The SCUF News in eSports: CoD XP Edition!

This weekend will see the best Call of Duty teams in the world head to LA for this year’s Call of Duty Championship as part of CoD XP. 32 teams from around the world will battle it out for the biggest ever Call of Duty prize purse. In this piece we take a look at each group and what you should be expecting.

Group A: Millenium, Splyce, eUnited, Black Forest Games

Group A brings together three British teams with Americans, eUnited, the remnants of the TSM team that competed in Stage 2. Black Forest Games will come into the group as heavy outsiders, having not competed in the Pro League at any stage this season. With two places up for grabs, Group A could prove to be very unforgiving with Millenium, Splyce and eUnited all expected to reach the latter stages. Millenium will now be without Swanny who was forced to pull out last minute. Instead they’ll compete with former winning MiRx who now has very little time to bed into the line up. It’s far too soon to rule Millenium out, though, having won the European leg of Stage 2 only weeks ago. This really could be the one to watch.

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Group B: Rise Nation, HyperGames, Apotheon, Supremacy

After such a dominant year, Rise Nation should expect to advance through as Group B winners. The second spot is completely up for grabs though, as Britons HyperGames, the Frenchmen of Supremacy and North Americans Apotheon fight tooth and nail for a spot in the double elimination bracket. HyperGames have had an excellent year, particularly online, and have emerged as one of Europe’s powerhouses thanks to a meteoric rise that few would have predicted as little as 10 months ago. Supremacy are now firmly established as France’s top team and have enough talent in their ranks to do the business on the day. Then there’s Apotheon; a squad that emerged through an extremely tough online North American bracket to secure their place in the finals. Perhaps the Americans are the underdogs, at least in terms of experience on Black Ops 3, but something about this screams fairy tale for a team with nothing to lose. Certainly the draw could have been a lot lot tougher on them.

Group C: Luminosity, Mindfreak, fabE, Chiefs

Luminosity have shown signs of continued improvement and their giant killing of OpTic Gaming at the Stage 2 Finals is a sign of their capability. Certainly the Americans will expect to be in the conversation when the tournament reaches the latter stages and anything but a group topping performance will be seen as a disappointment. Mindfreak and Chiefs will both look to continue a fine tradition of Australians doing damage at world finals. The Group C draw isn’t necessarily a bad one either, with at least one place looking well contested. Given Mindfreak’s year so far and their dominance over their domestic scene, they’ll be heavy favorites over their fellow countryment but this is Champs where anything can happen. fabE acquired Exertus after the team narrowly missed out on a spot at the European Stage 2 Finals. This is a team that has nothing to lose and everything to gain coming into CoD XP this weekend. A three-way dance between fabE, Chiefs and Mindfreak looks to be the order of the day here.

Group D: Renegades, Allegiance, Epsilon, Pulse

Appropriately named Renegades, the former Dream Team line up come into CoD XP with lofty expectations on their shoulders. The addition of Killa to their roster before the conclusion of Stage 1 turned their fortunes from NA struggles to eventual Stage 2 runners up. Group D will still be a difficult proving ground, though, with Epsilon and Allegiance both boasting sizeable credentials of their own. MLG Orlando did little to demonstrate the full potential of Allegiance, while Epsilon have had a modest time of Stage 2. Despite that, both teams will expect to reach the knockout stages of the competition and Renegades could very easily be pulled into a dog fight with them. Pulse Gaming, on the other hand, have their work cut out if they’re to take anything from Group D. Stranger things have happened, though.

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Group E: FaZe Clan, eLevate, Most Wanted, Giants

Giants and Most Wanted will have wept when they saw the draw for Group E, being matched with two of the tournament’s favorites. On paper the group really looks like it’ll be a battle for the top spot, with both FaZe and eLevate aiming to avoid a tough match up in the first round of the knockout stages. This leaves the door open for an upset, though, especially if teams start their group stage off poorly. Most Wanted could prove to be something of a wildcard this weekend and are not without their own talent, including TcM who competes in a major for only the second in since the MLG World Finals back on AW. Giants from Spain have had two seasons of Pro League to hone their skills and in a best of 5 with some favourable maps, could pose a serious threat to FaZe or eLevate. Anything but a solid start could leave FaZe or eLevate with a lot to do.

Group F: Infused, Team Kaliber, Lethal Gaming, Tainted Minds

Infused have started tournaments strongly all year, topping their Anaheim and Orlando groups with a flawless 3-0 record. There are no easy draws at CoD XP but the Infused quartet will definitely be happier with their draw than many of their fellow Britons. Team Kaliber announced their return to Call of Duty with a roster that combines the familiar with the new, bringing together a foursome more than capable of doing the Team Kaliber brand justice, with arguably the best tK team of BO3 to date. That said, Infused and Team Kaliber are expected to fight it out for the first and second spots. No one should be ruling out Lethal Gaming or Tainted Minds though either. Lethal enter Group F having navigated the tough NA Online Qualifier which included a 3-2 defeat against Team Kaliber. Tained Minds from down under will equally fancy their chances in a group that could offer up plenty of surprises. Nothing is a guarantee here.

Group G: Team EnVyUS, Orbit ANZ, Cloud9, Vitality

Group G looks to be rather cut and dry, on paper at least. While it’s proven foolish to write off Australian teams in the past, it’s very hard to look beyond the American pairing given their obvious quality. Much like Group E, EnVyUS and Cloud9 are teams that will expect to be mixing it up on the final day of competition so anything beyond that would be a total disappointment. When the two teams last met at MLG Orlando, C9 were edged 3-2 by EnVyUS who then went on to finish 2nd . With that in mind, there appears very little to separate the two teams that each boast a former CoD World Champion within their ranks. Vitality’s approach for CoDXP has very much been out with the old and in with the new. Gone are the veteran Frenchmen in place of young, British talent to link up with the emerging French talent of Wailers. Given the relatively unproven nature of this side, it’s hard to know what to expect of them. Their comparative lack of experience makes it extremely tough to see them offering a true threat to nV or C9, however. Then there’s Orbit ANZ who will also look to cause another southern hemisphere upset. Having led the regular season rankings in Stage 2 Regular Season, Orbit will be disappointed with their showing at the Stage 2 Finals and this weekend offers an incredible shot at retribution. With almost no meetings between northern and southern hemisphere teams so far on Black Ops 3, maybe the door is open for a shock.

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Group H: OpTic Gaming, compLexity, Pnda Gaming, LDLC

Anything but first place at CoD XP for OpTic Gaming is unacceptable, such is the talent boasted on this roster. Right now, anything but first place also seems inconceivable. For compLexity, PNDA and LDLC this poses an interesting conundrum. When teams with such huge expectations are knocked off their game, all bets are off. We saw it with OpTic Gaming last year and there’s equal opportunity this year to be giant killers. Thankfully two teams will emerge from Group H and there’s plenty to fight for for the three teams that look rather evenly matched. Complexity and PNDA both came through the NA online qualifiers to secure their place in the finals and largely represent the best of the players who missed out on much of this year’s Pro League, with a few exceptions. LDLC are the only non-NA team in Group H and will also be confident of making it through into the latter stages. Watson and Shane are no strangers to the Champs, with the latter being only of the few players to be making his fifth appearance at a world finals.

Coverage of the competition will be live all weekend. Be sure to tune into the broadcast live on twitch.tv/cod.

The SCUF Week In Video Gaming: August 15th – 22nd

This week GamesCom is taking place in Cologne Germany, bringing together hundreds of thousands of gamers and many of the world’s leading developers and publishers all under one roof. There’s been announcements a-plenty. Here’s the biggest stories so far.

Star Wars Battlefront Death Star DLC

Star Wars Battlefront truly heads into space for the first time in the latest DLC, Death Star, based on one of “the most iconic weapon ever created.” The new mode will see players battling across three phases, each with different objectives. Phase 1 will feature X-Wings and A-wings doing battle with TIE fighters and Y-wings. In Phase 2 you can play as Bossk and Chewbacca as you battle inside the Death Star, before finally, heading into Phase 3 where you’ll need to blow up the Death Star. It’s a Star Wars’ fan dream all rolled into three phases.

Infinite Warfare Zombies in Spaceland Mode Revealed

Ever wanted to be in a 1980s space-themed amusement park being stalked by waves and waves of zombies? Well CoD Infinite Warfare Zombies offers such an experience. Playing as a jock, rapper, nerd or valley girl, you’re transported into another land as part of a movie audition and will take on hoards of the undead in typical zombie fashion. Want to really wet your appetite? Check out the official trailer.

Xbox One S FIFA 17 Bundle

Following on from the success of the near-sold out Xbox One 2TB edition, Microsoft are set to launch two Xbox One S FIFA17 bundles; 500GB and 1TB versions of the white console. Xbox Wire revealed that the console bundle will include a digital copy of FIFA17 and three Ultimate Team Loan Legends, as well as one month of EA Access. The 1TB version comes with an additional Ultimate Team Rare Player Pack and will be priced at $50 more than the $300 500GB version.

Eichenwalde Overwatch Map Revealed at GamesCom

Blizzard’s Gamescom live stream offered the perfect showcase for their new Overwatch map. The new map, named Eichenwalde, will see one team try to attack the Eichenwalde Castle Keep with a battering ram while the other team tries to defend. The new map is set to be available to play in September.

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Overwatch Skill Ratings Update for Season 2

The Overwatch ranking system is getting a sizeable overhaul, with players now being ranked out of 5000 rather than simply out of 100. The intention of the change is for users to better accept slight changes in their number ranking, which largely doesn’t tell the full story of their true skill. There’s also going to be an introduction of ranking levels, ranging from Bronze right the way through to Grand Master. Fans of Starcraft II will no doubt be familiar with how this ranking system works, with Call of Duty having adopted a similar model in the past also. All this means is that players should now be better able to understand where they sit among the community.

What’s Next For Halo 5?

In a blog post on Halo Waypoint, Andy Dudynsky aka Bravo hinted towards new maps, new options for Forge and much more to be coming in the not so distant future. There’s also a new Halo 5 Content Browser, which Bravo claims is his favorite part of the next update that enables players to better find content created by other members of the community. For now, this is only the beginning and users will have to sit tight for more solid information.

The SCUF Week In Video Gaming: August 7th – 14th

What’s been going on in the world of video games this week? We take a look at five of the top stories.

Rocket League Set to Rumble

The developers of Rocket League have announced the addition of a new game mode known as Rumble to launch in September. The new mode will introduce 11 power ups into the game play, including a magnet to attract the ball, a grappling hook, and a tornado that does exactly as the name suggests. Psyonix, the team behind Rocket League, has also gone on to suggest that Rumble is set to be just a small part of a larger update that fans can look forward to in September. More excitement in-bound.

Hitman To Have 3 Seasons

A Tweet from the Io Interactive official Twitter suggests that fans of Hitman may well be set to enjoy as many as 2 seasons, despite season 2 not being confirmed as yet. In a further message from the account, there were also suggestions of the possibility of map remakes, although the Tweet went on to say, “we’re focused on creating exciting new content that fans will love.” The news comes as the next new mission, set in Bangkok, edges ever closer to a public release. Season 1 is still yet to conclude though, with fans having plenty more to look forward to before talk of season 2 intensifies.

Xbox One S Almost Sold Out

The limited edition Xbox One S white consoles have all but sold out, and Eurogamer has reported that Microsoft has no plans to manufacture further units. Fans wanting to get their hands on the 2TB smaller Xbox One S console that also doubles as a low-cost Ultra HD DVD player will need to act fast as many leading retailers claim to have already sold out of the product. Microsoft is set to release a Gears of War equivalent in the next month or so, but players wanting their console in white will either have to act quick or wait for the lower spec 500GB and 1TB models set to be release soon.

Gears of War 4 Impact Multiplayer Map

Thanks to IGN, fans of Gears of War got a glimpse of what new Gears 4 map ‘Impact’ will look like in 1080p 60fps. The new map features a range of power weapons and is symmetrically designed to offer greater balance to multiplayer games. The narrators also suggest that the game runs slightly quicker than Gears of War Ultimate Edition, hopefully leading to a slicker Gears experience than ever before. With $1M in prize money announced for the new eSports season, there’s a lot to get excited about with the new Gears.

Rainbow Six Siege Experiences Popularity Explosion

Following the release of Skull Rain, Rainbow Six Siege has seen explosive player interest, the likes of which the game hadn’t previous experienced, even on launch. Ubisoft told IGN that “daily player total is higher today than it was when we first shipped the game.” In fact, a percentage graph featured on the IGN website would suggest that twice as many players are playing Siege today as they were on launch. Maybe it’s time you got involved?

 

The Week In Video Gaming: 7/1 – 7/7

It’s Friday and that means another look back at the biggest stories coming out of the video game industry this week!

GTA Online Cunning Stunts Announcement

GTA Online is set to get yet more downloadable content, and this time it’s a racing pack titled Cunning Stunts. The new DLC will be a “visually surreal and over-the- top evolution to racing in GTA Online” and people are already drawing comparisons to the cult status Trackmania series. According to Rockstar, “the jumps, gaps, terrain, and obstacles in each Race are tailored to match the attributes of specific vehicle classes, including new Super cars, Sports cars and Motorbikes.” The DLC will launch Tuesday, the 12th of July.

Red Dead Redemption Backwards Compatible

Red Dead Redemption fans not only have a sequel in development to salivate over but they can now enjoy the original game on Xbox One. The GTA-style open-world western is on sale for only $7.50 to Xbox Live Gold Members, while a host of DLC packs are completely free to own right now, including Liars and Cheats and Legends and Killers. There are also a range of Multiplayer and Co-Op packs available for free as well.

Rocket League Collector’s Edition On Sale in North America

If you’ve ever wanted to own a copy of Rocket League then now’s your chance as the Collector’s Edition hits stores in North America. The retail release means you can now own a physical version of a game that has been hugely popular, selling over 5 million units already. Rocket League Collector’s Edition is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One and includes all three previous released DLC packs. The game is already available in Europe.

New Overwatch Character to Be Revealed

With Comic-Con around the corner, Overwatch fans may not have to wait long to see the game’s newest hero being unveiled. The new character, set to be a combination of medic and sniper, is rumored to be called Sombra. Developer Blizzard has also been teasing a new weapon ahead of the DLC release which is set to be free to download in the coming weeks.

Pokémon Goes Big

You’d have to be living under a virtual rock this week not to have heard the buzz around Pokémon Go. In Pokémon Go, now available for iOS and Android in North America and Android in Europe, wannabe trainers use the power of their mobile phones to see Pokémon in the real world. Like the Nintendo classic, you create your trainer, pick your starter Pokémon, and head on your way to go capture, train, level up and compete with your Pokémon. An exciting new adventure awaits.

The Week In Video Gaming: 6/24 – 6/30

It’s Friday morning, gaming fans, and we’re taking a look at some of the biggest headlines from the world of video gaming in the past seven days.

Competitive Play Comes to Overwatch On Console

This week via Battle.net, Blizzard announced that console players could now enjoy competitive play on Overwatch. Competitive Play is a ranked mode where the top competitors can unlock goodies based on their performance. The calendar year is split into four seasons, with an off-season period taking place before each new season begins. The latest patch also included some “quality-of- life” changes.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Descent DLC Dates Confirmed

Playstation fans will soon be able to enjoy the latest DLC content, with Descent DLC confirmed for release July 12th . The new pack includes a remake of fan favorite, Raid, as well as three other maps for players to sink their teeth into. In addition to the multiplayer DLC, a new Zombie chapter is also being released for lovers of the undead. Xbox and PC players are yet to have a confirmed release date of their own.

Bioshock Collection Announced

Fans of BioShock will soon be able to enjoy all three episodes from the series in one bundle, as 2K announce a September release date. All three games have been remastered in 60 FPS and 1080p, with the bundle set to retail at $59.99. The bundle will not feature support for multiplayer, previously included in BioShock 2, but will ship with formerly released DLC packs.

Titanfall 2 Multiplayer Footage

This week players eagerly awaiting the release of Titanfall 2 have been treated to 4 minutes of multiplayer footage courtesy of the Titanfall Legends YouTube channel. The video is completely unedited and features a player pulling off a series of wall jumps and big kills: enough to tantalize any fan of the series.

You can catch the video here: https://youtu.be/RuLhQTAA1Yw

Former Nissan Motorsport Director Forms eSports Team

The final piece of news this week comes from the world of eSports, as Darren Cox, formerly of Nissan, has announced that he’s starting an eSports team that is likely to focus on competitive motorsports titles. Competitive racing simulators have struggled with popularity in recent years but someone of Cox’s profile could prove to be the catalyst needed to launch them into the eSporting mainstream.

Cox said about eSports, ““If you look at the broader eSport market – including first-person shooting games, fantasy strategy games, even football – you can see how effectively they have both embraced and been driven by this vast new fan base. Professional teams compete in global championships, driving millions of dollars worth of revenue, but more importantly in some instances, driving millions of new fans to real sport.”