We reveal the teams that are being invited to participate in the Season Two Invitational.
The Blade & Soul Championship Series continues with the Season Two Invitational! Watch the tournament live on August 5 at 12pm CET on www.twitch.com/bladeandsoul
Season Two Results
Season Two ended July 26, and each team received their Fighting Points for the season. Go to the Rankings page to check out the current standings! Fighting Points were calculated based upon each registered player’s highest-ranking character in the 1v1 and 3v3 ladder.
For the Invitational, we’re asking the top 12 teams who earned the most Fighting Points to come and play for more Fighting Points and additional prizes!
Fighting Points Earned
Prize Money per Team (USD)
Each participant will receive the new 2017 Swimsuit costume “Summer Saga”, plus 1,200 Hongmoon Coin.
Make sure to watch our tournament broadcast for your chance to win this costume pack as well!
Congratulations to the following teams who have earned a spot in our Invitational!
No Tab No Life
The brackets will be posted next week! Make sure to follow our dedicated esports Twitter page to keep up-to-date with all things Blade & Soul esports!
I’m only posting news about Playerunkown’s Battlegrounds [official site] because our resident PlunkBatters – Alice, Graham and Adam – are nowhere to be found. Perhaps they are playing right now? All of them, unwisely traipsing together across an open field together. Suddenly, BAM. Graham is down – a shot to the ribcage. Alice hits the dirt, shouting directions. Adam tries to run to the nearest shrub, but is ambushed by a man hiding in an overturned jeep. BAM. A rifle round in the belly. Alice, friendless and surrounded, weighs her options and reloads her machine gun with a fresh magazine. It’s time to take out the tra–
She never saw the man who killed her. A single 9mm bullet to the back of the skull. He looms over her corpse. It’s Brendan Greene, the Playerunknown himself. He takes a drag of an almost-finished cigarette. “We will be resetting the leaderboards,” he says, flicking the spent cig onto Alice’s cadaver, “on the first of each month in order to test new ranking algorithms and ELO changes.”
For normal people, this news came in the form of a community update, in which the developer explained the reasoning for the monthly leaderboard wipes, starting in just a few days on August 1, as well as how they’ll work in practice.
All data from the previous seasons is saved, and while we don’t have a history system yet, moving forward we will enable this in the game and you can view your match records from the previous seasons.
Each month, before the reset, we will have 24 hours of unranked matches as we backup, and update the leaderboard system…
We understand that these seasons may seem short, but for us to fully balance the ELO ranking system, we need to update frequently based on data from the previous seasons’ rankings.
As expected, the fiddling with the battle royale game continues. A patch that was supposed to happen this week has been delayed and is now expected on August 3. It’s going to add some fashionable tracksuits and suchlike, which we knew about, but also a quite-large machine gun which we didn’t know about. Pew pew pew pew!
Recent problems including a weird aiming bug and some network lag issues have also received hotfixes in advance of the bigger patch, say the developers. So Alice, Adam and Graham have absolutely no excuse for dying in such a cowardly and unrefined fa–
[Brendan’s corpse slumps over the keyboard, the computer screen covered in blood, brain and half-finished word documents. Behind him, Playerunknown lights a fresh cigar with a flaming £50 note.
Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Fourteen turns in, the commenter-controlled Soviets have lost all but one of their core AFVs, but are in possession
of three of the map’s seven victory locations (West Bridge, East Bridge, Square)
Three distinct engagements make up turn 15.
In the west, under continual fire from Flare Path, the New Wharf AA gun falls silent at approximately T+30. Is it dead or merely suppressed?
FP decides to err on the side of caution and keep pounding away.
The Soviet AT gun, on the other hand, seems to think its inept nemesis has flung its last 20mm shell and swings its barrel eastward, harassing infantry targets on Old Wharf.
Myshkov and his two closest squads enter the church at p23 and the building at o24 like heavily-armed, unusually grubby ghosts.
For a few tense seconds it appears the structures are empty.
But the Germans haven’t fled. Well, not all of them anyway. Seconds before the turn ends, an Ivan advancing down a brass-strewn corridor finds his path blocked by a makeshift furniture barricade. Behind the barricade crouches a rifle-toting fusilier – one of eight in the church. Next door the danger is al fresco and unquantifiable at present.
Renko hears the SPGs before he sees them. The StuG is alarmingly close and moving closer every second. The… StuH 42 assault howitzer behind it looks to be taking up an overwatch position on the railway crossing. Realising he won’t have time to warn the pioneers downstairs, the sharpshooter sends a slug StuH-ward. The hurried missive misses its target but provokes a flurry of hatch slamming.
Downstairs Myshkov’s men are spotted and sprayed with MG fire before they can secrete themselves. At this point most sensible StuG commanders would stop and get busy with the HE. Our StuG commander decides to keep coming.
At the close of turn 15…
*Renko (m26) has a birds-eye, close-range view of a turning StuG (l25, l26).
*On the floor below, one of Myshkov’s squads (1 x molotov, 2 x demo charge) is hiding.
*In the church (p23) and adjoining building (o24) the rest of Myshkov’s men are in CQB.
*The weary tank hunter team has reached t25 and is heading for r25.
*Lapshin’s squads are in the process of redeploying into buildings s16, s17, and r18. (click to enlarge above image)
*Flare Path, the OT-34, continues to fire on the New Wharf gun.
*Having crossed West Bridge, the M5 halftrack (s15) is molesting a platoon HQ near a roadblock at m13.
As more and more money has flooded into the esports industry, player rights have been a hot topic across multiple games. Careers in esports can be extremely short, making it all the more important to ensure that players receive their fair share of the profits their work generates. With that in mind, Riot Games, producer of League of Legends and proprietor of the wildly popular League Championship Series, recently announced a plan to create and fund a player’s association, a group that will perform many of the functions associated with a union and will be the first of its kind in esports.
According to Riot’s description of the plan, the company will be “providing pros the resources to set up a Players’ Association.” The players will vote on representatives who will take part in league decisionmaking. (Riot says players will be choosing from “a short list of representatives” that will be presented to the players in June, and the players will have the option of rejecting any and all candidates provided and electing whoever they like.) Once formed, the association will provide legal help, career-planning advice, and represent the players in what Riot calls “tri-party” negotiations between Riot, team owners, and the players themselves.
While this sounds at first like excellent news for players, League of Legends players—and those in esports run by similarly large corporations such as Blizzard, which owns Overwatch, and Valve, which owns Dota 2—should be highly wary of any sort of company involvement in a player’s association. The conflict of interest inherent in a company running its own union is why such arrangements are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act. Section 8(a)(2) of the law forbids establishment and control of a “company union” and makes it illegal for employers “to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it.”
Chris Greeley of Riot league operations tells me that what Riot is funding is not a union but rather a professional association, “an organization that can serve many different purposes (including negotiating on behalf of ‘the profession’),” and also notes that the players are employed by teams (i.e. Cloud 9 and Counter Logic Gaming) rather than by Riot itself. Greeley adds:
“The Players’ Association that the players are currently exploring would be established by the players’ representative as a professional association. At some point in the future if the players decided that they want to unionize and register with the NLRB, they will have the option to forgo Riot funding and self-fund. It is our expectation and our hope that that happens at some point in the future, but in the meantime this association is designed to give the players a seat at the table and make sure that we’re aware of and responding to the things that are important to them.”
I asked William Gould IV of Stanford, an expert in entertainment and sports law, if he thought Riot’s explanation passed muster. “The National Labor Relations Act doesn’t apply simply to so-called unions. It applies to any labor organization,” Gould told me over the phone on Monday. “Therefore, it appears that this ‘association’ is a labor organization and would be covered by the statute.
“The underlying point here is that the organization, the group, is a labor organization within the meaning of the act, and it’s unlawful to provide assistance—financial assistance or support for it. The fact that players are employed by the teams, well, that’s generally true, but that’s not dispositive of these two basic questions. Any association that involves relationships with an employer over working conditions as well as other aspects of employment is a labor organization within the meaning of the law. A company giving financial support or other forms of support of such organizations is a violation of the law. I think that the problem here is that this party would be, at a minimum, viewed to be an agent of the respective teams.”
Call it a union, an association, a council, or whatever you want—any sort of worker’s group supported by the boss should be met with heavy skepticism. Specifically, there should be concern over the fact that the players will have to forego Riot’s funded players association if they wish to go independent and form a union. It’s naive to expect that the existence of a Riot-funded association won’t discourage the players from going the more expensive and difficult route of forming their own independent union. And independence is critical when it comes to ensuring the players earn the full value of their work.
The early days of the Major League Baseball Player’s Association offer a perfect lesson in why that independence is so important. Prior to the official formation of the Player’s Association under executive director Marvin Miller in 1965, players had no official group or headquarters. As Miller wrote in his autobiography, A Whole Different Ball Game, all they had was “a filing cabinet in the office of a players’ licensing agent named Frank Scott.” In 1959, ownership had convinced the players to bring on one of their men, Milwaukee judge Robert Cannon, as an advisor. Cannon was entirely in the owners’ pockets and routinely bragged about baseball having the “finest relationship between players and management in the history of the sport.”
That fine relationship produced atrocious working conditions. Players told Miller that playing fields and locker rooms were so poorly kept as to be dangerous, that the players hadn’t received a raise when the schedule was increased by eight games in the early 1960s, and that the players’ pension plan was virtually nonexistent. The minimum salary had remained stagnant for nearly two decades, stuck at $6,000 since 1946—a pittance for a group of workers expected to maintain separate homes for spring training and the regular season. Major League Baseball’s revenue had steadily grown over the previous 20 years, but more and more players were finding themselves having to take second jobs just to keep the dream alive. Cannon’s input, naturally, was to tell the players they were lucky to get to play the greatest game known to man.
Much as Riot promises to fund the start of their League of Legends association, Major League Baseball planned to fund the Player’s Association with $150,000 drawn from the All-Star Game’s revenue, with one-third of that slated for the executive director’s salary. As Miller ran for the office of executive director during spring training of the 1966 season, he found that ownership was not done meddling in union matters—ownership had been pushing none other than Judge Cannon as a candidate for the position, and working hard to flip team managers and players to their side.
As Miller made the rounds on the West Coast, he found that he was the target of a significant sabotage campaign. Throughout his West Coast swing, Miller found himself inundated with questions, mostly from team managers, suggesting he was unfit to lead the player’s union. (Notably, Cleveland Indians manager Birdie Tebbets accused Miller of being a communist.) With the managers conducting the votes—another conflict of interest—Miller was rebuked by a 102-17 vote by the five teams that conducted spring training on the West Coast.
Luckily for Miller, things changed when he headed to Florida, where the majority of MLB teams conducted spring training at the time. Players like Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, the man who asked Miller to run in the first place, had been drilling home the importance of an independent players’ association and refused to allow the kind of mishandling of the vote that occurred out west. Had it not been for their efforts, the Major League Baseball Player’s Association very likely would have been run by Cannon or some other owners’ man. MLB had even tried to convince the players to hire Richard Nixon as their general counsel. Somehow, I have a hard time imagining Nixon pushing for a robust pension plan for baseball players.
Without somebody like Miller, previously a high-ranking member of the Steelworkers’ Union, one of the nation’s most powerful, labor-management relations in baseball may well have continued as they did for the game’s first century of existence: Fine as can be for the owners, with the players told they’re lucky to get anything at all. There’s no reason League of Legends players should expect anything else in their dealings with Riot. Ownership will always act with their own best interests in mind. They cannot be counted on to do anything else. It is as Miller told the New York Yankees as he campaigned for the executive director position in spring of 1966:
“I want you to understand that this is going to be an adversarial relationship. A union is not a social club. A union is a restraint on what an employer can otherwise do. If you expect the owners to like me, to praise me, to compliment me, you’ll be disappointed. In fact, if I’m elected and you find the owners telling you what a great guy I am, fire me! Don’t hesitate, because it can’t be that way if your director is doing his job. The owners loved Judge Cannon. Don’t make the same mistake with your executive director.”
Miller wrote his autobiography in 1992, 25 years after his MLBPA project began. By that point, average salaries were roughly 50 times higher, the average salary roughly 16 times higher, and top-level salaries were roughly 30 times higher. In the 25 years since then, the league’s revenue and player compensation have both continued to skyrocket. None of the union’s major victories—like the death of the reserve clause, which bound players to teams permanently, or the institution of a robust pension plan that guarantees health insurance for anybody who puts in even a single day of MLB service time—would have been possible without a truly independent union.
League of Legends players and those in other esports have a desperate need for some form of labor protection. But what Riot Games—a company union, to all appearances, whatever name it goes by—is not the solution. Miller was absolutely right when he said that the relationship between employer and employee is inherently adversarial, and there is no special reason to believe that Riot will live up to its stated intent to let the association become independent when it has a financial stake in its creation. Indeed, this is why the law expressly forbids company-backed labor organizations. A League of Legends player’s association is an admirable goal, but if it is to succeed in the way the Major League Baseball Player’s Association succeeded in the second half of the 20th century, it must be an effort truly by and for the players, not one made with ownership constantly looking over their shoulders.
Jack Moore is a freelance sportswriter living and working in Minneapolis. Catch him playing competitive Sm4sh under the tag Jackie Peanuts.
NFL Players Should Unionize
How West Virginia Lost the Workers' Revolution
Kain Colter's Union Battle Cost Him More Than He Ever Expected
Playdead co-founder Dino Patti has shed additional light on why he decided to leave the Limbo and Inside developer.
Patti announced his departure from Playdead last year, and at that time said he made the decision so he could “seek new challenges.” Speaking to Eurogamer, Patti has since shared a bit more information regarding why he left.
“There was some kind of fallout,” Patti said. “It is kind of delicate. It’s also combined with other personal reasons.”
That said, Patti was adamant that he still loves Playdead and the people at the studio, noting he’s on speaking terms with “98 percent of the people there.” He went on to add that “it was just time to do something else. I found a way to do it in a way where I could do whatever I wanted afterwards.”
Now, he’s currently working on the recently-announced sci-fi action adventure game Somerville with film animator Chris Olsen. The game “chronicles the lives of key individuals in the wake of a global catastrophe.”
While Somerville doesn’t have a release date yet and Patti wants to refrain from discussing the project too early, completion is allegedly “in sight.” Ideally, Patti said he “would like to announce a launch three months before you’re fully sure it’s going to happen and you don’t feel bad about making people excited about it.”
In other related news, a Limbo and Inside double pack is coming this fall, complete with a special “limited run” poster and art card.
Alex Gilyadov is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.
According to an exchange with the TSA’s official Q&A Twitter account (via /r/wow), even World of Warcraft Horde Chieftans have to check their weapons on flights. But should that weapon also be a lithium ion power bank, then Azeroth is truly doomed.
In the proper hands, Orgrim’s Doomhammer could by one of the keys to Azeroth’s salvation, but replica weapons must be placed in checked bags in order to travel through the sky alongside legendary heroes. But another TSA rule stipulates that lithium ion power banks must be wielded in carry-on luggage only.
But wait . . . there may still be hope. How much is next-day air to the Broken Isles?
What are the new Chinese MMORPGs that are worth waiting for? Netease's Justice should be one of them. The long-awaited martial arts MMO finally released the actual in-game footage, recorded by the in-game camera on a GeForce GTX 1080 PC.
The video features a playable character "Iron Fist", equal to a Kung Fu Master class in MMO, who smashes multiple enemies and some objects in the environment. According to Netease, the content shown in the video is Iron Fist fights his way out of an ambush, which is a part of Iron Fist's main story.
What you can't see in the video is a martial arts world with a lot of freedom. Your behaviors in the game and reactions to NPC will affect your fate in the game. Do you think Justice will bring martial arts game back to the golden age?
Justice will start alpha in China in July 2017. We'll keep you updated.
Related: Netease Games Presented 32 Games at the May 20th Conference
Wild West Online got unprecedented attention because of the similarity it shares with Red Dead Redemption 2. Regardless of the Red Dead Redemption elements, the west-themed MMO looks promising with the gameplay features at launch.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has just released a batch of new screenshot, and Wild West Online developer 612 Games also released several pieces of concept art for the biomes. Take a look below.
Wild West Online has 3 huge and beautiful areas to explore at launch, and the game world will be expanded with post-launch expansions.
. Wild West Online concept art
We are living in a golden age of big-budget PC games that offer us choice and freedom. Be they descendants of the System Shock model – finding a route around a meticulously-crafted, locked-down and hostile place, most recently seen in Prey [official site] – or the roleplaying games based around choice and consequence rather than action alone, they are legion. There are so many, even, that I’m not sure we can fully appreciate how good we’ve got it.
So spoilt for choice, we fall inevitably into gripes about lesser failings or delay our purchases until a steep discount. Understandably so, when we have gigabytes of existent delights clogging the extra hard drives we’ve had to buy to contain all these things.
Where once I flocked urgently to even the faintest promise of what was once called an immersive sim or a cRPG, nowadays glossy, multi-million-dollar descendants of those concepts seem to arrive so regularly that making time in our lives or leeway in our bank accounts for them is a significant challenge. Sometimes, an impossible one.
What a time to be alive and with a computer in the house. We should not take this golden age for granted.
PC games in general are in particularly rude health right now, but I’m talking specifically about games in which you choose your path and your playstyle. Even that falls into two distinct categories: the Ubilikes, sandboxes in which you choose who to kill, in what order and with which weapons, and the Shocklikes, those with more constructed, almost puzzlebox worlds of bespoke challenges with multiple solutions, their emphasis more on finding your way around than on violence.
It is this latter that I feel we may be taking for granted. The former, with its Arkhams and its Mordors and its guerrilla-strewn tropical islands (and even its Zeldas, now), is so wildly popular that I have no fears for its health. Killing a lot of things in a wide-open space (and invariably being rewarded with points for it) is going to be a mainstay of videogames for many years to come.
Games about finding one of multiple possible paths into locked-down spaces in rich, detailed worlds can never be so ten-a-penny. They are an inherently harder sell to a twitchy crowd and, with the greatest of respect and reverence for the skill required to create a Ubilike, this other sort requires a particular degree of master-crafting to get right. The extreme delicacy required to build a world that feels real, and that creates a compulsion to explore every corner on it, then balance that with solid combat and storytelling and characterisation is exactly why minor or major failures within a game like this can feel so jarring.
That’s exactly why I can end up being so very picky about a Shocklike or RPG; hung up on minor foibles, failing to appreciate quite how many plates this thing is spinning in order to entertain me.
Coupled with the certainty that another one will be along soon, that is also why I can end up leaving Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Dishonored 2 unfinished. Where once I would have persevered regardless – those game-breaking bugs and countless rough edges in Vampire: Bloodlines didn’t stop me, for instance – the modern belief that a game like that is no longer a rare and precious commodity means I feel safe to eject early. Perhaps because I don’t enjoy the characterisation, or some new area isn’t compelling, or the overall familiarity is a bit of a drag.
So I hang on for the next one instead, or tell myself that this is only a brief abandonment, leave it on my hard drive for years, never buy the DLC, never give a real vote of confidence in wanting more.
What a thing it is to live in a world where we’ve had a new Deus Ex, a new Dishonored, a new Hitman, Prey, The Witcher 3, even Mass Effect: Andromeda, for all its stumbles, all within the space of a couple of years. I’m sure there are more still, but I struggle to recall them all because they seem to arrive and then pass by so quickly. It has been a delight: so many happy hours of hacking and sneaking and lockpicking and deciphering and negotiating and choosing who to be, where to go and how to do it. And, yes, who to kill and how, or who to choke or taser into unconsciousness, or who to avoid entirely.
There have been successes and there have been failures. There have been games with extraordinary fidelity of world-building, and games which rely more on wide-open spaces and routine combat. There have been games I have lost myself to for weeks, and games I felt I was skating around the edges of, waiting for a moment of connection that never came.
I often whinge at the time (and it is my job to do so, in fairness), but really I am grateful for them all, glad that these concepts continue to be explored. That someone tries this hard to make the biggest budget games more than just various different remixes of the shooting gallery concept.
The firms behind them could be creating more military shooters or zombie survival games or cynically microtransacted horrors instead. The developers make these games because they want to make these games (and though they might sometimes get it wrong, I always appreciate the attempt). The publishers commission to make these games because they believe that people will buy them.
What happens if they don’t, or not in sufficient numbers, or they wait too long for sales or for experiments to complete? Then Square-Enix abandons its planned second series of Hitman (and even wants to offload the developer), the Deus Ex series grinds to an indefinite halt, the Mass Effect franchise is put on ice.
Sure, we can name credible reasons for some of those, but is this the trend we want? If it doesn’t work out then it’s killed off? How safe are we to presume that there’ll be something else with similar ambitions along before too long? Will we still be happily drowning in Games Like These in the years to come if publishers lose their financial faith in them?
Clearly, we must exercise discretion. I’m not saying buy a relative stinker like Mass Effect Andromeda for the sake of Supporting The Cause, but if we’re avoiding or putting off almost everything because of bet-hedging, be it concerns about quality or cost, we’re going to have the rug pulled out from under us before too long.
From afar – and I might be wrong here – it looks a little like Dishonored 2 and Prey have not been the smash hits they might have been expected – or required – to be. I do worry. Will we see Arkane make more games like them, or will they be tasked with making straight shooters, more like the Dooms and Wolfensteins and even Fallouts that have been more reliable cash-cows for their parent firm?
Not so long ago, it seemed every publisher was trying to make its own Call of Duty. We didn’t know how good it was going to get a few short years later. I don’t want this time to end. I want Hitman season 2, I want Prey 2 (2), I want Dishonored 3, I want another Deus Ex (albeit Jensen-free), I want to see how that Warren Spector-helmed System Shock 3 pans out, I want things I’ve never heard of but which are all about finding a way into that locked place by hook or by crook.
I don’t want to be simply choosing whether I kill the baddies with that gun or this knife, or grinding animal skins to unlock ammo pouches, or just more cod-parkour in some fantastical environment. I enjoy all those things too, but I don’t want only those things, and sometimes the trend seems to be going the way. I don’t want this current time to end. I want to keep living in a world where something with a little bit of Shock or Black Isle in its blood is only a few months away.
This greed I am guilty of is what makes us take these games for granted, to think it’s OK to put off Dishonored 2 for months or not bother with Hitman until the series completes (by which point it’s old news). I say: enjoy these times, appreciate these times. Whether or not they last, whether or not they come again, they are here now, and not so long that did not seem at all likely.
Black Desert is finally coming to South America as a Buy2Play Title this year. The South American Version will be available in Spanish and Portuguese and will be published by RedFox. Here’s the official announcement:
“Since announcing Black Desert Online for Latin America, we have received thousands of questions about this game. Today we finally want to answer one of your questions: It will not be free, nor will you need a subscription to play. In order to play, you need only pay once for the game. In addition, you can buy several aesthetic and convenience items.