It’s been a fairly quiet week in the world of esports with news starting to gather pace as we head into what’s sure to be a blockbuster 2018. The biggest news this week comes from Valve & Galaxy Battles as well as Hi-Rez’s title Paladins with rumours of Brentford’s entrance to esports and BELONG’s Arena Clash expansion also notable news. As always, here’s our recap of the biggest stories in esports this week. Galaxy Battles has major status revoked by ValveThe Galaxy Battles Major hosted by Fallout Gaming has had its major status and Valve involvement revoked, with the game developer citing “unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players” as the main reason for the decision. Credit: ValveIt comes less than two weeks before the tournament, hosted in the Philippines was set to get underway. The blog post from Valve reads “the tournament itself may still proceed, but without any involvement of Valve or the Dota Pro Circuit”. This will mean that the prize money will effectively be halved, as Valve contributed $500,000 to majors in the Dota Pro Circuit and also the coveted Pro Circuit points that contribute towards qualification for the flagship tournament The International will not be earned.The blog post is brief, but reads:“Based on information we’ve recently confirmed regarding new government regulations for esports players entering the Philippines, we have decided to rescind the tournament’s Major designation, including the Pro Circuit qualifying points, for the Galaxy Battles 2018 tournament. This is based on what we feel are unreasonable infringements on the privacy of the players as a condition to enter the country”.It later on continues to apologise to attendees and the Philippines, stating:“This isn’t a reflection on how we feel about the fans in the Philippines, and we are sorry for those that were planning on attending the event”.Read the full article here.Paladins to introduce battle royale game modeHi-Rez Studios has announced that Paladins will introduce a new Battle Royale game mode. The news was made public during the keynote address on the opening morning of the Hi-Rez Expo in Atlanta.Paladins: Battlegrounds will offer an unconventional twist on the increasingly popular battle royale genre. The genre mashup will create ability-driven combat, combined with survival gameplay and a fantasy setting to set it apart from the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which truly took 2017 by storm.In Paladins: Battlegrounds players spawn into a large map as per a typical battle royale map. They’ll have mounts just like in Paladins, and be able to explore and loot through various outposts as well as tracking zeppelins that drop legendary gear – much like the airdrops in PUBG. As expected, the last team standing will be the team that emerges victorious.Read the full article here.Brentford FC could enter the esports frayBrentford, the West London based English Football League Championship (“EFL”) club could be entering the esports space soon, a LinkedIn job posting suggests.The post, added two days ago, for a Marketing Manager includes the following under roles and responsibilities: To create a pilot project exploring the opportunity of esports for a football club, evaluate and build and agreed programme of activity against objectives There’s no suggestion that any esports experience, or even knowledge is required although the esports segment is clearly a tiny element to a much wider job role. The esports landscape has exploded in the last year with over 175 traditional sports clubs getting involved. Recently, Founder of Code Red Esports, Paul “Redeye” Chaloner compiled a spreadsheet showing traditional sports outfits that have entered the esports space. Whilst it’s incredible to see the amount of teams now involved in the burgeoning industry, there has not been a concerted push from English teams to enter the space. Read the full article here.GAME announces expansion of BELONG Arena ClashGAME, the video game retailer has announced that its BELONG Arena Clash will return for a Spring season with registration opening today for gamers over the age of 16 in the United Kingdom. The esports tournament gives casual and hardcore gamers alike the chance to join a team at their local BELONG store and compete for a place at the live finals which will take place at Insomnia62 at the NEC in Birmingham over the Easter weekend. There are now 19 BELONG arenas across the country, and those involved will have the chance to compete in: Call of Duty: WWII, Overwatch, League of Legends and Tekken 7. Each regional team will be vying for titles and attempting to dethrone the current champions: Manchester Swarm, Colchester Centurions, Portsmouth Pirates and London Lionhearts. The victorious players will win £100 worth of accessories and £100 GAME Reward points. The runners-up in each title will receive £50 in accessories and £50 in Reward points. The programme will feature dedicated gaming nights for each title throughout the week, with players able to play on stations for each title. Teams will have the chance to challenge other players within their region specific arena as well as other players across the UK. Read the full article here.
MASON CITY — It’s 25 years in prison for a Mason City man who sexually abused an eight-year-old girl numerous times.61-year-old Russell Leverne was charged with three counts of second-degree sexual abuse after Mason City police say he committed sexual acts with the child on multiple occasions between June and July of last year at his apartment in the 1000 block of South Illinois Avenue.As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Leverne pleaded guilty to two of the three second-degree sexual abuse counts, with the other charge being dismissed.Leverne this week was sentenced by District Judge Colleen Weiland to 25 years in prison on each count, with the sentences to be served concurrently.Leverne must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and pay $500 worth of civil penalties.