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Posts with tag tournaments

A chat with Check Six, WoW Arena team

The official Microsoft Sync blog (apparently the blog isn't official -- they fooled me) has posted a video interview (which you can see above) with Check Six, one of the high level World of Warcraft Arena teams showing up in tournaments lately. The video is somewhat tame, but that actually works in its favor -- this high-level Arena play can be complicated and hard to follow, and so simplifying it a little bit actually makes it more palatable. You high level Arena players won't get to hear their opinions on the latest builds or balance tweaks, unfortunately (for that, you can check out our Coliseum column), but the rest of us can at least put some faces to one of these team names floating around, and hear a little bit more about how these guys run these tournaments.

They've been playing together for about two or three months, and they practice quite a bit: together, they do about ten or twelve hours a week, but I'd assume they play outside of the team as well. They say that WoW has a pretty "easy skill cap to reach," but after that, it's a matter of getting the right team members together, because they say teamwork is more important in Arenas than even a game like Counter-Strike ("CS"). And they kind of surprised me with how young they are -- it's a big deal to go running around the world and playing in tournaments when you're probably dealing with school and an early career at the same time. It's not the most well produced Arena interview you'll ever see, but I liked the frank look at the guys and what they're like away from their computers.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Interviews, Arena, Rumors

Battle and victory at the TCG and minis World Championships


Upper Deck held the WoW TCG and Minis world championships in Austin, Texas as planned this past weekend, and they've got all the results and news up on their website now if you're interested. Billy Postlethwait, above, won the Darkmoon Faire in Columbus, Ohio to gain entry to the championships, and after going into the finals 0 and 2, won three games to win the whole shebang outright. Apparently mages were the class to play in the Trading Card Game: six of the top 8 players were playing that class.

In the minis tournament, Derek Richardson emerged victorious, with a group lead by none other than Jaina Proudmoore (with two NE hunters in for backup). All told, the event sounds like a lot of fun, and you can check out Upper Deck's official site for all of the coverage, including interviews with the players, photos of the action, and wrapups of the gameplay. Stay tuned for more news from next year's TCG and minis circuits as well.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Odds and ends, WoW TCG

World of Warcraft TCG and Minis World Championships this weekend in Austin, TX


Upper Deck has announced that the 2009 World Championships for both the WoW Trading Card Game and Miniatures games will be taking place in a public event this weekend, October 9-11, 2009, in Austin, Texas. They'll be at the Austin Convention Center, and of course there will be the world championship tournaments for both games, offering up to $300,000 in cash and prizes total, including $50,000 for the winner of the World Championships for the TCG, including a Spectral Tiger Loot card as well as the chance to get immortalized in a future card release.

And even if you're not a championship player, you can still go see the games, and even play in some of your own -- they'll have tournaments and events for players of all levels all weekend long, some with pretty cool prizes. And you can win just by walking in the door, as they'll be giving away door prizes all weekend as well. The event is free -- it kicks off Thursday morning, and goes all the way until Sunday night (you can download schedules for both games over on the website). Should be fun -- if you go, make sure to take some pictures and let us know what you think.

Filed under: Events, News items, Contests, WoW TCG

Blizzard streaming BlizzCon tournaments for free, in HD


Blizzard has announced that they're streaming most of the tournaments at BlizzCon this year yet again -- even if you don't sign up to the DirecTV feed, you can still watch most of the Arena, Starcraft, and Warcraft III matchups online on the BlizzCon site. And this year, for the first time, you'll be able to watch them in full HD quality (assuming that your connection can hold up). There will be one full stream dedicated to Arena matches, and one stream split between Warcraft III and Starcraft tournament coverage.

And what you see should be some of the best players in the world -- all of the qualifiers from North America, Korea, Europe, and Taiwan will be in attendance to vy for the top spot and the $25,000 per-player prize. The stream will be running both days of BlizzCon, coming up in just a few weeks on August 21st and 22nd.

[via Starcraft.org]

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Arena

BlizzCon live stream order page up


Didn't get your tickets for BlizzCon? Planning to pick up the Internet stream instead, because you don't have DirecTV at home? Now's your chance -- the page has appeared to order up the official livestream in HD video straight from the conference. For $39.95, you get over 16 hours of video from the convention floor, as well as all the main stage presentations, tournament coverage, and even the Grunty the Murloc Space Marine pet. There's more answers over on their FAQ page if you have more questions.

The video streaming as a test on the page suggests that both Level 80 Tauren Chieftain will be playing and Jay Mohr will be hosting again, though that video is likely from last year, and not necessarily indicative of this year's show. It looks like the HQ stream will also require you to install the RayV player, while the lower quality stream will likely be available just through Flash. You can also keep in mind that though this is probably an excellent deal (especially if you want that pet -- I know many people will pick up the package for that code alone), there will be no shortage of information from BlizzCon for sure, as we'll have plenty to go around as well. But if you were planning on picking up the Internet stream, order on up.
BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Economy, BlizzCon

Blizzard fills out the BlizzCon site

We covered the ticket FAQ for BlizzCon a few days ago, but there is more news up on Blizzard's official site about the event we all want to attend later this year. They've got an early list of developer panels to browse through, and there are sessions planned, as you'd expect, for Diablo III, Starcraft II, and World of Warcraft (though there aren't any surprises -- if they are going to do a "next expansion" demo panel, obviously we won't know until we look in the programs that weekend). Zarhym has also posted links to the usual contests, tournaments, and information on how to order up the DirecTV coverage.

Unfortunately, it's all pretty rote -- these are basically skeleton pages from what Blizzard did last year, and there's no actual information specific to BlizzCon '09: what the DirecTV purchase might get you, or any new events coming up. But if you haven't been to BlizzCon before, these pages will start giving you some idea of what you'll find there, from the lore and art panels (hint: any panel called "lore" usually has Chris Metzen being extremely entertaining, and any panel with "PvP" in the title will involve people asking question after question to the devs about why one class -- usually Paladins -- is over- or underpowered) to the ongoing competitions you'll see around the event all weekend.

And heck, if you have been to BlizzCon before, maybe these scant notes on what is happening will get you even more excited. Ticket sales begin next weekend -- good luck to everyone trying to buy.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Contests, BlizzCon

Beyond the Game examines the lives of Warcraft III players

This isn't about World of Warcraft, but it will be familiar to some of you who spent hours building up bases and creating Spirit Towers. Beyond the Game is a new documentary from the Netherlands about two world-famous Warcraft III players and how the game has affected their lives and the people around them. It looks intriguing -- having been to a few gaming tournaments and interviewed a few of the top players myself, I agree that these guys are living some really strange lives. Even if you're not a Warcraft III player, this kind of esports is getting more and more popular around the world (from the old Counterstrike to WoW's Arenas, of course), and even though it hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet, more and more players are finding this kind of existence.

The film is set to be released in parts of the EU mid-March, and is being shown at a few gaming tournaments in various places around the world. There's no word on a US or DVD release yet, but we'll keep an eye out for it.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, PvP, Interviews, Fan art, Battlegrounds, Arena

This is your brain on PvP

Ars Technica has news of a new study that isn't directly World of Warcraft-related, but that does have some pretty obvious applications in Azeroth. By studying the way we play when we believe we're competing against a human and a computer opponent (PvP vs. PvE, in WoW terms), scientists have determined that different parts of the brain are more active when we think we're playing against a human opponent. They call this extra activity "mind-reading," but it's not that supernatural: when we think we're playing a human, we try to put ourselves in their place, and think what they're thinking.

It gets deeper: they even throw gender into the mix, and discovered that male brains seem to be working harder to do this kind of "mind-reading" of the other side. Their conclusion says that that's because women are naturally more empathetic, and thus don't have to work as hard to figure out what another person is thinking. That seems a little general -- it could also mean that the males care more about competition, and thus are working harder to "mind-read," or it could even just be a wrinkle of the way this data was gathered. More research is probably needed on that one -- if women are so great at figuring out their opponents, why aren't we seeing all-female teams winning Arena tournaments?

It would be interesting to know, too, whether there's increased activity in other areas, say pattern recognition or cause-effect centers of the brain, when we're playing against opponents that we know are computers. But this does tell us that there are definitely different skillsets at work when playing PvP or PvE, and why some people might very clearly enjoy one over the other.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, PvP, Raiding, Arena

Upper Deck Day coming February 7-8, 2009


Our good friends at Upper Deck have announced a day of tournaments, demos, and giveaways at a hobby store near you. Upper Deck Day is being held February 7-8, 2009, and the event will feature a WoW TCG beginner's tournament, as well as on-site demos of the new WoW minis game. If you've never played either of these games, this is the perfect chance to check them out -- mark your calendars now, and bring a friend to check out the other ways to play World of Warcraft.

They haven't yet released the list of locations for the event, but Upper Deck tends to use the same places most every time, so if they've held a previous event at a store near you, odds are that they'll be there again. Actually collecting both of these games can get pricey (and let's face it, is really only fun if you've got a friend or two to play with often), but that's what makes these events so perfect -- you can get a taste of what the games are like without having to break the piggy bank to pick up all the little doodads.

And as always, if you go, be sure to snap some pictures and send them to us. We're always interested in what players of the offline World of Warcraft games are up to as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW TCG

Arena tourneys need more Blizzard support?

Here's an interesting post on GotGame that sounds different from almost everything we've heard about professional Arena tourneys and Blizzard so far. Whenever we've talked to anyone involved with Arena tournaments, they've always told us Blizzard is very supportive of the events. But this post alleges otherwise -- they say that Blizzard is falling short of professional Arena support.

There are two main complaints: first, that Blizzard doesn't supply any onsite Arena servers. We know this is true -- Blizzard has event servers that they use for events like this, kept offsite so they don't have to set them up all the time. But GotGame claims that this causes problems -- as much as 300+ ping, which in the quick world of Arena matches, is practically unplayable. We're not sure why Blizzard doesn't allow setups on site, but that seems like a reasonable step to take if they're serious about making professional Arena big.

The second is a little tougher: this post claims that Blizzard has brought the pro Arena servers up to the Season 4 patch, but locked the gear down at Season 2. Our own Zach Yonzon says he's not sure where the Arenas are -- he doesn't believe that official Arena matches are underway after Wrath yet, and if that's true, then Blizzard may already be updating this (bringing the gear on the realms up to level 80 levels to match the talents). But either way, it's strange to hear someone say that Blizzard isn't supporting professional Arena matches correctly. You'd think that if they were as into supporting WoW as an e-sport as they say, that they'd address some of these concerns.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Contests, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

15 Minutes of Fame: e-sportscaster tracks WoW tournies


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

First off, let's establish this for the record: yes, there are people out there who play World of Warcraft professionally. There are pro teams, well known player personalities and an entire tournament scene. And behind it all, there are podcasters – "e-casters" – reporting on every twist and turn.

Meet JP McDaniel, a 22-year-old college journalism major and podcaster for ArenaCast. JP has combined the game he loves with school and work in what he hopes will be a springboard to a print journalism career in gaming. He's managed to roll his main up to 80 in the midst of podcasting, news updates, tournament travel and his studies. We talked with JP about his road into e-casting and his perspectives on where e-sports -- and competitive WoW, in particular -- are heading.

Read more →

Filed under: Podcasting, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

CGS opens registration to the public

The Championship Gaming Series, which is having its second-annual WoW competition this year, has just announced that they are opening registration to the public! Previously, the tournament was invitation-only from the top-rated 1000 Arena teams.

The tournament will be 3v3, played on special tournament realms, just like Blizzard's own tourney. The qualifier rounds start on this coming Monday, June 9th, and run through the 22nd, and the top two teams in the qualifiers from each region, North America and Europe, will be flown out to Los Angeles for the final competition, live on July 19th. The cash money totals to $50,000, with the winning team taking home $25,000, the second-place team $12,500, and the third- and fourth-place teams $6,250 each.

If you are interested in registering, which is free, do it by June 8th, since that's when registration closes. You have to be 18 or over and a resident of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Belgium or United Kingdom to compete. Here are the registration links for the different regions: Europe, North America. For more on the CGS tournament see their rules and FAQ.

Filed under: News items, Arena

Blood Sport: Tournament Time


V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed has been bound with copious amounts of duct tape and is currently suspended by his toenails in the basement of the WoW Insider headquarters where he is currently serving as a practice piñata for the rest of the crew. Amanda Dean has temporarily hijacked his column to bring you this important announcement.

The servers are live and Blizzard's $120,000 arena tournament has begun. This is your chance to prove that your team is the best in the world, or at least among eligible participants. The first two qualifying rounds are divided into Asian, European and North American Regions.* You have to place among the top four teams in one of these rounds to qualify for the big bucks. Before you sign up, be sure to check out the official tournament rules.

Players must have their accounts upgraded to tournament status in order to view the tournament realms. Entrance into each of the qualifying rounds will run individual participants $20 USD. Qualifiers run from March 31-May 20, 2008 to June 3-July 15, 2008. Players may use user interface modifications in the qualifying rounds, but will be limited to the default UI and custom macros in the live stages of the tournament.

Read more →

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, PvP, Contests, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Blizzard working with ESL on offline tourneys


Lots of people (including MMO Champion) reported over the weekend that according to this interview with David "Shawn" K of the Electronic Sports League, Blizzard is lending their support to get offline tournaments up and running. Blizzard apparently gave ESL a special event realm to run their tournaments in (Upper Deck has also used an event realm to run online tournaments and instances at their TCG events), accounts on those servers with tons of gold and PvP gear per player, and has also implemented special UI modifications for observers.

Interesting. So it seems that the ESL might be stepping up to fill in the space that the WSVG abandoned when they fell apart. In our interview with then-WSVG president Matt Ringel, he also mentioned that they were getting support from Blizzard in the form of special realms and UI mods. So it looks like ESL is now benefiting from the work Blizzard did there.

Of course, the other question we have about these types of updates is when, if ever, they'll be placed in player hands as well. Players have wanted an observation system for PvP, especially in the Arenas, for a long time, and it's not a stretch to think that if Blizzard is developing tools for professional tournaments, they might also have a plan to get those tools into player hands in some form. But even if we don't see them in the game for a long time, it's good to know that tournament development on Blizzard's end didn't die off completely with the WSVG.

Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Contests, Arena

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