Liverpool are leading the race for Stoke City attacker Xherdan Shaqiri, sources close to the player have told ESPN FC.
Shaqiri, 26, is set to leave Stoke this summer following their relegation from the Premier League and a number of clubs have been weighing up moves for the Switzerland winger.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Shaqiri’s brother and agent met with Liverpool officials last Friday to discuss a possible move to Anfield and that talks are also ongoing with several other clubs — though the player himself is currently away in Russia preparing for the World Cup.
Shaqiri is reported to have a release clause of £13.5 million in his contract and that makes him an attractive proposition at that price, with sources telling ESPN FC that Liverpool made their interest clear last week.
The former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan midfielder scored eight goals and provided seven assists for Stoke last season and he has previously indicated he would prefer to stay in England if he does end up leaving Stoke.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen to boost his options in attack next season, as he wants to ease the burden on the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and is now chasing other targets after Lyon indicated on Saturday that captain Nabil Fekir will be staying in France after breaking off transfer negotiations with the Reds.
Peter O’Rourke is ESPN FC’s transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.
The free to play anime inspired mobile action RPG Honkai Impact will be launching globally in English on March 28th, 2018. The game has been available for some time in Asia, but this is the first time an official Western version will be playable. The game features instanced dungeons and boss fights with fast paced action combat and sleek anime graphics. Honkai Impact differentiates itself from other mobile games by having no auto play system. Players have to manually input commands and chain attacks together and earn their victories.
Honkai Impact is developed and published by the Chinese mobile game studio Mihoyo Co Ltd. I was actually pretty impressed with the production value of this one. The fact that it’s not just another auto play nonsense mobile game is a huge plus too.
Curious what Honkai Impact is all about? Check out my first look video below (Chinese version):
It’s no secret that Usain Bolt fancies himself as a bit of a footballer. And the fact that he has secured himself a trial at Borussia Dortmund this coming March proves just how right the developers of FIFA 18 were to put him in the game. But it got us thinking; are there players from other sports that we want to see on FIFA? Of course, there are.
Head over to the NBA, and you can take your pick of any major player there. Hand him the goalkeeper jersey, and you’re safe as houses, right? Well, in theory, yes, but remember, there’s a lot more to goalkeeping that height. You also need to be good with your feet, and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers has the skills. He’s played football all his life and was at the Champions League Final last season. And at seven feet, no one is chipping him.
The Rugby Union has some fast players, but there are few that can claim to be faster than Usain Bolt himself. And one of those few is England player Jonny May, who recorded an incredible 10.49 meters per second in a recent speed test over 40 meters. That speed would see him break the world 100-meter record. Six Nations’ odds have England as the favorites for the championship, and with May in the team, you can understand why. This guy is not only as fast as Bolt, but he’s powerfully built and tall. Defenders would bounce off him. If Didier Drogba were as fast as Usain Bolt, his name would be Jonny May.
Back to the States, we go to the NFL. We’re thinking a strong center-half in the mold of Razor Ruddock, but perhaps in slightly better condition. A tight end in the NFL would do the job nicely, and Rob Gronkowski is the best there is. He’s big, he’s strong and he’s mobile. No light-on-his-feet Messi is getting past the Gronk, and he’d eat Neymar for breakfast.
Now you may not know this, but there are quite a few tennis players who are quick on their feet. Nadal and Djokovic are notorious for indulging in soccer tennis at exhibition matches while Federer allegedly had to choose either soccer or tennis as his chosen sport. Apparently, he was that good at both. We’d like to see Nadal on the pitch though; he’s got that fiery temper that would make him a good character who might earn himself the odd red card.
For the pure comedic value of it, we’d love to see just about any WWE wrestler on the pitch. Now wrestling and soccer have crossed paths before. Stuart Tomlinson played between the sticks for Port Vale and Burton Albion before signing up as a pro wrestler. He’s back playing for Altrincham now, so he might not get into FIFA anytime soon. So, who would we want to see? The Rock, John Cena, The Undertaker? Doesn’t really matter who, this would be totally worth it just for a laugh.
So, what about the other sports? Darts, snooker, golf? Who are the stars from other sports that you’d most like to see in FIFA 19? Of all those we mentioned above, we reckon Jonny May would be the most successful, although Nadal just might push him for a place in the matchday squad.
Sergio Aguero appeared to be involved in an altercation with a fan as crowd disturbances marred Wigan’s shock FA Cup victory over Manchester City on Monday.
TV footage appeared to show the City striker raising his arm to push a supporter away after being confronted during a celebratory pitch invasion at the DW Stadium that turned ugly.
A number of jubilant Wigan supporters also celebrated in front of the City fans, sparking further disorder after Latics’ 1-0 win.
Advertising hoardings were ripped out and thrown on to the pitch along with other objects.
City have not commented, but Press Association Sport reported the club deem the events unacceptable and will be speaking to Wigan about them in the coming days.
Wigan’s only comment on the matter came from manager Paul Cook, who said of the pitch invasion: “It’s not correct, but I haven’t seen these incidents so I’d rather not give an opinion, but players’ safety is paramount for everyone.”
Wigan did not wish to comment further. City manager Pep Guardiola did not see the trouble, having already headed for the dressing room.
Guardiola said: “I was in the locker room, I didn’t see it. It’s safer when the fans are not there, but sometimes it happens. The fans respect the players and the players the fans and go inside.”
The pitch invasion began after the final whistle was blown and was initially celebratory in nature, but supporters ignored loudspeaker requests to leave the field. Players had difficulties leaving the field and other problems then developed at the City fans’ end.
The Football Association did not immediately reply for comment.
The game itself was a fiery affair, with Guardiola and Cook involved in a furious touchline row that carried on in the tunnel at half-time. The flash point had been the sending-off of City’s Fabian Delph just before the interval following a challenge on Max Power.
City dominated possession and scoring chances, but Wigan eventually went on to win with a 79th-minute goal from Will Grigg.
Black Desert Online is an MMO that combines a few aspects of EVE Online with a gorgeous fantasy world. It features plenty of fluid action combat, but you’d be missing out if you don’t invest in its expansive and robust crafting and production systems. This guide will help you get started, teaching you how to use ‘contribution points’ to build your own business brewing beer.
Before we get started, this is a guide that should be attempted by players around level 15+ who have worked through some of the story quests and have made their way to the town of Velia. Don’t worry, getting there should only take an hour or two. Once you’re there, I’ll take you step by step toward building your first ‘node network’ to begin producing goods that you can craft to make yourself a lot of money. You’re also going to need a total of four contribution points—which I’ll explain how to get in just a few moments.
I will say that thanks in part to Black Desert’s shoddy localization and the obtuse nature of the mechanics, understanding all of the nuances described in this guide might take some time. Just keep at it, follow closely, and don’t hesitate to experiment and see what happens.
Want to simply know more about what’s good and bad about the game? Read the Black Desert Online review instead.
What Are Contribution Points?
In most MMORPGs, your character’s power is measured by their level, and the same is true for Black Desert. However, Black Desert has more to do than kill monsters and run dungeons. You can set up trade routes, build and sell boats or wagons, become a master chef, and plenty more.
Almost all of those pursuits are tied to contribution points, a refundable currency you earn from completing different quests. With enough experience, you’ll earn points that you can spend and refund whenever you please.
Perhaps the most basic way to invest contribution points is through renting items from various NPCs. As you explore the world, you’ll encounter many characters who will loan you items in exchange for contribution points. Whenever you’re done using the item, like a fence to set up a garden, bring it back to that character and earn your contribution points back in full. Where you’ll spend most of your contribution, however, is setting up sprawling ‘node networks’ to access resources or connect towns together to establish trade routes. Let’s dig into how that works.
How Do Nodes Work?
The world of Black Desert is vast and nonlinear, and you’re free to wander about and discover it as you please. Landmarks and areas of interest are called nodes, and by unlocking them using your contribution points, you can begin to chain them together into a network. Doing this allows you to hire workers who can head out to the nodes and harvest a given resource for you, like the produce we’ll use to make beer.
Looking at the world map, you can see how nodes are connected to one another by white lines that arch between them. All node networks must start at a town (the icon on the map will be blue) which is a node you get for free. That means in order to unlock a given node, you must first unlock any subsequent nodes between it and any town.
Looking at this image, you can see that, in order to unlock the Imp Cave, I must first unlock the Loggia Farm node.
To discover a node, you need to locate the Node Manager, an NPC somewhere in the area of that node who you can talk to. Many of them will be located along roads, so as you travel keep an eye out and always talk to them if you see one. For this guide, let’s unlock the node manager at Loggia Farm.
Head west of Velia, keeping in sight of the coast until you see the farm buildings and fields of Loggia Farm. As you approach the front gate you’ll see Severo Loggia out front, the Node Manager. Talk to him and select the ‘node management’ option from the conversation window.
This brings us to the node management screen. In the top left, you can see some basic information about the node as well as the option to invest two contribution points in order to unlock it. There’s a lot of information there, like temperature, that we don’t need to worry about as it mostly relates to gardening. If you already have two contribution points, great. If not, keep reading this guide, but you’re going to want to spend more time questing in order to get more contribution experience.
An immediate benefit to unlocking a node is an increase of drop rate for items in the area, which is very worthwhile if you plan on sticking around to kill monsters or gather resources by hand. If you can, always try to unlock a node that you intend to do any form of grinding in, as the long term benefits of increased item drops can really pay off.
Now that you’ve unlocked the Loggia Farm node, we’re going to need to unlock the sub-node affiliated with it, which will grant us access to Loggia’s potato fields. This will cost an additional contribution point.
Hiring Your First Worker
Now that we’ve unlocked Loggia Farm and its potato fields, let’s start working on our very first production chain. This one will be really simple to set up and won’t require a great deal of contribution points or effort. We’re going to be crafting the most sacred of liquids: beer.
Beer is fantastic for several reasons. One, I’m drinking some right now and it’s delicious. The other reason beer is great is because it restores the stamina of your workers, who will tire after a long day slaving in the fields for you. By getting your workers high on your own supply, you can keep them working longer while selling the excess beer on the market for a tidy profit. You might be wondering how we’re going to turn potatoes into beer. I don’t have an answer for you. It just works.
It’s worth mentioning that you could set out and harvest the potatoes yourself by running through the field and gathering them. By hiring workers to do it for you, you can save your time and energy for more interesting pursuits.
Now, let’s get some workers.
Back in Velia, we’re going to want to talk to Santo Manzi, the Work Supervisor, as he can help us get a worker for the fields. If you’re having trouble finding him, click on the NPC box in the top right of the screen and you can set a waypoint to him by selecting ‘Worker’ from that drop down menu. Once you talk to him, selecting the ‘contract worker’ option in the dialogue window will cost you five energy and will display only one random worker to hire. If you want to search for another, you’ll need to spend another 5 energy.
Workers have their own skills and characteristics, and they’ll also level up the more you use them, unlocking more skills. Don’t worry about this too much, they’ll be plenty of time to tweak all of this to create a buttery smooth beer operation. For now, just hire whichever worker looks best for you, keeping in mind that their race determines their basic stats. Giants have more stamina and can gather for longer before needing food or beer but they also move quite slow. Goblins are speedy but tire quickly, and humans are right in the middle.
Now that you have your worker, open up the map, click on the Loggia Farm node and then on the potato fields sub-node and that will bring up a window of your workers where you can see their stats and how long a single trip to gather potatoes will take. You can also change how many times they’ll repeat the gathering process to a maximum of their total stamina points as each trip will cost one point. It’s also worth noting that workers won’t continue to gather while you’re logged off, so keeping Black Desert Online running even if you’re away from the computer is ideal.
Once you’re ready, press ‘start work’. You’ll immediately see your worker represented on the map, slowly making their way to the farm. If you want, you can even follow him as all the workers owned by you and your guild are actual NPCs that move about in the world.
Go little guy, go!
Alright, gathering all those potatoes is going to take some time, probably around an hour depending on what race your worker is. While they’re toiling away for us, let’s move on to the next step.
On page two, how to buy your first house, brew beer with the fruits (and veg) of your (NPC’s) labour, and more.
When we sent Steven Messner into Black Desert Online [official site], he came out gushing about the MMORPG… then telling us how to build a production empire. It was not a small game, and it quickly became even bigger only a month after launch. Last week saw the release of the ‘Mediah’ expansion, a huge free update adding the eponymous new region to make the world about 30% larger – with all the new quests, bosses, items, and so on you’d expect from that.
The Mediah expansion’s headline additions are that whole dang new region, “over 1,000” new quests, a huge boss which publishers Daum Games say “can take on hundreds of players at a time”, 40v40 PvP skirmishes on the Crimson Battlefield, mighty new weapons and armour, and craftable ‘alchemy stones’ to socket weapons. Hit the patch notes if you want to see more, including details on balance tweaks.
I’m never a long-term MMORPG player but I do always enjoy having new lands to explore, and Mediah looks pretty nice:
Black Desert Online has been out in other parts of the world since as early as 2014, remember, so the recent European and North American release is tapping into – and catching up with – those. This wasn’t something they quickly knocked out.
Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol’ breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months.
Below is the full, hundred-strong roster, complete with links to our coverage if you want to find out more about any of the games, or simply to marvel at how much seemed to happen in the space of 52 short weeks.
They’ve got a few extra categories to browse over on Steam, including top new releases by month, the top-selling VR games (no comment) and the best-peforming graduates from the early access programme. The one we’re most interested in, though, is ‘top sellers’, which covers the games with the most gross revenue – i.e. including DLC sales, which is why there are a fair few free-to-play entries. This gives us a pretty clear sense of what people were most keen to play last year.
Valve don’t provide individual ranks for these games – so we don’t know, for instance, if Plunkbat ultimately sold more copies than CSGO did – but instead has arranged them into olden hit record-themed categories. Without knowing exactly what the criteria for each of these is, my guess is ‘owns a mansion on every continent’ – ‘takes regular private helicopter rides’ – ‘has live-in staff’ – ‘owns a Tesla’.
Without further ado, here we go. At the end of it all, I’ve rounded it up into a few key info-stats that give us a better sense of the shape of PC gaming in 2017.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The latest incarnation of Valve’s deathless team shooter.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Ubisoft’s military shooter continues to do the business two years after release.
The sometime DayZ-rivalling survivo-multiplayer game from Daybreak Studios.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands
Open-world tactical shooting, again from the house of Ubi.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
CD Projeckt’s sprawling, beautiful, dirty fantasy RPG.
Instantly accessible car-football fun from Psyonix.
Never heard of it.
ARK: Survival Evolved
Online dinosaur-bothering and survival.
Dota 2 (F2P)
Valve’s own take on the Warcraft III-derived moba.
Divinity: Original Sin II
Larian Studios hit big again with this traditional but expansive fantasy RPG.
Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar can spare a dime or two.
Digital Extreme’s free-to-play sci-fi MMO shooter, which saw some big updates over 2017.
Jason Vorhees in a surprisingly good, though buggy, asynchronous online game.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Will 2018 be the year of Elder Scrolls VI?
Frontier’s sprawling sandbox spaceship MMO.
Madness and perversion abide in this squad-based roguelite.
Right, let’s do some maths.
Most successful publishers*:
Ubisoft – 7
Bethesda – 7
Sega – 6
Paradox – 5
Valve – 4
*Purely based on number of entries. Total monies earned is an entirely different matter, which we have not been given data for.
Big publisher vs ‘indie’ split:
Note – this ratio could vary by up to 10 titles in either direction depending on your definition of the increasingly useless term ‘indie’, so let’s use it only as a working approximation.
Games primarily about killing things vs games not primarily about killing things
Well, those are the games that made the most money, but a slightly different and arguably more meaningful metric is which games most people are playing. I won’t do so many entries here or I’ll go mad, but here’s the top ten. No new names from the above in there, but these offer a good insight into how the Steam playerbase en masse tends to think. Guns/online/hats, in the main. The only game here that isn’t a shooter is Dota 2.
Games with over 100,000 simultaneous players
Ark: Survival Evolved
Grand Theft Auto V
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
You can find a few more, in the 50,000/25,000/15,000 cateogries here, and those do house a few games that aren’t in the bestselling list. To save you a click, those are Absolver, Total War RoMe II, Clicker Heroes, Elex, No Man’s Sky, World of Tanks, Portal 2, Mount and Blade Warband, Deceit, Yi Gi Oh!, Life Is Strange: Before The Storm and Starbound.
Which leaves me with just one last piece of extremely important information to share with you before we get on with 2018 in earnest:
Two women’s football tournaments later in the year
Happy New Year! 2018 is upon us and is set to feature fantastic football aplenty. To make sure that you do not miss any of the must-see events in store, FIFA.com has rounded up the highlights on the horizon. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your brand new diary and note down the following key dates.
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Undoubtedly the main footballing event already marked in the calendar of most football fans around the world is the global showpiece at Russia 2018. On Thursday 14 June, the first of 64 games will kick-off with the hosts against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium, with the 2018 World Cup Final taking place at the same venue on Sunday 15 July.
Here they are! The groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia!
Which game are you most looking forward to?! #WorldCupDraw pic.twitter.com/CYBTaqkgpF
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) 1 December 2017
FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 Less than a month after the final whistle is blown in Moscow at Russia 2018, focus shifts to the women’s game. With the picturesque region of Brittany set to host this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, the tournament will begin in Vannes on Sunday 5 August, with the final to be played at the same venue on Friday 24 August.
Fans keen to learn the fate of the qualified teams will also need to note down Thursday 8 March, the date on which the draw will be held to split the 16 teams into four groups.
FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 South America has not hosted a global women’s youth finals for a decade, since Chile played host to the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2008, and so fans of women’s football across the world will be turning a keen eye to Uruguay later in the year. The tournament will begin on Tuesday 13 November, and conclude on Saturday 1 December.
When all the teams are known, the draw will take place in Zurich on Wednesday 30 May.
FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 It seems a little hasty to already be thinking ahead to the next edition, after Real Madrid retained the trophy just a few weeks ago, but it is always worth keeping ahead of the game. UAE 2018 will begin on Wednesday12 December, with the final set to be played on Saturday 22 December.
Planet football will also see other huge events, such as the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow on 12–13 June and the 2018 edition of The Best FIFA Football Awards™, with a venue and date for the latter to be confirmed later in the year.
Of course, we cannot forget the steady supply of club football all year round, from leagues to domestic cups and continental competitions, which you can keep track of as they happen with our Live Scores section.
Too much information to take in all at once? Fear not, simply stay tuned to FIFA.com or the FIFA App and follow our accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep on top of everything during what promises to be another fantastic year in football.
A Collection Of FIFA Ultimate Team Tips, FIFA Guide FAQ