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The Last of Us Part II - Critics vs Community

Finally, after so many years of waiting, the sequel to the legendary story of The Last of Us arrived this Friday 19th June on PS4. With expectations high, the entire world dived into the experience resulting in highly polarizing feedback - with the community on one side and the critics on the other side - is The Last of Us Part II a masterpiece or an absolute disaster?    Above is the situation as displayed on the Metacritic page - high praise averaging 95 from 94critics while the user score submitted by over 20,000 community members sits at a dismal 3.3.  Let's start with the positive: what do the critics have to say about The Last of Us Part II? The following quote from Gaming Age is probably the most suitable, as a standard for what most critics had to say.  With an enthralling story, complex characters, interesting gameplay and gorgeous visuals and audio, The Last of Us Part II is probably one of the most polished videogame experiences out there and it’s pretty easy to give it a great score and call it a day. But honestly, thanks to the intense pace, mature subject matter and stressful situations, it may not be for everyone. That last part is cause for worry - 'may not be for everyone'. The community definitely agrees, as represented by the following selected review:  Graphics... That's the only good thing about this. Everything else is either mediocre or down right awful. The game play did not evolve one bit since 2013. It's still a walking simulator that's more a movie than a game, which would be enjoyable if it had a good story but God damn is it bad. The story simply broke my heart and not in the good way. It's like a spit in the face of the entire fan base. It's like the worst fan fiction you could possibly find. Seriously? This is what you came up after 7 years? Did Twitter write this game? It's full of plot holes and the characters you fell in love with in the first game are completely ruined and you are forced to play with the character that ruined them. - Lex1993 Most reviews offered the same criticisms - high levels of disappointment after the incredible wait, a dissatisfactory story mode, identical gameplay to the prequel and above all, a narrative driving certain ideas very aggressively in the players' face and abandoning beloved characters.  Multiple news sites have reported this as 'review bombing', however, I wouldn't be so quick to disregard the community's negativity as mindless 'bombing'.  Naughty Dog didn't make it easy on themselves either. When you forge such a masterpiece such as The Last of Us and continuously promise a sequel for so many years, people's expectation will rise. Yes, maybe some reviews are out of frustration due to this and perhaps not completely factual, but does that discredit the community's feedback?  Has Naughty Dog responded in any way? Neil Druckmann, Vice President at Naughty Dog, had the following to say on Twitter earlier today:  Oh man... in just a few hours we have almost DOUBLE the number of user reviews for #TheLastofUsPartII than the first game received in seven years. Love that passion! That is not a response that respects the community's feedback. They're supposing that all the reviews are mindless review bombs which aren't legitimate.  It's definitely discomforting to witness this level of disrespect to the community which has been patiently and loyally awaiting a sequel and have the right to give feedback. Are the critics offering valid reviews or are they afraid to negatively review the heavily awaited Playstation exclusive?  That's all for this discussion - let us know if you've played The Last of Us II and share your experience in the comments section below - who's right, the critics or the community? 

Have you registered for the Red Bull Strijders // Online Series - Pro Clubs Qualifiers?

The first Red Bull Strijders // Online Series - Pro Clubs Qualifier starts Tuesday 9th June at 8.30 pm with the chance for the first 3 teams to make to the League Phase. Being from your tablet, mobile, PC, or laptop one only needs to press the JOIN TOURNAMENT button to start your team's registration. STEP 1 - Login or Create an Account Login with your account or for those without an account all you need to do is create an account. STEP 2 - Create or Join a Team Once you login and click again on the join tournament button you will be asked to create a team where you will be asked to follow 4 simple steps to get started. After you create the team you will be given a join team link which you must send to your teammates to join the team (make sure they follow Step 1 first) If a friend has already created the team all you need to is follow Step 1 and click the link to join the team and you will automatically join the team. STEP 3 - What's Next? At this point, you will need to chase your team members to join the team. To check who has joined the team, you can either go on your team's profile and see who registered or else click again on the join tournament button and under the tab tell your friends to join, you will see your team's name and the number of players out of a minimum of 6. It is important to check that you are logged in at all times cause otherwise, you won't be able to see your profile's information. STEP 4 - Joining the Tournament Once you and 5 other friends have joined a particular team you will be able to join the tournament. A team can consist of more than 6 players but not less since in the rules section it is stated that all teams are required to have a minimum of 6 players registered on the website, comprised of 5 Outfield Players and a Goalkeeper. It is also important to note that if you have 6 registered players and you are still illegible to join it could be because a team player is already registered with another team competing in the tournament and the rules state that a player cannot play with multiple teams. STEP 5 - Did my team registers for the Tournament? To check if your team has registered for the tournament all you need to do is go on the tournament, Red Bull Strijders // Online Series - Pro Clubs Qualifier 1, and check the participants that have registered for the tournament. If your team isn't visible on the page re-check again all steps and if you still can't figure out what happened it is best to contact us on our Facebook page or else on the official discord channel the one we will be using when the tournament starts. It is important to read all rules before the tournament starts and good luck to all participating teams.

GMR and For A Cause Events partner up to organise the IFR: Esports Edition

For A Cause Events is a company set up by four close friends whose vision is to organise a variety of premium events in which a portion of the proceeds will always be donated to charity. The company is mainly known for organising the yearly IFR Champions Cup, which is a physical football tournament hosting a number of teams mostly from the three fastest-growing industries in Malta: iGaming, Fintech and Real Estate. "Our partnership with For A Cause Events gives us great satisfaction to be able to help those in need through esports. They have proven that they have a working formula with the IFR: Champions Cup raising over €22,000 in their first two editions and now we will be teaming up to organise the first IFR: Esports Edition while helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic." - Kersten James Chircop, Founder GMR Entertainment "After closely monitoring the events landscape and COVID-19 situation, the For A Cause Events team are exciting to be venturing into the esports world with collaborating partners GMR Entertainment for the very first IFR: Esports Edition! Giving back to the local community is part of who we are and we will this time be helping those who have been affected by the pandemic." - Andrew Micallef Trigona, Co-Founder For A Cause Events Together with For A Cause Events, we will be organising the first edition of the IFR Champions Cup: Esports Edition where players get the chance to virtually represent their employers (companies) by taking part in this tournament while a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a charitable organisation.

How will Valorant attract esports fans?

Valorant has conquered the attention of millions of players in just a couple of days. Riot Games is now looking for a new challenge to propel a second game to the front of the esports scene. Riot Games launched the beta of Valorant with limited access earlier last month and it will be available to everyone in a few weeks. This new project is the creation of a competitive first-person shooter inspired by games such as Counter-Strike and Overwatch. Within this article, we will try and decipher what strategies will Riot Games be using to seduce esports fans. The approach can be the collaboration with large tournament organisers such as ESL, ELEAGUE and FACEIT. Such organisers currently take care of the majority of esports tournaments around the world, in particular, international tournaments on games such as Counter-Strike. Furthermore, they might be surrounding themselves with smaller providers who will be responsible for organizing tournaments hosted by the players themselves. These tournaments will allow players who possess outstanding skills to put themselves forward and gain notoriety. In addition to partnerships, the gaming community will have a great role to play. Without this community, it is impossible for the game to exist in an esports setting. The community can be a force to put proposals forward while actively participating in the competitive development of the game. Key stakeholders such as streamers who offer tons of content on different streaming platforms (for example, Twitch and YouTube) can have a huge effect on the general community and they are a big factor in making or breaking a game in today's esports industry. Esports organisations will also have a determining role in catapulting Valorant on the esports scene. Organisations such as Team Solomid, Cloud 9, Fnatic, SKT and G2 among others will probably occupy a place at the forefront. These teams are already posses a huge deal of experience on today’s popular games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike and can be easily applied to a new game like Valorant. These are the organisations that will form teams made up of different professional players. Something that has already begun, with a clear example being the recruitment of “Brax” a Counter-Strike player by SKT (South Korea Telecom) one of the biggest esports teams in the world. With esports being very present in our daily life, there is no doubt that the creators will quickly set up an economic model which will conquer a large audience. They’ve already seduced the world with League of Legends, can they do the same with Valorant? We will have an answer in the coming months!

Malta tops the group in FIFA eNations StayAndPlay Friendlies winning Spain and Portugal

FIFA and EA Sports hosted for the very first FIFA eNations Stay and Play Cup on FIFA20. As reported in our previous article Malta is being represented by Christian Spiteri and National Team Player Dunstan Vella who are both playing in the Malta BOV ePremier League. Malta was drawn in one of the toughest groups that of Group A together with Spain, Italy, and Portugal.  Malta vs Portugal In the first match Christian Spiteri had to face Diogo Mendes were he won comfortably with a score of 5-1. Dunstan Vella faced national team player Diogo Jota which after an intense match Dunstan managed to win 5-3 giving Malta a 10-4 win against Portugal.  Christian Spiteri vs Diogo Mendes - Match Dunstan Vella vs Diogo Jota - Match Malta vs Spain In their second match, the Maltese duo had to face Spain which was sitting at 2nd place with 6 points (Win against Portugal and Italy). A win was a must in order to proceed to the next phase. Christian Spiteri went first against Jaime Álvarez known as Gravesen_1 but after a really intense match, everything ended in a tie 2-2. Dunstan Vella was up next against the legend DjMariio with over 6 million subscribers on Youtube and more than 1 million followers on both Twitter and Instagram. Dunstan played a really good match and defended quite well and managed to win with a 1-0 score in order to give Malta a well earned 3 points for a total score of 3-2 against Spain. Christian Spiteri vs Gravesen_1 - Match Dunstan Vella vs DjMariio_90 - Match With 9 points from 3 matches, Malta managed to qualify for the next stage and will be playing against Wales the winners of Group C. Malta vs Wales can be viewed online on FIFA's website.

Facebook Launches it's new Gaming app

Given the current situation, Facebook is looking to strengthen its popularity in the gaming industry during the COVID-19 pandemic with the launch of a new, dedicated Gaming app, months before its planned June release.  The social media giant pushed the app's release on Android two months prior to its scheduled unveiling with a pending iOS version at some point in the near future. The app's slogan is "Watch, Play, Connect", and it's what the whole app is all about. The app’s arrival comes after a year and a half of testing in various markets such as Southeast Asia, and Latin America.  The Facebook Gaming App The app lets users watch live streams, chat, follow updates, play mobile games together and much more in order to compete against its biggest competitors Twitch and YouTube although it still lacks behind when it comes to hours of gameplay watched even though more than 2.5 billion people use Facebook every month. New tools might help Facebook reach new heights since it is trying to make it easier for users to start streaming by adding a “Go Live” button to start the magic. Once people are live, streams will appear on their personal pages, making it easier for friends and followers to watch. Vivek Sharma, Facebook’s vice president said “People are watching streams and they’re like, ‘I want to be a streamer,’ and with Go Live it’s literally just a few clicks and then live, you’re a streamer.” Facebook also offers monetization to a limited number of streamers and it is also planning to monetize this by taking a commission of “stars” which are donations that viewers send to streamers. Facebook Gaming Stand It remains to be seen whether the app will be a successful one, but the rushed timing could give the service a cutting edge, as people are trying to find new forms of content to socialize during this global pandemic.

Cloud9 wins the 2020 LCS Spring Split!

Tremendous, sensational, I can’t find the words to describe the breathtaking performance accomplished by Cloud 9 throughout this spring split. After 2 years of domination by Team Liquid, a new star is born named “Cloud 9”. After a regular season where they crushed all the North American teams, they ended the regular season with seventeen victories and only one defeat against “Team SoloMid”, a record in the American League. They dominated the playoff by successively eliminating “100 Thieves” with a 3-0. Then they triumphed over “Evil geniuses” in the semi-final with a 3-1. The final of this spring split was only the continuity of what the team accomplished during the season. They literally destroyed their opponents with a 3-0 in a quick best of 5 crushing “Wildturtle” and his team “Fly quest”. “Cloud 9” has been defeated only twice during this segment, another record. The five players of C9 took all the seats of the regular season's AllStar team! One of them, Blaber (Jungler of C9), was also elected Most Valuable Player (MVP) of this spring split. Note that Zven (ADC of the team) who was announced on a downward slope after several medium seasons, performed a sensational comeback. He managed to be the first player to win both an LEC split in Europe and an LCS split in North America. The recruitments of Vulcan (Support position) and Zven enabled “Cloud 9” to climb to the top of the ladder after several years of title droughts. With the cancellation of “Mid Season Invitational,” we are all looking forward to the summer split. Will the undivided domination of “Cloud 9” remain? Rendez-Vous in a few months!

The Impact Of COVID-19 On Video Gaming

Video games consumption rises amid COVID-19 outbreak As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak continues to spread and to influence almost every aspect of our everyday lives, many are turning to video games to pass time during self-isolation.  Many countries have introduced martial law and as people are practically stuck at home, millions are looking for social distancing-friendly activities to keep them entertained during the quarantine.  According to Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Report, retail and recreation mobility trends (restaurants, cafes, museums) have seen a 76% decline compared to the median value. Grocery & pharmacy, parks, transit stations, workplaces have also seen a substantial decline whereas residential mobility trends have seen a 20% rise.  What Google's data reveals about Malta's coronavirus response The (self)imposed quarantine measures have undoubtedly caused an increase in consumer playtime and money spent on video games. In other words, people are spending more time playing video games during quarantine and isolation. According to Verizon, the network has seen a 75% increase in gaming traffic over the last week.  The increase in gaming can also be seen on Steam, since the popular digital PC gaming marketplace has reached 20,313,451 users, drawing a new record. Coronavirus impact on esports As far as esports go, several large-scale esports events have been cancelled, some are postponed and some are held without audiences. A negative impact on revenue from sponsorship and media rights is not expected since most of the deals were finalized before the outbreak.  The cancelled CS:GO tournament, Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice peaked in viewership, reaching over one million viewers, making it one of the most watched tournaments in esports history.  IEM Katowice 2020 with no Audience at the Venue The virus outbreak has seen 18 video game companies, including the streaming platform Twitch and Activision Blizzard encouraging players to resort to video games as a means of maintaining a physical distance. The #PlayApartTogether initiative is also supported by the World Health Organization.  Commenting on the campaign, Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said: “It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.” However, as there is an increase in gaming, it is expected that the launch of Sony and Microsoft next-gen consoles will be delayed, due to supply chain disruptions, as the manufacturing of game, hardware has already been impacted.  Events such as GDC and E3 have already been cancelled, but the cancellations are not expected to leave a mark on the bottom-line revenues of developers and publishers. 

Quarantine blues? Here are 6 free game apps to fight it off

Stay home and stay safe. But what to do? As real-life is engulfed by a deadly pandemic that looks like a sci-fi game, we propose to you something to kill time on your phone. Because let’s face it - baking looks good on Instagram (for some), but it gets boring very quickly. We have listed for you 6 mobile games you can play for FREE which support multiplayer mode, which means you can add your friends and play together whilst staying at home and still getting in touch with them.  Clash Royale Developed by Supercell, Clash Royale is a massively popular multiplayer online battle arena. Collect cards, create your deck and upgrade it and get ready to knock the opponent’s tower before he crashes yours. Earn trophies, climb the ladder and get ready for weekly challenges. If you're new to the world of Clash Royale, it can be a little intimidating at the start but it is pretty easy once you get used to it. With its features 1 vs 1 or 2 vs 2 you can play simultaneously with or against a friend or you could team up with one and play against another two.  Number of players: 2-4 Total size: 1.2 GB storage Playtime: 3 minutes average Clash Royale Gameplay Mario Kart Tour Mario Kart needs no introduction. All your favorite childhood classic Nintendo pals are back in action. Crossing over to mobile, the game lets you unite with friends and race through the mountains or underwater making it a fun activity to enjoy with some swipe and taps on the screen. A free Nintendo account is all that is needed and competing in 1 cup will unlock multiplayer mode.  Number of players: 2-8 Total size: 370 MB storage Playtime: 5 minutes average Mario Kart Tour Gameplay PUBG:Mobile PUBG or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds mobile version of the game is called PUBG Mobile, which gained popularity as soon as it was launched. The battle royale game consists of 100 people on a map and the last man or team standing wins. The game has a number of modes and maps to keep the users engaged. Adding a battle pass adds more challenges for the player.  PUBG Mobile Lite is also available for those whose mobile does not meet the minimum requirements of the game. Number of players: 1-100 Total size: 2.3 GB storage Playtime: 15 minutes average PUBG:Mobile Gameplay Call of Duty Mobile Call of Duty: Mobile is another popular game for those Call of Duty fans but also a challenge to PUBG Mobile when it comes to the battle royale genre. COD: Mobile has different modes like Battle Royale, Team Deathmatch and many more.  COD:Mobile lets you play with up to 6 friends at once with the classic team deathmatch you can do a 3 vs 3 or else play as a team in the 100-player battle royale mode. Number of players: 1-6 Total size: 2 GB storage Playtime: 15 minutes average Call of Duty Mobile Gameplay Quiz Up QuizUp, a social trivia game by Plain Vanilla Games with over 100 million users that ventures as deep into more than 1,200 topics such as films, music, games containing more than 600,000 questions.  The game offers the chance to play head-to-head battles against friends or start tournaments against people and challenge them on everything from general knowledge to basic maths problems. Number of players: 2 Total size: 120 MB storage Playtime: 1-minute average Quiz Up Gameplay Hearthstone From its release on mobile Hearthstone has been one of those card games to play on mobile. The game is easy to learn and tough to master. Weekly Tavern Brawls and solo game modes are what keeps the game exciting which for sure Blizzard know how to spice up things. After a day or two of playing the game and mastering that faction or two, you can easily battle a friend who just started the game for some and well spent time. Number of players: 1-2 Total size: 1.5 GB storage Playtime: 5 minutes average Hearthstone Gameplay

Sneak Peak: The new-era Playstation 5 controller

Sony revealed the new PS5 controller which is the DualSense, sharing the first images of the design and all the new features it will include which is intended to be launched with the PS5 just before Christmas this year. The controller looks completely different when compared with previous designs. In fact, as Sony themselves stated they tried to develop the best PlayStation controller yet including all the previous positive features and introducing new ones to maximize user experience.  The new PS5 Controller - DualSense Design The DualSense main colour scheme will be two-tone, black-and-white and have the same colour on the face buttons. The traditional Triangle, Circle, Square and Cross are still there. Not much is revealed from the controller's back which can still feature some other cool new features.  New Features Adaptive shoulder button triggers with haptic feedback.  Built-in microphone so you can talk without having to wear a headset. A new 'Create' button that replaces the PS4 Share button. An LED Light Bar the surrounding of the touchpad. Increased Battery Life The new PS5 Controller - DualSense Rumoured New Features Heart rate and sweat sensors - According to some websites, the PS5 controller will be able to use biometric feedback to monitor players' heart rate and sweat levels and then adjust gameplay based on its findings.  Wireless charging - Sony could opt for wireless charging capabilities and could make them available separately and at a later date from launch, keeping this capability separate in order to keep the price of the console lower. Price The predicted price for DualSense PS5 controller is that of around €65 / $70 / £60 which is a little bit more expensive when compared to the PS4 controller retailing for around €45 / $50 / £40 but again this is just a prediction from various websites based on the released features up till now. The new PS5 Controller - DualSense A full list of specs for the DualSense PS5 controller is yet to come but one thing is for sure that Sony gave us quite a good teaser of what to expect this coming Christmas.

Some of the Most-Anticipated FPS Games You Should Try

Do you know what FPS is? FPS (First-person shooter) is a video game breed focused on gun and other mutinous based action in a first-person outlook; that is, the player exploits the reaction through the eyes of the advocate. The FPS class can be saturated, but like MMOs in the mid of 2000s, there is a specific reason for it. We all love them.  We can’t find enough of them, and creators want to convert this love-affair into money. Are you feeling tired of spending your valuable money to follow the latest trend? Does this sound familiar? Yeah! If you’re feeling sick of spending your hard and valuable earned money to replace the latest trend, then you must check out our  directory of the most anticipated free FPS games you should play right now, and it can save your wallet and your mind also. So, without wasting time, let us start to discuss our directory that is made for you only. Have a natural look! Half-Life: Alyx (March 2020) Want to take a wild guess? Okay! Half-Life: Alyx was the most astonishing notification made in 2019, and it is effortless and straightforward to see why.  The series developed by Valve went on hiatus in 2007 after the delivery of Half-Life 2, and most of the fans were resigned to the aspect that it would be the rearmost entry in the sequence. Half-Life: Alyx stars by Alyx Vance during her battle against the Combine, which was held before Half-Life 2, giving players an opportunity to gain more and more knowledge about the character.  Even though the game is a VR title, Valve committed that Half-Life: Alyx will reserve everything that made the sequence amazing, such as genuinely environmental interactions, puzzle-solving, and visceral mutinous. Although hype alone can make the game unbeaten, there is no doubt that Half-Life Alyx can also be an upgraded step forward for VR games as entire. Because of this, the game is undoubtedly included among the most anticipated designations releasing this year. Promo Have you ever heard about Electric Vespa? Okay! Let me tell you. Electric mobility will never become the same.  Introducing the Electric Vespa, a stylish clarification of the craving for a new connection between vehicles,  technology and environment.  Redeeming outstanding master, easy, simple and enjoyable heckling and above 100 km of nonstop riding be thankful for the lithium-ion battery that also encompasses an energy recapture system during downshift.  The beating heart of the Electric  Vespa is mute, technically refined power unit. Valorant Valorant is a delicate accurate shooter with a legitimate augury of characters set in a near-future world. In Valorant, capabilities create endless and unique chances for your gunplay to be a shining star. During their 10-year anniversary Riot Games announced that they would be taking on various multiple projects that players may expect to see over upcoming years. Among those announcements, they mentioned that they had been working on a new brand first-person tactical shooter which could be released faster than expected. The great news is that Valorant will bind to its real values and decide to be a free-to-play(F2P) game. It means that every person will be able to download it  and play it, with Riot Games supporting to maintain Valorant to implement on a broad range of PC hardware, permitting a generic audience for battle. This game is set on a closer future Earth, where players can select from all forecast of agencies, all praising from real-world places. These agents of agencies boast particular capabilities that they can use to gain and combine information, scout for enemy intel, control territory, breach defensive sites, fortify locations, and many  more. Valorant pits two groups of five players against each other to win, attackers vs defenders, round-based and  best-among-24-rounds fights of guns. “Capabilities are developed to create desirable choices for players to take the correct shot.” Riot Games has to give a particular date on their upcoming series, although there also have been some shreds of evidence to suggest that it will be the most-anticipated FPS games at a specific point in 2020. Kingpin: Life Of Crime (Remastered) Kingpin is a story of revenge. Take control of a lane gang and order your employees to defend, attack, or do a tiny safe-cracking to take up some needed money.  Use that money to purchase pitiable weapons and take down your crummy enemies in this explosive FPS (first-person shooter). Being the Kingpin is half all action and half attitude. Do you want to play the game with your own choice of a gang? Then, this game should be a most-anticipated game for you, and you should need to play this game right now! Start your own gang and fledgeling correctly from the lanes. If a new member of a band converts out to be crummy, then blast him and make room for the new ones.  Further, move up in the world, but see out for the Kingpin; ultimately, you're going to have to join him in the group. Somewhere in the past that never crossed tracks with the future varies the world of the Kingpin. Burned out various buildings and urban decay are the topography. Local groups roam around the loan, scoping out choices and make protection of their turf also. Rocket Arena Welcome to the fascinating world of Crater! Here champions and rockets regions are made. Choose an endless and unique competitor and rep your neighbourhood on the quality of maps in 3-on-3 rocket mutinous. Get ready for blistering bouts of thundering your competition away! Crater’s competitions are recommended by its regions only, including an undersea colony, an ice kingdom, a tropical pirate refuge, barren wastelands full of lost Mogadon, mysterious jungles, and high-technology utopia also. As a new contestant, here is what you’ll require to know before you jump in this game: Choose from unique enemies and rep your particular region on the quality of maps in 3-on-3 rocket mutinous. Blast competitors out of the arena with only single rockets. It would be best if you saw out for RocketBots— rocket-loving robots occupying our co-op mode, the rogue. .content-promo {background-color: #f6f6f6; padding: 10px;}

The Golden Era of competitive Call of Duty in Malta!

Esports tournaments in Malta can be traced a while back, and LAN-based competitions as we know them today probably started somewhere around 2002. The gaming community back then revolved around a number of forums as well as IRC channels, eventually leading to the development of gaming community websites with integrated forums, including the likes of playREACTION and LucidLAN. The competitive titles at the time which were popular amongst the Maltese community including Counter-Strike, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Enemy Territory, Unreal Tournament, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Quake 3 Arena. The franchise that most of us local competitive gamers remember most fondly, however, is Call of Duty released in 2003. The competitive community was extremely well-knit back then, with players meeting each other on a daily basis on public servers and Ventrilo voice servers, and blasting each other on forums all day (Facebook was only released in 2004 – Ok, Boomer) Private clan forums on Lucidlan.com. SAG, D2K, CBK and XTC were all CoD clans, whilst FU was an Enemy Territory clan, however, clans often played multiple game titles. MEPA was the first multi-gaming organisation in Malta, starting off originally as an Enemy Territory team, and eventually expanding into numerous other games. 2004 CoD team for one of the first Maltese multi-gaming organisations: MEPA (Malta Elite Patriotic Army – replace Patriotic with Porn for the less affectionate version) The first competitive LAN event for the original Call of Duty however actually only happened in October 2005: VunderLAN 1.0, held at the Vivaldi Hotel in St Julian’s, and where CoD was only second or third fiddle to the likes of Enemy Territory and Counter-Strike: Source. Well known teams competing in the Call of Duty tournament at this LAN included SAG (Special Assignment Ghosts), XTC (Xtreme Corpz), MEPA, CBK (Cold Blooded Killers), Team KM@ (Kiss My @ss), SAS Gaming (Special And Spectacular Gaming) and eXe (eXecutors). Fourteen years later, and a few players from these teams are still active in the local gaming community. eXe’s AnGrA and Manowar are part of the GMR and Gamers Lounge management respectively, whilst Kamadake from CBK is an active member of the local Tekken community. Others still play games such as World of Warcraft, Apex Legends and Escape from Tarkov. Xtreme Corpz’ CoD1 team – champions of VunderLAN 1.0 in 2005 All of this preceded two cataclysmic events in the local and international gaming scene: the launch of World of Warcraft, and the launch of the ‘Next-Gen’ consoles. Both events fractured the competitive community, giving gamers new and exciting multiplayer experiences. A Call of Duty 1 PCW between two Maltese teams in December 2005. However, these challenges did not stop Call of Duty 2, released in 2005, from becoming the most influential competitive game title in the history of Maltese esports, with events running from as far back as July 2006 until the last local event in November 2017. Regrettably, most of the information covering competitive events happening in Malta up and until 2012 are no longer publicly available, as all websites reporting on these events, such as playREACTION, LucidLAN, Malta Cyber Games are no longer available and neither is the mecca of competitive CoD2, ClanBase. Part of the Xtreme Corpz CoD2 team, featuring Matli, Underdog and Brutal, probably at the 1337Xtreme LAN in February 2006. I will try and publish information on Call of Duty 2 events in Malta from old Spreadsheets and screenshots that I still have in my old back-up discs, with the hope of making sure that all of this information is not completely lost to the passage of time, and that some of you may reminisce on the good old times when the Orly Owl was the epitome of meme culture, when HLSW was the best tool for spying on rival teams, when Park was to go-to place for all gamers in Malta, and when slapping people with a smelly trout was a thing. MEPA CoD2 & ET teams during VunderLAN 2 in August 2006. From top left: Yancho (ET), Soulkilla (CoD2 & ET), Sphinx42 (ET), Badboy (ET), Sharkilla (CoD2), Painkiller (CoD2), Hex4 (ET), Maldman (ET), Toxic (ET), Oneball (ET). Bottom left: Burning Sniper (CoD2), Mikk (CoD2), Blakz (CoD2), Minu (CoD2), Sniperboy (CoD2), AnGrA (CoD2).

Wrapping Up MESF COD:MW EEG 3.0 - Black Claw Takes The Cup

At the time that this article is being written, the trophy has already been handed out, the MVP has been crowned, and losers are packing up and getting ready to head home. The thing is that no one expected these teams to look so dominant, especially against the high tier competition. Black Claw Clawing Their Way to Finals In group stages, we saw Black Claw play xLynx and Luxor, and they 2-0’d both of them like it was a walk in the park, which is definitely a far cry from how they looked in the seeding tournament, getting 3-0’d by Luxor in the first round. Right off the bat in the bracket stage, we saw Black Claw play FTW, which later turned out to be the grand finals matchup. Here, Black Claw outclassed FTW, even 6-0’ing them on the 2nd map, Search and Destroy on Gun Runner. From here Black Claw moved up to play Electrify, who won the seeding tournament and that had been looking pretty good in the group stages. Black Claw managed to squeak out a win against Electrify in a match that went all five maps. Once I saw Black Claw beat Eternal, I knew that they had an excellent chance to make it all the way. Next up in the semi-finals was ETERNAL, the team that had come in second in the seeding tournament. Black Claw put on a clinic however, and 3-0’d this team as well. It looked like they would easily stroll through the finals and come out on the other side champions. FTW Finding the Wins FTW had a much, much more gruelling time making it to the finals. After losing to Black Claw in the semi-finals, this sent them to the losers bracket where the only way they could possibly come back to the finals was if they won out. And they did. First beating TSU in a 2-0 sweep, they made it through round 2. Stomping Obtained in Losers Round 3 kept them alive moving into Round 4, where they played Raven, eventually beating them. At this point in the tournament, they were forced to play Electrify, who after losing to Black Claw had come down to the losers bracket to make another attempt at the finals. I could not believe my eyes, but lo and behold I watched FTW beat Electrify in a match that ended up being 2-1. After playing Electrify, it was not long until they had to play Eternal, who After losing to Black Claw was forced to play FTW to see who was going to go to the main stage to play in the Grand Finals. After coming off a relatively close victory against Electrify, I was sure that FTW was going to lose. But then they didn’t. In a best of five, FTW led the charge winning the match 3-0. They were going to get a chance to return to the finals and play Black Claw, who had sent them to the losers bracket in the first place. The Comeback That Almost Was Right off the bat in the finals, it is a Gun Runner Hardpoint. The first half had Black Claw and FTW evenly trading kills and keeping the game close. In the second half of the match, FTW walked away with it, eventually winning the map 156-250 I believe. The second map was a Search and Destroy on Hackney Yard. FTW must have gotten flashbacks to playing Search and Destroy against Black Claw earlier. After FTW struggled to gain momentum and win multiple rounds in succession, Black Claw claimed the map for themselves in a score that ended in 6-2. So now the series was tied at 1-1. It could have gone either way at that point, both teams are playing relatively well, but also are making some trivial mistakes. Map 4 took us to a Domination on Gun Runner where Black Claw eventually locked down spawns and kept FTW from taking the map. Up until this point in the tournament, we had not seen a Hardpoint game played on Ramaza. This entire game was led by Black Claw, who was not letting up on FTW. Black Claw was doing everything right. They were rotating effectively when the hardpoint was about to change, making good use of the scrap time that they had in between hills. We get down to the wire, and I believe the score was roughly around 220-240, in Black Claw’s favour. The stone bridge Hardpoint was next, and easily enough, it falls under Black Claw’s control. The seconds count down, but just before Black Claw officially ends the game (I might add that the casters were already congratulating Black Claw on winning the whole tournament at this time), FTW sneaks on the objective to contest it and keep Black Claw from ending the game. TWO points before a win FTW manages to kill every last Black Claw member on the objective and then proceed to lock down the Hardpoint winning the game 248-250. Absolutely phenomenal gameplay by FTW in a comeback that I did not think that they had in them. Now the series was tied 2-2, and we only had one map left for Black Claw to win. If you are unfamiliar with how tournaments like this work, the team that comes from the losers bracket has to win the FIRST bracket, which then ‘resets’ the bracket, where either team could at that point, win the tournament. Map 5 takes us to Gun Runner for another Search and Destroy. If you were watching earlier, you know that Black Claw 6-0’d FTW in this exact same map in this exact same mode. Now, however, FTW had learned from a few of their mistakes and gave Black Claw a run for their money. After FTW took the first round, Black Claw would take the second. The same thing happened in the third and fourth round. In round 5 Black Claw managed to pull off the win, giving them the lead. FTW answered by taking the next two. Black Claw retaliated by taking the two after that. It was this constant back and forth slugfest that leaves you confused as to who is actually going to win. It was perfect. Round 10, Championship point for Black Claw. If FTW loses this, all the hard work that they put in means nothing, and they walk away from the tournament. FTW actually pulls off this round evening up the score to 5-5. It was fantastic, it was electric, I had adrenaline going and I’m 5,000 miles away on a different continent. Round 11 though, goes to Black Claw. After all of the struggle that FTW endured, they were cut short by one Search and Destroy round. To the Victor the Spoils Congratulations to Black Claw for taking home the trophy and winning EEG 3.0! They outplayed every opponent against them, and never lost a match. Congratulations to FTW, as well, for spitting in the face of adversity and clawing their way back to the finals from the losers bracket. FTW played the hell out of some of those games, but at the end of the finals, you could tell that they were worn out from having to perform at their highest level. Excellent Tournament, thank you to EEG and all of the sponsors that funded this event. Yes, there were some issues but the organizers did a very good job at smoothing those over and keeping the tournament going. I can’t wait for EEG 4.0! Article by Colton House - @coltiiii

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