Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

You want to know which are the top ten selling games on Steam this week, but you also still> don’t know the capital city of Turkmenistan. What is a person to do? Well worry not, because here at Steam Charts HQ, we’ve got you covered! All the games that are in the top ten games in the Steam top ten games chart, and all the facts you need for that surprise government test!

Join us today as we laugh and> learn. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

The Steam Charts is the only place on the internet to find out the most up-to-date information about the games you care about the most, the latest rumours of upcoming changes to early access hits, and secrets that can see your way to coming top of the gaming high score tables! (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Hello person reading this on the Steam update page for their favourite game! You can only read this paragraph introducing the Steam Charts right now, but I promise if you only click through to the full article you will read insights into this game of the sorts you could never believe! People, it’s the mother-stuffing Steam Charts. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

CS:GO's Tec-9 is often the pistol of choice on the Terrorist side: it's cheap, deals decent damage and has a high rate of fire. But now Valve has announced a nerf to the gun that will kickstart wider changes to pistols in the game. It wants to "emphasise skillful use of the weapons", you see.

While the Tec-9's first shot will be slightly more accurate, spraying down an enemy will be more difficult because accuracy when firing rapidly will be reduced. The magazine and reserve ammo capacity will drop to 18 and 90, from 24 and 120 respectively. 

The changes will "emphasise aiming while retaining the weapon’s high mobility", Valve says—basically, you'll have to pick your shots rather than just spamming left click.

The changes, now in beta, were announced on the CS:GO blog. There's no details yet on what pistol is up next, or how other weapons will be changed, but expect similar tweaks soon. 

So, in preparation, why not read Fredrik's guide for improving your pistol play and Stefan's guide to choosing the right weapon?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Well even if the Sun won’t shine, the Steam Charts can still spread brightness into our lives. By some manner of wondrous majjicks, this week’s chart doesn’t even include H1Z1, Fallout 4, nor The Witcher 3! I barely even know what to do with myself. I’m dizzy! Come, join the celebration. (more…)

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Samuel Horti)

05rocketleague

Well, East me Enders and Pano my Rama: live Esports is coming to to the BBC this month. BBC Three (which is now online only) will broadcast the new Gfinity Elite League Series One, which means four hours of Rocket League, CS:GO and Street Fighter V on iPlayer every weekend for the next six weeks.

There’s a proper schedule and everything: Fridays at 9pm is for Street Fighter, which in a massive programming screw up clashes with Gardener’s World. Saturday nights from 9-11 is CS:GO (no Casualty for me then), and Rocket League is happening Sunday afternoon from 5. It’s all coming live from the Gfinity Arena in West London, with eight organisations taking part.

(more…)

Team Fortress 2

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 and other Source Engine games were all affected by a particularly nasty exploit until recently. Basically, by uploading custom assets into a custom map, hackers could use them to trigger a "buffer overflow vulnerability" which resulted in the victim PC being open to remote code execution.

In other words, merely shooting at an enemy could cause your machine to be remotely hijacked. The exploit was identified by One Up Security (via Motherboard) who notified Valve. 

"Valve's Source SDK contained a buffer overflow vulnerability which allowed remote code execution on clients and servers," OUP's statement reads. "The vulnerability was exploited by fragging a player, which caused a specially crafted ragdoll model to be loaded. 

Multiple Source games were updated during the month of June 2017 to fix the vulnerability. Titles included CS:GO, TF2, Hl2:DM, Portal 2, and L4D2. We thank Valve for being very responsive and taking care of vulnerabilites swiftly. Valve patched and released updates for their more popular titles within a day."

For a demonstration of how it worked, this very short video tells you all you need to know. Death has never been so scary.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Following an Esports Integrity Coalition survey on "community opinion on the appropriate sanctions for those caught cheating in esports," ESL has announced a decision to lift its lifetime ban on players, including those of the former iBUYPOWER team, who were caught throwing matches. 

The sorry tale stretches back to early 2015, when Daily Dot posted evidence of collusion between CS:GO teams iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com to fix matches and then place bets on their outcome. Following a deeper investigation, Valve issued an "indefinite" ban against the involved players, an injunction that both ESL and ESEA [Esports Entertainment Association] said they would uphold. Valve later clarified that the bans were in fact "permanent." 

But the ESIC survey found that, while match-fixing is cheating and cheating is bad, the CS:GO community doesn't really see it as an especially big deal. "It is clear from the hundreds of 'FreeIBP,' 'FreeSWAG,' and 'FreeBRAX' comments that a very significant number feel that the lifetime bans handed out in the IBP and other historic match-fixing cases were too harsh and, while a significant number of comments support lifetime bans for such activity overall, many more are critical of the publisher’s decision in these cases," it wrote in its Statement on Appropriate Sanction for Cheating in Esports

"ESIC is concerned that the community does not regard match-fixing as serious an offense as cheating to win. ESIC believes that match-fixing is as serious as cheating to win and is, consequently, committed to engaging with the community to try and persuade them that their current perception ought, perhaps, to change." 

The community's willingness to overlook the transgression is not "the only view that matters," but combined with a review of the "publicly available facts," it led ESIC to recommend that the lifetime bans be lifted on August 1 of this year.   

"Our reasoning here is that, whilst the players are clearly culpable and should have known better, the rules surrounding this sort of activity were not clear at the time, no education had been provided to the players, and the procedures used to sanction them were not transparent and did not comply with principles of natural justice," it wrote. 

ESL said in its own statement that it and the ESEA held their own meeting with CS:GO pros in June, as part of the ESIC process, to get their perspective on the matter. As a result, ESL said it will "align its official stance on the topic with ESIC’s guidance": Rules for all IEM, ESL One, ESL Pro League, and ESEA Leagues and amateur events will be updated to reflect the recommendations, and "all indefinite match-fixing bans placed on players before February 15, 2015, have been lifted," including those of former iBUYPOWER players. 

"We believe that integrity and fair play are of the utmost importance in esports, and our updated catalogue of sanctions reflects that commitment”, ESL senior vice president Ulrich Schulze said. The slate isn't being wiped completely clean, however: ”All of these adjustments do not apply to bans and punishments issued by Valve directly though, which will still be in place for all Valve sponsored tournaments run by ESL, such as Majors.” 

Addressing the issue of unclear rules, ESL also announced that it will adopt ESIC's recommended sanctions for future offenses. 

  • Cheating: Disqualification from the tournament, results voided, forfeiture of prize money, ban between 2 year and lifetime depending on age and level of player and nature/size of tournament and how the player cheated (this offence includes “smurfing” where both parties involved are liable to sanctions). Cheating at a competition played above an amateur level (i.e. where significant prize pool is involved or qualification for a professional event is at stake) should normally result in a 5 year ban, but, in aggravating circumstances, can result in a lifetime ban.
  • Match-Fixing/betting fraud: Results voided, 5 year ban unless significant mitigating factors in line with the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code or, in the presence of aggravating circumstances, a longer ban, forfeiture of prize money and monetary fine (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).
  • Doping: Results voided, ban of between 1 and 2 years, forfeiture of prize money (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).
  • Competition manipulation and bribery: Results voided, ban of between 1 and 2 years, forfeiture of prize money and monetary fine (if discovered before the end of a tournament, disqualification).

The above penalties will be applied for first offenses. For subsequent offenses, ESL and ESC warned that "participants should expect far harsher sanctions and, in the cases of (a) and (b) above, in all likelihood, a lifetime ban from esports." 

ESL said in February 2015 that it would abide by Valve's bans against the players in question, "until these cases are reviewed by Valve." That clearly happened last year, when the bans were declared permanent—and while this might be backing into it a bit, that presumably opened the door for ESL and ESEA to chart its own course, and ultimately lift the bans. I've emailed Valve to ask if it plans to grant a reprieve of its own, and will update if I receive a reply. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike's AI bots are universally terrible—that's what most players would have you believe, at least. But during a ranked match on the third-party Faceit community league, one bot rose to glory by single-handedly killing every player on the enemy team. BOT Connor is his name, and shaming seasoned Counter-Strike players is his game.

Scoring an ace is a rare thing for even pro Counter-Strike players, but having a bot go all John Wick on the enemy team is practically unheard of. That's exactly what happened this weekend and Czech player 'Kosta' was there to capture the incredible killing streak. Here's the video. 

I think that BOT Connor won this game for us. If you're losing and the bot wins this super important round, it's just insane.

Kosta

If you're unfamiliar with Global Offensive, bots will frequently fill open slots in teams when they are down a player. Aside from being a meat shield, they're not overly useful. They'll respond to preset commands and can sometimes get a kill, but as soon as a human player dies, they'll usually take command of the bot. But BOT Connor doesn't need a human puppet-master pulling his strings because he's a goddamn pro.

During the match on de_mirage, BOT Connor leads the charge to defend bombsite A. After tossing a flashbang towards the tunnel known as 't ramp,' he immediately rushes in. In the span of five seconds, he scores a kill against one of the terrorists, presses into the ramp, jumps in the air, and scores a second, mid-air kill. As the players on the counter-terrorist team lose their minds over what they just witnessed, BOT Connor scores a third kill. With that part of the map clear, he then turns around, climbs a ladder, and kills the remaining two players. All of this happens in the span of 45 seconds and it's absolutely savage to watch.

The counter-terrorists were down by one and the terrorists only needed another two wins, and this kill by BOT Connor tied the game up. I tracked down Kosta on Facebook and he informed me that BOT Connor inspired the team so much that they managed to come back and win the game. "I think that BOT Connor won this game for us," Kosta writes. "If you're losing and the bot wins this super important round, it's just insane."

"I thought it was hilarious," Richochetbang told me. He was another counter-terrorist player from the match. You can hear him laughing his ass off as BOT Connor begins his rampage. "Every time he shot a guy they were caught off guard."

While that appears to be true for a few of Connor's kills, most players aren't willing to cut the terrorist team much slack. This match took place on the third-party Faceit community league. Like ESEA, it's a place for more dedicated CS players to gather and features its own matchmaking, anti-cheat, and rankings. The terrorists' average ranking is 4.4, which is decent (Faceit ranks go up to 10). Considering these leagues attract a more serious audience, you wouldn't expect them to put up such a weak defense against a rogue AI.

But hey, we all have bad days. Some are just way worse than others.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Photo via Evo.

Now that Rift Rivals is over, Dota 2 is once again dominating the headlines as The International continues to ramp up its prize pool. The tournament won’t start till August, but there’s still plenty of esports action to be had from the CS:GO: PGL Major Krakow to the Street Fighter V: Evolution Championship Series. We even have the SMITE: Pro League Summer Finals to look forward to. All the details on this weekend’s events can be found below.

League of Legends: LCS

North America’s Team SoloMid won the first ever NA/EU Rift Rivals tournament securing victory in the Finals against Europe’s Unicorns of Love in a clean 3-0 sweep. This sweep completes a near perfect tournament from TSM who only lost one game in the competition. TSM enters the second half of the summer split with a new-found confidence, which could give them the power they need to take the top spot away from Counter Logic Gaming. Meanwhile, Unicorns of Love will be aiming to put their disappointing finals performance behind them and use their international experience to crush Misfits in today’s match. Both schedules and streams for the EU and NA LCS can be found by heading over to lolesports.com.

CS:GO: PGL Major Krakow 2017

SK Gaming swept Cloud9 3-0 to claim the ESL One title last weekend, but the CS:GO action doesn’t stop there as we head to Poland for the Krakow Major this Sunday. The group stage of the major tournament will see teams from around the world battle it out in a best-of-one Swiss format. A total of five rounds will determine the eight teams who will make it to the quarterfinals. Once the group stage concludes, the teams will face off in a single-elimination, best-of-three playoffs bracket, so expect plenty of drama and frantic firefights. Gambit will be kicking of Sunday’s matches when they take on mouz at 02:00 PDT / 11:00 CEST, while Fnatic tackle F3 at 03:30 / 12:30 CEST. The full schedule and stream can be found over on major.pglesports.com.

CS:GO: DreamHack Valencia

Back in June we saw the conclusion of the European and North American closed qualifiers for DreamHack Valencia 2017. NRG Esports and Red Reserve took first place and consequently secured LAN finals placements. These two teams will now battle it out amongst the six prior confirmed teams in Valencia, Spain this weekend to determine who will secure the lion’s share of the $100,000prize pool. The group stage is kicking off today at 02:00 PDT / 11:00 CEST, while the semifinals kick off Saturday at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST.  Be sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

StarCraft 2: 2017 WCS Valencia

The World Championship Series continues in Valencia where 80 StarCraft players will compete for the $100,000 prize pool. Neeb has won the last two events back-to-back, so he’s currently the favourite to win. The playoffs begin today at 03:15 PDT / 12:15 CEST and will pit the remaining 16 players against one another before moving onto the quarterfinals. The full weekend’s schedule can be found by heading over to DreamHack’s official site, while the tournament can be streamed over on Twitch.

StarCraft II: Global StarCraft League Season 3

The Global StarCraft League continues to heat up as Korea’s finest battle it out for their chance to win the $152,100 prize pool and a guaranteed spot for the champion in the WCS Global Finals. These matches will be the defining journeys in many StarCraft II pro players’ careers, so expect plenty of drama this weekend. Group D’s matches begin today at 21:00 PDT / 06:00 CEST and will continue throughout the day. The full weekend’s schedule and stream can be found by heading over to wcs.starcraft2.com.

Overwatch: Apex Season 3

Overwatch APEX Season 3 wraps up this weekend, with the conclusion of the monthly series and a $177,000 prize pool being awarded to the victor. The finals are taking place this Saturday and many fans will be eager to see whether KongDoo Panthera has what it takes to beat Lunatic-Hai. Last weekend, AF.Blue managed to obliterate Team EnVyUs in one-side affair that saw the team taking third place. The action will kick off at 03:00 PDT / 12:00 CEST, so be sure to check out the full stream over on Twitch.

Hearthstone: Global Games

The Hearthstone Global Games tournament enters week 14 of play today and every team has been fighting hard to claim the top spot in phase two. The Group of 16 matches concluded yesterday for US viewers, but those of you in Europe can catch all the action today at 03:00 CEST. It’s a long road ahead for the pros and every team will be fighting hard to secure the $300,000 prize pool in phase two of the tournament. The full schedule and stream for week four can be found here.

Hearthstone: Grand Prix 2017

The Hearthstone action doesn’t stop there as we head to Valencia for the DreamHack Grand Prix where players will test their mettle to see who is top dog. Notable participants include Cydonia, Fluffy, Maverick and Odemian. The turnout in 2016 was the largest amount of players the Grand Prix has ever seen and DreamHack aims to top this with their latest tournament. However, only the most crafty card connoisseur will take the title and the £25,000 prize pool. Make sure you head over to DreamHack’s official site to see the full tournament breakdown, schedule and stream.  

SMITE: Pro League Summer Finals

SMITE Pro League’s online phase wrapped up this past weekend and teams are now preparing for the the summer split: Dreamhack Valencia. The top four teams from the European SPL, the top three teams from the North American SPL and the top South American teams will be present at the tournament. The semifinals start today at 04:15 PDT / 13:15 CEST and only the best teams will advance to Saturday’s live finals. Along with the conclusion of the Summer Split, Hi-Rez will also announce the remaining events in Season 4, so make sure to tune into the action over on Twitch.

Heroes of the Storm: Global Championships Phase 2

Phase two of the HGC is well underway and teams from around the world will continue to battle it out for the $425,000 prize pool. Team Freedom has taken the lead in North America after they beat Superstars and Gale Force eSports last weekend. However, Roll20 will be aiming to stop Team Freedom’s dominant run this Saturday. Meanwhile, Fnatic continues to lead the European bracket and Team Liquid will be hoping to take down Zealots to close the gap. Each team has their eyes firmly set on the next Western Clash in August, so every victory will help increase the chance of taking the title. Make sure you head over to heroesofthestorm.com to find the schedule and stream for all the matches being played this weekend.

Street Fighter V: Evolution Championship Series 2017

The Evolution Championship series returns this weekend where more than two thousand players from all over the world will come together to beat the virtual snot out of one another. Evo is notorious for bringing in new talent, as last year Japan's YOUDEAL|Yukadon, surprised almost everyone when he managed to take third place. The road to victory certainly won’t be easy, but Evo will give ultimate fighting glory to whoever rises to the challenge. The full schedule and stream can be found by heading over to evo.shoryuken.com.

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