Celtic are lucky to have Dembele – Rodgers – fifa15books.com

The forward was on target twice for the Bhoys as they were denied a famous victory by the tenacious visitors, and his boss affirmed coming to Parkhead was the right move

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers heaped praise on Moussa Dembele after the forward scored twice in a 3-3 draw against Manchester City in the Champions League.

Dembele opened the scoring at Celtic Park after just three minutes, and he was on target again within 72 seconds of the second half to make the score 3-2.

City fought back three times to level the match, with goals from Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling and Nolito, but Rodgers focused on his talented 20-year-old afterwards.

"We're fortunate to have him," Rodgers said of Dembele. "He was coveted by a number of teams but his agent is a clever guy.

Celtic begin their European comeback

"Does he go to a so-called better league and sit on the bench and not get so many games, or does he come to a big club with an opportunity to develop and invest some time into his development, and then step up if that's what he wants to do?

"He really bullied the back four, but he's more than that – he's got a wonderful touch.

"You saw his agility for the third goal. He's a huge talent."

Despite becoming the first side to take a point from a game against Manchester City this season – and the first side to take the lead against Pep Guardiola's side – Rodgers admitted his players had mixed emotions after letting their lead slip three times.

He said: "We're disappointed with the goals we conceded. We can analyse all three and we can do better. They got a bit lucky with the first one.

"I thought the performance of the team was absolutely outstanding at this level, to perform like that. The players deserve great credit. To play against Manchester City and perform like that, it was incredible.

"A very small percentage of us feels we could have done better with the goals, especially the second and the third. Everything else was outstanding."

Rodgers also gave credit to the Celtic fans, who created an intimidating atmosphere for the Premier League leaders to play in.

"It's a noise I've not heard since I've been up here," said Rodgers.

"I've played around the world, in great atmospheres, but this is sheer passion. When the supporters and team are at that level, it's very difficult for a team even like Man City.

"It's really like a 12th man. They helped us produce the performance that we did."

Godin suffers sprained ankle ligament on fifa15books

After losing Jose Maria Gimenez at the weekend, Diego Simeone may face a new defensive headache after his compatriot ended the game in discomfort

Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin suffered a sprained ankle ligament in their 1-0 Champions League win over Bayern Munich.

Uruguay centre-back Godin finished the game at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday with some discomfort in his left ankle.

And an Atletico statement read: "Following a first examination from the medical services of the club, Diego Godin suffered a sprain of the lateral ligament of his left ankle.

"Additional tests will be performed in the next hours."

Godin has played every game this season for an Atletico side that sit third in LaLiga.

fifa15books – Wenger flattered by England link but focused on Arsenal

The Football Association are searching for a new Three Lions boss following Sam Allardyce’s exit but the Gunners man appears unlikely to consider it this season

Arsene Wenger has reaffirmed his commitment to Arsenal after once again being linked with the England job but admitted the links were flattering.

Sam Allardyce's stunning departure on Tuesday, after just one game in charge, leaves the Football Association searching for a new manager, with Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate taking charge of the senior team for their next four matches.

Wenger, who celebrates 20 years at the helm at Arsenal this weekend, has been linked with the position before and his current contract at the Emirates Stadium expires at the end of the season.

Walcott double downs Basel

Speaking after Arsenal's 2-0 win over Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Frenchman admitted to being flattered to be talked about as a potential candidate for the vacancy – but insisted he was only focused on his current employers for now.

Wenger said: "It's a huge surprise what happened – who could have predicted that 48 hours ago? Nobody, but the English game is always full of surprises.

"Look, of course [I'm flattered] but my priority has always been this club. Until the end of this season I am here and completely focused on that.

"I said many times my priority was towards Arsenal Football Club, I will have to assess how well I do until the end of the season."

Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a routine victory over Basel at the Emirates Stadium thanks to two Theo Walcott goals.

"I would like to congratulate my team for the quality of football they produced," Wenger told the club's official website. "The first half was top, top class.

"We have to be ambitious but also keep our feet on the ground. We know how we want to play but we still want to get better."

Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain are locked together on four points at the top of Group A.

Hasselbaink denies wrongdoing amid impropriety allegations – fifa15books.com

The former Netherlands international has come under the spotlight following a newspaper investigation into manager payments, but he insists he is innocent

QPR manager Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink has denied any wrongdoing amid allegations he negotiated a £55,000 fee to serve as a sports ambassador for a company that wanted to sell players to his club.

Hasselbaink was filmed allegedly negotiating a fee with investors in a firm from the Far East that was keen to be involved in the transfer activity at QPR.

Vardy reveals Red Bull and port routine

The claims come after England parted company with manager Sam Allardyce following apparent remarks, made in a video recorded by undercover reporters, in which he offered advice on how to circumvent rules on transfers involving player under third-party ownership.

In a statement released by QPR, Hasselbaink said: "I have today, through my lawyers, responded in full to the accusations levelled against me by The Telegraph.

"I was approached by Mr McGarvey and Ms Newell of The Telegraph purporting to be players' agents. They offered me a fee to make a speech in Singapore. I do not see anything unusual in being offered to be paid to make a speech.

"I did not make any promises in return. I did not ask QPR to purchase any of the players who were said to be managed by Mr McGarvey and Ms Newell and did not and would not recommend the purchase of a player for my personal gain. I deny any accusations of wrongdoing on my part."

QPR confirmed they will be conducting their own investigation but stressed they have confidence in Hasselbaink and the "robust" systems and processes in place at the club.

The Telegraph also alleged that Barnsley assistant Tommy Wright took a £5,000 payment to help bring players into the club.

A Barnsley statement read: "Barnsley FC is aware of allegations made by the Telegraph against Tommy Wright. The club has today suspended Tommy pending an internal investigation into these allegations."

Griezmann will still take penalties – Simeone on fifa15books

The France international saw a late effort crash against the bar, but his coach pointed out that even the best players in the world sometime err from the spot

Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann will continue taking penalties despite his latest miss, coach Diego Simeone said.

Griezmann put his 84th-minute spot-kick against the crossbar, but Atletico still claimed a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.

A first-half goal by Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, set up by Griezmann, was enough for the LaLiga giants.

Atletico down Bayern in Champions League clash

Atletico have taken three penalties in their last four Champions League games, failing to score any of them – with two missed by Griezmann.

"[Diego] Maradona, [Lionel] Messi, [Michel] Platini and Zico have all missed penalties. Griezmann will carry on taking them," Simeone said, via UEFA.

"We are very happy with his work. He started the counter-attack for the goal and he did a thousand things.

"For me, he is in amongst the best forwards in the world."

Carrasco's pinpoint finish in the 35th minute proved the match-winner for Simeone's side.

The Argentinian was also full of praise for midfielder Koke, saying: "We have been working with Koke for the last two years, moving him more inside.

"He is looking more natural there and seems to be the boss in there. It works well and he enables the team recover the ball much more quickly."

fifa15books – Battlefield 1 Beta Brought Down By DDoS Attack

fifa15books - Battlefield 1 Beta Brought Down By DDoS Attack

The beta of Battlefield 1 [official site] was shut down on its first day by a group pummeling EA’s servers with a denial of service attack. And if you hopped off to play some Overwatch or WoW instead, you might have encountered an identical problem, because the same group has been attacking Blizzard’s servers as well. It is as if a dozen gaming forums losing millions of passwords recently in a separate hack was not bad enough.

The Battlefield 1 beta launched yesterday but within hours players were unable to join servers or find a game through matchmaking. We had the same problem when we tried last night, getting in just two matches amid a flurry of error messages and disconnections. EA didn’t acknowledge an attack but did admit that they were having problems. Meanwhile, the hacking group PoodleCorp claimed they were responsible.

The group has also been attacking the Blizzard servers, bringing lag and disconnections to players of Overwatch and World of Warcraft – all on the same day the MMO’s sixth expansion, Legion, was launched. Those issues have since been resolved, say Blizzard. Likewise, the Battlefield 1 servers look a lot healthier today.

The hacks are reminiscent of Lizard Squad, a hacking group that previously attacked Sony, Microsoft, Valve and others using the same method, most famously on Christmas Day in 2014, disrupting online games and forcing millions to spend time with their families. It’s not known if any more bombardments are planned, but this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen of the group. If all continues going smoothly, we’ll be able to bring you our impressions of Battlefield 1 multiplayer soon. Or, if you’re very impatient, you can try it yourself on Origin.

Overwatch Season 2 Begins, Brings New Map on fifa15books

Overwatch Season 2 Begins, Brings New Map on fifa15books

Overwatch update 1.3 is now live on public servers, bringing changes to competitive play for season 2, a new Assault/Escort map called Eichenwalde, and balance tweaks to D.Va, Zenyatta and others. The standout changes are a change to skill ratings and the elimination of sudden death from the game’s competitive modes, but the full list of changes is long.

The update has been available in the test realm for a while now, meaning we already knew about most of these changes – including the new map and the death of sudden death.

Matches which end in a draw will now simply end in a draw, giving three Competitive Points to players, but they’ve “made some changes to our game modes in Competitive Play to help reduce the chance that a draw can happen.”

If three Competitive Points sounds like a lot for a draw, that’s because you used to receive only one for a win. Now you’ll receive ten for winning a match. Numbers have become bigger across the board; player’s individual skill rating is now measured on a 1-5000 scale instead of the former 1-100 scale. Players are then assigned to tiers which determines who you’ll be playing with in competitive matchmaking.

The patch notes also break down each individual change to the game’s heroes, with helpful developer comments on each to explain why the change was made. For example, D.Va’s defense matrix will now begin regenerating after a 1-second delay rather than 0.5 seconds, because it “was too efficient when tapped repeatedly, instead of being held.” I like the way games like this are a constant negotiation between developers and the people who discover strange strategies in high-level play.

Zoomo! Overwatch Rolls Out 63Hz High Bandwidth Mode – fifa15books.com

Zoomo! Overwatch Rolls Out 63Hz High Bandwidth Mode - fifa15books.com

Blizzard are rolling out upgraded netcode for Overwatch [official site] across the world, and you’ll likely find it’s live for you now. The update has most Overwatch servers now running in the “high bandwidth” mode, which previously was limited to an option in custom games. This increases the frequency with which players tell the server what they’re doing and receive updates on what other players are doing, in theory meaning less frustration with things like being shot after escaping round corners.

The update is switching the client update rate to 63Hz (63 times per second, up from 21), which should broadly make everything feel better and less frustrating. Blizzard started rolling this out last month, but now it’s live in enough regions for Blizzard to properly announce it.

If you want to get technical, Overwatch lead engineer Tim Ford and senior engineer Philip Orwig explain the change with paper cups in a new video, but the takeaway is:

“The net result of that is you will be shot around corners less, you’ll be able to predict escape moves better and the server will hear about it sooner – so if you got that blink off, the server’s going to process that quicker – [and it will] make you less likely to get hit by hooks.”

They explain that Overwatch launched with a 21Hz client update rate because they wanted to be sure everything would be stable at launch, with 63Hz mode reserved for custom games if people really wanted it. But 63Hz takes a beefier connection, so before rolling it out they made tech to detect if a player’s connection can’t handle it and downgrade their rate.

The realities of online gaming mean you still might be frustrated by getting hit when you feel you shouldn’t, but that should be a lot rarer.

Here’s the full scoop:

He Was The Lore: Blizzard’s Chris Metzen Retires – fifa15books.com

He Was The Lore: Blizzard’s Chris Metzen Retires - fifa15books.com

Blizzard lorelord Chris Metzen (‘senior vice president of story and franchise development’, if you want to be technical) has handed in his badge and his loregiver (his keyboard, obvs) and taken The Long Walk into The Cursed Earth (idk, Reddit?). After nearly 23 years of laying down the lore and voicing characters from Thrall to the good ol’ Terran Battlecruiser, Metzen last night announced his retirement. He’s off to spend time with his family, see.

Metzen had been at Blizzard since the original WarCraft: Orcs & Humans, touching the story and cinematics of every game since, while chipping in on bits of design, voice direction, manuals… a lot. He was also creative director of Overwatch, Warcraft III, and World of Warcraft and its first few expansions. He’s been at Blizzard a while, you understand. Done quite a bit. Also some WoW novels and bits on the movie. Been quite involved in all of it. And what’s he learned?

“I wouldn’t really understand the depth of it for many years, but I had learned an important truth from my friends back then:

“Creativity is relational.

“Looking back at my years at Blizzard, I see now how profoundly this idea has shaped my career. I see how profoundly my friends and coworkers at Blizzard have shaped me as a person.”

Bless.

“I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky. Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and ‘give and take.’ It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens.

“It’s not just the decisions you come to—or even the final shape of the product you craft… It’s bigger than that—and infinitely more important. True collaboration builds trust—and trust is the basis of all lasting relationships. With trust you build more than just a great product.

“You build a TRIBE… that can build anything.

“A family of craftsmen.”

So it’s true what they say: friendship is magic. Now we can all skip learning that lesson the hard way.

Metzen is retiring to spend time with his family, which includes a couple of sprogs. He says he’s actually, properly retiring – not planning to join another studio or start his own projects. Just retiring. Well, mostly retiring.

If I write enough news posts, maybe one day I’ll get to retire to a quiet life with my wife, the sea.

fifa15books | Blizzard: You Can Now Buy Battletag Name Changes

fifa15books | Blizzard: You Can Now Buy Battletag Name Changes

There’s this idea that every in-game name chosen in youthful exuberance is an embarrassment you’ll eventually want to be rid of. I actually still like and use the one I picked back then, although I occasionally switch it up nowadays because “Notorious P.I.P.” is too good a pun to pass up. BUT if you picked a horror of a name as your Battletag, Blizzard are now offering paid-for name changes.

I guess this is good news if you’ve been looking to start afresh or rid yourself of a weird string of numbers after growing frustrated that every other variation on the tag you wanted at the time was taken (although actually I believe Battletags don’t need to be unique because of that hash number system they use in conjunction with the tags). Maybe it’s also good news if you’ve entered a witness protection scheme for game-related crimes but don’t want to lose your Overwatch progress?

But the thing is, Blizzard actually already let you have one free name change so I’m wondering about the situation where you’ve so far ended up with two names you hate and need a third. Perhaps it’s going to be used by people who regret the second name and want to go back to the first? Or perhaps it’s going to be used for trolling friends. I would probably do that. Or maybe you’ve got married and you and your partner want to start using your married gamer names?

The free name change

If you’re ready for something new and haven’t already used your free BattleTag change, simply visit your Account Management Dashboard, and click the Change link under your Account Details to the right of your current tag.

If you haven’t used your free change yet, don’t worry—BattleTag changes don’t expire and yours will be waiting for you if and when you ever decide to use it.

The paid name change(s)

If you’ve already used your first free change and still feel like a new nickname would be a better fit, the option to purchase an additional change will be available within Account Management. Changes are available for $10 each [£8 in the UK], and your new moniker will be reflected on your friends list automatically after making the change.

Naming Rules

  • The BattleTag must be between 3-12 characters long.
  • Accented characters are allowed.
  • Numbers are allowed, but a BattleTag cannot start with a number.
  • Mixed capitals are allowed (ex: ZeRgRuSh).
  • No spaces or symbols are allowed
  • Must not break the rules established in our in-game and forum violations.
  • Final thoughts:

    1. I’m far more entertained than I probably should be that Blizzard’s image of a player seems to be a Viking wearing either a shirt and jumper or one of those sweaters with really pronounced elasticated sleeves. It’s like their default scenario here is that a school-aged Norse expansionist regrets “LongshipDude” and “LokiDokey” but will happily pay eight quid for “ErikTheRAD”.

    fifa15books | Blizzard: You Can Now Buy Battletag Name Changes

    2. Will this ruin @ReaperNames?

    3. Here’s the store link if EdgeLord420 is no longer representative of how your life is going.