Valorant Pro Dies In Turkey-Syria Earthquake

Today, the world of esports and competitive gaming mourns the loss of professional Valorant player Gizem “Luie” Harmankaya. Following days of uncertainty, she is confirmed to have died in the devastation following a pair of earthquakes that struck southern Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, February 6. This story contains descriptions of the trauma and destruction following the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Hitting parts of Turkey and Syria early on Monday morning, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that lasted for as long as two minutes and was followed by a second 7.5 magnitude quake nine hours later, has taken the lives of nearly 12,000 people. The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies and potential survivors remain trapped under rubble. Relief efforts, particularly from Turkey’s government, have been met with criticism over resources, attention, and response time.

In the wake of the disaster, reports of missing people have gone unanswered for tens of hours at a time. Such was the case with Gizem Harmankaya, who was reported to have gone missing after the earthquake first struck on February sixth. Living in Marash, Turkey, Harmankaya was most recently on the female roster for esports team UnknownPros. She had previously played for Galakticos Sirens and Viviace Vista. She played her last pro game on August 13, 2022. Despite losing two games to Beşiktaş Esports, she emerged as one of the top players on her team.

“We can’t reach our friend Gizem Harmankaya” a translation of an all-caps tweet from Turkish Youtuber Tolunary Ören on February 6 reads. “We cannot get news […] for 24 hours please help.” Tweet replies echo the frustration and panic of failing to get any word on Harmankaya’s status.

Following as much as 40 hours of uncertainty, Harmankaya was confirmed to be one of those lost to the disaster after being trapped under rubble for as long as two days. Turkish esports club UnknownPros was one of the earliest to confirm her passing:

Similar tweets and replies show an outpouring of sadness over the loss and condolences for the surviving family and those who are still yet to be found or are still trapped. “Rest in peace Gizem💜 Losing women within the scene really do hit hard. Your achievements will not be forgotten,” reads one tweet from Valorant player and content creator Emlux.

The death toll continues to climb in Turkey and Syria. With relief efforts complicated by the damage, support from the United Nations, United States, and organizations such as the White Helmets are still active in providing aid and rescue.


If you would like to help with relief efforts, The New York Times has put together a researched guide on which organizations are currently accepting donations.

Elon Musk Booed At Valorant Tournament

A photo shows Elon Musk giving two thumbs up before receiving the Axel Springer Award 2020 In Berlin.

Photo: Pool (Getty Images)

Elon Musk, head nit-twit and “Player of Games,” appeared surprised when he attended the Valorant Champions 2023 tournament at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, California and was greeted with a cacophony of boos.

During the August 27 grand finals match between Canadian team Evil Geniuses and the Singaporean team Paper Rex, the Valorant Twitch feed cut to a shot of Elon Musk sitting in the crowd. The crowd was quick to recognize Musk and immediately booed the billionaire before the feed quickly cut away from him to show a replay from the match at hand. h. The crowd’s visceral reaction to seeing Musk’s face confused one of the commentators, prompting them to ask “Where’s that coming from, that can’t be from in here, surely,” before asking whether the reaction was bigger than the crowd pop that Valorant player tenZ had received.

Read More: Elon Musk Is Once Again Thinking About Elden Ring 

As if to clear up any confusion regarding who their vitriol was directed towards, the audience started chanting “Bring back Twitter.” Their spontaneous chant was made all the more deliciously ironic considering it started just when the commentators said the crowd was re-focusing on the championship game. In case you were curious about which team actually won the Valorant tournament that Musk’s brief on-screen appearance temporarily overshadowed, it was Evil Geniuses. You can check out the video below.

Read More: 2022 Gave Us Elon Musk Drama Every Month

This isn’t the first time Musk’s mere presence was met with a sea of boos. Last December, comedian and self-proclaimed TERF, Dave Chappelle, brought Musk up on stage which led the crowd to boo the emerald mine nepobaby. It was as pathetic as it sounds. However, this time around there was no Chappelle (or an army of Musk’s fake Twitter followers) around to cushion the crowd’s hostile reaction with a pathetic attempt to glaze him up by noting how rich he is to combat the crowd’s boos. Not many people can say they’ve been on the receiving end of boos from Valorant and Chappelle fans but then again no one’s fucking up the game of life quite like Musk.

   

Ben Affleck Sounds Incredibly Bummed About Valorant Nerfs

Riot Games’ free-to-play tactical hero shooter Valorant nerfed a bunch of characters in its latest update, and actor Ben Affleck doesn’t sound too happy about the tweaks made to one of the game’s most goated characters.

Read More: Valorant Didn’t Just Break My PC, It Broke Me

On August 29, Riot Games dropped patch 7.04, which makes a good number of additions, changes, and updates to the game. The patch introduces a brand-new map named Sunset—that’s supposedly set in the studio’s hometown of L.A.—while also bringing forth a handful of tweaks to an existing map called Breeze that dramatically alters its sightlines. Tucked in the notes, though, are some—dare I say—detrimental changes to quite a few of Valorant’s Agents. One of them, Jett, has been nerfed so hard that even the former Batman isn’t pleased.

“Yeah, then they nerfed Jett,” Affleck said to the character’s voice actress, Shannon Williams, during an appearance at the Valorant Champions Tour, an esports event that took place from August 6-26 in L.A. “That’s the problem.”

What Bruce Wayne is bummed about here is just how weak the South Korean wind assassin Jett has become now that the game’s patch 7.04 is live. Tailwind, a movement ability that propels Jett forward, has a longer startup window and doesn’t travel as far. The projectile Cloudburst, which essentially functions as a smoke grenade, doesn’t obscure vision for nearly as long. Updraft, a movement skill that sends Jett into the air, can only be used once instead of twice. And finally, her ultimate skill Blade Storm, which summons throwing knives, costs eight points where previously it cost seven. In short, Jett’s entire kit has been changed so that all of her abilities take just a little bit longer to execute now.

In the blog post outlining the patch notes, community manager Jo-ellen “Riot Joellen” Aragon said this is because Jett is “often given more reliable power windows and generous tuning than other Duelists and Agents in general.” The Riot Games team felt it necessary to knock the assassin down a peg or two.

“Our goal with these changes is further sharpening Jett as the aggressive, high precision Duelist by increasing the intentionality of her ability usage and power windows,” Aragon wrote. “We want to maintain her unique ability to break through chokes and dash onto site, while reducing her defensive power-holding angles and her ability to reactively undo tactical mistakes with her array of quickly cast abilities. […] We believe these changes align Jett’s overall power level and place in the Tactical Cycle with our other Agents, while maintaining Jett’s unique role and fantasy on the Valorant roster.”

While Jett is regularly placed in the S-tier category across various ranking lists, the Valorant community is both celebrating and condemning the changes to her kit. Redditors are split. Some have asked why Riot Games nerfed Jett so hard; others are glad the team is nerfing Jett into the ground. X (formerly known as Twitter) users are similarly divided, with posts of “RIP JETT” or complaints that she’s still pretty OP. In the end, Ben Affleck isn’t the only one feeling the effects of the nerfs, though, according to Williams’ August 28 Instagram post, the former Dark Knight is actually a KAY/O main. Who knew? I didn’t.

Read More: Elon Musk Booed At Valorant Tournament

Ben Affleck, who is reportedly quite the avid Valorant player, wasn’t the only celebrity to make an appearance at the recent esports tournament. Twitter owner Elon Musk was also there, though he wasn’t exactly welcomed.

 

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