July 21, 2014

China's NewBee Wins the International Dota 2 Championship

Sixteen of the top Dota teams competed this past weekend in the fourth International Dota 2 Championship in Seattle, with Chinese team NewBee bringing home a grand prize of $5,028,308 USD. They defeated another Chinese team, Vici Gaming, three games to one in the best-of-five final round.

China also won the International in 2012 with Invictus Gaming, but teams from Sweden and the Ukraine have been neck and neck with China until this year.

On Weibo, user 银海螺头 wrote, "Americans are ignorant: they don't call themselves NewBee (as in newbie)! Chinese Team Newbee is a transliteration, in fact it means fucking awesome (牛逼 niúbī; literally "cow pussy")!" Another user wrote, "Foreigners finally know how to read niúbī." Others expected that most of the winnings would likely go to the club owners, taxes, and the administration, meaning the players would see very little of their $1 million USD winnings.

It was the first time ESPN carried the Dota 2 Championships on its network. You could watch the tournament on the ESPN3 streaming channel, and a finals preview aired on ESPN2. Weibo user 雅痞的狐太郎 hoped that since ESPN had broadcasts , CCTV5 might follow suit soon, if only for the finals.

July 16, 2014

Some MMO Babe Déjà vu

Well, this is interesting. Originally, I was going to do a write-up of this article from Games.QQ, titled "Clothed Can Be Cute Too! The Top MMO Super Babes" which was published today (July 17th in China). However, when looking up a similar Western list to compare it to, I came across this list by MMOGames that was published last month on June 26th. They're exactly the same list-- the same women in the same order, using the same pictures, even the same descriptions and titles. It's a direct translation.

Apparently, China doesn't only produce unofficial Chinese translations of video games-- they also produce unofficial Chinese translations of video game journalism. There is no link to the original story, only a link to Gaming Online (another Chinese news site), and no mention of the original author (BroadcastDinosaur).

Granted, I do somewhat of the same thing: find popular articles in Chinese and then translate them, but at least I say what I'm doing and post the source. I'll have to be more careful in the future, that I'm not translating something that already exists in English! Anyway, it's nice to know that both China and the West agree that Shae Vizla of Star Wars: The Old Republic is the hottest MMO babe.

July 14, 2014

Diablo 3 Arrives on the Mainland: "Sorry I'm late!"

Only two years after its release, Diablo 3 is finally making the Pacific leap to China where it will finally reunite with its Blizzard line-up brethren (Hearthstone, Heroes of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft). Diablo 3 had been banned while it was being reviewed by the Chinese Ministry of Culture (likely a lengthy endeavor considering the franchise's liberal use of skeletons and corpses, which the Chinese government is less than tolerant of in entertainment media), though it didn't stop gamers from acquiring and playing it anyway.

Blizzard is once again partnering with NetEase, their Chinese operator for all their other games. In the press release published on the Diablo 3 Chinese website, Blizzard Entertainment co-founder and CEO Mike Morhaime stated, "We are very excited to welcome the many enthusiastic players from mainland China to Sanctuary! We are grateful for the support Chinese gamers have given us from the beginning, and hope they enjoy Diablo 3!" NetEase CEO and founder William Ding added, "We're very excited that with our effort, all five of Blizzard Entertainment's game series will be delivered to Chinese players. We'll continue to work closely with Blizzard to prepare for a smooth Diablo 3 launch in China so that local gamers can start playing this epic adventure as soon as possible."

Diablo 3 announces its Mainland release by writing, "Sorry I'm late! [cry]"

On Weibo, users wondered whether there would be an "anti-harmony" patch, which would undo all the changes that the Ministry of Culture likely inflicted on the content. Others complained that it's come too late, and that nobody will be interested in the "harmonized" version. Others simply wanted to know the release date, and whether it would be available on Mac. User水木三又 asked, "I don't know, what kind of harmonization did they do? The bodies aren't all like Hello Kitty now are they?"

February 11, 2014

Silver Medalist Han Tianyu Loves Online Games

With over 67 million people playing League of Legends worldwide per month, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some Olympic athletes competing in Sochi rank it among one of their favorite hobbies. Han Tianyu, who placed silver in this year’s 1500m speed skating competition in Sochi and won China their first medal of the Winter Olympics, admitted in a post-match interview that he was very fond of online games. At seventeen years old, despite his success and dedication to skating, Han Tianyu still enjoys the hobbies of his peers, stating, “I’ve played every game, but the one I play most is League of Legends. I’m in gold division.”

On Weibo, Tencent Sports wrote to Han Tianyu, “Congratulations! When you come back, play a game of LOL with Chen Yibing!” Gymnast Chen Yibing, who won two gold medals in the 2008 Olympics and one silver medal in the 2012 Olympics, is also a League fan. In July 2013, he attended the Star Charity Gaming Challenge in Shanghai, a casual League tournament meant to raise money for charity.

February 2, 2014

2014's Most Anticipated PC Games

QQ Games has been releasing a list of “Most Anticipated PC Games” by genre since the Chinese New Year on the 31st of January. The first list was for most anticipated shooters, the second for simulation games, and today they released their list for most anticipated role-playing games. Each list contains 15, 8, and 30 games respectively; I’ll only list their top five, though I’ll link to the full article—they always include a picture for each game, so some of you should be able to identify each one (consider it a test of your gaming expertise).

January 22, 2014

League of Legends Allows Chinese Players to Feel At Home

 It seems China also picked up on the news on Riot's "Lunar Revel" skins for their game, League of Legends. I reported on it in my last post, but I like what Tencent Games has to say about it,

The rich romanticism that flavors myths and legends in Chinese culture make it highly praiseworthy and cause some of the chuanqi characters to walk out into the global stage and into the line of vision of the world’s gamers. League of Legends (abbreviated LOL), developed by America’s Riot Games and operated by Tencent Games, is celebrating China’s New Year of the horse by recently introducing elements of familiar myths/legends and the year of the horse to LOL. From now until February 15th, rare character skins like Warring Kingdoms Tryndamere, Lunar Goddess Diana, and Mulan* Riven and the approaching year of the horse, all full of Chinese flavor, will allow players to feel at home.
The article continues on the describe the champions and report on the past Lunar Revels. It also states that reports have said users will be able to participate in activities to receive a horse avatar, as they were able to for the Christmas and Halloween events. This puts to rest my hope that the horse theme would manifest in a Hecarim skin...

*The English name is Dragonblade Riven.

January 18, 2014

League of Legends Voted Top Game of 2013, Announces Lunar Festival Themed Event

A few days ago, Tencent published a list of the top games of 2013. League of Legends placed first in the Hall of Honor, the award given to the overall most popular game. In second place was domestic MMORPG Fantasy Westward Journey ( 幻西游). In order to earn a spot in the Hall of Honor, a game must have placed in the Ten Most Popular Online Games award twice in the past three years, which League of Legends did in both 2012 and 2011. It was also the only non-Asian game of the four other games it was up against in the Hall. The other contenders were DNF Online and the MMORPG Tian Long Ba Bu: Shen Bing Hai Yu.

Meanwhile, Riot Games has introduced an upcoming event in League of Legends known as the Lunar Revel, in celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year (January 31st). As part of the event, Riot is releasing three new Asian-inspired skins: Lunar Goddess Diana, Warring Kingdoms Tryndamere, and Dragonblade Riven. They'll be joining the other nine Lunar Revel skins from past years, including Warring Kingdoms Jarvan IV, Warring Kingdoms Xin Zhao, and Dragonblade Talon. Unfortunately, Riot originally had a theme where some of the skins reflected the Chinese zodiac animal of the according year (dragon themes for 2012, and a Cassiopeia skin in 2013 for the year of the snake); this theme might be absent this year, as none of the released skins seem horse related. They still have time to surprise us with a Hecarim skin, though.

Read more to see the other awards Tencent gave out.

January 15, 2014

Ban Lifted on Consoles in China-- Definitely This Time, For Real

Grandma's Dirty Little Secret

Almost a year after the Chinese government shut down rumors that claimed they were planning on removing the ban on gaming consoles, the Chinese government is removing the ban on gaming consoles.

As of January 6th, the ban on purchasing or providing consoles has been temporarily lifted allowing new options for the law-abiding, console-curious Chinese gamer. Though a major handicap for gaming's big three, the ban itself was widely considered to be in name only for the average consumer. If a Chinese citizen were determined enough, they could easily find consoles through many of the black/gray/shady import markets readily available throughout the country. The other (more legal) options were Chinese PC, mobile, and web games.