Blitzkrieg Masters Amsterdam 2018 - Interview with Team Tilted

One of the many European teams onboard for the Blitzkrieg Masters in Amsterdam is Team Tilted, a newer team ready to prove itself. Though honestly, it doesn't matter how 'new' a team is; one month is a long time to prepare for an event, especially after the practice exercised at qualifiers. Consisting of the following roster:  aerox, fanCy, dakkaz, jackis and RAIVZ are excited to prove themselves for the event. We reached out to the team and Boudewijn "aerox" Verleg happily let us in on a few replies in the upcoming interview. 

1.) How are you preparing yourselves for the upcoming event, the first ever Battalion 1944 Major?

We are a relatively new team, but have individually all been involved in the top end of different gaming scenes for several years now. That meant that we quickly identified our weak spots after just a few weeks of playing together. We’ve decided collectively to spend a few of the remaining weeks solely hammering out those weak spots with minimal work on areas of our game that we feel confident in. 

After those weeks of fixing our issues, we hope to successfully integrate our improvements into our overall game-plan and focus all our efforts in the remaining weeks on molding everything we’ve learned into a cohesive whole and working on our game in general, as opposed to meticulous specifics. 

2.) For how long has your team been waiting for an opportunity to play Battalion 1944 at this level?

I don’t think we’ve necessarily ‘waited’ to play at this level. It’s a natural culmination of everything the players have been doing all along. Pretty much every player in our team has played at the top end of the scene from the get-go, so for us if we’re being very levelheaded, this is simply a LAN with all the top tier teams. No different than what you’d expect from any other top LAN. Obviously it carries extra prestige and an extra large incentive due to the sizeable cash prize, but at the end of the day we can just see it as a LAN. A LAN we want to perform at, mind you, but a LAN nonetheless. 

3.) What are your goals heading into the event? What placing are you aiming at?

There should only be one goal when heading into an event like this and that’s to win the whole thing. Anything less and you might as well not go. Having said that, as long as I’m pleased with our performances at the end of the LAN, it’s not that important where we finish up. We will give it our all and see where the chips will fall. 

4.) What was your experience in the online qualifiers? Where there any negatives and positives you’d like to point out? 

Overall, our experiences were okay. Due to the volatile nature of the game, with multiple players switching team and whatnot, it was very hard to make accurate seedings. I think that may have hindered a few teams down the line, but I do not envy the position of The Plays whatsoever; it’s a hard job to do. 

Of course, the downside to online qualifiers, especially in a game as new as this with no demo system, was that there were ample opportunities for people to cheat their way into the qualifier. I’m not sure if anyone did, but the whole episode with nieSow certainly showed how flawed the concept of an online qualifier is. I understand why they did it, but I’d be remiss not to make mention of it. 

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? 

The competition, seemingly, is pretty high already. The game has been out for roughly 6 months and already there’s a very clear divide between skilled teams and lesser teams. I think the game will continue to evolve and so will the skill of the players. The early players of a game such as CoD 4, when contrasted with the players at the end of that game’s lifespan, look like they’re less skilled and I think that trend will be visible in Battalion as well. So I would say that I think there’s a lot of room for improvement because players always improve. People will find new ways to play the game, to use specific tricks and improve their aim. The game won’t stop evolving. 

6.) If not yourselves, what teams form the top competition for the first place spot?

I would expect to see CRG, Demise, Avenue, Entropy and EndPoint all be contenders for the title. All these teams have individual quirks that separate them from the pack and I think we will see those little things be the breakthrough in many of the games that will follow. Having said that, I have almost no information on the North American teams, so of course, they can come out swinging and surprise a lot of teams. 

7.) Do you plan to keep competing in Battalion 1944 after the Major is finalized?

As long as there’s something worth competing for, I will definitely keep playing. The problem is that this goes for many teams, so if there’s nothing to play for, we might see an exodus of teams and that would be catastrophic for the game. I just hope that Bulkhead has a clear vision for how they’re going to attract casuals, as that will be the lifeblood the game needs to keep going. Impressive LANs like this are nice to have, and as long as they keep coming people will keep playing, but I don’t know how sustainable it will be. 

8.) How do you view the updates which have recently hit the title? Have they all been general improvements?

Most of the updates have been very positive and have definitely added to the Battalion experience. The one thing that bothers me, however, is that Bulkhead seemingly subscribes to the Riot Games method of nerfing. Once they notice that a weapon is too strong, they nerf it into the ground and slowly build it up from there. Coupled with the economy system, long range weapons have been punished heavily and as a result, the meta dictates only a handful of weapons for both sides that can be seen as viable. Hopefully, these issues get addressed in the coming weeks. 

9.) What would you change, if you could, in Battalion 1944 mechanics, maps and weapons? 

I would overhaul the economy system, to where a coin will be given to a player for a kill and another coin will drop on the floor that you can pick up as is currently the norm. Maybe adjust the cost of weapons by 1.5 and maybe increase the kill rewards. If we take CS as a blueprint, if you’re stacked on money, you can buy a ridiculous arsenal for at least three, maybe even four rounds straight. In Battalion it’s not unfeasible to win six rounds in a row, lose one and then have to eco. 

I would also change some of the nerfs to the sniper rifle. There were two major issues plaguing the weapon I feel. One of them was that the weapon was too accurate in mid-air when not fully zoomed in, and the other factor was that the gun zoomed in a bit too quick, which meant that when you would do a running jump, you would be fully zoomed in before you hit the apex of your jump. This made it too easy to fly around the map with the sniper and make it almost impossible to be countered, especially if you have good aim. Just the accuracy and the zoom in time alone would be perfect nerfs I feel. 

The last thing I would change is having a look at the tagging system. When you invest so many coins into weaponry like a Kar or a sniper, you want to do damage, but I feel that tagging is happening too often. If you hit the arms or lower legs, sure, have it count as a tag. But just because the model is holding its arms in front of its body when aiming down the sights, doesn’t mean the rifler should be punished for hitting what would otherwise be a clean bodyshot. 

10.) Any advice for those Battalion 1944 rosters which are struggling to reach the level of competition needed for the event? 

Keep practising and either choose to fix your flaws or perfect your strong points. You can choose to play your opponents game, or your own and both have its perks. Just don’t try to hamfist a strategy that’s not working for you because you’ve seen other people succeed with it. Play to your own strengths or your opponents’ weaknesses and go from there. 

It seems that many teams are neck-deep into preparations; everyone's 'hammering' their slate clean to maximise their chances for the event. Will Team Tilted manage to stomp out the other top EU competition? We'll find out at the event! Thanks again to aerox for the quick interview, specifically. 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 10th September 2018, 20:51

I'm Gabriel - 17 year-old student attending a sixth form with a little free time on his hands. I've been working with for a roughly a year now - spreading my interests in technology, gaming and writing over the platform along with interviews and hardware reviews. All constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading!


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Angelo Vella at the Red Bull MEO Clash Royale Finals

Ever since winning the Maltese Red Bull MEO Clash Royale Finals and the Qlash Clash Royale Tournament hosted at the Malta Esports Festival 2018, GMR Entertainment has been keeping a close eye on the champion; Angelo anglu Vella. Such attention led up to the fact after he had qualified for the international Red Bull MEO Clash Royale Finals - where he would represent Malta in an international competition, stacking ambassadors from each country across the mobile title of Clash Royale. Apart from the event itself acting as quite the breakthrough for mobile-gaming in general, it was an opportunity for Angelo to show his stock.  The international event, involving a total of 36 countries, had been building up ever since September of last year, with qualifiers gradually concluding in each respective country within every continent. With the event including the other titles of 'Arena of Valor' and 'Brawl Stars', the venue was certainly buzzing with excitement, but also tension - $50,000 were on the line on the whole. This mentality was embraced immediately, and it seems that Angelo anglu Vella found himself in quite a tough spot within Group D. Competing against players from America, Mexico, Turkey, Portugal, Greece, Brazil and Egypt, the Maltese competitor would undoubtedly struggle. Anglu tied points with Greece and Turkey, but due to score difference he was placed 7th out of 8 within groups - ending his tournament there. "The Ice" (BR) Vs "Anglu" 3:2 "Sergioramos" (MX) Vs "Anglu" 3:0 "iForg1ven" (GR) Vs "Anglu" 3:1 "lelouch" (TR) Vs "Anglu" 2:3 🏆 "UnstoppableCR" (US) Vs "Anglu" 3:0 "The Awesome" (EG) Vs "Anglu" 0:3 🏆 "RafinhaJr11" (PT) Vs "Anglu" 3:1 Nonetheless, we're very proud of Angelo and we encourage him to continue pursuing this notion of competition - you're only 18 and a plethora of future opportunities will arise; keep striving to compete with others and yourself most of all.  The rest of the event concluded smoothly with ThunderStruck from UK being crowned as winner, though we will admit that our peak interest was in the performance of our representative Angelo Vella. One interesting fact is one pertaining to cheating - the French player GregEmpire77, as reported by Dotesports, was competing against a German player within the play-offs, when he was accused of communicating to his manager during the game. He pleaded guilty to the accusation, showing off the AirPods he had snuck underneath his headset, through which his coach communicated to him, selling the lie that all was legal. He was quickly disqualified. With this event being a major primary step in mobile gaming and to witness cheating early on - is the accessibility of mobile phones, leading to a higher susceptibility of cheating, going to be a detriment to future mobile esports?  To conclude, we'd like to congratulate Angelo for participating, flying out to an international event and gaining the experience which we wish for him to use to push forward in the scene. Also, we've managed to gain further insight into the mobile esports scene - how long will it take before we start seeing major and headlining events based on a mobile platform?

CWL Pro League 2019 Preview

With the end of last, the divisions for the 2019 CWL Pro League were concluded through the Pro League Qualifier event. A total of 16 spots were up for grabs; four of which had already been awarded to the likes of Optic Gaming, Luminosity, eUnited and Splyce following a satisfactory Top 4 finish at the first event of the year; CWL Vegas.  The PQL offered some potential shock, as certain 'top teams' began questioning the notion of the 'favourite'; with the lesser known teams snatching a series now and then. A few teams that many thought wouldn't make it were Red Reserve, Team Envy, and of course, the notoriously problematic squad of 100Thieves. Luckily for them, they all managed to make it through; avoiding communal tension and the subconscious screams for a roster change, at least for now. However, one top name did fail to qualify - FaZe Clan. The squad of 'Replays', 'Attach', 'Zooma', 'Priestahh' and the newly added young talent of 'Cellium'; who I personally believed performed very well overall, were kicked out by Excelerate Gaming in the Losers' Bracket. Perhaps this proves that former player Methodz was not completely culpable for their similarly poor performance at CWL Vegas. With the current state of other teams in mind, such as 100T, and the fact that FaZe is one of the top organizations within the Call of Duty scene; I find that a roster change is on the horizon - the players, especially Zooma and Attach, are undoubtedly disappointed in not qualifying for the esteemed league.  Another team to also fail their expectations, albeit lower than others, was G2 Esports, captained by Parasite, the BO2 champion. Unluckily for them, they matched up against a desperate Red Reserve - the game between them determined with who would progress and who would go home from the two of them. All live viewers were gifted with a 5 map series, terminated with a Round 11 SnD - Methodz was left alone in a 1v3; it really has been a tough year for the former member of the event-winning Rise Nation of WWII.  Anyways, the divisions have been concluded, with the 16 teams grouped up as follows;  The open bracket teams of Midnight, Evil Geniuses, Enigma6 and Team Envy all came out swinging and quickly solidified a spot into the Pro League. Some new names, such as Heretics and Team Space act as undetermined threats to the top tier teams.  Looking over the divisions as a whole, both are rather stacked; the exact aim of the Pro League.  While Division A houses the top-dogs of Optic and Luminosity; it's unsure how these teams will fare against other teams that, although on paper have less stock, have made use of a tremendous amount of practice this past week in qualifying. Personally, I find that Division B is slightly more competitive, with the bottom four splitting hairs, Enigma6 and Envy lacking consistency while eUnited and Splyce juggle for dominance. However, it is imperative to keep in mind the fact that unlike last year's league, teams in different divisions will have the opportunity to play one another this year. With schedules and specific matchups to be released, it'll be curious to witness how these cross-division matches play out.  With $700,000 on the line, the first week kicks off with the 4th of February. All the action will climax with the awaited play-offs. Until then, many teams such as FaZe Clan await impending departures of professional players who wish to compete in the Pro League, to give an example of such a team. A similar situation is being faced by G2 Esports and Team Sween, to note.   The newly updated season of Trading Shots, hosted by CWL, will be sure to break down all of the latest news - personally a massive fan since its introduction last year. 

Red Bull M.E.O. by ESL – World Finals will take place in Germany

Following their motto “Open to All! Won by One” Red Bull and ESL will bring one of the world’s largest mobile esports tournaments to Germany. The World Finals of the global tournament series Red Bull M.E.O by ESL (Mobile Esports Open) will take place from 1-3 February 2019 in the Warsteiner Music Hall in Dortmund. The German offline finals of Red Bull M.E.O. will take place on 1st of February. The winners will directly qualify for the World Finals, taking place on 2nd-3rd February, where they will face the best mobile gamers from 36 nations. Apart from Germany, mobile gamers from France, Japan, USA, Brazil, South Africa and many more will meet on stage. In Germany, they will fight for top positions in the mobile hits Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, as well as the brand-new arena shooter Brawl Stars. However, Red Bull M.E.O. by ESL is not an ordinary tournament: it’s open to all ambitious mobile gamers! Matches in the strategy game Clash Royale will be fought between individual players, while the MOBA hit Arena of Valor will set teams of five against each other. Worldwide qualifiers for both titles began in September and ran throughout December. German gamers will also get their chance at a place in the finals: by taking part in online preliminaries, they can qualify for the German Offline Final on 1st of February. Three more qualifiers will take place on the official ESL tournament page with the last one to be held on the 25th of January. Meanwhile, a total of 22 international Brawl Stars teams of influencers and gamers battled it out on the 6th of January to qualify for the World Finals in Germany. Eight teams fought their way through the different game modes and earned a spot for the World Finals with American influencer ‘Ash’ winning the qualifier competition. Tickets for the event are free and limited so make sure to get a seat as soon as possible. As well as two days of pure mobile gaming, there will be many more activities in the arena to make your weekend a true success — including a Brawl Stars free-to-play area and some activities at the Media Markt and Vodafone booths. In addition to that there will be an aftershow party for all visitors on Saturday directly after the live show. Up to 1,000 live visitors are expected for the World Finals of Red Bull M.E.O. in Dortmund. Additionally, the tournament will be broadcast live in English and other languages via livestream. More information on Red Bull M.E.O. by ESL is available on the official homepage.

Hex Media Studio Unveiled - A Local Professional Studio

Anyone who's been keeping up with our social media is probably aware of a new professional content studio on the island; that of Hex Media, a new venture betweeen the Maltese 3D Printing Company, Invent3D and GMR Entertainment. Located within the heart of Zabbar, the studio, prior to even officially opening, has already landed the sponsorship of AOC Gaming, providing some excellent panels, GT Omega Racing, offering some top-notch seating and Trust Gaming granted the centre the peripherals it needs. Not to forget, Red Bull is also on tap for the expanding team behind the project. Speaking of which, the team, hosted a live stream through one of the team member's Twitch channels in NGEN15 and William Cachia (co-host of Game Defined) late on the 11th January, which we shared on social media. The stream consisted of continuous PC building with the team breaking down their future prospects for the project, explaining what it will have to offer once it's officially open. With so much to reveal and PCs to build, it's no wonder that the stream was animated for over 3 hours.  The Hex Media studio looks to be a stand-out centre in Malta, a studio to both entertain and involve the Maltese community in general - not just gamers, but also aspiring content creators such as streamers, podcasters, casters and editors or tournament organizers like ourselves. This is due to the ability to train potential talent in the various area of casting, video editing and production together with online streaming media for both amateurs and also students, especially those who cannot afford their own resources or software, as apart from the software, the studio is decked out with top-of-the-line equipment for audio and visuals. With that being said, consumers may also rent hardware of this type should they choose to do so. Other services include product photography, graphic design, catering for esport team merchandise and media through flexible packages, rendering services and various forms of consultation in tournament casting, production and support in general. Consultation varies from serious business inquiries to something as simple as helping with personalised PC construction, similar, in this way, to the Gamers Lounge. Overall, flexibility and accessibility is something that Hex Media is clearly embracing, thanks to a varied spectrum of talent across a dedicated and friendly team. GMR Entertainment looks forward to using the high-quality services to generate video content for you all to enjoy, host international event casting and possibly video hardware reviews. With the final pieces being put together, 2019's looking great for Hex Media as they prepare to open their doors. Although the venture is between us two, the studio is open to everyone to use its service. They've also hinted at a possible open day once the floodgates of business are opened, allowing everyone and anyone to come to take a look; perhaps even stretching those PCs with some proper gaming. Keep up to date with their progress through their Facebook page here.

Top 5 Viewed Articles of 2018

To conclude 2018 and introduce 2019, we thought we'd look back through the thousands of views that the News department received, pinpointing our top 5 most-viewed articles of the year. I'll be organizing them into a list, providing comments regarding the process of writing and the thoughts heading into each piece of content.  Number 5 - Interview with the Maltese FIFA Star - Kurt "kurt0411" Fenech Released on the 10th of August, I had high hopes after finally securing an interview with the local international FIFA professional in Kurt kurt0411 Fenech. In order to do so, my superiors at contacted him directly. Now I had my chance to interview a FIFA player for the first time, with a few questions of my own.  The main aim of the interview was to act as a follow-up to his performance at the FIFA eWorld Cup, where he placed a phenomenal 4th out of the entire professional FIFA scene, to his own disappointment, as his own personal goals aimed higher. With this achievement, came a certified amount of pride - leading to one of the reasons why the interview gained so many views.  Kurt's comment in describing himself as the 'best chance of winning something truly special in representation of our country for esports' which is both acceptable and deniable as a statement turned many heads on the FaceBook post - 88 replies. Across these threads, outraged Maltese argued otherwise, while a few cavemen denied the validity of the esports industry.  Overall, the interview was a joy to conduct, as Kurt was helpful and full of great answers, even after other news sources such as TimesOfMalta had spoken with him. Then again, we offer sympathy that no other local news source does. Apart from that, it was a head-turner on social media. We'd like to thank Kurt for the interview, which you may read here:

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