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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

How long is it before everyone copies Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive update structure? The latest addition to the venerable multiplayer shooter is called Operation Breakout, and it adds six new maps for everyone to play for free. For those willing and able to pay $6, you then get a now-familiar bundle of upgrades including access to mission drops with the chance to unlock “45 exclusive weapon finishes”, a Challenge Coin which tracks your achievement-y ‘mission’ progress, and a new weapon case containing new community designs.

Given how most other games split their multiplayer communities by selling the maps directly, and given how that split is bad even for the developers, surely it’s only a matter of time before we’re covering our Battlefield and Call of Duty weaponry with paid-for and unlockable stickers and baubles. More details on the update and its maps below.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Why a CS:GO sale hurts CS:GO">cs-go-sale







I want more people to play CS:GO. With caveats made for its flaws (64-tick servers, uninspiring stat tracking, the modest number of official maps, and imperfect cheat detection), CS:GO is the best competitive FPS on PC today. Until Evolve or Rainbow Six Siege come around, I expect that to continue uncontested.



But for the veteran player, someone who s thrown hundreds of hours at that competitive mode, a CS:GO Steam sale like today s $7.49 / 5.99 until Friday isn t a happy event. It s a harbinger of hackers and competition-souring smurf accounts.







CS:GO s price drop is an invitation for those who hack to buy one or several new copies of the game and tie them to new, unique Steam accounts. These secondary accounts insulate your main profile where you keep your game library and everything else that s valuable from the consequences of cheating. We ve recently investigated the seemingly healthy shadow industry of cheating in games like CS:GO, but it s worth underlining how especially disruptive cheating is in the second-most popular game on Steam.



What s challenging about hacking in CS:GO is that much of the onus is on the players to report and police themselves, but competitive play makes it inherently difficult or time-consuming to verify a hacker. Naturally, you re not allowed to spectate an opponent mid-match, so if I want to be sure that someone s playing illegitimately, I have to be mad enough to take the time to stop playing, load up my match replay, scrutinize my opponent s actions, report them, and then just trust that the system will catch them.



There s no immediate judgment or verification that you caught a hacker; users that receive enough reports, to my understanding, are simply passed along to CS:GO s Overwatch system, where a player (who s recorded at least 150 wins in competitive mode) watches excerpts of the match and makes a judgment. Reporting a hacker is like calling a 911 line that cannot talk back to you. It s an unsatisfying system even when it works, and I m upset knowing that CS:GO s sale will invite more abusers into the system.







You also can t simply leave a match to avoid subjecting yourself to a hacker. Abandoning a match for any reason penalizes you, preventing you from playing competitive mode for a period for days at a time, for frequent offenders.



But smurf accounts, at least from my experience, are the lesser but more ubiquitous annoyance that a discounted CS:GO stimulates. To the seasoned competitive player, the signs of a smurf are much more obvious than a hacker: you look for a CS:GO profile with very few achievements unlocked or custom weapon skins equipped, tied to a Steam account with CS:GO as its only owned game ( Wow, such dedication. So hardcore, I usually type mockingly when I encounter one of these players). Having one or more smurfs in your match is more subtle disruption but often just as bothersome as hacking: smurf accounts don t receive a rank in the matchmaking system until they ve won 10 games, allowing them to be matched with players that aren t at their true skill level.



It s a method of circumventing the matchmaking system (often as a way to play with friends who aren t near the same rank), one not unfamiliar to League of Legends players and other free-to-play games. When I m up against such a player, there s no tool within the reporting system for me to flag their account and why should there be? As far as Valve s concerned, that player is another legitimate customer. Solutions like IP banning would be over-aggressive: what if that account is legitimately a friend or sibling?



I want to see the CS:GO community grow, but I bemoan that the game I play most going on sale will probably mean that I'll encounter a few more cheaters and rank-dodging players in the next month or two. To give Valve credit, this isn t the cheapest we ve seen CS:GO. In December, January, and March (the latter coinciding with the EMS One Katowice tournament in Poland), the game was slashed by 75% to just $3.74. The 50% cut over the next two days may be a small compromise, but I don't doubt that it'll invite more players to circumvent matchmaking and play illegitimately.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The best Steam Summer Sale deals: Day 7">steam sale day 7







We've now been living and breathing the Steam Summer Sale for a week, losing sleep for every flash sale, antsy with anticipation every time the new deals tick over. We're feverish from the savings, but it would be madness to stop saving now. Today's deals fuel our appetite for strategy, shooting, and launching valiant little green men into space on absurdly oversized rockets.



Don t forget to check out GOG s summer deals, too.



Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.

5 - The Banner Saga

50% off: $12.49 / 9.49 - Steam store page

One of the biggest artistic achievements in gaming this year. We love The Banner Saga s hand-drawn characters and how they animate on the battlefield, but we especially enjoy the way its detailed, Nordic landscapes parallax as your caravan of warriors and survivors march on. The Austin Wintory score is a cherry on the top.

4 - Kerbal Space Program

40% off: $16.19 / 11.99 - Steam store page

We ve murdered a lot of aliens in games, but only in KSP have we stranded little green guys in planetary orbit due to our grossly incompetent management of a budding space program. The Early Access rocket physics simulator is one of the best games still under development, and already has a large community of engineers sharing stories of harrowing space missions, ship designs, and mods. KSP has even made its way into classrooms.



Read Ian s five-part Kerbal Space Program chronicle to see how he learned rocket-building basics and launched a mission to the M n.

3 - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

50% off: $7.49 / 5.99 - Steam store page

The best competitive FPS on PC owes a lot to its skill-based matchmaking format. At any skill level, five-on-five Counter-Strike narrows the range of tactical choices available to you and the time you have to make them, creating a wonderfully concentrated competitive mode. Otherwise, CS:GO is mainly a vehicle for microtransactions: beware the allure of $400 virtual knives.

2 - Tomb Raider

75% off: $4.99 / 3.74 - Steam store page Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST

Lara Croft returns in a gorgeous action game heavily inspired by Naughty Dog's Uncharted series. This younger, rebooted Lara doesn't have her predecessor's confidence or predilection for interesting puzzles the only tombs in this game are disappointingly short and simple but the shooting is by far the best in the series. Exploring Tomb Raider's island and crafting survival gear is also fun, as Lara is a nimble climber and each area is packed with interesting treasures to hunt down. For a challenge, forgo the assault rifle and grenade launcher for Lara's incredibly satisfying (and silent!) bow.

1 - BioShock Triple Pack

83% off: $10.19 / 6.79 - Steam store page

If you haven t explored the ruins of Rapture, you re in for a treat. BioShock s world is a revelation, an under-the-sea society that s crumbled under its own weight, and exploring what remains of it and shooting its crazy inhabitants in the face with fireballs is a delight. BioShock 2 goes even further, changing your perspective and adding a surprising amount of depth with its own story. Irrational s swansong, BioShock Infinite, may still be polarizing, but Columbia is just as beautiful and terrifying as Rapture, and well worth exploring. All three are included here in a bundle that s too cheap to pass up.



Other great deals today

Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further later in the sale.



Bastion (40% off) $8.99 / 6.59

Killing Floor (50% off) $9.99 / 7.49

Mirror's Edge (75% off) $4.99 / 2.49

Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition (66% off) $6.79 / 5.09
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
We've previously taken in Chatty's perspective on Counter-Strike's milestone 15th anniversary. But some of our posters opted to remember Valve's shooter by sharing some memorable videos. Some of them show off some classic glitches, memorable rage moments, and classic mods. There are also a few others that celebrate Chatty's legacy, showing off some classic CS gameplay from years gone by.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia
It started as a simple mod to a classic first-person PC shooter. Taking Valve's original Half-Life, a pair of programmers tinkered with the game's script and worked to turn it into a team-based multiplayer romp. The result was a mod called Counter-Strike, which turned 15 on June 19 of this year. Since then, it turned into a retail release and quickly ballooned into a global phenomenon, becoming one of the most influential and beloved multiplayer experiences ever created.

As a website with its roots firmly entrenched in PC gaming, Shacknews' Chatty community has some fond memories of battling Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists across the years. Their recollections range from unforgettable encounters, to funny bugs and glitches, to nights that just went on without end. This is a collection of memories from our community about Valve's Counter-Strike.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Valve announces $250,000 community-funded prize pool for CS:GO winners at ESL One in Cologne">news_1







The world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams will compete for a $250,000 "community-funded" prize pool at ESL One Cologne 2014, Valve announced today. The prize money was raised through last year's Arms Deal Update for CS: GO, which directed proceeds from sales of a special eSports weapon case toward larger prize pools and greater visibility for competitive gaming.



ESL One Cologne will run from August 14 to 17 at Gamescom, and will feature 16 top teams, including eight regional qualifiers and eight invited quarter-finalists from EMS One Katowice:



Virtus.pro

Ninjas in Pyjamas

Team Dignitas

TEAMGLOBAL (former LGB eSports)

compLexity Gaming

HellRaisers

Team LDLC.com

Fnatic



"Having watched the finals in Katowice it will be absolutely brilliant to watch Virtus.pro and Ninjas in Pyjamas take the stage again in Cologne," ESL Product Manager Alexander Nehr said. "With exciting teams such as Team Dignitas and HellRaisers, who constantly improve their gameplay to surprise their opponents, the tournament looks to be fantastic."



ESL One Cologne 2014 is actually the third community-funded CS: GO event. The first was the 2013 DreamHack SteelSeries Championship and the second was the EMS One Championship at Katowice, which drew more than 240,000 concurrent viewers for the final and ended with 3.5 million hours of video watched in total. To find out more about the upcoming event in Cologne, hit up esl-one.com/csgo.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Listening to the Terror through the wall

Valve games have become more and more dependent on the Steam Workshop for introducing new content and fuelling play. That’s never more the case than in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which is as much about unlocking, buying and trading gun skins as it is familiar CT vs. T battles. So it’s interesting to see how Valve deal with copyright infringement within that community. After receiving a DMCA takedown notice about two items, the M4A4 | Howl and a community sticker named Howling Dawn, those items have been swiftly removed from the store and action taken against its creators.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive weapon skin removed after DMCA takedown notice">CS GO







You may remember CS:GO's M4A4: Howl as one of the most expensive weapon skins available for the game. Today, Valve announced their receipt of a DMCA takedown notice, stating that both the skin and the Howling Dawn community sticker were not the original work of the item's Steam Workshop contributors. "This matter is extremely serious," Valve wrote in a post to the CS:GO community, "and we have taken appropriate action to resolve it."



"By design, the Items Workshop has very low friction for artists to submit their work new contributions do not require Valve review or approval. To ensure that these contributions represent original content, we require that all Workshop contributors sign a legal agreement confirming that their contributions are original. We also enable the community to monitor Workshop submissions and identify copies and plagiarism via the report flag."



Valve aren't messing around with their response, which contains some heavy punishments for the IP infringing item-makers:





"Both contributors have received Steam Community bans. They receive no proceeds from either item, and both items have been removed from the game.

"For owners of the M4A4 | Howl and Howling Dawn sticker, those items have been replaced by an alternative designed by the CS:GO team. These items will never be produced again, and have been assigned the Contraband rarity.

"All other in-game items that involve at least one of the contributors in their revenue share have been discontinued.

"The Huntsman Case and Community Sticker Capsule have been revised to replace the copied and discontinued items.

"Moving forward, we will no longer work with the contributors and we will not ship any existing Workshop submission that credits their involvement."





It's a stark message for those tempted to claim ownership for another's work. The new Contraband rarity and Valve-designed paint-job has, of course, meant a spike in the skin's desirability. Since the item was updated, StatTrak Minimal Wear versions have been sold for around $400.
Community Announcements - CS:GO Official
Recently we received a DMCA takedown notice regarding copyright infringement with respect to the the M4A4 | Howl, and a community sticker, Howling Dawn, claiming that the artwork was not originally created by the stated contributors. This matter is extremely serious, and we have taken appropriate action to resolve it.

When we launched the CS:GO Items Workshop, our goal was to provide artists with a space to share their creative ideas. By design, the Items Workshop has very low friction for artists to submit their work – new contributions do not require Valve review or approval. To ensure that these contributions represent original content, we require that all Workshop contributors sign a legal agreement confirming that their contributions are original. We also enable the community to monitor Workshop submissions and identify copies and plagiarism via the report flag.

All contributors share joint responsibility for the originality of their Workshop submission, and therefore share joint liability for claims of copyright infringement. That is, if two or more artists collaborate on a submission and the submission contains intellectual property that isn’t their own, all artists involved in the submission will share in the consequences.

For the items in question, the following steps have been taken:

  • Both contributors have received Steam Community bans. They receive no proceeds from either item, and both items have been removed from the game.
  • For owners of the M4A4 | Howl and Howling Dawn sticker, those items have been replaced by an alternative designed by the CS:GO team. These items will never be produced again, and have been assigned the ‘Contraband’ rarity.
  • All other in-game items that involve at least one of the contributors in their revenue share have been discontinued.
  • The Huntsman Case and Community Sticker Capsule have been revised to replace the copied and discontinued items.
  • Moving forward, we will no longer work with the contributors and we will not ship any existing Workshop submission that credits their involvement.

The cost for everyone involved in the resolution of this issue has been significant, including our players and community members. It takes considerable time and effort for the CS:GO team to resolve copyright infringement disputes, but fortunately copying is rare – the CS:GO community has submitted tens of thousands of unique entries to the Workshop, and we have shipped dozens of your designs without a problem.

To ensure that we don’t have issues in the future, we need your help. Please only contribute original work. If you see any items that appear to violate the Workshop copyright policy, please direct the copyright owner to tell us via Valve’s DMCA takedown page. Together we can keep the Workshop a safe place for artists and their hard work.
Community Announcements - CS:GO Official
Release Notes for 6/4/2014

[ MATCHMAKING ]
- When a player has been banned for cheating (via VAC or Overwatch), all Skill Group adjustments from that player's recent wins will be reverted for their partied teammates as well as their opponents.

[ MISC ]
- The "thirdperson" and related commands are now executable by servers (for mods and plugins).
- Added a server convar (sv_allow_thirdperson) which allows servers to set players to third person mode.
- The env_fog_controller entity now has a field and input to scale the amount fog is adjusted when players zoom (with scoped weapons).
- Community tournament servers with built-in round backups enabled will automatically restore all player data upon reconnection and this in most cases will avoid having to load round backups.
...

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