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Overwatch World Cup Details

Excitement builds as days fall like leaves until the Overwatch World Cup commences for 2017. The earliest matches, of Groups A and B, start July 13 and finish two days later. These groups go all the way to letter H, so here’s a concise list of each member in every group accompanied by their dates of action. Group A; Hong Kong, China, Norway and Romania – July 13 to 15 Group B; Denmark, Thailand, Argentina and France – July 13 to 15 Group C; Sweden, Australia, Italy and Portugal – July 20 to 22 Group D; Finland, Japan, Spain and Vietnam – July 20 to 22 Group E; South Korea, Netherlands, Poland and Austria – August 4 to 6 Group F; Canada, Russia, Singapore and Turkey – August 4 to 6 Group G; United States, Taiwan, Brazil and New Zealand – August 11 to 13 Group H; United Kingdom, Germany, Israel and Belgium -  August 11 to 13 Tickets will be available to support one’s country at the multitude of global venues. Line-ups are settled, but wouldn’t fit into a little article as such. For more details on individual rosters visit; https://worldcup.playoverwatch.com/en-us/#group-stage. Don’t miss the Overwatch World Cup Finals to occur from November 3rd to 4th after groups are settled. Three top countries are South Korea (last year’s champions), United States and France. Yet, France has an advantage no other team has; a deep chemistry due to the fact that every player was taken from the same team, Rogue. Anyhow, it’s absolutely amazing to see a gathering of 32 countries battle it out to resemble well known tournaments such as the World Cup of football. Personally, I commend Blizzard on taking the initiative again to create an intense global event – players will become adjourned to no longer just competing for prize money, but for pride, for their country. Overwatch has brought 32 countries together; hopefully, we could see replicated tournaments for many other titles in the years to come. That would certainly help esports grow in popularity on a global scale just like last year’s event.

Nvidia Graphics Card Prices Increasing

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank; that is the definition offered by Google for those unaware. Cryptocurrency in itself is harmless and doesn’t entail illegality, yet certain actions utilising it may. Mining of such currency is an example, which has led to installing fear in manufacturers who are becoming exploited. The AMD Radeon RX 580 and 570, in result to this cryptocurrency mining, have proven to be quite scarce and disgustingly overpriced. The community is able to pin the blame on this action due to AMD stating it themselves. Somewhat rivals of AMD, Nvidia were initially safe, but recent trends in price increase allows us to question- is it due to the same mining? Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 1060 and 1070 cards are very popular GPUs and pack a lot of power, a price jump was easily noticed. A source on Reddit recognised that a 1060 card was first $210, $246 the next day, and $280 the other. After much research, the user’s claims were proven as fact. Globally, whichever seller you choose, Nivida’s 1060 and 1070 cards have become more expensive, maybe to try countering the mining profits. We can only guess at this point in time, with a statement from Nvidia to truly confirm the thought. What we can be sure of, however, is that newer hashing algorithms have been released and cryptocurrency companies such as Bitcoin are thriving and topping charts. If you’re looking for a powerful GPU for the best price; I wouldn’t hesitate much longer. At this rate, prices may keep building until the 1060 and 1070 cards start to become scarce. Damn cryptocurrency mining and its destroying effect, hopefully Nvidia will put a stop to this for the benefit of everyone.

Luminosity Win CWL : Anaheim

Luminosity Gaming is a major esports organisation which is respected across many titles and platforms. As Call of Duty began to peak in attendance, LG made their way in; hungry for victory. Yet, when entering in November 2015, they didn’t know that a couple years of elusion and disappointments would come their way first. Finally, as of yesterday, LG have won a championship, namely CWL Anaheim last Sunday. Entering Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, a huge roster change happened and left many curious to what this new team could accomplish. Players ‘NAMELESS’, ‘SpaceLy’ and StuDyy’ left and were replaced by ‘Classic, ‘Octane’ and ‘Slacked’. Everyone would admit that LG had some serious potential for the year. After being denied the trophy at the CWL Stage 1 Global Pro League by Splyce, they would return the favour at CWL Anaheim. Last Sunday’s grand final, if you haven’t figured it out, was between Splyce and Luminosity Gaming. Splyce had fought through a tough loser bracket and would need two wins to claim victory. Many doubted this would happen with LG’s recent form, defeating favourites Optic Gaming yet again and simply not losing in brackets. Everyone will agree, however, that it was an insane match- up. The first map, Scorch Hardpoint, witnessed jaw-dropping plays with a final score of 249-250; a hyped victory for Splyce. LG would remain calm and snatch the SND on Crusher in a 6-4 fashion. Going into Uplink, LG were the favourites being one of the best uplink teams in the game and not surprisingly, hammered Splyce with an 11-5 scoreline; all the momentum from the first map was gone. Sealing the deal was the second hardpoint, on Retaliation which saw yet another nail-biter closing at 250 to 245. Thus, $80,000 of prize money went the way of Luminosity Gaming and the MVP was respectably given to Octane. The 19 year old impressed and has shown that this is his game. The squad’s integrity will be tested on June 30 th , at second season of the CWL Global Pro League.

Tencent planning to pump $15 billion into esports

Eastern esports is well-known to be relished by governments due to its popularity and growing market. Many companies understand the potential future of esports in the area. Tencent, a chinese gaming company, however, has revealed a plan to accelerate this expansion drastically. The $14.6 billion scheme consists of creating leagues, tournaments, associations and focusing on local talent. Also , perhaps influenced by the recently shown Bethesdaland, esports-themed parks are also planned to pop up across China. The announcement reached the media last week. Overwhelmed market researchers, who estimated a 1 billion dollar increase up to 2019, have foretold that such a soak up of funds will have uncontrolled prosperity. Yet, Tencent probably know something that other companies don’t. Being probably the most gaming involved organisation, through full property of Riot Games, a piece of Activision Blizzard and 84 percent of Supercell with a couple other super agreements. Gao Li is one of the minds behind the plan, as Tencent’s esports section and confidently remarked that there is expansive space for esports revenue to grow; there better be when you wish to invest $15 billion in it. Everything is pointing towards the actualisation of the intention, with multiple agreements between Tencent and the Chinese government and other massive Chinese companies. China is preparing itself for the rapid bacterial surge to come from heavy investment. On the other hand, others are intercepting this expansion, such as Western esports organisations who wish to join the party. An example is Fnatic, which has carefully chosen a partner to benefit from the Asian gaming industry. Tencent could potentially change the esports scene on a global scale, and who knows, perhaps we will finally witness esports as a medal event at the Olympic Events, not just at the Asian Games.

Virtus.Pro Victorious at Adrenaline Cyber League

This year’s Adrenaline Cyber League, located in Moscow at the VTB Ice Palace, was an event to look out for and didn’t disappoint. 4 teams made up the competition at the major event, all of which were invited; Virtus.pro, Natus Vincere, FlipSid3 Tactics and Hell Raisers. With such a small pool of teams, and a total prize money of $100,000, each game was literally a few thousand dollars worth of CS:GO. Without any double-elimination, HellRaisers and FlipSid3 Tactics were quickly beaten and left with a bottom two finish. Thus, Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro immediately landed into the final to battle it out for $40,000 dollars. VP got off to a promising start in the best of three, seizing Nuke in style with a 16-2 scoreline. The second map, Train, was incredibly back and forth with no clear winner until the very end resulting in a 20-22 scoreline for Natus Vincere. Game three would decide the winner, and if you’ve read the title, wha comes up next it no surprise. Virtus.pro take home the $65,000 prize money after a 16-8 score. Playing just a couple of games has allowed VP to leave that much richer; with a roster consisting of ‘TaZ, ‘NEO’, ‘pasha’, ‘Snax’, ‘byali’ and coach ‘kuben’. Short tournaments with a mere 4 teams are a refreshing experience for many. Although, some may prefer longer events based on longer life-spans and a few more games. Yet, tiny tournaments like this drastically increase pressure, with no space for error since one loss sends you home. It would be preferred if teams can qualify instead of being invited, but it’s nothing we can change. Nonetheless, it was a tight tournament consisting of uncomfortable amounts of tension which was a delight for all viewers, who probably barely had any fingernails left to bite by the end of it all.

Ozone Strike Pro Spectra Review

Towards the expensive end of the keyboard spectrum, one expects a solid build, great functionality, RGB lighting and a tool perfect to virtually reap the souls of enemies. Costing approximately €150, what does the Ozone Strike Pro Spectra pack that deserves the emptying of wallets? Let’s find out. After opening the packaging and analysing the manual, extra rubber feet, CD driver and the sticker, picking up the keyboard is all that’s left to do. At 1.3 kg, the Strike Pro Spectra is a sturdy keyboard with an expected thickness that rewards the owner a flex less experience. Placing it down onto a desk, an experienced gamer will be pleasantly surprised with a subtle look. No ‘gamer’ colours which resemble a child’s imagination, but a matte black finish punctuated with a unique font mixed with capitalised and non-capitalised letters. This keyboard is definitely usable in a serious environment such as work, as the font does not wish to eat you alive, which is already a unique quality for such a product. The soft touch feel on the surface is created by a soft layer of rubber and feels lush. On the underside of the keyboard lie 4 frontal rubber feet, all replaceable and a couple of retractable ones at the head to possibly add some angle. Between the retractable legs are three channels for the wire to pass through to facilitate wire management. Speaking about the wire, it’s a lovely thick and braided cable with 4 ends, a couple USB 2.0s with a microphone and headphone input to allow use of I/O at the top-right of the keyboard. All connections are gold-plated to ensure the fastest transactions of information. Without connecting anything, a positive impression can easily be induced from a sleek and minimalistic look. Yet, looks may be deceiving. What is it like to use the Strike Pro Spectra? Pretty great for the most part is a concise answer. On this keyboard, there is the choice of purchasing MX Cherry Red, Blue, Brown or Black switches. An element of choice is always pleasant to see. Paired with whatever switch you choose is the narrow wrist rest. Unlike other high-end keyboards with cushions is the rubbery plastic. Of course, the rest does offer support and a surface to rest palms, yet there are a few negatives. First of all, such a material does tend to make hands sweat easily and the finish attracts dust and oils. It’s comfortable, but not for extra-long gaming sessions, when things may start to get messy. Also, it’s much advised to not raise keyboard using the stands as the mentioned thickness will result in wrist aches. Always use flat unless one has a wrist cushion to raise hands. Apart from the rest, the typing experience is affected by other details. Anti-ghosting of 104 keys is a welcome addition which helps deliver each press and the surface of the keys is a standard plastic concave dome which gets the job done. At first, the top row of keys may seem confusing; with macros and RGB effects married to the function keys. After a while, it’s easily understood. Both shifts are present and the right Windows key is replaced by an Ozone button, whose function will be described later on. User experience is mainly positive with only minor drawbacks ruining the perfection. Yet, there are so many features to mention which definitely make these little flaws take a backseat. These features are what differentiate this keyboard from the original Strike Pro, bringing the whole spectrum of colours, hence the word ‘Spectra.’ Before using the full RGB 16.8 million colours, the driver must first be installed either using the internet or the given disk. The setup process is seamless and over quickly, with a required restart before the fun may begin. Lighting effects consist of ripple, static, breathe, wave, ripple, reactive and custom modes at three levels of brightness. The software is extremely user-friendly and I find it to be in direct competition with Razer and Corsair in this dimension. Colours are rich, saturated and bright. An Ozone button may be used to change these effects on the go, using the understandable symbols below the function keys. It should be mentioned that using lock keys, will prevent them from RGB colours due to a white backlight. Also, activating ‘game mode’ using this button will reduce response time and increase polling rate to ensure the fastest feedback when it’s most important. Keyboard layout may also be customised in the software. However, creating Macros will need a quick drive over a learning curve and there doesn’t seem to be a way to link to other Ozone peripherals. When mastering macro creation is complete, they may be saved onto the onboard memory so that they’re always there. With traditional and unique lighting effects, Ozone has created a keyboard bursting with effects. After a while, the novelty of the colours will wear off, but the quick ‘game mode’ switching will always excite gamers. It’s safe to say, that not many people talk about this keyboard, with popular brands such as Razer and Corsair blocking out the light. Yet, with a torch, one could discover such a treasure. At its price, bang in the middle between 100 and 200 euros, it’s perfect for those who want to purchase a fancy keyboard with effects but wouldn’t mind saving a bit of cash. The Ozone Strike Pro Spectra is definitely a piece of hardware to look out for, and if one could grab a cushion rest, this is possibly the best keyboard available for the price. Who it’s for: Gamers looking for high-end performance at lower price RGB enthusiasts Those looking for a mechanical solution for work and play Gamers who want accessible usb with mic, headphones ports Those looking for a slim and minimalistic look without sacrificing spacing Persons who need a sturdy build quality to last Who it’s not for: Gamers without a budget looking for the most popular brands Gamers with a tight budget Easily confused persons Those looking for a metal build Those who want to connect all peripherals with the same software Get yours now from The Gamers Lounge : http://shop.gamers.com.mt/product/365/ozone-strike-spectra-mechanical- keyboard  

Crowd Ghosting at ESL Season 5 Finals

The intense showdown at the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals was extremely competitive and recited the tale of the humble destroying the proud. A heated crowd was rather over-board and quickly favoured G2 Esports against the previously overconfident North squad. So much so, that little cheers of encouragement met North and the crowd settled to ghost all tactics so that G2 Esports would recognise patterns and strategies. This notice has definitely nullified the French side’s victory and has highlighted the need for change. ESL has always tried its utmost to ensure a focused environment for the professional competitors by offering passive noise-suppression headsets, ensuring proper team speech clarity and destroying ambient noise. Many are those who shun these attempts and suggest sound-proof booths, so that such a heinous act of cheating will never happen again. Of course, G2 Esports is not to blame, it’s not like the team asked fans to ghost but the fault lies in the crowd and North for not reporting the call-outs. This has been a unique occurrence, if it weren’t, ESL would’ve been more prepared. Yet, the reaction of the people is quite understandable, they simply shouted what everyone had on their minds; victory for the humble. Nonetheless, it is unacceptable. Being the enthusiastic and caring organisation that it is, ESL has tirelessly been searching for a social which is neither too drastic nor passive. Initial ideas include banning certain misbehaving spectators, to deter further breach of ethics or the sound systems may be improved to further eliminate surrounding sound. ESL are strongly against the thought of soundproof booths; Soundproof booths do offer a solution for sound damping, but this in turn also dampens the energy of a LAN tournament and disconnects the players from the crowd, which is a critical dynamic for an engaging and exciting high-level sporting event. The feedback from players at events like IEM Katowice is testament to our current solution going in the right direction. ESL do make a righteous point; for if you think about it, LAN events aren’t there just for the connection but for the fans to attend and connect with their favourite professionals. However, there is also the equally relevant argument that the crowd and gamers were never that connected anyway, with a glass booth always in between. Yet if one thinks about it, playing for high stakes with thousands of people roaring with excitement is an experience most professionals in the community thirst for, isn’t it? At the moment, ideas and initiatives are being considered to satisfy all players and spectators. Even though we may choose a side, as a community, we should always respect teams who fly out for our entertainment.

South Korean Government Bans Boosting

A government, being that of South Korea, has seen it fit to punish boosting through judiciary procedures. Invern, a Korean news website, has covered all the details and announced the terrifying news to nay boosters in the area. This comes to show how seriously esports is taken in this part of the world. So much so, that any criminals caught in the act of boosting may be tossed into jail for a couple of years and made to pay $18,000 worth of Korean currency. The law is to be an addition to the Game Industry Promotion Act, protecting esports and making it more sustainable. What does make me curious is, will someone still be prosecuted if he/she bought the boost? There is no mention of punishing this criterion of persons. Illegal hacks, illegal private servers, and professional boosters are the three main factors that plague games and esports. We will now protect the game industry and the esports system through amendment of the game law.  Words from a representative of the South Korean National Assembly. In the past, suing and bringing down organisations that encourage boosting was no easy feat. Yet, now that it is known as illegal by law, everything just got that much easier. The bill, if passed, will certainly pave the way into a modern, cleaner esports industry with authenticity being an essential value. Although this remains a possibility for now, it could potentially be the beginning of a chain reaction which could change the future of esports for the better.

Twitch Drops Scheme

Publisher Bethesda has recently revealed a new idea directed to heighten presence on the popular streaming website, Twitch. To do so, it has considered the Twitch Drops plan, a simple yet effective idea. The basics imply that after linking one’s Twitch and Bethesda accounts, streaming or watching a Bethesda game on the streaming website will result in being rewarded.  Such an incentive based plot was concluded from a statement from Bethesda; Free stuff in the Bethesda games they’re already playing, just by streaming or viewing a stream for that game on Twitch. Although the incentive may not be monetary based, it is still quite persuasive.      Imagine that simply streaming any Bethesda game, such as The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 4, Prey and many other titles will grant free in-game bonuses. No matter how large the audience watching the stream, or whom one watches; the benefits seem to be universal for any participants.  Such a concept is an intuitive way of actively increasing a game’s popularity, growing a fan base and creating communities based on titles. Bethesda is recognising patterns and has interpreted them, understanding that awareness and acclaim is vital to keep the community nourished and a title fresh.      I wouldn’t be surprised to witness other publishers following in the footsteps of Bethesda, such as EA and Activision, since Twitch has been undeniably booming lately.  Read Bethesda’s announcement here; https://bethesda.net/en/article/5u6EjT9da8mIIeAao6Asu4/introducing-twitch-drops

For Honor Flops Hard!

‘No Man’s Sky’ is a game that everyone remembers from last year, for all the wrong reasons. A title that came crashing down to its knees, disappointing all hyped fans and destroying the publisher’s reputation. Many poorly supported games will carry out the same livelihood; a 2017 sample being ‘For Honor’ which was successfully released in February. This being the only mere success it ever had. Nevertheless, the developers have just released its first piece of DLC, to the 5 % of remaining players. Yes, which means that a staggering 95% of players have given up on Steam, worse than the previous record held by The Division, also published by Ubisoft. I could recall so easily, as if it were yesterday, the immense enthusiasm behind the game, youtubers playing pre-alphas and so much community hype present. Almost parallel to No Man’s Sky. For Honor’s fall is due to many reasons, some of which are common to all failing titles. First of all, being published by Ubisoft, notoriously terrible servers haunted players and practically eliminated online play out of the picture. Then comes the gameplay, it’s safe to say there is originality, but after the 30 th duel it boils down to a very repetitive experience. Not much content was available to play, everything built on the exhausted combat system stitched into the poor campaign and mulitplayer. Also, there have been many complaints regarding dismal optimisation for PC, yet only PC gamers experienced that problem. To summarise, For Honor had a great concept, which everyone was on board with, but was executed imperfectly. Games such as For Honor are useful though, every year these games continuously remind consumers that even though it may sound fantastic; delivery is everything. So in a weird way, let us be grateful for terrible and over-hyped games.

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