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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.>

Confession: I have spent approximately $357.38 on a free videogame. Three hundred and fifty seven dollars and thirty eight cents.

Second confession: Actually it’s a little more than that.

The figure Valve gives you is related to the badges you earn by collecting sets of trading cards in the game. To find out how much you’ve spent in Dota 2 just go to the badges section of your profile, look at Dota 2 and then click on “How do I earn card drops?” The card drops in free-to-play games are linked to the money you spend in-game and so Steam will tell you how close you are to earning your next card drop. It also tells you how much you’ve spent but only in the period since they introduced card drops.

For me that’s just north of 215 and I’m going to try to answer the question “Why?”

… [visit site to read more]

Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Portal 2 during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Portal 2 draws from the award-winning formula of innovative gameplay, story, and music that earned the original Portal over 70 industry accolades and created a cult following.

The single-player portion of Portal 2 introduces a cast of dynamic new characters, a host of fresh puzzle elements, and a much larger set of devious test chambers. Players will explore never-before-seen areas of the Aperture Science Labs and be reunited with GLaDOS, the occasionally murderous computer companion who guided them through the original game.

The game’s two-player cooperative mode features its own entirely separate campaign with a unique story, test chambers, and two new player characters. This new mode forces players to reconsider everything they thought they knew about portals. Success will require them to not just act cooperatively, but to think cooperatively.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The best highlights from CS:GO’s ESL One Cologne 2014 tournament">csgo-esl-one-highlights







The ESL One Cologne 2014 CS:GO championship went down as the most-watched Counter-Strike event in history, with over 400,000 combined viewers watching live in-game or through the ESL stream over the weekend. There were plenty of memorable frags, clutches, and comebacks during the 16-team, four-day event, the best of which I ve collected here.



Every ace (one player notching five kills) from the tournament





The final moments of the last in the three-match series between Cloud9 and NiP





LDLC s apEX notches a 3K on a terrific eco round





Dignitas dupreeh walks through smoke and is rewarded for a moment





A disgusting jump-USP headshot at the end of this clip





Semphis with an amazing stealth retake on de_dust2 s bombsite B





One of our favorite matches of the tournament, an incredible double-OT comeback





The moment of victory for Swedish team Ninjas In Pajamas



PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to CS:GO ESL One Championship: watch these two amazing matches">csgo championship







The group stage of the ESL One Cologne 2014 just wrapped up today, whittling down the beginning 16 teams to an elite eight. We've already had two incredible matches out of Group D, and both have featured American team Cloud9, which faced Titan (France) and Team Dignitas (Denmark) as an underdog.



Read the full tournament breakdown on the Kniferound wiki.

WEDNESDAY

Cloud9 (USA) vs. Titan (France)

Map: de_dust2





Watch live video from esltv_cs on Twitch

THURSDAY

Cloud9 (USA) vs. Dignitas (Denmark)

Map: de_mirage











With the quarterfinals beginning tomorrow, there's no clear contender for the tournament win. Cloud9, the remaining American team and "comeback king" of the group stage, faces NiP, the team that dominated 2013 and took second at the EMS One Katowice 2014. Before that, the Katowice 2014 winner Virtus.Pro, who crushed US challenger iBuypower, is matched against Team LDLC from France. Epsilon, who beat out NiP in its group match, will face a rebounding Dignitas. Fnatic is favored in its match with Na'Vi. Check the full tournament bracket for schedule information. All matches can be watched live through CS:GO's in-game client or on the ESL Twitch channel.
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 50% on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive!*

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Sunday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to The week’s highs and lows in PC gaming">SteamHigh







Each week PC Gamer s writers gather around a seance table and ask the previous seven days to reveal themselves. Not like that.



Tim Clark: What kept you, Snake?

I m mostly not much one for boss battles, but the fight with The End from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is, by a distance, my favourite. It s funny, tense and startlingly creative essentially everything that s good about Hideo Kojima s stealth series. Kojima s detractors inevitably point to his narrative excess and his games debatable interactivity but, honestly, screw that noise. Metal Gear Solid V coming to PC, in the form of both The Phantom Pain and its Ground Zeroes prelude, is great news. As Tyler pointed out in his

rousing piece earlier this week, this is an interesting, systems-based game running on a powerful engine. The PC version will likely be the definitive one. Now we just need Konami to confirm P.T. next...



Phil Savage: Craving curation

Steam is changing. Today saw the release of some new library upgrades, and, thanks to the dataminers of SteamDB, we've got an idea of the upcoming improvements to the service's store. This is all good news. Few things this week excited me more than realising I can now select multiple games in my Steam library. No, don't look at me like that. I own a lot of games and have a need to categorise them all.



Okay, fine, the potential store changes are more notable. Specifically, the idea of following individual and group curators for personalised front pages. It's a necessary move the continued sale of games like Air Control proves that Valve aren't interested in running a curated platform. Here's the thing: they never were. For years, they allowed unmitigated shit onto the store because they had deals in place with the publishers who shat them. Being on Steam is not, and has never been, a guarantee of quality. But being on the recommendations list of some reliable curators could be.







Tyler Wilde: Shadow Realms

Last week, I was griping about BioWare s live action You ve Been Chosen teasers. I m skeptical of any game revealed by not telling us what the game is. This week, however, we ve all begun forgetting about the teasers in favor of having thoughts about Shadow Realms, the game they were teasing. And Shadow Realms sounds pretty cool. It s a 4v1 episodic RPG, where the one is the Shadowlord, who s essentially a dungeon master. The Shadowlord attempts to stop the party haunting them, setting traps, casting spells, summoning monsters, and controlling any monster in the level." And despite last week s cryptic marketing, which usually suggests there s nothing real to show, alpha invites are going out next month. Find out more in our interview with BioWare Austin General Manager Jeff Hickman.



Samuel Roberts: Metal Gear? It can t be!

I have to echo Tim s enthusiasm for Metal Gear Solid V coming to PC I m a huge fan of that series and I ve completed all of them multiple times (except MGS4, since life s slightly too short for me to sit through its ludicrous hour-long closing cutscene again). I now want Konami to take it further. Some PC players would like an education on Metal Gear and why it s been so critically and commercially successful on consoles for such a long period of time. Konami already ported the original to PC years ago. Why not bring it out on Steam? Likewise, a few years ago, Konami employed port specialists BluePoint to remake MGS2 (eh), MGS3 (amazing) and PeaceWalker (very odd, but with a lot of connections to MGSV). MGSV is a great start from Konami, and I m glad it s not being seen as an afterthought release-wise like Revengeance was, but I think re-releasing the older games on PC could see that series be even bigger on Steam than it is on consoles. As Andy pointed out a few months ago, Metal Gear Solid has always belonged on PC.







Evan Lahti: Go, go, go!

I m so happy to see CS:GO gaining more popularity as an e-sport. On Thursday, during only the group stages (the seeding rounds) of the ESL One championship in Cologne, Cloud9 s match against Titan peaked at 270,000 concurrent viewers. Those aren t Dota 2 or League of Legends numbers, of course, but that figure exceeds what CS:GO drew during the grand finals of its last tournament. Valve made some improvements to CS:GO s spectating experience in a recent patch, and its comment during The International indicates that they might be throwing more of their support behind the game on most days the second-most popular on Steam in the future. It s inherently tougher for FPSes to catch on as e-sports because perspective-swapping between players isn t necessarily a great experience, especially for non-players, but continued support from Valve would have a huge impact on the scene.



Tom Senior: Rise of the PC

PCs are everywhere at Gamescom. They're pushing Ryse to 4K monitors in Crytek's booth, rendering 4 vs. 1 battles in Evolve and Shadow Realms. They're powering Firaxis' Civ: Beyond Earth demoes, sitting under tables in Paradox' booths and enabling huge League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive contests on the show floor. The Metal Gear Solid 5 announcement is the big news of the week, but it's symptomatic of the quiet ascendency of a platform that wasn't taken seriously by some publishers five or six years ago. There are a few holdouts, sure. I reckon Rise of the Tomb Raider will make it over late, and we may never see a PC version of Destiny, but these instances are proving increasingly rare. Hopefully in future, if we're lucky, we'll see more simultaneous PC/console releases for more big budget games, but let's not go too crazy.











THE LOWS



Samuel Roberts: Gamescom blues

Gamescom is like the local/mid-term elections in the realm of trade shows. If you re a journalist or one of the thousands of people being squashed in Cologne, I m sure it s delightful, as the show is notably better for access than it is for news but from the outside looking in, it felt like a bit of a non-starter for announcements outside of the great news about Metal Gear (I also share Tim s love of The End, MGS3 s astonishing boss battle), the reveal of Shadow Realms from BioWare and the Tomb Raider thing that pissed absolutely everyone off (even though the whole thing might be a timed exclusive it s pretty hard to work that bit out). A bunch of EA titles that probably should ve made an appearance Star Wars: Battlefront, Mirror s Edge, any of the other BioWare games in production didn t, meaning it ll likely be another ten months before we get even a whisper out of them again. If you re at home watching out for Gamescom announcements, I can t imagine it was nearly as exciting as the E3 shows were. There s plenty to look forward to in the rest of 2014 and early 2015, but for actual new things, it was kind of quiet.



Tom Senior: Gamescom attendees deserve a little more

Three hundred thousand people bought tickets and stormed the Koelnmesse this week, and many queue for a long time to be ushered into a theatre and shown some trailers at ear splitting volume. Ticket holders deserve a chance to catch some advanced access for their cash, so here's a shout-out to the developers who put playable builds on the show floor this year. Often games aren't ready for mass consumption in the wild conditions of a conference hall, but when you walk past rows and rows of packed-out Fifa kiosks every day it's clear how much that exclusive access matters to people. People were even enjoying a few battles in PIllars of Eternity in one noisy corner of Hall 9. I can only admire their powers of concentration.







Tyler Wilde: Rise of the Tomb Raider is an Xbox exclusive

I don t care much about exclusivity deals that keep games off the Xbox One or PS4 (though I m sure I would if I owned one or the other), but when the PC gets lumped in? And by Microsoft? It makes me feel unwanted, alienated. Why can t you just be an Xbox gamer?



As I argued earlier this week, Square Enix might be getting a good deal by making Rise of the Tomb Raider a timed Xbox exclusive, but I m still disappointed whenever risk abatement involves withholding games. I get it, though. Developing games is expensive and any way to help ensure success is welcome. But for the brave, a lot of money can be made on the PC, and I fear console-focused publishers will never have a chance to figure it out amid their exclusivity deals and pre-order bonuses. The response to making less money on PC, where there are no discs to print, no used games, and long-term promotion, should be to solve it.



Oh, also, hey Microsoft, I d buy a PS4 before an Xbox One, so seriously, don t worry about keeping games off the PC. It won t help anyway.



Phil Savage: Exclusively empty

I get that words change their meaning over time. This is a natural and healthy part of the evolution of language. But sometimes evolution goes wrong. This has happened to the word exclusive . It hasn't changed its meaning; it's lost its meaning. It is meaningless a carcass of a word that rots the sentence that it's dumped in.



I watched Gamescom's console press conferences in a state of constant confusion. The word exclusive was deployed in so many ways, for so many scenarios, and none of them applied to what the word should mean. Even worse was the phrase first on console for Xbox/Playstation, which was liberally spat out for games already on PC. The phrasing is deliberately ambiguous. It can be read in multiple ways, but specifically applies to one. If a core part of your business strategy is to mislead your customers through empty phrasing, you are doing something wrong.







Tim Clark: A beastly problem

Just when I thought I couldn t QQ any harder about the seemingly endless stream of Zoo players in Hearthstone this week s highlight: queuing into five straight Zoos in casual back come the bloody Hunters. Between the Webspinner and Haunted Creeper, the Hunter class already had its early game bolstered by the new Naxxramas cards, but with the arrival of the secret-spawning Mad Scientist this week the class is now likely out of control again. Hey, you like playing against secrets right? Wait and see how much you like playing against opponents who don t even have to pay any Mana for them. The salt is strong with me.



Evan Lahti: Steam needs an overhaul

Steam updates constantly, but the design of the client itself has remained almost untouched for at least a few years. SteamDB sniffed out an upcoming update to Steam, but it only seems to address a few piecemeal issues rather than being a skin-to-bones reimagining of the program, which I think Steam desperately needs. The glut of indie games, DLC, Workshop content, and software that s flooded Steam in the past few years has rendered the store page and other corners of the program less useful; it s unlikely that tweaking Steam s lame tags system or adding a discovery queue will address Steam s fundamental problem: there s too much stuff, and it isn t meaningfully organized.



Product Update - Valve
Mastery Gems
- Mastery and Kinetic gem functionality has been merged and the term “Mastery Gem” removed. What were previously called mastery gems are now kinetic gems. Kinetic gems can change animations, change abilities, add or modify particle FX, change ability icons, and modify other features of the item they are attached to.

The following changes have been made to complete the transition to a keyless economy:

Treasure Keys
- Treasure Keys are no longer sold on the Dota 2 store.
- All basic treasures that were previously opened with a Treasure Key have been removed from the game and the Steam Community Market.
- Treasure Keys can now be redeemed for a free unlocked Treasure of your choice. When you use the treasure key a new redemption menu will open. Immortal treasures and some older special event treasures are excluded from this menu, but otherwise the list of treasures is unrestricted. One key can be exchanged for any one treasure. As new treasures are added to the game, they will also be added to this menu.
- All treasure keys will expire and be removed from the game one year from now on July 1st, 2015. Keys must be redeemed by that time.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dota 2 coming to Madison Square Garden for the largest e-sports event in New York City’s history">Dota2-mlg







ESL One is bringing "the largest in-person competitive gaming event ever held on the East Coast" to New York City in October, with a Dota 2 tournament that will be held in the 5500-seat Theater at Madison Square Garden. The competition will take place during New York Super Week, a ten-day-long, city-wide pop culture festival with concerts, comedy shows, gaming, lectures and more.



Eight top-ranked Dota 2 teams will battle for a $100,000 prize at the tournament, which will be broadcast live on Twitch with coverage provided by JoinDOTA. "By staging this event at the iconic Madison Square Garden, we're going to see history in the making," ESL One Product Manager James Lampkin said in a statement. " ReedPOP, Twitch and ESL are coming together to create something special that New York City has never seen before."



New York Super Week runs from October 3-12 and will feature events ranging from Dr. Horrible s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along and Joss Whedon-Themed Party and StarTalk Live! hosted by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson to New York Comic Con, which will conclude the festivities. The tournament itself happens on October 9-10; details about qualifying, invitees and teams that will be taking part in the action will be released "in the coming weeks."

PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to CS:GO championship ESL One Cologne begins today">csgo esl one championship







Competitive Counter-Strike continues to draw a healthy amount of spectators as Valve s FPS has grown significantly since the end of 2013. Following Katowice earlier this year, the ESL Championship begins 3 AM Eastern on Thursday, the first matches of ESL One Cologne 2014 will kick off in Germany, culminating in a final match on Sunday.



Here s the full ESL One Cologne tournament schedule. 16 teams are competing for a $250,000 prize pool, with favorites like NiP, Dignitas, and Virtus.pro matched against challengers, as the ESL teams page puts it, like Copenhagen Wolves, NaVi, and iBuypower. Thursday s matches will determine the seeding of these teams within their four-team groups, with Saturday quarterfinals preceding the semi and grand finals on Sunday.



Earlier this week, Valve patched CS:GO to improve the in-client spectating experience a little, allowing you to natively view the game from the perspective of the match s caster. There s also a new camera transition animation that makes swapping between different players perspectives less disorienting. On Twitch, matches should appear on the ESLTV_CS channel.



As has been the case for other events, watching tournament matches in-game or with a Steam-linked Twitch account gives you a chance of collecting special in-game items.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Philippa Warr)

OBVS.

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.>

Just prior to The International 4 one of the professional teams Fnatic was engaged in a frantic back-and-forth with Valve. The discussion (and thus, this week’s column) centred on team substitutions. Specifically whether Fnatic was allowed to compete at TI4 with Steve ‘Excalibur’ Ye taking the place of their invited carry player Adrian ‘Era’ Kryeziu. The swap was being pursued by Fnatic because Era’s recent health concerns, including panic attacks, had put his ability to travel to Seattle and compete in doubt. Valve’s response was unequivocal. Fnatic had to attend with their invited lineup or they couldn’t compete.

… [visit site to read more]

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