the international

Dota 2’s International is an annual championship series for professional MOBA players.

Destiny 2 community goes on a real-world hunt for a hidden spear

Are you familiar with Geocaching? It’s a popular activity in which players hide and discover treasure caches all over the world (and is a favorite of Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott, who hid one on the International Space Station).

It turns out that Bungie is a fan of the game as well, as the studio team created its own special geocache hunt for fans to discover. Destiny 2 players discovered clues in the latest patch that eventually led to a secret message. This message contained GPS coordinates to a real-world location, which turned out to be a hidden cache on Sleeping Beauty Mountain in New York state.

The contents? A huge Valkyrie spear modeled after one of Destiny 2’s weapons and a note from the developers encouraging the finder to share his or her discovery with the community at large. The note was from Design Lead Rob Gallerani that thanked the community for its passion and hinted that more geocaches may be coming. Additionally, the team left a second, smaller container with gold coins for future hunters to take if they traveled to these coordinates.

Source: Kotaku

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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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Guild Wars 2 plans bonus harvesting weekend, backs player artists crowdfunding a GW2 tarot deck for charity

So here’s something Guild Wars 2 doesn’t do much: special weekend bonus events. This one’s probably more about getting folks to buy harvesting tools and check out the new gathering upgrade system than about getting players to forget about that whole spyware thing that hit just before the weekend, but it works for both, yeah?

“[S]tarting on April 20, you can get neat bonuses by applying resource-gathering implements to rocks, trees, plant life, and your mortal enemies!” ArenaNet says. Through April 23rd, players will “gain a 33% chance of increased gathering yield when mining, logging, and harvesting” and snag double experience in open-world PvE and WvW when gathering.

In other Guild Wars 2 news, if you’re into tarot cards or just pretty art, check out the Tyrian Tarot deck project put together by a collective of Guild Wars 2 player artists. The Indiegogo campaign for the effort – which is sponsored and approved by ArenaNet, so don’t worry about that – has already almost doubled its original ask. Pledges are effectively preorders for everything from postcards and prints of the art to a full deck, all boasting GW2-flavored artwork. Aaaand the best part is that all of the profit goes to charity: the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

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World of Tanks celebrates Yuri’s Night and its own anniversary with ‘Stellar Bonus’ event

Sick of the same old holidays every year in MMOs? World of Tanks is fond of plucking really good ones out of the void and finding a way to use them in-game. Today’s event is in honor of the International Day of Human Space Flight, probably better known as Yuri’s Night, the celebration of the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin on April 12th, 1961.

“This double occasion inspired Wargaming and the International Space Station to create a project called Stellar Bonus,” says Wargaming. “On April 12, the ISS will beam holiday boosters full of goodies down to earth. To get your piece of the pie, log into World of Tanks and play one battle during the event.” Loot includes a stack of XP and credit boosters, usable even after the event is over tomorrow morning.

We’ll be streaming the game today at 3 p.m. EDT on OPTV in honor of the game’s anniversary, so check back this afternoon to see how far the game has come!

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WHO attempts to defend its proposed ‘gaming disorder’ classification

At the tail end of last year, we caught wind that the World Health Organization is planning on classifying gaming addiction as a “gaming disorder” its update of the International Classification of Diseases, which caused multiple academics, self-regulatory bodies, and education advocates to preemptively reject the plan, pointing out both the lack of research to justify the classification as well as the potential for harm.

“We do not support WHO in this classification scheme in the strongest possible terms,” the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) wrote earlier this week, arguing the WHO is “jumping to premature conclusions” that will scapegoat and stigmatize gaming. The ESA flat-out called it reckless. An academic in games research whom we’ve consulted with in the past suggested to us that the news came off as “moral panic-y.”

But WHO appears to be sticking to its guns. GamesIndustry.biz spoke to a representative for WHO, who reportedly claimed to the publication that “there is increasing and well-documented evidence of clinical relevance of these conditions and increasing demand for treatment in different parts of the world.”

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Ascent: Infinite Realm’s 2019 launch is the future of Kakao’s international ambitions

Good news, Ascent: Infinite Realm! The future of Kakao’s international plans and possible acquisition of western development studios hinges upon your success! Not that the publisher behind Black Desert is hurting for cash or anything; no, it’s a simple matter of seeing whether or not lightning can strike twice. The international success of the latter title was considered a surprise, but if A:IR exceeds expectations, a recent interview with CEO Min Kim suggests that the publisher may look into more western development studios to purchase.

Of course, this is not something that the company expects to know for some time, as A:IR is not expected to have a full release until 2019, but the suggestion of the future is still there. The current belief is that quality sells internationally, compared to the prevailing Korean notion that breaking into other markets is difficult at best. If you’d like to see more products bankrolled by Kakao, then, you may want to keep a close eye on A:IR’s performance as it moves into beta testing.

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HEVGA argues WHO’s proposed ‘gaming disorder’ classification scapegoats and stigmatizes games

Is gaming addiction a thing worthy of its own classification? The World Health Organization is thinking about saying yes in its update of the International Classification of Diseases. The Electronic Software Association, predictably, says heck no. Now, the Higher Education Video Game Alliance has weighed in with a big no too, expressing “dismay” at the WHO’s stated intentions and suggesting that the classification won’t actually “combat cases of abuse rooted in individual behavior” but will “stigmatize a pastime that billions of players enjoy without issue around the world” and “warp continued research.”

“We do not support WHO in this classification scheme in the strongest possible terms,” the group’s press release says, suggesting classifications amount to “jumping to premature conclusions” and willful “scapegoating.”

“We’ve watched as games are repeatedly blamed in today’s world for violence, childhood obesity, failures in educational policy, and a host of other contemporary issues, despite both a lack of evidence and careful consideration of other, often far more powerful, systemic forces that contribute to societal behavior. Games are commonly referred to as ‘addictive’ despite numerous conflicting studies and a clear lack of consensus from the scientific and medical communities.”

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PWE is sunsetting both Battle of the Immortals and War of the Immortals next week

Add two more to the sunset list: Perfect World announced last month that it will sunset the international versions of six-year-old War of the Immortals and Battle of the Immortals next week.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the shutdown of all War of the Immortals (WOI) server on January 9th, 2018. On that day, your WOI character will no longer be accessible. All WOI payments from September 1st, 2017 through December 14th, 2017 @ 11 AM PT will be converted into Arc credit and allocated to your account. These credits can be used in any of the other PWE games. Arc Points between this same time period will also be refunded to your account. Your Arc credit and Arc points will be distributed before the end of next week. Thank you for your loyalty to War of the Immortals over the last six years.”

The Battle of the Immortals site has a similar message in regard to the closure and compensation. Neither gives an explanation for the cease in game operation.

Source: BOI, WOI. With thanks to Nicholas.

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Riot’s new promo video argues e-sports are indeed sports

No one will be surprised by Riot Games’ latest e-sports video. Riot Games really likes e-sports. Indeed, Riot Games believes e-sports are real sports.

“Not just a sport. Our sport,” reads the tagline.

All the skeptical mainstream media quoted in the video can’t change the fact that Riot’s position is fast becoming the norm. You’ll recall that the International Olympic Committee has formally stated that it may consider e-sports a sporting activity, and the co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee told the AP that the organization was considering bringing video gaming on board for the 2024 program in France. The 2022 Asian Games also announced e-sports as a medal event, citing the inclusion of e-sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

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Chronicles of Elyria begins selling individual perks, shows character customization

No longer will you have to pay a large lump sum for bundles just to gain certain perks in Chronicles of Elyria. If you have your sight set on only one or two extras, Soulbound Studio is now happy to accept your money in exchange for a la carte items.

The studio began selling individual rewards on the 1st, allowing players to buy into testing phases, pick up mounts and pets, and even get their name inscribed on tombstones around the game world. The last item, by the way, will result in a donation being made for the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

It’s not just cash shop sales this fall, however. Soulbound Studio recently showed off some of the character creation options that its using for both the MMO and its visual MUD predecessor.

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Olympic e-sports are becoming inevitable as IOC says they ‘could be considered as a sporting activity’

The International Olympic Committee has formally stated that it may consider e-sports a sporting activity.

“Competitive e-sports could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports,” IOC summit attendees declared in a statement. “E-sports are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement” – provided those sports uphold Olympic values, like anti-doping, betting practices, and match manipulation.

Last summer, the co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee told the AP that the organization was considering bringing video gaming on board for the 2024 program in France. The 2022 Asian Games also announced e-sports as a medal event, citing the inclusion of e-sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, though multiple countries bailed out of this year’s AIMAG e-sports events, citing health concerns, poor regulation, and “governance concerns.”

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WoW sells charity pet for hurricane relief, plus more on Overwatch’s Junkertown & Hearthstone’s Oktoberbrawl

We’ve got a fun roundup of Blizzard’s doings, so let’s get started! The studio is selling a new “Shadow” fox pet with adorably huge ears for $10 in World of Warcraft’s cash shop. So why is this special? Because the studio is donating all profits to charity to benefit the victims of the current hurricane season.

“For every Shadow pet purchased between September 12, 2017 and December 31, 2017, 100% of the adoption fee will be split equally between American Red Cross Disaster Relief and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Relief Fund to assist with relief efforts around the world,” the studio said.

Moving on to Overwatch, the devs are busy putting the final touches on the game’s newest map. Junkertown is coming on September 19th to all platforms, but you can get a preview of the map right now.

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Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds whupped League of Legends on Twitch last week

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds may have one of the worst video game names in history, but it set a new record on Twitch last week.

Gameloco founder Nicolas Cerrato points out that PUBG beat League of Legends in terms of hours of eyeballs on Twitch during the week of August 6th, the first time LoL’s ever been unseated by a game outside of a special event. And indeed, this was a special event: Dota 2 actually came close to beating both PUB and LoL together thanks to Valve’s massive $10M prize-pool The International tourney, which concluded over the weekend.

But PUBG still managed to edge out LoL — something that’s never happened before, possibly because MOBA eyes were distracted, or possibly because, as Cerrato puts it, “PUBG looks more and more like an extremely powerful cultural phenomenon that will impact gaming like very few games ever have.” There’s a reason Tencent was trying to buy it and its studio up, after all.

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