued to threaten the foundation of e-Sports. It is extremely regrettable that a related incident has occurred again, and we apologize to all of the fans who have shown e-Sports their love and support.

This is the association’s understanding of the situation:

Toward the end September, we confirmed that PRIME’s Gerrard and YoDa had been arrested and incarcerated by public prosecutors on charges related to illegal betting and match-fixing.

The case is currently under investigation, and as such we expect details to be released at a later time by the Prosecutor’s office. The association will actively cooperate in the investigation, and if any others are found to be involved in the case, they will be banned for life regardless of the result of a trial. Depending on the circumstances, the association may sue for damages and/or file charges on grounds of obstruction.

Since 2013, the association has enacted regular anti-corruption education for all head coaches, coaches, and players competing in Proleague. The association also received agreements from coaching staff and players that they could be subject to measures under civil and/or criminal law should they be involved in illegal betting. Furthermore, starting in 2014, we started a program reward those who reported or confessed to illicit activities, and signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the police department’s Cyber Bureau, the Korea Communications Standards Commission, and the Korea Internet Self-governance Organization for a clean e-Sports environment.

The association independently learned that Gerrard and YoDa were involved illegal betting from an anonymous source seeking a reward. While investigating the case internally, we learned that the Prosecutor’s office had made arrests and were holding an investigation, and we have been receiving legal advice since then. 

The association will pursue strong legal measures based on recent reports, and will be utterly uncompromising should investigators find any hint of connection. Going forward, the association’s stance toward illegal betting will continue to be one of zero-compromise, and we will continue to respond strongly to create a healthy e-Sports culture.

The League of Legends team SBENU, which was run by Gerrard, will be run under the association’s stewardship, and there will be no interruptions in the operations of the team. 

Once again, we apologize for worrying all of the fans of Korean e-Sports and everyone who works tirelessly for the advancement of e-Sports.

Image courtesy of Blizzard.

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Cinematic and Release Date Revealed

These days, it’s often possible for pre-orders to start for a game before the developer has even announced the launch date. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is no exception with pre-orders opening up 2 months ago but no launch date yet. That has been rectified today with Blizzard announcing that the third and final installment of StarCraft II will launch on November 10th 2015.

Along with the announcement, Blizzard released yet another one of their glorious cinematics. In it, the Protoss struggle to hold their ground as they warp in reinforcements to reclaim their homeworld. Like the title suggests, the last expansion in the series will focus on the Protoss and their legacy as well as wrapping up the story for the rest of the characters like Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan.

Interestingly, the date Blizzard has chosen, November 10th, is already claimed by two other major titles, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Fallout 4. This means for more budget gamers, they will have to choose which game to first spend their hard earned cash on and which one to play first. While Blizzard can gamble that RTS players and fans of the other games aren’t the same, there will invariably be overlap. For now, be sure to check out the opening cinematic below.

Dreamhack LAN Event Coming to London This Year!

Have you heard about DreamHack? You haven’t? Well, you should know that it is the biggest computer festival in the world! The best part about it is that it will be hosted at the Copper Box Arena in London this September.

The event started out as a StarCraft II competition back in 2012, making its way across Europe to get fans and professional gamers involved. However, not only does DreamHack come to the UK for the first time this year, it also added a new title to the event, namely Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

The UK seems to be the seventh country the event is expanding into, having already scooped up 104,000 visitors and 15 million unique visitors via live stream last year.

DreamHack is opened to everyone, either professional or amateur gamer, with a grand prize of $40,000 for the best player put up for grabs. Tickets seem to be £10 for one day or £18 for both days. The event will be in London between the 19th and 20th of September, after which it will head over to Stockholm, Cluj-Napoca, Winter and Moscow.

More details about the event and 2016 dates can be found over on the official website here. So what do you think? Are you going to attend? Let us know!

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of eSPORTSGO

Blizzard Time Might See Some Changes in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

The original StarCraft game by Blizzard is considered to be one of the best RTS games ever released, and its successor, StarCraft II, is definitely worthy of praise as well as it is currently being enjoyed by millions. With the release of the third and final expansion for StarCraft II, Legacy of the Void, Blizzard is looking to implement some changes, especially when it comes to something called Blizzard Time.

“First, we’d like to inquire once more on the in-game clock changing to real-time. This change is looking positive so far, so we’d like to start thinking about committing to making this change for Legacy of the Void. On our end, we see the advantages and disadvantages of going either way, and we’d really love to rely on you all to make a call in this area that you feel is best.”

The developers are also working on an automated tournament feature that would allow players to jump into the game using allocated slots. In order to prevent lengthy games, the devs are thinking about implementing a 30 or about 42-minute Blizzard Time limit that would help determine a winner by XP at the end of the timer. Furthermore, all regular melee games would be limited to an hour-and-a-half in order to prevent trolling.

Balancing a complex game such as StarCraft II is never an easy task, but Blizzard seems to be moving in the right direction with these changes. Are you a StarCraft II fan, and if so, what do you think about these ideas?

Thank you Battle.net for providing us with this information.

Copenhagen Games 2015 Becomes an Official Starcraft II WCS Global Event

The Copenhagen Games 2015 has announced in their recent release that they are now listed as an official WCS Global Event is the Starcraft II World Championship Series. The top finishers can now expect to take a piece of the $10,000 prize pool, as well as be awarded with a lot of prestige and glory.

The event will be running on 1-3 of April at the Oksnehallen exhibition hall in Copenhagen, having the Starcraft II specific online qualifiers finishing on March 21st. People who desire to participate can go here to get more information and sign-up for the event.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

StarCraft Subject to Further Allegations of Match-Fixing and Illegal Betting

Three weeks ago, Pinnacle sports, a betting website, voided all bets on a StarCraft II proleague match after noticing suspicious betting patterns that suggested foreknowledge of the match outcome. Now, Olivia Wong, assistant manager of Axiom eSports, has complained on Twitter that match-fixing is rife within the Korean StarCraft community.

Axiom eSports is the StarCraft team owned by John Bain, aka game critic TotalBiscuit. Bain released a statement, supporting Wong’s complaints, and elucidating further on the endemic match-fixing culture within the game:

A lot of these smaller tournaments online are getting mysterious sponsors from Korea. They almost never list a company or product that’s sponsoring the event, but they have prizepools of $1-2k that come from a mysterious benefactor. More often than not these are Korean betters and they give the money in return to access to the game. These events often require that an “admin” will be in the game. That admin is either a better himself or is feeding information to a selection of betters, bypassing the stream delay. How deep this goes remains to be seen. It’s entirely feasible that these people are also approaching players to fix matches.

Tournament organiser SC2Improve.net has announced that it has severed all ties with its sponsor, confirming that the deal appeared suspicious in the wake of these allegations:

The set-up is very similar to what others have described for the illegal betting. He asked to observe in-game, which is something I knew they previously did for the Connecting Slovenia tournaments, and asked for a five minute delay to be set (which is less than what other tournaments have been running on, apparently.) Personally I found both requests fairly reasonable, though I didn’t really know why they wanted to be in the game I assumed they just wanted to be around should something happen or perhaps they were collecting the replays. The delay I found to be perfectly reasonable as well. Usually I run SC2ITL broadcasts with a 2-3 minute delay, but a 5 minute delay for a larger tournament with a higher prize pool at stake seemed fair.

No professional StarCraft players have yet been implicated in match-fixing or suspicious betting, but the Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) has announced (thanks to a translation by Team Liquid) that it will be vetting all future online tournaments before approving them.

Source: PC Games N

StarCraft 2: Update 2.1 Bringing Some Huge Changes

StarCraft 2 has some serious changes coming into play and the development team is going to be empowering the community by releasing some new features. By far one of the biggest changes that I see coming will be to essentially make the game nearly free to play. Now the game won’t be entirely free to play, but it will allow people to play with their friends that don’t own a full version of the game.

Anyone who downloads the Starter Edition of StarCraft 2 will automatically scale to the expansion of the game that their friends are playing, whether that be Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm. Arcade is also being fully unlocked, giving anyone the ability to play any of the player designed maps without needing to purchase the game.

Arcade players will also get extension mods, this will make it so that people who want to play a certain arcade map will be able to play all together without needing to download, and mess with settings to play a certain map.

Those who like to play the Arcade feature of StarCraft 2 will no longer need to worry about hosts who are AFK. This will promote other players in the queue to host if the host does not respond once the group is full, keeping the games moving, instead of having people in a queue for a match and then making them wait for a host that is not at their keyboard.

We will also be seeing some awesome new changes to groups and clans, which will give them the ability to setup events, with a calendar, as well as customizable logos. This is going to be a huge update, letting players fully customize their User Interface. Players will also get a level cap raise from 30 to 35 and those who reach the max level will get some cool new portraits and decals.

If you loved this information about StarCraft 2, and you want to know more about the changes coming out with patch 2.1 check out their official website.

GAME Partner with Multiplay and Razer for StarCraft II Wings of Liberty Tournament

Leading video game retailer GAME today revealed that they are teaming up with revolutionary gaming technology provider Razer and global games service provider Multiplay to launch a Starcraft II tournament for UK gamers. The Farewell to Wings of Liberty tournament is a chance for gamers to say goodbye to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty in style, ahead of the launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

UK gamers who fancy testing their StarCraft skills can sign up for 1 of 512 places from today until the 24th of February here. Two weeks of intense online competition will follow, with three nights of tournament knockout action whittling the field down to two finalists. The finals will take place in London on the 11th of March at London Barcraft’s Heart of the Swarm launch event. The final battle will be played out on the night in front of a live crowd before celebrating the launch of Heart of The Swarm with the UK StarCraft community watching Blizzard’s official live stream!

The two finalists and top placing players will walk away with prizes ranging from Razer’s officially-licensed StarCraft II: Heart of The Swarm range, GAME reward points and more, with additional spot prizes available for both Sportsmanship and plays of the Tournament.

For a blow-by-blow account of the action, fans and spectators can follow the action on GAME’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with the hashtag of #GAMESC2Swarm, at the GAME Facebook and Twitter pages. Each week will have live video content commentated and streamed on GAME’s new Twitch TV channel, and video highlights will also be available on GAME’s YouTube channel at TwitchTV and YouTube respectively. The hosts for live coverage will be popular UK Starcraft casters Adam “Madals” Simmons and Robert “Pughy” Pugh, both bringing their many hundreds of hours of Starcraft 2 commentating experience to the occasion to add extra insight and excitement to the proceedings.

Anna-Marie Mason, Director of Marketing, Game Retail Ltd, said “Our community events program has rocketed out of the gates already in 2013, bringing gamers all around the UK exclusive and unique chances to get closer to the games they love. Whether in a friendly or fearsome spirit, competition is part of gaming DNA – and we’re excited to be teaming up with Multiplay and Razer to give the UK StarCraft and gaming communities an opportunity to test their skills and to support E-Sports in the UK.”

Craig Fletcher, Managing Director, Multiplay added “We are very excited to be able to work together with GAME to bring the community one final Wings of Liberty tournament. We have close ties with the UK Starcraft community and believe that this competition will be a great send-off for the current edition of the game, while we welcome the brand new Heart of the Swarm expansion into the community!”

Nick Haywood, Head of Marketing, Razer UK added “Razer is delighted support the GAME StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty tournament. Razer peripherals are the first choice for gamers of all abilities and our Starcraft II products are designed to give all players that crucial edge in competitive play. With the precision of the Razer Spectre StarCraft II mouse, the elevated keys on the Razer Marauder StarCraft II gaming keyboard and the amazing sound quality of the Razer Banshee StarCraft II headset, players can take on Terran, Zerg or Protoss armies confident that they have the very best Razer technology at their fingertips.”

To find out more about this and other events that are happening throughout the year, please visit www.game.co.uk/events.

StarCraft II: Heart of The Swarm is available for pre-order at GAME in Standard and Collector’s Editions both in-store and online through the following link – http://bit.ly/YDH9a9

To learn more about StarCraft II and Heart of the Swarm, visit the official website at www.StarCraft2.com. To set up a Battle.net account and to opt-in to Blizzard Entertainment beta tests, please visit the official Battle.net website at www.battle.net.