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Interview with Mark Horner - Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 MVP

As promised, we've landed an exclusive interview with Mark Horner, the captain from the squad of EndPoint and also the crowned MVP form the recent Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 where the team established their dominance in concrete. We've conducted the interview in order to gain further insight into the winning team mentality and the experience of being crowned MVP, while also offering some well-deserved spotlight to the incredibly talented team. We hope you enjoy! 1. Describe your overall experience at the event, including the online stage and the LAN portion as a player and as a team. The event was really great, we didn’t have to participate in online qualifications as we had won Gallantry Budapest. The offline portion was great, the PCs were amazing and we had plenty of desk space which was always sometimes a bit of an issue. The admins were really helpful and any PC related issues we had were sorted very quickly. 2. What teams seemed to give you the hardest times when you matched up against them? The hardest game was definitely CRG, they are (or were, given some players left) the 2nd best team easily. It’s a real shame we had to meet them in the semis as that would have made an awesome final. It took us a little while to get into our groove against Avenue’s B team as it was our first game of the day, but as soon as it got to Manor we knew we couldn’t lose. For the final, we kind of knew that we won before it had started, it felt like Demise settled for 2nd knowing that they maybe should have been 3rd or 4th if CRG wasn’t on our side of the bracket. 3. Why is it that EndPoint placed first? What makes your team the best team in the world at the moment? I think it’s our teamwork, our ability to adapt and that anyone on the team (minus me, ha!) can pull of some ridiculous clutches/plays. One thing you’ll notice if you watch the VODs back of the stage games, when the cameras are on the players inbetween rounds or even mid round on our team, usually me or one of us is always talking. We use the 18 seconds or whatever to re-evaluate, why did we win the round? Why did we lose the round? How can we win the next round? Most other teams, especially when they are losing just look sad and don’t talk. It’s talking that plays the most fundamental part in winning – understanding the gaps in our defence/attack, how to plug them, etc. We also have the best team spirit; good luck finding a team that laughs and jokes and has as much fun as we do whether we are winning or losing! 4. Extremely well-deserved, you were awarded the MVP award. Comment on this achievement by referring to your individual performance within the team. I was happy to receive MVP, but as cliché as it sounds, in my eyes there were 4 MVPs. Everyone stepped up; Synde was clutching absolutely everything, Kevin was…using all of our coins, Cozje and Replan were getting some mad multi kills too. I guess my part to play is just get a few frags but read the game and find the holes in the enemy’s play, and keep the team motivated so even if we had a sh*t half they believed we could still do it – and do it we did! 5. The Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam was the first Battalion 1944 Major for all. Do you have any suggestions to improve any future Battalion 1944 Majors? It’s hard to say really, as an event it was carried out really well. There’s a lot to think about in terms of how the game grows, would it perhaps be better to run a couple of smaller events for the current player base than one big one? It’s hard to make that call now, but going forward we’ll just have to trust in Bulkhead and their plan for MU3 and beyond. I do really hope that another major or big event is announced soon though! 6. Apart from the fact that EndPoint is the top team at the moment, what else has the event proved in your opinion, about the state of competitive Battalion 1944? That we are #1 by far, CRG (were) #2 by far, then the rest at like 3-16 I believe are really close. A lot of teams, when practising online use all of their strats/nades/rotations that they will use at LAN and play exactly the same or more passive and wonder why they lose to us. When we are practising, we’re losing a lot of our practices because a) we are holding a few things back, yes, but most importantly b) we are learning from every game – most teams don’t do this they just say 'oh it’s unlucky' and move on rather than working out why we lost A/B so much on defence etc. I’d happily lose every PCW for 6 weeks and win the LAN because people underestimate us (hello, CRG 😊). 7. How does your team plan to keep up this position within the scene? Who are your biggest threats? The same as always, if there’s something to play for, we’ll get a good 5 or 6 weeks practice in again hopefully and follow the same routine – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It’s hard to say what our biggest threats are because now we’ve owned everyone again a lot of the teams will do a standard roster shift. Given the current state of the player base and the lack of events on the horizon, I think we’ll be waiting until next year for the competition to really heat up again. 8. What plans do you have as an individual and as a team for the remainder of the year? Keep an eye on the game, if there’s events worth playing for then of course we’ll play those. Outside of that I think we’ll give Black Ops 4 a try and see how that fares competitively; if it takes off on the PC then it may also make sense to play that – time will tell! 9. Do you have any final comments after the victory? A huge thanks to EndPoint and all their sponsors, the support they gave us massively helped us and I can’t reiterate that enough. Going from having 0 support at Penta to having everything taken care of at Endpoint made it much easier for us, especially having a gaming house to use. A special shout out to Pronic for being the best coach, he did a lot for us before the event and at the event that played a big part in our win. Thanks to the guys in my team for being awesome and carrying my ass to another victory. Thanks to Brammer and his team, as well as Sean and The Plays for making the event possible. Shout out to everyone we met old and new at the major, it was cool hanging out with some new people and getting the beers in! Finally a huge thanks to everyone in the B44 scene for being distinctly average and changing rosters after each LAN rather than putting in the hard work to improve, because it makes our job of staying the best a bit easier 😉. One can only admire the confidence in Mark, which hasn't changed from before the event as an earlier interview sported the same casual approach - EndPoint knew they were going to win because practice doesn't lie, it seems. Perhaps some of the remarks are indirect jabs at other competitors; we hope that this will serve as motivation for other teams to step up their game for the next event, which will hopefully be announced soon. Will EndPoint manage to maintain their form throughout or will they falter? Can a team such as CRG knock them down? The Battalion 1944 scene will only grow from the event.  A final thanks to Mark for the speedy replies and a final congratulations on behalf of Gamers.com.mt!

The GO Malta Esports Festival - GALLANTRY Malta

Gallantry Events will be partnering up with GMR Entertainment to provide the best Battalion 1944 tournament ever to date in Europe with a nice prize pool and the perfect offline gaming conditions for the participating teams. After their success in organizing a 16 team event in Budapest last July Gallantry Events will be joining forces to host an international and high-quality event during The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018. Starting with the physical venue itself, we’re taking gaming to one of the largest commercial centres on the island, that being the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. All the competition will be hosted over 2,500 square metres of area! The central stage will match an incredible size, while spectators will also have the possibility to enjoy an Expo area and a Careers Convention area. A maximum of 16 international teams will head their way to the sunny island of Malta to participate in the Battalion 1944 Tournament, were friends and families can join the teams for a relaxing holiday. Casters and a production team over will also be present to broadcast the games online at a top notch level. The Battalion Tournament will start early morning at around 9am on Friday 7th December where teams will battle out each other in the group stage matches. Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th will be all about the elimination stage where the top teams will face each other and play on the biggest stage ever in Battalion 1944 history in order to crown the champion. Teams don't have to worry to search for Hotels, Transport etc since they will find all information one needs on our website, with very cheap and reduced rates for both. All one needs to do is get the team together, book the flights, check the website for all info and he is good to go to come to Malta. Due to the international coverage which the tournament will be treated with, it’s a fantastic opportunity for organisations to reach out internationally alongside a national presence. Thousands of viewers who will observe through the broadcast, while locals and foreigners will be present at the event - ready to witness some breath taking matches.  Be sure to visit the event website for more info regarding the battalion tournament and comment on the thread below if interested in joining.

The GO Malta Esports Festival - PUBG Open

At last year's GO Malta Esports Festival, Malta witnessed the first inclusion of PUBG competition on its shores as the battle-royale was only beginning to gain friction. Since then, the local playerbase supporting the title has grown exponentially as we've held further competition both locally and internationally. Needless to say, we'll be continuing support of the title in the upcoming MESF, with more stakes on the line than ever before.  The battle royale is one of the main components of the year's genre craze, as seen in other titles such as Fortnite and now, the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout. These titles are different from each other, but all of which seem to be attracting the same player base. It consists of the basic BR elements, in which a large number of players, often reaching up to 100, deploy onto a set map from a passing carrier plane and select the desired spot to land on. Upon landing, the intense scavenging begins as players hunt for resources and weaponry to better their chances of survival in the constantly shrinking map. As the map closes in, forcing gunfights to ensue, player count decreases - this occurs until a final battle occurs to determine the ultimate victor, an exhilarating experience to say the least. This accomplishment may be achieved publically in the form of single, duo or squad teams. Since its initial craze, the title has been growing ever since.   To try to maintain the public's attention, the title has been subject to many updates; bringing in new maps, gamemodes, mechanics and reasons to play, while also providing access to mobile users and console from its PC origins.  Powered by BlueHole, the PUBG esports scene is growing steadily on the international horizon, although there remains room for improvement. Hence, we're constantly improving local PUBG competition, both locally and internationally.  First of all, the prize pool present is set to expand from its current standing. Sitting at a guaranteed €1500 at the moment, Gamers.com.mt is prepared to increase the prize pool should more than 10 squads be involved in the competition; more precise rules will be released at a later date on the tournament website. The venue for the specific tournament will be the BYOC Area, with a dedicated area for PUBG players, solely for the PUBG tournament and for PUBG players to reside and observe. For more information on how the tournament will work please the website.

Recap of the Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018!

Gamers.com.mt has put in a tremendous amount of preparation for the world's first Battalion 1944 Major ever in the form of the Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018, through our various interviews and content coverage. The best 16 teams in the world battled out for the $50,000 total prize pool, between the 27th and 30th of September. We've let the dust settle before breaking down how the first world championship of Battalion 1944 was. Roughly this time last month, we sat down and interviewed all team captains in preparation for the event. It added greatly to the tension, as every team confessed their intentions to win it all and listed out the top competition. Sadly, not all interviews could have been published as certain teams left the competition. Overall, as an esports journalist, I received a warm reception from the community as we all coordinated on a Discord server to ensure that everyone received their interview! Everyone was ready for an event.  And so it commenced, during that definitive weekend of competition, starting with pool play across all four groups. Within moments, bracket play was ready to begin with the following teams: Primal, LGC, Demise, Method, Entropy, 1UP, CRG, V.pro, nn, AVENUE, FE and of course, Endpoint. It should be noted that Primal was the only North American team still present at this point in the competition. Sadly, they quickly found the door in the first round of the bracket. Meanwhile, the Europeans continued competing until 4 were left for semifinals; Method, Demise, CRG and Endpoint.  Demise, who faced EndPoint in the final, had an equally impressive importance to arrive at the grand final, having only conceded one map up to that point, one less than EndPoint. Demise and EndPoint both swept their respective semifinals in the forms of Method and Comrade Gaming respectively, with the latter placing third. There isn't much to commentate regarding the final, except for the fact that it was a rather dominant BO5, in which EndPoint certainly deserved to be crowned the champions.  I had virtually sat down with Mark Horner of EndPoint, being the team captain - little did I know that it would be his team winning it all with him as the crowned MVP. Of course, many of our other interviews pinned the veteran team as a favourite for the event; safe to say that they filled those expectations. I do recall the interview as the most charismatic one which was conducted, with his clear intentions of winning the whole thing while I did have to edit certain words which couldn't be published, being much harsher than 'noobs'. Yet, such confidence may only be applauded after their victory, as "mark", "rEpIn", "synde", "cozje" and "reflexR" dismantled the competition, proving to be back-to-back champions.  Full tournament details can be found here. With the event complete, one begins to ask - what's next for Battalion 1944? Gamers.com.mt will be announcing something very exciting soon until then, congratulations to Team EndPoint! Let's see if we can grab an interview with the champions. 

The ePremier League - Inaugural Investment of a Football League in Esports

One of the most prominent football leagues in the world is, of course, England's Premier League, with certain powerhouse teams fielding fans and support from all over the world and embellishing high-quality competition. Many Maltese are quite invested in supporting some of the top teams. There's the Premier League and then there's the ePremier League? Haven't heard of it? It's a new idea fueled by the recent iteration of EA SPORT's FIFA.  Competitors investing time into FIFA 19, corresponding to those of British citizenship, can demonstrate their skills and represent one of the many Premier Clubs indirectly through the new ePremier League. Just like the field-played sport, a league will be carried out through the controller to discover a 2018-19 season champion - the first ever ePL champion.  All the curious action will require much less time than full 90 minute games; hence the inaugural ePL tournament will begin in January 2019, ending with March at the ePL Final to be broadcasted live on Sky Sports and Premier League social media channels. Note that online qualifiers will progress between January and March to skim down the registered participants through playoffs and group stages in order to arrive at 20 Premier League representatives per console. Registration opens on the 3rd of December through FUTChampions.com, with the chance of being the first ePL champion ever - winning prestige, prize and also some points to register into the FIFA 19 Global Series Playoffs.  This is exciting news for esports; one of the largest football leagues is recognizing esports for what it truly is - a different yet equal sport to that played with boots. It will be interesting to see how it develops over the years in terms of size. 

Project Eversio's New Black Ops 4 Team - 1 Week Left

We're always on the lookout to discover if local organizations are taking interest in new and upcoming titles, by creating teams and in doing so, taking a leap of faith in the future of the esport. That's what Project Eversio has done with their new roster for Black Ops 4, the most anticipated installment of the Call of Duty series for a while now.  Usually, we'd go ahead and list the four names that will be involved in the visceral first-person-shooter action of Call of Duty, but that's all changed. If it hasn't been made clear, the franchise which has embraced 4v4 competition ever since its conception, has decided to move up to 5v5 - perhaps to add gravity to strategy and position as seen in other shooters such as CS:GO. This has lead to an international rostermania, as four-man squads fumble around looking for the perfect fifth. The following are Project Eversio's new BO4 team members:  - Reuben Randu Grech - Owen Owages Agius - Josmar Boxer Chetcuti - Isaac LegendJoker Abela - Kieran Mischifer Parnis  Most of this team is rather familiar, as the first four names have been retained from the preceding installment in Call of Duty: WWII, each having their own great amount of experience both locally and internationally. The new addition is in the form of Mischifer, although Project Eversio are very confident in their choice of the veteran that's been competing since the days of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, placing top 8 in the CWL Finals Stage 1 Milan 2018.  The roster, as always, looks rather promising. Is this the year that we see a Maltese Call of Duty team take flight? If there's any Call of Duty that will provide the opportunity, it's Black Ops 4, which releases next week on the 13th of October. Gamers.com.mt cannot wait to organize the local competition for the title. 

An Opportunity in SIMRacing Broken Down by Justin Mifsud

Following our exclusive interview with the young Maltese SMIRacing talent of Bernard Vella, viewable here, Gamers.com.mt has decided to delve deeper into the realm of SIMRacing; especially that of Malta. To do so, we consulted one of the experts in the field, being a professional working with GT OMEGA RPM Esports, the company who's looking to build an academy for youth - World Pro Racing. Below is his statement in Maltese.  Justin Mifsud:  World Pro Racing torganizza tlielaq tal motorsport virtwali f’livel kemm lokali specjalment internazzjonali, se tiftah akkademja ghal xufiera kemm Maltin kif ukoll barranin. Wara is successi li kisbet barra min xtutna f’livell professjonali ta organizzazjoni iddecidiet li tiftah bieb iehor biex tghin lil sewwieqa li jixtiequ jiksbu karriera fl-Esports bhala xufiera professjonali. Din l-akkademja ser tkun qed taghti tahrig intesiv u fl-livelli differenti li jibdew min Amateur u jibqghu tilghin sa l-oghla livell. Wara hafna ezercizjji matul is sena, it team ta World Pro Racing ser ikun qieghed jaghmel testijiet biex jintaghzlu diversi xufiera li orew li huma promittenti u ghandom it-talent biex jaghmlu parti mit team professjonali GT OMEGA RPM Esports. L-etajiet jibdew min sitt snin u jibqghu tilghin il fuq. Dan it tahrig is sir mhux biss ghas settur ta l-esports pero anke biex ikun hemm preparamenti ghal tlielaq reali fid dinja tal Motorsport. Din tista tghin peress li f’Malta mghandiex fejn nipprattikaw u dik hija l-unika soluzjjoni li tista tipprattika it trakka li se ssuq fiha qabel it tigrija reali. Dan it tahrig ser isir onlajn sakemm jitlesta is Simulation Centre gewwa Malta. Kull xufier li jintaghzel huwa mehtieh li jkollu steering wheel kif ukoll il pedali, kompjuter u ovjament Internet. Ix xufiera li ser jaghmlu parti min din l-akkademja ser ikunu jistghu jigu f’dan il post u jigu imharga min xufiera ta esperjenza kemm fis settur ta l-Esports kif ukoll fil Motorsport reali. It tahrig ma jinkludix biss tlielaq fit trakkek, izda anka kif iggib ruhek ma xufiera ohra, kemm tkun prezentabbli u professjonali quddiem camera jew waqt intervista, kif taghmel promozzjoni tajba lil kumpanijji li qieghdin jissapportjawk. B’hekk wara dan it tahrig kollu ix xufier tista tghid li jkun komplut mhux biss li jkun tajjeb fis sewqan imma wkoll mid dehra u kif jippresenta ruhu fil publiku. Kif jista’ wiehed tapplika? Kull min ghandu computer, steering u pedali u ovjament internet jista japplika biex jintaghzel. Huwa importanti illi taghti deskrizzjoni dettaljata ta esperjenza li ghandek fis sim racing, kif ukoll l-amont ta hin li tista tiprrattika, biex tkun tista tigi maghzul fil categorija li hija addatta ghalik. Kull min hu interessat jista jibaghat email fuq academy@worldproracing.com u jhalli id dettalji tieghu. In English, it's quite simple. Basically, World Pro Racing will be opening an academy with the intention of developing professional SIMRacing drivers through weekly training and exercise. Age of entry is 6 up, with every applicant expected to have an internet connection, peripherals and of course, the passion to drive. Driving etiquette and professionalism is equally important to skill. Anyone who's interested needs to contact the included email.  We're very grateful for the breakdown from Justin Mifsud - this being an incredible opportunity for anyone looking for a start in esports racing. Gamers.com.mt quite likes the idea of it and is excited to view the professional SIMRacers that come out of it. 

Hating on Esports in 2018 - Breaking the Stereotype

School's in session, sadly enough, with a great portion of the youth dragging their heels back to the classroom. With that theme in mind, I fancy dishing out some education myself in response to the question - why is it that certain people are still against or 'hating on' esports in 2018? To discuss this, I'll be pulling on cases of this dislike both locally and internationally, while properly understanding the stereotype which still hangs on the term of excessive gaming.  In my eyes, everyone who lives in a country with an internet connection has been exposed to video games of some form at some point in time - it's simply inevitable. Whether be it through first-hand experience or watching others across the numerous platforms such as console, PC and mobile; everyone forms an opinion on it as an action. Gaming is the act of playing a game, for whatever reason that may be. Competitive gaming is the act of playing a game with the intention of competing against others for pride and prize - this is referred to as 'esports' as it embraces the mentality of sport in a virtual reality. In order to reach this level of gaming, heavy practice is required (just like in sports) in order to develop certain skills, hand-to-eye coordination and in-game knowledge to use in order to best an opponent and perhaps interact with teammates better. This is quite different to excessive gaming, the recently diagnosed 'addiction' courtesy of the WHO, which has pinned gaming as a possible mental addiction. Prior to the incredible scale which the esports industry has climbed, 'gamers' were stereotypically viewed as introverted loners locked up in their mother's basement- but although many would argue for this, those who are aware know that this stereotype should have died a long time ago, yet it just hasn't. Some people are still quite against the idea of esports, competing for prizes similar to and even larger than certain physical sports due to the fact that it's seen as lazy. Of course, Gamers.com.mt and anyone educated knows that esports is a battle of skill and strategy with a huge skill gap across the many titles and genres. Still, we have some way to go in order to properly defeat the stereotype.  What triggered my appetite for this topic was a recent event which saw sports fans rebelling against investment into esports. Occurring in Switzerland, a league football game between Basel and Young Boys was interrupted from both sides of the pitch as the two crowds united under a banner of rebellion against esports. In doing so, the match was paused and restarted as protests 15 minutes into games made further action impossible. Tennis balls and controllers were thrown onto the turf, a large "pause" button banner and other banners directly stating "esports are shit" were made visible in the stands and chants were sung. The crowd does not want their teams to invest in esports, it seems, for some reason. Perhaps they don't find esports to be equal to sports? At this point I'm hypothesizing since no arguments were displayed, just a strong resent for esports.  Another instance, which shows the more cynical approach which many take to esports, came thanks to the interpretation of Jimmy Fallon on his popular show. With the recent happening of a gamer appearing on the cover of ESPN, the American National Sports magazine, Ninja did not appeal to Fallon. Being a former esports player, it was shocking to see a gamer on the face of the magazine, a former esports competitor. Here's what Fallon had to say:  ESPN magazine this bi-week by Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, who is one of the world’s greatest Fortnite players. He’s a video gamer, this is the first time a video game player has been on the cover of a major sports magazine. Some people consider this guy, Ninja, to be an athlete, because he streams for up to 12 hours a day and has, I guess, a lot of physical dexterity. And if that’s true, congratulations masturbating teens - you’re going to the Olympics! Fallon points at the controversial topic - are esport competitors considered athletes? Technically yes, but it's the interpretation of physical ability that divides most people. Although they do prepare, practice, compete for prizes either in teams or alone, an incredible hand-to-eye coordination is not enough for most people who expect whole body movement. However, lets take SIMRacing, a topic which we discussed quite recently thanks to an interview with a Maltese youngster (https://www.gamers.com.mt/news/851/interview-with-bernard-vella-the-young-maltese-simracing-prodigy) - wouldn't more people be convinced in that context that esports makes athletes? Isn't turning a resisting wheel in a precise manner not physically demanding? The couch potato mentality is strong here, frustratingly enough. Most competitors out there are actually quite self-conscious when it comes to their fitness, as gaming is a sedentary action. Next time you're watching esports content, look out for how many people fill-in this 'couchpotato' identity, not to make fun of them, but to show how wrong most people are - we've come to that point. Anyway, what's wrong with being a little overweight and an esports competitor simultaneously? Nothing, because the stereotype has expired. Fallon then goes on to talk about the extremely inflated topic of 'Fortnite coaches' to try solidify his argument. His large media presence is not encouraging.  We'll turn our attention to the local area, through the internet. Esports is still quite young in Malta, but with the help of companies such as us, Gamers.com.mt, it's on its way to continuously grow every year. Yet, some still find local resistance. On a certain Facebook post, the one in which we shared an interview with Kurt Aquilina, a comment with 88 threads erupted over the concept of esports. Certain people were fixed on random and untrue facts, such as 'esports is a detriment to modern society', and thoughts such as 'gamers are better suited for life on other planets' to paraphrase from Maltese. Many fought on behalf of esports, although it's safe to say that this mindset was set in stone. What was the point of this article? To highlight the modern treatment of the competitive gamer and the state of esports within people's minds using cases. Not everybody agrees with it - some people doing so without properly understanding it. When I get asked about my work and I reply with 'esports journalist' I do earn funny looks; most asking what exactly I write about. I explain and most will try to comprehend while others leave with the impression that I write about gaming, which is not too accurate. Yet, whatever happens, one can only imagine how much esports will grow within ten years both internationally and locally - maybe the stereotype will change by then.  We'd love to hear your contributions in the comments section down below! 

Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 - Interview with Method

The final team to form part of Blitzkrieg Amsterdam was none other than Method, acting as one of the wild cards involved. This season, they have fallen short of their expectations, finishing 5th to 8th at Gallantry Budapest while being knocked out of the 2 online qualifiers participated in. Still, Bulkhead is giving the veterans on the squad another chance to compete at the highest level of Battalion 1944. We've interviewed Ralph qwertYYY Balder, of 28 years, on behalf of his team to learn more.  1.) How are you preparing yourselves for the upcoming event, the first ever Battalion 1944 Major?  We are preparing by playing every map until we feel comfortable on it. We might try to go to a boot camp if we feel the need and have the time for it. 2.) For how long has your team been waiting for an opportunity to play Battalion 1944 at this level? I think all of us have a history of competing at the highest level in competitive games, especially the Call of Duty games. So, I guess we bring some valuable experience to the table which we're keen to make the most of in every situation.  3.) What are your goals heading into the event? What placing are you aiming at? We're not messing about - we are always aiming to win. I would say top 3. 4.) What was your experience in the online qualifiers? Where there any negatives and positives you’d like to point out? Having the qualifiers during the weekends was very annoying for us. We basically never had all 5 on to play the qualifiers. I would have rather seen a league and invite the top contenders of the league together with some other invites. Overall, a frustrating experience from our side, which could be improved next time around.  5.) From the online qualifiers, what is your team’s judgement on the level of competition at this time in the title’s lifespan? How much room for improvement is there?  I think there's an interesting combination of teams who are playing together for a while and some very talented new teams. There is definitely room for improvement, especially since teams are still figuring out what works best in the economy system. 6.) If not yourselves, what teams form the top competition for the first place spot? I think Comrade Gaming are looking very strong with their new lineup - I would watch out for them.  7.) Do you plan to keep competing in Battalion 1944 after the Major is finalized?  Yeah although we're not completely sure; it all depends on the plans that Bulkhead have coming up for us. 8.) How do you view the updates which have recently hit the title? Have they all been general improvements? MU2 has been great and has changed the game completely. They had pushed the sniper out of the meta which was a bad decision, but they seem to have fixed that now. 9.) What would you change, if you could, in Battalion 1944 mechanics, maps and weapons?  I feel like jump shooting in combination with the jump height is still too powerful in the game. Besides that the Carbine and Gewehr are way too spammy, you are forced to spam mouse1 like a madman in order to get the maximum fire rate, it feels very vulnerable to macros and probably favours certain mice too much. Maybe they should make the Carbine and Gewehr automatic rifles with a set fire rate. Map design needs a lot of work. Maps are lacking verticality and are way too chokey at the moment. For example Coastal could be a lot better when a first floor is added to T-house, that way attacking mid is less awkward and that would benefit the whole map. Making the maps less chokey would also be great for casual play, right now it takes a lot of coordination and team play to push out of the chokes - something that won't happen in casual play. 10.) Any advice for those Battalion 1944 rosters which are struggling to reach the level of competition needed for the event?  Build a team with players you are comfortable with. It's all about teamplay in Battalion 1944.  The roster of DAVY, knaller, toxjee, rEb1rth and qwertYYY simply screams potential - and they are yet to realise it. It's in a lack of results that the will of a team is tested most, if they can just stay together and learn off of each other, they can mend their earlier performances with a strong finish at Amsterdam. 

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018

The GO Malta Esports Festival 2018 is set to be the largest esports event of it's kind that Malta is yet to see, as with every edition of the iconic event which we host for the passionate gaming community present on our island. In every aspect imaginable, we’ll be pushing the limits to ensure the highest quality of competition for all who plan to enjoy the event. Starting with the physical venue itself, we’re taking gaming to one of the largest commercial centres on the island, that being the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre in Ta’ Qali. All the competition will be hosted over 2,500 square metres of area! That’s almost three times bigger than last year’s venue! With that being said, the central stage will match an incredible size, being the largest yet. Within this huge space, spectators will also have the possibility to enjoy an Expo area and a Careers Convention area. Of course, the spectators’ main objective is to observe high-quality esports; made possible thanks to the top-class tournament being organized, fueled by large prize pools, inducing a new dimension of competition within participants. Amongst these competitors, foreign professional players will be present beside the many Maltese getting involved. Spectators will witness hundreds of gamers battle it out across the various tournaments available. Yet, even before the local event, the competition will ensue in online tournaments for those which require qualification.

Interview with Bernard Vella - The Young Maltese SIMRacing Prodigy

For those that don't know, SIMRacing is a sector of esports which deals with simulated racing, giving racers the opportunity to get on the track without opening a single door - this is made possible thanks to the recent leap in technology within racing simulation. One other thing which you may not know is that Maltese talent is viciously present in many competitors. An example is the young Bernard Vella, a 16-year-old who has just won an international Sim Racing competition by taking down a renowned competitor. We decided to learn more about the youngster and SIMRacing in general through an article interview, which you can all enjoy below! 1.) Let’s kick off the interview by focusing on you – please introduce yourself in terms of personal life, work, esports and anything else you’d like to mention!  My name is Bernard Vella; a 16-year-old sim racing driver at GT Omega RPM Esports. I am currently a student and I’m preparing for my first year in sixth form at St Aloysius College. My passion is to become a race car engineer and to work on what I love. 2.) This interview is being carried out on the back of an incredible achievement by Bernard Vella at an international simulation racing event – the ADAC SimRacing Expo. Could you break it down for us?  The ADAC Sim Racing Expo is the biggest simulator expo there is, which is held annually in Germany, and together with my team we competed in various competitions against the best drivers in the world. My teammates Keith Camilleri, Brandon Tabone and Terence Grech competed in the GT 500, while me and Omar Barbara competed in other competitions at the event. I focused on the Wave Italy Championship because I love to drive F1 cars and there was also a great prizes for the top 3 drivers. 3.) To win it all, you took down a reigning champion in Brendon Leigh by a mere 0.016 seconds! Describe your journey as a racing competitor up to this point in both the virtual and real sense.  I started sim racing last November and from the start I loved the competition it brings and I would balance training on my simulator and my school work. I competed in my first race on the 14th of December in the Sim Racing Malta GT3 Casual Race, where me and Keith Camilleri battled it out, which led to me being fastest in practice and qualifying and also winning both of the races. The main reason that I got used to sim racing quickly was due to me racing in real life with a go kart which helped me adapt to sim racing. I never expected to win against Brendon Leigh the current F1 Esports Champion that I watched win his championship when I had just bought my steering wheel last November, but it goes to show that with dedication and hard work, anything is possible. 4.) SIM Racing is a sector of esports which many people are not familiar with. Of course, one can easily bridge the fact that it is digital racing – but in your opinion, what makes SIM Racing as a competitive genre different to other genres such as MOBAs, FPS and Fighting in terms of gameplay and strategy?  Unlike other sectors of esports, skills learned in sim racing translate to real life racing which I experienced in my first few months of sim racing where I saw improvements in my real life racing almost immediately. One of the main reasons sim racing is becoming recognized by many professional racing teams is due to the fact that it can become the grass roots of motorsport which currently is karting, that is very expensive and not many people can get the opportunity to show what they’re capable of. 5.) With this in mind, how does one practice and become better at SIM Racing? How much does actual karting help out?  Real life racing and sim racing go hand in hand and just like in real life; to improve in sim racing, the main goal is to focus while training. Training sessions don’t have to be extremely long like most people think, for example I train usually for 2-4 hours a day depending on my school work with training being split throughout the day as to not exhaust myself. Actual karting helped me from the start because I already had the feeling of how a car will respond to my inputs in the simulator. 6.) What are your views on both the local and international scenes when it comes to SIM Racing? How could both be improved?  Sim racing in Malta has taken a massive step forward with events being organized by Sim Racing Malta and World Pro Racing locally, which gives opportunities to sim racing drivers to show their worth in a simulator locally. Internationally, sim racing is constantly growing, shown even in Formula 1 where actual F1 teams are picking simulator drivers to compete in events and even help on the actual F1 simulator which teams use to set up the actual car during a racing weekend. There aren’t major improvements that have to be made, but if sim racing continues to grow and small problems are polished out it can definitely become better in the coming years. 7.) You also form part of a team – GT OMEGA RPM Esports. Describe the process of being picked up by the team. How does the team support you in your competition?  When I competed in my first two races I competed against drivers of GT Omega RPM Esports where I showed I am capable of matching and even beating them, therefore Justin the manager of the team selected me, Brandon Tabone and Omar Barbara to join the team last January. The teams gives us constant support in our competitions, they help us find sponsorships, find engineers that can help us work on the setup of the car to make it faster and give us exposure to help further improve our image as drivers. 8.) Let’s take a look to the future; what are your goals as an individual competitor and what are your goals as part of a team? Do you have any separate goals for real and simulated racing?  My main goal is to push myself to the limit so I can extract everything I can from myself and earn respect from other drivers and teams, along with my team who have the same ambitions of winning. In both real life and virtual racing I try to improve as much I can, so if I ever get an opportunity to prove myself I know that I would have given everything that I have.  9.) Advice time; we like to conclude our interviews by asking for advice on behalf of our viewers. What advice do you have to offer to any Maltese trying to make it as a professional racer in any dimension? What does it take to arrive at your level of competition?  It’s important to train seriously, this means that it is important to balance all things and to put hard work and dedication in to all of your ambitions in life which in my case were racing and school. It’s also very important to look at how other people drive and think while racing to learn from them. To compete at a high level it is important to remain level headed and even if you reach a certain level, to look at the small things that prevent us from reaching our limit. Some phenomenal answers out of Bernard- prior to this interview, I was completely unaware of any local SIMRacing scene and as an esports journalist, I appreciate the enlightenment. I was also fascinated by how young the competitor is; just one year younger and attending the same sixth form, he's off winning international races and I'm here writing about it. Overall, Gamers.com.mt wishes him the best for his future in both virtual and physical racing, of course, also wishing his team a similar amount of luck. 

Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 - Interview with NoNames

NoNames is an odd name for the following five guys:  nieSow, Marre, xinjini, kN and bRUDiii as they're some great names with some great history, as the team formed from the remains of Online Owls and Team Legit, a couple original Battalion 1944 names. One of the earliest qualifiers for the event, the squad didn't even have time to think of a proper team name. Their early entry is due to their impressive record online, which some in the community are finding too impressive with empty accusations of cheating. Let's hear what Robin xinjini Korte, of 24 years, responded to our interview questions.  1.) How are you preparing yourselves for the upcoming event, the first ever Battalion 1944 Major? To be honest, we were not able to prepare at all. Since everyone still thinks that we have a cheater team, no one wants to play against us. I believe that there is a reason for this.  Roughly half of the Battalion 1944 community are ex-professional players from CoD 2 and 4, and of course,  they think they’re still the top players off the world. This might be true in some ways, but they literally cannot accept the fact that Battalion 1944 is a new game and it's only natural that there are new players with huge potentials. We look forward to disproving all of these claims on LAN and I'm looking forward to seeing all the faes, when we keep playing on LAN like we did online.  2.) For how long has your team been waiting for an opportunity to play Battalion 1944 at this level? Actually, I think we had this level from the beginning because we all played Cod 2 and Cod 4 competitive and that made it easier to reach a high level in Battalion 1944. The main problem was to gather a bunch of people who fit together and have fun playing with each other. 3.) What are your goals heading into the event? What placing are you aiming at? It's obvious, isnt it? To win and prove that we’re a name to remember on LAN and online. 4.) What was your experience in the online qualifiers? Where there any negatives and positives you’d like to point out? It's hard to say; we just won every match and from our perspective, everything worked fine. Our team play was good, and overall the motivation within the team was great - well organized, and we cannot wait for the main event.  5.) From the online qualifiers, what is your team’s judgement on the level of competition at this time in the title’s lifespan? How much room for improvement is there? I think there is a lot of potential in this game. Same goes for all teams and players, and I'm sure we will see way more good players and new teams, which will improve the overall level of competition in the future of Battalion 1944. 6.) If not yourselves, what teams form the top competition for the first place spot? To be honest. it's nothing that we think about. For now, it's hard to say, because many teams are on nearly the same level at the moment, so it could be every team, I guess. It's all down to preparation now, and showing up on the day.  7.) Do you plan to keep competing in Battalion 1944 after the Major is finalized? Of course -it doesn't make any sense to stop after the major. We will be competing for all upcoming events and I'm pretty sure, we will all meet again in the near future.  8.) How do you view the updates which have recently hit the title? Have they all been general improvements? Yes and no, the ideas behind their actions are clear, but I think there are some small points, that bulkhead should work over again. However, in general, the game is heading in the right direction. 9.) What would you change, if you could, in Battalion 1944 mechanics, maps and weapons? Well, I guess it's easier to say what somebody would change than what somebody actually can change. I would probably work on everything and do some fixes here and there and I would concentrate on the main points which people give feedback about. 10.) Any advice for those Battalion 1944 rosters which are struggling to reach the level of competition needed for the event? it's pretty simple -, train harder, work harder on your team play, analyze what went wrong and then get better after fixing all the issues. All of that should be obvious. It must be rather annoying to be accused of cheating in an online qualifier. However, I'm certain that the team's players couldn't care less - being so talented that you are apparently 'cheating' must feel pretty sweet. They'll be fighting with a fire to prove themselves at the Blitzkrieg Masters - I'd watch out for NoNames if I were you, they may have no name, but they've got an aim. 

Online Gaming Addiction Statistically Leading to Divorces - Thoughts

Looking around the web for some inspirational news to cover for all of you, I encountered a shocking piece of information which marries Fortnite and divorce through statistics - how one leads to another. How could such a statement ever be concocted? Well, according to the UK's largest filers for divorce petitions, nearly 5 percent of all divorces this year have blamed an addiction to online games, with special mention of Fortnite, as a culprit of separation. What?  Such research and information are what is continually fueling the system of thoughts which labels gaming as a  possible 'mental disease', which Gamers.com.mt can't stand, and we're sure you've all heard of this development. The UK company involved is that of divorce-online.com, having collected 4,665 petitions from this year; meaning that roughly 200 were gaming-based. According to the company, they aren't surprised at all by this statement, as they boldly stood by recent medical development by saying:  “No surprise that more and more people are having relationship problems because of our digital addictions.”  Let's talk about it. Before we discuss and protect the name of gaming, it will be said that it's likely that a few of the cases were indeed due to an incurable addiction, in which one of the partners could not do anything else but game all day. That is one extreme of the situation and one which is indeed an addiction that may lead to the termination of a marriage. On the other hand, here's our reasoning in defending gaming. The internet and online gaming have both become so influential that they are beginning to have an effect on all aspects of life, reaching out and having a presence in our lives due to the fact that we enjoy interacting with the two. Hence, negative things in life such as death, marriage, addictions and others may slowly become correlated with it as online gaming grows as an industry.  However, the most important aspect of this statistic, which few take notice of, is the fact that the degree of an addiction depends on the person partaking in the 'gaming addiction.' Unlike other surveys, which usually involve a much younger audience and discusses how gaming is affecting the youth and whatever, this information pertains to once-married couples; ADULTS. It's easy to make it sound like online gaming is a vacuum which sucks people in unwantingly, although some games purposely make it easier than others, it is expected that anyone above 18 years of age, especially if they are married, should strike a balance in life.  Gaming addiction continues to be a hot topic, with politicians claiming violence and parents being rather concerned overall. If gaming is interfering with your relationship, you've got to get your priorities straight - I mean this in no offence, simply referring to the adults involved. Personally, I'm not one to place 'gaming addiction' besides something as serious as drug addiction, saying that it's just as potent, but that's just my opinion.  Let us know your thoughts below!

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