Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Alec is still away, ostensibly on holiday but presumed dead. Ride in peace, Alec Meer. All that remains of last week’s chart caretaker is a selection of small bones John coughed up, so it’s my turn. It’s a good week in the charts!

We’ve some new games, some familiar faces, and at least one familiar face with a new game. It’s a shame Mass Effect: Andromeda’s Origin exclusivity keeps it out of this comparison. Not to ruin the suspension but: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the new early access Hunger Royale game, is riding high at the top of the hit parade.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

It’s another busy weekend in the world of digital sports and lots of tournaments are heating up as they near the finish line. There’s plenty of action from the CS:GO: Championship Series to the Overwatch: Carbon Series playoffs. We even have the Hearthstone: Winter Championship games to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: 2017 EU LCS Spring Split

Two of Europe’s best teams clashed in Week eight and Misfits desperately tried to put their H2K loss behind them. Game one started off slow, but a chaotic team fight broke out when Misfits went for Baron. G2 read the situation and Expect used Teleport to counter, while the rest of his team chased their retreating opponents. G2’s Zven breezed through Misfits and secured a quadra kill with Caitlyn, which allowed his team to break open the Nexus for the win. Game two fell to Misfits after a decisive mid-lane team fight, but G2 picked Misfits apart in the final game with clean dives and well-timed rotations. G2 remain undefeated as we head into week nine and it looks like Misfits have some catching up to do if they wish to rival them. This week’s schedule and stream can be found over on LoL Esports.

League of Legends: 2017 NA LCS Spring Split

Team Dignitas has made a huge comeback after they obliterated Team Liquid 2-0 in week eight, and their series against EnVy was also impressive. LOD went huge on Varus and he gave Dignitas the power they needed to secure a decisive victory in the third game. Meanwhile, Phoenix1 also managed to destroy Team Liquid after Ryu constantly punished Piglet’s aggressive plays in the mid-lane. Ryu used his advantage to roam and snowball other lanes until Team Liquid crumbled under the pressure. However, TSM still remain the team to beat with 14 wins, and we shall see if Phoenix1 have what it takes to topple the LCS leaders. The full schedule and stream can be found over on LoL Esports.

CS:GO: Esports Championship Series Promotion

The European and North American promotion starts this weekend and the competition is looking fierce. Virtus Pro and Space Soldiers are kicking off the European semifinal matches on Saturday at 11:00 PDT / 19:00 CET, while Fnatic and North start their match at the same time tomorrow. The North American bracket will see compLexity tackle Renegades on Saturday at 16:00 / 00:00 CET, followed by Team SoloMid vs Bee’s Money Crew at the same time Sunday. You can catch all the action live over on the official ECS YouTube channel.

Hearthstone: Winter Championship 2017

The 2017 Hearthstone Championship Tour's first Championship stop lands on the sunny shores of the Bahamas. Sixteen of the best players from around the world will be competing for their share of the $250,000 prize pool and a seat at the Hearthstone World Championship. Long-time fans will have the chance to see previous Hearthstone world champions: Greensheep, Neirea, OmegaZero, Tarei, Yulsic, and the defending world champion, Pavel. There will also be a lot of new talented players from the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions, while underdogs like DocPwn, DrJikininki, b787, and SamuelTsao will be looking to upset veteran players once again. The full schedule and stream can be found over on battle.net.

Rocket League: Championship Series

Engines are revving up as the top eight teams from North America and Europe enter week two of the RLCS. So far G2 Esports look to be the team to beat as they had dominated Atelier before moving on to sweep Denial. If G2 can consistently maintain the level of play they showed against Denial they will definitely be on their way to earning top spot in the North American series. Meanwhile, European team The Leftovers took down both Flipsid3 and Northern Gaming 3-2, which has given them an extremely strong start to this year’s tournament. The North American matches are kicking off on Saturday at 12:00 PDT / 20:00 CET, while the European matches start Sunday at 18:00 CET / 9:00 PDT. You can catch all the action on the official Rocket League Twitch Channel.

Overwatch: Carbon Series Playoffs

The Carbon Series playoffs are kicking off on Saturday and the top four teams will battle it out to earn their place at this year’s finals. Immortals managed to take down LG Loyal in week five and they will now face compLexity in what’s expected to be an extremely close matchup. Top team LG Evil have looked extremely strong throughout the tournament and they will face the Renegades who are currently sitting in fourth place. The full schedule and teams/standings can be found by heading over to the Overwatch Carbon Series official site.

Smite: SPL 2017

The sixth week of the SPL will continue this weekend where Lion Guard and Obey Alliance will clash. Obey Alliance will be hoping to remain on top as they shot into first place after securing victories over Valance Squad and Team Dignitas. However, Obey Alliance are only two points ahead, so they will have to be extremely careful if they wish to increase their lead over the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, Team Eager are the current leaders in North America, and they’ll be tackling Luminosity who are currently in second place. Luminosity will be looking to land a critical blow to their rivals and steal first place from under them, so expect to see both teams going all out in this matchup. You can find the weekend’s schedule and official stream here.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

If you want to watch the competitive CS:GO action of the Esports Championship Series this weekend, you’ll need to fire up YouTube. ECS organisers Faceit have signed a multi-year partnership with Google to streamed ECS games exclusively through YouTube, taking them away from Twitch. Even if you’ve no interest in CS:GO or digital sports at large, it’s interesting to see YouTube try to become an active broadcaster which curates and creates content rather than waiting for it to be dumped through their letterbox. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Unreal Tournament's Facing Worlds is easily one of the best multiplayer maps in the history of multiplayer maps—with its towering end-to-end monolith bases, arched thoroughfares, and gorgeous space-faring backdrop. Omri Petitte once described the arena as a "sci-fi uppercut right into your eyeballs", which I think is a pretty wonderful synopsis. 

An unnamed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive modder feels the same, it seems, having brought the 17-year old map to Valve's perennial war-torn shooter (with modder Jeisen having cleaned it up and filed it on Steam Workshop). 

As published by YouTube person Mr Error, here's a gander at Facing Worlds in all its reworked CS:GO-inspired glory: 

While I'm unsure if Facing Worlds would work quite as well in Counter-Strike, hearing that theme tune, marvelling at far-off planet Earth, and watching the player scoot around vantage points by way of teleportation really takes me back. 

Jeisen's Facing Worlds (UT 99) Final can be subscribed to over here. Before you go, let me share Omri's 'Why UT's Facing Worlds is one of the best multiplayer maps ever' video in full: 

Thanks, Kotaku

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jerry Cheese-Muncher)

Alec is away this week. I fear that if he can’t find a wifi signal on his travels he might resort to haruspicy to try and find the truths contained within the weekly Steam charts. These round-ups of the ten games with the most cumulative sales over the past week are his obsession and his curse.

This week: while the cat’s away…

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

It’s a busy weekend in the world of electronic sports and it’s not just League of Legends that aims to have fans excited. There’s plenty of action from the CS:GO at StarLadder to the Rocket League: Championship Series. We even have the Hearthstone: Trinity Series finals to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: 2017 EU LCS Spring Split

Week seven of the EU LCS was crucial for the bottom-placed teams and Origen was desperate to pick up their first victory of the season. However, Roccat managed to win key team fights and after a messy back-and-forth game the series went to them. Technical difficulties came up during the Team Vitality vs Giants series and game two had to be replayed due to an Orianna bug. This break unhinged the Giants and Vitality took the victory despite losing a game. Meanwhile, the top teams also had to play each other this week, and H2k remained on top form in their game against Misfits, and Unicorns of Love managed to dominate Fnatic after a game-changing team fight in game two. G2 Esports are still the team to beat and we’ll see if anyone has what it takes to topple them as we enter week eight of play. This week’s schedule and stream can be found over on LoL Esports.

League of Legends: 2017 NA LCS Spring Split

Phoenix1 had another great week and they decimated FlyQuest in both games, and now they’re only two wins away from rivalling Cloud9 for second place. Echo Fox’s series against Team Dignitas was very close, but in the final game jungler Chaser and mid-laner Keane managed to take complete control of the map and applied pressure until Echo Fox crumbled. Team Liquid made changes to their roster once again, but despite adding Doublelift to their line-up they couldn’t quite takedown Cloud9. However, they did manage to win an extremely close game against Envy after a securing Baron. Meanwhile, TSM had a very shaky week which saw them drop two games against both Envy and Immortals, but they did eventually pull through and win both matches. The competition continues to heat up as we enter week eight of play and all teams will be looking to climb the competitive ladder. The full schedule and stream can be found over on LoL Esports.

CS:GO: StarLadder i-League Season 3

The American and European playoffs are taking place this weekend and only the top two teams from each bracket will secure a place in the LAN finals. G2 Esports and Space Soldiers are kicking things off in Europe today at 08:00 PDT / 16:00 CET, while Cloud9 and Renegades clash in America much later at 18:00 PDT / 02:00 CET. With $300,000 up for grabs you can bet that every team will go in guns blazing, and there’s sure to be plenty of high-octane action. The schedule and stream for both playoffs can be found here.

Rocket League: Championship Series

The 16 teams that will be competing in the Rocket League Championship Series over the next six weeks have been decided. There was a big upset in Europe as PENTA Sports will once again miss out on league play after falling 1-3 to RedEye and losing to Mockit eSports in the loser’s bracket. Another surprise was delivered by ZentoX who fought their way through the lower bracket to claim the last available spot in league play. Meanwhile, in North America Radiance managed to take down both Iris and Atelier for the first spot, but the biggest surprise came when Iris was knocked out by Selfless. Make sure you check out RLCS official Twitter handle to receive the latest schedule times and streams.

Hearthstone: Trinity Series

The top four teams from the online portion of the Trinity Series will be participating in the live finals this Saturday. There’s a $150,000 prize pool up for grabs, and the tournament will be hosted at ESL Studios in Burbank, California. So far Team Liquid is the favourite team to secure a place at the final, but the competition is looking extremely close and every player will need to be at the top of their game if they want to take home the title. The upper bracket finals and lower bracket semifinal starts today at 10:00 PDT / 18:00 CET, while the lower bracket finals and grand finals start the same time tomorrow. The official stream can be found over on Twitch.

Heroes of the Storm: Eastern Clash

The top Heroes of the Storm teams from China, Korea, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan will clash in order to crown the best team in Asia. Matches will be played in a double-elimination format and there’s expected to be rivalries between China and Korea, especially between organisations like MVP Black and eStar Gaming. With $100,000 on the line and a chance to claim bragging rights over Asia the Eastern Clash is expected to deliver an action-packed weekend. The full schedule and stream can be found over on heroesofthestorm.com.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Italy is a hotbed of international terrorism in Valve’s Counterverse. The level Italy sees terrorists take market stallholders hostage so they can kill their chickens and destroy their watermelons, the revamped Inferno relocated to Italy, and now Counter-Strike: Global offensive [official site] has added a map set in an off-brand Venice. The new map, Canals, arrived in an update last night. It’s a pleasant slice of city, with plenty of canals, floating rubbish, and ornate architecture — some of which is targeted by terrorists. They really do have it in for Italy. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Valve has just announced a brand new addition to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's map line-up. Dubbed 'Canals', the map is based on an "historic Italian city" and is based on "real-world environments". The map's existence first came to light last year when players found references to "canals" in the game files. Now, it's finally here.

"The CT side is composed of a large, wide open area while the T-controlled territory forms a crescent of smaller spaces around it and provides multiple approaches to each bomb site."

The description continues: "While the map is based on a real-world location, the aesthetics are intentionally clean and uncluttered for good player visibility. In addition, many of the environmental models are built in a modular fashion so they can be easily re-used by community map makers." For a full detailed rundown on some of the design decisions, click on over here.

A few more pics:

The update will also usher in a visual upgrade to the Phoenix Terrorist player model, with the aim of "preserving character legibility and improving overall visual fidelity". Finally, there's also a new Spectrum Case containing 17 new weapon finishes designed by the community.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. So its disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. It must be a creature of the night, black, terrible… it’s only the weekly Steam charts! These are the ten games with the most cumulative sales over the past week.

This week: DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Framed for murder, now they prowl the badlands, an outlaw hunting outlaws, a bounty hunter, a renegade, it’s only the weekly Steam charts! These are the ten games which sold best on Steam last week.

… [visit site to read more]

...

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