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eSports

ESL Pro League Leads Online Esports Weekend – Top Twitch Channels, March 16 – 22

With most major esports leagues either postponed or moved online, the ESL Pro League lead the week in viewership.

Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar continues his streak as the top individual streamer for a fourth consecutive week.

Former top streamer contender Turner “Tfue” Tenney returns to the Top 10.

The following content is ranked according to the total number of hours watched on Twitch from Monday to the following Sunday.

Professional Stay at Home Gamer

The mass quarantines and event cancellations brought on by the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) put esports tournament organizers and league operators into a scramble to get their events back up and running online as quickly as possible. Last weekend saw the return of Europe and North America’s professional League of Legends leagues, as well as the continuation of the online-only version of the ESL Pro League.

Season 11 of the Counter-Strike competition led all channels this week, generating nearly 4M hours watched. Since the departure of the Overwatch League from the platform, and the separation of Riot Games’ various leagues into their own channels, it has been rare to see weekly league play top the Twitch charts, with the spot typically reserved for finals events and popular streamers during big content releases.

Summit1g’s Streak Continues

Lazar has been the number one individual streamer for four consecutive weeks, two of which saw him take the top spot overall. The former Counter-Strike pro has been the chief beneficiary of Call of Duty: Warzone’s popularity on Twitch. Out of the long line of new battle royale titles, only Fortnite has shown the resiliency to keep streamers at the top more than a month or two after release, but Lazar has been a Top 10 fixture for months without needing to rely on a single game to boost his numbers.

Lazar will likely see his numbers start to decline from the 2.38M hours watched he generated this week (whenever the release hype for Warzone inevitably dies down), but he will be positioned better than other top streamers of the title to ride this momentum into whatever the next big title might be.

The Prodigal Tfue Returns

Amidst various controversies and contract disputes, Tenney had taken a break from streaming beginning in late 2019. While he has been live most days during 2020 thus far, that drop in momentum combined with some reduced airtime kept Tenney away from the Top 10. 

In 2019, Tenney led all individual streamers by a wide margin, generating over 20M more hours watched than the second place streamer (88.11M to Lazar’s 63.16M). A slow start to 2020 makes a similar result somewhat difficult, but his return to the Top 10 is noteworthy, particularly with his highly public FaZe Clan lawsuit still lingering to generate headlines and publicity for his channel.

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Mobile

Pokemon Go's Lugia Raid Event Canceled, Cobalion Sticks Around A Bit Longer

[UPDATE] Developer Niantic has announced that the scheduled Pokemon Go Lugia Raid event has been canceled. The event was originally set to run from March 24-31. Niantic has not yet announced if the Lugia Raid event will be rescheduled; however, the developer is keeping Cobalion in the game as a Go Battle League reward encounter until March 31.

This is only the latest event to be suspended due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. March’s Community Day, which was originally slated for March 15, was similarly canceled, while the Safari Zone events scheduled to take place this month in St. Louis, Liverpool, and Philadelphia were postponed indefinitely.

Out of safety concerns, Niantic has made it easier to play Pokemon Go from home. The developer has increased daily bonuses and made other changes to the game, including increasing the number of gifts you can open each day and introducing 1 PokeCoin bundles to the in-game store. You can read more about these changes on the Pokemon Go website.

The original story follows.

Cobalion has once again left Pokemon Go, but another Legendary Pokemon is set to return to the game very soon. Lugia, the cover monster from Pokemon Silver, will reappear in Raid Battles for a limited time starting tomorrow, March 24, and this time around, it’ll know a special move.

You’ll be able to encounter Lugia in five-star Raids until 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET on March 31–the same time that Landorus is set to make its debut in Pokemon Go. Like Cobalion before it, Lugia knows a special event-exclusive move this time around: Aeroblast. Not only that, but you have a chance of encountering a Shiny Lugia as well.

If you can’t make it out to Raids, Niantic is offering another way to catch Lugia. The Legendary Pokemon will also be available as a Go Battle League reward encounter until March 31. You can read more details on the official Pokemon Go website.

As previously mentioned, immediately following Lugia’s departure, Landorus–the third and final member of the Forces of Nature trio–will make its debut in Pokemon Go. Landorus will be available until April 24. As with Lugia and Cobalion, you’ll be able to encounter the Legendary in Raids or as a Go Battle League reward.

In the meantime, the Mythical Pokemon Genesect is also still available in the game. You can catch the powerful Bug/Steel Pokemon through a Special Research story called A Drive to Investigate, which is underway until March 26. However, you need to purchase a virtual ticket to participate in the event. Genesect will also appear in EX Raids starting in April.

Pokemon Go News

  • Pokemon Go Adding Mythical Pokemon Genesect This Week As A Paid Event
  • Pokemon Go's Legendary Raid Weekend Events Are Being Extended
  • Pokemon Go Thundurus: Best Counters, Weaknesses, Go Battle League Reward, And Battling Tips
  • Pokemon Go March 2020 Field Research Tasks

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PC

Half-Life: Alyx includes a playable piano for relaxation

Half-Life: Alyx is out now, and critics are raving about its tense gameplay and excellent virtual reality controls. But AAA shooters — especially VR games — can’t just be one-note affairs. Players need some down time, and that’s likely why Valve has added an interactive musical instrument to the game. The playable piano even allows for five-fingered keystrokes if you have the right gear. You can watch a sample embedded below, and on Twitter.

The new VR-only title is a prequel to Half-Life 2 and tells the story of Alyx Vance’s journey to save her father, Eli, from the Combine in City 17. There’s lots of light gun-style gunplay, melee combat, and also some gravity-based shenanigans. And then there’s a piano.

Twitter user sadlando sat down for a respite to tap out “Ground Theme” from Super Mario Bros., and it sounds pretty good for being played from inside a head-mounted display. While not at all scripted in any way, the presence of a musical instrument calls to mind the inclusion of guitars in the otherwise dark and dreary Metro series. There’s also a famous Easter egg from BioShock Infinite where Booker DeWitt (Troy Baker) and Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper) take time out from their otherwise gruesome task for a haunting version of “Will the Circle be Unbroken.”

Half-life: Alyx is only available for Windows PC and requires a VR system to play.

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Vive Cosmos Elite

The Vive Cosmos Elite virtual reality system has the ability to go wireless — with a $350 upgrade.

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News

Humble Bundle Is Publishing 5 New Games In 2020

Following Humble Bundle’s announcement of new indie games in their brand-new series, The Humble Brag, the online gaming vendor has announced five new games releasing in 2020, with one launch only a couple of days from now. While not all titles have been listed with firm launch dates, the new partnership looks to bring games to both the PC and Nintendo Switch platforms.

One Step From Eden

Fans of strategic deck building and real-time action will have a great time checking out One Step From Eden, which blends rogue-like elements to fight alone or with a friend in co-op by casting powerful spells, deal with constantly evolving opponents, and collect game-changing artifacts, all in a Mega Man Battle Network combat system. It may be too early to call this a co-op Slay the Spire, but it sure does sound like it. The game will be releasing soon on March 26 for both PC and Nintendo Switch.

Players take control of Peony, a young magic user travelling a vibrant world of mystery and danger. By summoning allies, casting spells, and making friends along the way players will learn the secrets of the growing conflict between mankind and the magical beings known as fae. Fae Tactics will be releasing in the Spring of 2020 on both PC and Nintendo Switch.

Apart from these two games that had already been in the works for some time, The Humble Brag also introduces five new partnerships as well.

Wildfire

This creative title is a stealth game where everything burns, and the environment plays a key role in how the player works to rescue captive villagers and reclaim their home. Start fires, freeze water, and move earth to outsmart superstitious foes. Wildfire looks to release in 2020, but no firm date or platform has yet been revealed.

Dive into a romantic, rogue-lite visual novel as a woman of fashion in 18th-century Paris. Work to acquire love, power, and wealth by any means necessary after being mysteriously abandoned by your fiancé and change the course of history.

Prodeus

Prodeus aims to give players a first-person shooter experience from the old days, re-imagined using modern rendering techniques. Not only does the game look to offer a thematic blast from the past, but players will also have access to an easy top use level editor and in-game community map workshop that should provide hours of gameplay if the community can get on board and create new and challenging content.

Ring of Pain

For players who love a challenge, Ring of Pain offers roguelike flavor with card game pacing. Each game is randomized and provides a Dungeon crawl with zero walking. There are no empty tiles and nowhere to hide, so players will need to expertly learn to manage their inventory, learn, adapt, or face demise.

The Iron Oath

This good old turn-based tactical RPG is set in a dark fantasy world where players recruit, manage, and embark on missions with a band of mercenaries, testing the limits of their mortality.

Each game looks interesting, and it will be great to see what lies ahead with The Humble Brag and future game development through Humble Bundle.

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Categories
eSports

Flamengo Esports adds Redragon as peripherals partner

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company has announced gaming peripherals maker Redragon as the latest sponsor for its Flamengo Esports brand.

Redragon, which makes devices such as headsets, keyboards, and mice, joins other Flamengo Esports sponsors such as Adidas and Twitch.

RELATED: Simplicity Esports receives $500,000 investment from Triton Funds

Roman Franklin, President of Simplicity Esports, commented in a release: “I am excited to announce the signing of another corporate sponsor for our Flamengo Esports team. Redragon is a well known global brand that sells its products in 30 countries on four continents. We value all of our official partners and sponsors, and their financial commitments that contribute to the success of Flamengo Esports. This will be a mutually beneficial sponsorship arrangement that prominently displays the Redragon brand on our Flamengo Esports jersey sleeve.”

Flamengo Esports, established in 2017, is the official esports team of Brazilian esports team Clube de Regatas do Flamengo. In January, Simplicity Esports announced that it had reached an agreement to take over management of Flamengo Esports, which competes in Riot Games’ Campeonato Brasileiro de League of Legends (CBLoL) league and participated in last year’s League of Legends World Championship.

RELATED: Simplicity Esports secures new franchise territories

Simplicity Esports also operates esports gaming centers. Last week, the company announced that it had secured a $500,000 (£425,080) investment from Triton Funds, and in February the company announced that it had sold three additional gaming centre franchise territories in the United States.

Esports Insider says: Simplicity Esports has already amassed some big-name partners in Twitch and Adidas, and this latest agreement with Redragon should prove beneficial to both parties.

Read The Esports Journal

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Categories
News

Minecraft Now Offering Free Educational Tools To Keep Kids Engaged During Social Distancing

Xbox head Phil Spencer has outlined ways that Microsoft hopes to help people through their social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, starting with special educational content to be distributed through Minecraft. In a blog post, Spencer cited “unprecedented demand for gaming.”

Part of that includes more kids going online to spend time with friends since they aren’t in schools. Spencer says that families are trying to strike a balance between socializing and fun, and continuing education through distance learning. To that end, Minecraft has opened a new Education category to the Minecraft Marketplace, which houses free educational content curated by Microsoft.

The first pieces of curated content include a model of the International Space Station, a coding lesson, recreations of Washington DC landmarks, lessons on 3D fractals and marine biology, and more. These free tools will be available through June 30, 2020.

We had previously heard that Poland was encouraging kids to use Minecraft to continue socializing while maintaining social distancing.

In the blog post, Spencer also reviews some family-friendly tools in Xbox consoles, like family settings for limiting free time and content filters, and a Copilot feature to let two controllers function as one.

“We understand the important role gaming is playing right now to connect people and provide joy in these isolating and stressful times, and our teams are working diligently to ensure we can be there for our players,” Spencer concluded. “To that end, we are actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing the service for our customers worldwide and accommodating for new growth and demand.”

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Categories
News

Call Of Duty: Warzone — Game Informer Live

Life has been about as crazy as it can get lately, and we know how stressful it can be. Let’s try and ease your minds a bit and have some fun playing the games we love. Join Andrew Reiner, Leo Vader, and me as we squad up and dominate the Call of Duty: Warzone landscape.

We went live earlier, but fear not, for you can get the archive of the stream in the video above. If you can’t get enough streaming, remember to subscribe on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Twitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live each week! Thanks and enjoy the show!

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Categories
Reviews

Exclusive Impressions Of Carlos In Resident Evil 3

Jill is the main star in Capcom’s upcoming remake of Resident Evil 3, but she’s not the only survivor you control throughout the game. Carlos Oliveira is a UBCS’s heavy weapons specialist who meets Jill early on, and he becomes an integral part of the story. Since Carlos is working for Umbrella, Jill initially distrusts him, but the two survivors eventually form an uneasy alliance, and players even take control of Carlos about halfway through the game. For our Resident Evil 3 cover story this month, we went hands-on with a section within Raccoon City’s ruined hospital that features Carlos. 

“If you look at the original design of Carlos, you could say that he had a more easygoing, almost playboy personality,” art director Yonghee Cho says. “We wanted to maintain his personality, but at the same time, make sure that the way he interacts with everybody makes sense, given the dire situation. In terms of the hairstyle, we went back to that easygoing nature. He’s not going to be too concerned about that stuff, so we’re making sure that part of his character is intact.”

In the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, players take control of Carlos about halfway through the game as he races through a hospital to find a cure to the T-virus. Capcom asked us not to share the details of his mission in the remake, but we did get a good look at the hospital and were impressed by how much Capcom expanded the facility. The ‘90s version was simply a handful of zombie-infested rooms featuring a few puzzles. The remake expands the hospital into a network of interlocking rooms compete with several lock-and-key puzzles that slowly open new areas in a traditional Resident Evil fashion. 

As I set off exploring the new hospital, I come across a set of lockers. Inside, I find a key that opens a whole new set of previously locked rooms. Later, I drop down into a courtyard where I find another useful item that opens other areas. Somewhere along the way, I pick up an upgrade for Carlos’ M4A1 carbine assault rifle that reduces the weapon’s recoil. Weapon upgrades like this are scattered throughout the game, but they usually require players to do some extra puzzle solving.

Amidst a scattering of healing herbs and ammo, I find notes that detail the horrors of the hospital staff leading up to the outbreak. One nurse talks about an influx of patients experiencing hyperphagia and limb necrosis. Resident Evil 3’s atmosphere does a fantastic job of ratcheting up the tension even when you’re not fighting enemies. 

Inside a waiting room, I find a small horde of zombies waiting to eat my face, so it’s time to put Carlos’ dodge move to the test. Much like Jill, Carlos can dodge enemy attacks with a well-timed button tap. However, where Jill simple rolls out of harm’s way, Carlos gets aggressive and shoves enemies to the ground. Not only does this dodge negate any incoming damage, but it neutralizes enemies for several seconds and buys me some extra time to line up a few headshots. 

Unfortunately for Carlos, slow-moving zombies aren’t the only enemies Carlos will encounter. As I move through the operations wing of the building, I catch a hint of a much larger creature: the Hunter Beta. Hardcore fans will recognize these lizard-like hulks who dart around the environment and slash at you with razor-sharp talons. For Resident Evil 3, the Hunter Beta has been redesigned and now looks a bit insect-like in addition to its lizard features. 

“I wanted to make sure that it was clear that these are not naturally occurring adversaries,” Cho says. “These are manmade, artificial creatures. Specifically, with the Hunter, if you take a look at the original design, it has a much more humanoid look. This time around, we wanted the hunters to look almost beast-like, a little bit more feral.”

As I face my first Hunter Beta, I stagger back in horror. This feral beast’s claws are drawn, and its mandibles flicker eagerly, hungry for my flesh. He’s strong and fast, which is a deadly combo, and I unload nearly two full magazines worth of ammo into the monster before he finally collapses. The Hunter Beta is a fearsome foe even in a one-on-one battle, but Hunters will eventually hunt you in packs, which sounds truly unnerving. Carlos’ demo comes to a close not long after my confrontation with these creatures, but I know that more horrors await when Resident Evil 3 launches on April 3. 

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News

Play Assassin's Creed Odyssey For Free This Weekend

For those of you who aren’t going anywhere this weekend, Ubisoft has a great game for you to check out this weekend. Running from March 19 through March 22, you’ll be able to download and play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free on your Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. If you buy the game after the free period, all progress made during it carries over.

All players who login this weekend will get Ezio’s Roman armor set for free. This armor is available to people who are downloading Odyssey for the first time, as well as longtime players who are returning to the game. The armor is unlocked through Ubisoft Club, and includes the Milanese Sword.

If you are playing on PlayStation 4, you won’t be able to earn Trophies during the free period, and should you purchase the game afterword, if you want them, you’ll have to replay those sections of the game that the trophies are associated with. Due to what Ubisoft calls “technical mumbo jumbo,” Epic Game Store players will have to re-download the entire game if they upgrade to the full version.

For more details on all versions, check out Ubisoft’s official Assassin’s Creed website.

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Categories
News

How To Execute Players In CoD: Warzone, And Why You Should

With over 30 million downloads since its release on March 10, Call of Duty: Warzone is a massive hit, but many players are not aware of one key feature, which is how to finish off their opponents in style. The method of executing an opponent is the same as in Modern Warfare, but since the information is not presented in Warzone’s tutorial, new players are missing out on a flashy, but risky way to finish off opposing players.

Finishing off an opponent is simple in theory, but risky in practice. After downing an opponent, position your operator behind them and hold down the melee button. Operators in Modern Warfare have their own unique signature moves, and this carries over into Warzone, offering a nice level of customization when it comes to finishing off an enemy.

So why bother with a finishing move at all if player needs to compromise their positioning and expose themselves to attack? Ultimately, the move is akin to an ultra-violent teabagging, meaning that it is totally unnecessary but also the highest form of disrespect against an opponent. Executions tell your opponent that not only were they defeated, but there was also ample time to stroll over, walk behind their downed-operator, and finish them off in style.

Now that more players are learning about finishing moves, there will be no shortage of compilation videos on YouTube showing off the best executions, but also the biggest botches in an attempt to finish off an opponent in style.

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